Saturday, January 30, 2010

The end of the "spending freeze" month one

Well I balanced our budget this month and it looks a lot more like the federal government now than it has in the past. A lot more red then black. So I wanted to know what in the world went wrong with this spending freeze it's sounding more and more like Obama's. Ok I shouldn't have gone there, but the fact of the matter was 1) last month's credit card bill gets paid this month and it was huge several dr bills and car bills, 2) somehow I paid my electric bill twice this month, once at the beginning and once at the end guess I never paid it the month before (don't worry it was still on time but not on MY time) And that was about all I could find as to why we have a big old negative $275 this month. BUT on a happy note my credit card balance is $4.34 and I only have ten more days before the end of that cycle so although we are doing this Jan, Feb, and March we will feel the benefits of it in Feb, March, and April. I've decided I don't quite like going this hard core. Take for instance the fact that I have a party tomorrow night. 2 liter pops were on sale at Dillons this week and I really would have liked to buy some for my party, however since we can't spend money I didn't buy any. However when I got home I realized we had five 2 liters and then one of the girls called and asked if she could bring anything and I told her to bring 2 2 liters so I guess that one all worked out. Then there's diapers. Did not realize I was down to my last pack when I was in Colby last time they also had Huggies on sale for $8.99 and I had several coupons. But instead of looking at them I just bypassed and now wish I would have bought one pack that would have saved me some money. Oh well I did a survey this week that may send me a pack of diapers to try out so I'm hoping I get that opportunity. I've done that several times and tried several brands I buy anyways, I think I've "tried" all three major brands for them in the past.

So I think this is the most interesting part. Here is what I got as far as online survey incentives for the month of Jan. This was a FABULOUS month. This RARELY happens. Actually I think I've figured out it happens about two times a year. This year since I'm keeping really good tabs I will know but here is what it shapes up to be.
Jan 4th $25.00 Home Depot gc (e-poll account) $5.00 Target gc some "facial survey" they said I tookd I didn't remember
Jan 5th $20.00 check from Tuluna
Jan 12th $20.00 gc (valued opinion)
Jan 15th Huge body wash to use for two weeks (Zoom Panel)
Jan 19th $10.00 check (synovate) and $50.00 check (global test market)
Jan 27th won't say brand since I'm testing. 1 set teeth whitening strips, full size toothpaste and full size mouth rinse to test for one week (Daily Candy, my first experience with them)

Great month as far as rewards, but after being behind and not qualifying for much this last month the money will be slim in Feb. I say my average is around $20 bucks a month

NOW onto my freebies for a month. I really wish this thing had copy and paste but for some reason it doesn't work. I have a TON to post as far as freebies.

Jan 2nd (we were gone for two weeks so some of these may have come in Dec
Grocery tote bag, charmin toilet paper extender, folgers single use coffee sample, device to check the belt on your car, powerbar energy gel blasts, stacy's pita chips single serve bag, two excedrin tablets

Jan 4th Lipton green tea (four bags), address labels from Arbor day

Jan 5th wild grape pop tarts (one "bag" two poptarts)

Jan 8th New Yorker calendar poster

Jan 11th Kotex ultra thin overnight pad, address labels (wanted me to buy magazines) Atkins quick-start guide, carb counting book and three snack bars, WATCH magazine

Jan 15th Pampers coupons $3.00 off diapers, $1.00 off wipes, $2.00 off diapers, $0.50 off wipes

Jan 16th Buy one get one free starkest creations from Vocalpoint, Vaska herbal laundry detergent (one time use) Glowelle- "beauty drink mix" and a little makeup bag, Roadsides in Bloom 2010 calendar

Jan 19th Slim-fast peanut butter snack bar, coupon for free international delight coffee creamer, Eat Better America 2010 calendar, American Baby Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine Feb 2010

Jan 20th Digiorno Pizza pack from set included 15 $4.00 off DiGiorno pizza coupons, 6 FREE DiGiorno Pizza coupons, a football shaped hot pad, 16 stickers, a pizza cutter, a clip/magnet, and 15 "rally bead" necklaces, coupon for free bag of Stacy's product (pita chips etc.) Disney stickers, Escade perfume sample

Jan 22nd St. Jude address labels

Jan 25th RepHresh vaginal gel applicator plus $1.00 off coupon, 2010 Betty Crocker Calendar, 2010 Pillsbury Calendar, Ladies' Home Journal Feb 2010, The Oprah Magazine Feb 2010

Jan 27th Omega 3 orange squeeze sample with $5.00 coupon, 2 Huggies Pullups (from Costco)

Jan 29th Nordic Naturals vitamins, 2 tablets Omega-3, 2 tablets DHA, 2 tablets kids' multivitamins, Tylenol "workout" DVD and pedometer

Jan 30th American Baby Feb 2010, Spark energy drink powder mix

Wow that was a lot to type over again. My favorites...... Of course the free pizzas, the poptarts were really yummy. And I always enjoy my magazines but I'm still several months from reading those because I'm behind. Ones I didn't need, the new yorker calendar, and the starkist one but I handed that one off to a friend so she could use it we just don't eat tuna. Stay tuned for next month. I am SHOCKED at how many free samples I get. I'm glad I decided to start keeping track. I should also keep track of what I use and don't still trying to figure out where to hang up all these calendars!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pride comes before the fall

So I have decided I have an inflated head. Now before you go wondering about the size of my head I am talking about my ego. Well my workout ego. See I finished P90X on Saturday. Looking back I really enjoyed it and it's amazing how many people I got started doing it, I think I have six facebook friends who have started doing it and my "little brother" he's 6'5", and two of his college roommates started two weeks ago. I can't believe I actually finished it in NINTY days I thought for sure with Christmas in there and Thanksgiving and tons of traveling I would have several days at the end to make up. But I didn't so I was pretty cocking this weekend, telling Kjell I have bigger guns then he does (I don't) and thinking I could pretty much cakewalk my way through any workout out there. Yeah but then there's Jillian Micheals who comes in and bursts my bubble. Not sure when I bought it about six months back I bought her 30 day shred. The video has three phases and get this is TWENTY SIX minutes long. I had done phase one back in the day but was so cocky yesterday I started with phase three. Jillian KICKED MY BOOTY. OH my, different workout people have different styles and she just goes goes goes and when the "short" 26 minutes are done I was left on the floor feeling like someone who had been dunked in a water trough sixteen times. Wow. So no more big head! But I am continuing to workout. Today I did my favorite P90X workout it's cardio it's only 43 minutes long and it has yoga, plyo, kempo, and core in it. So it's all short enough parts that you don't get too burned out. I'm going to continue doing the workouts I like (tues, weds, fri and sat) and putting a bit of Jillian in however I may back it up a step and do phase two and work my way up to phase three.

As far as the spending freeze, we went to Colby today and spent 4.36 on the credit card. That purchased us. 6 digiorno pizzas, 4 jars of baby food(fruit since I have yet to find yogurt on clearence) one thing of coffee creamer (I don't drink coffee but drink tea and want to see if that can help the flavor of hot tea) and a tub of diaper wipes. Everything was free but the diaper wipes which I had to have and had a dollar coupon for the rest was just tax on the other stuff. I'm planning on posting all my freebies, and survey stuff I've done and also let you know how much we spent. Speaking of which I need to go balance the checkbook.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 21 of our "spending freeze"

So the whole point of the spending freeze was to get some space back in my pantry. And so far I have seen no difference in there except that I have way too much food. It is a bit like the oil and flour with Elisha and Elijah at our house since we are on WIC and get several cans of beans a month and several cans of fruits and veggies as well. But still I am amazed at all the snack food that is in there!

So where I have I had problems. Actually problems started day 2. When we were on our way home from Meade we stopped at Walmart and Target to get a body pillow. Their Christmas stuff was already 75% off. That was hard I even had things in my cart and then hanging my head put them all back kicking myself for making such a dumb proclomation as a spending freeze. Ah but then day four kicked in and I headed to Colby I just HAD to stop at dillons and see what manager specials I was missing out on. And then I cried. Not literally but I wanted to. See my FAVORITE place in Dillons is their yogurt aisle, and if you get really really really lucky you hit it right after they have markdowns, like a four pack for 1 dollar and then hopefully I have a coupon for 1 off and thenI get FREE yogurt. So when I turn the corner and see a NEW guy marking down the yogurt I just about pee my pants. See there's a new guy working the yogurt because I scared the last lady off. I made some comment about her being my favorite person in the whole dillons and she was my hero... and now every time she sees me in dillons she walks the other way quickly mumbling under her breath about a restraining order or something. Not really but very close. So I get my heart rate back to normal and I walk up to the guy all nonchalant and start up a conversation about yogurt. He tells me if I find anything with an experation date of TEN DAYS DOWN THE ROAD, he will mark it down for me. So I start searching my coupons, and NOT a one was for the brand he had marked down. Wow that was sad and disheartining and I really really want some yogurt.

What else have I missed? Well mom was supposed to send some jelly home with me over Christmas but we forgot so I came home with no jelly I found this "fruit stuff" in the back of my fridge some kind of gift I'd gotten a long time ago it said to put it on meat and that's just not my family so we had never opened it. I called mom to see if she thought it would be good, and she said if it's canned and the lid is seal it should be fine. So it was! So we used that although it was more like fruit in a jell than jelly it worked. Then there was salsa... we had about four bags of tortilla chips... and ran out of salsa. I almost cried salsa has become my new ranch, literally I eat it in my salads. So I had thought we had had one more jar so that was a sad day. UNTIL about a week down the road I moved a soup can and found my beloved jar of salsa so I did a salsa dance praising Jesus and now have one jar of salsa that will hopefully last two months... As for the jelly, I found a rebate check I had forgotten to cash, for 2.50 and jelly was on sale for 2.19 I figured that was a sign and went and bought the kids some jelly with no chunks of fruit in it!

Also I have decided we can spend cash, if we have any I never get cash but sometimes find cash (I get it for something then forget what it is supposed to go for and then well now that money goes towards emergency situations. like yogurt in colby next time) So I was really excited when I found two ten dollars bills in the diaper bag. Probably my spending money but hey I'm saving for a cruise in about three years so not a big deal to lose twenty bucks.

Now comes the real check I just opened up my cc online statement... lets see where I've spend money. A $90 Dish network bill- since I forgot to pay them over the Christmas two week vacation I had a late fee and had to pay for two months! $56 dollars in gas from our trip to Colorado to watch Kstate and hang out with our friends for a day (kjell's Christmas present) a $7 meal while in Colorado (managed to find a buy one get one free coupon so we even ate cheap!) and that's it. Oh plus a two dollar credit from paypal because I was unhappy with an e-bay purchase. Not too shabby. Plus we though Kjell didn't have eye insurance so we thought we had to pay $100 for his exam. Only the insurance company covered most of it and we only have to pay $25. So what a blessing I can't believe how grateful you become and how much you can miss the little things, like yogurt sooo much.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why I hate reading the book of Job

So I am trying to read through the Bible in 90 days along with my brother and sister-in-law. I am roughly a week behind but last night I entered that scary place known as Job. Now I've read through the Bible twice before, and the last time I did it Kjell and I were dating, and while reading through Job Kjell started to have doubts about our relationship and wanted to break up with me. Job is not my favorite place. I always know that while reading Job God is going to show me something that I'm not going to like. This time around is no exception. If you follow my blog you know we are on a spending freeze. But see a three month spending freeze will probably show up in the bank more likely in Feb Mar and April rather than the three months we are doing it. Most of that has to do with the time of month that bills are due and when our credit card statement gets mailed to us and finalized for the month. Well the problems have been looming for awhile now, knowing that we have a huge expense in front of us that I can't talk about right now, and just trying to make ends meet anyways. So I get on line and I have a bill from Dish Network to view. They automatically dropped me from paper statements which has been a detriment to the whole situation since before when I had paper statements I never had a late payment and now six months into this I've had two... HUMMMM you think there's a reason they like e-statements! So not only do I owe them for two months I have to pay that dreaded five dollar late fee which I feel I can't call and ask them to remove this time since I haven't been a "good customer" which is what I claimed last time. Then I woke up this morning and realized something. When I "balanced" my expenses vs money made last month I forgot to write down the 610 dollar house payment for last month. I balance things a bit differently. Each month I want my expenses to match my money earned. Within ten bucks. usually that means we have a bit left over which means Kjell and I get a bit of spending money, the kids get college money, I put money away for car insurance and house taxes and the rest gets put in envelops that are for extra expenses. Some examples are car tags, Christmas, savings, car insurance, house taxes, college funds for both kids, fun, vacation, new car, house projects, cell phone bill, house payments, I'm missing one anyways I fill those in 10 dollar bills and rotate them. That way when the taxes come due not only have I been putting extra money away each month I have a little extra in the envelop and end up not owing very much. It works wonders. Anyways this month (well that means December) I thought we had a bad month. but I was pleased to find a "surplus" of 440 dollars, until this morning when I realized I had an outstanding check for 610 talk about not very good feeling in my stomach. So I got all that balanced out and went to check the CC to see if any of the expenses could be taken out of envelops and came up with 100 that were Christmas expenses so I took that money from the envelop and was only in debt 5 dollars this month. That made me feel good!

And I wouldn't be stresses except that Kjell and I have both had dr bills go unpaid this month two dentist bills and two eye doctor bills. Plus I finally got the bill for a dr appointment I had in August. And our credit card bill. almost as much as Kjell makes in a month, why? car insurance (which will be paid for with envelop money as soon as it comes due) new tires and alignment which was 550 bucks which we CAN get 500 of that paid for with our CC points but they haven't sent the paper yet so it probably won't be on this statement. I don't know just seeing that number being what Kjell's take home pay was and knowing I still had to pay health insurance, house insurance, tithe (which some people might suggest throwing out but no matter how far in debt I go God will always get our tithe) plus house payment there's just not enough dollars to make them stretch this time. So maybe I need to go back and read about Elisha and Elijah and the women with the oil and the pots because that is what Kjell usually used to describe what I can do with our money. Even though I had to get this out in my blog I feel a peace, only a kind that God can give to just rest, breathe and wait. I mean I have to do what I can to make the numbers match up but ultimately God is in control and giving me a peace that passes all understanding. Now I need to go finish Job so I can get on to happier things!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

My new year's resolution

Ok so we are on what day three of this whole at least three month spending freeze. Let me tell you how hard it has been! Oh my goodness. Day one I did purchase something but I had to because it was something I needed to order but was waiting for a good price. I had a few things that were "grandfathered in" I had to buy Kjell a book for his class this semester, he needed three and so far I've only been able to find good deals on two of them I have about a week and a half more to look. Then Saturday morning my mom has a Mary Kay party, day two REALLY?? so she told me to write down my stuff like I was going to buy it and then she bought it, I got two things so I should be fine on makeup for the next couple months too. THEN that evening we came back to Atwood and stopped in Garden to get my body pillow, I was supposed to get it when we were in Dodge for Christmas but I forgot so I had Christmas money to buy that. So we have bought stuff, but we aren't using our credit card. Now this spending freeze is not so I can get my credit cards under control.... they are. I pay off the balance every month so it's not a big deal but I just don't want to spend money on extra stuff, just the necessities which it looks like will be diaper wipes didn't realize I was completely out until Justus had a blowout tonight. Grrrr so I really did think it would be easy to at least make it a week but I haven't figured that out yet. Plus in two weeks we are having some people over for a Pizza party I won a digorino pizza party from digorino and have to invite people over for the NFC or AFC championship game, I'm excited but have to figure out how to "use what I have" to host a party! Guess we will be drinking juice because we don't have any pop in the house! Plus how do you pay a babysitter without money? lol Then we are having our AWANA kids over for the Superbowl, and we have been invited to a first birthday party for a little girl next weekend. This is not supposed to be easy huh?

So I've decided I'm going to keep track of all the free stuff I receive this year, I thought it might be good to see just how much free stuff I get. When we got home from all our Christmasing we had two weeks worth of mail in our box. I had received a free bag (like the kind you bring to the grocery store) a charmin TP extender (which I needed like four months ago) a one use pack of folgers coffee, a little device that can tell you if you need a new belt in your car, some powerbar energy gel blasts they smell good but have caffeine in them so I'm scared of them! some pita chips that I want to eat right now! and two tablets of excedrin, not a bad haul. Just waiting for an offer of a trial size of deodorant! I'm a little low and one of those can last a whole month!

Also received a $25 gift card from Home Depot from doing surveys and a $5 target gc for doing ONE survey! Not a bad haul, and I only had one bill in the mail! lol that is why I love getting mail! So I am going to keep track of CC spending this year by category so I can see where we need to work, I really just want to see how much unnecessary money we spend, I don't feel like it's a lot but I'd like to know.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas!