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More insomnia. More sick kids. More money in.

October 24th, 2013 at 07:18 am

I wish I could get some real sleep, but it just isn't happening. I've now got what the kids had/have, stuffed up nose/major sinus headache/plugged ears, etc. Younger daughter is home sick today and is still sleeping. Being housebound with kids, I'm definitely not spending a cent.

Tomorrow is payday and I funded the envelopes with two weeks worth of funding (meaning the I took care of the first week of this pay period.) Tomorrow's funds will cover the second week of this pay period, and the first week of the next pay period. This small measure is bringing me a bit of comfort. The last time DH was unemployed it took three weeks to get his severance check.

I was home yesterday catching up on laundry and cleaning and spent some time looking at the ads/coupons. Still think that I'll be remaining an Aldi's shopper for the time-being. Their $1.89 milk just cannot be beat. And I love their pumpkin spice flavored coffee cream for $1.49.

Tomorrow I'll be adding $100 to the extraneous fund, but I'll be spending $101 on license plate sticker, $20 on badly needed oil change, and $40 on grooming for our shih Tzu. Will have $90 remaining.

The Miscellany is now including clothing. I spent the last $40 at Target on some warm weather sweaters for the girls (Had a $10 off of $50 purchase). The boys are in bad shape when it comes to warm weather pants. I have $30 off of $75 at Old Navy so that $40 for this go around of Miscellany will be gone pretty fast.

Slowly giving thought to the spending for November/December. My daughters' have birthdays ($50 a piece plus a $10-$15 trinket to open). We host Christmas Dinner and I'd like each child to pick a name from the wish tree at Church. We'll stick to our tradition of Advent Buddies within the family. We will continue our tradition of baking for the teachers at the elementary school instead of a monetary contribution to the annual teachers' gift appeal. My mom paid for tickets to the Drury Lane's Christmas Carol and Breakfast with Santa while my aunt is here from out of town - we always look forward to that, and I happily let her treat my family. I think we'll use those funds to buy a membership to the zoo or museum and do that at Christmas.

OK, that is it for my brain dump. Now if I can skip the nap and try to stay up all day, I might stand a chance at normal?

"Found" "forgotten

October 23rd, 2013 at 09:57 am

"Ok, help me. Which envelope is it?"

October 22nd, 2013 at 11:15 am

It was one of those morning. Where I've had insomnia and am dead tired being up since somewhere this side of 3 AM. It is winter-cold and we didn't put the heat on. My girls are dragging because they had a three-day weekend, and one is still mopey about a teacher saying at parent teacher conferences that "she isn't living up to her full potential, and clearly she should be more than just 'really good'." One son is home sick, coughing and choking due to post-nasal drip snot ball trapped in his throat. The semi-sick one decides to go to school because there is a field trip to the theatre to see a play, and this is the child that I medicated and fell asleep at 5:00 PM, sleeping right through to the morning and didn't do his studying. Nothing but chaos. The winter coat is too small on the middle one, we can't find the gloves, e-e-t-t-c-c.

DH, in confusion, standing holding several envelopes, labeled "GAS" "GROCERIES" "MISC" and "SMALL EXTRANEOUS". Miscellaneous is empty after a $39 trip to Target for sweaters for the girls.

"I am going to lunch because "X" is leaving. Does the cash come from groceries because it is food? Or misc. Wait nothing in there. What is extraneous? Does that take care of entertainment?"

OK, to his credit, he wants to know the correct funding pot. To my credit, I didn't exactly growl in the midst of my chaos. I said "Take it from extraneous."

"Ok" he said. "I think we need one for Dining out. I'll see if I've got a few more envelopes at work. That might help."

Sure, Capt. Bring on the envelopes!

Sick child is asleep on the couch with the puppy. I've made chili in the crockpot and chicken for the next two nights. I've put the heat on. And we've seen the first snow of the season. I suppose that sick one will be opting out of soccer practice tonight!

Cash is King. Hello Envelopes.

October 21st, 2013 at 06:06 am

For awhile now I've wanted to institute cash only spending. I've committed to try it for two months. This covers the gas/groceries/misc/small extraneous.

My envelopes are funded for the first two weeks:

$80 Gas - DH's car
$80 Gas - My car
$200 Groceries
$40 Miscellany
$150 Small Extraneous

On Friday (Payday) I will be adding the same amounts (with the exception of $100 vs $150 to small extraneous).

Thankfully the is weekend was two NSDs. Grocery-wise we're OK for this week with the exception of milk, bread, lunchmeat and a few other items, nowhere near the $100 I've allotted. So, DH is on board. He knows where the gas envelope is when he needs to fill up (won't be til Thursday according to his estimates) and the Miscellany is. We still need to work out our concept of Mad Money, but will probably wait a few weeks for that.

It was a soccer tournament weekend and it was freezing on Saturday and cold on Sunday. We live close enough to the park so we came home in between and each successive time, I added a layer. Complete with winter coat and boots on Saturday.

Will update the envelope experiment periodically. Smile

Wish me luck for sustainability and success!!

What is the matter with me? Oh, almost so weak ...

October 18th, 2013 at 08:29 am

Monday yielded some big outcomes as far as the being bit by the declutter bug. Shelves got moved, furniture rearranged, lots of old toys boxed up to go to St. Vincent De Paul on Sunday, boxes and plastic to be recycled, etc. Tackling odd drawers and closets and feeling generally lighter and more satisfied with an organized life. And I should add that I purged some Christmas decorations (knick-knacks that represented nothing sentimental other than I wanted them, and purchased them at the resale store). Those went with my mom who has a soft spot for cast off Christmas decorations (even though their third generation now).

Until yesterday, when I went to Hobby Lobby for a simple craft for son's birthday party tonight. And I walked through the Christmas decoration aisle after aisle, wanting to buy more. The cute little gingerbread themed decorations, stuffed and otherwise, and elves and birds and trees and lights and wreaths and ... I didn't buy anything, but the fact that I wanted to and almost tried to justify a purchase made me annoyed with myself.

From this exercise I took away:

1) Don't slip back to bad patterns, where six years from now I'll be purging potential items thinking "Now why exactly did I buy this?"

2) I think I'll stick to buying one inexpensive ornament per child to put in their stocking - my children do love to reminisce about their ornaments when we decorate the tree, so it may be a meaningful purchase in future years.

Back to more cleaning because there's going to be a party here tonight and major soccer tournament this weekend with at least six games and potentially ten if the teams perform well.

Decluttering - "What was I thinking?"

October 15th, 2013 at 08:03 am

We did a major declutter yesterday and sorted through tons of things that are no longer used or wanted. I've got piles to throw out, donate, pass on.

I said on more than one occasion "What was I thinking when I bought this?" or "Why am I holding on to this?"

In doing so, it makes me much more conscious as I move on. I'm definitely thinking that we need to scale back on gift giving for everyone. My parents need nothing and want nothing. My inlaws don't need or want anything either. Sticking to nice framed photo of the kids or maybe photo mugs with homemade treats?

We've done away with birthday gift for the kids. One $15 item and $50 cash. Most are saving up for larger ticket items like new ipods or cameras, etc.

I've found that once you make the decision to part with some items, it becomes much easier.

We've rearranged some furniture, brining bookcases up to the boys' room - now each has one for their books/trophies/Legos, etc.

I did make a furniture move that is unsuccessful - trying to use an antique oak pie-safe as a bookcase. It is too tall for a lamp and replaced a table. It looks really bad, actually. One of those things that I had hoped would work but didn't.

Off to continue. How does this relate to finance? All the money that I wasted on things is a sobering reality.


October 11th, 2013 at 04:00 pm

*sigh of relief* Another week done.

I am always happy when Friday rolls around and DH rolls in with an elevated mood. I was without kids today (all the boys had plans with different friends, and the girls had school and separate afternoon plans).

It was pay day today and I finished paying the last of the bills due for October. Smile Decided to throw every last extra cent onto high school tuition for the remainder of the month.

I was unrealistic to think that $185 would take care of groceries for the week/gas for both cars/ and other miscellaneous spending. it was more in line with $225 (so I deposited my extra $40 cash for breakeven). I stocked up on $.80 Healthy Choice soups and $.40 Kraft Mac and Cheese just because the prices were good. I do have enough meals now for 10 days and will bring dinner over to our friends next Tuesday.

We are going to the Morton Arboretum tomorrow with my parents to see the scarecrows the Scouts decorate, ride the tram, and lunch at Culvers or Steak and Shake. Should be a very nice outing, looking forward to it immensely. Then we've got a soccer game and Mass, and another soccer game on Sunday. Should be low spend, high fun.

$5 cheese pizza tonight for dinner from Little Ceasar's for the boys who are home. Didn't feel at all like cooking.

D Day? and HC Pic

October 9th, 2013 at 09:49 am

Well, although no CEO has been named, today DH is meeting with the OD people on the OM budget to answer any questions that may exist with the model and numbers as they stand. DH has a meeting with them from 12:30 to 5:00 - a very long meeting. His old boss has alluded to a not-so-favorable outcome for the OM folks, though the writing has been on the wall for quite some time. It has been rumored that there is an offer for folks to stay on until March, increasing their severance from two weeks a year to three weeks a year. My thoughts are that if that offer is made to DH that he not consider it.

The decision to take this present position is definitely not worth the additional money. We lost the freedom of evenings and weekends to scrambling to carve out blocks of two or three hours of family time. DH is stressed and crabby beyond belief. The single-parenting thing, well, I am getting the hang of that. Everything (including dinner and volunteer work) needs to be done by 2:30 when the kids start getting home. Clipboards and pencils and snacks in the car are essential so busy schoolwork can be done. Audiobooks on CD in the car are also helpful. The kids are having more work to do, so there is an increase in self-sufficiency. So I imagine that there are definite benefits to the increased structure. I've covered DH's volunteer work (with the Knights of Columbus) pretty easily, running the youth programs that have been in place for awhile. Our Cubmaster for Scouts has done a good job of covering things that DH can't attend. So life is running without him, but it is sad that he is missing out on the quality of life. He has at least started talking again about life after OM and a return to school and his original plans for career change. He was definitely underqualified to be in the present position without any training at all, while still helping out with his old job.

So I've updated DH's resume to include the new job description. He's been working with a temp at OM who speaks highly of his agency and can put DH in touch with a recruiter right away. I don't know how long it takes for the final severance check to be deposited, once this all goes down, so I'm only paying what needs to be paid and squirreling away the rest.

I have looked at the budget and played with the numbers, but it is difficult when I don't know the cost of COBRA, the amount of unemployment, etc. etc. Makes me a bit tired, though I'm not so worried as in the past.

Made chili and corn muffins for dinner. Made the taco filling for tomorrow's dinner. The boys are home for five days (two teacher's institute days, weekend, then Columbus Days). So we'll use coupons for free mini golf on Friday and see a $4 per person movie. Soccer games this weekend, so not a high spend one.

Finally managed to upload the pictures from Homecoming to the computer. I didn't format the disk and it wouldn't read in the computer or printer. Glad I found the cable to connect the camera directly. To replace it would have cost $20 at Radio Shack!

Tried this before and it turned out sideways, hopefully it will work this time!

Goals Update

August 16th, 2013 at 06:10 am

Today is payday and rental income deposit day. I am able to pay $2,000 toward my property tax goal.

I am allotting $200 for birthday plans for my ten year old. $100 for his party with friends, $40 for the food for his family party, and $60 for a gift.

I am doing a better job in the menu planning/grocery shopping arena. I found a simply inexpensive recipe (four ingredients) for cookies that I took to a meeting that I think I'll make for lunches rather than store-bought stuff. I'm also in the habit of making a bit pot of soup for DH's lunches. On Sunday night usually and then I just divide it up into small containers for ease.

DH took the boys to a free activity at the library, family lego night. They hear a story and then use it to inspire original Lego creations that are displayed. My son with the reading difficulties is enjoying his summer reading book (due Monday) following along with CD audio books.

In the thrify department, I spent $5 on a Xmas gift for FIL. A logo-branded Green Bay Packer Hat, on clearance $14.99 down to $5. I told my husband that the sale karma was with me. I felt bad about not having liquid funds to get him a T-shirt on sale at Old Navy and told myself that something better might turn up. And it did.

My goal for next payday/rent collection is $1,800 to the property taxes. I think that is reasonable.

Mini Money Updates

August 12th, 2013 at 09:37 am

It was a no spend weekend. We had an outing to Cantigny in Winfield on Sunday. It was French Connection Day. My mom was with us and paid the $5 parking fee and walked around for a few hours. It certainly would have been nice to have disposable funds to buy some of the cute Parisian inspired doo-dads which I really don't need or to snack on croissants and other delicacies. Maybe next year ...

We did go for a bike ride around our subdivision (free) and I was surprised by how much fun my boys got out of doing a word search with me laying on the bed watching an old black and white episode of "Thriller" - scary, but not too scary.

I was approved for a Bank of America credit card. If I spend $500 in 90 days, I will get $100 deposited. I can do that in one month with gas and groceries, and will use that $100 for Christmas. I also got a $20 Victoria's Secret gift card for signing up for the insurance program. I don't shop there with regularity and always pay the balance in full, so no out of pocket cost there.

I saved a bundle on textbooks for my freshman and sophomore daughters. By using Folletts (preferred vendor) I would have spent $980. I spent about an hour on Amazon and saved over $300. I was approved for the Amazon card and saved $10 (every little bit counts). I also made a call to Folletts (where the remainder of the books came from) to see where they were shipped from. They were local so I saved another $20 by shipping just ground, they got here in two days. I was worried that the Amazon books (coming from five different vendors) might not have gotten here in time, but Saturday the last of the books arrived.

DH is talking more about how dismal it is at work and how a lot of high ups are moving on before anything is officially announced about the merger and new location of HQs. I do have my bouts of concern. I do take comfort in the EF of $20K which I'm preserving at all costs. So onward we plod ...

Update from the Conflicted One

August 9th, 2013 at 07:35 am

Attitude tune-up complete.

Winston Churchill said "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

My mom and stepdad came by yesterday after my post with a 15# bag of Blue Buffalo puppy food. And an XXS harness for Teddy. And a garbage can for the girls' room (my mom helped them organize) and today will be bringing buy a shelf they found at Hobby Lobby. More treats like Baby Bell cheese, makings for my husband's favorite two ingredient dish out of Trader Joes, and a water melon.

I said it was totally unnecessary, but thank you. My mother then set me straight. My stepdad had a mid-life career change to become a teacher with the tuition and books paid for by my grandpa (her dad). And my grandparents paid off the mortgage and reduced the house payments.

And I suppose that I am coming across as a bit stressed about money by my concern about DH's potential job loss. And I take my mom's ads and coupons. And I've mentioned twice now that I'm disappointed that I can't find a job for the hours I'd like. And I wasn't planning on $980 for books, just $500. And my mom was worried about where from the budget is the other $180 going to come from (since I was able to get them for $680). And my mom was with me when I picked up the free samples of the Rxs for my daughter (which saved $400+).

So, with that, my mom will be helping out. With treats and items that will make life easier or more practical. (There will be a garbage can for the boys room coming and hooks for robes). And if I need money, I can always ask. Though she knows I most likely won't.

And I can also expect a dinner once of week of grilled chicken breasts.

So, I am no longer conflicted. The root of the problem lies deep and I suppose that it really only has to do with me feeling undeserving and inadequate at some level. Sort of like, I'm fine without your money and help. Makes me sad.

Off to read the blogs.

Feeling a bit ... conflicted

August 8th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I am just having a hard time accepting things.

I'm proud. I know where my pride comes from. Don't need to analyze myself further than I already have.

I've refused cash money from my parents. My mother was pestering me about letting her pay for getting my hair colored with highlights. Even if its a gift and I like it, I wouldn't be able to maintain it, so I figure why bother?

I was a bit annoyed when my mother wanted to know why I wasn't going to buy my daughter uniform pants three days before pay day. I was quite frank and said, "I have $8 in the checking account until Friday. I need to buy milk." Well, my mother then bought the uniform pants for my girls.

My parents this week have purchased "fun snacks" from Trader Joe's where I don't shop. I'm an Aldi's girl for the unforeseeable future.

Today they have stocked up on Blue Buffalo dog food for the puppy. Granted they gifted the puppy, but I've taken care of the shots, etc. I don't mind a few things here and there, but I think this will become a regular scenario. In my mind I will quickly be becoming someone's charity case. But if it is my mother, am I really a charity case?

I saved $300 on high school textbooks by using Amazon for six of them. I opened up the Amazon card and saved a whopping $10. That will be a $400 bill that I need to take care of next month.

I am preserving the $20K emergency fund. Pretending as if it doesn't exist. More coworkers of DH are jumping ship. He's in the new position and still doing most of his old job (the irritating employee that was the catalyst for him moving onto the better job has quit so he's working different departments and different budgets.) The guesstimate is now 30% likelihood that HQ will be in IL. I'm thinking about doing some Christmas shopping sooner than later.

I'm having a hard time just being able to say thank you. Not sure why I'm finding myself in this rut. Oh well ...