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Back on my feet, back here at savings!

September 22nd, 2016 at 05:41 pm

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 08:31 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 03:49 pm

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 30th, 2016 at 01:04 am

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 05:55 pm

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 03:30 pm

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 08:44 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 11:19 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 08:38 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 03:21 pm

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 3rd, 2015 at 03:56 am

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 10:55 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 23rd, 2015 at 02:12 am

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 05:55 pm

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).