Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is It Winter Already?

We had snow last night in my area of New England. Not a lot, just some flurries and it was sticking to the deck at work. The sun has come out and it's melting, but sigh, I really wish it did not snow soo early in the season.....

I am sticking to my plan of not watching American National News. It's been blissful. I turn on my local news to get the weather, then I turn it off. As I said before, I can pick and choose the news I want to watch via the Internet. I'm not being oblivious to what is happening in the world, I am just being selective.

My Escape is in for it's ABS tone ring repair. I'm not thrilled to pay a $410 (with tax) repair bill, but it is what it is. I did my research and hopefully this type of repair won't crop up again in 20,000 miles. The Ford Escape forums were very helpful.

I just don't have a great vibe about this dealership. I have this feeling they were a bit put out that I did not cave in to their pressure to have extra service done to the vehicle. They also are trying to up sell folks on various additives for the various car fluids. I'm not buying that up sell. I did speak with my own mechanic and he quoted me a price a bit less than the Ford Dealership and did confirm that the Escape can have this particular repair. The difference in price was about $50 and I'd prefer to have the $50 in my pocket instead of Fords, but I really wanted to see what the dealership was like. Regretfully, it's nothing special and the up sell attitude does not make me want to go back for even a regular oil change.

My old Saturn dealership and repair service was great. I never got an up sell, they had a nice customer lounge and I got a complimentary car wash and vacuum, even with the oil change. If I had to fork over a lot of money, at least I had free coffee, tea and donuts to placate me!

Monday, October 27, 2008

What I'm NOT Doing

I am doing so many things right now that I feel just turned upside down. I'll right myself in a bit, I know that for sure, but here are two things I have decided to do to help do this:

I will not watch ANY American Evening News show for the next two weeks.

I will not obsessively log into my Roth IRA account to check it's "status".

As far as I can tell, the news all about the doom and gloom on Wall Street, the doom and gloom in the economy, the doom and gloom in the world and the upcoming US election process. Thanks to the Internet, I can pick and choose the information I want to keep up with. I like being informed, I don't like being inundated with nothing but bad news. It's bad enough my boss is obsessing about the Dow Jones Industrial Average (currently it is up 177, good considering the European and Tokyo markets had a hit today). I don't need to have it thrown at me every time I turn on the radio or TV.

It's times like this I wish I had cable so I could just tune out to HGTV or some other cable channel.

Yes, I am concerned about the economy, my full time job depends on a healthy market and my part time job in real estate depends on a healthy market. But what I am trying to avoid is this overwhelming feeling that my world is coming to an end because of this economy. I know I probably should not have dipped into my Efund as much as I did the past few months (damm those hobby expenses I tagged emergencies :) ), but I don't want to continually kick myself for those past decisions and fear what may happen to my future because I spent $200 on hobby expenses. I did it, I've moved on.

What has this got to do with personal finance? It's about taking a deep breath, looking at the spending plan, and not freaking out. It's about calmly planning a head. It's about skipping a movie night in favor of a rewatching an old DVD night. It's about making do with the food in the pantry (which is more than adequate) instead of stopping at the grocery store to "make a meal". It's about dusting off those old sewing skills and fixing buttons and holes in pants pockets. It's about not having a panic attack and taking it one day and dollar at a time.

A Lot of The Chores Did Get Done

It was a good weekend for me. I ended my string of no spend days by spending sensibly-new bottle of fabric softener, the last few painting supplies, a new curtain rod-RESISTING the impulse to buy "stuff" that I wanted, but did not need, did the laundry, did a dump run, got to the bank, post office, roasted a chicken, everything I wanted to do, except the library.

Painting my bedroom was a bigger project that I first thought it would be. You would think living in 450 sf of space this would not be an issue, but it was. I had to take everything out of my bedroom (less the bed and dresser) and put it in my living room. I got a late start painting and ended up shuffling items around to make a space for me to sleep on my small couch.

I painted my room a deep dark purple blue called Stained Glass. I really like it! I still have to do the trim work (yeah should have done that yesterday but did not), but the room looks sooo much better. Last time I painted my bedroom was when I moved in to my house 8 years ago. I will rehang curtains by the end of the week. Because of a home improvement project gone bad a few years ago, I had to do additional wall prep on two walls. That took time because I also had to use a special primer and wait for it to dry. I'm happy with the results and my next project is to install some laminate flooring. I have this picture in my mind what I want the room to look like and it is FINALLY shaping up. I forgot to buy some trim paint, but have decided to use up some paint I had for another project. The white paint won't be as bright as I would like (Behr High Gloss Ultra Bright White) but it will be fine and I'll be saving some $$$. Cost to date for the bedroom redecorating project is $40-paint, painting supplies, two new curtain rods. Projected cost to complete redecorating project, about $400 for the laminate flooring, underlay, and a few tools and supplies I don't have that I will need to get the job done.

I also did a bit of decluttering while doing the painting project. I sorted through my books and have set to drop off at Goodwill about 8 books (I have a problem getting rid of books, even ones I don't use anymore), I had two wall lamps I got from Ikea that got sent to Goodwill as well. The shades crapped out and I could not repair them. In today's disposable society, the shade repair/ replacement was the same cost as a new set of wall lamps. Since I have no plans to put the lamps back up, Goodwill got them. I simply don't have the storage space for those items anymore. I purged some pillows and some clothes as well. I still have a problem purging possessions, I'm getting better and it's easier to do, but I know I still have a long way to go.

The down side to all of this was I took advantage of the great weather yesterday to rake some leaves off of my patio. My patio seems to be a leaf magnet and I had extra large piles from the storm on Saturday and natural leaf drop. I tried to be Gloria Gardener yesterday. I ended up breaking not one, but both of my leaf rake handles. Both broke in the middle of the handle. I swore a bit and then decided it was the Universe's way of telling me to not be Gloria Gardener and to sit down and enjoy some warmth and sunshine and the dogs.

The upside was it was a very cheap weekend and I did get to a lot of my "to do' list without feeling like I was run off my feet.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Alternative Income Sources

I technically have two real part time jobs. One is working as a groom at a horse show barn, the other is I'm supposedly a real estate agent. I do have my license, but I have no clients and my real estate office has been dead quiet. Even the agents I used to help by doing admin work are not calling me, they have no clients and thus no income and unable to pay me. Those $20 and $30 little quick jobs were nice mad money in my wallet (movies, nice bottle of wine, spare cash).

The real estate gig is disheartening. I knew it was going to be slow going, but this whole economic down turn has made real estate a non existent second job. I've already decided to renew my license and associated fees for next year, I'm hoping things will take an upswing, I'm not holding my breath, but I have this gut feeling I need to keep my license active.

The barn/groom work is winding down for the late fall and winter. The school kids are involved in school sports, the shows are fewer and being held in indoor arenas (and I'm allergic to the horses, hay and indoor dust, ACHOO) and not as many people compete in the winter. I have a shift scheduled in two weeks, I may be needed one more time between then and Christmas. It's gonna be a tight second income month come December.

My other part time gig is photographing houses for mortgages companies. Again, given the state of the economy, not a lot of mortgages or re-financing happening. I picked up my first photo opportunity since the beginning of September. I earned $950 in 2007 doing that work, and I pretty much have earmarked any funds earned by doing the photo shots for my Credit Union Emergency Fund.

I'm looking into ways to diversify my income stream. I've not tapped into any advertising options for my web site (other than ad sense and the odd pay per post), I can probably do that. Just make the time, sit down and get the income stream moving.

Oh well, I'll keep trugging along!

Maybe I Will Get Some of Those Chores Done

I've been stupid busy the past two and a months on the weekends. I've been at my second job, I've been doing hobby stuff, I've been visiting elderly friends, I've gotten some volunteer stuff out of the way.

THIS weekend is the FIRST since the middle of August that I don't have to travel, or have any obligations to anyone other than myself. Bliss. I can sleep in both Saturday and Sunday, I can go to the public library and get some books and DVD's. I can make a roast chicken, I can tackle parts of my ongoing to do list that are making me crazy when I look at it.

My plan is to run my errands on Saturday morning (including the ever fun trip to the laundromat and spend $20 on laundry), go home and then not get into my car until it's time to drive to work on Monday. The only exception to this no drive rule will be if I get my arse in gear and do a serious decluttering on Saturday and must go to the dump/goodwill on Sunday.

This weekend freedom is short lived. I am going to a conference NEXT weekend and then I've picked up a day of work at my part time job (I need the money, I'll take the shift). It may be my last shift until after the new year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Paying for The Car Repair

The car will go into be repaired next week. I'm going to use the money I earned this month in my second job that is normally earmarked for the car payment, it will go towards the car repair. The excess will come out of my emergency fund.

A year ago this would have brought me to my knees. A year ago a transmission repair to my old car did exactly that, floored me right in the middle of my BK filing and emotional meltdown. That repair used up all my "excess" cash I had at that point and sent me to bed for the weekend.

This year is the slightly new and improved Bankrupt Betty. I have money in an emergency fund for just this reason. This is an unexpected repair, not a regular service that should have been budgeted for. I've not been as good as I could have been in funding my E-fund and I've dipped into it for some "non emergencies" but I do have the funds there to cover this repair. It's just a matter of me getting the car back into the dealership for the servicing.

This was also a little bit of a wake up call for me to not dip into my E-fund unless it's a true emergency. I slacked off a bit these past few months. Time to grow back up and refund the account and keep it for it's true purpose! An emergency!

It's Easy, But It's Not Cheap

The oil change took longer than anticipated this AM for a couple reasons. I had to have a diagnostic run on the car for an ABS warning light. As suspected based on my research I have damaged tone rings. Cost to repair $395.00 (Ouch) and the car has to be there for like half the day. I went to my local Ford dealership for a couple reasons.

1) I had a coupon for an oil change ($29.00) and I wanted to try them out.
2) My regular mechanic did not have a slot open until sometime next week, and I wanted to get this brake code thing checked out in case it was dangerous.

I got the oil change and the "complimentary" inspection of the car. The verdict, I needed not only the ABS work done, but a new fuel filter and a new transmission flush and fill. I only authorized the oil change and made an appointment to come back for the ABS work. I am not going to do the other two recommended services because I think the dealership is trying to pull one over on me. I don't think they were too happy when I said I'd pass on the other items until I had a chance to check my sales paperwork at home. The estimate on those items was an additional $220. This is one female that does her homework.

When I got the car, supposedly it was fully serviced, new filters, new fluids,new tires, new brakes, etc. I'll double check the sales paperwork when I get home. If that is the case, it does not need a the new filters and fluids. I have no hesitation calling the dealership where I got the car and ripping them a new one if need be. I don't think I need to. I have put some decent milage on the car (15,000 miles) in the past 7 months, but a fuel filter should not be replaced every 15,000 miles.

I've had my other oil changes at a local place, $34.99 for a full oil service, exterior car wash and interior vacuum. They are not a national chain and many people (including my boss) use them for the basic maintenance on their vehicles. The last time I was in (in August), there was no indication that I needed a tranny flush and fill or new fuel filter. Plus if I do need the servicing the Ford dealer said I do, the local oil change place will do it for one half the cost, in one third the time and I still get a complimentary car wash!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Little Warning Light Is On

And I can't find out what it means. I have my new to me car, purchased with the double digit interest rate (that's what happens post BK) because my old car was well on it's way to dead. I'd spent a ton of money resuscitating it.

My new to me vehicle has been AWESOME. I've been getting regular oil changes and I've not had an issue. Until this weekend when the little ABS warning light came on. Then flickered off, then came back on and stayed on, then went off. Then did not go back on until today and stayed on. I did some on line research (various Ford Escape forums).

Verdict, probably something called a tone ring or just the ABS sensor. Cost to repair/replace unknown at this point, I've not been able to find out exactly what the problem is or what the cost will be. I'll find out tomorrow, I had an oil change scheduled anyway. We shall see....sigh...

Monday, October 20, 2008

This Weeks Goal

Try to only go to the grocery store ONCE (like tonight). I've got the overabundance of pantry staples that need using up. I'd like to rid my cupboard of the whole wheat pasta I bought that I don't like. I had thought about donating it to my local food pantry, but read somewhere that if you donate, donate food stuffs you would like to have to eat as as well as staples. Made me stop and think and then decide that I can suffer and eat the whole wheat pasta and I'll make a cash donation to the food pantry instead. They know what they need better than I do!

I have not made a loaf of bread in my bread machine in a while. I'm planning on doing that this evening. I'm in the mood for really fresh bread...

The Bank Update-How does yours Compare?

Last week I posted about banking in local banks vs. banking at larger multi state banks (or on line). Interesting to see that many folks have opted for the local bank or credit union.

On Saturday, two of the local banks had ads in the papers affirming depositors and potential customers that they do in fact have lots of money and are fiscally sound. At least according to their PR they are performing satisfactorily, but how do they really stack up? has a place on it's web site you can look up your bank or credit union. Click here at this link and then follow the easy to use prompts. I looked up both my regular bank and my credit union and was happy with what I saw via I'll be keeping my money where it is for the time being.

For Now, Poochie 2 is Staying

I ranted and raved on last week about an issue in my life that I was non to happy about. You can read about it here.

I did spend part of this weekend visiting my friend Dee and our elderly friend. I also brought with me elderly friends two dogs (Poochie1 and Poochie2). The rehab facility elderly friend is in allows dogs to visit residents in their rooms. I surprised elderly friend on Saturday afternoon by walking into her room with the dogs (separately since the two girls don't like each other). Elderly friend was very happy to see Poochie 1, played with her, petted her, snuggled with her and then asked about Poochie 2. I told her Poochie 2 was in the car and she asked to see her.

I made the "dog swap" got back to her room and her face completely lit up. Poochie 2 was soo happy to see our elderly friend and immediately snuggled up right next to her, sighed happily and started to nap. Both seemed very happy and content. I stayed for about an hour on Saturday, then left. I came back on Sunday and we had another visit. Elderly friend said she was very glad Poochie 2 was with me, she was not sure what had happened to Poochie 2. I told her Poochie 2 was happily settled in my house.(Well she is, I'm not happy with some of the dog dynamics......)

Dee and I spoke at length about elderly friend and what is going to happen. Thankfully, she has good insurance, so her medical expenses are covered, but as to where she is going to live and when she can leave the rehab center, that is unknown at this point.

It was a great weekend here in New England (a bit breezy on Sunday) and I probably could have made a serious dent into my personal To Do list, but felt it was more important to make the drive with the dogs to see elderly friend. Just to see the look on her face when both dogs came into her room totally made up for the travel time and gas spent.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where Do You Bank?

The state of Banks in America is big news. Seems every time I turn on the news, another large bank is having a problem (Wa Mu, Indy Mac, Wachovia). I'm leery of "big banks". Always have, much prefer small local banking institutions. They are insured and covered by the FDIC just like the big ones and I've consistently gotten better service from them year in and year out. I have this philosophy that I won't bank at an institution with more than 10 separate locations. The only time I deviated from that philosophy was when the Ex boyfriend insisted we bank at what is now Bank of America and we had nothing but trouble and declining customer service with each takeover/acquisition (three times in six years). When I left the relationship, I got a new bank.

GMA did a story today on The Burke and Herbert Bank, located in Northern Virginia. When I lived in the DC area, I banked at that bank. I chose Burke and Herbert for the reasons outlined above, a good small local bank, well funded, a location close to my office did not hurt either, and most importantly, the excellent customer service I received. The CEO of Burke and Herbert told GMA that he has opened new accounts this past two weeks totalling 50 million (USD) in deposits. Fifty Million, not five million. In two weeks. All I can say is wow, but I'm not surprised. Burke and Herbert is a great bank.

When I moved back to New England, I spent a decent amount of time researching the local banks, number of branches, services offered, community involvement, strength of assets, etc. I narrowed my choice down to two banks and ultimately chose one bank because it had a branch not to far from my work. Like so many banks, it eventually got gobbled up by a larger corporation (and eventually we had a loss of service, and the bank became more impersonal).

I went to my second choice bank about two years ago (It has 9 locations in eight towns) and not only am I offered all the same services as those big impersonal banks (BOA, Chase, WaMu), I am more than an account number, I am a person. I chose my local credit union for many of the same reasons, it's small, well funded, very personable and I am more than just an account number. When the time comes to refinance my car loan, my credit union is willing to work with me. Can't see BOA working with a post BK person, not in this economy! My local bank manager has already said she can try to work with me being post BK, the bank has programs for folks like me. I just can't see BOA working with me right now. I get all the benefits of the larger more impersonal banks without the fear that they may be taken over by the FDIC if they fail.

Where do you bank ?

An Unsatisfying Shop

Before my Poochie2 fiasco, I stopped at my favorite ethnic market for a re-stock on supplies that you just can't buy at the chain grocery stores. I'm starting to get back into a cooking mood and wanted to re-stock my pantry with some essentials and non essentials as well. I have not been to this particular market in a while, I just have not been to the town where it is located and I'm being careful not to make too many needless car trips.

I was in for a bit of a surprise. The sign on the door said under new management. At first glance, all seemed good. I went in and as I wandered up and down the aisles, I could see some disheartening signs. Each aisle focuses on a different ethnic theme (Italian, West Indian/Caribbean, Puerto Rican, Central/South America, Mexican, Chinese/Asian, Hungarian, Middle Eastern, African). The amount of goods were reduced, several of my favorite items were not in stock, the produce bordered on the over ripe (meaning it had to be used up no later than today), the dried beans, condiments section was low on inventory and up on price. Not good.

This particular market usually has a lot of customers up until it closes. You can pretty much guarantee a crowd of people in the store at 6:30 PM. Last night I was only one of three in the store. I do hope it's a temporary glitch while the new owners get up and running and not a sign of the times. I really like shopping at this market. It's one of the few places left where I can buy 3 onions or 3 potatoes and not have to buy a 5lb bag that won't get used up. It's my grocery store treat to myself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So Angry and Upset, I'm Howling at the Full Moon

This post has more to do with my anger at people and situations than it does with personal finance. How it relates to personal finance is that this evening, I got smacked upside my head with the realization that I have put forth a lot of effort, time and yes money into a situation that has given me no return on my investment and honestly, I was not expecting a return on investment, I was expecting some courtesy and respect. I swear I can not and have not made up this stuff, truth is stranger than fiction. And I completely admit, as you read this you will think I’m some whinging 14 year old. My blog, my privilege to whing on…

As I have blogged before, I have an elderly friend who is no longer able to live on her own. She moved in with a mutual friend (Dee) earlier this summer and I ended up with one of her dogs, called Poochie. Fast forward to this fall. Same elderly friend has not had a good summer, has been in an out of the hospital, a skilled nursing facility and is now in a rehab center. As of this week, we have no idea if she will be able to return to living with our mutual friend or if she will truly require extended care. Our mutual friend has taken over elderly friends life, has helped with the sale of her home, helped to get it cleaned out, packed up possessions, got new doctors, got friend moved and settled and was able to take our elderly friend plus a few of her dogs. As my elderly friend suffered other health issues, I ended up with another one of her dogs, whom I’m calling Poochie 2. Poochie 1 and Poochie 2 don’t like (no HATE) each other. I took Poochie 2 into my little abode (that I’m now calling the Kennel) for a variety of reasons, one being that I probably would have better luck finding Poochie 2 a new home than Dee would. Dee had enough on her plate with her own life and managing the life of our elderly friend. Our elderly friend does not have any close, or even extended family, we are pretty much it for “family” under the age of 60.

The problem is that not only do I have elderly friends two dogs, I have my own. And my dogs are not getting along with her dogs. The sad/funny part is Poochie 2 is related to one of my dogs (they are littermates, I got her from elderly friend just before my own life fell apart) and they don’t like each other. Really not getting along to the point where they can’t run together and I have to exercise and run them in shifts. I have re-arranged the dog room, put up a couple kennel runs in my small yard (actually got them from elderly friend’s old house), it’s difficult at times, manageable at best. On her own, Poochie 2 is sweet, loving, fun, snuggly, affectionate. She is a bit spoiled and a bit undisciplined. She pretty much had run of elderly friend’s house, kennel and yard. She had her other dog buddies that she ran with and life was good. She and her other dog buddy were also very close to elderly friends now deceased husband. I think Poochie 2 misses elderly friend’s husband. Living with me is like living at boot camp. Not really her cup of tea.

This is where the 6 degrees of separation concept comes into play. I truly believe this concept exists. I took Poochie 2 for many reasons; one was that a friend of a friend was in the midst of losing her 14 year old dog. The dog was in kidney failure, had a mouth full of rotting teeth, was being kept alive by an expensive diet and a lot of drugs, the vet was afraid that if he did surgery to remove the dogs rotting teeth, it would never come out of the anesthesia. The friend of a friend knows my elderly friend well, knows Poochie 2 well and lives just a couple towns over. I took Poochie 2 on the premise that this friend of a friend would take Poochie 2 as a replacement for her dying dog. This is what she wanted to do, this is what she told me she wanted to do, from what I saw and what I was told this old dog was literally on its last legs, with just a few weeks left to live. I would deal with the crazy dog dynamics for a few weeks.

Friend of friend’s elderly dog manages to survive its dental surgery and has bounced back better than ever (or so I’m told thanks to modern veterinary pharmaceuticals). I get an e-mail (not even a phone call) that states the old dog is doing so well and guess what; I’ve got a new puppy so I don’t want Poochie 2. I barely managed to keep from punching my computer screen when I read this. This was Friday night. I was so angry, I was cross eyed, and I was not even given the decency of a phone call.

I am at an event this weekend and am talking to a very good friend who know elderly friend (are you following this? Six degrees again!). I related in the most general terms that the proposed home for Poochie 2 did not pan out, I related in very specific terms that I really needed to find a home for Poochie 2. This friend knows my living situation, she knows how small my house is, she knows my elderly friend, she knows I’m doing this out of the goodness of my heart (or because I’m totally nuts), she knows Poochie 2 was not destined to be at my house long term or permanent. I am told by said friend that she has the perfect home for Poochie 2, describes the potential family looking for a pet, and will be in touch with me in a few days once she makes some phone calls. We talked some more and I am convinced that this potential new home will work out for Poochie 2. I know someone who knows the prospective family, I recognize the name of the couple and I am grateful and relived, this sounds like it will work out. Poochie2 could have a new home by the weekend. Yes! Six degrees of separation works!

Today was a few days. I’m running some errands after work; one of them is returning some items to a department store. I’m walking through the store and whom do I see, but my friend I spoke to over the weekend. She is on the other side of a clothing display and does not see me because she is engrossed in a phone call. I walk towards the display to say/wave hello and stop cold dead in my tracks when I hear the following. “Sylvia, so glad you called back. I wanted to give you Kari’s number, she has the most wonderful dog that would be perfect for you, Kari will be home this weekend , she is expecting your call, here is her web address, she has a lovely web site too…” there is more to the conversation about Kari ,her most wonderful dog and her most wonderful everything . Just so you know I am NOT Kari. I am Betty. I turn on my heel and I walk out of the store go sit in my car and stew for a few minutes. I then use my mobile and call the woman. I hope and pray she is not parked next to me in the parking lot (she is not). We exchange pleasantries and I say have you spoken to the new potential owners or would you like me to give them a call? The answer I get back is “Oh I did and Betty, they have decided to wait on getting a new dog until after the holidays. You may want to find another home for Poochie.”

I don’t even remember the rest of my conversation; I hope I was polite and civil, despite being lied to. I do remember going to Costco and stomping through the store and throwing a 50 pound bag of dog food into my cart. I remember throwing the same bag of dog food into my car (squashing the very ripe vegetables I bought at the ethnic market too). I have no idea how I drove the 32 miles home on the highway, I just remember pulling up to my house angry, upset, annoyed, hurt that I was lied to by someone I consider a friend. I know Kari and I know Kari’s set up. She lives in a very nice country house. It’s a hell of a lot better than mine and last I heard (which was last week!) Kari was not looking to sell or move on her dogs or horses. It’s that six degrees thing again, you just end up knowing more than others realize you do.

There is only so much of Betty to go around. Betty is feeling stretched to her limits right now. I spend a lot of my working day giving and supporting other people. I’ve been MIA at the gym due to a temporary schedule change (and feeling fat now) and the dogs are a bit cranky from the lack of exercise and out time, I seem to spend most of my nights dealing with these needy dogs, I’ve cut back on my outside activities for financial reasons. I spend my weekends working for someone else, when I’m not working for someone else, I’m working off of this ever growing to do/errand list that just never seems to end and I feel like I never see any progress. AND I do it alone with no one to say, great good for you or let me help. Sometimes I’m so tired at the end of my day, I can barely get my butt up off the couch to deal with what ever needs to be dealt with.

I know this rant sounds juvenile, selfish and self centered. I hate being lied to by people who are my so called friends I hate the fact that I am feeling so powerless to make certain changes in my life. I hate a lot of things and I hate the way this situation has played out. I took in these dogs because it was a personal obligation, I paid the vet bills, re-arranged my life and my house, I never bitched about it (until now), and I dealt with it and am trying to make it work. I would have at least expected the courtesy of the truth from Kari or my friend, instead I got nothing. And I'm angry and upset.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Check Did Clear!

I posted here about lending a friend some money and my concern about his ability to pay it back. I had the stipulation that I would extend a temporary loan under the condition he give me a check that I could deposit to my account on a pre-agreed upon date.

The good news is the check cleared my account and I got back a thanks for the temporary loan e-mail from the person who got the loan. I have no idea how his trade show went, I have no idea how his business is going, I just hope both went well and I'm just glad I got my money back. I do hope his business is getting back on track.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Paying the Second Part of the Month Bills

I get paid on Wednesday and wrote out the checks for the mid month bills. I'll drop them in the mail on Wednesday. I don't anticipate any other expenses other than a small grocery shop, buy some dog food, a $20 hobby expense and gas for the car. I have a bunch of food products to use up in the cupboards. Plus I made a kick butt lentil soup in the crock pot this weekend, using up some veg, a quart of chicken stock and the lentils. A friend of mine dropped off a loaf of her homemade pumpernickel bread (it is truly to die for, she used to be a professional baker) and I am fairly well set on food for the remainder of the week. I will on October 30th, take the remainder of my cash in my checking account and transfer it to my E-fund.

I just have to laugh at myself. It's really taken me almost a whole year to change my fiscal habits for the better. A whole year. But in this year, what was a struggle to change or adapt to has become second nature and less of a struggle. I really thought for a number of months that I had a control on my spending and savings. I did not. I've had a couple months of Oh Cripes, what did I spend money on? I thought I had this under control? Nope, not really. It's gotten soo much better and I'm glad to see this old dog has learned some new savings tips.

Now if I could just master scheduling posts in blogger, I'd be all set.......

Happy Thanksgiving To My Canadian Readers

Hope you had a great weekend of Turkey, Stuffing, good food and good friends!


The Weekend

It was a picture perfect weekend here in New England. I had a great time working on my goal list, outlining future blog posts and visiting locally with friends. I took the above photo from my car, the trees are in glorious color. This is one reason why I live in New England.

Up Almost 1,000 points!

The Dow just closed and it was up almost 1,000 points. This whole banking crisis is wild. I just hope the world markets level out and we can get back to "normal", what ever normal may be.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Few Updates

I've been absent from blogging and reading for the main reason I've been busy with the second job, the primary job and my laptop at home has decided not to work (the L, the O, the 9 and a bunch of other keys don't work). It's been difficult to post at work recently, just not a lot of time to hang out on blogger when people are hanging out over my shoulder.

I took Friday off to go work my second job for the weekend. I achieved my on going goal of making enough money to cover my car payment for the month. I have a bit of vacation time and just can't swing a vacation right now, so I used the day off to earn some extra cash. I can't and won't do this on a regular basis, but this was my exception to the rule. I'm a firm believer in vacations (stay at home or travel) to refresh the mind and spirit, as much as I want to achieve certain financial goals, the time off is needed and necessary. As of now, I don't have any time scheduled at the second job until at least the middle of November. Not great, but for now, out of my control.

I deposited the check from my friend Adam on Thursday (I missed the credit union on Wednesday) and so far it has not bounced on my account. I did send an e-mail reminding him that the check was going to my account. He was traveling for a big trade show this past weekend and I don't know what access he had to e-mail or if he was going to just "ignore" my e-mail. We shall see.

Like many people, my boss at my current job is not happy with the whole economic bailout and subsequent fluctuations in the stock markets. I'm not either. It does affect our business. My boss has an obsession with how and what the Dow Jones does. I've switched my focus to the FTSE. I get the FTSE closing figures around coffee break time. We are keeping our fingers crossed that this will settle down in the next week or two.

I do need to figure out my October goals. I very much liked having just two goals to work for, it made me a happier person. I did not give into those feelings of "failure" when my lengthy goal list was not met. Like I've said before, I'm trying to look at the glass half full.

On the upside, it IS a glorious day here in New England,I hope it is the same for all of you! I'll be back to posting on a regular basis in a day or three.