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Archive for January, 2012

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.