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Big sale on Ebay!

July 26th, 2014 at 06:08 pm

So I decided to sell my clarinet, which was a high school graduation gift from my parents. It was a tough decision, because of the sentimental value, but it's been in the top of a closet for the last 10 years and I figured there was no point in keeping it. I took it to a local instrument store and they said that they thought I could get about $200 for it without doing any of the needed repairs. Well, I was very clear about the work that it needed (corks, pads, and a general tuneup), and after 12 hours on Ebay, the highest bid is $405! I am so excited Smile I guess it's worth more than I thought!

Was so proud of my cheap date day with my son... and then...

July 22nd, 2014 at 06:56 pm

So my have my 7 year old out of summer camp this week to spend some time with him on his birthday week (he'll be 7 Thursday). One of the things he wanted to do was go to work with me, so that was great - took him with my yesterday and saved a vacation day! Today we went to our city's botanical gardens, bowling, and for ice cream.

I was really proud of how frugally I planned this day. We did buy the season pass for the botanical gardens - $60 using my husband's old military ID, and the place is awesome! Great place for my husband to bring the kids on the weekends I work as well. Otherwise he would easily spend $60 in one single day taking them out.

We packed lunch from home and ate it on the way to the bowling alley. I signed him up for a kids bowl free program on weekdays all summer long. So it only cost us $11 for shoes and for me to bowl. Then we went to get ice cream, had a buy one get one free coupon and used a gift card for the balance.

So I got home and checked my credit card statement. $60 for the garden membership, a $55 EZ Pass charge hit today, and then we also went back to school shopping which cost $100 at Target (that's just school supplies, no clothes). So much for a cheap day...

That said, all of those things were going to happen anyway, so I guess my date day with my son still only cost $11. But I was still disappointed to see all that on my credit card. I'm so close to paying it off, this will just be more motivation!

Making progress on debt!

July 18th, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Paid off $1800 of credit card debt this past month (from June to July)! Big improvement from my debt increasing from May to June. We'll get there! Also have a $5300 check we're waiting on from the insurance from when our camper got damaged. That will be awesome and my husband fixed the damage himself for under $100!

Had a nice frugal day today!

July 4th, 2014 at 07:30 pm

Had to work my part time job today, and made time and a half for holiday pay, and we were busy so I stayed over a little bit. Next Friday's check will be a nice one! Smile Hubby took the boys to a botanical garden that was open for free today (usually it's fairly expensive), and they were going to go out for lunch for the kids wanted to come home and have lunchables. So no expense there. Then we were going to go out and do something, and get dinner, but in the end decided to stay home, get our workouts in, and made microwave popcorn and let the boys stay up to watch fireworks. So all in all, the day didn't cost a thing other than gas, but I made far more than that back at my job!

Decided what to do with our snowflake

July 3rd, 2014 at 05:13 am

So of the $5400, we are going to take about $1000 to do some thing around the house (gutters need to be cleaned, house needs powerwashing, etc). We've been in it for 6 years and have done little to no maintenance because of finances, so this is badly needed. Then I am going to take $2K to get my Chase card paid off, and hubby will put the rest towards his credit cards. I am so excited to get the first card paid off! Not sure when the money will come, we have to get the check from the insurance company, send it to the lienholder of our camper for them to sign, and then we can deposit when they send it back. And since it's such a large amount, I anticipate the bank holding it for a while (do they still do that? I had a bonus check years ago that I had to wait 10 business days for it to clear.) I would think by the end of August it should be all set!

HUGE snowflake!

July 2nd, 2014 at 09:50 am

So almost a month ago we had a storm and a branch fell on the roof of our popup camper, making a little hole in it. We got the insurance estimate yesterday - $5400. For something that we can patch ourselves with no problem. My husband asked them if we were allowed to keep the money and fix it ourselves, and they said absolutely. %5400, I can't believe it! Now what to do with it...

My list of credit cards on my sidebar are just the ones that I pay and are in my name. My husband has about $18000 of credit card debt in his name. A good chunk of his debt is at low promo rates, and even the part that isn't, is at lower rates that mine, so we haven't been putting any extra towards his cards yet, which is stressing him out. I really wanted to use that $5400 to pay off my Chase card and then put the rest towards the Discover and get that going, but there's only a % or two difference between my cards and his, and if it will make him feel better, then it's worth it to just let him use it all for his cards.

At some point (as we get things paid down) I'd really like to combine everything, but we'll see how it goes and who has the best rates and balance transfer deals.

Excited to pay off that big chunk though!

First UPromise payment to studen loans!

June 19th, 2014 at 07:53 am

it's was only $23, and it's taken me like 7 years to get that much, but hey, it's something!!

Any advice on how to maximize the UPromise program? I had looked at their credit card but it didn't seem like the rewards were worth opening another line of credit when I'm trying to hard to get my credit cards paid off. Thanks!

Had a backslide this month :(

June 18th, 2014 at 09:55 am

I knew I wouldn't make any progress, since I had that $1100 personal property tax bill to pay, but I didn't think I'd go backwards! I owe $1700 more in my credit cards than I did last month, so I charged $600 in random other "stuff" in the last month. I know $200 of it was Fitbits for my husband and I for our birthdays, the rest was gas and groceries that were more than what I had on the debit card I've been using for it.

After my minimum payments, I have $412 a month left for gas and groceries, which is impossible to do for a family of 4. I can barely keep us under $400 for food alone, and my gas is typically just over $200 a month.

The good news is that before having my 2nd job, I was in the same boat, and I was building more and more credit card debt. At least now I am making progress (most months). All in all, I have still paid off $4300 of credit card debt since January. I just need to get back on top of it and make some more progress! I have some BIG paychecks coming up from my 2nd job, I'm working 3 out of the next 4 weekends, 4th of July for holiday pay, and a few evenings. That should really help make a dent in it.

Kids birthday party pressure

June 16th, 2014 at 07:23 am

So it is the "norm" around here, at least in my son's circle of friends, to have your birthday party out at one of the many bowling alleys, mini-golf places, inflatable bouncy places, etc., that are in town. All to the tune of $200-$350. And yes, we have been happily paying this much for his birthday parties since he was 2 years old. But now we have come to our senses and realized that 7 year old boys can have just as much fun doing something a lot cheaper!

I am trying to convince my husband to have his party at home. One concern is that it is at the end of July and it is often 100 degrees in Virginia at that time of year. Also, parents typically stay with their kids for the party, which doubles the number of people in our house. Our house is substantially smaller than most of his classmates (at 2200 sq ft, so that just goes to show the size of his friends' houses!), so he would be limited in the number of friends he can invite.

Then there is the hassle of cleaning up before and after. That alone almost makes it worth paying $300 to have it somewhere else! Smile

As of now, if hubby will agree, I'm thinking make your own personal sized pizzas, maybe decorate your own cupcakes as well, and any games I can come up with (both indoors and outdoors, but indoor games are a little touger to come up with.

We do also have a sprinkler and water hopscotch, but then I have to deal with wet little boys coming back in my house Smile

Any suggestions for how to make this affordable and still make it fun for kids (and their parents) who are accustomed to fancier parties?

Oh so THAT'S what an emergency fund is for!

June 12th, 2014 at 05:42 pm

Big storms last night sent a tree branch through the roof of our pop-up camper. I saw that the branch was down, but DH was out of town and it was still storming, so I stayed inside with the kids. Turned out there was a 4x4" hole in the roof that the rain continued to pour into all night and into this morning Frown DH is home now and covered the camper with a tarp, and checked our insurance policy, and at least we only have a $188 deductible. I can think of better things to do with that money, but you gotta do what you gotta do!

I'm NOT a patient person...

June 6th, 2014 at 06:43 am

So every month I look up all of the balances on my credit cards and enter them in my spreadsheet and calculate how much I have paid off since January. It's a huge motivator for me. My issue is fighting the desire to check them every 3 days, even when I know the balances haven't changed Smile

My 2nd job pays opposite weeks as my full time job, so I have a paycheck every week, and I spend the 6 days in between paydays pretty much obsessing over how much debt I will pay down with the next check. While some may say it is good that I am so motivated, it gets a little overwhelming.

Plus this month I had to pay $1100 in personal property tax that I had not budgeted for, so that money went there instead of too my credit card. I know June won't show much improvement, yet I still can't wait to add up my balances!

Anyone else like this and how do you cope?

Oops... another forgotten expense

May 29th, 2014 at 06:41 am

So personal property taxes are one of those things that I always seem to be forget about until I get the bill in May - and it is a HUGE expense due June 5th. Plus this year we got a new minivan, so the taxes are even higher. So between the vehicles and our pop-up camper, I have to pay $1100 in personal property taxes. Since I would have used that money to keep paying down my Chase card, I'm just going to put the taxes on the card to get the cash back and then pay it. But I've been paying down about $1400-$1500 a month on my credit card debt, so this month I will pretty much make no progress Frown I guess at least I won't be going backwards!

Now I have to make sure I remember this bill for the future and plan for it ahead of time (although on the bright side, it goes down year after year as the value of the vehicles decrease.)

I'll get there!

It's the little things...

May 17th, 2014 at 07:18 pm

So I've taken control of both my weight and my finances... somehow, taking control of one area of your life makes you realize you can control a lot of it, and all good things spiral from there! So my co-workers at my 2nd job ordered out lunch today to celebrate the graduation of one of our students. Instead of joining them, I stuck to what I brought from home (a chicken lasagna that I had thrown together from leftovers and frozen) and saved myself both money and calories. I've lost a pound in 3 days and paid off another $1200 in debt with Friday's paycheck Smile Can't get better motivation than that!

First blog ever - thanks for joining me!

May 14th, 2014 at 09:04 am

So about 4 months ago I added up al of my credit card balances (5 of them) and the number was SOOO much bigger than I thought it was - to the tune of nearly $75,000. I don't even know how it got that bad. DH and I have great jobs, a nice house, drive nice cars, and have 2 beautiful little boys. We never had any problem paying the minimum payments on our credit cards and still covering the rest of our bills. Until one month my daycare payment didn't go through because I didn't have enough credit available (it gets charged to one of my cards so I can get the cash back). For several months I had to ask our daycare provider to wait a week to charge me, or to lower the amount and only pay what I could. Luckily for me the woman is an angel and has no problem that I am $3500 behind on payments now. She told me to pay everyone who is charging me interest first and worry about her later.

So after I added up my credit card debt and picked myself up off the floor, I knew things had to change. I got a 2nd job where I bring in an extra $700 a month on average. I have started couponing like crazy and have drastically cut our grocery bill (almost in half!) I lowered our cell phone plan, saving $20 a month. I have sold tons of stuff on mom's groups on Facebook and on Ebay.

I am doing the "debt avalanche" with the extra money and have paid off nearly $5000 of credit card debt in 4 months. I finally feel like this isn't hopeless and there is an end in sight. Estimated payoff date for all my credit debt is fall of 2017, which doesn't seem so far away!

Of note, this is just the credit card debt! I still have a pop-up camper payment, student loans (at extremely low interest rates, thank goodness), 2 car payments, and a mortgage. But by the time I have the credit cards paid off, I will have so much "extra" money that the camper will be paid off in a matter of a couple of months, and the cars will be almost paid off by then as well.

So I am here to be an example to any of you who have debt above and beyond what most people consider a "huge" amount of debt. So welcome and thanks for joining me as I chronicle my progress!

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