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Carpet Cleaning


I can’t believe we move in just 11 days!  I received a very long list of “must do’s” from the property management company.  There weren’t any surprises on there as I was made aware of everything upon move in.  I admit I was irritated by the fact that I have to have the carpet professionally cleaned because really…the carpet is awful!  I have throw rugs over 75%+ of it because I don’t want the kids or I to walk on it–that’s how bad it is!  Thankfully the carpet is only upstairs.  It absolutely, positively needs to be replaced but that’s not my call so I will fulfill my obligation.

As I went about pricing carpet cleaning services I only became more irritated because it was going to cost me a couple of hundred bucks.  That is until I found a groupon coupon!  The upstairs is approximately 1000 square feet and the coupon is for carpet cleaning of 1000 square feet for $40!  I read and reread the requirements from the management company and all it says is I must produce a receipt from a professional carpet cleaning company.  So I chalk this up as a win and the carpet cleaning is set for 3/29.  Score!

In other move news, we are almost completely packed.  Spring Break was productive and we are all very excited.  At this point I am looking forward to less space.  I wonder how I will feel in a few months?  Cramped?  Confined?  Or liberated?  I’m not sure but for now I am enthusiastic if nothing else.  I’ve sold a few more things and sent the money straight to debt which feels good considering this is going to be an expensive month with the move.  I decided no garage sale is needed as I got rid of most garage sale type items via Craigslist.  All of those transactions went so well!  Everyone showed up when they said they would and payment was made in cash!

Rocking along here and feeling good.  Could NOT have done this without this blog!!!!

The Queen of Versailles


I love documentaries. I don’t watch much television but when I do it’s usually a documentary. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I do love me some Big Bang Theory!  Anyway,  I watched The Queen of Versailles this week and loved it!  It’s on Netflix.  What a story!  What a way to find motivation to get rid of even more stuff!  Have you seen this show?  The excess!  The black hole of empty these people are trying to fill!  The lack of a conscience!  Wow. The whole thing blew me away and had me saying aloud (with no one else in the room but the dogs) “Is this real??” I felt profound sadness for these people in spite of the evidence of greed in their world.  It wasn’t all greed as the documentary showed some sides of charity and concern for their employees but the excess!  Wow!

And as I fell asleep it made me think about how we can all so easily be little versions of this craziness.  I’ve been talking a lot about downsizing in recent weeks and just like my food journey–I feel the change really taking root and taking hold.  I’m happy about that.  It feels great! 

To address a couple of questions about my upcoming move:  Yes, I will move car load of things that will lower my moving cost a bit, but the real reason is there are just those items that I prefer to move myself.  I never got an answer to my garage sale question from the HOA and haven’t had a chance to follow up on it but I imagine I’ll still have some things I can sell.  We move on Easter weekend though so I don’t know if that would be a good or bad weekend for a sale.  Maybe I can be ready the week before.  I have been doing a little each day and the downstairs is completely packed.  We have one cabinet of stuff in the kitchen but otherwise all of the boxes are packed!  I’ll tackle the upstairs this weekend although that should be light b/c we underwent major clean out upon my ex’s move out.

I’m still excited about the move and all of the upcoming changes!  Thanks for hanging in there with me and the kids along the way!



The Move


Several of you asked about my budgeting for my March 30 move.  I will be using the same movers I’ve used in the last two moves that are both reliable and very reasonable.  They charge $95 per hour for a three man crew.  They are insured and have good reviews.   I have so minimized my stuff I can’t even begin to tell you!  I spent today packing the kitchen and have another car load of things to sell and donate.  If I haven’t used it in a year…it went.  I have set aside $700 (much of that coming from the difference in rent due April 1) for the movers which I think is a significant over estimate.  When we moved into this house we essentially had two households and even had to make two trips b/c their truck wasn’t large enough to take everything in one run.  I remember clearly that we paid $850 and I remember being so impressed with the cost because it was near 9 hours that day. I just don’t see this move taking all day.  We had 100+ boxes that last move (!!!) and I’m guess-timating no more than 40 this time.  I hope to come in closer to 30.  There isn’t much furniture left with just my 3 piece living room set with two end tables, the kids bedroom sets (3 pieces each), my King size bed and the scary dresser.  There is a folding table serving as our dining table for now.  I have the frig that will be stored in my garage at the apartment.  I confirmed I can plug it in to the garage plug (and I don’t pay for electricity in the garage) and we can have a back up fridge.  I like having a lot of freezer space b/c I cook a lot and freeze.

All in all, I feel nothing but relief as I find myself with less stuff.  The sermon this morning at church was about consumerism.  The priest made such valid points about all of the empty things we chase trying to find fulfillment when really it is all very simple–and the answer is not in a new television set.

I sincerely feel like this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.  I think I AM supposed to be slightly uncomfortable as I undo my past mistakes.  I think I am supposed to cringe a bit as I think about where I am at right now.  I am working hard to find motivation in the positive position it puts me in as I move forward.  It isn’t always easy as there is a very real sense of shame about everything but most days I do okay.

I sense there are many readers out there who are still in a hopeless situation about their debt.  If that’s you, go back and read some of my early posts and see where I’ve come in just 12 months (March 1 was my one year anniversary as the blogger on this site).  I hope you find encouragement in what you read.  Remember it could always be worse and you do have something to be grateful for in this world.  That could be family or your job or whatever…but we all have something.  Take a baby step today and watch how you gain momentum.  While I do not recommend going through a SECOND divorce as you are trying to dig out, I can say the divorce is very likely the best thing that could have happened to me on my debt journey.  I am excited to see where I will be in just another 12 months!

Happy Sunday.



Online Meal PlansThat Work For Me


A few months ago I shared that as part of getting spending under control, I began planning our weekly menus.  Many readers shared some great suggestions on websites that offer meal plans.  As I look back over the last twelve months this new habit has undoubtedly kept money in my pocket. We rarely eat out and even with the busy schedule we lead, I even plan “meals to go” and we have family dinners in the car.  The kids like that and although I much prefer sitting around a table like civilized people, I also know that eating our homemade to go box meals is better than visiting a drive thru and eating out of a window like seagulls.  I took advantage of several introductory offers from online meal plans and finally ended up using two. The first is The Six O’clock Scramble (www.thescramble.com) and the second is Momables (www.momables.com).  I paid $21 for the three month subscription for The Scramble and then $12 for a three month subscription to Momables.   Momables has awesome lunch ideas that keep the kids interested in packed lunches.  We use some of the recipes for dinner ideas too.   That was money well spent as it has kept us on track with a healthy diet and a good grocery bill.  There are so many ideas that I think when the subscription ends I can take a break for three or six months and then rejoin.  I’m trying to just create 6 or so plans and then just rotate through those.  I am guilty of trying too many new things that can end up costing too much (b/c I have to get special ingredients) so I’ve curbed that a bit.

By way of update, I am going to go ahead and sign up for the Dave Ramsey group at church.  I have surely learned a lot in the last year but have a long way to go.  I like the idea of having a real live support group in this process and meeting people with an interest in personal finance.  I imagine people will be in different places on their journey and I do believe in strength in numbers.  I’ll take all the extra motivation and support I can get and for $100 for 8 week, it’s doable.


Great News from the Credit Union!


I went into the credit union today to put the signature loan in my name alone–pursuant to the divorce decree.  While I was there I asked about options regarding both the interest rate on the loan as well as borrowing additional amounts to knock down one of the other two cards.  I am so happy to report that they lowered my interest rate to 4% AND increased the loan amount to $20,000!  I couldn’t believe it but then realized that I am better off standing on my own credit rating than combining with my former spouse!  Just another validation about the whole marital mess!

I’ll complete the final paperwork later this week and then make a payment to Bank of America to bring that balance down.  The BofA will continue to be my focus because A) the interest rate is the highest and B) say it with me…I hate Bank of America!  I’ll update the numbers when all of the transfers and such are complete.

Happy Day!  I’m feeling GREAT!  What a total shot in the arm at the beginning of this new year!

A Productive Weekend


As I sit down to type this at 10 pm CST, I have a refrigerator and freezer full of this week’s meals.  I did this today after I spent the majority of my weekend scrapbooking with an old friend.  Wow did I need that!  My beloved hobby of preserving my kiddos’ photos had also fallen by the wayside as I worked to be married to Steve.  There was very little money spent (I needed adhesive) as it has been so long since I’ve worked on the albums that it was as though “everything old is new again!”  I challenged myself to use the bulk of what I have before buying any new, fun stuff.  That’s hard b/c all the fun stuff IS tempting! Another interesting thing to note is that I have very few pictures from 2010 through 2012.  That bums me out b/c it is yet another reminder of all that this relationship was sucking out of me!  Thankfully I still hit the major milestons in the kids’ years and caught a few “random’ events too which is all they really need.  The time with girlfriends energized me to come home and prepare lots of food!I also made a quick stop to use coupons to get toothpaste and body wash for basically 50% off.

I really have to swing back to strict this month on food and I am confident that when I do that, the budget benefits.  If I have food that doesn’t require much thinking during the week, I will have more money in my pocket at the end of the week!  That is an awesome feeling.  It reminds me that like all things, we are all better off with a little planning.  Not over the top, control freak, gotta know all that is coming but instead a general roadmap.

I look forward to the day that my budget planning feels as solid as my meal planning.  I’ll get there.  For now I will look forward to my grilled chicken salad I have on the menu for lunch tomorrow.  🙂



I have updated my debt balances and now I provide a rundown of my basic monthly expenses.  I’m sure there will be places I can still cut but I have to say that looking at where I came from just 9 months ago, I’m pretty proud of what I’ve cut out on the homefront. 

 Today’s post will tell you what I pay to keep my household running and meet consistent monthly obligations.  This does not include groceries or the incidental spending money I carry (which I have reduced as well). 

I currently bring home $3282 per paycheck, every other Friday.  Please bear in mind this will reduce after January 1 because of new withholdings for insurance and taxes and such.

Rent:  $1795

Utilities: $150 (budgeted amount but it is running around $80-$100 right now, peaks near $300 in the summer.  I have been rolling over the extra.)

Water:  $50

Cell:  $70

Internet:  $32

Life Insurance:  $32 ($500,000 policy)

Insurance (Renters and Auto):  $75

After School Care:  $195

Piano Lessons:  $90

Gym: $25

TOTAL:  $2,514.00

I will explain my automobile situation when my divorce is final. 

My minimum credit card payments on the three outstanding debts totals $1070.  I paid an additional $1,100 this month.  I had way too much debit card bleed in the month of November (like $500 worth of bleed  🙁 )  It all comes from not planning, not being prepared and then just plain ol’ frivilous spending.  I hope to do better in December. That’s going to be a challenge and not b/c I go crazy buying gifts but b/c things get SO busy with the kids, family AND at work (everyone wants settlement $ for the holidays) that I do not have time to plan well.  That is the KEY and in these final days of November, as I’ve dissected my spending, I have to focus on planning for December!

So, taking the $2,514 and adding the $1,070 in minimum payments we have a total of $3,584.  I have about $2,000 in my checking account right now and tomorrow is payday.  I am currently hesitant to sink that into debt b/c of the divorce situation.  That checking account money is separate from my emergency fund.  I just moved it to an account that I do not have a debit card for b/c I am NOT doing well on the debit card front!!!

Now, talk amongst yourselves.  😉