Friday, May 27, 2005

Retirement What are you thinking

MSNBC AND NBC news have teamed up to provide a series of special reports on Retirement savings. I haven't seen the whole thing yet but I know we (meaning hubby and me) are not saving enough. We do put in 10% in a 401k and I try to max out my Roth each year but I really do not want to be eating Dog food when I am 75 yrs old. I do not think that we will be traveling or being snowbirds down in Florida each year. A medium ground is good enough for me.

Do you feel that you will be ready for retirement?

Check out the series of articles at

Enjoy your savings!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Free sample alert

Free Blistex

Friskees Cat sample

Schick Quattro For Woman Razor
Garnier Fructis Sample on=freesample
ACT Mouthwash Sample
Claritin Sample Pack & Printable Coupon
Feiya Express Peeling Cream Sample

Enjoy your savings!

Time to save on Student Loans

I am lucky I do not have any student loans nor does my husband. We both went to 4 yr state schools and my folks paid for most of it. I know my brother and sister went to private college and I know they have loans. Interest rates are rising and now is the time to consolidate those student loans. Good luck!

Former college students and their parents currently have what may be one of the best opportunities to save money on student loans.

At the center of this opportunity is anticipation that the interest rate that applies to consolidation loans – a fixed-rate loan that replaces the variable rates of the existing student loans – is set to rise this summer. To help you decide how to act, financial adviser Ray Martin visits The Early Show.

Under a federally subsidized program, every July the Department of Education sets a fixed rate that applies to consolidation loans for the following 12 months. The fixed rate is tied to an index of the 91-day Treasury Bill rate at the end of May each year. That rate is approximately 2.85 percent, which is over 1.75 percentage points higher than it was last year. This means that the fixed rate that applies to loans consolidated after June 2005 could be approximately 5 to 6 percent, versus 3.37 percent for Stafford Loans and 4.17 percent for PLUS Loans consolidated before July 2005.
Read more

Saturday, May 21, 2005


We made a decision!! Yeah! We decided to go with the 2001 model. We looked it up on and it had one owner and low milage no problems with it. We compared to some of the other ones we were thinking about and those were all rental cars for several years. People who rent cars do not take as good car of them as an owner. We did a 3 yr loan and it will be $210 a month.

Now... the wiggle room in the budget is gone.

So some short term goals:
1. Need new windows in the fall- have the money in savings
1. Get emergency fund/short-term savings back up to $10k
2. Pay extra on the car

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Money and Marriage

I love Dave Ramsey who just visited the CBS early show. I found the piece to be fluffy which is probably good for people are who need a gentle push in the right direciton. I wanted some concrete advice. I wanted some stories about couples that had problems and how they made it work. Oh well! My fave money guru is on TV!!

Disagreements over money are the leading cause of divorce.

So, money is one of the main things couples should agree on before walking down the aisle, according to author, syndicated radio host, and financial planner Dave Ramsey.

Read More

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Yard Sale Tips!

Hello and Welcome!

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World
Money Saving Tips
Featured Article Yard Sales Tips of the Trade
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Freebie, Contest, Coupon Exchange Alerts
The Frugal Five
Frugal Recipe Hamburger Helper Homemade mix

Read this issue at:

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings


Car shopping!

Not one of the funniest things in life.

We went shopping at several places today. No decision want to think about it.

The first place that we went to... it is the "in" place to shop. No pressure, no hype. You look around and let the associate (they don't like to call them sales man-they receive commission) which ones you want keys to and you can do a test drive. We really were looking for a 2003 Montana that they had on their site but it sold yesterday We test drove at 2001 Chysler Town and Country that has 26k miles on it for $14k. They didn't have much of a mini van selection in our price range that seem to have as good mileage as this one. It doesn't have the "in stuff" like a CD player or bucket seats-I can deal with that. A similar van with mileage of 38k was the same price but with those options. The thing is that it is a 2001... I was planning on getting something newer. The year is holding me back.

We wanted to see what else was out there so we went to 2 Ponitac dealerships. Neither one of them had any used Montanas in stock but both of them are getting one this week. One is getting a base model 2004 Montana for 16k with 29k miles. I looked it up on vehix and it looks nice-of course we would have to drive it.

Also at one of the dealerships, it was pathetic how the salesman tried to talk me into this special loan for a new car. It is a not a lease but called the Smartprogram-talk about a marketing giminic. Basically a lease but you got the title and then there would be a balloon payment at the end that of course you could refinance. Iky factor all over that.

Going to sleep on it! I don't like car buy decisions. We would go with a 3 yr loan on the 2001 car and a 4 yr loan on the 2004 or in that price range. Both would be about $210-$225 monthly payment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Watch out on credit card interest rates

On several places that I post alot of people are seeing their credit card interest rates go up and up!

Clause Allows Credit Card Rates To Go Up Without Warning
Consumers Outraged Over 'Universal Default' Tactic

CHICAGO -- A clause that some credit card companies are inserting into their terms of agreement might not get noticed by consumers who sign up, but if it kicks in, they won't be able to miss the numbers.

Send that check for the newspaper a little late, get a day behind on medical debt or fall back on paying your water bill, and some credit card companies will make you pay them -- even though your late payments had nothing to do with their bill,
Karen Patton stumbled upon the practice, known as a "universal default" clause, while doing something few consumers take the time to do -- reading the fine print.

"I'm one of those strange people that will sit there and try to read through it," she said.

The universal default tactic is being used by more and more credit card companies.

"That's what set alarms off in my head: I thought, 'How could they increase my rate if a payment is late to a totally different company?'" she asked.

In Patton's case, the clause read:

"Each time you default under any Providian account agreement ... or are reported delinquent on an account with any other creditor, the APRs ... may increase up to 29.99 percent."

Patton said she can't see how the clause could be fair.

"Maybe it's not my fault -- maybe the mail is late or something else happened -- or the company didn't process it in a timely way, which I've had happen," Patton said. "How in the world can they have the right to change my rate for something that happened to a totally different company?"

A recent consumer group study found 44 percent of credit card issuers use universal default policies to boost interest rates.

Another consumer group sued Discover over the practice, alleging the nation's largest credit card provider used universal default to "siphon thousands of extra dollars from each account holder in the form of bogus fees and improperly levied finance charges."

Parker said consumers' inability to find anyone to take a stand on the issue proves frustrating for many.

State authorities like the Illinois Attorney General's Office say they would love to stop the practice, but only the states where credit card companies are incorporated have any real power over them.

"(Consumers) say to us, 'I pay this credit card timely, why should it make any difference what I do in another credit arena?'" said Deborah Hagan, who works with the attorney general. "The consumers to whom I've spoken feel it is very unfair."

It's widely assumed that credit card companies set up shop in states like South Dakota, Nevada and Delaware because those states' laws offer no usury cap on interest rates, and the states reportedly have little or no interest in taking on the powerful credit card industry.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky isn't shying away. The Illinois congresswoman is co-sponsoring a bill to stop universal default and other abusive lending practices.

"They can scour your credit report every month, looking for some reason to go ahead and raise your rates," Schakowsky said. "And when they put a little notice on your bill, saying that it's been doubled, for example, they don't have to tell you why."

Credit card companies defend universal default as their way of covering risk. If consumers start to fail on any of their debts, that can be the beginning of the slide toward bankruptcy, the companies claim. By jacking up the rate, the companies say they may recover some of the debt.

But some consumers say the tactic just completes a vicious cycle.

"You feel there's nowhere to go," Patton said. "And all of a sudden, I'm caught in the middle of this monolithic entity and I have no power as a consumer," Patton said.

The consumer group that sued Discover over universal default said that the credit card company has agreed to take the clause out of its agreements. Target 5 asked Discover for comment, but it did not return calls.

A spokesman for the banking industry confirmed that a number of credit card companies are expected to stop using universal default, but the man would not say if the stoppage was a direct result of threatened legal action.

But the promised stoppage could be a result of consumer outrage, Parker said.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Family Worksheets

I use checklists a lot. Help me to be more organized with everyday chores.
These are some worksheets that I find useful.§ion_id=6&article_id=6162&page_number=1

Enjoy your savings!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Homemade Popsicles

With the warm weather just around the corner... the kids are going to watch popsicles and things to keep them cool. The price of popsicles are expensive! I have seen prices of the store brand at $2.99 to $4.99 for the brand name. You can make them at home.

Go to your plastic sections of your grocery store and get the popiscle mode. I think I paid $2.00 each several year back and it has save me atleast $100 over the years.

What to put in?
Fruit juice and freezing them is fine! The kids don't seem to mind that. You can spice it up though

Here is one recipe that I found
2 packages unsweetened Kool-Aid fruit drink
3-ounce package Jello to compliment fruit drink flavor
1-3/4 cups sugar

I would personally cut down on the sugar though.

Have fun!
Enjoy your savings!

Meal planning week of May 8th!

Happy Mother's Day!!

We had a big brunch with my parents, sister and brother today! Still have a ton of french toast in th freezer so we will be having that for breakfast. I may make 1 or 2 batches of banana muffins since I just threw some about to be rotten bananas in the freezer. Lunch for me will be my veggie chili!

Sun We may or may not be hungery. Have some pasta leftovers
Mon Veggie Chili over potatos for DH/I Kids-mac and cheese they refuse to eat chili
Tues Chicken drunsticks, potatos, Green beans
Wed Chicken Stragnoff in the crockpot
Thurs Homemade pizza
Fri Leftover Chicken Stragnoff
Sat Hot dogs and french fries

Salad and veggie with all meals.

Enjoy your savings!

Friday, May 06, 2005

The value of a mother!

USAToday - Op/Ed

Fri May 6, 6:11 AM ET

What's a mother worth? The obvious answer, as a gazillion Mother's Day cards will say in one way or another Sunday, is that - as in the MasterCard ad - she's priceless.

Or not.

One category of mothers - those who stay home - are sometimes made to feel they're worthless. A frank answer to the question of "What do you do?" frequently provokes plummeting interest.

Help, of sorts, has arrived., which advises companies on compensation, has calculated the annual value of the work America's 5.4 million stay-at-home moms do: $131,471. Take that, high-powered professionals. categorized the typical work of a stay-at-home mom (with two school-age children) under seven main job descriptions: day care center teacher, van driver, housekeeper, cook, CEO, nurse and general maintenance worker. And it assumed a 100-hour work week of six 15-hour days and one 10-hour day.

Perfectly realistic.

No such sum, of course, will magically materialize in mothers' bank accounts. The currency real moms get paid in is kisses and hugs, with diminishing deposits as the teenage years set in. They also tend to report - when they've had enough sleep to think straight - priceless long-term joy watching and helping their children develop personalities and skills.

Which gets to the real problem. Society is deeply ambivalent about mothers. Yes, the idealistic Hallmark take on motherhood is deeply rooted: the selfless woman who bakes apple pies, loves her children unconditionally and so on. But ever since the 1960s, the feminist movement has introduced another scale of measurement: Women should become CEOs, lawmakers and astronauts like men. And pull in earnings to match.

Trying to do both - ask any real-world mother - can mean unacceptable compromises. Many working mothers contend with guilt and, on occasion, disapproval for not devoting themselves full time to their children. Oh, and the stress of adding at least some of the seven stay-at-home jobs to their day job.'s pretend pay scale isn't going to end that double standard. Each mother has to find her own solution. The recent trend is for an increasing number of professional and highly qualified women to stay home - one in three women with MBAs is not working full time, for example, compared with one in 20 male MBAs. Surveys among Generation Xers indicate they are less willing than baby boomers to submit to the stress and trade-offs of "having it all."

One of the few weapons of stay-at-homers has been to answer that dreaded "What do you do?" question with a variation on "I'm a full-time organizational professional." Now, they have a second weapon: the $131,471 compensation estimation.

Which still comes up short of the true value of just about every mother: incalculable.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Top diet program How much do they really cost

What 10 diet plans cost

You can spend a little or you can spend a lot, but shedding those excess pounds doesn't depend on it.

It's no secret that Americans are fat -- and getting fatter by the burger. Nearly one-third of U.S. adults are overweight, and another third are technically obese, as defined by a body-mass index of more than 30. And Americans aren't happy about it. Last year, we spent an estimated $46 billion on diet products and self-help books.

What diet plans cost?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How to get the best home owner's insurance?

Q: We have just bought a house. The agent who sold it to us is trying to push us toward a particular insurance agent for homeowner’s coverage, and I’m a bit suspicious of this. What is your advice?

Read the answer

Enjoy your savings!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Meal planning week of May 2nd

My menu planning has been non existent at best for the past few weeks.

Sun Cranberry Chicken w/rice in crockpot
Mon Cornbread chicken and baked beans
Tues Leftover cranberry chicken
Wed Leftover cornbread chicken
Thurs Mexican Lagsana for Cinco de Mayo!!
Fri Spaghetti
Sat Hot dog in crescent rolls and french fries

Breakfast French toast, oatmeal, cereal and fruit for the kids. For me Oatmeal or mini spinach quiches
Lunch Leftovers, pasta salad and soup (trying to clear out the cabinets) for hubby and I.

Enjoy your savings!!