Thursday, December 27, 2007

After Christmas Relaxation

Whew, made it through another Christmas without poking any family members in the eyes. Warning, long post ahead.

We went to my mom's house on Christmas Eve, and before we left, I check the mail. Dad's present is here. COOL! So, being the impatient person I am, I bust the box open. Inside is 4 cookbooks (one being the breast cancer edition of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which I've been pining for since I moved away from home), a butterfly necklace, a book light, and 3 miniature Pooh Bear ornaments.

We get to my mom's and haul our stuff in from the car (Christmas presents, laundry, knitting bag), and I'm carrying the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, as I've been skimming through it on the entire 30 mile drive from my apartment to mom's. Mom asks "Where'd you get that", and I replied "Dad sent it to me for Christmas, along with 3 other cookbooks and some other neat stuff."

We get in the car to go to my aunt and uncle's house, and my card from my Grandma is in there. Yay for Christmas money! We get to my aunt and uncle's, and my cousin is there. She's 30 weeks pregnant. She's absolute adorable with her baby bump. We talk about her pregnancy, and just catch up in general. Had a good visit, my other (loud) aunt shows up. Insta-headache. We eat dinner, visit, loud aunt, her hubby, and her mother-in-law leave. I tell aunt and uncle to open their gift I gave them (I made them an afghan). Aunt's eyes leak. We go back to my mom's.

Stay up visiting, mom steals my cookbook! She can't remember how long she needs to bake the ham for. Go to bed around 11.

Bed is uncomfy. And small. It's a full sized bed, R and I are used to sleeping on a king. Can't roll over without dang nearly knocking him out of the bed. Restless night's sleep. I keep waking up and going into the bathroom to recharge the glowy on my watch, as I know that my mom and stepdad normally get up around 7:30. 8 rolls around. They aren't up. 9:30 rolls around. They're up! They're cooking breakfast! HOORAY!!!!!! Mom's biscuits and Pop's hashbrowns here I come!

I have a cup of coffee, and open my stocking. 2 candy canes, a Sweet Storybook, a toothbrush, and a 1 liter Cherry Pepsi. Sweet. I put Cherry Pepsi in the fridge, and start helping with breakfast. Breakfast is delish.

We start handing out gifts. 4 for me, 3 for Roger, 1 each for Mom and Pop from Roger and I (they don't buy for each other since buying the house). I'm poised with the heaviest gift in my lap. Mom says "Open that one last." Okay, I grab another one. I start. Eggplant colored long sleeve shirt. Gorgeous! Ropens his. Long sleeved dress shirt. Pretty! I open the next one. Black fleece vest with red edging. I LOVES FLEECE. R opens, moss colored fleece jacket. Did I mention I loves fleece? I open next one, red turtleneck to go with vest. SWEET! Christmas outfit to wear! R opens his, it's an eggplant colored longsleeve shirt with stripes. Pretty!

I tell Mom and Pop to open their gifts. They both got afghans. Both of them tell me how pretty they are and how much they love them. Mom curls up with hers immediately. I'm down to my last (heavy) gift.

I open it. Guess what's inside!!!!

A breast cancer edition of the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook! I look at mom and start laughing. She says "Now, gimme that, now we have matching cookbooks. Go to Dillards, and each of you find yourself some shoes and put them on hold for me to buy for you."

SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. I loves shoes almost more than I love fleece.

All in all, I got the following: Sterling silver and mother of pearl butterfly ring, gorgeous butterfly (handmade!) necklace, a butterfly cloissone pin/pendant, $75.00, Guitar Hero 3 for my computer (ROCK ON!), 4 cookbooks, 6 ornaments, some clothes, and a pair of shoes.

I've already spent some of the Christmas money, bought myself a bathrobe, some yarn, and a knitting stitchionary (dictionary of all knitting stitches).

Hope everyone had a FANTASTIC Christmas.

Oh, got my grades back for last semester. 3 B's, a B-, a C+, and a missing grade. Giving it until Monday then emailing my instructor, but she already said it'd be a C or better.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas funny

Teehehehe, just a funny I found today out on the internets.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

And the tally says:

Safeway total spent: $73.90, total saved: $61.86

Albertsons total spent: $86.47, total saved: $40.34

Total spent: $160.37
Total saved: $ 102.50

Didn't figure I did too bad, plus we have meat coming from Omaha Steaks next Wednesday.

Little late than never, the menu!

Here's the menu for the month, I happened to get an awesome coupon for Omaha Steaks, so we have steaks and such coming this month.

12/13 - Soup and Sandwiches (R had his teeth worked on, so need something soft)
12/14 - Lasagna
12/15 - Subway (we generally get Subway every other weekend)
12/16 - Black bean burritos
12/17 - Beef Stew
12/18 - Chicken sandwiches
12/19 - Omelettes
12/20 - Burgers
12/21 - fend for yourself
12/22 - Steak, baked potatoes, etc
12/23 - Hashbrown soup and BLT's
12/24 - at mom's house, no cooking
12/25 - at mom's house, no cooking
12/26 - Chicken with rice and cream of mushroom soup
12/27 - Breakfast (biscuits and gravy?)
12/28 - Fend for yourself
12/29 - Burgers
12/30 - Chicken sandwiches
12/31 - Chicken and dumplings
1/1 - Hoppin' John and cornbread
1/2 - Steak, mashed potatoes, etc
1/3 - Black bean burritos
1/4 - Soup and sandwiches
1/5 - Subway

I know it's not for the whole month, but it's what I could think up right away. Going to go hit some sales around town on groceries, and I'll report back on total spending when I get home!

Also, as a side note, have gone 36 hours without a cigarette, and I haven't killed anyone!

Monday, December 10, 2007

First final grade result...

Drumroll please!

I got a B in my Juvenile Justice Systems class, we had our final this morning.

Have had 5 finals so far, one more to go tomorrow, and then I'm FREEEEEEEEEEEE for 2 weeks.

Saturday, December 8, 2007


I realize I haven't updated this in a while, school has been kicking my tush from here to Chinatown. However, come next Tuesday, I'm done with school for a few weeks. Starting to get majorly stressed out, and Friday I had all the thoughts of "I'm gonna flunk, I'm gonna fail out of school, I will have wasted 45k for nothing, my teachers dislike me..." Probably just the massive pile of stress that's weighing on my brain.

Still working on the afghans, I started one on a different set of needles (bigger ones) and I'm anxious to see how it's going to turn out, it seems to be knitting up MUCH faster than my other one. I hope I can manage to get them all done before Christmas.

In the realm of bad news, my car is in the shop. They're still not quite sure what's wrong with it, but it looks like I may have blown a seal or a gasket. I'm just praying it's not the head gasket, because that will cost way more than what we've got saved, and I would probably be better off selling the car. Will update when I know more.

Good news, I've started taking my Chantix. My quit date was changed to 12/13/07, because I misunderstood the schedule.

Also, R and I have started discussing more about the move, and what we're planning on doing. The plan so far is that over winter break, we're going to work on packing up things that we absolutely don't have to have out (cookie jars, my silver, books I've saved from school because I'd like to have them in a professional library, etc), and also discussing what is going to remain here in Montana while we're in Texas (storage unit), and that includes stuff like R's Camaro, the fish tanks (can't guarantee that they'll stay intact on the drive down there, and there's no way the fish will live through a trip in a hot vehicle from here to Texas in the middle of July), the kitchen table, that kinda stuff. It pains me to have to leave things behind, but at least I know they're still going to be here when I come back to Big Sky country.

Anyhow, I'm gonna get back to my afghan and wait for the Chinese food to show up. I'm planning on spending tomorrow doing nothing but knitting. My brain hurts from studying.

Oh, I got an invite to I less than three it. (<3)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sheer Randomness.

This blog post is going to be completely random in nature, quite frankly because I have a lot of things I want to get written (typed?) down, and no real way to structure it.

Things I've learned today:
- Adding Cream of Mushroom soup to a pot roast makes it taste even better.
- Friends will let you down, and get bent out of shape over piddly stuff.
- The glue on bags of french bread from the store sometimes doesn't hold up after you've baked it.
- Knitting projects won't knit themselves, no matter how much you glare at them.
- When you're looking for something that is important, you all of a sudden can't find it.
- Vinegar will take off hard water stains and tannin stains (from brewing tea in a teapot).
- De-cluttering the drawers of your desk is a good thing. You often find things you thought you lost.

That's all I can think of for now. I'm still trying to find the title for the truck I got rid of, if you happen to see it, will you tell it to return to my apartment? Thanks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My cousin took this picture while she was out hunting today. Sure is beautiful in Big Sky Country.

I'll be taking pictures from my mom's house tomorrow, hoping to get some mountain snow shots.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Picture of afghan, as promised.

Here's a picture of that afghan I finished. I think it turned out quite nicely. Already working on another one, hopefully it doesn't take me as long as this one did!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Old Man Winter comes to visit...

Hooray for snow! We just got our first (and hopefully not last) dousing of snow for the winter. 7 inches in one night! Woke up this morning to the most beautiful carpet of white outside my windows. Unfortunately, the snow was the wet heavy kind, so it clung to the power lines, and caused quite a few of them to break, causing lots of power outages. Also, with it being wet and heavy, there were quite a few downed trees in the area as well. There was one branch that fell from one of the pines on campus, the branch alone was over 7 inches in diameter, to give you an idea how much snow it took to break it off. My mom had over a foot at her house, 30 miles away.

Finished my mom's afghan finally, I will have pictures of it as soon as I get the batteries charged for my digital camera and get pictures taken. It's quite pretty, and it used about half of the yarn the pattern called for... because I screwed up the pattern. Whoops! Ah well, it still turned out, and it's going to be a nice present for my mom for Christmas. Only 4 more to finish! Right now I'm working on my scarf, as the snow this morning reminded me just how cold it can get, especially with nothing covering my neck. I'll probably work on this a bit longer tonight, get to bed, and start on another afghan tomorrow after school.

I'm looking very forward to Thanksgiving, I get to spend it with my mom's side of the family, and my grandma is coming over for it as well. I haven't seen her since October, she's such a fantastic lady, and I thoroughly enjoy spending time with her. Mom says there's going to be anywhere from 19-28 people at her house for Thanksgiving.

Things here at the house are going well, R and I are getting antsy for school to finish out for the semester. Hard to believe we only have about 2 weeks of actual classes left, then finals week to tackle. Seems to have flown by, and yet creeped along, all in the same breath. I feel that my brain is going to start leaking out of my ears if I have to cram very much more information in there. I will have to start forgetting things, I think, in order to make room for the next two weeks. What was your name again? Hehe, I'm just kidding... I think.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know I'm thankful for a lot of things this year, everything from learning to be on a budget, to paying off debt, learning to knit (Thanks Jen, you've been so fantastic, I don't feel that I can thank you enough), making new friends, spending time with my family, expanding my cooking horizons, and overall just being alive. Certainly better than the alternative!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Ya know, today was supposed to be my day to relax!

Didn't have school today, due to it being Veteran's Day, so I got to stay home with my vet, except for going to lunch with my momma.

The meal plan is going well this month so far, only had to switch out one evening's meal so far, which is perfectly fine.

Oh, read this today, R and I signed up because he's a Veteran.

Copied this info from LLNOE Forum:
Dave announced on his radio show today the offer of FREE FPU online for military vets. The ONLY way to take advantage of this is to email the following temporary email address before close of business this Wednesday 11/14.

The address is:

Since it's a Vets Day special offer, Dave asks that people NOT call into their customer service office, or use any other form of contact, as they do not have staff to handle inquiries another way.

He said that they will respond with passwords/access info via email as well.


We sent in an email, and got a response with all of the information within 30 minutes, so we're taking FPU! Our FPU evenings are going to be Thursdays, since roomie isn't home, and we each only have one class.

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Grocery queen rides again!

So, last night, I posted that I would give my total grocery bill for all the shopping we've done over the last two days. Yesterday's total was $96.00. Today's total was $108.00, saved over $40.00. Looks like we went $4.00 over budget, right? WRONG! Roomie paid his third, so we've spent $138.00 of our budget, and all we have left to buy will be sodas through the month, milk, and some bread products that we don't need until later this month, and we have no room in the freezer right now to freeze any, so we'll just pick up as needed.

Can't complain one bit about how we did! Nice to know that 99% of the groceries for the month are paid for and in the cupboard!!!

Now playing: Styx - Come Sail Away
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yay!!! Tentative dinner menu done for the month

So, I made up a tentative menu for the month, subject to be switched around, but this pretty well looks good to me.

11/6/07 - Spaghetti, French Bread, Salad
11/7/07 - Cheesy Enchiladas
11/8/07 - Broccoli pasta with Garlic and Pine Nuts
11/9/07 - Baked chicken in cream of mushroom soup and rice
11/10/07 - Having dinner out at my mom's, no cooking
11/11/07 - Beef Stew
11/12/07 - Tortellini Alfredo
11/13/07 - Cheeseburger brownies (basically cheeseburger pie, but have to make double)
11/14/07 - Breakfast for dinner
11/15/07 - Chicken with Shelby's Asian sauce and rice/veggies
11/16/07 - Burgers
11/17/07 - Potato soup
11/18/07 - Grilled cheese sandwiches and leftover potato soup
11/19/07 - Chicken Sandwiches
11/20/07 - Microwave ravioli casserole
11/21/07 - Pork chops and homemade Mac & Cheese
11/22/07 - Thanksgiving, going out to my mom's, but I need to make my Baked Potato supreme casserole
11/23/07 - FFY (Fend For Yourself)
11/24/07 - Chicken and Dumplings
11/25/07 - Pot Roast
11/26/07 - Burritos
11/27/07 - Tuna Noodle Casserole
11/28/07 - Hot dogs, fries
11/29/07 - Homemade chili, with venison burger
11/30/07 - FFY
12/1/07 - Chicken with Shelby's Asian sauce, rice/veggies
12/2/07 - Beef Stew
12/3/07 - Steak, baked potatoes, salad
12/4/07 - Baked chicken with cream of mushroom soup and rice

So, there's my menu until R's next GI Bill check comes in. We'll see how well we stick to it.

Edit to add: Went grocery shopping for part of the menu, only bought what was on sale. Spent $96.00 on about $150 worth of groceries, left me with 26 items to buy except for milk and soda for the month. I waited until the ads for Albertson's and Safeway changed over, and 18 of the items I need for the rest of the menu is on sale, mostly for 1-2 dollars per unit. Finishing off the grocery shopping tomorrow night, will post the final tally for the month when I get home. That figure above doesn't include roomie's portion of the bill, if he helps with groceries this month.

Also, got the prescription for Chantix, and a "quit kit" from the doctor. I now have neon orange Playdoh. I miss how this stuff smells. 4 weeks until I start the Chantix, 5 weeks until my quit date.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Break Stuff

If you're familiar with the song "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit, you'll understand how my day has gone, so this entry will be fairly short and simple.

Have Dr's appointment tomorrow to get prescription for Chantix. I will be starting it 12/5/07 (one month from today), for a quit date of 12/12/07. Why am I waiting? Quite frankly, it's because I'm scared of the side effects and how they will affect my school, not to mention the withdrawals from the nicotine itself. At this point, being SO close to graduation, I can't afford to screw it up, so I'm not risking anything at this point. I figure if I quit on 12/12, it gives me 2 weeks essentially to get over the withdrawals, because I start Wintersession classes on 1/2/08. Been smoking for going on 12 years, will be weird to be a "non-smoker".

Roommate still considering moving, but he paid his rent for the month, so that's a good thing.

Picked up the yarn for Dad's girlfriend's Christmas present (afghan). They didn't have enough of the one color I needed, so doing a dual color one, one yarn is a really pretty true red, the other is a variegated black, gray, and white. Should be pretty. Still finishing Mom's afghan, it's a little under halfway finished. Really need to finish my scarf, been neglecting it. Worked on it a bit yesterday, but didn't make much progress, because I was watching a movie at my mom's (The Illusionist) and it was really good, spent more time watching the movie than my needles.

Monday's almost over, thank goodness. Tomorrow's gotta be a better day, it just has to be.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

November's budget

Well, here it is, my first post, baring my budget to the world:

Income: $1326.00

Rent: - $550.00
Bresnan (this is Cable/Internet/Phone package) - $120.00
Groceries - $200.00
Gas - $50.00
Shelby's Cigs (please read below) - $90.00
Entertainment (read below) - $60.00
Date nights/dinners out - $30.00
Pets - $10.00
Car registration (R was just given a 93 Geo Metro from his brother, gotta get it titled and tagged for this state) - $100.00
Christmas (in case of yarn shortage) - $50.00
Shelby's Visa - $66.00

Ok, I know the first thing that will be under attack is the cigarettes. Yes, I know I need to quit. Yes, I know I'd be out of debt faster if I did. I am currently checking to find out if the pharmacy I use is carrying Chantix. If they are, my quit date will be 12/15/07. If they aren't, R and I are going to have to discuss how the prescription will be paid for. We do not have prescription coverage, and because of my tribal affiliation, I don't pay for medication, provided I'm willing to drive 45 miles to the pharmacy. Spending ten dollars in gas is way cheaper than paying full price for the medications I take.

Gaming - Both R and I play online role playing games (MMORPG's). He has 2 accounts for World of Warcraft, I have one account for World of Warcraft, and one account for Lord of the Rings Online. This is the entirety of our entertainment budget. We each spend essentially a dollar a day to get hours upon hours of enjoyment out of a game. Cheaper than going to the bar once a month, or going to a movie, plus, it's an activity we do together.

However, we've had a bit of a monkey wrench tossed at us. R's brother, whom lives with us, may be moving. There was a bit of a household blowout a few days ago, and he claims he's thinking about moving out. We'll see how much truth there is to that, as he's mentioned before that he wants to move out but hasn't yet. Extremely long story that I don't want to get into here, but that's where it is.

We'll see what happens, but I am already thinking of ways we can trim the budget back by $225.00, and quitting smoking is one of them. Also, we've discussed cutting the cable TV out of our package with Bresnan. Just having the cable internet and the phone will be approximately $85.00 a month. R's brother is the only one that truly watches the TV, so if he leaves, it will be gone as well, as it is truly a waste of money for R and I. Also, as funny as this sounds, the grocery budget will get cut back if he leaves. Before R's brother moved in, I was able to count on having leftovers after meals. Apparently the way his brother sees things, if the food is there, it must be eaten. I haven't had leftovers in this house since June of 06, at all. I can make a 13x9 pan of lasagna, and I might eat 1, 2 pieces tops. R eats 2. Now when I cut up this lasagna, there's about 12 decently sized pieces, and I have ZERO leftovers. Oink? If I can start having leftovers to work with, things will get easier in that department.

Oh, and there's no blow money in the budget, because R and I both have "jobs" and the money garnered from those "jobs" (he's a TA for a class, and I clean a house once a week) is our personal "blow" money. If R's brother leaves, that money will be budgeted as well, rather than just free floating.

So, we'll see what happens.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Yarn addict

They say that the first stop on the road to recovery is admitting the problem. I'm Shelby, and I'm addicted to yarn. That's right, yarn.

Let me explain, hehe. I have decided that in order to save on Christmas present costs, I'm going to handmake a lot of my gifts this year. But what shall I make?

I've decided that most of the women are going to get hand knitted cell phone holders, of my own design, although I have an idea what I want to do, just need to check with my friend J and make sure my idea will work (she is the knitting QUEEN!). I'm going to knit some things for the men, although I need to find something suitable.

The best part about this? One of the types of yarn I LOVE to use is on sale at Joann Fabrics. Caron Simply Soft. I was able to get 2 skeins for $4! Normally it's anywhere from $2.99 to $3.99 a skein. However, I will admit where my addiction came in. I saw a scarf on a girl on campus, made of fleece. It had zipper pockets on the bottom 5 or so inches of it. So, I decided to modify it, and I'm making it so it has two pockets, one zipper pocket, and one pocket like a jacket for my hands. The scarf is in black and grey, and I'm double knitting it (knitting two strands of yarn together), so it's extra fluffy and soft. If I have any yarn left over, I'm going to make fingerless mitts to match the scarf, and maybe an ear warmer.

I'm going back tomorrow to get more yarn to do these Christmas gifts, after I look through the Knitty website and see if I can find something that will work for the men. Anybody else have any ideas?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gotta love the anonymity of the interwebz

Happy Tuesday, folks! I'm already out of school for the day, and I plan on spending my afternoon finishing up a knitting project, should be finished with it here in a couple of hours. Also, I've been doing some thinking, and you know, you just have GOT to love the anonymity that the internet provides for us. It never ceases to amaze me how people will treat others like crap on the internet, purely because they can. I have a really hard time believing that things that are said on the internet would be said in real life.

Case in point: I read another blog. The link to said blog is over there ~~~~>. The gentleman that writes it is a person of admirable character, and I have nothing but respect for his views. However, the people that comment on the blog... that's another story altogether. After a comment I posted, someone succinctly wrote "Shelby, you could easily get out of debt if you were cutting off on FOOD." Uhm, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? It's more than obvious that this person is basing their opinion of me off of a small picture of me that gets posted by comments I leave. This picture is the same one that is over this way ~~~> under the picture I took of the Bitterroot Mountains. As you can see, that picture is from just below my chest, and up from there. There's about 3 foot of my body that isn't even IN that picture, but by that picture, it is determined by others that don't even know me that I need to lose weight.

Yeah, I admit, I'm a little heavy. But you know what? I don't really give a damn. I like myself as is, and I don't find many women that can look at themselves in the mirror and say "Hey, I'm a decent person, and I like myself exactly how I am." What most people don't realize from that little tiny picture is that the majority of my weight is distributed between my xiphoid process and my clavicle. God has made doubly sure that I will be perfectly capable of feeding my children when I have them. Even if I'm down to 150 pounds, I'm still a DD, people! The only way I'd be able to lose THAT weight would be to get them whacked off, and I (and not to mention, the fiance) happen to like the "twins", so they're staying. And truthfully? I'd rather obsess about my GRADES than my weight. It's called priorities.

I look at it this way: if I'm happy and healthy, that's what matters, and I can honestly say that I am both. Those that think I'm overweight? You're welcome to think that, and if you want to think lower of me because I'm not super skinny like Victoria Beckham (or whoever the latest supermodel skeleton is), that's your right. Doesn't mean I'm going to agree with you, because it's MY opinion of me that matters, and nobody else's.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Just another manic Mondayyyyyyy.... wish it were Sundayyyyyyy

Ahh, another Monday in the books. I don't have much that's very nice to say today, but I will say this: My blog does not allow anonymous comments, or un-moderated comments for a reason. People may cry "OMG censorship!" but it's my blog, and if I don't like your comments, I'm not approving them to be posted on my blog. End of story. If you don't like it, tough jerky.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A rant for my Classic Social Theory class

Sacrifice vs. Instant Gratification in a “Gimme” Society

“Moooooommmm, gimme it, I want it, you have to give it to me because I want it!!” “No, young lady, I do not have to give you whatever you want, just because you want it. Now let’s get the rest of this grocery shopping done, so we can go home, we’ve already been here for an hour.” “But Mommy, Daddy lets me get whatever I want at the store, so you have to, too!”

This is an exchange I heard a few days ago at the grocery store. The part I’ve left out is the child subsequently throwing herself to the tile floor, flailing her arms and legs, screaming, because her mother wouldn’t buy her a bag of candy. The mother, helpless, turned her cart around, and left her daughter in the aisle. All I could do at this point was shake my head, and remind myself why I’m glad I don’t have children yet. The children of today’s society are growing up in what I call a “gimme” society. Gimme this, gimme that, gimme, gimme, gimme. One has to wonder where this young lady picked up this mindset she has, is it because she’s just being a little girl? Is it because her nice daddy gives her whatever she wants, and mommy is just being mean? Is she being raised in a “gimme” world?

I think she is. It astounds me the sheer amount of consumer debt we have in this world today. Unbeknownst to many, 100 years ago, credit, in the way that we think of it now, basically didn’t exist. Henry Ford didn’t allow credit to be used at Ford Motor Company until ten years AFTER General Motors did. Why? Henry Ford thought that debt was a lazy man’s way of purchasing items. In 1910, the Sears catalog stated “Buying on Credit is Folly”, yet they make more money now on their credit cards than they do their merchandise! J.C. Penney department store founder detested the use of debt, and was nicknamed James “Cash” Penney. So what’s changed? Three of the biggest lenders today were founded by people who HATED debt. One hundred years ago, people saw the holes that debt can create. Now, people (lenders) are seeing the opportunity to take advantage of the gimme society that has been created. We’re all about instant gratification and having things now than waiting a few months, saving up the money, and paying with cash. It takes sacrifice to pay for things with cash, and most people today won’t sacrifice that. Have you ever noticed that it’s way easier to walk into a store, pick up a few things, and swipe a card than it is to open your wallet and start handing over cash? Spending cash has a different mental “feel” to it than paying with a card. Even the new “Fashion Frenzy Barbie” preys on young girls, and engrains the use of credit, with the comment “I love shopping, you never run out of money!”

Simmel says that sacrifice is the means to an end. But what end are people in this gimme society working towards? What are they sacrificing to get there? The means of today’s society is the plastic card with American Excess written on it, Master Charge, what have you. But what is the end of those means? Massive credit card bills, where the bank gets to make money off of you. Most people don’t see that credit cards are basically a person paying the bank to let them borrow money. Why not sacrifice a small portion of a paycheck, put the money under your mattress, and pay for something outright? Most people in today’s society see that as too much of a sacrifice, and would rather pay the same price for a product, plus fifteen percent interest, because they wanted it right that second.

Simmel also states that the value of anything is a result of our sacrifice in order to obtain it, and that you cannot have one without the other. I think this also has an effect on whether or not something is determined as a “need” or a “want”. The value of water to a thirsty person is much higher than the value of food to someone that is not hungry. The priority of what is a need or a want completely changes when you have to sacrifice something to get it. For example, my fiancé feel that we need to be out of debt. What is our sacrifice? I sacrifice 20 or so minutes of my time to search through the ads of the local grocery stores, finding the deals, and making our menu accordingly, which means that we get to throw a few extra dollars to debts we owe, or extra money to savings. My fiancé sacrifices 3 afternoons a week to work at the College of Technology as a teaching assistant so that way his personal spending money doesn’t come out of our monthly budget. I clean a house once a week for the same reason, not to mention it saves us money, because we don’t have to budget twenty dollars a month for quarters for laundry, as I can do our laundry at the house I clean each week.

My friends are shocked when they hear that my fiancé and I live comfortably on less than fifteen hundred dollars a month, and that we are able to put money in savings every month. However, slowly and surely, we are getting out of debt, because we feel that is something we need to do. Sure, I’ll admit, I want things. I want an ipod, for example. So what am I doing? I’m slowly saving money for one. I sacrifice two mochas a week so that way I have money to put in savings for that ipod.

Fact is, Simmel has it right when he wrote that sacrifice is a means to an end. I just hope for our sake, and the sake of our children, we learn that instant gratification isn’t sacrifice, because eventually it will lead to a forcible sacrifice of cars and houses, and then at that point, life will really be rough.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Collection Agency Research

So, as if I didn't learn enough in school, I decided when I got home to do some research on that collection agency that I've been dealing with. The results are astounding. Here's the site that had the best information.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this info, from my research, it looks like no matter what I do, they will violate the FDCPA. The idea of a complete cease and desist letter appeals to me, because after reading through that site, in March they'll be getting rid of the debt anyway. I'm going to have to do some more thinking.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

I HATE collection agencies

So, here's my first rant about my debt situation. A couple of years ago, I was extremely stupid, and got a Dillard's card (Dillard's being a department store). At the time I got the card, I was working full time, and able to make the payments. I ended up leaving my job, and wasn't able to make the payments, so they sent it to collections.

The first agency they sent the card to violated the FDCPA, and when I called them out on it, they stopped calling. Out of sight, out of mind. I went back to school (I had taken a year off), and nobody had contacted me about the debt. Still, outta sight, outta mind.

So, a few weeks ago, my mom calls me, and asks me to get a voicemail off her phone. I call, and the company that called was Redline Recovery. Little bell went off in my head that this is a collections agency, and I had already been having a bad day, so I decided to call. The first lady I spoke with was seemingly understanding, and said she was going to put my account in a holding status until January (the next time I'm going to have enough of an income to settle with these people), and that I shouldn't be receiving any more phone calls. I should have remembered Dave Ramsey's advice about bill collectors. THEY ARE LYING IF THEIR MOUTH IS MOVING.

Couple days later, I get a phone call. Yep, from Redline. Before the guy can even get into his spiel, I ask "Wait a second, why are you calling me? I was told by the first lady I spoke with that this would be in a holding status until January when I have money to pay you with." Luckily, due to the LLNOE boards, I had what is called a "Limited Cease and Desist" letter ready to print out to send to the company. I got off the phone (fuming), and got ready to print the letter. Printer having issues, so outta sight, outta mind.

I'm a full time college student. I'm often in school from 8 in the morning until late afternoon, so obviously if I'm in school, I'm not home answering my phone. Today, I check the voicemail on my phone, and there's THREE messages from these people, first one saying that my account will be "escalated", second one saying "it's imperative that you call me back" and the third one saying "You're OBVIOUSLY avoiding our phone calls, Mr. *insert my last name here, mispronounced*, call me back immediately or we'll be seeking a judgment against you." (WTF? *looks down shirt* I'm still a chick!)

Allow me to let you in on a secret, I don't work. I work at being a student. Soooo, if I don't work, then obviously I don't get a paycheck, right? They can't garnish a paycheck I don't get. Also, the only thing I physically own worth anything is my car. Most people won't/can't attach a lien to a car, because it's just not worth it.

Anyhow, I need to get that Cease and Desist letter out, at the very least by this afternoon. Then, once I have the little green card in my hot little hands showing they signed for my letter (sending it certified mail, return receipt requested), if they call again, they violate the FDCPA. They do that, I'm SO calling the FTC down on their rears.


Oh, and double grrrr at 3:10 PM, apparently they've called my dad. Peachy, huh?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Grocery Rockstar

So, I've done all of my grocery shopping for the month this week, except for having to buy milk, produce, you know, the stuff that does go bad after a while.

Here's how I did.

Tuesday - Went to both Albertson's and Safeway.

At Albertson's, I bought $204.80 worth of groceries. Spent $102.39, for a total savings of $102.41. Bought TONS of stuff, including 12 chicken breasts, which I have cut in half and frozen, and tons of breakfast stuff.

Hit Safeway after that, bought $22.32 worth of pork chops, milk, and cottage cheese. Actual spent was $15.17, so I saved $7.15. The pork chops are in the freezer, except for the ones that we've already eaten.

So, today, I hit Albertson's again, because they have their bottom rump roast on sale, buy one get one free. Whenever this sale hits, I always buy 2, and have one cut up into stew meat, which I separate and baggie up when I get home. When I got there, I picked up my two roasts (just about 3 pounds each), and headed over to the steak section, because they were supposed to have petite sirloins on sale. However, the buy one get one free sticker caught my eye. Eye of round steaks, 3 per package. So, for $6.45, I got 6 steaks. Then, I remember that we're out of dishwashing sponges. They are ALSO buy one get one free. All in all, I picked up 2 roasts, 2 packages of steaks, 1 case of Pepsi, 2 packages of sponges, 1 potato (already had 2, just needed one more for dinner), 1 gallon of milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Total SHOULD have come to $72.40, but I spent $41.42. Saved $30.98. The only things that weren't on sale were the potato and the milk.

So, for the month, we have $200.00 budgeted. We've spent $158.98. For everything I bought, it should have come to just shy of $300.


I imagine that the meat we have will last into next month, and all we'll have to buy to finish out the month is perishables. How awesome is that!?!?!?!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Yay! Studied for the stats exam

My friend M-M called, and we got together and studied. I'm SO ready for this exam, wahoo!!!!!!!!

Another Monday gone

*sigh* I just got home. I'm exhausted. Had my Classical Social Theory exam this morning, and the first exam in a class of the semester is always the difficult one, because you haven't a clue what the instructor expects. My first thought after walking out was "Whoa, I WAY overstudied for that", which I did.

Overall I had an alright day, found out that a friend of mine whom I haven't spoken with in a while moved 30 miles away from me, rather than being in Cincinatti! We're planning on getting together for lunch as soon as we can.

My geology lab is about to drive me nuts. I'm not trying to toot my horn here, but I'm rather intelligent, I understand the material, I do the reading prior to class, etc. There is a guy in the class that is the husband of a buddy of mine, and he seems to think that it's perfectly okay just to copy off my paper on the labs (it's a lab course). I just keep thinking that if I ever miss a lab day, he is just going to be up a creek, and as evil as this sounds, I can't wait until the midterm (next Monday), because I know for a fact he doesn't know what he's doing. Not my problem. I've been debating whether or not I should email the instructor of the course, and find out what to do. I've been tempted to write down all the wrong answers, wait until he turns his in, then erase/rewrite everything correctly, but for some reason I'm thinking that won't be as effective. Ideas?

Meh, just me rambling I suppose. I'm waiting to hear from my friend M-M as to whether or not we're getting together at a local restaurant to study for our stats exam, and she hasn't emailed, nor has she called, and I don't have her cell number. Bleh.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Happy Saturday!

So, this week has been a crazy one. I turned in all of my graduation paperwork, and provided all of my ducks are in a row, I will graduate on May 10th.

I'm excited, but then again, I'm not. I've loved school, and I enjoy learning. And yes, I realize that I don't have to stop learning just because I'm not in school, but I keep telling R that if we ever win the lottery, I'm becoming a professional student.

The main reason I'm not looking forward to getting out of school is because I really don't want to see how much my student loan payments are. I think I've racked up somewhere in the 30-50k range. Granted yes, the way R and I have it planned out, we'll be completely out of debt, including those student loans, by September of 2009, provided that we both find jobs fairly quickly in Texas, if we do still move there.

Also, today, my cousin is getting married. I'm happy for her, because she deserves to have happiness in her life. Before she met the guy she's marrying today, she's dated a bunch of losers that would have never made her happy in a million lifetimes, so I'm very happy for her. Little jealous too though, cause she's getting married before me, hehe.

Anyhow, gotta start finding the outfit I'm going to wear to the wedding and hop in the shower, etc, but thought I'd write down some more of my mind's wanderings.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A little history...

So, here I am, starting a "real" blog.

First, let me introduce myself, and give you a bit of history about who I am.

I'm a 25 year old college student, in my final year (FINALLY), studying Anthropology with a Forensic emphasis (yes, CSI kinda stuff) and Sociology, with a Criminology option. I have just this semester and the next one to finish. That is, if I don't decide to go on to medical school, since I've been considering that as well.

I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. My parents divorced when I was nine. My mom remarried a wonderful man, who I am VERY proud to call Pop. My dad has been dating a woman for a very long time, however they are not married, and I'm not sure they're ever going to get married.

I moved away from Portland when I was 14, to the town my mom was raised in, Missoula, Montana. I love it here, and this is home for me. I graduated from one of the local high schools here in 2000, and I started college in 2002, knowing if I started earlier, it would be a waste of my time and money.
I have two people I would call "best friends", they've been friends of mine since my sophomore year of high school.

I floundered for a lot of years, dating guys that quite frankly, weren't worth my time. In 2003, I met the guy that is now my fiance, online, playing a game called Dark Age of Camelot. We started dating in January of 2005.

In November of 2006, a friend of R's (my fiance) sent us a book called "The Total Money Makeover", written by a gentleman named Dave Ramsey. I fought R tooth and nail, because I didn't want some book telling me how to live my life. After a pretty big argument, I read the book out of spite. It's changed my whole outlook on life, finances, debt, credit, the works. We are now looking forward to being financially set up within the next 7 years, including a paid off home. We haven't bought our home yet, but we will when we have the cash on hand to plunk down on it.

I decided to make this blog, partially as a place for me to keep my own ramblings, to vent, to cry, to laugh, etc. I also plan on posting recipes and such that I find, both for my own records, and perhaps other people can find them useful too.

That's enough for today, methinks! Have a fantastic Wednesday everybody :)