Monday, April 30, 2012

My Weekly Money Check-Up 4/30/12

(Photo is courtesy of My Pretty Pennies) 

Another Monday! Last week ended up being a pretty good week for me. I guess there is power in deciding to have a positive attitude. I plan to have another great week. (Here's hoping it's as easy as just telling myself that!) Here's my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on food. We went a little over our $60 food budget, but now we have plenty of food on hand to last us a while.

2. Today I am thankful for my job. There was a layoff at my company last week, so I'm very thankful for employment right now!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was that I made up a delicious chicken salad from scratch. I followed my Mom's recipe and it came out delicious. I take enjoyment in preparing a yummy meal.

4. I will consider this week a success if I go through my old clothes and donate items I'm no longer wearing and haven't in a while. We hope to move in the not too distant future, so any progress I can make now will help me in the long run.

5.  If I could redecorate one room, I would choose our dining room. It's not really serving as a place to eat right now, but more of a place to put everything. I'd like to have a designated room for meals and celebrations. It's just challenging being in such a small place.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Another Free Movie!

TGIF :-) This week has been a good one! I was able to maintain my positive attitude, despite some major stuff going on around me.

I got 2 more free movie tickets this week for an advanced screening of "A Little Bit of Heaven" with Kate Hudson. It comes out on May 4th. The movie was last night. The hubby wasn't up for the movies after I kept him out so late the night before with our casino trip. Plus, the football draft was on last night, so I ended up going with a girlfriend.

The movie was a romantic comedy and I believed the connection between the two stars. I think that's important in romantic movies. I hate watching ones where you can't feel a connection, so you never buy the premise. There were some good laughs and equally as many tears. I don't know if I'd recommend spending money to see it at the movies, but it's a good one to catch on Netflix or cable.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Casino Update

Well, let me first start by saying that my hubby and I aren't as young as we once were. Going out to TWO casinos that are an hour apart on a WEEKNIGHT after he already worked late, may not have been the best idea. We hit the first one fairly quickly and left with our $20 gas card and up $46!

It was nearing 8pm by this time and my hubby was ready to head home. But I was persistent. It didn't help that we had to drive right by our exit off of the highway to go to the other casino. We pushed on though and made our way before the rain hit.

We got our free play money and after a bit of a roller coaster of ups and downs, we ended up leaving up $120 total! I was so excited. I already deposited the money in our account this morning. Even though we got home around midnight, it was a fun treat. Not one that we're likely to do again in the near future though!

Also, on a side not... I thought we were in a recession. Both casinos were PACKED! We couldn't believe how many people there were for a Wednesday night. Kind of crazy, but I guess people want to try their luck and maybe hit it big. I get it. If it weren't for the free play money or gas card though, you can bet we would have been at home and in bed by about 9pm :-)

So far this week has been going pretty good. Here's hoping it finishes off that way too!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wish us luck!

So, as some of you know, the hubby and I enjoy a night out at the casino every once in a while. I especially love it when we are given goodies for free to get us to go there! Tonight we are going to head out to two local casinos to have some "free" fun. Here is the breakdown of what we'll get:

Goodies at Casino A -

$20 Gas Card
$25 Free Play for Hubby
$5 Free Play for Me

Goodies at Casino B -

$30 Free Play for Hubby
$10 Cash for Hubby
$45 Free Play for Me

Plus, we get 2 free buffets or $40 towards food in one of the restaurants. We may just get $40 worth of take out and do a "hit and run" :-) Not bad for $135 worth of free stuff, plus dinner. I'm thinking that maybe we'll go there with just $1 each to get started (sometimes you actually have to put cash in the machine to activate the free play). Then, if we lose, we will only be out $2.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pay Raise

As I mentioned last week, there was a chance we'd be getting some good news... well, we got some. My hubby had his review and he got positive feedback and a small increase. I know he was hoping for a bit more, but times are tough and the economy isn't doing well. His boss shared that she hasn't even gotten an increase, so it was kind of a big deal that he got anything at all.

I was psyched since it gave me a chance to recalculate our spreadsheet a bit. (I know, I'm such a nerd!) Even if it's only a little extra, we'll take it with a smile :-) Plus, there's still a chance that he may get the lead position in the department, which could mean another increase. Every little bit helps!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Weekly Money Check-Up 4/23/12

(Photo is from My Pretty Pennies)

Here's to the start of a new week! I'm trying to be super positive this week and I'm hoping it will pay off. Fake it til you make it, as they say :-)

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

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries. Neither of us was paid this last week, so we didn't make any big payments to anything. $60 on groceries was the most we spent.

2. Today I am thankful for having a job. As frustrated as I've been lately at work, I do realize that I need to be thankful for having a job because so many others are unemployed. If it weren't for my job, our debt repayment would almost be non-existent. I appreciate how we've been able to make such great progress, so "thanks" job!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was made some good progress in a book I'm reading. It's "The Lucky One" by Nicholas Sparks. Once I finish reading the book, I plan to see the movie. We have some free movie passes at home, so I'm looking forward to that treat.

4. I will consider this week a success if I hear back from a company regarding a position they brought me in to discuss a few weeks ago. It's not even an open position yet (or it wasn't when I went in) so I'm hoping they officially open it and we move forward in the process.

5. I am currently wearing a black shirt, black sweater and gray pants. I tend to wear A LOT of black. 

Here's hoping you all have a great week! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Free Movie Screening

I love getting free stuff!

Last night we were fortunate enough to get two free passes for a screening of The Intouchables. I went with my hubby and we both had a really nice time. Although we got there kind of late and had to sit in the very front row, we still enjoyed ourselves. Sure, my neck is a little sore today but that's what free gets you sometimes! Plus, it actually worked out great since my hubby forgot his glasses at home - he didn't end up needing them with the seats we had :-)

I was a bit nervous because the film is in French with English subtitles, and I know that may be a turn off for my hubby, but he liked it just fine. It's a heart warming and funny film that takes you on an interesting journey. I'm glad we got to see it and would recommend it. I have to say, French films continue to impress me.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good News!

Hopefully I'll be able to provide some good financial news here soon. My hubby is doing GREAT at his job and really loving it. After he was there for 3 months, he went from temp to perm and was told that he would have a review after 90 days as a regular employee, at which time he may be eligible for a small increase. Well, the 90 days came and went and he didn't say anything, knowing that they'd get around to it eventually and the pay increase (if there was one) would be retro active.

Well, things have been super busy at his work, with lots of overtime lately. (Sweet!) Then, last week, the lead person in his department left. I got all excited, thinking this may be a good opportunity for him to step up and take on some more responsibility. Well, yesterday afternoon his manager mentioned that she was working on his review and apologized for how late it was AND she asked him if he would possibly be interested in the lead position! He said yes, so we'll wait and see where things go.

I'm really so happy for him. Even if it is only a lateral move, it's a good feeling to know that his hard work is paying off and being recognized by others. I'm so proud of him. If it's not just a lateral move and there is a financial increase, I'll be sure to post the good news here :-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Hunger Games!

I know I'm a little behind on jumping on the bandwagon, but I went to the movies this weekend with a friend for an early morning showing of The Hunger Games. For $6 each, we were able to enjoy the movie in an uncrowded theater (which is rare in my area). I really enjoyed myself. I had debated reading the books beforehand, but I didn't. I love a good story and felt this movie really came through and exceeded my expectations. 

I truly enjoy watching a film and losing all track of time and becoming fully engaged in what's on the screen. As much as I'm into movies, I find that I experience this pleasure less and less. With The Hunger Games, I was totally into the creative story and the talented actors. I can't wait to watch the next films in the series.

I know that we're all trying to be frugal and spend wisely, but if you are looking for an inexpensive treat, I'd recommend catching this film.

Questions : Have you seen the movie or read the book? What did you think?

Monday, April 16, 2012

My Weekly Money Check-Up 4/16/12

(Photo from My Pretty Pennies)

Here is My Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on taxes! Yippee :-) I am in pretty high spirits since we paid this bill. Now it's time to polish off the rest of our credit card debt!

2. Today I am thankful for possibilities. I love that our future is unwritten. I love spending hours chatting with my hubby about what we may want to do in the future and where we may want to go. It's exciting to plan for the future and not dread it. I'm thankful for that!

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was we had a picnic at a local park. It was great to eat outside and enjoy the nice weather. Since we brought our own food from home, there was no extra cost. I love where we live!

4. I will consider this week a success if I stay on track with eating well. The hubby and I have really stepped up our game and want to continue to make good strides with our weight loss. Here's hoping we stay on track this week.

5. The last TV show/program I watched was House Hunters! I love that show. Especially now that we are thinking of buying, we really enjoy watching the process the couples go through and trying to guess which house they ended up buying.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm happy for my fellow bloggers!

As I catch up on some of my PF Blogging Buddies blogs, I've noticed that some of you are actually getting refunds back instead of owing this year. Congrats! Even better, some of you guys are using these tax refunds to pay down your debt. That's awesome! Way to make good decisions.

Keep it up :-)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Final 2012 Tax Breakdown

I finished up our 2012 taxes on Turbo Tax today. After all was said and done, the final amount owed ended up being $5,901. $4,317 for Federal and $1,584 for State. It felt good to set up the payments via automatic withdrawal. One less check and stamp that I'll have to use! I enjoy being able to save money any where I can :-)

I'm happy psyched to put this bill behind us! Honestly, I can't imagine we'll have to owe again in the future. We have ABSOLUTELY no intention of ever changing our withholding again (it's at zero!) and it's likely we'll be eligible for some sort of deduction in the future (hopefully a home). I also feel good knowing that money from our paychecks can now be focused back onto paying down our debt.

I look forward to updating my debt breakdown next month when we've actually made some real progress! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Free Concert Tickets!

I won tickets a few weeks ago to see Kelly Clarkson in concert. The show was last night on our 1 1/2 year anniversary. It was a great show and we both had a fun time. We also went to "Taco Tuesday" and had a yummy and inexpensive meal beforehand. It was a cheap way to celebrate and actually the 2nd time we've seen her. The first was the weekend we first met.

I love winning free stuff off of the radio. It makes me feel as though I'm not living so cheap :-)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Missing W-2 Arrived!

We are happy campers! My hubby's efforts to obtain his missing W-2 finally paid off. The Accountant that the company uses sent us a PDF last night. We were thrilled! It doesn't change things much (we will owe $5,865 instead of my estimated $6,007 - a sweet savings of $142!) but at least we don't have to worry about reporting the employer to the IRS and completing the form with our guesstimated numbers. Yippee :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Weekly Money Check-Up 4/9/12

(Photo from My Pretty Pennies)

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

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our taxes! Booooo :( Soon, it will all be over though!

2. Today I am thankful for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! It's easy to get bogged down in debt repayment mode and it can get a little depressing at times. I'm thankful that I am close to the end and can see the light ahead of me.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was checking out some open houses. We are enjoying the house hunting process. We spend lots of time online looking at listings and occasionally we take in an open house or two. We did that this past weekend and it was fun! Even though the houses weren't the right fit for us. It helps us to better narrow down what we want and don't want.

4. I will consider this week a success if I send in our taxes. We tried one last attempt to get my hubby's missing W-2 from his employer and will give him part of this week to get it, but if he doesn't, then I'm just sending them in with our best guess of what he made.

5. This Easter I had a quiet day with my hubby. We had a nice breakfast out, drove around looking at houses and neighborhoods, then relaxed at home for the rest of the day. Ahhh, it was nice.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Free Credit Score

So, I was reading this blog post called 30 Tips for First Time Home Buyers and it mentioned how you can check your credit score for free! Up until now, I thought you had to pay to get your score. It turns out you can go to and get a free credit report and score! That was good news.

After simply entering some general info about myself, I was able to see my credit score. It's 698. I guess it qualifies as a "good" credit score. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised that it wasn't higher. I don't have any dings on my credit report and I don't pay bills late or bounce checks. I firmly believe that once we finish paying down our debt, we'll be able to bump it up even higher.

I plan to check it again as we get closer to buying a house. I want to be fully informed and able to get the best interest rate we possibly can.

If you haven't checked your score, I'd recommend looking into Quizzle. You can't beat free!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April, May, June, July...

I don't want to be one of those people that wish time away. Really, I don't. But, when you are this close to the end, how can you not wish for it to fly by?!?

I have some pretty big goals coming up and I'm just praying things stay on track so we can reach our goals. The last thing I want to be doing on my vacation this summer is thinking about how we "almost" got out of debt. Screw that! I want to be sipping a margarita and high fiving eachother for succeeding at our goal!

In April, we will pay off the taxes we owe.

In May, we will pay off CC #2.

In June, we will pay off CC #3.

In July, we will pay off the past child support owed.

Come August, we will be banking that cash that normally went to other bills for our future home. I get goosebumps thinking about it! I can't wait.

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Weekly Money Check-Up 4/2/12

(Photo is from My Pretty Pennies)
Here is my Weekly Money Check-Up, courtesy of My Pretty Pennies

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on a payment towards our debt.

2. Today I am thankful for this updated version of blogger! I like it so far. It has some of the formatting things I had hoped for.

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was getting a new book from the library. One of my 12 goals for 2012 is to read 12 books. I just finished one and went back to the library for another. I'm enjoying this goal :-)

4. I will consider this week a success if I finish our taxes! I pretty much have all of our information entered. Now we just have to review it and hit send. That will be on my goal list for this week.

5. I started my blog because our finances were OUT OF CONTROL! We needed to fix things and I found enjoyment in reading financial blogs and figured it would be good to start my own. It has really helped me to stay on track and be accountable.