Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pink or Blue!

We will let you know! We are expecting =:)
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Being a Seller

How can sellers avoid bringing $ to closing?
Shudder to think you are paying the buyer to take the house.
Hmm. There is an interesting website that says Sell Your House in 7 days.
http://www.sellyourhousein7days.com/

If you put your house on the market at a low price do you need to go lower b/c the buyer always wants to negotiate or do you stay firm with your price? 250K would enable a buyer to see the listing if he / she was looking in the 250K plus range and the 250K minus range. What about the appeal of 99s? 299 vs 300. Which would you be more interested in? Does 299K make it more likely that someone looking 300K or above will miss your house? Probably not. The buyers probably have maximum limits but are more flexible with their minimums. Never saw a buyer who would not agree to pay less.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some days>>>

Some days you just pause and think what could have been...

"Precious Child" song.

The song takes a few moments to load.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Orgasmic Birth

One time, I read that child birth could be painless. I told my friend if I found this to be the case that I would let her know. Okay, no I definitely did not have a painless delivery. But now I heard that an orgasmic birth is a possibility. I wonder. Is that possible?
www.orgasmicbirth.com There is a documentary film that is being shown regarding orgasmic birth. It looks promising!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Energy Waste

Right now or when you get a chance -today, unplug everything in your house except your refrigerator. Before you do this, go check how fast your electric meter is spinning. Unplug everything and check again. I hope you will now be able to read the numbers or words on the disc. My recollection is that disc spins pretty fast.
It is unbelievable how much energy is being used / wasted on a daily basis.
Many items are left on 24 hours a day for convenience. Cell phones chargers eat up power even when not in use. That old VCR flashing 12:00 probably is using some power. Land line phones sit on chargers, cameras and video cameras are powered by rechargeable batteries. The dust buster and the cat's water bowl are plugged in. Of course, the computer and the clocks are plugged in.
Wouldn't it be nice to flick a switch and all the power in the room is turned off? What else can we find? Lights turned on during the day. We can take advantage of the sunlight to illuminate our homes during the day.
Let's conserve power now. Don't forget to check those meters.

Preparing for a Famine

This post is partly in response to Happy Rock's post regarding the Dow tumbling. Happy Rock has been preparing a long time for a famine. He is debt free and saving for a new house. He has a vision of what he wants for his life and his family's life. Bravo to Happy Rock for being so prepared to take on this economic crisis.
It reminds me of Joseph preparing Egypt for a famine. They grew and stored all they could so that when the lean times came they were prepared.
Normally, I have heard that new companies are the ones that fail during these challenging times. Now the companies that are falling apart have been around for decades.
How can we continue forward? Folks, the sky might not be falling but the famine is coming. Housing prices continue to drop and the interest rates for savings are minimal.
Please share your tips on how to stay ahead in this struggling economy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"The Bucket List"

Over the years, I have seen a few movies where people knew they were going to die. These people finally started to live. In reality, few get this opportunity.
In "The Bucket List" there were many ideas of things to do, see, experience and time to do, see and experience.
Taking the events of 9-11, everyone spoke about their last memories of their loved ones. Each day is precious. Each day could be our last. But how many days end in anger or regret.
I have heard that some people keep gratitude journals; while others, like us, keep blogs. But we all have something in common. We live each day, one day at a time.

Go out and have a great day!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Homily

The priest had a very interesting homily today.
A grandson told his grandfather that he would get very angry. The grandfather gave him a box of nails and told him to hammer a nail into the fence each time he was angry. The grandson did this. After many days the grandson was no longer as angry. He was not hammering in any nails. Then the grandfather told the grandson to take a nail out of the fence each day that he was not angry. When there were no more nails he told his grandfather. His grandfather took him out to the fence and asked the grandson to describe what he saw. The grandson said that the fence had a lot of holes in it.
The grandfather said to the grandson that when you get angry at someone even if you say your sorry or ask for forgiveness that the scars will remain.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Close to Reaching my 100th Post

Just checking how many readers I have.
Please let me know if you are out there. You can just say hi on the comments.
I assume I have at least 3 readers. Just kidding. It is at least five (O, J, R, M, and A).

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Visit with a Redesigner

I contacted a redesigner to look at my home and make suggestions. For my time and money, I walked away with 5 drawings of ways that I could reposition my furniture. The money would be worth it if and only if we followed at least some of the designs.

The other alternative would be that the redesigner would come back after I make the necessary purchases and would redo two of the rooms for $700.00. The problem I see is that the redesigner is requiring that I buy certain items for the rooms. These items might spice up the room but might also be unnecessary. Only necessary for her to agree to do the work. The items in question are a large piece of art work for each room, three large lamps, light bulbs and some solid color pillows for each room.

The artwork and the lamps are what I would be questioning. There is also the possibility that the redesigner might add some things of her own that we can purchase if we like how they are displayed in our house.

I would have preferred a consultation that was free or at least the money could be applied to the cost of redesigning the rooms. Sometimes it is just a motivational issue. We can have the redesigner work on our house or we could leave it how it is. Yes we could follow the redesigner's designs but I would probably not make as many changes.
For example: my children would be switching rooms; my shelf in the living room (that is attached to the wall) would be coming down; my armoire in the bedroom would turn into an entertainment center in the living room; my vanity would turn into a desk for the living room

On the positive side I would get to purchase a coffee table (or sofa table) and an end table for the living room. That would be fun!

Ideally I would like a redesigner to use my existing furnishings and make magic happen!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ways to Improve our Home

1. hire a housekeeper
2. rent a storage unit
3. take advantage of donation places pick up service

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Traveling Expenses

Our two trips / vacations were very different. One was spent traveling, hotel rooms and attractions while the other consisted of renting a home, grocery shopping and a few attractions.
It will be interesting to see which one was better financially. I guess it is time to tally the expenses!

Keys to Success

Pray, Eat, Live and Love (Repeat)

And don't forget to surround yourself with good friends.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Credit Card purchases for the Summer

Here is a look at the percentages for July
Gas 37%
Food 17%
Dinners (out) 15%
Drug Store 5%
Gifts 5%
Car Main 5%
Baby items 4%
Online services 4%
Toys 3%
Hair Cuts 2%
Entertainment 2%
Clothing

August
Gas 45%
Eat out 21%
Entertainment 12%
Gifts 11%
Drug Store 5%
Groceries 2%
Internet Services 2%
Parking 1%

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Normal Expenses

To follow Debt Defier's, a writer at Happy Rock, post regarding his expenses; here are my normal expenses for a four week period.

Savings $40 a week (160)
Savings for Tuition/Pool $90 a week ($360)
Babysitting $100 -not normal
Cleaning $160 (that was for two weeks)
Auto Insurance $200
ATM Withdrawals $100 (varies)
Credit Cards $1300 (no financing)
Church Donations $500
Groceries $600
Mortgage $1200
Snowball Payment $1000 (250 per week)
Water $50
Electric / Gas $300 -seems really high
Cell Phone $100 -would love to drop this one lower
DSL $ Phone $100

debt defier July expenses

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Money Spent with a Zero Return

93 -$100 deposit to a dealership to hold a new car
93 -life insurance policy to pay off a car in case of death
97 -warranty and maintenance plan on a video camera
00 -charged for a night hotel stay for a hotel that we did not end up staying at
00 -paid for a gift certificate that was not used by the recipient prior to the shop becoming defunct
05 -charged for a night hotel stay that we did not use b/c we left early
08 -charged $600 for returning a lease vehicle
yearly -charged $3.50 each month to pay a bill monthly rather than biannually

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fun With Numbers

Today my lesson plan is to work with numbers. Son 1 needs to be able to write his numbers while son two needs to be able to write his numbers and recognize his numbers.
The goal today is to work with numbers 1 to 10.
I have one Word (Microsoft program) table for each child with the numbers 1 thru 10 in order.
I have a scrambled table where each child can cut the table up and paste the numbers to the other table or put the numbers in order.

Next step is to gather the books together that have numbers. We should have several.
Curious George is one.

Challenge: Eliminate Possessions

Okay I need some sort of small challenge to eliminate some possessions. Any ideas?
We can move to a larger house or start moving out some of our things. Moving is always an option but purging is always a good thing to do.
I know if you have not worn something in a certain amount of time that it should be tossed. I also know that we use and wear only 20% of what we own.
Why is it so hard parting with possessions? Clothes are easier for me that gifts of another nature to dispose of. Clothes are worn, outgrown and styles change.
Other possessions are clung to thinking they will be one day be needed.
Any idea for a challenge that others can do also?
I am willing to take on more than one.

For example:
attack the linen cabinet
donate some shoes

Cell Phones

The wave of the future for technology is normally smaller with more features but this comes with a larger price tag. You used to be able to wait for things to come down in price but now new items are created and the old items become obsolete.
How many people still have a stereo with a turn table or a tape cassette (raising hand)
How about records? (raising hand)
Cassette tapes (raising hand)

Now how many people still have land lines? (raising hand)

One of our vacation places had a sign posted by the pool stating that there was a phone in the lobby and in all hotel rooms incase of an emergency.
Now hotels seem to be doing away with phones in an effort to save money. But in an emergency these phones are still pretty valuable. I really had not thought about that until now.
Now lets go into our own home. If an emergency occurs and you no longer have a land line does everyone that could enter your house know where your charged cell phone is located? Is there an extra cell phone left for the babysitter incase of emergencies with instructions how to use the phone?

Originally cell phones seemed to be used in the car for emergencies. Now they have replaced land lines either for long distance or all together.
Our cell phone is older and is starting to get less reliable.
You would think for $1200 per year the phone could at least hold a charge.
I guess it is time to start researching new plans.
Can anyone share their plan info?

We have 2000 minutes (certainly way too much); two lines; unlimited Internet (can't see alot of newer sites) and unlimited text messaging.

Where has the summer gone?

Someone asks this question yesterday. From what I can tell there are still 6 weeks left and many adventures to be had.
A few years ago we stayed at home for our vacation to fix up my son's room.
Now many people are staying close to home due to the economy.
Getting away once in awhile is helpful. Gives you a chance to recharge and hopefully feel reenergized.
So whether you are able to go to Disneyland like KT or Starbucks; take some time out to smell the flowers while summer is still upon us.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Water Water Everywhere

Everywhere you looked during our vacation was water.
The Falls, a pool, a lake, huge bottles of water and even water parks.

Water is needed to survive and it is also very fun to play in or get mesmerised by.

What is your favorite form of water?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Story

On January 6, 2006, we excitedly went to see the ultra sound of our baby. Our hope was not to learn the sex of the child. The news was devastating. We were told that our baby would not survive. 100% -no chance of survival.
Our baby had some birth defects including polycystic kidneys. On March 15, 2006 our baby died. We choose to carry our child as long as God gave us.
Our baby died! Michael's due date was May 24, 2006. Michael would have been entering PreK 3 the following year (September 2009). God bless Michael Shaun!

In March 2005, we were also hit with some very heartbreaking news. We found out we were pregnant and then "moments or days" later the baby was gone. After losing Michael we named our other angel, Kathleen Maurine.
God bless Kathleen Maurine!

Sleep tight our angels in heaven!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Seeing vs. Experiencing

We drove by Niagara Falls looking for parking availability. My oldest son at that point "saw" the Falls. He was interested in doing another activity. I wanted him to experience the Falls.

Currency Exchange

Most places in Niagara Falls, Ontario accepted U.S. money and gave change in Canadian money. Not sure if I made a profit or not. Maybe MommyChicky could comment on that. We didn't need to exchange any money since the U.S. money was accepted. At a 7-11, the total came to $22. I gave 22 U.S. dollars and they asked for another U.S. dollar to compete the transaction. That was the only time that happened.

Room Saver.com = Money Saver

Try this website www.roomsaver.com next time you need to book a hotel or motel. It might save you a ton of money. Some hotels let you book the rooms ahead of time. On the coupon it will specify if it is good on the weekend, whether you need to pay extra on certain days, etc. You can also find the books along the highway rest stops. We were able to use three of these coupons during our recent trip.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

1st Night of our Adventure (updated)

My daughter and two sons had a very successful trip. Everyone traveled very well. Bedtime was not as pretty of a picture. Apparently my daughter did not like her pack and play. Instead she wanted the human comfort of Mommy and Daddy's arms while standing of course. Since we arrived around midnight we didn't want her waking our neighbors in the adjoining room. Normally we would let her cry it out. She slept comfortably in her car seat. Who knew?

The following night she slept successfully in her pack and play. Maybe the solution is to stick to her regular bedtime while on vacation to make for a happier child.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Traveling with Children

Today we are taking our three children on a two country tour. Our vacation began on Friday, July 4, 2008. Back home my best friend is about to deliver twins.

Packing for our trip was unusually easy. Normally I rush out and buy all the needed toiletry items etc. This time I enlisted help. My oldest child packed clothes for himself, his brother and his sister. No kidding. He put the clothes together. We did it in steps. First my oldest son put all the under ware in two piles. Later we worked on the clothes. I handed him clothes and he separated the clothes into two piles. He also put all of his sister's clothes that I set out into a travel bag. Not bad for someone his age. Yeah!! On the day of travel both boys packed a bag with their toys. Hopefully their toys are not obnoxiously loud. I forgot to check that. They also selected their special blankets for the trip.

My former manager once mentioned that his wife enjoyed a clean home after vacation so she would spend time cleaning prior to their trips. Surprisingly I did make an effort to make the house presentable prior to our departure.

Approximately 5 years ago we made this same trip with our oldest son. Since that trip we upgraded to a small minivan and then to a larger minivan. We also have a roof top carrier. This will be the first time my daughter has been in a hotel. Her baggage is fairly light. She has a pack and play to sleep. For dining, she has two seats. One seat we can take into the hotel and the other we will leave in the car. She is not potty trained yet so no potty chair is needed.

Toys, did we pack any toys for our daughter? Hopefully. Her toys are always a mismatch of various parts of toy sets.

Our choices for our destination varied but being summer what we packed would be the same for both trips. I love to travel and plan trips. We selected b/w 1000 Islands and Niagara Falls, Ontario. In the 1000 Islands, rest and relaxation seems to be possible. I have only taken a boat cruise through the area on the Saint Lawrence River so I don't know much about the area beyond the boat tour. Another interesting location is Rochester, NY. It appears to be on the water and has lots of fun museums that appear to cater to children.

Niagara Falls, Ontario has a fabulous attraction called Marine Land. They have a wonderful aquatics show and the patrons get to touch and feed the deer.
My husband and I were here in 1999. Now we hope to bring our children to enjoy the fun.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Home Efficiency

Mission statement options:

Create an environment that leads to the development of healthy and loved children who feel special and loved every day. Have a home that adds strength to relationships between family, friends and the community.

Create an environment that encourages the individual talents of all members and rewards teamwork and unity.

Some families have a mantra. What is your mantra?
Businesses and organizations have mission statements. Why not have a mission statement in our homes?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Day of Reckoning

Do you remember the day of reckoning in the Game of Life? When you get your credit card statement, does it feel like the day of reckoning? Does the full amount due determine if you stayed in the black for the month? Do you currently know how much you owe on your credit cards?

Many if not most major credit cards have on line access to your current balance, current entries and the current statement. When you go on line to view your bank account you might be able to view your most recent credit card entries also.

Decide how much money you can put on your credit card each month and still be able to pay your balance in full. When you get to that amount either use cash or checks to pay for new purchases. Don't continue to use your credit card if you can't pay off the balance.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do You Have A Passion for Decorating?

I attended a very good class regarding color instructed by an interior designer.
Here are some tidbits of information that she shared with us.

The neutral colors are white, black, gray and green. Brown would also be included in the neutral colors.
Warm colors tend to make a room look large while cool colors would make a room look smaller.
Shades of color (hue) are mixed with black and gray. Tints are mixed with white.
Use warm tones in the downstairs. Use cool colors in the upstairs.
Windows that open to the north rec. cold and harsh light.
Southern exposure rooms rec. warm light all day long that changes throughout the day and the year.
East rec. sunlight first thing in the morning while west rec the sun during the hottest part of the day (red).
Use a foam tag for painting samples and move the samples around the room at different times of day for at least a week.
Recommendations for shades -cellular shades -have woodwork showing
Magazine -Ballard Designs

Colors to use in rooms
Red -Dining room -stimulate appetite
Peach, Pale Orange -expansive, dining room, kitchen, family room and bathroom
Yellow -warm, uplifting, joyful -use in hallways, kitchen, dining room and living room
Green -life, rebirth (both a cool and warm color) tranquil
Blue -awareness, unity and balance -use in bedrooms, main bathroom if it does not compete with skin tone
Indigo -stimulate learning, sensual, peaceful, magical -use in a library, study or den
Violet -nature, light waves, contrasting rooms, romantic, cool powerful, bedrooms

Lighting -recommend GE Reveal Lights

White recommendations -dove white and decorator white

Color schemes include -monochomatic, complementary (opposing), analogous (next to) and triad (evenly spaced on color wheel)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Projects

Life Management
Be ready to reenter job market and handle all family responsibilities.
Update Resume
Create in case of emergency items

Digital Video and Photography
Put digital pictures and video into a usable format to share with others.

Basement Organization
Turn basement into usable space for family to use as a family room.

Debt Reduction
Pay down all debts to eliminate debts in the shortest time possible. Start saving additional money once debts are paid.

Home Maintenance - Outside
Have a nice appearance outside.

Travel - Family
Plan trips for family in advance. Utilize any savings possible for hotel, air, car, meals and entertainment. Reduce spending for meals when traveling.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

House Swapping

Interesting concept. I read about it in Tara Road. In the US, typical places to house swap to are California, Florida and New York. I am sure there are other places that are of interest also. Now this concept has been taken a step further to "swapping homes for good". It still looks like a real estate transaction to me. Although certainly a unique transaction. I think this would work better when the homes are priced similarly. Would you be interested in buying the home of the person that is buying your home if it is the home and the location that you desire?

Many times people are upgrading or downsizing or relocating due to employment, education, family etc. What are your thoughts?

I found this book in July 2006

Mother's Manual Copyright 1941 Page 51

"To Her Infant in Heaven"

(petition)

"My darling (mention child's name), now in joy before the throne of God, you are close to God, and in your spotless innocence which He loves, you can speak to Him with a voice that He will surely heed. You are still my little baby and will surely regard the prayers of your mother, who bore you. I address then my petitions to you. Intercede for me and obtain the favor that I here ask as a mother from her child who stands before the throne of God (here mention petition). But if what I here ask is not for the glory of God and the good of souls, do you obtain then what is most conducive to both. Amen."

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

House Buying in a Slow Economy

We stopped by an open house in our neighborhood. The real estate agent said that it was a good time to buy for those that were first time home buyers and for those moving to a larger house. 1st time home buyers were obvious. They would not need to sell their home in a slower economy but the buyers that were upgrading, I was surprised.
It appears to me that many people buying homes currently will need to stay in them for awhile to see any profit. For those selling homes right now they might not see any profit if they purchased the home recently.
Many homes have inflated prices right now. The homes are still coming down in price. The real estate agent's comments were very alluring to upgrade now. She thought that the people that would be losing money would be the people that were not going to re buy. She might be right that it is a good time to buy regardless of your situation. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Car buying = rocket science

Car buying = rocket science. I did not know that. Correctly reading and understanding the ads has to do with the rocket science.

Attempt 1:
Lease Price: $243 per month
Apparently this is just a number. On top of that we need to add back the information on the purchace side of the ad. $400 recent college grad and $600 stimulus check.

Attempt 2:
Purchase Price: $21K plus $400 for recent college grad
Nope this one we need to add back the $1500 b/c we want the low financing option.

On a positive note.
Some dealerships have special pricing for AAA members.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

buying used

It is a real struggle to get out of the leasing mode and buying a used car. Too bad that fits better into our finances.

Monday, May 26, 2008

car purchases

Apparently it is cheaper to buy cars than to lease and it is cheaper to buy used then to buy new. There is such a discrepancy b/w the interest rate of new cars and used cars. Cars being considered are the Chevy, Toyota and Honda.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Birthday Girl

This month our daughter turns 1! Yeah.
Dear daughter,
You are a vision of loveliness. Everyone says how pretty your smile is when they see you. I hope you always feel special and loved.
Love,
Mommy

Happy Mother's Day to everyone

Happy Mother's Day. Hope everyone had a wonderful day!

Friday, May 2, 2008

For those of you who have experienced miscarriages; your children are not forgotten

I saw this and thought it was appropriate.

"No farewell words were spoken,
No time to say goodbye,
You were gone before we knew it,
And only God knows why."

There was also a reference to Isaiah 49: 15-16

Baby Items to be Used and Reused

There are alot of baby items that we have been able to use and reuse.

One problem that I have found with recycling toys is that if the child remembers the toy; the child wants the toy. Go figure.
It was easy passing everything from my first to my second but passing onto my third is sometimes a struggle. Son 1 doesn't remember having the toy but reminds Son 2 that the toy is his (son 2's) rather than third child's. Bummer!
Here is a good post from Moolanomy regarding spending tips when having newborns.

Recent posts from the Financial World of Blogging

Here is a good post from Squakfox regarding the things that you need to carry with you.

Prime Time Money has a good post regarding identity theft.

There are two posts from No Credit Needed that I would like to recommend.
1) interesting PF posts.
2)"How My Fellow Money Blog Network Members Have Helped Save Me Money."

Money Blue Book also has a good post regarding using the extended warranties offered by the credit card companies.

Wondering ... What is Mommy Time?

Is mommy time when you take time to be by yourself, with your husband, with your family or with your friends?
What does mommy time mean to you?
I tend to think that mommy time is time spent being a mom and you are having fun.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things to buy

If I could buy anything today I would probably make a Shutterfly album for myself.
Pretty small purchase but it would be nice to have. Too bad I have to spend all the time searching through the pictures to make it happen.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Items that can be sold or donated prior or after a Yard Sale

Books
-Donate to a library or sell to a used book store

Children's Clothes and Toys
-Donate or sell to a kid's store

Kitchen and Household items
-Donate (any other sale methods) -ebay

Yard Sale

Things to do before a Yard Sale

Any suggestions?

Decide on staging
Get or make signs
Have change
Don't bring unsold items back home

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Memories of my Life

Through the looking glass...

2000's

Riding in my car, looking ahead, realizing that we are following the hearse that my beautiful infant son is in. It just seemed so wrong. I have always heard that burying a child is the hardest thing for a parent to do.

Looking out the windows of a fabulous boat on the Seine River seeing the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris as the narrator sang Ava Maria in English and French.

Looking out the airport window at my friends as they boarded a plane to celebrate their wonderful honeymoon in Italy.

Looking up at Pope John Paul II at his window as he blesses the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square.

1990's

Looking down at myself as if I was in a dream during my marriage proposal.

1980's

Riding in a limo after my father's funeral looking out and seeing a house that I always have loved. Telling my brother, who is an architect, about the house. My brother offering to design a house for me someday.

1970's
Looking out the window of my front door and seeing my good friend, Amy, getting on a bus that is taking her to Montessori school.

Thank you to KT for pointing out this wonderful post from Jen called seven windows of my soul.

"Credit Withdrawal"

There is a blog called www.creditwithdrawal.com.Just the name gives me an idea for a post. How much did we charge in 2007 on our credit card? 18% of our take home pay. And how about on our "2nd credit card"? 7% of our take home pay. A total of 25% of our take home pay went to our credit card companies. We really should be doing a better job on not relying on credit. The host of this week's Carnival of Debt Reduction,No Debt Plan, has a good approach for using last month's paychecks to pay for this month's expenses.
No Debt Plan's Life Changing Concept.

Car Shopping = More Debt!

Car shopping (see Car Woes post) has been on my mind for awhile. I decided to listen to some of the call-ins on Dave Ramsey's show regarding cars. I thought this call was pretty appropriate. Call into Dave Ramsey's show "Wanna get back into debt". Actual call.
Currently I have no car debt. Why get back into car debt? There was another call regarding paying a large amount of cash for a truck and draining savings.
Call into Dave Ramsey's show "Trashing the truck".
So why do so many people buy new cars? Status, keeping up with the Jones. What is the motivation? I have leased two cars, bought/ financed two cars and paid cash for one car. All of these were new cars. I wonder what the total $ outlay would be on all these cars?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Advice from Edmunds

Here is some advice from Edmunds regarding calculating lease payments.

Car Woes

So how expensive would it be to rent a car for a few months? The problem. Our plan was to lease a car for another three years. We did budget for the monthly payments of around $240 per month. What we did not budget for was the $3700 down that we paid last time. Opps!
Our options are lease something lease expensive or finance a used car.

Quotes to date for leases:
Minivan midlevel -$379 per month; plus inception fees (15K per year for 3 years)
Minivan base model -$259 per month (additonal $12 for 15K); plus $2400 down plus inception fees

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day before Tax Day

Funny how so many people wait until April 15 to get their money back. Everyone works with deadlines so this is not uncommon.
Credit Addict hosted this week's Carnival of Debt Reduction.
If time permits, please check out the great posts throughout the week.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Credit Card statement for March

Boy for someone who does not normally eat pizza I sure have been ordering alot of it in March. Our fast food bill for March was pretty high just over $110.
Here are our percentages for the month based on only our credit card spending.
Gifts 30%; Gas 21%; Holiday (Easter) 11.7% Groceries 11%; Scrapbooking 10%; Fast Food 8.6%; Stores 4.5% and Haircut 2.7%.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

$6,000 per year to save

Can we save $6,000 per year extra to pay towards our mortgage? In April 2009, April 2010 and April 2011, I would like to have 6 grand set aside to pay down our mortgage. Can this be done or is it too hard of a concept to grasp? Certainly if I wait until April 09 I will not have the money saved. But if I break it down to a weekly amount of $115 per week I think it would be more doable. Yeah! Paying off the mortgage even faster would be exciting. $115 is really not a lot of money. If needed it could come from savings but better shopping practices, eating out less often etc. will help also. I easily paid off my car lease and car loan but the mortgage is a much longer and harder to stick with goal.
I currently have $250 per week being sent electronically to our mortgage company to pay down the principal. I could add the $115 per week to this or save it in a separate account. If I save it in a separate account I might decide to use the funds elsewhere. Not a good plan. The best way to handle it would be to use existing paychecks and pay it at the same time as the other principal payment.
Any ideas?

Movie Mania

Nim's Island is a worthwhile movie for families. Nim is growing up with her Dad on an island. Her Dad is unexpectedly delayed in his return. Nim turns to her favorite author to save the day.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Links from the Carnival

Wow. I have 10 links to the Carnival.
Thanks to everyone for the exposure into the PF world!
It was very fun doing the carnival.
Here is the carnival for this week hosted by RealWorldReally.com

This looks like a great post from
Finance Girl regarding snowflaking

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Carnival of Debt Reduction #133

Welcome to the 133rd Carnival of Debt Reduction!
Beginning January 1st of this year, I started my blog regarding personal finance specifically about debt reduction and frugal living. I have had the pleasure of reading many of the PF blogs and have been enjoying it a lot.

This is the end of the first quarter of 2008 so I decided to share with you some of the headlines from these past three months along with the great debt reduction articles.

So onto our carnival.

Editor's Choice
NCN presents Moving Debt Is Not The Same As Paying It Off posted at No Credit Needed.

Editor's choice
paidtwice presents Small Changes Make a World of Difference posted at I've Paid For This Twice Already....

1st Quarter -January 2008
source wikipedia January 2008
(If you want to see the articles you might have to click the navigation Current Events or Portal Current Events on the Wikipedia page.)

January 3: Caucus vote in Iowa (BBC)

The Happy Rock presents Why APY Matters And The APR Lies posted at The Happy Rock.

January 6: Greece is hit by an earthquake 6.5 magnitude (RTE News)

Steve Faber presents - How to Get Out of Debt Fast posted at Debt Free.

January 13: "A team of researchers from the University of Minnesota announce the creation of a beating rat heart using cells from the heart of newborn rats and a heart structure from a dead rat." (The New York Times)

Praveen presents IVA - British Alternative to Bankruptcy posted at My Simple Trading System.

January 26: "The United States government warns that a spy satellite is losing power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in February or March." (BBC News)

Jim presents 7 Steps to Debt Consolidation Using Balance Transfers posted at Cash Back Ideas.

1st Quarter -February 2008

source wikipedia February 2008
(If you want to see the articles you might have to click the navigation Current Events or Portal Current Events on the Wikipedia page.)

February 21: "Singapore is elected by the International Olympic Committee as the first city to host the Youth Olympic Games in 2010." (IOC)

Debt Freedom Fighter presents Debt Advice: How to Defeat Your Debt Once and For All. posted at Discover Debt Freedom!.

February 24: "A Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747 becomes the first commercial aircraft to make a flight powered by biofuel flying between Heathrow and Amsterdam." (CNN)

FMF presents 790s Credit Score Barely Enough In Today’s Loan Market? posted at Free Money Finance.


1st Quarter -March 2008

source wikipedia March 2008
(If you want to see the articles you might have to click the navigation Current Events or Portal Current Events on the Wikipedia page.)

March 4: "A manmade flood is created in the Grand Canyon in Arizona in an attempt to replenish the ecosystem in the gorge." (CNN)

FIRE Finance presents Three Quick Steps To Get Out of Debt! posted at FIRE Finance.

March 12: "The total amount of digital information is estimated at 281 exabytes in 2007, exceeding available data storage for the first time." (Ars Technica) (IDC via EMC)

Helen Anderson presents 8 Easily Avoidable Causes of Business Debt at Personal Finance Blog, Budgeting, Debt @ Bankaholic posted at Bankaholic.

March 16: "Italian airline Alitalia is purchased by a consortium of Air France and KLM for €138 million." (BBC)

sara l presents $500 Phone call posted at paying off my future.

March 17: "World War II Royal Australian Navy warship HMAS Sydney is discovered off the coast of Western Australia after being missing for 65 years with the loss of all 600+ crew." (ABC News Australia)

Broke Grad Student presents How To Quickly Pay Off Student Loans posted at Broke Grad Student.

March 24: "The Olympic Flame of the 2008 Summer Olympics is lit in Olympia" (CNN)

glblguy presents Gazelle Intensity: How fast is it? posted at Gather Little by Little.

March 27: "The oldest known recording of a human voice, created with a phonautograph by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville on April 9, 1860 is replayed by American researchers." (The New York Times)

William Blake presents What Does Your Debt Ratio Mean? posted at Becoming Debt Free.

Have a great spring!!

Carnival of Debt Reduction

This is the Sub Prime Crisis editon of the Carnival of Debt Reduction. Enjoy!.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Next Host for the Carnival of Debt Reduction

Motherhood101Aplus will be hosting the next edition of the Carnival of Debt Reduction. Please submit your posts if you are interested in participating.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not All Homeowners in America have a Mortgage

This sounds like good news. Normally I feel that I am in a very small majority trying to get my mortgage paid off while my children are still in grade school.
Gallup has a few polls regarding Mortgages and Home Equity Loans and Lines of Credit.

The first one that I wanted to mention says that "59% of the people have a fixed rate mortgage and 9% of the people have a variable rate mortgage." (April -May 2005)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/16468/Should-Consumers-Wary-Home-Equity-Lending.aspx.

Another Gallup Poll indicates that "85% of the people aged 30-49 have a 1st lien mortgage; 78% of the people aged 18-29; 61% of the people aged 50-64; and 24% of the people aged 65 or older." (October - December 2006)
http://www.gallup.com/poll/26488/Americans-Hooked-Home-Equity-LoansLines.aspx.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Power of Paying Off a Mortgage Early

We have been in our home for 10 years. Our principal has really not gone down very much each year until now. Last year (April 07-April 08) we reduced our principal by 12K. If we follow along using our debt reduction snowball, we will reduce our principal by 14K next year and an additional 16K the following year.
Each year the amount of the principal reduction will be more because our interest owed will not be as high.

Home Equity Going Down

Apparently the equity in your home is related to the amount that your home is worth based on the housing market rather than the original purchase price of your home. So what is going to happen to the home equity loans when the market price of people's homes goes down? Will the home owners no longer be able to sell their home for a profit but instead will need to take a loss b/c they have essentially two mortgages that add up to more than the selling price of their home?

Debt Reduction 101

1) Don't get into debt in the first place
A) Normally that advice comes too late
B) Debt comes with living in America
C) We all want the American dream of being mortgaged to the hilt

I have been trying to figure out the history behind how the home equity loan got started. Did someone realize that home owners actually had some equity that they could borrow against? How is this good for the consumer? The home owner already has a mortgage and then they get a home equity loan.
Several times we have been approached to get a home equity line of credit "just in case" it was needed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Self Esteem

Information from the University of Texas at Austin
The Counseling and Mental Health Center
Healthy Self-Esteem
Childhood experiences that lead to healthy self-esteem include-
being praised
being listened to
being spoken to respectfully
getting attention and hugs
experiencing success in sports or school
having trustworthy friends

Low Self-Esteem
Childhood experiences that lead to low self-esteem include-
being harshly criticized
being yelled at, or beaten
being ignored, ridiculed or teased
being expected to be "perfect" all the time
experiencing failures in sports or school
People with low self-esteem were often given messages that failed experiences (losing a game, getting a poor grade, etc.) were failures of their whole self.

http://www.utexas.edu/student/cmhc/booklets/selfesteem/selfest.html#anchor963911

Step 3: Get Help from Others
Getting help from others is often the most important step a person can take to improve his or her self-esteem, but it can also be the most difficult. People with low self-esteem often don't ask for help because they feel they don't deserve it. But since low self-esteem is often caused by how other people treated you in the past, you may need the help of other people in the present to challenge the critical messages that come from negative past experiences. Here are some ways to get help from others:

Ask for Support from Friends

Ask friends to tell you what they like about you or think you do well.
Ask someone who cares about you to just listen to you "vent" for a little while without trying to "fix" things.
Ask for a hug.
Ask someone who loves you to remind you that they do.

new week

Well it is a brand new week. Hopefully all will go well this week.
Organizational purchases made yesterday:
Hanging folders, regular file folders, half sheet envelopes, and 2008-2009 small date book.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Easter Egg Hunt

Dear Baby Michael and Baby Kathleen,
We had a fabulous day today. I wish you both were there to celebrate LIFE with us!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring is just around the corner

Wouldn't it be nice to put everything out for a yard sale and it all just be wisked away. Why have a yard sale when you can just donate and take a tax deduction? In reality you will only get about $6 off for every $100 of stuff overall but it eliminates all the extra work. We just have too much stuff. Which makes things impossible to find but also impossible to know where to begin. There is not one area of our house that does not need improving.

I feel that I am just going from event to event and holiday to holiday and trying to cram in more and more stuff into the same square footage of house.

I guess it is time to do some spring cleaning!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kitchen Challenge

Awesome video from Organized Everyday on her before kitchen.
Video takes less than 5 minutes to watch.
http://organizedeveryday.blogspot.com/2008/03/organizing-roundup-in-kitchen-before.html.

new look

In case anyone notices the new look I was mainly trying to change the size of the font. I was looking at this blog late at night and the type looked way too small.
Have a great day!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How to Save for a future expense

We have three large expenses that we are saving for each year.
1 and 2) two tuitions each year
3) pool membership
4) we should also be saving for gymnastics since that is about $900 during the school year

We have a separate savings account that we make automatic payments to on a weekly basis. If we did this manually there is the chance for user error, I forget to make the transfer or the funds are already spent.
Currently we transfer $90 per week to the savings account. Starting in 2009, this will change to $120 per week.

The trick here is that we are using current paychecks to make these future payments without having to dip into any additional savings.

No Credit Needed

No Credit Needed has complied a list of personal finance bloggers best tips on frugality, saving at home and personal finance. There are over 40 tips included.

Pool Expenses -Does the wording make a difference

Our pool membership dues are due before May 1. If we pay on or after May 1 there is a penalty. My husband mentioned that people will forgo a discount but do not want to pay a penalty. Does the wording make that much of a difference?
For example: pool membership dues that cost $1,000 and are discounted to $900 if you pay before a certain date is the same as $900 with a $100 penalty if paid after a certain date.
They also have another way to get your money even earlier. If you pay by March 15 you will rec. 5 guest passes for free.
Wait there is more. You can prepay for guest passes, 5 for $20 rather than 5 for $25 later.

Firsts

Here are some of my daughter's firsts.

Dec. 27, 2007 -sat up on her changing table
Feb. 21, 2008 -crawled from the livingroom to the end of the diningroom
March 5 or March 7, 2008 -clapped
March 13, 2008 -1st tooth appeared on the bottom; 2nd tooth towards the end of the month
March 16, 2008 -crawled on hands and knees alittle
March 30, 2008 -said duck when we gave her a duck at church
April 1, 2008 -can try to get up without assistance but is not able to stand yet, getting there; has been crawling more on hands and knees
April 19, 2008 -top two teeth appeared; has been standing on one foot and kneeling on the other leg for awhile; stood holding onto the couch today; has also stood holding on to other items; no cruising yet; does not like the feel of grass on her feet or legs;
May 14, 2008 -crawled up the stairs
May 18, 2008 -stood by herself; said duckie when she picked up a duck off the floor

Congratulations to Life in the Hundred Acre Wood

Congratulations to Anjali and Brian on their new addition!
Life in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Here is the list of future hosts for the Carnival of Debt Reduction:

Mar 17, 2008 Ask Mr Credit Card
Mar 24, 2008 Debt Reduction Formula
Mar 31, 2008 Motherhood101Aplus
Apr 07, 2008 RealWorldReally.com
Apr 14, 2008 No Debt Plan

Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy Birthday my child in Heaven

Dear Baby Michael,
Happy 2nd Birthday to you my son! March 15 was the day you went to heaven two years ago. Too bad we can't plan a party for you here on earth.
We deeply miss you always.
Love,
Mommy

Inspiration

Alot of times I read blogs for inspiration. Not for inspiration for what to write but for what to do. Reading the organizing blogs sometimes I see something and I say, yes that would be a good thing to do.
Nothing is inspiring me today. The weekends are normally fun. I think up tons of things to do. Things to fill my week days are harder.
Maybe tomorrow my inspiration will come; since it is the weekend.

Sometimes it is hard to be the one planning all the activities. Hint, Hint.

OKAY. I just read something to inspire me.
change is good.

Now how to implement it is the question.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Medical Expenses Not Covered

One thing that I would like to start evaluating is why so many medical bills are not being covered in full (less the co-pay). Particularly dentist bills. Even my daughter's weight check was denied. Eventually it will get paid. We get 6 well visits the first year and the others need to be because of an issue.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Home Ownership Acclerator -Helpful or Not

I am excited about researching this brand new concept to me. Paying down your mortgage in a unique way using Home Ownership Acclerator or a Money Merge Account from United First Financial.
The Home Ownership Acclerator appeared very interesting until I hit upon one of the FAQ.

"4. What is my “credit line”?
Your credit line is the maximum amount you can borrow under the terms of the agreement. This is usually higher than your first draw amount, which will typically be used to pay off an old mortgage (in a refinance) or complete a purchase transaction. Your credit line will remain the same throughout the 10-year interest-only period, and then it will decline by 1/240 per month throughout the subsequent 20-year repayment period, reaching zero at the end of the 30-year term. You’ll need to keep your principal balance below this line throughout the term of the loan, meaning that you’ll at least need to be making progress against paying down principal during the final 20 years."
http://www.myhoamortgage.com/FAQS.htm.

The interest only portion of 10 years is what has me questioning.

Oh well, I guess back to the drawing board. What seemed very interesting is that using this Home Ownership Accelerator your funds (such as your paychecks) are deposited into an account to reduce your daily balance which in effect reduces your daily interest owed on your mortgage.

Next idea is the Money Merge Account from United First Financial. This software program cost $3500. You also need to get a Advanced Line of Credit to utilize this mortgage paydown method.
http://thejubileeproject.com/learn--index/learn-indepth-index/in-depth--how-it-works-together.htm.

Call in from Dave Ramsey's show
call regarding Money Merge Accounts.
http://www.daveramsey.com/etc/askdave/?intContentId=8082

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nursing woes, Nursing successes

To my financial blog readers, don't worry I will be back to posting financial type posts.

My first and second son did not successfully nurse. I did pump for a week after having my 3rd son (now in heaven). I did rec. a pretty good milk supply. So with my daughter I pumped for the first month and gradually switched over to full nursing. At 3 1/2 months, I was told that she needed more and cereal would be the best b/c she might not accept nursing if she was eating solids, bottle feeding and nursing. At each subsequent doctor appointment, I figured that I would be told to stop nursing but luckily all weighins were good. So why does the scale mean so much? Why does that decide whether my daughter gets to nurse? Now at 8 months, the question arises again. Is she getting enough? No, but my milk is still available to her and she can supplement with real food including soy formula in her cereal.

I would just like to have one child where nursing is not this huge problem.

Praise filled comments appreciated. Constructive criticism try to avoid regarding this matter. Thanks for your understanding!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How The Money We Saved From Our Italian Holiday Helped Pay Down Our Mortgage Principal


In May of 2000, we traveled to Italy for a week. We had an independent tour of Vatican City, Rome, Venice, an evening trip to Pisa and a day trip to Turin.

After arriving home, we put our lira away as souvenirs or to use on a future trip. By the end of February 2002, lira was no longer legal tender. During 2004 or 2005, I went to the bank to convert lira to U.S. dollars. I used the money to make a principal payment to our mortgage company.

Saving your money to put towards an emergency fund or paying down your debt is a good way to use the extra funds from a vacation, from coupon savings or just some extra money burning a hole in your pocket.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Ways to Save Money

Is it easier to save money or to spend money? When I was younger, I enjoyed saving money. If I rec. a gift of money, the money went into my bank account. At some point, when someone gave me money I felt that it was neccessary to explain what I used the money for. Not sure when this happened. I know my Uncle got tired of hearing that I put the money into the bank. He started getting me gift certificates for a particular clothes store.

There is a huge amount of gift cards that went unredeemed last year. This year, I tried not to contribute to that by giving people cash or checks rather than gift cards.

1) Gifts of cash -put the money into the bank rather than spending it right away.
The problem that I have had with giving cash in the past is that I figured that it would not be used for something special. Ladies and gentlemen, I am now over that concern. If someone needs the cash to buy dinner for the next night that is great. I don't care if they bought gas or used it to go out to dinner.

2) Don't save gift cards for special things
In the past I have saved gift cards for that perfect thing. Now if I make a purchase at a store and have a gift card, I use it for the purchase even if it is for something as simple as socks or a DVD for my kids.

3) Why do we need to justify that we bought this great thing with our giftcards? It would be nice but in reality we need trash bags and cat food.

4) My husband and I both rec. universal type gift cards this year. I used mine towards buying groceries. I had the gift card and our next purchase was food. Yes, I could have saved it for something great but that is not what I needed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Challenge: 10 Things to do for $10 or less

(each item cost $10 or less)

1) Have a movie night at home
or Go to a movie at the AMC theater on Sat or Sun before noon for $5 a ticket

2) Have a picnic at the park

3) Go out for ice cream
Go to the playground
Take a walk

4) Site seeing
Watch a parade

5) Jump rope / exercise

6) Go to the library
Bring home a magazine, a book, a CD or a DVD

7) Have a pot luck picnic

8) Do a puzzle, play a boardgame, learn a new card game

9) Buy a craft kit

10) Visit a friend

What are your top 10 ideas?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Are Outlets Worth It?

The problem I see with outlets is that they are too far away. I end up buying more than I plan because I don't know when I will make it back. We used to regularly go to the Osh Kosh Outlet for clothes for our boys. This time, we went for my daughter with one goal in mind, long sleeve dresses in size 12 months.

Well, there were no long sleeve dresses in size 12 months or 9 months. Apparently, they don't sell any or I should have shopped in November. Of course, other sales were possible but if I bought the dresses I probably would have skipped the other items.

Leaving the Osh Kosh store, I thought it would not be a wasted trip because there was probably another children's clothes store. On the way to The Children's Place, I saw a shoe store. I did purchase a pair of shoes but I didn't give the store more money buying the 2nd pair of shoes for half price. In reality, I would have saved $10 for each pair of shoes, so I saved my extra $20 by not buying a 2nd pair, which I really did not need.

Next, skipping The Children's Place because I forgot, I went into the Kitchen Store and then the toy store. By the time I got back to the car I realized that I skipped the other clothes store. The store was still open but I decided to skip it. Again I thought I would have skipped the Kitchen Store and the toy store if I went to the children's store, probably not, right.

This is an example of a simple shopping trip going into disarray. I had two thoughts before going to the outlets. 1)Dresses for my daughter and 2) take out cash so we could limit our spending. End result we used the charge rather then cash and we bought several extra items.

Outlets are a place to get good deals but how many good deals should you get at a time? Answer, just what you need. I would argue that yes, I did want shoes, I did want kitchen items and I did want birthday gifts for my son. When we buy things we do not intend to purchase is where we get into trouble. So while needing or just really wanting these things, they were not items that I needed that day.

I do enjoy impulse buying. My solution is to stay out of the stores when possible.

Anyone care to share their needs vs. wants stories or their outlet experiences?

My $2,000 Cat

If you went to a pet store to buy a cat you would probably pass by the cat that cost $2,000. Advance 4 years, you already have adopted the cat and the cat gets sick. Now what? You take the cat to the veterinary. My almost four year old cat starting getting sick in the house multiple times. A visit to the vet turned out that she was now dehydrated from getting sick. In addition, she was no longer getting fluids and in a few days would need IVs and hospitalization. Now my inexpensive cat was in need of tests and hospitalization.

This is an example of the need for an emergency fund that would have been very hard to plan for in advance. First visit on 6/20/07, the cat had an exam, blood tests, hydration and x rays.($273.05) Second visit on 6/21/07, the cat just rec. hydration. ($15.38) Next visit (6/22-6/26/07), the cat stayed for hospitalization. ($880.61) Then the cat needed to be transported on 6/25/07 to another place for an ultrasound to rule out any problems. ($285 -cost of test, we transported the cat)

My sister recommended capping the expenses at a certain amount. The cap in my head was $2,000. But how do you explain to your children that for the price of blank we were not able to save the cat. What if it happens again, has the cat already reached its medical limit or would it be $2,000 for another occurrence?

I can say that if we knew up front how much the cost would be it would have been better. Next time x rays are suggested, I would probably skip the x rays and just opt for an ultrasound.

Our cat has survived its ordeal. We are grateful our cat is okay and thankful that it did not bankrupt us to get there.

Do you have any experiences where the unexpected costs got out of hand very quickly?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Upromise Withdrawals

I really have to thank No Credit Needed for his info regarding Upromise Accounts. I have not seen anyone actually get any money to pay for college from the Upromise Accounts so I have not been to focused on using this loyalty program. As mentioned by No Credit Needed, you can obtain a check from Upromise rather then putting the money into a 529 Account.

Great news! Here is the link for a withdrawal request of at least $200. http://www.upromise.com/pdfs/fund_withdrawal_request.pdf

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Debt Free

Debt free. No. But in some people's minds we are because we don't carry a credit card balance and we don't have a car payment. In addition, we don't have a cable bill. But we do have two tuition bills and we belong to a pool each summer. So how do we do it living on one income?

I believe that we as a family tend to spend what we make so we need to lock the money away and make it work for us. Prior to stopping working, I started investing in 529 plans and a Roth IRA for myself. I wanted to save money while we had two incomes.

In May 05, we leased and purchased two new cars. At this point, both cars are paid off, the lease and the financed car. We did a snowball payment to pay down both debts. Now we are paying down the mortgage the same way. I continue to need encouragement in this endeavor because I hear negative things about paying off my mortgage. The comments don't make a lot of sense to me because 1) it can't be that much of a tax break having a mortgage and 2) I would like to own more than just one brick of my house.

My Financial Plan Part I
1. Cut out cable? Not really, we never had it in the first place.
2. Buy lottery tickets? No, that did not seem to be a good option if we were trying to save money.
3. Invest more? Nope. Not that either.
4. We looked at all our debt and decided to do a debt paydown or a debt snowball.We had three main debts.
A) leased minivan
B) financed minivan
C) mortgage on our home.

I. Each month we applied extra payments to our leased minivan until it was paid off.

II. When the lease was paid off, we took the extra payment, the leased minivan payment and the financed minivan payment and paid off the financed minivan.

III. Next we applied the extra payment, the leased minivan payment and the financed minivan payment to our mortgage.

Part 4 was not the hard part. The hard part was getting the money together for the extra payment.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Utilities under $300

I just saw an interesting older post at Boston Gal's Open Wallet.
She had a spreadsheet where she was trying to keep her utilities under $300 per month.
That is not a bad goal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Menu Planning

Here are some meals that our family are having this week.

Chicken, vegetables and salad; dessert strawberries or apples
Spagghetti and meatballs with Garlic Toast; dessert graham crackers or pears
Hamburgers with rolls and salad; dessert mandarin oranges or Jello
Grilled Chicken Salad; dessert Dole Frozen Fruit or Frozen Yogurt

With the help of coupon mom http://www.couponmom.com/indexd.php?cid=4 and our local grocery store website I was able to plan these meals at an inexpensive price.

For example
Chicken (boneless, no skin) 1.99 a pound
Strawberries on sale 2.99
Apples (not available but on sale)
Garlic Toast (never tried but only 1.19 on sale)
Pears 99 cents a pound
Mandarin Oranges container for $2
Dole Frozen Fruit bought two with $1.50 coupon
Frozen Yogurt -still working on

Friday, January 4, 2008

Free Calls to Directory Assistance

Are you still paying for Directory Assistance calls from your land line and your cell phone? Stop. Call 1 800 FREE 411 to obtain the phones listings that you desire. These calls are free. The catch is that you need to listen to a short advertisement. The ad is no big deal. It sure beats the $1 or so that you will be charged by your service provider. This service is made available from Jingle Networks. http://www.free411.com/

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Credit Cards -Grace Period

I have an urge to discuss credit cards since the holidays are passing and the UPS truck will be now be delivering the credit card statements. Did you ever notice that those bills get bigger? Too bad it is just not the type got bigger. My husband suggests that we try to keep the spending under $1,000. He would rather not see the commas on the credit card statements.

But here is my real message. Pay off the credit card statements each month and don't finance. It is a very big hole to dig out off. The credit card company will put on an extra charge every time you purchase an item when you are carrying a balance. While this does not seem fair that is what is done. So if your credit card is not paid off in full each month start paying cash and pay more than the minimum to pay it down each month. With the finance charge percentages in the double digits it is really really hard to pay off the credit cards.

This is the fine print on the back of one of the credit card statements regarding Grace Periods.
"You get a grace period of 20 days if you pay the New Balance in full by the due date every billing period. If you do not, you will not get a grace period until you pay the New Balance in full for two billing periods in a row."
Bottom line, please don't finance. Start paying cash for things until you can pay down the balance.

A thirty dollar belt is going to get thrown away before you pay it off.

Credit cards are for convenience. Don't let them become a burden. If you don't finance on credit cards congratulations but it is easy to fall into the trap. I was surprised reading the fine print that you need to pay the full balance on time twice in a row to not be charged finance charges on current purchases.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Annual credit reports

Check out this site to obtain your annual free credit report from all three companies. You can request the reports at the same time or go back throughout the year and order one from the next company. https://www.annualcreditreport.com

Wordless Wednesday -January 2, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 -Saving Money

Gee. Wouldn't that be nice. Start 2008 by saving money. Hum. Let see. Oh I know, don't spend any money. Okay, that worked for today. We were all home but eventually we need to leave our happy home and be innudated by consumerism. Well I almost bought a blender the other day or was it a toaster oven. Either way for $5 it appeared like a pretty good deal. Until I found out that I would have to wait 6-8 weeks to regain my original $25 that I paid to begin with. Next. How about a Christmas gift for my father-in-law. A calendar that will work. They suckered me there for an extra $2 because they said it would be printed faster. Oh well. I wouldn't make the same mistake on my next photo purchase. I will just have to explain to my nephew that even if I paid the extra money it still would not have arrived on time. My birthday card to him came early though.
Okay back to the reason I decided to blog. It looked like fun and maybe it will help with my memory in the future.