Wide Open Wallet

An honest look at family finances

Archive for February, 2009

High of 85 today and tomorrow.  I’ve finally admitted it’s not going to be cool again any time soon and broke out the shorts.  :(  I know in other parts of the country it’s a happy day when you wear shorts for the first time.  But not here… if it’s 85 in February what is it going to be in July?

But I’m not going to let that ruin the truly gorgeous day we have in front of us today.  My husband and I are going on our monthly date tonight (just under the wire) so I’m looking forward to that.

Ok, I have to share this with you… I was sitting here typing away on this post and my husband comes in and says..

“I want a watch I can wear to work.  I don’t want to wear this one (pointing to his nice watch).  I want something cheap, but not too cheap.  The other one I have is too cheap for work….. You know, that one I found in the bushes.”

LOL… How weird that the watch you found in the bushes is too junky to wear to work.

Well… here’s your round up.

The Carnival of Personal Finance included my post How to help your schools without spending and extra dime.

Remodeling this Life gave a list of things she can do in 10 minutes.  It reminds me of a quote… “Some people spend years putting off a 10 minute job.”  True huh?

Master Your Card talks about a customer-centric culture.

One Frugal Girl asks if overweight citizens be financially rewarded for exercise?

Money Ning shared some strange ways that companies sometimes do layoffs.

The Digerati Life gives some cheap meals and easy dinners.

No Debt Plan talks about peer to peer lending in a down economy.

My Super Charged Life discusses living up to your full potential.

M is for Money lays out Adjusted Gross Income.

My Wife Quit Her Job gives mental tips for lazy people on starting a business.

Financial Nut suggests moving your Excel spreadsheet budget to Google Docs so you can access it from anywhere.

pic by: twid

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  • Filed under: roundup
  • February in Review

    I know it’s quite the end of February but I don’t think another two days is going to make much of a difference.  But it’s been another great month!  Wohoo!  Most monthly traffic ever, once again, and subscribers went from 350 to 425!  Gotta love it.

    Here are the most popular February posts (according to page views):

    100 Uses for Vinegar
    Finding Frugality
    Budget Percentages
    Pay Cuts vs. Layoffs
    Starting a Business
    A Trip to Costco (I wrote this post in July and we are just now running out of the stuff I bought that day)
    Help Your Schools Without Spending an Extra Dime
    5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Savings
    Grocery Store Mind Games
    Wide Open Wallet is One Today!

    And here are my top referrers for the month:

    Remodeling this Life (no change)
    Living Almost Large (no change)
    Not the Jet Set (+7)
    Saver in the City (new!)
    My Two Dollars (new!)
    No Credit Needed (-1)
    M is for Money (-3)
    No Debt Plan (-5)
    Master Your Card (-1)
    Shaking the Money Tree (new!)

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    Show up!

    Have you ever heard the quote “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” by Woody Allen?  I heard that quote for the first time about 10 years ago and I didn’t really understand what it meant.  Over the years, I’ve mulled it around in my brain and seen it quoted other places.

    Eighty Percent of success is showing up.

    Over the past year or so I’ve started to understand what “showing up” means.  It doesn’t just mean to be physically present.  It means to be engaged, active, excited, plugged-in, and enthusiastic.  Success comes when you show up mentally, spiritually, and physically.  It’s about bringing your A game and not just going through the motions.

    You will be successful because you already have an edge against almost everyone else.  Most people don’t show up.

    Eighty percent of success is showing up.

    School is the perfect example of being successful because you show up.  When I think of the people in my classes I’m astounded by how many people there don’t seem to care.  You have to pay attention, study, do your homework, all those activities require “showing up”.  It’s not enough to sit in the back of the room and send text messages to your friends.  You have to listen, participate, ask questions, take notes, and do the reading.  If you want to be successful you have to show up!

    Eighty percent of success is showing up.

    My dad recently told me a story about a guy he knows.  This guy was a plumber in rural Nebraska. A plumber, nothing more, nothing less.   He got the contract to do the plumbing for a new motel that was being built in his town.  About half way through the project the General Contractor quit.  The motel company called Mr. Plumber and asked him if he could take on the role of General Contractor and finish the motel.  He said he would.

    He showed up.

    Turns out he did such a good job that the motel company gave him a contract for 1,000 new motels.  Mr. Plumber made $5 million.  $5 million just for showing up.  He said “Yes” when asked and then did the best job he could.  He showed up and it paid off handsomely.

    Are you showing up?

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  • Filed under: life
  • Correction

    The sweatshirt in the give away is an Extra Large. Not an Extra extra Large.  My mistake.

    I had an extra extra large one too but I gave that one to my brother in law.  Then I got confused. I wanted to correct this mistake in a new post so that those who are reading this in their reader know that I corrected this mistake.

    Sorry… thanks!

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  • A give away for my USC fans

    Do I have any USC fans out there?  We are about to find out.  When I was cleaning out the closet the other day I found an XL USC sweatshirt, never worn, still with tags on.  I thought about selling it on Ebay but I’d rather just give it away.

    Here it is… Keep in mind that it’s XL.

    So quick and easy… just leave a comment on this post before Sunday at 3:00 pm Pacific Time.  I’ll use a random number generator to pick a winner.

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  • I got laid off

    Don’t worry, It’s not as bad as it soundsRemember my babysitting job?  I watch watched a little boy before school and then got him on to the bus.  Well, the kid’s dad got laid off a few weeks ago.  When his mom told me this I basically said “Well, give me a call when you need me again.”  Cause why would they take their kid to daycare when Dad is home?  But they still wanted to bring him, so I let them.  I’m not about to turn away money.

    First the Dad’s car broke and he spent like 2 or 3 weeks shopping for a new one.  This I don’t get.  And of course he couldn’t possibly even start looking for a job until he had a car.  He got a new car about two weeks ago.  Maybe once he started looking they realized the job market sucks right now and getting another job isn’t going to be all gumdrops and roller skates.

    So yesterday morning no one showed up.  I thought maybe they overslept or something.  But when I get out to the bus stop the little boy is there.  I asked him, “Why didn’t you come play this morning?”  He said, “Oh, I’m not coming over any more.”  So I called his mom and she tells me that his dad still hasn’t gotten a job and they don’t want to spend the money when his dad is home and can watch him.

    So there it is… I got laid off.  Not really a big deal.  I’m actually kind of relieved.  The kid had a bad attitude, which I can deal with, but it was rubbing off on my own kids.

    All in all I made $145.  Which was worth it.  I have been tucking away the money in my sock drawer and haven’t decided what to do with it yet.  I think I might put it in the vacation fund.

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  • Filed under: career
  • Well, I’m late again… but at least I’m doing it.  Here is how we’ve spent our money so far this month as of the 17th.  This is for the project over at Finance for a Freelance Life.

    Groceries: $341

    Eating out: $161

    Gas: $107

    Medical: $20

    Haircut: $14

    Valentines day: $30

    Household stuff: $71

    Birthday gift: $17

    Credit card payment: $120

    Electricity: $178

    Car Insurance: $130

    Life Insurance: $100

    I’m surprised at the grocery bill so far.  Yikes!  We only budget $400 so hopefully there isn’t much left to buy.  I guess I only have to go grocery shopping one more time this month, so we should be fine.  I’m also surprised we spent $30 on Valentines day.  And that doesn’t count the salmon we bought for dinner, I counted it in groceries.

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  • Filed under: Budget
  • Roundup

    Happy Saturday!!

    I think I will be painting my new office today.  I can’t wait.  I have some sky blue paint left over from my daughter’s bedroom that will go perfect in there.  Then when it drys I can start moving in all our officey type stuff like envelopes, printer paper, the scanner, ect.  This will seriously clear out some room in the hall closet which is desperately needed.  For a 2400 square foot house we have no storage to speak of.  So I’m pretty excited to get things better organized. I’ll try to take some pics so you can see a before and after.

    Oh!  And a quick update on my Goodwill vs. Ebay debate.   I ended up selling a text book and one movie on Amazon.  They both sold within hours and I was able to ship them the next day, which is something I love about Amazon, no waiting for the auction to end or for payments.  Anyways, I made $60 which is enough to buy the TV stand I had picked out.  So wohoo!

    And the round up…

    The Simple Dollar laid out the recipe for breakfast burritos as well as step by step instructions (with pictures!) on how to freeze them for quick, easy, cheap, and healthy breakfasts for the whole month.

    Almost Frugal listed some free online activities for kids.  All educational of course.

    Financial Nut had a hilarious post of an email exchange between a customer and a debt collector.  I was in tears with laughter.

    Four Pillars discussed Conotels.  I had never heard of such a thing.

    My Super-Charged Life gives step by step instructions on how to be a control freak.

    The Ultimate Money Blog listed some unique uses for Baking Soda.  Pair this with my 100 uses for Vinegar and you’ve really got some money saving tips there.

    Get Rich Slowly tells us how to build confidence and destroy fear.

    Frugal Dad asks who handles the bills?

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  • Guest Post

    I can’t believe I forgot to mention this yesterday.

    I have a guest post up over at Not the Jet Set.  Please go check it out.  You can find out how much I got back for a tax return and what I plan to do with it.  And leave a comment over there, or here, to let me know if you are getting a return and what you are going to do with it.

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  • Filed under: taxes
  • Business Start-up Costs

    I haven’t written much about our business since I mentioned that I started it.  Mostly because I’m still trying to get things going and we haven’t had any work.  But I thought I would list our start up costs for you.

    Phone: $20 to set it up. I added a line to our family plan for $10 a month.  The phone was free, but I had to pay taxes on it which was $20.  Since I got it at Costco they waived the $35 activation fee.

    PO Box:  $21 for six months.  I’m trying to avoid having our home address as the business address.  It’s not the type of business that will get a lot of mail and I certainly won’t have people coming to my house so no need to have my home address out there for strangers to see.

    Insurance:  $958 to get it started.  This is two months of general liability insurance, a years worth of workers comp, and a years worth of an umbrella policy, I believe.

    Quickbooks: $70, normally $140 but I had a $70 coupon from Costco.  I love them so much!

    Tradename: $35 to register our business with the state.  It cost an extra $25 to have it expedited, normally it’s $10.

    Shipping: $8.00 to FedEx the contracts to the company that is hiring us.  Wohoo!

    So that’s $1,112 so far.  Not too bad.  I think all I need now is a bank account, which will be free to start, and my tax ID for the state, which is also free to get.  I mailed my tax ID today and I need my Tradename to be approved by the state before I can get a bank account, which is why I expedited it.  Should have that early next week.

    It has also had some indirect costs such as the computer rearranging I mentioned yesterday.  We have picked out a $40 stand for the TV in the family room and I am going to paint my new office, but I’ll be using some paint that was left over from my daughter’s room.  We also emptied a bunch of DVDs off a bookcase to move up to the office.  So we are donating our bookcase to the business and needed a binder thing to put the DVD’s in.  And then obviously gas, time, stress, ect.

    pic by: angusf

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  • 5 Comments
  • Filed under: business
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