Sunday, July 31, 2011

Saturday Splurge

Whenever I spend too much money I'm inclined to just not blog about it. When I don't blog about it I end up spending too much money over and over and over again. So, I'm facing the music and putting it down in type. Yesterday I spent $40.10. I bought a bunch of stuff we'd run out of: cat litter, dish soap, laundry detergent(he), milk, flour, sugar, ect; Really I didn't end up buying hardly any food. In fact we didn't even eat dinner yesterday (mostly because my husband didn't want spaghetti and that was the plan and I ended up just not making anything).

In short I spent three days worth yesterday. There's no food in the house. I'm hungry and I'm angry at myself for spending so much money in one day. I'm ready to pay off these credit cards already!

7.30.11 Lovely: We went to the beach yesterday. My husband was a grumpy guss. It was hot and there were too many people there. Laying in the shade under the umbrella with my eyes closed and the beach air blowing past me was the complete opposite to the rest of the experience. It was lovely.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sometimes you just Gotta Laugh

I ended the week $22.27 over budget. That's kind of alot. We went out to eat several times this week. That's always been our biggest downfall and ever since my husband's grandma passed away, coupled with my mother in law going into rehab (she's home now and doing well), and trying to spend time with my father in law while he was left all alone we'd started eating out ALOT again. It's a difficult cycle to break. I'm trying... again.

On a more positive note I cannot remember the last time we went into overdraft. I think I've finally kicked that HORRIBLE habit. I haven't had any coffee (decaf included) in over 5 weeks. If you haven't been reading this blog, I'm a horrible addict. The other day it cooled down a bit (it's been VERY warm as of late) and I wanted coffee like you wouldn't believe. I'm sure I'll drink it now and again later on but it's just too early to be going back. The laundry is in the wash and it's looking like a really good clothes line day. I love hanging the sheets and blankets on the line out back.

7.29.11 Lovely: Driving home, eyes squinting from the sun, I found myself laughing out loud, mouth wide open from something I heard on the radio about a yooper * beating up a black bear. I was in a load of traffic and I suddenly realized that I must look ridiculous. (I'm not one to just bust out laughing... that'd be my husband, the guy laughs at himself when no one's around). I'm not entirely sure why but the moment stood out. There was something quite freeing about it.

*a yooper is someone who lives in michigan's upper peninsula. I can't imagine too many people are familiar with the term. Google it if you wish. It's legit. They're from an entirely different world up there.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Dreaming About the Future While Paying Off Debt

I went total lack of self control crazy today and spent $23.35. I'm now $4.48 over the $12 a day budget. I'm not happy about it but considering how awful that last month(s) was I'm really not going to complain.

I updated the debt pay off side bars today. The adsense revenue just posted to my checking account. HOORAY!!! I was starting to get skeptical there. Every penny of it went towards the Citibank card. AGAIN, many MANY many thanks to all who've checked out the "interesting" ads on this blog!!! You're a blessing, each and everyone of you. I've paid off 21% the Citibank card so far.

I've paid off 12% of our total credit card debt so far this year. At this rate it will take me 5 years to pay off all the credit card debt. I truly believe it'll be faster than that because the snowball effect really does work quite well. The more you pay, the less interest you owe and so on. Five years sounds like an incredibly long time but even if it does take me 5 years to pay off those dang cards I should be able to pay off a considerable amount of the equity line and pay off the car during those 5 years. Basically I WILL be debt free (except for our mortgage) before I'm 40.

Right now 40 sounds pretty old but it's technically less than half a lifetime. I want to be out of debt NOW but I really like looking ahead and knowing that when I'm 40 years old I'll be debt free(almost). I could feasibly live more than half of my life without any debt. Oh, the beautiful sound of that sentence. Lovely. When my mom was 40 she had the kind of credit card debt I have now. She was also severely underwater on a house that was falling apart, with insufficient income to even pay the bills and buy food (let alone make home repairs). Debt free by 40 sounds pretty good to me!

Sidenote: I'm going to list each day's lovely at the end of each day's blog from now on. Although they'll still all be listed on my Lovelies page.

7.27.11 Lovely: Listening to the pitter patter of the rain on our metal siding and the thundering rumbles rolling through the house, and noticing the green green fields reveling in the liquid delight that's been falling from the skies all day long.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday (Pretty big Ben Franklin Fan)

Buy what you have no Need of and before long you shall sell your Necessaries.
-Benjamin Franklin (I tweaked the actual wording of it because if was in old English)
I find this one thought provoking because for YEARS my husband and I blew money on absolutely anything and everything we wanted. We had great credit, lots of credit cards, and huge limits. Nothing was too expensive. Now I'm having to choose between paying off the debt we've accumulated (/getting rid of these atrocious interest payments) and little things like coffee and popcorn, cheese and garlic powder for the meatloaf. I like this quote because it's SOOO true.

Getting back on track here.
I got the checkbook caught back up. Sigh of relief.
I spent $10.13 today.
I'm currently $6.77 under the $12 a day budget for this week.
Now I need to go wash some dishes so that I can actually make dinner so that we don't cave and go out to eat tonite (dirty dishes is a good excuse to eat out).

I'm extremely happy that I've come in under budget so far but we need  A TON of stuff around here so that $6.77 is basically gone.

I loved that last week's Debt Quote Tuesday Blog received a quote itself as a comment. (Thank-you Tasmanian Vegan and Minimalist) I leave you all with it.
Most of us, swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement - and we will make the goal. -Jerome Fleishman
To everyone out there struggling with debt and financial woes: There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep truckin through and you will get to the other side!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're Just Gonna Blame it on July

The consensus is in and there's just something about July. August will be great!!! (It has to be by golly)

Ok, so yesterday I spent $9.51. I'm pretty happy with that number. Today I spent $8.24. Again, really great. I'm officially BEHIND on this week's budget by $4.90. (In other words I have $4.90 left from the past three days... for some reason I'm tripped up on the terminology. Behind sounds bad.)

Other good news: I haven't had any caffeine, coffee, or tea in over a month. The intense heat is helping me not crave it as much (although I do feel like I need ice cream just about every second of every day). It really is good to be caffeine free. I'm sure I've saved a bunch of money in that area at least.


My little goal for today and tomorrow is to get the checkbook caught back up. I seriously haven't written a single transaction down or balanced it in a few weeks. Not weird since I lived my whole life this way but I've been LOVING balancing the checkbook and I've already in the few months I've been doing it saved myself from a few potential financial disasters. I never quite understood how they happened before but I get it now. Just in case you're wondering, when the bank puts a transaction into pending and you subtract if from your balance and then a few days later they drop it off totally (which puts the money back into the account) all of the sudden it looks like you've spent less than you actually did. But when that transaction gets pulled back out of your account AGAIN you're suddenly in the hole. Of course you can't figure out why you're in the hole because you already thought the transaction that just put you in the hole went through awhile ago. They did this with one particular transaction FOUR times last month. Of course I was balancing the checkbook so it didn't trip me up at all but if I hadn't been I'd have been royally screwed!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Keeping my Eyes Open One Day at a Time

We haven't been charging. We haven't been going into overdraft. We've been paying all the bills. I haven't been buying any new things, ie; shoes, clothes, kitchen utensils, new stuff. Those are the pros to the past few weeks of laziness.

We've been eating out like crazy lazy pig people who don't know how to cook. We (I should say I since the husband's got practically nothing to do with it) haven't been paying any attention whatsoever to what we're spending. I can't remember the last time I wrote down the bank account transactions in my checkbook notebook. I feel like we've slipped back into our horrible, irresponsible, not really paying off the debt ways. So back to DAILY blogging and paying attention to every penny that I fork out. Grr... this debt thing sucks. This blog keeps me going. I NEED to write everyday!

One day at a time: Yesterday we spent $13.85. That's $1.85 ahead of the $12 a day budget this week. One day at a time. One day at a time...

I'm going to try my hardest to get up from this fall and to keep paying off the debt. Also I've been learning slowly that THEE most important thing even if you don't stick to budget, even if you do over spend, even if you collapse and can't find enough strength anywhere in your being to spend responsibly you MUST (I'm speaking to myself here) keep track and watch where the money is going and pay attention to every little detail every single day. No matter how much you're spending you'll always spend considerably less if you pay close attention to every dollar. If nothing else all I have to do is keep my eyes open!

P.S. I have a pretty decent explanation for the past few weeks of AWFUL, horrible, falling off the wagon spending but I can't explain the explanation at present (it's not any excuse just an explanation). I'm sure a very lengthy blog about "My Month of June/ July" will be coming sometime relatively soon.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Debt Quote Tuesday

If you can't stand the heat... think cool thoughts and drink lots of water.
I know it's supposed to be "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," and I don't think you're supposed to quote yourself. I just had to.

I CAN DO THIS! and I will be debt free (sooner than later). I WILL!!! I don't care how difficult and uncomfortable it is, doing what's right is worth the struggle! (pep talk number 1000)

To my faithful readers, I'm sorry for the absence. I've been struggling. I'm still here. I'm still fighting the fight. AND your comments have been awesome and encouraging. Muchas, MUCHAS gracias to you one and all!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An itty bitty look at messed up me

Every step counts. Every tiny bit paid off is a tiny bit no longer owed. Every goal not met is one goal that I came closer to. Every dream not quite aspired to is a dream left to be dreamt. Progress no matter how small is progress none the less.

Ever since the beginning of this blog I've received an overwhelming amount of comments which indicate that the vast majority of you believe I'm being much to hard on myself, setting too extreme goals, not enjoying life quite enough, spending a bit less than I should be spending... $12 a day is just too strict (at least for me). I'm inclined to agree with you all on one level. I've really been struggling to stick to the $12 a day budget. At least since the grand culmination of spectacular events in June I've been struggling to stick to any type of budget. $12 a day is VERY strict for me. You are correct.

I imagine it's a disorder of sorts but I'm really awful at attaining to the goal. I wash the dishes and I never finish all the cups. I do the laundry and I never fold the last basket (even if I did like 10 loads and folded all 9 of the first ones). I set a distance to run and I always stop short just before my preconceived finish line. I always turned my homework in a few days late and not because I spent a few extra days working on it. Just because I didn't start it until a few days after it was due. In fact I aced pretty much every test I ever took in school but I always got B's and C's as my final grades because of turning in my homework late. (I got A's on my homework and they'd get marked down to B's and C's for tardiness) When I want to lose 10 pounds I lose 8. I drive my husband crazy... insane in fact because he says I never finish anything.

I've analyzed this disorder and I blame it on my childhood. Long story short, I pretty much raised myself from age 10 on (along with my 3 younger siblings). My mom was there but not really. No matter how much I cleaned the house it was never really clean. No matter how hard I tried to make a good meal, it was never great. I was never taught discipline. I was never instructed in the little details of things. I've always pretty much done life my own way on my own terms in my own time. Let me tell you 10 years old is a little too young to be thrown to the wolves. You know how parents discipline their kids and say things like, "you'll thank me later." Well sometimes the kids who never got disciplined look back and wish they had.

$12 a day is too strict. Hoping to pay off $10,000 of debt in one year (on a low middle class income) is absurd. Beating myself up for buying a coffee gets old fast. Denying myself new clothing, vacations, ok... anything new at all really is border line crazy. But if I don't set huge goals for myself I'll get nowhere. I tried to spend $12 a day for the first six months of this year and I spent $13.90. I know that if I had budgeted $15 a day I'd have spent $18 something. It's just the messed up way that I am. Don't get me wrong... I tried to stick to the $12 a day budget. When I set a goal I really hope to get to that goal but the truth is I very rarely ever do. Every single time I think to myself, "If I try hard enough, then maybe this time I'll get there."

Just being totally honest. This is me. This is my journey, a record of my failures and my successes, and a crazy story about a crazy girl who does life a little bit differently. Thank-you all for reading.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Phase One- DONE

I've decided that a year is just too long. Two comments from my last blog before I move on.
Please listen to me. I did this for thirty years, and it is always 6 months that the monster appears. Just get back on the wagon. It is okay.
-From Out My Window
You nailed that one on the head Out My Window. It was a rather large combination of factors that triggered the monster's appearance but a monster it most certainly was which made it's way onto the scene these past few weeks. I really felt overcome and helpless.
We moved last weekend and things got chaotic, add the super warm weather (I'm in Montreal, Canada) and I completely stopped keeping track of my expenses. But I realized right away that I was back to my previous unhealthy spending habits - where I buy without any thought process. All this to say that I can hear myself in many of the things you said today.
-From Andy
The lack of "thought process" was exactly how I strayed. I mean every time I bought something I thought to myself this isn't in the budget but I didn't really think about where the money would come from or how much it actually cost or how fast each purchase I just let float around out there in the atmosphere would REALLY add up and be REAL money spent. The more I spent the more I just felt awful and helpless and trapped in the old horrible foolish ways. You know even if I can't stick to my budget (and I'm going to try) I can at least be responsible.

Ok, I started out saying that a year is just TOO long. It is. It's starting to wear on me. Purely for mental reasons I'm starting over fresh with the latter six months of this year. Phase one is done! Phase two begins yesterday. During phase one I got rid of 4 credit cards and paid off $2217.16 in cc debt. I have $10 in savings and I tried my absolute hardest to stick to the $12 a day budget. I actually ended up spending an average of $13.90 a day.

During phase two I'd like to pay more than $2217.16 in cc debt. I'd like to actually build up a little savings ($10 really is a joke) and I'd like to spend less than $13.90 a day.

Here goes.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm Back?

Sorry for my absence. I think I suffered a financial panic attack of sorts. All of the sudden I was completely overcome with this helpless feeling. Every tiny bit of me was thinking, "I CANNOT do this anymore... I CAN'T be responsible... I CAN'T be a grown up... I CAN'T get out of debt... I CAN'T stick to a budget or balance my checkbook or spend responsibly or save money or..." I'm not completely out of it but I'm coming to my senses a bit now. I pretty much just let go and stopped dreaming for a bit there. I still feel like there's NO possible way I can stick to my budget any longer but at the same time that thought pisses me off because I've done a pretty darn good job sticking to it for 6 months. Mind games...

I can think of nothing I want more than to be debt free. Honestly that's my number one most important goal. My husband is SLOWLY realizing my desire to dig out of this pit of despair but he's still not on board. After his grandma passed away (seriously no one else is allowed to die) I just kept thinking, "why am I so focused on money when life is so short?" I guess I felt selfish and petty. Should we really be denying ourselves scrumptious dinners out on the town? Should I really be wearing rags for clothing? Should I really be canceling vacations and denying myself fun and enjoyment? I really sort of let go.

Here's the thing though; I've it said before and I'll say it again and I say it now to remind myself of the TRUTH, we've been foolishly irresponsible with money for a very long time. Life is NOT about denying yourself all the little pleasures and trying to be super strong, disciplined, and pious. It isn't... I know that. But when you've been a complete idiot for years on end and borrowed a ton of money that you were never capable of paying back (in a timely manner) then you do need to man up and do the right thing and just say no to all the little luxuries until you can actually afford them with your own money. Thems the facts.

On the plus side: while I've been off panicking about money and throwing a little screaming fit like an unruly child in an ice cream parlor we did not charge anything, we aren't any more in debt, the debt has gone down a bit more, and I've learned that since paying down some of the debt we're not quite as poor as I'd always felt we were. We can now buy things. We can now eat pretty much whatever we want. We can now live a normal life without going further into debt. All of this spending doesn't allow for paying down much debt but the matter of fact is that we're finally in a place were we can pay all the bills and still have money to spend. It took a long time to get here. Seriously for a considerable while we would pay all the bills and have a few pennies left to spare. We're no longer in that awful place. So as difficult as $12 a day has been for me it's also done wonders! I am getting there. I am.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Really? It's July?

Despite how RAPIDLY this year is flying by I'm glad at least for a three day weekend.

I'm in a bit of a funk. I've officially given up caffeine (again). I haven't had any for a week!!! I also haven't had any coffee for a week (or tea). Yeah, I'm not lying. I really haven't. I also haven't been very alive for a week.

I feel like my husband's grandma passed away and our lives went into shambles. His mom also just left for re-hab. Things are weird around here. I don't remember the last time I cleaned the house. I've been pretty sick pretty much every day lately (I'm sure much of that is from lack of caffeine). I haven't been paying any attention to the money. In fact I'm planning on spending at least an hour first thing tomorrow morning reworking the budget, balancing the checkbook, and beating myself up for being a moron for almost two weeks. Let me tell you when you slip it's hard to stand back up again.

To top it all off my sister and I SHOULD be at our yearly music festival (Cornerstone). We've gone the past 7 years straight. This would be my eleventh year. It's my only real vacation of the year, where I get to relax, really enjoy life, and just have fun. I look forward to it all year long. This year I decided to do the responsible thing and NOT spend the money on the ticket, the gas, the food, you name it and save and pay off debt. It was a VERY difficult decision but I knew it was right. However right now, at this moment, when I know that there are thousands of people enjoying my vacation without me and my little sis... well my heart is breaking just a bit. Sigh.

I hope everyone is doing considerably better than I've been. I look forward to catching up on your blogs once I blow my morning crunching numbers. I hope everyone enjoys this weekend and for all you fellow American's may you be blessed with many cook outs, spectacular fireworks, and wonderful family time. AND (in our case) may your little dogs find peace and not freak out from all of the explosives detonating all weekend long.

I think I'm going to take a LONG walk now. I'm sure I'll be back tomorrow.