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. :))