These last three days have been pretty hectic but Ive learned a few lessons on the value of asking.
--I wanted a book from the library that they did not own, so I asked them if they could order it...and they did.
--I usually need to find out what office my investment guy will be at then run across town to drop off my Roth IRA payment. This time I called him, he was at, as usual, the bank branch furthest from my house, then I got the bright idea to ask if he could somehow just take the money out of my bank account...and he said sure (and I though thanks for telling me this a couple of years ago--duh).
--This is my third no spend day in a row. Yesterday I needed a booklet for school (only $5.95) but didnt have any money on me so I asked hubby to buy it for me...and he did (we keep our money seperate so this didn't come out of our money, it came out of his).
Anyway, I am always the one people come to for help and I really don't like asking for anything from anyone, but I think I am getting the hang of this.
Archive for August, 2006
These last three days have been pretty hectic but Ive learned a few lessons on the value of asking.
Today I figured out I can only drive 575 miles a month. I have leased my cars for the past half dozen years and it is a vicious cycle. You lease, you go (way) over the alloted mileage so the only way to get out of the car is to lease a new car and they roll the negative equity over into the new lease amount. Anyway, I have 39 payments remaining on this lease and if I keep the total mileage under 40k, then I can just hand it over at the end of the lease. It is an expensive lesson learned but I swear my next car is going to be paid in full with cash--no more leasing or loans. So calculating how many more payments I have and subtracting how many miles I have on the car, I can now drive a total of 575 miles a month. We always drive my car because it gets the best gas mileage so I told hubby this is going to change. We will be driving his car a lot more and leaving mine in the garage. I also researched taking the bus starting this fall to my college classes if I don't have any meetings afterwards. Since I usually work from home and only meet with clients a couple of times a week, I figured I will take the slow boat (uh...bus) to school. At least I can read on the way there. A bus pass is only $35 a month and although no one of any status in our little yuppy corner of the world would be caught dead on a bus I don't care. Im tired of being tied down by debt!!!
I was at a high end outlet mall today (didn't buy a thing, just looked while hubby played poker) and a realization hit me. There was a little girl maybe six years old shopping with her mom, she was dressed head to toe in name brand clothes, carried a fashionable purse and had a real cell phone. She was like six years old! Anyway, that got me to thinking about how I was raised. I could say I want something all day and mom or the grandparents would say 'you dont NEED that' but then we would go school shopping and they would say you NEED one pair of shoes, five peechees and a pack of pencils. Being raised this way, the difference between "needs" and "wants" was clearly delineated. Im wondering if many kids these days have a hard time telling the difference between needs and wants since they get most of the things kids couldnt even imagine having years ago.
Worked at the county fair yesterday and today. Since I was manning a booth for an organization I volunteer with I got free entry and free parking at the Fair. I was pretty suprised to see how much the fair costs these days...
$22 bracelets so you can ride as many rides as you want
Overall that makes for a pretty expensive day, especially if you bring a lot of kids with you. I remember when these events used to be free (!)
When we bought this house it was on a 30 year loan. After paying for two years we refinanced it to a 20 year loan. Now we have been paying on the 20 year loan for two years and Im considering refinancing it to a 10 year loan. The payments would increase by $500 a month but the savings on the interest would be HUGE. Anyway...just pondering...
Paid for my fall tuition today. Even though it was offset by a $750 scholarship, I still had to pay $225. Then I went to the book store and paid $495 for books for three classes (used books no less!). The cost would have been over $600 for all new books Luckily I am taking Spanish 101, 102, 103, Biology 201, 202, 203, and Chemistry 140, 150, 160. Since all of the classes are in a series I will be able to use these books for the whole year so I am really saving money over changing courses each quarter.
The books weight about 50 pounds...Im glad I got the backpack with wheels on it!
I've been looking for a Columbia fleece jacket for the last couple of weeks. The Exchange (military department store) had them for $25.95 in the women's department (already a very good discount over regular stores) then as I was going through the boys department I saw that they had the exact same jacket for $14.95! So I bought a boys size 12 jacket instead of a women's size small jacket...and saved $11!
Here's a bit of info for you all...
Check out www.missingmoney.com and www.unclaimed.org and if your have ties to Washington State check out www.claimyourcash.org. While I haven't found any money this way, I have looked up friends and relatives on these sites then called them with the good news that they have money waiting.
By "these people" I mean many of the refugees I work with. One family came to me a few months ago needing help purchasing airline tickets online (they wanted to return to Turkey and visit family). I showed them how to buy tickets online and put the charge on my credit card since they don't have one. They gave me $8500 CASH for the tickets. Today I just did the same thing for three other family members who want to visit family in Europe (another $2500 CASH).
Anyway, I started thinking about how they do this...they have 9 kids and only the dad works (full time and makes maybe $35,000 a year) yet they can still save incredible amounts of money. From what I can tell here are the things they don't do...
--they don't eat out. Ever. No Starbucks, no McDonalds, no restaurants at all.
--they don't have credit cards or purchase anything on credit.
--they don't buy new cars. Only used cars and of course they pay for them with cash.
--they don't have cable TV, cell phones, internet, computers, digital cameras, et al.
--they don't go to the mall. Ever.
--they don't go to movies, amusement parks, or any other pay-to-be entertained place.
--they don't buy "stuff", only necessities. Can you imagine a house with nine kids and absolutely no clutter? Pretty amazing.
--they don't have dozens of pairs of expensive jeans, shoes, jackets, purses, etc.
With the amount of money I've made over the last 25 years, if I had spent like they do, I would be a millionaire and retired by now!!!
Spent nothing today I'm going to try to have at least two no spend days a week. Some of the people on the blogs can go for weeks without spending! Amazing!! I'll start small (two days a week) and build up (to maybe a week or two).
Didn't drive today either. This is another area I would like to work on. Hopefully I can have at least two "no drive" days a week as well.
Basically stayed home, caught up on work, cooked a nice from scratch chili and cornbread dinner and organized my office.
Installed DSL today and cancelled cable internet. I really can't tell the difference in speed between the two and this will save me $25 a month!
Chili recipe: In a pan put one can of diced tomatoes, one can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed), half a chopped onion and a couple of cloves of chopped garlic. Add salt, pepper and chili powder to taste then simmer for an hour. Real simple and real tasty!
Today has been a money saving day...
--played racquest ball (free at the local military base)
--went to the grocery store (and used coupons)
--switched from cable to DSL (a savings of $25 per month)
--hubby took me out to lunch (instead of $6.99/person at the buffet we opted for Subway's $2.50 lunch special)
--got a refund from Subway (noticed that after hubby paid for lunch they had charged him the regular price for the sandwiches instead of the sale price so they refunded the difference)
--bought a backpack for school (after comparrison shopping found a great bag for $15 less than I though I would have to pay)
--got a free jacket and T shirt (from a client...I was admiring their new jackets a couple of months ago so they ordered one for me)
--went to the college book store to find out about buying books for next quarter and found out that I can order them online...even the used ones!
--researched the local bus system (I always drive but gas looks like it will be astronimical soon...want to figure out some alternatives ahead of time)
Hubby has been retired for more than ten years. Usually he will work at something that interests him for a couple of years then quit and hang around the house for a couple of years then get bored and go back to work, etc. Just last week he decided to work part time and I can see the (negative) impact on our finances already.
The money he makes is good but when you off-set that by the cost of uniforms, gas to get back and forth to work, "lunch" food (sandwich makings, etc), and services (I don't have the heart to ask him to do the yard when he has been working all day so I pay the neighbor kid to do it), I'm not at all sure it's worth it. I'm also pretty sure we will be in a higher tax bracket at the end of the year.
There's been some chat around the boards about a spouse choosing not to work. It really seems that in a lot of cases, it may make sense for only one spouse to work if the family can swing it. The value of a stay at home spouse is often discounted but when you add up the costs of both spouses working versus the cost savings of only one spouse working (ie: savings on day care, meals out, extra costs for food, clothing, gas and taxes not to mention the emotional/social factors that are involved) it may pay in the long run for one spouse to stay home!
Those are my top four goals. Today I worked a bit on all of them.
--Health. Finally made an appointment with my doctor for six weeks from now. Havent had a physical in a few years so figured it was about time. Gave myself six weeks to exercise, eat better and generally get more "healthy" before I go see the doc. Also, hubby and I played racquetball today...a first in ages...we usually don't exert ourselves so much. For a moment had to wonder who would find us if we both collapsed from over exertion. Luckly we both survived Going on a 10k Volksmarch tomorrow.
--Finances. Paid some bills today. Have stopped using my credit cards all together. My goal is to pay off an $890 credit card this month. How? I have no idea...
--College. The final for chemistry class is next Wednesday. I've been studying two hours a day, set up a four hour study group for tomorrow, did some chemistry quizes online...basically everything I can think of to get a good grade in this class. Checked out a book on scholarships and will apply for more after school is out. I want my entire education to be paid for by scholarships!!! No student loans!!!
--Business. I have been keeping up with client work pretty well. It's kind of a lull before everything gets busy again in September. Everyone seems to be on vacation this month so I have been able to concentrate on other things. My clients are great...I sooo appreciate them
Well, I'm wrapping up my first quarter of college and I've learned a few things...
--apply for all of the scholarships you can. I applied for a scholarship on a whim (and one day before it was due) and I got it. That scholarship will pay my next quarter's tuition.
--take advantage of the free services you can get at the college (free tutoring, free use of the gym, discounts with your student ID, etc).
--get organized! Not only does it help in keeping you on top of your school work, being organized also saves you money if you plan ahead and bring your drinks/meals from home, can take the city bus to school instead of driving, etc.
--books are expensive! I think I'm in the wrong business. Books for three classes will cost me almost $500 for next quarter!!
--when you go back to school as an adult you have a whole different outlook on things. School can be fun! The professors are the same age as your kids! The mid term isn't a challenge...taking care of three sick kids at one, making the house payment when you didnt think you had a snowballs chance in Hell to do it, standing up to your boss and getting what you deserve...those are challenges!
...now back to studying for my final....