Thursday, June 10, 2010

Super LAME-O

That's how I feel for totally neglecting my little debt blog. It's not that your layout and colors bother me, little blog, it's that I have two other little babies that can scream a lot louder than you and consequently get more attention. I'm sorry.

Anyhow, I did want to give an update on our pay-off progress. We've had a few little setbacks that were unforeseen to me: new car battery, hub deciding he really does want to learn how to change the oil in our van himself (not really a setback, but I think all the supplies are costing about as much as two oil changes), hub also deciding to go against our moneyless gift pact we made and get us a Vitamix and a Bosch mixer, new (still makes me cringe, but it was sweet) for my birthday and Mother's Day, and also plane tickets for the three of us over two, which was dampened with a few vouchers but still is considered a setback. No more weddings or funerals until our house is paid for (not to mention the student loans), okay family?

In spite of these things we are still making steady progress on the student loans. To date we have paid about 66% off, leaving about 34% left before our pay-off goal of Aug. 31st. It's so nice seeing the numbers go down, but I'll tell you what, it is getting harder and harder to be disciplined with the budget and to find ways to put things off for just a little longer.

I'm keeping up a steady couponing pace and doing surveys and all that jazz, and am prepping myself to try cloth diapering once we get back from our trip (which I am already planning out the ways of getting friends and family to eat in rather than out, in order to avoid the HUGE temptation to spend while on vacation and among peers. I'm thinking I might make a sign to hang around my neck that says, "No, really, I just ate a ton before I came so that it would be easier to not buy anything, because debt free will feel infinitely better than this would taste.")

Man, oh man. The hub says he has everything figured out and on schedule for the pay-off date, but it's still looking like there is more money owed than time left to pay it, but we'll see what happens. I'm not going to lose faith that we'll still hit our mark. Here's to hoping and finding alternatives!!

No, this is not me, in case you had any doubt. I do believe, however, that financial stress and strain will age you a few years ;).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Paper and Ink

Have you realized that once you start seriously couponing you start to go through a lot more paper and ink than you used to? Some of the best Qs are internet printables but sometimes you start to wonder if it's worth the cost. Well, it is, if you know where to shop. This week, for example, is a great week to stock up on paper, and to get some ink. For Earth Day Walgreens is refilling one black or color cartridge per person for $1. Awesome! Too bad I turned in my last empty cartridge to Staples for a $3 credit when I was in Miami a few weeks ago. I have a color one I can refill, I guess.

Also, since turning in three cartridges to Staples a few months ago, I received a $9 credit that is set to expire at the end of the month. I was stressing over getting a good deal on something without paying too much shipping (the nearest Staples is 3 hours away, boo!!). BUT, this morning I stumbled upon a great deal on moneysavingmom. This is what I did:

Two cases of Hammermill paper at the sale price: $49.98 (.02 shy of free shipping, but I added a .29 cent (cheapest thing I could find) tape dispenser replacement wheel to bring it to $50.27

$5 off/per box promo code: -$10

Ink recycling rewards: -$9

Total after tax: $33.61

Staples Easy Rewards for paper: $7.58

Staples Easy Rebate: $32.00 (will come in the form of two $16 prepaid Visa cards)

ShopAtHome 3% credit: $1.51

After all the total math: $-7.48

Did I just get paid (essentially) to have 20 reams of paper delivered to my doorstep tomorrow? :O That's me screaming excitedly :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

My first "Deals I've Scored" post

Alright, so, I'm supposed to take a friend grocery shopping tomorrow to show her the ropes, but I needed to go to the store today to get some stuff for our Chili Cook-Off tomorrow (woot!), so I figured I'd get my shopping out of the way so I can focus more on helping her get some sweet deals. I stopped off at Walgreens first, where I paid .10 for 5-5 lb. bags of Gold Medal flour, 2 Planters Trail Mixes and a Scotch Bubble Mailer.

Then I headed to Winn-Dixie to get some Kelloggs fruit snacks and ended up paying .98 for 4 boxes (there was a fluke with a Vocalpoint $1.50/1 I had; it rang up twice for the two boxes of the alphabet shaped snacks, weird, but the cashier didn't mind, sweet!).

Then I headed to KMart to test the $10/20 Q and do the Huggies Diaper deal. It worked after they entered it manually at Customer Service so I got 2 jumbo packs of Huggies and a Colgate toothpaste for $7.17, and supposedly a $3 credit is getting added to my rewards card so I can apply that to the twin air mattress I have to pick up tomorrow for camp. I kind of wish I would've gone ahead and gotten the mattresses today instead, now that they've fixed the coupon to list the locations it's valid at.

Finally, I headed to Publix, the big mama of the shopping day. There were a few really good deals I couldn't pass up. Seriously, it's really sad, but this month I'm already over budget (cringe). I know, I know. And I was doing the cash system and everything. I thought I was so disciplined. But, my rationalization is that if I get a few things now that are a STEAL, like diapers and the like, then I won't have to spend money on them in the coming months. Excuses, I know. There were just so many sale items that had MQs and SQs that I was going crazy. Ready for the total? Best yet:

Spent: $27.84 (most of which was stuff we had to get for LeRand to make a white chili for the thing tomorrow, and for me to make a dessert)

Saved: $141.12

A savings of: 83.5%

Good deal. And a lot of it was stuff we'd been needing for a while. So, yeah, I felt the need to post it this time. A man stopped me when he saw my binder open as I was shopping and he asked me a bunch of questions and was really interested. Then after my forever-long check-out, which I was apologizing profusely for, my cashier offhandedly mentioned that I needed to teach her how to save like that, to which I replied that I would LOVE to teach her and that I'll let her know when I'm teaching my class next month. How neat to have an actual Publix cashier there?

Monday, March 1, 2010

February Totals

Thanks to a big boost from our federal tax return we had a stellar month (no thanks to UT state tax, lame-o). We were able to pay a whopping 27.4% of the original total. That means that after two months we have 59.4% of the total to go. And we were thinking it was a stretch to pay it by Dec. 31st! Bah! We've moved our new goal up to the hub's birthday, July 25th. Which, if we attain, we won't be together to celebrate for, due to family vacation reasons. BUT, I'm more than happy to celebrate over the phone, or Skype, or any way, in this case. With his income alone (which is our only constant cash flow at the moment) the numbers don't add up, but we're confident that things will work out, as long as we continue to assess wants and needs and keep trying to sacrifice.

On to how I did this month with the budget:

Shelf cost: $918.30

Coupon savings: $352.79

Savings Rate: 79.22%

Amount remaining in budget: $1.00


Friday, February 19, 2010

January Totals

I realized I forgot to post the totals for January after keeping track of every dollar so meticulously. For now we decided that this is how our monthly grocery budget is going to work: we will set aside $180 for annies (which I am in the process of finding some way to reduce the cost, other than bringing in extra income), and then have $200 set aside for everything else, like diapers, other grocery items, CVS, Walgreens (for the occasional deal on something we absolutely need, otherwise I avoid them like the plague, at least until they revise their rewards program, which is rumored to be happening), and pretty much anything else we could possibly justify buying.

So, here are the totals for January:

Shelf cost of everything we bought: $808.06

Total savings from items on sale: $258.28

Total savings from coupons: $364.34

Total in qualifying rebates from this month: $28.46

Total spent (from the $200): $213.90 (oops)

I went a little over, but I deducted the overage from February's budget to make up for it.

For February I was able to earn $200+ from babysitting and cashing in some savings bonds so that we didn't have to take out any money from the ATM for the beginning of the month. Yay!!

We were also able to skip 3 weeks of Annie's since our garden was overflowing everywhere, so that saved us a bit as well. Thanks to our tax return our Feb. payment to the loans will be substantially larger than we thought.

While it's nice to be paying off debt, it hurts to think that this money could be going toward saving for a house. If only...but better late than never. :)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Publix Italian Days

If you have a Publix near you head over to to enter a $25 Publix gift card giveaway. Yay!

Also, yesterday I test drove the KIA Sorento and submitted the form for the $25 Visa giftcard. Nice car. Maybe one day when we're in the market again we'll consider one that's a couple years old. It's nice to know we'll never have to deal with dealerships again, ever. :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Payment #1: January

Okay, as 1/10 comes to a close, it's time to report our first payment of the year to the student loan. The hub figured that in order to reach our goal of paying off the entire stupid thing by 12/31/10, we would have to make a payment of 8.6% of the total every month.

After a month of cutting back every way we could think of, watching the final moments of ebay listings coming to a close, not selling another book on 'til we've shipped the one already sold (Murphy's Law, craziest thing ever), eating from our garden and only buying milk, eggs, and free or overage items, walking instead of driving, hosting my in-laws for a week, driving to Miami and back twice, laughing at the CRAZY places money seems to appear, and coming to believe more in our goal, we were able to make a payment of...


If you could look at our finances you might be a bit more impressed, but for now, this'll have to do. I was impressed with ourselves. So far we're on the right track, but we're taking things a month (sometimes a day) at a time.