Sunday, November 30, 2008

Looking towards 2009

I know it may be a little too soon for anticipating what next year will hold, especially in the economy the way it is now. Truth is, I'm a planner. Even if the plans change, at least there was a plan.

My goals for 2009 are:

  2. Continue to use CASH!
  3. Stay on Budget.
  4. Continue the stockpile and build an area to better organize the stash.
  5. To have the two lowest debts paid off.

December's Budget

As noted previously, the overtime has ceased at my husband's job. In fact a scattering of layoffs has hit the plant as of last week. We have decided to hold off on the snowball and do mins for a little bit, just to make sure we have some extra money for the holiday and any impending problems we may face.

Debts: 675.00 -- this includes the car and card payments.
Food: 370.00 -- this includes school lunches, groceries and a dining out experience.
Housing: 1465.20 -- this includes mortgage, taxes, insurance, and membership to the heating/cooling repair place.
Medical: 35.00 -- we have a surplus in this envelope to cover medical co-pays and scripts, I just added what I could this month.
Personal: 250.00 -- this includes blow money, life insurance, misc household needs, Netflix subscription, and the hair cut envelope.
Transportation: 452.05 -- this includes insurance, gas, tags and repair sinking fund. (my son pays into this for his car)

Utilities: 530.29 -- this includes phones, cable, electric, gas, and water sinking fund. (my son pays into this for his phone)

My Blizzard Boy's Birthday

December 2nd will mark my son's seventeenth birthday. And of course, as history continues to repeat itself, the first measurable snowfall is predicted to start today - in a blizzard type fashion. We are expected to get up to 10 inches (thankfully we bought a snow blower- CASH!) Keeping his birthday low key this year. I budgeted a birthday dinner out so we are going out for steak and shrimp at the restaurant where we both work!

Looking back over the past 17 years, I can't believe how fast it went and how much he's grown - physically and emotionally. He's truly amazing and my greatest joy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Overtime Cut, but Surgery Postponed.

A little bit of this -- a little bit of that

The economy has caught up with my husband's workplace. At least temporarily. All over time has been cut - which isn't a bad thing considering his knee problem has gotten so much worse. They are on 40 hours a week and not a minute more. Thankfully, we've done so much to get ahead and the stockpile is to a point, that I don't think it will effect us in the least. The snowball just gets stuck on the hill for a little while.

We got the results of the dh's MRI and while the doctor didn't have much to say either optimistically or pessimistically, but we don't have any new answers - however we will have a new doctor. He's transferring us to the University Hospital in Madison. What this ultimately means we bought a little more time before surgery. The nest egg can grow a little more while we wait.

The roller coaster of work is going great for me lately. I've been able to pick up a few extra hours here and there and I'm able to fill my workdays with things that keep me busy. There is nothing worse than not having enough to do to fill your day! It drives me buggy. So while my dh slows down, I'm picking up. It's a good yin and yang that we always seem to have going on.

ChaCha has been going through some growing pains this weekend (which is spreading into the week), but all is good. I'm thankful that I have enough in my ChaCha account to go Christmas shopping without cringing. It's still worth it to me and it's not like I'm not already sitting at my computer anyway, right?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Holiday Shopping - My Thoughts

Ramblings of a Mad Woman
I've been asked about my holiday budget ideas. Here's my thoughts on budgeting and my thoughts follow what I later heard from Dave Ramsey:

Christmas is not an emergency. You have ample warning 365 days ahead of time for you to get ready for the holiday. It doesn't sneak up on you. Start saving on January first for the next Christmas. It's never too early to start saving! Even if it's a little bit here and there-- it adds up and saves your sanity once the reality of Christmas is right around the corner!

I think I'm a rarity, just because I have only one child. Nothing against those who have a larger family, but I knew our limit ... one. He doesn't get whatever he wants during the year. He's not showered with gifts and huge wardrobes and electronics just because he asks. In fact, the poor kid celebrates his birthday right before Christmas, so any showering of gifts happens in December. I'm a frugal shopper during the year. I watch my budget during the year. I keep up with my bills and making sure their aren't any errors made. Because I watch all of that so closely, I feel I am able to save for a decent Christmas. This leads me to my next thought:

I am in debt. It's something I did. I made the mistakes. I used a credit card repeatedly for things that I can't even tell you. My son didn't sign his name to any of those purchases. In fact, I don't even think he guilted me into any of the purchases. I can't blame anyone else for my debt except myself. It's not his fault, so why would I take the holiday away from him?

Of course, I can say this because I have added Christmas/Gifts to my monthly budget. The idea of a budget is to give every dollar a name and a purpose. When you make a budget you find where your priorities are and plan for them. To some people, the priority is a vacation. To others, blow money for expensive hobbies. I had listed Gift Giving a priority on my budget and I have saved for it all year. It's important to me. So I'm ready for the upcoming holiday.

My other methods of getting through holiday shopping?

  1. Don't pay full price for anything! (except a gift card -- but sometimes there are even perks to buying a gift card)
  2. Make a per person budget and stick to it!
  3. Find things on sale during the course of the year.
  4. Know your prices! After Thanksgiving doesn't always mean the best deals are available then. I've found that some of those "sales" they offer are actually higher than the same item in say, June!
  5. There's no shame in coupons, deals and clearance racks!
  6. All else fails -- get artistic! Make something. Last year was our first Christmas on the Dave Ramsey plan. My dh and I budgeted $40 a piece for shopping for each other. Of course, I am more frugal savvy than my hubby is - but his favorite gift was little coupons for things that he would like during the year: his choice of a homemade meal, a back rub, breakfast in bed etc. They didn't cost me anything, and he was able to enjoy them all year -- in fact he wants more THIS Christmas because he ran out!
  7. It IS the thought that counts - not how much money you spend.

Above all, Christmas is about love and family. We've had our share of lean Christmases and we've had our share of grossly exaggerated Christmases and to tell you the truth I can't tell you that I favored the one that I spent a lot of money on over ones that we were pretty well broke. Over all, when I look through the pictures of Christmas - I'm seeing smiles. I'm seeing happiness. I'm seeing family and I'm seeing love. ... and a Christmas tree that's always somehow a little lopsided. My son can't recall the difference between the two either. He's looked forward to Christmas no matter how many or how much the presents were that were under the tree. Your kids won't either ... in the grand scheme of things wheh they grow up they will remember the traditions and the love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gearing up for the Holidays (already) and Updates

October Updates:
I'm sorry I didn't post my October budget snapshot for everyone. It's much of the same from last month actually. We're still plugging away at the bills - just not as intensely as we were. I guess our gazelles needed a break.

Money Savings:
The stockpile is growing leaps and bounds by the deals I have been getting at Walgreens and Meijer lately. The industrial size shelving unit I bought to put in the basement is nearly full! My freezer is getting full, and my pantry is overloaded! I feel like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter.

Possible Surgery:
Overtime does take it's toll.... eventually. The dh went to the doctor last week and they are discussing surgery on both of his knees. Thank goodness for disability insurance and an emergency fund! Even if he's out for a bit (which Mr.Stubborn probably won't be) we'll be covered.

Christmas Shopping:
The task has started. My teenage DS's wish list includes an IPOD and not the Shuffle or the Nano. This kid is no slouch! We're talking the iTouch! Thank Goodness for ChaCha! I've got that one covered. As the years go by, I have less gifts to buy -- they just cost more!

I remember last year, November killed my budget. Of course, I forgot to write down what about it killed the budget so I can't remember what needed the extra funding. I have dog-eared the thought so I can set some extra blow money aside for whatever it is that November holds ... especially if November is when dh is out for surgery!

BTW: I finally updated my debt totals to the right and the pie chart is now correct.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Where's Wendy?

It's been awhile since I've posted. Where the heck have I been?

Work is finally settling into it's fall pattern which is nice. I've been working on ChaCha almost nightly now and really having a good time doing that. I'm a late night beast anyway - and there's good money to be made at night.

Budget is still working fine. We've done a little cheating this month - using envelope money for things it wasn't quite intended, however it's still CASH and the we haven't gone over in the budget so all is good!

I have to say the economy is really scaring me lately. Not that I didn't have fair warning about it. Trying to be a forever optimist is the name of the game in my eyes. Yes, the dh is still putting in mad amount of overtime, but with the new car payment and the oral surgery bill - mad amounts of debt aren't dropping as a result of the overtime. Nobody's fault but my own - I'm the one who bought the car. I know.

Time to tighten the bootstraps even more and hope we come out of this okay. I don't recommend anyone who would like to stay optimistic to listen to Glenn Beck. What a depressing human to listen to!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

September Updates:

September Budget
Sha-pow! Look at the debt total grow! Adding on the new car payment and DS's wisdom teeth bill to this total, plus new tires for the DH's car.

We had to dump some more money into the vet bill fund for the winter. We're still struggling with health issues of our older cat - and we are coming up to allergy season for our younger cat. If you haven't been reading for long, we had to bring our younger cat to the Vet ER for what turned out to be an asthma attack! It was scary stuff!!

Grocery Store Victory
My stockpile is growing by leaps, bounds and mountains! I've been very fortunate to be able to save the kind of money I've been saving. Coupons, sales, rebates have been a true blessing getting groceries and stockpiles for next to nothing.

If you haven't checked out HOT COUPON WORLD, I strongly suggest that you do. The scenarios they come up with are beyond amazing!!!

Appreciation Speaks Volumes
What motivates you? Are you a self motivator? What does it mean when someone tells you that they really appreciate what you do?

I'm a self starter at work. I know what I need to do and that's what I do. Every week, I make a list of what I want to/have to accomplish and I cross things off as I go. Sometimes I think the boss has no idea what I do because I just get things done.

This weekend, the managers were brought into the office one and a time the boss talked to us. Don't get me wrong, my boss OFTEN says "Thank you." and "Great Job." but you never know if he from the heart means it or not. This talk you knew without a shadow of a doubt that he meant it. I felt like a kid showing his prized art piece to his mother and the elatedness when she said it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen! It was an amazing feeling to know that even the little extra things I do - he notices and APPRECIATES.

Christmas Shopping
This is the best time to start grocery shopping. I don't care what kind of sales they have after Thanksgiving - if you compared them to the everyday prices now - you won't find much of a difference. What you will find are less people, less traffic and less aggravation. So the answer is "YES". I have started my Christmas shopping. 2 gifts down and several more to go! I'm keeping my eyes peeled for deals and my earned gift cards from places like, ChaCha and our phone rebate to help pay for it all! Let the fun begin!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Updates of sorts ... aka ramblings.

We're plugging away. The husband's overtime while a hinderance to our play time, has been very important in our quest to pay down things and keep afloat.

Winter is only a few months away
I just read the latest from the Farmers Almanac and have hit up the Craigslist looking for a snowblower on the cheap. They are predicting over average snowfall for the Great Lakes/Midwest and if it's going to be MORE than last year - we are going to need the help of a machine!

On the Workfront
My busy season at work should be ending by mid-September. We have one more training class starting in a couple weeks so that gives me a little boost in the overtime department. I don't know what it is but my paychecks have been lower than they have been in years. Worse yet, that's even with me not allocating any part of my paycheck to my 401k. CRAZY!

The good news is that budget is working for us! We have stayed on course with that for 13 months. We did wind up putting DS's wisdom tooth surgery on the Care Credit and that's the first and only "card" usage we've had in that time too. Not that I'm proud of it - but that price tag hit me for more than I had in the "Medical Fund" envelope.

Working for ChaCha is Working for Me!
They've made some changes over the past month but things are working smoothly! The money I've been making by doing ChaCha will go to help pay for gift shopping this Christmas and through out the year. If you are remotely curious about what ChaCha is you can revisit a previous post about ChaCha ---> HERE <--- If you are interested in joining ChaCha I would LOVE if you would use my email address as a referral. So far I have three gals on my team and there is room for many more!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If Wisdom Teeth were so Wise ...

Wouldn't they know we didn't need them??

Welp, I had to know they were coming sometime. Our DS had his wisdom teeth taken out today. And wouldn't you know it - our medical insurance wouldn't cover it. Not even a dime. Add to our debt total another $2600.00.

Is that my kharma biting me back for buying the car? Yeah, probably.

Another bite to the budget happens next month in the tune of new tires for the dh's car. He's been driving on baldies since last winter. He'll need them before the Ice Capades of Wisconsin driving season starts again.

Things happens in threes? My Cahoots's final vet bill, Tires & Wisdom teeth out. Thank goodness the dh is on overtime pay still!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

August Budget

Welcome August - hope I prepared enough for this!

School Registration:
Registration is later this month for my ds's junior year of high school. Nice thing about high school is the school supply list is pretty basic and simple. Paper, Notebooks, Pens, Pencils, Folders, Binders. We don't need 4 glue sticks, 3 packs of crayons, 2 boxes of tissues and what ever else is on those lists that really doesn't NEED to available on the first day of school. (if at all, but I don't want to get in an argument about that) I've been buying supplies on sale with left over grocery money. NICE!

So simple school shopping, a few new pairs of jeans, shoes, funding his lunch account and paying for his woods class projects. That should cover the costs.

You're going to notice some screwy rises in my car insurance. We bought a new car so now we have 3 cars and 3 drivers - so my ds's insurance will go up up up as a full time driver of my old car. So next month you will also see a new car payment in my debt category also.

Out of Debt Date Changes:
So, of course - this is my blog telling my story about how I'm getting out of debt. See how easy it is - even Wendy can do it. Truth is, we threw ourselves a bit deeper into debt by getting the Mazda3 that I have posted previously about. When it comes to the blog, I feel I should be ashamed because 1) I didn't pay cash for it and 2) I didn't wait until I had my credit card debt paid for. However, in the scheme of things in my real life - it was something I felt justified doing. I keep cars for a long time. My last car (which ds will take over on until it's last sputter) I drove for 10 years. 6 of those years with no payments.

Okay, long story short - you will see car payments starting next month.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

When your heart breaks does anyone hear it?

My angel,
My Baby,
My Sunshine,
My Boopans,
My Friend.

Cahoots -
Born 08/06/1988
Died 07/28/2008

Almost 20 years of joy.

People sometimes don't understand that a pet is more than just a cat or a dog or a bird -- they are, indeed, a part of the family - a friend, one who shows you unconditional love.

She's seen me through love, life and tragedy. She's one of my life's greatest blessings. I loved her incredibly and will continue to forever.
She will be missed more than I can even begin to write. My heart breaks. Can you hear it?

What will I ever do with out you, Hoots?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Deals Shopping Summary

Walmart: Did okay, except I didn't find the .05 or .10 notebooks. I wonder if they were the little memo books??!

Walgreens: Made 4 transactions.
12 tubes Total toothpaste 6oz.
4 boxes of Royal pudding
1 box of Good and Plenty (a weakness - sue me!)
4 bottles of Vive (I got 4 for the price of 1 with the BOGO Walgreens & BOGO coupon)
3 Book Covers for school (would up costing WAYY more than Walmart -- BOO HISS!)

Total OOP: $11.66 (I might return the book covers though)

Finding Unclaimed Money

Ever wonder if there was some of your money hiding in the system somewhere? Don't pay someone to tell you where your unclaimed money is when you can easily find it yourself.

I found this while blog hopping today, and I thought it was worthwhile sharing - and I hope someone finds some money that was rightfully theirs!

State Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 302520
Montgomery, AL 36130-2520
Department of Revenue
Tax Division
Unclaimed Property Section
PO Box 110420
Juneau, AK 99811-0420
Department of Revenue
Unclaimed Property Unit
P.O. Box 29026
Phoenix, AZ 85038-9026
Unclaimed Property Division
Auditor of State Jim Wood
PO Box 251906
Little Rock, AR 72225-1906
State Controller Steve Westly
Bureau of Unclaimed Property, Division of Collections
3301 C Street, Suite 712
P.O. Box 942850
Sacramento, CA 94250-5873
Unclaimed Property Division
1580 Logan Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80203
Unclaimed Property Division
Office of State Treasurer
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
Bureau of Abandoned Property
P.O. Box 8931
Wilmington, DE 19899
District of Columbia
Office of Finance & Treasury
Unclaimed Property Unit
1275 K Street, NW
Suite 500B
Washington, DC 20005
Department of Financial Services
Bureau of Unclaimed Property
Post Office Box 1990
Tallahassee, FL 32302-1990
CLAIMS Fax: 850-413-3017
Georgia Department of Revenue
Local Government Services
Unclaimed Property Program
4245 International Parkway, Suite A
Hapeville, GA 30354-3918
Department of Budget and Finance
Unclaimed Property Program
P.O. Box 150
Honolulu, HI 96810-0150
Idaho State Tax Commission
Unclaimed Property Section
P.O. BOX 70012
Boise, ID 83707-0112
Office of State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
PO Box 19495
Springfield, IL 62794-9495
Attorney General's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
PO Box 2504
Greenwood, IN 46142
Michael L. Fitzgerald, State Treasurer
The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt
Lucas State Office Building
321 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Unclaimed Property Division
900 Jackson Suite 201
Topeka, KS 66612-1235
Office of State Treasurer Jonathan Miller
Unclaimed Property
1050 US Highway 127 South, Suite 100
Frankfort, KY 40601
John Kennedy, State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 91010
Baton Rouge, LA 70821
State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
39 State House Station
111 Sewall Street, 3rd FL
Augusta, ME 04333-0039
Unclaimed Property Unit
301 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2385
Abandoned Property Division
1 Ashburton Place, 12th Floor
Boston, MA 02108
Department of Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 30756
Lansing, MI 48909
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Unclaimed Property Division
85 7th Place East, Suite 600
St. Paul, MN 55101-3165
Treasury Department
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 138
Jackson, MS 39205-0138
State Treasurer Sarah Steelman
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 1004
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Department of Revenue
Unclaimed Property Division
Sam W. Mitchell Bldg.
125 N. Roberts, 3rd Floor
Helena, MT 59604-5805
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
5800 Cornhusker Highway, Building 2, Suite 4
Lincoln, NE 68507
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
555 E Washington Avenue
Suite 4200
Las Vegas, NV 89101-1070
New Hampshire
Treasury Department
Unclaimed Property Division
25 Capitol Street , Room 205
Concord , NH 03301
New Jersey
Department of the Treasury
Unclaimed Property
P.O. Box 214
Trenton, NJ 08695-0214
New Mexico
Taxation & Revenue Department
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 25123
Santa Fe, NM 87504-5123
New York
State Comptroller
New York State Office of Unclaimed Funds
110 State Street, 8th Floor
Albany, NY 12236
North Carolina
Department of State Treasurer
Unclaimed / Escheats Division
325 N Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27603-1385
North Dakota
State Land Department
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 5523
Bismarck, ND 58506-5523
Department of Commerce
Division of Unclaimed Funds
77 South High Street - 20th floor
Columbus, OH 43266-0545
Oklahoma State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
4545 North Lincoln Boulevard, Suite 106
Oklahoma City, OK 73105-3413
Department of State Lands
Unclaimed Property Division
775 Summer Street NE Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279
State Treasurer Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Unclaimed Property Bureau
P.O. Box 1837
Harrisburg, PA 17105-1837
Rhode Island
Department of Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 1435
Providence, RI 02901-1435
South Carolina
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
PO Box 11778
Columbia, SC 29211-1778
South Dakota
Office of the State Treasurer
Vernon L. Larson
500 East Capitol Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-5070
Treasury Department
Unclaimed Property Division
Andrew Jackson Building, 9th Floor
500 Deaderick Street
Nashville, TN 37243-0242
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 12019
Austin, TX 78711-2019
State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
341 South Main St., 5th Floor
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
109 State Street, 4th Floor
Montpelier, VT 05609-6901
Department of Treasury
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 2478
Richmond, VA 23218-2478
Department of Revenue
Unclaimed Property Section
PO Box 47477
Olympia, WA 98504-7477
West Virginia
Office of State Treasurer
One Players Club Drive
Charleston, WV 25311
State Treasurer's Office
Unclaimed Property Division
P.O. Box 2114
Madison, WI 53701-2114
Office of the State Treasurer
Unclaimed Property Division
2515 Warren Avenue, Suite 502
Cheyenne, WY 82002

Courtesy of "

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Day off plus Shopping Deals!

A Day Off
DS was sick on Friday, so I had to take him to the doctor. Not our normal doctor, but I had to drive him about a half hour further than his normal doctor. Why? Too many patients and only one doctor. So needless to say, we both skipped work because of the time of the appointment, getting back home, getting meds etc. I was lucky enough to have Saturday off (again - rest) and watch the box of Kleenex from my ds's room get depleted by the second!

Sunday - back to work. Holy Cow! I need better shoes for this running around! Huge restaurant - seats about 600 and they were ALL sat last night! I'm running laps around the restaurant until all hours.... all on a pair of $8.00 Walmart loafers! LOL

Today - Sales Shopping! It's Savings Mania. Here's my game plan.

Total Toothpaste - 7 day coupon makes it $1.99, add $1.50 mf coupons plus a ES coupon for $2 off $2 leads to overage. I will have 18 free tubes of Total (but in multiple trips because it is LIMIT 3)

Loreal Vive - This one is a little sketchy. Walgreens has Vive on sale BOGO, plus there was BOGO coupon in Sunday's paper for a certain kind of Vive (something new). So the coupon boards tell me that if they do a split total instead of one $4.99 and one $0.00 I only need to pick up two and they will both be free. Worse comes to worse - I pick up 4 bottles - pay for one and the other 3 will be free.

The Centsible Saywer really hooked me up with deals last week. Today I plan on reeling in some more! If you haven't visited this site - you really should!

Planters: $3.00 off Planters WYB 3 Kraft Products. The suggestion is Koolaid packets - they only cost about .16 a piece. So the OOP is .57 for Planters and 3 Kookaid packets.

::Coupon here::

Toaster Strudels: Was able to print out (2) $1/1 Toaster Strudel Coupons. DS LOVES Toaster Strudels.

Just Bunches: Printed another $2.00 Just Bunches (honey bunches of oats) which makes these less than $1.00 a box.

::Coupon here::

School Supplies: High schoolers need filler paper, folders and notebooks. I hear the notebooks were between .05-.10 a piece! INCREDIBLE!

They have a $20.00 catalina for new or transferred prescriptions in this week's paper. Plus I have $5.00 off $25 coupon from last week. This was my 3rd of this coupon. The first was some lady who checked out before me leaving it in the printer. HELLO! You just threw away a perfectly good $5.00!! Her stupidity, my gain. Whatever!

So in essence - $25.00 free shopping dollars today at Meijer along with some helpful 10/10 deals plus milk and eggs are on sale - mealbox deals on pasta (free), sour cream (cheap) ice cream (cheap) frozen potatoes (cheap).

Hopefully going to find a deal on ds unmentionables and socks for his school clothes list here too.

Kohls: Did this online over the weekend. Was able to pick up 4 pairs of Urban Pipeline jeans for my skinny tushed boy for $19.99 a pair - free shipping. It's part of his school clothes shopping and was glad to have gotten that deal!

Also have to return some shoes that ds wouldn't wear. Ahhh well! I should have known better.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A Raise and Increased (and MANDATORY overtime)
For me? Are you kidding?! No, my stallion husband is the work horse in this family! Last week he was given his annual raise. For what he does for the company he deserves far more than they could ever afford to pay him, but he was happy with his raise. This week they had a meeting and not only is there overtime available ... it's now MANDATORY per the company president! No ifs, ands or buts about it. This will go on for the rest of the month and they will "revisit" the idea and see if it can and should continue.

Wendy's learning to Cha Cha!

So can you REALLY make money from home sitting on your computer? The answer is YES! I've been doing this Cha Cha thing for a couple of weeks. (I took off 6 days to enjoy what time I had off from my other job on this busy holiday weekend!) The consensus? Well, I've pulled in a little over $84.00 already! The crazy thing is that it can only get better as I get faster at answering the questions. Most people average about double what I can do. But you know, for sitting on my computer looking up random questions and giving answers - this is a blessing. A stress less atmosphere!

So what's it all about? Go see for yourself - Or text a question to 242242 and see how it works for you. Cha Cha doesn't charge you to ask questions, but be aware if you pay per text message with your cell phone provider.

I've started my Cha Cha team. I know, I know.. I just started myself - but I always jump in with both feet! The more learning at the same time the merrier! If you are interested in joining Cha Cha, please use my email address as the one who referred you. That way you will be included on my team and we can work together! The email address (made into a graphic to avoid the spammers) is:
When you join, before you carry onward, please email me and I can work you through the steps and share the things I have learned so far.

What does this all mean?

The overtime will be helpful in getting the ds set up for his junior year of high school and pay extra towards our credit card debt and the Cha Cha will go towards gift buying expenditures. Birthdays on the horizon: My dh, my mother and then my son -- don't blink -- Christmas! I think it will come in handy!!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Year in Review - My TMMO Anniversary!

I thought it was appropriate to take a moment (okay several) and take a peek back at my successful year of climbing the Mountain of Debt. I have tried before to "pay down" the credit cards, but I'd never been successful as this year. I stuck to it! A whole year! I don't think I have stuck to anything this tough for a whole year before!

One year ago: Debt Totals
Chase: $8588.00 (random spending surfed/stored here for a lower rate)
Citibank: $10958.00 (this one too)
Bank of America $16830.00 (this one too)
Discover: $1600.00 (used for purchases)
Citibank 2: $1743.94 (the used card - when the balance got to high it got surfed ... see above)
Car Loan: $5389.00 (which I am proud of. We were 2 years ahead on this car loan)
Emergency Root Canal & Crown: 1505.00

Budget consisted of:
Mortgage/HELOC (creative financing package to eliminate PMI)
Groceries (that I never stuck to)
Debt Pay Offs
Savings Accounts (Christmas, Vacation, Home Improvements, DS's 529)

The Feeling -- The Fear -- The Failure
My dh tells doomsday stories of the failing economy almost daily. He doesn't handle the bills or the family finances. He never even looks at them. His talk plus our financial situation was making me panic! HARDCORE! The fact that they were talking about raising the minimum due % from 1 - 2% of remaining balance on our credit cards made me SHUTTER! We were going to fall apart and fall apart fast!
I was looking into refinancing the house and hoping I had enough equity to roll some of my large balances into my home loan. I was stressed to the core, yet couldn't talk to the dh about it because the arguments would get ugly. I hate ugly arguments.

Miss guided Priorities
I've always been a pack rat. I've always had a thing for savings. I had savings accounts that I used as sinking funds for everything. I had these long before I heard of the word sinking funds. Congrats to me to have done something right in the last 17 years of marriage! However, my ability to save money for certain things like 2 wonderful Disney vacations means that credit cards were being used to pay for other things while I was tucking away money for the vacations. As you noticed - my budget had wide holes all over it!

July 07- July 08: The Year of the Plan

1. NO credit cards! I don't care how bad you think you NEED something! Either you pay CASH or you don't get it!

2. Prepare a Proper Budget. I have ALWAYS had budget. The problem with my budget is that it was missing the everyday life things: clothes, medical bills, hair cuts, vet bills, dentist visits, dining out, entertainment etc. It always consisted of what bills were due and nothing more than that. That's where the credit card enters the game and takes over. And Stick to It
anything looks good on paper. The matter of having the strength to actually LIVE with the restrictions....NOW THAT was the battle.

3. Rearrange Priorities. Although, being honest - I didn't wipe out all of my savings accounts, but I need close a few accounts and paid off my smaller bills right away. I was paying more in finance charges than I was gaining in interest. That plus with a proper budget, I wouldn't need those accounts anymore.

4. Find Holes in our Budget. The eating out all the time, the random Walmart stops that cost $100 a pop, entertainment every week etc. Plugging the holes in the budget really helped make what money we had coming in HELP our situation!

5. Work a little Harder! My DH is incredible when it comes to working. His work ethic is off the carts and he gobbles up overtime like no body's business. My job doesn't entitle me to a lot of overtime except for the spring training time. I gobble that up. I've been really paying attention to the grocery budget AND STICKING TO IT! I make dinner every night. We only go out once a month or maybe twice a month IF there is money left over from grocery shopping.

6. Debt Payoff - We have successfully paid off over $30k in debt this year - by rearranging priorities, working and having a CD mature for us to throw into it. We are down to our last two debts. Our two biggest.

7. Play Smarter - This works! The lessons I have learned have been so incredibly valuable to me! The stress has died down. We have a handle of our finances. I refinanced the HELOC to be a regular loan with a fixed rate. Now it is a part of the mortgage, the way it was originally was written. We have NOT used a credit card in a year! Okay let me say that again because that is just so amazing - if you knew our family you would agree -- here goes -- WE HAVE NOT USED A CREDIT CARD IN A YEAR!!!

Wow! That felt great!
A beneficial year!
By next July first (or hopefully sooner) you will hear me yell from the rooftops and hopefully the sound of a new car horn from my future Mazda3!

Thanks for hanging out with me!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Updates Abound!

It's been a few days since I updated my blog. I've been busy playing catch up. Of course, I still haven't planted annuals. I think the few hanging baskets and my lilies are going to be all the floral around my patio this summer.

Here's my Weekly Menu:

This week, I've decided to try a bunch of different recipes from Aldi Menu Planning. That was the store I was going to do most of my shopping - so I thought I would try it out.

Monday: Stuffed Peppers
Tuesday: Tilapia
Wednesday: Sausage Casserole
Thursday: Pork Chops with Apple Mustard Glaze
Friday: 4th of July picnic
Saturday: Cheesy Eggplant Casserole
Sunday: Hubby's on his own aka Leftovers

A Raise and new Supplemental Income
DH had his review today and they graced him with a nice raise! He is now officially making $1 more per hour than me. With that ... and the amount of overtime he has been offered is a great deal for us! Maybe we can finally move this mountain.... oh and I can get a car quicker!!

I found something that I like to do online now. The company is called Cha Cha.

What is Cha Cha:
"ChaCha is a web search engine that’s available online and by mobile phone with information whenever an InfoSeeker needs it…anytime, anywhere. ChaCha harnesses the power of the Internet and provide answers when an InfoSeeker needs them most."

You get paid .20 for every search you complete and you can work as many or as few hours as you want! I got accepted last week and have made $52.60 already! I think this will be a nice way to get a little extra income.

How does it work?
The InfoSeeker texts Cha Cha and it pops up on my Firefox driven dashboard. I search for the answer, validate it and send it! Viola! .2o cents in my account.

I can have 20 people total join my team - so if you are SERIOUS about making some money online please leave your email address in my comment box and I will send you information about Cha Cha. I'm sorry that I have to be a little harsh, but I only get 20 people for my team and I want to fill it with motivated people who are interested in putting the time in to make some money!

Don't forget to visits these sites:
These blogs/message boards sure get a work out! I get grocery tips and strategies from them and I eat them up!! I recommend them highly!

The Centsible Sawyer *new to my blogroll*

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Monthly Budget for July

Credit Cards
Well, technically they are both held with Citibank now. My transfer fee was $99.00, but I will make up for that with my 0% in no time.

5 shopping trips this month. Had to allot for that. My stockpile has been incredible, but I still have to look for dinner items and just things we run out of.

Property Taxes & the Water Bill
Both due this month, so I actually will not be adding these things into sinking funds -- they will be paid this month.

Vet Bills
{{knock on wood}} there is plenty in the sinking funds envelope for the kitties this month.

Rearranging the "Blow" Categories
Back to where we were a month ago. There is a MISC fund for Misc Walmart needs (cat litter, water softener salt, misc yard maintenance needs, etc) Hate to say I was right to have them both separated -- but I was!

All three of us hitting up the sinking fund for hair cuts this month!

DH's birthday is next month and Christmas is not that far off ... I'm a little worried. I don't have a whole lot saved up for that yet!

Gas Prices
I've had to add so much extra for the Gasoline costs. Hopefully I have a handle on what we need now.

Screen shot courtesy of my YNAB Software

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's the End of the Training Season ... mini update

Training Season is Over:
Cueing in REM's Tune "It's the end of the world as I know it"...... "AND I FEEL FINE!"

The last group took their server tests today! Double edged sword though. Yes, training is over and I can breathe - however, the overtime has ceased! So the real sweet paycheck I get on Thursday will be the best I will see for the rest of the year. Ahhh well. Make the best of what you are given.

New Cell Phones:

Free Cell Phone Deals at

I don't know why I get so stressed out about buying things sometimes, but this phone thing was driving me batty. This is the third carrier we've tried in hopes of getting better reception in this black hole of a town we live in. Did you know that you don't have to buy phones directly from the carrier? I was pricing around and found that is probably the LAST place to buy phones! The Sprint deals were the worst of the places I looked: Best Buy, Walmart & Radio Shack were okay, but I wound up buying my phones from Let's Talk..... oh wait a minute! Scratch that... THEY WERE FREE! I got my phones FAST and had no problems. I just have to remember that I have to call THEM to make changes to the plan rather than calling Sprint directly. I might actually make $100 on the deal too because two of the phones had Sprint rebates on them as well! More money to the snowball -- that plus the money I had set aside to BUY PHONES!

Weekly Meals

Weekly Meals - back to having a plan

Thanks to HotCouponWorld, More than Enough & Money Saving Mom - my stockpile has grown enormously! In fact, this week the only things on my grocery list were:

15 boxes of pasta (.16 a piece)
American cheese slices
french onion dip (for my sausage casserole dinner)
4 cans of spag sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes

That's all I needed.... that's all I bought! Suweeeet! (of course, if I forget yeast one more time at the grocery store - I'm going to freak out!!)

Here's my Weekly Menu:

Monday: Tater Tot Casserole (my favorite E-Mealz recipe)
Tuesday: Spaghetti Bake
Wednesday: Brats & Perogies
Thursday: Sausage Casserole
Friday: Tilapia (haven't decided which recipe to try)
Saturday: Homemade Sausage Pizza
Sunday: Hubby's on his own

Monday, June 09, 2008

New Week, More Overtime and an Update

I'm sorry if I'm a little foggy headed this morning
I worked until almost 2 am this morning and it's now 7am and I have to get ready to go back to work. I played good Samaritan yesterday and helped out a co-worker with restaurant inventory. (the weekly count EVERYTHING in the kitchen) So I officially put in overtime again last week. I'm really tired and it's going to be a long day.

To the basement ya'all ....
Friday and Sunday both I had to evacuate the whole restaurant (staff and guests) to the basement because of a tornado warning. We've had tornado warnings before - but this is the first time I've retreated to the basement. The control you have when the entire place is hanging on your every word. Amazing that I didn't choke on my words. I was never good at public speaking - or crowd control. LOL . We weathered the storm. Some broken trees - but we did okay.

New Phones... finally
I get to order new phones with a new phone plan TOMORROW! We've been waiting for over a month for our contract to end so we wouldn't have to pay the penalty to leave. The reception in my neck of the woods is ridiculous. I'm hoping the new plan and new phones will bring better luck. Cross your fingers for me.

Am I really getting that old?
I went to a concert this week. Bret Michaels (Rock of Love) & Great White played in Waukesha at The Taste of Summer. This should not be confused with the Mega event .... Summerfest which plays in Milwaukee. Without getting into a review of the show (which I enjoyed) let me just tell you about the people we saw. Granted, I'm closing in on forty years old myself, but am I THAT old? I saw some women there that just made me giggle. And some that really made me mad!

Top Ten of "You really shouldn't wear THAT!"

1. Mullets both male and female went out of style a long time ago. Cut it off!

2. Spandex shirts and pants are only good on those with a smaller frame and even then it's questionable.

3. Spiked heels don't work so well at an outdoor venue after a rain. AKA Stuck in Mud.

4. There is an age cut off to being the bleach blonde rock and roll groupie....and're there!

5. You can put on a cowboy hat ... but you still don't look like Bret Michaels.

6. This isn't a Justin Timerlake concert. The 4 XL Tshirts that looks like you painted in the car on the way to the show that says Bret Michaels "Rock's Your World" just doesn't cut it.

7. Aqua Net ... nuff said.

8. Signs. Much like the T-shirt that says "Bret, You rock my world" a sign won't win you any accolades, however it may make the person standing behind you pretty peeved.

9. That skirt is too short! I mean TOO SHORT!

10. (and my favorite) When going to a concert of an 80's originated band, you are not required to act the part, dress the part or have your ten year old daughter ALSO dressing the part! Big hair, black make up, short skirt, boots and colored hair extensions look ridiculous on you ..... and they look especially ridiculous on your little girl!

Another Good Shopping Week
I love knowing the sales almost a week in advance! It allows me time to gather coupons and make the most of it!

Freebies this week included 7 Chex Mix, 1 toothbrush, 2 envelopes of taco seasoning, 2 Chex Mix plus 4 things from the 10 for $10 and get the eleventh free. I did that 4 times.
If my Meijers doubled coupons I would have done outstanding, but as it stands I saved $120 and spent only $74.

Back to Menu Planning
Of course I've been cooking -- but I haven't been really planning my meals out like I was doing for awhile there. Look for me to be posting weekly menu's again soon. It really helped and saved time when I had a plan. Go figure! LOL

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

I Can't Swim, but I can Surf!

Not giving up my money that easily!

My Bank of America 0% teaser rate ended and the remaining balance now incurs a respectable 9.24%. It's not the greatest in the world, but it certainly rocks the pants off 20% or whatever some people are dealing with. This balance is currently the one on the chopping block because of the higher interest rate. (going against the DR grain) I got my first bill with the higher rate and my interest incurred was $92.!! I said to myself (and probably out loud) "Oh hell no! I don't think so!!" I found a low fee transfer for 0% until January 09 which is a month before my proposed payoff date for that card. It's through Citibank - but I've had good service and treatment from Citibank in the past so I'm comfortable with surfing the balance. $92.00 in interest charges! Are you kidding me!!??! Bahh! Not going to happen! Never again!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Grocery Savings....

Wow... another fabulous weekend at Walgreens (Friday) and Meijer (Saturday)!

15 boxes of Pierogies = 40.80 after sale and coupons $5.40
a bunch of freebies from Walgreens after sales and coupons
a bunch of almost freebies at Walgreens & Meijer.

There was a mad gathering around the meat section at Meijer today as they had a ton of 40% off stickers on just about anything -- plus .99 per pound on Ground Sirloin. It was gone instantly. One lady - I was impressed had about 20 packages in her cart!

I saved $86 at Walgreens - OOP $11.00 (rounded to the nearest dollar) and $120 at Meijer - OOP $92.00. I went over for the week a touch, but I won't need meat next week so next week I won't need so much grocery money.

We went to Home Depot today to buy a HUGE shelving unit. I needed more space for my stock-ups! Now I have a mission: Fill a 48"H x 24 D 5 shelf storage unit! That can go with my already stocked pantry, linen closet, basement, and closet!!

I can't believe the good fortune I've had shopping lately.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Get your Printer Ready - Coupons on the Web!

I stumbled upon a great resource for printable coupons!
The web is such a wonderful thing - I really wish this was around (in this state) back when I first got married and had my ds. OH THE MONEY I COULD HAVE SAVED!

A Full Cup - Printables - You'll want to bookmark this one!

Memorial Day -- A Day of Remembering

A Day of Remembering.....

My dad -- has been gone since 1994. He was only 55 years old and was just starting to take advantage of the "life" he worked so hard for. He always said the restaurant was going to kill him. He was right. Well, that and cigarettes, fatty food and no exercise, I suppose.
My dad and I didn't have the most spectacular of relationships. I spent most of my life fearing him and seeking his approval. It was near the end of his life that we were breaking that wall and getting to understand each other. I have that to hold onto.

My grandparents -- My mother's parents were the most incredible people I have ever met. I can't even get into what a blessing they both were to my life. They were very generous with their time and love. My grandma had a frugal nature that I used to poke fun of, but now live myself. They were both hard working and lived a wholesome life. My dad's dad passed away long before I was ever born. In fact he died while my father was a young boy. I wish with my whole heart that he lived a lot longer, because I feel my dad would have been a whole different person if he had - and in doing so - we would have had a much better relationship from the get go. My dad's mother - I have resentment towards her. She tried - but ultimately I think her well being came before those of her kids and I don't agree with that.

A lost love, Bob -- You never forget your first love. Not that I have a whole whirlwind romance story to tell you about Bob, because I don't. I have just always felt that by something bigger than he and I, that we were destined to have our paths crossed. Even though our lives took turns away from each other, for some reason Memorial Day was a day we would reconnect. I have no idea why. Bob passed away at the age of 24 (in 1992) - and it broke my heart.....into a million little pieces. And because history dictates that I should - I visit his grave every Memorial Day Weekend. To the old times!

Baby Boy -- Anytime a child dies - it breaks your heart. In our neighborhood, a young 2 year old angel of light was killed accidentally by his next door neighbor. My note to everybody: Teach your children to ALWAYS watch for cars -- and ALWAYS make sure your driveway is clear of children when you are backing out (even if you don't have any). SUVs are so high up, she never even saw him.... Any loss of a child would be a shame, but this child was a bright light. His smile was constant and his heart huge! I often said I couldn't wait to see the man he grew to be. Sad.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

June Budget

June Budget

No big changes here except for that mighty fine payment to Bank of America (thanks to some overtime!)
We'll be changing cell phone plans this month and DS will be picking up more of the tab on that.

Looking for a bit more approved overtime in June from my job because of the training season - and then things should level out. My amazing dh, on the otherhand, should be seeing overtime for awhile!

Let the Summer Begin!

Random Updates of Debt and Grocery Shopping

Keeping up with the Plan

Extra Money
We've been very lucky to have the hours we both do right now - and we've been making the best of it. Our budget goes a month ahead meaning last month's income pays for this month's bills. We changed over to that style budget last year as a part of our BS1. Our hours fluctuate somewhat and I was never quite sure on how much to figure on. (Got off track a little - sorry) We have $940 extra in the budget due to the overtime that was worked which means that the Bank of America will be seeing a little extra money from me. Also means that Bank of America total due will drop under $10K.

Still love the Envelopes
My bank teller ladies are always so nice to me when I come in for my monthly CASH to stuff envelopes with. I always leave a nice little note explaining what and how many bills I need. We are entering Month 11 of our Total Money Makeover and I still get the same rush when I fill my monthly envelopes!

The story of the new car has been put on the back burner on a very low simmer. I'm happy the process came to a halt. I think my stress that week was 100% contributed to my two selves battling -- The Inner Brat and the Responsible Adult. Oh, when those two go at it -- LOOK OUT! The things you can rationalize in your mind when the inner brat is throwing a tantrum is amazing. No wonder so many people are in debt.

All Aboard
So many times when going through a process like this, it's hard to get the husband and wife on the same page of what has to happen. At first when we started this plan, I know my dh was just appeasing me. I have a habit of starting things and not finishing them - so he thought of it as one of my half baked ideas that will last a weekend and he didn't put a whole lot of thought into it.
Eleven months later - he's on board (at least until BS4) and even has the lingo down. I thought I would share a funny conversation we had while watching tv the other night:
There was a commercial on tv about this great new bra that Victoria Secret has out. I said, "Look, honey. Victoria Secret's got a fancy new bra! Do you want me to spend $60 on a pretty new bra?" "As long as you are using your share of the blow money because I don't want to spend my blow money for it!" LOL.

Grocery Store Guru Strikes Again
I don't know if the deals are just getting better lately or if I'm just getting back into the stock up mode - but I've been finding killer deals!

Last week, my pile of FREE things was almost as big as the pile I paid for.
This week, my grocery receipt said SAVINGS: $73.00 and my total out of pocket was only $35.00. I got $108 worth of stuff for only $35.00.

I took advantage of Friday's $5 off $20 at Walgreens and my little rebate card to help out with some deals there.

If you haven't been to HOT COUPON WORLD I strongly you diving into that site and take a poke around. They post deals, sales fliers ahead of time, and scenarios to save the most money. It's incredible!

Needless to say, I need another shelving unit - my stocking up is seriously getting nuts!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

American Idol 2007....err I mean 2008!

Randy Jackson checking out! I'll say it for the last time this season... RANDY JACKSON YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

Congrats to David Cook for winning American Idol Season Seven!
After all the criticism last night during the finale performances, I really though the vote would have fallen towards little David.

Now to see what the future has in store for Mr. Cook!
Got to save up some money for a great new album and hopefully a live show next summer!
Whoop! Whoop!

A fun stat I found on

American Idol vs. iTunes Top 20 Quickie:

#3. Billie Jean - David Cook
#7. Imagine - David Archuleta
#8. Always Be My Baby - David Cook
#10. Music of the Night - David Cook
#18. Eleanor Rigby - David Cook
#20. I’m Alive - David Cook
#21. Longer - David Archuleta
#23. Little Sparrow - David Cook
#24. Innocent - David Cook
#25. Hungry Like the Wolf - David Cook
#27. Think of Me - David Archuleta
#30. Angels - David Archuleta

Looks like David Cook fans have the money to support a music career ... they bought more MP3s at Itunes!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

American Idol -- Looking to the Finale

So who is suprised? ANYBODY?
I would imagine Syesha isn't even surprised by the outcome of tonight's announcement of who was in the finale.

The show of David vs David. We've known it for weeks now it was just a matter of going through the motions to get here. I haven't voted up until this point - but I will next week.

My random thoughts:

Randy Jackson has been an idiot this season. Paula is as Paula ever was, but Randy takes the cake for stupid contradictory comments this year. From his comments to Michael Johns about American Idol not being about dreams that it was about finding the best singer although every week someone is mentioning the word DREAMS!! Take THAT, Mr Jackson! Also, with DA singing an R&B hit and having Randy say -- "It's not who you are." Really? How do we know who DA is besides the show puppet of this father and American Idol? And ending with Randy's comments to DC after his performances this week too. Does he even have a clue? Is he worth really having an opinion on this show? Does he even make an impact? At least Paula is entertaining!

Who needs this more?
David Archuletta needs this more than David Cook does. I can see DA being the "Okay kid, stand here... move there... tilt your head this way....that way....." and ultimately, "Go Home kid, your 15 minutes of fame are up." What looked like the second coming of the Beatles in his homecoming video will be replaced by the next new thing because you know what ..... little girls, tweens and young teens change their flavor of the week VERY QUICKLY. God forbid DA turns into an awkward looking adult and not the cute smiley boy -- he's done. Finished. Kaput! We'll see him on WHERE IS HE NOW. David Cook on the other hand, I can see doing a Chris Daughtry. I see him lasting longer than a mere 15 minutes. How much lasting power does he have? I'm not sure because the music industry is (quoting Ben on Lost last week) "a fickle b*tch". That being said, I think his talent and uniqueness will serve him well.

What I'm looking forward to -- THIS SEASON BEING OVER. I really HATE the filler this show has...and even more than that I truly hate the group performances!

I do have to hand it to them, the Ford Focus commercials have been pretty fun this year!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Where did my money go?

Government Money -- What did I do with it?

The decision has been made --

$1398.00 to Bank of America
$102 paid for 15 pounds of coffee (Zimbabwe Coffee from Z'Cuppa) and 100 vac seal bags from Sweet Pak Attack for coffee and all other bulk freezer purchases. Figured if they were going to raise prices on coffee, I'd better stock up! 15 pounds will last us over 6 months. Vac bags were something I needed and if I'm going to be freezing goodies - and coffee.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Car Idea Revisted

Okay, I'm crazy. Plain loco en la cabeza. We went looking at cars. Worse than cars...worse than that... I FELL IN LOVE WITH A NEW CAR!

Here's the dream car -- 2008 Mazda 3 in Ice Blue Metallic.

Did I buy it right then and there?
Did I want to?
No, not really.
Because I really want to pay off AT LEAST the one credit card with the 9.9 APR before I did anything of the sort. Figuring too, that they might drop the price a touch because by the time I'm ready the new 2009 will be out.

DH has been bugging to get me a car and to let my ds buy my Chevy Lumina from me. Of course, the ds has been bugging me to get a new car so he can take my Lumina off me DIRT CHEAP! I've loved my Lumina for the past 11 years. I've never really wanted a new car -- until I test drove that Mazda!

So many of the Dave Ramsey lessons are beating me upside the head right now -

  1. Rich people don't buy NEW cars.
  2. Do you NEED a car?
  3. Loan on a depreciating item is just DUMB!

My game plan --- to kill that Bank of America card as fast as possible so I can get that damn car!

I know, I know!


It's time for training! The restaurant in a seasonal tourist town has one big training season and I just started it. Back to back training classes that I not only coordinate, but I also have my normal manager duties to do along with teaching classes and doing the testing. Some of this fun even overlaps! Long story short, May and June are the only months of the year that I see (and am allowed) OVERTIME! So far figuring 3.5 hours this week and probably 8 hours extra next week. Pretty nice considering I'm a 32-35 hour per week employee.

I swear it's a good thing we don't bet what his schedules are going to be like. The talk changes so quickly around his place; I really don't think they have a full clue on what's going on. I guess it's the new owners getting used to the place. We had overtime - they took it away - and now they are giving it back - plus Sunday (with a new perk of DOUBLE TIME). Dh will be working 7 days a week. I don't know how long THAT will last before he blows a gasket - but he couldn't/wouldn't pass up the money. He's going to be a bear. I'll love the money, but this is going to be a tough one.

Never Hurts to Ask -- the story of the dead dryer

Dryer on the Fritz
We ignored the warning signs. Our digital paneled dryer gave us the "error code E-2" a couple weekends ago -- but we got it to work and cancelled our Sears service call. "Yippee!" We said as we got another week out of it before it happened again. This time, even after taking the dryer apart to clean all the lint from the internal world of the dyer, it was pooped. Done! Nice timing...NOT! You know the service call guys. "Anywhere from noon to 5:00 pm." Yeah, that's reasonable! I decided to try a local guy instead. I thought he could get here faster and fix it cheaper. Welp, neither happened. It took him a couple days to return my calls and he came and looked at it and decided he couldn't fix it.

Of course, Wendy is on the internet and had a pretty good idea what was wrong - but no clue on how to fix it because I don't know a damn thing about electronics to test ohms and stuff. Obviously the local guy didn't either. LOL

Welp, it winds up that one of the neighbors works for Sears or so says the truck parked outside in his driveway. My dh, God love him, walked over there and asked the guy if he wanted to earn a little extra side money and help us figure out the dryer problem. The internet was right, our neighbor was right - the thermister blew. I had to order the part $30 and gave the neighbor $50 for his troubles and our dryer is up and running again.

Found out what Sears may have paid to fix the same thing. Winds up we saved quite a bit of moola right there. I guess it never hurts to ask for help. Nice to know we have someone close by who can help with our Kenmore appliances too!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Amazing Shopping Trip -- Coupon Collecting Pays off

My best friend works at Jewel Foods and she called me with a deal I couldn't pass up!

Select General Mills Cereal and various GM products were on sale for 10 for $20. With your Jewel card it would go down to 10 for $10 as long as you bought 10. Her store imposed no limit so you know little Wendy got out all of the coupons she had either printed off the Internet or got it the newspaper. I did their little deal twice so 20 for $20 plus I had $10.45 in coupons.

2 boxes of Fruity Cheerios
2 boxes of Cinn Toast Crunch
2 boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars
6 boxes of Trix
4 boxes of Cheerios
1 box of Chocolate Chex
3 boxes of Lucky Charms

Total= 9.55 (forty eight cents a box!)

Next trip = Meijer
Since I signed up on their website I could print coupons on select Meijer brand items.
Some good deals to be had -- since you could print out as many coupons as you wanted.

10 bags of salty food snacks (cheetoes, pretzels, popcorn) ALL FREE after coupons!
Chocolate Baking Chips = .50 a bag
Frozen Potatoes or Veggies = .50 a bag
Graham Crackers (a good deal...can't recall what right now)

Needless to say, I had stocked up on some things and that will help in the long run!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

American Idol - The Show of Davids

I don't think I'm alone here in thinking that this show is over. It's just a matter of the winner will be an Archuleta or a Cook. But rest assured it will be a David winning this thing. It's just a matter of waiting the time to get to the finale. There are no more surprises left. Brooke and Syesha have been playing in the bottom three (and the bottom two for Syesha) for awhile now. They don't have the fan base. Dreads Castro has the fan base, and that's about all he has. If he cut his dreads off and went bald, I'll bet you the fan base would fall out so fast it would make his head spin.

I loved the faster paced show this week. Idol with music and less filler make me VERY happy! Now if we could just do half hour results show and leave out all the filler THERE I would be EXTREMELY happy!

David Cook, “All I Really Need Is You’
David Cook, “I’m Alive”

My dh doesn't agree with me, but I feel David is a lot like Daughtry. A smart powerful voice! At least THIS year they appreciate it more. Thank Mr. Daughtry for opening the doors to THAT!

Brooke White, “I’m a Believer”
Brooke White, “I Am I Said”

I'm a Believer was an embarrassment! I actually felt bad for her! Hey! I have the perfect career move for Brooke: GO WORK IN A PIANO BAR! They seem to really like you behind the piano best. Since you have no stage presence -- it probably isn't a bad idea.

David Archuleta, “Sweet Caroline”
David Archuleta, “America”

Two of my favorite ND songs! Although, I thought he butchered Sweet Caroline, America was AMAZING!! Record labels are going to eat this kid alive -- chew him up and spit him out after his fifteen minutes of fame are over. But he'll have a good run while it lasts.

Syesha Mercado, “Hello Again”
Syesha Mercado, “Thank the Lord for the Nighttime”

Loved the last song. It's too bad her fan base won't cover her. Jason Castro just has to show up and smile on screen and that will get more votes any performance she will ever do -- it's sad. She's actually very good.

Jason Castro, “Forever in Blue Jeans”
Jason Castro, “September Morn”

I didn't mind either of these two songs. I don't understand what the judges wanted from him. He's a laid back musician who will always give you a laid back performance. He is what he always was. I guess they thought they could mold him into something. Kudos to him for sticking with his style......but I stand by my previous comments of him.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Budget Plan for May


Budget Snapshot courtesy of:
You Need A Budget "YNAB" Software

Budget for May
Why yes, it does look so similar to April. I'm not counting in the government rebate check into this yet. I haven't finalized plans for it. Ideas playing in my head keep changing a little bit. I would love to put it all towards my Bank of America debt, but reality is -- I really want to put some into our pantry stockpile and a little aside for Christmas too.

Also in May ... my hubby and my 17th Anniversary. Right around the corner, actually. We haven't made plans yet on what we are going to do to celebrate our anniversary, but the day before we are going to the Brewer's Game. (hence the blow money is a little inflated)

Car insurance went up, but the ds is paying the difference so that will be manageable.

I think the only thing that I can think of that poses problems is the grocery bit. Seriously, I've been comparing prices between 4 stores and it's truly a riddle I can't solve. Walmart is cheaper on some things - but not all. I really need to start writing a price book.

Friday, April 25, 2008

When Getting out of Debt Gets Boring.

Now that we have only larger debts left - the pace has slowed down to mere creep. I'm a constant checker. Check to look at the balances. Check to look at the snowball. Check to look at the budget. Things don't change, but I'm constantly looking. I don't know what I'm expecting to have changed.

Don't worry, I'm not jumping ship - but I feel I need to spice this process up a little bit.
I feel bad for you guys too. A blog that was once filled with exciting Debt Fighting action is now just a monthly update of what got paid.

I usually go through a slump in March and I think it's hitting a little late (because of the loooong winter, probably)

What do you do to keep energized?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

American Idol - Night on Broadway.. yippee

Another boring theme night at the American Idol Corral. Ughh... well at least we know who's going home tonight. Try as the judges might, Jason Castro is a force to be reckoned with from the Itunes download totals I read. So I don't care what they tried to do ... Brooke is going home tonight.

David Cook, “Music of the Night” -- sounded wishy-washy in spots - but he was able to put the Cook feel to it in spots.
David Archuleta, “Think of Me” -- had it muted. How was it?
Syesha Mercado, “One Rock and Roll Too Many” -- cute. I agree this is her area and just in the nick of time. Saves her from the bottom three.
Carly Smithson, “Jesus Christ Superstar” -- in her comfort zone, but she's lost her appeal to me.
Jason Castro, “Memory” -- I actually liked it. Suprisingly.
Brooke White, “You Must Love Me” -- Grew bored of her weeks ago. 1 Trick pony.

My votes for the bottom three:

My thoughts on going home: Easily Brooke (although Mr. Archuletta forgot the words early on and he was safe -- can anybody say DOUBLE STANDARDS)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekly Update

What a Mess!
Day off on Monday! Thank goodness - I really got to get a handle on this clutter!
Paperwork strewn everywhere - a kitchen table I can't even see - my dresser top is loaded with stuff and the computer desk has (barely) a spot for my coffee mug! I have to make a grocery list and sort through my coupons, but my coupon pile has again because a cluster! How does it get this way?

Accountable without excuses
Since my "tag" recently, it's come out that I am a Motley Crue fan. Two sides of myself have now collided. I usually keep the different facets of my self separate but since they merged - they merged. The big announcement last week was for their upcoming tour. Now, any time Crue comes to town I want to see them. I try to talk myself out of it sometimes (as I did last week) - but deep down I have this passion that eats until I get tickets. Well, long story short - I got tickets. 3rd row center. I spent money for them. I spent cash for them. I'm holding myself accountable for it, but I won't make excuses for it. The inner brat won - and this time, I have no problem with it.

Gotta Do List for the Upcoming Week:

  1. Organize my piles of clutter
  2. Make a grocery list
  3. Attack dust bunnies (there's a mutiny -- they are out to get me!)
  4. Bake some desserts for dh's lunches
  5. Organize coupons (again)
  6. Work on 2nd page of blog that has been neglected!
  7. Finalize May budget
  8. Get Envelope Cash from the bank
  9. Re-Organize sinking fund envelopes (stupid move of borrowing from envelopes- I need to pay them back now)
  10. Meet with DS's guidance counselor about "after grad plans"
  11. Write a Weekly Meal Menu.
Sharing a yummy, quick, cheap dessert recipe:

Key Lime Pie
  • 1 sm box of Lime Gelatin Mix
  • 2 regular sized Key Lime yogurt cups
(mix together)
  • 1 small container of Cool Whip
(fold into mixed ingredients)
  • Graham Cracker Crust
(pour into crust - cover and refrigerate a half hour)

I'm going to try it with Strawberry gelatin and yogurt next!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

100th Post Blabber Fest

This is my 100th post on Debt Freedom Fighters
As I hit the NEW POST on my Blogger Control Panel today, I noticed that low and behold, I snuck up on my 100th post! Of course, a 100th post deserves great things like cake and balloons - however, I'm having morning coffee and the hair is in a funk and I have no make-up on so we'll just have to leave as "Oh Yeah! 100th Post! Whooo Hooo!" There I got that out of my system.

Who would have thought that Mariah Carey week would turn into Boys Night. Hats off to them. I was going to skip the show because I'm not a Mariah Carey fan and my opinion was it was a tactic to move the less talented girls forward another week. Again, I was wrong! This is becoming a habit that I'm not liking too much!

David Cook, “Always Be My Baby” -- Amazing. Thank you Simon for getting your head out of your butt this week! God, when this guy belts it I get goosebumps.
Jason Castro, “I Don’t Wanna Cry” -- It's Jason. Love him or you don't - he is who he is. At least he didn't have his "little guitar"
Carly Smithson, “Without You” -- Is she falling apart after her first trip to the bottom three or what? She's not near as vocally strong as she was early on. I think the eliminations are weighing heavily on her.
David Archuleta, “When You Believe” -- no comment.
Syesha Mercado, “Vanishing” -- good performance, I thought. But does she have the fan base?
Kristy Lee Cook, “Forever” -- After last week's Michael Johns elimination, I will never like another thing this girl does on this show. Her time was up weeks ago. At the start of the song she looked pained -- actually I thought she botched the words or something because her face contorted. LOL Alas, that was musical expression. Who knew?
Brooke White, “Hero” -- Hiding behind the piano again, Brooke? I don't know.... She's good but I don't see her selling a whole lot of albums.

My votes for the bottom three:
Carly, Brooke and Kristy

I'd be happy with any of them leaving....but particularly Kristy

It's just hair
If that was the truth why do women feel the need to spend so much money to look beautiful?
I spend my birthday money from my mom on a salon day. Cut, color, highlight and eyebrow wax. Exciting, huh? I wouldn't have done it without the birthday gift because I don't put that kind of money in an envelope for hair cuts. Truth be told, those little "natural highlights" as Shelley called them aren't being covered by box color for longer than a week. I'm not ready to start showing age yet.

Once I get camera batteries I'll start taking pictures - my camera has been dead since before Thanksgiving. UGHH!

The Big Announcement
Long and Short of the Motley Crue Major Announcement was that they are doing a Cruefest with the other bands on the music label that Nikki just got signed as President for. I don't want to see the other bands on the list - and I'm not much for the "fest" of these concert things. Turns into a long day of dealing with drunks. And if I'm not one of them -- I don't want to deal with them! LOL. Presales for the tour happened yesterday as I was out doing errands. It wasn't until 9:00 last night that I realized I even had a password for presales (without joining the Fan Club) from an email I'd received. At that point, the available seats were well away from the stage and I'm not interested in being anywhere but rows 1-4.

Good news is, the new album will be ready on time! JUNE!

Inner Brat
As you know, I still have the 2 debts left. This is the lowest debt I have had in quite some time, but still nothing to be proud of. It's dirty credit card debt.

My son (with his new driver's license) wants that car! Although, he has given up on my parental need to help fund this new adventure of his - he doesn't have a whole lot saved up. So what kind of car can you get? An old car with a whole lotta miles on it!

This is where my maternal inner brat kicks in. And unlike the child inner brat, I feel this one is worse because you almost feel justified. I started looking at used cars for me so I may be able to give him my old car while he saves up for a better car. My car has a lot of miles and I don't know how many miles she has left - but at least he wouldn't drain his savings to get her on the road. How about that for hair brained ideas?

I keep looking at that debt total and trying to figure out what I can do to eliminate it in like -- A WEEK! LOL

On the Workfront
Let the training begin! I am the coordinator of our training program. We do a major training blitz every spring to get the servers we need to contend with the summer tourist crowd. That means extra days and extra hours and even a touch of overtime which I don't see any other time of the year. Great! My paycheck soars up about $200 or more (bi weekly) I can't wait to see the extra money take down that damn credit card debt! It only lasts until mid June so I have to take advantage of it while it's here.

The dh's work is stable, but under new ownership who isn't quite sure how to get the ball to move in the right direction. There's a lot of side stepping, rethinking and hem-hawing going on over there. All that might lead to an end of his overtime. I'm hoping they rethink some more! LOL

Revolution Money Exchange
I just read that they've extended their free $25.00 offer to sign up until May 15th!
Interested in signing up - click the little box in the right panel. :)

Oh Man! Look at the time!
I have to get ready for work -- make that money!