Saturday, January 10, 2009

So Excited!

I am sooo excited. My financial aid check has already been mailed to me! So hopefully it will arrive today! As soon as we get that sucker, we are going shopping at Costco! WOOO HOO! We still have plenty of food in the house, but we had to use all our money to get caught up on bills and we are going to pay more to finish getting caught up. It is soooo nice to have a huge amount of worry lifted off my shoulders!

I am going to sit down after I write this blog and write out how much money it is and how we plan on using it.

Life is good and I am so thrilled to feel like we are moving forward for the first time in a very long time!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Managing the CheckBook and Paying the bills.

I have a love/hate relationship with paying bills. I love the feeling of having it DONE! No need to worry about it any more. But I also hate when
(a) There is not enough money to go around and
(b) the money is gone!

Doug's paycheck hit his account last night and *POOF* It's gone this morning. Because I had to pay bills. Ugh. Normally paying the bills isn't this painful, but we were behind and so we had to pay extra on all of our bills. We even still owe money to our electric company. But our cable bill and our gas heat bill is paid. We even have a few more days to pay on the electric bill so we will be fine.

Here I sit. We are deeply in debt, budgeting like maniacs, and finally, FINALLY some financial wisdom is starting to seep in.

Doug still has $70 something dollars left in his savings account. His paycheck automatically diverts 10% to the savings account each pay period. So, while I could pull that money out and use it to pay more on our overdue electric bill, is it not wiser to listen to the old advice that says "PAY YOURSELF FIRST"!!

There have been several times especially this past year where we could have really used a "rainy days" bank account. It could have saved our bacon several times if we had just never touched the savings and probably would have saved us banking fees and such too. In other words- our attempt to be economical and use every drop of money that came our way backfired and cost us more money in the long run.

So the money stays in savings. The savings is linked to the checking account so if Doug does manage to bounce a check, he has a back up cushion. But we both have agreed to ignore our respective savings accounts. We are going to be both saving up some money each month and hopefully that will help us get into a cheaper and better rental come Spring or Fall!

I guess until recently I always thought "If I owe people money- how can I justify keeping some in savings?" But this past year has shown me that having some money in savings saves you from having to owe people in the first place!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Uh Oh!

Have you ever had that thing- you know that thing that is really important.... like a birth certificate...that you never use but you see all the time so you "tuck it away" in a safe place? Then the time comes that you really need it and... you can't remember where that safe place is?

Yup. I can't find my birth Certificate!!! I need it so I can switch my driver's license from Idaho to Montana so I can get cheaper tuition!!! So guess what I am doing tonight? Ripping and cleaning the house from top to bottom until I find it!

Yesterday my vacuum was not working well so I checked the bag and sure enough- it was full. Really full. But I was out of bags, Doug doesn't get paid till Friday and the carpet really really needed attention. So I cut the bottom out, cleaned out the bag and taped it back together again. The vacuum is working great again and the carpet looks so much better. And today when I was opening a box looking for my birth certificate- I found an extra bag!!! Hurray! But I think my duct tape job on the first bag will last a while longer so I am going to save the bag until I am done with this current cleaning spree. Then I am going to figure out how to wash the cloth outer bag to the vacuum (I have an old Kirby) and then it will be all spruced up for the next 6 months or so! :D

I ran errands today. I dropped Nora off at daycare for about an hour and half. Not long- just long enough for THEM to feed her not me! (Hurray for me!) and long enough for her to get to play with some kids about her own age.

It was nice to be able to run errands and not have to worry about watching a toddler. I think it went much faster.

Well I guess I had better get back to cleaning and looking for my birth certificate. I have until Friday to get my driver's license changed. Wish me luck!!

So What's the Plan?

I told you all a few days ago how in debt our little family is. Scary, huh?

So what's the plan?

This week is a pay week and bill have got to get paid! It is also the week that the college is going to release funds to me! Oh happy, happy day! I am very very excited!

I am going to put my check in the bank and pretend it isn't there, then I am going to wait for the second check to come later this month and once those two are in the bank together getting chummy- I am going to start calling everyone on my credit report. I am going to pay one of entirely since I know it is only $36. So that company might get more than their share this month, but it will reduce the accounts I have to divide the money between next month.

So the progress will be slow- but I am hoping to see progress on my credit report within 6 months. I can't wait until my credit starts climbing instead of falling!

Then, after buying books and buying staple foods for the next 5 months, I am going to see if I have anything left over from my school money. If I do I am going to use it to "cannonball" some of my debts. I know that isn't going to actually lessen my overall debt amount, but it will reduce the overall interest I will be paying.

I know I have 5 months before I can go get a full time job for the summer. I am really looking forward to that now. It will be wonderful t0 be able to toss money at debt and watch it shrink rapidly! And next semester should bring an improvement in my financial aid status! Hurray!

More tips on how to clean like a housekeeper

-Tie a medium sized garbage sack to your belt loop. Don't put goopy or gross garbage in this one- that's just asking to up the ick factor, but it's great to toss junk mail into and other such benign garbage.

-When vacuuming take a second afterwards to attach the hose. Use the one with a brush on it (not the rotating brush if you have that attachment) and use it to dust your base boards and around door frames. You vacuum can also get those pesky cobwebs from the corners and walls!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cleaning Tips from A Housekeeper

I used to clean people's houses for a living. I learned to streamline my cleaning routines to stay within time constraints, but I have a hard time doing this in my own house as I don't have a time limit.

So I thought it might encourage me to get back to my good habits by sharing some tips with you all!

Tip 1-
Gather dirty things into their washing places.
- So run around the house and collect all dishes into the kitchen sink area. If you have more than one load that is fine.
- Get all dirty laundry into laundry room.

Okay so now the house is looking a bit tidier already because you have gotten two things that seem to drift all over the house into piles.

Tip 2-
If things need to soak- get them started next. Soaking will reduce the amount of elbow grease needed to get things done.
-The tile in the bathroom is looking pretty grody? Spray it with cleaner, and in places if you can, soak rags with cleaner and pile around deposits.
-reduce water out of toilet bowl and line inside of toilet with rags soaked in vinegar. This will loosen up mineral deposits and disinfect at the same time.
-take off shower nozzle and soak it in vinegar to eat away hard water deposits.
-get those greasy pots and pans soaking in hot water.
-stained clothes? Get them soaking in washer as well.

Tip 3-
If you have machines- use them. Get all dishwashers, clothes washers etc going at the same time. Let the machine clean things while you work on non automated tasks.

Tip 4-
Don't take clean things into a dirty room. Clean the staging areas of the automated tasks while the machines run.

-Why fold laundry in a dirty laundry room? If you drop that sock on the floor it will just need to be washed again. Or if you fold in the living room- same goes there. Why set clean shirts on a dusty surface?

Tip 5-
Wear either an apron with utility sized pockets or jeans with pockets. Always have a dusting cloth handy. If you are going up and down stairs, why not dust the hand rail as you go instead of making a special trip for it?

Well- let me know what you think so far. I will post more as I think about them. I am going to follow my own advice today and apply to our house! It needs it!

Sick Baby Sick Husband

Yesterday at 3:30 Nora woke me up crying. She had thrown up all over herself, the bed, and the wall. Of course I had just jumped out of bed so I wasn't quite thinking clearly. At first I thought she just needed put back into bed. And then when I smelled it, I though- "Oh Diaper!" But when I picked her up I yelled for Doug. Why? For the past 4 days our hot water has been broken. We have been having to go up and down these really dangerous stairs to the root cellar/basement to shut off the water main. If the main was left on- water was pouring out of the hot water tap non stop.

So anyway- I had to yell for Doug to come help. He went and turned the water on for me and we got Nora taking a bath while I stripped down her bed and made a nest for her on the couch. Poor baby was so sick and she couldn't hold anything down at all. She had never thrown up before so she was feeling understandably scared and confused.

Finally mid morning she was able to eat some Jell-o, hold down liquids and then she even ate some Carrot Cake!

To top it off- I finally tried to fix the shower by myself and it worked! So no more having to run to the scary basement 100 times a day! Plus hot water to cook and clean with! Even better!

Then Doug comes home at 3:30 after working only half a day. He started throwing up at work. Ick. So then Doug was home and getting sick here and Nora was on the mend.

Lets just hope that the fever and diarrhea I had Saturday and Sunday was me fighting off this flu bug.

On a plus note- everything in the house is getting cleaned and sanitized which it needed anyway!

My Beautiful Nora Girl

Nora's Musings