Sunday, December 27, 2009

December...holy cow...

It's been a weird autumn. Just a lot going on, and I've been pretty stressed out. Haven't done great with money. Haven't kept the house up very well. Haven't taken care of myself very well.

Now that Christmas is done, though, and I'm on vacation for the next week, I'm working on getting some stuff set up to get back in the groove. Because really...what are my options?

'Nuff said. I'll be back with more details.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Lost in Translation

Well, not really. I've just been busy.

We had a good end to ebay stuff. Made about $175 overall after fees, etc. Jen asked, "You are so good about ebay! I'm jealous. I am struggling with whether I should just get rid of all our junk (donate) or try to sell the stuff. What kinds of stuff are you selling to be making such good money?" Well, it's nothing grand. Altogether, it was probably about 35 auctions, which many won't do, because it's so many. Lots of sewing stuff that I need to get out of my house. Some old magazines. Umm...I really think it was mostly sewing stuff this time.

I still have a LOT I could post on there, but with me back at work & school, there's just no time. I didn't meet my $500 goal for selling stuff, mostly because I just ran out of time.

I have been able to make some extra payments to the cc's, and we put aside a LOT of money to get some stuff fixed around the house. With any luck, it won't cost that much and we'll be able to pay off the smaller cc, which is now under $1000.

We also got a raise this year, and will see a little back pay come in later when we settle our contract (contract year starts in Sept). I set up a new master budget, which will change month to month, of course, but if we actually follow the budget (ahem), we should have about $400 a month to send to debt and get this crap out of the way.

We pay $250 a month in interest on cc debt. That's just unacceptable. Really.

Monday, August 17, 2009

What do you mean, a week??

Wow...I return to work next week. That seems to have come by so quickly! I'm in panic mode - I haven't finished the basement. Or the garage. Or the compute room. Or the bathroom. And I know that things will grind to a screeching halt once I return to work. Ugh.

So I have a list for today, and I will be happy if I finish those things. Then, I'll make one for tomorrow. And I'll just deal with it.

Ebay sales have been decent. We'll clear about $50 after fees & shipping with what ended on Friday, and right now we're looking at another $70 minimum with what's ending today. Woo hoo! I'm pushing to get one of the medical bills we've had hanging for awhile paid off, and hopefully a second, too. I'm not sure if I'll make my $500 goal by Labor Day, but I'm working on it. There's still a ton to put on ebay, and one of my goals for today is to get at least 3 things listed.

We've also been doing very, very well on eating out. Last month (June 20 - July 20), we ate out 9 times. This month (July 20 - Aug 20), we are looking at 7 times. I told dh and he was all "that's outrageous!". I said, instead, let's look at it as a game and see if we can get it down to 5 times next month, and then 4 the next month, etc. It sure would help the budget out.

I'm not going to update the ticker until we have the money in hand, so it stays...:

Friday, August 07, 2009

Three weeks

That's all I have left before I return to work. Crazy! It's a huge amount of time, of course, but when you look at where we are...well, there's still a lot I'm hoping to finish before I return.

Yesterday, dh and I went to the State Fair, which was a lot of fun. I enjoy that so much, and it was a pretty day for it. I usually go twice, and my sister and I are planning to go again on Monday. So yesterday, we could kind of stroll around and just see what dh wanted to see. Very nice.

This morning, there was a ton of rain heading our way, so I quickly loaded up the truck and got a HUGE load to Goodwill. If I hadn't today, it's very likely it woudln't have happened until next Wed - it's supposed to rain all weekend, Monday I'm probably going to state fair with my sister, and Tues, dh has an MRI scheduled, so I'm not sure how much we could get done. So it was awesome to get things out there.

Also had a huge load for the garbage dudes, including the ickiest of the bookshelves, which we tore apart pretty easily because of the moldy issues. Slowly but surely, the basement is coming together.

Money-wise, today's plan is this: (1) update Quicken, and (2) get some stuff listed on ebay. I've been putting both off, so that's time.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

It's Saturday already?

Believe it or not, I'm happy with how the unfinished side of the basement is. I got rid of a LOT of stuff, and organized the ebay area so it will be easier to use. It feels really good.

Now, on to the harder stuff I've been putting off. The finished side.

Well, on a good note: got another load to Goodwill, and took four boxes of stuff to my mom's antique booth yesterday. Another plus, being able to spend some time with her. :) And all of that stuff fit in her booth! That was awesome! Brought one box home to take to Goodwill for Mom, and three empty boxes to refill and take to Goodwill. Good deal.

I also got to use my raincheck from Target for the Electrasol. I stopped at a Target up in Madison on my way home yesterday and they had enough to fill my raincheck. I purposely chose a teenage boy to checkout (yes, I profile checkers...), and it went relatively smoothly. He scanned them all, then scanned my first raincheck (I actually had two, each one had 6 on the raincheck) and the price came off of all 12 with the first raincheck! So I got the second one back - I could go back and get more if I really wanted to. We'll have Electrasol for years. Really.

dh and I went to the county fair last night, so my back is saying it needs some rest today. I might try to tackle some of the ebay stuff today. We'll see. :)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our Basement

What a weird few days it's been.

We have water damage in the basement, much worse than we originally thought. I have some mold issues, but they don't seem to be as bad as it looked two days ago when we started. The #1 problem is that we have so much crap down there, it's very difficult to tell what's going on. So that's been my focus the last couple of days.

I figure, I have to purge/sell/whatever about 70% of what's down there in order to make this liveable space. I have no room to move, much less to breathe down there. This is difficult.

I have emptied two of the bookcases down there, and they don't seem to have as much damage as I originally thought. I purged a lot of books. Dh has been very helpful and purged VHS tapes that have been sitting down there for years.

So far, 2 bags of books that have to be thrown because of mold damage, but this will become worse. I found out about the damage because I took one of my photo albums out of the case, and it has creeping mildew. Luckily, my mom has copies of the pics and she's planning to scan them in anyway. So much of that will need to go.

I took a carload to Goodwill today, and I"m sure there will be more to go very soon. I have piles and piles to go on ebay, which I hope I will get to tonight. Maybe this will get me to my $500 goal of sales by the end of summer. Not really how I wanted to do it, but...

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Another thing off my summer list...and some good deals.

Yesterday, dh was feeling perky, so we were able to fix the table that I use for ebay stuff. That was awesome! It broke last summer (the leg broke out of the holder, so you couldn't stand the table up) and it's been sitting on it's side in the basement ever since. Dh made the brace and we fixed it! Yay! Now I can stop using that as an excuse for not getting ebay stuff ready -- I need to re-organize that area, and I have to figure out what's wrong with the Internet connection down there, though. But one more thing to cross off the List!

And my coupons for Electrasol came yesterday. Just in time for the last day of Target's sale -- $3.49 for the 32 pack box. That would mean $1 + tax per box -- and with 10 coupons, that's 320 loads (which would last us almost 2 years) for $13 after the cost of the coupons. That's about 4 cents a load. I'll take it. Of course, Target was out, so I had to get rainchecks. But they were substituting Cascade 32 packs for $2.19, and I had a $1 off coupon, so I was able to get one of those as well as the rainchecks for the Electrasol. I may order more coupons, I'm not sure. I can get the powder for free from Dollar General with the coupon, and we have extra hard water -- they suggest that you use both the cup and the overflow cup for hard water, so having the boxes of powder on hand might be nice...not sure yet.

My stockpile is growing again, though, which is nifty. If I can get it looking decent, maybe I'll take some pics's been awhile since I showed it off. :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do one thing at a time

I've hit the point in the summer vacation where I'm bored just sitting around in front of the TV and computer. The good news is...this means stuff will start getting done!

I've been allowing myself to do just parts. I always do this to myself -- that I avoid doing things because I don't have the stamina to do ALL of it (like, finishing the entire bathroom remodel from a few years ago, or getting the whole basement back in order). I've given myself permission to do some. It's okay that I do part and then walk away to finish another day. The really funny thing is that stuff is getting done!

I've gotten about 6 bags of stuff to Goodwill and 3 bags of garbage out of the basement. And you know what? It's already out of the house - I already took it to Goodwill even though it wasn't an entire carfull of stuff. I did some filing, too.

Another example: I really dislike the setup I have for our shredder. It's the kind that fits over the top of a garbage can. Well, I don't have a can for it, and it doesn't fit right on the can I have in the office, so I was going to take the $30 gift card we have for Best Buy and buy a new shredder. It occurred to me -- duh...just get a new garbage can! Found one that will work at Walmart for $3. It will be set up as just a shredder, and I can keep it up there all the time. Voila!

Today, I worked on the spray painting in the bathroom. We chose a stone texture spray paint for the register and the laundry chute (this is when we remodeled the bathroom 3 summers ago and never finished). Well, I found the spray paint, and got it all set up -- and finished the spray painting for the room! I was so excited and proud of myself!

So, I'm counting this as working on money stuff, just because. This is stuff we paid for years ago, and organization and getting this done is worth a LOT to me.

Wow...I may even finish the bathroom remodeling stuff this summer! That would ROCK my WORLD! lol

As for sales: sold another book on and got the deposit. I have a LOT ready to go on ebay as soon as I figure out the internet issues downstairs.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


I've had some good karma around fruit lately...sounds weird, hey? Well, a friend is going on vacation and asked me to pick his raspberries so the fruit doesn't go bad, and so they grow back in. I was going to go this morning, but there was rain on the radar and I didn't want to get wet (and then, it didn't even rain!). I'm hoping, fingers crossed, to go tomorrow.

But then I was at Woodman's today, and I always check out their produce "old" bins. They usually bag produce on the verge of going bad into bags marked 79 cents, and I'm usually pretty lucky as to when they get them out - which is kinda weird, but very good. Well, today they had cherries. I got two bags, and each bag was somewhere between 1-1/2 and 2 pounds. I got them home...and they are some of the BEST cherries I've ever had! They aren't your regular bing cherries, but other than that, I have no clue what they are. They're really big - about half the size of a plum - and very sweet. I actually went back to get more! I ended up with 6 bags, so probably about 10 pounds. Most of that went into the dehydrator tonight, with a chunk left for baking. I might even try some cherry cordial - we'll see how brave I am. ;)

I really love putting food up for later. Canning, dehydrating, freezing -- I really love it. Don't enjoy cooking all that much, but the putting up...yeah. I enjoy that. Weird, hey?

Well, hopefully I can get some raspberries tomorrow...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Lots of scuttlebutt on the increase in minimum payments by Chase -- it's the topic of quite a few conversations over at LLNOE. Seems like they increased from 2% of balance to 5% - over double.

Dh and I were talking today -- if our cc's increased our minimum payments, it would be tough, but we could do it. Our snowball is about $450 over our min's right now, which is over double our minimums now, but it sure would take a lot longer to get out of debt. got me thinking about what I can do around the house now that it's summer, to get more money onto the Baby Step 2 plan and get going! If we worked really really hard at it, we could get the debt gone by the end of the year. I would settle for the cc's gone by the end of the year - that would be fanTAStic!

On that note, I've been working in the basement trying to get things organized. Again. Seems like that's my Waterloo...the Basement. lol! Lots is going to go out this time. It needs to - I can't even move down here anymore. Some will go to my mom's antique booth, some will go to Goodwill, some will go on ebay. I think I'll officially set my $1000 goal this summer again. Although without a rummage sale, I'm not sure how that will happen. I'll set it at $500 this summer.

It's official - between NOW and LABOR DAY, I am working to sell $500 worth of stuff out of the house. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Some time off...

I've had off since last Thursday since my summer class had a hiatus. The prof had a meeting in Greece, so we did an extra day last week (class is supposed to be M-W) and have this week off.

What have I done? Not much. What a slug!

I did get a lot of free-after-coupon stuff (my latest hobby, loads of fun!), and got them organized and packed away. Went through a lot of the stuff to cull for the food pantry. And I've stared at the mess in the basement quite a bit...haven't done a lot with it yet, but I've sure stared at it...

So today is "hump it" day. I have 4 bags of free-after-coupon stuff to take to the food pantry. I have three bags to go to Goodwill. I have 2 boxes that I need to get outside for the recycle guys. I need to go through a bunch of stuff to get it together and priced to take up to the antique place where my mom has a booth. And...yeah.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Great deal - Shelf Reliance Giveaway!

I can't tell you how much I'd love one of these... These Shelf Reliance systems are the very cool rotating stock systems that allow you to use older cans first. They front load...and jeez, I'm drooling.

Shelf Reliance is giving away a 72" system. Go here to sign up for a chance to win it! Man, that would just be incredibly cool, to be able to organize things that much...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time flies, etc

It's been a busy couple of weeks - end of the school year crap and all that stuff. :) I'm also just finishing up a summer school class which has been REALLY tough in terms of doing everything I need to plus finish the school year...whoa, I'll be glad when the week is over! I do start a new class on Monday, but then - 4 weeks, and I have the rest of the summer off.

Money-wise, we've been doing pretty good, if I do say so myself. We have been staying on track with the budget, and haven't eaten out ONCE this month so far (together, I mean - I have stopped for sandwiches on my way to class).

I also finally packed up the DVD's to sell to and got them sent off! Woo hoo - $50 on the way!

So, things have been going on...just busy. :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

Dh and I went to a festival tonight - it's pretty much the kick-off for summer around here. It's free parking, free entry, free ride from the parking lot to the grounds, super-cheap food ($1.50 brats!), free was really, really nice. We had a blast! :)

We got the reimbursement check from when I was out in NJ - about $760 or so. I need to get to the bank in the morning. Dh is hoping/planning to call a heating & A/C guy to come service our A/C in the kitchen. We dont' have central air - there's no ductwork in our home. Our heat is radiant heat, so no ducts = no possibility for central air. We have a large A/C built into the wall of our kitchen, and then we use a portable in the bedroom. But we've been here quite a few years and have never had the kitchen one serviced - and it's just not working well. I've cleaned the filter, but it needs more. Hopefully, it will not be a huge expense.

And then, we need to call a plumber for the busted pipe in the back of the house. I can't water my garden without that to hook the hose up to, so if I want a garden (I do), we need to fix it this spring.

Between those two, that $760 is probably gone. At least...well, it's not going on a cc, so that's a huge thumbs-up.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Still here

We've had a "hunker down and keep calm" kind of time lately - a little nervous about the economy, about the debt, about the job. I wish I could say that I've been pushing all our extra cash at the BECC's, but that just hasn't been happening. I've been stocking up on food and throwing some extra in the savings. At least the pantry and our freezer are full.

It's also been stressful at work, which makes concentration on other things difficult. And I'm taking night classes, adds to it. I've gotten off track on a few things, including taking good care of myself and continuing on my weight loss trail. That has to stop - I feel icky.

So, now that my night class is done (for 2 weeks, until the next one starts), I'm going to work on getting myself back in a good place for taking care of me and for our money situation. We are expecting a reimbursement check from the company I worked with out in NJ soon - that should be close to $1000. And we should get the second part of the payment that started in Jan -- that should come in the next two weeks or so, and should be about $3000.

We do need to put new gutters on the house this year (they were old and falling off when we bought the house 8 years ago. We fixed as we could, but they really are harming the house at this point), we have a leak in the roof that needs to be fixed before winter, and the backyard faucet and pipes busted last winter, so we need to get that fixed. The rest, hopefully, will go towards debt.

And I need to get off my butt and get some stuff on ebay.

At least, that's the plan.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chilly Sunday...

We didn't get as much snow as was expected last night - we only had about 2" when I got up this morning. Considering they were calling for 5-10", I'll take 2. Really.

Still plugging along with the money. I've been crazy busy, and my computer still is not working in the office, which makes it difficult to get on here.

I'm working on a month-long meal plan. We get paid once a month, so I'm thinking meals will be easier if I can plan them out. I'm starting by writing down all of the meals we have on a mostly-regular basis. That's more work than I thought...

Still haven't been able to pay off the smallest cc, but soon. Hopefully within 2 months.

And...I sign up for summer classes tomorrow, fun!

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Sometimes it seems like I'm here a LOT, and then I look and it's been days and days since I posted anything. Weird. Life happens, ya know?

Well, we sent the taxes off and the refunds are already in our hot accounts. We have been able to free up so much money in our budget since we paid off those little bills - we're able to send over $400 extra every month to the debts, which is amazing.

Dh and I need to sit down and go through things to make sure we have things set aside (our truck has a flat tire, so we need about $125 aside for that, in hopes that we can plug it instead and send that $ to the cc, too, and I need to set aside some $ for driving to Madison for classes - forgot to keep that out). Then, we can send a chunk to the smaller BECC, hopefully over $1000, and have that paid off next month. That will be...just freakin' amazing.

I have gone through some of the boxes of junk in the basement that I used last summer at flea markets & the rummage sale. I really don't want to do a rummage sale this summer - my life has enough stress in it at the moment. My mom & sister have booths in antique malls, so I've gone through 3 boxes, sorted & repriced things to go to their booths. The rest is going to my sister, who will rummage it this summer. Nice. It will be gone, out of my house, and I may get some cash from the antique malls, but otherwise, honestly, it's just nice to have it gone. I still have about 10 boxes to go through, though.

We've been doing well on the grocery budget, which feels really good. I need to get to CVS (they finally called about the raincheck from the day after Thanksgiving - the free razors), and Walgreens (they have free tin foil this week, gotta find my coupon...).

Okay - I"d better go hop in the shower. We're driving up to my mom's today to meet for lunch. Even though we all live less than an hour apart, we tend to let life get in the way, and I made a suggestion that we get together at least every other month for lunch. That's going to be nice. So today up there, Easter at our house, and then we'll see what we feel like.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


It felt really good to get the taxes done this year and out of the way. Something else to cross off the list, you know? We are getting a small refund ($23) from fed, and larger ($1100) from state. Our state is weird -- if you do the same witholdings for state as federal, you almost always get a larger refund. I'm not complaining (much), but that $100 a month "extra" sure would be nice...I hate letting them have my money all year long.

Although it will be nice to get $1100 deposited into the bank! We should be able to pay OFF the smaller of the 2 BECC's! Woo hoo!

And...we will probably be doing a balance transfer for part of the bigger of the BECC's. We paid off Citi, which offers a 0% BT for 8 months, then 14% interest. 3% BT fee. Sounds high...but considering we're paying 30% interest on that card, it's a freakin' DREAM! I just need to get them on the phone and get it done. That would drop the last BECC to about $6500 or so.

Still no word on the new job front. It's all a waiting game. My friend has not heard if she is being offered her new position, which means that her position is not open yet. Wait wait wait.

About it on finances. We've been lazy this month -- physically, mentally & monetarily. I have kicked myself in the pants, and plan to get back with it (all three!). I just feel icky, and want to get to feeling better. Payday is next week, and I'll see a $50/month or so raise (before taxes) due to finishing a class last fall (which moves me along the pay scale), add that to getting rid of some of that debt and those minimums rolling into the snowball, and we have a pretty good thing going!

Saturday, January 31, 2009


For some reason, it just seems like there's less time in my weeks than usual. I have little time to get online, but I can't really figure out why that's happening. It is frustrating, though. When I don't have time for "me", I tend to be more stressed & overall less happy.

Money situation has been interesting. I made our first pass through the taxes, and it looks like we'll be getting about $30 back for Federal, but over $1000 for state. I have no clue how that happens. Seriously. But with that $1000...we will be sooo close to paying off the smaller of the BECC's!! That will be an amazingly happy day. We'll only have a couple of hundred dollars left after the tax refund. Wow..that just doesn't seem possible.

We will probably be doing a balance transfer on part of the bigger of the BECC's. We paid off Citi with the check we got this month, so that's open, and they offer BT's with 0% interest for 8 months. I'm not sure we could pay it off in 8 months, but 0% vs. 30% is a huge difference, even with having to pay a 3% BT fee. That would let us tackle the bigger BECC (the high interest one)with full intensity, probably paying only mins on the BT. Not totally Dave Ramsey-ish, but I think it would get us out faster.

This is the year for us on the debt!! That's so exciting. Then, we can save up part of a full EF, and start to tackle the student loans. That'll take awhile, and we'll probably divert some of that money to some house projects along the way, but there are things that need to be done here in the house that can't wait too much longer -- we have a leak in the roof that is ruining the hallway ceiling and walls, and it just needs to get done before the mildew & mold get to be an issue. That's #1, and we're not sure how much it's going to cost, but it's on the docket for the summer. We also need new gutters -- the leaks are getting very bad and are causing runoff in the basement. Ick.

Well, enough on that. I need to go plan my day out. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well, our check came two days ago, and I deposited it that night. Today, we spent time making sure it was all on paper right...and then we PAID THEM OFF.

Lotsa people got money today. And you know what? I feel GREAT about it. Even though we didn't use the money for anything super-exciting or fun other than debt repayment, it felt amazing. Like huge rocks were taken off my shoulders.

We paid off:
Wells Fargo (bed)
City curb assessment

We paid $2500 to the smaller of the two BECC's - now down to $1600!!!
We set aside $300 for new glasses for me, in the hopes that it costs nowhere near that much and we can send the rest to the smaller BECC. (Mine snapped right across the ear thingee right before xmas -- they're about 8 or 9 years old, so it was time, I was just hoping they'd last a little longer - and I need an eye exam, too. I'm positive I need a new prescription. Hopefully I can find something very reasonable at Shopko.)

We also paid the AAA bill due in Feb.

So now, we are down to $10,943.12 on cc's. Still a lot (more than I'd like, that number still made me cringe!), but it's so much better than it was before!!

We have a bigger snowball now. Just taking the min payments from the other debts will make our payment $190 to the smaller one. Plus, with the Feb check, I get a raise because I finished a class in Dec, which pushes me into the next part of the payment grid. So that can go to them, too! Ooh, and it just occurred to me - our electric budget billing dropped by $80, so that can go to them, too!!

Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We should have our check sometime this week!

We had a talk tonight and have pretty much marked it all out. I need exact dollar amounts and we'll have a better idea. We will be able to pay off a lot of our smaller debts, and get the smaller of the 2 BECC's down to about $1600, which I will probably be transferring to the Citicards as soon as it's paid off, on a 0% BT. That will take care of it all except for paying that off, which will go fast with 0% interest, a probable tax return, and the second check we should receive in the summer -- and then the biggest of the BECC's, which sits at about $8900.

I am so excited, I can hardly stand it!

We are also setting some of it aside for new glasses for me - mine are very old, about 8 years at least, and broke right before xmas, so I've been wearing them with a "sleeve" on the earpiece to hold it in place. They are crooked and look pretty bad, plus it's been so long since I"ve had my eyes checked, my prescription really needs to be changed. So that's a chunk of it.

We've been eating out way too much...which sucks. I need to get back into the groove!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Well, things have been going well. It's entirely possible that we'll see that check soon - they did mention dispursal (?) on the 7th, so...

We have agreed to get some money aside for things like glasses for me, AAA, etc, and then start plowing through the bills. In fact, we've kind of figured out how to pay off ALL of the BS2 debt except for the student loans by the end of this year! Including the car! Wouldn't that be COOL?

Some issues on the job front, but for now, that's still kinda quiet, just in case I have sneaky readers. :) I might be changing jobs. We'll see. More later as I know more.