Week 8 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt -Testing Our Resolve

calvin_and_hobbes_001

I wanted to give up many times this week. So many things have come up and have tested my resolve about paying off our debt, but we have pushed past those feelings of doubt for now.

Part of our problem was we were weary from working so hard and not having a day off. It’s hard work paying off our debt but I want to keep going.

Work issues, family issues and maintenance issues on our home have become overwhelming so taking a step back to think about them before reacting has been helpful.

It’s funny though every time I want to say “forget it!” something unexpected happens and I tell myself to keep going.

That unexpected thing this week was a little something extra in one of our paychecks for a job well done. It was a boost to our spirits for sure!

Next week will be a better week. I even plan on paying the school taxes tomorrow. Yes!

Next week is the September monthly update. See you then. -MM

 

 

Week 7 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – September Dinners – Meal Planning

meal planning

Already in September life in the bakery department has been brutal. Two huge weddings and one to go next week and an unexpected order for 50 cookie cakes this week have put me way behind in my personal life. However, I am still plugging away at our debt!

The thing that gets us into trouble the most with spending money is food. It will suck the money out of your wallet quicker than anything! To combat this you need to be organized and that means spending a little time thinking about meals.

Unfortunately it’s probably the same in your house as it is in ours, the question being, “what’s for dinner?” I ask it every afternoon to my husband and son and my son always says, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t care, whatever you want to make” and my husband says burgers or pizza.

*Sigh* Not too inspiring right?

I have tried meal planning before and I have even blogged many times with “What’s For Dinner” posts which I will link later but I still get frustrated and try too hard sometimes to make the perfect meal for us.

What I am going to show you is just a calendar of dinner ideas for the month of September for us. Each day I can look at it and see just “tacos” or “crock pot” or “baked chicken”. It just gives me something to go by for dinner. It’s not a complete meal plan by any means but sometimes you just need an idea. I even took a photo of the meal plan on my phone so I can reference it when I need to bring home the appropriate ingredients if I don’t have them. If I don’t like what I wrote down or it doesn’t fit our mood I just switch the day out with another. Again this just gives me ideas so I am not just standing there in Aisle #3 wondering what to make.

Here is our meal plan for the month:

Sept 4th                    Sept 5th            Sept 6th             Sept 7th                 Sept 8th

Rotiss Chicken         Crock Pot           Stir Fry               Wing it                    Tuna Noodle

Sept 9th                    Sept 10th           Sept 11th          Sept 12th               Sept 13th

Turkey Dinner          Grilled Sands.    Leftovers           Crockpot                Tacos 

Sept 14th                  Sept 15th           Sept 16th          Sept 17th               Sept 18th

Wing it                      Pot Luck              Chili                   Pizza Breads          Soup

Sept 19th                  Sept 20th            Sept 21st         Sept 22nd              Sept 23rd

Meatloaf                    Big Salads           Wing it              Rotiss Chicken      Pork Roast

Sept 24th                 Sept 25th              Sept 26th         Sept 27th              Sept 28th

Breakfast                 Pork chops             Crockpot           Chix Kiev             Wing it

Sept 29th                Sept 30th

Pot Luck                 Spaghetti 

I didn’t get started doing a meal plan as you can see until the 4th. Most of these are pretty generic. Soup could be anything that sounds good or that I have on hand at the time. Pot luck is just a reference for me that it is Euchre night at friends and I have to bring a dish to pass. Rotisserie chicken is something easy I can bring home from the store for dinner. Breakfast for dinner is most likely scrambled eggs and toast because it will just be the hubby and I that night.

Friday “Wing it” nights are nights we are just going to figure it out. Probably just a take out night or leftovers. Crock pot and stir fry are also whatever I want to go into the crock or frying pan.

As you can see this is just a reference. Something to look at and go by. It has already changed a lot so far but it helps me.

Hopefully by the end of this week I will have enough to pay our school taxes. Yay!! New York residents got our property tax rebates in the mail last week and it covers almost a third of the bill for us! I was not expecting it and it certainly was a blessing.

By next week we will be back to paying down the credit card.

Do you have a meal plan or any kind of food plan you use to make your life easier? I would love to hear about it! -MM

If you are interested in reading my previous blog posts about “What’s For Dinner” here are the links

What’s For Dinner Week 1

What’s For Dinner Week 2

What’s for Dinner Week 3

What’s For Dinner Week 4

What’s For Dinner Week 5

Week 6 of 80 – Not Impressed with our Debt – Read your Mail

If you are like me, going through your mail is pretty boring. Not much to look at. Mostly advertisements and credit card offers and bills.

One day I actually decided to read all of my mail. I opened up all of those credit card offers and looked over all of the advertisements.

It was a bit eye opening. In that mail that particular day, I read something that really got the ball rolling for us in our quest to pay off our debt.

Have you ever gotten mail from a local car dealership saying they wanted to buy your used car from you? They would pay top dollar for it because they needed to add to their used car inventory? Usually I just toss those offers in the trash thinking they are scams.

This time though I really read the offer. It was from the dealership I bought my used car from so I called them and asked what the deal was with these advertisements. The very nice salesman (of course he’s nice) said that so many people are now buying used cars instead of new that they are always looking for low mileage, in good condition, used cars. The offer was they would buy my car from me at Blue Book Value and of course sell me another car.

In the end I did not sell my car to this particular dealership. But I did sell it.

The car we are speaking about was a 2010 Buick Lacrosse, black, with a custom pinstripe. It was a gorgeous car. One that I could never have afforded if it had been new. It was my dream car. I was a Buick girl and it was my fourth Buick.

Unfortunately I was in way over my head with it and I knew it. I had signed a six year loan which I never normally would have done but I wanted that car. Here it was three years later and I still owed a whopping $8000 on it. By the time I paid it off it would be eleven years old and what would I have? An eleven year old car…with low mileage of course, but it would be worth nada. It was worth something right now so although it killed me I traded it in.

Let me explain a couple of things about this money driven, last minute, out of the blue, decision. I knew if I didn’t trade it in now I would regret it. At eight years old I was starting to have to put some real money into it other than the usual brakes and tires. In a 6 month period I had to get the tires, brakes, water pump fixed, and a new exhaust was on the horizon. It was sounding like a truck. $1400 in that six months for repairs and more to come.

I decided to lease a car. First time ever. They gave me the low lease rate but I still had to make up for the amount I owed on the car so in the end my monthly payment went up by $100 from the current loan I had but at the end of the 3 year lease I will owe nothing and I will have the new vehicle’s trade-in value.

I needed to give up my car to put us in a better position. It will be worth it. Though after I said goodbye to my car I cried like a baby and wanted it back. I got over it.

So what did I get? A brand new 2018, Subaru Forester. Yep, trying something new. Never had a brand new car either. And boy can I pack stuff in it!

So in the end reading my mail really helped me see that there are alternatives out there. Not everything is a scam. Lots of people jump from one cable or phone provider for a better deal, same with insurance companies. I also know plenty of people that payoff a high interest credit card with a zero percent one. Some people are even downsizing their homes, look at the tiny house movement!

You have to be diligent when it comes to debt. Yes, I believe in the snowball debt idea but making specific, money driven and happiness improving decisions will help relieve the pressure faster and so far I have not regretted any decision.

As far as getting debt paid off this week, I am working on it. Like I said school taxes are due this month and I need to get them paid first but I will definitely get some paid down before the end of the month.

Week #7 – September Dinner Menu Planning

See you next week! -MM

Week 5 of 80 – Not Impressed with Our Debt – End of August, the Results

yeah printed white board

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Well it’s been an interesting month. Not only have we paid down our debt but we also managed to pay for new tires and brakes for my husband’s car AND finance a trip to Boise, Idaho to pick up a car for my son.

I started out this journey by stating we had $35,924 in debt we wanted to get rid of in 80 weeks and that my first debt I would tackle in that total was the “Old Navy” balance which I switched to a new zero interest credit card to save on interest.

That balance started off at $6500. It’s current balance is $4700!

I managed to pay $1800 on that balance! Holy Cow! Amazing. Seriously. Being able to pay $1800 towards that credit card is just unbelievable. Hard work really paid off this month.

However, $1800 is not the only amount on our debt I paid down this month. Remember all of our other payments are still ongoing while I pay on that credit card.

The rest of the debt I managed to get paid off added up to $737.00.

Grand total of debt paid down for the Month of August is $2537!

Total debt owed is now down to $33,387!

Sorry for all of the exclamations but I am just so excited!

Some how we managed to pay for most of our extras in cash this month. Like the tires and breaks for example. because we paid in cash the guy gave us a 20% discount. We saved for this trip to Boise and so far have only put a few hundred dollars on the other credit card which we will pay off when we get the bill.

Every time I thought something was going to de-rail my plan, something else came along and helped us achieve our goal. I have learned to stop worrying about it.

In the Month of September I am not anticipating paying a ton down on that Old Navy balance because we have school taxes to pay but seeing what happened this month you just never know and I am excited about that.

Week 6 the topic will be: “Read your Mail”

Catch you next week! -MM

 

Week 4 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – Side Hustles

side hustle

I once read a book called “Side Hustle” by Chris Guillebeau. It didn’t change my life but it did get me thinking about people and their side hustles. In the book, Mr. Guillebeau gives ideas for different kinds of side hustles and how you can turn those ideas into income in 27 days.

Last week I wrote about the second jobs my husband and I have added to our lives and how they are playing an important role in helping us pay off our debt.

Although “Side Hustle” had a ton of ideas to make extra cash I really didn’t find many of the suggestions that practical for me. What I did like about the book is that it talks about generating income from multiple sources which would give me more options. Options are good! When you have only one job there is only one payday. With multiple side jobs you have multiple paydays.

Here are some options that I think are great ways to earn some extra side income AND could be something you really enjoy doing.

Become a Farmers Market Vendor – Two years ago I wrote a blog post about earning extra income selling at local farmers markets. Do you love to bake? Are you an expert crocheter? Do you love to grow herbs or flowers or veggies? Do you have a passion for making your own jams and jellies or perhaps you have always wanted to raise your own angora rabbits and sell the spun yarn!

We were market vendors for 8 years with our bakery and we had a blast. We loved our customers and truly that space we rented for only $100 a season was our storefront. Hands down it was the cheapest and most economical way to start our business. If you would like to read more check out my post by clicking on the link Become a Farmers Market Vendor

Coach a High School Sports Team – If you are athletically talented (which I am not), have patience and love working with kids, consider going for a coaching job at the high school level. In talking with many of my friends who coach high school sports, they not only enjoy the mentoring and teaching but also enjoy the extra cash it gives them at the end of the season. Even at a small school, coaches, depending on the sport, can earn $4000-$5000 a season. A larger school and a more popular sport can earn you considerably more. Each school is different in how they pay but one of my friends said they he could receive the earnings in one lump sum at the end of the season or split it into two paychecks. Either way that could totally pay off a credit card in one season for something you really enjoy doing!

Teach a Class – There are tons of adult and childrens’ classes being held at local libraries, schools, churches and communities centers. Do you have a special talent you think people would be interesting in learning? Painting, drawing, singing, music lessons, a foreign language, baking, cooking, knitting, sewing. Just about anything could be a class. I have even been a guest speaker at the library before and had great fun doing it! Schools will pay you to come in and teach an adult education or continuing education class. Think about it. It might be a great way to earn extra money and hang out with some really great people!

Sell Online – Yes I have my Etsy online store where I sell vintage and antique china but I know of lots of people that sell things like handmade cards, jewelry and artwork, old comic books and vintage clothing in their own store online. Ebay and Etsy are probably the most popular but amazon marketplace is gaining speed as well as just selling through your own blog or website. Check it out and let me know if I can help you with setting anything up. I had a great teacher to help me!

Run for local office – If you are politically minded and want to add your voice to get things moving in your community? Then running for local office might be a great way to help out and earn a small amount of money. Although being a Town Board or Village Board member might not make you rich, it’s still a way to earn money and the hours will work around your full time job. Consider it a possibility!

Food Service – Grocery Stores, restaurants, caterers all need extra help during the holidays and summer months. I once saw a woman working at a local grocery store and I assumed she was the night manager because I always saw her closing up for the night when I would run in for a last minute item before closing time. Then I didn’t see her for a while until one day she came into my store and I asked her why I hadn’t seen her closing the other store at night. She told me she was a full time nurse and she had taken that evening job just to pay off her student loans. Wow right! It took her a couple of years but she successfully paid off her student loans by taking that night job. Even 10 hours a week at minimum wage could give you an extra $100 a week and that’s $5200 a year!

Working at the Voting Booths on Election Day – Did you know that people that work at the election sights earn VERY good money for the day? Some earn more than $200 that day! The hours are long, usually 6 am to 9 pm but you get to see everyone in town and earn a nice paycheck for the day! Ask your county’s election office about possible openings for work. It is worth the long day.

Music GigsI have to list this side hustle because so many of my friends are earning a lot of money playing and singing their hearts out with their own local bands at local venues. Many are collaborating with other musicians and sharing ideas with each other. Local bars, theaters, restaurants and farmers markets around our area are offering local musical entertainment and these musicians are very talented. So if you have this talent and think you might be interested in playing then go for it. It can be a great side hustle with the added benefit of doing something you love.

I have tons of other ideas for side hustles but there are just too many to list! You get the idea though right?

The one common denominator that I have observed among people that are successful with their money is that they have multiple projects and side hustles going on at once. They are not just collecting a paycheck from a 9 to 5 job. They may own a business but plow driveways and own rental property on the side. They may be farmers but have a side business where they own and rent out storage units or warehouse space.

The possibilities are endless. You just have to open your eyes and ears and your mind.

My husband got another side hustle this week. It was totally unexpected but he was asked if he would be interested in being a broadcaster for a local radio station who is putting together a team of people to stream our local Varsity football games. It’s something he loves to do because he already announces all of our local little league games, just now it will be a paid gig too! Win, Win!

This week I will not be making an extra payment to the credit card (Old Navy). The boys are flying to Boise, ID on Saturday to pick up a car and I need to make sure they have enough money. Luckily there are five paydays in August so I will still be on track.

Next week I will give my numbers for the month! Can’t wait to report in. -MM

Week 3-1/2 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt – Buyer’s Remorse

So far this week, even though I made the extra payment to that Old Navy balance, and we are still on track, we failed miserably with not eating at home.

I didn’t grocery shop (even though I work at a grocery store) so when it came to making dinners and having stuff for lunches and breakfasts I failed. Then when we were hungry instead of making something or warming something up, we went through the drive thru. Yuck. It sucks going through the drive-thru. I always feel like crap after going through the drive-thru. Greasy fries and burgers do not make me feel good.

Then another food fail was tonight when we went out to celebrate that the Hubbs got yet another side gig. We ate dinner at a local restaurant and were sorely disappointed by the food and the price was ridiculous for just the two of us.

Now I have to say I am extremely hard to please when I go out to eat. I pretty much regret it every time because I know I can make better food for about a 10th of the price I pay out, but my husband always says I didn’t have to cook it so just enjoy it.

Not tonight. I don’t consider myself old but now I am sounding like an old fart because I just can’t believe what things cost! I get it. I am in retail too. I know everything is going up in price but seriously for $60 I expect something to be at least eye appealing. Six small scallops with a small bowl of white rice that was so over cooked it was mush and a piece of lettuce with an old fashioned spiced apple ring and a sliver of lemon is not worth $25. Soup and salad were also included.

Buyer’s remorse. Sixty dollars is gone out of my wallet when I could have purchased almost a full weeks of groceries for us with that money.

I have 80 weeks of blog posts to write and I was totally going to talk about food at some point in the future but after this incident I need to talk about it much sooner.

This is a problem I know we all have. And I know retailers completely take advantage of us tired, overworked, stressed out moms and dads and strip us of our hard earned cash because we just want someone else to cook for once.

We failed with food this week. We will be better next week. I promise. Carry on. -MM

 

 

 

Week #3 of 80 – Not Impressed With Our Debt -What’s Different This Time?

pizzeria

We have struggled for almost eight years with our debt, so what’s different this time? Why do I think the plan we are using now will successfully eliminate our debt?

While I can’t completely account for all of it, what I can say is that my husband and I have finally set aside the fear of getting second jobs.

Yes, we each have side hustles now. He works about 50 hours a week and so do I. Plus, I have an Etsy Shop where I sell stuff online. More time working, less time spending?

I always told myself that I couldn’t get a second job because I work in food service all day as a professional baker. I could only think of a second job for me as another food service job and I was already exhausted when I got home. I knew a second physical job just wasn’t an option. Plus, how would I juggle home life and take care of us with a full time job and a part time job? I just pushed the idea of a second job out of my mind as impossible.

My husband is a salesman at a welding supply company and his day (at the time) was less physically demanding than mine so when a local pizzeria asked if he was interested in delivering for them he thought about it and said yes. Don’t worry he used his car to deliver pizzas not that bike in the photo above. 🙂

This started the ball rolling for us. The extra money helped of course but it really opened my eyes. While at times it was hard to juggle the extra work hours, it was still workable.

I still wanted to do something on the side myself but what could I do to bring in extra cash? Instead of a traditional part time job, I decided I would try opening an Etsy Shop. Etsy is an on-line marketplace similar to Ebay but it is specifically for selling handmade and vintage items.

I love vintage dishes. I love finding them in shops and yard sales. I love researching them. I love photographing them. I love cataloging them and I love listing and shipping them. I think you get the idea that I love what I do on Etsy! My sales aren’t huge but since opening my shop in November I have sold over 30 listings and even if it gives me $50 a week that’s more than a tank of gas so not bad.

But I am not quite done with our extra jobs. In June, out of the blue, I got a call from a local attorney. Before I was a professional baker I was a legal secretary and I really enjoyed it. This attorney, whom I had never met, called me and offered me a job. I told him I had a full time job already and he said that was ok, he would take any hours I could give him. “But you don’t even know me,” I said. Plus I hadn’t worked in a law office since 2010.

After a quick interview with him the next day he hired me on the spot for whatever hours I could give him. I was totally speechless. What a shock but what a blessing! I have been working and re-learning law and I am having a blast.

So let’s recap: I now have a full time job as a baker and I work part time in a law office. My husband works full time in sales and works part time at a pizzeria. And we have an Etsy shop selling vintage and antique dishes. A little weird but it works.

Oh and I forgot to mention my 16 year old son also has worked with me at the store as a cashier since he was 15 and can pay for his own toys and gadgets and boy does that help our budget lol!

Tomorrow I will make another double payment to that Old Navy card and so far everything else seems to be fine. We even had to get new brakes and front tires for one of the cars and still did not have to charge it.

Having the extra jobs has increased our income exponentially.  So my hope is that this plan will work for us this time. The next 77 weeks will be the test.  -MM

Next post –  Part time job ideas that make sense.