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the light is getting brighter

June 26th, 2011 at 12:42 pm

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 09:20 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 09:13 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 08:22 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 10:42 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 19th, 2011 at 01:18 am

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 12:52 pm

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 26th, 2011 at 12:32 am

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 01:26 pm

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 10:22 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 08:27 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 09:58 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.

2011 Budget

December 29th, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I created my 2011 budget, and I'll tell ya - I wasn't happy. I used the highest amounts for the expenses, and the lowest amounts for the income, and we're short (by about $500) 10 of the 12 months. I know I am budgeting using the worst case scenarios, and it shouldn't be as bad as it is on paper, but still, I need to be prepared.

I'm thinking of selling some things - for those with experience, are you better off selling via ebay, craigslist, or yard sale? Or is there a better option? I'm talking about collectibles, jewelry, etc. Nothing too big or extravagant.

The holidays are upon us.

December 7th, 2010 at 12:14 am

Here it is, early December, and my holiday shopping is pretty much done. I have a few little gifts to get for a few people I work with (because they're like family) and then wrapping and decorating. Normally I have all of this done well before Thanksgiving. This year, well, I guess I've been busy. We don't even have our tree up!

It's okay - I'm enjoying the time, and am not stressed. I'm looking forward to going to a craft fair next weekend and enjoying looking at everyone's handiwork. I don't plan on making any purchases (well, maybe from the guy that makes the awesome mustards). I hope to get out to a few Christmas concerts too.

Too many people have the wrong idea about this season. It's not about spending, it's about giving. And the giving doesn't have to be money. Give your time, give your energy, give your love. That's what it's all about.

long time no see!

November 14th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I realized I hadn't posted in ages. I guess when money isn't so scarce, and you're moving along, you aren't as obsessed about it. I think I'm that way.

I no longer find myself pouring over articles about frugality and money saving tips thinking I'll find the one that will save me. I don't sit and calculate and re-calculate our bills and income, because I know we now have enough to pay our bills. We even started saving!

My home business is picking up; sales are always up in the holiday season, and it's keeping me busy. DH's job, although not highly lucrative, is still his job. He's been looking for something else as this job is too physical for his weary back to handle, but he knows he can get through the winter doing it. The summer is the tough time of year for his industry.

I'm now focusing on myself somewhat - I hadn't the energy when I was trying to figure out how to keep a roof over our heads. I've changed my diet, started exercising, started cleaning. The office, after having it on the list of things to do for MONTHS, is tidy and orderly. That's a good feeling.

I haven't had a chance to catch up on anyone else's blogs, so I'm off to do that now. Glad to "see" you all again! I'll try not to stay away so long next time.

It's August

August 8th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

Well, things have been going rather well. I've made our first payment to parent #2, and am getting ready to send another installment out to the IRS. On top of that, we have $$ in savings, and "enough" in the checking. I'm so relieved by the feeling of not wondering how the next bill will be paid. I never thought I'd feel so, well, relieved. I guess that's not the only word I can use to call the feeling. Toss in: comfortable, reassured, safe, happy, in control, and a gazillion other happy words. A year ago, I was dismal, scared, out of control, sad, depressed, miserable. And broke.

DH isn't 100% sold on his job still, but he's not hating it as much as he was. It's hard work, long hours, but it's also good money. I did tell him at one point that if he hated it that much then he should just quit. "I can't - we need the money!" was his retort. I said that he had 2 choices, either do the job or don't, but I would choose to have a happy husband and not the miserable SOB that was living with me now. Smile I know just the right things to say...so I have a happier husband doing the same job that all of a sudden isn't as bad as it was 2 weeks ago. Tee hee hee

I went out and bought myself a new dress today with a friend. Now, don't think I've become a spend-thrift! I had a 20% coupon off of something that was already 50% off...and I would have paid full price for the darn dress cuz it looks good on me. Anyway, it ended up costing me $20, down from $50. We have a wedding to go to, so that's what I'm wearing. My friend (who is also going to the same wedding) got her dress for $15, using the same couopon. Ta da!

While out, however, she called to check her credit limit on her CC. She didn't use the card while shopping (we also stopped at a shoe store, a supplement store and a department store, though she did use it for gas - she drove - but it wasn't more than $20) but I'm so glad I'm not a slave to that anymore. I wrote a check for my two purchases (the dress and some supplements) and surprisingly, I didn't buy any shoes. I love shoes. A nice pair of shoes always makes me happy. Years ago I couldn't leave a shoe store without 3 pairs (trust me, it's true) but now I am much more selective and make sure that I'm buying quality rather than a shiny new thing. I also thought about it, and I have about 5 pairs of shoes that would work nicely with that dress. I hate to admit how many shoes I actually own. Shoes and dishes. Oh, I love them both so much. I like purses...but no where near as much as I love shoes and purses. Thank goodness it's not diamonds that I quest!

HHH

July 10th, 2010 at 11:15 am

Hazy, hot and humid. Even the AC isn't cutting it! We have one in our bedroom so we can sleep at night, but it's hard to sleep when you are lying in a pool of sweat! At least it's breaking this weekend and we'll get some badly needed rain as well as some less humid weather to follow.

I was able to visit my veggie garden a few evenings ago. I haven't really been near it since I planted it! How neglectful! I mananged to pull out a lot of weeds, and my 10 tomato plants are thriving. I'm so happy especially since last year there wasn't a decent tomato plant in the state. I have some green beans (well the plants) growing well, and 4 big mounds with zucchini, butternut squash, spaghetti squash and something else! I can't remember what the other one was that I planted, nor can I remember what I planted where. This should be fun! One of the plants has some large flower buds on it, so I'll have to keep my eyes open. I think it's the zucchini, and I don't want the veggies to be the size of baseball bats, so I'll have to be on top of it. I had some herbs not grow, so I'm going to put in a few more rows of green beans. We love them, and I'll can them up. I can the tomatoes too.

The IRS payback will start in August - $200 a month. Originally we were paying $280 a month, but I was concerned about having too much being committed. We have 5 years to pay off the balance, and with $200 a month it'll be less than that. Once our savings gets a little more plentiful, we'll start throwing more cash at this debt.

The other debt I'm starting to pay back is Parent Loan 2. Only $100 a month, but I'll feel better about it as I don't like owing family money. I feel great that we're now able to pay on all of our debts, and not just a few. Those numbers will be dropping and I like it! My mortgage has dropped to $11[u]0[u],710.75...the zero is nice and I was thrilled to see that on our statement. I showed dh - he was less excited than me, only because he's a glass half empty guy and paid more attention to the fact that we still owe well over $100K on it.

We also received dh's gas reimbursement check - that goes right to savings. He's really doing better about spending. He said he was just caught up in the moment, which I understand, but I'm still going to be monitoring him and his bank account to make sure he doesn't go all spendy on me again!

Enjoy the week, everyone!

The weekend is here...

June 26th, 2010 at 01:36 pm

But there's no rest for the weary!

It's been a couple of rough weeks at work - some transitions/power struggles (at least that's how I see them) has been causing everyone a lot of undue stress. Normally everyone's very happy there, but there have been a lot of angry people lately. But, the issue (or individual I should say) has been taken care of. Things are starting to come back to normal, but not without everyone putting in extra hours to get what needs to be done taken care of. That's the bad part about being salaried...no overtime. So I'll be working to do my part in the catch-up.

However, DH has been making a few extra bucks with working overtime. Unfortunately, he also got spendy. When he took the job and we found out his wages, I told him we'd be able to put money in the bank. Well...for whatever reason, he seems to think that he can be a little freer with his spending. Not on anything substantial - $20-$30 here or there. I sat down with him Thursday and tallied how much he spent in one day. $130. He had no idea. He also needs to have gas in his tank for work (he gets reimbursed for his mileage, but not til the end of the month). I told him there was no money for him to have for gas until the next payday - his reply "but I need it." I told him I understood that he needed gas for work, but if there's no money, there's no money.

He also has this concept of "well, I put in a lot of hours last week" so that should justify him being able to spend some extra money today. I ask him "did you get paid for that yet?" I think he's so accustomed to using credit that he still hasn't grasped the whole "cash only" deal we agreed to.

I'm just venting somewhat. He's a good husband and he's a good friend. I think shopping/spending makes him feel better, just like it does for so many others. I just need to make him feel that way about saving. I feel I have a long road ahead of me to retrain his brain! I will be creating a graph of debts decreasing and savings increasing so he can have a visual. Any other thoughts on how to make him think saving is cool?

A busy Saturday

June 19th, 2010 at 01:28 pm

I have a number of errands to run today - I just made my list and I need to get going! Orders to deliver, lawn to mow, go to the bank, finish some sewing projects...oh, and some cleaning. Frown I did do the brunt of the housework last night. DH was coming home late from work, so I took advantage of the "me" time and mopped a few floors and did a good scrub of the living room and bathroom. Took care of the laundry as well.

I've been getting up and walking with a friend every morning before work. We start at 5:00. DH has been getting up around the same time, so I've been getting up at 4:45 and packing him a lunch** before I go for my walk. We don't walk on the weekends, and I must have been tired, because after I got up this morning with DH, I crawled back into bed...I managed to fall back asleep and there I was until 8:20. It wasn't solid sleep for that extra 3 hours - I did have a cat or two pouncing on me, but I sure do feel rested now!

We received our auto insurance policy last week - I had DH make changes since we have both cars paid off and we don't need the extra covereage we had for the business. It went from $2600 last year to $1840 this year! I'm trying to get the savings built up so I can
pay it all at once; right now we're doing monthly installments. With DH now working (and getting overtime) I hope to have the EF built up quickly and our remaining debts paid off.


**I know you're saying "packing him a lunch? Why doesn't he do it?" Well, he just doesn't. He's not at all a morning person, and won't eat a sandwich made the night before because it's "soggy." If I don't pack him a lunch he doesn't eat - or worse - he purchses food out. He appreciates it, and I know he's eating something during the day. All you moms with really picky eaters at home, this is what the adult version is like.

Its been a while

June 6th, 2010 at 08:10 pm

I've been so busy, but I realized I needed to post: DH got a job! It's a bit more physical than he had anticipated, but he's been at it for 2 weeks and is feeling good about things. YEAH!!!

We bought him some new safety shoes today, and selected frames for some new eyeglasses. He has his eye appointment on Wednesday, but I won't be able to come with him, so we decided to go out and select the frames together. They're holding them for him, so he doesn't have to worry about getting something that doesn't look good. I never realized how difficult it is to choose eyeglasses! While at the mall, we stopped and got a gelato. Then went home in time to shut the windows because a storm was on its way. Rained pretty hard for about an hour, and now the sun's peeking out again.

We needed to pull some cash out of the slowly growing efund to pay bills...but with another income, we should have no problem building it back up again.

The garden is planted and beginning to grow. Today's rain will certainly help. The lawn needs mowing, but I'll tackle that tomorrow.

Not as good as I thought, but not horrible.

May 3rd, 2010 at 01:09 am

Well, when I looked at my Quicken again...I saw that the car insurance wasn't included, nor was a few other payments that are 10 months a year (budget plan for oil, house insurance...you get the picture). So...that just means that we don't have the savings we (I) thought we would have, but it does still seem to balance out and we aren't in the red.

Also, found out that we won't need to pay the state out of our pockets. We were able to sell off equipment from the business and will pay it off with that. That was quite a relief! DH will be calling the state tomorrow to get that taken care of. We still have the federal taxes to complete for the business, and DH is really hoping I will lend a hand. Which I will, but I really hate doing that kind of thing, and we certainly can't afford an accountant. We had filed a previous year with TurboTax, and although a little scary to do a business return on our own, it did come out correctly.

DH took care of bundling our phone/internet/cable, and that will save us about $40-50 a month. Also, my raise in July will net about $40 a week increase. Plus work will be picking up another 10% of my health insurance costs starting then, so I will be feeling even better about things!

I do have to say that it feels great to be up to date on the bills and not as worried about them as I was just a few short months ago. I was also able to give one of the parents $100 toward our debt. That made me feel good, though at that rate there is still a long way to go!

Busy week ahead. I've already planned dinners and activities on the calendar, and tried to organize myself as much as possible ahead of time. Hope everyone has a great week!

What a difference a day makes

April 26th, 2010 at 10:48 pm

I got a bonus from work! Some things do happen at just the right time. Sizeable amount; it will be in my next paycheck.

I track everything in Quicken. One feature is to look ahead at your balance after scheduled deposits and withdrawals have been made...and we're going to have actual savings in our account and it will keep growing! I kept thinking I screwed something up, but I didn't. We can survive on my income! Of course, any big emergency is still going to be a problem, but it's exciting to officially know we're going to be okay. I'm an optimist, so I always say we will be fine. It's so reassuring to know that I wasn't wrong!

After my visual confirmation, I called my DH into the room and showed him. He said "what? How can that be?" and we both looked to see if there was an error. Nope! He said "boy, that makes me feel better about everything" and from that point on you could see the change in his demeanor. He's felt AWFUL about not working. I hope now he will feel less stressed. I know I do!

We had a great supper - lasagna and garlic bread. I'm going to make some cookies tonight and go to bed early. I know I'll sleep good!

The IRS ate my refund

April 25th, 2010 at 01:21 pm

A comment from Jerry prompted me to get back to my blog (thanks, Jerry!).

And yes Jerry - you were right. We were under the impression that the IRS couldn't take our refund because our bankruptcy hadn't discharged...but state laws apparently allow all refunds to be applied to taxes that are owed. Well, it's good because now that means we owe less, but to be honest, the cash in the bank would have been handy right now!

DH has been having severe back issues. I think it's not helped by the inactivity. He'd normally be out golfing and moving around more, but he's concerned about going anywhere because he's afraid of spending money. I keep telling him that we'll be okay, but he just is in a funk. He had gone on another job interview and thought he had it, but never heard back from them.

I had great sales the last few weeks in my side business. It didn't bring in huge bucks for us, but it helps.

It was nice out yesterday and I worked on preparing the soil in my garden...my arms are sore! I turned it and raked by hand; we don't have a tiller. I thought about how nice it would be to have one...and then thought about the calories I was burning. The may flies were making themselves known. Anyone know any good way to keep them away?

We cooked burgers on the grill for dinner. Yummy! I ended up waking up early this morning, and have some other projects already going.

Taxes filed!

April 6th, 2010 at 11:20 pm

I finished and filed our taxes tonight. We're getting a refund from both federal and state. I called the IRS last week because they stopped taking out the payments in February (we're on an installment plan due to owing on our 2008 taxes). They said once someone files for bankruptcy, they can no longer take the payments until it is discharged - often in 6 or so months. We can send voluntary payments...but to be honest, with DH stll not having luck on the job search, the $280 a month will come in handy. I'm also thinking that the refund we're getting from the federal taxes won't be touched...but I'm unsure about the state. We'll see how it goes!

I've been busy with all kinds of work, myself. I told DH that with my part-time job, on top of a really good raise at my full time job (yeah me!) he could work just part-time himself and that will give him opportunity to look for full time work and still pull in some cash. We're almost at the point where we're not going to be in the hole every month. We've been lucky so far with a few windfalls we've received, but the reality is those are going to be few and far between!

I've updated my sidebar...seeing it still had February numbers on it!

I got it!

March 23rd, 2010 at 12:26 am

I had a feeling the job was mine if I wanted it... Smile

What's really great is that it's working with the DM of the company I have my sales business with. Not only do I not have to learn the ins and outs of anohter company, but it will also help my business grow too. I was so concerned about working at some retail outlet and having to neglect my business, and now I can work on all of it at once.

The pay isn't huge, but there are bonus incentives. After crunching some numbers, I found it's enough money. I like to be able to say that! Enough is such a nice word.

Everyone can uncross their fingers now and get back to their daily business. LOL Thanks for the well wishes and good thoughts. It was certainly appreciated. Now for DH to get a job! We'll be golden then!

Great weekend

March 22nd, 2010 at 12:07 am

I spent the entire weekend with different friends, and I had such a wonderful, relaxing time.

Yesterday spent some time taking long walks around in the spring (nearly summer-like) weather and today went to a friend's house and played board games and just laughed and had fun.

I love DH and spending time with him, but it was really nice to have time for just me.

I also have a part-time job interview tomorrow afternoon. Turns out an acquaintance needs someone to help in her "office" (she's self-employed). From some of the brief conversations we've had, I got the feeling that the job is mine if I think it's something I can do/handle. She is aware that I work during the day, and I already know it is something I can do from home...so my fingers are crossed. Everyone out there cross yours too! Smile

DH is still applying for jobs, and is running into former collegues who have tips on where to put in an application. Hoping something comes through for him; he's getting a bit antsy not working.

I also need to finish my taxes this week - I got an email from TurboTax saying the rates go up on or after the 26th of March. I don't want to spend more money, so I need to get my act in gear!

Where did the time go?

March 13th, 2010 at 12:53 am

I had wanted to consistently keep blogging...and I can't believe I had forgotten my password to log in. Shame on me!

Thank you all for the encouragement and well wishes. It is appreciated. Unfortunately, DH did not get the job; he is a bit discouraged, but is plugging along. He's applied to a few more that we've seen advertised, maybe we'll be lucky and one of those will be the one!

Waiting for winter to finally be over is taking too much time. Fabulous weather one day; less than stellar the next. But there are a few signs that winter is ending...a local roadside restaurant is opening for the season, and those hysterical Bud Light ads (real men of genius) are back on the radio! If that isn't signs of summer, I don't know what is!

6 little words.

February 16th, 2010 at 12:28 am

My husband called me at work today to tell me the 6 little words I've been longing to hear:

"Honey, I have a job interview."

Sigh... Smile

mid-February

February 13th, 2010 at 09:30 pm

I've been busy, and busy is good.

My sales for my direct-sales business have picked up considerably. I had my highest month thus far in the year of selling. I am excited about that. I'm making a small amount of money (under $50 in cash per month), but I've "purchased" birthday gifts, personal products and such without spending money (customers are paying for that!). So...that's really good.

I realized I never set up goals for February. I guess that's because I feel like we're on hold. The bankruptcy won't be over until March 1, and my current focus is to not spend money and to find a part time job. I've applied to a few places, but no bites yet.

DH has also been looking for a job, and he's gotten quite a few leads and has sent his resume out to a number of places. That's encouraging, but he hasn't had any interviews yet. I'm confident that he will get a good job somewhere. I just don't know when or where!

I received a small bonus from my work - that was perfect timing. It paid our cars' excise tax, quarterly water/sewer bill and our mortgage. We haven't seen any unemployment money come in yet; they're still processing DH's claim. He's had to send in more business paperwork and spreadsheets, and they always say "we'll process this to see if you're eligible" which is always NOT what you want to hear. If he isn't eligible, that will be bad news for us, though we can't understand why he wouldn't be. The paperwork clearly shows a business taking a loss. What a pain. All more the reason for me to find part-time work! Who knows what's in store for his future income.

I'm looking forward to winter being over and holding yard sales. Clear out some stuff and collect some cash. We have so many repairs that need to be done to and around our house - we need new roof, garage is caving in, and our fence is bent up from town trucks backing into it (don't get me started!) - that more money coming in will be necessary.

I've already picked up my garden seeds (Ocean State Job Lot has their seeds out at 40% off) and I'm going to start my tomatoes, peppers and other plants indoors soon. I don't want to have to buy plants this year, that ends up being more costly than the packets of seeds (on sale). Last summer's garden was a bust; there was so much rain nothing wanted to grow. I was so sad!

I've also been re-reading the Tightwad Gazette series. I'm not finding anything new to do to save money, per se, but it's a good refresher. Plus, I like her writing style, so it's an easy read.

To some, my life probably sounds dull and boring, and I live like a pauper! It's not. It's also filled with laughter, good food, hugs and love. I have so many funny stories I need to sit down and take the time to write. I'll have to make that a goal for March.

The sun was shining today.

January 26th, 2010 at 11:42 pm

I had just typed up a brilliant post...and then clicked on something and it vanished. Sigh.

We met with our attorney today. The bankruptcy proceedings have begun. March 1 is when we're officially turning a new leaf and can start over with a clean slate.

I saw a few local part-time positions in the paper and on Craig's List today. I will go apply to those places and more on Saturday when I have some free time. Work gets in the way of me finding more work. LOL I already checked into putting more hours in where I currently am, and there's nothing available.

DH seems optimistic after we've left the lawyer. I'm glad. He's been stressing for over a year and I hope he is able to find a job that is less stressful for him. One that doesn't require any paperwork to come home would be nice too!


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