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New Numbers are Up


I’m excited to report the $1100 in the Emergency Fund but really wanted to show $2,000 total paid so far.  That didn’t quite happen and I have avoided doing my shell game thing to make myself feel better.  What I COULD have done (but it would have been wrong) is to deduct a payment I will be making in a week or so that would have brought that total paid to the $2,000 mark I really wanted to hit.  No, no, no…keeping it precise and honest is the way to go.  And I can look forward to the good numbers on June 1.  Since I was figuring out how I wanted to update and have agreed with readers that once a month is best…June 1 will be the first month that shows a true full month’s payments on debt.  $500 more and we will have hit our $1600 Emergency Fund goal.  At that point–between the small amounts freed up by the small debts being extinguished….and the amounts we’ve been putting in savings…and the amounts we are saving with new lifestyle choices…we should start seeing some momentum building.

You may or may not notice that the lowest balance credit card increased since last month.  That is a card in DH’s name and thanks to this blog and the new habit of keeping an eye on things…we discovered that some random $19.99 charge hit.  I googled the name of the charging entity and sure enough it appears to be a scam!  We are working with the bank to have that charge removed and then stopping it from being charged again.  Stinks that it happened but I’m feeling good about keeping our eye on things b/c in the past it would have taken us much longer to even be aware of it…so that’s a good thing.  When I was googling and finding info on it I noticed that a lot of people said they had looked back and the scam charge had been showing up for months and they had not noticed!

So there you have it–farewell April, hello May.  Here’s to keeping the focus, finding ways to cut even more and having fun while doing it!



Room to Breathe


The end of April will mark a full 4 months that we have been following our spending and putting limits on ourselves.  We took some time to look back over those 4 months and are pretty pleased with the results.  January was ugly–no two ways about it.  We knew it was going to be but to look back and see that we paid “insufficient fund fees” is not only alarming…in many ways it is like looking at people we do not know.  Now we are ending April in a much better place.  As some of you read in a comment I made recently, we rent out the house my husband owned before we married.  Before March 2012, we were in hot water if that rent check did not come in.  Now, not only do we have breathing room that eliminates the panic around the first of the month—but we also learned that USAA offers “Rent Replacement” coverage on the homeowners’ policy if the renters skip town.  Adding this to the policy was such a minimal amount (less than $90 a year) we figured it was worth it given our current financial situation.  Our renters have been great but you never know what might happen.  In addition to not desperately needing that rent check, we have an emergency fund that will just about cover the monthly mortgage (and that is our goal–to reach $1600 in the emergency savings so that we have that payment if needed).  Additionally, we have erased a couple of petty debts and were able to consolidate obscene interest rate debt into a lower rate loan.

Now, before you think I’m throwing my shoulder out patting myself on the back–please know that I am painfully aware of just how far we have to go.  I anticipate speedbumps along the way and pray that we have the fortitude to dust ourselves off and start again.  I haven’t faced too many moments of discouragement because the adjustments to our lifestyle are yielding tangible results.  While we are sometimes forced to deny ourselves in ways we have not denied ourselves before—with momentary discomfort—the rewards of finding breathing room and seeing  a savings account grow are definitely worth it.

There is a long road ahead but comparing how we are living life now with how we were living life then is a good exercise.  I do not ever want to have to worry about there being enough money in my checking account.  I’ve lived life too long like that and the energy and time the worry of that has taken from me is already too, too much.  Financial freedom is critical for our overall well-being.  I can’t get over how long it took me to get that!  I guess many people never do…and I’m thankful for seeing that reality while I still have time to do something about it.


Friday Night Fun


You’ll be happy to know that cable is disconnected and without anything set up for Roku.  We had to go pretty extreme and just cancel cable without having anything lined up b/c time is the challenge for us–if we wait for the time to get things in order on Roku and THEN cancel cable…well then weeks go by and suddenly it has been a month since we first considered breaking up with cable!  That’s $140 a month we don’t need to spend so it has been cut to $35 for the internet only.  We did go out and buy an “old school” antenna and are amazed at what we can get for FREE.  Ridiculous that it took us this long!  Somehow both hubby and I became convinced that we needed cable to have television.  In fact, when we first discussed this my husband even said “we won’t be able to watch the Super Bowl.”  Imagine our surprise when our $24 antenna got us crystal clear local television reception.  We felt pretty dumb.

We are waiting on Roku b/c we need to educate ourselves on perhaps using the Playstation 3 and Wii that we already have.  I understand they can do the wifi feed but we need to figure out how that works.  Let me know if you have info on this topic.

Today marked our first volunteer time at Mobile Loaves and Fishes.  We can see that being a wonderful addition to our busy schedules!  It was a great time for all as we made 100 meals for the homeless.  It was empowering to see how the power of many can knock out a task like this in absolutely no time.  We were finished in an hour!  We hope to go out on the truck next time but there were other volunteers for that duty today.

The evening ended with trips to CVS and Walgreens where, with the help of coupons, we bought two 6-paks of Bounty papertowels, two 6-pack “double rolls” of Charmin, 2 large bottles of olive oil on clearance, 5 boxes of cereal (to include Life–my all time fave happened to be on clearance for $1.50 b/c it expires in May), a gallon of milk and a pack of gum for $9!  So exciting for us!  We laughed as we looked at this Friday evening compared to Fridays in the past—we used to eat at a nice restaurant and drop at least $80…but tonight we happily saved a lot of money on things we need and use and celebrated no cable television!  I am so excited to be done with that bill—and the $105 will go straight toward savings and debt!

Notice the slightly updated numbers–the savings is up to $650 and a $145 line of credit is paid off!  🙂

Updated numbers…


…Will be coming your way shortly.  Not a huge difference from the last update but every penny counts!  I am very proud of our savings account.  I cannot believe it has only been one month though since I started blogging!  While every other part of my life feels like it flew by this month…I feel like I’ve been blogging for YEARS!  I think that is the result of really paying attention to money for the first time in my life. Until that habit is built and solid–it is going to feel like work.

One accountability note–I’ve realized that I have an addiction to the “shell game.”  What does that mean?  I like the rush of moving money from one place to another and back again…often before I even have the money in my account.  Case in point:  The first $145 line of credit balance  you see here…I initially put $0 there…not because I am a LIAR Sarah  ;-)…but b/c I know I have money in my account that I can use for that right now (b/c it is earmarked for an expense later in time) and then I have money coming in that can replace that money I took out so I get the good feeling of paying something off EARLIER than I otherwise would….but…I realize in my frontal lobe (wikipedia break: frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions, override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions) that this thing I do is ALL A FICTION!  I’m a Dream Weaver!  I don’t at all have an intent to be DECEITFUL but…do you see what I’m saying here?  And so, my husband is RIGHT (yes dear, that’s in writing for the world to see)…I can’t do that anymore!  That’s a bad, bad habit that must stop and I feel super charged that I’m stopping it today with the posting of these new numbers!  Woo-hoo!

Just a bad week…


Five years of perfect behavior.

Five years of no break-downs.

Five years of easy flying.

Now, my car is acting like a rebellious child.

Brakes. Gone.

$280. Gone.

Thankfully, my husband’s new pay raise will cover it so our debt payment for December should be normal. Plus, we’ve both been working side jobs so we may actually make a dent this month. Whew!

Oh no. I think I just jinxed it.

Diving into the Emergency Fund… Again.


A scummy, lowlife person decided to break into my car again two nights ago. I have other words to describe this person – but this is a family show.

I came out to get into my car and the driver’s side door and trunk were open. Of course, being left open with the lights on all night killed my battery and stranded me until my husband could give me a jump.

The thief escaped with a $15 FM tuner, less than a dollar in change, and a good chunk of what was left of my sense of safety.

We installed some hefty motion detector flood lights directly over the driveway after the first break in two months ago but apparently those only deter thieves when I turn them on. I got home late from work, was tired, and simply didn’t pay enough attention to turn the lights on. Oops.

When my husband left for school and I was home alone last night, I locked all the doors and windows and sat in the corner of my living room terrified someone would break in. I decided I couldn’t live like this.


I asked my husband to install security cameras.

Knee jerk reaction to a somewhat irrational fear? Yes.

But if robbing $350 from my emergency fund helps me sleep better – I’m willing to pay it.

The cameras are being installed this week.

Dealing with theft…


Some horrid person decided to break in to my car last night while we slept. It was parked in my driveway but apparently, that doesn’t stop some folks from strolling up and taking what isn’t theirs.

Fortunately, I’m a tidy person and keep nothing but essentials in my car. They got away with $20 in emergency cash, the change drawer in its entirety, and my sense of security.

As my husband was helping me clean up the mess – because it wasn’t enough to steal from me, so they had to destroy my car – at 5:30 in the morning, he smiled and said, “At least your music taste is so bad, thieves don’t even want to steal it!” while holding up my CD case.

“Thanks” I said.

“Not one CD is missing” He said while flipping through the case.

“I noticed” I replied.

“Look! They clearly went through it and decided it sucked.”

“OK hon. I get it!” I yelled.

“Can’t imagine why no one would want Mama Mia, Michael Jackson, or Katherine McPhee. What kind of world are we living in??” he laughed sarcastically.

I’m not sure which is worse. Discovering you have been robbed or having a lowlife thief validate your husband’s assertion that you have awful taste in music.

We’re pulling some cash from our emergency fund and installing floodlights above our cars because…

You never know. He might come back for my totally awesome cd collection.