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Mystery Shopping

May 17th, 2007 at 09:52 pm

I see people are still interested in finding out more about how this works, so thought I'd use an example from a recent shop...
This shop was for a hotel, a rather fancy one. I had to give compete descriptions, names and times for all events. I had to use a bellman going and coming, give a complete narrative on every area being evaluated. The evaluation was about 20 pages. Because of the version of the software I couldn't use my home computer, so I spent ~$18 at a rent a pc workstation at this location place.
The paperwork took aound 2 hours because of all the detail needed.
People to evaluate:
all front desk clerks on 2 shifts, 2 bellpeople, 1 barperson, 1 housekeeping staff member,1 seating hostess, 1 rom service delivery person, 1 member of maintenance staff. For all of this I will be paid $25. It was worth it to me for a change of pace, but it was a busman's holiday!

Out of Control Spending

February 2nd, 2006 at 03:01 am

Realizing I need to post often as I too easily lose focus otherwise. I've been eating out far too often, and needlessly. I'm acting as though I don't have crockpots at home over the past 10 days of so, and as though I can afford to eat out.
I do have excuses, but that doesn't affect the bottom line. My exboyfriend's stepdad died, and last week brought the wake and the funeral. Also managed to fit in 3 doctor's appointments, and come into work early. I ended up losing 2 days of work... one the night of the wake, and another after a "procedure" that the doctor's appts led to. Fortunately all is ok! By next week I hope to no longer be black and blue, too.
Over the weekend I treated dd and dgs to a movie at an inexpensive theater $15.50, an additional $5 in snacks, $14 at a Big Lots in stuff I didn't need. I ended up with adorababy overnight and had to buy clothes for him for church... he's grown 4 inches and what I had no longer fit. Spent $22 at Kohl's sales racks to get pjs, 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants and a sweater. Love their sales! My grandson was so tired when he went to sleep that I couldn't easily get up for church... Breakfast with mom to return the child to her for $22. Later in the afternoon I went to a new friend's home for card making. Starting to prepare for Christmas 2006. 2005 I was less ready for than I would have liked! After 4 hours there on to another friend's place to do her income taxes. Monday and Tuesday also absurdly busy, and still no food made! Hopefully I can cook tomorrow before work...
Also want to get taxes ready to file and figure out some ideas for the challenge.

Update

January 23rd, 2006 at 10:25 pm

Haven't posted here for some time, but have been trying to be frugal nonetheless. I've been using a crockpot I got as a Christmas gift, in addition to another for much of the weeks' cooking on Sunday's. I've been trying to take advantage of what's on sale, or looks especially fresh/healthy. My "cook once" meals have included lasagna, turkey (came out great!), beef burgandy, hamburger goulash and macaroni salad. Last night I invited my daughter and grandson over for chicken, which I baked whole after putting a halved garlic bulb, a quartered lemon and a quartered orange in. It came out moist, and I thought it was really good. My daughter didn't realize I'd added any flavors Smile! I found that shocking. Also made pumpkin bread (mix) which I brought in to work to share, as I certainly don't think I'd finish it. Over the weekend a friend and I went out for what turned into evening entertainment... A fellow at work had baked for a church dinner, designed to raise money to send a youth group to the hurricane disaster area. We had lasagna, then went to another church to drop off a wheelchair she had in her attic. The church will certainly get good use out of it, and it's one less thing for her to store.
Later we went to a lesson on East Coast Swing
dancing. It was lots of fun, and at $2 a head fit right in with the budget. However we both were feeling very single. Next we went to a dance at a VFW or something, but we were early. That may not have been an altogether bad thing, because they were also doing dance lessons, this time was the third session of waltz lessons. I was able to follow some, but still don't know how to "twinkle". For $7, the dance lesson, a DJ and a light meal were included.
All in all the weekend cost about $20, but lots of value for the money. Now all I need is someone to share it with...

After Christmas sales

December 30th, 2005 at 12:56 am

Today I spent about $35 on clothes for myself. I had allocated $50 for December clothes, but this is the first I've spent this month. Found 2 things I liked that were roughly 1/2 off, and I can use straight through summer. I live in an area with big seasonal changes, so this is a big advantage. The mall was very busy, glad I knew just what I wanted. Still want to get a small fake tree, but that should pretty well round out my year's shopping. Haven't eaten out since Monday, and that was because my buddy was starving and we ended up hitting a greasy spoon. Spent $5.30 including tip, so better than most weeks.

Back from trip

December 27th, 2005 at 10:32 pm

The trip worked out quite well. I used Priceline for the first time, and bid on a ** hotel. I was quite nervous about it, have always stayed at least *** before. I worked out wonderfully well! The hotel was very clean, the pool and whirlpool were open in the morning so I could use them before my flight from Buffalo to Baltimore. Until this trip it hadn't occured to me to see what the rates for parking at an airport hotel would compare to parking at the airport itself. I saved nearly half the cost, and the hotel sent a shuttle as soon as I called to tell them I'd picked up my luggage. Very happy. I had forgotten about the Southwest Airline/McDonald's alliance, but it was good for a $1 card for McD's passed out while onboard the flight. Lovely visit with family, and short enough to be cheap, my favorite Wink I ended up buying 2 more gift cards than I'd intended because people stayed at my sister's over Christmas, and I didn't know about it ahead of time. Lovely PhD ceremony and party following. Got to trim a tree with my siblings for the first time in over 30 years! Flight home uneventful... I tried to get bumped and if only 1 more person had shown up I could have been. It would have meant getting home 5-6 hours later, and $200 and reimbursement for my flight. I was very willing, as I'd kept my schedule flexible hoping to get bumped. A wonderful Christmas, and one of the most meaningful and least costly yet. Kids loved their mp3 players, and my son had 1/2 his filled with songs on Christmas day... Hope everyone else had joyous and fulfilling holidays...

Update

December 16th, 2005 at 09:57 pm

No huge amounts of money spent recently, but more in the offing. Have someone coming tomorrow to fix a couple of windows, and need to clean before that happens. If anyone has a thought for arranging a few more hours in the day I'd love to hear it! Today I met with a nutritionist (not sure if my health insurance company will pay for it yet) for 1 1/2 hours. If it helps me to feel better- that is to say healthier and more energetic, then it will be worth the cost. At $80 for the initial session you better believe I was listening closely!
I was able to pick up the bracelet I had commisioned for my niece. M has CP and generally doesn't wear jewelery. At 16 she's as independant as possible, and clasps require too much fine motor skill. The bracelet that I commissioned is made from memory wire, so once formed it can "snap" back into place. All she needs to do it stretch it so it can encase her wrist, and open it back up when she wants it off. My sister (her mom) is getting her PhD. in Baltimore next week,and I wanted to be able to give my neice her gift before then in case she'd like to wear it. I need to start packing for that trip soon; I'm gone on Tuesday.
Still a little more Christmas shopping to be done but I'm at the point where I wouldn't feel too badly if I couldn't get out again.

Friend/Money continued

December 14th, 2005 at 12:47 am

My last post looked awfully whiney! This lady is a good friend, I do enjoy her company but she's always broke. She doesn't spend money foolishly, she just doesn't make much even though she works 65 hours a week. I guess that's what happens if you pretend the future will never come. You don't worry about how to get promoted because you have a job today. You don't save for the future because you can't afford to. You have relationships with others that help everyone get by, by exchanging work for one another and picking up items for each other at garage sales and such. It's a great idea, but when we get together it always costs me. It sounds mean because I make more by the hour than she does, but I select jobs with care instead of always taking the first thing offered to me.
In new news Wink, got some shopping done today for Christmas. Second IPOD shuffle won't be here before Christmas, so I found another MP3 player I think my son will like. Holds the same amount of data as the shuffle, but has a screen so you can play what you want. Got gift cards for about 15 downloads, should be a good start. I'm thinking that each of the kids will be pleased. My daughter is brand-name oriented, so she'll have the shuffle, and my son appreciates choices and flexibility more than name-brands. If they want to return the shuffle, I get it, and will replace with the other MP3 player. They don't like other MCP3 player they can return it at the store. Obviously since the IPOD was from a contest there will be no returns on that! Bought some ornaments for 66% off at Bon-Ton and picked up some boxes in case I give any away. Or because they're the perfect size for baby bootie and hat sets Wink Daughter continues to improve so life is wonderful!

A weekend

December 12th, 2005 at 11:35 pm

So being able to spend was bad. I had a $10 coupon for a store I like buying clothes at, and because their chain has been bought out some pretty good sales. Drove 45 minutes each way, and ended up buying just 1 thing for myself, a watch. In order to get full value out of the coupon friend with me picked out some socks for
$4. i'm glad she loves them, but getting tired of spending so much to see her. cost $5 in gas for her get to my place, $23 altogether on lunch (you know your hungry, eat BEFORE you arrive!) plus the socks. Outside of groceries and gas all the money I spent went on these items. Not happy; prolly won't see her for awhile. She is between a rock and hard place financially, but that's not my responsibility...

Not a great week...

December 9th, 2005 at 11:42 pm

Well, I expected to have a pretty cheap week, but not quite everything worked out that way. Floors at work were supposed to be refinished last week, so I took a whole night off and used my vacation time. Monday the floors looked dreadful, so more work on work floors was scheduled. They were supposed to use a very gentle cleaner to remove the varnish they put on on Friday. Wrong! I went home with an asthma attack, and so did a co-worker. Wednesday came in to work, ended up going to the ER after less than 30 minutes. Three 1/2 hours in the ER and a lecture on why asthmatics should not try to drive themselves to get immediate care. Another lecture on the same thing from my doctor's office. sigh This was a scary attack, the worst I've had in years. I ended up talking the ER doctor into letting me go back to work tonight instead of taking the whole week off. I've basically lightened my time bank by 2 days, but the boss is paying for the time on the nights I was here and got so sick. Not perfect, but it shows they do care, and try to work with you. I'm sure liability has nothing to do with it Wink I'll have a $35 ER co-pay and

Heaven-sent weekend

December 6th, 2005 at 02:32 am

On Friday I got a call from my daughter asking me to take her grandmother to the store. 2 1/2 hours at Aldi's, with my ex-mil who has alzheimers/dementia and has had a few stokes causing aphasia amoungst other things. We would normally go out to eat afterward as she can't get out on her own, and needs to feel connected to the great world outside of her home. I had mystery shops scheduled, and had to get those done. I also HAD to get my daughter to the eye doctor. On Wednesday night she called me at work and told me her eyes hurt/really burned. I immediately offered to leave work to take her to an urgent care or hospital. She refused as she has no insurance at all for herself. Thursday night she went to the ER. She had a wicked eye infection and her right eye was badly ulcerated. Friday's office visit had the doctor telling her she would be lucky not to lose all sight in her right eye. We both freaked! The doctor made an appointment for the next day for her. It seems like pretty darn bad news when an eye surgeon agrees to open an office to see just you! We went Saturday morning and her eye was 50% improved. The surgeon just kept saying "I don't know what to say. I don't know what to say." He later told my daughter that he expected her eyes to be worse! We definately had a gardian angel, or the prayer chain worked. Much thanksgiving from this family!
My grandson is used to eating out quite often. After the good news Saturday I agreed to drive to a chinese buffet the kids are especially fond of. I did not expect to pay for it... $24. Josh's birthday party was supposed to be Sunday, and turned into more of a family party of all adults. My daughter borrowed from her grandmother to pay for pizza and wings, $30 she didn't have to waste. Over 3 weeks she's seeing pay of less than $450. She works by the day, so no paid time off. After we went away for Thanksgiving and now the eye issue her finances are a wreck. I was sympathetic until I realized that she hasn't paid for gas or tolls or snacks, and still spent $200 over a 5 day period when almost all her expenses were covered by others. She had $9 in her bank account Friday. I went to a ballet on Friday. A former coworker bought the tickets a long time ago, and asked me to go. He only socializes about twice a year other than restaurants, and he'd called 4 times or so before my daughter's problem came up. I stayed only for the Nutcracker, and he understood. A good friend, a lovely ballet, a little diversion, and no cost to me. Saturday was $24 for Chinese food, money I will be reimbursed for mystery shops (5 in 3 days while all this was going on), $16 going out on Saturday night... bought a round at a bar a friends daughter was singing at. $30 for gas, $95 on gifts ($35 should be returns/kids didn't need/like). Sunday paper $1.75. Today, Monday lunch out because I didn't have time to cook over the weekend. $20.09 after using 2 coupons gave me enough food for the entire day. Still need to go grocery shopping for perishables, but should be a cheap week from here out.

Realistic spending

December 1st, 2005 at 01:52 am

Getting more realistic in my spending at last. Went to Boston for Thanksgiving, spent ~$60 for gas and tolls, but more than worth it in time spent with daughter and grandson. Did well with money when we arrived too! Stayed for 4 nights, 5 days and spent on Christmas gifts and a blanket only. Very good for me... Didn't find some of the deals I expected to, so less $$ spent than expected. Won an instant win - that means one of my kids will be getting an IPod Shuffle as part of their Christmas, and so will the other if I can locate the credit card that requires 1 purchase before they also send a shuffle. I'm also thinking that since my kids rarely ask for anything anymore I may try to save lots before next year so I can get each of my 2 kids 1 thing they really, really want but can't afford. My son is most interested in having a kayak. Not everyone's taste, but he borrows one a good 30 times a year. Since we live in an area that's so often cold and snowy he's outside kayaking a great deal of the time that the weather is good. LLBean has packages now for around 4-500. I'd like to find something for my daughter too that would help to keep her entertained and in better shape. Open to ideas! Wink
I've been on a binge eating out for several months and November started a big turnaround in that area. Dropped about $100 monthly over that past couple of months. I have a friend who makes very little money despite working 2 jobs, one fulltime the other 25 hours a week. She has enough to pay her bills, but little fun money. I have treated her more than I could really afford. It really hit home this week when she started suggesting weekend activities I'm not sure she has the money for. I want to be sure I'm not boxing myself into paying for her entertainment. She certainly deserves it, but refuses to give up things like expensive treats for her pets. So far this week i've spent $27 on non-essential expenses (food out). I spent no money on food in 10 hours of traveling by car, an absolute record for me. I also didn't buy new clothes before seeing my family, which I often used to do. Baby steps

Health Issues

November 9th, 2005 at 11:27 pm

Looks like in addition to trying to find $$ to fix the house I also need cataract surgery, will "see the guy" in January. Might mean a little time off work, which I'd also rather not spend.
Hoping others are having more fun! m

Catch up time!

November 4th, 2005 at 12:49 am

Well, I've not been posting for quite a long time but I need to get back to it.
Not a few changes in my life... my son moved out, Holly the dog is living with her pa and I turn 50 on the 19th. I'm in shock Wink Haven't been doing well with saving but only 1 credit card in use and paid every month without fail. Using it for accummulation of airline miles. Have some trips coming up in the next year, and many repairs needed for the house. Going to Boston this month for Thanksgiving, and will see both living sibs and whatever of their families can make it. In December my sister has the ceremony for her PhD in Baltimore. That will entail a flight and a night in a hotel, unlike Boston which I can drive to. In May I have a graduation for my nephew from college in Saratoga Springs NY. Easy drive for me; couple/few hours only, but 2 hotels nights for family get together. In August I go to England! Some of you may remember me talking about this before, how it's been a dream for so long and the guilt I was feeling. Not much guilt now; I found a flight on the net that shouldn't have been publicly available, but which the airline is honoring. Slightly under $220 including taxes, security fees and fuel surcharges. Have the ticket in hand, got my passport last year. EXCITED!!!
Excited until I got an estimate for work that needs to be done at my house. $18-22k.

Fairly quiet

August 4th, 2005 at 02:31 am

Spent some time today researching flights for my trip. Discovered that if I leave a day later and stay a day later I can save $100, split between my friend and I. Dropped her a quick line, waiting to hear back if that will work as well for her. I think it manages to avoid her work commitments, and I'm sure I can adjust my time off to suit. Apent $6.34 on takeout food today, $1.25 drink. Spent $16.50 for ordered Avon yesterday, something I buy once or twice a year. All products were substantially reduced, and on the "buy when you get a deal" list for some time. Spent money the previous day on ms, but all that will be repaid. I also made an error in the pay for each of the shops... I get $9, not $8. That should mean $91 for that company, another $60 for another company, and potentially another $18 from yet another compan over the weekend if I'm selected. I won't be surprised if I'm not chosen, as I'm not sure I've met the shop rotation.
Life feeling pretty bland. Planned a lunch for a work person for Saturday. Fun trying to make everyone happy, and still end up at a reasonably frugal place, but I think we managed it. We are getting together to celebrate a coworker's birthday. She turned 50 last year, but asked us not to do anything then as her dad was extremely ill. He died several days later, so a good call. Spoke with cousin Jan who planned to help with garage sale, but now her mom is critical again. sigh

dum da dum

August 2nd, 2005 at 01:05 am

Kinda of a middlin' day here. Holly is with her pa Frown She did seem awfully excited to see him, and that makes me feel a bit better. He's promised to see to her meds, etc. Also found out why she was so traumatized. No wonder the poor dear had cystitis, or however that's spelled! I'm not surprised that she got sick. She's 11, but thinks she's 4. Full of energy, ready for a walk or a ride anytime! I'm going to miss her more than I want to admit. Took her "dad" out for lunch today, mostly because I wanted to tell him how important it is that he give her meds when she should get them and until they are gone. He couldn't run out of restaurant and leave... I had the car keys. Felt a bit like dirty pool, but I paid for lunch $12.92. Love those b1g1 coupons. I seem to have been on a spending streak. I planned on spending ~$150-200 to get me in good shape clotheswise from now until November, and ended up spending $97.83 at JCPenney on Sunday. There are 2 items I'm not sure I love, so those will go back. I haven't had clothes that fit me well or made me feel good for too long. No reason to settle... I'll just be wasting my $$ otherwise. Actually I have quite a few returns to make, and will try to make time for that this week. I did have Roadrunner installed over the weekend. I had a mystery shop that took 3 hours to put in because I kept getting kicked off the ISP. No more fooling around! I have a $60 shop on Friday, and 4 $8 shops this week, another 5 $8 shops next week. I also ended up getting much more cable than I'm used to. I was only getting the local channels, using cable because I'm in a valley and nothing comes in otherwise. Also paid $10 for lawn care today... the grass was getting really high and my asthma makes it impossible for me to mow. I also spent $1.25 on a beverage. I hate this. Someone has been helping themselves to my drinks in the fridge at work. 6 days in a row, and I think it's one of the cleaners. I also spent $10.28 and $13.09 in unrecorded gas purchases. Drove 55 miles for ms today.

Mild irritation

July 29th, 2005 at 05:29 pm

Went to get my eyes checked this morning. "Strongly suspect" glaucoma. I haven't even hit 50 yet! Seems unfair. Waiting to be told when my appointment is with a specialist. Spent $232.14 for glasses with magnetic clip on shades. Employer portion of today's visit $214. So grateful to have insurance! Had expected to have eyes dilated, so picked a time/store that I could leave and go to lunch in easy walking distance. They didn't dilate my eyes, so I came straight home. I was wrong on my gas night... add another $3.34, and I also spent $1 on a fundraiser at work. Holly still peeing on everything in sight... Noted that the McDs charge from yesterday wasn't mentioned, $5.34. Still trying hard to keep honest with myself!

Reasonable Day

July 29th, 2005 at 02:30 am

Spent $68.05 for Holly at vet's. Looks like 1 of 3 possibilities: 1) cystitus 2)kidney/bladder stones 3)unfelt tumor
For now she's getting antibiotics, and will return in 10 days. That visit will either mean more tests, or making sure she has whatever shots/vaccines, etc. she might need. I have an estimate of around $200 if she's healthy. Expected the bill to be higher, so I'm pretty pleased. She had a McMuffin on the way to the vet, and a good park run after, so I hope all in all she had a good day. I spent ~$9 on gas, and $25.10 on food last night. Quite different from the past with all the kids and grandkid at home Wink When I arrived at work Holly's "pa" was waiting at my usual parking space. I appreciated that the first thing he wanted to know was how his "girl" was doing. I'm not sure if he meant me or Holly, but I talked about her visit to the vet Wink He apologized for not having the $$ to give me for her care, and asked if he could take her this weekend. I'm a bit on the fence. He hasn't seemed to be very responsible to himself, but I know he and Holly love each other. Is he up to making she gets her meds twice a day, and always at the same time?

Bits of progress, none $$ related

July 27th, 2005 at 09:34 pm

I think I finally have the charity crochet person/group squared away with who gets what ,where and under what name. Took no small amount of time, so I hope she follows through. When to the Town Clerk's office and got Holly licensed for another 2 years. $6 for license, another $2 to replace lost tags. Also spent $4.25 on 2 slices of pizza and a soda. Worth $.50. Frown Tomorrow will be a challenging day. Must be up earlier than usual to get Holly walked, bathed before her 8:20 appointment 45 minutes away. Boss says I can leave work before midnight tonight, so that will help. This vet is supposed to reasonable; hope that's correct!

Another clean up day

July 26th, 2005 at 08:39 pm

Got an email last night from someone in one of my crochet-for-charity groups asking about local donations and contacts. Called at 6am to leave a message for the child life specialist so she'd know the cavalry was coming. I've been donating hats and booties and small blankets to the local PICU which does heart surgery on full term-sized infants. The last time I had another 30 items ready I was asked to hold off for a little while as they had a good supply. I said great, if no calls in the next few weeks I'll donate them elsewhere. Two months pass, I donate them to the Lullabye League through Catholic Charities. They were thrilled! Another week passes, I get the "more items, please" call. I've been producing as quickly as I can, but have many pressures on my time now. Getting a person from another charity involved should ease the stress for everyone. Needed to spend several hours getting everyone's okay to share information, addys, etc. Next project was calling the vet over Holly. Not only will they not see her without ex's past bill paid, I can't get her records either. Not a happy camper, but have made an appointment with another vet for her for Thursday. Since
I have no record of her shots, I'm imagining a rather large bill...
Took myself out for lunch today. I've been doing much better in keeping track of funds, and was starting to feel deprived. It was record-breaking hot and quite humid, and I really didn't want to cook anything. Spend ~$17. No other $$ spent so far today. Made a call on behalf of a coworker last night to the local Hilton. He's taken his girlfriend for a special "romantic" evening for her birthday and spent about $200 for a romance package. Around here you can get a room for ~$50-$60 a night, but this was to include jacuzzi, bubble bath, massage oils, wine on ice, breakfast, snacks of your choosing from their selection. He notified the hotel ahead of time so they'd know exactly what time they were arriving (10pm). Water in the ice bucket, no way to open the wine bottle, no snacks, no bubblebath, no massage oil. The hotel is supposed to try to make it up to him... He wouldn't complain for himself in front of the girl (easily embarrassed), and the next day was saying it was a done deal. Sure, you can't recreate the night, but the hotel has an obligation in my mind to attempt some type of compensation.
Called my ex's gf and asked her if she wanted to hold a tag sale for me, reaping 30% of the profits. She said only if she got no $$. I refused. She's only working part time at a poorly paying job at the moment, and I'm trying to see that she can make some cash. I suspect we'll chat about this again. If it works out, more cash for the $5k challenge!

Quiet weekend

July 25th, 2005 at 09:04 pm

My son moved out on Saturday. I knew it was in the cards sometime, but not telling me 45 minutes before the truck came! Really, we've been on different schedules for a long time and I literally didn't have more than 1/2 hour with him this week spread out over days. I've never lived alone before. Not ever! It's going to take a bit of getting used to. Also I decided to have a yard sale yesterday. No signs, no ads, 95+ heat, high humidity and I sold a whopping $13. Thinking of asking my ex's GF if she wants to have a yard sale for me. I talked to her today and she has only part-time income coming in now, and it's VERY tight, from what she said. I've only seen her once in my life, but I've spoken with her a few times. Maybe a 70/30 (me/her) cut? Even if she made off with everything it's all stuff I need to get rid of sometime soon. My cousin and her friend will be coming to help me get ready for a realtor to look at the house. I need to know if I should spend the last $$ on it, or sell as is and move into an apartment or condo. The maintenance is killing me, and it just isn't getting done. Lots needed for the ole gal, and she needs TLC I can't give her now... I doesn't make sense to have so much space for one person. I wouldn't kick the kids out, but now they've both left, so... Spent ~$15 on groceries, ~$10 on gas, and ~$8.25 on junk food this weekend... and that's it. Yea me! Also brought my beloved Vermont Teddy Bear Mystique the Mystery Shopper Bear to Mr. Lister, an Ebay consignment store. Hated parting with it, but if I'm going from a 3 floor house to a 1-2 bedroom place Teddies should not be high on my list, I guess.

Sleepy day>

July 22nd, 2005 at 11:45 pm

So I get a rousing nearly 4 hours of sleep and off I go to get my car repair done. I remember crocheting... and when I woke up on the floor of the car repair place, another woman was studying my face! An usual way to wake up, to be sure, and I still don't remember laying down... After I woke I went to the nearby gas station for coffee, snacks, etc. and spent ~$5.50. Soon my car was done, far ahead of schedule! Yipee! Since it took so much less time than they had estimated, they cut the difference between what was expected and what was actually used in half, so I got out early and less painfully. Love those guys! It turns out they caught my nap and I'm not sure if that had anything to do with cutting me a break or not. Went home for more naptime, started a crockpot of chili (tried to remember recipe, I'm sure I forgot something!), and headed to work. Slept too long to cook a lucn/dinner/meal, so I brought break planning on pbjs. Instead the ladies I work with made a food run at it cost me $10. unplanned, these food runs happen 3-4 times a year. Paid utilities and phone for a grand total of $350. Painful, but needed. Saved on parking by arriving when I did so I could have a good chance at a parking space. No other $$ news today...

an ETC. day

July 21st, 2005 at 11:47 pm

Got home from work to discover dog peed in the house. And not a little... hope she's getting over something and doesn't need to go to the vet. She (Holly the dalmation) seemed better last night, and we had a nice walk, and she was pretty frisky. Holly is about 12, and her "dad" owes the vet money, and I'm not sure if they'll see her before it's paid. It isn't my responsibility though, and I'm hoping if I walk in with $$ they wouldn't refuse her. May need to call even if she doesn't need to go soon just to verify that she will be seen. Trying to plan some low cost time off travel around Labor Day. I expect to go to Chicago to see a friend of many years, and she and I will prolly split the cost of airfare. She and her husband bought a house they didn't expect after she offered to fly me out. I think splitting the cost is sensible... I've paid myself the past few times, but she hasn't come to my neck of the woods for many years. I very much enjoy her company, but it's hard to spent $300-450 for a visit that normally only lasts 1-2 days. I'm thinking of Massachusetts the following weekend as it's only 5-6 hours of driving. Don't want to put myself in the position of driving alone too tired or road weary... might be too much excitement! Certainly open to suggestions. Looking at hotels with fridge/micro for the most part, but cost will be a big factor. I don't want to stay home all summer and resent everyone who gets to explore new and different things, meet new people. I just need to find ways to make it as frugal as possible. Missed the payment date for car by a day from remembering the date incorrectly. Once again, procrastination... So lucky me! I got to make 2 payments at once. Still have a $300 utility bill to pay, and the mortage is due next pay period. Haven't yet been able to make the needed repairs on house, which will prolly run $8000 or so. Still trying to figure it all out. Plan the work, work the plan. Plan the work, work the plan...

tired day

July 21st, 2005 at 02:36 am

Food in the crockpot was quite edible! Thanks, it made it much easier to get through hours of work knowing something was ready for me at home. Think i'll probably try chili next. Even if I only do this 2-3 times a week, it'll help a lot. Once again today I got to drive people (ok, daughter and grandson) around due to cars not working. Lucky me, now my car also needs service. Planned for Friday, not planned for $300-400... Will have to punt! Happy news, mystery shop that incurred a charge of $150+ now has had the charge reversed. Mama can sleep again Wink Also was paid for the shop, another $25 to the good. Made deposits of small checks at the bank today, for a grand total of $138.23. Not alot, but better than a poke in the eye with a stick, or whatever that cliche is. Also had a letter notorized at the bank. DD threw out a letter from the IRS asking me to sign a form because a tax return wasn't signed. I was highly exasperated! The IRS is suggesting a write a letter talking about what happened, have it notorized and send it to the IRS adjustments section, who is holding my refund check. So that was what I had notorized. Once again my procrastinating is costing me money. Frown In other personal finance news I had lunch out today since I had less than 4 hours sleep and my darling grandson and his mom were driving me nuts. I needed to be out of their company for awhile. Cheaper than a shrink, and I had a very healthy salad. $12.05. Having a rough time finding time to crochet in anticipation of craft fairs as I keep spending my time running everyone all over creation. Honestly I think I put more miles on my car in 2 days than I normally do in a week... and none of it was tax-deductible. Still trying to come up with more ideas for Jeffrey's Challenge, but nothing has panned out yet. Reasonably busy at work, should be a good night for sleeping. I can't wait for the next day I can sleep more than 4 consecutive hours!Editted to add $11.36 in gas, $5.05 in eyeglass cleaning stuff. Trying to take better care of what I already own

Taking Advantage of your expertise- Thanks!

July 20th, 2005 at 01:20 am

Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback. I'm typing away at work, while at home my crockpot is getting a workout... Found thinly sliced round steak on sale, so I threw that in the crock after browning , added an onion and some stewed tomatoes. Hopefully it'll taste alright. No major spending sprees here. Son and daughter have both had car/truck issues recently, so i feel as though I'm spending all my time driving people around. As a result of driving the world around and the amount of time it's taken I've had to eat on the run far more than I would have liked. My weight is getting higher all the time, and I feel unhealthy. I find myself giving into temptation too much food-wise, but I've been doing much better in other areas of spending. I did take advantage of the Target clearance sale over the weekend to hit their one spot clearance. I found tons of car related items, so i think someone in my life will end up getting a car care kit. I ended up with tire cleaner, car wash stuff, car wash mitt thingies, wipe down the dashboard wipes, maybe a window cleaner wipe?.. stuff like that. I ended up spending ~$11.50 altogether there, and also picked up a personal care item, and some household stuff. I did buy a Sunday paper and buy groceries $45.87 but nothing I can count on getting a rebate for. I've been spending lots on gas due to driving everyone everywhere... over 100 miles a day. I spent $33.21 on a prescription, but called my doctor's office and he will be writing for 3 months at a time for that always-have-to-take-it med so I can pay a 1 month copay and use the mail away service. I spent $10.97 today mostly frivolously, and $8 last Friday at an arts and crafts fair, but on food. Another drive everyone day, so I had to left off at work an hour early, thus no time to make lunch... Also ~$4.50 at a Dollar Tree. Still trying to keep honest with myself, and enjoying more spend free days than I've had for a long time...

Meals?

July 15th, 2005 at 02:37 am

Anyone have some thoughts on how to make meals that won't heat the house, take much prep time and will be good reheated or not? Seems like my biggest stumbling blocks for the moment are food related. I need to eat out less and enjoy what I do make more. I also seem to be feeding kids-out-of-the-house and their friends more often. Still not much, but I'd like to have some reasonable choices prepared that would only need a quick heating.

Catch up post

July 15th, 2005 at 02:11 am

Thanks for the responses. I'm happy to share, but don't want to bore anyone to tears... Do that well enough with my kids Wink
Monday I took a day off and went with some coworkers to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY. Pretty good time. we treated one another back and forth, and I ultimately spent $60 for the entire day/night. Not great, but it included gas, 2 big meals, presents for adorababy, state park admission and hall of fame admission. Very relaxing to have someone else drive and only ask your opinions about what you would most like! Been a long time since I've had that sort of day. Over the next 2 days brought in my lunch (actually dinner because I work 4-midnight), and only spent on gas. Today more gas and $5.39 in food, $3.28 in household supplies from a dollar store. Went into a craft store (usually a trigger to spend), during a clearance sale, with a coupon and still didn't spend anything. Unfortunately I rewarded myself with a $.50 treat when I got to work. Also had to spent $1.50 on parking today. Very often I will park free, but needed to be in early today and don't like walking any distance alone at midnight in a bad neighborhood... For a Monday-Thursday total of $81.67. Amazing that I managed 2 no spend days this week. No flashes of brilliance illuminating my next move for the $5000 challenge. Doesn't anyone else want to join in? We need more brainstorming! LOL

um...

July 13th, 2005 at 01:06 am

Could someone let me know if they are finding the deals I'm posting useful? I don't want to bore anyone, but hope to be helpful. If I don't hear from anyone I'll assume I can turn this into a private journal...

Another busy weekend

July 11th, 2005 at 12:01 am

Not a terrific weekend, but a reasonably good one. Spent ~$5.25 on gas Friday, $14.30 for food out because the mystery shop ran longer than expected and then I had company when I got home, totally unexpected. Also my exbf has been having a really tough time lately, mostly emotional issues and his girlfriend has been on the phone with me often. We're both worried, and neither of us have heard form him for sometime. She did something bad, he left and took the dog. The lady is trying not to change my life despite our different schedules, so she's calling when I get out of work around 12:45-1am. Saturday morning I didn't get to sleep until about daybreak, and my daughter and her son came over at like 10 for awhile, then I went out to do some shopping.
Hit Target's 75% off summer sale, and picked up 8 packages of the small bag of Goldfish crackers, 18 count for $.87 each. Last year they had a big sale on the beach pails filled with Goldfish, and we're just now running out. They seem to stay fresh unopened for a VERY long time. Target also had red/white/blue packages of mini Reese cups for $.57 Bought adorababy a pair of shorts ($1.24 ) and a tee shirt ($1.24) at the same sale. Only thing I bought not on sale were 100 calorie pack cookies which my daughter likes for $2.29-$1 coupon. Total $15.06.
My next stop was TGIFriday's. I had a survey the last time I was there, so I got a free appetizer. Spent about $12 with a generous tip. On to Walmart, not my favorite store due to their policies, but I did some cherrypicking.
Bought 2 twin packs of glue sticks with a trial sized brush-on glue on each package for $.20 each, bonus size construction paper for $1.44, a 12 pack of colored pencils (Roseart) for $.50. A $.15 Roseart school glue followed, and 3 16 count packs of Roseart crayons at $.10 each. Total $3.72. Next stop grocery store. Spent ~$55, but will get a $10 rebate on Diet Pepsi, making it $.80 for 12 2 liter bottles. When I got home my daughter called looking for childcare. I was exhausted and told her so, but ended up sitting anyway. My VCR is broken, and she had a power surge that blew out her Tv, so her vcr/dvd combo is on loan to me for the moment. Joshua was here from early afternoon until 1pm today. I woke my daughter, told her I wasn't planning on sitting tonight and that I was leaving the house. I feel a little guilty, but I've worked or babysat every night for weeks. I want a break! My youngest is 22 and I'm out of the habit... When I left I went to a nearby town. I purchased $1.54 of lace to sew onto baby bodysuits, hoping to sell tee shirts at a craft sale and make a profit. Also went to Hallmark, buying $7.46 in cards (2) to thank by sister for paying for a hotel room for me, and one for my kids in order to see my nephew's graduation. I wanted to pay my ds and dbil back, but I don't have $600 to spare now. The good news about the purchase is that I had a $5 Hallmark coupon from their Gold Crown Card. Next onto Rite-Aid to buy gum. Gum, you say? Yes indeed. I joined "GlamCamp" (www.glamcamp.com) yesterday, then today bought 9 packs of 15 count packages of Ice Breakers Gum. It's onsale for $.50 a pack this week. I came home and entered my receipt info on GLAMCAP.com and should receive 4 movie tickets and a bag in return. Works for me! Spent $5.14 including tax. Finally home for the night, and my daughter cleaned my kitchen and fridge while I was gone. Love that girl!

Getting it together baby steps

July 7th, 2005 at 11:24 pm

picked up a few things at Walmart today - double packs of Elmer's glue sticks for .20, 70pg notebooks for .10, and 24packs of Crayola crayons for .25

Those are about the cheapest prices I can usually find for these things, maybe a couple cents more or less per item, but good enough prices for me to stock up

They also had Crayola markers for $1 a pack - I seem to remember them going on sale a bit cheaper at Target last year before school, but a buck isn't a back price either

This was posted by someone else elsewhere, but I thought it might be helpful...

I spent $15 eating out today, the only day so far this week, I think! A huge deal for me

Doing the $20-$5000 challenge, but I'm shooting for $1000 at the end of 6 months. In reality, I'll be happy with mych less. I'm hoping no one will mind if I use this journal to help motivate me, and help me keep track.

7/6 Day 1 $20-$5 (ING deposit) +$50 (ING bonus) + $32.87 (amount I would have spent for tomorrow's oil change if I weren't getting it done via mystery shop= $97.87

Now the hard part starts! LOL

Low spend day

July 7th, 2005 at 02:57 am

Fairly uneventful day. Anniversary of my sister's death, so I planned to take it easy on myself as much as possible. Did need to fedex some stuff out for mystery shopping, but didn't have the package I wanted to send personally appropriately wrapped... Spend $5.13 Jrecks, $.50 in chips. Following the good example of at least one other member also signed on with ING. Since I bought the tax software that will be a $50 return. Still have to work like the devil to figure a way to turn $20 into $1000, but at least it's a start. My total expense for that project is $5 so far. Unreasonably exhausted, figure it must be grief. Better than shopping, or wayyyy overeating. Forgot to post yesterday's gas $5.19.


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