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Archive for June, 2007

Updated Debt Balances...

June 27th, 2007 at 11:46 am

We got paid on the 25 June and I have just finished paying all bills for the end of June and the debt balances are:

Start Debt:
7/12/06: $236 978
5/29/07: $29 150 + $55 600 = $84750
6/27/07: $26 859 + $32 894 = $59853

Car Loan: $11073 Now $ 6748
CC2: $ 13716 Now $ 6832
CC3: $ 15918 Now 13279
Tax Liability: $55600 Now $32 894

Reduced by $2611 since 5/30/07

I am battling with the Tax Liability - I just don't know how I am going to get enough money together to pay this by the 28 Feb 2008.

Every time I look at what I need to save to pay this, I go straight into "overwhelm" - I think it is a good thing that I only look at the totals once a month and not everyday.

This month I have drawn cash (only $300) to carry us through until next pay day - a real challenge on it's own.

Thank goodness my employer pays for my gas (I commute about 60 miles per day) otherwise it would be even tougher.

I really make a concerted effort to focus on what we have and how Blessed we are - it is the only way to keep things in perspective.

BTW It snowed in Johannesburg last night - the first time in 25 years!!!!! Hmm wonder if this Global warming is starting to really impact us.

The funny side though - South Africans have no clue what to do in the snow - we have never had to clear snow off cars, drive on iced roads and snow tires - what are those????

Even the airplanes are not equipped to deal with de-icing - all our flights were delayed 2 - 3 hours this morning.

Have managed to get my $20 Challenge account up to $338 by adding change and getting paid for sewing. Am so tempted to add this to a debt payment but then I remind myself that I may need a washer soon - so the money is lying in a separate wallet in my drawer.

Well back to work...

Have a good day

Looking back at lessons learned...

June 20th, 2007 at 08:21 am

I was browsing through some of the blogs and reading a new member's blog and realised how much I have changed and how much I have learned since I have been blogging here.

Here is a response I left a new blogger:

Just some encouragement: I am also a Sales Exec & understand the need to look good, have a reliable car, clothes etc. but last year I had to close my business and go back to full time employment. There were some months when my dearest aunt supported us with food, gas, rent etc and there was NO money for anything extra.
What I learned is that having no money was a Blessing - it really taught me to recognise the "old have to have's" as luxuries and not necessities.
Here is a challenge for you - imagine that you only had enough money for rent, food, gas, minimum cell phone costs or go a step further, what would you cut if you lost your job and had to survive for a couple of months.
This exercise may help you to sort out what is really important to you and what could be cut.
When money is not really an issue, I found that I could justify anything but now that I am focused on being debt free I can justify NOT buying stuff or luxuries and my DD and I having more fun working out ways to make do and not spend.
The mani/pedi - I taught myself to do and do it on a Sunday afternoon. Groceries - I only take $50 with me to the store and it amazes me everytime how I manage to buy what we need within that amount. Debit Cards - I don't use mine anymore, it is too easy to add "treats" and a few extra's.
The cable TV - I justify this too - I like to know where DD is and enjoy it myself when I am sewing.
The other thing that really helped me was Dave Ramsey - he cuts right through all our justifications and calls us Princesses when we can't give up the mani/pedi etc - quite funny really. Take a look and read the book.
You can do it but have fun doing it.
Smile Smile Smile Smile

Do you remember when you started on your journey to become debt free or financially independent?

I look at some of the "stuff" I bought in the past which I just had to have and think "jeez things sure have changed" - I would never buy that now.

When I was at the mall yesterday, I wandered around for a short while thinking I really need to buy a suit for work but the thought of spending that money was just so uncomfortable that I didn't even go into the stores - not even to look.

If someone had told me a year ago that I could cut my grocery budget from $250 to $125 I would have thought they "were smoking something real good" and hallucinating - now it is standard as is the cooking from scratch, freezing home cooked convenience meals, takeout only 1x month, making gifts $ greeting cards etc.

That when things get really tough, there is a whole community here to support, encourage and suggest ways to get through it.

Thanks Jeff & Nate - I don't think you really know how much we appreciate this blogging site.

Oh well (sigh) back to work...


Definitely not a No Spend Day...

June 19th, 2007 at 01:36 pm

Started the morning by stopping at the convenience store for colddrink - forgot my water at home and just had to have something with me for the commute.

Then met a client at a coffee shop (he paid for sandwiches and coffee) and thought I was doing so well. On my way back to the office, I needed to get a printout of my cell phone usage for March (think the mice needed paper for their nest and they stole the original) so stopped at the mall, got the details and on my way back to the car, bought some bottled water. Total spent on drinks: $4.57 - I must be insane.

Well seeing that the No Spend Day is now done and dusted, I might as well go the whole hog and stop at the store on my way home from work.
Need to get some basics including bread & milk to see us through until pay day.

Have just finished claiming all my expenses since end March (I know!! just something I procrastinated on!) and now know why my bank balance is so low - I am owed $732 which is wad of money.

Am waiting for my sewing/mending order to be paid - should be another $19 towards my $20 challenge. The client also says that she has more alterations that need doing. It really is amazing how quickly these small amounts add up and because I do them at night while watching TV it really doesn't feel like work.

DD's school asked me for posters advertising my sewing/mending so I have just printed them off and will deliver them tomorrow. Hopefully I will get some more sewing clients.

Still waiting for the final payouts on my house sale and a refund from the Utility company - these things definitely happening on African time. sigh.......

Will check in tomorrow...have a good day

Just a quick update...

June 18th, 2007 at 06:41 pm

to make up for the lack of entries the last couple of days.

Got quite a lot of sewing done this weekend:
Finished my sweatpants: saved $15
Finished DD's sweatpants: saved $7
Altered DD's school slacks: no savings
Total Saved: $22 (to come off sewing machine cost).

Had another 3 no spend days: Total for June = 9 Goal is 20 (Hmmm don't know if I will manage this but will keep going)

Decided to pay something more towards my CC debt - need to feel like I am making progress towards debt reduction:
Car Loan: $11073 Now $ 7103
CC2: $ 13716 5/30/07: $ 8608 Now $7294
CC3: $ 15918 Now 13439
Tax Liability: $55 600 Now $33314 6/15/2007: Paid an extra $420 = $32894
TOTAL DEBT: Start 4/1/2006: $236 978 Now: $60730

This is so exciting, I just know that I am going to be able to achieve my debt free status.

$20 Challenge: Added lose change from wallet and bottle = $17.61
New Total: $301.56
Yeah - reached the $300 dollar mark.
New goal - $400 by 31 July 2007.

Sewing Machine cost: Start: $3425
6/10/2007: $3236.29
6/18/2007: less $22 = $3214.29

Holiday Fund:
DD added her allowance and I got an unexpected refund of 28.57 so our new total is: $185.71

Making progress mid-month is great - I only get paid monthly so this is an extra bonus.

Cooked all the chicken that I bought on special tonight and will use it to make:
Chicken pies
Chicken al la king
Chicken lasagna
and then freeze it in portions so that we have home pre-cooked, convenience meals.

Am really tired at the moment, think it is the short winter days and wanting to hibernate in the cold.

Well I am off to bed now after a long hot bath

Speak to you tomorrow...



Cool Banana's, Happy Days etc etc...

June 14th, 2007 at 07:51 pm

Just the way I am feeling this evening.

Amazing this time last week I was so flat and now I feel like myself again. Yeah - what a relief.

Managed to get through a ton of stuff today and worked a while this evening.

The meeting with my boss wasn't too bad. I have been with the company since Nov 06 (consulting) and then Jan 07 (full time) and the original reason for hiring me was to launch a new ranch of Products/Solutions. The company though is recognised for their very high level interventions and there has not been a great reception to the new Products/Solutions. So now we are looking at getting me up to speed with the entire range so that I can sell everything. I am so much happier with this - please pray that it all works out. I love working for this company.

On the finance side, another No Spend Day although when I went out to the meeting I was sooooo... tempted to stop and get something to eat. But I didn't Smile

No Spend Days = 6 for June (Goal 20)

I can't wait for the weekend - there is so much I want to get done.

I haven't spent any more time in my sewing room this week because I really want to catch up with the work I procrastinated on BUT the weekend is mine, oh all mine Smile Smile

Got sweatpants to finish, birthday gift to make for another of DD's friend, alterations to finish and lots more.

See you tomorrow... have a good day!

Procrastination... a rambling entry

June 13th, 2007 at 07:34 pm

I have perfected the art of Procrastination - but have also decided that it is time to end this perfected habit.

Spent time today, looking at what procrastination is really costing me and I think I had a huge wake up call.

Being in sales, procrastination is definitely not something I am proud of and if I am completely honest I haven't been the most productive I could have been. Think that the depression has had something to do with it but I am already on day 5 on the new meds and feeling much better and really wanting to get moving.

All my goals are linked to my success as a Sales Exec - the earning potential will allow me to nail these goals but I have to get focused.

I have a meeting with my boss tomorrow and I think that I am going to get some not so nice feedback. My own fault I know - I put everything I had into a couple of Sales Opportunities and one of them is definitely not going to happen this year. Now I sit with too few prospects and I have start all over again.

I never learn - oh the joys of sales. I tend to be overly optimistic (a real sales trait) and then when things don't go the way I want them to I get frustrated and opt out for a while.

Oh well... tomorrow is another day (the procrastinator at work Smile Smile)

Doing everything I can to boost savings...

June 12th, 2007 at 04:56 pm

Decided to take in sewing again i.e. mending, alterations, general sewing to boost my savings account for the $20 challenge.

At least this way, I am at home in the evenings with DD and doing something productive.

Got a bag full of alterations on Friday and will finish them tonight for delivery on Thursday - should make about $15 and although it isn't much, the small amounts add up fast. (As we already know when we spend freely).

Had another No Spend Day today = 5 for June - Goal 20.

DD is at a private Catholic School (my old school) and they do all kinds of things to fund raise in order to keep the school fees lower than most private school but...

sometimes they really go overboard!!!

One of the parents managed to get a theatre production company to put on a full performance at the school in order to raise funds. Hmmm ... sounds good so far doesn't it?

But they sent out 2 tickets with each child (unfortunate for you if you have more than the average 2 children - like the big catholic families of 6 - 8 children) and a request for $15 per ticket = $30.

Not a lot but after what we have been through with sacrificing, selling our home, downsizing, moving into a rental - it is a lot for a couple of hours entertainment. Frown Frown

After much thought, I decided that right now this is an absolute luxury and no amount of justification would make this feel right. Afterall I have paid my school fees for the full year (until Dec 2007) and am doing without other luxuries.

Maybe a bit selfish, but really.

I watch some of the parents drop off their kids in huge MPV's and 4 x 4's and wonder how they can afford everything. Some of the kids get $15 for tuck (huh - not in my lifetime) and then still demand huge parties and birthday presents. Thank goodness there are some of us who are in the average income bracket and have to sacrifice for the private schooling privalege.

Just amazed at the value system people seem to live by

See ya tomorrow...

Smiling and feeling better...

June 11th, 2007 at 08:07 am

after a wonderful weekend.

DD's ear is almost better, well enough for her to be able to play with a friend yesterday. Amazing how these kids bounce back so quickly.

My aunt took me out for brunch - it was so nice to spend time with her without DD (I love her lots but you need adult time). Afterwards she took me shopping to buy a little fan heater to put under my sewing table so that I wouldn't freeze at night. Oh what a difference - I didn't have to go to bed because I was cold Smile Smile and was able to sew and sew and sew...

Finished a sweatshirt for DD's friend birthday gift (with embroidery)!
Made 2 pairs of pj's for DD
Cut out 2 pairs of sweatpants for myself and 3 pairs for DD.
Finished 1 pair for myself.

Savings (to come off sewing machine cost):
DD's friends gift: $10
PJ's x 2: $20
My Sweatpants: $15
So saved: $45
Plus the order for the T-shirts: $75.71 = $ 120.71

Will deduct the other items when I have finished them.

New total for $20 Challenge: $283.95

Managed to finish the laundry but the tidying up hmmmm... well ... okay next subject Smile Smile

Managed 2 No Spend Days for the weekend - total for the month = 4 No Spend Days

Well I had better get back to work - did this during my break

Speak to you tomorrow...

Lack of momentum & motivation explained...

June 8th, 2007 at 05:38 pm

I finally decided it was time to speak to my doctor about my anti-depressent. I have been on the same one now for 16 years and thought maybe I had developed a tolerance to it. It seems that as you get closer to menopause the effectiveness of some meds is not as great as it was and needs to be changed. Something to do with the oestrogen levels impacting on the absorption of the active ingredients.

Anyway, today I had to take DD to the doctor for another ear infection and spoke to him about how I was feeling and did he think it was worth trying another anti-depressent. He felt that it was definitely time to change and so I start my new one today and here's hoping.

Have not been sleeping well, Dr thinks it is also part of the depression cycle so I also now have a very mild sleeping tablet (just to get me to sleep). Just knowing why I have been feeling so flat makes me feel better.

Will take about 5 to 7 days to feel the full impact of the new medicine.

I felt really sorry for my DD - her ear has been incredibly painful and she is just lazing on the couch (not common for a 7yr old). Guess that she will start feeling better in 24 hours once the antibiotics start working.

Spent a total of $159 on Dr's visit, DD's meds and my new meds. Ouch but I don't begrudge the expense - I would rather say we are Blessed to be able to pay. 6 months ago it would have been a major challenge to get this money together at such short notice.

Am really looking forward to the weekend, think I am going to finally get into my sewing room and get the apartment tidied up and laundry done.

No major shopping expected AND I delivered the 8 T-shirts I embroidered so I earn some extra money towards the challenge. Should total $50 but will add it when I get it in my paw and of course, deduct it off the cost of the new sewing machine.

Thanks for the encouragement - it really helps having people rooting for you when it gets a bit rough.

Speak to you tomorrow....

Why can't I keep the momentum...

June 6th, 2007 at 03:07 pm

of getting things done.

I have done NOTHING the past 5 days and I mean NOTHING - just gone through the motions of daily living.

Mentally I want to get stuff done but actually doing it - well that is another whole long story...

I feel like I have hit a wall (created by the long long list of To Do's) and just not getting beyond it.

Even my productivity at work is low - I feel so blah.

Today, was a work at home day and I can honestly say I did very very little. Did some reading, moved a couple of papers around, read the blogs and... well I don't know???

I feel like I am floating around without any direction at the moment and that even the daily tasks take huge effort.

This has got to be the worst feeling in the world.

Maybe, the goals I have set myself have stunned me into "a frozen state" and I need to make them smaller and more manageable.

Since I started feeling like this, I have only had 1 no spend day - hmmm, wonder if feeling flat and directionless has something to do with spending and shopping.

Okay enough of the wallowing - tonight I am going to cook a proper supper (no home pre-cooked meals) and then get into my sewing room for 2 hours.

Also, am going to pack DD's school stuff tonight and get my office stuff ready so that there is not a mad rush tomorrow morning.

If I only get 4 things done a day = 28 things done a week = 840 things a month. Holy Moly - amazing the compounding affect of daily tasks.

Speak to you later...


Yippee it's Friday...

June 1st, 2007 at 07:17 am

and that Money Manifestation challenge paid today - got a refund of $13.71 from DD's school. Completely unexpected and a nice way to start the day.
$20 Challenge new balance: $208.24
Broken the $200 level - that's $50 in less than a month. Smile Smile

BTW how much is the average washing machine in the USA now? I almost have enough to pay cash for my new one but am going to wait until my old one completely conks out and the repair man says "sorry it's died and gone to appliance heaven".

I have an extended warrantee package on 8 of my appliances which costs me a whole $11.43 a month = $137.16 per year.
Last year I had my VCR fixed twice, washing machine fixed 3 times, a TV aerial socket repaired, the fridge thermostat replaced and the stove's thermostat replaced. All for $137.16 plus the call out fees of $57.14 = $194.30.
If I had to pay a repair shop for all these things it would have cost at least $450 so a great saving.
This is one monthly budget item that I am very very happy to pay.

Had a no spend day yesterday so I managed a total of 8/10 for May.

New Challenge: 20 No Spend Days for June

Feeling much better today - decided that the Tax Liability can't be solved overnight but IT CAN BE worked at every single day.

Have to finish a sewing order this weekend which I will get paid for on Tuesday = $42.86 to add to the Challenge Account.

Have a good day everyone...