Catching Up

Summer was busy with lots of changes. Some good, some not-so-good but what can ya do, life is all about change.

Funnest parts of Summer were dogsitting Blanche & Honey Badger & Spikester, housesitting, Diane & Kelly invade Colorado,  my trip to CA to hang out with my parents for a week and dinners & fun-time with Tim & Brian. And Aigneis and Mildred and Tucker and Mr. Zigglesworth.

After answering way more Craigslist ads than I thought possible...and talking to way more "interesting" potential landlords than I thought possible, I moved late August. Back in Superior, a neighborhood that I cherish that's super close to work which my commuting budget loves. Superior is very much a bedroom community... a very spendy bedroom community...but the views and the parks and the proximity to most (definitely not all) of my my favorite people and places makes me really happy. And content. For now.

Had a scare several weeks ago when my Dad was rushed to the ER. We almost lost him but luck was on our side. Not going to say a whole lot about his situation out of respect for privacy, but he's doing much better now. Much better.

Still on the path to getting debt-free...closer than I was last time I blogged. The move put that on hold for a bit, but now I'm back to making progress. Yay for progress!

My friend Ryan is my inspiration. So is Mortgage Free By 30  As well as No More Harvard Debt

Mr. Money Mustache is a local blogger that has a love for bikes and common sense ways to grow your 'stache.

My daily inspiration is Dave Ramsey.  His podcasts are free and they're a lifesaver. Every time I walk into Target I'm listening to a Ramsey podcast on my phone. Have any debt-reduction/frugality blogs you'd like to share? Leave the links in the comments.

I've gotten really good at saying no to anything that costs $. Ask my friends that issue invite after invite. If it involves money and even if it doesn't cost money but requires gas to get there, 9 out of 10 times my answer is no. Short term situation for long term rewards. Haven't been to a concert in ages. I love concerts...used to go all the time when I first moved to CO. They're not in the cards anymore. 

Back in the day when I was married and we were getting debt-free from $75K in consumer debt, my go-to answer was "is it a want or a need". These days my response is "INITB"...It's not in the budget. So when you start seeing INITB on my Facebook posts, you'll know what that's all about!

Finally, let's chat about blogging. I've been doing this for awhile...since March 2004. Doesn't seem like 8 years have passed, and I'm glad I've kept my blog active even tho it's been dormant a time or two.

It's been great to go back and read the archives and see where I used to be to where I am now and I'm sure the same will hold true years from now.

So that's my news...what's up with you?



Too Much Month, Not Enough Money?

Actually? That's not the case.

.96 cents left in my Food envelope, but I have enough food on hand to get thru the rest of the week. I'll need to be strategic at bringing my lunch Tues/Weds/Thurs, but I'll make it work.

Yesterday was a splurge from Jimmy John's and today I had half a breakfast bagel for breakfast and the other half for lunch, with a brought-from-home Noosa Raspberry yogurt as a snack. Not the healthiest, I realize...I have to work on that.

Still have $20 sitting in my Gas envelope which I probably won't need to use since I have half a tank with 3 more commute days left to drive. Housesitting in Boulder plus a fuel efficient car is a Godsend in the budget dept. 

This whole "Cash Envelope" system is getting much easier. Dave would be proud!

One Month Check-In

One month ago I made a list of my assets and my debts.

Thankfully, my assets outweigh my debts.  For that, I'm grateful. Still, I HAVE DEBT, which is dumb. I was debt-free for over 3 years but got back into debt when my truck died (at 134,000 miles) and yeah, I guess I panicked when I found that used Subaru's cost more than new Kia's. So I bought a new 2011 Kia Sportage. Awesome warranty! No more worries about my Isuzu breaking down again and again and again. It was safe. Hassle-free. For the first time in years, there was no stress as I started my day, wondering if this would be the day thay my ride broke down AGAIN!

I put 50% down on my Kia and wound up owing just under $17,000. Several months later came  a tragic death in my family and I resurrected the credit card that had been dormant - and paid off - since March 23, 2010. Used it for my flight back to CA. And my rental car. And to fly my grief-stricken parents out to CO for a weekend (and pay for their hotel) a month after the funeral.

Was it emotional spending? Absolutely. Was it necessary? No. But sort of yes. I wanted my Dad & Mom with me after losing a precious member of our family. It was honestly more for me than it was for them...but it was for them too.

Then came the gym membership. And the car registration - didn't have my checkbook with me  when I went to pick up my plates and CO doesn't accept debit cards without adding a surcharge for using a debit card.  

When I started putting restaurant meals  & random purchases on my credit card, I knew I was back at square one.

So I stopped cold turkey.  Started listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts again. Told myself "NO" more than I told myself "yes". Even tho it was difficult, started using a cash budget envelope system. Dave was right. It takes about 3 months to get the hang of it. Doing so much better now than I was 3 months ago.

Part of getting real about this endeavor was selling my beloved Apple stock. It was doing so well and was on the way to high 600 a share. Should I sell? Should I hold? 

Wound up selling 9 of my 10 shares and paid off (and cut up) my VISA credit card. Never again. No more credit cards - not worth it.

A month ago my debt totalled $18,973.80.

Today, after throwing an extra $99.59 towards my car loan principal, I'm down to $13,068.46. The $99.59 came from a check from insurance overpayment, using money I budgeted for food and gas that I didn't use cause I have no life as of late, and a $25 Target gift card from my dentist for referring a friend. I took $25 cash out of my food envelope, replaced it with the Target gift card, and added it to my mid-cycle car principal paydown. That's what no restaurants, no booze, no movies and no Target splurges will do for ya! As well as eating less, driving less, staying home.

It doesn't bother me as much as I thought, cause I view this as part of the "greater good" for my future. For all the times I had fun and wasn't as frugal as I should have been, this is the reverse action. Making up for lost time.

I've been looking into getting a part-time job. Have had 3 house/dog sitting gigs in the last 2 months. Have 2 more lined up. And I'm faithfully bringing my lunch to work on a daily basis. Seriously, this all adds up!

As I discover more and more Debt-Free & Frugality blogs, I'd like to think that the Debt-Free-Frugal-Living movement is catching hold. At least I hope so!

A life without debt beats a life with debt any day. 


Frugality Is Fun!

In my ongoing challenge to live frugally...

*Use coupons. Saved $10.30 in coupons at King Sooper' a $5 coupon for buying more than $50 in groceries, the other a $2 coupon for buying at least $7 in frozen foods. Since it had been a month since my last shopping trip, hitting the $50 minimum was easy.

*If you know you have flying in your future, stick with one airline. All the flights I made to Denver last year to househunt were on Frontier. Cashed in my miles and guess who gets to fly to CA for free at Christmas?

Lunch challenge - how many of you buy your lunch every day? Living right around the corner from Wendy's and about a mile away from The Border, Qdoba and KFC, I was getting into the FFFL (Fast Food For Lunch) habit. Average cost of lunch was $4.50.

Have gone cold-tukey for the last two weeks. No fast food for lunch.

Gonna try it again for the next two weeks. Wanna join me in this challenge?

Tip Time

Was telling my buddy Jillibean of my new fascination with all things frugal.

It's a new kick I'm on, out of necessity and also cause it's sorta challenging and I always like to turn challenging into fun (if at all possible).

So thought I would share with you every now and then what 'frugal tip' I've learned or practiced or am learning to practice.

Staring with my #1 mantra, is it a want or a need, have only spent $2 since last Tuesday. That's it! Of course, haven't gone anywhere other than the mailbox and King Soopers on Saturday to cash in the Lotto tix my parents won while they were visiting last month. No grocery shopping (would kill for a glass of ice-cold milk right now), no fast food, no drinks, no concerts, no nuthin!

What I HAVE done is yard work, lots of work-work, stuff around the house and have caught up on a couple of books.

I know eventually I will spend money but wanted to see how long I could go without doing it.

This is my little experiment...feel free to play along if ya want.