I listed about a dozen books on half.com earlier this week, and sold two right away! Nothing since then, though. I should make about $13 profit from those two sales.
This afternoon I listed two things on Craigslist. The first was a very large guinea pig cage. We haven't had guinea pigs for quite awhile, and I had listed the cage on Craigslist before, but had no luck. This time, I got a hit 5 minutes after the listing posted. Just before our last guinea pig died, I had stocked up on supplies, so I threw the rest of those in the deal along with the cage. The people that are buying it all are getting a great deal for $30, but I'm getting rid of "clutter"!! They're supposed to be here any minute to pick the stuff up.
I also listed a couple of Raggedy Ann & Andy dolls on Craigslist ... these dolls are 4 feet tall and are called "dancing" dolls because they have wide elastic straps sewn to their hands/feet, and kids can strap 'em on and dance with 'em! (At least, that's what I was told when I originally bought them 18+ years ago as nursery decorating items when I was pregnant with my son.) I listed them for $75 neg. and I doubt I'll get any bites, but who knows? Now I'm looking around the house trying to find something else I think might go quickly on Craigslist!
I updated my sidebar to show the $150 deducted from my Challenge money for the refrigerator I bought last weekend off Craigslist. I think I'll leave my EF untouched in ING.
Viewing the '$20 Challenge' Category
I listed about a dozen books on half.com earlier this week, and sold two right away! Nothing since then, though. I should make about $13 profit from those two sales.
I decided to start my decluttering process with my closet, so that was my project for today. I recently lost 37 lbs., so most of my clothes do not fit me anymore ... and I don't ever want them to fit me again, so I am giving them all to Goodwill! I now have 6 large trash bags full of clothes and shoes to donate, and my closet looks mahvelous!
I also found some old purses that I'm getting rid of, but first ... I had to go through them and make sure all the bits and pieces were cleaned out. In that process, I came up with $2.39 in change, woo-hoo! I'm going to add that to my challenge money.
Now that I've gotten started on the decluttering/purging, I think I can continue. I'm going to tackle another area next weekend.
One more note: the first three days of July were no-spenders!!
I received my very first Pinecone check on Friday! That will bump up my challenge fund balance to $225.09. It's so funny how excited I am over a $3 check.
The kids have two days of school left; well, my son is actually finished because he is exempt from all of his finals. So he will be working more, and it remains to be seen if he eats at home more often or less often (I'm thinking about food expenses here!). Hopefully the food bill will stay about the same; I will have to buy more, but I won't have to give the kids lunch money. We'll see.
My son's graduation is coming up on Saturday, and family is coming in. It was decided that my ex and his wife will host a cookout at their house afterwards for both sides of the family, which is a relief to me financially. It will be the first time my dad/stepmom have seen my ex's parents in 10+ years (the dads used to be the best of fishing buddies), so I think it will be a good gathering. I'm grateful we are all on such good terms and able to do this type of thing, for my kids' sake.
I updated my credit card debt total for the end of May, and I have shaved off just over $1,000 from my total debt since the beginning of this year, woo-hoo! Now THAT excites me! Now the real challenge begins ... trying to keep everything paid up on my lower income, since my child support has now gone down. I am seriously thinking about getting a second job. It would be great to get a big raise at work ... but I don't think I can expect one quite THAT big!
I haven't posted since the end of March, and now it's almost the end of April and time to tally up how much (or, more to the point, how little) I've paid down my credit cards! I still read the blogs here almost every day, but I just don't seem to have much to post on a daily basis.
The bad habit I refer to in the title of this entry is not writing down what I spend each day. I did great for the first 3.5 months of the year, but I looked at my expense notebook earlier and noticed it's been two weeks since I wrote anything down! Shame on me! I've had to do quite a bit of spending in that two weeks, too; mainly for clothes. I officially reached my goal weight today at my Weight Watchers weigh-in, and I have had to buy some new clothes for myself (still have more I need to buy also, but that will have to happen slowly). I also had to buy some new clothes for my 18-year-old son; not only did he need some shorts and T-shirts for summer, but he needed some khaki slacks and dress shirts for the national DECA competition he's participating in right now in Atlanta.
I've also had to shell out some cash (from my emergency fund) for repairs to my son's car, and am going to need to shell out a LOT more in the very near future to get the air conditioner in my car fixed. I'm putting that off as long as I can, but it's amazing I've gone almost 3 weeks without A/C at this time of year here in North Texas! We even got a cool front last night, so it's been quite pleasant driving my car today. It helps that I park in a large parking garage at work, so I don't have to get into a HOT car at the end of the day, and my drive home is only about 8 miles. In the morning it hasn't been an issue. I don't normally go out at lunch since I bring my lunch pretty much every day. But there's no way I'm going without A/C through the 100+ degree temps we get here quite regularly every summer! When the A/C first stopped working (it blows hot air) I hoped I just needed some freon, so I took it to the place I take it for oil changes. The mechanic there checked it out and told me he thought it was a computer issue and I'd need to take it to a GM dealership. (Sounds very expensive!) A week later I decided to drop it off at a garage across the street from my office; they get a lot of business from people that work where I do, so they told me they wouldn't charge me a diagnostic fee ... what did I have to lose? Well, the mechanic there told me I'd need a new evaporator core (I think?) and gave me an estimate of almost $1300 ... OUCH!! After they told me that, they took $100 off the estimate, so it's now ONLY $1200. Still more than I want to spend and pretty much wipes out my emergency fund!! Having gotten two different diagnoses of the problem doesn't bring me great comfort, either ... so now I'm looking to get a third opinion! I absolutely despise dealing with car issues.
The deal with my son's car is even more frustrating. My ex-husband and I are going to be taking the mechanics that worked on my son's car to small claims court in the very near future. I have to get all the paperwork done and filed, since the car is in my name (my old car), and then we'll get a court date. Hopefully we (me, my son, and my ex) will get some of the thousands of dollars we've poured into that car back!
The good news is that I've gotten a $10 gift card from MyPoints, so I put $10 into my challenge for that. I also got a $10 award check from Opinion Outpost, which went into the challenge. There have also been some grocery savings I added, so my total to date is $172.07. I need to update the amounts in my sidebar now!
I used Turbo Tax and e-filed, and got my refund directly into my account yesterday, exactly when they said it would show up! So, take notice of my emergency fund total to the left ... it is now $1,500 instead of $0!! I also was able to update my challenge fund, since I got a $10 check this week from Opinion Outpost. The "Save Yourself" account is at TD Ameritrade, and it's the Suze Orman deal where if you put at least $50/month into the account for 12 consecutive months, they will add $100. I set that up when I started my job back in October. So, I am feeling pretty excited! Now I can really focus more on paying down the debt. I will update that total at the end of each month.
As it turns out, I was not eligible for a merit increase at work after all, based on my start date of October 8 and missing the Oct. 1 cutoff, etc. (basically the same reason I did not get a bonus). The person who told me I would be eligible for a merit increase is actually in H.R., and she felt really bad about her mistake the next day, when I told her that I'd learned that morning I would not be receiving an increase and why! I was a little resentful initially, but it was just a mistake on her part (and heaven knows I have made plenty of those!), and I decided I just need to concentrate on the positive, which is that if I had not gotten this job, I'd still be working in my old job at less than half the salary I now receive!! I really am fortunate now to have the job I do, and I want to make the most of this opportunity. I am excited about what this year holds for me, and it's up to me to make it the best it can be! (Thanks to baselle for telling me how to get the smileys!)
I am still around, but have just been lurking. I can't stay away from this site, I read everything! I dream of being able to post about MY success, but I haven't made any strides yet, so I have not posted. I need to get myself on track.
Christmas buying really put me in a bigger hole than I either planned or realized. I couldn't pay all the minimums on my credit cards in December, so I incurred some late charges ... which, of course, has just gotten me further into the hole. Trying to get caught up this month has left me flat broke! Add to that the fact that my ex got a new job, so he's going from paying me child support in full at the beginning of each month to paying half of it twice a month, when he gets paid. So I have some adjustments to make to get used to that new set-up. It will all work out, it will just take a little time ... and I am impatient, especially when I'm waiting for $$$ because I currently have none!
I have to amend the rules I made for my own challenge. The PayPal funds I transferred into my challenge account at the beginning of the month had to go towards bills. I figure that ANY substantial amount needs to go towards building my EF, then to paying down my debt. Given that, the larger amounts I get from eBay sales as well as the garage sale I plan to have in the spring will go towards savings and debt reduction. My challenge fund will consist of smaller amounts that come from coupon use when buying groceries, as well as awards from doing surveys and completing rebates, things like that. Following those guidelines, my challenge fund currently stands at $87.22!! This comes from a couple of rebates, coupon use, and my first check from Cash Crate. Oh, also a check I got from my insurance company last week in the amount of 8 CENTS!! Please.
I still don't have my bonus, but I think that is paid this coming week (end of month). I don't anticipate much, and I am struggling so to get caught up with my bills, I will probably use it towards those. I am also waiting to receive the W-2 from my last job (which should arrive this week as well), so that I can do my taxes. I already estimated I will get several thousand back (due to the EIC), which will be great. I plan to use it to fund my baby EF first, and the rest will go towards the CCs. I also need to buy a few clothes, since I have lost enough weight now to make a big difference in how my current clothing fits! But I am going to stick to resale shops for that, especially since I still want to lose enough weight to make a difference of another size.
I have been doing really well as far as recording and tracking my spending, and I've taken my lunch to work every day, so I am proud of myself in those areas. Between budgeting and dieting, taking lunch to work is a necessity!
I transferred $150 from PayPal into my checking account yesterday; it will take few days to show up in the account, so I went ahead and transferred $150 from my checking account into my Challenge acct. Since I started with $20, I now have $170 in my challenge fund! Woo-hoo!!
I have a new notebook to write down my daily expenses in, so I can keep track of everything I spend. I tracked expenses for December in You Need A Budget, and I'm going to continue that. I've set up a new spreadsheet to begin this year, and I am going to break down my grocery expenses even further to reflect spending in the categories of cleaning products, pet food/supplies, etc. (anything that is not food). I think there are things I could cut back on, but I want to get a clear idea of what I am spending in each area.
I also got a couple of ideas from reading others' blogs here. One is to make a resolution that I will not incur any late fees at the library! I am notoriously bad for that, and there's no excuse for it ... especially considering we can keep items for 3 weeks AND renew online if we won't be returning items on time. Same resolution for video rentals! I go with the intention of renting ONE video, and I inevitably leave with 2 or 3. Of course, I don't have time to watch 2 or 3, so I have to keep them longer. You see where THAT goes!! Another thing is to really try this year to wean myself off soda, specifically Diet Coke. I drink waaaaay too much of it, and I know it's bad for me. And there's no telling how much I spend on it! (Maybe I'll track that as well!) It's my coffee ... I go for it first thing in the morning, and drink it most of the day at work. Bad, bad, bad! Maybe seeing how much I'm spending on it will help me on the road to cutting back ... WAY back!!
Anyway, here's to a great 2008 for everyone! I know it will be quite a financially eye-opening learning experience for me!
Lots of activity here on the board, in preparation for a new year! I've noticed several of you talking about your net worth. This is probably a dumb question, but how exactly do I figure that out? (I'm not sure I really want to know my net worth, LOL!)
I have decided to start my own $20 Challenge for this year. I opened up a second savings account awhile back with a purpose in mind for it, but I never really did anything with it so it was just sitting there pretty much empty. So I upped the balance in it to $20, and that's my starting point. Into it I will deposit any rebates I receive, money from online surveys (which I have started doing since joining this board), and any funds from eBay and garage sales or Craigslist sales. I have a rebate coming soon from AT&T (for my daughter's cell phone) in the form of a Visa debit card, so I will put the cash equivalent into the account and use the card for groceries. Same plan will apply for any survey proceeds which come in the form of cards of any type. As far as garage sales, well, I need to have one. I have lived in my current rental home for 4.5 years (following divorce and major downsizing in living quarters), and I have boxes out in the garage that I have never unpacked. I hate having garage sales, but I know the time will come that I have to get rid of all that stuff, and I might as well profit from it. So I'm going to plan to have a sale, probably in the spring (unless I get a wild hair sooner than that!). In the meantime, I can list small items here and there on eBay. I currently have a bit over $80 sitting in my PayPal account for items I've sold over the past week. I have another auction ending tomorrow, so when the funds from that come in I'll transfer that $100 or so into my challenge account. I'm sure I'll make up other rules and guidelines for challenge money as I go, but that's my starting point. And I'm not sure yet what I'll do with the money, but I'll probably put it towards paying down my debt ... which increased almost $300 over Christmas (yikes, I'm going the wrong way)!!
Not sure if I mentioned that I started a new job at the beginning of October, so I'm fairly new with a very large company (with great benefits!). I'm supposed to be receiving a bonus at the end of January, which everyone receives; know that it won't be much because I started w/the company so late in the year, but whatever I get will be great! Depending on how much it is, I will probably use it for my Emergency Fund (which I still do not have in place yet). At least, it will be the starting point for my EF, something to build on! Then I hope to be able to file my tax return fairly early as well. My taxes are pretty simple since I don't own a home or property, don't have investments, etc. Not to mention the fact that I made hardly any money last year! The past couple of years I've gotten pretty good refunds (several thousand dollars), thanks to the EIC, and I anticipate the same this year. Whenever I receive my refund, that's going to be thrown directly at my debt!
Next thing I need to look at is starting my 401(k); my company will match 3% so I'd be crazy not to do it. I just find all the information so confusing. Can't I just say "I want X amount deducted from my check each pay period, y'all take it and make it grow"?!!