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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!

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.

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.

The holidays are upon us.

December 6th, 2010 at 04:14 pm

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 02:19 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 04:03 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!

I got it!

March 22nd, 2010 at 05:26 pm

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 21st, 2010 at 05:07 pm

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!

mid-February

February 13th, 2010 at 01:30 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 next thing to work on is me.

January 16th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

I gotta get my weight under control. I have no desire to exercise, no desire to change my eating habits, but can't stand how I look and feel. I know I must do something.

I'm an emotional eater, and with the recent stress from DH closing the business, work issues, and life in general, I know that's the reason why I've been overeating. I like to feel full. Feeling full makes me content. It is also making me fat.

I read an article that explained you need to train yourself to desire other ways to make yourself feel content. I know exactly what I need to do - get back to sewing. I always love sewing and needlework, but just haven't had the time. It's like yoga to me - I feel serene and at peace. But whenever I think about going to sew...then the other things come up (stuff to do around the house, bills to pay, other places to go rather than be home). The same with exercise. I know I should get up early to exercise, but I can't get up early. Why? I end up staying up late and sleep is at a premium for me. So, I get up as late as I possibly can before I have to go to work. What a vicious cycle I've entered!

I think what I will do is schedule in my calandar exercise time and sewing time, like they're a regular appointment I need to keep. I will start this tomorrow. I will be going out to eat with my dad and step-mother tomorrow (their treat - for my birthday) so I will be sure to exercise in the morning.

I always function best with structure and sticking to a schedule. I've been off schedule for a while now, so this is long overdue!