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Mypoints.com

March 30th, 2012 at 04:35 pm

Does anyone else here do the mypoints.com thing. I have acquired enough points so far to get a $25.00 gift card and a $10.00 gift card in most all categories, or just $25.00 in pay pal money.

What does everyone else usually use their points for here on the SA blogs.

April Goals and February Recap

March 30th, 2012 at 10:46 am

MARCH GOALS RECAP:

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources. Done very well in this area. Been replenishing stock. Made strawberry jam and stocked up on a b1g1 free bread deals.

*Take pics of the items I have cleaned out and get them listed on craigslist, ebay, sorted for a yard sale or donate. Sold some items at my SIL's yard sale, took other items to a antique/craft store - the lady bought most of my items and we consigned the trunk. Plus, took some good clothes/shoes to the consignment shop and donated not-so-good items to the Salvation Army.

*Welcome my new grand-daughter into the world. Yes, on March 27 at 12:45 p.m., we welcomed my beautiful grand-daughter, Mandolin Storey, into the world. She weighed 7lbs 14ozs. with a full head of black hair.

*Start getting really creative on debt reduction. Haven't had much time to work on this cause my furnace and the neon needed to be fixed.

APRIL GOALS:

*Plan the Easter Menu.

*Work on my craft business.

*Put together a recipe and menu book and work more on couponing.

*Re-do my budget, make phone calls to see if I can get some better deals.

*Continue to be diligent in cooking from scratch, finding local resources, finding creative ways to eliminate my credit card debt and close some cards.

Passive Income - Yard Sale

March 22nd, 2012 at 01:10 pm

I took some magazines and frames over to my SIL's yard sale and made $11.00. Adding that amount to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $107.00
Add monies: $11.00
New Total: $118.00

Making Jam - Being Frugal

March 13th, 2012 at 07:26 am

We have been completely out of jam for a while now. I have been buying jam from the grocery store, which is more expensive.

So, yesterday I set out to get some supplies to make jam, but because I have to do everything as frugal as possible, it required a little ingenuity.

Normally I would buy fresh organic strawberries, but I called around first before I left the house. Meijers has non-organic strawberries for a buck each, but I don't like anything that has been sprayed with pesticides. So, as I was calling around, no-one but Whole Foods had organic strawberries which were costing over $3.00 each.

I thought that maybe I wasn't going to make jam, so I ventured out to Costco to pick my daughter up some eye solution. There strawberries were expensive, but they did have a 6 pound bag of frozen organic strawberries for $8.99 bag, so I grabbed one of those.

Not sure how jam would turn out from frozen strawberries, I was willing to give it a try. The beginning consistency while cooking it is different, but my end product is soooo wonderfully tasty. I only used half of the bag of strawberries, so $4.50 there, the pectin cost $2.11, and the sugar breaks down to possibly a $1.00 totaling $7.61. Not bad for 9 half pints of jelly. Normal cost would be around $27.00. So a savings of $19.39.

I am all set until strawberry picking time in June, at which time I will make a double batch. I am also going to make a mixed berry and possibly try my hand at a marmalade when citrus is in season.

Passive Income 2012

March 13th, 2012 at 06:42 am

Adding $3.00 from a Pinecone Survey to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $104.00
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $107.00

Frugalness and Debt

March 12th, 2012 at 11:30 am

I have made peace with the fact that I have debt, although I will not be a slave to my debt. It is gonna take some time to get back out of debt. My debt came to me because I had four loved ones who died within a very short period of time from each other, my children's dad, my dad, my mother and my mother-in-law. And, even though we sold off what we could from their estates to pay their funeral costs, there were other incurred expenses, like my Mother's hospice from the last three weeks of her life, my Dad's headstone, and not to mention my own scrape with death from an unknown allergic reaction to sulfates costing me $5,000 in doctor/hospital bills.

Then, things started to break down. Stuff that I had already put big money into, my well, my furnace, the car, etc., so, yes, it has been a juggling act for quite a few years. I had no debt prior to all of the tragedies stated above.

Even though I have always been frugal, I believe I can take this to a whole new level. I am gonna be starting some new series here that will follow those journeys. For instance.

*Freezer Swap. I really love this idea and I am going to try to get a group together to see if this is something feasible. It gives you an idea here as to how to do one, along with Once A Month Cooking on organic items I find on sale. For example, bag of potatoes - possibly make twice baked and freeze.

http://freezerfriendz.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-freezer-friendz-conducts-their.html

*Every year I grow some of our own food, but this year, I am going to do more. More canning and freezing. I haven't been putting up enough to get me through until the next harvest time. That means more jam, freezing corn, making and freezing spaghetti and mostaccioli sauce, freezing more fruits (peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.) for baking. Making applesauce from my heirloom apple tree that doesn't produce good eating apples, but good enough for applesauce. I have so much in mind.

*Possibly more couponing. The problem with couponing is I usually only buy organic, not boxed or pre-made food, so coupons are slim pickins.

*Getting some chickens for eggs, which in turn will eat my scraps, along with some worms, which eat the scraps that chickens don't.

*Thinking about honeybees. Even though I do have a honey supplier close by the area. Bees are just good for the gardens also.

*Using more local resources for items I cannot grow enough of on my own.

*Doing more of my crafts and selling them in craft consignment stores. I just recently took some stuff to one of them and made money on my stuff. So, I will be expanding in this area. I will talk more about this in another post.

These are just a few ideas, but I am starting today by making some strawberry jam, because we are out.

Trying so hard

March 8th, 2012 at 03:31 pm

I am trying so hard to make ends meet, save money while paying off my debt, so that I can live a debt-free life, but unexpected breakdowns just keep happening.

First, the submersible well pump had to be replaced the week of Christmas to the tune of $830.

The Neon needed mechanical work, a new fuel pump costing $300, then it was ran into in a parking lot and required a new alternator and radiator, another $225.00. Plus, it really could use some new shocks, front-end alignment and oil change.

Then, today, my furnace went out again, so I called for another service call thinking it was the ignitor, but it turned out to be the circuit board, costing me $680.00. Well, I didn't want to dip into my emergency fund because my husband's work has been very sporadic right now, so I put it on a credit card.

So bummed.

The Mortgage Payoff

March 2nd, 2012 at 06:22 am

Currently I am adding $20.25 extra to my mortgage payment each month. And right now, I have more going to the principal than the interest each month. That has me paying off my mortgage in 11 1/2 years. That is so exciting to me, because in the next couple of months I am going to make a huge dent in my Debt repayment, so instead of me owing on my debt for the next 4 years, I have implemented a plan to have it paid off in 2 years, which I can then add more to my mortgage each month.

My goal is to have my mortgage paid off in 9 years and 2 months or May 2021, my birthday month in which I turn 60, shaving off 2 years 4 months.

The Neon, Book Review, Gardening, Harvesting.

March 1st, 2012 at 05:14 am

A couple weeks ago, the neon got ran into in the front end while it was parked at the mall. It loosened the bumper and put a crack in the front of the hood. Later that week, we had to replace the alternator and the radiator, costing me $115.00. My husband did all the work fixing it. My daughter and I split the costs of the neon. It is actually her car that she is letting me use.

I also received and finished the book I ordered "The Feast Nearby". I loved it. For a Michigan girl, it brought back many memories for me and it kind of depicts how I live my life, somewhat. With the local food buying, raising my own food, foraging, cooking recipes, harvesting to set myself up for the coming cold months. This would be the type of book I would probably write and I just might, but I would add more elements and pictures.

Speaking of harvesting. Almost everything I put up last fall is now gone out of the freezer and off my canning shelves. I will have to make adjustments to freeze and can more items. On the list is also to add more plants, shrubs and trees to my yard that are perennial edibles.

*I would like to espalier an apple tree or two.
*Add some blueberry bushes.
*Add more strawberry plants. The strawberries I have a problem with because the critters (chipmunks, rabbits, bunnies, etc.) like to eat them, so I need to get them up off the ground, and spray with a safe organic soapy type something to deter them from eating my fruit.
*Going to build some trellises in a couple different areas for hanging my cucumbers, watermelons and pumpkins.

Here is my raspberry patch, which supplies me with lots of raspberries. It is not quite at the level of providing me with enough to make jam yet, although, I might be able to if my family wouldn't eat them all. They are soooo good fresh off the stalk. I think I will try to keep some to add to a batch of strawberry jam.



And here is a picture of the new peach tree I planted early last spring. It actually gave me some peaches. Looking forward to seeing what it will do this year. It is a semi-dwarf Hale Haven Peach.





I am very excited about getting started with my gardening this year. I have lots of awesome ideas.

March Goals 2012 and February Recap

February 23rd, 2012 at 05:19 am

FEBRUARY RECAP: This month has been very stressful, but when I think about, I have been very stressed since November.

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources. Continuously doing.

*Get invites for baby shower, address them and get them in the mail before February 3rd. DONE

*Bake Valentine Cookies and enjoy with my family. Didn't do, I figured we had too many goodies in the house already.

*Bake something for Niece's going away party. Didn't need to do.

*Bake all the muffins for the baby shower and get them in the freezer. Pumpkin Raisin, Blueberry, Banana Nut and Zucchini Apple Walnut. DONE and GONE.

*Get cake ordered, menu set and have Baby Shower. DONE and it was absolutely beautiful.

*Add more money to my Savings account. Didn't get accomplished yet, but 5 days left in this month. There was also too much cash money going to other areas like the baby shower and property taxes.

*Start spring cleaning and decluttering for yard sale and donations. Ongoing. Did get done my bedroom, my pictures are organized in one area, my closet and my son's closet.

*Do Income taxes. DONE and it has already been deposited.

*Made a plan to lower my stress level. Continuously working on.


MARCH GOALS:

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources.

*Keep working on lowering my stress level and bringing more joy into my life.

*Take pics of the items I have cleaned out and get them listed on craigslist, ebay, sorted for a yard sale or donate.

*Welcome my new grand-daughter into the world.

*Start getting really creative on debt reduction.

Not too many goals for March, I am trying to lower my stress level.

Federal Poverty Guidelines

February 15th, 2012 at 05:16 am

This is the federal poverty guideline. If we just go on my regular income of $19,572, I am definitely under the poverty level for a family of 4.

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml

But, I do supplement my income by babysitting, cleaning houses and working a summer job.

And, yet I feel very blessed with everything I have accomplished.

Pretty Disappointed, but Implamenting a Plan

February 2nd, 2012 at 06:40 am

Did my taxes yesterday and after paying my husband's social security and self-employment tax, plus my youngest turning 17, which means I don't get the extra $1000 child tax credit, I am only getting $773 back.

I guess it is better than paying, but I needed to pay off some debt. Two bills in particular, my Care Credit card and winter property taxes are due.

So, here is the breakdown.

*$246.03 will go to winter property taxes; and
*$527 will go to Care Credit. Here is the breakdown of my care credit card.

-$987.00 is due by 4/27/2012. If not paid by then the accrued interest will kick in. Leaving $460 to pay off in 3 month. I will need to add an additional $153 each month to meet that goal. I do have the money in my EF account, so I can actually meet this goal.

-$537.00 is due by 5/28/2012, but my regular montly payment will bring this down a little more, so I will see where I stand the beginning of May when I pay this bill. I may just transfer the money from my EF to finish paying off this balance, if I don't have it tackled by then.

-The remaining balance after that on the Care Credit card is not due until November before the interest kicks in, but I will pay on it monthly to get it paid off before then.

I also want to kick the Art Van and Amazon Visa out of here, so I can focus on the remaining three, Discover Wamu and Freedom.

There is my plan. I am pretty excited about it, cause I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for a lot of this debt. By Memorial Day, when I start my summer beach job, I should only be dealing with the remaining three credit card debts, and that is a good feeling.

I am also going through my home and selling off many items, which will also help me meet my goals above.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

Spring Cleaning and De-Cluttering

January 31st, 2012 at 11:05 am

As I have been looking around my house, I realized that even though it might look orderly, it is in much disarray.

I have made a list and decided that I would start my spring cleaning and de-cluttering early.

Revamp my Closet.
*Take everything out and vacuum floors and dust shelving units.
*Try on everything I own and either keep, mend or toss.
*Make a list of new items I need to purchase to make newer looking outfits.

Son's Room and Closet
*This closet is primarly used for storage. I need to pull everything out and decide to donate, keep or sell.
*Re-arrange room.

Kitchen
*Organize draws and cupboards.
*Re-arrange some items.

Laundry Room
*Take down shelving and put up cupboards for storage.
*Use shelving in another room.
*Fix ceiling and repaint.

Regular Cleaning
*Windows
*Floors
*All bedding, including dust ruffles, mattress covers and duvets
*Shampoo all bedroom floor area rugs/carpets.
*Re-dye living room curtains to even out from sun damage.

Office
*Re-organize shelving and desk

Bathrooms
*Wash curtains
*Get new bath towels and washcloths

Attic
*Go through kids items and decide what to keep and what to sell.
*Go through Christmas items and decided what to keep and what to sell.
*Clean and lay some flooring.

That is what I can come up with off the top of my head. Let's get started.


February Goals 2012 and January Recap

January 31st, 2012 at 10:35 am

Well I met most of my goals for January. Here is a recap:

*Need to get $304.00 back into my checking to cover overage. DONE.

*Need to get my EF savings account back up to the minimum balance, where I am not charged a fee to $300.I actually got it back up to over $1000. Yay.

*Keep working on finding a part-time job. I did put two resumes in this week, with one as a great prospect, and the hours work great with my other schedules. Pray that I get it. Would love this job. I didn't get the job I wanted, but did pick up another house cleaning job. So I guess it worked out.

*Get baby shower invites done and mailed out by the end of the month. The person doing my invites is a little behind, but promised to finish them tonight. They will go in the mail this week

*Get the rest of my bills paid before their respective due dates. Usually not a problem. DONE

*Finish up Bunco party gifts, make desserts on that day and have a good time with the ladies. DONE

*Get organized for the Club Board meeting. DONE

*Keep up with my menu planning. This has been working out great and keeps me out of the grocery stores every other day. I can't say enough for this. It helps to keep me on track and stay within my grocery budget

*Call my new house cleaning job to see what day is best for them. DONE

FEBRUARY GOALS:

*Keep planning a menu. Cook more from scratch and find more local resources.

*Get invites for baby shower, address them and get them in the mail before February 3rd.

*Bake Valentine Cookies and enjoy with my family.

*Bake something for Niece's going away party.

*Bake all the muffins for the baby shower and get them in the freezer. Pumpkin Raisin, Blueberry, Banana Nut and Zucchini Apple Walnut.

*Get cake ordered, menu set and have Baby Shower.

*Add more money to my Savings account.

*Start spring cleaning and decluttering for yard sale and donations.

*Do Income taxes.

Passive Income

January 30th, 2012 at 03:01 pm

Adding$3.00 from a Pinecone Survey to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $101.00
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $104.00

Wow, I won - Passive Income and Book

January 27th, 2012 at 07:17 am

I entered the contest over at Cash Flow Mantra http://cashflowmantra.com/ last week sometime and I won $75.00. I am so excited. Thank you Jim at CFM.

Adding $75.00 from a contest I won to my passive income category.

Previous Amount: $26.00
Add monies: $75.00
New Total: $101.00

I also just bought a book I cannot wait to read called:

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week)

through Amazon, but I used up some credit card credits to buy it, so it didn't cost me anything.

Interest Paid on Credit Cards

January 18th, 2012 at 06:14 am

I have decided I would keep a running tally of how much interest I am paying on all my credit cards every month on my sidebar. I think looking at how much money I am wasting will help me stay focused and get those pesky credit cards paid off.

January Interest: $176.39

Passive Income 2012

January 17th, 2012 at 11:31 am

Adding $3.00 from a Pinecone survey to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $23.00
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $26.00

Extreme Cheapskates on TLC

January 11th, 2012 at 06:30 am

Has anyone caught the show and what are you doing to be an extreme cheapskate.

I have decided not to buy kitty litter anymore. Last year I spent $60.66 on kitty litter. My husband says he can bring home all the free sawdust I want. I thought with the sawdust, a box of baking soda and using some shredded paper from my recycle bin, I shouldn't have to buy anymore kitty litter.

As I was going through all of my receipts, other items caught my eye that I spend a lot of money on, for example:

*Shampoo. Why do we use so much shampoo. Hmm. Investigate.

*Apples. We eat a lot of apples. A bag of organic apples each week at $5.99/each comes to $311.48. I should be able to go to the farms and get them by the bushel for much less. I have an apple tree, but the apples are not real good for eatin, but possibly for applesauce or cider.

*Bottled water. I stopped this a while back, but for some reason, we have started buying it again. Need to push using the brita and refillables.

*Cat Food. Well, the cats have to eat also. I wonder if I can make my own for cheaper.

*Meat. Which is always a hefty price. I did buy a case of Zaycon Chicken when it went on sale in October and I know I saved a bundle here. I will do this again when the sale comes around. Now, if I can figure out a plan for the rest of the meat oonsumed around here.

Well, those are areas I am going to look into. I think if I combined all of my efforts above, I could probably save quite a bit.

Passive Income 2012

January 10th, 2012 at 04:10 am

Adding $3.00 from a Pinecone survey to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $20.00
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $23.00

Passive Income

January 9th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Adding a $10.00 rebate check from Brita to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $10.00
Add monies: $10.00
New Total: $20.00

January Goals 2012

January 6th, 2012 at 06:25 am

I find if I blog about my goals here, it keeps me accountable. Not that I am not accountable, but having the SA bloggers on my team keeps motivated.

Goals for January:

*Need to get $304.00 back into my checking.

*Need to get my EF savings account back up to the minimum balance, where I am not charged a fee, of $300.00.

*Keep working on finding a part-time job. I did put two resumes in this week, with one as a great prospect, and the hours work great with my other schedules. Pray that I get it. Would love this job.

*Get baby shower invites done and mailed out by the end of the month.

*Get the rest of my bills paid before their respective due dates. Usually not a problem.

*Finish up Bunco party gifts, make desserts on that day and have a good time with the ladies.

*Get organized for the Club Board meeting.

*Keep up with my menu planning. This has been working out great and keeps me out of the grocery stores every other day.

*Call my new house cleaning job to see what day is best for them.

Started an Excel spreadsheet

January 4th, 2012 at 06:01 am

I usually track all of my spending by hand, meaning, I write everything down.

Well, I took advantage of the Excel spreadsheet I have on my computer and put all of my categories on this sheet. I have now been entering my totals in their allotted spot.

I also am using it like envelopes, with a spot for vacations, Christmas and such, where I am putting a certain amount of dollars for each of those categories, each month, so that when the time comes, I will have that amount available.

We will see how this works for me. Something new. I will probably keep track on paper as well, just in case I make a mistake on the spreadsheet.

Passive Income 2012

January 4th, 2012 at 05:43 am

Starting the 2012 year with a $10.00 check from serve.

New Total: $10.00

All of my passive income is going to pay down debt, so I am looking for all kinds of creative ways to get free money.

Buying up Lightbulbs and the reason why I don't use CFL's

January 3rd, 2012 at 06:54 am

Dangers of Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

These are the new light bulbs many people are using to conserve power. They will soon be mandated by the government as "traditional light bulbs will be banned in 2014." So, with this new CFL technology, most of us will have no alternative but to use these toxic, cancer-causing, buzzing EMF polluters. The only alternative will be the more expensive LED bulbs which actually are the safest.

These new Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFL) are notorious for generating a high EMF field, higher than normal fluorescent lights. And, because you are more likely to be closer to a CFL lamp, the exposure is even higher.

According to a World Health Organization study, exposure symptoms may include dermatological symptoms as well as neurasthenic and vegetative (fatigue, concentration difficulties, dizziness, heart palpitations and digestive disturbances).

"CFL and Fluorescent lights produce dangerously high EMFs"

There have also been reports that while they donít cause skin cancer directly, they increase your chances of getting it.

It's important to understand that these energy-saving bulbs produce EMF of much higher intensity then regular bulbs. Of course they do not radiate as much as a microwave, but you have only one microwave at home and about 60 bulbs. Replacing all those bulbs with the energy saving bulbs could turn your house into a total electromagnetic mess.

Not only do these types of light bulbs produce high levels of EMF, they generate a especially potent and harmful type of EMF called "dirty EMF" which is even more toxic to the human body than other forms of EMF radiation

Levels of EMF around and close to some CFL lamps exceeds the doses considered to create risks. The impact of bringing many of these new EMF sources into our homes to replace the EMF free incandescent lamps might cause a tremendous effect on our health.

It has been shown that these new CFL light bulbs can cause Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Disorders. According to some Canadian research documents: "this type of EMF exposure, may cause adrenal glands to excrete too much Cortisol and adrenaline, which can lead to irritability and hyperactivity." The document states that EMF can cause a decrease in the brain
hormones, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, all of which are linked to depression and anxiety.

"Studies point to a link between CFLs and migraines"

People with panic disorder have reported panic attacks triggered by entering stores with fluorescent lighting and homes with CFL. While some of these panic attacks that occur under this scenario may be the result of a visual trigger, rather than the result of EMFs. Two of the symptoms of panic attacks are derealization and depersonalization, or feelings of unreality. Depersonalization and derealization are caused by shallow breathing that results in chemical changes in the body. When this occurs, people report that things around them look a bit different.

Watch the related documentary on Planned Obsolescence called, "The Lightbulb Conspiray" aka Pyramids of Waste:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5DCwN28y8o

Year End Totals for 2011

January 2nd, 2012 at 12:51 pm

LAST YEARS GRAND TOTAL INCOME 2011:
*My regular base pay: $18,900.00
*Money from husband: $10,885.00
*My summer beach job: $ 3,379.46
*Income Tax Return: $2,108.00
*House Cleaning: $1,325.00
*Babysitting: $540.00
*Yard Sale and Pawn Shop: $340.00
*Passive Income: $306.73 (This is what I made from doing surveys and rebates)
**GRAND TOTAL INCOME: $37,784.19

YEARLY HOUSEHOLD LIVING EXPENSES 2011:

*Mortgage: $10,800.00 (Remaining on Mortgage: $100,389.09).
*Electric: $1,828.00
*Consumers Gas: $1,725.00
*Cell Phones: $1,167.29
*TV, Internet, Landline: $1,820.63
*Sewer Bill: $233.86
*Homeowners Insurance: $673.00
*Property Taxes: $1,134.58
**TOTAL: $19,382.36

*Groceries: $6,534.59 (includes food and household)
*Water Softener Salt $247.65
*Eating Out: $1,286.84
*House Maintenance: $1,276.90 (Furnace tune-up, new well pump, general maintenance)
*Vacations: $0 (didn't take any vacations this past year)
*Kid's Allowance: $640.00
*Clothing: $357.16
*Christmas: $655.50
*Birthdays: $400.00 (This is for 4 people, $100 budgeted each. Would like to cut this in half)
*Weddings/Graduations/Baby Showers: $174.00
*Memberships: $160.00 (Country Club, State Parks, Costco)
*Medical Costs: $446.33 (Doctor visits and RX. This was what was paid in cash and not put on a credit card, like Care Credit for the dentist)
*Homeschooling: $311.65
*Miscellaneous: $302.86 (stamps, computer ink, games, movies, haircuts, park entry fees, haunted houses, etc.)
**TOTAL: $12,793.48

VEHICLE COSTS:

*Vehicle Insurance: $603.31 (Neon)
*Vehicle Reg. and Tabs: $44.00 (Neon)
*Gas: $1,194.52 (Neon)
*Auto Care: $515.00 (Neon)
**TOTAL: $2,356.83

DEBT: (Credit Cards)

*Freedom Visa: $2,598.45
*Chase Wamu: $3,195.25
*Discover: $4,487.59
*Amazon Visa: $785.62
*Care Credit: $1,882.00
*Art Van: $760.00

**TOTAL CC DEBT: $13,708.91 Didn't get much debt paid off. The difference is I did pay off a doctor bill and a visa that I don't use anymore, but added the Care Credit and Amazon Visa. I did make big progress in the Art Van area, and expect to pay off the Art Van and Care Credit with my income tax return check. That will help in focusing my debt to the remaining four, Discover, Wamu, Freedom and Amazon.

*TOTAL PAID ON CC DEBT: $6,024.61

**GRAND TOTAL SPENT FOR 2011: $40,557.28

Well, my expenses outweigh my income by $2,443.09, which explains why I have no emergency fund left. I will rework my budget to make sure I do better in 2012. Absolutely need to look at cutting back in lots of different categories.

2012 Passive Income and Snowflaking Challenge

December 30th, 2011 at 09:40 am

What I consider my "passive income" is money that I make from things like Pinecone surveys, rebates, items sold on ebay or craigslist, class-action lawsuit rebates and things along those lines, not from my regular job (i.e., my SSI, babysitting, cleaning houses, money my husband gives me or my summer job).

I was reading "The Family CEO" blog entry on how they track their debt snowflakes with a spreadsheet.

http://www.thefamilyceoblog.com/2011/11/reader-question-how-to-track-debt-snowflakes-with-a-spreadsheet/

I loved the idea and thought that would be a good way for me to help with paying off my debt in 2012. Plus, I think it will motivate me to list and sell some items on ebay and craiglist and look for other creative ways to make extra income to go towards debt repayment.

My budget is somewhat based on this entry here:

http://campfrugal.savingadvice.com/2011/12/22/what-needs-to-happen-the-plan_88642/

and here:

http://campfrugal.savingadvice.com/2011/11/29/new-plan-2012_86567/

Once I completely finalize my Spending, Saving and Debt Repayment Plan for 2012, I will blog about it in the New Year, along with my totals from 2011.

I am pretty excited about getting the New Year started.

Passive Income and Thoughts

December 30th, 2011 at 07:57 am

Adding my last $3.00 for the year from a Pinecone survey to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $303.73
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $306.73

Also, looked into the Magic Jack. I know that it only costs $20/year, but I am confused as to how I change that over from my existing phone provider, which also provides my Internet and cable tv. I called to see what it would cost to drop the landline and get a cost on just internet and tv, but the representative pretty much assured me that I was getting a better savings with all three (landline, cable and tv) than with only two (cable and tv). So, I am a little confused here.
I would eventually like to just get rid of the landline and cable tv, by linking the tv through something like a roku or wii, and only pay for internet. Trying to figure all of this technology out is so frustrating and confusing. I am finding that this would be a great new job for someone to come into other people's homes to set this kind of stuff up. hmmm.

As most know, Murphy stole Santa's sleigh and made a stop at my home for Christmas. Even though I saved money on Christmas this year, I had to spend it on a new well pump - bummer. Plus, had to have someone back out yesterday to fix my "new" furnace again. Apparently the dust from the kitty litter is being sucked into where the burners are, so my furnace shuts itself down if it is not getting a full signal. I wasn't charged, thank goodness, because they were just out here the end of October giving it a cleaning.

Anyhow, had to change my kitty litter to a pellet, which the cats are not happy about. They have been very vocal about the changes in their potty, but eventually they both used it. I didn't completely change it over. I kept some of their normal kitty litter and mixed it with the pellets to do a gradual change over, but nonetheless, the cats still bitched about it.

I am thinking that I am eventually going to completely change the kitty litter over to shredded paper. I keep recycling my paper in the abitibi at our local school, but, if I shred it, I can use it in the kitty potty box and save myself a bundle. I am going to add up how much I spent on kitty litter over the past year to see how much I can save.

Got my vehicle and homeowner's insurance recently in the mail. It came down $140.70 for the next 6 months. Yes, finally, a savings. I will take it. I know, it is only 23.45/month, but every little bit helps.

Calculated my new Debt for 2012.

December 27th, 2011 at 05:32 am

DEBT: (Credit Cards)

*Freedom Visa: $2,598.45
*Chase Wamu: $3,195.25
*Discover: $4,487.59
*Amazon Visa: $785.62
*Care Credit: $1,882.00
*Art Van: $760.00

**TOTAL CC DEBT: $13,708.91 Didn't get much debt paid off. The difference is I did pay off a doctor bill and an old visa that I don't use anymore, but added to the Care Credit (for the dentist) and Amazon Visa (for my well pump). I did make big progress in the Art Van area, and expect to pay off the Art Van and Care Credit with my income tax return check. That will help me in focusing my debt to the remaining four, Discover, Wamu, Freedom and Amazon.

I do, however, need to get some money back into my EF as soon as possible.

What Needs to Happen - the Plan

December 22nd, 2011 at 05:55 am

Trying to keep myself positive and work my way back up the financial ladder. I need to rework my budget for just my income.

My income avenues are:

*Monthly SS check for the next year when my youngest turns 18 on December 26, 2012.

*Babysitting the neighbor's babies. This is sporadic, but it is usually an extra $100 - $140/month until June 2012. (she is a teacher).

*A house that I clean once a month - $65.00 (might try to add a house or two).

*Summer beach job - seasonal (Memorial Day to Labor Day). I only work this in the summer, but usually make around $3,000 or so.

*Looking to add another part-time job, which I already have been searching for. Something will come my way.

Right now I have 16.xx in my checking and 15.xx in my savings. My husband, for now, gave me $65.00, I have a check for $18.04, and I just transferred the rest of what was left in my Pay Pal ($24.03) to my checking.

All my bills (expenses and debts are paid) for the year, Christmas shopping is done and I have almost enough food to finish out the year, I believe. I do however need just a few items to finish out my menus, which I will pick up today.

January - I am hosting Bunco. I already have the plates, napkins and most of the items to put together the desserts. I have chosen a luau theme and the desserts will be pineapple upside down cake, pecan pie, punch (hawaiian punch with 7up and frozen pineapple chunks) and coffee. I have $40 left in the budget for the gifts. But January is a great time for gifts. So many sales.

February - Baby shower for my new grand-daughter on the way. I have a couple items, but keeping it simple. Menu will be chicken salad with croissants, spinach salad (baby spinach leaves, blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, melon and poppyseed dressing), gourmet potato chips, banana bread, cake, lemonade, water and coffee. Other items I need, I will use coupons or find at the resale shop.

Property taxes due on February 14, 2012 - $246.03.

March - New baby arrives. Due date, St. Patty's Day. Pretty excited.

April: - Easter dinner and the planning of the 2012 season opening of the beach club.

Besides filing for divorce in the new year, making sure I have a strict budget will help me attain my goals.

*Need to rebuild my emergency fund.

*Need to pay down my debt (using my income tax return and a strict debt re-paying method).

*Need to use the money I make at my summer job to buy myself a vehicle.

*Make a list of free/cheap things to do throughout the year with my children to keep me from failing.

Fun things I have right now to do.

*Movie - one free movie ticket - expires December 31, 2011. I will probably sneak out and catch a movie all by myself and use a coupon for some popcorn.

*Red Robin - Free burger - expires January 2 (I will use this for my youngest birthday dinner on December 26).

*Buddy's pizza - Free 4 square cheese pizza - expires January 10. I will definitely pick this up for one of our dinners.

*Model railroad open house with coupon. Will only cost $8.00 for me and my two children at home to attend.

*Ice skating on lake - need ice skates. Should be able to find some at the salvation army for cheap and then pay the $3.00 to have them re-sharpened.

*$25.00 gift card to Applebees. This will be a special treat.

*$20 gift card to Starbucks. I am going to treat my four children (3 of my own and daughter-in-law), so I can talk to them about the divorce, baby shower planning and my goals for the year).

*Tim Horton gift card with $1.37 left on it. - I will definitely use this up when I go out with my favorite neighbor for coffee to catch up on our lives. She needs to know about my decision for a divorce also. She is 74, but a pivotal part of my life. She came into my life the summer after my mother died, 6 years ago, and I can't tell you what a bond we have made.

*Enough points at mypoints.com for a $25.00 gift card. Just need to pick one.

*I am, however, gonna pay the $106 for the unlimited exercise program through our community schools for zumba, strength training and yoga. It runs from January through March and I can do unlimited classes Monday - Thursday.

*Once March is over, I can start walking outside again on the trails - Free.

*Free - Community yoga on Saturday mornings in my town at the Yoga place.

Well, that is the plan so far. Other than putting up my year-end totals and making a brand new doable budget, I believe I can keep myself busy and be happy.


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