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Archive for September, 2006

9 Days of catchup in my journal...

September 26th, 2006 at 07:04 pm

I have been so busy trying to get through my list of To Do's for September that I haven't had time to spend updating my journal..

Progress so far:
1. Company Audit - prepare, organise and file documents for audit DONE
2. Sewing Order - finish 15 children's chefs jackets (for a Restaurant Chain doing an in house promotion) DONE
3. Garage Sale - go through cubhoards for extra curtains, cushions etc and add to garage sale. Finish this by the end of September and then donate whatever is left to charity
4. Dog's Kennel - clean out and put in new bedding DONE
5. Personal filing - my in tray is FULL and I need to file all my statements, invoices etc DONE
6. Achieve 15 no spend days during September DONE
7. Car inspection for new car insurance
8. Accreditation on new product that I sell
9. Spend 15 minutes everyday sorting out or tidying up around the house
10. Library books - get them back on time so I don't have to pay a fine DONE
11. Vacation - need to confirm our booking for 7 days in October (using Dad's timeshare) DONE
12. Evaluate new business oppportunity - training & development for Hospitality Industry DONE
13. Oil Change on car
14. Wall hanging - finished but not mounted on a rod yet DONE
15. Fetch new Passport & apply for DD's passport
16. TV support in sewing room - move it lower DONE
17. Bedroom curtains - need to shorten (they have been too long since I moved to this house nearly 5 years ago) *sigh*
18. Utilities - refund due from overcharge
19. Make blinds for dressing room
20. Move furniture to make space for Mom's Kist and Great Grandmothers original treadle sewing machine DONE
21. VCR for repair on extended warrantee contract
22. Wall Safe (Lock Box) need to install and fix to the wall DONE
22. Medical Insurance - sort this out once and for all
23. Weightloss - get focused and lose 6.5 - 10 pounds by the 30 September
24. Spending log - make sure everything I spend is logged
25. Look for ways to increase the $20 challenge to $200
- Have grown seeds into seedlings for our vegie garden and am now just waiting for them to be a bit bigger before we transplant them into the garden
- Made 3 birthday presents for DD's friends saved $21.48
- Printed off Greeting cards for DD's friends saved $4.50
- Saved $7.71 on specials during Grocerie shopping
- Took my own bags to store instead of buying new ones saved $0.28
- Had the family around for Sunday morning tea instead of lunch saved $11
- Reduced the time for the swimming pool pump to run by 3 hours per day
- Have started switching off power at the wall instead of leaving appliances on standby

$20 Challenge
Managed to save $44.97
New total $154.99

Weightloss
Still haven't lost any more weight - just my 3 lbs but then I haven't been that focused on this.

Career Challenges:
I am at a cross roads with my current sales position:- my clients are just not making decisions as quickly as they used too, because the product I sell is imported it is subject to price fluctuations and at the moment our currency is weak so the prices are rather high.

I am seriously thinking about going freelance for a couple of years and am exploring the following options:
- Sales mentoring and coaching
- Adding 2 new products to my current offerings, Basic Selling Skills and Telesales Skills
- Selling restaurant franchises and doing their resales
- Providing training in the Hospitality industry

At the moment, because I am not making my sales targets I am not earning what I need to make month end payments never mind paying off debt so... I need to look at other revenue opportunities.

I am hoping to have some answers by the end of the week or should I say I want to make my decision by 30 September.

General:

Summer has arrived and it is wonderful to see everything growing again and the grass turning green. Wearing summmer clothes is so much better and more fun but...

DD has outgrown just about all her summer clothes except for a couple of sundresses I made at the end of last season so I start sewing for her again this week.

DB - has discharged himself from hospital again and refused to take the accommodation at the half way house. Although it is hard, I am realising that there is little I can do if he doesn't play his part. Prayer is the only thing I am able to do at this stage.

EMF - no progress here as I have had no income over the past couple of weeks and have been using what we have to buy the necessities and keep going.

Other than that I am having fun getting through my To Do list and can see a huge improvement in the organisation of my home. Also, noticed that the more I do the more I feel like doing.

BTW - a couple of you have left comments about wanting to learn to sew so I did some surfing to see what I could find to get you going:

www.berninausa.com - has some free projects at all levels

www.sewing.org - also have free projects at all levels.

You can also do a search with Yahoo using "sewing crafts" as your search criteria and there are lots of web pages.

www.sewyoungsewfun.com - a great beginners website

www.make-stuff.com - a fun website

www.quiltersnewsnetwork.com (my favourite) - always something new for beginners and more advanced projects

Then lastly, most of the sewing machine manufactures have their own webpages and have free projects plus some even have courses which you could attend.

So have fun searching...

If anyone needs help - I will try to get answers for you or try explain - sewing is one of the most rewarding hobbies and great Occupational Therapy for Stress.

Christmas:
Only 91 days to (sorry to remind you all) - have decided that it is time to make up my Gift list as I try to make most of our gifts.

My usual list of gifts includes:
Placemats
Tablecloths
Kids clothes
Dolls clothes
Barbie Clothes
Decoupage items - trays, placemats, pen holders
Baskets with soaps, creams, lotions etc or deli items that are treats for some people

As income is under pressure this year I am going to have to dive into my stash of craft supplies and sewing supplies and see what I can come up with Smile Smile

Will check in tomorrow

Tackled my List of Things To Do for September...

September 17th, 2006 at 06:38 pm

Woke up early yesterday morning, Saturday and decided it would be a good day to get going on my To Do list so...

1. Sorted and tidied all DD's toys - labelled the containers and told her that she could now read so there was no excuse LOL
2. Moved furniture around for Mom's kist (now to pluck up the courage to go through it - it is the last of her things that I have to sort through AND 2.5 years later I just haven't had the courage *sigh*)
3. Moved a small desk into my sewing room and set it up for DD with her sewing machine (my Mom's small Elna which is perfect to learn on).
We are going to start with very small hand sewn projects - so every Saturday we are going to have sewing lessons together Smile
4. Painted a cuphoard for DD's room so that she has more storage space for her toys.
5. Tidied office

Now the challenge:
Everytime I move cuphoards and furniture around, I have to move the contents too - so now I have stuff to find a new home for - will try to do a some everyday.

Feeling quite happy that I had a productive weekend which will hopefully lead into a productive week.

2 more No Spend Days = 11 days for the month.

See ya soon Smile



Updated Debt Balances & ramblings...

September 15th, 2006 at 12:43 pm

I said I would update my debt balances today so here goes:

Start Debt 7/12/06: Now 9/4/06
Home Remodeling: $345 PAID
CC1: $715 : Now $692
Timeshare Levy: $730; PAID
Bank Overdraft: $929; $920
Loan from Dad: $857: Now $541
Swimming Pool Renovation: $1429; Now $1429
Private School Fees: $1219; Now $680
Car Loan: $11073; Now $10 190
Bank Overdraft 2: $7000; Now $6786
CC2: $13716; Now $13007
CC3: $15918; Now $15 497
HEL & Mortgage: $171 429 Now: $170 143

TOTAL DEBT: $225 360; Now $219 885

Paid: $5 475 since the 12 July 2006

A small reduction since the 4 Sept BUT I am still waiting for business expenses to be reimbursed - which is $940 and which will be used to reduce CC1 again. I had to use it to pay for groceries because I have been out of pocket for my expenses.

ACHIEVED ANOTHER MILESTONE:
Went to the theatre last night (it was my treat) but had forgotten that the theatre was at the Casino Complex I used to frequent.

Said many prayers before I left home BUT still went although I was quite nervous. At the end of the performance I just kept walking with my friends to my car and didn't even look into the casino area. I was so tempted for a minutes BUT somehow I DID IT!!!!!!

This is the first time in about 6 years that I have been there and haven't gambled - I am so excited and grateful - this is a huge milestone for me BUT I also know that I can't let my guard down.

$20 Challenge: DD had another Birthday party to go to today - so I got her to do a picture for the Greeting Card and printed off a homemade card as well = $1.50 saved.

Spent today:
1. DD Friend birthday present $8.50
2. Battery for step counter $2.84
3. Store: $3.86
4. DD got tuck money today $2 plus Cake & Candy sale $1
5. DD Allowance $3

WEIGHTLOSS PROGRESS:
Weighed in yesterday morning - lost 3lbs whoopee - think it is all the water - I feel like everytime I look it is time for another glass of water.
Think DD has also lost a couple of lbs - she is about 8lbs over for her height and I have just made her eat what I am eating without making an issue of it. Told DD that for the next 8 weeks we and going to be SUPER healthy and she thinks it is great.

DB 2:
Was admitted to hospital 2 days ago for treatment...
He has been sedated to halt the manic phase he has been in for the past 4 weeks and sounds very drugged BUT at least he is off the streets and getting medical care.

TO DO LIST FOR SEPTEMBER:
1. Making progress here but am still busy trying to finish those 15 chefs jackets.
2. Have planted seeds for the vegie garden and they have starting shooting so soon we will be able to transplant them.
3. 9 No Spend Days - goal 15
4. Library Books returned but still paid $3 fine for being late *sigh* - why can't I get this right.
5. Weightloss -lost 3lbs Goal - 10 lbs
6. Spending log updated everyday

BTW - achieved 221 days of No Gambling today Smile Smile Smile

See you tomorrow




It is the small steps ...

September 13th, 2006 at 08:46 am

I received an email this morning about "setting a plan in motion" and the continuous dedication, hard work and the overcoming of obstacles to achieve your goals.

Thought about it and decided to include my thoughts in my journal entry today.

As each debt reduces and hopefully my weight does too, it doesn't matter how small the progress is as long as we are getting closer to the goal.

If I think about the "easy buys" (pre cooked meals, snacks, sodas etc) that I have NOT purchased over the past couple of months I realise that these small amounts contribute to increasing debt payments and they really add up if we are not constantly on guard.

My constant challenge is DD and her wanting to spend on these "easy buys" - there are times when we are in the store that I have to say: "If you don't stop nagging I will do the shopping on my own".

Yesterday, DD wanted to go shopping - for what I am still not sure but when I say no we didn't need anything she answered: "But Mom I want to buy something nice for me and you" - good try DD Smile

On a larger scale, I have just had such a fight with CC2 company - let me explain:
In April they handed over the debt to lawyers aka collection agents because I had not been making the minimum payment.
They set the payment at $930 per month without talking to me and although I have tried to do it, some months it just hasn't been possible.
During those months I still made payments though.
This morning I was notified that they would be proceeding with legal action - so I called and explained that I was still making payments and NEEDED them to decrease the minium payment. The CC company of course refused, then I called the collection agents and told them all I needed was a lower payment and couldn't they see that I was trying.
"Oh we can see you are making payments, but you are in arrears and we need you to catchup" Duh - I know I am in arrears, but I want a lower payment amount that fits into my budget but at the same time shows you that I am serious about paying off this debt.

Jeez, these people are pathetic!!!! Anyway after losing it completely, they agreed to reduce the payment to $645 per month starting on the 30 September.

Why did I have to lose it before they would listen?

It makes me so mad, when I am trying to put past wrongs right and no-one will work with me - Dave Ramsey always says these people are scum well now I have had a local example of their methods of working and trying to get money.

I WANT to pay them back and they just don't seem to get it.

Anyway, at least I made some small progress again - a lower payment that fits into my budget AND legal action prevented.

Patience patience... small steps... hmmm...

Almost back to normal...

September 12th, 2006 at 10:25 am

Thank you for the kind responses of support regarding my DB2 - I was just so worried and upset about the whole thing.

At least now, we have made some progress - DB2 let me know today that he was admitted for stabilising at the hospital and is waiting for his lithium levels to settle.

Once that happens, the arrangements for him to go to the halfway house will be finalised.

I am so Thankful that he is at least off the streets - an answer to all our prayers.

Now I need to get some focus again, as I think I will need to include some financial support in my budget for him.

Believe it or not, even with all this drama going on I was able to get another 2 No Spend Days in and stay on track with spending.

I have paid some more debt off and will update these totals on the 15 Sept.

Also, decided that I need to start working on my September To Do list and have finished one of them and working on a second.

I weighed myself this morning - Holy Moly where did all the extra pounds come from? So have started on that goal too -need to lose 34 lbs and want to do it by Christmas (just to put it all on again????).

Why is it that when we decide to lose weight, we are hungry all the time - this is the part that I really don't like. First day = constant hunger and so much frickin' water to drink.

Will check in again tomorrow...



Family challenges...

September 10th, 2006 at 11:06 am

we love them, we hate them but what would we do without them.

I have a brother (DB1) with bi polar disorder, who has just opted out of life (the way we know it) - we have just found out that he has been living on the streets for 4 weeks. Oh this is so distressing, I feel like my heart is going to break and so helpless but at the same time, know that there is little or nothing I can do.

My other brother (DB2) went to try and help him and managed to get some outpatient treatment for him and "sheltered accommodation". At least he has a bedroom to go to everynight and DB1 feels content to roam around and return every night to this room to sleep, eat & shower.

As I write this all down, I am sobbing my heart out - it is so hard to reconcile the brother I know with this one who has just opted out and basically drifting through the days.

I wish I could help him and take away all the problems and get him back BUT he says that he is happy.

I can't carryon with this entry now... will try again later.

Hunting for specials...

September 8th, 2006 at 08:05 pm

is like a looking for a needle in a haystack but I guess no-one said the $20 challenge would be easy.

Needed to grocery shop today, the pantry was looking very bare and I saw a special on chicken - 91c/lb, so off DD and I went all ready to stock up...

Sold out and no offer to keep some for us when they get their next delivery.

Went to our regular store - found the same price and went crazy. Bought $20 worth and saved about $5.

Found a few other discounted items and ended up with a total saving of $6.
Old Balance: $102.52
Add: $6.00
New Balance: $108.52

Spent a total of $101 on our necessities: bread, milk, juice, marge, sugar, oil etc which should last about 10 days BUT...

I forgot to buy washing detergent, fabric softener, cheese, lasagna so back to the store tomorrow. Think I was too busy focusing on the specials and savings and not concentrating on the list.

Oh well...

Bank Loyalty Gift Cards...

September 7th, 2006 at 09:48 am

Cashed in some loyalty points that our Bank rewards us with.

I think it is similar to Gift Cards that you guys talk about.

Am going to use them when I go shopping on Sunday and add another $35.71 to my Challenge account.

So the Challenge is growing... oh wow it's over $100 now Smile

Resisting the urge to pop to the store...

September 7th, 2006 at 09:45 am

and get a few things but I know when I get there there will be a "few more things and before I know it the cart will be full".

So as I gaze into my nearly depleted pantry, I think about how the no spend days really make a difference to the amount of money you spend *sigh*

And then I see the 4 boxes of macaroni and a packet of pasta and wonder what on earth I can make that is healthy (DD needs vegetables) and different (not mac & cheese).

Then a trip to the freezer and guess what we have a chicken left - problem solved: Roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables yummy....

So yet again the store trip is postponed - wonder how many more days I can go without shopping?

Will need to check the bread & milk levels (I buy in bulk and freeze) - that usually determines when I need to go to the store. Just checked about another 3 days worth - so Sunday I will be doing the shopping.

BTW my Dad has invited myself and DB out for dinner tonight - amazing how much we appreciate all the treats when paying down debt is the goal.

I have been so slack this month - haven't even started on my list of September goals. Looked at it the other night for 2 seconds and then carried on reading everyone elses journals... these journals are addictive. I seem to spend more time here than anywhere else but it so good to know that there is a group of us working towards the same goal

FINANCIAL FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE

now whose journal can I read next ... Smile Smile

Anti viral software - free trial for 24 months...

September 7th, 2006 at 09:25 am

I unsubscribed to my regular anti-virus software in the middle of August because I decided that there had to be a less expensive option.

Well, yesterday, my computer warned that I didn't have anti-virus software again!!! So I went surfing through the microsoft website to see what they recommended and found a 12 month free trial. Downloaded and installed it straight away and ...

added $19.95 to my Challenge account Smile

New balance: $66.81

It amazes me how we can "find money" when we take on the challenge.

I treated myself today...

September 5th, 2006 at 05:38 pm

Friends of mine are going to a theatre production on the 16 September and they managed to get a block booking for a group of 20 at a discount. Decided that I needed a treat so I spent $13 on a ticket and can't wait.

Worked flat out today and feel really tired tonight.

Other than my theatre ticket I had a no spend day and I am counting it as a no spend day BECAUSE this is for me and no-one else. Actually the cost was covered by some more stuff sold over the weekend.

Was treated to lunch by a client, which was yummy but did nothing to help the weightloss.

Goodnews: I have been asked to do some mystery shopping at a restaurant chain - they have 22 restaurants and want 7 done a month. They are paying $30 per shop plus $15 food voucher PLUS they are paying for mileage to the restaurants.

I will put this money towards CC1 as I really want to pay off another debt completely by the end of September.

*Frustrated sigh* - my business expenses have not been reimbursed yet and it is about $1200 which will go a long way to reducing my debt and replacing my expense float.

Got home late from work and was really really really tempted to do the take out thing but thank goodness I had home made frozen meals at hand - so that saved about $15.

DD started school today - yeah! she was so bored after 5 weeks at home. I don't know how you guys & gals manage to have the children out of school for 3 months.
BUT it also means that there is homework to do regardless of how tired we both are. Being the first day, there was only some reading with the option of doing the rest tomorrow and Thursday for a quizz on Friday.

Overall a good day... see ya tomorrow Smile


New Debt Balances...

September 4th, 2006 at 06:00 pm

Still waiting for my business expenses to be reimbursed but in the meantime I needed to see where I am with my debt balances:


Start Debt 7/12/06: Now 9/4/06
Home Remodeling: $345 PAID
CC1: $715 : Now $564
Timeshare Levy: $730; PAID
Bank Overdraft: $929; $789
Loan from Dad: $857: Now $643
Swimming Pool Renovation: $1429; Now $1429
Private School Fees: $1219; Now $899
Car Loan: $11073; Now $10 190
Bank Overdraft 2: $7000; Now $6786
CC2: $13716; Now $13100
CC3: $15918; Now $15 497
HEL & Mortgage: $171 429 Now: $170 143

TOTAL DEBT: $225 360; Now $220 040

Paid: $5 320 since the 12 July 2006

Hmmm... patience is NOT my middle name but I give Thanks that progress has been made.

Well Intentioned Friends?..

September 2nd, 2006 at 07:20 pm

What do you do about friends who are well intentioned but end up costing you money?

Let me explain, DD has been on school vacation and her friend invited her to go bowling - I let her go without thinking about what it would cost - my fault I know.

When they got back, DD's friends mother says "that was great fun and it only cost $8 each and then we went for lunch, but you can give me the money next time I see you".

Huh??? DD was invited and in my book that means she was treated to the outing.

Today she went to play at the same friends house, and when I collected her realised I didn't have my purse with me so I couldn't pay the money but then...(wait for it)

DD's friends mother says "we are going to a fund raiser tomorrow and we want DD to join us". This time I wasn't slow and replied "no sorry, we are going to church and any case that kind of outing is not in our budget this month".

"Oh but we won't spend much...etc etc" - yeah right, I can just imagine. DD's friend tends to be spoilt - today her mother spent $90 on candy, party treats etc for her birthday and that excludes the Birthday Cake, Presents, drinks and so on.

Have I got this wrong or I am imagining things...

Weird if you ask me.

Oh well we live and learn but now I have to take money out of some other budget category to pay DD's friends mother back.
Urrgh......I am so irritated!

DD's Friends & Birthdays AND No Spend Days...

September 1st, 2006 at 01:09 pm

I thought today would be a no spend day - forgot that DD had a Birthday party to go to and I hadn't bought a gift or made anything. Decided to give her some money to spend rather than rush out and buy junk. $7 - an odd amount I know but I convert all our local currencies into USD so that it is easier for you to relate to.

As I was giving out money I gave DD her allowance $3 and I am hoping that is all the money I have to part with until Monday.

Sold some more stuff yesterday - another $19.29 to EMF
New Total: $258.29

Also got DD to make a Birthday Greeting card for her friend so I will add another $1 to the $20 challenge = $46.86

Just checking my diary and see that I achieved 15 NO SPEND days - really happy about that. New Challenge - need to try to get them to be consecutive but either way I'll take them.

Will update my debt balances as soon as all automatic debits go off my checking account.

BTW haven't done a thing off my To Do List for September - tommorrow ... *sigh*