Thursday, October 18, 2012

Starting October's Training

I know, I know.  It's been a long time since I've blogged publicly.  I haven't stopped writing, just haven't published anything.
My health and well-being has really been on my mind lately.  The business is plugging along.  We've been gearing up for our busy season in our family with three birthdays and a Halloween party.  Beefing up and spending out the sinking funds for gifts and parties.  I've also started a new taxes fund (real exciting), so that we won't get stuck with a big tax bill again next year.  I've been more focused on me and not quite so stressed about money which is a good thing.
I've lost 18 lbs so far in my quest to become stronger and sexier!  ha!  I feel like I'm getting more out of the gym classes than I've ever gotten.  I worked more on my arms this week and boy do I feel it!  
Today, 10/18/12 I started a couch potato to 5K training regimen   It starts out slowly and builds up to a full 5 K run over many weeks.  Today I just did a 20 minute workout.  It was great!  I listened to music and followed the program.  5min warm-up, 60 sec jog, 60 sec walk, repeat.  I even treated myself to a frappucino at the end!  I'm looking to build up my stamina and see an improvement in my not so toned up legs!  It also would be a nice bonus to run in The Great Race with the rest of my family this Spring!  Wally, Abby, and Spencer all ran the 5K last year and Claire ran the Kids' One Mile.  I did nothing but stand there and cheer.  Not this year.  
On Sunday at church I'm going to do a budget talk.  The last one wasn't well received, so I'm anxious that no one will come, but nonetheless, I have to prepare.  I'm obviously a big fan of Dave Ramsey's teachings, so there will definitely be a big spin on it based on his principals and teachings.  My goal is to provide people with a reason to budget that they never thought of before.  A jumping off place for more in depth discussions.  I also talked to our pastor and teaching an FPU class was well received, so I will probably teach one in January!
Today our firewood is being delivered.  I'm excited to have a nice warm living room all winter without having to spent so much for little bundles at the grocery store.  I was always so stingy with that wood because it was such a small amount.  Now I can start fires in the afternoons when the kids get home from school and have it warm until 10pm at night.  A warm, cozy home is something I love from my childhood!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Spending

This week has been a week of back to school spending and treats!  In order to be accountable for our spending, I'm posting it here to make me really stop and see what we've been doing.

Shoes for kids - $176
School Registration     - $100  (3 kids)
Backpacks      -  $90
Dessert           -  $ 35
Lunches           -  $40
Groceries         - $209


Wow, that's a lot of spending for one week!  Hopefully next week will slow down.  We are officially done with our "list" of back to school items.  Although, DD11 may still need a new back pack once school starts.  She is waiting to see what everyone else has so that she doesn't have the same one as everyone else.  DD6 also needs at least one more pair of shoes, but they will be on the inexpensive side with coupons!

Our goals for next week:

  • Spend only $40 for gas
  • Dining - one weekend dinner out (date night!) $40
  • A/C - hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can keep it off!
  • Entertainment - taking the kids to Pacific Park for our last family trip! - $160 (tickets, food, games)



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Summer Vacation!

Summer is always a time of sleeping in, swimming, and playing with friends.  We have been enjoying the time off from school and I'll admit very little of office time for me as well.
Our annual trip to visit family is always a highlight of the summer for the kids and me.  This year it was an extra long trip because my SIL also had a milestone birthday.  I went up to visit her as well to celebrate.



Our trip includes a trip to the lake to stay in my Aunt's cabin.  We explored, rode a zip line, roasted marshmallows, played games, did crafts, and Grandpa rented a pontoon boat this year, which was an absolute blast!


We also had fun geocaching this year for the first time.



Wally came to visit for the first time this year too!  It was a hot day out at our cousins' house!  My Mom and Dad did a little geocaching with us too.



So many things to do.  We went back to school clothes shopping and school supplies, Water park with cousins and my Mom and Dad.  A inside amusement park/arcade/buffet, out to dinner with high school girlfriends, a movie, the zoo, whew!  These kids and I are SPOILED!!!!!!  What fun we had!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Major Milestone!


Well, it's official.  All the accounts have cleared and all our credit cards are paid in full!!!!  These last two were business expenses and I'm thrilled for them to be gone!  We have NEVER EVER in our entire 15 years of marriage, and probably before that, been completely credit card debt free!!!
All total, we paid off $51,396.00 from when I started tracking it in 2006!  The last two were a credit union card for $1531 and a business visa for $499.  Gone forEVER!!!

This isn't the official debt free scream, though.  I'm working on one more computer loan and two cars, but still this is HUGE for me!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why didn't I take cash!

So I used to be a high end couponer.  Used to be is the optimum word.  I wasn't one of those extreme couponers who bought things to make money or stockpiled toilet paper for three years.  But I did use a lot of coupons.  I didn't buy anything at the grocery store unless it was on sale or I had a coupon and preferably it had to be both.  It worked well for a while, but it was a lot of work.  A couple of hours on the weekends just to print out sales, ads, and clip coupons.
The kids are older now and all three are in sports or music/drama. We have lots of sports on the weekends.  I have gotten complacent and thought that as long as I stay in my grocery budget every week, then it was ok that I wasn't doing a lot of coupons.
Last week I went to the grocery store almost every day.  At least five times.  I didn't go over my budget, shocking as that was to me since I wasn't keeping track as I went along, but it was annoying to say the least.  I would get ready to make something and be out of eggs or mayo.  I knew it was time to make a menu and plan a list.
Well, fast forward to this weekend's "big" grocery shopping trip.  I made a list, clipped a few coupons and headed to the grocery store.  But I didn't take cash.  I had a $120 budget.  I started with produce, but I kept going back down the rows to get more stuff.  My cart got fuller and fuller and I knew that I had gone over budget.  But we didn't have much to eat at home.  The biggest problem I had was that it was 1pm and I hadn't eaten.  I ended up buying four or more different things I wanted to eat for lunch.  Once I unloaded the groceries, I realized that I had leftovers in the frig to eat!  Now I had too much food!  The bill came to $210, ouch!  
I learned two valuable lessons:  
Eat before you go and take CASH!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Discipline, Focus, and Determination

Well our focus and determination haven't wavered.  In fact, in all aspects of our lives I find the principles of Dave Ramsey and baby steps working.
We've been saving like crazy this last month for a "rainy day".  Our snowball has become a snowflake.  But beefing up the savings accounts gives me comfort that we can weather through any storm.
During this last month I joined a gym and have been focusing on getting stronger, healthier, and thinner!  The winter weight crept up on me, and it's time to have some focus, discipline, and determination.  My financial goals and personal goals seem very similar.  Lose "weight"  all of that debt!  Build "muscle"  that savings account, and focus on being "healthy" in mind, body, spirit, and pocket book.
Our road is clear.  Paying off so much debt the last two months has given me some breathing room in our budget, allowing us to beef up our emergency fund, save for annual expenses, pay medical bills immediately, and just have peace.
It's a great feeling to know that all the pieces are in place.  Kind of like Spring Cleaning.  Get the cobwebs cleared away and focus on the goals with discipline and determination.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The month to end all months!

Well, February has been the month to end all months!  We've broken all sorts of debt repayment and savings records!  Don't think I can keep up this pace, but if we do, we will have our savings boosted up and many of our debts paid off by May!
Whether or not this snowball can continue, I'm confident that good riddance is in order for the debts that are gone for good and the beefed up savings we have for our "rainy day" fund.
It's so comforting to know that we can cut back if we have to and stop the snowball, but those debts are still gone forever.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Paid off another one!!!


The money just posted to the last credit union computer loan!  It is officially paid OFF!!!!  Started at $5,694 on 5/09, pd off $279.55 today!  Never again to be seen!  Woo hoo!
 Now all that is left is one Visa and the Car Care Card!  Car Care is scheduled for payoff on March 5th and Visa is scheduled for April 5th.  I'm so excited to get these GONE!  It will be so freeing not to have to worry about these again.
The loan is gone and the car is running well, so hopefully we won't have a big car expense again for a while.
The list of debts gets smaller and smaller and that leaves us room for saving up for a rainy day.  
I know that life may hit us, but it won't seem so hard knowing that all this debt is gone.  We've weathered through life's ups and downs and always made it out on top.  This debt payoff has made our personal accounts look really good, so I'm hoping we are in a good position to finally buy a house!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Some R&R

On the spur of the moment, we decided to head out to Avila Beach for the night with the kids!  I have been dreaming of going to Avila for months now.  It was so nice to just go and not worry about things.
We almost forgot that we have a dog now and someone has to take care of him.  Luckily our wonderful neighbor loves watching him, so we were good to go!
We surprised the kids, packed some quick bags and we were off.
Financially, it wasn't the cheapest place to go, but it is our favorite and there is a wonderful little town to wander in, get snacks, and shop.  We window shopped mostly.
No one seems to be able to cash a travelers check anymore.  I had an AMEX one from a contest we won and wanted to use it to pay for part of the hotel.  They wouldn't take it.
Will have cash it when we get back and just deposit the money back in the bank.
Lunch was my FAVORITE clam chowder with lobster on top! It is so yummy!  We ended up just getting pizza by the slice for the kids for dinner.  No one really wanted to go to a sit down place.  DH was coming down with a cold and we all just settled down in our beautiful hotel, watched a movie, and listened to the calming waves out our window.  Breakfast is included in our hotel, so that will be free.
All in all a restful, fun, memory making President's Day weekend for the whole fam!  And...we didn't go into debt for it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's On!

January and February have been good months!  I've stayed in budget, saved money, funded sinking funds, and drum roll.....paid of the last personal Visa!
What a great feeling to finally have that weight lifted.  In addition, the business paid off a big item and this has enabled us to save and pay off other debt even faster.
Lots of little things got caught up in December, so the last two months we have seen less bills, smaller bills, and less finance charges.
All these things have made it even easier to payoff debt and save faster!  It's the GREAT SNOWBALL Charlie Brown!
We've been good about eating at home.  When we do eat out it is in the budget and within the budget.  I've even started giving DH and myself a little extra money so that we always have a bit of cash in our pockets.
During the month, we've been saving for all the things that I used to stress about like the taxes, accountant's fee, sports fees, etc.  Now with the sinking funds in place and being funded, when an expense comes up like a vet bill or medical bill, I just "pay" the bill.  What a nice peaceful feeling.  No more anxiety attacks at night!