Follow by Email

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 6 and our Frugal Date

Tom and I just got back from our (almost) free date. We had a gift card to Chili's (thanks Di & Dan!) and a gift card to the movie theater (thanks Serenity!). The last movie we went to see was during the summer when they show the free kid's movies. We went to see Night at the Museum the week we were on vacation. So tonight, we went to see The Bucket List. It was really funny (and sad). We really enjoyed it.

So yesterday, I had some change I had saved up and rolled. It was $19 worth, so I added 10 more dimes to it to make $20 and took it to the bank and got $20 for the baby EF! That makes $190! WOOHOO!!!!!!! I also mailed checks for a couple of the smaller bills, so here's the updated debt list (I also had to add a couple of more that I missed in the original post):

DLO: $14.40-PAID!
DLO: $34.11-PAID!
Radiology: $37
Urgent care clinic: $46
Dr. Office: $79
ER Doctor: $97
dentist: $145
Auto parts store: $161.37
Josten's (Josh's Sr. Stuff) $252.12 (this has to be paid by March 1st)
Hospital: $261.16
Credit card #1: $2970
Credit card #2: $1104
Credit card #3: $990
Credit card #4: $899
Credit card #5: $908
Credit card #6: $2509
Car loan: $3563
My student loan: $12, 913
DH student loan: $53, 248

Guess that's it for today. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 5 and the Rising Cost of Well...EVERYTHING!

One of the most discouraging things for me is how high everything is. The rising cost of gas has trickled down to where it's affecting the price of everything. I go through about 5 gallons of milk a week between my child care and my teenage son. I used to be able to get those 5 gallons for about $10 (on sale) to around $12.50. Now those same 5 gallons of milk are closer to $20. Same with hamburger meat. I used to find it on special for 99 cents a pound quite frequently, now I feel lucky to find it for $1.50 a pound. And gas! Geesh! It used to take about $30-35 to fill my van, now it's between $50-$60! Unfortunately, my rates haven't increased enough to keep up and Tom's wages certainly haven't (although he is being blessed with some overtime right now).

So what's a person to do to save money, especially on groceries? Basically, I just have to be even more diligent in my grocery shopping. I watch for clearance and sale items and if I find a good deal, I stock up on it. I network with people who also love bargains and we try to keep each other informed. Just a couple of weeks ago, one of my friends calls me at 10:30 at night to tell me that she had found turkeys on clearance for 25 cents a pound at Wal-Mart. She picked me up a couple of 12 pound turkeys that came to about $3 each. That will make several good meals for my family and the child care. I shop at Aldi's for a lot of my staples. I watch the other grocery stores for good specials and pick them up.

Another thing I should be doing more consistently is planning meals ahead of time for my family. That is going to be another goal for me to work towards.

1. I will work up a menu for this weekend today (and get all the food set out to thaw in the fridge).
2. By Monday, I will have a plan for evening meals next week.

On my goals that I posted yesterday, I called the bank this morning and they are mailing out the information on the Christmas Club account. When I get it, I will get it filled out and returned. Assuming I get it soon enough, my goal is to have it turned back in by next Friday. I haven't got the pre-authorized checking withdrawals set up yet. I added $70 to the baby EF, so it is at $170, only $830 more to go!

TGIF everyone and thanks for all the kind words and support you've already been giving me!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Day 4: Updates and being $5 and $10'd to broke

Sometimes I feel like my kids are going to $5 and $10 me right into the poorhouse. "Mom, I need $4 for this, $10 for this, Mom, Mom, Mom!" Tom jokes that our initials are the same: ATM. LOL.

An update on my goals for this week:

1. I've finished up the quickie budget for our FPU homework for Sunday night.
2. I listed and sold (within 24 hours) a couple of my textbooks on half.com! (Thanks Mandy for inspiring me yesterday). That will be about $20 to add to the EF. We always have $50 held out of Tom's paychecks and put into our savings account (which is tied to our checking account). Inevitably, we end up spending it. So I'm going to get that out before we do and put it with the EF. That will be $70 total added to the EF.
3. I got our debt numbers posted on the blog. I plan to pay a couple of the smaller ones this week. When I do, I'll post my progress.
4. I've posted 4 days in a row so far!

Some new goals for the next few days (I'm giving myself a deadline of Tuesday).
1. Get a Christmas Club account set up through our bank. That way when Christmas rolls around next year, I'll have some $'s saved up.
2. Set up some pre-authorized checking account withdrawals for some of our bills. This is a FPU suggestion to help build discipline.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Day 3 and Getting Real

Naptime was a disaster today, so I'm just now getting a chance to post.

Today's blog is dedicated to my good friend and cousin, Jacolyn and her blog post last week about "getting real". You can read her blog here: http://lieck3.blogspot.com/. Jacolyn is the mother of two year old triplets. It doesn't get anymore real than that!

How often do we pretend that everything is fine when it really is not? Or how often do we do something we can't afford to do because we don't want to admit we can't afford it? I know I've been known to do it.

So, here's my list of debts. It's long. It's embarrassing. The only thing not listed is our house.

DLO: $14.40
DLO: $34.11
My student loan: $12, 913
DH student loan: $53, 248
Hospital: $261.16
Auto parts store: $161.37
Credit card #1: $2970
Credit card #2: $1104
Credit card #3: $990
Credit card #4: $899
Credit card #5: $908
Credit card #6: $2509
Dr. Office: $79
Urgent care clinic: $46
Radiology: $37
Car loan: $3563
dentist: $145

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Day Two and Dave Ramsey's "Baby Steps"

I thought I'd share a little bit about Dave Ramsey and his baby steps today. For more information, you can check his website out at www.daveramsey.com.

Baby Step #1: Get $1000 in a Baby Emergency Fund
Baby Step #2: Pay off all debt (besides your home) using the snowball method
Baby Step #3: Get 3-6 months of expenses into savings
Baby Step #4: Invest 15% of income for retirement
Baby Step #5: College funding for your children (um yeah, I think that ship has pretty much sailed for me, LOL)
Baby Step #6: Pay off your home early
Baby Step #7: Build wealth and give.

So Tom and I are at Baby Step #1. Is it just me or is this a lot of money to anyone else? Dave acts like this is no big deal, he wants people to do it in 30 days. Living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck like we do, this is going to be very hard. Dave suggests having a garage sale or working an extra job to help. I want to try to sell some stuff either on E-bay or on an online mailing list that I subscribe to. I'm not sure what we have that will add up to $1000, but every little bit helps. Tom & I each got $100 from my parents for Christmas, so I put my $100 aside as a start to the EF. So only $900 more to go for the baby EF!

Now, true confession time. Those who know me know how much I like to find ways to save money. Ahem, some might even call me cheap. LOL. But the truth is, we have been unbelievably stupid with money. We've used credit cards when we shouldn't have. We've paid off most of our debt only to build it back up again. Most of the time, we've not had any kind of safety net for our finances, so any kind of unexpected expense (such as hitting an owl with my van and needing a $100 headlight assembly) is a crisis. I am tired of living this way and I want things to get better. In the past when we've tried, it seems as soon as we'd start that some kind of crisis would happen and we'd be left feeling discouraged and down and give up. This time, I intend to keep trying regardless of what happens. Pray for us!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Day One-Introduction and Goals

Hello! My husband and I are starting on our second Dave Ramsey FPU (Financial Peace University) class through our church. Last night was our first official class. We really want to do better this time. We have to remember that we didn't get in this mess overnight and we won't get out overnight (hence the "Crockpot Cruise" title). I'm starting this blog to help me track our progress and hold ourselves accountable. This is going to require me to open up about stuff I'd rather keep private and put myself out there for people to see, warts and all.

I've been married to the love of my life Tom for 15 years. We have three children, Serenity, a sophomore in college, Josh, a Sr. in high school, and Natasha, a freshman in high school. I've done child care in my home since August 1993, and I am currently working towards getting my bachelor's degree online through the University of Oklahoma.

So my goals for this next week:
1. Do up quickie budget for FPU class
2. Find some things to sell to get $1000 in EF (Emergency Fund)
3. Post our debt numbers on the blog
4. Post everyday on the blog