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2nd child?

October 19th, 2006 at 10:56 am

As I creep closer to 35 I continue to ponder whether or not to have another child. DH definately wants one. I am on the fence.

First of all, let me say that I was one of 'those' women that was really into my job and I never wanted children. Really, I NEVER had any maternal feelings or desires to have child. My DH knew that when he met me and knew that my feelings were the same when we married. Well, things happen and I got pg. After the initial shock I was thrilled and have never looked back. I love my son with every fiber of my being and wouldn't change a thing.

I am also a different type of mother than I ever thought I'd be. I work full-time but dread every minute of it and would love to stay home. I thought I would happily run off to work and cherish the time to be a grown-up and then go home and cherish my time to be a parent. THere is nothing wrong with that scenario except that I found it doesn't fit for me. The problem is that I'm the bread winner and carry the benefits for our family. I was always secretly proud of the fact that I make significantly more money than DH but now I hate that we are so dependent on my income (and health benefits). What to do?

Well, DH has been on and on lately about having another child. Since we are scheduled to have all debts except our mortgage paid off by next fall we are in pretty good shape financially. But of course another child will change the shape of our financial future dramatically. Yes, I realize that you can't make the 'child decision' solely based on finances. My heart is telling me that I DO want another child, but that I have to be able to be the parent that I want to be.

What does this mean? Well, we absolutely cannot afford to live on DH's salary without major sacrifices. I'm not talking about not eating out or cutting vacations. I'm talking about selling our house. We have a nice house on a lake that is appreciating nicely but we also have a 205K mortgage. We could afford to have another child and keep the house if I continue to work full-time. There is no way to make it work if I don't.

There is also the question of health benefits. We can get them through DH's work but they are about $500/month for family coverage and they aren't even all that great. This is a major problem for us and something we will really have to consider.

SO...my solution is to sell the house and buy a more modest home with a more modest mortgage (or better yet none at all). That will solve most of our problem right there. I could work part-time nights and weekends to fill in the gaps. That way I can be home with the kids during the day and still bring in some $$ and get out. Will it be enough? I don't know.

The problem is convincing DH this is a good solution. He loves to fish and our house is pretty much his dream home. I doubt we'd ever have the opporunity to live somewhere like that again. He also has a good argument that our house could be worth some bucks as property values rise. Right now I think our house is worth around $350K. Do we just turn our backs on any additional money we could make from it? If we hold onto it, we will surely make more $$.

Personally, besides the investment value, I don't care about the house. Yes, it's a nice house and it's lovely to live on the lake but I'd rather have the freedom to stay home with my children. I've told DH that I will not work full-time if we have another child so I know the seed is planted. I guess I will have to wait and see if he's willing to make this sacrifice. He can't wait too long because my clock is a-ticking....

Still moving forward

October 17th, 2006 at 09:59 am

Ok, I haven’t updated in a while. I wish I had some ‘real’ numbers to use but things are insane and I’m behind on tracking everything.

I will say that the student loan is down to somewhere around $12,200 = started at about $16,000. So some definite progress made there. Still no cc debt. The cc was high this month due to an airline ticket purchased but I still paid it all off and we are just biting the bullet not to dip into savings.

So…overall things are going ok. I’m exhausted but am happy that we are on track. I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hoping to tally all my coupon savings and have a concrete number this weekend.

Haven't updated in a while

September 28th, 2006 at 09:23 pm

Well, I'm soooo busy. I just ended the first phase of my third job so things are going to 'settle' down for a while until my online class starts.

I LOVE teaching my night courses. I HATE being away from DS 2 nights a week. So, I have turned down the offer to teach (the face to face classes) next semester. Part of me is upset to turn it down, but family time is more important. This semester I teach Mon and Wed nights and DH teaches Tues nights so that is 3 nights a week we don't have family time. Teaching this semester has been an invaluable experience but not at the expense of my family. Oh, the the $$ is being saved to pay for next year's vacation.

So, we are doing pretty well expense wise. I've been working 3 jobs so I haven't done the math yet. I am WAY into couponing these days and that has helped quite a bit. I am going to open a new savings acct and at the end of every month tally the coupon savings and actually transfer REAL money into that new acct. Otherwise I feel that the coupon savings is just 'theoretical' savings. Does that make sense? Dunno.

Anyway, we're going camping this weekend. DS is SOOOOO excited. He's such a cool little dude.

Every bit helps

August 31st, 2006 at 07:59 am

Not much to report on the financial front. We've been a bit more loose on the spending in the past week and after this weekend I need to tighten up the reins again. Nothing too extravagant just ate out once or twice that was not planned. I've received some free samples in the mail - I love opening the mailbox to freebies!

So the boat is officially paid off. I called up and got the payoff amt and then received a $20 check for overpayment. ummmm, why give me the amount to pay it off if that's not the right number? Dunno, but that $20 check will go into savings. Last weekend I deposited a whopping $38.50 into the savings acct for a $5 survey check, an $8.50 rebate check and just a plastic cup full of coints. Not too shabby. So far (with this $20 check) I'll have upped our savings by about $70 for very little work. Speaking of which I have about $20 of rebate stuff to send out.

Another thing I'm doing is the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account. I have daycare deducted from my paychecks and when I get reimbursed I will put that money into savings. I was already putting some into savings (that will end up being used to open a Roth IRA) because I am not eligible for the 401K plan at my new job until Oct 1. So instead of squandering the money I am putting away for another kind of retirement savings. BUT, my FSA check will end up being $60 more than I normally would have saved so that extra $60 is another easy way to save. In total that is about $130 'extra' saved this month that didn't take much thought and didn't hurt at all.

I'll continue to find things to do. I started my 3rd job this week (or training for my 3rd job) so my time is very limited.

Started teaching last night

August 22nd, 2006 at 11:00 am

Well, I started my second job last night. Teaching at a local community college. I was soo nervous at first! But, I think it went ok after I got used to standing up in front of everyone. I think I will like it and I'll certainly like the extra $$ coming in that will pay for our vacation next year : )

Next week I start training for my 3rd job (yikes!) The training lasts a month and is unpaid but if I make it through, then I can teach online classes. I am going to VERY busy this semester!

Not much else going on. I am going shopping for a few new shirts after work. I have a $30 gc I will use but I'm sure I'll have to spend more than that. That's ok, because I have some 'misc' money set aside so NOTHING WILL BE CHARGED. The credit card balance is zero and it's going to stay that way!!

Good Mail Day

August 19th, 2006 at 11:24 am

Today I got a Ban sample, a $5 check (my first paid survey!) and 2 coupons for free Mann's sugar snap peas. That's alot nicer to open than bills!! : )

Productive day already

August 19th, 2006 at 07:50 am

Well, I put our old loveseat on freecycle and dragged it to the curb. It's not pretty but still could be used if slipcovered or something. I hope someone comes to get it. I called and got the payoff amt of the boat loan and I wrote the check! All that is left is DH's student loans YAY! Now I just need to get the laundry started, go to the post office and go to the bank. So much still left to do....

Pay Day!

August 18th, 2006 at 09:01 am

It's finally payday. I say that because we only had $10 or so left in the checking account and I'm tired of eating PB&J. Last paycheck I transferred extra into savings and we just barely squeaked by. This weekend will be fairly expensive. I am going to pay the mortgage (early) to get that money right out of the account. We are getting together with neighbors (the first time ever socializing with them) and they ordered crabs (the wife is also from Maryland) so that will be expensive. So, we will need to keep the rest of the weekend pretty cheap. I reconciled the bank acct last night so I will be in good shape to pay bills and budget the rest of the money for the next 2 weeks.

I start my 2nd job (teaching at night) next week. Oh and training for the online classes starts next week, too. BUSY BUSY BUSY. I will have THREE jobs. What have I gotten myself into? Oh well, it's all for a good reason. The money is not the primary motivator. I'm thinking of making a career change (to teaching) in a couple of years and this will be a good test as to whether I really like it or not. We'll see... the extra money will saved for next summer's trip and the rest will go toward paying DH's student loan. I also got my signing bonus today so I will write the check to pay off the boat tomorrow. Woohoo!!! Now the only debt (besides mortgage) is the student loans. I am going to pay those off ASAP. Then start socking the $$ away so we will be financially stable if/when I take a huge paycut to teach.

I love Target!

August 16th, 2006 at 08:22 am

I'll be honest, I used to shop Walmart more than Target. Target stores are nicer, cleaner etc but I thought Target was more expensive. And it is... on some items. I have been hitting Target deals and coupons for the last couple of weeks and have found some AMAZING deals.

Ragu for 44cents/jar
Free Oreos (11 cent overage)
Free Goldfish
Diet Coke 3.50/case (AMAZING for around here)

I guess it pays to shop around! I think I'm going to go get some 25 cent Twix today.


August 15th, 2006 at 06:12 am

Well, I'm fairly new to this whole coupon/rebate thing. I have gotten some pretty good deals. But now is the part I'm dreading....chasing down the rebate checks. I got the Rite Aid one very quickly..and you can do it all online which was easy and fast. Walgreens...well, I'm still waiting for my check. I can check the status on the system and it looks like it was generated a couple of weeks ago. I guess I will give it a little more time then start chasing it. This is what I was afraid of...that I wouldn't get the checks and therefore am not really saving money.

We've been doing pretty well with keeping the spending down. A few little things have popped up but we really have cut back quite a bit. I even put most of my last paycheck in savings. With the exception of being a little tight on money this week we've barely noticed not having it. I'm hoping we can make it to Thursday (DH's payday) without having to transfer any $$ from savings. I don't think we will be able to do much with this week's paychecks because I will pay the mortgage. Still....that was like $750 that I put away that we barely missed. I know not all months will be like this but I am going to do what I can.

Shopping Savings?

August 11th, 2006 at 06:43 am

So I went to Walgreen's to get some cleaning/house stuff that I saw was on sale. I knew I had some coupons but I hadn't taken the time to 'match' them to the sales. Here is how I did:

I got Pledge, Pledge Wipes, Scrubbing Bubbles, Glade Glass Fragrance thing, and a Glade Wisp Fragrance thing.

22.35 Shelf Price
-2.40 WAG Advertised Savings
-9.49 MFG Coupons
=10.46 Paid in the store
- 7.00 rebates
=3.46 total paid + tax of course

Feeling pretty good about that. However, I didn't need the Pledge, the Pledge Wipes or either of the fragrance things. I do RARELY buy the fragrance things and I have enough Pledge - esp considering how infrequently I dust. Did I really save money considering I didn't really need to spend most of that? The only thing I really wanted to get was the Scrubbing Bubbles which was .49 after coupon and rebate. So I saved a bunch but spent an addt'l $2.97 that really was unnecessary. I am trying to figure out the best way to work the 'Buy $20 worth of x and get $10 back' I THINK I have coupons for about 7.50 so I would basically get $20 worth of toothpaste, deoderant etc for $2.50 after rebate. I already have enough toothpaste, etc to last a while should I go ahead and spend the $2.50 even though I don't need to. It's just so hard to say 'no'....

How much do we have?

August 10th, 2006 at 11:30 am

Ok, I sort of had an epiphany of sorts. I realized I really don't know how much money we have. I guess I really need to figure this out so I can see our overall financial picture. Things I know?

Credit Union approx $ 970
Bank Savings approx $10,725
Checking approx $ 450
My 401K approx $40,000
DH 401K ??? maybe $14,000
EF MF approx $28,000

I know DH has a Roth IRA out there and I am starting one this year. He also has a few other accts hanging around with some unknown amounts. Maybe around $12K. I think I ought to track those down. The Credit Union savings will have another $2500 added to it by the end of the year but we will use some for our bi-annual car ins and Christmas. The rest will go toward my Roth IRA. The Bank Savings is going to pay off the boat loan next paycheck and the remaining will be for some home repairs.

Other debt (besides the boat loan which will be paid off by the end of August): approx $15K of DH student loans and approx $206K mortgage. I'm not overlyl concerned about the mortgage at this point but those student loans need to go! They will be paid off in a year or so. We didn't want to reduce our EF by too much (just took out over half to pay off the Truck Loan and credit cards). We can handle the mortgage and student loan payments. Then after the student loans are paid off we will throw all our money back into savings and trying to reduce our mortgage. One baby step at a time... Our savings just seem sooo small. Esp our retirement accts. We are both putting in 10% right now and we will bump them to 20% after the student loans are through. I just feel like we will never have enought to retire... AND what about college for our child/children? Oh, it's sooo overwhelming.


August 9th, 2006 at 11:16 am

Ok, since I started this sometime in June we have paid off all our credit cards and the truck. As soon as I get my signing bonus (should be next week) we will also pay off the boat which only leaves DH's student loans. I just made a payment so that will bring the total to around $15000. I'd LOVE to get it paid off in a year but we're probably looking at 14 months. Ohhhhhhh, it will be SOOOO nice to just have a mortgage. By that point we will have made some decisions about the future regarding whether or not we want to move, or if DH wants to go get his doctorate. But at least we will be in a good position to make some changes.

Other things....I've been getting free samples and coupons in the mail. I can't wait to see what July's numbers look like. I will try to see how we did tonight.

We have a pretty good savings. About 6 months of expenses in mutual funds with another $5000 or so in a local bank. Some of that is earmarked for some home repairs though.

Good Mail/Spend Day

July 27th, 2006 at 10:44 am

Yesterday I opened my mailbox to...a free pack of dentyne gum, free mints, a 50 cent coupon for dentyne gum which when doubled will be a free pack of gum and a coupon for a free Propel. Fun mail!

Then last night I went to Rite Aid and got some rebate things. THen to Target for another package of free oreos (they only had one left - go figure). I got some good deals. I will try to back off on the spending though until I start getting some rebate checks back.

It's official...I'm addicted

July 25th, 2006 at 06:45 pm

So I've just started 'couponing' and yes, I'm a total novice. I can see this is turning into a full-fledged hobby. I scour everything I can. Today I got 2 free packs of cookies (thanks Flash!) from Target. I printed the coupon and went just to see if it really worked. Ummm, yes!!!! I just printed more coupons and will return for more free oreos. I mean can one REALLY have TOO MANY oreos? Free ones at that. Oh and it gets better. THe coupon was for $1 off and the oreos are only 89 cents. So they PAID ME to buy oreos. I AM IN HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They had the soap that I like on sale and I had a coupon so it was like getting an extra 22 cents off the soap. I am going back to buy as many oreos as I can and another pack of soap (I have another coupon) and will just bubble with glee. I can't explain the amount of joy this brings me. Am I going crazy? Yup, probably but it just doesn't get any better than this.

BTW, I also picked up the 'Try it free' Dual Action Spray n Wash. You buy it (2.99) and they send you back your $$. *giggles*

Productive Weekend

July 24th, 2006 at 10:43 am

Woohoo! I got paid Friday - it had been 3 weeks since my last paycheck from my old job. I put some time into thinking why the budget wasn't really working out. Yes, I put together a budget. So a took a new approach. It's probably more psychological than anything but I'm calling it a Projected Cash Flow rather than a budget. Anyway, I worked it through the end of the year.

DH is out of town until Wed so I'll let him look it over then. I have it worked so we each get an allowance on payday that we can spend on whatever we want. He will have to manage it to make it to the next payday and if he wants something more costly he'll have to save for it. Gee, I feel like I'm dealing with a child! One incentive for him will be that whatever 'extra' money we have leftover in certain categories (groceries, household, misc) we will split between reg savings and his boat fund. Right now we are projected to have an 'extra' $1200 not including any savings along the way. So even if we didn't go over projected savings he will get $600 for his boat fund. If he helps drive that number up he will get more. The rest will go to funding our Roth IRAs.

I also moved to the envelope system. I took out the cash I needed and set everything up. I did some shopping over the weekend and it worked fine. DH may have a harder time with it because he seems to be a debit card addict. I did not pull out cash for gas, but for pretty much everything else.

I did some good shopping and didn't go over in any of the categories. But because of some stocking up I will need to watch any spending until it's replenishment. I got some great deals at Walgreens and Schnucks. Pasta waws BOGO at Schnucks for $1.09 and I had a $1 coupon. I didn't read the fine print though and you could only get one BOGO deal. BUT I still got 4 bags of pasta for 1.27 because I had 2 coupons. THe coupon expired that day and I had extra coupons so I left them with the product so someone else could benefit from it.

SOme decent yard sales. I got a turtle sandbox with lid for $5. Then I bought $10 worth of clothes and toys in an affluent neighborhood. It was more than an average yard sale would be but I don't think they really knew how much yard sale stuff goes for. I still got a lot of stuff for $10 but they weren't willing to bargain.

Little update

July 20th, 2006 at 10:44 am

We got the check from the Schwab acct and we deposited it late last week. Because of the amount it will be held for what seems like forever. I think 9 business days. They did release a portion of it today. Unfortunately, the car payment, boat payment and student loan payment were all do before any of the money became available so I just had to make regular payments this month. As soon as the money is available I will start paying things off. The cc statements should be in soon so I will pay those off in full. THAT WILL FEEL SO GOOD!! Next will be the car and boat.

I started a new job July 5. I will finally get a paycheck tomorrow. I have gone 3 weeks without a paycheck because of the differing pay schedules between jobs. They pay current here thought so it will be a bigger paycheck than normal because it will be from when I started. The bad news is that even though I'm eligible for the 401K in another week it won't start until Oct1 (beg of new quarter). I think I will set 10% of my paycheck aside to put into a Roth IRA. Because I had only worked at my last job for 3 months I never got to contribute anything there either. And I didn't save anything, the extra $$ went toward bills. Anyway, now that we're more comfortable I want to make sure I put SOMETHING away for retirement. I know diehards will say put it all toward the debt but I have a good plan and I can afford to put it away. WOOHOO debt free except the mortgage in just over a year or less!!!

I've been doing really well with eating lunch in. I slipped yesterday because DH and ds came to see my new office and we went out. But other than that I've been packing sandwiches or leftovers. DH is still spending more than I'd like at the store but we have cut way back (comparatively). We hardly ever eat out anymore either. I think back to just 2 months ago and how much we were spending to eat out and I just can't believe it! I only started this plan mid-month in June so this month will be the first full month to see a real difference. With so many quirky things going on financially it's hard to guage how much better off we are.

It seems I've signed up for a boatload of free samples and haven't seen much coming in. Though I think it typically says anywhere from 4-8 weeks so maybe it hasn't been long enough. I did get a small packet of Nivea lotion yesterday. Oh and full size bottles of Pantene shampoo and conditioner (just came yesterday). I signed up to try the product and do a survey. I didn't expect the big bottles. Woohoo free stuff! And for the first time ever I shopped at Walgreens to get FAR stuff. I already sent in for my rebate. I am going to Rite Aid after work today to get some stuff from there. They also have some good sales on school supplies that I will buy to donate to the school supply drive they are having at work.

Oh...yard sales. This past weekend I spent a total of $3.50 and got
2 muffin pans for 25 cents each
1 brand new organizer notebook thing for 50 cents
AND all for only $1.50
Clothes for my son: 1 brand new Old Navy jacket, 3 pairs of blanket/footie pajamas, 2 tshirts and 1 long sleeved shirt. What a bargain! I bought the tshirts to save them for next year but one looked small so he's actually wearing it a little big now.

I am going to be BUSY this fall. On top of my regular job I'm going to be teaching 2 face-to-face classes for a local community college - assuming both classes get enough to participation to hold them. And it looks like I'm starting the training process to teach online. So this fall I could be teaching 3 classes on top of my regular job. Since my whole goal is to teach full-time in 2 years I'm just going to suck it up and get all the experience I can. And if it's too much I can cut back in the Spring. The extra $$ will be nice too!

I guess that's it for me. I've last track of my $20 challenge so I may just forget about that. I know I'm doing well (except the exercise part). It'll be interesting to see how July expenses shape up.

Paying down the debt

July 10th, 2006 at 07:33 pm

Our check from our Schwab account came today. It will go in the bank tomorrow. $32,700. Wow, that seems like a big number. $2700 will go into savings for our roof/ceiling repair. $30K will go toward paying everything down. First will be our cc debt (about $6,400), then the boat (about $10,350) and the rest will go toward the truck. We owe around $16K on that. When I get my signing bonus my first paycheck in August I will pay the remainder of the truck. That will leave only DH's student loan for his MBA (around $15,300) and our mortgage. My very ambitious goal is to have the student loan paid off in 1 year. Then we will sock away everything we can for the next year. That will leave us in a really good position for me to make my career change.

Honestly, it was hard to reduce our nest egg by so much but I know it was the right thing to do. It was easy to convince DH, too! He still hasn't jumped on the frugal bandwagon but we are eating in ALOT more so we'll just take it one step at a time!


June 29th, 2006 at 05:10 pm

So I have a friend that is driving across the country with her family (for pleasure). She had plans to stop in and see me. I chatted with her last night on YIM an dshe estimated that she'd be here around dinner time and then we'd hang out for the evening.

So I went to the grocery store and splurged. Not anything too crazy but bought a bunch of stuff in anticipation of her arrival. Stuff I wouldn't normally buy - chips, ice cream (she has 4 boys), extra burgers and dogs, etc. Anyway I spent way mroe than I would have otherwise.

I hadn't heard from her by 6pm and she was still 3 hours away!!! It's not her fault I overbought but she could have called me earlier if she knew she was going to be late. I am pretty annoyed. So she won't get here until 9pm (at the earliest). I have to work tomorrow (it's my last day so I HAVE to go). Besides I left early today thinking she'd be here. Oh well, nothing I can do about it now.

It's payday tomorrow but pretty much the whole thing will go toward the mortgage so we have to make what we do have stretch. It's gonna be tight until next Friday. I hope I don't have to wait too long to get my first paycheck at my new job. I was feeling pretty good about our food expenses this month. The first half we were really bad but the second have we did really well - until today's shopping trip. I still think we will at least be LESS than last month and that is a place to start. I think we will be able to do really well in July - esp since now we have all this 'extra' food to use up Frown


June 27th, 2006 at 06:40 am

So I only 'came to my senses' about 2 weeks ago. In such a short time I've found that my attitude about things have changes sooo much. I do find that things have been easier to control since DH has been gone. He gets back tomorrow so it will be a real challenge to keep things simple.

DH got a pair of Land's End pants for Christmas. About 3 weeks ago the zipper just broke for no reason. DH shoved them aside to be thrown away. I came across them yesterday and (thanks to reading other people's blogs)I emailed Land's End and told them what happened. They sent me a return form and said I could return them for a new pair. I will just have to pay for sending them back. A few weeks ago I wouldn't have thought to do that, I would have just thrown them away as a loss.

Today I have to clear up some medical expense reimbursements. I am going to the office personally to make sure my claims get processed. I also had a problem with my Child Care Flexible Spending Account. There was still about $85 in there when I gave my notice so right before I left I filed a claim for the balance in my account. I never got it so I will try to clear that up as well. Right after I left I checked online and my balance was zero. SO as soon as they found out I left the job they zeroed my account - but I filed the claim BEFORE I left. Ok, only 2 days before but STILL before I left. They should have sent me the money. Hopefully it won't be too big of a pita.

I also have about $250 tied up in a sharesave program that I am trying to get back. I was told when I left that it would automatically be sent to me but there was some problem with the way they were administering it. SO I contacted my old employer but the CFO is out until tomorrow. I was told they would probably just cut me a check. I want to put that in DS savings acct. I still owe him $300 from what we borrowed in Dec to pay for car ins.

Hopefully DH has not changed his mind about cashing out some of our investments to pay down our debt. If all goes well we will have the cc, boat and truck paid off in a month. The only thing outstanding will be his student loans. He has one loan so nothing to consolidate. With rates going up July 1 I don't know what I can do to make that less.

Tightwad Gazette

June 26th, 2006 at 07:54 am

I borrowed The Complete Tightwad Gazette from the library this weekend. Some of the things in there are a little too much for me but there is some useful information. I particularly enjoy that she lives in Maine so there are alot of references to Maine and people writing in from Maine. Maybe I'll see one of my relatives in there!

White T-shirt!!!!!!!

June 24th, 2006 at 06:15 pm

So DS' school wants us to bring in a white t-shirt b/c they are going to tye die shirts for the 4th. Do know how hard it is to find a plain white t-shirt for a little boy? First of all, he really doesn't need any new shirts but OK, they are doing it at school and it will be a cool shirt.

I go to Wal-mart and they have exactly what a want for $2.68 but not in his size. The only other alternative there is to buy a 5-pack of undershirts for $6. I don't need 5 shirts!!! I only want 1. I don't know any other parents to call up and see if they want to split the cost. I need to have it by Monday. If I had more time I might check out goodwill but I have DS to myself and no way would he bear with me through a digging trip. Besides, what are the chances that a white t-shirt survives a toddler? There is another Walmart further away that I can hit on my way home from the zoo tomorrow. Other than that I'm lost.

On another note I broke my 'no more $$ on groceries this week.' I am a popcorn addict. I come by it honestly, my dad has eaten popcorn every night that he's home for years and years. I usually get microwave popcorn. I've been going without b/c I don't want to spend the $$. But I seriously miss it and am craving it. What to do? I spent .95 (including tax) on a 2 lb bag of popcorn and I'm going to make it the old-fashioned way. Yes, I caved but to me it's worth it and I'll have my popcorn for a fraction of the price. Baby steps...

This site must be rubbing off on me

June 23rd, 2006 at 11:23 am

I went to the store and stuck to my list: milk, bread and fresh fruit. Spent $9.16 (saved $2.61 with the shopper card). That is it, that is all I'm spending on food this week - probably until next Wed or Thursday. DH comes home Wed so we'll see how it goes.

I found myself taking a quick trip around the grocery store and grabbing the coupons. Why? I don't even use most of those items. I guess the best one could be the cereal coupon. 75 cents off 2 boxes but I might find a really good deal somewhere and be able to use the coupons. Now what to do with those ketchup coupons....


June 22nd, 2006 at 06:32 pm

I was going to come on and write that I had a no spend day but that's not really true. I had to pay $5 to DS' school for extra activities they had this week (a magician and petting zoo). He really enjoyed them and I don't spend much money on him so I won't complain.

I came home for lunch and had PBJ and made dinner while I was here. I have more than enough food to last until DH is home. I am almost out of milk and only have 2 pieces of bread left but I was allowing myself milk, bread and fruit. We are out of bananas too. I've tried a million times to feed DS canned fruit and he just spits it out - except mandarin oranges. He loves fresh fruit though so I will 'splurge' on that. I think if we're creative there is even enough food to not buy anything next week either except maybe milk. I will have to talk DH into that though since he comes back Wed. He is kind of a food snob whereas I don't really care that much. If I can show him how much we will save maybe he will be on board.

On an upside I will soon start a training program to teach online classes. That will be good 'extra' money to help pay everything down.

Plodding along

June 21st, 2006 at 07:19 am

Well, I had to go out to lunch yesterday b/c it was the Finance Director's birthday lunch and I'd feel like a jerk not going. Esp since I just gave my notice. So I got the soup and salad.

Got the credit card bill yesterday! We got charged finance charges and a late fee. I checked my checking acct and it took 3 weeks for the check to clear! I know I paid it on time so I called up this morning and explained and I have been credited the late fee and finance charges. The bill was more than I expected though. We just got our plane tickets for Christmas. We had a $300 voucher from when we had been bumped and a $75 off e-cert for not taking a hotel room. Well I used both and I didn't get credit for the $75 ecert. I called Northwest Airlines and they said because I purchased multiple tickets it wouldn't allow me to use the ecert. It has to be used on one ticket. In order to use it I'd have to cancel my current reservations and rebook separately and pay the change reservation fee of $25 per ticket. Not worth it. Maybe I can sell it.

DH leaves today for a fishing trip with his dad and brothers. FIL turned 60 last year and his bday present from the boys was taking him on a fishing trip wherever he wanted to go (within reason). So they are headed to Maine for a week. The charge for the rental car came through and one night hotel. I think he still has to pay his share of the lodge but he has the cash to do that. I think I will still be able to pay that cc off in full this month. I just won't be able to make as big a payment on the cc with our balance on it. DH didn't cash out our investments yet to pay everything off so it won't get done until he gets back.

I have to get a gc for my friend's daughter's bday. I will also have to spend $$ for lunch because I won't have time to go home. I have to take a short lunch today since I have to leave early to take DH to the airport.

Starting tomorrow I am trying for a week of MINIMAL or NO spendning while DH is gone. I think I can get by with the food. At most I will need milk, bread and fruit. I will scrounge around for the rest. The hardest will be this weekend since I will have DS to myself. I think Sat morning we will go to the library and maybe the park. Sunday I think we'll go to the zoo. We just got a family membership as a gift so it won't cost anything. I will pack a few snacks.

One step forward, 2 steps back

June 19th, 2006 at 07:10 pm


Good news first. I came home for lunch and just had a sandwich, crackers and water. Then I realized I need contacts so ordered them. $90 I had not planned on spending. Then I came home and paid bills. We have $20 in the checking acct until Thursday. I think we should be ok. We just filled up with gas and got some milk at the store. Other downers - got the bill for the car registration today - another $78 I had not planned on spending this month. Good news is I checked my student loan balane online and I only owe $179 which I will pay off at the end of this month.

I will come home again tomorrow for lunch. I just have to make sure I get up early enough to eat breakfast so I don't grab something on the way again. The bad news is that with the new job I start soon I won't be able to get home for lunch. The (sort of) good news is that there really isn't anywhere to eat out around there (it's in a bad area of town) so I will have to bring my lunch. I have already invested in a good insulated lunch bag.

Ok, not great

June 19th, 2006 at 09:18 am

Well, we ended up taking the truck to Nashville because with the carseat in the back of the Civic my MIL and I would have been SQUISHED back there. Also, FIL is 6'5" so we would have been packed in there. Ok, we took it for comfort's sake. More the IL's than ours. They paid for almost everything, not fair to make them uncomfortable when we drive around. Besides gas we didn't spend too much. We bought 2 breakfasts and a couple of drinks. Then I spent $18 on a bday gift for a friend. We came home with $$ leftover from our $100 cash that we brought. Not too bad for 3 days away from home.

I made some progress with DH and I think I've sold him on this whole debt free thing. We currently have about $60K in our nest egg (not including any retirement) and we are going to cash out half. With my signing bonus next month we will be able to pay off the boat, truck and credit cards. Then we are going to aggressively attack his student loan (about $15500). I am going to try my best to pay it off in a year but that may be setting myself up for failure. WE talked about having all debt except the mortgage paid off. Then taking another year to save as much as possible. In year 3 we can sell the house and buy a more affordable one with a small mortgage (no more than $50K) and I can teach. Whew, it will take a lot of work but I hope we get there. It's nice to have him on the same page. I hope we can stay there.

Now today I had to run out of the house and spent $3.70 on breakfast. not only a waste of money but unhealthy too. BAD!!!

DH goes out of town for a week on Wed. I will stock up on a few basics (fresh fruit, milk and bread) and then I'm going to really try to spend ZERO on food until he comes back. I will just scrounge around home and eat up anything we have there. It may take some creativity but I think I can do it. Oh I may have to buy some ground beef but I think it's fairly cheap at Aldi.

Starting over

June 15th, 2006 at 12:48 pm

Well, here I go. Offically. No turning back now.

Short term – Lower our food bill. We spend a ridiculous amt of $$ on food for a family of only 2 ˝ people. I think last month we spent around $750 including eating in and out and I think some months it has been more. CRAZY!!! I tried coupons for a month but didn’t save enough to cover the cost of the papers every week. There were 2 weeks where there were no coupons that we would use. If I could get the Sunday coupons somewhere for free then it would be worth it.
Mid range goal – Lower our debts and save enough $$ to allow me to take a lesser paying job. One that has a better schedule and is more family friendly.
Long-term goal – save for DS college and retire early (I am 34 and DH is 35)

We are not doing well this month. I set up a budget at the beginning of June and last night I tracked all of our spending so far. We're overspent in gas and food for the first 2 weeks. On top of that DH's paycheck is less b/c we forgot that his stipend for lead instructor ends at the end of the semester. It will pick back up again in August. So the class he is teaching this summer will not be 'extra' it will just replace the stipend. Sigh.

My biggest problem (besides debt and our extravagant food spending) is to get DH on board. I have been trying to prepare him for this but he just isn't willing to make any sacrifices. He SAYS he understands and wants to keep to a budget but in practice doesn't want to be inconvenienced. He has grown up privileged and isn't used to cutting back. This may be an uphill battle. I need to get him to focus on the big picture so he can see that what we're doing is leading us to a better future.

One small victory. We are going to Nashville this weekend to meet up with the inlaws. Upside is they will pay for almost everything. Downside is there still will be some unplanned expenses. Like the gas it will take to get there. John wanted to take the truck and I said it would be much less expensive to drive the Civic. He complained b/c it's not as comfortable for a 3 hr drive (he is 6 feet tall). He finally relented and we will be taking the Civic. We got $100 for our anniversary. I saved that check and cashed it so we have some $$ on this trip. Hopefully we can keep our spending to a minimum.

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