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!