Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Don't Take For Granted

I have been talking about this windstorm like it affected me so much. I was one of the lucky ones who didn't lose power but so many people around me did. People had to throw away good food because there was no way they could store them. It was a shame to see all that go to waste. At our morning meeting we talked about thankfulness. I am thankful that I was not affected but I pray for those who were. I do not have a budget to replace food. Most of the community lived in the dark. We depend on electricity so much we take for granted some of the good things in life. My co-worker commented on how the storm brought her family close. They played board games in candle light, they walked through the parks during the light hours. They talked to their neighbors. It was strange to talk to my neighbors who I thought didn't like me to find out they thought that I was a hermit *grin*. We talked about how much money they would be saving for not having a weeks worth of electricity. It was one of the most funniest conversations I ever had. We as a community got together and had cookouts for those who could not cook food. We stopped those who were going to McDonald's three times a day for a decent meal. Now with the power back on everyone went back to their NORMAL routines. But we do not forget how good we have it made.

Got Something New and Flashy, and it Rings Too

Cell phones have been a craze. They blink and flash, you type on them, you can take pictures with them. Some of the phones now let you watch movies on them. Sometimes I wonder if they are ever used for speaking to another individual on the other end of the line. I submitted myself to get a cell phone. I was very reluctant to do it but I got a plan that made it affordable. The only reason I got this phone was so that I can keep in contact with work when I traveled outside the office. Since the windstorm here, many of the surrounding cities were out of power. I was stuck in traffic and sat in a parking lot (the freeway) as I watched two accidents happen beside me and across from me. I had no way of contacting anyone and it scared me a bit. So I bit the bullet and got myself a flashy slide phone that takes pictures. I paid nothing for the phone (yeah) and I am keeping my bill under $40.00 a month. Which is pretty good. I still condone cell phones when people are driving. I wish they would get a blue tooth or other hands free device so they could could concentrate on driving. That is my opinion on cell phones. FYI the accidents on the freeway were caused by people who were on their cell phones and not paying attention to the craziness around them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Still On Board

Do you ever have the feeling that you want to give up on a good idea? I did have that feeling but since left it in the back of my head. I was thinking of stopping this whole nonsense of living paycheck to paycheck and that I was doomed to never get out of the hole. Well that's not good thinking and I now have the giddy mindset of getting out of debt again. Today I received a letter from one of the credit bureaus that I had written to. I had written letters for them to delete some of the erroneous things from my past and guess what? They did and I'm happy, and even more motivated to keep on going. Ever since my purse was stolen I thought that the world ended. My tip to all who think of giving up, don't. It's too exhausting and not worth it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Say A Prayer

We experienced a devastating event here. They are calling it Windstorm 2008. It was horrible, we watched trees snap while winds of 50-60 mph blew. It was crazy. I almost flew away literally. Signs on the McDonalds shattered, bricks were flying, it was mother nature on PMS. Hurricane Ike moved over us barely. Right now businesses are losing money with all the power outages here. People are without power about 150,000 are still without. I was fortunate. My big old tree in the front yard only shook a couple branches. Other people had their trees uprooted and into their homes. I want to say a prayer for all of the people whose homes are demolished. I pray for the business owner who cannot open their shop, and I pray for the people who cannot get into a hotel because the hotels power is out. We only got the blunt side of Hurricane Ike while people in Texas have lost a loved one or more. So far I have only heard of one death, a ten year old who was hit in the head by a large branch off a tree. I am so thankful that my family is safe and that we have electricity. Right now my place of work has no electricity. They are saying that it may be till Saturday. It is horrible. We depend on electricity so much. I walked into a Kroger who was being powered by generators. People rushing in to get a bag of ice to salvage their frozen goods, only to be turned away by store after store from the shortage of ice. Can you imagine. A prayer goes out to all the families who are suffering.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Where is the Money?

Since my husband started working two jobs, it has been an ordeal. He didn't get paid yet for his two weeks from his other job and now we are starting to fight over money. I don't want to but he needs to get on board here. We have acquired a new expense which is daycare. I'm not happy about that and I don't think that my son is either but my husband sleeps during the day and having a 2 year old run around the house aimlessly is not good. So we have added $100 weekly to our expenses. My hubby has promised one of his checks to pay down some of the bills and debt that we are in. So far I have not seen a penny. Although he did give me money for the groceries. With all the price gouges, I have to be extremely careful with what I buy. I won't gripe about gas although it is a pain in the neck not to think about it. I am wondering where the money is going. I have been away for 2 weeks buried in the little theater. It was a break for me. I hardly spent any money nor did I do any grocery shopping. We lived off of what was in the cupboards which was a great switch. Since my purse was stolen I have to start over in clipping my coupons AGAIN!!! I just wonder why this is happening. I am going to do a lot of praying. I know that this bad situation will somehow get better, but I have to let it go and put it in someone else's hands.

Not A Dull Moment, but A Serious Consequence

I'm back and ready to focus on what I set my eyes on. I was bummed a couple of days ago because my purse was stolen. It has been a nightmare. I have to get a new driver's license and my rent money was stolen. I was able to get my rent in on time with the help of a friend who loaned me the money. I have no family and having a good friend help you out in a pinch (more like a slap in your face) is a blessing. I was taught a very good lesson. Do not carry so much stuff you don't want anyone to take. I even lost my coupon stash. You would think I would be disheartened about losing my rent money but the time I spent clipping those coupons was more devastating in the long run. Now I have to start over and find my identity as well. Never a dull moment here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Missing In Action

I wanted to let you all know that I have been away for a couple of weeks due to the play that I am in. I just wanted to say that it is a fabulous experience. I have met many new people and have made more friendships through this. I have practically lived in the theater for the past 2 weeks. My time was crunched and there was no worrying about money. Although it was in the back of my head. I am glad to be back and I will be on here more after this week is through. We have 3 more shows to run and then I have to get back to serious business. I miss blogging.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

September Goals

I did very well on my August goals and completed most of them. I need a lot of work to do. The whole experience of trying to buy a house right now has left my mind. I received some great advice, and I plan to implement them slowly but surely. Here it goes, another month and more money to spend.
  1. Use extra money to pay off 3-4 things off of my credit report. My husband is giving me one of his whole paychecks from his other job so I can pay down some debt. I have a few that need to go away, and fast. I'm tired of looking at it.
  2. Give my daughter a weekly allowance for doing her chores. Only if she does it. She is so stubborn but I am trying to teach her that if she wants something she will have to start working for it, just a little bit.
  3. Pull my credit report at the end of the month. Since I had to say good-bye to my dream home for now, I am curious to see what my credit report is saying. I am really ashamed that it is in the 500's.
  4. Dispute with a few creditors. I love to tell these collection agencies that they're in the wrong. I remember that I did this one time and had 3 things removed from my credit report.
  5. Go over a new budget with my husband. This is going to be a new thing for us. For years we had separate accounts because we don't trust each other with each others money. I think that's why we got into so much money trouble. We are making an effort. We combined our accounts and now are working towards a common goal.
  6. Save for emergency fund. I added some more stuff on my side bar to show how much I am putting away and to what. I think it's a bunch of junk on the side but it's keeping me accountable.

Those are a few things that need to be done. It seems like it all revolves around credit, but I can't help it. I NEED a better credit rating.

Finally I Got It!

Since July I have been in total turmoil due to not getting my annual raise. It took some time and finally it came today. It wasn't what I expected but it was more than $.50 an hour. Am I complaining? Just a little bit. I also received my annual review and one of them was to get along with the dreaded coworker who drives me up the friggin wall. First of all I TOLERATE this girl even though she has more baggage than anyone checking into the Hilton. I don't condemn her nor do I tell her she's a *&%$#. I know how to seperate my personal feelings and my professional atmosphere, so having said that I thought it was very unfair that my boss knows me in a personal light and had the nerve to put that in my review. That is my personal opinion of the person and it shouldn't have been used against me.
Well I'm over it, I am okay with the raise and I plan to do with it as I said, put the extra money towards savings and paying off debt. I am still in the mindset and will keep pushing. I'm just glad that this doesn't have to loom over my head anymore.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Are There Any Lenders Out There???

Today we looked at the house that I had my heart set on. I was so excited and so were the kids. I know that this is the house I want. I sent out for a pre-approval loan a couple of days ago. I had not heard back from them. It is a beautiful maintained home. Something that my family can grow in. My realtor said that I should put an offer out there because it may get taken away from another person. So I did. It was $8500 below the asking price and guess what? The seller approved it. So I got more excited and giddy and then the lender called to tell me that my credit still is poor and they're sorry. SORRY!!! I have never been excited one minute and let down the next. My heart hurts right now that I cannot catch a break with these banks. I know that in the past I have been late on payments but I have paid most of it off. My credit is close but not cutting it. My realtor told me not to give up hope and we will find something we can afford. But we CAN afford this house is the problem, but my younger years screwed it all up. *Breathe* I still have hope and I have not given up. I am sure that there is someone out there who will loan me the money. I have been diligent on my debt repayment and am working my knuckles to the bone to know that I can afford this home. Anyone out there who can help me. I have bad credit I will not lie, but I have the money to afford this home. I will continue to have faith, believe that all things are acheivable.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hubby is Happy, but Tired

I have a lot of respect for my husband. We don't have a lot of time to spend together now that he is working so much. It has been two weeks and he's very exhausted working 14 hours a day and then coming home and sleeping to turn back around and go back to work. He knows that this sacrafice is temporary until we can find something permanent that makes as much money. All in all my husband is happy. For two years he didn't work and I griped about this situation the whole time. Although I miss him, it's giving back his sense of purpose to his life. I think it's great and it's starting to strengthen our marriage. Does anyone have any stories on dual working families? Has it strained your marriage or are you having a good relationship? Let me know.

My Favorite Time of Year is Comin Near

I have mentioned before that I am trying really hard to start saving for Christmas Early. Black Friday is one of my favorite days to acheive Christmas bliss with my family because that is how you can grab the best deals on merchandise. For those of you who are not aware what Black Friday is, it is that day after Thanksgiving. I usually dote around the ads during Thanksgiving with the family and watch that paper travel everyone's hands. Sometimes I never see the paper again. I discover that this link black friday ads has a great opportunity for us shoppers who do not like getting up and waiting in long lines. They have a bunch of sales ads from Circuit City to Best Buy, Toys R Us and Kohl's. The best thing about this website is that you can purchase these sales on Thanksgiving Day. You don't have to stay in any line and you get those wonderful Black Friday discounts. Just get online and sit back. This is fabulous. I plan to use Kohl's Black Friday ads frequently. They also offer email alerts when new ads have been upsated on their site. What more can you ask?
Have you all started saving yet. Tomorrow my hubby and I plan to open up our Christmas account to get started early. I am truly excited. I can use some of the money I save and starting shopping at this website.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August Goals Revisited

We are winding down August and I decided to take a look at my goals for the month. To tell you the truth I forgot about them. Let's see how I did.
  1. Get my kids savings accounts opened. I am so proud of my daughter. She saved $6.00 to put towards her 1st deposit. I promise I am going tomorrow and getting this done. Plus my husband and I are combining accounts as well.
  2. HAVE A YARD SALE! I have been fuming on this for a month and I hope to get this done. It will do so much for me financially because I can get rid of 2 storage bills which are ridiculous. If I think of how much I spent it would be $2000 in storage fees for 2 years. That's stupid. Still working on it, I can't stand that I haven't done one thing on this yet.
  3. Get my raise and put it in savings. Supposedly I will get my raise in August. I have my fingers crossed on this one. If I put my raise in savings I won't miss it because I will live on what I'm being paid right now. Good idea? On our meeting Tuesday we were told that we will be having our evaluations and know if we are getting our raise. Our raise will be on our next paycheck. Cross your fingers, this will determine whether I quit or not.
  4. Pay double on my car and change the due date. This is a big one because the mail system is working against me. I will mail my car payment 3 days in advance and because it gets there one day after the due date I am slapped with a 30 day late payment on my credit report. This ticked me off because I was one day late and I sent it off early but the envelope didn't get to the office by close of business. I think they never opened the stinking envelope. I am fighting this big time. DONE!!! I did something.
  5. Stock up on groceries. I need to have the necessities and plan meals. My kids are still eating me out of house and home but if our meals are structured I can save money, and give them a healthy meal. Half done. I stocked up on cereals (my family is big on breakfast food) I just need to fill my freezer with meats and buy a few side items.
  6. Quit smoking. This is my vice. I smoke when I am stressed out and when I have a cocktail. These days I've been soooooo stressed out about finances. I just did an analysis and I spend $123.60 a month on cigarettes ( if I smoke a pack a day). That's crazy, not healthy, and again stupid. Quitting sounds great and my insurance will pay for the smoking cessation prescriptions (they average $150.00 with no insurance). I got a prescription for Chantix and I put my quit date the beginning of the month.
  7. Be a part of Pay Per Post. I had to wait one long month to reapply for Pay Per Post. I want to be a part of the IZEA team and I have been very patient. Hopefully they approve my blog this time. I am part of Pay Per Post but I still had no opps for the whole month. I have no Google score so that prevents me from doing anything!!! I still don't get what an Alexa score is so I hope someone can help me.

So far I am doing okay. I will more goals for next month, I like making realistic goals. That way I know that something will come out of it.



What Am I Going to Cook?

I have been racking my brains on what I should make for dinner. I usually come home for lunch but I decided to do lunch with co-workers (spent $9.00, I am so ashamed). So I forgot that I had some vegetable beef soup in the refrigerator and I decided that we are doing leftovers tonight. Tomorrow is a busy day so we will have to get food on the go. There seems to be not enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. Errr!

Looking

Well my dreams are coming true all through the grace of God. I scheduled for a showing of the house that the hubby and I want to buy, on Saturday. I am really excited to see what house buying is all about. I have a friend who is also trying to buy a house but she has given up on that. I am trudging along. I have not heard from my loan officer in a while so I have to call her soon. I have to pay bills soon too. I have been so preoccupied with all this dreaming that I have let some of my responsibilities slide (bad Caren). I will let you know how it goes. I am trying to get a loan ASAP with my 600+ credit score. Cross your fingers and say a little prayer for me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dreaming

I have been daydreaming a lot today. I could not concentrate on work. Why am I so excited? My hubby started his two jobs, and got promoted and I'm excited because we can finally get rid of this debt looming over our heads. Then I started daydreaming about the house I want to buy and a realtor called me today to schedule for a little looksie. Things are looking better and not so bleak. I thank God for this and what he has created for our lives. Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Monday, August 25, 2008

ALL YOU



I have to rave about this magazine. It is so good. It is written by women who are going through everyday dealings from kids, to work, play, and relaxation. The best thing that they started to put in their magazines are a bunch of coupons. My coworker's son is having a fundraiser and a subscription for 14 months is going to cost me $12.00. I thought that was a good deal. In stands they are $1.97 which is a good deal too if you are not willing to get a subscription. Some of the women in her are mothers too, and they write tips on how-to do household cleaning, find a dress that fits you and great budget friendly recipes. I thought I would share what I read.




Little Girls Can Be EXPENSIVE!!!




When I was a little girl, my mother worked all the time. My friends were into their activities like piano lessons, dance, temple (I grew up with a lot of Japanese-Americans), or baseball. I wanted to join a team, but my mother either had no time or money (she had money, she decided to do other things with it). So I swore that when I had a daughter I would give her some of the opportunities that I wasn't lucky enough to get. I want to boraden her horizons sort of speak. When my daughter was only 4 months old I put her in pageants. She won most of the time but I saw mothers out there get psycho over the dress. They spent thousands of dollars on a dress and all my baby wore was a cute white dress. I quit putting her in pageants because I didn't want her to become a Jon Bonet Ramsey. Since that my girl has not done much of anything. She didn't want to join the soccer league at the YMCA because she frankly didn't like the sport. She did dance for a year and lost interest after her second competition. It snowed when they had softball signups last year so she didn't join that. This year she has decided to join cheerleading, and Girl Scouts. We will see about this. I hope that she will find her nitch. But she has no idea how much classes, dues, and outfits cost. I am so excited about Girl Scouts, but I am also happy that her uniform is not so expensive as I thought. She only has to buy a sash for her badges and that's $5.00. Her dues are $3.00 every other week. Don't forget the cookies I'm going to buy (I am a sucker for Girl Scout cookies). Cheerleading cost me $60.00 this year, which is okay. Her uniform is all provided and all I have to spend is gas to get her to the games. I am very proud of my little girl but I am dreading the teenage years when she's going to want new outfits, and a CAR!!! I am saving now and hopefully this weekend we can open her bank account as promised. Little girls are expensive, just think about it?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Developing a Meal Menu

Sundays are my days to ctach up from the week. I do chores makes sure the kids have everything they need, and plan for the upcoming week. Right now I am trying to implement meal planning because we have a lot of running around to do for the week and buying a meal from the drive thru sounds soooo appealing. But, in order to save on money I decided that I HAD TO make our meals. I'm having a promblem getting started. I know I am going to look in the fridge and freezer and make sure I have everything I need first and try to work from there. Does anyone have any sample menus? I need quick meals that I can make in an hour. I have no time to prep because I get home at six and then by seven I have to run out the door with the kids in tote and take them to their activities. Ramen noodles is not cutting it every night, and Chef Boy Ardee is getting really old. So any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.

Organizing the Closet



I am really embarassed about my closet. It is a complete mess. The deal is to get this organized today and also do my other household chores like laundry. I have been putting it off for a while now. I am trying to stay motivated because I cannot believe how messy things are. My house is very disorganized because my little two year knows how to open doors, closets, anything... he also likes to climb every single thing from couches, chairs, and counters oh my. My assignment today is to somehow get this place in order. This little project of mine will allow me to see the things I use and don't use. I can start getting rid of more "stuff".

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Time Home Buyers Seminar

This morning I headed down to the Semonin office and attended their free First Time Home Buyers Seminar. It was very informative and gave me some hope. First I was saddened to know that by October 1st, 2008, they will be doing away with the Genesis Foundation. That means any gifts you thought you could receive for down-payment assistance (for instance Ameri-Dream) is going away. That also mean that you will require a down payment for a home purchase. They also will be having a new tax credit for home purchased April 9, 2008-June 30, 2009 for First Time Home Buyers up to $7500. This is to help provide a stimulus to the housing market and the economy. You just cannot have a combined income with your spouse of over $150,000 per year. This is good to know and I'm glad I attended. As soon as the hubby wakes up I have to explain that we need to get in high gear and buy soon. Interest rates in our area are fabulous.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm Glad I Know People

You meet a lot of people in this world. Some are the people you interact daily through work, school, plays, church, etc. I think it is important to network with others that have some of the same beliefs as you do. Well I know a lot of people through work. My job is not at all glamorous but it is rewarding. I touch many people's lives as they do mine. One patient came in desperately needing a treatment and in return she gave me free tickets to the state fair. I am so excited. I am going to save $30.00 for entry fees and parking. I am glad that this happened. I have also met people who have taught me things about the stock market. You know I will take many tips. I just need enough courage to take the risk. I also met my loan officer through work. She happens to be one of my patient's wife. So having these different types of relationships can increase some form of thinking and you gain so much information and maybe some free things along the way. Rest assured I do not take advantage of these people for their kindness and generosity. I turn them down on some of their gifts (I would rather have the praise) but somehow these kind hearted people sneak their way to give you a reward for all you do.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Staying On a Path

I have done most of the things I have set out to do in my goal to financial freedom. I think of it everyday (sometimes every night). I wonder what do people do to stay motivated. I look at all my wonderful tickers on my blog and I just haven't seen them budge in weeks. It can be a bit of a downer. I am doing the best that I can. My hubby reassured me tonight to be patient because we will not be in this blah mode for long and soon be living a little bit more comfortably. I have had some fears in my lifetime and finances is my biggest one. Listed are the things I have done to save more. It's not much but it is something so this is a bit motivating.

  1. Spend $40-$70 in groceries a week. I am trying really hard to get this down weekly but my children love to eat. I have started obtaining coupons and using them on great deals. Sometimes I come up short and stray from my grocery list but I'm getting better each time. One day I hope to only spend this amount of money monthly.
  2. Stop buying coffee every morning. I calculated how much I spend weekly on coffee if I continued to buy it. $23 a week/$92 a month. This was hard to swallow. I brew my own and now save bunches. That's crazy to think I used to spend that much.
  3. Stocking up on beauty items/cleaning items. I have been to the dollar store a lot and they have some things that I use daily for such a minimal price. This saves me $40 every two months.
  4. Reading personal finance blogs. This is the best thing I can do. All the writers are human and have made mistakes. They too are making a difference in their situation. I think we are doing what we do for the good of our pocket books.

These are a few things, I have a few more and a ton more I need to work on. Join me in my journey and we'll have fun keeping each other accountable.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Loyalty

I wanted to post something personal that has happened to me in the past 2 days. The doctor that I work for is VERY old, but he is still a great doctor. He is like my surrogate father since mine is across the other side of the country. Anyhow he's not feeling well. I told him that he can call me any time if he needed anything. He did, at 9:30 last night. To make a long story short he is not well I helped him and went back to check on him this morning. We had discussions on self worth and making money. He told me I was worth $100/hr. I had to laugh, but he was so serious. He even asked me if I received my raise, and of course I felt my ears get hot when I said no. He wondered why because he approved it in July. I stopped talking about it because I was getting upset and he didn't need to see that. I would do anything for this man. I adore him. He has taught me some good lessons in the four years I've been with him. He is part of my family. The bright mother in law does not get why my loyalty to him is so great. Sometimes I think she is jealous. It is because this man does not judge, he is very patient and treats you with dignity. I love Doc, and I pray that the Lord will heal him so he can get back to work and drive me crazy.

You Gotta Give In, Just A Little

I made another grocery trip today. I was all psyched to use my coupons on the sales. I'm new to all of this coupon extravaganza. I did my research on what I needed. I bought a whole lot of Kellogg's products because they were having a huge sale, plus last week the inserts in the Sunday paper were pretty impressive. The kids and I strolled aisle after aisle in pursuit of deals. They started acting up and I knew it was time to make an exit. The clerk was nice and we started talking about family, as I scrutinized each scan she made. My total was $117.95. I sighed and handed her my coupons. My eyes gleamed as I saw the price go down. I decided to also shove a Hannah Montana backpack in the cart for good measure. Since I purchased $10.00 worth of Kellogg's products they gave me $10.00 off the backpack. Plus it was on sale at 30%. I managed to get the backpack (original price $18.99) for $3.29. Yippee. My final total came down to $67.57. I saved $50.38 with all my coupons and in store sales. I thought this was an ok expenditure. I can't stand spending more than $50.00 in a grocery store. I have some stockpile and I know in order to build it up I need to spend a little to get there. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to spend money to get money.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good Day

Today was great. I still can't believe I forgot it was payday. I didn't spend any money even though I cashed my check. Why is today good, well the hubby starts his 2nd job tonight. Our yearly income is going to increase from $24,000 to $48,000. This is wonderful news. The hubby and I had made a pact to live the way we are living (which is very minimum) and save the extra income. We are going to start living smarter not harder. I am very excited about getting out of this debt and we will no longer be living paycheck to paycheck. I am sure there will be some unexpected things happening but right now it seems to be going very well. Thanks for all the encouragement everyone.

Payday 8/19

Today was payday and I forgot. I couldn't believe I forgot something like that. Well I have cashed my check and before I spend any money I am going to sit down and set up a budget. Now that I know what I have I know what needs to be paid.

Thanks

I just wanted to thank some of the blog readers who comment on my blog. You all are very insightful and give great advice. I hope that I will be able to return the favor with the experiences that I learn. Thanks again for reading.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We Wish For Things We Can't Have

I have been browsing a few financial blogs today and I wanted to end the night with a question. Why do we want things we can't have? I know that all things are possible through God, but there is all this want for materialistic things. I want a million dollars. Don't snicker, you know you have that thought now and again. I almost went to the liquor store to spend money on a lottery ticket in hopes that I would be the one to win, but I turned around. I don't want wishful thinking, I want action and that's what I intend to do. Instead of wanting so much I am going to try an implement some plans.
  1. Have a yard sale. I have till the end of the month to do this. If my hubby does not help me get the crap out of storage I am going to make him stay in storage. There is no reason I should have 2 storage units and pay out of my behind. Savings for the month $200.00 in rental fees.
  2. Donate plasma 1-2 times a week. They pay $40.00 for your first donation and $25.00 for consecutive visits. Earnings for the month $100.00 realistically.
  3. Turn off the air conditioner. This is a money sucker. I don't get hot unless I go outside. My house is pretty insulated and I am not fat, so I can't hide from the elements. Savings for the month $30.00
  4. Get my son potty trained. The little booger is soooo stubborn. This may take awhile but I am done with diapers, pee and poop. Yuck. Savings for the month $50.00.
  5. Continue to blog when things are bad. I like to let my feelings out, having them pent up for so long makes me sick.
  6. Implement the law of attraction. I have read The Secret twice. I want to attract money so I am allowing it to come to me TODAY!!!

Why am I so obsessed with money right now? Well my hubby took one whole week off and I did not know he was not going to get paid for the week. So now I have to play catch up all over again. It upsets me terribly that he took vacation without pay. This is one big mistake to learn from. I remember having my second child and instead of recuperating from a C-section I was back to work in 2 weeks because we would have no income at all. It sucked and now I have that sick feeling in my stomach again.

Communication is important in a relationship. Make sure that when you have a plan EVERYONE is involved.

Yeah Walgreens

Usually, I gripe about how Walgreens makes me upset. Today I really got a good deal. They were having a sale on their Lipton Tea bags $1.99/box. My family is a bunch of tea drinkers and I decided that I would stock up and I did. I had 3 $.50 off coupons so I took it directly to Walgreens. I also looked into my purse and found a $5.00 Register Rewards tucked away. So my total OOP was $1.50 for four boxes of 100 tea bags. I am so excited. I hope my hubby and kids will be happy too because they are the ones who drink all that tea. Yeah!

Family Portraits

A couple of weeks ago, the whole family got together and took our pictures. It is a family tradition and we had 2 new additions to our family. One of our cousins took the pictures so we were getting a good discount, about 46% off. I wish it was more but it's going to cost me $90.00. Yikes! I can't believe how much pictures can cost especially when we got a discount. It makes me want to become a photographer myself.

School Days

I think it is great that my daughter is back in school. She is so excited for the new school year. With her going into another grade means more things for her to do. She has signed up for cheerleading, and Girl Scouts. I am happy that my daughter wants to be active. I also didn't know how expensive things were going to get. She will need 2-3 uniforms for both these activities. I know that her cheer outfit is going to cost $60.00 and that includes everything but shoes. Girl Scouts have 1-2 outfits to choose from, and I don't know how much this is going to be. So, I have to budget for these things soon. I wish there was another way I can raise more money.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Donating Plasma

This morning the hubby and I decided that we are going to donate our plasma. We used to do this in california but I was unaware that they had a donation center here. It is such a good cause plus they compensate you for your time and donation. I will give you all details about our trip. Plasma donations help those who have trouble with their blood clotting. Plus they do alot of research to aid in looking for cures for diseases. I am happy to help, but I also like the comensation as well. You can earn $200.00 a month from donating. I think that's a nice treat. Look for a plasma center near you.

Grocery Trip 8/15

I had a wonderful time at the grocery store. I had told you all that I received $60.00 in free groceries from Kroger. Well, in the morning I made my first visit and picked up a few things that I had coupons and I was going to get some good deals. I proceeded to the check out and they bypassed by rewards. I was not very happy. I alerted the clerk right away and she told me to go to the service desk and they will refund me the money. Well, they did just that and my rewards still reflected $60.00. So, I basically got my stuff for free. The hubby wanted additional groceries later that day so I had to head back to Kroger. I had coupons again for what he wanted. This time the clerk asked me if I wanted to use my rewards and I said yes. No bypass. For some reason my coupons would not scan. The clerk took my coupons and gave me the cash difference plus the double coupons. So I received $16.00 back. Now, I am no theif and that is an error from the computers, I was told by the service desk. They gave me the okay and thanked me for my customer patronage. I feel really blessed. Yeah for computer error.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

No Opps Yet

Since joining PPP, I still have not received any opps. I know I have a lot to work up to, since I just started blogging, but how long does it take? Does anyone have any recommendations? How can I get more exposure? Right now, I will be patient and work hard. I know that it's not simple.

More Responsibilities, Not Enough Reward

I was tacked on with more things to do at work. Like my life isn't filled with more. I got a little bit more upset and put my foot down and made it known. I don't get paid enough nor do I have the patience. I work very hard, and I know others do. I do more than what is expected, so I think that's why I get tacked on with so much. It can be a bit frustrating and I let my boss know. I told her it wasn't fair. She then countered with that I was a fabulous worker (of course that pads my ego), and I am well respected by my patients (again, I like that my patients like me too), and they know they can count on me (So why do I feel so overworked and under paid). I WANT MORE PERKS!!!

Big Score

Today, one of my coworkers gave me a couple of Kroger coupons. I thanked her for her genrosity and looked at one of them with wide eyes. It said earn $60.00 in Free Groceries. All I had to do was transfer my prescriptions to Krogers. I know that this is not a new thing to do, but the offer is the biggest that I have ever got. I immediately went to Kroger and they credited my Kroger Plus card. I have never been so excited. Fortunately, my prescriptions are covered by insurance (FREE), and then I got $60.00 in free groceries (again, FREE). Total spent today $0. I have now gone 2 days without spending any money. Yeah me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Wanted to Add

I just wanted to say that I didn't spend any money today. I am really proud of myself. I have no cash in my purse (on purpose). I didn't run any errands today, so that prevented me from spending anything. I was also too tired so that's a great excuse.

Exhausted

I am sooooo tired. My buddies from Iowa left today and I can't believe how many things we were able to do in such little time. I really hope they had a good time. What do you all do when out of town guests come to stay with you? How do you entertain?
Work was a big bummer today. I am a big control freak and I have to be aware of what is going on in my departments all the time. I have a coworker who is pregnant and she wants to leave us ASAP. I am trying to encourage her to hang in there. I've been pregnant before and have had gumption to try and leave and be a stay at home mom, but I couldn't. Others can do it, but I am an extremist when it comes to my work. I love my children, but I work to provide them with what they want. If I didn't work it would be disaster.
With that said, she made me think of my situation at work. I wonder if I am going anywhere with it. I am well respected and knowledgeable in what I do, but I wonder if that is enough to advance in my field. I don't know, I am confused.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What a Weekend!

The reason I am barely writing about the weekend is because it ended officially this morning when I went back to work. I had a great weekend. Friends from Iowa came to visit and they are staying until tomorrow. So we had to take them to see everything. The only problem is that we only had $100 to spend. We ventured out first to do a cave tour. It was so much fun and very interesting. We watched how they made candles and soap too. We even mined for FOOL'S GOLD. The tour was expensive but I told my husband to flash his military I.D. and we got one ticket for free. The next day we had to cram 2 events. We took a trip to a bat museum and watched how they made baseball bats. We even received a free little bat at that (it rhymes). Unfortunately I was not around when the hubby was paying so he didn't flash his military I.D. After the tour we decided to get to the zoo before it closed. I was there when the hubby paid and we got another B1G1 free ticket in, plus I had a free coupon for a child's admission. We did pretty well. Our big downfall was gas and food. We crammed so much and I'm glad we did. I needed to see the sights too. Does anyone have any good mini vacation stories?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Veterans

As a former veteran, I try to support every decision that the military makes. We defend this country and make the U.S. and our allies safe from our enemies. I get very nostalgic about things that go on in the Dept of Defense. Veterans have some perks, a reward for the job they have done. Since my blog is about personal finance I decided to list some perks, that maybe some vets do not know about.

  1. Use your Montgomery GI Bill. For those of you who contributed to the GI Bill, you have a wonderful opportunity to go to school and have the GI Bill pay for you to go to school. Full-time students now receive up to $1321.00 a month as of August 1st, 2008. Another way to optimize this benefit is if you served after 9/11. The VA has given an extension to service members up to 2 more years of benefits. Every year the amounts go up. Make sure you sign up.
  2. VA Home Loans. For those who have fair credit, you may use your VA home loan that covers up to $450,000.00. This is great if you are looking for a home and want to use this benefit. You do not have to put money down and the rates are great.
  3. Going to theme parks, get a discount. It is great to know that most theme parks recognize the hard work of a service member. Disneyland and others have given free tickets to families to go to their parks. This weekend we went to go look at some caves. I asked the tour guide if they gave discounts to vets and they said YES. We saved on the price of one ticket.

Those are some things that I have utilized in my life that some veterans forget they have. I remember that when I enlisted the recruiter painted this fancy picture and you know what, you can see this picture if you go after what is due you. I believe that the men and women who serve for our country should get more for laying their life on the line for our well being. So to all of the Veterans, I commend you for a job well done.




Saturday, August 9, 2008

The House



I hope the picture turns out okay. So here it is, the house that I plan to purchase. With housing rates lowering I am getting my hot little hands into some real estate. My hubby is helping me every step of the way and we intend to move right away if everything goes well. I am so excited and even more pumped for all the people who thought that they were living paycheck to paycheck could not acheive this dream. It takes a lot of work to get to your goals. For motivation realize that you should never give up. This is the home I want to grow old in, and have my children grow up in. I will give more insight on the whole process as a first time home buyer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Husband is getting on the Bandwagon

For a long time (almost three years) I have been the sole earner for our family of four. It has been a long time since I have been able to spend my money the way I want to. Things have been tight and also with prices increasing I had to shave our expenses tremendously. We had no room for fun money at all. Today, my husband told me he filled out his supervisor papers for part-time. That means he will be making double at his part time job. I was very pleased. It is only 5 hours a night so he decided to apply for another job. HE GOT HIRED! Unfortunately he will be working 14 hours a day (or shall I say night) we will finally get out of the debt hole we are in. I am so proud of my man for taking charge. Now I am trying to emphasize to him, that although we will gain money towards income we shouldn't be adding more debt. Since the news of the possibility of owning a home came about, the hubby is ready to kick this debt out of the way. I am very inspired about his motivation and now I will be able to share the expenses with somebody. He needs to follow the money rules and I am making him read Dave Ramsey's book. He is beginning to realize that we need to take some action and today is the day. Yippee!!!

Babysitting Blues

Since I am in the community play, I have to have a lot of rehearsals. We open our first show the first week of September. It is very exciting. My issue with this is that I have to spend money on a babysitter. My poor mother in law has the shingles so she is unavailable. Well to be neighborly I hired the assistance of my neighbor's daughter. She has experience babysitting and I needed her in a pinch. I asked her what a going rate a babysitter charges these days for two children? Since this was my first time enlisting the help of a teenager, I didn't know what the going rate was. Does anyone have any ideas. I joked around that she could not make more hourly than me :) Well I had to make the decision because she was indecisive. So I paid her $6.00 and hour for two kids. I thought that was pretty reasonable because she didn't have to feed them, just entertain them. She loves my kids and they are fun, sometimes rowdy. I ended up paying her $12.00 each night I had rehearsal. This week it ended up being $36.00. Yikes!!! I now have to readjust my budget to help me keep on track since this is an unexpected expense. Luckily I had the money. My question is, how much is reasonable? Did I pay too much, or too little. FYI minimum wage here is $7.15 so I think she did alright. I also think I may be overpaying her, but I could be wrong.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's Never Too Early For Christmas

I talked to my new mother in law that I love very much. She told me that she is done Christmas shopping. My jaw dropped and I asked how she could be, and her reply was, "I started shopping the day after Christmas." This woman is amazing. She has shopped for 18 people in the family. She bought clothes on clearance, toys for rock bottom prices. Everywhere she went she found a sale. I thought to myself that there are only a few months until Christmas and I don't want to panic scrounging up change to buy trinkets for the family. So I decided to put $25 each payday away for my Christmas Fund. I am so excited. With 4 and 1/2 months left I would be saving $250.00. I think this is an awesome start. I will usually include my Christmas bonus and I should have a budget of $500.00 for shopping. I just have to start making a list of who I have to buy for, figure out sizes and look for the bargains, just like my MIL (Mother In Law). I thank her for motivating me. This is going to be great and I'll let you all know what I find.

Work

I still didn't recieve my raise yet, and no word. I wonder if there is light at the end of the tunnel. To make matters worse, we hired a new girl. I am VERY open to new staff but this girl rubs me the wrong way. She had experience, which is a plus but her demeanor drives me mad. I am a big threat to her, but she is already stepping over toes, making recommendations on things she knows nothing about. She even had the nerve to tell how something was done when I have been doing it for years. It took a lot for me not to back hand her because I am not that type of person. She has made many mistakes and I tactfully put her in her place. She does not get reprimanded for being late to work. She gets time off for appointments, leaves early when she can even thought there's work to do (she does this everyday), doesn't ask anyone else if they need help, and she's been late about four times in a two month time frame. We ended up letting a coworker go who had the same experience but was tardy to work all the time. So, now she is becoming the same way with a know it all attitude. I know we need the help around work, I get that, but why should she get away with it. I think that's why I'm heated.
I have been working Saturdays for the past 6 months to increase my income a little. She knows why I do, but she stepped in and asked to work my Saturday. Since this is a great opportunity for people to be trained and not all the same people are working Saturdays, my boss thought it was a good idea. I have never been so angry. I am not financially set for this. I am at a great disadvantage because I will be losing some overtime. She won't because she leaves early all the time. What can I do to not be so mad? She knows my situation and is really looking to outshine me. Am I jealous? No, but I need this job more than she does. I won't get into details but she can do without a job. Urggggghhhhhhhh!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Credit, the Poor Score

My journey to look for a home is getting exciting. I have learned that I no longer have a poor score, but a FAIR score. Some things I have done is pay off some of the small debts I incured. Some websites on credit say not to settle for an amount and pay it off because it may damage your credit report even more. I think within due time since the balance is $0 instead of the previous amount, it shows that you are trying to better your scores. I don't know for sure, but it seems to be working for me. Are some of you out there having a hard time with your credit report? You're not alone.

Good News

I am so ecstatic right now. I waited 30 long days and nights to be part of the Pay Per Post family. Today I went into my inbox and saw about 26 meassages. Half of the emails were junk and I start clicking the delete button instantly until I read, 'YOUR BLOG HAS BEEN APPROVED'. I think that this is a wonderful opportunity. I plan to get a little bit better and join IZEA fest next year.
Right now I am not eligible for anything big as far as opportunities, but I have all the patience in the world. Does anyone have a good story as a newbie? Any tips on how to go further?


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

It's my 30th birthday. No big deal, just another day. The office staff and I celebrated with cake (my favorite, yellow cake with chocolate frosting), and I got some cool gifts. I got a coupon organizer (they know me so well) 4 blouses, a pair of socks, wall hangings, the slide I wanted from Lia Sophia, and a $6.00 gift certificate to the nearby coffee house. They did good because they knew I needed some new clothes, I was saving for the slide, and I've stayed away from the coffee house for 3 months and brew my own coffee. I am very grateful. I have no other plans because my birthday falls on a Tuesday and there's not much to do since the hubby has to go to work and I have play rehearsals. I love my coworkers. They did a good job. Other than the mishap at Walgreens, I had a good birthday.

So Mad

I was all geared up for shopping at Walgreens. I was geared up with my coupons and made a list of the things that I wanted. I did participate in the register rewards that they had for Kelloggs. I could rip the cashier in half. There is an asterisk in the ad that claims one register reward per promotion. I did that, but I participated in 3 different ones. So I get one register reward for $5.00 off my next purchase. I got the manager right away. He then proceeded to get huffy... he never said a word, handed me the other two rewards and walked away. He nor the cashier apologized for how they behaved. I was not trying to cheat them out of merchandise. They promoted it in their ads so why get so huffy puffy? This Walgreens gives me grief when I go in the afternoon. I vow to go only in the wee mornings because they are much cheerier. One time they had a BOGO on shampoo. I had a coupon for BOGO on the same item. Now am I wrong. If the promo was not BOGO I can still BOGO with my coupon. Well they told me to keep my coupon, I had a good deal already. Technically the items would be free. Can someone enlighten me? How is this done?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Waiting For the Love

I am a couple of days away when I can apply for Pay Per Post again. I am so excited. I have read many good things and what I want to know is how do people qualify for opps. This is something that I don't understand. I am a member of social spark too but most of my opps really don't appeal to me or pay me. I have met a lot of other bloggers so that is a plus. I wonder how long I have to hang in there to get opps that pay me? Hmmmm.

House Project

I had mentioned before that my credit score is in bad shape. Well, I pulled it and it isn't as bad as I thought. I am in works right now with a loan officer to help me prepare in owning my first home. This is a big step and I'm not jumping into anything yet. I am fixing my problems slowly but surely. It feels good to know that I am able to do this. I have a few things to dispute on my credit report so I will have to hang tight, but this is a step in a good direction. I went from being all the way to the bottom to floating to my neck. I can breath for air just a little bit more.

Researching

I have told you all that I am in the medical field. As I am exploring my options on secretly job searching I am also researching going back to school. I know Dave would disapprove me getting another loan that will add to my debt, but hear me out. I have been researching becoming a Medical Transcriptionist. Some have done it from home and that's what I would like to some day finally accomplish. Right now, I am looking for a school that won't take me that long to finish and that is online (I want to save on gas). Since I am on the computer so much I thought maybe I could do something substantial. You may not know this about me but I like to try things. I like to get my hands on good offers, good deals, and adding more to my accomplishments. During my whole research I learned that my GI Bill will help me pay for the school I have chosen, up to $1100 a month, so therefore, I do not need a student loan. SCORE! This is very exciting because I am taking advantage of my benefits and it's like going to school for free. The only thing I have to give up is my time. There isn't much time to sit on my fanny and wait. I am going to take advantage of this opportunity and hopefully hold another job for my efforts. I am really excited. Any medical transcriptionists out there? How did you go about getting a job at home?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Stockpiling



There was a time in my life when I used to stockpile the foods I bought. Since I am on a mission on coupon clipping, and saving on our food budget, I thought it would be a good idea to start my stockpile again. I used to play http://www.thegrocerygame.com/ but I didn't feel like paying the fees. I also use http://www.couponmom.com/ which is fabulous because she doesn't charge a fee. You can look up their forums and get in on the coupon craze. I have a small stockpile of paper towels and Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner (I am picky about my shampoo because I have eczema on my scalp, plus my hair is almost down to my butt). Anyhow I plan on taking a trip to the grocery store on Wednesday and I'll post what I was able to do. Payday is Tuesday and I am doing a final draft of my budget tonight. I am still motivated to get myself out of the hump that I'm in. Hope you all are doing well on your quest.

Great Time Last Night

The local church next door to my daughter's school, had a back to school event for the children. It was such a wonderful gesture and it makes me love the community I live in even more. The kids got to enjoy snow cones, popcorn, hot dogs, drinks, games, face painting. The law enforcement even came by to do free finger printing I.D's for the children. My daughter even received a backpack full of school supplies, colored pencils, scissors, crayons, rulers, notebooks... the whole thing was free. All of it. The church got together to bring the kids in our community all this free stuff. I cannot rave more about how wonderful everyone has been. I wish all communities could be so open. They are taking care of the children. I just thought I would share. I know that I never had any of this treatment growing up in California (no offense California).

Early Sunday Morning

I woke up very excited this morning. I had a dream about the Sunday paper and what good coupons they have inside. Isn't that hilarious! I am waiting anxiously for the rest of the family to get up so we can go get a Sunday paper ASAP. I have already looked online at the circulars and sales for the main stores I shop at. Right now I am trying to make a menu and a list of what I will need. Whoever told me to make lists is really great. They make life a little bit easier.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Exploring a New Career

I love my job, I really do. Here's the but... I don't get paid enough. I live in Indiana which I know the cost of living is much lower than when I lived in California by all means. I finally make as much money as I did four years ago. This is a tragic story. Although I love my job and some of the benefits are nice (get time off when you absolutely have to, paid vacation, and free medical attention) I find myself looking for more. I have a military background so I started searching for government jobs. I found a job that I was well qualified for and guess what, it pays 6 times what I am making now. It is a desk job, something I thought I would not like, but the pay is so fabulous, and so are the benefits. I currently work in the medical field. I did not finish my nursing degree (I have 2 more years to go but I had an unexpected pregnancy). I decided to give more of my time to my family but it is my family who I need to make this career change for. I love medicine, I love what I do but right now it is not paying my bills. I am worth a lot more and if I am highly qualified I will take this job. I hate to do it, but I can't deny myself the best things in life.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Gotta Sell!!!

I have been browsing on Ebay. I felt like I was window shopping. What I was actually doing was research what people were selling on there. I was quite surprised what people were bidding on. One good idea that I saw for sale was coupons. How many times have we clipped coupons to save on our food bill? Now on Ebay people are selling their coupons before they expire and others are bidding on them. I got a bit excited at the whole concept. I think I can give it a shot. I have many coupons. Most of them that are expired I send overseas to our soldiers and their families. So, if you have coupons you clip but never use them, maybe selling them on Ebay would be a good idea too.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

August Goals

July is already over and another month is about to start. I am excited because I am doing well. Granted I am broke (no going into emergency fund no matter how bad I want to), but I am getting up to date on most of my bills. So here are my goals for August.

  1. Get my kids savings accounts opened. I am so proud of my daughter. She saved $6.00 to put towards her 1st deposit.
  2. HAVE A YARD SALE! I have been fuming on this for a month and I hope to get this done. It will do so much for me financially because I can get rid of 2 storage bills which are ridiculous. If I think of how much I spent it would be $2000 in storage fees for 2 years. That's stupid.
  3. Get my raise and put it in savings. Supposedly I will get my raise in August. I have my fingers crossed on this one. If I put my raise in savings I won't miss it because I will live on what I'm being paid right now. Good idea?
  4. Pay double on my car and change the due date. This is a big one because the mail system is working against me. I will mail my car payment 3 days in advance and because it gets there one day after the due date I am slapped with a 30 day late payment on my credit report. This ticked me off because I was one day late and I sent it off early but the envelope didn't get to the office by close of business. I think they never opened the stinking envelope. I am fighting this big time.
  5. Stock up on groceries. I need to have the necessities and plan meals. My kids are still eating me out of house and home but if our meals are structured I can save money, and give them a healthy meal.
  6. Quit smoking. This is my vice. I smoke when I am stressed out and when I have a cocktail. These days I've been soooooo stressed out about finances. I just did an analysis and I spend $123.60 a month on cigarettes ( if I smoke a pack a day). That's crazy, not healthy, and again stupid. Quitting sounds great and my insurance will pay for the smoking cessation prescriptions (they average $150.00 with no insurance).
  7. Be a part of Pay Per Post. I had to wait one long month to reapply for Pay Per Post. I want to be a part of the IZEA team and I have been very patient. Hopefully they approve my blog this time.

So those are my main priorities for the month. I wish you all a happy August.

Focus!

I need to focus on the task at hand. Payday is coming up again and I have to be very careful. I have made a template budget about thirty times. I went to rehearsal and brought my notebook with me. I should've been paying attention but instead kept writing my budget over and over again. I kept adding little things like toilet paper, and detergent. I wanted to decipher between wants and needs. We need toilet paper because we are down to 2 rolls. I made a 12 pack last a whole month. There were times where I was able to get toilet paper free. Now a days I am finding that my coupons do not double. Worse yet I am finding that I am in LOND zone at some bargain places like Wal-Mart and K-mart. They offer 2 packs of 24 rolls of toilet paper for $12.00. Coupons are now $.25 off for name brand toilet paper. That is disgusting to think about. I wonder if anyone suffers from finding paper goods pricey as well as food and gas? Anyways I need toilet paper for next month so I wrote that as part of my budget. I have 4 birthdays I have to budget for, rent, and electricity bill. They made a big mistake on my bill so I need to get in aggravated mode to get them to come down on how much I owe. There are some wants too listed in my budget. I want a new slide for my Lia Sophia necklace. I really don't need it but I would like one. I know this is an unnecessary want but it's my birthday month and I thought I could get a little treat on me. As I said before I need to focus on my task of getting debt free and if that means putting my piece of jewelry on hold, then so be it. I just think it would be nice to have.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Survey Says

I say that surveys are driving me crazy right now. I think I told you that I applied to several survey polls. There is one I really like and then the rest are a waste of my time. I just wasted 45 minutes filling out yes or no questions that kept going. Pop-ups started filling the screen. It was utter crap. Excuse me for speaking that way but enough is enough. If you wanted to give me a $500 gift card to Wal-Mart make it simple. I recently called a 1-800 number for a free vacation. If I went along with it then I would receive $40.00 for my time. Yeah right. I spent another half hour telling this young man that I was not going to book a hotel stay and give him my debit card number (even though I don't have one). I never did get credited with the $40.00. My time wasted away again. Here are my comments to these survey places.
  1. Some things in life are free. But there is so much out there that is not.
  2. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably isn't true.
  3. A sucker is born every minute (ie. I was a big one for wasting my time)

Don't get me wrong, I like doing surveys that really ask me questions about an item, or service. What I don't like is marketing jargon? I don't like nonsense pop-ups, and promises of a wonderful gift card. Has anyone done this?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Recipes

My goal for this week is to use up all the food in my freezer and cabinets. This is a difficult task considering all I have is beef steaks (we ate all the chicken tonight). So I sifted through the cabinets and found a jar of pasta sauce, ramen noodles, soy sauce, cake mix, a can of sliced carrots, egg noodles, and a can of tuna. I plan on making tuna casserole tomorrow. My kids fortunately like to eat it because it is noodle based. I don't tell them it's tuna because kids are kids and they think tuna is gross. I believe that using what I have in my cabinets and refrigerator, I will be able to shave off some on my grocery bill this week. That means I will be able to save $100. Typically I buy as much as I can at bargain rates but I thought this week I can be a little bit more creative. Does anyone have any good recipes for beef steaks? I have thick cut, and thin cut, and a steak roast. I also have fajita powder, burrito powder, and a bunch of spices so I hope that I can make dinners a little bit kid approved. Has anyone tried this before? I found a can of spiced apples (I don't think I bought this) but I think I can make a nice dessert for the kids.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Who I Work For




My family is my life and I wanted to show you the two main people I work for. I get paid with hugs and kisses. If I do a good job I get an I love you. I will work as hard as I can to keep my family from hardships. Who do you all work for? Who or what motivates you to get financially fit.

Decluttering (is that a word)?

Have you ever noticed that when your home is a mess and cluttered your life seems to be affected. I am talking chaos. I finally found my gas bill while trying to declutter the house. It's amazing at the junk I sifted through. for the past hour and a half I was able to take out four bags of plain old trash. My kids like to break things from plastic hangers to rolls of toilet paper. You would think I had a little puppy but I have two lil rugrats. Anyhow, this sparked a glimmer in my eye and now it's a full blown project. My goal date is this Friday. I am going to clean out the closets one by one and put stuff out for my yard sale. I am so excited because I took the day off to get this done. I need to stop paying for storage and start decluttering my life. I cannot believe how much we accumulate and how much "stuff" we do not use. This is so disturbing, how can a person throw out four bags of trash in one day. It was full of misc. papers, coupons for places I never heard of and kids drawings. I love my kids but how many mommy and me drawings can you keep. I am sentimental but there was way too much. I feel a sense of liberation from my efforts.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Love My New Mother In Law

My hubby's parents are divorced and his dad married his high school sweetheart in February. I have a weird relationship with my hubby's mom who is not 50 yet, so she is still single and looking. My father in law's new wife has opened her arms to the 6 grandchildren she just inherited. She has been sweet and kind. I feel like she was the boys' mother all along. I was stressing on what I was going to do about back to school clothes for my daughter. My new mother in law had no idea, but do you know what she did? She bought all the girls in our family 3 pairs of shirts and shorts for school. Isn't she fabulous. I got a bit emotional at the gesture. Well my hubby's mom does not like being upstaged so she offered to buy my daughter a new outfit for school. I thought it was funny how jealous she got. I just think how gracious my new mother in law is. She has no ulterior motive, she's just good. I love her.

No Checking Account

I wanted to share a little tidbit about myself tonight. I have no checking account or credit cards! Many people ask me how can I function without a debit card. It's pretty simple. I take my paycheck and have it cashed. 5-10 percent goes into my savings and then I begin my envelope system (again I'd like to thank Dave Ramsey for turning me to this system) I pay for cash for everything. I had a credit card once when I was 18 with a $250 limit and fortunately that is all paid for. Since then I have not had one. Even though I have no credit card (believe me I have filled out offers) I still do not qualify. I have no checking account because I was careless with it before. I am now on ChexSystems. I overdrafted one too many times before on my account that it caused several checks to bounce (not a great highlight in my life). I made a lot of mistakes and I have learned my lesson. The good thing about not having a checking account is that I am aware of the cash I have at hand. I am trying very hard to keep up with my budget. I see my forecast for my future and it looks promising. How many cards do you juggle, or are you debt-free. Why do banks charge so much when you bounce a check? Is there any forgiveness?

Collection Calls

It's Sunday and I am in gripe mode again. I previously posted that I am behind on my car payment which really blows but I am trying to get current, slowly but surely. The loan company called me at 8:30 this evening. Now, I don't know the rules about collection calls (even though I am not in collections) but I think they are only to call Mon-Fri maybe Saturdays at certain times, but this was on a Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest. I had a good weekend and this car company totally irritated me. I cannot wait to pay off this doggone loan off and not deal with car payments ever again. I am that more motivated to get out of this as fast as I can.

What Did I Do?

Well, I belong to a survey panel through Inbox Dollars which I really like. I get paid to do surveys, read emails and play games. I decided I would branch out and do other survey panels, panels that were legit. So during my search I stumbled through Valued Opinions, and Zoom Panel. I thought I was limited and that would be it. I opened my email after I signed up for these 2 panels and found 16 emails of various survey panels. Now I am confused who I signed up with and are these affiliates with the other panels. Has anyone been this confused? I know that I am trying to make some extra money in my spare time but I know that there are some surveys that I don't fit. So, how do you choose? Yikes. I am still sifting through my email and I think I will unsubscribe many of these but I will let you all know. Inbox Dollars has been great and I know I will stick with them because my brain can handle simplicity. If you want to try them I recommend it.

Potty Training Problems

My son will be 3 in November, but I am eager to get him potty trained. Listed are reasons why he should be.

  1. Diapers cost too much money! His size diaper runs about $.29 a piece.
  2. He pulls out all his wipes out of the box.
  3. He's almost 3.

He has been good about telling me he's wet or dirty. I wonder if anyone has some good tips to help move this along. I am going to invest some money on a potty chair. I bought him one that he was not so crazy about. It even scared him because it looked like a monstrosity. I think this effort will save me some money too, because diapers are so expensive. I bought him some Spider Man underwear and he responded well to wear them. I bought him some training pants and he ran like the wind. Does anyone have any suggestions? How much do you all spend on diapers? I get $1.00 coupons for diapers but $1.00 does not make a dent in the total price of a box of diapers. I tried to go on diapers.com but that too is expensive.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Still Playing on the Computer

I'm still tinkering on the computer and trying to add some bling to my blog. I unfortunately am not a professional nor do I try to be. I did stumble onto a great graph creator from NCN (No Credit Needed) Network. It's nice to see how far I am coming along on having savings, paying down debt. It has taken a whole lot of space on my blog but that's okay. I am using this blog to help me focus on the task at hand and that is to stop living from paycheck to paycheck, gain savings, and get out of debt. The tickers I chose on the sidebar are just nice to look at. I have seen other blogs where they have a ticker type thing on how much they have saved or put towards debt but guess what? I don't know how to do that so I am experimenting with other things. I hope it isn't too flashy, but I do like how it looks.

Gambling is Bad



I have been on the computer for so long today. I have started to play Texas Hold Em online. I'm playing for play money but can you imagine if it were real money. I think these disillusions of gaining money quickly by luck it really getting to me. Dave Ramsey would be very disappointed in me. But, again I am playing for fake money, so I am safe. I do not endorse gambling anymore. I really do like playing for fun. If I win it would be a nice bonus. I just have to remember not to get caught up in gambling again.

I'm Griping Again

My hubby went to buy a pizza just now. I laid out some flat steaks to cook and there was a hole in the plastic. Well to make a long story short, I had a pile of dishes with gunk all over them. There was a big yucky pot soaking in water and SOMEBODY put the meat in it. I about died when I discovered it. I had no idea how long it was sitting in that filth. So now I have wasted meat (money) and now the hubby has to spend money on a pizza since it's so late. More money down the drain.

Looking for Part-Time Work

There are MANY scams out there for work at home jobs. I searched for data entry because I do have experience in that. I also looked as far as a mystery shopper. To even look at a mystery shopper data base it would cost me $17.95. I do not know if there is a legit work from home job unless you are an entrepreneur. Has anyone done mystery shopping? I don't understand that if you go on the big job search engines they provide you with so many gimmicks for work at home jobs. I think it is ripping off honest people who are looking for work. It is a shame.

Friday, July 25, 2008

On to a Lighter Note

You may think I gripe too much but I have good reasons. I plan on having a great weekend with the family. I work this Saturday and after work I plan on going back to the library to check out more personal finance books. Does anyone have any recommendations? I have read The Total Money Makeover, and two of Suze Orman's books. Who else is there?

Raise Hooplah!

This is a big bummer and huge disappointment. I know that my office manager (who is my boss) has no control over the situation, but she told use we probably won't see our raises until August. This makes me feel like crud right about now. I gripe about not seeing it and now I really won't see it until August. I just don't understand why it is taking so long. I adore my job but I am seriously going to start looking around. If this raise becomes smaller than I expected I will consider leaving. I had to think about the pros and cons about leaving. The one con I have is my wages. I started from the bottom, even though I had all the schooling and experience. Four years later, I am a guru in what I do. It saddens me because I know I am a good asset but I have to think of my family and our future. Ugh!!! I hate this feeling. It makes me and ugly person.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Do You Have Growing Children?

Do any of you suffer from growing children who like to eat a weeks worth of food in 2 days. I have two little rugrats who like to eat like savages. I understand that they are growing but they are constantly eating. This dilemma has increased my food budget tremendously. It seems each time I go to the grocery store and bring home the goods, they open every cupboard and start digging for another delight. Now I do not carry a whole lot of sweets (I work in alternative medicine and I know what goodies do to a body). I buy fruits, several types, but my kids like to eat 2 peaches or 2 bananas at a time. The funny thing is that they eat and eat, and not gain weight. I look at a few items and I gain 1/2 a pound. I do clip many coupons, print coupons, watch for sales but I do not know how to keep up with 2 growing children. How does everyone deal with multiple family members and working on a TIGHT food budget. Yikes!!!

What I'm Up To

I have a love of Lia Sophia jewelry. I think it is very classy and for a good price. It seems expensive at first glance but guess what? Have a party and earn free jewelry. I am sure we have friends, co workers, and family who love jewelry. I earned $300 in jewelry credit and got about 10 different pieces. I unfortunately do not sell Lia Sophia, but I do endorse it. Visit them at www.liasophia.com/amiesfashion The reason I am mentioning this is because my boss is getting me a piece of jewelry for my birthday. I am happy that I will be getting a present. I'm not a child anymore so I do not have parties, or receive multitudes of gifts. A little something from someone makes me feel a bit more special inside.
I also signed up for eHow, writing articles on how to tie a shoe from how to bake a cake. I did not know that you can monetize your articles if they are picked through engine searches. I am a bit new to the Internet world so there are many people who are doing this. I suggest it because many of us know HOW to do something, we can now write it down.
July is winding down and I will be at a month of blogging. I am excited because I can finally apply for Pay Per Post. I hear so many great things from so many people. Does anyone have any good stories to let me know how PPP pays, makes you feel, etc.? Well those are a few things that I am putting my hot little hands in.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good News

I just got off the phone with the people who deal with my car loan. Good news, they granted me a 30 day extension to catch up. I have only had this car for 3 months so getting behind really sucks. I am so excited.

Looking for Hope

My hubby, the poor thing, has had back pain for quite some time. He finally made it to his Chiropractor appointment and they told him he had 2 bulging discs and he needs an MRI. Although we have fabulous insurance he told me that he will owe $100 some odd dollars for all this. I feel really sick to my stomach because he may also have to quit his job. He sorts and loads packages for UPS, its been a great strain on his back. So, my hopes for financial security are looking very dismal right now. My hubby called during the middle of a work day and dropped this bomb. I had to step out and cry in the restroom. To make matters worse I am behind on my car payment and I received a letter today that I have 5 days to pay or they will take my car away. I already had one car repossessed 3 years ago and this car was supposed to boost my credit scores. I posted awhile ago about getting the walls of my financial freedom better but it seems like they are about to fall down one by one. I really don't know how to get out of this. I have no one to watch my children if I get a part-time job unless I pay them and a part-time job would mean losing time with them as well. Then the point of working a part-time job would be to pay a babysitter so I am really, really searching for some hope. I am looking at Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book for some guidance. I have also said many prayers, I know this is part of God's plan. I wish I had family to help me but I don't. Anyone have any suggestions? I am really down now.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

School!

School is around the corner and I am freaking out. My daughter will be in the second grade this year and I have had the school supply list for 2 months. Smart me bought some of her school supplies here and there. Staples and Office Depot had a 1 cent sale on some of school supplies which I scored a great deal. Walmart was as usual fantastic because their school supplies are generally on the cheap side. I tried the Dollar stores in the area but they were more expensive (ha-ha $1.00) than Walmart. I have a few more items to purchase maybe $5.00 more to spend.

My problem now is trying to get her new Back to School clothes. My baby girl has grown so much she needs everything ( not new, I need to think frugal ). I plan to take her to a consignment shop, and the Goodwill. Luckily she's at the age where she is not ashamed of shopping at these places.

I See the Light!

Earlier I mentioned that I wrote my first budget. Here are the numbers so far:

Car- $350.00/$352.10
Storage- $100.00/$100.00
Gasoline- $50.00/$50.00
Gas Bill- $65.00/
Food- $100.00/$100.52
Savings- $85.00/$85.00

I haven't paid my gas bill yet because I lost the bill. I have no idea where I misplaced it. I made a mess of the house searching for it. So far I was on target and I was able to put money away in savings. Below is a forcast of my next budget in 2 weeks. Funny thing is I get paid on my birthday, but no birthday celebration for me. Being 30 is really important to me. I am realizing that this is the start of my life and I need to get financially fit to have peace, and be happy for the sake of my family. I had plans of having a big 30th birthday bash, but why? What am I celebrating? 30 years of money mistakes? I have made many accomplishments and I am proud of what I have done. Okay enough of my sappiness here's the drumroll for next paycheck.

Rent- $600.00
Electricity- $100.00
Student Loan- $100.00
Gasoline- $50.00
Food- $50.00

I made my food budget a little lower because I have some time to talk to my hubby and have him go in with me on the food budget. If he doesn't he will have a wild, fiery, 5' 1" little missy to deal with. Wish me luck.

I Did It!

In light of payday today, I actually sat down and wrote myself a budget. I am so proud. I even had money for savings. I am getting a hold of my finances slowly but surely. I went to the library again and checked out Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. I am waving this book in my husband's face in hopes that he will read it. I'm trying with him. I hope it work's. I'll have numbers posted soon on how great I'm doing. Thanks everyone for your support.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Disappointed

For several weeks I have made a plan to improve my financial situation. It seems that the money gods are working against me. My husband went out and went to one of those rental places and got a 32" flat screen TV. My heart broke because he told me that I wouldn't miss the money. In the end the payments total over $1000. I am sick of worry now. I get paid again tomorrow and I have made a budget but now my hubby is broke. He has no spending cash and probably no gas in his car. I am already behind on some bills and working on a food menu for the week. I do not llike careless spending and somehow it has happened. I looked in the Sunday paper last night and saw a TV that was similar to the one he got. It was priced at $269. If he just saved his money he could have paid cash for it. Now he's buying the TV 4 times over. How can I get him to be on the same financial thinking I am in? Does anyone know an answer? I try to communicate but sometimes I think he is not listening. I don't make a whole lot of money, and unexpected expenses screws my peace of mind. I made the comment that I will be broke the day I get paid and the hubby's comment was, "What's new"? What's new? I don't want to be broke HELLO! I have decided not to include my husband's income in my journey to financial peace. Is that wrong?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Looking Forward to this Weekend

I'm looking forward to this weekend. I am totally busy and hopefully I don't have to spend any money. Let's see Saturday morning I head to the office for a short 3 1/2 hour shift. I'm excited because I like working Saturdays. For some reason I like the responsibility of being by myself. I see it as a way to show my boss and others that I am capable of working on my own. Next the fam and I are headed to a wedding for an ex co-worker of mine. I plan to watch the ceremony, say hi at the reception and peace out. Then we'll be heading to the bowling lanes to do "Bowling for Boobies". A great fundraiser for Breast Cancer. We will be spending $20.00 a piece, which goes to a worthy cause. My mother passed away from breast cancer and this is a meaningful event for me.
Sunday is jam packed family fun. We are taking our family pictures with my husbands side of the family. He has two brothers, they're married, and we each have a boy and girl. So that makes 12 people in the picture. It usually takes us 3 hours to get everything said and done. It's nice to bond with them and the kids always love getting together. I hope the pictures don't cost that much.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hmmmm

I'm in community theater which is so much fun. Unfortunately I have one line, I sing from the wings and I have to go to most of the rehearsals. Has anyone heard the saying "don't murder a minute"? I think I murdered 120 of them tonight. I had my good friend watch my kids (I love you Mal Pal) and her compensation was me cooking her favorite dish, tuna casserole. Not only did I not spend money on paying for a babysitter I also was able to have dinner too. So rehearsals just started and I can't wait for it to be over because I want to start working on getting a part-time job. I know I keep talking about it but I know I need to sacrifice my time away from my family to get us in a better situation.
I still don't know about my raise yet. I'm terribly upset about it. I'm reading Suze Oraman's book, Women and Money. She poses the question of : Why is it that women, who are so competent in all areas of their lives, cannot find the same competence when it comes to matters of money? It made me think of how much I want this raise and how much I really deserve it. I bust my butt everyday and I get a lot of recognition for it. So what am I waiting for? Should I talk to my office manager and demand a substantial increase? My answer is I don't know. The economy is fluctuating right now and I know that I can be replaced. I'm scared to ask. I'm worried that I may be asking for too much even though I deserve it. I'm so confused. I hope Suze has some advice because I sure need it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Getting My Four Walls Up

Today I wanted to discuss Dave Ramsey's 4 Walls:

1. Food
2. Shelter
3. Transportation
4. Utilities

1. Food is essential to every one's life. It is vital to eat. I take food very personally. It tugs at my heart when I see people hungry. I thank GOD everyday that I have enough to eat, and it shows :) So I looked at how I can shave my grocery bill. I am an avid coupon clipper. I look for deals all the time but yet I fall a bit short. My family devours everything I buy. Sometimes we run out of food too quickly and I stress out about how we will make it. Has anyone had these issues? My mind races thinking of the next meal for dinner. When I get no input from the hubby I get terribly upset because I'm making all the decisions and it's a lot put on me. One time I cooked chili, which my kids loved and my husband hated. I felt inadequate as a cook and saw the food in the pot wasted. (The hubby works during the night. When he comes home dinner is waiting for him. There are many times he does not put the leftovers in the fridge.) I am all about leftovers. That's extra money I can pocket by bringing leftovers for lunch. Many times there are no leftovers. I hope to save more and start making a lot of casseroles to live off of day to day.

2. Shelter. It takes a lot to make a home. It also takes a lot from me to pay my rent. But this is something I have always paid on time, so I don't stress much in this area.

3. Transportation. Gas prices now are sucking the life out of me. It takes $50 to fill up my little Jeep. My insurance is pretty good for full coverage. My payment on my car sucks too. I plan to pay this debt off fast. I am lucky that I live close by to work. I really save on gas. I want a bike but saving for one is like pulling teeth right now. I'm working on it.

4. Utilities. Last month my electricity was turned off. I owed $160 for my bill. Well since they shut it off I was required to pay a security deposit of $220, $65 for the month's bill that was past due, and $25 for them to turn the electricity back on. I was heated because I never received a bill. I tried to fight this but ended up losing because of my bad payment history. I learned that in order to have a home you must pay to have the lights on. I also signed up for budget billing and I know how much I owe every month.

The moral of my post was to see my mistakes and what they are doing to me. I still have not achieved financial peace but I am aware of what I did wrong. I am keeping myself accountable. It's going to be a long journey but I'm going to make it and I'll let you all know.