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Archive for January, 2008

Frustration - Power Outages...

January 23rd, 2008 at 10:27 am

this is a never ending cycle at the moment - our major power supplier is unable to supply our country's needs at the moment and everyday they are "load shedding". IOW - cutting our power for 2 - 3 hours everyday.

Oh the joys of Africa. Our new government (from '94) decided in their wisdom we didn't need more power stations but they agreed to a growth forecast of 8%. Spot the mistake plus all the foreign investment that came in after we came out of the apartheid era.

It is sooooooo (*&^$ frustrating - this morning I woke to the 14th hour of no power and started stressing big time about the food in the freezer. Called the supplier and was told "no it is not load shedding but there is a problem with the sub-station in your suburb". If someone had offered me a one way ticket out of here I would have taken it there and then.

Very very bad frame of mind - haven't been able to use my computer which is the reason for lack of entries.

Interesting though, the higher my stress level the greater incidence of urges to go to the casino. No don't worry I haven't given in and I won't but I have to remember "one day at a time"

Today I was out to see a client (near a casino) but I prepared by taking my money out of my wallet and only took $5 in case. After my appointment I got into my car and was nearly home when I realised that I hadn't even thought about taking a detour. Yeah, this is great progress for me.

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On the income side, still pushing and working hard. We are so broke but my aunt gave me money for gas and we have food (as long as the power keeps it frozen!) so I can still work.



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With the power outages and the threat of our food being spoiled, I was thinking about the wisdom of buying in bulk. I think I am going to deplete our supplies and go back to shopping every second or third day until this is sorted out.

If all our food has been spoiled I really don't know what we would have done but if I was buying as we needed it wouldn't be so bad and I would still have money.

What do you think?

Okay back to work while we have power...

See you tomorrow... well... maybe...

Whoa tired today...

January 18th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

it definitely is the end of the week and most welcome.

Fetched DD from aftercare at 4.30pm and came home to a power outage but in some ways that was a blessing because DD played with her dolls and I read my book until the power came back at 6.45pm.

Have just finished dinner, DD has a bath and is in bed reading and I am off to bath now too.

Not much to report - too tired to even think intelligently.

See you tomorrow...

I'm having such fun...

January 17th, 2008 at 08:48 pm

selling and setting up appointments with my previous clients.

Oh it is so great to be out of the corporate environment. I think I am unemployable and that the constrained, defined work environment just shuts me down completely.

I am getting appointments with Senior Executives who I haven't seen for over 18 mths and just celebrating everytime I get one confirmed.

I think I have been Blessed yet again to get this opportunity because it just feels so right (but comm only sales is not for everyone). Sales is such a strange profession - today I am up and next week there could be a down day but I love it and don't know what possessed me to take the job I had previously.

I have told a couple of DD's friends mothers what I am doing and I can see they think I am completely mad - you know lost the cart wheels and playing space cadets.

One of them actually asked how do you sell when you are under pressure financially?

My answer, "well, the secret is to always focus completely on the client and only let them buy if the solution is right for them. That way if you don't get the deal, you have still given value by making recommendations. The next time you see them they know they can trust you and it builds long long term relationships." These are the relationships that I am tapping into at the moment.

Oh and I forgot to add, because the client trusts you and you have given advice (free of charge) they are then willing to link you into other potential clients who may be ready or need the solution that I am selling. So I actually win on both sides.

The client also gives referrals along the way and is the first to give you a call when he really does have a need for my solution.



On the financial side - we are just taking one day at a time but with my appointments scheduled I can see that I will start earning commission pretty soon. I may have to ask my aunt for a temporary loan just to get through Feb but it will be very temporary.

Too excited to think about the gambling challenge at the moment, in fact, I am finding the more I concentrate on work the fewer the urges. The past few days I haven't thought about it at all (except to keep a log of my gambling free days Smile)

Spent $7.86 on meds today for DD - she is on a very low dosage of anti-histamines which controls her asthma and stops the ear infections from mucous buildup.

Spent some time sewing this evening - I just needed down time after such a "up day" otherwise I would never have stopped working.

Made supper tonight using pre-cooked meals from our freezer - my cooking in bulk serves it purpose when I don't feel like cooking.

Well I am off to bed now

See you tomorrow...

Missed my entry yesterday...

January 16th, 2008 at 01:50 pm

because of my procrastination. I finally had to finish sewing the school drawstring book bags for the Gr 0 students - they started school this morning and I had to deliver them today.

Soooo... there was I sewing until 3:30am thinking "why do I leave everything until the last minute urghh"



Then getting DD up for school at 06:45 was a challenge for both of us - she is worse than I am in the morning. She was so excited to go back to school for a new year - ah my little girl is in Gr 3 already.

Got back from dropping her at school and decided to work for a couple hours then try to get 2 hrs sleep and I am so pleased I did!!!

I got my first order confirmed today - yeah $142 commission.

Also got a really good lead today from the office which I followed up immediately and sent the information.

Spent in the last 2 days:
* Food $22.46 - used our vouchers for chicken on special, baking margerine, flour, bread (for freezing)
* Gas $14

Cooked last night in bulk:
* 1 Chicken made into Chicken al la King with rice = 5 meals
* Ginger Cookies - not impressed with the recipe. I got half way through and thought hmmm this is not the right consistency for cookies so had to do some last minute adjustments. They taste okay but I won't be using that recipe again.

Really need to dust and vacuum the apartment - it looks like a bomb shelter

Although I was tired last night, I really enjoyed getting into my sewing room. Love creating something from nothing. Really need to make a point of doing more INSTEAD of sitting at my computer reading journals Smile Smile

Added $1.77 in change to my EMF
New Total: $42.20

Am off to fetch DD from aftercare then make supper, tidy up and into bed early

See you tomorrow...

General thoughts...

January 14th, 2008 at 08:16 pm

I had today while working, driving and doing chores.

* Bread is going up here to $0.83 a loaf (I don't know what you pay in the USA) so I started thinking about a bread machine and if that would save anything.
Found one priced at $85.57 and thought well, that is a bit high.
Then I looked for a recipe and worked out the cost for ingredients buying at a regular grocery store = $0.74 per loaf.
A saving of 0.09c per loaf.
Now lets go further:
- then is no power factored in
- what happens if I am tired, sick, late etc and don't get the bread made (I know you just put the ingredients in the maker Smile)
- If it takes me 5 mins to get everything into the maker, my time is worth $13 per hour = $1.08 (using nursing rates)

So the cost of homemade bread is: $1.82 without power costs AND that doesn't even include the actual cost of the Bread Maker.

Hmmm makes you think doesn't it????

In my spendthrift past I would have zooted out to the store and just bought one - how my thinking has changed!!!!

* A Food Saver - now this one I already have - yup bought during my spendthrift days Smile Smile BUT
- it saves me a fortune
- when chicken, fish, frozen goods go on special I freeze them first and then seal them and they last forever
- the bags are washable and durable so one box can last up to 2 years
- I freeze everything I can - even the bulk cooked meals - after the initial freezing they get sealed.

* Cost of Power/Electricity
- we are facing an 18% rate increase this year because our power supply company needs to build 2 major power stations and the government won't pay for all of it
- this means my bill will jump to $40 without doing anything different AND this is in summer (we don't use AC's)
- in winter I am looking at at least $80 per month because we don't have central heating and rely on electrical heaters
Sooo...
- I am only going to cook 3 times a week and in bulk plus I will do the baking at the same time
- I am going to get really fit running after DD turning off lights Smile
- No more dryer unless DD needs school uniforms and it has been raining
- Want to see what happens if I turn off the geyser everyday in the morning and on again in the evening at 5pm. I can do this now that I work from home
- Try to read the usage meter but I have to improve my access - at the moment I have to climb on a chair and balance (If I am not careful I will have a medical bill LOL)

* Being cash strapped has proved many things to me:
- I have been planning my trips and as a result have reduced my gas usage
- Even though the grocery cuphoard many appear to be empty, cooking from scratch always means there is something that can be made
- My stash of fabrics has provided Christmas presents (not one cent spent for Christmas presents last year) even DD got clothes and a doll that I made
- I have to lose my ego & tell people that I do sewing from home even if it is just mending
- that Blessings come when I really believe that all our needs are met
AND finally, we still have so much more than most people in South Africa

* School Fees - DD is in a private Christian school but last year I decided to investigate the State schools (not great here) and had made up my mind that it was time to make the change.
When I told the private school I was planning to move DD they were horrified and reduced her fees by 33%
Then one of the other parents heard that we had been considering moving her and they offered to make a contribution to her fees as well.
This all happened over a period of 3 weeks and you can imagine I was overwhelmed - I just cried because the private school is my old school and I really wanted to keep her there.

So here we are starting a new year with so much to be thankful for.

* Work opportunities
- I tried at the end of last year to find formal employment but wasn't successful.
- When I was almost at my wits end my friend offered me this sales position and although it is commission only it is an opportunity to put my finances right but with the flexibility of working from home, being available for DD and no travel costs or time

So yet again, things are working out for the best...

Have a good day...

Had a good weekend...

January 13th, 2008 at 07:35 pm

managed to get quite a lot of things done:

- shopping DONE
- finish sewing book bags for the Grade 0 children (I was paid for them last year and have a few more to do)NOT DONE
- laundry DONE
- ironing WASHING HUNG BUT NOT DRY
- label and cover books for school for DD DONE
- Goals for next week i.e. sales activities DONE
- clean apartment NOT DONE
- baking - muffins, cookies, DONE
- cooking - chicken pies & casserole NOT DONE - forgot to take the chicken out the freezer Duh???

* Just very tired tonight - think it is the stress of worrying/thinking about month end and our finances. Amazing how this just drains ones energy levels.

* Had a no-spend day - didn't even use the car
* Got DD to tidy her room again - she is so untidy and all I seem to do is nag. Help - any ideas???

Being so busy making ends meet I find that I am not even thinking about gambling which is wonderful and just shows how much progress I have made. In the past I would have headed out to the casino with whatever money I could find and try to "win some quick cash". Even as I am writing this, my reaction is "oh how stupid can you be - use what you've got wisely". OH the lessons we learn...

When my mom passed away 4 years ago, I inherited a whole lot of original oil paintings and her silver tea set. I love the paintings but hate the silver tea set. So I spoke to my brother yesterday and asked him if he wanted it - he doesn't. Then asked if he would mind if I sell it - he said "I think that is a good idea, at least it will help you financially."

So today I spent some time researching the maker - it was made in the UK and has all kinds of original markings and dates. Seems like it is quite rare so I linked into Sotheby's (the auctioneers) and sent them an email and asking for advice. Let's see what they say. I am hoping they will be able to help me sell it as it could be worth in excess of $2000.

I have such mixed feeling about this - I feel guilty selling something that my Mom really loved but I just don't like it and no-one else in the family wants it. Maybe someone will get pleasure from it which is better than it lying in the top of the cuphoard.

Well I am going to read some of the other journals and then off to bed (we are 9 hours ahead of you so it is 9.30pm here versus your 12.30pm East Coast).

See you tomorrow...




Yeah sold some things...

January 12th, 2008 at 11:06 am

at the second hand shop and made $42.86 so I put $21.43 into the EMF and kept $21.43 for gas.
New EMF total: $40.43

Then I took the retractable washline and got vouchers for $28.57 which I will use for food.

Also got vouchers for $8.57 and $10.71 - these I will use for meds and whatever else we need during the rest of Jan.

All in all not a bad day and I feel Blessed.

My brother offered to take us shopping for food this morning - I think he really worries about how we are scrimping through the days at the moment. So we are going later to get some more substantial food than I have been buying over the past few weeks.

Although it is a challenge to live like this, I am trying to make it fun as well. DD has friends over today (twins) and they come from a home where money is just not an issue - I think they were amazed when I sold the stuff. They asked why and I told them - not a bad thing for them to know how "the other half lives".

Have still got to get going on all my household chores but just wanted to do a quick update because I know I will forget the details if I don't.



A busy weekend ahead...

January 11th, 2008 at 05:09 pm

starting with a visit to a friend who needs help with curtains for her new house. She has some curtains which needed adjusting and new ones which have to be made up. I do this part-time so I'll be able to earn some money this coming week. (Won't charge her the usual rate because she is a friend!)

Was looking at our food levels and I have to admit it is time to shop BUT the challenge: limited money - only have $12 in my wallet. Rather than dive into the EMF, I checked the cuphoards looking for things I can sell and found:
A retractable indoor washline which has never been opened - I bought it last year when we moved into our apartment. So I called the store and they will give me a voucher which I will then use for food. Yeah $28.50 and EMF remains untouched.

I just kept going after that and found some more things which I will take in on Monday to the second hand store - hopefully I will get at least $30 for that lot. Will keep you updated.

I read an article the other day about "money lying around your home" and now I understand Smile Smile

Things To Do this weekend:
- shopping
- finish sewing book bags for the Grade 0 children (I was paid for them last year and have a few more to do)
- laundry
- ironing
- label and cover books for school for DD
- Goals for next week i.e. sales activities
- clean apartment
- baking - muffins, cookies,
- cooking - chicken pies & casserole

Oh I am tired already!!!

Speak to you tomorrow...

Saved some more...

January 10th, 2008 at 02:41 pm

by returning Christmas gifts which I really didn't like/need and put it towards some things DD needed for school:
Shoes: $24.29 Paid $15.71
Meds: $9.14 Paid $2.29
Total Saved: $15.43
Change from Wallet: $1.57
New EMF Total: $19

I felt bad returning the gifts but decided that it was more wasteful leaving them in the cuphoard. Jeez the shoes were expensive but it is part of the school uniform and she will wear them everyday - not much choice here. There were less expensive ones but they were badly made and didn't offer much support.

Work today - even better than yesterday Smile Smile
Got 2 appointments confirmed with major corporate clients - one next week and then the 1/28.
Contacted another 8 clients and told them about my move and 3 of them replied via email wishing me luck - now I just need to call to schedule appts.

Took DD for an ice-cream as a treat - she has been so good today. Has hardly interrupted me while I have been working and she tidied her room.

Decided to start screening my calls today - I am tired of the harrassment from the CC companies. They can leave messages and I will reply when it suits me otherwise I just get really ratty and my work suffers.

It amazes me how little gas I am using now that I don't have to commute everyday - one of the major benefits of working from home. So today when we were on our way back from the mall I was able to drive right past the gas station.

Food supplies are a bit low but will still manage for about another week or so.

Really starting to enjoy my work again which is a welcome change after last year. The company I worked for last year was not a good one for me - I just couldn't settle and found the arrogance towards their clients very hard to understand (not to mention their outrageous pricing). Out of the 11 people there was only one person I really got on well with - it was a tough one but look where I am now!

Many people find it hard to work from home but I love it - I get so much done and I love the flexibility i.e. today I worked from 8am until 1pm and then went to the mall until 3pm. Worked again from 3pm to 4.30pm.

It also means that I will be able to go to DD's sports events this year without having to "ask permission".

And lastly, the harder I work the more I earn - a benefit of being commission only and there is no limit to what we can earn,

sooooo as you can hear I am feeling better today

What a rambling entry - see you tomorrow....

A better work day...

January 9th, 2008 at 04:09 pm

After taking DD to her friend I started work at 9am and hooray I managed to work consistently until 2pm - a great improvement and I got LOTS done.

BTW thanks for all the encouragement - it means so much. Smile

Tried to sell some things at the Second Hand shop - no success, I walked out with everything that I walked in with and actually saw the funny side of it LOL

Took $2 out of my purse and put it into my EMF wallet - so I have started. Every little bit helps and it's a start.

Think I may have got my first sale today - got a lead from the office and called the client. Think he was a bit shocked at how quickly we got back to him. Hold thumbs - $142 commission. Will let you know when he confirms his order.

Generally a better day. Hung the washing inside (tempted to use the drier but resisted), tidied the kitchen, packed the dishwasher and am about to start supper.

My challenge tonight:
STOP spending so much time reading journals and get the ironing done - DD is complaining she "really really doesn't have anything to wear" Smile

At least there is a movie on TV that I can watch while doing it.

Will check in again tomorrow...

It's a roller coaster ride...

January 8th, 2008 at 04:33 pm

this morning I was feeling so positive and now I have gone into overwhelm Frown

Am still receiving calls from CC and Car Finance companies, they just don't get it - I called them all again today and told them AGAIN what my situation is and all I get is "we are expecting $$$ payment on the 20 Jan..."

Dave Ramsey refers to these people as scum and now that I seem to be dealing with them regularly, I must say I tend to agree with him.

I am so frustrated with my financial situation at the moment: I have $64 left in my wallet until I earn commission and I need gas, food and a few other things.

By the Grace of God, I am thankful that we have never had to go without our basic needs being satisfied. We always have food, gas and a place to live and the rest... well just a luxury.

I have been listening to Anthony Robins "personal power" CD's and today the thing that stuck was "when the pain is big enough you will take action" or when you get to "I have had it - no more".

This is where I am - I have had it with my debt (and the gambling)!!!

Goal 2 for 2008:
I am completely debt free by 30 June 2008 - and I don't care how hard I have to work to get it done. How:- Be thankful for the gifts and talents I have - I believe that if we are not thankful nothing works. Set daily goals and prioritise the top 5 activities which will have the greatest impact on my goal - I am not going to allow myself to go to bed until they are done for the day. Every day I will be organised and spend 10 minutes tidying up so that my home is neat
Keep a log of my frugal efforts to get to debt freedom (right here!)
Use my blog to track my daily efforts and progress towards debt freedom

Getting back to work is proving a challenge as well - guess it is because I have been off work for so long.

Managed to achieve only 3 solid hours of concentration and then my brain wouldn't co-operate. I kept getting distracted and ended up just wasting time. Well tomorrow is another day...

Also decided that having no money is no excuse for not having an EMF so tomorrow I am going to take some stuff to the second hand shop and see what I can get for it. Everytime I see someone adding $1 to their challenge/savings totals I think to myself "but I can do that!" and so NOW I am going to do it.

Wish me luck...

First day back at work...

January 7th, 2008 at 07:21 pm

and I am tired. Just not used to getting up early and putting a full day - well almost a full day. At 3.30pm I had a terrible headache and decided to take some meds and lie down for an hour. Fell fast asleep but woke up feeling better at 4.30pm.

Went to the office today to collect some sales leads (oh I love getting leads), then off to the bank to cash the check my aunt gave us, collected my repeat meds and the balance of DD's school supplies. Was back in my office by 10am and ready to get down to working on the sales leads.

Spent a fair wack of money:
Meds: $17
School Supplies: $8.86
Household Supplies: $23.43
Reading Glasses: $5.71 - this was such a win, found the ready manufactured "readers" and decided what the heck let's try - Guess what "I can see again" so now I can sew again at night. I just don't have money to have a full test, new lenses and the consultation at the moment so this will do for now.
Total spent: $55

DD had a wonderful day with her friend and came home without the "attitude" because her friends mom disciplines and is fair. What a pleasure - DD even cleaned the bath, put her laundry in the laundry box and hung her towel. Huh?!!!

I cheated big time today, really felt like something sweet so I bought some condensed milk and have just finished all of it - yummy Smile

Nothing else to report - will be back tomorrow...


Just made it...

January 6th, 2008 at 08:16 pm

to do my daily journal before I go to bed and keep my New Year Resolution Smile

Had a good day today:
No Spend Day (Total for Jan:3 Goal: 20)
Finished laundry
Tidied DD's room (with her!)
My aunt visited for lunch
Checked DD's school supplies for the new year (our children start the new year in Jan)
Had a great afternoon snooze (my treat on a Sunday afternoon)

BTW yesterday I worked on my 2008 goals by using the system on www.achieve-goal-setting-success. com. It is amazing & the first time I have ever really spent time on really getting to all the "behind the scenes" things e.g. why goals haven't been achieved before, your personality profile, key success factors
It was very interesting and worthwhile even though it took the better part of the day.

Weighed myself today and I have lost 4lbs since the 31 Dec - think it is all the housework and cleaning carpets.
Goal: 130lbs
Start: 156.5
Current: 152.5

My aunt gave us $70 today to help with buying DD school supplies, school shoes and a few other things. She has been so kind and I am so Blessed to have her as an aunt. When my Mom passed away 4 years, I felt so lost but my aunt (her sister) just stepped in and became my friend, support and refuge.

Tomorrow I start work again after a wonderful break - we have our summer holidays over December and the country just shuts down.

I have been on vacation since the 7 Dec and it has been great. We went away on the 22 Dec until the 31 Dec to my aunts house at the beach - bliss (sigh)
This past week I got caught up around the apartment - cleaning carpets, tidied, decluttered, got work things organised and generally pottered around.

Going back to work tomorrow meant that I had to organise DD, generally she goes to friends who have offered to have her because I don't have family or someone who can watch her while I work. So she is busy until Thursday and I just need to organise Friday. Thank goodness she goes back to school next week.

While I was driving yesterday I was thinking about the $20 challenge - I have so little money at the moment that even if I get additional money in it tends to be used for food & gas so I had an idea to create a Virtual Challenge Account.

How it would work is:
Everytime I am able to save/not spend money by doing something creative I can keep a log of what it would have cost.
That way I would still feel like I am achieving something even though the $$$ are "virtual".

Yesterday I was reading some of the other journals and saw a couple of people in a similar situation to me i.e. not able to actually put aside money because of "survival needs".

Does anyone have any other ideas?

Thanks for encouragement have a good day

Hello I'm back...

January 5th, 2008 at 10:47 am

after disappearing since August last year but it is one of my New Year resolutions to start blogging again here every day.
Had an okay 2007 but fell off the wagon and went on a gambling binge in Sept - I think I just became overconfident and not vigilant enough. Through faith and prayer, I decided that I could either give up or start again - so here I am.
Financially though I am paying the price (again - sigh!!), I lost my savings and am now behind in CC payments and car payments. Will I ever learn????????
Even with everything going on though, I have managed to reduce my debt and will update the amounts later.
So much has changed since Sept - my job just didn't work out and I resigned at the end of November (think being unhappy at work was one of my triggers) and am now selling for a friend of my mine on commission only. We sell Negotiation training programs and although the commission only is a bit hairy at the moment, I can earn what I need to AND get the flexibility to be around for DD.
Working in an office with a commute of 60 miles a day resulted in a high level of stress, tiredness and irritability (again some of my triggers) and DD really battled with me not being around as much.
I will be working from home but have decided to leave DD in aftercare so that I can work a full day but fetch her earlier than 5:30pm.
Oh it is so good to be back again and talking to like minded friends (except the gambling part Smile Smile) - I didn't realise how much I had missed it till now.
Okay well I have some chores to finish and will be back later to give you some more updates.
Speak to you later...