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Archive for July, 2005

weekly spending...oops!

July 31st, 2005 at 10:46 pm

As much as I'd love to tell you I spent $85 this week, or even exactly the $105 I budget for, it isn't so. Probably part of what makes it worse is that I knowingly didn't stick to my budget. You have to listen to my excu...reasons first.

* We are moving shortly, so we didn't feel it would make sense to go food shopping really (not that eating out makes more sense, but...oh well.)
*We went in search of some items that would be good to sell at the local flea market/eBay, and SO purchased a set of items online that cost $75, but according to him, will be worth it. We'll see. I'll let you know how that goes. He did provide some online proof of how well the item has done... so we'll see.

These are really the only reasons I have. Basically eating out so much did us in. It doesn't even matter that we had 2 no spend days, because we more than made up for it!

Amount & Description

$18.05 ~ Circle K convenience store
$13.28 ~ Wine.com - bar item for bridal shower gift
$47.74 ~ Exxon gasoline
$13.80 ~ Wendy's
$32.06 ~ Pizza
$25.77 ~ Walmart
$42.00 ~ Money taken out of ATM
$10.00 ~ CVS Pharmacy
$24.21 ~ Denny's
$27.52 ~ Goodwill
$2.84 ~ Lowe's
$76.96 ~ HSN.com
$334.23 Total

= $229.23 over budget

I have to say it was nice to order out. We haven't really done that in a long time. It wasn't worth the extra money that was spent, but I am okay with it. Every once in awhile, I think it's okay to splurge. I think I have made some progress in converting SO, because when I showed him the weekly spending, he got angry at us for not being smarter about the eating out.
I think I have pointed out that even when mistakes are made, usually good things come of it. Plus, some of the money we spent is supposedly going to make us money too ~ but like I said, I'm not holding my breath. SO is excited so I don't want to take that away from him. I will watch and see what happens. This is his thing, his idea, and he's been talking more about making/saving money, so I think he's got my fever.

been a little off

July 29th, 2005 at 03:09 pm

What with getting ready to move and all, we have spent more this week than we have in a while. To be honest, I am scared to do my weekly spending review. However, I will just chalk it up to the fact that we needed to get boxes, packing materials, etc. as well as we don't want to go food shopping for the short time we'll be here..so Wendy's has seen me twice this week. Oh well. I did pay off 2 cards and do some really good credit cleaning earlier this week, so I'll still keep optimistic.

Went to see the new apartment today, it is much smaller than where we are currently, but I was pleased because my SO really made it sound like a s#%*hole. Isn't so. It's smaller, so we're going to be challenged with some of our furniture, but the area isn't too bad, even street parking doesn't seem it will be too much of an issue, it's off the beaten path. I still hate to park on the street, particularly parallel parking (I am great at it, but other people make me nervous, especially pulling out, I have seen so many people misjudge and think they have enough space to get out and SCRAPE against the car in front of them...)

Also went to the lawyer's office yesterday regarding my SO's case as well as mine due to my upcoming surgery. Apparently when all is said and done, my settlement ranges from 6-10k. I am very happy about that, and looking forward to it. I think that by time I get it, my 2 remaining cc bills will be gone, so I'll put that in my EF Fund - automatic savings, love it. We are also trying to get SO's brother to take out a loan so the Grand Am will be paid off, and he can just pay on the loan, it will be out of my hands, off my report, and not my problem. Keeping fingers crossed...

productive day

July 25th, 2005 at 01:57 pm

Today has been a very productive day for me.

I woke up, cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes, threw in a load of laundry while checking my email, and made my doctor's appointment for pre-surgery bloodwork. I then called Discover, as my SO had mistakenly used the card a week or two ago, and we incurred a $35 overlimit fee (he got an earful for that one - luckily, Discover took the charge off this time). I did (and am doing) more laundry, and SO went off to get the paperwork issues taken care of for his new job. Before he left, I questioned him ~ he is sure that everything is fine and that he definitely has it, he has the offer of employment letter, etc. So I transferred money out of ING and paid off the Sears card that we used to purchase his sister's present, and also paid off Dell Smile

Only 2 more to go! Best Buy & Discover, here I come...

I felt that familiar feeling of elation when I scheduled those payments. I haven't felt that in quite a few months. I then decided to do a little 'credit cleaning' - I closed out inactive credit card accounts, those being Macy's, Express, and Wal-mart. I think technically you aren't supposed to close accounts all at the same time, who knows, but I don't plan on making any inquiries and just wanted it done and over with. I had left a bunch of accounts open because I had heard you shouldn't close accounts, but I still think the high number of open accounts is hurting me, even if the balance is zero. Most of them also have low limits, which I believe is another negative factor. I can't keep track of all the credit report rules anymore Smile

My big success of the day? Remember that I had complained about the collection agency situation that was affecting my credit? Today I decided to do something about it. I looked up ER Solutions (the collection agency) on the web, and sent them an email, describing the situation, and while I didn't complain in my email about the situation like I did in my post, I did mention the circumstances and how it had come to the point that my debt even came to them - it wasn't like I purposely went into debt on that situation. I asked them if this could be removed from my credit report, as I contacted them immediately and never had caused any problems in paying them. I must say, they have pretty good customer service, because not even 2 hours later, I received a call from Kathleen at ERS. She told me she had processed my request both electronically and that I would also receive a letter, and she had notified all three credit bureaus...I am happy, and impressed.

Again, I have learned that sometimes all I have to do is ask.

A sidenote - apparently NJ is trying to ban smokers from smoking in cars. I am happy with this, only because I think smoking is unhealthy and debilitating to your finances, but I imagine someone telling me I can't drink a Coke in my car...and that isn't cool. Not sure how I really feel about this, but thought it was interesting.

good news, I think?

July 22nd, 2005 at 04:06 pm

My SO had a job interview today in a neighboring town for another superintendent position. He got it - but has to provide a copy of his birth certificate and driver's license. He turned 25 this year, which is when you have to renew your license (in Jersey anyway) and you need 6 forms of ID to do so. To be honest, I have to imagine lots of legit people are driving w.expired licenses, because it's so hard to prove who you are! lol. He ordered his birth cert. but the state has taken it's time (didn't even cash the check yet, going to call on that) so he couldn't go for his license. Considering his surgery and that we stay home, it wasn't the top thing on our/his list. So the place he went to today, loved him, actually had him come back to meet the director of the place after he had come home, and they offered him the job Smile But he has to show these forms of ID to get the ball rolling, so we're going on Monday to the state building to get it all done. We should be able to move in shortly. He said it's smaller than where we are now, but it's 2 bedrooms, and free. The neighborhood isnt as nice as Princeton, so I am trying to tame my inner princess. After all - free. But we'll have to park on the street too, and I am not so happy about that - don't want my car messed with or stolen. Oh well.. I'll be able to tackle my bills again like I wanted, not to mention I have a nice stash of cash built up now. But I have learned not to count my chickens before they hatch, so I am still waiting until he gets all his ID to this place. Slightly bad news is disability sent him some extra paperwork to fill out, which apparently takes an additional 14 days to review... so grrr... to be honest some of that cash put away might not be there, might be going to bills to cover us till then.

Other good news? EmigrantDirect raised their rates to 3.50% Smile Yay!

misc. stuff

July 21st, 2005 at 03:24 pm

Well, today was payday. That is a good thing, but I of course already have all the money allocated for certain expenses, and most of what is left over is going straight into ING. I am happy their interest rate increased, but I do wish they had matched Emigrant. Today was the first installment of the $20 to each account on a biweekly basis. I also put an additional $260 into ING, paid $50 to Dell, Discover, and Best Buy, and the rest is for a car payment, car insurance, cell phone bill, a bridal shower present for my cousin's fiancee, and little left over to make it by. These days I am being as frugal as possible because I have to. I also noticed that I received an additional $14.21 in my check, since I met the withholding requirements for one of the state categories - it's either unemployment, worker's comp., etc. so while I still have to pay a portion out, it's not as much as before. I transferred that additional money into ING as well, but decided not to put it in the new 'Money Earned' category. I am putting it in the Christmas Club subcategory I have.

My SO sent out his resume last night, and got a call today for a place nearby. He is going for an interview tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that, because it's still close to my job and we actually lived in that town previous to being here. Also, if he can find another job as a super, it would be a huge help. Free apartments, or even discounted, make such a difference. Being as that I have never paid rent, I just hate to think about throwing away $1100 plus a month - ugh! All for nothing, you get nothing in return at the end. No equity, nothing. I would rather do it this way, and put the gas on my House Fund, save up more money. My ING account is currently at $1400, all of which I have accumulated in the last 2 pay periods. It will be $2100 after the next pay period, and that isn't even counting SO's disability check that should be coming soon (or so I pray, should be a month retroactive, $3k or so). I am praying for that check, because he has to pay his car payment, his registration, cancellation bill from Nextel, and the Comcast bill, which just decided they are going to start billing me in advance, so it's double. Also, SO mentioned he thinks they hired someone else here, he saw someone driving around in his old truck. It's laughable but not. NJ really should change their laws and recognize when obvious discrimination is going on - that is the only reason this is even happening.

blah....bad day.

July 19th, 2005 at 06:49 pm

I have said it before, and unfortunately I'll say it again. Today is one of 'those' days. We, or rather my SO, received notification that payment of rent is due as of August 1st, for the apartment we are currently residing in. We have lived rent and utility free due to the agreement in his superintendent's lease. They feel that since he cannot work, we need to pay rent. It's really just more a measure to evict him, very apparent. I am really not sure what will happen, so I am trying to remain as calm as possible. He has spoken to his lawyer regarding the situation, and they have not gone about things in the right way (the apartment is considered to be included as part of his compensation, yet they did not include this on the disability paperwork, they claimed they are charging since July 1st yet the letter was received today, 18 days in, etc.). The worst part? I can afford to pay them the rent they want, but the apartment won't be in my name, nor will they let me rent an apartment here (it's just known). So even if I paid the rent and we were even in the situation where we said to them, "Hey, regardless of what will happen, let us rent the apartment," it's not happening. SO plans on fighting this, especially since this is the 2nd job that this injury has ended up affecting. While they (his job) are upholding the front that he still is employed, you and I both know that is what it is: a front. As soon as he returns to work he'll be discharged. As NJ is an at-will state, employers can fire you for nearly any reason, whether right or not. It's unfortunate but true. So again, just needed to vent and get my frustration out there...

Added additional account in ING

July 18th, 2005 at 08:28 pm

ING lets you add additional accounts within your main account, or more accurately, the same customer number. I decided to add an account for any money that I 'find' or earn. This includes the $5.46 Staples refunded us for the difference in price, the $33 fee I got back from Commerce, etc. I added up what money I have 'earned' so far this month, and here's what I came up with:

Amount & Description

$5.46 ~ Staples refund
$33.00 ~ Refunded overdraft fee from Commerce
$5.00 ~ Coca Cola refund
$3.49 ~ Noxzema refund
$4.00 ~ OldCellPhones.com - sent in old Nextel phones
$5.00 ~ ING Referral
$45.99 ~ Reimbursement for wrist brace & dr. visit from insurance co.
$101.94 total

Anyway, my idea is to put all the money I get in this way into this account, so that I can track what I save. I only opened it with the $5.46, since that is the only money I can put in right now. I haven't received anything except the ING referral and haven't even received the credit from Staples yet (it's supposed to be credited within a few days, I am watching like a hawk). I did receive the $33, but I of course don't want to withdraw that yet and incur another fee Smile That would be counterproductive. I am also going to start tracking all the samples I receive. I should have tons coming within a few weeks Smile

I track all of my information on different Excel spreadsheets within one file. My budget, Nick's, Weekly Spending, the payment schedule for the Grand Am (for when Barry pays me), etc. Excel is a really helpful tool to use for budget purposes. When I stayed at my parents' house (before we moved into this apartment), I set up a spreadsheet and called it 'Fake Quicken.' I needed a tool to track what I spent and they did not have Quicken on their computer (mine was in storage). It worked just as well ~ without the convenience of comparison reports and graphs, of course. Wink

Spending for this week

July 17th, 2005 at 09:02 pm

Yesterday we went to ShopRite to take advantage of the Can Can sale. Before doing so, I checked out the circular online (something I never would have done until now) to see what kind of deals they had going on. They did have some good items on sale, but we only had a little bit of money to play with (I am stuffing as much into savings as possible). Luckily, I believe almost all the items we bought were on sale. The 'winner' of that group is buying 4 twelve packs (fridgepacks) of Coke for $8 - the price is usually $14. So not only did we save $6, but there was an online rebate form for an additional $5 back plus a free 2 liter of new Coca Cola Zero. I just finished filling it out Smile

Unfortunately, we still spent $58.74. Even though we needed food to eat (we were really down to the bare minimum), and we managed to get stuff that will hold us over, it still doesn't feel like we got a lot for that. Oh well...

Weekly Spending: $169.16

Not such a good week in spending. I have no excuses, because it's partly my fault. I got Wendy's one day (don't tell the diet journal) and we ordered Domino's the one night. What really put us over is yesterday's trip to ShopRite... I can take $5 off the total due to the Coke rebate Smile But we were under the past 2 weeks, and we needed food to eat. If we can stay under the $400 per month, I would be thrilled. But if we come in right around there, I'll be happy as well.

Another plus of us doing our grocery shopping at ShopRite is they reward you with OnePass miles for each amount of money that you spend. The OnePass is the miles program from Continental Airlines, which is what I have through work. So I signed my card up for that as well. I am not sure if it will definitely benefit me, but I know they let one of my co-workers use his miles to go on vacation.


July 16th, 2005 at 12:15 pm

My SO has a massive collection of diecast model cars. He LOVES them. That statement probably puts it mildly. One of the bedrooms in our 2 bedroom apartment is "The Car Room." He has over 100, close to 200 (maybe more? I don't know) cars displayed on shelving. He has old car posters and signs around the room as well, it's quite a sight to see. He loves going in there and fooling around with them, dusting them, rearranging them, etc. I used to get a little mad because awhile back I couldn't trust him to go out somewhere without coming back with at least one car (they can be pricey!) He has stopped that completely, for the time being anyway. Anyway I used to joke that it's too bad he likes his cars so much, because some of the cars he has are $300+ a pop. He has a set in particular, 12 Monte Carlos, all different colors, all collectibles, that he keeps in cases. They are very expensive.

He announced to me last night that he was putting the set up on eBay to make some money. I feel very unsettled by this because they are really nice cars, I know he loves them and will probably regret it. I didn't make him do this or ask him to. We don't even need to. Yes, the extra $$ would be nice, good to put away, but not if it's something he'll regret. I feel so unsettled about it. His problem is, he gets himself all excited at the prospect of making money, and doesn't think about the end result. We'll see what happens...

No Spend Day

July 15th, 2005 at 06:42 pm

Today was a no spend day. Honestly didn't do anything today ~ was online and read up on the forums here, and then read the other journals (here and other journals online). I also visited all my paid to click sites, I had a full email box this morning. I would say that that whole experiment is going well so far, I am pleased.

I also received the book I ordered off Amazon.com today, "You Don't Have to Be Rich" by Jean Chatzky. I read a little bit of that but I don't feel very focused so I put it aside for now. The other thing on my agenda is to work out tonight. I am glad I started the other journal to keep tabs, because it puts the pressure on a little bit.

Hoping that SO's disability check for this past month comes this week. Luckily he has no bills other then his car payment and insurance, but I do need his help for the cell and cable bills. I could pay it, but that will take away from what I put in savings... we intermingle our money technically, but at the same time we don't, if that makes any sense. He was going to call up his financing company for his car and try to skip this month, sometimes they let you do that (mine sent me this as a 'gift'). Oh yeah ~ I am going to finish filling out the refinancing paperwork for my car today. I only have until the 27th and I keep forgetting to do it. Smile


lazy Thursday

July 14th, 2005 at 06:03 pm

Today wasn't a bad day. I got my $5.46 back from Staples ~ the in store difference compared to online. That is a big difference so I complained and they said no problem. I used to really hate when my one friend complained about service, etc. at stores, I thought it was so embarrassing. Now I realize it is worth it to open your mouth, it's just up to you to make sure you do so politely Smile I still don't appreciate when I see someone mistreating wait staff or clerks in a store...

Other than that, I went through my paid email programs. I was surprised because I got a ton of mail from GainMail, and I really didn't think that program would amount to much after I first signed up. I'm keeping tabs for a month then I'll give my 'report.'

I also started a separate blog about my diet (or lack thereof, lol) and am hoping it helps me buckle down like the other one did for my finances. Here's hoping! Oh! I got my free sample of Dove deodorant too. I love when I get my samples in the mail. I think I might start a sample bin and keep track of all the stuff I get for free. LOVE free stuff Smile

ING Direct - good savings tool.

July 13th, 2005 at 10:55 pm

I have been using ING for awhile now, I find it so much easier to have an online savings account than a regular one. It's really easy to set up the transfers, etc. It's like online billpay! I have a special offer on my blog, so wanted to extend it here - Anyone interested in opening an ING Direct Savings Account, let me know. You get $25 for opening an account and I get $10 for the referral ~ if you join through me, I will give you an additional $5.

If interested, leave me a comment or email me @ kar3881@yahoo.com. Remember to include your first and last name for purposes of the referral.

My Experiment

July 13th, 2005 at 09:51 pm

So, I've been checking out various ways to make a little extra cash. It'll be my little experiment. I got a few suggestions tonight and signed up with a few 'paid to click' type websites. I signed up with 4 main sites right now, and I'll see how it goes. Some have a good sign up bonus, and low pay out. Works for me. I also signed up with PayPal, so I can transfer any funds there...since I didn't use the service I wasn't aware that they have a MMA available for the funds in your account, earns 3.22%. Not bad ~ I'll take advantage of that.

Anyway, here are the sites I signed up with, and I've included my referral link (if you want to sign up, just click on the link next to each site if provided).

Bank in the Bucks: http://www.bankinthebucks.com/pages/index.php?refid=karnic3881
Has a low payout of just $5. You earn small amounts by the daily clicks they provide to you (you can choose to receive email or just log-in). Also earns point values as well, can use this for advertising and to get paid for each referral you bring in. It seems okay but would take awhile to get to that $5 mark. But, free money is free money.

InboxDollars: http://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=karnic3881
This is my favorite, based upon the look of the site and the availability to earn cash. I already have $8.55 (you receive a $5 signup bonus, and $5 for each referral). I just can't seem to find the payout amount required to request payment.

Email Pays U: http://e-mailpaysu.com/members/index.cgi?karnic3881
This site pays you $10 for signing up. So far my account has $10.03. It awards cash as well as points. It seems if you complete offers you'll get paid well, but my purpose here is strictly to make money, not spend it. You can click on a few sites per day and get paid, and again, the more people you refer, the better off you are. What I do like is that the points convert to cash at a certain level, so at least you get rewards in that instance. The first payout amount is $39.99 or more, and $15 afterwards.

GainMail: http://www.gainmail.com/pages/index.php?refid=karnic3881
Seems similar to Bank in the Bucks.

In addition to these paid to click sites, I also signed up for another survey site, where the referral is key.

Survey Savvy: http://www.surveysavvy.com/ss/ss_index.php?id=2094310&action=join
I get an average of $2 for every survey my referrals complete, and they get $1 for their referrals and so on... another pyramid idea.

So we shall see how this all turns out. I will keep track of it all and report back in a post in a month's time.

Extra Revenue

July 11th, 2005 at 06:42 pm

I am so tired today, and have SUCH a headache. Ugh. Anyways I have been trying to look for extra ways to bring in money, no matter how small the amounts may be, it's still extra money right? I am trying Avon, but truthfully not doing well at all, I am in my 2nd campaign and have had no sales. Doesn't help that I am out of work and am not socializing, yeah, but also everyone seems to already HAVE an Avon lady! Oh well.

The other thing I've done is I am now using the Google AdSense program on my journal and also American Consumer Opinion, a really great survey site (it's actually for real). Every so often they'll ask you to take part in a product testing, supply you with what you need, and pay you for your opinion. You'll also get free samples from time to time. The amounts will vary, like today I was asked to participate and will be paid $14. I still think it's great. So anyway I listed them on my site too, and anyone that joins through me, I will get paid for. I am hoping it does well.

Weekly Spending, 7/4-7/10

July 10th, 2005 at 04:37 pm

I am hoping things get better. We are doing our best, trying to put money away in our savings in case my SO loses his job. We'll see what happens. I have been signing up for alot of freebies and contests, and I've won a T-shirt and a book so far. I am signing up for all the great freebies I find on these forums Smile I would like to figure out another way to bring in more money, but I really don't have anything to sell, so that idea is shot.

We did good with our weekly spending, only spent $89.61, which is $15.39 below the $105 budgeted :-)

Here's the breakdown:

Amazon.com - I bought a used book by Jean Chatzky for $1.81, but with s&h, etc. it came to $5.30.
Prescription - $12.27
SO dr. appt - $15.00
Walmart - got food and household stuff. $55.05
7/8 & 7/9 were no spend days Smile

and today, I spent $1.99 for the s&h on the Suave freebie offer listed (you get 5 full sized products, couldn't pass that up).

All in all the spending habits are better, but we still have to watch it and keep our fingers crossed.

Weekly Spending

July 4th, 2005 at 07:57 pm

My bf and I agreed to live on $15 a day, which would allow us $105 to spend weekly. I added up our expenses for the week and was very happy to see that we were under budget by $8.20, at $96.80. We had 2 no spend days, and all the expenses except for $9.21 worth were necessities (dr's visits, prescription medicine, gas, and food). I had gone to Walmart yesterday and picked up some 'filler' foods and other items, and was thrilled because I got 42 items for $48.83. Among them were the Banquet fried chicken dinners, which are really good and only $1 each (think about that the next time you go for fast food, I do), and the Totino's pizzas for $.98 each. I got everything from tunafish, cups of soup lunches, bread, fruit snacks, soda, etc. for that low price. I don't need to go on a regular food shopping trip, but I always go to Walmart first because I end up getting a lot for a small price. I also qualify for cash back from Upromise on quite a few of the items I bought. Overall it was a good week, and I hope to be able to stick to the same budget continually. $400 a month in all expenses would save us so much money overall.