Category Archives: Uncategorized

Happy New Year & Hello 2020

2019 flew by.  Since having kids, it feels like every time I blink, a season changes, and a new year comes around.  Time goes by much quicker when you see little ones growing right before your eyes.

We spent New Year’s week in the mountains of Tennessee with relatives we enjoy.  Rented a cute cabin on top of the mountain for cheap, cheap!  The entire week cost us only $260 for our portion (we split 50/50) of lodging.  With that amount we’d be lucky to get a hotel room for a night this time of year.  We made a meal plan, split that 50/50, hit up a local Wal-Mart, and bought groceries for the week.  That was a big savings.  We did eat out twice.

Attractions were expensive.  $223 for the four of us to go to 3 different attractions.  We had hoped to visit the zoo, and had coupons for free child entry with every adult ticket.  Unfortunately it was closed when we went!  The website even had their itinerary posted for the day, which was confusing.  I guess the web guy made an oops.

The biggest expense of the whole trip?  We rented a car to get up there.  Our cars are not reliable enough (1999 & 2005) to handle long road trips anymore.  $324 for a mid-size SUV, that included the fill up upon return, since their per gallon cost was cheaper than any local places.  They ended upgrading our mid-size to a full-size at no additional cost. A 2019 Dodge Durango.  I loved it, it was nice, roomy, handled well, and surprisingly gas mileage was really good considering the vehicle!  We made the entire trip to TN, throughout TN, until our last day, on a single tank.  Only had to put $20 in to get us home.  I won’t lie, makes me want one!  So much space for the kids too.

But that’s not happening.  No worries.  🙂  We have other goals that are higher on the to-do list.  I’ll share those soon.  Plus our debt pay off for 2019.

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas and a safe, fun New Year.

Christmas Budget

This month is going by quickly.  My little one keeps asking about winter and when we’ll get snow.  I hate breaking his little heart every morning.  We rarely ever see snow here.  A lot of activities this month, especially at the schools.  That’s keeping me busy.

While cleaning our master bedroom, I found a small safe I hadn’t used in years.  $900 inside!  I believe this is from 2014, after DH’s major accident, when I went into crisis mode and began selling every thing but the kitchen sink to help pay the bills while he was out of work for eight months and I was pregnant.

The timing of this “found money” couldn’t be better.  Christmas budget!  I’m adding in $100 to make it an even $1,000.  This is for everyone.  The kids, DH, myself, in laws, my family, a handful of friends, and teachers.  So far I’m on track and that’s with buying DS1 a gaming laptop for under $500 – a steal of a deal from Best Buy.  The same laptop keeps going “on sale” at Target and Walmart for $699+, I paid $449 and got 20% cash back.

Target did a 10% off gift cards promotion this past weekend.  I went by and grabbed several $10 gift cards and $25 gift cards for teachers, and our mail lady we love.  That saved us a few bucks.

Every thing else I’ve bought on sale, with cash back bonuses on my credit card.  (That will be paid off in full next billing cycle.)  We’re keeping our budget strict, $25 for most people, except our kids.  I tend to stick to the something you want, need, wear, read and Santa method of gift giving for the boys.  It works well.  They are spoiled by the extended family.  I never worry much about them not getting “enough”, we’ve always kept gifts at a minimum since they were little.  The laptop was a splurge, but DS1 is doing amazing in school, and 99% of his homework is on the computer.  With my growing businesses (!!) I lose time working to let him on to do schoolwork and projects.  This will allow us both to work without interruption.

I’m still within the $1,000 budget.  I have 5 more people to buy for.  Hopefully I can make it work, will report back when I’m done.  And I am ready to be done – I hate shopping!!  I’m looking forward to the fun part – wrapping the gifts!

 

I Hate a Thief

DH’s company seems to be a roll of hiring pure scum to work there.  It’s getting ridiculous.  People showing up obviously high or drunk, belligerent to management, threatening others.  And the company makes it near impossible to fire these people.  You have to give a warning, some write ups, a conference, jump through hoops.  It’s nonsense!  The last few months have been rough with new hires.  It makes me worry.

We got new Iphones recently, the 11’s.  The base model, but still pricey.  I used Etsy profits to purchase these, because I needed a good camera, and DH just needed a phone that worked.  It was a splurge paid for in cash, and we’re happy with them.  For once I didn’t have buyers remorse!  And the camera is amazing, I’ve redone my entire Etsy shop with Iphone images and you’d have no idea.

Anyway.  DH had his phone at work, sitting on the equipment he was using.  He has it out often, because there’s an app for managers chat.  His co-worker (long time one, not a new hire, good guy) came up to ask a question, DH turned his back for a few minutes, turned back and his phone was gone.  Mind you he works night shifts, the store was closed, there were very few people in the store.  It could have only been an employee.

He immediately called me.  I logged into icloud to track the phone, we could see it moving around the store, and parking lot, back into the store.  Then we got locked out of icloud.  When I reset the password and got back in, icloud showed no devices or phones for that account.  We were sure it had been wiped.  Sigh.  I was so angry I was shaking.

Since I couldn’t text DH, updates were delayed.  We called AT&T, Apple, etc.  Told to file a police report, etc.  Well as DH was doing a lap of the store, he heard a dinging in the back.  He found his phone, on the ground, near the rear of the store where he hadn’t been.  HMM!  Apparently when he marked his phone stolen, it locked it, and set off an alarm on the phone.  Whomever had it, must have tossed it once the alarm started going off.

DH emailed HR and LP to pull cameras.  Days later LP says there are no cameras back there, too bad.  This is bullshit.  There are cameras right where the phone was stolen from.  There are cameras where you walk to the back, just not in the back.  How about the parking lot where GPS tracked the phone?  Why didn’t they pull this footage?  It would be easy to narrow it down!  HR and LP are a joke now.

Just makes me so mad.  I’m glad he got his phone back, and it’s in tact.  But now there’s a thief on his crew, and he has to worse with this piece of garbage.  One guy threatened another managers life.  But he turned around and filed an ethics complaint, and therefore cannot be fired until it’s resolved.  Unbelievable!  In the meantime, DH has to work with these sleazy, scary new hires.

We are ready to MOVE and get him transferred to a better location.  I know where we live has a lot to do with the scummy new hires.  😦   I dream of a better town to live in!

Thanksgiving & Black Friday

Thanksgiving was exhausting.  I hosted it, two days in a row.  We keep my family and my in laws separate, it just makes life easier!  No one offered to pitch in on food, that rubbed a nerve or two, and $300 later the days are over, and I was left with a kitchen full of dirty dishes.  I need to be better at setting boundaries, sigh.  Next year maybe we can go on a vacation and avoid family altogether lol.

I will say though, both my turkeys turned out moist and delicious!

I had a short shopping list for Black Friday – which seems to be more of a week-long sale now.  My best deal was purchased on Monday, a gaming laptop, for $449 at Best Buy + 15% cash back.  That same laptop was $599 elsewhere on sale the rest of the week.  My kid will be thrilled and I won’t have to share the computer for all his schoolwork!  Win/win.  The rest of my list were small items, mostly needs.  New pajamas for the boys, some t-shirts, a winter jacket for the littlest, and socks for all.  Oh and bikes for both kids as well, also on sale for $44/ea. at Wal-Mart.

I didn’t see any major deals I needed to jump on.  Honestly, I felt I could get better deals with coupon codes during non Black Friday sales.

Thursday evening after my in laws left, my mil took the kids for a bit so we could clean up and relax.  I was restless, having been cooped up in the house for a week, so we opted to drive around town.  To our surprise, a lot of stores were open on Thanksgiving!  Poor retail workers.  We stopped into Target, not very crowded at 8pm.  I bought the kids pajamas there and we had the worst experience with a cashier!

The pajamas were 4pc sets for $10.  I bought two.  The sets includes 2 pairs of pajamas on hangers, with a plastic thing connecting the hangers, with the cardboard product tag from the manufacturer.  The cashier ripped the cardboard tag, and broke the connector.  Kept looking for a tag on the 2nd pair, and proceeded to scan the tag FOUR times.  I said excuse me, that was a set for $10.  “There were two hangers.”  Right, but they were connected and being sold as a 4pc set.  “But there were two hangers.”  I said then go look at the shelf, it’s a doorbuster deal.  She rolled her eyes and deleted two scans, while huffing and puffing and throwing our stuff around.  It was amazing.

I was so shocked by her behavior and stupidity, I didn’t even pay attention to the other items I bought.  My $4 doorbuster t-shirts rang up for $7, ugh.  There’s $12 in savings down the drain, I’ll probably just return it all this coming week.  Target has the worst customer service around here.

DH’s and his friends business is about to go live.  The samples came in, were approved, and the large order is now paid for and processing.  I can’t wait to get this off the ground.  My etsy shop is doing pretty good compared to previous years, six sales in one day is a record for me.  Hard work pays off.  Little by little.

Oh and let me share the best news:  My credit score!  I’ve been trying hard to increase it.  Now I’m working on DH’s as well.  I know this may vary from the actual FICO, but when we’ve had to get credit pulled, it’s always been within a few points of Credit Karma.

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Life Updates & Ramblings

Things have been incredibly hectic around here.  I have found myself working hard and sleeping little.  About two months ago I decided to finally put some real effort into my tiny Etsy shop.  I’ve had it for years, it’s basically passive income.  I neglected it.  Filled orders and all that, but never worked hard on SEO, keywords, social media, etc.  I don’t know what happened, but I got the itch to throw myself into it.  It’s paying off.  My stats are better than they’ve ever been, and this small hobby is growing, steadily.  As a result this little blog has fallen by the wayside.  Got to follow the money!

On top of that, DH and his best friend, have decided to go into business together.  They’re creating merchandise, which will be sold on Amazon.  The first design has already been put together, now they await the samples.  The entire start up is $1000 ($500 each), and seems very promising.  I am excited for them.  I am not “part” of the company, but helping to get them established.  They both work full time jobs, and I’m at home, so it makes sense to do some of the back end work.  It’ll be a few months before we see how this turns out.  My gut feeling is that it will be far more successful than either of them realize at this point.

My youngest son is having some medical issues.  Well, it’s been ongoing for over two years, but now it’s posing a problem with his school.  Despite a doctors letter, and having an IEP, the system is fighting me on providing him an aide.  They literally threatened to put him in a special needs class.  The child’s IQ is insane, he’s already beyond his current pre-k class!  A physical issue should not be a determinant for a severe special needs class, where many students are non-verbal, autistic, or have other more serious issues.  He was in that class for pre-k 3 just so he could overcome some physical limitations.  Even all his teachers agree he does NOT need to be in the SN/SE classes.  We went back to the doctor this past week and received another referral to a specialist.  We’re still chasing answers, but I’ll be damned if this begins to affect his schooling.  Ugh!  The woman in charge of IEP’s kept talking down to me and lecturing about potty training (he is 4, in pull ups, suffers from a distended colon and more).  It has NOTHING to do with potty training, it’s a GI issues associated with a syndrome the physicians believe he has!  Again, UGH!

Another UGH! for the day, and an update to a past etiquette question post.  Recap:  Cousin getting married.  We weren’t invited.  Didn’t receive an invite, an announcement, nada.  She never even posted about it on Facebook, and she’s very active on there.  My mother told me about it, but never even told us when it was.   But…I received an email from them to their wedding registry and they tell me what items they really need, and how thankful they are for my contribution to their new life.  LOL!  Anyway, the Update:  They tied the knot this week.  Kept it small and personal, I respect that. Hours later I received an email with a link to their registry AND a link to donate to their honeymoon!

I don’t understand people!  My mother insists on buying everyone something, even though these people honestly have nothing to do with our lives.  They’re never around for us, I don’t feel any need to be around for them, it is what it is.  But my god, my mother acts like I’m some cold hearted grinch.  I’m so glad I stopped falling for the “mom guilt” when I hit my 30s!

 

We NEED to Downsize

Oh hello world, I’ve been MIA.  Sickness kept me down for nearly 2 weeks, plus caring for 2 sick kids while being sick is double the exhaustion.  DH’s new schedule started and it’s been hell to adjust to.  (Honestly I’m just not adjusting.  I hate it.)

Remember that workout class I signed up for?  I completed 1 week out of 6 weeks.  I missed the 2nd due to illness, and the rest due to DH’s new work schedule.  Class times are in the early evenings, now he has to go in earlier, I can’t make it.  $100 down the drain.  (I did try to find a sitter to no avail.)

Last night I finally sat down to pay November bills.  Usually I pay them on the 1st of the month, but I’m running on empty these days.  All was going well until I opened my electric bill.  $645!!!  What on earth?!  Maybe in July/August we can hit $600 due to AC, but $645 for October?  I haven’t had to use the AC or heat much at all.  About put me in tears.  Then the water bill, which is normally $22, was $88.  This is from the pool cleaners, they left our hose running twice and never told us.  Flooded our yard too!

I told DH it’s time to go.  This house is too much upkeep, too expensive (property taxes, utilities, etc).  Our old home is the same square footage and cost 1/3 this place in utilities and 1/4 in taxes.  I miss it.  I seriously thought about moving back to the old house.  That would require relative renter to get out and MIL to find a new place to reside.   It’s an older home (70s), this is newer (2005).  Plus 8 foot ceilings vs 12-20ft ceilings make a huge difference in heating and cooling.

No matter how we look at it, there are significant hurdles.  Other people affecting our ability to move and be smart with our money.  Very frustrating.  Relative renter actually wants to buy our property, which would be great, but their credit sucks.  I’m ready to go.  Sell it all, downsize, it’ll make life much, much easier.

I’m a planner, DH is not.  He’d just go and see what happens lol.  I can’t do that!  But I don’t want to wait 2 years anymore.  I am miserable.

Hurdles

  • Relative renter in old house
  • MIL in our basement apartment
  • DH’s job (can relocate, on his own dime, but has to “reapply” for whatever positions are available)

How do you even begin the process of moving out of state?  Overwhelming.

Successful Yard Sale & Crazy People

We did it!  We hosted our two day yard sale.  The days were long, hot, and I’m terribly sunburnt and sore, but it’s done! Total: $1,504.00!  Friday was insanely busy.  Our sale began at 8am, but as DH was putting out signs, people were asking him when and where.  We had people stopping at 7:15am as I was trying to set up.

We haven’t had or shopped yard sales in years, but Saturday mornings were always the get up and go days.  So we were all shocked at how slow it was!  Next time we’ll do it Thursday and Friday, and sleep in on Saturday!  It’ll be a long time before we have another though.  After it ended on Saturday, we loaded up the car, and dropped the leftovers at Goodwill.  I have another load to drop off, but I was too tired to fill up the car again.

(On Friday we made $1,230.  On Saturday we made $193.)

My goal was $1,000 and we surpassed that.  But I was hoping for similar results on Saturday, feeling slightly disappointed even though it’s unwarranted lol.  I was surprised at all the little stuff that sold.  The larger items tend to attract peoples attention from the road, but it was all the randomness they picked through and bought.  While we sold a few larger items (tool box, bed frame, headboards, etc.), I still have a stroller travel system, high chair, and table that didn’t move.  A lot of interest, and they were priced LOW, but no movement.  I’ll probably stick those on Craigslist tonight.

The fun part of the sale is dealing with the people.  Most were very friendly, but the few that weren’t, sheesh!  Our first customer on Friday morning showed up at 7:15am (signs all said open at 8am.)  She spent $0.50.  She told me to open my hands, and she dumped a pile of pennies in my palms, and bolted for her car.  She gave me $0.40.  LOL.

Another lady said “I hope you take change” and I said of course.  She had $7 worth of items.  She opened a bag and took out two handfuls of coins and threw them on my table and said “You can count it”….!!!  Not quarters, all dimes, nickels, and pennies – with some hair, lint, screws, and randomness thrown in.  She was so rude to me, I counted out an extra $1 in dimes and she went on her way, lol.  (She watched me the entire time!)

One guy showed up and gave me bad vibes.  He seemed to be scoping out our property more than looking at the tables we had set up.  He was a bit rude to DH too.  He came back again several hours later and again, seemed to keep checking out our backyard.  Made us both uneasy and DH was prepared to tell him to get off our property.  He bought a $5 dog pen and left.  Thankfully he didn’t return.

I had a lady start screaming at me that I overcharged her.  She bought $5 worth of items: 8 books (50c/ea) and a brand new and sealed box of baking tips ($1).  She paid, I bagged the items, and she turned to leave.  Then started yelling “WAIT A MINUTE!  I PAID YOU FIVE DOLLARS!  IT IS FOUR DOLLARS!  I WANT MY DOLLAR BACK!”  I kindly went over what she bought:  “OH” – she forgot about the baking tips.  She huffed and puffed and left.  No apology for her outburst.  Even other shoppers were looking at her, yikes.

I had a guy get made at me because I wouldn’t accept Cash App.  Sorry, no.  I don’t use it and don’t care to download an app for a $2 sale.  Then another lady lectured me for not accepting credit cards, and how cash is just “so outdated”.  Goodness.

Oh and I had the kids run their own toy table!  It was items they both picked out to sell.  They made $81.  I say ‘they’, but it was really our 9 year old doing all the work.  I was proud.  He’ll put it towards a computer he’s saving for.  🙂

This is too long now, but I have some yard sale tips to share that I feel helped us tremendously!  I’ll post that later.  Happy Monday!