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Archive for September, 2006

It's 12:42...do you know where YOU are??

September 30th, 2006 at 11:44 pm

I'm barely conscious...I just finished my business plan...and I'm not too sure the last 3 sentences I wrote made any sense...anyway, we have a final final final review tomorrow night, so I might have to work on it again, but, at least it's 98% finished...all it needs is touch ups and then it goes for the "official" review and comes back to be re-written, er, corrected and submitted to the judges...

wish me luck!

First purchase order for Toys -2006!!

September 29th, 2006 at 04:58 pm

Woo-hoo! we have our first order for toys this year!!...it's for 78 toys...our profit should be ~$350 (each) ...

I could put this toward my $20 challenge, but that would be cheating in a way...because this is something we do every year....(it IS, however, going towards debt!)


060930-2006 goals update

September 29th, 2006 at 02:09 pm




1. keep better track of my spending- September was BAD for expense tracking…the good news is, October offers me a new opportunity!

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: $13.9K total: ~$8.1K (refinanced) loan, ~$2.8K car loan, ~$863 personal loan, $1.6K other personal loan… Phone bill is $500...a work in progress...another one that won’t get taken off the list!

5. Help Ale find a way to earn those $3 she's missing to open her account with HER OWN money...didn´t open the piggy bank in Sept…will probably wait until it´s full…she lost another tooth…but, since she LOST the tooth at school (and couldn’t find it!) Raton Perez only left her $0.50 –as a consolation prize!

The cocktail went well!

September 28th, 2006 at 06:25 pm

...there were enough leftovers that we know no-one went hungry...but few enough that there really was no waste! (4 mushrooms, 2 pieces of chicken pate sandwiches and about 5 cherry tomato & mozzarella sticks)...1/8 bottle of whisky, 6 diet cokes, 6 sprites, 8 regular cokes, 6 mineral waters, 1 bottle of red wine and 2 of white wine (all the liquor got put away for the next event/party, so there's no waste!)...everyone liked the food that I chose (someone said: it was the perfect choice and well-balanced)...so, I'm happy about this now...
NEXT!

ok, I think I know now...

September 28th, 2006 at 04:51 pm

ANOTHER $20 are missing from my purse...since we installed the lock and, since I had it yesterday night at 9:30pm when I undressed and, since I don't have it now at work, it HAS to be someone from home...there is only 1 likely suspect (despite his claiming it might have been the nanny...#1, Nanny has been with us for 7 years and NOT A CENT has ever been missing...she does put things away in places you'd never think logical, but, nothing has ever been missing...#2, yesterday, when I arrived, nanny was gone already and today, when I left, she hadn't arrived yet...so, that theory is total BS... worst thing is, I just called the house and I could hear him yelling at the nanny....THAT I will not have...I already phoned my sister...she's taking care of it right now ...I just hope nanny doesn't take the "maid way" and just decide to not show up anymore!)...so, so sad....

It might have been the cocktail!

September 28th, 2006 at 02:48 pm

I really hadn't even thought about this until this morning, but, now that we are actively working on it and things are actually falling into place, the anxiety level seems to be going down....
gotta go see the rental people, who just arrive with the plates and glasses!

uneasy

September 28th, 2006 at 08:56 am

I've been feeling kind of "off" lately...like something isn't clicking, or something is missing...(kind of like when you didn't do your homework, or when you didn't study for a test, or the night before a big date...)...I don't know what is causing it...at first I thought it was just anxiety from the things that have been happening at home, and that changing the locks would make it go away (I feel much safer, though! so that's good)...but, that wasn't really it...right now I'm blaming it on my unfinished business plan (we have agreed to the changes to be made with my counselor and, he will come to my house on Saturday and we will work on it until it's finished...)...it might also be that I feel lonely...(recurrent feeling...it comes and goes...) ...or, it might be that I'm late with the rent (this hasn't happened in a long time, so "reliving" the bad days might be it...)
Anyway, I'm feeling weird...of course, the added stress from NOT knowing what it is is not helping!

Contest update

September 27th, 2006 at 08:56 am

today is the last day to turn in our business plans to our counselors, so they in turn can give them to the organizations involved for review...this is just to see what progress we've made...then we have until Oct 16, at noon, to turn in the corrected/complete plan for judging...

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed, I must confess...

$50 more!

September 26th, 2006 at 03:28 pm

unfortunately, it'll take $60 to pay for the new lock installed in our house (weird stuff has been going on!)

another $100 (but, I lost $20!)

September 25th, 2006 at 08:10 am

I got paid $100... I went out of the city this weekend and paid $10 for gas, and $2 for beverages at the gas station...upon my return we ordered a pizza and I paid $8.99....today I gave Ale her $2...but, I only got $57.01 in my purse...meaning $20 are "missing"!...My nephew hasn't had any access to my bag (nobody really has...except at the hotel where we stayed on Saturday, since we were at the pool all day!...)...hmmmm, will have to check my room tonight to see if the bill turns up....(it was all $20's originally, and, I DO have all the "change": 2 X $1, 1X $5 and 1X $10, so I'm missing a $20 bill!)...weird, weird...

$100 more for September

September 14th, 2006 at 12:48 pm

much-needed money coming in! $100 more for my $20 challenge...

Have separated $20 for our long weekend and, the rest has to go towards debt!

Made my first payment for boss #2 for the 5% loan...yay!

Some day, I'll REALLY be debt-free!

Contest update - meeting the counselor

September 13th, 2006 at 04:00 pm

well, today we finally got to meet our counselors!...the good news is, since this was delayed for almost 2 weeks, all other dates get "shifted" accordingly, too!...which means I need to submit my preliminary plan by Oct 1st, as opposed to Sept 19th (yay! that means I get to work on it during the week of 23-28, when my "kids" are away at training!!)

I liked my counselor, so that is another plus!

Sept 2005 vs Sept 2006

September 13th, 2006 at 10:56 am

Well, last year I was also getting over Ale's sickness (financially)...seems to be another cycle, that she gets sick about August or thereabouts...should keep my eyes/ears open to try to find out what happens!....

I was dreaming of paid-out cc's (now a reality!...I'm not debt-free, but it's loans now, not cc's, so, in a sense, it's "better!)...

I was looking for a job that paid more....still at the same place, earning the same money...

all in all, I'd say September 2005-2006 seems "even"...if anything, I'd say I'm in a parallel place, only "higher" than it was before!

$200 for September

September 13th, 2006 at 10:51 am

$100 collected on 060909
$100 collected on 060912

This goes to my $20 challenge for Sept.

Ale and her $2/week

September 13th, 2006 at 08:16 am

Well, last week she had the pizza lunch ($2, so no snacks all week!) and, this week, she bought a beef stew lunch (says she ate her lunch but was still hungry... ??? MY Ale, still hungry???...this is a miracle!)...

We also had a talk about healthy snacks vs what is available at school, and she promised she'll try to opt for the juices, fruits and cookies instead of cheese puffs and candy....she prefers juice to soda anyway (I must have done something right!)

But, today she complained that she hasn't put any money in her piggy bank lately....so, I told her that's because she has been spending the full $2 instead of saving!...

Our Christmas season has officially started!

September 12th, 2006 at 10:14 am

by "our" I mean mine and my cousin's...our catalogue CD is ready, packed and the presentation letter is finished...that means we (or, rather, she) start distribution today! ...we made a list of 25 companies to which we are going to send the CD's ...of those, 5 are customers from last year...so, our goal is to have at least 5 new customer this year!...

Once those are distributed, we are going to once more approach the principal of the school where we sold supplies last January, to see if we can do it again next year...we wouldn't have to buy much, as we have so much left over from last year...just some glitter glues, foamy and felt...

wish us luck! as this could be my "$254/month" difference for next year!

The Dress!

September 12th, 2006 at 08:07 am

oh, yeah! Capital "D"....here's Ale in her volcaneña dress...

Typical pose to show off this dress


She definetely still doesn't know how to hold it

Feeling pretty



That's it! we are decluttering this weekend!

September 12th, 2006 at 07:36 am

the nanny washed Ale's white tennis shoes yesterday, and set them to dry on top of one of the beams in the laundry room...Needless to say, today I almost went crazy looking for the shoes (she is not allowed to come to school unless in "full" uniform, these are the only white tennis shoes she has...so, it was either find the shoes or stay home for her!)...I turned the house upside down and, in the process, saw A LOT of opportunity for decluttering - a bunch of size 11 and 12 shoes, for example, when Ale is already wearing shoes 2 sizes bigger than that!....so, this coming weekend (long weekend due Independence day!) Ale and I are going to try to declutter the house a bit!

(oh, and the shoes were still WET! I had to put them in the OVEN!!! -- we don't have a dryer...)

The 'hidden' costs of schooling!

September 8th, 2006 at 07:58 am

...it's September, this month we commemorate our independence from Spain (Central America on the 15th, Mexico on the 16th)...so, today, the K4, K5 and Prepa students are having a "typical breakfast" at school...I was asked to bring fried platains (thank God! this is inexpensive!...12 platains/ $1!)...other parents are bringing other stuff...AND, on Monday, they are having their Independence pageant, so Ale has to wear a traditional costume (either volcaneña - more colorful, less expensive if done in shiny fabric than if done in "manta"... or Izalqueña - I like this one better, seems more "traditional"...the other one really is from after the "Conquistadores" ...but, it's waaay more expensive...so volcaneña, I guess...) Her old one no longer fits!...so I need to buy her one and the leather sandals, too...these get worn 2x a year in ES, as you also wear them also for Oct 12 (which is Dia de la Raza in Latin America, as opposed to Columbus Day! ...and, yes, we get protests, too!)...oh, and on December 12 if you are a Catholic, in commemoration of the appearance of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego (he was sainted last year!)...this is part of the Salvadoran school reality: you HAVE to have a traditional costume!...I got lucky the first few years, as a friend from work gave us some of her daughter's (who was 2 years older than Ale...) but, we have since lost contact...and we don't have my niece's from so far back (only from about 2 years ago...we are saving those!)...
so, off to the market I go!

sales and clearances

September 7th, 2006 at 02:04 pm

...I went shopping...My cousin called me to let me know about some sales: Brown Hush Puppies shoes for me at $10 (for work) and a pair of leather sandals also at $10..., and, 2 pajamas for Ale (she's outgrown all her pajamas!)and a pair of pink pants (she has a bunch of size 4 clothes that barely fit and a bunch of size 8-10 clothes that don't fit yet!)...total for all these was $45...and, today, I went into a dept store that is having a clearance to look for the bed for Ale....and, they didn't have the kind of bed I want, but, they had toys at 50% off (no, I didn't buy any toys, I just looked at them and called my cousin to see if we can use any of what they have for our Xmas toy business...)but, to do so I went through the children's clothing section...and found some Xclamation jeans at $3.99 and a nice skirt at $2.99....I also spotted a nice picture frame with "graduation" embossed in it (50% off $9.98), which would be perfect for my niece (she graduates high school in a couple of months)...
so, now I feel very guilty....but, looking at the bright side...it went on the debit card! (no interest and no fees!)...so...now I have to find a way to earn enough money to replace what I spent: ~$57 in total...

Good news!

September 6th, 2006 at 01:02 pm

As an exercise to keep me focused (or rather, to re-focus me), I worked on a "budget" for next year ...actually, not...I just took the total budget amount per month for variable expenses (from my expense tracking excel sheet)for this year, upped it by 4% and then multiplied by 12...then added up the fixed expenses per month (utilities, rent, nanny, savings account - all $20!)and multiplied that X 12, then added to the previous total...then took my net monthly salary + vacation + yearly bonus and compared the two: TADA!!...
there's about $325 difference per month...that is, my salary is BELOW the "budget" by $325/month...the good news?? Last time I did this, the difference was $400+....so, if I keep working at lowering the variable expenses/debt this year, AND to find ways to earn more ($20 challenge), I could reach "break even" point by June 2007! ....I would be finally be living "within my means"! LOL!...six months more and Jan 2008 would find me living BELOW my means! ....this is faaaaaaaar better than the black hole of debt in which I was last year!

Plus, this exercise helps me retake the tracking and other frugal exercises!

Praying for more translations to come my way in these last few months of 2006!

I am becoming unfocused

September 6th, 2006 at 07:58 am

I hate it!...that 1.5 week out messed everything up!...I lost my habit of recording every expenditure (trying hard to get it back!) plus, I had so much backlogged work, I feel swamped!....AND, since I wasn't here to take care of payments, and the other admin hasn't processed any in so long, she processed them wrong, so we defaulted on ALL utility payments (which means you cannot pay at the bank, but have to go directly to the utility company) AND, that next moth I'll also have to go to the utility company because the invoices will include this month's amounts...so you have to go there to have a new invoice re-issued! (not to mention that I'll get chewed over the overdue fees!)......then there are the problems with the cars (the managers managed to lose 1 license plate - you cannot drive with just one here, you HAVE to have the 2!....and also to lose the car registration card for another car! ugh!)...one of our major trainings is coming up, too, and I'm in charge of logistics for that one...and we don't even have the final attendee list~

I guess I'm feeling overwhelmed!

Princess Perky would be proud of me!

September 5th, 2006 at 07:26 am

I baked cookies with Ale yesterday...or, I should say I helped Ale bake cookies yesterday...she read the ingredient list and I had her measure them, and we spoke about 1/4 cups and 1/8 teaspoons and so on...she also read the recipe "instructions" once and then I was reading them to her step by step so she could follow it!...Obviously, I put the cookies in the oven and then took them out, but, for the most part, she made them!!...the result: yummy banana cookies (sans raisins: we don't keep any at the house!) which she proudly took to school today!

060831- 2006 goals update

September 1st, 2006 at 08:14 am


1. keep better track of my spending- The last two weeks were awful!...since I was “away” at the workshop for 1 full week, arriving home late and obviously not in the mood to track spending (see? That, according to Dr. Camilo Cruz, is a “cow”! aka an excuse or habit that keeps me from doing what I want to do!)…well, I have tracked as much as I could and, I’m overbudget again this month! …Ale’s sickness hasn’t helped and, to top it all off, I gave in to “temptation” and bought way too many books at the training center’s bookstore!...This goal has been included in the “contract” with myself that they made us draw up at the workshop!!

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: $14.1K total: ~$8.2K (refinanced) loan, ~$2.8K car loan, ~$900 personal loan, $1.6K other personal loan… Phone bill is $600...a work in progress...another one that won’t get taken off the list!

5. Help Ale find a way to earn those $3 she's missing to open her account with HER OWN money..have to open the piggy bank again and count the $$ to take it to the bank!

060831 - $20 challenge update

September 1st, 2006 at 08:09 am

Total for August
Challenge statistics:
to discount from challenge this month:
-$0.00

Earned in July: $835.00

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
Net for June: $32.50
Net for July: $210.00
Net for August: $835
Total ytd for 2006 (net):$2,346.95

TARGET: $4,000

$1,653.15/ 4 months to go!