Finances and Miscellany

Today was six long hours of back-to-back calls, interspersed with a couple of breaks.  They sent a small list of people home early on in the day, but then it got busy.

I was grateful for the craziness, for it tells me that all is well with my job – and my world. I will work six more hours tomorrow, and then next weekend I am picking up the shifts of a friend of mine who is having surgery.  I hope she does okay.  That will be eight more hours added to my paychecks.

Since moving here from my apartment, at times it seems as if my bills have gone up, but I do believe they have gone down.  My rent included my utilities, and was over $325 every month – sometimes getting as high as $400, but here so far I have barely breached the $300 mark – not including my deposits and moving fees. As such I feel that overall I will save money here, money that I can use to move toward a better, more sustainable life for myself and my daughter.

To keep utilities down, I have promised myself not to use the clothes dryer this month, to instead hang my clothes up to dry instead.  I am testing how it is to hang clothes inside to dry, so have a small clothes line hung in the back storage room and the clothes hung on it.  This experiment will tell me whether or not I really NEED a dryer in my life.  If we can manage by drying them inside, then it will be a simple matter of not replacing the dryer should it die, and then I won’t have to worry about moving to an area that forbids outside clotheslines.  Or I can simply dry my clothes inside to keep people from knowing my business.  An even better reason.My neighbor decided to get a magicjack of her very own.  So far she likes it.  She has it running on Windows vista without a single issue.  I’m glad for her.  I dislike Windows vista personally.  It takes too much machine to do too little stuff.  For instance, this netbook is running my magicjack, a word program, a notepad program, and Google chrome with several pages open.  It is working fine.  If I tried to do that on my vista computer, which has over twice the power of this little machine, it would literally choke and freeze.M

As I frequently say, less is truly more.  I would invest in one of these little machines that run linux, save for the fact that my magicjack needs windows to run.  Well, there is another reason.  I can find these little things running windows for a lower price than I can the ones running Linux.  If I really wanted, I could install Linux myself and save money!

I love these netbooks.  They have a small screen and small keyboard, but both can be easily remedied by hooking up external devices, so I honestly cannot complain.  They are powerful enough for my day-to-day needs, and I do a LOT. They don’t use a lot of electricity, they have an incredible battery life, especially if you get the bigger battery, and they are VERY portable.  Perfect for a wandering Geek like myself.

Well, it is time to fire up the grill and fix some burgers.  I’m thinking of getting a propane stove kit, one with a small oven, where I can use it instead of my electric stove now, and in any home I have in the future (or little cabin, if it comes to that).

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

Small Steps to Financial Independence

My gas bill came in today.  I have gotten it down to $15.66.  I’m hoping I can get it a little lower, but don’t think I can lower it much more than that.

We went to the store and to my amazement my daughter did not buy a single toy.  Instead she bought a little candy, and chipped in by buying her burger at McDonald’s.  We got chips and drinks at the store, and got us a sandwich apiece off of the dollar menu for dinner.  Nice, inexpensive meal – and a cheap way to eat out on occasion!

As I walked through the store and looked at all the things they had for sale I reminded myself that all my needs have been provided for, that there was really nothing in the store that I needed, only a couple of things that I wanted.  I picked up a few things, like some tomato plants, a box of borax, some sulfodene medication for the dog, a bag of chips on clearance and a pack of capri-sun for dinner, then it dawned on me:  we really honestly truly don’t eat that many tomatoes, so instead of paying money for the plants,  transplanting them, caring for them, dehydrating the excess why not just buy the couple I want to eat green, or better yet bum a couple off a friend of mine who has several plants in the ground already?

I also reminded myself that I still had a little bit of borax at home, and considering how little I use I could safely let the store keep their box of borax for a little while longer.  So I put the tomato plants and the box of borax back on their shelves, double checked our purchases, and left the store happier because I managed to put things back than I was going there thinking I needed all of these things!

Every time I buy less, every time I reduce our consumption will make the next time easier.  Yes we did not have to eat out, but it cost us just a couple of dollars at the restaurant, and a couple of dollars at the store for additions to the meal that will actually last us for days.  The chips will still be around for snacking next week, though the drinks will be gone with the weekend.  Considering that I could have spent that amount and only had a single meal but instead have a little more makes me feel better, especially since we have drastically reduced the amount we eat out anymore.  We used to eat out once or twice a week depending upon my schedule, but now we may eat out once a week tops.  It has been two weeks or so since last we ate out, so I am content with how well we are doing.

I mean, I want us to save money but I don’t want us to be totally deprived.

I have managed to pick up some hours to make up for the hours lost these last couple weeks.  I am having to give up my weekend, but such is life. You do what is necessary to pay the bills.  Once I saw they were drastically reducing our hours at work I hoarded my last paycheck, so I have enough for rent and stuff next month, but every single hour I can squeeze in at work will keep me from getting in the hole.

Besides that, when they send me home early I try to submit more articles at Associated Content.  Every advance payment, every single page view helps me to pay bills that much better.  My content producer page is here.  Will you please read my articles and leave a comment on them, for good or bad?  Every article you read helps me better support my daughter.  You can subscribe for free as well.  Thank you!

I wish that I had enough articles, enough page views every month that I could just write full time instead of worrying about a day job, but I am thankful that I have made it to clout Level 4 in less than six months! Then I would never have to worry about my schedule or my daughter’s schedule.  But it will come in time.

A long time ago I got a fortune in a cookie.  It says, “Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take small steps.”  I am making those steps.