Proverbs 22:7

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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

2 years, 5 months and 7 days later....

We paid the car off on Friday, 7/29/11. I don't think it's quite sunk in yet. This was a HUGE milestone for us, as it's now one less thing for us to have to worry about. We've had a couple of Negative Nellys who were trying to discourage us, but as Dave says, if we're being made fun of, then we're doing something right.

However, with this accomplishment, we reach a "hurry up and wait" point. Jonny's school plans for his CPA test prep have changed once more...hopefully for the final time this time. The latest plan is that he's going to take his final 4 classes this Fall to meet the 150 credit hours he needed to get his CPA license. Originally he was going to wait until Spring to take those classes, due to a particular elective being offered. He was able to get into another class in its place for the Fall. So now the new plan is that in the Spring he'll begin taking the 4 parts of the CPA exam.

He's taking classes at night, so he'll have the availability to take on a full time regular working hours job, IF he can find one. He still hasn't been able to find anything more permanent. We are fairly certain though, that his current employer will keep him through December, but once he's done with Fall classes, if he hasn't gotten something else lined up, then he's not going to have an income anymore. This is a worst case scenario that I really REALLY hope doesn't happen. Since is is a possibility, though, this means we HAVE to temporarily halt the baby steps and build up as much cash as possible. We are entering Storm Clouds mode. Why? Because my income alone is not enough to cover our regular expenses plus student loan payments. If we didn't have the student loans, my income would cover our basic living expenses. But because off the student loans, we don't have the luxury of being a 1 income only family.

So....for the next 5 months, we're going to follow our written budget, pay the minimums on the student loans, and anything extra at the end that would "normally" be applied as a snowball payment to the student loan, is going to be put into our emergency fund. This will cover us so that if we have a few months of him being unemployed, we'll still have a way to pay the bills. I pray though, that he'll find a full time job soon, and we can resume working the baby steps.

Until next time....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Sorority House Style (Part 5)

Yes, it most certainly CAN be done! Even though the table below has alot of red numbers, indicating that I was over the target budget for that individual item, the few green items held such a significant savings that it offset the red items.

I did take the paper towels from yesterday back to Kmart. The 20% One Day Event at Big Lots had almost all of the rest of the items on the list, including a better deal on paper towels, and because of the 20% discount, I was able to finish shopping today. The only item I didn't get was the Vanilla Scents, which I intend to get early in August. I think that I'll be able to find some Febreze room spray coupons soon.

Total spent so far is $206.93. I need to save about $6 for vanilla room spray, to account for tax, which leaves $38.07. I have been told that the chapter wants to buy a Brita water pitcher and some filters. I need to confirm if they have a pitcher already and need just the filters, or if they also need the pitcher. Once I confirm, I'll be able to shop for these as well.

Here's a picture of what $206.93 looks like:

Item Quantity Budget(50%) Actual After Tax Comments
Toilet Paper 104 rolls $36.00 $28.89 27 megarolls = 108 regular rolls
Paper Towels 52 rolls $25.00 $31.10** 4 packs of 15 = 60 rolls
Trash Bags 400 Bags $52.00 $32.04 3 packs of 150 = 450 bags
Dish Soap 12 Bottles $18.00 $18.63** 5 large refill bottles, 1 small bottle to refill and leave on counter
Dishwasher Liquid 24 Bottles $72.00 $41.34 330 dishwasher packs, slightly less than 1 per day
Bath/Kitchen Hand Soap 24 Bottles $12.00 $14.98 5 large refill bottles = 24 regular bottles
Magic Eraser 1 pack $2.50 $3.24 1 pack of 4
Napkins 6 packs $4.50 $6.48 3 packs of 200 napkins
Kleenex 12 Boxes $9.00 $9.63** 8 Family boxes = 14 regular boxes
Windex 2 Bottles $3.00 $3.89
Bathroom Cleaner 2 Bottles $3.00 $3.46
Kitchen Cleaner 3 Bottles $4.50 $2.59
SOS Pads 1 box $2.00 $0.82 Box of 15
Sponges 2 packs $2.00 $3.96 2 packs of 4
Rags 2 bundles $1.00 $4.32 1 pack of 18 - didn’t want the girls wasting paper towels to clean counters!
Duster 1 $1.50 $1.56**
Vanilla Scents ??? $5.00 $--- Did not purchase yet
Total $250.00 $206.93 ** Indicates over budget only because of tax OR bulk quantities and tax.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Sorority House Style (Part 4)

Finding decent paper towels at less than $0.50 a roll is extremely difficult. I've been casually shopping prices everywhere I go for the last month. If you are payinmg more than $1 per roll, you're spending way too much....but to try to cut that price in half DOES make things very challenging.

Dont get me wrong. I DID find a 3 pack of Dollar General brand paper towels for $1.50 today, which was their regular price. But the size of the rolls were small, and they did not look very absorbent. I couldn't, with a good conscience, buy these paper towels for college students. They would have needed to use more to get the job done, which would have been wasteful.

Luckily, since I'm under budget on the other items I have already purchased, I have that extra amount to use for other items that it's just too difficult to meet the 50% of retail price goal. I finally found a GREAT deal of Sparkle paper towels at Kmart today. Regular price for 8 rolls was 6.79, which is a "good" price at less than $1 per roll. They aren't as high quality as Bounty, but it's a good product. The sale price was $4.99 for an 8 pack. I bought 7 packs for $37.38 with tax, or about $0.67 per roll 

I'm torn about this purchase. I know that it was a good price, but it still was not $0.50 per roll, like I wanted. I'm still under total budget, and I'm confident that I'll be able to get the rest of the items I need and not go over the total budget.

I'm going to see what kind of deal I can get at Big Lots tomorrow with the 20% off entire purchase 1 day special they have going on. If I can find a better deal, I'm going to take these back to Kmart. I'm sure I'll get a few more of the remaining items on the list tomorrow as well.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Washington makes me sick.

"Republicans are insisting they will note vote to raise the debt limit without major spending cuts; Democrats are refusing to sign off on cuts of such magnitude without at least some tax increases as well. Republicans say they won't sign off on any tax hikes at all, including those Obama wants targeting the wealthiest Americans or closing loopholes to corporations."

Washington really needs to go through FPU. If you don't have the money, you cannot spend it! Raising taxes on Americans should not be the equivalent of asking for a credit limit increase. Washington needs to make a prioritized budget, and if the program falls below the line of where the money runs out, then that program doesn't get funded. If you need more money to fund more programs, you need to find the individual equivalent of finding a part time job! Hiking taxes on Americans is not the part time job income generator.

Good job, Democrats, you refuse to grow up and realize that you cannot stretch the dollar any further than it will actually go. If you cannot afford it, you cannot buy it. Quit throwing a temper-tantrum and demanding a "raise" (read: increased debt ceiling) just so you can continue to give deadbeats a frikkin handout.

Republicans, you aren't much better. Have you no backbone? "Oh, well, if cuts are agreed upon by the dems, then we'll vote to increase the debt limit." Um, increased debt limit is needed. If cuts are made, then no increase will be necessary. SIMPLE CUTS are needed to balance the budget. Period. No tax increase, no increased debt.

Dumb politicians.