Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Wednesday, Making more progress

    I was able to take mom out for a while yesterday.  We went to Joanns, and then to TJMaxx and Ross.  I bought 2 new pillows with a gift card at Maxx and nothing at Ross. See how I am improving?  I saw plenty I would have bought a year ago.  But I am staying strong.  Do I need this ? No. Do I need to buy this for someone else? No. I am great at buying small things for my girls.  It is fun, But do they need another nick knack? No.  Do I just like to spend money? yes.

     When you are trying to get out of debt and it becomes that long, long road of seems like forever, it is easy to get bored and start to do stupid things again.  All of us can suck it up for a little while and then we get frustrated, bored, lonely, jealous, unhappy, angry, you name what ever emotion triggers you and you are off spending.At least I am.

     In order to not do this I have to feel like I am making progress. When you are paying off the smaller bills to snowball this very effort and progress can keep you going.  If you use the strategy I have it is a long way between big pay offs like a car, or a major loan.  This is where the small strategies come into play.

     Now I have never been one to really look at small strategies. I go back to the lists of the" top 10 things you shouldn't buy to get out of debt".  My miracle lists.  (This is what I call them)  If you read and implement this list you will be out of debt in a day or two.  Well, actually you will just have given someone a hit on their account and that is okay. There is no miracle.  There are some good ideas.  If you do any research on this subject you will see they are the same ideas, over and over.  So what do you do?

     Well I poo, pooed most of them or I was already doing those things so they didn't help.  (again looking for the quick fix) So I stopped being a spoiled brat and really looked at different things that I wasn't doing, (that I thought were worthless) and decided to implement them.  Words pay no debts, but actions do.

1. study you bills make sure they are correct.  What did I discover?
  a. cell bill was wrong for a long time, I got a huge refund and a bill dropping from $156.00 a month to under $90.00.  So add $66.00 more to our monthly budget.
  b. Review insurance and switch company.  3 cars from $176.00 a month down to $66.00 a month. Savings of $110.00 a month.  Yes that is right.
  c. Watching internet bill and catching the reup date to keep the bill at low rate.  Saving $9.00 a month.
  d. Watching yellow pages add to make sure only shop was included in contract (I missed this last year). $22.00 a month savings.
  e. Noticed points on an old card and insisted on collecting them.  $100.00 gift card

This one thing  alone garnered me $280.00 in free money, but also $207.00 monthly to put toward debt.  That is a big old heap of change.  Will it make a difference?  You bet it will.

 2. Study your utility usage and block the energy leaks.
     a.  I have been actively turning off all lights when not in use.  I have (had a bad habit of leaving things on out of laziness and my dislike of the dark).  Our electric bill is down about $25.00 from last year.
     b.  Actively hanging heavy shirts and pants to dry and then fluffing them for 10 minutes in the dryer. See above electric bill.
    
  3. Staying out of stores.  I don't have a total here, but believe me when you have no temptation you don't spend as much money.  I can't even put a figure on this one.  Just leave it to me to say I have more discretionary income.  Most of which goes to my debt.

 Have any of you ever implemented a new strategy that you thought was nuts and found out it worked?

     Tomorrow starts a new month.  A new month to see what I can accomplish on the pay off department.  I am actually looking forward to March in so many ways.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday,What makes a difference?

     This flu is a bugger.  I did get a little sewing done yesterday, but it is slow going I tell you. I did get quite a bit of work in yesterday and with my 5 Wedding dresses I am really in the groove.  However the energy and drive to jump right into the shop is still not there.  It is frustrating to say the least.  I am just taking it slow.  I will do as much as I can and that is it.

     Hub's and I need to go and get a new toaster and a mat for the front door.  I also need to stop by the insurance office today.  This is if I can convince myself to make myself presentable.  This is a big IF.  Mom really needs to get out of the house as she is getting grumpy. I am sure once these errands are complete I will be wiped out.

     The weather just has not broken.  It is still colder than normal.  We usually have really wet springs.  I just want to get outside in the dirt and I don't see that happening for a while.  It has me a little discouraged.  I am sure that this foggy flu brain will clear up in another day or two.

     Laying around with fever brain allows you time to think.  I know I am really starting to make progress on my debt and this makes me so happy.  I am trying to think of why this time I have not given up.  Is it because I am older and wiser?  Maybe?  Or is it because I feel that I have no choice?  Not really. I really think the difference is that I know I can.

     As many times as I have tried before and remember this has been a 30 year journey, I have had factors  that really made it hard for me to stay out of debt.  The first was having kids at home and actually having more children.  Kids are expensive and college is expensive.  Just getting the girls out and on their own has really helped my bottom line.  Now the oldest has been out for almost 20 years, and she has by far always been our easiest  as far as finances are concerned.  She is a very self sufficient child.  She also lived through the very lean years of our lives.  The younger two were pretty oblivious.  By the time D#2 was out and could notice what life was all about D#1 was in high school. 

    So getting the kids raised has really helped our bottom line. I have always said I could have done better, but I don't regret the money spent on helping them get a good education.

     The second thing that has made a huge difference is not having a car payment.  I cannot say enough about how this can really free up money to pay debt.  If we can just keep these two old cars going for a couple more years we will really be able to achieve our goals.

     I know that the snowball method for debt is a great tool.  But I used the what payment is the highest method to attack our debt.  Paying off the cars early even though the interest rates were lower freed up over $700.00 a month to attack debt.  Getting the studio lock paid off gave me another $150.00 toward debt.  The house/sewer loan has a payment of $350.00 a month, so when that is paid off we will have that additional large sum and the debt will really start to drop.

   If you are struggling maybe the method of attacking the larger payment is a better option.  I also realize that we don't have 8-10 high interest CC's with large balances.  So this method may not be feasible for many.  It has however worked for us.  Once the Home/sewer loan is paid off, any smaller bills will be easily wiped out.  The interest rate on our personal bank card is only 6.56% so very low compared to others.

     The third and probably the most important part of our success so far has been the keeping $1000.00 in an emergency account.  Every time I have let that go, debt has crept back into my life.  Right now our emergency account is low, so that is the first thing I will work on in this coming month.  Part of it was used to pay the accountant and the dentist.

     I hate to stop my debt pay off to fund this account but I know the consequences of ignoring this important part of a debt pay off strategy.

Now if I can rank these in order of importance.

1. Emergency fund
2. pay off cars and keep them paid off, keep them running, do not be tempted to replace them.
3. raise the kids.  If your kids are small they won't notice you cutting back, if they are teenagers, they can get a part time job, they can also get good grades for scholarships.  Your children are a great blessing to you, and they are expensive, ask for help from them, explain your situation, you might be surprised by the ideas and help they offer.

Have a great and productive day, staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim


Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday,Mending, Money saving Madness


    I have had every symptom one can have with the flu and it seems to be on its way out the door.  Yesterday was the first day with out a fever in 5 days, so that was a step in the right direction.  I had to laugh as my fit bit had less than 1000 steps on it and I usually get 10000, but it recorded 11 minutes of elevated heart rate exercise.  How was that?  I mean I have laid on the sofa or in a bed for 5 days now.  Well I decided to go into the laundry room and fold four big blankets, hang a load of laundry and take the blankets up to the linen closet.  This wiped me out and I was a sweaty mess.  Went back to laying down.  That was my 11 minutes of strenuous exercise. These activities usually don't register.  I guess my body thinks it is sick or something.

     I'm trying to decide if I will do anything today, part of me says yes, a little.  Part of me says NO!  I think my lazy self might like laying around a bit too much. Hub's is up trying to clean the kitchen, I will be grateful for the job he does, and then go spiff up after him.  (shh don't tell)

     Money saving madness Feb 19th-25th 2018

1. Used old cottage cheese containers for all leftovers.
2. Made all meals from scratch
3. all food staples and meat came from the pantry stock and freezers.
4. only purchased fresh fruit and veggies from grocer. Also bread
5. Found burger on sale for $2.19 a pound in bulk.  Bought 15 lbs and sealed it in smaller packages.
6. Picked up other beef and pork for 50% off and froze. Now meat is stocked for a while.
7.Got sick and did not spend any money:)  Well that is one way to do it.....
8. Used a visa gift card to buy toilet paper and one large pack of paper towel.
9. Found my hair die on close out bought everything they had.
10. Used my clothesline for heavy blankets and clothes

It was a kind of a bust week with this flu and I can't say that this week will be much better. I do know I am on the mend it is just that I have to take it slow and I don't do slow well.


Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Sunday, Debt and blame

     When you are deep in debt it is really easy to become defensive and blame everyone but yourself.  I know this because I have been through just about every debt scenario there is. Hub's and my first 10 years of marriage were riddled with almost exclusive  unemployment on his part. If he worked at a sub standard job for more than 4 months a year I was grateful.  Actually I was furious and I made no bones about it to anyone that would listen.  (I am so kind that way) I guess what I am saying is that unemployment can lead to debt.  It is pretty easy to blow through any emergency fund when one has no income.

     Second we had extreme medical bills with the birth of our second daughter, and student insurance that only paid $10,000 a semester. Terrible medical bills will throw you into some bad debt fast.  Thirty years ago people did not have the rights they do today against debt collectors and my life was a shambles for about 3 years after her death.  Everyday I had bill collectors calling, threatening. not an easy time.High medical costs can lead to debt that is never ending.

     My own health crisis lead to debt.  We had gotten to a place where we were saving money and getting out from under, and then bang I was down.  As the primary bread winner, this was a blow.  Thank goodness for my Hub's insurance at work is all I can say.

     So for years I  had three perfect storms on which to blame my debt problems.  They were legitimate, I did not cause them.  Looking back I can certainly see where we should have handled all of these crisis' better.  However, that is in the past and I am looking forward.

    I chose to blame these things on my bad money management. I was sad, I was tired, I was sick, I was most of all very, very angry.  I used anger and blame to justify my spending.  I worked hard and I deserved better.  I deserved to have nice things.  I wanted my girls to have nice things.  I did not want them to have their father's childhood , with a mother that was so cheap, Hub's never had a new suit of clothes.  I did not want my kids to suffer the way I did as a child when my parent's spending and lack of control, pitted my youth with worry and stress.

     So I spent.  I worked hard and I cut corners at every opportunity, but I also spent, and as I spent I blamed, my husband, and yes, he could have worked much harder, but the point is I could have spent less.  I have been trying to get out of debt for the last 30 years.Like an alcoholic on and off the wagon.  I would do well for a few months and then be derailed and discouraged.  I would see my sister in laws (whom I love deeply) buy things for themselves and their houses all the time.  They went on trips and out to dinner all the time.  They did not have to work like I did for every single thing we had.  I was jealous and angry and I was going to make sure I could keep up with the Jonses (or at least the family)

      Guess what?  No matter how hard I tried I was never going to be able to keep up.  I am (and was not) those people.  My priorities were different and they were always going to be different. I could sit back and blame others, and situations, and justify my feelings and behaviors, but it just got me right back where I was before.  Drowning in debt, burying my head in the sand, being unorganized and too busy to really pay attention.  So the bad habits were a viscous life style.  Something had to change.

Right now I need to go cough up my lungs.  The flu is lovely.


     Have a great and productive day, staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

     
  

    

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Saturday, Thoughts about debt

     As most of you know who read this blog, I am obsessed about my debt situation and saving money.  I love to get ideas off of Pinterest and other money saving web-sites.  I have written before about my frustration with many of the lists that people put out to quell overspending in your budget, as so many of the items they tell you to cut, I just didn't spend money on anyway, so they were of no use to me. Examples: Cable (had this for 2 months 30 years ago), We don't drink coffee, or tea ( now if I could just give up diet coke), we don't smoke or drink.  We eat out very rarely.  I have always stockpiled food.  I have always cooked from scratch.  I have always had a garden.  I have always canned and froze my leftover produce.  I have made my own bread.  You get the idea?

     I think what I was or am looking for is the miracle cure for my debt.  The one big secret that will be the ah ha moment and I will instantly solve the problem.  When you are in debt, especially consumer debt, it is usually because one lacks the ability to say no to your instant need for gratification.  We or I want all that colorful, wonderful stuff the stores have.  I want to drive a nice or newer car.  I want lots of clothes and cute shoes ( well I did until my feet were ruined by dancing and arthritis).  So once we give in to our wants, we find ourselves deep in the hole to consumer debt.  We are then slaves to the credit card companies and the car loans, and the big house, etc.

     Are you in debt?  Do you constantly look for ways to cut expenses, only to see that you are already doing just that?  I just did not ever think that all these little stupid things that people were doing would ever help.  So I don't use paper towels.  How is that going to help me pay my $350.00 Visa bill?  That is chump change. You get angry and justify that you cannot do or won't do any of these stupid, piddly little things.  What you need is something that will help you trim (if you are even willing to retrench)enough money to take the burden of the debt off your back.

     So we go looking for solutions.  We get a consolidation loan, we get a home equity line, we get another credit card, we borrow money from our parents, we pick up another side job.  But we don't fix the problem which is spending more than you make.  Soon and usually with in a year we are right back where we were before.  I have been here many, many times.  It has taken years for me to admit that I am a compulsive shopper.  I love to shop, and I justified it by only buying things on sale.  Great I did save money but I also spent money I did not have, on something we did not need.

     How, how how? do we get over this viscous cycle of debt? When does the light go off that finally brings you to the realization that you might be the problem?  When will it ever occur to you that no one is coming to rescue you?  The buck stops with you. Painful as it seems you are the problem.

More on this subject.......

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Friday, February 23, 2018

Friday, Hit by the flu

    
I was hit by the flu.  I suspected as much with the body aches and then the fever and the heavy chest.  I was right into the doctor early (8:10) Thursday morning and was put right on Tamiflu, which is supposed to shorten the run and ease the symptoms. Yesterday was a bust and I was on the sofa all day hardly moving.  Dressing mom was so painful every bend and stretch was just so fun.  Lil sis has mom and I feel bad but I just can't deal right now. Because of the Arthritis the run will be a little longer but I am holding up well.

The weirdest symptom was the severe pain in the back of my lower leg muscles.  They were firing up involuntarily and then so sore, but today is much better.  The doctor said that I should be out of the woods early next week.  Fever sits around 100 so it is workable, but exhausting.

     I now have 5 wedding dresses in the shop.  I cannot work on them until I feel better, if my hands slip when I am ripping out a seam I could really do some damage.  So they sit and hang staring at me.

     Binge watching netflix is my goal this weekend. Also drinking lots of liquid. Oh, and puttering, don't forget puttering.

     I am going to make hubs help me fold all the bedding in the laundry room and put it away.  It is just so heavy right now.

I feel a nap coming on, you will have to excuse me:)

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Wednesday, Is the party over?

          I have two wedding dress redo's in the shop as I write.  One is 70 years old and it is soaking in the slop sink in biz right now.  It will remain there for another day and then be rinsed and hung to dry.  The second is only about 25 years old and just needs to be altered, but I did wash and soak the veil and it came out sparkling white.  I have another fully beaded gown coming in on Thursday. So it looks like the slow times are coming to an end.

     I really love to recondition older dresses, it is such a creative process. Wedding dresses bring in good money but I still prefer the quick simple alterations, like hems and such.  It is better money in a faster turn over.

     I have to completely strip out the guest room and throw away the pillows and buy new. The pillows are flat and not comfy, so this is a must with company coming.  That will leave me with plenty of laundry today, plus a little shopping.  I think I have a gift card to TJ Maxx, for the pillows.  I need to take mom out again for meds. I will also take her to do a little grocery shopping.

     The Wednesday sale adds were not very good.  They have not been good for a while.  But one store does have ground beef on sale, and also asparagus is $1.29 a pound, and oranges are way down, so I will go get a few things.  I need to take stock of the storage and see what I am short on.  Hub's wants a potatoes salad made and I am going to put a beef stew in the crockpot. 

     I need to dig in the sewing/craft closet for red yarn to tie the car quilt I am making.  I will just string the thread and mom will tie it.  That is something she can still do mostly by feel and she will love that.

     I will take some stew down to my neighbor and check on them, and I just got a call to take in a meal to another family tomorrow.  So I will make a big stew. Also throw together a cake for the masses.
    
     So there is plenty to keep me busy around here the problem is that I am achy.  I had a hard time sleeping last night with arthritis acting up in shoulders and elbows.  I also feel like my soft palette is full and I have a slight headache.  So I am going to watch these symptoms and see where they lead.  In the mean time, I will quit whining.๐Ÿ˜„

Have a great and productive day, staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tuesday, The good, the bad and the ugly

     We have record cold temperatures here and the sun is shining with all its might.  By looking outside you would think it was 60 degrees, but when you open the door the wind hits you and it is below 0 wind chill factor.  It reminds me of living in Wyoming.  It is supposed to warm up toward the weekend, but with snow fall in the mountains.  Not that we will get any, just the surrounding areas.

     I really think daughters area could use a little relief on snow fall and cold and it doesn't look like that is in the forecast. So what do you prefer, really cold no snow, or warm with snow?




     There used to be a blogger who did the good ,the bad,and the ugly ,but I don't remember which one it was. I have divided my month which is only 2/3 through into these categories, hoping to give myself a little lift.

The good:
I have met all my financial goals, that in and of itself should have me over the top.
I have had two customers drop off this morning so I have work.
I also took in a remodel wedding dress on Friday, so that is good paying work. 
The sun is shining. 
I have only been asked to do 6 things for mom this morning.  She dressed herself in summer  clothes,  I did not argue and then I made her put a sweater on. She is so positive it is warm outside so I am going with her happiness right now. 
Living on my storage has been great and has certainly saved money and allowed me to really progress in my debt pay off.
We still have plenty in the staples storage.

The bad:
I could use more work in the shop. 
We are running out of meat in the freezers. 
I am down to about 8 whole chickens,one lb of burger and a huge ham.
Hub's will only stand so much chicken, although it is my favorite. I pulled out meat for the week and took stock and I must start looking for a ground beef/beef sale.
So besides just buying dairy, fruits and veggies, I now must add meat, which will not allow me to save as much.
My pink pig bank is starving.  I put all my spare change in her and she has hardly been fed as I am not spending very much money.
My Christmas and stuffer drawers are really empty because I have not been adding super sale items to them.  Don't know when I will start this again.  It really does make for a great and cheap Christmas but getting that home loan paid off is more my precedent right now.

The ugly: 
Dental bills
Unexpected dental bill of $191.00 ( my fault)
Hub's new bill also $191.00
upcoming dental bill $282.00 due by the 6th of March
My emergency fund is down to $200.00, I am waiting for tax refunds to get it back up to $1000
We had a bad wind storm over the weekend and one of our coop doors blew open, we lost a chicken.
Mom's memory continues to fail.


There you have it, my financial life in a nutshell.

I have work to do so I had better get busy and quit complaining.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday, late post, money saving madness


    The roads were terrible coming home from Spokane.  It snowed  so much when we were there and was very, very cold.  We came home to 27 degrees here, which is almost unheard of this late in February.  We have no snow but it is so cold for us this time of year. There is at least 8 inches of snow at daughter's house and the walks and roads are solid ice.  I had to be very careful at her place not to fall and get hurt.


     Our daughter was doing much better when I left.  She was on an anti viral for over 48 hours and that seemed to help.  We had a great time with out sweet little grandson.  I did some cooking and left her with some things to eat this week.  They are still working on a leak repair in their basement , so everything is really torn up.  We could not due much to help them with this until the work is finished.  But just having mom time helped both of us.  We got out twice by ourselves and it was so nice.

     Because we left earlier than we thought we would due to the roads, I left almost every room 1/2 done.  I have clothes to put away in the master bedroom, the spare room did not get made up.  Moms room still had the sheets off the beds.  So I came home to a mess.  So far I have only made up mom's bed.  After this blog I will get all the other things done so the house in cleaned up. At least every room was started, so it shouldn't take too long. Then I need to take stock of the week ahead.  I wish there was more work in the shop, but I know it is coming.

     Monday, money saving madness Feb.11-18th 2018

1. Used my clothes line to dry heavy flannel shirts and bedding
2. Ate out of pantry for all meals
3. Made homemade shortbread for Valentines day
4. Cooked a nice steak dinner for hub's with everything on hand.
5. Garnered a few freebies at Albertsons monopoly game. Not nearly as good as last year, but free is free. A donut for mom, free gravy mix, free coffee cups (gave to sister) since I am not buying things I don't need I did not get any new coupons, so this year is kind of a bust.
6. Reused plastic containers, jars and wax wraps.
7. Spent noting at Joann's!!!!!!!!
8. Made a huge pot of spaghetti sauce, gave away two large jars and froze two large portions.
9. Was able to put my denim scrap quilt together, now I have to tie it.
10. Continued to work on embroider projects. 
11. went to Wal greens with daughter and found green olives for .18 a jar, also gravy mix for .4, Marsala mix for .54.  I bought everything they had and it cost $6.42.  I normally am not a mix girl but for that price, I can doctor it up with fresh ingredients.

It was not a huge money saving week, but I am not really shopping just conserving and it is really starting to help the bottom line.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim
  

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday, Tying up loose ends

     I was able to get all the work done in the shop yesterday, it was wonderful to have so much to do.  There are only a few things left but I have had two customers call me with additional work that will come in today.

     Daughter #2 is sick so Hub's and I will head up there late this afternoon.  She is having stomach problems and needs her mom.  So I will spend the day getting the house cleaned up, paying a few loose bills, that have come in.  I need to run to the bank, go to the computer store.  I hate coming home to a messy house. I would love to leave right now but I cannot leave mom alone for that long and I have customers coming so in order to kill the time....
The to do list:

1.straighten master room and bath
2. make bed in spare room (I slept there after Hub's drove me out last night snoring)
3. straighten spare bath
4. clean kitchen
5. get laundry caught up
6. straighten shop
7. really clean family room and vacumn
8. clean mom's bath
9. clean mom's room and change sheets.
10. pay the bills.
11. run to bank
12. pack an overnight bag

Actually the upstairs is fairly pristine so this will not take me long at all.

I am excited to see my grandson and my daughter.  I am sure Hub's and I will work our butts off up there, but I am up for the challenge.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thursday, Having a firm grip on the brat

     I swear today I will get something done.  I have gotten in the habit of putzing.  I can blame it on mom, depression, lack of enough work, laziness, sad events on TV, the weather,debt, worry, bills, lack of sleep, illness.  It only took me about 15 seconds to come up with that list.  I am really good at making excuses for my lack of productivity.  Unfortunately when you don't get things done you just fall deeper into the mire that created your problems in the first place.

     When you don't do the work available to you you don't get paid.  When you putz around getting nothing done, soon it is dinner time and you want to go out or order in.  When you have a case of the lazy's (my own word) dishes pile up, beds go unmade, clutter abounds and you find yourself wanting to escape your surroundings.  This leads to debt for me.  I want to go shopping even if it is groceries I don't need anything to escape what I really need to be doing. I want to treat myself to get out of my slump.

     I can use any excuse to not do what I really need to do and this is such a bad habit of mine. I let little things get to me, I also let big things get to me.  Today I received a bill from the dentist for $196.00.  I don't know why I did not know this, but I some times out my head in the sand.  I thought I had dental coverage and I don't.  That is a separate policy with the State and I will not pay it as it is an extra $37.00 a month.  If I take care of my teeth and have them cleaned once a year I can pay for a cleaning.  Now I could let this dilemma throw me into the couch for the day. I could rant and rail and yell and say no matter how hard I work something always comes to take my hard earned money. Actually this is true, but is it going to change?  Probably not.

     I/we will always fight most of the things listed above.  The funny thing is, that the more I learn about control and frugality, the less  these bad habits derail me. I recognize my faults and I say where is this coming from?  Usually it boils down to my just letting my spoiled nature take over.  My inner brat comes out to party.  She loves to party and always leaves a trail of crap in her wake.  Un paid bills, charge card receipts,a dirty house, piles of laundry, clothes and clutter I don't need.  Trying to control her is hard.  I am learning. 

     I am going to get a firm grip in the brat.  Nuf said. Let's get to work.

Have a great and productive day, staying positive while in the negative.

Kim

    

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Wednesday, Happy Valentines Day!

    
If you look closely Sluggy and I are in this photo somewhere....Happy Valentines Day!

I woke up to the doorbell ringing luckily Hub's was up to answer the door. It was a policeman needing uniform alterations.  Mom was up earlier than usual and I have her showered and dressed.  Lil sis is taking her out to dinner this evening so she is excited.  I am excited as Hub's and I can be alone for a couple of hours.  Hub's had a box of chocolates for each of us, and I will make him a nice dinner.  I also made a pan of my favorite  Valentine shortbread.  I need to go toast some almonds and melt some chocolate to dip it in.  I will take a couple of pieces over to the neighbors and check on them.

     Mom and I went out last night and went to two stores.  I spent a total of $2.11 so it was a big shopping run.   Came home and cooked fish, asparagus, and cauliflower for dinner.  Mom does not like asparagus or cooked cauliflower.  So she had a plate with raw cauliflower, ranch dressing for dipping and white fish.  This is a meal that would have scored an F on appearance in home ec.  All white on a white plate.

     I have enough sewing to get through the day, so that is a blessing. It is now 1/2 way through the month and money wise in the shop it has been slow, slow.  It looks like I will just meet my goals. Wouldn't it be nice if I could over do them a little? I am always pushing, I just want this debt gone!

     I want to run up and throw together another pan of short bread and get a few other things done today besides sewing.  Maybe the laundry, clean the cat box, do some ironing, polish the flippin silver.  You know all of those important things in life.  *snort*

 Actually I am going to practice my square dance moves, I don't want Sluggy to show me up.  (hint: she has on a red skirt)


Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Tuesday, New housekeeper!

 
      I generally can keep my house picked up, but the deep scrubbing is really hard for me.  My fingers lock up and I can't bend them,  so after a while  scrubbing for any length of time is out.  Things can get pretty grimy here.  My eldest daughter hired a housekeeper for me before Christmas and the company met with me and then never showed up.  So daughter found another and she is here today!  It is also my eldest daughters birthday today, so Happy Birthday to her.  I am truly blessed to have such a great daughter.

I thought this cartoon was so funny, as my mom is a pack rat and my house is full of her rattiness.  I am sure my daughters feel the same way about me.  I have this feeling that to them ones man's trash is another man's trash.

     There is plenty to do in the shop today for which I feel blessed.  I want to run up to a discount grocery store this evening and I will take mom.  They have some good bargains that we got last week, I just hope they are still available. 

     They had asparagus on sale for .99 a pound and huge heads of cauliflower for 1.99 so I will be adding those vegetables all week along with meat out of the freezer. Avocados have been really cheap lately so we have eaten a lot of guacamole.  Adding fresh that is on sale to your stockpile really saves money.

     I am going to get to work so I can see if I can earn some money.  I needs to complete dem goals.

Have a great and productive day stating positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday, Great news and Monday Saving Madness

     I could not wait to write this post and I thought of starting last night and then mom fell again.  It was not a bad fall, but it did make her sick and she ate no dinner.  So I spent the night with her to calm her down and of course do bathroom watch.  She has kept me on a dead run all day and here it is 2:30 and I have done nothing but mom and errands.  The shop has also been crazy busy, with phone calls and customers so I am so happy to have a lot to do.  Mom is at book club and I should be getting a call any time soon to go get her. However, Lil sis is back in town and I can call her to go get mom and I can get to work.  I am so happy that I cooked a large pan of turkey enchiladas and a big pot of Spanish rice last night .  I can mash an avocado and have that with chips for a nice dinner.  Then I can sew into the evening.  Hub's has to work at the high school for a few hours this evening.

  Drum Roll please!  We did not owe anything on our taxes!   In fact we are getting back just enough to pay the accountant fee of $335.00.  Worth every penny I tell you.  I also had mom's and B's taxes done.  So I had to pick those up this morning, run around and get every ones signature and then  return them to the accountant.  I was so excited when I found out as I expected to owe at least $2000.00.  This is why I don't do my own taxes as I don't know enough.  So all that worrying and
stewing last week was for naught.  Well not really as it spurred me to find anyway I could to see some kind of progress and you will see that in my Monday saving Madness list.


     The weekend was full of mom and her entertainment, but I did get a nice 5 mile walk in on Saturday.  It was cold and windy on the levy but the sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

Now onto Monday's Money saving Madness February 4-11th 2018

1. Fed all food scraps to chickens
2. Chickens are laying and we are getting 3-4 eggs a day.
3. Ate all meals at home except one
4. Cooked double three nights so we could enjoy leftovers and free up time and money
5.  Made Valentine treats with what I had in the pantry, no cost and avoided waste!
6.  Found a whole ham at the butcher block marked down from $47.15 to $12.00  It is in the freezer.
7. Finished my denim car quilt top made from denim leg scraps saved from shop and flannel remnants. Nice gift for son-in-law
8.Hemmed the sleeves and bottom of a dress I bought last year on a closeout.  It is nice to find new in your own closet!
9.Used the last of a toothpaste tube and a bottle of expensive face lotion, by cutting open the bottle.
10. Used coupons in the very little shopping I did.
11.Called B and insisted she obtain new insurance, then lowered our car insurance by 1/2 so under $100.00 a month.
12. Called the yellow pages add manager to make sure the dance studio was off my account, lowering that bill by 1/2.
13. Called an old credit card and turned points into a $100.00 gift card.
14. Albertsons has started the Monopoly game again and I won free keurig coffee cups.  I don't drink coffee but these will make a nice gifty.
15.Picked up a package of mens socks marked down to $1.50 for 5 pair, also gloves that have a removable finger covers for .50 a pair. Great stocking stuffers.
16. continued to use my reusable food covers and wax wraps, and plastic containers, glass jars.  Not only does this save money it saves time.
17.Used stocked up food from pantry and freezer for all meals cooked at home.  This is saving me so much on the food budget. 
18.  Always use clothe napkins, and wiped up with sponge and rags. Save on paper use.
19. Pulled bags, ribbons, doilies, out of crafts drawer.  Everything in there purchased 75-90% off.  Contains, napkins, paper plates, gift bags and decorations for making homemade goodies look festive.  Looks like I spent a lot of money and I didn't.
20.  Starting to get mom to pay a little bit more of her share on a few things.

So I call that a productive week and I am really stoked about it.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday,Love the Olympics!


     I was able to get some sewing done yesterday and that was a relief.  My shop is a mess with all the quilt squares but I will pick them up today as the cats have helped me create many new patterns. They are so helpful and always want to be part of my work.

     I perused Pinterest for cute Valentines ideas for the church function and then realized I would have to spend a lot of money and drag mom out again, so I went upstairs and dug through the cupboards.  Here is what I found:

1 box of coco krispies (purchased for .75 as the box was damaged)
1 bag of marshmallows that needed to be used
1 large bag of pretzels bought at Christmas
4 small bags of candy melts, one coco, two red, one white .25 end of year clearance
1 bag of snow caps dark chocolate, purchased on clearance.

All of these ingredients really needed to be used, saving them another season would have meant the trash can.

So I made up the coco krispie treats and covered them with red candy melts and then pressed in the snow caps and drizzled white chocolate on top. Pretty and yummy, but rich.




































I melted the other candy melts and we dipped pretzels in light chocolate and sprinkled with peppermint sugar, the white ones we also dipped in peppermint sugar, the red ones we put three little snow caps on, and they turned out so cute.  Then I found 24 bags left over in the decoration drawer.  We put three of each color pretzel in the bag and tied it with red ribbon from the shop.  Add a doilie (on hand from deco drawer) and we had two really cute offerings for the chocolate party. 

See how sweet they are?  They off set my diet coke so nicely.  Mom enjoyed the get together and I brought her home and we watched the Olympics.





We are looking forward to the Olympic opening ceremonies.  Lil sis will be gone this weekend so I will not get a break from mom and I am a little blue about that.  She does not like me to go out by myself and she really should not be left alone.

It has turned cold here again so I doubt I will work in the yard this weekend, drats!  But I do plan on taking at least two long walks.




Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thursday,That's it?

     Last night I took mom to Joanns as we both had 60% off coupons.  I pushed her around every aisle and we found nothing we needed.  So I took her to Albertsons to get the few things we did need and we came home with, 1/2 gallon of milk, sour cream, small bag of cat food (which the cats won't eat), but it was 50% off plus a $2.00 off coupon.  I guess my cats are picky.  That's it, nothing else.  The grocery adds were bad this week and we needed nothing but the things we bought.  Boring, thrifty, I don't know what to call it.

     Mom is very weak and shaky today.  I had a few more calls for the shop yesterday and I am hoping for more action today.  I have some sewing to do so that is a blessing.  I also have plenty of projects to work on.  I asked mom if she wanted to go to a women's get together at church tonight.  We are each to bring two dozen chocolate goodies, kind of like a cookie exchange.  She wants to go,  a little pintrest research for a couple of cute ideas is in the works.  I made hamburgers last night and also baked a meat loaf, so after I throw in a couple of baked potatoes dinner is done.

     I guess after I get my sewing done I mom and I will get creative.  I will take pictures this could get interesting:)

Have a great and productive day, staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Wednesday, Scoring, when you are down :)

Really can there be anything better?  It is like a debit and a credit.  Sluggy made me laugh yesterday with her advice.  It is so nice to have great blog friends to cheer you up and onward.

And yes, I do believe Sluggy can sing, in fact she has a great voice.








     So I tried hard yesterday to do things that would cheer me up and be some what productive.  I mailed mom's package, paid two bills, made banana bread with mom (she was thrilled ), cleaned the spare room.I had three customers in the shop so that was positive.  May I see more action today.

     I talked to my Sissie and she reminded me that last February was really slow, in fact it was my worst month for work, so that was nice to know.  Knowledge is power or so they say.  She also told me to knock it off and get to work.  Bossy, crabby pants and I wanted sympathy, I got none.

     However, I did call the insurance company and finally had the youngest taken off our auto policy  ( I had to have proof from her that she was covered)  Yes it took her this long, finally when she got her new job I put my foot down.  I also asked the insurance agent to shop for a better rate and now that we are insuring 2 cars instead of three and we have dropped a young driver off our policy is 1/2 what it used to be.  Score!

     I also noticed that I was losing gained points on a credit card I no longer use, so I called and I will be getting a $100.00  Visa gift card.  Score!

     The yellow pages add manager finally returned my call and I was able to drop the studio yellow pages add that I was sucked into last year, because of the date of the studio sale.  I will be paying 1/2 my usual rate.  Score!  

     So even though none of these things put money in my pocket yesterday, they will next month and the next......

      Today, I am going to sew, and get a few groceries, milk, sour cream, cat food, mushrooms, you know exciting stuff like that. I am going to call my Sissie so she can kick my butt over the phone, she is good at that.

Have a great and productive day, staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tuesday, This is one day at a time....

  
       You all know how it is when you have this plan in your head and it seems to be a great plan.  You have researched thought it out and then something comes along and throws a wrench in it. I get so disillusioned when that happens.  I just try so hard and I can only do so much.  You can only save so much money not using paper towels.  I know the little bits do add up, but I need the add up right now!

     Hub's wrote a $100 check for a yearly contribution for Scouting that I did not know about.  We always contribute but I would have put the check off until next month. Then hub's insurance premium did not come out of our checking as our credit union combined with another and they stopped pulling premiums in December.  I did not catch it so I had to write a check to the insurance company for $394.00. 

Remember this from Monopoly?
      When I took the taxes in yesterday, the accountant told me we would owe a considerable amount this year.  Last year I still had the studio for 1/2 a year on my books.  Also it was the first year of Hub's retirement and that first year is always a crap shoot.  But this is our crap shoot year.  After this
year we will know how much to have the IRS take out of his retirement.  Should we pay quarterlies, or should we have a % deducted monthly?  Great!  Now my plans for (world domination) oops! I mean trying to pay off the sewer/house loan by June are in serious jeopardy. Plus my monthly goals are really up in the air.  The emergency fund is lower than I like.  I am trying hard not to go into panic mode.  This is so stupid as I am just fine, really I am.  I just am having a hard time convincing myself I can weather this.

     Also yesterday I received not one phone call or one customer for the shop and I have so little work left and people are not picking up the work I have done.  I am chewing my knuckles to the bone.

     I did all the laundry yesterday. I really deep cleaned the shop. I helped mom clean up her room and get a package ready to mail.  I cooked a nice roast chicken dinner with mashed potatoes,corn and gravy. I completed all the blocks for my son-in-laws quilt top.  I tried to stay busy, but I am a mess today. 

     Sooooooo.......... What can I do to make myself feel better?

Eat way too much chocolate? 
Go shopping with money I don't have?
Go pay 2 bills that I do have the money for and at least feel like I am on the right track?
Take mom out to mail her package and get a diet coke at McDonalds?
Cry and bite my nails down to the quick?  ( oops already did this one)
Clean and change the sheets in the spare room?
Do the ironing?
Go buy cat food as we are out?
Take a long walk?
Sew the few things that are left in the shop?
Sew the quilt top together?

     This is a one day at a time thing, every day it is a new dilemma and every day it is work to overcome the new dilemma.  Every da&* day.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Monday, February 5, 2018

Monday, Stop dwelling and Money saving madness!

 
  It is so easy for me to worry and dwell on things that I do not have any control over.  I have always been a worrier.  So I really have to work on telling myself not to dwell.  Just work hard, stay busy and trust in My Heavenly Father.  I have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.  I am trying to reach my goals, and I am so much better off than I was in the past.  I can do this and I will make it.  If I don't, I still have all the things mentioned above.

     It is so easy to dwell on the negative, the fear, the wants, the needs, the problems of the world and of life.  These feelings can consume you.  At least they can consume me. So how am I going to conquer these feelings?

     First, I am going to:

  1. count my blessings
  2. look at what I have accomplished this month
  3. take the new challenges that have cropped up and figure a way to deal with them, in a positive way.
  4. get to work, the shop is a mess, the laundry is behind, clean and straighten the bedrooms and mom's room, fix dinner, vacuum and clean the family room. You have plenty of work to keep you busy today.
  5.  When you have taken care of the above, you have several creative outlets that you can spend your time on instead of chewing on your face.( my kids term for me dwelling)
  6. Serve someone, your mom, your husband, your neighbor.
  7.  return and report
     In trying to take my own advice, you will notice that I have paid several of the big list of extras this month.  I have taken the taxes in to the accountant, so that burden is lifted.  My son-in-law was here this weekend and hung the new mirror for me.

I can still polish that silver, Yippee! My favorite task. My daughter crawled under the piano to hang my new picture.  My cute little grandson was here this weekend.  Sorry no pics.
This is one of those new monkey hooks.  Rhonda  or Debbie I can't remember said that her son who is a handy man uses these all the time.  So we tried them.  Lovely new product let me tell you.  Another blessing you can learn so much from blog friends.

I had a nice quiet weekend as mom was at Lil sis's as I had to get the taxes in.  What a blessing.  See I don't need to dwell on new bills cropping up and the fact that we will owe taxes this year, that I might not get my goals achieved when I want then achieved, because positive things are happening all the time and I can make positive things happen.


 On to Monday's money saving madness:Jan29-Feb 4th 2018

1. Took a good load of clothing items to good will, to de clutter more of my closet
2. only bought a fruits and veggies and dairy at store for the week.
3. Ate great meals out of the freezer and pantry all week
4. did not eat any meals out but cooked at home
5. Gave Valentine gifts to the girls this weekend as they were home so I don't have to mail
6. Made cookies with mom for her pleasure and to take to two different churches
Full cookie jar
7. Did not go to Joanns all week!
8. Refused to have company for Superbowl, it costs money and I have to do all the work, plus taxes needed done.  Savings!
9. Used my new bowl covers and wax wraps almost exclusively and I love them.
10. Reused many cottage cheese containers for leftovers, no plastic that breaks and you lose the lids.
11.  Chickens are starting to lay again so almost a dozen eggs.
12. continued to work on projects to keep me busy and out of the bars ( oops I meant stores)
13.Stood up to mom on her taxes and had them done at the same time as mine to eliminate her wasting my time.
14. went through all of the socks and donated a big bag, then found way more in one of mom's drawers.  Ugh!
15.Had a friend come over and fix a plumbing issue that could have cost us.

So it was a good week and I really feel that all these little things do add to the bottom line.

What did you do this week to stay frugal and help your bottom line?

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Friday, February 2, 2018

Friday, Eeek! How can I do this?

 
   Here, it is the 2nd of February and I have 27 days including today to pay the bills and meet my goals.  I was so excited yesterday about getting out of January.  Now I get to face the music and the bills.  So my first attack will be paying all the monthly bills today and then seeing where I stand.  Or where I lay run over by my own ambitions;)

     Mom wants to make Valentine sugar cookies today so after I get my sewing done I will go whip up a couple of batches of cookie dough.  I have all sorts of valentine decos I have picked up for 90% off for cookies.  We are having left overs for dinner tonight as I need to clean out the fridge.  No waste.

     The ground hog saw his shadow but I refuse to believe there are 6 weeks of winter left here.  I just refuse. Sorry if he can stay in his hole I can put my head in the sand.  See how I take care of my problems?  I am good at living in denial.  Actually it is one of the few skills I have mastered.

     This weekend will be taken up with getting the taxes done.  Blah!

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Thursday, Awww, February Goals

     Me Loves a February.  Just getting through January is a triumph for me.  The cold, the darkness, the rain, that shut in feeling and last year we still had snow.  I read my last years posts for February, and other than a lot of whining (why do you guys read this crap? go get a life!)  I was able to get some things done outside in February and it was an awful winter and spring.  As this winter has been mild, I am thinking I may get more outdoor time this February and that is okay with me.

     February will be a very expensive month for us. It always is.  I have three birthdays, and Valentines Day.  My goals this month are to survive the month:) Financially it will be tough and tight.  The shop has work but not very much high paying work.  If I sewed hard I would be out of work in three days.  But I will have faith and more will come in.

 So here are the goals for February2018.

1. Get the Home/sewer loan into the 5's.  This will require at least $600.00 or $250.00 over the normal payment.
2. Send Auntie her birthday check for taxes $500.00
3. Pay the huge power bill, that was not sent out last month due to a computer glitch at service,$498
4. pay Sears off $425.00
5. Pay $200  to another doctor bill
6.We will have to pay the accountant for our taxes $250-?  I pray we don't owe.

So it is going to be really hard to do any additional large debt payments.  I knew this and that is why staring January with such a bang was a great boost for the New Year.

Now can I do this?  You bet I can or die trying.

     As for the birthdays, we also have a grandson and a Daughter to celebrate with.  I will send grandson a Valentine with a Mcdonalds gift card in it, and I will send him some train parts for his HO scale train.  Daughter will get a gifty from her favorite store and some things I have made for her.  I picked up socks for the other girls at 90% off last Valentines day so they will get those along with my home made short bread.  I will send Hub's mom and Dad some chocolates.  I am not a big believer in Valentines day, but we have had so many birthdays and family sadness around the holiday that I try and emphasis the positive.  I could also send Slug's some of my  home made goodies, but she doesn't believe in Valentines day.  She calls it a Hallmark holiday..... poo.... ???

She is not anywhere near as excited as her mother
    Flash Just In:  Daughter #3 just got her first job offer as a micro biologist.  It is only 1/2 time but it is a foot in the door, with good government wages, and bennies.  She will have to continue studying to gain different certifications.  It is also in Washington so she will have access to WSU for graduate school. I am so excited for her and for me as she is going to be off the dole permanently.  Not that we giver her much but she does need help once in a while.  She is going to keep her current job as a waitress at an upscale restaurant because she makes pretty good money there.  I am so proud and beyond happy.


     Now I had better get to work, mama needs d'monies.

Have a great and productive day staying positive while you are in the negative.

Kim