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Archive for March, 2013

Net Worth Growth

March 29th, 2013 at 01:04 pm

Whew! Whirlwind of activity around here with my husband and son having been home! (They left though - boo hoo!)

We went to a baseball game and won a $50 gift certificate to a pizza place - which was awesome cause we got to be on the jumbotron holding up a huge check and then we got to go out to eat as a whole family for the cost of the tip! YaY!

Anyways, here is how we did this month:

Investments: up 5.77% to $14,491
Savings: up 1691.82% to $10,591
Checkings: down 29.91% to $1,257
Assets: down 4.61% to $62,900
Debt: down 2.19% to $47,686 (including mortgage)

Net Worth: up 24.89% to $41,554.

Hopefully next month our net worth will be more than our Debt! YaY!

Vacation Vacation

March 19th, 2013 at 10:06 am

This past Saturday, the hubs and I took the three kids down to a copper mining town where they got to go 1500 feet into the Earth and learn all about mining, explored the old town, and then headed on to Tombstone - where they got to see and learn all sorts of interesting things.

Spent the night in Tombstone and then headed back up home - but on the way, we stopped at the San Xavier Mission.

When I was 16, my grandparents took me out to Arizona on vacation and we stopped at this mission - so since it was right on the way (well, a few miles out of the way - but my husband was NOT going to argue with me about this!) we stopped so I could share the experience with the kids. I cried a bit (both of my grandparents are long gone) but it was awesome to share the experience of the mission AND the stories of my grandparents at the same time....

This trip was saved for - every Spring Break we take the kids on some type of historic/learning vacation. Last year was the Grand Canyon - its so much fun to see them take the so called knowledge from their school text books and correlate it with what is standing right in front of them....

But, although the trip was saved for - as with all trips, we might have gone a little over in the category of eating. We didn't realize HOW expensive it would be - so time to go back to the budget and rework it to cover the difference!

Old Gift Cards...

March 13th, 2013 at 08:12 am

Yesterday, I stumbled upon some old gift cards... ones that I know I used at some point, but I was curious as to what, if any, balances were left on them. (You know how it is - $25 gift card, you only spend $21.89 - balance just sits around)

To my surprise, both cards still had balances. One had a balance of $4.06 and the other has a balance of $16.45.

The $4.06 GC is a VISA card, which I can use anywhere. We needed milk in the house, so I used it last night to get two gallons of milk from the grocery store - spending $3.88, leaving me .18 on the GC. I am sure I will find somewhere to use it - every penny counts!

The other GC, in the amount of $16.45, is a Walmart GC, so I can only use it at Walmart. Which is totally fine, because I have some coupons to use there for some sale products - and the GC amount should more than cover what I am going to be getting for my stockpile.

So, if you have some old gift cards laying around, take a minute to call the number on the back to see if there is a balance - you may be pleasantly surprised!

Electric Bill

March 12th, 2013 at 01:33 pm

During this past weekend of looking through some monthly bills, I decided to log onto my electric company's website, where I found a wonderful tool that breaks down how much energy I am using per day - before the bill arrives!

This is going to be a wonderful thing for me to track daily (or weekly) to ensure that my energy consumption is in line with my budget!

YaY for looking at the website!

Shopping from your own closet

March 8th, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Late last December, I was standing in my closet, wondering how in the heck I had accumulated all of those clothes. I swear, they must have gotten married to each other and had babies - because there was just TOO MUCH.

After going through everything and donating what I knew I would never wear again (or ever - as some articles still had tags on them) - I decided to challenge myself to wear a different top EVERY day until I no longer had a different top to wear.

I did this by turning all the hangers backwards. Once something is washed and hung up - it goes back in right sided. That's how I can keep track of what I have and have not worn.

I started this process on January 1st, 2013. Here it is, March 8th, 2013 - and I still have "new" tops left to wear - not to mention skirts and dresses that I haven't yet touched because it wasn't warm enough.

Interestingly enough, I haven't bought ONE piece of clothing in the same time frame!

Sometimes, looking at what you really have and challenging yourself to actually use it is a great way to keep yourself from spending money! This journey is so awesome! Smile

Just saved $413.28 a year!

March 7th, 2013 at 07:44 am

And no, I didn't switch to Geico!

Reviewing some of my expenses, I realized that I was paying for 24/7 tech support through my internet company. How many times have I used the tech support service? ZERO. How much have I paid for the service? More than I want to think about. However, by cancelling the service, I have added $197.88 back into my budget yearly. YaY!

The second service I cancelled was my Experian Credit Report service. I don't even remember why I signed up for it - but I have been a memeber for YEARS. When I called to cancel, the man on the other end of the phone was trying so hard to keep me as a customer - 50% off the service price for 24 months. But I stayed strong and said - NOPE! (Credit Karma gives me all the information I want for free - so why pay for the service?) By cancelling this service, I added another $215.40 a year back into my budget.

Now, monthly this numbers aren't going to inflate my extra cash by thousands - but it is the pennies that add up! I can take this money and use it to further snowball my debts and it gives me a bit more breathing room.

Now I am off to Directv to see about getting rid of this movie channel package which is costing me $47 a month! (To be honest, I love Game of Thrones and Homeland - and I haven't found a legal way to watch the shows on the internet - so if they give me a discount, I will probably just take it - still saving money - but I really love those shows and channels. *Sigh*)

Gardening

March 6th, 2013 at 07:50 pm

Well - today I took the "plunge" and planted some veggies in a garden!

I planted onions, green beans, okra,green onions and bell peppers. I thought that was a good start - I would like to plant more - but I want to make sure my thumb is green enough before investing more into the endeavor.

I am excited to see when they start blooming so I can just pick some fresh veggies and use them in my kitchen! And, I guess I will be going "organic" - lol! Amazing!

Potato Soup

March 5th, 2013 at 07:53 pm

Well, I made potato soup for the first time in my life tonight. And it was delicious. Why have I waited so long to try this?!

Well, I can't tell you why I have waited so long to try it - but I can tell you why I tried it today: the budget.

Paying closer attention to my budget has me trying to think outside of my normal box and getting me to try new things - all in the name of enjoying life while saving money.

The only snag I had while making the soup was the shredded cheese. I could have sworn I had shredded cheese in the fridge (from a previous purchase) but when I went to look for it - it wasn't there! Luckily, my mother in law had sent us blocks of cheese from Wisconsin not too long ago - so I had cheese on-hand to shred for the soup.

I am enjoying my more in depth journey into finding my financial freedom... it is starting to open up a whole new world of possibilities for me... which is awesome!

Swag Bucks

March 4th, 2013 at 09:00 pm

Soooo, I finally joined SwagBucks. I figured, why not? Whatever I get can certainly help during the holidays, and being creative (although, is doing what a lot of other people are doing really creative? Smile ) will help me stretch my budget a bit further....

I see a few bloggers here use swag bucks... do you think it is worth your time?

Child Support Surprise

March 2nd, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I talked earlier about how my ex-husband was trying to get me to tell the state to clear out what he owed. Well, I didn't do that. YaY me!

It has been so long since I even received child support that I haven't even paid attention to it. So, last night, I finally found my login information to the state's child support website and realized that I have $223 sitting in my state account from past collections. (And when I say past, I mean like 2 years ago!)

Thankfully, I still have my child support card (They don't deposit it into your bank account or send you a check, they give you a mastercard where the money is deposited into. Which really gets my goat. If I want to take cash out, they charge me a fee. And I don't like big brother seeing every place I make a transaction. Its really none of their business!)

So - an extra $223! That will really help this week with getting gas in the car and groceries in the house, since I am not getting paid until the 8th but certain things were due on the first, so I am running a little low in the checking account.

Of course, I am not holding my breath to get any other deposits into that account - from what I understand, my ex-husband is paid with a place to live and food to eat - no cash. Any money he does receive is part of his disability from the VA, so I am not sure if they can capture it or not.

Bills Bills Bills

March 1st, 2013 at 08:13 pm

I get paid every two weeks - so it doesn't always fall on the 1st or 15th - or every 2nd Friday or anything like that - which I am sure many of you contend with as well.

Being as such, prioritizing when to pay bills is giving me a headache. Money comes in at so many different times that I am trying to ensure that I pay everything as soon as I have the money, before it is due. I am pretty sure that I have all my categories spread out during the month, but I am longing for the days when I just paid everything on the first and didn't have to pay monthly obligations each and every week.

So, with that in mind, I think I will aim to get back into the YNAB format of bill paying. It may take a few months to get there - but it really does make life so much easier! (For me, anyway!)