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December 29th, 2011 at 11:23 am

My goodness you missed a doozie on that show last night. A family with 6 kids -- they do not use toilet paper. Mom cuts up pieces of cloth to use in place of toilet paper. They place the dirty cloths in a small plastic garbage container and then she washes and REUSES them. And, while at the park, in the midst of side stepping dog poop, she cuts chives and other greenery from the ground to use in their salad. One last thing -- she buys EXPIRED groceries ON PURPOSE to feed the family. This behavior is beyond being cheap -- it's a tad kooky.

Ooops, I lied...

February 2nd, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I said I wouldn't spend money today because I couldn't leave the house due to the icy weather. Well I just completed my tax returns on line and e-filed them with good ole Turbo Tax which cost me around 100 bucks. A big juicy refund will arrive in a few weeks though so I don't mind dishing out the $$$ today!!! (Thank you American Opportunity Credit)


February 2nd, 2011 at 06:43 am

Will not be spending a dime today....cannot leave the house!

New Semester

January 18th, 2011 at 04:48 pm

Books, books and more books. If you need books for college you can rent them from Chegg.com. Free shipping to you and when you return the books back to Chegg. With two kids in college we saved hundreds of dollars this year. For books that are unavailable to rent you can also buy them and sell back on Amazon or half.com

Approved by Orange!

November 16th, 2010 at 04:41 pm

I've been approved for a 5/1 ARM at 3.125%. This will cut my current mortgage payment by $300 and includes free bi-monthly payments so I will not be paying the usual extra $100 to principle....so make that $400 a month in savings. It is a relief. I tried to refinance with Citibank, my current mortgage holder but the guy I usually work with was dragging his feet and insinuating that I would not be approved by the underwriting department. Understandable since the rate I have with Citibank is 5.25%. They don't want to lose that rate. His last offer was 3.375. Almost forgot, ING is also giving $1,000 off closing costs. And this is with a substantial HELOC that I am not paying off, 2 car loans, an 8k credit card balance and 45K in PLUS loans. Alot of debt but an excellent payment record. I'm so psyched!!! Haven't accepted yet as I have to wait for the good faith estimate on closing costs. But I feel like I can breathe easier. My health insurance costs have gone up (thank you Mr. Obama) and another round of PLUS college loan repayments will begin early next year. So Yippee is
all I can say!

Suze Orman

November 6th, 2010 at 06:01 pm

Suze's on!!!

Shop / Fraud

November 6th, 2010 at 05:56 pm

Used to be one could try to save money by not going out to shop. Nowadays, with online shopping, it's even harder to avoid. But when you have to you, you have to. Bought Proactive for teen son and some pants from Lee. An hour later Chase Bank's fraud Department called me on my cell to make sure I authorized the purchases.....I wonder what the "flag" was. But I thought it was pretty cool that my account is monitored like that......feels like you left the virtual store with the security tag on your item and the alarm went off hahaha.

3rd day

October 21st, 2010 at 04:49 pm

Not one penny spent in three days -- haven't paid for the lottery ticket yet -- funny the balance in both bank accounts hasn't moved either. I like it!

No Spend Days

October 20th, 2010 at 04:06 pm

This is the second day in a row that I spent absolutely nothing. Tempted, yes, but held on. It's not that easy when you are out of the house all day. I packed breakfast and lunch for the last two days and it really makes a difference. Spent my lunch hour at the park instead of the grocery store or pharmacy. My co-worker asked if I wanted to play the lottery today. I actually said no because I had not a nickel in my wallet. I think she put the buck in for me so I'll end my nsd streak tomorrow when I pay her back.

Housing Market

October 15th, 2010 at 07:14 am

I can't believe I didn't post all summer. Whirlwind! Anyway, home today and watching the business news. Bank of America will be lowering the mortgage rates across the board for homeowners in Nevada to try to help with the housing crises. While I think this is more fair then lowering the mortgage balance, reports indicate that even with the lower rate, homeowners may make a few mortgage payments but eventually will revert to the same position they were in before. Such a mess

Almost gone

June 15th, 2010 at 01:00 pm

The slush fund will barely make it to the end of the year.

Property taxes - August/October
Vacation - August
SON1 Shoulder rehab co pays - August-Sept
SON1 party - July
Books for college x 2 - August

However, something unexpected and wonderful happened this week! My DD has started a summer stint at my office. Out of the blue, last Friday my manager asked if my DD (19 y/o) would like to work for a few weeks on a special project. She jumped at the chance. Today is her second day and she is already in a department meeting -- fun! Best part? $15 bucks an hour.

Money out....money in.


Groceries, surgery and a nice policeman!

May 13th, 2010 at 09:42 am

One of my goals this month was to only go grocery shopping at our local A&P store. Apparently, this was only my goal. DH and DD whipped up a fantastic Mother’s Day dinner for me and the family but it made a huge dent in the grocery budget. They went to THREE stores to get all the ingredients for dinner and spent an extra week’s worth of the grocery budget. I’m not going to consider this a failure. It’ll just be a non-recurring “extra” for the month. Dinner was really good.
So DD is home for the summer and will be transferring from a university in PA to one here in NYC. Farm country just wasn’t her thing. My slush fund has depleted another $800 for her tuition and room/board deposit. I’m hoping I can keep this account funded until the end of the year. September is usually a heavy spending month with all the kids back to school and having to purchase all their books. My two kids in college will be instructed to buy used books whenever possible. Last year my daughter spent $275 for a math book and then dropped the class. We tried to sell it on Amazon and craigslist. The highest price being paid for it was around $25 – what a rip! We were able to sell other books on Amazon and collect close to $200 which made me very happy. The newer/cheaper trend is downloading textbooks but I’m not sure if they are interested in doing that.
SON1 has to have surgery again on his shoulder. The surgeon is not in our medical plan, but thank goodness he has agreed to accept whatever the insurance company is willing to pay. The last operation cost $10K and he accepted $8K. He has to do something a little different this time so I don’t know if it will cost more. Either way, that’s $2K I will not have to spend, although, I would if necessary. Physical therapy co-pays will probably cost close to that much anyway. (Thank you to the NYC officer who did not ticket my husband for an expired inspection sticker, while he was looking for parking so that SON1 could get his MRI – saving us about $50)
Besides the above, additional “extras” this month are a baby shower gift and a graduation dinner. I hope I can keep to it. Wish me luck.

My slush fund is melting away :(

May 5th, 2010 at 03:01 pm

$300 - bathroom building supplies (building shower/toilet in basement).

$200 - rooftop cargo container for car. Going to buy tonight so we can bring DD home from college on Saturday. Otherwise we have to take two cars.

$500 in one day...

I'm still reeling over those DMV bills :<



May 4th, 2010 at 04:29 pm

We just received registration renewals for two of our cars. 2 year renewals for 2 cars is going to cost us around $300. It wouldn't have shocked me as much as it has if they hadn't imposed a new user tax. $60 on one car and $33 on the other. An extra $93 in taxes!!! I'm so fed up with NYS taxes.

Other non recurring expenses: $20 for SON2 for the Yankee game; $80 for a Broadway show in NYC as part of his Metropolitan Day at school.

Another $400 in two days...ugh...no wonder I feel broke.

Fixed, Variable and Non-recurring

May 3rd, 2010 at 12:49 pm

As I go through this process everyday of planning and budgeting I can see so clearly now why having a slush fund is so important. If I didn’t keep money in a separate account for non-recurring items, they would have been put on the credit card without a thought. The fixed and variable expenses were not a problem in the past but the non-recurring is what ran up the cards. I can imagine that it would be hard to build one up if a budget is already tight. I’m lucky that I was able to start this slush account with a couple thousand dollars of our refinancing funds in January. Then I put all our tax refunds in it as well as a bonus check from work. I try to put as much as possible in every month as well after all bills have been paid, but as you can see, some months you just can’t do it when non-recurring items sneak in.

SON1 makes good money at his part time job so I rarely spend any money on him. But in months to come the following will be coming out of the slush fund in honor of his high school graduation:

$250 – Senior Prom Tickets
$160 – Decline his monthly payment for car insurance and phone service which I will add to my budget this month. Just to be a nice mom!
$160 – Fee for orientation at the University he will attend in the fall.
$200 – Dinner for the family at our favorite local restaurant after graduation ceremonies on the 26th.
$1,500 – A college send-off party for him in July. We have a big family and he has a lot of friends.

Total - $2,270.
Ouch!! :O


May 3rd, 2010 at 05:07 am

I came home from the gym at 6:00 a.m. this morning to find the family in a tizzy. SON1 woke up with his shoulder dislocated. He had shoulder surgery for this problem last year and we thought that was the end of the "pop outs". He was in so much pain that I started feeling sick to my stomach. DH (he is a great dad) was supporting his arm and trying to make him more comfortable. He then constructed a sling out of sheet and supported SON1's arm with a pillow which seemed to help. At one point he looked like he wanted to pass out. He wanted DH to try and pop it in because he wanted to go to school, but then he chickened out. Poor kid was giggling -- you know that kind of laugh when you hit your funny bone -- it hurts but you just gotta laugh.

Why I am writing about this in a "money" blog? Well when we determined that we would have to either call an ambulance, because at first he couldn't move one inch, or take him to the hospital ourselves, he said "well won't that cost too much money?" I told him not to worry because we had insurance and that should be the last thing he should think about. As he matures and makes his own money he now has the "how much will that cost" thought process in his head.

So anyway, we got him downstairs on the couch. DH, SON2 and myself were running around rearranging responsibities for the morning while SON1 was resting and waiting to be taken to the hospital. I called into work and said I would be late. SON2 hurried to get ready for school. I walked the dogs in the pouring rain (DH usually does this in the a.m.). We gave SON1 OJ and toast. We got his shorts on and helped him up to leave to go to the hospital. SON2 is in the car waiting. I ask if there is anything I can do to help and guess what? SON1 says "wait a minute....I think I'm ok now." Huh????? He slowly took his arm out of the sling and raised it above his head. We were stunned. It seems it slowly went back into place while he was leaning back on the couch. Well thank you Lord. SON1 knew the pain he was about to face at the hospital and it was such a blessing that he had averted it.

What a way to start the week.....can only get better now.

90 again

May 2nd, 2010 at 10:06 am

It's ninety degrees again today but it's also muggy so its worse than yesterday.

DH and I had our breakfast out: $23 w/tip and that's all I've spent the whole weekend. No test drive at Ford as we've been too busy around the house. I'm cooking dinner now, yes because of the weather but also because I'm tired or busy in the late afternoon and just like knowing dinner is finished. SON2 hasn't gotten up yet and didn't require $ this weekend so the American Eagle rewards card is still in my wallet. Will save grocery shopping for tomorrow -- at the A&P.

A thrifty weeked indeed!

I'm Cooking Dinner at 8:00 a.m.

May 1st, 2010 at 05:59 am

The news this morning said it is going to be 90 degrees today! You know what my first thought was? The beach?--no. Dinner. Why? We no longer have AC downstairs and we were certainly not prepared to have purchased one so soon in the season. Therefore, it will be unbearably hot at 5:00 p.m. in my kitchen. To avoid the quick fix of picking up dinner out, I decided to cook now and then just heat it up later. If I didn't lay out a plan for weekend spending yesterday I probably would not have given it a second thought. This blog makes me feel more accountable for some reason -- more so than just my budget.

There was a time when we rarely ate out. Mainly because to feed a family of 5 would be expensive. But last summer things changed. My boys were out of the house most of the time and my daughter left for college in August. I would come home from work and feel like I didn't have to worry about dinner so much anymore. And when I did cook, I found that no one ate leftovers and food was getting wasted. Maybe I cooked 3 times a week instead of 6. Became a habit quickly. But eating out gets old after awhile and you realize that what you cook at home really is so much healthier and with a little effort tastes better. DH is a great cook so with a little assistance from him I will strive to eat at home much more regularly.

Payday and the Weekend

April 30th, 2010 at 05:49 am

I am determined to have a much more controlled budget for May than April. Because what is the point of a budget if you really don't try to make it work.

So payday is today and I just paid the mortgage, two small credit card bills, property insurance. Later in the next week automatic deductions for our family "Y" membership, life/ltc insurance and college loans will be processed. Grocery shopping can be held off until Monday or Tuesday since I went way over my weekly budget last week. I still have some frozen chicken for the weekend. These are the rest of my money goals for the week:

1. Do grocery shopping at the A&P only! No fancy/gourmet/organic stores. Very bad for the budget.
2. Test drive Ford vehicles to claim 2 $50.00 gift cards – FREE. I think I’m going to choose the Mustang or a gigantic truck.

3. Bribe SON2 with the FREE $50 American Eagle gift card from my bank in exchange for household chores.

4. I can get really lazy when it comes to cooking on the weekends so my goal is to limit eating out to Sunday breakfast with DH only.

Wish me luck!


April 29th, 2010 at 06:40 am

Last month I ordered a walkman from Amazon late in the afternoon on a Friday and it was delivered the very next morning. I was so amazed. I live close to NYC and it was shipped from New Hampshire. How is that possible?

SON2 called me at work on Monday afternoon and asked me to stop at Barnes and Noble to pick up AP study guides on my way home. I don't know about you, but I try to avoid stopping anywhere on my way home from work, especially since I knew he wouldn't even look at them until at least the weekend. So I figured I would buy them online. Amazon had them for roughly $12 each plus an overnight shipping cost of only $7. Now 7 bucks is cheap for overnight and I fully believed that they would arrive the next day just like my walkman. It was not to be; they arrived yesterday—a day late. If I wanted to complain about the late delivery, to whom would I do so and is it really worth it? My rationale for forgetting about it – if I went to Barnes and Noble instead of ordering online the price for the guides would have been $13.45 x 2 = $26.90 plus $2.28 for tax = $29.18. Account for the aggravation of stopping on the way home from work and the real possibility of buying other items that I don’t need like a magazine, a book I won’t read until summer vacation or a candy bar placed prominently at the register and I figure in the long run I saved a lot of money so it’s not worth complaining about. Would you bother complaining?

Was i sleeping?

April 28th, 2010 at 02:56 pm

I logged into my online bank account last week and saw an ad on the page for Thank You points. I navigated my way around the site and to my surprise I had accumulated around 7,000 Thank You points. I didn't do anything special to earn them, I just did my normal bill paying and transfering cash from one account to another. They offered and I chose a $50 gift card to American Eagle for SON2 -- FREE. It came in the mail today and makes me smile Smile

Turns out my other online bank offers rewards as well and I've built up a nice balance there too. But I didn't have the proper password to access the cashing in function so I'll have to call them tomorrow to fix that up. You need more points at this bank for the same $ value of the reward of the 1st bank. Who cares; it's free!

I knew it

April 28th, 2010 at 11:26 am

At 7:00 a.m. I said more spending would be coming today as I cannot seem to get through a day w/o spending money.

$15 for lunch (sushi)- not expected.

I packaged up a nice lunch for myself from home and promptly forgot to bring it with me when I left the house. Probably because I had the travel coffee mug and a cheese sandwich (breakfast) in my hand at the time. Not enough time to turn back once I realized I forgot. I guess I'll have it for dinner as we get company lunch on Thursdays.

$14 for Girl Scout Cookies

On my desk at work when I arrived. Totally forgot about them.


Today's deductions

April 28th, 2010 at 03:56 am

7:00 a.m.

$1,000 prepayment for summer condo rental - expected.

$250 - senior prom tickets for SON1. Not expected as previously advised SON1 that he would have to pay for prom himself since I paid for his junior prom last year. This kid has more money in the bank than me but has been spending like crazy on his car. He wasn't going to go to his prom (by the way he is going to his girlfriend's senior prom) because he didn't want to spend the money. DH felt bad and told him we would pay.

If he wasn't such a good kid I might have put up a fight. What can you do?

When people don't see the money going in and out of the account it is very easy to spend it.

I'm sure something else will pop up today -- it's early yet.

And the faucet keeps dripping

April 27th, 2010 at 03:43 pm

Additional expenditures not expected today:

$20 for SON2 for Yankee tickets - two games upper deck Cheap entertainment for a 16 year old. Couldn't say no.

$30 copay for last minute Dr. appointment for DH.
$47 for medication.

A little history:

After refinancing in January, we wiped out our equity line and major credit cards and created a detailed budget which obviously includes fixed and variable expenses. Additionally, I included a category for misc expenses, those you can't really think of but know you will have, with a few hundred dollars allowance. It has been amazing to me to see what the "misc" expenses are and how fast they add up. I have been keeping a record on my spreadsheet. Sometimes up to $1,000 in one month. In hindsight I can see how we racked up credit card debt over a 10 year period. The equity line was mostly for renovating the house and educational expenses. We were able to pay the bills before refinancing but it was getting extremely time consuming. Even though we increased our mortgage I'm much more comfortable having all that consumer debt paid off. I like to prepay the principle anyway.

Eliminating the multiple monthly credit card payments leaves room in the budget for the college loan repayments that have recently ensued -- help!

Goldman Sachs CEO - Senate Subcommittee Testimony

April 27th, 2010 at 03:18 pm

Come on Lloyd spit it out......tell the truth...if you can. I hope they keep him up all night.

My life revolves around my bank account

April 27th, 2010 at 11:38 am

Ended the day yesterday at ($130)

5:30 a.m. See a text from GC – college meal plan depleted – please add $50 – Ok not planned but realistic. Requested she make it last till next week when the semester ends.
Now ($180)
Go to the gym. Home by 6:15 a.m.
Text from Chase – overdraft alert -
At work by 8:00 a.m. – text from Chase – another over draft alert – what on earth?
10:00 a.m. – while talking to co-worker my phone buzzes – yep another overdraft alert!
Now I gotta check the account on-line.
Oh yeah……
Meal points $50
Auto shipment – proactive $25 – expected but forgot about it
Somebody went to 7/11 this morning and it wasn’t me - $4
JC just purchased a part (2) for microwave: $47
Balance ($256).

I haven’t been able to get from one pay period to another without hitting the slush fund for quite a while. Getting paid Friday - - and I’m not going to spend a dime until then……though the rest of my family may....

2:43 EST

Car show freebie

April 26th, 2010 at 06:35 pm

My husband and I went to to the International Car Show in NYC a couple weeks ago. We gave our email address to a Ford representative who sent us a coupon to test drive a Ford vehicle. Best part? We get $50 each if we do the test drive before June 30th. Amazing, no? I know JC (husband) will test the F150 pickup. Not sure which one I'll choose. I just bought a Honda Insight last year (cash for clunker deal) so I'm not in the market for a car; but I am in the market for free money. YAY!

I'm jumping into the blogosphere.......

April 26th, 2010 at 06:10 pm

Been meaning to do this for a long time now. I don't know why today is the day, but it is.

Well, I don't get paid until Friday and I'm negative $130 in the checking account. We were doing great until we went grocery shopping on Saturday at a new "higher end" store that just opened. Sort of splurged. Will have no spend days all week. I will not buy coffee or lunch. Brown bag lunch and travel mug coffee. I deserve it. Funny how we can eat peasant food one week and then endulge in overpriced fancy shmancy food the next.

if at first you don't succeed..........