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bad day financially

February 24th, 2007 at 08:39 pm

We got 13 inches of snow last night. I live on a Bluff with a driveway that goes up at a 45 degree angle makes 180 turn and then goes up at another 45 degree angle. I've lived in this house for almost ten years and through a lot of storms but this was the worst.

First a tree fell across the lower part of the driveway which I did not know until the snow plow showed up to plow the drive way. Before they even got to the tree the pickup truck with plow got stuck in the driveway. They had to call a cat to get the truck out. Then the cat moved the tree and then slid down the hill. The drive way had to be plowed and sanded a little at a time. It took forever. I don't have the bill yet but I am sure it is well over a 100.00

In addition to this I dropped by laptop and now my wireless card won't work. I took another wireless card from another computer and that one won't work either.

Tomorrow hopefully should be better except the weatherman is predicting another 7 inches of snow.

Roomate and Broken Rules

February 19th, 2007 at 10:44 am

I have a friend staying with me for a while. She is going through a rough patch and this seemed to be the best solution. It is kind of strange. I've lived alone since I've been widowed and it seems weird to have someone in the house again even for a while.

Also this morning I realized that I had left all of my reuseable portable coffee cups on my desk. All three of them. So I broke down and bought a stryfoam cup of coffee. This is against my Buy Nothing New rules. I also realized that i ppay around .75 cents just for the cup. Hopefully I will get back on the bandwagon tomorrow.

Buy Nothing New Update

February 6th, 2007 at 06:15 pm

So far so good. I haven't even been seriously tempted to buy anything new. It is however only January. Can I keep this up. I am going to try.

On another note Last month I stayed in budget for food. I took some advice from people here and removed most of the non-food expensives from the budget. My food cost 307.00 last month. This includes eating out. (I am only feeding me)

I know most of you do much better than that but for me this is an accomplishment I am aiming for 10.00 per day.


January 18th, 2007 at 08:54 am

I had a strange experience this week. I went to McDonalds for lunch and found out that it had been remodeled into a McCafe.
(Their name not mine)

It was surreal. There were flat screen TV in the booths. The decor was faux art deco. The menu inlcuded Italian Ice Cream and several different flavors and varieties of coffee as well as the standard McDonalds food.

I am not sure if I liked it. I was just so taken by surprise. Are these popping up in other parts of the country. I can't imagine a La Crosse being the first to have one. If you've tried them what did you think of them?

used paperback books

January 10th, 2007 at 06:35 pm

I just found a very nice web site for exchanging/buying paperback books. Its at paperbackswap.com.

The site is designed for swapping of books. You post 9 books for swapping and get 3 credits (books) plus everytime a member wants one of your books you send it to them and you get another credit. It is also possible to buy credits (books) for 2.75 apiece and avoid the bother of mailing books.

I've used it and am very impressed. They have a very nice selection of books and the exchange seems to work well.

Just thought that I would pass this site along. Where I live has only a very poor book exchange so I am finding it particularly useful.

Buy Nothing New Update

January 6th, 2007 at 07:44 pm

It has been a week and so far so good. I've had a couple of temptations. My sister asked me to get her a book and luckily I was able to get it used otherwise I'd probably have said no.

My biggest temptation was being asked to a jewelry party by my best friend. Her sister makes jewelry. I had told my friend about the challenge and she said she understood and I did not have to buy anything. Still the whole thing was awkward. Fortunately her sister does use recycled materials, including findings, so I found a pair of 8.00 completely recycled earrings which do stay within the requirements of the challenge. But the whole thing was awkward.

However, I am still on track This may be harder than I thought.

Buy Nothing New Challenge Begins

January 2nd, 2007 at 05:37 pm

Today is day two of the buy nothing new challenge and so far so good.

I also went back to work today after a week off. The off time was nice but going back was tiring.

On another note December's numbers were bad. I was over budget again. This time by over a hundred dollars. I am not sure why. Oh I know what I spent the money on since I track everything but I am not certain why I am consistently overbudget.

One of the things I am curious about is whether or not the buy nothing new challenge will actually save me money. Before the challenge I already bought most things used so I am uncertain of the financial impact of the challenge. We'll see.

Annoying Day

December 29th, 2006 at 06:22 pm

My back has been bothering me because I''vebeen hunghing over the laptop to use my laptop. So today I bought a wooden laptop table for 10.00. It had to be assembled of course. I should have known better. I can never ever get these things to go together right anyway. After several hours of working (fighting) with it I discovered that it is defective. Their is no way to attach the table top. It has a piec missing. So now I have to return it. Arrgh

My Buy Nothing New Rules

December 28th, 2006 at 01:48 pm

1. With a few exceptions I will buy nothing new.

2 The period of the challenge will be for an initial three months beginning January 1, 2007. I will reevaluate the challenge in March and make a decision whether or not to continue it.

3. No Sytrofoam cups. If I can't remember to bring my coffee cup I don't get coffee.

4. Only one package of paper towels per month. This will be used for cooking (micorwave) purposes not cleaning.

5. Exceptions.
1. all necessary hygenie and basic
cleaning supplies, deodorant etc.
2. all necessary repairs and
maintenance to the house and car.
3. Basic functional underwear
4. e-books The orginial compactors
group permitted downloadable music
because there was no material
product, after some thought I have
decided that this logic also
applies to downable text.
5. Any prescription or non-
prescriptions items needed for
health reasons.
6. I am also suspending the challenge
during any travel.

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I'm going to need it.


Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2006 at 04:00 pm

I hope everyone had at least as happy a Christmas as I did. Mine was wonderful

Buy Nothing New Thoughts

December 21st, 2006 at 09:46 am

Bookie replied to my post on Buy Nothing New and brought up a very good point. She said she didn't see the point of the exercise and that we need to understand the poiint of our frugality.

As I see it there are two reasons to be frugal one is practical the other is more complex. The first one is simple to save money. "To Live Better with Less"

However there is another reason why I am frugal and that is a social justice matter. In the United States we consume per person more than any country in the World. Most of us here know this. However what we may not realize is that we consume at others expense. Because we eat steak others go hungry. (Yes I am a carnivore) Yet this is a very very conplex problem. Simply stopping the consumption won't work. To make matters worse there is a great deal of waste in the economy.

The question that I would like to explore is it possible for an indivdual to withdraw from a segment of the marketplace. For an individual to live on the waste that is generated by this economy. I want to try. That in essence is my question regarding the "services" question. In order to do this a person needs to be as "wasteless" as possible and many services are exploitive.

I also realize that in many ways this argument is illogical. A person such as myseolf with a middle class income who is choosing to "Buy Nothing New" continues to benefit indirectly from the American Consumer Society. After all if the society did not produce the waste this option would not be possible.

Buy Nothing New

December 20th, 2006 at 12:12 pm

I've been reading the thread "10 friends" on the forum and have been inspired. The thread discusses a group in San Francisco that agreed to buy nothing new for a year.

I'd definitely like to try this for several months. It is a good extension of what I already do. I try very hard to always buy used.

I do not have the self-challenge structured yet. I am unsure on several fronts. For example the original group permitted members to buy services. I am not exactly certain what that means. I know that toilet paper and underwear are allowed purchases but what about buying something new at Goodwill.

I'd like very much to hear your ideas. It would also be nice to have more people doing this. Maybe we can form a group?

Unexpected Expenses

December 12th, 2006 at 06:56 pm

The humidfier attached to my furnace broke today and the furnace repair place is going to have to order a fifty to sixty dollar part. They said that it would probably be in sometime next week with installation it will be over a 100.00.

Second thing that happened is that my female cat is sick. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, probably the result of abuse before I got her. She was neutered and declawed and then dumped in the middle of a rural Wisconsin county in the middle of winter. She lost her ears and tail to frost bite and was starving when she was rescued by the Humane Society. Anyway she attacks herself occasionally requiring trips to the vet for steroids and tranquilizers. She has been twice this fall and needs at least one more visit. On top of the OCD the steroids have suppressed her immune system and she now has a sinus infection. I'm beginning to wonder if this is a seasonal thing. Fall/Winter bringing on deep seated anxiety. My wallet has also been depleted by about 250.00.

My wallet will survive. I'm glad I've got a small emergency fund. It is going to need to be replenished after this month.

No Spend Day

December 1st, 2006 at 07:48 pm

Today was a no spend day mainly becuse I've been home in bed sick. But it is still a no spend day and I needed one after last month

November Spending

December 1st, 2006 at 03:58 am

November was a bad month for budgeting. I set a set amount every month for discretionary spending food, clothing, household cleaning supplies, pet food, gas etc. In November I exceeded that amount by 105.45. The worst part is that I am not usre why. I know that includes Thanksgiving and a housequest but still I should have been able to do better.

Oh well December is a brand new month with no spending in it yet. We'll see how I do.

Gobble Gobble update

November 22nd, 2006 at 06:35 pm

No TV tonight or tomorrow. My satellite dish pole got backed up into and bent. The soonest I can get a repair man out here is Saturday Morning.

This is minor. At least it is the TV and not the lights, water, or heat.

Gobble Gobble

November 21st, 2006 at 08:12 pm

This year has been strange. I wasn't certain where I was goiing to have Thanksgiving. I thought for a while I was going out of town,then I thought that I was having a house full of guests.

So I hurriedly cleaned the house and bought almost a 100.00 worth of food. I live alone and rarely have food in the house. This included a 12 lb Turkey

Tonight three of my guests have called and cancelled all with very good reasons I might add. So it is goiing to be me and one other person with a 12 lb Turkey and all of the trimming.

My List

November 16th, 2006 at 07:56 pm

I guess I will join the fun with my own list. I am not sure there is anything interesting about me. I am a pretty boring person. Also it is entirely possible that if someone reads this who knows me they wil recognize me However, that doesn't bother me.

1. I am a Mohawk, member of the bear clan.

2. I am a widow having been married for 9 years until I woke up one morning and found my partner dead of a heart attack at 48. No history of heart disease.

3. I teach at s small midwestern university

4. Even though I am have an Ivy League Ph.D. I prefer teaching to research. Something that occasionally get me into at work,

5. I tend to be a loner and am sometimes very lonely. I do not make friends easily.

6. I am very interested in Social Justice and especially financial social justice. However, I also can't seem to find an outlet for this interest.

7 I live in a small midwestern town which is very uncongenial. I have considered moving, however, I am tenured and you don't walk away form a tenured position.

8. I like computers but have very little formal training in them. I would consider myself semi-computer literate. I use the net and PowerPoint almost everyday.

9. I am extremely stubborn. This has its good and bad points.

10. If there is something I truly dislike about myself. It is that I am a couch potato. However, I do not seem to do anything about it.

11. Financially I earn an income slightly above the median for my state and the nation. However, I ended up extremely in debt for my education.

12. My mother could not read or write.

PSThought of some more things to add

13. I absolutely adore cats. I have two.

14. I hate absolutely categorically hate doing laundry but I do love wearing clothes.

Grocery and House Budget

November 9th, 2006 at 06:50 pm

I've been looking at how much I'm spending on cleaning supplies. toiletries, pet supplies and food.I've just calculated that I've spent an average of 318.00 for the last three months. August was my highest month at 383.

This seems high to me. There is just me 2 cats and a dog. I do tend to eat out a lot. I've pretty much stopped cooking since I was widowed but Have been trying to reestablish the habit of cooking.

I think that I will try cutting this back a little at a time until I feel seriously deprived. For the rest of the month (excluding Thanksgiving) I am going to try and stay under $10 a day for food and supplies.

I'm not sure what a reasonable

Financial things I really dislike about my job

November 2nd, 2006 at 07:55 am

Yesterday was payday and it got me to thinking about paying bills and finances in general and I realized that there are a few things I really dislike about my job financially.

NO its not the pay itself. I know that I am under the national average in my field by about 10,000 a year. (The uni8on keeps telling me, if nothing else.) I am actually pretty satisfied with my income. Its Okay, not great and certain not what many people on this site make but OK.

No it is the little things I dislike. I am forced to pay 24.00 a month for parking at work.

I also dislike being paid once a month for 9 months. This makes summer budgeting extremely difficult. Even though I work really hard to put away money for the summer. I would really like a 12 month pay plan. The company has so far refued to do this for us. Although there is a group of us who are still working on it. Yes I know this is not in my best interest. It is giving the company free use of my money but it would lower my financial stress.

The other thing I hate is that my income is public. It is on the web for heaven's sake with my name attached to it. Because I am a public employee the infomration is public. They used to put it out in what was called "red books." You had to at least go to a library and look the information up. Now you can simply use ay web browser and go to the company's website. Its annoying.

However I do realize that I am one of the lucky ones. I do love my job. IT has some flexibility in hours and it allows me to do what I love doing. Overall I am pretty fortunate.

Lesson Learned?

October 27th, 2006 at 07:20 pm

I drastically cut back my spending this month to pull an additional 150.00 out of my budget in order to partially fund a used computer. I use an allowance system with a per day amount and this savings forced me to drastically cut back my spending. It was a struggle but not as much as I had thought.

Basically this month I have bought very little but groceries and gas. Now I'm wondering what I used to spend that extra 100.00 on. Before this month I was considering raising my allowance by cutting back on savings. There were several months where I have been over budget and I'd just about convinced myself that I needed a "raise."

This extra lean month was good for me in making me aware that even what I consider a lean budget there was still plenty of fat. Instead of raising maybe I should cut it.LOL


October 23rd, 2006 at 01:31 pm

I bought the refillable coffee mug today. It was 2.79 for a 20 ounce cup. This inlcuded a 20 initial fill. I also got a coupon for another free refill.Ao the cup paid for itself. I have been paying 1.38 for a 24 ounce of coffee. I am gload that I did this. Refills are under a $1.

Also yes I have checked the price of bananss. At the grocery store they are running between .39 and .49 a poundat the convenience store they are consistently .29.

I have wondered if grocery store bananas are fair trade and the convenience store aren't. However, I can't seem to find this information. So I am sticking with the convenience store for now.

Thanks for all of the comments.

Over Budget

October 22nd, 2006 at 07:39 pm

I am over budget again this month. I was doing pretty well until I went grocery shopping and bought luxury items. I love Belgium Chocolates LOL. I will have to be very careful this week to get back in balance.

I have been thinking about my "latte factor." I do have one. On morning when I am not telecommuting I stop and buy a coffee and some bananas. I usualy spend $2 or $3 dollars 3 to 4 times a week. I've thought about tryig to bring coffee from home and buying the bananas at a grocery store. However, the bananas would not be any cheaper and I really like the convenience of being able to stop and pick up a big cup of hot coffee. Also since I don't buy lunch at work this expense is really not that bad. I've decided that the expense is worth it. Maybe I should buy a big refillable cup. The place I stop gives customers a discount for getting refills rather than using strofoam cups. It would also be much better for the environment.

My Semi-Frugal Reading Habit

October 20th, 2006 at 03:09 pm

About two years ago I discovered e-books and I haven't looked back. These are electronic books that are designed to be read on the computer. These books use special reading software and are easy to read.
There are several sights on the web that allows people to download ebooks for free. There are also some websites where you can buy ebooks for less than the paperbook would cost. For example I saw Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts at the bookstore for 7.99 and the electronic version was on ebay buy it now for 2.99.

What I particularly like about ebooks is there convenience. You can control the size of the text which makes reading with poor eyesight very nice. I am also hooked on the ability to take almost an entire library with me whereever I go. This is especially true if I am using a laptop on a trip.

I love ebooks.

Sorry if this sounds like an advertisement for ebooks but I really do think that they have saved me a lot of money and they are so convenient. Plus they allow ne feed my ravenous reading habit.


Computer Fund

October 14th, 2006 at 08:16 pm

I had a no spend day so I was able to add 18.00 to my computer fund. I am also adding 100.00 from a medical reimbursement check. This brings the total to 203.00.

I've pretty much reached my goal of 200.00 dollars. I'd liike another 50.00 but we'll see. I;ll start looking for a used computer. I need a portable computer that I do not have to worry about to take on trips to work, etc. This became important when the computer I am currently stopped working on batteries and had to be plugged in.

Saving Money: The Wrong Way

October 13th, 2006 at 03:59 pm

I've just realized that I am going to be staying home on the Day of the Dead (Also known as Samhaim or Halloween.) This is a big day in many religions including mine. I can't make the 400 mile round trip home because November 1 falls on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are my busiest day at work and I can't get the time off. Bummer. I'd much rather miss Christmas than Halloween.

Oh well I have friends who will take care of my part. I will also be saving some money.

Its Snowing!

October 12th, 2006 at 06:36 pm

Its snowing. It has been snowing all day. We now have half an inch of snow on the ground. Also there is more snow in the forecast. Its been hovering around 32 degrees. I love the first few snowfalls but then I get tired of it.

I've had the furnace on off and on for over a week now. The house costs around 200 a month to heat through the worst of the winter. I've been tackling this number. Last winter I bought a programmable thermostat that keeps the house at 62 during the day. Also I cover the windows with film. This seemed to help so I'll do it again this winter.

Today was a no spend day so I was able to add 18 to the computer fund. This brings the total to 85.00.

Busy at Work

October 10th, 2006 at 11:21 am

I am telecommuting today. Staying home to complete two powerpoint presentations that are needed tomorrow. Telecommuting has its ups and downs. So far I have been staring at the computer screen trying to figure out what to write. I'll get it done. I have been very busy at work with a lot of deadlines.

Finacially not a lot has happeing. The middle of the month is usually pretty quiet. I am paid once a month for 9 months. This is one of the few things I truly dislike about my job. I do not understand why a 12 month pay plan can't be set up. But so far that does not seem possible.

I have added 10.00 to the computer fund bringing the total to $60.00

Back on Track

October 8th, 2006 at 05:38 pm

This has been a stay at home weekend. I did manage to get the house semi-clean which was my weekend goal.

Also by staying home and not spending I managed to get my budget back on track. I slurged at the grocery store on Friday and needed to conserve this weekend. I wasn't certain I could but I did. Yeah.

I haven't heard anything from Eyemart Express about the discrepency in their website. I may just let the whole matter drop although it was annoying.

Over Budget

October 6th, 2006 at 03:34 pm

I went grocery shopping today after work and spent 30.61. 13.21 for gas and 3.00 for a car wash.

I am now 22.00 over budget. That might not seem like a lot but I am trying for a bare bones month. Stripping everything to the bone to see how much money I can squeeze out of the household operating budget so 22.00 is quite a bit especially this early in the month.

Well tomorrow had better be a no spend day. LOL I am out of money. Even that won't bring me completely back within budget but it will certainly help.

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