Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How I turned by day around. ( A quick thought before I begin another one)

What I should be doing is getting ready for work. The kids are still sleeping, and I have to shower. Thankfully we get ready pretty quickly.  I have been up for almost an hour. I took the time to have some coffee and get through some math papers that I wanted to look at.  Whew! Paperwork is a challenge for every single teacher, but I digress.

Yesterday morning was a challenge. The brownies I baked for an after school meeting didn't seem done, I had no cute brownie papers, it was raining and I couldn't figure out what to wear. We left later than usually, but we made it on time.  I was able to add some time to the brownies, cut enough to make it work, and get in the car. I did not want to start work off on a grumpy note. In the car I promised myself to let it go and turn the day around. So, I let it go and turned the day around. My day was manageable, and I wasn't in a terrible mood all day. 

So my message is that you too can turn your bad day around. They are only brownies, a bad meeting, a rainy day, a frustrated client, but only you can turn that day around.

Happy Day!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I am so bad at 100 percent

I recently read an article that if you want to do something it is easier to do it if you put in 100 percent of your time.  The article made sense, but the more I think about it the harder it is.  The author recommended that you select the thing that needs doing and everything else will fall into place.

What if you have too many areas to focus on?  There are a handful of areas in my life that could use 100 percent.  I think my marriage needs 100 percent effort, but with two full time jobs, kids and a house to run that can be tough. My kids need 100 percent as well, but their day is long and we are frequently apart for 9 1/2 to 10 hours a day.  The weekend hits and my number one goal is to get the house cleaned up. Ouch! Or as my ten year old would say, "That's not what the weekend is for Mom."  I also think my job needs 100 percent, although sometimes it feels like even 100 percent isn't enough.

What about me?  I am desperately trying to lose weight. My overall goal is 40 pounds, but I am taking it slow. The only way to commit is to put 100 percent into my weight loss goal. Eating those chips isn't as important as being comfortable on the beach this summer. I have struggled with my weight most of my life, and I want to do something about it before I get too old. The first 5 pounds came off and then I floundered a bit. I am still down the 5 pounds with about 35 to go. Putting 100 percent into myself seems like a good choice because then it would spread to my marriage, my kids and my career.

There are other things that I interested in as well. I have always been interesting in writing. Hence this random blog I post on for multiple days in a row with major breaks. Maybe I can choose my 100 percent and the other things will fall into place. 

I guess I could always give it a try.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I tried hard to be positive, but at least I can still save money

Remember Sunday's post about being positive and having a good attitude. I already failed. Bad, I know. Work was hard today, and I almost could not take it. Thankfully my other half got home early and was able to get the kids. It did save me from having to leave work and let me catch up just a bit. The biggest problem with teaching is that you never really catch up. It is continuous. "You never really catch up. You never really catch up."  Maybe if I make that my mantra I will relax a bit more.

Now let's talk money. Thursday is pay day. Yippee. I already know the total so I can crunch the numbers and transfer that $500 into savings.  I did make it through the first two weeks. My spending was quite low. I have to really tweak the numbers because a few unexpected things happened. I missed the cable/internet/phone bill in January, so now it is double. Yes, I know, kill the cable. Well, killing the cable is off the table for now, but maybe we will revisit it in the future. Also, my excise tax came in, so now I have to find another $52.00 in my already tight budget because I have been a life long spender I am the queen of saving money.  Trying to reframe things to keep myself positive. Anyway I am really looking forward to waking up Thursday and throwing the $500 into the savings account.  I can't wait. Also, it may snow Thursday, so let's pray for a snow day!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Why I dread the weekend and how to make a change

Pretty negative title, I know.  But it really wraps up how I feel when Saturday morning roles around. Stressed, overwhelmed, a list of crazy things running through my head, clean the house, do the laundry, grocery shop, take kids to activities, be a crank. The last one is just what happens. I become a drill sergeant and start bossing the kids around.  I didn't even include work in my post.

This weekend started sort of the same way with the exception of grocery shopping. That was one thing I managed to get done on Friday after work. My plan was to leave work at a reasonable hour, but I got caught up in things to do. So there I was, grocery shopping at 5:00 p.m.. Wandering around Wegman's and thinking about my grocery budget, savings goal of $6,000 by June and how tired I was when it became Frozen Pizza Friday. It worked and it wasn't that expensive. Probably twice the cost of homemade, half the cost of Wegman's premade refrigerated pizzas and a fourth of the cost of ordering out.  It wasn't half bad. 

Saturday morning was basketball, cooking and cleaning the house. I made the kids do their part. We all live here. Saturday did get better. I did not exercise like I planned, but we had my mother over for dinner, which was fun. 

Today I made blueberry bread and hit the store (oops) again. We already used all the eggs and were out of sugar so I really had to go.  I spent about four hours on work doing my plans. Now I have snacks in the oven and will be signing off to watch the Super Bowl.

My point of a rather negatively titled post is that it is my choice to have a good weekend. Stressful job or not, messy house or not, bad mood or not, I make the choice to have a good weekend. It is up to me to separate my job from my life and choose to live in the moment. Enjoy every minute and just be there.

In addition to my goal of frugality is a new goal, an important goal, a goal to be happy in all that I do.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Save or Pay Off?

I am rethinking my hard core, extreme savings plan. I just ran the numbers about applying my $500 per check to our biggest loan. I actually ran it as applying an extra $1,000 per month on the loan. There would be a few extra checks in there as well. If we go with the extra $1,000 per month theory that loan would be paid off during the summer of 2018. Also, applying that money and seeing the balance drop may be motivating enough for us to find extra money to get rid of that bad boy. Hmmm.

Regardless of whether I save it or put it towards a bill, I am not spending it.  That much I know is true.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The First $500-Gone

Bright and early on pay day, well early enough that is wasn't really bright, I went online and paid my bills. The first bill I paid was to us. I transferred $500 into our savings account. I had shared my goal of saving $6,000 by June with my husband on Wednesday.  It is really hard to break down finances at 9 0'clock on a Wednesday. I thought it was a good first goal because it will give us a true emergency savings account and more than double our savings. We are going with this plan for the time being and will revisit it soon to see if it is the best first step.

Meanwhile I took out some books at the library that I am perusing to see what sort of ideas I can use to save money.  One idea I think I am finally figuring out is that frugal people don't really spend their lives looking for bargains, they simply don't shop very much. When they shop, it is extremely intentional. Well, I have been quite intentional with all my purchases in the past few days. I have my money broken up into envelopes for groceries, gas and miscellaneous expenses. Sort of a pain rifling through them at the register, but there will be less debits when I go to balance my checkbook.

What I didn't buy yesterday
  • I did not get a haircut. Wow I really need one, however, I just bought hair dye because I always do it myself. I am hoping I can make it a few more weeks without getting a haircut.
  • One child needed sneakers. I took her to Kohl's and was able to get sneakers on sale with additional discounts and $20 Kohl's Cash. I paid the $11.00 balance using a Kohl's gift card. Sweet.
What I bought
  • I had dinner out on Friday. We had a work commitment Friday night. This dining out was an opportunity to get to know my coworkers better. It is a new job, so it is important to work on your relationships. I only spent $16.
  • Two Patriots t-shirts. Ahhh. The kids have Spirit Week next week. I found Patriot's t-shirts at TJ Maxx for $15 each. I had already checked a consignment shop and what they had looked really bad. Kohl's was outrageous and another discount store had nothing. They are large shirts, so they should be able to wear them for many Patriot Days to come. I caved for my kids, but I did not buy one for myself. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So I am really not that frugal......

I just had to say this to get it out there. Also, I am impulsive, not just with shopping, but with life. Last winter I had this frugal plan and it sort of fell by the wayside. Many of my ideas do. I am great at getting ideas, but I am not always good at following through on them.

However, I am old folks. Yes, by frugal standards I feel old. I have been reading these frugal blogs written by people 10-15 younger than I am. These are amazingly smart people that had no debt and understood the dangers of it.  Why has it taken me this long?

I have always been really bad not that great with money. It has always burned a hole in my little pocket. Gel manicures, a few new clothes, nice haircuts and eating out are things that I have spent money on for so long.

So here are a few things I am going to hold off on so that I can make my $6,000 goal by the end of June.

  • Clothing-I do need clothing for work, but I have plenty of clothes in good condition. I can hold off on this purchase
  • Salons-I get in and out of the gel manicure routine. Gosh, they look so good. I am out now, so out I will stay.
  • Hair-Yikes. My hair is short and is really in need of a pick me up. My hair dresser charges $40 and I tip her, so I am trying to hold off for a bit more time.  I have done the cheap hair place route, but when it comes to short hair that can be a gamble. One gamble that I lost last year.  I will get keep blow drying it with extra mouse.
  • Eating Out-Our January eating out has been gift card based. I am working on a budget like there is no tomorrow, and while it is daunting. The pay off has been worth it. 
  • Kids need sneakers. I have a gift card and Kohl's cash with a 30% off coupon. I plan to take them there for sneakers and hope they find new sneakers that they love!
Oh, and I quit the gym. I mean I quit throwing money out of the window each month. I am an idiot sometimes.

So tomorrow is day 1 of making a big deposit into our savings. Then I am going to say. "Hon, I just put $500 in savings." Hopefully he will respond with a "How did  you do that?" and be super impressed  with how I was able to make that happen.  My simple plan includes an Excel spreadsheet. I don't really get how to use it, but I can use the sum function. I get paid every two weeks. I tweaked all my bills until I got a minimum of $500 per paycheck into savings. An extra goes into a miscellaneous column for kid clothing, birthday gifts or a desperate haircut:). Basically all the stuff I did not budget for. I am trying the envelope system, but I am so bad at it. This past paycheck I over budgeted on gas and used it for food. Not what you are supposed to do. Oh well, I am learning.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Extreme Hard Core Saving Plan

Starting today I am launching my Extreme Hard Core Saving Plan.  I have been cutting back for the new year and thinking about how to best enjoy life.

Note: January is a crazy time for teachers. Standardized tests loom and overall I always feel down and defeated at this time of year, but I digress.

My new goal is to sock as much from each check as I can. I have organized my bills and tried to budget for extras. I have a set grocery budget that I plan to stick with. We have done very well with groceries for January. 

Pay day is two days away. I just checked my account, made sure I had enough for gas and transferred my last $50 into savings. When I get paid Thursday, I plan to stick almost $500 from my check into savings. I have been transferring $200 per month, plus another $100 into another account, plus $100 into one of our 529.  Lame!  I could be saving so much more.  I have found some places to cut back and hope to save as much as humanly possible from each check through June. That is 12 checks @ hopefully $500 per check. I am hoping to add $6,000 to our savings in the next five months.

Can I make my goal?  Every single time I try to purchase something I will think $6,000, $6,000, $6,000. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Big Saving Plan

So I have been reading and reading and thinking and thinking.

I have a plan. Although we still have debt, including the mortgage and home improvement loans, I am going to begin an aggressive saving plan starting now through June. My goal is to save a minimum of $500 per check, which is about $1000 per month. Right now I am saving about $300 per month, however, ahem, sometimes I may take it out and use it. Let's not discuss that right now.

I am in love with my new plan, and knowing that we will have a big chunk of money in savings by June will give me the incentive not to spend any extra money.