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Long time, no see.

November 30th, 2006 at 12:11 am

I've been gone from the Forums for a while now. I swear it was for a good reason.

My father has prostate cancer.

The surgery to remove the cancer was in September, and it went swimmingly. We'll find out sometime this month if they got all of it, or if he'll have to move on to chemotherapy. Going home a lot to check on my parents has cost a lot of money. I had to get another job to help pay for it. But it'll be worth it, knowing that I've been able to be there for my parents.

Unfortunately, I had to use my Challenge money to pay one of my bills. I guess I just have to try again after the new year.

I'm sore, yet again.

July 13th, 2006 at 10:05 pm

I've worked out almost every day this week, plus John and I have spent the last two days working on the Barn, so I'm sore. Again. Thank goodness for naproxen sodium! Wink

I had two "no-drive" days this week, and saved $9.19 with my shopping rewards card at the grocery store, so that's $15.09 to the Pennsic fund. Yay!

Previous Pennsic Balance: $249.78
Contribution: $15.09
New Pennsic Balance: $264.87

TGIF!

July 7th, 2006 at 10:10 pm

I don't think I have ever been so happy to see a Friday in a long, long while. We have an event in Apex tomorrow, so here's hoping we do well.

Saved $3.39 with my Lowes Foods card yesterday. With Pennsic fast approaching, I'm worried we won't have enough money saved up for much more than gas.

Previous Pennsic Balance: $246.39
Contribution: $3.39
New Pennsic Balance: $249.78

Also, John took his lunch to work today. . .and I didn't have to make it for him. He made it himself while I was asleep! Ladies and gents, they CAN be taught! *huge grin*

Previous Challenge Balance: $60.24
Contribution: $1.00
New Challenge Balance: $61.24

*belch*

July 6th, 2006 at 04:38 pm

Pennsic preperations are going dismally. However, I have money to contribute to it. Half of the yard sale money is going in, and I've had two no-driving days, so that's another $5.70. We might just have enough money to get to Pennsylvania. Hopefully we'll have enough money to eat while we're there, too.


Previous Pennsic Balance: $230.69
Contribution: $15.70
New Pennsic Balance: $246.39

Fourth of July Weekend

July 6th, 2006 at 04:32 pm

Okay, so the last few days have been strange, but I'll talk about that later.

Trying to remember what I've done in the last few days money-wise. I know we went grocery shopping, but I don't remember what we bought or what I saved or what coupons I used. Its nothing but a fog.

The yard sale at the flea market wasn't quite as profitable as I'd hoped, so perhaps the third time will be the charm. However, that's $10 to the Challenge.

Previous Challenge Balance: $50.24
Contribution: $10.00
New Challenge Balance: $60.24

*sigh* I used to have a brain. I wish I knew where it wandered off to. . .

Gearing up for the yard sale.

July 1st, 2006 at 11:20 pm

Chrissy and I will be having yet another yard sale tomorrow at the flea market in Raleigh. Not sure how we'll do this time, but I'm confident that we shall do MUCH better than last time.

Tomorrow we plan on arriving at the flea market around 7 a.m. and be up and running by 7:45, tops. Last time we didn't get there until 9 a.m., so we missed the early bird rush and didn't make much money as a result. But this time will be different. (I hope.)

I packed lunch for John today, and I made both dinner Friday and breakfast today from scratch. I also combined 5 errands into one car trip AND resisted the urge buy a new video game even though it was at a reduced price. GO ME! Big Grin

That's $5 to the Challenge.

Previous Challenge Balance: $45.24
Contribution: $5.00
New Challenge Balance: $50.24

I also didn't go anywhere yesterday, so I'll put a gallon's worth of gas money into the Pennsic fund.

Previous Pennsic Balance: $227.84
Contribution: $2.85
New Pennsic Balance: $230.69

Time to load up the Suburban. Wish us luck! Wink

.......

June 30th, 2006 at 01:08 pm

The last few days have been both good and bad. I'd rather not talk about the details right now, though.

John took his lunch to work today. Yay.

Previous Challenge Balance: $44.24
Contribution: $1.00
New Challenge Balance: $45.24

Weekend Warrior Fund

June 29th, 2006 at 04:37 pm

Went to the store yesterday to pick up finger food ingredients for a small get together we had last night. I saved $4.98 with my Rewards card. At this rate, we'll have a nicely padded budget for our vacation. Yay!

I don't plan on spending willy-nilly while on vacation, mind you. When one is camping, however, you need to have money set aside for emergencies that will hopefully never occur. For example, a year and a half ago, John and I were camping in Mississippi and due to a faulty propane lantern we wound up being rushed to the ER in Lumberton with propane poisoning. That was NOT planned (obviously), and it cost us dearly. Since then, I've been slowly replacing our propane lanterns with LED lanterns or with better-made propane equipment that comes with more saftey features, such as CO2 censors or catalytic-sensing automatic shut off valves.

This costs money, folks. But I think its worth it to NEVER experience that emergency again. Ever.

Previous Pennsic Balance: $222.86
Contribution: $4.98
New Pennsic Balance: $227.84

Countdown to Panic, er I mean Pennsic. :D

June 29th, 2006 at 04:28 pm

*cheesy grin*

I only have a handful of goals this year concerning Pennsic War. The first is moving out of the Duplex before war starts, but that isn't exactly a Pennsic-related goal. At least, I don't think it is, but the other goals certainly are.

90% of Scadians I know have the same problem when it comes to preparing for war: Leaving the house looking like a warhead was dropped on it. In the whirlwind of preperations and "making good time" on the drive to Pennsylvania, a monumental mess is usually left in one's wake. So, Pennsic Goal #1 is leaving behind a (reasonably) clean house when we depart for our vacation.

Another issue most folks I know have with going to war is constantly having to make "town runs". This translates as "Oh-good-grief-I-forgot-X-item-and-I-can't-live-without-it!" panic trips to Wal-Mart or Home Depot once you make it to the campsite. Its a minimum 30-minute drive one way to get to either of those stores, and its a pain in the butt to leave the campsite and then get back in again. First you have to go up Metal Mountain to find your vehicle. Then you have to go through site checkpoints (these are to ensure people coming into the campsite have actually paid to be there) to go off site. Then there's the drive itself, and the time and money spent at the store. After the return drive, you have to go back through the checkpoints again and then its a trip back up Metal Mountain to drop off your vehicle at parking after you drop off items and passengers at your camp.

A MAJOR hassle and a gargantuan waste of time. Therefore, Pennsic Goal #2 is only having to make one store run during all of War Week.

Now for a more personal problem. In the last few years, I have become a procrastinator extraordinaire. Even with a well-formulated plan of attack, things fall through the cracks or are left half-finished due to the "I'll do it later," attitude. I have no idea how I fell into this trap, but I hate it and I don't want to be in it anymore. So, Pennsic Goal #3 is actually a two-part goal. Goal #3A is to have all our gear that is being used by the camp-at-large cleaned, repaired and ready to be packed no less than 4 days prior to the start of Pennsic.

Goal #3B is to have mine and John's personal gear cleaned, repaired, and packed in my car the night before we leave for War Week. (The actual date of our departure is still up in the air due to the sporadicness of working in retail, so I'll figure out the specifics later.)

Those are the only goals I have at this particular point in time. If I come up with any more than that, I'll update the list in another entry.

Wish me luck. This is gonna be tough. :P

Ow. . .*groans*

June 29th, 2006 at 02:22 pm

I'm so incredibly sore right now. Its not that such a thing is horrible in its own right, but its upsetting to know just how out of shape I've become. *groans some more*

John and I were working on The Property all day yesterday to ready it for inspection by County Building & Zoning. The day before that I was cleaning and hauling things all by my onesy for 5 hours.

So I am SORE.

Though I am sore, tired, and a tiny bit sunburnt, things are looking up where The Property is concerned. We shoul have everything out of sight or thrown out by the end of today, so I have no doubt that it will pass inspection on Friday.

After that, we'll have to pull everything out of the Barn again to get the inside ready for inspection at the end of July. Oye. It seems like a lot of work for little payoff, but I know that's not true. Being able to cut our housing costs by nearly half will be a WONDERFUL reward for all this work. I just wish things had fallen differently time-wise.

We wouldn't have to be rushing around like this if one of neighbors could have been a man and actually TALKED to us about the problems he has with us. Instead, he went behind our backs and told the county were violating zoning code by creating a "junk yard". (Yes, you can get fined if you have too many cars on your lawn, apparently.) This is absolutely stupid, considering that another neighbor has no less than 7 cars on their property, and in the two years we've lived in this area, we've only seen 3 of them run. EVER. I don't see anyone calling the county on them.

*sigh*

I'm just frustrated, that's all. But after tomorrow, it won't matter. We'll pass inspection, and this won't happen again. I won't let it. *growls*

The Forecast: More Rain

June 27th, 2006 at 04:14 pm

Still raining here in North Carolina. I won't complain, though. Most of the state has been experiencing drought conditions for nearly 18 months, so the more rain the better in my not-so-humble opinion.

John took his lunch to work today, so that's more money for the Challenge.

Previous Challenge Balance: $43.24
Contribution: $1.00
New Challenge Balance: $44.24

I also had a No Driving Day yesterday, so that's $2.85 for the Pennsic 35 Beer Fund. Not a bad day, if you ask me.

Previous Pennsic Balance: $220.01
Contribution: $2.85
New Pennsic Balance: $222.86

I also have to get some trash and recycling hauled today. I have some things to return to Wal-Mart, too. Baby Bro bought some dog food for Luna, the new pup, but got the wrong kind. Since its unopened, I'm going to see if I can get a GC by returning it. All three dogs need food, and the two larger dogs need some new chew toys. Luna rumaged through the house two nights ago and tore up a newspaper, a roll of paper towels, and a maxi pad. She's part German Shepherd, and they are notorious for being "chewers". She's destroyed no less than three rope bones in as many weeks. If I don't buy her some more chew toys, though, I fear the house will be chewed to death. *sigh* Not much a choice there. Not until she grows out of the chewing stage, anyway.

Oh, well. Better than being eaten out of house and home. Wink (Yes, I know. Horrible jokes abound.)

Lunch Money and Frazzled Cashiers

June 26th, 2006 at 02:18 pm

I packed John a lunch before he raced out the door to work this morning. $1 for the Challenge.

Also saved $6.75 in coupons when buying Scott toilet tissue on sale at the grocery store Wednesday. I forgot about that. Had to run back inside the store after I looked at the reciept and realized the cashier had forgotten to scan my coupons! I was NOT pleased. He and the manager apologized profusely, though. The store was absolutely PACKED with people, so I guess the poor guy had a few fried ciruits if you catch my drift. Its not like he gyped me on purpose, so I thanked him and went home.

At this rate, I'm running out of change in the money cup to put in my savings jars! I'm going to ask John if he will take out $20 in cash/change when he gets paid on Thursday to put towards the money cup.

He said he doesn't want to know the day-to-day earnings of the two savings jars, because he has too much on his mind right now due to the management training courses he's taking for Circuit City. Can't say that I blame him, but I do resent it a tiny, tiny bit. Its like he doesn't think I have a lot on my mind since I'm not working outside the house. *sigh* But its only a tiny bit of resentment. I've shared my feelings with him on the subject, and he says that he understands, so I don't think it will grow into anything huge. Thank the gods for reason, you know?

Previous Challenge Balance: $35.49
Contribution: $7.75
New Challenge Balance: $43.24

39 days until war!

June 26th, 2006 at 02:03 pm

Cripes! Is it really that close?!? Good grief, I'd better get off my duff and get to work!

Saved $12 with my Lowes Food rewards card yesterday. For the first time in FOREVER I caved in to a craving and went searching for donuts. I was going to get the "fresh" ones from the bakery, because after 7 p.m., the unsold baked goods are clearanced up to 1/2 price in order to make room for the next day's batch.

When I arrived at the bakery section, however, there wasn't a single donut or bagel left to be found! I had to settle for eclairs and cream horns, instead. I also bought a Boston Cream Pie since it was almost 1/2 price, as well. That will definitely last a while if I hide it from the boys. Wink Bought some cheese "bricks", since store brand was on sale $3 per 1 pound brick. WAY cheaper than regular price on brand-name OR store-brand.

Last but not least, 12 packs of Coke products were on sale 4 packs for $10. (I felt the need to replace what we used up at Jeff's place Wednesday night, since it isn't nice to go over to someone else's house and use up all their stuff!) That soda aisle looked like someone had hit it with a bomb! The shelves were practically empty. Luckily, I found four packs of sodas everyone drinks, so I think it will do.

Previous Pennsic Balance: $208.01
Contribution: $12
New Pennsic Balance: $220.01

I think I'll run by the credit union today and deposit the money in the Pennsic Jar. Safer that way.

*sigh*

June 26th, 2006 at 12:12 am

Not too much to report for the Challenge today.

John took his lunch to work--$1
Made dinner from scratch--$1

Previous Balance: $33.49
Contribution: $2.00
New Balance: $35.49

More money for war.

June 25th, 2006 at 04:10 am

Saved $5.19 with my Lowes Food Rewards card today.

Previous Balance: $202.82
Contribution: $5.19
New Balance: $208.01

It seems to be a $1 kind of day.

June 25th, 2006 at 04:07 am

John took his lunch to work--$1

Previous Balance: $32.49
Contribution: $1.00
New Balance: $33.49

No Gas Day

June 24th, 2006 at 07:34 pm

I didn't drive anywhere yesterday, so I saved some gasoline. Normally, this would go in the Challenge Jar, but since gas will be required for driving to Pennsic I think I will put the money there instead.

Previous Balance:$199.97
Contribution: $2.85 (cost of a gallon of gas)
New Balance: $202.82

Rainy Days

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:44 pm

And I don't mean the one we're saving for. Wink

I got some chores done before the rain started today. Washed some dishes, cleaned the recycling bins, hung up some laundry. Even grabbed the laundry off the line before it got soaked again. Its still drying in the house, so I guess that still counts toward the Challenge.

John took lunch to work: $1
I drank a glass of water with lunch: $0.25
Hung laundry on the clothesline: $0.50
Washed the dishes by hand: $1

Previous Balance:$29.74
Contribution: $2.75
New Balance: $32.49

Freshly Cleaned Rugs

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:31 pm

When you camp at Pennsic, you go all out. For us, that includes having throw rugs on the floor of our yurt. It makes for softer sitting and walking inside the tent.

I vacuumed and steam cleaned our camping rugs on Wednesday, and I remembered to fold them up and put them in my car before the rain started today. That's $2 for the Pennsic Fund.

Previous Balance: $197.97
Contribution: $2.00
New Balance: $199.97

Darn it!

June 23rd, 2006 at 02:42 pm

The folks I cleaned for yesterday forgot to leave my paycheck. This means I'm going to have to waste gas to go get it.

*sigh*

I guess the upshot is that since I won't be able to get the check until after 3 p.m., I won't have access to that money until Monday, which means I can't spend it. I guess that's good thing. . .

Bananas

June 23rd, 2006 at 02:34 pm

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely cannot stand eating fresh fruit. I only eat fruit in dried or juice form. (Well, I'll eat almost anything in bread form. Banana bread, orange-currant bread, apple-cinnamon bread. I just like bread. *shrugs*) However, these are not as good for me as the fresh form is. I'm not completely unintelligent. I know the facts.

Its just a texture thing. For whatever reason (though I'm pretty sure it has something to do with kids in the sandbox talking about how bugs squish when you eat them *shudders and gags*), I just don't like biting into something and having juice gush into my mouth. It makes me want to hurl.

But, I'm an adult, and sometimes adults have to do things they don't particularly like because they are the right things to do. *pouts* So, I've decided to start trying to eat more fresh fruit, and I'll be starting with bananas.

Why bananas, you ask? Because even though they are soft, they aren't exactly "squishy". I figure that means I won't want to wrech every time I bite into one. Its a theory, anyway. We'll just have to see if its a good one.

To better motivate myself to do this, I will put $0.25 into the Pennsic Fund every time I eat a banana. Even if its just cutting up half a banana and putting it on my cereal, it still counts in my mind, so contribute to the jar I shall. Here's hoping it works.

Mexican for Dinner

June 22nd, 2006 at 11:57 pm

Decided to make burritos for dinner tonight, so I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home from the apartment cleaning.

Even with buying two pounds of ground, some yogurt, lettuce, cereal, frosting, sour cream, milk, and bananas, I still got out of the store spending less than $20. The frosting and the cereal were on the "Damaged Goods" rack, so they only cost me $3.44 for two cans of frosting and one box of name-brand cereal. (I was craving GrapeNuts, and what do you know? There was one box on the damage rack. *grin*)

*preens*

I saved $2.49 in coupons today. I also combined several errands today on the trip home from work, so I believe that is $1 added to the Challenge. One of those errands was a trip to the recycling center, so that's another $1. On top of that, we're cooking dinner at home tonight, so that's $1 to add to the Challenge, as well.

Yay! Big Grin

Previous Balance: $24.25
Contribution: $5.49
New Balance: $29.74

Pennsic 35 or BUST!

June 22nd, 2006 at 11:39 pm

I saved $4.19 at Lowes Food with my shopping rewards card, so into the Pennsic 35 Beer Fund it goes. Wink (That's what we're calling the Pennsic Savings Jar. Let's just say that a LOT of parties happen at Pennsic War, and everyone should contribute. *grin*)

Previous Balance: $193.78
Contribution: $4.19
New Balance: $197.97

Pennsic and the $20 Challenge

June 22nd, 2006 at 11:35 pm

I've come to a bit of an impasse when it comes to my saving money. We have a vacation coming up in six weeks or so, and we only have $190 saved up for the expenses of that trip.

I can tell you that going to Pennsic War isn't cheap, but it doesn't have to be extravagant, either. I'm not sure how little we can do the trip on, but I plan to find out. However, it makes me wonder how I'll manage the Challenge AND save enough money for Pennsic.

So, rather than ruin my chances of saving big with the $20 Challenge, I'm going to slightly change where I'm putting my savings. I have decided to put whatever I save using my shoper rewards card at various stores into the Pennsic 35 Fund and put what I save in coupons into the $20 Challenge fund. Hopefully, there will be good results all around.

Referrals

June 22nd, 2006 at 05:37 pm

How does one refer a friend to the Savind Advice Forums? Is there a special procedure for recieving referral credit, or do they just need to know your username? Thoughts?

Any information would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

Breakfast

June 22nd, 2006 at 03:30 pm

John cooked sausage gravy and biscuits from scratch for breakfast. One more dollar for the Challenge! Smile

Previous balance: $23.25
Contribution: $1.00
New Balance $24.25

Challenge Post

June 21st, 2006 at 08:07 pm

One last post, I swear. Big Grin

Put clothes on the clothesline instead of running the dryer-$0.50

Cut out and organized my coupons, eliminating some unneeded clutter-$0.50

Ate leftovers out of the fridge for lunch instead of cooking something new-$1.00

Drank a glass of water instead of soda-$0.25

Previous Total: $21
Contribution: $2.25
New Total: $23.25

Drink Choices

June 21st, 2006 at 07:50 pm

Every time I drink a glass of water instead of something more expensive, I'll add $0.25 to the Challenge Jar.

Steam Cleaning

June 21st, 2006 at 05:25 pm

Taking a break from helping Jeff steam clean his carpets while he vacumes the next section of the house. I'm folding laundry and picking up around the house to get ready for my turn. (Did my living room yesterday morning, so its time for the hallway and the bedrooms.)

I think I'll put $1 toward the Challenge for doing the carpets myself instead of hiring someone else to. Go me!

Previous Total: $20
Contribution: $1
New Total: $21

Moving Out

June 21st, 2006 at 04:45 pm

This is going to sound nuts, but John and I have GOT to get out of this house.

Let me explain.

For those who didn't know, we live in a duplex with 3 other people. John, myself, and our roommate Brian live on one side, and Jeff and his wife Sue live on the other. (They used to have a roommate, but she moved out two months ago.) Jeff owns the duplex, so he calls the shots. Here's why this is a problem.

Jeff is trying to save the whole darn world again, and while admirable, its going to be an issue.

Our friends Tom and Chrissy are getting evicted from their apartment complex at the end of July. Tom just got his graduate degree in Library Sciences. In March, he competed for a scholarship program that would have led to a federal government job two years later. Tom is rather cocky (most grad students are) and thus assumed he'd be one of the 700 they take into the program every year. Because he was so confident, he never formulated a back-up plan.

The wrench in the works? The program had to downsize, so they only took 400 applicants this year. Tom was not one of them. The job he had through his university ends in two weeks. His wife, Chrissy has a job, but the cafe' where she works just cut her hours in half. Between the two of them, they are making less than $300 a week. He refuses to get a retail job for whatever reason, and because he has no corporate experience, he's having trouble finding jobs in the public sector. To top it all off, because they could not tell their landlord if they would be staying for another year when he asked them on April 20th, they have to leave their apartment because the lease is ending.

Jeff has offered them the back-up plan of moving into the duplex on his side. The issues with this are as follows.

1-The only available room in his house is his wife's sewing room. There isn't a whole lot of room in there.

2-Tom and Chrissy have two cats. Jeff has one, and Sue will be getting another when she gets back from Canada. Plus, they have a dog, and WE have three dogs. This is going to complicate things with the county, I'm sure.

3-Tom and Chrissy have a LOT of stuff. Where on Earth are they going to put it all?

4-I'll be honest: Jeff's not the cleanest guy in the world. If his house is sparse, he's better at keeping it clean. With all the added pets, people, and stuff, I doubt you'll be able to breathe in there, much less walk. Heck, he pays ME to clean his house NOW. What's he going to do when the others move in? My rates will go up, that's for darn sure. I don't think he'll like that very much.

5-Tom and Chrissy aren't the only ones who will be staying here at the end of July. Jeff has "slaved" someone for Pennsic. (Translation: He takes care of that person financially for Pennsic, and in exchange that person does the chores around camp that Jeff would normally have to do.) Tomas will be here in less than 3 weeks. Where the heck is Jeff gonna put HIM?!?

6-Any drama that happens on that side of the house never stays on that side of the house. Crowded spaces + lots of pets + strong personalities = LOTS of drama.

Because of all those issues, I've put my foot down with John. We have GOT to move.

John owns property exactly 117 steps up the road from the Duplex. 4.75 acres, actually. He has two barns built there already. Heck, two years ago we lived in a yurt up there while we were building the barns. Quite comfortably. (More on that later.) The only thing stopping us from living up there is the fact that neither barn has its Certificate of Occupancy.

It will take a little grunt work and some carpentry work, along with some drywall and a nail gun, but I think we can get the last part of the second barn finished in time to get the C.O. on it before August 1st. If so, we will secretly start converting it to an apartment/guest house sort of deal, and move up there. That is my goal.

If we are able to pull this off, it will save a LOT of headache here at the Duplex, and for John and myself, too. To start, the dogs will have room to run for goodness' sake. That's what dogs are meant to do. Secondly, our living expenses would be cut by at least a third, if not cut in half. Jeff has already agreed to let us tap off his wireless internet (a SECURE wireless LAN, so nobody panic) until we can get our own set up there.

John and I both have cell phones. That would work until we got TWC digital phone or Vonage. We won't need cable TV since we usually watch TV with Jeff, Sue, Brian, Tom and Chrissy anyway. For the time being, we could "foster" our TiVo with Jeff or Chrissy.

We have running water up there. We have a bathroom in there already. John knows how to put in a drainage system for the shower/tub that we originally bought for the house we were buidling. (Again, I'll post about that later.) We have a washer, dryer, stove, sink, ceiling fans, AC units, heaters, and furniture already. All we have to do is set things up. I've already determined that we can live without carpet on the concrete floor until November at the very latest. (I've been researching Legatto carpeting from Home Depot. Might be worth it since we can always take it out and move it to the house with little effort once it is built.)

I plan on keeping track of our progress here, on my LiveJournal, and on PhotoBucket. So, we'll see what happens.

Wish us luck. Smile


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