Monday, March 14, 2011

He got the job!!!

Just got the great news that my husband got the new job he interviewed for last week! Oh, I'm so happy for him. This couldn't have come at a better time for us. This will help us move faster on our debt repayment journey for sure! Not to mention it's closer to where we live and it's for a company that seems to be a step up from his previous one, so hopefully he'll be pretty happy there.

According to the owner they haven't had turnover in 6 years! From the sounds of it, people like it there and stay for a while. I hope that's the case for my hubby as well :)

Now if only the rest of March goes this great!
Happy Monday! I hope your week is off to a good start. Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies :)

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a credit card payment. Yuck!

2. Today I feel optimistic towards money! My husband had his job interview last week and it went well. They asked him to come back in this afternoon. We'll see what comes out of that. If he does get the job, it probably won't be an hourly pay increase initially, but at least it'll be full time, which will increase his take home pay and make our lives a little easier. In addition, I have good news... my niece accepted the back-up RA position, so hopefully that will fall into place too and I won't have to re-budget that large payment in!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was sit on the beach for a few hours. My husband and I packed up our beach chairs, sunglasses and a blanket and went to the beach this weekend. Although it was a bit windy and cool, it was great to get out and enjoy the fresh air and take in the beautiful view!

4. I will consider this week a success if I continue to keep us on budget! As I mentioned in a post last week, we're really committed to paying our taxes in April and in order to do this we have to stay on our budget. We've been great for the past 2 weeks but I'm nervous about this weekend. It's my birthday and we have a free weekend away at a local hotel. I'm hoping we just enjoy the scenery and any free activities we can, rather than spend money we don't have to have fun.

5. My ancestors are English, Irish, Dutch, French, Indian and Lithuanian. Quite a mixed breed!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Owing taxes may be a good thing for us!

I know this may sound crazy, but owing taxes may be a good thing for us! I have been a bit hesitant to mention this but we've been struggling to stay on our budget each pay period. For one reason or another, we tend to stray. We have the best of intentions but "being good" has been harder for us than we anticipated.

Don't get me wrong, we have definitely made some progress from where we were previously. I actually have a "plan" that we are supposed to follow now (which is progress) and we've made some dents in our debt, just smaller than we could be making. Until now, we would kind of look at the plan but then make other decisions...

For whatever reason though, I refuse to pay the government late. I do not want to go on a payment plan and be hit with penalties and late charges. Eff that! It's not happening. This mentality has forced us to follow our plan to the T these past two pay periods. I know it may not sound like much, but I think THIS is the kick in the *** we needed to start following the plan. We have 5 more pay periods where we HAVE to follow it exactly or we won't make it. Maybe it's our procrastinator mentality that is forcing us to now conform at the last minute, maybe we get off on the pressure and the idea of the tax man coming knocking on our door, I'm not sure what it is - but it's working!

My only hope is that a habit will be formed by the time this is done, that we will continue to follow the plan and get ourselves out of this mess. One can only hope, right?

Question : What was your "A-ha moment" when it came to your debt? When did you decide it was time to take action and was it then that you actually started really doing it, or was it later because of something else?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Today is a Good Day!

I'm feeling good today and I wanted to share it! I was just reflecting over the last 24 hours and realized that I'm having a good day and I wanted to take a moment to share and appreciate it.

It started yesterday when a co-worker asked me to have lunch with her. I didn't bring a lunch so I agreed to go. I only had a $5 on me and I didn't want to use my debit card to spend more than that. (That money is set aside for our taxes.) So I suggested going to Subway (thinking I'd get their $5 special, have 1/2 for lunch one day and 1/2 the next) but she needed to run an errand on the other side of town, so she suggested we go somewhere else. I started to get nervous that I'd go over budget, but I was able to find something cheap for only a few dollars. Yippee! (Don't mind me, I'm appreciating the little things...)

Then last night I had to stay for at work late for a function and we had food brought in for dinner, so that was a free meal! My hubby came to pick me up (since we car pool) and I was able to score free dinner for him as well.

We also looked at an apartment right near my work (I could actually get some exercise and WALK to work each day!) that would save us about $170 per month in just rent, not to mention gas money! We're going back to check it out again later today.

I just got another free meal at work today because of training we're having - they always order too much food! So, that's lunch money I can save. There was actually so many sandwiches left over that I wrapped 2 up for our lunches for tomorrow... ahhhh, the taste of SWEET SAVINGS!

Last, but certainly not least, my husband has a job interview tomorrow for a full time position! Oh, I am so excited about this one. We could really use the extra money, for sure! The only weird thing is that it's closer to where we currently live. 6 miles from the house to be exact. That would be perfect for him, if we stay where we're at, but kind of a bummer if we end up moving.

Not sure how it will all play out, but please keep your fingers crossed for us. We'll certainly have lots to think through and talk about as we take this next step in our lives.

Oh yeah, and tomorrow is FRIDAY, so that's another great reason to smile :0) Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is everything "free" worth taking?

I tend to say "yes" to a lot of things I'm offered, especially when they are free! But, as I'm starting to learn... maybe not everything free is worth taking?!? Gasp, I know! This past weekend, for example, we were offered free tickets to see Shirley MacLaine put on a show. I automatically said "yes!" thinking it would be a fun night out. I'm not even really too sure about what she does in a live show, I just thought it would be a fun, free night out for the hubby and I. I remember watching her over and over in Terms of Endearment when I was a kid. I loved that movie! I figured, whatever she did had to be worth seeing. My husband, on the other hand, had NO INTEREST AT ALL.

We were also given free tickets to a local gem faire and a home and garden show for this past weekend too! Of course, I took all of the free tickets thinking how lucky we were to have received so many free things for one fun-filled weekend. Not really thinking how we aren't really into gems or kinda get depressed when we go to home and garden shows since it reminds us of what we can't really afford right now.

My husband had a very valid point, why spend the gas money to go to something we weren't really interested in, just to be tempted to spend money that we don't really have, on items that we don't really need? Um, yeah, that kinda sums it all up.

So, in the end, although we scored free tickets, we didn't end up using any of them! I felt a bit guilty since I'm sure there are people who would have taken the tickets and found great pleasure in attending the events. It just wasn't us for whatever reason.

Question : Do you find yourself accepting free items (tickets or otherwise) just because it's free and not necessarily because you'll actually use it?

Lesson Learned : Think before accepting something that's free. It may not be my cup of tea and that's okay.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuition Update...

So, we got the news... it looks like my niece didn't get the job as a Resident Advisor (RA) for the upcoming year at college. Ugh, this was really disappointing to me, as I was hoping we could put the almost $600 a month towards our debt repayment. After taking a few days to cool off and wrap my head around another year of payments, I'm in a much better place.

I'll need to tweak our spreadsheet again to fit those payments back into the budget. Unfortunately this may mess up one of our goals in 2011 of paying $20K towards our debt. That's okay though. If there's one thing this year has already taught me it's been to "roll with the punches!" We didn't plan on having to come up with $7K by mid-April for taxes, but somehow we're doing that and we'll do this too!

On a side note, there is still a small chance that she'll get the job. They offered her an "alternate RA position" so she could officially be a back-up RA if someone resigns or gets fired. She has a week to think about this and decide if she wants it. Right now her feelings are hurt and she doesn't think she wants to accept the role and I get that, I totally do. I'm just trying to have her look at the big picture and understand that it may be in everyone's best interest if she accepts the back up position. They told her the odds are very good that this could work out in her favor and she may get a real position in the new school year. We'll see though, until then, I have a spreadsheet to update!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up!

Hi all! Happy Monday :) Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on my niece's tuition. I paid the rest of it off in full (for this semester), so I wouldn't have to think about it as I juggle bills trying to get the $7K we owe for taxes.

2. Today I feel optimistic towards money. I'm really hopeful that we'll get the whole amount needed for taxes and then after that, we'll attack our debt aggressively.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was go to two local farmers' markets to check out the local produce. It was nice to get out and see what's out there. We got to
casually walk around and take it all it. It was a nice treat. We ended up spending $5 on some homemade kettle corn at one of the markets and didn't buy anything at the other, so all in all, it was an inexpensive treat.

4. I will consider this week a success if I
get some items posted for sale online. At this point it looks like we're a couple of hundred dollars short of our goal for taxes, so I need to get some other items sold. I don't want to wait until the last minute and be stressed out, so I'll be proud of myself if I get stuff posted this week.

5. My guilty pleasure TV show is
The Real Housewives. I don't get cable any longer, so it's not often that I get to watch it, but once in a great while I catch it and I wonder to myself why I waste time watching such nonsense, but I can't help it!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm loving Swagbucks!

So, for those of you who haven't heard of Swagbucks, I highly recommend you check it out. It's a search engine that you can load on your computer and it gives you points for searching with them. You also get points for other stuff too, like daily polls and trivia. So far I've redeemed my points for gift certificates on Amazon. With those gift certificates, I've been able to buy gifts for family members. Most recently I bought my parents a new CD that's out for their upcoming birthdays (kinda a "joint gift") and I've entered my other Swagbuck points into a drawing for 2 tickets to see this artist play live. This is a gift my parents are going to love! All at no cost to me :)

Swagbucks is free to join and use. It's simple and fun. If you'd like to join, you can click here and I actually get a referral bonus. If not, no biggie. It's just a cool site that I recommend you check out.

Question : Do you already use Swagbucks? What are some of the items you've received? Do you know of other programs that are easy to use and give points so freely?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Weekly Money Check-Up

Hi all! Happy Wednesday :) I hope that your March is off to a good start! Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on
our car payment.

2. Today I feel so/so towards money. It's been kind of a long week for me. I've been feeling challenged by money and being able to come up with the $7K for taxes that will be due next month, so I spent the last few days tweaking the budget as much as possible so we'd be able to meet our goal. We are almost there! I believe that with some diligence and luck selling items on Ebay, we will make it! Playing with the budget motivated me to create one through the end of 2012. I know I'm probably jumping the gun a bit, but I really want an end date in mind that I can focus on as our target of being out of debt. I feel it's a little premature to share it now, but I think I'm almost there - the date is almost firmed up.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free/inexpensive thing I did last week that made me happy was decided to make this month our "March Madness Month"! My husband and I have been in a bit of a funk lately. We've decided that we need to be more active. I've asked him to kind of copy Jim Carrey in the movie, "Yes Man" and go along with any ideas I have this month. He sometimes shoots them down without much thought so this may be challenging for him, but he's agreed to try. Each day I come up with something fun or different for us to do. Of course it'll have to be inexpensive too - that goes without saying!

4. I will consider this week a success if I get the GREAT NEWS that my niece got approved to be a Resident Advisor (RA) at her college. This will help me greatly as I work on the budget for next year and determine how much I can put towards these bills! PLEASE KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED :)

5. My favorite thing about spring... hmmm, when I lived in the North, it was that the snow was finally melting and flowers were starting to bloom. Now that I live in the South and get to enjoy pretty flowers year round, I guess I'd have to say that I enjoy it staying lighter later. I love being able to catch the occasional sunset on the way home. It gives me balance and makes me smile.