Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Out of Debt!!!

Just a quick note to say that I sent off the last of my debt payments yesterday! I'm debt free except for the house! No credit cards, no car payments, no anything! Consumer debt is gone! Hip, hip! I want to call into the Dave Ramsey show now!

I really should be feeling more ecstatic about the whole thing but really I'm feeling a little unsettled by it. Why? Because I used a bunch of our savings to do it and I don't like the feeling of my somewhat depleted savings account now. Sure I still have some money in savings and I can build my savings back up rapidly now that I'm not sending off money to my creditors each month, but still...it's a security thing for me, you know!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dave Ramsey's Townhall for Hope

If you missed Dave Ramsey's Townhall for Hope [or didn't get to catch all of it because your local radio station only played the first hour then went back to normal programming] then never fear! You can watch it on Hulu here. Or order your own copy from his website.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quotable Quotes

“It’s easier to accumulate wealth if you don’t live in a high-status neighborhood. … Perhaps you aren’t as wealthy as you should be because you traded much of your current and future income just for the privilege of living in a home in a high-status neighborhood.”

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Hopeful Side Benefit To My Goal

Not only will my fully stocked food storage pantry help with my grocery budget, but I sincerely hope it will mean better lunches for my husband to take to work so that he doesn't eat out as much as he has been.

He spends over $250/month just on eating out. Which would mean an even greater savings on our overall budget since those meals aren't planned into my regular grocery budget.

He does have a job that tends to take him all over the place in the afternoons and evenings and so he frequently hits the drive-in in between appointments, but I'm hoping to find some solutions for that which will hopefully be acceptable to him still. Eating out is just waaaayyyy too expensive and it adds up so quickly and I'd much rather put that money to other places right now.

Stating My Goal

Goal: To only spend $50/week on groceries

Time limit: by October

How I'm going to do it: Couponing and building my food storage up through a full 3-4 month sale cycle so that I have enough of everything to shop from my food storage and replace items when they're on sale again at the rock bottomest prices and then continue to do so.

They say it can be done so I'm going for it!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cliff Notes Version on How To Save Money on Cable

A while ago I talked about Cancelling Cable. So I decided to give you my Cliff Notes Version broken down into easy steps in case you haven't had time to go check it out yet. Here we go!

1. Buy your converters. I would recommend this even if you have cable now, because what if someday you can't afford the cable anymore. If you want to watch your tv in that case, you would need the converters to make them work. Get your TV converter coupons here .

2. Get an antenna. Go to TVFool or AntennaWeb and input your information to see which channels are available to you with just an antenna. Use the guide to help you determine which type of antenna you need.

Now you will be set up to watch more channels than before without your cable.

Now if you want more choices, then continue:

3. Sign up for Netflix.

Netflix, Inc.

Trust me on this one. You can sign up for free for two weeks to try it out, and then select any of the unlimited plans [they start around $8.95 I believe]. This is going to be your minimal ongoing monthly charge but it is going to be drastically cheaper than cable. And your choices are nearly limitless -- you'll see why shortly.

4. Get one of the following and you will be able to stream Netflix On Demand at no extra charge with over 12,000 titles to choose from [plus you can still get your unlimited monthly dvds in the mail as long as you chose an unlimited plan]:

a) A Roku Digital Video Player

b) A TiVo Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder or TiVo HD Digital Video Recorder . In order to work they must be a series 3 or HD version.

c) Download and use Xbox Experience from your Xbox Live account on an Xbox 360 Console

d) A Blu-ray Disc Player that is Netflix enabled

There! Now you have lots of choices! Plus you can always watch a lot of your other favorite choices on fancast, hulu and the network websites to name a few!

Let me know how it works for you if you try this!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where's the Glamour?

It may seem glamorous to use those credit cards to buy all that nice furniture, fancy cars and new clothes but seriously kids, where is the glamour of paying all that money back? Where is the glamour in late fees and high interest rates?

It's NOT glamorous kids!! Got that? It's NOT!

You will command much more respect when you go in to purchase your next car and brush all their attempts at getting you to finance off with the wave of your hand. "No, I prefer to pay for my things with cash, thank you!"

At least that's how it plays out in my mind!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saving Money on Soap

I have been able to cut back on my grocery bill by using foaming soaps. It saves money because it uses a lot less soap. The regular liquid soap dispensers dish out way too much at a time.

The foaming soaps are a little more expensive...at first. It's the foaming part that makes the bottle expensive, not the soap because the bottles actually have 2/3 less soap than the same size bottle of just regular hand soap. But you need to purchase a few at first and then you can start to re-fill them yourself. It's super easy!

Step 1: Choose Your Bottle

Here are some examples of types of foaming bottles you might find.

Foaming soaps aren't just limited to hand soap. You can also use them for dish soap and body washes too. I've even put baby wash in them and the baby loves the bubbles at bathtime!

Step 2: Gather the real soap you will be using to re-fill the bottle with.

Here I'm using a liquid dish soap.

Step 3: Fill the foaming dispenser to 1/3 with soap.

Step 4: Fill the rest of the bottle with water.
So the formula is 1/3 part soap to 2/3 part water.

Step 5: Put the lid back on and give it a shake.
Amazingly enough, once it is all shaken up, it doesn't really seem to separate and you can just pump away to your hearts content.

That's it! Really not that hard now is it? The cool thing is it really extends the life of the liquid soap for a long time meaning you won't have to buy as often. I mean, look at how much is still left in that bottle! I will be able to re-fill that thing a few more times before I need to go buy more soap. And if I had been using an even larger bottle of soap, it would last me even longer!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Free Suze Orman E-book

You can download a free copy of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan over on Oprah's website. It is a 227 pg book that hopefully has lots of good tips in it. I just downloaded mine, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. But hurry, the book is only available until January 15th.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Line Drying

Even though I have an energy efficient washer and dryer, I keep thinking how my energy audit pointed out that it uses up about 15% of my energy costs. Then I read this post about line drying your sheets in sub-zero weather [with instructions on how to do it] and how yummy they smell that just really makes me want to try it.

I've been eyeing the above clothes rack for the side of my house that I've dubbed the utility side of my house. It's where the garbage can is, where our utility trailer lives when it's not hauling things around, is right off the garage door near my laundry room and has a nice solid fence to help hide things from the neighbors. It seems like a good spot to hang out laundry to me and that particular rack can fold down against the house when not in use.

Unfortunately I don't think my husband is on board for this type of project yet and I'm not sure he'd like me drilling holes into the side of the house for something like that. So I'm thinking of rigging up some cheaper, less conspicous options for now. There are a whole bunch of other drying options here if you're interested.

I'll let you know how those sheets turn out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Heads Up On Children's Products!

I'm really not sure what to think about all this. According to this article in the LA Times a new regulation "will take effect Feb. 10 under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which was passed by Congress last year in response to widespread recalls of products that posed a threat to children, including toys made with lead or lead-based paint".

Everything sold for children 12 and younger will have to be tested for lead and phthalates, and anything that isn’t tested [or that fails] will be considered hazardous and can't be sold.

This could have huge ramifications on re-sell stores and thrift shops because testing for these things can be extremely costly. In fact, many thrift shops across the nation have stopped taking donations on children's items from what I hear.

In the LA Times article, Shauna Sloan, founder of the Kid to Kid franchise [which I have shopped at numerous times] states, "We will have to lock our doors and file for bankruptcy."

This is just sad. On the one hand I can see the benefits for improved products, but on the other hand I believe it will make toys and clothing much more expensive and if it does end up eliminating the re-sell market, it will hurt a lot of people who rely on it to remain frugal.

If this concerns you too, then Trent at The Simple Dollar has some good suggestions about contacting your Representatives and start hitting the shops to stock up while you still can.