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Car is fixed for now!

September 10th, 2010 at 01:25 am

Had AAA tow the car this AM to the shop and they got it in right away. $402.27 later the redid the front brakes, readjsuted the rear brakes and replaced the rack and pinion boot. Also the tranny was way low on fluid for some reason. Time to watch the tranny fluid closely to see if it is leaking from somewhere. Also got an estimate from the Tranny shop $1488.62 to rebuild the transmission and it would take 3 days. Atleast I don't have to come up with that money this week but may soon depending on what the car does. But then again it is cheaper then buying a new car as everything else is in pretty decent shape for a 1993 model year car in IA.

uuuhhhhh, the car!

September 9th, 2010 at 12:28 am

Well the car will be headed to the shop tomorrow. We were on our way home from doing some window shopping and teh transmission started running high RPMs. Got block from home and it wouldn't shift into gear at all. Pulled over and glanced under the hood. Transmission fluid was fine but will probably have to have it taken into the transmission shop to verify it is fine. The power steering pump hose is leaking though as it looks like something hot hit it and tore it up abit. We'll have AAA tow it to our mechanic in the morning as they said they could get it in an looked at. They don't do transmissions but if it needs to be towed elsewhere AAA will pay that as well.

Look for updated tomorrow as to what this is going to set me back. Frown

Craig

Lazy day today!

September 7th, 2010 at 02:02 pm

Well today is my day off so a lazy day is on the horizon. I did work all weekend and worked hard at that. Also worked yesterday and will be receiveing a $100 bonus for working the holiday on that pay check as well. Bills are almost all paid but a couple hundred I charged to my credit card for some tools last week. I'll pay that out of my next check end of next week.

Craig

Bills are paid!

September 3rd, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Well jsut got paid today and managed to pay all the monthly bills but a couple. The only things I didn't pay today was the car insurance which comes out on the 23rd automatically and my CC that I used for my last tool purchase that will get paid on the 28th when it is due.

Did get the wifes check cleared. Their regualar accountant was out sick and the temp wrote a check out of the wrong account. No biggie they came and gave the wife a check from an account that had funds in it. We added that to the grocery/ eat out money for the month.

This still leaves up almost $1000 in the checking account once everything clears the bank for the next 2 weeks till I get paid again.

Craig

Sometimes you have to spend a little to make a little.

September 2nd, 2010 at 01:53 am

Well I did spend some cash today. Items purchased are for work to make my job faster and more effiecient. My employer provides me the basic tools to get my job done but not all the bells and whistles to get it done efficiently. This effects me in a few ways.

1- Being in a comissioned based job my commission for the week is also figured into hourly rate based on my logged hours for my vacation pay. The less I work and more I make pushes my hourly wage up so I get paid more for vacation/ holiday pay.

2- Being more organized and being able to work faster allows more jobs in a day with less trips to the truck and overall more effiecient. Which means more money.

3- Everything I've bought will help offset taxes at the end of the year.

So today I purchased:

Gas Powered Auger for digging post holes for our support poles when pole mounting satellites. $315

Small 12V Milwaukee handheld right angle drill for removing and replacing wall plates and working in tight spots. Repalcing 3-6 wall plates at a house can easily eat up an hours worth of time with those little screws by hand. $225

I still have a few more tools to invest in but those will wait another week or 4.

Craig

SO's paycheck...

September 1st, 2010 at 06:01 pm

Well went to the bank today to cash the SO's paycheck to add another $102.50 to cash on hand bringing us up to $200. Got to the bank waited in line to find out there wasn't enough in her bosses account to cash the check. We use the same bank so they always verify funds before cashing or depositing to help prevent fees. The SO now has to contact her boss to find out when we can cash the check. Glad we aren't needing that money desperately this week as we had in the past when both of us were on unemployment.

On the plus side we only need $485 from my check on Friday plus whats left in the checking account to cover all the bills for September. Friday morning I will get up and pay all the bills once my check has been direct deposited. I think I'm going to pull $300 cash out for our Grocery/ Cat Litter/ Paper goods for September. Also I want to try to not eat out more then once for the entire month. The last 3 weeks we ate out once a week buy for the 3 months before that we only ate out twice. We still have alot of meat in the freezer and plenty of meals we can toss in the crock pot also that are easy to make.

Hoping to try an put atleast $1000 away this month for hte slower winter months when it is just harder to get the jobs in because of the weather.

Craig

Where did the last 6 1/2 months go....

August 31st, 2010 at 07:02 pm

I know, I've was sitting around mostly while on unemployment trying to find a job. I have finally found a great job that rewards me for the amount of work I do, I got hired on at DirecTV as an installer. The more I do the more I make, also the benefits are outstanding and should kick in here in a week or two. Spent 5 weeks in training but have been out on my own the last few weeks. Moneywise we are doing well. No outstanding debts but the wifes' student loan with about $5500 to pay on it. Credit cards are all paid off but a $6 charge on one for shipping an item, yeah I could have just used my debit card but I didn't. Rent went up slightly this year to $780 a month for our 1100 sq ft apartment, 2 garages, and cats but still not a bad price considering the only utilities I have to pay are electric and internet. Plus I don't have to do any lawn care or snow removal.

I am making better money then I have ever in the past 10 years I was working as a brick layer so hopefully I can get a nice chunck of money put away for the slower winter months when its jsut takes longer to put a job in.

Now to update my sidebar and attempt to keep up to date posting here again when I have the time.

Craig

Some spending and other ideas...

February 14th, 2010 at 04:39 am

Well day started out heated with the wife. Ended up going out to breakfast cost of $12.00 at the local breakfast house for a good omlet and a steak. Stopped this evening and got some taco shells and made taco for dinner, had everything else. Also purchased a 6 pack of Hansens Natural Soda, still not good for me but better then Pepsi or Coke.

Still not talking to the wife but it will pass at some point, she just really irked me this morning. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not.

Thinking of setting up a fish tank again. I've got the costs all layed out and 95% of the planning done. I could cover it with money I made over the last few weeks selling items on Craigslist and Ebay but having a hard time to commiting to spending the money. It is a relaxing hobby for me and provides me with something to do, but still not sure I want to spend the money on it.

One thing I noticed is that I like to have cash and the feel of cash but spending it is such a hard thing to commit to when it is a larger sum of money. Until yesterday I had been caring around a couple grand and just he feel of it kept me from spending it. I put it into the bank and it is much easier to spend as it doesn't feel the same sitting in the bank.

Well its been one of those days and I'm getting really bored again.

Craig

All kinds of a Good Friday!

February 12th, 2010 at 06:53 pm

Couldn't ask for a much better day, lots of good news and things have gone through.

Woke up this morning to find the Federal Tax refund has been deposited into the bank. $3500 to savings, $3000 of which will go to probably my ING account as it atleast gets some interest. Paid off the remaining balances on my Dell Credit account $1348.51, CC#1 $306, CC#2 $349, CC#3 $325, also mailed the remaining $300 payment to my grandparents for the help when we were both layed off and hadn't got the first check in yet. That was a huge thing for me to get them paid off, and I got it done 3 months in advance. I also left about $500 in the checking as I needed to stock up on my vitamins and supplements (ordered from Puritans Pride and took advantage of there Buy 2 get 3 Free deal at puritan.com this is also the same brand as Vitamin World). Lastly I paid $113.98 to AAA as I like to keep it as I've used it several times and has more then paid for itself in the last 4 years.

I got paid right away from my Ebay sale last night and withdrew it to my Bank account this will go into saving along with the $1600 I deposited today from items sold over the last few weeks.

So next week I should have $5000 to transfer to my ING account at 1.27% interest.

Got the confirmation letter today from the Unemployment Office with a gauruntee of another 17 weeks of unemployment if i need it. Have a line on a new job but with all the snow and cold weather will probably be another month atleast before I can count on it.

With everyone paid up and paid off I went and redid the budget.

Bills and Spending

Rent: $745
Sprint: $127
Qwest: $ 70
Alliant Energy: $117
Sallie Mae: $ 81
Auto Savings: $ 25
Gas for Auto: $260
Food: $500
Misc: $ 50
Laundry Quarters$ 30
---------------------
Total: $2080

Monthly Income

Craig: $1652
Wife: $1004
---------------------
Total: $2656

Monthly Difference +$576

Note we don't have too much misc spending as we eat and prepare all of our meals at home, baby is breat fed, cloth diapers and if he wants food gets what we eat veggies, eggs, etc. We do most of our laundry here at the apartment but if we have alot of items I take them over to my mothers house and do them or she offers to do them for us, a perk when you gift them 6 month old front loading washer and dryers when we moved. This saves us some money and time but I do still have to atleast take and drop them off.

So barring any major vehicle problems we should be able to start putting even more money away.

My goal for the remainder of this month is to use less gas in the vehicles, put as much as I can into savings, more NSD as I don't really need anything I just go to browse when I get bored. Also I want to keep up with my blogging as it keeps me more in check.

Sorry for the long post everyone have a great weekend.

Ebay Item SOLD!

February 12th, 2010 at 01:30 am

Got one of my ebay items sold. $385 before fees and listing charges. I should net around $345 after fees and listing charges come out. Buyer paid instantly which was great. With item and shipping minus paypal $412.45 is being transfered to checking. $45 is for shipping as it is a large item and it is headed to Canada so that always costs extra but buyer is paying the charges.

Have a couple smaller items to sell yet they have multiple watchers just no bids yet or bids are still at $0.99

Got my extension....

February 10th, 2010 at 01:50 am

Well I got my Unemployment extension at least I'm pretty sure I did. Checked this mornign and I have funds in my UE account again. Not sure if it is from refiguring the rest of last year or the extension as the numbers do match up. I'll find out in the next week as to what my benefit amount is if it is the extension.

Craig

Had some fun and put some items on Ebay!

February 8th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Well a neighbor buddy and I took a trip down to the casino today. Didn't win anything but didn't spend mroe then I intended so it was great fun. Haven't had any guys time out in some time 3-4 months so it was well deserved.

Cost for today:

Breakfast at the casino buffet -$9.36
Slot machine fun -$80.00
Gas money for driving +$10.00 (this cover gas down and back both!)

So all in all I padded the casino with $80.00 but it was fun. Some machines paid out well and some were more money hungry. Not something I would usually do but I needed a bit of fun and with all the snow had a hard time doing anything else.

Stopped at the mall on the way back and walked around for an hour or so, good exercise.

Listed 2 more items on ebay today, I have 2 more I want to list but being nice artwork not sure if I would get anything even close to what we paid out of them, they are a matched set and we paid $232 each piece. Had them on Craigslst several times but no interest locally and would really like them gone.

Small spending and other ramblings....

February 7th, 2010 at 02:05 pm

Well I think I'm coming down wiht a small cold. Been stuffed up for the last couple of days. Doubt it will turn to anything else just hate having to think about taking cold meds for my sinus'.

Spent a little bit yesterday as we had a birhtday party to attend for some friends of your. A huge shin dig. we didn't stay long as we brought the little one and he was ready to sleep after we got there, but with all the people wasn't going to happen there. Made a Non dairy dip that went over well seemed to disappear super fast. Toffutis Sour Supreme (sour cream replacement), Chiftons Corn Relish from the wine store, some left over black beans. Put it all into the large dish and stir together. Super easy and not to expensive. Also purchased a nice chocolate bar for each of the birthday ladies (was a mother and daughter born 2 days apart)

Cost of yesterday:

Tofutis Sour Supreme $2.59- $2.00 off coupon at the store $0.59 final cost

Vosges Chocolate bars x3 ( I bought one for myself should last all week or more) $6.59 ea $19.77

Chiftons Corn Relish $6.99

Total Spent was $27.35

Will need gas in both vehicles today. Atleast gas has come down to $2.48 or about $0.05 cheaper per gallon then last time I filled up.

I did pay all the house hold bills yesterday. Once the federal return comes in I will pay off the last couple of balances on the CCs.

On the Craiglist side of things I have someoen coming to look at my topper form my truck, I've been trying to sell it since last year but couldn't even get interest in it. Decided to list it one more time and found a guy that wants to come look at it this morning. Asking $100 but would take $20 just to have it gone from my garage and have the space back. I had been offering it for free last summer and no one wanted it.

My item on Ebay is at $305 wiht 4 days left to go the reserve is set at $425 but I may lower it so I can get the item sold but will wait a couple of days to do that.

Craig

Weekend updates and other news.

February 6th, 2010 at 02:50 pm

Well we got our State Refund ($933) in the bank, was deposisted last night. This is great as we were going to be short on money this week. Well, not really, I didn't want to have to touch the cash we have at home.

Last week I signed up for a Salsa class at a new dance company in town, only way to help them stay is to support our local arts. Cost was $60 for 8 weeks of class with a good instructor. In return the Dance Company gave me a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop, as a thank you for helping support there buisness. Just returned with a 20oz Psuedo Carmel Machiatto with soy and extra espresso. Not something I would buy but as I had the card it didn't cost me anything out of pocket. I still have $4.00 left to spend there.

Started listing items on craigslist, what ever doesn't sell within the week will go to Ebay just to get it sold.

I did sell off a bunch of my Ice fishing gear this week. $900 cash in my pocket - although less then I paid I got my enjoyment and the funds can be used more so then the gear. Listed a couple more items from fishing on Ebay and current price is at $202.50 with a reserve of $425. 7 bids and 8 watchers with 5 days to go.

Next week I should also receive our federal return and will pay off the remaining small balances on the credit cards only about $1500 or so remains between everything. Only debt we will have left is the wifes student loans of about 5k but hte interest is super low so not in a huge rush to pay them down that fast.

Also I really need to update my sidebar it is so out of date.

Don't you love it when.... (Rant)

February 6th, 2010 at 01:22 am

You put something on Craigslist forsale and get 5 respsonses in half an hour.

Person 1- E-mailed, I replied, She called, We discussed she would come by at 5 no show send e-mail at 5:30 and she replies she is running late. At 6:15 no respsonse as to her timing. 6:45 again try to contact her. 7 oclock go to the next person and they say they will be over in 45 minutes. Tell person one that item has sold, Person 1 gets all mad that I put off 2 hours of my plans to wait and went to the next person, seems to have forgotten that we discussed her coming at 5 and its my fualt. Also starts yelling at me in e-mail saying I upset her son and its not right that I went to the next person.

Some people, sorry had to rant.

Craig

New month and not so good news...

February 1st, 2010 at 11:33 pm

Well it's a new month, not sure where last month went but oh well. Got some good news, got the taxes done and it will allow us to be completely debt free other then the wifes student loan, and general living expenses. Plus it will give us a small amount of cash on hand. Now the bad is I got a text from my boss today saying he probably won't bring me back as he doesn't have alot of work and is bringing his over paid buddies to do the work for him. I put 2 years in to help him get started and to get him making some money. Never got a raise or any bonuses. Last year he hired a buddy of his for $1 less an hour then me. I do atleast 50% more work and better quality then his buddy but I guess that's what I get. I put in for an extension on my unemployment and hope it goes through. That will give me 4 months to find a decent paying job if one exists or atleast a full time and another part time job to make ends meet.

Atleast we will be debt free for the most part and I will have some cash on hand if needed. It has been nice to be home with the little one during his 1st year but I am going stir crazy from not working. My unemployment is considered temporary so I don't have to go look for a job but am now going to have to start by the looks of things. I ahve contacted my previous boss as I left of good terms and he said give him a few weeks to see what he can come up with work wise.

I've started to go through all my hobbies again to see what I do and don't need. Even if it is stuff I use I will probably start selling some of it as family comes first.

Craig

Back to start again in 2010.

January 9th, 2010 at 06:58 pm

Well last year was a whirl wind of a year. Have a baby now almost 7 months old. Wife got laid off from work 6 months ago and I've also been laid off.

Probably not going to be doing much saving for the next few months but trying to sneak some in. Christmas was great and a bit spendy as I splurged on the wife. I got her a new Sony Handycam 650, she loves to take lots of video of the little one.

We've got $1000 in cash stashed away at home for emergencies. $500 in the savings account if we need it. Unemployment between the 2 of us covers teh bills and most of the necessities. I do have a couple of small credit cards to pay off that I'm hoping to get most of taken care of this month.

First Premier #1 $300

First Premier #2 $350

First National $180

Dell $1300

Hoping to knock out the 3 smaller ones this month and hopefully the Dell one over the following 2 months.

Craig

Winterizing the vehicles...

October 17th, 2009 at 02:41 pm

Well this was an expensive spending week on the vehicles. All planned mostly but not completely. $900 later both vehicles are ready to run for much longer.

Wifes car- Originial qoute $420.00 final bill $345

The wifes car got a transmission tune up, oil change, radiator flush and fill, swerpentine belt replacement. Also the parts came in $100 under cost but he found a broken sway bar link and replaced it as it needed done $17 and parts were much less then expected. Her car runs better than when we bought it last year.

My Truck- Original qoute $179 final bill $550!

My truck got a manual transmission tune up, oil change, coolant flush and fill, adjust e-brake (more on this), fixed exhaust. Well everything went smoothly except the e-brake adjustment turned into a full rebuild of my back breaks. Never heard and moise from them but after a call and the rear breaks were metal on metal and the reason my brakes didn't work. $300 in parts and extra labor, mostly all parts as everything had to be replaced, he said its been this way for some time and may have been this way before I bought the truck late last year. Oh well atleast its all done. Truck is quiet, stops well, and the e-brake works wonders.

I still have to replace my windshield but that will have to wait as the brakes spent up the maintence budget this month plus a bit extra. The entire exhaust on my truck will need replaced next spring or early summer to a tune of $400 but the mehcanic said it would be fine till then and maybe abit longer.

We also got 5% off parts and Labor for both vehicles which was great. Having a great mechanic that is willing to look ahead at upcoming stuff to consider is priceless.

Well off to go collect this months Angel Food Ministries packages.

Craig

Updated savings and upcoming spending.

October 14th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Well I've managed to put some more money away. Our total is not $4300! We also added a bit of cash to cash on hand. I would like to hit around $5000 in the savings as a cushion but may not get that much with some upcoming spending.

Upcoming spending includes:

Car Maintence- Automatic Transmission Flush, Coolant Flush, Oil Change, overall inspection of under car parts.

Truck Maintence- Coolant Flush, Manual Transmission Flush, Oil Change, Replace Exhaust, Fix Emergency Break, Replace Windshield, General under truck inspection.

We have a good mechanic that has worked on the car in the past and charges a reasonable price and is extremely honest. The car needs mostly general maintence to make sure it is on the up and up this winter. My truck on the other hand needs a bit more as the exhaust broke a couple months back and the windshield has a crack in it. I work construction so the truck takes a small beating from tiem to time.

Both vehicles are from 93 and 94 but I would like to get atleast another 2 years out of each of them before having to consider another purchase, longer would be great. I'm also hoping to keep all these costs under $1000; $750 would be my ideal target. Maintence will probably be what I would have put away in savings next month but keeping the vehicles in top shape is more important.

Craig

My spendorific weekend....

October 12th, 2009 at 01:13 am

Well this weekend was full of little purchases. Some will come out of our monthly allotment a couple are items purchased for the baby from SILs gift of cash.

Expenses from our monthly allotment:

$77 groceries - Stocked up on several items like sausage, bacon, bicuits, canned fruit, Sparkling Grape Cocktail NA (note this was $30 of hte total as I bought a whole case 12 of them as the price is great at Aldis, Oats, Snacks for my lunch, cheese, eggs, etc...

$26 New Air Pedal for my wifes Singer Imerial Princess machine - She has needed a new pedal for ~10 years after one of her pets chewed into it and she has just had it taped and retaped. Picked this up off ebay from an authorized distributor

$5 Rings for the baby sling she is sewing. Had to order these as we weren't able to source them locally unless we wanted to spend $20.

Purcahses for the baby with gift cash:

$24 Snow suit from a consignment site still has original tags with $68 price on it.

$16 Maple Teething ring from Novanatural.com - sorry no cheap plastic for our babys mouth or toys.

$10 Sleepers for the baby wife wil lgrab them tomorrow.

We will have to deposit the money to cover the baby purchases tomorrow am. the wife also will be picking up some thread and needles tomorrow with a coupon at the columbus day sale at the local Hancock Fabrics, not sure on total cost but she needs these items to finish some sewing projects.

Once I get my check tomorrow I should be able to top the $4000 mark in the savings account. We also have around $50 for us to last the rest of the month.

Will be bringing my lunch again this week so I shouldn't have many spend days next week as I have gas in the truck and car, lots of food with a delivery from angel food ministires on saturday, and some quarters to do a load of baby diapers mid week as they need to be washed every 3rd day or so.

Craig

Some small spending...

October 7th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Not much going on the home front. Slept from 6:30-8:30 last night then went back to bed at 9:30 till 4:55 when my alarm went off. Worked a little bit extra this week so far but they are calliong for rain tomorrow and a small chance on Friday.

Spent $18.41 at the grocery store on the way home. Bought 4 bags of cat litter at $2.99 each for 25 lb bags should last us about a month or so, the wife changes there litter once a day with about 4-6 cups of fresh litter at change time. $1.33 for a couple of tomatoes 3/4 lb worth (much cheaper at Aldis as they are $1.29 for 1.25 lbs) but tidn't think they had cat litter and this grocery store is directly on my way home. Lastly I splurged on 2 caramel apples, one for each of us.

I will have to get gas tomorrow and the wife filled up her car yesterday. Should be about $65 left after that but all the bills are paid, ccs are paid in full, and the house if full of food.

We will go pick up food on the 17th from Angel Food Ministries which should last us the rest of the month atleast. I need to have the wife contact the drop off location to verifiy everything and time to pick up.

Hoping to put another $1200 this month in savings for my winter layoff as my unemployment will only cover 90% of the household expenses. The wife gets to keep her unemployment till the begining/ middle of Janurary after that I will be the sole income.

Checked out the local news and our town has the worst unemployment in the state at 6.5%, not as bad as some but there are 2 more large companies shutting down this year. Been perusing for a part time job but its been hard lately as I don't have tiem with my long hours at my main job. Maybe in a couple of weeks I can see whats out there once we go back to 40 hour weeks.

Craig

Updates!

October 5th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Well I updated my side bar. Got paid today and the boss gave me an additional $150 that I added to our cash on hand. Placed $300 into checking which leaves us with $211 for hte rest of the month, atleast that is my goal. May need some extra but I'm going to try. Lastly deposited $283.92 into the savings account to bring us up to $3500 which is about 2 montsh worth of living expenses.

Depostis expected for the month yet:

Wife $226+25 weekly for unemployment benefits

Me ~$583.92 weekly (This is approximated as I work construction and my week cna vary depending on weather and work.)

I still have 8 or so items on craigslist but may delete and relist them at this point.

Craig

A slight detour...

October 4th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

We'll I have a slight detour in my plans. In the long run my purchase should save me over $100 a month in the short run cost me $200.

I installed a large 1000 watt power inverter into my truck today and a Microwave so I can be more efficient with taking my lunch. I work construction and not always a place to plug things in with the busy job sites. Took a couple of hours of wokring in really tight places to run the cables into the cab of my truck to hardwire the inverter but its there. I have to have my truck on when I use it but with the cold weather coming not having to eat cold lunches will be pleasing.

I will take this out of my check tomorrow and deposit slightly less into savings. I should also be getting an additional $150 from my boss as a bomus that I will cash and add to the cash on hand fund. Now htat we have the little one I hate to be without some cash on hand incase of a major power outage. We had one 3 years ago and the side of town I'm on lost power for 3 weeks due to a terrible ice storm.

Wow 2 posts in one day, but I msut get back to the big pot of chili on the stove. Wife offered to make corn bread from scratch once the little one calms down. He has started teething and not quite 4 months old.

Craig

My October Challenge, and my other thoughts.

October 4th, 2009 at 01:21 pm

I'm trying to challenge myself this month as to try and live on the $300 left in the bank. I've successfully paid all the bills except car/ renters insurancea s it comes out on the 28th, though moneyt is set aside for it. CCs are paid in full, rents paid, and all utilities. I have to say this is the first time I have ever been able to accomplish this feat.

My wife nad I still get a weekly check. She gets her unemployment and I get my regualar check. If we can avoid using the incoming funds this will allow us to put away what we make this month in prep for next months bills and savings.

I would really like to repay my grandparents the last $900 I owe them but hate to take money from the bank at this time. If I get a good month this month at work I may jsut do it though as it will be one last bill on my shoulders.

We are looking at purchasing an elliptical. I currently have a basic weight bench and would also like to add a few more weight as mine just has six 15lb weights in the set. I used to have a gym membership but canceled it as all I was really using was the free weights and the elliptical as I wasn't using the other 90% of the gym I dropped the extra payment every month. I've been watching craigslist for an elliptical but everyone wants so much second hand for them and most are much older models. I'm looking for a specific one and may have to buy new but atleast I can get free shipping and delivery to the room of choice which will save me $150. Also this elliptical is $600 off and now only $999.00

I may consider it once November gets here as last month was expensize with suprising hte wife wiht her new serger that she is loving making baby clothes out of.

Craig

How we keep from eating out!

October 2nd, 2009 at 09:31 pm

Well this is how we keep food costs in check and keep from eating out.

Things you will need: (note this does require some up front investment if you don't have these items)

Deep Freeze - We purchased a 7 cu. ft. upright unit from Menards for $300 on sale for $100 off. We chose upright as things seem to get lost in chest styles

Pyrex Dishes - We got 10 for these sets (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11966166) and then extras of the medium and small sizes individually from wal mart as well. Total investment - ~$300 but these should out last any plastic storage container, better in the environment, and can go straight from freezer to oven.

We prep the following items and portion them out as to not have much left over maybe a serving at most.

Various Meats-

Ground Beef all ready browned and ready to go, usually about 5lbs at a time seperate into 1 lb servings

Taco Meat all ready cooked and ready to reheat, usually 5 lbs at a time and split into 1 lbs servings

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts seperated into 2 servings per container usually a 3 lb package worth

Steaks - I buy hte cheap petite cuts in large packages and split into servings, usually end up with about 7-8 servings

Pork chops - Usually buy a big package of chops not the expensive cut but you get hte idea. Usually about 7-8 servings worth

Triple batch of Lasagna split into 6 containers perfect size for a meal.

Triple batch of Tuna Casserole split into 6 servings

Single batch of Tater Tot casserole split into 2-3 servings

Couple servings of Chicken and wild rice

I go fishing and bring home Walleye, pike, bass in the spring and about to go out here for fall fishing again. I brought in about 15 lbs of fish this spring wiht some bags in the freezer yet.

Also splurge on shrimp as we get a company that delivers it fresh from the gulf coast, drives it up here over night in a huge refigerated truck packed in ice. It costs about $13 a lb but it is the best shrimp ever around here and being a seafood/ fish nut it is my treat every 6 months or so is to buy 5 lbs.

We also prep desserts in the form of Berry and/ or fruit coblers all ready to cook, Cookies, brownies, cakes all ready to cook and small size jsut big enough for the 2 of us.

I also do 10-15 lbs of potatoes with a large batch of mashed potatoes seasoned and frozen and a huge batch of Twice baked potatoes ready to be pulled out and reheated.

It costs us about $250 every 8-10 weeks to restock the freezer with all this food, we also eat out of hte cup boards as we keep soup mixs, some conveinece foods such as fish sticks and chick nuggets, frozen pizzas the cheap little ones.

We also keep staples such as mac and cheese, ramen noodles, frozen veggies, frozen hot dogs, etc on had for easy fix meals and what not. Alot of our noodles and such ceom from the Amish town 45 min south of us as everything is so cheap there.

We eat out about once or twice a month which isn't that bad IMO.

We send about $35 a week otherwise on essentials as bread, butter, milk, eggs. The wife makes her own yogurt for smoothies and eating.

Craig

Frugal Birthday evening.

October 1st, 2009 at 05:33 pm

Well yesterday was my birthday and the wife kept it frugal. She made me Beef and Barley soup. We get the mix at the Amish store about 45 min away. Super cheap and just add beef. Scallop Potates we had in the cupboard and some peanut butter chocolate chip oat bars. We then went out dancing for abit at the local Wednesday night Salsa joint while the MIL baby sat the little one. This was our first outing since he has been home that he didn't go along on.

Total Cost $4.50 for a drink at the club that turned out to be the worst Margarita I have ever tasted, didn't end up finishing it. All in all it was a blast to get out for a short date.

Rainy here today and cold so I got off early.

Will be running to Aldi's to get soem groceries as we haven't gotten anything and we are out of bread. We shop about every 1.5 weeks for milk, bread, eggs, etc. Our deep freeze is getting empty but that is good as I want to defrost it before winter arrives. We can then cook another large batch of food and stock our freezer back up.

All in all things are looking up.

Craig

Some great new so far...

September 29th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Well we got a letter from the judge in charge of the wifes unemployment hearing and she is being granted her benefits. It found that way due to the former boss changing my wifes contract with out being clear on the details of the change. Her old boss has 15 days from today to appeal the judges decision. Hope for hte best as she would be grabbing at thin air at this point if she appeals.

The funds hit the bank from my paypal transfer. I'm considering listing a tandem bike carrier we have on E-bay as I would like it gone and let it see some good use.

I've sent off $450 towards the money owed to my grandparents and leave us with $900 left to pay out of $1500 that I borrowed in August. I was slow at work and the wife hadn't started getting her unemployment yet and bills had to be paid. I could pay this debt in full but a few things need to be done to both of our vehicles and I want a small cushion for the what ifs that seem to come up.

The lady hasn't come to get the light we listed. she contacted me last night and said she would be over this evening but I'm not holding my breath.

I will pay the cards of in October as the charges were just incurred as I had paid the cards off in full last month.

Feels great to be almost debt free but the wifes student loans, my next project to tackle as we free up some more income.

Craig

Boy have things changed!

September 27th, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Well I've been back reading but not posting shame on me. Been alot of changes in my life. Earlier this year after getting back on track I went on a huge buying spree for about 6 months. I've figured out my spending is based on stress levels. The more stressed I get the more I spend and on goes the circle.

I'm now a proud father of a new son born on 6-10-2009. My wife was let go as an independent contractor 4 weeks into her unpaid maternity leave. She is getting unemployment but it has been a nightmare as her boss has contested it, state found in my wifes favor and now she has another appeal to deal with tomorrow am that has been postponed twice. Hope we get to keep it or we have to start paying it all back in. some $2500 worth.

I've spent almost as much time working this year as being layed off as I just got back from another 3.5 week stint of unemployment. I hope the construction trade starts to pick up again. I've been considering picking up a part time job about 20 hours a week to supplement my income and to help the wife not have to go back to work.

We've been downsizing our materialistic items and everything else not needed. I did splurge and purchase a Janome Serger for my wife as she has been making 90% of the baby clothes, all the diapers and diaper covers, etc. It was an invesment but got it for $400 new online versus $700 locally.

Someone keep me on my toes so I keep posting and saving.

PS just sold some more items on craigslist so I will have another $25 for cash on hand and a few more bucks from some spare aquarium stuff laying around will bring in $60 for the bank account.

Been away for awhile...

March 15th, 2009 at 02:57 pm

Boy has it ben awhile since I posted. I will admit I haven't even really been perusing here since mid December.

I'll need to update my sidebar as it is completely off at this point. I was laid off for just over 3 months so the saving has mostly been drained.

To catch myself and everyone up with whats been going on. I just got back to work although it is quite slow yet and the cold flashes coming and going aren't making that any better.

My Wife who is now 6 months pregenant has been reducing her hours as she is a massage therapist and can't be on her feet as much. She is also switching to become and Indepent Contractor and work locally. Her new place is 5 minutes from the apartment versus an hour commute to the town south of us. She will make about the same but be working less hours.

We need to save as much as possible right now as she is planning on taking 10 weeks off once baby comes. If not I will work extra hours or get a second job flipping burgers or something.

I've joined the gym it is only $30 a month and when it is rainy and 35 outside is great. I can also discontinue my membership at this place with a 30 day written notice no long term contracts.

Got all the bills as low as I can go for Utilities and such.

Rent $720
Gas N/A
Electric $85
Buisness Phone Line and Internet $79
Cell Phones (I travel alot during the day and we use these for most calls, I also use my for e-mail access at work) $135
Full Coverage Car and Renters Insurance $99
Wifes Student Loan $84

Those are the main bills. I have my wifes car to renew this month $35. Best part about the wife working close to home we will save atleast 1 tank of gas a week as she was using 2 with her commute.

Also the cell phones, buisness line are written off with our taxes at the end of the year.

Groceries are still our highest cost. We eat well and very little prepackaged/ frozen food or entrees. We eat alot of fresh vegetables and fruits along with rices. We use Ezekiel bread and Organic Milk. We buy our cheeses in block form and slice or shred as needed. We eat some meat mostly venison right now as its free. I love fish as we used to eat Tuna, Salmon, Perch, etc several times a week but have cut way back due to the Mercury and the pregnancy. We do eat some chicken but not a ton of it.

I've been eating out my lunches but should start taking my own again. Just hard to sit in the truck and eat when its really cold outside.

We have some money in savings but only about $600 or so right now. Having had to dip into it as unemployment isn't great in IA atleast at my pay scale.

On a side note is that I have been selling plants out of my aquarium and even though I'm not making much every little bit helps. I will also be entering it in April in our local clubs spring show. Cash prizes this year.

Now its time to get caught up reading on the Blogs here.

Craig

Expensive Weekend and Savings update

December 1st, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Well this was an expensive last few days. Thanksgiving was great, got together with family and had fun. Ate too much for lunch and didn't eat dinner. Started cleaning the carpet Thursday night.

Friday I worked for 20 min and got paid for 8 hours of time. woohoo. Came home and finished cleaning the carpets. Actually did them all twice and they are cleaner then when the professionals came in. We went and bought a bunch of board games as Target had them all on sale, will have to add some cash to the coupon savings for the $25 I saved on the board games.

Saturday was pretty un eventfull. We bought a new mat for inside the door of our apartment as the carpet is extremely light in color and stains easily. I cut it to fit perfect and not a moment too soon as we got snow yesterday. Got my monthly massage also.

Yesterday was pretty boring as we went window shopping for a new bedroom sheets, comforter set.

I'm selling my fish room and sold a tank and some accessories for $100 and just got a $150 payment in the mail for some fish to be shipped, actually about $50 will be for the shipping. Friday I drive up to Milwaukee to deliver some fish at a tune of about $350, decided to take a day off of work as I will make more on delivering fish.

Contemplating buying a high end tank setup for my planted tanks as it will be my one and only tank but not 100% if I will or not. Lots of thinking to do on this one.

Rent is due this week by the 5th and it will be tight, got my check and will get another check tomorrow the wife did some clients today as well and she gets paid on Friday, so by this weekend I should have all of Decembers bills paid. Setting up the new insurance is setting us back a bit as we have to pay 2 months up front as I don't want to draing the saving to pay all at once.

Craig


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