Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I've Been A Bad Girl

I'm embarrassed to say that I went on a spending spree this weekend. I bought a bunch of new clothes for myself (and yes, you might remember that not one month ago - I did the exact same thing!).

I am going away with my 3 sisters this weekend to visit my parents. We'll be gone from Thursday till Monday.

My sisters and mother are spenders. Their favorite activity is "shopping" (except 1 of my sisters). And they all always have really nice "stuff" (clothes, shoes, bags, etc.). I am by far the most frugal of the bunch. I think they think I'm a little ridiculous. But, the truth is that before I started my journey to become debt free - I was just like them.

I feel like I have fallen into the "Keeping Up With The Joneses" trap. (Shame on me!)

But the truth of the matter is that I am really looking forward to this trip. And I really want to have a good time. And I know I won't have a good time if I feel like I don't look good (nice clothes). So, I bought nice clothes. I know I shouldn't have - it certainly was NOT in the budget.

I think a major reason for this slip up is that I have not been seeking the advice and support of LIKE MINDED people - people who see the VALUE in becoming debt free. I need to get back to reading all my favorite PF Blogs, and listening to Dave Ramsey's show, etc.

Well, I did reserve several PF books from the library to bring on the trip (which my sister thought was hysterical) - so maybe that's a start.

I sure hope so . . .

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Jewelry Sales Update

Here's my jewelry sales income since 7/18:



I'm pretty happy about my sales. But, I still haven't added up all my expenses.

As always, a work in progress - need to be better at TRACKING! ugh!

Monday, July 21, 2008


Brought the kids to see a free movie today. It's great - for the whole summer they are showing (second run) movies for kids for free on Monday and Wednesday mornings. It's something fun to do for a change of pace and out of the heat.

We will be going to a friend's beach house in Rhode Island this weekend. It will probably be an expensive weekend. :(

Then next weekend I am going with my sisters down to Florida to visit my parents. I'm really looking forward to it, but it will probably also be expensive. :(

And I just ordered a bunch of jewelry supplies - and spent a lot!

I am hoping to approach a few local stores about carrying my pendants. I already have one out of state wholesale account.

I really need to make some money!

Friday, July 18, 2008

June 2008 Extra Earnings

Since my July earnings are not actually as much as I thought they were (so far), I decided to dig up my last month's earnings to see if I did any better. Here's what I came up with:

JUNE 2008
Blog Ads: $5.44
Jewelry Sales: $454.50
Associated Content: $5.09
Church Nursery: $112.00
Babysitting: $80.00
Savings Interest: $14.78

Total: $671.81

While I still fell short of my $1,000 monthly extra earnings goal, my jewelry sales were really good for June!

Like all things in life, I need to strive for more balance. Lately I have been focusing almost all of my energy on my new jewelry business. While this is fun and a good source of income, I can't forget about everything else. And by that I mean focusing more on: other income sources, housework (really falling behind), spending time with the kids and hubby, shopping sales, clipping coupons, selling stuff on ebay/garage sale, and tracking both our spending and earning!

July 2008 Extra Earnings

So, in an effort to better track my earnings, I am looking back and trying to think of all the extra money I have been able to earn so far this month. Here's what I came up with so far:

Jewelry Sales: $116.95
Blog Ads: $63.07
Associated Content: $4.00
Babysitting: $80.00
Savings Interest: $23.89

Subtotal: $287.91

I'm actually a little disappointed in this figure. My goal is to earn an extra $1,000 per month to put towards our debt snowball. With the month more than half over I thought my earnings were better.

Now I'm going to take a peek at June. I think my earnings were better in June. We'll see . . .

Debt Payoff Progress

As I recently posted, we are down to about $23,000 in debt.

In my Yearly Budget, I have budgeted that we will snowflake $2,500 each month towards debt. At this rate we would be debt free in 10 months!

There are only 5 months left in 2008 so I would need to double our monthy payments to be debt free by the end of the year. This might be difficult - but not impossible.

So, I am reaffirming my goal to become debt free by the end of 2008!

New Heating System

We have budgeted $5,000 to replace our heating system this summer. (It is the original system now almost 50 years old. We were lucky it got us through this past winter.)

Unfortunately, the first estimate came in at $6,000!

Then we heard about a new type of heating system called Acadia that can dramatically cut your heating expenses because it doesn't use oil or gas. Of course, this type of system can initially cost up to $15,000 to install.

We have some research and thinking and more estimates to get, but it seems like we might have budgeted a bit too low for this.

Net Worth

Our net worth is up $20,000! Yeay! (See my updated graph from Net Worth IQ in the sidebar.)

More money in savings. Less debt. Equals higher net worth! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Extra Earnings

Just noticed that I haven't tracked or posted my "extra earnings" since January 2008! Wow! 6 months. I so need to get back to tracking.

Tracking spending is difficult. Tracking earnings should be easy and fun!

I'm going to take a look right now and see if I can figure out my extra earnings for this month.

July 2008 Budget

Just realized that I never posted our July budget, so here it is. We certainly haven't stuck to it exactly but we are headed in the right direction.

July 2008 Budget


AUTO-Excise Tax $0
AUTO-Gas $350
AUTO-Insurance $138
AUTO-Maintenance $25
CASH-Clothing $100
CASH-Dining Out $120
CASH-Gifts $0
CASH-Grocery $400
CASH-Kids Allowance $50
CASH-Parties $0
CASH-School Lunch $0
CASH-Spending $160
DEBT-Equity Loan $2,850
DEBT-Visa $0
HOME-Cable/Phone $181
HOME-Electric $220
HOME-Furnace 0
HOME-Mortgage $2,328
HOME-Oil $0
HOME-Trash $0
KIDS-Bball $0
KIDS-Misc. $0
KIDS-Piano $0
KIDS-Preschool $0
MISC. $0
PERSONAL-Cell Phone $0
PERSONAL-Contacts $0
PERSONAL-Life Ins. $0
PERSONAL-Newspap $8
PERSONAL-Braces $100
PERSONAL-Vacation $500
TRANSFER-To Sav 2 $7,100
TOTAL $14,650

1st Paycheck $2,588
1st Commission $9,000
15th Paycheck $2,588
Church Pay $100
Babysitting Pay $0
Other $700
Transfer from Savings $0
TOTAL $14,976

Beginning Balance ($332)
'+ Income $14,976
Subtotal $14,644
'- Expenses $14,650
Subtotal ($6)
Save For Next Month ($6)
Ending Balance $0

Beginning Balance $10,642
'+ Transfer to Savings $7,100
Subtotal $17,742
'- Transfer from Savings $0
Subtotal $17,742
Ending Balance $17,742

Risky Business

I signed up for a craft booth to sell my jewelry at our local Harvest Festival on October 5th. I'm pretty nervous about it!

First I was nervous because it is a "juried" craft show, meaning that a jury (panel of judges) has to approve your items before they will allow you in the show. Luckily this went well and I got in!

What I'm nervous about now is all the fees! I had to pay $145 just to be in the show. And now I have to purchase my own 10'x10' tent! This will cost between $79 - $140 depending on how nice of a tent I get. I'm not sure if I should get the cheapest or if the old adage "you get what you pay for" will apply and lead me to regret going cheap (although $79 isn't exactly cheap!).

So, right off the bat I will have invested $224 on this show. My pendants (which is what I will predominantly be selling) sell for $6 each, so I'll need to sell 37 pendants just to cover my entrance fees!

Of course, I am hoping to sell more like 300 pendants! So, we'll see.

This seems a bit too much like gambling!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Savings Balance Update: $16,200

So, as of today, our total in Savings is: $16,200.

This breaks down as follows:

Emergency Fund: $1,000
DD1 Braces: $1,200
Boiler: $6,000
Vacation: $4,000
Expenses: $4,000

TOTAL: $16,200

This is as hefty as our Savings has probably ever been. We will very likely dip into it to put more money towards debt once we find out exactly how much the new boiler/heating system will be and see how much extra we can come up with to put towards the debt without this money.

It feels pretty good.

But being debt free will feel even better!

Debt Balance Update: $23,169

Well, there it is. Our current debt total is $23,169. Very close to where we started ($44,000). It'll be tough to get that to zero by the end of the year, but where there's a will there's a way!

In The Money

Well, I have been busy busy busy! The new on-line pendant shop is doing well. I landed my first wholesale account and now my pendants will be sold in a gift shop in Maryland (yippee!)!

Orders have been coming in fairly regularly and my PayPal balance is almost $500 - pretty good for only about a month.

The only problem - is the constant one . . . I have not taken the time to TRACK the income and expenses! Both for my jewelry businesses and my personal finances! I know it's an excuse but I just haven't had the time. I have been staying up until 2am most nights just to stay on top of everything else. (And the housekeeping is suffering too - believe me!)

So, I need a plan to make a change - but don't have it in place yet.

It's great to be earning this extra money but I need to make sure that it goes to the right place - the debt!!

I did make a large payment to our HELLoc - $4,000 (which was really to cover 2 months of snowball payments) - so our total debt should be down to around $23,000 - which is just a little over half of what we started with ($44,000). After almost a year and a half I wish it was less but I am still holding out hope that we could become debt free by the end of 2008. We have a nice big cushion in our savings ($12,000) to cover low commission months, our new furnace, and my daughter's braces - but there could me money left over for the debt.

I do still desperately want to be debt free - so the goal is still there. Just need to find the time to focus more energy there!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Still A Fan Of Associated Content

Just wanted to let you all know that even though I haven't written anything new for Associated Content in at least 6 months, I still get a payment of $4-$8 every month for the views of articles I wrote in the past. It really is a great deal. If you haven't yet, check it out here and consider signing up to write for them!


We just got back from a trip to Banff Canada. It was lovely. It was a reward trip for my husband's company. If you surpassed your yearly sales goal you got to go with your spouse. It was a very nice 5 day trip. We got lots of gifts and nice meals and even got to spend an entire day at the Spa complete with massage! I felt sooo spoiled!

Then I got a phone call from my sister. (She was nice enough to come stay with my kids.) My 9 year old daughter had a mosquito bite that got infected. They had to bring her to the emergency room because it was Saturday afternoon and the doctor's office was closed. They ended up having to put her on iv antibiotics and even considered keeping her over night! I was so stressed out I just wanted to come home. Luckily they ended up not keeping her overnight, but we wanted to come home. We tried to get a flight on Sunday but it would have been an extra $1,900. As much as we didn't want to we stayed and came back on Monday as planned. I was so happy to be home! My daughter is doing well and the infection is healing.

I'm so happy to be back home with my kids!