Proverbs 22:7

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

When We're Debt Free....

I thought it would be fun to make a list of things we want to do once we're debt free. We've cut back on so many things that were "normal" before we started this journey. Some things I miss...some things, I have learned I can do without. It will also be interesting to see what things we actually follow through with once we are debt free, or if this journey will have taught us that just because we can, doesn't mean we should. <--this is a lesson I'm grateful for, and I'm sure there will be things that I'll say I'm going to do when I can finally afford it, but when it comes down to it, I'll say "nah, I cant justify spending my money on that."

tanning beds.
trips to the day spa.
movie night at the movie know, current movies, not the dollar theatre.
dinner at restaraunts...more than once a month.
clothes shopping...just because I want to, and not because I need something.
going to the mall for no reason, and leaving with several bags of stuff.

^^ Those are things I used to do stupid with credit cards, that I cannot wait to do again, with cash this time. Here are the things I'm looking forward to:

house hunting.
house buying.
shopping for appliances and furniture, lawn equipment and tools for said house.
decorating and organizing the house.
buying a truck...just a beater truck - something to tow a camper.
yes...a camper. but I have to have a house first.
have a massive sinking funds account for things like car replacement, and other big purchases that someone normal would use a credit card on. 
random weekend trips.....or week LONG trips. Australia? Yes yes.
having a fenced in yard....and getting another dog.
Giving like no one else. I cannot wait until I can donate money to my church, and my sorority, and school, and other charitable causes...I'm actually REALLY looking forward to this...

Oh yeah....and babies. *sigh* yes. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I've got babies on my mind, and another year before I can do anything about it.

Adventure Bootcamp

What in the world did I get myself roped into? One day this week, I heard Anna and Andrea talking about Adventure Bootcamp. Before I could stop myself, my mouth opened and I said "Can I join you?" So after talking to hubby about the cost ($204.99 for 12 sessions) and getting the okay, I signed up.

Today, I went out and got some new running shoes, a yoga mat, and some 3lb weights. Our first session is bright and early Monday morning at 5:30am. I'm really REALLY concerned that I wont be able to keep up with everyone, and will feel like a miserable failure, but I'm going to go and do the best I can. I'm not going to let the money go to waste, so I've got to make it worth it...

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap?

I've read about this on the Dave Ramsey forums, and some of the frugal money websites I've participated on, but I haven't actually gotten around to trying it yet. Why? Because you need a 5 gallon bucket, and I dont have one, or the space to store one. PLUS, using coupons, I'm stocked up on laundry detergent at least for another year.

Nonetheless, I wanted to post a link to this story because I believe it's got alot of truth to it. They have a point - how did people in the olllllld days clean their clothes? Here's an idea - with WATER. If you like the smell of laundry detergent, this may not be the best option for you though.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amanda's gonna try again...

A couple of weeks ago, my employer started a new health initiative to get all of us healthier and happier, and all that jazz... One of the sessions that week was a lunch and learn from a nutritionist. Work paid for us to each have a health assessment done, which included standing on this machine that looked like a scale, but instead of measuring only your weight, you had to stand on it barefoot, and it sent electrical currents through your body to determine your muscle mass, your water weight, fat mass, etc.

This assessment was SUCH an eye opener for me. It confirmed a lot of stuff for me - for example, just because I'm 5'8 does NOT mean that my ideal weight is 150 pounds, which is what standard weight charts tell me. Because I DO have very large bones, and large shoulders (I'm built like a linebacker, lol) and a lot of muscle, I realistically only need to get down to 205 to be considered "Healthy." Now granted, I'll probably try to get down just below 200 just for numbers sake, but that makes my target weight a lot more achievable and doesn’t feel so impossible anymore.

The nutritionist offered other services, such as a metabolism test, which tests your metabolism to see how much your body burns just on it's own, and how many calories per day you need to eat to lose weight, versus what you've been eating to maintain your current weight. So on Monday, i met with her to take the metabolism test (you breathe into this machine for 10 minutes and it's able to calculate everything out for you). What I learned shocked me:

My metabolism is actually fast. It's smack dab in the middle of "normal" and "very fast" This basically means that is I cut back on the amount of calories I'm eating, my metabolism will kick in and help me lose weight quicker than it would if it was only "normal." The downside of that is apparently, I've been eating so much garbage which is why I haven’t been losing, but rather, maintaining.

I also learned that I have 142 pounds of solid muscle, which she said was very good, and will work in my favor.

She's put me on a 1800-1900 calorie per day diet, which may sound like a lot to you guys, but you gotta remember I'm a big girl - and truthfully, I've been eating much more than that. She's helping me work on portion control. She gave me 1 week worth of sample menus that I can use to plan my meals, and what ways I can substitute one item out for another.

She has an 8 or 12 week program that you can sign up for with her, but honestly, I just cannot afford to pay that right now. So my plan is to go back monthly for follow up visits with her. The cost for that is only $35 a session, which I can swing to have accountability for my follow ups.

In addition, I signed up on to keep track of my food and exercise. SparkPeople is COOL because you can plug in your nutrition and fitness goals, and it will help keep track of where you did good and what you need to improve on daily. So for me, my nutrition goals are 1800-1900 calories, 200-275 carbs, 25-50 fat (she's got me on a low fat diet), and 125-200 protein. The other AWESOME thing about sparkpeople is that after plugging in these goals, it will offer sample menus to me as well, which also fall within those parameters. If you don’t particularly like the meal they have suggested, you can click on it, and pick out a different one. if you pick a meal out, but there's one or 2 things on there that you don’t have or won’t want to eat, you can click on that individual item, and it will give you a list of appropriate substitutes which have close to the same nutritional value.

Yesterday was my first day following it. I went over my calories - but not by much. I has 1981 calories yesterday, but I feel good about it, because that's a whole lot better than the 2500+ that I had been eating.

If I stick to this plan, I should lose 1.5-2 pounds per week. I might be able to reach my under 200 plan by the end of the year. WOOO HOO! Plus, she stressed that it's important to not deprive myself, and splurge every now and then, in order to avoid completely falling off the wagon. Jonny and I are going camping this weekend, and I'm going to have a fatty lumberjack breakfast with sausage egg, cheese and hash browns over the fire. That's okay, that’s one meal. I'll eat healthy the rest of the weekend, you know?

I'm trying to look at this the same way I am attacking my debt. I'm being intense about paying off the debt, but every now and then, I have to go buy something I don’t necessarily need. If I can treat them equally, I think I can be more successful this time. Weight watchers "worked" for me, but it was too hard to stay on the program. With sparkpeople, and a range of nutritional values, and meal options planned in advance, hopefully I can quit letting food control me, and I'll eat what right not just what happens to be within reach.

I haven’t been as good about getting to the gym as I had hoped for, so she's starting me off slow - I just need to make a commitment to workout at least once a week for now. That should be easy enough because I play softball with the church, but I don’t want to count that - I still need to start making it to the gym...

I'm tried of my weight being a roller coaster, and I'm tired of falling off a plan. Maybe the metabolism test and the AWESOME news that my goal is not THAT far out of reach will be the motivation I need to "getrdun" this time.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coupon Swap List

I love love LOVE seeing my friends getting into this couponing thing as well. I've been talking to several folks about starting a coupon swap list, but we havent seemed to actually do it yet, so here's the place to start. If you have particular items that you want to stock up on, list them below, and those of us who dont use those coupons, or may have extras can make arrangements to send them your way.

Here's my list (for now).
Wheaties Fuel Cereal (this stuff is to DIE for)
Gillette Fusion razors and blades
Sister Schuberts frozen breads
Frozen Pizza coupons (any kind...Jonny and I have pizza night once a week)
Birds Eye Steamfresh meals

I can't really think of anything else that I really use on a regular basis, but if I do, I'll add to the list below....

I want to tell you all about my Target Trip this weekend.

Dishwasher Disposer Care - On Sale $1.99 - normal $2.49 - $0.55 coupon - total savings on each $1.05 (bought 3 of these, used 3 coupons) Spent $2.88, saved $2.10

Betty Crocker Cake Mix - On Sale $1.00 - normal $1.29
Betty Crocker Icing - On Sale $1.00 - normal $1.29 - $0.75 WYB (when you buy) cake mix and icing together. Bought 2 cake mixes, 2 icings, used 2 coupons. Spent $2.50, saved $2.66

Clearasil Face Wash - On Sale 20% off - $5.59, normal 6.99. $1 coupon. Bought 2, used 2 coupons. Spent 9.18, saved 4.80.

Crest Toothpaste - $2.99 each, coupon for B1G1F - bought 2. Spent $2.99, Saved $2.99

Oral B Toothbrush - $2.99 each,  $1.50 coupon, bought 2, used 2 coupons - spent $2.98, saved $3.00

*Big Deal Here*
Crest 3D Whitestrips (this is one of those things that I probably would have never bought, but at the savings, I thought it was worth trying. I may never buy them again after this, but like I said, figured I would try them. I don't advocate buying things JUST to use coupons - it's stupid to spend money on stuff you dont need, but I figured I could afford this deal to try it out...)
Regular Price: $22.49. Manufacture Coupon: $10, Target Coupon $10. Bought 2, used 4 coupons (2 store, 2 manufacturer coupons) - Total Spent: $4.98, Total Saved: $40.00 <--talk about EXCITING!

Ore Ida Hash Browns - B2G1F - $2.50 each, $0.75 coupon. Bought 3, used 2 coupons. Total Spent:  $3.50, saved $4.00

Archers Farm Coffee - 5.89 each. Get 1 International Delight Coffee Creamer free with purchase of Coffee. 0.55 coupons to use on the creamers. used 2. Spent $11.78, saved $5.04.

I had a couple other random items - birthday present for my niece, etc...but my total spent was $56.58, total saved $76.57.

This stuff is addicting!