Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Today's Huge Adventure

We just went to the store, little Abe and I!!! Do you know how long it's been since I was able to run to the store while my husband is working? It feels like forever and I am honestly on cloud 9 right now just because we were able to return bottles and pick up a few potatoes/ leave the house on our own. It felt like traveling, so much freedom, so much empowerment! It's been so long.
Here's our new Jeffrey car

Jeffrey is Here

We got the zippy little blue car yesterday. It's totally for real, totally ours, and we think it might be named Jeffrey. After the hours long ordeal of getting it checked out, signing on the loan, running to the bank for cash (a lot of cash, I feel like I just handed over my life savings to the former owners), getting to the Secretary of State in just enough time to totally anger the lady behind the desk but still get the title and plates taken care of, our three person little family went for a joy ride. It was only for about 15 minutes; I had to go to work still. I'm afraid that little Abe thought we were buying the car specifically for him. He, like most little guys do, really likes cars so I've been telling him for a few days that we were going to be getting a new one. He spent almost the entire 15 minute joy ride in the back seat almost crying saying over and over again, "ME, drive Jep-ffrey." We know he was asking to drive the car and that he was incredibly angered that my husband was at the wheel instead of him but we cannot figure out the "Jep-ffrey" part. Still, no clue. So, at least to me little blue car will forever be Jeffrey (or Jep-ffrey... that is more fun).

I didn't really hand over my life savings to the former owners but I did basically give them all of next months bill money. Now to figure out how to pay the bills for May. Hooray!!!

Photo of Jeffery coming in the morning.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

New Car?

Once upon a time my mother in law booked us a REALLY cheap trip to Ireland. I honestly thought it might be a scam. It was just just such a good deal. When we arrived at the airport I was sure they were going to tell us that we weren't booked on any of the flights. But we were and we began flying over there. When we arrived in Ireland I still thought it was too good to be true. When we walked up to the desk to get the rental car (part of the trip) my heart was pounding extra hard as I thought they might tell us we were stranded, "what car?" Nope. We got a cute little car for the 10 days. I really didn't believe the trip was real until we were checked into our first hotel. Call me crazy but life is just so expensive and generally complicated.

We're planning on buying a car on Monday. We are having to take out a loan for it but I've scraped together enough funds for this $4500 car that the loan will only be for $2500. When it's all said and done the "new" car is only going to cost us $80 more a month (that's $60 for the payment and $20 more to insure it than the van costs). It's a tiny little 2008 Hyundai that will get such great gas mileage I can hardly even comprehend the savings since the van honestly gets about 12 to 15 miles per gallon. The savings on gas might actually cancel out the loan payment.

We're purchasing the car from a very close friend of my mother in law. Actually, we spent our 10 days in Ireland with her and my mother in law. (I hadn't consciously thought of that when I began this post) One of the things I HATE about buying a used car is that you never know if someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Cars are so sketchy and it seems so easy to buy a junker that someone "fixed" up for the sale that won't hardly last. At least we know that the vehicle's owners are honest. They've been trying to sell it for sometime now. They're giving us a great deal because they just want it sold. On a car lot it would sell for about $7000. The "for sale by owner" retail is somewhere around $5700. We're paying $4500.

I'm not excited about a new loan. I'm not excited that the van has really seen it's last (we ended up taking it to a shop and they said there was over $3000 of repairs need just to make it safe to drive). But as it stands right now I don't think things could have come together much better than they have. It seems that we're getting a really great car for a really great price with not very much money being borrowed. I'm happy. Still, it seems too good to be true. I'll be reporting back on Monday after the loan is finalized, the title is signed over, and the car is sitting in our driveway. I'll also snap a photo of my new "beemer" for you all once it's really ours.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Happy Birthday Honey

My husband's birthday present this year
Those 3 newspapers that I purchased for coupons have been coming in handy. One great thing about using newspaper for gift wrapping is that when your 2 year old paints all over it and adds a few of his favorite stickers the gift has so much personalized character. I think this is my favorite wrapping job I've ever done (it was a joint effort for sure between me and my son so I shouldn't take too much credit for it).

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Cheap Mom Here

Anything in this picture look familiar? 

Yes that is the bunny I put in his Easter basket last year and it's the same basket (the same one that I grew up with). I used the bunny as filler. My husband scolded me a little bit but I think I argued my case well enough. The kid has more stuffed animals then he knows what to do with already and he really likes that bunny. I figured he'd be happy to see it sitting in his basket (and come on he's 2/ I don't think he judged me).

I spent just under $15 on Easter fun for him. The basket consisted of an 88 cent "chalky bunny." That's how he says chocolate. He's been asking for a chalky bunny for a few weeks. Also in the basket: 99 cent sidewalk chalk, a 50 cent easter reese's egg, and a book (on sale for $5). He had his first ever egg hunt while at church that morning, an egg hunt in our livingroom when he woke up from his nap, and a fun lunch at his Grandpa's house. He got to spend time with his Aunt (who he adores) and his Grandma. It was such a great day and I spent hardly any money on it.

Actually funny story: My husband said that we needed to hide the basket so I stuck it behind the curtains. He found all the eggs scattered around our living room (two had hot wheels in them and the rest had some M&M's and goldfish crackers) and he noticed the basket behind the curtain last of all. The little guy ran over to the curtain and picked up the basket from underneath. Everything went flying so that he never actually saw his basket with its contents intact (like in the photo here). I don't even know if he realized the "re-gifted" bunny had been in it. He just picked through the pile of fun all over the floor from his find.

It's the little things that make life great, time with friends and family, fun traditions and new adventures!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Glorious Day

Today was by far the most beautiful and warm day we've seen in a very long time. To me it seems almost like nature is celebrating this holiday with us as well. Today on Easter Sunday I say, "Hallelujah for the Lord has risen!" It's truly a happy day.
Of course it'd be uncharacteristic of me to leave off a photo of my biggest blessing dressed in his Sunday best, consisting ENTIRELY of hand-me-downs. The hat was mine from high school. He was pretty insistent on wearing it. Happy Easter everyone!!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Just Another Day

Life can feel so overwhelming, you know just the ordinary little day to day.
But then there's happy puppies and giggling boys,
grass beginning to turn from brown to green in the yard,
flowers springing up from patches of black dirt,
buds appearing on the lilac bushes
big fat wriggly worms squiggling around in it all,
I mustn't forget the plethora of brilliant bird songs,
and fresh air.
Simple beautiful fresh air.

It's really not so bad.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Still dieting.
Still grouchy.
Still no "new" vehicle.
Lost 8 pounds though.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Little of This and a Little of That

Abe and I have been doing lots of yard work since the weather has turned around. Today we found tiny little white flowers. He seemed pretty impressed with our majestic find. I LOVE watching him learn and discover new things about this world. Hooray for SPRING!!!!
In other news I am trying with all my might (going on a few weeks now) to eat responsibly and spend responsibly. This may sound like an easy task to some of you but I still have to put so much energy into each of these accomplishments singularly that I'm awful at doing both together. I am a snacker, a sugar addict, and a wife who sees too little of her husband and finds immense comfort in a giant bowl of homemade mac'n'cheese or an enormous slice of chocolate cake (I could continue with a VERY long list at this point but I will refrain). I've always been able to spend responsibly OR eat responsibly but the weight of them together crushes me. I know, I'm a weakling. I'll be the first to admit it.

I'm happy to report that I'm doing pretty well at both these tasks but I've not been in the best of moods these past few weeks. I think that's why I've been seemingly absent from blogging. I hate blogging when I'm living under a little black rain cloud. The only respite I've found these past few weeks has been in getting outside and doing yard work with my boy. He's learning which bird is which, plane watching, kicking around a basketball and a dog toy, he's chased the dogs some, helped me rake and pick up randomness, and found so many little treasures (the above flowers today, squirrel treasures, bird feathers, cool sticks, ect;). This winter was BEAUTIFUL but I'm so so so so SOOOO happy that it is finally gone. I need sunshine and fresh air even if it's still a bit chilly here and there.

That's about it with me and mine. No new vehicle yet. Dead van still in the driveway. I'm not any more ready to tackle that challenge then I was last time I checked in and so: one step at a time. Today is yard work, spend time with Abe, clean up around the house, eat healthy, and go to work. Tomorrow will be what it is tomorrow.

Friday, April 4, 2014

April Stock Up Results

April Stock Up Money: $90
Dog food
Cat food
Toilet paper
Shampoo and Conditioner

I'm planning to spend $15 a day this year on everything I purchase. When I devised this plan at the end of last year I wasn't sure how close I'd be able to get to the goal. Right now I'm averaging around $17 day. That sounds kind of close but $2 a day adds up fast. I'd like to get below $17 a day this month. One of my new approaches this year is to take an average of $3 a day at the beginning of the month and stock up on some of my least favorite things that always seem to ruin my budget. Ideally I'll plan out gifts for the month from this money as well. After I've spent the stock up money that leaves an average of $12 a day for all additional spending (in theory).

This month I did not purchase a wide variety of items with the stock up money but I did get quite alot of shampoo and conditioner on a good sale with a coupon. I also purchased at least a month and a half worth of toilet paper on sale with a coupon.

As I mentioned in my last post I am not looking forward to April financially. As much as the one vehicle situation is a pain in the rear I do hope we end up putting off acquiring a new one until April is over. Have I mentioned that I HATE the process of buying a car? There's just too many other financial matters to deal with this month and I don't think I can handle even the thought of throwing a car purchase into the mix. Licence plate renewal, two birthdays, the quarterly trash and water bills... that's enough extra, just enough. Thank-you very much.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Numbers Are In

The below list is a simple summary of all our cash outflow for March minus my husband's spending (which includes his lunches and any spending strictly for himself; ie going to lunch with a friend, picking up beer for band practice (which he did not do this month), ect).

Home expenses $1071.66
Vehicle expenses $724.66
Utilities $358.33
Credit card payments $514.89
All spending $527.25

Each of these categories has several things inside of them. For example home expenses includes the mortgage payment (and escrow), and equity line. Vehicle expenses includes the car payment, gasoline, and car insurance. We almost spent less money this month than what was paid towards credit cards. Three months in a row I "almost" spent less than paid towards credit cards. I don't think April is going to be the magic month that will tip the scales though... ah, who knows.

April is for sure going to be a tough one. My husband's birthday is this month. We have not taken care of the dead vehicle situation yet. We have to renew the plates on the car this month (I'm always amazed at how much that costs). The water and trash payments are due this month. Those two are billed every three months. Yay for April right... At least it's looking like spring is finally here. My son and I have been spending LOTS of time in the yard the past few days and I'm feeling like a new woman. The fresh air and warmth and yard work (which, don't tell anyone, I LOVE doing) has me feeling happier than I remember ever being. This winter was brutal!
Average daily spending for March: $17.01

I'm sort of kicking myself. I was SO close to being under $17 a day this month. BUT I'm still happy I did not average $20 a day like February. And my daily average for the year went down a little bit too.

Average daily spending for 2014: $17.56