Sunday, December 20, 2009

Vacation

We're here at my parents house in Florida this week. We drive in yesterday, swung by the airport and picked up my brother, and made it in around lunch time. Last night we went to see "A Christmas Carol", it was mine and Matt's favorite book growing up. The movie was cute and stuck very closely to the actual Charles Dickens novel, which is always nice. Today we had a huge breakfast and now we're sitting in the living room, playing Wii. I'll be taking lots of pictures, but just wanted to post real quickly and say that I am not gone, just busy with the family. Hope you're all having a great weekend and getting ready for the big day!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Big News!

I have never said on here our actually amount of Credit Card debt. We only have a couple cards, our MasterCard through our bank, my Ann Taylor MasterCard from when I worked there, and our Military Star (Military Exchange Credit Card). We only ever used one, our bank MasterCard, but boy did we use it! I was so excited and proud when they raised our limit to $8,500 when I was only 21 years old! I can remember thinking "Wow, they must think really highly of me if they'll 'give' me that much money!" WRONG! What was I thinking? They didn't GIVE me any money, but that's how I saw it. It was mine-it had my name on it and I could use it as I wanted. And no, they didn't think highly of me. They were hoping I wouldn't pay it in full so they could charge me interest. And I totally proved them right.

But today, a year after starting my blog and 6 months into our Total Money Makeover I am ready to confess our credit card balance. On the first page of my Money Binder, in a sheet protector is a printed statement from January 20, 2009. The balance was $6,700 and change. Do I need to wait for you to catch your breath? But wait-that wasn't the highest it's been! At one point it was $8,046. That number STILL makes me sick to think about. But why am I confessing today? BECAUSE YESTERDAY I PAID IT OFF IN FULL. Yes! In less then a year, on one income and at the ripe old age of 24 we are credit card debt free.

We were able to accomplish this by making a couple changes. First, in November of 2008 we committed to stop charging things we couldn't pay for. Now, this doesn't mean we haven't used the card, because we have. For example, my brother is in the Navy, stationed in VA and I always help him book his plane tickets. I use my credit card to purchase them and he writes me a check when he gets here, which I then use to pay the credit card. So the key is that even if you use it, to PAY IT OFF. Secondly, we stopped adding to our savings. At first that thought scared the crap out of me. In the first recession of my adult life, I stopped saving money. Instead, I put that money toward paying off that credit card. When I really say down and thought about it, it made complete sense. I was saving money, that was making me 2% interest, which WASTING money by being charged 9% interest on the credit card balance. I was paying up to $50 a month on a finance charge, while making pennies on my savings account. (I do agree with Dave Ramsey though, and I kept at least $1000 in savings at all time for emergencies. We were also lucky enough that David would take short deployments at work, and while gone, he tried to save as much travel money and per diem as possible to put toward our debt. His sacrifice it what made it possible to pay off that card.

I can't put into words the peace I have now that we are credit card debt free. It's a peace that sinks deep into my heart. It's wonderful to make goals for 2010 that don't include paying off a stupid credit card. We can do so much more with our money when it's not going to a credit card company.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy First Anniversary

Yesterday was a year since I wrote my first blog! So much has changed for us financially I can't even begin to imagine where we'd be now if we hadn't made the decision to become debt free. And while we still aren't there, we are MUCH closer. In fact, we'll make our last payment to credit card debt this month and start 2010 with only a truck payment. Here are my top 3 things I've learned this year, and what's worked the best for us:

1. USE CASH: I'd heard of Dave Ramsey but never paid much attention to his plan until this summer. I was still hesitant to use a cash only system. In this day and age it seems "old fashion" and inconvenient to use cash instead of a debit card, but that's just not so. Also, from my experience using a debit card is NOT the same as cash. It's just too easy to swipe the plastic, it's painful to hand over tangible cash.

2. BUDGET: My old budget didn't work because I would plan for what I would like to see happen with my money. When I took total control and told my money where to go, I was able to stick to it. (Example: I used to *hope* that I could spend less then $15o a pay period on groceries. With my new budget, I tell myself I *must* spend less this $150 because that's all the cash I have.) It's amazing what you can so when you have to!

3. BLOGGING: And reading blogs. Sharing ideas is the best way to find a budget that works for you. When I feel myself slipping or wanting to have a pity party I read others blogs and get all the motivation I need. So thanks to all the fellow bloggers!

Here's to another year of blogging and reaching new goals!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Home Tour

I love Christmas. I wait all year long for it, and I start early. David doesn't understand why I start decorating so early and even though I've tried to explain, it's just something he doesn't agree with me on. I justify it by saying that I pay a lot for my Christmas things and I want to get the most out of them. But the truth is that I love to be surrounded by the lights, smells, colors, and emotions of Christmas. I love the glow of a Christmas tree and the joy in Christmas carols. I was blessed to grow up in a happy home where Christmas was special and family was the most important thing. That has carried over into my adult life, as well as the appreciation for those traditions. I love having people in our home to enjoy the season with us. All that being said we finished up our decorations tonight and I have very happy with the outcome. It's our second Christmas here, so we kept things pretty much the same.

My tree is mainly red and gold and some ambers and greens. I like traditional, rich colors and lots of shimmer. I have poinsettia picks stuck in randomly, and I love the look it gives.
I love this little shelf, it's full of all kinds of my favorite things. I think I bought it used about 4 years ago for $50. Probably one of my best finds!
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I love the white and black look. This is our upstairs Den, and I like that it can have a different color scheme and modern look, so unlike the rest of my house, without clashing. It's like it's own little living room off of the bedrooms.

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This us the entry, I LOVE this picture. I loved it so much that I bought one for my mom, too.

I have more of the outside, but I need to upload them so I'll make another post. Hope you enjoyed our "2009 Home Tour".

11/29-12/5 Menu

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving. We had a wonderful time at my parents house. So many laughs and so much good food, but I am glad to be back at home and back to a (somewhat) normal routine.
I have a feeling this week will go by fast. In fact, I think the rest of 2009 will fly by. Here's this weeks menu:

Sunday: Dinner out with friends.

Monday: Taco Pizza

Tuesday: David has Duty at work, I'll have soup and a sandwich.

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken, Rice and Broccoli, Carrots

Thursday: Spaghetti, Yeast Rolls

Friday: Waffles, Bacon

Saturday: FOOTBALL!!! Pizza and Wings

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November 15-21 Menu and To Do's

Last week felt so "off" to me. David didn't have to work on Wednesday (Veteran's Day) and we went out a lot with friends to celebrate. Now it's weekend and he's working, so it doesn't even feel like a real weekend. But I guess that's the way it will be from now until the beginning of the new year. With all the holidays, parties, traveling, and work functions time just speeds by. I know for me, it's very important to schedule and make lists this time of year. It's so easy for spending to get out of control with all the business of the next couple months. Last year at this time we were half heartedly following the budget and basically just treading water. What a difference a year makes! So...on to this week!

MENU:
Sunday: Cube Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Monday: Homemade Pizza

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Rice, Carrots

Wednesday: Breakfast (Grits, Eggs, Bacon)

Thursday: Meatball Subs

Friday: Beef Stroganoff

Saturday: David has a Motorcycle "Poker Run", so I'll probably have leftovers or a salad.


TO DO's:
This week I need to get my house ready for Christmas decorations!!! And we'll be leaving on the 21st for a week, so I need to get packed and get the house ready for us to leave.

1. Vacuum Baseboards
2. Dust Ceiling Fans and Air Vents
3. Vacuum Truck
4. Return Halloween things to my neighbors house.
5. Organize Office Closet



Have a great week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day and Happy Marine Corps Birthday


My husband, David, before he left for Iraq in 2007.
"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past." Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC



My sister, my brother and I at my brother's Navy Boot Camp Graduation. January 2009

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: "I served in the United States Navy""-John F. Kennedy (JFK)

November 8-14 Menu

Last week went by really fast! It seems like September on just flies by and then it's a new year! We don't have too much going this week, but it's definitely the calm before the storm. Literally, there is a tiny hurricane headed this way. But like I was telling a friend early-this ain't my first rodeo. Growing up in Panama City, Florida I've seen my share and they don't scare me in the least. In fact, I love a good storm! So I'm not planning too much for this week, since it will likely be raining for a couple days. David is off Wednesday for the Marine Corps Birthday (which is the 10th) , and Veteran's Day. Then he has duty again on Saturday, so I don't have to cook either of those nights. Here's the menu:

Sunday: Meatball Soup

Monday: Hotdogs and Tater Tots (We have SO many hot dogs left over from the Halloween party, well be eating them once a week for a while yet!)

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, Bread

Wednesday: Out to dinner, probably Applebee's since they are doing a free meal for Veteran's (YAY! Thanks Applebee's!) http://applebees.com/vetsDay/default.aspx

Thursday: Pizza (I got a new bread recipe from here: http://www.bigredkitchen.com/2008/02/bread-baking-made-easier-finally.html and it makes a great pizza crust. I'm thinking of trying a new pizza each week!

Friday: Beef Stroganoff

Saturday: David has duty, I'll eat left overs or canned soup.


Happy Veteran's Day!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November 1-7 Spending:

11/1:
$10 Burger King-Breakfast
$5 Target-Halloween Clearance
$12 Marshall's-Halloween Clearance
$13 Kirkland's-Halloween Clearance


11/2:
$9 Heros-lunch with BFF

11/3
$9 Dog Food
$14 Candles, Soda, Chips, TP
$1 McD's Burger

11/4:
$5 Coupon Order

11/5:
$3 SnoBalls

11/6:
$7 Cracker Barrel
$10 Walmart
$20 Gas

11/7:
$4 Target
$14 Walmart
$5 Dollar Tree
$20 Hero's

This week I spent $137 on things that we didn't NEED. Ugh, that's a lot. In red are the things that were wants and could have been avoided. Technically all but about $50 were within budget because we used cash. But lately I've been wondering if we spend the cash because we have it. Just because I have $10 left in my Blow Money, doesn't mean I need to go to Target and see what I can buy for $10. I need to really work on that! Hopefully this week will be better. My weakness is seasonal clearance, I've spend a lot on marked down Halloween stuff. Which is fine if it's stuff I'll actually need and use next year. But naturally I get sucked into buying crap just because it's 75% off. Another weakness if boredom. I want to try to stay out of stores more this week. Last week I went shopping almost everyday just because I could. But again-that doesn't mean I SHOULD. If I stay out of stores and busy doing something else then I can't spend any money, right!? I'll check back in next week.

A Plateau?

I think I've hit one. Lately I've just felt like I'm barely treading water. In some ways it doesn't make sense because we're still plugging along, working the budget and paying off debt. But in other ways I feel like we should be doing MORE. I kind of feel like we're doing just enough to make progress, and that we've gotten complacent over the last 6 months. Part of it could be the New Year getting closer, and the anticipation of what we can and will do in 2010. I definitely haven't lost motivation, if anything I have more and don't know what to do with it!

I went over last months numbers and here's is what I think I should focus on in November:

1. Sticking to the menu:
A. Cutting back on the fast food/dinning out.
B. Stop running to the store for chips, soda, eggs, etc., and plan better when I do go.
C. Using what we have in the freezer, and using up leftovers.

2. Using less gas:
A. Make sure I budget enough for the pay period based on that weeks activities.
B. Cutting down on MY driving, and planning lots of errands in one day.
C. Cut back on the trips to the commissary. (100 miles round trip!!)


Ok, so that the game plan for November! Maybe what I need is to get back to the basics and focus on the areas that NEED the most work.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Par-tay!




I love Halloween!!! It's so fun and festive, I love the colors and the costumes. Some great friends and neighbors helped me host the party this year. It was a blast! David was a good sport and helped me transform the garage into a "cave". I bought several black table clothes from the Dollar Tree and David was great enough to thumb tack them to the ceiling of the garage. It was a little time consuming, but was only about $12 and made a huge impact on the decorations!


The final product!


Our friends Monica and Travis made a "Mystery Box" game that was a huge hit! The boxes had slits cut in the top and each player had to stick their hand in and try and guess what body part was inside. The boxes were actually filled with things like pasta, peeled grapes and jello! FUN! Here is David after sticking his hand in.






We also had a "Witch's Broom Race". I made brooms out of paper bags, and each player had to "sweep" their balled up newspaper across the finish line. It was hilarious to watch.







And finally-all the food!


Sunday, November 1, 2009

11/1-11/7 Weekly To Do List

Well, last night was the big Halloween bash and I think it went very well. I have some pictures but I'll make another post about that. I got everything on my To Do List done, since it was all party prep. But this week I need to start getting ready for the Holidays, since they are right around the corner. I love this time change, I feel so much more productive when I get up early, and being an hour ahead is nice!
I also wanted to mention that I've been a fan of www.flylady.net for years, and she's started her annual "Cruising Through the Holidays", so be sure to check that out. Over the years I've adapted it to help me with my household management. I've never had a problem with clutter, so I don't need that aspect of her plan, but I follow her routines and daily missions to help me stay on top of my housework. She also has a Blog Talk Radio show here http://www.blogtalkradio.com/flylady. Those ladies are so insightful and practical!

This week I need to:

1. Clean out and vacuum the truck.

2. Clean out and inventory the chest freezer.

3. Wash and vacuum couch cushions.

4. Go to the DMV and have the motorcycle registered.

5. Spend an hour working on my recipe and idea binders. (I probably should do a post about this, too!)

So, that's want I want to get done this week, along with all the general daily cleaning.

November 1-7 Menu

Hello November! These next few weeks will be the calm before the Holiday storm. We don't have much planned this week, just resting up from the Halloween party, and getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Sunday: Grilled Chicken, Rice, Green Beans
Monday: Stromboli's
Tuesday: Cube Steak, Potatoes, Carrots
Wednesday: Leftovers, or Sandwiches
Thursday: Breakfast
Friday: Chicken and Rice, Peas, Biscuits
Saturday: Meatball Soup

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

October 25-31: Weekly To Do List and Menu

I'll a little (ok, A LOT) late on this post, but for good reason. My Mom and sister, Lane were visiting Sunday-Wednesday and we had a blast. However, nothing got done! But It's 4pm on Wednesday and they are back home in Florida, and I'm here trying to catch up on my week. So first here's the menu for Wednesday-Saturday:

Wednesday: Chicken Quesadillas, Yellow Rice, Corn

Thursday: David has duty, so probably Chicken nuggets and Easy Mac for me!

Friday: Breakfast (Grits, Eggs, Bacon)

Saturday: A group of girlfriends and I are hosting a Halloween Party at our house!


OK, and now for the To Do's:

Last weeks:
1. Start working on re-organizing the garage, this will be done a few minutes each day, and the mostly on the weekend when David can help me. Yes, and it looks great and is much more convenient!

2. Finish my "Bat Project". Did work on it, but didn't complete it.

3. Wash my truck-although this one is sort of depending on the weather. It needs to be washed, but it's been too cold lately to get out there and do it. Um, no. Didn't even try to do it!

4. Re-Organize the pantry and make a list of all Holiday baking needs. Yes!

5. Deep clean my office. Yes!

6. Take and post pictures of my Halloween Decor!!! Not yet, but I have a good reason. I bought a few more things, but they are paper and it's supposed to rain. So I will finish up Halloween morning and take pictures that night it all it's glory.


And now for this weeks! This one is a dozy since the Party is Saturday.
1. Clean the house and get it ready for the party.

2. Get the garage decorated.

3. Bake 4 dozen cupcakes, and 2 batches of Rice Krispie Treats.

4. Take pictures of the decor before the party.


Have a great week!

Monday, October 26, 2009

October 25-31 Menu

It's already the last week of October!!! This is a fun week at our house, my sister Lane and my Mom (and their dog Buster) are here visiting while Daddy it out of town for work. They will be here until Wednesday, and then on Saturday we're having a huge Halloween party here. I'm super excited-I love Halloween. So here's the plan for this week:

Sunday: Spaghetti, Green Beans, Garlic Bread

Monday: Out to Dinner

Tuesday: Grilled Chicken, Potatoes, Broccoli

Wednesday: Breakfast (Grits, Eggs, Bacon, Toast)

Thursday: Chicken Taco Manicotti

Friday: Homemade Pizza

Saturday: PARTY!



Have a great week!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Productive Day!

Whoa, am I tired! But I've gotten a lot done today, and it's only 4:30. David started his motorcycle safety course today, and since he wasn't going to be working out before work, I made him breakfast. So my day started about 5:30am! My normal wake up isn't until about 7-ish. But I love days when I get up early, I seem to get a lot done. Then later in the morning I called my mom, who told me that she and my sister are coming to stay with me Sunday-Wednesday for Lane's Fall Break!!! I am thrilled. I haven't seen them since the 2nd, and I didn't think I'd get to see them again until Thanksgiving so I am super excited about that. Daddy can't come, he has to work and stay there to take care of the animals.

That sent me into a cleaning frenzy! Now, mind you, I stay home all day and clean regularly but when I know someone is coming over I kick it up a few notches. Today I managed to vacuum all the baseboards, air vents, window sills, closets, mattresses, dryer vent, and floors upstairs. I also cleaned 2 bathrooms, and the laundry room. I still have lots to do, but dang! my arms are tired for dragging that vacuum cleaner all over. That was all in addition to my normal cleaning-I did a load of dishes, laundry (which still need to be put away), and general straightening downstairs. Can I just say I will be thrilled to death when we move into a 1 story house. Luckily, my laundry room is on the 2nd story, where all the bedrooms are. But still! I hate stairs, and I especially hate vacuuming them.

All this cleaning did make for a good day budget wise, although I did leave the house to go to Sonic. But since it was Happy Hour, and I got a large Coke for less then a dollar, I'm totally not even counting that. I paid for it out the change in my truck's ash try! And I think I deserved it!

Also, David's motorcycle jacket came in today. I am so happy. He's ecstatic about how "cool" it is. And I am loving that it's armored with back, elbow, shoulder, and neck padding "just in case". I am getting used to the idea of him driving it, but I can't really say I'm loving it. He's at the Marine Corps motorcycle safety course today and tomorrow, so that also makes me feel better. And I have to say I am loving the $8 a week it takes him to drive back and forth to work. (Verses the $40 a week on the truck!) And the cheap insurance. It's still a little nerve wracking though!

I think that's enough rambling for today. Time to go cook some dinner! Y'all take care.





Monday, October 19, 2009

No Spend Challenge

Back at the beginning of the year I did them a lot, but slacked off once I got the budget down. Lately we've really been able to save and it's been nice. But sometimes I feel like even though I use cash, and stick to my budget, I still waste money. For example, I get $20 a week as Blow Money (money just to spend as I want/need). If on Saturday, I still have $10 I'll go to Target and buy whatever I want, or I'll go out to lunch. And I have a problem with that. Just because I HAVE the cash, doesn't mean I need to SPEND that cash. Even if it is within my budget! I seriously need to reign in the spending a little. Even though it is just $5 here, $3 there. If I don't need it, it's still WASTE. Not that I think we don't all need a little wiggle room, but I've taken a lot lately!

Today is Monday, and I've already done all the grocery/household shopping for the week. I also have enough gas in my truck, and DH's spending doesn't count (since he rarely spends anything). I can't think of anything Tuesday-Saturday that I'll need. The only thing I have coming up is a birthday party on Saturday, but I've got the "Gift Envelope" for that. If you saw my "To Do" post, you know I have plenty to keep me busy. Plus I just started a series of books, and I've finished 1 out of 6 so I want to read those as well. With the weather being SO nice (mid 60's) Bear and I have been taking lots of long walks. So I have lots and lots to keep me busy and have no need to spend a dime! I'll check back in periodically!

10/18-10/24: To Do List

I made the comment to David yesterday that it was almost one month until I could put up my Christmas Tree! I've never seen anyone roll their eyes so far before. I won't call him a Scrooge, but he's not real Jolly either! That's OK though, my enthusiasm makes up for his lack. But it's true, the holidays are practically here and it's time to get on the move. A few of my good friends and neighbors and I are planning a "sure 'nough" Halloween Bash in our neighborhood! I am so excited about it, we've already had planning meeting and we're going out on Wednesday to do some shopping. I've started making a few decorations, and the outside of my house is almost ready (I'll have to make another post about that!). But with the Halloween Party, there is a lot to do to get the house ready (we're having it here!), and then as soon as that's over, we jump right into Thanksgiving and Christmas! I need to start now to get everything ready, and we all know I'm a planner. So I think from now until the new year, and maybe after, depending on how it works, I'm going to post a weekly To Do list.

So what needs to be done this week?

1. Start working on re-organizing the garage, this will be done a few minutes each day, and the mostly on the weekend when David can help me.

2. Finish my "Bat Project".

3. Wash my truck-although this one is sort of depending on the weather. It needs to be washed, but it's been too cold lately to get out there and do it.

4. Re-Organize the pantry and make a list of all Holiday baking needs.

5. Deep clean my office.

6. Take and post pictures of my Halloween Decor!!!


Feel free to join me!

October 18-24 Menu

It's finally cold here! This morning when I got up at 6:30 it was 38 degrees. Considering I live on the Gulf Coast, that is COLD for us. But I am happy. I've been craving chili and all sorts of baked goods, and apple cider-just waiting on the weather to drop!

This should be a fairly "normal" week for us, we don't have too much going on. So here's the plan:

Sunday-FFYS, or Fend For You Self!

Monday: Grilled Chicken, Mushroom Rice, Broccoli

Tuesday: Mexican Pizza, Corn

Wednesday: Breakfast (Grits, Eggs, Bacon)

Thursday: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread

Friday: Leftovers, or Frozen Pizza

Saturday: Lunch-Weeks leftovers, or Sandwiches and soup, Dinner-Birthday Party at Friends House.

I'll also be doing some baking-pumpkin muffins, blueberry muffins, and probably some breads.

Have a wonderful week, and stay warm out there!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Oct. 11-17 Menu

Happy Columbus Day!

David was off work today, so he and some friends went on a motorcycle ride. Bear and I stayed home and cleaning house, which after a long weekend, really needed some TLC! I have supper in the crockpot and it smells yummy. Now we're all just hanging out enjoying the rainy day. Hope your Monday is great, too!

Sunday: Tilapia, Broccoli, Squash, and Tomatoes

Monday: BBQ Chicken, Baked Beans, Corn Bread, Fresh Tomato Slices

Tuesday: Beef Stroganoff, Green Beans

Wednesday: Meatball Soup, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Fish, Rice, Peas

Friday: Black Bean Empanadas, Corn

Saturday: Lunch-Pizza, Supper-Grilled Beef Kabobs, Potatoes, Carrots

I'm also planning on making a pie (probably apple) and baking a bunch of muffins to freeze!

Have a wonderful week!

Monday, October 5, 2009

80 Days Until...


CHRISTMAS! Have you started shopping, making lists, putting together a "game plan"?
I love my Mama, she has the best ideas! Since David and I, and she and my Daddy are all trying to save more and pay off debt, we've decided we'll draw names for Christmas this year. We asked my brother and sister, and they are fine with the idea, too. To make it even more fun, we've made it into a game. We each drew a name from a hat, and we have to spend $20 or less on that person. The person who spends closest to $20 without going over wins! We're all so excited about this, not only does it mean that we'll only be spending $20 each, but the contest to spend $20 makes it so much fun!
*If you notice on my "October Goals" post I changed the Christmas Savings Goal. Normally I budget $50 for each of my 5 family members, so only spending $40 will saves us a lot, and we can lower the amount we need to save for Christmas, and add more to Debt Payments!



October 4-10 Menu

We are really loving the new grill! Plus, with the great weather we've been having, it's been nice to eat outside. Of course, as I type this it's raining outside, and supposed to continue all week. But I do love the rain, too! We're also trying to eat healthier with more fish and veggies, so here's the menu this week:

Sunday-Sandwiches, it had been a long day of driving home.

Monday-Tilapia, Broccoli, Homemade Hush Puppies

Tuesday-Grilled Chicken, Rice, Green Beans, Rolls

Wednesday-Chicken Salad Sandwiches, using the leftover grilled chicken.

Thursday-Crockpot Soup, we have Bible Study that night so we'll have soup before we go.

Friday-Spaghetti, Garlic bread

Saturday Lunch-Leftover Spaghetti, Dinner-Tilapia, Rice, Brussel Sprouts


Have a wonderful week!

No New Debt- FAIL!

Yes. We did it. We took on more debt. I am not happy about it, but I am not upset by it either. I think the difference is that now I have a plan, and we have our budget set up in a way that will allow us to work our plan.

We had a car that was having a few mechanical problems, and since I don't work or go to school I had pretty much stopped driving it. It's been paid off since early 2007, but we were still paying $100 a month on insurance for it, and not driving it. We decided to sell it, but hadn't actually gone as far as to put it up for sale yet. Then, a neighbor was at our house and David mentioned we were probably selling it, that I didn't really need or want it anymore, and our eventual plan was to purchase a motorcycle for him to drive back and forth to work and leave me with the truck. The neighbor said he'd be interested in the car for his teenage son. And wouldn't you know, he had a bike that David liked that he was willing to trade for it. The value of the car was much lower then the value of the Bike, so we traded our car and $1,500 for the Bike (which is worth a little over $3,400). We had enough cash on hand to pay for the bike, but didn't want to dip into the Emergency Fund. We had been planning on buying a bike with Davids bonus later in the year, maybe early 2010. So, after much thought we decided to take out a small personal loan, pay for the bike, and pay it off as soon as possible. The payment is $65 a month, but we'll save $20 in insurance and $60-80 in gas, so we'll put all of that toward the payment each month. As soon as the credit card if paid off (December) we'll be using the snowball to pay off the bike. However, if the bonus comes in before, the bike and card will both be paid off immediately. It also means that the $4,000 of the bonus we had earmarked for a bike can now be saved for the Fully-Funded Emergency Fund.

I know taking on more debt may not have been the best option, but we do take some comfort in the fact that we do have a very workable plan. And we are grateful that we've spent the last year working hard, so that we are able to work this into our plan.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October Goals


Fall is my all time favorite season. I love everything about it-the smells, colors, crisp air, football, apples, sweaters, crunchy leaves, open windows, bonfires, soups, Halloween, and the anticipation of the coming Holiday Season. This time of year makes me so happy, and excited to just be able to experience it!
I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air. -Nathaniel Hawthorne
October Goals:
1. Pay $250 to the Credit Card
2. Save $100 for Christmas*
3. Pay $150 to the Bike*
4. NO New Debt
5. Post at teast 10 times.
6. Take more pictures!
After I posted this we changed out plans for Christmas shopping, and decided not to attend the MC Ball, so I changed the goals to reflect the new plan. We also added the new Bike Debt.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Summary: September Goals

Whoa, did this month fly by or what? This was a crazy month. I turned 24, David was out of the country, we had a family emegency, the dog got sick, my parents celebrated 25 years of marriage, and FALL is here. So how did I do on the goals? Overall, I think I did pretty well!


1.Pay $400 to the Credit Card. YES! Thanks to David's short deployment we were able to pay $2,000!!! Which brings us to 85% paid off!

2.Save $200 for Christmas. YES!

3.Save $100 for the Marine Corps Ball. Not exactly, I did save $60, but now we aren't even sure if we're going. However, we're still saving the money and if we don't go, we'll use it for Christmas Travel or something else that's needed.

4.NO new debt. YES!

5.Post at least 10 times! No...It's actually pretty pitiful. But I'll make this a goal again for October adn keep trying!

6.Earn 90 Swagbucks and order Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" from Amazon! (I currently have 80!!!) YES! I have 91 actually, but I haven't ordered the gift cards yet. I need to add that to my growing "To Do" list.

See you in October!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu: Sept 27-Oct 3

Good morning! Can you believe October starts the week? This year will be over before I know it! I am loving all the fall and Halloween decorations and I'm really in the mood to bake. I just wish the weather would cool off. It's hard to really get in the mood when it's still 96 degrees outside! We used the new grill for the first time last night, we had salmon, green beans, squash, and scallops. It was so yummy! And the gas grill so much easy to use and clean up then the charcoal one! Here's the game plan for the rest of the week:

Monday: Turkey Stroganoff and garlic bread.
Tuesday: Burger and Tater Tots
Wednesday: Spaghetti and garlic bread
Thursday-Saturday: Visiting family in Florida.

I've also been going through my recipe binder and my recipe box on http://www.allrecipes.com/ and finding all kinds of things I want to bake. I'm thinking I'll try and freeze a lot of it.


Have a great week!!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

New Coupon Binder



I am SO excited. I'd seen this binder at Target a couple weeks back and it was on a "back to school" sale for $12. I thought that was a pretty good price, but since I didn't NEED one, I passed it up. I really liked that it had a shoulder strap. I hate having to balance a purse, a binder, car keys, and your purchases! So I was out running some errands the other day and noticed some school supplies were 75% off at Target, and among them was my binder! I got this bad boy for $3!!!! Can you hear the angels singing? I also love that it's bright blue.


It's set up the same way as my old one, with the baseball card holders and tabs. I did have to add a zipper pouch to keep my scissors and calculator in, since it didn't have one, but those were on sale for 48 cent!!!

Now...time to go shopping!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why?

WHY do we want to be debt free?

Today, we are 80% credit card debt free. We are so close we can taste it, and it taste GOOD. So we've been tossing around ideas of how to tackle our next goal, and what exactly that goal might be. But this post isn't about that. It's about WHY. Why be debt free? I'm sure almost everyone would answer the same way-to be able to buy what we want, to fix what breaks, to be secure, to no longer be a slave to the lender. I agree, those are my reasons too.

But aside from the normal everyday answers, I believe each person has their own why. My main reason for wanting to be debt free is to prove something. We got married young, I was 18 he was 19. I had just graduated high school the month before and he'd only been in the Marines for a year. My parents were very supportive, but they were probably the only ones. Sure, everyone gave us well wishes, but they also would ask "Are you sure this is what you want?" or my personal favorite..."but you're both babies! Are you ready for this?" I could scream for every time I heard that. And then of course, when we visit back home old friends will ask "So, are you guys still married?" Umm..YEAH. Why wouldn't we be?

Now I do realize these are sad, but valid questions given the culture we live it. But I feel like it was almost expected of us to fail. But we refuse to fit the mold the young couple, struggling to make it. We want to be the exception, and for people to not question us, but use us as examples of how it CAN and DOES work. And, for us, part of that is being debt free at a young age. What will that mean for us? Being debt free at 24 will mean I don't stress over money and I will never lose sleep at night over a credit card bill. I will not live paycheck to paycheck, I will have an emergency account that gives us peace, I can afford my pet, and to keep him healthy and happy. We can travel, with cash and thank ourselves for a wonderful time, not Visa! We can drive new (to us) cars that we enjoy, we can fix what breaks, when it breaks. It will mean that David can deploy to war, and not worry about me while he's gone. We can buy a house and make it our home. We WILL retire millionaires, neither of us having ever gone to college, and we will NOT BE SLAVE TO THE LENDER.

So, what will being debt free be like for you, and WHY is it important?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Goals

Can you believe it's already September? This is my favorite month, and I have big plans for it.

  1. Pay $400 to the Credit Card.
  2. Save $200 for Christmas.
  3. Save $100 for the Marine Corps Ball.
  4. NO new debt.
  5. Post at least 10 times!
  6. Earn 90 Swagbucks and order Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" from Amazon! (I currently have 80!!!)

Because of the new budget, there really isn't much to post about. Since we're using cash it's either there or it's not. I want work harder on posting about other frugal things I'm doing, not just the budget.

So HELLO September!!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

8/31-9/14 Budget

I love it when payday is on a Monday, I feel like my week falls into place better when I can start my budget on the beginning of the week. August was our second full month on Dave Ramsey's "Envelope System", and like I keep saying-it's WONDERFUL! You know your plan is really working when you forget it's payday because your not out of money! This last pay period was the dreaded 3 weekend pay check, which normally leaves us broke by the 3rd weekend. But in fact, we had more left over then normal and I didn't even realize today was payday until I logged onto my bank this morning and saw the deposit. Then later, a friend mentioned how long this period had been. Normally I complain along side her, but this week I was so grateful for the changes we've made and the peace of mind it brings!

For the next 2 weeks it will just be me, David will be out of town again for work. This lowers our grocery and blw money ammounts, but since I'll be traveling back to Florida our gas budget will be higher. Here's the plan:

Food/HBA: $30
Gas: $100
Blow Money: $60
Misc/Entertainment: $30
Dog: $20
Travel/Gifts/Christmas: $150
Marine Corps Ball: $50


I am SO, SO excited about September being here. It's probably my favorite month! It's the start of football season, cooler weather, fall smells, changing leaves, MY BIRTHDAY, and most exciting-next weekend is my parent's 25th wedding anniversary!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where did August go?

I feel like I completely missed it. This will only be my third post of the month! But don't worry, it's not because I've fallen off the wagon, we've just been busy and away from the house. But we're still plugging along and actually got some great financial news yesterday. I'll post about it later though, as there are still a few things I am waiting on before I post.

So what was great about August?

  • We paid $680 toward debt (including a truck payment and 2 credit cards.
  • We paid off a small credit card( Credit Card #2) and only have one left.
  • We added $150 to sinking funds.
  • We added no new debt.
  • We increased our net worth by over $1000!

And where did we miss?

  • I did use the debit card for a few things totaling $50.
  • We missed our Credit Card #1 payment goal by $100.
  • We went over our gas budget by $40.

So overall it was a great month, especially considering we were both traveling for 3 weeks out of the month!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Checking In

I know it's been a while since I posted, and I just wanted to let y'all know I am still on plan, just busy. I'm at my parents house, my brother is flying in this weekend! He's been deployed since Easter, so we're excited about that and busy getting stuff together for a homecoming/triple birthday party. Me, my brother and sister all have birthdays within a month. Starting with my sister, who turned 14 today, then my brother will be 22 on the 25th, and I'll be 24 exactly a month from today!

I have been sticking to my budget, which is fairly simple since it's just me. David is still out of the country on a short deployment. I've been using cash only, and still loving it.

There really isn't much to say, finance wise, since I'm not at home. Maybe I'll take some pictures later of what we've been up to. My parents have a small hobby farm with 4 goats and several chickens. The ultimate goal is to be almost completely self sufficient. The chickens provide both meat, eggs, and fertilizer. The goats provide milk and meat. I've been planning a post about some things they do here, like making homemade goat cheese and such, but it still needs some work before I post it.

But that's enough of my rambling, I am still reading blogs and getting great ideas from everyone! Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 3, 2009

How do you stay on plan?

It seems like this time of year everyone is busy with back to school, or vacations before school starts back, camps, and family reunions. For us, David is leaving this week for a short deployment, and I'll be heading to my parents house for most of the month for both my brother and sister's birthdays. My brother will also be coming home from his deployment!!!

So with all these great things going on, I've been thinking about about how I can stay on budget and still enjoy the last bits of summer. I've come up with a few things I think will help.

  • As always, before I made my budget, I sat down with the calendar and filled out all the events for the month. Then I budgeted according to what's going on. I think it's extremely important to base the budget on the events of the month, otherwise you are bound to go off plan.
  • I won't be home on the next payday, I so I made sure to have a copy of the budget in my purse, on my laptop, and even downloaded to my phone. That way I always know my budgeted amounts.
  • I also have alerts since to my phone via text from my bank. It lets me know the balances of my account daily, as well as any transactions that have posted. This is a GREAT help, and also gives me such peace of mind. It's great security because if something were to be incorrect or stolen from my account I would know very soon and can take the proper steps.
  • Again, I can't say enough how the envelope system has helped us! We will definitely be continuing it.
  • I've also printed off, or gathered coupons I know I'll use while traveling. For example I've earn some free 20 oz. Coke coupons from www.mycokerewards.com and also free jerky and candy bar coupons. These will be so helpful while traveling!

These are just a few things I hope will help me stay on plan while away from home this month. If you have any, please comment. I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

August 1-14 Budget

So technically it's July 30th, but David got paid this morning so I did all the banking today. He's leaving for a short deployment next week, and I'm going to my parents since MY BROTHER IS COMING HOME from his deployment. Our expenses will be less this month since we'll both be gone. He'll be using his Government card and I'll be staying with the parents in Florida.

Regular Bills: $356
Debt Repayments: $230

Grocery/HBA: $50
Gas: $100
Cash:$70
Misc: $50
Dog: $20
Gifts: $35
Travel Savings: $100
Marine Corps Ball Savings: $50


Hope you all have a great weekend!

One Credit Card Down...

Only one more and a truck loan left until "WE'RE DEBT FREE".

I paid it off this morning. It was a small balance, but annoying none the less. Our goal is to be debt free, except the truck by March 2010, and then start saving like our lives depend on it to buy a house (and thus take on MORE debt) by the beginning of 2011 when we move. It had the highest interest rate at 19%, and it was a dreaded store card. I know those are the worst to have, but I was an employee of the company at the time and we were forced to get one. I actually never used it, until David needed all new clothes for a business trip. I used it that one day, spend $265 and never used it again. Now, 2 months later it's paid off. It has a credit limit of over $5k, so I'll keep it open so it adds to my credit score. I know Dave Ramsey says it doesn't matter what your FICO is, and I completely agree. However we are in our early-mid twenties and will be buying a home in the next 2 years, so I don't want to hurt the score either. We only have one card that we really used and it has an interest rate of 9%. We haven't used it since December 2008!!!! And we'll have it paid off (hopefully) in March 2010.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

6 Month Update

So last week I post about looking back on the last 6 months and what we've accomplished. Today, I wanted to focus on what lies ahead in 2009, and check up on my goals.

August: David has a short deployments this month, and my brother homes home from his tour over seas. I'll be spending a lot of time at my parents house, and should be able to pay down a good chunk of debt, since I won't need food and such here. Also, David gets a little more money from his trip. Not much, but every little bit is welcome.

September: I turn 24! And David will be gone and yet another deployment the entire month. I will spend the first part of the month at my parents house to celebrate my birthday, their 25th Anniversary, and attend some local high school football games. (There are few things I love more then high school football!) Again, there will less expenses with Davie gone, and slightly more income, it should be a very good month financially.

October: David will be home the whole time! And will probably submit his package for re-enlistment in the Marines. I am so excited and grateful for another 4 years of secure income!
Financially, not a real busy month. Just the same old grind. I would like to start getting come Christmas shopping done. There are no birthdays or anniversaries this month, but we do have a trip to my parents house planned. Oh, almost forgot! The Marine Corps Ball is this month, so we'll need to budget about $150 for tickets and travel. I am using a dress from a few years back.

November: Will renew tags on David's truck, to the tune of about $100. Not happy about this, but at least I know it's coming and can plan. That money will come out of the "auto" fund. Again, not birthdays or anniversaries, but will continue to shop for Christmas. Also going to my parents for Thanksgiving.

December: CHRISTMAS!!! Hope to have all shopping done by the first week. Aside from Christmas festivities, nothing financial going on, just the same 'ole. I do want to change our TSP (retirement) contributions this month though, since I want to start 2010 with 7% going toward retirement verses the 5% we have now.

And GOALS! How are we doing?

  1. Have 80% of Credit Card debt paid by December 1st. So far we've paid off 55%, and should be able to pay off another 20% in August and September, bringing us to 75% by October 1st and in good shape to reach this goal!
  2. Have Baby EF funded with $1000. DONE and then some!
  3. Have $200 "buffer" in checking account. Currently have $75. Eventually our goal is to have an entire month's worth of expenses always in out checking account. Again, we're in good shape to have this by the end of the year!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A look back...

I started this blog on December 1st 2008. I can't believe it's already been almost 8 months! Lately I have been really motivated, but it hasn't always been that way. Being able to look back on the past few months has help me stay on focused and keep up with my goals. I have learned so many priceless things from other bloggers. I decided now is a good time to look back see how I have changed since there, and where I could still use some work!

Accomplishments:

  • We have paid off over $6, 600 in debt.
  • We have set up a new cash only budget that is working very well for us.
  • We are following Dave Ramsey's plan.
  • My neighbor has become my best friend, and coupon partner.
  • I am way more organized and prepared then last year.
  • We have a positive cash flow each month.
  • WE HAVEN'T USED OUR CREDIT CARD IN OVER 7 MONTHS!!!
  • We have savings accounts set up for the pet, gifts, travel, vehicles, and emergency, and they all get money added at least once a month.
  • We have a solid, achievable 5 year plan.
  • We bought a new truck. I know this added to our debt, but we got a great deal and it's under warranty. Our old truck needed over $3000 in repairs, so this was a smart move.
  • At CVS alone I've saved over $1000, I think in total my coupons savings is well over $2000. Next year I will track it better.

Things that still need some work:

  • We did add to our debt by buying a new truck, and while it was the best decision, we still feel it's extremely important that we start now to pay if off early.
  • We can still "cut some fat" from our budget.
  • I would like to increase our retirement savings and open an IRA in addition to our 401k.
  • We need to cut down our traveling to Florida to once a month.
  • I want to track my coupon savings better.

I am excited about the changes we've made this year and proud of all we've done. Thanks for taking this journey with me, and thanks for blogging and giving me ideas and motivation!

I want this!






It's the Kodak Z1015 IS. I've been researching cameras for almost 6 months now. I love taking pictures but currently it's a hassle. My "good" camera's flash bulb went out almost a year ago and I was told it would cost more to fix it then to buy a new one. I can use it for outdoor pictures, but nothing inside, cloudy, or after dusk. For this I use my "bad" camera. It's not awful, just old. It's 6 mega pixels, and no optical zoom. It works, but I really enjoy taking pictures and neither of these cameras fit my needs. So in researching and shopping around I found this beauty. I've played with it in person and have fallen in love. And the best part? Sam's Club has it for $210. My birthday is coming up, so I'm using the money I get, and money I've saved and buying it. In fact, if I save enough between now and then I might get it in time for brother's homecoming! I'll have tons a nice pictures to post on my blog after that. I am so excited!!!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Envelope System, Day 15

Yesterday ended the first pay period of our new Envelope System. We are very, very pleased with the results. I was nervous at first since we took a trip to Florida over the 4th and other trip to Mobile last weekend. Then there were a couple birthdays thrown in there. But we managed to do it all on the set amount of cash we pulled out at the beginning of the month. We did use the debit card once on gas, but that was IT. I'm amazed at the amount of money left over that was about to go to paying our credit card.

Today is the start of another pay period. We technically got paid yesterday, because our bank releases the funds early. But we "pretend" to not get paid to day to simplify out plan. We sat down after dinner again last night and went over the money from the previous pay period, and made a budget for the next. Then we went to the ATM (we don't have any local branches of our bank) and withdrew our cash for the next 2 weeks. Here's how it looks:

Grocery/HBA: $120
Spending Money; $100
Entertainment/Misc: $100
Pet: $20
Travel: $40
Gifts: $60
Gas: $75

I also was shocked at how fast the pay period went by. Normally, I am stressed and praying for pay day to get here because I need more money. But I actually forgot it was even payday until I checked my account yesterday. That just doesn't happen here, and it was total wake up call. When you tell your money where to go, you have total control over it. It DOES NOT control you.


Hope everyone has a great afternoon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Envelope System Day 7

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend! We had a wonderful time at my parents house. This holiday is especially meaningful to my family. David is in the Marines, and my brother, Matt, is in the Navy. Matt is currently underway and will be back stateside by fall, so this weekend was bittersweet.

We left Thursday headed to my parents house and stayed there through Monday morning, then headed home with my sister. She'll be staying with me again this week, since she only had a few more weeks before school starts back. I was nervous about traveling on the ES, but it worked out really well. For me, the best part was not having to remember to write it all down in my check register. I am awful at doing that on vacations and while traveling, so using cash made that much easier. We only used the debit card once, and that was for gas. We didn't spend more then we planned and we didn't dip into our money for this week. So I'd say that's a definite success!!!

Oh, and I didn't make a post about this because I was busy getting ready for the weekend, but last week I made a trip to the commissary and got some great deals. My total before coupons was $80, and my final oop was less then $3. $4 was the surcharge, so my total savings was 101%. I was with my best friend and I told her I almost wanted to cry. I really needed that good trip to motivate me!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Envelope System: Day 1

Yesterday was the first day of our new envelope system, and I'm excited to get started posting about it! We started out by sitting down together after dinner the night before payday and making a budget. I think it's extremely important to base your budget on the events and specific needs of that pay period. For example, July 1-15 will include a trip home to Florida for the 4th of July, as well as both my parents birthdays. Therefore, we budget accordingly.

Here are the amounts for July 1-15:

Grocery/HBA: $120
Cash: $100
Gas: $75
Entertainment/Misc: $100
Travel: $180
Gifts: $50
Dog: $20

Day one went really, really smoothly. I love paying cash! And it's so convenient to pay with cash and not have to swipe that card for $1 here, or $3 there. I'll update in a few more days, but for now HAPPY 4Th OF JULY!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

June 28-July 4 Menu

Sunday: Philly Cheese Steak Subs

Monday: Chicken Tenders, Pasta, Green Beans

Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza

Thursday-Sunday: Going to my parent's house


HAPPY 4TH!!!

June 21-27 Summary

It was a pretty normal, boring week around here. Which was very, very welcome! This week starts our Envelope System!!! We're very excited about this. Here last weeks numbers though, and they aren't too bad.

Budget/Actual

Grocery/HBA: $20/$25
Gas: $30/$60 (I had to go to Mississippi twice this week, so it's higher then planned.)
Cash:$40/$40
Misc: $50/$34

Others:
It spent $38 getting new tags for my car, but that was budgeted for in the "Auto Fund".

It was a great week, and it was much needed to motivate me!

Total: $19 over budget!!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our Envelope System

Happy Saturday!!!



I've got some down time today, so I thought I'd take the time to post a blog about our new budget/spending plan. I've mentioned a couple times that on July 1st David and I will start an envelope system (I'll call it an ES). We'll essentially be following Dave Ramsey's plan (http://www.daveramsey.com/). It's something I've been hearing and reading a lot about lately and I have a couple friends who have recommended it. Our budget works when we stick to it, but lately that just hasn't been happening. And while things are much better on the financial front then they were a year ago, we could be saving more and repaying more. So we'll use our regular budget that I've been posting on here, but we'll do it with cash instead. We've sat down and come up with a couple guidelines for our ES.



1. Categories: These will be the envelopes. I should add that all bills will still be paid with the debit card or web bill pay.


  • Grocery/Household
  • Bear (Pet)
  • Entertainment/Dining Out
  • Spending Money
  • Gas
  • Travel Savings
  • Auto Maintenance
  • Gifts

2. The Plan

  • On the night before payday we will sit down and write a budget for the next pay period (2 weeks). Each budget will be different depending on the activities and needs during that time.
  • On payday, I will go to the ATM and withdraw all the cash we will need for that period.
  • Gas will not be pulled out in cash, but will be put on a Walmart gift card. (This is dependant upon the price. Walmart is almost always much cheaper after the 3 cent discount, but if it's not, then we'll get it somewhere else). Gas will be purchased on the first day of the pay period.

3. The Rules

  • If one category goes "negative" we can withdraw from another category, but NO going back to the ATM.
  • At the end of the period, all remaining funds will be pooled and re-budgeted into the next month.
  • Re-budgeted money will take the place of the money from the following pay period. Thus leaving more money for savings/debt repayment.
  • There will always be some money on the debit card for "in case". But at the end of the period all money on the debit card will go to savings/debt repayment.
  • Any additional income, or found money will NOT be budgeted into the plan, but go straight to savings/debt repayment.

So that's the plan for now. Of course, as we go along we might need to change and tweak some things, but for the first 2 weeks at least this is the general idea. I will be using regular 'ole envelopes and I have them in a zipper pouch in my "money binder". We will each keep our spending money on us, and take the envelope we will need with us when we leave the house. I won't keep all the money on me all the time.

Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas, too. I'd love to hear them!

Friday, June 26, 2009

6-26-09 Deals

I did a little bit of grocery shopping this morning. Not much, but David and some friends are going out on a boat at 5am tomorrow, so I thought I get the stuff to make them some breakfast sandwiches. It will be much cheaper then going to a fast food place. I totally spaced out on the picture today, and put the stuff away before I took one!

First stop was Walgreens where I got a 3 pack of packing tape clearanced to $4, and used a $3 RR. Total OOP was $1.35 (including $0.35 tax). This is a great deal for me, since we move every 3 years I am always needing more packing tape. The original price for the tape? $12.99!!!

Total Savings: $3 (from the RR)

Super Walmart:
2lbs. Great Value Sausage $4.14
1lb. Land 'O Frost turkey lunch meat $3-$0.55mc=$2.45
Velveeta sliced cheese $2
Starbucks Ice cream (pint) $2.50-$1.50IP=$1
Santitas Tortilla chips $1.78
Doritos $2
2 jars Pace Salsa $2.84ea-$2mc=$0.84ea
2 Kotex Liners $1ea-$1.50/2=$0.25ea
3 Glade Scented Oil Tins $2.50-$1.50 peelie=$1ea*
Great Value Bread $1.08
Doz. Eggs $1

Total before Q's: $32.68
Total After Q's: $20.63 (plus $1.93 tax)

Total Savings with Q's $12.05

Total Daily Savings with Q's $15.05

WTD Savings $46.61

*I got the Glade tins for $1, and inside was another $1.50 coupon that doesn't expire until 2010!!! These are great in gift baskets.

I also registered for my free Mars Candy coupons this morning!

Merry Christmas

Already?

Not quite, but did you know that yesterday (June 25th) is exactly half way to Christmas? Yep, only 6 months (well I guess today it's 5 months and 29 days) until the big day.

Are you ready? Do you have a game plan? It's time to get one.

I post this because I don't have one. I know I should, I mean it's not like Christmas is a surprise! You can bet it'll be here every December 25th, the good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise! I should do more to get ready for it. So far I've earned a whopping $50 with the points on my debit card. But since we are switching to Dave Ramsey's cash only envelope system in July, my point will go down drastically. I've also thought about saving up all the points I earn from surveys and http://www.swagbucks.com/ to buy gifts. And that will help, but it may not be enough, and it's not predictable.

I've been researching online, and found a few ideas:

  • http://www.ehow.com/ suggests setting aside a weekly amount to contribute to your CS (that's what we'll call "Christmas Savings". And also suggest using you spare change to add to that. This plan might work for me, since we'll be using cash for almost everything, we're sure to have lots of coin change.

Other ideas I gathered from various sources on the net include:

  • Using your banks "Christmas Club" account.
  • Buying bargain gifts throughout the year. While I think this is a wonderful idea, you want to keep in mind that sizes, preferences, and fads can change quickly. If you buy a gift too early before Christmas, you may not be able to return or exchange it.
  • Working an extra job, such as retail, babysitting, or pizza delivery.
  • Selling items you aren't using on eBay, and use the profit for gifts.
  • Drawing names-great for larger families, and you'll only to buy a few gifts.

I'm sure you can find many more ideas, and I know you have great ones of your own. Let me know what you are doing to get ready for Christmas this year.

And don't forget what Dave Ramsey says-"Christmas is NOT an emergency!"

Meaning DO NOT touch those emergency funds in order to buy gifts.

Merry Christmas in June!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

6/24/09 Deals




I haven't done much shopping in the last few days. It's been well over 100 degrees every afternoon, and frankly, that's just too hot the leave the house unless you need to! On top of that, my very energetic bulldog has to stay outside when we aren't home and there is no way I could leave him in this heat. So he and I just hang out in the air conditioned house and read blogs all day, and LOVE it. I have run a few errands after David gets home in the evenings (so he can stay with Bear). On Tuesday I ran to Walgreens to drop off my ink to get refilled. It cost me $12.99 to get a full ink cartridge, compared to $25-$30 to buy a new one. It was the first time I'd ever tried it, and I am very pleased. I've heard that Walgreens sometimes has coupons in their flyers for ink refills, so I'll be on the lookout for those. Total savings from that was anywhere from $12-$17, but I won't had it to my weekly savings since it's an ongoing price with them. While there I did the Coke deal, and got 4-12 packs for $13, plus $3 Register Rewards, plus those 4 packs will earn me 40 http://www.mycokerewards.com/ points! I also cashed in my rain check for a free Walgreens cloth bag. I LOVE those bags, they hold so much more then a plastic bag!
We also used a free code at Redbox to rent "New In Town", it was cute. I just love Renee Z. and Harry Connick Jr.
Yesterday I received 2 coupons for free Velveeta microwaveable cups, and one BOGOF coupon. David LOVES these cups, and so do I. They are quick, store well in the pantry, are great to take to work, taste just like the real thing...and you toss the bowl when you're done! NO dirty dishes!! Try them out, they are fantastic.
I have been tweaking our plan for the Envelope System we'll be starting on July 1st, but I think I'll make a new post about that.
Take care, and have a great day!!
Total Weekly Savings using coupons and codes: $31.56

Happy Anniversay


Yep, that's me! Yesterday was our 5th Anniversary!! It's gone by so fast. We met when we were in middle school, and that seems like last year. Gosh, we were 18 and 19 in that picture! Time does fly. I love you, David!!!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 21-27 Budget

After last week, this week will be boring. Which is not altogether a bad thing. I am ready for some down time! We don't have much planned for this week, and this weekend will be the first one in a long time that we don't have plans and can enjoy the summer. It's supposed to storm, and I am ready. It's so dry here, and we haven't had rain in quite a few weeks. The high today is 102, with an index of 115+. That's GREAT for the budget. Why? Because I'm not leaving my air conditioned house to go out in that heat, therefor I won't spend a dime!

And speaking of dimes, here they are!

Groceries: $20, just picking up a couple of good deals.
Gas: $30
Cash $40
Misc: $50

Total: $140

June 14-20 Summary

This was an expensive week. We had family in the entire time, and while I LOVE every minute of it, the spending got out of control and stayed there. There really isn't anything else I can say, so here are the numbers:

Budget/Actual

Groceries/Household: $40/$178
Gas:$30/$60
Cash:$40/$40
Misc:$50/$239, including $30 for a gift.

We spent $137 eating out this week. That is awful, and HAS to stop. But I'm not beating myself up too hard because as bad as it was, we didn't spend anything we didn't have, and I was honest about every penny. It just makes me want to try harder this week!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

6-21-09 Deals

I decided that this week I want to keep track of every penny I save on deals and coupons. I normally don't track how much I save, so I want to start small with just a week. I'd eventually love to track an entire year, but I'd definitely have to build up to that. So for the week of 6/21-6/27 I will take pictures and post all of my shopping.



Here's todays:



Super WalMart:


First off, DH got $30 in gas in his truck on a WM gift card, saving $0.03 a gal, or $0.36 on the entire purchase. It doesn't sound like much, but when you buy as much gas as we do, it's saves a lot in the course of a year.

And I bought:
2 Blue Bunny IceCream snacks $1 each -$1IP=FREE
1 pkg Oscar Meyer Beef Frank$2.50-Free Q from Oscar Meyer
1 pkg Playtex Wipes $1.97-$1=$0.97
2 Huggies Wipes $1 each-$1mc=FREE
1 Snuggle 40ct. dryer sheets $1.87-$1IP=$0.87
1 Jar Pace Specialty Salsa $2.84-$2mc=$0.84
1 can Mighty Dog $0.57-Free mc, but the cashier ran the Q through as $1, so Money Maker!!

Total Before Q's: $13.75
Total After Q's: $2.25 (+ $0.91 tax)

Total Savings: $11.50 + $0.36 (gas)



CVS:



2 Glade Scented Oil Holders clearanced to $4.79 -$2mc=$2.79 each
1 Johnson & Johnson First Aid kit $0.99-$1mc=Free
4 Soy Joy Bars $4
1 20oz. Coke $1.49 -Free Q I got from http://www.mycokerewards.com/
2 Therma Care 1ct. Neck Wraps $2.49-$1mc=$1.49 each



Used a $4/$20 CVS Q, and $6 ECB's



Total before Q's $21.28
Total after Q's $2.58 (+$1.10 tax)


Total Savings: $18.70


Received $4ECB's for Soy Joy Bars and $2.49 for each Therma Care Wrap= $8.98 ECB's

Total Daily Savings: $30.56

Week-to-Date Savings: $30.56

Friday, June 19, 2009

Refilling Ink

First off, Happy Friday! Let the weekend begin.

I must be way behind because I'd never given much thought to having my ink cartridge refilled. I always just shelled out the $25 for a new one. But my ink is out and I have more coupons I want to print before I go grocery shopping on Sunday. The old Jodie would swipe her card for $25 and be glad she had more ink. But lately, that just won't do. It's not enough to be glad you have something new. It's important to me know to get a good deal out of that something new. So I called Walgreens and guess what? That $25 ink can be mine for $13!!!! That's a savings of $12, almost half.

So definitely check out getting the ink cartridge refilled before forking over money for a new one.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hulu and Dave Ramsey

I am addicted!

Recently we've been really thinking had about canceling our cable/DVR service. My goal is to eliminate and simplify where my money goes each month. In my opinion, cable TV is extremely overpriced and something we don't use enough to justify the $60 a month. I will still need my internet because it's how I do all my banking, and I DO feel like I use it enough to get the $40 a month out of it.
So once we cut out the cable what will we watch? We still have shows we enjoy and want to watch. My sister mentioned www.hulu.com. I had never heard of it, but after going to the site, I am hooked. It's completely free and so easy. We even have a cable that connects our laptops to the TV, so we can watch movies and shows together, rather then on our laptops alone. They even have my favorite show...BURN NOTICE!!! With www.hulu.com and free codes from Redbox, I see no reason at all to pay that extra $60 a month to a greedy cable company.

Another show I've recently found on Hulu-The Dave Ramsey Show. I knew who he was, and about his program, but since we didn't get that channel with out cable I'd never seen the show. But it's FREE on Hulu!!!! There are almost 100 episodes on there, and I've been watching them back to back for 3 days now. He's wonderful, and so motivating. I love hearing the stories of families that were so close to the bottom, and now are debt free, or on their way.

So go now and check out www.hulu.com, it's my new FFF (favorite frugal find)!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Frugal Fun

I mentioned earlier that I've had a lot of family visiting this week. It's been hard on my budget because I can't get over that mentality that I need take them out to eat, or to the movies, or zoo...all of which can get costly. But I've been trying really hard this week to cook at home and come up with fun, free activities. Sunday-Tuesday my Granny, my little sister (age 13) and my cousin (age 12) were here. We ordered pizza the first night, but that was the only time we paid for food. My Granny did by breakfast both morning, but other then that we ate at home. And you know what? No one felt like they were missing anything! We had a great time cooking together and sitting down at my table together. We could be as loud and silly as we wanted because were comfortable and alone. We also rented a movie free from RedBox and set up the projector in the den. It was JUST like being at the real theater. We had tons of popcorn and soda, and homemade brownies. What movie theater sales brownies? Only the free one at my house!!! We huge out in our jammies with piles of pillows and blankets and a blast, all for FREE. It would have cost over $42 for the 3 of us to watch a movie, complete with popcorn and soda, at the local theater. And once again we were able to talk as loud, laugh as loud and get up as much as we wanted. We could pause the movie if someone needed to get up, and we got to see deleted scenes. You can't get that at a normal, pricey theater. We also had a great time having a "Bowling Tournament" on the Wii. I can't even imagine how much it would have cost at a real bowling alley, since we played for hours on end, and all the drinks we would have needed. Again, totally free at home, and probably even more fun!
This weekend we plan to take a picnic to the local beach with our dog, our friends and their dogs, and my parents and sister. The dogs all love the beach, and the boys will skim board while we girls read and listen to music. I have all kinds of picnic food I've gotten with coupons, and I'll make a few homemade treats. We'll have a wonderful time, and make lots of memories...all for free.
I think it's fun to come up with cheap or free ways to have fun this summer, and I'd love to hear some of yours!