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Monsters University

July 7th, 2013 at 09:56 pm

We went to see this movie today. Now we rarely go out to movies. We saw Wreck it Ralph at Downtown Disney, but that was a special Disney blog promotion and free to us. But before that, I think the last movie we paid to see was Toy Story 3, so that tells you how often we go.

We saw the matinee, which was $7.75, $2 cheaper than the regular showing. And we didn't choose 3D which would have been an additional $2 charge. But yes we did get popcorn and soda.

So not a frugal afternoon, but it was fun, and it was a great movie.

Intro (again) & NSD

July 1st, 2013 at 09:23 pm

I've been lurking way too long. I love reading the posts, it inspires me, but I guess not enough to post myself. I am a homeschooling mom of a 8th and 10th grader, we live in central Florida (moved here 2 years ago from Wisconsin)and hubby works from home full time (brought his job with him when we moved).

Today is a NSD, but I did finalize what I need to purchase for curriculum for next year. Its going to be close to $700 but what can you do? We took our children out of public school because, well frankly they stink. Certainly was a shock because the schools in Wisconsin are great but here, not so much.

Need to sit down and figure out the budget for the rest of the summer.

Free Kindle book

January 28th, 2013 at 01:51 pm


The title is: How To Manage Your Money When You Don't Have Any by Erik Wecks I have not read it, so I can't say if its good or bad, but thought I'd post the link here.

School Expenses

August 23rd, 2012 at 08:00 pm

My daughter started high school this week, and of course there were fees that went along with it. Thought I'd post them here.

$30 Ipad rental fee
$5 Freshman class fee
$20 Science lab fee
$39 Chorus fee (dress rental, necklace & ipad app)

So far that's it. She needed 3 notebooks and 2 binders, but I had those in my school supply stash. I will need to buy her a new pair of dress shoes for chorus recitals, and then the yearbook is $55.

airline tickets

May 27th, 2012 at 07:41 pm

We need to order airline tickets to travel back to Wisconsin for our son's wedding next month. It's been sort of touch and go as to whether we'd able to afford the trip, which is why they haven't been ordered yet.

I am just wondering if anyone out there knows of a site to buy cheaper tickets? We know about kayak.com, expedia, travelocity, etc. we've checked BJs but it wasn't cheaper through them.

Any other ideas?

Daily Expenses Challenge- Day 1-4

April 4th, 2012 at 09:13 am

April 1:

$28.86: pants for hubby for business trip
$58.99: Walmart

April 2:

$10.52: Hubby's meal in Wisconsin. Will be reimbursed through work

April 3:

$28.24 groceries
$23.60 gas (not a full tank)
$70.74 cc payment
$10 sunpass (prepaid tolls)

April 4:

$25 dr co-pay

10 cents at a time

April 2nd, 2012 at 07:23 pm

One of the survey sites I do surveys through is JD Power, and they give you 10 cents if you start a survey but don't qualify for it. While I'm appreciate of the ten cents (I know they don't have to give me anything), it does get a little frustrating after awhile when you only earn ten cents here and ten cents there. So far I've earned $19.45: $5 of it was just for joining. I've qualified for 6 surveys (out of 50) so not a great average. I need to make it to $25 before I can redeem. I am wanting to earn enough Amazon gc to buy a Kindle but obviously its not all going to happen on this site.

My goal is to get the Kindle completely free. My credit isn't good enough to qualify for the rewards credit cards that Chase offers so I need to do it through survey sites. I don't want to spend money on it, because I don't know how often I'd use it. I am more of a book person, as in holding the actual book and turning the pages. But I can see the advantages of the Kindle. We'll see how long this takes!

ING Direct

March 9th, 2012 at 08:40 pm

Who has experience with them? I am thinking of opening an online savings account, but they require you to link your checking account, and I'm just a little nervous doing that.

Bank Deleted My Account

January 25th, 2012 at 08:25 pm

Without warning. I logged on online as I always do, and one of my checking accounts is missing. Now I'm not too concerned, because we had no money in it. We opened it in September, and we had until November to set up the direct deposit. Which we haven't done yet for various reasons, so there was a negative balance of -23 in there due to monthly service fees. We hadn't used it in a couple of months. I guess I'm more upset they closed it without warning, because what if I had set up direct deposit in there? I'm going to wait until tomorrow to see if it's still missing then deal with it.

Yesterday NSD Today Disney

January 20th, 2012 at 07:15 am

But it really isn't as bad as it sounds. We live close to Walt Disney World, have annual passes, and when we go rarely buy food and drink. We are able to bring in our own snacks and beverages, and time it so we leave after lunch and then plan on eating a late dinner. It works out well.

I don't think today will be a NSD, because we need groceries, but that should be the only output of money. Oh, and gas in the car.

Trying This Again

January 18th, 2012 at 07:00 pm

I have good intentions of blogging but then I never seem to do it. I love reading other posts, because they really do inspire me, but it never seems to go much farther than that. I have the "spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" type of thing going on.

So I will start by confessing that I do not have a written budget, I do not have an EF, and I am probably one step away from disaster. But still life goes on.

My goal for this year is to pay off my credit card bills and set up an EF. But yeah, I have no game plan as to how to reach this goal. So I figure the best place to start is by blogging here.

Ideas Needed to Build EF

September 23rd, 2011 at 07:41 am

Hello all. I don't think I've blogged since before we moved to Florida. We arrived safe and sound, but the car we put so much money into before we left finally died on Sunday, so now we have a car payment. *Dislike* but what can you do? A car is a necessity here.

Because of the move, our savings account was pretty much depleted, and we need to build it up again.

I am looking for ways to build up the EF. I am available during the hours when my kids are in school, but need to home when they come because my son has autism and needs me here. Babysitting is out because my husband works from home full-time and he can't have kid noises in the background.

I've considered freelance writing work. I'm a good writer, but I have absolutely no experience in it nor a degree in journalism or English, so I'm not even sure if I could get a gig doing that.

So I am looking for ideas, good survey sites you use, etc. We've pretty much sold everything we could on Craigslist before we moved here so that's not an option. I've looked for a part time job in the area but no one is hiring. I've looked into working for Disney, but you need full availability 2-3 days a week, and with us only having one car, and living 50 min away from WDW, it wouldn't work out for taking the kids to and picking up from school. And we can't afford the expense of 2 cars right now.

I'd really like to pursue the freelance writing thing; I get job postings for different assignments on Facebook, but I'm not sure what the best route to take would be for that.

3 days 17 hours to go

July 18th, 2011 at 09:50 pm

I notice my 2-yr blog-o-versary was July 15, and once again I've missed it :-) We are moving to Florida this Friday; it's hard to believe it's finally here. We've got some big expenses coming up, and really I'll be glad when this move is all over with and we can get back to normal. Our new normal :-)

We've been able to get rid of at least 60% of our belongings. You wouldn't be able to tell that from the pile of boxes in my house, but I shudder to think how many boxes there would be if we had kept it all. We will be paying $3400 to move from Wisconsin to Florida, but we will get a refund if our weight is below what was calculated, so I'm really hoping that's the case.

We've lost a lot of money in car repairs--well I shouldn't say "lost" but you know what I mean. We brought the car in last month expecting to pay around $300-$400 and spent $900. Then a couple of weeks ago we had to bring it in again and spent another $450. I'm thankful we had the money, but it was money that was earmarked for furniture, so I'm afraid we won't be able to replace a lot at first. I'm not even sure mattresses for the kids will happen at this point for a couple of weeks. They may have to get used to their airbeds for a while :-)

We estimate our expenses will be a lot lower in Florida than in Wisconsin. We currently pay $130 per month for water. In Florida, it will be $20/month. Our electric/gas bill here averages between $250-$350, depending on how hot or cold it is. In Florida it will be about $120 a month for electric, and no gas bill. Even cable/internet is $45 cheaper, and of course no state income tax.

I was a little annoyed tonight, because we did our change of address for the post office, and it gave us a coupon for one month free plus free installation of cable/internet, but you have to mention the coupon when scheduling the installation, and its not valid on prior scheduled installations. :-( Hubby is going to try and call and see if we can get the coupon applied, but chances are they won't budge. If it were me, I'd just cancel and wait, because the coupon is good until the end of September, but he needs internet for his job, and we can't chance that it won't be installed in time. Lesson here: if you're moving, do not set up your cable/internet until you've done the change of address with the post office. Chances are you'll get a coupon. :-)

One of the things I'd like to do once we move is work for Walt Disney World. Part of me wants to apply now, but we'll be living about 20 miles away, and I have to make sure that it wouldn't conflict with school schedules, and I don't want the pressure of having to unpack boxes and work right away. We only have 1 car, so it makes it a little tricky. And I don't want to take on another car payment just yet. I'm enjoying being car payment free at the moment!

We're mostly packed; right now I'm working on the cleaning. I like to leave it in roughly the same condition as it was when we left it, and in this case maybe even a little better because the old renters did not do a very thorough job of cleaning it. I'm hoping to get our security deposit back on Friday; it's what he's done in the past, but the lease does say it will get mailed. But it said that before and he gave it to us right away. So we shall see, I guess!

Thanks for reading--I do plan on being more active once we're settled. I probably will pop on before we leave and let you know how much was in our piggy bank. I've been selling stuff on Craigslist ever since January, and all that money plus any change we've had has gone into our piggy bank, and I'm really curious to see how much is in there. We've only had to dip into once when we needed cash, and that was only for $10.

Car repairs stink.

June 16th, 2011 at 08:27 pm

We took our car in to the shop today to get it ready for the drive down to Florida. $675 it will cost tomorrow. :-( The big expense is the rear struts which need to be replaced, the other issues were minor. It's about $300 more than I wanted to pay, but what can you do? It needs to be done.

I just packed all the china today, and I also talked with the middle school regarding my son's IEP, so it all sounds good. Honestly I will just be happy when the moving truck is gone and we are just driving down the highway towards Florida. I'm tired of packing boxes, and tired of the stress of the move in general. 35 days to go, which is not long, but still seems like forever at this point in the game.

48 days

June 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Until we move from Wisconsin to Florida! Yeesh! I'm excited but I am so tired of living among boxes and packing boxes and dropping stuff off at Goodwill and listing on Craigslist and Freecycle only to have no shows all the time ....etc :-(

We've been doing this since January, and while it is nice to have time to sort through all our junk, it really is a long haul. I will be glad for when it's over.

We've had some unexpected expenses pop up (always, right?), mostly medical. Right now I am soaking my foot because I had an ingrown toenail removed today. Minor surgical procedure, which I don't even want to know how much will cost. And I know we will need to bring in our car in to be serviced before we leave. We've already put $600 worth of repairs in March, and I know we'll at least need to get the exhaust looked at as it's sounding a little loud lately. But the car is paid for, no more loan payments! yay! so even though its a '98 it's still running well and worth it to put money into it. We've been a one car family for about a month now, and its really working out well.

Hope you all have a nice weekend Smile

Really? More Snow?

April 18th, 2011 at 08:54 pm

Tomorrow we are under a winter storm warning. We were in the upper 60s/low 70s a couple of weeks ago. We're supposed to get 6 inches of accumulation! ARGH. This is the second time this spring the snow has been all gone and then comes back.

Kids are on Spring Break this week--a good thing or we'd probably add another day to the end of the school year for a snow day.

Today was a NSD. Looks like I'll be going grocery shopping in the morning, though, to pick up a few things before the storm hits.

Grocery shopping & new goals

April 11th, 2011 at 08:12 am

I dropped my son off at school, and then I went grocery shopping this morning for the week, and discovered I really like doing it at this time. I'm out anyways, the store is not busy, and I'm home before 10 and still have the rest of the day ahead of me. It didn't seem so much like a chore as it usually does.

My new goal is to only eat out once every two weeks. Lately we have been doing it way too much, and my checkbook and my scale has not been too kind to me lately.

This ties in with my next goal, which is to have $10,000 in our moving account by the time we move. This is a very achievable goal if we don't waste our money before then. I'd also like to pay down the credit cards, which have an approximate balance of $850. We'll see. Right now it's more important to have the cash available than it is to have the cc paid off. Ideally they will both happen, but the emphasis will be on bulking up the deposit account.

We did sell our car, and paid off our car loan, so we are officially car-loan free! What a great feeling, first time since 2006. We do intend to replace our car in a year or two, but want to have a nice downpayment (if not all) to do it with.

Easter shopping is all done, so the rest of this week should be no spending.

We're definitely making progress with our boxes, and hope to pack up quite a few this week. The master bedroom is done, so now I'm going to concentrate on the kitchen and sunroom. I think we've donated enough to Goodwill to open up our own store! :-) Basically, if we don't love it, we get rid of it. It doesn't matter how much we paid for it, it doesn't matter if we used it in the past, or might use it in the future, it has to be something that has meaning to us or that we use on a regular basis to make the cut. And that doesn't cost too much to move. One thing this move has done for us is really to prioritize what's important for us. And what's important is not our stuff.

Selling the car

March 27th, 2011 at 07:38 pm

We are selling one of our cars on Craigslist and is just wondering if anyone has experience with this? We are selling our 2001 Grand Prix for $3000, and we have asked for cash only, because we have been burned before with checks. I'm wondering if we need to worry about counterfeit money? Or am I just being a big worrywart? We have someone coming to look at the car tomorrow.

Moving to Florida

March 10th, 2011 at 09:15 pm

One of my goals here this year was to be more active in my blogging. Well, I've failed that goal miserably, but it's for a good reason: we are pushing up our move to Florida from 2013 to this summer, July 2011! We are very excited, and have been in serious declutter mode. We have really evaluated what our belongings mean to us, and only those items we really love will be making the move with us.

We are using professional movers for the first time, which has been a learning experience in itself, and a costly one, I might add. We have done U-Haul moves for all of our previous moves (4 total), but felt the magnitude of this move required a different approach.

Financial goals basically include socking away as much money as possible, and paying off our credit cards before the move. (approximate balance: $700) This is very do-able. We are moving very little furniture and will need to re-purchase it once we are there, so we definitely need to pad the account as much as possible. In case you're wondering, the furniture is old and not worth moving long-distance. Our oldest son is not moving to Florida with us but keeping an apartment here, so he will get most of our furniture. What he doesn't want we are giving away on Freecycle or selling on Craigslist.

Goal #1

January 3rd, 2011 at 09:04 pm

Yesterday I balanced the checkbook. Not so unusual, except I had been spending money for the past week and had no idea if we were positive or negative. As I was recording entries, I had this sinking feeling that kind of resembles terror, as in OMG what if we don't have enough to cover the rent check I just mailed?

Well, thankfully the balance is positive. But this spurred my first goal, and that is to not be in that position again. I intend to keep daily tabs on where we are in checking, or at least every time I spend money. This includes balancing my checkbook to the online statement, which is balanced to the penny. I also want to update Quicken, which I stopped doing in June, for whatever reason. I'm curious to see what I spent in the different categories for the year. And maybe I don't want to know. :=)

I think I may start a binder, or maybe a computer file, to keep this information in. I'm trying to go paperless as much as possible. But a binder may satisfy my inner organizational geekiness, and help keep me more accountable. (I can ignore a computer file, but I can't ignore a binder).

I'm back,

December 28th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

now I hope that I can stay. I love reading all your entries, but sometimes I feel intimidated because I am not even close to doing as well as some of you in terms of my finances.

I do say that we are entering 2011 in a much better financial position. The garnishment is done. The payday loan is paid off. Those 2 things were huge in terms of reducing our income.

My goal for 2011, which coincidentally was my goal for 2010, is to get us in a better place financially. This means pay off the credit card bills, and start building savings. We still live paycheck to paycheck, and I want to get away from that.

I will post specific goals in a day or two, but I just wanted to pop in and say hi to all.

long time no post

July 9th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I see I am coming on my one year anniversary of my blog, and yeah haven't posted hardly at all. Bad me. I think my last post talked about the garnishment and how we needed to bring money in.

Yes, the garnishment is still there, though I'm expecting we should be done with it in September, or at the very latest first part of October. I will be very glad to be done of it, because we'll gain the full amount of the paycheck back, but most importantly it will be done with.

My husband got a promotion in March, so our income is almost where it was pre-garnishment. However, also in March my husband's brother died, so we needed to take out a payday loan to cover our expenses for traveling to the funeral. We are still paying on that, but hope to get it paid off in August.

We are trying to get current on our bills. Each month we manage to pay our bills right before disconnection. It's very frustrating, especially when I know if it were not for the garnishment, we would not be behind. But whose fault is that? Yep, mine.

It's not all bad news, though. I did set some financial goals this year and amazingly enough we have met some of them.

1) get current on our bills. Ok, still working on that one.

2) Close a bank account that we never use. DONE.

3) Save $300 and open a savings account. Well, we sort of did this one. I set the amount at $300 because our bank charges a fee if we fall below this amount. We did not save $300 and we do not have a savings account. However, we did open a second checking account instead because the bank paid us $100 to do it. So this will be our savings account, and there's no worry about maintaining a balance. We have $25 deposited into this account every paycheck.

4) Enter checkbook into Quicken. DONE. I'm kind of anal about making sure our account is balanced. We don't have overdraft protection on our account, and it's vital that we don't bounce a check. So I keep pretty close tabs on it. My checkbook register needs to match the online numbers, which need to match the Quicken numbers. LOL

In other news, my parents are still not talking to us. Kids are taking it hard, especially my son, who is autistic and can't figure out why Grandma and Grandpa don't like us anymore. I'm over it. Well as much as one can be over something like that. (For those who don't remember, we were renting from my parents, they refused to landlord repairs, so we moved out in Dec last year and they took it personally).

I had been going to a private university but financial aid kind of dried up, so I am transferring to a state university to finish up my degree. Tuition is a third of the cost, and while the private school is better, I have to go where I can afford to go.

We're still making plans to move to Florida in two years. Had it up to here with Wisconsin weather, want to go where it's warmer and of course closer to Disney. (My husband and I are huge Disney nuts).

Guess that's pretty much it. I've written a book already, and I really hope to be more active. I've been reading, just not participating. :=)


January 9th, 2010 at 11:14 pm

I can see it's been awhile again since I've blogged. Just thought I'd share a little of what's been going on in our lives. Late October we made the decision to move. The house we were living in was owned by my parents, and they did absolutely no upkeep on it at all. It was a rent situation, but they wanted us to throw money into repairs, general upkeep, etc. We didn't mind doing the little stuff, but things like the furnace and roof were a little beyond our responsibility. After a couple of years telling them the roof was leaking, and having nothing done, we finally decided that it was time to move out. Needless to say, they didn't take it very well and disowned us. Lesson from this: never have financial dealings with family.

So November was spent packing and preparing for Thanksgiving, and packing. We moved Dec. 1st into our current home, and we are happy here, still a rental situation but we know the landlord well and he is awesome.

So 2010 comes in, and we were happy to get a fresh start to the new year in a new house. Well hubby's paycheck hits the bank on Friday and it is $335 short.
Yep, a garnishment. We had no notice it was coming. Yes there was a judgment for this bill but it's about 8 years old, and quite honestly we haven't made it a priority to pay it off. So yes, it's our fault but sure doesn't make right now any easier. We're probably looking at this going on for the next 9-10 months.

We have no savings, no EF, no credit cards (which I guess is a good thing in the long run), and leaves us with not having enough money to pay our bills, or conversely, if we pay our bills, not enough money for essentials (like gas, food, toilet paper....)

So our options are to increase our income or decrease our expenses. We are working on both. Hubby is waiting on a job to be posted that is "his". Long story short, he applied in June, interviewed in July, and then issues with HR (and budget issues) has delayed it so far. He has already been told by his supervisor that the position is his, he's already doing the work of the job. It should be an increase of about $10,000 yearly, which should, if nothing else, bump us back up to where we were, even after the garnishment. I've applied to Walmart, and am looking to see what else is out there, but really there's not a lot to be had. My trouble is, too, that I haven't worked since 2004, been going to school part time as well as taking care of my children, 2 which are special needs. That gap doesn't look good with employers.

So our other option is to reduce expenses. Unfortunately there's not much to reduce. Our cable/internet/phone is all bundled together through Charter, and we can't stop cable without stopping the other 2, and that's not an option, as hubby works from home 3 days a week, and my daughter attends virtual school. We need the internet. I am looking at reducing our car insurance payment, by lowering deductibles. I have a meeting scheduled with our agent next week. I've cancelled the YMCA membership, which kept costing us overdraft fees because I'd always forget about it. We have a cell phone, but we're under contract, so to cancel that means we have to pay an early cancellation fee up front, so that makes no sense to do that, either.

We will be getting approx $1700 back on our federal tax return, and some on state, so that will help to get us caught up on our bills, and will also get rid of that awful check cashing loan we have out.

So we are literally just treading water here, trying not to drown in the process. To top it off, the coffee maker stopped working today and the deep fryer is missing. It's a little thing, I know, but on top of everything else that's been going on, it's just too much. Right now we're of the mindset, ok what else is going to go wrong? Waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak.

So that's my update. Definitely not a pretty one, and really really hoping that we can bring ourselves financially out of this mess and in a better place. Ironically that was our new year's resolution: to become financially better. Now I'm not really sure if that's going to happen. No way we can save if we can't even meet our basic essentials each month.

spending & freebie

July 16th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Spent $34.10 in the grocery store.
I did use my cloth bags and received .15 credit (5 cents per bag), and also used a coupon for .40. so .55 savings.

Received free in the mail a collapsible cooler. This was not something we ordered or even expected, but it was on our "to buy" list next week for Disney. So wow, we saved $20 today with that!

Paid $50 extra to 401K loan.

been lurking awhile again

July 15th, 2009 at 11:15 am

and finally decided to re-start a blog. This time I'm going to try to do a daily post, to hopefully keep me on track.

Our main focus around here right now is preparing for Disney, so being frugal has sort of fallen by the wayside. :-) We leave in three weeks. Yesterday dh got a $200 bonus, which we will use for either gas or hotel expenses. (We are driving, and planning on taking 2 days to do it. It's a 21 hr drive).

Things have been tight around here because of it. Dh makes an adequate wage, but the trip expenses are making us cut back on our groceries and extra things we normally do. Yeah, it will be worth it, that's what I keep telling myself. LOL! This trip actually has 2 purposes: one of course is the Mouse, but the other one is that we are planning to move to Florida, so this is a way for us to scout out the area and see how we handle the heat. I'm just so tired of living in a state where we have winter six months out of the year, and our summers haven't been real warm either.

Today is a no-spend day. We'll have chicken for supper because that's what we have in the freezer. Tomorrow I will have to make a grocery run, which in itself is a frustrating process as the prices seem to rise weekly.