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Archive for July, 2010

More Progress on Goals!!

July 30th, 2010 at 09:14 pm

Today was payday. The bills are paid!

I have added $215 to our emergency fund goal. Our new balance is $2517.36. I expect a little interest to be earned and added tomorrow.

I also made a huge $1,200 payment towards the principal balance on our van loan. The new balance is $13,656!! We are under $14K now. That makes me happy. I would love to see this loan under $10K soon. Maybe by October.

I love goal progress don't you?

I Need More Allowance!

July 29th, 2010 at 02:34 pm

Okay. Not really. However, this past pay period, I did spend more than the $500 that I set aside for spending by about $75. There was a birthday party and a mini vacation that dipped into the spending money.

Luckily, I have some slush money set aside for just this type of thing. I just dip into it when needed. And these last two weeks, it was needed. It had been several months since I have had to do that. Now to see what August brings!

I expect August to be a little spendy. We need to buy a few more school supplies, new shoes for the girls, and likely glasses for both girls and contacts for my oldest (her first pair!). There are school pictures that will come early in the year also. I do need to make a list along with estimates for all of the things coming up. It can be a little overwhelming to see all that money flowing out.

A Mini Vacation

July 28th, 2010 at 04:01 am

We went to visit my parents for two nights while my cousin and her daughter were visiting from California.


Not too expensive. I took fruit and breads as requested by my mom. I bought gas prior to the trip. I bought a museum membership that will last a year for $30 that allowed 5 out of 7 of us into the museum and saved us one dollar compared to purchasing individual admissions. I'm sure we will go back since my kids like this museum. My mom bought my return tank of gas since we had used our van to drive around while we were there. I also bought snacks on the way home. I personally needed a little caffeine!!

I was only away a couple days, but I feel I missed out on your news. I will catch up soon!

A New Use for This...

July 24th, 2010 at 03:35 pm

a vinyl swimming inner tube with a hole in it. I do have a patch, so it could be fixed. My experience is the patches don't last too long. So what can I use it for instead of throwing it in the landfill?

I did some google searching and didn't come up with anything. I guess bicycle inner tubes are more commonly reused! However, while searching I realized the vinyl (half of the tube is clear, the other blue) could be used to make a makeup bag with a vinyl lining. I've actually wanted to make one, but wasn't thrilled with the idea of buying more plastic.

I will put this on my list of things to try. Anyone else have ideas on what could be done with this vinyl?

More Money!!

July 23rd, 2010 at 08:46 pm

It looks like we will have $27 extra in the budget each month for awhile. DH's life insurance premium is refunded while he's in the combat zone. I'm thinking I will put this towards my youngest's flute rental payment that will start soon.

I returned an item to Target today that equaled $27.55. It's nice to have that money back! I do think the next week could be spendy. I have to buy food for a family gathering, start some school supply shopping as I see good deals, as well as get hair cuts for all of us.

It is good to remember there is a time for saving and a time for spending!

Plans Change Again...Made a Van Payment!!

July 22nd, 2010 at 02:13 pm

I mentioned in my previous post that my oven may not be working. However, when I cooked the chicken last night it came out just fine and in the right amount of time. BBQ chicken. Very yummy!

Since the oven seems to be working I just made a $700 payment to our van loan!!

New Balance: $14,856

This money was from the grant I received from Our Military Kids. It really is extra funds and should not be saved for a oven repair. If the oven ends up not working in the future I do have other funds I can pull from. And it likely wouldn't be $700, right?!

It feels good to keep moving forward on the van loan.

Plans Change

July 21st, 2010 at 09:41 pm

Last night, I planned to send $700 to our van loan. Today, I've changed my mind in light of new information.

My husband took an extra $100 for spending money, simply because he thought that is what we agreed on and he didn't want to mess up my bookkeeping! But guess what? That isn't what we agreed on...and he did mess up my bookkeeping!

It seems my gas oven is not heating correctly. First dozen cookies came out great. The next two took nearly twice as long to cook! I'm attempting to cook chicken now to see if the cookies were a fluke. In the end, I may need to have my oven repaired.

I expect I should be able to send some money to the loan, but I'm going to wait until I know more about the oven repair first. Another lesson in patience while paying off debt.

Birthday Party Day

July 19th, 2010 at 01:57 pm

I know, we are weird...we are having a birthday party on a Monday! My youngest turned 10 recently. We are taking three of her friends to an arcade pizza place this afternoon for lunch and fun.

We did the same type of party for my older daughter. The pizza chain had much better coupons then. Today I think I will spend nearly $90. This includes lunch and dessert for seven of us and game cards for 5.

I did home parties when the girls were younger...they were quite a bit of work, but a little less expensive. This year, to eliminate stress on my part, but have a nice party we choose the arcade for the parties. It is well worth the money to me and I have the money to do this. If it was any burden at all, I would skip a party all together or keep it very simple at home.

What are your favorite at home child's party themes and activities? I will need ideas for next year!

Saturday Was A No Spend Day

July 18th, 2010 at 01:29 pm

We stayed home yesterday and didn't spend a penny! There was plenty to do around here without spending.

We are still working on the dollhouse and found several more pieces to glue on. My daughter was adding flowers to the window flower boxes. We are working on this in our basement, so it is nice and cool down there on these very warm days. The cats even join us and find a place to nap.

Last week we painted my younger daughter's bedroom orange, so this week we gave my older daughter a room makeover. The makeover was free by simply rearranging the furniture. She was thrilled because we found a way to include a space for her moon chair to be up all the time.

We swam in the neighbors backyard pool.Those blue ones everyone seems to have these days. Free entertainment. Unfortunately, with the warm weather the water is also very, very warm.

There was also playing on the wii and watching a movie later in the evening. I also managed to squeeze in some cleaning.

It was good fun filled no spend day. How spendy or thrifty was your Saturday?

Grant Request Received

July 17th, 2010 at 01:53 pm

I requested a grant from Our Military Kids to cover six month of tuition for my children to attend dance and tumbling. We received it!!

The check was sent to the organization and I actually had prepaid the tuition for the upcoming year. The dance studio is sending me a check for what is now an overpayment in the amount of $697. Yipee!

The real question though is what to do with this money. I could put it on the van loan. Or I could save it for things like school clothes and Christmas gifts. If I put the money on the van loan, as these expenses come up, I will need to reduce the amount I put on the van loan.

Any opinions?

First Lawn Watering of the Season

July 16th, 2010 at 02:18 pm

What can I say? We like our grass green. The lawn has begun to take a beating from the heat. Up until recently, we were getting rain regularly and lots of it. In fact it was difficult to keep up with the lawn mowing because of the rain.

Today, I broke out the lawn tractor and gave the front lawn its first faucet watering of the season. I actually enjoyed getting outside in the cooler air and walking around the yard in my bare feet.

Of course, this will come at a price. A higher water bill at some point. Right now, I'm going to water as sparingly as possible...thus only the front lawn for now!

Amazing News on Our Van Loan

July 15th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Are you ready for this?

I made a principal payment in the amount of $560 on our van loan today. Our regular payment is also posting today. I expect $442 of that payment to go to principal. Umm...that is $1002 off the balance of our loan!!

New Balance: $15,556.00

We are now under $16K. Yipee!!

For an update on our emergency fund goal, see the previous post!

More Emergency Funds Added

July 15th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

As I planned, I deposited $215 to our emergency fund goal today. The new goal balance is: $2302.36.

This goal is definitely on track! I expect that our car will get sold in August to our neice putting our emergency fund goal over $5K.

When I first started this goal, I was putting every last dollar towards the goal. And it seemed there weren't too many dollars to find. Recently, I switched to simply commiting a set dollar amount per pay period. It seems to be working much better!

Tomorrow is Payday

July 14th, 2010 at 03:44 pm

I'm looking forward to payday. I can make an emergency fund addition! The regular van payment hits. There should also be some extra for an extra principal payment. I could actually figure it all out today, but I'm going to wait. I have quite a few projects that need my attention today. It will be a good day to stay inside and stay cool with the heat index heading for 105 degrees.

I'm Beat

July 13th, 2010 at 02:28 am

Geez! What a day. After rescuing a bunny and a toad, I proceeded to prime and paint a bedroom! Yep. A bedroom. Orange paint, no less. I had to prime since purple was already on the wall. I actually still need to paint the last coat tomorrow. I hope, hope, hope that one more coat will cover that purple!!

I'd like to say all the painting made it a no spend day for us. Unfortunately, I needed to run to Super Target for a few things. Milk, bread, hair products. Cookies, too. Those were a want. Sixteen dollars spent.

I'll just add one more thing. I came up with a free kitchen table center piece this month. Three clear glass jars of different sizes. Filled with sand about 1/3 full. Added seashells courtesy of my daughter's collection. I just grouped them in the middle of the table. Makes me think of the beach! I also wrote "Relax" in blue on my kitchen chalk board.

Free Entertainment!

July 12th, 2010 at 02:21 pm

We had some free excitement and entertainment here at our house. Last night while down in our unfinished basement my cat seemed quite interested in something out the window. The window with a window well.

Turns out a young bunny and a toad, both alive were in the window well. This is at least four feet below ground level. Aww...so cute! But how to get that bunny out before it dies.

I first put a board into the window well thinking it could crawl up and out. Once it was in, I realized that it was pretty steep. My youngest daughter suggested I open the window, when I said it would be nice to try and trap it, but couldn't figure out how I would do that four feet above ground.

I figured out how to get the window open. In this case, I had to pull the entire window out since the screen doesn't open! It's a fire escape window. Pretty easy actually. Now I'm prepared. Smile

No luck trying to trap the bunny in a box. It was fast! I even tried a rake from inside thinking I could scoop it up and out the window well. Again...too fast! This all took place about 9:30pm last night. I was tired. I left the board in and hoped for the best.

This morning. Bunny still there. Hiding under the board. Toad still there, too. Toad seemed to be the least of my worries.

Brillant idea comes to me! Use the cat carrier and lure it into there with cilantro. Once again I open the fire escape window. Clear the basement of cats, who were so very interested. I set the carrier in, propped the door open, placed cilantro around the area along with a big bunch inside the carrier. Leave and wait. I actually left the fire escape window open. The bunny could have come in my basement if wanted to.

I waited only 10 minutes. Sure enough...in the cat carrier eating cilantro. Poor thing was probably pretty hungry. Luckily, I was able to get the carrier shut without it bolting out. I actually walked through the house with it! I put it outside and propped the door open. Next time I checked...bunny was gone. Leaving plenty of cilantro behind.

Now to sanitize the cat carrier!!

Oh...I almost forgot. I scooped the toad up with a used plastic blueberry container and then dumped him back up to ground level. Toads really aren't that fast!

10% Interest on Savings

July 11th, 2010 at 01:48 am

One benefit of serving in a combat zone is the opportunity to invest money at 10% interest. Compounded quarterly. Oh. There is a limit of $10,000. Turns out we have that.

Today, DH made our first deposit of $7,000. There are some limits on how much you can put in at a time. However, next week when payday comes around again we can put in the remaining $3K. So the money will be in there right away earning some very nice interest until he comes home.

For any one else in the military that wants to know about this benefit, it is called the SDP, or Savings Deposit Program. Most finance offices can get you information.

I plan on adding the interest earned on this account to our emergency fund goal! Of course, you'll only hear about it once a quarter. Smile

I Might Have Been Wrong

July 9th, 2010 at 11:05 pm

In my last post I indicated that I would not be able to get the van loan below $16K in July. Well, it looks like I might be wrong. And that is good!

I won't know the exact amount I'm able to send in until next week when I pay bills, but right now, I might have another $300 to put towards the loan! Nice, right?

I have realized that DH's paychecks are beginning to even out. In other words, I think I know what his net pay is each pay period now that he is receiving deployment pay! That makes me so happy...at least financially. I still miss him very much.

Principal Only Payment Made

July 7th, 2010 at 03:33 pm

I made a principal payment to our van loan in the amount of $265 today. Nine dollars of that payment came from Pinecone survey payments!

This makes our new balance: $16,558.47

Our regular payment is due on July 15th. At this point I don't expect the balance to go below $16K this month...but look out for it in August!

I've Already Spent $200

July 3rd, 2010 at 02:15 pm

It's the beginning of the month and I've already spent $200 of my allotted $500 that I have until the 15th. Here's where the money went:

Groceries: $88
Litter and Cat Food: $37
Fuel: $37
Clothing (daughter): $10
Online purchase: $5
Allowances: $23

The money goes fast sometimes! I plan not to spend too much over the next several days.

Laundry Detergent Update

July 2nd, 2010 at 02:27 pm

A couple of months ago, I made homemade laundry detergent. You can read about it here. Yesterday, I made another batch. The two gallons lasted us nearly two months! Personally, I think it works just as good as anything else I've used.

The three ingredients are: washing soda, borax, and bar soap, like fels naptha. I bought two bars of soap and the two boxes of washing soda and borax for $9.73 including tax. These ingredients should last my family at least a year!!

The soap does not suds in the washer, but it does clean the clothes. I think my washer is cleaner because it doesn't have the sticky residue other detergents leave behind.

My next project will be to make homemade dishwasher detergent. Citric acid is one of the ingredients and I have just ordered that online. Once I make it, I will post the recipe I used and my results.

I like making these homemade cleaners for the cost savings and the environmental impact. All three items I bought for the laundry detergent come in packaging made of paper or cardbord. No plastic!! And they are easily recycleable. Love it.

Emergency Fund Deposit

July 1st, 2010 at 06:23 pm

Yipee!! I'm adding to our emergency fund goal. I plan to add $215 twice per month. Today I'm adding this regular addition plus the small amount of interest earned on our money market in the amount of $10.73.

New Funds: $225.73
New Balance: $2087.36

Finally over the $2K mark!!