Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grass Between my Toes

Thinking on the little things today (it's SO wonderful outside)... I've added a "page" to this blog called "Lovelies." I intend to update the page everyday with some of the little things that caught my attention and added beauty to the world. Today's lovelies: Morning Prayer time while driving to work on this hot hot summery day with the bright sun shining, birds soaring in the blue sky overhead, and the wind whipping through the car. Very good way to start the day. Also feeling the grass between my toes while I walked through the yard today.

Now for the bad news: I'm already over budget this week. No excuses. I've 3 days left in the week and I'm $3.96 over budget. The goal now must be to spend as little as possible before the weeks end : (

I get home from work. The husband asks, "oh, by the way did you want to go to the Jimmy Eat World concert with me tonite?" I respond, politely but somewhat annoyed, "Are you kidding? We didn't have $30 for you to buy a ticket, no I'm not spending another $30 so I can go." He leaves. I'm alone. I want icecream!!! We're already over budget. The husband just bought a concert ticket. A concert with the friends always means food with the friends. He also "had to" buy the new death cab CD today. Seriously our (I say "our" somewhat loosely) priorities are SOOOO skewed. What about the credit card debt? What about the Citibank card that is NOT getting paid off right now? And I want icecream!!!

I always do this thing where I'm like,"WELL he just spent $50, I should be able to spend $4..." Haha : )

Hot skim milk + nestle toll house cocoa + a bit of sugar + some decaf Hawaiian coffee + a little hazelnut creamer = Disaster Diverted (sort of the opposite of icecream) stuff I have in the house that I don't have to spend money on and can still enjoy a little comfort food. I'm not buying ice cream. This hot beverage on the hottest day of the year so far is actually quite delicious : )

Monday, May 30, 2011

Poverty Mentality

Officially I'm getting better at sticking to the $12 a day budget BUT I've also developed a horrid pattern. I've pretty regularly been spending at least half of my budget for the week in the first two days (not exactly in the wisest way possible). Then I'm forced to scrape by for the rest of the week with a few dollars a day in order to stay on budget. I'm happy about the progress but rather frustrated by this mental block I'm facing.

I recall one of my first posts pertained to impoverished people with this same mentality. I've read stories about people who'd starve all week, all month and when money finally arrived they'd spend it all quite lavishly, stuff themselves, and end up starving for the rest of the week, the rest of the month, until more money showed up. Why do we do this?

Obviously it's from lack of planning but I think it's a poverty mentality. You feel deprived, poor, lacking; once you've increase at your fingertips you're compelled to splurge, lavish yourself, and embrace that delight of abundance. But then the abundance is gone (however little it may have been). It's exactly the same as people who win the lottery and spend it all on crap. It's a mental block. I'm not poor. I shouldn't feel poor. I personally create the poverty by spending abundantly. Responsible spending would eliminate the poverty situation (in my case); the situation of having and then not having... just like the lottery winner or the impoverished person who spends all their income the moment it arrives.

Again, I'm thinking in type. I really need to work on goal number one. Responsible spending is not only sticking to budget but avoiding the poverty mentality spending. New goal: Spend as little as possible for the first three days of the week. Wow, that sounds like a joke.

Change of topic, yesterdays moment of joy, yesterday's little thing for me was driving really fast with the music blaring. Ok, I'm actually a really good driver. I've never gotten a ticket, or been pulled over for speeding. I've never caused an accident and I pretty much always drive the speed limit. So "driving really fast" actually means accelerating really fast and zipping around all the other cars leaving them in my dust and I pretty much never do this either because I don't like to waste gas. I drove stick for at least the first 10 years of my driving life and when you drive stick you can accelerate really fast really easily. I don't drive stick anymore so those rare mornings when I crank the music and pretend that I still drive stick are pretty fun and exciting for me. Wow, this was a huge waste of type and yet I'm leaving it  : )

Hoping you enjoy LIFE with each breath breathed today!

Just Wasting Time Online

Weird little updates because I just read through January of this blog:

1.) I solved my paper towel problem (I HATE spending money on paper towel). I've been using socks that are no longer wearable as rags around the house. I always used paper towel to clean the really gross messes, like the toilet or the really muddy kitchen floor, or cat puke. I couldn't justify using the same cloth I clean the kitchen counter with to clean the toilet but now I've got holey socks to take care of the gross messes.

2.) I've come really REALLY far with my unnecessary beverage spending. I've basically stopped buying coffee away from home. I've developed a bad habit of buying my favorite coffee on Fridays from a coffee shop near my first Friday store. I just keep telling myself that it's a reward for not buying coffee all week. BUT I'm not buying coffee all week, YAY! Reading through January I'm reminded how much I was struggling with that (pretty much all year). I haven't been buying pop at all. $1.59 for 20oz. of soda that I in no way shape or form need is just stupid. I've finally kicked that habit.

3.) It might take me all year to conquer goal number one of spending $10 on food and $2 on stuff but I am learning and growing at getting better at this.

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? -me

Sunday, May 29, 2011

the little things

I've been thinking debt, thinking money, thinking freedom, thinking burden, thinking debt, thinking money ALL YEAR LONG!!! It's tiresome.

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

My sister brought this verse to my attention a few days ago and it's like a light bulb turned back on somewhere inside of me. I'm REALLY hard on myself. Like a drill Sergent all day long I'm yelling in my head, "get it right, don't mess up, march, march, march!!!" Unfortunately I am human so mistakes and missteps are immanent. But then I just beat myself up. Yeah, I'm one of those folks. Wait, you've been reading my blog, you already know all this. My brain tends to lock onto one thing like a pit-bull that bites down and can't let go and I forget about the rest of life.

I've been thinking about debt and spending all year. I'm trying so hard to focus and learn and grow. I'd like to think I'm progressing but I have not been stopping to smell the roses or meditate on, contemplate, and notice things that are lovely. Without the little things I'm not going to make it to the end of this journey. I know this, I forget this, I remember this, and then I forget. Wow, I'm like that fish Dory in finding Nemo.

I must try and notice the little thing, the lovely things every single day. Here's to the little things... they keep life beautiful.

So, wondering what was lovely in your world today???

Stop and smell the lilacs.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Citibank IS going down

So, I'm sitting here making quick updates to my blog (I FINALLY figured out how to add pages, yay) before I head out to spend the morning with my niece and nephew (one of my goals for the month) and I keep seeing that dumb Citibank side bar that I added a bit ago while all excited about watching it quickly fill up. Seriously it's depressing. It looks like I've paid a dollar on that stupid card. But life happens.

We bought a new washer yesterday. It's new, not used or refurbished or anything like that but it was quite the compromise. My husband thought it would be a good idea to buy a top of the line front loading $900 $1100 washer so that "it'd never break again." HA! He wasn't hearing a word about another used one. I said to him, "I'll make a deal with you (and his face lights up) as soon as we pay off ALL of the credit card debt the first thing I'll do is save enough money so that you can buy a brand new top of the line deluxe washer and dryer set, ok!? but for now we're getting something UNDER $400." He laughed and we bought a $400 washer that I talked the guy $100 down on even though it was already marked $100 off. It's sad because even though I haven't a clean article of clothing in this house and we're getting a pretty nice new washer today I'm really bummed about not having $400 to put towards that stupid Citibank card : (

Ok, so the new washer is paid for in full and I can wash all our clothes AND I didn't have to charge a $1000 washing machine like the husband wanted but $400 is GONE. Oh, and I can't use my homemade laundry detergent anymore because we have to use HE now. I'm going to have to figure out what to do with all that detergent making supplies I JUST bought. I mentioned it sadly to the husband and he says, "whip up a few batches, stick it in some old jars, print out a few photos of your face, and sell it to people." Isn't he cute. Is it really crazy that I'm super bummed about not being able to use homemade detergent anymore??? Cause I feel a tiny bit insane on this one.

Anyway I wrote this entire blog just so I could say in type over and over and over again Citibank IS going down, Citibank IS going down, Citibank IS going down... it will, it has to, it's bound to happen.

I'm ready for my Saturday now. Hope everyone has a super sunshiny relaxing day!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wrapping up week 21 and May

Well I'm 70 cents over budget for the month of May. I can't believe I'm unable to claim the balanced budget accomplishment because of 70 cents but I am happy thats all I went over.

I'm WAY looking forward to a three day weekend, to spending time with my niece and nephew tomorrow, to free food at a relatives Memorial day party on Monday and to wonderful warmer weather.

Hope you all enjoy the holiday!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


There's still $10 in the bank account (we get paid tomorrow). I am still on budget with this weeks $12 a day.

I feel the need to report that these past two days while we've had only $10 in the bank I haven't had one inkling of worry. This is the first time EVER that I've been able to go through a few days of knowing that there was no money in the bank and remain worry free. May I just say it again, "I LOVE this balancing the checkbook thing!!!" Not having to freak out about going into overdraft and getting that darn fee, not having to worry about how much money the husband might blow despite no money actually being in the account (because I put my foot down this time and gave it to him straight), not having that heavy cloud of worry floating over my head for a few days thinking about what might come up and how we'd pay for it; this week has been awesome!!!

Totally off subject, I've now spent over $1000 on gas this year. I've spent over $50 a week on gasoline. That is crappy! (I drive a small car that's pretty fuel efficient but I drive alot for work... blah)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday and Putting on My Big Girl Pants

Somebody put on her big girl pants today and then she put her foot down!

Oh yeah, it was me  : )

There's $10 in the bank account. There's $13 in the husbands wallet. We get paid in 2 days. 4 days ago I gave my husband cash and asked him to please not use the debit card this week. He's used the cash and the debit card every day even though I've reminded him everyday to please not use the card.

This morning I told him that there's only $10 in the bank and "you CANNOT use the debit card today or tomorrow." He whined about only having $13 left and then said, "well, now I'm not going to be able to hang out with my friend." I suggested they do something for free, like play video games at our house (a favorite past time of theirs). Apparently he already had big lunch plans and the $13 just wouldn't cut it. I just reiterated, "sorry honey, you can't use the bank card today."

I walked out of the room leaving my sulking husband behind and I almost ALMOST turned around to offer him the $10 in the bank for his lunch plans. I don't need it. I already purchased enough food for the next few days and I've stuck to the budget quite well this week. But I held myself back because he doesn't need the $10 either. It's technically already in the budget since I earmark every penny and he's already spent considerably more than I'd alloted this week. It's really hard to deny him what he wants but I stood firm this time. $13 for two days is plenty of money. He'll be fine and I feel like I grew up a tiny bit today.

"It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."
-Benjamin Franklin

I can honestly say that for years I was completely ignorant as to the consequences that my foolish acts of spending so lavishly and so selfishly for so long would someday bring. I mean, "everyone uses credit!" I lived in the region of ignorance for far too long and am now quite defenselessly living under the tyrannical rule of my debtors. Despite the current toil and misery, this I can proudly say, "I am escaping the region of ignorance that so delightfully ensnares those who frolic within it's grasp. I am moving towards freedom, liberty, and the beautiful light at the end of this dark tunnel."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Many Thanks

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my sister in law for allowing me to babysit her princesses. They are abnormally well behaved and really a ton of fun to spend time with. I was not expecting a payment for the privileged at all and it was quite a blessing. I'm pretty sure it's gonna help me send another snowflake to the Citibank card this week.

Addressing yet another comment:
Jessica said...
I really like having frozen meals in my freezer. Sometimes when I buy groceries I will just start cooking and freezing. I do have a weekly meal plan so I know what I am going to make. Sometimes just having the taco meat all made makes it so much easier to warm it and get the other fixings out.
Frozen meals are nice because you could make a few meals out of one recipe and save money in the long run by having food all set to go.
And sometimes cereal is good enough for dinner : )

I think I might need to take a class on how to cook frozen food because I just can't do it. I really do not like any food that I've had to re-heat after it's been frozen but I'm afraid I just don't know how to do it properly. I am however going to utilize this suggestion in my own way. Yesterday I made two dinners which basically means we're eating leftovers tonite BUT it will save me having to cook tonite. I figure I can double up dinners every other night or at least a few times a week and that will actually help with the dreaded "cooking dinner after the workout" problem I've been facing. Thank-you for the suggestion!!! Oh, and I definitely need a weekly meal plan. I'll probably start instituting that very soon.

I have to send out one more big thanks to anyone who's actually clicked on one of these adds on my page (which again, I DO NOT endorse). I'm really very surprised at how much income they're generating for me and I thank each and everyone of you who've actually checked one of the little buggers out. I will be announcing when I actually receive a payment from these ads and I guarantee that EVERY penny will be going to CC payoff. Yay!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Week 21 of this Grand Adventure

I started this year out with TEN credit cards that had balances on them (that's counting the overdraft account which is technically a credit card with my bank). Wow, that's crazy. I've paid over $1800 dollars in CC debt in the past 20 weeks and over $1300 in interest payments. I paid off THREE of the ten cards so far. I've consolidated two of the CCs onto one of the others for a 0% interest rate. We now have FIVE CCs with balances on them. So, re-cap I've cut the amount of the credit cards we owe on in half and I've paid almost $2000 off. I like the sound of that.

I've almost $800 slated for CC payoff this month HOWEVER I'm pretty sure the washing machine is totally out of commission. I'm anything but happy about this new development. We're going to wait a bit before we rush out and buy a new one but it looks like my CC payoff this month is going to be MUCH smaller then what I've budgeted : (  Our washing machine actually died last year too and someone gave us their old one for FREE. It was great while it lasted but it was also pretty old.

This weeks goals:
Throw another snowflake at the citibank credit card.
Balance this month's budget!!!
Start reading that book.
Be happy and get outside LOTS.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Week 20 Comes to a Close

I'm $2.37 over budget.

I did end up purchasing a $2.99 coffee brewer because the coffee maker took a dive this week. It's a pretty cool little gadget. You just place it on top of the mug, put the filter and grounds in, and pour in the hot water. It's the most basic way I've ever seen to make coffee and the $2.99 sure beat buying a new coffee maker. I'm gonna blame the overage on that $2.99 little guy though.

The New Little Coffee Gadget
Additionally my husband and I started to work out regularly again and I've noticed that the exercise as soon as I get home from work plus making dinner as soon as I get done exercising is really wearing on me. We ate out WAY too much this week but I have NO energy or motivation to make dinner after working all day then working out. This could be a problem OR I'm going to have to figure out how to make dinner ahead of time... I don't know. Seriously does life ever get easier?

Ok, some good news. I'm not sure what happened but I've been noticing that my husband's debits for food at work have been getting smaller. He was spending $3, $5, sometimes upwards of that on EACH break everyday. I don't even want to know what he was eating. The past two weeks at least he's been keeping it under $3 a break and he's been having at least one break a day under $1. This is a huge savings. I think he actually started listening to me. I really don't hound him about money. He knows he spends too much. He knows that I want/ NEED him to spend less but I can't yell at him everyday. That'd be nonsense. I do however constantly (ok pretty much always) deny myself stuff that I want and I think he's starting to finally notice. He'll say something like, "why don't you just get that?" Of course my response is always, "honey we cannot afford it and you know how hard I'm trying to pay off those dang credit cards." I think I've uttered the above statement so many times now, coupled with other similar repetitive remarks that something maybe finally clicked in there.

It's only a tiny little bit of progress. He still thinks it's ok to spend obscene amounts of money on food on his days off. He still buys stuff (Cd's, video games, movie rentals even though we have netflix) that I would NEVER buy because they're luxuries that we can't afford BUT progress is progress and I'm proud of him for this one step. Hooray!!!

And I close week 20 a bit over, haven't picked up a book yet (even though I'm GOING to read one this month... I've totally neglected reading thus far this year), a little healthier, SOOO happy that spring is finally here, loving the lilacs in the back yard, and ready to vanquish Citibank (you're going DOWN!).

I'm going to try and work out everyday and not eat out at all this week. Maybe y'all could say a prayer for me?

A little blog about me

This is my money story but wow I've written for almost 5 months and I've hardly said a word about who I am.

I enjoy reading and thinking and art. I prefer to read history and especially Irish history and the more I learn the more I realize that I know very little which inspires me to seek further information. I'm beyond fascinated by the world that came before me and how much of an impact it's being had on mine. I feel a bit empty when I neglect books. (I HATED reading until I was... maybe 23, school always made it a dreaded chore) My favorite book is the Holy Bible.

I like to sew (even though I'm horrid at it and I have NO technic and everything I create is done so by hand because my grandmothers sewing machine misses her and revolts every single time I touch it). I mainly sew blankets and pillows and skirts and scrappy stuffed creatures that I create with left over bits of material. It's fun watching something emerge from the plain flat pieces of fabric.

I draw, mostly faces and LOVE taking photographs. I recently purchased a pretty decent digital cannon and it's great fun and I've gotten some pretty neat photos with it BUT I wish that film weren't a thing of the past because film is awesome. (every photo I've posted to this blog is my own)

I am someone who finds peace and calm in the beauty of this amazing world. The little things like leaves finally blooming on the trees and my backyard smelling like lilacs, sunrises, sunsets, stars; I love the grass, the beautiful green invigorates me; every single day is different, unique and beautiful with it's own miraculous moments. If I weren't awoken by the sound of birds singing in my backyard or the sight of billions of tiny white snowflakes transforming the world or the smell of the rainstorm that raged through the night (well you get the idea) I'm not sure how I'd make it in this world.

I am 30... 31 (for some reason I don't remember that last year happening) and I've been married for (almost) 9 years. We haven't any kids but we kind of do. Our two little dogs and one fat cat are our babies. Don't get me wrong I want kids probably more then anything, yep ANYTHING. But apparently we're not quite ready. I adore my husband. He's horrible with money but he's my best friend, the greatest person I know, the only one in the world who'd be able to put up with me everyday for life, and truly he's the other half of me. I'd be absolutely and completely half of a person without that man.

This is getting long... however I must re-iterate, and if you've been reading this blog these two things you already know about me: I LOVE food and coffee (I am drinking a delicious Guatemalan brew at the moment). I know I've also mentioned I love to travel. That last desire comes from my utmost respect for the beauty of this world and my desire to see every last bit of it. I left a little bit of my heart in Guatemala during the 4 weeks I spent there. Also, I enjoy writing : )

I've saved it for last but I must say that although I don't believe the world will be ending today I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I believe whole heartily in God, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit and these beliefs are a HUGE enormous HUGE part of who I am.

Thank-you for continuing to read my story and I LOVE your comments!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Working Towards Freedom

I am sorry for the way I used to live my life (financially). Whether the reckless spending was a result of foolishness or selfishness it was wrong. I am a different person now. I am more mature. I am a bit wiser. I struggle profusely with responsibility but my eyes have opened and I know that a responsible path is the only path that leads to freedom.

So here I stand looking at a huge mess that I created, a mess that is going to take a long time and a lot of energy to clean up, a mess that sadly could have been avoided if I was the me I am now several years ago. As I stand here and look at this mess I've realized that I need to forgive myself. I have to clean it up, no doubt about it but I don't need to keep beating myself up about it. Seriously I am so ashamed of the disaster. I constantly feel like such an absolute fool for having got to this place. I am carrying the weight of thousands and thousands of dollars of debt that I owe to strangers, to institutions, to machines without hearts AND I look at myself as a failure, an idiot, a total screw up.

I am succeeding. I am vanquishing the monster. I am working hard, and getting somewhere, and I am going to be victorious. I am no longer that person, the one who made this mess, the one I'm so mad at and ashamed of and trying to run away from. I need to forgive myself and fight this dang fight guilt free.

So anyway, those are my thoughts for today. I know it's going to take a bit to realize this revelation but at least I can see it now.

$12 a day update: I haven't blown this weeks budget quite yet : )

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Wafted a little snowflake towards the smallest Citicard today. I paid an extra $25. Ok, so it's not much but I feel good knowing that I'm a little bit closer. Every tiny bit counts, every little bit, every tiny bit, every single bit...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm going to call this "Debt Quote Tuesday"

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. James 3:5
I haven't much left in the budget this week but I'm not going to get discouraged about it. There've been a few days during these past couple weeks when I've considered my lack of discipline, I've looked at the plans and plans and more plans spread way out into the future which I've made in hopes of tackling this debt and I've been nothing but discouraged. Sometimes it just looks to big, the overall process. Sometimes I begin to lose momentum and I just want to go back to the old ways, to charge and spend and live it up right NOW. 

I think I'm slowly working away from those negative moments of discouragement and doubt though. I'm learning that I cannot hold the weight of one or two bad decisions or financial slip ups over my head. When I screw up I have to let it go and move on. I heard the above verse spoken today and I thought about this financial struggle. I can only do this thing if I keep the fire inside burning. When the flame starts to die down the struggle and toil and journey become to difficult to handle. I'm relying on a small spark to burn a mighty forest and I cannot keep beating myself up and risking extinguishing the flame. 

I'm REALLY thankful for this blog. Having to face the music everyday is really keeping me and my spending in check. Constantly re-evaluating where the money is going and what wasteful habits we have is seriously helping me change for the better. I love that people are following along with me on my journey. I love that (slowly but surely) I am climbing out of the hole and even though some days all I can do is stop and cling to the steep crumbling dirt lining the walls of my pit and simply catch my breath and look at the bright sky up above past the opening, I am getting there. I am getting out. I am on my way to freedom. The fire burns brighter and Citibank is going DOWN!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Citibank is going DOWN!

Comment from a fellow blogger:
Out My window said...
Citibank is going down...... can't wait to see it!
This is my new mantra! Thank-you Out My Window.

I'm nothing if not a realist (I refuse to call myself a pessimist). I know this hole is going to take A LOT longer to dig out of then I would like. It's difficult. It's frustrating. At times it looks like I'm not getting anywhere but I'm going to get out of it. From now until that next card on the list is tackled (the Citibank card) I will repeat daily: Citibank is going Down!
(referring to my card of course... I'm not dooming you if you work at Citibank or something)

A small disclosure: I put the adds on my page just to see how much money I could make off of them. I do NOT endorse any of them. Except the link to Etsy/ the four photos up in the left hand corner. That's my own personal link for my artwork/ photography (which I've hardly anything up at the moment). Actually I'm not allowed to even click on the adds. I do earn a bit every time someone clicks on one of the adds. I don't know if I'll leave them up or not. I feel a little weird advertising on my blog especially since alot of the adds are for credit cards but it is a bit of extra income so I'm going with it for the time being. The ones for coupons do look interesting though at least there's that  : )

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I have no title for this

Probably weird but I am LOVING balancing the check book!!!

I write everything out (in very detailed descriptions) add and subtract each transaction and then check the bank account. So far my number has matched the account every time and I get so giddy about it. It's like I won a game or figured out a puzzle every time I check the account balance. I TOTALLY should have started this a very very very long time ago. If you happen to be freakishly irresponsible with money like me and you don't write out every transaction and "balance the checkbook" (which by the way I never write checks... it's just a phrase now I guess) then I HIGHLY recommend it!

Down to business: I spent $12.14 today. If I stick to the $74.43 goal for the week then I've only got $15.23 left to spend. At the original $12 a day goal I've got $24.80 left. As usual I'm starting to cut it close. I think I might (might, might, might) really skimp on dinner tomorrow and just make eggs. We have eggs so I wouldn't have to spend money on dinner. Well, it's one plan... I never stick to my plans, grrr.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can  : )

I'm not sure how this jumped out of order but this post is from last Thursday I think.

Week 20... what... where has this year gone

AHHHHHHH!!!! This year is FLYING by. I really feel like I've hardly accomplished anything. I know something is better than nothing. Paying off some debt is better than going further into debt but I feel like 4 and half months are gone and I've very little to show for it.

This weeks goals:
Throw a snowflake at the citibank credit card.
Stick to the budget.
Make up a bit of the overage.
Read a book.
Be happy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wrapping up week 19 Today

The grand total is $83.63. I'm not spending any money tomorrow. It's not quite the number I was shooting for but I did come in under budget. I've a whole 37 cents left from this weeks budget to put towards the overage.

Homemade Laundry Detergent update: I've done 7 loads with the new detergent. So far so good. I actually think my clothes are coming out of the dryer a bit softer than they did with the regular detergent. I haven't changed my dryer sheets so I have to attribute it to the new detergent.

Coffee Addiction update: I think I've bought 2 coffee's in the past two weeks. Neither of those were from Starbucks. I think it's been over three weeks since I blew money at that fine establishment. With the exception of 3 beverages total I haven't been drinking anything caffeinated for over three weeks. I'm absolutely certain kicking the caffeine is helping immensely with shaking the NEED to purchase coffee constantly.

I bought highlighters today. I NEVER buy anyTHING for myself (food yes, stuff never) but today I splurged and bought highlighters for my checkbook balancing endevour. I'm going to be highlighting each transaction in a certain color. At the end of each week I'm going to give my husband a quick update about what's been spent and how much. He STILL refuses to listen to a word about the budget but I figure I'm going to start making an overview list for him each week and not bugging him about it but just giving it to him. I really feel he should know where our money is going and how much we (he) is spending and on what. I'm really excited about the highlighters.

The end (of week 19).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's clear that we all run at different paces

In response to a comment about the checkbook:
ND Chic said...
Wow! I keep my checkbook balanced to the penny and it drives me nuts if it isn't. I would definitely overdraft if I didn't keep it. I think that it would be harder to start it if you never have. What benefit is there to you to keep a checkbook now?
I think that if I can see where every penny has gone, all lined up in a neat organized fashion then it will be a bit easier for me to stay on task.

1.) I'll be able to see exactly what types of purchases I made each and everyday. It only takes a few hours before you forget where you spent that $4.75.
2.) I do have panic moments still about the bank account and going into overdraft. Keeping really good track and balancing the checkbook is just the responsible way to handle money and lose the overdraft fears.
3.) When I tell my husband that he spent $90 last week (or whatever whenever) and he calls me a liar I can show him on paper the $90 and where it went.
4.) I know that a huge part of living responsibly is being organized. Balancing the checkbook is just one aspect to living that responsible life.

Ok, today I spent $9.56 on groceries. It's a bit more than I would like to have spent but I avoided SOOO many temptations all day long. I'm quite proud of myself. I REALLY wanted a frozen coke, a sandwich (way out of the budget by the way),  taco bell, a diet sunkist and my oh my how the list goes on, ooh and PB m'n'ms. But I didn't buy any of it. NO indulgences today, hooray! I've $27.37 left for the rest of this week and I am cutting it close : (

Side note: My mom has lost 2 houses (the second wasn't exactly her fault) and has been asked to leave one apartment (due to back rent). My dad hides money from his wife (not my mom) because he can't control her spending. When my parents were married my dad used to look at the checkbook and spend the "extra" money, even though it was ALL allotted for bills later on in the month. I literally lived off of credit cards for at least 7 years (I've always been employed full time, my husband and I have just always spent more than we made). I'm not coming from very financially stable stock here. It really shouldn't come as a surprise that I don't technically balance our checkbook.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Balancing the Checkbook

I spent $4.70 today.

My total spending for the week so far is $37.50. If I stick to my $12 a day budget I've $46.50 left to spend this week. If I try and make up some of last weeks overage I've $36.93 left to spend this week. Either way I think I can do it.

This is going to sound crazy but I've never "officially" balanced our checkbook. I keep close track of our bank account and I enter all of our spending into a spreadsheet on excel but I've never actually listed each purchase line for line and "balanced the checkbook" like you're supposed to do. I lump all the spending into categories like "gas," "groceries," "so and so's birthday," "ect;" but I don't write down every individual instance and add and subtract and balance. I've decided as of today to start "officially" balancing the check book.  I'm not going to use an actual checkbook, but rather a notebook. But I am going to begin making note of every swipe, every debit, every deposit, you name it. I'm looking forward to this new endevour and I like to imagine that it will help me spend a bit less. Or shall I say waste a bit less money/ make wiser purchases.

I should clarify: I do keep really close track of what we've spent and how much money is in the account and I have a very organized budget drawn up. I just haven't ever took the time to write out every purchase and really truly balance the checkbook the way you're "supposed" to.

Starting week 19 of this Awesome Journey

Saturday I cleaned the house like a woman on a mission. I washed (with my new homemade detergent) and folded all the laundry. Hung two loads on the line out back to dry in the warm spring air. Washed all the dishes. I have a tendency to wash MOST of the dishes most of the time. I think it's a disorder I have but I alway leave about 10 cups or a few pans unwashed. Yesterday I washed every dish. I vacuumed, swept the floors, cleaned the bathroom, sorted through junk mail... the house is looking pretty good. I say all that because I had a very difficult week last week and I'm always in a bit better of a mood when the house is clean. I knew that if I cleaned I'd have a better week this week. Yesterday the husband and I did a ton of yard work, which I LOVE doing, so that's put me in a bit of a better mood. Hopefully we'll get out there again today and finish up.

After all that cleaning and outdoor labor my husband decided that pizza for dinner would be good. I think I'm incapable of turning down pizza so that's $19.80 of spending to start out this week. I spent $13 on groceries bright and early Sunday morning, actually it was before the sunrise so I guess it was dark and early. I started day 1 of week 19 with $32.80 already spent. I'm not gonna let it get me down though. The house is clean. The sun is shining. Spring is here. I do not need indulgences. I can stick to the budget this week. I think I can, I think I can.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Learning my way away from Interest Payments

I woke up this morning after a pretty awful day yesterday and all I could think was, "I've $4 in my wallet and I'm going to Starbucks!" I quickly corrected that idea and at 5:30am I got dressed, drove to the grocery store and spent that $4 on coffee creamer (for the beans I already had at home) and pancake mix. I made myself some hazelnut coffee and blueberry pancakes for breakfast for the same as it'd have cost for one really high calorie starbuck and I've got mix, creamer, and beans left for several more breakfasts. Horray for ONE wise move!

I haven't done the greatest at addressing comments even though it's something I would like to do more often.
theemptykitchen said...
i totally admire your desire and dedication to living on $12 per day. it's a hard thing to do! but it seems like you're spending a lot on indulgences rather than necessities, which is fine but it's also causing you to go over budget week after week. would it be beneficial to have a separate category for those indulgences? like, set aside $24 for the week (in addition to the $12/day) for things like tcby or starbucks. that way, you don't have to beat yourself up every day. debt reduction and learning to live on a budget is hard. you do not need to add depression and guilt to the mix!

Fortunately the interest payments on the credit cards are going down as I pay down balances and have received a few 0% transfer opportunities. Unfortunately I've paid $1151 in credit card interest in just 4 months this year. The interest on our car adds up to $280 so far this year. The interest we've paid on the equity line is $341. (I'm not going to calculate the mortgage interest) We've paid $1772 in interest payments in just 4 months (that's $443 a month) because of the debt we've so cleverly acquired. That's $1772 that's just gone, wasted, blown; money we worked hard for that we'll never get back.

I can't afford indulgences. I can't afford the luxury of taking it slow. This $12 a day budget is VERY difficult for me but I know that it's do-able. It is going to take work and discipline and blowing my budget several times before I'm able to hard core stick to a $12 a day spending cap but I know it's possible. I know I can do it and as much as I want Starbucks and TCBY and chocolate covered pretzels I cannot afford them.

Right now I'm LEARNING to live like no one else so that later I really can "Live like no one else!"

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Let's go on Vacation!!!

I was looking at Travelzoo's top 20 getaways this morning and thinking to myself how easy it would be to charge a vacation. We've certainly got the credit. My husband and I could go on a Royal Caribbean cruise for only $658. We could easily fit that on one card and have it paid off in three months. There's an Orlando sweet for only $199 for an entire week. It'd only be a little bit more to go to the Disney parks (I've never gone before). There's an all inclusive Bahama's getaway for $600 total. That'd be quite a vacation and it's all inclusive. I'm exauhsted. I need a break, a getaway, let's do it! It's so easy.

Funny thing: I actually used to think like that. Now I look at the above paragraph and it's absolute and total sarcasm. I would NEVER put that much money on a credit card even for a vacation (which to me is the most valuable thing you could spend money on). I wouldn't even consider it. Charging a vacation isn't easy. I've paid $1151 in credit card INTEREST this year. I could go on two paid in full vacations with that amount of money that I just threw to the wind due to lack of patience, will power, and maturity. I am not thankful for the interest payments I've made thus far this year (I am thankful they're going down). I am not thankful that I had to learn the hardway. I am not thankful for this horrendously difficult journey to freedom that I am now embarking upon but I am thankful, very very very thankful that my mindset is changing; that it is no longer ok to "simply" charge what I want right now and pay it back later. I am thankful that despite this week's overage in the budget and my constant whining about wanting to pig out on expensive food I really am growing up.

So the rundown: I'm $19.07 over budget this week. At present I'm not even going to think about that fact. This week was really emotionally difficult for me (not because of finances) and I had several moments where I bought something way unnecessary like a frappacinno and chocolate covered pretzels despite my brain screaming, "no, no, NOOO do not do it!!!" It was almost as if I'd lost control over my body. I just had to have that coffee and pretzels and other no need to make a list nonsense and now I'm $19.07 over budget but it is what it is and I'm ready for a new week and I am NOT going on vacation anytime soon  : )

Friday, May 6, 2011

Roller Coaster Ride

I have had NO will power this week. Honestly I think it's because I found out that pretty much everyone in the world is pregnant. Whine, whine, blah, blah... long story short I have a difficult time hearing about all that. It doesn't matter "why" I felt I needed to eat and eat and eat and gain a few pounds and waste a ton of money and delay financial freedom. The matter of fact is that I do really well for a week or a few weeks and then I act like a child for a week or a few weeks. Then I do really well then I fall on my face again.

Frankly I'm glad that I'm getting it all out here; that I'm actually documenting this roller coaster ride; that I'll have the opportunity to look back on this and see what it looked like to journey to freedom; to see the growth that came about in my life BUT I feel terrible that you're all having to read about my garbage. I'd SOOO so so so much rather be able to write everyday that I paid off another card, that I resisted that stupid $4 coffee, that I didn't go out to eat and that I'm so close to victory.

This is really hard. But I need to run the race. I cannot just stroll about the trail. I can't afford the interest payments (in other words I don't want to be giving the credit card companies and my bank hundreds of dollars every single month that I could otherwise be spending on life). I cannot be in debt any longer. It's wrong. It's bad. There are so many dreams that are unattainable while this cloud of darkness sits over our home. Growing up is hard to do (and takes some of us over 30 years).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Just Keep Stepping

Ok, so resiting the clearance cadbury eggs was a big step for me but not a huge turning point. I want so so so so badly to be good and responsible but I just keep buying unnecessary food. I am currently $2.60 over my $74 spending goal for the week. I only have $7.40 left in the original $12 a day budget. We already went out to eat once this week and we got frozen yogurt from TCBY. Those two genius moves right there are budget busters for sure.

I'm trying not to beat myself up every time I foolishly blow money. I get so depressed about it but it doesn't do any good because I tend to break down and spend unnecessary money when I'm depressed. Sort of a double edged sword right there. I just need to take it one day at a time, baby step after baby step. Everytime I start to look at the big picture or imagine myself sticking to my super tight budget for months out I panic a little and start to loose it. It's at those moments when I'm thinking about not spending money for a really long time that I break down and do something stupendous like go out to eat. (I believe we have been getting better on that front though). One day at at time. I can do this. I WILL do this.

Hey the leaves are budding. Outside smells fabulous. The trees are covered in tiny bits of red, yellow, and an assortment of greens. The sun is shining today and it isn't too cold outside. The sky is blue and there are just a few fluffy clouds in sight. All in all I've $7.40 left for the week (at least I'm not over budget at present) AND the world looks so beautiful. I think I'm going to get outside and do some yard work as soon as I post this blog. I need some fresh air and dirt under my finger nails. One step at a time. One tiny step at a time...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Spring Cleaning and Saving

I gave up using Tide laundry detergent a long time ago. It's definitely my favorite but it's also the most expensive. I've been using Era for awhile now and it works fine. I've estimated with the amount of detergent that I use for each load (I always fill the lid to the top line) it costs me 15 cents a load if I can catch the stuff on sale and 22 cents a load at regular price.

Thanks to "Working to Not Work" and the Duggars I've just whipped up a batch of homemade laundry detergent powder. I spent $10.04 of this weeks budget on the supplies (which will make ALOT of detergent and last a super long time). Each batch is supposed to do 40 loads but in the recipe it says to use 1 tbs for a regular load and 2 tbs for heavily soiled clothing. I'll probably always use 2 since I always wash laundry on the largest load cycle. Basically if I use 2 tbs for each batch it should cost 4 cents for each load of laundry I do. That's AT LEAST an 11 cents per load savings. I'm really liking those number.

I just washed a pretty dirty rug that was basically covered in doggie foot prints and I washed some sheets and pillow cases. Everything came out clean and smelling good. And the detergent was really easy to make. Every penny counts  : )

So far this week I've spent $41.53 on the detergent supplies and other groceries. I'm hoping to come in $10 under budget this week in order to make up for some of the overage from March. That leaves $32.47 for the rest of the week. I'm way over budget at present so I'm really going to have to pinch those pennies in order to meet my $74 goal this week. I'm pretty sure I can do it. It'll just take a lot of work and will power.

Wishing you all a super terrific month of May!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saturday and the close of April

Weed the front flowerbed and kill the dandelions... Check
Laundry... Check
Wash dishes... Check
Fold laundry... Nope
Sew birthday gift for my beautiful little niece... Started
Stick to/ balance the budget for the month of April... CHECK

The budget for April is balanced! Hooray, Yay, I did it.
Hello May and 10 percent payoff on credit card debt here I come!!!