Home > Archive: May, 2012

Archive for May, 2012

bye bye cable...

May 30th, 2012 at 03:50 pm

So yeah. Our cable tv experiment will soon be coming to an end. We got cable when we had our 2 year old, because we know we'd be home a lot more, and hubby wouldn't be able to go to the sports bar to watch his favorite soccer games. After two years, we both and agreed it's not worth the money. We barely watch it, hubby ends up only watching game highlights online anyway, and when we do watch something, it's a DVD from the library or Netflix. Guess you can't break frugal Tv habits, evenif you do add cable!

So yes, we have agreed that after the NBA finals, we're cancelling. It should save us $60 a month, which I guess will go to the car loan.

I also got paid $431 for an extra freelance gig today. I'm going to split it into four pots-- car loan, savings, IRA, and mortgage extra payments. Every little bit helps.

A peak at my "farmette", and other tidbits

May 29th, 2012 at 02:00 pm

One of my big fantasies is to grow and can tons of awesome organic food for my family. I had great veggies gardens at my last house, but was starting from scratch here at the new house. Starting is always the hardest part! But, this season is starting off okay.

I have built 3 4'x4' raised beds for the tomatoes and peppers, planted potatoes and zucchini in pots, have an 8' x 4' raised bed with carrots, beets, spinach, and lettuce, made a tea 'pea' trellis, which is the bunnies stop eating my pea shoots, will make a fun hiding place for the boys once the peas vine up. I also planted 8 window boxes with cold season lettuce, beets, carrots, and spinach. We've eaten all the lettuce and spinach and remulched them. I might plant onions there next.

We have a half-acre lot in the city (huge by local standards), and my problem issues are lots of trees (shade) and the one sunny spot has to remain grass due to hubby's request. He says it's the soccer field, and he and the kids do run around on it. I'm making do with sunshine around the perimeter of the yard.

I think if I also clear out some of the invasive honeysuckle bushes taking over the side yard, I might have enough sun and room for berry bushes. The wheels are turning.

In other news, I sold two ceiling fans on craigslist for $80. They have been sitting unopened in my garage for a while. That money is going to the car note.

The contractor is coming to finish up my basement office next week. It'll be nice to have a space of my own.

I also finally gave in and applied for the Kroger credit card. I had been considering it because it's my main grocery store, and the card gives you 5 cents off a gallon for gas and quarterly reward certificates for free groceries. Who couldn't use those? I was set over the edge by a big carrot. They're giving me a signing bonus of &5 in free groceries and 25 cents off a gallon for the first three months. It pushed me into action.

Same old advice everywhere

May 22nd, 2012 at 10:16 pm

I read a lot of financial news, and I kind of feel like I'm stuck in a rut. Not matter what site I go to, large or small, it seems like the same old generic financial advice or some form of it is there. I'm having a hard time finding anything new. Do you have any suggestions for good reads?

At this point, most of us know all the basics. We need an advanced course!

Cat died : (, more freelance work : ), housework and fundraisers!!!

May 20th, 2012 at 08:01 pm

It's been forever since I've posted. Probably because I've been in a whirlwind of activity.

I'm in the process of finishing a room in my basement into an office work and sewing space. It's just concrete block and concrete floor, so I started with nothing. I bought lumber and had a contractor frame it out. ($150 for wood, $650 for the framing).

Tuesday, I get the electrical put in. Outlets, overhead lights, etc. Cost: $590.

Then I need to buy about $700 worth of insulation, drywall, and ceiling materials. Then spend another $600 for the contractor to install all of it.

I've been buying the lumber and supplies myself, and using gift cards bought at the grocery store for the gas discount. So far, doing it this way has netted me about $3.80 off per gallon in gas discounts. And, I paid for them with a rewards credit card that's giving me 2 percent back at grocery stores this month.

I figure if I'm going to spend the money anyway, I may as well get a bit of a discount or some perks!

I estimate in the end, once I get flooring, shelving, etc, I'll be just under $4,000 for the basement office. Geesh. I'm amazed things cost so much!

We did frame out an amazing amount of storage. A wall of closets and a walk-in closet that can one day be converted into a half bathroom if we decide we need it. Looking forward to a hidden place to store everything.

In other sad but economic news, my cat of 17 years had to be put to sleep two Sundays ago. I found her outside lying under the tree, perfectly sentient and aware but unable to move her back legs. Of course, my vet isn't open on Sundays, so I had to find an emergency vet ($$$$$$). We thought she broke her back, but it turned out to be a blood clot. Either way, no cure. I had to have her put down. Very sad. And the bill was $450. It would have been $100 on any other day of the week. Oh well. She always was a booger that way.

It was a weird vet. fancy, and looked like a upscale urgent care for people, so I knew I was in for it financially. I knew she had a slim chance of coming home with me alive, but they just kind of avoided the topic of putting her down. And even when it came time to tell me there weren't other options they didn't want to come out and say it. They were talking to me about treatment options. Don't get me wrong. i love my pets passionately,but the reality is at 17, she's almost 100 in people years, and at that point we;re talking hospice and end of life care, not thousands of dollars in treatments that probably won't work. And if they do, she might live another 6 months or year at most?

On a brighter note, one of the reasons I haven't been able to post so much is that I've been up to my eyeballs in freelance work. Once again, it's the magic of the SA sidebar. I write something there and it comes true. It's magic!

So yes, I sidebar 'wished' to write more lucrative articles for a wire service. Last year, all year, I wrote 3 articles for them. This year, I've written six so far and they keep giving me assignments. Good news! Good Pay! But makes for a very busy me.

I'm hoping the work flow will become more manageable in fall, when the kids both start school at the same preschool very close to home. (This might be a game changer. ) 3 days a week from 9 to 1 means I might actually get to do more work during the day instead of pulling late nights to meet deadlines.

And, I'll have a sweet new office to work in!!

So yes, money is coming in, but we're very busy and I feel like I'm slipping up keeping a lid on the budget. I feel like I've been buying a lot of meals out and luxuries. I need to check myself. our CSA farm share just started, so my focus to slow down and cook with awesome local ingredients seems to be coming back.

Despite this, I noticed that we have paid just shy of $3000 off the principal on the car loan, and when my next mortgage payment posts we just might be just under $80,000 owed, which means we paid off about $8000 in extra principal since we moved in last April. (Excluding the one time 125,000 payment made when we sold our other house). Progress is being made, even if it doesn't feel like it.

I am a sucker for school fundraisers. Maybe because my mom was a Catholic school grade school teacher, I had to sell candy bars door to door and sell magazines to raise money for the school. when I was little, which sucked. I went to my son's preschool fundraiser on friday. Had to go alone because the sitter had his appendix out at the last minute. Poor kid.

So yeah, I ended up spending $75 on an auction lot with a snowcone theme. It included a snowcone maker, and a bunch of flavorings, and some monster-themed home popsicle molds. Yeah. I'm a sucker.