Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving along

Well, things are sorta becoming pretty routine. Housewise, anyways.

We are still using the monthly menu. We had to go to the store last week for milk, some fruits, and bread... and only spent $20. That was awesome! We still have $25 left in the grocery budget for the remainder of this month and it looks like we are going to be right on target.

Still waiting on my tax return, which I will probably be waiting on for a while. Oh well. When it comes, I already have a plan for what to do with it!

Now I am planning on attacking the next bill in the pile, which is Target. Only $777 left on that card and it is done! My plan for this debt is to send in a $50 payment each week, on top of my minimum payment and my "snowball" payments from the smaller two debts that I just killed. It should take somewhere between 2-3 months to get this debt killed as well. I feel up to the challenge!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Well, I am happy to report that I have finished my taxes!

Unfortunately, when I was attempting to E-File, I used the wrong signature PIN. I know what my PIN is supposed to be, but I think that I accidently typed in my PIN to my online information for college. Which, of course, means that my E-File was rejected.

When I attempted to go back and fix my misguided PIN, H&R Block online would not allow me back to the signature page. Oh, the frustration!

So, I had to actually get a shiny new stamp and MAIL my tax forms to the IRS. Which means, instead of receiving my refund in about 10 days, I get to wait about 5-7 weeks. Urgh.

But, I am happy to report that I will be receiving approximately $6,700 from the oh-so-wonderful federal government.

Before anyone yells at me about not paying enough throughout the year, let me just say that I qualify for the Earned Income Credit and Child Credits and Dependent Care Credits (or are they called something else? I don't know!) which means that this is all money that I NEVER paid into "the system". And the Government wonders why it's broke? Well, I am sure there are a lot of reasons, but giving people thousands of dollars that they never paid to the tax man to begin with may have a *little* something to do with it.

But, oh well. I didn't write the tax code or the tax law, so, well, I will be receiving the funds.

Which, of course, I already have plans for.

For starters, I need to go back to the dentist. So $600 of those funds are being diverted to my dental fund to finish my dental work I got started a year ago. Before I ran out of money in the fund and then lost my job. YaY! What fun!

Next, it is getting to be Spring/Summer time, which means the children are going to need appropriate attire to wear that actually fits them. So, there goes another $500.

The rest will go towards paying off the debts, smallest balance to largest balance. I can get two more debts paid off in full, and part of the third debt on the list. That will leave me only two debts left.

Yes, I could take the money I am using for clothing and apply it towards debt, but one, the children do need clothes and two, even though $500 is not that much to pump back into the economy, at least it is something to put back in the coffers of the retail industry which needs money just like every other business.

I am hoping that by using the snowball method, (using the minimum payments on the 4 dead debts towards the next on the kill list) and paying my extra $200 on top of that, I should be on track to having all this debt paid off next year at tax time (with the hopes of getting a decent tax return like this year). Then all the non-secured debts will be paid off - then I can get to work on paying off my vehicle. Oh joy.

But, there is a potential end in sight! I love when I can see light at the end of this long, dark tunnel! There may be a future out there for me financially after all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Saints win the Superbowl!!!!!

And I paid off another bill!!!!!

To be technical, I already posted my debt balance with the bill paid early in the month. However, the check has cleared, (or the online bill pay system has finally hit my account) so it is official!

These two bills I have paid off are "minimal" to my overall debt load... each being under $250. But they certainly did not start off at that amount.

When I lost my job, debt snowballing kinda came to a standstill for me. I was fearful of not making enough money to pay even the minimums, so I was paying the minimums and holding onto the extra cash I had each month in case the income the following month wasn't enough.

In November, I decided to put an extra $200 a month towards one of the debts. Was it as high as I could have snowballed? NO. But it was as high as I was willing to go with my always changing monthly income.

So, although I still have a long way to go, these two victories are sweet.

But nothing is sweeter this week than the New Orleans Saints winning the Superbowl!

Being born and raised in New Orleans, being a Saints fan was not even a question. Of course I am a Saints fan. Year after year... with some good seasons and a lot of bad seasons, I still rooted for my team no matter what. There was still a belief that THIS year, (year after year after year) was the year that everything would come together.


And perhaps I am seeing more into it than simply a football team winning a championship.

I am seeing, and witnessing, first hand that with a game plan, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Head Coach Sean Payton said in an interview that when he came to the Saints organization, he had a four year plan to get to the Superbowl. And that they were right on track.

It didn't matter that for 38 years the team had stumbled. What mattered was that he envisioned a brighter path for the organization, and went about making changes to make it happen.

With patience and discipline and, let's face it, some gutsy play-calls, the entire team has shown that you CAN do it.

With a team filled with a lot much like the Land of Misfit Toys - tons a free agents that no one wanted - players coming off of injuries that should have never played again - players that were shunned by other organizations - the Saints focused on what they COULD do and do WELL.

It doesn't matter that in my financial past I have stumbled. What matters is that with a game plan that focuses on the things I CAN do - things that I CAN control - I, too, can arrive on top.

I can persevere. I can overcome my own obstacles. It may take time, dedication, discipline and sacrifice (even head coach Payton took a paycut so he could get the Defensive Coordinator he wanted) I can become debt free.

Perhaps that is as far from football as you can get. But the Saints have shown the world a very important lesson that we can all take and shape to fit our own circumstances.

For now, I will enjoy my city's celebration of being "Champions". All while I work and strive to become victorious over my seemingly defeated past financial blunders to become my own "Super Financial" Champion.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Menu Planning

So far this month... (Yes, I realize that we are only 5 days into the month, lol!) our menu planning has worked out well. We have stuck to the menu, ate the left overs on left over night and have grocery shopped according to the list that was made from..... the MENU!

Another great part of the menu is that the last couple of days, we have lost the "What are we going to eat for dinner?" stress. The night before I take out the meat to defrost for the next night. When we get home from school and work, the menu is right there, telling me what it is that I am making. Because I wrote the menu with our school/work/extra-curricular activities in mind, I am not trying to cook something that takes 2 hours when I only have 30 minutes.

So, although we have only been doing it for 5 days, it seems to be working out well for my family. The children love being able to look on the fridge door and see what they are having for dinner. It is something that I plan on doing every month from here on out.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Who Dat!?!?

The check cleared today for one of the bills. Which means one of the bills is dead and gone!!!!! Excited!!!!!!!

I'll post another update later this evening! WHO DAT!?!?!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paying bills, Paying bills....

I just got finished paying the bills for the month of February. Yuck. But, at least it is done!

Good news is that I have enough buffer in my checking account currently to cover all the bills until the end of March. Which is totally groovy with me!

Yesterday I sat down and made a dinner menu for the entire month of February. Then I went through the cupboards and made a list based off of what I actually needed. Today I went to the grocery store and got practically everything on the list for $110.42. Now, I didn't purchase any of the meats that are on the menu (save for the hotdogs for hotdog night and sausages to put in the Jambaylaya) because we get meat from the commissary where it is a bit cheaper.

My overall goal for the menu planning was to keep dinners to $2.00 per person per meal or less. I am happy to report that with the menu planning, I have been able to do that! (Of course, some nights may be more than 2 dollars per person - but other nights are way under 2 dollars.... so it all averages out!)

Other than that, not too much else going on. Oh, except for the fact that the New Orleans Saints are in the Superbowl. Yes. I am so excited I can barely stand it! WHO DAT!?!?!?!?