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Cutting Expenses to Pay Off CC'S

January 10th, 2009 at 03:59 pm

I have been trying to cut expenses, so that I may save a little more money. My husband and I plan to retire with in the next ten years. We are hoping that the stock market recovers in that time and while we are hoping that happens we are still contributing in the market just not with the same gusto as before. We are trying very hard to pay down both of our mortgages before that time and build a bit of savings. As mentioned earlier I have been looking for ways to cut my expenses and a few of the ways I have been able to were to: cut phone service from a line that wasn't really used too often,cut the gym membership, cut paying for my daughters savings and IRA and also cutting the amount invested every month in my sharebuilder account. With the amount that is now left over from not paying these bills every month it is all going to my outstanding balances on my credit card accounts. Once I have hit 0 with the balances that money will then go to savings. I should have the credit cards paid off by April or May.

Feeling Good

November 20th, 2008 at 08:40 pm

Got a free 21 lb. turkey today from my supermarket. It was a promotion if you spent 300.00 or more over several weeks you were eligible for a free turkey.
We bought 2 boxes of stove top stuffing and the turkey to our nearest shelter. The shelter was just recently on the news b/c this year donations were far off from previous years due to the economy. They were very appreciative at receivng the turkey. That made hubby and I feel really good.
We also donated 25.00 to our local food bank.
25.00 to our local mission and 25.00 for
ASPCA.
I made some cuts to our budget this past week. I cut off a phone that we hardly use(landline). It was costing us 33.00/mnth. Put the YMCA on freeze for a while(67.00/mnth). This still holds our membership but stops them from automatically taking money from my checking account while I'm not using the gym. I also reduced my amount that I was putting into my sharebuilder account. I stopped putting money into my daughters savings and IRA(500.00).This money will be applied first to my outstanding credit card balances and then when they are finished the money will then go to the Florida mortgage.
Not any great savings at the supermarket this week. I will be making a roast beef tonight with mash potatoes and broccoli.

Pot Roast and Body Puffs

November 14th, 2008 at 06:12 pm

The pot roast was amazing. It was the easiest and most tasty pot roast ever. I served it with carrots and mashed potatoes.

For those of you who use body wash and use the body puffs there is a great deal to be had on the puffs. I priced them at CVS, they were 3.25 at Sephora they were 4.25 at good old Walmart they were 0.94. Big difference for an item that needs to be replaced at least once a month.

I also found a deal on the oil of olay age defying body wash. At CVS it was close to 9.00 at Walmart it was 5.63.

November 12th, 2008 at 07:08 pm

Ok, so I went food shopping yesterday and today and didn't have any coupons. Probably a first. But I did some of the shopping at Costco which doesn't except manufactures coupons. Today I went to Shoprite and bought a few things to supplement what I didn't get yesterday. No savings at all. But with all the food I purchased I know I will not be tempted to eat out this week. I guess I can considered that a savings.
Last night I made a wonderful salmon dish with an herbed crust and served it over a bed of baby spinach with a side of wild rice.
Tonight I am making broiled center cut lamb chops with herb roated potatoes and steamed broccoli. For dessert I have ice cream or Pumpkin pie.
I am also making a pot roast in the crock pot as I am writing this. The pot roast was on sale. I got a huge piece for about 6.00$. I foung a recipe from recipe czarr and it was so simple. a dry packet of brown gravy mix a dry packet of ranch mix and a dry packet of italian dressing meis. Mix all 3 together and add a 1/2cup of water around roast cover crock pot and cook on low for 7-9 hours. It received rave reviews online so I will let you know how it turns out. This will be for tomorrow nights dinner.

Some Good Savings Today

November 6th, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Jeez,another hit on the stockmarket,again today. I think I am just going to give up looking at it on a daily basis. My sharebuilder account is down 35%. I am really considering not putting money into it this month and holding out for a while until it calms down. It seems like every month I put in my 500.00 only to see the total go down 500.00. It really seems like a lose, lose situation right now. Don't even get me started on my annuity IRA which is even worse. The only thing that remained stable was my good old savings account. I know the money in these accounts are for the long haul, that's the only thing that is keeping me sane right now.
On the home front, I have been doing very well with not eating out and doing more cooking. Tonight we are having Garlic Porkchops with yellow rice and pink beans in sauce. The pork chop recipe is from mizznezz on recipezarr.com. It is really good. Last night I made chicken cutlet parm. with pasta and grilled asparagus. I don't really like cooking so this site really helps me out.
Went food shopping today used a bunch of coupons and then to cvs and bought some lipstick and makeup used coupoms for that and saved a bundle. They had the lipsticks for bogo,plus I had a 1.00 coupon and a store coupon for .50. The face make up was buyone get 50% off. Very good savings.

Nearing The End Of The Year

November 1st, 2008 at 01:51 pm

We are nearing the end of the year and I was just reviewing my goals and accomplishments. My goals really strayed from real life. I never thought that I would have purchased a home this year but I have and I am very happy with it. Instead of having put the money that I had wanted to in the stockmarket it went towards the house. What an accidental gift that was. Instead of having lost alot of money it was put towards something that has made us very happy and hasn't lost us a dime. In fact it may turn out over the years to be a very wise investment. That doesn't mean that I haven't lost old money that was in the stock market b/c I certainly have. To me it is a bundle to others maybe not so much. But I try not to think about it and just hope that over the long haul that the market will bounce back and that my retirement investments will once again be secure.
The other unplanned expense that wasn't a goal in the beginning of the year was a large family trip to Mexico.
We took our kids and their significant others and had a great time. It was a once in a life time trip and was totally worth every dime. We reconnected with our kids and their special someones.
There was alot of money spent this year and not nearly as much saved as in the previous years but I feel that it was money well spent and do not regret the choices we made as a family.
Even though we spent rather than saved this year it really was mindful spending. WE still thought long and hard before we spent and look for the best deals. We did not spend above our means and I think that makes a very big difference to our bottom line.

Update 9/08

September 6th, 2008 at 01:49 pm

My debt has increased substantially since the purchase of our home in Florida. I still feel it was the smart thing to do as I don't think that I would be able to afford the house 10 years from now. While both my husband and I still have good incomes and hope to continue to have for the next ten years at least we will aggressively pay down both our primary residence and our Florida home. It's funny the mortgage is not the hard part. It's the everything else that is associated with the house. The utilities are very expensive , even though we are not there using any of it. The taxes insurance and maintenance and etc..
My credit card debt is mainly from the vacation we took in August and buying supplies for the house. I paid cash for the furniture. I also lent my daughter money for this semester. Which she has agreed to pay back in full. I will say, I thought financially it would have been easier than it is right now. I hope it is just a working out the kinks kind of adjustment period right now. I haven't been able to save a thing since March of this year. Which is kind of upsetting. I hope to be able to correct that by the end of this year and have a good grip on expenses and savings going into January.
I'm very excited that the mortgage on our primary house looks like it will be paid off in the next 21/2 - 5 years.
Anyway, everyhting else seems to be going well for which I am very grateful.

A New Job

July 27th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

My daughter finally found a job. Hurray!!! I say this b/c she will have to stop asking me for money and hopefully become more responsible about paying for things herself. Hopefully freeing up some money for some needed savings.
DD started her new job last Saturday she works very long hours but gets paid very well. Starting in Sept. when she goes back to school she will cut back to 3 days a week. Oh did I mention that she will also have to be responsible for her own tuition? I had promised her a long time ago that her Dad and I would pay for 4 years of college anything above and beyond that would be her responsibility same as her brother and sister. All three kids had to get their 4 year college degree it was the law here. Being that we made it the law we didn't think that they should have to pay for our request. Anyway the 2 older ones are doing great. MY youngest is taking a little bit longer to get on her feet. She graduated this May from the university. By her getting this job is a huge step in the right direction. And her paying her own tuition this year( she will be continuing on to specialize her degree) is also really big. I am so proud of her.

July 17th 2008

July 17th, 2008 at 10:37 pm

My DH's eye is doing fantastic. He can see really well. He is going to be fitted for new contacts soon.
I'm glad we stayed open today b/c it was a very busy day at work and it looks like tomorrow will be too.
Not too much going on in the savings department, trying to stay on track. DD is hopefully going to have a job starting Saturday. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Sold a few books on half.com yesterday. Finished reading the book Tail Spin. I thought it was pretty good. An FBI thriller.
Tonight for dinner I am having spanish rice. At least my mothers irish version of it. Chop meat, onions, garlic, rice and tomato sauce.
Heading upstate this weekend. We have people renting for next weekend so I have to go up and prep the place.
Added my new mortgage to the side bar.

Doing Better

July 12th, 2008 at 02:20 pm

My DH's eyes are better. He now has to get refitted for dailey contact lenses. This incident was such a scare I thought he might have lost his eye sight in his right eye. With the type of work he does he would have lost his ability to work. Closing the office for 2 days this week cost alot. I would hate to imagine if it would have been for a much longer period of time. To recoup the loss we canceled our trip to Maine for next week. That will save us on gas, hotel money, meals and etc..We will keep the office open where we would have been closed, hoping to make up the loss of income.
It's been 3 weeks since we have had dinner out. Which is incredible for us.I have been using Recipe Zaar like crazy. I haen't made any new purchases. I have sayed away from all the stores except for the food store.

Life Happens!

July 8th, 2008 at 05:42 pm

Food shopping was kind of expensive this week.$134.00 with coupons. Returned the beer and soda bottles from the weekend. Hubby has been home from work b/c he has an infection in his right eye making it nearly impossible for him to see. We have been to the eye doctor everday this week. I'm hoping that it clears by tomorrow. I am worried about his vision it is already pretty bad. And since we work for ourselves we have had to shut the business down while he is out. Because of this situation we have had to cancel our trip to Maine which was to take place next week. We have to recoup the loss of not being open this week. Oh Well, Life Happens!
Some of the bills have started coming in from Florida, basically the maintenance and the utility bills. Not so bad so far.

Last Night's Dinner

July 7th, 2008 at 01:41 pm

Dinner went well. I stuck to the menu and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The kids were very exited to get their tickets. A lot of plans were made during dinner as to the things they would like to do and see. That's on their own, we will not be paying for the extra's.
Back to work today. It was nice having the long weekend. And having everyone over for dinner made me clean the house really well before hand,so now I have a really clean house to start the week.

A Get Together

July 6th, 2008 at 02:39 pm

Today the family is getting together and the original plan was to meet up at a restaurant with all the kids and their significant others and then hubby and I would pick up the tab. The reason for the dinner is, we are taking a trip together at the end of this month. DH and I are treating, except the kids are all responsible for their own airfare.
After reviewing our budget it was decided that we would have dinner here at the house to save a few dollars. Hopefully we will be able to eat outside if the weather holds up.
Menu:
Appetizers-shrimp and vegetable gyoza
chips and dip, edamame.
Main course=chicken kabobs, ribs, jasmine cocnut rice and corn on the cob.
Dessert-ice cream.
Drinks= beer, wine and soda.
Total outlay of money was 50.00.
Now, hopefully I don't burn the dinner and everyone enjoys themselves.

Hopping on the Frugal Train Again

July 4th, 2008 at 08:04 pm

I have to start being very frugal again starting this month until I get the credit cards paid off.
DH and I purchased a home in Florida and the start up cost is quite expensive. It should start to flatten out by December. It is taking a real rearrangement of the budget but it is doable. First we have stopped buying isolated stocks. I will continue with my sharebuilder account but I cut the amount in half, as to what I was contributing. Adding to savings will not happen until January. The wood flooring for the house has been put on hold. I am back to cooking dinner every night and making lunch and breakfast as well as clipping coupons. I am still selling books on half.com and retuning cans and bottles for the deposit money. I will have to start thinking more creatively again in other saving areas.

Free Tomatoes

June 16th, 2008 at 11:26 pm

I have tomatoe plants this year and I didn't even plant them. I just kind of forgot. Then I walked outside the other day and in the planters that I used last year, I saw 3 tomatoe plants growing and they seem to be doing quite well. Now that they are there I am caging them and giving them some miracle grow and some more topsoil. What a pleasant surprise. We have some other things growing in some other containers too...I think one might be a pumkin, the leaves are enormous. My husband had a lot of success with his seeds this year. He was able to take the seeds from the plants last year and cultivate them during the spring. At the end of May he transplanted them outside and they are doing great. He planted Dalia's, Marigolds and Impatients. Some of the plants that we brought indoors after they bloomed last year are also doing well. We have geraniums and impatients that are quite a few years old. Very happy with our free plants.

Starting from Zero Again

June 14th, 2008 at 01:21 pm

My bank balance is at zero again. This is a good and not so good thing. Good b/c the money was spent wisely. Not so good b/c it took a long time to save and I have to start all over again.
The money was spent on a down payment for a home in Florida. Hubby and I figured while the prices were low that now would be a good time to buy. We also took into account the very low mortgage rates. We purchased a very nice home in an area that will greatly appreciate in the future. We don't plan on really living in it for about ten years. In that amount of time we hope to make extra payments on the mortgage, without penalty and have the house paid off in about 12 years. By that time my husband and I will be retired. We will spend 6 months in Fl and 6 months in NY. We should have our primary home paid off in about 5 years. That will give us some breathing room.

WE also have had to shell out about 5,000.00 to get our pool fixed. I have to say that was money well spent too. The pool has never looked better and already we have gotten so much use out of it.

My projects with the home improvements have been progressing but very slowly. Still waiting on the hard wood floors.

Starting July 1st I am going to put myself on a very strict financial budget and get myself back on track again with the savings. It's kind of weird, I'm so happy about the house but I also feel guilty about spending the money to get the house.

March Update

March 19th, 2008 at 07:43 pm

Right now pretty much everything is on auto pilot. Savings, Stocks, Ira's etc.
I have been doing my best at continuing to use coupons and shopping for the best prices around. Still selling books on Half.com. Cooking more vs. eating out. I don't know if that will change when the nicer weather gets here. Still visiting the thrift shops for deals. I can see some of this(frugalness) is seeping into my daughter. She always looks for a coupon now, no matter what it is. She also likes to save her money and is also beginning to see what a real savings is vs. a big waste. DD is also more enclined to recycle these days than ever before. Hubby too.
I do have some large expenses lurking around in the near future. The first is to repair and istall the wood flooring in my home. Pool repair and some landscaping projects. I'm hoping to get a tax return and use it for these projects.
My doggies have been good, very healthy I haven't had them to the Vet in a while. That alone is quite a savings.
Oh, I was able to recycle and old cell phone to someone who needed a phone b/c they lost theirs and couldn't afford to replace theirs.
My Kiva loans are doing well. Two of the three loans I made are almost paid up. Once they are paid in full I am going to increase the amount I loan. Last year I loaned 300.00 this year I will increase it to 500.00. I feel very good about this. I am helping people by enabling them to help themselves.
On the down side, I have been watching my IRA dwindle down to about 15% of what it was, before the down cycle. I'm hoping that things will pick up again in the summer and around the presidential elections. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Update

February 9th, 2008 at 06:01 pm

I have been following the same principles as I have from last year and I am happy to say that except for a few transgressions, minding my money and wasting less has become a way of life for me. I guess this is why I haven't been journaling much. It is not new to me any more and I feel, if I write I am just repeating myself and being monotonous. I do like keeping track of my progress on the side bar.

My mortgage is coming down nicely.
The two extra principle payments made last year, were a really big boost. Now for the first time, money going to the principle exceeds the money being paid towards the interest.YIPEE!


The stock market on the other hand is a big mess. How a few greedy SO and SO's have disrupted our whole economy and the lives of so many is really scarey!!! Isn't there such a thing as a regulatory commission to over see misteps such as these? Or do these people turn a blind eye for their cut of the money, while a whole nation suffers from their greed? If their was someone paying attention and not so greedy I don't think this mess would have ever occurred, I am not in the financial field and from the beginning of these exotic mortgage schemes I new there would be a painful ending. Logically, it just could not have worked...Now it is up to us to pick up the slack, with higher taxes for all to compensate for the errors of just a few, while those few walk away with multimillion dollar benefit packages and no conscience.
Why aren't they made to pay for their errors? Or is this just the american way of doing business ???
I am still investing in the market because I do believe that things will turn around eventually.

Busy

January 22nd, 2008 at 09:23 pm

It's been a busy January. We have been in contact with the people for the cabin and it is now a sore subject. We are no longer building a cabin. When we got right down to the constructiion of the home it was just way too expensive. The kit was affordable but we had no idea of the expense of putting it together. The total would have come to 436,000.00 and that price was just for the shell. It did not iclude the kitchen , bathrooms or flooring on the main level of the home. I was just so surprised. I figured with housing the way it is today that we could have gotten a decent quote but no way! So the project is on hold until we reach a new plan for the property. We will probably go wtih a stick frame house.

As you can see my savings account went way down. That is b/c I purchased a bunch of stock on the down turn. It will be fun growing it again. Now that we are not building a home it frees us up quite a bit.

My health insurance company is going out of business after 14 years of being with the plan. I received a letter from them that I would have to start looking for a new insurance provider. As of December 31st I ahve not had insurance and have been busy scrambling around trying to find a decent contract that was similiar to what we had. I found one today and enrolled. I am hoping that we will be enrolled for the beginning of February. I went with the Oxford group which is good b/c my doctors are in the plan as well as my hospital.

2008 Monetary Goals

December 31st, 2007 at 10:17 pm

1. Cash goal 68,000.
2. Sharebuilder account 12,600.00
3. IRA 4,000.00
4. Stocks 25,000.00
5. Make extra payments toward principal on mortgage.
Happy New Year!

Years End

December 29th, 2007 at 04:42 pm

Now that the year is coming to a close I have to say that this year I have been especially mindful of my savings. For a full year I have kept an eye on my spending and have watched my savings grow. Overall it has been a very good year and I hope that it continues. My setbacks have been very minor and I have been able to recoup any and all losses. Most of my projects have been completed well with in budget. The only outstanding project remaining is to get the wood floors for my home.

The cabin purchase is on hold indefinately at the moment. The kit price came in fine but the builders estimates put us way over the top of our budget. So, for now we are forgoing this opportuinity and will continue saving.

My plans for the new year are pretty similiar to the goals that I had set this past year. I hope to be able to stay on track.

Roth IRA's for Kid's

November 26th, 2007 at 12:28 am

I have been reading increasing information on starting kid's with their own Roth IRA accounts so that at a young age they can definately benefit from long term return. It didn't even occur to me two years ago that I would be one of the few people around my area to open a Roth IRA account for my daughter. I guess that the ah ha moment just occurred to me to do it and it just made so much sense(Parents open bank accounts all the time for their kid's so why not an IRA).
My reasoning for doing this is, my daughter was and still is in college and has a small part time job which barely covers her living expenses. So, I just thought that it would be a good idea to just get her started. I don't fund her account to the max every year. I put in just about what she earns in a year. I will keep putting money in until she is able to fund her Roth IRA herself. Thereby taking full advantage of her age and her retirement date. She should be able to accumulat a nice sum by then.

Cabin Update

November 25th, 2007 at 04:17 pm

We are waiting for the materials cost of the kit. We should have the quote by this week. Next step is to go to the general contractor and get his quote so that we can apply for a construction loan. I'm a little nervous b/c I have heard that the lending standards have become so tight. We are putting 25% down and we already own the property. I am currenty trying to get my credit score into the 800-850 range so that I look really good on paper in preparation for the loan. Keeping my fingers crossed!

November 25th, 2007 at 04:11 pm

November 25th, 2007 at 04:10 pm


We have received the preliminary drawings for our cabin and have also retained a general contractor for the building of the cabin. I'm waiting to hear what the material quote will be. I should be hearing something this week.
After, I receive this quote then I have to go to the contractor and find out how much it will cost to get the kit together and build the cabin. My husband and I would like the home to be in turn key condition b/c neither one of us is very handy when it comes to carpentry.
I am very excited about this and I am also worried.
From what I have ben hearing, the lending standards have become much tighter and there are only a few places that deal with these types of construction loans.
We intend on putting 25% down and we already own the property that the home will sit on. Right now I am trying to figure out how to get my credit score to the 800-850 range so that I will look really good on paper when I go to apply.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22nd, 2007 at 01:58 pm

A Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Started My Christmas Shopping

October 31st, 2007 at 07:05 pm

I started my Christmas shopping online this past weekend. I found quite a few good deals and used some coupons. I love getting a jump on things. I hate waiting until last minute. I already received all of the items and I didn't pay a dime for shipping.

This weekend I will be meeting with the log cabin people to develope a floor plan and cost for the cabin. I'm kind of excited and kind of nervous. It is such a huge obligation for the next 10 years of mortgage payments. As my husband says better to do it now before we get too old. I guess he's right but it doesn't make me feel any less nervous.

I bought more stock this month and I am happy with my purchase.

Happy Halloween!

754

October 20th, 2007 at 01:49 pm

I know that I have mentioned in the past that I have my free checking and savings with WAMU. The savings account is great! I get 5% interest with no minimum balance. The other thing that I like about WAMU is that I have their credit card and some of the features of that card is when you go online you are able to get your credit score free of charge. The credit score is updated once a month. You only get the score and it alternates between the credit agencies. This month my score was generated by Transunion. If you want a detailed explanation of the score, they give you the option to purchase it, right on the same page.

What I find hard to understand...is that my score goes up and down. From 730-760. Without me doing a thing. For instance I have not carried a balance on a single credit card for over a year. Or for that matter have taken out any type of loan. I haven't been late on any payments. So why should my score change at all? For example the begining of last year my score was the highest it had ever been 765 then it droped to the 740's. Meanwhile my savings account had increased and my mortgage was going down???
I just can't understand how they arrive at their numbers.

I would like to get my score even higher by the end of the year b/c I will be taking out a builders loan for the cabin I intend on building. I would love to qualify for a great interset rate at that time.

Nothing New

October 18th, 2007 at 11:00 pm

I haven't written much lately b/c there really isn't much to say. i have been doing pretty well with the saving. I haven't been spending too much so that's good. I'm just following the same path, it has become a habit now, so that is what I mean by nothing new.

3RD Quarter Over

September 28th, 2007 at 10:16 pm

Today marked the end of the 3rd quarter for the year. I think that I am ahead of last year in the savings department. But I will not know for sure until 12/31/07. That is day when hubby and I go over al the investments and savings for the year and set our goals for the new year. We started this New Years tradition about 3 years ago. We look forward to it very much. We actually make a day of it and afterwards have a nice celbration.

The only thing that I know of that will affect next year is building the cabin. Which for now is still on hold until we can get septic and building permits. To tell the truth I am a little scared about taking on such a huge expense at this time. But my husband and I are not getting any younger and we want to do this before we get too old and no one wants to loan us money. We will be putting down a large down payment and that will be coming out of savings(nervous). We will also be making smaller payments for stuff such as building plans and 10% down for the kit. I am just wondering if we will like the place so much that we will make that our permanent home and sell this house? The taxes and the cost of living would be so much cheaper.

On another note, I have tried the paperback swap and it is a really nice site to trade books. It is very easy to use and the members are very friendly.

This weekend will be a big spend weekend. I am taking my Dad upstate for a wedding. My Dad is the kind of person that likes to keep his hands in his pockets if you know what I mean . So I will be paying for almost everything. I don't really know this side of the family so when he asked if I would take him I was hesitant but then said sure. He never goes anywhere. Anyway that is how I am spending my weekend.


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