Yesterday we took the kids out someplace fun. I wanted to go bowling, but DH did not. The kids wanted to go to Chuck E. Cheese, and DH and I did not. After discussing it, we went, and we all had fun! Then we stopped at Panera bread and got sandwiches for the adults, and McDonalds for happy meals for the kids. We spent about $45.00 yesterday, money which we didn't have to spend, money which at first I didn't want to spend, thinking I could have added it to my challenge instead. But then, I decided that I would not sacrifice my family's need for fun just to save a few bucks. I also was thinking that DH will be getting his bonus soon and we could afford to do a little something with the kids.
I saved $20.00 at the food store this week, and I'm adding another $3.00 for washing my dishes by hand. Also, we didn't eat out at all this week, which I consider a good thing, especially since there was at least one night when I really, really wanted my DH to bring home a chicken parmesan sandwich! Yum! I had some meatballs in the freezer, so we had spaghetti and meatballs instead. Today I would like to do a little freezer filling so I have something to pull out on those all-too-frequent nights when I don't feel like cooking. My biggest weakness when it comes to ordering food is pizza! It's so easy to order, and the kids love it. I have yet to master the art of homemade pizzas, and I have a new recipe to try that will hopefully make good pizzas that I can freeze.
I am adding $37.00 to my challenge jar this week. $2.00 from washing dishes by hand yesterday and today, $13.00 from grocery store savings, and another $22.00 that was already in the jar. This is just the paper money in the jar. The change will be deposited at the end of the month. My DH always laughs at me when I swipe his change to put into my jar!
I am really going to push myself for the challenge this year, so my goal by June 2007 will be to have saved $1,200.00 Here it is, counting only my savings....
Happy new year to all you savvy savers! At the beginning of 2007, I have $737.00 in my savings account, and $400.00 in my checking account. I have some summer goals I am saving for: $600.00 for a week at the beach, $500.00 for a pool membership, and $300.00 for a week of summer camp for the kids. So, between now and June 2007 I'd like to have $1,400.00 in my savings account. My job only gets me about $100.00 a month. I will pay myself $1.00 for doing things like exercising, washing the dishes by hand, ironing my husband's shirts, and making my own bread. We also now pay $6.00/month for our daughter to play on club penquin. She does extra chores around the house, and at the end of the week she gets $2.00. At the end of the month, she pays me $6.00, and that will go directly into the "savings" jar. I also save all my change and go to the bank once every couple of months to deposit this. I may try Walgreen's rebates, and I plan on selling more of my crafts this spring. I'd really like to be able to enroll my kids in an activity this spring, too. My daughter wants to do T-ball. Well, those are my goals and those are the ways which I will try to meet them. I am still working on reducing my eating out bill. I love to eat out, actually, more like ordering in, and I will try to reduce the # of times we do this. Mostly it goes like this, "hon, I don't feel like cooking tonight - let's order something!" This happens a lot. I think every time I overcome this desire to "order in" and make something at home instead, I will pay myself $20.00, even though ordering something often costs a lot more than that.
I've completed 90% of my christmas shopping, and it was all paid for in cash! What a great feeling! Of course, a lot of the cash came from my $20 challenge account, but I plan on getting back on track in January. Still, it's nice to be finished early and not to have racked up more credit card debt.
I'm also trying something new - I'm making an effort to hand-wash my dishes at least 80% of the time each week. I'm hoping to see a reduction in my oil bills this winter - last year it was a real struggle to keep the tank full. I also need to call my delivery guy and tell him to only put X amount of $$ in the tank, instead of filling it up and handing me a jaw-dropping invoice. We're working on some home improvement projects too which will hopefully make a difference in our heating costs this winter. Hubby's fixing the draft coming in through the family room door, and is trying to get our fireplace operational this winter. It will be nice to not have to look at the insulation stuffed up the chimney this year - and maybe even enjoy the warm glow and crackle of a fire!
I had a great time at the clothing resale this weekend. I went Friday morning and loaded up a laundry basket for $32.00. I went back on Saturday and got twice as many items, all for half price. Some of the shirts and pants were only .50 ! They are all good quality, and a lot of them are expensive brands, like Gap, etc... I spent a total of $72.00 for a complete winter wardrobe for both my children. I made a total of $57.00 from the clothes I had consigned and donated whatever didn't sell to the church's mission projects. So my grand total was only $15.00. Honestly, I am so used to buying clothes for my kids for $3.00 or less, I get such a sticker shock when I go into a department store!I am already thinking ahead to the spring sale.
Tonight I am consigning all my kids outgrown clothes in a 2-day resale at a local church. I am hoping I will make enough money to buy them "new" clothes for this winter. Last spring when I did this I ended up spending only about $10.00 for summer clothes for both my kids! I have 3 laundry baskets full of clothes, plus some toys. Whatever doesn't sell I am donating to missions. This event is very popular. The sale starts tomorrow at 9:00 and people will be lined up waiting for the doors to open. Saturday is always half price day, so I will buy some stuff on Friday and then get whatever's left on Saturday. Then I pick up my check on Saturday afternoon and see how I did!
As far as my crafting business goes, I made $700.00 at 2 different craft shows. I have several more shows between now and Christmas, and I'm hoping I do well at those, too. I've also been working on some custom orders. Very exciting. I sew in my sleep now!
Between my checking and saving account I have reached my $1,000.00 goal 3 months ahead of schedule!!!!
I recently was given the opportunity to do some per diem work for my county library system - I conducted some computer training classes. I should be getting a nice sized check in a few weeks to add to my challenge. At the end of the training, they offered me a full-time job, but I declined. My kids come first and I'm just not ready to make that kind of sacrifice. I did say I'd work part-time, and they may or may not accept my terms. Besides, after taxes and childcare, I'd be working for pennies. They also said I could do more per diem work for them, which would be perfect - develop the training materials at home, then go into their lab to conduct the training. We'll see. I've also got craft shows coming up in the fall, so I'm hoping that I will finally be able to turn a profit on my crafting products.
I did give my son a haircut last week, I got a $10.00 rebate from Walgreens, and I got paid for my part-time job at the church nursery ($30.00), so I will add $50.00 to my challenge account, bringing the total to $317.50. I really need to step up my savings if I want to get to $1,000.00 by the end of the year.
Well, I haven't done much in the way of my $20.00 challenge, having gotten completely sidetracked. I am trying to save some for a vacation we have coming up the end of August, and after that I will start saving for the challenge again.
Ironic that for the past several years, we have had two riding mowers (trying to sell the older one with no luck). Earlier in the summer we did finally sell the older tractor, and wouldn't it figure that our other tractor breaks! It's been in and out of the shop for three weeks now, and the grass is out of control. I finally had to get a service and it's going to cost $65.00 for the grass to be cut, plus I don't know how much to fix the tractor. Oh, well. My hubby is getting a bonus in August and that will cover the tractor and the vacation, so I'm not too stressed over it.
I did make homemade pizza for dinner last night, so $10.00 is going into the jar.
Yesterday was a very good mail day. I received a $51.00 rebate for the trees I bought last month. This check is going directly into the savings account. I also did good at the food store yesterday, though it was mostly treats for the kids. Still, I saved 50% of my bill, but I'm only putting $12.00 into the challenge, since that's what I saved with manufacturer coupons.
Well, I've done quite a bit for the challenge this week. On Tuesday I made pizza for dinner and put $5.00 in the jar. I line-dried two loads of laundry, which added another dollar. Yesterday I exercised, so I added another dollar, and I gave my son a haircut, which put $10.00 into the jar. Total for this week so far is $17.00! I'm also still saving change, and once the jar is full, it's going to the bank!
Not much has been happening in regard to the challenge, although I did finally open that savings account. I deposited $130.00, which was pretty good I thought. We just got done spending over $2000.00 in home improvements, but it was worth every penny. Our old front door leaked air and water, the trim was all rotted and peeling. Now we have a nice energy efficient front door and storm door, new trim, and some other miscellaneous painting and patching done in the house. And more good news - I have enough left over to get the family a pool membership AND make an extra payment on my HELOC. My husband had no idea I had so much set aside after our tax rebate came in. He-he-he.
I sold some of my handmade products, so $36.00 will be going into that new savings account!
I hung two loads of laundry outside yesterday. It was sooooo hot here. I was really spoiled with the nice weather all last month. I also resisted turning on the A/C, and hopefully I'll be able to keep it off for at least another week, maybe two. It'll be tough for the next couple of days, but the temp should go down again soon.
Goodwill is having a 50% off sale today, and I am going shopping! I need more jeans for my handmade products, and maybe I'll pick up a thing or two for myself. I'll also keep my eyes open for any potential gifts.
Speaking of gifts, I bought my mom some expensive facial products from ROC and a hard-backed book, all at yard sales, all for $1.00 each. Now, when she opened the present, she was surprised that I bought such expensive facial products. I ALMOST told her it was a yard sale find, but I resisted the urge. I don't know if that was a good idea or not. The stuff was brand new, but nevertheless I felt guilty for not "fessing up."
Well, we had a very exciting day at the Flea Market. It started out very dark and it was raining a little, so I was extremely upset as I set up my table outside. Within an hour the sky cleared and it turned into a beautiful day. Steady traffic most of the day. I'll keep them in mind for next year.
As far as making money, we did very well. Sold a lawn tractor, so $700 will go into paying off debt. This tractor has been sitting in our garage for a couple of years, and we have tried unsuccessfully to sell it before, but this year we've really been pushing it. What a relief to be rid of that albatross! I sold some of my handcrafted items, and will invest that money back into the "business" to pay for more supplies. Maybe someday soon I will turn a profit!
Got rid of $100.00 worth of stuff. So, $173 is the total. Yeah! I think I'm going to open that savings account this week.
I've been thinking about what my goal is for this $20 challenge. I'd like to have $1000.00 saved by the end of the year, and there are a thousand different things I could use the money for. First and foremost, however, is paying down debt. It doesn't make sense to me to put money away and continue to pay high interest rates on money owed. So, from now on, I am splitting all my saved or earned money 50/50 between saving for the challenge and paying off debt. It's so easy to spend, but so hard to make.
I am currently preparing for a flea market this weekend - wish me luck. It cost $20.00 for a table, and I have some handcrafted items as well as household stuff to sell. I will let you all know how I do.
Almost forgot - $30 in software rebates came in the mail the other day, so $15 will go into the savings.
Total Challenge savings: $73.00
I went food shopping yesterday and saved over 50% with specials, instant rebates, and coupons. I bought mostly snack stuff for the kids lunches, so I will only count the coupon savings into the challenge, which was $13.00. I will get another $8.00 off my next shopping order, and will put that into the challenge next time I go shopping! So my total for today is $58.00. I am planning on listing a few things for sale on Ebay and hopefully that will bring in some money next week.
My first ever blog and I'm doing it for the challenge! I've been saving change for the past two months, and have over $35.00, so I will start with that amount. I also made $10.00 yesterday - I ironed 4 pants and 6 shirts, and instead of paying the cleaner $1.00/item hubby payed me. Grand total for today is $45.00.