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Archive for January, 2009

9 Days In & Used Car Buying Ramblings...

January 8th, 2009 at 06:19 pm

Ugh, I'm getting antsy - 9 days into the month and I haven't been able to update debt progress. Tomorrow is budget committee day so we'll see if I can count up any decent snowflakes for the week.

I mentioned before my sister & brother-in-law are moving here to Atlanta next week. They are taking a big risk and making the move without jobs, but have saved up a few months of expenses as a back-up plan. I know this is risky, but I'm proud of them for taking the leap in leaving Michigan for the possibility of a brighter future. Hopefully with them here we will be able to help coach them on the journey to debt freedom as well.

Lately it's been frustrating because some of our "friends" don't understand what we're doing in trying to be debt free. We just live in a culture where a car payment is the norm and so sometimes people think you're weird for wanting to buy something that you can pay cash for. We started looking at used minivans last night. We have about $6K in the bank and planned on adding our tax refund (between 3-4K...which is why I mentioned I need to change my withholdings) to purchase a 4-5 year old Honda Odyssey. My husband challenged me to consider us NOT using the tax refund and purchasing an '01 Odyssey with the money we have now, then taking the tax money and paying that directly to our debt - this equates to us being debt free about 4 months faster. He had a lot of fun playing with my amortization spreadsheets Smile

So we tried to look at one van which was a bust, though there are 5 in our price range listed with specs we're fine with (mileage, year & price). It wasn't even that the van didn't meet expectations - we didn't even get that far because the car lot was shady and so we left. So we are going to keep our eyes peeled for a while longer (hubby's current car is trucking along, just not as safe - it's a 1990). We've always found that patience pays off, so we're going to look at many, many vans over the next couple of months between $5,500 & $8,500 and see where God leads us. I am excited at the prospect at spending less...we've got no one to impress with our car anyway!

Just give me the patience not to blow my top when I tell someone I'm going to spend less than $10K for a car and they 1) think that's crazy - the car could break, so I better buy a brand new one or 2) if I just go to my bank I can just get a loan for a new one!!!

Give me the strength!!!

Weekly Meal Plan: Mon 1/5 - Friday 1/9

January 4th, 2009 at 05:56 pm

I've seen folks document their menu plans for each week and thought I might do the same.

A bit of background: My husband is a stay at home dad and he usually does all of the grocery shopping. Over a year ago I joined Weight Watchers, so in order to control the food that comes into our house I started doing the shopping (sometimes we just do it together). So I make a menu plan for the week and post it on the fridge - I don't designate a meal by day - after dinner each night we decide what we'd like the next day from the list and get something out of the freezer.

So here's a batch of dinners for Mon-Fri this week:
- Burritos (ground beef was reduced at the grocery store & red beans and rice was on sale)
- Chicken "wings" (we cut boneless breasts into chunks, bake, toss in wing sauce)
- Chopped steak & onions (from the freezer - reduced at the grocery a couple weeks ago)
- Pork chops (another reduced meat price purchase)
- Leftovers (most likely burritos - we love those reheated!)

I tend to buy family packs of sale chicken breasts & split them up & freeze them - same with ground beef. Our regular store almost always has reduced price packs of meat between 98-cents & 1.98 (end price, not per pound!). We eat a lot of meat Smile There are some nights we'll have soup or sandwiches - this week was particularly inexpensive in the meat department.

When I'm working on weight loss we'll eat beans or fish in place of a beef or pork at least once a week.

Has anyone tried e-mealz.com? I am particularly interested because they have a Weight Watchers version. Just interested to see if it can add some excitement to our table.

New Years & Spending

January 4th, 2009 at 01:56 pm

No real update to post Smile Every Friday I update our weekly spending and hubby & I do our weekly budget committee meeting. Lately we've been doing really well and snowflaking in a few categories.

This past Friday we didn't have any snowflakes. We put on a New Year's Day party for about 10 friends and used grocery money to fun sodas & appetizers. We used our gas money that was underspent to order several pizzas (with a deal) from Dominos. It was a lot of fun.

We should have a good week this week - I'm adding some extra snacks to the grocery list for next week, plus extra soda. I'll be putting together a welcome basket for my sister & BIL. They are moving here to Atlanta a week from Tuesday, so I want to bring them some goodies since they'll have moved 800 miles and won't have a chance to immediately get to the store.

And unless the new baby comes sooner I have these next 2 weeks in the office before maternity leave starts. We should be able to scrap up even more money over my leave since I won't have my full commute to work everyday - more gas money to pay on debt!