Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday, I am smoking!

    No not actually smoking, but I am doing a great job at reaching this small goal of mine.  I have made $721.00 for my goal of $700.00 and I still have $149.00 to be picked up.    So when you total that I will have $870.00 before we leave. I also know I will get more work on Monday and Tuesday  that I will have to do immediately.  That is okay with me.  Anything extra will go into the house account.

  So when hubby needed a hair cut this morning , I gave him $20.00 of the surplus money.  I also will go get dog and cat food today and gas the car.  This will take almost $100.00.  My goal is to be able to leave $250.00 here to help with the house.  I beleive if I am careful $200.00 is well within reach.  I am so proud of me!

     Need to do laundry today and get some yard work done, maybe take a long walk.  Daughter #2 is home for the weekend and daughter #3 should be coming down to work.

     I will pay the last two bills owed for September today and then figure out payroll for the studio.  I want to leave checks or everyone.  I usually do payroll by the 5th but I will not be here.  Hopefully enough money will come in on the 1st and 2nd to do this without going to savings.  I run a zero based budget and that can be scary.  But I do have an account I can go to if needed and just pay it back when I get home.

     Besides going on this trip I am excited to see what kind of progress I can make in October!

Out My Window:  I am going to clean up several flower boxes today and get some weeds pulled, clean the chicken coop.  Fun....not

Have a Great and Productive day! 


Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday, Savings take practice!

     Practice makes perfect.  We have all heard it before and I will say it again.  Do I hear a collective groan?  I would from my students.  But it is true and this mantra can be applied to all walks of life, even financial.  I used to be terrible with money.  My excuse was I didn't make enough.  Guess what?  You will never make enough!  But I started to practice small steps toward becoming debt free.  They were hard and it has taken years.  We are still not out of debt, but I have been able to maintain a $1000.00 emergency fund for almost three years.  This was a huge step for me.  It took practice.  Put the money in the fund but would know secretly I could draw it out the next day.  Put the money in, see something you want justify it in your mind and pull the money out.  Now after PRACTICING and doing it wrong for several years, I see what is an emergency is and what is not an emergency.  New tires are not an emergency.  You know those tires are going to wear out.  Hitting a deer is an emergency.  But it took practice and let me tell you honey I am a girl who needs practice.

      Learning to set goals is a big part of getting out of debt.  Setting small goals, such as I will not spend today, I will plan a menu and stay within a grocery budget, or I will work to keep the heat or air down to save money on utilities.  We all decide how and what goals we are willing to work on to save.  You might think that the things I save money on are crazy and I might think the same thing about you.  Because we are all different we can garner ideas from each other and adapt them to work for us.

     Small goals seem to work better for me.  Games seem to work better for me.  When I look at where I  need to be in three years it terrifies me.  But when I look at where I need to be in a few months I am fine.  For instance, I know that I have a large college bill to pay in January and I have already set up an account to take care of that.  It was easy for me to take a $271.00 check down and put it in an account labeled college.  I will continue to do that two times a month and the problem is solved.  But this is such a far cry from Kim three years ago.  I would never have been able to take a $271.00 check and put it in a savings account.  First, I would have been so close to overdrawing any account I had that I would have been rushing that check to the bank.  Or I would have been so behind on a utility that I would have promised the check to prevent a turnoff.  I also hate to admit it but I would probably have seen something I though I needed or just wanted and would have been waiting at the mail box for the check so I could go get the new nummy.


     I really want at least $500.00 to take to Gettysburg to cover misc. expenses.  The tickets and hotels are paid for, we will be borrowing a car from my sister.  So I set a goal.  Now I have been really trying hard for at least a month to complete this goal.  The first week of September I had $200.00 saved, alas.... gas and groceries(roll over $40.00).  Second week I had $140.00, but.... gas and child,(roll over $10.00).  Third week I had $180.00yikes.... dog, gas, groceries.(roll over $60.00)  It is never ending.  But this week I have really concentrated on this goal.  I also have factored in extra because look at the month? Now did I have expenses?  Yes!  So I really need $700.00.  Hubby will need gas, the dog and cat will need food, we will run out of fruit or milk.  I need to plan for those things in addition to my $500.00 goal.

     As of this morning I have $604.00 saved (including the roll over funds).  This is all money from my sewing shop.  I have several people picking up today so I should be able to hit close to $700.00.  I have put my hubby on notice, no money will be spent this weekend except for the things mentioned above.  If we want to go out to eat it will have to be on a food gift card we already have given to us.  So I am able to see and complete smaller goals.  I can break up chunks of money.  I just cannot conceive large amounts.  This is why I always say one day at a time.  One debt at a time. If you really look at the month I had to practice saving this money.  What was going to work?  Where did I fail?  How was I not going to make the same mistake week after week and come up with nothing?

     I also love games.  I love a no spend challenge.  I am so excited about the sealed pot challenge.  My pig is so full I can hardly lift her.  I can hardly wait until December 4th to open this and see what Christmas savings I have. I know that this is going to make Christmas so much better.  But I have made it a game.  Not knowing is half the fun.  Weighing the bank is the other half.  I made the $500.00 I need every month to make up the difference in the house payment a game.  Can I get $125.00 a week into an envelope so that on the 10th of the month I have enough for the house payment?  By the way I, will come home on the 9th of October with no money in the house account, so my next challenge will be to get that money by the 15th?  Any extra that comes into the shop and that is left over from the $200.00 extra,( I plan to have) will go into the house envelope for when I come home.  I am setting a goal for maybe $250.00! Do you think I can do it?  I have a back up plan if I can't get this money, but I will have to pay it back.

     Out My Window: Beautiful  chickens are laying like crazy and their eggs are huge!  I am going up to make myself a couple of fried eggs in just a minute!

     What games do you play with your finances?  Do you do better with large or small goals?  How do you motivate yourself?

     Well I am hungry and I have a few things left in the shop to do, so I am off to complete my savings goal.

Have a great and productive day!


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday, getting closer to my goal

     Still sewing away here and getting closer to my savings goal.  I decided on $700.00 instead of $500.00 because I knew that hubby would have to fill his car and we would need a few more things before we left.  I now have $462.00 and no one is touching it!  Hubby and I again had the gas conversation last night.  He did say that his commuting partner is anxious to get back to commuting.  So as soon as we are back from Gettysburg they will start again. It is so stupid for the two of them to spend $600.00 a month for each of them to drive when they could take turns and spend $300.00.  This way they are each only putting out about $150.00 a month.  But you can't get the other guy to commute unless gas hits close to $4.00.  When it is around $3.50 he has lots of excuses. Some people just like to live on the edge.

     I used to like to live on the edge.  No that is not true I hated it.  I just did not hate it enough to do something about it!

     I think I have my payroll down to where I want it this year.  That is going to help a lot with getting the debt paid off.  I figured if I could spend $2000.00 or less on payroll and summer savings, I would be able to put at least $2000.00 a month toward debt payoff.  I am ready to attack the next bill and see if I can get it wiped out by November and then in December the next one.  I just need to stick to my resolve not to spend foolishly and stay on parents about tuition.

     There are so many things I could spend money on right now!  I don't need them, I want them.  Silly as I have way more than I need.

     Do you ever get the wants?  Silly, stupid wants....

     Have a great and productive day!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday,pulling in the dough!

     Trying hard here to come up with $500.00 in cash for our trip to Gettysburg.  But it keeps disappearing! Hubby was moaning about the high price of gas.  He feels like a quarter of his take home goes to fill his car to get back to work.  No sh*& Sherlock you just figured that out?  Such a brain that man is!  Because of the wildfire season he cannot commute and the money is just destroying our budget for any extras. Ugh!

     I am working on the dress from Hell.  Mother and daughter bought is used. Well, used and it has a huge full tulle skirt with 8 layers and many hip bunches.  They wanted it shortened.  The daughter wants it short, short.  It is very hard even with a yard stick to shorten a huge dress with that many layers and get it even.  Well once they got it above her knee it still was not short enough so now I have to shorten it again.  Also taking out several layers of netting under neath has made the dress too large around the waist. So can you take the zipper in down at the waist?  NO it is covered with sequins and will take a really long time to redo. Daughter pouts, I agree.  Zipper has a bad tear in it at the bottom.  It cannot be fixed and must be replaced.  This alteration is now costing about $85.00 for a used dress.  I think they are going to be angry, but I tried to talk them out of it!  I need to run to the fabric store first thing this morning to get a zipper.

     I have managed to get about $379.00 in the Gettysburg savings, and the dress will be added into that plus many more smaller jobs.  The problem is we will need at least $200.00 to get through next week before we leave in gas and dog food and you name it!  Money just flies out of my pocket around here.

     Sluggy had a good idea.  She thinks we should meet with a good financial adviser.  Not one who represents the company, but one who you pay hourly to help you figure out where you stand.  This is a great idea and it might calm me down.  But the real clincher in getting hubby to retire is that I need to have  adequate medical coverage.  Without that he cannot retire. Plain and simple, he might be working until he is 72 or 73.  I hope not for his sake!

     Out My Window: dry  lightening last night, I wonder how many more wildfires it started?

I need to go pull in some dough.

Have a great and productive day!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday, I want this to be fun!

      I received my 1/2 paycheck from cleaning,  It was $271.00 for two weeks where it had been $519.00.  I am opening another savings account to put this in for B's college fund.  We agreed to pay 1/2 of her living expenses if she came up with the first half.  She did so we will have a $3500.00 bill in January.  It will be split $2000.00 and $1500.00.  If I bank this money now by January 10th I will have $2168.00, or the first installment.  So I will have to figure out a way to pay the last part which is due in March.  This is the main reason Hubby talked me into keeping 1/2 the cleaning contract.  It is funny that we are doing 1/2 the work and actually make $20.00 a month take home but this is the tax structure, works for me!

     So far it has worked out great.  I feel like I have a vacation every week.  We actually have 4 days in a row that we do not worry  about this, where before it was 6 days a week and we could do the weekend cleaning on Sunday so you know what happened nine times out of ten.  We would put it off always hanging over our heads. That feeling of never being done.  I hated that the most.  Also never being able to leave town.  Now the other person that splits it with us will do the work and since most of our trip is over the week end we only lose 3 days which we will make up with her. So nice.

  I was really panicking yesterday about our debt and the chances of paying it off by the time hubby retires.  I just don't know how that is possible.  We cannot possibly get everything paid off including the house the way we are going.  If I do a debt snowball as is we will not do this. I am not taking into account all the extra lump sums of money that come in every year.  They bring in about $10,000.00 which is a lot of extra that in two years would pay off both vehicles.  But this is living in dream land.  Well maybe the money will be there?

     I am at that point in the month that I only have two more bills to pay, Hubby's paycheck will not be here until the 27th.  I need to sit down and balance accounts and know where I stand so I can feel calmer about next month.  I think I just want to have another huge lump sum of money to apply to debt like I did last month.  I was able to pay off over $5000.00 worth of debt's. That is not going to happen and it is just not as much fun. whine, whine, whine,sniff,sniff, whi........

     I must keep my spirits up and quit worrying about the future.  One day at a time, one payment at a time.

   Out my window:  The air is cleaner, and there are still has been no rain.  But the days are beautiful if you can over look the smokey haze.

     Much to do today in the shop, so I am going to get busy!

Have a great and productive day!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Monday, to save you, must not spend!

     My goal of not spending any money this last weekend was a bust.  Took the dog in for a bath and a new collar.  Yes both desperately needed and long over due.  $53.00.  Groceries were $73.00, also had to put gas in Hubbies car $47.00.  Hopefully I will not have to spend any more money this week.  Just save.

     When you spend money, you do not save money.  Such a hard concept for most of us.  I don't know why this simple principle seems to elude me time after time.  I do try to stay out of stores, this seems to help.
But I can't seem to stop buying gas and groceries.  I will work on the groceries part.

     I have military uniforms to get done this morning and a big news letter for dance parents to get done and taken to the printers before I go to the studio today!

     I did do all the ironing this weekend, about 4 hours worth.  Ironing will soon be slowing down as I will go into clothes that are mostly knits and sweaters.  Even my teaching clothes become thicker and warmer.  It is really getting nippy in the mornings.

Out My Window:  Waiting for the the first hard frost to clean the garden and gather the pumpkins.  There are a lot of them that came up from seed.

     Baby Elephant was here this weekend and went back up to college and she didn't even ask for money? Must be something wrong with her!

Have a great and productive day!



Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday, happy times

     Well my relatives came and went.  So good to see them.  My Aunt and Uncle are in such good health.  I wish my mom shared their genes.  I was amazed at how good they both looked.  My Aunt Pat is not at all well.  But she was loving and the same old Aunt Pat I always admired. 

     I have a boat load of sewing to do.  So I had better get busy.  Have a bride coming over for a fitting at 3 and several other things to do.

     I have not taken in very much money in the shop this week.  Many piles of sewing to pick up!  Maybe they will come today.  I need gas money, and my trip to Gettysburg fund is not high enough.  I hope to not spend any money this weekend, except for gas for hubby's car.  Have to save my pennies.

Have a great and productive day!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursday, run, run, run

     I received a phone call last night right before I was done teaching.  I have an Aunt and Uncle passing through town tonight and they are planning on staying the night.  I am excited as these are my only living older relatives on my fathers side of the family.  My Aunt Ann and my Uncle Virgil and his wife.  Everyone else has passed on.  The last time I saw either of them was at a family funeral over 4 years ago.  Since they are both in their late 70's who knows when I would see them again.  But I am so behind in the shop. I have to teach for 4.5 hours tonight.  The house is less than stellar, the yard is worse.  I have nothing to cook! 

       Ran and stocked up on a few staples that were on a good sale.  I have been running like a raped ape since 7 this morning.  Most of the housework is done except the vacuuming, wipe a few spots and then the kitchen.  I am going to throw together my Uncles favorite chocolate cake and make a salad.  I have chicken breasts that hubby can throw on the grill, with potatoes out of the garden and broccoli.  I will figure out breakfast later. Maybe waffles?  I have bacon and certainly eggs. Just trying not to spend a lot of extra money on groceries.
     Just need to get at least 2 hours of sewing done today, yikes!

Have a great and productive day!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday, stop feeling awkward!

     Right after I was done with my blog entry yesterday I sat down at the desk and wrote out 10 late charge notes.  Some of these were for parents that paid tuition but no registration.  Some were for people who had not paid anything.  Some were for people who had registered but had not paid tuition ON TIME.  I felt awkward.  What if they just forgot (not likely as one paid late every single month last year)?  What if they bring money in today and I have just sent them a nasty gram?  I underlined and bolded the phrase "these charges will accrue until our next recital and your dancer will not be able to perform without full payment"  In other words, like American Express of Visa, I am adding this to your balance and you will pay the charges.
    Yes, two of the people I had billed came in with checks, one to fully discharge her debt and the other only a percentage. I felt awkward.  But then I asked myself, "Did I feel awkward when I let the studio insurance lapse last July?"  They billed me a $20.00 late reinstatement fee, as I was not seeing clearly I wrote a check for $72.36 instead of $79.36.  So the account went into default as they will not accept a partial lower payment.  It was not on purpose, I really had double vision.  My agent could have had the fee reversed, but I deserved it.  I paid it and I did not feel awkward.  Why do I let people or myself do this to me?

   I also had a grandmother call her daughter because even though the grandmother brings the dancer the mother had not paid.  The daughter told her mother on the phone that she had written a check on the 28th of August.  I told the grandmother I did not think I had any record of the check but I would go home and look at deposits after that time.  Sure enough no check (so she lied to her mother).  I then called her cell phone leaving a long message, as she did not pick up.  So I called her husband's contact # with the same story, he was obviously irritated and told me she was sitting next to him would I like to talk to her?  By all means!  Well low and behold she had not mailed the check.  So send check or your daughter sits out of dance. I cannot believe some people.  But what I can remember is, I was that young mother at one time.  I could not pay and I wanted my daughters to have those opportunities.  Enter my wonderful sissie who allowed my girls many wonderful gifts, of time, travel, art you name it.  Some people don't have a sissie, so I feel bad or awkward.

  I have to get over this, I am a business not a charity. 

     I have so much sewing to do today and I am happy, happy, happy about it!  Things seem to be picking up, I think.  I had a no spend on Sunday and Monday, but we spent $35.72 at the grocery store last night. Fruit, milk, yogurt, lunch meat, cheese.

     One of our local grocery stores is having a sale on butter for $1.99 a lb tomorrow so I am going to stock up on cheese and butter. 2 lbs of cheese for $3.99 plus I have a coupon for a $1 off 2lbs of cheese.  I can reprint this up to 5 times.  I am not a big coupon person but I love this offer.

    Well I am off to see the wizard!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday, bills paid, one debt down!

     Well I did the deed.  It was hard, but done.  I paid off the studio street assessment and summer overdraft bill.  I had saved enough to get through most of the summer and then the big fiasco downtown which we are still dealing with hit and I was in the middle of my eye surgeries and my own plumbing disasters.  Anyway I paid off a $4212.20 bill and now I have two more to go beside the plumbing loan.

     There was extra money this month because we charge a registration fee and I also had no payroll.  Next month things will be much tighter.  I will only have about $2000.00 to put toward these bills after I pay all other bills.  Now I could just cry because this was supposed to go toward the truck and have it paid off by Christmas, but I will be lucky to clear the other two debts and will still have the two vehicles and the sewer loan.  My goal now is to have the sewer loan paid by next June, which puts me right where I was last year in June, except I will owe less on the vehicles and the house as I have made regular payments on them all year. I guess I just have to be satisfied with that.

     This morning I am making out late note for parents and sending out reminders that many parents have not paid registration fees. I was going to skip this but I added it up and it is over $300.00.  With the debt I am in I cannot let that pass.  I need the money.  That is the same amount as one of my advertizing bills that I put on the studio CC for the fall.  I want to be nice and generous but I still have bills to pay.

     I had a lot of work come into the shop yesterday.  I really need to get busy.  Wedding dresses, military uniforms, mending, pants to hen, you name it. 

     Out My Window: They are finally prepping to finish the concrete work in the driveway, so I had to save $650.00 in the emergency fund to finish paying for this.  Then I will have to build the fund back up.  I am going to keep at least $1500.00 in it this yea r and try to work to $2000.00.

So I am going to write out a letter to parents, mail and get to the machines!

Have a great and productive day!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, Okay today I pay bills!

     I will be setting down at the desk today to sort through the bills.  We are leaving for Gettysburg  on October 3rd and I want all bills paid before I leave.  We will be home October 9th and I can face the October bills then, right now I just have to organize  the dance files for the year.  I still have some holes but will fill these within the next two weeks. Dratted slow parents who make my life harder.  But I have to say I used to be one of those slow parents.

     I swear all I did this last weekend was eat!  We took an older couple out for dinner Friday, but I made myself starve all day and only eat at that meal.  Then we took an old friend from our wedding party out Saturday night, we actually drove 3 hours to do this.  I did not eat at all that day either.  Then yesterday we had old friends over for cake.  I made an old fashioned wacky chocolate cake and it was so good.  But again only ate some stirfry I made and cake.  Worked like a dog yesterday.  House was so dusty and dirty.  Hubby and I actually removed all the rugs and swept and vacuumed the upstairs.( you notice the over use of the word old?)

     I have been really trying to lose 10lbs and I though this weekend would totally blow it, but by only eating once a day I was able to not put on any weight.  Although I would not recommend that as a diet method.  I would rather eat small amounts of protein and veggies when I am hungry and not wait until I am famished.

     I have to go see my skinny sister(witch) and I know I will be chubby and she will really rub it in (double witch).  That was for you sissie!

     Shop is full so I must sew today and get things done that I don't want to do.  Just really want to be lazy.  My house is clean so I have no excuse but to work! Darn.

     Out My Window:  The smoke from fires has been awful but is better today.  We really need a good rain.  I am trying not to turn the heat on in the morning.  You know the game I play to see how long I can go without turning on the heat.  It gets earlier and earlier every year because as I get older the cold bothers me more and I am a big baby.

     Wish me luck on the bills!  I so don't want to face this.

Have a great and productive day!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday, mad at myself!

     I just realized that I had a no spend yesterday, I also would have had a no spend the day before except that I ran to Jack in the Box during a class break and spent $2.11 on 2 tacos and a soda.  It was a whim, I was close by and  I was hungry.  I would have had 4 no spend days this week if I had not indulged in my craving!    $2.11 dos not seem like much, but if I did that every day it would be almost $50.00 a month. It is easy to fritter money away.  So I am a little irritated with my frivolous old self.  Well it could have been a purse or a new pair of shoes!

     I went to bed earlier last night and I am feeling better today.  Still have a huge amount of pain in my right shoulder.  This has been going on for about 3 weeks now and I know it is an arthritis flare.  I think it might be getting better, but mornings are HELL.  I have had this joint flare before and it is by far the most painful and difficult to deal with, just praying that is will abate.

     I have about $250.00 in my Gettysburg savings and I have quite a few people picking up today.  I must stay in the shop all day and really sew hard as I have been a little lazy the last two weeks. I also need to run through the house and get all the trash cans emptied and a load of laundry done.  Mostly teaching clothes.
     We are taking an older couple from our church out to dinner tonight.  They are on a very fixed income and we treat them about twice a year.  Tomorrow Hubby and I are going to drive about 80 miles (each way) to have dinner with a good friend who was in our wedding party.  He is up at a small town dispatching a fire.  It is very smokey in the valley with all the wild fires. 

     We had so much rain this last spring, I thought it would never end.  Then we had that really big rain storm (flash flood) in July.  It only lasted about 20 minutes.  But we have had no moisture since.  Winds are high and even though the nights are cool it fans the winds and we have small wildfires everywhere.  You can hardly see across the valley.   

     I am going to get my books for the studio put together and pay all my bills this weekend.  So next week I will know where I sit.  I still have a few registrations to get in but at least I can get the new year set up.  Actually this is not bad.  We have only been in class for two weeks.

I am off to get some work done!

Have a great and productive day!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursday, dragging a little

     We were able to cast the Christmas show last night, so that is a relief, I have my theater dates set for the coming fiscal year also a relief.  Once this is done choreography can commence and we are off to a good start.  I still have the aggravation of parents who are not paying tuition or are paying tuition without filling out new registration and paying the $20.00 fee per student.  This pays for our liability insurance for the year and I send a copy of the registration and the check to my insurance company to insure that these are the students registered and money has changed hands.  It is such an aggravation.  But I am sure that it has to do with back to school expenses and parents just don't have the cash.  In the mean time I am chasing and hounding them so I can turn these records in by the end of the month.  By the way it is always the same parents every year.  Which means they lack planning skills, they can get away with it, or they just take advantage of everyone.

    Now my sister would tell me to be careful here and not to chase dollars.  A $20.00 one time fee is not equivalent to a $1000.00 tuition bill for the year.  What do you think? My sister is a pretty darn good business woman.

     I received the studio CC bill and it was also under what I thought is would be.    Yes, there is a huge advertizing bill that I have every year usually offset by enrollment and no payroll to speak of in Sept.  I also have our Gettysburg tickets, but I have the money to pay that back.  I think that I know I have gone deeper in debt so I just build up these huge numbers in my head and then they are not as bad.  Now they are going to take some time to clean up but again as my sissie says,  "It is all good".  You have to advertize, you have to pay the monthly expenses, you have to save more during the good times.

     I am very tired.  Dragging a little.  Sleeping later than usual.  Not getting as much done in the shop as I need.  I hope this will correct itself as time goes on.  Right now I am staying at the studio for all classes.  I will do this through September and will then only come in for mine and to check teacher.  Classes are set up so I will always open and see the Ballet Mistress coming or going.  That way parents know I am in charge and I can head off any problems.  I really love My ballet Mistress.  She is such a good teacher and so responsible.  She just makes my job easier.

     Shop was busy yesterday, which means I need to get busy.  I want to have at least $500.00 in cash before I leave for Gettysburg.  I can do it, but I have to move!

Out My window:  Cooler but no rain.  I am going to plant a lot fewer flower boxes next year.  I just don't seem to have the energy to take care of them like I used to.  One of my plans it to overhaul the sprinkler system and get them all on a drip unit.  Lugging around the hose to water is out of the question with my arthritis.

Have a great and productive day!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday, grateful frustration

     I am watching Claire and her little brother this morning while their mom substitutes at a local school.  I have watched Claire most Wednesdays mornings since she was born.  She is 4 now hard to believe and she has a 4 month old little brother Adam.  Too cute.  Their grandpa will pick them up at noon today.  I get my baby fix!  Actually they are so good.  Claire watches cartoons or plays in my shop(I have a drawer just for her) her little brother sits in his car seat and sleeps if he is not eating.

     I paid the house payment and a few bills yesterday, but cannot balance until Friday morning as paychecks do not come in.  I did have to go to the store yesterday and I spent $82.00.  I had to buy chicken food and cat food.  Over half of the bill was for animals.  Hubby was saying that we spend more on medical co-pays and animal food that we do on groceries.  That is not true but it can seem like it at times.

     Tonight the ballet mistress and I will cast our Christmas Show, The Twelve Days of Christmas.  I already started choreography with my Celtic students as they have two performances in October.  Also started Christmas dances with younger kids, it seems early, but they have so much to do before Christmas. I just don't want to be rushed.  I know I will be, but I am trying to prevent the major stress.

      I am going to be able to up date my totals in few days and that makes me feel a little better about our situation.  It is a funny feeling to know that I can pay all our bills on time, my aggravation now is that I can't pay them off.  How different my mind set is than it was a few years ago.  I remember months on end where I was $700.00 to $1200.00 short every month.  I remember years like that and I would always be racing a show or an extra large sewing contract to make it up.  Always behind, always fighting turn off notices, sick to my stomach. I still get a little nauseated from the debt, but I know I can pay all my bills well above the minimums.  That is such a blessing.

I get very frustrated by how slow this pay off is, at least I can make my payments.

     Out My Window:  Quite chilly this morning.  In fact I am in long pants and socks and a polar fleece jacket.  I know it will warm up, but within the next 30 days I will be turning on the heat.  Hope I can wait until the end of October.

Hope to have a no spend again today!

Have a great and productive day!




Tuesday, September 11, 2012


     I can so clearly remember 9/11, the fear and the sorrow.  I had a little dance student that cried so pitifully because it was his birthday and he had brought cupcakes to school.  No one wanted to eat his cupcakes or celebrate.  He was just too young to understand the heartache of the adults around him as he frantically tried to pass out his birthday cupcakes.  We were going to cancel classes and I decided not to at the last minute.  If people showed up I would be there.  My life would go on despite how injured I felt.  Almost all of my students arrived.  Parents stood out in the foyer and we cried and talked.  I just decided if we shut down then terror won.  Here comes little tear faced Levi with his cupcakes.  We had a birthday celebration.  I told him no matter what 9/11 was a good day in my heart because he was born on that day.  It was a reason to celebrate.  Levi continued to dance with me for 7 more years and I have called him on every single one of his birthdays.  It embarrasses him and I love it, but his parents told me secretly he is thrilled. He is a Jr. in  college now and I will call and sing(badly) happy birthday to this fine young man.  He is everything good about our country and a reason to celebrate.

     I did receive my Visa bill and it was less than I imagined.  I am still waiting for all tuition to come in and then I will attack bills.  Hubby gets paid this Thursday so I will pay the house payment and all other bills pending then we will have the big payment to what ever.  I am not sure if I will pay to the highest interest or pay something off to get rid of the bill and feel like I am making progress.  One thing I am really noticing this fall is that the house is so quite. We are doing two loads of laundry a week.  More if I do sheets and this will increase as we wear warmer clothes.  Food lasts longer, bread, milk,cereal.  This is all good as it affects the bottom line.  It is just weird, I guess I did not notice it last year as we had a student with us.

     Enrollment keeps trickling in and classes are getting full.  We are down on over all tuition and enrollment as we had so many older students graduate.  Young ones that come in only pay for one hour a week, where the older ones pay for 2-5.  It takes 4 young students to make up for an advanced student.  But I will be fine.  I can pay my bills.  I also love starting new students.

     I had two no spend days in a row, but alas I am out of milk,cat food and fruit so I will be making a quick trip to the store sometime today.  I am going to finish the laundry (sheets) and put something in the crock pot. Then I am going to attack the sewing room, where I know there are at least 25 pairs of pants to hem and misc. items to fix and alter. Also have to make a bank deposit and figure out who has not paid!

Out My Window:  Cool this morning, but it will hit 90 before this afternoon.

Have a great and productive day!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Monday, wow did that weekend go by fast or what?

     Hubby and I walked a parade route with friends and a political candidate.  It was fast and furious.  We were all gasping for air by the time we were done.  Funny those parades were easier 20 years ago.  But it was a good laugh for all of us.  All three couples involved used to run the parades with our girls when they were in band and dance teams.  Kids are grown married with kids of their own so we had to do the work our self.  Pretty funny as 20 years has taken it's tole on all of us.  We thought we were so young and in shape, what a joke.

     Hubby and I then went home and I weeded and blistered my hands badly.  I got the front flower bed done and hubby did the mowing.  My house is a dusty wreck, but I will do a pick up in a few minutes.   At least get the beds made and the kitchen straightened up, laundry started.  I start teaching at 3 today and it is also the 10th so we will see who has paid and who hasn't.  We get to start the make the parents pay tuition shuffle.

     I also have to come clean with a budget for debt pay off, but do not really want to know what I owe.  Immature but between the sewer and the plumbing, medical bills, loss of work, gas, gas, gas to get back and forth to mom's 3 times when she was sick, we are really back in the hole.  I also have a huge advertizing bill that comes once a year and I owe that.   But I have to put on my big girl pants and face the problem, because no one is going to do it for me.

     Out My Window: Beautiful, hot, but cooler at night.  Yard needs work!

     Trying to motivate myself to clean my house up, set up a budget, sew $150.00 worth of product and get to the studio blazing!  Okay I can do this, I think!

Have a great and productive day!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thursday, no spend yesterday!

     I had my first no spend yesterday (except for Sunday) that I have had in forever.  It will get easier to have these as I only leave the house to go to the studio and then I come home.  Less is spent on gas and stuff!  But it was kind of nice to realize that I had not even planned it and it happened anyway.

     I did get a budget set up in my ledger for September, but many bills have not come in so I am not sure what I will attack first.  The smallest one? The one with the highest interest?  I know I have at least $5000.00 to put toward something and I am itching to do this, but if I jump the gun I will have forgotten something or have another crisis.  Am I getting Jaded?

      I do know when I was filling out the budget I put in a $500.00 a month savings goal for summer bills starting in September not January.  I also put in a $500.00 saving goal for me.  Now this may go to debt after it accumulates or it may go to a three month emergency fund, or I may realize I have to give it up for cash flow reasons.  But right now I know the importance of having a 3-6 months savings. Heaven forbid, our furnace could go kaput.

     New students are still trickling in I have two more days of new registrations.  So far so good. Many, many new young dancers.  My Irish company is smaller, but that is good it has been uncontrollably large for the past 3 years.  I think this group will gel and be just fine. 

     Still not done with the class A uniforms and I am behind in the shop, but boy is it nice to be able to say I am behind!  I have not said that all summer.

     Hubby and I are going to help a political candidate pass out water bottles at a local parade this weekend.  We are not stuck with a party but vote the issues and the candidate.  It will be a lot of exercise.
Then I think we will need to do yard work, as it is getting out of control.

     Out My Window:  Beautiful summer/fall day.  I have never seen so many blue bird days in a row here, amazing.  Enough pumpkins in the garden to load a truck!

     Have a great and productive day!


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday, Pippie Longstocking Day!

     We had good turn out at the studio last night, but boy were my feet sore!  I am very excited to see the rest of the days of the week.  I love to meet new faces and am happy to see old students return.  It is really just me and the Ballet Mistress, one other Jazz teacher this year.  I do have assistants to help with demonstration and floor work, but I do the teaching.  I am getting old.  Just really laugh at myself.

     Eye doctor does not know what to do with me.  Lasik or replace the lens?  They are hashing out the options.  This keeps me off my meds for arthritis so I wish they would hurry up and decide so I can get on with my life.  I know much of my pain and stiffness if from lack of medication. I am so tempted to start my treatment again,  but the minute I do they will call and say please come in!  I have to be off the good stuff at least 10 days before surgery.

     I am making myself have a Pippie Longstocking day.  For those of you who have not read her adventures, she would make herself do things she did not want to do.  If she was scared of something or putting it off she would command herself to do it with out delay.  As she was her own boss it was hard to motivate herself to clean and do unpleasant tasks.  

     So Today:

1. Get Up....(okay that was for me to feel good about myself, I'm such a motivator)
2. Pickup Master bedroom and bath (notice I did not say clean?)
3. Pickup spare bath
4. Pickup spare room and sweep, make bed.
5. Empty all the trash cans in the house.
6.Start the laundry (I only have two loads, why is this such an issue?)
7. Go through new studio stuff and process checks
8. Make a September budget.
9. Put away dishes in the kitchen and straighten it up.
10. Gather eggs.
11. Check fridge for leftovers for dinner.
12. Sew until 3:30 and then go to studio.

     I only have one class that I teach tonight, but I am always at every class the first month.  I need to meet new parents and make sure things start off on a good note.

Out My Window:  Beautiful cooler, Have a chicken that won't get off the nest, I think there are about 8 eggs under her.  Trying to bribe her, I don't think she is falling for it!

     Shop is crazy full and I need to get busy!  Two dress blue uniforms to get ready and two prom dresses due out tomorrow before 11 tomorrow, all have to be done before I go to studio.

Have a great and productive day!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday, proactive fianances work

     I am excited, the studio opens today!  I miss my students and I am anxious to get back to work even though it is a terribly busy schedule.  Hubby and I worked like dogs yesterday.  He did the store front mirrors inside and out.  He also did all the floor to ceiling mirrors and there are about 120 feet of them at least 6 foot high.  I put costumes away (a never ending job), redid the window displays and mopped, dusted, scrubbed bathrooms.  We came home at 8:30 last night wiped out.

     I was able to xfer $2700.00 into baby elephants sorority account, I still have  $718.00 left to come in, then I will be done for this semester.  B agreed to help us with the bank we have cleaned.  We were giving it up at the end of June, but she asked if we would let her take it with us as overseers to help with her college expenses.  She had not gotten a job yet.  I said fine but I am not going to help and you are on your own.  So $1600.00 is from that contract, $250.00 from her yard sale, $400.00 from her deposit check from last year,$90.00 from her babysitting and $367.00 from the final check from the college.  Yes that final amount was my contribution. 

     She is still coming down on weekends to work Saturday and Sunday.  This will give her about $75.00 a week for spending money.   She really needs to get a job up at the campus.  It costs money to get down here and the pay at Penney's is poor.   She will have to figure it out.  We agreed that we would give her as much this year as we did last year.  She wanted to do the sorority thing.  We told her the first $3500.00 payment was up to her to figure out, if she could do that we would contribute the second $3500.00 (which by the way is much less than last year with the disaster apartment situation).  So now I have to come up with $3500.00 by January 15th.  This is how we propose to do it.

     Since the end of June I have not included the cleaning money into our budget.  I am saving $500.00 a month to help with the house payment and all of the cleaning money has gone to the college savings.  This has worked out fine and now that the studio is open I will be taking home about $1000.00 a month.  I have never taken home a salary before.   So we will see how much I can save and how much debt I can get paid off.  But as I have not been doing the cleaning, hubby and I have decided to try splitting this big bank with a good friend of ours who also cleans and is in graduate school.  We will clean Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  She will do the rest of the week.  We are just going to try this.  We will split the contract and each take home about $525.00 a month.  My weekends will be free.  She will sub when we need her.  I no longer have to be stressed about leaving to take care of my mom, or having a recital and hubby a show.  Weekends are so stressful for us during show season.  We could never go anywhere without this hanging over our head.  My friend knew she could not handle the contract by herself and the company would not let her split it with anyone else.   If this works out, fine, but the first time it becomes a thorn in my side I will give notice.  We are taking the $525.00 a month and putting it in a special college savings.  By next January we will have $2500.00 saved and I won't have to stress about the whole $3500.00.

   Just trying to see into the future and this is so different from the way I used to live.  Kim 3 years ago would have known this bill was coming and put it on  a charge card.  I have become much more proactive about saving for upcoming known events , like Christmas, vacations, birthdays, school.  Now I save and I am much more likely to tell my kids no, I will not do that, it doesn't work out for me financially. I don't even feel guilty, it is just no.

     Kim 2 years ago would have used her $1000.00 emergency savings as part of the money, but not now.  This does not constitute an emergency.  I know this bill is coming and there for it is not an unknown, like a hitting a deer.  I am changing for the better.  (don't think my kids would agree)

     Out My Window:  As soon as I get situated with my new schedule I am going to have to pay attention to the yard.  Yuck!
     On the eye front.  They are stumped.  Specialist and surgeon are going to have a conference as to what they can do.  I think they need to replace the lens.  They want to do a lasik procedure, but I will let them decide.  All I know is that my vision sucks!  It was yellowing and affected by cataracts which were getting worse, but I cannot say that what I have now is any better other than it is brighter.

     I need to go find some replacement chairs for the studio.  Several are stained, torn etc.

  What changes have you made to be more proactive about upcoming expenses?

Have a great and productive day.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday, HappyLabor Day!


     We spent all day Saturday of this holiday weekend cleaning the garage.  We took an huge heaping truckload of garbage to the dump.  Again I ask where does this come from?

Can you get a car in here? No not since last spring.  That one older dresser is particle board and the back is falling off it and the drawers are falling apart.  The carpet shampooer does not work any more. Spider webs everywhere creepy.

Hubby went to rebuild dresser and he said this is particle board and it is falling apart let's clean out drawers(this has never been done in 30 years, we just moved it and added to the mess in the drawers.)  So to Wal-mart we go and for $50.00 we have a new dresser with clean drawers.  Everything was moved, cleaned, wiped down, and put back.  We also spider and bug sprayed every crevice and corner.
Not too bad but covered in spiders and dust, those two ammo cans contained emergency car kits that were stinky and outdated.  They are now refurbished and in cars. Every thing is clean and wiped down all spider eggs and nests are vacuumed and destroyed.
I have never seen less things on the shelves.  Boyfriend took skate board and D#2 came through and picked up her tool kit.  We thought the ski boots were hers, but we have no idea who they belong to? Top bins are ice skates and scuba fins and gear.  Pile out side garage goes to another shed and the studio.  Doesn't it look nice?

Here is the middle just full of junk. This is what I looked at every morning.  

 See the saw dust and the cardboard from the last few months, such pigs, old paint cans, I swear we had 50 cans of spray paint from set design with about 2 sprays left per can.
Cleaned, dusted wiped, sprayed, 15 paint cans to recycling and at least 20 spray cans, see how clean everything is?
Those cracker tins in the back were from government shelters dated 1967.  Yes we threw them away!  Just random spider covered crap. Dirty! 
Christmas boxes, Canning jars, food dehydrator, camping gear and all the things to wash cars and change oil.  The large green bin on top is wet suits, tubes, life jackets.  LABELED!  CLEAN!
Work bench is dusted and cleaned all containers wiped off.  I had 5 large containers that were empty and several small that are inside.  I was able to empty all  of these when we moved crap out of the basement after the water disaster.  D#2 came a took home all but the 2 bottom ones. Yeah!  Behind large piece of plywood left over from set design we have a two week supply of water containers, which we emptied and refilled.  We also have at least a one year supply of, wheat, corn, peas, rice, oatmeal, beans in storage buckets.  I wiped all those down and spider sprayed.  They are clean!

These containers are all Christmas and labeled!  All of our camping and bug out gear is wiped off sprayed and in the corner.
     It is so clean out there,  don't ever remember it being this empty. But as the kids leave home and we insist that they take their stuff we have less.  So nice to get rid of things you no longer use!

     Today, we have to go and clean the studio and redo the store front windows.  I also need to take D#3 to get a few things for school.  We are going to Costco to get studio supplies and then I need to make a shrimp salad for a church labor day picnic that starts at 4.  I had better get busy.  Studio opens tomorrow and I have an appointment with cataract surgeon at 8 a.m.  I think I will be back in surgery on Wednesday.  I haven't even talked about this as I am so upset about it.

     Out My Window:  Cooling down but perfect work weather. We might have to get rid of chickens. Some one is letting them out at night.  They then go perch under peoples windows at 5:30 and wake everyone up.  We have noise ordinances and they are being broken.  We are diligent to get them back in at night.  But several morning now they are out.  It can only be a human doing this.  We don't want to have problems with neighbors so, we will see.

Have a great and productive day!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday, Big Thankyou PF Blogs

     Two days from now I will start my new fiscal year.  As usual I am excited and scared.  So I decided to go back to Sept 1st in my blog and read about last year!  So much has changed.  I was so busy.  It was crazy.  My kids were sucking me dry for so much money.  Daughter #2 sis not have a job and huge bills for school.  Daughter #3 had just been set up in a college apartment and had lost her room mate.  I owed money to many different sources.

      What is interesting is that things have changed so much financially.  But the biggest change is that I have really slowed down.  Now you don't have to beleive this but remember that one of my goals in January was to have more peace in the new year.  My whole attitude right now is so much calmer.  Now maybe stress will pick up when I start teaching in a couple days.  But there are just so many things that have changed for the better.

      1.  Daughter #2 has a really good job, she does not live at home.
      2. Daughter #3 in the dorms/sorority much less expensive for us.
      3. I have paid off a $12,000.00 studio loan to my mom.
      4. Our credit rating is back to the low 800's
      5. I was trying to manage the cleaning company we worked for in the evenings, (My third job, what      was I thinking and why did not one of you try to stop me?)            
      6. I had accepted a Jr. High show contract which caused me untold stress and misery. I will not be teaching there this year after 18 years I think I have paid my dues.
       7.  I was running around trying to get college classes started and staff placed in those classes.  I am not allowing college to use me this year, in fact they still owe me back pay.
       8. Even though I have incurred much new unwanted debt this summer, I just feel like I can pay this.   I will not even work any harder.  In fact I will work less.
       9.  We gave up the 6 day a week bank cleaning contract. After 20 some years.  We will sub a few days a week if asked for by friends of our choice not the company. (Funny thing is we are subbing Tues and Wed of this week)  Yeah I know go ahead and laugh at me.
     10.  I am much more pro active about retiring in three years and tell my kids that when they want money.  I explain that we need to retire.  Dad is deaf and becoming a cripple and I well........

     Hubby and I are going to clean the garage today and do a dump run.  Our goal is to be able to get a car back in the garage.  I will take pictures.  It is a dirty mess.  Also clean the chicken coop.  Fun!

     Anyway thanks every one for all the support you give me and advice.  I don't think any one can ever realize how important this PF blog has been to my attitude and my life.  Funny how putting things down in writing helps at least me to be more accountable.

     Out My Window:  About 85 today perfect weather for outdoor work.

Have a great and productive day!