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Archive for June, 2008

Another NSD and Temp Jobs for the Week Ahead

June 29th, 2008 at 04:48 pm

I didn't spend any money today. I also didn't cook any "new" meals. I'm trying to clear the refrigerator of leftovers.
The children and I are leaving Wednesday night to go to my sister and BIL's cabin until the weekend and I don't want to waste the food that was already prepared.

Since I am off this week at my full-time job because the office is closed, I am working M-W doing temp jobs in two different offices. I will be getting a week paid vacation from my regular job plus extra from the 3 temp jobs. I plan to just put the extra money in my savings account. It makes it easier for me to relax knowing I added a bit more to my "cushion". It seems I always have and always will have difficulty justifying taking long vacations!! I feel like I should work a lot since I don't get any financial support from my children's father. I'm trying to compensate for the portion that I was receiving per month due to his disability.

This should be a fairly low cost trip since lodging will be free. I just need to allow gas and grocery money for vacation.

Lowest Electric Bill in Two Years!!!

June 29th, 2008 at 09:49 am

I received my electric bill this week and was pleasantly surprised that it was only $53.96!!! My average monthly bill for the last two years has been $105. Generally my usage in the summer is much less than in the winter. I have electric baseboard heat and in the winter the bill is often over $200 a month.

I am on the time of day plan with my electric company. I have on-peak hours from 9 am to 9 pm and off-peak hours from 9 pm to 9 am. In addition, weekends are off-peak hours as well. The cost for the off-peak usage is considerably less than for on-peak. For June we used 81% off-peak and 19% on-peak. I have always been careful to run the dishwasher and washer/dryer during off-peak times. I try to encourage the children to conserve energy too (by turning off lights/TV/appliances when not in use). In most cases, I don't allow the air conditioners to be on until after 9 pm. We just run the whole house fan with the windows open for a nice breeze.

I've taken ImaSaver's suggestion and have turned the hot water heater off occasionally when it is not needed. I also set the temperature for hot water at 90 degrees instead of 120 degrees. Also, I have turned the computer completely off much more than I have in the past.

I'm able to see that my efforts have been paying off in a big way and I like the decreased numbers I'm seeing on the electric bill!!!

Anyone have any other suggestions for helping me to lower my electric bill even further?

Interview and Citibank Reward Check

June 28th, 2008 at 03:08 pm

In last Sunday's newspaper I saw a help wanted ad that I responded to by faxing my resume on Wednesday. It is a position for Saturdays only, which is what I'm currently interested in. I received a phone call that same day asking if I could come in for an interview. So I set it up for this morning. Right now I'm working 2 Saturdays/month in an office separate from my full-time position. I either want to supplement that by working 1 more Saturday/month or quit the other job since the pay would be much better in the nearby state where I recently got licensed. Anyway, the commute is 70 miles as opposed to 20, but the pay range is $10-15/hr. more there. I'm thinking even with the rise in gas prices, it may be worthwhile to pursue working in the metro area since I have an economical vehicle (Honda Civic). So the interview went well, and she said it is difficult to find people in the field to work Saturdays. She gave me a tour of the office and introduced me to the staff. She said she would call me back in the beginning of next week to see if my current Saturday schedule would work with when they have an availability. So we will see what happens.

Yesterday, I received a Citibank Reward Check for $63.54. Today I got a TMF Refund from Organix Shampoo for $6.99. I will add both of those to my savings account.

It has been difficult tracking my expenses/income this month (since I've never accounted for every cent), but it's almost the end of the month and it wasn't too bad once I got into the habit of it. Hopefully I can formulate a doable budget since I have a better idea of where all of my money has gone!!

Well, have a great weekend everyone!!

NSD and Global Test Market

June 17th, 2008 at 04:51 am

Yesterday, I had another NSD. I also requested a $10 check from doing surveys with Global Test Market since I earned 1000 points.

Have a great day everyone!

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad

June 15th, 2008 at 01:46 pm

Today I went to a family reunion. I made this salad to take along:

Corn, Avocado, and Tomato Salad


2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 c. corn kernels
1 1/2 c. avocado, diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 c. red onion, finely diced

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Add the corn, avocado, tomatoes, and onion and toss to mix. Serve at room temperature. Serves 4-6. This can also be served with tortilla chips.

This recipe was a hit at the picnic. I have never made it before, but I will make it soon again. It was tasty!!

They also had an auction where you can take wrapped, used or new items. The money then gets donated to the fund so that we can continue to have a family reunion to purchase ice cream, paper plates, napkins, cups, etc., as well as games for the children. I was able to get rid of a few items and reduce the clutter in my house.

It was a fun day!


Texas Roadhouse and NSD

June 9th, 2008 at 03:25 pm

Last night, I went to Texas Roadhouse to do a mystery shop. I will get $35 reimbursement for the meal, which was $41.50. So $6.50 cost for a meal for 2 people.

Today, I had another NSD.

Have a great evening!

Trying not to use the A/C

June 7th, 2008 at 03:14 pm

Even though it is very hot/humid here--93 degrees--I do not want to turn on the A/C. I have a whole house fan which is on and I have the windows open with the mini-blinds closed.

I got a refund check in the mail for $3.69 for Land O Lakes Butter and I had another NSD. I will add the check to my savings.

I did some yard work earlier and now I'm going to see how much money I spent this week, since this is the first week I have actually tracked all of my expenses.

May Gas Expenses

June 7th, 2008 at 08:29 am

For the month of May, I spent $139 in gasoline for both of my vehicles. It is easier for me to track now that each time I buy gas it goes on the Discover Open Road CC so that I earn 5% cash back bonus, which of course, I pay in full each month.

Both of my vehicles, a Ford Escort SW and a Honda Civic, get 30+ mpg. While I don't think the expenses for May are unreasonable, I do realize that probably a few months to a year ago I spent under half of this amount. My M-F job commute is 8 miles one way and the Saturday job 2X/month is 14 miles one way.

I do know that since gas prices are approaching $4/gal. in my area, I have been extra frugal with my driving practices. I try to not make any unnecessary trips and run my errands on my commute to or from work. I also have decreased the speed at which I drive the vehicles. In addition, I follow the recommendations for oil changes and air filter replacement more closely.

Have a great weekend!

Telephone Call

June 6th, 2008 at 03:21 pm

I'm been having problems every few months with my landline phone service. Usually the problem is something on the exterior of my house with the telephone wiring. The technicians supposedly fix it, then in a few weeks I have the same problem again. The issue is either I don't have a dial tone to make outgoing calls or I can't receive incoming calls. When I try to call in to my phone it connects and turns to a static sound. It doesn't even ring.

Anyway, the beginning of May, I had this exact same problem all over again. Verizon had sent out a service technician to determine if the problem was an external or internal problem. Well they ran a test on the line and it came up that there was a short somewhere. The box outside my house checked out fine, so the technician said he would have to set up an appointment so that I could be home to let him inside so he could check the wiring. Since I don't have an inside maintainence plan on my account (which is $5.99 extra/month), I would be charged $90/hour for them to determine/fix the problem. I did have a Saturday appointment set up for a few weeks ago, and the service technician never showed up. I called the repair center, and apparently someone made an error, since I was told that there are no technicians available in my area code for Saturday appts. Ugh!!

My problem is I didn't want to take off work on a weekday to get this resolved. I guess I really don't have a choice now.

Anyway since emails have gone unanswered, yesterday during lunch I called Verizon again to discuss some of these ongoing issues. When I received my latest bill, there was a charge for the service technician visit for the exterior of $61.50. Now when I scheduled this appt. the technician was fully aware that I would not be home to let him inside, should he need access to the interior wiring. Many times technicians have come out to do work at the outside box and I was never charged a penny. I explained this to the rep and she said, "well, they needed to come inside since they determined the problem was not something on the outside". Anyway, I demanded a refund of the $61.50. So the rep compromised and gave me a credit of $30.75.

She proceeded to tell me that the service technician closed out the repair order and the computer stated that the issue was resolved. WHAT???? If he determined that the problem was in the inside and there is no documentation that an appointment was made to gain access to the house, then I think it is safe to say that the problem with my lack of dial tone/inability to make incoming/outgoing calls is still existent. Within the last week, I decided to add the inside wire maintainence plan to my account, thinking it would pay for itself since this problem is recurring every few months. Since the phone company claims they were not aware I was still having a problem (even though they don't have record of repairing my line), I will not get credit for several weeks of no phone service. In addition, even though I now have this service plan and I report now that I have these same problems, it would not be covered under this plan because it is a pre-existing problem!!!! I asked how it could be pre-existing if the original repair order was closed and stated as resolved by the technician.

Well, needless to say I left the rep know that after Verizon comes out to repair the inside line, I will be shopping around for other phone service. She said, "well I can forward you to a supervisor because we certainly don't want to lose you as a customer". I declined and told her I have had too many issues with them and would most definitely be closing my account with Verizon. I'm just not happy with them and they aren't very accommodating/customer friendly.

So now I'm not sure what company I want to go with. I currently have internet with Verizon which is working perfectly. I was researching doing cable, phone, and internet, but those packages are fairly expensive. Does anyone have any ideas about Vonage for phone service??

Survey Income

June 6th, 2008 at 08:52 am

I received 2 checks in the mail today totaling $9 from American Consumer Opinion Panel. I will add that to my savings account.

Have a great day everyone!

Another NSD

June 5th, 2008 at 07:41 pm

Despite the fact that my co-workers invited me to go to Walmart with them over lunch break, I declined the offer. I didn't want to end up buying a bunch of stuff I don't need. So, I managed to have another NSD!

Reimbursement and Rebate Checks

June 4th, 2008 at 08:03 pm

Today, I got three checks in the mail. One was a mystery shopping reimbursement + shopper's fee for a breakfast assignment at a local restaurant-$10.89. Another was an A & H Plus Oxiclean Guarantee-$8.24, plus April Walgreen's Easy Saver-$4.99. I will add a total of $24.12 to my savings account.

NSD, and $5 Amazon Gift Certificate

June 3rd, 2008 at 06:57 pm

Today, I had a NSD. I received a $5 gift certificate from Baker St Solutions Panel for doing an online survey. Now I have accumulated $15 of these Amazon gcs.

I've been thinking about purchasing a carpet shampooer...maybe from Amazon with the gcs. I was researching different brands and reading reviews a few days ago. It looks like the Bissell 9200 Proheat model would be a good one. Just wondering if anyone has any ideas on which brand would be best.

Have a great night everyone!

Rite Aid Deals and Rita's

June 2nd, 2008 at 07:34 pm

I went to Rite Aid today and got A & H Laundry Detergent 100 oz., which was B1G1F. The regular price is $5.99 each. Each bottle also had a $2 coupon on it. So I got 2 bottles for $3.99. I also purchased Samy i style hair styler for $4.49 which will be FAR.

After that, I did a Rita's Italian Ice mystery shop. Next week, I have a Texas Roadhouse mystery shop to complete.

I ran these errands after I ate lunch that I brought to work. Some days I can't stand to sit in the lunch room and listen to all the co-workers issues for a whole hour. It overwhelms me!!

Keeping Track of Expenses

June 1st, 2008 at 06:48 pm

Even though I am aware of my largest expenses each month, I need to be better at finding out where ALL of my money is going on a monthly basis. So starting with June, I'm going to record each time I spend money and what category (groceries, medical, entertainment, etc.) it goes into so that I can actually have a written budget instead of mentally trying to control my finances. This way I will be able to see where I could save even more money each month.

I've decided I need to change my spending habits for several reasons:

~rising gasoline/food prices
~non-reimbursed divorce attorney fees
ex-husband has not paid
~currently not getting child support
effective April 2008 (loss of over
$500/month)

Since I am now licensed in a state nearby (since the hourly rate is significantly higher than in the state where I reside), I am on the list at a medical temp agency should they have any Saturday openings. So I'm trying to increase my income to compensate for being 100% financially responsible for my children.

I'm really excited about tracking my income/expenses as it should be an eye-opener!!