Monday, November 16, 2009


That is all I need to make by the end of this month in order to pay off one of my smaller debts....

Not the smallest debt, though. That one is 0% interest until March. As long as I make MY minimum payment to that debt, it will be gone before the interest kicks in.

And, I would really rather take the money and use it to pay off an interest charging account, even if it is minimal (9% a month at $880 balance)

I should be able to make this goal while still paying $180 more towards the 0% debt for the month of December.

All while still making Thanksgiving and Christmas happen!

Getting back on the getridofdebt bandwagon feels good. Really good. Seeing that I can make progress even with a tighter pursestring does wonders for my spirit.

For a while there I was thinking that there was again, no way out of the mess. But I am starting to see a twinkling of light at the end of the (very long) road.

Of course, one of the reasons why I will be able to make such progress in December will be because I do not have to withhold any of my income towards tuition. So, before I get ahead of myself, let me state that every month will not be able to have these kinds of results, which I am very well aware of. January starts having to withhold $500 a month for three months towards tuition.

Because I only need 8 credits to graduate, I will not be going to school full time. Which means that I will receive less GI Bill money each month. But it also means that my GI Bill will last until I graduate, instead of ending in March. So, although I will get a couple hundred less each month, I will receive payments until graduation which means I receive funds for a couple more months. (Actually, I come out getting a few hundred more)

I am also estimating about $4,000 back in taxes (hey, don't blame for the tax laws!) which should take care of the next two debts in line.

And then here is the kicker - I am thinking about selling my house. If I can sell it for $60,000 (property values are pretty low in this area - that is a decent estimate of what I could get for it) I will be able to pay off the mortgage, pay realtor fees, the last three debts and still have almost ten grand left over to start the Fully Funded Emergency Fund!

Which would be timely, since the projected date between selling the house and graduating would be right about the same time. So, even if it takes a while to get a job in my field of study, or even if I do get an entry level position (which is NOT going to be a high paying gig!) it really won't matter because I will be debt free!

But, before I get too far ahead of myself in this quest, I need to come up with $430 by the end of this month.

I am pretty sure that I will be able to get it, since I should make $400 just in paychecks alone, not counting tips!

How is that for awesome!?!?!?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A little bit of sunshine....

Well, only halfway through the month and I have a bit of sunshine in the budget!

I currently have $246 left over for the month of December after paying all the bills including the snowball I have built in for my smallest debt!

If I average my low averages from the last 4 months and get full child support, I will be able to get rid of one debt and still have about $700 to budget for food, household products, and Christmas. (I have $450 saved up for Christmas, but with 3 kids, the man, parents, grandparents, etc, I always go over the budget, no matter how hard I try! One year I only went over by $75, I was pretty stoked about that!)

I have started my Christmas shopping and have spent $248 of the $450 so far. Haven't gotten anything big, mainly just some "little" things that I know the kids will love. Starting early may really help me stay on budget because I have more time to browse and decide whether I really want to purchase an item or not. I say "little" meaning not expensive, not because of size.

In anycase, I am quite happy about this progress. Why does it always seem that when I stray from trying to make progress I always feel like I don't have enough money but when I stick to the budget and commit myself to making progress, I always seem to have more?

Even if by the end of this month I don't have the low average or the full child support, I am still ahead for the month and will be able to make more progress in the month that usually means more spending than I have in the last 4 put together.

And that, my friends, is AWESOME!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


My biggest problem right now dealing my finances is not the reduced income that I am still adjusting to, although that is a pretty big problem.

It is fear.

Fear of not being able to pay my bills. Fear of what happens if I make my budget zero balanced and I don't make enough this month to cover everything next month.

The fear is almost paralyzing.

I know that I have some money left over after paying everything. Before I lost my previous job, I would be sending that money straight to a debt, no problem. But now things seem to have taken on a new color which is making me want to just save the little bit I have just in case.

This just in case fear is not without a price. I am paying more in interest because of it. I am keeping debts around longer than I need to because of it. I am awake well past midnight when I don't have to work because of it.

I am not awake stressing about the debts themselves, which is odd. I am awake stressing about whether or not to submit a payment, worrying about whether I need to keep the money on hand - just in case.

Now, I do have a $1,000 Baby Emergency fund. I also have a $1,000 buffer in my checking account, which at one point was my just in case money. Now, it is sitting there because I have to be able to cover the bills that are due before I get the rent check from my house and my GI Bill is deposited. So, my just in case money has become a necessity because of my depositing schedule compared to my due date schedules.

That $200 payment I made? The one towards the debt with only a $36 minimum payment? I almost didn't send it - just in case. Technically, I had written down in the budget to only send $165 towards this debt - written in the budget so I would send the payment regardless of my just in case syndrome. I upped the amount to $200 because of the just in case syndrome, telling myself that I need to calm down and trust not only myself, but in the Lord as well.

I have yet to have a month where I was unable to pay the debts. Which is not only a testament to myself and how my behavior towards budgeting, spending, and overall money management has changed, but also a testament to the fact that He helps those who help themselves.

I have to let go of this fear of not having enough money. Truth be told, with the money that I am earning, even on a lowball estimate with the buffer, I have enough to cover the bills that are due before the other deposits are made. I need to simply decide how I am going to budget the remaining money I have available for the rest of this month and trust in the fact that although life is not easy street right now, I will have enough at the beginning of next month.

I need to budget the money and then follow through on that budget. I have always made pretty good progress when I have had a plan. This is no different, even if the numbers on the spreadsheet are.

November budget...

The November budget is getting underway. I have all the bills paid and I did send extra to one of my debts, which is a zero percent card until March of 2010. The minimum payment is $36 and I sent $200 to the debt. After this payment, the balance of that debt is $628. It is my hope to have it paid off by the end of this year, although that seems a little daunting giving the current financial situation along with the holiday season.

I also went and paid my Fall tuition - $1, 668.66. Ouch. It did hurt to write that check, but at least I was able to save the money up and pay my tuition with cash. Certainly a positive point.

So after, the minimum bills, tuition, and the small snoball that I sent in, I have $337.27 left in my checking account for the rest of the month. (Technically, I have $1, 337.27, but that $1,000 is my buffer which I am not supposed to touch)

The budget is not finished yet because I have yet to decide how I am going to split the remaining funds. I do have some money saved up for Christmas, although not as much as I had originally intended due to the loss of the job. I may take some of it and use it towards Christmas funds. Some of it will undoubtably go towards Thanksgiving dinner. I would like to send a bit more towards the debt, but I am fearful again of not having enough money to last me the entire month.

Ah. Fear. I had just started to come away from that fear when I lost my job.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Putting it into the budget

One of the reasons I have not been snowballing is that I failed to put a snowball amount into my budget. Bad me. Of course, my reasons for not putting a snowball amount into the budget are based around the fact that I am earning about 50% less than I was at my last job.

That is no excuse.

Since I am still focused on all the money earned in one month being used for the next month's bills, there is no reason why I can not project an amount for a snowball in the budget and if I have not earned enough to cover that by the next month, just readjust the snowball category in the budget.

I may not have a whole lot to work with right now, but one thing is for certain: when I put the numbers in the budget I make better progress than when I leave that number at zero!

I am further behind in my debt payoff schedule than I projected not only due to losing my last job, but also because of my failure to stay committed to paying SOMETHING towards the snowball each and every month!

For the month of November, I have included a snowball payment of $130. As it stands now, I have that covered and still have two more shifts to work this month. Everything I make these next two nights will be used towards gasoline, food, and contributing to the household expenses (lights, water, heat).

Here is to planning for a brighter future!

Well, it has been a while....

a long while, at that.

I really don't even know what to say about my financial life. So I will just list things out....


1. I have not incurred any new debt.
2. I still have my $1,000 buffer in my checking account
3. I haven't touched the $450 in my local savings account.
4. I haven't touched the $1,000 in my BEF account
5. I have managed to save the close to $1700 for fall tuition with cash.
6. I have been able to pay at least the minimums on all of my debts. Not necessarily making good progress, but not falling behind is good.
7. We haven't gotten anywhere close to hungry. Actually, I think we are eating better now than before, mainly because I know I have no choice but to cook everynight. (Which I should have been doing before... we were pretty good about it, but still got take-out a couple of times per month.) *I know we are no where close to hungry because I have gained almost 15 pounds! That would be horrible, but I was probably too skinny before anyway.

1. My income was cut by more than 50%. Stressful.
2. I have not been able to really contribute to the household bills. Boyfriend taking care of everything. Which is wonderful of him and it is wonderful that he is not resentful of this fact. But I am. I hate not being able to contribute.
3. I have not been able to snowball anything. Which is heartbreaking considering the excellent progress I was making earlier this year.
4. The stress of earning 50% less is compounded by the fact that March will be my last GI Bill payment, although I will not graduate until May. That is another $1300 I will not see each month as income.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And then there is good.....

Good news is that we have not incurred any new debt through all of these unexpected life changes. Which is awesome. I can't even explain how awesome it feels to have not incurred new debt, to have (so far) met the financial challenges and to have started changing our lifestyle to be in line with our income!

School started for me last week which means I am feeling more productive. The girls have started cheerleading which is four nights a week for practice right now. They love it and the parents of the other girls on the team are awesome. Both mom's and dad's come out to practices and we all sit together and laugh and talk and we are even learning all the cheers as well.

I talked with my advisor and it looks like I am on course to graduate in May which is both a wonderful feeling and a scary one. With the way things are in this "economy", it is a scary thought to go out and find a job in my field of study. Most of the people I know who graduated this past May are having trouble finding employment, so I have some reservations about it. However, graduating with a four year degree in three and half years is a wonderful feeling! I haven't even finished yet, but the sense of accomplishment that I am feeling is awesome! Even better is that I can use this feeling to motivate me towards becoming debt free. It may take a few years, but earning a degree takes a few years as well and I am doing that, so I should be able to do anything that simply takes time!

Although I have made considerably less at the new bar than I did at my old bar, I have made enough money to make it through, at least for the month of September. As it stands, I have $32 after paying all the bills and thats before taking into account my hourly pay for the last three shifts I have worked plus the last two I have before the end of the month and before the tips I will make these last two shifts. This also takes into account paying a third of my tuition in the month of September with cash. As long as things stay constant, I should be able to pay all of my tuition with cash.

I also still have my buffer in my checking account intact for yet another month which I am very excited about.

So, although not much has been done in the way of debt reduction, there are still things to be excited about and to be proud of. One day at a time I will get this done. It is just going to take a little patience and, of course, budgeting!

There is the bad....

My last employer has banned me from her establishment. Why, I wonder? It seems that all I do is "Talk S&*T and steal her customers". Well, I never talked smack about the place and as for "stealing customers" I suppose I can see how she feels that way since some of my regular customers have started coming over to my new bar about one night a week to see me.

However, reality shows that they still go to the other bar 90% of the time. Going to another bar one night a week is their choice, not something that I could force to happen.

It does hurt my feelings a bit. I worked for this woman for two and half years. Being treated and spoken to in such a manner really does upset me, but I have come to the conclusion that I just need to let it go. Yes, I worked there a long time (although two and half years is not really a long time, in the bar world it is a lifetime) and yes, I was a good worker for her, but the drama is not doing me any good.

Other bad news: The man's ex-wife filed for modification of child support. Which in of itself is not a bad thing. Child Support is an important thing which I understand. What I do not understand is why when she filed for modification she did not submit his mailing address through her State.

The Child Support Order originated in one state; the state where they both lived during their divorce. Since then, both have moved to different states. He has paid the his child support through the original state every month directly from his paycheck. It is set up to where the money comes out before he is even paid.

Well, when the modification process was started from her state to the state we currently live, since they (the state) did not have his mailing address, he was not notified. The current state got a statement from the original state that he has paid through the month of March, which is the month when the current state requested the statement. Since he did not know to pay through the current state, they have been tracking him since April as not paying child support.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when he finally got served papers at his place of employment (they finally found him) and he goes to see the Child Support Enforcement people and consequently a judge. Not only has his month child support gone up $215 a month (Now paying $1,400 a month for ONE child) the current state is going to garnish his wages for his "Owed" child support from April until August. Even though he has paid and has PROOF that he has paid, everyone says there is nothing they can do because it is "in the system".

It is absolutely ridiculous! Being on both sides of the Child Support Spectrum (as in, being with the man who is legally responsible for paying child support and being a parent who is legally entitled to child support) I see nothing but problems with this system.

Here is a man who has always paid. A father who calls his son everyday. A father who, although half a country away from his son, utilizes every block of visitation he has with his son EVERY YEAR. Even if it is for two days, he will pay to fly his son out here for visitation. A man who very much wants a relationship with his son and who wants to care for his son.

Then there is my ex-husband. He went 3 and half years without paying child support. Now he pays half of what he is legally required to pay each month. He has gone years without seeing his children (which was his choice). He goes months without calling his children or answering their phone calls. Oh, and if something comes up in his life financially, he just either skips a child support payment or pays late. Because somehow, if his car breaks down or whatnot, it becomes MY and his CHILDREN's problem to come up with the money that he is supposed to have sent.

I have gone to Child Support Enforcement and PAID THEM MONEY to enforce the child support order to no avail.

So, the father that tries to do right gets slammed up the rear and the father that really doesn't give a poop just skates on by. How in the hell is this even possible!?!

I know life isn't fair, but really, this goes beyond that. It is just wrong.

So, in the next few months, not only will we be losing an additional $215 in income towards the larger child support payment, we will also be losing $1200 a month in back child support that isn't even rightfully owed!

Of course, the ex-wife knew that this could happen if she didn't submit the address when she filed for modification.

What makes it even more laughable is that she makes only $200 a month less than he does, but they are using the percentile rates for support from the date of the divorce, when she made far less. So, if his income goes up he pays more but if her income goes up it doesn't matter - again, how in the hell is this even POSSIBLE?


I need to change my debt total. It is not accurate. I actually owe more than what I was reporting. I don't know why, but for months I was not counting certain bills as debt. Like, when I had to get the siding replaced on my house five years ago. I certainly did not have the money to pay for that in cash, so I had to finance the replacement. I had put off getting the siding replaced for years as it were at the time; the boards were literally falling off the house.

The financed amount was not through a Home Equity Loan, but it was a financed through terms that make the payoff in about ten years from the date of orgination. I need to put the remaining amount on the sidebar to accurately reflect how much I owe.

I am also thinking about adding what I owe on my vehicle to the sidebar as well, since that is debt that should be paid in Baby Step 2. The only reason I hesitate is because once I have that big of a number to look at, I am not sure if that will really motivate me or if it will just because overwhelming.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Looking up

Well, my first night at the new bar went pretty well. My people did indeed come in and that did make me feel really good, personally.

I did okay considering I had no idea where anything was kept nor did I know the prices of any of the drinks, lol. I started to get in a groove by the end of the night, however.

My new schedule will be Friday nights, Saturdays 1-6 pm, and Tuesday nights. I am not sure how that will work out monetarily, but I do think for family time and school work those hours will allow me more time to focus on those other things.

Also, the house has been rented!!!!!!!! I should get the first rent check by the 20th.... which is very good news for the budget!

Hopefully by the end of this month I get back to paying down some of this debt! I haven't been able to make extra payment since May, which has really put a stint in my progress!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Job

I start working at that other bar tomorrow night! Whoo hooo!

This seriously makes me feel better. Much better.

Now, I don't know how much I will make in tips (only time will tell that) so I really can't project any budgets, but since I have all the August bills covered this will give me a whole month to save every penny I make so I will know how much money I will have in September for the bills.

I do know that I will be making $7.25 an hour, which is the highest hourly wage for a server in this town. So, even if tips are not as much, I am getting paid a bit more. Every bit helps, yes?

I do not have an actual schedule this week. The owner has her schedules set out 2 weeks in advance. Even so, she told me to come in Friday to bartend and next week she will give me my schedule for the following week. So I still have basically another week without pay, but that is ok. I do have the buffer in my account so I should be alright.

While talking to the owner, she told me that her business is a little slow right now (summertime is usually slow for most bars) and that I probably wouldn't make as much as I was making at my last bar. She was trying to be as honest as possible with me, which I appreciate very much. Of course, I have already talked to pretty much all of my regular customers telling them that I am starting at the new place tomorrow night and they have all decided that tomorrow night they are going to the new place to have a "New Job" party for me - in which I get to serve them drinks and they get to give me money. Oh, my regulars make me laugh so much.

They make me laugh and they make my eyes fill with tears of gratitude. I don't expect any of them to leave the old bar to become regulars at a new bar - people are kinda funny about their drinking establishments. But the fact that they have decided to come in on my first night really means a lot to me.

Hopefully, they will like the new place enough to come in every once in a while. (Perferably when I am working) It certainly can not hurt if people come in because I am working there. Besides, more business tends to create more business.

So, it would be safe to say that my spirits are up, even if there are some unknowns. Just knowing that people are there for me has really shown me how fortunate I truly am.

Also, I got a phone call yesterday afternoon from the Housing Division on post. A Soldier wanted to look at my house (it is being listed for rent) and asked if I could meet them there in 30 minutes. Of course I could, and did. The Soldier told me that he really liked the house and the housing manager told the Soldier that she thought my house was "the one" and then they stated that they were going to go to the rental management company listing the house to see about renting it.

The house will be available on the 1st (still have a couple more things to get done in the house) and hopefully it will be rented before then! But at the very least, hearing someone say that they really liked my house and that it was really cute did make me feel pretty good. For whatever reasons, I have a really big emotional tie to that property. It is like an extension of myself so hearing that was like someone complimenting me.

So here says the wonderful boyfriend, "I TOLD YOU EVERYTHING WOULD BE OK!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Debt Effects...

The last two nights I have basically cried myself to sleep. My dear sweet boyfriend holds me and doesn't say much, because there really isn't much he can say. Of course he has told me that things will be alright; that we will make it through this; that for every door that closes another one opens.

And truthfully, although he is saying all the right things, I really don't even want to hear them.

I want to cry. I want to feel the pain that I am feeling. I want this pain to motivate me even more to get my financial life in order.

But then I want to feel sorry for myself. Or at least be angry. I am not a bad person, I say. I went to work like I was supposed to. I did my job. I finally got a decent budget in order and had a buffer in my checking account and I was paying down my debts! I had finally gotten to a place where I thought things were going to be in some sense of order! I even finally got my GI Bill money deposited into my account and with that and the money that I would have made my last 4 working shifts this month I was going to be able to not only pay my tuition with CASH, but I was actually going to be able to pay OFF Capital One and still have a couple hundred dollars to pay towards the next debt!

My plan has gone to crap!

I wake up in the morning and I have nothing to do. Of course, I have things I can do, but I have nothing that is pressing. Classes are out until the middle of August. The kids are at their fathers until the middle of August. There is only so much laundry a person can do and I can only dust and vaccum so much until there is no point anymore.

We have an eliptical machine (well, it is his) that he has moved into the living room for me so I can catch up on some exercise. More like just trying to give me an outlet of something to do.

I have never felt this way before. It is hard to describe. I have been broke before. I have lived work shift to work shift before. But I always had a job. Since the day I turned 16 I have had a job. This is a very odd feeling for me.

He kisses me on the forehead and tells me, once again, that it is going to be alright. We aren't going to starve. We aren't going to be homeless. Which is true and I am very fortunate for that.

It could be worse. I have to tell myself that it could be worse. But today, in my world, it feels about almost as bad as I can stand it right it.

I think I am going to watch the Pursuit of Happyness. Because that movie just seems to be uplifting and I think I need that right now.

Job Interview

I have a job interview tomorrow night at another bar in town. It is a decent place, although the customer traffic is no where near what my previous bar has. The upside is that the hourly wage is a lot more than what I received at the last bar, so it may work itself out.

There is another place in town that has pretty decent buisness until about the end of November (they have a huge patio) but after that it kinda dies out because it is just too cold to hang out outside. But, if it doesn't work out at this first place, I will go talk to the other place.

I hope it all works out. I really do need income.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Worse than I thought....

About a year and a half ago, the police came into the bar undercover with an underage person with them. I ended up getting a ticket for serving a minor. Which really sucked, because one, I don't normally serve underage kids; two, I practically ALWAYS check ID's (they caught me on one of the few times I didn't check); and three - I didn't even drink until I was 21 so everyone else should have to wait too!

So, I went to court and I paid my $360 fine and thought that was the end of it.

This past May, I renewed my liquor liscense, and since there was no issue in doing that, I really thought the ticket was behind me.

Well, here I go on Friday, walking into work. My boss wants to talk to me. Seems the Alcohol commission in my state is trying to shut her bar down because the bar has gotten 4 tickets in 2 years. (One of those tickets was not for underage drinking but for some other reason). I am the only person still working there that has received a ticket. My boss's lawyer thinks it will be easier for him to fight the suit if I don't work at the bar anymore.


I am more than distraught right now. I really have no idea what I am going to do. This totally stinks. After close to two and half years working for this place, this is what happens. Great.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I feel like things have just gone stagnant.

I am still waiting on my GI Bill money from the VA. Urgh.

I did manage to get the Cheerleading uniforms paid (everything except the warm-ups which we don't need until October) and the remaining of my dental work got split into two different appointments, so I am able to stall having to pay the full amount right now (only having to pay for one of the procedures instead of both yesterday) and the procedure I had done yesterday actually ended up costing less than originally thought, which does help with the money.

But without this GI Bill money, I am really just hanging on by a thread.

I have to average $150 a night for the rest of the shifts I work to cover all the bills in August if I don't get the GI Bill in time. So no extra debt payments projected at the current moment.

Plus, I still have to pay tuition for this summer, and without the GI Bill being deposited, I don't know how I am going to pay that. (I am still waiting for the rest of May and full June payments)

Hopefully the GI Bill money will be deposited soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Still waiting...

I am still waiting for my GI Bill payments. My paperwork is showing being processed. Oh, I really can't wait to get the payment, though! Luckily, I had enough enough money to pay all the bills this month and I still have close to $800 in my checking account buffer, but I would feel much better having the rest of my money! Mainly because I do still need to pay $900 towards tuition and I have to go back to the dentist later in this month and I need that money in order to do those things!

In other financial news, I got a letter from HSBC today saying that they have lowered my credit limit from $2,000 to $300. I already paid off that debt, so the amount they have for me doesn't really matter. What does matter is that this will impact my credit score which can potential impact the interest rates my other debts will charge me! I guess when you pay your bills on time every month, you are the one that gets screwed. I mean, I know I owe quite a bit of money, but I am paying it back and I have never missed a payment. I am a bit perturbed about this. Chase lowered my credit limit by close to $800 last month, so it looks like this could be a domino effect. I really just hope the Providian/WaMu/now Chase card doesn't lower the limit since I am so close to the limit as it is. I may really have to look into putting the smaller cards on hold while I concentrate on the largest balance just so I don't get the limit lowered and owe more than the limit and then get stuck with all the fees and the inability to ever get out of that mess.

I will be so happy when I am out of credit card debt. I have no desire to ever use a credit card again after all of this mess. Just goes to show, everything you need to learn you did learn in Kindergarten - "The good suffer for the bad". I may not have been pristine, but I have always made my payments on time, have always paid my mortgage, car loans, utilities - everything - on time. It really stinks that after getting bailed out by the taxpayer, these companies are screwing the very people who bailed them out. Perhaps we should have just let them fail.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Been way to long....

It has been way too long since I have posted. And you know what I have realized? Not posting goes hand in hand with not being proactive towards my debt! When I was posting everyday, I was making considerable progress. I have made hardly any progress except normal minimum payments since I stopped posting daily!

One good thing that I did do in the "blogging hiatus" was paying for my dental services with cash. My medical envelope is empty now, but I did not charge a dime. YaY for that.

Bad news: I still have about $500 of dental work that still needs to be done. I am scheduled to have it done in the later part of July, but I am not sure that I will have the funds available. So, I am calling to re-schedule my appointment for a later date.

We had to get the A/C fixed as well. The man had it working, but then the blower motor went out. Because of the way it was installed, there was no way to replace the motor. You couldn't even get to where it was. We did get it fixed for a lot less than the $10-$12 thousand dollars one man estimated for us. We found a place that replaced the entire inside unit (not the outside compressor, just the inside unit) for $3,600. Luckily, the man was able to pay this with cash as well from his emergency fund.

Work has also been a bit slow the last month. Thankfully I have the buffer in my checking account, otherwise I would be short close to $400. But, this is also in part because:

For some reason, I had forgotten to go to the VA office with my summer and fall school schedules. So, in June I only received $382 from the GI Bill - instead of the full $1321 payment. (I only got paid for the dates school was in session for the month of May instead of the full payment for not having a break in cycle) I did get to the VA office the first week I was back from Florida and turned in my paperwork, and the paperwork is at the Regional VA office. As soon as it is processed, I can get payment for the rest of the May amount as well as the full June amount. I am hoping that the paperwork gets processed this week so I can get payment next week. Yes, I still have money in the bank because of the buffer, but I would feel so much better having the full buffer back in there plus with the GI Bill payments I will have quite a bit more money available to use for things like:

Summer tuition. $892 which I need to pay ASAP. Technically, I can pay it anytime before Fall semester starts, but I would like to get it paid off as soon as I get the GI Bill money deposited into my account. Then I do not have to worry about it any longer.

My children are also getting ready to go to their dad's for a month this summer in two weeks. Of course, he couldn't afford the entire amount of the plane tickets, so I agreed to pay half the cost. I really would rather use that money towards debt, but it is for the kids so I am trying not to be too upset about it.

Which leaves cheerleading uniforms to pay for. The team is doing bake sales to help lower the costs, but if they are not at the bake sale, they do not get credit towards their uniforms. So far the team has only had one bake sale and both girls attended, but they only made $120, which will be split between the six girls that participated. Every little bit helps, but I still have to come up with $460 for uniforms. Of course, dear dad can't afford to help pay for this. My mother said that she would help me with it, so hopefully that works out.

My house is still not rented out, for a lot of reasons, most of which have to do with the man being out of town quite a bit the last month. There are some things we still need to do to get it ready, and with the kids, school, and work, it was almost impossible for me to get the things done. (Besides the fact that I have no idea how to hang a door or other things of that nature) The house is getting listed as ready to rent next week though. Hopefully it will get rented out quickly so I can at least have the mortgage covered via rent so that will be one less thing for me to worry about.

One thing that I am actually happy about is that I kept my $1000 buffer in my checking account. For a while I was thinking about using half of it towards debt, but since the GI Bill money hasn't come in yet, I am very happy that I decided to keep the entire $1000 in the bank. If I had not done that, I would have been in a very big bind, having to use part of the Emergency Fund to cover bills, groceries, and gasoline.

I had really thought that I would be able to get Capital One paid off by the end of July, but with the way things are looking, I am not sure if that is really going to be a possibility. If work picks up a bit, I may still be able to knock out a pretty big chunk and if my mom can help with the cheer uniforms it may happen, but I am looking at my projection moving out to August.

Which just brings up more issues since August is back to school and the girls will need school supplies and other back to school shopping essentials. They do not necessarily need a ton of new clothes for the start of the school, but they will need new fall clothing shortly thereafter, so it might be better to buy the clothes during the back to school sales and tax free days rather than waiting.

Well, I have rambled on enough for one night. I promise I will post more often. When I post, I seem to keep myself more accountable. As it stands, the month of July is a broke month where I have no money to do anything other than go to work, school, and stay at home. Which may not be a bad thing, but I would prefer to have had some money available for extra debt payments and the dentist.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Whew... it has been a whirlwind since I have returned from Florida. School started back up, started back at work and spending time with the man, children and unpacking has taken up a lot of time. Throw into the mix that we are also preparing for his son to come for the summer and a lot is going on!

I didn't make my goal of total unsecured debt being below $19,000 in the month of May which is a little disappointing, but I have to take into account that I had the car accident. I did get Mohawk (flooring) paid off in the month of May when the original payoff date was July 21st. (Well, that is when it had to be paid off before the interest started to accrue so paying it off before that date was my goal)

I should still be on track to have Capital One paid off by the end of July. I had hoped to have it paid off in June, a month earlier than my projection, but I am looking at the numbers and I have to tell you, I don't think that is going to happen. However, as long as I make my goal of paying it off in the month of July, I will be tickled pink.

Other than that, not too much going on. I did get my day shift back, at least for this upcoming week, so that is good news financially. Especially since it is the summer and that means work slows down quite a bit and I need all the shifts I can manage just to keep some money in my pocket.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Back from Vacation

Now that I am back from vacation, I have some things to do. Its time to get back down to doing business!

I am happy to report that Mohawk (my kitchen floors) has been paid off. I had gotten the 12 months, zero interest option and it was up on July 21st. I paid it off May 30th, basically a month and a half before schedule. YaY!

Now it is onto getting rid of this Capital One card. I had hoped to have the balance gone by the end of June. I may still be able to make that happen, but it is looking more like July before it will be gone. Of course, that information is not going to deter me from doing everything I can to get the balance gone this month!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Oh, Vacation....

Just taking a break from the vacation fun to post. Exactly what, I am not sure, but I feel the desire to watch the letters form on the screen as I type, so here we are.

The weather is beautiful down here, although it was raining yesterday. Raining until we finally went to the store to buy some board games for the kids to play who were stuck inside. After we bought the games, wouldn't you know the clouds broke apart, the sun started to shine, and not a sprinkle since? It's all cool though. We bought CLUE and that is a game we can totally take with us back home and play. Oh, and Hannah Montana UNO. You do get the best of both worlds that way, you know.

The beach is great - although the little one decided today she isn't getting back into the water ever again because it is TOO SALTY. Oh, the horror of salt water in your mouth! Precisely why momma hasn't gotten into the water. That and the fact that it is only 71 degrees. (The water, not the air)

The pool, however, is great no matter how much water gets into your mouth. You can jump off the side and take a noodle into the deep end, even though at 7 years old you still don't know how to really swim because your mother must be neglecting your development. I mean, it doesn't matter that you live in the WIDE. OPEN. PLAINS. Or that there isn't a pool available to teach you how to swim. Mommy dearest is ruining your life by not teaching you how to swim, thus making it impossible for you to get to the deep side without the aid of a floatation device. As the mother, I am totally oblivous to how this is truly affecting you. Hey, I didn't teach your 10 year old sister how to swim either, and she seemed to have learned how just fine all by herself.

Also, both children believe that their mother is trying to rub their precious skin off of their bodies with this horrible invention called sunscreen. It doesn't matter that you see all these people around you with horrifically red skin. Or that your mother says repeatly, "It isn't skin cancer that I am worried about! I don't want to hear you complaining for the rest of the trip about your skin hurting!" This thing called sun screen needs to just go away and you should be allowed to get as burnt as you wish. This is America, after all. You are a free people! (Yes, the 10 year old did tell me this. Oh, if I weren't her mother I would have just laughed and laughed. Instead, I got grandma to hold her down as I lathered the sunscreen on even more. We thought about using restraints, but figured if we did the cops would be knocking on the door)

But really, we are having a great time. It is nice to spend time with my parents and the girls all at once.

Even if on the drive down here my mother called me on my cell phone to tell me that they were not going to try to keep up with me because they didn't want to get a speeding ticket.

I was going 69 miles an hour in a 70 miles per hour zone. On the interstate.

Tomorrow we are going to go watch the sun rise on the beach. It's sure to be beautiful, but that is really way to early for me. Is 7 a.m. too early to take a nap? I sure hope not.........

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Leaving for vacation

Got the rental car. A Mazda 5. It is like a mini-mini van. It's OK and I am sure happy to have a set of wheels I can drive around, but it sure makes me look like a soccer mom. Which is good fun for everyone else to tease me about, but on June 5th, when I get my sexy mom car back I will all the happier.

In other news, I am leaving today for Florida. Actually, I should be leaving in about an hour. Everything is packed, just waiting for the girls to get out of school.

Lucky for me, I don't watch the weather channel, so no, I don't know that it is raining in Florida and its forecasted to rain the first three days we are there. Since it is sunny here, that means it is sunny everywhere, right? Right.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Get into a car accident. Ever. Especially when trying to get out of debt.

Thankfully everyone is okay and no one even sustained minor injuries. But the car? Poor baby.

So, it'll cost me $500 for the deductible. The rental car coverage only covers 80% and only up to $500, so I should have to come out of pocket no more than $150 for that.

Oh and that pesky citation I got from the friendly police officer who was most kind to not mention my awesome High School Musical pajama pants. (Hey, I was just running the kids to school! I had already dropped them off, thank goodness!)

Not really sure how the wreck happened. I applied the brake. The brakes did not stop the car in time. I started to apply them in what should have been ample time to stop the car. When the car wasn't stopping, I pumped them harder. I heard the tires squeeling. At that moment, I knew I was going to hit someone's car - either the one stopped in front of me or the one coming towards me in the oncoming traffic lane. I guess you could say I choose to hit the car in front as opposed to swirving into oncoming traffic.

In the big scheme of things, the damage is not too terrible. My car will go into the shop June 1st (the fastest they can get to it) and should be available for pickup on the 5th.

What really sucks is that I am leaving Thursday for the vacation with the parents and I am going to have to drive a rental car down there. I did get unlimited mileage, I would just prefer to drive my own car. But alas, I can't due to the thing being all bent up. So I will stop my whining. I am darn lucky I was on a residential street to start with and that I am not a speed demon. It could have been a lot worse. (I hit the stopped car at about 7 miles an hour. Doesn't sound really fast, does it? Well, 7 miles an hour damages the hood, grill, bumper and the left headlight.)

Oh me oh my. What is a girl going to do? I was hoping to be able to make it into the $18,000's by the end of this month, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen now. :( Bummer. At least I don't have to add to the debt, though. Which is always a great thing.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Getting my house ready to rent...

Since I have moved out of my house and into my boyfriend's house, which is now refered to as "our" house, I need to do something with MY house. I have decided to rent it out. I would say it is because of the current housing market, but really, it is more to do with the sentimental attachement I have to my house. It was the first house I ever owned. It was the house I brought my babies home from the hospital to nestle in their cribs. It is the house that has had 7 different kitchen colors since I purchased it in 1998.

Yeah, I kinda miss living in that house. :( Although, fortunate for my boyfriend, I don't miss it enough to keep living there.

So, we have decided that instead of selling the house, we will just rent it out. Which actually could be a great financial move. The house is structurally sound, and most major repairs have been done within the last 5 years. (New roof, siding, A/C work, Appliances)

My mortgage on this house is only $345 a month, which includes taxes and insurance. (I bought the house in 1998, when housing was super duper cheap in this area. It is appraised for almost triple what my purchase price was 11 years ago.) But, as with all things, time has increased not only the cost of owning a home, but rent prices as well. Homes in my neighborhood that are being rented are being rented for between $600-$700 a month.

But, this means that all those minor repairs that I have been putting off because I can live with them and some cosmetic work that needed to be done needs to happen before I can rent out the house. Its nothing minor, really. Actually, watching HGTV shows such as "Design to Sell" has shown me that for a mere $2,000, you can honestly make a huge difference in price. Of course, I am not selling nor do I need to stage the home in order to rent it, but you get the idea.

To be honest, when I moved back into the house after returning from Germany (I rented the house out during that time as well) there were some things I just hadn't gotten around to. Like repainting the bedrooms. Yes, I lived with nail hole patches on my bedroom walls for 2 and half years. No big deal.

So, the last 3 days I have been painting. It looks good. I picked a lovely almond neutral color. Instead of replacing the doors which took a major beating while I was in Germany, I am doing some patching work and painting them all white, to include the closet doors. It is amazing how much better it all looks. I am kinda sorry I put off all the work until now.

But, so far I have spent $200 in paint and supplies. Oh, and carpet cleaning solution. I already own a carpet cleaner, so I am cleaning the carpets myself. I did an outstanding job if I do say so myself!

I am thinking that with about $200 more put into the house, I should be able to rent the house out for $700 fairly easily.

So that is the plan.

* I say I have spent, but I should say my boyfriend has spent. He is such a doll. Now, if he could only spend some money on getting the A/C Fixed!!!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


That's the estimated cost of repairing this A/C unit. Urgh.

Come to find out though, after TWO licensed A/C guys from different companies came out to look at it, the unit was improperly installed. Oh, and the home inspector guy? Yeah, he should have totally wrote on the Home Inspection "IMPROPERLY INSTALLED UNIT" or "IMPROPER CLEARANCE" or something to that effect.... not "Water in pan". Duh, that is what the pan is there for!

I am so upset about this I feel like I am about to cry. Although it is not MY house, (meaning, my name is not on the mortgage as of yet) we JUST moved in less than 3 weeks ago. Actually, we are still moving stuff from my house into this house. (Sure, it is taking longer to move, but we aren't paying for a moving truck, moving men, or having tons of boxes once we are done. We are using plastic tubs that we already have, loading them up and emptying them and repeating the process. Not totally fun, but the cost is minimal and we aren't using thousands of trees)

But anyway - neither myself nor my boyfriend have 12 grand to pay for this. Even together, we don't have the money for this. And, with his son coming next month, we are going to have increased expenses of food and daycare for the summer months.

This is just poop. Absolute poop. I guess we need more in our Emergency Funds.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Not even totally moved in yet...

and we are having an Air Conditioning problem.

Now, I don't know if you have ever been to Southwest Oklahoma at this time of year, but I am here to tell you, it is HOT. As in, it is the first week of May and it was 95 degrees today. I don't care how many windows you open, it is freaking HOT. Ditto for fans. I mean, they help, but it is still miserable.

So, the guy from the Home Warranty place comes out to look at the unit. Oh yeah, he says, this is the house that was DENIED A/C Warranty coverage with the previous owner because of the placement of the A/C unit. (It is in the attic, it can't drain properly and you can't get to it to work on it because of the rafters/placement. Whoever put it in was an idiot!)

He continues to talk to us.... about how the last people who owned the house knew about the problem, were told how much it would cost to correct the problem - who exclaimed there was no way they were paying that much when they were getting ready to move!

So OK... here we go.... there was a home inspection, done through the real estate company. Boyfriend was out of state at time of inspection/sale at a military school. Real Estate company told him everything was fixed. I looked through all of the mortgage paperwork today, and it states that no repairs are needed on the dwelling. No repairs needed my ass.

The unit is leaking. Through the ceiling. The technican guy said last time he came into this house, the ceiling was on the FLOOR. Oh great.

He said something about the quote for the last people was about 12 grand to fix the problem.

Now, I don't know what happened when the house was bought. He needs to look through some more paperwork. He says he does not recall anything about the A/C needing repairs. That is something you kinda remember. Hell, I bought my house 11 years ago and I still remember what three things the inspector said needed to be fixed.

In the meantime, I am sitting in the dark, with two fans blowing on me. I am sure we will figure something out, but this being hot really sucks.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I have decided to take the girls to Florida with my parents for vacation. Since we live 700 miles away from my parents and rarely get to see them, I feel that is important to make the trip, even if it does interfer a bit with my debt payoff plans. People first, right?

Luckily, I just received $345 in child support from my ex-husband's garnished tax return. This greatly helps me meet my required earnings for the expenses of the month of June, since I will be taking off of work some days and won't have any income.

Also, since I am moving, I went ahead and shut off the cable. This means I won't get billed in the month of May, since my billing date is on the 18th. Actually, I should get some of that money back from the last bill. I have the utilities set to shut off on the 15th, that way we can still see when we are moving, have water and power and steam clean carpets and clean, and have some AC because it is freaking HOT.

But still, this means that my utilities should be lower than what I have budgeted, which would be a huge help as well.

In all, things are still going in the right direction. I may have to slow down speed a little bit, but perhaps not. It really all depends on how much I make the rest of my shifts this month. I am still working towards having my total credit card debt balance down to $18,999. I am just going to have to be more creative than originally thought!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Still moving....

We have been moving about two loads a day for the last few days. Things are coming together. We have the big stuff and most of the kitchen stuff moved in, as well as the majority of the girls' things. (Well, what they want. The rest of it is probably getting pitched out somewhere) We also moved all the Holiday decorations. YaY! Because that is important... having Christmas decorations moved in May. (Really, since they were already boxed and all, it was easy to just grab them and go....)

One of the benefits of moving at a slower pace like this is that we are not living either A) out of boxes or B) with boxes all around. Every time we make a moving trip, everything we bring gets put in its new place before we move on to another load. It is nice to not walk around tripping over boxes.

Plus, since it is a slower process, my mental state can keep up. It isn't as overwhelming. I am not going to lie, Saturday I started having some panic attacks. This is the first time in my entire adult life that where I am living is not MINE.

So, off I go to pack a couple more boxes to move over this afternoon before the big load this evening. (We will move a truck plus a car load after he gets off of work this evening)

Did I mention that I now have a walk-in closet? Yes. How fabulous!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Starting to move...

Slowly we are starting to move.

Meaning, I have brought some clothes over to the house, as well as some of the girls clothes and toys.

I am remembering how much I hate to move. It is such a non-fun thing to do. And, in reality, this would be my first true move the entire house on my own move. Every other time, the military paid people to come pack everything up, box it, move it to the truck and then bring it all back into the house on the other end of the move. Sure, I unpacked all the boxes, but that isn't so horrible when you haven't seen your stuff for months....

But anyway.... onto the moving. We are not going to be using a packing service, because we don't want to spend the money on moving things a half mile down the road. Which makes sense, but I am wondering if he is going to be able to deal with my whining when it comes down to it.

I certainly hope so.

So now, onto moving a few more things before it is time to get ready to go to work. Blah!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tips for being successful

Today in my Television Field Production class, we went over attributes that an inspiring broadcaster/independent film producer must have in order to be successful.

I got to thinking about them, and most of these are things that anyone must have in order to be successful at, well, anything.

1. Continous motivation - You have to want to do it!

2. Personality - a sense of professionalism.

3. Creativity - generating good ideas on demand. Otherwise known as brainstorming

4. Knowledge and Skills - You have to have knowledge about what it is that you are doing and the skills to make it happen

5. Willingness to sacrifice for your goals

6. Realibility and Ability to make deadlines

7. Ability to adapt to new technology

The more I think of it, the more I believe that in order to be successful at anything, you must have these traits. The same is true for debt payoff.

As with everything, visualizing the end result IS the beginning. It is part of reverse planning. It is asking the question, "How do I get there (where you want to be) from here?"

Work schedule change

Well, some things are changing at my place of employment.

My normal schedule was three nights (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday - all big nights) and a Tuesday day shift (nothing spectacular, but I usually pulled in about $100 each Tuesday)

For some reason, my boss is cutting everyone's shifts down from four shifts a week to three shifts a week. I personally think she (the boss) is trying to keep people from wearing down so fast. (The bar business isn't as easy as one may think. It is oh-so-very-easy to get burnt out)

For me, that means that I am losing one shift a week, basically 4 to 5 shifts (depending on the month) a month.

I am still keeping all my night shifts, just losing the day shift. But that does mean that I am losing out on $400 to $500 a month.

On the bright side, I will have more time available to me for school and the girls. Which is actually pretty nice. It means that the girls may actually be able to participate in some school sports and I might actually get to see a school play once in a while.

But the thought of losing $400-$500 a month is kinda scaring me. I have to relook at the budget and see where else I am going to cut back. This also means that I have to look at my debt repayment goals and readjust them to be more realistic yet still challenging. It may push my projected credit card debt freedom back, which is very disappointing.

Of course, I could just look at this as another challenge. I like challenges. I like to compete. Most of all, I like to win. One of the tips of being successful is the willingness to sacrifice some things NOW for the completion of your goals.

I need to look at what I am going to sacrifice. There are still things in the budget that could be cut. I need to get to cutting them.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


By the end of May, my total credit card debt will be down to $19,336.

That's OK.

I would prefer it to be down to $18,999. That's in the EIGHTEEN THOUSANDS BABY!

I am challenging myself to come up with an extra $337 in the month of May. Of course, my budget is already set at a zero balance for the month, but there are still things that may come in that I do not include in the budget until I actually receive them.

Like child support, for instance. I would love to say that I receive each and every month in a certain amount on a certain date, but the fact is that I do not. Therefore, I do not include any child support in the budget until I actually receive it.

I am also hopeful that what I have budgeted for utilities is more than the actual amount like last month. It may not be a whole heck of a lot of difference, but each and every dollar will make a difference.

Plus, with some time off of school between Spring and Summer semesters, I can go through some of this crap (I mean, wonderful things taking up all the space in my garage!) and start listing them for sale via Ebay, cosignment shops, and possibly a garage sale, although they may have to wait until June.

So, today I start the challenge of finding an extra $337 this month to get that total debt down to $18,999!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Grocery Trip

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping. Since he is Active Duty, he decided to take me to the commissary instead of the usual grocery store.

Let me just say that somehow I had forgotten how much cheaper the commissary really is compared to other stores. When I started looking at prices, I was seriously raising my hands to the sky.

The bill was $195. We got more food than we would have gotten at the usual grocery store for less than what the normal grocery bill would have been at the usual grocery store.

I am pretty excited that not only did I spend less money than I normally would have, but I also got almost twice as much food.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


As of tonight, my total credit card debt sits below $20,000!

That's right, my credit card debt is ONLY (Cough cough) $19,933!!!

I never thought I would be so excited about this, but man, I am doing happy dances all around the house!!!

Only $934 until that number goes below $19,000.

Can you feel the excitement?!?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ebay, cosignment shop, or Yard Sale?

As I am looking through all of my belongings, I am realizing like most people that I have way more than I need. I have way more than I really want. I certainly have more than I can effectively store in the space I have available.

So, I have been thinking of the Big three - Ebay, Cosignment Shops, and Yard Sales.

I reach the biggest potential auidence at Ebay - but also get stuck with paying fees if items do not sell. That is not very inticing to me.

Cosignment shops - There is one "upscale" cosignment shop in the town I live in. It is actually a very nice place. The owners basically made it into a boutique of cosigned brand name Women's clothing. It is an adorable place that gets high traffic patterns. The only fee you pay is when an item sells, but it is half the selling price. Oh, and you don't get to price your items, the manager does all the pricing. Still, since I have tons of brand name clothing in perfect condition (a good portion with the tags still attached - urgh) I could potentially still make a decent amount of money even with the 50/50 split. Certainly have a better chance selling the clothing there then I do at choice number three which is:

Yard Sale/Garage Sale - What can I say about these? There is a lot of work involved in having a yard sale. More importantly, in order to have a yard sale on a weekend, I would have to take a night off of work. Which means that I would end up losing money. Unless I can get the wonderful boyfriend to wake up early with the yard sale on a Saturday morning, letting me sleep in until about 11, and then I get up and let him go take a nap. That would be so awesome of him. If that is possible, then it may be worth the effort of having a yard sale to get rid of things OTHER than clothing. (In my opinion, the only clothing worth having out at a yard sale is children's clothing)

Most likely I will use all three of these options for different items to maximize my results.

Only $67 until...

My total credit card debt gets below $20,000!

I still have three working shifts left in this month, so hopefully I can get the total debt down closer to $18,000 than $20,000.

I will have to say that I am pleased with my progress, although I would like to be doing better. But, I still do have a budget, and as of right now, my May budget is zero balanced. (I went ahead and submitted a payment to Capital One after I zero balanced the funds I currently have, after all the other bills, minimum debt payments, and sinking funds were funded. I have the money deposited into my checking account already, so there is no reason to keep the money there when I am paying interest to Capital One)

Since everything else is funded, everything I make the next three working shifts is going straight towards the Capital One Debt.

Since I am so close, I am considering what debt to attack next. I know the basic principle would be the next smallest debt, to keep the momentum going. But I keep looking at this Providian debt, which is costing me over $200 a month in interest alone and I really feel ill. I don't want to pay over $200 in interest to one freaking credit card!

If I go with the smallest to largest balance, my next debt would be Chase Disney, currently sitting at $2,485. If everything goes according to my projected plans, I could have that debt paid off by the end of July. That is a pretty big goal and to be honest, not one that I am quite sure I can make. But it would be a challenge and part of this process is to keep challenging myself to reach higher.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When the weather turns warm....

I end up at Home Depot.

I know not why I do this. But it seems to be a pattern. For years, when the weather ends up being warm for about 2 weeks, signaling to my inner self that Spring really is here, I end up in the Garden section of the Home Depot.

Today was that day.

I looked and touched everything. I looked at trees, shrubs, flowers, mulch, soil, retaining walls, pavers, fountains, yard decor, picnic tables, cushions, flower bed edging, bamboo bundles (You can use them to cover up chainlinked fences! They are 6 feet tall! They not only cover the yucky chainlink fence, but hide the view of the neighbors gross yards! And they come 16 feet long... all for about $16 a bundle!)

I got a bit of a sunburn, I was outside for so long!

I purchased NOTHING.

I am shocked.

And Proud of myself!

There is so much I want to do with this house. But frankly, as much as the warm weather makes me want to do things outside, I have some things I need to take care of in the INSIDE first.

Like replacing all the broken doors.

Doing something with the bathroom.

Carpets that are 20 years old really do need to go.

And before I can get to any of that, I need to get rid of this debt.

I'm not going to lie, I am throwing a temper tantrum to myself. My inner child is not liking this "You can't buy pretty shrubs, flowers, and bamboo bundles because you racked up credit card debt and now you need to pay it off!"

Plus, I try to tell my inner child, you may be moving within the next 6 months. Why invest all that work and money into something that you aren't even going to enjoy for that long?


Ultimately, I have placed my inner child in time out. Since time out gurus suggest one minute for each year of age, she is in time out for 30 minutes right now. In the meantime, the grown up me is enjoying the sun shining on my face and the smell of the cedar mulch that I *do* have.

Maybe I will get myself a mint julip as well. Nothing beats a mint Julip when you are basically arguing with yourself.

Out Loud.

In front of people.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I am probably not as "gazelle" as I could be.

There are most likely a few things in my budget that I could eliminate for a period of time and I am sure that I could cut costs back in a few areas.

I am looking at these things and deciding exactly what I am comfortable with in "losing" for the overall goal of debt freedom.

I guess I am kinda like Obama; using a magnifying glass and a scapel with a finetooth comb to get rid of expenses that are not really "working".

I feel that slowly vamping up my "gazelle-ness" will be more effective over the long term, rather than cutting everything not necessary all at once. There is only so much any one person can take and getting frustrated with the system is a surefire way of setting yourself up for failure.

This month I am cutting out my landline. I don't use it. Ever. All of my family has the same cell phone company as I do, so mobile to mobile calls are free. Cutting the phone out of my cable bill will save me $23.99 a month. Is that a huge amount of money? Not by any means. But it does add up. $23.99 x 12 = $287.88 per year.

I am also going to be joining the reformed smokers club. Starting in May, I will quit smoking $180 a month via cigarettes. $180 x 12 = $2,160. That is a lot of money. Money that I have been simply wasting, not to mention the horrible health effects. Hell, $2,160 pays off one of my debts!

So, just with those two eliminations next month, I will be having a net savings of $2,447.88 in a 12 month period. Not too shabby.

I plan on also eliminating soda from my grocery budget starting in June. I estimate that I spend about $50 a month in soda products. $50 x 12 = $600. The amount of soda I drink is not only bad for my budget, it is also bad for my teeth and the potential of getting diabetes. My step father is an insulin-dependent diabetic. Has been my entire life. Although he still lives an active life, I know first hand that if I can do anything to prevent getting that disease, I should.

And, that brings the total amount of savings (in a 13 month period, since I am starting a month later with the soda elimination) to $3,251.87.

Looking at the numbers this way certainly does change my perception of how I am spending my money. By simply eliminating these three things from my budget, I will have an extra $3,251.87 to apply towards debt in the next 13 months. Not only will I be financially healthier, I will be physically heathier as well. Which is quite important since I don't have insurance.

In the upcoming months, I am sure I will find a few more things I could live without. Perhaps permenantly, perhaps just for the duration of my debt payoff.

Getting the "I WANT" bug...

I have become ill. I have self diagnosed myself with "IWANTITIS".

It is a horrible disease to have. Some causes of this condition include, but are not limited to:

*Seeing your neighbors newly redone garden and realizing that it is better than your garden.

*Sitting in your backyard and realizing that you really do not like your next door neighbor's backyard decor. (Either of them)

*Watching HGTV home improvement/decorating shows.

*Seeing a cover of Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, or any other home/garden magazine.

*Opening your closet and realizing that it would be so much better to have a closet organization system.

*After steam-cleaning the 20 year old carpets, you realize that some stains are simply there for eternity.

*Looking at your functional, yet asethically displeasing bathroom, and realizing that no matter how hard you previously tried to make it asethically pleasing, the only way it is actually going to happen is to rip everything out and start from scratch.

*Looking into your children's rooms and seeing that there is truly no style, rhyme or reason to the decor. Deciding immediately that this is very sad that your children must sleep in such conditions.

*Since your living room does not have an overhead light, you must use lamps (many of them) to illuminate said living room. After turning on 2 floor lamps, which are, of course, placed behind furniture, you really miss having a light that works via a switch.

*Listening to your 10 year old daughter sing Taylor Swift songs for hours because she does not have a door to close. Instead, she has a curtain rod with hot pink curtains for visual privacy because her door was taken off the hinges due to the fact that the renters tore up the carpet in her room, making use of a door impossible without tearing up the carpet even further.

*Going to get the wet mail out of the mailbox because the mailbox door is broken. So is the stake, for that matter, which causes the mailbox to lean either left, right, forward or backwards, depending on the direction of the wind.

Symptoms of "IWANTITIS" include, but again, are not limited to:

*Mild depression
*Restless body syndrome
*Compulsive window shopping via the internet with the helps of Lowes and Home
*Telling your child for the 1384749857834 time that you have a headache and to please keep it down
*Tearing out pages of home/garden magazines to start your own portfolio of wants
*Contemplating calling the producers of "Clean Sweep" to come take care of your neighbors unsightly yards
*Looking at your budget and seeing if there is anyway you can create a "Home Improvement"fund without extending your debt payoff goals
*Laying wet mail out to dry on a flat surface

A cure for this disease has yet to be found. Some things that can help include:

*Revisiting the budget
*Acknowledging the reasons why you can't immediately purchase the things you want is due to previous carlessness with finances
*Actually create a "Home Improvement" line item in the budget and deciding how much will be allocated to this newly created sinking fund each month
*Actually pricing the things that you want from various sources via the internet
*Prioritizing your list of wants from most important want to least important want
*Giving yourself a pat on the back for not immediately grabbing a credit card and buying what you want
*Congratulating yourself for actually taking time to think things through and creating some type of plan on how you plan on getting the things you want

As you can see, "IWANTITIS" could hit anyone, at anytime. It can be a very dangerous condition in which you spend money that you don't have. If you think you are coming down with "IWANTITIS", it is best that you stay home, or at the very least, out of any place where you could be tempted to buy anything for a while. Hopefully, researches will one day find a cure for this disease which seems to be running rampant among humans.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

To vacation or not vacation..that IS the question....

My parents are such wonderful and lovely people. I love them dearly.

They want to take a vacation. They want me and the girls to go with them. Everything would be paid for, since my wonderful parents have decided that I am not to pay for anything regarding a vacation with them. Unless I really, truly, absolutely feel that I must pay for something, in which case I will be allowed to take everyone out to dinner one night. But even then, if the bill is more than $75, they will pay anything over that amount.

Gasoline getting there? No Problem. Mom will write a check.

What if I need to stop overnight (since it is an 11 hour drive with two children, 10 and 7)? No problem, mom will include that in the check.

Sounds divine, doesn't it?

A week at the beach, paid for, sand between my toes, enjoying watching my children building sandcastles and burying grandpa in the sand.... drinking daiquiri's with my mom after the girls go to bed, enjoying the sea breezes.....

But, I don't get paid vacation.

If I take time off, I LOSE income.

At the current pace of business at my bar, a week off could mean a loss of up to $1400. For ONE WEEK. (Well, 10 days - and that includes two Fridays and two Saturdays)

I really do want to go enjoy time with my parents. I want my children to spend time with their grandparents. They aren't always going to be around. I want my children to have memories with their grandparents.

Of course, I also do not want to lose income. I don't want my debt payment schedule to be pushed back because of a vacation.

I am not really sure what to do in the scenerio. Last year we went, and my mother also included some money in a check to off set my not working. I am pretty sure she would do the same thing this year.

It is something I have to think about. I also have to check with my boss to see if I can even take the time off, due to personnel issues.

I shouldn't be thinking too hard about this. I should just go and enjoy the time with my family.

But darnit, I am looking at this debt and I want it GONE!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Living situation (arrangements)

My boyfriend and I currently live in two seperate houses.

Scratch that. Currently my boyfriend and I pay mortgages on two seperate houses, but we seem to spend all of our time in MY house.

Which is fine with me. It's my house! I love my house! It's mine! (Well, the bank's, but still.....)

Lately we have been discussing moving in together. His house is larger than mine and by larger than mine I mean larger by about 1,500 square feet. Whereas I have 950 square feet of living space (living room, kitchen/dining area, 3 smaller bedrooms, one bathroom, and a one car garage) his house is about 3,000 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 and half bathrooms, two 2 car garages, laundry room, office, 2 living areas and two dining areas.

I have two daughters and he has one son. If (when) we move in together, it will most likely be moving into his house. His son doesn't live with him full time, but he does come every summer and all holidays. It is really important to both of us for his son to have his own space at Dad's house.

Of course, with having two houses, we also have two (or three or FOUR) of, well, everything.

While talking about possibly moving in together, we discussed a bit about what furniture would go and what would stay. I am pretty adament about keeping all of my furniture. Every. Single. Piece. I don't care if it has to stay in a storage unit.

For the most part, he likes my furnishings and has no issues with anything I own. Except for my bed. He wouldn't want me to get rid of the bed, but I have a queen and he has a king and he wants to be a king or something. So fine, my queen bed would just become one of my daughters beds. (He has a queen bed that would be for the other daughter so everything would be 'Fair')

Of course, the biggest part of this would be financially. Although we would be merging households, a bigger house does mean a bigger mortgage and higher utility bills.

I also would not sell my house. I would rent it out. For some reason, I am very attached to this house. It is my 'safe' place. Even when I was not living in it for 2 years due to being assigned to Germany, I still felt safe having this house. I think it is feelings left over from my divorce. Knowing that no matter what, I have a place to go - to live - is a very wonderful feeling. I can't really define it, but I think after the end of that relationship I decided that I would always be able to take care of me and mine.

But anyhoo, as of right now we are just talking about it. Which is good. It is good that we are taking our time and talking about how, if we do this, it is going to work. In the meantime, everytime I do go to his house, I take my shoes off and throw them in his closet. Just to see how something of mine looks there. :)

Holy Smokes!

I went to the dentist this afternoon. I don't have dental insurance, so I have to pay out of pocket totally for dental care. Because of not having insurance, I haven't gone to the dentist in 2 years, since I last had dental coverage.

I expected it cost a pretty penny. But for a cleaning, x-rays, and the dentist basically looking at the x-rays and peeping into my mouth, it was $300!

Not to mention, since I drink soda (tons of it) I have some, shall we say, problem spots. No fear, the dentist says. My bone density is great. I have no decaying between my teeth. It seems I am pretty good at the oral hygeine thing. (I mean, heck, I don't have dental insurance! I brush like 5 times a day!) But, I do have some problem areas.

These problem areas will cost $975 to fix.


Well, good news is that I still have $700 in the dental account. So although I am short, I still have enough to start "phasing" this dental work. The first phase will cost $595. The second phase will cost $380.

Which means, as of right now, I am $275 short of getting all the work done that needs to be done. The second phase won't start until July, so I do have some time to save up the money needed.

Of course, this probably will effect my debt repayment schedule. Unless I can find some creative ways to slash more from my budget, receive some cash money as a gift (or win the lottery!), or find some things to sell in a hurry.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Membership Fee

I checked my Capital One online statement last night and to my suprise, I see a $19 charge for a Capital One "Membership" fee.

Now, I have never had a membership fee with this account, nor do I recall receiving anything in the mail stating that I would start having one.

I am a bit upset about this. I am already paying interest, now they want to get more money from me? Really?

I sent them a message via the website inquiring about this. Since it was about 4 in the morning when I saw the charge, (after I got home from work) I really didn't feel like calling and being put on hold for who knows how long.

I will be calling tomorrow to talk to a live person so they can explain this charge to me.

Thankfully, this debt should be gone no later than July, so if the charge is a monthly one, I will not pay more than 3 months of this fee.

The whole thought of this is making me look at my budget even closer, seeing if there is anyway I can get rid of this debt even faster. There are some things I could look into selling, although I don't know if I can come up with an extra $800 by selling things. But I really want Capital One gone now, more than I did before.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another payment towards Mohawk

I made my May payment towards Mohawk yesterday. This brings the balance down to $261.28.

This also means I am still on track to have this debt paid off before the interest sets in.

Because it was 0% interest until July 17, 2009, I decided to concentrate on Capital One as my target debt. I know it isn't a "math" problem, but I feel better in throwing money towards a debt that is costing me money in interest as long as I get the 0% debt paid off before the interest sets in.

My current balance on Capital One is $1,362. If things go according to plan, I should be able to have this debt killed during the month of June.

This would mean that I would have both Mohawk and Capital One dead by the end of June 2007.

I am getting quite excited about this prospect. I am looking deeper into my budget, seeing if there is any other items I could cut or reduce to try to make this happen faster.

Friday, April 17, 2009

University Debit Card

My university is starting its own debit card. Called the "OneCard" it is supposedly a great way for students to manage their finances.

It is not a credit card. It is a debit card, with a MasterCard logo so it is universally accepted. Instead of waiting for University refunds to be mailed to a student, refunds will automatically just be placed into the student's OneCard account.

Family members can load more money into the account online. All they need is the students ID number and email address.

I am pretty sure this makes things a bit easier for the University. Financial Aid money, book refunds, class refunds and the like will simply be placed into the OneCard account.

This is a no fee checking account - except there are no checks. Debit only. The account has no minimum balance requirements.

At the website, there is actually a page titled "It's my budget and that's that!". On this page, there is a sample budget and an excel spreadsheet you can download to start your budgeting journey. There are other tips and information regarding finances. Although it doesn't go into great detail, it is better than nothing.

I don't know how I truly feel about this. The University is sending one out to all students automatically. If I get any refunds or financial aid, the money will be placed directly into my OneCard account. If I want to get cash out, I must use an ATM and pay the fees associated with that machine. The webpage does not say whether or not the OneCard has its own fees associated with ATM withdrawls.

One thing that I am kinda interested in seeing is how to transfer funds onto the card. In this regard, instead of bringing in thousands of dollars in cash to pay my tuition, I could just transfer the funds onto the card and use the card to pay tuition. (I don't write checks for this purpose because they take a long time to clear - and while waiting to clear, you still can get tuition holds onto your account which makes registering or withdrawing from classes a nightmare)

I guess I will see how this card works for me, personally. I am not really sure how I would use it, unless they have plans to institute a bank on campus for these accounts.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I think I am an overplanner. After years of just paying bills but never really having a spending plan, getting in a lot of debt for not planning ahead for things I knew were coming, I have become a planning queen.

Some of the things I have sinking funds for could probably be cash flowed when the time arises. That is money that I could be applying towards debt, now. However, I am fearful that when the time arises, I will not have the same income I currently have.

I have run numbers through March of next year. If my current income levels stay intact, I could be totally credit card debt free by March of 2010. This would be ideal since my projected graduation date is May 2010. That will be a huge life change.

I don't know how the job market will look a year from now. Hopefully the economy will be growing again. But there is a good possibility that it will not be.

Which brings me to a question. Should I concentrate on becoming debt free before graduation, or at some point should I start beefing up savings in order to survive while looking for employment in my degree field?

This is not a question that I can easily answer. I would like both to happen; be rid of the debt AND have a healthy savings account for when that time comes.

Of course, without the load of credit card debt, it would be easier to survive, even if I had to continue bartending while breaking into the job market in my desired field. Having a healthy savings account would make my new found security gland more peaceful.

For now, I am going to concentrate on paying off debt. I will monitor the economy and as the time draws nearer for graduation, I will determine whether I need to change my focus.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gift Cards

Out of the blue some family members of mine sent us $150 worth of gift cards to Old Navy and Aeropostale. I am very happy to have received these gifts.

Because of this unexpected suprise, I am dropping my clothing sinking fund from the May budget. That's $70 I do not have to concern myself with for the month.

Also, since I budget $70 a month for clothing and I received $150, I am dropping the clothing from the June budget as well.

This month I did spend the $70 I had allocated towards clothing for 3 pairs of shorts and 4 tops for each child. For Easter, my mother sent the girls 2 pairs of shorts and 5 tops plus new bathing suits for the summer as well as a check to buy them some summer shoes. (Shoes are cerainly something that MUST be tried on) So, these gift cards may end up sitting around for a while because the girls don't really need anything right now. As long as I can hold onto them, the more money I can divert to other uses.

Every little bit helps!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I ran some numbers and I need to average $195 a shift to make my May budget goals. This, of course, includes my debt "snowball" I would like to send.

I should be able to average this amount for the rest of my working shifts. If I am off a bit, it will mean that I will not be able to send as much as a snowball. I will pay my four walls first, then fund my sinking funds, then apply the rest towards debt.

As long as I have the budget sinking funds funded, it should stem any reason to potentially need to use the credit cards. Perhaps my snowball will not be as large as I like, but at least I will not be adding to the debt.

Of course, I certainly hope that I make enough to meet my goals.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Going in to pay Tuition

Today I am going in to pay my tuition... with cash.

I saved up the $1,959 I need in order to pay this semesters tuition within the last 2.5 months. This will be the first time I paid tuition in full with cash.

I am a bit excited that I actually managed to save so much money in such a short period of time. Makes me wonder why I needed credit in the first place....

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Electric Bill

Well, this month I had budgeted $60 for my electric bill. This was a good estimate based on past billing cycles for this month in this house.

Imagine my suprise when I got the bill and it was only $47 dollars!

Granted, I have been walking around, turning lights off. I also had to get a new fridge last month (mine went BOOM) so a newer model probably is more energy efficient than my 15 year model. I also have been changing out my lightbulbs as they burn out to the energy saving versions. (Saving energy is cool - but not having to change a lightbulb for years is even cooler! I have some I changed out 2 years ago that are still going strong!)

So, that is even more extra money I now have.

Today I went ahead and sent $150 more towards Capital One. I really wanted to send more, but I am being cautious. It does me no good to send all the eggs just to have to borrow them back!

Happy Easter everyone!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I am having to make some adjustments to the April budget. Not because of overspending, but because I have received some extra funds this month I wasn't expecting, to the tune of $215.

Part of it was a child support payment I was not expecting (I receive child support sporadically so I do not include it in my budget until I actually receive it), part of it was from the GI Bill (last month my payment was $55 less than it should have been), and another $10 or so is from having my actual amounts on household bills being less than the budgeted amounts.

So now I get to decide what I am going to do with some extra money. I am torn between wanting to save it and wanting to throw it straight to debt.

I am thinking about sending half towards debt and keeping the other half to replenish what I had to spend at the doctor last week.

It is rather nice to have some unexpected funds. Especially when I have everything already set up for the month so I don't have to rely on getting unexpected money to meet my obligations and needs.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

May Debt payback goals

So, I am about a month ahead with posting these goals, but since everything I make this month is being saved for next month, I decided to go ahead and write down some goals I have for my money in the month of May. As this month progresses, I will know I am doing towards my goals.

Besides my normal expenses and funding of my envelopes, I have set some Debt payback goals.

Chase: $60
Providian: $307
Discover: $120
Mohawk: $133
Capital One: $700

The first four debts are my normal monthly payments, so no real change there. Mohawk has o% interest until July so paying $133 a month every month brings me to a zero balance in the month of July. So, the debt will be paid and I will have not paid 23% interest on the balance.

The last debt, Capital One, well, that is a pretty hefty goal. I really do not know if I am going to be able to make it. I used earnings numbers from last month to get to that number. However, I have decided that I need to be more specific than "Pay off debt". Sure, I want to pay off debt, but I need something to reach for.

I need specifics. I am more likely to reach a goal if I know *exactly* what I am reaching for, not a general overall goal.

I have decided that if I am going to actually dig myself out of the debt I am in, I am going to have to do this each and every month. I am going to have to challenge myself.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Car Salesmen

A couple of days ago, I received an interesting call from a car salesman from the dealership where I purchased my last vehicle (which was April of 2008).

Here is the gist of the conversation after introductions:

Him: "How is your Altima doing?"

Me: "Great! I love it!"

Him: "That's good. Have you thought about upgrading?"

Me: "My car isn't even a year old yet."

Him: "True, but this year's models are pretty awesome if you would like to take a look at them."

Me: "I am really not thinking about upgrading anytime in the next three years. Last year, the rising fuel and insurance costs brought me in to see about trading in my Pathfinder and the only reason I did end up trading it in is because what I owed on it was less than what trade-in value was, basically giving me a $2,000 down-payment on the Altima. Which means that right now I am wayyyy upside down on the Altima and I have no desire to roll negative equity into a new car loan."

Him: "Well, we are offering dealer incentives that you qualify for since you are such a great customer." (Oh - I love to hear I am a great customer!)

Me: "Are the incentives paying off whatever is owed, no matter what the amount, without rolling over negative equity into the new car loan?"

Him: "Well, no - "

Me: "Are any of the incentives paying tags, title and liscense upfront, NOT rolling it into the car loan? Cause last year I had to pay $1800 for T, T&L."

Him: "Well, no - "

Me: "Then, no, I am really not interested. Sorry!"

Hang up phone.

I know car dealerships are hurting for business right now, but calling someone who has a brand new car already is probably NOT the best way to drum up business. I really do love my car. When I traded in my much loved Pathfinder, I was in tears. But I picked out a car that I would love to drive for at least the next four years.

I know I should keep cars longer than I do. I have a habit of trading in vehicles every three years or so. Actually, the Pathfinder was the vehicle I held onto the longest... 4 years.

But even someone who turns vehicles over at such a rate doesn't do it every year!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today I did some spending at the Dollar General Store. Since I have my envelopes funded seperately, I had two differect transactions at the store. Sure, the people behind me may have been irriated at the extra 1.5 minutes this took; however, my budget is more important that having people wait an extra 1.5 minutes.

Today's trip was to buy some soda pop (totally not good for me, but I am going to buy it anyway, so I may as well get it at the best price!) and some snacks for munching on. This came out of the Grocery fund and the total came to:


The second transaction was for Easter stuff. I just budgeted Easter/Birthday into the Christmas fund. Actually I am going to rename this fund simply to "gifts" since that is what it is, essentially. I got everything that I am giving for Easter, including baskets (I can never find baskets year to year. I really need to be more organized about that this year!) and the total for Easter came to:


That breaks down to a little less than $15.00 per child, including baskets. All of this was not candy, either. They got Hannah Montana Sports Water bottles, jumpropes, High School Musical and Hannah Montana sunglasses to go along with some candy.

So basically I spent $60 today. The rest of this weekend is designated as "NO SPEND DAYS". Each day that I am sucessful, I will budget myself $5 more into the savings category next month. Perhaps I shouldn't be bribing myself, but this early in the game, I know I need something to motivate myself into the right direction!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In relation to what I actually owe, these are the percents in which I owe each creditor. Using the same amount that I owe TODAY, at the beginning of each month I will post the previous month's graph and compare it to the current month's graph. Just another visual reminder that should help me along in my quest.

Children need new clothes

My children are adorable girls, ages 10 and 6 (although the 6 year old will be 7 on April 11th). I wouldn't change a thing about them, except for the fact that they are BOTH hitting growth spurts AT THE SAME TIME.

Clothing can be and has been a huge budget buster for me. For some reason, I believe people, all people, need more clothing than they actually do. Looking into my closet alone can attest to this fact. (In the past six months, I have gotten rid of 10 30 gallon trashbags of clothing and probably still have 10 more to go although I am finding it pretty hard at this point to let go of any more of my clothes. I MIGHT WEAR THAT AGAIN ONE DAY!)

One good thing that I have always done is keep clothes from season to season and keep clothes that the oldest has outgrown for the youngest. One bad thing I have always done is managed to forget which tub clothing is in and get frustrated and just say screw it.

Well, a few months back, I finally cleaned out my garage a good two years after moving into the house. Well, to be honest, my boyfriend started cleaning it up because it was bothering the heck out of him, so I got my butt up off the couch and helped. In doing so, I found all the tubs from years past.

I went through and labeled tubs with sizes and seasons put the tubs in a specific place so I would know exactly where they were.

So, now we are changing seasons. The girls need clothing that is in keeping with the tempertures. In anticipation of this, I had the girls go through the clothing that is in their room and bring out anything that doesn't fit. Clothes that no longer fit the oldest are being put in a tub for use later with the younger child.

Next on the list is taking the clothing that has been stored for this season and having the girls try things on. I have a feeling that not much is going to fit the oldest since she has gone up a size from last summer, but you never know. A lot of it has to do with the cut of clothing, so I am still going to have her try things on. I have a slew of clothing in the youngest's size stored from years past, so I should be good in that department.

After I take full stock of what I have on hand, I will begin the purchasing cycle. Except this time, instead of just looking at retail stores, I am going to look at thrift stores as well. Depending on retail store sales, it may be cheaper to buy clothing brand new than to buy used clothing. I am going to comparison shop to get the most for my money.

As far as what to do with the clothing that does not and will never again fit the youngest, I am still unsure of what I will do with it. I could simply give the clothing to a charity, or I could attempt to sell it via Craigslist or cosignment shop. If I go with Craigslist, I plan on selling it all in a bundle. Even if I get a mere $50 for it all, that is $50 more than I had previously.

I have funded my clothing envelope with $70 this month to supplement the girl's wardrobes. I realize when it comes to clothing that this is not a lot of money, but at least I budgeted something towards the known expense than nothing at all. That is progress. Also, since I am at a zero based budget, I have to work within the $70 amount. By comparison shopping, purchasing only things that are needed and utilizing what I already have, I should have enough set aside.