Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Eve

Before we move onto the new year I shall say farewell to the current one.

Lovely, lovely 2012:
I became a mom. There aren't enough words to explain the awesomeness of this accomplishment.
I was able to look at my sweet boy's face 306 days this year, watch him grow, snuggle him, and and love him.
Despite the lack of sleep, being overworked, and fighting like cats and dogs or maybe like lions and hyenas my husband and I are still in love.
We took two trips to Chicago.
Saw Kimbra, New Order, and Refused in concert (3 different shows) with hubby.
Health, happiness, and comfort for the pets (our furry children).
I relish every visit with family and getting to see my nieces and nephews.
I didn't go to the movie theater once this year. My husband is a movie watching freak so this realization is really neat to me. Ah, a year to remember! No movies : )
We tried Indian food for the first time and it was super yummy.
A good friend joined me on the financial adventure. My husband might not be fully on board but having regular support makes such a difference.

I may be ending this year tired, chubbier, not less in debt, and having spent much too much time indoors but 2012 you were a nice year.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Easy Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Did you know that if you mix a 15oz. can of pumpkin with a box of cake mix you get muffins?

Yep, just cake mix, pumpkin, 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes and wahla! Thank-you pinterest. I guess it's low cal too. Although I added a cream cheese filling to mine.

Crazy easy cheap breakfast muffins!


The cream cheese filling was just 8oz. cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/3 cup of sugar. I put a little pumpkin batter in the cup, then some cream cheese filling, then more batter. Yum.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy New Year

I'm pretty relieved this year that Christmas is over. It was nice. My boy seemed to really enjoy his first Christmas. But I am glad it's done. I don't remember ever feeling that way before.

Only three days until 2013.
2012 has been such a rollar coaster. I've never been SO incredibly blessed (new baby boy) and yet I lived this year in a sleepy haze taking huge steps backwards financially.
Only three days until 2013. I'm quite happy about the symbolic new beginning.


Wishing everyone a FABULOUSLY blessed New Year filled with lovelies and victories!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Four Quarters

Now that I have a son I'm thinking very practically about how to teach him about giving, serving, about the meaning of Christmas and about love. He's only 9 months old but I know I need to start now, not put if off, not wait until "he'll get it." Around this time of year you hear alot about random acts of kindness. About people buying other people's coffee for them in the drive thru. You don't know your coffee has been paid for until you pull up to the window and the clerk says, "that person just bought your drink." I haven't personally experienced one of these instances but you hear about them. Ever since I saw that lady running a Starbucks coffee up the hill to that beggar man I've been thinking regularly about what I might do, what random act of kindness might I bless someone with?

I'll tell you something, the littlest things in the world can be a blessing to someone. A smile, a door being held open, a tiny bit of extra effort assisting someone. Today I witnessed yet another random act of kindness, like the lady with the coffee, however small it may have been.

I was walking into work, into the supermarket as I passed by the quarter machines, the ones with the little toys, stickers, candies. There was a piece of notebook paper taped to the top of one. In blue ink it read something along the lines of, "random act of kindness: these quarters are for you to use as you wish. have fun. left here by a 3 year old boy." Oh my gosh, seeing it in person, not just on pinterest was... my entire day was impacted. I spent all morning feeling goosebumps, feeling overwhelmed by the picture in my head of a three year old boy and his mother purposefully going out of their way to shed a little light in this world. I can not even tell you how many people would have passed by those machines this morning and possibly, if they'd been looking, noticed that note and those quarters just as I had. Possibly hundreds of people felt that same warm glow that I'd felt because of one little boy and four little quarters. Sure someone, possibly several someone's most likely got a trinket from the quarter machines and if they were any thing like I was as a child that was the high light of their week. My mom never let us get stuff out of those machines. But literally hundreds of people may have been impacted by that random act of kindness. There were still 3 quarters there when I left 2 hours later.

Anyway, after my last post I couldn't resist sharing this one with you. What an awesome thing it is when we take a little time to try and be kind to someone. And it really doesn't need to cost alot. Awesome!
Just in case you weren't sure what I was talking about

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Bum

I was driving to work and I noticed a lady running through a large field away from a parking lot towards nothing, except a steep hill on which the exit ramp for the expressway sits. I'm pondering for a minute, "What the heck is she doing? She must be chasing a paper that's blown away? Am I not seeing a dog that got loose? What the heck is she doing?" She starts up the hill and I notice a cup of coffee in her hand (Starbucks) and then I see the man who regularly holds the sign "Homeless. Will work for food." at that exit ramp.

We have virtually no people holding signs where I live. I've seen three here total in my life that I can recall. This guy is fairly regular to that corner now though so I've seen him at least 10 times standing there. Well, she ran up that hill with the Starbucks coffee and he walked over to meet her. She handed it over, said something simple and ran back to her car (at least a quarter mile away). I teared up a bit. I've been to Chicago countless times. I'm not totally numb but when you're visiting Chicago you generally try to not notice "them". You can't help them all. It'd be impossible. So it's almost easier to just ignore them. Then you see this one guy in your town. You didn't help the others why should you stop to help him? Anyway who know's his story? I certainly can't employ him. Ugh.

I guess sometimes his story doesn't matter. I doubt she was giving him her coffee. She probably went to the Starbucks right across the street from that parking lot and purposefully purchased it for him. That took some thought, some effort, some time... and then she ran through a field and up a hill. The only bit of the story that she seemed to consider is that a sad mad was standing on a cold corner with a sign. She thought, "I bet he'd like some coffee." And then she gave him some. 

I guess all I'm saying is that I want to do a little extra, like that. I may be in debt (like a crazy fool). I may have a tight budget. I may need to reign in the spending (every minute of every day because I'm a sad sorry sap who can't seem to grow up). But I want to always care and always DO a little extra. I think we really need to keep our eyes open in order to make that happen and for that matter be prepared to say "yes, I'll do it" when the opportunity presents its self.

I don't want to be a bum just ignoring or for that matter not noticing. I want to be a weirdo running through a field towards nothing, metaphorically speaking. Hmm, what might I do "differently" today for someone else's benefit?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Is it really odd that as I'm getting ready to go to sleep I'm actually thinking, "oh good, in a few hours those people camped infront of Best Buy will be able to go home and sleep in a real bed, in a house, not in a parking lot."

Happy Thanksgiving to you ALL!!!

There is SO much to be thank-ful for... endlessly much. Wait, maybe that's it. They really aren't gadget crazed they just wanted to come up with a really clever way to remind themselves, for Thanksgiving, how thankful they are for the little things like a bed, a warm house, a private restroom, running water, you know, not camping in front of an electronics store.

Sorry, I'm possibly going a bit over board but I'm really in shock by the fact that anyone would camp out for a sale.
There were SEVEN tents set up infront of Best Buy last night when I drove by. Even worse the Best Buy on the other side of town had several people camped out front in sleeping bags, no tents, just them, the bag, and all the elements (in a parking lot... for several days). I'm genuinely so perplexed...

I bought a turkey for $8, originally $18. The food sales are REALLY good right now. This will be my very first time cooking an entire turkey. I've always just done a breast before. I LOVE Thanksgiving dinner!!! The turkey is just for me and my little family. I will make an entire Thanksgiving feast on Saturday once all the family gatherings are over. Baby Abe will get his very own mashed potatoes/ sweet potatoes. I'm glad I didn't have to camp out in a tent for half a week to get my $8 turkey. Oh, goodness. Those people are crazy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just Say NO

One day before the big Thanks-giving sales begin (there are GREAT sales on food right now)
Two days before BLACK FRIDAY
and I'm working in 3 stores today (five stores if time permits)... 4 days off of work after that though!!!

Here's to a full day, and weekend, and week for that matter of saving by NOT spending!

I try and give myself these little pep talks. Do they work? Eh, sometimes...

__________________________

Totally off subject: the spammer comments have majorly increased on this blog of mine lately. Is there anyway to keep these folks away? I'm guessing the answer is no. I still haven't turned captcha (or however you spell that nonsense) on because I HATE filling those darn things out. It pretty much always takes me three times to get one that I can guess correctly on. Blogger does a good job of weeding out the spam anyway but still I'm a bit annoyed by all this fake traffic. Ok, enough grouching for today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Black Friday

It's Tuesday... right?

There are THREE tents set up in front of one of the Best Buy's (electronics store) in town right now for the black Friday sales. THREE!

SERIOUSLY are these people not going to a Thanksgiving dinner? Do they really have three days of free time to not do anything but wait in a tent in a parking lot in front of a store for a sale?!?!? What is worth that?

Just seeing those three tents is making me not want to buy one single thing until this madness is done.

SALES, DEALS, DISCOUNTS

Monday was a battle (to say the least) as I imagine this entire week will be. There are so many things I've been putting off purchasing for so long and all at once everything is on sale with additional percentages off and coupons. It's a smorgasbord of savings!

There's this feeling of super shopper invincibility that takes over when you begin to calculate the savings in your mind. The flashing lights, bells, and whistles seems to declare:
"Who cares if you can afford it, or need it, or have a spot in your home for it, YOU WANT IT BY GOLLY! And with deals like these you can't say no." 
Really wishing I didn't work in retail right now!

Sunday Me

The "who do I want to be" exercise went VERY well. I ended up experiencing the most productive day in a very long time.

The list went something like this:
First I decided that "I don't want to BE lazy and messy." This encouraged me to clean up some things I've left undone for quite awhile and helped me not sit down when I knew I could have been attending to things that very much needed attending to. On the weekend it's SOOO easy to just say, "today's my day off... I'll rest." Resting is good, very good. Everyone needs rest but there are things that need attending as well. And I decided this day that I'd rather not be lazy. It went well!

Then I decided that "I want to BE a good wife." Not so much resulted from this except I said, "I will put on some real clothes, not just jammies before my husband gets home from work. Just so I can look like a real person not a bum and also I will try to be nicer than I've been lately. We're both REALLY tired lately and grouchy.

My next thought was "I want to BE charitable and thankful." This mostly led me to thinking about those things. I'm still thinking about them actually. I was reminded that one of my favorite things about thanksgiving are the annual thanksgiving thank-you notes I write. I'd honestly forgotten about them and so hadn't written any. I'd have been so sad if I'd neglected that tradition.

And "I want to BE a good mommy," was on the list. I didn't do much extra but we cuddled a little bit more than normal and I read him several more books than normal.

It was a very good exercise and I felt the need to update you since I said I would. It was neat not so much making a list of things I wanted to do but rather making a list of who I wanted to be. The things I wanted to do then centered around that list. I felt more passionate about the little things I wanted to accomplish because there was a different sort of drive behind each one. It was really just a small change in mind set but it was really cool.

Also, I didn't spend any money.

: )


...who do I want to be today?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

being me

It's 8am. The babe's been fed. I've munched a corn bread muffin and am slowly sipping some coffee. A full weekend day lies before me. Sitting in silence, ready to part from the computer for a bit, I find myself asking,

"who do I want to be, today?"

I have all I could ever need, and so much more. And today I'm not asking what do I want to do. Not what do I want to spend. Not what do I need. Not what do I desire. Who you are far surpasses what you want (the desires you hold), what you do, and what you have. And I think truly the purchases I make should reflect who I am.

Who do I want to be...

I think I shall return with a list. It sounds a tad "out there" but I'm really speaking in VERY simplistic terms. It's just the wheels in my mind turning really. Ah, what reading does to me : )

Saturday, November 17, 2012

2013

All this silence has gotten me thinkin...

In 2010 I wrote a blog focused on two separate modes of living. The having mode vs. the being mode. I attempted to not purchase stuff. I attempted to notice that which the world has to offer for our enrichment beyond our ability to own it or capture it. I changed.

In 2011 I wrote a blog (this blog) chronicling my attempt to pay off debt and spend less. I acquired less in 2010 but I still wasted money frivolously on food, toiletries; I didn't budget in 2010.

In 2012 I brought a child into this world, forgot about most all life's processes aside from his, and feel that I lived in a bit of a haze.

In 2013 I'm thinking that the me of 2010 and of 2011 should like to team up, pay off debts AND LIVE LIFE at the same time, thinking, noticing the world, growing continuously.

I intend to make the absolute most of the remainder of 2012 but 2013 is looking pretty good to me.

You know what, I didn't spend one single penny today. It's weird when you're just about to head to bed and it dawns on you that you've accidentally had a no spend day.

: )

Silence is Golden

The holidays are fast approaching. The stores are beginning to get busier and folks are getting grouchy already.

I'm genuinely in denial and haven't begun to even think about Christmas (nor have I budgeted anything for it) but I refuse to let this holiday season be a downer. The holidays are meant to bring joy, wonderment, family togetherness, and a wonderful spirit of thanksgiving and giving. Holiday blahs have no right to intrude!

In an effort to prepare for this upcoming season of... delightful busyness I'm imposing silence upon my crazy already busy life. I've noticed alot as of late that I've been using the TV as background noise (possibly as company). I'm not one to even enjoy watching TV. I'm constantly listening to news radio. The election results have put quite a downer on life and the talk talk talk coming out of the air waves isn't really helping. Thus I am forcing myself to cut out the noise, calm down, and chill for at least a week.

Holly days here we come!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November...


Still here, living like a crazy person, not sure how ANYONE works full time, takes care of a kiddo, maintains a marriage and a home...

I've VERY roughly gone over October's numbers and it looks like I spent an average of $15.36 a day (not including Chicago; the EF was emptied for that venture). And seriously is November really half over?!?!? I haven't even begun to think about Christmas.

Baby Abe update: The "baby" is walking along furniture now. He was quite proud of himself this morning after pulling a cup of water down onto himself. I had to change his clothes (that I'd just put on him) but I couldn't help but laugh. He thinks he's such a little man now.

I apologize for my absence but I've honestly been living in a fog of robotic work, chores, sleep, work, chores, sleep... "what, a month has gone by? No WAY!"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Insane Week

Crazy week escalates.

You know how every once in awhile Murphy comes a knocking and all you can really do is feed him?

Murphy's law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

Oh, goodness. Nothing's gone wrong per-say, Maybe I can amend that law to "anything that can be needed will be needed during the week of October the 14th."  I'll just have to blame this one on horrible planning.

Add to the 2 trips to Chicago, the brakes and oil change needing to be done, the birthday party, and the wedding this week, Bozzy dog needs food now (I will not buy cheaper food... our doggies are children to us and they deserve to be fed at least somewhat healthily), Maggie dog will be visiting the vet tomorrow because she's developed a rash and cannot stop itching and I spent $60 on baby formula yesterday (it was on sale for $10 off... I have not been putting the baby necessities into the $12 a day budget. I am trying to budget $3 a day for him separately). Ahh,hahaha this was also Mortgage payment week : )

I am sitting here actually giggling. How can all this happen in one week? Life is amusing.

Monday
breakfast $3.59
coffee $3.98
snickers .79
a shirt $11.45

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.93
Total days not eating out for the month: 10 (out of 15)

Sunday

really really quickly so I don't fall terribly behind and spin into a horrendous downward spiral...

Dino book for B-day boy $8.46 (I had on hand a brand new little dino to put with it)
Hubby brought home tacos from the little Mexican diner $17.49

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.66
Total days not eating out for the month: 10 (out of 14)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Christmas in October

stamps $14.40

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $14.87
Total days not eating out for the month: 10 (out of 13)

Welcome crazy week!

Today we've a 3 year old's birthday to attend.

All of the sudden jobs have come in galore at work so apparently in that arena I won't have a moment to breath for a bit. And I'll be taking this Thursday and next Monday as vacation days (unpaid) so this shall be interesting!

Wednesday the husband and I are making a trip to Chicago to see Kimbra at the Metro. The mother in law will be watching baby Abe for us. It will be nice to get away with my husband as we haven't been seeing much of each other lately, have been bickering ALOT, and are beginning to feel a bit more like room mates than husband and wife. But I can't stand leaving my baby. 
This week is going to be a challenge, to say the least.

Saturday we've a wedding to attend.

AND Sunday we're heading back to Chicago for a stay over with baby Abe AND the mother in law so that hubby can mark off one of the headliners of his bucket list: New Order at the Aragon Ball Room. We're going to spend the day there with mom in law and the babe (his very first trip to Chicago), walking the magnificent mile, window shopping, munching expensive food, cheesecake, and we'll check into a hotel before the show (where we'll leave the eldest and youngest of our group).

In the midst of travel, days off of work, parties, and wedding, we'll be needing to fix the breaks on the car and get and oil change. haha, that's like a cruel joke I think.

In short there shall be some adventure, excitement and fun times this week, the babe will experience many firsts, and my husband will have realized one of his lifelong dreams (he could honestly die a happy man after Sunday) but this week may end up costing more than Christmas <terrified>.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Honey Nut Cheerios

cereal $2.50
chocolate grahams $1.79

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $14.91
Total days not eating out for the month: 9 (out of 12)

I was going to eat out this evening. I was to busy at work today to even consider snacking on a forbidden morsel but this evening once I arrived home, realizing I'd left the house poorly stocked, and knowing that my husband had evening plans (which means dinner alone for me) I'd no desire to cook anything (let alone a thrown together rather unappetizing meal). Boy oh boy did a Wendy's burger sound good, something I wouldn't normally even crave but in all honestly I really just wanted the frosty. I decided I'd do it; get the baby in the car seat, the base in the car, and a Wendy's dinner in my tummy but then I remember the Honey nut Cheerios. For some reason cereal for dinner sounded perfectly acceptable. And it was. And that makes 9 out of 12 dinners at home. Yippee.

Lovely: This evening's sunset evoked a glorious battle between the horizons. As the sun began to descend into the great Lake Michigan the sky rising from the waters took on the warm tones of the color spectrum: fiery red, fading to flaming orange, becoming a brilliant yellow, then white, then every shade of daytime and evening blue. The eastern horizon was apparently not prepared to set idlely by instead displaying the cooler tones: a line of blue ran along the eastern horizon blanketed by deep purples fading to cooler reds, magenta, burgundy  crimson and up to blue again. There was in fact a brilliant fade of color running along the entire horizon north, south, east and west. As if all the world surrounding me were encased in a rainbow. All this color hung above the autumn trees, deep red leaves, bursts of yellow, every shade of green. I love, adore how every single day the world I look at (every single day) still has the ability to awe me, be uniquely new and different, and take my breath away. ah.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday

McDonald's coffee/ breakfast $3.36
coffee $3.98
yogurt $1.88

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.88
Total days not eating out for the month: 8 (out of 11)

I generally only drink coffee in the morning. I haven't bought a coffee all month and yet today I bought two. Yikes, that kind of stings a bit. 8 out of 11 days not eating out is pretty darn good but buying two coffee's in one day doesn't make me feel great.

I'd like to not buy another coffee this month.

One step at a time, one little step...
I kept telling myself that today. It's really easy to get caught up in the big picture/ the huge process, get overwhelmed and just drop everything. Like, I'm not too thrilled with my average daily spending thus far and sometimes I look at it and I think, "oh, I just can't do this." I start to get overwhelmed and I'm inclined to just spend money that I "feel" like spending on something dumb I can't afford. But, "one little step at a time" is helping. It doesn't deflect every bad decision but It reminds me that I just need to make one good decision right now. All the latter ones aren't important right now. Just the one, which ever one I'm dealing with at the moment.

Lovely: I get home from work. My son is sleeping. I miss him. He wakes up crying shortly after I'm home. I walk in his room to get him and he lights up with joy and excitement the moment he sees me at his mommy finally being home. I LOVE coming home!

Wednesday

donut .59
taco bell 4.73
cereal $2.50
milk $2.79
Indian food $18.35

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $16.55
Days in a row of not eating out: nope
Total for the month: 8

Sunday's dinner plans with friends turned into Wednesday dinner plans. They've been wanting us to try Indian food for A LONG time. So, it was actually very good BUT not cheap : (

Ah, but it's going to be 2 dinners.

Lovely: Time with friends.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Debt Quote Tuesday and then Suddenly

The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.
Ben Stein
Oh, the joys of marriage. There are always those little things that drive you crazy about your other half. If not, then you're strange. I can't stand how my husband just leave things. He leaves his socks on the floor (and everything else). He always leaves the TV on, garbage on the counter, remotes all over the living room... this could be a very long list. He can't stand my "sudden-ness." Which I'll own up to. I've actually broken dishes because I set them down too suddenly. I guess maybe it'd be better referred to as forceful or quick. A friend of mine once said she'd never seen anyone use an ATM so suddenly. I've been referred to as sudden many a time. I actually make it my goal to get through the self check out lane at the grocery store before all of the other people who are at the other registers before I begin at mine. I'll tell you, that takes some well perfected sudden moves to accomplish and I pretty much always do accomplish that goal. I'm sudden. 

So this morning my husband comes into the living room and asks, "did you happen to "suddenly" close the shower curtain and perhaps knock down the Burt's Bees baby wash?" I remembered closing it yesterday after HE left it open and I did remember hearing something fall. He also always leaves the wash open after bathing the babe. SOOO because of a combination of my sudden-ness and his horrible habit of "leaving" things some very expensive baby wash had been wasted. Grrr, let's just blame each other why don't we.

I stopped at the office today to pick up my work mail and one of the business managers says to me, "I wanted to let you know that you're the Burt's Bees (something or other) employee of the month." * "Oooh nice, I don't really remember what that entails," I reply. Then he says, "you're able to pick out $30 worth of stuff and they'll send it here for you." Wait a minute... I get a talking to from the hubby this morning about suddenly spilling some baby wash that HE left open and now I'm getting THREE rather large FREE Burt's Bees baby washes and a lip balm (that's what I figured out to be worth $30, almost to the penny). AWESOME!

Seriously, when you're counting pennies, spilling expensive baby wash is like getting into a car wreck. Getting three free bottles of baby wash is like winning the lotto jackpot. Hehe, this frugal life is funny.

peanuts $1
plums .61
water .89
stretchy pants $9.54

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.18
Days in a row of not eating out: 1
Total for the month: 8


* I check on the Burt's Bees about once a month in the stores I work at; make sure the stores are stocking it, make sure they're rotating it, make sure the display materials are in place and looking good. I do not work for Burt's Bees it's just one of our accounts.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Monday... what else can I say

juice $2
peanuts $1
Jimmy Johns $6.77
card $3.70

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.57
Days in a row of not eating out: The count down now starts over. Made it one whole week though.

Today's Lovely: Giggles. Lots and lots of squeely baby giggles : )




Sunday, October 7, 2012

Crock Pot Suggestions Please?

I'd like to utilize the crock pot this week. Last week I made pot roast in it. I think during the 10 years I've owned the thing I've made: pot roast, curry chicken, salsa chicken, turkey, pork tenderloin w/ veggies, and a soup. I don't usually have any sort of recipe (except for the curry chicken). When I use the thing I just throw some stuff in there. Any suggestions of your favorite crock pot recipes???
Looking for dinner inspiration here.

Today was a NO SPEND which additionally means I haven't eaten out for A WEEK!

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $15.87
Days in a row of not eating out: 7

Today's lovely: Long explanation for a little moment... The babe seems to have been teething on and off for the past two months (no teeth yet) but maybe just maybe we're embarking upon the real thing. He's been VERY fussy and clingy the past few days, taking very short naps, and not going down easily AT ALL at night. Yes, I've had a fun weekend. But I guess I'd rather he be fussy with me than with the mother in law. Anyway, as I was saying he's been fussy and clingy. Today I found myself getting a bit overwhelmed and I just wanted him to sit somewhere, anywhere but with me I mean after all, "I've laundry to be folding". Of course I quickly corrected my idiocy and reminded myself that every single bit of snuggle time that I get with my baby boy is priceless, irreplaceable, small moments in time that shall not always be. I sat snuggling him right after telling myself to chill and the little guy reaches his tiny little hand up and gently strokes my cheek. He is such a lover. That moment was beyond lovely. Not that he doesn't do such things often but right after I'd overcome my frustration at holding him, oh what a sweetie pie.

helping with laundry?

Also, wishing thee Happiest of Birthdays to my dear Swedish Latvian friend Viens Divi!!! She's been helping to inspire me and keep me on track so much with the budgeting/ spending. 

Taco Bell?

Treats $3.76
what can I say I'm a sugar addict.

I wanted to eat out SO so SO so SO so badly last night! I was tired. Yes, a tiring Saturday, and did I accomplish anything: no. grouchy face. Just had a fussy little guy to care for all day. Ah, but I'm up to six days, count em 6 days without eating out now. I ate a bagel for dinner. No fast food, no coffee shop, no diner, restaurant, delivery pizza, nothing but grocery store food prepared at home. I heard hubby making diner plans with friends of ours on the phone yesterday for today but he's yet to mention it to me. I also heard him making diner plans with a friend of his, for them, for today which he also hasn't mentioned to me (sorry that got a tad wordy). He's not only a big spender but quite the social butterfly. We'll see how today ends up. Either way, SIX days of not eating out, yay!

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $18.52
Days in a row of not eating out: 6

Friday, October 5, 2012

FRIDAY!

cookies $3.76
pizza (from the grocery store, woohoo) $8.98 it was marked $6.98 though : (
eggs $1.79
coffee creamer $2.08
bagels $1.59
beer (for hubby) $3.09 I almost put this into his spending category but I bought it

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $21.48
Days in a row of not eating out: 5

I'm kind of amazed that we/ I (hubby's been eating out on his own during the day) haven't eaten out in 5 days. We'd so fallen back into the habit of it after the baby was born. I'm a bit panicky because the weekend is upon us. It's so easy to want to "relax" on the weekend. Saving money sure does mean spending time though. It's quite time consuming cooking meals at home, preparing lunches, going over the spending each evening. I brought lunch to work with me every day this week. I've never been good at that task.

I'm not thrilled with the average day spending but I did spend $43 on dog food and $9 on fabric yesterday. Those two things considered I can relax a bit. Here's to a terrific (hopefully sans take out food) weekend for one and all (oh, the sans take out food part applies to me of course, not one and all... that'd just be silly).

Today's lovely: Coming home to the two men in my life sitting together on the living room floor smiling huge smiles up at me as I walked through the door. Ok, hubby was in a t-shirt and his undies. That's his favorite way to be and baby Abe was sitting a short ways away from him in a t-shirt and his diaper. It was a very comical yet oddly heart warming sight to walk into. Ah, my boys.

Food, food, food... Boring

Thursday starts a new financial week for us. I was really looking forward to it until I realized we needed dog food for the baby (dog) who gets bladder stones.

dog food $43.99
fabric $9.62
pop $1.05
dish soap $2.97
cheese $2.99
milk $2.50

I almost bought a pizza last night. The past two days have seemed endless at work, not getting home until after 8pm and 7pm when I'm used to being home by 5. As I drove home I had in mind that we'd eat eggs, bacon, and potatoes for dinner until I saw the lights on the sign for one of our favorite pizza places. I almost made a beline for the building. A light bulb went off, "oh, pizza, that's perfect! Not too expensive. So quick. So yummy. Perfect!" Fortunately as soon as I had this thought I was reminded, "uh, you're trying to not eat out, remember?" Oops... I tend to completely forget my resolves until after the act of treason has been committed  Honestly I'm surprised I didn't stop in there and pay for the pizza before, "uh, you're trying to not eat out, remember?" flashed in my mind. So, the dog food was inevitable but the pizza was averted.  Also dinner ended up being much more simple than eggs bacon and potatoes  The husband decided he wanted hot dogs (we only had two buns) so he at those. What like 45 seconds of cook time. I ate left over pot roast. Little victory.

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $21.53
Days in a row of not eating out: 4

Lovely: Morning sunbeams shooting through the haze and illuminating dew drops on pine needles. Everything this morning was mesmerizing actually. The sky was fierce, grey fading upwards to blue and filled with hazy mist. The leaves are amazing right now, absolutely the best they've turned in years. It was a perfectly classic autumn morning directly out of a painting but the sunbeams on dew drops really stuck out.



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One of those "UHHHH, grrr" days but at least I didn't spend much money.

package of hot dogs $3.29
cheezit crackers $2.50
water .89

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $7.66
Days in a row of not eating out: 3 
(at least I haven't eaten out)


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Debt Quote Tuesday (its been awhile)

In spite of the cost of living, it's still popular.
-Kathleen Norris
water .89
juice $2
bread $1.50
bananas .86
bacon $2.99
peanut butter $2.50

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter: $8.15
Days in a row of not eating out: 2

I haven't talked to the hubby about it yet but I intend to go as many days in a row as possible with no eating take out or going out. Oh, the little struggles...
Lunch of leftover pot roast sandwich and one cookie.
Dinner of avocado cheese omelet, and potatoes.

Today was just lovely because the autumn leaves this year are so much more vivid and varied than last year. The one lovely moment though was during work while I walked into my second store this afternoon. The sun was shining brightly but there was a refreshingly cool strong breeze. Hundreds of these tiny leaves that had fallen off of near by trees swirled about like children playing chase amongst the vehicles in the parking lot and made a brilliant nose like rice crispies when you've just poured milk over them. It was one of those moments in the day where I must have looked odd, standing still in the parking lot smiling, listening intently and staring towards the ground. I love it when nature is so very musical especially in the middle of a large parking lot. Priceless.

hehe

7 months old already



Monday, October 1, 2012

Let the Games Begin

chocolate chips $1.67
avocado $1
Butter  $2.89

Average daily spending for the 4th quarter $5.56
Days in a row of not eating out: 1

Hey, you gotta start somewhere.

Today was a very good day and it was even a Monday.

Today's lovely: My home. Simply being home. There's not much more comforting than that.

October Begins

The fourth quarter of the year begins today.

The dancing hippos are back.
I want to not spend money, save money, and stick to the budget, not eat out, eat at home and eat healthy, clean my home, spend quality time with my family, enjoy the little moments, and read. That may seem like a perfectly normal list of everyday responsibilites but it's very overwhelming to me.

Today I plan to take a deep breath, chill, and just move one little step at a time.
One           little          step             at a time.



$450 in the emergency fund  : )

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What did you do Right?

I was attempting my second NO SPEND for this week a few days ago and I seriously wanted to buy all these little things. I had written to my friend about how badly I wanted to buy the little tooth brushes (I only bought them once but those single use Colgate toothbrushes are actually awesome), a bottle of water, some cat litter... stuff like that, all stuff I didn't need to buy on a day I was attempting a NO SPEND. My friend wrote back about how its interesting that we've come to a point where we're no longer lusting so much for non-essentials but rather practical things.

She's right you know. Many of us, many of you are thinking about practical ways to spend as little as possible on lunch and dinner. We're looking for ways to spend less on laundry detergent and make our own magic erasers. We're turning our thermostats down in the winter and driving as little as possible. We're wining this war by golly.We're staring financial freedom in the face and saying, "you shall be mine!"

There are steps back, bumps in the road, BIG fails and some days where it looks as if all is lost BUT we are changing. We are growing, progressing and going somewhere grand. Maybe if we keep it up and inspire others, maybe we can teach our governments a thing or two... just a thought.

I accomplished 2 NO SPENDS this week. I brought lunch to work with me over 50% of the time this month. I cooked a ton of dinners at home. I put $230 into savings. I said no to so many purchases that little devil me insisted I needed and I didn't buy a billion toys for my boy like I wanted to (I think I bought 1). This list makes it pretty clear that I didn't really accomplish anything I set out to do this month but the matter of fact is even though I didn't make it all the way to the top of the ladder I climbed pretty darn high. 

I encourage you to make a list (especially if you're feeling down on yourself) of everything you did right. I bet you're moving forward. I am.

Two days from now starts October, the fourth quarter of 2012. BRING IT ON! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Freedom

I was thinking about that last bit of my header today:
The Plan: Spend an average of $12 a day on food, household supplies, and gifts. The Goal: Freedom! 
And really truly pondering what freedom must feel like.

Freedom to me looks like being able to plan a trip to Sweden, Alaska, Ireland, The Grand Canyon, The redwood trees and knowing I've the funds to finance it. 
I want to drive through a tree

Freedom looks like being able to buy a $155 coat for my boy just cause I love it and not having to think about all the creditors I owe. 
He doesn't need a tail anyhow : )
Freedom looks like being able to donate however much money I might wish to feed hungry tummies in Guatemala, or provide clean water, or shelter and care for orphans.


Freedom looks like being able to stay home and raise my boy and take care of my home and husband. 

I think I'm ready for freedom.

NO SPEND Monday Hooray

It may be partially pathetic but I am so proud of myself for not spending one single penny today.

I specifically took the babe and went to the store yesterday on my day off (I work at a supermarket) and bought exactly enough groceries to last three days, until Thursday, payday. Today I was tempted by several different beverages pretty much because I was getting dehydrated and needed water but I did not cave. I stuck to the plan. I didn't spend a penny. I cooked (an awful) dinner when I got home and I can call today a crazy Monday type chaos filled successful day.

Please can I go to sleep now...

yeah, not quite yet.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Fourth Quarter

I'm pretty excited about these last three months of 2012 and fall is my favorite season. I feel like I've got somewhat of a chance to redeem myself financially. There are 3 months left to stick to the budget and obtain a small sense of accomplishment for 2012.


The Fourth Quarter
$1000 emergency fund
$12 a day: food, household supplies, gifts; spending
$3 a day for the babe
Keep track of and jot down every penny spent
Read through my blog
Notice and acknowledge every lovely bit of life

That seems basic enough.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Is it January Yet?

I feel like this year has been such a huge mess up. Ok, I knew before it even began that it would be difficult and WONDERFUL. I knew that it would basically be ALL about the baby. I knew that we'd be really strapped for money but I didn't expect that my defenses, that my will power, that my every ounce of energy would be so sapped.

Today I found myself thinking, "Can't this year just be over already?" It will be over before any of us know it but I was feeling that I need a new start now. Just throw this one under the rug and begin with a clean slate...

Ah, but I am not ready to resign 2012. After wishing for the speedy arrival of 2013 I realized that there's still a quarter of this year left. One fourth is really a big chunk of a year. I figure I can do a lot with one fourth. I should be able to get together a $1000 emergency fund. I should be able to find satisfaction and accomplishment in sticking to the budget for an entire quarter of the year. I've got one fourth of 2012 left to love on my baby boy AND kick it into gear financially. One fourth of an entire year to notice the lovelies. One fourth of an entire year to wear my rose colored glasses. There's something to be said for that.

2012 is NOT over yet! The first 3 quarters may have been a not incredibly successful challenge but I have a son now. I'm a mom. The hubby got the promotion. We took care of our Boz's teeth (again). He's back in good health. Okay! Pep talk done.

Today's lovely: The baby boy is starting to slowly lift his little hand to his hair and pull and twirl and softly feel his fuzzy auburn head. I'm amazed that only a few months ago he was growing in my stomach and now he's experiencing the world and really enjoying it. What a miracle life is.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Possibly Losing It

I thought I was a month behind on my communications bill. Turns out I over paid. That put an extra $50 cushion in the budget this month (considering I didn't get Labor Day holiday pay as planned). I just went to pay the natural gas bill, which I budgeted $60 for and turns out I overpaid on that last month. Instead of a bill this month I have a $3 credit.

So, there's a possibility I'm losing my mind. But it looks like I'm $100 closer to the additional $500 in the emergency fund goal for this month (If my husband doesn't spend it first... believe me I'm not going to inform him of my horrible calculating, but he can spend $100 without me knowing in the blink of an eye).

Friday fail. Saturday no spend.

The ONE goal for now is $1000 emergency fund. Currently $220.

September's challenge is to not buy food or coffee while working with only 2 exceptions.

Friday was a fail. I ran out of coffee filters. I literally cried when I opened the cupboard to get one and saw they were gone. I bought a coffee and a cookie before work and I bought a diet Dr. Pepper (pop) while working. My two exceptions have officially been spent. BOO!

The good news is that I've been kicking butt with dinners. We ate out once last week. I can blame that on my husband who brought home taco bell. I have three dinners worth of ingredients in the house right now. Believe me that's REALLY good for us. Usually we have enough food to make one dinner and then we just don't "feel" like eating that dinner so we get something else. Now this dinner downward spiral happened shortly before the baby was born... we totally reverted to our old ways. But I'm making a come back to the good ways. It feels good! I feel healthier and the budget is feeling it too!

Friday was a fail (but we did eat dinner at home). Saturday was a NO SPEND! 

$1000 emergency fund here we come.

Saturday Lovely: The babe had this weird hyper bought. He was kicking and squealing and giggling almost uncontrollably. It was a little weird but he thought he was so hilarious. Priceless.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pollyanna Moment

Gripe, gripe, gripe... Yesterday I got an e-mail back from HR in response to my question about Labor Day holiday pay. The answer is, "You haven't averaged enough hours over the past 12 weeks to qualify for Holiday pay," even though you're a 40 hour employee who we've not been giving 40 hours to because work is slow and you're not allowed to work on Labor Day and we won't give you the raise we previously said you would get this year (after FOUR years of not having a raise... which with the current economic situation and inflation considered is basically a demotion)*. SO the 40 hour week I thought I had this week (for the first time since I've been back from maternity leave) turns out to be a 32 hour week. (Completely giving away my pay rate) That puts me another $80 behind this week. I cried. I actually cried when I got the e-mail. You know how sometimes it feels like the world is against you?

This morning though I had a wonderful Pollyanna moment. At the beginning of last month I had to pay double on the cable/ phone/ internet bill because I was behind. Somehow I (thought) missed last months bill because it comes towards the middle of the month and I didn't get it. So I was pretty sure this months bill would be double again. I put $260 in Septembers budget for cable/ phone/ internet. Turns out I'm not behind! Ok, so I'm $80 down because of Labor day but $130 up because I kept poor track of the communications bill. Woohoo! The way I look at I just found an extra $50. Pollyanna!


* Its not that I'm a bad employee but in my company you don't get a review unless you have bad performance. But raises usually go along with reviews... I know that doesn't make sense. I am told fairly regularly that I'm one of the best field workers. So even though I work all alone with no one to compare my work to I know I don't suck. I can't stand asking for a raise but I actually did it in December. My boss said he'd put in for one in January (and basically said I'd get it). Our company got bought before he put in for one and now he says the new owners put a freeze on raises. My last raise was in 2008.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Emergency Fund

I'm neurotic. No denying it. I'm not so much a worrier though. I don't worry about tragedy, sickness, accident, Murphy if you will. I stress about the dishes not being done. My mom doesn't even know how to worry and luckily a bit of that rubbed off on me.

Here's the thing I'm realizing though, and I believe a HUGE reason I've never committed to the Emergency Fund (baby step numero uno in the Dave Ramsey program) now that I have money in the bank I've this constant feeling that something is going to happen; like the car might clonk any second, or the fridge might break down, or the dog might need surgery (again). I don't worry about those types of things normally but ever since I got that first $100 in the EF I can't stop feeling tragedy coming.

So, the question is am I insane or is this semi normal? I've never had savings before. Weird, I think I may have just realized that to be fact after typing it but I've never had savings or committed to saving before and now that I've begun it feels SOOO futile.


Almost Friday Anyway

The ONE goal for now is $1000 EF, currently at $220. Only $480 to go in order for me to meet this months hopeful.

Today's September challenge was a success for myself and my friend. YAY us!

At present hubby and baby are asleep for the night. I didn't buy any food at work. I didn't even have to buy groceries for dinner. I cooked dinner at home. I've finished balancing the checkbook. I washed some of the dishes. There are clothes in the dryer (and wash). Oh, the list goes on and continues to get more and more boring. I do still need a shower and I need to track down some sanity and... well I won't continue with this list either.

So, trying to bring food to work and cook at home again has added several extra chores to my never ending list but despite constantly feeling overwhelmed I am doing much better emotionally now that I'm reigning in the finances again. So far this month has brought with it a breath of fresh air that I haven't known for quite sometime. Life hasn't gotten any less crazy but I'm feeling better.

Today's lovely: This morning's drive up north. It was unbelievable. Fall is truly on its way. The foliage in fields was accompanied by the autumn yellow bushes. There were these spectacular little plants that almost looked like dew covered spiderwebs, which I've never seen before dotting hills for miles. Which is funny because I spotted a fantastic neon yellow plant last year on my drive north that I'd never seen before. The clouds this morning were practically putting on a show. At first they were misty grey waves like upside down rolling hills of silk in the sky. I'm surprised I've an impeccable driving record. I couldn't stop watching them. They quickly took on a deep blue hue and then the sun began to tip them with glowing edges. Then sunbeams burst through creating streaks of light traced with yellows and oranges beneath the deep blue clouds (that had formerly been a light grey silk). Just as this scene began I came upon the Wind turbine field. I'm not sure why but I'm in love with the enormous wind turbines they just put up north even though I've only ever seen one of them move. These gianormous white machines backdropped by this mornings spectacular sun beaming sky... well that's one way to start a day. Wow, this lovely is longer than the blog.

good-nite.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

September Challange

My ONE goal for now is still $1000 emergency fund.

Currently there's $200 in the savings account. It doesn't look possible when I crunch the numbers but I'm going to TRY and save $500 more this month. I have budgeted low this month because my hours at work have been cut and we've really been struggling making ends meet. However its looking like I might actually get a few 40 hour weeks in this month SO that money should be able to go into the EF (since it's not budgeted elsewhere). Seriously, fingers crossed!

My friend and I are doing a September challenge. Our objective is to bring lunch to work everyday and not buy food while working. We're allowed two exceptions. I'm including coffee in the challenge. I can brew at home and purchase only two coffees otherwise. Sadly I've already bought one. I didn't have any grounds yesterday so I started the day with a McD's coffee (my tea is gone). So that puts me down to one more I'm allowed to buy. It honestly shouldn't be that difficult though. These little challenges are so much easier when you've someone trudging along side with you. Hooray for friends!

Today's Lovely: Helping an older woman at the store. She was super sweet but seemed very confused. She couldn't think of what perfume was called. I showed her where it was and she looked at them all for a long time. Then she asked me for more help to find the one she wanted. She was just so sweet and a appreciative and it felt really great to help her out. Also, my boy's smile when I came home from work was just SOOOOO great!





Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Lovelies

Struggling. But here.

Today I set out to enjoy beauty/ lovely moments, 20 of them. 20 free, no money required, perfectly uplifting little bits of life.

1. You ever have one of those, "that could be a piece of art (like a painting)" moments? Just saw an old guy on a rickety moped at a 4 way stop, wearing a University of Michigan shirt with a fairly odd pine box sitting behind him covered in painted UofM logos, bumpers stickers; no one could have missed the blue and maize. Not sure why but the sight brought a large smile to my face.
2. Puppy kisses from my Maggie.
3. Rocking my boy to sleep
4. And gazing upon his perfect, priceless little sleeping face.
5. A cool breeze in the evening air.
6. A much needed hot shower.
7. Grandma Lucy's mac'n'cheese at the house warming gathering this evening.
8. Despite our constant bickering every day spent with my husband is lovely. I love that man.
9. A grasshopper.
10. Seeing the father and son next door playing football in their front yard.
11. The smell of my baby's hair.
12. Watching boys playing together (entertaining but geesh they're aggressive)
13. Tea. (Irish breakfast)
14. ooh, getting the house vacuumed. That was genuinely a lovely bit of today.
15. I could have made all 20 something pertaining to my boy but I must add at least one more: his tiny hands and his enormous smile! For sure a lovely bit of everyday. I'm so amazed by him.
16. Hubby mowed the lawn. It'd be super lovely if I'd stepped outside to smell the fresh cut grass, my favorite aroma in the world, but its great just that he did it. Beautiful!
17. Putting on my pjs... so comfy.
18. Hearing mom in law and hubby laughing hysterically together at the stupidest thing (two peas in a pod with the same exact terrible sense of humor).
19. Peace and quite
20. And right now. I'm going to bed. Oh sweet, sweet sleep.

No pennies required. What lovely bits of life inspired you today?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brain Spew

Preface: I'm not so much complaining as just mind spewing for therapies sake. ok.

I've been hearing myself say constantly as of late, "AHHh, I'm so overwhelmed!" I feel as though I'm accomplishing the bare necessities but I'm not doing anything with excellence and there are SO many things left undone. I'm so frazzled.

There's something very much like a scene from Disney's Fantasia playing out in my mind at all times. Hundreds of thoughts are dancing (clumsily and very out of sync) around each other, colliding, quarreling, hiding, and jumping out from behind a curtain to twirl and dance some more. I cannot seem to grab hold or control them. Like Mickey mouse attempting to conduct the brooms and mops while watching them revolt and cause chaos. Water rushes everywhere and the effort to clean a mess results in catastrophe.

I've visions of a heavy hippo named healthy eating twirling and plopping about. A broom and mop making splotchy messes on the walls of my mind rather than helping me organize. A few little critters calculating and computing the financial obligations like a game or a comedy where tearing a few hundred dollars to bits is hilariousity. Multiplied by a million more characters. Welcome to my mind. I fear this may just be the result of being born female.

I am a self proclaimed dreamer, planner, organizer (of sorts), ah but also an artist. I tend to go about accomplishing every task in a rather round about manner only nothing seems to be getting accomplished lately and my mind is swarming with undone activity.

So, I'm listening to Dave Ramsey on the radio the other day on my way home from work; listening and thinking, "Balance the budget, get out of debt, plan some dinners, don't spend money, Christmas presents, lose the baby weight, bathe the baby, get the junk out of the basement, dust bunnies in the bedroom, brush the dogs teeth, ahhh weeds are taking over the front lawn... shoot, when's the last time I showered and I need to e-mail back my friend who's been kicking butt with her finances right now. ect; ect; ect."

He, Dave Ramsey, gets a question from a listener, "How do you stay focused financially once you've paid off the debts?" Dave said that you should always have a goal. If you've paid off your debts set a goal of saving so much, or donating so much, or something to strive for financially (something obtainable). You need a goal, always. That is the idea behind the baby steps after all. Well this little bit of advice caused a light bulb moment for me. I need "A" goal right now. Not a list. ONE goal. ONE thing to shoot for (that's obtainable) and I need to set it on a platform above all the dancing hippos in my mind.

I'm kind of laughing right now because I'm thinking about what goalS I could shoot for after I accomplish my first goal.

GOAL: $1000 emergency fund in the bank.
I think I'm almost up to $200 at present. I need to focus and work at it and get that $1000 in the bank and nothing else (except my family) can dance it's way around that.

$1000, $1000, $1000, One Thousand Dollars!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

NO SPEND AGAIN!

Family picnic = free lunch/ dinner! And a good one at that.

I redeemed a second empty coffee bag for a free coffee this morning. On that note I noticed that I've a box of tea that's been sitting around A LONG time. Until I finish that box of tea I plan to not drink any coffee (or buy any new beans).

I ate a bagel and some cereal while anxiously awaiting the picnic. And miraculously I've pulled off two no spends in a row!!!

Oh, the mini victories feel so sweet. I've $32.58 left for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I was not planning on today being a no spend so I am going to shoot for one more during the next three days.  

woo hoo!

NO SPEND

Happy to announce that I didn't spend one single penny yesterday. I cannot remember the last time that happened. A dear friend of mine has been reading through my blog. She's been attempting the $12 a day challenge and doing incredible at it! I on the other hand have been struggling hardcore but she inspired me to buckle down (at least for yesterday).

I'd run out of coffee BUT I had two empty Starbucks bags (which afford a free tall coffee each). I redeemed one bag yesterday morning and one today. Lucky me, there's a Starbucks about 6 blocks away. I ate cereal all day yesterday. I made my very first Quiche for dinner. I'd bought the ingredients for it on Thursday and I do love Quiche so it was a treat really and I was pretty proud of myself for FINALLY making one. So simple, so delicious, and only 5 ingredients (eggs, milk, cheese, broccoli, tomato... oh and pie crust).

Today is a new day but I am SOOOOO stoked that I managed a no spend. Hooray!

I've been backsliding pretty bad when it comes to the "acquiring new" items versus simplistic living. I really truly believe that I have beyond all that we need and buying new anything is just excessive/ wasteful. The catch is that I've brought a perfectly new little person into this world and I get to decide what he needs. Although we were VERY blessed by the baby showers it is quite easy to think he "needs" more than he actually does. This is mostly where I've been slipping.

So I can imagine some readers getting frustrated and thinking "you'd better not be thinking about depriving that little guy of yours." No, no, no he will have the world at his finger tips but I've found myself purchasing a sleeper or some other article of clothing that I was thinking he hadn't enough of BEFORE checking through bags of hand me downs and realizing that he had plenty. I bought a teething ring the other day before finding two in a bag of random items that I'd set aside because he wasn't needing them yet. I did the same thing with a bottle brush and then realized we had one.

The point I'm getting at is that I've strayed from spending wisely. I've made a habit out of not just grabbing things I "need" on a whim but rather holding off for several days before making the "needed" purchase. But this habit is slowly being broken and I cannot stand for it. I can honestly say that at least 99 out 100 times that I've put off purchasing something in order to brain storm a solution to the need I've come up with a free/ alternative plan. I need to return to that mindset and I am setting out to do just that.

I shall resume my list of "stuffs" purchases. I shall be thorough and honest. I rather lament that I got lazy and neglected it in the first place. It turns out that listing every "thing" purchase was quite invaluable to me. (the list is on the right side of this blog under 2012 stuff purchases... which is totally inaccurate since I stopped adding to it months ago. The 2011 stuff purchases list (just a bit below the other) is in fact correct).

For the record I've $32.58 remaining through Wednesday in order to balance this weeks budget. I'm on a mission! I also hope for one more NO SPEND between now and then. Shoot this was going to be a quick little blog... that didn't happen.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Putting on Rose-ish Colored Glasses

I just added up the 19 hospital/ doctors bills we received for our little mans entrance into this world.  The total (after insurance paid their share) is just over $2900. (That's not a lot of money to some people but it's A TON of money to us) I've been paying a little at a time but we just don't have that kind of dough lying around. We'd go into debt a million dollars and more for the little dude but it's still sad that we owe even more money now. AND I had a no bells and whistles delivery. We used a midwife which is cheaper than a physician and I didn't have any pain meds/ epi which saves a considerable amount. Geesh! (just to clarify I didn't refuse pain medication to save money. thats the way I wanted it. I'm just saying that would have cost even more)

Adding to the $2900 debt increase this year we just CHARGED (that's right, got out the credit card) $500 for our Boz. His teeth were getting really bad again and there was one that was really infected and causing him alot of pain. I don't know if you remember but he got several teeth pulled last year due to gum disease. Well he just got 5 more pulled. It needed to be done. He's feeling MUCH better now. His mouth is cleared of the bacteria which does affect his little heart. Truth, it had to be done. BUT I'm feeling like such a failure when it comes to the debt journey right now. I guess I'm sort of feeling like a marathon runner who just stopped half way.

BUT I haven't stopped! Here comes the Rosy part. I'm not doing good. I've had some pitfalls. My hours at work are still slow (which is REALLY hurting us financially). The debt is starting to climb up again (that terrifies me and makes me feel like a loser) BUT I have last years victories under my belt. I can keep chugging along knowing that we'd be SOOOOOOO much worse off if it weren't for the hard work I put in last year AND I can keep going. I can get out of debt, totally, for real, for good! I can do this. I've been doing this. I'm still doing this despite how it looks and feels right now. 

Looking through the rose colored glasses I can see that I haven't been perfect along this journey of mine but I'm still going, I HAVE NOT QUIT and we're going to get out of debt. It's just not a sprint : (


Life is beautiful!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Some Good Some Bad

Do you want the good news first or the bad?

Bad: My hours have been severely lacking at work lately. I'm a 40 hour employee but have only been getting about 30 hours for the past several weeks. Ok, it's great coming home early to be with my little guy and the husband BUT we need every penny we make and at present I'm having a very difficult time figuring out how to pay the bills. It's gotten to the scary point. I actually feel like I did back when I started this blog over a year and a half ago. It's not a comfy feeling. Horrible confession: I haven't looked at the bank account for about a week and I'm scared to. Yeah, yeah that's the exact opposite of how I should be handling this but old habits die hard.

Good: After seemingly endless attempts the husband got the promotion (starts training tomorrow). It has it's downfalls, like being away from home an extra 14 hours a week and needing to put even more miles on the car and spend a bunch more in gas <boooo> but it's what he's been trying for and it will mean extra income. Hooray! I am proud of him.

Life is crazy and splendid and difficult and spectacular!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blueberries

leaf inspector 

It's been a goal of mine for the past several years to pick blueberries and stock up. I hadn't once accomplished that goal until this year. My wonderful sister in law offered to show me the ropes. I had the privilege yesterday of picking berries at $1.60 a pound with my nieces and my little guy. I LOVE blueberries. Since a rather small frozen bag of them costs $4.98 I will be saving SOOO much money from my freshly picked ones (if I don't eat them all in like 2 days). Oh, they're so good!

professional picker

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I got the Snickers Instead

I'm saddened when I stop and think upon the harsh reality of the drastic contrast in lifestyles spanning our globe and our complete disconnect from this truth.

Today, all day in fact I fought with myself over the possible purchase of a Mint Chip Shake from Biggby Coffee. I've been seeing the billboards and drooling over this beverage for days. I have this unhealthy need like a fish needs water for ice cream when it's hot outside. Combined with my comfy beverage addiction those dang billboards are like advertising highly accessible drugs to an addict. I drove by three Biggby's today. One was in the parking lot where I was working. Oh let me tell you of my struggle. I "need" mint chip shake!!!

Yeah, right... There are people all over who's struggle is one of acquiring food, basic medicine, and even water. My worst struggle today was whether or not to swipe the debit card and purchase a $5 shake I currently cannot afford. Boy do I have it hard <sarcasm>. Why is it so difficult to keep things in perspective?

The thermometer read 99 degrees (37C). I fought. I struggled. I resisted. I purchased a snickers ice cream bar instead. The way I see it I spent $1.69 but I saved at least $3. AND with only 1 day left in this financial week I have not gone over budget yet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Comments/ Responses

I'm under the impression that people do not return to certain posts to see if thee blogger has left a response to their comments... at least I can't remember what blogs I've commented on in order to go back and find a potential response. Thus I shall utilize these next few moments to respond a bit (something I do not accomplish nearly enough)

Shay: I have just as of 15 minutes ago set up an automatic savings plan. I had one once before but I felt as though I was canceling each withdraw inorder to not go into overdraft. I've set this one up for once a week and I'm telling myself that my husband spends WAY over $20 extra each week, I should be able to get that much into savings for now. Good suggestion. Thanks for the motivation.  

Outmywindow: $1000 emergency fund is definitely not enough. It's recommended that you have 3 months worth of income saved up (but not until you've paid off your unsecured debt). I've never had anything in savings. It's just weird to me to let money sit in the bank. I'm shooting for the $1000 goal even though that seems like A TON of money.

Lotebees: (I'm linking each of these responses to the blogs of the commentor... hehe this ones in Dutch) I'm honestly really encouraged by every comment I get from someone who's trying just like me to beat the debt monster, tackle the irresponsible little spender on their inside, and live life to the fullest but still struggling. This debt payoff thing isn't a happy little fairy tale. We're all trying and falling down and failing and getting back up and trying again. And heck some of us may be really responsible and full of restraint but most of us are in this mess in the first place because it's just too darn easy to spend. I like knowing that I'm not alone.

Becomingdebtfreeby2014: I'm loving all your comments on my older posts. It's causing me to go back and read through those posts again. It's really neat reading what I've written and being reminded of where I've been.

Carrie: I appreciate the long comment and kind words. My spending is definitely in reaction to perceived deprivation alot of the time. This running on empty thing is difficult but as with all else it's a phase and it shall pass (right?). I'll definitely check out that blog you linked. thanks!

I was planning on responding to a lot more comments but little man is trying to jump out of his bouncy seat. I must go.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Emergency Fund

Budget
$48 until Thursday


Probably the simplest budget you've ever seen, eh. What can I say.


I've decided that after a year and a half of rebellion I'm finally going to buckle down and attempt to tackle baby step one (Dave Ramsey FPU). As many times as I've listened to the "savings" CD I still struggle with the idea of having money in the bank that could be going towards debt. None the less I'm giving in and I'm going to try and get that $1000 in the bank. I'll come up with a due date for accomplishing this goal soon. After that I'll get back into the debt snowball game.

At present thee absolute most important thing is sticking to the budget and spending wisely. Oh, how I do love adulthood, I do, I do  : )

If you spend all the pennies you certainly aren't going to have savings or debt pay off progress <- this is me talking to myself because I need reminding about the simplest of things.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

the psychology of me

Confession: I'm REALLY frustrated with myself as of late. I've lost the fire. Granted I'm kind of running on empty so there's not much fuel for a fire but it irks me so. I NEED to get out of debt but I've been ignoring it lately.

It's like this: When the house gets really messy I tend to give up and stop cleaning altogether (this makes the problem much worse). When I'm feeling, um, large I tend to eat with abandon anything and everything (this makes the problem much worse). When money is super tight I tend to revert to the old ways and just ignore all financial matters/ what we're spending/ how much we have to spend/ whats happening with the bank account (this makes the problem much worse).

The hospital bills have been added up (yikes). The three months of no income has thrown a monkey wrench into things for sure. The list of needed house repairs is slowly climbing (I guess we've lived here just long enough) and I'm acting like a crazy person, shutting down, and ignoring our financial situation.

I guess this grand adventure is considered a journey for a reason. I don't just get to say "I'm going to get out of debt" and then BE out of debt. nope. I have to travel the course. I'm not fond of this pit stop. I want to be racing along. These slow going road block areas are yucky.

If you all don't mind I think I shall attempt to use you (my devoted readers) in order to throw a little fuel upon the dwindling fire. This week with you all holding me accountable (in no other way than me imagining you reading my posts) I shall:

1.) Compile a budget
2.) Stick to the budget
3.) Blog about said budget
4.) Get a tiny bit out of debt and be financially responsible like a big girl, like a good mom

okay.

Ah, yet another list that I hope shall do me some good.


Still Here, really

Oh my gosh it's been almost ONE MONTH since I blogged. That's probably a very bad sign. Where in the world is 2012 going???

Update on baby Abe: He's AMAZING, doing great, growing like crazy! Oh man I love him!!!


Being a mom is probably thee absolute best thing EVER but I'm learning slowly, rarely catching my breath, struggling hardcore with the finances, and so super thankful that I've got the happiest baby a mom could ask for and a husband who's head over heals in love with his son (which means he loves every single minute with him, even the poopy grouchy ones).

Shout out to becomingdebtfreeby2014 who's apparently reading through my entire blog. What a task, and how very flattering. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Marketing

Is the best of life passing you by because you haven't gotten a big screen high definition TV yet?
-television commercial
I fear my husband would answer "yes" to that question but OH MY GOODNESS! I heard the TV ask this question a few minutes ago and I felt so horribly saddened. The best of life... TV?!?! What's wrong with this picture?

 Marketing, whether it be TV commercials, bill boards, bright orange clearance stickers plants little seeds in our brains and makes us feel this manufactured void. "I NEED, NEED, NEED" because something told me so. Wowwzers we lead sad lives.

Honestly that commercial alone is making me want to throw out my TV (not to be replaced) and my computer and the husband's video games and move to a quaint cabin in the woods. Once again I tell myself/ remind myself/ combat the marketing, "I DON'T NEED ANYTHING MORE!" I already have enough.

May we all enjoy THE BEST OF LIFE today (no not your big screen TV): family, friends, beauty, fresh air, peacefulness, and love! Happy Saturday friends  : )

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Debt Quote Tuesday

If you live for having it all, what you have is never enough.
-Vicki Robin
The stores are littered with orange stickers right now. I can't walk two feet without seeing new clearance items. It's as if the magical retail fairy has enchanted everything, made it "affordable" and obtainable. All of the sudden I "need" everything imaginable and only because everything imaginable is on sale. Fooy!

If I buy something that I can't afford it's NOT a good deal! I present this challenge to my struggling self: please do not buy anything that's on clearance at least for the month of June. I don't really "need" anything more than the immense blessings that already fill my life. I have enough.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Still Keeping up with the Joneses

A friend and I were talking the other day about baby stuff and work and finances came up. It's interesting how we generally do not have any clue about the financial situations of those around us. We can guess and speculate and judge but for the most part we really don't know.

My friend was mentioning that her husband and herself are quite bad with money. They make a decent income but they don't pay any attention to what's coming in and what's going out (oh how I remember those days). It's hard for me to imagine it now... not knowing how much is going where, ever, yikes! They haven't started thinking about saving or retirement. I believe she said they have some debt they need to get rid of (geesh, who doesn't). Well she also mentioned that her sister and brother in law have always been in a bad way with money as well. They're both employed full time and both make over $20 an hour BUT they're loaded with debt, never have enough money, and have struggled over money for their entire marriage. (oh, and her sister is a financial adviser of sorts) Turns our my friends mom has always been really bad with money. My mom is bad with money. Several other relatives are bad with  money. The list goes on...

I mentioned that the main problem my husband and I had is that we always looked at money with a "we work, we should be able to spend" mentality. I think ALOT of people feel this way. There really isn't an I've taken in "this much" so now I can spend "this much" cause and effect reality in how we're all spending our money. I think the US government is the perfect reflection of how MANY in our society live their lives financially. "If I want it I should be able to have it!" Swipe.

It really doesn't matter what your income is if you're constantly spending blindly you're going to end up in the hole. I hate the hole! Oh, how I'm trying to get out of the hole. I think we'd all be surprised at how many others in our lives are living in their own holes right along side of ours.

The Joneses really are broke aren't they.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baby Steppin (or still crawling maybe)

I spent $10.34 today.

$17.81 over budget for the month so far now.

This week I hope hope hope to stick to the $12 a day budget. I hope hope hope to keep track of ALL spending EVERY day. and I hope hope hope to not lose my mind before Friday. 5 days of work, 2 days of home. It is worth it... it is worth it... it     is     worth     it. sigh.

Spending

Nine days into June and $19.47 over budget so far. Not horrible. Not great.

June 4: $8.04   (-6.81)
5: $5.59   (-.41)
6: $4.23   (+7.36)
7: $6.12   (+13.24)
8: $16.74   (+8.50)
9: $39.97   (-19.47)

I'd be a bit more on track if I'd paid closer attention to spending over the past few days. But alas I strayed into the old evil ways and just swiped away. KEEP TRACK OF SPENDING! SPEND CASH! Why is it so difficult to just stick to the plan?

I'm not to good at this whole adult thing. Wait, at least I'm better at it than our government. ah ha.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Roses

Today I stopped to smell the roses...

in the cooler at the supermarket.

I'm beyond in love with my baby boy but I feel like I've been moving a million miles an hour. Today I was feeling that I'm too busy to be a good mom even. I'm gone for around 10 hours a day for work (long commute) and when I get home I'm drained AND I have tons of stuff to do just to prep for the next day. It's madness. Saturday's and Sunday's at home with my boy are priceless but the rest of the week... blah.

I'm not complaining so much as prefacing that I struggle more with spending/ not spending money (especially on food) when I'm emotionally and physically run down like this. I know that it will only get better. I also know that I won't be working full time forever (I'm shooting for under two years) but at present, AHHH!

Anyway, I was walking past the flower cooler at work today and I thought to myself, "I haven't a clue when I last smelled a rose." I stopped for a moment and felt a bit foolish at my thought process. Who picks up roses at the store to simply smell and not even purchase? Me of course. I grabbed a gorgeous peach bunch of a dozen roses and inhaled deeply. They were lovely! I genuinely don't remember when I last smelled a rose. I know that I love the fragrance but it was so much more lovely than I even remember.

I guess I say all this because it was today's lovely moment for me and you don't need to spend money to reward yourself/ cheer up a bit/ embrace those moments of relief in the chaos.

Life is truly splendid!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Pizza

Spent almost double my budget yesterday, $23.39. I was almost just going to include $19.80 of that in my husbands spending for the week since he bought pizza for dinner last night. But that'd seriously be cheating since it was dinner for both of us. So I'm sucking it up and counting that darn (delicious) pizza in the $12 a day budget.

For the month of June I'm $10.77 over budget so far.

Oh, how I do love food... sigh.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Back to Basics

I kinda feel like I'm back at square one after the past 4 months of drastic life changes. So I'm going to try and start back at the beginning.

The Plan: Spend an average of $12 a day on food, household supplies, and gifts.


The Goal: Freedom!

On June 1st I spent $15.24 ($3.24 over budget). Yesterday I spent $8.14 which caught me back up with a 62 cent cushion. BUT the $8.14 was spent on ice cream. Let me tell you it was super delicious (two flurries). Mine was a drumstick flurry which is one of the best ice cream creations I've ever had. Needless to say we don't need flurries (ok, maybe I do... oh the battle). Not that it matters but I live in a beach town. We have an ice cream place every few blocks and like my coffee addiction I have a horrible ice cream problem. Just being honest.

Anyhow, I'm caught up with the $12 a day budget for June.

During this debt freedom endevour the three main things I've learned that are absolutely essential for me to stay on track with the budget are:
1. Spend Cash. I hate it but it really does keep you aware of your spending and helps limit the excess.
2. Balance the checkbook/ keep track of spending DAILY. Whenever I stray from this little task I STRAY.
3. Blog. Just the simple act of jotting down my spending and battles on the web helps so much to hold me accountable and keep me on track. You all, EVERY reader of this regular ranting have helped my family with the debt pay off we've managed thus far.
MANY THANKS TO YOU FRIENDS!

Things I Need Today

Hugs from the husband
Baby boy smiles
Puppy cuddles
To gaze upon the sky
Listen to bird songs
And inhale fresh outside air

Probably need water too

Nothing more.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Monster is Back

I've been fighting, really REALLY fighting urges to buy everything lately. I'm so mad that this little monster is back. Over the past two years I've done so good at caging the little beast. I actually thought it was gone. Nope.

Ever since I've been back to work (four weeks already) I've been fighting the consumer mentality. "Ooh, that outfit for baby boy would be soooo cute!.. ahh, we really need a new one of those (bed sheets, socks, pants, shoes, baby swaddler, additional random nonsense that we in NO WAY actually need)... goodness, that sale is so great I really should pick one of those up!" Seriously the monster is back!

As Dave Ramsey says, getting a good deal on something you don't actually need is in no way a good deal. I've learned that I really don't need much of anything (else). We've too much already and yet little monster is back yelling her ugly head off, "BUY IT!" For the most part I haven't been listening but it tears me down so much. I leave work (a supermarket) everyday with a long lovely list compiled over the past 8 hours of random items that I really feel we need/ could benefit from/ I'd love to purchase and bring home to meet my family. There's such a feeling of void while this list floats around in my head but my hands are empty. Again, I've been doing pretty good just leaving the list in the confines of my mind and not realizing it but the battle is agonizing.

I've noticed that even though I have been winning the initial battle the little monster is leaving me wiped out for my journey home. We've been eating takeout ALOT and spending a ridiculous amount of money on food stuffs. I think that I feel this small sense of accomplishment for not acquiring the items on the previously mentioned list, and yet I want to fill the void with something still and food is great for this. SO I don't spend money on stuff but then I sort of mend the wound and reward the accomplishment by spending money on calories. OH, THE BATTLE RAGES ON!

I'm weak. I'm tired. I'm finding myself rather regressed but I'm still determined to ditch this debt and come out on the other side a financially strong responsible woman and mommy!