Okay, I've read quite a few entries about the $20 challenge and have decided to try it. But I'm actually starting out with $17.56. That's what I have on me right now so I figure it's best to start with that and come up with $2.44 in a day or so than to not do it at all!
I've thought about what money to add to it and since this month is a really bad month with the mortgage issue and that is the priority, until that mortgage is dealt with I'm going to add to the original amount change from bills I use, change I find, change I dig up from inside the truck, and any survey money I get.
I might change that plan somewhere along the line but that's what I figure to do for January. If I end up with $21.83 on January 31 it's more than I have today.
Archive for December, 2006
I see a few places we can cut back.
We have the cheapest cell phone service we can get with T-mobile but I think when we have the money I'll go back to pre-paid with Trac-fone and get the double minutes card. We like not having a bill to deal with and in the long run that saved us quite a bit. We'll more than likely have the satellite TV turned off. If it's a choice between that and the ISP, we'll take the ISP as it's important to the business and the satellite TV is not.
The electric bill is always so high but I don't know what to do to lessen it. This house isn't as well insulated as it needs to be but until we have the cash to add insulation we have to deal with it as is. We only use the heat when it's really cold and lately it's been fairly warm so we haven't used it much. I've come across quite a few people who maintain that they've lowered their electric bill by eliminating or decreasing phantom load. I've read up on this and it does appear that unplugging some appliances when they're not being used can save up to 26% on the electric bill but I can't get DH believe it or to go along with it. I really would like to just try it for a month and see if it makes much of a difference. I'll try talking to him about it again and see if he'll agree to a 30 to 60 day trial. I wonder if doing the phantom load test would have him rethinking it. Hmm, something to ponder...
The water bill is too high, also. It's never as cheap as I'd like but it's been higher than normal for the last couple of months. I'm going to start sending the boys into the bathroom with the kitchen timer and tell them they have 10 minutes. When that timer goes off, the water needs to be turned off and they then have 5 minutes to dry off, dress, and get out of the bathroom. Two of the three that are often here will stay in there for 45 minutes to an hour!
So, one for the next month is to decrease the electric and water consumption.
Our electric bill for November was $171.60, 2292 KWH used
For December it was $140.16, 1803 KWH used
Our most recent water bill, due on the 10th, is $56.02, 6800 gallons used
I should be able to improve both of those. We'll see.
We had to run to a local store to meet a client so we got gas for $10 and I bought a Diet Pepsi for .75. DH is now out again but shouldn't spend much at all, if anything.
When we got home earlier, I hung two loads of towels on the clothes line. I really don't like the crunchiness of line dried towels but the day is cool and breezy so they shouldn't be too stiff. I just don't want to cough up $1 to dry clothes! I need the dryer repaired but until then, line drying it is! Once those are dry I have another load to hang.
Dinner tonight will be something with canned chicken that was given to us awhile back. I'm not wild about canned chicken but might as well make use of it.
We don't do New Years so we'll just stay home as usual and probably be asleep by 9 or so.
Ehhh, exciting.. but frugal!
Updated to add that the other load of clothes is hanging around the house now and some shirts are on hangers outside on the porch. It just doesn't get more redneck than this.
First I want to say that I have some old credit card debt but I don't know the exact total so I can't give it. It's under $2000, though. I also have another $2000 or so in miscellaneous debt. None of those have been paid on in ages, though. I'm ashamed to admit it but I just stick my head in the ground and pretend it isn't there. My credit rating is horrendous. My husband's is better than mine, I think, but he has some debt too. I don't know the exact amounts for his, either.
Here are our regular monthly expenses:
Mortgage $270 (We bought this house in 1998 for about 1/2 its value. It was a REO property of a local bank and it was quite a deal! It's a 3 or 4 bedroom, 1 bath home on almost 2 acres. It needed work when we bought it and we left closing with $4000 to help with that and as we get time and money we continue to work on it)
Property Taxes 55 (paid annually but this is what it comes out to monthly)
Propane 15 (bought once a year but it averages at about $15 a month)
Gasoline $100-150 (just one car but our business involves DH driving around quite a bit)
Cell Phone 50 (I'm going to see about changing the plan to a less expensive one tonight)
Satellite TV 50 (we get NO TV reception without it)
ISP 52 (needed for the business and the $52 is after the cost is split with my son)
That's about it for regular monthly expenses. I can't think of anything else right now. We do buy toner and paper and such but I don't know how much we spend on a monthly basis. We have a home printing/publishing business.
So, our regular expenses run about $1200 a month. That's with nothing to old debt or savings, just paying the necessities. Some months we make that much, some months we don't. Hence, we're almost always running behind.
Oops, I didn't include the $200 or so a month we spent on cigarettes! Since we're quitting that won't be a factor but it has been in the past.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to post about this and wasn't going to but since accountability is what I need, here goes. I bought a pack of cigarettes tonight! Okay, so Monday is the date of the quit and it isn't like it's a huge deal but it IS a huge deal! I spent $2 I shouldn't have on another pack of smokes! Ugh, okay, I will not beat myself up too much over this but I'll have them all gone by tomorrow night and that's it. Period. Finis.
Give me strength!
I have 3 cigarettes left and have decided not to buy anymore. Our quit date was set to be January 1 but it's silly to spend almost $2 to buy cigarettes later today when tomorrow is my last day to smoke. So, when these 3 are gone, they're gone.
DH has a few cigarettes and wanted to buy some more a bit earlier but I expressed how I feel about buying more when we're about to quit and he agreed and didn't buy any. So when his are gone, they're gone.
I'd forgotten all about the $1 tax going into effect Monday. That's yet another reason to quit smoking. The cigarettes that now cost us about $1.45 will cost $2.45 and that's just ridiculous. That means that if we continued to smoke we'd spend about $280 a month on cigarettes!
We can't afford to smoke and it's horrible for our health so that's it. No more smoking when these cigarettes are gone. No more smoking, no more smoking, no more smoking...
I read the replies to my "No resolutions allowed" entry and the one about accountability really struck home with me. I need to be accountable. Oh, I know I'm accountable to YHWH in regard to my stewardship of what He's given me and I even have a group of women online that I report to in some things. But apparently that's just not enough for me.
Now, I'm a pretty frugal person, believe it or not. I feed a family of 4 adults and 2 part time teens on less than $250 most months. We have no car payments and very little credit card debt. We manage to pay our bills for the most part but the mortgage payment, as small as it is, has just been an issue lately. We're self employed so we don't have a stable income and that's part of the problem. I won't go into all that here and now but suffice to say it's an issue and one I'm not sure I can resolve quickly. I'm going to pray and think on all of this.
In the meantime, I need more accountability so this blog will be my spending log. I'll post entries detailing our anticipated monthly expenditures, what we've actually spent and where, when, and for what, etc. Maybe that will help me.
I'm still reading the blogs of others and I'm still impressed. I'm also learning quite a bit but if any of you have suggestions for me, I'd love to know them.
For several reasons, I'm not into New Year resolutions. Oh, I say I'm going to try and do such and such and so and so but I think it and verbalize it in a sluggish, slovenly, half-hearted sort of way. I lack sincerity. I also lack a mission, goals, objectives and strategies. I think it's because even when I think about what it is I'd like to do, I know I won't actually do it. So why go to all the trouble of cementing goals, objectives and strategy if I know I won't really do anything to get there?
I'm lazy in this respect. Obviously. And I freely admit it. I'm not proud of it. I'm not happy about it. But honestly, I don't know how to change it. I've spent the last I don't know how long reading some of the blogs here and I'm impressed at the things some of the bloggers have done. Mortgages paid off, credit cards paid off, saving account balances tripled, etc. It's a wondrous thing! But none of the members seem lazy.
Rather, they seem motivated and charged up and that's what I want. That's what I need. But how do I get that? That's what I don't know.
So, my plan for the next two days is to come up with a goal of some sort for January 1, 2007. No, not the year 2007 but the day of January 1. I'm starting small.
Since that's the day of The Quit for me and my other half, I think it would be great to make not smoking a goal. That saves us quite a bit of money right there. Ever since we started smoking only outside the house we've gone from 2 packs a day each to less than 1 pack each every 2 to 3 days. That's amazing progress and we've saved a tidy little bundle, already. I think not having a single cigarette on January 1 is a reasonable and practical goal but I need another goal, too.
Maybe I'll put the money that we would normally spend on cigarettes in a jar or envelope and start my "Thank you for not smoking" fund. There's something to ponder so put that in your pipe and umm..smoke it.
Well, today is the 29th of December. We're two months behind on our mortgage payments and as of January 2 we'll be three months behind. We got a foreclosure notice today, saying that if we don't give the bank $810 plus attorney's fees, which will be about $200, by January 28 we lose the house.
So, this is my first entry in this blog. We need to come up with about $1100 in 30 days. We don't have much we can sell and our income is just not steady which is how we ended up in this boat to begin with.
I'm training for chacha and maybe that will help. No, I won't make the entire $1100 but if I can make even a couple hundred it will help. The training is slow for me, though, because the guide system is so backward and seems awkward.
Anyway, I'm also doing other things to make some money; writing articles for associatedcontent.com and a couple of other content sites, cutting back every where I can, cooking as frugally as I can considering that two of the four people I cook for are diabetic.
We'll get there. In the meantime, we have a well stocked pantry and don't need much in the way of food. We'll eat fine while we save every penny for the house payments.
And January 1 is Quit Day. We're going to quit smoking - again. We'd already decided that before we got the bank notice today as buying cigarettes (and smoking them!) is such a stupid and expensive thing!
So, if you happen to read this entry and you're a praying person, please keep us in your prayers.
The new year is about to begin and with it comes that wonderful chance we all get annually. Of course, in reality we have that chance every day, all day, all year long. But there's something about a new year that's just so exciting. It gives us the energy to try again, to make goals and then plan what we're going to do to meet them, to feel a refreshing sense of new.
So here's to all of us, those struggling and those not, those with plenty of money and those without. May we all find 2007 to be the best year ever.