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Back on my feet, back here at savings!

September 22nd, 2016 at 10:41 am

So, last year I had a third child and let me tell you, it's really hard to bounce back the third time as it changes the dynamic of everything with not only family, but emotionally and financially. However, we officially have no credit card debt and our $3,000 hospital bill is gone!
I still have my student loan hanging around and feel guilty that we are paying for a degree I never really used. So, now that things are a little easier a year later with the new baby, we are re-configuring our finances and are looking to buy a home in a different part of the state as it would significantly lower the living costs due to the mortgage being a lot lower than what we are paying for a rental right now. We have owned a home before and do not want to make the same mistakes of having a large overhead or dealing with fixer uppers. We see our friends barely scraping buy to have these nice homes and we don't want to be them! We also have highly educated family members with massive amounts of student debt that they could never afford a home and we don't want to be like them either.
So, I am back on my feet. Now we are waiting to get our tax refund from last year (it was put on extension as it was my fault putting it off with the new baby and adjusting etc). However, that's all settled and the refund should help us with the home deposit for the upcoming year (it's either going to be a super small home or a condo. We want to have a super conservative mortgage and have a few months worth of payments put away before we buy too as a back up). My husband is already looking for a new job, but we are hoping he can work some days at home with his company and only commute a few times too if the company will allow him.
It's been a while, but I'm back here in this wonderful blog world and ready to go!

Credit Card Debt Paid!

February 12th, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Today I paid off the full balance on the credit card! Woohoo! It's particularly important because we went from 0% interest to 23% starting this month. Nice try credit card, but try charging 23% on a 0 balance! The next couple of weeks will be a little tight, but we know we can make it through. So the next thing I'm wondering is if I should tackle the $3k hospital bill (at no interest/right now it's broken down at $150/monthly until paid off) or start hacking away at the 54K/plus student loan that has 4.5% interest? Ideas?
Anyway,I lost 5 pounds, which is nice, but some days it's so hard, particularly with the wine too. Also, as silly as it sounds, it's hard to make friends as an adult versus being a child. I'm also trying to join groups/hobbies that I like and hopefully it will get going from there. I'm being very aware of the types of people coming around since I seem to attract the needy ones.
Today is a good day though. It's sunny and knowing I don't have a huge credit card balance feels amazing!

Got a part time job!

February 5th, 2016 at 07:49 am

Despite car set backs and our bills, we are still in the green with our bank account, with $300 in the emergency account as a small back up as we build that back up. I also got a job to help alleviate some of the weekly bills. I'll bring in around $70 after taxes for a part time job, but hey, that's groceries or gas or emergency as we pay off the last chunk of credit! We've been watching the dollars every day! I also paid a huge chunk of the credit card bill and I think I can pay off the rest next week! I think I can do this because I got our monthly hospital payment lowered so I can throw as much in to the credit card. There is no interest on the hospital bill so that makes things a little easier. I've also been avoiding thrift shops and am slowly getting into the old clothes after the baby. All I can say is that it is all the little things that are adding up to make a difference, whether it's the food I eat to lose weight or where the money goes weekly. I've also been making a conscience effort to make new friends (higher quality people that don't complain or play victim and people I have more in common with).It's a slower process since I'm finding that many like to play the victim route or make excuses. However, I'm super grateful for platforms like this!

Updated an old resume!

January 29th, 2016 at 05:04 pm

It's been a few years since I updated my resume and I finally did it this week! I've been able to add the large amounts of volunteer work to it, which is nice and shows potential employers that I have been putting energy toward things, aside from parenting.It worked out because I had a phone interview and will be set up for a second one next week! It's nothing big, but a part time job, which can pay for groceries or gas or utilities. Regardless, everything counts and I'm willing to work for it to help financially. Plus, after we worked so hard to pay off the thousands of dollars of debt we had, I don't like having a credit card balance again or a hospital bill again. Our credit scores continue to go up though since we are paying bills on time. sighhhh. Anyway, I'll also apply to coffee shops etc because they have early morning hours and no one wants those on a Saturday, I'm hoping that at least. Anyway, regardless the resume is updated and getting out there! Fingers crossed for a part time job soon!

Car got fixed, things are ok.

January 21st, 2016 at 09:55 am

So, the car got fixed. It cost more than double of what was expected, but here is the great news...the emergency fund was there and the the credit card was not used! It's no doubt scary that we mostly wiped out the emergency fund, but we will build it back up. Anyway, a major problem was fixed and hopefully it will last us until we can get a better car. I am grateful that we have plenty of food, all of our other bills are paid, and we will continue to move ahead, despite set backs. I have also been steadily losing weight, which has been taking a lot of self restraint (like our finances). I have also decided to really cut back on wine. Yup, we like having it with dinner, but if we only have it once a week, it will cost probably only $5 v.s $35! So, we continue ahead! My next goal is to find better friends or be around better people who want to improve on themselves or give back to life more...I seem to attract the ones that always need something/play victim/etc and I'm always there to help them or give things to them when they need it. It's draining. (I finally realized they are kind of like the members of family I had to really let go a couple of months ago and like my car...constant problems that I'm trying to rise above and move away from and get to get better and stronger as life gets better). Onward and upward at leastSmile

car and credit card.

January 19th, 2016 at 07:30 am

So, we have been paying off our only credit card and finally have it almost paid off, but now as we start making more improvements financially our car has decided to make a new noise...ka thunk a thunk... The reason why we ever used the card was because of the car! It will probably cost around $300. We have $550 in our emergency fund and all our bills have been paid this month. We also have at least $350 in our checking for misc. i already grocery shopped for this week and next so we are good there. This car is constant and never ending. if we sold it, it would have to be sold for parts or as is. As of now, we do not have enough to get a new car and still have a $3,500 hospital bill due. Our plan is to pay the last of the $1,700 credit card, then $3,500 hospital bill and then student loan of $54,000. It looks somewhat discouraging, but like the tortoise, we keep going. We will also find random things to sell etc, which we have done in the past too. The good news is that both of our credit scores went up again.

Credit Score is Up!

December 30th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

It is amazing how so much can change in a year! In the past year we have moved, had a baby, decided to home school the older kids, let go of really crappy family members and decided to really work on our finances. I feel that the certain things we did to heal certain areas of our life really allowed better things to enter our life, whether it be helpful people or opportunities. Not to mention, our credit score went up! I always dread checking our scores because I have been used to it being on the lower end for the longest time/last few years, but this time we apparently upped the score enough to qualify for a mortgage! Not that we are in any position to buy a house right now, but seriously, it feels good and gives us hope that we won't be wasting money renting forever. However, this time will be different than the last time we owned a home. We won't rush in to buying a home and we are planning to find the "forever home" where we can try and pay it off and own it out right by the time we retire. My husband and I are trying to do things differently from most in our family (who will never be out of debt). As of now, once we pay off the only credit card we have, we will pay off the hospital bill and eventually the student loan. However, after the hospital bill, we may save to buy a house so at least we aren't wasting money on rent. Regardless, we are continuing to pay our bills on time. I also paid off 2 insurance premiums so we have 2 less bills to worry about every month for at least 6 months. Our cell phone bill continues to stay within the allotted usage too. So, aside from keeping on track for finances, it's my weight I'd also like to work on because being overweight and having to buy new clothes costs money! Anyway, hooray to an upcoming new year and Happy New Year to everyone!

Evil Kitty

October 26th, 2015 at 04:19 pm

So, my cat has pulled a Darth Vader and well, gone to the dark side. She is no longer the happy cat. She's let jealousy and spite get the best of her...the dark side. With this dark side, she has decided to pee in the corner of the room where we like to use the computer. We are now spending money on various carpet treatments (it's starting to add up). I am now contemplating getting the special pet vacuum, which was not in the budget, but we cannot keep going to the grocery store to get a rental one. Also, we will have to most likely get another car until we can afford it. ughhh. That means saving, searching, and also paying for the registration fee. Anyway, the plus side is that we got "get $300" in the mail this week, so that rocksSmile if we open a checking account with a different bank. I think we will do that. I'm thinking the free $300 would at least pay for the special vacuum cleaner.

Hooray to paying bills on time!

October 23rd, 2015 at 01:38 pm

I know that most would not get excited about paying the bills on time and that many do, but it has really taken a while for us to get things together in terms of how much/when they come in-are due/and making sure we have enough money to pay them, especially with kids and "unexpected" situations like fixing the car. Not to mention, I used to have a fear/procrastination of paying them, but now it is the fear of fees/adding up/not getting out of the hamster wheel (it took a lot of pain and mistakes to get here) This month we have successfully paid on time and continued to have money in the emergency fund, despite taking out a huge chunk for car fixing. We still have to pay a hospital bill, one last credit card (which was opened in an emergency to fix car last year) We got paid this week so I replenished the emergency account, which feels good, but we will have to keep it super frugal for a very long time since we are fixing the car still(hopefully the last major visit). Although the car situation is not fun, I spoke with a friend who let me know that their new 3 year old car not only has monthly car payments, but they have to pay the things that are starting to go wrong on it now. they are paying $350 a month on their car payment! However,we are trying to figure out...do we continue to pay for fixing this car or buy another one?

Move out Murphy!

October 19th, 2015 at 08:21 am

So, the unwanted guest Murphy (of Murphy's Law) keeps trying to stick around or knock at our door...this following telling yucky family members to never call again. Yup,for the past 3 weeks, we have had to take the car to the mechanic, a good $300 plus per visit.This definitely hinders the getting another car for the husband to get to work now (which is needed). Then the cat decided to be spiteful (probably stressed with the new baby) and peed in the corner of our living room...on the carpet and we spent $47 to rent a carpet cleaner/formula to get it out. (we had to take a part our desk to get to it.
However, we are not backing down and continue to truck through! We are not in the red with our checking account, which happened for 1.5 months when we moved. We have paid the bills on time and I've been watching each dollar like a hawk for the automatic bill pay. Despite Murphy, we still have money in our emergency fund, which we took out some for the car. The plus is that we get paid this week! My husband has also been trying out the public transit system (bus/train/etc) to save on gas since we were dropping him off, which was tiresome for everyone and wasted more gas.
So, aside from being persistent to keep Murphy at bay, I found that another way to keep him out is being grateful for what is going well! I'm grateful that we are being persistent with our finances on one salary, homeschooling is going pretty well and glad I can spend time with my children, we carved pumpkins yesterday and I made pumpkin soup (which everyone liked) and today we will roast pumpkin seeds as a snack. I'm also looking up Cioppino soup recipes since the weather is cooling off(if anyone has any, send them my way since I've never tried) for the end of the week. Yummy! Plus, I have not spent money on anything we haven't needed. In fact, we have been donating and shedding things we don't need, which feels nice too.

Life and Homeschool journey!

October 2nd, 2015 at 08:56 pm

So, last year I contemplated homeschooling because I was so appalled by the public school system...after volunteering to make sure the kids were safe and to have the staff know/have extra eyes on my kids, it was tough to see because the teachers were really wonderful (and overworked to the max). Yes, even the ones in "good" districts are going by the same type of system...common core AKA the one size fits all learning...whatever it takes to get the kids to pass the tests. Seriously, the 1 to 30 teacher to student ratio is unacceptable and what's even funnier is that they fudge their numbers. If you look up their records/scores etc, they'll say 1 to 22 or 1 to 25. What B.S! So I was torn because it wasn't the teachers lack of effort, love for the children, or inspiration, this is what I saw, it is the system set up so horribly wrong for the teachers and the students. The teachers were amazing, but they were not allotted the tools to really help their students and free up styles to get them to learn.
So, I decided to homeschool/kinda. I'm going through a charter school. I had no idea that although they still have to pass certain standards, testing doesn't start until 3rd grade, where public schools are now starting to test at kindergartenFrown
Anyway, they give a huge stipend (yup, they allow you to choose what they call "vendors" to teach your kid...swimming, karate, art, reading,music etc paid for with their huge list of people that support their charter school.) So, knowing I'd have another kid and not liking what I saw in public school, I decided to try this...and well, I'm liking it along with my children because learning is really cool. They are taking lessons that I'd never be able to afford 2 children and I'm able to alter what they are supposed to learn tailored to them. Wow. what a journey!
Also, today rocked, I received almost $150 refund from amazon that was an old closed account from years back! (I won't get too excited, it's going toward billsSmile

Finally letting go to grow

September 30th, 2015 at 03:55 pm

It's that moment something clicks...the realization that the sadness and stress caused by various family members in my life was the biggest trigger for unnecessary spending and debt. I buy things during extreme stress as a temporary way to fill the void. I go through cycles where things are great and then I deal with family and then the spending happens. What's interesting is the bad ones always seem to be showing up right as things get better or good in my life. It's a sad cycle that's been happening for years.
After giving birth to baby number 3, I started to become overwhelmed. I got rid of what I didn't need in order to make time and also resources for my family. It occurred to me that certain people have never respected boundaries and that they have always been that extra weight/demon constantly grabbing at me like dark claws.
When things are good, they are the first to be needy, want, manipulate, and fake happiness or pretend to give support because they know they'll get something out of it. When things are bad, they are the last to be there and are the types of people that get a joy watching others fail or feel good by causing pain.
I realized I would never allow a complete stranger to behave this way near me or especially my children and I'd have to let them go forever. It wasn't easy. It was like trying to swat at mosquitos that kept coming back, but after they finally got the point, I feel free. I felt sad at first, but then woke up in the middle of the night and realized that I feel liberated knowing that it's for the best.
I don't have that need to spend and fill a void in order to cover up feeling bad. When I start to feel sad, I remind myself that my children give me unconditional love and it continues to grow. I realize that not spending money is a way of respecting and protecting myself and my family. The more I protect and respect my money like my children, the better I feel and better off I'll be.

I lowered the interest rate!

January 22nd, 2015 at 06:12 pm

Today is a bit better than yesterday. The kids are feeling better and I got a bunch of stuff done today. I was feeling overwhelmed yesterday and wanted to make sure today was at least better. I was looking over my bills, bank accounts, and student loan. I decided to call about the student loan and told them that I'd be more motivated to pay on time and not miss payments if they could help me out a little. They put me on an automatic pay plan where they withdraw the monthly payment every month and lowered my interest rate by .25%. It is now 4.5% rather than 4.75%. It might not seem like a lot, but it is because my student loan is now over $55K, unlike what I previously thought. As for the weird bill that went to collections and bounced back and forth to different agencies from 2011 up until now (I must have missed it when I paid off all of the consumer debt accounts...we seriously had that many credit cards at one point in the past), the account is now closed for good apparently and they are no longer collecting on it, both the credit company and the collections agency. Unfortunately it is just on my credit report, which is shot anyway, but at least I know what was going on. I also received the statement for my kids college Next Gen accounts...it was a letter stating what the fees would be...get this, it's going to be 1%, 4%, and 5% on the mutual funds we are investing in! I read about being warned on this by the Tony Robins investment book, which lets readers know that mutual funds have the highest (hidden) fee costs than most investments and to switch to low cost index funds from the 500's list...Which I will now do! After understanding the interest rate on my student loan and how much just .25% can change it good/or bad for the life of the account, I can not sit and be charged 5% on investments for the mutual fund account manager who makes money regardless of whether or not my mutual funds go up or down. (I also found it fascinating that I happen to deal with both today and finally understood the impact of every little percent counting. life is interesting). Anyway, for dinner I made chicken salad (using the shredded chicken for the chicken soup I made over the weekend) with shredded carrots and olives, with a baked potato with cheddar cheese and a sliced hard boiled egg on the side and sliced oranges for dessert. The kids loved it, which was great. I have been running out of produce a lot faster than I had anticipated and think that I will need to set aside a small weekly amount for fresh produce (maybe $10 or less). I have been recording the meals that the family eats so I remember and also be able to tell friends/perhaps family that don't believe that I'm actually home cooking all the meals and at a super low price. Tonight's meal had to cost below $.75, which made everyone happy. So, now back to re-budgeting. Now that I know that my student loan interest rate is pretty low, I will add more to the 401K side since they not only match the funds, but the interest rate is higher in terms of compounding interest.

How do I make more money? and other ponderings.

January 21st, 2015 at 09:55 am

Ah yes, that question that many of us have..."How do I make more money?" I'm actually in the process of trying to figure this out as I look at my expenses and realize that things are getting more expensive as my children get older. I totally forgot to add summer camp to my list. Usually what happens is that every summer I do the "Oh no, I forgot about summer camp and don't have the $200 per week/per kid," and then well, get driven nuts for the majority of summer having to spend every waking minute with the kids (of course I love them, but seriously, summers can be tough sometimes). They usually do not do summer camp and I understand that many families don't do this. However, this year the kids want to do lego and robotics camp. So, how do I make more money aside from cutting overhead expenses etc? At one point I typed office documents, but relying on a husband to get home on time so I can go to work is stressful so that's out of the picture. I also realize that most don't want to hire a prego person, understandable. I did try and run a business at one point, but the overhead with insurance, customers, etc can also be super involved and expensive. Avon and Mary Kay aren't really my thing as I don't have network of people that would be interested in it to sell to. In the past I've sold many things, especially when we moved, so there really isn't much to get rid of since our goal at the time was only to keep what we wanted. Perhaps I'll try the real estate license since the course is already paid for (my mother n'law wouldn't leave me alone about it a few months ago so I caved and got the course, it might be a good start?). I'm also trying to think ahead about HOME SCHOOLING for next year? I put it in caps because this has really been on my mind. I've been really disappointed by public schools, the new way of assessing children's intelligence and progress (kindergarteners now have to take a 100 question test on a computer...the kids are 5! It's ridiculous!) and the private schools, many are amazing, but WOW, the tuition! I'm not sure if I can handle a new baby and 2 kids to homeschool? It would be different if I worked full time...should I try and go for this instead and plan after 3 months of the new baby to go to childcare while the other kids are in public school so I can make money? Everything seems to have a trade off and cost! Has anyone tried this or the homeschool route and how did you make money or passive income? Anyway, on a plus side, I found a get $150 with chase bank when opening a checking account. I think we will do this. At this point, we have only one credit card with a limit of $300 for the "just in case" times, but we are thinking about applying for capital one since there is no APR for a year and perhaps we'd get a higher line for that just in case. Anyway, I'll post my revised budget list soon as it keeps changing (new things arise like potential robotics camp now that I'm more aware of it).

The "Up" of the down

January 20th, 2015 at 09:28 am

So, just as I decided to finally get my money straight, along with a few other life changing items, I noticed certain things...like getting a letter for a bill from waaaaaaaay past that happened to go to a collection agency for over $700. One kid gets sick and I have to spend $40 on the insurance co-pay and another $30 on a prescription, while the other kid starts with the high temperature. Then hubs wakes up with a sore throat this morning. The timing belt started to make that squeaky noise, so it probably needs replacing. This morning, a large handful of eggs froze and cracked due to the bowl of them being shoved in the back of the fridge. Little things like this started to happen so I'm taking from the viewpoint that I must be doing things right!LOL. I have found in my life that just when I want to solve large problems or go for a really large goal that I've wanted...that's when little things all collectively start to get in the way whether it be being splashed by a rain puddle from a car to negative-mean people. Perhaps it's those yucky forces in life that try and keep people down or a system of testing/lessons. Regardless, I have learned that I must be on the right track if it's not going to be easy. As weird as it sounds, I also think its a frequency thing that life just seems to tune into were Murphy's law gets triggered. I feel as though that this topic of money is so large and something I've wanted to grasp for so many many years and have now been willing to make a huge effort, it's now that time those niggle of negative vibes get pushed to block me. I feel that I have been kept down by fear, disappointment, regret, often times people/others, and ignorance and now that I am taking the forward steps to improve things at a faster and greater force, there's more push back to keep me at the same level. Perhaps it's throwing off the universe a little with this new shift in thinking and actions. lol. Anyway, I'm gonna negotiate the $700 bill and continue forward with focus and resolution. I've been here before where Murphy tries to creep in, but I see it. At least I have money in the emergency fund and can replace the eggs of I need to, at least I still have some left over...and to think all the yummy things I can create with thoseSmile

Bulk bought groceries and made fresh bread

January 18th, 2015 at 03:57 pm

I bulk bought 3 weeks of groceries for the first time. After researching and also seeing the various menus people plan, I thought I would attempt it...or at least see how many weeks I can go with decent meals. I spent $275.99. It's over my goal of $75 per week. However, I am proud that I passed up buying a box of cereal for a huge bag of grits. The kids loved it for breakfast with milk and honey! Anyway, I'm hoping that making bread, waffles, muffins, loaf cake, and other items will save a huge amount. I also had to spend $49.73 at Rite Aid for one kid with the flu. I ended up spending $100 at the thrift shop. It included much needed larger clothes due to pregnancy weight gain and a bread maker. Thanks to Snafu's suggestion, the break maker is awesome and is now on the 4th loaf after experimenting! My family is stunned at how yummy the warm bread is. It's a huge change from what I remember (my parents had one for a month. No one ate the rock hard bread when I was younger, but a couple of decades later and the bread machine is half the size with double the fluffiness on the bread!). Also, I have made it a week making all homemade meals! Last night we had snow peas made with sesame oil, garlic, a little soy sauce, and fresh lemon juice with some salt along with rice and fruit salad. All around $1-1.50 per personSmile Today, I made chicken noodle soup for lunch. It was a huge hit. Right now the smell of fresh baking bread from the bread maker is filling the home, yummy! I am seriously blown away at how much a week can change a few things like the budget, outlook, and meals. My husband is even asking what I'm making for the next meal, which is a first! lol. Anyway, the pantry is filled with pasta, rice, flour, grits, 2 cups of left over quinoa that only I seem to eat, and left over black beans. I'm hoping that these will pair nicely with my produce and frozen items for the later weeks.

i'm having trouble posting blogs

January 18th, 2015 at 02:46 pm

Hi, I have just written 2 entries and well, both have failed to post (maybe this will?). Anything I am posting/doing wrong?

Appreciated: Realized: now time to get it done!

January 16th, 2015 at 10:39 am

Life never ceases to amaze me. This week I have really focused on educating myself and trying to include hubs about money, debt, retirement, cooking, saving, thinking ahead and financial education. It has really been at the forefront of my mind because I am really trying to face it rather than turn away and ignore it for the first time. I'll initially get that small ping of fear of feeling bad about thinking/having/wanting/appreciating money anytime thoughts surrounding it come up. It's horribly instinctive and natural. Then I have to stop and pause and realize this is how I was conditioned to feel about it as a child and that I continue to condition it as an adult. It's funny though because growing up I always found ways to earn money and always had it whether it be babysitting, working in restaurants, etc. This is the same for my husband, he always found ways to earn and have money. My family always made me feel guilty having it and then I'd always let my brother "borrow" it, of course never paying me back until he got married (only because of his wife). Interestingly enough, my husband did the same and always paid or let his sister "borrow" funds. We both have those same pings about having money. Then we seem to rather give it away/make it go away because of how we feel about it. However, opening my eyes has really been very cool and life never ceases to amaze me in that it continues to find people to support me and the information I'm seeking, here especially. After reading blogs last night, I turned the T.V on and Suze Orman was on literally discussing wills and revocable trusts, a topic that arose and one that has been on my mind! I was stunned since I have not seen her on T.V for a while. It was very neat. I turned it on at the point where she was saying that people should get a "living revocable trust" before the will (making an example about the probate costs it will incur on the family after we die if we don't have the living revocable trust.)So, with that said, I have MUCH to be appreciative for, much to realize, (Savings Advice especially) and well, feel excited for the first time in a while about where this particular journey and area of my life will lead!

It ain't pretty, but it's homecooked

January 15th, 2015 at 09:15 pm

Everyday I have managed to home cook meals with some new bought items (such as flour, baking powder, etc) and have combined it with what I had in the pantry...the problem...oh, I'd say that a good 70% of the meals don't look that pretty, even though they taste good. I have been researching pretty much every night on various meals I think my family will eat. I was super proud that I mad homemade biscuits tonight! I ignored the comment from one kid that said "mommy, the biscuits look normal, but this gravy and sausage stuff looks like barf, but it tastes good." The first batch of biscuits I tried the other night were really hard and turned out more like scones. I found one that was yummy and easy to make. I followed a sausage and gravy recipe that I found online and had no idea how easy it was! The hubs asked where the biscuits came from... and looked at me with shock when I told him that they were made from scratch! Not to mention how happy he was when I told him that the meal averaged $1 per person give or take a few cents I think. We both came to an "aha" moment and realized why people buy such large bags of flour! I have also made pound cake too. I'm attempting bread soon, which was delayed after I had to buy measuring spoons from the dollar store...that's how frequent I was cooking, I didn't even have a tea/tablespoon, which I thought was there! So, now I'm on a quest for pretty meals that are budget friendly. I even checked out 2 cooking dvd's from the library, but they were more entertaining than usable or budget friendly. I actually enjoyed making the biscuits today, it was kind of therapeutic and I am hoping to take this approach more as much needed therapy for my pockets. The thought of my children eating and hopefully remembering yummy home cooked meals is nice too, but farther away I think since I literally came from a family of "non cookers." However, it is nice to know my family has been eating my food and that the stomach can't see half of it either for now. lol. So, on top of becoming better financially, I'm also hoping to become a better cook too. Any yummy and visually appealing meals you know of that kids will eat, send them my way! Cheers to eating yummy meals and not all the moneySmile

My monthly expenses...I think

January 14th, 2015 at 03:59 pm

I finally made a comprehensive list of the items that we spend our money on a monthly basis, kinda... This is what I am aiming for at least and I'm sure I missed a few things. I actually tried to shave off a few dollars from the grocery and car fuel, we actually live walking distance to everything and technically have very low fuel, but things like rent and utilizes are pretty accurate. I also tried to make a list of the upcoming items and a general estimate. If your groceries or other are lower, please let me know how or where to lower it tooSmile

Monthly Overhead:

1.) rent and water/sewer: $2,168
2.) cell phone for 2 lines (just lowered too): $130
3.) basic cable/internet: $70
4.) car insurance (maximum coverage): $450
5.) minimum student loan payment: $387
6.) home electricity: $45
7.) groceries ($75/weekly/ATTEMPTING): $300
8.) car fuel: $120
9.) clothes (kids grow fast and destroy): $80
10.)coin/apartment complex laundry: $60
11.) misc (birthday gifts/fees/etc): $100
12.) monthly kids college contribution: $100

Total: $3,910
Left Over: $1,500

Upcoming Expenses to put the left over $1,500:
1.) 401K contribution (?)($700??)
2.) Emergency Fund
3.) Life insurance/Hubs (?) ($1000?)
4.) IRA contribution on top of 401K...redundant? (stocks? $100?)
5.) extra to pay student monthly loan ($100-$200?)
6.) save for kid #3 bill ($650/for 7 months?)

So, I'm hoping I did not miss anything. Maybe my husbands job has a life insurance policy that I'm unaware of?

Thinking ahead before kid #3 is born

January 13th, 2015 at 01:33 pm

I have some time to really think ahead and then put in to action plans before kiddo #3 is born. On the agenda:

1.) Hubs 401K matching kicks in soon...do we contribute to get the matched funds and utilize the concept of compounding interest and time or direct as much as possible toward student loan?

2.) It will cost at least $4K out of pocket after health insurance for hospital etc for baby...do we save the $4K plus now and pay it after birth or break payments down over the course of the year after kiddo arrives, while putting funds in other areas?

3.) Do we move out of the 2 bedroom where kids currently share a room or do we stay for one more year and figure out a living situation by rearranging apartment, sleeping on couch, having kid in our room or giving up our room to sleep on a pullout? Rent in CA is mucho $$$ and also hard to find a place allowing pets.

Luckily our car already has a 3rd row. It was an unknown extra when we bought the car so somehow I think the universe/G-d/etc. already had this part ready and figured out for us. Lol. As for kids schooling, it was a tentative plan to charter school/homeschool program with the charter school, but will this be unrealistic with #3 and will I need that time of having kids off at public school during the day? What else can I cut to continue to add to the kids college fund and our debt pay off and dream fund (so far not there now with expenses). At this point the hubs is working and doing as much side work as possible. No one will hire a prego woman so I'm wondering what else I can do at this point considering #3 was not on the original plan and I was going to find work next year...was.I can get the real estate license, but how realistic is it for me to utilize that with kids? I kind of feel like just as it was going to get easier #3 happens and new plans need to happen, but how is it possible to still maintain the current finaces while I know things are just going to be more expensive with all the gear, diapers, food, etc that will all cost more? what more can I do aside from save as much and not spend, but how do we continue to make more money next year when the baby is here in the summer?

My first purchase of (25Lb) not 7lbs of flour like I thought.lol

January 12th, 2015 at 08:42 pm

So, after calculating how many times I take myself out to lunch during the week while the kids are in school I got kind of sad because I realized how, um, kinda sad it was. I realized I take myself out (mostly cheapo places)so I can sit and eat without being interrupted and have some quiet time without being bothered. Not to mention, not having to cut someone else's food or clean up after 3 other people. However, it's never really 100% satisfying since I'm spending money I know I shouldn't be spending. Then I calculate how many other things I could buy with the money and it becomes this really depressing cycle where I self loathe afterwards every time without fail.
Over the weekend I decided to do research and try and cook at least most meals from scratch and or eat at home. I looked up a list of the cheapest foods on the market. Apparently, rice, pasta, black beans, apples, oranges, homemade breads, eggs, homemade soups, potatoes are on the list. I also decided to utilize the Pancake mix that's been in my pantry for a while and made waffles, along with the frozen fruit.
Then today I decided I would bake my own bread and biscuits...Have I ever tried to bake my own biscuits? The answer is a simple and resounding "No." As for the bread, I tried it once and after watching a youtube video of the recipe I used, I realized I did it wrong and gave up too easily.
So, today I bought the largest bag of flour that I have ever purchased (because I noticed for the first time that it costs half as much per ounce compared to the little bag I normally get on rare occasions), along with the yeast, salt, and baking powder for future mixe, oh, and potatoes. I was blown away that 3lbs was only $1.79. Now I also have to look up what to do with potatoes. I will attempt to make biscuits using the leftover pancake mix and the recipe I found online. Then I will retry the recipe for No Knead Bread that the online reviews seem to like...again and hopefully I do it right this time...like my finances.
As for the meals since Saturday...They've been pretty good, not in order, but got in the tummy.
*waffles and peach syrup (from frozen peaches)
*wings using the soy sauce and left over honey and oj
*rice, soy sauce, orange slices
*peanut butter spaghetti with ginger and sesame oil
*casadilla's with salsa
* crockpot bbq chicken legs and thighs (huge hit)
* instant mashed potatoes from pantry
* frozen green beans with butter and salt
* frozen fruit smoothie for dessert
Tomorrow will probably be left overs and maybe the bread if it rises correctly (and I didn't mess it up somehow). Happy and cheap eats for now at home!

The first month of the year and well... resolutions

January 12th, 2015 at 05:02 pm

It's still the first month of the year, the "New" year. The reality is that even though it's a new year, I still carry the same old habits and problems that I have allowed to trail me or fail me for years. Then a reality check...like 5 pregnancy tests reality check later!
During the December holidays I found that I would have baby #3 on the way! Unexpected news and well, sighhhhh... the first two were hard enough through the baby and toddler years emotionally and financially. Although my first two are now in the beginning phases of elementary school, both of whom I love, it's still difficult on many levels.
However, this time is different. We are making a lot more money, have lower overhead costs with living expenses, have no consumer/credit card debt, are one car less, and well, I'm slightly better at planning ahead only due to the fact that having children has literally forced me to think that way on so many levels.
It's different this time too because I REFUSE to be as miserable and to struggle as much as I did the first time around with my finances. I REFUSE to worry about what's in my account to pay for things. I'll never forget how scary it was to only have $20 in the bank and having to find a way to make sure food was on the table and the electricity was still on...for real, there was a time where it actually got shut off more than once...ya think this gal would learn...yeah, after the 3rd time!
So, cheers to resolving old problems and habits of ignorance and procrastination with my finances! Cheers to a new year of resolutions, putting peace to the demons. Cheers to finding a way to make my dreams come true (owning a small/homesteading farm/house and making sure that my children's G-d given talents are supported, grown, and nurtured...and cheers to you on whatever journey you are also on to better yourself and others hereSmile