Friday, February 29, 2008

You Get an Extra Day This Year. Don't Waste It!!

February 29th only happens every four years. So, what are YOU doing today? No clue? Well, don't let this extra day go to waste. Do something to help out your finances. Maybe you have a charge coming out of your account automatically that you have been meaning to cancel. Can you switch your fee heavy account to one that is free? Set up a monthly withdrawal into a high yeild savings account. Even $25 will start to add up. Make today the one day you do not procrastinate about your finances. Just pick one little thing and do it!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When it really hurts to say "We can't afford it"

Our bassett hound has been having some problems lately. We found a lump on his neck and today the vet said it is probably cancer. There are some options, but more than likely we will have to put him down. He is on some meds right now that "may" bring down the lump and if it does that means it may be treatable. However, they don't sound too hopeful that it will work. The doctor said we could take him to another state and have a doggie oncologist do surgery, but we are talking about a $2000 price tag. With the baby coming, there is just no way we can afford that. Our dog is almost 10 years old, so it is going to be really hard especially on my husband. We don't want him to suffer though so he goes back in on Tuesday and if the medicine has not helped he will probably be put to sleep.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How to Get RId of Your Own Wants

I describe a want as something you do not need for any reason, but you feel the need to purchase it to entertain yourself or your kids, or show off to someone. I am sure there are many other reasons for “wanting” to go out and spend money but I just wanted to show that I am not talking about things you need. Anyway, here are some tips BEFORE you spend.

Shop your stuff. I say this all the time but I say it because it works. If you really want a video game look through what you have at home and find something you already have to play. If you really don’t want to play any of your old games at least take some with you to the store to trade in toward your new purchase.

Get something free. I have saved so much money by using the library in the past year. I don’t know why I never thought of it before (I mean I AM a librarian, lol) but I always went out and bought books instead of borrowing. Now if they don’t have the exact book I want I try to find something similar just to keep from spending. You can also find a local chapter of freecycle to see if they have the item you are looking for, and get rid of some of your old stuff as well!! Another thing that often keeps me from buying is getting free samples in the mail. You can go to to search for sites that offer truly free samples. Hint: Set up a new email address at hotmail to keep from getting any spam in your regular inbox.

Do the 30 day list. The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly have been talking about this for a while. When you want to make a big purchase, put it on a list and make yourself wait at least 30 days. If you still want it after that time then you can buy it, but chances are if you are truly trying to fix your finances your will talk yourself out of it.

These are just some tips to get you started. If you have some tips of your own feel free to add them here!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where Have the Wants Gone?

I have been noticing that the last couple of months I have not had the urge to spend that I have had in the past. Perhaps it is pregnancy hormones? I like to think it is just me, finally realizing that what I really want is my debt gone so I can have MY money back. Paying those debts every month keeps me from having it to spend on other things.

“Thing” is, right now, I really don’t want ANYTHING. Seriously, it was very hard for anyone to buy me anything for my birthday or Christmas because there just wasn’t anything that I wanted or needed. I even skipped the 3D ultrasound that at first I really, really wanted. And, in the name of full disclosure, I almost caved, but I didn’t and now I am $175 richer because of it.

Another way we saved money recently… my husband and I decided neither one of us really likes Valentine’s Day so we decided not to exchange gifts. (And, this was mostly MY idea in case you are wondering.) I have just never had an emotional attachment to that holiday so what is the point of celebrating just for the act of celebrating. Our anniversary is kind of like our Valentine’s Day for me, and it is only a few months away, so we will celebrate then.

I guess the thing you have to understand is that this is a huge turn around for me. I almost always want something. I don’t usually buy it, but obviously I have in the past or I wouldn’t have any debt, lol. But, for some reason there really is nothing I want right now. There are things that we need and will be purchasing for the baby, but right now I am really enjoying this. I am saving money, AND I don’t feel deprived at all!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

They're in Debt up to Their Eyeballs

I am constantly reminded of that commercial where the man talks about all the great stuff he has and finally at the end he says, "I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. Somebody help me." Or something along those lines. I have actually turned that in to a little mental technique that I use to help me in my journey of debt repayment.

Just as a quick example, I was recently told about a woman who went to a store and found a great deal on a pair of diamond earrings. She called her husband and he came back to the store with her. He told her she could spend up to $1000. I believe she spent around $800, and this was considered her Valentine's Day gift. That is more money than my husband and I spent on each other for Christmas combined!! In relaying the story to my husband, he said, "well, that is a nice gesture if you have the money I guess."

Exactly, YOU GUESS! Most of the time we think, wow, those people must be doing really well. Or, I wish I could spend that kind of money on my spouse. In other words, we beat ourselves up because we can't afford to spend like that. However, I like to think that all of these wonderful gifts were put on a credit card that most likely was not going to be paid off by the end of the month. Now, I am not big on jewelery thank goodness, so it is not a jealousy issue. It just helps me to remember that you cannot tell what someone's finances are like by what they are able to purchase. Almost anyone can put a couple thousand dollars worth of merchandise on a credit card. And, a lot of people do so with no regard to how they will eventually pay it off. I used to be one of these people. Thankfully, now I am not.

I think this idea of pretending everyone else is going in to debt works for many reasons. The first one is that in many cases it is true. Most of the people that I know have similar incomes. If I can't afford it, they probably can't either. Another reason, and maybe the most important, is that it helps me focus on what is most important right now. Not stuff, but getting out of debt. I will do anything to keep from adding to that magic number that I am trying to pay off. It also helps me realize that some people have not had "the revelation" yet. They do not realize that eventually all this stuff has to be paid for, and their future is not secure until it is all taken care of. I am learning this at a fairly young age and I see this as a great opportunity for me and my family.

Now, I would never say this out loud to someone who just purchased something I think is frivolous. It is just not my place. But, I will continue to think this way when I see people throwing money away. And, hopefully it will continue to strengthen my own repayment efforts. So, the next time you feel down because you can't "keep up with the Joneses" just pretend they are about to file bankruptcy. It helps... I swear!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Completely Averted!!

WOW!! It worked!! We got the new hard drive and the computer is now working, good as new!! It did end up costing around $13 to ship the other drive back, but when you consider what it COULD have cost that is not so bad.

Well, I guess I should apologize again for not posting as often. My husband just got over pneumonia, so I have been stretching myself thin between taking care of him and the kids... and myself and baby, lol!

However, I can PROMISE you some upcoming posts because I have already written them, so check back over the next week. I hope to get even more writing in this weekend. I get so many ideas but can never find the time to write.

Just another quick note.... I so appreciate all those who take the time to comment. This blog helps me just to get my own thoughts together, but it is nice to know that it is helping other people too!! And, a lot of the comments give me some great ideas and help me as well!! Sharing is SO welcome. I am by no means an expert, so any advice that might help other readers is greatly appreciated!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Crisis averted?

A few days ago I posted that my husband's computer was not working at ALL. The hard drive was not being recognized by the computer. I started thinking.... didn't we JUST replace that hard drive? Yeah, we did. So I was looking at the back and read something about doing such and such would void the warranty.... THE WARRANTY.... It had to still be under warranty. I checked the website that was on the hard drive. Now, I am thinking MAYBE I can find a phone number to call and see what can be done because I know we don't have the receipt anymore. Well, I found the site, and lo and behold it had an automated warranty look up. I put in the serial number and found that it didn't expire until August!!! Even better, they had an automated process that allows you to go ahead and order a new one!! I couldn't believe how easy it was. It should be here tomorrow. My husband wanted to go out and spend another $100 on a new hard drive. I am SO glad I thought about the warranty when I did!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Surprisingly, January Was Not So Bad

Let's see, we had to pay our rediculous house taxes and my husband's road taxes this month, but we actually were able to save quite a bit of money! WHAT!!!

Well, we had a small windfall just in time to pay our taxes which we were not at all ready for. We had cash left over even after that and I was able to save from his check AND mine. I have no clue how that happened but I am not complaining.

I did something a little bad, but I am not going to beat myself up over it. I waited to pay for my car repairs until this last credit card bill was due. So, I paid off what extra I had put on with money I took out of our emergency savings, but I waited until the bill was due in essence skipping this month's payment which I put into savings. So my debt did not get any lower, but it won't get any higher either.

I was really excited to see two big bills drop. On my car I now owe less than 10 grand, and that nasty furniture bill is finally under 7. (Ouch, still sucks but hey it is getting better).

In other good news, my car insurance went down this past month. My cell bill was also down a bit. I don't know why all of these are lower but I am not complaining one bit. We got our Christmas electric bill though and wow.... it was pretty steep!

On the baby front, we really lucked out this month. My MIL came down and wanted to go baby shopping. She bought us a lot of the things we didn't have yet. Saving us a good $200 which will get to stay in savings to help pay for bills while I am on maternity leave and hospital expenses not covered by insurance. I made a new list of things that we really do need, things that we need but can wait on (like a highchair), and things that are purely wants (like that stroller). After my baby shower in March we will get whatever is left to be purchased only if it is a true necessity and not a "oh but this is so cute" purchase.

In disasters waiting to happen, my husband's laptop has gone kaput. It is not recognizing the hard drive at all. I pulled out my old laptop and he is using it, but it truly is a dinosaur. It takes a good 15 minutes to boot up which I warned him about. So he is now on a mission to buy a new computer. When he gets like this it is very hard to reason with him. He sees it as a NEED not a WANT. The fact that we need to be saving for the baby and the upcoming bills does not even factor into the equation for him. So, I guess I will probably be updating more on that in the near future.

So, even though January felt like it would never end we made out pretty good!! I have already looked at what is going to happen next month and I think the savings will continue. I will have more on that tomorrow with my "notebook" system that works so well for me.

I am going to lose my lunch!!

No, not like that!!! I am really bummed out though. I have started eating Healthy Choice frozen dinners for lunch at work. I can eat in the cafeteria for $2.60 but the food is really bad for me. I have to watch sodium and of course fat and all of their items are cooked in heavy butter, etc. So, I found some HC meals that were also $2.60. I still had to pay tax on that but to me it was worth a little extra money for something a bit healthier.

Well, I was really excited when the price was down to $2.00!! I still only bought my weekly amount which was a big mistake. I should have stocked way up. The next week the price went back up to two-sixty but I had a coupon which helped a little. This week the darn things are up to $3.16!!! I had my coupon again and was all ready to buy until I saw that. I decided not to get any at all as I still have a few in my freezer. Now, I don't know what to do. I can't keep making trips just to check and see if they have gone on sale. I have no idea if or when Walmart decides to mark those things down. I was thinking of trying again on Tuesday since I am off and I heard many stores mark down on that day. If I ever see them down to $2.00 again though I am going to have a cart full of green boxes... that is for sure!!!

I guess the lesson here is... if you see something you use a lot of at a low price it really does pay to stock up.

The MATH- If I buy the meals at $3.16 plus tax I am going to spend an extra 0.78 cents a day. That works out to $3.90 extra a week. If they stay at that price it will add almost $16 to my grocery budget a month. Not cool!!! So, do I keep eating healthy or go for the less expensive food? I guess my best hope is they go back on sale!