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Archive for September, 2005

Emergency Stash

September 29th, 2005 at 01:51 pm

Thanks to everyone for your input on the flex account. I think we've decided to go ahead and give it a try this year and
see how it works out. We'll dedicate $200.00 to it and see how far that goes. If it does well and we need more next
year, we'll add it. If we end up having money left at the end of the year, we'll stock our medicine cabinet with OTC items.

I'm going to try the emergency stash of cash again. We tried it last year, but ended up spending it. I'm going to try to
take $40.00 or so from each pay period until we've built up to around $500.00. I think that's plenty to have on hand
in case of an emergency. Honestly, if worse came to worse, we'd have more than that here anyway. Our change jar
at any given time has $50.00 - $100.00 in it, plus we have a stash of old and new bills that we could use if we had to -
there's at least another $300.00, so I know we'd be fine.

I'd sent in a form to General Mills for a rebate on Cheerios. You had to supply a copy of the original receipt - which I did.
The receipt showed that I bought two boxes of cinnamon apple Cheerios for $5.00. Because I bought two boxes, I
sent in for two rebates. I received the checks in the mail yesterday - they sent TWO $5.00 rebates! Yahoo! Those,
plus a check from mom for $18.00, will go into the account today.

It's been a good week so far! Well, except for allergies. Ugh!

Insurance

September 27th, 2005 at 01:48 pm

Well it's getting to be that time of year again - open enrollment for medical insurance. Kevin and I are very fortunate
in that, because I'm covered on his company's medical plan, my district pays me MY medical benefit in cash on my
paycheck. We then take that money right off the top and put it into our savings account. It adds up to a nice little
chunk of change. He was paying for vision and dental insurance before we got married, but once married, I could add him
to my dental and vision for no additional charge. Yet another savings! I also buy disability insurance because my school
does not pay for disability for me. We sure were glad we had this last spring when I had to have surgery and was off
work for 6 weeks.

We both buy additional life insurance through our employers so that we get it at a group rate - so we're covered there.
The only other thing we're considering is putting money into a flex account for medical reimbursements. Does anyone
do this? The only thing I'm leary about is dedicating too much money to it. It's a use it or lose it proposition, so we'd
have to be careful about how much we put in versus how much we spend. I believe the plan also said that we could
use it to be reimbursed for co-payments, too. Does this sound correct? I'd appreciate any input that any of you have on
this subject. Thanks!

Weekend Recap

September 26th, 2005 at 01:51 pm

Boy, do I ever hate getting up on Monday morning. Once I'm at work I'm fine - it's just getting up and getting going!

This past weekend was really a nice one. We didn't end up going to the fair - we just thought it was too expensive. We
ended up spending more money than if we'd gone to the fair, but at least we have something to show for it! Kevin
has a Mervyn's card that we never use. They changed their logo, so he got a new card in the mail on Friday. Inside
with the card were 20 stickers that you could place on 20 items and receive a 20% discount - even on clearanced items.
Kevin had been talking about buying a few new things, so we decided to go to Mervyn's on Saturday and shop. Boy did
we! We ended up spending $188.00 - but for that money we bought: a pair of jeans, 5 button down shirts, 4 colored
T-shirts, a skirt for me and 3 sweaters for me. Then we went to Sears and Kevin bought a nice pair of slacks and a
lightweight jacket. We had lunch at Quiznos (coupon). We invited MIL over to dinner on Saturday night ant had a nice
visit, too. Just spaghetti - nothing fancy.

We also went to the grocery store and used another $10.00 off coupon, and many of the coupons that came in the
Grand Re-Opening coupon book. The fridge and freezer are FULL!

Stopped by mom and dad's yesterday to see the Spookytown Halloweenn village now that it's all set up. It's absolutely
adorable! They both are really pleased with it and that makes me happy. Mom said she was so glad I started Dad on this
idea because he loves it, but never would have done it on his own. We had lunch with them (just sandwiches at their
house) and visited for a while - then we came home and took naps. All in all it was a really nice weekend =)

It's payday AND Friday...

September 24th, 2005 at 01:16 am

I just love it when paydays fall on a Friday! One of those things is good...two even better =)

Well we were thinking about going to the county fair tomorrow, but I don't know. We found out that it will be $15.00
EACH just to get in the door - plus $10.00 to park. Then there's the food once you get inside. We'll probably talk more
about it tonight and then make a final decision. It just sounds so expensive to me! Forty dollars just to get us going and
probably another $25.00 or so on food. Yikes! We'll see.

Other than that, not much planned for the weekend. We'll do the usual - laundry and grocery shopping. No matter
what else I do, those two things MUST be completed on the weekend. Doing so sure makes our weekdays that much
easier. We both need to iron some things, too, so we'll probably do that.

If we don't go to the fair, maybe we'll drop by mother in law's house with dessert tomorrow night. Who knows?

Playing Catch-up

September 21st, 2005 at 01:35 am

Here I am - more days have passed and I haven't posted in a while. I've just been feeling so tired by the time I get home
that I don't even look at the computer. For the last week or so pretty much all of what I've been doing at work is
data input - all of the information from our student emergency cards. By the time I get home the last thing I want to do
is type! But I'm almost finished and things are starting to work their way into place.

This past Saturday we had our investment club meeting. I'm so glad I started that club. It's fun! And though we hven't
made a ton of money, we've all done okay - and we've all learned a lot! Which, after all, is really why I started the club
in the first place =)

We had lunch with MIL and met her new puppy on Saturday, too. It was a nice visit - and she is going to have sooo much
FUN spoiling that puppy. I'm so glad - she's needed a companion for a while - I'm happy that she has one, and I know
she is, too.

Sunday Kevin had two games (he's an umpire) - yay! Another $100.00 to the credit card. Our summer Hawaiian
vacation is nearly paid off! We'd paid for the airfare, accomodations and rental car in cash before we left, so we only used
the credit card for our excursions and a few meals - nothing too drastic. I ran errands on Sunday and went to mom and
dad's to visit. Kevin met us up there and we all had a nice Sunday dinner together. I love that! It's such a nice way to
end a weekend/start a week. I bought a few little items to take to mom and dad, too, so that was fun. I thought my
dad might enjoy starting a collection of the animated Halloween and Christmas villages. They really are cute, and he
loves that kind of stuff. I bought him a few pieces to start him on his way. He seemed to really like the idea! I bought
mom a photo holder for all of the photos we've been giving her, and a really cute wedding photo/scrapbook. The pages
are already set up in a wedding theme - all you have to do is add the stickers (which are included) and your own photos.
She loved it! I think it will be a fun thing for her to do when she finally retires completely - which she says will be next
month. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Last night I made a meatloaf - and there was so much left over that I made two 'mini' meatloves as well. That's fine
with us - we love meatloaf! We had the two minis for dinner last night and now we can have meatloaf sandwiches most
of the week. I actually like meatloaf sandwiches almost more than meatloaf the first time around -- almost. Then I got
a jump on tonight's dinner. I browned the chicken, made the sauce and added the pearl onions to the crockpot; for
tonight's dinner, all I had to do was take the crock from the fridge this morning, turn on the pot...and let it finish cooking.
It smelled so good when I got home from work today! The only other thing I did was sautee some fresh spinach to go
with it. I can hardly wait for Kevin to get home for dinner!

Time Flies!

September 16th, 2005 at 01:19 am

Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted anything since the 8th...and it's already the 14th! Where does the time go?

Last weekend we spend a lot on groceries - but we got a lot in return and actually saved a great deal of money. We were
able to use two of our $10.00 off coupons by going to two different grocery stores. Both stores are right in our neighborhood,
so we didn't go out of our way to save the extra $ (read: we didn't use up a lot of gas to save a little money). We also
went to Trader Joe's and bought coffee. It was about $40.00, but the coffee is stashed in the freezer so we're set for a
while. I know it's truly a luxury, but I just LOVE their coffee (Bay Blend) and so does Kevin. Nothing else tasts quite the
same, so we splurge on Trader Joe's. Hey, you have to have at least one vice!

The magazine drive is going on at school. I love it! Since Kevin and I are both magazineaholics, this is a wonderful
outlet for us. Because I'm an employee, we get an extra 50% discount on all magazine titles. We can both satisfy our
magazine habits for a whole lot less money...and that's a good thing!

We paid bills for the month and still (most are due on the 15th), and funded all savings vehicles...and have about $800.00
left in our checking account until next Friday...when I get paid again. I LOVE the fact that Kevin and I have alternating
pay schedules and thus, end up getting a pay check just about every week.

I'm curious to see if we will get raises this year. Money is not quite as tight at the district as it has been...and last year
we still got an increase. We usually begin to hear rumblings either way by mid-October, so I won't have too long to
wait. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

I'm exhausted

September 9th, 2005 at 02:35 am

Man, every year I forget how tiring the start of school really is. The kids started yesterday. I'm supposed to start work
at 7:30 a.m., but I got there a bit early yesterday to get ready - I figured we'd be busy. That's an understatement!!
By 7:30 I had a LINE of people out the door and the phones ringing off the hook. There were supposed to be two others
in the office with me at 7:30 and no one showed up until 8:00! By then there had to have been at least 100 people
standing in line, phones still ringing off the hook...and I thought I'd tear my hair out. Somewhere along the way we
dealt with everyone and by 10:00 a.m., things were fairly calm. Boy, do I HATE that! It's so stressful. I was so tired
by the time I got home, we decided to go out for Mexican food...and I had 1 1/2 margaritas. They were good at the time,
but I woke up with the worst headache. Oh well. We ended up spending $32.00 - which I hate, but at the time I felt
it was worth it.

Well tomorrow is payday - and Friday. Yahoo! I love it when they both fall on the same day =) It should be a fairly
calm weekend. We have laundry and grocery shopping to do. I have more $10.00 off coupons that I got in the mail
this week. I just love those! I'm going to start buying our extra grocery gift cards this Saturday. I'll just put them in a
nice, safe place until we need them next summer. We also need to go to Trader Joe's for more coffee. On Sunday we
have our final tickets of the season to the Dodger game. We're going with sister and family, and I know it will be fun.
Dad bought these tickets for us - and they include hot dogs, drinks and parking. We might spend about $5.00 on
frozen lemonade, but that will be about it.

I got confirmation emails that me free cereal rebate checks are being processed. Yay!

I also want to buy the chef's knife for Debbie this weekend. Well, that is I'll order the knife. I don't need it until
Christmas anyway, so it will be here way before then.

I love Mondays! ...when it's a holiday

September 5th, 2005 at 04:25 pm

Well we finished working on cleaning out the cellar and restocking our emergency supplies. I'd like to get more water to
put down there, but other than that, everything is set. Smart and Final is having a sale - buy 1 case of water, get 2 free.
I think we will stop by there later today and pick that up. It made both of us feel better knowing that everything was
re-freshed and available to us in an emergency. We have canned goods stored on a metal shelving unit and other things
(medical supplies, candles, batteries, matches, tools, gloves and 'soft' foods) stored in big plastic bins. I think at this point,
we're as ready as we can be...I just hope we never have to use those items...because that would mean there was a
major emergency.

Yesterday we relaxed. Later in the day we went to mom and dad's for an end of summer swim a BBQ steak dinner. We
had a nice time...and the steaks were delicious! I ate every morsel of mine =) Mom also insisted that we take some of
the dessert home - angel food cake iced with real whipped cream and strawberries. Sounds good to us! We were all
supposed to go to lunch today - MIL, Brian, Amanda, Kevin and myself - so we thought we'd take this cake to share.
Well, as always, plans changed...now they're all coming here for lunch. Oh well, at least they're bringing lunch...we'll
still supply the cake for dessert.

School actually starts on Wednesday, but due to massive scheduling changes, tomorrow will be another horrendously
busy day. I can't wait for school to start...at least then things can begin to settle down and get back to normal!

Working around the house

September 3rd, 2005 at 04:25 pm

Well I worked around the house yesterday on my last Friday off. It was great! I did spend a bit of money that probably
wasn't 'necessary', but it was for around the house and we will use everything, so I don't feel too badly about it. I had
a fun day accomplishing all I did - vacuuming, all laundry, meal planning, coupons, grocery store, Target and Big Lots,
cleaned kitchen well and changed all the cupboard and drawer knobs...it was fun! But I sure was tired by the time I
finished everything.

One of the things I bought yesterday at Target was a radio for our emergency supply area. I realized I didn't have one!
That wouldn't be good - we would definitely need to have information, so I found and inexpensive radio at Target - it
was only $9.99 - and will stash it with fresh batteries down in the cellar with all of the other emergency items. I am
going to go through those items this weekend and actually make a list of what we have -- so I can better determine what
we still need.

I did pretty well at the grocery store - buying items with my loyalty card, using manufacturers coupons and my $10.00
off coupon, I ended up saving $43.00! I think that's pretty good. I didn't end up buying my stock ups for emergencies
yesterday because I hadn't gone through our supplies yet. However, since I'm doing that this weekend, I'm going to
make my list and then stock up either Monday or next weekend.

We were thinking of going to a museum today, but decided to scrap that idea. It would be $10.00 a piece for the admission,
$6.00 to park, plus the gas to get there. We decided to scrap that adventure for today and save the $.

4-Day Weekend!

September 2nd, 2005 at 03:40 am

Man am I ever glad that I have a 4-day weekend. Work has been so busy the last few weeks that I am exhausted! This
will be our last Friday off, but that's okay - I'm so grateful that during non-school times (after school is out in June and
before it starts in September), we have Fridays off.

Eventhough it was a busy day, it was a good one, too. We had our first faculty meeting of the year - which went well. I
had contacted our local Mimi's restaurant and they made a donation of 3 dozen muffins. Our local Trader Joe's also made
a donation of fresh fruit - we had plenty and then some! In fact, since there is a 4-day weekend, those of us in the office
split up the muffins and some of the fruit that wouldn't last the weekend...and I brought home 4 HUGE muffins, 2 plums,
2 nectarines, 2 bananas and 2 Asian pears. Yummy! Breakfast for several days! Then the district had it's annual
welcome back BBQ and benefits fair. We went to that and had BB'd hamburgers, chips, drinks and brownies for lunch - for
free =) Then we visited the vendors at the benefits fair and picked up information and freebies. One of the offerings at
the fair today was a 10 minute massage. Mercy - it was wonderful. However, I must say - I've been so busy and stressed
that the therapist really did a number on me...and all afternoon and evening I've felt like a limp dishrag! I can hardly
wait to hit my pillow - which I'll be doing very soon!

Then, this evening a neighbor came to my door and asked if he could trade some of the lemons on our tree for some of
the apples on his tree -- and I said of course!! Our fruit bowl runneth over. lol

Tomorrow I want to get all of the laundry done as well as the grocery shopping. I'll be using another $10.00 off coupon -
and with all of the rises in gas prices, I'm going to allow about $25.00 extra or so for some stocking up. I'm also going
to check the stock of things that we have in the cellar and replace emergency batteries and check all emergency supplies
down there to make sure that it's ready to go in case we need it. Not that I'm anticipating we will, but then again in
earthquake country, you just never know.

We've decided that, on Saturday, we're going to make a pilgrimage to the old Ambassador hotel. It's been slated for
demolition, but there has been a group that's been fighting it; they gave up the ghost this past week and they are going
to go ahead and begin the demolition. We'd like to get some last photographs before that happens. What a shame that
it will be torn down - sad though it is, it has historical significance that will be ashame to lose, but there you have it
- progress I suppose.