Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I got the Job! Hapy Dance!

I received an e-mail this morning offfering me the job.  I'm so excited.  It is dependent upon the background check.  I know that I will pass the background check.  I had to do one for my current job.  However, do I put in my notice before the background check is done?  I will talk to Y about it this evening and see what he thinks. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Weekend

We weren't able to go to the Badlands this weekend because both the North and South Badland parks were closed due to flooding.  We still went camping and it was fun. Little Punk had a great time.  She is quite a trooper.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Background Check

They called me and are going to do a background check for the position that I just interviewed with.  She said that I was the top candidate but it would be dependent upon my background check.  I know that will come back just fine.  Yes!!!  I hope I have it. 

I'm so freakin' excited right now.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Second Interview Today

I had my second interview today and I'm less hopeful that I will get this position.  I'm not exactly sure why I feel this way.  It went well but not as many questions as the first interview.  It was more giving me details on the position.  It was with the local bank president (whom I really like and feel a connection with) and the mortgage supervisor.  The mortgage supervisor was pretty straight forward, which I absolutely love.  I don't like people who only give you fluff. 

At my last interview, a week ago from tomorrow, I was told that they weren't actively interviewing anybody else for this position.  They told me today that they needed to meet with another interviewee tomorrow morning.  The bank president said she would give me a call tomorrow to let me know the status.  I'm confused as to whether it will be if I got the job or not.  She asked me if my employer knew that I was interviewing and I was honest and said no.  I guess that I will wait to hear.  It's just really hard to focus on my current job. 

On a more cute note, Lil Punk is showing interest in the potty.  She went running over to the bathroom today so I set her on the toilet.  She immediately turned around and flushed the toilet.  She didn't actually want to go on the toilet, just flush it.  I am eager to potty train her but I just don't know if she's ready.  It's definitely nice to see her interested in the potty. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Camping in the Badlands

We're going camping this weekend and I'm so excited.  We had to buy a tent ($54) and will still have to buy gas and food.  I know that it will cost us money but will be so worth it for the family time.  We're going with Y's BFF and his two boys.  It will be the first time that we will be camping with little Punk (that's how I'm going to refer to my daughter going forward.) 

We had a tent but Y broke it last summer at a motorcycle rally.  Apparently, he got really drunk and didn't see his tent there.  He tripped over his own tent and broke it.  He also didn't tell me about it until about a week ago.  What a dork!  That's why I don't go with on his motorcycle rallies.  (Full disclosure:  he was camping there, obviously, and does not drive/ride after he's been drinking.)

The Badlands are in Western North Dakota and we will be in Teddy Roosevelt National Park.  It should be beautiful and a way to reconnect with family, friends, and the outdoors.  I'm hoping for nice weather.

What are you doing for Memorial Day Weekend?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 2011 Link Love

Here are a few of my posts from the past month:

  • Rafiki talks about being cheap versus being frugal. I think that this one would be very hard when you are dating. 
  • Jessie discusses preparing preparing for one income while looking at a mortgage.  She discusses losing a job or going on maternity benefits down the road.
  • Sam shows us the nursery for her baby on the way and has pictures of very cute diaper cakes.  I wish I was this crafty.  This would be a great idea for a baby shower. 
  • Little Miss Moneybags discusses moving to the Midwest from the Big Apple and on whether she can still be carless.
  • Serendipty shares how hard it is to dealing with family sometimes. 
Happy Reading!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Interview Update

My interview went well on Friday.  I met with the bank president and a vice president.  It was a good interview and I feel like I did a good job.  At the end, they offered to set up another interview with the mortgage supervisor.  I told them that I wanted to think about it for the weekend.  I was super pumped about it but I did want to think about it.  It starts out as salary plus commission but goes to commission only.  I'm actually okay with that.  The vice-president said that they won't set me up for failure and I believe him. 

I called the president this morning and said that I wanted to proceed with the interview process.  I have another interview tentatively scheduled for this Thursday afternoon.  I'm so excited.  I don't care for my job right now, in fact, it sucks.  I desparately want to get a different job. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Regift Shamelessly

I have absolutely no qualms about regifting.  In fact, I think that its the socially responsible thing to do.  I put thought into it and I would never regift something to the same person who gave it to me.  I only regift something if it would be something that I would buy that person anyway.

An example of this is a pair of earrings that I got from my mother-in-law.  I know that she bought them at a jewelry party because she had/wanted to buy something.  They were fake little diamond stud earrings.  They looked very nice and probably cost around $30 or $40.  I thanked her for them and put them away with regifting them in mind.  The reason that I didn't want them is because I have an almost identical pair of real diamond studs that Y gave to me a number of years ago and I still wear pretty regularly. 

I held onto them for over a year when the perfect regift opportunity came up.  I was staying with my friend's parents in their camper and I wanted to get a small hostess gift for her mom.  I knew that she would like the earrings and she also doesn't know my mother-in-law.  I gave them to her and she was delighted. 

I think that it is more socially responsible to regift a nice item than to leave it in one's closet until who knows when and throwing/donating it.  I never regift to somebody who knows the original giver.  I only regift new and appropriate gifts. 

What are your thoughts on regifting?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Job Interview Today

I have a job interview today with a bank near where I live.  I'm excited about it but I also don't want to get my hopes up too much because I was so disappointed last time.  It is a mortgage loan originator position.  I know that you are all thinking, "Is she smoking crack?"  The mortgage industry has not been hurt in my area the way that it has in several parts of the country.  I don't know how I feel about the position but I will check it out and see how it goes.

I keep teetering on whether I should just stay at my current position but the reality is that at the end of the day, I don't really like my job.  It has a ton of stress and I don't find it rewarding anymore.  I have mixed feelings about leaving my job because I've been here almost 4 1/2 years and I'm not sure if I want to walk away from what I've built up from scratch.  I don't really want to go into detail on what I do currently.  I make alright money but have a ton of expenses and a long commute. 

Anyway, it's just an interview.  Fingers crossed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lottery Winner Using Food Stamps

As if in follow up to my post yesterday, Yahoo has a news article about a $2M Lottery Winner Using Food Stamps.  Apparently he did everything right by notifying the state that he won the money but his gross income is still below the state's guidelines.  Maybe he did abide by the law but this is so wrong.  With 2 Million Dollars, the man can afford to buy his own food.  He should feel terrible about doing it but he doesn't seem to have any remorse.  Michigan is in trouble financially and this man should not be soaking the state for food stamps. 

This so pisses me off.  He is a selfish asshole.  Food Stamps are for people who can't afford food.  The state doesn't have unlimited resources and for this man to continue using state aid when he doesn't need it is utterly ridiculous.  I wish there was a loophole where they could try to get their money back. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm Okay with Extreme Couponers

I had a realization when I was in the grocery store last week that I'm okay with Extreme Couponers.  I was waiting to check out at the grocery store and it was about 5:30 so it was super busy.  I got in line behind a woman.  She had a bunch of groceries and a pack of lighters.  She was paying with an EBT (food stamps) card and she had to pay for the lighters out of pocket.  Apparently, her bag of onions didn't have a tag so the cashier had rang them up as the price but as an open food item.  Because the system didn't know what the item was, it didn't qualify for food stamps.  The woman wanted to know why her out of pocket was so high, it was around $5.  The cashier looked and realized that it was due to the onions.  She had to send a coworker back to get a bag of onions with a tag on them so she could scan it.  This is taking quite a while so I have time to see what the woman bought with her EBT card.  Besides the onions and potatoes, the woman had bought a lot of junk food and pre-packaged food.  It was stuff that is more expensive than actually cooking ones own meals.  It really annoyed me that she was on goverment assistance and was buying lighters.  I could tell that she was a smoker (I smoke so I can totally pick out smokers and yes, I do judge people).  The way that I figure is that if you have enough money to buy smokes, you should be able to pay for your own groceries, or at least onions.

Anyway, as I'm waiting, I thought of the Extreme Couponing Show.  The common theme with all of the couponers on that show is that they started couponing when they had something bad happen financially.  Some of them had a lot of credit card debt and some had lost a job.  I have to say that I have respect for those who take the matter into their own hands and cut coupons, watch the deals, and take the time to plan their grocery trips to save money than those who live off the goverment.  I think that as long as you follow your store and coupon rules, then it is fine. 

The Extreme Couponers show has not been very well received in the PF blogosphere because of the way that they do it and most of them look like hoarders.  However, isn't it much better to coupon than live off the goverment?

Sidenote:  I think that food stamps are a wonderful thing in our society.  I don't think anybody should have to go hungry.  I just think the system is abused quite often.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Getting to Know Me

I stole this from Homeowner by 30.

Getting to Know Me

Decided to Mix it Up and post the ABC's of me...

•Age: 31

•Bed Size: Queen

•Chore You Hate: Doing Dishes

•Dogs: none but I'm thinking about it, maybe a Golden Retriever, German Shephard or Lab

•Essential start of your day: Snooze button and shower

•Favorite color: Blue to wear and red for my car

•Gold or silver: depends, I like both
•Height: 5 feet 4 inches

•Instruments I play (or have played): none, I have no musical talent at all

•Kids: One little girl (I need to have a nickname for her for my blog)

•Overnight hospital stays: When I had my little girl. 

•Pet peeve: Smelly and rude people, I seriously cannot stand people who have a permanent stench
•Quote from a movie: "You know that little speck on the top of chicken shit; that's chicken shit, too!" Pure Country

•Right or left handed: Right.

•Siblings: 5
•Time you wake up: around 6:30

•Underwear: Yes (Am I supposed to put what kind of underwear that I wear here?)

•Vegetables you dislike: Brussel sprouts
•What makes you run late: My kid

•X-rays you’ve had done: at the dentist and when I broke my arm in high school, I rolled a snowmobile, oops!

•Yummy food you make: mashed potatoes and gravy, crockpot chicken, I really like to cook.

•Zoo animal: Zebra
I deleted a couple ones because I don't want ya'll to know that info so my ABC's aren't totally complete but they'll have to work.  Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Renting Out our Pasture

When we bought our place, there was an old horse there.  The owners come to feed the horse every other day or so.  I like looking outside and seeing the horse.  However, we have these people showing up all the time unannounced which is highly annoying.  Remember that we chose to live in the country where our nearest neighbor is a half mile away.  We can walk around our house in our underwear with the blinds open because nobody can see in (and we do sometimes).  The horse owners talked to Y when we moved in and he said they could keep their horse there for the time being. 

He had a talk with them in March and asked them to move the horse in April because we wanted to use the pasture for my garden and for whatever we wanted to.  They really didn't want to move their horse because he's super old, 28 in fact.  They worked out a deal with Y that they would pay $25 per week and fence a smaller pasture for him so that it didn't interfere with my garden. 

Because we're getting paid for the horse, we're now both okay with them showing up when they want.  I think that its a win-win situation.  Plus, I really like looking at the horse.  Now if we could just rent out another part of the pasture to somebody who has steers.  I would like to get a quarter of beef in exchange for our pasture. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

No Spend Days

I have 6 No Spend Days for the month.  My goal is to have 12 so I'm right on track.  I have most of my garden planted and I'm so happy about that.  I just need to buy pepper and tomato plants.  I also planted raspberry plants today.  It was a nice weekend but I'm not ready for Monday tomorrow. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Budget = Peace of Mind

This month I created a budget and I've stuck to it thus far.  I'm entering everything into my Excel spreadsheet as we go and its went well so far.  My budget accounted for everything (that I'm aware of) and had some generous categories.  It's actually easier for me knowing that I'm on budget and that the money is there for certain purchases rather than worrying about it all month.

The only problem that I have with a monthly budget is when we get paid.  I get paid every other Thursday and Y is paid on the 15th and end of the month.  It seems like monthly budgeting would be easier if we both got paid on the beginning of the month.  Any tips on how to get better at that?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Complaining about Student Loans

I worked part-time in college to the tune of 30 to 35 hours per week.  I took out student loans to pay my tuition but I made enough money to cover my living expenses and books.  I graduated with around 17.5K in student loans.  Before my deferment ended, I paid off a $2500 student loan.  I consolidated around 15K of my student loans at a rate of 4.5% for 15 years.  My payment is $112.53 per month and I have around 7K to go. 

I have a friend who constantly compains about her student loans.  I actually lived with her during college and she worked sporadically but never more than 15 hours per week.  On Friday nights, I was working and she was having dinner with her boyfriend and going out partying.  I was okay with that because I didn't want a ton of student loan debt.  She graduated with about 50 to 60K in student loan debt for a 4 year degree.

She put herself on a 10 year repayment and she whines so much about her student loans.  I can't stand it.  I want to point out that she just shouldn't have borrowed so much money for college.  Her degree doesn't make her enough money to justify the money that she spent on college. 

I'm fairly tolerant of some people's money mistakes but this one really irks me.  I don't say anything when she complains but she knows how I feel about the entire subject.  Does it annoy anybody else when people whine so much about student loans?  Am I being too intolerant?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Y's Pay Raise!!

Y told me that he is getting a pay raise for June 20 and July 1.  The pay raise on June 20 will mark the end of his 6 month probationary period.  That pay raise should be 5%.  The July 1 pay raise is for cost of living and applies to his entire department.  He isn't sure what amount he will get but should be 2 or 3%.  In total, that would be a pay raise of 7 to 8%.  It should be about $175 to 200 per month before taxes. 

I couldn't believe it when he told me about his pay raise.  I'm so proud of him.  I knew that he would be good at his new job and the pay raises are laid out beforehand but still.  We're just going to try to save the money from the pay raise. 

Any pay raise in this economy is a huge blessing!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weekly Spending Recaps

In the past, I've done weekly spending recaps but not been very diligent about them.  I think that I'm not going to do them going forward but will post my recapped budget for the month.  I think that it gives me a better idea of what we're spending than trying to recap it every week.

I will still track my No Spend Days and I only have 2 so far this month.  Not too good but I can definitely add to it this week. 

I have a baby shower coming up this weekend.  Does anybody have any good ideas on thrifty gifts? 

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I love and hate Mother's Day

Mother's Day evokes two very different emotions with me.  On one hand, I love Mother's day because it celebrates me being a mommy.  I get the greatest joy of my life out of being a wonderful mommy to my little girl.  When she says, "Aah yuuo" to me I know that she means "I love you" and my heart just melts.  I never thought that I would love being a mom until a few years ago when Y and I decided that it was the right time for us to start trying to have a baby.  I was still a little apprehensive when I was pregnant.  When I saw my little girl for the first time, I felt all the love in the world for her.  She was so little (not really, 9 pounds 1 ounce) and depended completely on me.  In the almost two years since her birth, I feel that being a mommy to her has been my calling all along.  It feels like I was born to do it.

On the other hand, I don't talk to my own mother anymore.  I had a tumultuous childhood but still alright.  It had been a long time coming that I decided to sever the ties completely with my parents. My parents have my younger brother live with them and he is a sex offender. I still had a relationship with them even though I had no contact with him.  Before my daughter was born, I would go back there and just make sure that I didn't see my [biological] brother.  After she was born, I refused to go back there but if they wanted to see her, they were welcome to come to my house or meet me in my town or even meet me anywhere but their house.  Last fall, my mom blew up at me and told me that I was selfish and I should just get over it and bring my daughter to their house and be a big happy family.  Um, seriously, lady?  She said terrible things to me that day and the bottom line is that I refuse to have my daughter anywhere around their son.  He is a sex offender for God's sake.  I absolutely stand my ground on this.  We have not spoken since last fall and I don't intend to have any contact with her this Mother's day.  That's the part that I hate about Mother's Day.  Even though its not my fault (well, I could technically talk to her but I won't), it is still a little bitter around holidays like this Sunday. 

Does anybody else have mixed emotions about Mother's Day?  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Budget May 2011

I have shared before that I don't have a budget.  We just spend less than what we make but we're trying to save money for a house and the faster we get there, the better.  I'm going to share my tentative budget.  I do so with much hesitation because I don't want any mean comments.  Constructive comments are welcome.  I have had a loose budget before but not actually accounting for every penny.  I've already put in what we have spent in a couple categories.  So, what do you think?

Monthly Budget
                 Projected        Actual
Student Loan112.53
Direct TV56
Total Regular Bills1859.79120
Eating Out100
Misc. 2006
Total 5164.79
Left Over -0.09
Net Pay
Flex Daycare416.66
Total Income5164.7

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Buying Stocks

I dabble a bit in buying stocks.  Long ago, Y and I decided that we would both have our "fun" money.  We don't really keep up with this anymore but I bought stocks with my money and Y bought motorcycles.  I am a registered representative of a company so I'm authorized to sell mutual funds.  The reason that I bring this up is because I had to obtain my employers authorization to get an account to buy stocks.  I chose Sharebuilder by ING because I already had a savings account with them and I didn't research it very much.  I might make a different choice now. I digress, I'm still with Sharebuilder because I don't want to get authorization for another company.  Even though I'm not able to buy stocks through my employer, it doesn't really look that good for me to be buying stocks elsewhere when I could buy mutual funds through work.

I don't have an actual formula for how I decide what stocks to decide.  I just look at how the stock has done and how I think that its going to go going forward.  One of the best stocks that I bought was Playboy.  Y said that it was a bad move and I disagreed.  I purchased the stock and 2 months later, Hef announced that he was going to buy back the stocks.  I didn't wait for the buyout to happen but sold for about 60% more than what I bought it for.

I own a few stocks now.  I own GM, Dell, Halliburton, GE, Titan Machinery and Ford.  Ford was a dumb and impulsive buy.  I own quite a few shares of GM to the tune of $3000.  I just randomly put a few hundred dollars into Ford stock and I've questioned why I did it.  I'm down on those two stocks.  I'm up on the rest.  Halliburton is up 110% and Dell is up around 20%.  GE and Titan are up around 50%.  I've owned Halliburton and GE for over a year and Dell and Titan were purchased in the last year. 

Overall, I have $6,734.11 in stocks.  I am up $1,105.12 in 3 years.  I will continue to invest because I like to do it.  It teaches me a lot but I'm certainly not an expert with stocks.  

Do you do any investing?  How did you come to your investments?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2011 Goals

1.  Increase regular savings by $1000
2.  Increase business savings by $500
3.  Sell 2 things on E-bay
4.  Track Spending
5.  Have 12 No Spend Days
6.  Plant Garden

It is already May 3rd and I have tracked my spending so far.  Yay!  So far, so good!

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 2011 Goals Revisited

My goals for April were as follows:

1. Track Spending  Fail!  I did this for the first week but didn't continue.
2. Increase Savings by $1000  Check!  It helped that we got Y's stop loss pay and sold one of his motorcycles.
3. Keep Grocery Budget to $400  Check!  At least, I think so.  I didn't competely track my spending but I'm pretty sure we were around $350.
4. Put $500 into Business Savings  Fail!  This will be on May's goals, too.
5. Put additional $200 into Roth IRA  Fail!  We decided that we want to keep our money more liquid for now.
6. Do not complain/nag at Y for tractor repairs--This has become a thorn in my side.  I can't wait until there isn't any work left to be done on the stupid tractor.  It's a good thing that Y is handy and can do it himself.  Check!  I came to terms with it and let him spend what he needed to get it in good working order.

Overall, not too bad.  There is room for improvement but that is almost always the case.  I will post May's goals shortly.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Y Blindly trust me with Money

I don't make it a secret that I take care of the finances in my marriage.  We've been married for almost 7 years and its always been that way.  Right after we got married, we combined finances by Y adding me onto his checking and savings accounts (I had to close my accounts because I had moved across the country to be with him when we got married).  I immediately started keeping a balance and paying our bills.  I always let him know what we had in the accounts, especially back then because we were very close to being $0 in our checking account several times.

When Y was in Iraq, I took over complete control of our finances and made financial decisions without consulting Y.  I had to do that as we couldn't talk regularly.  I didn't make huge decisions but I made decisions like getting new tires when we really needed them.  I got in the habit of leaving $500 in our checking account so we wouldn't overdraft if he withdrew money in Iraq.  I checked our checking account online on a regular basis to see what we had spent or withdrawn.

He has been back from Iraq for years at this point and I still have complete control of our accounts.  Y totally trusts me with all accounts.  I let him know on a regular basis how we're doing.  I always calculate our net worth with the breakdown of savings and investments monthly.  I will show him these so he knows where we're at with saving for a house.

I like our system because I like to be in control.  He likes our system because he doesn't have to worry about bills getting paid.  He has complete financial trust in my systems and way of doing things.  It works for us. 

Does anybody else have almost complete control of their handling of the joint money?