Thursday, January 28, 2010


In last night's state of the union President Obama talked about the jobs that have been saved or created. In this morning's press leading Republican have claimed that the stimulus didn't do much of anything for jobs.

I'm getting ready to go to work this morning, as I have every morning since July 1, in large part due to the stimulus. My position is grant funded. Last year grants shrunk in a major way. So my boss spent a lot of May trying to figure out how we would be able to keep all 5 of us on. In the end we got stimulus funding via a state contract. The stimulus funds are paying for a large portion of the programming we offer, allowing our other grant funds to go to salary.

If we cut the stimulus out of our budget I would be working 1/3-1/2 time right now. Our admin assistant (a single mother of a preschooler) would be unemployed or not working more than 1/3 time.

We're not sure what will happen in July. But we're working hard to accomplish our goals and looking for new grants to keep us going.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sharing Passwords

I do 98% of my banking/bill paying online. I'm also the one in my marriage who handles the bill paying. My husband is in charge of starting up service when we need it and we alternate calling in when there's a problem. This system works for us in every way but one- passwords.

For my personal accounts I use a system with a word (ie green) a number (ie 49) and the domain name of the sight. So at Bank of America my password would be green49boa. The root stays the same but the domain name makes each individual password unique.

My husband rotates through 3-4 passwords that look something like ThYgIfRk. Something I will never ever ever remember.

We've tried coming up with a root to use my system, but all of the things we can agree on I think anyone else could easily figure out if they know basics of our life (or take a look at facebook).

This is slightly irritating when I have to call Comcast or Verizon to deal with a service issue. The greater problem is this doesn't pass the 'hit by a bus test.' If I got hit by a bus tomorrow my husband wouldn't be able to get onto most of our online accounts.

So how do you share this info? Do you create a password together? Is there a piece of paper buried somewhere in your house with all of the passwords written down? Do you just not worry?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Utilizing My Best (Appliance) Friend

When we bought the house we bought a freezer for the garage. Until recently it was largely a place to store meat purchased at rock bottom prices. This fall I slowly started taking it over and I'm loving it.

Right now in addition to meat the freezer holds 3 casseroles, freezer jam, whole wheat flour, cooked beans, burrito filler and some shredded zucchini from the garden. I've accepted that on most weeknights I don't have the energy to say no to the temptation of fast food. This fall the Huz and I ate way too much take out and I'm working to break the cycle.

With the caseroles I make a double batch of our favorite recipies on weekends where I'm feeling particularly energetic/domestic. I put them in the fridge before work and into the oven when one of us gets home.

This weekend I made a bulk version of my favorite lazy dinner, which will take the laziness factor to a whole new level. The weeknight version is a can of black beans, a can of tomatoes, chopped onion, and whatever other vegetables we have around cooked together for 10-15 with some spices. The ultra lazy verzion- 3 cans of tomoatoes, 4 cans of black beans, a few carrots on the verge of looking scuzzy, shredded zucchini from the freezer and spices. I stored it in burrito sized portion so either of us can defrost, wrap in a tortilla, and have dinner.

At some point last year (November maybe?) I made 2 big batches of beans using this recipe from the Crockpot Lady. If you have a crockpot and don't know about this blog head on over. It's my husband's favorite recipe site. I honestly can't remember the last time he made something other than pasta on the stovetop. I've made quite a few yummy recipes from the site, but bean recipe is my favorite. It's cheaper, less pantry space, and most importantly- they taste better. They're not super salty or too mushy (unless you leave them too long). I've done this 4-5 times with lots of success each time.

None of these things has taken more than an hour of my dedicated time. Which is nice, even on the less frenzied weekends. I'm embracing the lazy.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

How Much Would You Spend On _____?

So far this year I have not been able to get back in gear at work. It took me 2 days to accomplish my Monday morning to do list. 2 DAYS. I also can't seem to accomplish much on the blogging front- this post has been hanging around since last Wednesday...

Here's a little something to pass the time. I got it from Budgets are $exy. For each category list how much you would spend on the item.

CATEGORY Sara J. Money
Purse (or Wallet): $85/40 $20
Winter jacket: $150/80 $100
A pair of (knee-high) boots: $80/60 $40
Formal dress (or suit): $150/100 $100
Pants/jeans: $50/30 $40
Computer: $1,500 $1,500
Tennis Shoes: $75/50 $40

I listed the most I would spend and then what I usually aim to spend in that category. Every once in a while you come across the special item worth a splurge, but day to day I'm aiming for the lower prices.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I decided to spend the first morning of this new year reviewing and organizing our finances. I started by updating our spreadsheet, assessing all of our savings and loan accounts. Then I paid this months mortgage, which was fun because the site is down for mainteance. I almost had a heart attack.

My next step was checking out my credit. I use CreditKarma every other month or so to see how my Transunion score looks. I also took advantage of an annual credit report* from Experian. In September I checked Equifax and in May I'll check Transunion.

Everytime I look at a report it's like a trip down memory lane. I never got into credit card debt, but I did fall victim to the open a credit card for a free _______ (insert usless item here). There are accounts I remember opening and many more with low limits that make me wonder. Past addresses remind me of the family, roomates, schools, and jobs I've had along the way. This credit report also showed the payoff for my car. That made me smile.

I've gone back and forth about resolutions over the past few weeks. Our current financial plan makes things automatic. Short of an emergency or major life change we'll keep making a double payment on the car each month, we'll keep saving for short and long term needs and we'll keep paying our bills on time. So I guess my goal for the year is to stay on track financially. Stay on track and get once full month ahead on the bills. I'd like the money we're using to pay for any given bill to have come to us one month before.

The thing I most want is for 2010 to be better than 2009. For me, for my husband, for our friends and our family. 2009 seemed to have more than its fair share of angst, trauma, and woes for us all.

* You can check a report from each of the 3 agencies once every 12 months.