<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Home > Category: No Free Lunch

Viewing the 'No Free Lunch' Category

Another Day, Another..Wait, Where are My Dollars?!

May 7th, 2015 at 07:34 am

I checked my bank balance this morning, and SURPRISE, we're down to under $300. And it's only the 7th.


Admittedly, Brandus did text me last night and told me he would transfer money from his account into the joint account, as he had accidentally put his hotel for the past few nights onto our card instead of his. So that's a little over $300 back in.

But still. I double checked the numbers, and it seems to be pretty in order.

These medical bills are killer. I'm going to have to call and redo our payment plans on some of them.

I am proud that I managed to talk myself out of fast food last night, and instead made sandwiches and packed them for the kid and I to eat in the car (the plan was the park, but it was raining) before taking him to his piano lessons.

I had nearly convinced myself to grab fast food for lunch today, too, but at the last minute, I went with a sandwich again. I packed Voldemort a simple lunch out of what was in the fridge, so it wasn't anything special, but he's generally happy with pepperoni, crackers, and fruit, and then I threw in a homemade banana bread muffin that I had forgotten we had in the fridge, so yay for no spending on eating out!

I'm still working on cutting down our spending, too. We do have several things we can cut entirely, but some of them do require TIME, like the violins that Brandus rented for him and the Dark Lord to learn to play. We've had them 5 months, and except for the first two weeks or so, neither boy has touched them. They're a $37 each rental, but the rental place is 45 minutes away from both my work and my house, and this week has involved a lot of after school running around, so I haven't been able to do that yet. And until this past few weeks before we separated, I had been asking Brandus to take care of it. He's unemployed, so he should have the time, but oh well.

Hopefully on Saturday I'll have a chance to take that $75 monthly charge out of our spending, which would be a relief.

Still Juggling

May 6th, 2015 at 09:24 am

Couples counseling last night was hard. I told Brandus that I needed to see him complete either an inpatient or intensive outpatient program before coming home. He was upset and even with the counselor helping facilitate the discussion, it was still hard and he was angry and I was crying.

But I feel ok.

He did text this morning and apologized for how he acted, and I told him I still want us to go see Annie as a family, as we got tickets a while ago, and I think it would be a low stress way to spend time together. I'm not backing down on what I need to see from him, and I have an individual appointment with the therapist next week, and another couples in two weeks.

So, another month, at least, of solo parenting, depending on how long it takes him to follow through on completing a program.

I had told him I want to spend time with him, and I want Voldemort to spend time with him, but with him being so incredibly out of it the other day I don't feel safe with them just being left alone, and I sure as HELL don't feel safe with him driving the Dark Lord around.

So I'm trying to figure out how to juggle family prior plans and the Dark Lord's schedule and still have time to take care of myself, which is all very complicated.

I forgot to pack Voldemort's lunch last night, and we were rushing around this morning to get to work on time for professional development, so he had to buy lunch today. He has the money in his account, but I try to pack his lunch most days.

I did pack my lunch last night, as we had ravioli with zucchini and brown butter for dinner, and I made off with ALL of the leftovers, because it is delicious - and because, Voldemort, of course, turned his nose up at the zucchini.

Regardless, I am managing to keep us both fed and the house vaguely clean, so I'm counting the sudden solo parenting to be going successfully, although any and all advice from anyone who has gone through anything similar would be awesome.

Crockpot Dinner and Leftover Lunch

May 4th, 2015 at 06:36 pm

In my ongoing quest to not think about the couples counseling appointment I have tomorrow to see if we are going to be able to work things out, I bring you: my dinner.

I was so pleased this morning when I remembered to load the crockpot and turn it on before leaving the house - Crockpot Pesto Ranch Chicken, which is ridiculously easy.

Toss in some chicken thighs, most of a jar of pesto, packet of ranch dressing, and a little bit of chicken broth, ignore for 8 hours on low, then stuff face.

I had planned to have it for dinner tonight, then have pesto chicken and motz sandwiches later this week. Unfortunately, I underestimated how much the thighs would shrink, so after Voldemort and I ate our portions and I packed my lunch, we have MAYBE enough for one sandwich.

Which can work - I'll shred it pretty fine before layering it on the sandwich, we'll split it, and add some veggies and fruit on the side and it will all work out just fine.

I also took a small piece of the chicken for my lunch.

I pack bento most days, even if mine aren't as cute as many, and the easiest way to do that is to use leftovers. So here we have brown rice, pesto ranch chicken, parmesan corn, cucumber, and grape tomatoes. I will most likely add a snack of an apple and a peanut butter yogurt dip that is super yum in a sidecar container.

Voldemort's lunch hasn't been packed yet, but I'm planning on monkey towers (banana peanut butter bites on crackers), grape tomatoes, a plum, and...something.

I just hope I can actually eat tomorrow - when anxious, my stomach gets a little cranky, and I'm thinking the couples counseling definitely qualifies as something anxious making.

Under the Umbrella

October 30th, 2012 at 09:45 am

I'm a little boggled today.

Yesterday, I got a letter from my school district in North Carolina stating that my last paycheck - dated 6/2011, had never been cashed. And would I like all $2560 of it reissued in a new check?


All I can think of that could have happened is that this was smack dab in the middle of us moving across the country to Colorado with three cats and a preschooler and all of our stuff. So, either I didn't get it, or it got misplaced in the mess, or we tried using the online deposit system through USAA and did something stupid. Who know?

But, I have an affidavit to fill out, a notary to track down, and a copy of my driver's license to scan and send in, and I will be $2500 closer to paying off the Discover card.

This was exciting enough.

But then this morning, I got an email from Family Fun magazine, from a survey I had done a while ago and promptly forgotten about asking about fun things I do with my kid. They wanted more information and if it runs, they'll pay me $100.

I emailed back with more information, and LESS THAN A MINUTE LATER, had an enthusiastic thank you from one of the editors.

I have NO idea what's going on, but I LIKE it!

Forget About the Price Tag

October 16th, 2012 at 07:12 am

I got my paycheck for my second job yesterday, which is $330 I get to put towards my fun trip this summer. I'm treating myself to the BlogHer Conference in Chicago in July, which I'm very excited about. Plus, my sister and her wife live in Chicago, which means I'll get to see them and my nephew, who is expected to arrive sometime in February.

I got my paycheck, though, and started giggling, wondering how I would explain exactly what it is I do on the side - as it would probably appall some of my readers.

No, I'm not a phone sex operator. But my second job probably will raise some eyebrows. My father is certainly horrified.

I proofread gay erotica for an online publishing company.

It is sometimes hilarious, sometimes frustrating, but always fun. I'm getting paid to read, basically, and seeing as I read anything that isn't nailed down anyway, it's an awesome side job for me. I don't make much, as I proof anywhere from 3 to 6 short stories to novel length stories a month, but the extra is very nice, is all mine, and as a bonus, I get to tell people what I do and laugh at their expressions.

There is really no down side to it!

Handy Man

October 14th, 2012 at 06:15 pm

The husband and I have now progressed to new and interesting ways to ensure that the "honey-do" stuff around the house actually gets done.

I pay him $10 an hour for stuff I can't/am not willing to do, and if he doesn't get it done within 2 weeks, I pay someone else to come in and do it.

Because honestly? Otherwise, it's not going to get done. I have no problem paying him to help encourage him to do stuff, because we're going to end up spending the money on SOMEBODY.

So, things I want done:

-replace towel ring (that fell down on Voldemort's head) in the guest bathroom with a towel bar. One V can reach to hang up his towel.

-put up shelving above washing machine/dryer.

-put up shelving in Voldemort's closet.

-put up storm door on front door (might actually have to call in a pro for this one, as Brandus isn't sure he can do it)

Yeowch for the ER Bill

October 8th, 2012 at 09:22 am

We just got the final total bill for Voldemort's visit to the ER last month. Over a thousand dollars! I could cry.

The man is unhappy, because he says what's the point in having insurance if it doesn't actually HELP with the bills. I'm not upset, because it's an ER visit and I expected it to be expensive.

The good news is that medical bills can usually be negotiated a bit - here, if you pay off the whole thing, they give a discount. That's not going to possible with this one, as paying off all of it would wipe out our entire emergency fund, and NO. Fortunately, they will set up a payment plan. As soon as I get a chance to call them. Which is difficult, as they're open 8-4, and I work 7:30-4:30. Argh.

But yikes. And here I thought we might have a little extra money this month to put aside for winter break travel.

Eating Out: An Ongoing Cycle

September 26th, 2012 at 07:08 am

I had a full entry typed up yesterday and the internet ate it. Boo.

Last night, I had a meeting and Brandus had Parent Teacher Conferences. I had to leave my job (45 minutes away from where I live), head to our town, pick up Voldemort, and then drive another 40 minutes to get to the town where Brandus works, so last night was a planned eat out night.

I don't mind every now and then, although I really don't like much fast food. The problem is that it throws me off for the next day.

I take leftovers for lunch almost exclusively. I don't care for sandwiches much, and I'd rather have something hot, so I pack leftovers.

The trouble comes when there ARE no leftovers.

If I eat out for dinner at an actual restaurant, it's generally ok, because I usually have leftovers from large servings. But when I eat fast food for dinner, it means that, almost always, I end up picking up something the next day for lunch as well.

Currently, for lunch today I have string cheese and an orange. I'm doubting that will hold me.


September 17th, 2012 at 11:31 am

I had an awesome lunch all packed to go this morning in my froggie bento box, but as I was running out the door I managed to leave it on the coffee table. I wouldn't even have realized it until I got to school except for the husband and the kid calling me to tell me.

So, for the first time this school year, I had to go out and get lunch.

I HATE having to go out - we only have 45 minutes to eat, and I'd rather spend that time actually eating as opposed to sitting in a drive through line, but if I don't eat I get a raging headache, and trust me, you do NOT want to try and deal with 12 three year olds unfed and with a headache. IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA.

I went to Subway, as it's at least mildly heathy, but I'm still pouty about it.

Oh well, at least this way my lunch is already packed for tomorrow, right?

Daily Spending: $5.94

Hitting the Fan

November 9th, 2008 at 07:32 am

Let me ask you a question.

Let’s say you have two jobs, job A and job B.

At job A, worker A comes into work at 7:30am, looks over the plans left on the desk, executes plans, walks children to bus, and leaves.

For this, worker A brings home the tidy sum of $90.

At job B, worker B comes into work at 7:30am, looks over plans made by self previously, executes plans, walks children to bus, does report cards, attends afterschool training, does before and afterschool duty once a week, holds parent/teacher conferences, and creates more lesson plans.

For this, worker B brings home the tidy sum of $90.

Worker B looks at worker A’s job and says, HUH? She contacts people, asking if this was right. She is told to shut up and do the work assigned, even though she WAS worker A just a few short weeks ago.

She emails the principal, expressing concerns and asking for clarification of responsibilities.

Email is ignored.

Worker B then contacts the district office by phone, and is addressed as, “oh yes, the one who wants more money.”

One week later, worker B is called into principal’s office, at the end of the day after the kids and the aide have left and told she won’t be needed anymore. When worker B asks why, she is told that her lesson plans are lacking and the way she speaks to the kids makes the principal frown. Ignore the fact that there was no notice taken when worker B brought up concerns about how aide B spoke to the kids in the classroom.

Now, what would you bet is the REAL reason worker B was asked to leave?

Digging Our Way Out

October 26th, 2008 at 08:25 am

I'm feeling a little more optimistic today!

The check for Brandus' teaching license finally cleared (which messed up our budget for daycare costs, but oh well), which means the district finally sent in his application. When he called the licensing place, they said he should have it by mid November. HOPEFULLY, this means he should get his correct pay and all of his backpay for the past 3 months at the end of November paycheck. I'm not holding my breath, though - if he doesn't have it in hand and turned in to the district by the 15th, it won't count until the December paycheck.

I should be getting my first paycheck for the long term sub position at the end of this month, which should be over $1000, which will help a good bit.

And in REALLY good news, we canceled cable and land line ($70ish), reduced our cell phone minutes ($30), canceled brandus' unused xbox live subscription ($8), and found out our utility bill is down from $180 to $140 this month ($40) - that's $150 worth of bills I dont have to stress about paying next month!

Talk the Talk

October 15th, 2008 at 06:52 am

My husband has been very resistant to even talking about money lately.

I know he's stressed. He's currently being underpaid about $600 each paycheck due to a licensing snafu that was the school district's fault. I'm working as a substitute, so Im making a lot less than I would be if i was in the classroom full time. But he'll barely talk to me about it.

He just gets angry and defensive. I dont want to yell at him for using the credit card to buy Taco Bell (although, OMG WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?), I want to sit down and have a healthy conversation about our goals - you dont like it here? Ok, where do you want to move? How are we going to save up the money to do it? - but the last time I tried, it ended in a huge fight, and Im not going to be the bad guy moneywise anymore.

A few days ago, I told him I sold our mutual fund - because we needed that extra money to pay our EVERY DAY BILLS. I guess that finally scared him. Since then, he's been talking about a second job, talking about how he'll call and cancel cable, and call and downgrade our cell plan...

Well, it's good to know he can talk the talk.

I finally ended up calling and canceling cable and our land line today, as well as downgrading our cell plan.

Now, we just have to wait and see if he'll actually follow through on getting a second job, or if I'm going to have to do that, too.

Forever and a Day

October 8th, 2008 at 09:23 am

It's been quite a while since Ive blogged over here..since well before we moved.

We've settled from Alaska to North Carolina, found a decent apartment and jobs.

Brandus is not liking his teaching job this year. Im not liking the fact that this comes out in yelling fits at me over stupid stuff.

Im REALLY not liking that they "lost" his license application at district office, and have been paying him as a first year teacher with his BS for the past two months.

Im subbing in second grade at the moment, which is fun most days, and exhausting all days.

The child is in daycare, which is spendy, but he loves it, they love him, and we think it's really good for him.

But, I do have a problem. Seeing as murder is a crime, is there ANYTHING I can do to deal with the man in my life whom I love very very much that is REFUSING to deal with the current financial issues we find ourselves in? He wont sit down and talk to me about where we are, doesnt want to look at numbers, and if I bring it up, there's a yelling fit on his end.

He's being an ostrich.

And yeah, we're getting paid a FRACTION of what we got paid in Alaska. Im not working an entirely steady job. He's getting shafted $500 a paycheck. i GET all that. But its the 8th of the month, and we're already down to $67, and he WILL NOT help me.

What the heck do I do? Im really starting to get cranky about it.

Minty Fresh

January 28th, 2008 at 06:27 pm

Has anyone had any experience with mint.com?

I love the idea - tracking all of your bank accounts online.

But, you have to give sign in information for each account. And frankly, that makes me very nervous. Someone is one hack job away from having all of my logins for my bank, my credit card, my savings account..

So, any experience, good or bad?

Mathmatically Insane

November 1st, 2007 at 03:04 pm

So, Im trying to work out the difference between paying down the debt, and saving for the emergency fund.

At this specific point, we have about $11,000 credit card debt. Which sucks, and we're working hard on it.

We also have about $400 in our EF right now - we had closer to $600, but the health insurance hasnt reimbursed us for our flight out to Anchorage yet.

When your kid is running a 105 fever under 6 months old, you tend to not be as concerned as you should be about tracking receipts for reimbursement purposes.

So, obviously, our debt far outweighs what we got in the bank.

And we're planning on moving at the end of this year. We're not sure where yet, or if we're staying in Alaska or moving back to the lower 48.

We know we need to save money to move - and that if we move back to the lower 48, its going to cost quite a bit.

We need to save for the move.

We need to pay down our debt while we're making pretty good money.

How do we split it?

60/40, debt focused? 50/50?

I have no idea!

Im planning on sitting down this weekend and making up a list of the places we would like to move. Then, we've gotta think about moving costs, living costs, buying new things...


Any advice on moving and saving? Or on figuring out how to save FOR moving?

In Money Wii Trust

March 22nd, 2007 at 11:30 am

I know there are others here who feel like they and their families are on completely different pages moneywise, but sometimes I just dont know how to handle things as they come up.

Every spare cent - my allowance, my half.com money - for the past 2 months has been going straight towards being able to go to Anchorage and have the baby. I havent even been putting MY OWN MONEY into my personal savings account, because Im worried about no having enough.

Which is fine, as it is, my money, and my choice.

But then, when my husband mentions that - due to the afterschool tutoring program he is currently running, he's already made about $260 this WEEK, and is going to buy a Wii with it - why does this bother me so much?

It is, in fact, his money, his choice. i KNOW that. I do.

And thats probably why I just twitched a little and told him I wasnt entirely comfortable with that.

He got an Xbox360 for Christmas, half from me, half from his parents. He bought several games for it. He used his allowance for the NEXT several months (note: next, not last) to buy the Windows Vista upgrade. He just got us an AeroGarden (this is why I shouldnt go out of town and leave him on his own. Infomercials!). And most of this was from HIS account - which we also have to pay bills out of.

We are still very very close to maxed out on four out of five credit cards - mostly maxed while he was in school full time, and I was working a lower paying job. And the other maxed to move us to Alaska in the first place.

We are making a very good wage up here, and we COULD afford it, especially with this tutoring job. He's right, he's worked alot, and the Wii isnt as expensive as the other systems, so he probably could easily buy it with his paychecks from the tutoring.

But it just feels like we are on completely different pages. And no matter how much we talk about it, I get frustrated, because I feel like he isnt hearing or understanding my concerns.

Any advice?

February's Budget Busters

March 1st, 2007 at 02:52 pm

February was a complicated month!

First, my computer died. Completely. Would barely turn on, and wouldnt fully boot before freezing. Fortunately, it's still under warrenty and I sent it back to Dell to get it fixed. I get it back on Monday. This doesnt sound like much of a budget buster until you realize that I track my budget ON THE COMPUTER.

So, tracking has fallen by the wayside, which means we spent more than we should have on stupid things, Im sure.

Then came an unexpected trip to the doctor when I was having a worrisome number of contractions, and so Brandus and I had to go in Anchorage (2 days after I got back!) to go to the hospital to get checked out. If I had been thinking at all (instead of being upset about having to make the trip and being very upset about how condescending the doctor was), I would have stayed and done my normal appointment a little early. As now I have to go again!

On top of that, I checked my credit card balances and minimum payments right before I paid them and discovered, to my surprise, that the REI card was over the limit!

Brandus had used it several times while I was in Anchorage the first time, but hadnt bothered to tell me!

Honestly, how is this a difficult concept?

The credit cards are still VERY CLOSE to the limit, except for the evil Chase card, which ISNT TO BE TOUCHED EVER. You have no money in your bank account. So, reason would say, "I shouldnt go to the store 4 days in a row and spend $20+ every trip."

Does that just make too much sense or something? AARGH!

I told him he owed me the $70 over the limit fees. Because there is no freaking reason why I should pay it. BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER THAN TO SPEND MONEY I DONT HAVE!

And Im all stressing out too, because in one month, I have to be in Anchorage until the baby comes, and we still dont have a place to live.

Not to mention that we are trying to decide which would be less hassle and difficulty for us and the cats - taking them to GA and then to CO and then back to AK, or boarding them in Anchorage. So, there's some more expenses. Plus, us getting to GA in the first place. Plus, baby stuff, even though we've got the basics. Plus, medical expenses.

I know it will all work out, especially because we have a little over $1000 saved for me going to Anchorage, the almost $1000 the insurance currently owes us, and the $1400 anticipated tax refund.

But, I like to plan, and I dont like not being able to go on and take care of this stuff!

Making Goals That Work: Special Education Edition

January 30th, 2007 at 10:33 am

Ive seen alot of people making goals on here lately. Whether that's weight loss or saving money or cleaning or whatever, alot of goals get made around January.

Some of the goals I've seen arent very specific - they're too vague, or have no deadline.

So, here's "How to Write Goals 101" as written by a Special Education teacher who has to write goals ALL THE TIME for students.

There are a few rules when making goals.

Goals need to be:

1) Time sensitive
2) Achievable
3) Measurable

Goals need to be TIME SENSITIVE. You need a solid deadline to come up against. Without a deadline, it becomes this amorphous "someday" dream. This ISNT a dream, it's a goal, so pick a time limit and stick to it. Anywhere from about 3 months to a year is usually a good limit.

Goals need to be ACHIEVABLE. It has to be realistic, something that can actually be done. If you decide, "Im going to lose 10 pounds in 5 days," that is both unrealistic AND unhealthy. It has to be something that can be done within your time limit. If you CAN'T do it, but you've been working your butt off, then you feel like a failure.

Goals need to be MEASURABLE. I cant tell you how many times Ive seen on an IEP (special ed paperwork for each kid), "So and So will LEARN his multiplication tables." Well, honestly, that doesnt tell me a darn thing. How can I tell he learned it? "alia will save money." I picked a penny up off the floor yesterday and I saved it. Hooray! Give yourself something measurable. If you're losing weight, pick an amount. Saving money, decide how much.

Let's get started with a sample:

First off, pick a topic. My sample goal will be saving money, as that is what I am trying to do. I need to save money for April, when I have to go to Anchorage to wait to have the baby.

Goal 1: Save money for Anchorage

Now, there are some problems with this goal.

Its vague.

There is no time limit stated, and there is no money amount attached to it.

So, we revise.

Goal 1: Save $1000 by April 6, 2007

There. That's much clearer. Now I know exactly how long I have to come up with that exact amount.

Now, we have the big goal. Now we need OBJECTIVES. These are the steps we're going to take to get to that goal. We write out the steps, because otherwise, we have to stop and think before doing anything on our goal. It helps to have it all written out.

Again, they still have to be TIME SENSITIVE, ACHIEVABLE, and MEASURABLE. The only difference is that they are shorter term and they depend on your goal.


Objective 1:
-determine how much is currently in savings

Ok, but again, where's the time limit? April 6 is only about 3 months away, so I better get cracking! Plus, I have more than one savings account.

Let's revise.

Objective 1:
-determine amounts in ING and Wells Fargo savings by January 31, 2007

Clear, and it gives me the exact step I need to do first. And, it's something I can do by tomorrow without having to scramble around frantically looking for paperwork from the bank or anything. You can make your objectives as picky as you like, but at first, I would suggest anywhere from 3 to 5 objectives.

Objective 2:
-determine how much to save per month

Unclear and no time limit. Revise!

Objective 2:
-by Feb 1, determine how much to save between Feb 1 and April 1

I cant be more specific, as Objective 2 builds off of Objective 1. I have to know what is in my savings first before I can determine how much extra to save.

Objective 3:
-deposit money

You already know what Im going to say. REVISE! Time limit! Specificity!

Objective 3:
-deposit set amount of money into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, April 1

It tells me WHEN I am making the deposits, as well as WHERE. It doesnt tell how much I am depositing, as I havent actually done objectives one and two yet!

Congratulations! You've written a goal! One you know you can keep, can identify when you've reached your goal, and how long you have to do it!

The whole thing looks like this:

Goal 1: Save $1000 by April 6, 2007

-determine amounts in ING and Wells Fargo savings by January 31, 2007
-determine how much to save between Feb 1 and April 1 by Feb 1
-deposit set amount of money into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, April 1

Now, the next thing to do is get started. As soon as I get my first objective completed, Im going to update my next two objectives.

Let's say that in my ING savings and my Wells Fargo savings, I have a total of $400. Now, I can revise objective 2 and 3 to be more specific.

I need to put $600 in savings before April 6. I have Feb 1, March 1, and April 1 to do this.

Objective 2:
-save $600 between Feb 1 and April 1

Objective 3 I can then rewrite.

Objective 3:
-deposit $200 into ING account on Feb 1, March 1, and April 1

Simplistic? Yes. And that's how it should be. Goals are what to want to achieve, which means you need to spell it out to yourself exactly what you want to accomplish and, more importantly, HOW you are going to accomplish it.

Hopefully, that helped someone. If you have any questions, or need help making goals or objectives, let me know!

Meal Planning and Pantry Cooking

January 13th, 2007 at 08:48 pm

Ive been trying to plan some meals for the next week or so, but its very difficult for me.

I cant exactly make a meal plan of whatever sounds good and then run to the store. Being in the middle of nowhere means that there isnt much available in the 2 little stores here in the village.

So, instead, I have to do a full pantry inventory, and then make a meal plan from that.

Which isnt helped by the fact Ive found several recipes lately that sound really yummy. But I cant try any of them, because the store in town doesnt have half of the stuff we need for them!

Anyone have any suggestions for organizing the pantry? I hate doing that even more than i hate washing dishes!

Minor Goals for Today

January 6th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

1. Unpack suitcase - and i mean actually unpack it and put stuff up, not leave it laying on the floor and digging through it when i need things

2. Do some dishes - Flylady says I can do it in 15 minutes. Flylady has never seen my kitchen

3. Plan meals for the week - we're so very bad at this

Speaking of meal planning, Ive been looking for a spreadsheet or some form of free meal planning software that i can use. I want more than just the days of the week and the meals. Does anyone use anything you really like and can recommend?

Trying to Plan Ahead

December 29th, 2006 at 08:54 pm

*clutches brain*

I was just writing a very long, involved post about trying to budget ahead for this summer, and realized that i was lost reading it. there is no chance anyone else would have understood it if i cant!

so, starting over again!

Due to where we live and the fact that I am pregnant, i will have to find a place to stay in Anchorage for about a month and a half. the doctor says I cant fly after 36 weeks, and health insurance WILL NOT help pay for room and board.

I know they wont. Because I asked. And then asked again. And then looked really confused, put on a poor pitiful expression, and asked again.

So, from about April 5th to about May 20th (ish. baby is due May 8th or so, and we wont want to get back on a plane right away), I have to find a place to stay.

a furnished place to stay. with room for my mother. for a decent price and in a nonscary part of town.

i dont even know where to start. the extended stay hotels are still really expensive, sublets for that time arent going to show up on craigslist yet, and i dont KNOW anyone in Anchorage who I can beg a bedroom off of.

any other ideas?




then, we have to budget for this. mom is coming to stay with me, because Brandus will still be teaching, and i dont want to be by myself, 9 months pregnant, in a strange city. it is very highly possible that Mom and Daddy will pick up half to all of the cost of wherever we stay, but i cant and wont depend on that.

but, i dont even know what to predict for that kind of stay. should i guess $800 a month, which is about how much most rentals are? should i estimate out how much an extended stay place would be, just to be on the safe side?

should i run away screaming? pick up a stranger in a bar and tell them im their long lost sister?

im so confused!


December 22nd, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Ok, so, let's say that you live in the middle of nowhere, Alaska, and that there are no banks in town.

or within 500 miles of you.

Let's say that you're going to town, and a friend asks if you'll write them a check, and they'll give you the money in cash, if you'll stop by and deposit the check in their bank.

Sure! you say. No problem!

Then, let's say you ask your wife, to make sure its cool, and she ok's it.

The guy gives you the $400, YOU (this is important) write a check, and you pocket the money.

Now, let's say its the end of the month, and your wife is completely baffled about there is $400 less in the checking account than there should be.

And then you remind her of the check for the friend.

When your wife stares at you and says, "no..that was out of YOUR account. YOU kept the money," why, exactly, would you be confused about why she is irritated?


Energy Bills and Moving

December 15th, 2006 at 04:09 pm

Alrighty, so, something equally insane to the car payment (in earlier post) seems to have happened to our last Colorado xcel energy bill.

We called and cancelled it. Informed them that we would be out by July 20, and were.

On Sept 1, I got a bill (dated August 7, btw) for $90.02.

I emailed, asking if this was a new charge, or if this was for July. If it was for July, sure, Ill pay it, we lived there.

Nope, the bill hadnt been turned off, and I would need to have the landlord contact them to verify we were out when we said we were, so they could bill the landlord instead.

No problem, the landlord is a bank, and they like us, because we actually paid our rent.

So, you would think that the $90.02 bill would go down. Or even disappear, wouldnt you? After all, we werent there, charges made after we moved we going to be applied towards the landlord's bill...this, to me, says that whatever our final bill is, it will be less than $90.02.

Wrong. I FINALLY got the latest notice from them.

Final bill?



ETA: HA! They added some random $75 deposit. They didnt even realize until I emailed them.

Final bill: $82.42

Still not fabulous, but better than over a hundred!

$3000 Back

December 14th, 2006 at 11:49 am

We moved to Alaska in August, and due to craziness during the move, ended up paying the car payment late.

I called the credit union and explained what was going on - we had closed our normal bank account in CO, and hadnt opened a new one in AK yet, and they would get the normal payment by the end of the week.

Ok, fine. No problems, right?


The next bill I got has an additional charge of $300 on it. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS.

Evidently, we didnt have insurance on it anymore. Which is funny, because the credit union wasnt in charge of our insurance, and we sure as heck didnt cancel it.

Fast forward three months of confused phone calls, repetition of insurance information, and finally, a complicated threeway call between the credit union, the insurance company (USAA, how i love you).

So, yesterday, I got a bill giving us a credit of $3000 back, for all of the backcharges (which went back, for some reason, to June).

And on the same bill? There was a $15 late fee.

We've been racking up late fees, as well as the additional charges. Keep in mind, we've been making our normal payments (which is more than the minimum, thank you!) all this time.

Gah. I have to go call them again and yell some more.

Big Damn Heroes

December 7th, 2006 at 10:45 pm

I am so furiously, disgustingly angry on behalf of alot of people right now.

Im a Browncoat.

This weekend, up until a few hours ago, a MAJOR convention had been planned. Over 500 people had bought tickets, made hotel reservations, and bought plane tickets.

Several Firefly/Serenity actors were going to attend. This was a VERY BIG DEAL. Some people spent upwards of $1000 getting there, not including food and drinks.

A few hours ago? The company in charge posted this:

"Booster Entertainment apologizes for the great inconvenience, but due to unforeseen circumstances, Flanvention is cancelled. An official notice will be posted within 10 days."


Less than a day before the con started, the whole thing was cancelled.

I have a very good friend who was SO EXCITED to go. She was packing.

I dont even know if she knows. I dont know if she got on the plane knowing..or if she didnt find out until she got to the hotel.

Im so mad and disappointed on her behalf. She bought her tickets months ago, and recently, due to a whole mess with her living situation, had questioned whether she should even go, because the $400 she spent would really come in handy.

In some good news, even though the con was cancelled, some of the actors showed up anyway.

Adam Baldwin, Nathan Fillion. You guys have class.

Menu Frustration

December 3rd, 2006 at 05:11 pm

I know that cooking at home saves alot of money. And for the most part, we kind of HAVE to, seeing as we live in Nowhere, Alaska, which has no cars, no roads, and most importantly, no resturants.

But we find it so easy to run to the Native Store or the AC to just pick up a thing or two everyday. And, seeing as everything sold up here is VERY expensive, due to the shipping cost and handling added in, this adds up really fast.

Plus, we're currently eating junky freezer stuff. Frozen bean and cheese burritos (what, like those are HARD to make?), frozen fried chicken breasts, frozen french fries..

Not very healthy, especially as Im pregnant and need to be eating better.

We have some weird food things that go on in our lives anyway..husband Brandus is a vegetarian, but Im not.

I dont eat tofu, or most of the meat substitutes - although I like the fake sausage and veggie crumbles.

Neither of us eats seafood, mushrooms, or onions (although onions we bend on for flavoring)

Brandus is a GREAT cook, and can create things off the top of his head. Whereas, I HAVE to have a recipe to follow.

Finding things we will both eat is slightly complicated.

So, Im trying to get the kitchen cleaned up so that we can start doing more actual cooking, and less nuking or heating up.

I just need to sit down and plan some menus. Maybe I can make some stuff we can freeze and heat later.

Credit Card Roundup

December 1st, 2006 at 03:02 pm

Currently owed on the credit cards, according to online, up to the minute reports:

Discover - 6,697.95 (limit: 6,700)
Chase - 2,886.37 (limit: 3,000)
REI - 5,073.15 (limit: 5,000 ACK!)

Old Navy - 509.79 (limit: 600)

Total: 15,167.26

Ill have to edit this when I get home and can locate the latest REI card statement. I cant remember my online login information to look now! (FIXED)

Discover card is the only one that got used this month(at least, on purpose), and that was a $35 payment to ETS to get my Praxis score reports sent to the Alaska teaching license place. There was also a mystery emusic.com charge to the chase card that I have to track down, because i didnt do it, and the husband knows i would have to kill him.

Im very close to the limit on all, which looks bad. But when you realize we were OVER the limit on all three of the major cards, its very exciting to see the numbers starting to drop. Even if it is so.very.slow.

What's really sad? Before we moved in together, I HAD no debt. And we were doing ok, but then we went to Vegas for a long weekend (4 years ago), and to Disneyworld on our honeymoon (2.5 years ago), and to Italy for our first anniversary..and then brandus was in school and out of work for a year and a half..

Expensive Gifts

November 30th, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Brandus's parents recently came into aLOT of money when Mimi (his grandmother) died.

So, when Brandus told me they wanted to "spoil us" with the money, my ears perked up.

"They want to pay off your car? Or your student loans?" I asked eagerly.

Oh, how little I knew.

No, they wanted to buy us expensive gifts and come visit us for Thanksgiving in Anchorage and take us shopping.

I think, oh! They'll pay for a Sam's trip! We're out of food, and we can get some nice food luxeries that we usually can't!

They came. They bought gifts.

And then we went to Sam's.

"Sure! We'll pay for it!" They laughed, throwing boxes of suger cookie mix (?!) and hummus and avacados in the cart.

And then? As we pushed the buggy to the front of the store to check out?


And by the time we realized they weren't coming back in, and we're going to pay, everything had been scanned, and we couldnt pull EVERYTHING out that wasn't a necessity.

$500. Fortunatly, all of it is edible. Its just not all stuff we would have even agreed to if we had known it was going to be on OUR dime.


May 4th, 2006 at 09:01 am

I dont like my job. This is not a secret.

However, right now, as i am doing MY job (manager's assistant) AND the manager's job, im getting paid really well. About $14/hour.

But i HATE it. i have a hard time convincing myself to come in every morning. I have to talk myself into not just leaving after lunch.

and the ONLY reason i do it, is because we need the money with brandus in school and not working.

So, last night, after his VERY LAST CLASS in school (except for his comps, which are June 7), when brandus came home and said, "ok, im done, you can quit," i very nearly passed out.

i would still have to get another job, anything really, because bills are still needing to be paid..and brandus says he can get a job easy, even if its a delivery job..

im torn.

i HATEHATEHATE my job. HATE. the people here are INSANE - the former boss got in trouble with the big boss, because she went to get ice cream and didnt invite one of our co-workers. im so not kidding.

plus the fact that one of my co-workers threatened to dock my pay due to me checking my email..she goes for five smoke breaks a day, but god forbid i check my email.

plus the fact that i got in trouble yesterday from the Ice Cream Queen for not checking my mailbox and jumping to do her demands immediately. screw the fact that noone helps me do two jobs, or even tells me HOW.

But, at the same time, its good money. and its really not that difficult of a job. its just sucking away my will to live. or to not stab a coworker in the face with my pen.

*clutches hair* why did he offer this to me?! its not fair!

Free Movies

April 7th, 2006 at 01:50 pm

I love the first friday of the month.

Almost four months ago, we discovered that the library was starting a film discussion group.

The movie is FREE (and on a big screen), snacks are FREE, and then there is a discussion after the movie.

We enjoy it so much, we are part of the organization commitee. which means we get to help pick the movies!

This month, we're watching Touch of Evil.

Looking forward to it!