Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Numbers Are In

How is there only one day left in September? Wow!

I'm shooting for a no spend day and thus posting September's Numbers now. This month I had ten NO SPEND days. That's the most no spends I've gotten into a single month since March. The $10 a day challenge for ten days really brought my average down and kept my spending for the month on the low end. I am very happy with how this month turned out financially. Now my biggest challenge is going to be not having an enormous upswing for October. My spending usually goes up and down from month to month. Two low spending months in a row makes me a little nervous.

Our average daily spending for 2015 is $17.65 a day

Average daily spending for September: $14.98

September averages and spending categories:
$10.76 a day on Groceries. Total $323.25
44 cents a day on Toiletries. Total $12.99
86 cents a day on Food out. Total $25.52
$1.19 a day on Christmas. Total $35.83
15 cents a day on Gifts. Total $4.5313 cents a day on Cleaning. Total $3.99
21 cents a a day on Pets. Total $6.29
$1.24 a day on Stuff. Total $36.91

The average daily spending for food groceries for my family is still sticking around the $12 a day mark for the year. My average spending so far in 2015 on food groceries is $11.88 a day.

Jan. $11.36 a day groceries.
Feb. $11.53 a day groceries.
Mar. $12.83 a day groceries.
Apr. $12.56 a day groceries.
May $11.45 a day groceries.
June $13.71 a day groceries.
July $13.21 a day groceries.
August $9.83 a day groceries.
September $10.76 a day groceries.

September 2015 Total: $449.31
NO SPEND day 76    9.30
Groceries $23.03    9.29
A gift $2.39    9.29
NO SPEND day 75    9.28 
Groceries $10.10    9.27
NO SPEND day 74    9.26
Soap $10.40    9.25
Groceries $8.42    9.25
Groceries $11.73    9.24
NO SPEND day 73    9.23
NO SPEND day 72    9.22
Groceries $26.16    9.21
Cat littler $6.29    9.21
NO SPEND day 71    9.20
NO SPEND day 70    9.19
Groceries $37.10    9.18
Detergent $3.99    9.18
Groceries $15.01    9.17
Lunch $1.06    9.17
Lunch $16.20    9.16
Blue bird $2.14    9.15
Groceries $25.08    9.15
NO SPEND day 69    9.14
NO SPEND day 68    9.13
A new toothbrush for Abe $2.59    9.12
Coffee grounds $21.96    9.11
Groceries $35.33    9.11
Groceries $13.57    9.10
Christmas present $23.85    9.10
NO SPEND day 67    9.9
Groceries $14.96    9.8
Frozen drinks on our walk $8.26    9.7
Groceries $8.65    9.6
NO SPEND day 66    9.5
Groceries $30.70    9.4
Doggie joint medicine $16.83    9.4
Groceries $22.22    9.3
Compound bow $14.23    9.3
Christmas present $11.98    9.3
NO SPEND day 65    9.2
Groceries $19.23    9.1
New pan $16.68    9.1
Book $6    9.1

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day nine of $10 a day (for ten days)

One more day to go! I need to buy cat food and dog food pretty much first thing next month. I'm kind of excited to go grocery shopping for real and not just pick up four or five essential items that I need in order to make a few meals. But I'm really happy with how this $10 a day challenge turned out. 

I did not go into it with the cupboards and fridge all stocked up and still I was able to buy a few items here and there and get really creative with what we did have. One of the main things I changed these past nine days was eating considerably cheaper proteins and we had a few unintentional vegetarian days. We ate kind of a lot of eggs, I found that pork for $1.58 a pound which went a long way, and we had a few different meals with canned tuna fish. I am going to try harder from now on to incorporate more inexpensive and good sale proteins into my grocery trips. We really eat a lot of $3.99lb ground turkey which obviously shoots up my grocery bill.

I also did not buy any food while working and I did not eat out. Even though I never spend very much on food while working, not spending anything does bring down that daily average.

The $10 a day spending was not just essential food items. I did purchase cat litter, some pricey bar soap, a small gift for a friend, and I brought home two boxes of ice cream bars (totally a luxury food). I was still able to buy some essential to us food that is a bit more on the pricy side. Little Abe loves string cheese, which I purchased twice. I pretty regularly buy him organic yogurt (Stonyfield is our favorite) in the tubes, the kind they sell specifically for kids which I then freeze and he eats as popsicles. I try and find the yogurt tubes on sale but I did purchase one box (I'm pretty sure it was at full price) while doing this challenge.

All in all this challenge was yet another discipline exercise for me and I learned a few things from it. I'm planning for a no spend day tomorrow but I have $1.48 left in my budget so I'll probably get myself a treat while I'm at work tomorrow.

Spending rundown today: $23.03 on groceries and $2.39 on a small gift for a friend.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $1.48

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.65

Monday, September 28, 2015

Day eight of $10 a day (for ten days)

Pork stew is on the stove (for the second time; I didn't make it the other day when I was planning to).
Today I'd planned to buy butter, raisins, and cheese sticks and then ended up not getting anything.
I still haven't gotten any candy corn.
There are two days left in September. That's kind of crazy, right?
I'm sort of in love with one of the Christmas presents I've been working on. I suppose that could turn around and bite me though. If I love my gift more than the recipient, hm, not an ideal situation. It's totally not for me though. I am making it very specifically for my eight year old niece.
And that pretty much wraps up Monday.
Time for dinner.

Spending rundown today: $0, NO SPEND day 75 for the year.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $26.90

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.68

Fun on the beach

Yesterday around six o'clock the little guy and I headed to the beach for a Sunday evening stroll. We brought his football and my camera. The two of us spent an hour together walking on the beach, chasing the football, playing in sand, looking at tiny shells and feathers. There was a little bit of seagull chasing and lots of giggling. He insisted on making a "sand castle" in the middle of the beach with dry sand. I didn't have the heart to tell him that his pile of sand wasn't a castle. He was so proud of his sand pile.

We live really close to the beach but we don't head down there super often. There are usually a lot of people there and honestly the beach is not nearly as fun or memorable when it's covered in bodies. Yesterday was perfect! It was an overcast evening with just enough slit in the clouds for a beautiful pre-sunset glow. The cool (but not cold) breeze seemed to be keeping the people away. Or maybe people have just stopped visiting the beach since it's officially autumn now. The waves were small but the sound of them was just loud enough to carry away every stray thought and calm ones mind. The sounds of seagulls calling to each other on the beach (or yelling at each other; seagulls are very feisty birds) and waves breaking on the shore are some of the most calming sounds I've ever known. It was the perfect evening. 

This little dude kept telling me, "this is my best day ever." He's very easily entertained but it was really a perfectly wonderful evening. Truly the both of us are pretty easily pleased. A beautiful sky, the soothing sounds of nature, calm quite fresh air out of doors by the lake, and fun, good quality time spent together; THAT is the most perfect of free fun!

The sky was overcast most of the evening. No one here was able to see the beginning of the eclipse but the clouds broke just in time. Shortly before the moon turned red there wasn't a cloud to be seen. My husband was at work but little Abe and I watched the red eclipsed moon together. Even though he does not understand what he saw it was pretty special.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day seven of $10 a day (for ten days)

One of the Money Secrets of the Amish is to "Use it up, Wear it out, Make do, or Do without." If that's not a frugal principle then I don't know what is. Lorilee Cracker the author of the book points out that one of the aspects to this principle is "shopping your own home." I decided to do this while brainstorming Christmas crafts. I went upstairs (sort of a giant storage area for us right now) and brought down a ton of boxes full of things to get started with. I knew that I had a lot of fabric and different colored threads to work with but all the other treasures I found are still astonishing me.

My Christmas gifting ambitions are going through the roof now. I may need those of you who are praying folks to say a few for me. Out of the six nieces and nephews on my side I've decided what I want to make for four of them. I think I've come up with some pretty neat ideas BUT I'm not very good at following through with my lofty plans. As it stands right now I should only need to purchase one very small item for one of the four gifts. I have everything on hand otherwise. And ideally I will be able to get the one missing item from Jo-Ann with the remaining balance I have on a gift card from my birthday. Woohoo!

I think I also might need to purchase a Christmas presents and Christmas cards scheduling planner to keep on the ball... I'm totally joking about that BUT some serious organization, planning, and time management skills need to kick in here. EIGHTY NINE days till Christmas!

Spending rundown today: Milk, eggs, coffee filters, apples, and bagels: $10.10

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $26.90

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.75

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day six of $10 a day (for ten days)

The pork stew on Thursday turned out awesome. I decided I was going to make it again with the pork I have left but needed more onions and garlic. Yesterday while picking up the onions I learned that a 3lb bag of onions for $1.99 was buy one get one free this week. "Hm, what in the world will I do with 6lb's of onions?" I grabbed two bags and figured I could always give some away if need be.

When I got home I decided to look into making some sort of onion soup. We're not real big soup fans. (I do not lump a stew in with soups) Often times soups are high in sodium and my husband has been managing high blood pressure for years. He also gets debilitating migraines from MSG*. Broths and stocks either have loads of MSG added to them or mask a naturally occurring kind (which should not give him a migraine but he's ruled out eating any sort of stock or broth or anything made with one regardless).

Now onto my soup. I chopped up an onion, caramelized it in some oil and butter, then added two minced cloves of garlic. Once the garlic was cooked a bit I added some flour to the pot and made a rue. Then I added water, salt and pepper. A potato was quickly peeled, chopped and thrown in. I also added a small amount of balsamic vinegar. The whole concoction simmered for a half hour before I threw in a handful of frozen corn. And whalah, onion, potato and corn soup with no broth, stock, MSG, or seasoning packet thrown in and it turned out really well.

Baking and cooking has become quite the adventure for me. Between trying to cut food costs, having a garden during the past two summers, and delighting in the beautiful transformation of food as it cooks or bakes I'm learning to make so many things truly from scratch. When I began this debt payoff journey my husband and I ate out all the time. That seems so long ago that it's almost hard for me to remember living that way but eating out regularly was our way of life (our very expensive way of life). I love how much we've changed during this journey!!!

A huge bonus: when the pork stew was simmering away for two hours on Thursday my entire house smelled just like my Grandmother's kitchen in Indiana, the way I remember it smelling when I was a child. The aroma of the stew instantly transported me back to wonderful memories, very old but not forgotten wonderful memories. It was a delightful surprise to happen upon that fabulous aroma while making dinner in my very own kitchen so very many years later. My grandparents have been gone for a great deal of time and the smell of the stew was sort of like receiving a heavenly hug from the both of them.

Spending rundown today: $0, NO SPEND day 74 for the year. I did however purchase soap online, from my friend in Montana @Rock Creek Soaps yesterday. That adds $10.40 to my spending tally. Totally unnecessary purchase but I could not resist. Really, I couldn't. Plus, I'm very very pleasantly surprised at how far I'm stretching our food and how creative I've been getting with meals during these past six days. Other than milk and eggs I actually don't think I need to purchase anything tomorrow either.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $37

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.78

*MSG - mono sodium glutamate is a known trigger for migraines. My husband has dealt with very bad migraines most of his life. He used to get several a month. He slowly started to identify foods that he thought triggered them. When he learned about MSG as a likely trigger he also discovered that ALL of the foods he identified as triggers had MSG in them. That's when he totally cut MSG out of his diet and his migraines stopped. He gets one on occasion and it's always after he's eaten something new that he either wasn't able to read an ingredients list on (like at a small restaurant that can't find an ingredients listing) or the new food had something in it that masks MSG and on virtually every occasion he's second guessed if he should eat said food or not.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Day five of $10 a day (for ten days)

I put candy corn on my shopping list today. I was so excited. And then the store I was working in today only had the name brand/ didn't have the store brand. The name brand candy corn, on sale this week for $2.99 is at least twice the cost of the store brand. I couldn't do it. I can't tell you how long I stood there staring at the $2.99 package of little orange, yellow, and white triangle delights. I wore a look of absolute defeat on my face. I was looking forward to that purchase all morning. (yes, I have issues) The good news is that while in my miserable state of doing whats right (not getting the $2.99 candy corn) and feeling so let down (by not being able to get the cheaper candy corn) I resorted to another seasonal candy. I bought three boxes of candy canes on clearance after Christmas last year for around 15 cents a box. There are now four candy canes left out of those three boxes and while they don't evoke that same autumnal delight that the wonderfully addictive and sugar comma causing candy corn do, the peppermint goodness is still very enjoyable.

Spending rundown today: $8.42 on groceries.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $47.40

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.81

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Day four of $10 a day (for ten days)

Today was difficult, resolve wise. Thursday's are pay day. I'm coming off of two no spends in a row. It feels like we've been surviving on crumbs (we haven't but food is limited). I did NOT go into this little challenge all stocked up, on the contrary. I really wanted to spend, spend, spend today.

Instead I bought a few groceries and flour (one of the many things we're out of) after accidentally making brownies yesterday; I started to make chocolate chip cookies and only had half the flour I needed. I already mixed up the batter when I realized the flour was almost gone so I put all of the flour in, added about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, and put the batter in a small glass baking dish. We ended up with some pretty decent brownies instead of cookies.

Tonight we're going to eat some awesome pork stew (I haven't made it yet). I bought a pork loin for $1.58 a pound. Considering that we mostly eat ground chicken or ground turkey which I have a difficult time finding for under $3.69 a pound and we've eaten a lot of eggs over the past three days I'm super duper looking forward to this soon to be pork stew.

I'm went over budget today by $1.73 and I was already over by $2.45 so I'm getting a little ahead of myself for this challenge but the month is not over and my spending is definitely down. For now that's a win.

This little ten day challenge has really gotten me thinking. There have been so many things that I've refrained from buying already in these first four days. We've eaten some even cheaper than normal meals (like two days in a row of eggs and leftover mashed potatoes fried). Mostly because of comments I've gotten on other posts, there are times when I'm typing out these updates I feel like people are reading this and wondering why I'm torturing myself, or picturing me really struggling. We're not struggling. In the first place I could pay some of the remaining September bills a few days late and all would be well. I don't want to. In the second place challenges like this really do grow my resolve, help instill needed discipline in my life, and they open my eyes even more to realities that a lot of people face every single day, the reality of not having enough money for food. I'm not necessarily comfortable trying to buy $10 worth of groceries when my fridge is almost empty but more good then anything results from times like these.

Off to make some pork stew! (I've never made pork stew before. I'm just going to do the same thing I did with the goose, but I have potatoes to add this time)

Spending rundown today: $11.73 on groceries.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $55.82

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.84

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day three of $10 a day (for ten days) AND CHRISTMAS

Yes, Christmas. Ah, Christmas, tied for first for my favorite of all Holidays. I LOVE that it's not just a holiday but an entire season. I LOVE that it's a time to celebrate the most important and most special birthday of all time. I LOVE that it really is a time for giving and the simple fact that it's an entire season means many different wonderful gatherings with loved ones. Oh the music! Oh the decorations! Oh the snow. (I really like snow)

I know, Halloween isn't even here yet. Why am I writing about Christmas? Well I'm pretty sure that my strongest love language is gift giving. But gift giving at Christmas drives me batty, can get me a little depressed, overwhelms me beyond belief and as much as I love to give gifts I walk away from the wonderful Christmas season each year feeling that I did not hit the mark. Still, after all these years, after the frugal hurdles I've scaled, after the penny pinching tests I've passed I am never satisfied with my own Christmas time gift giving. No one else that I know is really frugal like me. I do not think they truly get me. It's a serious area of pressure for me. I have a big family and there just isn't money in the budget to give extravagant gifts to everyone, or anyone for that matter.

Last year I bought dollar store gifts for my nieces and nephews. The game that we played with them was really fun, there were a lot of smiles and laughter and they seemed to enjoy themselves a lot but I felt like a cheapskate. I did not buy gifts for my dad or his two kids (we don't see them very often but they ended up being at the family Christmas party and it was awkward not having gifts for them). My sister is one of the greatest people on the planet and I never feel she gets a sufficient gift from me. The year before last I tried to make neat crafty gifts involving cash and candy for my nieces and nephews. I think they were too young. Only one of them even seemed the least bit interested in the presents. Because my family is on the larger side I never even get gifts for any of my friends or co-workers. Seriously, gifting at Christmas is a huge area of let down for me. I have one living grand-parent. I send him a card but I don't think I've ever given any of my grand-parents a Christmas gift. That seems a very odd thing to even type. Nope, never have. That's weird. How did my mom and dad never encourage us to give presents to our grandparents? Okay, this is a strange later in life revelation I'm suddenly having.

I'm thinking about Christmas right now because I want to be mentally and giftedly prepared this year. I'm attempting at this very moment to scrap all the expectations I put on myself. Yes, I love gifting but perfection is NOT attainable. Repeat that 10 times. "Perfection is NOT attainable." I can't buy any of my nieces a pony. I can't buy my nephews those big kid cars that they can actually sit in and drive around. I'm not going to spend $80 or $50 or $30 on some awesome doll or toy or the latest hottest craze. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. (I haven't see the movie so the song is not stuck in my head now)

After having just read Money Secrets of the Amish I'm opting to go the Amish route this Christmas. I'm going to put a tremendous amount of thought into my gift giving, probably a tremendous amount of energy and effort and very little money. I'm going to try and gift homemade things that I love. And I'm not going to beat myself up about it not being enough, not being good enough, not being... perfect. Okay, this last part is probably the main reason I'm writing this post IN SEPTEMBER. I don't want to beat myself up about Christmas gifts this year. Why do I feel so much pressure about this?

Spending rundown today: $0, NO SPEND day 73 for the year.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $67.55

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.87

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Day two of $10 a day (for ten days)

I spent the first two hours of work talking myself out of candy corn. I saw the little candy gems in the back rooms at the stores about two weeks ago. They've been on the sales floor for at least a week already. This morning the autumn craving hit me. "I need candy corn!" I just kept thinking, "I'm already $2.45 ahead of where I should be, what's another $2?" Oh the struggles...

Spending rundown today: $0, NO SPEND day 72 for the year.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $67.55

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.87

The cause of most of man's unhappiness is sacrificing what he wants most for what he wants now
-Gordon B. Hinckley

Leftover Smorgasboard

This one's for you SAM! Over at A New Frame of Reference SAM just posted about using stuff up, not wasting food and getting creative with leftovers. During one fridge clean out not to long ago I was appalled at how much I threw out. So I've been in using up left over mode, again.

(sorry for the ugly photos) Today for lunch I made eggs and fried mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes were from dinner several days ago. There wasn't a lot left and I didn't really want old mashed potatoes as a side to our eggs but making little patties out of the mash and frying it up (probably added un-necessary calories but) gave them a subtle crunch/ crust and really revived the old dish. Sidenote: I make our mashed potatoes very thick, we like substance to our mashed potatoes. And I almost always boil carrots or sweet potato along with the regular spuds. This particular mash had carrots in it.
This was a very yummy hot lunch.
This evening I attempted to use up a rather brown banana (which I would virtually always make mini banana bread muffins with but our oven is on the fritz). I saw this banana, peanut butter, chocolate treat on pinterest and tried it out once before. VERY scrumptious! Okay, it's better with a not so overly ripe banana but this was still a nice treat this evening and that brown banana has now been eaten.

Melted chocolate chips on top of a mini peanut-butter-banana-sandwich

Another leftover favorite which I had just a day or two ago involves taco meat and mac noodles. I stumbled upon a homemade hamburger helper of sorts when I threw some taco meat into my cheesy noodles awhile back. I actually have a strong aversion to hamburger helper. I think my mom stocked our house with every variety of it and we ate a lot of it as kids. But homemade hamburger helper... that I can do!

To preface I make a very simple, very quick, very basic mac'n'cheese that both little Abe and I love. I just boil one cup of macaroni noodles, drain, and then put a little butter in the hot noodles, about 1/2 a tablespoon, or less. Once the hot noodles are coated in butter I throw in handful of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (a handful is somewhere between half and one cup of cheese). Mix together, cheese should completely melt and then eat. It's way too easy and way too cheesy and oh so good! Well I did this the other day but added about 1/2 cup of frozen corn to the boiling noodles once there was about three minutes left. If you do this, crank the heat up to high so you can bring the water back up to a boil quickly. Then I drained the noodles and corn together, put in the little bit of butter, stirred in the cheese and then added my left over taco meat. You can then add anything you like, sour cream, a little bit of sliced tomatoes, anything tacoy that floats your boat. This was far yummier than I'd imagined it would be. I might end up using old-ish taco meat this way on a regular basis now. 

I hate throwing away food. Finding yummy ways to re-purpose leftovers is the best way for me to keep the food in our tummies and out of the trash. Win, win, win this week!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Day one of $10 a day (for ten days)

Spending rundown today: $6.29 on cat litter. Yes I started the $10 a day challenge needing cat litter. I hadn't realized I needed it but alas it's a necessity. Today I bought off brand litter for the first time though in an effort to save some money. Here's hoping I don't regret purchasing the off brand. I spent $26.16 on food groceries. My goal was $30 for the shopping trip today and two no spend days following today. I went $2.45 over my goal so I better at least knock out the next two no spends.

Today was really hard. Honestly though, every time I present myself with a challenge things seem to get harder. I think it's my mind's way of telling me, "You don't like the pressure. Just quite before you even start." I desperately wanted to buy some candy while I was working. Necessity? Absolutely not. But it sure would have been nice. What's that? Did I just say I sucked at delayed gratification? Well, I didn't buy the candy.

I also really wanted to pick up a toy for my kid. Okay, that's completely off limits during this challenge but I kind of sort of hurt my back at work last week and was pretty out of commission this weekend. Which means the little guy asked me considerably more than once if I'd sit on the floor and play with him to which I told him each time that I couldn't. Ugh, a horrible weekend for me sitting around trying to give my back a rest, drinking copious amounts of water, and trying to do some stretches every hour or so. And I felt that I let him down too. One of his toys broke today and he asked me several times if I'd get him a new one. Oh goodness he does not need any new toys but boy oh boy did I want to pick something up for him.

I didn't get him a new toy. Normally that wouldn't even be on my radar but of course I just presented this challenge to myself, just told myself that the rest of the bills weren't going to get paid late this month, just decided I was all in and then, bam! Want. Want. Want. Well, so far so good, except for that $2.45 over my goal spending for today.

My budget for the month is $450.79 which leaves $67.55

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.87

Sunday, September 20, 2015

$10 a day for 10 days

I feel a challenge coming on!

I received "Money Secrets of the Amish" in the mail the other day and have read all but three chapters. The book has proved to be very interesting and much like the other book *my husband bought* recently, very encouraging. Reading through it has even further opened my eyes to how really very frugal I have become. I'm growing increasingly more and more proud of this title.

One very interesting fact surrounding this book: it was recommended to me by one of my very favorite fellow bloggers who happens to reside within the beautiful British aisles, almost 4000 miles from my hometown. The author of this book she recommended happens to reside not even 40 miles from my hometown. One of those "it's a small world" moments?

Not only has this book brought to light how very poorly I practice delayed gratification but it's helped remind me that many of my financial weak points are still the exact same weak points I started this journey with. Here goes, I always pay the credit cards on time because credit cards are scary and they will not only throw down bigger than average late fees but you also run the risk of them raising interest rates. Now, I DO NOT need interest rates going up on these darn cards. I am not good however at paying all the other bills on time. A $6 fee on the electric or a $8 fee on cable here and there, I can handle that (and I always pay before shut off/ we've never had a service disconnected). But in reality we're just throwing cash in the trash. I really do play the money juggle game weekly particularly due to another family member but I'm going to try considerably harder to work on that issue as well (without nagging; I have ideas).

This month, with the remaining ten days I would really like to pay the rest of the bills on time (and all bills there after). I would like to end the month in the black and I can do it. A part from the fact that I've become a very frugal gal this blog has also taught me that when I set my mind to something (and I really truly have to set my mind to it; just writing it on a piece of paper, typing it out, and hoping it happens is not the same thing) I will accomplish said something! One of the Money Secrets of the Amish is to always pay bills on time. That's darn good advice that I have not been following.

The other motivating factor for spending $10 a day for the next 10 days is my daily spending average. It's been consistently sticking around $18 a day (a few pennies over in fact). I've quite officially found out what my spending average is. It's $18 a day. I really want to end the year under that number, even if that's a measly penny under, $17.99 a day, I want to end under. But averaging $10 a day for the next 10 days will get me to $17.65 a day and if I can stick closer to that then I'll be a little bit happier with where we're at financially this year.

This is not going to be an easy challenge. I will have to really set my mind to it. Planning is essential but I have a goal: paying all the bills on time. And I have the determination. Plus challenges are good especially for someone who lacks the will power to execute delayed gratification. Teaching an old dog new tricks (almost daily now)! Here goes!

Spending rundown today: $0 NO SPEND day 71 for the year.

My budget for the month is $513.62  $450.79 which leaves $100

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.95

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I didn't end up back at the store. That makes today another NO SPEND in the books.
And a very uneventful day as well. Uneventful is fine by me.

Spending rundown today: $0 NO SPEND day 70 for the year.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $162.83

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.95


This year was my first attempt at beans. I chose a pole bean variety and plopped four beans in the ground next to my fence. Only one grew so I sewed two more beans. Something at one of them so I planted one more. In the ended three little plants began to grow next to the fence. These three plants seemed to take forever before they began actually climbing the fence. I wondered if we really would ever have actual beans on these plants. Before too long they took off and my fence AND the neighboring sunflower were covered in beans. Who knew a sunflower would make such a great bean pole? I love the way the plants look on the fence. I might plant more next year just for decoration :)

I've cut the head off the sunflower but I left the stalk and few leave in place for the beans.
See the stalk in there?

Turns out my husband and son aren't very big fans of beans. None the less I'm very proud of these green beauties. THIS is today's harvest alone. I'm planning on freezing most of these today.

Shooting for a no spend day here today, unless I run to the store to spend another $10 on the 10-items-for-$10-get-the-11th-item-free sale. There's a bottle of apple juice that normally costs over $2 and English muffins that normally cost around $3 in the sale. I'm having a hard time justifying not going back today to get a few more of these.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Stupid Marshmallow!

"If you're thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you are going to eat it," Mischel said. "The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place."
-excerpt from Money Secrets of the Amish
I've just had a light bulb moment. I virtually always eat the marshmallow. I'm ruined.

I received the other book *my husband bought* today. The third chapter is titled, "Don't eat the marshmallow: delayed gratification." In a study some four year olds were presented with a marshmallow. They were told they could eat it right then OR if they waited something like an hour they could have two marshmallows. Many chose instant gratification and ate the one marshmallow right then. Some chose to wait so they could get two. The ones who chose to wait didn't sit there staring at the marshmallow on the table but rather played hide and seek under the table or distracted themselves in other ways.

I am terrible, down right horrible with delayed gratification. My husband is even worse than I. Oh goodness how have we survived these past thirteen years living our adult lives together!?!? If I want to eat something I eat it now. It doesn't matter how nutritious it is or if I'm even hungry. If I want it I eat it. I have slowly trained myself to desire less and less things in terms of purchases but I have a VERY difficult time waiting if I do want to purchase something. Heck, sometimes I'll make a grocery plan for the week and even though, on a Friday evening I don't need to run to the store for another two days (when I will actually be at the store working) I'll run out regardless just because I can't wait to buy those groceries I have committed to paper. Sometimes I'll have a plan to do these chores or those, whatever, but if I want to watch a show or read a book or sit down at the computer instead, good riddance to you delayed gratification, those chores can wait I'm going to do the fun thing instead. Neither my husband nor myself hardly ever make it to the actual holiday or birthday before giving each other the gifts we've gotten for one another. I'm looking over my habits and lifestyle and realizing I am horrible in this regard.

The book talks about how delayed gratification is one of the money secrets of the Amish. They are very good at waiting for the bigger picture. Let's face it delayed gratification usually makes the thing you were waiting for better and often times, like getting the two marshmallows later as opposed to the one right now, the outcome of delayed gratification is bigger and better than what it's instant counter part would have been.

Oh, please tell me you can teach an old dog new tricks? (I know, I know that you can) I was not taught this as a child. When my parents split, at age ten, we kiddos began basically taking care of ourselves. This of course meant for the most part we ate what we wanted when we wanted, as long as it was in the fridge or cupboards. We did what we wanted when we wanted. Heck I was the only one in the family that ever cleaned anything and only to maintain my sanity. I never did homework, for school. Honestly almost never. Well, now that I've identified a HUGE area of myself that needs working on... oh boy, not something else. This is truly a root cause for many of my issues though. Oh that darn Marshmallow!

And now there's something else that I consciously need to work on with my little one. Honestly, since I was never taught it, I can look at my parenting style and delayed gratification is not something I instill in him often. Wow. Just wow.
Walter Mischel, the Standford professor of psychology in charge of the marshmallow experiment, was quoted in a 2009 New Yorker article: ""This is where your parents are important," he said. "Have they established rituals that force you to delay on a daily basis? Do they encourage you to wait? And do they make waiting worthwhile?" According to Mischel, even the most mundane routines of childhood - such as not snacking before dinner, or saving up your allowance, or holding out until Christmas morning - are really sly exercises in cognitive training: we're teaching ourselves how to think so that we can outsmart our desires."
-excerpt from Money Secrets of the Amish

Friday rambling and spending

Friday, Friday, oh glorious Friday! I am home from work for the day. My kiddo should be down for a nap soon and I will brew a nice hot cup of coffee for this momma. Then I'll work on compiling a weekend to-do list and read for a little while. I will probably catch up on a few your blogs as well. I have yet to read The Hawaii Plan's 40 week project or her update and I'm eager to get over there and read those posts.

I LOVE Friday evenings and Saturdays! I secretly even love weekend to-do lists. There's just so much wide open potential during the start of a weekend. Hot black coffee, here I come!

Spending rundown today: $3.99 on laundry detergent. We were in desperate need of laundry detergent. I should but I WILL NOT take a photo of the clothing covering half our basement floor right now. Yikes! $37.10 on groceries. I'm pretty sure that we have enough food and supplies for the next three days at least but there's a really good 10-items-for-$10-get-the-11th-item-free sale right now. I might run back to the store tomorrow to spend another $10. The only real problem with that plan is the tremendous possibility of adding two or three extra items to my cart and then going over budget. Darn sales, haha!

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $152.83

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.00

Here's the dirt cookie video I mentioned a few days ago just in case anyone wanted to watch it but didn't want to take the time to try and find it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Are You Wealthy?

I received "The Millionaire Next Door" in the mail today. (referenced in a post last week) Only 14 pages in, I am really enjoying the way the Authors explain their definition of wealthy. I also really like their definition of wealthy. Normally wealth is thought of in terms of material possession and the total sum of money you have in savings. They define it based rather on percentages. How much do you save compared with how much you earn?

Here's the fun formula you can use to find out if you are wealthy:
Take your age and multiply it by your before tax total yearly income, this would include income from investments. Then you divide that number by ten. The example, "a 41 year old makes $143,000 a year, and has investments that return another $12,000 a year. He would multiply 41x155000 and then divide by 10. This 41 year old SHOULD have a net worth of $635,500. That net worth would classify him as an "average accumulator of wealth." A greater net worth would classify him as a "prodigious accumulator of wealth," WEALTHY! And a smaller net worth would classify him as an "under accumulator of wealth."

You may ask, how can someone be considered wealthy if, for example he is only worth $460,000? After all, he's not a millionaire. Charles Bobbins is a forty-one-year-old fireman. His wife is a secretary. They have a combined annual income of $55,000. According to our research findings, Mr. Bobbins should have a net worth of approximately $225,000. But he is worth much more than others in his income/ age category. Mr. and Mrs. Bobbins have been able to accumulate an above average amount of net worth. Thus, they apparently know how to live on a fireman's and secretary's income an still save and invest a good bit. They likely have a low-consumption lifestyle. And given this lifestyle, Mr. Bobbins could sustain himself and his family for ten years without working. Within their income and age categories the Bobbinses are wealthy [at $460,000 net worth]. 
The Bobbinses are quite different from John J. Ashton, M.D., age fifty-six, who has an annual income of approximately $560,000. How much is Dr. Ashton worth? Is he wealthy? According to one definition, he is, since his net worth is $1.1 million. But he is not wealthy according to our other definition. Given his age and income, he should be worth more than $3 million. With his high-consumption lifestyle, how long do you think Dr. Ashton could sustain himself and his family if he were no longer employed? Perhaps for two, at most three, years.
-excerpt from The Millionaire Next Door

So maybe you don't have $1 million or $3 million in net worth (maybe you do), are you a prodigious accumulator, an average accumulator, or an under accumulator of wealth? Are you wealthy?

We are very much "under accumulators of wealth." We are in debt and our net worth is very low, although it has just recently rose from a negative amount. I read these past few pages in this book though and I have to be slightly impressed not only with the progress we've made in getting out of debt but the fact that I've learned to live such a very low consumption level lifestyle. We ARE on the right track! This is the exact sort of lifestyle that it takes to become wealthy; living within your means and saving a great deal along the way. It will take awhile to get there but we ARE on track! Yay!

Spending rundown today: $1.68 on lunch. $15.01 on groceries. 

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $203.92

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.00

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Living in the moments

Yesterday while at work I just kept thinking how much I needed a vacation. But not the tropical island sit on a beach somewhere or travel and have great adventures kind; I've just been craving time off. You know, to just do nothing; not cook, not clean, not take care of someone else (I live with two very needy boys). I've just been tired.

When I got home from work yesterday the two needy boys were both gone. Okay I LOVE my child. I'd rather bring him to any sort of outing or event with me then leave him with someone. Half the time I avoid any sort of venture that would exclude him. I'm just that crazy sort of mother that wants to be with her kid as much as possible. BUT arriving home to an empty house yesterday was the exact sort of "vacation" I'd been craving (this arriving home to them gone thing pretty much never happens). I had no idea how long they'd be gone but I could tell they'd left for a walk since the car was here. I chopped up some of our tomatoes, half an avocado, a clove or garlic and a little onion. Made a fresh bowl of guacamole out of the veggies (or is that mostly fruit?) and got a little bowl tortilla of chips. I sat on the couch with my snack and a book and I just read, in silence! No one wanted me to get up to get them juice. No one interrupted to ask me if I could put a load of his work shirts in the wash. The TV wasn't on in the back ground nor the lovely piano music that plays for two hours each day during little Abe's nap. Just a book, a snack (that I didn't have to share with anyone) and silence. Now that's a vacation!

Today offered an equally lovely moment. I took the country road home from work because there was a lane out on the highway due to construction. This particular highway is heavily traveled and often gets congested without the closed lane. I was not about to drive home in that mess. I hadn't thought however before deciding to take the country road how revitalizing and gorgeous my drive home would be. I drove past several small family farms. There were large tractors clearing fields. There were people tending tables in small road side produce stands. Country life is so inviting, in that these are hard working people who know what needs to be done, they do what needs to be done, and in my mind they live pretty rewarding lives. And despite all the hard work there's a beautiful simplicity that envelopes everything about the country/ those rural areas where farmers live.

I witnessed the first real signs of fall on the back roads drive home as well. I saw a flat trailer loaded up with pumpkins and gourds off all shapes, colors, and sizes. The leaves may not be quite ready to change their hues but a trailer set in front of a barn covered in pumpkins, well that's as autumn as any forest filled with colorful foliage may be. There were these lovely fields as well that were showing their fall colors. The green plants that fill these acres and acres of fields are now a gorgeous yellow with only green at their base. (I have no idea what plant this is but may have to look into it now just for curiosities sake) These yellow fields, surrounded by long grass (I love the long grass of late spring and fall. It seems the road side grassy areas are really only mowed once or twice in the summer allowing for that extra long grass to be all around in the late spring and fall time. I love the way the extra long grass with seed pockets at it's tips dances in the wind and gentle breezes and how the seed pockets sparkle in the sunshine), and lush green trees as far as the eye can see, harvest set alongside back country roads and the occasional pumpkin display made for the most wonderful drive home today.

I may not have any sort of vacation slated anytime in the relatively near future but these moments in time that offer up so much pure simple beauty and loveliness sure do wonders at filling my cup back up. Ahh, my cup overfloweth!

Spending rundown today: $4.78 on lunch for me. $11.42 on lunch for my boys. Yeah today was a bust financially BUT I'm still very reasonably within budget so I'll let this one slide. I really REALLY need to plan out a very strategic shopping trip for tomorrow though. I bought some groceries yesterday but our food situation is in poor shape right now.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $219.99

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.01

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Debt Quote Tuesday

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
- George Bernard Shaw
Definition: Liberty - freedom from control, interference, obligation, restriction, hampering conditions, from captivity, confinement, etc.; power or right of doing, thinking, speaking, etc., according to choice.

The Bible says that "the borrower is slave to the lender." I read these words very literally. One has forfeited many of his or her liberties once they have borrowed money from another. I am not free to do what I wish with the money I make because I owe it to another. I am held captive from places I may wish to go or plans I may wish to make for financial reasons, financial reasons that would not be an issue if I owed no one.

We've dug our own hole. I will be the first to admit to that. I'm working on getting us out no matter how long it takes. In the mean time this statement rings truer than true, "liberty means responsibility." We were not responsible with our finances at first, for years. Responsibility is living within your means. Responsibility is paying the bills first. Responsibility is working to increase your income if you're unable to live off of what you make. Responsibility is hard work but it enables liberty.
Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all the days of your life.
- Bob Marley

Spending rundown today: $25.08 on groceries. $2.14 on a yard ornament/ little blue bird for my sister and mom's yard. I left it there on may way home from work. It was deeply clearanced out and for some reason I felt I needed to buy it and put it in their front flower bed today.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $236.19

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.02

Monday, September 14, 2015

Dirt Cookies

It feels like we're out of virtually everything in our house: butter, sugar, eggs, meat (other than two cans of tuna), laundry detergent, almost out of flour; the list goes on. As much as I should have bought groceries today I just didn't want to. I had this urge to make it "just one more day" on what we've got. I hate that feeling that we're out of virtually everything. In reality yes, I need to stock back up but keeping things in perceptive our "needs" are so much greater than the needs of so many other people.

I watched a video online yesterday about women in Haiti who buy bags of dirt to turn into dirt cookies, they look a bit like thick dirt tortillas, which they sell to make money. The very poor who have no food can usually afford these dirt cookies to fill their stomachs with because, well they are made out of dirt. They don't cost very much. I could hardly believe it, "they really eat dirt cookies?" I messaged a friend of mine who is a missionary in Haiti and asked if it was really true. Sorry, but you can pretty safely call me a skeptic. I question A LOT of what I hear, see, read. She said that it is true though. They really do make, sell, and eat dirt cookies in certain very impoverished communities in Haiti.

I really just didn't want to buy groceries today.

Spending rundown today: $0 NO SPEND day 69 for the year.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $263.41

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.98

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A day sacrificed to poor detective skills

Up and down day here but it was a NO SPEND and we got a free dinner. I suppose I should be on cloud nine. I had very well intentioned plans to clean my house today but I sat down to do some ancestry research on my hubby's side of the family and then all of the sudden the morning was gone. Little Abe was playing with his new toy puppies all morning. Apart from finding two newspaper articles and a businesses listing from the early 1900's that allowed me to learn that my husband's grandpa owned a small grocery store in our town and where the grocery store was located and that the grocery store had their own basketball team that played other area business basketball teams I found very little with my morning's worth of research. Kind of neat info though considering that my husband is a manager at a grocery store.

On the way to a family gathering for my husband's side I told him that I learned his grandpa owned a grocery store and he was like, "yeah, I know." Ugh! Thirteen years we've been married. I jotted down some family info so that I could ask his uncle some questions at the family gathering because in all honesty my husband knows virtually nothing about his family history and I'd at least like to know for my son's sake. His uncle really didn't know anything either. He didn't even know how many kids his aunts and uncles had or what any of their names might be. He couldn't even remember the name of one of his uncles. Is it odd that I think people should know these things?

Now Monday is drawing ever closer. Sunday is coming to a close. A new work week will be starting and I kind of feel like today vanished in the blink of an eye. Cheer up Charlie!

The man in the back row on the left is my husband's Paternal grandpa. My husband never got to meet him as he died at a pretty young age. I read in the news articles today that the grocery store he owned with the family name was sold after he passed. He left a widow and five children, three of which she had adopted because his first wife died very young leaving him with three children. I imagine his widow must have sold the store to pay the bills and such. Those are his brothers and sisters in the back. Although I'm told he has another brother not pictured. I don't know which sibling is which but I was able to find out names from The people in front are my husband's great grandpa and great grandma. I also found out their names online. My husband had no idea what their names were. Come on people! Know your family history already. I propose we re-institute the enormous family Bibles where we keep track of everyone in the family for generations. Anyone know where I might get a new one of those so at least my son can have a huge book with all these names in it that I've been researching for the past several years?

Okay, maybe I'll go try and clean something now.

Spending rundown today: $0 NO SPEND day 68 for the year.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $263.41

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.05

Another Splendid Saturday

As you all know we picked our watermelon from the garden yesterday. That was certainly a highlight. Before that however we visited a friend of mine. I've never been to her house before, this is the first we've been invited over. I've been wanting to see it for years since she's mentioned how she lives in a log cabin in the woods. She had us over for cake to "celebrate" her having been at work for 40 years. She works in one of the stores I service and although she doesn't consider it any sort of accomplishment to have worked in the store for 40 years little Abe and I were more than happy to share her cake with her.

A morning spent with cake and coffee, with a dear friend in an absolutely gorgeous log cabin in the woods... need I say more? My little guy was on his very best behavior and pulled out some pretty cute conversations and observations. I was so proud. She had some small dog toys that she brought out for him to play with. They belonged to her daughter who is away at college now. You already know how my little Abe LOVES little dog and cat toys. My friend told him that he could bring the dogs home with him if he promised to give them a good home. (a little bit of a toy story 3 moment there) He was thrilled!!! If you hadn't already figured it, yes he played with his new pets ALL day. He didn't even take a nap (that is NOT normal for my child (maybe it had something to do with cake in the morning)).

We decided in the evening that we ought to make a card for her to say thank-you for these special new puppies and for a lovely morning. My goodness three year olds are fun. I drew a few quick sketches of his new dogs and he colored them in (sort of (coloring is not his favorite thing)). Then he cut each doggie out and glued it onto the card. He told me what to write inside which I get a kick out of because I write it exactly as he says and reading it back is always super cute. We'll put it in the mailbox tomorrow. I wish every single day could be Saturday. No matter how frustrating a week might be the two of us always seem to find a lot of special fun and happiness on Saturday.

Spending rundown yesterday and Friday: $2.59 on a new toothbrush for little Abe. $35.33 for groceries, the bare essentials really. $21.96 for another stock up on coffee grounds, which are groceries but I wanted to note that I bought four packages of coffee grounds. Each bag was $1.50 off. With four bags that's a $6 saving on coffee. Running out and buying coffee that's not on sale is my norm so I will continue to stock up when a decent sale hits.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $263.41

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.05

Saturday, September 12, 2015


One watermelon to be exact.

Today is pretty cold. It's supposed to get really cold tonight and stay that way for awhile. From everything I've heard watermelon are a fan of  hot weather. I wasn't convinced that our little fellow was totally ripe, I however couldn't wait any longer and the cold snap was the last straw.

Even though I planted two seeds, technically put down one bag of dirt (which was intended for the carrots I'd originally planted in the ground but that the rabbits ate), grew two plants and only got one watermelon I'd totally do it all over again. Seeing this beautiful fruit grow in our very own backyard from that one little seed, well as I've said several times before, it's just miraculous/ awe inspiring. This little fellow, our first ever watermelon that we grew, as I'm sure you can imagine was the sweetest, juiciest, most delicious watermelon I've ever had the privilege to enjoy. 

Gardening is SUCH fun!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Men are from Mars Women are from Venus

So it's no secret that in our home my husband is the spender and I am the, hmm, would be saver if we had extra to save. My husband put in a vacation day for last week so he worked 5 days but got paid for 6. Mistakenly, he told me that he'd done this so I worked it into the budget. "Worked it into the budget" means moved payments around so that everything would be getting paid on time (as opposed to two things I was going to be paying late) and sort of covered some of his back spending (dinner out with friends and a few CD's he recently purchased) with the extra income. I always do this. I literally look over and sometimes re-work the budget every single day.

We don't fight about money any more, hardly ever anyway. At the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision that yes we are married and this is a union but he is his own person and our marriage isn't worth ruining over constant battling about the budget. Money will never be that important to me. I have stuck to my decision and hardly pester or even question him about, in my mind, nonsense over spending. And in truth I think he's done better with his purchasing decisions this year then ever before. (it's worth noting, again, that this is our highest ever debt payoff year)

When he told me yesterday what he planned to purchase with the extra money from the vacation day I should have seen it coming but I hadn't. I told him that I'd already worked it into the budget and he could tell I was extremely frustrated. He said something like, "Why do you do that? When there's extra just leave it alone." He said something about how I "could have all the extra money" from the upcoming holiday pay. Then I got mad and I might have yelled at him when I said, "You mean to pay bills! You know I never buy ANYTHING for myself right?!?! Nothing! EVER!"

So here's where it gets kind of funny and the only reason I even bothered to type any of this out, I really try to keep him out of this blog. Every time I mention him I get well intentioned comments from readers about how he needs to grow up and things along that line. I don't need to hear things like that. He is my husband and he sucks with money but he is a good man. Well, I had three books sitting in my shopping cart on Amazon. I hadn't intended to purchase any of them anytime soon (and probably would have gotten them from the library). They were all used, pretty cheap books but each had several dollars shipping costs so they came out to about $6 each. I put them in the shopping cart online so that I didn't forget that I wanted them.

After our argument I went to work and he went to Amazon and purchased the three books. Then when I got home he told me that he wasn't going to buy the thing he'd planned to buy (it wasn't exactly a cheap item) and that he'd gotten the books for me that were in the cart. I never told him that he couldn't or not to buy what he wanted. And now I will be getting two books about MONEY and frugality and a children's book for little Abe about bravery. I don't think he knows that he just bought two books about spending less for me. That's funny right? What an incredibly odd form of an apology to your wife when fighting about spending too much money. I hope this little story made some of you giggle. I keep laughing to myself about it.

Just as a man is fulfilled through working out the intricate details of solving a problem, a woman is fulfilled through talking about the details of her problems.
- John N. Gray
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gloomy Here Today

Forewarning, the title is an indication as to the content of this post.

Thursdays are so tiring for me. It's my longer day at work and just so tiring. On the way to my second store there was a long line of stopped traffic because a mother was trying to get her very small child to enter a school bus and the adorable little blonde boy adamantly refused. His feet were dug firmly into the ground beside the giant yellow vehicle and I believe he was crying. The bus had it's flashing red lights on (as is law) and it was pulled to the side of a very busy street. The line of cars just kept getting longer and longer in both directions. The bus attendant had to come out of the bus and basically drag the small boy on to the bus. I was a little ways down the line of cars but I could tell that the mom's heart was just breaking. I couldn't even imagine. He must have been getting picked up for preschool because unless he's a very tiny five year old he looked to be only three or four. Oh the whole scene made my second store drag on. I wanted to get home to snuggle my little one.

To add to the heart wrenching moment it's rather gloomy out today and for some reason my mind keeps going to the thoughts of September 11th, tomorrow. When we all watched the towers fall this country felt a terror like we've never felt in our entire history, with the exception of Pearl Harbor. I can't help but think how long ago that was and how much it changed us. It's seems so far away from us now (except for those who lost loved ones and lived through it, I imagine to them it seems like it was yesterday) and yet these same terrorists with the exact same drive, the exact same motives and doctrine are shaking up the world in places that don't touch our lives. I don't know, I'm feeling very somber today. I can't help but think of all the children that are being tortured and murdered by these evil heartless people. I can't understand nor will I ever understand the evil that can harm a child or really anyone for that matter but there's just so much innocence in a child that I cannot fathom.

I think I might need to go wake my sleeping kiddo up shortly. He really did not want me to leave for work this morning, he wanted to snuggle just a little longer. Maybe a shorter nap today wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Spending rundown today: $13.57 on groceries. $23.85 on a Christmas present.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $323.29

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.03
Darn that blasted $18! It was the Christmas gift though.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NO SPEND day 67 and Goose Stew

This morning before work while still sitting in my car for who knows what reason I figured out exactly how long it should reasonably take to pay off the credit card debt. I was planning a no spend day for today but I also left the house without any food or water and I knew today would be a longer work day so that was foolish. After I finished up at my first store (I had to work two stores today because of the holiday Monday) I was VERY hungry. My stomach was growling and I was experiencing some lovely hunger pains. I said to my hungry stomach, "NO, I am not spending money today. Quite down you." My resolve was abnormally high but then I had the greatest thought. Just so happens that my sisters house is smack dab in between the two stores I worked at today. Yep, I drove myself over there and snatched an ice cream sandwich from her freezer. Not the healthiest lunch but it quieted down my stomach (and was yummy).

Last night at the recommendation left in the comments on my last goose post I made goose stew. Thank-you Marcelle for the GREAT idea and for the recipes!!! I strayed hardily from the stew recipe because I wanted to make it on the stove and I also didn't have several ingredients on hand but didn't want to run to the store. Even so the stew turned out SO good and the meat was incredibly tender. I used a little chicken stock and then made my own goose stock out of the silver skin I cut from the two remaining pieces of meat. I actually had some carrots left in the fridge from our garden and they all went into the stew (along with a whole onion and two large cloves of garlic). I added fresh beans from the garden and some frozen corn at the end. I made dumplings for my stew (instead of baking biscuits or something like that). I absolutely love dumplings. Today when I got home from work I had wonderful wild goose stew with dumplings to look forward to. Do you know how wonderful homemade goose stew is after having eaten an ice cream sandwich, four mini muffins, and one cup of coffee all day? PERFECTION!

Spending rundown today: $0, NO SPEND day 67 for the year.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $360.71

Average daily spending for 2015: $17.95

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Debt Quote Tuesday May 17, 2011

After the $10,000 payoff announcement the other day I thought today would be the perfect time to revisit my very first Debt Quote Tuesday post. 

Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
-James 3:5
I haven't much left in the budget this week but I'm not going to get discouraged about it. There have been a few days during these past couple weeks when I've considered my lack of discipline, I've looked at the plans and plans and more plans spread way out into the future which I've made in hopes of tackling this debt and I've been nothing but discouraged. Sometimes it just looks to big, the overall process. Sometimes I begin to lose momentum and I just want to go back to the old ways, to charge and spend and live it up right NOW. 
I think I'm slowly working away from those negative moments of discouragement and doubt though. I'm learning that I cannot hold the weight of one or two bad decisions or financial slip ups over my head. When I screw up I have to let it go and move on. I heard the above verse spoken today and I thought about this financial struggle. I can only do this thing if I keep the fire inside burning. When the flame starts to die down the struggle and toil and journey become to difficult to handle. I'm relying on a small spark to burn a mighty forest and I cannot keep beating myself up and risking extinguishing the flame.

I'm REALLY thankful for this blog. Having to face the music everyday is really keeping me and my spending in check. Constantly re-evaluating where the money is going and what wasteful habits we have is seriously helping me change for the better. I love that people are following along with me on my journey. I love that (slowly but surely) I am climbing out of the hole and even though some days all I can do is stop and cling to the steep crumbling dirt lining the walls of my pit and simply catch my breath and look at the bright sky up above past the opening, I am getting there. I am getting out. I am on my way to freedom. The fire burns brighter!
Since this post, over four years ago I've slowly but surely made my way considerably further up the debt hole. The sky above is seemingly getting brighter and certainly getting closer. Thank-you to every one of you who has come along for the journey. Every comment, every stop by, every one of you who visits regularly or stops by occasionally has helped me to keep the flame going. Thank-you all!

Spending rundown today: I had a small list of things I needed to pick up today on the way out of work: milk, dish soap, eggs, chocolate chips. I kept adding things to the list while I was working at the store. When it was time to leave I told myself "I do not want to spend more than $15 today." I started getting groceries, adding things up as I went. I went over $15 but couldn't figure out what to put back so I didn't. "Gah, plan ruined." When I got to the check out I realized I had a $2 off coupon in my wallet. The total came to $16.96 but the $2 off coupon brought it down to $14.96. I managed to meet my goal/ stick to the plan by default. Oh, I will take that victory any day!

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $360.71

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.03

Monday, September 7, 2015

Spending rundown today: $8.26 on two frozen drinks while our little trio went for a very nice long but sweaty walk. I think I'll spend the rest of today reading. I was going to run to the store but we're not in dire need of anything... the eggs and chocolate chips can wait till tomorrow.

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $375.67

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.04

Sunday, September 6, 2015


We've never paid off $10,000 worth of debt in a single year before. My husband and I started our lives together in 2002. For the next SEVEN years we treated credit cards like free money and we had GOOD credit so we got A LOT of free money. 2010 was the first year of our lives that the debt started to go down. I guess you could say I grew up in 2010. I was on a mission in 2010 to not buy ANYTHING except for food. I paid off $6943 in 2010.

Our highest debt payoff year was in 2011 when I started this blog. We paid off $9167 in 2011. I was still working full time then. Little Abe was just a twinkle in my eye (until later in the year when he made his surprise debut in my tummy). My husband was even less on board with the debt payoff dream then, then he is now (he's come a long way). We were learning to kick a horrible eating out habit. I was learning to kick a horrible drive thru coffee habit (Starbucks). 2011 was A LOT of growing and a lot of work!

We went further into debt in 2012 (upon welcoming the little one into the world/ unpaid maternity leave and hospital bills).
2013 sort of just made up for 2012 with a little extra paid.
I'm not sure what happened in 2014 but our debt didn't really go anywhere, we did buy a newer car and I hurt my back quite badly and spent A LOT of money at the chiropractor.

This year as of right now, September 6th with three months left we have paid off over $10,000 in total debt. I type that fully realizing that this is the very first time in my life I can say that. Our total debt is now under $120,000 (every penny we owe to anyone for anything). Many of you have been reading along and watch all my spending posts, all the "Numbers are in" posts, and see me constantly going back and forth on if I should buy this, when I should budget that in, and darn it I need dog food again. This year has felt REALLY tight financially but for this very moment it's all been worth it. We did it. We hit a milestone and as much as I'm a little in shock half in denial that we really did it I am happy. $10,000 of total debt pay off in nine months... yep, we did it!!! To put that into perspective (because I've seen other people pay that much off in just two months time) we're on track to having every single penny of my entire income for the year going to debt payoff. In other words, we are actually living off of one income. I like the way that sounds.


Spending rundown today: $8.65 on milk, juice, & hot sauce (essential for hubby).

My budget for the month is $513.62 which leaves $383.93

Average daily spending for 2015: $18.08