Thursday, December 30, 2010

12/30 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  This week I have cleaned up my financial house:  rebalanced retirement portfolios to be much more conservative - although we have "recovered" - I have discovered that I am not the happy risk taker I thought I was.  Secondly, the HELOC was paid off today - we will start the year debt-free.  Minor financial hiccup - the rental agent that manages two of our properties said both tenants gave notice to move out at the end of next month.  She called today - apparently, the one couple had a friend interested in moving in - so, it sounds like we will have a replacement tenant immediately.  Sounds like both couples are buying.  Now I need to clean the "physical" house.  I have made a dent - but have a ways to go.  It is amazing to me how much junk can hide in closets, drawers and cupboards.  I am just tackling one room at a time.  They didn't junk-up in a day, and I certainly won't be able to de-junk in a day.  Good thing I have a few helpers, albeit reluctant ones.  A dirty job - but someone has to do it . . .

Monday, December 27, 2010

12/27 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  We had snow for Christmas - so, we postponed our Christmas lunch until Wednesday (for my dad).  It has been great having this time off and for the most part - after our condo maintenance trip, I have been lounging.  Today, I started deep cleaning - to get ready for the New Year.  Believe me, I still have a long way to go - and I have the family pitching in.  Tomorrow, my daughter and I are having a "Girls' Day Out".  We are going to touch up each other's hair, do our nails, etc.  My daughter has been invited to a NYE party, so, we will be making cranberry scones, raisin scones, and will include a bottle of grape juice sparkling cider.  This Thursday, when we get paid, we plan to pay-off the rest of our HELOC.  We will start the New Year off totally debt-free again - no HELOC, or any other kind of debt.  Last week we got our retirement accounts in order - now, we need to concentrate again on the education fund for our daughter.  My New Year goal is to have the education fund to $XX dollars. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

12/23 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the week:  We just returned from our annual beach condo maintenance trip.  We spent the least this year - and disappointedly, J C Penney did not deliver our sofa.  The claim is:  they could not get it in the elevator - and did not want to carry it up the stairwell.  Of course the delivery guys tried to say the sofa was refused - but that was cleared-up - and we will be getting the full amount credited back by the end of this week.  Another retailer on my list :(  Anyway, we got some painting, cleaning, changed out the bedding, drapes, washed and placed inventory while there.  We also relaxed, ate out a couple of times.  Sadly, one of our gift certificates was refused (no longer accepting them).  Of course, I just got off the phone with and they posted a credit.  Great customer service.  Mail was great:  free bag of dog food, a gift of dried fruits, etc.  My husband and I have discussed the stock market and our retirement accounts.  While we still have faith in the stock market, and don't believe in timing - we have decided now that we have "recovered" - we have decided to rebalance our accounts to be much more conservative - plus, we are close to being able to retire - and would like to take the opportunity to retire "early" if it becomes available.  So, we are going to move the amount we had at our previous high into the conservative government securities fund.  The "leftover" and contributions we be split between the common stock and small-cap stock funds.  Decided to ditch the international fund totally.  When our "leftover" accounts hit a certain $ value, we will sweep (re-balance) into the ultra conservative fund.  That's our plan - as stated on this site - I am not a financial advisor, and nothing in this post should be taken as advice to anyone.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/16 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I received make-up products to test/comment on.  Also, a Coupon for a free 20oz Coke.  I am "off" starting tomorrow and don't go back to work until January 3, 2011.  (Need to get used to typing/writing 2011).  May list a few items on Craiglist.  Need to get cards ready to mail out . . . haven't paid for a stamp in a long time - since I get 10 each month for being a "mail decoy".  Oh, I donated blood today - and they gave me a re-usable shopping bag, t-shirt, coupons (gave them away), and extra goodies because I was the only one there at the moment.

Monday, December 13, 2010

12/13 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the Weeks:  Yesterday, I shopped at Publix to round out our groceries.  They have started to become fairly picky with coupons (usage way up?).  Anyway, I had Earthfare's coupon - buy $5, get a Pointsettia Free.  What do you know, the cashier took it into the manager and he approved it!  I had a nice shop - saved $49, spent $27.  I don't want to jinx anyone, but our retirement and personal stock/mutual funds are looking better - we are slightly ahead of where were back in mid '07.  Yes, I realize we have been making contributions since then - but, it feels good.  I found an interesting craft idea to use up old aluminum pie pans - I have a few hanging around - think I may make a few.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

12/11 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the week:  I got a call to arrange delivery on the sofa sleeper I ordered about 2 months ago.  It will replace the one in the condo - and the replaced one will go to Habitat for Humanity.  In the mail today, I received notification that USAA sent us a dividend check - a nice one at that - almost $285.  My husband filled the car up at Murphy's - used the $5 Wal-mart giftcard I got for buying printer ink and he got a free 20 oz Diet Pepsi and an energy drink free for being on Murphy's e-mail list.  This evening, we are thinking about renting a DVD from Blockbuster Express with a freebie code, pick up some finger food at a restaurant using one of our 1/2 restaurant gift certificates (expiring this month), and picking up a few items at Earthfare - buy $5 and get a free Pointsetia, bag of Kettle Chips, and 1/4 lb of cheese - not too shabby.  Luminaria event was cancelled because of rain this weekend and apparently it is forecasted to rain next weekend too :(

Friday, December 10, 2010

12/10 Expressions

Frugal Deeds for the day:  at lunch today - I deposited checks and headed to JCPenney to pick-up the orders I placed on Cyber Monday.  I got 2 short sleeved dress shirts for my husband for $2.14 total and 3 bath towels for $2.14 (I will be donating the towels).  For dinner, we had turkey pot-pie - previously made and just popped into the oven from the freezer.  I also have a pumpkin pie defrosting.  Not sure what we will be doing this weekend - may volunteer for the annual luminaria event in the neighborhood.  I also need to mail off a listia sale.  I also signed up at a book review site - book for a review - and I ordered my first one.  I will be posting a review once I finish it.  Cheap entertainment :)  Not so frugal today - when I went to JCPenney - I had a craving for a fancy coffee for a "pick-me-up" - ended up at Cinnabon for a drink and a small roll for just under $5 - cost more than my 2 JCP orders - but the drink and Cinnabon sure were tasty and gave me the energy I needed to complete the afternoon at work :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

12/6 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I signed up for free eye make-up and for 2 bottles of pain relief freebie coupons.  Oh, yesterday, we did a mystery shop for a snack - free item and a bit of $ for the report.  I got 10 postage stamps in the mail from the "mail decoy" service I input data for.    Not so frugal????  Tonight is the annual home owner's association's "annual meeting" - food catered - I am sure part of the annual dues goes to pay for it - we already ate dinner - so, we are skipping.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

12/5 Expressions

Financial refecting:  Not much time until the new year.  In this economy, we have been fortunate.  Although we are generally frugal, we did veer off course and acquire with the best of them.  What did I learn - buy what you need and only those things you truly want.  I still have stuff I purchased - cuz it was "cheap" - lot of sewing patterns that were on sale for $1.  Lots of books read once.  Lots of clothes - because they were on sale.  And another lesson, once you own something, the financial value is only what someone else if willing to pay.  Seems lots of people have lots of stuff to get rid of.  When the supply is high, and demand is low - the price expected is generally low also.  I thought I would try to "list" a few books to trade in at swagbucks - after typing in the ISBN of about 10 books - not one, was tradable? 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

12/4 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  I got a refund check in the mail.  I cashed in my Rite Aid rebate - so, I should be getting a check soon.  Today, we went to Victoria's Secret and spent the gift cards with mysterious values - all of them were for $10 - and you can get a lot with that.  Best deal - $10 "Pink" cologne and get the "Pink" dog free (price on the tag - $10).  Also went to Barnes and Noble - they are still running the buy $100 in Gift Certificates and get a $10 promotional one free.  We did that deal - and then turned around and bought a book for my daughter using a 15% off coupon, got some Godiva Chocolates, some Starbucks coffee used out membership card, coupons on everything, then paid with the giftcard.  By mentioning my daughter's school, a certain percentage will get donated to her school.  So, we now have some gift we can put together for the neighbor, etc.  I also shopped at Dollar General Market - using the $5 off $25 coupon and used a few more coupons and got the 1 cent eggs.  A very generous friend sent us a wonderful package of Harry & David Dips and Soups.  I haven't tasted a thing at Harry & David's that I did not like.  We had lunch at a restaurant - I got the $10 off $20 gift certificate free from the "pay-it-forward" promotion last month.  I also reserved a reservation on "open table" and we earned a few points that way.  After all of the shopping, I took the receipts to the mall's customer service and received a gift card for $25 at almost any store in the complex.  My husband stopped at the Hallmark store and used the free $10 and $5 coupons.  He used the $10 toward Christmas cards - I know I got some on clearance - but for the life of me - cannot find them.  The $5 went toward some more of that wonderful candy cane bark.  I wrapped a few gifts today too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

12/3 Expressions

This is a three paycheck month for the both of us.  So, our HELOC will be paid off.  Now we will solely target savings to ensure that we can cover college expenses for my daughter.  My husband will bump up his retirement savings next year with the "catch-up" provision.  We got the minutes for the beach condo homeowners meeting.  No increase in the month maintenance - thank-goodness - but just over $600 in assessments for work that needs to be done. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

12/2 Expressions

Frugal deeds for the day:  In the wee hours of the morning, I placed several orders at JCPenney using the $10 discount code (no longer valid) and having the items shipped to my local JCP.  Two shirts for my husband, 3 bath towels, and a pair of slippers.  The most expensive was just over $3.  Then I got 2 pairs of gloves - one for myself and one for my daughter for just over $3 at Kohls - used the free shipping code and 20% off code.  Those codes may still be good - just google - YMMV.  How about that stock market yesterday and today - don't let me jinx it.  I got the 4 Toaster Strudel coupons I won playing the instant win game.  I am "off" tomorrow - but have to drive my daughter to school for an early meeting.  So, on the way home, I will stop at the "Y" - get some exercise in while watching cable :)  Then to Publix - need to print coupons and get some groceries.  Seems there are lots of deals on the web these days - lots of great coupons too - I printed off one for a $5/$5 at Hallmark - you know we need a few more of those candy cane bark packages :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12/1 Expressions

Wow - December already!  I called the "Y" and because of where I work, we will get the "joiner's" fee - 1 month's fee credited to our account and $5 off the monthly fee.  Finally got the rest of our refund from the IRS.  This month is filled with expenses - uggg.  Real Estate taxes due on all properties.  We will be doing some minor maintenance and repairs to the rental condo.  Of course holiday gifts (pretty much done).  We have about 5 Secret Angel Cards from Victoria's Secret - one free in the mail (addressed to my husband?) - they are worth atleast $10 and up to $500.  May do some shopping this weekend - $500 would be really nice.  Need to clean and decorate this weekend.