Down like we’re supposed to be..

Well I am not proud and am unable to toot my own horn this month.  We are down on combined debt but only down by $328.50.  I know that that is something to be proud of yes, but for me it is something to sneer at because that is far less than what was expected.  I guess I should plan my goals more modestly this time and see if we can come out on the top and with much better results for the month of September.

First goal:  Pay off $500 on the smallest card.  If we are able to afford to do so, pay off more.

Second goal: remove money from our joint checking to pay extra on our debt.

Third goal: add $200 to savings by the end of the month so we can use savings rather than add debt onto the cards again.

I have saved us $90 in our savings account this past month.  Just adding what is left over the night before payday straight into savings and its working great. Slowly but surely we will have a nice amount in there for us to have a cushion should something happen.

We started August with $119913.10 in debt and $0 in savings.  We are starting September with $119584.60 in debt and $90 in savings. Priorities need to be back in place this month and our minds focused!!!! I’ll blog again in a few weeks to give a halfway point update on progress.  Hopefully it is for the better this time. 🙂

Almost halfway through the month

We started off this month with $120261.70 in debt.  I haven’t made much of a dent in the debt total but I have been able to drop it down to $120132.55.  It’s not much but it’s been 3 cards paid on and the mortgage paid for the month.  Mortgage has been over paid, the cards have been paid on but I foolishly did not remove them from my husbands wallet so he has had access to 2 of the 3.  My intentions are to pay over $1000 on one card, our lowest balance with the 2nd to lowest interest rate.  So far I’ve paid $96 to that one card but he has used up a good chunk on one of our other cards.  I’ll blog again in a week or so and update again with the debt deduction.  I also have been stalking my credit score and I’m ashamed to say that it has plummeted.  I now also need to focus attention to bringing that back up as well.  Oh the joys of being an adult in this day and age.

Debt Free: It’s possible

Last time I wrote, I had posted the accumulated debt we had acquired in such a short time frame and how I had plans to eliminate it.  We were paying a monthly fee to a storage facility and they had raised our rates for the third time in a 14 month period.  Rather than continuing to throw away money on a place to hold my husbands tools, which he needed at the house, we decided to get a shed.  Obviously that added more debt ontop of the debt we already had.  My car also broke, it needed a new clutch.  My husband does all the car maintenance in our backyard rather than paying someone to do it for us.  Well, the clutch was installed but the transmission doesn’t want to go back in.  Our oldest son starts school on Monday and my husband can’t take off work every weekday to be able to take him to school and pick him up from school.  The bus does run out here but we agreed it would be better to take him to and from school because of what time he would need to be awake in the mornings.  So we also got a new, used car.  Adding even more debt for us.  Life seems to continuously throw stuff our way.

Debt May 2016:  $95333.40

Debt July 2016: $120261.70

Added debt since May 2016 had been $24928.30! That is a lot of added debt in such a short time frame! I have managed to get some stuff under the max amount on credit cards and that is always a plus in my book.  One card has been completely paid off and pushed to the back of my wallet, hidden in business cards. By the end of September there will be another card paid off.  I removed my subscription to Ipsy since it was such a frivolous monthly purchase and not at all needed.

 

On our way to a debt free life

Last year, exactly 1 year ago my husband and I were debt free. We paid off our 2 credit cards, his truck loan and other existing debt.  July of last year we became home owners.  Not a fancy home, but a house we have made a home and it fits our family well.  Our 2 boys share a room and our daughter has her own room and obviously we share a room.  We have almost an acre of land as well.  It’s a perfect home for us.  We accumulated debt as a result of buying a home, doing small repairs here and there, unexpected things with life, etc.  This year we have debt we never imagined to have.  The amount is still not quite as high as many Americans.  One thing with our debt is we don’t have vehicle debt which is very nice.

I handle the finances, all of them.  We both run each other by any major purchases and even small purchases if they are not necessary or necessary but not a normal purchase.  Since we purchased our home in July of last year, our debt has spiraled out of control.  Between the two of us, I was terrible with finances, I was addicted to shopping and it was BAD!  He went on 2 deployments while he was in after we got married which left me responsible for everything at home.  It was a much needed eye opener.  The lessons life teaches sometimes is for the better.  After his second deployment, I’ve been in charge.  I’ve had my failure moments at times or been too preoccupied to manage sometimes but in the end it’s me.

As of the start of May this year, our debt is $95k that we have accumulated in 10 months.  Its hard to think that in just 10 months we have managed to rack that much debt but its reality.  This is the start of our “get out of debt” process.  First things first is ALWAYS pay more than minimum on any debt.  If we did just minimum, it would be 29 years to pay it off.  29 YEARS!  We have zero plans on holding onto debt for that long or even half that time.  Any extra money in checking goes straight to our smallest card so it will be paid off first.  We pay $40 to that card twice a month.  Once that card is done, that $80 will be put towards the next smallest card until that is paid off.  Once all cards are paid off, that amount will be towards the mortgage.  I am hoping we can be done within 5 years but realistically my goal is 2025 to be debt free.

START:

MAY 2016: $95333.40

Paid to shop without coupons on hand

My mother in law has been telling me for months if not over a year about ibotta and checkout 51.  I finally downloaded them to my phone before I went grocery shopping Wednesday.  I played around on it, added all these coupons to my list on the app and then went to the store.  I did my normal grocery shopping routine and was being my usual conscious of what money was being spent.  I am tight with money out of habit.  Not everything needs to be stretched but I prefer to be tight with finances so that when things hit the fan we can afford to dip into savings without cutting expenses somewhere and doing without.  We do without a lot of things out of choice.  Anyways, getting off topic.  I got home, put everything away and took a picture of the receipts for both apps and the few items that were required to show barcode proof.  On ibotta, I got back $7.25 and an extra $10 just for using the app for the first time!  On checkout 51, I was only able to get back $2.25 but that was still money saved.  I wont be able to touch the money from either app till it gets to $20-25 per app which is fine with me.  I like the savings without having to get dressed on a Sunday morning, load 3 kids into the vehicle and go to the gas station for coupons and then have to sit down and cut and organize coupons and sale match.  I miss it, don’t get me wrong.  I do enjoy being able to be lazy about it though.  Walmart savings catcher is extremely helpful since I don’t have to sale match anything.  Go ahead and give ibotta and checkout 51 a shot, it’s definitely worth it, that’s for sure!

5 kids later…

ce you become a mom, it’s hard to find time for yourself, let alone try to get your body back that you had before kids or in some cases the body that you want but have never had.  I’ve got 5 kids, two are school age so that means 3 kids 24/7.  I had C in January of this year, J in 2015 and N in 2012.  The moment I found out I was pregnant with C, I knew my world would be turned upside down.  The age gap between my kids was magical and perfect, close enough that they would be able to hang out but far enough that my sanity could still stay in place.  After five kids, my body has taken a beating.  I was able to get back to my average for me which is 180lbs no problem but getting below requires effort.  After M (2007) and B (2009) I was able to get to a size I hadn’t seen since junior high and I was 23 years old.  After N, I was able to get down to 150lbs but I was in better shape than when I was 145lbs and had less loose skin.  I am now 184lbs after 5 kids, I wear a size 16 and C is 3 months old.

My goal is to be 130lbs and to be toned.  It’s not about the numbers as much as it is to look great and feel great when I look at myself in the mirror after I shower.  I need to love me the way I am when I am me without makeup, no name clothing, just me in all my beauty.  I need to be healthy for my children so I am able to run after them when they want to play tag.  I work out at the gym and at home.  I work out in front of my kids and in front of strangers.  I have set my mind to be healthy and I am taking responsibility for my health.  I have lost a total of 7lbs since 02/28 and I have a steady and healthy weight loss.  I hit a plateau and I move across it as smoothly as possible.

C watched me workout with a smile on her face from her playmat. N will get down on the floor and workout with me.  J will try to bring me my weights and he loves to get on the scale after I do.  My kids are my biggest support.  S is a great support as well, he is supportive as long as I don’t make the entire family go on a diet.  Which I understand that because it’s not fair for them to eat the same things I do.  I have my special meals for breakfast and lunch and only cook 1 meal for dinner that we all sit down and eat together as a family.

5 days a week I dedicate to working out.  I don’t diet much because I am nursing C but I do eat healthier with the exception of Ben & Jerry’s which is just a necessity.

DIY Dishwasher soap

My latest attempt at a thing I have seen on pinterest has been dishwasher soap. There are so many different options on pinterest for dishwasher soaps from liquid to tablets to powder. I went ahead with the powder for my first go ahead at it. So far I’ve ran the dishwasher twice using the powder I made and I’m noticing that my dishes are coming out looking cleaning, not having so many water spots and the smell of the soap is not nearly as strong as the store bought stuff I was using. It gets very clumpy the first few days so I have just been breaking it apart everytime I go to use it. Gotta love using citric acid and causing a reaction to make everything else clump up…YAY!

RECIPE:
1 CUP BORAX
1 CUP WASHING SODA (not baking soda)
1/2 CUP SALT (table salt is fine)
1/2 CUP CITRIC ACID (I used lemishine)
~MIX EVERYTHING VERY WELL, STORE IN AIR TIGHT CONTAINER
~USE 1 TSBP PER DISHWASHER LOAD (MIGHT NEED 2 TBSP IF YOU HAVE HARD WATER. WE HAVE HARD WATER BUT 1 TBSP WORKS FINE)

Addiction?? I think so!

My latest addictions have been almost a sort of problem. It’s not drugs or anything of that sort. I just keep finding a need to buy more and more cloth diapers and I’m pretty sure we have plenty in newborn size and I should stop buying BUT I just ordered 2 more AIO’s and I know for a fact we need at least 2 more covers for the prefolds so there goes $35. If I could figure out how to upload pictures right now I would show what our stash looks like, its a mini monster currently. Diaper stash includes: 30 newborn prefolds, 10 newborn work horses with snaps, 1 newborn rumparooz cover, 1 size one thirsties, 1 small workhorse no snaps, 2 small doublers, 6 fleece liners, 3 Alva OS AI2, 5 Alva OS covers. I would definatly have to say we are almost fully set for newborn with the exception of the few more covers. I had a custom newborn and OS cover made in Serenity fabric since my husband likes the movie a lot but I wont receive those till next week at some point. Pictures to come as soon as I can figure out how to upload from my phone onto the computer. My other addiction is the need to make EVERYTHING from scratch, not just food but cleaning supplies as well. If I had everything I needed on hand right at this moment, I would be making my own newborn covers as well but I don’t have a snap press or enough of a variety of PUL to make my own covers sadly. Ive got almost 2 years of laundry soap on hand in the garage right now so I wont be making my own anytime soon but am still looking forward to it. I may or may not be washing EVERYTHING more then I probably should just to run through that soap a little quicker though haha! But all good things must come to an end at some point right? Yeah, my washer quit spinning completely over the weekend, so I have 3 options right now until the new parts come in the mail. I can wash by hand (so far so good), go sit at a friends house daily till I’m done using their washer (awkward), or I could sit in a laundry mat with all these clothes (no thank you!) so I have chosen the most strenuous but least uncomfortable for me and that’s obviously washing by hand in the bathtub. I never knew how much dirt my washer actually got out of our clothes but oh my goodness we hold in a lot of dirt in our clothes! The color of the water isn’t pretty at all and I’m not even talking about when I wash my sons laundry because OH WOW! I cannot wait till my washer is back in working order, neither can my back!

Homemade applesauce courtesy of pinterest

I saw a thing on pinterest a while back about how to make homemade apple sauce in a crockpot and it doesn’t take much effort or ingrediants.  Sounds like a win to me so I gave it a shot and the end result was fully worth it!!!  Husband is not too picky of an eater and will really consume anything put in front of him but the real opinions are from my children and they LOVED it and even are still asking for more!!! The recipe for the homemade applesauce is as fallows:

Crockpot applesauce
8 apples peeled, sliced and chopped
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 cup water
put everything into crockpot, mix and set to low for 4-5 hours (I did 5 hours). If you like chunky, just put into jars and can away! If you like smooth, place in blender and blend to desired consistency then place in canning jars and your good to go!

Image  juicing apples (cheaper)Image  ready to go and cook!!!Image  YUMMY 2 1/2 pints!

Cloth Diapering 101

Image  This is the entire stash we had for our first son.  7 Alvababy diapers and 3 babyland diapers from ebay.  Yes we were definitely crazy for having this few of diapers and shortly after the 2nd picture date stamp I gave up fully on cloth diapers with my son. 10 diapers is NOT enough diapers even if you wash daily which I had no choice but to do.  Granted stains were basically non existant because of daily washing, but still it was a hassle to stay caught up even on those days where I wanted to push housework to the back burner.

ImageImage  I am pregnant with the next baby (due in mid-nov) and I’ve already started to get diapers set aside.  Originally we planned on doing disposable diapers and we had such a nice amount of them stacked in the tiny little closet in baby’s room BUT I started to talk to some friends who cloth diaper and I got really interested in them again.  This time around we will definitely have more than 10 diapers.  Currently for newborn size we have 30 GMD prefolds, 3 GMD workhorses, 2 small hemp doublers, 12 flat folds, 6 fleece liners, and 1 rumparooz cover.  We have 5 Alva one size covers and 3 Alva pocket diapers.  I need to get us more of basically everything before November so we are set for the entire diapering years (hopefully only 2 years) but so far we have a decent stash for having to start over again.  I did rebuy a print from the old stash that I loved so I’m excited to have that one on this baby’s bottom.

But why cloth diapers? We can afford to use disposables no doubt but its not about what we can afford and what we cannot afford.  I would rather have cloth diapers readily accessible than having to worry about “oh no we are out of diapers and baby stinks!” which has happened in the past.  On average a person spends between $7-$12 on one pack of diapers and the bigger size the baby gets into, the smaller the packs get. Yes after a certain point the child doesn’t get changed as frequently because they don’t urinate as often, but one pack of diapers generally will last between 3-5 days.  Boxes of diapers, one thing I never really purchased because in the end they were more expensive per diaper.  Anyways, we will start with the Alva diapers.  I do not purchase from a co-op, I purchase from the company directly because once again its cheaper in the end without co-op fees, shipping, waiting around and trusting a random mom.  The ones I have are between $3.50-$6.99 a piece.  I don’t purchase the bamboo liners, bamboo diapers, none of that.  The child is not in them enough for the need of extra absorbency and if they are prepped correctly a standard Alva diaper is excellent! For overnights, we will be using GMD work horse diapers with an added hemp doubler and fleece liner and a cover on the outside to help keep baby dry and all the urine in the diaper.  Yes its more expensive than just going out and buying a specific overnight cloth diaper and more work BUT they aren’t bulky, the price still isn’t bad and a diaper cover can be used between 2-4 times a piece in a day unless its actually soiled on the cover.  They literally wipe clean on the inside so I will be keeping some kind of sanitizing wipe next to the changing mat so if I need to wipe the inside out, I will be able to.  Cloth diapers are very addictive, you have to buy all the cute diapers and you can never have enough (yes you can lol) but everyone knows their limits.  You don’t have to go out and buy the diapers that are $20+ per diaper when you need at least 24 to start off with that’s $240 on only 24 diapers not including tax and shipping because most places don’t sell them in stores!  The closest store to me that sells them is over an hour away! Hello Amazon!!!