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.