Recent Divine Discussions

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tax rebate is coming!!

Word has it that the first of the tax rebates will be disbursed starting next week.

If you have been stuck under a rock for the last 3 months and have absolutely no clue what I am talking about, here is a little summary:

WHAT IS IT?:

It is an economic stimulus "payment" from the government. It is non-taxable, won't reduce your 2007 or 2008 tax refund, and will NOT increase the amount you owe on your 2008 tax return. (I don't know why some folks are going around posting that we would have to pay this back. Uh no we won't!)


WHO IS ELIGIBLE?:

Anyone who files an income tax return with a valid SSN, can not be claimed as a dependent, and have at least $3000 in qualifying income. There are some folks who don't regularly file a tax return that may qualify also. More info here.

HOW MUCH DO YOU GET?

The IRS website has a nifty calculator that you can use to determine if you qualify for the stimulus payment and if so, how much.


WHEN IS MY MONEY COMING?

All you gotta do is check out the payment schedule to find that out. There are two ways to receive your stimulus payment.


1. Did you use direct deposit for your tax refund or added your bank information to your tax return if you owed the government??

If yes then check out the schedule below, if no then go to number two.

Using the last two digits of your SSN, find what date your stimulus payment will be deposited.

DIRECT DEPOSIT

Last two SSN digits: Payment will be transmitted by:
00 through 20 May 2
21 through 75 May 9
76 through 99 May 16










2. If you did not use direct deposit or had your account information on your tax return then you will be receiving you payment via check. Going by the last two digits of your SSN, look at the schedule below to see when your check will be mailed:


PAPER CHECK

Last two SSN digits: Payments will be mailed by:
00 through 09 May 16
10 through 18 May 23

19 through 25

May 30
26 through 38 June 6
39 through 51 June 13
52 through 63 June 20
64 through 75 June 27
76 through 87 July 4
88 through 99 July 11

















Based on the information I gave above, I will be receiving my $900 payment on May 16th via direct deposit. And after much thought and consideration to the current economic status and my financial status, I have decided to put ALL that money in my savings. That will bring my savings total to a little over $5Gs. I'll go into that in a future post.


How much are you getting and what are you planning to do with iyour economic stimulus payment?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

5 Point Meme

I was tagged by Debt Fighter for the 5 point meme. Here we go......


The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people, posts their names, and then leaves a comment on their blogs, letting them know they've been tagged. But


What was I doing 5 years ago?
I was learning how to be a single parent, college student, and employee all at once. It was my first semester back from having my daughter.

Five things on my to-do list today ( or things I did today):
1. Get resume ready
2. Order business cards
3. Clean my apartment
4. Finish database project for work
5. Start job search

Five snacks I love:
1. Toffee peanuts
2. Trail mix
3. Blue corn chips (Archer Farms)
4. Baked wings with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (I am sad that I can't have this no mo...not the bbq anyways)
5. Ritz crackers (can't have this no mo either...)

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Pay off all my debt, my family's debt, and my friend's debt.
2. Travel
3. Create a scholarship foundation for single mothers
4. Help financially in finding the cure for AIDS
5. Build good schools in impoverish countries like Haiti and Africa.

Five bad habits I have:
1. Biting my nails (I played bball in high school and had to do it to stay within code. i do it subconsciously now)
2. Road rage (I only developed this when I moved to Orlando......never had it before. I swear you need it to survive up here)
3. Give 100% when I only receive 50%. I usually learn my lesson but by then so much has happened.
4. Not ironing my clothes RIGHT after I do the laundry. (good thing I bought my steamer)
5. Walking around the apt in my underwear. (my daughter does it too )

Five places I have lived:
1. Florida
2. Florida
3. Florida
4. Florida
5. Florida

Five jobs I've had:
1. Administrative Assistant
2. Engineer
3. Shipping and Sales Specialist
4. Student Assistant and Mentor
5. Assistant Manager

Five people I am tagging:
1. Hers @ HisHersMoney
2. L @ Spilling Buckets
3. CT Mom @ CT Mom's Family Financials
4.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Damn I am hardheaded!!

Ok.

This past week has been an eye opener. I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday (pap smear) which didn't go so well. My blood pressure was high, I mean scary high. I was a little apprehensive about my visit (I am a big scaredy cat) and that might have played a small role in the high reading. But I also haven't been taken my medication or watching my salt intake as a should be (yes I know that probably contributed a lot......like the title says....I am hardheaded).

Anyways I immediately set up an appointment with my doctor for that Friday. At that appointment my blood pressure was still high but not as high as it was at the visit to my gyno. So why did my doctor proceed to go off on me?!! I mean not in a mean kind of way but in a fed-up mothering kind of way.
I came to grips that I was seriously setting myself up for severe medical problems when I get older (and some even now) and that I needed to wizen up and make some changes fast.

Sooo...........

I spent this weekend cleaning out the unhealthiness out of my fridge. I did some research online first and then decided to clear out any and all food products that had high sodium content (triple digits with a small serving size). Here is some of what I removed:

-spices (anything with salt included in it's name...seasoning salt, garlic salt)
-teriyaki sauce
-soy sauce
-high sodium canned foods
-frozen dinners
-barbecue sauce (A new bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's......I teared up yall)
-ketchup
-high sodium salad dressing
-mayo
-high sodium marinades

Basically anything high in sodium was removed. I was amazed at how much sodium some items had. All this time I was eating salads and thinking I was being healthy. Little did I know the amount of sodium in just 2 tbsp of LITE Italian dressing (330 mg/tbsp). LITE I say!!!!

*sigh*

Anyways I went shopping yesterday and bought some low sodium substitutes for the things I removed. I bought some fresh herbs and more of spices like parsley, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder. I also did some web surfing for helpful sites and found that I can make some of the things on my own instead of buying it, like barbecue sauce or balsamic dressing.

The new changes will definitely affect my total grocery expenditures for this month (I went over) and I may need to increase my budget a bit. It shouldn't be too much and shoot, with the rise in grocery prices I have been seeing, I think an increase in my budget was about due. But I am thinking it will be no more than $20.

Anyways, below you will find a list of websites I found during my search. I don't know if any of you guys are dealing with the same health issue but if you are I hope they help. Aside from cutting out the sodium in my diet and taking my pills, what other advice would you guys recommend? And yes I know I need to exercise. Aside from that too. Thanks in advance.




RESOURCES




Note: My bad if the mention of a pap smear was TMI for some of yall. But ain't nothing like putting the personal in personal finance huh?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Crockpot recipes of the week: Garlic Chicken, Curry Chicken, and BBQ Chicken

chicken, Chicken, CHICKEN everywhere!!!!

tee hee.


I know I haven't posted one of these in a while. I took the pics when I made these dishes but I just have been too tired and too busy to do a post. Well here is 3 for you guys. Enjoy!!!!

GARLIC CHICKEN (whole)


Ingredients:

1 whole hen = $2.21

2 garlic cloves, sliced = $.10

salt and pepper to taste


TOTAL COST = $2.31 (approximate)


Prep Time = 5 min

Cook Time = 7 hours on low


Directions:

Turn on crockpot on at the low setting. Add chicken to crockpot. (Remember that I clean and season my chicken the day I buy it so my chicken was already prepared. I just needed to defrost it and I did that by moving it from the freezer to the fridge the night before.) Cover and let it cook.


Results:

I winded up making some smaller meals from this larger one. I cut out the breast meat and cut them into slices for sandwiches for lunch this week. I then took the wings and drumsticks off and had those that night with some sweet potato I baked. I took the remainder of the chicken and made some stew. Here is the stew I made potatoes, onions, broccoli, and tomatoes:




CURRY CHICKEN STEW


Ingredients:

1 package split fryer chicken breast (3 breasts) = $1.87

2 cups homemade chicken broth (or one can of store bought broth) = $0

2 cup of chopped carrots = $.50

1 cup of chopped tomatoes = $.30

2 large potatoes, chopped = $.40

1 medium size onion, chopped = $.15

1 cup of water = $0

Curry powder, salt, and pepper


TOTAL COST = $3.22 (approximate)


Prep Time = 15 min

Cook Time = 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low


Directions:

Turn on crockpot on at the high setting. Add everything to the crockpot. You can cut up the chicken or add it whole. If you add it whole it will break up towards the end. Cover and let it cook.

Sorry I don't have a picture of the final product. I had taken some but when I checked my memory card today they weren't there. Guess it didn't save right. It was good though. Real good.


BARBECUE CHICKEN

Ingredients:

1 package chicken drumsticks (6 drumsticks a packege) = $1.17

1/3 a bottle of barbecue sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's) = $.66

salt and pepper to taste


TOTAL COST = $1.83 (approximate)


Prep Time = 5 min

Cook Time = 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low


Directions:

Turn on crockpot on at the high setting. Add chicken to the crockpot. Again my chicken is prepared and seasoned, hence the short prep time. All I did was move it to the fridge to thaw. Pour bbq sauce over chicken. Cover and let it cook.

Results:




I made some rice mixed with onions and corn to go with it.



I apologize for the half eaten chicken. My daughter attacked my plate while I was getting the camera. I had to make her put down the fork so I could take a pic real quick. As you can see she likes the skin. LOL!!! She gobbled it up when I was done. She loves bbq chicken. I am going to try this with wings next week. Mmmmm..........we love wings.





Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Making some money

I have been on my money making grind this month. It is only the 16th and I have already brought in $182.51 ($132.51 in cash and $50 in gift cards).

Breakdown:

-$42.51 from Textlink Ads

-$50 from Vindale Research

-$40 from Revolution Money Exchange

-$50 in gift cards from CVS (for new prescriptions)


If you don't know about the various offers out there for free gift cards just for filling out a new prescription, get on it now. I had two prescriptions to fill out for my daughter. I remembered I had 2 coupons from CVS for a free $25 CVS gift card for filling out a new prescription. I took the coupons and prescriptions and filled them at a CVS across the street from me. Sure enough, I received my gift cards when I picked up the prescriptions. I used those two cards and purchased some household stuff (toilet paper, cleaners, laundry detergent), beauty stuff (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, new bath sponges, etc.), and stocked up on a lot of water (they were having a nice sale). This allowed me to free up money in my budget that can now get can now go towards my debt. I have a doctor's appointment today and I am getting a prescription for medication I need. I have another CVS new prescription coupon and I have one with Save Rite (grocery store) for $25. I will probably go with the grocery store coupon and save some money on my grocery budget.

I am working on bringing another $150 in extra income in before the month is out. I currently have the money sitting in my spending account with Wachovia. I have a couple of things I need, like new bedroom furniture (chest for my daughter, chest for me, and maybe a new bed) and a new monitor for my desktop (preferably a flat panel one). I am currently searching Craig's List for some steals deals and will use my extra income towards that.

Extra Income Possibilities (for the remainder of the month):

-Vindale Research - $75

-Revolution Money Exchange - $50

-eBay - $35

-Pinecone Research - $10

-Blog $$$ - $25

-Wachovia Referrals - $50

-CVS or grocery store gift card - $25


That is about $270 total. I am looking at bringing in a min of $150. I can do it. What I need is a yard so I can have a yard sale. I have so much crap boxed up, it's just ready to be someone else's treasure. I found out through a friend that there are some places that will allow you to come and bring your stuff to sell on their "yards". I am not sure how that would work but I plan on looking into that this weekend.


Anyone know of any other opportunities? If so please share. :-D








Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Free $25 expires today!!!

Edited:

ENDS MAY 15!!!!!

(They extended the date)



Revolution Money Exchange is back again with their $25 referral bonus offer!!!


Here is a quick summary of the company:

"Very similar to Paypal, Revolutionary Money Exchange (RME) allows you to send, request, and receive money from RME account holders for free. Register, send money, receive money, and transfer money to your linked checking account for free. Sign up is simple, secure, and fast.

For a limited time, you can get a $25 bonus by emailing me for a referral. Once registered, you can refer all your friends and family members and make up to $500. I signed up today and received my $25 instantly."


The offer expires April 15th (this coming Tuesday). If you are interested in this bonus offer then click on the referral banner below:


Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange


Act fast and get your hustle on!



P.S.

I have made $105 with them so far. If you are like me and want proof, then check here and here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It is over lawd!!!!!

Thank you to all my well wishers.


I did better than I thought I would. Doesn't say much but we will see in 3 months.


I missed out on a very successful and fantabulous Lady's Day program that the women of my church threw. And I am not a happy camper.


Taking this test has made me realize a couple of things.........

1. I don't want to go back to school. I am serious. I really don't. The studying, the test taking, the anxiety, the waiting (for your grade). I mean that test had the ability to put a damper on my whole week. I do not like that at all. I mean the same could go for anything important thing in life really but I would rather it be something I want. Not something "recommended" by someone else because they think it is essential to have.

2. I don't like that so much "emphasis" was put on this test when it is not a "requirement" for our job. It is good to have. Been even as I think about it. Do I really want to become a PE and sign off on important documentation that I would be held responsible for. If I signed off on drawings for the construction of a building that later was found to have design issues, I WOULD BE HELD LIABLE. I don't want that kind of responsibility.

3. Traditional engineering does not excite me. It bores me really. I can't see myself doing this for the next 5 years let alone 25 years. No mam!!!!


If I pass will I feel the same way??????


*sigh*



(I apologize if any of that was confusing......my mind is racing a mile a minute and it is hard for me to get down what I am thinking without jumbling it up)


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wish me luck!

I am going to be taking the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam in 7 hours.

- I haven't studied like I should have.

- I just got home from a bbq.

- I lost a friend this week and I am in a "blah" mood.

- I am ticked that I am missing this awesome luncheon being held at my church tomorrow.



Wish me luck!!!!!!


LOL!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Credit Score Update

I haven't done an update of my credit scores in a while.


March Scores:

Transunion: 659

Experian: 646

Equifax: 616



April Scores:

Transunion: 675

Experian: 657

Equifax: 624




I would take credit for the high jumps in my scores but I think the fact that my car loan is not exactly included in my report at the moment may have played a big role. Statefarm shows my car loan as being paid off but there is no account for my credit union showing up. So I basically look like I have $20,000 less than I actually have (debt wise).

Oh well........I can bask in the "good" credit light for a little while can't I??

Free $25 anyone?

Revolution Money Exchange is back again with their $25 referral bonus offer!!!


Here is a quick summary of the company:

"Very similar to Paypal, Revolutionary Money Exchange (RME) allows you to send, request, and receive money from RME account holders for free. Register, send money, receive money, and transfer money to your linked checking account for free. Sign up is simple, secure, and fast.

For a limited time, you can get a $25 bonus by emailing me for a referral. Once registered, you can refer all your friends and family members and make up to $500. I signed up today and received my $25 instantly."


The offer expires April 15th (this coming Tuesday). If you are interested in this bonus offer then click on the referral banner below:


Refer A Friend using Revolution Money Exchange


Act fast and get your hustle on!



P.S.

I have made $65 with them so far. If you are like me and want proof, then check here and here.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

April 08 Budget

April's Budget




A couple of changes this month:



Car Note: I have no car note this month. My first car payment is due May 10.

Gas: I don't even wanna get into.

Medical: This month I am catching my daughter and myself up on our health check-ups. I have made appointments with the dentist to get my teeth cleaned and my daughter's examined. She will go to her pediatrician for a wellness check-up and I have an appointment with my doctor for a check-up. I need to set up an appointment with a vision center to have my eyes checked and get some new glasses and contacts. And it's time for my yearly pap smear. My budget will account for the copay for all those visits and 3 prescriptions (if needed).

Clothing: It is about that time. The Florida heat has come back and my daughter's long sleeve shirts and long jeans will not be cutting it. And I need some new blouses for church. Hence the new temporary category.


Alrighty yall. Night

Thursday, April 3, 2008

End of the Month Report - March 08



I was so bad this month. I mean REAL BAD!! I should be spanked for the ish I pulled this past month. And not spanked in that kinky sort of way..........anyways I digress. Let's get started shall we.......


Income:
I had $1227.82 left over from my tax refund. On top of that I brought in $337.41 in extra income that consisted of sales I made on Amazon and eBay, income from my side business, and blog income.

Rent & Utilities:
Everything but my damn cell phone bill was cool in this area. I am about fed up with Cingular. I keep getting these weird charges (like being charged twice for a text message) and every time I go to fight it, the only option I am given is to upgrade my plan in order to cancel out the overages. So I upgraded my plan from 450 anytime minutes and free nights and weekends for $39.99 to 900 minutes and free nights and weekends for $59.99. Why isn't there a middle plan for 650 minutes for $49.99??? Anyways my contract with them ends January of 2009. I am NOT falling for the "special offers" anymore and will be switching to Metro PCS where I can pay $50 a month and talk AS MUCH as I want.

Auto:
Well yall all know bout the repair bill. Not having a car payment, which I budgeted for, canceled that out. I had to pick up my daughter from South Florida and I also drove to Tampa so those account for my gas overage.

Food:
I went over my grocery budget. BUT there is a very good reason for it. I went on a fast around the third week of March that called for some special and expensive ass ingredients. My March dining budget was blown sky high, SKY HIGH!!! Ri-damn-diiculous I tell you. I decided to treat my peeps to lunch at Perkins. Why folks wanna eat da expensive stuff when they AINT paying??? Huh? Bill came to $95. Their my family and I love them but dag nabbit we going to Wendy's next time. Order off the $1 menu....... Think I'm playing?

Debt:
I paid off two of my credit cards using some of the remainder of my tax refund.

Misc:
eBay is addictive. Especially when one night I decided to look at some Baby Phat purses. OMG!!! And Juicy Couture...........I almost bid on one of those (starting bid was $180 yall!!).

Regarding the Others category:

Remember this lounge chair on my wish list:


Well I purchased it for $150 (Lady had it originally listed for $300 on Craig's List). Remember now, I need to invest in my sanity. I also bought some miscellaneous stuff. I won't go into detail. I just bought a whole load of ish.

NET WORTH



I won't even waste yall time with excuses. My net worth decreased by 4%.





The End

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Check Em Out!!!

I appreciate all who left a comment to be featured in my link love post. I have added you to my blogroll. If I missed you then hit me up with a comment and I will add you on. Alrighty. I decided to change up my post. I have been reading some pretty great post over the past few weeks and I decided to feature some of them here. So here they are:


CT Mom's Family Financials - CT adjusted her debt goals and can now see the light at the end of the consumer debt tunnel. Get it girl!!!


Spilling Buckets
- Shift Happens. Gotta check it out. What do you think about the change in our global market?


Last In Line
- What are you aspirations? Read Lilo's here.


High Class Low Income
- Love her blog name. Grad School Woes. Homegirl misses learning and studying???? Say it aint so!!! LOL. If you have advice on taking the GRE or applying for grad school hit her up.


No More Spending - Chica is contemplating getting a new job. I gotta say that the arm robberies would have done it for me. I wouldn't last 21 minutes much less 21 months.


His Hers Money - Check out their savings plan. I gotta get on my investment game.


And here are some awesome reads from my inspirations..........


Fabulous Financials - Single Ma has so many to choose from but the one series of post that caught my attention were the ones regarding the leadership course she took as part of her personal career development plan. The series, entitled The Professional Woman, summarizes the course and gives tips on topics ranging from juggling work and family to leadership styles. It's a great read and I definitely recommend it to any female on her career grind.


MIllionaire Mommy - MM has a great post, How to Avoid One of the Most Common Mistakes Women Make When Starting a Business. Women have a tendency to build side businesses while men build empires. You agree? Check out her post for more.


Single Guy over @ SingleGuyMoney is celebrating having over 50,000 visitors by giving away free gas. You have until this Friday to enter into the drawing. More details here.



Alright. I gotta fold some clothes and get my end of the month report ready. Enjoy the links!!