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Archive for January, 2010

Your TV deserves it! Laptop NEEDS, and phone WANTS!

January 31st, 2010 at 06:57 pm

So my bill for the cable internet came today, with the back of the envelope saying:

Your TV DESERVES it.
Your Laptop NEEDS it.
Your phone WANTS it.

Really, my TV (which I don't own) is sitting there thinking all the hard work it was designed to do, has somehow earned it some fancy company package? (we use computer monitor to view videos)

My laptop (which is rarely used) is somehow languishing without the package? Like the MSoffice I use it for most will not manage without? Admittedly my husbands laptop is used frequently (and online), but I just don't think we can afford this fancy 'NEED'.

Ah now the Phone and it's WANT, I get that, I want a lot of things. Though I am not an inanimate object. Who knew they had wants too.

I guess someone will be reporting me to the ACLU for electronics. Such cruelty ignoring my items NEEDS.

I started a blog for education

January 30th, 2010 at 05:19 pm

I think it is a format I will keep up with, I often have random thoughts, ideas, or just plain share what we have been doing.

Folk I know IRL seem to like the posts, so figured if anyone on here was interested I can give you the link. But going to stop putting education stuff here on a finance blog.

though my homeschooling is cheap, it isn't really related to finances. And since I rarely ever think about the cost of what we do (cause there rarely is one) I am not very good at mentioning it.

Besides I don't want IRL folk to come here and see what my finances are, or are not. And I need a place to vent about my friends lack of financial skill. Don't want to mix this private forum, with IRL.

Anyway if you miss the education notes, leave a comment and I will get you a link.

So much cleaning and sorting, so littel real stuff going out.

January 27th, 2010 at 08:45 pm

So far in trying to keep up with the 30 in 30 challenge, I honestly have been sorting out lots of 'stuff'. My house is cleaner, and starting to have more of a 'place for everything' (but not the bedroom)

And yet, most of the stuff going out is just garbage, other than the kids clothes.

Not that I am complaining about cleaning, just was hoping to have more of a profit, or at least less junk by the end of the month.

Oh well, hoping to keep going into Feb, might manage to get rid of more once I can really tackle the bedroom.

It really isn't that hard

January 24th, 2010 at 08:40 pm

The short answer to how one is financially secure, is really simple, spend less than you make.

The specifics might be a bit harder, though not really.

1. Stop buying stuff you don't need (I said NEED not usable-just because you will use something doesn't make it a need)
2. Stop acting like your home is a castle, temperature control, fancy wall hangings, are fun, not a right.

And finally:
3. Take any splurges that fit under the income and ENJOY them, with all caps, don't scarf a pop 'just because'. Drink the kind you like when you can afford it and taste it. Savor your chocolate, or long shower, or Latte, whatever it is, if you can afford it, ENJOY it, makes the moments last longer and be worth more.


Not that I don't identify with the trouble of picking which splurges are worth it, and choosing just how much less than ones income to spend. I just don't get folk surprised when that mortgage comes around again, when I can SEE where their money is going. (and it isn't being savored)

I even understand how hard it is to give up ones own splurges...I don't want to give up any more of mine...and the govt has kindly offered to pay for many more of mine if I asked (really I can't believe how much I could get from the govt if I asked)

And I can identify with the trouble of splurge now vs save for later, I could cut back better and continue to save on unemployment..or I could keep it steady. eh somehow the whole 'he will get a job soon' makes it hard to save. But not hard to pay the bills first.

That is the line so many folk have crossed and left so far behind they haven't a clue where it went!

I have seen some folk I know taking a hard look at finances and finding leaks, plugging them up and getting on track. I am impressed with the speed some of them have turned around finding the line (some still on the wrong side of it, but hope is in sight)

I have also seen many more assuming my husband and I are 'lucky'. Luck is what you call someone else's successes when you wont work hard yourself. (performers, and athletes excluded-they are lucky to make it-though hard work doesn't hurt their chances either)

The secret to financial independence on the other hand is a bit more complicated - but not much.

Something about the modern age, makes work seem less 'big'

January 23rd, 2010 at 09:03 pm

I just spent hours (literally) getting the cub scout newsletter together for this weeks pack show. And what do I have to show for it? A digital file to be emailed to the printer.... Somehow having a stack of newsletters would seem more fulfilling, than an email.

Ah well, Tuesday night I shall have my stack, and be way to busy to contemplate it.

Wonder if folk know how LONG it takes to put together a couple articles, finding clip art, composing articles from other sources, resizing (and resizing). All for one short 4 pg newsletter.

So much done, so little effect :(

January 22nd, 2010 at 06:56 pm

So today I tackled the 'top' of the desk, has space for file folders and the like. Much of it is books, but the papers needed work. (BTW quite proud to note the 'bottom' is still relativly clean, 5 minutes today and a stack of sewing is all that mars the smooth black surface Smile.)

Above I found TONS of paper, some to be put for the kids to color on, some to be recycled. And a few important items I needed. BUt the end result, the top of the desk still looks full of papers, Frown.

I do have most everything in file folders and a good start at sorting, but, looking at the ends of file folders is not pretty. I need to find some way to hide them, without losing space.

So can I count each individual piece of paper for the purge? Actually I think it would be more fair to go by file folder full (3 of them) or something, cause I do think credit is deserved for purging, but, don't think page by page is fair!

Husband spent the day in the bedroom sorting out countless items, I peeked at one point and the bed was covered in 'stuff' 20 minutes later the bed was cleared, but at no point did the room look much better! So much work, so little effect. (not his fault btw, the room is terrible)

Ah well I know he did throw away one grocery bag of 'stuff', and one of paper to recycle.

I am hungry!

January 20th, 2010 at 07:51 pm

Nothing has gotten done these past two days, yesterday I had a headache and the 'poor me's (poor tired me with a headache Frown.)

Today I am HUNGRY! The kind of hunger that will not go away. And I mean the painful, man I have to eat, not just oh kinda hungry. I keep eating and eating and it just wont quit! I had a short break while EL napped in my arms, after heating peanut butter, a potato with cheese, some chicken, and chocolate and milk.

But 40 minutes later the hunger is back and painful!

I can so see why folk live off the system

January 19th, 2010 at 04:13 pm

I love having my husband here. I really do. And I can't quite understand anyone being bored being home.

Of course we have 4 kids, plenty of activities, and we home school. So not much down time even with him home.

And with the govt giving us unemployment practically forever we could live like this. And with our savings being decent, not great, but decent, we could keep this up for a LOOONG time.

Course if my husband was working 40 hours to bring in the little paycheck, it would suck. But since he is here it is a lovely tradeoff, I can skip eating out for months in return for him around!

Not that he isn't looking, but...did I mention I would love to find an at home income?

Though I am glad that our lifestyle is already more spartan than the average American, it would suck to have to give up everything.

As it is we live rather cheap and only the real extras have to go. My friends who have houses with heat at 75 and oreos with pop for every lunch wonder why we are not crushed with bills.

I did make some laundry soap and give it to a friend to try, dunno if she grasps why 5 for 10 gallons can help me pay my bills, but I hope so. I also promised another friend a bucket of it, and prolly will offer some to a third. It is really easy to make, and honestly amazes us how cheap it is. Wonder if I can get a little under the table business selling the stuff. Charge a dollar for a big bucket of it, and sell to 5 folk I make the price back Smile.

ETA Momfrom Misourii blog with laundry soap
scroll down on the left side for soap and misc recipes

Baking day!

January 16th, 2010 at 06:59 pm

First it was breakfast cake, then cheese crackers, then a cheese loaf, some peanut butter cookies and finally brownies.

Baking isn't my cheapest hobby, but I do like it. I tend to get all into doing different things and forget that I only have one oven. I learned long ago, that having only one mixing bowl is a good thing, hard to mix up too much for the oven if you only have one bowl. As it was I did burn one batch of peanut butter cookies I blame lunch interrupting for that though.

This all started because JC has to make 'something' for the firefighters to drop off next week when the GS visits. Service project for the month.

Now what am I doing with beans for dinner?

Recipes for what I made if you like:

Breakfast cake I have been trying to make for weeks now but it never quite worked..till today. I threw out the recipe and made one up.

2 cups WW flour
1 cup oatmeal
2 tsp baking powder
cinnamon
cloves
ginger

1 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs

Mix dry, mix wet, combine
bake at 425 in 8*13 pan, 20 minutes

If I were making it for company I would up the sugar.

Froze some for Monday, will let you know how that works. I need a quick breakfast for Co-op days.

Cheese crackers A bit of a PIA, but very good.

1 cup shredded cheese
3/4 cup WW flour use some for rolling
paprika
grnd red pepper

2-4 tblsp warm water

combine all, knead together and attempt to roll out. Sprinkle tops with salt.

Bake on stones 425 till they smell good, edges brown lightly, 10 minutes?

All the crackers were eaten within minutes of taking them out, the kids and husband and I loved them. edges are the best, so cutting them into strips or something would be good. I also think a finer shred of cheese would be easier to roll out.

Cheese loaf didn't turn out well, I discovered I was out of spinach, and onion powder, and too lazy to make muffins, so tried a loaf. Only GMC really liked it. Not likely to repeat.

peanut butter cookies absolutely dreamy, the best peanut butter cookies I have ever made.

2 cups peanut butter
1 and 2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup WW flour
2 eggs

Mix all, roll in sugar and press with fork.

Bake 375 till they smell perfect...about 10 minutes.

I had to double the original (who ever heard of only making a dozen cookies?) and subbed 1/3 cup flour for sugar, brown sugar is too moist, but I like the flavor better adding flour fixed it.

Brownies are pretty much the recipe on the back of unsweetened bakers chocolate, but I use whole wheat flour and brown sugar, plus a different brand of chocolate (same taste, cheaper brand)

I have found that if you sub whole wheat flour, it is dryer, while if you sub brown sugar it is wetter, so long as you sub both you rarely need to adjust.

Though using liquid sugar causes some issues.

Desk is cleared! sorta

January 15th, 2010 at 06:24 pm

I got the surface of the desk cleared off, but the sewing pile is stil there a higher than my head, and the basket of 'desk stuff to be sorted' is rather over stuffed.

But I learned my mouse doesn't like a cleared desk, apparently dust and who knows what else were helping the connection! (It is one of those wireless laser things)

Also cleared most of the 'pass thru' meaning catch all counter, off. Mostly put little trinkets away, a marble here, a hair thing there, and what not.

Managed to toss a doll house chair that was unrepairable, along with some spare craft tidbits, and a ruined picture. Plus misc. broken bits and bobs. so 5ish points for trash. (least it is no longer clutter in my house!)

Unfortunately nothing sell-able Frown.

Still need more work on my desk (only the surface was done today) and the pass through, and the laundry room. And horror of horrors my room. Not looking forward to that. I may have to break it up into sections, a dresser one day, a bedside table another, bookcase, and so on.

I am pleased with the progress and that it is all getting done along with education of the kids and general cleaning of the house. (those dishes, laundry, floors, bathrooms, and such will keep needing done no matter how bad a shelf needs cleaned out)

Got the last kids dresser sorted.

January 14th, 2010 at 07:15 pm

All done, and would you believe it right as I finished packing up clothes to give away, I got a call from a friend wanting to know if I needed her hand me downs!

I hated to say no, but I honestly could not deal with more clothes right now!

All the stuff is slated to go to church on Sunday to be passed along to various folk, so I will get real points for real stuff, as opposed to garbage, next week.

Now a new goal for purging, my bedroom, my desk or the laundry room? Have to see what sounds the least dreadful tomorrow.

Finally sorted 3 kids clothes

January 13th, 2010 at 06:16 pm

Of course we are slacking on laundry so not all clothes were available to look at, but enough were taken out, that I am fairly certain the kids can again put laundry away without resorting to magic to close the drawers.

I have a box of things to save for other kids growing into them, some things are too sentimental to toss. And I have a bigger bag full of clothes to pass on. The only trouble is I dumped all the clothes in pile and don't have any friends with kids just the right sizes to need all of them...oh well I will count and sort later, then drop off all the stuff Sunday.

So does it count to get rid of stuff, if it was newly in my house?

January 12th, 2010 at 09:01 pm

I just got a big bag of hand me downs from friends. Went through and kept about half, another half will be passed along to a smaller girl than EL.

So can I count any of the purge as part of my 30 in 30?

Actually I have high hopes of going through the kids dressers tomorrow to narrow down the supplies to something that actually fits in them without them looking like over stuffed chairs seems bulging. Really, I have planned on this for oh months, but really tomorrow, honest.

Finally put away Christmas

January 9th, 2010 at 07:28 pm

Packed up three boxes of 'stuff' rearanged a bit and once again I have a large living room. Well not really it is perfectly normal sized, but seems rather big once you take out the tree.

We have been looking to get more lights for the tree, though in light of our job situation it seems the wrong time. The stores agreed and no one had any decent sales on light strands.

The other day I removed an old piece of art from the wall (GS thing) and GMC said 'wow the room looks so much bigger now!'

It is amazing what difference wall art or a tree can make.

Unfortunately the only think I purged in the clean up was one cardboard box, that I didn't even purge I dumped in the garage.

Do I get any points for taking things off the todo list?

Hoirrible Nightmare!

January 8th, 2010 at 07:25 pm

I had a nightmare, with the pulse racing, fear inducing hormones and all, that my husband had gone and gotten a bunch of silly piercings (all on his ear) and spent around $900 while I was sleeping one night!

The ridiculous things that seem real in dreams never cease to amaze me.

Upon review of the dream while EL was pestering me at 3am I decided the house we had was rather nice, seemed to be deep in the woods, with plenty of space for kids to roam, yet neighbors not to far off. (the one lady came over to console me in my tears)

Of course my husband would never go spending our money willy nilly like that, and certainly not by putting a pound of silver in his ear (really it was like a dozen piercings, some sort of dragon cuff, that admittedly was cool looking, and some extra metal I never did figure out how it stayed on his ear, his whole head should have been drifting to the left to accommodate the metal!)

Money wise we are fairly on the same page, not the smartest page, but it is the same one. We never really find money to be worthy of argument, and I just don't see why it could be. I have no desire to control money, but I also will not shirk from my duty (someone has to pay bills). I can see where a couple with wildly different money habits could run into trouble, but thankfully we have none (except for those nightmares!)

Finally did the cupboard

January 6th, 2010 at 05:30 pm

I emptied the cupboard and rearanged, unfortunatly most of the stuff was useful. So now it is pretty and organized but all I am getting rid of is one grocery bag of garbage (mostly expired medicine, hardly ever use anything so tend not to notice), and one box of crafty things.

The craft stuff I thought of a good idea for, I can take it to the co-op next month when it is my turn to do some kind of hands on thing, and let the kids be creative with whatever is in the box, I figure a few suggestions like a doll house, or furniture, or making animals or dragons, and let them just do what kids do best. Though it would annoy me to no end, my kids like that sort of thing. and the supplies would be stored at the church, not my home.

Going to count the 'out' as 5 points, there were far more than 5 things, but it was just tossed, and I don't feel like counting. Giving Husband 5 for his paper to, same reason.

Alas low on points, but high on satisfaction here.

Not such a good start to 30 in 30...

January 5th, 2010 at 07:54 pm

Husband is doing better than I am! Sortof, he found some memory that might help a friend out and tried to get rid of it - wrong fit. Instead acquired the task of finding the right fit on ebay.

He also managed to reorganize his junk in the garage and get rid of some boxes, mostly just paper recycling that never made it out of the house, but some was reserved for making 'towns' that we have no room for. So I call it a plus. No idea how many points to give him, it was well more than 30 pieces of cardboard, but I don't think it is worth that much.

Worth more than my attempts so far though. I have managed to toss a half a dozen pieces of paper found on my desk while looking for batteries, I really need to actually clean the desk (and that cupboard).

On an unrelated note, I have a LOT of potatoes to get rid of (very nice sale near here), so today we had hashbrowns for lunch, and plans for some baked potato wedges, rosemary? or some other flavor, I dunno yet. And dunno what with either. Oh and no we did not have potatoes for breakfast, I didn't feel like cooking that early.

anyone else have a good use for potatoes?

Joining the 30 in 30 challenge.

January 2nd, 2010 at 07:44 pm

I have really been trying to convince myself to get motivated to purge, so Wild Blue Yonder's challenge (Fern)comes at a perfect time!

Now to convince my husband to join, would be a good use of his time to sell some things on ebay, though I know that is not always as easy as simply listing, from what I have seen he does a great deal of research first.

In general I keep up with kitchen and kid 'stuff' all year long, but I think some effort really needs spent on my room, and on the hall cupboard, no idea what sort of stuff is in there.

In other news selling unopened gifts That is one way to make money!

Random

January 1st, 2010 at 07:30 pm

* We got our first unemployment check, enough to pay bills with, but not enough to restock the EF of course. In any event that pushes the end of the world off by a couple months. Now we just have to deposit it, and go with the whole not spending thing for a few months. So far Husband has applied for several jobs, and been doing a bit of writing to see if he can make a go at it.

* I so want one! but not in my house, in a dedicated office or a garage this would be PERFECT. Maybe a Teen geek bedroom, but not my living room. I can totally see my sons bedroom having this if they had room. (bunk bed on one wall pirate flag on another, window and cupboard fill the other two) You could prolly take a cheap old dirty yellowed case and spray paint it to match the room decor.

* I did manage to complete my day of breakfast with waffles and bacon for dinner yesterday. So far today has been no cooking, doubt I will continue that for dinner, prolly potatoes instead, maybe rice. I dunno. It never ceases to amaze me how HARD it can be to cook EVERY single day! sheesh

* Apparently watching movies can be good for you, if they are the right kind. Some actually look like something I would enjoy.

*Got a shock when I checked my bank total today, say 100 something figured they took the mortgage and the unemployment wasn't deposited, then I saw some sort of wire transfer with fee as top heading! Was about to go wake up the house to track down who was spending our money...till I realized it was husbands account and he used it for some sort of ebay purchase back in May. Our checking is doing fine, thought they did not take the mortgage out yet, assume the holiday has something to do with it.

*Also discovered I had not stopped the auto savings yet. Guess I aught to. My 'dirty' math (meaning heavily rounded) gives us 2K in, 1.5K out(house, sewer, water, cable, gas, electric, phone, health) plus food/car gas. So not really anything left to save. Though it also points out that the govt is rather wasteful if I have no need to cut my cable internet or fancy phone when my husband loses a job. Not to mention I could go sign up for govt food, medical and WIC (more food) anytime. (Could have before husband lost job) Might do the medical soon, might not.

*GS cookies are for sale! if you happen to live in NC that is. Ask your local girls for your favorite flavor, 3.50 a box. Mine is Samoas, though the Tagalongs are delish and no year is complete without frozen thin mints!