31 October 2008

it's Friday

Shall we bet on whether or not he actually gives me the last 100 dollars?

30 October 2008

near miss

When I went to court, I didn't know where to park. I chose a spot at the public library, figuring I was on home turf there. I had 3 quarters, which bought me 45 minutes, obviously not enough time. I put them in, looked one more time for quarters, and walked away, checking each meter on the way, to see if any were expired, and each time I saw a red flag in the window, I felt slightly more confident that it would be okay.

I walked into the courthouse and placed my bag and the contents of my pockets in the metal detector basket and walked through the gateway. I beeped, and the guard told me to open my jacket, and I started to remove it. He stopped me and repeated, "just open it" and I mumbled something about having flown before, which I instantly realized was a stupid thing to say. He said "What's that?" coarsely, and I repeated it, blushing and wishing I could keep my damn mouth shut for a moment of my damn life. He let me through.

I waited, pretending to read while I scoped out the people in the courthouse waiting area. Lots of lawyers, most of them good looking, and I checked their ring fingers, because fate might have brought me to that courthouse, you know. I saw an awkward attorney hit on an attractive law clerk, who barely seemed to notice that he was totally into her. She smiled at me and I smiled back, thinking "I could be you, too. We all make dumb mistakes."

Then the lawyer came, and the law things happened. There was a lot of walking around, checking in here, checking in there. Watching my husband remove his boots and wondering why he did that, hoping he didn't pick today to have a knife in his pocket like the day we got on the plane to get married. Feeling mad and sad and sorry. And then we left, and I walked back to the library.

I walked up, and the meter guy was looking at my car, pen on the ticket form. I shuffled up, saying, "That's me, sorry, sorry. Am I too late?" He laughed, and said "yeah"- sarcastically, like I was stupid for asking. I stammered, "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I had to go to court and I didn't know where to park..." and he looked up, and looked me over in my little blue court dress and my matronly nude hose and put his pen down. "It's okay. Just go." and I thanked him, and I left.

29 October 2008

good news?

The court thing went okay- my husband "threw out" his financial paperwork and so we had to get a continuance. However, we had a nice talk in the courthouse and he agreed to start giving me the 100 dollars again! We'll see if it happens, but he said he would, and I think he understood why I need it so badly.

Let me just say that doing the Year of Frugal Living and being so on top of my finances really served me well today, because I was able to succinctly explain exactly why I need that money, where it is going, and spout off all the numbers of what I've paid off and how much progress I've made right off the top of my head. When he left, I had 5 credit cards, now I have three, and I have paid off 10 percent of the debt, plus consolidated over 30 percent of it at 0 to 3.99 percent interest, which means less money paid to interest and more to the principle. I felt proud to say it, and it was impressive (I think) to hear.

So, good news (I hope!)

28 October 2008

Gearing up for stocks

Tonight I opened an ING Direct Sharebuilder account, so I can buy and sell stocks. I got a promotional card in the mail that said if I opened an account and made one trade, they would deposit 25.00 in my account 4-6 weeks later. (The code was BONUS25 if you want to use it). So I did that, and I linked my ING Savings account to the account, and transferred 50.00 for the trading fees for the "instant" trades. I don't have enough money to invest to set up the automatic option, which doesn't charge the fees, so I wanted to be able to buy stock a few times without committing to the automatic plan. (The automatic plan has free trades, but charges a monthly fee, whereas the instant trade option charges transaction fees, but no monthly fee- that one is called the "Basic" plan).

I also added a debt ticker to the sidebar, I got the idea from Manda's blog, which is in my blogroll. I had no idea I had paid off 13% of my debt! I even double checked the numbers. I counted the money for the lawyer because it's an accomplishment, all the same.

Speaking of the lawyer, I'm going to court tomorrow at 10 am, so wish me luck. It's a "status hearing" and I don't think much will come out of it. Nevertheless, I'd prefer not to go. Oh well.

27 October 2008

The weirdest problem

I can't get oil- because I don't need enough. The oil company won't deliver less than 100 gallons and my 275 gallon tank is 5/8 full- so they won't deliver it until I am at 1/2 full! I want to get oil now because its 2.939 a gallon, which is down nearly 1.50 from where it was in August.

They have oil plans to lock in rates, but I (luckily) don't go through much oil and don't really want to commit to automatic delivery. Last winter I got oil twice, both times less than the full tank, and I still have 5/8 of the tank left now, nearly 6 months later. My furnace only heats the house- every thing else is heated with electricity- and my house is a small, well-insulated, south facing ranch. I have a programmable thermostat that I keep at 63 when we're not home, 66 when we are, and 64 when we're sleeping (I think). I know that it's at 66 when we're home, but it might be less during the day.

Anyway, no oil for me!

26 October 2008

The Christmas Challenge

Oh, so annoying. Spell check just deleted my whole post!

Okay, so this won't be as verbose. I decided to start with the Christmas Challenge. In August, I started an automatic savings plan with my ING Direct account that took 30 dollars every payday for Christmas. As of today, it has 180 dollars, and by December 18th, I'll have 300 dollars.

I wanted to point out that I have *never* saved in advance for Christmas. Last year I paid cash, but there have been Christmases past where I charged presents. I am probably still making payments on those presents. :(

My goal is to use my 300 dollars for Christmas without going over. I know this number is small- I don't have a lot of people to buy for and we're not huge present givers (for example, I don't have any nieces or nephews and only have one sibling- and I obviously don't need to buy for my husband anymore...). When I spend something, I'll post how much on the blog- but not what, just in case someone is reading!

Sound good?

25 October 2008

your turn!

Now that gardening season is basically over, and it's going to be too cold for the clothesline, I want to try out a new challenge.

So, any ideas? I was thinking about some sort of a menu game- like we would all post links for recipes that use a certain ingredient, so if, say, pork roast is on sale at your grocery store, you could potentially get like 4 meals out of it.

Any other ideas?

23 October 2008

People's Exhibit A

So, I did it. I gave my lawyer's clerk the address to my blog so she could see it. So, if you're reading this, "G" and Attorney J, hi. This is a little surreal, but maybe it will give you a better sense of how hard I have been working to pay off these credit cards.

I don't know what else to say! (For once...)

22 October 2008

another good gift idea

I asked my inlaws to get us memberships to the zoo and the children's museum for Christmas. We don't need any more toys (does anyone?) and we like to do things like that on Saturdays and days off. Plus, when you have a membership, sometimes it comes with extra guest passes or discounts at the store or restaurant.

It's the gift that keeps on giving (for a year, anyway).

Speaking of the gift that keeps on giving, did anyone else see the new e-cards they have to help you tell people you "may" have given them an STD? That's the internetz at its finest...

21 October 2008

so seriously not okay, in any way, shape or form

So, I talked to my ex, and he reiterated his intention to completely screw me over by giving me 100 dollars less each week. I told him we won't be able to pay our bills, I told him the kids will need things, he says "I can't afford it." He said "tell me when they need something." Seriously?

I hate hate hate him right now.

Our court date is October 29th. I called the lawyer and told them what he's doing. I guess it's in their hands now.

If this really happens, if he really gets away with this, 2009 is going to be the Year of Really Really Frugal Living. Like, posting to the blog from the public library because we shut off the cable/phone/internet kind of frugal living.

Did I mention I hate him?

Do you think I could submit this blog as evidence that I'm paying things off and he's screwing me every chance he gets?

18 October 2008

the best frugal idea I had yet

I asked my mom to buy me the shoes for Christmas.

For the last few months, every time I thought of something I wanted but didn't need, for me or for the kids, I wrote it down in my phone (where I keep track of my spending). So, right now my Christmas list (for myself) looks like this:

  • the shoes

or these

and I wouldn't mind these, either:

  • an "under the counter" radio for my kitchen, so I can listen to the news while I cook
  • these cool prints from IKEA from my kitchen

Yup. Even virtual shopping makes you feel better.

putting things off that shouldn't be put off

For those who asked, there's no court order. Our court date is Oct 29, and I've been dragging my feet on it because a) I don't want to "rock the boat" with him, and b) everytime I go to get the paperwork together, I panic, big time.

I'm scared of all of this. I'm scared they are going to let him have unsupervised visitation, even though I know and my lawyers knows (and everyone else agrees) that the court won't give a confirmed drug addict unsupervised visitation with a 2 and a 3 year old. But nevertheless, it freaks me out.

This apartment freaks me out. The last time he lived alone he was involved in some really bad stuff. It was a long time ago, before we were even together, but he's not that different now, obviously.

Yuck.yuck yuck yuck.

I'm going to Target today to get Halloween costumes (my MIL offered to pay, I love her). If I see those shoes I wanted, I'm freaking buying them. The last time I bought new shoes was when I started working full time again! Seriously! I'll be freaking damned if I let him screw up everything for us. Freaking damned.

(Deep breath).

17 October 2008

just livid

My soon-to-be-ex-husband just told me that he's giving me 100 dollars less a week so he can get an apartment. Um, oh my god. If he does that, there goes my hope of ever getting out of debt. Every penny I have would go to minimum payments, not paying off debt.

I may throw up.


I really, really want new shoes. 2 pairs- suede mocs, and some sexy heels. I didn't buy them, but I reallllllllllly, really want to.

14 October 2008


I just read an article on cnn.com about the people who have killed themselves and their families (and pets) because of financial problems.


I can't even imagine things being that hopeless. Things have been pretty bad for me, I'm sure many people who took a look at my debts would say things are pretty bad for me right now, but I still have a place to live and I have a job, so things could be worse.

It's really sad how much money tears peoples lives apart.

13 October 2008

401k and the stock club

Have you looked at your 401k balance? I did. I have two accounts (one is a rollover IRA) and I'm down about 30% in both. Ouch.

Good thing I'm 30, though. In theory, I have 35 years to make up that money, and I will. I feel okay about the fact that the market will recover- between what is happening across the world now, and th new president, things will get better.

My friend suggested that we start a ladies' stock club since we can actually afford stocks right now. I love this idea and I'm going to open an account today during naptime. This morning on the news one of the financial advisors quoted Warren Buffett, saying "Have greed when others have caution, have caution when others have greed" (That isn't the right quote because my kids are shreiking and I can't think, but that was the jist of it.) The point is, prices are lower than they've been in 25 years and most of us are young enough to wait it out. So, I'm in.

12 October 2008

that's a lot of money for a yard

I'm watching "Landscapers challenge" on HGTV and I'm sort of perplexed by the amount of money people have for their landscape projects. The first couple had 5 grand, and I thought "that's a lot of money, but they really made a change in their lives by spending that." The next couple had 30,000 dollars and wanted a baseball field... okay... and now this last family has 75,000 dollars and wants a putting green?

That's just weird. I think its one thing to fix up your yard for optimal usage, but another to take a 1/2 acre lot and cram in 400 different "areas" that cost 10 grand a piece.

Last night I went to a "green" expo where I learned about biofuels (so cool) and I saw a bumper sticker that said "The earth can no longer afford the rich." That sounded about right to me.

11 October 2008


I spent 54 dollars at ikea. I admit it, it was fun. I bought max a rug for his room (its one of those "road rugs" but since its from ikea, it looks like the backdrop from Yo Gabba Gabba and is so weird and cute and cool) for 14 bucks, curtains, a curtain "wire" and an over the door coat hook for my office, an aloe plant, two ceramic plant pots, a plastic salad bowl and a glass water pitcher. That's a lot of things for 54 dollars, don't you think?

I realize I have no money, I realize I have debt. But its been so long, and I was down the street from ikea with 2 hours to kill. And I didn't "need" those things like I need food and shelter, but they are all practical items that I have been wanting. I feel okay about it.

Excuses, excuses. :)

08 October 2008

old hat

So, I'm out of money. That's nothing new! My husband gave me a 100.00 less this week "so he could get an apartment" which meant I had to use my debt money for food. Ughh. I also had to drive to some meetings last week so I had to fill up my car an extra time. It all adds up! It's amazing how fast the money goes.

I don't really have any tips for this, but it's a bummer. Every time I hear the politicians talk about people tightening their belts, I know what they mean, and I realize how lucky I am that I'm taking money out of debt repayment to make up the difference instead of paying bills with credit cards and stuff like that. I was there once, and I don't want to be there again!

Luckily, tomorrow's pay day... I'd just love to have one, just ONE payday where the money wasn't already allotted to bills right down to the last dime. Could you imagine?

05 October 2008

The Year-To-Date Numbers

In the last nine months, I have:

  • paid off 3362.00 worth of credit card debt
  • saved 1379.00 for emergencies, oil and Christmas presents (1000 for emergencies, 250 for oil and 120 for Christmas)
  • paid 2798.00 off on my car loan/personal loan from the credit union
  • paid off 1126.00 off of my student loans
  • saved 2500.00 for a lawyer

For a grand total of... 11,165.00. Boo-yah. High fives all around.

I'd also like to mention that I have not visited my old flame Target since September 5th (I think- I could have paid cash since then but it's been a while. The point is, I can't even remember.) I'm thinking of putting up one of those "30 days since our last accident" counters on the blog, but I haven't figured it out yet.

yayayayayayayay. yay.

04 October 2008

david sedaris

Last night I went to hear David Sedaris read some stories. If you're unfamiliar with his writing, I highly recommend him (unless you're uncomfortable with swearing, homosexuality, and talking about drugs- being a librarian, I just need to make you aware of what your getting yourself into). But if you're like the several hundred gays, freaks, sinners and liberals who packed the sold out theatre last night, prepare to laugh until you cry- my face hurt after about 45 minutes.

David Sedaris tells funny, but sometimes depressing stories about his family. So when the Q and A period began, an audience member asked a question about his family, and referred to them as "dysfuntional." Before answering the question, Sedaris addressed the use of the word dysfunctional. 'I wouldn't say my family was dysfuntional' he said (and I'm paraphrasing) 'I'd actually say we functioned quite well.' He went on to describe a dinner table where the father would have one eye on the tv in the other room, and the children had to be quiet so he could hear the news- but when he left to go watch tv, the children (I think there are 4 of them) would sit around the table for hours with their mother, laughing and talking. In high school, he said, no one wanted to date or go out with friends because it would mean missing homemade pizza night or other family time.

I loved this, because he didn't speak of fancy vacations, of huge houses, of things- he spoke of time, and laughter, and things easily afforded and enjoyed. Children just want to be with you, to have your attention and love, and that's free to give.

And now I'll go pay attention to mine.

02 October 2008


I just wanted to quickly remind everyone to watch the VP debate tonight!

I also wanted to thank everyone who posted about the third quarters numbers. Your support means so much to me.

I'll try to post those year to dates as soon as possible, but with tonight's debate and tomorrow night I'm going to see David Sedaris (!!!!) I might not have time until Saturday.

Have fun watching!

01 October 2008

Third Quarter Report

Here we go...

In the last three months, I have:
  • paid off 974.00 worth of credit card debt
  • saved 1279.00 for emergencies, oil and Christmas presents (900 for emergencies, 250 for oil and 120 for Christmas)
  • paid 964.00 off on my car loan/personal loan from the credit union
  • paid off 322.00 off of my student loans

While this isn't great, it's not bad either. If you add it all up, I'm 3,539.00 better off than I was on July 1st. Okay, that makes me feel better. The credit card and student loans numbers really bummed me out, because let me tell you, I paid a lot more than that, these are after interest numbers. And for the credit cards, I actually paid off 1394.00, but I had to put a few work expenses on a card, and I should be getting reimbursed for those. Just in case I don't, though, I included that debt in the totals.

This post is my 181st post on this blog, and that counts for something, too. My hit counter is at about 13,000, and I get roughly 60 visits a day. That's incredible, and keeps me very motivated.

All in all, not bad.

last quarter

It's October 1st, which means the last quarter of the Year of Frugal Living has begun. I'll be working on the 3rd quarterly report tonight, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it says. I don't think this quarter will be as impressive as the others, mainly because of the fact that I didn't get any "extra" money (tax returns, gifts, retroactive raises) like I did in the first two quarters. However, I still think I made some good progress, and I'm excited to see what the numbers are!