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Home > Archive: February, 2014

Archive for February, 2014

Progress, School, Freebies

February 26th, 2014 at 05:49 am

Well, since I've left my funk behind I've been to the Y seven consecutive days in a row and averaged 3 miles each. I was sick yesterday and limped along with a 9:40 minute mile. I'm going to run a 5K for a charity I like to support on May 18. I am seeing the benefit of having goals and like the sense of feeling of accomplishment.

I am returning to school. I have a Masters in Science of Clinical Psychology which I haven't done much with in the past. I've become involved in a group of survivors of spiritually abusive childhoods, and have decided to move in that direction as far as a specialty. I'm taking three classes the quarter that starts 3/31 (ending 6/6). I'll be taking Intro to Pastoral Care, Pastoral Ethics, and Sexual Ethics and the Family. I'll be at a seminary very close to home.

What this means for my family is: my oldest daughter is getting her license. The kids will be in charge of Mondays, getting homework done, dinner on the table, and then to various activities. Thankfully everything is in a 1 mile radius. It will be an interesting exercise and I'm very anxious to see what doors are opened for me by this move.

Well, since we've got a large family (and I think perceived as being in the modest income range) we always get the left over from parish functions. My husband was a chaperone with the Scouts this weekend at a water park in the Wisconsin Dells. We ended up with 20 snack size bags of chips, 48 water bottles, 30 juice boxes. Then we got a call from our friend (the other chaperone) that we didn't get the deli items. 3# of ham, 1.5# of turkey, and 1.5# of roast beef. Sandwiches are on the menu for the rest of the week.

And I was shopping with my parents yesterday and they bought me a new winter coat (white wool for warmer weather). A $200 Liz Claiborne down to $29.97. I would have purchased it for myself, but my mom said to consider it an Easter gift. I'm doing much better accepting help and gifts. Smile

It is freezing here in the Midwest. With more snow predicted. Tired of this!

February Update - Part II

February 22nd, 2014 at 05:03 pm

Since I've spent less time worrying about money, replaced that worry with better management, I've had more time to deal with other things.

I'm down 8# and 4#s away from the 120s. I've clocked 11.75 miles after four consecutive days at the Y.

And I went out for dinner tonight with my best friend. (Even that relationship is doing much better, though I did need to take a break, but this time I actually told here where I was coming from and how the relationship was making me feel). Anyhow, I ate at a Mediterranean restaurant and spent $8.65. And I drank water.

So, all continues to remain good!

February Update

February 22nd, 2014 at 05:37 am

Looking back at my last post: my couch cost $104 at Goodwill. I couldn't be more pleased with it, and I'm rearranging what I have to pull in a more cohesive look.

Financially speaking,
* Paid $6,000 to prepay property taxes on primary residence
* Paid March's mortgage, so next payment due 4/15

I was going to take care of a bunch of extraneous stuff, but those are smaller and can be taken care of in dribs and drabs and have open-ended due dates.

DH is still in the job from hell, but we are actively looking for a different position. He's put out two resumes for jobs he'd like (one further away, but smaller start-up) and one at a hospital he could commute to by train. The job I was interested in was taken and they asked if I was interested in full-time, not at this point. He's told his boss that wants out as soon as possible. His work is almost done (creating the model that implemented budget from old company to new company). We know that his school schedule for the fall will be M and Th 7:30-9:30 and his courses are easier to begin with (Old Testament, and New Testament)

My younger daughter hasn't been happy at the present high school. She shadowed at her other alternative and was quite positive about it. She'll be trying out for the dance team there in June and I know what the costs will be for that. We're holding off on a custom solo dress for her, older daughter is in the process of designing one. I had concerns about funding, but we paid top dollar for Siope Rince out of Ireland that they tend to hold their value. I will be able to cover the expenses after the sale of these two (but they need to wear them through St. Patrick's Day). Til then it is $100/month. It helps to work with a friend. Smile

We've said no to some things lately just because of the budget. My I-don't-love-to-read son will NOT be joining the after school book club at $75 for a six hour program. My oldest son won't be running track with the 6th grade. He already plays soccer (all my boys do, and that is it). We skipped a $250 horseback riding camp for the Scout. My oldest daughter is fine about work study in the summer to defray school tuition next fall. She's also looking to drilling in Irish Dance to help defray the cost of a mission trip with the school.

I've moved past perseverating on every dollar and am making wiser choices. I'm shopping more often for less items (maybe not wiser with my time, but I am finding that a purpose and plan do propel one forward). I find that "the list" concept is working for my family.

Money tidbits, in closing, "found" $46 that DH and I left in two American Express Accounts when they were Money Exchange. Made $160 dog sitting for my brother, and then used those funds for a weekend waterpark excursion for oldest son and DH with the Scouts.

So, that is it - in a nutshell. Off to catch up on the blogs, and hope that all is well with all!

Out with the old, In with the new; or How much did I pay?

February 7th, 2014 at 05:24 am

Well, my "worrying about money" mentality, was followed by a "poor me, I dislike my home décor." I had the envy bug after seeing one friend's brand new paint/carpet/living room suite and another friend's kitchen redo with new granite counters and backsplashes and article of furniture from Target that I liked. After the "How will I feed my family?" quandary (self-imposed, of course), I was a bit begrudging on having to love what I have for the next long while. DH and I already discussed less expensive alternatives to new matresses, like a $200 mattress topper from Kohl's with the new chilling technology (down from $399 or $499).

About my current living room: I've been in my house ten years now. We went from 900 square feet to 2,450 square feet with little to no furniture. I ended up with a collection of expensive, impractical oddities that didn't work in my biological father's English-inspired estate. Below is what has been in my living room and I have never liked it. It has inspired some interesting conversations. No, we are not Buddhist, we are devout Roman Catholics. No, we are not recreational hookah smokers. Etc.

Here is the item:

Wednesday I decided to drop off some donations at Goodwill. I fell in love with the sofa below. It was someone's custom selection from Walter E. Smythe, an upper end furniture place here in suburban Chicago. Loved everything about it. My donation got me a 30% off coupon, so I bought the sofa. And here it is.

How much do you think I paid for it?

Generosity and paying it forward

February 2nd, 2014 at 07:56 am

Our whole world essentially knows that we are on the brink of unemployment. We've gotten lots of prayers and some job opportunities forwarded to us, plus requests for resumes. And since we've been (sort of) reunited with biological father, he offered to pay our insurance once we're fourteen weeks out of last date and severance has ended. It's not quite so nerve-wracking, but scary nonetheless.

Yesterday one of our friends through Scouting gave DH a big bag of winter ware items that their sons outgrew: gloves, wool socks, etc. We'll be able to use all of it.

DH was a kitchen helper at the Klondike for the Scouts yesterday and brought home two huge Ziploc baggies of chili leftovers from lunch. We've got enough of the mild chili for two dinners and four lunches for DH. We ended up giving the hot/spicy chili to my stepdad. We had a lot of snow and stepdad said if DH picked up the snowblower at my parents' house, he'd be able to use it for our driveway and our rental unit (long story, single mother moved in five years ago and DH does the lawn and shovels for her). So in 45 minutes he ended up with both properties done and shoveled.

So, I'm thinking that I'll bake some muffins tomorrow to share with our hand-me-down giving friend, and cornbread muffins to go with the chili for us and my parents.

Feeling pretty content with the circle I have. Smile

And so the money wheel turns

February 1st, 2014 at 03:48 pm

I left January very determined to make the most of February, financially speaking. I declared it a low-spend month, buying only what was needed, keeping a judicious eye on the grocery spending that seems to be creeping up, etc.

I was unhappy to see that oldest son was in need of a new winter coat, one specifically designed for cold weather wear. I managed to miss this point because he wears a sweatshirt and fleece winter wear (North Face) to school because he doesn't have recess and is only in and out of car or bus and the building. Well, the Klondike for the BoyScouts was today. I bought the prerequisite long underwear for $8.97 at Walmart, and didn't balk at that.

However, when he put his normal winter coat on it wasn't going to work. Too short in the sleeves and not covering him butt (though he had snowpants). I had to agree it was woefully inadequate. Off we trudged to Kohl's with my $100 bill for suitable wear. At least we found a Columbia wind chill resistant jacket in the next size up that he could wear for the next two years. Cost $55. I was very enthusiastic about size and color and the fact he can use next year.

I got $10 Kohls dollars at checkout. I was happy about that.

Our tenant paid $70 extra toward her shortened rent payment on the 15th. I came out better than even and went to the bank today to get another $100.

I was one happy shopper and saver. Smile