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This 'n That

August 3rd, 2008 at 09:30 pm

Well, I've made a few more sales on half.com, and my profit stands at right around $40 now. I haven't received any of that money yet, but half of it should hit my account tomorrow or Tuesday. I decided to close my SmartyPig account (already!) so it's gone from my sidebar. I had $75.11 in that, and I needed money to buy my son some things to get him ready to go off to college in a couple of weeks ... so I decided it would be better to close that account than to defrost a credit card! Smile I am really feeling the pinch of that reduction in child support a couple of months ago. I just really hate to go get another job on top of my full-time job, because that will leave my 13-year-old daughter home alone an awful lot. But I may have no choice. I keep thinking I'll see how long I can hold out, and if I can just make it to next year things will look up. I'll get a salary increase in February, and hopefully something from the IRS. (Not sure about the IRS refund; I have gotten large amounts in past years due to earning such a low amount throughout the year; however, with this job I'm working now I have no basis for comparison.) But even if I can "hang on" ... that's still another 6+ months away, which is a long time.

In the meantime, I am paying the minimums on my credit cards again, but at least I am able to do that ... I refuse to make any more late payments or, worse yet, no payments at all! The progress has been slow, but at least I have made progress. Since the beginning of the year, I have whittled just over $1,300 off my debt, and I'm almost under $12,000 total now. At the same time, I have incurred NO NEW DEBT, woo-hoo!! I know as long as I keep doing what I'm doing, things will get easier with time. And I am still saving a little money and contributing 6% to my 401K. I have to keep positively reinforcing myself here! Smile

I got some good deals yesterday at JCPenney. I had to get some sheets and shorts for my son, like I said earlier. There was an ad in the newspaper on Thursday about a sale JCPenney was having, and they had their extra long twin size sheets on sale for $14.99/set. I thought that was a pretty good price, so I hauled my son out there on Saturday morning w/me to see if they also had any shorts he might like. I wanted to get what we needed before 1:00 to get the early bird discount (an extra 10% off), which we did. As it turned out, all their young men's shorts were on sale for $9.99/pair! The athletic shorts (basketball-type) weren't included, but those were 30% off. So we walked out of there with 2 sets of sheets and 6 pairs of shorts (4 regular, 2 athletic) for $112 total, which I didn't think was too bad. The last time I bought shorts for him, I can tell you I paid more than $10/pair!!

Oh, and I have to get in here that I had 10 no-spenders in July, woo-hoo!

Car repairs, and a bad habit crept back in!

April 27th, 2008 at 04:58 pm

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! Smile

Seriously Derailed

January 26th, 2008 at 07:30 pm

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!