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Archive for February, 2009

A Good Day Indeed...

February 15th, 2009 at 02:23 am

The FAFSA is done!! Taxes last weekend and this thing today - I'm on a roll. Now we'll wait and see...

My oldest signed up for a registration session for her upcoming fall college classes over spring break in March. I'm off, and my husband may take a vacation day. We might even take the rest of the girls too for an overnight, sort of a mini-vacation. The session cost $40, and I was thinking wasn't the school already getting enough from the tuition we'll be paying?! I was told by a co-worker that this is only for new incoming students and only happens once - whew! Some things about college have changed a lot in the 29 years since I was starting out. I've much to learn!

Yesterday, the girls and I were off from school and work (teachers' professional day) and we're off on Monday. Not a lot planned, but finishing off a bit of my to-do list. The girls are content with sleeping in and not doing a whole lot. We did manage a trip to the bigger area library in our system, and checked out bags of items. The girls have been reading in various places throughout the house. My self-imposed goal was to get the FAFSA done, then I too could delve into my library bag!

We finally accepted that my daughter's totaled Suburu was truly unsalvageable, and got rid of it yesterday to a local junker. Kind of bittersweet for my daughter, as it was her first car bought with her hard earned money.

My husband and I and the younger two spent a little time earlier today looking at used RVs. We have come to the realization that we have a popup tent trailer-sort of a vehicle, as well as a budget. We left all the campers where we saw them today.

Just when I thought I had the groceries in control...I made the fatal mistake in allowing those in my family who wanted to come along if they wish. Ha, should have known better! Oh well, at least I know how the amount got where it did, and how to remedy it in the future.

Usually, we don't do much for V-day - we like quiet and simple (or as much as a life with four girls and three cats allows!) I did up some candy treats and simple homemade cards for my husband and girls, with a nice meal planned for the evening. My girls helped their daddy pick out flowers and a box of candy for me, which was a nice surprise. The cats have all expressed high interest in the flowers, as usual. Little sniffs somehow result in little nibbles. So either they are closed up in the bathroom (flowers, not cats, though that IS an idea...)or we keep an eye on them and scoot all the crazy nibblers on their way.

For dinner, we grilled steaks outside, and it's a toss up which was the bigger treat - the steaks or being able to grill outside in mid-February! For dessert, we had brownie sundaes. A very nice day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all!!

Taxes & Tires & Tidbits - oh my!

February 8th, 2009 at 03:43 am

The taxes are done! I e-filed my oldest's federal and will mail out her state - both with refunds. I also changed her withholdings. I used TurboTax for the first time (I'm a long hold-out with the paper and pencil!)and e-filed our federal - we get a refund of all of $50. The state taxes is a 'oh my, how did this happen??' We owe $674, which include a $17 penalty for being over $500. Not much has changed from last year, but somehow we ended owing this much. Will be submitting new w4s on Monday for sure.

Well, we upped our percent going to my husband's 401k - we're at the max. I'm hoping this is, and will be, a good move, but as it is said, we're in it for the long term (so please, please turn yourself around, market!) I'm a public employee and my retirement fund is a prescribed employer/employee amount, so no more there I can do. Next is to check into a Roth IRA.

It's been one of those weekends where things want to join together in falling apart. A couple nights ago, we were doing our nightly shuffle of the cars so everyone is parked in the right order to get out of the driveway in the morning (yes, we look crazy and yes, the neighbors think it's hilarious.) When my husband pulled our Olds into the driveway, he heard a sudden hiss, and one of the tires went flat. A puncture in the sidewall of one of the new tires we had just bought in May. Poo... My husband took it off, and brought it to the tire store. Not salvagable, so another $80 for a new one.

Today we were finishing up the last load of laundry, and my husband commented on how long the last load was taking to dry. He went to check on it, when he found it was wet and cold, not a good sign. Luckily he's a handy sort and after dismantling the machine, he did a little check online for a schematic and found that it was a heat sensor fuse that had blown. We'll have to wait for the Sears Parts store to open (we'll check, but I'm thinking it's not open on Sunday) but the part is about $15, which isn't too bad.

My husband is thinking that work is starting to look more relaxing that these 'restful' weekends.

I'm thinking there are forces out there trying to part us with our money. Always!

In other news...we got the official letter saying that our mortgage has been satisfied and officially payed off. We'll still need to get the copies of the record from the county when it becomes available. I guess my category of "I owe,I owe..." is now "I don't!"

And oh my...the best news of all is that my oldest got an acceptance to her first choice of college. (This is what spurred me on to accept what my taxes were saying and just get a move on in filing!) On to the FAFSA - oh yay...

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Another update....

February 1st, 2009 at 11:03 pm

Make that a quarterly one! (Computer issues to blame, and lack of time always!)

Lots of news at our house...

The best is that my brothers and I received and divvied up some money from a trust - not a lot, but enough to help out. After MUCH deliberation over how best to make use of the dollars, this is what we did. (It was kind of funny that during the same time period, BA asked the question in his blog about how to spend a sum of money - I read with great interest!)

My household is officially debt-free! We just paid the mortgage off this month, so it doesn't seem real quite yet. Writing the check for the payoff amount at the bank to get the cashier's check was a wow though!

Then after much research and analyzing (years before the advent of our money event, and after) we purchased with cash a new-to-us 2004 Honda Odyssey, with intent to keep until it no longer runs. This upgrades our failing fleet a bit - maybe to one not failing and well, let's not talk about the rest! (This wasn't an investment by any means, but gosh it's nice to have a newer car and hopefully less of those failing features common among the rest of our fleet!)

The balance of the money is sitting for now. We never had much of an EF, so now we do. Right now, both my husband and my jobs seem to be stable (though in this day that hardly means a sure thing.) And the whole car repair and medical costs events of the past few years surely could have been alleviated by having a decent EF - lesson learned!

We are looking into increasing/maximizing our retirement dollars. I have spent a lot of time lately thinking about 401k, IRAs, etc. How easily my decisions would have been made not all that long ago... I think I know what I want to do, just want to make sure.

Other news...

We've had a tough winter so far, car-wise. My second daughter hit some black ice and smooshed the front corner on a guard rail - luckily no injuries or other cars hit, and no damage to the rail (I found out the state will send a bill - yikes!) My husband replaced the headlight assembly and snipped the dragging part of the bumper - our formerly 'best' car looks quite wonderful, as you can imagine, but it's drivable.

My oldest was driving to work on New Year's Day, and when passing a walker and dog on a snow/ice covered road, ended up spinning around until hitting the rear against a tree on the opposite side of the road. An ambulance was called because she was bleeding from the back of her head (prob from hitting the seat belt housing) and for a possible neck injury. My husband and I arrived just ahead of the ambulance. I rode with my oldest, and my husband oversaw the towing of her Suburu, which was a goner. After some x-rays, a few staples, my daughter came home with aching head and spirits (she worked long and hard to buy her first car.) Her staples are out, and she's making due with the 91 Olds Custom Cruiser, aka the land yacht.

Granted, this winter's ice and snow has been quite the hands-on learning experience for my girls, when the recent past years have been so warm and lacking in snow. But can anyone really blame me for not allowing ANY of my daughters to drive my new Honda??

There's so much more to catch up on - my grocery successes, my utility bill challenges... not to mention taxes, college apps for the oldest, FAFSA, etc. A tad overwhelmed - that's me! This entry is quite long enough though, and the making of dinner awaits. Take care!