Positive Twist

2 days before Christmas my boss sent me a message asking me to call her. I work from home most days and although I had no reason to suspect I would be laid off a momentary panic crossed my mind.

As it turned out – even though our company is facing tough times – I was being rewarded for my hard work and dedication over the last year with a pay increase. Not just an increase, but $10,000 more for 2014! My first thought was excitement that I would have the ability to spend more, finally add to my wardrobe, spoil my son… then I realized that I should pretend I never got the raise at all. I don’t “need” it, we can survive without…

So on 1/15 my first check of the year came in and I finally had a dollar value to assign to my pocketbook – $336 more per pay period, $672 a month. Nearly $700 that I was not counting on having that I can now….. snowball!

Next to-do was to plug that figure into my snowball spreadsheet and the result was AMAZING. It made our “debt free date” move forward by 6 months! We are now looking at having zero debt except our mortgage on June 30, 2015!

AHHHHH! July 1, 2015¬†I’m buying that lens I want for my camera ūüôā


$25 – Why I hate Dave Ramsey

Last night I received a $25 money order for selling 7 cloth diapers on Facebook. I normally do all the transactions via Paypal but the woman was insistent and I figured the worst she could do was not send it, in which case I would relist the diapers.


The point is that I have the $25 money order sitting here staring at me. If it was in Paypal I could just sit on the money until the desire to buy something through a co-op came up (or an awesome deal on a new carrier or wrap… or super cute AIO Diaper… or…)

I’m getting side tracked again.

So… Damn you Dave Ramsey. This is why I hate you. I woke up to that damn $25 money order sitting on the counter just screaming to me, “spend me! spend me!” while the DR in my head was saying “Get Gazelle Intense”. 4 hours later I gave in… I spent the $25 money order and now I’m pissed about it.

Screw¬†you Dave Ramsey for making me want to scream “I’m debt free” so fucking bad (yes, I’m this angry!) that I spent that $25 on our truck loan. No toys for me… just another $25 thrown at a debt we never should have had if we would have known you a couple years ago.

so Dave, you win this time… even if it was just $25.

2014 – Minimalism

Spend a little time on Pinterest and you’ll find that especially in the organization and home category there’s a trend called minimalism. Now I don’t know if it’s really a trend or if these people have been around forever but it’s not something I’ve ever been exposed to. Perhaps that’s just because my family is all hoarders or maybe I live a sheltered life within the confines of stuff.

So anyways as I started the Dave Ramsey plan I started to come to realize that a lot of our money is spent on stuff. And I don’t just mean food,¬† because in our house we spend a lot of money on food. Doesn’t matter if it’s takeout, carry out, dining out, or dining in¬† we spend a lot for two people –¬† and I am terrified that that number is going to continue to grow as our little boy does.¬†¬†Anyway… I’ve tried to find ways to become gazelle¬† intense¬† and I kept stumbling across the concept of selling¬† stuff.¬† If you don’t use it get rid of it,¬† if you don’t love it get rid of it,¬† if you can’t prove a damn good reason to keep it‚Ķ¬† Get rid of it.¬† People will buy anything, the proof is¬† in my basement. There is shit everywhere.¬† Now I’m not saying that I’m actually going to get rid of a bunch of stuff¬† or that I’ll make a lot of money doing so but I figure it is worth a try.

So I started googling minimalism¬† or minimalist lifestyle. Since this is a relatively foreign concept to me I figured I better do my research before I jump in and call myself a minimalist.¬† After a few Google searches, a couple webpages,¬† and a good look through my closet (the parts of it I can see any way)¬† I have decided I will never be a minimalist…¬† But…¬†I agree,¬†I have too much stuff.

So then I stumbled upon this concept of getting rid of¬† an equivalent number of items within your house¬† as the year. Now I don’t know if I described that correctly¬† but the basics are: this is 2014¬† so, over the course of the next year I need to get rid of 2,014¬† items with in my house.¬† I’m sure I could cheat and start counting things like the cans that go in the trash¬† or fingernail clippings (gross!)¬† But I’ve decided if I’m going to do this¬†I’m going to do it right…¬† So,¬† we are 13 days¬†in and I have¬†successfully gotten rid of¬† 78 items.

Among them, a slew of cloth diapers that¬† little man has outgrown,¬† a collection of shipping boxes I had been saving for¬† the thousands of things I’m going to sell on eBay (yeah, right!),¬† as well as some miscellaneous Christmas crap.

I think I could quadruple the goal, make it 10,000 items¬† and my house would still be a mess,¬† cluttered,¬† and I would still misplace my keys…¬† But just like the Dave Ramsey plan I need baby steps!

So to my readers, do you live the minimalist lifestyle?  If so did you overcome hoarding?  Any tips for a newbie?

If you are stuck in hoarders hell like me –¬† care to join me on this¬† endeavor?

Birthdays and such

My birthday is nine days away. When my dear husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday I said that I didn’t need anything. This went on for the better part of two weeks, before he finally reminded me that he wasn’t asking me what I needed but what I wanted. I started to think of things that I wanted, everything I could come up with was either ridiculously expensive, takes up too much space, or it isn’t something that can be bought.

What I really want is peace of mind.¬† You can’t buy that.

Of course I would love a new lens for my digital camera –¬† it’s only $1300…¬† I would like a new iPad¬† for no reason other than to have the latest and greatest one.¬† I want a new phone¬† because the android that I have sucks.¬† There’s a list of items that may be considered needs¬† that I could ask for.¬† I need¬† new pants,¬† a few well fitting shirts,¬† a couple of shells to wear under my suit,¬† another pair of shoes for work.¬† However, I can survive with what I have.

So after thinking about it for a few days I decided that what I really wanted was an experience. I wanted a family¬† centered event¬† for us to attend or go see¬† or do together.¬† now that is obviously quite hard when you consider that we have a seven-month-old.¬† however we live in an excellent area for¬† free¬† or not so free¬† experiences.¬† it just so happens that I came across a woman online¬† who was offering up two free tickets to the Baltimore Aquarium.¬† We live about two hours south of Baltimore and I have always wanted to go to the aquarium there.¬† I contacted her and within 24 hours the tickets were on their way.¬† now I know the fact that I was so frugal probably annoyed my husband however,¬† the tickets were free, it is something I wanted to do,¬†and I know I will be happy.¬† will I be a bit happier knowing that we didn’t spend additional money? Absolutely.¬† But this was more a divine intervention situation¬† than anything – and I have to admit I’ve also requested crabcakes so it’s not like my birthday is really going to be “free”.

The nice thing is I’ve left the rest of the planning up to my husband. He loves to do these kinds of things and try to surprise me. I’m very lucky in that respect. He always wants the best for me and he wants to see me happy. Right now I am overjoyed at the fact that I will get to do something I wanted to do, with my husband and son for my birthday‚Ķ The fact that we are saving money is merely a bonus.


2 Month Check-in

Well, it has been two months since I last wrote. We took the month of December off, despite my better judgment I agreed to it. Even though we weren’t doing the Dave Ramsey plan I feel we still manage our money pretty well. We did stick to a budget for Christmas and I don’t think anyone felt shortchanged in the gift department.

So where are we at?

In October we had six short-term goals. The last of which was to pay off our La-Z-Boy credit card by June 2014. That is the only outstanding debt that we have for our short-term goals. However the plan has changed; the La-Z-Boy credit card is now the last thing to be paid off in our debt snowball. We are currently working on paying off the loan on our Expedition. When we started this plan we were on track to be debt-free except the mortgage in January 2017. By reallocating funds from our savings account and getting gazelle intense that date has moved to January 2016.

In October we paid off three credit cards,  and another credit card in November.  In December we paid off the Lending Club loan and made additional payments on the Expedition.  We are starting the new year with a new plan,  we are motivated,  and we have every intention of being debt free by December 31, 2015!

Our debt snowball payment is up to $637.  That means each month we are paying 2 1/2 car payments.  At this rate  we can pay off the Expedition by the end of the year  with just a couple extra  small payments.  Had we chosen to stand that like a normal American family  we would still be paying off the car  through February 2017.  Screw being normal!

The latest snowball is currently set up I have ranked our debts¬† by interest rate – next¬†up would be the baby loan.¬†¬† We have a few months left to decide if we would rather¬† pay off my student loans¬† and La-Z-Boy¬† before the baby loan.¬† the baby loan is actually a gift¬† if you can call it that¬† from¬† my in-laws.¬†When we¬†decided to pursue IVF treatment they graciously offered¬† to loan us some money – I will never¬† take such a gift again.¬† I didn’t know at the time that they were going to use our loan as a tax loophole – they make enough money¬† that they took out a HELOC on their house¬† for the tax benefits¬† however we are on the hook for it¬† and now they cannot refinance¬† so the subject of our loan comes up often.¬† It is uncomfortable to say the least.

anyway, that’s the update…¬† We are on month¬†4 of¬†the Dave Ramsey plan and we have paid off $13,000 worth of debt.¬† We are living like no one else so later we can live like no one else!

Just Keep Swimming

Posted on our fridge is our Family Financial Goals which is a fairly constant reminder of our plans for our financial future.

Our short term goals are all about getting out of credit card debt, our medium term goals include paying off a car loan and a personal loan from the in-laws for IVF, and our long term goals include¬†saving for¬†things. It’s a list of needs versus wants. We need to pay off our credit cards, but we want to finish our basement.

It works for us. Which I think is the most important piece of all. If it doesn’t work for us we don’t do it.

The best part of the paper affixed to the fridge is that we get to cross things off. We can see our progress from across the room. In big black sharpie we have each had the opportunity to strikethrough a debt… twice each! I cannot tell you how good that feels and how anxious I am to do it again.

The ever evolving list of needs and wants now looks like this:


I’ve added items like Lasik eye surgery for me (someday – when we can pay in cash!) and put more emphasis on others (like Baby Boy’s college fund). The copy on the fridge will probably (hopefully) become tattered and a marked through mess but that means we are making progress!

3 weeks in

Time for a check in! 3 weeks in and I’ve finally gotten over my fear of depleting my savings account. It does me no good to earn $4 a month when we are losing $70 a month to interest charges on credit cards. So… I took my savings down to $3,000 (after much discussion with my husband this is as low as I we are willing to go. So our Emergency Fund is established time to kill some debt!

So far this month we’ve been able to cross off 4 (yes FOUR!) credit cards. It feels amazing and is making this whole process seem much less daunting. I know it will be a while before we are debt free but each step makes me feel reenergized.

So here is where the money has gone as of yesterday:



We’re on “Vacation”

Dave says not to take a vacation unless you can pay cash for it… well, we had one planned already that was mostly paid for by my in-laws. We traveled to Florida for my husband’s grandfather’s 90th birthday. It was to say the least interesting traveling with a 4 month old and a budget.

We did okay in the grand scheme of things. We had a couple purchases at the airport, two stops at CVS (diapers! oops!) and a hefty parking fee at the airport ($84) but otherwise we ate in and refused to spend… until we hit the outlet mall. Very guiltily I purchased a new diaper bag for myself and splurged at the Carter’s outlet. $190 later lesson learned. I also scored a deal on a Coach Iphone5 case for my sister for Christmas – it was nearly 70% off!

The good news is that we have not yet “blown the budget” and we did much better than I think we would have done before Dave.

One week in

Yesterday officially ended the first week of our modified DR plan. We managed to blow the budget on home repairs – that “Man Store” trip came in at $168 and I forgot that we owed $200 towards our deck – so much for the $50 I had budgeted.

I was feeling motivated yesterday so I paid all the months bills including those that are due at the end of the month. I want to do that from now on so that I can really see what is left in the budget. The good news is that I was able to rearrange some things and paid the car insurance in full (saves us $100!) and because I had previously transferred money to pay down debt I put $1000 towards our next CC on the list. It feels so good!

I am concerned about the food budget though. We have spent $300 of the $400 for the month already. $231 at Costco this weekend :-/ the dog food and disposable diapers were $70 of it. (I don’t know how people use disposables full time, wow! they are expensive!)

I’m feeling good. I’m feeling like this could be worth it… not sure what Hubby is feeling but he isn’t complaining too much so far ūüôā

Tagged ,


Love those words.

Yesterday I paid off the CitiCard and Best Buy card.

YAY!!! I originially planned to pay down other cards first because the Best Buy was interest free but it felt so good to have one paid off I asked Hubby his thoughts. He said it definitely sounds better to have 2 paid off than just one. Sounds like motivation to me!

I also sunk $1000 into the next CC on the list! Let’s go snowballin’!