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What Needs to Happen - the Plan

December 22nd, 2011 at 01:55 pm

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.

I'm Getting a Divorce

December 20th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

So, over the past few months or maybe years, my marriage has been failing. My husband doesn't seem to think so, but then he is not the one who is mentally and emotionally abused.

Me and my kids have put up with so much, not to go into details, cause he is who he is. He just isn't right for me where I am at in my life.

I have been trying to get through the Holidays, but they are not leaving good impressions on my kids. I work very hard at keeping the peace and looking happy, so that my kids will have a Merry Christmas.

But, enough is enough. I am getting a divorce. I haven't seen an attorney yet. Not sure how I am gonna pay for it, and I am going to have to get another part-time job to make up the little difference I need financially to make it on my own, again.

I did send out a resume last night for an Administrative position right here in my own town and hoping that I will get a call this week.

Of course, it puts a damper on my debt, cause I will probably have to charge the divorce, but it shouldn't cost as much as most, because everything is pretty much set in stone. I get my stuff, he gets his. My kids are not his, so no problem there.

My husband is going to cry and beg me for him to stay and promise that he will change. I really don't want anyone to change for me. If there is to be change, he needs to do it for himself.

I will keep everyone updated. Plenty of prayers needed my way. I need a job and strength, but I have great faith that this is what I need to do.

The Family Christmas Gift

December 19th, 2011 at 04:18 pm

Yes, it is the week before Christmas when the well pump went out, and there was no water all through the house.

But, much to my surprise, the well man showed up on time and fixed the problem.

I am now out $830 which drained my emergency fund and I had to take a cash advance off a credit card for half of it. Bummer.

I will now have to work even harder to catch up, but it only took half the time to shower, cause I have such great water pressure.

So, the Christmas elf has restored sanity in my home for my teenagers.

Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy your showers.

My Well

December 19th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

It seems every time I get excited to think I have a new plan in place, something goes wrong. Well, I woke up this morning to no water pressure.

Called the well guy, he is coming out around 9 a.m. this morning. Please let it be something simple and not cost to much.

Finished paying the bills for the year

December 16th, 2011 at 01:23 pm

As I finish paying the bills for the year, it gives me a better idea as to where I am starting out next year.

My debt didn't go down much. I did pay off a doctor bill and an old visa, but added to it with a dentist bill on my Care Credit card. The only difference is, there is no interest on the Care Credit until April of 2012. My goal is to pay off the Care Credit and Art Van with my income tax return late March, early April 2012, which will help make a significant difference, and then help me focus all of my attention on the Discover, Wamu and Visa cards. I am going to revamp how I pay those, cause the Discover card's interest is extremely high. I am going to make some calls to see if I can get the interest rate lowered.

I also made some progress on my mortgage. And, with my next payment, I will be under the $100,000 mark. To me that is pretty exciting. I have 12.5 years left on this note, but am aiming towards having it paid off in 10 years or less. Of course, once I get my other debt paid off, I can totally focus on paying down my mortgage and saving more for retirement.

And, some time next year, I do need to purchase myself a vehicle. Maybe I can possibly swing that with the money I make from my summer beach job. I know I said in an earlier post that that money will be used to pay property taxes and Christmas, but if I put an extra $150 into my savings account each month, I could have that all covered by the time those payments come due, that way the over $3,000 that I make from my summer job can buy me a decent vehicle, possibly.

Well, as you can see, I am still tweaking my goals. I will post my year-end totals the beginning of January, like I always do. I am definitely going over my year-end totals from the past few years to see where I can make a difference.

Stop the Madness

December 14th, 2011 at 04:32 pm

As I have been trying to simplify my life even more, I often wonder how to handle the holidays. Not only do I cook all day on Thanksgiving only to sit down at the table for 20 minutes to eat and then clean for hours, I have two children with birthdays in December along with the Christmas and New Year's madness.

I started my baking today and because the print on the jar is so small, I misread how much of one ingredient I needed to add to the recipe. Needless to say, my fudge did not turn out, at all. Now, I make this fudge every year, with no problems, but today seems to be a little more challenging.

And then it dawned on me, why am I baking at all. No one in this house needs all the goodies on my list of items "to get baked". I really only need to bake something, if the occasion arises.

So, I decided to make one more batch of fudge only, with the correct amount of ingredients and put the rest of my baking ingredients away until someone needs something.

I know that my family appreciates all the goodies, but I have one child who is hypo-glycemic, one with low blood sugar, one that will just eat sugary items and then not be hungry for healthy food and my husband who is a total chocoholic and needs to visit the dentist. Then there is me. I am not actually overweight, but I would like to loose about 10 pounds and right now I seem to be craving a salad.

So, I am stopping all the madness and closing the baking cabinet door.

Got a Cost of Living Adjustment Raise

December 14th, 2011 at 01:38 pm

There hasn't been a Cost of Living Adjustment raise for two years due to the recession. But, this year there will be a 3.6% raise. That gives me an extra $56/month or $672 for the year . I'll take it.

Thank you for the Gift card.

December 13th, 2011 at 02:58 pm

A few times per month I go next door and watch my neighbors children. One 4 year old and three 2 year olds (yes triplets). I am only there from 6:30 a.m. until 8:15 a.m. and they pay me $20 each time.

Today was my last day until sometime in January. They gave me a $25.00 gift card to Applebee's (which I love) to thank me for making their mornings so much easier, along with paying me.

There is really nothing to buy them, so I am going to make them a platter of baked goodies to deliver the week of Christmas in return.

A Very Frugal and Transitional Christmas

December 12th, 2011 at 01:10 pm

Well, I am just about done with my Christmas shopping. I think this is a transition year in how much I normally spend on my kids and how much they are used to receiving. They are getting older, 17, 20 and 26. Two of them have jobs and pay for a lot of items they already want or need, like clothes, vehicle costs, etc. And, my oldest lives on his own with his fiance.

So with that said, I am having some anxiety because it has been hard to figure out what to buy my kids, but I also have been a little cash strapped.

In the past years, I usually go off their list and buy items I definitely know they need or want and it totals a hefty sum. For instance, 2010 - spent $1,872.52, 2009 - spent $1,325.87 and 2008 - spent $1,533.86. Those amounts include all extended family presents, parties, baking items, wrapping paper, bags and such, but still seems quite high.

This year, I have totally recycled more. I have been using up items in my home, instead of going out and buying gifts. For example, I made some hard candy in cinnamon and wintergreen because I had most all the supplies around the house and then packaged them in extra jelly jars that I don't use for my Christmas Party gifts with the Bunco girls.



I have also used items for my kids that I never used and picked up along the way for cheap or free. They are brand new items that have been stored in my closet. For instance, a beautiful photo album in a brown suede box and a picture box for my daughter in law for scrapbooking, and a brand new 6-pack cooler and outdoor travel umbrella for my oldest son. His SUV has a tailgating table in the back and I thought he could use the umbrella and cooler with it.

I did purchase all of my kids one or two really nice gifts like a digital camera and boots for my daughter and hockey equipment (skates, gloves and stick) for my youngest, along with getting my oldest and his fiance a waffle maker and a brita for their sink faucet and some groupons to eat out. They are all getting bags of books (which I either got for great prices at used book stores or library and church sales. And for my husband, he is getting a pair of jeans, sweatshirt and candy (he is a dark chocolate candy lover). I pretty much had a rebate, coupon or found coupon codes for everything I bought this year.

So, overall this Christmas, I have only spent $545.08. I do have a couple more items to get for extended family, but I am feeling like it is not enough for my kids. Has anyone else had transition years where purchasing for their older teens and adult children become less. I just don't want this year to be the year of disappointment. The year where they remember they didn't get as much or what they want. It is causing my a lot of anxiety, but I think it needs to be done.

Well, Merry Christmas everyone. I am also looking forward to a prosperous New Year and have a plan in place. It just needs to be tweaked a bit.

Daughter's Birthday - over budget

December 10th, 2011 at 02:17 pm

So I went over budget on my Daughter's 20th Birthday.

Gifts: $40.18
Dessert: Sanders Hot Fudge Ice Cream Puffs $13.00
Dinner Out for 6 at Bar Louie's: $105.84
TOTAL: $159.02

I went over by $59.02. I will have to budget a little better next year.

Passive Income

December 10th, 2011 at 02:06 pm

Adding $18.04 from a class action settlement to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $285.69
Add monies: $18.04
New Total: $303.73

Passive Income

December 8th, 2011 at 01:25 pm

Adding another $3.00 from Pinecone to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $282.69
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $285.69

New Debt Reduction Plan for 2012

November 29th, 2011 at 03:52 pm

Looking ahead to 2012, I have thoroughly pondered how I could possibly be completely out of debt by the end of the year.

Hmmm, as I have lost countless hours of sleep, I came across an idea. My best ideas come in the middle of the night.

What if I could just live off my income and use what my husband gives me to pay back my debt. Let's take a closer look.

My new 2012 regular income will be $1631/monthly. Here is what needs to come off that amount.

*Mortgage: $900/month
*Savings account transfer: $50.00
*Consumers Gas: $180.00 Right now, I am living off a credit of approximately $750, which will take me out of the cold months of next year.
*Electric: $163.00
*Cell phone plans: $100.00 I rounded this number up.
*Internet, cable, landline: $164.00
*Vehicle and Homeowner's Insurance: $143.00
*Water Softener Salt: $25.00
*Sewer Bill: $20.00
TOTAL: $1745.00

Leaving me $114.00 in the hole. But, I am living off a credit right now with my gas company, so that difference could be made up here. This makes consumers actually $66/month that I will keep adding to my checking account which by the time the credit balances out to when I will start owing again, I should be a head in my checking by around $300ish.

Now, for the debt part: The past few years, what my husband has given me from his income averages around $12,000 a year.

Right off the git go in 2012, I am going to get the Art Van paid off and my income tax return will pay off the Care Credit balance before the interest kicks in on that debt, leaving me around $10,000 owed. If I take what my husband gives me and completely apply it to my debt, I believe I could actually have all of my debt gone by the end of the year.

As for the rest of the expenses and unexpecteds, like groceries, gas, my new grand-daughter's baby shower, etc., I can use the money I make from my babysitting and house cleaning business to pay for those areas. I will just have to stay creative and put in a larger garden in the summer and do more canning, freezing, and harvesting next fall.

I have also started a craft business, which has made me a profit so far. I would like to just keep putting all of those monies directly into a seperate account until I can get to a point of paying myself.

And, my summer beach job money can go directly into my savings account to pay for the larger bills like property taxes, Christmas and emergencies, which is what I did last year and it worked out great.

The issue is when should I purchase a vehicle. I am still sharing my daughter's vehicle and eventually, I am going to have to get a vehicle of my own. So this is the area I am working on, but I will figure something out.

Passive Income

November 27th, 2011 at 03:27 pm

Adding another $3.00 from Pinecone to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $279.69
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $282.69

Getting my Business of the Ground

November 14th, 2011 at 01:58 pm

I have been toying with the idea of doing certain crafts throughout the year to bring in extra income. I need to have another form of income in place by January 2013.

So I thought I would put myself out there and make a few items to see how it went. Well, it went better than I could have ever expected, so I am thinking that I found my niche. I really didn't want to go back into an office enviornment, so I am going to give this a shot for a year and see what happens. So far, I cannot keep up with the demand. I have orders pending, but now it is too far into the season to get grapevines that are not too brittle. I will start sooner next year on this project.

These are some of the grapevine trees and wreaths I made, and all have been spoken and paid for.





I have sat down and made an outline as to the direction I want to take my craft business. I came up with a name "Bunny Run Cottage Treasures" and it will included handmade crafts throughout the year. Some will be seasonal and in limited quantities. I am also in the process of putting together a cookbook, which will be called "Bunny Run Cottage Recipes" and will include breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas, savings strategies, holiday entertaining ideas and lots of great pics.

Along with the crafts, I am becoming a part of the "Sisters on the Fly Club" sistersonthefly.com and will be getting my sister number soon.

I recently found my diamond in the rough, a Vintage 1968 Aloha travel trailer, but my husband seems to think it needs too much work, but my 17 year old wants to help me restore it. I have restored a vintage travel trailer in the past and it wasn't that hard, and the price was definately right, so I think my husband might loose this battle, unless he finds me something different soon and within my budget.



I can definately do something great with this travel trailer and be able to travel and make and sell my crafts out of it, similar to this:

http://thebeehivecottage.blogspot.com/2011/11/ivy-st-market-blogging-friends.html

What big fun my future holds, but a lot of work, but it is exciting work that has made me feel like I have a purpose again.

Passive Income

November 9th, 2011 at 03:12 pm

Adding $3.00 from Pinecone to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $276.69
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $279.69

The Ups and Downs of My Debt, but Looking Forward to the Future

November 9th, 2011 at 01:30 pm

Since I have only really been keeping track of my debt since 2008, because before 2008, I didn't have any debt. Somehow I got into some debt, and by the end of the 2008 year, I was:

$16,179.08 in debt.

Then my medical bills creept in and my debt total was up to $27,350.73. By the end of 2009, I was able to pay off over $15,000 in debt and got it down to $11,644.77, before my income was cut in half.

Then some dental work on my youngest child came to be and I ended the 2010 year with $13,147.87 in debt.

We are now in 2011 and we are still working on my youngest beautiful smile, but I have diligently been working on repaying my debt. We have one, maybe two more visits to the dentist, but my overall debt is down to $12,947.45. I still need to make November and Decembers debt payments, so I am not sure where I will actually be when I start 2012.

But, 2012 holds a lot of promise. My income tax return will go directly to debt payoff and I will start seeing a large reduction in my overall debt. All dental appointments will be done with. I have been able to set up an emergency fund over the past year, which has been a lifesaver for not acquiring any more stupid debt. Sharing a car with my daughter has worked out well, although, now my youngest has his driver's license, so he will be driving the neon also. But, we are gonna make it through one more year before I consider buying a car, and at that time, I will pay mostly cash. I have been putting extra money in an account earmarked for a vehicle, while paying my debt and keeping my emergency fund funded.

And, my mortgage will be under $100,000.00 starting the 2012 year. Looking forward to the 2012 year and getting much closer to being debt free.

What's coming up in the next 6 months

October 29th, 2011 at 01:13 pm

Here's what's coming up that I am budgeting for:

November:

Thanksgiving. Budget $20.00. Decided to have a more relaxed holiday this year. Yes, I am staying home and cooking. I might go to my brother's for dessert. I already have my turkey, bought on sale, in the freezer and most all the fixins from harvesting and canning this fall. Just need to decide on desserts.

December:

Two birthdays: Budget $75.00 each. We will go out to eat and they will get a gift.

In the past, I have spent a lot of money on Christmas. I buy for my children (26 year old boy with his fiance, whose 24, a 20 year old girl and 17 year old boy), my husband, my oldest son's dad, 7 nieces and nephews.


So far I have gotten a few good deals.

Brita Water Faucet filtration system: $2.00 money maker after coupons and rebate. (son and fiance)
Nalgene water drinking bottle, free with $4.00 S$H.
Vintage carpet bag purse, $19.99 (daughter's birthday)
Hanes sweatshirt $1.06 (husband)
Nightlight $6.35 (daughter)
Total Money Makeover Book $10.60 (oldest son)

I do have specific items that will need to be purchased for my family, so I am watching for the deals.

We are also putting together a food gift basket for a needy family and are buying a couple presents for the children on the needs list at our church.

January:

My month for Bunco. My theme is Hawaiian and my budget is $50. I found the cutest plates, cups and napkins at the dollar store. I will make a dessert and have coffee, water and a virgin pina colada drink. Just need to find the gifts, which after the holidays will be a great time for this.

February and March:

Baby shower in March for my future granddaughter. I already have some of the plans figured out. I need to figure out a budget and start looking for what I need in January, February and March. I would like to have yellow daffadils and pink tulips, but all that is in the stores right now are mums and poinsettas. Once Christmas is over, all the spring stuff will come out and get me inspired.

April:

Easter and the planning of the 2012 season opening of the beach club.

Well, that is a far as I can get right now.

A Glance at my Budget and Efforts

October 25th, 2011 at 07:39 pm

My total living expenses, which are regular bills, debt repayment, groceries and gas, comes to roughly $2500 a month.

My Income is:

$1575 directly deposited into my checking from my regular job.

$170 - the house I clean twice a month (I am adding more houses after the holidays).

$3,379.46 for my 2011 summer seasonal beach job (Memorial Day to Labor Day, which includes what I charge to clean the club for rentals). This was directly deposited into my savings account for my emergency fund. I have dipped into this cash to pay property taxes, and the most recent $1000 for the items listed in my previous entry. I now need to rebuild.

$20/day for each 2 hours in the morning I babysit the children next door. This is sporadic and usually comes to between $120 - $200 extra each month. This job runs through the school year. I have been putting this money in a seperate savings. I should have somewhere between $1200 and $2000, by the time the school season is over in this account.

I get sparadic amounts of money from my husband when he is working. I try not to rely on this income, and use this for any extras (savings, gifts, debt repayment, whatever is needing to be paid). I would like to try to allocate different amounts of this money to different categories (rebuilding my emergency fund, Christmas, debt repayment, etc.) This is the biggest part I am working on.

Debt Repayment Goal:

I have not been using my credit cards and slowly paying down my debt. I plan on using my 2011 Income Tax return to help eliminate debt. I might also use the money I am saving from babysitting to put towards my debt next June, once I re-evaluate where I am at after I apply my income tax return.

My snowball says a little over 4 years if I keep paying what I have allocated each month, but if I add some windfalls, I will be out of debt earlier. My goal is to not have any debt come January 2013, which is 15 months away. I know it sounds ambitious, but it is a goal that I think I can attain if I just stay focused, or at least have eliminated a good size amount of.

I have reduced my spending on groceries, but have found that lately I have been spending more due to my stocking up with using coupons, which in the long run will save me money.

My recent purchases was Shampoo/Conditioner. They were on sale and I had 20 B1G1 free coupons, so I took advantage of the sale and stocked up. This saved me over $90 and I am hoping to repeat the process when our stock gets low again.

I also purchased a 40lb box of chicken. The chicken is fresh, not frozen, all natural with no hormones or antibiotics for $1.49lb. I will be doing a chicken prepping day for the freezer on Thursday. This saved me almost $80.00. I am hoping to make it to the next chicken sale, but I am also contemplating purchasing another 40lbs right now.

I gardened this year and put up some foods from our efforts. I am still needing to make some apple butter and more strawberry jam, once strawberries go on sale.

I have also been thinking about changing around my cable/landline/internet package. Right now I pay about $1,900/year, which I think is outrageous, but that is what is offered in our area. I did find some information on a Roku box (roku.com) and using online streaming with something like hulu and possibly using a converter box for the regular tv channels, like 2, 4, 7. I could eliminate the cable tv part, my home phone and upgrade our cells a little, and just use internet, which would bring me to around $600/year for all above. Does anyone do this here and could give me more advice?

Passive Income

October 25th, 2011 at 07:30 pm

Adding $3.00 from Pinecone to my passive income total.

Previous Amount: $273.69
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $276.69

Now that the Dust has Settled

October 24th, 2011 at 03:38 pm

My checking account is now back to functioning. But, during the hacking and down time, I drew $1000 of my cash in my savings and left the minimum so not to get any fees. I will be using this checking and savings to the bare bones until I figure out a change.

The $1000 cash I took out of the bank had to cover some emergencies while my bank account was down. This was pretty much all of my emergency fund. Now to rebuild. Below is where it went. Funny how the emergencies know right when to hit. This is the breakdown.

$400 to cover the rest of the month's bills and groceries.

$400 to pay for a new fuel pump for the neon. The neon's fuel pump went out during the time of my bank account being hacked.

$60 for towing, which was re-imbursed.

$25 into a wedding card along with a gift for the bridal shower that I was unable to attend a month ago, because I was working. Got that delivered.

$40 into another wedding card attended over the weekend.

$60.00 for my 40 lbs. of Zaycon chicken purchase which I pick up Wednesday evening. Thursday is my chicken prep day. I'm actually thinking about ordering another one. Then I should be all set through the winter for chicken.

On my to do list for the week.

*Prep chicken - I have my plan hanging on my fridge. I will post a seperate entry for my chicken prep day.

*Work on bagging more leaves and taking them to the compost pile.

*Paint bathroom until I can save money to re-do the drywall next spring.

*Make crockpot apple butter and get it canned.

*Possibly can strawberry jam, this week or next.

*Re-do my budget plan and get posted.

On a good note.

*The neon is running. Thank goodness it didn't break down on my daughter at midnight on her way home from work, but instead broke down on me 1/2 block from my home.

*$3.00 to my passive income total from Pincone.

*We got through the disaster of no checking and survived.

My debt is below $13,000.00. Yeah.

Chase, your letting me down

October 15th, 2011 at 12:26 pm

So, it has been a week since my account was hacked and it still isn't corrected. Really, Chase, you are one of the largest banks and you can't get my bank account corrected.

You were told three times which debits were not mine and then you credit me for merchants I use. Then you have to re-debit it so they can get paid and finally you are getting the debits that are supposed to credited back into my account, but I am still in the negative.

Step up the pace.

So, I am feeling a little apprehensive about using this account at all even though you said you have sent me a new debit card, which I haven't received yet.

I have bills to pay. Do I pull my account out from your bank and go somewhere else. Ugg.

My Coupon Binder - just getting started

October 13th, 2011 at 12:35 pm

So, I have been organizing my office/home life to make better use of my time and money. Some posts back I posted a pic of my new office area.

Today, I am gonna show pics of my Coupon Binder.



This pic above shows the inside cover of my binder where I store my coupons for the different types of shopping, like bed, bath and beyond, not just grocery.



This pic shows coupons for Meijer.



This pic shows coupons for Kroger. I also have two other sections. One for Walgreens and Walmart and one for CVS and Rite Aid.

I do shop at five other stores, but they are only for specific items, like ACO for bottled water and coffee, the Dollar store, K-mart for water softener salt, Sheenas at certain times of the year and Costco for parties. If these areas become larger, I will add a section for them.



This pic is a section in the back of my binder where I have information of projects around the house to get done and coupons for those in page protectors to the left and to the right are outfits that I like that I try to put together when I am shopping at thrift stores.

Through the middle of my binder are all the coupons that are not store specific, but manufacturers coupons in ten different categories that are stored in baseball protector sheets.

Also, in the back of my binder I have a page for coupon lingo and my menu planner pages.

I ordered some specific coupons off of ebay yesterday and I am pretty excited to get started on my extreme couponing for normal people.

My Bank Account was Hacked

October 12th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I check my bank account pretty much every day and yep, on Monday when I checked, my bank account had been hacked.

Somehow, someone, was able to get my debit card number and my security code and charge hundreds of dollars. Well, good thing there is fraud protection and all of my money will be credited.

Just a bummer not being able to access any of my money this week. I do, however, have a little bit of cash stashed just in case.

I am actually only out $50 some dollars. I opted out of the overdraft protection (because I never do overdraft my account), so none of my money transferred from my savings account into my checking account. My checking account just went into a negative balance. The bank said that once everything comes off pending, they will be able to credit it all back and reverse any overdraft charges.

Apology and closing credit cards

September 23rd, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Seems I haven't had too much time to blog or read anyone's blogs here, and I do apologize. I really do love SA and feel like you are all friends and I am truly interested in what is happening in all your lives.

As for mine, well it was out of control busy and I needed to get a rein on it, which I am currently doing.

I am still plugging away at my debt, without incurring any more while building my savings at the same time. My goal, which I have stated many times in the past, is to be debt free (other than my mortgage) within the next couple years, but realistically, my snowball, which I am paying just over the minimums on each debt, while putting any extra towards the Discover, says I will be debt free in 4.5 years, and that is okay also. Although, I know it will be sooner, because of adding the little extras to the Discover and I use my income tax return to help each year.

I have also been calling and closing some of my credit cards that have just been lingering around, like a Lowe's credit card and Micro Center. I have 4 different visa cards, two of them with balances. I am wondering if I should close the two visa credit cards I do not use. One is the first visa I opened and one is a more recent card from Amazon.

I know that my credit score will take a hit, but probably only for a short period of time. I just think it looks crazy to have so many open accounts, even though they aren't being used, with that much available credit. Any opinions?

Reducing the Bills & Saving Money

September 14th, 2011 at 01:54 pm

Yesterday I had a chance to go over some of my bills to see if I could get them reduced.

Phone/Internet/Cable Bill: I am currently paying $159.00month. The representative told me that that was an excellent deal for what I was getting. He says my contract is running out the end of October, so to call a day or two before that time to see what can be done for me then.

Cell Phones. I have been going over my texting usage lately (I have a 200 text plan for $5.00) and it has been costing me more, cause I keep going over that limit. The representative was able to find me a new plan, and now I'm saving about $50/$60/month and I have a credit of almost $80.00.

I was asked by my neighbor to watch their little ones for an hour and 45/minutes in the morning every so often, which is only been 7 times this month. They pay me $20/each time.It is a different amount of time each month. He is a night-time emergency nurse and she a teacher, and there is a gap of time of when she leaves and he comes home that someone needs to be there. I am saving all of that money to see how much I end up with once the school season is over (next June). I figured I could probably save around $1800, give or take.

Money Making Opportunities, Debt and Such

September 12th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Wow, where did the summer go. My summer beach job has come to an end. I ended up making $3,379.46. Not a bad little chunk of change for 15 weeks.

Once Labor Day weekend was done, I went right into another schedule with sharing a car with my kids and their school and work schedules. My youngest just got his driver's license, so there is three of us using one car, but it is working out real well.

Started doing some harvesting and putting some fruit and veggies up in the freezer and pantry. My MIL put in a very large garden and has had an abundance of everything. It has been a great savings for us not to spend money on vegetables at the grocery store.

I have also been fall cleaning and trying to catch up after a busy summer. Did a quick trip to a pawn shop with some useless gold and made $145, plus had a two day garage sale with my SIL and made another $160 on items like clothing, a PS2 and some small trinkets. So, a total of $305 for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it really wasn't that much work at all.

We are going to do another garage sale in October and do it with a fall/winter theme and try to get rid of some items that are geared towards Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We both have vintage and collectible items, so we are also thinking about revamping vintage vases into centerpieces and upcycling some of our really old vintage furniture and jewelry to set up at some craft shows between now and Christmas. Our stuff was selling so well at our first garage sale, that it has got us inspired.

Once 2011 is over and the New Year gets here, I will re-assess my goals and also plan a baby shower for my first grand-baby. We will find out just before Thanksgiving what we are having.

I took another look at my debt and gave it a more realistic payoff goal. I re-did my snowball with just the minimum, plus a few dollars to make it a rounded number up on each debt. (If it was $66.00, then I pay $70.00). It is easier for me to pay a permanent rounded number instead of a decreasing sliding scale interest number. So, I am using $360.00 a month to pay off my debt, not $505. So, my snowball debt payoff is at 55 months or 4 1/2 years, which is a more realistic goal. My intentions are to put any extra monies (like income tax returns) towards my debt to get it paid off earlier.

Updates

August 7th, 2011 at 05:12 pm

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned what the next ten years would probably bring me. One of them was that "I will probably be a grandma". Well, I am gonna be a grandma a little sooner than I had anticipated. I believe my grandbaby is due sometime in March. Don't know the exact date yet, but will need to set aside an account for the baby to cover things like: baby shower, car seat, and just the needed items that grandma's need.

Also, working a lot of extra hours at the Club before the end of the 2011 season, which is 4 weeks away. Need to get as much extra cash as I can in my savings account.

Big ticket items that will need to be paid:
*Summer taxes.
*School curriculum and classes for my 16 year old.
*Buy myself a vehicle.
*Christmas and two birthdays in December.

Got paid for another Pinecone survey. Adding $3.00 to the passive income category.

Previous Amount: $273.69
Add monies: $3.00
New Total: $276.69

I need to rework my budget and call on some of my bills to see if I can get a better less-expensive plan: Cable/internet/landline phone bill, Re-work cell phone bill, vehicle and homeowners insurances.

Plus, I need to start doing some fall harvesting: Freezing, canning, storing, menu planning, stockpiling, etc., to get my grocery bill lower.

Beach Job Money

August 2nd, 2011 at 12:39 pm

My next deposit will be on Friday, August 5th. I am adding my direct deposit to my total beach money, bringing that total to $2029.52, made and saved.

My Next Ten Years

July 25th, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Yes, I turned 50 this year. I don't look my age, so I have been told. In fact, people often don't believe me. I get carded a lot.

Anyhow, started thinking about my next ten years and what it holds for me. This is what I came up with.

*I will be debt free, including my mortgage.
*I will probably become a grandma at least once, maybe twice.
*My career shift will change from a stay-at-home mom, doing different types of jobs to bring in extra income, to a more secure job, possibly 5 days a week, that would include some type of health insurance and retirement package.
*My children (16, 19 and 26) will become less dependent on me, which will free up more of my time to possibly travel with my spouse. I have a bucket list.
*My home will be completely renovated and will only require maintenance. I have been working at turning my home into a more green and self-sufficient place to live.

So, I am looking forward to the next 10 years. I believe they hold a lot of promise.


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