In regards to my last post, I think I will place an order with AFM. I might just buy the inital box to see how much I'm going to like it.
Anyways, at my house we have been having the on going battle with the AC since it's just gotten so daggum hot out here. We fought about it last summer too. I'm the last one to leave the house in the morning, so what I do is turn off the AC. I don't really feel like the house needs to be cooled while we're not there. Plus, I would like to get the power bill lower. We are gone from about 7:45-5:30 M-F. Last summer I did notice a difference with doing this. However, DH comes home and gets super irritated that it's soooo hot. I don't mind it so much but that could be because I grew up in the same area with no AC. I think he's just being a spoiled brat. He tells me he doesn't work his butt off everyday (mind you, he sits behind a desk and talks to Tawian, Mexico, China all day) to come home to a hot house. I told him until our financial situation changes, we will not being turning the AC on while we're gone. I said "you don't just go and turn on your truck and leave it running while you work to cool it down before you leave work do you?" He wasn't amused. So I reminded him "Uh, we do have that programmable thermostat I bought back in January out in the garage that you haven't installed yet. If you have such a problem why don't you install it." So he did. Today is the first day using it so we'll see how it goes. I think he programmed it to turn off the AC at 3am and not turn back on again until about 8am but only to 88 degrees and then turn down to 74 degrees about 3:30pm. I still wonder if this will make a difference in the power bill since the AC will be turned off during non-peak usage hours. We'll see. Now I just need to get him doin' the dishes.
In regards to my last post, I think I will place an order with AFM. I might just buy the inital box to see how much I'm going to like it.
So I've been looking into this Angel Food Ministries program. So far it looks like a good plan. I emailed the church distributor closest to me and I'm just waiting to hear back. I just missed the deadline for June so the next order will be for July. For July they have all of this for only $30:
40 oz. Marie Callender’s® Family Crock Pot Dinner (Meat Included)
1.5 lb. Boneless Pork Filet
5 lb. Breaded Chicken Chunks
1.5 lb. Meaty Beef Ribs
28 oz. Meatloaf and Gravy
1 lb. Beef Fajitas
1 lb. Fully Cooked Meatballs
1 lb. All Meat Hot Dogs
1 lb. Broccoli
1 lb. Peas and Carrots
28 oz. Pasta Sauce
1 lb. Pasta
32 oz. Borden 2% Reduced Fat Shelf Stable Milk
32 oz. Hawaiian Punch
12 ct. Corn Tortillas
7 oz. Blueberry Muffin Mix
That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. You can also add optional packages to this inital one:
JULY SPECIAL #1
7 lb. Assorted Meat Grill Box - $20.00
(1.5 lb. New York Strip Steaks (2 x 12 oz.)
2.5 lb. Boneless Netted Boston Butt Roast
2 lb. Meaty Beef Ribs
1 lb. Mild Italian Sausage)
JULY SPECIAL #2
4.5 lb. Steak and Chicken Combo Box - $20.00
(1.5 lb. Kansas City Strips (2 x 12 oz.)
1.5 lb. Bone-In Ribeyes (2 x 12 oz.)
1.5 lb. Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Filet (4 x 6 oz.))
JULY SPECIAL #3
10 lb. Breaded Chicken Breast Tenders - $18.00
JULY SPECIAL #4
Fresh Fruit and Veggie Box - $16.00
(6 ears Corn
2 lb. Carrots
2 lb. Yellow Onions
1 Cello-Wrapped Lettuce
1 lb. Strawberries
1 Seedless Watermelon
6 Russet Potatoes)
So what do y'all think about this?? We aren't low income....but I thought maybe it would help us pay off the debt faster. However, I don't wanna feel like I'm taking away from low income people who may need it. They say it's enough to feed a family of 4 for a week....we really only have 2.5 (.5 being our 2 yr old) so we could probably stretch it 2 weeks....longer than that if we got the optional packages. Off the top of my head without looking at comparisons I think it sounds like a good deal. Gimme some input!
Upon checking up on my daily news today.....I came across an article on a lady named Mary Ostyn. Apparently she has 10 kids and is super frugal. I apologize if this was already discussed on the board but I found it tremendously interesting and helpful. Although I don't have 10 kids, I find frugality (if that's a word) great on all counts. Her blog also has recipes. Maybe I'll read more of it tonight. It's located at http://owlhaven.wordpress.com/
So I finally got around to going to the Aldi close to here. I was kind of upset because the map on their website had me thinking it was located closer to the route it had given me to take. Wrong! I so totally went around my butt to get to my elbow. There's actually a shorter way of getting there....but that's ok. I'll know for next time and I guess my savings offset the gas usage for that trip. Y'all had told me about the savings but I was totally surprised. This location did have that "discount" feel but that was ok with me. I think the biggest discounts were on the bread (.75) and milk (2.50). Normally I pay $2.00 for bread and milk is $3.75. I did have to buy a lot of convenience foods due to me working the 2nd job and my husband not being able to cook stuff (gotta make sure my son can eat)...but it was still cheap. Pizzas were 1.99 instead of the $2.50 I normally pay. All in all I had a good shopping trip. Next time I'll just have to make a point to bring my husband since the cashier is super fast. I couldn't get all my stuff put on the belt before she had it all back in the buggy with no bags. I had to go to the side and bag up my groceries after I paid. I brought my own bags but I think I'm going to goodwill and see if I can find some canvas bags to use for next time.
It's just been a lazy day here at the house today. We've watched movies, played outside, and even got a nap in. It's been a no spend day. Well actually, I used some of my Amex points today. You know I haven't been using it but I still had like 35k points from prior. I'd been hoping I could get a plane ticket somewhere but I had no idea how many points those require....you'd have to buy a house with your Amex just for 1 person to fly somewhere. So I'm just going to use them up for a lot of smaller ticketed items. Today I used some of them for a blower. The driveway and walkway just looks a fright since cutting the grass the other day. It was nothing out of pocket so I guess it's ok to say it was a no spend day.
I'd checked out the Aldi's up in SC the other weekend (we were seeing the in-laws)....it seemed neat but I know different areas price differently so I'm going tomorrow to check out the Aldi's close to here. Hopefully they'll be just as discounted. The closer to Atlanta you get the more expensive stuff gets. This Aldi (the closest) is halfway between me and Atlanta so we'll see.
There hasn't really been a lot to report here but I felt like I needed to post something to keep from falling off the boat.
So I opened up a Sharebuilder IRA account. I already have an IRA with ING but I figured it would be kind of fun and educational to trade stocks. I used the portfolio advice tool to see what to make my first investment in. So I invested $50 into SPY. I know it was down today but hopefully the market will get over the increase in gas and go back up again. I'm sure it will though...it usually does. The site seems very user friendly and I really like the 'education' tab. Anyways, any advice on this whole trading thing would be greatly appreciated.
My 2 yr old woke up super early this morning and would not go back to sleep. I live in a small town and when it comes to grocery shopping we only have 2 grocery stores and a Walmart. So it's in my better interest to go shopping early...which is what I did this morning. I went to Dollar General and Ingles. Dollar General had their brand Cream of Mushroom soup 2 for $1 so I stocked up on that. I also needed to get a broom since somehow I found my broom broken last night. I think the blame is going to go back on my son. Anyways, I also went to Ingles to get some chicken and bananas. Our Ingles has a gas station so I was just going to fill up there. To my surprise they now have the scanners to scan your Plus card. So I scanned it and ended up getting .10 off a gallon. So I ended up paying 3.62. It was a pleasant surprise if you want to call it that.
So my last post was about us finally being able to pay off one of my cards. I was totally stoked about that and I guess I still should be...but I've been in a dilly. See last year I had to have some emergency surgery. I didn't have any insurance so my bill ended up being somewhere around $6000. Well after some self pay discounts I got it down to around $4000 something. Ever since, I've been paying $10. It hadn't really been a top priority of mine since it wasn't gaining interest. Well the billing company called me yesterday to tell me they would be transfering their old accounts to a new billing company and if I could come up with 50% before the end of the month we could just settle it and be even. Well, my first thought was "If I could give you that much money, do you think this account would be an issue right now?" I told her I'd call her back and she said ok, but I have until the end of the month. I posted a forum post asking for help with this. I was just concerned that if it went to another billing company, they wouldn't let me keep my payment plan. I think I've come to the conclusion that debt is debt (no matter if it's owed to a company or if it's a credit card) and if you can come out less that's what you should do. So, I figured I'd probably take this debt and put it back on that c.c I paid and use my second job checks to agressively pay it down, no longer than 6 months. Even with interest it'd still be less than the $4000 something. *Sigh* It's just kind of discouraging....once I get the sucker paid off I have to put this back on it...although I guess I have to look at it as another debt I'll have taken care of in no longer than 6 months.
After getting checks from the various 'get paid to' sites I use (see left), my second job, and some ebay sales....we're able to totally pay off one of our credit cards. Woo! I just hope we can keep it up!!
I haven't really had anything to post so I figured I'd post about this second job. All my life I swore I would never work 2 jobs....I was always better than that. Now I am and it's not insulting. It's nothing big... it's just a part time job at Macy's which is 3 hours maybe 3 days a week. Right now as I'm still trying to get use to it, it is a drain. I work 8:30-5:30 at my regular job and then 6-9:15 afterwards. I really hate being away from my 2 year old but at the same time, I know he's not going to be any better with his family being overcome with debt. I'm just hoping this little bit at a time will help put a huge dent in these credit cards.
Yeah. I figured out I can't do it on my own. I have tried and failed. I'm going to take it in stride though. We learn from our failures right? I just fell off the boat. We started cutting back then I saw what extra we had then started using it and the rest is history
On a positive note, I come back to the blog married. We got married April 12th. I'm so glad that's behind us now. Actually our honeymoon was to Hilton Head. It was a 4 day 3 night trip for $100 my dad had purchased. He gave it to us and all we had to do was sit through an 1hr 1/2 timeshare presentation (said no btw). It wasn't really what I wanted to be doing on my honeymoon but hey it made our vacation free to us. Plus they gave us $100 in gift certificates to use for our meals. I guess that was the real frugal thing that got us back on track.
Once we got back I took on a 2nd job at Macy's. I'm a contingent employee so I may get 15 hrs at most during the week. I figured that would be ok. It wouldn't take away time from my full time job, school or, my son plus it's extra money. So far so good I guess.
I'm trying to get us back on track. I'm really going to try to be diligent in this. I was happy to come back to see all of y'all posting great advice. Keep it coming cause Lord knows I need it.
I'm very proud of myself! Yesterday I was at Macy's looking for a friend who worked there. I was passing by the coats to which they were having a 60% off sale. I started looking and found a beautiful wool ankle length coat. It was $350 with 60% making it about $140. I just had to have it!! I stared at it....carried it around and then put it back. Maybe they'll have a 90% off sale soon. Heh...we can only hope right? Also, today I got the Bath and Body works promo email today with their wallflower plugins at $5.00. I logged on and put all the stuff in my basket. I opened up the basket to look at what I had and then told myself I had enough tarts at home already to smell up my house. Maybe I'm starting to learn!
It's time to come clean....I am totally addicted to this site. It's been real slow here at work. Real estate isn't real busy towards the end of the year on top of a bad market. Anyways, I'm on this site all day doing freebies, putting in my 2 cents, asking questions, finding information. This site in an absolute blessing.
DH wasn't feeling well last night so we didn't get to the budget...but he did promise me this morning we'd do it tonight. We're also going to put together our debts for the Dave Ramsey payoff method. I haven't decided if we should use the envelope method or not. We get pretty debit card happy so I was trying to figure out a way to stop that, but I am horrible with cash. If I have it I'll spend it. I don't know what to do besides gain some self-disipline. Is there anything y'all do to keep yourself from spending? New Years is coming up fast and I need to get some realistic financial resolutions together quick. 2008 is going to be a good one.
I just came across this site that was recommended by Clark Howard. For those who aren't from GA....he's a consumer reporter down here who actually became a millionaire being super frugal. Anyways, it's a great site to help save on groceries.
I finally found the time to sit down with Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I actually found it quite good and finished it in an evening. I really think the templates in there will help me with making a real budget. I also like his snowball approach in paying down the smaller balances first. I know it will cost less to pay off the higher interest rates but just like a diet....I really need to see the results to stick with it. DH and I are going to sit down tonight and actually use the templates and plan out everything so we can start the new year right. I'm actually kind of excited about it
I hope everyone out there had a very happy holiday! We did, although we did A LOT of driving! We had to go up to SC to see extended family up there then we came back to see my parents and to do Santa here.
So anyways, I was totally excited to see how much money our family members gave us for Christmas! Once everything clears I will be paying off a c.c. I'm totally stoked about that.
I went shopping today at Ingles. I actually studied the sale paper and made up my list according to it. I was surprised how much cheaper and how much more I was able to get. They had a lot of things buy one get one free. I was disappointed though, I got my first Sunday paper and I was ready to get my coupon on but there was no coupons in there. It was strange because I thought coupons came in the Sunday paper thus why I bought the Sunday subscription. After I bought all that stuff I got home to figure out I bought too many frozen goods. I have a fridge/freezer where the freezer is on top and it is soooo small. This has really hindered me taking advantage of sales on meats and frozen goods so today we went to the Sears outlet store. Now if you don't know about this store, it's the greatest if you're looking for appliances. They sell cosmetically damaged appliances for discounted prices. It's great too because they check out the stuff before they sell it and sell it with a warranty. We bought our fridge there when we bought the house signifcantly cheaper because there was a slight dent on the side. You can't see the side so it was great. Anyways, we went there today to look at those big freezers to put out in the garage. I found a big stand up freezer for $250. It had some pellet looking dents in the side of it but it works and it's going to be out in the garage so I thought that was a good deal. So I used the bonus I got from my boss to pay for it. Now I have a place where I can take advantage of the sales.
Other than that...not really a whole lot going on. I've had the past 5 days off courtesy of the boss...paid too I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!
I wanna start out by thanking everyone for their support. I really appreciate the advice and I really appreciate y'all asking me questions I never even thought of. It really is a true motivator!
So today was a no spend day. I've been working on my paid offers/email sites today. I was finally able to cash out my inbox dollars today for $30. Woo! I've also been working on my other two (cash crate & fusion cash)....as of right now both combined are about $45. Little by little. Oh yeah and all of that will be going back on the c.c's. We had a good close on our recent ebay auctions. Total was around $950....I haven't gotten around to fees yet....but still that is a total motivator as well. That's almost 1 of my c.c's . Makes me giddy just thinking of it.
I did some research today on internet service. We are currently paying $57.95. I checked with our local phone service about dsl and they have a bundle of phone and dsl for $60. I've been on the fence about this. It makes more sense since we don't have a home phone (just cells) and you'd be getting two services for almost the price of our 1 current but then again that's still extra $ I could be using on the bills. Plus I don't know if they add on all of those taxes like your cell phone bill does. I bet it does now that I think about it. I told DH maybe we could just hold off for a little while.
I got a subscription to the Sunday paper today. It was a special for $1.45 a week. If you bought it at the store it would be $2.50. I figured this would help me by using coupons and planning meals better. I currently go to the store and just buy things....no real structure.
All in all today was a good day. It was very good motivation to be well on my way.
Alright, so how the heck could I possibly run up that much on the c.cs in a year knowing that my stuff had been paid off. Well, I went back to school. I only have a couple of classes left so it was foolish not to finish. I do that online on my lunch at work so I can have time to play with my son when I get home. I get grants to pay for tuition but not enough to really cover books and supplies. I needed a laptop. So I got one. Since
the tution isn't that much ($565 full-time) I couldn't get a student loan. Maybe I didn't try hard enough. Anyways, some of it of it went to the wedding. We bought clothes, stuff on Ebay (more so a lot on Ebay). In a nutshell it was stuff we really didn't need and I would probably stretch to say that I indeed have a compulsive spending problem. Now it wasn't always something for me....since I grew up w.o a lot of things I wanted, I'm really spoiling my child which I know is totally not the way to go. Especially since he's only 19 months. What do I have to show for it?
Nothing really except for a huge headache everytime I look at the bills and boxes of toys I'm taking to Goodwill this weekend (at least I can get the tax deduction) I don't have an emergency fund. Believe me I know how important this is. I had to have emergency
surgery back in April so now I have about $5000 (uninsured) I've been paying on that. I do have an ING savings account but it only has like $157 in it. Oh and I have my IRA I just started with ING (work doesn't offer it) and it has like $257...not much but it's something
What's sick about this whole situation is that we have friends who are married and have taken a total of 3 mortgages out on their house (total I'm gonna guess about $240,000). They have 2 cars totalling about $1000 a month and various other store c.c's. All they do is spend spend spend. Everytime she shows me something new, later on I talk to my husband and declare what fools they are (recent purchase: matching Iphones). She owes me
$100 for her bridesmaid dress I bought her since she didn't have it at the time. Instead they bought $1500 worth of hardwoods for their living room....so I'm gonna stretch and make a guess she has no cash. Granted, I'm not that bad in, but I'm on my way there and I know better!
So what am I doing about it? Well I'll go ahead and say that we're very dedicated people when we have a plan. Just haven't gotten that far yet. We're both so stressed about this that we're ready to make a change. Alright, I'm a very avid Ebay seller so I sell stuff on there. I have also refrained from doing any searches which may tempt me. Within the past two weeks, I have signed up
for accounts with Inbox Dollars, Hit4Cash, and Cashcrate. Little bits of money here and there. I am also becoming more consious of spare change so I'm picking that up as I go. Below is my bills to give a better picture. I don't have a real "budget" just my excel
file of my bills that I must pay and what's left over to do other things with.I have decreased our cell phone bill by $20 and I have decreased our internet by $10. I'm still picking at the bills to see what else I can cut. I need to figure out a better way to go about my food budget since the baby now eats "real" food. I need to learn how to cook more with less. My husband and me were legally married 2 weeks ago *ssshhhh* the family doesn't know. We did that because open enrollment for health/dental insurance at his
company is in January so for an extra $50 a month I can be fully covered not to have another disaster (my son is already covered). I don't have coverage at my job.
Here are my bills:
Trash Service: $45
2 Cars: $565
Land we own 5 acres on lake in SC: $235
Car Insurance: $171 (I have gotten quotes, this seems the cheapest)
CC 1: $280 (15,084)
CC 2: $200 (9,950)
cc3: $58 (1,879)
cc4: $50 (1,471)
Daycare: $608 (this is paid in one payment a month to save about $50)
Hospital Bills: $50 (this is $10 a month to each dr) (5,000)
Work Income: $4,142 (Bring home and adjusted for health insurance)
In addition to our regular income, we also get $250 a month until Sept 2008 for my car
I sold to a friend.
The land we have is land my husband bought before me. It was 5 acres lakefront for $15,000
His sisters moved trailers onto the land because they hit some financial troubles (one sister is going through divorce while other is married has 3 kids and
had a foreclosed home and bankruptcy). *I DON'T WANNA BE LIKE THEM!!* His family bought up the land down there so they
all stay down there. These sisters get free everything (i.e food from parents and childcare) Don't get me wrong, I think that's great family can come together. However, they kind of take advantage of the system. I told my husband maybe it would be good if
the sisters could team up togther and pay something/anything for using the land. Granted, they do pay the taxes each year which is like $200...but I mean since they use it and if we wanted to sell it, we couldn't...just something since we're stuck with the payment and can't use
it for anything. He doesn't want to....but I'm still working on it.
In writing, my fianances look pretty bad. I don't count in Ebay until I actually have it transfered to the bank. Here lately it's really pulled us through. Like I said, I really need to pick at the bills see where we can get by with less (Daycare isn't an option.
Mommmy likes to work and baby has devloped remarkably well/fast and this is the cheapest with the greatest ratio to quality)
Ok I'm here. After checking out this site, I figured it would probably be good for me to have this blog. I see how it's helped everyone else and for me, I think I really need to put things in writing to put it into perspective.
We have debt. Let me rephrase that, we have A LOT of debt. It was never our intentions to have this happen, it just kinda did. We use to be very good at our spending. I don't know what happend. I don't know if we got lazy or what?! We bought a brand new house in Aug 2006....3bd/2ba since we had the new baby. Great stuff! We used the c.cs to buy the stuff we didn't have moving from an apartment. We did great by paying off everything with our taxes this year. Totally debt free in regards to credit cards. Now almost a year later we've racked them up something crazy. Credit cards alone are about $30,000. I know...I know...I'm so ashamed. That's why I'm here. I'm here to get back to my old ways! I really am glad that I found this site. Great people and great advice!
I'm making a promise to myself. I'm going to post on here to track progress. I just have to. Ok, well I'm going to go so I can get my stuff together to make my first budget post. Please, if anyone has any advice at anytime don't hesitate to tell me....I need to be smacked around a lil'....oh and before you tell me, the c.cs are put away.
|<< Newer Entries||Older Entries >>|