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Archive for May, 2011

Resisted The Purse

May 29th, 2011 at 09:40 am

I love to have a new purse at the start of summer and winter. Of course, I love to have a new matching wallet as well. (I have a thing about my purse and wallet matching.) I don't buy expensive bags, (think Kohl's, not Coach) but even so, a cute purse and wallet can set you back $70 or so.

Last week, I took son to Kohl's to buy a nice shirt and pants for his graduation. The new summer purses were in. I must have looked at every one, and saw several that I would have loved to take home. I was still carrying my winter purse, and it was hgh time to switch to a summer purse anyway. I was soooo tempted.

Well, I resisted! As soon as we got home, I pulled out my purse storage bin and chose last summer's new purse and wallet, moved my things in, and put the winter purse and wallet in the storage bin. There, I have my "new" summer purse.

Graduation, Planter Progress

May 29th, 2011 at 09:15 am

My son graduated from 8th grade on Friday! Where does the time go? He is a great kid, I am so proud of him. Friday he had 3 friends over and I picked up take and bake pizza for them. Yesterday he had 2 different friends over who spent the night. My Mom and BF were here too and we had a BBQ in son's honor. This morning the boys are up and busy.

Son and BF and I worked on the planter some more yesterday. I have decided I don't want to deal with Craig's List ad people any longer. I'm just keeping all the rocks. I can pile them higher in the center and move some more to the back yard. One corner of my yard is completely shaded by trees planted in neighbors' yards (one behind me, two on the side of me). Nothing ever grows in that corner but weeds, so filling it in with rocks will be an improvement.

I'm going with low maintenance plants. I have been offered some free starts from pink and purple geraniums (those are my favorite flower colors). I have always had great luck with geraniums and the price is right. I have also been offered some of these from BF's yard:



I would also like to get some alyssum to fill in between plants. I can get some starts from my Mom's yard.

So far, I have not spent a single cent on my planter makeover. I will need to buy some fertilizer and mulch, and may need to buy some plants to finish. But it is shaping up to cost much, much less than the $700 I had set aside. Whatever is not spent on the planter will go towards credit card debt.

I hope I am happy with the results when this is all done.

Flakey Rock People

May 24th, 2011 at 10:17 am

I deleted my Craigslist ad after receiving 20 or so responses. The first person who responded was supposed to come Sunday but called and said no, he would come Monday. Yesterday (Monday) he texted me about 4 that he was on his way (I had told him twice I don't get home earlier than 5:30). When I got home, he wasn't there and no rocks had been taken. I texted him at 6 to ask if he was still coming. He texted back that he hadn't brought tools with him and hadn't realized he would need tools to load the rocks. (Did he imagine the rocks would voluntarily jump into his truck bed?) I asked if he wanted the rocks and he did not respond, so I assume that means no. I have emailed the second person who replied to my ad, will see how that goes.

Now I am thinking, maybe I will remove the rocks from the areas I want to plant bushes and flowers and just leave the rest. I won't need to buy pavers and sand, and it will be much less work. So the planter would be a capital C of plants, the inside part would be rocks. It wouldn't look as I had envisioned, but it would still look much better than it did.

My Mom Is So Smart

May 22nd, 2011 at 08:39 am

Yesterday my son, my nephew, my mom and myself hauled many wheelbarrow and wagon loads of rocks from my front planter to my back yard (I intend to use them in one corner of the yard to keep weeds down). We could all see that there are more rocks in the planter than are needed in the back. We had not moved even half of them and the area was getting full. My mom remarked "I bet a lot of people would love to have these rocks." Isn't she brilliant?

So I came inside and posted a "free rocks" ad on Craigslist. I had 4 responses within 30 minutes. I called the first person. He is coming by tomorrow evening to take some rocks home. I will see how that goes, then contact the second person if I still have rocks in the planter.

My Front Yard Planter - Before

May 15th, 2011 at 01:02 pm

I took these pics today of my front yard, which is just awful. My project this year is the large rectangular planter. A previous homeowner saw fit to fill it in with river rocks. They are piled too high and spill out on the sidewalk constantly. My first year here, I bought some lavender and some lamb's ear and planted it, deciding to see what would happen. As you can see, this is what happened!





The lavender has long since died, the lamb's ear is scraggly and uneven. I have sprayed the weeds, so they just need to be pulled out. My plan is to remove several inches of rocks, put in sand in the center, good soil along the edges, fill in the center with pavers, and plant some low maintenance things along the edges. I picked up a book at the library called "Low Maintenance California Gardening". I hope to do this as inexpensively as possible.

Enrolled in Review Course

May 14th, 2011 at 11:31 am

So this past week I did something I have been putting off. I enrolled in a CPA review course.

Why have I been putting it off? A couple of reasons. The first reason is that the last one started 1 week after I graduated. After 5 years of working full-time and going to school at night, I wanted a break longer than 1 week. The second reason is that I am nervous. I'm worried I won't be able to pass.

To be honest, I like what I do right now, and am unsure I really want to be a CPA. However, it seems foolish to stop at this point. Also, my two bosses want me to take it and pass. They have both been very supportive of my educational goals, and a few years ago volunteered to start paying my tuition. Maybe I just have performance anxiety. Stick Out Tongue

So I am starting the course June 11th. It is from 8 - 5 on Saturdays, and will take until the end of October. Doesn't that sound like fun?

If I do become a CPA, my earning potential will shoot way up. My intention is to avoid lifestyle creep and get myself in great financial shape.

Wish me luck with the course and that pesky exam!

How I Squandered My OT Check

May 6th, 2011 at 04:26 pm

I sent $800 to B of A Visa and $800 to my Roth; the rest is sitting in my checking account. I will have to pay my half of summer camp soon, so that is where it will go.

For the rest of the year, I have to contribute $100 per month to my Roth to hit my 3k goal for 2011. That shouldn't be a problem, so I am pleased to be on track with that.

My B of A Visa billing cycle closed yesterday. I just logged on to view the statement, and I see that I was charged $2.46 in interest this month. I expect it to go up next month, as my "1.99% until July 2011" apparently ends after my May billing statement (???). I think that was the gist of the vague letter they sent me two months ago. My balance is down to $1779.61 and my minimum payment is down to $20. I'm glad, because in a pinch, $20 isn't too hard to cough up. Also, I'm glad I got the balance significantly lower before the 1.99% promo rate ends. My regular rate is variable, currently at 7.24%. So not too awful, but of course I would rather pay no interest at all! With my most recent budget revision, the balance will be gone by the end of the year.

My brother is supposed to show up sometime tonight, to visit our Mom for Mother's Day. I'm looking forward to catching up with him.

I brown bagged it 4 days this week, ate out 1 day. I had been slipping into my old habit of eating out every day, which I simply can't afford. But 1 day? Sure, I can swing that. That money comes out of my "cash allowance" budget category.

House for Sale - Cheap

May 3rd, 2011 at 09:24 am

This morning over breakfast, I browsed last Saturday's newspaper. I spotted a fairly new house for sale for 67k. It is cute and on a cul de sac. I nearly choked. The first thought that pops into my head is...I could pull 67k out of my IRA, pay cash for that house, then concentrate on repairing the damage to my nest egg.

But a quick check on Zillow revealed...undesireable area. Like put on your body armor to go out and check the mail undesireable.

But I do mull over the possibilities of buying another house for myself. If I bought a house for 120k, put 20% down, I'd have a mortgage half the size of what I have now. That's very appealing. The problem is my current house. What to do with it?

I have been a landlord in the past and it doesn't appeal much to me. Also, I bought the house to live in myself. I put in beautiful reddish wood laminate floors. I LOVE them, but they do require care and some common sense (wipe up spills immediately, do not drag furniture, hot glue small pads onto the bottoms of chair legs, etc.).

Or I could come up with 60k + selling costs in order to get out from under, thereby negating the advantage of buying an equivalent house at a lower price.

Or I could just let it go and allow my perfect credit to become history. This is not so appealing either.

And so, I do nothing but choke on my breakfast when I spy a cute house in the newspaper listed at 67k.

Perhaps the best solution is to cancel my newspaper subscription and stay off of Zillow. Smile

Mortgage Payment #37 - Chart Edited

May 2nd, 2011 at 04:46 pm



This month's chips are:

1. $8.00 from Beezag
2. $2.43 from Lending Club
3. $27.02 from InBox Dollars
4. $13.06 budgeted chip

So does my little chart make sense to people? Last month Monkey Mama posted hers, and I noticed right off that hers is way more viewer friendly than mine. Not that I have amortization schedule envy, or anything. Smile

Edit: Here are some headings, I hope it is more viewer friendly.

May 2011 Budget

May 1st, 2011 at 11:37 am



As you can see, I have tweeked my budget further. I have eliminated my medical co-pay category, and basically folded it into "Everything Else". I have trimmed a bit here and there, and have bumped up my credit card debt payment.

April 2011 Budget Report

May 1st, 2011 at 11:16 am



So here is how I did in April.