Friday, February 29, 2008

Updates,Things Off My List, Taxes Done, and Re-Evaluating Goals

I've still been busy with the boring aspects of life and work, but have been able to accomplish a few things this week. The biggie was getting my taxes done and even though I have to give my Trustee almost all the money (as per his order in my BK case) at least I don't owe any money to the state and IRS. I really would have liked to have kept the return and split it between my Efund and Car down payment fund, but 'tis not to be. it would have been a big help.

I've been fiddling with my March budget numbers. My first month at a zero based budget was not the rousing success I wanted it to be, but hey, I think I did OK, not great, but OK. Next few months will get better as I get more comfortable with all the numbers and how to apportion out my money.

I've noticed a common theme out in the PF blog world. Many of us are hitting this wall when it comes to our goals for 2008. I'm a little frustrated that I'm not making measurable progress to many of my goals, so I think it's time to sit down and re-evaluate my goals and what it will take to achieve them. I don't think we as people, can really say that after only 59 days of the new year, that we have failed in our yearly goals. I just think we need to re-examine our goals and our methods for reaching them. Sometimes all it takes is a change of plan to get to our goals.

I have realized one thing. I like a challenge in my life. I joined Krystal's at Give Me Back My five Bucks Lunch Challenge. Things like this bring out my competitve nature and it will keep me in line with my plan to not spend money on food while at work. I will admit, I walked out of the house this morning without packing my lunch. I will treat myself one last time to a purchased lunch (and I'm hoping the office will buy us pizza today) and then it's back to the packed lunch program.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

March Money Madness and Musings

For March I'm planning a series of posts about me and about my debt how I got here, what good things I did, what stupid things I did, how the Bankruptcy has changed my life (and in some good ways as well) and where I am going now and forward.

I thought that some coherent posts about me were in order. A number of my earlier posts were nothing but ramblings and I can see how much stress I put myself under. Not good. I'm going to use the March Money Madness to not only tell my story, but give me some more structure in my finance life so that I can learn from my mistakes and never have to go through this again.

March goals to be posted later this week as well!

The Eye Twitch and What It Has Done To Me.

I've been a bit absent from blogging dealing with some family issues. The issues are probably no more or no less than what anybody else faces, but since they are my issues, they are my big deal. And when I get family stress I do a couple things. Over shop for food, cook way too much food, eat too much food and get an eye twitch. I'm resisting most of the former, but do have the eye twitch I'll get back into the swing of things later this week. I'm sooo far behind on updating my blog roll and links. Not having reliable internet access at home is one issue, but I could do a lot more to get on track and time to do it.

Just a couple things. My thanks to Oh My Aching Debts for the kind words in her blog about me. One thing we do in the blog sphere is to be here for each other! But THANK YOU anyway.

I also got tagged by Saving Diva and have to follow up and that as well, I'm just behind the curve right now.

For March I'm planning a small series of posts about me and about my debt and what makes my eye twitch. I looked into my achieves and I have to laugh at the frazzled posts I wrote explaining me and my history. Now that I'm a little more sane, I will try to write in some sort of coherent manner, my story. And explain about the eye twitch :)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Stupid Purchases

Graceful Retirement put up a post about her blog and her lack of regular posting or worrying about posting about the mundane aspects of life . I don't mind reading about the mundane aspects of life, or the things we tried and did not succeed at. We try things and either we are successful or we are not. It shows we are all human! Plus I like to read about just us regular folks.

I totally admit, I sometimes I get annoyed when I read blogs and I hear about folks who got $100 worth or groceries for $50, or they are already over half way to their Roth IRA max for the year and this is only February, or they went under budget on groceries,or they made an unexpected killing on E-Bay or they resisted Starbucks for three months, or they are sooo upset that they went over their gas budget by $2 or what ever! It seems like we never hear about the over budget mishaps (unless it's a major thing like an unexpected car repair), or they blew their entertainment budget drinking Margarita's at happy hour. I'd like to reach through the Internet sometimes and give them a little bit (OK big) shake. Sometimes.

I'm human, I make mistakes, I will make mistakes. I'm admitting to two really stupid purchases these past couple months.

In October, my vacuum cleaner died. It was about 11 years old and died. I loved my Eureka Canister vac. It did it's job and did it well. Silly me went and replaced it with a small Shop Vac. The Shop Vac was on sale for $35 (give or take a few $$) and while it does suck up the animal hair and large dust balls around the house, it is not exactly cut out to be a carpet vacuum cleaner. Plus is spews out fine dust and that gets everywhere. What the hell was I thinking when I bought this sucker? Who remembers at this point? Point being, this was a wasted purchase and a waste of $35 and I still broom swept the carpets to get up pet hair.

To replace the Shop Vac, when I had my post Christmas shopping meltdown, I ended up at the K-Mart and bought this little bag less canister vacuum. It's very cute, it's yellow and I hate it. It does not do a great job sucking up the animal hair from the carpets (something I am a freak about, I have pets, but I don't need pet hair all over my floors) and it's little. I thought the little would be OK. I don't have a ton of storage space, but this little (did I say it was little) vac fills up after about 5 minutes of use. I do have to give it credit, it seems to do an excellent job sucking up dirt, the dirt canister gets full, it just does not really get all the animal hair out of the carpet.

This means I know have two fairly useless vacuums. My solution, save up some $$$ and buy a decent canister vacuum in a month or two (I don't like uprights). I will probably keep the Shop Vac but probably sell the little one on Craig's list. Until then, I'll use the little yellow vac, and borrow the neighbors "real" vacuum every so often to help de-hair the carpets.

Human, yes I am.

Making Bringing Your Lunch To Work Easier

I bring my lunch to work most days and have been pretty good about bringing my lunch to work for years. Not everyone does this or is good at it. What do I mean by being good at it? It means making sure your lunch makes it to work with you without exploding all over your carry bag or getting squished in your briefcase.

To make bringing your lunch a more pleasant experience I recommend the following ideas:

1) Get yourself a lunch bag. Some of you might be too young to remember metal lunch boxes, but I carried one as a kid for a really long time,-until junior high when it was "uncool" to have a lunch box. I never had a sqashed sandwich with my Spiderman lunch box and I also had a really cool Spidey thermos as well. Take yourself to the CVS, Walgreens, Target, Wally Mart, K-Mart, or where ever and hop over to the cooler isle. For around $6 (if not less) you can probably find a nice insulated lunch bag. I recommend one with some structure-like a plastic bottom or sides. Many of the lunch bags also come with a little blue gel cooler pack, you can probably pick up one for $1 or less. My current lunch box is square, insulated and has a plastic bottom. This will also help to keep your lunch from spoiling until you get to work and pop it in the fridge or until lunchtime at your desk.

2) Get your self some decent containers for your leftovers that become lunchovers: Best purchase I made in December was to get a new set of Rubbermaid containers in three sizes, they are great for storing leftovers, are microwave safe and most importantly, they don't leak! Which is great if you are bringing soup to work and accidentally tip over your bag. I also have a square container that is the perfect size for a salad. I like salads with things in them and this container holds the perfect amount for a filling lunch. The containers also fit nicely into my lunch sack, which was one reason I bought the set. I think I paid $18 for a set of 18 containers and a storage stand. The old take out food plastic containers just did not stand up to the repetitive use (tops split, containers split, not all were microwave safe!). Also make sure you have things like foil, plastic wrap, wax paper, etc to wrap sandwiches in.

3) If you have a place at your office, pick up some salad dressings or fun condiments to enhance your leftovers: I'm lucky, I have an office kitchen where I can keep a couple bottles of salad dressing, hot sauce, a pepper grinder and other things that can spice up my leftovers. Cost to me was minimal (I spend about $5 a month on croutons, salad dressing, etc) and it makes a world of difference to spice up the food.

4) Remember to bring home your lunch sack so you can clean it and restock it!. Sounds easy cheesy, but I sometimes stick my lunch bag under my desk and forget to bring it home. It can get sort of gross if you forget this on a Friday and don't bring it home until Monday.

There is nothing worse than making a yummy sandwich only to get to work and find your juice bottle or apple flattened it out or the egg salad went "off" after sitting in your bag since 7:30 AM. Hopefully the above helpful Betty Crocker reminders will make it easier to bring your lunch to work!

The Snowflakes are Falling!

Well, at least they are here in New England today! I grabbed the mail on my way into the office and found two checks for house photos, total $30, but they have been deposited and will be added to my car fund on Monday.

I've also joined Snowflake Revolution to give myself more motivation to stick to my fiscal goals. I like challenges and this is one I'm looking forward to.

Once I get some free time later today, I'll be updating my site with a couple new blog links, the Snowflake Revolution Badge and maybe some other stuff.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And the Offers Keep Coming In

In the mail this week, a total of three new credit offers. Two for car loans, one for another credit card. Both car loan offers were "You Must Redeem This Great Offer by February 22nd". Hum, wondering if they are trying to rope people into the Presidents Day Sales I'm seeing on TV.

Question for You All

Question for you all who may be more up to date on this stuff. How long does out of date personal information stay on your credit report?

When I pulled my report last week I noticed it had mailing addresses for me that had to be a good 10 years plus old. I can't even remember the last time I used my parents old home address for any type of a bill. I left home during college and never went back. No one in my family has lived at that address for close to 10 years if not more. I'd like to get rid of the old outdated information ASAP.

I think I'll pull the second report next week and see what that one says.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Early March Goals, Updates on February and Plans

I decided I needed some motivation on the lunch front. I joined Krystal and company in the bring your lunch to work everyday during March Challenge. I will admit that at the beginning of each month, I tend to buy my lunch (a pattern I've noticed these past few months). I've decided to stock up on my lunch treats and have been working on my grocery list. I'll also do some better meal planning in March so I can have some decent leftovers for lunch and plan out my grocery shopping to include things for sandwiches and salads. Since I'm already in charge of the office snack purchases, I'm pretty good about not buying miscellaneous snacks.

What gets me is

1) forgetting my lunch, not having an emergency stash of food at the office and
2) Craving a soda or another bottled drink when I do my mid day post office run.

On the Lenten goals, I did slip over the weekend. I gave myself the challenge to give up beer for Lent. While in NY this past weekend I automatically ordered a beer to go with my burger at lunch both days and when it came I drank it totally forgetting I was going to pass on beer for Lent. Oopps! But I have not bought any beer for the house and I'm going to stick to my plan to abstain from beer (which by the way I love) for the Lenten season.

The no spend days are OK, not great, I had one yesterday (pat myself on the back), I'm getting motivated to find a second job (I need to replace my car!), and the garden planning for spring warms my soul when it's 12F outside (like today).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The First Real DING Post Bankruptcy

One thing you hear when you are going bankrupt is that the BK may affect your insurance rates. I have had the same car insurance company for 8 years, they are OK, my agent is OK, but not great.

I had switched my homeowners insurance last year, (prior to the BK) got the same policy and coverage as I had before at about a 15% discount. I got it through the Farm Bureau and I get discounts on all sorts of things as a member of the Farm Bureau (and living in a rural area, lots of local businesses "accept" my Farm Bureau membership card.)

I had done a search for less expensive car insurance with two companies, both came back with much higher rates for the same policy on my old car ($300 dollars more). The main reason was the BK. I just find it funny, I had looked into changing companies last year pre the BK and never got around to it, I was too pre-occupied with the BK to just make the change. I had late payments everywhere as I tried to sort through the mess that was my fiscal life, yet it would have been able to get cheaper insurance with all those issues hanging over my head. Now without them, but just the C7 discharge on my record, I'm being "penalized" by higher premiums. Oh well, I was warned to expect this.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Travel Adds Up Fast

Over the past two days I've spend close to $85 in gas, tolls, parking, subway and train fare driving to and from home to see the favorite Auntie (and the other relatives) in the Hospital. Driving to the train station, taking the train ($25 R/T off peak), $10 subway pass, lunch $10 (forgot to pack snacks)-that was Saturday. I drove on Sunday and had to top off the gas tank, pay for parking (could not find a street spot), pay tolls, lunch again- I think I spent the $80 I took out of the bank on Friday and some $$ in my wallet. My cousins don't realize that for me to go to NYC is a lot of time as well as money. They tend to forget I live in the middle of nowhere and public transportation is almost non exsistent. Almost without exception, they live close to the city and can hop a commuter train with relative ease. They do wonder why I choose to live where I do (and single to boot without a husband or live in boyfriend-which I think perplexes them more than living rural), not many of them understand the "country life". At least my Auntie was very pleased to see me and knows the hike it was to come down both days.

None of this was "budgeted" for, so I'll add it to the appropriate categories next week and see how it goes.

I did get my deposit last week and the two checks for the house photo shoot, and I have a hair appointment scheduled for tomorrow after work. I can at least, feel a bit less frumpy with a little salon time and then think about the March budget.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Still on a Second Job Hunt

Hot on the heels of my whinging on about my budget, I'm still in the hunt for a second job. As I knew, the Real Estate job is not exactly bringing in tons of clients. I've got a whopping two clients and that is two more than I had last month. I do think it will net me a decent commission at some point this year.

My prospective job in the animal field a 2.5 weekends a month (which would be ideal in terms of time and money) is still just that, prospective, and may or may not start until late March. Frustrating....

If I had the second job I could with a slightly clearer conscious, go new-to-me-car-shopping. The verdict at the last oil change was the next tune up or repair would be yet again close to $1,000 and I'm not willing to drop $1,000 on the next car repair (not when I have over 230,000 miles on this car and it is now starting to show it's age) when I would rather put it toward a new to me car purchase. If I had the second job, I could swing a car payment and the increase in the insurance and have to bite the bullet with a slightly high interest rate car loan.

I was given a couple other suggestions for some prospective work and I am going to go back and pursue those as well. Onward and upward!

Mid Month Overview with Minimal Progress

My zero based budget is not going as planned and I'm not happy. For some reason, last months Health Insurance Payment (my share) did not make it and I had to pay a double premium. My one dog (who likes to chew paper) chewed and demolished my mobile phone over the weekend as well. I had extra gas a travel expenses (trip to Jersey Shore for brief R&R) and my freaking electric bill was almost $300 this past month.

Since I like my mobile carrier, I logged onto their web site, purchased a new phone ($40 with a new one year contract). The other phone was damaged beyond repair (as well as being three years old, ancient for a mobile phone) and I'm lucky the dog did not get sick from puncturing the battery.

I don't know why my part of the insurance payment did not make it to my account, but it did not and I had to pay to keep from being cancelled.

Lastly, my electric bill was flipping huge this past month. In terms of energy consumption, about the same as last year, but my energy supplier raised it's rates and that added to my bill. I had hoped to see a decrease in consumption for the month of January (turning off lights, lowered heat, using less electricity overall or so I though), but 'twas not to be. This was over and above the $149 I feel like I just paid to the electric company.

AND one of my elderly Aunties is in the hospital and this weekend means I have to drive or train to NYC both Saturday and Sunday. Family obligations call and it means either driving to Manhattan and paying for parking or driving to a commuter Train Station and then taking a train and the subway to the hospital. Both days will be a get up and leave early, come home late, spend more money in transportation costs, I figure around $60-$80 in gas, tolls, trains, cabs, subways, parking,etc.

I’ll do a look in my cupboards and do a meal planning for the next two weeks using what items I have in the freezer, fridge and in my cupboard cabinet. The good news is other than a small grocery shop planned to round out the meal planning, I don’t think I have any bills that need paying until after the 1st of March. All this means I just won't have the extra money I thought I would that was earmarked for my Emergency Fund.

The upside is I sold a whopping $12 worth of stuff on and picked up two photo shoots of houses, so I've earned an additional $42 in extra income and I've earmarked that for an overdue haircut. I should put it in the E Fund, but I'm feeling a bit frumpy and need to feel a little more glamorous. Personal pampering is key.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Checking the First Credit Report Post BK

I used my lunch break to check my first credit report post BK. I found only a couple of small errors, but errors non the less. I got my first report from Experian (just history, no score). I logged onto to get my free copy.

Two accounts were not listed as being part of the BK filing and listed as charged off. There was some incorrect personal information that I updated and had deleted. I'll check the other credit agencies in the next few months. Unlike the clients of my real estate office, my report was not as chock a block of errors (or at least Experian was pretty correct) as theirs was and I feel pretty good, actually, about the information in the report. Some of it may not be perfect credit information, but at least it will be accurate credit information.

I looked at my account history on several of the accounts, and I’m still pretty shocked at how much denial I was in for awhile when my whole life and then my fiscal life, went arse over tip. I could see so much progress in paying down account balances, and then I could see right where they shot up when life took those unexpected and unpleasant turns.

Errors have been disputed, requests for corrections have been made and supposedly I'll hear from Experian in a few days to let me know they have alerted the account holders. I look forward to the next report in a couple months.

Will The Sun Ever Shine

I've been flying under the radar the past few days because we are busy at work changing around our computer systems. The last thing I want to do right now is log onto a computer. This too shall pass.

Plus WTF? Is the sun ever gonna shine again? Here in New England where I live, it's cold, we had snow last night and it' raining again. I don't think I've seen the sun shine longer than 20 minutes in the past three weeks!

Ahhh-Oh Spring were are you? Or at least some sunshine!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Small Steps for Many of Us

I know from what I've been reading in PF blogsphere that folks are all over the map with respect to where they are with their finances. I've read a couple blogs where folks are too concerned with reducing debt, sticking to a budget, etc to think or plan about investments. A couple new PF bloggers wonder if they will ever get to the point where they will have investments to worry about. Some PF bloggers blog daily about how the stock markets ups and downs affect their net worth on a monthly basis. They voice concerns over interest rate drops, etc, all very valid concerns.

I currently have a 401K that I rolled over to a Roth IRA. I have not contributed to this plan in a number of years, mainly because the past few years have been fiscal hell for me and any money went toward debt and other bills. It’s in my plan for 2008 to start to contribute to it again. I can set up an auto deposit to it and I probably will in the next few months.

When you are in a debt reduction plan, contributing to an IRA or 401K may be the last thing on your mind. If you are lucky enough to work for a company that offers a 401K, I'd suggest signing up for it and contributing what you can, even if it's the minimum amount. It's an auto debit from your paycheck and after a paycheck or two, you will hardly notice the difference in your income, trust me on this one. I used to read my statement each quarter and fiddle with my shares in the various funds, I loved seeing my money make money, I hated seeing my 401K lose money. That was a different point in my life.

I can't be too bothered at this point to worry if my ING on line account has lowered it's interest rate again. Quite frankly, at this point I'm just dammed thrilled with myself that I contribute to the account and am creating a savings account for myself. Perhaps in time I'll worry about falling interest rates, but right now I have other things on my mind.

My new fiscal life means I currently have the following:

1) My main checking account-I pay all my bills (less medical) from this account.
2) An HSA account-for my share of my medical that is not employee covered-I deposit a certain amount of cash each month to this account.
3) A second checking account- that is earmarked as the Emergency Fund. Each pay period, I have a direct deposit of $100 to this account. My goal for the end of 2008 is to have $2,000 in the account, I currently have $250. It is an interest bearing account with no service charge if I fall below a certain dollar amount.
4) An ING online account-$25 every pay period is deposited to this account and any extra money made from second jobs, pay per post (sooo little at this point in time), etc goes to the main account then is transferred to the ING Account. I'm earmarking this account as the car and vacation fund.

The HSA and the ING account were both opened just around the time I had my Trustees meeting. I needed to become more in (or take back) control of my finances. They had just been out of my control for so long.

Sure I'm more than a little envious of those folks who have nice portfolios, they have worked hard to get there. Some PF bloggers have been working on their portfolios for while, in time the rest of us will get there as well.

Small steps, baby steps, the journey begins with the first step...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Lure of Trader Joe's

I love Trader Joes. If I lived closer to one I'd shop there on a daily basis. The closest one to me is about 30 miles away and I only go when I'm on my way home and traveling by the store. I stopped the other day and spend $40 on groceries and a few other assorted items. Out of that $40, $15 was spent on things like a bouquet of flowers, body scrub, and pate. The pate was on sale and I wanted a little food treat! I could have easily spent an additional $40 on food, but lack of freezer space kept me from blowing my entire food budget.

I was out of some of the sauces and condiments I use in cooking and part of this shopping trip was to restock my cupboards with these items and I got a few of TJ's ready meals. My lunchovers have been dismall these past few weeks and at least having a pad thai bowl to bring to work is at least better than spending $7-$9 on lunch out.

I'm planning a couple days of cooking so I can at least have some decent leftovers for lunch next week and resist the urge to stop by TJ's again this weekend as I drive on by.........

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Givng Away The Cash and getting married!

Moneyning is giving way a wad of cash in honor of getting married this weekend.

It is a personal finance blog that talks about managing your money to make the best of what you have. I just stumbled upon it from the WPF Network, but like the fact that it speaks to the average PF blogger because it instead of just being full of unreasonable tips that only people who make over $75K a year can really do.

It's laid out well, easy to read, has some neat links to things like mortgage calcualtors, credit cards, and they periodically run contests! Check it out and join the contest. I'll be adding it to my blog roll on the next update.

They Don't Call It FAT TUESDAY for No Good Reason

UGH! What has Fat Tuesday got to do with Personal Finance-a lot today. As I've mentioned in a couple previous posts, I have to (under MD's orders) lose weight and last week I ruined my two pairs of khaki colored work pants in the laundry.

I dragged myself out shopping yesterday, trolling my favorite thrift and consignment shops did not yield any decent pants, much less any bargins. I went to TJ Maxx and grabbed a couple pairs of pants in my size. Lo and behold, I did not fit into "my size". Did not fit at all. I was really upset.
It's the beginning of February, it's rainy and snowy, the sun has barely shined these past couple weeks, too many of my freinds are off to sunny places for vacations, I'm bored with the primary process, and to top it off, I've outgrown most of my work pants. Going to the store was a really rotten and miserable experience. I had to go up a size in pants. I have not joined a gym. I can't fit into my favorite skirts, I've not budgeted for a whole new wardrobe (nor do I want a whole new wardrobe). My social life is in the pits as well. I want to sit on my couch, drink tea and watch DVDs on my TV for the rest of the week. Just staying in bed and pulling the covers over myhead is another good option too.

I sat in the dressing room, told myself I was such a chubby loser, resigned myself to the larger size, got two pairs of pants (at least on sale, but will have to be hemmed) and made a promise to myself to finally get that gym membership I've been putting off.

I've been putting it off because I just can't face the fact that through this whole Bankruptcy process I have taken out my frustrations and fears by eating and drinking thousands of calories. Other people stress out and lose weight; I stress out and gain weight. Yikes. Well there is no one to blame but myself, no one put a gun to my head and said “eat a pound of pasta and garlic bread for dinner”.

Not being overly religious, I don't observe Lent, but this year I'll make an exception. I'll give up beer and cut back on my therapeutic glass of wine. And it's off to the gym this weekend for that free two week pass and to sign up for the membership that is long overdue.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Yet Another Reason to Bring Your Own Bag To The Grocery Store

About 5 years ago, I spent a month in the UK and Ireland. What I found interesting in Ireland is that everyone I saw carried their own shopping bag, not just to the grocery store, but to any and every store. I forked over a couple Euros for some reusable spiffy Tesco shopping bags (that I still use to this day). Folks at my local Stop and Shop still try to give me those silly plastic carrier bags (despite the fact I have a collection of re-usable bags in my cart). I think most Americas would have a spaz attack if they had to pay 33c per bag each time they went to the storeHere is an article from the NY Times explaining why this turned out to be a good thing for Ireland-check it out.

The Jersey Shore In Winter

Most folks don't go to the Shore in the winter. I did this past weekend. I needed a break and one of my relatives called on Thursday with an invitation.

One of my distant cousins has a small house near Point Pleasant (think Bruce Springsteen and Asbury Park-it's sort of near there, north of Atlantic City). Its two blocks off the beach, has a small front yard, a small back yard, a very small garage, did I say small? It's winterized and she rents it out for an ungodly sum of money in the summer (one week to ten days at a time so she can use it too) and occasionally during the off season. She has a tenant coming in for the month of March and she decided to use this past weekend to do finish some redecorating and her monthly cleaning. I got an invite to come on down, she wanted some company. Friday after work I packed up the dogs, something’s for our lunch and breakfast (97% of the eateries in the area are closed for the season), and off I went. I drove down in a wicked rain storm, but woke up to clear blue skies.

It was actually very nice. Sunny, windy, but nice. My cousin did not have that much to do, she had been up the weekend before to paint, she was just hanging back up curtains, re-arranging furniture, making sure the mice had not taken up permanent residence, etc. We watched cable TV, took the dogs for a walk on the beach, moved furniture, read, had dinner at a local restaurant (she paid) and then watched a movie and called it a night. Sunday was more of the same, but I packed up and headed home around 2 PM.

The Budgeting Babe in me wondered why I spent a good chunk of my gas budget going back and forth to the Shore, but it was nice to get away and not have to do anything for almost 48 hours other than eat, sleep, walk the dogs and watch TV.

Now if she would let me have the house for a week (heck I'd take a long weekend or two) in the summer, which would be very cool!