<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Shopping
 

Viewing the 'Shopping' Category

I paid myself first.

August 15th, 2007 at 09:51 pm

DH got paid today. I deposited his check in the bank, and when I got home, I went online to ING direct and scheduled $100 to be transferred from my bank account to ING.

Now let's hope I don't wind up having to take that money back out before the end of the month.

I've paid a medical bill, our county property tax bill (the balance is due in November), renewed the paper, deducted our life insurance premium, and picked up DH's shirts from the laundry.

On the topic of DH and his clothes, he took all his suits to the alterations lady today because he has lost 20 pounds since February and they're all too big. So I should probably count on that costing at least $100. It's cheaper than a whole new suit, at any rate.

I also went to Wal-Mart today. I know millions of people shop there regularly, but I hate that place. I went there because my younger son's radio/CD player bit the dust. It was a cheapo I got several years ago with points I earned from doing surveys with Harris Poll. I'm suprised it lasted as long as it did. Anyway, both kids use their CD players on a daily basis for audio books and music, so it needed replacing ASAP. I did a little online research and found that I could get one that was not a complete piece of junk at Wal-Mart for a reasonable amount. I looked at Best Buy's website too, but for what I wanted, I'd wind up spending more than fifty dollars. My older son's cheapo stereo (purchased at Big Lots two years ago) is going to need to be replaced soon too, as the CD player only works intermittently. ANYWAY, long story short, I went to see what Wal-Mart had. They had a reasonable selection of stuff, some off-brand stuff that I wouldn't buy but I found a Memorex CD/radio/cassette player for under $30. I also spotted a kind of nice Sony CD player with remote for $68 that I might buy my older son for his birthday (September 3).

While I was there I needed to pick up a few other things, milk, something for dinner, ibuprofen. I decided to stroll through the grocery aisles to see what their stuff looked like and how the prices were compared to Kroger & Publix.

I don't know if all Wal-Marts carry the same stuff or if it varies by neighborhood, but I thought a lot of the stuff here looked kind of....scary. Some of the meats and processed foods looked incredibly cheap and crappy, full of disgusting chemical ingredients. In fact, the place was loaded with nutritionally void processed junk.

I did find a half-gallon of Horizon Organic milk for a dollar less than Kroger, a package of Nature's Own "double fiber wheat" bread for twenty cents less than Kroger, two pounds of all-natural ground beef marked for quick sale (I'm cooking it tonight), plus a can of mixed nuts and a bag of spinach. And a two-pack of Advil for cheap.

Otherwise, I can't see that I will be doing much shopping for groceries there.

There is supposed to be a Wal-Mart supercenter opening early next year in a neighborhood not too far away. The Wal-Mart I went to today is in a neighborhood that is kind of scary, so it's possible that the new Wal-Mart will carry higher-quality groceries.

I'm not sure that would change my opinion of Wal-Mart, though...the aisles are always filled with displays of crap, making it hard to get through....there are always shopping carts of random stuff everywhere...there are a hundred checkout stations, but only two of them will be open...Target is by FAR the nicer shopping experience.

School started on Monday, so I am hopeful that I can get my eBay business going again, at least a little bit. I have three things up now, plus two more set to launch tonight.

Just because they're so handsome and the light of my life (and I'm glad they're back in school), here's a picture of my kids:


I'll report again once I've dealt with all the bills.

Seeking some clarity.

August 9th, 2007 at 10:18 pm

In an effort to find out WHERE THE HELL IT IS ALL GOING (money, that is) I pulled up our bank account online, had it show all purchases only for the past sixty days, and then printed it out.

Normally, we're not rich or anything, but we can pay our bills with no problems, put a little away in savings, and go out to eat or shop once in a while. That has not been the case this summer.

We started off nearly cleaning out our savings with a $2500 city property tax bill. That might have been part of the problem - no savings to dip into for unexpected bills.

I suspected that a lot of our money was going to summer-related expenses, what with summer camp (though several of those were paid for in the spring) and other recreation. I'm not necessarily regretting any of it, but it does make me feel better to know that it's not going to be situation every month.

Anyway, looking just at where we used the ATM card, not cash or credit card (though ATM would be what we used the most), we have spent $885.48 since June 11 on the following:

- Movies (6 times, all matinees) $19.75 each trip, except for one where all four of us went, for about $27
- Lunches out with the kids (Moe's, Chick-Fil-A, Coldstone Creamery)
- Other kid activities/recreation (Bounce 'n' Bob's, Sun Valley Beach waterpark, a trip to the Lego Store, a weekend camping trip to a state park in Alabama)
- Two trips to the used book store for used DVD movies (about $25 a pop)
- Only a little bit of shopping (once to an antique store, to Old Navy, and to DSW Shoe Warehouse, totalling about $100 altogether; once to REI for something Michael needed for camp)
- Two trips to the liquor store (about $28 each time)
- DH spent $209.60 at various local pubs either with the boys or with "the guys"
- $279.20 spent at either of the local Ace Hardware stores or at Lowe's; most of what I spent at Lowe's was on paint/paint supplies for the kitchen & living room; I know I bought a bunch of plants in June, too.
- $193.92 spent at Target (though I frequently get $20 cash back, so that's not entirely accurate).

This helps explain why we are in the predicament we're in.

It's not like I can eliminate all these expenses and voila! We're flush. However, we won't be going to the movies six times in the next three months, or eating out lunch, or going to Sun Valley Beach. I am also going to mention to DH about what he's spent; he takes the boys to the neighborhood watering hole to let them play pinball, and three beers later, he's spent $25 just like *that*.

I hope I am not just kidding myself thinking that we'll be in better shape once the summer is over (three days!!!). I hope I don't just replace all those summertime expenses with other "stuff".

In other bill news, I was looking at our cell phone bill and saw that when DH was out of town right before the 4th of July with the boys, he called home four times for a grand total of $42 for non-network roaming calls. Part of the time he was camping and part of the time he was calling from a hotel where he said the house phone cost a fortune. Jeez louise! I about crapped a brick when I saw the bill. This is the first bill we've gotten since we switched to a family plan with my provider and got DH a phone, so I was going to be seriously depressed if that was what I was facing every month...however, it's going to be closer to $80. There sure are a lot of damn taxes tacked onto the bill.

In some GOOD bills news for a change, I looked at my BP bill on line and saw it has a zero balance. No one's used the card since I paid the bill last. Huzzah!

School starts on Monday and we have a whopping $64 to last until Wednesday. However, I have food for lunchboxes (we went to Trader Joe's today), the boys are set for clothes, I have half a tank of gas and food for dinner until then. I have to pick up two or three things at Kroger on Monday, but that's it. Fingers crossed there's no crises in the making.

The dog days.

July 25th, 2007 at 02:38 pm

Nothing really new to report....I'm in a bit of a funk which is mostly related to the monotony of our days. It happens every year at this time....I'm completely sick of summer. Mercifully, it hasn't been as hot as usually gets. I even turned the a/c off and had the windows open for two days earlier this week, which is unheard of in July in Georgia.

As far as money goes, well, for the first time in about three months we're approaching payday and there's actually money in the checking account. Only a couple hundred bucks, but certainly enough to get us through to Monday. I've been spending a little bit, not too much: I took Will to a water park called Sun Valley Beack on Monday with some friends; it cost $34 for the two of us but it was worth every penny. He had such a good time swimming and playing all day. I'm planning to go back week after next with Michael, since he was in camp that day.

Yesterday we went to lunch at Moe's ($9) and to an indoor playground ($18). Weekend before last all of us went to a matinee of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" ($27).

Planned for the rest of the time before school starts are matinees of "Ratatouille" and "Silver Surfer"; a trip to the science museum to see a lizards and snakes exhibit; a trip to the Lego store at Discover Mills; a little bit of back-to-school clothes shopping at Old Navy and Target (Will needs shorts and Michael needs shirts; both are set for shoes); a pediatrician's appointment next week, and three days next week at a friend's house at Lake Hartwell.

I got a $25 REI gift card from MyPoints so the other day I went to REI and bought myself a new prAna yoga top; I spent about $19 of my own money. I also got a $20 check from another survey company, mysurvey.com, I think, and am expecting a $28 deposit from NFOInteractive this week.

I'm also trying to get motivated to start listing on eBay again; I went through my inventory bins and pulled out a few things to put up. I have already listed a Chico's shirt and a pair of Dansko mary janes. In past experience, this is the earliest I can start listing fallish stuff and have it do well, so I'm really kind of waiting until August to put more stuff up.

I told Lee we had to hold off on the notebook computer until we got a big percentage check. Don't know if that's going to happen this month or at the end of next month. One of his McClients is behind on several months of McBills, so once they pony up, we should be able to pay cash for a notebook computer.

Billpay/savings recap, plus advice needed re: notebook computer

July 15th, 2007 at 05:32 pm

After a couple of lean, lean weeks, I am trying to be smarter with our money. Payday was Friday, and I have paid the following:
Working Assets wireless & long distance, BellSouth, Discover, Arrow pest control, Gas South, and our home equity loan.

I also renewed our Sierra Club membership and made an additional donation ($59), got my hair cut ($47), made a deposit into our ING account ($75) and paid on my Wachovia credit card to cover recent purchases ($335).

I also paid Will back $10 I had to borrow from his bank (how pathetic am I?) I still owe Michael $20, which I will pay back next time I get cash.

Still to pay before the end of the month is our life insurance ($335), newspaper subscription renewal ($113 for six months) and a medical bill ($100) for my annual in May, which went toward our deductible.

Also, I'm planning to go to the chiropractor tomorrow ($40) as well as Trader Joe's.

After all those paid bills, though, I've got $2157.82. My impulse is to slap a bunch of it on a credit card, but I'm resisting that urge lest I wind up with no money in my checking account and having to use the credit card for everyday expenses.

Now, here is an expense that I'd love some advice on. My DH has asked if he could buy a notebook computer, because he travels occasionally for work and sometimes works at home. He is not a gadget guy in the least, so I know that if he's asking for a computer, he really needs it and probably has for some time.

He doesn't need anything fancy; he won't be watching movies, playing games or downloading music or any graphics-heavy stuff like that. He needs to be able to connect to the internet to do legal research, needs to be able to check his email, and needs Microsoft Word.

There is a tax-free weekend coming up, I think the first weekend of August, so we'd love to buy one then. Or if there's some other place online that has fantastic deals on computers, we'd consider that. However, my DH says that he'd really like to look at it before buying, because he's used his partner's notebook before and he hates her style of keyboard, so we'll probably be buying it at a store like Office Depot.

I assume that if we go with an HP or Dell we'll be fine as far as quality goes, but beyond that, I don't know what we need.

Does anyone have any advice about buying one? What does it need in order to connect to the internet at home, at the office, or somewhere like a wireless hot spot?

I am completely ignorant on this matter, so what I really need is "Notebook Computers for Dummies".

For once, I resisted.

June 24th, 2007 at 09:30 pm

So I needed to go to Target today. Yesterday my older son's swim mask (which I bought two weeks ago at Big Lots - obviously, that was false economy) broke yesterday, and he hates to swim without one. I also needed a bunch of other stuff - tampons, ibuprofen, sunscreen, stuff like that. As well, when I washed our bathroom curtains yesterday, they came out of the washing machine in shreds. It wasn't that big of a loss - they were old curtain panels that we used to have in our bedroom years ago, hemmed to fit our bathroom windows. They were nothing special, but they did block some of the afternoon sun that comes through. So, I was going to look for some inexpensive curtain panels to replace them.

So at Target I was lured by the siren call of the clothes right inside the front door. I found some cute Mossimo low-rise cropped pants in a washed brown that I really liked. I put them in my cart thinking "I know I don't need these" and....before I checked out, I hung them back.

It's a first. ;-P

I got what I needed at Target, in addition to a cute headwrap/hairband thing on clearance for four bucks. I'm letting my hair grow out, it's very thick and wavy/curly, and I'm at the point where I need to keep it out of my face. Since I'm not spending $46 every three weeks to get it cut like I used to, I felt entirely justified in buying this cute thing.

Because our cash is limited at the moment, I charged my Target purchase, but my receipt is taped to my desk and come payday, I'm going to transfer the amount I charged from my checking onto my credit card account.

They had no curtains, though, so I went to Pier One to look; they didn't have any either.

On my way home I stopped by what used to be my favorite thrift store. I don't know if my standards or theirs have changed, but it seemed like everything was junk. Crappy, worn out clothes, broken household stuff, dirty, grimy looking baby equipment, ratty old shoes...I did, however, score four things: a pair of new with tags Mossimo cargo shorts for my older son; a new-looking, blue plaid Ralph Lauren Polo short-sleeve button down for my DH to wear to work; a pair of brand-new Beth Bath & Beyond light blue king-size jersey pillowcases, and for me, a very cool Hollister poncho/wrap kind of thing; it's semi sheer, a lightweight wool blend, in a camel color; it's the kind of thing I'd wear in the fall over a camisole if I were out at night.

Grand total: $21 (paid cash)

That thrift store has a weekly half-off day on Monday, and I think they pretty much price all their stuff for that day. I used to shop half-off day regularly, but it was just too crazy and it got to not be worth it. So their prices are otherwise a bit high for me, but I'm happy with what I got.

Tomorrow my younger son is in art and music camp, so I think my older son and I are going to go to Ikea and look at curtains. I looked at their website, and they seem to have a good selection that is as cheap as, if not cheaper than, Target.