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Archive for May, 2006

Good week for gas!

May 31st, 2006 at 07:38 pm

I didn't even use up half the tank this week! HOwever, I'm not fueling today..I'm waiting until tomorrow, so that this goes on June's expenses...(that will make June a 5-week expense period for gas, and keep May at 4 weeks, but I'd rather do this, considering that in April I had to FILL the tank as the car was delivered to me with an empty tank!...also, because I had a lot of "set-up" or initial expenses on the car!)

My coinjar

May 31st, 2006 at 07:30 pm

As you can see, my coinjar (which I keep at the office) is simply an old Coffe-Mate container, stripped from its label...I like it because I can keep it at the office and noone knows I have money in it!...it's also non-breakable!



I don't have a coinjar at home, but Ale has two piggy banks (and yes, they ARE pig-shaped!) one is plastic and the other one is made of clay...
**********
edited:
LOL!...forgot to post the picture!!

Coin #2 arrived safely in San Salvador!!

May 31st, 2006 at 07:03 pm

I got the coin Jeffrey sent!!...(our postal service IS slow!...it arrived to the central post office on May 17!, which means it took another 14 days to arrive in Antiguo Cuscatlan...different town, but it takes about 30 minutes to get from downtown San Salvador to the outer limits of Antiguo, so....)

Anyway...I'm thinking I can do 1 of 4 things with the coin...1. give it to a friend here in ES and ask her to forward it along her own network of friends...2. send it to one of my friends in Central America and ask them to send it along...3. send it to a friend across the world (either South Africa or Australia) and ask them to send it along...or 4. send it along to someone from this board!!

Just wanted to give you an update on the trip of this little coin!

Tracking expenses - 060531

May 31st, 2006 at 06:22 pm

Ok, I've been tracking expenses in several categories:

Car (gas, maintenance and others) - $126.37

Ale's (new) school - $100.00

Supermarket - $110.26

Others (source of shame!) - $120.89

This last one has to be split, as this includes regular lunches ($5/week), entertainment,unbudgeted expenses (necessary but not put on budget!) and "nothings"...I have to work on a set budget for entertainment and, cut the "nothings" as much as possible...wish me luck!

$20 challenge update - 060531

May 31st, 2006 at 05:55 pm

Total for May
Challenge statistics:
to discount from challenge this month:
-$3.00 tax on employee day payment

Earned in April: $339.80

net for January: $12.15
net for February: $318.40
net for March:$380.00
net for April: $222.00
net for May:$336.86
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$1,269.35

TARGET: $4,000

$2,730.65/ 7 months to go!

$20.06 more for May $20 challenge

May 31st, 2006 at 05:45 pm

I got a deposit for $20.06 - English lessons...need to update my $20 challenge numbers!

I got mail last night!!!

May 31st, 2006 at 03:57 pm

And not regular boring (bills!) mail, either...REAL letters!! woo-hoo!!

The company's 75th anniversary party

May 30th, 2006 at 07:16 pm

ok. I have to blog about this because this was not AN event, this was THE event...the company is based in ES, but, flies to 35 cities in 19 countries...they flew people in from all the stations...not only employees (manager or higher hierarchy), but also media people from all 19 countries, as well!...Revenue management people said that 70% of the flights were carrying at least 20 people traveling on space-confirmed passes that day!...

Well, I received my invitation and I thought...maybe someone made a mistake...but, later in the week there was an email confirmation, so...I had decided to splurge and have my hair done...but, work committments kept me at the office until 6:15pm! (the invitation was for 7pm!)...so I had to forget about it and just rush home to change!...I went for the LBD approach, because the invitation said: FORMAL...so, I didn't want to be overdressed...but I also didn't want to be UNDERdressed, either!...I put on some makeup...it was sooo funny...Ale kept looking at me and, just before I left, she said: "Mom, you look....I love you!" and came to hug me...I guess she wanted to see if I was still the same mommy...(answer to that is YES!)...

I got my invitation out and noticed there was no indication of which ballroom the event would take place in...only the hotel...and I thought: hmm, how are we supposed to know where to go?? Oh, well, I'll ask at the hotel...

About a block from the hotel (it's on top of a hill) I realized WHY there was no room name...they had red, blue and yellow (the company colors) spotlights lighting the sky....((just follow the batsignal!))...

I had also decided that I was NOT going to leave my car outside and traipse uphill in my heels and nice dress, so I had decided to use the valet parking....I had my $2 ready...so I left the car with the valet...and was given a voucher that said: paid for! woo-hoo!..they even paid for the valet parking for any attendees that chose to use it!! (I imagine they told very few people about it, though!)...

As we went in, they had the photographer to take pictures...we were kept waiting in the hall until about 7:30 or 7:45...just mingling and commenting...and then, they asked people to walk down the corridor to the main room...the owners of the company were there and also the 4 Senior vice-presidents...so we got to shake hands/ kiss hello as we went in...((I kept feeling someone was going to courtsey to them! LOL!))

As we went down the corridor, we could see the "smoke" of the dry ice and, they had some girls dressed up as macaws (the company's mascot)...it was a very fancy tulle thing...you could tell they were supposed to be macaws because of the beak-like hats on their heads...it was very Las Vegas-like dress...

As we came into the room, we heard the swwwwoooooshhhh of an airplane taking off...and, as you came in, lots of pictures of airplanes taking off being projected on giant screens across the room ...they also had acrobats hanging from the ceiling!...it was VERY impressive!...and more dry ice "smoke", of course...

They had ice statues of planes on EVERY table...and a souvenir on EVERY place...a glass cube with the 75 Anniversary logo sketched inside...very tasty...very pretty....very heavy!! ((LOL!...someone mentioned this was NOT the thing to have around during an argument with your spouse!))...

There were also little menues on the table: ((markio, here's the menu!))
Salmon napoleon with asparagus, lemon sherbet, meat in wine/mushroom sauce, sauteed shrimp, potatos and vegetable napoleon...everything was yummy!...but, let's continue with the party!!

They started off with a video of the owner's son (in his 20's, very handsome boy!) saying what the company means to him and how much he admires his father ...then the owner read his speech (difficult, as he hadn't been told about the video beforehand, so it was a total surprise, and a very emotional moment for him!)...the President of ES also made a speech...and then they called to the stage a man that is a curator for the Smithsonian, who wrote a book about latin american airlines, and included a chapter on the company...THEN they called the grand-niece of the original founder (he was from New Zealand) ...

THEN they played a video highlighting the history of the company...where it started and were it is hoped it will get...they ended with: "if someday there are shuttles from Central America to the moon, we hope to be the ones operating them..." swoooshhh of space shuttle taking off .....

and the doors swung wide open and in comes a batucada group (10 people, drums only!...each drum playing a slighly different rythm, but in harmony)...you could see people wanted to get up and dance...but, I guess we were all too dressed up to give in! LOL!...good thing, too, as right after the batucada group, in came a group of dancers dressed in traditional costumes from different countries and paraded around the room, as if it were a carnival... in front of every small group of dancers came a girl with a banner with the name of the country being represented and a picture of a macaw (think the presentation of the countries at the Olympics)...then the batucada stopped and the first group of dancers -representing ES - danced a bit of traditional dances....there were 19 short dances in total!...very nice, very energetic!...(of course it was the same 20 people getting changed into different costumes, but, still!) in the end, all 20 dancers came to the floor and danced a couple of verses of "Pero si son latinos..." (there's some that mentioned the names of Latin American countries, they chose the ones that mention the ones we fly to) and the dancers even brought some people to dance from the closest tables...

After that, they presented the new campaign, which will be based around cultural diversity, will start officially in June 5th...

After that, they brought dinner (this was around 11:30pm!)...and a jazz band played all through the dinner...

Part of the room was curtained off and, at 12:00, we could see light coming from behid it...we thought it might be a cake or something...but, it wasn't...it was a band (Orquesta San Vicente, quite known here)...playing Happy birthday...after that, the dancing was to start!...this is when I had to leave, it was already 12:30!!...they tell me it went on until 3:00am!

As I was leaving, I saw the pictures on the table...also a special magazine and postage stamps...I took my picture, a copy of the magazine and 2 postage stamps envelopes!!...I went outside and requested my car...end of the night for me!

As we say here: they threw the house out the window on this event!

$20 challenge May 060530

May 30th, 2006 at 06:35 pm

Total for May
Challenge statistics:
to discount from challenge this month:
-$3.00 tax on employee day payment

Earned in April: $319.80

net for January: $12.15
net for February: $318.40
net for March:$380.00
net for April: $222.00
net for May:$316.80
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$1,249.35

TARGET: $4,000

$20 challenge update

May 30th, 2006 at 05:50 pm

$26.67 for employee day (given every year on the company's anniversary...equal to one day payment)

10 documents per day

May 30th, 2006 at 12:07 am

I am trying to de-clutter my desk...right now, my goal is to handle everything new as it arrives and process it...for the backlogged stuff, I'm aiming at a minimum of 10 documents per day to be either filed, processed or destroyed (if I haven't used it in 1+ year and it's not legal requirement to keep it, it goes out!)...I figure I have about 65,000 documents on my desk, so it should take me about 18 years to have a clean desk!! LOL!...no, seriously, I DO NOT have 65,000 documents ...at least, I don't think I do...but, while it's looking a lot better, I still have a lot of work to do!!...wish me luck!

060529- 2006 goals Update

May 29th, 2006 at 10:43 pm

I've taken out goal #2, as it was achieved last month! Goal #3 will not be included in next month's update!! woo-hoo!!



1. keep better track of my spending- I need DISCIPLINE!! I've been tracking everything since 060511 though...so I'm hoping this time I stick to it...It HAS been an eye opener!...this is more an on-going goal for all 2006, so I guess this will remain througout the year!

Car expenses so far = $109.37
School expenses (from MY pocket!) so far = $100.00
"other" expenses =$119.39 (I need DISCIPLINE!!)


3. FINALLY decide on a school for Alejandra, AND save money for her enrollment fee, uniforms and school supplies Enrollment, books and uniforms paid for!!...still have ~$39 for her shoes...tracking expenses and saving, still...I think I might be able to pay the Technokids for the year ($54) and still pay for at least 1 month in advance (so, pay August and Sept at the beginning of August...that way I have some breathing room during the school year/ have time to save for next year's enrollment fee during the vacation months!) This goal should hereon be considered "achieved"...

4. continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K (out of which ~$4K were for a loan and the rest -~$13K!-pure cc debt) and, am starting Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... expect to be able to end Dec '06 with ~$7K, which I expect to be purely for the loan... to come partly from the English classes/$20 challenge. ...current situation is: $7.7K (refinanced) loan, $3K car loan, $1K personal loan, $1.5K cc's ...a work in progress...

5. Help Ale find a way to earn those $3 she's missing to open her account with HER OWN money...Nature is helping: she lost 2 teeth and the Raton Perez brought her $0.90 for each one, so she's only $1.20 short now!

A rarity: a picture of me that I like!

May 29th, 2006 at 05:37 pm

The company I work for celebrated its 75th "birthday" on Friday...they took pictures as people were coming in (very "prom-like")...it was a HUGE event (I'm glad I went! it was really impressive!)

Anyway, here's the pic:

May 2005 vs May 2006 - the state of my life!

May 29th, 2006 at 03:16 pm

**2005** 2006
level of satisfaction with my life, on a scale 5-10, with 5 being "sucks" and 10 being "perfect", looks like this:

Family : **6 (DD "boosts" the score! so you can imagine!) With my sister sick, I'm chauffer, messenger, administrator, cook, maid and even provide moral support (who's giving ME moral support??)** We're doing much better, I'd give it an 8 now
Spiritual: 6 - **have not had a prayer meeting/attended my praying workshop in ages!!** The praying workshop ended and, the prayer meetings sort of got cancelled - the others didn't come anymore!...so, I'm going to church to pray every Thursday, to thank God for all his mercies and ask for some more blessings! I'd give that a 9!
Work: **-3....right now, I like my job, I just hate everyone around me!!** LOL! I definetely don't hate the people around me anymore...hmmm, I'm still overloaded, though, but, still retaining my sanity...mainly due to the fact that I HAVEN'T got a raise - nor will I get one! - I'd give this a 7...financial considerations aside, it would be more like an 8+
Physical: **6 - I'm not exercising, I'm not eating too well, I'm always tired...I try to get 3 meals a day, though, and remind myself to breathe often!** er...no progress here!...except, I'm less stressed!
Financial: ** do I REALLY need to score it?? or can you guess? -4 Creditors keep calling and things seem to be looking down, rather than up, lately!** I'd give it a 5...I'm less than happy, but, it's a HUGE improvement from last year...no creditor calls, no late payment fees, several cc's paid off...there's still a lot to be done, though!

As you see, all areas show significant improvement! Yay!

Tracking expenses 060526- EEK!

May 26th, 2006 at 08:54 pm

now I KNOW why I kept "ignoring" this!!...my spending for the Other expenses category (and I started seriously with this on May 11th!!) is $110!!!...and, this is higher than my "Supermarket" expenses ($100) for the same period!!...the worst thing is, there really aren't many "big" items there...well, except for the new fan at $18.50 and the new shoes at $21.00 (needed for work, my old pair of black "dress" shoes died!)...so, even if you add THAT up, that's ~$70 in "nothing"!!!! -- somebody hit me! HARD!...oh, well, at least, now I have realized just how bad the situation is and, can start doing something to correct it, right?...I guess I'm going to have to give myself an (very limited) allowance per week...and stick to it!

Considering an allowance for Ale

May 26th, 2006 at 04:05 pm

At the new school they have a small store where they sell food and snacks...
Ale will be staying there for lunch, which means I'll have to pack a snack and a lunch for her...I have been thinking about givin her a small allowance ($2.50/week)...she can decide whether she spends it all on one day or whether she uses a bit every day...($2 seems adequate since that would be $0.50/day...)...she has never really managed money on her own...apart from when I let her buy her own stuff at the marketplace or at the flea-market...but I'm always around to see that at least they give her her change right and stuff like that!...
Yesterday, I gave her $0.50 for school...and, she told me "Mom, I was lucky that I found something that I wanted to buy and it only cost $0.25, because I lost the other coin you gave me..." ...(EEk!) I told her it was a shame that she had lost the other coin, because she could have 1. used it to buy something else some other day or 2. bought some more of whatever it is she liked at school...I told her she should be more careful with money...but, unless I GIVE her some, how can she really learn to take care of it??...
So, this is the plan: Starting August, Ale gets $2.50/week...if she's responsible with it (doesn't lose the money, manages to save some), then in 3 months she can get $3.00) if not, she'll have to wait longer to get "a raise"...

School related expenses - 060525

May 25th, 2006 at 10:45 pm

Took Ale today for her evaluation...they LOVED her!...she integrated with her class very easily and even participated in the rehearsals for the end-of-shool-year pageant! LOL! ..."unfortunately", because of the rehearsal, they couldn't fully evaluate her in math and motor skills (she's inverting her numbers and is having difficulty distinguishing left and right...we are working on that!)...so, she didn't get evaluated on her "weak" issues! ...
Anyway, I paid for the following today:
$230.00 - complement of enrollment fee
$160.00 - English books
$25.00 - Spanish books
$45.86- set of uniforms (3 daily, 3 PE)
=======
$460.86 total

(to be discounted from the $500 my boss gave me for Ale's school!) =)

which means the total cost to me is $100 (that I had previously paid) ...The remaining $39.14 will go towards shoes! (she needs black shoes for daily and white tennis shoes for PE...will get those end-of June or beginning of August, as Ale's feet DO grow much faster than the rest of her! LOL!)

Another one!!

May 24th, 2006 at 11:08 pm

$319.56 has been "converted" from 37% annual to 5% annual via the loan...woo-hoo!!... $1.5K in cc to go!!!

car related expenses - 060523

May 24th, 2006 at 07:51 pm

$16.87 for 4.84 gallons of gas, due to more "normal" driving this week!

new umbrellas

May 24th, 2006 at 07:48 pm

My old umbrella died at the end of last rainy season...so did Ale's...and so did the one that we kept at the house (they were cheap ones!)...so, I just bought 1 large umbrella for the house, and 1 small one for myself...I didn't find one for Ale yet... $10.49 for both umbrellas...stupidly enough, I didn't have them budgeted...(It's not as if I didn't know the old ones had to be replaced!!)...oh, well

Another CC got zapped!

May 24th, 2006 at 05:46 pm

woo-hoo!!...now, this debt did not "disappear", but got "converted"...
this is one of the cc's I paid off with the loan from one of the directors...so, while the $555.10 debt still exists, it has gone from 36.72% annual to 5% annual! yipeeeee!!

I meant $65 PER MONTH!!

May 24th, 2006 at 04:42 pm

LOL!...the people at the co-op made a mistake...I reduced (or thought I had!) the amount going to my savings account from $90/month, to $65/month, thus "cancelling" the increase from the old loan to the new one...the guy misunderstood me and he deducted $65 per pay period! (or $130/month!)...fortunately, it's all sitting in my savings account! oh, well, I already sent an email correcting it and, will try to live without it! (this fund is to be used towards Ale's school expenses anyway!)...no wonder my salary seemed so low!!

I can see my desk!

May 23rd, 2006 at 11:04 pm

well...parts of it, anyway!!...which, believe me, is a HUGE step in the right direction...now, if I can stay clear of any storms, this could be decent by the end of June! LOL!

Wow! $10,684.27

May 23rd, 2006 at 08:42 pm

...I keep an extra worsheet detailing all the cc's that have been cancelled....I was looking at it today and, back in August 2005, the total balance for all these cc's (only for the ones that have since been CANCELLED, mind you!) was $10,684.27 ....I feel so happy with myself!

That's why they never put it in writing!!

May 23rd, 2006 at 08:33 pm

Aval Card is the worst!...when I took an extra-financing about a year ago, they told me that: 1. this would be a fixed amount to pay each month (true) 2. the interest rate on it was also fixed and would not be increased (ture) and 3. that if mid-way through the term established for repayment I could pay a SUBSTANTIAL amount towards the principal, I could either continue paying the same fixed amount until all was paid off or ask them to re-work the payments for the same amount of time (and, obviously, a lower monthly payment!)...well, someone just loaned me $1,000 at a 5% annual rate (considerably better than the 22% I'm currently paying THEM)...but, since I'm practically converting all my cc debts into loans, I'm left with "fixed" monthly payments, as opposed to decreasing ones...so, I thought paying the $1,000 towards this one would be a good idea...but, since I know them so well by now, I went and DOUBLE CHECKED before making the payment...guess what?... you cannot rework the payments!!...if you pay off the whole principal, then they'd knock off the interest...but that's the only deal you can get (and, no, the $1,000 doesn't cover it!...)so, I opted for paying off 2 cc's with a lower balance and putting the remainder towards THE LAST cc!!...

I still havent made those payments, but will post as soon as I do!!

The moral of the story??...ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS re-check any info given to you that's not in writing!! (and, these companies here love to send you to their call centers as opposed to having someone talk to you directly!...i WENT to the bank...the lady in customer service sat me down and dialed the call center for me!!...how's that for avoiding accountability!)

blood test results!

May 23rd, 2006 at 07:06 pm

my sis finally managed to call the neurologist at the right time to get the results read via phone (yep, we do that here!...and it's free! - imagine it gets factored in in the original visit's fee!)...there are traces of cysticercos...which means that other doctor that said she'd never had them, but that she had a tumor, was wrong...now we have to wait until August for the new MRI...the really fancy one, with the enzyme reader, which the doctor claims can almost show your hidden thoughts! (LOL!)

...so, while we are not completely at ease, it does help a lot!

Tin Marin

May 23rd, 2006 at 06:13 pm

The children's museum...
This is where Ale's class went today...she was soooo excited!
http://www.tinmarin.org/index.html

powdered milk on sale!

May 23rd, 2006 at 03:00 pm

Anchor milk advertised a sale in the newspaper (full page, full color ad) at $9.95 for a can of 1.8 Kg (13.8 liters)...now, this generally sells for $12.52...I have been buying the Australian (which is good, and much cheaper...their 1.8 Kg, USED to be $9.98... now sells for $11.00...)
I went to one supermarket and asked them to check the price before ringing it up, and, they said $12.52!!!...I told the cashier about the ad on the paper, and she went to get it and showed it to her manager, but he refused to grant the sale price! (needless to say, I'm not going to THAT branch anymore!...not that I ever went regularly before, it was just on my way to church that day!)...so, after church we went to a different supermarket (different chain), and they DID give us the special!!... I bought 2 cans, and, since the sale ends on the 25th, am thinking about getting 2 more (the way Ale drinks milk, believe me, they're worth it!)...of course, this is not on budget, but, it will "even out" over time because we won't have to buy milk for a couple of months (If I get the other 2 cans)

Pretty picture!

May 22nd, 2006 at 09:57 pm

I just LOOOOOVE this new pic of me and my DD!



...and she's not only beautiful, she's very smart, as well!...yesterday she was reading a sign on a friend's door (apt complex) that said: Visitors, please identify yourselfs to the guard...she read it first out loud, and then was quiet for a while and then she said: Mom! I just read that sign silently and it's much faster than reading out loud!

New debit card!

May 22nd, 2006 at 04:05 pm

I went and requested a debit card from my bank yesterday...I don't know if I blogged about this or not, but, back when I was so loaded with problems, I decided to go without one because I LOST 5 in a period of 6 WEEKS!!...and, the last one I lost the same day I got it!!!...Now that the situation has changed so much, I decided it was time to give the debit card another try!...so, I requested a new one on Saturday...and already used it at the supermarket on Sunday...I'm happy to report that #1. I still have it! and, #2, I spent $66, which is "on budget" - my budget USED to be $40/week, but, things are so expensive, now it varies between $60-$70....depending on whether I have to buy things like shampoo or deodorant or hair color...this time I had to buy a shampoo for Ale and a flea collar for Fiona...so that was $5.53...I also gave in and bought Ale 2 yogurts at $0.49 each, so that's $6.51 total "above" what I would have normally paid...

I'll keep you updated on my progress ref use of the debit card!


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