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Archive for February, 2006

Trudging into a new month

February 28th, 2006 at 10:35 pm

So, it's March. At least here in Alabama it is... 12:18am. I am at work gearing up to put my show together but thought I'd check in.

Today will be a BUSY day! I need to sit down and write a very long and thoughtful letter to my dad for his 60th birthday. I've been jotting down ideas of memories I want to recount and things I admire him for, etc, but actually writing it is going to be the hard part. I have so much to say and putting it into words that I feel express my feelings properly is not going to be easy. And yes, I am a procrastinator. This has to go in the mail tomorrow (Thursday). Did I mention I am also making 4 different kinds of cookies to send with it? AARRGGHHH! I'll be lucky if I get any sleep at all. Sigh!

So, I listed another Ebay auction yesterday and have 3 that are ending today. My total is only about 14 bucks for all three. Not great, but something, right? Also added a few books and movies to half.com.

Thanks to the inspiration of others here, I am going to do something I have never done. I am going to write down every penny I spend all month long. I already do that in a sense - I know how much comes in and how much goes out, but I want to see where the money is going exactly and if I can cut anything. I need to know categorically where the money goes. I feel like we've cut everything we can cut, but I'm sure there is more we can do.

My biggest concern this month is figuring out where I am going to come up with the money to meet my challenge goals. My rule is that has to be all "outside money", meaning none of it comes from our regular income. Right now we live pretty much paycheck to paycheck and any extra goes to pay off CC debt. I want to make it to the $800 level by the end of the month but I need a plan in order to make that happen. I will keep selling on Ebay, but eventually I am going to run out of stuff. I'll keep doing surveys, bank deals, and whatever online things I can find to make some extra cash, but I don't think those things alone are going to cut it. It has to be something I can do from home, in my spare time, on my schedule. I am out of ideas. If anyone has any, please share!

Last Big Purchase

February 28th, 2006 at 06:52 pm

Ok, I am bad. Right before I started blogging and made the committment to save and pay stuff off, I made one final purchase. Aersomith concert tickets because hubby REALLY loves that band. Total spent (cough, cough) $270... Fun 84 That's the cost of the two tickets plus the cost of joining the fan club (so we could get good seats!). I don't know what I was thinking...but at the same time I am kind of excited. We got the tix in the mail today and we got FLOOR seats!!! I have never had great seats for a concert of this scale. So, I am kicking myself for spending the $$, but jumping up and down at the same time. We are going to have a great time. I don't think I would spend that much money on concert tix again, unless it was Garth Brooks. Good thing he's retired, because that man is my hero! Wub Anyway....as far as last big purchases go, I'd say that was a pretty good one. The concert is on Saturday - can't wait. I'm not even a big Aerosmith fan, but I know hubby is freaking out!

Added more money to my challenge today! $14.11 from that phone survey/voice recognition thing and 2 cents from ING interest.
Current Challenge Savings - $120.04
Goal is $800 by the end of March and $4000 by the end of the year!

My three Ebay auctions ended tonight and I made $69! Yay! The one with all the watchers ended at $46 - not bad! I'll add the money to my challenge total once I get paid and it gets into my ING account.

More later!

Aktion033

Controlling the money, so IT doesn't control ME!

February 27th, 2006 at 11:10 pm

Well, it's the last day of February and I didn't reach my goal of $400 in my savings challenge for the month. Frown But, I feel really good about things anyway! First, it's a short month, plus I have a lot of things out there that are pending that would get me pretty close. It's coming - I just have to be patient! So now, I move forward! The pressure is on for March, because I plan to make up for where I fell short this month, plus save another $400. So, yes, by the end of March I plan to have $800 in my savings challenge. I know that's a lofty goal for me, but you have to shoot high!

What I've learned after one month of doing this is how freeing it is to control our money! We always let our money control us in the past, but that is OVER! I'm really excited about how things are going so far!

I got two more auctions listed on Ebay yesterday and found out from Jeffrey's blog that today you can post fixed price autions on Ebay for 10 cents. I'm debating posting some of my items this way... We'll see... My three auctions that end tonight are doing ok. Right now I'm making $25 (every bit helps!) but I know they'll go up. Especially the one that now has 28 watchers! Wow!

I've decided not to include Canadian bidders in my auctions anymore. Shipping is too expensive so people don't bid on my stuff for that reason. It's a pain to field all the emails about how much shipping will be when I know they're not going to bid anyway. If I was posting more expensive or rare items, I think people would be happy to pay the cost of shipping, but for the things I'm selling now, it's just not worth it.

Not much more going on really. I love coming here and reading all the blogs. I read all new entries daily. It's cool to see what other people are up to and get more money making ideas. It keeps me motivated, plus by posting here I feel accountable - which is something I really need.

Well, better sign off for now... Happy Fat Tuesday everyone! Costumed Smiley 034:

I owe, I owe, so off to work I go!

February 26th, 2006 at 09:56 pm

Well, it's Monday, again! Ok, so technically it's still Sunday night for most, but I'm at work, so it's Monday for me! A lot of people have a light work week because of Mardi Gras (even the kids around here get ALL week off school!!). Unbelievable! Of course, being that I work in the media, there's really no such thing as a day off for things like that.

Yep, Mardi Gras is here again! A lot of people think of New Orleans when they hear about Mardi Gras, but actually New Orleans is NOT the birthplace of Mardi Gras. Would you believe that Mobile, Alabama is?! Yep! It's true. I didn't believe it either until I moved here 2 years ago. I think the only reason you don't hear about it as much is because it's not a drunken flash fest like it is in other places.... Smile It's much more family oriented. But it's huge! We've been having parades for weeks, Mardi Gras balls, moonpies and beads galore. I was just reading a press release on the parade Friday night and an estimated 90-THOUSAND people showed up!!! Hubby and I haven't gone to anything this year. It's fun, but just haven't gotten around to it. Probably won't since tomorrow is the big finale - Fat Tuesday. There is SO much history behind Mardi Gras and I truly don't understand all of it, but I highly recommend a trip to Mobile if you ever want to check it out. It's TONS of fun, and much safer than in New Orleans.

Anyway.........I can't believe it's Monday already! The weekend flew by and I didn't accomplish much. Didn't do anything to earn any extra money for my challenge, but luckily I didn't spend over budget either. We spent $65 on groceries, $20 on cat and dog food, and our normal $35 of weekend eat out money. I am very proud of us -- we've really been sticking to the budget rather well!

The upcoming week will probably be a busy one... I have a bunch more things to list on Ebay and I really need to work on dad's B-day present which needs to be mailed by Thursday.

Tomorrow is my payday, so I'm happy about that. Rent and car insurance will be paid and then that about does it for that check! I can't wait until my recent CC payments show up on the high interest card because then it will show a zero balance! That is good news for a couple reasons. Obviously, no more paying that high interest, but it also gives us an outlet to pay our bills on time. Because we are going paycheck to paycheck right now, it's really hard to get stuff paid on time. It gets paid within the month, but not always on time. I only do that with things that don't charge fees or fines, but I hate it! So, I'm going to start putting that stuff on the card and then pay the card in total every month. It's going to feel SO good!

I was just looking in on my Ebay auctions. I thought I had a couple that end tomorrow, but I was mistaken. I do have a couple that end on Tuesday. I'm really anxious to see what happens with one of them. Right now bidding is only at $6 but it has 24 people watching! I think that's the most I've had on a single auction. The auction is for 2 corsets, lol! I got them from a friend at my wedding shower almost 4 years ago and never wore them.

Well, I really should get to work. Mondays are often slow news days, so it could be a tough night. We'll see!

Have a great Monday everyone!

$20 Challenge Recap

February 25th, 2006 at 11:37 pm

I was thinking it would be nice to have one entry in my blog that I can come back to and update whenever I add money to my challenge. That way, at the end of the year I'll know exactly where every penny came from.

Amount I started with - ZERO DOLLARS!!!
So....here we go!

Current Challenge Savings - $176.83

February

- $10 (got a $10 Walmart GC from mypoints -- used it to replace $10 in my grocery budget and moved that money to my challenge)

- 17 cents (interest that was already sitting in my ING account)

- $20 (got 2 $10 Gas GCs from a $1 trial offer -- used it to replace $20 in my gas budget and moved that money to my challenge. Spent the original $1 from my own fun money)

- $55.94 (profits from selling stuff around the house on ebay)

- $19.80 (profits from selling stuff around the house on ebay)

- 2 cents interest in ING account

- $14.11 (phone survey for voice recognition product)

March

- $30.75 (profits from selling stuff around the house on ebay)

- 7 cents (ING interest)

- $25.97 (Ebay profits from selling my junk! Smile)

I will continue to update as I go! My goal - $4000 by the end of 2006....

The Wheels are Turning...

February 25th, 2006 at 06:49 am

So yesterday when I signed up for that Barnes and Noble GC I hesitated, thinking it's not something I really "need" (yes, I know it only cost a $1, but still!). What would I do with it? I was determined not to spend it on myself... Maybe I would use it for a gift. But, then out of curiousity I checked Ebay. Did you know that people there sell gift cards for most of their value (minus 2 to five dollars)? Ok, so I think I know what I'll do with it when it comes! I spent one dollar, it'll sell for at least $15 and I still profit in the end after Ebay takes their little chunk. Woo Hoo! Time to go sign up for that Bed Bath & Beyond GC I read about. I'm loving this!

Challenge Update

February 24th, 2006 at 10:57 pm

Some of my Paypal money for Ebay sales showed up in my account today - $19.80.

So....Current Challenge Savings - $105.91
Goal is $4000 by the end of the year!

I broke the $100 mark - YEA!

Signed up for a $1 trial today to get a $20 Barnes and Noble GC. It was for signing up for a progrram called Shoppers Advantage. Here is the link if anyone is interested:

shopping advantage

I can't vouch for it just yet... I'll let you know if my GC comes!

That's about it for my Friday. My current Ebay sales are up to about $25 so I'm happy about that. None of them end until Monday, so it'll be fun to keep an eye on the total over the weekend.

Wow - what an inspiration!

February 24th, 2006 at 06:47 am

This has zero to do with money, but I am so inspired by this story! It brought tears to my eyes! I saw the story on tv (we ran it on our newscast today) but it's almost as good in print. It's long, but I promise it's worth it. Enjoy...

[quote]Four glorious minutes of basketball they'll never forget at Greece Athena.
February 24, 2006

My son called me not long after the game ended. He sounded out of breath, and I soon understood why. After witnessing perhaps the most compelling sports performance he will ever see at any level, he and scores of other Greece Athena students flooded the basketball court and hoisted Jason McElwain onto their shoulders.

"Dad, you wouldn't believe what happened," he shouted into his cell phone. "J-Mac got into the game and hit six 3-pointers. It was wild. It was like a scene out of a movie."

My son couldn't have been more excited if he had drained those 3's himself. He was hardly alone in his joy and incredulity. All it took was four minutes and change for one of the most popular kids in the school to shoot himself into our hearts and onto ESPN's SportsCenter.

In the nine days that have followed, the national media (ESPN, CNN Headline News' Prime News Tonight, Paul Harvey, Inside Edition, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show, among others) have picked up on the story of J-Mac a story that could travel from a little gymnasium to the big screen.

Disney officials called Jason's parents, Dave and Debbie McElwain, on Thursday afternoon to inquire about the possibility of doing a movie.

And why not?

When it comes to drama and inspiration, Rudy has nothing on J-Mac. This is Rocky times six.

Hey, it isn't every day when a student manager with autism suits up for his first varsity game and scores 20 points.

It isn't every day when a school rallies around a special education student the way Athena has.

"I thought it might be a hard sell (with Hollywood) because people would think it was embellished," says Jim Johnson, the big-hearted Athena basketball coach who decided to give Jason a chance. "I'm glad I was wrong."

As Johnson prepares his team to host crosstown rival Arcadia in its Section V tournament opener tomorrow, he's still shaking his head in wonderment.

"I wake up each morning, asking myself, 'Did that really happen?'" he says. "'Did I really witness that?'"

They are questions many continue to ask. Even Jason, the engaging 17-year-old senior who hasn't allowed autism to undercut his dreams, is having a difficult time grasping the impact of his inspiring performance.

"That game went beyond what I ever expected," he says. "I felt like I had just won the national championship."

He may not have won a national championship, but he did win our hearts.

"I would have been happy with one point," he says. "I didn't expect to get hotter than a pistol."

A high-functioning autistic student, Jason has been forced to deal with the ostracism that special-needs children often face. There have even been road games this season when ignorant students have heckled him and made fun of him.

But students, teachers and administrators at Athena have come to love him. Jason has galvanized the student body. He has achieved almost cult-hero status at his school.

That love for him was never more obvious than during his shining basketball moment. The Athena cheering section, known as The Sixth Man, held up pictures of Jason that parent Jay Shelofsky had distributed before the game.

When Jason entered with 4:02 left, the students put the photos, which were affixed to paint-stirring sticks, in front of their faces and began chanting his name.

"I never sit during a game," Johnson says. "But when I saw that scene, I had to sit down because I was overcome with emotion. The tears were welling up big-time."

He was hardly alone.

After Jason hit the last of his 3's with two seconds to go, the students streamed onto the court and hoisted their improbable hero onto their shoulders.

"It was crazy, man," says Athena junior guard Terrance McCutchen. "Everybody wanted a piece of J-Mac."

They eventually carried him over to the stands, where he signed autographs for several minutes.

No one was more moved than Jason's mom, who with a minute remaining came down from the stands and planted a kiss on Johnson's tear-streaked cheek.

"Thank you," she told him.

Later, McElwain told reporters that the barriers her son faced had been torn down.

"This was his Berlin Wall tumbling to the ground," she says. "For the first time in his life he got an opportunity to be in the spotlight, and it couldn't have been brighter."

The seed for this unforgettable night was planted three years ago, when, as a sophomore, Jason dressed for a junior varsity game. He was fouled on a 3-point attempt and wound up sinking all three free throws.

At the banquet after that season, Jason received a plaque acknowledging him as the most accurate free-throw shooter in school history.

"He ate that up," says Johnson.

After cutting Jason before the season, Johnson asked the young man to stay on as manager and hinted that he might get an opportunity to suit up for a game. Before the Athena home finale on Feb. 15, Johnson told Spencerport coach Josh Harter that he might try to get "a special ed kid" some playing time on Senior Night, and Harter was all for it.

Jason was so excited when Johnson motioned for him to enter the game that the manager-turned-player had to be reminded to report to the scorer's table.

His varsity debut did not begin auspiciously. He tossed up an airball from the corner on his first shot, then barely missed a running one-hander.

"I groaned and put my head in my hands," Johnson recalls. "I said, 'Please, God, let him score.'" The next time Athena brought the ball down the floor, Johnson's prayers were answered. Swish. Nothing but net. The crowd went wild.

Little did anyone know that Jason was merely warming up.

"He turned into a machine," says reserve center Brian Benson, who was on the floor for Jason's heroics. "It wasn't just one. It wasn't just two. It wasn't just three ... he was on fire."

And his teammates were only too pleased to keep feeding him the ball.

"We weren't even looking to shoot," says McCutchen, who assisted on five of Jason's baskets. "Jason had sacrificed so much for us as a manager. We wanted him to have a night where he could shine."

It should be noted that, unlike other publicized incidents involving special-needs athletes playing varsity sports, Spencerport did not sit back and allow Jason to score.

"They may not have been all over him on defense, but for the most part they tried to keep him outside," says Devin DePoint, a junior forward for Athena who also was out there during Jason's scoring barrage. "The bottom line is that he still had to put the ball through the basket from beyond the arc."

DePoint says he could sense something special was unfolding as soon as they took the court for warm-ups.

"I knew he could shoot, but wow," he says. "We did whatever we could to get him the ball. We knew it was his one chance. We wanted him to have a good memory that he could carry for the rest of his life. We wanted to make it something he would remember."

As he returns to his role as student manager, Jason will remember this game, all right. And so will his teammates, his coaches and the student cheering section that has embraced him.

"It just goes to show that if you keep working hard, good things will happen to you," Benson says. "J-Mac works his butt off every day in practice, every game. It was nice to see him get a night where he could be a hero." His coaches, teammates and fans gave him a present, and he reciprocated.

"Those are four minutes," McCutchen says, "that I'll never, ever forget." Four minutes that one day may be immortalized by Disney. [/quote]

credit - written by Scott Pitoniak and printed in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Friday for Me!

February 23rd, 2006 at 06:50 pm

I work nights, so it's my Friday! I go to work in about 2 and a half hours and then, it's the weekend! Smile

Had a decent day today -- good and bad. I'll start with the bad. I've decided not to switch to cheaper car insurance (boo!). I was misreading the value of my car. It's still valued at $2300, which would come in handy if I got into an accident. If I had a savings, I'd go for it, but it's too big a risk to go without coverage right now. I'm sad, because I really wanted to cut my payment by more than half. Sigh.... Once I get a savings going I'll be in a better position to take that risk.

Accomplished a few things today -- added another item to Ebay. I have 7 auctions going on right now. 3 already have bids, 2 have watchers, and the one I just added has seen no action yet. None of them end until Monday (at the soonest) so there's still time. If anyone here is interested in buying my junk, my ebay username is garth2gal. It's not really junk, of course -- it's all decent stuff and could go cheap. We'll see.... I do have at least 5 more things to sell. I'm going to work on those next week.

Sent in a rebate today. It was for a Healthy Choice meal I tried. It's only $3.69, but I'm not really a rebate person. I won't do any free after rebates unless I absolutely would have bought the item anyway (without any rebate). Otherwise I'm just spending money on stuff to spend it. Not good.

Also got my tranfers taken care of for my new 0% CC. Yay! My high interest card has been obliterated! I love it!

Did not feel like cooking tonight so we had Taco Bell. We do not spend any extra money outside of our budget so I'm taking this out of our grocery budget (only spent $5 anyways). We do have an eat out budget but we like to save that soley for the weekend. The service at Taco Bell was HORRID! Took over a half hour to get our food and the employees were screwing around, so I wrote a complaint when we got back. Don't know if anything will come out of it, but it's worth a shot.

The only other thing going on is trying to come up with something special for my dad's birthday. It's on March 6th and it's a big one - he turns 60. I wish I could show up because I know that would be the best gift (they live in another state) but obviously that's out of the question due to money. I keep asking him what he wants and he always says nothing. I've been telling him about how I've been baking lately and today he said he wants cookies. I can do that, but I just feel like I need to do something more! He's done so much for me, and he's turning 60!!! I don't have long to come up with any brilliant ideas....

That's all for now! Happy (almost) Friday everyone!

Eating out for FREE!

February 23rd, 2006 at 06:50 am

Found out about a new company (new to me) that will pay for you to eat out. Basically they're a mystery shopping place, but just deal with restaurants. The website is mysteryguestinc.com. I read about it on another message board and based on posts there feel that it's legit (FYI, I would never post anything here if I had any inkling it was some kind of scam or not for real). Several people there signed up and have already gotten to go to restaurants and received their $$. Hope someone can make use of it. We can't right now, because they don't give $$ up front (you get reimbursed). Our money right now is too tight to even do that.

Nothing much else, other than $14.11 that I get to add to my savings challenge. Just transferred it from Paypal. I will officially add it to my total when it shows up in my bank account. It was for this phone survey/voice recognition testing thing that I did a couple weeks ago.

More later! Smile

Bye bye overtime....

February 22nd, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Bummer! What a way to start off my work day. Got to work and the first thing I see is an email from my supervisor that I can no longer skip my lunch break and collect overtime. Well, it was good while it lasted. Guess they are starting to crack down now. It only ended up amounting to 2.5 hours of overtime a week, but still! I need all the money I can get, lol! It all started when I was new to this position and needed that extra time to get my show done. I guess they figure I should be up to speed by now. I am, but that overtime sure was nice....

Had a fairly productive evening before work. I got 3 more things listed on Ebay. Plus, it's my co-worker's birthday today so I made him cookies with ingredients I already had at home (it was great not to have to spend any extra $$). Doesn't sound like much, but those 2 ventures seemed to take forever! Tomorrow evening I have a few more things to post on Ebay then I think I'm done for a while. Maybe I'll take another peek around the house and see if there's anything I missed. There probably is!

I'm almost up to $100 in my savings challenge (in hand anyway - I have quite a few things pending). Once I do reach that $100 mark I will probably do one of those bank deals (seems like most require a $100 deposit). We'll see...

Ooh - one cool thing did happen today! I got a brochure in the mail from my health insurance company. They're offering a deal where you take a free online health assessment and they send you a $50 gift card! Um, ok! Don't have to ask me twice! I did it and chose an Olive Garden GC. I already got an email confirmation that it's on the way! Hubby and I are going to use it on our anniversary in April. I wonder what my dad meant when he always used to say "There's no such thing as a free lunch." Hmmmmm....that may be the only thing my dad was ever wrong about, lol!

Is it Friday Yet? :)

February 21st, 2006 at 07:08 pm

Just sitting here watching the Olympics (women's ice skating)and thought I'd add a quick entry.

Made $19.80 on two ebay sales so I'll add that to my challenge once the Paypal transfer goes through. Added 3 more items tonight and have 4 more to add (hopefully tomorrow). I've gotta say, I am loving stamps.com. I'm taking full advantage of my free trial, but I don't think it will be worth keeping since I don't really ship that much. It so nice not to have to go to the post office though! I print my labels right here and my hubby ships everything from work. It couldn't be more convenient, lol!

Not too much else going on. Got a free coupon in the mail for a "Hungry Man" tv dinner today. This after writing a complaint letter a couple weeks weeks ago. Hubby got a dud.... It was my first time writing a complaint and it's really cool that they try to make it right. I will definitely continue to this in the future if I'm unhappy with anything. Heck - I might try it on products I love! I've heard praise can get you coupons and freebies as well.

The only other thing new in my financial life is my student loan. Its been deferred for quite some time because hubby was unemployed for much of last year. Now it's starting up again - boo! Another bill to pay. Frown Hubby's will start up again soon too and his payment is much larger than mine. No fun. No fun at all!

Overall though, I'm in a great mood! I think my co-worker is finally coming back to work so my workload should be MUCH easier tonight.

That's all for now!

Have you hugged a PUG today?

February 20th, 2006 at 10:45 pm







These are my babies - just thought I'd share! Smile

We're getting a tax return!

February 20th, 2006 at 10:39 pm

I am so SO SO SO SO HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!! I found out tonight that we are getting a tax return! My financial advisor (aka, dad!) is doing our taxes for us. He's not done but said we'll probably get at least $700! Last year we owed money, so I am thrilled to be getting something back this year. I might add some of it to my savings challenge (I really need the help to reach my goal) but we plan to put most of it towards CC debt. Yippee!

Your opinions can make you $$!

February 20th, 2006 at 07:58 am

A lot of people may already know this, but it's new to me. You can make $$ by writing reviews for epinions.com. Quite frankly I don't exactly understand their criteria for how you get paid and how much (it's some secret formula that has something to do with how many hits your review gets) but one person on another message board I visit said they made $25 for 19 reviews. Hey, it's free for me, and doesn't take much time so I'll try it! My goal is to write one review per day. Today I reviewed Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal. Yum!

Late Night Musings...

February 19th, 2006 at 10:48 pm

So, I am at work and REALLY should be working, (especially since I'm on my own, AGAIN!!!). I just thought I'd make a quick post.

Had a good Sunday - made it to church and then went to breakfast and the grocery store. Stuck to our budget for everything, but had a rough time at the grocery store. I had some new recipes I wanted to try but ended up not being to afford the dang ingredients, lol!. After buying a huge bag of cat food, tp, laundry detergent, and hubby's allergy meds, there wasn't much of the $70 left. Boo! Had to get our normal lunch stuff too.... So, we're eating on the cheap for dinners this week. 50 cent pot pies, anyone? Smile Luckily I do have stuff in the cupboards already to have at least 2 or 3 nice meals this week. Oh well. This debt game is all about sacrafice, right?

Not much else going on, really. I'm stressing out about my savings goal right now because I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it. I'm so determined, yet I don't know if I'm being realistic. Today is February 20th and I wanted $400 by the end of the month. I'm not sure how I can make that happen. If some of my pending $ would show up I'd be a lot closer, but so far, no luck. I have to, HAVE TO get the rest of my junk posted on ebay. That will help a lot. Must work on that today!!!!

Well, better get back to work. I have a long night ahead of me. I am really worried about my co-worker. He was out sick all last week and now again today. I keep thinking - what if he doesn't come back? I don't know what's wrong with him, but I do know that he has a lot of weight associated health problems. I feel terrible about it, plus it's also very stressful for me to do all this work by myself. I don't know how long I can hold out before I get to my breaking point.

Alrighty, really really need to get back to work. I just feel chatty tonight and needed to do a little venting. Here's to a new week!

Money Saving Day....

February 18th, 2006 at 09:13 pm

Had a good today. Desperately needed new makeup which can cost a fortune, but I ended up paying only $12. I am not brand loyal when it comes to foundation, so I found some on clearance that I also had a coupon for - spent $3 on a $12 bottle of foundation. Not bad. Also picked up my eyeliner (no way around that $5 - it's the only kind that works for me, but it lasts for at least a year) and cheap mascara. May not sound like much of a savings, but makeup is expensive. Didn't think I'd get out of there for less than $30 or so. That $12 is the only money I've spent on myself this month and all I plan to. Go Amy! Smile

Besides our normal bills, we always spend $35 a week eating out, $10 a week for gas, $10 a week to church, and about $70 a week for groceries. I am very strict about sticking to those numbers. Hubby also gets some fun money - maybe $50-75 a month so he can keep up with his gaming addiction (that Xbox 360 could be the death of me, lol!). Any other money goes to the CC's. Compared to the way we used to spend, we are doing really well!

Today I looked at ways to cut down our car insurance. I tried raising our deductibles to $1000 but it was only going to save us $2 a month! I realized it's because our car is so old that it's not worth even getting the comprehensive or collision coverage. Once I switch it we will be spending $70 less a month on car insurance! I am excited! Just want to run it by my dad before switching... I trust his opinion on these matters.

Not much else happening. Getting ready to go to bed so I can get up for church in the morning. Didn't make it last week - really need to go tomorrow!!!!!

Till next time!

Savings Challenge Update!

February 17th, 2006 at 06:02 pm

Added $65.94 to my savings challenge today! Smile $10 is our gas budget this week (replacing it with the free gas card I talked about a couple posts back) and the rest is from my Ebay sales.

I hope some of the other pending money comes soon. I was hoping to end the month at $400. EEK! I've got a ways to go yet!

Current Challenge Savings - $86.11
Goal is $4000 by the end of the year! Yikes!

It's Friday!!!

February 17th, 2006 at 06:20 am

Happy Friday Everyone!

In Control (and lovin' it!)

February 16th, 2006 at 06:42 am

Well, it's been an awfully long and particularly stressful week. My co-producer is really sick so it has just been me doing the entire show all week. It's been so hard and about 3 times the amount of work. Management has not bothered to try to get anyone to help me (which wouldn't happen on any other shift...."overnighters" are the "red headed step child" of the station.). I have not even gotten so much as a thank you. Fortunately the people I work with are great. The anchors have been very complimentary and I think that's the only thing keeping me sane!

Other than work, life is great! It's amazing how a shift of attitude about money can change things so quickly. It was less than two weeks ago that I posted on the board about all of our debt and how I felt so discouraged about ever getting it paid off. Now I feel great! I have a plan and I'm going for it. I rolled a lot of our CC debt onto a 0% card, our vet bill is taken care of thanks to a no interest loan from hubby's boss, and I am working toward my goal of paying off my parents.

Yesterday was my payday and I paid off the rest of our bills for the month. It is only the 16th and the bills are PAID!!! I can't remember the last time that happened. This time, it's for real! I am so excited!

Haven't done much in the money making department this week. I have pretty much worked and slept and that's it. At least I'll have the overtime! I did take a $2 survey yesterday. Does that count? Lol!

Oh yea - I am also very excited, because soon I will know my FICO score! I have never known it actually... Sad, huh? The new 0% interest CC I got has my score info when I log into the website! Since I'm a new customer it could take up to 4 weeks to show up, but then I can look at it anytime I want to - for free! It's going to be great to watch it grow! That will definitely become one of my goals.

Just checked Ebay - both of my autions have bids. Yea! Smile I really need to get off my butt and get all the other stuff listed. Right now that is my best bet at bringing in some decent extra money. Hopefully I can get to that this weekend.

Well, that's it for now! Time to get some sleep. I'm sure I'll be going in early again tonight and working triple duty. Oh well - at this time tomorrow my weekend will have begun! Big Grin

Makin' Money!

February 14th, 2006 at 08:23 am

Good morning!

A good day today - both of my ebay auctions are now paid for! Minus the shipping, I made $55.94. I'll add the money to my challenge total once the money is transferred from Paypal to my ING account. I added 2 more auctions last night. I wanted to do more, but it just took so much longer than I thought it would. I will add a couple more tonight.

I signed for a trial of stamps.com and got $5 in free postage that I used too - great! Plus, for signing up for the trial I got $10 bucks! Not bad! I am almost ready to cash out from that site. What site, you ask? I'll spill the beans in a future post because I am hoping referals will be allowed in the blogs soon. That way, if you sign up at the site through me, I get $5. Gotta do what I can to keep my savings growing! Wink

Well, hopefully my challenge account starts growing soon. I have so many things pending. Now I have to sit back and wait to actually get paid. Hurry, hurry!

Ooh - good news! I just checked Ebay and one of the things I listed last night already has a bid! Go me!

I truly feel like I am making progress.
Once I actually get paid for everything I've done so far for my challenge, I've made about $200 total! Not bad considering I just started on the 9th and today is only the 14th! Wow! Not sure if I can keep up at this pace though... There are only so many things I can sell on ebay and so many offers I can sign up for. Time will tell! Hopefully new things and ideas will constantly be popping up!

That's all for now! I will blog more later if I have time!

Happy Day!

February 13th, 2006 at 04:05 pm

I am SO happy right now!!!! I applied for two separate CC's - one for me, one for hubby. They are both 0% interest on balance transfers until '07. Got the approvals in the mail today! I have to admit, I was a little scared we'd be denied. Our credit is ok, but not fabulous. I have been too scared to pull our credit reports to see what our actually scores are but it is my goal to do that SOON. I know it needs to be done! Anyway, now we can transfer a huge chunk of our CC debt over, which means we can pay it off that much faster. I am THRILLED!!!!!! Big Grin

Also, my parents sent us a box of valentine's goodies. They are so sweet! Pens, candles, and girlie stuff for me, and flavored coffee and salt and vinegar chips for hubby (he is addicted to both of them and can't get his favorite brand of chips where we live now). They also sent a card w/ $30 and said to use it to go to dinner. It amazes me more and more each day how great my parents are. If I can be half as good a parent some day, it's gonna be great. I love them so much! I know it's not about giving stuff, but they just make me feel so loved. Ok, getting a little sappy here, lol!

My ebay auctions will both be over in about an hour - I am up to 57.39. Smile I am about to head over there now to post the new stuff.

Hasta luego!

Monday, Monday....

February 13th, 2006 at 06:48 am

Monday already?! The weekend sure did pass me by!

So, never made it to church on Sunday. Hubby had a movie on while I was trying to sleep Saturday night and I managed to get sucked in. So we stayed up til 3am to watch it. Then we decided - what the heck - let's go to WalMart! We normally do our grocery shopping on Sundays and we weren't tired so... It was kind of funny. Haven't been to WalMart in the middle of the night since my college days, lol! We got our groceries (stuck to the budget - yay!) and came home.

Work stunk last night. My partner in crime is sick so I had to produce the entire hour and a half morning show solo (I normally only do a half hour). It was crazy, but felt kind of good when everyone complimented me on a job well done. Tonight it's the same thing - just found out he'll be out again. Sigh....

I have another savings venture now... My parents invited hubby and I to go with them and my brother to Disney World in October. My parents are amazing and want to pay for it, but I am going to try to give them as much as I can. I'm going to save $10 from every paycheck (we get 6 a month - 2 for me and 4 for hubs cause he gets paid weekly). It'll only be $500 or so by the time we go, but with the other savings and paying of CCs it's about all I can swing. I know they aren't expecting anything so it will definitely be appreciated.

Speaking of the parents, I told them my plan of paying them $4000 a year for the next 5 years. Now that they know, there's no backing out! Wink They were very supportive but in a way I think they don't expect us to be able to do it. I can't wait to show them that we can and will! I know they will be so proud. (did I mention how blessed I am to have the most amazing parents in the whole world?)

My two Ebay auctions end today. So far I am up to a combined $51.73. More than I expected to get! I hope I don't have any problems though. So far the high bidder on both items has no feedback. I have had problems in the past with first-timers. Hopefully it will be ok! And, my huband got 7 more things boxed up for me - I hope to post them tonight!

That's really about it. It's a slow day. I don't have any new money making ventures at the moment. I need to come up with some new ideas so I can get the money rolling in! I do still need to sign up for some bank offers. Not sure why I keep putting that off - ugh! I think I'm going to go look into that right now!

I'll try to blog more later! Until then...

Coming back to add that I got an email from Sharebuilder confirming my promo code which means soon I'll have my $50! So, I just went over and opened an account for hubby too! Another $50! Not bad for a days work.... Free money sure is addictive!

Free $50!

February 11th, 2006 at 10:53 pm

Started feeling guilty for not blogging yet for Saturday or Sunday, so here I am! It's 12:45am and I have to be in church at 7am, but what can I say? I am a night owl.

Speaking of feeling guilty - I was also feeling guilty for not working on any of my goals. So, I went ahead and read a bunch of savings blogs. There was some good info, but I haven't gotten any new ideas yet. I will keep reading - I have many, many more to get through. I also signed up for a sharebuilder.com account (thanks for the suggestion from mjrube!). Used the ENTERTAIN50 promo code for a free $50 bonus (had to spend $5 to get it). I'm sure it will work, but at the same time I am hesitant so I decided to wait til I see the money before opening another account for hubby (aka, another $50). Won't count the money towards my challenge until it comes.

I must admit, I am feeling a little frustrated. How in the world am I really going to save $4000 this year? It seems like such a lofty goal, but a necessary one. Getting my dad paid back nags on my conscious every day even though he is totally cool with it. Well, I am not cool with it! Can't wait to get that off my shoulders.

On a good note, my current ebay auctions are up to $31. I am listing a bunch more things Monday night.

Hope to sign up for some bank offers tomorrow. Right now I gotta get to bed or I won't be able to get up in the morning!

Til' next time! Smile

Addicted to blogging

February 10th, 2006 at 06:12 pm

Hmmm...third post of the day. I think I am addicted to my blog! Smile

Just a couple of things to report. Hubby is catching on to the whole budget thing! Tonight he bought me flowers and a pink travel coffee mug I've been wanting from WalMart (for Valentine's Day he says). At first I was like "But we're not supposed to spend any money!" He quickly reassured me that he took it out of our weekend eat-out budget (which is $35 btw). That's totally cool with me because the whole eat-out thing is his gig anyway. I could care less if we eat out or not. I was so excited that he thought it through where the money was coming from and didn't just spend blindly. Go hubby! You're getting it! And, I got flowers and a new mug! Yay!

I got three survey invites in my email today - each for $2. One I didn't qualify for and the other was filled -- but I did get into the third one! Not sure when the money will show up in Paypal, but that's ok. I never seem to qualify for those things, so that 2 bucks is making me do a happy dance!

Last but not least - I got two Exxon Mobile $10 gas cards in the mail today! I got them for signing up for a $1 trial offer (now I gotta cancel!). If anyone's interested it's posted on this board in the freebie section. That's where I heard about it, anyway. The trial offer was for a company called Great Fun. Anyway, our gas budget is $10 a week (we only have one car and both work really close to home) so that means I got to take $10 dollars from our checking and move it into my savings challenge account over at ING. Same thing next week! Smile

Alright, it's Friday night... Time to sit down, relax, and watch a movie with my hubs.

More tomorrow!

Current Challenge Savings - $20.17
Goal is $4000 by the end of the year! Yikes!

Current CC debt - $4322.50
Goal is pay off as soon as humanly possible!

Making some progress.....

February 10th, 2006 at 07:53 am

It's the weekend! As most of you are just starting your work day, mine has been over for 2.5 hours! It's the one good thing about working overnights! Smile

I have put those couple of hours to good use. I gathered some Ebay stuff as planned and will post it this weekend (have to have my hubby make some boxes first so I can weigh the stuff for postage purposes). My public service announcement for the day: you might be surprised at what you might find to sell if you look around your house. I just started going through closets and drawers and came up with at least 15 things that I *think* will bring $5 or more. I forgot I even had some of it! I actually stopped looking because my "to sell" pile is making a mess in the family room. Once I get that stuff posted and boxed up I will find more to sell.

Also on the Ebay front, good news! Both of the items I posted so far have bids and I am making $20! Not bad for stuff I probably would have pitched in the trash... Both auctions still have 3 days left so I have a feeling that amount will go up.

Also today, I made $15 easy PayPal dollars. I am passing this one on for sure - hope it's legit, but it sounds ok! http://www.freesamplesite.com/ydf/showthread.php?t=180020 I hope someone gets in on this one on time! Supposedly it is for real - people there posted that they've already gotten paid. I haven't gotten mine yet though. I will keep you posted! edited to add - this is a dead deal now. And, even though some ppl got paid, I never did.. Frown I am still hoping though...

This morning I also found a couple more books that are accepted by ebookdrop.com. I'm only making like $3 on them, but hey, I'm not complaining!

The most exciting part of my day is that I get to update my challenge savings! I now have $10.17! I went into mypoints.com a week or two ago and realized I had some forgotten points that I never cashed out on. So, I cashed out for a $10 WalMart gift card. It came in the mail yesterday and since we do most of our grocery shopping at Walmart, I took $10 out of our grocery money and will replace it with the card. I transferred the $10 to my ING account (which I thought was empty) and realized I had 17 cents in there. Yay! $10.17. I have money on the way from a couple places too, but I won't count any of it until it's actually in hand. ING will be my official account where I keep my savings for now...

So, there you go! May not seem like much, but I feel like I have had a pretty successful day so far and it's only 10am here!

New goals:
- Open bank accounts for bonuses! (thank you mjrube94)
- Read other blogs and message boards for more ideas on getting some extra cash!
- Post new items on Ebay
- Sign up for 2 more survey sites that I just heard about

Time now for bed so I can rest up for my money saving weekend!

Current Challenge Savings - $10.17
Goal is $4000 by the end of the year! Yikes!

Current CC debt - $4322.50
Goal is pay off as soon as humanly possible!

Happy Friday!!!

February 9th, 2006 at 11:10 pm

There's nothing like a Friday to make me happy! We have the weekend to look forward to, plus hubby gets paid every Friday. Now that's a good day!

I have two goals for today - go around the house and gather up everything I want to sell on ebay, plus check out some of the bank deals where you open an account and get a nice little cash bonus. It's my goal to sign up for at least 2 today (but only if you can open an account with $1 - I don't have a lot to spare).

I'm concerned about my savings challenge, because if I really expect to save $4000 this year on side stuff alone I really need to get cracking. Doing a lot of little teeny things like surveys and stuff is not going to add up fast enough. I need ideas to bring in more. December is always a hard money month with the holidays, so I figure I really only have 10 months (including this one) to reach my goal for this year. And that's an average savings of $400 a month - gulp! I have to admit, that seems pretty unnattainable right now. I just hafta figure out how it's going to happen. I wish I could get another job, and I could technically, but I just don't think I could handle it. I already work screwed up hours (10:30p - 7a) and sleep my days. I am tired a lot because I don't sleep as well during the day as I would at night. So taking on another job seems too daunting and I don't think it's something I could stick with. There have got to be other ways to bring in some cash! I just can't think of them right now... One thing I am thinking could really help is our tax return (if we get one!). We haven't done our taxes yet and hope to really soon. I am praying we get money back. That entire sum will be added to my savings challenge! That could help a lot, but there's no telling. Last year we had to pay - quite a bit! So much, in fact, that we had to go on a payment plan with the IRS. I am making the last payment on that this month! For '05 though my hubby was unemployed most of the year. And I had a 0 witholding on my income, so I'm hoping (PRAYING) for money back this year.

Anyway, I am starting to ramble, so I'd better get working. Only 6 hours till I get to go home and get started on those goals! 7am can't come fast enough. I will probably report back later. Have a great Friday everyone!

Starting Fresh...

February 9th, 2006 at 06:43 am

For me, the road to financial success is much like a diet... I start and I do well for a while, but then I fall off the bandwagon and never look back. *Sigh*

I forgot I even had this journal from last year. I had good intentions at the time, but never got anywhere with my plans. You know what they say - "The road to h*ll is paved with good intentions." It's time to turn those intentions into honest to goodness actions, and that's exactly what I intend to do! (and I am counting on those of you who read this to give me a swift kick in the pants when needed!)

Starting now, I am on a new plan to financial FREEDOM!! I am tired of being young and poor (I'll be 30 this year) and living paycheck to paycheck. It's ridiculous. So, the fun begins!

I am "sort of" doing a $20 challenge, but rather than start with twenty, I am starting with zero (cause I don't have an extra $20, lol!). So far I have posted 2 things on ebay and am waiting on a couple small checks from ebookdrop.com. I also signed up with a ton of survey sites and hope to make small amounts of cash that way. I am working on other ideas to save money/get extra cash as well. Neither my husband or I make much money (so much for those expensive private school college educations!) so the money I save will have to come from me being creative. All the money we make at our wonderful low-paying jobs already goes to bills and CC debt (bad, bad!).

So, welcome to my world! I hope you will follow me on my journey, because I know I will need all the ideas, motivation, and encouragement I can get. I can't wait to be debt free and I hope I can do it soon! We want to buy a house, have kids, get a second car, and do all those other things people our age are doing. But I refuse to do any of that until we make a significant dent in our debt. Ah, how much debt, you ask? Well, since you don't know me and vice versa, I will disclose.

Currently we owe:
- $1200 for hospital bills (didn't have ins at the time)
- About $4300 to CC's (just rolled one balance onto a 0% APR card, yea!)
- $500 to my hubby's boss (who bailed us out because we couldn't pay our vet bill)
- And, because you always have to have a grand finale....get ready for this...$20,000 to my dad, who very graciously lent us the money to help get us out of debt a few years back (even though we were in WAY over our heads and had to declare bankruptcy anyway).

Yes, the B word. Bankruptcy. It makes me sick to my stomach because I've excelled at everything I've ever done in life - got awesome grades, and always made my parents proud. I am a complete goody-goody, by-the-book kinda gal. People IRL (in real life) would be SHOCKED to ever know that I of all people have had a bankruptcy. But, for some reason, I have never been able to live within my means or control my $$. And, even after going through that experience I still managed to rack up another $4300 in CC debt.

But I will say it now, and I will say it LOUDLY and PROUDLY! I will turn this around. I will become a success story. And I WILL make it to financial recovery!

Ok, so now that I've blabbed on and on -- here's the plan. Everything I save for this challenge will go to dad. My goal is to give him $4000 per year for 5 years to wipe out that debt. I am using the snowball method for our CC debt, and making monthly payments (no interest) for the hospital bills and the money we owe hubby's boss. I haven't gotten far ahead enough to figure out how long it will be until we're debt free, but I just want to make it FAST!!!!

I am going to be updating 2 things as I blog:

Current Challenge Savings - $0
Goal is $4000 by the end of the year! Yikes!

Current CC debt - $4322.50
Goal is as soon as humanly possible!

LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!!!!!!