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Archive for March, 2009

Carpet Cleaning, Cleaner Air and Thoughts...

March 27th, 2009 at 12:00 am

about home ownership and responsibility...

We got our carpets cleaned and our air ducts cleaned this week. Cleaner carpets make the house look nice. (The kid being AWAY at college makes the house look nice, too. He was home for spring break last week and oh my goodness! clothes everywhere, food wrappers and fast food bags everywhere, and we were constantly stepping over size 13 shoes in the middle of the floor!)

The cost of carpet cleaning combined with the vent cleaning was about $695, but we were prepared with cash in the checking account thanks to savings and our tax refund...carpet cleaning about $190 and vent cleaning about $505.

Now, if I'd just wash the windows and paint the trim work... the house will be really 'sparkly'. (heavy sigh... more things to add to the to-do list...)

I usually get this knot in my stomach when we're calling around for service companies or repair work for the house. Unless you're a skilled do-it-yourself-er, you never know if you can trust what a service person is telling you about your house. We were REALLY fortunate this time--this crew came in and did a great job. But in the past, we've felt like we've been ripped off by other home repair and maintenance crews, so we're cautious. It's such a task.

(Hardwood flooring crossed my mind, but that's another entry and a different dollar figure for a different day...)

The thing about home ownership is home responsiblity. The to-do list is long and the cost of things is ridiculous and you're dependent on a huge list of repair and maintenance people who know more than you know about your house until you take the time to learn what they know. Either way it's going to cost time and money.

Apartment living might create neighbor issues and a lack of equity and a lack of stability, but I'm remembering how apartment living simplified my to-do list and my budget enormously. I've talked with my friends and relatives about home ownership vs renting, and I seem to be the ONLY one who thinks apartment living has advantages. Is this some sort of snobbery on their part? Or am I just a whiner and complainer no matter where I am?...

We're here at our home and blessed and chugging along with our mile-long to-do list and our budget. I'll just pipe down and be quiet...besides, the carpet is looking really nice.

The To Do List

March 12th, 2009 at 01:38 am

Is ridiculous.

And I keep adding things.

I need to file the finanical aid form for my son's college.
Go to the bank.
Make two doctor's appointments.
Order a will kit on-line.
Find someone to clean our carpets.
Rake leaves.
Catch up with record-keeping and filing for my church's finance records, 1st quarter. Hold a church finance meeting with the team.
Mail checks back to my health insurance company. (That they sent me by accident.)
Get an alignment on the car.
Check on my neighbor.
Call my mother.
Clean out my file cabinet.
Find a new place that recycles aluminum cans (the old place shut down).
Go to the dry cleaners.
Open a Roth IRA.
Bake pumpkin bread before the canned pumpkin I have expires.
Make a large batch of spaghetti sauce to freeze.
Send an email to an old friend.
Make bathroom more handicap accessible for spouse. (He fell this weekend on a tile floor while we were out. That pain combined with his cerebral palsy has created "access" issues in our home...)
Get a birthday gift for the kid.
Buy an electric blanket.
Do my Spanish homework. (I signed up for an 8-week community education class to learn Spanish.)
Get to a writer's meeting on Saturday.
Have the hedges in the front yard cut down or removed.
Clean the garage.
Clean the attic.
Give myself a manicure and pedicure.
Find my black gym shorts.
Buy new towels and toss a few of the old ones we're using.
Defrost the freezer.
Fix the hole in the wall in the bathroom where the broken toilet paper holder used to be.
Invite my young friend to Sunday dinner.
Take donation bags to Good Will.
Weed out paperback books.
Finish one of the 6 books I'm currently reading.
Blog. (I can check this one off the list for this week. It's easier to blog, then to do the other to-do items.)
Take jar of pennies to bank for deposit.
Schedule card game night with friends.
Invite stepdaughter to lunch.
Update my beneficiary forms on everything.
Get the air conditioning unit serviced.
Repair the hem of one of my skirts.
Clean out my email inbox.
Update my resume.
Update personal papers for my brother.
Help brother with business plan for his business.
Balance checkbook.

I could go on, but I'm tired. Just checking in...

February Challenge 2009

March 3rd, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Christmas account new balance Feb 27, $669. (After regular savings allotment.)

I added $281 to my checking account cushion -- New balance Feb 27, $1001.

My $20 challenge to my money market netted a $15 deposit in 'leftover' dollar bills and $2 in quarters and dimes, plus $10 not spent when we tried to find a local playhouse to see a $10 play and got lost (oh well!). Total challenge deposit $27.
My automatic transfer of $180 was also deposited on Feb 21.
Withdrew $401 (money order fee was $1) to pay extra toward mortgage.

Wealth acct/Money mkt balance, $7,824.04

Savings toward extra mortgage payment Feb 27, $160

Total in account Feb 27, $7,984.04

Grocery and Household Spending thru Feb

March 3rd, 2009 at 11:49 pm

My original spending/saving plan has several numbers (and high hopes) for items I haven't yet tracked. But I'm tracking my groceries and household spending fairly well. I realized I need to increase my yearly projected spending in this area for 2009 from $3,200 this year to $3,600. This is more realistic when I look at last year. I'll still shoot for spending less...

To make it easier, I have two cash envelopes, one for Groceries and one for Household, but because I buy a lot of household stuff at the grocery store and a lot of grocery stuff at CVS, Walgreens and the dollar stores, I've combined the tracking of the expenditures into one big category and list what I spend at each store per pay period, then total it.

2009 Planned spending for Groceries and
Household Supplies/Toiletries: $3,600

Spending through Feb 09: $624.01

Percentage spent: 17% of total Grocery/Household budget

House Stuff - Stockpiling (Yay!) and Clutter (boo!)

March 3rd, 2009 at 01:17 am

I've been trying to stock up on household items, using coupons and sales (a la So far so good. I have 9 bottles of shampoo and ten tubes of toothpaste in my dresser drawers. I calculate I've saved about $3.00 on the shampoo total and about $12.00 on the toothpaste total (what I would have normally paid). I'm on the hunt for toilet paper and cereals now... My spouse thinks this is funny, but I feel like I'm saving quite a bit of money. It will also keep me from running to the store at the last minute for things like this. I'm trying to simplify my LIFE!!

However, now I foresee a storage problem.

Which brings me to the clutter. Egads man!! What would it take to hire a maid?? This weekend I dusted--having not dusted in several months--and I could have made a stuffed teddybear with the dust I collected. My spouse is a stay-at-home spouse due to his handicap--he cooks (yay) but doesn't dust (hmm) and doesn't want a maid coming to the house while he's there. (A maid is not in the budget anyway.) So while I'm dusting--this once-in-a-blue-moon-type-dusting--I'm looking at the clutter in my house.

Why do we have infant car seats in the garage when the grandchildren are 10, 5 and 3 years old and my son is almost 20 years old? Why do I have the cake topper to our wedding cake when we've been married for over 10 years? Why do we have those super large cups from Sonic and other fast food places when we never use them again? Why do I have candles that are covered in dust and never lit? Why is there paper everywhere? Ok, the paper's mostly me (I write, I clip coupons, I keep budget records for both our church and our home, I pay bills, sort mail, I recycle, I have arts and crafts for the grandkids...yeah, the paper's mostly me...). But there's the spouse, too (he has 2 magazine subscriptions that I've yet to see him read, he handles his mentally disabled son's paperwork(!), he's active at our church which comes with a lot of paperwork, he can't throw away a paper or magazine that has the Dallas Cowboys on it--I usually do the honors--and he collects recipes). With the two of us combined, we're out of CONTROL!!

Ranting here, because I have no plan in place to get this under control. It's another thing to add to the to-do list. I don't want another thing added to the to-do list. Maybe I'll start with one spot at a time. Once surface at a time. Wow. I'm tired already....