Tuesday, June 26, 2007

This is where the rubber meets the road

Shannon got his first paycheck at his new job today. It isn't even enough to cover the rent, much less any other expenses. Before everyone panics and thinks we're sinking, we do have reserves, and we did expect this check to be low, even though it's nearly a full pay-period's worth of work. Shannon works in sales, so he gets a base plus commission. While he is training, he just gets the base. Unfortunately the base salary is only about 2/5 of what he was making at his old job. I talked to him today (he's in Utah for job training), and he thinks he can up his income fairly quickly. I believe him. He's pretty good at media sales. We do need to survive until that happens, and I don't want to go through all of our reserves. So, cutting expenses is what we will be doing. Time to triple my efforts.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm saving lots of money on groceries this week!

Shannon is out of town for a couple of weeks on business. My kids are picky eaters, so I'm definitely not cooking if I'm the only one eating. Our diets aren't the healthiest this week. We're eating lots of macaroni and cheese and sandwiches, but my grocery bill was only $60 last week! Yay! We go shopping for another week tomorrow. Hopefully it will be around $60 again. I would be THRILLED!

Monday, June 18, 2007

To COBRA or not to COBRA?

We received the info about COBRA insurance coverage today. Our insurance from Jim's former employer lapsed on May 31. He should be getting insurance from his new job in 90 days. That leaves us without insurance for 3 months, a daunting thought when you have two young kids. COBRA will cost us over $1000 a month. That will take a serious chunk out of our savings. So should we elect to take the coverage or not? I think we have another month before we have to decide. We'll probably take the entire month to decide. It's a gamble if we don't take it. If we do, we could be spending $3K on money that we could instead use to pay down our debt.

Friday, June 8, 2007

My Connundrum of the Day

What to do? What to do? After I washed my bathroom rugs last week, it became apparent that the toilet lid cover is in very sad shape. I'm trying to save money, and I don't really want to replace it. If I replace it, I need to get a new rectangular rug and contour rug, as well. The ones I have now are useable, but they're faded, and if I get a new lid cover, it will be obvious that the other rugs are really old. I could just take the lid cover off, but the toilet lid isn't in great shape. One of the downsides of renting. In the past, I would have just headed to Walmart to pick up a new set of rugs. The new me is going to think about this for a couple of days, though. I guess the fact that I'm going to wait before making a decision is progress.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Devote 15 Minutes a Day to Frugality.

Too often people think there isn't enough time to be frugal in today's society. We rely on convenience items like fast food, ready-made mixes, Shout Color Catcher (so you don't have to take the time to sort laundry)...you get the picture. According to Trent at The Simple Dollar you can be frugal by devoting just 15 minutes a day to frugality. By making small changes, you can reap big rewards in your budget. Trent provides a list of 20 money-saving strategies that take 15 minutes or less to accomplish. Then he challenges his readers to spend 15 minutes a day on frugality for the next 30 days. I'm in! For the next 30 days, I will spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something frugal. I've already done today's task. I made a menu plan and grocery list for the next week. Is anyone with me?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I think a huge reason behind our debt-laden society is the sense of entitlement people today seem to have. We take out mortgages we can't afford, because our friends have huge houses, and we think we should have one, too. Instead of buying a car we can afford with cash, we take out a loan to buy a brand new car that depreciates as soon as we drive it off the lot. We are constantly competing with those around us, trying to be bigger and better. The solution to America's debt problem is contentment. When we're content with what we have and willing to live within our means, the debt problem goes away. I struggle with contentment as much as the next person. We rent a modest duplex when it seems all our friends have nice houses, and sometimes that is really hard. But I'm comparing myself to the wrong people. The people I should be thinking about are the ones half a world away, who would be overwhelmed with gratitude to have what I have. I really am blessed. My family has a safe place to live, we drive cars that run, and we have enough food and clothing to get by. There are so many people in the world who don't have the very things I take for granted. In Philippians 4:12, Paul writes, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." That is my prayer for myself, to learn to be content, no matter what the circumstance.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A frugal idea from one of my friends

I was talking to a friend at church today, and she had a brilliant idea that I'm going to use. She took the summer activity guide from the paper, and wrote ALL the dates of things she might be interested in on the calendar. That way, if she just HAS to get out of the house with the kids, she knows exactly what is going on that day. And since most of the activities in the paper are free or inexpensive, she'll have a whole summer of inexpensive fun listed right on her calendar! I'm definitely going to use her idea. Experience tells me that there will be at least a few days during the summer where the kids are fighting and we just need a change of scenery.

Friday, June 1, 2007

I did a little frivolous spending today

I had to go into town this morning to buy some medication for our goldfish, who is very sick. Sadly, I don't think he's going to make it. But I digress, I decided to do a little window shopping, since it was my last morning out without the kids for the rest of the summer. I went to the mall and wandered into Evangel, our local Christian bookstore. I should know better than that. I don't think it is humanly possible for me to get out of that store without spending money. I was browsing the books for women, when I saw it. The book I've had my eye on for a long time. Disciplines of a Godly Woman. I spent $15.99 on the book, which I could have probably found cheaper elsewhere. On a more positive note, I found a swimsuit for Liz that only cost me $14.99. That was quite the adventure in itself. To read all about it, visit my other blog.