Friday, August 29, 2008

New Month, New Goals and Resolutions

I worked in the education field for a while. Even now, many years later, the time around Labor Day signifies a "new year" as in academic year. I fought the urge yesterday to buy a new notebook and pack of pencils when I ran by Staples yesterday. NEW SCHOOL SUPPLIES!

That being said, I'm going to start September off with some new goals and resolutions. I'm also going to take the sage advice of Brip Blap and focus on getting One Thing Done.

Like many people, my to do and goal list gets out of control, I think I end up putting more things on the list than I can reasonably do because I have this control freak mentality that wants to see things crossed off the list. What ends up happening is the small inconsequential stuff gets crossed off and the bigger and more important things don't.

I've started on a list of goals and to do. I've decided that my big goal for each month is to make enough extra income (second job, e-bay sales, whatever) to cover my car payment. I'm not going to go crazy over this, but just focus on getting this goal accomplished each month

My second goal/to do is to take a good look at my house and see what needs to be fixed or repaired that is out of my scope of skill and then get some quotes. I've already identified two "home improvement" projects, 1) replacing the disgusting old insulation in my basement crawl space with new and also putting more insulation in the attic crawl space 2) getting a price on new gutters.

Both of these projects will cost me about $500-$600 in labor and materials. I have been in contact with one Home Improvement Contractor about rates, times, etc. Craigslist turned up a plethora of folks to do this work, but many (almost too many) are not licensed by the state and use a cell phone number as the primary source of contact. Having been once bitten, and now twice shy with handymen, I'm going to use a licensed contractor in case something goes awry.

Bill Paying Time and Then AWAY I GO

Today is payday for me and bill paying time. I wrote out checks for car loan, my share of my health insurance, student load, my landline phone bill, my mobile bill, partial payment on my propane bill (I set up a payment plan with the local office, it was an expensive fill up last month), and paid out a boat load of non covered medical tests from my July doctors visits. Even with health insurance, I still am responsible for payment of tests and services that are not covered by insurance or are considered preventative care. One blood test was $275 of which I'm responsible for $175. Full coverage kicks in when I hit $1250 in my expenses. I'm just over $750 for the year. I think my total responsibility for those bills and tests is about $375-$400. I have to add up the total cost when I file the bills.

I decided last minute to get the hell out of Dodge and go visit friends in New Hampshire. I'm feeling cranky and I want to split for a few days. I am heading up to the Land of the Outlet Stores. I've given myself a clothes budget of $75 for some new clothes and shoes. I have a couple things I do want to get, my wardrobe is pretty well set for the year. I only need a couple winter items and I'm hoping I can find some good deals. Last year I hit a couple stores just at the right time and got several items that fit me well, I liked and have gotten a lot of use out of.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on getting lucky again this year-you just never know!

So Nice to Do Laundry "At Home"

I took total advantage of the neighbors on vacation and did a couple loads of laundry yesterday. Two loads of laundry (one people, one dog bedding) wash, dried, fluffed, folded and put away while I was doing things like cleaning my house, weeding the flower beds, packing for the weekend. Had I done this at the laundromat, it would have been at least three if not four loads of laundry.

The only scary part was the amount of dog hair that got picked up by the lint filter in the dryer. I'm not talking about the dog bedding, I'm talking about my own clothes. It's one of the disadvantages of having animals. Try as you might, sometimes their hair ends up all over your stuff.

It did motivate me to do one heck of a dusting and vacuuming of the house last night as well.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Moving "Stuff"

One of my on going goals has been to reduce my clutter, sell excess "stuff" and generally streamline my life.

I've sold a bunch of books on, but I still had a lot left in my inventory. Today on my lunch break, I put them in the Goodwill box. I had a patio table that I've listed on Craigslist for about a month and no one has wanted to buy it. I popped it on Freecycle on Monday,-it got picked up on Tuesday. The patio table was a freebie to me and I'm happy it has a new home. I just got tired of staring at that pile of books, they needed to go. One less bag of clutter. I'm slowly working on weeding out my clothes, (the better items go to a local consignment shop or donated to Goodwill), and general stuff.

I don't have that many items I can sell to earn extra cash, plus Craigslist/Ebay/ are full of things for sale. Lots of people are trying to get rid of extra items for the much needed cash. For me the cash would be nice (think ever growing E fund), but really I just want to purge my possessions. My neighbors and I never got organized enough for a tag sale this summer, time flew by for all of us.

There was something very freeing about seeing that load of books go into the donation center....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saving $25 and 3 hours

My lovely neighbors are going on vacation today. They are headed off on their first vacation in about 2 plus years. It's just the hubby and the wife and they are going cross country to visit an old friend. I think they deserve it and I know they need it.

In their absence, I'll be keeping an eye on the cats and the smelly ferrets. I'll also get use of their washer and dryer. I can't wait. I spent $25 the last time I went to the laundry. My local laundromat has gone up in price. It's now $2 per washer, $4 for the "triple loader" (laundromat rip off speak for normal sized washing machine load if you did it at home) and the dryers are now 25c for 7 minutes, it used to be 25c for 8 minutes. My clothes line needs to be repaired (it's on the house to do list) and I can't air dry a lot of clothes at the moment. The tumble dryer is what I need to use.

The last time I did a large pile of laundry I had about 1o loads of laundry: sheets, towels, bedding, clothes, dog laundry, bath mats. Took what seemed like forever to wash and dry it all. I have a small machine I can hook up to my kitchen sink, but it can't handle the big loads. Sometimes I have to bite the bullet and go to the laundromat.

My next house is so going to have a washer and a dryer.....

Making Someone's Day

A freind of mine in the UK has a birthday tomorrow. I did not get myself organized to send her a card and a e-card seemed so "impersonal". What did I do? I dragged out my calling card ($30 for 1000 US minutes) and made a phone call to the UK while I had my breakfast (it was lunch time for her).

We had a great chat, caught up on each other's lives, gossiped a bit and it made the distance between New England and England that much smaller. Prior to the BK I traveled to the UK a couple times a year. I was able to do that because I could stay with friends, eliminating the cost of a hotel and I'd chip in for a grocery shop for our meals (I am actually a very good guest, I've heard that from several people). I can scope out a discount flight to Manchester and London like no one else can.

Circumstances (finances, life, work, and all my animals) have prevented me from traveling to the UK this past 18 months and I miss my friends there. E-mail is great, but a little face time is even better.

The phone call was good for both of us and I'm glad I made the call.

Needs and Wants-August 2008 Part 1

I'm putting a lot of thought into a needs and wants list. I've done that before on this blog (need a new car-got it, want a new tv-got it), it helps me plan out what I'm doing with my life and finances, so I don't flounder about.

I do need to do some work at my house. I'm planning on putting another roll or two of insulation up in my crawl space. I just need to find a weekend when I'll be home, it won't be 85 degrees plus outside (and baking up in the attic crawl space). My attic crawl space, is just that, a crawl space. Good thing I am short. This is a project I can do without help, but an extra set of hands might be nice.

I do want to go up into the attic for a "look see". When I went away to Canada last month, I came home to a water stain on the bedroom ceiling. Granted we did have repeated torrential downpours and I think I know what happened. I have a roof vent that leaks. I had my roof re-shingled about 5 years ago, and since then, I've had nothing but trouble with that vent. Of course, I can't get anyone to come over when it's raining to look at the problem and my roofer and I have not been able to repeat the problem with a hose. When it rains and the rain comes in sideways, it fills up part of the vent (that is not supposed to let in rain, just air) and the only place it can drain is into the attic. The water drips down one of the rafters and then ends up staining the ceiling. Well, that is what I hope has happened. I have to go up into the crawl space and take a good look and make sure that is what happened and not something else.

It's times like this I wished I lived with someone or at least had a handy person in my life.


A Couple Sidebar Changes and Some Money Updates

I did a little fiddling with my sidebar changes. I lumped together the ING, Credit Union and Emergency fund as one account. For all intents and purposes, it is one Emergency Fund, just broken down into separate accounts. Plus I needed the psychological lift of seeing me so close to my E-fund goal of $2,000. I have a $50 check from my elderly friend that she gave me for Poochies vet care (I will just roll Poochies upcoming visit into my dog care fund) and I have $50 coming into me for some photo shoots. That will put me over the goal of $2,000 in the E-fund (provided I don't keep my debit card in my wallet and er, have an "emergency").

I also added in my horrendous car note and my mortgage. In a few months, I think I'll be able to go to my credit union to refinance the car (which gets paid early each month) and hopefully get a better rate. I got a letter from my bank with an escrow account update and it looks like for the rest of 2008 and until this time in 2009, my mortgage payment will be reduced by $10 a month. I've been paying an additional $2 (yup that's $2) to my mortgage each month, that $2 rounds me up to a nice number of $555 each month for my mortgage. I will continue to pay the $555 each month with the additional marked towards my principle.

If I add up the house, car and student loan, I have about $85,000 worth of total debt. I consider my student loan good debt, I would have never been able to afford my college education unless I had a loan. I've actually worked in the field I went to school for, unlike some of my friends. I'm not thrilled with the car loan debt, mainly due to the interest rate, but I knew going into the car loan process that my rate post BK was going to be high. I still consider myself lucky that I got a car loan period.

I will continue to fund my emergency account once past the $2,000 mark. I won't make it an official goal, but I'll work towards socking away three months of basic expenses, which would be about $4,500. I'd like to make a big dent in the Student Loan or ramp up the Emergency Fund, but I have some home DIY things I need to do and will be budgeting out some funds in the next couple months for that. The needs/must do list is starting to grow....

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

At Least It's Income Part 2

As far as I know, there has been no resolution to the scheduling issues at my second job. If real estate were booming, I'd say "screw it" to the other job and focus on getting a sale or two. Real Estate is not booming and the two clients I have are both sitting tight (IE-not spending any money) right now.

SUPPOSEDLY, the powers that be had or are having their monthly meeting,it was supposed to be on Sunday. I've not heard anything further, I am still on the schedule for work in early September, and I did work this past weekend. There is an advert in the local papers help wanted section for barn help and I don't recognize the phone number, I think it's the number of the new assistant. It's a cell phone number and not a land line.

What irks me is that NO ONE is communicating with us about the changes. No one. I like this place, the hours suit me, it's close to home, blah, blah, blah. I just want to know are we status quo or are things changing. I did post last week I ran into one of the trainers at the Dunkin Donuts, I was walking out, he was walking in and I literally grabbed him said, hey wait a minute....One of the other girls who does similar work to mine at the barn happened to be there as well. As I said he got an earful. My complaint was I just needed to know about scheduling. His response was he did not think there was an issue. So we shall still see what the outcome is.

I have picked up a couple photo opportunities for the mortgage company that does on line appraisals. I have four scheduled over the next three days. At least it's some money in and what ever happens with the barn work, happens.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cable TV or a Gym Membership?

I don't have cable. I've not had cable as long as I've lived in my little house for a variety of reasons, cost, I really only watch a lot of TV in the dead of winter, etc. Since I got my new TV, I though maybe I'd treat myself to cable for the winter at least. I'd give it a try and see if I really felt it was worth the additional funds.

Now I have a dilemma. I've joined my local gym because my MD said I had to loose 25-30 pounds, had to. I'm too short to be carrying that much weight. I'd been putting off joining a gym, mainly because I'm L-A-Z-Y.

Not anymore. I got tired of looking like a Weeble and when the gym had it's summer sale, I bit the bullet, grabbed my checkbook and signed up for the 11 week trial. I'm now re-hooked on the gym. I used to be long to a health club, I had a personal trainer, I could spin with the best of them, I was very fit. That was a different stage in my life.

I've settled into a routine on my gym days. I have a decent lunch mid day, I eat a Power Bars around 4:30, I head home, deal with the animals (walked, watered and fed), think about my dinner and then grab my kit bag and head off for about an hour plus of exercise. I shower, enjoy a little time in the Sauna and then head home to eat my dinner and the rest of the evening.

I'm seeing the benefits. My jeans are less snug, the scale says I've lost a few pounds and I feel pretty good after I work out, all good things.

As much as I would love to be able to watch non stop HGTV, I'm going to opt out of Cable and instead spend the money on a gym membership. If I can keep my second job to cover the car payment, the gym membership wont' be that much of a hardship. My health is more important than watching House Hunters.

Well, At Least It's Income

I am currently being bounced around the schedule for my part time second job. And I hate that. I think the new assistant to my "boss" is looking for a way to get rid of some of us. We are not sure why. The head trainer came back, tanned, rested and ready for the fall show season and totally unaware that there was an issue. Until we cornered him at Dunkin Donuts one morning and said "Hey-What's up?" and then gave him an earful. He happened to be at the right place at the wrong time. We explained our concerns and he did tell us he has his monthly meeting planned with the owners, the resident manage and his new assistant later this week and that this situation will be resolved.

For right now, I'm still on the schedule as planned. I even got asked to cover a shift this weekend, which I said yes to.

I hate looking for additional work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Honoring My Personal Commitments

Graceful Retirement had a wonderful post a few days back where she talks about honoring personal commitments and how they are non negotiable in her life. This got me to thinking about my personal commitments and for me how they are non negotiable for me as well.

I have one big personal commitment and that is to my elderly friend who is unable to care for her dog Poochie. Poochie has ended up a part of my extended animal family and her care and well being have become my responsibility, both personal and financial. Our first big expense will be a trip to the vet for a variety of tests and booster shots (I'm already seeing a $100 plus vet bill,). I'll just sort this out when it's time for the September budget.

I really don't need another dog, especially when I have a dog at home that is very particular about what animals he likes and dislikes, guess what, he dislikes Poochie. Ah well,

As Graceful Retirement said, it's a non negotiable personal committment. I just wish my weekly lottery ticket will win and garner me enough cash to set up new kennel runs in the yard.

Apartment Therapy~My Newest Addiction

My newest addiction is to the web site, Apartment Therapy. They feature a lot of small apartments and I'm getting some good ideas on how to decorate my small house. My house is only 450SF, but not that cute. One of my goals for this year has been to declutter and "make cute" my living space.

I also like Apartment Therapy for it's sister sites, The Kitchen and Green Home. What I also like about the site is that it is personal finance friendly. Many of their great furniture finds are from flea markets, craig's list, Ikea, consignment shops, etc.

Writer post to the site throughout the day, I like to sneak onto the site and see what has been posted. I also love the house tours section of the site. I suffer from great house envy, especially now since I'm dealing with the aftermath of a roof leak, but I just sigh and say one day very soon....

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Anniversary (of Sorts)

It's been a year since I started this blog and oh so much has happened. When I started the blog, I was in the middle of Bankruptcy filing hell. Every time I turned around, the attorney and the court needed another document, or more documentation, or the wrong form got filled out, or..., well, you get the picture.

I remember sitting in my office and literally sweating rivers of perspiration-mainly from the stress of the whole procedure. I had been told by my attorney that once the initial paperwork was filled out, the process would not take very long. I filled everything out, got copies of all bills, names of all creditors, and if I had a question, I asked the paralegal to make sure this process would go smoothly (if it ever does) Oh yeah, "not take very long". Right, it was three months until my hearing and then the discharge finally occurred three months after that.

I filled out my BK papers, made copies for myself and mailed them to my attorney (along with the requisite filing fee) in the end of May 2007, it seems I spent almost all of summer 2007 going back and forth between the court, the trustees and my attorney with forms and more forms. Then the delays-my CMA on my house was delayed because the agent doing it for free for me took his two week summer vacation. My attorney and his paralegal took their 10 day summer vacation (did either of these vacations overlap- No Of Course Not). I filled out paperwork, I got appraisals (sometimes two), I got quotes, I got copies of pay stubs (three pay periods prior to the application date, three pay periods prior to the court filing date), I took the requisite Bankruptcy credit courses (yes, when you file Bankruptcy, you are required to take classes on credit and credit management one before you can file and one before your Bankruptcy can be discharged), what ever the court and Trustee wanted, I got. At times, I felt like all I was doing was filing out paperwork for the court.

I read a number of blogs, one of them being Ladies in the Red and was struck by Katie's willingness to be so public with her Bankruptcy. She was even a featured article in the Sunday Mail (UK). She is based in the UK, but her web site gave me a lot of hope in a dismal time, and I even got a mention on her brassic blog when I got my discharge. She,plus a few others, gave me the courage to start my own blog. I had nothing to lose and if anything , just a place to vent.

I've reread a number of my earlier posts and Lord Almighty, I can see how stressed I was and how helpless I really was. My life was still spinning out of control at that time and I was helpless to stop it. Maybe not helpless, but it seemed like every time I could get control, it just fell out of my grasp. I just could not make things work like I wanted them to. What a feeling of hopelessness I had at times. Made even more difficult by the fact that I made the decision to tell no one about my problem, not my family, not my boss, not my friends. My neighbor found out because my old car decided to have a transmission meltdown the day I went for me 341 hearing (yes the transmission decided to die just as I driving home from my Trustee hearing), I was having a meltdown and blurted it out to her. I told my friend James because I was in a car repair hell meltdown. Other than that, I've not told a sole other than my readers.

I read somewhere in a book that it takes living a year and a day to get over a life changing incident and get on with life. I'm paraphrasing here, but the concept is when you survive something that really shakes you to your core, it takes a year and a day to start to move on. You have to go through all the seasons and celebrations of your regular life to move on to the next stage. You may or may not agree with this phrase, but I completely get the meaning behind it. It has taken me almost a year and a day to come to grip (and I mean really come to grip) with the fact that I am Bankrupt, and when I hit the year and a day mark for the discharge, I'm sure that will make me take notice as well. Up until the day I started this blog I had held the hope that somehow I would come up with the money I needed to pay off my debts (unexpected inheritance, win the lotto, get the long shot daily double at the track), I was going through the motions of bankruptcy, but still held this hope I would not have to finish the filing.

In a previous post just after my mini-break, I said it was nice to go away and not think of the Bankruptcy everyday. I went two days without the thought of my personal Bankruptcy entering my mind and smacking me upside the head. It did not happen because I was not on blogger, it happened because I am starting to move on and that is a good thing.

I'm not a bad person, I did not file Bankruptcy just to avoid my debts. I'm just a person who between a spell of bad luck, bad timing and decisions gone bad ended up in a fiscal hell. I thought long and hard about filing for Bankruptcy, I did not want that stigma of "being bankrupt" on my personal resume. In my mind, it clouded over all the other wonderful things I've done in my life and I accomplished personally and professionally. Eventually it will be just another event in my life, albeit a painful one.

What have I done since I've started this blog? A number of things. I got through the last stages of the Bankruptcy filing and got my discharge, the court and bank said I could keep my house (which was probably the most important thing to me, keeping my house), I've been able to learn from some of my decisions gone bad and have become a fiscally responsible person I used to be, my bills are all paid on time or early, I have an emergency fund, I'm working on a savings account, I'm starting to contribute back to my retirement fund, I'm working on a way to have a second career and income, I was able to get a car loan for a new to me car (albeit in the double digits, but I got a loan).

More importantly, I have a plan again for my life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Better on a Plan

I am just on a roll. Last night was a gym night off and I got a bunch of little things down around the house. I mowed the lawn, re-organized the small garden shed, did some weeding, swept the patio, swept and mopped my kitchen floor, started organizing the laundry for the massive trip to the laundromat on Saturday, made dinner and worked on my to do list for the weekend so I can plan for some ME time.

I've been very lazy about meal planning and working on my shopping list took some time and effort (I had to actually check what was in the food cupboards), but will be worth it. I've gotten back into the bad habit of shopping without a list and making some stupid purchases at the store. I've not been paying attention to my cupboards and subsequently I have 6 pounds of whole grain pasta,which I'm not sure I really like as a "base pasta" and almost no fresh, frozen or canned veg. My meals have been a little unbalanced in terms of the food pyramid. Planning out what I want for dinner that can carry over to lunchovers does take some planning.

Having a plan is a good thing. I'm shopping smarter, using up what is in my food cupboard so I don't end up with really old canned and dried goods, and I'm not tempted to just order that $6 mediocre pizza from the local takeaway. I'm feeling less scattered and more in control of what I am doing, which is a really good thing!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Getting Back Into the Groove of It All

I did manage to make it to the gym last night for a cardio session (yeah!) and get a couple things done on my ever growing to do list. One thing, now a goal, I have, is to keep my little kitchen table clear of debris and clutter. Right now it tends to be an extension of my desk and I dump junk on it. AND end up eating my meals on a TV table because of the lack of space. That is soo sad.

Last night I simply filed away the piles of paper (most of it was just junk mail anyway), wiped down the table and ate my post work out supper like a human. I also ate my breakfast there. It felt nice to sit at my table and eat a meal. As odd as that sounds, it's been easier for me to eat standing up or just to crash on the couch and eat at the TV table.

I've been going to the gym 2 days on, one day off, and I'm slowly getting back into a routine. My new to me gym is small, but the folks seem friendly, the equipment is in good shape and it's a clean facility. When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my best friends managed a health club and I got a "friends and family" rate and used to work out alot. I've missed the gym routine and even though I'm not looking forward to a monthly fee, I'm having a good time. I don't have a choice on liking or not liking the monthly fee until I lose and keep off the weight my MD says I have to lose. As painful as it is to admit, she is right, I've gained way too much weight-I think I ate my body weight in carbs last year dealing with the BK.

I'm working on a schedule that allows me to go to the gym guilt free at least 3-4 days a week. I've been feeling guilty about coming home and then leaving the dogs-Again. Our current schedule is set up so that I have a fair amount of time in the evenings that I spend with the dogs at home. Coming home, getting them fed and exercised and then me going back out more than one night a week has been an adjustment for all of us. I realize the dogs probably don't care, but I feel a little guilty and I've been used to puttering around the house and garden after work. I think I'll be making better use of my time for the next few weeks.

Girls Gone Wild

I bought two heirloom tomato plants in the spring and they have taken over the spot where I planted them. I've nicknamed them "Girls Gone Wild" I have lots of green tomatoes on the plant and am looking forward to my harvest. The object d'arte in the fore ground is something I bought at the White Flower Farm Summer Tent sale. Next year I'll plant something to climb the tower. The tomoto plants have taken over my small flower bed! I really need to work on a veggie garden as I had planned.......

Roadside Attractions

From My Trip to New Brunswick, I passed this guy a number of times in three days.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One More Goal to Be Crossed Off My List

I made it a goal of mine to try to eliminate my paper clutter by scanning my paper documents and storing the files on my computer.

I finally found a 10 sheet feeder, all in one for about $50. I'm usually a little skeptical about all in one units,but a co-worker bought the same unit and recommended it to me. He said it was spiffy, user friendly and he thought it might meet my need. I'll be buying the same unit this weekend and will spend a thrilling night scanning in my documents. I can already see a cleaner desk...

Taking Care Of Things

Overall, I take care of my things. I have way to much "stuff" and far too many things, but I've always been good about keeping things "in good nick" as they say. I polish my shoes, make sure I sew back on buttons, get zippers fixed, keep the lawn mower tuned, I get the oil changed in the car every 4000 miles. I put the effort into making sure the items I have last. I've always been like this, yeah it's a bit nerdy, but it's what I've always done.

Not the case with my neighbors kids. My neighbor is just beside herself right now. She came over last night to catch up (we have pretty much been passing like ships in the night) and vent. She has two daughters, one 19 and the other 17. Both are causing her a lot of angst-most of it typical teenager stuff. The biggie that is getting to my neighbor is the recent lack of respect for things and possessions by both girls. My neighbors don't have a lot of money. They do what many of us do, shop at consignment and thrift stores, scour Craigs list and E-Bay and usually only get "brand new" when they absolutely must.

The two girls have gone through the following items in the past three months: 3 cell phones, 2 camping tents, several pairs of shoes, 1 MP3 player, one very expensive car repair costing $900 because they did not heed the warning lights, two jackets, and one lap top. One of the girls left her car unlocked and had stolen, the MP3 player, a cell phone, a 5 person tent, and a jacket. The same child did not think to tell her parents that the Service Engine soon light and other warning lights had been on for a week and subsequently was 1/4 cup short of letting the car engine seize from lack of oil. The other daughter lost her cell phone "somewhere", dropped her lap top and damaged the screen. Both girls went camping one weekend, lost another jacket and literally dumped the replacement tent in the backyard, where it has gotten very wet, dirty and now a bit moldy. They did not even take the time to hang up the tent or store it properly, just dumped it on the ground (along with the sleeping bags).

The response of the girls is "Oh, Mom can you just buy us a new one?" "Just buy us a new one?" I have an issue with this. From what I've been told and what I've observed, both these girls who should know better are just taking advantage of their parents. My neighbor admits that she has in the past just gotten "new" to replace the old, but this time, the cost of replacement is pushing $2,000, $2,000 she does not have. I really could not say much other than maybe she should try to sit the girls down and tell them that from now on, phone, Mp3 players, clothes, etc, can be replaced out their pocket money and not hers. Maybe she and her husband should share the household budget with the girls and that a spare $2,000 is just not in the checking account. Both girls work and they can use some of that money for those items, I'm sure their paychecks are not being stashed in a savings account or E-fund.

What has this got to do with personal finance. Well, it's about making do with what you have and making what you have last. I do realize we live in a disposable society, and that items do have a specific life span and need to be replaced. Furnaces break down, lawn mowers die, computers have hard drive issues, vacumes stop working, things happen.

I know I sound like everyone's mother, but put some time and effort in to mainaing your items and clothes and they will last and serve you well.

On The Schedule for September

I did swing by the barn and I'm on the schedule for working one weekend in September. For now, I'll take that as a positive sign. The schedule is "subject to change depending on entries, etc)

The main trainer will be back to work next week. I think I'll plan a little get together once he's gotten back into the work groove.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Second Job Concerns

If you've been reading my blog you know that I have a second job. The second job provides me with the extra income that I ear mark towards my new to me car payment (that has an insane interest rate because of the BK). I work about 1-2 weekends a month and for the past few months I've been able to cover most if not all of my car payment. I like the job and the people I work with and for. It suits me on a number of levels.

Until this month. The trainer at the barn I work at has a new assistant. She's young, talented, thinks very highly of herself, but her people skills, well, stink. He has given her the duty of co-ordinating us worker bees for shows and events. I met with her last weekend and told her that my preference is for local shows or barn coverage because I have animals of my own at home and it is not cost effective for me to have to pay for animal sitters to cover away shows. If there is a big event and I'm needed for a weekend trip, I need notice so I can arrange my schedule and see if I can get animal care. Let's just say, she pretty much told me that she's not sure if she can use my services in the future. Not sure? It has not been a problem for the past 4 months, in fact, the head trainer seemed to prefer that I do the "home work" instead of the "road work". This new assistant has also managed to annoy a couple other workers, one being the resident barn manager (by resident, she lives on the property and oversees a majority of the day to day operations of the property) who does NOT answer to the trainer and especially to his assistant.

I ran into the resident barn manager at the local coffee shop and she asked if I was going to do barn coverage at the end of the month when the head trainer takes a group of kids off for one last weekend of shows before school starts. I told her I did not think so, I had not been scheduled by the Newbie,but had been asked by the trainer in late June. I said I was not sure If I still had employment because I was not really available for travel. The look on her face was that of surprise. Walking that fine line, I told her I can understand if my travel limitations were an issue and that the facility needed road grooms, but I've not turned down a work request yet, so I was surprised at the statement of the Newbie especially when I was hired, it was full well known my travel limitations. The resident manager did say she's had some issues with the Newbie not understanding the chain of command at the facility and that it had caused some disruptions.

Ah well, we shall see how it works out. I did work this past weekend, but at the barn. I was supposed to be scheduled for some work the end of August and in early September, but at this point I guess I'll wait and see. If I can touch base with the head trainer I will, I know he's off on his summer vacation (hence the Newbie filling in).

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Totally Off Schedule

I'm totally off schedule, blogging, life, things. Out of left field,we got busy at work. Really busy, and the other person who can help me is on vacation for two weeks. I've barely had time to get the laundry done from last week, much less post. Of course, it does not help that my laptop just does not work properly at all and I can't post from home.

The good news is, I did leave work 15 minutes early yesterday, got an oil change in the car, got the car washed, bought my lottery tickets for the week, did get some laundry done and wrote my thank you notes to my hosts in Canada. I felt like I accomplished SOMETHING for me instead of work.

The other news is I finally joined a local gym. It's been an on and off goal of mine for the past 6 months to bite the bullet and join one of the two local gyms. My MD has been after me to drop some weight, get a better quality of life. I've been procrastinating this. I finally joined the slightly more expensive gym closer to home-because it was closer to home and they also had a three month special. If I really hate it, I'll get a membership someplace else. I'm looking forward to getting back to the gym routine, now just to re-do my crazed schedule to make the time.

Sorry for the lack of posts, I actually have some posts in draft I want to blog about. I just need to sit down and get it done.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August Goals, Just A Little Late

It may be a little late, but here are my August goals. I'm trying to get more structure back into my life

1) Repaint my bedroom(if I have to look at my white walls another month, I will scream).

2) Set up contributions to Roth IRA fund.

3) Review second job schedule and maybe find a new one~I have concerns about the current second job due to changes at the facility. That's another post fodder

4) Get back to menu planning. I'm spending too much money at the grocery store and not cooking or bringing lunchovers to work.

5) Research and price out a printer/scanner combo to enable me to become paperless (or as paperless as possible, I can't take the piles of paper anymore on my desk)

Not really fiscal related per say, but these have been somethings on my goal/to do list for some time. Now is the time to get them DONE!