Friday, December 28, 2007
I am so freaking excited...I'm trying to find an extra $20 laying around to send to them, just to see it under $13,000...
How weird is that?
I sent a $250 snowball today...and we got $100 from my mom for xmas - we're just trying to decide where it will go.
It's going DOWN!
(Woo hoo - and it just occurred to me- I haven't even transferred all the money from paypal from the Great Ebay Blitz of 2007! Woo hoo!)
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I told dh that I'd like us to sit down to make reasonable money goals for 2008. I gave him examples: paying off the lower of the 2 BECC's, paying off the dryer debt, keeping the BEF at $1000, sticking to our written budget and using cash envelopes, etc. I asked him to think over what his priorities would be, and we're going to talk about it over the weekend.
Here are my goals for the moment:
1. Keep the car running another year. Hopefully that won't take too much.
2. Get the lower of the BECC's paid down to below $2000. That would mean paying off $2000 or so.
3. Pay off the dryer ($450).
I'm keeping them simple, because I hate it when I set goals too high and then it's impossible to reach. We only have about $50 a month to pay towards debt if I don't do ebay stuff or rummage sales, etc. I do teach summer school and plan to this year, also, which is a nice check, but also has to help us cover other sinking funds like Christmas, etc.
We'll see what dh's list is. He is less involved in the bills part of things, so he may not be 100% sure of where we're at - not because of me hiding stuff or anything like that, it's his lack of interest. I'm working on that, too.
Ah, well. It will be nice not to have to go to the laundromat to dry my stuff again. I told dh - it's not the going there, because that's really not the issue. It's the having to do it all at once and not being able to do other things at the same time that's really annoying. I like being able to throw a load in the washer, go do something, throw it in the dryer, finish what I wanted to do, go back, etc. It'll be nice to get back on track.
They gave a 2 hour window for delivery. I like that - no sitting around all day. Although that's all I'm doing. Sitting around, that is...
Monday, December 24, 2007
We were able to cash-flow Christmas, which feels AMAZING.
We did finally buy a new dryer, but I'm not counting that (stupid, I know - it's all semantics) - it's 0% until June, and we can easily pay that off. I know it's cheating on the snowball, but I couldn't bear to use the EF for it...(hangs head...). It is really good to know that if we CAN'T pay it off by June for some reason, we have the cash to pay it off before the interest hits. That feels good. :) It was really getting to be a pain in the butt to have to wash here and take the clothes to the laundromat to dry. I'd had enough.
Have an amazing holiday - I'll be back with after-Christmas sales reports on Wed or so.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
We deposited it days ago. We know what we plan to do with it. So why haven't I sent it?
Every time I think of sending an amount that big to them, I freeze. And we have a $1000 BEF now, so it's not like we're shorting ourselves in case of emergency or anything like that.
I just don't get it. I keep double and triple checking our numbers, just to make sure we're not forgetting anything.
Maybe this comes from times past when we'd overspend and then not have enough to get through the month...?
I'm confuzzled on it.
ebay news: we had some good sales, and some not-so-good sales. After all fees, etc, we're looking at just under $300 to send to the target card. Yay! We did have our first jerks in awhile - said something showed up broken, didn't pay for insurance after we're really clear that we don't self-insure and can't control what happens with the USPS, PLUS they were saying that it arrived 1000 miles away in a day and a half, when the USPS wasn't registering it as delivered (delivery confirmation is a necessity if you sell on ebay). I flat out told them that we don't self-insure, and we were not going to fall to their scam for the sake of our 100% positive ebay rating. So far - no response. We'll see what they do.
So, the big Ebay Blitz of Holiday 2007 was a success. I'm tired and very ready for Christmas break. No more ebay until about March - it takes that long for people to recover from their cc bills post-Christmas, and sales on ebay are pretty sucky until then.
I do have a commission for a christening gown coming through, which is nice because it's a pretty slow time for business. That will be fun.
And the Packers won, which always makes for a nice day.
And, I'm making fudge tonight, so that's always good. :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We finally got the check from the state today for the work I did last summer! I am SOOoooo glad that we didn't need to wait for it for Christmas money. I would have been so stressed out by now.
I also got ALL of the things on my Christmas ebay shelves listed. If you count all that I've listed in the last 2 weeks, I've done about 70+ listings. ~faints~ I'll need a nap once ebay season is over. I listed the last of it last night. I do have one more thing I want to get on soon (tomorrow night, probably) - some Texas A & M material that I got at a rummage sale. A&M are playing at the Alamo Bowl on Dec 29th, and I'd like to get the material on soon in time for that. Otherwise, ebay is DONE until about March or so, when it will start picking up again. All I need to do now is wait for the auctions to end and ship the stuff out. So far, we have about $200 in paypal - we've paid all seller's fees and reimbursed ourselves for shipping. Not a ton (especially considering the work...ugh...), but better for me than a part-time job at the moment.
It will feel GREAT to send a chunk off to the BECC's. Between the check from the state, ebay sales, and reimbursements, we'll be able to send about $1000 and still have all the sinking funds we need (right now, for the AAA bill in Feb and for updating our dog's shots).
Sunday, December 09, 2007
How could we have spent so much money on groceries? I just don't get it.
Dh does not like the envelope method. He worries we'll run out. I point out - the money has to come from somewhere. We are going to have to sit down and have a serious talk about this.
Our grocery & household budget (tp, cleaning stuff, vitamins, etc) is $350 a month. There's only the two of us, so this should be totally okay.
What did we actually spend during paycheck months? (We get one paycheck a month, on the 20th, so our month is a little different from the calendar month)
So far, since 11/20 (today is 12/9), we've spent $499.44
10/19 - 11/19 = $566.19
9/19 - 10/19 = $515.74
8/19 - 9/19 = 392.20
7/19 - 8/19 = 643.62 (!!!)
6/20 - 7/19 = 536.02
So...I see no significant change in there from when we started DR in July or so. You know, when we're supposed to have been on a budget. I'm tickled with the August paycheck spending - which is still almost $50 OVER what it should be.
I don't know what happened in the July paycheck. Might have been coupon frenzy.
But you see a pattern here. We've already overspent our grocery, etc budget by $150 and there's still 10 days to payday.
Since Oct 1st, we've spent $1200 (!) on groceries, and $358 on eating out.
I need to get this under control. It's both of us. We are both impulse shoppers. Having the cash in the envelope helps keep me focused - maybe I'll set it up with most in envelope, saving half for halfway through payday, and keep $50 in the checking for dh to use the debit card with so he doesn't feel deprived.
What the hell are we buying?
Saturday, December 08, 2007
That's so embarrassing.
Luckily, this one is easy to solve. I finally figured out what I sent to her (I knew I had sent the wrong thing because I found what I was supposed to send to her still on the pile...), and it's an auction that didn't sell (thank God). So I quickly took that one off the list and emailed her. I'm going to send hers out priority this morning, and she can keep (donate, throw away) what I already sent her, no charge of course.
We're out about $6. If that's the worst thing that happens in the Christmas Ebay Blitz I've set up, we're in GREAT condition.
So far, after ebay and paypal fees, plus taking shipping out, we've made about $250 or so. All to go to the target BECC! :)
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I know this will veer from the Dave Ramsey path a little bit, but we aren't willing to give up everything. I guess that makes us not-so-Gazelle. But...there are things that just make life easier that we like having around.
That doesn't mean that we don't view the debt as a very high priority, and any extra money that comes through will go to paying off the BECC's.
In fact, after the last few weeks of actually getting some stuff on ebay, paying all fees and postage, etc - we have over $180 in paypal that we'll be able to send off to the target BECC before Christmas! I'm very excited about that. We dont' have HUGE things to sell on ebay (no really big ticket items), but we're unloading a lot of smaller stuff and getting decent amounts for them. I can live with that. Auctiva really makes my life easier on that part.
Are we willing to go without heat? no. Are we willing to put the heat down to 63 or something? No, sorry. 65 at night, 68 during the day, that's where it's staying (but I do love our programmable thermostat! That rocks!). The money we'd save just...isn't worth being that cold.
Are we going to go without cable? No. Although we may switch to Dish.
Are we going to lose our home phone or cell phone? No. We have the landline for here, and the cell for going places. I don't want two cell phones, and neither one of us is comfortable with no landline.
Will we look at the groceries? You bet. That can always use trimming - it's our biggest expense outside of the mortgage. How can 2 people eat so much?
And eating out? ~blush~ This is the worst for us. We need to stop - I need to grow up and just deal with making dinners. I hate cooking, but jeez...that's just too much money to spend.
It was really nice to talk and agree on things, though. I told him that I've seen people that will make a payment to the cc if they make an impulse buy (like, buying cookies for $2.52, so making a $2.52 payment to the cc company). He's thinking on that. :) He likes his impulse purchases. It sure would make us think twice, though, if we had to pay double. Not so much of a deal, then...
We do agree that what we "find" (with ebay, rummage sales, business sales, reimbursements, rebates, etc) will go directly to the target BECC, even if it's only a few bucks. Those few bucks can add up...just look at our ebay sales...
So it was good.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
- No cc use - YAY!
- Finished BS1 - $1000 BEF in the bank - YAY!
- Got a LOT listed on ebay - YAY!
- Got rid of universal life policy, got cheaper term that fits our needs better, resulting surrender meant we got almost $2000 back - so we pay cash for Christmas, got the BEF, and were able to get caught up on some things that should be sinking funds but just aren't right now --- DOUBLE YAY!
- Still no $800 check from the state...
- Had to dispute one ebay sale because of the stupid buyer...
- Dead dryer - we'll need to buy a new one.
Hey, if those are the worst, I can soooo live with that - and we had an overall great month. :)
I'll be able to send a chunk to the BECC, and then we'll see how the new chart looks from NCN Network!
By the middle of the month, we should be able to send at least $200 to the targeted cc...which would be AWESOME! lol I'm so excited to be able to start sending extra money to the BECC's. Even dh said it would feel really good to send them some extra.
What else have I done to help our money situation? Well...
- I washed clothes at home rather than just use the washer & dryer at the laundromat...
- We are NOT running out to pay full price for a new dryer, we are waiting to see what the sales are. I would prefer Best Buy, only because they often have free delivery and carryout of the old, they have the "reward zone" which is kinda nice for big purchases, and we have a "mystery coupon" that we could use for them (guaranteed at least $5 off, possibly up to $5000. You know, even $50 off would be REALLY sweet...).
- Finally sorted through all my coupons. I've been slacking there - my "to be sorted and filed" pile had expired coupons in it...that's how naughty I've been...
- Sent 4 envelopes of expired coupons to a friend who's an Army wife. She can use them on base. :)
- Got 2 packages mailed off for ebay winnings,
- and packed up 4 more to send Monday,
- and got the rest of the Christmas ebay stuff off the shelves and ready to start processing for ebay. That was cool.
- Put together a reimbursement sheet for our medical reimb. program - we'll get a few bucks back, which is planned to be sent as a snowflake to the BECC...
- and a rebate for $2.99
- and a rebate for $18.72. All of those are intended to be sent directly to the BECC. I have one for $8 here at home, just haven't gotten to the bank yet.
- ...that might be it. But hey, I'm ecstatic with all of that!
Packers lost, which is really sad. It was my birthday on Thursday, too - I thought they'd give me a really nice birthday present. Shucks. ;)
Saturday, November 24, 2007
So - I was able to get 5 auctions listed tonight, in addition to relisting some things that didn't sell. I also have at least 2 more that are scheduled to start tomorrow night (I'm picky about when my auctions end - I like them to end between 6:30 and 8:30 CST).
I have such a huge ebay pile for Christmas stuff, and it hit me just about 2 weeks ago that I needed to get my butt in gear - because those auctions need to END no later than the 10th or so in order for people to get them before the holidays. Plus, ebay just DIES in January, so I need to get as much on there as possible to get my ebay stash down before the late-winter death of sales.
No stress. Nope, not here. I soooo want to get as much sold to send a big ole payment to BECC #1. That would be SO COOL, especially right at xmas time.
(side note: our dryer seems to be dying. It's 9 years old and is making a terrible rumbling sound. Still turns, still dries, still blows air - but terrible noise. I'm so worried about how much it will cost to fix it...we just got the BEF set up!!)
Friday, November 23, 2007
I have amazing memories of Black Friday. I love it. It's the start of the Christmas season for me. I always find some cool deals, and I have a blast.
But looking through the ads this year, things just don't seem like great deals. Not much that seems worth getting up at 5am and spending our hard-earned money on.
I was really bummed. I still went out, got some things, but nothing like I used to.
I actually stayed within budget. And I, you know...thought about what I was going to buy.
Seriously. Dave Ramsey kills Black Friday.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I am so excited to move on to BS2. We are not using any of the insurance money as a snowball, but we do have it completely budgeted - xmas money, some for me to get some new clothes (desperately needed - it's been 7 years since I've bought work pants for myself...), and a few other things we've been putting off.
So - officially, here comes the snowball!!
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I am SO freaking excited, I can hardly contain myself.
I surrendered an old rip-off life insurance policy after I was sure the new insurance was in place, and we're getting just under $2000 back on it.
This will give us the BEF, update our Christmas fund, give us the money to pay some big annual bills coming up, and still send some to the BECC.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
How did October go?
- No increase in the BEF...
- But also, NO use of the cc's. I think that ROCKS.
- Although the tough part of the month was over by the 20th with payday, we've been doing very well with the Oct paycheck (we get paid monthly). Perhaps I need to do monthly reviews around payday, since that's really our month...
- Got new life insurance...
- But haven't cancelled the old yet. The new doesn't have my check as cleared yet. As soon as that goes through, the old is over and we'll get a check that will help us refund the BEF and xmas fund.
- Only ate out twice (although once counts for Nov, I guess, but I mean per paycheck - we went out to breakfast yesterday, planned out, and it was great).
- Made some ebay sales, even though I'm still waiting on payment for one. What would you do? Person writes back after 3rd email and says they are waiting to make sure another auction clears before paying us. wtf?
- Got my computer fixed so I can continue with ebay downstairs.
Not bad, hey?
Monday, October 29, 2007
so now - I can get ebay back on the road. I've spent some of this down time organizing the basement and sorting through auction boxes for what can go on ebay and what will go in the rummage pile. It was good.
We made about $70 on ebay stuff in the last week, while the computer was down. We're waiting on two more money orders, but two came on Saturday, so we have another $45 or so, but have to subtract shipping costs from them. I need to check our funds - these might have to go to get us current. But if not, they are being whipped into the BEF before we can even think about it!
We've done very well since payday - no outlandish spending. I did have to go grocery shopping - "big" grocery shopping, but still stayed well within our budget. That felt great.
Meals are planned, computer is working, no use of the BECC's, and life is great. :)
Although I was fantasizing on what life will be like with no payments...can you imagine? After the house is paid off, we'll have over $1500 a month to do other things. That will be amazing.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
The poor thing is so old, we can't even get parts anymore. Dh is looking to see how much it will cost to upgrade minimally. After all, all I need is to be able to get onto the internet, fix my pics in Photoshop, use Quicken, and write. We stopped at the local "fix your computer" place, and they had a motherboard that we thought would work - now dh's not so sure. It was $60, which we have from ebay sales, but if we need new RAM, etc, it will go up and will have to wait until we have more sales. More sales means that I need to be able to get on the computer. And...so on.
We did get the paperwork for the new insurance. I need to get that payment out, and it says coverage starts on the 1st. Once I'm certain of that, I'll cancel the old universal policy and we should get some money back from them.
Otherwise, we've been doing very well on the "no eating out" - even dh fell off that one earlier this week and offered pizza for dinner, and I said no. I was very proud of myself on that one. :)
I've also gotten a lot of work done downstairs, which is nice. Tomorrow, I will be working on getting the yard put to bed for winter, which is always a necessary evil.
But still...no computer. :( The brightest light in this is that we haven't used our (pitifully small) BEF to buy something for the computer, and even better - we haven't used the BECC's, even though we do have money open on them. I can't help thinking that if we had controlled ourselves in Aug/Sept after the car/computer crash, we'd be able to pay for this now...but hey. I'll survive.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
So we need to wait for some ebay sales, etc before we can fix that one. I'm scrounging for computer time lately, so I'm not able to post as much as I wanted. BUT - we have agreed not to use the cc for that, and not to touch our (pitifully small) BEF. Yay us!!
Last night, though, with no computer, I got a lot done in the basement - put up a new shelving unit for ebay stuff (the 3rd shelf set for ebay stuff!), organized some boxes, went through 3 more auction boxes to sort, moved some things, emptied another shelf, which now is next to the freezer and not out in the middle of the aisle...
that was good.
Also organized some of my sewing stuff.
I have the next two days off, which is nice. Even though I can't get on my computer to list things, I can work in the basement on stuff to post for when it is ready.
Okay - work calls.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Isn't it weird how you get used to having 2 computers around (3 with the laptop) and when one is gone, it feels like you're deprived?
Dh also went to go get the part for the lawnmower...$30 for the one part, no return on the other part, and glory be! we need a third part which will be about $100. Dh ordered it...not sure how we'll pay for it.
I'm tired. You can tell. I'm delighted I made my post today, but I'm off to a nice hot bath. :)
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Okay - things having to do with money today:
- We planned a breakfast out, and did well - ate at Denny's with a B1G1 Free coupon, and I ended up taking half of mine home for breakfast tomorrow. I like that.
- We had already set aside the money this month to go see the new "Elizabeth" movie. Both of us loved the first one, and we were really looking forward to this one. We went to the noon showing (still $12! Holy crap! It's been awhile since we went to the movies...but jeez...that's matinee prices - what are regular prices?!) - and I was very proud of dh - no soda (we did bring in a 20 oz) and no popcorn. :)
- Planned meals
- Finished the laundry (okay, nothing to do with money, but it was on my to do list for the weekend...)
- and tonight I need to relist the things that didn't sell on ebay last week.
All in all, pretty good. Oh, and dh fixed a little can-safe that we've had for years - the top fell off, and he was able to pry the rest off and reglue it, which saved us about $15 for a new one. We keep our sinking funds in there - it looks like a can on the shelf but actually unscrews to keep things in. I was delighted not to have to find one and shell out more money for it.
So, an uneventful weekend...and somehow, I need to get the bills done. Dh needs to spend some quality time with my computer. :)
Sub sandwiches for dinner - YUM!
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Well, a few good things - yesterday was payday, thank God. I got an extra $18 before taxes (which came to about...umm...$7 more in my paycheck) for subbing for another teacher for an hour. We got a reimbursement check from the caf med plan for $86, and we also had two auctions end on ebay for about $20 or so.
This will help us get back on top of a few things - our dog needs a haircut before winter (longhair), and we spent that money earlier, so this will help. Also, we used the money set aside for AAA, which is due in Feb ($120), so it can help get that back up, too.
I also finally got some info from the union on life insurance, and decided to go with them. I have 20 year level term for $100,000 through them, plus my varying term $100k through them, and $75k through work. That puts us at just below $300k, which was my goal. As soon as I have the papers in hand, I will be cancelling the gut-wrenching rip-off universal life policy ($40k, which costs more per month than what the $200k term will from the union) and we should get about $1500 back.
Which would be REALLY nice to help us get through Christmas and rebuild the BEF so we can start plowing away at the BECC's (Big Evil Credit Cards).
So...that was my day. :) We didn't even go out to eat.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
We have done okay this week. From what I posted earlier this week, we were down to $2 in cash this morning (not including the $40 I put in the sinking funds, which we had taken to get through til payday) - and dh went to the store to get milk, so we are BROKE! But - we made it through the month without touching what was left of the BEF.
Last night we had spaghetti for dinner, and tonight is either grilled cheese and soup or hamburgers, not sure which yet. Both, of course, are already here and need no trip to the store. :)
I was not at work today, but at a conference. And, I spent no money - not for breakfast or soda or anything on the way home. That was cool, too.
The longer I go without eating out, etc, the easier it is. Today, I'm taping Oprah to see if it's any good - Suze Orman is on, and they're talking about debt. I can handle Suze Orman on good days, until she starts her man-bashing and confusing diatribes. We'll see how long I can take her today. :)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
I am not a fan of writers who think that they are making something look easy and applicable to all people, regardless of career, age level, investing style, etc. This guy falls in that category. I did mention the similarities to Dave Ramsey, but overall, don't waste your time on this book - unless you are a marketing genius, interested in starting your own business on marketing or advertising, or a copywriter (or interested in becoming one). Otherwise, nope, nada.
Most people don't understand how salaries work for teachers. The old "just work harder and you'll get a raise" stuff doesn't work. The wonders (roll eyes) of unions means that I make just as much as someone else with my same education/training (master's degree) and years of experience (10) - no matter what value I add to the district versus what they add to the district. So, I am the best teacher I can be, doing extra, dept chair, going to workshops, working with the state, reading up on new ideas, etc. I make the same exact amount of money as someone who shows up late, makes their kids do questions out of the book and stay silent all hour, shows up a minute before the 1st hour bell, and is out the door the second after the last bell.
In other words, there is no incentive to do better.
And...people wonder why some teachers get burnt out and lose touch...? There is no incentive to do otherwise.
I teach econ...man, life is all about incentives.
But..hmm...this was supposed to be about that book...Okay, here's the tie. People like this author say that you should just work harder and get paid more - it doesn't work that way in education. I can work outside of school at a second job, sure. I can tutor, I can write curriculum, I can market myself to other districts, etc. But I will not advance further in this job without (1) more education, and/or (2) more years of experience. That's it.
Okay. Off my soapbox.
The second part of the book was a series of people he interviewed about how they made their first million. It was interesting, although I skimmed through a lot because I'm not into marketing, etc (other than for my sewing stuff). And at the end, he does try to pull it all together.
If you are in business, or want to be - this could be interesting. I'll stick with Dave Ramsey, because he is really open to all types of people - and realizes that people lead different lives. That's what's best about him. And why I keep coming back.
We contacted the auction house, but he said, "All sales are final, congratulations." So we had two rings. BUT - no money to get them appraised, so they sat for a few weeks.
Sunday, there was an ad in the paper that there would be estate buyers at a local hotel conference center, and they would appraise and buy jewelry, silver, etc. We went over there last night and the guy confirmed it was a diamond, although an old, undesirable cut.
Long story short, we got $42 for both rings. The diamond was under a carat, and couldn't be recut (it was a "miners' cut" - flat bottom, didn't show the brilliance of the diamond, etc). Now, I'm not sure whether we were screwed on that or not, but it paid for what I spent at that auction, at least, so I'm content. Hopefully I will not find out later that it was worth a few thousand. :)
I'm not adding it to our BEF at the moment, though, because I had to borrow from our sinking funds to get through the month - it's going back in there.
Would have been nice if it was $10,o00...but $42 will work. I guess. ;)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Dh has been going along with the Dave Ramsey plan, as I describe it to him. He's not a big reader, because the angle of holding a book really hurts his neck (he is disabled). And he hasn't really listened to the mp3's or radio show.
BUT...when I told him the tv show was on, he was mildly interested. When the channel finally started showing up around 6pm tonight (Dave's show is on at 7), I was really excited, and dh ended up watching the whole hour with me!
We had a great discussion (I always knew dh would like Dave), and he agreed with me that it was an interestin show and he liked Dave for his common sense, conservative views, and his Christian teachings.
I am SO hyped!
(The show was great, just like his radio show, really. I'd add more, but I need to head off to bed.) :)
More tomorrow -
Monday, October 15, 2007
I started a book last night. Not sure how I feel about it, because the idea is so different from Dave Ramsey in many ways, who makes sense to me and I like his program. Now, there was a REALLY good sentence... BUT - in other ways, it's very similar.
Anyway - it's called "Seven Years to Seven Figures: The Fast Track Plan to Becoming a Millionaire" by Michael Masterson. I have read up through about half of the first chapter.
He claims that he was doubtful that becoming a millionaire could be done in such a short time, but then he analyzed some info and found that most self-made millionaires have done it within about 3 years from the time they decided to do it.
He points out that debt must be gone (duh) and you must increase your income and find higher yield investments such as stocks and real estate, in order to increase your net worth.
And, he points out focus. That it must be your #1 goal.
So here's my way of looking at it, at the moment (I don't know if I'll read the whole book, depends on how juicy it gets in the next 50 pages or so...) -- it's actually a LOT like Dave Ramsey. Here's some commonalities:
(1) Get rid of debt. Although Masterson assumes you don't have any (ha!) and don't need to do that step (there is really no mention of debt reduction in there), the main idea is that you have extra money to use for this.
(2) Live below your means. The book says that even when you start making money, act like it's not there and put it into investments, thus making your net worth grow that much faster.
(3) Increase income. Dave will say to a caller that it's not a debt problem, but an income problem (at times). Masterson says that you wont' get anywhere on the salary you have, and you need to increase your income by starting a business or rising as quickly as you can at the job you have.
(4) Gazelle Intensity. Masterson points out focus as the #1 thing to help increase your income and become a millionaire within 7 years. Sounds like being Gazelle to me!
Interesting how things apply to Dave Ramsey so much....more later -
Sunday, October 14, 2007
First, Google Adsense...finally.
Also, labels on posts.
Add to that, I'm going to start color coding my posts again...for extra income and nasty expenses.
Then, RSS feed through Feedburner.
And BlogRush - very cool.
A word cloud, just because I think they're fun.
Include - Auction Ads. Great idea!
My NCN Network Chart, even though it's depressing and in the negative...that's us, so I'm sticking with it. :)
Some financial news just for kicks.
And finally, Frugal Blogroll.
I know this makes for an enormous amount of stuff to look through on the side, but I have set myself two goals for the rest of October: (1) Post daily (which will be very difficult for me, but very good for me, too), and (2) get more traffic here. I need this site, it helps me stay on track. I need to use it.
1 - cleaned the house. While this may not seem money-saving, it's a tough one for me, and it saves me from being OUT of the house (which usually means buying something) because I can't stand how the house looks. So, one for me. :)
2 - made homemade pizza last night for dinner, and it was darn good. Saved dinner out, because we were having a pizza attack. I REALLY miss the oven in the summertime - I'm glad it's cooling off enough to use it again.
3 - hit Walgreens today for a couple of sales they have. I spent $3.08 and got: 6 Lysol toilet bowl cleaners and 2-20 sq ft tin foil. Not bad, hey?
4 - updated Quicken so we know where we are. We had about $60 left to last us until payday on Friday. I only say "had" because I needed to fill up the gas tank ($30), so now, we have about $30 to last until Friday. BUT - our house is full of food, so we should be just fine.
5 - on the suggestion of another ebayer, I signed on with Auctiva (http://www.auctiva.com/). It's free, and VERY cool. It will save things from auction to auction and will schedule when to list auctions, which I LOVE. Sometimes, I don't post on ebay because of what time it is, and ebay requires a cc on file PLUS charges 10 cents per listing to schedule when you want your auction to start. This Auctiva does that for FREE. Love it. (in case you're wondering- the scheduling is important because that's when your auction will end, and it's MUCH better to have your auction end in the evenings, around 6-9 pm. Research I've seen shows that this is when more people are sitting around on their computers playing on ebay. Anyway - I got 7 auctions listed and ready to start this evening. I like that a LOT!
6 - planned meals for the week.
7 - did all grocery shopping for the week on Sat for just under $20.
8 - applied for new term insurance to up my insurance amount (dh cannot work, and if anything happened to me, I worry constantly about what would happen to him - we talked and agreed that I needed to get enough on me that if anything happened, he could live off the interest of the insurance) -- once this goes through, it will cost LESS than the $40K universal policy I have on me, which will be cancelled and allow us to fund our BEF and xmas funds.
9 - Ummm...jeez, wouldn't it be great if I had 10 things here? Uh...okay, I sorted through 5 more boxes and put the stuff into my ebay pile or the rummage pile. I have so much to ebay...and Auctiva is really helping with that!
10 - ehhh...oh, we had skillet breakfast this morning, stopping our desire to go out to eat this morning, too! In fact, in the last 2 weeks, we have had only 2 meals outside the home. I am SOOOoooo proud of us for that. It's astounding how much longer the money lasts when you plug that hole.
Okay. Here's my 10 things. What did YOU do this weekend to help meet your goals? (That's for the 4 people out there that read me...) :)
Friday, October 12, 2007
"Self, what do you really have to say?"
So I didn't. Then, I thought to myself a little more analytically.
"Self," I said, "It doesn't matter if you have anything earth-shattering to say. But blogging helps you get info out of your head and onto paper (so to speak), and you know it helps you focus, so just write SOMETHING. It doesn't matter how short the message."
"As a matter of fact," I added, "People might appreciate a small post from you for once!"
So here I am.
This week went okay. We did very well on not spending a ton of money, and I am amazed at how long our money lasts (and how we stay on budget) when I don't eat out for breakfast.
Who'da thunk it?
I've spent time down here in the "office" getting ebay stuff sorted and set to go, and did some shopping for FREE stuff at Shopko (Vive Pro was B1G1 free and I had a B1G1 free coupon, so FORTY free shampoos and conditioners...no, we're not hogs, we donate lots and will keep some for the rummage in the spring...).
As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of writing up a little one page document that's easy to follow to sell for a quarter or something at my rummage sale in June - how to get these things for so cheap with coupons. I know if I were at a rummage sale and saw a whole bunch of unused shampoo, toothpaste, etc., and someone had a sheet there with the "secrets", I'd pay a quarter. Or fifty cents. And if I can sell even 10 of those at 50 cents, that's $5 towards our debt.
Okay - I'm off to stop talking and start doing. :)
Sunday, October 07, 2007
And all week long, I've just been lazing around, feeling sorry for myself (short version: we used almost our entire BEF to fix the car & computer, kept spending, got behind on some bills, felt like failures). I did a REALLY good job of falling behind on everything in the house (cleaning-wise) and work (grading-wise - I'm a high school teacher).
Yesterday was WAKE UP DAY. I don't know why I always do this to myself, but there it is. I walked into the basement (HUGE mess, all stuff to go in the ebay sale pile or the rummage pile), and lost it. Really lost it. I went on a whirlwind frenzy that my dh hasn't seen in quite awhile.
What did I accomplish, you ask? Glad you did. I am now bound and determined to have our BEF back and our xmas fund SET by November 15th. No reason for that date, it just sounded good.
- Rearranged all the ebay stuff to what I will be selling this fall, and into this holiday season. All xmas stuff is together, all fall stuff is together, etc.
- Moved all the stuff from local auctions away from the exercise and sewing equipment so that they can be used. All the local auction stuff is sorted into keep-sell-pack for the rummage sale next spring.
- Put up two new sets of shelving for ebay stuff. I'm so organized now, it's scary.
- Washed my kitchen floor. No mean feat. It's ugly, white (when clean) and has lots of little nooks and crannies that are hard to keep looking decent. Took 3 times - one on hands and knees, one with a mop, one with a sealer.
- 3 loads of laundry
- Arranged/applied to purchase new life insurance. I've had an old universal policy for years that is just a rip. $25 a month for $40,000. I've had it since I was 20 - 17 years, and it's "value" is about $2000. When I think of what I'd have if I had put that $25 a month into a good mutual fund, I cringe. Ah, well, live and learn. I will now have $500,000 between 3 different companies for under $20/month. (Part of that is through work as a benefit, not out of my paycheck). The cash value for the cancelled policy (after I know I've been accepted for the other) will help replenish the BEF to $700, then the xmas fund back up to $500 (we need about $300 for that), then whatever is left will finish the BEF and go towards the largest BECC (Big Evil Credit Card).
- Paid all bills and updated Quicken. We officially have $150 to last us until payday on the 20th. That needs to be food and gasoline. No problem. We can do that.
- I took a trip to CVS to stock up on some stuff and used ECB's and a gc for transferring prescriptions. Finished weekly groceries at Walmart - total oop was $7. I like that.
Okay. I'm pumped back up, and need to face this head on without the whole "feeling sorry for myself" crap. Tonight I will need to do some grading while the Packers game is on (GO Pack!), but from now until then, I am working on getting the sewing room set back up so I can get some things made and posted on ebay/etsy.
Woo hoo! Found the wagon! :)
(Cross posted from http://www.llnoe.com/ boards. :))
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Last month, we were doing so well, until we were hit with the car repair and computer crash. Then, it's like we lost all control. Our savings went from over $700 to under $100 in about 6 days.
And we haven't felt on top of things ever since.
I still feel behind. I just updated all our bills, etc in Quicken, and we have $300 to last us until payday (Oct 20th). We got paid a week ago. It's all gone. And, even worse...we haven't paid the cable or cell phone yet.
So, basically, we're screwed. $300 for groceries and gas for 4 more weeks, plus an "I have no clue where we'll get the money" hole to pay for the cable and cell phone. We could use the cc if we can't get it together. That is a triple whammy - (1) we add to the never-ending cc balance, (2) we lose the momentum we were slowly gaining, and (3) it will increase our min payment next month.
Plus, I put this off for so long that I had to pay a rush payment for the cc ($15) or face a late payment ($45). Totally my fault, still not cool.
I feel so constantly behind the 8 ball. I have no clue why this, and food, I can't get under any type of control. I'm sure Dr. Phil would have a field day with me.
I haven't met any of my goals for Sept (see earlier post). None. not one. I have a giant ebay pile, which is gathering dust. I've worked here and there on it, but work has been extremely stressful and I just haven't had the energy to come down here to work on getting things posted.
Man, I'm in a really "feel sorry for myself" mood, aren't I?
I guess I just need to head off to the tub for a (hopefully) relaxing soak, and go to bed.
But I really just feel like curling up and crying. I'm so frustrated and sick of all the money crap.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
MINUS 2.98% looks really bad. I don't like it. It needs to change.
I realize that we did what we did (charged again) and I need to move past it, but it's hard sometimes to look and figure out why we act the way we do. Now, for us, it came down to staying within budget (for once), but having two major unexpected things happen and using savings, but not taking into account that we may need to take it easy in other areas while we figure out what's going on. We stressed, we ate out more, we didn't stop buying - and that just killed us.
So, lesson learned, I guess...but what good is a lesson learned if you don't apply it? This is really the story of our lives - we do this over and over and over and over...you get the idea. (And I'm not really trying to sound like I'm beating myself up, I know it does - but it's frustrating). So..yeah, I can say "lesson learned", but it only counts if you stop using the poor judgment.
Granted, we had the money in the EF, which was cool. And although we did use the cc, we kept it to as minimum as we could, and we stopped the leak when I noticed what we were REALLY doing.
Okay. Now. The other confession. Because, the update on that chart is from mid-August, not a few days ago.
I have no clue how that ended up that way.
I do not know how I ended up with a HIGHER balance on the Aug 26th chart update than when I first started the chart with NCN in June.
Hmm. That didn't feel as bad as I thought it would. Go figure.
I like to tell myself that I just sent the wrong numbers in to start. And I was really tempted to just start a new chart over. But no...we need to learn. I need to see those numbers. And that's cool.
Whew. I feel better.
Anyway - right now, our goal is not the debt, but a $1000 Baby Emergency Fund. So the debt is on hold, but the plan is not to incur new debt, which is a darn good goal. :)
btw - thanks to NCN for all the work he does. It's amazing how much goes into his webpage, not to mention chart updates, etc. When I first started looking at personal finance blogs, he was right up there as a trendsetter (or whatever you want to call it) - and he's been an inspiration. You rock, man. :)
okay - enough depressing stuff (debt) ...I need to go get some stuff posted on ebay! I have listed 9 things. My goal is 25 auctions finished by the end of September. I can do that! BEF, here we come!
Friday, September 07, 2007
It was our car this time.
It took us 4 days and about $210, but I think we fixed it really well this time. It's not overheating, and it's running great. The A/C is working now, too (side benefit - we didn't actually pay to have that fixed).
Then, our big hard drive fritzed out. As in, all our photos (our Vegas pics! Waaah!), all our home movies, genealogy information, home directory with scanned in medical records, tax return forms, house info, car info, you name it. All our music files - over 15,o00 of them. All of it. Gone.
Luckily, the local computer geeks can do recovery. It's been 2 days. It's going to cost us about $230 ($100 for data retrieval, $130 for a new, smaller drive to put it on).
The only good thing there is that we only bought the big drive in Jan (less than 12 months ago) and there is a 5 year warrantee on it, so we will be sending it back to be replaced.
So, our BEF is no longer sitting pretty at over $700. It's not quite a start-over, but close.
I'm not angry - but it's very frustrating. It took a long time and a lot of work to get that money together - and in 3 days - it's GONE.
So...I'll sign this as frustrated, annoyed, and a tiny bit angry. Not about what happened, really (we saved ourselves from worse financial stuff -- buying a new car was looking like a necessity), but over our situation. Lots of "woulda coulda" things there. If we hadn't fallen into the credit card trap (again)... If we had only saved up some money for the car, when we knew it was getting old... If we had only backed up the stupid drive like we know we should...
- Look at this as incentive to keep going on building the BEF.
- Keep in mind how lucky we were that it wasn't too expensive, and we had the CASH, so we were able to keep the cc's locked away.
- Back up the drives if it's something important, no matter how long it will take you!
Saturday, September 01, 2007
- Finished wedding dress + 3 bridesmaids' dresses
- Increased BEF tremendously - about 75% complete
- Received curriculum writing checks + one reimbursement check from work
- Learned about couponing and had a lot of fun buying stuff for 85-90% off
- Couponing has been fun, but it does trigger my shopping addiction. I spent too much money. Not terrible, but more than I should have - that money belonged in our BEF. (I do, however, have a nice stockpile started...)
- That overspending has bled into other areas - we ate out WAY too much.
- At this moment, we are unable to pay the cable bill and cell phone bill without hitting the cc's. I still have a few days to find the money, so I'm waiting. I may need to take it out of the BEF to teach us a lesson - STOP SPENDING.
- Didn't finish my "to do before school starts" list
- Did not get anything listed on ebay, written for Associated Content, or listed on etsy.
Goals for September - non-work related, but things that can help us finish the BEF and get going on paying down the BECC's (Big Evil Credit Cards):
- Ebay has free insertion fees for the month of September. I need to list stuff. LOTS of stuff. I will make a goal of 25 things this month - 25 auctions FINISHED by the end of September. No problem. I can do that.
- Organize the ebay area of my basement so I know what I have. Not truly money-making on it's own, but it will help get things moving.
- Write at least 3 articles for Associated Content.
- Only complete couponing deals if they meet one of three criteria: (1) the item is FREE and we will use it or donate it, (2) the item is under $1 after coupon/sale, and we will use it ourselves, limit of 10 per deal, or (3) item is at least 50% off and we really like it but don't use it all the time, limit of NO MORE than 5 per deal. The other part of this is that we NEED it - I don't need more hair coloring, conditioner, or toothpaste (but I will take those if they are FREE so we can donate it).
- Work in the sewing room to get items made and ready to sell on etsy.
- Update my business web page and work on moving more traffic. Set up a shopping cart. Delete the wedding dresses, etc, and get things on there that can be immediately purchased. You know, nothing huge. (gulp)
All right. That, of course, is in addition to the job teaching HS social studies that I do in my spare time. :)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
I do have a REALLY nice set-up and stockpile, but I overspent a little bit. Luckily, it went over 2 paychecks (we get paid on the 20th of each month), so it isn't hurting as much as it could. Plus, we still have "extra" money coming in from side stuff. BUT...that doesn't help our overall debt-reduction plan.
Lesson learned: just because you get things cheap doesn't mean it's a good idea to save the money NOW. We are only two people. We do not need 5 tubes of toothpaste, even if I only paid a quarter a piece for them. Now, I know that $1.25 will not break us, but it's an example - and it all adds up.
So - no more coupon deals unless it's (1) free, or (2) a super-good deal (80% off+) and it's something we really use/need. That's it.
On a brighter note, we are closer to our BEF of $1000 - we are now at $767.74. We should have the $1000 within a few weeks. The September check will show my annual raise/step movement on the salary scale, and I'm still waiting for over $800 worth of reimbursements and honoraria.
So...we're still plugging away. I need to get on Quicken soon to pay the bills. Like, in the next 2 days.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Here we go:
Festival of Frugality is up at The Happy Rock: http://www.thehappyrock.com/2007/08/21/88th-festival-of-frugality-about-me-edition/
The Carnival of Debt Reduction is at I've Paid for this Twice Already - woop woop, girl! Great job! http://www.paidtwice.com/2007/08/20/welcome-to-the-101st-carnival-of-debt-reduction
The Carnival of Personal Finance is at The Simple Dollar - http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/08/20/carnival-of-personal-finance-114/
And the Carnival of Money Stories is up at ...well, the Carnival of Money Stories! http://carnivalofmoneystories.wordpress.com/
So...seriously. Am I the only pf blogger that doesn't have a domain name? I mean, I know I'm not as high traffic as others, but jeez.... ;)
Have a great week! I'm hoping to post pics of my couponing glories and how I organized them. 'Cuz that's just what I've been doing. I should be able to finish tonight. Next job: ebay stuff. I have 7 days until I have to return to work, but 13 days before the kids come back. How much can I get done in 2 weeks? Hmmm....
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I honestly have gotten so much stuff for so little money the last ...oh, 3 weeks or so...that my dh has to put together a set of shelving for me to house it on, because I have no where to put it upstairs.
It started with the Living Like No One Else forums (for Dave Ramsey followers - go to http://www.llnoe.com/ - it's amazing!), and the suggestion to try couponing to cut back on the grocery bill. I scoffed...we live in Land of No Doubles (LOND) and all the coupons I see for food is weird stuff that we don't eat anyway. Plus, who has the time for that?
But...it's been so much FUN! I know I won't be able to keep it up quite like this after school starts up again, but I've been cutting out coupons, buying multiple papers, and even buying off ebay (next time, I'll buy off http://www.couponclippers.com/ - much cheaper). I'll cut out any coupon that I think MIGHT possibly be useful. I had to change my mindset on it. Instead of asking myself, "Would we really use this?" I'll ask "If I got this free, or close to it, would I use it?". It's been amazing.
I've even started keeping a little savings journal. I write down what the shelf price is, what the sale is, and how much I paid out of pocket (OOP). This is just for my own (prideful) ideas - I like to see how much I've saved. In the last few weeks, I've spent about $80 OOP (the good thing is, with the summer school check and all the extra stuff I've been doing, we had some money I could put aside to play with this). BUT - the shelf value of all that stuff (mostly health & beauty aids) is well over $600. Really!
A sample of what I've gotten for FREE with these deals: 2 Satin Care shave gels, 2 tubes of Crest toothpaste, 1-12 pack of men's Gillette razors, 2 large Head & Shoulders shampoos, 1 large Olay "Quench", 2 Venus 3-packs disposable razors, 1 large Pantene conditioner, 3 Old Spice bath & shower gel, 9-20 packs of Always liners, 10 super packs of Duracell batteries, 2 Gillette after-shave gels, 14 Vive Pro conditioners, 4 Vive Pro super conditioner gel, 2 Vive Pro shampoo, 6 men's Adidas deoderant, and 4 women's Adidas deoderant.
And...that's just what I got for FREE! I also got some great deals on other things - Dawn dishsoap for $.50 a bottle, Hamburger Helper for $.19 each, Suavitel fabric softener for $.89 each (and I'll be getting 8 more at $.75 each once they restock...rainchecks are cool...), Ragu spaghetti sauce for $.42 each...you get the idea.
The trick is...get multiple coupons, scour the sales and match up the coupons. And it's so much fun!
If you're interested - start small. Try the forums at LLNOE. If you're a little braver, try the forums at http://www.hotcouponworld.com/ . They are simply amazing. They'll preview the ads, match them up with coupons, and tell you just where the hottest deals are. Gotta love it.
I even tried CVS...the mother of all confusing programs, but with great rewards if you play it right. I spent $8.50 on tea bags I would have bought anyway (dh is a HUGE iced tea drinker) and $3 on something I wouldn't have, but got $3 + $3 in "Extra Care Bucks", good on any purchase, same as cash. I need to go check out the ads for next week...
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I've been floating around the Living Like No One Else boards (http://www.llnoe.com/) and really learning a lot. We have our Baby Emergency Fund up to $533.74! (Hey, just thinking...it may actually be higher because of interest paid at the end of July...so possibly a few cents (literally) more!) Soon - we'll have that up to $1000 and will start paying on the cc's.
I have a few goals before school starts up in a few weeks. They're pretty easy goals, it just depends on how much time I decide to set aside for them. :)
- Linen closet tally. I took advantage of the great Kmart/Duracell/P&G coupon. Seriously, I did this quite a few times. You buy a package of batteries and 2 P&G products and receive a $10 giftcard immediately. No limits on the coupon, etc. S0 - basically, you buy some stuff, get the $10 and can do it again. We got approximately $200 retail worth of linen closet supplies for about $20 out of pocket. Not as good as some people, but a great deal for us. Now...how do I remember that I have 3 tubes of toothpaste and 7 bars of soap in the linen closet? I'm thinking I need a tally, or I will forget. I'm really good at that.
- Freezer tally. I haven't seen the bottom of our chest freezer in ...ages. I'm not sure what's down there. 'nuff said - I need to find out what we have.
- Pantry tally. Same thing.
- Ebay. I need to get ebay stuff organized a little better as we go into Fall. I have a ton of autumn/winter/xmas stuff that will need to be posted starting in Sept/Oct. I have waaay too much stuff that has accumulated near my sewing studio that needs to be moved and/or listed to get it out.
- Craigslist. I have at least two bigger things that I want to get on Craigslist - a large dorm fridge and a basement post. Neither is really ebayable, and I'd like them out.
- Determine if we will do the flea market on Labor Day weekend. We have so much stuff that's not really rummage sale-able - it's too vintage and worth too much for a rummage sale, but would work nicely at a flea market. The market is about 2 miles away, so we wouldn't spend a lot with having to drive the truck out there. The real question is...do I want to/do I have the time to organize and mark all of that stuff?
- Get some articles done and posted for Associated Content, too. I need to get over myself and let them be exclusive. It pays better.
- Gardening/canning/freezing. I have tomatoes and cucumbers coming in that need to be taken care of. 'nuff said there, too. :)
So...there's more, but that's a good start. Just so much to do...and so little time. I also know that I won't do some of that once school starts (like the linen closet/pantry/freezer tallies. They just won't happen).
Okay...obviously, none of that will happen with me sitting here playing on the computer. ..
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
And it's not even things that I could put off until after then - I think that's what's stressing me out so much. Summer school ends next week, so there are things that have to be done - grades, etc. The curriculum - I need to finish by next week, or my payment will be delayed until well into the school year. The stuff I'm writing for the state - she needs by mid-august, but if I want to catch people to preview, it needs to be done next week.
Then, there's the wedding party - bride's dress + 3 bridesmaids dresses.
The nice thing is that....if I get through the next week, and get everything done...and then get the wedding set to go and ready ---
Then after the 10th, I will have NOTHING on my calendar until I have to return to work on Aug 29th - or whatever that date is - the Thursday before Labor Day. We know we want to go to the Dells one day, and there's a few things we'd LIKE to do - but nothing that has to be done.
So...all I have to do is get through til next week and get everything done that's supposed to be done.
No problem, right?
so - until then, Associated Content is off-limits, so are eBay and local auctions. Focus, focus, focus...
Remember, all this together (including the summer school check) is...somewhere between $5000 and $6000 before taxes.
I can do this. I can do this. I can...I can...
Sunday, July 15, 2007
That's SOOooooo not like us. Granted, we had to use some of the slowly building BEF to get car repairs to the tune of $350. But, seriously. We never have this much 5 days before payday.
And, that's not including the $25 money order we have from an ebay sale, nor the $80 I won at Ho-Chunk the other night on 2-penny slots. So...we're in really decent condition.
We got some groceries tonight, and filled up the gas tank so I can get to work - but otherwise, we're set for the week. That means that whatever's left on Friday can go to the BEF in the HSBC online savings account!
PLUS - the $25 money order, and the $80 from the casino.
Too cool - I can hardly wait to see what our savings will be up to! Once we hit $1000, we're going to start plowing away on the smaller of the BECC's - the one at 30% interest.
Oh - we also sold a text on half.com for $50, so that should be deposited soon, too.
(rubbing hands together in glee)
Oh! And we have over $100 in paypal that we can transfer over, too!
We'll have our BEF within a week and a half or so! (summer school paycheck is on the 26th)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
So we have the smaller cc, HSBC, at about $3500, and the larger one, DM, at about $10,000. Then, I went back to check interest rates. DM - 27% for an old $2000 cash advance (which will be paid off LAST, of course) and 21% for the rest. HSBC - I thought was at 24%, but they jacked my rate up to 30% (!!!!) last September. OMG - THIRTY PERCENT!
Now, I know banks need to make money, I know no one forced us to use them - but 30% is usury. That should NOT be legal.
It really ticked me off - at myself for not even noticing, but also as a drive, a fire, to get them paid off. I want them gone!!!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
I joined Associated Content...now I just need to figure out what I feel like writing about. :)
I've decided that August (after summer school and the wedding is over) is going to be my month to work on myself, the weight stuff, and the money stuff. I'm going to monetarize this blog and work on promoting this and the business. And I always dreamed of being paid to write...how fun!
A link -
Here's to getting out of debt!
Tomorrow is a work day with the state - the work I do will be paid $400 after it's all done. We'll have the Baby Emergency Fund (BEF) in no time...and we'll get that smaller of the BECC's out of the way! I have a goal - to have the BEF in place and debt down to $11,500 by the end of the year. We can do that!
Friday, July 06, 2007
We got a nice surprise in the email this morning - made a sale on half.com for $50! It's still the best place (for us, at least) to sell books that have some value. We haven't gotten a lot in the last year or so, just a few sales here and there, but there's no listing charge and it stays listed as long as you want. I'll count that money when it posts to our checking account with deposit.
Also got a money order today for an ebay sale - $25.24. I need to get those two things mailed out today.
I did some digging in our freezer to see what was in there, and found a VERY large turkey breast my mom had bought us last fall on sale (9 pounds!). I'm going to cut that in half, put half back in the freezer and put the other half in the pressure cooker tonight. Then we won't get sick of turkey, but we'll have a nice dinner with some leftovers for later.
My pantry is pretty full - I'm working really hard at "shopping" from there for dinners and adding in veggies, etc. We need to run to Walmart this afternoon and I'm going to check out the produce for some fresh veggies - we're out!
Not much else going on. I will get this paid off...I will get this paid off...I will...I will...
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Ebay sales ending in the last week gained us $98.00, which is AWESOME. We're waiting on money order payments for 2 of them.
I also got the unexpected curriculum writing check for $268 for the work I did a couple of weeks ago. That is set to help us with our budget crisis and get us through 'til payday.
I also did some returns - Walmart $9.66 and Menards $5.26, cashed in 2 lottery tickets (yeah, we enjoy them, but we only spend about $4 a month on them - every once in awhile we'll get a scratch off or the Powerball), so $13 there, and a return to JC Penney for $19.72. Not bad, hey?
We have also not been out to eat since last week Friday. Not long, I know, but significant for us, especially for me as I drive to work (it's just to easy to stop for an a.m. soda and muffin!). So I was really proud of myself for that.
I'm going to be working on some purses & bags with some of the extra material I have on hand, maybe some little girl's pouches and outfits, some whatnot bags. I enjoy making those. :)
I have the dresses to work on, too, which has been fun. Plus a load of things to make for me, of course, and a bunch of possibilities floating through my head for other reconstructed clothing. I need to get more posted on etsy to get that going.
I'm also leaning more towards playing around on Associated Content - sounds intriguing, and I even have dh interested in it. That would be good for him!
I am 3 pounds away from a 20 pound loss, which I have set aside money for a pair of earrings off etsy. Now...I just need to lose the 3 and decide which pair to get...
Sunday, July 01, 2007
In the last 30 days, we spent over $120 on eating out, and over $400 on groceries. That's over $200 over budget for those items. IN 30 DAYS!
I'm just so ashamed...it's me, we both know it's me - dh is not the type to run out and get something to eat just for the sake of it.
The good news is...it's helped me to make a plan. I have meals all set up for the week, with things we have here at home, no additional expense necessary. We didn't go out this weekend - we had a possible auction for today and/or a flea market, but we stayed home instead and I shampooed the carpets (which really needed it and it was a good day for it anyway). We also need to get some stuff done around the yard. But - we have about $200 to get us through to payday (the 20th)...that will be tough. We can use the money from the dress that I got, but I really don't want to - that was set aside for savings.
Next month, we go on the envelope budget. It works for me, it helps me see what I have and how much is left. It helps me set some cash aside for the second half of the month (the whole "getting paid once a month" really screws me up a lot - it's been 5 years, you'd think I'd be used to it). I just have to get off the debit card and deal with it.
What's the saying? "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it"? Yeah. That's it.
We're grilling out tonight - lots of great food in the house, I love to pile stuff on the grill and have days and days worth of food. So we'll have that.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
So last summer, we decided to combine those two. Buy low at local auctions, sell high(er) on ebay. And we've had some great successes, too! ('Course, we also have gotten some real lead balloons, too - but you take your hits) Our best success: a box of old, small paperback recipe booklets (kind of like the type you get at the supermarket checkout - 100 ways to cook hamburger, etc) - but they were vintage, man. The oldest were from the 1920's, and went through the 1970's. Well, I paid $1 at the local auction for them (I'll try a lot of things for only $1), and I divided them into 13 or 14 different lots to sell on ebay. Altogether, those lots sold for over $100. So - spent $1, made $100. Not bad. Not bad at all.
The problem is...we don't always know what will sell on ebay. This can be serious, especially if you bid high at the local auction and then can't at the very least get your money back (I did that this weekend - a Fiesta ware mini-pitcher I thought for sure would sell, I paid $12.50 at the local auction, and they're selling on ebay for...ta da! Between $8-12. Ah, well. That's what I get for not taking advantage of the Tag Team).
Anyway - this is not a tutorial on how to sell on ebay. There are enough of those out there. BUT - it is kind of a look at what you could do. I try to limit myself to (1) things I KNOW will sell, or (2) things I THINK will sell and are going very cheap ($1-3). This is where the Tag Team comes in.
I go to the local auction, because dh can't stand for long periods of time without being in some extreme pain. Once I get there, I scope things out. Then I call him. He, in the meantime, has set up ebay, logged in, and gone to the "advanced search" capability. Once in there, there is an option to search only completed items (it's a little box that you check). This searches items that have ended in the last month or so.
So, I call him up and tell him what I see. For example, at this last auction this weekend, there was a game there called "Fame and Fortune" by Parker Brothers. 1937, decent condition, and it looked like a Monopoly knockoff/expansion, whatever. I thought it had appeal - but when he put it in, there was nothing - no sales, no links, nobody had had it at all. I didn't take the chance on it, because I wasn't sure.
When you search the completed listings, past auctions show up in red or green. If the price is RED, it didn't sell. If it's GREEN, it sold and you can see how much it went for. That can give you a limit on how much to bid at the local auction.
Then, you need to decide what you want your markup to be. That's one of the hardest things at local auctions, because you get caught up in the patter and the excitement of winning. You need to know WHEN TO STOP at local auctions, or you'll end up spending a LOT more than you really can afford, not to mention what you can resell. My "markup" changes depending on the item. If I can get something for $1 and sell it for $5, I'm really happy. If I get something for $15 and can only sell it for $19, it's not really worth my time. So it's a percentage for me, not a dollar amount.
- You must take ebay and paypal fees into account when doing Tag Team Auctions.
- You MUST keep track of what you buy and sell for tax purposes - Uncle Sam gets his share, whether you like it or not. Ebay has publically stated in the past that they will not hesitate to turn your connection info over to the IRS if your sales show that you might be reselling items. It's illegal to resell items not your own without paying taxes on them.
- Realize your "low limit". I won't sell on ebay for a starting price of under $5. It's just not worth it to me, unless I REALLY just want to get crap out of the house.
- Look for things that interest you! I've had a lot of luck with a real variety of things - old cookbooks, old craft magazines, statues/figurines, collector's plates, dolls...lots of stuff. But don't limit yourself...sometimes, what you could really do well on are things you wouldn't even think about - like a big ole stinky box of old recipes ($50 profit on one of those).
- Don't let ebay scare you. Just make sure you determine your policies on shipping, accepting payment, etc, and make it very clear. Always write a lot about your item - and ALWAYS always take pics. Writing more WILL sell more things.
It's a fun pasttime, and all of our ebay sales are used to help pay down our BECC's (Big Evil Credit Card). It's kind of like the Dave Ramsey "sell everything - sell so much the kids think they're next!", except you start with a $25-$50-$75-Whatever amount kitty and keep replenishing it.
And as always - enjoy yourself - don't create more stress in your life with this. Have some fun with it!
We've had a few more ebay auctions end since Friday - my first no-sale in a few weeks, but about $15 in sales. We have some more ending tonight, in 2 days, and I need to post a few more. So - sales, $15.
I fitted the wedding dress on my bride yesterday, and she is delighted with it, which is really cool. The dress is fun to make. After we talked for awhile, she asked if she could pay me the balance so she could keep better track of who was paid and who wasn't (for her wedding, that is) - she didn't owe me anything until the next fitting and then the pick up. So, that was an unexpected and very cool $448. Now, we can re-fund the savings/emergency fund to the level I like it, keep $100 in the credit union and $400 in the online savings (that way we don't pick at it for silly reasons (like eating out). All of this, plus we can still send some extra to the smaller of the BECC's (Big Evil Credit Card), since we already have about $150 in savings. Yay!
I did hit another auction this weekend, with the possibility (not certainty, though) of great resale. Dh and I have created what we call "tag team auctioning". Maybe I'll write a post just on that. :) So - I spent $70, but what I bought I should be able to sell on ebay for double that.
I spent last night taking pics to get ready to post more on ebay, so at least one auction should go up tonight. I'm getting better at the whole "you can list just one thing" rather than looking at my whole "ebay station" in my basement and thinking that there is no way I can get through that. It's a good lesson.
I am also hoping to get some more sewn this weekend to list on ebay or etsy. I'm looking into so many different things - typical for me, I get so interested in so many different things, and then get bogged down in all the "stuff." I have some really cute flannel prints, though, for some totes/bags for little girls. And magazine bags fascinate me. I want to try one with some of the old vintage mags I have.
Okay - I'm off. :) I'm pleased with where I'm at - I like it when we can pay extra. I paid ourselves back for shipping costs and paid ebay their share, so now what is in paypal is extra that can go to the BECC. I like that. :) :)
Friday, June 22, 2007
Well, payday (once a month) was on Wed, so we were able to get some stuff we'd been low on. And we had huge "Walmart" shopping to do (my generic title for things like toothpaste, hairspray, paper towels, etc - things you need around the house but don't necessarily buy every month) - $120 worth! Yesterday was dh's birthday, so we got a bucket of chicken (his fave). I'm going to be very careful this month on the eating out. It's my biggest weakness in regards to money management.
Wed night I went to an auction to look for things for resale, and did pretty good. I got 6 Terry Redlin collector's plates for about $3 or $4 each, and they should sell for $10-$15 each. A few other things, too, but those were the biggies. I may go to one tomorrow - we'll see what happens.
-We had a number of ebay auctions end, and most sold. So far, totals for sales are $91. :) We're still waiting for payment on one, and I have two more ending tomorrow night, with a couple more in a few days. We're getting better in paypal - I need to transfer some to cover the shipping costs, and pay our ebay bill for the month, then the rest will be transferred into savings. I have a goal of $500 back in savings, and KEEPING IT THERE. Going out to eat is not an emergency. I may transfer all but $100 into the HSBC savings, since they have a higher interest rate. Who am I kidding? They HAVE an interest rate...our credit union does not. It would also be harder to get to. So anyway - Saved/Earned: $91
-I've done poorly on the eating out front. That's a thing I really need to work on - it just sucks you dry. Between being on the run and dh's birthday dinner, we spent about $32 or so in the last couple days on eating out. No, not terrible...but when you only get paid once a month and your "eating out" budget category is $40 a month and you're $13,000 in cc debt...that's not great.
Some ideas: I bought some more material for product. Also, a craft-y store nearby has vendor openings starting 7/1, so we thought we'd go and take a look. I'm working on the wedding I have contracted for. So, keeping busy, working, and doing great. :)
Monday, June 18, 2007
-Posted another 8 things on ebay! There are 2 auctions ending tonight
-Worked in sewing room
-Ate at home all weekend except for one pizza on Sat night (we got a reimbursement check in the mail...I'm so weak...we should have saved it) (Cost = $16) (Saved/Earned: $68)
-Cooked up sausage in the fridge before it went bad, froze 3/4 of it and used the last 1/4 to have with breakfast (Saved: $5)
-Cooked up burger with spaghetti sauce in the fridge and put in freezer so that didn't go bad (Saved: $2)
-Brought lunch to work today instead of eating out (Saved: $4)
-Ate at home for dinner today instead of eating out or getting more food at Walmart after I cashed the check (Saved: $15)
-Worked on getting the grant written for next school year
-Agreed to 10-14 more curriculum hours for this summer
-Posted one thing on etsy ( http://sewenchanting.etsy.com/ )
Yes, I am counting (at least for now) not spending money on eating out as saving. It helps a lot. I think I will post ebay "winnings" after the auctions end. That makes more sense to me.
So even with our pizza, we are ahead. Yes, we would have been $16 more ahead. I'll have to deal with that. :) :)
Thursday, June 14, 2007
-Worked 4 hours curriculum time @$20/hour, plus yesterday was 2-1/2 hours curric time @$20/hour
-Posted 3 things on ebay tonight, plus 2 things last night
-Worked on wedding dress job
-I was so hungry when I got out of work, I stopped at BK ($4). I wasn't proud of myself, but I sure was hungry.
-Even though we were both craving pizza for dinner and it's too hot to light the oven, we didn't call for take-out, and had leftovers instead. :)
So, all in all, a great day.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I am going to try to post at least 3x a week, and post some stuff about what I'm doing to save/make more money.
~Worked 2-1/2 hours curric time (@$20/hour) + yesterday 4 hours (@$20/hour) = $130 (but we won't get that until the July paycheck at the earliest)
~Ate ALL meals at home, even though I was so tempted not to - saved $3.90 for breakfast, at least $3 for lunch, and $20 for dinner. :) Yay us!
I also worked on the wedding dress I'm making, and finished the laundry up. I picked up the clutter in the LR and watered my poor plants. Like I mentioned before, I tend to organize/clean more when we have money stuff on the brain.
okay: ebay stuff this week! :)
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Can we do this?
That has to include gas to get to work, all groceries and any personal needs.
Luckily, we have a lot of food in the house. It depends on how well I behave.
I do have ebay stuff that has to be sent off - so we will get reimbursed from paypal for any expenses there.
We do have about $140 in savings to fall back on if we need to. And I do need to try to get enough out of ebay to pay the cell phone bill by the 16th.
I won't go into how much I spent today. :( I will say, however, that I am willing to keep track of my spending to see what's up for the next two weeks.
Here we go!
Monday, June 04, 2007
We need serious work on our car. It is 11 years old and has 184,000 miles on it, so we have to make a decision when we stop piling money into this car and just get a new one. This new problem will be at least $600 to fix - which we don't have.
It did occur to us, though - that if we didn't have the payments for the cc's, we'd be able to afford a car payment - or, even better, a car if we were able to save up for awhile.
Which, of course, led us to the bright idea...that we need to get the cc's gone!
We added up all the "extra" money from this summer - summer school, the sewing jobs I have lined up, curriculum work with the district, working with the state - and it's a hefty chunk that will let us get savings back up to where it should be, plus maybe even pay off the smaller of the BECC's.
We're still looking at other alternative ways to save and make more money. I'm organizing the sewing room to see what all is in there - our Hancock Fabrics is going out of business, and I'm afraid I've bought a little more than I usually have room for. So - organization is the key!
I've found that when I feel stressed about money...I end up organizing or cleaning. Is that weird?
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I just did a new tally on the debt. Our total unsecured cc debt it: $13,477.11 (or at least, that's what Quicken has right now. I'm sure it's bigger because of daily APR, etc).
In other words, about $200 more than it was last summer, before we paid the fridge off.
Granted, we had two car emergencies. 'Course, if we had and could keep an emergency fund, that wouldn't happen, now, would it?
I've said it way too many times - but I'm so freaking sick of this, it's painful. I'm sick of it. Just no other words - sick of it.
I've been working on meditation and taking care of myself on the personal side - it's time to start showing that on the financial side, too. I am my own worst enemy...and I am a bad role model for my economics students. I am working with the state on personal finance curriculum, and I can't even take care of my own debt.
It's going to stop. We're going to get back up to $500 in savings (we're at $200 right now). We're going to start paying extra on the BECC's (Big Evil Credit Cards). They are NOT our friends. They have been unwelcome guests for far too long, and we WILL pay them off. Not this year, maybe not next year, but in time - and we WILL be systematic about it.
Goal: by the end of 2007, we will:
- have at least $500 in the savings account for emergencies
- have our total cc debt down to $11,000
Yes, that's only $300 increase in savings and $2500 paid off on the BECC, but it's a goal and I'm sticking to it. We can DO THIS.
Okay. Now I'm off to post more stuff on ebay. My basement is bulging at the seams! :)
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
We stayed within our budget, and that was such a good feeling - that we were able to have so much fun and pay cash. We did deplete a lot of our savings, which we felt the pinch on when our alternator on the car died yesterday...but we were able to get it fixed, and that's what counts.
Business is going well, I'm enjoying what I'm doing. Work has it's issues, but they'll work out. I have things listed on ebay and etsy and am trying to de-stress myself as much as possible (easier said than done).
I listened to Suze Orman's new book "Women and Money" on mp3 last week. It's very interesting, especially the idea of not putting yourself on sale. I really liked it. It got very technical in the middle, and I don't completely agree with her on a few things, but it was good to get another point of view. I think it's really important to get lots of info. :)
And...I finally got a piano. I've wanted one for years and years, so it felt GREAT to finally get one. It was from an auction for $15. Amazing!
Saturday, March 31, 2007
We leave for Vegas in TWO DAYS! :) I'm so psyched up - we're going to have a blast, and we're PAYING CASH!!! It feels so good to know that we won't be racking up more on the cc's...yeah, we could have paid down some of the cards, but this is a definite WE DESERVE IT. I know, I know, we're not supposed to do it. But - we haven't been on vacation since 1999, and it's our 10th anniversary this year, and we are able to pay cash. I think we're okay on this.
Plus, who knows? We might come home with more than we left with. :) ha! (no, we're not counting on that)
The Salvation Army in the big city that's near us does a fabric sale each spring. This year, I actually timed it to hit it on the opening night. I'm so excited with what I got! lol The first night - I spent $20 and filled up the back of the car. Hey, maybe I'll post some pics. I need to take them first, though. Then, they gave me a coupon for 1/2 off on Saturday.
So of course I went back. Spent just under $10 and filled up the back of the car again.
And on Sunday, everything was 1/2 off. I timed it so I got there just as they were closing, hoping I'd get a deal. I did - they were going to throw all the magazines away, so I took them all. 3 boxes full. I'll be able to sell those for a really decent price.
In fact, for all that I bought, if it all sells, it should bring in more than $500. We'll see. I need to outline what I got.
I'm in debt reduction mode - all of that will go to paying off cc's. Including sewing work planned for this summer - too exciting!
Monday, March 19, 2007
I have, however, seen an improvement in my/our relationship with money. I read a lot. In fact, I'm one of those people that constantly has 4 or 5 or 6 books going at the same time - usually at least 2 non-fiction + 2 fictions at once. :) Anyway - I've really been looking at what I want out of life and how to make my life more stress-free.
So - I've been relaxing a little bit with the money. Not in a bad way - just not necessarily watching every single penny. And like I mentioned in the last entry - more money has been coming our way.
In two weeks (from today!) we are off to Vegas for our first vacation in 8 years. That feels AMAZING - and we paid/are paying CASH for it. Yes, that could have gone a long way towards paying down debt...and yes, I am using the "we deserve it" caveat which can be so dangerous. But...to each his own. We have a plan to get at least $3500 gone by the end of the year. We are working on online stuff as well as freelance stuff. We are looking at more classes for me to bump me up the payscale.
At the moment, we are still hovering at that $13,500 mark. I would be ecstatic to see that below $10,000 by Jan 1, 2008. In fact, I'm going to make an "official" goal - to be below $12,000 by Jan 1, 2008 (then I'll be wonderfully surprised if we're below $10,000). :) This is in addition to the goal of at least $750 in savings by the same date.
To do this, we will:
*Sell as much on ebay as we can
*Get serious about selling on etsy, too!
*Advertise the sewing business more
*Summer school for me!
*Look into low-cost 3 credit options for me this summer - to get up the payscale for the Sept paycheck change
*Possibly a rummage sale, but I doubt it - we just don't have that much rummage-y stuff this year
*Craigslist for some of the bigger things we have around the house (not much, really)
*Get some of the antiques that aren't really ebay-able to Mom's antique booth - let her keep 20% or so. :)
*Look into freelancing on education stuff
Wow, what a list!
Saturday, February 17, 2007
She has the general idea that if you treat money with respect, that it will come back to you. Dh and I have experienced that in the last few weeks.
We got a sizeable tax return and are going to Vegas on vacation (our first in about 8 years). We haven't done anything with the majority of the return because we aren't sure how much we're taking with us on vacation, so it's been sitting in savings.
We knew we were going to use part of it to put new tires on the truck - very badly needed. So we took the truck in today and got an estimate, went and took that amount out of savings (can I say how nice it feels to (1) have the money available to do this, and (2) pay this IN CASH? Sooooo nice...). Anyway - we got home and kind of bummed around for a couple of hours until the mail came.
A side note - a few weeks ago, we got notice from the mortgage company that we overpaid escrow last year and our payments this year would be $50/month less. (yay!) I figured they'd roll the overpaid escrow into this year. Not so! when the mail came today, we had a check from the mortgage company. Weird part? It was for ALMOST EXACTLY the same amount as the tires were costing us.
How odd is that? That this unexpected check would arrive on the SAME DAY that we decided to put the tires on - and the two amounts were only about $15 off?
We haven't been dipping into that money at all. Not at all. no stupid stuff, no going out to eat, no "oh my god, how did we spend all that money?"
Maybe...maybe I'm growing up.
So we now have -
$200 in paypal, ready to be transferred over to savings.
$150 in hsbc savings
$150 in checks we haven't deposited yet
Plus the escrow check and the money still left from the tax returns.
this feels really good. :)