Archive for August 11th, 2009

Speechless

Who?  Me?  I actually have nothing of significance to say tonight . . . but still wanted to blog!  LOL!  I love blogging.  It’s a nice stress reliever and hobby for me and it helps me keep stories and events straight for the future when I actually have time to scrapbook them!  And I’m glad my kids will have this blog to read one day.  I always loved reading through things that my mom wrote as a child and while in high school so I hope my kids cherish this one day!

Anyway….what to blog about?

How about some recent cute sayings by my adorable children?  (In case you don’t know, Madalyn is 3 1/2 and Annagrace is 7 going on 17!).

At church . . .
Pastor:  “When Jesus came…”
Madalyn:  “Is Jesus coming here today?!”

Madalyn:  “Are you going to work?”
Me:  “No, not tonight.  Do you like it when I go to work?”
Madalyn:  “No, I like it when Aaron goes to work.”

Madalyn:  “I like keeping my eyes on Jesus, Mama”.  (quoting her favorite VBS song!)

Madalyn:  “I don’t want pigtails, I want a ponytail!”
Annagrace:  “Well I don’t want any kind of tail!”

Annagrace:  “If I had all my teeth, I’d be the perfect model.”

And this precious classic . . .

Annagrace:  “If I don’t have a boyfriend by the time I’m 19 then I’m going on one of those dating sites.”



Buy Nothing Challenge Confession Time

I meant to do this Sunday but better late than never.  It’s confession time.

Buy Nothing Challenge - August 2009

OK, so the rules were to buy nothing new.  So I haven’t done TOO terribly bad!  I got a bunch of things at the Salvation Army the other day so that was all used stuff.  I spent about $40 but I got a much needed chair for the homeschool room for $5 and bought a ton of Gymboree and Gap brand clothes for AG and Madalyn (I can spot a brand name in a thrift store from a mile away!).  Plus got Annagrace some rain boots (she has been begging me for rain boots!) and a couple of books to take to the beach next week.  So all together not too bad there.

Here is one little “victory” this week!  I was raking the yard on Sunday and my stupid rake broke.  Someone had left it in the rain and it rotted and broke in two.  I was just about ready to hop in the van and drive the 2 minutes to Lowe’s to buy another one.  But I stopped myself and later called and asked my dad if he had an extra one lying around that I could borrow.  Turns out he DID have one and said I could just have it and he brought it to me yesterday!  Sweet!  And it’s much nicer than the one that I had too!

So the not so good stuff . . .

  • Spent $20 at the scrapbook store on the first day of the challenge!  I went in for a pen and came out with a bag full of paper and stickers.  How did that happen?  I actually had forgotten all about the challenge starting that day!
  • Took Annagrace to see the Lost Colony last Friday night.  I HAD to do this.  I had promised her all summer and the play only runs through August 20 so we had to get a trip in last week.  Spent about $60 on tickets and backstage tour tickets, $32 on gas,  and $40 on supper, some treats for the girls at the Aquarium and snacks, drinks and souvenoirs at the play.  (We have annual passes to the Aquarium so at least that was free!).
  • Spent $3 at Target on some clearance baby socks and a $1 puzzle for Annagrace for school.
  • Bought lunch at Subway today.  I had even packed my lunch but the nurse I was with today stopped in Subway and I had no cash to buy a drink (the only thing I didn’t pack) and didn’t want to use my debit card for just a drink, so I caved and got a sandwich too!  It sure was tasty (and mom…I even ate tomatoes on it!).
  • Spent $20 eating out last night.  Had a really great coupon for Ham’s and the girls were gone for the night so we went out on a little date.

So all together not too terribly bad.  I have really been thinking about my purchases and have been trying to make do or do without rather than running right out and buying something new (like the rake!).

I still struggle so badly at times with consumerism.  Aaron and I had a very heated argument over something very stupid a few days ago and my first thought was that I needed to go out and spend money.  I know that I use shopping as a means of therapy.  I also know that buying things pushes Aaron’s buttons because he is a scrooge when it comes to money.  And I like the feeling when I spend money that I am “getting my way” so to speak.  I think shopping and spending money can be an addiction just like drugs or alcohol.  While I won’t say that I am addicted (I do know my boundaries….I can stop myself from spending money….and I don’t neglect important things for the sake of shopping) I do know that it is something that I need to keep working on.

Debt Free by . . . 2012? Maybe?

Prior to moving to NC three months ago we had 3 credit card bills (totally around $7000), a school bill, and a couple of store credit cards with anywhere from $100 to $300 on it at any given time.  We were having a hard time making ends meet.  It seemed like we just never had quite enough to make it to the next paycheck.

And that would mean more put on the credit card.  So it was like it didn’t matter if I even paid anything on that credit card because by the end of the month I’d be putting a week’s worth of groceries on it.  Or gas.  Or whatever else came up.

Even after I decided to become more frugal and started cutting coupons and we started cutting back it still wasn’t enough.  It was frustrating and stressful!  I don’t think we ever would have gotten ahead if we hadn’t moved.  That wasn’t the reason that we moved . . . it was just one of the good things that came along with it.

We were able to pay off all of our debts when we sold our house except for the van (well, and of course our mortgage).  This one looming debt over our heads is the one that I HATE paying every month.  Don’t get me wrong–I love our van.  Never thought I’d say that but I do.  It is so convenient for long trips or even just getting groceries.  And it will be very handy for having 3 kids.  I can’t imagine squeezing 3 car seats in the back of our old Taurus.  Where would we put Buddy (and our stuff!) when we went on vacation?!

We took out a 7 year loan when we bought the van to get our payments to a reasonable amount.  Seven years!!!  We bought it in 2007 which means we are only now approaching year number two.  I don’t want to pay $350 a month for FIVE MORE YEARS on this van!  Trading it in is not an option as we owe about $7000 more on it than it is worth.

So . . . I want to devise a plan to get this thing paid off as quickly as possible.  Obviously we need to pay more a month on the principal.  If we can double our payment will that decrease our time left to pay on it in half?  I’m not sure but it certainly will get paid off much quicker.      Here are few ideas to help bring in some extra cash:

  • My photog business.  Once I get it going, every dime above operating costs will go towards the van payment.
  • Sell stuff on Craigslist and have a yard sale.  We did a lot of decluttering before we moved but I know there is decorative stuff in the attic that we are not going to use around the new house.  So it needs to go!  I also have a dryer in the shed along with some outdoor toys, etc. that can go.
  • Sell stuff on Ebay.  I have a lot of books that can go.  I also find deals all the time so I think I may start trying to pick up some of the better deals and sell them on Ebay.  Gotta spend a little money to make a little money.
  • Along those lines….I often find new or very gently used items at the Salvation Army (yesterday I picked up about 10 items for Annagrace that were all either Gymboree or Gap brand things) that I could easy bring home, wash and resell at Once Upon a Child or Twice is Nice.  Or even put together “lots” of clothes on Ebay and sell them that way.  Kids clothes seem to sell very well on Ebay.
  • Sell items on Etsy.  Not sure what those items would be . . . jewelry?  Photo prints?  Baby items?  Camera straps?  Just a thought that is still stirring around in my head.
  • Cancel cable and home phone.  Already discussed this one earlier this week.  This will free up about $80 a month.  Some of that will go to dance and piano lessons for the girls but we will hopefully have a good bit left over that can go to the van payment.

That’s all I’ve got so far.  Anyone have any other ideas?

I want to really look at our budget and try to squeak out as much from it as I can.  I must, must, must get our grocery costs down!!!  Some weeks I do great–spend about $80 total but the majority of weeks (even when using coupons) it comes out to about $120 a week.

So that is my plan.  I’m going to try to set up a running log on my blog of how much we pay off each month and I hope to really see that total drop over the next few months!


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