A Magnet for Money

31 12 2008

Dave Ramsey often tells callers that money is drawn to those who properly manage it.  I think that he means that when you know where every penny of your money is going, you find that you have more than you thought. 

The first written budget we made starts tomorrow – January 1st.  Last night I was balancing my Money register against CEFCU online and discovered an unknown deposit was made earlier in the day in the amount of $666.72.

My husband got an unexpected end of the year bonus for work.  Extremely unexepected, since earlier this month there was some concern that he may get laid off. 

Coincidence?  I hope not.  It would be wonderful to get unexpected amounts of money on a more regular basis, unless of course, it was an inheritance. 

I’m off to check the Illinois database for unclaimed property

 

***UPDATE*** I did check that site and found 2 amounts for my grandmother (who died in 2007).  One amount is between $10-$100 and the other is more than $100.  My mom is her executor and is going to send in for more information.  She said she’d give me a 10% finder’s fee (mimimum $11 at this point).  Perhaps there is some truth to this money magnet thing after all.

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Why 2009 will be the best year yet…

31 12 2008

Like most people, I make New Year’s resolutions.  Like most people, I have not been successful in sticking with my resolve in the past. 

I am determined that 2009 will be different. 

I have spent quite a bit of time planning this blog post and musing over how I will change my life for the better. 

This year it all comes down to fitness in various categories. 

♥ Achieving better physical fitness comes in at the top of my list every year.  Here is the simple formula that I will use.  I will embrace the age old concept of burning more calories than I consume.  The formula is simple, but the process is not easy for me.  The key is that this needs to occur the vast majority of the time. 

One thing I really want to do is get back into running.  I have dreams about running.  I miss the camaraderie of running with a group.  I miss the wonderful feeling I get when I push  myself to go just a little bit further. Every day I will run a little bit.  I will start off slow and add more distance when the time is right.  Participating in Building Steam is something that I have enjoyed in the past and I plan to enroll in the program again this year.

♥ My husband and I will work to achieve better financial fitness.  We will use the principles learned from Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover.  We will make a budget each month.  It was amazing to see where the money goes and what money was available when writing out January’s budget.  Our specific financial goal is to have the car paid off and to have a fully funded emergency fund by the end of 2009. 

♥ In order to improve my mental fitness, I will read more.  Specifically, I will try to read more non-fiction and classics.  My goal is to read one book a week for a total of 52 books in 2009, trying to read at least 13 non-fiction titles and 13 classic selections from the Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels.   I will watch less t.v. and spend less time surfing the Internet.  If I am not 100% certain of  a word’s meaning, I will look it up. 

♥ I will attempt to improve my emotional fitness by taking time to do something nice for myself every day.  I always wake up before my alarm goes off.  For a few minutes I lay in bed and think of what will happen in the day to come.  I will try to steal a few minutes of this precious time to plan  what I need to accomplish to be satisfied that day.  I will attempt to blog daily as an outlet to get things off of my chest. 

♥ It is extremely important to me to have fit relationships.  I will spend more quality time with my husband and work to make our relationship stronger.  Craig and I plan to spend time with our parents at least twice per month.  We will try to engage in activities with them that will allow us to see them as people and not just parental units.  We will try to spend more time visiting with Craig’s grandparents.  I will attempt to make amends with my Grandma Betty.  I will try to form a stronger bond with my brother, Brock.  We will visit Derek (Craig’s brother) and Rebecca (his wife, my sister-in-law) in Chicago.  I will try to be a better friend, answering emails and spending more time with my comrades.  I will be a better pet parent. 

Lofty goals?  Yes.  There is not enough time in this life.  It is all a balancing act.  I need to learn to manage my time more effectively so that I can achieve these goals.  Most of these things, I already do.  I just aspire to do them a little better in 2009.





Public service?

30 12 2008

On Sunday, I did some grocery shopping at Cub.  As I was checking out, the woman behind me turned over the displayed copy of Cosmopolitan so that its blurbs could no longer assault the eyes of the masses. 

Thanks to the morals police, local women will no longer flip the pages to find out “How To Have An Orgasm Every Time” or learn “How to Deal When Your Man Gets Moody”.

Without Cosmo’s sage advice, the women shopping at Big Hollow Cub will be left unfulfilled both physically and emotionally.





Obesity – the pro and the cons

29 12 2008

Why can’t I be one of those pretty fat girls – an airbrushed Lane Bryant model, curves in all the right places, no cellulite, no “giant dip”?  Why can’t I just give up and accept that I am just zaftig, a descendant of hearty peasant stock?  In the Middle Ages, having a little junk in the truck was a symbol of wealth. 

The positive thing about my descent into obesity is that I might be able to weather a famine. 

There are quite a few unpleasant things about being overweight.  Foremost is the social stigma.  The obese are one of the few groups that are openly discriminated against, likely because on the surface it appears that weight is completely under our control.  Eat less, exercise more.  A simple formula, but not easy.

I have minor medical issues that I attribute to my weight.  I notice that I am using my inhaler more often than when I was thinner.  Heartburn plagues me when I overeat.  I’m convinced that the reason I have plantar fasciitis is that my frame has to support excess weight.  Yoyoing caused me to have my gall bladder removed and I have a 12-inch scar from beneath my left breast to above my right hipbone to show for it.  Still, I persist.

At Christmas, I was embarrassed and wondered if Craig’s family noticed the weight I have put on.  I avoided having my photo taken.  I wonder if my husband finds me less attractive.  He is an anti-fatite, you see.  Though he never has judged me outloud, I’m certain that he wonders why I allow myself to be overweight.   

Certainly this is a pathetic post.  My purpose for writing it is to embarrass myself into starting a diet and to provide myself with some honest reference material regarding how being overweight makes me feel. 

Today has been a busy day.  I have been too busy to gorge myself.  Perhaps this will be the start of a new diet.  Once I get one good day in, I can usually stay on track for a while.  Wish me luck…





Current reads…

28 12 2008

On November 15, I received an email stating that our book club had won ten copies of a book from bookmovement.com.  The book is Where The Lake Becomes The Riverby Kate Betterton. 

For the past year, I have faithfully signed my book club up to win every book listed in the monthly email I receive from bookmovement.com.  And I mean every book.  My initial reaction was one of sheer joy.  I was excited to have won something. 

Then my stomach dropped.  What if we won a religious self-help book or a weighty science fiction tome set in another galaxy?  What type of feedback could I possibly give the author of such a publication?  Note to self:  prior to trying to win books in the future, find out what the book is about. 

I surfed over the author’s website and read up on the novel that we would be receiving.  I was intrigued and couldn’t wait for them to arrive.

Luckily, I received the books prior to the December meeting.  I passed them out and arranged for some absent members to get their copies.  I am 79 pages into the book and I am very much enjoying it.  I am giving a lot of thought to what I am reading.  We are trying to arrange a conference call with the author and I want to have an intelligent and informed conversation with her. As soon as I am done with this post, I will be back to reading Where The Lake Becomes The River.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Recently, my attention was caught by an author offering a free swag bag on a book site or email.  I love free stuff, so I emailed Lisa Daily and requested a swag bag for our book club.  I had forgotten all about it until yesterday.

Let me digress.  It is very fitting that I am a Postmaster.  I love to get the mail.  You never know what will be there when you open the mailbox.  The simple act of getting the mail holds much childlike magic for me. 

Yesterday, the mail held a surprise – a small package.  It was an especially joyful occasion, as I was not expecting anything.  The package was from Lisa Daily.  It held the expected bookmarks (emblazoned with a margarita recipe), matching postcards, a certificate for four free tele-classes with Lisa Daily or one Dreamgirl Academy seminar, a signed copy of her book Fifteen Minutes of Shame and a book club reading guide for the book.  What a sweet little package!  Not only do I get a free book, I am going to get some lessons on how to find my inner Dreamgirl.  Watch out, Craig! 

I will check this book out.  Perhaps we will be able to have a conference call meeting with this author as well.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

I actually finished a non-fiction book.  This is an extremely unusual feat for me.  Perhaps one of my New Year’s Resolutions will be to read one non-fiction book a month. 

XM Satellite Radio has brought Dave Ramsey into my life.  I really relate with his financial views, so I purchased his book, The Total Money Makeover, last week. 

He uses a lot of true stories to get his point across and his writing is directed towards the average reader.  You don’t have to be a financial guru to understand Ramsey’s teachings.

By following his plan, we hope to have the Cobalt paid off by the end of April and a fully funded emergency fund by the end of 2009.  

I highly recommend this book and the Dave Ramsey show to anyone who might not feel like they have 100% control of their money.  His plan, although it is not easy, is possible.  I would gladly lend this book to any of my friends.





The Best and Worst of 2008

22 12 2008

Instead of going out on New Year’s Eve, I prefer to stay home and reminisce about the past year and think hopefully forward.  I am usually asleep long before the ball drops. 

In an effort to make 2009 the best year of my life so far, I have started this process early. 

What didn’t go well in 2008? 

The thing that nags at me the most is that I have actually gained weight.  Despite a few successful dieting starts, I have added a few pounds this year. 

We needed a new car, so we got a modest but brand new Cobalt.  We are making payments on it.  I hate payments.  We are working very hard to pay the car off.  We should have saved our money and purchased something with cash. 

My Great Grandmother passed away recently.  I wish I had made time to see her this year.  A great lesson has been learned about spending time with those I love (no matter what their age).

There is weird energy with a few member’s of my husband’s family.  I am convinced that they don’t like me, so I act strangely around them.  I need to work on making the situation better.

What will I always remember about 2008?

I love my husband tremendously.  We have so much fun together. 

I got a new job!  My aspirations to become a Postmaster came to fruition and I couldn’t be happier about it.  The drive isn’t great (1 hour each way) but it is worth it.  XM Satellite Radio – I love you!  My old boss, Pat K. was a great mentor to me.  One day I hope to be able to coach someone along in their career.  If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I would be where I am now. 

I have truly enjoyed the time I got to spend with my friends and family this year.  Jennifer, MarySue and I had a string of great Saturdays at SpinTorture this fall.  Let’s plan something like that again soon. 

Book club.  Girls, you are great!

Our cats bring me so much joy.  For those of you who think I am the crazy cat lady, it is likely much worse than you ever imagined. 

Hopefully this list will be bottom heavy in 2009!





The Beautiful People…

15 12 2008

At the beginning of the month, Craig and I took a much needed holiday to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Las Vegas was never on the top of my list of places to travel, but the low price of airfare and lodging piqued my interest.  Off we went to the timeshare capital of the universe. 

Well-dressed strangers often approached us on the street with queries such as:

  • How old are you?
  • Are you married?
  • Will you be here tomorrow?
  • Where are you staying?
  • Where are you from?

The first time we were duped.  A young man in a suit approached us as we entered New York, New York and asked us how old we were.  Craig and I replied with 32 and 31, respectively.  He then asked us if we had gotten a chance to purchase any discount show tickets.  Discount?  I love that word.  My pupils were dilated and my pulse quickened at the thought of saving money.  He took us over to speak to his “manager”.

After greeting us with an exuberantly friendly hello, the “manager” started asking us questions about how long we had been married.  Then she offered to sell us two tickets to see Criss Angel for a total of $50.  My pulse slowed down to intermittent thuds.  My blood ran cold.  We had been foiled.  The light bulb over my head lit up.  I asked her if we would have to listen to a timeshare presentation to get this great deal.  When she confirmed, I quickly said that we were not interested and pulled Craig quickly away. 

The next few days we avoided the timeshare salespeople to the best of our ability, attempting not to make eye contact and walking quickly away without responding to their queries. 

One woman approached us and asked asked where we were from.  My response: the standard “I’m not interested.”  She yelled at me – “That’s not a place!” 

At this point, I became extremely annoyed.  I have determined that in order to present a timeshare opportunity to you, you must be married, over the age of 26, living out of town and available to hear their spiel at some point in the near future.  I coached Craig to respond by telling people that we were married, but not to each other (how else to explain the rings?), that we were 25, that we were leaving within the hour or that we lived in the immediate area.  Personally, I was done speaking nicely to the timeshare people.  I was ready to read the next person that approached me the riot act.

The most persistent timeshare salespeople were in the old downtown area of Las Vegas.  Craig told one person that we were 25.  Apparently, the salesman thought that Craig was lying and asked him if he was sure.  I turned around and told the salesman very firmly that we were not interested in a timeshare, grabbed Craig’s hand and marched quickly away. 

We ate a little lunch at a Subway inside of the casino.  As we left, the same salesperson we had spoken to earlier approached us again.  He started telling us how he could tell we were annoyed and that he was sorry.  I relented and told him that I understood that he was just doing his job, but that we were on vacation and didn’t want to be bothered. 

He went on to inform us that we should be flattered that so many timeshare salespeople want to talk to us.  He said that a lot of people get very angry that they are not allowed to go to a timeshare presentation because only attractive people are permitted to purchase timeshares. 

As I stomped away, he called out that we shouldn’t knock timeshares until we have tried one. 

If I ever return to Las Vegas, I will be sporting a custom t-shirt warning off the timeshare salespeople. 

timeshares1