Thursday, September 27, 2007

Jeez...back on square one. Again.

I really REALLY wish I could understand why I can't get it through my head that it's not good to spend all our money.

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


Well, progress on the debt reduction hasn't been great. Our numbers for Sept 10th are in (don't ask me why I'm weird and pick the 10th and not the 1st or last day like normal people...I have no clue how this happened...) - and we're up from where we "started" a few months ago (hence, the negative numbers on my NCN Network page...).

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 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

Lessons learned (AKA Murphy enters...stage left)

We've been following Dave Ramsey's program for a few months now, and when s(#* happens, it's just easier to say that Murphy has arrived ("What can go wrong, will").

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...

Lesson learned:
  • 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

August 2007

I haven't been keeping track of income & spending this month. The beginning of the school year always throws me off. We had inservices all week, and the little darlings return on Tuesday.

  • 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. :)