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Archive for March, 2011

Should I just fly out or take the family?

March 31st, 2011 at 10:46 pm

We still owe for this months mortage in addition to what's already been paid, but have been catching up fast. My brother is getting married next month and I am wondering if I should just go to save money or if I should take the whole family. It's just one of those really hard decisions. It's either paying for one or four? I feel kind of stuck about it. We will have to pay for tickets in the next couple of days since the price will double if it gets too close to the date of departure. The amount it will cost for the tickets will be around the same amount that is owed for the mortgage. Plus we still have other bills to catch up on. thoughts?

Won a trip to Maui, but giving it away...plus updates

March 29th, 2011 at 01:09 am

I won a trip to Maui via a drawing (hotel/resort stay, not flights), but will be giving it away as a partial gift to a family member for their wedding. Since we can't afford the tickets to fly everyone, I figured they might enjoy it more since they wouldn't afford the trip on their own (flights, we'll pay for since they are closer to the islands). As for the restaurant job...I trained for a day and will start this week. I am pretty sure I will do well since the Sunday seemed busy. When I did the walk in and drive by last week, it was also fairly busy. So, I think it should help. At this point, any amount will be helpful. I am also trying to keep a positive attitude thinking that I clean/serve food all the time and at least I'm getting paid for it.lol. Right now we are also trying to find creative ways to get more time with the bill paying, calling, etc. Plus, I have been trying to make amends with certain people/reaching out, but they don't seem to want to reciprocate or resolve things, which is fine. At least I know and can move on. I feel at this point while everything is mostly surfaced (some still surfacing) and painful, I might as well face it and deal with all the yucky stuff to get those life chanels cleared for better things. I think the hardest thing out of the whole situation is just trying to keep my hope/strength/positive thoughts going because, well...sometimes it's hard not to want to feel bummed out and down. Nonetheless, I am still truckin' through as usual.

Workin' at the steak house...got a job.

March 25th, 2011 at 07:55 pm

I stopped by the steak restaurant yesterday and they hired me, kinda...I have to go in and shadow another server for a shift. I must say, it felt really weird applying for this job. After writing down my career experience/post schooling, I had to explain to them that I worked as a server/had experience/knowledge of drinks etc, but 10 years ago. Anyway, I really hope this works out well. As for the broken microwave, I called Costco and they said to return it anyway even if it is 4 years old. I was told that I would be refunded the "current" value of it, so it could only be $20, compared to the $100 (ish) paid. Nonetheless, how cool is that! I called goodwill, salvation army stores, savers, and another thrift shop to see if they had any because I know that the refund at Costco won't cover the cost of a new one...none of the thrift stores had any. So, I'll check craigslist too. Other than that, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the server job works out well so I can get these bills paid off!

The microwave went to heaven, I think.

March 24th, 2011 at 02:06 am

Today was perhaps the last heated meal with our four year old microwave from Costco. It was the panasonic/inverter model and was working pretty well and got a lot of use. Plus, I'm not the most gentle with mechanical things too. I have that "Non mechanical midas touch" I'd say. So, I went to heat some left overs after swimming today and it lit up and then just went blank. I checked the normal things like the plug etc. I also did the ever famous "hit the side of it a few times" move. I also did the "push the buttons harder" strategy. Both failed to work. I ended up heating my meal in a pan. I'm going to have my husband take a look at it and hopefully he can fix it. If not, off to microwave heaven for the inverter. The car also still needs to get fixed, plus I knocked the right side mirror off again. This time I clipped the side of a Fedex truck. The truck was fine, but the poor mirror just dangled there. I got it all ducked taped up again. Hooray for duct tape, but boo to my driving abilities. Anyway, my husband will come home earlier so I can apply for the server position tomorrow. Perhaps if I get the job they will let me take home left over food and I won't have to cook or heat up stuff? lol.

Netflix refunded me...and a productive day

March 23rd, 2011 at 03:24 am

I got refunded from Netflix, which was a nice relief. I also got a few thing done that I have been meaning to do for a while. However, I did deal with a few child melt downs, but stood my ground to my toddler with the ever famous mom word of "No." lol. I called the steakhouse and spoke with the manager, they pay the server minumum wage, which in MA is apparently $2.85/hour, plus tips. I am trying to figure out a schedule with my husband. I am pretty sure they will hire me since they really need people/are a newer restaurant, which is good because I really want and need the money. I keep meaning to update the side tab since some of the cards went down, Amex got lower. This process has been somewhat painful, but I heard a quote today that said "Pain is the plow that opens the heart to see the truth." I thought I could relate to that.

SHOW ME THE MONEY...Trying to get a night job

March 21st, 2011 at 10:09 pm

"SHOW ME THE MONEEEEEY." O.K, so scrounging for change, althogh being successful with it, and stressing about finding juice box/fruit money for my kiddos lunch is not something I'm too fond of. In fact, after this "Broke as a joke" phase of my life, my goal is never to do this again. However, I know it will take time to dig myself out of this one. Anyway, I am trying to find an evening job to get to make some extra money. What I am finding are front/desk gym jobs or server or hostess jobs. The front desk jobs are paying $8(ish), along with the hostess, as for the server jobs, well, that depends on who walks in at night etc. So I am thinking maybe I should try a server job even though I have not done it for 10 years! Then again, my financial situation seems to be where I was at 10 years prior, actually worse now that I think about it. Anyway, I'd get paid for serving meals and cleaning up, which is what I already do as a mom. However, the restaurant I was thinking about that's hiring is in my hometown and I keep thinking how awkward it would be to wait/serve on friends or people I am aquanted with. Ayayayay. Dunno what to do at this point? Plus, every mom is looking for that Babysitting position/nanny thing to do so those are hard to come by. My business isn't bringing anything in right now and we are just limited with my husbands salary. Perhaps finding a restaurant located in a different town farther away??

Chicken Recipe a Success and I found money!

March 21st, 2011 at 02:40 pm

The other day I posted a chicken thigh recipe. I tried it out last night and it was actually pretty good. It also made the house smell yummy, then again, anything made with butter and garlic will do that.lol. I made it with a side of brown rice and some fruit salad. I also found $2 in a coat and when I opened Saturdays mail, I got reimbursed $5 from a doctors visit where I paid too much for the co-pay. This was really helpful because I had to get juice boxes for my daughters lunch. I was also able to get a small bunch of bananas too. The good news is that we still have food in the house.My kiddo was also able to take a juice box, banana, orange slices, apple sauce, snack bar,cupcake, and a sandwich which made me feel better too in that her lunch wasn't getting shafted with our debt issus. Anyway, 2.5 days until we get paid, but wow, when there are only a few bucks to work with, it's amazing how long those days feel...especially when they usually go by so fast.

Hooray to house/car/purse coins and a new recipe!

March 20th, 2011 at 12:28 am

So after feeling super bummed out this morning, but then getting some really kind support, I felt better and cleaned the house with some other "Getting it together" actions. Also, it may sound silly, but perhaps too it was to show the Big Guy in the Sky that I'm serious about this stuff and want to really get it together.lol. Anyway,during my third load of the laundry transition I found a quarter at the bottom of the washer, which made me decide to get all the change from wherever I could. I collected a few misc coins around the house, but the real jack pot was in the armrest compartment of the car and the side pocket of my purse. I ended up going to the super market, this time stop and shop, and used the coinstar only because my bank won't take large amounts of change unless it's rolled etc. After dumping the change in and also dumping my wallet out...I had, drum roll please...$8.79. Woohoo! So I ended up getting a little more food for the house and we were able to spend some more on gas with the money my hubby had in his wallet. I got a family pack of chicken thighs for about $3.50 because of the "managers special" -$2 sticker. It will be a decent source of protein. I normally don't buy these only because I have no idea what to do with it, but I found a recipe. Also, Macaroni elbows $1. I hate to say this, but also got cupcake mix $1.25/frosting $1.25/$1.59 cupcake paper only because I promised my 3 year old we could make some yesterday and that's all she talked about the whole day.."Cupcake Day." I'll be making homemade plain muffins later in the week too to use up the frosting to make cupcake look a likes. I'll also use up the eggs to make raisin bread french toast tomorrow. I've already made a stir fry with the random single vegies left...and I did get the large box of ramen at 10 cents a packSmile My kids like it and I hate to admit it, but it's prtty goodSmileIt's a little weird not seeing a full pantry and abundant fridge, but we have food, cupcakes, and some faith that things will work out. I have no idea how the chicken thigh recipe will taste, but I cut/pasted the recipe below from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley
6 boneless chicken thighs, with skin
dried parsley, to taste
Directions
1.Preheat the oven broiler. Lightly grease a baking pan.
2.In a microwave safe bowl, mix the butter, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, and parsley. Cook 2 minutes on High in the microwave, or until butter is melted.
3.Arrange chicken on the baking pan, and coat with the butter mixture, reserving some of the mixture for basting.
4.Broil chicken 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until juices run clear, turning occasionally and basting with remaining butter mixture. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

Oh...so this is what rock bottom looks like.

March 19th, 2011 at 01:36 pm

I feel like a hamster on one of those hamster wheels trying to get off the ride. However, I've stopped running on the wheel, but it continues to spin while I'm on it and now I feel like I'm a little beat down. This week I had charges, which are usually automated and were put on hold, go through and hit my account! Now really, it's so easy for them to take the money out, appologize, but so hard for them to put it back in the account. It will take 3-5 business days to get reimbursed on my netflix account money and my skin care program money, both were put on hold, but for whatever reason (full moon?) hit anyway. So, that $50 won't see my account until next week, which was supposed to go toward a credit card with a pay plan where they held the interest, only if we paid the $50. Aside from that, we have only $55 in our checking account, but it will probably go in the red on Monday when a gas charge from Wednesday didn't get posted until today. We still owe the dentist $900, but then will get reimbursed after we pay, even though we already paid a portion of it. Plus, my student loan, part of this months mortgage, and utility bills are due. My car is also rebelling, it took 15 miniutes yesterday to even want to start and when I got it going, it barely ran well. Right now I am trying not to be one of those magnets that attract all sorts of yucky stuff and am trying to fend off everything with all my strength, but am starting to feel beat down. I guess the image of a person being attacked by flying/pecking demons while they are trying to throw them off their back comes to mind (from a movie I saw). So...I guess this is what the feeling of being at rock bottom feels like...just plain old discouragement and wanting to throw my hands up to the Big Guy in the Sky and say "O.k buddy, I get it, we're broke and in a hot mess, but seriously man, give us a break because were trying!"

Back to Mac and Cheese...and ramen?

March 18th, 2011 at 02:53 am

Today was an interesting day. We got paid, but not as much as expected due to a dentist appoinment/day off last week. I'm a little bummed out about that since this paycheck went toward getting us back in the black, gas, medicine, and a few other items. The good news is that we will get reimbursed for the dentist, but not for another week or two. So, this means that this week will really have to be cut down on many areas. So, I am racking my brain for the cheapest possible meals. Do I say hello to my, oh let's say...college buddies "Mac and cheese" and "Ramen." Hopefully, I can find some better alternatives, but really...it's at that "Ramen" point right now...10 cents a pack looks very tempting. Perhaps I can jazz up both with something and also make sure I don't foget about fruits/vegies? Rice too with something may work. Anyway, at least the pasta was on sale for $1, along with the $1 sauce. I just got that and some milk because I'm afraid if I try and do a full run, I will go totally over. It may sound weird, but going in to get food just for the day is helpful too right now since I only have a certain amount I can spend for the day.

$7 on pump #3 please.

March 16th, 2011 at 05:43 pm

"$7 on pump #3 please." These were the words uttered out of my mouth after I dropped off kiddo #1 at school. Yup, the last time I said something like this to get my car going from point A to B was, oh, let me think...when I was 16 years old and driving an '83 volvo clunker. I am 30 years old today and as painful and weird as it was, it made me chuckle that I could only get $7 worth of gas, not necessarily on a volvo clunker,but a pretty decent car that still needs the "Check Engine" light to go off (on even a metaphorical level)lol. So after paying the cashier my whopping $7, I go to the pump and stand there thinking I'd have a minute or two for it to fill, like I'm used to. I didn't even have time to do the "lookibng off to space while I fill up the tank" thing going. A few seconds went by and then the handle went "Click." I looked and $7 got me less than 2 units of gas. However, I am still thankful that I even had the $7Smile I swear, today a dollar never looked so good and to know my car will get me from A to B until tomorrow's payday is even better!

Back on the saddle again because I have to.

March 15th, 2011 at 08:44 pm

So...I'm back on the saddle, again because I have no choice. I was actually a little depressed last week and haven't written in a week due to feeling like I'm super stuck.I just couldn't fathom spending more money on what was already owed. We paid $7000, thinking we were all caught up with the mortgage, it turns out that we still have to pay another $1400 with fees, interest, etc. I knew that the rest of this month was going to be tight, but wow, not like this. I even withdrew money over the weekend before the weekend charges could hit on Monday, just so we would have cash in our hand, even though I knew we would go in the red on both accounts. I even borrowed from my business account just to get a few things from the grocery store. Anyway, the good news out of this is that we are only eating what we have in the house and I am finding creative ways to extend things. We'll make it because we have no other choice, but sheeeesh...getting out of what I am going to call "financial hell/purgatory" is really hard, talk about rings of fire to jump through.lol.

Sent out past due mortgage check!

March 9th, 2011 at 05:04 am

I sent out the past due mortgage check today! We paid on time for 3 years straight, but ran in to house repairing, credit debt, and kiddo school expenses and put the mortgage on the back burner until our refund. The rest of this week we will be really scraping by with the dental and car repairs. Anyway, at least this is out of the way to a certain degree.

My car knows I'm in debt...but still wants my money.

March 8th, 2011 at 04:32 am

So after starting to get things really together, paying off bills etc, my car decides to act out...it decided to not want to start at all and after a 20 minute rest, it finally did. In fact, it must know that there is some money in the account and now wants all of it, even though I have debt.lol. O.k, in all seriousness the check engine light has been on for a while, along with the oil light, which is from the idler so depending on the tilt of the road and engine, the light may/may not come on. It's funny, after taking a look at what I wrote, I guess the finances were like the car. The warnings have been there and action is needed. Anyway, it clearly failed the smog test due the light being on, but will now cost me more that $400. My husband also has a dentist appointment, which will cost $950, but we will at least get reimbursed, it just takes two weeks from the insurance. Anyway, my federal refund will be here this week and will pay for the past due mortgage! As for the car, trying to figure out when to fix it without us being at zero balance, which is scary.

Groceries under $100!

March 7th, 2011 at 03:49 am

For the first time in a very very long time, my groceries were under $100. The total came to $85.86
So, I made a list and a menu, but I think the real secret was taking two toddlers and a hubby to the grocery store. There is nothing like a screaming kid and crowded store that makes you just want to finish the items on the list and get out as fast as possible. I was actually pretty stressed during the shopping experience (for some reason, I thought taking the hubby and kiddos would be a fun experience, then reality set in when one of the kids started nibbling the corner of the pasta box like a mouse and the other one kept running off to get things to put in the cart). However, after the stress of dealing with the kids and checking out, I realized that my family actually being there prevented me from doddling and buying things/new products I didn't need. I also came home and washed the fruits/vegies. However, I am not sure if I will take them next week? My hubby also got a credit card minimum payment and interest lowered. Overall, a pretty good weekend.

Paid some past dues, a weight is lifted.

March 4th, 2011 at 03:20 am

I paid the past due adt bill, past due phone bill, past due credit card bill, past due student loan, and a past due hospital bill. I used part of the state refund we got back. It feels like a weight has been lifted and I look forward to the day when it is all lifted. I will pay some more tomorrow, but want to see what hits the account tomorrow from this week. It's amazing how easy it was to get in this, but how hard it is to get out! I realized it's borrowed time from the future and that's why it takes so long to pay off (all those hours/minutes), which is somewhat of a bummer, but at least my kids are at an age where making a $1 box of cupcakes makes their day. Hopefully it will continue like this with the cheap cupcakes, library days, and free things we can do for the next couple years while we work on the debts.

baby steps foward...now trying to sprint ahead of debt.

March 3rd, 2011 at 03:36 am

The last time I wrote was on Feb 24th, then I delt with some family issues with the mom and fell off the financial wagon as we can say. I'm not going to list the snacks/lunches out with the kids/or little things I bought because I have an exploding wallet of receips, all little things here and there. I just had a hard time writing about this after I was doing well, but I am back because writing about it here was the ONLY reason I was doing well. However, I learned that a MAJOR trigger was family/garbage that seems to get me in a frenzy to buy uneccesary things. It wasn't soooo huge in terms of any kind of shopping rampage, but enough to know that every time I paid for something it felt wrong because I knew it could go toward a bill, but did it anyway just to deal with things until I figured it out. So, I was slowly moving and now decided to sprint! I am really tired of this back and forth. Also tired of toxic draining people (including the mom).I have been moving forward about having better friends and quality people in my life, even hung out with new friends recently. I also received the state refund today, which will help us catch up on bills etc until we get our $1000 emergency fund set up. Unfortunately, we think that only one of us can make it to a family wedding because it will be too costly and too close to the line with finances. We always seem to be the most broke right around this time and both the hubby and I don't want to do this every year, so we'd rather just send one person this time. I am still updating the numbers on my profile, but a few have gone down! So, as Dave says with the debt methods, you first have to get mad and then get gazelle like speed to get away from it. Gearing up to sprint soon. Done with the stress of debt, done with fake friends, and done with toxic people. It's time to sprint toward a better life on a metaphorical level. I know it will take time, but mostly energy to back it up.