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Archive for November, 2008

Sleepy sleepy day

November 30th, 2008 at 09:28 pm

I worked 7am to 3pm today (Sunday.) Feels strange because I am used to working nights but they need an RN every other weekend on days so that is what I'm doing now. I got home and immediately hit the couch for a nap that turned into sleeping through the evening.

It is now 12am and I am AWAKE! E. had a 24 hour throwing up bug so I am holding my breath awaiting the potential first pangs of nausea in myself and C. and DH. Hopefully we all stay healthy.

She is feeling better now but still looks a little gray in the face and generally limp.

Thank goodness the girls are still on vacation tomorrow. That means we will all sleep in until at least 9am. They have hair appts. at 10am. I regret making them that early. It sounded good at the time but now I would prefer if we could all just stay in bed until 11.

We are definitely a night owl family! DH is still awake and watching Star Wars. He is lucky he can sleep in every day until 8 or 9 and then walk upstairs to start work in his pj's with the cat curled up beside him and the dog warming his feet. I envy that sometimes!

It is rather "mild" (for Ohio) tonight and it is 66 degrees in the house even though the thermostat is set at 65. I am very used to this temp. In fact, on Saturday morning I woke feeling warm and it was because the girls had turned the heat up to 70. Felt too hot!

I messed up this weekend and didn't do my weekly shopping trip. Of course we had extra kids most of the weekend that tore through all the food like cereal, milk and snacks. Love that the girls have so many friends but for such skinny people I can't believe how much they all eat!

Now I only have barely $40 until Friday in the food budget. We have enough laying around the house for at least 3 meals so we should be ok but we'll see how it goes with my picky eaters.

I filled my car up for $19.89 today. WOW. I still have $10 in the gas budget until Friday but I don't think I will need it so I will use that for food. I'm going to put 11 cents toward my challenge money. That raises my grand total to 28 cents. This is hard.

Well, gonna sign off for now even though I will probably be up for several more hours!

Expensive weekend/shopping tales

November 29th, 2008 at 02:17 pm

Went shopping yesterday and joined the ranks of the "black Friday" bargain hunter. I DID find some great bargains along with some wild people.

Probably the funniest thing I saw was a woman pushing a Target cart through Kohls. She made it to the inside of the store and was about to head down a main aisle but was stopped by some workers who told her she couldn't bring the Target cart inside. It was a strange scene. She had the cart piled full of Target bags.

The best part was the look of confusion she had on her face when they told her she had to turn around and leave the cart outside. My cousin and I had a pretty good laugh.

I am ALMOST finished with my Christmas shopping. Have to order the Wii fit from gamespot today, buy my grandpa and uncle a flashlight and my niece a game. DH is getting his dad a Lowes gift certificate and his mom a computer game and then guess what? WE ARE DONE! And it isn't even December!! yay!

The busiest 2 stores in the mall yesterday morning were
1. Charlotte Russe
2. American Eagle

I spent $67 in Charlotte Russe and got so much stuff I don't know where to start. You got 30% off your grand total plus the entire store was already on sale! Yeah, it isn't the most high quality clothing out there but for my girls, my cousin and my niece, it will be great because these are girls who tear through clothes at ridiculous speed.

I spent $85 at American Eagle where all tops and jewelry were buy one get one 50% off (even on sale items) and then another 25% off your grand total. I got a pair of clogs, 2 shirts, 2 necklaces and a pair of pants. For American Eagle this is pretty good.

The lines in American Eagle and Charlotte Russe were a good 45 minutes long.

After these two stores we checked out Hollister....boring and of course NOTHING on sale. There wasn't even much of a line. They need to consider offering better sales. Next we went to Aeropostale where I bought one item that E. wanted, a zip hoodie. It was cute but completely overpriced at almost $50. (and that was with a 50% discount!) I didnt find anything else in Aeropostale worth buying.

I visited Express and bought C. a pink scarf, black cardigan sweater and a beautiful camisole/tank. I had to argue with the cashier who insisted the stores 20% off the total was more than the 15$ gift certificate I had. It wasn't.

After leaving the mall we headed to Old Navy (second trip in a week) where I bought my cousin's present plus a winter coat for DH. I spent almost $50 on cousin's gift...had budgeted $15! But, I couldn't have gotten my shopping done without him. He patiently stood in lines for me while I shopped. He carried all my stuff etc...I honestly couldn't have done it without him so I wanted to get him something he really wanted. He picked out a thick zip hoodie/jacket and a scarf.

The last store we visited was Borders where I spent $50. Got E. hardback of the third twilight series book...can't remember the name, and got C. Uncle Tom's Cabin, a Jodi Picoult novel and Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions.

We ate at Taco Bell before heading home and I spent $5. It was an expensive day but we had a blast and I did find some pretty good bargains...nothing too earth shattering but that's ok.

I have saved all my receipts this Christmas and am tracking my spending very carefully. So far, I have not used any credit cards...all cash. (Well, cash transferred to the checking account to pay the AMEX) My ultimate goal was to keep this year below $1000.00. I don't think that is going to happen because I have already spent $856 and still have another 150-200 dollars to go. Still, I am happy because in the last few years I have NEVER spent this little at Christmas and I have always put the majority of it on my credit card. So, this is progress.

Right now I am grappling with the temptation of adorable Juicy Couture earrings for E. and C. but so far I have resisted! I think I will save them for their birthday. Wink

Well, that is all from the land of shopping. I had to work today and had a few stressful, cursing, delusional residents to deal with. Luckily, I was making rounds with the psychiatrist so he helped me defuse a potentially violent situation.

Well, him and some Haldol and Ativan!

DH is grilling in 40 degree weather tonight because I am too lazy and tired to even think about doing anything but sitting on the couch. Thank God for helpful husbands!

E. CLEANED her room. There are no dirty dishes with rotting milk, the carpet is cleaned and vacuumed and DH helped her move her furniture around. It looks awesome. Now we need to get C. to clean hers and we'll be in business.

I have an insanely busy week coming up. I have picked up quite a few hours to pay for all these presents!

Feeling better about everything

November 27th, 2008 at 08:35 pm

In my last entry I was quite upset and frustrated regarding holiday spending. I am feeling a lot better for several reasons. First of all, at Thanksgiving today, we agreed with extended famiy there woud be no gift exchange this year...what is important is spending time together and overeating!

Secondly, my Aunt and I agreed to spend $10-$15 per person in our close family. (We usually spend $30-$40) This includes 7 people (2 cousins, Aunt, Uncle, Mom, Grandma and Grandpa)

DH and I agreed to a $20 limit on his parents and SIL and I agreed to $20 limit on each others kids. We will not exchange gifts with DH's side except for the $20 gifts for my two nieces that live close.

I will be giving Christmas cards and homemade cookies/candy to my aides at work. I have 4 close friends at work that I will spend $5 on them for something a little special.

This adds up to a grand total of: $225.00 at the MOST.

This is realistic. This also means my mom, aunt, grandma and cousins are done!

We sat down as a family and the girls both agreed that instead of buying/consuming more "stuff" they don't really need that we would be donating $25 each to the charity of their choice. (maybe $50 each...we'll see)They seemed genuinely excited to do this! I have already bought them a few gifts and I need to get them a couple more (E. especially) but this year will not be consumed with an overabundance of "stuff."

Anyway, I have already spent $405 on Christmas and it looks like I will spend appx. another $500. This will bring my grand total to just over $900.00. In the past 5 years I don't think I have EVER spent less than $3,000.00 for Christmas so this represents a major financial shift.

More than that however, I hope it represents a ideological/philosophical shift in that the true meaning of Christmas will finally emerge here at our little space in this grand universe.

I feel like I have gained a lot of perspective. There is definite freedom in simplicity. I am tired of running in circles to buy overpriced plastics. Yes, I truly enjoy giving thoughtful gifts to my family but it isn't necessary to go into major debt over it all.

Have a blessed holiday weekend everyone.

Good news/Bad News/Rant warning

November 26th, 2008 at 04:07 pm

Let's start with the good news:

1.Max the dog is going to live.

2.The organization of bills/payment schedules for December is completed.

3.Tomorrow is eat large meals for free day. (And bring home leftovers)

4.I found my gift certificate for a free turkey.

Now the bad news.

1. New vet bill for Max is 35.00

2. December is going to be SUPER tight because of Christmas and I am STRESSING out!!

3. I have to bring a bottle of Kahlua to my Aunts tomorrow and I have no idea how much that will cost.

I could add more "bad" news but those are the 3 biggies for the day.

Did I mention I also am mad at my husband because I think he is acting like a spoiled baby??

Here is why: He has all these grand plans to buy C. and E. all these expensive gifts like a bunch of wii games, guitar hero, another DDR mat, Ipod, Nintendo DS. Now, when I total this up I come up with a very rough estimate of at least 500.00 (this is excluding the free Ipod using his AMEX points.)

I don't even think the girls want most of this stuff but DH thinks they do. C. wants mostly clothes and E. only truly wants ONE certain Wii game along with a few clothes. I think the girls are going along with their dad because it is their way of appeasing him.

I have no psychology degree but I think DH feels left out because the girls are older and he can't buy them toys etc... The things they want are things he knows only I can pick out for them. I feel kind of sad for him in a way because I know he wants to connect with the girls and this is the only way he knows how...buy them too much stuff.

So this is my dilemna. I am frustrated beyond belief right now and have no idea what to do to fix things. I am literally in tears.

He took C. to the movies and he was angry when he left because he wanted to go to Lowe's and Best Buy when C. and her friend were in the movies. But, he knows there is no money to do this. (I didn't bring it up, he just knows) But I pushed him over the edge because I yelled at him when he said he was going to take the truck that gets 12 mpg. (this trip will total 50 miles.)

So, now we are fighting, I feel bad we can't buy the girls all that DH wants. Oh, I just feel bad about everything! Debt sucks.

Why is Christmas shrouded in this ugly consumerism? It is like some gaudy nightmare!! It is like I am walking around hypnotized. I know in the logical part of my mind that if we don''t have the money than we just shouldn't buy it. And that Christmas is NOT about going into debt to buy too much stuff. But, the emotional part of my mind - my silly, misplaced, sentimental synapses are telling me that my daughters will wake up Christmas morning and be emotionally traumatized by not having a bunch of gifts to unwrap.

What do I do? I don't know. I just know I REFUSE to break out the credit cards. Isn't living in debt and stress just as traumatic to my girls as a few less presents at Christmas? I just want to stop crying over something so silly. There are people all over the world that would love to have a tiny fraction of what my family (and most americans) have. Yet, here I sit, heart pounding, stomach lurching. And for what? STUFF?

I think we need to have a family meeting tonight. We need to talk about materialism and how it can bankrupt both society and the soul.

Beginning the challenge

November 25th, 2008 at 11:15 am

I have decided to start my own "$20 challenge." Today I found 0.17$ on the ground so that will be my starting balance. This blog will allow me to track my balance. It will be interesting to see how much I can accumulate by December 31st.

Any found/unexpected funds will be applied to this challenge and deposited into my Savings Account. Yay! I'm kind of excited now!

My 10 hour shift flew by last night. I am not usually that busy working nights but I didn't mind the change of pace...kind of nice once in awhile.

Regarding my job, I am in pretty desperate need for some new nursing uniforms. I will probably check out Goodwill or another local thrift store. Still though, I am kind of yearning for a crisp NEW uniform...sigh, I will keep on dreaming!

They passed out gift certificates for a 10-12 pound turkey at work the other day and I can't find mine! Still need to work on my orgnaizational skills. Pretty sure it is somewhere around the house... We were going to cook it and make creamed turkey to freeze.


I wonder sometimes if I am too cocky about my job. I take it for granted that since I work in healthcare my job is recession proof...there is a nursing shortage too. But last night I was thinking what if they replaced me with an LPN who they can pay less? I don't think it will happen because the government requires a certain amount of RN "hours." But still...just a random worry.

I have put in my time in hospitals on crazy hectic med/surg floors and I really like the job I have now. It is 12 minutes from my house, relatively laid back and perfect for my life right now. I do not want to go back to the hospital at this point. Plus, I am a supervisor where I work and that gives me a little extra money I would lose if I had to go back to the hospital. Hopefully none of these worries will come to pass...don't think they will but best to prepare for the worst in this economy!

The checking account balance is holding up. The $350 surprise has saved me from having to dip further into my meager savings! Still, I feel good knowing I have some money available for mini-emergencies.

There is no gymnastics this week so that saves a lot of driving. In fact, I put $17 into my car last Friday and I still have almost half a tank left. If I'm careful I just might make it until Friday before I need more! I still have $20 in allotted cash for gas but I am hoping I don't need to use it! Gas prices where I live are averaging 1.65-1.75. Very nice. I just hope people don't go crazy with the suv's again.

Still getting retail coupons/discounts in the mail near daily. Latest is from Express in the form of take $30 off $75 purchase or $15 off $30 purchase through December. I'm debating if I should buy C.'s sweater at this store. I was going to do American Eagle or Hollister but she already has a bunch of clothes from these stores. Express seems a little more grown-up and she seems to be shifting her style here lately to more classic type clothing and less prepackaged trendy teen looks. I worry about her clothes obsession sometimes though and maybe I am feeding into it...but as long as she is ok with thrift store finds mixed in here and there I don't mind. I'm happy she doesn't want to do cookie cutter clothes...



...Haven't checked the markets yet. Do I really want to?

"Extra" money!

November 24th, 2008 at 09:48 am

Well, it looks like it is true. I have $350.00 more in my checking account than I thought. On October 25th I had a withdrawal out of checking, when I balanced my account 2 weeks ago I must have subtracted it twice...or something like that!

Now, because of my financially challenged mind, I am TERRIFIED to touch this money. I just can't believe it is true. I am used to my checking account being LESS than I think not MORE.

What will I use this for? Bills of course. What else?

My thermostat is set at 65 today because DH is out. I am wondering however, if I should just leave it at a steady 67. Would that be better than turning it up and down all the time. I'm just not sure.

My homemade bread turned out pretty well. It was a little dense but the flavor was delicious. I used honey in place of sugar and that made it taste wonderful. We have gone through a loaf and a half already! I put 2 loaves in the freezer. I'll take one loaf to my Aunt's on Thanksgiving and I guess we will keep the other one here.

I was calculating the cost of making the bread and it came out to around 5.00, maybe a little less. That is what? 1.25/loaf? That is around the cheapest store brand white bread I can buy. This bread was a lot better and healthier than that so I'm happy. However, it was a lot of work and takes a lot of time.

I have decided to work tonight...boo. But I needed the money and an exra 10 hour shift will help a lot. Normally I work 8 hour shifts but they were desperate so I relented. My first pay in December should be awesome because I get paid double time for Thanksgiving plus I will have an extra 10 hours! yay!

I hate to sound like I love money so much. I really don't. I just want to wipe out my debt so I can work a little less but still save a lot more.

I have decided to go shopping on Friday. I have NEVER been shopping the day after Thanksgiving but I am off and I have to work the weekend plus 4 out of 5 days next week. I would like to finish up most of my shopping.

We have decided to cash in some of DH's AMEX points to get C. a new Ipod and E. a wii game. Yes, we were saving those points for vacation but it doesn't wipe them out completely and they get built up fairly quickly. Besides, it's like free money for Christmas presents...literally very free because those points are a result of DH's expenses (flights, hotels, equipment, meals etc...) that his company reimburses. Pretty good deal if you ask me!

Gotta go and hop in the shower, have a great day everyone.




$405.00

November 23rd, 2008 at 11:35 am

Is how much I spent on my Christmas shopping trip yesterday. Went $105 over budget but it's ok because I am still well within my budget...I just was going to wait until after Thanksgiving to finish but I found so many good deals there was no way I could pass them up.

Plus, my VS and Bath and Body coupons expire Nov. 30th and I got new ones yesterday that are valid in December, although I don't really know if I need to use them...we'll see, I might give a gift to one of my friends.

I got A LOT of stuff. My bill at Bath and Body before all my discounts totalled appx. 90.00 but I only paid 48.00!! We had to do a few transactions but oh well. There was no line...hmmm, a sign of the failing economy? Actually, there were no lines anywhere. BTW, at Bath and Body their lotions, sprays, and body soaps are buy 3 get 2 free. Pretty good deal if you ask me! I got Wild Orchid for grandma and Midnight Pomegranate for my mom.

Paid full price (80.00) for Abercrombie jeans for C. She wears the Emma boot cut in 0s and of course there was nothing on sale. If I had a lot more money I could have gone wild in Abercrombie and Fitch. They seem to have grown up some. Not so many silly logo tees with A&F splashed across the front. C. doesn't do logo tees and that makes me HAPPY. For a 14 year old she has pretty classy taste!

I don't think I paid full price for ANYTHING in Old Navy where my total was 207.00. I bought myself a nice shirt for 7.99 and cute Khakis on sale. M. got 2 shirts for work. The rest were Christmas gifts for C. and E. scarves, hats, ballet flats and several shirts. A LOT OF STUFF for only 207.00. Oh, I think I paid full price for the scarves but it is something they do need for winter.

While at the cash register in Old Navy I had the cashier take away several items I had in my cart in order to keep my total low. She said a lot of people have been doing this.

At Victoria's Secret I paid $10 for two lotions that were originally 2 for $20. The other store we went to was Charlotte Russe where I bought jewelry (3 necklaces, 2 pair earrings and 4 buttons) for $26.00

We also visited Aerie which I would highly recommend for anyone with teen girls. They carry 32A bras! We didn't buy bras but I bought 8 pairs of underwear for $25. Very Cute!

We had one splurge yesterday and that was eating out at our favorite restaurant (NOT a CHAIN). It was 34.34 for 4 people including dessert (huge banana split, hot fudge sundae and coconut cream pie!)So, yes, we could have gone home to eat but it was SO YUMMY!

We had so much fun yesterday! Knowing I have a budget in place and knowing I am paying IN CASH for the first christmas EVER has helped ease my mind and make for a less stressful holiday season!


In other news, I am in the process of making 4 loaves of homemade bread. They are rising in the pans now. This is the first time I have tried making bread so it should be interesting to see the final results. So far it looks and smells like I think it should! I want to cut way back on processed foods and HIGH fructose corn syrup because I am hearing terrible things about it. I also need to lose weight!

Went grocery shopping for the week today and spent a total of 114.00. Pretty good. Will have to buy cat food later this week but I still feel happy about this. I have some new vegetarian recipes I am trying this week.

Have a good Sunday all!

balance still up

November 22nd, 2008 at 10:57 am

I mentioned yesterday it looks like I've got around 300.00 extra in my checking than I thought...well so far today that is still holding.

I have gone over it at least 50 times this week. It looks like I may have subtracted a 300.00 withdrawal TWICE. But, like I said, I'm going to keep checking daily and visit the bank next week to make sure I really have this money. If I do I might transfer 50.00 to savings and use the rest toward credit cards.

We'll see.

Today I'm off to Old Navy and I have the AMEX card. Scary. Even though the AMEX isn't really credit because it HAS to be paid in full every month if FEELS like credit in my hand. I have a strict budget of 300.00 today. (That is how much extra my first December pay check will be)

So, I kind of feel like a "recovering" alcoholic entering a bar for the first time. Really, I do. But, Old Navy is having a big sale and my husband needs a new winter coat plus I'm going to pick up a present for my cousin.

After Old Navy we are going to Bath and Body and Victoria's Secret where I have coupons and a 10.00 gift card.

Well, I'm going to get ready now. Wish me luck!

Almost there!

November 21st, 2008 at 02:06 pm

I have to work 4 hours tonight (11p-3a) then I am OFF until Tuesday!! YAY!

This week has been so hectic and I am exhausted. Today I got 5 hours of sleep which is pretty good for this week.

My online banking is up and running! According to all my calculations I have around $300 more in checking than I thought. I don't trust it though. I plan on checking my account at least once a day so hopefully within the next week I will have everything straightened out.

I feel like I am handicapped when it comes to banking and anything money related. I'm going to keep at it though. It took me awhile to get into this mess though, so I can't expect everything to be fixed in one week.

I got paid today, $1230.97.
I put 1000.00 in checking
I will withdraw 200.00 in cash tomorrow and that will be for groceries, gas, misc. supplies for the next 7 days.

I am not sure what bills I will pay yet. I don't have many left for the month and I can't pay my mortgage until next Friday because it's more than $1000! I will probably pay for my car since it's due soon, gas, medical bill, cell and dish network. So then the only bill left will be mortgage which will get paid next week.

It looks like I will end November with appx:
100.00 savings 1
100.00 savings 2
35.00 savings 3

Pretty pathetic I know but I guess it is better than nothing plus I have not TOUCHED a credit card since the first week in September and all my bills are current. I have also managed an extra 1100.00 to bank of america, 75.00 hair cut and almost 100.00 in unexpected prescriptions.

Tonight I am taking C. to the movies with a friend. I am giving her $10. E. is going to an overnight party at a friend's house. Free!

This is why I am broke?

November 19th, 2008 at 06:12 pm

Too busy? hmm. Let's review my last (appx) 24 hours.

Tuesday night at 11p went to work

Got home at 7:30 am.

Asleep at 8am

"slept" until 12:15pm (woke up every hour looking at the clock afraid I might miss alarm)

Pulled on clothes, brushed hair. left to pick up girls.

1pm after retrieving girls from two separate schools started off on 1 hour drive to dermatologist.

2p-3:30 spent with Dr.

3:30-4:30 drove home.

4:30-5:15 dug through laundry looking for cheerleading clothes for C. and threw frozen wings and 1/2 bag tator tots in oven.

5:15 dropped C. off at school
came back home. yelled at husband to hurry andat 5:45 drove back to school for "meet the team" night

6p-7p meet the team

7p-8:30P drove to walmart and got supplies to make pink glittery/green sponge lettered element table "radium"
9p sat down, breathed and typed this up.

also washed one load of laundry today and managed to inhale a few bites of food. I am going on 4 hours of sleep and I have to return to work at 11p tonight.

Now, I know I ultimately choose to live this life but at times I feel like I am being pulled in thousands of different directions. Who has time to deal with money?

Right now, my house is a MESS and there is no way I have energy to do ANYTHING. The kids have washed their faces, applied their magic creams, taken their vitamins, done their homework and are almost asleep.

Tomorrow will be just as hectic. I have to get my hair cut at 2p. Drive E. to gymnastics, get home and then go to work AGAIN!

My life is the reason I need to get my debt under control because I cannot continue to work 32 hours per week and run around like this. I am so tired. I know millions of women do more than this every day but I must not be strong like them.

I am just so tired and frustrated. I love being a mom but I hate having to go to work all the time.

Thanks for letting me rant everyone! I might need some prayers to make it through Friday. Friday night I took VACATION so I will have a 3 day weekend! yay!