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I'm a Sucker!

August 4th, 2011 at 09:10 am

We found 2 little lost dogs, a mama and her pup running around starving and terrified in our factory area at work. They are dehydrated too. I'm going to adopt them. I know I have 3 dogs, but Itty is 21 years old and every day is a gift, and I can't stand the thought of them being separated.

Credit Card and Birthday

July 27th, 2011 at 01:03 pm

Last night I got my bill for September's mortgage payment and Bank of America was offering a credit card account that would take points and use them to reduce mortgage indebtedness. No annual fee - huge interest of course.

Since I'm already paying ahead on the mortgage and I pay off my credit cards monthly, this sounds like a plan. I get $50 from time to time from Citibank, so I will try this with Bank of America and see if it works out well. If not, I'll delete it. I'm kind of nervous of Bank of America, but still I think I can do this.

My birthday is Friday and I'll be 56. Eeeeeek. I haven't been to a movie in 3 years, so I'm taking a day off work and will hit the dollar theatre (God willing) and maybe see Cowboys and Aliens as a first run (bargain matinee).

Next week, my old Dog Itty will be 21. She's slowly getting old before my eyes, but she's still my dear little true friend.

June and Friends

July 6th, 2011 at 10:45 am

I started putting an extra $287 every month on my mortgage with the plan of retiring around age 68. I thought this would mean I would have no extra savings for anything else, but to my suprise this month, even with wildly going out to eat with girlfriends, and wantonly buying books at Barnes and Noble, I was able to put $161 in my emergency fund, bringing it up to $7,500. This is besides the money I always put in savings every month to pay yearly bills (auto deposit).

It was 155 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend and its muggy here in the desert. Iím going nuts, which has lead to increased spending.

Iím feeling lonely Ė My married friends donít invite me out because Iím divorced now. I donít know that many people. My few friends have lives. Any suggestions on ways to meet nice people who want to hang out and have fun?

What do I do with my mortgage for retirement?

May 23rd, 2011 at 04:07 pm

Because I divorced my husband, I had to give him all the equity from the house as part of the divorce settlement.

I'm 55 and I hope to retire at 68. I don't think I can pay off the house in 13 years (I have 91K left on the loan).

However, my total monthly mortgage is $760, which around here is less than rent. So any suggestions? I would like to live to 85 and have it paid off.

I have no children, but I'd love to give the house to my nephews or nieces who might need it. Any suggestions.

My estimated retirement income is $2,000 a month.

And does anyone have any thoughts on the ethics in selling me a mortgage I might not live to pay off?

I missed a mortgage payment

May 19th, 2011 at 09:22 am

I have never done this before, but somehow I missed a mortgage payment.

ARRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG.

Maybe I was having a senior moment? Brain damage?

I have a confession to make. Even though I am good at saving, I haven't been able to reconcile my checking account since the divorce. I'm always showing I have way less money than the bank (which I guess is good from the Bank's point of view).

I think it has to do with the emotions of him closing out all our bank accounts and leaving with all the money.

Anyway I paid the payment and the late fee but I feel like I either am losing my mind or 5 years old with no right to run around managing my finances.

Aiiiiiii.

Have a great day guys.

My bank raised fees for IRA's

May 17th, 2011 at 10:36 am

My bank now charges $30 a year for IRA's - I'm disgusted and I'm planning on moving it to another bank.

Is anyone else getting new fees?

Got a $50 gift card from my bank!

May 7th, 2011 at 08:56 pm

I earned $1000 on my savings account and the bank sent me a gift card for $50 and if I keep the account at that level for a year, I will get another $50 gift card. Way better than interest. Since the account is my emergency unemployment acount, God Willing, I won't need it and get the $1000.

I cleaned out my closet and laundry baskets. I had planned on going shopping for socks, and found a whole drawer full of various colors of sock. I also found a bunch of good clothing I can use, toss rags, and gave about 8 bags to Goodwill and got a tax receipt. I feel sort of powerful and also rather serene having cleaned up junk and made my house more organized. I have socks in one drawer, under wear in another, shorts in another, night time wear in another and i have work clothing in one part of the closet and slacks and fun top and church clothing all in clumps so its easy to find things.

I'm going to toss the rest of the junk in the room and then paint it and clean the carpeting. I may make the room into a foot reflexology room and do that at my house for people from work. Its a thought for doing a second job that doesn't interfere with work.

Two More Goals Met!

April 30th, 2011 at 10:20 am

I got my income tax refund and put enough money in my START account at my bank to have saved $1000. This means I will be getting a $50 gift certificate, and if I keep the money in the bank (which I hope to - its my emergency account), then at the end of the year I get another $50 gift card. With interest rates being so awful, this is great for me.

I also got insulation blown into my attic. My neighbor across the street took me to Home Depot. If you buy 10 bags of insulation, you get to rent the blower for free (a savings of $85). He and another guy spent Friday morning blowing a ton of stuff into my attic. He charged me $200 for this and I gave him $300 and another $20 for moving a bed. Since my neighbor did the same thing with a contractor for $1200, I know I got a wonderful deal.

My house is 50 or 60 years old and has little insulation. Since I live in the desert, I don't worry as much about heating bills, but cooling bills can be $400 a month. The new insulation should save me about 20 to 25%, and make the house more comfortable.

I got a check for $350

April 26th, 2011 at 01:02 pm

They recognized people for service at work and I got a check for $350 for 25 years of service. Woohoo.

Preparing for Times When You Might Not Be Frugal

April 2nd, 2011 at 08:33 pm

Since I have gotten over being sick as a dog for 3 weeks, using up almost all of my pt time at work, and wondering if I was going to die and the dogs would fight over my body, it came to me that I need to start stocking up easy foods and meds for when I'm sick.

Flu and cold meds.
gingerale
possibly popsicles (best things in the world for unhappy tummies)
canned soups with pop tops
stuff for allergies.
aloe saturated tissues for da node

When I was sick, I ended up taking children benedryl, which i have on hand when people do fireworks and scare the dogs into a frenzy. Actually, I'm starting to like children's benedryl as a result.

I may also box or bag my emergency supplies, so i'm no tempted to eat them at other times.

I also want to have more frozen easy foods in the freezer. When I get that sick, cooking is almost impossible.

When I'm really sick, I don't think about frugality, I think about survival and whether I'm going to make it throw up. So preparing for sickness will be the essence of frugality.

Met Some Goals! and Have the Flu - YUCK

March 8th, 2011 at 05:20 pm

Since I met my $17k goal for payback for "He who shall not be named", I have met the following goals for the house:
1) Mailbox (MAILMAN LOVES ME NOW)
2) $500 Roth Ira
3) Lemon tree in back yard with proper irrigation
4) New Security Screen Door (Labrador Proof)
5) Extra Money for Church Fund
6) started new account at bank that will give me a $50 gift card when I hit $1000

My next goal is to Get the attic insulated and to save more for car repair - car is getting old but damn it - I wuv my honda.

Flu is rotton and evil

He who shall not be named apparently married the bimbo he ran off with. Blah!

I have saved $17K - Another Goal Reached and Roomate Problems

December 11th, 2010 at 10:54 pm

This week I hit my save $17,000 to payoff He Who Shall Not Be Named (Ex-Spouse). Now I only owe him $15,000 which I can pay off with a loan from my credit union if he demands the money. I presume he is spending my 401K and living large but he'll eventually demand the rest so now I feel ready.

On the sad side, my room mate has told me she can't stand living with me because of the way I keep the kitchen and that I slight her and make her feel invisible. I was shocked. I thought she was just being grumpy and distant because she's like that alot. She seems to have a power thing going her - after telling me she's leaving she demanded I fix a hinge on her bedroom door.

Then she paid me half the rest of the month's rent - and told me she would be paying $300 a month now because she had car problems.

After discussing this with my priest, I wrote her a note which I'll put on the counter tomorrow morning before i go to church. I'm telling her - no- you don't tell me what the rent is and you owe me $100 bucks and #2 I want a date when you will be out of the house because this arrangement isn't working out. If you don't give me a date, then I'll give you one. (Local law stipulates 1 to 2 months unless they don't pay rent).

I don't think I am having any more roomates after this. I thought everything was relatively fine, while she was apparently miserable and expecting me to understand all this through ESP.

I'm thankful that her paying rent helped me reach the goal of $17,000 to pay the Ex, but I don't need to put up with this kind of stuff to survive.

I'm kind of proud that I am not blaming myself for all of this. In the past I would have been sure I'm a bad person, but right now, I realize I did this as a favor. I did a lot of very kind things for her - including forgiving one month's rent. Since she didn't actually communicate in English about what was bugging her, and instead just stewed about it (again -my ESP is really poor) and since I in no way was trying to be mean or thoughtless, I think she's just taking advantage of me and in some kind of power thing of dictating to me.

Now that I've reached this financial goal, my next goals are improvements to the house:
new mail box
security screen door
flowers
lemon tree
fix sprinkler to area where lemon tree will be
insulated windows
insulation in attic
and maybe an HP netbook to use at work and write my stories on.
Roth IRA

Met a Savings goal!!!!

August 2nd, 2010 at 03:25 pm

Today I now have $15,181.55 in the account I'm saving to pay my ex-husband. This is in lieu of alimony. I owe him 32K, but this is almost half and $15K seemed like a true bear to reach, so I'm happy.

Only $2K to go before I will be down to owing him $15K. At that point, if he demands payment, I'll be able to take out a personal loan at my credit union (they fund $15K personal loans). While I'm not wild about getting a new loan, I do want to feel I have a chance to get him paid off without borrowing against my 401K.

I also have $906 in my short term account, $3000 in my yearly bill payment fund and $5778.00 in my emergency fund. Unfortunately I only have $2K in an ira, but I'm working on it.

One Day Vacation Report

July 21st, 2010 at 04:30 pm

We went to Catalina. Its so beautiful I feel like it was a dream of blue clean water, tropical fish, friendly people and beauty.

We went on a glass bottom boat. I got tickets for both of us, so I spent $37 (senior discount) on that, and $5.00 on fish food. If my photos turn out I'll try to post them, because it was totally wonderful. We fed fish in the water and they stared at us and followed the boat. The fish were utterly beautiful. I felt like the ocean there is full of rich life and thought sadly of the people near the oil spill and the devastation on animals and fish and the economy.

We didn't do much more than the one tour, we sat on benches and listened to street players and enjoyed the clean cool air. We ate at a restaurant. I spent $9 on a photo and $3 on a refrigerator magnet (I have a collection of them for new places I visit). Socorro paid for the meal and later paid for the utterly illegal home-made chocolate creme pie and coconut cream pie we had.

We went there on a fast boat and dolphins raced by us once. All in all it was a glorious adventure and I stayed within budget.

I gave the bus driver a $1 tip, which is customary. He got us home safe.

I'm going to keep doing stuff like this, especially since I can save up for specific tours in our area, or plan trips to sites I'd like to see.

I feel rich in experience today, and it didn't cost that much.

I'm going to have a 1 day vacation!

July 15th, 2010 at 02:38 pm

Earlier this year when I got a lot of overtime, I purchased 4 day tours, one for each month, so I could take a day off and have fun. This Sunday I'm going to Catalina Island for the day. I'm taking Monday off to sleep, cause I know I'll be wiped when I return.

I've never been on Catalina Island and I want to travel and have fun. My roomie Socorro is coming with me. Since we are both older broads, we'll walk slow, sit down alot and enjoy ourselves.

The trip is $117 - they bus you there, take you over on a ferry and let you run loose until its time to catch the ferry back. Its pretty and cool. I plan on buying at least one expensive meal and taking lots of photos with my digital camera.

The whole trip is budgeted, although I assume I'll do something stupid and buy something I don't need.

I loaned my roomie money so she can go, and I am not worried about it. I'm excited at doing something for me that is fun and refreshing.

WOOHOO

How Do You Track Your Expenses?

July 8th, 2010 at 09:43 am

I'm wondering how everyone tracks their daily expenses or weekly expenses.

I have been writing them down in my check register, as either credit card expenses (which actually come out of the balance in the checkbook), on line bill pay items or cash.

I worry about the cash, because I forget to write down when I buy gasoline, and some items, but I'm trying.

So my question is, how do you track expenses during the day? Do you have a note pad? How often do you put them into your Quicken or spreadsheet or whatever program you use to track budget?

I'm Losing my Frugal Focus

June 23rd, 2010 at 10:56 am

I've been divorced over a year, and am still working to pay off the ex-spouse. This last month, I've completely screwed up on saving and have spent money on eating out and on just stuff that I wanted.

So this is a note to me to encourage me as to why I'm doing this.

I know I feel angry right now. I am just coming to grips with new emotions about the divorce because at first I was so terrified I would have done anything to get away. Now I'm angry because I'm the one paying him money. I suppose I should be wildly grateful he didn't get away with more, but I feel like I'm being punished. I still have to save another $17K and instead of being proud of myself for saving so much, I'm angry because I'm saving for him instead of me.

And this anger is working itself out in unplanned purchases and I am spending more than I wanted to. I'm also doing things like losing receipts and not marking down things quickly.

So while I know that I have to work and save to pay him off, I also want to be able to work and save for me. I want to be able to start paying down my shiny new mortgage (because of course he got all the equity I built up). Because if I don't, I'll never retire.

And I want to have fun. I want to have money to go out to eat with friends, and to go explore new places.

I went to the aquarium of the pacific yesterday. I spent more than I budgeted for and I'm aggravated about it. I had paid for the trip, so entry and gas were all budgeted, but I gave my self $25 to pay for food, and that wasn't enough, I purhased little gifts for people, I spent $2.00 for tea, $6.50 for a drink and snack, and $29 for a meal and then $16 on little items (how they do stack up), 9 dollars for feeding little cute birds, and $1 for a tip for the driver.

And through it all I was angry because no one else on the trip was alone, just me. Because I have been trained not to make friends, because my husband always made it a priority to cut me off from people.

So I'm both depressed and angry and that's impacting my focus.

So now I have new goals:
1) Pay off Ex-spouse (find some of his old underwear and set fire to it in the barbecue and dance around it when he's paid off).
2) Set a budget to do fun things that cost money (like going out to eat with a girl friend or exploring the coast line in California).
3) Start cleaning up my house with the goal of being able to entertain.
4) Also save and add to an emergency fund (I do have one but it doesn't have enough in it)
5) Also save and start a Roth IRA with whatever the minimum is(I'm guessing $1000).
6) Start doing more socially.
7) Take care of myself instead of treating myself like I'm not worth anything.

What is it with Financial Institutions!???

June 2nd, 2010 at 05:09 pm

3 weeks ago, I met a financial goal and put 1000 dollars in my IRA. Its still not there. The bank in town where I do business is really working on this, and I told them I expect in all ways to receive interest for the full 3 weeks, but right now I'd just like to see the money in my account.

They tell me they are having a problem with my check, which is from old bank they purchased. I still am using old checks (why pay for new ones?). Well - apparently they took the money but just still haven't figured out how to put it in the IRA account.

I'm getting extremely distrustful of financial institutions. Man oh Man - keep all receipts and verify everything.

Spent Money This Weekend

May 24th, 2010 at 08:08 am

I went out and wildly spent money. I got all the groceries I wanted. I purchased 2 belts and a pair of shorts. I purchased a book that I couldn't find at the library. I went to lunch. And i purchased a printer. I really miss having a printer and I now I can print coupons, recipes and articles and maybe I can print out photos.

I also rode my bike and used it to go to get groceries.

I did not stay in budget, but I did not aquire new debt because I do have money for it. I just got tired of saving money to give my ex-husband money while I worked and scrimped.

Now I feel better.

And of course, the printer was on sale and I joined Office Max so now I have a card for them with $40 on it (I assume I can use it to get stuff later).

I feel Poor Today

May 17th, 2010 at 07:54 am

I know that its all a matter of mental perspective, but I changed my withholdings for my 401K by 1% because the dang thing is sadly depleted. They gave my ex-hubby $89K and I have $114K left and I'd like to actually have an opportunity to retire before I drop dead.

Well - the paycheck came and I don't have enough now for groceries and gasoline the second week of the 2 week period. I know I can put less in the fund to pay the ex hubby, and worse yet, I can get a loan from my poor beaten 401k and just pay him off, but right now I feel like a failure because I didn't forsee them taking an extra 1% out having such an impact.

And then to top it off, I checked my new IRA and they didn't credit the $1000 I laboriously saved to put in for this year.

And I understand from my HR department, that the Ex called to ask for the phone number for the 401K people because he hadn't gotten his check. That just burns - it should be sequestered in another account and he shouldn't get a check, he should at most only be able to roll it into an IRA. He's probably pulling what he did before and cashing it in, like he did with his retirement money, so he could buy things for his girl friend.

Sometimes it seems like I've spent my whole life making sacrifices for that man that just get wasted.

Payoff Fund Just Met a Goal!!!!

May 3rd, 2010 at 11:52 am

I just passed $13K on my saving fund to pay back ex-hubby, so now I owe him $18K+ (under $19K).

I'm really really trying to track expenses as they occur. I carry my check book and mark down all expenses, including cash in it (while not taking it away from the total).

My emergency fund has hit 5K, which is another goal.

I have a fund at the credit union that I put $400 a month in. This is to take care of extra large utility bills for air conditioning (when desert heat gets over 110 or in the 120 area), yearly memberships, insurance, Christmas, Tax preparation, virus protection/fire wall update, and everything I can think of that I do once a year. That account already has 3K in it, so I'm feeling ready for the summer.

I've started a compost can in the back yard (and can I say Yuck) and want to buy some kind of bin I can use to eventually start a garden (in a dog free area - 4 dogs doesn't make for a good gardening opportunity).

Woot - I got a raise

April 29th, 2010 at 01:11 pm

I got a small raise! I rejoice! Since I'm increasing my 401K withholding to 16% and increasing my tax withholding to single 0, this is a good thing.

And today I have reached the $13,000 savings to pay the ex-spouse goal. Only $19,500 more to save, but it feels like a good chunk is ready to pay him, so perhaps if he demands payment, I'll be able to give him the $13K and not borrow the rest. That would be nice, but not counting on it. But it will be way better than having to borrow $34,000.

And my blood count for chloresterol is now 187, which is a huge improvement over 306 so i'm doing good in that arena too.

Goals for The Rest of April and May

April 20th, 2010 at 01:05 pm

I have fallen off my good habits and am not tracking money as well.

Goal #1 - Track money spent and money found
Goal #2 - Get dogs to vet for shots
Goal #3 - Get mammogram
Goal #4 - Toss Trash Files - I estimate I have my body weight in old receipts for groceries etc. - toss.
Goal #5 - prepare to paint one wall in my bedroom. Prepare to restrict furry creatures from bedroom while paint drying.

Aiiiiiiiii - My friends want me to date

April 14th, 2010 at 04:21 pm

My church divorce came through and I am now single in the eyes of God and everybody else.

My friends keep trying to get me to date. How does one do this? Why should I do this? Can't I just make friends with people and hang out? Why am I supposed to be complete with a man. I have just successfully proved my inability to have a healthy relationship with a man, why wade out and do it again?

Where do I apply to become a vestal virgin? Do they accept rehabs?

I know this is not strictly on frugality, but hey, you guys are the only peer group I have except the guys who play World of Warcraft with me and the older people at church.

OMG! I owe over $800 on my Taxes

April 7th, 2010 at 06:01 pm

This just goes to show you that:
1) Divorce makes your brain melt
2) You have to really nag payroll to change your withholding

It also proves that having my taxes done by someone professional is less stressful than doing them myself. I won't do Turbo tax again, because I disapprove of the company's marketing practises. I went to a retired accountant and had them done by him for $60 in one hour with less stress.

He also gave me much better advice.
1) consider saving in a Roth IRA
2) Get the Maximum Withholding
3) Start Maxing out your Retirement 401K
4) Have extra funding taken out of your tax withholdings to make up for the earlier shortfall.

And finally, I have savings I can use to pay the taxes, but instead, I'm going to use money I would normally put in my "Pay back the Ex" fund.

Usually when I do taxes, the small dogs run and hide under objects and huddle in object fear because their Mom is in a truly mean rotton mood. So this process saved wear and tear on the dogs too.

I'm starting to feel like I really am divorced. I was awarded a divorce through my church and am back in communion. I still owe ex 20K. I plan to save another 4K and then go out and spend a day at a spa to reward myself. Then I shall return to the grind and keep saving till I have the entire amount in hand.

Extra Principal Actually Added to Mortgage!!!!! and other Desert News

February 26th, 2010 at 04:40 pm

After all the absolute insanity of trying to get my extra mortgage payment actually put on the mortgage, I was deeply happy when BAU actually just cashed the check and properly credited it to the account.

It was so easy that I'm in shock. I was geared for another 3 months of total Mortgage company VS me!

Also last week, when going into a grocery store, I received a free newspaper.

Then they asked me if I would like to enroll a subscription.

I told her that I would, but only the sunday edition, because I don't read papers much and I like the coupons. She offered me a month of sundays for $4.35, home delivered. Then she told me if I promised to keep up the subscription for 3 months, she would give me a $10 gift card for Staters. What fun, getting moola back for something I had already planned on.

On the other hand, I got a free $52 back from Citibank and went out and spent it recklessly on local Greek Festival ($39 bucks on food) and the remaining $13 bucks on the local Date Festival. Unfortunately, the parking was $10, and I ended up buying religious icons (reproductions) from Russia for $20 and buying more food.

I went over budget, although I was good about spending only cash I had on hand, although I paid for the icons with a credit card.

And I actually went back again. First day no ticket price, second time $7 parking and $5 1/2 price for entry.

It was fun. I didnt' run up credit because as usual I wrote up the credit card balance in my checkbook as a purchase. When the credit card bill arrives, it will be ready to be paid for.

I Hate Doing Taxes

February 17th, 2010 at 12:01 pm

First of all, doing taxes has been a source of stress all my life (although I do get a huge kick out of reading the weird instructions, like, if you are blind, get someone to read this for you).

Second of all, I've decided to stop using Turbo Tax, because I don't like their parent company anymore and feel that they are unethical, ie an unethical company is not going to stand behind me if I need extra help from an Audit. And I don't want to support them. I think they are poo poo heads.

Third, I'm divorced and paid my hubby $32K and i'm not sure if its going to go on my taxes, or if its going to take a hit or not. It's not alimony, its in lieu of Alimony.

So this year, I will go to someone and ask for help on taxes.

Check from Mortgage Company came and cheap endorphins

February 8th, 2010 at 11:20 am

After months of nagging and begging, the check came. Its made out to the new Mortgage Company.

I have learned two things from this:

1) Nagging is good
2) Mortgage company's should be watched carefully and every payment and reduction in principal tracked.

I've started walking on my lunch break for half an hour and am up to 1.75 miles a day. I do it at work on a test area that they don't use often, and I love endorphins. I turned into the energizer bunny this week. And I've lost 1 lb, which may not seem like much, but really encourages me!!

Yearly Work Review

January 28th, 2010 at 06:22 am

I got my review on Tuesday, and this is the first year (in 23) that I wasn't completely perfect.

Of course, I'm not perfect, but I was still upset. I realize they are trying to change their review structure and to work on constant improvement and all that, and logically, its what I really need and even wanted in a review: areas where I can meet my bosses' needs, etc., areas where I can grow, feedback from my boss on areas he considers key, etc.

But emotionally, I was crushed and felt like a failure. It doesn't help that the Ex had contacted his sister by email and told her he had gotten married and had a job.

I contacted the lawyer and she told me that we didn't make provision for him remarrying in the divorce agreement so I still owe him 32K.

Of course, he could be lying too. He does that all the time.

On the upside, I was able to pay my church my yearly tithe in advance, and I've saved $11K toward paying the hubby, so I only owe him $21K, which may be an easier chunk to finance if he demands money right now.

And I have a cold. What a life. I feel like I'm working hard to make him money to live it up and waste, while I'm going without things until I have saved for them.

Arrrrg.

Still Not Credited for Additional Principal!

January 25th, 2010 at 10:57 am

I'm still not credited for additional principal payment of $650 on my mortgage.

I am disguested, but I'm not stopping my fight. This makes me extremely cautious about future prepays on mortgages. I don't think I'll ever trust any mortgage company again. They just suck the money in and say nothing.

They don't answers calls, and they don't answer emails now. What a day!


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