Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years Eve to Everyone

Out with the old. In with the new.

2011 wasn't bad. I spent over half of the year pregnant... a long time dream come true. I paid off close to $5000 in credit card debt. I paid off close to $10,000 in total debt. I tried, tried, tried with most of my might to spend responsibly and stick to a crazy budget.

I'm learning to take life one day at a time but I'm also looking forward to a new year (and a new little fellow in my life). In 2012 I would like to read more (like I did in 2010). I would like to complain less and notice more lovelies. I would like to spend just a little more time with the people in my life that I care about. I do not see my nieces and nephews nearly enough, or my mom. I would also like to let go a bit. I'm always trying to be so focused which is probably good in the long run but it can drive me totally crazy.

Realistically I know that I'm not going to go hog wild with the debt reduction because we're incurring a grand new expense AND I'm taking 3 months off of work BUT if I'm able to stick to the budget and spend responsibly amidst all of the life changes I will be VERY happy and the debt will continue to go down.

Let's do it!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012, Here We Come

A new week begins!

-Went to the bank/ took out this weeks cash
-Put $14 in the future purchases envelope
-Gave husband his spending money for the week
-Balanced the checkbook
-Bought the bare necessities at the grocery store and this months prenatal vitamins
-Accomplished half of the 45 (actually 30 right now) goals for today
-Paid off the small discover card BEFORE the 0% expired and checked goal number 6 off on the side bar!

I'm feeling pretty accomplished and ready to take on the New Year. It's going to be tough. Right now I'm pretty sure we've got enough to make it through three months without pay BUT that's sticking to a TIGHT budget and being super disciplined (on very little sleep). I think 2011 was just prep for 2012.

This year I'm going to have to really buckle down, stick to my guns, and kick butt. I have every reason in the world to grow up, act responsibly, spend what we can afford and pay back the debt. I cannot wait to meet our little guy and I CANNOT wait to be debt free and able to stay home with him for good. We're on our way.

AND there's a stroller and car seat sitting in the living room right now (thanks mom in law)!!! I'm SOOOOO excited. Why does the stroller and car seat make it feel so very official?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Tomorrow starts a new financial week for me. I'm SOOO ready for some normalcy. It's one day, one week at a time with this financial mess. Baby step, baby step.

I have this week off from work. It's the perfect amount of down time to meet with some friends, clean up a bit around the house, and get the financial plan for next year in order. Ah, breath of fresh air.

Side note: I'm very thankful for all the Christmas blessings (gifts) from family this year (despite some weird unnecessary trinkets). My mom and sis gave us some much needed money for maternity leave. That takes a weight off. My sister in law and brother gave us the cutest little sleeper and burp clothes. My other sister in law and brother gave us a little baby toy. It's so much fun getting all the gifts for the him. I know he's not going to care one iota about any of it but I just can't wait for him to get here so he can meet everyone and see how much everyone cares about him. My mom in law took us to Carters and bought us a ton of clothes for the little guy. And my aunt sent us some money for the baby too. I feel very VERY blessed!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry After Christmas!

Now that it's all said and done I feel that life can return to normal again. No more buying things. No more needing things. No more rush, rush, spend, spend... is that totally awful? I'm officially not used to spending money/ buying things. Officially it feels weird and awkward and Christmas this year was just strange.

That's the fat cat... she was our Christmas card this year

I also learned something this Christmas. If you tell everyone that you would appreciate them to not buy you gifts for Christmas because you would really just like a little extra money for the upcoming baby expenses (three months of work with no pay is a HUGE expense in itself) then you will inevitably receive weird little trinkets. I appreciate the thought. I do love opening gifts (no matter how odd the outcome maybe). But when I said, "truly I want nothing," and you give me some really girly weird items that I would never in a lifetime use I'm not going to be able to muster up a super excited expression. My face just doesn't work that way.

Only 55 more days until the due date. Yes, less than two months now. I don't feel (at present) that there's a lot we need to acquire for the little guy (I'm putting a lot of faith into those upcoming showers) but there certainly is a lot we need to do. Apart from work I'm vastly looking forward to these next 55 days or so. Wowwy life is going to change... Hooray!

I do hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas time! There really is nothing like the holidays (I just wish I hadn't turned into such a freak as of late).

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Christmas Time

I'm pretty sure that phrase "It's Christmas Time" is code for "throw out the budget and buy everything in sight... pretend you're on a toys r us shopping spree and figure out how to pay for it later... everyone you've ever met NEEDS some sort of gadget by the 25th of December, now figure out what you're going to give them... GO!"

I thought I was done Christmas buying a long time ago. My husband got some good overtime/ holiday pay from Thanksgiving and we only went a bit over that and it was great. Hooray, we did it! Hahaha... then Christmas got closer and closer and closer and all of the sudden there was this, and that, and the horderve for the Christmas Eve party and the gifts for the people I failed to complete making gifts for, and the thing I found for my husband that I knew he'd love. And SHOOT I still don't have a gift for her... or them, yikes. It's Christmas time!

Normally it's no big deal. Normally I try and be frugal and then I try and make up for the over spending once the New Year rolls around. Normally a few extra hundred dollars... whatever. But this year I can't stop thinking about every extra penny. This year, I actually feel poor. I wish I could give everyone I know that one special thing that would really REALLY bless them. Like my mom wants a new recliner. My brother and sister in law would be so blessed by a mini vacation. I can only think of awesome expensive things for my little sis... and she'd love them all. I got my husband TWO gifts and the budget is blown. Honestly if I could I'd buy him 50 things or more. He's just like a kid on Christmas morning opening his gifts and glowing from ear to ear. Two things just makes me feel like a failure.

I know, I know Christmas isn't about the gifts BUT I'm a gift giver. It's in me. I've always picked up little things here and there that instantly make me think of someone. I've been making things and thinking of extra special perfect gifts for birthdays and holidays all my life. Christmas is the perfect time when you can bless everyone all at once BUT then there's money, bleck! It ruins everything.

Sorry, this is just my little "Christmas Time" rant. I'm mad at myself for not accomplishing alot of the things I'd planned AND for spending more than I should've and I know that there are a few more things I have to pick up from the store this morning. I'm just being moody and grouchy and I needed to get a bit of it out.

Rant finished!

Off to the store I go.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I'd planned to blog everyday this month... oops.

I've about 8 weeks left before the baby boy makes his debut. I'm noticing that when I'm not on my feet for 8 hours a day working (and using the restroom ALOT) I'm pretty much just sitting on my bum. I'm feeling sort of huge (but not complaining... I'm so happy he's growing and growing and growing). Tons of stuff is falling to the way side though; cleaning, socializing, blogging, Christmas. We haven't one single decoration up in this house. This is the first year out of the 9 I've been married that I haven't sent Christmas cards out (yet).

In other words I've all these things on my mind, things that I most likely should attend to but I'm finding it very difficult to move once I get home from work. I think I'm taking the next 8 weeks off. No cleaning, no obligations, nothing. Just go to work, go home and then rest, rest, rest!

Oh money, how I hate you.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Only $3.22 over budget last week. Not going to complain about that! I'm not sure where the days are going. One minute it's Sunday and then it's Thursday... wait, it's Friday. Apparently that's what happens when Christmas is coming and you've 500 things to do. Oh, and you've less than 10 weeks until you meet the baby but you've nothing for him but a few outfits. yikes.

Actually I got a $75 gift card for for signing up for an American Express card (which I'm not going to use)... is that sneaky. Anyway, I got our first diapers with that $75. Only a few. Cloth diapers are NOT cheap! But I'm on my way, yippee.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Working my way to Forty Five

25. Go outdoors

Ok, so I go outside all the time; when I go to work, when I come home, when I go to the store (wait, that's work). This goal would require me to step outside, if only for a moment strictly to look at the stars or the clouds or the sunset, or to listen to the birds singing for a minute or the crickets chirping. The world out there is SOOO peaceful and beautiful and yes we come in contact with it all the time but how much attention do we actually pay it? This may only require 10 seconds of my time each day but I'm certain it'll bring about peace, calm, relief, and a gratitude that I'm to miss if I neglect those 10 seconds.

26. Give something to the husband

He's beginning to comprehend my eagerness to get rid of this debt. Slowly but surely he's attempting to spend more wisely. He's finally making some frugal decisions. In other words he's come along way. I wish I could give him the world. I wish I was able to let him buy anything and everything his little heart desires. Sadly I was raised by a mother who lavished us kids with gifts (and went further and further into debt) in order to show her love for us. My dad sort of did the same when he was around. AND the husband's mother is the exact same way. I feel like I need to buy him stuff (or let him buy stuff) in order to show him how much I appreciate him. It's ingrained. BUT this is not a truth. Goal number 26 shall encourage me to do something a little extra each day. Today I left a note hanging from a door frame saying that I love him so that when he got home from work he'd see it hanging there. I can try and make a meal he really enjoys on certain evenings. I can clean out his van for him sometimes (he NEVER cleans it). There are potentially billions of little "things" that I can give him without spending money I just need to make the effort. Yeah, yeah he's my husband. I cook and clean and do hundreds of things for him each day but I want to do one little extra something everyday just because I  love him.

27. Fold the Laundry

There is ALWAYS a basket of clean clothes in the hallway. I have this horrible habit of folding most of the clothes and so this basket always just sits with the unfolded ones in the hallway. It kind of drives me crazy and I always tell myself, "you really need to get rid of that basket," but I never do. Goal number 27 potentially would get that basket out of the hallway and would eliminate that one thing that's always hanging out there ever unchecked on the imaginary to do list. The imaginary to do list that exists somewhere in the atmosphere over head is SOOO annoying. Just fold the laundry already!

Today's lovely: I watched a flock of sparrows eat a peanut butter sandwich while on my lunch break. It was extremely entertaining and I observed that sparrows are way more friendly with each other than seagulls. I was pleasantly surprised at their ability to share with one another. Except for one little meany. But there's always one.

Friday, December 9, 2011

45 Goals Friday

45 Daily Goals for 2012  UPDATE

1. Balance the checkbook everyday - I'm glad this is number one. I love this goal!!!

2. Get rid of something useless everyday - This has been easy so far... I have a lot of old food in the house. Can anyone say "lazy pack rat."

3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday - I missed the past few days because I'd run out of money for the week but otherwise this goal has been going well.

4. Cash envelope it! - Still doing pretty well, still HATE the cash envelope.

5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance) - Horrible the past few days, we ate out three times I think, last week.

6. Stretch please - this one hasn't been happening. Geesh it's such an easy goal too.

7. Write down EVERY purchase - Still on it. Good.

8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today (one monthly allowance) - I've bought one coffee from Starbucks this month. Let's see if I can make it another 21 days without breaking down and getting another one.

9. Really sincerely thank someone today - I keep forgetting this one. But I did do it on Tuesday and it was neat. The guy was like, "wow, thanks, I really appreciate that." It'd be a really cool thing to do everyday.

10. Set aside $2 for future purchases - nope... I think I buy the "future" purchases on Thursday when the week starts.

11. Designate $2 for the peanut - been spending a bit more than $2 a day on the peanut.

12. There's $10 for spending today - Only $3.98 over budget last week!

13. Remember your 50 cent sugar allowance - Averaged 59 cents a day last week. That's amazing for me!

14. Pray... it helps significantly - slacking a bit.

15. DO NOT throw out food! - So far, good. There's one thing that I do need to throw out this week though : (

16. Be on time for work. - I was early 2 days and then late the rest. I did talk to my boss about it though and he said that I'm actually incredibly punctual (in comparison) and that it really doesn't matter. I'm still going to try and be on time though.

17. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit - Check!

18. 2 to 3 servings of Veggies (yes you can) - Been eating lots of carrots. My baby might be orange.

19. Lots and lots of water... about 72 oz. - Been averaging 48... need to step it up this week.

20. Don't buy something; Just put it back! - Did good a few days, then forgot about this goal.

21. Brush the dog's teeth - I'm implementing this one to save on future vet bills, to impact the overall health of my dogs, and to remind myself that it needs to be done. They're worth it!

22. Read a book for at least 15 minutes everyday - totally do-able, right? I've REALLY slacked off with reading this year. It's not something I'm proud of. 15 minutes a day will sure add up. I can do it!

23. Pay a bit of attention to me; sit in massage chair, or put on hot neck wrap, or use foot cream, or sit in a quite room with a cup of tea, something for me - Thanks for the suggestion Absentminded Mother. This is a good goal.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursday, Payday, ahh

The financial week is over. A new financial week begins. I don't know if it's just me but this week is going by more slowly than any week EVER. I feel like every hour of work yesterday took 3 hours to get through. It's only Thursday, which normally wouldn't be bad but yesterday felt like Friday and I'm certain today must be Saturday. But I have to leave for work in a few minutes. Blah.

I went $3.98 over budget this week and that's because I bought a $3.98 coffee from Starbucks on Monday. Ideally that'll be my coffee shop coffee for the month... ideally. I tried so unbelievably hard to stick to budget this week and to only use the cash envelope (the Starbucks purchase was debit). It was HARD work! I'm happy with the results... a practically balanced budget for the first week of December. I'm also quite enjoying the 45 goals. They really are helping to add little bits of accomplishment to each day and move me along the desired path to financial freedom. Now lets just see if I can come up with another 24 of them : )

Any daily goal suggestions???

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday/ You'll be Missed Fred

I think about the old Chevy slogan, "getting there is half the fun." I think it's all the fun.
-Fred Meijer
This paying off debt thing may be a headache but life is meant to be LIVED. I'm going to turn this computer off, make some Christmas cookies and hot cocoa, and snuggle with my dogs while the baby boy does his regular nightly aerobics. Not a bad way to end the day   : )

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Would I Buy IT Covered in Poo?

I woke up really early today since I went to bed really early last night. I figured I'd turn on the tele while I munched on my PB toast. After all there's no need to be too active (wash dishes, fold laundry, de-clutter) at 4am. I'm 7 months pregnant; need to take it easy. Well I tried to watch the news but I ended up watching commercial after commercial after commercial and at least five of our ten channels were exclusively selling something. They almost had me convinced that I need all new furniture for the entire house.

Have you ever thought about all the advertising you take in during a normal day? Whether on the radio, tv, billboards, internet, in shopping centers, fliers, I don't know do they advertise on smart phones somehow now (I don't have a cell)... it's crazy. We're all really accustomed to it. I know I am. Think of the beautiful signs in front of Starbucks with the holiday beverages on them. They're not just placed there for something neat to look at. The displays in the main aisles of stores, or at the registers... do you know how many people constantly buy unnecessary stuff just because of where it's been placed in the shopping center? Just the words "sale" or "clearance" cause this weird gotta have it reaction in most of us. I'm pretty sure most of us don't ever give a second thought to the fact that someone is pretty much ALWAYS trying to sell us something. I bet you think you decided to buy THAT. Someone in a high rise somewhere probably sold it to you very much like the car sales men and tv sales men that we so cleverly avoid... except that someone gets paid better and never had to talk to you.


I'd encourage everyone to spend sometime maybe a day at it and pay attention to what you're being sold. How many signs, how many ads, how much clever product placement did you come in contact with today? With this crazy holiday season in full swing I'm going to be much more on the the look out. Just because it's on sale doesn't mean that I need it and neither does that loved one of mine who I've yet to buy a gift for. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a sci-fi movie. When did the world become so inundated with "useful" nonsense; when did we become machines, programmed to react in certain ways to visual stimulation; when did this mirage of necessary become our truth?

I think I may just start imagining everything I might consider buying removed from the store, removed from the packaging, sitting in a pile of poop in a field somewhere. If I'd pay a farmer the ticket price for that item knowing full well that I'm going to have to dig it out of poo and clean it off before I could use it then maybe I'll buy it. Maybe.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Put it Back

Don't buy something... just put it back!

This goal will be an interesting one. Yesterday I went to the store to buy some food for the day. I intended to get lettuce for the tuna fish sandwiches but I forgot it while I was in the produce department. As I started back for the lettuce I decided that was going to be the "something" I wouldn't buy yesterday.

Each day I intend to not buy something that I would otherwise have bought. If I don't buy anything at all for the entire day then this goal is accomplished. Otherwise, something must not be bought.

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday - so far so good
2. Get rid of something useless everyday - on it!
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday - practically perfect
4. Cash envelope it! - yuck, but doing pretty well.
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance) - not great but better.
6. Stretch please - this one hasn't been happening
7. Write down EVERY purchase - Yep
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today (one monthly allowance) - Good job so far!
9. Really sincerely thank someone today - keep forgetting
10. Set aside $2 for future purchases - not good
11. Designate $2 for the peanut - ok
12. There's $10 for spending today - balanced the budget last week!
13. Remember your 50 cent sugar allowance - Hahahaha, nope (averaging 59 cents a day)
14. Pray... it helps significantly - ok
15. DO NOT throw out food! - So far, good (but there's some stuff in the fridge that I'm questioning)
16. Be on time for work. - gonna try today
17. Eat at least 2 servings of fruit - been eating at least 1 each day
18. 2 to 3 servings of Veggies (yes you can) - been eating at least 2
19. Lots and lots of water... about 72 oz. - pretty close
20. Don't buy something; Just put it back! - Done (once)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reality Setting In

I'm starting to worry about sticking to it next year. With my losing 3 MONTHS of pay AND our acquiring a wonderful new expense debt payoff and debt snowball aren't going to be top priority.

I'm coming to terms with the fact that priorities are going to include:
-Spending frugally and intelligently.
-Not using any sort of credit card for any reason no matter how tight the finances become.
-Planning much better than I did this year... in other words working on some sort of savings for emergencies.
-Getting sleep.
-Taking very good care of our brand new son.

Unless something amazing happens there's just not going to be extra money for really great debt payoff. However, the way I see it the debt payoff is what keeps me motivated to not spend money, to pinch the pennies, and to watch the finances like a hawk. Every time a balance goes down, every time a card is payed off, every time I send an extra hundred or so to one of those credit cards it makes the tight living worth it. It's nice to see the work paying off. BUT if the work isn't visibly showing me grand results (which is what I'm anticipating for at least the first half of next year) I'm a tad bit worried I'll lose it.

Hopefully the 45 daily goals for next year are setting me up to really push through it. Hopefully the new little guy in our lives will be motivation enough to live financially responsible lives. Hopefully I've grown enough to not NEED the instant gratification of watching the cards go down in order to do what's right. Spending money (even money you don't actually have) is SOOOOOO stinkin easy. Oh, especially when you're tired, worn down, and not seeing grand results of your not spending the money.

Say a prayer, wish me luck, next year is going to be AMAZING and some really gosh darn hard work!

Sidenote: I'm still reading through my entire blog. I've only made it to March so far. I really like THIS POST. When I wrote it I was pretty sad about not being able to travel while paying off debt but today it's quite encouraging. There is life after this struggle, there is a whole world to be seen, and once the hard work has come to fruition there's a lot to be enjoyed free of debt!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Really Scatter Brained Today

I'm thinking: I could post about the 45, about the budget, about Christmas, about the baby... I don't want to write a GIANT blog but I don't want to write 4 posts today either. hmm???

45 highlights
It's been going OK. There are a few that I have not even begun to hit on yet. There are others that I've diligently done every single day. Oh, I've estimated my sugar spending (goal 13) at about $1.05 a day since I instituted that goal. The 50 cent allowance is going to be a really good challenge for me. We've eaten out once already this week (and twice last week). 

I'm still hating the cash envelope part of the plan although I have been sticking to it. Last week I did manage to balance the budget. YAY!  I only have $21 left for the next four days of this week. With a lot of hard work I think we can survive 4 days on $21 but it makes me crazy (and it's unlikely). For the past Five weeks in a row my husbands spending has gone done little by little... SUPER excited about that! Way to go hubby! I'm looking forward to 2012.

I actually started Christmas shopping and gift making. It's not going great but at least it's begun. I've REALLY been having a hard time of it this year. With the baby coming, the coming expenses and wanting to pay off as much debt as possible as fast as possible there just isn't any money for Christmas. I think I can officially cross 4 people off my list of 17 though AND we used overtime money from my husband's paycheck to purchase all of those gifts. I'll probably be making gifts and not purchasing anything for at least 7 others on the list (so that's 11 people taken care of). Only 6 more to go.

Making Jingle Bell Necklaces
It seemed like a good idea but the necklaces are actually turning out a bit ugly. Also, if you really want to tick off your husband try making jingle bell necklaces while he's watching tv. At least I think they sound really cool.

Friday, December 2, 2011

No. 16

Be on time for work.

I hate this one. I work alone and I set my own schedule BUT I'm still supposed to follow my schedule so that my office knows where I'm at. I'm NEVER on time for work. I'm making this one of the 45 because I should be more diligent about honoring my employer. My income is based solely on them paying me for the job I do. I'm pretty sure that sticking to my schedule is (if not only a tiny little bit) a part of the job they're paying me for.

Goal number 16: Be on time for work. Blek.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waste Not

Goal 15: Do NOT throw out food.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to start this goal once my refrigerator is completely cleaned out. However this is something that I REALLY look forward to focusing on. I HATE throwing out food. It might be weird but it makes me a bit sad every time I dump something because it wasn't able to fullfill it's purpose: nourishing me and my family. No little strawberry should ever have to end up in the trash. Due to poor time management SOOOO much food is wasted throughout the year. I should be fully aware of what's in the house and if I can spend money on it then I should be fully capable of utilizing it before it's expired. Right?

I have begun to imagine a large poster that shall display all Forty Five goals. I intend to place it somewhere in this house before the first of next year where I'll be able to look at it each morning and every evening. These goals are really starting to add up but each and everyone of them are just tiny things that I should really be in the habit of doing already. I'm really just taking a few good steps in the right direction I suppose.

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today
9. Really sincerely thank someone today
10. Set aside $2 for future purchases
11. Designate $2 for the peanut
12. There's $10 for spending today
13. Remember your 50 cent sugar allowance
14. Pray
15. Do NOT throw out any food

A Little Prayer Time

Goal 14: Pray.

I'd like to think that I take a bit of time out everyday to say a prayer or two but I'm almost certain that's not the case. Number 14 of 45 is to pray everyday, to take a bit of time out to thank the good Lord for the many many blessings He's poured into my life, and to ask for strength and grace that I might make it through the day frugally, financially responsible, and on top of the 45 (14 at present).

Lake Michigan

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy Holidaze

 The holidays are here. The lights are going up. The trees are going up. The snow is close at hand. The Christmas music is almost in full swing in all the stores. The shopping... well the shopping is downright outta hand. I'm getting so frustrated with the overall atmosphere of "want," "need," "gotta have it." Each week I work at 10 different supermarkets. People are literally walking around the stores with their eyes bugging out of their heads trying to find something "on sale" that they or someone else MIGHT "need." I've caught the bug a few times. Yesterday I walked past a display of food storage sets. Oh how they glowed. I thought, "ooh, I might need one of those." After all they're so much nicer than the food storage I currently have (even though I've never had an issue storing food before).

It's happened a few times. It seems as though all of us are keyed up, we're on the hunt, on the look out for a good bargain and a neat gadget that we MIGHT just NEED. All of the sudden we all need, and think everyone we care about needs everything imaginable. It's driving me crazy. I know that I don't need anything. I'm trying to get rid of stuff because our house is so cluttered. I'm pretty sure the majority of folks I know don't need anything either but we're all in a consumer crazy zoned out frenzy. It's a tad bit scary. Are we really buying for people because we want to bless them with that warm fuzzy feeling on Christmas morning when they open that perfect gift or are we buying for people because that's just what you're supposed to do?

Christmas this year needs to be about family, congregation, celebration, enjoying all of the little itty bitty things that the season has to offer AND about the birth of Jesus. That should about do it. Big flat screen TV's, Ipads, Gaming systems, Toys, Clothes, Kitchen gadgets, Hobby accessories, ALL that other STUFF... let's prioritize here folks, please?!?! It feels like a disease and it's gotten under my skin a few times. I just can't stand it this year.

I NEED to get out of debt! That's it. Maybe I should take some extra vitamin C to ward off this nasty holiday bug! (it's really super contagious)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Today I Tackle Sugar

I thought about this one while attempting to sleep last night. What a horrible night tossing and turning and thinking, thinking, thinking. Hello Monday (snarl)!

Coffee and Sugar are two necessities (at least for me); two things that brighten my life. Everyday I tend to pick up a 79 cent candy bar or something sweet from bulk foods for under a dollar. If I really have no will power I'll buy a thing of cookies or a brownie or a donut to enjoy throughout the day. We don't ever have sweets in the house but I like to make a half batch of cookies, mix up some chocolate pudding, or pick up a bit of light ice cream for after dinner. Actually we love stopping by Wendy's for small frosty's to top us off after dinner. In other words we tend to have some sort of dessert at least every other night of the week and I usually have something sweet while working.

Today I'm instituting goal number 13: A 50 cent daily sugar allowance. I guess I have a cash envelope for sugar now; $3.50 a week. This one could be really good for the budget, after all every little bit helps. If I'm spending a bit less on sugar, just like if I'm spending a bit less on coffee then my daily spending allowance will be able to stretch farther. I could get really creative with this and probably not cut out as much sugar as I'd like. If I bake more at home and bring treats with me to work that'll help the spending. This is one of the goals I just may fail miserably at but I'm interested in taking on the challenge. So, here goes.

So far this week I've been doing quite well with the cash envelope and the budget (and most of the 45... well 13 at present). One really great thing about using cash is knowing that nothing is happening with the checking account. It makes balancing the checkbook (notebook) really easy.


45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today
9. Really sincerely thank someone today
10. Set aside $2 for future purchases
11. Designate $2 for the peanut
12. There's $10 for spending today
13. Remember your 50 cent sugar allowance

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Slave to the Lender

I'm trying to get really fueled up for next year. So far with instituting the 45 I'm really getting a head start and I've noticed myself having much more motivation and discipline as of late. I'll tell you what, getting a good head start on the New Years Resolutions BEFORE Christmas is a GREAT idea!

I've started reading through my blog. I'd like to read every post before January. It's really interesting to see where my pitfalls were and the moments that I was really motivated and overcame obstacles. I came across this post "Slave to the Lender" from January 8, eight days into this blog and I really like it. It reminds me why it's so important for me to stay motivated and win this war.

I have two primary reasons for wanting to get out of debt NOW: So much of our income is tied up in payments (and interest payments) that we can't afford things we need anymore and the weight of the debt just sitting there over our heads is unbearable. I need it to be gone. 
The other day I was fighting with myself over a pop. I had a headache, I was super thirsty, work was dragging by more slowly than one would think possible and I was pretty certain that a soda would grant me at least a few moments of alleviation and delight. Once again I thought I'd lost the battle. I decided to spend the money on the pop. I had to have it (my priorities are so skewed). "What's a $1.49"... this is always my argument... "it's just loose change!" 
But then I realized a $1.49 that I don't have; a $1.49 that's not in my budget is a $1.49 that I'm essentially borrowing from one of my creditors (even though we stopped using charge cards over a year ago). Do I really want to owe Discover card or Chase $1.49 (plus interest) for any longer than I have to? Is a pop today, and maybe tomorrow, and maybe a few days from then (which adds up to WAY more than $1.49) worth the burden? 
That one soda fight FINALLY made me realize that my money; the little bit that I work really hard for isn't mine, none of it is. Every penny I bring home is owed to someone that I borrowed it from and every time I spend a cent, be it on food that I need to survive or payments towards heat and electricity I'm essentially borrowing money from someone. That's sickening to me. I am not free. I do not own anything (figuratively speaking). I do not have an income. My money belongs to a long list of creditors and even though I always pay my bills on time, and even though my credit score is amazing, and even though no one is coming after me for delinquency or what have you, until I pay back EVERY LAST DOLLAR, every penny I spend is a penny borrowed. 
I'm ready to grow up and take responsibility and get my life back (I think).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Forty Five Goals Friday (er, Saturday)

Several of you have asked for the recipe for the cheesecake. I'd love to type it all out for you but it's rather involved. Here's the link for the recipe that I use and LOVE: Betty Crocker Pumpkin Cheesecake 
The Pumpkin Cheesecake was a success (and is almost gone). Yum!
I was going to do a little "45 Goals" update yesterday. Now that I'm instituting the 45 I thought, "Hey, Forty Five Friday sounds like a good idea." But I didn't get around to it yesterday so I'll have to settle for 45 Saturday this week instead.

1. I have been balancing the checkbook everyday since I started this one. It's been great for the spending, the budget, and my peace of mind.

2. I've tossed more than one thing per day since starting goal two. They've all been silly things so far like expired food and expired bathroom supplies. None the less it's already a bit cleaner around here and I'm glad that those items that have been sitting around the house untouched for YEARS are finally gone. 

3. Some days it's a dime, some days it's a dollar but I've tossed money in the Christmas jar just about every day since starting this goal. The trouble I'm running into is that a lot of days I just don't have any change available to dedicate to the jar. I try and put a little extra in the next day but that kind of goes against the goal. I'm going to have to work on figuring out the best way to accomplish this one. 

4. "Only spend cash from the envelope" is still REALLY hard for me BUT I'm instituting the 45 goals 45 days before the new year so that I can get used to them and baby step my way into them. I'll keep working on this one. The past few days I have accomplished this goal. So that's good.

5. The first two days after I laid out the cook at home goal I'm pretty sure we ate out. I don't think we've eaten out since then though. I've been making meals every day as planned. (It's so much cheaper to eat at home)

6. I believe that it's been 7 days since I decided that I needed to make stretching a daily goal. I'm pretty sure I accomplished the task 3 times so far. You'd think that this was the easiest one of all the goals thus far and yet I've done the worst on it. Good habits can be quite hard to form.

7. I have written down every purchase so far and I'm loving it. Today I needed to go to the store for milk and for some reason, even though we don't need any food right now I was thinking of all the other yummy things I could pick up while there. I'm certain if I didn't have to write them down on the list when I'd gotten home I'd have bought stuff other than milk. This is a great goal!

8. I have not bought any coffee.

9. I have ended up just as I'd anticipated thanking my husband for random things in the evening because I didn't think to thank someone else during the day but I like this goal and so far so good.

10. I don't have very much money left this week for spending so I think I'll be starting the "set aside $2 a day for future purchases" next week. But we'll see. I might be able to pull this one off yet.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Plan, Plan, Plan... Execute Plan

The initial conversation with myself this year before starting this blog went a little something like this:

You did a pretty good job not buying "stuff" last year (2010). Way to go me!
BUT you spent WAY too much money on food.

We really need to do something about that.
Hey, I bet I could live off of $10 a day. 

Yeah, I think I'll try that... wait, what about toilet paper, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and then there's gifts; birthdays, ect. Darn it, that stuff adds up fast!
Maybe I could set aside $2 a day for expenses other than food.

Well, $12 a day it is!

Today's goal number 10 of 45: Set aside $2 a day for future purchases. I did not do this aspect of my plan at all this year. Basically this means that I'll have a food/ spending envelope with $70 cash in it at the beginning of the week. I'll put $14 each Thursday into the future purchases cash envelope. That money goes towards bigger things like dog food, toilet paper, and birthday gifts. This year I am more willing to tweak the plan but I have to at least try it out before I can tweak it.

Ultimately I need to improve on my frugality. I need to really set my priorities and stick to them. I need to execute a really good strategy for really weak moments. So far I'm liking the 45. How does that scripture go again...
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
Proverbs 21:5
I'm devising a plan. Sorry poverty, I have no interest in you!

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today
9. Really sincerely thank someone today
10. Set aside $2 for future purchases

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I love this holiday. In 1 hour we'll be driving across state to chow down on a feast with my dad's side of the family. Food and family are my favorite.

On this day of thanks I'm inclined to blog about the MANY many things I'm thankful for but the list would be quite long and most likely grow more and more uninteresting as you attempted to read through it. I will say that I am really truly thankful for more than I could ever list. And I will mention that I'm thankful that all of you have chosen to join me on this blogging journey.

Today's goal number 9 of the 45 I put forth in observance of the holiday: Really sincerely thank someone. Life can get rather expensive rather quickly. Finding ways to save money, pinch pennies, and live responsibly is a full time occupation. Having to daily decide, "do I really need that?" or "should I settle for this," and "what the heck am I going to eat that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?" is tiresome. But life has so much to offer completely and totally free of cost. One of the most invaluable assets to these spectacularly complex lives we lead are the people who daily grace our pathways. While focusing on money, money, money I'd like to take a moment each day to thank a priceless person for what they're contributing to my life.

I have a feeling that I'll often be finding myself at the end of the day having forgotten goal number 9 and then thanking my husband for something. Not a bad situation to be in though.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today
9. Really sincerely thank someone today

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Adios Cafe

The week is over. I spent 50 cents less than last week. While preparing/ prepping for next year I'm ending the financial week on Wednesday from now on and starting on Thursday. We get paid on Thursday and it'll just be WAY easier to start the week over then. It's the little things that really throw me off so this bit of a week re-arranging will definitely help me out.

Goal number 8: Cafe coffee is a thing of the past (at least for this year (2012)). With a once a month exception I'd like to eliminate coffee shop purchasing from my lifestyle this year. Don't get me wrong, I love cafes but it's a luxury I cannot afford. At least in keeping with the, "if I owe someone anything at all then until it's been paid back my money isn't really my money," mentality.  

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
8. Sorry, no coffee shop coffee today

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday and Some Pondering

I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest to make money they don't want to buy things they don't need to impress people they dislike.
-Emile Henry Gauvreau
I've had a few weird inward dilemmas lately. We haven't bought anything for our son yet. I don't feel wrong about it because I know it's more important for him to grow up in a financially stable home then it is for him to have a vast array of brand new items upon his entering this world. But it is a little weird. I know most new parents are buying furniture and stuffed dolls and adorable clothing. We've already been given alot of hand me downs. I know the baby showers will supply a vast array of items. There's a used crib, changing table, and dresser at my dad's if we want them. 

One part of me says this is our first baby. He deserves the absolute best. Really he deserves the entire world. He's a miracle, he's a dream come true, he's perfection in a tiny little body. But there's another part of me, a louder part of me that says it'll be much MUCH better for him if we don't buy him the world (we can't afford it after all). 

Here's the dilemma: one of the questions I've been hearing the absolute most lately is, "do you have the baby room all ready?" Well the answer is no. But I can picture it in my mind. I'm really quite a day dreamer. I can picture the all white glossy walls, the all white furniture, the soft fuzzy white rug in the middle of the room on the chestnut hardwood floors. One of the walls is painted with large bold zebra stripes, but they're lighter and then darker blue instead of black and white. The other three white walls have blue picture frames on them. The frames alternate between the colors of the zebra stripes. In the darker blue frames there are black and white photos of family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, grand and great grand parents, some that are no longer with us. In the lighter blue frames are adorable little sketches of playful cartoon like African animals; zebras, elephants, giraffes. It's a gorgeous little room but no matter how frugally or diligently I might attempt to pull off this little day dream it'd cost a pretty penny we just don't have. 

When I first came to the realization that I might not be able to create the "perfect" baby room for my little boy I was a bit heart broken. "He deserves the best!" after all. But the more I've thought about it the more I've realized that it's absolutely not a necessity. We'll love him with or without a magical room. We'll take care of him just the same with or without the perfect room. He'll be his same wonderful little self with or without the room. Only now that I've come to terms with NOT creating a beautiful baby room for our little guy I feel like the whole world is looking down on me and expecting me to do the right thing (give him his awesome little room gosh darn it!). No one's said anything of the sort but it's how I feel about it. It seems wrong to not lavish him with an expensive room. Like I'll be less of a parent if we don't paint and get matching furniture.

Just a little something that's been on my mind as of late.


Goal 7 (of 45): Write Down Every Purchase. I have a notebook ready and waiting.

This one's going to take some determination and focus. Ideally I'll be balancing the checkbook everyday. Good, that'll help me not ever spend more than we make, pay all the bills on time, and not have to stress about overdraft and little money at the end of the week (so far so good). Ideally I'll be purchasing items with cash only (not quite there yet). That'll help me stick to budget and it makes balancing the checkbook easier. If I write down EVERY purchase I make next year; 10 cents tootsie rolls, $1.26 eggs, $30 pants, then I'll know exactly where every penny went which oddly sounds like fun. My alter ego is a HUGE nerd. I'm pretty certain of this. I'd like to think I'd be more inclined to not purchase something like $3.98 Starbucks coffee (I always buy the littlest one) because I'll feel a tad bit ashamed to put it in the ledger.

7 down 38 to go!

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please
7. Write down EVERY purchase
Loved this tree at Newgrange (Ireland)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Starting Week 47

I came in over budget AGAIN this week BUT I'm less over than I was last week. So that's good. $13.78 over. I'm going to try to get closer to budget than $13.78 over for this week. Okay, go!

Yesterday I spent all but $3.97 of this week's budget. I NEVER do that. I knew there were a ton of GREAT sales this past week and I knew they were ending yesterday so I woke up early and actually went grocery shopping. (I don't do that) Now the challenge is that we don't go out to eat, that we don't run into any little extras needed (apart from $3.97 worth) and that we eat what I bought. I think we can pretty safely pull it off. I managed to get a few more holiday baking supplies too (I'm totally stocked up for peanut butter balls (buckeyes)). This week's budget is scaring me a bit but at the same time I'm slightly excited about the challenge AND it feels really good weird to have food in the house.

Yes, those of you who know me personally I do own some make up. But the above pictured is 15 years old... shows how often I use it.

Yesterday I was inspired by one of Tasmanian Minimalist's daily facebook challenges (back in October). I chose to clean out the bathroom cabinet of expired items. Honestly there are still several in there that I couldn't let go of but all of the above are gone. Can you believe that we had items that expired in 2004 in our bathroom cabinet? Bye, bye. It's only been a few days since I instigated "Daily Goal number 2: Toss one thing a day" but so far I'm really enjoying it and getting rid of quite a bit more than one item per day. Hooray for a clean home!

I'm going to go easy on today's new goal... I've really been throwing out some big boys so far. Goal number 6: stretch. There's a lot of tension involved in life with work, marriage, (attempting) maintaining a home, growing a baby, AND the biggest one for me: trying to get out of debt. I always feel better when I stretch in the morning but I hardly ever do it. Goal number 6 is going to be to stretch every day even if it just means touching my toes before I leave the house. I actually write this on my to do list almost everyday (that I make a to do list). Well, now it's on the 45. I'm serious about these bad boys. The 45 is my new years resolution. 2010: don't buy stuff, went over really well. 2011: $12 a day, has really changed our financial life. 2012: the 45 goals, stepping it up baby! Oh, one year at a time.

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)
6. Stretch please

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Daily Goal Numero Cinco

This one's REALLY aiming high. I mean the cash envelope thing is a huge disciplinary stretch for me but this one is going to break bones. Daily Goal Number 5: Don't eat out (one day a week exception).

We eat out ALOT. Making dinner takes a lot of time and effort and I'm really tired most of the time when I get home from work. Buying groceries, planning meals, cooking, cleaning up after; food is a chore! I don't like chores. But eating out is divine. For the budgets sake we must refrain, we must attempt, we must take that next needed step and cook. Ugh. These 45 goals are going to bust my butt.

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!
5. Cook everyday/ Don't eat out (one weekly allowance)


We (will) owe UNDER $20,000 in credit card debt (as of December 31st).  After next months payments I've estimated this years credit card payoff at $4584. That's only $524 short of doubling what we paid off in 2010. If there were 13 months in a year I'd totally have hit that mark. I'm only $271 short of a 20% payoff this year. 18.88% in ONE year, "way to go ME!(and hubby)"

We now owe less than $10,000 on the car. I know, I never talk about the car but I had to mention the milestone. Ok, that's a bit lame because we've had the car for two years and we hadn't wanted to even spend $10,000 in the first place (thank-you clever car sales guy and hubby and I's weak wills) BUT but but I'm happy to be under $10,000 on it. And it's a really great car. After 15 years of driving ALOT (over 1500 miles a month) and owning 5 different cars this one is BY FAR the best car I've ever had AND we owe less than $10,000 on it. Hooray!

We almost paid off $10,000 in total debt this year; house, equity line, car, credit cards. This just makes me smile. And then it makes me day dream a little about a day when there won't be any debt and we'll have $10,000 PLUS all the interest payments that were just flushed down the toilet a.k.a stuffed into a rich mans pockets to do whatever we darn well please with. Ahh, freedom.

Milestone number 4: after 9.25 years of marriage and over a decade of hoping to someday be a mommy I'm entering the third trimester of this pregnancy with a large round tummy and an active little boy reminding me regularly that very soon we'll be parents; very soon we'll have a son.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

So far so good with the 45 goals. I've done each of them each day since they've been instituted. So what if it's only been 3 days.

Today's goal I can honestly say I hate but it must be done. In 2012 I'd like to start actually doing the cash envelope thing. Dave's a smart guy and he HIGHLY recommends the cash envelope system for very good reasons. I can't stand it... I've never entirely had the discipline for it but I think I'm ready to commit. Today's goal is to cash envelope it everyday for the rest of this year and the next. Yikes.

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday
4. Cash envelope it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday

Winning isn't everything, but wanting to win is.
-Vince Lombardi
The way I see it no athlete makes every goal they aim for. In practice a basketball player might shoot 100 free throws but they're bound to miss some of them. I'm NOT perfect and I'm not going to hit the mark every time (you've been reading this blog for almost a year... you're fully aware of this fact by now). But as long as I keep trying, as long as I keep trucking, as long as I keep setting goals and aiming for them I'm still in this fight and I will win.

Today's spending was okay. I thought that I was going to do great until I was walking out of work and I suddenly "needed" frozen blueberries that cost almost $4. Then I realized we were almost out of milk: $2.50. Today's spending quickly went from under $3 to over $10. Still, that's not bad and we've two dinners worth of food in the house right now so I could technically get by the next two days only spending a few bucks. We'll see  : )

Today's goal is a little weird. I'm horrible at saving, like really really awful. I have a huge amount of debt that I want gone RIGHT NOW and I certainly don't want to set aside any money for anything when it could be going towards the debt. That's just the way it is. Right now I'm genuinely a bit depressed about Christmas this year. I'm REALLY hoping that maybe, somehow, somewhere some money's going to show up. I could get a Christmas bonus... it's happened before (a long time ago). My husband tends to get some overtime and decent holiday pay this time of year. We can put that towards presents if it comes. I can make some gifts. My family is really good about receiving homemade trinkets. But overall I need some money for Christmas and I dropped the ball this year and didn't budget any. Today's goal is to throw some change into the newly designated Christmas jar every single day for Christmas next year. The money in the Christmas jar can't be taken out for ANYTHING except Christmas. That's the rule.

Ok, I have to go balance the checkbook for today. Later!

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday
3. Throw some change in the Christmas jar everyday

Monday, November 14, 2011

This and That

I'm in a pretty good mood today. I only spent $2.35. I'm about to make a cheap yummy dinner (and we have pumpkin pie for dessert). I'm most likely meeting with a friend tonite about a baby shower, yay! I've 7 of my Thanksgiving thank-yous done. Technically I'm 7 behind if I were writing one a day as originally planned but honestly I'm just happy to have written the ones I already have and to have sent them out. You know it makes one feel really good to express thanks. It's a very uplifting little gesture. I also have balanced the checkbook the past two days in row. (Out my window I noticed that you said you hate balancing the checkbooks, plural with an S. Oh my goodness I'd fail miserably if I had more than one.) Accomplishing little tasks like that make me feel so much more at peace. I'm kind of excited about the 45. Responsibility really is a good thing!

I am quite a bit over the budget so far this week. I've been buying holiday baking items that are on sale a little bit at a time but it's still putting me ahead a bit. So a far I've got the crispy onions to top the green bean casserole. I stocked up on Chocolate chips and a bag of butterscotch chips for Christmas baking (I just have to not eat them). I got a bunch a peanut butter for baking when I heard the price was going up. I bought a bag of pecans that should get me through the holidays and they were VERY on sale. (not sure why anyone would care about any of this... oh well) Still gonna try and make it closer to the budget than I did last week. 

The goal I'm adding to the list today is to get rid of one thing every day. Our house is FULL of stuff. I think I've said it before but we bought my husband's grandparents house and it came with all the stuff that no one in the family wanted (including closets full of clothes, and attic spaces full of junk). Also, when my husband's father passed away we inherited all of his belongings. He was a collector so we've got quite the collection of things. I could easily get rid of one thing a day, it's just a matter of doing it. I hate throwing things away but before I start dinner I'm going to find one thing is this palace that's truly junk and then I'm going to toss it. It's one thing to think and dream about a nice clean home, it's another thing to start making it happen. Here's to goal #2.

Hope everyone's week has gotten off to a terrific start. Yay for Monday basically being over!

45 Daily Goals for 2012
1. Balance the checkbook everyday
2. Get rid of something useless everyday

Sunday, November 13, 2011

45 Goals

There are one and one half months left till 2012. That gives me one and one half months to prepare for the upcoming boxing match. I'm going to take Keshling's advice and get a jump start on the New Year's resolutions. Why wait?

For the next 45 days(ish) I'm going to implement 45 goals to begin right off and carry through the new year. At present I've no idea what they'll be. Today's goal starting now and carrying through all of next year is to balance the check book every day. I really only get into trouble when I take a few days off from this task. It needs to be done EVERYDAY and starting today I'm on a mission.

45 Goals
1. Balance the checkbook everyday

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pondering the New Year

I came in $15.36 over budget again this past week. Since the weathers cooled down I've been struggling with my coffee love affair again (mostly decaf for the little guy). It's not good for the budget. According to my calculations I've been spending an average of $14.30 a day since August (just to clarify that's total... it kinda sounds like I've been spending that much on coffee, no). $14.30 a day really doesn't sound that bad to me BUT it adds up QUICKLY!

Lately I've been brainstorming new methods, new goals, new ideas to start out next year fists held high again. All throughout my brainstorming though I'm thinking to myself why do I need a 2012 at the end of the date in order to go at it full force? I could be sticking to the $12 a day budget RIGHT NOW. I could be saying no to the occasional expensive coffee RIGHT NOW. I could be diligently balancing the checkbook and drawing up quick weekly budgets EVERY week for the husband RIGHT NOW.

I am so undisciplined. I'm certain that it takes time to become disciplined and I know that I've come a long way. In 2010 I learned how to stop buying stuff, unnecessary, pick up on a whim, who really needs it stuff. I learned how to start appreciating more the world around me, it's beauty and all it has to offer (free of charge). In 2011 I really took a microscope to our spending, watched every penny, and learned how to be MUCH more frugal. In fact Ramon Noodles became a dear tasty friend of mine. Our credit card debt payoff doubled this year from last (and that with a horrible economy, pretty bad inflation, weakening of the dollar, and no raises at work). Maybe I have failed the original mission: stick to $12 a day, but I am victorious.

In 2012 I'd like to step it up another notch. I'd like to really stick to the $12 a day budget. I'd like to start saving some, pay off tons more credit card debt, and get more frugal. Maybe the hubby and I can actually sell some of the valuables that are sitting around this house collecting dust. Maybe I can plan a little better, make more gifts, and do a little thrift shopping (I HATE thrift shopping). I will win this war!

Right now I really just need to make it out of Christmas (and 2011) alive AND with a smile on my face. I need to take the very best care of this baby boy that I possibly can and I need to focus, focus, FOCUS on sticking to the budget whatever it takes. Ideally I'd like to end this week less than $15.36 over budget. It's shooting low, yes, but it's something to shoot for.

So far I've 5 thanksgiving thank-you's DONE. That's more then I sent out last year : )

Today's lovely is from Thursday: I was leaving work and I noticed a man who'd just finished buying his groceries setting a few pennies on the base of "Sally" the electronic pony ride at the front of the store. In all the time I've been shopping and working at the stores (just about 8 years working, decades shopping) I do not recall ever seeing anyone set aside pennies on the pony. It may be a very common occurrence but none the less one I've never noticed before. It was truly lovely. He was kinda woodsy looking, scruffy, flannel jacket, tall, late 50's; he just set those few pennies on the pony and walked away. I'm sure several very happy children who's parents pay completely electronically for everything have been extremely blessed by those pennies. You can't swipe a card at the penny pony. I gave up pony rides years ago but seeing those few little pennies lying there sure made my day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I've been spending a bit over budget every week. Yesterday I noticed that there were only a few dollars left in the bank account. We get paid tomorrow. Grr. Last night while the husband was away I went to cleaning just as I'd planned. I accomplished a nice thorough deep cleaning of our bedroom; swept the floors, changed the bedding, adiosed the laundry (and washed some of it too), got rid of a ton of clutter, dusted AND tracked down all the dust bunnies lurking in dark corners and crevices. Dust bunny hunting is actually quite enjoyable for me. Although I keep track of every penny like they're my children my husband neglects his loose change. I found around $3 last night while cleaning. I managed to make it through the whole day without spending all the loose change I found last night. We're eating eggs for dinner again tonite (a really really cost effective dinner) but I'm quite proud of myself for hardly spending anything today and not having to use the bank card at all. Double score: the bedroom is clean and cozy AND I hardly spent anything today. Oh, and I got two more thanksgiving notes done today. Oh yeah!

A little sidenote: before I started cleaning last night I wanted more than anything I could think of to make some sugar cookies. I enjoy baking and even more so I enjoy scarfing down sugary treats. I thought despite it putting me WAY over my calorie count for the day I might make the cookies sometime before my husband got home but after I'd cleaned a bit. Turns out the chores were quite a workout and I exhausted myself to the point of having no energy for baking left over. By the time I'd finished every little task I'd set to doing I was no longer craving the cookies either. Again, double score.

Maybe I can't make my credit card debt disappear over night but the little accomplishments sure do help the journey along.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
Proverbs 21:5

I think my husband has band practice this evening. I'm not going to sit around and mope. Tired as I may be tonite I'm going to clean up a bit around here. A little laundry, a little sweeping, a bit of dust bunny hunting and I think I shall feel a considerable amount of the weight lifted. I may not have an abundance of money to throw at the debts and ease up some of the mental tension but I most certainly can tackle a few of the chores that I've been neglecting. You know when the list gets longer and longer and it starts to press down on you and you can hardly function any longer? There are a lot of things on the list that I can't do much about (the stuff I blogged about this morning) but I can chop some of the littler things off. It's amazing how a clean house can make you feel 40 pounds lighter.

Moping and fretting never made anything better. Hormones, hehe. I don't feel like I'm hormonal but I imagine you can't see it when you're in the middle of it. I'm just gonna have to keep up the fight and in the mean time take care of what I can take care of (whether I want to or not). Maybe I can get a few of my Thanksgiving thank-yous done tonite too.

I'd like to express my thanks today to all of you lovely people who've been commenting on this blog. I really appreciate your support and input. You've been encouraging and uplifting, all of you. Many Many MANY thanks!!! AND thanks for reading  : )

Not the Most Uplifting Blog

Just checkin in.

Everything's sort of piling up and its making life heavy. Christmas is rapidly approaching. On one hand I'm excited for it. I love the lights, the music, the snow, the entire season of it really. There's just a whole different atmosphere surrounding Christmas and it makes for a great end to the year. However money is getting tighter everyday and at present there's NO money for Christmas. Knowing that I'm going to have to find/ pull some money from somewhere and that the season is just getting closer everyday is wearing.

The year is coming to a close and there are things I'd like to have accomplished: paying off the smallest card, having a certain amount in the savings fund for maternity leave, having reached a 20% credit card payoff. I'm not nearly where I'd like to be with any of those things. It's from stupid extra spending like when I'm bum tired after a 10 hour day and we go out for pizza. Or when the husband's work shoes suddenly fall apart. They literally fell apart. Or when someone was pretty sure they got a promotion and spent a bit more money on video games then they should have and then ended up not getting the promotion. (Seriously, I'm glad he's got the video games to take his mind off it though).

I haven't paid the car payment from last month yet and it's driving me crazy. Sometimes the money just isn't in the account when you need it you know.

I've also been gaining weight a bit faster than I should be with this little guy I'm growing. (yeah, everyone wants to hear about that huh) It's certainly not a huge deal but it's on my mind. I don't think my feet, knees, ankles... I don't think my body would be very happy with me if I gained 60 pounds before the little man arrives. I've been watching what I eat very closely and I'm realizing that I've been eating ALOT. (I do love food, and I'm pretty sure this child does too) Ugh, the many many humdrum's of life. Funny when life is heavy I can't stand the weight of it and all I want to do is sleep and eat and not pay attention to responsible things like, "how much money am I spending." I say it's funny because the very things that are weighing on me right now are the things I tend to fall back on when I'm stressed. Viscous cycle.

This year will come to a close. Christmas will come and go. I'm just going to have to try my hardest to focus on the accomplishments and not the missed goals. I can not let all the balls fall, not now, not just before the year closes. November is going to be a good month by golly!

HEY, hey... I have written AND mailed 2 of this months 30 Thanksgiving thank-you notes. Hooray for a little accomplishment there!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

It's Just a Bump in the Road

I'm very proud of my husband for getting the promotion. I'm not super happy with the individual who decided at the last minute before everything was finalized that they wouldn't be leaving the position he got after all.

He's pretty devastated. It's been close to a month since he interviewed. He's heard back once with strong implications that he'd gotten the job. Many higher ups were implying that he would have the position any day now. We were day dreaming about an extra almost $200 a week income. It was truly one of those points in the path where he felt very proud to have made this accomplishment. We certainly felt one step closer to being ready for our little guy's debut. I frankly was dreaming about the debt melting away. The store director was all praise, said his referrals were tremendous, that his interview was excellent. He answered all of the questions with very good ideas. He said that if a different position opens up he hope's that my husband will apply because he'd love to have him working at his store.

It's gonna be a somber few days at the $12 a day house. You know the horrible part is now that he didn't get the promotion AND the raise all I want to do is spend money. I want to buy him things to try and comfort him and make him feel better. I'm pretty much positive that I won't. You and I both know we can't afford it. I don't know if you've all heard about the 5 love languages. I'm pretty sure my husband's top one is "receiving gifts." Funny, out of the five that's my very last one. I can think of SOOO many things that he wants that would put such a huge smile on his face and warm his little heart but we can't really afford them. Grrr.

I could go on and on and on... I think I've said enough. The truth is that we both believe that what's been done is very much what was meant to happen. The road we're traveling will go in a different direction*, one we hadn't anticipated but we're believing that it's a better direction and one that's meant to be. It's difficult at the time, disappointing and frustrating but what's done is done and he'll keep on going. We both prayed about this early on and we know that things will work out for the best. In the mean time golly this sucks.

*Just to clarify he still has a job. Nothing has changed except that everyone he works with has been assuming for at least two weeks that he was leaving. He's been training other people to take over some of his responsibilities. They had someone else lined up to take his current position. He really had gotten the promotion it just suddenly isn't available. I think it was funny though, he said right after he found out, "It's a darn good thing I didn't burn any bridges." That would have been awful!

Friday, November 4, 2011

This week has pretty much come and gone and I'm not quite sure where it went.

I finally bought a new work shirt. I tried on several and don't love the one I got. I really only need it for 3 months (and then baby will be here). I hate shopping and I'm pretty sure I officially highly dislike buying stuff. I'll tell you what though I went to Macy's on a lunch break to check out the maternity clothes. I wanted to get something nice, maybe a little dressy, respectable for work. The first shirt I looked at was almost $50. The second was over $70 and the third was $89.95 for a shirt, one shirt. What the heck??? Why would anyone pay that much for a shirt? I'm uncomfortable paying over $10. I really genuinely cannot imagine in what world I would grab a $89.95 shirt off the rack, take it to the register, and hand the total stranger with the (generally) fake smile my $90 cash. That world no longer exists. Needless to say I left Macy's (after trying on one plain long sleeve shirt that fit horribly).

Well the week just keeps rushing by. I must scoot before I'm late for work.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Tad Bit Glum

I spend a considerable amount of time each Saturday morning working the numbers and contemplating the budget, the bills, the debt, the future blah. I came in $9.30 over budget this past week. $9.30 is better than the week priors $12.73. I'm not to glum about it. But I hate looking at all the future expenses.

I hate knowing that the dogs need haircuts (we tried once to do it ourselves. It took several days to accomplish one pooch's trimming and it was a miserable fail) and we don't have money for it. We went to a celebratory dinner last nite for a very good friend who just received a great promotion but that starts this week's budget with $23 (2 days worth of spending) blown on one small meal and there's no food in our house right now but a few potatoes and box of cereal. The husband just got his guitars done (adjusted or whatever). Apparently it's been too long already and it SHOULD be done twice a year but the $110 expense is irking me beyond belief. OH, and I don't have any money budgeted for Christmas. That ones gonna bite me in the rear... I just know it.

I feel like a child right now, you know the "I don't want to clean my room. I don't want to eat my peas. I don't want to take the garbage to the road..." ranting type child. I don't want to spend money on gasoline, and dog hair cuts, and groceries, and for crying out loud I need one pair of pants that fits. I want to pay my bills and put the money towards the debt AND savings that I've budgeted and that's that. I'm sick of all the expenses. I know it's dumb. The expenses are the whole reason for the money in the first place but. "mommyyyy... I don't want to!"


"Sorry honey, we're eating cereal for lunch today"

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My November Thanksgiving Plan

Oh goodness, I'm so excited for Christmas this year. The back rooms at the stores are starting to fill with Christmas candy and the Christmas departments are pretty much all stocked (a tad bit weird, and way too early). I almost broke open a few different boxes of Christmas candy while walking around in back today. I LOVE Christmas time. BUT Thanksgiving comes first!!!

Thanksgiving is awesome and not just because I love food. I love the big family gatherings only one month before more big family gatherings and I love the food! I'm already dreaming up all of the thanksgiving dishes I could experiment with this year. Honestly I'm having to daily remind myself that I don't need to splurge and go all out. I can enjoy the holidays with simplicity. I can... I think I can... I know I can.

I believe that being thankful is one of the most important things you can do in life and the "Thanks" part of Thanksgiving is really why I love the holiday. Every November for the past several years I've made a tradition out of writing thank-you notes to different people I appreciate. Every time I've given someone their Thanksgiving thank-you letter they've been SOOO thrown off guard. A few years back when I wrote one to my mother in law I made her cry and our relationship changed very much for the better from that moment on. The food is great but the Thanks is really what it's all about.

This year I'm pledging (and this is a big one) to write AND mail one Thanksgiving thank-you note every day in November. I don't think I've ever given out more than 10 in a single year. I'm going to allow myself the ability to stock pile. If I don't write any all week but send out 7 on Saturday that will be fine. I REALLY want to do this though. I LOVE sending thanks to the people in my life who I care about and appreciate and there are way more than 30 of them.

I don't need to spend and splurge on elaborate tasty foods (the traditional pumpkin cheese cake WILL happen though). A simple Thanksgiving can be just as grand. Giving thanks however, I can splurge on that and I dare say I shall enjoy it as much if not more than all those tasty dishes.

October has been a pretty great month all in all and now I'm SUPER excited about November.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Certainly not in the 1% but I Refuse to be one of the 99, Debt Quote Tuesday

Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work.
-Robert Orben
This wall street thing is driving me crazy. The birds wake each morning singing their birdy songs. They go about collecting food and building nests. The ants march to and fro... continuously, working, working, working. The bees buzz and collect and build and work, work, work. The elephants, whales, penguins, animals all over the planet trudge the yearly paths they must follow in order to survive. It takes work to get somewhere. I think that's a fact of life. Right??? 

I have one brother who's paid his way through a very nice college. He works long hours in an office where he's proud of his job and worked his way up from the factory floor. He lives in a very nice home, drives a very nice vehicle, and he's incredibly responsible with his income. His wife takes incredibly good care of the family, my brother, and their three gorgeous daughters (one of those Martha Stewart type moms). She also works part time (I believe) as a special needs teacher. They're not rich but they're prosperous and very responsible. They also love each other very much, spend tons of family time together, and know what's important in life.

I have another brother who just lost his home. He's had a difficult time holding down jobs. Either he quits spontaneously because he can't stand the job any longer or he's been laid off due to the economy. It's horribly judgmental but it's also the facts: he's not responsible with the money he earns. He lived in his home for practically a year without paying any sort of a mortgage or rent payment and when the day came that he HAD to move he went asking people if he could borrow some money to put down on the first months rent for the new place. He did have a fairly nice income for a vast majority of the time he lived rent free in the house he was losing. Why the heck didn't he have a down payment for his new place? If I lived rent free for a year I'd be LOADED! I love him. He's a great guy. He trys to be the best dad he can be. But he doesn't seem very happy and I don't think he sees past RIGHT NOW.

I remember writing about this earlier in the year. I wondered at the possibility of two types of people. The type that plans and looks ahead, and the type that has absolutely no regard for the future. The first type of person works hard because they know as a fact of life that's what needs to be done. They plan, they do what needs to be done, and life might not be easy but it's not a futile struggle. The second type, well I was there for quite a long while... they want, want, want, but don't look ahead and then the world crashes down around them because they refused to watch it falling down (and didn't want to put the effort into stopping it).

My world began to fall. I could have easily decided to stop paying "the stupid banks." I could have declared bankruptcy. I could have blamed them for my debt. After all HOW DARE THEY charge me the exorbitant interest that I AGREED to pay them when I borrowed their money. In fact I could have gotten pregnant years ago, divorced my husband (just for legality sake... we would have stayed together in this scenario) and gone to college for free, gotten free daycare, and free food. Oh, how wonderfully easy life would have been.

I think I ramble upon this subject a bit too often but I'm kind of angry about it. If you want something then WORK FOR IT! Your life is in your hands. My life is in my hands. I'm responsible for what happens along the path I choose to follow. Why should ANYONE else be responsible for you, I mean unless of course you're a baby who needs to be bottle fed and have his or her diaper changed for them.

If you want to be rich then do what it takes. If you're just mad at other people for being rich then you have a problem. Apparently there's something I'm not getting. I don't think it's the government or anyone else's for that matter responsibility to take care of me??? In fact I don't want "free" food or "free" school. I'm pretty sure food you actually work for tastes considerably better than the free stuff anyway.

I only spent $3.08 today  : )

Monday, October 24, 2011

$13.77 a Day

Just a random morning ramble.

I'd hoped to be somewhere near a $10,000 debt payoff by the end of the year. I might make it pretty close to  $10,000 total in credit card payments including interest. I'm really happy with the $4000 we've paid off so far. It's getting close to double what we paid off last year. BUT I still really REALLY wish it was more.

After yesterday's post "$4000 paid off in 42 weeks" I did the math. I've paid OFF $95 a week in CC debt. $13.77 a day has gone to pay OFF credit card debt. I've paid well over $150 a week in credit card payments (that's over $20 a day!!!). I harp on myself for spending $4 a week on coffee. I've been trying to live off of $84 a week for ALL spending. My husband who I complain up the wazoo about spends between $80 to $100 a week on nonsense (and food). The point I'm trying to make and one I'm exceedingly happy with at the moment is that we've been regularly putting more money towards the debt than ANYTHING else. $150 a week is a TON of money for us. $4000 doesn't seem like a super lotta money (especially when reading about some other people's pay offs) but $150 a week is genuinely really extreme for us and I'm a little amazed right now.

Ramble done. Another little self inflicted pep talk complete.