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Saturday, December 31, 2011

GOODBYE 2011

I am so excited for 2012, and all the major changes we are going to be making! 2011 wasn't a terrible year, I just can't wait to put it behind me. This is the only year I haven't gotten a chance to see my mom! This was also the first whole year that I was on my own financially, man was it tough!
I am proud of my accomplishments though.
I am proud I managed to fufill a 15 month lease all on my own.
I am proud I was able to keep food in our mouths.
I am proud I was able to keep the lights on.
I am proud I managed to pay for my insurance this whole year.
I am proud that at no period was I without a job.
I really am proud of myself. If I could make it through last year, I can make it through anything.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Photo 365 Numero 8

Hello to my newest follower Ke$h  (not that I would ever call her by that ridiculous name!! yeah, I'm talking to you)- She also happens to be my best friend outside of the blogging world!
I love her, and everything she stands for. She has been my most amazing friend since 1998 - When we were in the second grade! <3 LOOVVEEE YOOUUU.


This is a close friend of ours, My lovely best friend, and I. I think we took this picture when I was 14, so Five years ago? WOW. I have a hundred more I'm sure she has forgotten about, but lets not embarrass her that way! : )


So, sorry for my little rant. But here is my photo for today! :


Not the most attractive picture, I know. But the focus here is not me, its the two monsters who refuse to let me write! This is my, "how am I supposed to get anything productive done with these two on my lap?" face
Lovely.

Well... there you have it. todays picture.


End of December Goal Recap. & new ones for January.

These are the goals I set for myself in December :

- No more eating at work.
I'm sure I can find a much better way to spend my money than at my own resturaunt. Instead I will start bringing granola bars for when I get hungry.
Okay, okay, here's the deal - I did eat at work this month, but in all honesty, I wouldn't call this a total fail, because I did manage to cut way back on how often I eat there. (I think I only caved like 4 times?) So
Fail-ish.


-Walk atleast once a week This way I can start getting myself in a routine and I will be able to successfully walk 2.75 miles a week like I have planned for next year.
12-10-11 : My love, the family, and I took a walk around a beautiful family farm up un GA.
12-15-11 : The dog, Love, and I went on a stroll by the river.
12-22-11 : Love, dog, and I, another stroll by the river, on an unseasonably beautiful December day.
12-30-11: Love and I took a walk through his moms neigborhood.
Super Pass! I am actually very proud of myself for this. I hope I can keep myself this motivated in the future.


- Put $100 towards my move in march
Most of that funding is coming from my Tax return, but I do need a little bit of a head start.
12-9-11 : $10.00
12-16-11: $20.00
12-23-11: $10.00
12-24-11: $200.00 - Thanks to my WONDERFUL family, for Christmas, we were able to add $200.00 towards our trip. (plus a couple gift cards!)
12-30-11 : $29.00
All in all, we added about $555.00 to our account, through cash and gift cards from friends and family.
PASS.


-Start a "Piggy Bank" that we will not open for one year. I want to add a little to it each day, it needs to be sealed off and solid in color so we won't know how much is in there, and we wont be tempted to open it!
"the sealed pot challenge"
Boo-ya! I started this on 12-5-11!
We have continuously added to it and it is already about half full! I think I need a bigger pot!
Pass
-Bake 112 cookies to give away to friends and family for Christmas
We don't have much money to spare, I think this is a great way to show them that we care though.
12-21-11 : Baked 84! Almost there!
12-23-11: In total we baked 154 cookies for friends and family! (plus a couple extra for ourselves.)
PASS

So Listed above were the goals I set for myself in December, little things to help keep me motivated throughout the year. Below is my list of goals for January. Hopefully I do as well in January as I did in december, if not better.

January 2012

-No Spend Month. Outside our fixed bills and a few other things listed here, we will not be spending any extra cash.

-Read atleast one book One of my goals for 2012 is to read one book a month, here's to hoping I get off on the right foot.

-Set aside $400.00 for our move This is a big amount, but I we only have two more months and so I really NEED to set atleast
$400 aside.

-Contribute daily to our sealed pot We started this in December, and my Pot is already getting heavy! So far so good, I hope we can keep it up!

-Start maintenence on Austons car Auston's car is going to need a few things done before it will be able to make the 1,500 mile drive up to
NH.

- Drink 84 ounces - roughly 6 glasses - of water a day. I don't drink enough water. My day is full of milk, and tea, and soda. The thing is - I LOVE WATER. I just don't drink enough of it. I know this one sounds easy, but I think it might be trickier than I expect.


No Spending in January!

We are Moving to New Hampshire March 4th!!
I know, I know, New Hampshire? what on earth is there? Most people can't even locate it on a map. Well, the truth is I love New Hampshire, I was raised there, and its high time this little chickady gets her butt home. I'm done living in the crap town, making no money, and seeing no mountains, for other people, I'm ready to start living for me. 
Sadly this epic move I have planned is going to cost a hefty amount of money. around $1,600. Currently we have about $600, which isn't bad at all. Most of it came from friends and family for Christmas - so Thank you! to all thouse who have helped. In order to fatten up our savings towards this trip we have decided that :
JANUARY will be a NO-SPEND month.( This months no-spend was brought on by Carla.)

Here are my rules...

Fixed bills -
  • January's Rent - $650
  • Car Insurance - I have to start a new policy this month, so I'm not sure exactly how much this will cost.
  • Electric Bill - Somewhere aroung $90.00 I HOPE!
Nessecities-
  • Groceries
  • Gas
  • Austons prescriptions
  • Maitenence on Austons car (for the trip)
I will also be adding money daily to our sealed pot, and I will still be putting away $5.00/week towards my new car.

Other than the things I have listed above Auston and I will not spend any money. We really have to start getting serious about this move, or else we will be stuck when March rolls around.

I want to save up $400 to go towards our trip - this means watching EVERY PENNY we have.
But an added $400 should bring us to around $1,000. I will also be getting my tax return sometime in the next couple months, which will be added in, and I still have all of Feb left to save as well.

Instead of going out, I will be focusing on picking up extra shifts, organizing, throwing things out, cleaning, and getting ready for our move (we will be leaving the apartment at the end of January)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Books. & some more photos.

For Christmas Auston and I recieved a lot of gift cards! And a lot of cash! Which really helped us towards our goal amount for our move. We also recieved two gift cards to the bookstore. Obviously those would be useless on a move so we went ahead and spent those on books for ourselves : )

Auston already bought me a whole series of books for Christmas (he wanted to get me something that would help with one of my 12 for '12 goals), so I didn't need anymore fiction stories. I decided to go to the personal finance section to see if I could find something interesting. What I found was a book by Rosalyn Hoffman called Bitches on a Budget. The title totally sucked me in. So of course, I bought it. All the others looked boring. They didn't have a very wide selection. It hasn't been exactly what I was expecting so far - I was looking for cool thrifty tips - This calls buying a $300 dress (originally priced much higher) a good deal! I don't know about you my bloggy buddies, but it better be a dress made from God for me to spend that much. (wedding gowns, and evening gowns excluded - even then I would look at second hand stores first). I am hoping as I get further into it other chapter might be useful or interesting, but thats just my initial observation of the book.

Am I just Too Thrifty? Would one of you spend that much on a cocktail dress?

________________________

Unfourtunately between work, and my internet being a little screwy, I have not been able to get on to post my last two 365 Photos! However, I still did my job and TOOK the pictures, I just never posted them... SO... Here are my last two pictures for my 354 photo Challenge!



This is Ellie, she is the oldest member of our little pet family. She's a little shy of two years. And as strange as it sounds, this cat REFUSES to sit "on the ground" meaning, she will not sit on something unless is is ontop of something else - Like you see in the photo above. She doesn't even like to walk on the ground. I know, I know, she's a freak. But I love her.




This is my new Elephant! I found him at goodwill for less than $1.00! I was so stoked. I have a strange little collection of elephants. This one is a little worn looking, so I'm going to wash him up and paint him a super awesome color. I love adding my own little touch to things. 




Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2012!

So, with the passing of one year brings tons of ideas for the new one!
We didn't exactly plan out Christmas 2011, it was more like December rolled around and we were like, OH MY! We have to make sure everyone has a gift! And with 14 sets of adult couples in the family that can be a tough feat. Luckily I was crafty, and I love baking, so we decorated containers, and made everyone cookies, I really hope everyone enjoyed them.
Next year I want to be much more prepared, I want to be able to give bigger, better gifts, and most importantly, I don't want it to feel like ripping off a bandaid while I'm doing it.


So here is my plan for Christmas 2012! :

  • I want to buy atleast one present each month during 2012, that way I can spread the cost out. It won't be so daunting to shop for everyone all at once.
  • I want to set between $15-$50 a month aside for last minute Christmas gifts, decorations, parties, or holiday events we might want to partake in.
  • I do still want to be crafty, but next year I want my crafts to be awesome, so I want to start my Christmas crafting early this year, instead of waiting till last minute.
  • I also want to plan WHO I'm buying for. All of a sudden December hits and you realize you have 28 people you want to buy gifts for - that happened this year, and it was more than a little frightening.
    • People I plan on shopping for :
      • Mom
      • Bill
      • Mark
      • Dad
      • Zoe
      • Molly
      • Mary
      • Matthew
      • Chris
      • Vanessa
      • Macy
      • Kyra
      • Lori
      • Scotty
      • Randy
      • Cody
      • Melissa
      • Deb
      • Auston (I almost forgot him!!!)
Thats 19 people already! Believe it or not they are all immideate family! Moms and Dads and brothers and sisters, and a few nieces. Now Imagine if we decide to throw friends into the mix!

I know last minute things will arise, but hopefully my planning will help make Christmas 2012 flow smoother that Christmas 2011 (not that we didn't have an amazing year, because we did!)


___________________________________

Photo 365


Welcome to Florida! I don't really have anything entertaining to say about these ugly little buggers. Other than the fact that I will be so unbelievably happy once we move up north and I no longer have to worry about being eaten by them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Photo 365 #5.


Welcome to our Christmas morning! Of course, we all look beautiful, in our Jammies, with unbrushed hair. It was a blast. We wen't over to the great grandparents (You can kind of just make them out in the backround) I cherish every moment I have with these girls. I am so sad to be leaving them in march. This morning Auston and I arrived at the house before anyone was even awake! It was about 8am before I finally gave up waiting in the car and knocked on the door and woke everyone up. Seriously, what kind of children sleep in past 7 on Christmas?!! We had all had a long night with the family on Christmas Eve though, so it was understandable.

I think its hilarious that without looking we all made basically the same "funny faces" well, all but the youngest, she just looks terrified to be there.

Hope you liked todays picture!

Merry Christmas Everyone!



Merry Christmas



All numbers aside for a minute. We all know what this holiday is truly about.
The greatest gift God has given us is family, and I hope everyone has the most wonderful time with theirs today.
I'm sure your gifts are splendid, but the important part is the love you have for those you are giving to.
Cherish these moments, you never know when another will arise.
I am thankful to have found all of you, The support in this community astounds me.
Thank you, to each and every reader.

Have a Blessed Holiday everyone.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Photo 365 - Day 4

Today Auston and I were sitting outside in front of his mom's house, waiting for a package from my mom to arrive. I get so impatient around Christmas time. I LOVE unwrapping things. The gift doesn't have to be some gucci handbag either, I just love the suprise. Anyways, we were sitting outside, on another unseasonably beautiful day when I looked up to the tree in the front yard. All of a sudden I was struck by how beautiful it looked. I don't know why, I've seen the tree a million times before, its not some 100 year old tree in the forest either. Its just a tree, in the front yard of his moms suburban home. Maybe it was just the season, or the fact that I had been having an amazing day. Maybe God just wanted me to take a second to appreciate something natural and unmaterial for a minute. Maybe you won't think its as pretty as I do.  I could be nuts! Either way, it worked. and here is the result.

Photo 365 # 4



Weekly Spending Up-date

If it hadn't been for all of our gift supplies, this would have been a great week! I'm not upset about the amount spent on gifts. I think each person deserved a little something, and I love giving back to those closest to us.

 I wish I hadn't eaten at work this week, but even so, Auston and I still only "ate out" Twice this week. Which is the goal in the new year.

I know you are probably eyeing that late fee down there. I debated whether to put it there or not, it is quite embarassing when you don't get things paid on time, but sometimes that is just the way life goes - especially during the holidays. January will probably bear the same results.

Only $15.00 in gas this week! Not bad eh? I know, I'm impressed too, a lot of it has to do with us mapping our trips out, so we aren't turning around, and going back and fourth, we try and get as much done in one trip as possible. It helps that work is only a couple of miles away.

$5.00 more into the New car fund! every little bit helps right? on top of the $5.00 added every week,
Auston and I also throw any loose pennys in there - Silver change goes into the sealed pot.

What I was most impressed by this week was our grocery bill! I guess we spent enough on those last week, because we have hardly had to go out at all this week.


Click here to see how last week went.


Here it is :

ANIMALS
2011-12-18Compare supermarket prices Dog Food$12.00
2011-12-21Compare supermarket prices cat food$3.96
2011-12-21Flea Medication$15.00
TOTAL FOR ANIMALS$30.96
CAR SAVINGS
2011-12-19Car Savings$5.00
TOTAL FOR CAR SAVINGS$5.00
EATING OUT
2011-12-18Shift Meal$4.27
2011-12-19McDonalds$9.61
TOTAL FOR EATING OUT$13.88
FIXED BILL
2011-12-22Rent Late Fee$52.00
TOTAL FOR FIXED BILL$52.00
GAS
2011-12-18Gas$5.00
2011-12-23Gas$10.00
TOTAL FOR GAS$15.00
GIFT
2011-12-18Gift Supplies$24.00
2011-12-19Dollar General$1.65
2011-12-19Local Grocery Store$8.98
2011-12-19Walmart$7.98
2011-12-21Family Christmas Gifts$17.21
2011-12-21Molly Gift$9.62
TOTAL FOR GIFT$69.44
GROCERIES
2011-12-21Eggs/Bread$3.13
2011-12-23Local Grocery Store$7.00
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES$10.13
MISC
2011-12-19Dollar General$1.00
TOTAL FOR MISC$1.00
TOTAL$197.41


Stay Tuned for Tomorrows Weekly Money Check-Up

Like what you see? Follow me on Facebook.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photo 3 & an unexpected gift.

Today I recieved quite a few Suprises in the mailbox! None of them are what you would call ordinary.

First there were all of these random pieces of paper!
HOW CUTE IS THAT!? I haven't a clue where they came from. They weren't in an envelope, they were just stuck in there. Crazy huh? This put the biggest smile on my face today.


Next was a greeting card from a local pizza place Auston and I like to order from occasionally.
Now, greeting cards are common, I get them from my insurance agency, and all sorts of other miscellaneous places... And they usually say something along the lines of "Merry Christmas, thanks for giving us all your money"



This awesome bad boy was signed by the whole crew!! Thoughtful huh?
But wait.. I haven't reached the best part.



And inside this thoughtful card there was a $10.00 gift certificate for pizza! No "with the purchase of blah blah blah" Just $10 for me - NO STRINGS ATTACHED! I know, I can't believe it either.




This was just the boost I needed to get into the Christmas spirit. They didn't need to give us a certificate, they are doing great business all on there own.  It was just their way of giving back to their patrons, and I think its super sweet. They will have our business from here on out. Sorry Dominoes.

So - I know Its more than one, but there are my pictures for my Photo 365 project.

Decmeber Goal Check in #3

All right Guys, its FRIDAY, and you all know that means its time for my weekly Goal Check in.
Listed below are my goals for December, and the progress I have made.


- No more eating at work      
       I'm sure I can find a much better way to spend my money than at my own resturaunt. Instead I will start bringing granola bars for when I get hungry.
I'm pretty sure at this point we can just chalk this up to a FAIL. I still have a week left to try and finish strong though!



-Walk atleast once a week      This way I can start getting myself in a routine and I will be able to successfully walk 2.75 miles a week like I have planned for next year. 
12-22-11 : Love, dog, and I, another stroll by the river, on an unseasonably beautiful December day. This last walk was great, Auston came willingly, I didn't have to pull teeth this time. The weather was beautiful, everyone out and about was cheerful and full of Merry Christmases. I only have one more walk left but so far I am passing this challenge with flying colors!


- Put $100 towards my move in march      Most of that funding is coming from my Tax return, but I do need a little bit of a head start.
12-23-11: $10.00
I got paid today, I know, I know, $10 isn't a whole lot, but honestly it's all I could afford to put in this week. I am still trying to figure out how we are going to manage rent.


-Start a "Piggy Bank" that we will not open for one year.      I want to add a little to it each day, it needs to be sealed off and solid in color so we won't know how much is in there, and we wont be tempted to open it!
"the sealed pot challenge"
Boo-ya!  I started this on 12-5-11!
PASS.

-Bake 112 cookies to give away to friends and family for Christmas      We don't have much money to spare, I think this is a great way to show them that we care though.
12-21-11 : Baked 84! Almost there!
Tonight we will be finishing up the rest of the cookies. I am stoked to have all our Christmas gifts done and out of the way with a WHOLE DAY to spare!

To see how I did in weeks past visit  Here
Or Here

To See what I am planning for January Visit Here.

Stay Tuned to see how my spending this week went - Tomorrow.

Also, don't forget to Follow Me on Facebook.

The Bell Ringers.

I just found this article on CNN and thought I'd share.




"NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- This time of year, familiar Salvation Army volunteers don a Santa's hat and stand on the street corner collecting loose change to feed the needy -- and every now and then they strike gold, literally.
So far this Christmas season, the Salvation Army has received a total of about 40 gold coins, left anonymously in their red kettles, among other valuable treasures, the non-profit organization said.
Fourteen Swiss gold francs were dropped in a kettle at the Jewel-Osco grocery store in Libertyville, Ill. Those coins, each containing 0.19 ounces of gold, are worth nearly $3,000 together, given Thursday's spot price.
The coins came with a note that said "enclosed is a second identical donation to assist you in your Godly care of our neediest brothers and sisters. Trust me, these donations are small when compared to the bountiful blessings God has bestowed on us," according to the Salvation Army Metropolitan Division which serves Chicago, northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana.  " Read More Here

Auston and I are always taken in by these volunteers who selflessly stand on the corners in the most brutal weather during December. Usually it is older men and women you see, but this year we have seen families, with children, college students, and well, pretty much everyone! It really warms my heart to see more people helping out. We spend a lot of cash in December, instead of using my card for the sole purpose of giving to these people. However, I always walk away wishing I could have done more. This year, not only did we give to the ringers each time we passed by, but I also made a point to pick up some non-perishables on every grocery trip. Next year, I want to do something truly spectacular. Like pay for some ones groceries, or Pay off someones Layaway, both are things I read about earlier this month and was blown away by.

On a similar note , at my place of employment yesterday a little boy went up to our cashier, he handed her $20 and bought a gift card. He then walked away and went up to one of the servers working. He told her to give this card to one of the people dining in the establishment, any one he didn't care , and wish them a merry Christmas.  I wish I could have been there. Unfourtunately I had the day off.
 I have been completely amazed this season by the generosity of others.

What Miracles have you witnessed?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Breaking down our Big Move.

As I mentioned a little while back my Loveyy and I are moving to New Hampshire in March. I can not believe we are only two months out! Unfourtunately, between Christmas and work cutting back drastically on shifts, I have safed very little towards this trip. Last night, I reserved the truck we are going to need to move with. We saved $300 by going with Budget instead of Uhaul, and we also saved an additional $54 by reserving last night. Thats a big chunk of money we just saved! Today I finally broke down how much we are going to need to move with -

Truck (with a tow for my Honda) - $680
Gas for the Seabring - $200
Gas for the truck - $650
Money for a motel (notice I didn't say hotel? ) - approx $100

That brings us to a rough total of - $1,630!!!
Holy Smokes that's a lot of money.

Currently we have - $90.00 - I know I know!

But hold on just a minute! A big Chunk of this money is going to be coming from my Tax Return. That's why we decided to wait until March. Another big chunk is going to be coming from saving between Jan.-Feb.
Our lease is Up January 31st, and going month to month was not an option, so thanks to a lot of help from My stepmother, we will be staying with her. Also thanks to help from Loveyys mom, we will be storing our stuff there. We are still trying to figure out what to do with the animals in that time.  Here's to praying!

_________________________________________

Also - Here is my Photo for today:

Each day for a year I will post a picture of something that made me happy. This will help us start focusing on the little things in life, that are sometimes easily overlooked.
Want to participate? Let me know, and I will post a link to your site below.




This is from the walk Loveyy, the dog, and I took today. We wen't around five, the weather, and the water were both beautiful. I was actually suprised to see so many people out today, its December for crying out loud, where's the cold?!




Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Photos 365.

I have decided to start a photo challenge for myself. Each day I will take a picture of something that made me smile and post it here. I will do this everyday for a year.. I just want to spend more time enjoying the little things in life. Sometimes they can be so easy to overlook.
I was going to do this on another site. unfortunately I can't remember what it was called. I have decided that I don't need a million and one different websites though, so I am just goint to share with you, my wonderful readers.

So here it is - Photo Number 1.

This is Doser!
My poor puppy dog hasn't been feeling to well lately, I was starting to worry. However, this is what I came home to tonight! All smiles and love from my little man! I can't believe I have had him almost a year now. I love this little guy to pieces.

What I did - and did NOT do.

What I was SUPPOSED to accomplish today
  • Find the perfect scarf for my sister (under $15.00). - This is the last present I have to get, and I am really going to have to shop around for it.
I found her scarf at Rue 21 for $9.62! They had had some really cool ones at Icing too, but they were all in the $18.00 - $25.00 range and I really wanted to stay under $15.00. I think she is going to love the one I found though. Its black, with silver shiny stuff in it, and well, I'm terrible at descriptions, but its EXACTLY what she would want. She loves black, and she loves shiny. WIN WIN.
BIG FAT FAIL. We were so worn out after shopping, that we decided to put this off until tomorrow. And believe me, we WILL go tomorrow. I have to stay on top of my goals!
  • Go to the movies with my Loveyy - Now ordinarily I wouldn't waste the money on the movie theater, but this is my Christmas gift to him. I decided he could have it early.
We did not do this. But its not because we "failed" to do so. It was more like we decided that today was going to be busy enough, I didn't want his gift to feel like just another chore, or thing to check off my list. We have decided to wait until next week, after the Christmas Hooplah has died down.
  • Bake half of the cookies.
We made 84 cookies today! WOO. I am proud of how many we made today. I would have finished them all, but... I ran out of butter **Bowing head in shame** and after shopping this morning I didn't feel like going out again.
I admit, I haven't made a single one today. I took a nap instead, I really didn't sleep well last night. Hopefully I will get a few done tonight.

Two out of five things done isn't exactly good. But hey - things happen.


Things I accomplished that weren't on my list:

I finished my Christmas shopping! Two presents for our Yankee Swap on Christmas eve! Also, an additional movie for my two little sisters. I also went by the humane society and picked up the flea medication for my dog. He has a terrible allergy to them and if he isn't being treated they eat him alive, and he gets a horrible rash, that gets infected, and its all just HORRIBLE!

I was excited to find this medication. Its called Comfortis and its only $15.00 a month!! That easily fits into our budget. If you buy a 6 month supply then it is a little discounted. I swear by this stuff. We put it on him, and in just 30 minutes I could see a huge difference. Its a chewable tablet too, so you don't have to wrestle your dog, and then isolate him, just to keep him flea free!

I also Wrapped ALL of the gifts we have bought!

THINGS TO DO TOMORROW!

  • FINISH CHRISTMAS CONTAINERS - NO EXCUSES
  • Go on a walk.
  • Go to bank to get cashiers check.
Simple, easy. Nothing to it. It better get done. HELLO WILLPOWER!


Oh yeah - I added the Facebook "like" thingy on my side bar. SO don't forget to "like" me on facebook! : ) Please.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saving, little by little.

Today - No Spend Day :]

Tomorrow's to-do list :
  • Find the perfect scarf for my sister (under $15.00). - This is the last present I have to get, and I am really going to have to shop around for it.
  • Take a walk - So as to stay on track with my December Goals.
  • Go to the movies with my Loveyy - Now ordinarily I wouldn't waste the money on the movie theater, but this is my Christmas gift to him. I decided he could have it early.
  • Bake half of the cookies.
  • Finish making my Christmas Treat Containers. - I REALLY don't want to be doing this on Christmas eve.

I can not believe Christmas is so close! I am beyond excited! This is my favorite time of year.

We keep adding money daily to our sealed pot. Sometimes its $2.00, and other days its five cents. Next year I am going to put this all towards a small weekend getaway for Auston and I. I am not very good at savings usually, so I really hope that I can stick to this.

Earlier today I was tempted to transfer money out of our savings account, for something that was very unnecessary. I took it out, and quickly put it right back in. I am proud of myself for just saying NO. It's still very much a work in progress with me and saving.

Auston has been very supportive of my goals recently. He was the one to suggest we take a walk tomorrow. I was a little taken aback by the suggestion, the last time we went for a walk it was almost like pulling his teeth. He is also asking for less and less when we go to the store, which makes shopping trips one million times easier!

All in all, it has been a very succesful month so far.

Weekly Money Check-Up



1.  The most I spent this last week was on my car insurance bill $88.00, coming in a close second at $86 was groceries.

2.  Today I am thankful that Christmas is so close, and I had an amazing shift at work yesterday.

 
3.  Money can't buy happiness.  One free thing I did last week that made me happy was taking a walk with my loveyy and our puppy dog.

 
4.  I will consider this week a success if I finish making all of my Christmas gifts, and get everything wrapped and ready to go BEFORE the 23rd!

 
5.  One of my holiday traditions is making cinnamon buns for breakfast on Christmas morning. We have done this every year since I can remember!

Want to join the Weekly Money Check-Up?  Go to My Pretty Pennies and check it out!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Treat Containers.




Aren't these Amazing!?
I am so proud of myself. Now obviously, the rudolf one is not finished, unfourtunately I forgot to grab the pipecleaners at the store, I am going to use those for the antlers. None the less I decided to post them. I spent forever looking up ideas on crafty ways to create christmas treat containers, and FINALLY found this idea here. I used some of her ideas, but most of it was my own. I used fabric instead of paper, and Auston came up with the idea of making a snowman also. ( I am so proud of my crafty man!)

For the snow man I used white felt, 6 black buttons, orange contruction paper, and black construction paper. I used my handy dandy needle and thread to sew the eyes and mouth on. Then I cut out the hat and nose and glued them on with superfast dry glue. I then glued the whole thing to the top of a round tuppaware container.

The raindeer was used with a red pom-pom, 2 white buttons, and 2 small black buttons.
Once again I used my handy dandy needle and thread to sew two white buttons where the eyes are, and to sew the nose on. I then glued the black buttons on top of the white ones. For the antlers (That aren't shown yet!) I am going to use brown pipecleaners. I will attatch them to the brownfelt and probably stick them off the edge of the tuppaware container. -again, I just glued the finished project to the lid.

Santa Clause was different. For him I used Red felt, cotton balls,2 white buttons, and 2 black buttons. I cut the felt in the shape of a triangle, Then I pulled out my handy dandy needle and thread and sewed a cotton ball to the end. I glued the hat to the lid of my tuppaware container. After that I glued two white buttons as eyes, and two black buttons on top of that. Last but not least, I took 3 cotton balls, and spread them out wide, glueing them directly onto the lid.


You cant see it here, but I also lined the inside of the containers with white tissue paper. You could use red or green also, I just feel it makes them a bit more festive.


There you have it 3 very cute, easy to make, budget friendly ways to decorate your Christmas treat containers!


Santa is my favorite! But Auston likes frosty.


Feel free to share this idea, please just link it back to me : )


What kind of crafty things have you made this holiday season?




Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekly Goal&Money Check in

December 2011

- No more eating at work.        I'm sure I can find a much better way to spend my money than at my own resturaunt. Instead I will start bringing granola bars for when I get hungry.
Its not a total Fail - tonight I refrained from eating there, instead I ate dinner before hand. I have however slipped up a couple time. Lets hope I finish out strong!


-Walk atleast once a week
      This way I can start getting myself in a routine and I will be able to successfully walk 2.75 miles a week like I have planned for next year.
Two weeks in AND TWO walks taken. PASSING SO FAR!
12-10-11 : My love, the family, and I took a walk around a beautiful family farm up un GA.
12-15-11 : The dog, Love, and I went on a stroll by the river.


- Put $100 towards my move in march
      Most of that funding is coming from my Tax return, but I do need a little bit of a head start.
12-9-11 : $10.00
12-16-11: $20.00
I am less than half way there :/ I am really hoping tomorrows shift bears more results so I can tuck more away.

-Start a "Piggy Bank" that we will not open for one year.      I want to add a little to it each day, it needs to be sealed off and solid in color so we won't know how much is in there, and we wont be tempted to open it!
"the sealed pot challenge"
Boo-ya!  I started this on 12-5-11!
I have also been continuously adding to this and it is already getting heavy!!!

-Bake 112 cookies to give away to friends and family for Christmas
      We don't have much money to spare, I think this is a great way to show them that we care though.
We will probably start this monday. I really want to find some awesome way to wrap them up.
ANY IDEAS?!
 
And so there we  have it! My Weekly goal check in.
 
_____________________________________
 
Here is how my spending went for the week :
 
 
CAR SAVINGS  
2011-12-14Car Savings$3.00
2011-12-16Car Savings$2.00
TOTAL FOR CAR SAVINGS $5.00
EATING OUT  
2011-12-11Wendy's$6.37
TOTAL FOR EATING OUT $6.37
FIXED BILL  
2011-12-14Car Insurance$87.00
TOTAL FOR FIXED BILL $87.00
GAS  
2011-12-12Gas$10.00
2011-12-14Gas$10.00
2011-12-16Gas$10.00
TOTAL FOR GAS $30.00
GIFT  
2011-12-15Marys Gift$15.00
TOTAL FOR GIFT $15.00
GROCERIES  
2011-12-11Dollar General$6.75
2011-12-11Publix$6.19
2011-12-12Walmart$40.07
2011-12-15Walmart$27.68
TOTAL FOR GROCERIES $80.69
TOTAL $224.06
 
I am really impressed with the fact that we only ate out once, and It was such a small amount. I even went back through each day thinking about what we ate and where we went, just to make sure I didn't forget to write something down. We wouldn't have even gone that one time, but I had just donated plasma, and I felt a little woozy, so I had to eat right away ( I am ashamed to admit I was on my way to a family dinner when we made this stop)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ooh Lala...

TADAA! Welcome to my New and improved, beautiful blog!

I have been meaning to do this for weeks. The pink was really starting to drive me insane. Alas, my dislike for change just kept getting in the way! I have been back on the blog scene for almost a month now after taking a VERY LONG, VERY SHAMEFUL break. I am now trying to revamp and bring readers back in. I am hoping I am atleast somewhat entertaining sometimes? Maybe.
I also understand that good things happen to those who wait, so I believe if I keep on going, eventually I will reach out to more readers!

I really do appreciate each and everyone of you.

I feel like blue is more professional, and its not as distracting. I have been eyeing each and everyone of your blogs lately, looking for things that I do and don't like about your style, and have finally found one that works for me! For one thing I love having all of my gadgets, and extras off to one side, that way if you just want to focus on the content you can. Having two sidebars was getting to be a bit much. In my opinion atleast.

Anywhoo... What do you think??

Yay, or Nay?

12-14-11

Yesterday I worked a double. Man was it a long day! In the end though, the hours are always worth it. Auston and I also baked some Christmas cookies that turned out delicious. And then we cooked a homemade pizza that was... well, less than delicious (if you know what I mean).
Sadly all of the money I made yesterday had to go towards paying my car insurance today. I suppose it's just the sad fact of life.

I have decided that for Christmas, other than making magnets or cookies, I am going to purchase my sisters one really cool present each. They are the only ones I really care about making happy. I don't know what we wre going to do without them when we move. Part of me hopes that one day they will follow us. (A girl can only hope)


Top - the youngest and myself.
Bottom - My lovely stepmother, and the second youngest.

Tomorrow, to supplement my income I am going to sell my plasma again. It should only take about an hour, and I could really use the extra income.
Luckily I managed to pick up two weekend shifts this week. That should really help us along. I have $39.00 left on the electric before it is paid off once and for all, so after this weekend I will be sure to take care of that! Then a small amount will go into savings and the rest will be divided up between rent and gas.

On another bright note, I have successfully added a little money to my Sealed pot everyday so far since we started it. I am hoping to have a big chunk in their next year. Though I still havent a clue what we'll spend it on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Money Recap - Sunday&Monday

Yesterday I went and Sold my plasma. Money has been tight here and I could really use a little extra. The whole process took about 4 hours, because I had to go through a screening process to make sure I was eligable. Ordinarily it would only take about an hour.
Today I bought groceries with the money I made yesterday. I have our next 4 dinners planned out. This is the second week in a row I have done a big grocery trip, and I am really proud of myself. Hopefully this will help us drastically cut down on eating out.

Menu Plan
MONDAY
      Pigs in a blanket!! - I haven't had these since I was a kid. They were delicious and super easy to make!

TUESDAY
      Homemade Pizza! - A favorite of Austons

WEDNESDAY
      Shepards Pie! - we never go wrong with this one!

THURSDAY
      Spaghetti! - we have this atleast once a month! I'm not a huge fan but Auston is.

Money Breakdown:

Saturday
NO SPEND

Sunday
Income - $50.00
Groceries - 12.94
Eating out - 6.37

Monday
Income - $20.00
Groceries - $40.07
Gas - $10.00


I have also been continually adding money to my sealed pot!


Sunday, December 11, 2011

You're favorite cookie recipe?



Auston and I are making cookies for christmas. I LOVE cookies! But, I thought it would be interesting if we could mix it up a little, so Im asking you all... What is your favorite cookie recipe?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Day Trip, and my progress.

Today Auston, his mom, his brother, and I went up to Souther GA to spend some time at a family gathering. It was a bit awkward, the family was pretty extended and no one really knew who anyone was. It was worth it just to see the land though. It was beautiful. It used to be the Myers Plantation . Its a acres upon acres, with horses, and cows, and donkeys, and ponds, and woods. We walked around the whole things just looking at the sights for about an hour. (I will constitute this as our walk for the week) Their was a slave burial ground there, with about 150 slaves, all the markers have since faded away, so there is no real way of telling who is where. It was quite a sight to see. I am really glad we went. One day, after Auston and I have saved enough, I hope to own land like this. I wish I had had a camera with me so I could show you all.

Proudly, I did not make any purchases on this trip!

Spending Log:
Electric - $70.00

I only owe them $30 now! BIG DEAL FOR ME! I have been trying to pay off this bill since July!


DECEMBER GOAL PROGRESS

- No more eating at work.       
FAIL - so far. I ate there on tuesday :(

-Walk atleast once a week
      PASS! (so far) We did that today!

- Put $100 towards my move in march
      $10.00 so far! Much more coming soon hopefully!

-Start a "Piggy Bank" that we will not open for one year.      I want to add a little to it each day, it
      PASS! Started it on the 5th!

-Bake 112 cookies to give away to friends and family for Christmas
      Havent started yet!



Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 9 of OGB.

Today for OGB I decided to give my time instead of money. Auston and I went down to our local Soup Kitchen to help them prepare food for lunch tomorrow. I was so amazed at the amount of food they get there. At this particular kitchen you get: 2 sandwiches, bread, a bag of sweets like donuts, sturdels(sp?), and cinnamon buns(donated by a local grocer bakery), and a piece of dessert, like pie or cake, or cookies. This is all given to you in a paper bag, so you can eat it then or save it for later. They also are giving coffee and water. It really is amazing. The first 50 also get a ticket which allows them a change of clothes. We were on the sweets bagging line. We helped bag sandwiches and fold socks too, but most of our time was spent with sweets. I plan on going back next week also. Auston and I struggle, and I have been homeless, so I understand the need these people have. I was talking to a couple of the volunteers, usually it is only 4 or 5 elderly women preparing all of this. Today we had us, plus a group of kids from a local high school so the work went fast. I was saddened to hear this. Volunteers are easy to come by in this holiday season, after all everyone wants to help at christmas time. I am going to make a point to go back frequently though. After all, these people need help 365 days a year, not just 31. It really is a beautiful operation.


Spending Log for the day:

Payday!: $158.49 (server checks are always depressingly small)
Savings: $20.49

Gas: $18.09
Groceries:$17.21
Eating out: $5.35
Animals: $7.76
Misc:$10.00

Total: 58.41

The Misc. $10.00 was money I borrowed from Auston's mom and needed to pay back.
I should be proud of putting $20.00 into savings, but alas its really only $10, I had to take $10 out yesterday for gas, so really half of it was just replacing money I took yesterday.
the $20.00 brings my total up to $70.49 though!
I REALLY didn't want to eat out, but after shopping my sisters were hungry and I knew we weren't going to eat dinner for hours, so I stopped in at McDonalds and got us each a cheeseburger, one small fry to share, and a small coke to share for a Mid-Day Snack.

Tonight we are all going to curl up, watch Christmas movies, drink hot cocoa and eat candy canes. What could be better?


______________________________________
Technical Difficulties

Mum - That really is a great idea, I don't know why I haven't thought of it sooner. Thanky you so much for the advice!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

New Methods.

I am proud to say that today I finally started a spending log. I want to be able to keep track of every penny I spend, and save. Lately it seems like a lot of money has just been slipping out of my fingers. This can be very frustrating when you are on a budget as tight as mine. So I now carry around a small book, in which I write everything down. Then when I get a chance, I sit down and document it on my computer. I hope this helps!

Another happy note, I recieved my electric bill today- $49.01!! can you believe that? I really am a stickler about the electric, I only have one light on at a time and rarely turn on the heat. I wasn't to concerned about it until last summer when I got hit with $200 bill for my two bedroom apartment! Since then I have been making small payments towards that, as well as my regular monthly payment. I am ALMOST caught up. When I moved in I paid a $300 security deposit on the electric, and since January 31st will be our last day here, I can't wait to ge that money back! I will probably have them take the last months bill out of that also.

I was also thinking about picking up a craft. Something to make a little side money. I have found a lot of neat ways to make refridgerator magnets, I was thinking about selling them online. Thoughts?

Technical Difficulties

Has anyone else  been having problems with Blogger lately? I am seriously considering a switch over to wordpress. I really wish I didn't have to because I finally have things just how I want them over here, but I am getting more and more frustrated by the day.

All of the new (might I say awesome) blogs I have added recently haven't been showing up in my feed and it is so frustrating that I can't keep up with all of you.

Thoughts?

______________________________________________________

A Little More Christmas

No Spend Days - Our garland was so much fun, it was more like one for the garland, one for the dog. One for the garland, one for the boyfriend. I am not a popcorn fan though, so I didn't endulge like the boys! Good luck to you and your Sealed pot also, I am so excited about this challenge! I wish it were next year already!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A little more Christmas.


Today was quiet on the home front. Love and I went to donate plasma, but I didn't have the right paper work, so we are going to go back tomorrow. 

Auston and I made Popcorn garland today! It was so much fun. I am really glad we made an advent calendar this year, I think it has really helped us get into the spirit. Everytime I look at our little tree I smile. The garland is hard to see, but trust me... its there! On the bottom of the tree is also the paper ornament Auston made. The other paper ones were to big to put onto the tree!





Also, for those of who were asking, here is a picture of my Sealed Pot. Its already got a pretty chunk of change added to it, just in the past couple days! I wrote a bunch of money saving sayings on it, to try and help deter me from opening it early!



Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A blessing in disguise.

What a night!
My paycheck has been MIA for a couple days now, tonight Auston and I decided that it had gone on long enough and we decided we really needed to find it. So we start looking in the most obvious places first. After an hour, our house turned completely upside down, we still had NO CHECK! I was seriously starting to stress. We have to pay our rent tomorrow, and without that check I had no idea how we were going to manage that. I had finally given up when we found it in between two video games - hmmm, I wonder who put it there? Auston felt bad enough, so I didn't give him to hard of a time about it.
Even though it caused some serious stress I think that my check disappearing was truly a blessing. During our raid of the house, we found my car fund envelope that I had been searching for for about a year now! it had $15 dollars in it.. Heck yess!! Guess where Auston found it... The trash. How it got in our RECENT trash, when we had been looking for a year is beyond me, but I am not here to ask to many questions. I put a couple dollars into my sealed pot, and the rest I will be putting into savings when I go to the bank tomorrow. :) Auston also found 5 dollars in his jeans earlier today. I guess sometimes money really does fall into your lap.

Auston and I also made paper Christmas ornaments today. It was a lot of fun and I am super excited about the way they turned out. Next year I want the same ones, but I want to get glitter and paint and all sorts of other fun things to decorate them with.

What do you think?


What kind of crafty things do you do during the holidays?

Monday, December 5, 2011

December Goals.

Here are my goals for this month:

- No more eating at work.
       I'm sure I can find a much better way to spend my money than at my own resturaunt. Instead I will start bringing granola bars for when I get hungry.

-Walk atleast once a week
      This way I can start getting myself in a routine and I will be able to successfully walk 2.75 miles a week like I have planned for next year.

- Put $100 towards my move in march
      Most of that funding is coming from my Tax return, but I do need a little bit of a head start.

-Start a "Piggy Bank" that we will not open for one year.
      I want to add a little to it each day, it needs to be sealed off and solid in color so we won't know how much is in there, and we wont be tempted to open it!
"the sealed pot challenge"

-Bake 112 cookies to give away to friends and family for Christmas
      We don't have much money to spare, I think this is a great way to show them that we care though.


Heres to hoping!

Our Menu! And a little more.

Sunday
Mushroom Swiss burgers! with a side of mashed potatoes :) - Absolutely delicious.


Monday
Grilled Chicken Fajitas - I haven't had these in over a year. I am hoping they turn out well!

Tuesday
Homemade Fried Chicken - With Homemade French Fries <3
Not a very healthy meal AT ALL, but Auston loves it, and it really is fun to make!

Wednesday
Burritos! For some reason this week I am really feeling Mexican

Thursday
Grilled Cheese and Chicken soup or leftevers. I haven't decided yet.

Friday
PAYDAY - If Auston and I manage to stick to our menu plan all week ( something that hardly ever happens!) Then I might treat him to a cheap dinner out.
Otherwise we will be doing a little more grocery shopping today.

Also, I have decided that once I have 20 followers I am going to do a "Give away" Probably a giftcard of some sort. So if you haven't already make sure you click the follow button up top, or subscribe to my email feed. :)

I hope all of you have a wonderful day!