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Zoo tonight & perhaps switching to Vontage?

June 23rd, 2010 at 12:57 pm

My son's daycare is sponsering a night at the zoo for the kids that go there. Since this is my son's last year in daycare we figured we would go. Free entertainment for the kids. Our zoo is pretty small so going once or twice a season is about it for us. They have gotten some new animals this year so I am excited to go check it out. We are going to eat dinner at home prior to leaving so we aren't tempted to buy all the expensive treats they sell there.

I have been doing very well with the lunch challenge and need to update my side bar to reflect that. I have also been challenging myself to only buying 1 muffin a week instead of my daily treat. I figure this will help both my wallet and waist! I treated myself today to the muffin and boy was it good!

My to do list is growing longer each day. I can't seem to keep up with everything I have to do. Hopefully this weekend I will get some of it done but both days are filling up quickly and it is only Wednesday! 2 important things to do are to switch car insurance companies and our house telephone service.
*Car insurance went up this renewal period which I don't understand as I haven't been in an accident in years. I did notice that the insurance company had an inquiry recently on my credit report. I wonder if that is what made it go up? Still, I don't understand that because my credit is good. Anyways, I am sick of my premiums going up every renewal period so I am switching.
*Home phone service should be switched too. Has anyone tried Vontage? I am considering them because we really don't use our home phone that often yet I am reluctant to get rid of it. They have a plan for $9.99/month which is a lot cheaper than the $32/month I have been paying. If you have had any experience with Vontage, good or bad, let me know.

With those 2 changes I should be freeing up some cash to put towards Visa #1.

Happy Friday!

June 4th, 2010 at 02:43 pm

Between yesterday and today I had to buy a few things to eat at work. Not so much lunch but snacks because I didn't plan well and was still hungry after eating. Hungry as in I am going to get a migraine if I don't eat hungry. Somedays are just like that. So, I am combining yesterday and today's food expenses into 1 day of not bringing my lunch. And I am considering 1 day as bringing it. So, I am still doing good with my lunch challenge.

I am down to $90 until payday, which is next Thursday. I already have the cash to pay for dinner tonight so I don't have to worry about that. We don't have too much going on this weekend so I am thinking it will be a fairly inexpensive weekend.

I am debating if I should make an additional payment to my Visa with some of the $90. On the positive side it is one more payment and I won't be spending that money on something foolish. On the down side I might need to buy groceries or the kids might need something for school between now and Thursday and I would hate to not have the money. Decisions, decisions.

I have worked out my schedule for next week and will be picking up 5 hours of overtime. It's not a ton but I think it is a good start for me. With the kids schedule and DH's schedule I am surprised I could find the time to do even 5! I am going to shoot for a minimun of 5 additional hours each week.

I am very tired today and have been fighting a headache all day. I am looking forward to the fancy dinner tonight but would be just as happy going home and putting on my sweatpants! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Lunch Dinner and Money

June 3rd, 2010 at 10:38 am

So I am doing OK with the lunch challenge. Brought my lunch with me yesterday. Forgot it today but am not really eating lunch since this is my early day. I had some pretzels and cookies stashed in my desk that I ate. I can wait until I get home to really eat.

Next month I think I am going to challenge myself to not buying coffee everyday. I am perfectly capable to making it at home and bringing it with me. I always seem to be in a rush and don't make it. We will see how that challenge goes...it will surely be a challenge.

Staying steady with the left over cash in my checking account. Haven't really needed to buy anything this week. I get excited to see the money still in my checking account. Last month I was excited if I saw money after bills left because it meant I could spend it. Now, after working to to change my mindset I am exciting because that is money I can use to pay towards my Visa bill. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it!

Tomorrow night may be expensive. All the women and girls in the family are taking a great aunt out to dinner for her 80th birthday. She didn't want any gifts and arranging this dinner was the only thing I could think of. The restaurant is fancy and yes, expensive. But when I am 80 I hope someone thinks enough of me to take me to a fancy place. I will be paying for me and DD and we will all be splitting the aunts dinner. I think it will be about a 5 way split so thats not bad. I told DD that we are only drinking water with dinner and that I would appreciate it if she picked something off the kids menu. I am bringing $50 to cover our dinners, aunts, tax and tip. I don't think it will be that much but I don't not want to have enough. It will be a nice night of good food and great company.

Anyways, I am proud of how I am starting to look differently at my money. I am going to start working some overtime next week. I think I will put my overtime pay towards my Visa bill and see if I can't beat the year goal I have for myself.

June Lunch Challenge

June 1st, 2010 at 02:11 pm

Joining the June lunch challenge and off to a good start!

My goal is to bring my lunch 14 out of the 19 days I am working this month. I am a chronic unorganized mess so this will be a challenge!

I am going to be starting to work some overtime next week so that will be an extra challenge...making sure I have enough food with me for the extra hours. I am sure with enough planning I will be fine.

Today I brought a yummy spinach salad with tomotoes, chicken, and sunflower seeds on it. I also had some nuts and a fruit crisp bar for snacks. One day down, 13 to go...woo hoo!

Looking forward to the weekend

May 28th, 2010 at 03:09 pm

So looking forward to the 3 day weekend. It will be nice to have Monday off Smile Looks like the weekend is filling up with plans already. Hopefully we will have some down time as I have to clean my house...it's driving me nuts! I don't know how it gets so messy so quickly.

Today was payday. I have paid all the bills I have for this pay period. I think I am just waiting for the home phone bill still. I made my normal payment to the credit card I am trying to snowball. $55. I added to that the 25.70 I had left over in my account when I got paid today. So I have paid a $80.70 payment. I figured if I at least pay $150/month I should have it paid off in a year. I am going to try really hard to pay more than $150 so I can get rid of this small one and move on to some of the larger debts.

I still have to deposit the cash I have laying around at home and plan to do that tomorrow. I will then transfer that over to this payment.

I even managed to transfer $14 to my savings account Smile $1 a day...won't get me rich but it's nice to know that I am not spending it!

I also transferred $150 to my saving account which I will be able to draw upon if needed for the next 13 days. I hope I won't need to touch it. After I paid all my bills and added the $14 to savings I still had close to $500 in my checking account. I figured if I left it there I would spend it.

So, I now have about $280 left in my checking account. This will buy us groceries and birthday dinner for an aunt who is turning 80. Just DD and I are going so I don't think it will be too expensive.

I am glad to be going into the weekend knowing where I stand with my money. Knowing I only have $280 to last 13 days will definately make me thing twice about what I spend it on.

Hope everyone has a nice relaxing long weekend!

Overtime

May 26th, 2010 at 02:50 pm

Just got the approval to work some overtime on some projects at work that nobody seems to have time to complete. With summer upon us, vacations will kick in making it harder to get all the work we have to do done. So, I have to let my boss know at the beginning of the week when I want to work overtime for the coming week. It will be difficult given all the activities the kids are involved in to find time to work extra but I am going to make it work somehow. We are rarely given the opportunity for overtime so I am going to jump all over it. I emailed DH today and told him we will have to go over everyones schedules tonight to see how we will make this work. I am not working extra next week as it is the holiday and even if I did come in it would be regular pay and I am going to need the week to prepare for what is going to be a very busy summer.

Took DS out for ice cream last night. $6 not planned but worth every penny. DH and DD went off to karate after soccer practice and it was just DS and I so I thought it was nice if we could spend some time together doing what we love...eat ice cream! Other than that, I am doing good with not spending. Got a coffee at work today for $1.40. Brought my lunch and we had bagels during a mroning meeting.

Tonight is the first and only night of the week where we do not have plans. I am looking forward to getting caught up on some housework and then just relaxing Smile

Lucky day!

May 25th, 2010 at 11:53 am

It has been a lucky couple of days for me...I hope it continues!

Yesterday I found $10 while doing the laundry. I do all our laundry together so I really don't have a way of telling if it was DH or DD. I don't think it was mine as I seldom keep money in my pockets. Nobody is missing it so I am adding to my laundry stash. I am up to $14 and change Smile

This morning I stopped at Dunkin Donuts before work to get a muffin and large coffee. I went through the drive through and they messed up my order so they gave me the muffin for free! I love free!!!!

That is where my luck has taken me so far. Unfortunately I was in a hurry this morning becasue I had to drive DD to school with her science fair project so I didn't have time to pack my lunch. I really need to get into the habit of doing this before I go to bed. Anyways, I have done well today without my lunch. I bought a bag of pretzels for $1 and have been drinking water and ate a bananna I had left over from yesterday. Mental note to self...pack lunch tonight.

Tonight is soccer practice and I don't anticipate needing to stop anywhere or purchase anything so I think today will be a pretty expensive day. Yesterday wasn't too bad either. $5.48 at the pharmacy for my medication and $1.50 for coffee. It's amazing how little you spend when you are paying attention to what you have and where you want to be with your funds.

Payday is this Thursday and I am excited to see how much I actually have left over for my snowball Smile

My weekend

May 24th, 2010 at 10:42 am

So I managed to stay within my $20 budget on Friday night at the ball game. I had to pay to park (which I forgot about) and bought the kids each an overpriced ice cream and a fried dough for me. I walked out with $3 left over...yeah me!

Saturday was another story...I did better than I usually do but not as well as I had hoped. DD and I went to Old Navy for their $1 Flip Flop sale. Although DD is only 10 she wears the same size shoe as me. We got 3 pairs to share and spent $3.21.

Saturday night was girls night at the Comedy Club. We went to dinner first and tried to use a coupon but they wouldn't accept it. Seems they are changing ownership and couldn't take the coupon unless it had the new name on it. Anyways, we drank water and and my portion of the bill was about $16. Tickets to the show were $9 and I got 2 drinks during for a total of $6. So, the night came to $31. I had budgeted $30 once I found out we were going to dinner so I did well. Still when you don't go out often, even $31 seems expensive!

Sunday I went grocery shopping to stock up on fruits and veggies. I spent $51 and that should get us through the week. I breaded about 6 chicken breast to have on hand for dinners and lunches this week. I had a delicious spinach salad with some of the chicken for lunch today...yum!

I have to pick up one of my medications today which will cost $10. That will leave me with $37.81 in my checking account until Thursday. If I transfer the $14 I had planned to transfer to my savings account I will have $23.81 to add to my Visa bill I am trying to snowball. Plus the $20 cash I have sitting on my desk at home. That's $43.81 which I think is a good first step.

I am going to try really hard this week to bring my lunch everyday and eat breakfast at home. I ate breakfast at home this morning and only spent $1.25 for coffee. Normally I send $3.51 for coffee and a muffin. One day of breaking my breakfast tradition down, lots more to go!!!

I did well yesterday!

May 21st, 2010 at 11:50 am

So, my challenge yesterday was to buy presents for DS's upcoming birthday parties and to get a few things at the store like milk, bread, etc. And I wanted to do all this for $40. I did better than I expected!

I started at Toys R Us and purchased 2 Transformer toys with a Buy One, Get One 50% off coupon. Total-$9.70.

I then went to Target (with both kids) and bought:
milk
bread
waffles
ant traps
2 books for DS's friends gifts
box of donuts
poster board of DD's science project
I had a $15 gift card which I had forgotton about so I only had to pay $8.41.

I took the kids to dinner at McDonalds since we were having such a busy evening and spent $11.20. I felt OK about that since I was under budget for the evening and they were hungry.

Total for the night=$29.31. I came out +10.69 and I feel pretty good about that Smile

I had to stop at the gas station this morning or I would have ran out of gas on my way to work and spent $9.01. I am taking that out of my unexpected left over funds which I said I had $106.72 so now I have $97.71.

I spoke with DH and told him that I wanted us to eat at home before we head out to the ballgame so they kids aren't starving and we are contemplating $5 for a hotdog. He is in agreement. With my $20 allotted for tonight I plan to buy the kids one treat a piece.

Whatever I don't spend tonight I am going to put in my pile for tomorrow night. The girls are talking about dinner before the comedy club so that is going to be an extra expense. We plan to drink water and use a coupon so hopefully it won't be too bad. I might have to take an extra $10 from my checking account just to be sure I have enough to cover my share. We will see how tonight goes first and re-evaluate in the morning.

It could be an expensive couple of days...

May 20th, 2010 at 10:37 am

While I enjoy the thought of trying to save money and pay off this looming debt, sometimes it can be a real challenge. I am usually up for a challenge but finances are a difficult area in which to be creative.

Here is my challenge...After today I will have $186.72 in my checking account to last until next Thursday (5/28). All my payments have been made for this pay period...this is what I currently have to function with. So, with this sum I have to buy:

2 birthday presents for parties DS is going to(I received an email with coupons from Toys R Us today...buy one get one free...so I think I might check it out)

I also need to get ant traps, milk, poster board for DD science project, and something for breakfast.

I am hoping I can do all this for $40. That will leave me with $146.72.

This weekend has the potential to be expensive as well. The family is going to a local baseball game...it is a school event for DD. DH purchased the tickets through the school at a discounted rate. The challenge will be to not want to eat everything they have to eat there. I can hear my kids already, wanting everything they see. I am going to have to stuff them full at home so they aren't hungry Smile Saturday night I may be going to a comedy club with some of my girlfriends. I rarely go out and do anything so if it happens it will be a treat. Most of my friends going are on strict budgets as well. $9 to get in, $6 drink minimum = $15 for the night.

I am setting aside $40 for both Friday and Saturday. So that brings me to $106.72. I believe we will have enough food in the house after I go shopping tonight. I would really like to transfer $14 to my savings account (hey, I gotta start somewhere) and then throw about $40 to my credit card. That will leave me with $52.72 for unexpected expenses.

I am eager to see how I do. It is a different feeling going into the weekend knowing what I can spend instead of spending whatever I want and then figuring out how to pay the bills later.

Thank you!

May 19th, 2010 at 02:08 pm

Thank you to those of you who responded to my first entry with encouraging words. I appreciate it!

I am just about done with my master list of debt. I am not sure how to post my spreadsheet in here...is that even possible? If not I will post them on the side like I see so many others do.

After much deliberation I have decided that I am going to attack my smallest balance Visa card first. I think if I can get rid of it in a short time frame I will feel like I am going somewhere. And that somewhere is where I want to be all the time Smile

So, my first goal is to throw every single spare penny I have to this account. Here is where I stand:

Visa
Credit Limit $3000.00
Current Balance $1611.05
Balance is 54% of my limit
Current minimum monthly payment= 0.00 (ok, sure)
My minimum monthly payment =$50.00
Interest on both purchases and balance transfers= 10.65%

Right now I am waiting for a few bills to clear my bank and then I will have a better idea of what I can "contribute" to this account. I have about $20 sitting at home waiting to be deposited into my account from various sources...I can definately transfer that over once I get to the bank, which I should do soon since cash doesn't last long in my hands.


Boy do I have issues....

May 18th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog page. As my entry title suggests, I have issues of the financial kind. Well, lets face it...I have issues of several kind but I guess this is the place to discuss the financial ones. I'll have to find another site to blog about the others.

I am not sure where to begin with the mess I have created. I don't have exact figures to share with you. I can say that about 95% of my debt is credit card debt. The remaining 5% is my car payment and student loan. I am going to guesstimate that my credit card debt is about 20k. What, you may ask did I spend that money on? Funny you should ask as I look at that figure and wonder the same thing.

I do know that being a parent is very expensive but I can't blame this all on my kids....I like to shop. A lot. For clothes mostly. I often wonder if I have a shopping addiction. Currently I am trying to stay out of stores because if I don't go in, I won't spend. I don't really engage in on-line shopping so no worries there.

If you took a glimpse at my marriage you would see 2 successful people, holding down 2 successful jobs. My husband has always been great with his money. He is able to use his credit card during the month and pay it off every month. He has no debt except for his car loan. I, on the other hand, use my credit cards to make up for the money I don't make. My husband makes twice as much as me. We have seperate checking accounts and a shared savings account. This works for us. I don't like the idea of someone constantly questioning me about how I am spending my money and I don't think it is fair of me to do the same. Although the more I think about it, the more I think I do need someone challenging me. The way we break down expenses are as follows:
Husband is responsible for the house payment, day care, his car and insurance, his credit card.
I am responsible for all the utilities, most of the kids stuff, groceries, my car payment and insurance, credit card bills, and student loan.
Once the fall is here and our son is no longer in all day, every day daycare that expense will drop dramatically and I am hoping my husband will take over some of the utilities.

I know what you are wondering...if we have such seperate financial lives, does he know about my debt? Well, he has a vague idea. He doesn't know how bad it is and seriously, I don't want him to know. I think he would leave me if he knew. And then where would I be? I am hoping, and I may be living in a fantasy world here, but I am hoping that I am able to get this under control before he realizes how large it is. Call me crazy, I know.

So my fellow peeps...I am hoping that by blogging about this huge mess I will be inspired to stop shopping and start digging my way out. I am always open to suggestions and will try just about anything to fix this situation. I will try to get more details posted so you have a better idea of where I am coming from, but in a nutshell this is me.