Wednesday, January 31, 2007
asks If......you could turn back time, what would you have changed financially?
Well, I'd have to say that I would change a few thingsif I could go back knowing what I know now & knowing what to change to get the desired results.
(Hind site being 20/20 and all aside)
I would have definitely still signed up into "the MLM", I just would have been smarter about thinking for myself & not blindly spending money we didn't have to do things we didn't need to do. I would have operated it more as a casual business & spent less out of pocket for things that were not necessary. Maybe not even the MLM (it was just the first business idea offered to us as a couple), it gave us knowledge about business & how we are better off having one. So without our involvement in "the business" I don't think we'd have the ice cream shop or our corporation today.
So I would have saved tons of money not going to 4 major functions a year for 5 years = $6000 ( should be 8000 but I figured we would have gone to at least one a year, tax deductible vacation!). Tools savings =$3000, we would have not gotten standing order tape & bought our books used or from cheaper sources (I am aware of the current business tools issues & I can say that I knew everything coming out now, then & did it anyways, it just didn't seem so malicious then... DUH)
I would have graduated college, I wouldn't be doing what I started for, it would have taken an extra semester, but I'd have the diploma. I could have gotten a better paying job for the few years I did work & it would make going back to the workforce easier when the Princess starts school full time. Savings = $20,000+ interest. Because I would have had a higher paying job I could have paid down my student loans faster, instead of them still being unpaid-off today.
I would not have let dh talk me into getting my 401K disbursed under the hardship clause. Not my fault that he was unemployed & now I have 4 shares of GE stock in a Roth IRA...instead of the thousands $$ it would be if I had left them alone, I could have transferred them all to one fund.
I would have continued to use my credit responsibly, by only using them to get the rewards of cash back & paying them off monthly.
I would have kept control of our family finances even though I wasn't working. I let dh take over, because as he said I wasn't contributing. I have a better head for $ than he does, I am also better at being a realist. ~Can you believe he actually was going to book us an overnight for Valentine's Day & get tickets for a winery tour...I am not sure how we will pay the mortgage this month & he wants to go on vacation, grrr~ I really can see where money if the number one fight among couples (those that have it & those that don't, just different reasons to argue).
I think my ultimate I would have, is I would have waited to get married until I graduated college. We waited until he graduated thinking he could be working & I could finish school. It didn't happen that way & he has never let me forget it. Except he was the one that lost job after job (I think he went through 5 jobs in the first 2 years of marriage, with lengthy bouts of unemployment in between). So knowing what I know today I would have prepared myself better for our family's future. I think he was too insecure to go off by himself & find a place for his career, and at that time to insecure to let me go do what I needed to do to be where he wants me to be today (I didn't pick that route because I didn't want to have to work overseas & I would have 100% guaranteed)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Monday, January 29, 2007
My Tackle it for today is going to be:
To tackle the pile on my desk in the office.
I started to get it cleared off, then all of the sudden everything that needed filing, or a new home just got piled up there. It's not that I am against piles, but I'd like a place to be able to sit & write something!!!!
So my Tackle it of this Tuesday is to get half of the desk cleared off completely.
Look I see Desk top:
I only have a couple boxes of things to put away left on the desk (game pieces, toys & some recipes I had by the computer)
Finished product, I think I can consider this tackled!!!
Sign up before Jan31st to participate!
What is your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day?
Overnight at the hotel we had our wedding at, with champagne brunch in the AM.
In reality, what is your Valentine’s Day really like?
Lucky if we get out to dinner at Applebee's without children.
If you could have a lifetime supply of your favorite sweet indulgence, what would it be?
My homemade truffles (without me having to make them)
Is there any sweet treat you absolutely do not like?
I do not think so, unless you count the new extreme sour stuff (yuck)
If you fell into a pool of chocolate, how would you get out?
I'm sure eventually I would eat my way out, after all it is a pool, not a never ending supply!
2. Save money - I put my $ into a saving account $45, The kids we haven't done yet, I still need to get to fill in the forms & go to their bank & get the initial $50 deposits out.
3. Exercise & eat right - We didn't walk much this month, but I have remained active, shoveling snow is great exercise! I don't think we ate out or ordered out nearly as much as usual. And one time I went to McDs was with my Dad (he paid & it was breakfast which I split with the Princess).
4. Clothes that fit: well, I made some headbands!!! I really need to get down to the sewing room & start altering some of my clothes, maybe this week it won't be so cold down there!
5. Managing my time better - I find I am spending about 4 hours a day on the computer. It may seem like a lot, but I am constantly fighting distractions, getting up to do laundry, get snacks, change channels on the TV, or attending a tea party or picnic! I have started making lists of things I need to do but didn't get to the first time I sit down, so the next time I'm not starting from scratch. I have also started writing on our other computer & just saving it to the notebook, then I can add it to whatever blog or publisher I need to when I can get back into the office.
6. Potty training & bed training - So I bought "Cars" pullups thinking that she wouldn't want to get Lightning all wet, BIG MISTAKE, now she changes them constantly, but isn't keeping them dry.... And sleepng in her bed, I think I might buy one of those "real life" dolls so she will have someone elses hair to pull all night. (kidding, really I am)
7. Emergency Kit - I have the tote, 4 blankets, and am starting to add clothes this week.
8. Routine - I am getting to where things are routine again, just not necessarily what I want to be routine...my computer time is routine, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, etc. but the living room is a mess & my hot spot fire drills have all but disappeared, where did my shiny sink go??? (www.flylady.net)
"Fight Debt with Debt
Whenever anyone asks me how to solve the credit card problem, I tell them to fight fire with fire -- and debt with debt. The way I solve my increasing needs for cash is to go deeper into debt -- good debt, not bad debt.
For example, I use debt -- which is essentially tax-free money -- to invest in real estate, which in turn increases my cash flow. Not only do I not pay taxes on my debt, I could also pay no taxes (or very little in taxes) on the income from the debt. Hence I earn more but pay less in taxes.
Obviously, in order to do this you need to know how to use debt wisely and responsibly, and must be able to find great investments that increase cash flow."
Ok, I get how this works, I understand the principle, however I am lost as to how to begin!!! We have looked into traditional mortgages, hard money lenders, etc. We live in NY which is apparently opposed to anyone else making any money here, they have capped the amount of interest that can be collected on a hard money loan, therefore it is unattractive to lend money here (they could get almost twice the interest rates elsewhere...). Not that I am about paying interest I just don't have the capital to start.
Sure, if I could be homeless & not putting any money into utilities, expenses, maintenance, etc. I'd have a lot more a month left in the bank account. Of course there wouldn't be a pay check, cuz I'm pretty sure dh wouldn't be able to work (unless we invaded McDonalds & used their wi-fi...hmmm. That may not be viable with 2 kids though...) So we wouldn't have a paycheck from that either. We are trying to grow our existing ice cream shop (we lost our 1st store due to loss of lease. New owner wanted something more compatible with a photo studio) Our 2nd store had a terrible start last year, high gas prices kept people home. So we are hoping our 3rd year in business will turn us around. Of course we are much smarter now than when we started :D. (~hehehehehe~)
I guess there can't be a cut & dry answer here, if it were easy everyone would do it, right?
Saturday, January 27, 2007
I am a huge fan of tag sales/yard sales/rummage sales what ever you call them. I do find that I am limited in the amount of time I can spend on them though now that we have started the ice cream shop (my summers are just a tad busy). I miss them, and my Mom & Sister & I are usually itching to get to one starting about March!
I have gotten some great things at tag sales, my sis got the best score, a writing desk. She has gotten a ton of use out of it. I usually stock up on clothes for the kiddos, but I haven't been doing as well lately, since I haven't been able to get to any good kids sales.
My best finds... not sure, I would have to say the milk glass vase collection I have, I don't think I've ever paid more than $1 for any piece!
Dh's best find...5 tables for the ice cream shop for $25. We had to paint the bases & re-attach the tops.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Ok, it would have to be recycling clothing into something else.
A) Cut the fabric into squares, sew together & make blankets
B) Use the fabric to cut out patterns for childrens clothes. (I got 2 jumpers for DD out of a pair of dh's old pants)
C) Use pockets from old jeans to create a storage unit, just sew onto larger piece of fabric (like a store bought pocket wall hanger) you can hang using a dowel, wood strip, reinforce with cardboard
D) Old Socks make great dust rags
E) Old flannel can be used to make "swiffer" covers
F) Old sweaters can be turned into pillows, gloves, hats.
G) I use old clothes I don't have another use for to sew hanger covers for my plastic hangers (How to Sew Hanger Covers)
H) There are other no sew uses as well, pantyhose has enough uses for it's own tip!!!
You can veiw the other submitted tips at Frugal For Life
~ I have flung 250 pounds worth of stuff, old hangers from kids clothes, broken toys, ripped books, catalogs, magazines, old papers in the file drawers, hole-y socks & underwear. (super fling boogie is on over at www.flylady.net)
~ I winterized the Prince's windows & rearranged his room, he & Dad built a barn for his tractor collection, so I cut back his wheeled toy collection to fit in it (it is still quite large), fixed his closet, so we can hang clothes again, sorted all toys into bins by category, sorted through his old school papers so we are only keeping a few from each year, put all clothes that don't fit anymore into sell/toss/recycle piles. Still need to finish the corner by the closet, go through more school papers, move bed now that he started sleeping in the top bunk, we can put the trundle away.
~ In the MBR I cleared off the dresser, tossed anything that was garbage, started a donation box for anything I don't want anymore, cleared out under the bed. Still need to run new outlet so we can eliminate the miles of extension cords to the lamp on the dresser, find a way to move most of the clothes out of the large dresser, so we can get rid of it (we'd like to replace it with something more stylish/appropriate), sew a curtain to cover the nook we turned into closet space.
~ In the pantry I cleared off the dryer, moved the laundry sorter, tossed a couple of old food items (ok, so the cake mix I got from my Grandma was dated 1999, ewwww, don't know how I missed that), regrouped like items (they tend to wander when more than one person is putting things away), put more infrequently used items into long term storage (the upper cabinets, where I need a ladder to get to), grouped the painting supplies & paint under the sink, restocked the tool box with the basic tools (hammer, screwdrivers, pliers, tape measure) that were found all over the place. Still need to finish clearing floor, wash blankets, vacuum, put more stuff in long term storage. We want to be able to put down some new flooring this spring (right now it is carpet, not really my first choice for a laundry room (or kitchen, or bathroom, but that is what we got with the Money Pit.
~ In the dressing room (off bathroom, more like overgrown closet), we took the mirror doors off, took out the tracks, put shoes on shoe rack, moved my purse & gym bag to a shelf in the closet, they were on a hook in the kitchen, designated a shelf for folded towels, tossed anything old that wouldn't or couldn't be used, old catalogs, magazines from bathroom, outdated cosmetics & medicines. Still need to clear up floor in closet, find home for stuff, replace flooring (we ripped out carpet to look for crawl space door.
~ In the kitchen, I cleared off the counter to start from scratch with what appliances I wanted out, cleaned out under the sink, set up paper collection area at top of basement stairs (to be burned), finished putting away decorations, got out Valentine's Day stuff. Still need to clear off table in corner (we want to turn it into cabinets/counter in the future, for now it houses a table), organize spice cabinet.
~ In the living room, cleared off surfaces to "start over", especially on top the piano, it just begs for clutter, picked up all of the corners & under the furniture (found lots of little toys, blocks, legos, etc). Still need to put away the movies & games that get left on TV, shampoo carpets.
~ In the playroom/front room I sorted all the toys into bins, moved in a bigger table (was in the Prince's room, he got the smaller table back), moved a book shelf (videos, DVDs, video games & books). Still need to find a new home for the old couch (it's antique, so can't be used by the children), go through the other book shelves, shampoo carpets.
~ I haven't started in the Princess's room yet. I need to put away her clothes (in drawers, I do this regularly but she regularly empties them), some kind of toy storage need to be found, place for dress up clothes, sort stuff into sell/toss/recycle piles.
~ Office: sorted through a couple of files, tossed some old stuff, finished ice cream business's books, set up in box & to be filed box, still need to go through stuff on top of desks (lots out, but the drawers are empty???)
~ Basement: sewing room is almost complete, shipping center is started, holiday decor is in bins, furnace area is still full of coal ash, but dh threw his back out so it will be there for a bit, there are still a couple items that aren't organized yet. Still need to finish organizing shelves, put up doors to sewing room, get ash out.
~ Garage: work area is set up, all of the tools & benches are workable, the storage area is ok. Hard to do much out there now that it is cold & snowy.
We have made progress, but I still have a long way to go!!! Thankfully there are 11 months left :D.
So guess I'm going to keep on cutting hair, sigh!
Got the idea to check my savings from Stop the Ride's submission to Festival of Frugality #58.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I have a rather large list, but mostly because we have been using up pantry items, so I am running low on the staples.
I have a large list of items I try to keep on hand at all times
Baking powder (non-aluminum: Refrigerating keeps it fresher)
Sugars (white, brown, powdered)
Vinegars: red wine, balsamic, white & apple cider
Whole wheat flour
Whole wheat bread
Tortillas - flour
White bread for kids
Crushed tomatoes (I have canned my own in the past)
Apple sauce (although I make it, I like to have it on hand, too)
Beans (an assortment: Kindey, chili, garbanzo, green)
cream of soup
Mustards (regular yellow, honey mustard)
Jams/Jelly (I rarely buy this, but I try to keep grape & strawberry on hand, I make peach)
Peanut butter (smooth & crunchy)
Cloves (whole & ground)
Variety Packs of instant oatmeal
macaroni and cheese
Onion Soup mix
veg dip/soup mix
ranch dressing mix (make my own or buy on sale)
frosting (I like to make from scratch, but in a pinch it's handy to have)
rice (we use regular white, not instant)
assorted pastas (spaghetti, bowtie, ziti, fettuccini)
(I like the Barila with the flaxseed, I only buy on sale & with a coupon though)
Potato Flakes (for use in bread machine)
Assorted winter squashes when in season
Butter/Margarine (tub & Stick)
Cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, colby-jack)
Yogurt Sticks for kids & plain for cooking
Cottage Cheese (when I make pancakes, otherwise we don't eat it)
Cream Cheese (I buy regular & light)
Yeast (bulk from Sam's CLub)
Miracle Whip (Light)
Frozen fruits (pick & freeze my own)
Vegetable & fruit baskets:
Hot Cocoa (make my own)
Pancake Mix (make my own)
Bread Mix (make My own)
Biscuit Mix (make my own)
Chocolate Candies (potty training rewards)
Fruit Snacks (kids)
Assorted Juice (apple, orange, cranberry)
I know there is more that I keep on hand but this is the basics. I should take a picture of my stock, maybe later after I get the groceries put away!!!
Sunday, January 21, 2007
The house is covered in plugs from blow in insulation, however we discovered (after purchasing the house) that there are no stops in the walls, so basically most of the blown in stuff settled. I would have thought that would be a good thing for the first floor, but no. Not sure what they did, but the add-on turret is cold & apparently has no insulation in the walls. I discovered this while putting the Prince's socks away. I was blasted by a shot of cold air, I had to inspect. It was coming through a crack in the wainscoting. I am guessing our house was vinyl sided before you wrapped first, since it wasn't wrapped at all.
I am not sure of an immediate fix for this I guess we weigh the rip out the walls & insulate (DIY), trying to salvage the wainscoting. Or we could call for quotes on blow in foam. I am just afraid that stuff will ooze into the house & be everywhere.
Duct tape is a great tool! I used some around a window in the Prince's room, voila no drafts. Guess I need to do the other 2 windows. I really just wanted to caulk but all dh could find was the adhesive...
We also discovered that the heating duct in his room had separated from the vent, so that has increased the amount of heat actually getting to the room. We sealed that with duct tape, taped around the basement window right below the vent & wrapped it with insulation.
Then I noticed that the beams under the pocket doors were- um - weird. There was a breeze blowing up through the floor there, so now the beam is wrapped in insulation & I can stand in the doorway & not feel like I'm doing a Marilyn impression!!!
I guess the frugal tip here is that it is never too late in the season to winterize & sometimes it's easier to pin point the problems once it's cold. If it is something you absolutely can't do until spring - write it down! I know we were going to do a couple of things in the warm weather that we forgot about until it was 14 degrees!
Check out DIY Home Inspection for a list of items you can check & fix yourself. Made me wish I'd had some incence sticks when I was trying to feel for drafts.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Crocked Pineapple Chicken (4 PTS)
6 whole chicken breast halves without skin -- skinned and split
1 dash pepper
To taste paprika
20 ounces pineapple chunks in juice -- 1 can tidbits
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic -- minced
Arrange chicken in bottom of crock pot. Sprinkle with pepper and paprika. In a
small bowl, combine drained pineapple tidbits, mustard and soy sauce. Pour over
chicken. Add minced garlic. Cover and cook on LOW 7-9 hours or HIGH 3-4 hours.
Makes 6 serving.
Per Serving: 194 Calories; 2g Fat; 28g Protein; 16g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary
Fiber; 68mg Cholesterol; 483mg Sodium.
Friday, January 19, 2007
I love this book, I would, I am a worksheet junkie. I think that was what drew me to 31 days to fix your finances. I have contemplated getting rid of this book several times (every time we move I have pared down our massive media collection) but I continue to hold on to it.
I have read this book cover to cover at least once and go back to reference it often, it is a great book. Mr. Sestina is a respected professional in the Financial Planning world. A quote from the back cover "Don't mistake this for just another book on getting your financial life in order. John Sestina is one of the fathers of today's financial planning movement...you're getting it from the horse's mouth"- David J. Drucker, MBA, CFP, President, Sunset Financial Management, Inc. Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Before I get too far I will point out that yes, I am aware that he is also a Quixtar/Amway Diamond. Honestly, if it weren't for that fact I probably never would have heard of him. I have heard him speak on numerous occasions.
It was his occupation as a financial planner that led to his involvement in the first place, I believe the story was that he was looking out for the welfare of a client & attended an opportunity meeting. I do not recall what happened with the
client over the years, but John & his wife built a successful Amway business, he was building his Financial Planning Business as well http://www.sestina.com/ SO, that aside, there are many people that look to him to plan their finances (including some big name former NFL players*see ESPN link at bottom). If he can handle their money, I am surely going to listen to the free advice! (well at least the price of the book!)
Ok, enough said, it doesn't matter who speaks the good advice, as long as it's good, does it?
So why am I writing about a book that has been out since 1993? Well, because I am also reading Rich Woman: A Book on Investing for Women - Because I Hate Being Told What to Do! as I may have mentioned before. Mrs. Kiyosaki continually mentions educating yourself on what investing is all about, learn the lingo, etc... Well,
this book does a lot of that. He covers saving for college, retirement, future, liabilities, taxes, estate planning,investing, businesses, and when to consult a professional.
The book begins with the six steps to financial freedom
1. What do You want? identify Financial & Personal Goals
2. What do you have now? Collect Information
3. What's holding you back? Consider problem areas
4. How do you get what you want? Develop written recommendations and alternate solutions
5. Put your plan into action
6. Is it working? Review the plan
I think the only problem I have with this book is that the Appendix D: You need a second business, is just that, an appendix & D no less! I think that is one of the most important points in the book. Sure it was put in as a way to convince you to get into their business, but there is a walk through of the process on deciding what business is right for you.
Maybe it doesn't need to be a "second" business forever, but business ownership (especially the sole proprietorship type of business he recommends) is the best way I have found to make a little money on top of your "job" and to keep even more money by way of tax deductions. The business vehicle mileage deduction for 2006 tax returns is 44.5 cents per mile. Mileage alone is worth the investment. I was involved in a home based candle business for 2 months in 2006, I racked up over 300 miles. The value of the miles was more than the commissions I earned (therefore I stopped doing it, but we still have other business ventures.)
He also touches on how you can shift your income by employing your children. Obviously this needs to be a valid and believable thing or the IRS will red flag you in seconds. I haven't used this benefit yet, as my children have been too young. But the 7 year old is starting to help, he was getting paid to shred papers, before we got the coal furnace. I wasn't paying him $10 an hour, more like $0.25 a session (hey he was 5 and we didn't end up needing the deduction that year anyways!)
I am spending 2007 putting MY financial house in order & this is my Go-to-Book. The good news for you if you don't already have it & want it, there are bunches of used ones available on Amazon.com!
This book is cited in the 2004 books Midlife Mamas on the Moon: Celebrate Great Health, Friendships, Sex, and Money and Launch Your Second Life by Sunny Hersh
and Surviving Financial Disasters: Bankruptcy, Foreclosure, Eviction, Auto Repossession, Excessive Debts and Much Moreby Tiffany R. Love
Some links to articles where Mr. Sestina was interviewed.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Ok, so at least I can be comforted by the fact that I have a temporary gig coming up here in a couple weeks (Easter Chocolates, yum!!!) The best part about that was they don't pay me until we close shop (day after Easter), so I get it lump sum.
If only I could put off buying groceries until then???
So, now that I have determined that we are frugal (cheap, broke, poor, etc...) by necessity I need to find a way to fix it. I think I am going to start by cutting our food $ back a lot. I know it is already below averages for a family our size, but we could do better. We still buy a lot of snack type stuff (granted I can & do bake cookies, I just don't see me whipping out a potato & the deep fryer for chips any time soon)
Our real time cash out flow is higher than our cash in flow, not good.
We spent about $1800 extra in Nov, Dec and Jan ($ from gifts, closing a savings account & some profit dh made drop shipping) That was supposed to have caught us up on overdue bills, so we would be starting from 0 in 2007, but we aren't.
If we sell our concession trailer...that is the only way we can make this work, but then we are out of business permanently. SO that really isn't an option yet, we are still weighing the advantage of keeping it higher than selling. The payment on the trailer =$37 a week, that is almost my food budget.
I've said before that I am trying to follow The Simple Dollar's 31 days to fix your finances However, I am at a point where I'm not sure I can continue, I will, but most of the advice is in dealing with a budget surplus that I just do not have. I know I need to pay myself first, but there just isn't the cash left on pay day to do that, it is either already spent or must be. We are in a sort of crisis mode right now. To top it all off, we have found out that one of our tenants is moving out (presumably by months end). Now this would be a good thing if it wasn't January.
We have been wanting this family to move out, pretty much since they moved in (it's a one bedroom apartment, there are 4 people living in it, it was a favor, will never happen again). However, now I have to worry about getting it filled shortly after they leave, but still find time & $ to do repairs they won't pay for (they should, but a lawyer will cost more & we'd never get a dime anyways). Plus, the natural gas will have to be left on, which means I'm paying. Just found out dh never paid the bill from the last time the apt was empty in 2005, that cost us $488. It was empty from Jan - March.
Dh had to go buy more coal today, I don't know how much he spent. I do know that he had to pay $700 on the mortgage & trailer on Saturday. Our cost of living here is only $378 a month (that includes taxes, insurance & mortgage) the rest is covered by rent income. He WAS a month behind on the trailer.
Also, in doing our books for the end of the year I figured we lost $4800 last summer, not to bad, since only $750 of that has been realized (in the trailer payments) to date. So if you take out the trailer loan we made a whopping, hold on to your seats $1200 last summer. We had 2 locations & a fairly steady customer traffic flow. Sure there are plenty of things that will change if we open this year (#1 being that we are back to 1 location, unfortunately it isn't the highest traffic location, but it is the most captive audience, State Park). Our business insurance was insane because of the park & the 2 locations, so hopefully that will go down & we will be able to advertise our existance in the park this year. Helps if people know you are there. I would work more as long as it's only one location, the sheer amount of paperwork & shopping was overwhleming last summer.
Now I feel like I am rambling...
So far I have a clearer picture of where we are, where we are going is still a lot fuzzy, but I'm sure I'll find a way!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I actually printed a pattern from here
Monday, January 15, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I can't say I didn't get a good head start, I did. DH, there's another story. He was the baby of the family (by 11 years) & I think they just assumed he'd figure it out on his own??? Or they really did intend to give him money for the rest of their lives...
My Dad taught me a lot about stocks & investing & I was forced to save, which netted me a very large tax bill when I was 15 (had to get $ so wouldn't show up on financial aid apps) and a very little money to start college with (I think I spent it on 1 semester's worth of tuition, books & fees...) SO I had a decent chunk, that didn't go very far even with aid & I went state college not private, oh my...I digress.
I won the $50 Stock contest our Senior year of Highschool (eek, that was a while back!). I think I turned $10,000 into $15,000??? It's been a while, but I think I was the only one in the class still active after the first 2 weeks (you'd think I was a total loser right?, just weird). SO the $50 was mine even if I lost all of it. So I had an idea on how to pick stocks, when to trade, when to hold. I can even read the WSJ & understand it most of the time! Which when you think about it is pretty impressive with all those silly numbers & weird letters!
So, how did I end up here, in debt, living dh's pay check to pay check...well lets just say my education ended there. As long as I had a job I had money, my needs were met, my Mom had a new job so there was extra cash in the household (she had been a stay at home Mom, even through layoffs & unemployment)so I guess I just expected things to not change so drastically when I went to college. HA (~ not blaming anyone but myself here, maybe just whining a little!)
Back then the credit card companies were so eager to give cards away they. I had a summer internship at a major CO & they paid well, I ended up with 2 credit cards my first summer (My intentions were great, one was a gas CO card so I was earning cash back + when I filled up with their gas, the other was a low interest acct, I wanted them for emergencies & book buying, I was traveling over an hour a day in an older car, in another state, but they gave me soooooo much credit, like $2500 to start & when I made regular payments it just kept going up & up before I knew it it was $5000) SO leading us down the path of financial destruction, I was married before I turned 21 (by choice, not necessity) & 6 months after the I Dos Dh was into his first bought of unemployment which was funded by my credit, not Unemployment....
So, needless to say I am like a sponge, open to just about anything to educate my kids so this doesn't happen to them.
I know DS is going to be President someday, he can talk a line of BS like you wouldn't believe. He even has his teacher fooled into thinking she runs the class!!! Kind of like sometimes he lets me be in charge around the house! This means he will need to go to a "Good" college, which means big bucks for us in only 11 years. We are hoping for a football scholarship, but it is highly unlikely!!! We are ok now, at the moment he wants to drive a bulldozer, we tried explaining that he wants to own the Construction Co so he can drive all the equipment, but he insists that we are full of it!
DD is a constant entertainer, I just don't see a lab coat in her future...But, I'm not into labeling them just yet & funding her move to Hollywood could cost as much as DSs ivy league schooling....
SO I surf, I soak it all in, & I pray that I understand it myself!!!
I have found a few sites to share dealing with kids & money, for us (the parent) & for them (GAMES, does anything else work these days???) Why can't Nintendo create an algebra based game??? Spelling anyone???
Money Central by the US Treasury has age appropriate activities (5-8 & 9-13). It has some fun games (at least in the 5-8 activities where I was)
ING's Orange Kids
Pay JR. has great links to some other kids & money sites in their Education Center
The Simple Dollar posted a link & review about a money savvy pig, loved it, how cute!
Rich Dad - Richard K has developed the Cash Flow Game (either adult of kid version)
I still think that the best starter for money education & realestate was Monopoly! Pass Go collect $200!!! Obviously teaches strategy, how sometimes buying pricier properties can pay off, sometimes it doesn't...Monopoly Jr. is great fun for the kids. I have played it numerous times with the Prince. Atleast until the Princess stole all the money...
All in all I figure the more I know, the better off they are. And they will never know if I don't teach them.
Free File @ IRS.gov ~ Coming January 16th...
So I have started assembling links, just not paperwork :D. I can say that at least the Ice Cream shop's books are mostly caught up. I am behind, but only by a couple of the last days (why bother?) and a few expense reciepts that need to be found (like the last 2 ice cream deliveries?>??)
Last year we did good, Turbotax efile had an offer that allowed us to get $$$ FREE just for using them & using some of our refund $ to buy gift cards. I can't remember exactly how much we got, I think the max was $200 in free gift cards (can't remember how much you had to spend out of your return though) Well we got gift cards for Lowe's & used then to fund a lot of our 2006 repair/renovations on the house. So it was money we would have spent anyways, we just got an extra few $ doing it this way. I know that we made more money back than we spent having them file our state taxes too... SO I can't remember exact #s but we were in the black!
Ok, so please don't trash me about how I shouldn't be getting a refund, I'm just loaning my money to the gov't, yada yada yada. The only way for us to not get a refund would be to take out the Earned Income Tax Credit over the year, which I'm not comfortable with, we'll get a significant return until they take that away! Guess I don't trust them to not say hey we overpaid you & now you owe us...EEEK. Plus a lot of our refund is tied into the sole proprietership deductions we take. It pays to own a business. Even a small one.
This year DH incorporated us & I ain't gonna even try to file that baby! Individual taxes are hard enough...
Well I have vowed that 2007 will be a better organized year so I am looking for software to better organize our business ventures (if it was just us I'd stick with the stuff already on my computer!). Save up to 36% Off Quicken 2007 Products + Free Shipping. I have used Quicken in the past & loved it. In doing some research on business software I figured our best bet was Quickbooks. So I'll be weighing that again here fairly soon.
Found this blurb, wonder what it's like? We are considering increasing our rental properties (1 is just painful, especially since it's our home too...) Guess I'll look into it once I need to :-D. Trying not to get distracted here but it is my nature!!!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I have completed up to day 10 & BOY am I informed! I have managed to corner DH on every aspect of our finances & lay out for him everything he has messed up in the last 3 years. But I think we have a sound understanding & a plan of attack. I can't wait for the next days task to be posted!!! I am really liking the simplicity of it all, dh is not a financial wonder & has a hard time grasping concepts like if you spend $20 on chicken wings how are you going to pay the phone bill???
SO right now I have our expenses & how many hours he has to work to meet them. Realizing that he is falling short a few hours a week is really frustrating, especially since we are so close, with no wiggle room at all.
I'd post what I have done so far but it is far humbling a task!!! Maybe in the end I'll fill in the blanks, but right now it's just all TOO REAL!!!
My parents set up funds for the kids when they were born & I guess my Dad is rearranging ds's, so we are going to stick some of his money in that as well ($100 out of his savings account). SO go us! Finally getting something done, at least they are only 3 & 7 & not 14 & 18!!!
Kids was training pants & wipes. She needs to get into big girl pants, but then the 7 year old needs to get dressed for school in less than 20 minutes... Parenting dilema, I can only be in one place at a time & the bathroom and ds's bedroom are too far apart to yell!
Household - dishwasher soap, comet, & yarn (had to fix dh's slippers, somehow the Princess managed to chew through the lacing??? Guess that could be a blog in itself...)
Food - milk x 2
cheese slices & brick
reduced bakery items (french bread, was Oven baked french toast last night.)
bologna (the $1/pound stuff)
tube buscuits (I buy the cheap ones - usually $0.25/tube)the kids like to cook with them, so a 4 pack will last us a while
So total 2007:
Sales Tax: $3.98
My shopping experiences are a tad different, we have an Aldi & a Wal-Mart Super Center, so while it is sad to say, I have only been in one of our local grocery stores since October. We also go to a local meat market convenience store for in between shopping trips & if I only need a few things.
Needless to say, I don't use a lot of coupons, Aldi doesn't take them & if they did, there wouldn't be very many brand name items anyways. Frequently (9 times out of 10) I am buying something at the Wal-Mart that wouldn't have a coupon (store brand) & is usually priced cheaper than the brand name minus the coupon. Of course I do check the coupons, since my Mother In Law still sends them. I'll cut out something I think I'll use (shampoo, batteries, toothpaste, dishwasher soap), otherwise I'm sorting through a ton of coupons to find what I need.
I don't shop ads, since Aldi doesn't have any & Walmart doesn't run real loss leaders that often. If our local grocery stores send out the coupons for free stuff again, I'll go, use those coupons & try to match with manufactures coupons (for freebies, I'll play the game!)
I do a lot of buying in bulk (Sam's Club), free samples online, etc.
My best weapon in the war over my $1 is my price list. I update it everytime I go to the store (you'd be suprised how much the price of 12 egss fluctuates over a year). It is an excel file, all I have to do is enter the quanity needed of each item, when I'm done I sort by quantity & print out the list from 1 & up. It even totals it for me, so all I have to do is grab the list & my money (I try to remember to add 20% to my total, for that just in case scenario.)
I also try to shop with a plan in mind, a menu plan that is. I know my kids could eat grilled cheese or eggs & toast daily, but I like a little variety. So I try to have some meals in mind when I make my list. Then I don't have to run back the evening I am cooking for something I don't have. It does make it hard, when you buy chips to serve with sandwiches on Wed, but since you shopped Monday they were gone by Tuesday evening....grrr.
I guess the key to my successful shopping trips is to know what I am getting. I have a core list of things I always keep on hand & I get the best price I can on those, giving me a little wiggle room when dh grabs the wrong bologna & costs us $3 extra or we need to go to the meat market for that extra bag of chips!!!
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Head on over & check it out, there are some fantastic submissions!!!
Saturday, January 6, 2007
I can update you with my current stats!
1. Kids money - we are still deciding on what they are to do for what amount of money. Obviously The Prince (7) should get more than the Princess (3), but we don't know how much $. I have read $1/per, I also think that some things they do are just because they ARE, ya know. Like I am not paying them to brush their teeth...or pick up their dirty laundry from the floor, or pick up their own toys. I am not sure about rewarding them for acts that happen just because they are part of a family, but then isn't setting the table, they do eat??? And no one paid me to cook it~
Oh, well I digress!!!
2. Save money - We have worked out what we need to save every week to get to where we need to be by Dec 31st & still manage to eat. I have made a few individual goals here as well, like having money in the kids 529s by Dec 31st & money in my own account, on top of the emergency fund. I am using The Simple Dollar's 31 days plan. So far I am through day 5 & I feel a lot better knowing what I know now!!!
3. Exercise & eat right - Well I have logged 45 minutes of walk time. The week just got away from us. It was nice to walk outside though, the weather is unseasonable here. Guess we are getting our snow soon though, we'll go back to walking at the highschool.
4. Clothes that fit, well, I haven't exactly spent the hour a day doing UFO's in the sewing room. I am, in January, spending 1 hour a day organizing the room. I need to get the holiday stuff put away & organized, then I can start putting the materials I still have out away.
5. Managing my time better - well it's a work in progress! I have found that a notebook, by the laptop is a great help. I can note things I need to do later & keep on the task at hand with out getting sidetracked.
6. Potty training & bed training - We will increase our push to the potty, I don't think her brother was this resistant....
7. Emergency Kit - I have the tote, 2 blankets, & 3 mini bottles of water (all I had at the time!). I will try to pick up 1 thing everytime I shop. My Mom thinks I'm nuts, but I'd rather be safe than sorry, her house isn't 140 years old.
8. Routine - well I'm dressed (to the shoes), the Princess is dressed (didn't want shoes on, she is wearing my walking sneakers), the laundry is running, I cannot say that the sink is shiny, but it will be soon!
Friday, January 5, 2007
I visited our sponsor Party Bingo how fun! I downloaded the free software & had a blast! No smoker sitting two people over from me (sorry smokers!), I'm in my PJS & fuzzy slippers, the snacks are cheaper, WooHoo.
Party Bingo is one of several Party Gaming sites. You can play in "play" money mode or real money mode (not accessible to those in the US, thanks to recent act of Congress).
Their games are tested by iTech Labs to ensure fairness and correct operation, for those outside the USA. They are traded on the London Stock Exchange under PRTY if you follow markets.
Party Bingo is accessible to play in free mode to US residents. The real money aspects of the Party gaming group are not accessible by US residents due to an act of Congress, concerning Internet gambling.
I liked the set up of the free bingo games & I can see myself playing often!!!
Thursday, January 4, 2007
This is an interactive way for parents and kids to learn that hard work pays off. As a parent, you assign chores, the kids get their assignments and complete them. Parents can get a prepaid PayJr. Mastercard that they can load money onto as kids complete their chores. The kids can use their new debit Master Card for purchases anywhere Master Card Debit is accepted. The bonus here is that you as the parent get to track their spending as well.
This is an affordable teen prepaid solution to add organization to your family life and teach children the rewards of doing work assigned, giving them a tangible way to track their progress.
There are Chore Tracking Charts and Allowance Fee Tables for those not interested in the Prepaid card or for parents of younger children.
There is also an Education Center with links to TONS of advice on kids & money.
There is a lot of set up in this, you can't just pop on over & bam you have everything worked out, so I'd have a chore schedule & allowance amounts ready ahead of time. But once it's set up it seems to be easy to adapt or change.
For example, the Prince is WAY to young to have a debit card, so I am starting a chore chart for him. Example: Put away laundry MWF for $1 a week, Set Table MTWTF for $1 a week, etc.... He is only 7 & we don't have a set amount for his allowance yet (I am thinking $5 a week, in $1 bills so we can teach him to save, give & spend wisely).
I'm not sure if this will work the best for me right now, since I have such young children, but I can see the benefit of the prepaid debit card for older teens. I would have liked a little more experience with "plastic" before I started college, Ya know!!!
Ok, so I do recycle elastic (not from underwear though), I re use dryer sheets (not as toilet paper), I tried to use cloth diapers, I burn all our papers in our furnace, I do lots of weird little things that I never considered weird (until you think about how different it is...)
You can set up an account online & choose where your online earnings go. Paper Box Tops get sent to the school directly. I stick mine in a small sandwich bag & send in with the Prince every month.
My favorite part about this is that they are gaining from something I'd have anyways. The only time I specifically buy an item because of the box top is if they are equal in value & price (like fruit snacks, old el paso stuff). If you watch your sales flyer you can find bunches of qualifying items on sale. The website has coupons to print out. So if your grocery stores aren't stuck in the middle ages, like mine are, you can use them to save more off the sale prices. Very often I have had newspaper coupons & hit sales where I was getting the items 75% off regular price or better.
Labels for Education is another way to get money for your local schools. They did change some of their redeeming rules so check that out, if you didn't get a notice from your school about it. Instead of the whole label, now you only need the UPC code or the jar lid (Prego & V8).
Upromise: Register your grocery card and save when you shop!
It is a way for you to save for your children's further education. You can register your grocery cards, credit cards for additional savings & your 529 accounts. You can allocate the money to more than one child for even distribution. They even have started a program where you can earn money for your current school through additional programs or your earnings.
There are only 2 restaurants that participate that are anywhere near me. But, if you are lucky enough to have a bunch, and you are going to eat out anyways...All you have to do is use a registered credit card to pay for it.
I think I only have one grocery card registered right now. I'll have to fix that (I have 3!).
They give you a little money when you use McDonald's gift certificates (it doesn't work with the new gift card, so it still has to be the books). It wasn't much, I think $0.10 each book or something. But, then if you go there a lot (or even occasionally) it makes sense to purchase the books (if you can). Then you just enter the codes online
There are participating grocery products here too, so you aren't getting $ on everything you buy all the time, just what is participating... The biggest one I can remember is Nestle. There are over 7000 products, so there is an alphabetical list on the website.
Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Loved the list.
Drink cheaper coffee - I already drink cheaper coffee (I don't work outside the home, so while I think I am at least a half a pot a day I'm not ordering double shot grande mocha lattes).
Make your own fast food - Do bologna sandwiches count??? I do cook a lot of meals at home, but then there are 4 of us, eating out is just too expensive, even if we eat off the value menu!
Read a book - Ok, so we have TV & we already cut it back as far as we are willing too, guess it's a luxury expense. But, the kids watch a lot of the educational stuff & if we cut it back to the basics we'd lose dh's hockey!
Get cheaper hobbies, well..... I just don't think so! I sew, dh golfs, the Prince even has clubs... It's not like I spend more than $10 a week over the course of a year... well, dh got new clubs & I got the serger last year (his terms, grrrr), we do watch for coupons for golf & it's not like they go every week. They only went 2x last summer.
Air up your tires - we don't have a vehicle on the road at the moment, not an issue
Use free software - we already use free antivirus & spyware. We did have to buy a spyware when dh's work software got a nasty bug.
Buy in bulk - well I love Sam's Club, I just can't seem to get out of there cheaply... plus as I noticed at the store on the 3rd, sometimes more doesn't mean less$ in fact in most cases it actually cost more. IE sugar, usually I buy 10 pounds at Sam's but we haven't been & I needed it, so I was going to go for the 10 pound bag, it actually cost $0.02/pound MORE than the 5 pound??? go figure
Plan careful road trips - well not having a vehicle of ones own you do that anyways...
Check the library - while I love the library as a resource ours basically stinks, so occaisionally you find what you want, but sometimes it's far less frustrating to go to Amazon.com
Drink lots of water - One I should have put under my health & fitness 2007 goal, I know I need to drink more than I do.
Keep a list of what you spend - don't do this, maybe I should, but then I need to have a notebook & remember to keep it with me & not lose it...
Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescents done! The Finance Journey has a post about these lights & Wal-Mart
Write a grocery list. Usually I do a little beyond that & plan my menu. I got out of the habit, once I stopped shopping sales (Wal-Mart & Aldi have the best general prices & usually less than sales in the other chain grocery stores around here) Now when we were getting coupons in the mail for the new grocery store for free stuff & $5 off any order over $10, well I was all over that, but now I need to get back to it, since our Wal-Mart has started raising prices on some items already.
Invite friedns over - sure, except they are both single guys (at least the friends we get together with) I really don't want to eat anything they cook! So I either cook, or we order out for pizza & wings.
Programmable thermostat was the first real improvement we made to the house! The first winter we had it was nice, I got to see just how cold we really were! Now I'm not so sure it is a relevant piece of electronics! The coal furnace while tied into the thermostat, will not kick down if it's over, the damper will close but if it's windy it will not stop & we will be stripping down to shorts & Ts!
Turn your computer off - well that would make it really hard for dh to work since he's on the puter 3rd shift. We do turn the desktop off, that thing is an energy hog & runs so loudly that it will keep you up if you don't!
The 10 second rule - I guess I do this without thinking. I usually edit the cart before or at the checkout. I can usually pull a couple things out that are just not necessary after I've walked around with them for a while. And when I shop online I have done my research, so I'm not making spontaneous purchases.
According to Trent if you do all of these things you could potentially save $4600 a year, not bad if you have it to put into an account on Dec 31st! Woohoo. Unfortunately that isn't what happens here... I don't get to see the money I save as it all goes into the house or debt reduction, so I can at least feel good about the fact that $4600 of that is from my efforts!!! Gooooo Meeeee!
Today was our first shopping trip in 2007 so at least I'm starting at the beginning!!!
We went to Wal-Mart. Of course with dh & the Princess, so there are always extras...
I picked up a 50 gallon wheeled tote for my emergency kit. It is a lovely tan & looks like it will hold all the items I want in it comfortably. $16.97
I also grabbed a clear 53 qt box for some fabric $4.82 (I had $25 from a gc for Christmas, for myself), so I also got a new pair of sneakers. After working in the ice cream shop all summer mine have no tread. So Merry Christmas & thank you MOM!!! $15.72
The Prince got a pack of hangers, he is getting so big that the toddler hangers he has don't hold the clothes anymore. $0.97
The Princess had to walk after I picked up the tote & got a couple small toys off a clearance rack, she managed to get 3 on the belt at checkout, which is good cuz she had an armful. $1.88
We picked up a couple of pizzas for dinner tonight, an unexpected expense but cheaper than delivery! So 2x $3.98
We also bought a rack of ribs that was marked down & a picnic that was $1.08/pound.
All in all we spent $138.90 I didn't think that was sooooo bad, until I am sitting here looking at the reciept realizing that dh spent $3.83 on bologna, ok that's only 2.90 more than I usually spend....~rolling my eyes~
I didn't think we did too bad considering I stocked up on a few items & we were out of honey (while I can understand the danger of the job & sheer massiveness of the process, $3.98 for the medium jar???).
The Princess spent $1.88
DH spent $5.54
I spent $20.54
8% Sales Tax $3.11
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Flying Lessons - Preparedness for Emergency Evacuation from FlyLady.net is a good place to start setting priorities.
I am going to set up emergency kits for everyone in the family. I am unsure of where to store & what to store them in, I am thinking our covered side porch in a very large tote. I'd like to have bags for each of us inside filled with stuff that we'd need to grab in case of fire or other emergency. I try to keep a well stocked pantry of canned goods & other non perishable goods. In case of a blizzard or long term power outage we will need to have food on hand. (since there won't be any at the stores & couldn't get to them if there were!!!) We have a BBQ grill, outdoor fireplace & at the present time we have an extra stove converted to propane, so all I need to cook for the family is a good supply of propane! We converted to all electric major appliances (including the hot water heater) so if the power goes out we need alternatives!
It is good to know that most gas stoves can be converted to use propane, just follow directions in your manual. So if you are like me & all electric don't pass up that super cheap (free) gas stove... Obviously the electric pilot won't work, but you can light it carefully with matches or a lighter. If you aren't up to it, lots of us have BBQ grills that are propane, you can cook anything on them!!!
4 Bottles of Water
Change of Clothes - rotate for season & size changes, don't forget socks & undies
Photocopies of ID & medical cards
couple Snack Bars (granola, fruit, cereal, etc.)
Extra shoes (great place for your worn out sneakers)
Contact Case/Glasses Case/Cleaners etc
Prescriptions (If you have to have them)
Household Inventory List
Emergency Numbers (Insurance Agent, Dr., Vet, pharmacy)
4 Gallons Water (I did 1 per person)
1 blanket per person
Box of granola bars/snack bars
stuffed animal for the kiddos 1 each
First Aid Kit Inventory - I keep a tool box in my bathroom area & one in my car
1 Box of medium size medical gloves (or whatever size you need)-for cleaning up messes (i.e. puke, poop, blood)
1 Thermometer - whatever kind you already have, unless it doesn't work. -this one is obvious, but a working temp taker is crucial
1 bottle of Alcohol Gel -for hand washing especially if you use this for travel, but even at home it's good
1 bottle of Normal Saline (please get NS, not contact solution) a 500 ml size is best.-for washing out eyes and wounds
1 bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide -for disinfecting wounds (and if you're like me, then ears too)
1 bottle of Rubbing Alcohol (optional)-for sterilizing tweezers to get out splinter
1 tube of Neosporin or generic equivalent-for applying to wounds to help healing
3-6 boxes of Band-Aids depending on size of family and accident prone members
1-3 regular size - for fingers & such 2-4 inches long and 1 or so inches wide.
1-2 large size - for larger areas elbows, knees 3-4" long 2-3" wide
1 X-Large -for really large areas 3-4" square or bigger
1 box of 4"x 4" gauze pads -for cleaning or bandaging
1 36'x36' square of muslin or cotton or bandanna-for slinging arms or emergency use as a tourniquet or cleaning rag
1 roll of 1" or 2" medical tape -for taping down gauze or whatever you use
1 travel size box of cotton swabs -for applying ointments
1 tube of Activated Charcoal (To be used in lieu of IPECAC) -for ingestion of substances like pills, cleaners, etc.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Act. Charcoal is better for accidental ingestion since it neutralizes whatever was swallowed. IPECAC will make the substance come back up and if the stuff was caustic like bleach or most household cleaners it can burn the lining of the throat very badly. You can find Act. charcoal at pharmacies and home health stores.
1 pair of bandage or All-purpose scissors-for cutting off clothes or bandages
1 pair of tweezers-for splinter removal, removal of ingrown hairs
1 can or bottle of Burn spray or gel-for 1st degree burns (sunburns, burning hand on stove)
1 bottle of Caladryl or whatever poison ivy/oak/sumac remedy you like -for relief of poison ivy/oak/sumac
Several travel packs of Over-The-Counter medicine like Tylenol, Alka-Seltzer, Immodium, etc
1 bag, briefcase, tote or container to put all these things in. I have a red tool box for the house & a purchased kit in the car.
Ziploc bags for some of the items and some empty to save specimens for doctor
A list of contents so you can replace used items and keep track of usage
I think this is a good place to start, I'll update it if I add anything else!!!
Monday, January 1, 2007
My sister already called me this AM to chew me out for chumping her. Not my fault (DH, grrr)! I was almost ready to walk down to the party...of course it was rainy & very windy, I wasn't sure I'd actually make it there!
So I had lots of time to think about my "Resolutions"
Ok, so lets lay out the finalized goals for 2007...
1. Teach my children respect for money.How to save, budget, spend wisely, plan for the future, what really is rich, etc….
2. Save money, we need to have an emergency fund in place.
3. ORGANIZE!!! I have decluttered lots of stuff, now it's time to get what I have into a home!
4. Continue to exercise & do healthy things. Drink lots of water, keep walking, eat as many healthy meals a week as possible.
5. Work creative time & organized computer time into my daily routine.
6. Get the Princess Potty Trained & sleeping in her own bed
7. Create Emergency Kits for the family & update the first aid kit.
8. Continue with my daily routine & habit building (www.flylady.net) I will be fully flying this year!