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Archive for March, 2012

Progress on 2012 Goals

March 25th, 2012 at 02:53 pm

Since it is almost at the end of March, I thought it good to do some analysis of my progress on my goals.

2012 Goals and Plan
1. Pay Down Credit Card to $300.00 by 12/31/2012

As of 3/25/2012, this debt is $1626.00. I have not been paying this down at the speed I want. I keep needing to use it, but then I pay it back right away. Ugh. I will get there. I keep having to remind myself.

2. Bring car savings account up to $2000.00 by 12/31/2012

As of 3/4/2012, this account is $633.51. I haven't made much progress with this one, either, because of needing to get tuckpointing done on the house. I will try again this coming payday to put more aside for a replacement car.

3. Complete some minor, and major, maintenance on the house. See the Home Maintenance Challenge list for details on this.

We made significant progress on this.
- Replaced spray nozzle on kitchen faucet.
- We have replaced more than a dozen CFL and incandescent bulbs with LEDs. More to go.
- Some tuckpointing has been done. More to go.
- Non functional garbage disposal has been removed. We didn't need one anyway.
- Composting begun. Progress ongoing.

Some stuff we need to have done this year include:
- Getting gutters cleaned in spring and fall.
- Begin garden (tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, kale, onions, garlic)
- More tuckpointing
- Set aside funds for getting windows

Farther Future Projects:
- Install rain water barrels under gutters
- Need to renovate and expand the bathroom
- More insulation
- New windows throughout
- Want extra freezer to store made ahead meals and meat bought on sale
- Install renewable, sustainable power source
- install greenhouse to south of house

4. Increase house savings account to $500.00 by 12/31/2012.

As of 3/25/2012, this account is down to $367.12 due to the tuckpointing, but I will build it back up. I need to get at least another $2400 for tuckpointing on the entire north side of the house and the top part of the south side. The east and west may need to be done also, but the north and south are worse.

5. Reduce unnecessary spending.

I have been done a lot better with this one. I have been making my own iced tea at work every day for about 2 weeks now. I usually one splurge when I actually buy lunch out. I think I am down to about 1 soda every other day and drink homemade juices every day.

We have replaced more than a dozen CFLs and incandescent light bulbs in our house with LEDs. We have seen significant reduction in energy usage, but won't see the difference in our bill until July because we are on a level payment plan.

I have taken my lunch to work every day except on paydays when I splurge a little bit. My "splurge" is usually a salad from the salad bar at the pizza joint down the street from my work. ;P

Got Paid Again. Savings Up. Retirement Up. Debt is Down! Yeah!

March 17th, 2012 at 04:23 pm

Hello, everyone. I am starting to love payday. I used to hate it, because that's when I would see a mass amount of my money vanish from my bank account to debt and stuff I didn't really need. But things are looking up and that's good, very good. For example, the hubster and I have gradually migrating our entire house's light bulbs to LED. At first, they were a little expensive, so we would buy 1 bulb a month or something. But the price has come down to about $10.00 a bulb lately. And no, I do not want to discuss CFLS AT ALL. The mercury is bad for the environment, so I don't care how cheap they are. Anyway, on payday, I was paying the electric bill and wanted to see what impact this has had on the electric bill, because we had replaced 4 bulbs last month. From one month to the next, it went down 150 kilowatts! Wow. That's amazing! We just replaced 4 more on Friday, so I can't wait to see what happens next month.

My retirement account has increased quite a bit in the last few months. My house and emergency savings were somewhat depleted due to the need for tuckpointing on our house. Without it, we could have had serious structural issues down the road.

In the second week of April, I will be attending a professional conference in my state. It should only cost around $400 or so to attend, but I will only be reimbursed for $122. My professional savings account will be cleaned out for that. Ugh. Bummer. But I already have a plan for that reimbursement loot. I have agreed when I get my reimbursement that we will buy a ladder so that we can do some maintenance around our house a little easier. Changing light bulbs in some rooms and also outside is impossible without a ladder.

Well, I am still continuing my Food Challenge to be not only healthier but also financially free. Here are my meals for the week:

1) Spinach salad with cucumbers, onion, tuna, olive oil, apple cider vinegar. Side of walnuts and an orange. (3 meals)

2) Chicken salad with onion, salt, and pepper. Side of walnuts and an orange (2 meals)

3) Eggs with ham. Either omelets, scrambled, or fried over hard. Add seasonings and veggies. Smoothie with almond milk, flaxseed, oranage juice, and banana for a side. (3 meals)

4) Oatmeal with honey, raisins, almond milk, and cinnamon. (4 meals)

5) Stew made with ground bison meat, carrots, onions, black beans, and brown rice. (3 meals)

6) Spaghetti made with ground chicken, tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, mushrooms, and seasonings. (2 meals)

7) Chicken breasts and side of vegetables and rice. (2 meals)


March 4th, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Hello, everyone. I have been away for awhile, so that is why I have not been posting. Life has been so hectic here with my job and stuff, it has been tough to keep up.

Anyway, I am still hard at work on eliminating debt, including the credit card and mortgage. I had to basically empty the house savings and also take some out of regular savings in order to get some tuckpointing done on our house. I would have liked to have waited awhile on it, but it was very bad, and unfortunately, only a fraction of what is needed to be done. We waited until our tax return arrived ($1048) and also some survey money (can't remember the amount), then I transferred money from regular savings and house savings to checking to total $1800. That was the amount of the first price quote from a masonry contractor we got. After putting together all the money, somehow we could not get in touch with the contractor. Bad news, but we did find someone different that was highly recommended.

The quote from the second contractor was $600 LOWER than the first. Wow! We were a little cautious, though, as we wondered about the quality of his work. He finished the job and it is superior to say the least - well worth $1200, so we are very pleased and told him we would contact him again in about 6 months or so to begin work on another section of the house.

With some of that "excess" $600, I paid off 3 small bills which will help to free up some cash on a monthly basis to pay off other things. The rest I put back into the house account. I will update the balance in a day or two.

Well, in order to keep pounding away at paying off debt and getting home maintenance done, I have to lower expenses, especially for food. I have been growing some herbs for cooking in a small terrarium. I am working on creating compost in the backyard and will be planting some organic tomatoes, carrots, kale, squash, and cucumber in the spring. I would eventually like to not have to go to the grocery store for produce. This will save serious money, not to mention make sure that I get healthy produce.

I am also giving up drinking soda for the sake of my health, but also money. I will be drinking more green tea, water, and homemade juice instead.

I am also continuing my food challenge. Here are my meals for the week. There is enough here that I will likely have leftovers for next week.

1) Chicken salad - 17 ounces canned chicken (1 can of 12 ounces and 1 can of 5 ounces), 3 tbsp of generic Miracle Whip, 1 bunch of chopped up green onion, and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I had actually planned on making chicken soup, but decided I wanted something different. I had bought too much green onion and this turned out to be just the ticket to use it up. (3 meals)

2) Black Bean Soup - 1 pound dried black beans, 1 large onion, 1 bunch chopped green onion, 1 can drained diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup of parsley, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp cayenne pepper, sea salt, black pepper, and 1 can refried beans. (8 meals) I base this soup on this recipe, but I use chicken broth and also add 1 can diced tomatoes and 1 can of refried beans to thicken the soup:

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3)Eggs and Sausage - (3 meals)

4)Whole grain oatmeal with flaxseeds, almond milk, raisins, and honey (4 meals)

5) Hamburger patty with ketchup and a side of veggies (1 meal)

6) Meatloaf (1 meal)

7) Spaghetti with meat sauce (2 meals) - I eat mine with brown rice.

8) Tuna salad with carrot sticks and gluten free crackers. Side of apple or orange. (2 meals)

Oh, we also won $4.00 on Powerball. I cashed that in for cash. I also took a bunch of spare change to the Coinstar and cashed it in. It totals up to $8.00, which I will deposit to regular savings. I am also depositing $100 to the professional account for a conference I will attend in April and $40 to the car account.