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Archive for June, 2007

No Yard Sale this Year!

June 30th, 2007 at 12:09 pm


For the first time in 7 years we will not be having a yard sale today. I am so thrilled! LOL! I guess I'd better give some background:

Each year on the 4th of July weekend our town has a Country Festival. The day starts off with a pancake breakfast at the Senior Center, followed by a parade and then festivities in the park all day. There are vendors selling all kinds of stuff and the community groups sell food to raise funds. There are games for the kids to play and rides.

This is the time that there are a LOT of yard sales in town. Since we are on a corner lot my mother has always felt our home to be the perfect location for her yard sale each year. So she would normally start bringing things down for this sale the night before and store everything on our large wrap-a-round porch. The day of the sale her and her friend would arrive at 6 a.m. and start setting up.

Our porch is always the finance center of the venture so people would be tramping through our yard all day (and usually the gardens too) and then onto the porch where they would often come look in our windows. (Our house is one of the old Victorians in town and people are always interested in seeing what it looks like inside.)

Our whole family has always dreaded this time of the year because we are just not yard sale people. But we felt obligated since we owed my parents money for DH's truck. Since the truck is now paid off we decided that this was the year to say no, we did not want the yard sale to be here. It's also perfect timing because DH has been replacing the porch roof and siding around that area. My mother was not happy, but decided to have the yard sale at her own home instead.

It's been such a relief to enjoy the weekend without strangers milling around in your yard that next year I'm determined we're not playing host either. We can actually enjoy our holiday weekend.

My apologies to all you yard sale lovers out there. I don't mind going to them, I just don't like hosting them.

New Goals

June 29th, 2007 at 12:50 am


It's time to set new goals for the year since I reached one of my goals and surpassed another already this year.

So, the new goals to reach by the end of 2007 are:

#4: get mortgage #1 balance below $6400
#5: pay off furniture

Under $70,000!!!

June 27th, 2007 at 09:07 pm


I just wrote the check for the mortgage payment and our total debt is now below the $70,000 mark! My goal was to accomplish this by the end of the year and I've done it 6 months early! Yeah!!!

Good MSN Money Article

June 27th, 2007 at 01:10 pm

I read an excellent article on the importance of Emergency Funds this morning on the MSN Money site:

Saving Your 'Emergency Fund' for the Real Thing



Getting a Haircut

June 26th, 2007 at 08:55 pm

I have an appointment tonight to get my hair cut so I've been looking off and on all day for some styles that I like. I think I've finally settled on this one:



Right now I have a bob and I'm tired of having to pull my hair back all of the time to keep it out of my eyes. This style would take care of that problem and still be cool for the summer heat.

Aiming for the Bull's Eye

June 22nd, 2007 at 10:03 pm

I should be knocking out Goal #3 next week. I'll be paying an extra $260 on mortgage #1 which will bring overall debt below the $70,000 mark.

I have to seriously sit down now and come up with a set of goals for the rest of 2007.

Very Happy with Vanguard

June 21st, 2007 at 11:56 pm


My IRA is in a Vanguard targeted fund and I'm very happy with its performance. I hadn't been able to access my account online since I had to reformat my computer last month. I made a call, got my access back and was pleased to see that instead of the $5400 I thought I had, I now have over $6000.

I also took the opportunity of their offer to stop receiving paper statements and instead have electronic delivery of messages. Because of this they will waive their annual service fee.

Wednesday is Fun-Day!

June 18th, 2007 at 12:13 pm


This Wednesday will be a fun-day for us. We've made plans to take our 2 youngest kids to an amusement park. We are going with another couple who are taking their 2.

We got a discount through Boy Scouts so that instead of well over $100 for 4 of us it only cost $60. We are planning on packing our food and eating at the picnic benches just outside the park, so that will save a bundle. The park is about 2 hours away so it will cost us a bit to drive there but I think we're doing pretty good at keeping expenses to a minimum.

With having so many kids, we are hardly ever able to do anything like this, so it will be a special treat.

I must invest in some good sunblocker though. My daughter (a redhead) and I burn extremely easily and I know we'll need to apply sunblock quite often throughout the day.

Cousin's Baby is Home

June 17th, 2007 at 09:02 pm

We got home today and found this update in our email:

We finally brought Syd home on Friday. She slept most of the way in the ambulance. She's now home and doing well.

We're having problems adjusting her formula so it's right for her, as the amount the hospital had prescribed overloads her tummy and makes her throw up. So we have cut her back to almost
half of what they wanted us to feed her and we will gradually work back up. Her little tummy just can't take the full amount yet as she has been weeks with little or nothing going into her,
except IV's. Because of her inhaling the vomit the night of the seizure it is
probably one of our biggest fears at this time.

Because of the damage done to her brain stem she is unable to regulate her own body temperature, and has to be watched closely for fevers and chills (yes I said chills, she had one the other night,
and her grandpa and I thought she was having a seizure but when we see her stats were okay we realized it had to just be a chill-her body temp had dropped to below 97 degrees).

The hospital was unwilling to send us home with oxygen and a pulsox(unsure of spelling) machine for her vitals. So we called her pediatrician, Dr. Tronetti, and he ordered them for us. She doesn't
need oxygen all the time and hasn't needed it at all since we've been home, but we just feel better knowing it's there and handy for us to use. It's always good to be able to watch her vitals so we can see if they're dipping or getting too high.

Her other set of grandparents are starting to learn to give her her meds and do the suctioning, the more people that can help with her the better for her and her parents. We want them to be able to go places and not be tied to the house all the time, especially since they have two sons to care for
also.


Settlement Check Finally Arrives

June 16th, 2007 at 12:49 pm


DS#2's settlement check for his car accident finally arrived this week. It's been almost 3 months since the accident. What a long, complicated process it has been.

First thing he did was pay off the car. The previous owner has been extremely patient while waiting for his money for a car that doesn't exist anymore. He included a $50 bonus for that reason.

Next, he paid us back for the money we loaned him for his tux for the prom and the car registration.

The last thing to pay for are the repairs he'd made to the car the day it was totalled. Thank goodness everyone has been willing to wait for their money!

He wants the remaining money put into an ING or Emigrant savings account for the summer while he's at camp so he can earn some decent interest on it. He'll use the money to buy another car when he has been seizure-free for 6 months and can get his driver's license back.

I am glad to have this all taken care of now. I don't like owing anyone money and felt responsible for the whole thing. It's been at the back of my mind constantly for 3 months.

You and Your 401(k)

June 15th, 2007 at 11:53 pm


I had to fill in at my hometown library today so while I was there I scouted out their books on personal finance, naturally. I spotted one, You and Your 401(k), by Julie Jason that looked interesting.

I've commented to my husband that we needed to look into his 401(k) and figure out why it doesn't seem to be gaining much ground. He's had it since the mid 90s and has been contributing up to what the company will match most of that time, but it just doesn't seem to be doing much. Neither of us know anything about how to pick what funds to invest in, so we just took a friend's advice years ago and really haven't done anything else to it.

On the other hand, I've only had my IRA for not even 2 years and it's already worth 1/4 of what his 401(k) is worth.

So I thought this book might be a big help to us so that we are more informed. I will report back in on what I've learned from it.

Paid in Full

June 15th, 2007 at 02:08 pm


DD#2's flute is finally paid in full. She's been paying for this flute for over 3 years (since 4th grade), using her allowance money she gets for doing chores. It's been a long haul and she finally finished it.

To be honest, I thought she'd get part way through the plan and decide she wasn't interested in playing the flute any longer, but she didn't. She faithfully practices and really enjoys it. It was a good investment.

The Perfect Day at Work

June 14th, 2007 at 01:59 pm


Today is a great day at work. My boss took today off for her birthday so I'm able to listen to Dave Ramsey all day while working on inventory.

Educational Money Site for Kids

June 13th, 2007 at 02:01 pm

Our library listserv had a link for a neat website, Your Money's Best Friend that has some really good games for kids to teach them about money. I especially liked the game that teaches them to make change. Check it out!

Difference in Gasoline Prices

June 13th, 2007 at 12:20 pm


It amazes me how there can be such a drastic difference in gasoline prices in the area that I travel frequently. In the town where I live gas is $3.15 a gallon. Here in the town where I work, which is only 18 miles away, it is only $2.95! That's quite a savings!

I've been keeping track of the mileage I get from both gas stations because I've heard that the one in my hometown gives you much better gas mileage. I haven't seen it yet. Both have been about the same, only a couple of a tenths of a mile difference. And that difference could easily be explained by the use of the air conditioner more frequently during that time.

What are the prices in your area?

A Close Call

June 11th, 2007 at 01:18 pm


We almost had a house fire on Saturday. I was in the living room watching TV and sleeping since I'm still not feeling well. I thought I smelled something odd, but no one else said anything so I figured it was just my sinuses being so messed up.

The dryer went off so I went in and folded the clothes and put the last load in the dryer. I thought the smell was even stronger in there but, since I wasn't feeling well, I didn't investigate.

About a half hour later the light next to my chair in the living room flashed bright and made a weird sound. At the same time I heard a pop coming from the kitchen area. I went out and looked around but didn't see anything. I went upstairs and DS#3 said that the surge protector on his computer had beeped. I could smell a really strong electrical smell in the upstairs hallway. I checked around upstairs and didn't find anything.

Back downstairs I went and finally found the problem in the downstairs bathroom. The outlet for the dryer was melted and there was black soot all over the wall around it! I tried to yell for DH, but since I have laryngitis that didn't work very well. He finally heard me and rushed in with a fire extinguisher. There was no fire, thank goodness, just that awful smell.

We have no idea why the outlet overheated. The outlet itself was really hot and so was the dryer plug, but not the cord. We think the dryer is probably okay. I hope so, it's only a year old.

Friday Round-Up

June 9th, 2007 at 12:41 am


Rolled $6 in change this morning and deposited it in the Emergency Fund after work.

Came home from NYC with the worst sinus infection I've ever had. I've been sick all week and seem to be getting worse. I'm now on antibiotics but woke up this morning with very little voice. The family is enjoying that.

Tomorrow there is a motorcycle dice run to benefit Sydney, my cousin's 18-month old daughter that had the seizure. She has been off of life support for quite a while now and is still breathing on her own. Her eyes have begun to respond a bit to light even though the doctors said it would never happen. She's had a feeding tube inserted and the family is either going to bring her home next week or take her to a nursing home near them.

Getting anxious to get that $248 paid to drop our total debt below $70,000.

DS#2 called from camp tonight but a thunderstorm was rolling in and we lost the connection. DH had time to ask him if he was taking his seizure medicine like he should and that's about it.

DS#2's salvage title FINALLY came for his wrecked Toyota so I faxed that right off to the insurance company so they can mail him the check. Maybe that whole mess can be done soon. It's only taken 3 months...

Part-Time Job Offer

June 7th, 2007 at 10:21 am


I stopped in at the library in town last night. This is the library where I was the director before taking the assistant county librarian job. I still do the bookkeeping for them.

It turns out that one of their employees just quit and the librarian offered me the job. It would only be about 10 hours a week at minimum pay. It was really tempting for a while because I'd love to add that little bit to the mortgage payment and pay it off even earlier.

I told her I'd think about it. DH and I discussed it and at first were okay with the idea. Then I got to thinking what it would mean to work 1 evening a week and 2 Saturdays a month. I already feel guilty and uneasy every morning when I leave the kids during the summer and this would mean even more time away. Right now, DH is working every Saturday morning so this would mean even more time without one of us here. The youngest of the kids is 13 so it's not like they're really little and I'd only be 2 blocks away, but still.

I ended up deciding that it wasn't worth the little bit of income that I'd be making. There will be time for that when the kids are all gone. For now, I feel the need to be home as much as I can.

Got DH a Chase Freedom Card

June 5th, 2007 at 11:55 pm


I sent off for a Chase Freedom card for DH. He's been using cash for his gasoline, but we decided that as much gas as his truck takes, we'd be better off getting the 3% cash back on it. Also, the money that we use to pay the Chase Freedom card will be sitting in our Electric Orange checking account earning interest all month rather than in his wallet.

So with both of us using the card to buy gasoline and groceries and almost all of our utilities charged to it, we ought to be earning some money back a few times a year.

Trip to NYC

June 5th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

I'm back from my trip to NYC.

We had an excellent time. The Book Expo was okay, but not as great as I thought it would be. The librarians that had gone last year when it was in Washington D.C. weren't impressed. There didn't seem to be as many free books for the libraries as there was last year.

We did have a great time sight-seeing though. On Friday we went to Macy's after dinner. I almost bought something, but then thought better of it and put it back. Yeah me! LOL!


Saturday we spent the afternoon touring Central Park. We did pay to take a bike taxi. That cost $50 for a 45-minute tour, but since we had 2 in a taxi it wasn't too bad. And it saved our poor feet, which by that time were getting pretty sore.

After Central Park we took the subway (bought an all-day pass for $7) and went down to see the World Trade Center site.

Then back uptown for Times Square in the evening.


As we were leaving the city on Sunday morning we drove down to Battery Park

and viewed the Statue of Liberty

and did some souvenier shopping.

I managed to only spend $55 of my own money the entire time I was there. I thought that was pretty good. $20 of it was for 2 pair of shoes since I was having problems with blisters from all the walking!