Thursday, April 28, 2011

9 months from now!

I won't be giving birth... but there will be a celebration :) If all my late night calculations are correct, we will be done paying off our credit card with the highest balance and interest rate in January!

The current balance is at $20,319.

This card has two interests rates on it, one for our purchases (16.99%) and one for cash advances (23.99%).

Our new target deadlines are as follows:

  • CC # 3 - Current balance of $952.04 @ 15.15% will be paid off next month!

    (I debated saving this one for last since it has the lowest interest rate, but decided that we could use the momentum to really get us going - so this one will be first!)

  • CC # 1 - Current balance as mentioned above will be paid off in January 2012.

  • CC # 2 - Current balance of $17,702.19. This card has two interest rates as well : 15.24% for purchases and 19.24% for cash. The plan is to have this paid off in June 2012.
For those following along, this pushes our timeline up by 6 months - from December 2012! I AM ECSTATIC and ever hopeful that my rough calculations of interest payments are fairly accurate. I'll keep a close eye on statements as we move forward to check that we are on track to meet our goals. Honestly, I know the jury is still out on whether we should spend money to take a vacation while in debt, but these dates are not even calculating in those additional paychecks, so it could be done even earlier if we decide not to indulge along the way.

I liked this saying I recently found and I wanted to share it:

"Hard Work + Good Choices + Wise Decisions = Success"

I know it seems like common sense, but doing it can be tough. Print out the saying and put it up on the fridge or mirror or use it as your screen saver as a constant reminder. We can all do this! It's not going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it. Stay positive, stay focused and you will be successful in the end.

I may not update for a few days since this is the weekend we move. I'm scheduled to have Friday and Monday off so I likely won't be back until Tuesday. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Packing, Selling, Moving & Letting Go!

This week has been very productive! We have packed a ton of stuff. I am personally very proud of the amount of "stuff" I was able to let go. The amount of items that we donated to good will was enormous! I was a bit torn on trying to make cash on some of the items, but the time and energy required for me to post it, package it and ship it were just not worth it at the time. I keep telling myself that it's going to someone less fortunate who could use it.

We were able to sell a few of the larger items though and make some extra cash, which we will use to pay for the actual move.
  • Last night we sold our smaller couch, which isn't going to fit in the studio. We paid about $520 and sold it for $250. We also sold a couple of coffee tables to this person for $10.
  • Tonight the new renters plan to purchase our refrigerator for $200. That's about 1/2 of what we paid and we used it for 2 years. I'm happy with that amount.
  • Hopefully tomorrow we'll be selling our elliptical machine. We paid about $700 a year and a half ago and we have an offer for $350. I'll take it! It was just collecting dust anyway, plus there's no way it will fit in our new place.
So, if everything works out, we'll make $800! Looks like the moving truck will run about $200 when all is said and done and we'll get some day labor help for about $100 (I think). I'm hoping we are able to put $500 towards saving or our debt pretty quickly!

It's truly amazing how much stuff we accumulate. Things will be different in our new place, that's for sure! I plan to have a recycling bin near our front door so any unnecessary papers get tossed in there automatically. The amount of papers I went through in this move was unbelievable. I never want to have to do that again. Our shredder continually kept overheating in the process! We probably have enough confetti type shredding to take care of New York City for the ball dropping on New year's Eve! Honestly!

So, although it was tough, I let some items go that I didn't think I would and guess what... I'm still alive! I feel lighter. I'm actually happier to not have as much STUFF weighing me down. I hadn't used many of the items for years and just kept holding onto them, thinking "one day, one day I'll use this again." Well, that day never came and I'm okay with it. Letting go can be very cathartic. I'm ready for the next phase of my life. Peaceful, happy days with less clutter.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is it a bad thing to hide money from your spouse?

I have some exciting news!

My niece got word from her financial aid office last week that there appears to be a credit in her tuition account. It looks like an overpayment was made! She let me know that it's likely close to $1000 and that if I'm interested I could have it since I was the one paying into her tuition. Um, hello, YES PLEASE!!!

I was so excited that my first impulse was to tell my dear hubby! But something stopped me...

I started to think about how we don't have anything put away into an emergency savings account and how this would be a great start for us. I started to recall how I've noticed some traits from my husband that make me question sharing the news of new-found money with him. Whereas I'm a planner and enviously read other blogs where people actually plan out their meals for the week, my husband prefers that we go to the grocery store on a nightly basis (which I see as a waste of time and money). He has no problem with an empty fridge or completely empty pockets or wallet.

There's an excitement for him in the idea of living on the edge with nothing but the shirt on his back to get him through. This makes me nauseous and very nervous! He has this mentality that "everything will always work out". I love that about him in one sense but in another this phrase frustrates me because I'm typically the one making it work out!

I'm not angry about it and I don't really want or expect him to change, I'm just thinking that I need to quickly and quietly bank this money or else it may disappear into oblivion and we'll have nothing to show for it. I considered putting it towards our debt too but I constantly have this low grade anxiety when I think of us without a safety net and I think funding our emergency fund first is the way to go. If secretly locking this money away somewhere helps me get rid of that feeling, I think it may be worth it!

On the other hand, I want to be completely open and honest with my husband. I don't want to be dishonest or hide anything from him but too often I've seen money burn a hole in his pocket. Believe it or not, I'm actually the better one with the money! I'm the one who does the budget and looks at our bills. I enjoy it and he doesn't have much of an interest. If he ever were to ask if we had money in savings, I would be honest and tell him we did. I just don't know that I should volunteer the information beforehand.

Nothing is finalized yet and until I actually see a check for the credit, I'm hesitant to believe that there really will be one. I still have some time to decide how to move forward. What do you think?

Questions : Is a secret a bad thing when you believe it's for the overall good?

My Weekly Money Check-Up

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on
the deposit on our new place.

2. Today I am thankful that we found a new place to live that is so affordable! This will really help us make a dent in paying off our debt.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was got 3 stars on every level of Angry Birds! Okay, hear me out... I just found this free game on my work phone and have been playing it at night for fun. Lately, it's become somewhat of a competition between my hubby and I, to see who can get the highest score. Well, in between packing this weekend, we were able to get 3 stars on each level. It's really not a huge deal, but inexpensive fun for us and it brought us some happiness and enjoyment.

4. I will consider this week a success if I
successfully pack everything up and move without being too much of a witch. I don't know what comes over me, but the stress of a move really gets me going. I'm usually very mild tempered and easy to please, but when moving, I become a stressed-out basket case. I'm hoping to make it through this week without becoming one!

5. My favorite TV show growing up was The Brady Bunch. I really enjoyed watching this show when I was younger. I thought it taught some valuable lessons.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Hi there! Just a quick post to wish you all a Happy Easter! We don't have much planned besides packing... and lots of it! I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and a nice Easter if you celebrate it.

Enjoy and see you next week :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!

This is my favorite quote - hands down!

"If you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got!"

At various times in my life I think back to this quote and how I love it. I wanted to share it with you guys because it's perfectly appropriate for those of us in debt. It's actually a great quote for anyone who needs change in their life. Look at it closely:

If you do what you always did...

Fill in the blank. It could be anything really - shopping, smoking, drinking, eating, gambling, etc.

you'll get what you always got.

You're going to get the same results! Over and over again. Bad habits are a vicious cycle. Take it from me, I know. Isn't it true that doing something over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity?!? You've got to stop the bad behavior to initiate change. That's why some finance people tell you NOT to consolidate your debt because you won't learn to stop the bad behavior that got you in debt in the first place. I believe that's true. My opinion is that only with old fashioned hard work will you be able to live a changed life.

So, the next time you find yourself about to do the thing that you are looking to change, take a moment and remember this quote. You may still decide to do it, but taking that moment to consciously make the decision is important, instead of doing it on autopilot. Over time you may find yourself thinking about it a little longer and maybe one day you will make a different decision (the right one) and break the cycle. Only then will you get to enjoy a different outcome, a better one.

Lessons Learned : Change is good, change is growth, change is what is going to get you to where you want to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We got the studio condo!

Wow - we're got the studio condo! We're officially downsizing and moving at the end of the month. I can't believe it all worked out. Even better, the owner quoted me $795 when I toured the place but wrote $775 in his email back to me requesting a check for the first month's rent. I know it's only $20 less per month, but that's $240 for the year and it makes this condo officially $600 less PER MONTH than our current place! Amazing. I'm going to sign the lease today at lunch so I'll know for sure if it's just a typo or if it's really going to be that price.

In addition, he mentioned that that electricity is around $20 per month (I currently budget $80 where we are) so that's a savings too! He also said water and even hot water is all included, so "you could take 3 hour long hot showers if you'd like." Although I am water-conscious, I jumped for joy (in my head) because that's one of my pet-peeves now, whoever gets the 2nd shower in the morning is the unlucky one with a cold shower. Well, not any more! Yippee :) Things really seem to be working out. I hope this trend continues and our move goes smoothly. I'll keep everyone posted!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How much would you downsize to pay off debt faster?

As some of you know, we are looking for a new place to live. The countdown is on, as we have to be out of our current place by the end of the month. We were looking at an apartment complex within walking distance to my work (so we could still get by with one car) but in the past few weeks they have raised their rent almost $200 per month and added in a higher security deposit! FORGET THAT!

Yesterday I found another place for rent that is a bit further from my work (but along a bus route so I could take that). There was a one bedroom condo advertised but when I called to inquire, the gentleman told me that the one bedroom is likely going to be taken this week by the couple that is living in the studio condo he owns. They just found out they are expecting and want a slightly larger place. He asked if I'd be interested in seeing the studio. Wow, wait a sec, a studio?!? Hmmmm... I hadn't given that much thought. Could we maybe move into a studio for a year or so while we try to pay off our debt?

We are currently living in a 1325 square foot condo and we pay $1375 per month. The studio condo for rent is 525 square feet and only $795 per month! Wow, the rent really grabbed my attention. I decided I wanted to see it. I had a coworker go with me at lunch yesterday to check it out. I texted my husband to let him know I was viewing a condo that was only $795 per month! I conveniently didn't mention it was 800 square feet smaller than where we currently live. I just kept mentioning the almost $600 savings per month, that we could put right towards our debt!

I viewed the condo and yes, it's small. There's no getting around that. Yes, it's on the first floor, which I swore to myself I'd never live in again (I'm hyper-sensitive to sound). But, HELLO, did you hear that we could save almost $600 per month on our rent?!? I went home and discussed it at length with my husband. The biggest thing holding us back is our furniture. We naively purchased very large house type furniture when we moved here 4 years ago because we lived in a huge place. We didn't think much about what we would do if we had to downsize. Now we have to figure it out. Do we sell our large, comfy furniture and purchase studio sized stuff instead? Do we only move in what fits and put our excess furniture in storage for a possible larger home in the future? (This is an added cost that I'd rather not pay...)

Quickly playing around with this new possible budget, we're able to move our credit card debt repayment schedule up significantly! (I'll share details in a later post). So, what did we end up doing? We applied for the studio condo! We should find out today if we are approved. We'll figure out what to do with the furniture as it gets closer. We are serious about getting out of debt and in order to do that we are willing to sacrifice our comfort somewhat. I'll keep ya posted on how this all works out!

Questions : How much would you downsize to pay off debt faster? Have you done this before? If so, how did it work out?

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up

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

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our federal taxes. We made a good size payment. Hopefully we'll be making another one later this month.

2. Today I am thankful for our health. We are both healthy and I'm very thankful for that. I received good news at the end of last week that my Grandfather's health has improved (after a recent stroke he lost his speech and hearing - however, miraculously after blacking out in the shower, both senses were restored!)

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was I shred a ton of our old paperwork! It sounds crazy, but that brought me happiness. There were papers in there that we a decade old. I feel as though a weight has been lifted off of me. I'm hoping I can do better with clutter in our new place. I plan to have a recycle bin right near the front door so I can just get rid of unnecessary papers immediately, rather than keep them to go through later.

4. I will consider this week a success if I
can finalize where and when we are going to move! This has been a stressor for the last few weeks. We gave notice at our current place at the end of March and since then we've been waiting for the apartments near my work to lower their prices - unfortunately they've raised them! The month is half over so now I'm very anxious to get a lease signed so we can begin our move.

5. This Easter I am planning on spending the day with my husband. We tend to celebrate Easter in a low key way by just having a nice meal together and taking it easy. Growing up we would go for a family ride along the coast which was a nice tradition. I'd like to maybe start that tradition out here but 1) it's possible we'll be in the middle of our move (hopefully anyway!) and 2) gas prices are almost $4.50 per gallon out my way so leisurely rides along the coast will probably be put on hold until prices drop a bit!

Have a great week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Friday and Life is Good!

TGIF! I made our first payment to the IRS today. $2,800 of the $5,272 that is due. I could have sent more but held onto that for our upcoming move. Not sure exactly how much that's going to cost us yet so I want to have some wiggle room.

Also, we received our electricity bill and my playing the Electricity Police at home has really paid off! I budgeted $80 this month and it came in at $56.05! Yippee :) I love this bill because unlike our other "set bills" we have the power to do small things to lower this one. That's extra money we can put towards our other bills! Ahhhhh, sweet savings.

I was reading a blog the other day that mentioned when you start doing things right and put goodness out into the universe, it comes back to you. I honestly feel as though we're finally on the right track with this budgeting stuff and good stuff is starting to come our way. I know that sounds crazy, but heck, it's Friday and life is good! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is it wrong to take a vacation while you are in debt?

So, I've been struggling with something lately. This past weekend was our 6 month anniversary. (No, we're not one of those couples that celebrate every month, I just happened to notice.) In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that we'll go back to Mexico to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Lately however - I've started to feel a little guilty about the idea of planning a vacation while we're in debt...

See our budget works like this, basically I get paid every 2 weeks and one of my checks goes to our debt and one goes to our rent and other bills. My hubby gets paid weekly and that's the money we live off of for food, gas, and other misc. items. Although I've budgeted for 24 paychecks, I'll actually receive 26. I was hoping we could use the other two checks on things for us. We could plan a fully "paid in cash" vacation with these checks!

I'm of the mindset that you need to budget in some fun stuff along the way or else you'll go crazy. I work better and I'm more productive when I have something enjoyable to look forward to and as much as being debt free is a great goal to work towards... Mama needs a little vaca once in a while! Even with these little trips planned along the way, we're still on target to get out of credit card debt by December 2012. Sure, it could be a few months sooner if we skipped the trips, but I don't think we should. What do you think?

Question : Do you think it's wrong to vacation while you are in debt? Should 100% of your money go towards debt repayment and vacations and fun stuff be put on hold until you are completely debt free?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Free Credit Report Time!

It's that time of year... time to get your free credit report. If you don't already know, you can get one free credit report (from each of the 3 major reporting agencies) every 12 months. This is the website you should go to to get yours:

That means you can actually get one every 4 months. I'm trying to start a new habit and plan to get one in April, August and December. This time I went with Experian, but there's also TransUnion and Equifax as well. It's good to just rotate through each of them in the course of a year.

I just download mine and my husband's. Mine looked fine but my husband's had a few things we'll need to look at. If you don't already do this, you really should. It's a great opportunity to catch mistakes, see if anyone has stolen your identity and just check in on the status of your open accounts.

Good Idea : Get your free credit report at least once a year, if not every 4 months!

Question : When was the last time you checked your credit report? Is this something you are already doing?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Discover Rewards

So, as you know we are in the process of packing for our upcoming move. Lately I've been doing lots of reading about getting rid of your "stuff" on Man vs. Debt & on this other cool website talks about doing a 30 day Organize-athon. Motivating stuff for sure!

As I go through our stuff there have been some items I've tossed, some I've set aside to sell and others I plan to donate. I've also been making a little "moving wishlist"of sorts. One of the items on the wishlist is new towels! It's been YEARS since I've replaced our bath towels. They are all worn, faded and tattered. I know buying stuff kind of goes against the websites I mentioned above, but I'm only replacing what we currently have and use on a regular basis. I'm actually getting rid of 10 towels and looking to replace them with only 4, so I will have reduced our towel situation by 6! Winning!

Normally I wouldn't spend the money to replace our towels when we are in debt, so the way I'm going to pay for it is with my Discover card rewards. Discover has this great "cash back" program where they give you 1% of your spending back. This WAS a great reward when I would pay the account in full each month. Unfortunately let's just say that that hasn't happened in a while! In the past year or so, Discover decided to raise the minimum amount you need to credit back to your account to $50. I've been in the $40's for what seems like EVER! I'm currently at $49 and some change but since I'm not going to use the card anymore I know it will never reach $50.

When I received notification that my new statement was available yesterday I decided to log on and check out what my other options were with my cash back. Turns out I can turn $20 into $25 worth of gift cards at Bed, Bath & Beyond (BB&B). Score! I can use these cards to buy some items on my wishlist. So, I've decided to turn $40 into $50 worth of giftcards!

Another great thing about BB&B is that they constantly send out 20% off coupons and they let you use your expired ones! You can use up to 5 coupons during a visit (one for each item). This is a pretty good deal. I'm hoping with the $50 I can get us some new towels and other items from my wishlist.

Good Idea :
Turn your credit card rewards in for something you would need to use cash to buy anyway.

My Weekly Money Check-Up

Hi there! Happy Monday :o) I hope your week is off to a great 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 tax payment. As I shared, we mailed in one of our 2 tax payments due. I'll make another payment this week to the IRS.

2. Today I am thankful for my health. Recently my Grandfather's health took a turn for the worse (kind of expected at his old age, but still sad) and this past week an old family friend passed away. These events put things in perspective and really make you appreciate what you do have. I'm thankful to be in good health!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was sat on our porch reading and taking in the view and feeling the warm sunshine on me. It was very relaxing and free!

4. I will consider this week a success if I finish a good amount of packing. Unfortunately we haven't secured our apartment yet but I'm hopeful that will happen sometime this week. In the meantime, I'm trying to motivate myself to get some packing done! I don't want to wait until the last minute and stress out about it, so I'm trying to be proactive and get as much done as we can beforehand. We'll see how that goes this week!

5. My signature accessory is a fake pair of diamond stud earrings. I am a minimalist when it comes to accessories. Most days I only wear my wedding rings and this matching pair of earrings. Nothing too exciting...

Have a great week!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Taxes... one down, one big one to go!

So today we paid our state taxes off! $1,794. Done. The check is sent in and this bad memory is behind us! I felt good writing the check out and dropping the envelope in the mail. Now we're focused on paying off the IRS. I can only imagine how good that one is gonna feel! It's going to take a little longer to get that one in since it's $5,272. I plan to send in what we can before the 18th and then our stretchhhh goal is to pay the remainder with my last check this month on the 29th. However, that may be challenging with our upcoming move (and the costs associated with that) so luckily we have some time since our grace period takes us until the beginning of June.

I'm hoping this good feeling continues and we stay motivated to follow our budget and continue to pay things off! Now that we have an end date (December 2012) there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Lesson Learned : Don't mess around with your tax withholdings, it's not worth it! You'll probably end up owing later...

Thursday, April 7, 2011


It's official! We've set the date. "What date?" you ask. The date we are GOING to be out of credit card debt by! I'd love to say we'll be completely out of debt, but our focus has really been on our looming credit card debt (since the interest rates are high) and we haven't really focused on our car loan.... yet! We'll get there. For sure. But with an interest rate under 1%, we're not too worried about that one just yet.

We started with about $40K on our credit cards and if all of my budgeting is correct and if we stay the course, we'll be completely out of credit card debt by December 2012! There are a some assumptions in here (that our bills don't increase significantly, that we both maintain our current incomes, and a few others) but I did build a slight buffer in there and I truly believe that we will be celebrating that New Year's Eve in style! (And by "in style" I don't mean in an expensive fashion, I just mean popping a bottle of $4 Andre champagne and toasting how great it feels to be out of debt! Then in 2013, we'll tackle that damn car loan and bulking up our savings for a future home! Ahhhh, I love having goals to work towards.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

99 cent store anyone?

So, we did a first this past weekend... we bought our groceries at the local 99 cent store! I had budgeted $50 for food for the hubby and I for the week. I knew that $50 wouldn't get us too far at our normal grocery store, so I decided to give this place a try. A co-worker mentioned that she lives on a very small income by getting her groceries here. At first, I thought it was kind of a crazy idea - but once I entered the store and saw that I could purchase items that I normally buy for $3-$4 (for only 99 cents) I was sold!

I couldn't believe the items they had there : lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, bread, milk, soda, pasta etc! I almost took a picture to show you guys. I was so proud of what we got for $35! I'm certain it would have easily cost us double if not close to triple what we paid if we went to a regular grocery store.

I'm not saying it's for everyone and they don't have the greatest selection, but I'd recommend you check out what they do have. If you can save some money shopping here, it's worth looking into. Happy shopping!

Good Idea : Look for less expensive places to buy groceries... you may be pleasantly surprised!

Question : Where do you shop to cut corners? Have you tried to buy food from a non-traditional grocery store?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up and Updates...

Hi! I'm baaaaack! The past few weeks have been a bit of a rollercoaster. My husband got the new job only a few miles from our house and we thought, "Great! This is really going to change things for us for the better." Well, it threw us a big curve ball! Although being closer to our current apartment is awesome for him, it totally screwed up our carpooling commute. His hours are 6:30am - 3:30pm, whereas mine are 8am - 5pm. His job is North and mine is South. There was no way we were going to be able to continue carpooling together.

We spent the last 2 weeks discussing our options - taking the bus (which unfortunately doesn't go the full way, so he'd still have to walk 2+ miles), taking a taxi (not a great option at $26 PER DAY for a 6 mile ride!), riding a bike (we ended up purchasing a bike for $100 but after trying this one time my husband thought he may die). We realized that we really wanted to stay in our current apartment so we decided to try other options to make it work. Over the past 2 weeks we've bummed rides off our co-workers and tried to shift our work schedules, it just wasn't working. We looked into getting a car or a scooter, but they are so expensive and we'd really like to stay a one-car family for as long as we can. So, on the 31st we gave notice to our current property manager and decided we'd move South, closer to my job so that I could walk to work and my husband could take the car.

The weird thing about apartments in this area is that some of them go up in price at the end and beginning of the month, so if we try to arrange it so that we have another apartment lined up (as we always have in the past) we would end up paying more for our rent. It's about $1K more over the course of a year lease. Since we don't want to just throw money away we are taking a risk and playing their game... we're waiting until the middle of the month when historically they've offered the lowest rent for quick move in and we'll hopefully be able to snatch up a good deal. Rent will probably save us about $70 per month and our electricity should be lower since our place will be smaller. We'll also save on our gas since we'll be cutting our commute by about 100 miles per week. We really struggled with this decision but now that we made it, I'm feeling better about things. I'm really optimistic that we'll like this place (at least well enough to stay for a year while we pay off some debt) and maybe even longer, who knows?

I also received some wonderful news last week that my niece got the RA job! That will save us almost $600 per month! I was ecstatic when I found out. That can go directly to our debt.

So, all in all, the past few weeks have been kind of hectic but positive. I think that will continue through April until we're finally packed and settled in our new place. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get on here more often to check in and provide updates.

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up courtesy of My Pretty Pennies. She changed the second question recently and I like this one much better :) Feel free to join in with your own check up as well!

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on TAXES! Ugh, we continue to bank what we can to pay towards the $7K we owe in taxes. Unfortunately because we may have to come up with rent for our new place a little earlier than anticipated we may not be able to pay the full amount due by the 18th, so I called the IRS and was granted a 60 day delay to pay in full. I still plan to send what we can by the due date but it's nice to have a little extension if needed. The kind woman on the phone said she'd send a letter to us outlining the details. We'll see how much of a penalty will apply, hopefully it'll be minimal.

2. Today I am thankful for my job. As I look over our finances and the plan for the 2011 and 2012 to pay off our debt, I realize that without this job I'd be in really poor shape. I'm thankful for it today!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was sent out a couple of handmade cards to family and friends. Years back I had a hobby of scrapbooking and making cards and I love it when I can sit down and finally use them.

4. I will consider this week a success if I see the rent drop on the apartment that we're interested in. I will have peace of mind knowing that we have our new home lined up and ready for us to move in. Playing this waiting game is a bit unnerving to me!

5. The last dream I had was about an old friend from high school telling me that I will have a son named Matthew... strange. We had been trying to conceive in Jan & Feb but put it on hold for the time being. Wonder if that's a sign?