Thursday, June 30, 2011

My Late Weekly Money Check-Up! 6/23/11

Hi all :) I hope that you've had a good week so far. I apologize for the silence. I was away at a conference since Sunday and wasn't able to get online to post.

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

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a credit card payment! I'll be so happy once those darn things are paid off.

2. Today I am thankful for automatic cars with cruise control. I know it sounds funny but I had a long ride to go to the conference and was able to use cruise control for most of it. My previous car was a standard and shifting was a pain in the butt. Now, with an automatic, I easily cruise for hours without the annoyance of having to shift along the way.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was starting to read a new book. I love getting into a new story. There's something exciting about cracking open a new book and seeing where the journey takes me.

4. I will consider this week a success if I follow our budget and menu over the long holiday weekend! Temptations, temptations, temptations!

5. For the 4th of July, I am hoping we have a cookout at the beach or bay and go see some fireworks. I absolutely love fireworks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Job Possibility...

My husband started a new job earlier this year. It was full time hours, close to our house and it seemed like an ideal situation. Unfortunately, it wasn't. The owner is very dishonest about the company. In addition, there are no benefits, no paid vacation time and no paid sick time. Since then we've downsized and moved about 30 miles away so the commute hasn't been great on the new car or our wallets.

So, now we're on the job hunt again. We found one last week and applied for it. He got a call back within minutes of applying from the agency that is handling the position.

I did a little more research and this job seems great. It's for a much larger company so there could be growth opportunities and the benefits are AMAZING! The best part is that it's just over 4 miles from our house! He won't even have to get on the highway (or "freeway" as they call it out here). I know it may sound crazy but I'm convinced that this "freeway" could be the death of us, so I try to limit the occasions we have to go on it. (People who know the San Diego highways that go as wide as 8 car widths at some points, know what I'm talking about!)

Anyway, the hubby went in for an interview yesterday! He thinks it went great. My fingers are crossed. We'll see what happens! I'm a big believer that it will work out the way that it's meant to. That still isn't gonna stop me from wishing real hard that it works out in our favor though :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Today is a good day!

Earlier this week I was mentioning to a co-worker that I need to get my hair trimmed. She knows I'm on a budget and understands that I've been holding off on spending any extra money. It's been over 8 months since I last went to the hairdresser!

My co-worker then shared with me that she used to be a... wait for it - hairdresser! She offered to bring her scissors in to give me a "quick dry trim" - since that's all I was really looking for. As you'd imagine, the ends were getting a little frizzy after eight plus month with no trims.

She brought her scissors in today and during lunch she trimmed my hair. It was just what I needed! My hair looks way better now and the best part is that it didn't cost me anything! (In truth, I'll probably give her a little something on payday since I know money is tight for her too but it's definitely less than I would have spent at even Supercuts! Not to mention, I didn't even have to drive anywhere to get it done.) Today is a good day :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'll be out of debt before...

For some of us, it seems like it's going to take FOREVER to get out of debt. While doing my normal morning routine of getting ready for work, I sprayed a little perfume on myself. I happened to look down at that bottle and noticed it's about 3/4 full. Suddenly it hit me - I'll be out of debt BEFORE I finish that bottle of perfume! What a great concept. A visual reminder of something that will go down as my debt goes down, but there will still be some left long after the debt is paid off.

The thought put a smile on my face :)

It may sound like a small thing but I'm a very visual person and this will help motivate me to look at the bottle each day and remember that. There are many things that are going to happen before I get out of debt... the calendar will change several times over, the seasons will come and go, I'll celebrate another birthday, another anniversary, etc. One thing that won't happen though... I WILL NOT USE UP THAT BOTTLE OF PERFUME BEFORE I PAY OFF MY DEBT!

Good Idea :
Find something that you can use as a visual reminder to help motivate you to stay on course.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up 6/20/11

Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies. Sorry I missed a few days last week. I was laid up with a pinched nerve. Feeling a bit better now and glad to be back :) Hope your week is off to a good start!

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a fun weekend out. My hubby and I went out this weekend and got a little off budget :(

2. Today I am thankful for chiropractors! I had never been to one before and I had to go to one a couple of times over the past few days. They have gifted hands and seem to know just what to do to provide relief.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was go to Sea World! My husband won tickets on the radio (for the first time ever) to a party that the radio station was having THAT NIGHT. He won the very last pair that they were giving away, so that was kinda cool. It was a spontaneous, fun and free evening :) We enjoyed it!

4. I will consider this week a success if I can tweak our budget a bit to fix our night on the town.

5. My night-stand contains; on top - a lamp, a candle, my jewelry box, and my best wife trophy :), inside - a couple of magazines, chapstick, my ear plugs and eye patches.

I hope you all have a great week! It's the official start of Summer, it's bound to be good :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Someday I'll get used to it...

I logged into our bank account today to check in on things. I do this regularly so that I can catch any issues before they become costly problems. I'm not one to offer much advice, but I recommend doing this, if you don't already. Here's what I saw:

Account Name: Checking
Account Number: xxxxxx4502

Available Balance: $0.16
Current Balance: $0.16

I shouldn't have been too surprised since that's what I have written in my checkbook. But for some reason, my stomach dropped when I saw it and I got nervous! All of our bills are paid, we have plenty of food and my hubby gets paid in 2 days. Thankfully, we have our emergency fund if something major were to happen. I had to take a moment to tell myself "You're doing it right. This is what it SHOULD look like when you are doing zero-based budgeting." Someday I'll get used to it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Making Memories

I was over at Blogging Away Debt reading Bek's post today called "Scars." I have a soft spot for Bek's debt challenge as she is one of the very first blogs I started reading when I got serious about getting out of debt. Today's post was great! She mentions how she likes the scars on her body in a way, because they have taught her lessons in life. I totally get that. I feel the same way. Sometimes I don't mind when things get dinged or stained because it makes a memory.

All too often we go through life on auto-pilot without many events along the way to help us remember things. They could be scars are on your body, like with Beks. Or a material item that got "christened" along the way. Like a stained comforter that reminds you of the time the kids made you breakfast in bed and the maple syrup ran off the pancakes onto the bed. You may have been disappointed at first by the stain but the memory of how you all jumped in bed together and watched the Saturday morning cartoons will stick with you for a lifetime. These are the things that life is made of.

Beks made a connection from the scars on her body to her financial scars and I think it's great to share:

"It had me thinking about my financial scars. You know the ones. They sit on your credit report and remind you of what an idiot you were. Every time I run my credit report, I see old car loans, old credit card high balances, student loans, and other financial mistakes I’ve made. Even though the financial wound has healed and the balances have been paid, they still sit as big, fat scars on my report. I’ve still got a few years before most of them drop off but I kinda wish they never would. Just like the ones on my face, those scars serve to remind me of my bad decisions and I’d prefer NOT to forget them.

Next time you look at your credit report and it’s not what you’d wish it would be, you can be a little grateful for the scar. It’s a good reminder of what an idiot you were and how far you’ve come."

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Weekly Money Check-Up

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 our credit card bill!

2. Today I am thankful for clean water. I woke up with a sore throat this morning and I've been chugging water, trying to make it go away. I'm thankful that we can quickly and easily have clean water without having to do much.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was I went to see A Chorus Line (free tickets I won on the radio). It was a good musical. I enjoyed it. I also loved going downtown. The energy there is infectious and I always have a good time and feel so alive!

4. I will consider this week a success if I clean up our house a bit. I normally save this for the weekend, but didn't get around to it this weekend. Living in such small quarters now, it's much easier to see all the clutter build up quickly. I'm hoping to spend a little time each night picking up. I feel so good when the house looks nice.

5. One thing I appreciate about my dad is his positive attitude. I'd say for the most part, my father is pretty optimistic and I appreciate that about him. **Added later - The more I thought about this question, I also appreciate knowing that he'd be there for me no matter what! I live across the country but if I told him I needed help, he'd get in his car and drive out here for me. There are few people in life that you can count on like that and my father is one of them.

Here's hoping we all have a good week and make progress towards our debt repayment!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Funday!

TGIF fellow bloggers! I hope that you all had a good week and are ready for the weekend. It's a cool, cloudy Friday here in San Diego. It's part of the "May Gray and June Gloom" that we experience. I actually have my warm winter sweater on today! It's so strange. Having previously lived in a part of the country where May - September were the best weather months, it is a mental adjustment to live somewhere where the "summer" months are our worst. Oh well, I'm not complaining. Believe me, it's worth it once the cold winter rolls around for the rest of the country, I'm happy with my 60 degree days!

Anyway, I got paid today and as planned, I made another payment to our credit cards! Yippee :) We're down to 16 cents in our checking account for the next week but that's fine. All of our bills are paid, we've got our cash envelopes for the week and life is good!

So, I didn't mention it before but I won tickets a few weeks ago to see A Chorus Line play this weekend. I tried and tried, but my hubby is adamant that he will not go with me. A musical is just not his thing. I get that. I tried to sell them online, so I could put some extra money towards my challenge, but no one bought them. The tickets go for $40 each. I would hate to see them go to waste, so I asked a friend to go with me. She mentioned food and drinks before the show. I'm a little nervous because I only get $30 for my "mad money" and I'm not sure how much food and drinks will be. The show is in an expensive part of town. I'm also on Atkins, so I really need to watch what I'm eating and drinking.

I guess the smart thing to do would be to spend some time beforehand researching where we could go that is both affordable and works with my dietary restrictions. Ahhhh, no longer living spontaneously is an adjustment, but I can do it!

I hope you all have a nice weekend :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This is the first month that we've been able to start our new plan. Now that the taxes are paid and behind us, all of our "extra" money is being thrown at our debt. We're determined to pay this off ASAP!

I'm so excited because we've been able to pay $2,215 so far towards this month's credit card bill. I have also budgeted to send another $1,284 in, once I get paid tomorrow. That will bring our total payments to this card for one month to be $3,499!

That's almost $3,500! Actually, now that I look at the number, I'm going to find another dollar somewhere to send in. We're going to hit $3,500 towards this card this month! The payments were technically due by the 5th, but the statement actually closes tomorrow, on the 10th. I'm hoping I can send it in at midnight tonight when my direct deposit hits my checking account, so I can make it in before the statement gets cut. Either way, I'm just happy that we are able to send this much money :)

I'm looking forward to getting our new statement and updating our total debt status. Look for that update soon!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Will the Future Hold?

As I pour over our spreadsheets and calendars and dream about the day when we are out of debt, I begin to ponder what we will do at that point. What will the future hold for us?

We've talked about relocating to another part of the country. I suppose if we save up enough money, we'd be able to move anywhere. There's an excitement in exploring a different place and finding a new home!

My career is a good one, but to be honest, I'm not in love with it. I think that's the case with many people. Often, life just "happens" (kids, houses, cars, bills, etc) and you get kinda "stuck" doing the same old, same old.

I'm thinking of something different. I don't think it's a bad thing to re-assess your life path and try something new that may be a better fit. Something that you have a passion for! It thrills me to think that I could start something new, something different. It also scares the crap out of me!

As I've mentioned before, I love film. I'd love to work in the film industry, do something behind the scenes. I know that I'd have to take a big pay cut and start at the bottom, but I think I'd be willing to do that. I also enjoy baking. I can see myself going to culinary school and taking baking classes and see where that takes me. Just the idea, that I have the FREEDOM to explore different options is liberating. Just thinking about it puts a smile on my face :)

It's a good thing I have a year to ponder all these different options! I'll need it, so I can do all the research I need to so I feel confident in that next step... whatever it may be!

Question : Have you ever taken the leap and changed careers? If you could change your career, would you? What would you do instead?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Events Calendar!

I've decided to start working on an events calendar. The post I did last week about the balloon and wine festival got me thinking. Okay, maybe there will be some fun activities over the next year that we won't be able to do because we're in strict "pay off our debt mode", but after that, I'm going to want to live again.

That doesn't mean we'll go hog wild and do anything and everything we want! It just means that we'll save for and plan for these events. If I start a calendar now, I figure we'll be in good shape once we're out of debt to know what activities we may want to do. They won't just creep up on us and we'll find ourselves wanting to go, but didn't do the right thing and save for it in advance. We'll actually have planned for and saved for these fun events. Holy crap, I think I'm learning!

Friday, June 3, 2011

What I'd do this weekend if we had extra money...

This weekend is the annual Balloon and Wine Festival locally. It seems like it would be such a fun event to attend. Unfortunately, it's out of our budget. I spent part of today daydreaming about what I would do if we had extra money this weekend. Here's my fairytale :)

- First off, I'd leave work a little early since it's a beautiful day and I'd grab my hubby and a few items from the house before we begin our lovely ride up the coastline.

- We'd stop for dinner at a quaint little restaurant along the coast so we can relax and enjoy the sunset together.

- Next, we'd continue along to our bed and breakfast, conveniently located right near the festival. We'd check in and take a walk over to the festival to enjoy a glass of wine by one of our favorite local wineries.

- After a leisurely stroll, we'd head back to our inn to get a good night's sleep since the weekend will be filled with lots of fun that we're sure to need energy for!

- Over the next two days, we'd sample delicious wines, taste scrumptious food, enjoy wonderful music and maybe even partake in a hot air balloon ride - if I can convince the hubby that he won't die. Late Sunday afternoon, we'd head back home with some new memories, a full belly and a little hangover.

So, that's what I'd do this weekend if we had extra money. Ahhh, it's fun to daydream!

Question : What fun activity would you do if you had extra money this weekend?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

IRS Interest & Penalties

So, I thought that our IRS payments were done but unfortunately I received some mail this week that we owe interest and penalties since we didn't get our payments in by April 18th. The amount shown didn't reflect that they received our final IRS payment, so I decided to call to speak with someone directly about how much we really owe.

After about 30 minutes on the phone, it turns out they did receive our payments, totaling $5,272. The amount for us to pay now is "only" $32.89. I know in the grand scheme of things, it's not that much. I'm just kinda bummed because I have to tweak our budget to find out where that money is going to come from.

Luckily the hubby has been selling some items on Ebay, so hopefully (if it's enough) I can transfer those funds into our checking account and won't have to worry with pulling the money from somewhere else. June has just started, I'd really like to finish this month on budget! We'll see :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Challenge Update #1

As I shared in this post, I've issued myself a $400 challenge. I am happy to say that I've already made some progress! I'm almost half way done. Here's how I've been able to come up with $180 so far...
  • $80 - I had set this money aside to pay the ex for shipping me some of my old things. He hasn't asked for the money and probably didn't expect to get a check. I just thought it would be nice to pay him. I asked the hubby if I didn't send the money, could I count it towards the challenge and he agreed. (I still may send the ex a check later on down the road...)

  • $100 - My work recently ran a promotion where we could earn $100 bonus for opening an account at a local bank. If we signed up for direct deposit and used our debit card 10 times in 90 days, we earned the bonus. I forgot about the promotion until I saw a credit of $100 in my checking account today! Sweet :) That money has already been sent into the credit card!
So, that leaves $220 left in my challenge. I can so do this! I'll keep you posted as I make more progress along the way.