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Archive for May, 2008

Its Starting to Feel Real

May 29th, 2008 at 07:17 pm

I stopped at the lawyers office and picked up my payoff for the house. Of course, I immediately went to the bank to open a money market account and deposit the check. It made it all seem so real.

I also stopped by my insurance agent's office to cancel the umbrella policy. I really like my agent, but I am seriously considering shopping around for a better price. That also feels weird since I've been with this company for 27 years.

I feel like I'm living the poem by Robert Frost "The Road Not Taken". So many possible roads. I want to live deliberately.

At the gas station, I looked down and there was a credit card. No, not mine. I deliberated on what to do and decided to just call the 800 number on the back and report it lost or is that found. They told me they would notify the card holder and would I please use scissors to cut the card up. I went one better and put it through the shredder.

The plan is to be completely moved out on Saturday, but it might take til Sunday. That will drive the ex crazy. The agreement gives me until midnight Sunday. He told me he's moving all his stuff in on Friday(before I'm out), I said no way. Give the man an inch and he goes several miles. I should never have told him he could move a few boxes into an empty room when he asked two weeks ago.

Saturday is going to be a long day.

Sneering at Coupons

May 28th, 2008 at 06:49 pm

A long time ago I realized its not just how much you make, but how much of what you make that you keep. Obviously, there is a minimum amount necessary and that varies by where you live. But, regardless, if you make $75,000 and spend $75,000 or more you will have problems sooner or later.

I take advantage of offers by businesses to maximize my savings. I try to use coupons and sales to get the best deal. A recent example is a local gas station with really good pizza offered a free cheese pizza with a coupon from Valpak, no purchase necessary. I thought it would be a personal size, but no, it was at least a 12". Delicious!

I have been getting alot of things free or close to it with a combination of coupons and CVS ecbs. A couple of times in the last month indivduals have all but accused me of stealing from the stores/restaurants. In both cases, the people have been men. Is this a coincidence, I don't know, I suppose it doesn't matter, just an observation.

The first person was listening in on a conversation I was having with someone else. We were discussing using the gift certificates at Restaurant.com. He sneered, stating that we were cheating the restaurant. The discussion was about which restaurants we had used in the program. The second time I was talking to my exhusband, so the sneer wasn't a total surprise but he used to love my saving money with coupons, so it was a little surprising. With my ex, I mentioned that I was using a coupon to get a $25 gift card at CVS for filling a new prescription with them.

Why would someone think that using coupons within the rules of the business or manufacturer is stealing? And, to be honest, what right does someone have to accuse me/us of stealing? I was shocked by the first person, because I thought he liked both of us. My ex wasn't a big surprise because when in a mood, anything can spew out of his mouth.

If others choose not to use coupons or take advantage of special offers by businesses, thats fine. But, I don't want to be accused of stealing or taking advantage of a business because I use a coupon or look for a sale. I usually don't discuss my coupon use with alot of other people, just family and a few others I know who use coupon/sales.

Has anyone else had an experience like this?

An Unexpected Pay Raise

May 26th, 2008 at 07:02 am

Next fall I will get two raises in pay. One is a step increase. The second is a cost of living. The two amount to about 6%. This is a surprise to me. The way the county and state are posturing I though they would not only not give out the COL but maybe even freeze the step increase. Every school is going to lose teachers, the question is how many. Class size is expected to rise quite a bit. No one should lose their job due to the huge number of teachers retiring. A few might have to transfer, but thats it(but that happens every year).

The step and COL raises plus moving closer to work might make up for the inflation thats hitting so hard. Soon I have to make some decisions that will impact my monthly costs.

I am going to have to choose between landline and cell. For the internet: no home service, dail-up service or high speed service. I could use the library high speed for one hour a day or library wifi unlimited if I purchase a laptop with wifi. No wifi at home just in the community.

It makes my head spin round and round. For now I am going to just use my cell phone and when school gets out for summer, switch to the library for internet until I decide.

Shopping at CVS & Misc.

May 25th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Whine, whine, whine! I hate when I plan carefully and things don't work out as planned. Part of it is my fault. I decided to change the plan and buy 2 diet pepsi get 2 diet pepsi free. Then I get to the register and the young lady who is either still in HS or just out doesn't understand coupons and messes the deal up. The order has to be cancelled and rerung with a manager. I was patient but I could tell the folks behind me where losing theirs. The manager opened a new line for everyone else and helped the clerk through the order.

The manager was patient, courteous and respectful of customers and clerk alike. When 3 of my coupons that should have worked didn't she said you've been so patient with us we can wait if you want to go to your car to get the other coupons to try. Well, I had to say thanks and yes. So off I went out to my car and got the new coupons. Usually, I bring them all in the store with me, but not today (of course). So it was a frustrating visit, but productive. Even though I couldn't use the $2 off and had to use the $1 off, I still got $31 worth of items for $2.86 including tax. The other part that irritated me believe it or not was that I should have given the clerk an ECB for $1 and I didn't because I was off-balance.

(3) Revlon Nail Polish
(4) 2L Diet Pepsi
(1) Excedrin PM
(2) Addidas deodorant
= 31.10 + tax
mfQ 4.99+4.99+1+1+1+1.99=14.97
CVS +5/25
B1G1F 1.79+1.79
ecbs earned $18.98

Still a good deal but if I had used the 1 ecb then my oop would have been $1.75. I bought 2 All of You magazines at Walmart last week for a cost of 4.50 to get the Addidas coupons. There are alot of other coupons in there so they will bring the cost down even more but I basically spent 4.50 to get 9.98 ecbs.

I am moving my outdoor furniture and 14 boxes today. I'm thinking 2 pick-up truck loads. All I will have left is the kitchen and my bedroom furniture and some items in the shed. I'm thinking 12 more boxes will do the kitchen, maybe less. I will move all of that a little at a time next week.

Its an incredibly beautiful day here. Across the street, the neighbors are set up for a garden wedding for 60-70 people. Everyone looks wonderful in their casual but elegant clothing. Even the guy who showed up on his motorcycle in a suit. LOL.

If I wasn't moving I'd be out in the hammock enjoying the weather and view. I think I won't move the hammock today and get in it when I finish moving.

Housing Update

May 24th, 2008 at 09:57 am

My ex went to settlement to refinance for the buy out and on Thursday, May 29, I can pick up my check and LOL his check. Some things never change. I called to ask if the settlement had actually happened and he said "Yes, and when you get your check would you pick up mine and give it to me later? No sense in us both driving over there." I'm surprised he didn't ask me to stop by his bank and deposit it for him also. We both still bank at the same bank. Good thing he doesn't read this blog or he would ask me. I don't mind picking up the check, but the sad thing is he would never do the same for me. Such is life, there are givers and takers. I had become so conditioned to giving and trying to make things right for him that when he would call me at work wanting something, my co-workers would mouth or say "stop giving", it was a reminder that I'm not married to him anymore and that I need to protect and look after my own interests as they are no longer the same as his.

Habits are hard to break.

Next week, I have to take my name off the electric bill, cancel cable, cancel vonage, and pack the kitchen up. My apartment will not be ready until after June 14. I also have to decide what to do with the money from settlement. I think I will leave it in money market accounts until sometime in July. There is to much going on to make any decisions right now.

To top it off I have picked up bronchitis and some kind of viral asthma. I can't breathe in and I can't breathe out. Very inconvenient and sometimes scary. My mom says its the result of stress and she is probably right. The doctor gave me an albuterol inhaler but it was only working for 2-2.5 hrs so the doctor put me on prednisone also. Of course, as soon as I feel the medicine working I pack a box or two and then I am exhausted and rest for an hour or so, only to do it all over again after resting. Stupid, considering my family has offered to come over and pack for me. I guess I just feel they are already doing so much for me.

I am blessed with the best, most supportive family in the world.

Routine In Times of Stress

May 19th, 2008 at 06:30 am

Well, its official. The teacher I work with is moving. Her husband starts his new job in 3 weeks. She will start interviewing for a job on June 12, the release date for available jobs. She probably won't have a problem because her teaching specialty is special education. They have put in a contract on a house. I truly want this for her. Yet, it is stressful for me on top of my move.

My ex called to say that since the appraisal was done 3-4 months ago, even though it was done by an appraiser the bank uses, it is to old. How do you spell RIP OFF? According to Zillow, houses in my area have actually gone up in the last month. This area actually went up 7% last year in a down market. I don't know how my ex can settle on May 23 if the appraiser is coming today to look at the house. For me this is not as big a deal because my apartment won't be ready for another month. I am going to have to live around the construction. But my ex has already given notice. He has said his land lady is flexible, but I bet she won't be when her next tenant wants to move in. My ex is trying to pressure me to move out before settlement. Since he hasn't abided by the terms he agreed to in the divorce, I certainly don't trust him to follow thru now and no way will I let him move in here with me while the paperwork is being done.

I seem to have alot of the major stressors going right now. Moving, child leaving the nest, dealing with my ex (who showed up on my doorstep at 6:38am yesterday to see our son without prior arrangement, he was in the neighborhood, he lives 20-25 minutes away and I live 2.5 miles out on a dead end road), and now I will have to break in a new teacher next year or be broken in myself. I just want to hide my head in the sand.

I can feel myself wanting to cling to a routine. Routine makes me feel sane in an insane world. I suppose it is a rebellion against to much change to fast.

Trying Not to Judge

May 17th, 2008 at 03:39 pm

A co-worker is in Florida right now looking at homes and information seeking for jobs. We are good friends. Should she move I will miss her terribly and definitely visit her.

She called me from Florida and we chatted for a while. I was really disappointed when she told me she is getting a tatoo while down there for a cost of $200. Her husband is getting one also. They are deeply in debt, have almost no downpayment for a house, and live in a basement apartment in her parents house with her 5 and 7 year old children. They have lived there for 5 years. She says they want a home of their own, yet they spend every penny they make. They make more than enough to pay off their debts.

I wanted to say "Are you crazy? You need that money for a down payment, you already have a tatoo." I held my tongue and just said "It sounds like you are having a lot of fun." As her friend I felt torn between just accepting her as she is and wanting to tell her my true thoughts.

Bottom line is she is smart enough to know she is spending money that should go toward a home of her own. I can't change her, I can only be her friend, she is on her own learning curve, I need to accept that. But as her friend, should I tell her what I think? Guess it shows I'm just itching to express myself. Its not like she asked my opinion, she just shared her plans.

I guess I should just focus on my stuff and finish packing more boxes.

Should I ....

May 15th, 2008 at 07:23 pm

Should I collect money owed to me by my 17 year old? My son has owes me alot of money. Well alot to my way of thinking. About $3,000 It breaks down this way:

900 car insurance
550 cell phone overages
130 medical
600 tires
240 car repairs
600-900 damage to the truck

Everything but the damage to the truck and medical are expenses he had agreed to pay previously.

I want him to pay the medical because it was due to his negligence and disobedience. He wears contacts and even after repeated reminders and requests to takes them out at night, he doesn't and he wears them longer during the day than he should. So when we went to eye doctor because he thought he needed stronger lens, the doctor told him his prescription is fine its the way he is wearing his contacts. I feel he will learn the lesson better if he has to pay for this mistake.

The reason he is to pay for the truck is his attitude toward the damage he did. You don't damage someones vehicle and expect no consequences. If I thought he felt bad about the damage or he had offered to pay for it, I would have given him a pass on the repairs. So once again, many folks only learn from the pain of paying for their mistakes.

He only attends high school 1/2 day and the agreement was that if he didn't participate in any high school activities he would get a job for the other 1/2 of the day. If he was active at school I would pay his car insurance and entertainment expenses. He has only worked as a day labor worker for neighbors on a very part time basis. He has only made half hearted attempts to find a job saying "its my senior year why should I work?" My response is that this is what was agreed to at the beginning of the year. I don't believe teens should just lay around the house and to much time on their hands invites trouble.

The money is available in an investment account, so I'm seriously considering taking it out to pay these debts. My mother said I should definitely do it as it is the only way people learn.

I live in a wealthy area, although I am not wealthy. Alot(most) of the parents around me would just write it off. I feel pressure in both directions. I really feel he should pay. I know that even to this day I learn best when I pay. Should I pay for his mistakes and choices? Or should he?

Requesting Advice

May 15th, 2008 at 03:24 am

I have a 2002 Ford Focus with 106,400 miles on it.

My question is:

The manufacturer says I should change the oil every 5000 miles and my mechanic shop says every 3000. What is the correct number? The mechanic changes it at the 5000 number but shakes his head like, "big mistake". And, should I start to change it at the lower number since I have alot of miles on the car?

Does anyone know and have a SO that knows? All help is appreciated.

Following the Example of Other Savers

May 13th, 2008 at 03:46 pm

Sometimes I feel like that V8 commercial when they knock their heads and say "I could have had a V8". I was reading moneysavingmom.com and she talked about her CVS spending and others she knows working the extracare bucks program.

I've frequently thought why bother to work the program for a few drugstore items? She had an answer to my question. She mentioned things like groceries, getting just about everything including gifts for a daughter's birthday party and seasonal items. Usually, I would think the prices to high, but using extra care bucks combined with sales and coupons makes the prices comparable or even better than the grocery store and even Walmart. I'm finally getting good enough that things are starting to rollover and my out of pocket is around a $1 or less. I can put the extrabucks into buying cereal, salmon, and tuna on sale and milk, eggs, ect not on sale.

Using slickdeals.net (a site I found out about on savingadvice), the drugstore forum, I found a computer coupon for $3/2 boxes of Kellogs cereal and with a price of 2/$5 my final cost is $1 a box and then rolling over my extracare bucks makes it free and leaves me with lots more bucks left for staples like the milk, eggs, tuna and salmon. If I can save $40-50 a month on groceries it would help my spending plan alot. If others can successfully do it so can I.

I'm still learning. Watching others as they share their saving adventures opens new doors of thought for me. Thanks to you all!

PS I found a $5 bill on the ground as I was buying my $1 ticket for the Megamillions. What does this mean for my luck? Update tomorrow. LOL

Getting Closer

May 12th, 2008 at 05:02 pm

I met with my ex on Sunday, Mother's Day, to sign an agreement for the house settlement. He said he would settle on the 22nd and then the funds would be released 3 days later. I have one day after the funds are released to move out. The apartment I am going to move into is taking shape, but I don't think it will be ready in/on time. I have a place to store my things but it is a pain to move twice. After signing the agreement, I went to RiteAid for the FAR item. While there I saw some empty cardboard boxes and asked the manager if I could have them. She very kindly said "Yes." I went home and packed them up. I dropped them off at my brother's. Its good to recyle and also not have to pay for boxes. It rained 6.32 inches in 24 hours in my city. So no free boxes today, maybe tomorrow as it dries up.

On my way to mom's for dinner, I stopped at CVS with a plan. I purchased $30.90 worth of items:

(2) Glade Airspray .97ea
(3) Colgate TP 2.99 ea
(1) Schick Int. Rzr 9.99
(1) Blood Sugar Mtr 10
= 30.90

Manuf 17.97
Ecb 7.58
5/25 5.00
= .85 oop + 22 ECB earned

I am finally getting the hang of the system. Yeah!

Dinner was really nice! We also celebrated my mom, brother and nephews' birthdays.

I've been showing the teacher I work with the deals I've been getting and in some cases I will give her my extra coupon's to make the deal for herself. She is loving it. She got $20 worth of razors for .02+tax. Lord, I will miss her when she moves.

Different perceptions

May 9th, 2008 at 08:08 pm

Last night, I asked my 17yr old son if he would help me move at the end of the month when I sell my equity in the house and move out. He responded by saying he would help only if I already had everything packed up in boxes and ready to go. He finished up with the statement "I heard about how you move".

He is not going with me but staying in the house (his dad will be moving in). The agreement to sell at the price I sold was with the understanding that our son and two cats could continue to live in the house.

The last two times we moved I was still married and we had sold our home and moved into a rental while waiting for the contractor to finish this house. It took 10 months.

Many things were packed up and remained that way during the 10 month stay. At that time my ex was out of work on disability due to stress. It was his third episode in 8 years. Financially it was a disaster. I tried to protect my son from the worst of the effects. I tried to be loyal to my spouse and supportive, I did not complain or gossip about the financial and other difficulties he and I faced. Instead I made do.

One example was boxes. There was no money to buy them or use professional movers. I got as many boxes as I could for free. It wasn't enough so I packed as much as I could and then those boxes were unloaded first, I quickly unpacked them and then rushed back to the rental to repack them for the next pickup truck headed for the new house. It was only a slight hinderance but any hinderance during a move is noted and commented upon. I did the best I could. Even though he was home all day while I worked, he packed nothing.

Now, seven years later, old memories come back as unpleasant comments. Do I explain to my son? I am divorced so I no longer owe my ex loyalty, especially as I suspect he is the one making comments to our son. Do I leave my son with his incomplete information? If I say nothing, is it protecting him or being dishonest about the past and perpetuating a lie?

I'll have plenty of boxes this time and I plan to move alot of things on my own before the furniture is moved. I have been decluttering, donating, recycling and giving away to friends and family for months now. There really isn't that much left.

Moving Along

May 8th, 2008 at 03:58 am

Work has been difficult to say the least. Luckily for me I haven't had any more injuries but the physical and emotional toll of dealing with a student who has had 3 meltdowns in 5 days and the need to restrain the student for an hour or more to protect him from injuring himself, others, staff and property is taking its toll. We don't have the staff to restrain a student in shifts which is what you need to protect staff and student from injury and believe me it is tiring to restrain a 5'8" male in a fighting mood. With no padded quiet room we had no choice but to call paramedics to take him to the hospital. Traumatic for all. To add insult to injury one of the staff instead of helping takes off at the first call for help and makes statements to events she could not have been witness to since she left as soon as we asked for help. Some people should have other jobs so they can't make people who actually work for a living take on a greater burden.

I look at the mother of this child and see a devoted, caring parent trying to do the right thing. How she deals with this day in and day out is a miracle. But for the grace of God, there go I. And I hope I would be a wonderful.

In a financial response, after each incidence I want to unwind so I spend money. Not good. I took myself to out to dinner. To many meals out can really bust my budget. I know I could have been alot worse in my spending but I don't like it.


May 2nd, 2008 at 08:59 pm

We got the new student. It was a challenging first day. The student had to be restrained for one and a half hours. It took 6 staff to restrain the student in shifts so no harm came to the student and minimal harm to staff. He went home early that day. Our school just doesn't have the facilities or staff to deal with this level of need. We had to neglect the education of other students ready to learn to deal with this student exclusively for 2 hours. I believe strongly in this student's right to be educated, just not penalizing the rights of other students to receive their education because of insufficient staff and facility to deal with this one student.

The student's mother left work to help with her child. She seems to be a great parent in a difficult situation. I wonder how she is able to hold down a decent paying job with the demands placed on her having a very disabled child as a single parent.

For myself, I was bruised from the student kicking. The older you get the longer it takes to heal and recover from injuries and physical strain. Even the other two younger co-workers came in tired and sore.

We will keep trying and adjusting our strategies to best service this student and the other students. It is what we do.