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Made it back but only after I got my study time in ...

February 4th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

After making supper from scratch tonight all I wanted to was come back here and start catching up everyones news but a Monday evening is a study evening for me - so I managed 2 1/2 hours and now here I am Smile
Thanks for the welcome back.
Today was relatively busy at work - but managed to leave the hospital on time at 4pm and fetch DD from school by 4:30pm.
Had planned supper last night so it was easy to prepare and eat (& I made an extra 3 portions for freezing) - the takeouts since I have been studying part-time have been taking unnecessary money out of our budget - so I decided yesterday - no more unless it is a special occasion and not just convenience/laziness.
Didn't spend a cent today - NSD #2 for February
Tomorrow DD has swim training - I bought her a new speedo about 2 weeks ago but it doesnt fit properly so before we can go I will have to take her to change it to a smaller size or even a different style. But at least I wont be spending money.
Still no news on the car - really wish my friends could decide if they are going to sell the car to me otherwise I am going to have to start looking around. Cars in SA are really expensive, so finding good deals can take time.
Will get into more details about the budget and the challenges as I get back into the daily entry
Have a good day ... "see you tomorrow..." Smile

Hello hello hello... I missed you all so much!!!

February 3rd, 2013 at 03:16 am

For the first time since the end of 2009, I have internet access at home again - had to stop it to save myself - had to stop the access to online casinos!!!
Now I have it again but no longer have banking facilities which allow me to transfer money to the casinos AND online gambling is now illegal in South Africa.
Jeez I can't believe I just said all that without hesitation to people I don't even know - oh well it's the truth.
My life has changed so much - going back to nursing was a great challenge but now I love it and have even gone as far as registering to upgrade my qualification to a Degree Status in Nursing Science.
This will take about 4 years and lots of $$$ but worth it in the end (part-time).
On the financial front, have made progress but not as much as I would have liked but I have to remind myself that dealing with an addiction AND getting used to working in a structured environment again is no easy task but I did it.
Really want this year to be the year when I say "I AM DEBT FREE!"
And the only way it is going to happen is by using this blog and your support and encouragement to get there.
We are still in a rented apartment, so as soon as the debt is settled we can start saving for the deposit on a new home.
Unfortunately, we had a challenge at the end of 2012, our 15year old car died on us - was only worth $2,265 but required $2,831 worth of repairs AND it wasn't even economical to run - a real gas guzzler. We managed to sell it for $2,800 even though it was not running to the mechanic who was looking after it - I was relieved to see it go - there were more repairs on the horizon and on a nurses salary, no way was I going to pay more on that car!!!
So now we are borrowing a car from a friend of mine and hoping that they will sell it to us - that will solve another challenge. Here's hoping.
Other than that we are happy and content, life has been good to us the past 4 years and DD and I have settled nicely into a normal life (vs my old life of addictive behaviour).

So what are my goals for 2013:
1. Purchase a car - cash only
2. Pass all the courses/modules I have registered for (6) with 70%
3. Finish paying off debt by the 20 December 2013
AND
4. Be happy and full of gratitude for the journey I have taken in my life even with the ups and downs.

Speak to you tomorrow!!!!!

Yeah - I got booked for overtime...

August 21st, 2009 at 07:36 am

The only way I get to save now, is by working overtime and I just heard today that I can get 3 extra shifts over the next 2 weekends. Whoopee - it means that I get to save $560 at the end of September. (We get paid overtime worked at the end of the following month).

Now that I am back on a salary, I find that every penny is budgeted for unless there is overtime pay. With the economy the way it is though, we only get overtime when there is someone off sick or on vacation - so I take it whenever I can get it.

Spent today:
Gas $20
Headache meds: $4.40
Chronic Meds: Nil (there was no co-pay)

What I am seeing that is if I am disciplined everyday and avoid the "little incidental expenses" I just don't spend as much money.

For the first in ages, I still have some money left in my bank account at the end of the month - $28 - not much I know, but psychologically it is a huge achievement for me AND pay day is Tuesday 25 August. Will move this balance into my savings/EMF fund then.

My savings/EMF has a whole $87.50 in it but again it's a start.

In May after securing my full-time nursing position, I decided (after lots of soul searching) to look at Debt Management because my creditors were bugging me so much and their demands were getting more and more unreasonable.
After the debt assessment, I decided to do it and now I pay $330 per month to the Debt Management attorney and they distribute it to each of my debts.

I no longer get harrassing phone calls AND am not allowed to live on or apply for any credit - which suits me just fine. I am so much more relaxed and every month just pay the money and I can live on the balance.

So all in all a good day - who would have thought that I could get excited about working extra shifts... just goes to show how things have changed Smile

Have a good day...


Hello - I am lost without this blog...

August 19th, 2009 at 06:05 am

Have tried for ages to resist the temptation of keeping this blog (and of course reading everyone's daily entries) but today I decided "tough, I enjoy the contact and the support".

One of the benefits of blogging here is that it keeps one focused and "true to yourself" - I have been away for months now and today I woke up thinking "I am just drifting along and not monitoring my progress, one day just flows into the next and then the month is over and I start all over again".

So here I am again Smile

Updates - with the economy taking such a tumble and the increased risk of being self-employed, I decided to return to life as a Registered Nurse.

Getting a post with somewhat regular hours, a liveable salary and benefits took about 2 months but I am now settled and finally getting used to being back in the hospital environment. Have been in my current position for 4 months already - can't believe it has gone so fast.

Have had so many challenges along the way, not least of which was getting DD to adjust to the fact that I no longer work from home and that my time is not as flexible as it used to be.

Benefits:
Medical Insurance
Retirement funding/savings plan
Paid vacation
13th Cheque
Group benefits
Overtime - can work an extra 48 hours a month, which makes a huge difference to my nett income

Disadvantages:
Work away from home
Inflexibility of hours
Less time to do stuff for ME!!!

As you can see the disadvantages are minor when compared with the advantages and I have a stable income - even if it is less on average than what I could potentially earn (potentially being the operative word).

Am going to delete/update the Author Info now as much of it has changed or is no longer relevant.

See you tomorrow

Frustration - Power Outages...

January 23rd, 2008 at 02:27 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.

**************************************
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.



**************************************
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 10:19 am

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 12:48 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 05:50 am

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 12:16 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 11:35 am

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 03:06 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 09:09 am

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 06:41 am

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 08:09 am

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 08:33 am

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 11:21 am

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 12:16 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 02:47 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...

Just a quick note to say hi...

July 3rd, 2007 at 06:55 am

it seems like the time just disappears and the past couple of days has been a challenge.

I am commuting to work everyday at the moment - done about 9 days consecutively. Amazing how it drains you, what with the actual travel time and then working flat out at the office and rushing back to collect DD.

For the first time in many years I have been going to bed by 9pm - just too exhausted to even watch TV.

Spending - well there hasn't been much time for that. I have only been buying exactly what we need and although it has messed up the no spend days, I have definitely spent less. Something to think about.

Managed to do a little bit of sewing this past weekend - remember the quilts I started for DD's new bedroom last year well, I finished the last of 32 squares last night and now getting ready to put it all together.

Really can't wait to see what it looks like.

Other than work, work and more work, I really don't have much news.

Oh yes - congrats Ima Saver - I saw the entry title Smile Smile

Have a good day everyone...

Updated Debt Balances...

June 27th, 2007 at 04:46 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 01:21 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 06:36 am

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 11:41 am

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 12:51 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 12:34 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 09:56 am

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 01:07 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 10:38 am

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 08:07 am

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 12:17 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...


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