I use mine two to three times a week in the fall and winter. I love being able to throw some things in and have a delicious meal at the end of the day. It is wonderful for those days that I might be tempted to plan to eat out. The area I live in really does not have great restaurants or eating out might be a nice treat. It does not hurt that cheaper cuts of meat come out of the slow cooker tasting just as good as more expensive cuts. I end up with a good meal with very little work, which is always great!
Archive for October, 2007
I seem to have fallen behind on setting aside money for Christmas. I prefer to have all of my shopping and planning done before Thanksgiving. I have $25 still in the budget, but I need $200. I suppose I will pull the remainder from some extra money that might have gone to debt. Beginning with the first paycheck after Thanksgiving, I will start setting aside for next year. I have tried to write down most of the amounts spent and can guess on the others. Hopefully having a more accurate amount needed will help next year. I do like to shop all year around and having the money before all of the after holiday sales should be a bonus also.
it is driving me crazy now. By "it" I mean DEBT. It has become a nasty four letter word to me. I have always had a car payment at least. Now I just want to pay off that auto loan and save to pay cash the next time around. I am hoping that this disgust about debt will keep dh and I from ever going that route again. I am still searching for every extra penny to add to the payoff. The good news is that dh will get an extra paycheck next month that will not be needed for bills. Hopefully that will go a long way toward shrinking the total.
Thanks to Ima Saver I am in the habit of reading my meter. If the electric usage stays the same for another week, the bill should be around $75. I think this is pretty good considering how old the house is.
Many of you have suggested flipping the breakers on items when not in use. My house is extremely old though, and the panel box has these huge fuse thingys (my technical term lol). I can usually pull them out but getting them back in is another story. Changing all of that is on the list of home improvements when we remodel. For the time being I am stuck with things having to stay on at the panel box. I try to compensate in other ways though and find our power usage now is about 1/3 that of our neighbors. I will be in under budget though and hope to have $25 extra to add to the debt payoff.
I updated the real estate loan total since the last payment has cleared. I was a bit frustrated that some money did not arrive in time to add it to the payment. Hopefully this will just mean an extra big payment in November. I think we are still on schedule with our payoff goals. I just really hate seeing that interest amount every month. Strange that for years I never gave it a second thought. Now it makes me mad, which is the encouragement I need to stay on track.
I substituted for two days this week and am happy to be a housewife again. The "work" was very boring, but I guess few people work for the fun of it. I did end up spending a bit as I ate out both days. The money came out of my spending money so the budget was not ruined. I will be happy when the paycheck arrives and a bit more can be knocked off the debt total.
I am off to start working on the grocery list. I am trying to get back to one big shop every four weeks with stops at a smaller grocery store for sale items only. This is always the easiest place for me to cut the budget so hopefully I can keep the spending under control with this shopping trip.
I will be doing a couple of days of substitute teaching this week. I only substitute for adult students (college level). There is not enough money in the world for me to substitute on the high school level. It will be a fairly easy job with the only downfall that I will not get paid until the beginning of December. It will still be a nice bit of money to put toward the debts at the end of the year.
I will start with Friday since I am a bit behind. Dh and I had planned to go to a local fall festival and spend the evening there. It ended up being not as good as in years past. I got a candy apple (so good), and he got cotton candy before we left. We had not splurged on any fun stuff in a while so I do not feel too bad about that $5.
We ended up at the video store - our kryptonite. We both LOVE movies. We very rarely go to the theater, and we always buy rather than rent. With the rental fees and driving costs, it is cheaper for us to buy the previously viewed movies. I also like to watch movies over and over again so I think we are getting our money's worth.
Yesterday and today are no spend days, which brings my total to 7 for this month. I am about halfway to my goal of 15. I have been tempted by some online sales but am focusing on that debt total to the side instead.
By here I mean to the point where I am helping friends with their finances. Now I am not talking about major financial advice. I mean basic things that each of us here on this site do without thinking about it - looking for ways to save, having an emergency fund, paying extra on debts, etc. Some of these friends are opening their financial lives up to me, and I must admit to being a bit shocked. It is amazing that dh and I are in a better place financially than people who make 3 times what we do. I have had the worst time convincing others that managing the money you have is better than trying to earn more money.
At the same time I know that our epiphany regarding money is recent. I can see the light at the end of the debt tunnel and want everyone else to see it too. It is nice to be with a group of people here who are happy to share their victories and setbacks regarding money even if it is anonymous. I am never pushy with financial suggestions, but I am also do not see money discussions as the taboo topic others do.
I did a bit of Christmas shopping today. I used money that had been budgeted, but since I spent I am not going to count it as a no spend day. I bought some baking supplies. I know that I could cut back on spending if we cut out a bunch of Christmas gifts. I like doing it though and I budget for it and pay with cash. I figure if I was charging things and going into debt then it would be a problem. I shop all year around and really do Christmas on a budget.
The electric bill dropped this past month. It was $5 more than I had estimated, but it was for 33 days rather than the normal 30. I figured up that it costs about $2.87 per day for electricity in our home. I have to say that next to indoor plumbing, electricity is my favorite thing. I guess if I had lived before there was such a thing I would have been happy. Since I do know about it, I am miserable when the power goes out for an hour....okay a few minutes is all it takes to drive me crazy. It would be nice to get that down to $2.50 a day this month. I will have to check the meter later and see how it is going so far.
The plan for this weekend was to have a yard sale along with some neighbors. The weather is not cooperating so we all decided to switch to another weekend. It was no big deal as that money would have gone into next year's vacatio fund.
Today is the second no spend day for the month. Yesterday would have been put I paid a bill early. I know I will have to run an errand in the next day or two. Otherwise I expect to have a few more no spend days to add to the total.
No much else money wise going on here. I am not spending any which is always good!
Dh's workplace put out the insurance options last week. Most of his coworkers were complaining that the premiums doubled. Thanks to our emergency fund and other savings we decided to increase our deductible. We will have a savings of $60 on the premiums from the current plan. Dh said most people were going with the lowest premium simply because they had no savings at all.
We have each only met the deductible once in about 10 years. Dh went to the allergist and met his deductible on the first visit. I met mine when I was going to the hospital once a week (literally). Otherwise we are fairly healthy. IF something should happen we have money saved up to handle the deductible.
We are going to build up the medical savings first and then add the extra money to paying off the debts. Every little bit helps!
September was a better month financially than I expected. We were able to get the debt well under $7K. I ended up with 17 no spend days, which is 2 more than my goal. Even with the off paychecks we were able to handle the budget with no problems. We also increased the 401K contributions.
I am hopeful that we can pay extra on the loans again this month. I am hesitant to set a new total goal since I am not sure how much extra we can squeeze out of the budget. Other goals are to have 15 no spend days and blog more often. I have gotten a bit lax in the past few weeks.
Look out! You will be seeing a lot more of me this month.