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Updated Progress

March 18th, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I updated my debt tracking in the side bar area...everything is on track though my goal for the year on the car loan seems far away. I did receive my bonus last week so I made a big additional payment to the car loan and will pay the rest of my bonus (down to the penny!) to that debt next week. I'll be so excited to update again by the end of the month.

We've been doing pretty good with snowflaking this month as well, mostly finding money consistently in the gas budget. I haven't done as well on squeezing money out of the grocery budget as we've been feeding 2 extra people (brother & sister) a couple times a week.

I also just put together the budget for April. I budgeted very frugally for spring/summer clothes & shoes for the family during that month. I find a lot of good stuff for my son at thrift/consignment shops, but between Garanimals at Target and $4 sales at Target & Kohl's, I can sometimes do just as well buying new.

I've been addicted to walmart.com lately - I purchased a jersey dress with birthday money and found a pair of black dress pants for $5. The site to store feature is nice. I go back to work next Thursday, and my body has a way to go, so I've been pulling together work clothes. I borrowed a couple of dresses from my sister as well. It's so great that she lives here now - we even have the same shoe size! I also used the walmart.com photo service to order birth announcements for under $10 - I thought that was pretty good for 30 custom photo announcements with envelopes.

--Chrissy

9 Days In & Used Car Buying Ramblings...

January 9th, 2009 at 02:19 am

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!!!

Shopping

December 30th, 2008 at 12:36 am

Yesterday I got out of the house alone for a few hours. My favorite past time, window shopping, kept me busy but I did buy a few things. This weekend my $20 spending money was burning a hole in my pocket. I ended up paying $7 to get my eyebrows waxed, $4 for an iced decaf white mocha, $2 for 2 new eye shadows and $3.99 for hair coloring.

I haven't colored my own hair since high school, but I hadn't had it colored since my son was a couple of months old and he's almost 2. So I took the plunge and colored it last night. It was relatively painless and turned out well. My sister is moving to Atlanta in 2 weeks - not only am I elated beyond belief to have her here, but she attended cosmetology school and can help me do it in the future and will cut & style my hair for me.

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I ventured into CVS - can't believe I hadn't really done that before. I'm going to try to catch the ECB train; I signed up for their rewards program. Our house is very small, so I don't have a lot of storage space for pantry & HBA items, but we'll see how I do in time. Combining the P&G brand saver coupons from the paper, I purchased items I needed on sale (shampoo, paper towel, body wash) and used coupons. I ended up with $2 in ECBs. I got diapers on sale at Target and ended up spending enough to send away for their Bonus Coupon Books. I'll take all the diaper coupons I can getSmile

http://www.pgeverydaysolutions.com/pgeds/en_US/jsp/EDS_Page.jsp?pageID=Year-of-Savings

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Today I spent a few hours in the office. We basically shut down the last 2 weeks of the year, but since I only have 11 days in the office now before my maternity leave starts I have a lot to get wrapped up. I finished off the day tidying my office which always makes me feel a great sense of accomplishment.

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Hubby and I spent the weekend getting ready for the new baby. I got the 0-3 month clothes from the attic and washed, plus the bassinet. We rearranged Baby D's room and made room for his baby brother's stuff in the chest of drawers. Otherwise, we're all set. I'd like to find a used double stroller, so I keep scouring craigslist and such.

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I need to change my withholdings this coming year. It's silly, but I've been claiming 0 for so long to ensure I get a nice refund, but I'd rather get that money throughout the year to pay down our debt. Does anyone know of a good source for figuring out what will be taken from your check each pay period depending on your withholdings? If all else fails I'll play with paycheck city. I did try the irs.gov calculator to just tell me the number of withholdings, but I didn't find it that helpful.

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And thanks for the kind words about my son. He ended up burning his left palm/fingers badly in a campfire (the morning after). We spent a few days at the Burn Center in Augusta and he had 2 surgeries. He's so resilient and awesome and he's just doing so well!