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Archive for July, 2010

An early birthday gift and more

July 31st, 2010 at 04:09 pm

My friend returns to Ireland next week after spending summer in America Frown I miss them so much when they are gone but we talk once a week via Skype. Anyway, we had lunch together yesterday and she gave me and early birthday gift after lunch.

This is what I received:

A Paula Deen 9" pie dish, a recipe book and a set of 6 kitchen towels. I absolutely love all them, especially the pie dish.


On another note, the two tomato plants that we rescued from dying (our next door neighbor never bother planting them) are full of green tomatos. I cannot wait until they turn red! We've spent about $6500 of the $10K allotted for the summer fund. Most of it has been used to pay tuition, insurance policies and keeping us afloat this summer. We will both return to work September first, which means some expenses for work clothes and my son's school clothes. I already made an inventory of what he'll need; I think a few new shirts, 4 pairs of jeans and sneakers will suffice. We also picked up a bed we ordered a week ago ($770). I'm very happy we spent the money on it; I'm embarrased to say that we've been sleeping on mattresses for the last two years. No excuse, just pure laziness.

I hope you all have a great Sunday. It's time for me to pick up the clothes that are hanging outside and TV time.

The semi-hidden cost of a degree

July 28th, 2010 at 08:29 pm

I finally received the e-mail with final instructions to follow in order to confer my degree. Graduation fee is $100, three copies (binded) of my study= $144, $17 for acid-free (dissertation quality) paper, $31 for library fees and $50 for postage (back and forth revisions of my paper). Grand Total=$342 OUCH!

Well worth it, though. My out of pocket expenses for tuition was about $5K out $32k. The school district I work for reimburse me for the rest. Not too shabby!

Problem viewing pictures on SA

July 28th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Is anyone having problems viewing pictures? All I can see is a box with a red X on the corner.

Make-ahead butterhorns recipe

July 27th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

I'm a big fan of moneysavingmom.com. She often posts her favorite recipes and I came across the butterhorn recipe. I absolutely love this recipe. It was easy to make and the butterhorn were delicious. This is definitely a keeper! The only thing I have to do now is find the dry yeast in bigger quantities and save. I bought a three-pack (about 2 1/2 TBSP total) for $1.39 at Walmart.

Here are some pictures of the preparation and baking.

First 2010 Personal Goal accomplished!

July 26th, 2010 at 09:00 am

I just received my notice of completion of Graduate Course Requirements, which means that I earned my Master of Arts in Education. Woo Hoo!!!!!!

Extra mortgage principal payment #1

July 25th, 2010 at 04:08 pm

Woo hoo, ready to be mailed tomorrow is our August mortgage payment. In it is an extra principal payment of $1,000.08. I really want to keep the momemtum going and hopefully get this monkey off my back!

Blueberry muffins

July 24th, 2010 at 03:18 pm

Looking through my freezer I found about 2 cups of blueberries. I really want to use everything in there before September. Anyway, I did a search and came across this recipe that turned out to be very good. Here is the link to the recipe and a picture of the blueberry muffins.


I hope you like it!

All set

July 23rd, 2010 at 10:59 am

I think I'm pretty set with our newly revised budget. We need $550 to be kept in envelopes monthly. The rest can go into our checking account and savings should be disbursed at the end of the month. On second thought, I just remember that I have to add a category to the budget for my youngest son's summer camp expenses (lacrosse, wrestling).

budget cash envelope (I love my label maker)


It's raining cats and dogs here in north Jersey today. I plan to make a clothes inventory of what my son's needs for the new school year. I already have a coupon for Foot Locker, but I'll have to use it by August 19th, which is two weeks before school begins around here. Tuition for son #1 is due by August 6th; I think it should be around $1700 + books.


My mother is finally scheduled to move to Florida August 3rd (after my Dad's passing). My sister will be traveling to accompany her. I paid for my sister's airfare from Florida to Puerto Rico and for their way back to Florida. Overall cost was about $838.


I hope you have a great weekend.


July 21st, 2010 at 10:59 am

In anticipation of us returning to work in about 5 weeks, I've been working hard on revising and our household budget. After everything is paid and as long as we remain employed and keep our tenants in our rental, we have a surplus of $2,245 and this is how we've decided to make good use of this money.

Extra payments on mortgage principal=$1,000.00
403B= 250.00
Roth IRA= 200.00
Savings=$ 795.00 mortgage

Budget categories:
food (envelope)
cable, phone,internet (bundle)
cell phone
heating oil
gasoline (envelope)
car payment
homeowners insurance
electric bill
property taxes
property tax (rental)
car insurance
miscellaneous (credit cards and gifts)
wine and spirits (envelope)
dog (envelope)
son's sports fees (envelope)
summer fund
utilities for rental
vacation fund

I did not include amy husband's monthly overtime check because it varies greatly ($100-up) and I'll use that money to help out my recent widowed mother, car repairs, extra money on our retirement accounts and other emergencies.

My son plans to transfer to a 4 year college in the Spring of 2011 so I told him that we will continue to give him $500 a month for tuition and board (we'll pay for his textbooks)for another 2 years. We have paid fully for his two years of community college. We had to give him a deadline of another 2 years because my youngest son will begin college in two years (he is a junior in high school now).

Our mortgage payoff quest begins

July 13th, 2010 at 02:55 pm

Next month we will begin our quest to payoff our mortgage. Our goal is to pay between $500-$1,000 extra each month. I think we should be able to do this since we already have a nice emergency fund established. I've always wanted to this, but I feel even more inspired to do this ever since I read Crystal's from moneysavingmom.com blog about buying a house mortgage free. I will keep you updated on our progress each month. And just in case you are wondering, we will continue funding a Roth IRA and my 403B. I know this is very ambitious but I think we can do it or at least try. Keep your fingers crossed.

Every little counts

July 12th, 2010 at 10:15 am

My son (youngest) gave me $40 to deposit in his bank account today and I while there I used their coin machine. To my surprise the small amount of coins yield $33.05. I cashed the coin voucher and left the .05 in the bucket and put the $33 in an envelope. I will put that money towards the principal of our mortgage. I'm still crossing my fingers about only using $8K of the $10k allotted for the summer expenses. Anything left over from the summer fund will be applied to the principal of the mortgage. I've not transferred any summer money yet to the checking account. Smile
I'm reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. I'm reading book #1, which I borrowed from the library. My niece offered to let me borrow books #2,3 and 4. I want to read all of the books by September 1st (my first day at work for the new school year).

What's your take?

July 10th, 2010 at 05:44 pm

As you may already know my sons are 20 and 16 years old. I had my children when I was 21 and 24 years old. Lately, I am baffled at some of the decisions some of my son's parents are making (I mean my 16 years old) when it comes to their children. The other day we attended a graduation party for a 17 year old. I like this family very much because they seemed to rear their children the same way my husband and I rear ours. Needless to say, I was shocked that the parents allowed their son to have friends over and play beer pong. Today another friend of my son shows up at the house to show off his new tatoo. When the boy left he said, "Mom, Bobby got a tatoo". I asked him, "Who took Bobby to get a tatoo?" "His mom did". I said to him, "Shame on his mom". I'm not claiming that my kids are saints and I'm not perfect but darn but why are some parents more interested in being their kids friends than parents.

Plans for our money

July 9th, 2010 at 06:59 pm

Now that we have a nice cushion, we will put a lot of our extra money into making extra payments towards the principal of our home. Not everything though. We still want to put money in our savings and retirement accounts. We have not withdrawn any money from our summer fund yet, but that won't last long. I just received the bill for homeowners' insurance on our rental ($1,098). I'm still hoping to meet the goal of only using $8K of the $10K allotted for the summer months. I'm cutting my sister a check for the pet security deposit for my mother's dog. She will be moving with her by August. The fee is $200. Starting September, I'll send my mother $50 a week to cover some of her expenses. She'll be on a tight budget since my Dad passed away.

Sunday is my Son's birthday. I can't believe he'll be 20 years old. We ordered his favorite food (Buffalo wing Pizza and Penne Vodka). Tomorrow his brother will be taking him to Chili's and I'm sure on Sunday he'll hang out with his girlfriend. Time flies!
Between my chase credit card and swagbucks I currently have $145 in my amazon account. I'm using that money to buy something nice for me. Let's see how much I can accumulate in that account by December.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Coupons for the taking

July 9th, 2010 at 07:17 am

I have a bunch of coupons I know I won't use. I'll be more than happy to mail them to you, but you got to take them as a bundle. Anyone wants them? First person to send me their email address so that I can get your mailing address privately.

Coupons I have:

$1 off Scrubbing bubbles toilet cleaning product
$5 off Scrubbing bubbles Automatic Shower cleaner kit
$1 off Tom's of Maine toothpaste
$1 off Toms's of Maine deodorant
.75 off (1) 20 lb Jonny Cat complete clay cat litter
.55 off any one Right Guard Product
Buy one IAMS Cat canned product and get one free
.50 off any single puffs plus lotion
$1 on (1) Good Seasons 4-pack or 5 Pack
$1 on any one package of Kraft Deli Fresh Natural Cheese slices
$1 on any one SPLENDA no calorie sweetener