Sunday, December 16, 2007

Our Annual Budget for 2008

Here is an overview of our anticipated Income and Expenses for 2008. So long as we save the excess from the high income months to cover the low income months, we should be fine as well as be able to pay almost another $10,000 additional toward debts (assuming no visits from Murphy!). :)

  • Total Income /Total Expenses
  • Jan $12,576/$6,877
  • Feb $6,576/$6,592
  • Mar $12,576/$7,051
  • Apr $6,576/$6,935
  • May $6,576/$6,582
  • Jun $6,576/$7,067
  • Jul $6,576/$5,729
  • Aug $6,576/$6,302
  • Sep $6,576/$6,763
  • Oct $6,576/$5,813
  • Nov $6,576/$7,142
  • Dec $6,576/$6,128
  • Total $88,912/$78,981

To view the complete detailed spreadsheet of our 2008 Annual Budget, click here. Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks For Your Support

I want to thank everyone for their support this year. Without the support of the blogging community I'm sure we wouldn't have been able to achieve the progress we have this year.

Special thanks to:

Kris at Simply Us
Nine Circles at Nine Circles of Debt
No More Spending at Diary of a Reformed Spendaholic
JW at Need To Be Debt Free

Our Christmas Budget

We try to keep the budget down for Christmas, but we both have large families and grew up with a tradition of lots of gifts. We were also able to keep some of the gift amounts lower than usual (like our parents) because we have $250 in gift cards to put towards some of the gifts.

In my husband's family we buy for all the kids but do a "grab" and draw names for the adults, so we need 2 grab gifts, one for the name hubby draws and one for the name I draw. And the grab is for a $30 gift.

Here's how our Christmas budget looks:

Me - $20
Hubby - $20
Daughter #1 - $200
Daughter #2 - $200
Daughter #3 - $200

Mom - $20
Dad - $20
Sister #1 - $20
Sister #2 - $20
Sister #3 - $20
Brother in Law - $15
Sister's Boyfriend - $15
Niece #1 - $15
Niece #2 - $15
Nephew #1 - $15

Mom - $20
Brother #1 - $20
Grab #1 - $30
Grab #2 - $30
Nephew #1 - $15
Nephew #2 - $15
Nephew #3 - $15
Nephew #4 - $15
Nephew #5 - $15
Niece #1 - $15

#1 - $5
#2 - $5
#3 - $5
#4 - $5
#5 - $5
#6 - $5
#7 - $5

TOTAL: $1,000

Daily Progress Report

Couldn't work at the Church Nursery today because of a big snow storm. Hate to lose the money but it was nice not to have to go out in the chill.

Spent the day reading blogs, updating my blog, and listening to the Dave Ramsey show.

I feel inspired. :)

Updated Blog

Today I updated the side bar of the blog. All figures are now up to date. And I cleaned up my post labels to be more concise.

November 2007 Earnings

November 2007 Earnings:

Ad Revenue: $5.16
Associated Content: $2.31
Cash Crate: $2.34
Church Nursery: $81.00
Interest: $18.38

Total: $110.19

October 2007 Earnings

October 2007 Earnings:

Ad Revenue: $105.61
Associated Content: $4.19
Cash Crate: $11.38
Church Nursery: $84.00
Citi Bank Rewards: $150
Craig's List: $35.00
Jewelry: $10.00
Mystery Shopping: $10.00
Rebates: $7.00
Returns: $65.00
Interest: $20.01

Total: $502.26

Catching Flies With Honey

As I have mentioned, we recently got hit by our bank with 3 insufficient funds fees of $25 each, for a total of $75!!! Talk about stupid tax! All because we weren't paying attention.

So, my husband told me I should call the bank and see about getting these charges reversed. Well, I am a big chicken who avoids confrontation whenever possible. So, I asserted that he should be the one to call.

When it comes to our finances my husband and I each have our own individual strengths. I am good at shopping at discount stores, using coupons, getting price adjustments, and returning unwanted items. My husband finds most of these activities tedious and embarrassing. My husband is good at negotiating the best deals on purchases and services. I am horrible at these kinds of activities. In the end I convinced my husband that we were more likely to have a positive outcome if he made the call.

So, my husband made the call. And like the saying "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar", he was very nice and polite. He explained that we have been a customer of the bank for over 20 years and do not have a history of insufficient funds errors. He very nicely requested that the charges be reversed. Our hope was to get at least one of the charges taken away, but to our surprise the bank agreed to reverse all 3 charges! $75 put back into our account!

Now that was a phone call worth making!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Top 5 Reasons You Blow Your Budget

Well, we have not been doing that well with this months budget. It got me thinking about what it is that makes people, us included, overspend. So, I came up with this list of The Top 5 Reasons You Blow Your Budget:

5. Overly Aggressive (unrealistic) Budgeting
You are so determined to pay off all your debts as soon as possible that you set unrealistic expectations that are almost impossible to achieve. At the beginning of the month you are sure you can limit your grocery budget to $200 for the whole month, but once you are in the store you are unable to stick to the unrealistic figures you set for yourself.

The reason this one can be such a problem is that there is a fine line between being aggressive, which is good, and being unrealistic, which is not good. We hear Dave Ramsey tell us "beans and rice and rice and beans" and we get so excited that we cut our grocery budget to a small percentage of the usual figure. If a category was over inflated to begin with, you might be able to reach your goal. But if your usual amount was reasonable, you might be setting yourself up for failure.

The solution: is to set realistic budget goals. One way to do this is to try reducing the amount of a category by a small percentage each month. If you are successful in reducing a category by 10% one month, try going another 10% the next month. This will work much better than going for a 30% reduction immediately. You'll eventually find what is a realistic figure for each category of your budget.

4. Failure To Plan Ahead
Not planning ahead is a sure fire budget buster. You do the initial planning when you write out the actual budget, but many people stop planning after this. Big mistake! You need constant planning in order to successfully stick to a budget.

If you are out for a long day of doing errands with the kids and you haven't budgeted any money for lunch or snacks, you'll be tempted to go through the drive-thru and blow your budget if you don't plan ahead and pack some food from home to to bring with you.

The solution: is to spend some time every morning planning out your day. With a little forethought you'll find it much easier to stick to the budget.

3. Not Getting "Budget Buy In" From Your Spouse
If your spouse is not on board with your financial plan, it will be almost impossible to stick to your budget. Your left hand might be undoing all the good that your right hand is doing. Any purchases that have not been agreed upon in advance will ruin your budget.

The solution: is to have a budget meeting with your spouse. If he (or she) is reluctant, let him know that this is a very important issue to you. (If he is still reluctant, you have more than a budget problem, you have a marriage problem.) Before the meeting, prepare a simple hand written budget (no elaborate spreadsheets!) for him to review. Let him know that you want and need his input. Let him know that you will revise any category that he wants but that after the meeting all spending must be in accordance with the budget unless you both mutually agree to make a budget change.

2. Failure to Track Expenses
In order to have any chance at staying within your budget, you must track your expenses during the month. Not paying attention is a sure fire way to blow the budget. You may think you haven't spent much dining out this month and decide to go to a restaurant again, only to later find that you reached your dining out budget cap two weeks ago.

The solution: is to track all of your expenses. It doesn't matter if you do this in Quicken or on a little notebook that you carry in your pocket, but it is absolutely necessary to track your expenses during the month to ensure that you stay under the limits you set. Another good way to do this is to use the cash envelope system. Put cash in an envelope and label it with one of your budget categoris (like "dining out"). When there is no more cash in the envelope, you know that you have reached your limit for that category.

1. Failure To Delay Gratification
The number one reason that people blow their budget is that they give in to the desire for instant gratification. Becoming debt free or having a comfortable retirement are great goals, but they take time to achieve. We want what we want and we want it now. It is hard to wait. We work hard. We deserve to have fun now. These are the thoughts we have when we rationalize overspending. Delaying gratification is hard. Giving in to what we want now is easy.

The solution: is to remind yourself that you are a grown up! Instant gratification is a childlike behavior.

Try to avoid advertising whenever possible. Marketing executives work very hard to make you want their products! Try to shop with a list and stick to it!

Practice delayed gratification (sticking to your budget) and it will get easier! (At least that's what I keep telling myself!)

Goals For 2008

Jan - Return unwanted holiday gifts, Photograph jewelry for catalog/website
Feb - Update jewelry website
Mar - Write copy for jewelry newsletter, Photograph bracelets for ebay
Apr - Send Jewelry newsletter (Mother's Day, graduation), List mother's bracelets on ebay
May - Write copy for jewelry catalog
Jun - Print jewelry catalog
Jul - Photograph clothes for ebay
Aug - List kid's clothes on ebay, Research Craft fairs
Sep - List Halloween costumes on ebay, Sign up for Craft fairs
Oct - Write copy for jewelry newsletter, Photograph toys for ebay
Nov - Send Jewelry Holiday newsletter, List toys on ebay, Mail jewelry catalog, Attend Craft fairs
Dec - Attend Craft fairs

Our Annual Budget for 2008

Here is our Annual Budget for 2008. I tried to do a link to my Excel Spreadsheet but couldn't make it work, so it is very difficult to read here. (If anyone knows how to link to a spreadsheet, please let me know! :) )

A few notes about our budget:
The Jan commission should be around $8,000 instead of the $6,000, I just didn't update that yet.
The vacation category is higher than I would like but my sister just got engaged and is planning a destination wedding in the Caribbean in the summer of '08, so I need to start saving now.
Our gifts budget is based on the actual birthdays and events that we need to buy for each month (as well as a shower and wedding gift for my sister). Our average birthday/holiday gift price is $20.
The Parties budget is for my 3 daughter's birthdays and our annual Halloween party.
The Blow money category has been increased to give my husband $50 per week. This was necessary to keep my husband on board. (He feels cheap when he can't go to lunch with his coworkers.) My blow money will remain at $20 per week.
The Commission category is a rough estimate and will be tweaked as the months get closer.

2008 Budget

EXPENSES Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
CASH - Clothing
$0 $0 $0 $300 $0 $0 $100 $100 $100 $0 $150 $0
CASH - Gifts
$50 $160 $0 $50 $210 $160 $60 $260 $20 $125 $1,285 $45
CASH - Food
$400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500
CASH - Parties
$0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $100 $50 $0 $50
CASH - Pizza
$ $80 $100 $80 $80 $100 $80 $80 $100 $80 $100 $80 $80
CASH - School Fees
$5 $5 $5 $5 $5 $0 $0 $0 $5 $5 $5 $5
CASH - School Lunch
$36 $36 $36 $36 $36 $0 $0 $0 $36 $36 $36 $36
CASH - Blow
$280 $280 $350 $280 $280 $350 $280 $280 $350 $280 $280 $350
DEBT - Chase Visa
$900 $900 $900 $900 $900 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
$200$200$200$200$200$1,100$1,100$1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100 $1,100
HOME - Cbl/Ph
$181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181 $181
HOME - Elec
$220 $220 $187 $162 $160 $220 $220 $220 $190 $190 $190 $190
HOME - Maintenance
$25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25
HOME - Mortg
HOME - Oil
$350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350 $350
HOME - Trash
$0 $0 $65 $0 $0 $65 $0 $0 $65 $0 $0 $65
AUTO - Gas
$400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500 $400 $400 $500
AUTO - Insurance
$138 $138 $138 $138 $138 $138 $0 $0 $238 $138 $138 $138
AUTO - Maintenance
$25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $75
PERSONAL - Contacts
$0 $99 $0 $0 $99 $0 $0 $99 $0 $0 $99 $0
PERSONAL - Life Ins.
$0 $0 $256 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
PERSONAL - Newspap
$8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8 $8
$20 $0 $0 $20 $0 $0 $20 $0 $0 $20 $0 $0
PERSONAL - Rx Prilosec
$0 $10 $0 $0 $10 $0 $0 $10 $0 $0 $10 $0
$0 $0 $50 $0 $0 $50 $0 $0 $50 $0 $0 $50
PERSONAL - Vacation
$500 $500 $500 $500 $500 $500 $100 $100 $0 $0 $0 $0
KIDS - Basketball
$240 $0 $0 $220 $0 $0 $0 $0 $335 $0 $0 $0
KIDS - Piano
$264 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $264 $0 $0 $0 $0
KIDS - Preschool
$175 $175 $175 $175 $175 $175 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
KIDS - Misc. Fees
$0 $0 $40 $100 $0 $0 $0 $0 $125 $0 $0 $0
KIDS - Camp
$0 $0 $100 $0 $0 $260 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
$25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25 $25

INCOME Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1st Check -
$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276$2,276 $2,276
15th Check
Other - $0 $0 $6,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Church Check - $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100 $100
Other - $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total -
$10,576$6,576$12,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576 $6,576

CASH FLOW Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Begin Balance -
$0$3,699$3,683$9,208$8,849$8,843$8,352$9,199$9,473$9,286$10,049 $9,483
+ Income -
$10,576$6,576$12,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576$6,576 $6,576
$10,576$10,275$16,259$15,784$15,425$15,419$14,928$15,775$16,049$15,862$16,625$16,059 - Expens -
$6,877$6,592$7,051$6,935$6,582$7,067$5,729$6,302$6,763$5,813$7,142 $6,128
$3,699$3,683$9,208$8,849$8,843$8,352$9,199$9,473 $9,286 $10,049 $9,483 $9,931
Save -
$3,699$3,683$9,208$8,849$8,843$8,352$9,199$9,473$9,286 $10,049 $9,483 $9,931
Ending Balance $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Thursday, December 13, 2007

At A Standstill

Not too much to report. We did run out of money in our checking account and did resort to using a credit card to take care of Christmas. We will be able to pay it off in full when the bill comes but it is still upsetting to have to use credit.

On Jan. 1 we will get my husband's big commission and this will put us back in the better position of having money set aside for the low commission months.

What actually got us into trouble this month was a problem with my husband's commission this month. He had forecasted a commission of $2,500, but it came in at only $150. Of course this happened in the first month that we had no "cushion" money left in savings except for our $1,000 emergency fund. The problem with the commission was a combination of a mistake with his company's payroll, and too high of an estimate from my husband.

And could there be a worse month for all this to happen in?

On the 15th things will look up when my husband gets his next check, and everything should be fine on Jan. 1st.

And once the holidays are over I will hopefully dedicate the proper attention to finances once again! (New Year's resolution anyone?) :)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

This is Difficult!

Well, earlier this month we overdrew our checking account and got hit with a $25 service charge. Then this weekend I was making a purchase and tried to use my debit card (because I still hadn't managed to get to the bank to withdraw cash) and my card was declined.

What did I do? Did I put my purchase back like Dame Ramsey would advise? No. I didn't. I used my credit card. Yup. The ugly c word.

When I got home I checked our account to find we had a balance of $5.00.

I ran off to the bank to deposit a couple of checks I had been carrying in my purse but hadn't gotten around to depositing yet.

So, not paying attention to the finances for a couple of weeks has cost us.

Hoping to get back on track but this may require more than just hope.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

11/06/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, I forgot to report on the Craft Fair I went to on Saturday. I ended up making about $127.00. Of course I had to pay $25 for the table, and I did spend a bit on supplies I needed, but I can use them for future events too. So, not great earnings but not a total waste of time either.

I really need to plan and research a little better next year. This fair was at a church and was their first year holding it, so there wasn't much traffic.

I did get a jewelry order from an ad I have in a local newsletter, and that will bring in $45 so I'm pleased with that.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

12/04/07 - Daily?? Progress Report

Okay. My Progress Reports have been anything but "daily" lately!

We haven't exactly been off plan, but with life so busy lately, we have been just sort of cruising along. The biggest problem with this is that I haven't been to the bank to withdraw our monthly cash (we pay cash for all monthly expenses except bills and things like that) - so, the debit card has been in use. Yes, it's a lot better than the credit card, but it is so hard to keep track of what we are spending with the debit card. Seems I have really come to like the cash system.

We were supposed to withdraw $560 at the beginning of the month to cover groceries ($360), spending ($200), pizza ($80), and school lunch ($27). My task for tonight will be to figure out how much of this "cash" we spent via debit already so I can determine the right amount of cash to withdraw from the bank tomorrow. Once I have the cash I think we'll be in pretty good shape for this month.

As for the very low commission my husband got this month, he says that next month will make up for it with a very high one. (We should be able to save several thousand from next month's commission to save for future possible low commission months.) So, I'm feeling much better about that.

I do still need to check on the Christmas spending and see how in line we are to the budget. That will be quite a project.

I did manage to complete a full budget for next year for all twelve months. With my husband's raise and the big commission expected for next month, next year's budget looks really good. I have the debt snowball payments set at $1,100 still, but we may be able to up that quite a bit ($2,100?) and get out of debt that much sooner. (Can't wait for that!)

So, lots to do. And I hope to get back into regular daily posting. It definitely helps to keep me on track.

Thanks for the kind comments and encouragement from everyone!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Slowly But Surely

Well, I just checked our total debt payoff progress (and updated it in the sidebar). We started on our journey to become debt free in February of this year (2007). So far, we have decreased our debt by $11,800.00!! This is pretty great since it means that we have paid even more than that amount, since we have also paid interest.

Basically, we have been paying $1,100 towards debt each month, with some extra payments thrown in along the way.

Before we found Dave Ramsey and began to get our financial life in order, we would have been paying only a little more than our minimum payments, probably around $400 a month. Not to mention that we would probably have continued to charge more!

If we keep it up, we will have our last credit card paid off in May 2008 and have all our debts (except our mortgage) paid off in August 2010.

Without Dave Ramsey, this never would have been possible!

Cash Crate & Associated Content

I haven't done much with either Cash Crate or Associated Content in a while, but I decided to check on these accounts today. To my surprise, I am still earning a small stream of income from these sites!

Cash Crate is an on line survey site. You sign up for free. Then you will see a list of offers and how much each one pays. You select only the offers you want to do. You can also do up to two daily surveys each day, with each one paying $ .80. You can earn a decent amount of money just by doing offers and daily surveys.

You can also earn money with Cash Crate through referrals. You will earn $3 for each referral (once they reach the $10 minimum payout). You will also earn 20% of the money your referral earns, and 10% of what their referrals earn! (This is how I am still earning a little cash from CC without having done any offers or surveys in a while.)

Cash Crate is a great way to earn extra money in your spare time. (I usually did offers while watching tv.). I highly recommend them. They pay you by check once each month so long as you've earned at least $10. If you are interested in learning more about Cash Crate and possibly signing up, please click here.

Below is a list of the money I have earned though Cash Crate:

Cash Crate Earnings
$51.47 June
$51.55 July
$80.14 Aug
$23.82 Sep
$11.36 Oct
$ 2.34 Nov (so far)

Join Associated Content

Associated Content is an on line site that calls itself "The People's Media Company". You can read articles on just about every topic. You can also sign up for free to be a "content producer". Basically, you write an article, submit it to them, and they offer you payment. Generally you get paid between $3 and $15 for each article they accept (with an average pay around $8 each). So, the more you write, the more you earn.

You can also earn money with AC from "Performance Bonuses". This is basically extra pay you earn based on the number of page views your articles receive. So, even though I haven't written anything for AC in a few months, I still receive regular payments from them based on the page views my articles are getting.

Another way to earn money from AC is from referrals (if they are still offering this). Basically if you referred someone to AC and they signed up to be a "content producer", after their first article got published, you would get a $3 referral bonus.

One of the best things about AC is that they pay you very quickly, typically every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with no minimum payout. They pay you through PayPal so you do need to have a PayPal account (which is free to get if you don't have one).

Below is a list of the money I have earned with AC. It's not a whole lot of money, but given that I haven't written very much for them, I think AC is one of my best and easiest income producers. And has the potential to earn a lot more, if only I would write a lot more! I highly recommend signing up. (If you would like to learn more about Associated Content and possibly sign up, please click here.)

I have earned a total of $137.79 writing for AC. This is for payment for about a dozen articles, as well as the performance bonuses and referral bonuses that I have received.

$ .22 May
$ .09 Jun
$2.25 Jul
$2.51 Aug
$3.06 Sep
$4.45 Oct
$2.31 Nov (so far)

4 referrals x $3 each = $12.00

11/26/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, I did a lot of work getting my jewelry ready for the craft show this Saturday. Looks like I'll be ready in time this time. Hopefully will make a little money!

Going to do a little Christmas shopping again today. Went yesterday and did quite well. Those gift cards I got for signing up for American Express have been really fantastic. I have used them for almost all of the gifts for my extended family. Not so much for my kids though, since none were for toy type stores. But only needing to shell out the cash for my kids has been a great help to the Christmas budget.

As for the rest of our finances, I am still very worried about using the last of our "buffer" money from savings. (This is money from my husband's high commission months that I put aside to use for the low commission months.) I feel very nervous about using the rest of that money only leaving the $1,000 emergency fund in savings. What will we do next month if there is another low commission?

I am thinking about only paying the minimum on our debts this month and saving the rest for a "buffer". The minimum would be about $350 and that would leave $750. I really hate to do this as it will move back out debt free date but it might give me peace of mind.

Need to think about it a little more.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

11/25/07 - Daily Progress Report

Worked at the church nursery today. Also placed a rush order for some supplies so that I can go to the craft fair this Saturday and sell some of my jewelry (hopefully!). I hate that I had to pay extra for rush shipping since I waited until the last minute to order. Being busy definitely costs you extra!

We also managed to overdraw our checking account and incur a $25.00 insufficient funds fee. I can also blame this in being busy (and unorganized!). I was transferring $1,500.00 from our savings (reserved for upcoming monthly expenses) and I just didn't do it in time. Ugh!

So, November has not been our best financial month so far.

Also, my husband's upcoming commission check is all wrong. He is only getting $150 and we had budgeted/forecasted for $2,500!! My husband says it will get fixed but probably not until his January check!

I was able to go over all the numbers and come up with a budget of only the necessities and it looks like we can just squeak by in December and still pay $1,100 towards our debt snowball.

I am nervous though, because the $1,500 I transferred is the last of our cushion in our savings account, besides our $1,000 emergency fund.

So, feeling a little nervous about the upcoming months . . .

Today's earnings:
Church Nursery: $28.00

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Black Friday

Well, as is the tradition in my family, I went shopping with two of my sisters yesterday - Black Friday. We got up at 4:30am and were at the stores by 5am. The sales weren't as good as they have been in the past, but we still did well and had fun. (I know that would be the farthest thing from fun for a lot of people, but we enjoy it.)

We had a great Thanksgiving. This was the first year that I hosted it at my house, since my parents just moved to Florida. I didn't mind hosting, especially since my Mom gave me a check to pay for the food for the meal, but having so many overnight guests staying at the house did make it difficult. We had my Mom, my Dad, my sister, her husband, and their two kids, and my other sister. On top of the five in my family, it really was a house full - especially with only one shower. But we did fine.

I didn't manage to get things ready for the craft fair that is today, so I skipped it. This really is a waste since I already paid $25 for the booth, but things have just been too busy. I will have to do better planning next year.

I have most of my Christmas shopping done and I think I'm doing okay as far as the budget, but I really need to organize everything and add up how much I have spent on each person.

I have budgeted $200 for each of my three children. I don't know if people think this is high, but it is difficult to keep it less because as the kids get older, the cost of the items they want goes up considerably.

Anyway, I will hopefully be posting more now that my house guests have gone and things can hopefully get back to normal. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

11/18/07 - Daily Progress Report

Things are getting back to normal. Worked at the church nursery today. I am scheduled to sell my jewelry at a Craft Fair next Saturday and another one the next Saturday. Have a lot to do to prepare for that. And, I'm having Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. On top of that my parents and my sister, her husband, and two kids will all be staying with us for the long weekend.

I have a lot to do!

Today's Earnings: $28.00
Church Nursery: $28.00

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Big Gas Pump Blunder

I had a shocking revelation right before we went away for vacation but didn't have time to post about it yet, so here goes.

I was getting gas at my usual gas station - which was carefully selected long ago for offering one of the lowest prices in town even though they offer full service, which is key when you have young children. I pulled in, rolled down my window, and said my usual "fill it with regular" with a smile.

Then, as I was watching the total go up and up and up, as it always does, something caught my eye. A little red light was lit up next to the octane grade that was being used. To my surprise, it was not the lowest grade that I thought I had selected when I chose "regular".

The sign at this gas station shows three prices for three grades of gas. Regular, plus, and premium - or so I thought.

Turns out that this gas station offers FIVE grades of gas! I thought I was getting the lowest price by ordering "regular" when in fact they call their lowest grade of gas "economy"! And there is a $ .15 difference in price!

Now if I had only made this mistake a couple of times it wouldn't be such a big deal, but I have been going to this gas station for 7 years!!!

So, I fill up about once a week, about 15 gallons each time. So, 15 gallons x $ .15 = $2.25. And $2.25 per week x 52 weeks each year = $117 a year. And $117 a year x 7 years = $819!!!

So, this was a very costly mistake that cost me $819 over the last 7 years!

I guess I learned the hard way to make sure you order carefully!

WOW! A Happy Husband!

Well, I can hardly believe it. My husband just told me how nice it was to go on vacation and have the cash set aside to pay for it! He said he usually feels guilty when we get back from vacation when he thinks about all the money we spent, but not this time. He says it was really great to have the money set aside in advance and be able to spend it guilt free.

I couldn't agree more!

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm Back - Finally!

Well, we just got back from a wonderful family vacation in Disney World! We had a great time and paid for the whole trip completely in cash!! Now that was a first! And, we actually came home with a little money left over. Under budget for once! :)

So, I haven't posted much so far this month but I should be back on track now.

It will take me a few days to update all my blog stats and post my November budget and my October actuals - but I'll get there. Thanks for your support - it really has helped keep me on track. And thanks for your patience.

I have missed blogging . . .

Monday, November 5, 2007

11/05/07 - Daily Progress Report

Okay, I have been mia lately. Have not been doing very well with finances over the last couple of weeks. It kind of feels like I have been on a strict diet and I just couldn't take it any more and had a big binge. Well, I didn't exactly go on a spending spree or anything, I just haven't been paying very close attention lately. And that's almost as bad.

I need to go over October and find out exactly where we went wrong. And I need to plan out November. The problem is that I'm not sure when this is going to happen. We are leaving for our Disney World trip on Saturday and I have a lot to do to get ready for that. (This trip was planned prior to Dave Ramsey and the start of our financial journey. We saved up and will pay cash for the whole vacation.)

On a good note, I have already finished a lot of my Christmas shopping, and I was able to buy lots of gifts with the $250 in free gift cards I got for signing up for an American Express Rewards card! I had planned to apply an extra $250 that was budgeted for gifts to debts this month, but I'll have to look at our budget to see if we can swing it.

I'm feeling a little uneasy because our surplus funds in savings is very low. (By surplus funds, I mean the money that I put aside from the high commission months to cover for the low commission months.) Starting with my husband's next paycheck his 20% raise should kick in, so that should help, but I'm still a little uneasy.

On top of all that, my husband has told me that he can no longer bear to live on the "measly" $30 a week blow money that "I allow him". He feels that this low amount is "ridiculous". So, this is very discouraging. I told him that we need to look at the budget together and he can tell me what we can cut to increase his spending money. He wants no part in looking at the budget. He says it just stresses him out and he has enough stress at work and doesn't want more of it at home.

So, lots on my mind today . . .

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10/30/07 - Daily Progress Report

Haven't posted in almost a week! We had a big family birthday/Halloween party this weekend with an elaborate Haunted House that took a lot of preparation (and a lot of money!). And now I'm sick with a terrible cold.

I can't think of any earnings that I have to report since last week. And I have tons of expenses! I need to tally up all of our actual spending this month and compare it to our October budget. I'm pretty certain we went over.

Also need to put together the budget for November . . .

Hopefully I'll be feeling better tomorrow and I can get it all done!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

10/24/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $7.00
Rebate: $7.00

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Credit Card?

We'll, the American Express bonus rewards points worked out so well (I got $250 in store gift cards just for signing up), I decided to also sign up for a CitiBusiness PremierPass Card to get $150 in free gift cards. I got my approval letter in the mail today - Whoo Hoo!

If you are interested in learning about these offers you can check out this post by Five Cent Nickel.

10/23/07 - Daily Progress Report

We'll, the American Express bonus rewards points worked out so well (I got $250 in store gift cards just for signing up), I decided to also sign up for a CitiBusiness PremierPass Card to get $150 in free gift cards. I got my approval letter in the mail today - Whoo Hoo!

If you are interested in learning about these offers you can check out this post by Five Cent Nickel.

Today's Earnings: $150

Citibank Rewards: $150

Monday, October 22, 2007

10/21/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $63.03
Craig's List: $35.00
Church Nursery: $28.00
Ad Revenue: $ .03

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10/16/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $46.51
Ad Revenue: $5.38
Associated Content: $1.13
Returned Items: $40

What My Budget Says About My Values

I read an interesting article on what your budget says about your values at My Money And My Life (from the beginning of the summer), so I decided to examine my own budget in this light.

Here are my budget items in order from the most expensive to the least. Let's see what that says about my values.

1. Home - my home mortgage is our highest expense. Add in all the utilities and this expense is almost triple our next highest expense. I am okay with this being our highest expense. I put great value on my home and my home life. Family is very important to me and our family time is spent together at home.

2. Debts - our monthly debt payments are our next highest expense. While I think this shows how much we currently value becoming debt free, I am not happy about what this says about our past values. I'm afraid we placed too much value on things and instant gratification in the past. We are on our way to fixing this.

3. Activities/Gifts/Entertainment/Dining Out/Blow Money - While this may seem like a rather catch all category, I could summarize it as "Fun". And while I think we probably need to lowers this category in order to increase "Prepare For The Future" (college, retirement, fully funded emergency fund, etc.), I am okay with this category being somewhere near the top. Enjoying your life is kind of the point of everything, isn't it? (Once the debts are paid off, that money will go mostly to the future anyway.)

4. Food & Car Expenses are about tied in 4th place. I value food waaaay more than cars, but some food expenses are included above in the Fun category, so I guess I am spending more on food than on cars - phew!

Well, it seems that our budget is fairly well aligned with our values. The glaring problems with the current state of things is even having a need for the Debts category - and the lack of a category for Planning For The Future. These will both be resolved once we become debt free.

Take a look at your own budget and see how in line it is with your values.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is "Blog Action Day". A day when bloggers unite to write about saving our environment.

Well, saving the environment and saving money often go hand in hand, so this is clearly a topic appropriate for a personal finance blogger.

Here are a few things my family does that saves us money and is also good for the environment:

- we use compact florescent light bulbs, they last much longer than regular bulbs and therefore save us money by not needing to replace them as often, and they use much less electricity which also saves us money on our electric bill, and using less electricity is obviously good for the environment.

- we only wash clothes and dishes with a full load - this uses less water and electricity, saving on our water and electric bill, and also good for the environment.

- we keep our thermostat set at 68 degrees, and turn down lower at night, and off when we leave the house, this saves us money on our oil bill, and uses less oil which is good for the environment

- we keep the air pressure appropriate on our vehicle tires, this gives us better gas mileage, saving money on gas and using less which is good for the environment

Those are just a few that I could think of off of the top of my head. I'm sure there are more that we do, and certainly there are many many more that could and should be done.

I just wanted to do my part to participate in Blog Action Day. A great effort for a great cause!

10/15/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $28
Church Nursery (actually from yesterday): $28

Dave Ramsey Premieres on Fox Business Channel Tonight

Tune in to see Dave Ramsey on prime time television with his new show on the Fox Business Channel tonight. For more information and to see if that channel is available in your area, click here.

(Unfortunately, that channel isn't available in my area!) :(

My Best And Worst Financial Decisions

After reading several posts from the M-Network Group about their best and worst financial decisions, I decided to think about and post my own.

I'll start with my family's worst financial decisions because it should be easier for me to think of these!

Our Worst Financial Decisions

Buying An Expensive SUV - This was one of our worst financial decisions. My husband had been with a company that provided him with a company car for twelve years. Every two years he got a newer model SUV and it was paid for by his company. When he decided to change jobs, we knew we would need to purchase another car. We agreed to buy a used car. My husband wanted to get something modest like a Nissan Altima. I pushed for him to get an SUV. His new job was not a downgrade and I didn't want him to downgrade in vehicle. Looking back now, I think I was worried about what other's would think. I didn't want anyone to get the impression that we weren't doing well. (Talk about trying to keep up with the Joneses!)

Paying For The SUV With A HELOQ - To make the decision to buy an expensive SUV even worse, we decided to take out a Home Equity Loan to pay for it. My husband gets the credit for this bad decision. I was uncomfortable using our home as collateral for a loan to pay for our car. My husband insisted this was a good decision because the interest rate on the HELOQ was lower than the interest rate for a car loan. I gave in - and we are still paying for that HELOQ (even though we got rid of the SUV two years ago!) - and the balance on the HELOQ has actually gone up instead of down! (due to a combination of only paying the minimum and actually adding charges to the loan!). Not only was it a really really bad idea to risk our home as collateral for a car, this was also a terrible plan for us because of our lack of financial discipline. If we had taken out a regular car loan, we would have been forced to pay a large amount each month and have the loan paid off in 4 or 5 years. Instead, by using a HELOQ we were able to only pay a small minimum monthly payment (which is what we did) and we could take up to 20 years to pay it off! (Which it probably would have if we hadn't found Dave Ramsey and begun our journey to Debt Freedom!)

Not Saving Money When We Had A Lot Of Disposable Income - After we got married, my husband and I made a good decision and purchased an inexpensive two family home. We fixed it up, rented out the second floor, and lived very inexpensively on the first floor (our rental income paid for 75% of our very low mortgage). During the first five years of our marriage we didn't have children and we both worked and earned good salaries. During this time we had the opportunity to save a lot of money. Instead we managed to spend everything we made, and then some. We somehow managed to rack up about $10,000 of credit card debt! The saddest part about it is that we really have nothing to show for all this spending. We took a couple of average vacations and bought a little furniture - certainly not enough to account for thousands of dollars of lost disposable income!

Not Being Able To Keep Our First Home As Rental Property - We lived in our inexpensive two family home for a total of nine years. In 2000, with two young children, we decided to purchase a larger single family home. We should have had plenty of money for a down payment on a new home and still be able to keep our two family as rental property, but because of our poor financial management, we needed to use the money from the sale of the two family as the down payment for our new home. It still bothers me today that we could be making some nice rental income each month had we only paid attention to our finances earlier!

Taking Out A 401K Loan - When I was pregnant with our first child, we made the decision that I would quit my job and be a stay-at-home Mom. At that time, we had $10,000 in credit card debt and felt that we needed to pay off this loan in order to be able to afford for me to stay home. So we took out a 401K loan to pay off the credit cards. Looking back I'm not sure why we thought it was better to pay monthly to our 401K loan than to pay monthly to our credit cards. It felt like we paid off our credit cards, but in fact we just transferred our debt from one thing to another. Then, just like I always read about, we went ahead and racked up another $10,000 in credit card debt. On top of this, we lost out on the interest that our 401K investments would have made during the time it took us to pay it back. If you're thinking about a 401K loan - reconsider now!!

Well, I'm sure we have made other financial mistakes but those are the ones that come to mind first.

Now to think of some of our best financial decisions . . .

Our Best Financial Decisions

Buying An Inexpensive Two Family Home - I know I mentioned above how we could have done better with this decision, but this was a good financial decision. Instead of paying rent, we were paying into the equity of a home. This was good. Also, we avoided the mistake of buying an expensive home (like a lot of our friends did) that required two incomes to pay for it. We were smart enough to purchase something that we could afford on one salary so that when the time came I was able to quit my job to be a stay-at-home Mom.

Contributing To Our 401K Consistently & Early On - Again, I know I mentioned above that we made the mistake of borrowing from our 401K, but we could have done worse. As soon as we were able, we contributed the maximum into our 401K's, and continued to contribute consistently. (Until this year when we temporarily stopped contributions so as to pay off all our debts as soon as possible.)

Realizing That Small Amounts Of $ Can Make A Big Difference - In the past I didn't think that small amounts of money could hurt us or help us. I avoided trying to earn extra money because I didn't think it would make any real difference in our finances. I also didn't view small expenses as anything to worry about. I now realize that small amounts of money can make a big difference in our finances. Every small purchase I avoid helps our bottom line. And every small amount I earn also helps our bottom line. This realization has greatly improved our finances, and will continue to improve our finances for our lifetime! I now think about (and budget for) every small purchase, and I no longer see it as a waste of time earning small amounts (for example, working at the Church earns me $28 each week. In the past I would have found this too small to make a difference. I now see it as more than paying for my daughter's weekly piano lesson!).

That's all I can think of for now. I'd love to hear about other's best and worst financial decisions either in comments or in your own blog! :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Big Raise Pays Off!

Well, several weeks ago I posted about my husband's great promotion and raise. Well, we just found out that he's getting a $22,000 bump in his base pay! This is sooo great! The major portion of his salary is still commission, but now we can count on an extra $1,000 in his monthly take home pay! (Now there is the chance that the commissions could plummet and we'll end up taking home less than before, but that is unlikely.)

So, I have already done a revised Debt Snowball where we throw $2,100 per month at the debts (instead of the current $1,100) and if we really can keep up with that kind of a snowball - we'll be debt free in March 2009!! (This is sooo much better than the original debt payoff date of August 2010!)

Obviously, I am happy about the possibility of us getting out of debt sooner rather than later. But there are two specific reasons that this is making me sooo happy!

The first is our car situation. In the near future, we are going to need to replace our minivan. It is very old and is starting to have problems. I am willing to drive it as long as possible (eventhough it has a big rust spot on the front of the hood of the car!), but chances are we will need to replace it sometime over the next 3 years. This has always been in the back of my mind, nagging at me, because if we took 3 years to pay off all of our debts, how could we possibly save up to buy another car? (This is a point my husband would point out to me every time I mentioned how well we have been doing paying off our debts!)

Now, if we can become debt free in 17 months, that should give us enough time to save up and pay cash for our next car. And now that we'll have $2,100 instead of $1,100 each month, we'll be able to save up enough that much faster!

The second reason that I am very happy is - at the beginning of the summer, I spent some time plotting out the probable dates of some future large expenses. (I didn't even put new cars into these equations.) I plotted out start of college for Daughter #1, Daughter #2, and Daughter #3, as well as possible wedding dates (age 28?) for each of my 3 Daughters. Then the possible retirement date for my husband (age 64?). Next to each expense, I put an estimate of the amount of money that would be needed.

I also put the date when we would possibly have the mortgage paid off, and added the monthly mortgage payment towards our available income. I assumed that our money was invested with a return of 8% (actually 12% adjusted for 4% inflation).

I tried and tried but couldn't get close to having the appropriate amounts by the appropriate dates. Even when I assumed that we started saving $1,500 per month immediately (which was quite a stretch given that we only had $1,100 and it was earmarked for debts for 3 more years, and the fact that this didn't take into consideration the need for car replacement, home repairs, or other sinking fund type expenses) - and even with these stretches we still came up a little short for each of the expenses.

I haven't redone all of the math, but I think we are a lot closer to being able to achieve our goals with $2,100 a month!

I really can't wait to tell my husband "I told you so" when we pay cash for our next car! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

10/11/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, including today's earnings I am up to $196.16 so far this month. Appears I am on target to earn around $600 this month - not the $1,000 I am aiming for. But there's still time. My performance in getting things on ebay and writing for Associated Content has been lacking. If I get my act together, I could still manage to make $1,000 but it will be tough.

I did apply for another credit card (I know, I know, totally against the Dave Ramsey way!) - but I can't resist those free bonus points! This card from citibank will get me $150 in free gift cards, which I will use towards gifts, both Christmas and upcoming birthdays. This money added to the $250 in gift cards I got from American Express will put a huge dent in my gift expenses. And I will put the funds I would have spent on these gifts towards the debt snowball! So, if I get approved for this new card I will add $150 to this month's earnings.

Today's Earnings: $103.06
Ad Revenue: $100.11
Associated Content Performance Bonus: $3.06

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Credit Cards Tempting Offers - Update

A couple of month's ago Five Cent Nickel posted about some Great Credit Card Offers. I was reluctant and skeptical to apply for a card to take advantage of the bonus rewards points being offered. But after some thought and several phone calls to verify the details of the offer, I went ahead and applied for an American Express Card (business card, but anyone can get it as a "sole proprietor"). The $40 membership is waived for the first year (and I plan to cancel before the next), and I was supposed to receive 25,000 membership rewards after making my first purchase (of any amount, even $1). These membership rewards can be cashed in for a free airline ticket or for gift cards.

Well . . . I am very happy to report that I just received my free $250 in gift cards in the mail!!!
Yup! $250 in free gift cards!! There are lots of stores to choose from. I decided to get $150 for The Gap, $50 for Bath & Body Works, and $50 for Crate & Barrell. I plan to use these to buy Christmas gifts for my family.

So, if you're interested, it's not too late to sign up!

I'm even considering applying for another!

10/09/07 - Daily Progress Report

Deposited a couple of checks today that came to almost $50.00 (one from Mystery Shopping and one from Cash Crate). Also transferred $50.00 from Paypal into our checking account (from ebay sales and Associated Content payments). So, I paid an extra $100 to Chase Visa - which is the debt currently under attack by the Debt Snowball. So, paid $1,000 on this debt instead of $900 as budgeted. Very happy about this. I plan to throw every extra cent at this debt and have it gone asap! Then we'll be down to just the HELOQ! Can't wait to be debt free!

Today's Earnings: $0

Monday, October 8, 2007

10/08/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, I have been missing the past several days. Haven't even had a chance to get on line. I'll try to catch up over the next few days.

Today's Earnings:$45.06
Ad Revenue: $ .06
Mystery Shop: $ 10.00
Jewelry Sale: $ 10.00
Returned Items: $25.00

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

10/02/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ 20.04
Ad Revenue: $ .03
Savings Interest: $20.01

Monday, October 1, 2007

October 2007 Budget

Budgeted Income: $7,208
Budgeted Expenses: $6,945
Save for Future Monthly Expenses: $263

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Budgeted Income: $7,208
Funds Saved from Last Month: $61
Husband's 1st check: $1,593
Husband's 1st commission: $3,754
Husband's 15th check: $1,700
My church check: $100

Budgeted Expenses: $6,945
Home - Mortgage: $2,355
Home - Electric: $190
Home - Oil: $273
Home - Cable, Phone, Internet: $167
Home - Trash: $65 (paid quarterly)
Debt - Chase Visa: $907
Debt - HELOQ: $193
Auto - Gas: $350
Auto - Insurance: $138
Nursery School: $175
Piano: $264 (13 weeks of classes, not paid last month)
Prescriptions: $20
Gifts: $200 (take parents to dinner for babysitting our kids for a week when we went to the Bahamas, and take husband's coworker to dinner for helping him get promotion, gift for neighbor for helping us move a refrigerator, dryer, and china cabinet.)
Misc.: $100
Activity Fees: $420 (budgeted for last month but check's have not yet cleared - $85 each for 2 daughters for basketball fee, plus $225 fee for the travel team, $25 membership for for me for the local MOMS Club where I get free advertising for my jewelry.)
School Photos & Fees: $118 ($24 x 2 for school photos, $35 x 2 for "activity fee" for school)
Husband's New Cell Phone for Work: $200 (his job will now pay the monthly phone charges and we'll get a $150 rebate on the phone)

Grocery: $225
Dining Out: $100 (dinner for best friend's 40th birthday, other)
Pizza: $80
Spending: $220
Parties: $100 (2 daughter's birthday parties)
Gifts: $30 (birthday)
School Lunch: $36
Misc.: $10

Save For Future Expenses: $263

Monthly Progress Report - September 2007

Well, September is over. I spent the evening going over our financial records to find out how we did sticking to the budget this month.

The first thing I have to report is that I found a great way to calculate the money we spent. (Most of you probably already know about this!) We have been paying our bills on line for a while now and I check our account almost daily to check our expenses, etc. While I knew that we could export our bank info to software such as Quicken (and I tried this for a brief time a very long time ago, but found it too tedious to hand enter the other entries into Quicken) - what I did not realize is that I could export the bank date to Excel!!!! This was quite a revelation for me and made it sooooo much easier to track our expenses. I simply exported the data to Excel, quickly categorized each transaction and then sorted the data by category (which is also something I learned to do for the first time this evening!).

These great realizations are going to help us quite a bit in finding out how our actual spending compares to our budget!

So, what were our results for September?

Well, at first I was disappointed to find out that we went over budget by $400.76. Then I started to think about how that didn't make sense since we came in under budget in virtually every category. Then it hit me. Our debt payments. We budgeted $1,100.00 for debt payments but actually paid $1,668.84 toward our debts! So, this was a good thing! We went over budget in debt payments!!

I decided to make the extra payments on one of our credit cards because we had some extra income (some money from my previous earnings just rolling in now!) , so we decided to pay off our lowest credit card in full! So, we are down to just 2 debts left (not counting the home mortgage). We have 1 credit card left and our HELOQ.

It feels so good to be down to only 2 debts. Although we still have a hefty balance on those debts, it is so much easier to focus our attention on 2 than on 5!

The budget news wasn't all good though. The other category where we went over budget was grocery. This is especially not good since I allotted a hefty $480 for the month, and we ended up going over by $265.20!! So, I definitely need to pay more attention to this category! (and I used to pride myself on my frugal grocery shopping. Need more focus here!)

But, all in all I am very happy with our progress this month. Not counting the extra money we spent on debts, we came in $170.00 under budget. So pretty good.

Earnings this month were not really so good at only $600.00. That's $400 under my goal of $1,000, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

Haven't finished the October budget yet, but will try to get that posted tomorrow.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

09/30/07 - Daily Progress Report

(Those funny tool icons are gone now!)

Well, it's the last day of the month and I need to calculate how well we stuck to the budget. I had thought we were doing pretty well, but we are heading out to our local Harvest Festival and we don't actually have cash set aside for this. So tonight I will do a final update. Also need to do the budget for October. It will be a busy night! (I'll update later.)

Today's Earnings: $28.03
Ad Revenue: $ .03
Church Nursery: $ 28.00

Friday, September 28, 2007

Help! Strange Tool Icons On My Side Bar ???

Anyone know why those strange tool icons have appeared in my right side bar?? And what I can do to get rid of them??

Any advice appreciated!

09/28/07 - Daily Progress Report

Only 2 days left in the month and my earnings are still under $600.00 so far. Doesn't look like I will make my $1,000.00 goal this month.

I did sign up for several Craft Fairs and have worked a little on my jewelry website and jewelry brochure (but still have a lot more to do!). So, I do feel confident that my jewelry income at least will go up (considering that it's at 0 for this month!).

I did write 2 articles for Associated Content last night. Only one was accepted and only with an offer of $ 3.97 (which I accepted).

The best news of the day, though, is I finally figured out how to fix the problems I have been having with the cookies on my computer. This will mean that I can get back into completing offers for Cash Crate, so that will definitely help my income!

Today's Earnings: $4.05
Associated Content: $ 3.97
Ad Revenue: $ .08

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

09/26/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, only a few days left in the month and at $577.15 I am a long way away from my monthly goal of earning $1,000.00.

I do think we did a good job at sticking to the budget this month though. I will add up each budget category over the weekend to get an accurate picture, but I know that I still have cash left in most of my envelopes still, so that's a good sign.

Today's Earnings:$ 2.63

Ad Revenue: $ .17
Cash Crate: $ .08
Associated Content: $2.38

Monday, September 24, 2007

09/24/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ .18
Ad Revenue: $ .10
Cash Crate: $ .08

Carnival of Personal Finance #119

This week's Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Blunt Money. Lot's of great articles!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

09/23/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $28.28
Ad Revenue: $ .08
Cash Crate: $ .20
Church Nursery: $ 28.00

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

20% Pay Raise - Whoo-Hoo!!

Hubby got a great promotion at work, along with a fantastic 20% raise!! I'm so excited! Being a commission job, it could be a little more or a little less - but most certainly an increase. This could mean our debt freedom date could come a lot sooner. Currently anticipating our debt free date at August 2010. Maybe it will be in 2009! :)

Can't wait to call in to the Dave Ramsey Show and scream "We're Debt Free!!!!"

09/19/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $43.96
Sold a lot of baby clothes on ebay: $42.50 (includes shipping, not sure what actual amount will cost)
Ad Revenue: $ .04
Cash Crate: $1.42

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

09/18/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, my ebay auction will end in 18 hours. So far no bids, only 3 watchers. So, we'll see. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I had planned to list a bunch of children's clothing lots on ebay this month but if this one doesn't sell, I'm not sure I'll bother.

I have signed up for 3 Craft Fairs in the next few months to sell my jewelry. Also put an ad in the local Mom's Club newsletter. Will hopefully get some business from there. Still need to add a shopping cart to my website. I started working on it but have a lot more to do.

Today's Earnings: $ .25

Ad Revenue: $ .06
Cash Crate: $ .19

Monday, September 17, 2007

09/17/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ .86
Ad Revenue: $ .10
Cash Crate: $ .76

Carnival of Personal Finance

This week's Carnival of Personal Finance is up at Money, Matter, and More Musings.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

09/16/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $28.73
Cash Crate: $ .64
Church Nursery: $ 28.00
Ad Revenue: $ .09

Saturday, September 15, 2007

09/15/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ 1.93
Cash Crate: $ .20
Ad Revenue: $ .08
Associated Content (Performance Bonus): $ .1.65
Dazzling Jewelry Creations: $0

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words - Especially on Ebay!

If you want to make money selling items on ebay, clearly you will need to include photos of your products. This can get expensive as ebay charges a pretty penny for adding additional photos to a listing. (To be exact, ebay lets you include the first photo for free, then charges you an additional $ .15 for each additional photo, and an additional $ .35 to include a gallery photo.)

Well, an on line buddy recently introduced me to a great way to include extra photos in your ebay listing for free, by using a great website called TinyPic. So, I thought I would pass along this valuable information to any of you prospective ebay sellers (especially since this month ebay is running a no listing fee special!).

TinyPic is a website that will host your photos for free. You simply go to the TinyPic website, upload your photos, and it will give you the html code, and the URL, along with lots of other info that you can use to use those photos on line. You don't even need to register at TinyPic. It is quick and easy.

Here is exactly what you do at the TinyPic website. On the home page you will see a section to upload videos and images. Simply click on the "browse" button, find the photo on your computer and click on it, then click on "upload". TinyPic will then give you the html code and the URL that you can use in your ebay listing.

Here is what you do when you are entering your ebay listing. When you get to the pictures section, click on "add pictures". Then click on "self-hosting". Here you can add the URL's of the pictures you want on your listing. The first photo you add is the one that will be used for the gallery photo if you choose that option (which you should, eventhough ebay does charge $ .35 for a gallery photo, your item is unlikely to sell without one). You can usually add a total of 6 to 12 photos in this section. These pictures will show at the top of your listing. (The first photo will be the gallery photo and then you can scroll through the rest of the photos.) The next place you can add photos is in the description section. Here you can add unlimited photos! To do this just add the html code that you got from TinyPic in the description section.

That's it! Free photos.

So, check out TinyPic and host your photos for free.

And remember that this month ebay is having a no listing fee special. So list your items for free and host your photos for free. The only thing you will have to pay for is $ .35 to add a gallery photo to your listing.

Good luck!

09/14/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today I rediscovered my joy in couponing. One of the local grocery stores was having such a great deal. They had all kinds of cereals and snack foods on sale, plus were offering a $5.00 off coupon when you purchased 10 of the participating products, plus there were coupons for all of those items in the newspaper flyer, plus there was a $10.00 mail in rebate when you purchase 10 of the products. Wow!! It was really great! Here's what I got for a total of $19.00:

(2) Boxes Kellogg's Special K Red Berry Cereal
(2) Boxes Kellogg's Pops Cereal
(2) Boxes Pop Tarts
(2) Boxes Eggo Waffles
(6) Boxes Nature Valley Granola Bars
(6) Boxes Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks
(2) Boxes Rice Krispie Treats

Over the past couple of days I also managed to go through all of my kids clothes. (This should have been done earlier in the summer.) I realized that they have a lot of clothes. So I returned some more of the back to school clothes. A total of another $98.00. (I am realizing just how much I must have spent total on back to school clothes, since I have returned about $350.00 dollars worth. Clearly I overspent to begin with. I probably shouldn't include this returned money in my earnings, but I will because at least I came to my senses and didn't keep clothes that we don't need.)

Today's Earnings: $109.63
Returned items: $98.00
Rebate: $10.00
Cash Crate: $1.63
Ad Revenue: $ .51

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Buyer's Remorse and My Secret Weapon

I am a long time sufferer of buyer's remorse. You know, feeling guilty about a purchase after you get home.

When I am in a store, sometimes an item calls out to me. It will be the perfect accessory for my home, or the perfect addition to my wardrobe, or the perfect organizing tool that will solve all my clutter and time management problems. Apparently I am a marketer's dream. Somehow when I am in the store I manage to succumb to all the promises that the advertisers have led me to believe about their product.

Yes, I have an angel on one shoulder whispering in my ear that I don't really need it, that I shouldn't be spending the money, that it is a want not a need. But the devil on the other shoulder, assisted by the ambiance of the store, has often talked me into an unnecessary purchase.

As I walk to the register I am convinced that I am making the right decision. My heart beats a little faster and I have a slight smile on my face. This is a good purchase. It is going to make my family's life better. It is worth the money.

When I first arrive home, I am excited about my purchase. I take it out of the bag and smile. It feels good to have something new.

Usually it's not until the next day that I begin to question my purchase.

It doesn't match those pants quite as well as I thought it would. Or - isn't as comfortable as it seemed in the store. Or - doesn't look quite so fantastic in the living room. Or - doesn't occupy the kids like I thought it would. Etc.

Enter buyer's remorse.

I shouldn't have spent that money. I didn't really need that. That purchase was a mistake.

Luckily I have a secret weapon . . .

I return it.

Yup. That's it. My secret weapon against buyer's remorse is to return it!

It's so simple but most people don't seem to do it.

Now perhaps many people have more will power than I do and don't succumb to unnecessary purchases to the same degree that I do (a likely supposition that I am more than willing to admit!). But I am willing to bet that many people have items around their house that should have been returned.

When an item you purchased isn't just right you should return it.

Most stores will allow you to return an item within 30 to 90 days. If you have your receipt you can usually get your money back. If you don't have your receipt you can usually get a store credit.

I'm working on my willpower to avoid the lure of unnecessary purchases, but until I master it I'll hang on to my secret weapon!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

09/12/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today I listed a huge lot of 40 items of baby clothes. It took a long time to post the listing but hopefully it will make me some $$$. There was no listing fee, thanks to the special ebay is having this month. And I learned how to add multiple photos for for free by using another site to host the photos. So the whole listing only cost $ .35 for the gallery photo. I'm hopeful!

Today's Earnings: $0

09/11/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ .85
Cash Crate: $ .79
Ad Revenue: $ .06

Monday, September 10, 2007

09/10/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $199.70
Ad Revenue: $ .70
Returned Items: $199.00 (This was from clothes I bought the kids for back to school. It is so high because I do the shopping without them and bring them home for the kid's to try on. It's usually not so high but this summer was so busy that I did the shopping before I had the chance to go through all the clothes they already have to see what fits and what they need. So, I had a lot to return. I count this money in my earnings because otherwise it is too easy to not get the returns done. Or to not get them done in time to get a refund. By counting it as income it is an incentive to be sure to return everything that is not absolutely necessary.)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Menu Planning

Planning weekly dinner menus is another great way to keep your expenses down. If you know what you will be having for dinner you can be sure you have all the ingredients on hand and avoid costly stops at the convenience store. Or worse, getting take out or deciding last minute to have dinner out.

I plan my menu on Sunday and do my grocery shopping on Monday. I keep my family calendar beside me as I make the menu selection, making sure to plan quick and easy meals for the evenings we have activities and the more elaborate meals for our free evenings.

Here's my menu plan for this week:

Sunday: Chicken, Broccoli, & Ziti
Monday: Hamburgers & Hot Dogs
Tuesday: Chicken Fajitas
Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Thursday: Barbequed Chicken
Friday: Pizza
Saturday: Leftovers

09/09/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $28.42
Ad Revenue: $ .39
Church Nursery: $ 28.00
Cash Crate: $ .03

Basic Weekly Schedule

Now that school has resumed it's time to get my life back on a regular schedule. I find that having a Basic Weekly Schedule keeps me organized and allows me to accomplish my goals, including saving and earning money.

Basically I designate one day of each week for a particular task. This year my Basic Weekly Schedule looks like this:

Monday: Grocery Shopping/Returns (alternating every other week)
: Clean the House
Wednesday: Bargain Shopping (shop loss leaders & sales, buy gifts)
Thursday: Paperwork
Friday: Errands (bank, dry cleaners, post office, etc.)
Saturday: Family Day
Sunday: Clip Coupons, Scan Flyers, Weekly Planning (meals, groceries, activities)

My schedule is largely dictated by my daughter's school schedule. I will try to get most of my shopping and errands done while she is in school. Tuesday is my lucky day when I don't have to drive car pool at all, so it will be my stay at home day, and clean the house day.

I am going to try to switch from grocery shopping every week to grocery shopping every other week. I think this will definitely save us money. At first I was reluctant to do this because I like to take advantage of the weekly loss leader sales. So, I decided to do my "sale" shopping on Wednesdays. This way I can take advantage of any great sales without doing an actual full grocery shopping. We'll see how this goes.

In addition to this schedule, I am going to try to do one money earning activity each day, such as list something on ebay, write an article for Associated Content, promote my jewelry business, etc. This should be realistic.

Well, I feel better already by having a plan!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

09/08/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ .98
Cash Crate: $ .98

Friday, September 7, 2007

Cash In Your Stuff

Click here for your favorite eBay items

Ebay is at it again! They are running another "No Listing Fee Special"! And this time it lasts for a month - from August 29, 2007 through September 30, 2007.

There are only three requirements to take advantage of the special:
1.) the listing must be created between 8/29 and 9/30
2.) the auction starting price must be $9.99 or less
3.) the listing must include a gallery photo

So if your closet and garage are filled with stuff you no longer want or need, now is your chance!

Start selling on ebay now!

I Just Saved $750

Well, I got lucky today. It was the Open House for my daughter's preschool today and I was able to save $750. Here's what happened . . .

In the Spring we had to register for the 2007-2008 preschool year. The school I wanted my daughter to go to is very popular and enrolls students by random lottery, so you don't find out if you got in until late April. The other preschool I like had a $50 non refundable registration fee required by March 1st. So - I made the mistake of taking my chances with the lottery and not "wasting" the $50 non refundable fee for my second choice preschool. After all, my first two daughters got in through the lottery . . .

Well, daughter number 3 didn't get in! Panic set in. Second choice preschool class was full. More panic plus guilt.

Spoke with the Director of 1st choice preschool - no chance of an opening.

Spoke with the Director of 2nd choice preschool - good chance of an opening she told me.

Stress and worry all summer until Director of 2nd choice preschool calls and lets me know there is an opening but it's in the 9am - 1pm class (not the 9am - 11:30am class that I wanted). I tell her I'll take it. Then spend the next 3 weeks beating myself up for trying to save $50 on the registration fee, and end up needing to spend an extra $75 per month for the 9am-1pm class (the 9-1 class is $250 a month whereas the 9-11:30 class is $175 a month).

Anyway, I had accepted my costly mistake and focused on the extra time this would give me to potentially earn money, etc. Then when I arrived at the Open House today the Director said I could send her until 11:30 or until 1pm - it was up to me.

Well, after a brief moment of shock (I had started to get used to the idea of having 9-1pm to myself 3 days a week!), I came to my senses and realized I would save $750 this year by having her go to the 9-11:30am class.

So, 9-11:30 it is. $750 extra in my pocket (or to the debts!)!

09/07/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $ .23
Cash Crate: $ .23

Thursday, September 6, 2007

09/06/07 - Daily Progress Report

Thanks to everyone who responded about the cost vs. benefit of keeping an extra refrigerator. I think I am convinced that I'd like to keep it. I'll need to discuss it with my husband.

I do still have the table to sell. I have it listed on Craigs list but I really need to add a photo to the listing to increase the chances of selling it. I'm going to try to do that today.

It is my husband's brother's birthday today and we are going out to dinner to celebrate. Luckily we have a gift card for him that my husband earned from points from something (credit card or Coke rewards, I'm not sure which), so that's good.

Also, made two Chicken Pot Pies with the leftover rotisserie chicken from last night's dinner, so that was frugal. :)

Today's Earnings: $ 2.09

Ad revenue: $ 1.09
Cash Crate: $1.00

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Savings Progress

Updated the Savings Progress in the right side bar today.

We paid for our air fare and hotel for our trip to Disney - $1,800.00. We still have $2,125.00 left in savings for the Disney trip to cover park admissions and food, etc.

Our savings for future monthly expenses is also down to $1,500.00 now because we needed to transfer $2,500.00 into checking to cover expenses for this month. This should be okay though because my husband is expecting a very large commission at the end of this month so that should replenish some of this savings that we will be able to save for other months when there is a low (or no) commission.

Our Baby Emergency Fund remains at $1,000.00. We will keep it at this level until we have finished Baby Step 2 (paid off all our debts except for our home mortgage). At that point we will begin to save our Fully Funded Emergency Fund of 3 to 6 months of living expenses. (For any of you who are unfamiliar - this is all part of Dave Ramsey plan for financial peace.) Because my husbands income fluctuates and because I have a need for a high security fund, we will aim at saving 6 months of living expenses which will be about $30,000.00.

But one step at a time. For now we will continue on the path to paying off our debts!

Nice Matters Award

Thanks to SAHMmy at SAHMmy Says for honoring me with a Nice Matters Award!

Check out SAHMmy's blog and she will motivate you to "get off your butt"!

I'd like to share the love and tag two other nice bloggers:

No More Spending and Nine Circles of Debt!

09/05/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $13.70
- Got a surprise $12 payment from Associated Content for referrals who signed up and published. I thought this promotion was only going on in June. But maybe they signed up in June and just published? I'm not sure. But I'm happy with an extra $12. Associated Content is a great site and I plan to do more writing for them this month. If anyone is interested in learning about it or signing up, click here.
- Cash Crate earnings today: $1.65
- Ad revenue today: $ .05.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

09/04/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings:
Nothing yet, but put a table and a refrigerator on Craig's list today - so we'll see if I make anything from them.

I was definitely planning on selling our old refrigerator when my parent's gave me theirs but I went grocery shopping today and I have so much food! (My parents are going to be staying with us for a couple of weeks so I bought extra.) So now I'm thinking how nice it would be to have an extra fridge in the garage. I think it's expensive though. Like $25 a month extra for the electricity? Does anyone know?

09/03/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $38.86
Ad Revenue: $ .09
Cash Crate: $ .77
Savings Interest: $38.00

Sunday, September 2, 2007

09/02/07 - Daily Progress Report

Today's Earnings: $29.68
Worked at the Church Nursery today: $28.
Cash Crate: $ .81
Ad Revenue: $ .01
Assoc. Content (page views) $ .77

09/01/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, I should have made it to the bank today to withdraw the cash we will need for this month, but I didn't make it in time. We had a very busy day. My parents are moving out of state (unfortunately!) but the good news is that they are giving us lots of stuff. We got their refrigerator, their dryer, and their gorgeous Ethan Allen dining room furniture! We spent the whole day moving stuff and we are exhausted. But you can't beat free stuff! And what's even better is that we were able to borrow a truck from my brother in law so we won't need to rent a Uhaul - saved $65 on the budget already!

Today's Earnings: $0
Technically $0 but got lots of free furniture and appliances!

Friday, August 31, 2007

September 2007 Budget

Total Income - $7,526
Total Expenses - $7,465
Save For Future Expenses - $61

* * * * * * * * * *
This month I am determined to stick to my budget!! To help ensure that this happens, I have budgeted on the high side with a firm determination to come in at or under budget in all categories. I feel this will help me gain a sense of accomplishment and once mastered, I will focus on reducing some of the categories.

My goal will also be to track my expenses weekly instead of monthly. I found it too difficult to keep up with daily tracking yet I don't want to wait until the end of the month to see how I am doing. Weekly tracking will hopefully solve these problems.

* * * * * * * * *

Budgeted Income

Beginning Checking Account Balance: $1,433
Husband's 1st of month paycheck: $1,831
Transfer from Savings: $2,500
Total Funds for Beginning of September: $5,764

Estimate of Husband's 15th of month paycheck: $1,687
Estimate of my Church earnings 15th of month: $75

Total Estimate of All Regular Funds for September: $7,526

* * * * * * * * *

Budgeted Expenses
mortgage - $2,355
Capital One - $739
HELOQ - $193
Chase - $168
Electric - $190
Oil - $250
Car Ins. - $138
Cable/Phone/Net - $167
Trash - $65
Newspaper - $8
Bills Subtotal - $4,273

Grocery - $480
Spending - $200
Pizza Night - $80
Kid's Clothing - $200
Parties - $125
Gifts - $190
Tooth Fairy - $10
School Lunch - $18
Dining Out - $195
Babysitting - $20
Cash Subtotal - $1,518

Irish Step Lessons - $240
Preschool - $250
Piano Lessons - $264
Kids Activity Fees - $305
Auto Gas - $450
Uhaul truck - $65
Misc. - $100
Subtotal - $1,674

Total Budgeted Expenses - $7,465

Quarterly Earnings Review - August 2007

Time to review all of my earnings over the past four months to determine which sources have been the most lucrative and which have not been worth my time. The list starts with the highest income total and goes down to the lowest. I have commented on each source with both a "review" of that income source and a "goal" for that income source.

Monthly Earnings Totals

May: $599.66/June: $1,015.40/July: $1,007.29/Aug.: $346.94

1. Jewelry Sales/Total: $1,218.59/Avg.: $304.64
May: $375.90/June: $575.50/July: $267.19/Aug.: $0
Review: this is one of my most lucrative income sources. Goal: focus on upgrading jewelry website to include a shopping cart. Have color catalog printed. Sign up for fall craft fairs.

2. Church Nursery/Total: $364/Avg.: $91

May: $84.00/June: $112.00/July: $112.00 /Aug.: $56.00
Review: this income should go back to $112 a month since we won't be away on the weekends anymore. Goal: work each Sunday.

3. AmX Rewards/Total: $250/Avg.: $62.50
May: $0/June: $0/Juloy: $250.00/Aug: $0
Review: this was a one time bonus reward. Goal: possibly sign up for another credit card that offers a sign up bonus.

4. Cash Crate/Total: $202.24/Avg.: $50.56
May: $51.47/June: $51.27/July: $75.97/Aug.: $23.53
Review: this income dropped disappointingly in August. Goal: solve the problem with cookies with my computer so the offers will confirm.

5. Contacts Reimbursement/Total: $200/Avg.: $50
May: $0/June: $200.00/July: $0/Aug.: $0
Review: I have reached the maximum reimbursement that my plan allows for this year. (I included this in my earnings because there is some paper work involved and in the past I have neglected to do it or have submitted it too late and lost this valuable income!) Goal: find a new in network opthamologist so I can be reimbursed up to $250 for 2008.

6. Returned Stuff/Total: $147.02/Avg.: $36.75
May: $0/June: $6.25/July: $140.77/Aug.: $0
Review: I include this in my earnings because in the past I have sometimes neglected to return something even if I found we didn't need it. Now I view this as an income category to motivate me to return any purchase or gift we find didn't fit our needs or is not necessary. Goal: I have a lot of unneeded clothing that I purchased for the kids that I need to return in September.

7. Yard Sale/Total: $125/Avg.: $31.25
May: $0/June: $0/July: $0/Aug.: $125.00
Review: this was a whole lot of work. I think selling on ebay is less work with better results. Goal: don't plan another yard sale.

8. Associated Content/Total: $114.35/Avg.: $28.58
May: $34.88/June: $26.36/July: $49.01/Aug. $4.10
Review: this income has changed each month based on how many articles I submitted. Income in August was from page views only. Goal: submit more articles to Associated Content.

9. Ebay Sales/Total: $98.03/Avg.: $24.50
May: $0 /June: $18.49/July: $59.00/Aug.: $74.54
Review: this income has been steadily increasing each month. Goal: list more items for sale on ebay.

10. Savings Interest /Total: $86/Avg.: $21.50
May: $0 /June: $18.00/July: $13.00/Aug.: $55.00
Review: this income has increased due to our putting aside a lot of money from my husband's high commissions to save for the months with low commissions. Goal: not too much control over this but will save any extra funds from high commission months.

11. Mystery Shopping/Total: $62.70/Avg.: $15.67
May: $52.70/June: $0/July: $0/Aug.: $10.00
Review: this has been a good way to earn some free merchandise or meals. Goal: sign up for more assignments.

12. Ad Revenue/Total: $22.67/Avg: $5.66
May: $.71 /June: $3.15/July: $13.35/Aug: $5.46
Review: this income was steadily increasing each month until August with the highest income so far in July most likely because of higher traffic due to participation in Blog Carnivals. Goal: participate in more Blog Carnivals.

13. Fairy Tale Tresasures/Total: $1.55/Avg.: $ .38
May: $0/June: $1.55/July: $0/Aug.: $0
Review: this was a get paid to survey type site that I tried but was not able to earn much because of problems with the cookies on my computer. Goal: find out how to fix the cookies problem with my computer and earn more with get paid to sites.

14. myLot/Total: $ .36/Avg.: $ .09
May: $0/June: $0/July: $0/Aug.: $.36
Review: haven't earned too much with this forum and there doesn't seem to be enough people interested in discussing personal finance so I didn't earn much with them. Goal: I will probably drop this as an income source.

So, that's it for this quarter. Hopefully next quarter will prove even more lucrative so the debts can be paid off even faster. The journey to financial peace continues . . .

08/31/07 - Daily Progress Report

Well, it's the last day of the month. August has been my worst income producing month since I started tracking my earnings in May. I think the main reason for this is that we went away on a lot of trips in August. I spent more time vacationing than earning!

Well, tomorrow begins September with a clean slate. Don't you just love fresh beginnings? My kids will start school on Wednesday 9/5/07. The two older girls will be in school daily until around 3pm. The youngest will be in school three days a week until 1pm. So, this will give me a lot of extra time to earn, earn, earn!

I am determined not to let my poor performance in August affect my thinking. I'm sticking to my original goal of $1,000 per month!

Today's Income: $1.03
Cash Crate: $ .16
Ad Revenue: $ .10
Associated Content Perf. Bonus: $ .77

Today's Expenses: