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the light is getting brighter

June 26th, 2011 at 05:42 am

Sometimes it's not what you know, but also who you know.

DH has a new job - one that is a M-F position, pays more, has a car allowance and gas compensation program. No more heavy lifting, no more 13 hour days, no more working weekends. We are both so happy. I want to put an exclamation point after that, but my shift keys won't work....

My initial estimate says we'll be able to start saving about 750 a month, give or take. I'm thrilled about that, because life is constantly getting in the way of our savings efforts. Our first goal is to fix our garage which is falling in. That will cost just over 1,000; we have a trustworthy friend doing the work. This will include a dumpster, wood and paying him for labor. We will have that completed before the end of the summer. Next savings project will be for our new roof. I'm estimating 10k, so we'll start saving that much before we get quotes.

I am so happy to know that we can actually start tackling the projects that need to be done, rather than just dream about them in the future. This is a whole new chapter in our lives open. We are truly blessed.

Can someone explain to me....

June 5th, 2011 at 02:20 pm

What is involved in the $20 challenge? I see so many bloggers here reference it, and I have no clue what it takes to participate!

Can someone shed the light on this for me? Smile

Where has the time gone?

June 5th, 2011 at 02:13 pm

I haven't posted in AGES! I've been busy, which is good. Here is a typical week in a nutshell:

M - F I have my full time job from 8 to 4.

Monday nights I work on my part-time sales gig. Tuesday nights I teach sewing to a 9 year old. Wednesday I baby sit (well, we hang out and have fun) a different 9 year old. Thursday night is me and hubby time (either bowling, date night or something for just he and I). Friday night, Saturday and Sunday all vary from week to week. Could be working, could be playing, more than likely I'm getting some housework done.

I spent this past weekend weeding, mulching and sprucing up the yard. I was working last weekend (Memorial weekend) and it was so darn hot. The temperature this weekend is such nicer. I'm glad I didn't overwork myself last week like every other weekend warrior out there!

Had to buy a car sooner than we had anticipated. We ended up buying new. I have a 2011 Kia Soul - the warranty, price and mpg sold us on it. Once I test drove it, I was definitely sold. We were able to knock the price down $3,000 - so we only paid $15,000 for it. Knowing our credit still isn't stellar from the bankruptcy, I was able to take a loan out from my 401K at work. 4.25% interest, and the money comes right out of my check. I know I'm not retiring in the foreseable future, so we felt comfortable doing it that way. All in all, we felt confident we did the right thing considering our situation.

I'm considering a yard sale 2 weekends from now. Our garage is not structurally sound - and we have a whole lot of junk in it. DH wants to get a dumpster and throw it all out before it crashes in, but I'm going to see if we can sell some of it. He doesn't think that a yard sale is worthwhile. Then again, he doesn't like to spend his day outside either. I don't mind it. I'll do some yard work and/or visit with the customers.

Our furnace has been uncooperative with us and I have someone coming to look at it tomorrow morning. We heat our water and heat through it - and for some reason the heat just keeps coming on! The temporary fix has been to flip the emergency switch on and off when we need hot water for a shower or to do the dishes, but that's worn thin and we think we should be able to fix it. And if not, we'll at least know what the cost will be and will get it fixed when we can afford it.

DH has been looking at other employment opportunities. The job he has now is really tough on his body. He aches from head to toe every day. I dream of winning the lottery so he doesn't have to work at all anymore, but no such luck. I'm too cheap to buy a ticket!

I hope to write again sooner rather than later. I don't like that I don't check in very often!

March resolution update

April 15th, 2011 at 01:22 pm

Wow - I've been busy. I better update March before April is over!

1. Hold a yard sale. I'll tackle this one in May/June.

2. Continue to eat clean. Doing quite well with this.

3. Do something new each month. Although I met a goal as something new last month, I am saying I did it again. This time it was a sales goal. I had doubts (at first) and then decided to go for it, and I did it! I also tried brussel sprouts for the first time. Not a fan. Smile

4. Pay off parent loan 2. In progress.

5. Save up for and get a new roof. Not for a while. Still working on the emergency fund.

6. Complete a marathon each month. I ended up walking over 50 miles in March. I decided to change my fitness goals since then, however. I will be going to the gym a few mornings a week (we have one where I work) and will be working on completing the P90X series (once I get my DVDs back!).

7. Fully fund the emergency fund. In progress!

8. Finish up the taxes from the business and get the rest of the paperwork and boxes into the storage area and out of the office. I did complete our taxes, but haven't begun the business ones.

9. Spend more time with my friends and family. Although life was hectic, I was able to spend some phone time with family, and went to dinner with friends.

10. Be happy. It's spring! How can I not be happy? Smile

February Resolution update

February 26th, 2011 at 02:42 pm

1. Hold a yard sale. I'll tackle this one in May/June.

2. Continue to eat clean. Easy peasy. Actually did what is called a "cooler one" and lost 5.5 pounds and can fit in some of my clothes that are a size smaller. Smile That always feels good!

3. Do something new each month. I went to my first same-sex wedding; I started teaching a 10 year old how to sew (that's fun!); and I met another goal (See number 6).

4. Pay off parent loan 2. Parent 2 is on vacation, so I won't send the money until they are back home. So no progress this month, but I hope to send a double payment next month.

5. Save up for and get a new roof. Not for a while. Still working on the emergency fund.

6. Complete a marathon each month. As of this moment, not done, but I will be walking tonight, tomorrow and Monday. I consider this goal met! This feels good. I've always struggled with meeting goals, so this is a real triumph for me!

7. Fully fund the emergency fund. Car repairs, vet visit - they've both been factors delaying the progress. However, we paid cash for all of those, which is very different from the past. In fact, DH doesn't seem to realize that we've saved money...and when he needed brakes for his car he said (in a very glum voice) "now we have to figure out how to pay for this" and I said "we'll take the money out of the bank." His mood lightened rather quickly!

8. Finish up the taxes from the business and get the rest of the paperwork and boxes into the storage area and out of the office. I've brought it up, but no headway on this goal.

9. Spend more time with my friends and family. I slept over my father's house for the weekend, as did my brother. We had a fun time. It's funny to be a grown up and go to your dad's house to sleep over!

10. Be happy. Very happy. I feel energized and recharged, like nothing can stop me now!

a little extra going out.

February 18th, 2011 at 05:18 pm

It was an uneventful month up til yesterday. Our one year old cat had a bloody paw. She has the extra digit (aka double pawed) and we've been diligent at clipping her "thumb" nail, but as I found out at the vet, there is yet another claw that needs to be trimmed (she can't scratch them down like the other claws on her paws). Our not knowing caused her to have an ingrown claw (basically, it grew so darn long it went into her paw, the poor little thing!). So...$157 later we have well trimmed nails, a small hole in her "thumb" (which has to be watched, cleaned and monitored) and another appointment next week for evaluation and booster shots. We lucked out, however, because she didn't cry, fidget or anything while the doctor was clipping out and treating the infected area...otherwise we'd have the added cost of putting her under and boarding her for the day while she recovered. I did splurge on a new cat toy for her, but I think she earned it! We'll be paying a bit more for the next visit too. DH already has put in a few extra hours to help cover that added expense. We (unfortunately) haven't gotten to the point where we can sock away money for vet bills, but we took money out of the emergency fund for that.

Beyond that, it was nice to enjoy some unseasonably warm weather. We're experiencing some thunder and lightening storms right now in New England! Tomorrow it will be winter once again, with wind chills tomorrow night at the minus 2 temperature. You know what they say about New England: if you don't like the weather, wait a minute. It will change!

Resolution update

January 29th, 2011 at 04:52 am

I figured today would be as good as any to touch on any progress I've made on my resolutions, even though there are a few more days left in the month.

1. Hold a yard sale. Not with multiple feet of snow in our yard!

2. Continue to eat clean. That's one of my easiest goals. I so love food in it's natural state as opposed to the processed stuff that some people consider food!

3. Do something new each month. This has been a fun goal. Although some people won't think what I've done is spectacular, they're new to me: I've gone out for a drink with friends after work; I've taken some time for me; DH and I went to the movies (matinee).

4. Pay off parent loan 2. Its under a grand now! we're plugging away. Next celebration will be when it's under $500.

5. Save up for and get a new roof. So far so good with the snow and no leaks. Once the EF is built I'll get an estimate of the cost of the roof and set my goal.

6. Complete a marathon each month. Between the snow and being sick for 2 weeks, I've made progress but it's not completed. But I still have 3 more days. Smile

7. Fully fund the emergency fund. Working on it! We have to tap into it for some necessary car repairs, so that will slow us down some. I've been funding it with DH's gas reimbursement checks - they've averaged $300 a month (mostly more) so I anticipate having this done. I told someone how we were saving all that money - like we never had it in the first place. They were amazed and impressed. It would be easier to go blow it, but when you want to live without credit cards, you need to have money in the bank.

8. Finish up the taxes from the business and get the rest of the paperwork and boxes into the storage area and out of the office. I've brought it up, but no headway on this goal.

9. Spend more time with my friends and family. We're going to friends' tonight for a get together, and I did go out to lunch with my sister and brother earlier this month. The snow has been making connections more difficult.

10. Be happy. I've noticed that I've been standing a bit taller lately, and my posture is improving. I think I'm making gains on this goal!

I'm tired of winter.

January 25th, 2011 at 04:32 pm

There is no more room for snow in my yard. And we're expecting another foot tomorrow night. Waaaaahhh!!!

On the bright side of things, I got a "job" teaching a 9 year old how to sew. One hour a week after work - I'm going to suggest $15-$20 an hour. This family is rather well off, and I don't think that price is too much for them, nor is it too much for the service. I would think it will go for about 6 weeks minimum. We'll get together next week where I'll show her how to use a machine (she got a "cheap" one for Christmas) and bring some fabric scraps and thread to get her started. Should be fun. I've often thought about being a sewing teacher, but wasn't sure the best way to get that rolling (and the lack of time is a big factor too!). This should be good for her and for me.

The money I make from that venture will go to the emergency fund/savings. I was thinking about using it for my mulch/flower/gardening fund, but I think I need to really focus on what I need to do financially rather than what I want to do. There's always next year to get the best yard on the block.

Tax time

January 22nd, 2011 at 05:26 am

I've been pulling all my paperwork together for the taxes...and I can't seem to get the TurboTax site to work properly! Maddening. I know my refund will go to pay back what we owe Uncle Sam, but I still want to know how much! I'll give them a try again later.

Snow, snow, snow! If you live in the Northeast, you know what I mean. 2 feet last week, another 7 inches in the next storm, 5 inches yesterday - and more to come next week. I'm pretty much done with winter. It's bitter cold today, but I'm home in my snuggly clothes keeping warm. I probably won't need to turn the heat up. Maybe once the sun goes down I'll crank it up to 65. It's at 63 now, where we usually set it.

DH and I are finally feeling healthy again. We've both been sick with colds, and it's been difficult to getthe things done that we need to do because we felt so lousy! I was the one that felt best when all the snow came, so guess who got to do the shoveling? Yup - me! Luckily we have a neighbor who plows (he charges us much less than his other customers), and our other neighbor has a snowblower and does the sidewalk while he's doing his own (I always give him excess produce from our garden in the summer). That just leaves the walkway from the driveway to the doors - it's still a long walk to shovel!

We owe less than a grand on parent loan 2! Wow - that feels good. It actually feels like it can be done. The other loans and debts, well, those are a work in progress. I don't forsee them being paid off this year, but they will happen when they do. Our next saving venture (after the EF is funded) is for a roof.

I'm now hoping that next winter we can get a "winter car." My car won't go in the snow. I need something with AWD or 4WD to get me to work on those days. Not to mention it's a 2000, with nearly 160K in miles on it. It's a Volvo, so I expect it to last a while, but the repair costs are also higher on it. And the check engine light is on because the rear O2 sensor needs to be replaced, and DH estimates that to be $1,000 or more to fix - AND I need to have my car inspected before the end of the month, but it won't pass if the light is on. One day at a time, one day at a time....

My happy dance...

January 10th, 2011 at 02:22 pm

I was reading Laura's post about her friend doing a happy dance because their car was paid off (she thought they had a 6 year loan and apparently it was 5 years). I commented that I couldn't live being unaware of where my money goes.

I'll be honest though, my DH is ignorant of the finances. He's not a spender, and all he really cares is that the bills get paid...I just need to let him know how much he needs to make. I update him every so often when I want to see him have a coniption fit. LOL He saw our HEL balance and thought it was our mortgage last month. I told him we had about another $100K+ above that to pay. "Oh my God! We'll never pay it off!" He was in a panic and nearly a sweat. I told him that's why we leave it up to me to handle, and he shouldn't worry. The principal isn't due to be paid on for a few years and I've already made a dent in that. Sheesh!

On the bright side, he did tell me he got a $.50 an hour raise. I was proud of him. He said "hey, it's something." In the end it will help us meet our goals. I am not going to say that the raise will be put in the savings or anything like that at this point - it'll be sadly eaten up by the rising cost of gas, our potential monthly deficit and general lving. I'd like to be able to say down the road we'll be able to bank our refunds, bonuses and raises, but that may be a while down the road. It's okay, we'll get there.

Net worth

January 2nd, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Well, I'll jump on the bandwagon. Our Net Worth, as of December 31, 2010 is...drum roll please....

NEGATIVE $1,180.09

No where to go but up, right?

My New Year resolutions

December 31st, 2010 at 01:58 pm

Here are a few things I plan to accomplish in 2011, financial and non-financial:

1. Hold a yard sale. I've been cleaning, weeding through, organizing, and finding more and more things to get rid of. I hope to have a blockbuster yard sale in the early spring.

2. Continue to eat clean. What is eating clean? Since August I've eliminated sugar, white flour, white rice, chemicals and preservatives from my diet. No processed food, no, no, no! Whole grains, lean meats, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lots of water. I do allow myself alcohol, but within reason. Since I began on this journey of clean eating, I've never felt better. My skin is clear, my energy is up, and I haven't been sick.

3. Do something new each month. There are many things I would ike to do, like try to make my own cheese, knit, build some shelves...all those "some day" things.

4. Pay off parent loan 2. This should be easy. We send $100 a month - less than 11 months to go on this loan.

5. Save up for and get a new roof. It leaks. Into my kitchen. But only when the rain blows a certain way, which isn't every rainstorm, thankfully. This is nothing DH and I can do by ourselves, so we'll have to hire someone to do it. That will be our only big purchase this year.

6. Complete a marathon each month. No, not running it in one day, but walking it over the course of a month. Baby steps to get me moving more!

7. Fully fund the emergency fund. It can happen!

8. Finish up the taxes from the business (I'm not the one dragging my feet on this!) and get the rest of the paperwork and boxes into the storage area and out of the office.

9. Spend more time with my friends and family. Especially my mother, brother, and dad. I just don't spend enough time with them, and I want to, so I have to make the time for them.

10. Be happy.