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Archive for May, 2006

Daily Financial Update 5/31/06

May 31st, 2006 at 07:49 pm

Financial Update 5/31/06

1) $ Spent--$21 gas; $25 dinner (this will be covered by per diem since I am working out of town); $2.25 latte (my weakness)

2) Expenses Cut--none really but did get cases of free stuff today. I do a lot of public safety/medical events during the summer so saved one client hundreds of dollars by ordering from the WA State Dept of Printing (everything in their general store is free!) and got cases of handouts/stickers/videos delivered today. Also remembering to use my cell phone for long distance calls instead of the office phone.

3) $ Earned--$50 monthly payment from one client who I do about an hour's worth of work for each month.

4) $ in Savings--$0 no time to go to the bank today. Will take some money from today's earnings and put in the bank tomorrow.

5) $ for Credit Card Payoff--$0 ditto as above. Did call the credit cards (4) that I owe on to get the exact payoff for each.

6) Giving--nothing specific today; talked to a friend who will be in Seattle for surgery this week and told her I would drive her home (3 hours) afterwards. Also helped her with her website. Also got her to give my sister a part time job.

7) Increase Financial Awareness--browsing the web this evening in my hotel...lots of great financial websites with good money saving info. Reading everyone's blogs here as well which is HIGHLY informative. Thanx all for the great blogs!

Day 3 Financial Update

May 30th, 2006 at 07:14 pm

1) $ Spent--$0

2) Expenses Cut--didn't make any long distance calls from the office phone. Realized these calls were uping my phone bill each month so made today's long distance calls from my cell phone while out and about (long distance calls are included in my cell plan minutes).

3) $ Earned--$150 from a client (nice suprise in the mail today)

4) $ in Savings--66 cents (left over change) Frown

5) $ to pay off credit card--$0 Frown

6) Giving--still waiting to give away landscaping rocks, hopefully that will happen today or tommorrow. While not a "giving" thing, may have saved someone's life today. Hubby and I were in massive amount of freeway traffic in Seattle. Hubby said "did you see that car on the side of the freeway...the driver was slumped over the wheel." After a couple of minutes of debate over whether he was sleeping, ill or passed out we called 911 to have a welfare check done. By the time we got to north Seattle the news broadcast said traffic was slowing due to a medical response at that location. Amazing, you'd think that with so many people driving by someone would have called before us but they didn't. Kudos to hubby for being so aware Smile

7) Increase Financial Awareness--continued to read 'The Amazing Laws of Prosperity' also listened to an old (1997) broadcast from Amy Daczyczn found on the about.com site under her name. Still informative after all these years.

Day 2 Financial Update

May 29th, 2006 at 07:53 pm

1) $ Spent--$0 stayed home all day

2) Expenses cut--I got a credit card bill on Friday that was billing me for the annual fee. I called the company, talked to a supervisor and they waived the $59 annual fee...it only took like three minutes to save $59 wow!

3) $ Earned--$0 but sent a freelance article to a publisher that occassionally buys my articles. Hope this is one he decides to buy.

4) $ Saved--$1.50 again, pitiful, but that is just change I found laying around the house.

5) $ for Credit Card Payoff--$10

6) Giving--sent a batch of cookies to the crew at a casino hubby used to work at.

7) Raise Financial Awareness--read the new issue of the Dollar Stretcher for some great ideas. Hope to read one chapter in 'The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity' tonight.

Day 1 Financial Update

May 28th, 2006 at 04:27 pm

Financial Update 5/28/06

1) $ Spent--0 stayed home and didn't spend any money or use any gas.

2) Expenses Cut--$116.90/year Cancelled webhosting for two websites that I didn't have time for. They have sat with no activity for over a year so at least this way I get to save the money and not feel bad for not getting around to updating them.

3) $ Earned--0 however put two leather jackets on EBay...now Im hoping for the best.

4) $ in Savings--$2.50 pitiful I know but I want the bulk of my excess money to go towards paying of the credit cards.

5) $ for Credit Card Payoff--$5 also pitiful but at least it's something.

6) Giving--posted (literally) a ton of landscaping rocks on local Freecycle web and had a half dozen email already. They should be gone in a few days so I can re-landscape that part of my yard.

7) Increase Financial Awareness--read "Dollar Stretch" site for some good ideas, put the book "I'm Not Buying It--My Year Without Shopping" on hold at the local library (I'm number 36 in line...I guess we all want to save money by not buying the book!). Also found a new source of financial info at http://finance.yahoo.com with some interesting articles.

~~whew! whatta day~~

Daily Financial Report--Day One

May 28th, 2006 at 12:09 pm

In an effort to get better organized financially, I will use this space to report daily on seven key financial areas. I hope this way I will be more accountable to myself with my finances because all of you are watching! Smile

The areas I will track are:
1) How much I spent
2) Ways I cut expenses
3) Way I (attempted) to earn more money
4) How much was put towards savings
5) How much was put towards credit card payoff
6) How much/what I gave away or donated (since giving is as important as receiving)
7) What I did to increase my financial awareness and education

Wish me luck--I want to finally (and hopefully quickly) be debt free and have the ability to pay cash for the things I want instead of using credit or a payment plan.

Baby Shower Budget Buster

May 22nd, 2006 at 08:52 pm

Yesterday hubby and I went to a baby shower for our friend's daughter-in- law. Although the gift set me back over $75 it was a once in a lifetime experience because the guest of honor is a famous singer (we're talking sold out concerts, on TV, Mariah Carey soul diva type famous) in the Philipines so it was an honor just to get to attend. BTW dinner and entertainment was included so I guess it was a very good deal overall. Today I spent the entire day writing a bunch of reports for work so didn't spend at all today. Tomorrow need to get gas. I can remember when $10 would fill the tank, now it's more like $40 Frown

Cant Wait for the Weekend...So I Can Catch Up

May 19th, 2006 at 07:56 pm

This has been one of the busiest weeks on record for me.

We fitted 525 elementary school kids with bicycle helmets today. Now I can look at a kid from 20 feet away and automatically know their head size

Just Checking In

May 17th, 2006 at 09:14 pm

It's been a crazy busy week so far. Meetings every day (and most of them are FAR so I've been using a lot of gas). Work everywhere and lots to catch up on but I miss reading everyones blogs the most. Anyway, whenever work gets crazy I seem to spend a lot more money (more travel expenses, more eating out expenses, etc.). I'll get back on schedule next week and (hopefully) resume my miserly ways...

Spending, Earning and a Preparedness Project

May 13th, 2006 at 06:45 pm

OK, first for the spending. Went to Walmart (bad, that store makes me spend a lot of money), but only bought the things on my list (good, I passed up the clearance racks). Cooked a gourmet meal at home (good...really good actually it was spinach and ricotta stuffed chicken breasts) but I needed to buy ricotta and went to Albertsons instead of the military commissary which is further away (bad...the commissary is REALLY cheap when it comes to most items; Albertsons isn't). Thoroughly cleaned the inside of my car (good, it needed it) then drove it through the car wash (bad...it costs $8. However, by the time I spend a couple of hours washing it myself I usually wished I would have spent the $8).

As for earning, I sold one of my Coach purses on Ebay (for about a third of what it originally cost) but got paid immediatly so mailed it off to the buyer today.

And my preparedness project. I take preparedness pretty seriously. Lots of extra water and food. Alternative heating, cooking, and sanitation options, etc. Today after cleaning out the car I updated all of my preparedness stuff that is kept in the car. This includes new maps of our area/state (the others were ancient), made sure I had cash stashed in the car for emergencies, backed up all of my computer files on a jump drive and put this in the car. Rotated the water and food that is in the car for emergencies. Went through my tool bag and made sure all of the tools were still there and the flashlight had good batteries in it. Reviewed the contents of my emergency bag (this contains a spare set of clothes, toiletries, survival supplies, etc). Everything was in order and I didnt have to spend too much on replacement stuff so overall it was a pretty good day!

Random (Useful) Information

May 12th, 2006 at 05:30 pm

And now for some random musings...

Great Books:
--'The Success Principles' (Jack Canfield)
--'Living the Simple Life' (Elaine St James)
--'The Magic of Thinking Big' (David Schwartz)
--'Ask and It Is Given' (Esther and Jerry Hicks)
--'The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity' (Catherine Ponder)

Most Versatile Food: plain yogurt
With plain yogurt you can...add it to granola for dessert or breakfast, mix it with berries for dessert, mix it with fruit in a blender and make a smoothies, drain it through coffee filters in a strainer and use the resulting "cheese" in place of sour cream on baked potatoes, on crackers, as a base for dips, mix it with garlic and dill for a simple tzatziki sauce, and use it as a sandwhich spread.

Most important business skills:
--positive attitude
--public speaking ability
--professional appearance
--good manners
--basic computer skills
--continual study in your area of specialization
--ability to see the big picture
--ability to grasp basic financial principles
--ability to get things done on time and under budget

Most useful websites:
www.download.com
www.stretcher.com
www.craigslist.com
www.boardroom.com

My Personal Financial Goals:
--always have $100 in my wallet
--have no credit card debt
--pay off my house
--have $50,000 in savings
--have $1,000,000 in liquid assests when I retire
--pay cash for a BMW
--have enough passive income each month to cover my basic living expenses

Waiting for the Planets to Align

May 11th, 2006 at 05:35 pm

Boy...read through these last few days of blogs and it certainly appears the planets aren't aligning correctly. Hopefully after the full moon on Saturday, all will be well again.

Expenses today: $1.50 for hot chocolate on the way to a meeting this morning; $986 for the cell phone bill. Told the almost ex-friend that he better pay up for the cell bill but Im not holding my breath. Of course after I called to cancel the phone and paid off the bill, the guy on the other end of the line said "now that the bill is paid up are you sure you don't want us to reactivate the phone?" ya gotta be kidding.

Good stuff: nice catered lunch at a meeting, two hour ride to the meeting with a client (so I didnt have to use my gas), a check came from one credit card company--I will use this to consolidate two smaller bills onto this card with a lower interest rate then pay it off next month.

Hoping for a better day tomorrow...

The Day Started Out Crappy and Got Worse...

May 10th, 2006 at 07:20 pm

OK...let's see...I can barely remember what all happened today but I know it wasn't good.

Started off having to unravel the mess the hackers did to my webhost's server.

A pretty huge deal for one of my clients that looked like a sure thing basically disintegrated before our eyes.

Another client needed to put together a document for me ASAP and has been promising it for four days. He swore it would be done today. Then he called at noon and said one of his employees injured himself so he spent the rest of the day in the ER with the guy.

Let a friend use my credit to get a cell phone (its in my name but he pays the bill) and last month's bill just came and it is $785 (for ONE MONTH)...friend recently lost his job, has no money and probably not a prayer to pay this bill so guess who gets to pay. BTW I cancelled the cellphone--thats a $200 cancellation fee (note to self and anyone else consideing such an idiotic thing...don't co-sign, dont "help people out" with financial things. Obviously if they have such crappy credit they cant qualify there is probably a pretty good reason why they are in that situation; no use messing up your own financial situation as well).

Wanted to deliver a bunch of stuff tomorrow to an office which is two hours away. Luckily I am riding with a client so it will save my gas, unluckily she insisits on driving her 'Vette which the stuff wont fit in and doesnt want to drive her other car which (BTW) gets better gas mileage than the Vette. Vette is a convertible, I hope it rains tomorrow.

An argument with the hubby pretty much capped off my day.

Total expenditure for today: $3.40 for a Starbucks Green Tea Frappucino...I figured I deserved it.

Web Server Hacked :

May 10th, 2006 at 12:19 pm

Some idiot hacked the server that hosts most of my websites. I didnt loose any money but I did loose hours this morning repairing the damage. ggrrrrrr
Maybe someone can come up with a virus that attacks the computer that hacks someone else's system??

Money, Money Money and How to Save $3000

May 9th, 2006 at 09:25 pm

It's been a good money day today. The lady came for the bunkbed set and paid me $145 (my asking price, she didnt even quibble about it). Last night she said she wanted the set and would be here ASAP then didnt show or call. Happy that she made it today.

Didn't spend any money at all today (whoohooo) and actually listed a couple of more items on EBay (thanx to the bloggers who noted the ten cent inclusion special on eBay otherwise I never would have known about it!). Even went to the mall because Macys was having a "great" sale and I have money to spend on a GC but bought nothing. I think reading all of these blogs is making me subconsciously unable to spend anymore...not a bad thing.

Now, how to save $3000... I run the DUI Impact Panels for our county. Each month we get about 150 people busted for DUI. The average cost for a DUI (court fees, insurance increase, alcohol counseling program, restitution, etc) runs about $3000+. Moral of the story, don't drink and drive and you will save a bundle of money.

p.s. By the time offenders have aquired two or three DUIs they could have bought (depending on the situation) a brand new car or even a small house with all of the expenses they have incurred.

~~~hopping off soapbox now~~~

Earning Money...A Little at a Time

May 8th, 2006 at 02:58 pm

This has been a great Monday. Hit the ground running at 6:30am and got tons of computer work done before running to a clients office.

Today I didnt spend any money at all. Lunch consisted of leftovers instead of a run through the drive through so that saved us money. Also spent an hour pulling weeds in the rose bed (yucky but good for exercie, good for fresh air and Im not having to pay anyone to do it for me--although I almost relented when this huge centipede came charging at me :P)

As far as earning money, I have an ad in a local newspaper ($3 for 3 days of listing) for a bunkbed set. A lady just called and has to have this set so she will be over to pick it up later Smile Next up I will put an ad in the paper for a sleeper sofa and dining table that has been residing in the garage for a few years.

Later today I will put ads for some of my old Coach purses on EBay. EBay is quite the eye opener for the bottom line on consumer spending. Im sure if there was a sign next to the Coach and Kate Spade purses in the department store saying what the purse would be worth after it has been used people wouldn't be so quick to shell out the big bucks for these basically useless ego-propper-uppers.

Anyway, I'm trying to talk the hubby into letting me sell the huge chest freezer that also resides in the garage but he won't hear of it. All of this stuff was useful when the kids were small but now that they have moved out, a lot of it is unnecessary for just the two of us. If I had my way I would live in an RV (hubby nixed that idea as well, though).

Happy savings Smile

Lesson Learned--Plan Ahead

May 7th, 2006 at 05:03 pm

Today went pretty well. Cooked a great brunch then worked in the yard all day. I went to Walmart for bark dust and those sunny looking little flowers (Pansys I think) for the yard. Of course now that I've found this site Im analyzing everything I do for ways to save more money. Lesson learned--plan ahead. If I would have borrowed a truck I could have went to the landscapers supply place and bought lots more bark for what I paid at Walmart for six bags of the stuff. Also, the flowers are cute and add instant color to the flowerbeds but if I would have planned ahead a few months ago I could have grown them from seed and saved $$.

As for my goals, paid cash for everything today (Goal 1--Pay cash for everything except bills that need to be mailed), added $5 to my savings jar (Goal 2--Pay off the $2100 credit card this month), and didnt go grocery shopping today (Goal 3--make do with what I have and don't shop so much. Since I didnt go grocery shoping I will be forced to use up the older food in the fridge before I buy more).

Thanx to all who make this such a great blogsite! Smile

I'm Inspired!

May 7th, 2006 at 10:30 am

OK...after reading everyone's blogs last night until the wee hours of the morning, I woke up truly inspired. Everyone here is so positive (and wise!). It's great to find a like-minded community of people who are doing their best to save money and not trying to out-do everyone else by spending as much as possible. Yeaaaa for all of you!

Money saving tasks so far this morning: did laundry (full loads, half the recommended amount of soap and using only half a dryer sheet per load); went through the Sunday paper with a fine-toothed comb and wrote down all of the sale items I may buy this week as well as cut coupons for things I usually buy (I haven't done this since college. Does anyone else get a rush when they find an item they use on sale and then find a $2 off coupon for said item in the next section? I may not need caffeine this morning Smile!).

I'm going to start recording all of the great free/bargain things that come to me. I read somewhere that when you are open to it, the Universe will shower you with lots of great stuff that you don't even ask for. Last month I wrote down these items for a week and they included: a new client, a free lunch at a restaurant grand opening, a friend treated me to lunch and a client gave me a brand new laptop as a bonus--even the hubby was speechless over that. I can't wait to see what this week brings!

My financial goal for this month is to pay off a credit card which has a balance of $2136.71. Amount of money I have for this goal so far--$10. Ouch!

Have a great Sunday morning everyone Smile

Saving Money...A Lesson A Day

May 6th, 2006 at 06:05 pm

Since my goal for May is to pay cash for all of my purchases in addition to saving money in general, here's a quick update on what has happened so far this month...
May 1. Went to Walmart with my list but only had $30 in my wallet. Usually I would buy everything on my list plus some extras and just charge everything. Today I prioritized my list and only bought the stuff of highest priority, stopping when I ran out of cash. I left the other items to be purchased when I had more cash with me. Lesson learned--using a cash only system saves a lot of money.
May 2. Ate all of our meals at home today. Actually we have been doing this for a few months. For years we literally ate out at a restaurant every day, often more than one meal. Then one day a few months ago hubby and I just stopped eating out. It's expensive (dinner for two is easily $20 to $40 a pop!), the portions are HUGE, and the healthfulness of the food is questionable. Lesson learned--cooking at home saves lots of money, portions are more reasonable, and the quality of the food is better, not to mention the benefit of left-overs which can be used for another meal.
May 3. Went to the mall. Macy's is my favorite store...everyone knows this which is why I had in my posession a $350 gift card (a birthday gift from friends). I may have money to burn since it isn't coming out of my pocket but that's not good enough. The stuff I buy needs to be 50% off regluar price plus an additional 30%-50% off of that. Wasn't a very good sale day so I bought a couple of deeply discounted items and saved the rest for later. Lesson learned--everything goes on sale eventually...with a little patience I can save lots!
May 4. Friends came over and I showed them how to purchase their airline tickets online. The most amazing part is that this family of eleven, only three of whom work and make minimum wage, and who have lived in the US for less than a decade, was able to pay cash for five of them to return to their home country for vacation...that's $8,500 just for airline tickets plus they will take more savings to pay for their other travel expenses. Lesson learned--saving an incredible amount of money is possible, even on the smallest of wages.
May 5. Stayed home all day. Didn't have to work so stayed home, cleaned the house, mowed the yard, cooked a great lunch and dinner and checked up on my eBay auction. Lesson learned--staying home whenever possible saves gas, gives me time to do tasks I would otherwise hire out (house cleaning, yard work) and even lets me dabble in alternative income strategies such as eBay. Cool Smile
May 6. Went to the Children's Festival in a town an hour away. I staffed a booth there for one of my clients, got lots of freebies from the other booths and even the gas to get there was paid for by the client. Lesson learned--take advantage of free events in the community, group your errands so that you can get things done while on the way to your final destination, and take advantage of free/compensated stuff from your clients/employer.

My First Blog Entry...Ever!

May 6th, 2006 at 04:59 pm

Wow...Ive never actually "blogged" before so this is a first for me. I came upon this site through links from a half dozen other sites, but when I read through other's blogs, I figured this is where I belong Smile Super savers just like me do exist! My challenge for the month of May is to pay cash only (except for bills which I will pay with a check) for everthing I buy. So far so good. In just a few days I have realized that paying cash for my wants and needs and only using the cash I have with me saves me a WHOLE LOTTA MONEY! Estimated saving so far this month--$150 approximately.