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Archive for November, 2009

Pantry Clean Up

November 28th, 2009 at 06:26 pm

A friend recently moved and when she was packing up her pantry she ended up throwing away 2 full garbage bags of food that was expired. I like to think that I am pretty good at keeping my pantry and other cupboards well organized and try not to let anything expire, but after hearing about how much she had to throw away I decided that I better go through and reorganize to make sure we are not wasting money by letting food go bad. I had 3 main areas to go through, lazy susan, baking cupboard, and pantry. We are big fans of stock piling, so we do have a lot of items stocked up. I have a magnetic marker board on the side of my fridge, so as I went threw each cupbaord I would write the header on the marker board, and underneath the header I wrote the names of items we need to use up sooner then later so that they don't expire. The lazy susan I had a box of pasta salad and a box if augratin potatoes that needed to be used up. Then I did the baking cupboard. We don't bake a ton, but have a lot of mixes, spices, frosting etc. I wrote down all the mixes we have had for over a year. We even made some Lemon Poppy seed muffins today to start using them up. We also put a Jello mold from that cupboard into the rummage sale box and put all of the sugar (brown, powdered and regular) into the chest freezer. Then I did the pantry, had to throw away one bottle of marinade dressing that was too old. And had one can of fruit cocktail and one can of beans that need to be used up soon so they went on the list. We also have a large supply of ranch, kethup, marinades and salsas (bought bulk when it was on good sale) so I put all of those in order in the pantry of which needs to be used first. So all in all I actually only had to throw one item away, and I have sooooo much more room in my cupboards now since everything was taken out and put back in a more organized way. The whole project only took about 30 minutes.

Biggest Loser - Week 1 Weigh In

November 27th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

Week One
Pounds Lost = 2
% weight loss = 1.10%
Place = 2nd out of 6 people

Awww! Bills, bills, bills :(

November 27th, 2009 at 12:12 pm

So just last week we paid $360 for a new battery and new brake pads for DHs car. Now he has been having all these electrical problems so sometimes his car does not start because the security system thinks something is wrong and won't let the car start.....so we took it back in, and they called today and said it will be $400! Yikes and that is after the $360 from last week......ugh! Plus we have been spending more then usual month with Xmas presents and BD presents. We are going out of town soon and that will be more moolah for our mini vacation......And I need to renew my passport which is another $75.....luckily we have an EF to cover this, but just frustrated at the money that seems to be flying out the window right now! Frown

11-25-09 Free Stuff

November 26th, 2009 at 08:58 am

Free diaper from Pampers
Free Dove shampoo and conditioner samples

Also won $200 at the casino which will all go towards the Jan principle payment on the mortgage.

Hey Big Spender.....

November 22nd, 2009 at 02:14 pm

Saturday was a very expensive day.....
Pair of jeans and TP $32
2 Christmas presents $37
Oil changes for 2 cars, plus new wiperblades on one $60
Milk and Eggs $5
Burger King $5
Service on DHs car, new brake pads for both brakes and new battery $360
So about $500 - UGH
Everything was necessities - except for the Burger King. Still hard to spend that much in one day though....

Retirement

November 21st, 2009 at 08:07 am

Here is our current retirement contributions:

Me
6% to 401K
3% to 401K (from employer)
6% to ROTH IRA


DH
10% to 403B
10% to 403B (from employer)

Balances
401K $8300
ROTH IRA $1300
Rollover IRA $1700
403B $6400
(403B is estimated balance, we only get statement once a year)

I try to bump my own retirement up 2% per year. It definitely gets harder to move it up as time goes on. Right now I am contributing 12% (plus 3% from my employer). But this next year my employer contribution will go down to 1.5%. So I think I will change to :

Me
3% to 401K
1.5% to 401K (from employer)
11% to ROTH IRA

So that will get me up to 14% (15.5% if you count employer contribution) - I am trying to keep moving mine up till DH and I are both at 20% and then move each of us up a little each year.

The recession has found me.......

November 21st, 2009 at 07:39 am

Up until now I had not felt any direct impact from the economy. Prices here had remained stable, employers always have "help wanted" signs up, and new business and resteraunts are constantly being built and opened. The only thing that I have noticed is that there are a LOT of "for sale" signs on homes. A LOT! But that really does not effect me at this time, we are already home owners, and if the price of our home goes up/down does not matter to me because we have a fixed mortgage and plan on staying in this house for a loooooooong time. Probably will not move until the kids are moved out, and well we don't even have any kids yet, soooo I'd say we have about 20 years for the price of our home to recover if it does go down.
But this last week the recession finally came knocking. My employer laid off roughly 600 people nationwide(only 5 from my location, thankfully I am still employed). Our bonuses have been estimated to be much lower, and our company matched 401K has been lowered. They were matching 50% up to your contribution of 6% and that was lowered to 50% up to your contribution of 3%. Of course I was taking full advantage of this and contributing 6%, so as of 2010 I will lower my contribution to the 3% and find somewhere else to invest the other 3%.

11-18-09 Free Stuff

November 18th, 2009 at 05:09 pm

Free in the mail today
-Fischer Price Princess Movie on DVD
Not sure what I am going to do with that yet...probably put in the rummage sale.

Time to make some moolah!

November 18th, 2009 at 05:06 pm

Good news! They extended the OT project till the end of 2009! YEAH! Since we can work 10 OT hours a week that is 70 potential OT hours for me! AWESOME-O! ALready have 22 in.....keep on trucking!

Biggest Loser Begins!

November 17th, 2009 at 07:03 pm

Myself and five of my coworkers are doing a mini "Biggest Loser" competition. I am excited to compete and hope to do well. It runs for 3 months and the entry fee is $10, so winner gets $60!! WHoo hoo! Obviously there are lots of financial benefits to losing weight, the $60 is just a little bonus! Smile So my goal is to lose 20 lbs, that would be about 7 lbs a month. The competition ends in Feb, and we are going to Mexico in March, so that would be great if I could be done 20 lbs or more. Since this is financially related I will post my updates here once a week.

11-17-09 Free Stuff

November 17th, 2009 at 06:37 pm

Today in the mail we got:
-Coupon for Free box of Blueberry Muffin Poptarts and a coupon for .55 off poptarts.
-Free toilet paper holder from Charmin (weird I know)
-$10 off coupon for Red Lobster, spend $10 and get $10 off (pretty easy to spend that in 5 seconds at Red Lobster)

Also we went to the mall and used my Free $5 points certificate for Famous Footwear. Did not find any $5 shoes that we would wear, so we were going to get socks, but then I found some fun colorful shoelaces. I got 2 pairs (paid .51 out of pocket) to add to my little bros xmas present. He is a skateboarder and wears crazy shoes/shoelaces so I think he will like them.

2010 Goals.......1st draft :)

November 15th, 2009 at 06:05 pm

Here is what I am thinking of for 2010 Goals.......I will post the "for sure" 2010 goals a little closer to the end of the year.
I am going to try to keep it a little simpler this year. Last year we had many items to save for and we still have a lot of things to save up for....but we really need to focus on beefing up the EF. So here is what I am thinking so far:

Debt
-Remain debt free other then mortgage
-Continue to make additional payments each month on the mortgage
-Get Mortgage balance from $138K to $128K

Savings
-Emergency Fund : Go from $2500 to $5000 (currently it is at $2550, but may go down slightly before the end of the year)
-HSA Medical Fund : Go from $0 to $3000 (auto deposit already set up to meet this goal)
-Vacation 2010 : Go from $600 to $2600 (auto deposit already set up to meet this goal)
-Anniversary Cruise : Go from $2000 to $3000 (auto deposit is set up from last year, and will be adjusted come Jan 1, to make sure we meet goal)
-Checking Cushion : Go from $750 to $1300

11-15-09 Shopping at Target

November 14th, 2009 at 04:40 pm

Coupon time at Target again - I didn't need any of this right now, but it is all stuff I will use, so wanted to use my coupons up before they expire.

$1 off Aussie leave in conditioner
$1 off Skintamit shave gel
$1 off Febreeze
$2 off Venus Razor with 2 razor cartridges

The Aussie was also on sale and for some reason one of my coupons took off $1.65 instead of a $1. So a little extra savings there.

DH won $6 playing blackjack yesterday....into the Mortgage Bucket! Smile

Garlic Bread and Payday

November 13th, 2009 at 03:37 pm

Today was payday for both me and hubby. Yeah! Transferred money to savings:
$100 to EF
$100 to Vacation 2010 fund
$66 to 401K
$135 to 403B
$70 to Roth IRA

Garlic Bread
Cheap idea for garlic bread, and also good way to use up hamburger or hotdog buns. Our household is only 2 people, so if we have hotdogs or hamburgers we usually have buns leftover from the 8 pack of buns. Of course you can freeze them, but they never seem to taste as good if you do that. So when we have leftover buns we have a spaghetti night and use the buns for garlic bread. Just cut the buns open, spread with butter sprinkle with garlic salt and stick in the oven for 10 minutes or so. Tastes great (for a lot less then buying garlic bread) and then you can use up those buns before they get stale/moldy.

Darn - They put a max on the OT

November 11th, 2009 at 05:17 pm

Darn they put a cap on the OT now. 10 hours a week max.....oh well I will still take it for sure. Already have 7 hours in for this week, so now I can finish my 10 hours tomorrow and not have to work any extra time on Friday!

Why don't more people take advantage of OT?

November 10th, 2009 at 05:30 pm

Why don't more people take advantage of OT if it is offered? My job does not often offer OT, in fact they are major time sticklers and do not want you to even work 5 min OT without approval. But last week a project was announced, voluntary OT, no limit on the hours you put in as long as the office is open (6am-6pm M-F and 7-12 some Sat). Obviously I jumped at this. Friday was the first day available, I worked till the office closed, Sat I worked for an hour but had computer issues so was unable to continue, Monday came in an hour early and left almost 2 hours after my shift, and same thing today.......because I know that this project is only temporary (probably 3 weeks or so) I plan on putting as many hours as I can for OT pay (time and a half). What I don't get is why others would not take advantage of this? I have several coworkers who volunteered to do the OT, yet have put in very few or no extra hours at all. I think that is just stupid. Especially with todays uncertain economy. People need to wake up and take what they can get when opportunities are offered. Keep in mind, several of these coworkers often complain of money troubles, yet instead of taking the OT hours they are ordering Chinese for lunch.....hmmmm.....anyone else see a problem with the logic there?
Well that's enough of my rant......as for me I WILL be taking all I can get. Have gotten 7 hours so far and hope to get another 12 hours this week.

November Savings Update

November 6th, 2009 at 07:20 pm

Regular Savings:
Emergency Fund $2255
Anniversary Cruise $1800
Cushion $660
Vacation 2010 $460
HRA $380
MN Trip $300
King Mattress $750 - Complete
Big Screen TV $425 - Complete
Total Regular Savings = $7030

Retirement Savings:
Roth IRA $1340
Rollover IRA $1700
401K $7500
403B $5500
Total Retirement Savings = $16040

Total Savings = $23070

Right now we are working on our MN savings (going next month) and also the EF. We have saved and spent a LOT this year with paying for a new living room set and also for the closing costs for refinancing on our house. Now with medical it will be hard to get savings up, but keep trucking away!

OT and Coldstone

November 6th, 2009 at 06:56 pm

We are getting some OT at work and I am very happy to hear it!
I did 1 1/2 hours today and am going in tomorrow to do 5 hours, and am hoping to be able to get 10/15 hours for the next 2/3 weeks. That would really help with the upcoming medical bills!

Also we went to Coldstone Creamery today! YUMMMMY! I had my free coupon from the radio contest and also a $1 off coupon from the paper. So DH and I each got a medium size ice cream, total $2.82! $1.40 a piece is a good deal for Coldstone!

Christmas Shopping Update

November 5th, 2009 at 03:52 pm

Here is how I am doing -

Husband - Red Sox stuff

Mom - Flipflops

Dad - Still no ideas, but I told him to get me some suggestions

Brother #1 - Grill set or house stuff

Brother #2 - Got him a DVD for $5, probably will throw in a GC too....

Sister-in-Law - DONE! Margarita Shaker and Hand Juicer - $17.89 total!

Uncle - DONE! NFL Shop Steelers Hat that I got for FREE for sending in bottle caps from Mountain Dew bottles

Cousin - DONE! Book from Barnes and Noble.com, I bought a used version that said status "new" and used a GC that I had won at work, total cost $6.74, plus a Dr. Scholls "Love my Sole" pack $8.67.

Friend #1 - DONE! Book from B&N again, and used another GC, total cost $11.07

Friend #2 - DONE! Book from Target on sale $9.84

Friend #3 - DONE! DVD $5

MIL -

FIL -

SIL #2 - DVD $5, will see what else DH wants to get for her....

DH's Grandma - DONE! Womans Vest $32


Total Christmas Budget = $400.00
Totals as of 10/19/09
$101.21 spent on 5 people!
7 people done out of 15(2 others half done)
So far I am about $100 under budget which is awesome! Keep getting a couple more here and there. DH is supposed to do his Mom and Dad this weekend too!

Medical Bills

November 5th, 2009 at 03:35 pm

I am only 25, so have not had a lot of experience with medical bills. I have been on my own insurance since I was 21, but luckily have been relatively healthy until now. Now we are starting to have medical expenses. And I am going to make sure I stay on top of the medical bills. I actually work in health insurance, so I understand everything regarding my plan etc. I am very adamant about making sure that everything was received by my insurance, processed correctly and my portion was paid in a timely manner.

I had a dental cleaning/checkup at the beginning of Oct and the claim was still not received by my insurance by the last week of October. So I called the dental office and made sure they were submitting the claim (the rep told me she didn't know why it wasn't submitted). It was now received and I was happy to see it was paid in full, and I did not even have a copay.

We also have 4 seperate medical bills that I am waiting to come in. We have a Health Reimbursement Fund (HRA) that had $380 in it (this is money put in by my employer) so that will help cover some of the bills. I estimate once everything is in and the HRA has been used up then we will owe about $400 (our plan applies everything towards our $2500 deductible, once that is met then the plan kicks in....next year it goes to $3200 Frown ) We have the money in savings to cover this, but I am hoping to get some OT at work in the next couple of weeks to cover the bills. Have to wait and see if work is offering OT or not....

Little Free Items Popping Up This Week

November 5th, 2009 at 03:19 pm

It's been a good week for "prizes" for me.

At work I got a little reward, a thank you note with a waterbottle and a $5 giftcard to TGIF.

I won a radio trivia contest and got a free "Love It Creation" from Coldstone.

We got our quarterly points statement from Famous Footwear, and we had enough points for a $5 coupon. The coupon can be used for any purchase....there is no minimum purchase. Last time we got one of these we found a pair of really nice DC brand flipflops on clearance for $5 and so got them absolutley free! I will try to find cheap shoes again, but if we can't I can always find some socks for $5.

We won $20 plus a pocket full of change last night at the casino. That all went into our "Mortgage Payoff Bucket" for next months principle payment.

Also Free Samples in the mail this week:
-Mini Box of Honey Nut Cheerios (plus $2 off coupons Cheerios)
-2 Free Always Infinity Panty liners (plus $1 off Always)

November Mortgage

November 2nd, 2009 at 04:04 pm

Mortgage for November

Balance $139,670.00
+$567.41 Interest
+$381.65 Escrow
-$1322.08 Regular Payment
-$326.98 Principle Payment
New Balance $138,970.00

Additional Principle Payments 2009 = $3211.96
Current Position on Mortgage Amortization Schedule....April 2013...3 years + 5 months ahead of schedule!

11-2-09 Free Stuff

November 2nd, 2009 at 03:50 pm

Free today!

-Nature Made Triple Flex 2 Liquid Softgels
(I will give these to my parents)
-Betty Crocker Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatos (a whole box!) plus .50 coupon

Week of 11-1-09 To Do List

November 2nd, 2009 at 03:47 pm

(X)Put spare tire away
(X)Put extra tire in shed
( )Rake yard
(X)Make hotel reservations
(X)Watch HSBC double transfer (they corrected it)
(X)Waiting for dental EOB
-(X)DOS 10-10-09
( )Waiting for medical EOB
-(X)DOS 10-18-09
-( )DOS 10-21-09
-( )DOS 10-22-09
-( )DOS 11-03-09
I will update with (X) when each is completed.

ETA - Did good this week on the ole to do list.....also rocked today on getting stuff done.