Friday, September 28, 2007

A Benchwarmers Quote from the Green and 3

Clark: I’ve never even been on a baseball field. If I did the kids in my neighborhood would spit loogies on my forehead.

Gus: That’s horrible. Baseball is America’s pastime. That’s like saying you’ve never had apple pie.

Blank stare from Clark.

Gus: You've never had apple pie?

Clark: My mom said it would give me diarrhea.

Gus: That’s ridiculous, Clarke. You have to try it at least once.

Clark: diarrhea?

Gus: No, baseball!

You don't even want to know how many times a week we go through this set of Benchwarmer lines. And it cracks us up every time!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm Fried

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, our family has a lot going on. And I think I’ve finally hit my max tonight. I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with PMS. Whatever.

We’re going away for the weekend so we’ll be spending some much needed family time together. We’ve all been stressed out, attending too many events, working too much, studying like crazy, and so on. We need some time to do nothing except hang out with each other. The dog, cat and laptop will be staying behind.

I'm excited to post my end-of-month money review, but I better wait until this weekend is over. You never know how the weekend will turn out...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My New Habits

Ever since my debt-free awakening this summer, I’ve formed some new habits.

Books are definitely my weakness. I have my own library in my house – literally. I’ve always loved libraries, but my two nearest ones never had what I was looking for. I work in a larger town, so I got a card at the library in that town and they have everything! I used to get a lot of my books off or, but now I get them for free at the library. Plus, I have gone through my books and put a lot of them on to weed through the stuff I don’t want and hopefully make a little cash.

When it was warm out, I line-dried a lot of my clothes. I love the way the clothes smell, especially my sheets. In fact, I hung my sheets out even before my frugal days. Now that the weather is getting colder, I’ll have to go back to the dryer.

Now here’s something I’m going to catch a lot of crap for, but I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me when people who have debt are making fun of me! The other day I was reading about dryer sheets. I’ve always hated spending money on dryer sheets. I’ve tried to buy store brand, but my clothes were still full of static. Now I buy the name brand ones, but…I cut them in half. I really do. And they work just the same. Now I get double the dryer sheets for the price! Go ahead, try it.

I keep a spreadsheet showing the each month’s income and expenses. I update it every single day. I always know where our monthly expenses are down to the penny. The top of the spreadsheet starts with zero and ends with zero. That means that I add in all the money we have coming in, and list each expense item by item. At the end of the month, I transfer $500 to our savings account and send all remaining money toward a debt. We do not allow ourselves to go over. We do not allow ourselves to touch our savings. We never spend more than we earn – ever! If you want a copy of my spreadsheet for your own personal use, let me know and I’ll email it to you (minus my figures, of course!)

Online Banking
I’m addicted. I access my online accounts at least daily. I use the online access to my checking account to update my spreadsheet. You may question why I just don’t use the online account instead of the spreadsheet. There are some things that cross months. For example, I had a paycheck hit my account last week, but that money isn’t going to be used until October. My spreadsheet allows me to keep everything month-by-month.

Eating Out
This is the hardest part. To be honest, I have no idea how much we were spending on eating out before this summer. I really don’t want to know, either. We would order pizza at least once a week and I ate out for lunch every single day. Plus, I would stop at the gas station and buy a pop every morning. Now I take my lunch to work every day. I keep pop in the fridge instead of buying them one at a time for twice as much. We don’t “grab a pizza” on the way home from work anymore. We very rarely eat out. Now that we’re used to it, it’s no big deal. But the first two months were a HUGE deal. It was hard.

It’s time to take charge of your money! What are you waiting for?

Quote of the Day

“How is it possible that 90 percent of women don’t know anything about their own money?”

Suze Orman

He's Off To Another Adventure!

Gulliver has decided he's had enough of sitting in a box in my office. He needed to get out there and enjoy life! He's headed to Melanie's, just in time for Halloween. He packed just the right items with him so he can join in on their spooky fun.

Thanks for visiting us, Gulliver!

I'm All Sorts of Busy

I think I know what a person with ADD feels like. I have so much going on, I can’t possibly keep focused on just one thing. It’s driving me crazy.

First of all, work is keeping me “heads down, fingers moving” busy. That’s good – I’d rather be that than sitting around wondering why they give me a paycheck.

As the boys get older, I’m finding that it’s harder and harder for me to keep track of all their business. To make life easier for me, the boys and I sit down at the dinner table each night after supper and hash through the backpacks. (note to self – review “paper” line item in the school’s budget.)

And then we have all of the extra curricular activities – soccer, football, church choir, school board, city council, and so on.

In my free time, ahem, I am trying to learn something new by reading a bijillion books and working my way through tutorial after tutorial. So every lunch hour is spent doing this, as well as every evening after the kids get to bed. Me and my computer have had some real bonding time as of late.

On top of all that, I’m without a car. Ok, so it’s just last night and today. On my way home from work on Monday, the brakes screamed ENOUGH ALREADY and decided they were done helping me stop the car. I really can’t have that.

On a totally different note (or is it? heck, I don't know) Three won his campaign for homeroom representative! Yeah for Three!!! He already had his first meeting yesterday, and he has to be to school early on Friday to help coordinate a homecoming activity. I'm proud of you, buddy. You are awesome!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm Not Sure This is a Good Idea

I saw this on someone else's blog. I found it interesting, but sometimes these are things that are just better not knowing. What do people think of me? Makes me shudder...

Anyway, let me have it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Be Glad You Are Not Famous

I had a few hours to myself, casually cruising the web tonight. I somehow got over to a link about Britney's fender bender. I post this link not so you can watch her do it. I post it so you can see what she has to deal with every minute of every day. She is constantly hounded. Look at the photographers constantly snapping around her, even on a boring trip to a vitamin store.

I cannot imagine that kind of life.

Friday Tidbits

I haven't been posting much, mostly because there isn't much going on other than soccer, football, various meetings and laundry.

Here's something that happened to me today over the lunch hour. I ran to Target and left with more money than I went in with! I don't believe that's ever happened to me. I returned two pairs of shorts, totaling around $8.00. I bought some kleenex and a pop, which only came to 4 something. I'm ahead!!

We recently sold some stock that wasn't doing much of anything, and today I sent that money toward debt. Some may think that's crazy to do that, but would you take out a loan to buy some individual stocks? I didn't think so. It's exactly the same.

Three is preparing for his election. Last night we finished his poster, and he has already written his speech all by himself. I would tell you what his "theme" is, but it plays off his name so I won't. I'm so proud of him. He's awesome.

I want to send a shout out to the author of Junie B. Jones! Green has never been much of a reader("I'm more of a sports guy, mom.") But he has fallen head over heels for Junie B. books. He reads it to me every night and he made sure he took it to school with him today in case he had any free time to read. Green rocks.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

It's In The Genes

As you may or may not know, both Pool Boy and I have both been through elections and survived, with him being on the city council and me being on the school board.

I found out last night we’ve passed this gene on to Three. He announced last night that he is running for class president!

In 5th grade, each homeroom class has a president rather than a president for the entire grade. He has to write a speech to present to his class and design a campaign poster.

We’re proud of you, Three!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Even SNL Gets It!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Anatomy of a Car Payment

The average car payments made by Americans today is $484.00 per month. Is the "new car" smell really worth it?

Here are some statistics, courtesy of Dave Ramsey. Check out this short video about this topic.

If you did not have a monthly car payment of $484.00 and instead invested that money each month in a good mutual fund, here is what you would have:

  • In 10 years, you would have $100,000
  • In 20 years, you would have $470,000
  • In 30 years, you would have $1.6 million
  • In 40 years, you would have $5.6 million

This is information that kids just out of college have to have! Look at what they could retire with if they would only save up money for their cars and never buy a brand new car. I bought my first car before I even graduated from college. It is the only brand new vehicle I've ever owned. Even though I never again bought a brand new car, I got trapped into the philosophy that, "I'll always have a car payment." That is, until I ran the numbers and realized the craziness of car payments.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people tell me they don't understand why I'm getting rid of all my debt. Above is the reason, my friends. The new car smell is not that worth it to me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Want My Two Dollars Back!

I really haven’t been “shopping” since the whole frugal thing took over. I used to be a regular shopper, running to the mall if I felt like a new shirt or something, and then usually finding a few other things to buy while I was there.

Today I had to go to the mall for something specific, so after I got that I decided to walk through some stores. The first store I went in to, it hit me that I had not been shopping for myself since July, when this whole thing started. And it felt strange. I left the store.

I walked by another store and noticed their jeans were 50% off. So I went in. Again, it felt strange. I left that store too.

I next walked to the cookie store because I’ve been pretty good at budgeting and eating right lately, so I thought I deserved a treat. I ordered my cookie and started digging out change. I found three quarters – surely enough to cover it. “That will be $2.00, please,” the lady said. I about choked. TWO BUCKS FOR A COOKIE? I sat in my car, cringing at the thought of eating a two dollar cookie. But I enjoyed it because I knew it would be the last time I’d eat a two dollar cookie.

Will I never feel comfortable shopping again?

Green3 Chores

Cousin Melanie is hosting a Chore Carnival today so because we’re blood relatives I feel obligated to participate. Love ya, Chili!!

We don’t have set chores at our house. There are two main reasons why:

1. I’m not that organized. Probably never will be, either.

2. They are busy enough as it is to also have set chores to do around the house. For example, here is our schedule this week, all having to be done after a full day of school, remember:

Three – soccer practice

Three – football practice

Three – church choir
Green – soccer practice
Green – football practice

Three – soccer practice
Three – football practice

Family – local high school football game

College football game

Both boys – Sunday school and church
Three – football game
Green – football game
Three – soccer game

Add on top of that homework time and play time. They just have full time jobs being kids. I don’t think it’s fair to have daily chores for them to do as well.

That being said, they are not without general household duties. When I need something done, I can ask them and they usually do it without too much complaining. These tasks can be setting the table, cleaning off the table after supper, picking up the living room, cleaning their rooms, putting their laundry away, etc. But these aren’t “scheduled” tasks. They just do them when I ask them to. They are always put in charge of getting their own dishes to the counter and for being in charge of their school backpacks.

As for allowance, we’ve been pretty lazy about giving allowance. We started it at one point and then slowly forgot about it. We do need to get that started again. When we were giving it, we would give a dollar for their age (e.g. Three got $10 and Green got $7).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It's Mom's Turn

There are time when I wish I was anonymous so that I could post whatever I wanted to on my blog. For example, sometimes I want to talk about people's trashy tattoos, but I can't because they read my blog. I don't want to make certain people feel bad.

Iowa Mom knows exactly what I'm talking about. She's started a new site called Mom's Turn. This site allows you to submit posts to her and she will post them anonymously. How sweet is that?

So go on, ladies - VENT! And if you help her promote her new site, you could, like win stuff. I'm all about winning free stuff.

Ummmm....yeah. I know the image is not showing but I'm sick of working on it. So there. Links work, and there is an image on the right side that works (scroll down a bit). Later.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

iPod Resolution

Some of you wondered if Three actually knew about the iPod, and if not, why were we going to get him one. Yes, we did give it to him. After we gave it to him, I tried to get it to work with iTunes and it would not. So I returned it (and the one I had ordered for Green) and got my money back. So I felt obligated to get him a replacement. Sucker? Maybe.


I took Three to Target today to get him a Shuffle. They are regularly $79.99. He picked a blue one, so I asked the counter guy to fetch it for me. He pulled out two of them and said, "Well, this one was a return so it's $50.00, or you can have the new one for $80." I could have jumped on top of my red cart and yelled, "GIVE ME THE USED ONE!"

I've been keeping a Target gift card in my wallet since February. The value was $30.00 and it was a birthday present for me. I had been holding on to it until I found something just for me. Obviously I had not found anything yet that I felt I really needed, so I used it today for the iPod.

So, my friends, today I bought my son an iPod for $20.00.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Night Out

So we're going out tonight to blow off some steam and to celebrate a friend's 40th birthday. I'll be with her and her so maybe I'll get some funny pictures to share with y'all.

Party on.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I don't have a specific topic to write about today. So let me just throw out some random stuff here...

Random Item #1
Overheard, as the boys were looking at last year's yearbook:
Three - Who is that kid?
Green - That's Jared. He doesn't live here anymore. I think he's in juvie now.

Random Item #2
I got so screwed on Three's birthday. I found a cheapo iPod on eBay and bought two of them for the boys' birthdays. I didn't open them of course until the night before Three's birthday. When I finally ripped open the package and looked at them, I muttered a low, "Hell no..." Why was I surprised that they were not made by Apple? No, these were definitely (note the spelling, friends) iPods.

Here's the good news about this: The guy accepted my returns and gave me my money back.

Here's the bad news about this: Since we had gotten such a good deal on the iPod, we also got him a Ninetendo DS. So we gave him both. Now that we've returned the iPod, he's short a present. But he wants an iPod. So now I feel obligated to get him a real iPod. Who the hell gets a Nintendo DS plus an iPod on their 11th birthday? Pool Boy and I had a long "talk" about this. Those boys can get that man to do pretty much anything. So I'm in the market for a cheap iPod.

Here's more bad news: Green's birthday is in October. Guess what he wants. Nintendo DS plus an iPod. Damn.

Random Item #3
This weekend is going to fly by. Here's our plan:
Friday night - Friend's 40th birthday party. Live band, food, beverages, should be tons of fun.
Saturday afternoon - Soccer game, which we have to drive to south of Des Moines for. Hmpf.
Saturday night - ISU - UNI game. Boys are pumped.
Sunday - Maybe we'll squeeze in one more day at the lake? Pretty murky down there, but hey, it's Iowa.

Random Item #4
Parents leave for Ireland tomorrow.

Random Item #5
We'll be selling some stocks tomorrow and mailing the cash to a debt payment, probably my car. It's only about $1000 so it's not like we were ever going to get rich on that amount anyway. Dave would be proud.

Random Item #6
I just got done reading The Pilot's Wife. Did anyone else think the ending sucked? I mean the very end. I was reading along, turned the page, only to find that it was the end. I flipped back and re-read the past 2 pages. I don't know - I didn't get it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Rules vs. Law

Green's class as been reviewing the rules of the school, and apparently had a discussion about rules vs. laws. They had to come up with an example for each and draw a picture of the consequences.

For the rule illustration, Green wrote, "Running in the halls." He drew a picture of a person getting card taken away. (That is their punishment when they do something wrong at school.)

Green's law said, "Killing kids." He drew a picture of a person in prison, standing behind the bars.

Ok then. I think it's clear that he knows the difference between a rule and a law.


Wow, do I love Lisa's designs.

My favorites are the deluxe rectangle necklace and the dog tag necklace.