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Archive for October, 2009

The good with the bad.

October 29th, 2009 at 10:38 am

These are the things I think I'm doing right financially.

>Save 25% of our monthly income.
>No credit card balances
>Contribute to a 403B at work
>Save for home repairs
>Prepare most meals at home
>Shop around for staples and personal items (most times)
>Groom dog in between groomer's visits
>Help parents out a bit financially
>Pay $200 a month extra on mortgage principal
>I have a Roth IRA
>Have not used the equity on our home
>Save for trips and summer fund

Things I need to work on:

Contribute the full amount allowed on Roth IRA

Sometimes I get lazy and spend more on prepackaged food than I really should.

Contribute a little more to 403B

Save a bit more for my children's education.

I'm sure there is more, but the bell is about to ring for my next class.

How about you?

In preparation for the work week.

October 25th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

These are somethings I do in preparation to the work week:

>Prepared 7 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. They are in the freezer (just grab and bag for my son's lunch). He alternates between pb and J and half of a large bagel with cream cheese and one day of buying lunch at school.

>bagged cookies and set aside nutri-grain bars.

>prepared 4 breakfast sandwiches (egg, cheese and half a slice of ham) on Arnold's Best multi-grain sandwich thins. Heat in the microwave for 35 seconds. This has been very useful for me because it helps me avoid the temptation to stop at McDonalds for a breakfast sandwich on my way to work.

>Prepared a batch of chicken and tuna salad for lunches.

>Prepared a batch of pancake mix. Shake and pour and my son can have them for breakfast.

I also make 2 extra servings every night for dinner. We alternate between leftovers and sandwiches for lunch. I also marinate or prepare any meat I will be making for Monday's dinner since its the only day of the work week I feel more inclined to eat out.

So far I've only spent a dollar buying a snacks at work in two months. I was craving something salty and I only had 100 calorie snacks stored at work.

We eat out twice a week but it's take-out, usually Pizza or Chinese food. I treat the boys to McDonald's once a week, even though we should do Subway instead (it's healthier).

All of this takes me about 40 minutes to prepare but it saves me a lot of time and money!




Thoughts, bargains and ramblings!

October 24th, 2009 at 06:26 am

I was recently approved for an increase in the salary guide at work which will probably net me about $125.00 a month. A colleague at work commented that I can probably put that money towards a car payment. We are not planning on a new car yet for I drive a 2001 Suzuki GV XL7 in great condition and only has 53,000 miles. My husband works very hard at keeping our cars in good shape. It got me thinking though, people struggle often times financially, because they can only think of what they can get as opposed to becoming excited about saving any surplus. I used to think that way too, but not any more. I regret not telling her that I want to save that money in case something unexpected happens. Anyway, I'm really excited about my progress in increasing my earning potential at work. I'm hoping to complete my Master in the Spring, which will mean closed $7100 salary increase.

Recently, I scored some deals for ink for my home printer online. I decided that I had to prepare beforehand for ink shortages, which usually leads to running to Staples and paying top dollar for color and black ink. I spent a total of $54.48 after a $5 coupon for 2 color and 2 blank cartridges. We thought of replacing this old Lexmark (came with the PC in a bundle) with something more economical but I have to do some research on my best options. I want to be an informed buyer.

I've also been diligent about cooking at home and making sure that leftovers are eaten and not thrown away. The other day, I threw away food from the fridge and all I can think of how sad this was, considering there are so many people who are stuggling to provide for their families. It literaly made me sick to my stomach. I've also signed up to get free samples from various reputable companies and have been clipping coupons for things we eat. The money I save on these items, I put away to send to my parents (who are on a fixed income). I could not bear the thought of my parents doing without basic necessities when I can make some sort of contribution. My husband has been filling his mother's gas tank every weekend or gives her some cash. That's the least we can do.

It's a gloomy but colorful day in northern New Jersey! I have to do some shopping and begin writing a reflection paper for the last graduate class I took (Kinesthetic Classroom: Learning through Movement). Loved it!

Ok fellow bloggers, there you have my thoughts, bargains and ramblings. Have a great weekend!

Fall trees behind our backyard!



Fall is in full swing!

October 19th, 2009 at 01:24 pm

Got 3 hardy mums today at our local supermarket. They were 3 for $10 and I had a $2 coupon (courtesy of Ragu Sauce). I paid $8 for all three. Not bad!

My house decorated for Halloween and fall

Time for an update.

October 11th, 2009 at 07:17 pm

An update on what's going on in my house on the money front.

>>Summer projects are done
deck
granite countertop
range hood

Summer fund was completely wiped out but everything was paid cash.

>>I took 2 graduate courses this summer and just finished the third course today. Tuition for all 3 courses will be reimbursed by my employer. I have a total of 3 courses left to finish my MA in Education. I'm on my own with these, since I'm only allotted 9 credits per every school year. These nine credits should cost me $2,900+ cost of staying at a hotel (I have to travel to Pennsylvania to take these courses).

>>The board of Education approved my salary guide movement retroactive to September ($1750 more per year). Reason? BA + 15 credits salary scale.

We are not doing any home repairs until next summer. I'll post tentative repairs sometime after January. In-ground oil tank removal is still pending.

Once we reach $50k mark with our savings we will increase the amount of extra mortgage principal substantially.
So far we've met our goal of sending an extra $200 to the mortgage principal every month.

I've been saving for two tentative trips and doing okay with it (see side bar)We've all agreed that Christmas will be very simple.

There you have it! Have a great and frugal week!