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2013 Goals, This Week's Plan, and Debt Payoff

January 1st, 2013 at 08:25 am

1. Pay Down credit card #1 to $750 by 12-31-2013. To do this, I need to pay off at least $100 a month. I will post our monthly progress.

2. Pay off credit card #2 by 12-31-2013. I need to pay off at least $50.00 a month. I will post our monthly progress.

3. Bring car savings to $2,000 by 12-31-2013. I really need to contribute a lot to this one, as our car is going to need replacing in the next year or two. I need to contribute at least $75.00 a month.

4. Minor and major house maintenance and repair. The two big things we are planning for the spring are getting the rest of the tuckpointing done on the south side of the house and planting an oak tree in the back yard behind the kitchen. The cost of the tuckpointing will come out of money we are already setting aside. We need $600 to do that and are setting aside $90.00 a month. It will probably March or April when we do that. The oak tree will be paid for out of our tax refund and money we are already setting aside. It will be about $150.00 to pay for the tree, delivery, and planting.

5. Continue making extra principal payments on the mortgage, even if it is only $5.00 a month. With the rest of our tax refund, we plan to make a large principal payment. We have a 30 year mortgage which we got in 2010. We want to have it paid off several years before I retire so I can ramp up retirement contributions.

5. Increase regular savings to $3,000. I want to have at least $12,000 in regular savings in five years. My expenses are approximately $2,000 a month, but could be cut somewhat in extreme situations. I am going the HR tomorrow in order to increase what I have going to savings out of my pay.

6. Reduce unnecessary spending. I am doing grocery shopping with cash, which has decreased my normally $170 or so weekly grocery bill to around $130. I am even stocking up on stuff I use a lot when I see it on sale or have a good coupon. I am also sticking to my routine of making my own tea at work with my tea bags and travel mug. I bring my lunch to work nearly every day, buying usually on paydays. I also did some gardening this past summer and plan to do the same beginning next spring. See #7 for more on this. These actions have helped to considerably reduce spending.

7. I plan to greatly expand my gardening venture next spring. This past summer, I only did tomatoes and basil and had a ball doing so. Growing my own food was not only satisfying, but tasty as well. I plan to add kale, onions, carrots, peppers, radishes, and spinach to my choices. Doing so will help me to become less dependent on the grocery store during the summer and also eat organically and locally grown food. I plan to continue growing kale next winter also. For some veggies, I will freeze some extra for the winter.

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This Week's Plan

This week I plan on doing some decluttering and gathering together paperwork for our taxes.

My menu plan is basically vegetarian bean soup, salads, dirty rice, and hummus. We normally eat oatmeal for breakfast. Here is the recipe I use for hummus:

Hummus
[url]http://dedemed.com/print/print-recipe.php?article_id=92[/url]

I can't find the dirty rice recipe I use online right now. It's like it disappeared and I only have a printout.

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We have been making payments on 2 small medical bills dh had. They are considerably smaller than ones we paid off in 2011, but still have been a pain to get paid off. Now, I finally have a plan to get one paid off in the next week. The bill is $105.22. I have approximately $45.00 in checking right now that I will not use before Friday. Yea, me on vacation not buying stuff unnecessarily! I am going to take the rest out of regular savings. It will only take me one payday (this coming Friday) to make it back up. Paying it off will free up some money every month to put towards the credit cards and mortgage.

Another Payday and Food Challenge Plan

December 7th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Hello, everyone. I got paid again today. My mortgage is down, but I have not updated my numbers on the left margin yet.

But I have made my food challenge menu plan for the coming week.

1) Mediterranean Kale Salad - 2 meals - [url]http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/63344509/mediterranean-kale-salad/detail.aspx[/url]

2) Vegetarian Chili - 3 to 4 meals - no real recipe here, just Williams chili seasoning, onion, 1 can of tomato sauce, garlic, 2 cans of tomatoes, and 6 cans of beans.

3) Pea Soup - 4 meals - [url]http://www.forksoverknives.com/wp-content/uploads/Split-Pea-and-Yam-SoupFINAL.pdf[/url]

4) Chickpea Salad - 2 meals - Mine will be minus the bread. I will eat it with celery or carrots. [url]http://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-lunch-chickpea-of-t-114022[/url]

5) Creamy Avocado Tuna Salad - 2 meals - [url]http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/creamy-avocado-tuna-salad-recipe/2/[/url]

6) Oatmeal. Side of ham. Grapefruit. - 4 meals

7) Scrambled eggs. Side of ham. Oatmeal. - 3 meals

Another Payday - More Debt Paid, More Saved, and More Home Repair Done

September 15th, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi, everyone. I had to save my entry and run earlier, so I didn't finish with my financial update. We had a plumber install a new faucet yesterday. Normally, dh could have done it, but he is having a lot of trouble with his shoulder due to arthritis and I know nothing about plumbing.

I got paid again yesterday. I already paid the gas and electric bills and allocated for the car insurance and 1/2 of the mortgage. I made a payment on one of dh's medical bills and deposited more to car and house savings. I made payments to the credit card. I also got a rewards check from one credit card. I am using it to make an extra payment to the other credit card.

My goal with the car savings is to have it up to $5,000 by the Fall of 2013. I also want to get the house savings up to $1,600 by the spring in order to have the rest of the mortar on the south side of the house and all of the east side done. The tax refund should help out with these goals a lot. The dh is going to sell some of his video games to a second hand store. I don't think he will get a lot, but even if it's only $10.00 each, he has promised to put all of it on the credit card he charged his new computer to.

The dh is still on a salad kick, so that's why there are so many salad meals. The chicken soup is for my lunch. Here are my meals for the week.

1) Chicken Soup with chicken, onion, garlic, brown rice, cannellini beans, stock, carrots, celery. - 3 lunch meals - (using brown rice, spices I already had)

2) Thai Salad with whole grain rice and chicken. - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/thai-salad-with-whole-grain-brown-rice-and-chicken/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had olive oil, garlic, and onion. This recipe also calls for peanut butter, but I don't really like that taste in salad.)

3) Green Salad with Carrots and Cucumbers, and either chicken or ham - 1 dinner meal - (We already have lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and carrots to make it.)

4) Quinoa and Chicken Salad - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/carons-kickin-quinoa-salad/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=caron%27s%20kicking%20quinoa&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=%2f404.aspx[/url] - 1 dinner meal (We already have the quinoa, lemon juice, and black pepper. This one is really good and fast to make.)

5) Grilled Chinese Chicken Salad Slaw. [url]http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chinese-chicken-salad[/url] - 1 dinner meal - (We already have the ginger spice and olive oil. We are substituting lemon juice for lime juice and white onion for scallions.)

6) Oatmeal. Side of grapefruit. Side of ham. - 4 meals.

7) Eggs and ham with garlic, onion, and parsley. Sliced tomato. - 3 meals.

8) Mediterranean kale salad - 1 meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/personalrecipe/63344509/mediterranean-kale-salad/detail.aspx[/url] This is what we had tonight. The dh loved it, and it's my "recipe" that I just made up on the spot to use up some 2 week old garlic cloves that I thought might go bad soon and leftover black olives.

9) I am not sure about the rest of the meals. Hmm...

Something else I am trying is using one of those reusable plastic cups with its own straw like this only I didn't buy it at Starbucks.

[url]http://www.starbucksstore.com/cold-cup-kit-24-oz/bundleColdCup24oz,default,pd.html[/url]

I am making my own iced tea. Part of this is about my health. I have been using too much sugar and it is causing me problems and costing too much. For every day I don't buy iced tea, I will send extra dollar to the credit card. This will give me an incentive to pay it off quicker.

Another Payday - More Debt Paid and More Saved

September 1st, 2012 at 04:59 pm

Hello, financial savvy people. I got paid my third paycheck of the month yesterday. It is not turning out exactly the way I planned, but it is better than it would have been without any planning. Here is my plan for what to do with my third paycheck. The reality of what happened is in red.

1) $00 to regular savings in favor of paying off more debt
2) $100 to house savings - $140 spent on new faucet for kitchen instead, more than I expected
3) $100 to car savings - $40 added to car savings
4) $150 to cc - $100 to cc. I will be getting about $13.00 more to add to this courtesy of mrrebates and about $8.00 or $9.00 courtesy of cash4books. So, that gets me closer to my goal.
5) $200 set aside for mortgage - $161.61 set aside for mortgage - had intended to have $33.00 extra for the principal and $5.00 extra for the escrow, but wanted to get dishwasher (cc #1) paid off as quickly as possible, so compromised there. The credit card is a higher interest rate than the mortgage.
6) $240 for groceries - We were out of practically everything, so I have already spent about $150 out of the $240 two-week allocation I give myself for groceries.
7) $30 gas for car - spent $20.11 on gas
9) $50 water bill - water bill was $51.95
10)$7 cigarettes - spent $7.00 on ciggies for dh
11) $40 lawn mowing - allocated $40.00 for mowing, though I am not sure we need to do this much longer this year
12) $80 internet and landline phone bill - just switched over separate internet and cell bills to a combined internet and landline bill and it was more than I thought it would be - $105.86
13)$100 Miscellaneous - Who knows?
TOTAL $1097.00 I don't want to think about it.


Due to the unexpected expenses, I am trying to use my food as wisely as possible to get as much out of it as possible. I bought about 5 pound of chicken breasts and a pot roast. I also got 3 packages of Farmland ham. That will give me my meat for the weak. The rest is mostly raw veggies. I will also make some soup for my lunches. My meals for the week include:

1) Eggs and ham - 3 meals

2) Oatmeal. Side of grapefruit with stevia. Side of ham. - 4 meals

3) Chicken salad with green onions and cayenne pepper - 3 meals - (already had cayenne pepper)

4) Kale salad with beef, olive oil, cider vinegar, cranberries. - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kale-and-feta-salad/detail.aspx[/url] (I already salt. I am leaving off the feta cheese because I am allergic and substituting strawberries because I could not find currants. I will add some chicken strips. I can't seem to find the currants for this recipe in my area. So far, I have tried making it with strawberries and cranberries, and I must say that I vastly prefer the strawberries. Delicious. With beef is better also.)

5) Flat Iron Steak and Spinach Salad - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/flat-iron-steak-and-spinach-salad/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had red onion, olive oil and red wine vinegar instead of wine. I left off the cheese. This one was delicious. We had it last night.)

6) Thai Salad with whole grain rice and chicken. - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/thai-salad-with-whole-grain-brown-rice-and-chicken/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had olive oil, garlic, onion, chicken, and peanut butter.)

7) Green Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumbers, and either chicken or ham - 1 dinner meal - (I just made this one up. We already have lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, ham, and chicken to make it.)

8) Quinoa and Chicken/Tuna Salad - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/carons-kickin-quinoa-salad/detail.aspx[/url] - 1 dinner meal (We already have the quinoa, mayo, lemon juice, black pepper, chicken, and tuna. I haven't decided whether to make it with chicken or tuna, but either way, it should be good.)

9) Grilled Chinese Chicken Salad Slaw. [url]http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chinese-chicken-salad[/url] 1 dinner meal - (We already have the ginger spice, and olive oil. We are substitution lemon juice for lime juice and white onion for scallions.)

10) Chicken Soup with Rice. Already have brown rice, broth, carrots, onions, salt, and pepper.

Last Week a Costly Week, Another One Coming Up

August 26th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

It's a good thing I had a plan on how to spend my "extra" pay this month instead of just spending it willy-nilly because I get paid ever 2 weeks rather than twice a month. The first thing involved the fact that we had a water filtration system hooked up to our kitchen faucet and had had for most of the two years we have lived in the house. The water from the filter creates too much pressure in the faucet and so it leaks. The first thing the plumber told was that we will definitely need to replace the faucet, but first he hooked up the filter to a separate water line which involved drilling a hole in the stainless steel sink to the left of the faucet. That stopped the cause of the leak and it works great. It cost $150 and that came out of the money I had planned on putting into the house savings account for last payday. The plumber said if we buy a Delta faucet, it will have a lifetime warranty and will probably cost around $150, maybe less. We will get that with my next payday on the 31st and can install it ourselves. In addition, our dishwasher died last week. We bought a new dishwasher with our credit card #1. We also have to pay to have it installed. I will work hard to get cc #1 paid off quickly. To help that along, I will use what I planned on being an extra principle payment to the mortgage to go towards cc#1. In addition, the $40 that is auto deposited to regular savings on payday I will divert to cc#1 in addition to the $150 payment I was going to send anyway. Because we are a little skinny on our bank account, I decided to do what I could with our meals to use up what we already have. The hubby also specifically requested we eat entirely meal-sized salads for our dinners, which made this even more of a challenge. It is really weird of him to request salad at all, but for every dinner meal is odd. I am not complaining, though, as he is not a veggie eater.

1) Eggs and ham - 3 meals

2) Oatmeal. Side of grapefruit with stevia. Side of ham. - 4 meals (I already had oatmeal.)

3) Chicken salad with apples, ginger, mayo, ginger, onion, and celery. - 3 lunch meals for me (I already had mayo and chicken.) [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-salad-my-way/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=chicken%20salad%20my%20way&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page[/url]

4) Kale salad with beef, olive oil, cider vinegar, strawberries, walnuts, and salt. - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kale-and-feta-salad/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had kale, olive oil, cider vinegar, and salt. I am leaving off the feta cheese because I am allergic and substituting strawberries because I could not find currants. I will add some beef strips.)

5) Flat Iron Steak and Spinach Salad - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/flat-iron-steak-and-spinach-salad/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had red onion, olive oil and red wine vinegar instead of wine. I left off the cheese. This one was delicious. We had it last night.)

6) Thai Salad with whole grain rice and chicken. - 1 dinner meal - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/thai-salad-with-whole-grain-brown-rice-and-chicken/detail.aspx[/url] (I already had olive oil, garlic, onion, chicken, and peanut butter.)

7) Green Salad with Tomatoes and Squash, and either chicken or ham - 1 dinner meal - (I just made this one up. We already have lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, ham, and chicken to make it.)

8) Quinoa and Chicken/Tuna Salad - [url]http://allrecipes.com/recipe/carons-kickin-quinoa-salad/detail.aspx[/url] - 1 dinner meal (We already have the quinoa, mayo, lemon juice, black pepper, chicken, and tuna. I haven't decided whether to make it with chicken or tuna, but either way, it should be good.)

9) Leftover Baked Chicken. Cucumber Tomato Salad. Side of apple. 1 lunch meal for me.

10) Grilled Chinese Chicken Salad Slaw. [url]http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/grilled-chinese-chicken-salad[/url] 1 dinner meal - (We already have the ginger spice, and olive oil. We are substitution lemon juice for lime juice and white onion for scallions.)


Got Paid Again and Other $ Stuff

July 21st, 2012 at 01:21 pm

Hello, everyone. I got paid on Friday. I also got official notification that I got a raise of about $1100 per year. Not spectacular, but it is definitely something. I put more money into savings. I have paid the credit card #1. Credit Card #2 does not have a payment due until next month. I bought groceries. Hubby and I have to make a day trip out of town on Wednesday. I will send more to the credit card on Wednesday.

I also took my spare change for the last couple of weeks and cashed it in. I divided it up and deposited it into the car and house savings.

My meals for the week include:

1) Oatmeal with stevia, almond milk, flaxseeds, and cinnamon. Orange. (4 meals)

2) Eggs and ham. Side of oatmeal. Grapefruit. (3 meals)

3) Goulash. Side of steamed veggies. (3 meals)

4) Chuck patties. Side of steamed veggies. (1 meal)

5) Green salad with chicken pieces and greek dressing. (1 meal) This is a dinner meal for me and dh.

6) Green sald with garbanzo beans or canned chicken. Added tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Vinegar and oil for dressing. (3 meals - lunches)

7) Baked breast of chicken. Side of steamed veggies. (1 meal)

8) Chili with beans. (2 meals)

9) Egg salad with crackers and veggie pieces. (2 meals)

1 Week Til Payday

July 14th, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Hello, everyone. It is one week until payday and I have $35.93 left in my checking account. I have already accounted for Netflix, 1/2 of the mortgage (due 8/1/12), and biweekly mowing. I filled up the gas tank and paid a little extra to credit card #1. Well, the biggest news is that the hubby and I applied for a different credit card with a 5% lower rate. We are going to keep the old one, though, and only charge our Netflix to it. We had already asked for the balance transfer to the new card when I had to take the hubby to the ER in the middle of the night and were a little short on cash. So, the majority of the balance is on the new card with a much lower rate. It should not take long to pay it down to a much more reasonable level.

Here are the meals I have planned for the week:

1) Oatmeal with cinnamon, flaxseeds, almond milk, stevia. Orange. Side of ham. 4 meals

2) Eggs and ham. Side of oatmeal. 3 meals

3) Green salad with tuna or garbanzo beans. Side of orange or apple. Side of raw snack nuts. 3 meals

4) Chicken salad with mayo and raw veggies. Side of orange or apple. Side of raw snack nuts. 2 meals

5) Chicken breast. Side of steamed veggies. 2 meals

6) Angus chuck patties. Side of steamed veggies. 1 meal

7) Stir fry with chicken and veggies. 1 meal

8) Lunch out!

Got Paid Again and Other $ Stuff About My Amazing Day

July 7th, 2012 at 11:56 am

Yesterday was my first payday of my employer's new fiscal year. I guess my pay raise must have gone through because my check was $29.75 higher than before. Woo-hoo. I will start putting even more into savings that I have already been. I will also increase what I am paying to the credit card.

My regular savings account is up, as are my car, savings accounts, and retirement.

I bought some angus chuck patties on sale and with a $1.00 coupon at the store. That in itself was very good, but it gets weirder. The patties were 2 pounds of frozen meat patties packaged in a box. The original price was $8.99. There was a sign that said they are on sale for $7.99 and I had a $1.00 coupon. I am thinking this is a pretty good deal, because I had wanted to buy some hamburger and these were chuck patties, not regular ground beef, so I bought them. Then, I noticed my receipt said I was charged for $8.99 minus the $1.00 coupon. I approached Customer Service to make them aware of the problem. Apparently, the patties had been on sale, but someone forgot to remove the sign. I thought they might give me the $1.00 back, but I didn't expect anything else. Then, the lady told me they have a policy where if a customer catches a mistake, the customer gets the item free. Yes free! I said that's terrific, because I wasn't expecting anything more than $1.00 back. I told the dh and he thought it was great, too. With $3.00 out of the $6.99, I bought some fresh spinach, oregano, and parsley at a different store.

I also cashed in a lottery ticket for $4.00. I added that to $3.00 more dollars I had just laying around. Along with my normal $20.00 each deposits to the house and car accounts, I divided up the extra $7.00 between the two accounts.

Here are my meals for the coming week:

1) Stir Fry made from leftover rice, squash, and tomatoes. 2 meals. This stuff would have gone bad soon if I had not done something with it, so this is a real boon to my budget!

2) Meatloaf. Side of steamed veggies. 2 meals

3) Spaghetti with rice. 2 meals

4) Baked chicken breast and steamed veggies. 2 meals

5) Green salad with tuna or garbanzo beans. Side of apple or orange. Side of raw nuts. Iced tea. 3 meals

6) Angus chuck patties. Side of steamed veggies. 2 meal

7) Eggs and ham. Oatmeal. 3 meals

8) Oatmeal with side of ham. Side of grapefruit. 4 meals

9) Tuna salad with raw veggies. Side of apple or orange. Side of raw nuts. Iced tea. 2 meals

Had the Whole Week Off - Wheee!

May 18th, 2012 at 05:43 pm

Hello, financially savvy friends and neighbors! I had the whole week off for vacation. Yeah! But don't worry. I wasn't using that opportunity to spend, spend, spend. In fact, I spent most of it at home. I watched some old tv episodes and movies on Netflix, played with my cats, did some catchup filing of receipts, cleaning my house, cooking, and shredding of receipts I no longer needed. Wow. My house really needed some decluging. It needs a lot more. Maybe I will work on it more tomorrow. I will be back to work on Monday.



As always, I am a constant quest to save money and eat more healthy also. I am also trying to eat some meatless meals to see if that helps. Here are my meals for the coming week:

1) Meatloaf with side of veggies - 2 meals

2) Roast beef with side of veggies - 2 meals

3) Oatmeal with raisins, flaxseeds, almond milk, and honey. Juice. Side of ham. 4 meals

4) Scrambled eggs. Juice. Oatmeal with flaxseeds, almond milk, and honey. 3 meals

5) Spaghetti sauce with rice. Side of veggies. 2 meals

6) Lentil Rice Pilaf. Side of raw veggies. 2 meals [url]http://www.food.com/recipe/lebanese-lentil-rice-pilaf-with-blackened-onions-78824[/url]

7) Spinach salad with tomatoes, flaxseeds, sliced almonds, and tuna (or lentils). Vinegar and oil for dressing. Side of orange or apple. 4 meals.

8) Hamburger patty. Side of veggies. 1 meal