our faucet in the kitchen started leaking all of a sudden...BADLY!...so we called the plumber...we also asked him to fix the basin in the downstairs bathroom, which looked like it was about to fall off! (I had already declared it off-limits for Ale...she might have broken her foot!)...total was $40!!!...O*U*C*H!
Oh, well....the way that faucet was leaking, I'd probably would have spent just as much on next month's water bill!
Archive for January, 2007
well, there's a new initiative to improve the purchasing process...and I've been added to the team...my job will be mostly to test the procedures and give ideas...still, it's nice to be considered for something like this...
they sent out a survey on the existing processes today...as I told my boss (Director), I was as honest as possible but without being nasty about the problems we've encountered...
soooo....since Ale couldn't find her colored pencils,the next case was to come out of her piggy bank...first she asked: can I take out just $1?....sure! we'll see which kind of colors you can buy with that...first she went straight to the nicer cases: $4... $3.60....ok, to the cheaper ones...$1.71.... $1.41.... $1.27 ....OK! a case for $0.99...How much will I have left? $0.01....hmmmm...just one cent??...can we find other ones??....ok, we found a case of 12/24 (12 pencils/24 colors) for $0.85 (on sale)...those ones, Mommy!....
and, yesterday morning she must have still been thinking about this because she asked: Mommy, who will buy the next case of colored pencils??...so I said to her: It depends. If these are all used up, then I have to buy them, because that is my responsibility as a parent, to provide you with the stuff you need to study, but, if you lose them, then YOU will be paying for them, because it's your responsibility to take care of the stuff that I give you....
so, I guess taking the $0.85 out of her piggy bank (she put back the change!) REALLY hurt!
1. Control expenses and make sure total is at or below budgeted amounts for category/month, any “leftovers” in categories will go towards debt!...well, I went overbudget in: House (1 additional rent payment to be up to date), Fun, Other, Events (due best friend's wedding!) and Debt (this is actually good, since it means I "spent" more on paying down debt than what was budgeted!)
2. Continue to lower my overall debt - I started Jan 05 with ~$17K and Jan 06 with $~11K (with ~$8K for a loan and ~$3K in cc debt)... Jan '07 started with $16.5K …. Expect to pay about $5K this year- not counting interest! balance for 31/dec was $16.5K, balance for 30/jan is $15.5K
3. Start my own business– formally: E-Spiral is the name, translation is our business (G-d and Ale are my partners!)… and contact at least 4 new potential customers per month, so as to find 50 pages of translations per month in 1Q07, getting to 150 in 4Q07…. From Jan – July: 40% of each job will go towards debt, 40% back into the business, 10% into savings (to fund my Freedom Fund!) and 10% to the Padre Vito Guarato Home. From Aug-Dec 07 percentages to be 30,40,20,10 ….hopefully, I’ll be able to quit my current job by mid 2008!! Contacted only 2 new customers, and worked on my presentation for the Min. of Tourism, which should have been delivered today, but I ran into some technical trouble with the music...
4. Help Ale earn/save $25 for her savings account by 071231!...she earned $5 for her help with the toy/school supply sale...but, took away $0.85 to replace the colored pencils she lost!
managed to collect another $100 for admin services last sunday...so, that's my first $100 for this year's $20 challenge!
so...Ale has managed to lose 2 cases of colored pencils since January 8th...when she lost the first one (Staed.ler ones!), I bought her the shortest, cheaper ones I could find...((you should have seen her face!)) ...I told her she couldn't have "nice ones" until she learned to take care of her things...I also warned her that these would be counted EVERY day...she just called me and said that her new pencils (bought last week!) had been "thrown into the garbage"...she said "the cleaning people at school threw them away"...she also said she spoke to the teacher about it...now, it is obvious to me that if the people from cleaning threw them away, they must have been on the floor or something...anyway, this weekend I'm making Ale take out money from HER piggy bank to buy new colored-pencils for school...she just HAS to learn to take better care of her things!
we are having a Telethon for the construction of new physical therapy centers here in ES...our company typically donates all the artist's flights, but we, as employees, also contribute...since last year the amount we brought was $10K, this year the goal is to reach $12K...so, they have organized a competition among all Vice-Presidencies, to see which one can collect the most...insider knowledge says we are in second place right now (ok, so one of our guys is dating an HR girl!)...we have collected about $800...there's a rally tomorrow and we're all hitting the malls to pester people for money, er, ask people to donate...a group is also going to the airport...what's nice is that, no matter who takes 1st place, we all win!
I'm proud to say that on Saturday I took my laptop with me and worked on my presentation to the Minister of Tourism...all it needs is some music..now I need to work on my cover letter, too!...once that is ready, I'll burn a CD and drop it by the Ministry...my deadline is next Tuesday!...I will work on the music today and tomorrow (first find something appropriate, then put it in)...
wish me luck!
there was an article on school lunch boxes (or, rather, what's in them!) in the newspaper...mentioning how a lot of kids end up getting only junk food, and outlining what a nutritious snack/lunch box should be packed...they even gave a Mon-Fri example, which looked quite yummy!...I'm happy to see that the stuff I pack in Ale's is considered nutritious, perhaps a bit on the "lean" side...but, then, Ale is not a big eater, so packing more would mean waste!...today, she had some low-fat yogurt and raisins, some fruit nectar (which costs less than the sugar + coloring beverages!) and a bag of pop-corn (to share with friends. I buy her 3 bags every two weeks, so it's not a daily thing)...these were her snacks...her lunch was chicken, rice and veggies....She also takes a half-liter bottle of water every day (which she refills at school)...so, eventhough she doesn't eat much, at least what she eats is well-balanced...and, now that she's only getting $1/week to spend, she really cannot buy too much junk food with that (and, I'm happy to say, she generally picks either fruit juice, potato chips and/or brownies...rather than, say, soda, cheese puffs or candy!)
since my nephew will steal any money within sight, I told cousin I could keep her money at my house and she could come and retrieve it as needed, instead of hiding it around her house (he's alone at the house all day, which means he has around 12 hours daily to search for her hiding places!)...well, the other day I needed $40 to pay the nanny (forgot to withdraw the money from the bank before going home)...since this was before a holiday (Jan 16th), I didn't want to send nanny home without cash, so I took $40 out of cousin's envelope and gave it to nanny...I told cousin and promised to repay her...for one reason or another, I haven't reimbursed her yet...she called me today to remind me that she needs her money...it made me so mad...I told her, yeah, I need MY money, too...she said; "Oh, I know, believe me I'm well aware that I owe you that money"...yeah, well, she's "been aware" for over a year now!...some people! aaaarrrrghhhh!...If I didn't consider it highly unethical, I would just keep the money and tell her to "put it on my tab"...
well, so far I've made 2 contacts (out of "required" 4)...this weekend I'm planning to tune up my presentation for the Minister of Tourism and, the plan is to drop it off at the Ministry no later than Wednesday next week!...
This year, actively seeking translations for the E-Spiral will be my $20 challenge...wish me luck!
unless it's exploitive (?) I am all for kids doing a little work (I used to work 2x a week at my parent's grocery shop)...helps them a lot, I think...Of course, it has to be age appropriate and should not interfere with their studies!
so, Ale helped with the school supply packages...she helped us set up things so we could make the packages (bringing stuff from the boxes to the table: 5 boxes of colored pencils, 5 boxes of jumbo crayons, 5 erasers, etc.) and she helped load/unload the cars (we carried the heavier packages and the papers, which are more delicate, but let her carry the small bags with the bottles of liquid soap and 1/8 gallons of glue, which are light enough for her to handle)...she also promoted the backpacks..which resulted in 5 additional ones being sold...so, we decided to give her some money ($5) for her work....since she was just helping because she likes it, it came as a surprise to her...I gave her 5 x $1 notes and told her I wanted her to keep at least $1 for her piggy bank...she thought about it and said: Mommy, I want to keep $3 for the piggy bank and use $2...(Yay!)...when we paid her, the first thing I told her to do was count it...right after she counted it, she separated $3 and gave them to me "for safekeeping until we put it in the piggy bank" and then took the other $2 and placed them in her wallet, as she wanted to use it at school...
I'm so proud!
we were puzzled yesterday when cousin got a call from the school administrator asking for an emergency meeting to discuss some "problems" with our school packages...we check every package with the parents to make sure the packages contain everything on the list and, whenever a parent doesn't like a product, we take it out and discount it accordingly (happens very seldom)...so, cousin went there and, thankfully, the only product where there is a real product is our plies (?) of bond paper...we were sold half-plies and were told that was the standard size...she reached an agreement with the administrator/teachers: the school will accept the plies from the parents, then gather them and give them back to us and we will replace them (no biggie, should be about $0.10 per plie and I don't think we sold more than 100 of those!)...the other "problems" were instances where teachers did not approve of certain brands we had used, but, the ADMINISTRATOR saw the substitutions and said to the teachers those complaints were unfounded, as the products we had used were of similar quality...another "problem" was that a teacher said she had requested metallic board paper and we had brought metallic wrapping paper...cousin asked that an original list be brought from the school files and TA-DA! there it was: papel estaño, not CARTULINA estaño (as in all other 4 lists!)...settled, in our favor!...yet another complaint was the fact that they had asked for a (brand) pencil sharpener, with two sharpeners,one for standard pencils, one for thicker pencils or crayons.. code 511-004....surprise, surprise, no such thing exists!...the (Brand) 511-004 only has one sharpener, for regular sized pencils...since they had used the code, we bought and sold the one correspoding to the code...the administrator said they'll accept them and make sure the same mistake is not made when writing up the lists for 2008...
Next!: the liquid soap bottles we provided did not come with a pump...the list only said: 1 liquid soap bottle, 230 ml (note: that size doesn't exist in the market, we had to buy the bottles and fill them!)...the administrator said: Teachers, you did not specify a pump, so you must accept the bottles ...
Other inconsistencies--that did not affect us, but that the administrator detected and ordered changed: one list requested Staedler Mongol pencils...Mongol is a trade mark of Paper Mate, so, which one is it? Mongol or Staedler pencils??...
Cousin also asked about the metallic netting they had requested (we were wondering what they used it for, and why it had to be metallic, for the 4-6 year olds, it seemed kind of dangerous!)...and told them of our concern about safety (we did get hurt and had "splinters" of metal while taping the ends with masking tape...but, with use, the masking tape will deteriorate and the ends will be exposed!)...she offered to make/bring them a sample made with plastic netting so they can see if it will serve the same purpose...they must have been very impressed, because the administrator asked her to come in October to meet with the teachers and review the lists before sending them to print! I guess this guarantees we will be allowed to sell again next year and, also gives us another advantage over our competitors!
That was my share of our earnings for the Xmas + School supply sales...
Allocated as follows:
staying on track with my proposed plan and re-working the numbers:
cc == $295.00 (to be paid tomorrow)
Ale's bed == $116 (PAID $108.53/ PENDING $8)
Ale's school == $137 (PAID)
Ale's transportation from school == $30 (PAID)
personal loan == $69.63 (PAID)
Infamous phone bill == $303.15 (PAID)
car maintenance (tires,brakes and shockabsorbers)== pending, depending on cousin's payment (wish me luck!)
Which basically means I'm "broke" again...but, Ale has a new bed and I have $597.37 less debt...and I'm up-to-date with all payments...I can DEFINETELY live with that!
Now, I need to re-focus my "outside of work" energies into the translation business!!
staying on track with my proposed plan and re-working the numbers:
from the toy sale$166)
cc == $50.00
Ale's bed ==to be paid today 070107
From the translation:
technical dictionaries + internet bill(investment in business as per allocation - $145.80)
From the school supply sale (?):
cc == $550 (expenses)
car maintenance (tires,brakes and shockabsorbers)
personal loan == $70
Infamous phone bill == $300
Payment due from cousin (!)
infamous phone bill!-- she says she'll give me at least $200... we'll see...this would be put towards cc == $200 (?)
Loan to pay for 2 months of school for her darling Prince last year: $170 ==
additional bedding set for Ale's bed +/-$30 and cc +/- $140
I keep playing around with these numbers!
Cousin and I have been working like crazy-- getting up at 6am and going to bed at midnight...it has paid off, though, we already made enough money to repay the loan to our cousin ($800), got back what we invested (about $300) AND, got $559 each...we may have to reinvest part of that, though!...we'll see how things go, we still have 3 more days, but we don´t want to go crazy like last year!!...
On non-financial related news, nephew R came by the other day....sis and I agree he´s NOT ok...another reason for worry is that we locked ourselves out of the house and he said: no problem...he simply took out some windows (we have the kind that open and shut to let in the air...) and slid sideways through the bars in front of the window (he´s THAT skinny)...took him less than 2 minutes!....I already bought a planter for that window, and, tomorrow I will go out and buy some soil and some thorny plants...I guess it IS financially related, since I will be spending some money on that...((sigh))
well, gotta go to bed...it´s 1:41am already!!
Just wanted to wish you all a wonderful 2007 and to let you know I´m still around!