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I think I need a raise

August 1st, 2007 at 08:39 am

I am having a REALLY hard time stretching our budgeted allotment for groceries/Wal-Mart (diapers, all household, etc). Our family of almost 11 budgets $700 per month for these items.

We're a week away from the next paycheck, but the fridge and pantry are rather bare. Plus, almost 7 yr old dd needs shorts.

Is this a "two steps forward and one step back" moment??

Selling Calves

July 31st, 2007 at 09:37 pm

It's calving season again on the farm. Dh starts working 70+ hours per week at this time of the year, instead of the usual 60 hrs. Interesting how we're due with baby right in the middle of this busy time!

Anyway, the farm keeps the heifer calves and we split the bull calves with the other full-time farm worker. Then after a few days to a week we get to sell them at auction. This is usually a good extra income for us, but we're not sure what calves are going for this year.

We shipped our first calf this morning, so I guess we'll find out how much they're selling for when we get the check in tomorrow's mail. How awesome it would be to be able to make some nice headway in paying off our debt! We've also put our 9 yr old dd in charge of morning feedings, so she'll be earning a bit from each sale, too. She's pretty excited to have a source of income. I'll be anxious to send an update tomorrow with the amount of the check!

Rummage Sale - Free Items

July 29th, 2007 at 12:29 am

I'm usually a huge rummage saler, but this year just haven't had time. Also feeling like if we're moving to China, I can't have extra stuff to have to get rid of later.

My 5 yr old dd and I stopped by a rummage sale on Thursday and found some nice stuff. The greatest find for me was a set of 4 Fictional Historical Christian books for $2. I've been told not to underestimate the need for English reading material when moving to a foreign country, so I've been trying to stock up on books that we've never read before.

I also found a couple of bikes (1 for a friend and the other for 9 yr old dd) and paid $15 for the 2 of them. When my dh went to pick them up, the lady gave me another set of books (5 or 6 books) for FREE! What a blessing.

Pregnancy Cravings - and using what you have

July 27th, 2007 at 09:14 am

I really don't get too many pregnancy cravings, usually. Early in this pregnancy I wanted Cheetos all the time! They didn't even have to be name-brand, just cheese puffs was fine. Fortunately, that craving went away several months ago.

Last night I was having a weird night. I didn't want to stay awake, but I didn't feel like going to sleep. I didn't want to lay around, but I also didn't feel up to doing any projects. I also felt like eating something, but nothing sounded good.

Finally after giving it some thought, the only thing that sounded good was a fruit smoothie. Of course it was about 10:30 and everything was closed. I remembered we had frozen strawberries and ice cubes, then also remembered that we had some apple juice in the fridge (juice around here is pretty scarce). My wonderful daughter blended those ingredients up for an awesome smoothie!

And the fact that it cost NOTHING was the best part of all!

Another Paycheck, Another Car Repair - And Life Goes On

July 25th, 2007 at 07:19 am

Paycheck today and I've paid the bills. I was able to put $200 toward debt. I know that seems like a good thing, but when you're trying to pay it all off by the end of the year, it seems that it's just not enough. We also have a car repair coming up on Friday. Why is there *always* something to spend money on?? LOL

OK, enough of the "glass is half empty" mentality!

How is my glass half full?

I have an awesome husband who loves us all so much.

We have healthy, great kids and the newest one is due to make an appearance in the next month.

Dh has a job that pays the bills.

We get to live in a cute farmhouse on 75 acres with a river running alongside the property.

Our extended families are wonderful and not difficult to deal with.

The sun is shining and I am healthy enough to do the work that I need to do each day.

What more can we expect? God is good! And even when things don't seem so peachy, He is still good. It is good to be content.

Waiting For Payday . . . .

July 23rd, 2007 at 09:35 pm

I so hate it that it always comes down to the last few days and the last few dollars. Paycheck comes Wednesday and we have NOTHING until then. I mean, we are almost there and I'm grateful for that, but why are we always just squeaking by?

Is it really that we *need* to spend that much to keep things going or that we spend what we have? That's what I'm trying to figure out.

Had an awesome weekend visiting with various friends and we actually didn't spend much money. Nice feeling!

Bank Can't/Won't Help With SunRocket

July 19th, 2007 at 09:15 pm

Since the bank card is not a TRUE credit card, they can't (won't) do anything about the fact that we were charged for 1 year of service but only received 1 month. They "don't have the staff to check into whether or not a company follows through or goes out of business or . . ."

So, I told them that I've learned to use my debit/credit/bank card for ONLY local purchases. Any other purchases (online or via telephone) should be made using a TRUE credit card. Some SunRocket users are already getting their money back via a charge-back from their credit card.

I know $200 is a minor amount to many people. And I also know that other people have lost so much more $$ than we did. I guess the real frustration is that these businesses can do whatever they want, not even telling their customers so they can get another telephone service going, and then just file bankruptcy.

Oh well, I guess that's life. BTW, we finally got an email stating what was going on and telling about a couple of no-name internet telephone companies that would give us a "good deal". The other thing that I learned is to go with a well-known company, so I said "no thanks" to the companies that they recommended. I'm waiting on Earthlink to send their equipment so that we can make long distance calls again.

So mad I could spit!

July 18th, 2007 at 09:11 pm

If I was a swearer (is that a word??),I'd be swearing!

We have used Sunrocket for the last year and a half for our long distance VOIP phone. Two days ago they closed their business but didn't bother to tell their customers. So, here we sit without any long distance. Plus, you pay a year in advance, so "Bye, bye $200"!

So much for saving money by using their services. Hopefully I'll cool off in a day or two and just be able to chalk it up to a good lesson learned.

Car Repair Was Less Than Expected

July 17th, 2007 at 07:08 pm

I love a mechanic that you can trust. And that lives just up the hill from your house. You can bring your car there and walk home again. Plus, know that he's not going to do work that doesn't need to be done and charge big bucks for it.

Our A/C wasn't working in the car and I was feeling like it was a splurge that we really couldn't afford. We took it in this AM and our mechanic couldn't find a leak! He recharged it for $45 and it works great.

They also figured out what the "chirping" noise is that the car is making. They're going to fix it next week, after a new paycheck. So . . . some of the extra money that had been set aside for today's repair can go toward our CC debt. Yahoo!

It Pays To Call The Company

July 16th, 2007 at 01:25 pm

Last Christmas we exchanged names in our family and my son, Z, had my name. I needed a can opener and wanted one that would last. I picked a KitchenAid, thinking it would be the best. It worked well for about a month and then was lousy.

In April or May I finally decided to call the company and they readily agreed to send out a replacement, free of charge. I can already tell that this one is 100% better.

Just the other day I was at a friend's house and she had the exact same problem with the KitchenAid can opener she had purchased about 6 months ago. I encouraged her to call the company right away.

I am so impressed when a company has outstanding customer service - You can be sure that I will purchase from and recommend that company forever!

Living Paycheck to Paycheck - Good Article Link

July 15th, 2007 at 11:41 am

This is from a website I really like. I also enjoy their FREE ezine.

Here's the link: http://www.betterbudgeting.com/articles/budgeting/paycheck.h...

What's the best thing you ever spent money on?

July 13th, 2007 at 09:21 pm

Dh and I were just talking about our Sleep Number (Select Comfort) bed. We LOVE it!! We purchased it from the company more than 5 years ago and purchased one that had been returned for some reason (cheaper than brand new, but still has a 20-yr warranty).

Anyway, neither one of us regrets spending $600+ on it. It has been worth every penny. When we were on vacation, my back was acting up terribly. Traditional beds are too hard and have no "give". I was SO happy to get back to my bed.

So what have you spent money on that you have no regrets about, and why??

You Can Have Whatever You Want . . .

July 12th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

"You can have whatever you want, you just can't have *everything* you want."

A friend shared this quote with me some time ago and it's come to mind many times. Sometimes it has to do with my diet: "I can have the oreo, I just can't have the oreo AND the ice cream AND the chips . . ."

But it really fits when talking about finances. We all have those things in our lives that we're willing to spend money on. We usually all have different things that we're willing to spend our money on. One person has to have to have their soda. Others can't imagine drinking their money away, but are willing to pay more for a new car.

The point of the statement is: You CAN have whatever you want. You just can't have it all. You must make a choice as to what's really important. I choose to buy farm eggs, real butter and organic fruits and meats. However, I cannot afford to purchase only organic foods for the remainder of our groceries. I've made a choice based on what WE can afford.

And I must be happy with those choices. No one can make them for me and I shouldn't look to others for guidance. No more keeping up with the Joneses!

Back From Vacation

July 11th, 2007 at 07:02 pm

We had a fabulous time visiting family. I was able to attend 2 class reunions (1 was the class I grew up with from preschool thru 9th grade, the other I went to the last 3 years of school). Was so nice to catch up with everyone. One of the greatest thing was that our 15-pass van got better than expected gas mileage - 14.5 mpg. I was expecting that gas was going to cost $175-200. It was under $150.

My great-gramma was released from the hospital while we were there and we were able to visit with her each day for 3 days. She really is something else! One tough lady.

Glad to be back home and get back on the road of paying off debt. Time to get some things listed on eBay and Craig's List. Had a paycheck today and paid $100 toward medical. Not sure if we can afford to pay toward the credit card or not.

Next week we're getting the air conditioning looked at in the car. One of those wants (not a true need), but would sure appreciate if it was working.

Glad to be back here and look forward to catching with everyone's blogs!

Happy Independence Day!

July 4th, 2007 at 08:16 am

I hope we all truly appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy in our country that many other people in the world do not have.

I also hope that everyone has a great 4th and stays safe!

We're heading out of town for a few days of visiting family and possibly a class reunion for myself (still haven't decided if I'll attend).

I'm hoping we'll spend only gas money and very little else.

Blessings to you all!

Daughter Got a Raise

July 3rd, 2007 at 08:42 pm

Oldest dd has a few different babysitting jobs and does better than if she worked a minimum wage job. She watches an almost 2 yr old 1 full day per week and was just told she was getting a raise from $8 to $9 per hour. Nice!

Her other job is for 3 children two 1/2 days per week. They pay her $13 per hour. Where were these people when I was babysitting??

I'm very happy she's been blessed with these opportunities. Her goal is to save up two airplane tickets worth of money by the end of the year, in case we make the big move to China. That would be about $4,000. She's more than halfway there, so I think she may make it!

Returns and a Cheap Date

July 1st, 2007 at 05:41 pm

There were two brand new items in the rummage that didn't sell, so I returned them at their respective stores.

The first was a pair of maternity jeans that I never wore and still had the tags on. At first I showed the lady my receipt and she said that she couldn't take them back at all because the receipt was so old. I told her that I had called in and someone said I could just return them without the receipt for store credit. She refused. So I asked her to call a manager. The manager said that they could take them back. Hmmm, it sure pays to ask!

The second item was a slow cooker that I purchased for a wedding gift. The wedding was canceled, so no need for the cooker. They could only put the credit back on my store card, even though the card had long been paid for. She said to contact the company and ask them to mail me a check for the credit amount.

So now I get to add $33.00 to the household/rummage totals.

Dh and I ran through the frozen custard drive-thru for a cone of my favorite flavor: Turtle! A date for less than $4. Can't beat it.

Rummage Update

June 30th, 2007 at 07:08 pm

Well, it wasn't what I was hoping for, but it was still a good rummage sale. My friend and our kids made a little, and my total profit for the day was $441.

We opted to not run an ad for the sale and run a one-day Sat sale. We basically got the people driving past our house, probably not anyone from the major intersections.

I was surprised that we didn't see more people interested in the baby girl clothes. We have some really nice stuff, even some new with tags.

All-in-all, I'm going to try to be content with what we made. We're thinking about putting out the signs on Wednesday (4th) since our town has hundreds that show up for the parade.

I'm also planning on selling several items on eBay in the near future (vintage 1/2 gallon aluminum cans, Leap Pads and accessories, and maybe even "lots" of the baby clothes).

Our trip next week is paid for, plus some to throw at debt. I'm thankful!

Day of our Rummage Sale

June 30th, 2007 at 03:45 am

I was going to sleep until 6 am, but dh got up at 5 am to finish and put out signs. I couldn't sleep anymore, so here I am. It promises to be a perfect day for the sale: sunny, high of 77 degrees. Right now, though, it's a chilly 47. Brrr!

I'm a little nervous, because I'm not perfectly ready: not everything is priced, we have to move everything onto the lawn and set it up, etc. Oh well, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I'm also stressing out about having a good showing. Man, there's so much to worry about, if one let's oneself! LOL

Will update later today as to selling totals.

Getting Ready for the Rummage Sale - OVERWHELMED

June 28th, 2007 at 12:42 pm

We decided on a one-day (Saturday) rummage sale and are having it this week. We must have it so that we can take our trip to see family next week, plus have more to put toward debt (or emergency savings). We're also planning on putting out the signs on the 4th, since our little town has a parade with MANY people that come.

I need to price items. I need to buy soda and water to sell. I need to make signs. I need to weed out more things in the attic. I need to make my lists of what to do Friday, Friday night, Sat AM . . .

So much that I need to do and I'm overwhelmed and tired. ~sigh~ Time to get a diet coke and get motivated. Maybe a little chocolate would be in order, too. Smile

Unexpected Trip - Unexpected Spending

June 27th, 2007 at 09:06 am

I rec'd a phone call early Monday morning that my great-grandmother was possibly dying (chest pains, kidneys failing). I made the decision to take a quick trip to see her, if I could make it in time. Fortunately, she has rallied for the time being and is doing much better.

Anyway, this has caused our finances to take a bit of a hit (could only pay the trip expenses plus $17 toward the credit card this time). Oh well, it's what would have been taken out of an emergency fund, had we had one. I'm just glad that we could pay back the trip expenses and that it didn't set us back any.

So, begs the questions once again: Do we fund an emergency fund or continue to work at the debt? My vote is the debt. What do you think?

Link to Cool Article - Basic Shopping Tips

June 24th, 2007 at 06:11 am

These are the basic, must-know shopping tips for saving money.

http://www.simplejoe.com/saving-money-33-smart-shipping-tips...

Enjoy!

Can You Sell on eBay with DSL?

June 22nd, 2007 at 03:48 pm

We have cable internet and I'm looking into switching to DSL to save $$. I'm wondering, though, if it would make selling on eBay (downloading pics, etc) hard to impossible.

The other thing that I need to consider is that we have all of our outgoing phone calls through an internet phone service (VOIP - Sunrocket - $17 per month). So, all that has to be calculated to see if it would really save us money or not.

Just checking to see if anyone sells on eBay with DSL . . . Thanks!

I hate going to the dentist

June 21st, 2007 at 06:26 am

But not for the reason you may think. I had to bring 2 daughters to the dentist yesterday for fillings. Frown They have really bad teeth, but we're still going to give a better effort at taking care of our teeth.

Total co-pays were ~$150. Totally wasn't expecting this to come out this month.

Time to go work on pricing for the rummage sale. Now the proceeds will have to go toward debt, trip to see family AND paying off the dentist work. ~sigh~

Our Kids Save Better Than We Do!

June 20th, 2007 at 07:32 am

Not sure how it happened, but our kids are better savers than their parents. I've never been good at saving money. I'm pretty good at buckling down and paying off debt, but not putting money away in a savings. It's like I only respond when I'm under pressure instead of planning ahead. Hubby isn't any better than I am.

Anyway, our oldest 3 have (on their own) saved over $2,000, $10,000 and $4,000, respectively. None of them are 18 yet. They will spend a little, but they have goals and are pretty good at not spending much on extras.

For example, our oldest (daughter) has a goal of having enough money to be able to purchase 2 plane tickets, in the event we do move to China. Our 2nd oldest (son) has been saving since he was 10 for a truck. He is very specific in what he wants in the truck, but is holding off purchasing a vehicle until we see if we're moving overseas or not. He also has an amount in mind that he wants to have added to his savings by the end of the year. Our 3rd oldest (son) doesn't really have a specific use for his money, just knows how much he wants in there by the end of the year.

Again, I don't know where they learned this, because we're terrible savers. Maybe they're learning from our mistakes. I'm just glad that they're doing better than we are!

Planning a Rummage - Is it worth it? Any advice??

June 18th, 2007 at 07:42 am

Ever since we found out that we *may* be making a move to China, we decided that we'd have a rummage sale this summer. We still don't know *for sure* about the move, but we're ready to get rid of stuff that we wouldn't miss if we moved or didn't. Then we'd have a 2nd sale in the fall if we were indeed going to move and sell off even more.

Back to the first sale - we're thinking of having it June 30th, but now I'm wondering if it's really worth it. I guess I'm also wondering if I can really pull it together. Something we'll have to decide, I guess, but I do have a few questions for you all:

1. Is a 1-day sale better than a 2-day sale? Everyone I talk to has almost NO business on the 2nd day, so we're wondering why even have a 2nd day?? Is there something we're missing where it would be good to have a 2-day sale?

2. Should we sell snacks and beverages? It seems like this would be a good idea, but what's your advice?

3. Should we take out an ad in the local paper? If so, how big should it be? It seems expensive to detail everything we'd be selling. However, if we only write 4 lines (the cheaper rate), it may not draw as many people as the larger ad.

4. Does it even pay to have clothing at the sale? We have lots of baby girl clothes and some maternity, but not much in the other sizes. I guess it probably wouldn't hurt to put it out, if we're doing the sale anyway . . .

5. I've read that we should do as many signs as we can. We have some major intersections that are 2 miles down the road (we're in a small town, but it's pretty rural). Does it pay to put signs that far away?

If you have any other thoughts at all, please share them. Thanks!

It really does pay to line-dry clothes . . .

June 14th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

We strung up some clotheslines (tree to tree) last month and have been line-drying everything we possibly can (when it's not raining). You wonder if it really makes a difference, so it was nice to see our latest electric bill.

We usually spend $100-120 per month, year-round on electric (remember: there are 9 of us home 24/7). Our current bill said that our latest month's electric charges were $75!! That was pretty exciting to see.

I really don't have extra time to devote to hanging out clothes, but I'm fortunate that all my girls LOVE to hang out the laundry. We put a few lines down low for the 9 and under crowd and they love it that they have their own lines. I love the lower bills. Smile

Paycheck - No Debt Pmt. :-(

June 13th, 2007 at 08:49 pm

Too many other bills due to make a pmt toward our credit card. Did pay off a medical and made a pmt toward pre-baby bills. I'll view that as progress and not stress about the credit card . . . this time.

"Slow and steady" has truly become my motto for paying off the last of the debt. There's only so much that we can do and we'll be diligent, but I need to quit stressing out about it. Remind me of this next paycheck. Smile

Does our Grocery/Household Budgeted Amount Seem High?

June 9th, 2007 at 10:30 pm

OK, I'm opening up a bit here, but I'm wondering if what we spend on groceries and household seems high or pretty good.

We allocate about $700 per month ($350 every two weeks) for all food, diapers, pet food, paper products, toiletries, etc. for a family of 10 (3 teens). Yes, we could eat more rice and beans, but haven't gone that far yet.

I guess I'm just wondering what you all think of the amount. If it seems like a lot, I may work harder at cutting back . . .

Thanks in advance!

DH got a raise - Then again, maybe not

June 8th, 2007 at 09:57 am

It's that time of the year for dh's annual raise, which amounts to around $50/month. THEN he found out that our charges for health insurance will be going up by about the same amount.

So, essentially no raise. Inflation, gas prices going up, kids getting bigger and needing/eating more, . . . wages are the same.

Hmmm, time for me to get more creative OR get a job. Really - time for me to get on my knees and pray for wisdom. Thanks for letting me vent.


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