“Blood Money”

I wish I could say that I haven’t been blogging much because I’m driven to pay down debt so I have taken another job. That is not true. No I have been away because I haven’t had anything new to share.

We are still very focused on paying off debt and we are still be very frugal. We don’t eat out unless someone else is paying (but to be fair people know we are following dave ramsey and that we have cut out alot) which my parents take us out once a month or so. Nothing excessive. We eat ALL meals at home and my husband and I take our lunches to work.

We are trying to find ways to earn extra income. My husbands and my work schedules do not allow for 2nd jobs unfortunately.  If we did take on 2nd jobs that would mean daycare costs which would defeat the purpose of a 2nd job.

But what I have decided to do is try to use my talents and sell some homemade goods. I sew and bake and while nothing has come of it yet I’m hoping something will soon. I have also decided that “donating” plasma is another way I can make some money. My friend refers to this as blood money. It’s not long term but it’s a way to make extra money and to make ends meet on those weeks we are short on funds.

Whatever you gotta do right?

On a positive note…..we are only $470 away from paying off one of my husband’s student loans. I’m excited about that!!!! One debt (almost) down but many more to go.

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Discouraged

I can’t complain about my life. I have 3 healthy and happy children. My husband and I both have good full time jobs. We have a bed to sleep in every night and food in our refrigerator. We don’t want for the nessesary items in life.

But getting out of debt…..that’s hard. Paychecks only go so far. I feel like we aren’t making a dent in our debt. I know that we will have a few small ones paid off by the end of the year. But living paycheck to paycheck sucks. We are part of the population where one major event can send us over the edge.

I try to find ways to cut in our budget. We have decided that our minivan is our work vehicle.  I drive it to work 3 days a week since I work further from home. On my days off my husband drives it. On the 1-2 days a week our schedules overlap and we are both needing to work he drives the durango. He only works 10 mins from home. Still in the same town.  That has helped our gas budget alot.

I have seriously stopped the extra spending.  I only get what I need from the store. I turn invites down from friends to go out. People hold me accountable at work.  It’s nice that others are helping me stay on track.

Today I am just having one of those “poor me” days. The days that you never think you will see a light. The days that you ignore all the phone calls coming in because you know who it is and you don’t have an extra $5 to give to anyone. Heck not even an extra $1. I know this will get better. I know it’s a long & hard road to debt freedom. I have faith that we can and will do this. I am not on this path looking for anything but knowledge and freedom and the tools we need to climb up this mountain. I know for our family’s future that we need to be debt free. It is the only way we will be able to reach our goals. I know this is the right path, I just have to put my faith in God that he will help us through this. With the tools Dave Ramsey has provided I believe debt free is achievable.

It will get better.

It’s in my Dave Ramsey Plan

Seems like it has been a long time since my last post. Between work, lack of sleep and migraines I have mentally been drained.

Last weekend we went to a free event with a friend and her kids. Free is our new favorite. If someone invites us to something my first question is the cost. If there is no cost then we go. My kids are starting to ask for things less and less. But they are still kids so they do still ask.

Since I am not hiding the fact that we are in debt and trying to get out (like I normally would) my friend makes sure to lets me know if things she invites us too are Dave Ramsey friendly. And she also questions me about things I buy asking if its in my Dave Ramsey plan. Gotta love supportive friends who keep you on track.

I will admit that selling stuff to make money for our $1000 fund is proving difficult. I have stuff to sell but no one to buy. I am thinking of doing a yard sell in a few weeks to help with the fund. It will take me that long to go through and gather everything I can for a yard sale. I feel I will have to use the hoarder method of getting rid of everything. 3 piles: keep, sell or maybe. I know I have stuff to sell its just the parting with things is hard. But being in debt is harder. So what do I want more, things that mean nothing or debt?

Oh a garden update…..its looking good out there!!! We are going to be planting pumpkins and corn at my parents house next week. They have a large garden that they don’t use (whoever lived there before did use it).

I have turned some more coworkers onto Dave Ramsey plan. I lent my Complete Guide to Money to one of the nurses to read. I find it makes me happy to be able to help people like that. Even though I am not where I want to be financially, being able to help someone else realize their goals means we can hold each other accountable.

 

Bye Bye Debit Card

I realized something today. I can’t be trusted to manage the money. Yeah I make sure the bills are paid and we have food in our fridge. But if I have cash or the debit card I will go spend money. So I made a huge decision today, I handed over my debit card to my husband.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up control of paying the bills or keeping food in the house. I can’t trust my husband to take care of it all. But now I have to tell him to go get money out for our cash envelopes. And I’m making him give us allowances. Yup, just like we were kids. Just like we give to our own kids. But it’d what needs to be done. I have already admitted that I am the spender. So this is the way I am choosing to deal with my spending.

My debit card will now live in my husband’s wallet. That way if he is gone I do not have access to it. So I better make sure I have gas in my car at all times. Hahaha.

☆☆Jenn☆☆

 

Cutting the cord

So long cable! Well actually we haven’t had cable in over a year. But we have Netflix, hulu, and had a subscription to a service called Sling. We cancelled the Sling subscription, saving us $25 a month. Our internet provider however has been expensive! We have Cable One and they have caps on the amount of internet usage and we go over that ALOT! Meaning that we have been forced to upgrade our internet a few times. So after a little shopping around we are switching to Century Link. By doing this we will be saving about $50 a month on internet.

We even sat down with our insurance agent the other day and went over all our auto insurance coverages. We carry full coverage on both cars and renters insurance. While it might not make sense to carry full coverage on cars that are 15 and 18 years old, we ran a few scenarios. If we drop coverage to the state minimum and we get in an accident, while pretty much any accident will total our cars by insurance standards, having full coverage will allow our insurance company to still pay us the value of the vehicle so that we will have money for another car.

I have been very open about our plan and our goals of paying off debt. I have been open about following Dave Ramsey’s plan. I feel that it is the only way to hold ourselves accountable. And while we are still working on saving the $1000, I really believe that all these small changes we are doing will help us get to where we want to be.

And here is another garden update picture

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Garden Update

So sorry for not being around. I spent most of last weekend doing Garden stuff and yard work. It was such a nice weekend that we definitely took advantage of it. I just finished my work week….3 days in a row and I am exhausted.

But my garden bed is done! 12993584_10201529173988285_4548950712132513602_nNow there was a slight change of design plans. If you remember my original plan was to use cinder blocks…..but the store didn’t have any of the kind I wanted. So off to the lumber department we went. 12924454_10205567368293538_6495022289502676568_n We ended up going with some lumber and I am so glad we did. It looks so pretty doesn’t it?? Thanks to the Home Depot guy for putting up with out crazy cutting needs!

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It ended up being a 4 ft x 6 ft raised garden bed. And those blue things that my husband used as a table to put the sides of the bed together, is a 55 gallon barrel cut in half. I got the idea from my friend/co worker. He husband did the same thing for their garden and they planted potatoes in their barrels. I am going to do tomatoes in one and potatoes in the other.

Our seedlings that  we started last Thursday have started to sprout! I can’t wait to actually get them in the ground. Hopefully next weekend. As soon as all the snow melts on the mountains. It got chilly here today and I do not want to risk my plants getting killed by frost. (who knew I had a green thumb and would like to do this stuff haha)

Oh and just to spice things up we got a pretty neat hand me down from our elderly neighbor

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A patio swing that she never uses. She was thinking that the minions would like to swing on it but mama’s got other ideas! It will be used as outdoor seating since we don’t really have any in the backyard.

More garden updates to come once I actually start planting.

**Jenn**

Homegrown

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Photo courtesy of Pinterest

What a week it has been!!! Technically I am in my weekend since I work 12 hour shifts. It has been a mentally trying week at work. Not my coworkers, they are AMAZING! Seriously I have the best coworkers ever! But the patients I took care of….well lets just say I was happy to head home last night after work.

 

Now I can focus on some projects that I have been wanting to get to. I have 6 days off (almost a whole week! Have I mentioned that I love working 12 hour shifts when I get a long stretch like this off) First on the list is my garden! I have been wanting a garden forever. Now that we are in a house with a backyard I can have one. Its nothing permanent since we are renting but its not going to be something that someone else couldn’t use. However we don’t plan on moving in the new few years so why not just start one? Or two in our case.

My parents have a huge backyard and there is a section of it that at one point had ben used as a garden. My parents haven’t done anything with it in the two years they have lived there and they have offered it up to me to use. I am thinking that this is a great area to grow some pumpkins and corn. Maybe some potatoes too.

We don’t have an area that has already been plotted out for a garden. And since we don’t own the home I do not want to create an area. So we are going to build a raised cinder block garden. It will be able to be removed if needed. And we have an area of the side yard that is perfect for it. I think that it would add to the backyard and I have a feeling that once we do move out it will remain. The picture above shows painted cinder block but is exactly what I want to do. I do not know if I will paint the blocks or not but the flowers in the smaller holes around the garden is what I want to do. That is my project this weekend. Building a garden. Which will in turn help reduce our grocery budget as we have access to fresh fruits and vegetables in our backyard.

I would love to hear your gardening tips and see pictures of your gardens!!

**Jenn**

When you fall…..

I got my  Total Money Makeover book Thursday. I was so excited to come home to find it. I haven’t started reading it yet though. I had an eye exam yesterday and opted for eye dilation. The effects lasted longer than I liked. But I did order new glasses and sunglasses. Thanks to my FSA account. Which I am glad I have.

Tonight I plan on sitting down with my budget and making lists and lists and lists. I need to figure out how to reduce some items in our budget, like grocery. There are 5 of us in our family and we spend too much on groceries, well more than I like. If I can cut it back even $100 I will be happy. I need to get baby step #1 ($1000) done asap.

The $100 I had made selling stuff to get started on our baby step #1 is gone. Dave Ramsey says that getting out of debt and staying out of debt is 80% behavior and boy is he right! So the other day I wrote about M #1 needing new shoes. Turned out M #2 needed new shoes too. That along with the few grocery items I got for the week cost $50.

I have been doing really good at work not buying lunch. Or snacks. Or drinks. I have been so proud of myself. Even my coworkers know about what we are doing with our finances and our goals. I am keeping nothing private. I want others to know so that it helps keep us accountable.

So out of the $100 we had $50 left. I underestimated how many diapers we have left and then I needed a few more items from the store. When its all said and done we are back to square one. I realized that I am the spender in the relationship. Who would ever be able to admit that? So this is all my fault. All this debt is me. The Hubs hardly EVER spends money without asking. It’s my behavior that needs to change. I need to be more like The Hubs. I have a hard time saying no to the minions. Although I will say that while at the store I did pass up things I wanted. So there is a small change in behavior. But I need a big change. 80% of spending is behavior. My behavior. But I can change I may have fallen and spent the last $50 from the emergency fund….but as Steven Covey says, it takes 21 days to make a change a part of your everyday life. We are only at day 8, I have 13 more days before this is everyday life. When you fall, you get back up, dust yourself off, see the error of your ways and start again.

**Jenn**

Emergency

We had an emergency today. Not a medical emergency. A financial emergency. Minion #1 needed new shoes…..NOW!

Let me backup and give an update on my last post. In less than a week, we were able to save $100 of our $1000 emergency fund! Less than a week!!!!!!

The Hubs and I, on the advice of the Dave Ramsey book I read, sat down and discussed what would constitute as an emergency and would require us to dip into ur emergency fund. Other than a job loss, it was agreed that car issues would be the #1 reason.

However, when you are starting a program like we are, it is probably a safe bet that there is no other savings. No “just in case” fund. And since our credit cards have been cut up, there is no fall back plan.

So when my 12 year old comes up to me after school today and shows me his shoes and shows me that part of the heel is poking him because its detaching from the shoe, I cant very well tell him “No”. I cant send him to school to walk from class to class and participate in PE with shoes that are physically causing him pain. To me this was a minor emergency, but an emergency none the less. Then I think, “Wait, I can cover this. I have $100. This is what emergency funds are for”.

Now before you correct me, I have not started the cash envelope system yet. I  know that I need to have a clothing budget. Remember, We have only been doing this program for 5 days. But because I have been able to sell stuff to make money towards our emergency fund, I was able to take some money to buy him some shoes.

So I learned a very important lesson today…..what we are doing is already working!!!! I didn’t stress about paying for shoes because I had the money. And I as able to give him a but and told him that the shoes he picked out have to fit within the budget I had given him. I was teaching him a lesson about budgeting while I was learning a lesson myself. That what we are doing is life changing. And whether we intended to or not…..its a lesson we are showing our kids.

 

**Jenn**

 

**Just a little side note. If I do not post every day it more than likely is because of my work schedule. Working 12 hour shifts means I get up early and get home close to the minions bedtime and then go to bed myself.

Show me the MONEY

Do you remember that line from Jerry Maguire when Tom Cruise is screaming “SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!!” Now I am not a Tom Cruise fan but how can you not love that movie, or that little kid? But that phrase show me the money is etched in our brains for eternity. That’s what I am doing today. I am telling the universe to show me the money.

thI have stuff. Lots more stuff than I need. Than WE need. What do most people do with extra stuff? Hold yard sales, donate, give away. Before this weekend, I would have tried to sell a few things but probably donate what didn’t sell to a second hand store. But not anymore. My stuff has some value. I need to make my stuff work for me. Every dollar counts. Every penny counts. Especially going on this money journey we have committed to . So I posted our stuff. Posted on facebook pages. And I sold stuff. Not all of it, yet. But I sold some stuff and now we are $40 closer to our first baby step. $1000 saved is baby step #1 on the Dave Ramsey plan. I am being open and honest with people about this journey. I believe that we can dig our self out and be debt free without filing bankruptcy…..again.

Yes, we have filed bankruptcy before. In 2009. It was humiliating. I was in school full time and working part time. The Hubs was the breadwinner. Working a great job with good pay for an architecture firm, using his degree. Then in 2008 everything changed. In amatter of weeks he lost his job and we were forced to move from our rental because we couldn’t afford the rent. We didn’t have a savings. We lived paycheck to paycheck, like many many other people. This one setback had changed our lives. We had to move in with my parents. We eventually gave our cars back to the bank, my dad helped us buy a used minivan and we paid him back in a less than a year. But the other bills, well those were still there. And kept coming. And between my part time job (I worked as many extra hours as I was allowed) and his pitiful unemployment checks, it just wasn’t enough. Medical bills is what ended up forcing us into bankruptcy. At the time Minion #2 was going through some medical issues and Medicaid would only take care of bills so far back. So we filed. We went to our hearing. We thought it wasn’t going to be bad. We knew that our creditors could show up and ask us questions. Only one did. And he was ruthless. He made the whole embarrassing process even worse. You see when you filed bankruptcy back in 2009 in the state of Arizona, it was held in a banquet room. You pick  seat among everyone else and wait for your name to be called. It isn’t private. So when it was our turn, we went up to the table, talked to the man who wasn’t a judge but some type of court official, then he allowed any creditors to come up. The creditor that showed up, like I said, was ruthless. So bad in fact that the court official had to interfere more than once and eventually told the creditor that this was not a trial and that if he had nothing to contribute, he needed to leave. I was near tears. I was so shaken up. I never, never want to g through that again.

That is why today I am making my stuff work for me. We are dedicated to this process. It’s just stuff. We can replace stuff if we want to later on. But freedom from debt and growing our money for retirement is not something that can wait anymore.

If you haven’t read Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, read it. I finished it in less than 24 hours It has so much good information in it. If you are in the same position we are in, it will really help. The Hubs and I cut up credit cards last night. I sold some of our stuff today. We are going to make this work for us. Because if not, what will we end up with?

 

**Jenn**