29 November 2008

ever so slight buyers remorse

Yeah, I have it. :) I didn't NEED the shoes (as in I can't walk outside because I have nothing to put on my feet). I just needed some nice work shoes, and I saw that deal, which I had seen before and was disappointed when I didn't get them last time... luckily my mom offered to buy them for me for Christmas. I told her no, but she's going to get me some work clothes instead, and that will help with my budget.

So, I probably shouldn't have gotten new shoes, but they will be well utilized. All of a sudden I feel like most of my clothes need to be replaced. My black boots have a hole in the sole, 3 out of my 5 pairs of jeans have holes in the knees and one pair is too tight (I gained a few pounds). I only own 3 bras and two of them aren't looking so hot from being washed all the time, and most of my socks have holes in them too. I guess what I'm saying is it's probably time to invest a little money in work clothes, seeing as I have a job where I'm expected to look decent and professional. After Christmas I'll assess my presents/money and see what I can do.

28 November 2008

Nine West shoes sale

Remember those shoes I wanted? They are on sale at ninewest.com, and they have an additional 30% off sale items, plus free shipping right now. In addition, there's a coupon code for an additional 10$ off any purchase over 65$. It's NWFALLV8 if you want to use it! I got two pairs of shoes, the mocs I wanted plus a pair of nice brown boots for work, for 67.00 shippjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjed. (thanks to Mikey for "helping me with the j's"). Here's the boots:

Not a bad deal, if you need shoes really bad like I do!

25 November 2008

Birthday Party Logistics

So here's where I'm at with the birthday party planning:

Budget = $100.00

Gift and motorcycles for cake 18.00
ingredients for 2 lasagnas ~20.00
ingredients for baked macaroni and cheese ~ 10.00
crescent rolls with cream cheese and bacon (so gross, yet so good) ~ 8.00
soda ~2.00
salad FREE (thanks mom)
spinach dip FREE (thanks laura)
rolls ~ 10.00
cake mix, icing and candle ~ 8.00

TOTAL = 76.00

That leaves about 25.00 for balloons and goodie bag stuff, some of which I already have because I got those cheap Crayola crayons at the Walmart back to school sale. Thank god for the dollar store!

That seems really cheap. I think it's because I'm not buying alcohol this time. Sorry everyone! Lunchtime party. Maybe I'll get some juice boxes to splurge!

23 November 2008

blood from a stone

I'm feeling a little discouraged, mainly because my ex is swearing that he can't afford to give me what he's been giving me already, and I think that even if the court orders him to pay that much, he still won't do it.

So, where can I get some more money from? I had some ideas:

1. Seeing if I can put off paying on my student loans for a while. That wpould free up about 250 dollars a month, but then I wouldn't be making any progress on those loans. Oh please, Obama, forgive our loans!!

2. Cancelling my cable and/or phone. This one seems complicated and depressing. I'll call at&t and see what they can do.

3. Changing my tax allowances so I won't get a refund. That way I can use the money now, instead of letting the government borrow it from me interst free, while I pay interest on credit cards.

4. Transfer another balance back to the card I just transferred off, because they sent me a 0 percent until Oct 09 offer. That would save me about 85 dollars a month in interest.

5. Pay off this very small loan I owe to my old credit union. It's almost done, and that would free up another 94 dollars a month for debt payments.

Figuring the phone company change saved me about 50 bucks (a total guess), if I did all of these things I should be able to come up with an extra 400 dollars a month for credit card payments, which will make up what my ex won't give me.

22 November 2008

museum passes

I'm at the children's museum with the kids and we just got a year long museum pass for 100 dollars- as a gift! My mother in law bought it for us for Christmas. That's awesome because a) we don't have to pay 27 dollars to come here anymore, b) we can bring friends, c)it works at other museums, too and d) that's 100 dollars that didn't get spent on toys we don't need and don't have room for.

Excellent gift idea!

17 November 2008

Birthday parties

Mikey is turning 4 on Thanksgiving Day, which means it's time for another birthday party. My budget is pretty small, and I am hoping that this year is the year that I don't make a big deal out of it and actually sit and have fun!

I made invitations using pictures I took of him and the online photo editing website picnik, which is *freaking awesome* and totally free. I use it all the time. Then I bought some cardstock in the scrapbooking section and found 4x6 invitation envelopes in the mailing section of Walmart. I had to buy printer ink, which was FIFTY SEVEN FREAKING DOLLARS but at least I can print coupons now, too. It's been months since I had printer ink and I have to say, it's nice. Lame frugal luxuries.

I emailed some of the invitations, to save paper and stamps but mostly because they look a lot better online than printed. Hey, I tried. Usually I order Shutterfly invites for way too much, or buy store bought ones and then people complain that they didn't get a picture. Hopefully they won't complain too much about this!

Next up, the menu. I'm planning on making some trays of food- baked mac and cheese, lasagna, chicken parmigiana. It's a lunch party so we won't be starving, and there will be appetizers and cake. Speaking of the cake, after the monster truck cake I'm going to have a hard time living up to that standard, but I'll try.

15 November 2008

And just like that, half my Christmas money is spent...

When I was looking for a good deal on the drums, I came across this toystore website that I really like- it's called Star Bright Kids Company. They had the drums, plus two other things I had seen in catalogs like Chasing Fireflies and Uncommon Goods (my most favorite store), that I wanted to get the kids. They use Amazon for their billing/shipping, and they are running a spend $25, get free shipping deal. Then, I signed up for their newsletter, and they emailed me a 10% off your next purchase coupon code, which was STAR2008, in case you want to use it.

So, I got them the drum set, and the two other awesome things I have been eyeing for months:

And Automoblox:

Now, these toys are all expensive. They are also really, really cool, award-winning, super high quality toys that get awesome reviews and win awards and stuff.

Soooo.... my total came to 161 dollars.

Kids? Done.

Christmas gift #1, plus a cool website

So, I decided to go for one or two quality items and some smaller stocking stuffers. So far, I have decided on one thing:

How cute is this? It's made from renewable rubber wood, so it's green, and it's about $45-50.00. I saw it in the Uncommon Goods and Chasing Fireflies catalogs, and I did a google search for it and found it on this website called Sprig: Your Daily Green Style Guide that makes toy recommendations. Awesome!

I also want to say how much I loved the Victorian Poem Krista posted in the comments on the last post: Something they want, something they need, something to play with, something to read. I have never heard that, and I'm doing it! I think this qualifies as something to play with.

14 November 2008

quality vs quantity

It's time to start Christmas shopping, and I have a dilemma. Basically, my children have TONS of toys- two houses full! They are the only grandchildren on both sides and really have every toy you can imagine. So here's where the dilemma comes in.

They really just want trucks for Christmas. They have a MILLION trucks, matchbox cars, trains, etc. But, if you ask them, they want trucks. We don't have a big house or a playroom, and we don't have much room for something big, so that's out. Everything they don't have here they have at their grandparents house.

So what I'm thinking is this: I may just.buy them each one awesome, pricey car or truck, and then if I can score any cheap toys with all the sales, I can get a few smaller things.

What are you doing about this too-many-toys/ not-enough-money issue?

10 November 2008

track track track

I have to say, now that it's november, that the number one hardest thing about paying off debt is getting on track, staying on track, and getting back on track. It's really hard to figure out a debt pay-off plan that works for you- there's always a bill you forgot about, an unforseen expense, a last minute invitation to something expensive that you just can't miss. Once you manage to get it mostly figured out, it's hard to keep that momentum going. You know you have 500 dollars for a credit card payment but those pants are so cool... and 400 dollars is still a lot to pay to debt... but you have to remind yourself of your goal, day in and day out. It's exhausting. It's difficult. People don't understand. Sometimes people laugh at you or criticize you. But still, you perservere.

Until, one day, you don't. You buy the pants, or treat your mom to dinner. Or both. You forget about your car tax bill, or you talk too much on your cell phone, and poof! you're off track. Then you avoid your budget, because you know you'll have to do some finagling, and it sounds hard, and boring, and depressing. Days turn to a week. All of a sudden, your bills are due. You have to get back on track.

And if you do, if you can still push yourself through all of these trials, you will succeed. The numbers will start to go down. You'll see a difference, and it will feel so, so good. Much better than the pants you haven't worn because they turned out to be dry clean only, or that long forgotten meal. You're in control, and one day you'll be out of this mess.

Out of all that I have learned, the perserverance is the best attribute I have attained. I won't give up, even if this goal (and this blog) reach into years three, four, five. One day, it will be done, and I will be a better person for it.

06 November 2008

oh, those ups and downs of life

Obama! I'm just so thrilled, elated, motivated, moved... it's so, so good. I really feel like he'll be a great unifier, and a true force for change. Young people turned out in record numbers to elect him, and he's our president. So many of our friends worked for him, contributed to his campaign, and supported him. I'm so proud to be an American.

I'm also proud because Rahm Emanuel went to my alma mater. :)

Okay, so the downs. My husband and I are fighting again, this time its because my nearly four year old is giving me a lot of grief in the morning when its time to go, and I told him he wasn't allowed to watch a movie (The Nightmare Before Christmas, which I didn't think was appropriate for him to be watching anyway!!) at their house. It snowballed from there, and now his mom wants to pick them up at lunch time on the days they go to their house and have them come at 1 instead of 5. I'm not okay with this for a number of reasons that I won't get into, but frankly, I don't see why you would reward a child's bad behavior with extra time at grandma's, instead of leaving him in his regular schedule. It sucks that I don't get to make the rules. The whole thing just sucks. I want it to be over with, I want the judge to just tell us what to do so I don't have to be the bad guy all the time.


Hope, right? Yes we can?

03 November 2008

so far, so good

So, he did come through with the full amount on Friday, which is awesome. We had a nice talk and he gets how hard I'm working on this. Good stuff.

So, please, please vote tomorrow. Seriously. Tomorrow is a day that will go down in history and you have one chance to be a part of it, to tell your children and your grandchildren that you were a part of it. I won't tell you who to vote for, but I will say that I'm anxiously waiting to vote for the candidate who shares my views of environmental responsibility and who I believe will actually represent me and my views and beliefs.

Better get some sleep- tomorrow is going to be a long day.