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OUCH, my tailbone hurts!

November 18th, 2005 at 03:52 pm

Miracles Do happen!

I was watching tv last night with my son perched on the arm of our tattered and torn sofa. I spotted my daughter headed towards the ironing board with an arm load of clothing. She started to iron some jeans after the iron had heated up. I was so surprised that the power of speach left me. When I finally asked her what she is doing, because I've NEVER seen her iron anything before, she told me that she wanted to iron some of her nicer clothing which she outgrew to get them ready for eBay.

My reaction was "WHAT??"...then I lost balance and fell off the arm of the sofa....literally....on my backside. The floor is old, cold and concrete hard. I'm sure I'm black and blue today. I took some asprin. I don't think I broke anything.

If the pile of ironed things aren't layed out on a table in the basement and if my backside didn't hurt...I would think that I dreamt the whole thing...

She must have had a nightmare of a cheeseburger monster chasing her or something. Yeah, that must be it...a nightmare. Don't know how else to explain it.

I did it! I looked into Vonage last night and it looks like a GO. I'm so excited. I think we can do the $14.99/month plan and keep a very basic traditional phone line for 911 service (which would be about $20/month or less - I wish we could just drop this, but I feel we need the 911 service). Allowing 2 hours of calls to Australia at 5cents a minute, would make our total home phone bill between $42-48/month depending on what taxes and such are tacked on. Add the $68 celluar and our monthly phone bill will come in at around $120 at worst (which is still high, but $110/month less than current). I'll sign up and get the process started. I'm really happy about this one.

I need to figure out a better cellular plan. We have one of those family plan, two cell phones for one account. $68 is rather high for the little we use, but I'm not willing to let go of a cell phone. GIves me piece of mind when I'm out or when my daughter is out. I'm sure there MUST be a cheaper alternative....

Cable is another area which I hope to attack soon. $110/month between cable and cable internet is high...

My Mama never told me how hard it is to become mortgage free...!

Savings this month:
Earned/saved: $0
Recurring monthly savings: $0 (until Vonage is installed that is)
Sceduled toward principle: $1000 (hope it's more next month)
Mortgage balance: $405,760

Who are you and where's my mom!!

November 17th, 2005 at 08:29 pm

Well, I had THE talk with both my kids last night. It went off well considering...

My 16 year old daughter's reaction was "I HAVE to work??!!" Then she followed that with a long whine..."but MOMMMMM". I guess lazing around, watching tv and chatting with friends online are tiring and satisfying work....who knew?

The other choice was to march her to McDonald's and put in an application for part time work (which she is considering). If she takes that route, I'll give her two months or less before she will BEG to do things my way.

My son, the 12 year old, on the other hand was more willing. Even volunteered to give up some of his video games and such that he no longer plays with. Also rummaged through his closet and found all kinds of goodies he no longer uses. He did hint that he would like to "be in on the action". So, we came to a compromise...10% of sales is his to keep as pocket money. This of course caught the attention of my daughter, but she is bull headed enough to keep quiet until she just can't stand it anymore. I think I'll help the process along by decreasing their allowance, or would that be too evil? MUHAHAHA

How can two siblings be SO different?

Guess I'll go from the "coolest mom in the whole neighborhood" to "slave driver of kids and tightwad mom from hell".

I think I busted our monthly groceries and misc budget today. Went to WalMart to shop for basic needs..paper goods etc...and ended up leaving the place $65.50 poorer. I have to remember next time to just take $20! I did pick up some things on sale, which I know I will need later on in the coming months and I've never seen these on sale I need to think of it as an investment of some sort (with a return of 33%, since they were buy a box of 40 and get 20 free). Wouldn't it be great if all our investments can yield 33%?

I like to use the "cash in evelope method" as it's helped to pull my family out of debt about six years ago. We've been debt free (except for the mortgage) ever since and will not buy anything unless the money is there saved already. I would HIGHLY recommend this method for anyone who is struggling to get out of debt.

I'm a miserable failure...I didn't look into Vonage last night as I intended....UGH...I hate feeling this way. Somebody smack me! Okay, okay...TONIGHT I will look into Vonage...

So far:
November: $0 saved for paying off mortgage.
Mortgage balance: $405,760


November 16th, 2005 at 06:13 pm

Thanks for your encouraging words and advice!

Happy to say that last month we did consolidate our insurance with AAA. They offered us a very good deal for home and auto. I'm hoping to add life insurance with them if they can offer a better deal than our current.

Tonight I will check into Vonage. We spend in excess of $230/month between cellular and land line. I know that's a LOT. A chunk of that is calling Australia, where we have lots of family. Apparently, Vonage allows calls to Australia for 4cents a minute. I hope to have our phone bills down to around $100/month, which would allow an extra $130/month for paying down the mortgage.

I thought this money saving venture would be hard, but the more I think of the challenges and the possibilities, the more encouraged I am. Of course reading these other posts really helps to motivate.

Thrilled to report that I am making stew and cornbread for dinner (raided the freezer and pantry) so I didn't spend anything today so far....

I've never blogged before

November 16th, 2005 at 03:45 pm

This is my first entry into my first blog.

I have a simple goal. Pay off our mortgage as fast as I can and try anything/everything(within the law that is) to accomplish this goal. My two children, age 12 and 16 have "volunteered" to help...they don't know about having volunteered yet. I will break the news to them this evening hope they don't rebel too much.

Our mortgage is HUGE. Moving to and living in an expensive area of the country, where half-a-million dollars will buy you a "fixer upper" (really!) is a challenge. We were lucky to have bought our fixer-upper just over a year ago, because there is no way we can afford this house at today's price.

Good thing I don't have a "real" job. I'm just a stay at home mom and it's been wonderful. What's more wonderful is that both my children are basically on autopilot being raised! I have some time on my hands to work this new venture.

My plan: Save by tightening up on all the things that have loosened up over the years, such as eating out - a big weakness with me. Clip coupons, shop at Sam's and Cosco for everyday type items. Pour over our bills and look for things that we don't use much (such as telephone premium service) and cut them. Clean out my storage...there's a LOT of work there as we moved from a house with over 4000sft to a house about half the size. Good news is, some of this cleaning out should translate into $$$. Sell a few things on eBay...kind of like following the $20 to $5000 challenge. Enlist "donations" of things to sell from family members...who would end up throwing these things away in the end...which they do all the time...we can instead share the money.

The house:
So far, in the last year, we've gutted the kitchen and dining room and re-built both rooms. They turned out beautifully. It was hard to live without sink and burners for two months, but it was worth it in the end. I never thought I'd be sick of BBQ! Just like the houses, contractors are also ridiculous in terms of cost. They sure do think highly of themselves around here! Hence, we did the work ourselves...with the help of a plumber who worked the necessary plumbing and gas line work (ended up saving a FORTUNE). So, now we have left to gut and rebuild the three TINY, TINY bathrooms, three bedrooms, hallway and basement, tear down and re-build the deck, re-roof, re-grade the yard and landscape...should be a 5 year depressing...upside is, the house should be a knockout when we're done.

THE number: We still owe $405k and change. We pay $1000/month beyond the interest payments for paying down the principle. My goal is to send in everything I can SAVE towards that principle. This goal is to be realized without touching the regular amount of money we pay ourselves each month into our 401k, roth IRAs and college funds.

I realize that this may not be the best way to grow our net worth, but I am willing sacrafice that for some peace of mind and own the house we live in outright. Money never did buy me happiness but it will buy me some piece of mind. Besides, there is works in DC right now to limit how much mortgage interest we can deduct and $405k is ABOVE the proposed limit.

This week's goal:
- plan menu for the next 7 days and go shopping with list in hand.
- paint the baseboards in garage (to be used in dining/living rooms)
- prepare 20 things to list on eBay (mostly clothes the kids outgrew)
- find a solution to our high phone bills, which I've been meaning to do for a while.

Mortgage amount: $405,760
November's principle: $1000 (hope to increase this number in December)

Please excuse the errors in grammar. English is not my first language and I find it difficult to keep proper grammar from time to time.