A Step Closer

Hubs and I took the first step in getting rid of our cable and other unnecessary wants. We canceled our Netflix subscription. We only had the streaming option, which costs $7.99 a month. That will be a savings of almost $100 a year. ($95.88 to be exact)

I am not a huge movie person, but I really enjoyed the documentaries that were on Netflix. Hubs watched a lot of movies through Netflix, but I think he is getting revved up to get out of debt!

He actually seems to really be thinking about other ways to cut our expenses. Before he left for work today, (he had to work 2nd shift today) he said I could cancel Directv, and move our extra tv and stand while he was away. He said it jokingly, but I think it is actually going to happen soon. He also knows that there is no way in the world that I can move the tv and stand on my own. It weighs about a 548 pounds.

I think we will have a family meeting next week, so I can show him our weekly budget and how everything works. I am super-excited about it… mainly because I am a nerd. 🙂

On another note, yesterday we celebrated my nephew’s 7th birthday. We went to a place that has indoor bounce houses and inflatable slides. The kids had a blast! I got some cute pictures, but didn’t know how my sis would feel about me putting her boys’ pictures up. So, instead, you get a picture of his cake. It was delicious!
Link
One of my sister’s friends has started a cake business called Little Coat Cakes. It was a chocolate cake with yummy icing (butter cream, I think). The lizard and other decorations were rice crispy treats covered with fondant. Super cute!

Quick Post

Today’s post is going to be relatively quick. It’s about 9:30 AM here in the midwest, and the weather has been teasing us. It has been cloudy this morning, as well as last night, but not a drop of rain has fallen.

This is kind of good because my mom and I ventured out to our local Farmer’s Market for the first time. I have lived in this area since 2002, and I had never been. I have never really been comfortable just exploring things on my own or doing new things by myself. It’s been nice to have my mom close by to go exploring with me.

For $11 we got a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread, half a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread, and a full watermelon. We are planning to split all of those items, so it ended up costing me only $5.50. Not too shabby!

My mom also brought me some cucumbers and corn from her garden, so those will be nice to enjoy also.

That is about it so far this morning. I am planning to get our kitchen cleaned, then work on making a birthday card for my nephew. We are celebrating his 7th birthday this afternoon. The actual birthday isn’t for a few days, but the party is today. It will be a fun time!

Here is my new, frugal ‘do. I went to a hair academy in town to get it done. I got my hair washed, cut, and blow-dried for $10. I did tip $5, because I remember what it was like to be poor and still in college. $15 for a style that I love! Again, not too shabby. 🙂I probably got about 2-3″ cut off. I absolutely love it! It took about half the time to style it this morning, which is huge!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

I Can’t Come Up With a Good Title

Today (and yesterday) has been a mix of emotions financially.

Yesterday we received our energy bill. We normally budget $120 for it. This month it is $205. I think I died a little inside. We have been doing the best we can to cut our energy costs, but since we had about a million excessive heat warnings this month, there isn’t too much to do about it. We try to keep the thermostat relatively high. It hasn’t mattered much. Heat doesn’t care how much your bill is… It is quite an annoyance like that.

Today, I came home from tutoring and Hubs said he had something to talk to me about. Now, if you know anything about me, I am a worrier. I can’t handle much stress. My heart was pumping, my hands were shaking, I was nervous about a talk. We have a pretty low-key, low-stress relationship, so we don’t have intense talks very often.

Well, he mentioned getting rid of our cable and really putting everything we have into getting out of debt! This made me happier than you could imagine. Part of me feels like I have been on this journey on my own. I am in charge of the budget and finances, so he doesn’t really see what goes on behind the scenes. He knows I pay the bills because we haven’t been evicted, had our electricity or water turned off, or had creditors annoying us. He wants to sit down and really look at the budget and see if there is anything else we can trim down on. Then, we are on this journey together and going with all we have! It’s an exciting time in the Resolutionist House!

Now, who can believe that August is just around the corner. It seems unreal! I will be going through my goals in the next couple days!

Here is my picture from yesterday. Bandit was on the porch and I peeked at him through a pot of flowers that we have. I really like how it turned out.


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s picture! I got my hair cut, and will be debuting my new ‘do.

Wednesday Fun Day

Warning… Lots of pictures! Yesterday was our Wednesday Fun Day. For those of you who are new to the blog, each Wednesday Hubs and I take turns planning something fun. It has to be cheap or free. This week it was up to Hubs to plan our fun. He decided we should do 18 holes of miniature golf throughout the house. (Again, it is still super hot, so we are pretty limited to what we can do). It was a great time! Here are our highlights with a few captions 🙂 Enjoy!

Here are our supplies: We used Hubs’ putter, a tennis ball, and a metal container for the hole. We decided not to use a golf ball because it would have been too loud on the hard floors.

We took turns creating each hole. We would set up the metal container, pick where to start putting, and go. Here is Hubs starting us off.

I don’t think that he meant to putt it there. Oops. 🙂

Getting ready to start on Hole 1. I was checking the wind direction at this point.

Trying to get the ball out from behind the door. I did not mean for it to go there… You can’t get mad. I am not a golfer.

Golfing into the kitchen. These hard floors were much more difficult to putt on than the carpet.

Obstacle #1: Rose was pretty sure it was wrong that we were playing with her tennis ball. We created a rule that we could only tell her to not get the ball or to drop it. We were not allowed to tell her to move or try to move her out of the way. She actually helped a few times by picking up the ball and moving it. It worked in both of our favors.

Obstacle #1 in my way. She still so desperately thought she should be playing with the tennis ball.

I warned you before: I am not a golfer. I am pretty sure this is not proper form, but it worked.

Obstacle #1 waiting for the ball to come her way. She was blocking the metal container from Hubs.

The obstacle. Hubs ended up having to just putt it over her tail. She did not like that, but thought we were closer to playing.

Obstacle #1 and #2. Bandit wasn’t enjoying this Fun Day. He did not like that we were moving around so much. All of the moving around made him very nervous.

Obstacle #1 hanging out at the top of the stairs… Still waiting for a chance to play with the tennis ball (even though she had about 4 others she could have played with).

Obstacle #1 watching her mommy golf down the stairs.

Watching daddy golf downstairs.

Downstairs on the hard floors golfing. Heading towards the master bedroom.

The well-behaved gallery watching a close match.

One of the last holes starting in the master bathroom.

Let me tell you that Hubs golfed in high school. He is a good golfer.

I, on the other hand, barely know how to hold a golf club.

Having that information in mind, the score was 136 to 109. Hubs won by quite a bit. We may have to have a rematch sometime. 🙂

When the Lights go Out…

I write blog posts in my head. No, really… This is actually how I started one in my head last night. Usually I give myself about half an hour to read, do a crossword, sudoku, whatever, and then I turn off the lights. As I lie there in bed, I think about things I want to write about. I know some people think you should have a pencil and some paper next to your bed, so when you come up with an idea you can write it down immediately. This is not going to happen in my world…

You see, when I am under the warm covers, all snuggled up with the pups, I am not about to turn on the light, feel around for the pencil and paper, and write my thoughts down. Basically, I just hope that I can remember everything in the morning.

One thing I did start thinking about is saving money. Finances do tend to creep into my mind when I am lying there waiting for the sandman to come and visit.

I started thinking about all of the ideas most PF people give to save money:
Don’t buy designer coffee
Combine errands to save on gas
Turn up the temps during the summer
Turn off lights
Bring lunch to work
Get rid of cable
And many others

I feel as though I have done all of those. I have had one designer coffee (Starbucks) this entire summer, and it was bought for me… I didn’t even spend any money on it.

I do almost all of my errands on one day during the weekend, since I do have to drive into a nearby city to do it. The tiny town I live in does not have anything like a Walmart or general store. Our grocery store is outrageously expensive, so I do my grocery shopping in the other city.

We tend to have trouble with turning the temps up right now. Since Hubs works nights, he sleeps during the hottest part of the day. It is recommended to have your room at 69 degrees when you go to sleep. We keep the temps at about 73-74 during times when someone is asleep. When we are awake together in the evenings, we usually turn it up to 76ish. That is the best we can do right now if we want to have a good night’s sleep.

I have not always been the best at turning off lights, but I am trying my hardest these days. Whenever I leave a room, I try to unplug anything that I can and turn off whatever lights or fans that I have turned on.

Right now I am enjoying my summer off as a teacher. During the school year, I try not to eat at school. I don’t have the option to eat out, since we only have 25 minutes to eat lunch. Lunch for adults at school costs $3.10. If I eat school lunch in the cafeteria with the children, that $3.10 gets reimbursed. If I eat school lunch in the teacher “lounge” I have to pay $3.10. If I bring my own lunch and just sit in the cafeteria with the children, then I get paid $3.10. There were many times I ate lunch in the cafeteria with my students last year. We only had 70 students in my school and we ate homestyle lunch. That means everyone sat a table, used real silverware and plates, passed our food, and served ourselves (no cafeteria lines). We waited until everyone was served to eat. It was a lovely environment. I ended up with an extra little bit of money this summer because of eating in the cafeteria.
Next year, I don’t think I will eat in the cafeteria as often. We will have probably twice as many people in the cafeteria, and it is not homestyle. There are lines involved and trays and everything that I do not like about school lunch (besides the food).
Basically, what I am trying to say with way too many words is that I am going to be bringing by lunch as much as possible. It will be much healthier and I can eat in my classroom with some other teachers.

As far as getting rid of cable, this is not really an option. With Hubs at home all night during his nights off, he doesn’t have much to do besides watch tv. He watches a lot of movies through Netflix, and then watches a lot of sports shows. We do have more channels than I know what to do with, but it is basically the only entertainment the Hubs has on his nights off. We won’t get rid of it because of that. I won’t say that we would never get rid of it… If something terrible happened and one of us lost a job, then I am sure it would be one of the first things to go. But for now, it stays.

I guess all of this is to see if there are any other ideas to save money for those people who already basically do the things you read about. There are some extreme things that we won’t consider… getting rid of our car or dogs. Our car is a 0% interest loan, so we are paying the cost with no interest currently. Also, our dogs are part of our family, and we will not get rid of a family member. Anyone have any other ideas? I am all ears.

Here is my picture from yesterday. With all of the extreme heat lately and lack of rain, everything is basically dead and brown. The other day when I took Rose out, I saw some pretty purple flowers just hanging in there. I tried to take some pictures when I took her out, but trying to take a still photo with a dog pulling on the end of the leash is really difficult. So, I took my camera out yesterday (without the dog), and got a few pictures. I think they are very sweet and dainty little clusters of flowers, but they are so strong for surviving this weather. Enjoy 🙂

Exhausted

I am pooped! I spent the entire day at school (except for lunch with friends). I did get a lot done, but still a lot to do. I am looking forward to the day when I will say there isn’t a lot to get done at school. I am pretty sure that day will come in May… or maybe not (since I will be moving classrooms again.)

I did go out for lunch today, even though I packed a yummy lunch. I feel a bit guilty about it, but at the same time, I haven’t had too much time with these friends and it was very nice to catch up. My lunch was still good at the end of the day, so I put it back in the refrigerator and it will be there for me to eat tomorrow.

My goal is to have tomorrow be a no-spend day. I am planning on spending the day at home or at my parents’ house. I will not go to school since I spent so much time there today and will be spending so much time there on Thursday (for enrollment). I think I will have no-spend days tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. I am meeting a friend for ice cream on Thursday evening, so I know I will spend a bit of money. The last time I went to this place for ice cream, I only spent about $3, so not too shabby. The only thing that may change the no-spend days is if I have to fill up my car earlier than I think.

Here is are a couple pictures of our fearless hunter, Miss Rose. She definitely has some hunting dog in her, but we aren’t sure what. When we got her as a pup, we thought she was mainly black lab. Now we aren’t so sure. She is a lot more streamline than a black lab, and my parents actually think she is part doberman. Whatever she is, she loves sniffing around and chasing bunnies or bugs. If she isn’t sniffing and chasing, she is barking at it. She has a loud bark, but she really just doesn’t know how else to act.


Glorious Rain and Weekly Check-In

IT RAINED!! This may not be exciting to you, but to us Midwesterners, this was a very welcome break from the intense heat. There were clouds and a breeze, and finally the sky opened and dropped down some rain. It is back into the 90s today, but the brief reprieve from the heat was much needed.

Here is a picture of the clouds coming in that morning. I love when the clouds cover the sun, but you can still see the rays peeking through. That is what I was trying to capture. I did create a Lomo effect in photoshop, so the colors are a little bit more exaggerated than what they really looked like. I think the effect helped bring out the rays, though. 🙂


Here is my weekly money check-in, thanks to My Pretty Pennies. You can go to the site and check out other weekly money check-ins.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on our car payment. Pretty boring, but it is still a step towards being out of debt.

2. Today I am thankful for Tootsie Rolls. I have been addicted to them lately. I bought a bag yesterday when we got groceries, and it is about halfway empty. (I have quite a sweet tooth if you didn’t know.)

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was vacuum my house. It had gotten very bad, so it was desperately needed. I really enjoy the instant gratification of vacuuming. I was able to see all the black dust bunnies disappear in no time. (They were black because the majority of them come from Miss Rose, our black doggie.)

4. I will consider this week a success if I get more things accomplished in my classroom. I was up there for about an hour today and I got one job checked off the list that I had been putting off for quite some time. There are still numerous things to do, but I am at the point that I am not sure the next step I really want to take. Maybe I will spend an afternoon laminating and cutting. Not fun, but very needed.

5. A good friend is someone who gives you a shoulder to cry on without asking anything in return. Someone who knows how to make you laugh. Someone who you may not see in a while, but will pick up like no time has passed.

And now, I leave you with a picture of Bandit. (Mainly because one of my teacher friends confessed that she mainly gets on here to see pictures of this cute little guy.) 🙂

He was all kinds of enjoying the cooler weather yesterday. Here he is just lounging on the couch arm. (I don’t know why, but he loves lying on the couch arm.)

Welcome Cards

I am thisclose to being finished with my welcome cards for my first grade friends. I had two more left and then ran out of ribbon. Unfortunately that means a trip to Michael’s. This will be a big test in willpower. I love Michael’s and could spend millions there. But all I need is ribbon… RED ribbon, nothing else.

When I started these cards, I thought it was a great idea. Now, I realize how crazy I am. These are definitely multi-step cards, but I LOVE them! I think my little friends will enjoy them too.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a card from their teacher before school started? We used to get a call from our teacher to find out what class we were going to be in, but nowadays our school just posts a list on the front door. No fun!

And now…. drumroll… here they are! (sans 2 without ribbon).


Just to give you an idea of what all this took…
I had to cut all the pieces: the brown background, the colored boxes, the white box that the colored boxes are on, the small strip at the bottom.
I had to stamp everything letter by letter: The 1st grade part, all the big alphabet letters, the welcome, the red circles.
I had to punch the 4 holes in each card (4 x 21 cards = 84 holes punched).
I had to lace all the ribbon through the 4 holes.
I had to glue everything all together.

You know what, though? I loved every minute of it. I loved thinking about how excited each child would be to get a piece of mail. I loved thinking about each parent reading the card to their child (or those few children who could read it themselves). I loved thinking about the few children (or parents) who may keep the card for them to look back at in years to come.

That is what makes it worth all the time and effort.

On the PF side of things, besides the red ribbon that I have to buy, I already had all the supplies for these cards. I did not have to buy anything extra in order to create all 21 of the cards. If I look at it that way, these are relatively frugal cards. If I think about how much I spent at some point on all of the supplies, maybe they aren’t as frugal as I would like.

Considering I already had all the supplies, that makes them a sunk cost. The money was already spent, and I couldn’t get it back. Therefore, I am going with the thinking that these were more frugal than going out to the store to buy cards for my little ones. 🙂

No Spend Saturday

It was a no spend day here! That makes me very excited! I can already say that tomorrow will not be a no spend day. I am going to church and out to my parents’ house and need to fill up my car. Then hubs and I will probably go to the grocery store in the evening to get our groceries for the week. The money I am spending will be on needs, which is completely acceptable.

I did not go up to school today, but did get a lot done here. I am almost completely done with laundry and very close to being done with my welcome cards. I am hoping they will get done tomorrow.

I don’t have too much to say today, so I will leave you a picture of Miss Rose enjoying the “cooler” weather once the sun sets.


If you are tired of the dog pictures, I promise there will not be one tomorrow.

Friday Update

This week has been terrible with money. I can give you a number of excuses for it, but what it comes down to is that I was not very disciplined and spent too much.

Usually Hubs and I get groceries on Sunday evening, but that did not happen. I did not drag myself to the grocery store until Wednesday, so we ate out on Monday and Tuesday. If I would have just gone to the grocery store on Monday after tutoring, we would have been fine.

On Thursday one of the teacher stores in town was having a 20% off sale, and I still needed some things for my classroom. I ended up spending almost $100. I suppose I didn’t have to do this, but my students would have been lacking some of the items I need in order to implement a new literacy system in my classroom.

Hubs had breakfast out with his work friends. I had lunch out with a friend on Thursday and with a few friends on Friday. Again, this was not a need, but there are times that we need to socialize ourselves.

July always just seems to be a weird month for money. Our car tags needed to be renewed and it was about $400. I had put aside about $200 of that, so the other $200 came out of our checking account. This was already money I knew would have to come out, so it didn’t have to be covered by our savings.

We also had the vet bill this week, which wasn’t a whole lot, but still $80 is hard to part with when you have so much debt to pay down. Next week is a new week, so I will try much harder!

Here are a few goals for this upcoming week:
*Track expenses- I have a tendency to just check the online banking, which works well because we use our debit card for about everything. The thing I don’t like is that I have no written record of them.
*Get to school at least 3 times to work in my classroom (and bring my lunch each time). I went to school last Tuesday and then am planning to go up for a few hours tomorrow.
*Work on getting a more regular sleep schedule. I need more sleep than the average person. I have been this way my entire life, and I am ok with it. In the summer I usually sleep about 8 hours a night and then take a nap during the day. The nap can be up to 2 hours and still not affect me when it’s time to go to sleep at night. Unfortunately, this is not a possibility during the school year. I need to start going to bed earlier and waking up earlier to prepare myself for August.
*Finish cards for my first grade friends. I am going to send them all a card to welcome them to 1st grade before school begins. Hopefully this will get them excited about school starting!
*Have at least 4 no spend days. I don’t know what qualifies for a “no spend day” in the PF blogging world, but my no spend days will include any spending that I physically have to do. Bills being automatically withdrawn from my account will not count.
*Finish my book. I want to do this over the weekend so my colleague can have the chance to look at it before school starts. It is a great book and I will do a review on it when I finish.

That is all I can think of for now. I will continue to have my normal goals, such as blog each day, take a picture each day, keep the house clean, etc. I am starting to work on my goals for the school year. Hopefully I will have them ready to post on the first day we go back (Aug. 10).

Anyone have any fun planned for the weekend?

Here is my picture from yesterday, as well as another picture to help with the story. As we all know, Bandit like to rub up against thing. He is a male dog and rarely humps anything, but he does enjoy rubbing up against furniture, wet laundry, dryer sheets, dead bugs, etc. He had gotten finished with a nice rub up against the couch and went to lie down in the sun. When we looked over at him, we noticed something was a little off. See if you can figure it out 🙂

When we looked over at him, both of his ears were flipped backwards. This happens occasionally, and he will shake his head to fix them, but apparently it didn’t bother him at this point. Maybe he was enjoying being able to hear extra well. 🙂

Once I flipped his ears back (after I had taken a picture, of course), I put my hand out and he so sweetly laid his head in my hand so I could snap another glamour shot of him. Here is his best attempt at looking as pathetic as possible.


I may be a little biased, but he sure is one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen. 🙂