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Another postive day

July 3rd, 2011 at 05:15 pm

It's amazing how much sunnier my outlook is without all of this house stress. I had yet another lovely 24 hours focusing on the house we live in. Yesterday, I organized, and sorted (for donation or otherwise) the stuff in the basement laundry area. It now looks clean and clear.

I also started on the garage. I posted several freebies on craigslist. A double jogging stroller and a car seat, and two rugs we don't have space for in these houses. All needed to be seriously cleaned, and it wasn't worth the energy for me to do it. Within two hours of posting, all was taken.

I have at least three big boxes headed for the thrift store later this week.

I just sold our old reel mower for $20 as well, so that went into the home improvement piggy bank. We now have enough in the piggy bank from craigslist, recycling cans, and birthday money that hubby and I can buy the new platform bed frame we've been eyeballing. And maybe a little something else.

So, the house is a little bit cleaner and the piggy bank a little bit fuller. What a way to kick off the weekend!

We're heading to a BBQ at my sister's soon. It's funny. I am a serial party thrower. She rarely has parties, so she is freaking out about everything. It's cute. I guess she didn't realize how much work it is!

The transfers for the mortgage pay-down are scheduled for Tuesday ($118,000), and the $2500 to savings is scheduled as well.

I've also already set up some appointments for estimates for the work we need to have done on this place. I have about $8,000 in sale proceeds set aside for these projects. Any left over will go to the other goals.

It's weird. This round of stuff (a tree removed, new gutters, more attic insulation,) and other than that, the house only needs decorating. Considering I spent the last five years fixing up a house that needed major things every year, this feels too easy!

$7, almost by magic!

January 27th, 2011 at 04:07 pm

I made $7 today without much work at all. I had forgotten that I still have a few things-- mostly vintage sewing patterns-- for sale in my etsy store. One of them sold and shipped today, so I made $7 after expenses. Not too shabby.

I am hoping to have a craft night with a friend in February. We have some ideas of things we want to make, and maybe I can make them well enough to sell them on Etsy.

I really need to take better advantage of Etsy. It's just been a time thing. So many goals, so few hours in the day. Alas, I will just have to set aside some time to post more to the store, and to design a few new things. It really is nice to make the money, even if it is a little at a time.

The $7 is going to my $20 challenge.

$12 to $20 challenge

January 25th, 2011 at 03:36 pm

I added $12 to the $20 challenge today, as I sold a book on Amazon. I had forgotten how those little amounts add up.


Otherwise, not much to report. We just spent the weekend with some friends in Maryland. It was a serious baby party. All the kids running around all crazy. A house with three toddlers and one infant is not a house where anyone gets a good night's sleep.

We had fun, but are happy to be back in our own beds and on our own schedule.

I paid the bills yesterday, and the checking account is pretty slim. I only managed to send $35 to savings this pay check. It's always like that this time of year. Lots of big bills come in January-- property tax, homeowners' insurance, etc.

I still haven't gotten a single tax form. I'm anxious to get the return done so we can get our refund!!




Happy news

January 6th, 2011 at 09:58 pm

Hubby has been a nervous wreck the last couple of days. When I told him we hadn't received a statement for his 401k in two years, he automatically began to think the worst. Symptom of our generation, I suppose. We Gen Xers lost money in the dot.com bust, the housing bust AND the great recession. Doesn't make you optimistic about the future.

Anyway, I told him just to call HR and ask how we can get a statement. He avoided it all day out of fear and dread. He just came up with the password, etc. for me to look at the digital statement and make changes to our allocations, etc.

The good news? I had estimated we had $66,000 for our net worth statement. We have a little more than $151,000. And, his company match is more generous than I thought, matching 100 percent up to the first 6 percent. (We exceed that, so we're getting all of our match).

That was a huge pleasant surprise.

Also, I sold one of the kids' unused toy storage racks on Craigslist today for $20. That went into the $20 challenge piggy bank.

$20 challenge rides again!

December 23rd, 2010 at 11:23 pm

I haven't done the $20 challenge since 2008. Except I started again today. To took two bags of aluminum cans to the recycler today, and got $6.05. It's going into the piggy bank.

Another $30

July 13th, 2010 at 09:09 pm

Woo-hoo! The online yard sales is actually going pretty well. I've managed to sell a few things, and I've brought in about $8o so far thanks to Craigslist. This money has been added to the tiki fund.

I've also donated 4 boxes ad two bags of items to Goodwill, and am going through more closets and drawers hoping to find more. I am really determined to cut to the bone. We have way too much stuff in this very small 1400 sq ft house.

In other happy news, I have written 59,00 words of my novel, which means I am more than halfway finished. Th3e tiny green tomatoes have sprouted in the garden and it's raining outside, hopefully making way for more.

The bad news is, of course, that we are still 9,200 away from ur savings goal for the year, thanks to the 5000 my stupid hubby lent to his dead-beat friend, and which I will never see again. I am trying to not stew about it, but it is hard.

Online yard sale challenge

June 24th, 2010 at 01:57 pm

I've decided to have an online yard sale this year. I have a list of about 20 items that I am selling on Craigslist, etsy, as well as a lot of small items I plan to donate or freecycle. This is part of my serious decluttering kick. De-clutter til it hurts!

so far, I've sold two items and made $35. I have realized already people will pay more for something on craigslist than they would pay for the same item at an actual yard sale. I have sold another item today for $10, and they plan to pick up today.

All of the money is going to the $20 challenge and to the tiki bar fund, which has been on life support since I cleared it out to pay off my student loan last year (a decision I do not regret, as I no longer have a payment and interest on savings has bottomed out at 1 percent).

Last year, I had a yard sale that failed miserably. We sold a lot, but didn't make a lot of money, and it was a lot of work. We did get rid of a lot of things, but not enough to make it worth it again.

$24 to tiki fund

September 11th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

FINALLY! Some money to the tiki fund. I made a few sales on Etsy and this is the profit. I need to start working harder to replenish the tiki fund, since I emptied it to pay off my student loan.

Tiki dreams, and then there's reality

February 10th, 2009 at 04:32 pm

Hubby and I went away for the weekend while his parents looked after Beanman. It was the first time we seriously talked about my tiki bar. It ended in a fight. The fight stems from our differing views of work.

Hubby comes from a family of salary people and has been taught to get a job, work hard at it, make money at it, then retire.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, who believe you need to work hard-- at something you create- and you need to be boss if you really want to get ahead.

Long story short, Hubby is afraid to invest any of our money in a business venture. He thinks we'll be better off if we just both work 9-5 jobs for salaries and that's that.

The thing that upset me most was his suggestion that by opening a business, I would be taking money away from the Bean's college fund. Um, what???

We save and save and save. We're doing everything right. If anything, owning a business with a modicum of success will generate money to help pay for college.

Maybe this hit a nerve with me. Hubby's parents paid for all of his college. Mine paid for nothing. I had to drop out after two years due to lack of money, and go work in a bar for 7 years before I could afford to go back. I worked 60 plus hours a week and went to college full time, I paid as much in cash as possible to tuition every semester and still graduated with 40,000 in loan debt.

It's a sore subject to me. Obviously, I am still paying for that college education.

And, to make it worse, I got a journalism degree, took a 50 percent pay cut from working in a bar to take my first journalism job AND now, eight years after graduation, the industry has completely fallen apart. No ones hiring, no one is making money.

So, I guess it made me extra upset to hear that I had to supplant yet more of my dreams for yet another college education. I feel like I have been paying for one college education or another since 1993, and it's gotten me nothing but heartache. Is my whole working life, from age 18 to 65 only about paying for college degrees?

I am hurt and angry.

Back on the $20 challenge bandwagon: sacrificing Beatles stuff!

January 29th, 2009 at 02:09 am


Well, in my effort to get a tiki bar and to clear out things I no longer use, I am making two sacrifices from my beatles collection: 4 1963 Beatles stamps and my copy of the Paul Mccartney death hoax magazine. I bought them almost 20 years ago and it's time to let them go! Sigh. I guess this means I am serious about decluttering. They went up on Ebay tonight.

Also, I posted an autographed Bob Feller photo a relative gave us as a gift. I hate to regift, but we really hate baseball....Hey,someone bid on the baseball stuff already!

New money-making idea

January 13th, 2009 at 02:23 pm

I don't want to jinx myself. But, I have ordered tons of seeds for my garden. I will be starting these indoors late next month.

If more of these veggies turn into viable seedlings than I can use in the garden, I am going to sell them for $1 or $2 per plant on Craigslist.

I'm growing some interesting varieties that often sell for $4 to $10 plant, so it will be a deal for whoever decides to buy.

Of course this all depends on those seeds starting!

Starting at zero. Boo!

January 3rd, 2009 at 04:36 pm

Geesh. I just updated my sidebar to reflect my 2009 goals. It's much less satisfying than seeing the progress report from the end of last year, with money saved, IRAs funded and all that.

I'm sure y'all feel the same way. Oh well. I suppose that is the magic of New Year. Wiping the slate clean.

I have my work cut out for me this year for the $20 challenge. My goal is $2,500. Rather ambitious given the down economy.

The good news is I'm kicking it off right. I just sold a book on Amazon for a $17 profit!! Woo-hoo!

How I made money with the $20 challenge

December 31st, 2008 at 04:00 pm

I thought I would do a round-up of where the money came from for my 2008 $20 challenge. Maybe it will give me some new ideas for 2009 and let me know where my efforts were best spent. I'd also like to know how you made your $20 challenge money. The more ideas the better!

Percentage of freelance work: $511.75
Web craft sales:$411.89
Google Adsense:$259.66
Tax rebates/refunds:$184.00
Change jar: $142.19
Misc Web projects (writing): $114.83
eBay: $54.82
Amazon marketplace: $45.52
ING referrals:$35
Etsy: $28.67
CafePress: $26.20
Tiki Savings account interest: $24.60
lotto tickets: $10

OK, so looking at those numbers, in 2009 I could:
- probably do better with eBay. I have stuff to sell, I just rarely post auctions.
-I will add a yard sale into the mix in June.
-CafePress was a surprise. I poste a few designs, spent little effort, and got a check. I will post more designs this year and promote them a bit and see if I can make more on this. It's my kind of gig, creative and with zero capital outlay.

Web craft sales and misc Web writing gigs not related to my day job were bigger money makers than I suspected. I will put more effort into these in 2009.

Tell me about your best $20 challenge projects for the year!

$46.63 left . AAAHHHHH!!

November 18th, 2008 at 04:30 pm

I'm only $46.63 away from meeting my savings goals for the year.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

That's my way of saying I am very excited.
My last freelance check put me $251 over the tiki fund goal (with more to come, I'm sure), and all of my other accounts are either fully funded or overfunded.

The only thing left is to round out the car fund, and I have some auto-debits scheduled that should take care of that.

I never would have dreamed that hubby and I could save this much. I was inspired by Automatic Millionaire (the book), and it really has worked. So simple. Why haven't I been doing this for years?????

$147 freelance check came today

November 5th, 2008 at 07:49 pm

A $147 freelance check came today. Yay. No haggling to get paid on this one. Half will go to savings ($73.50), $36.75 will go to extra payment on the student loan, and $36.75 will go to the tiki fund.

I also sold a Monster bag on etsy, so that's another $15.99 in profit for the tiki fund.

$300 check came today

October 16th, 2008 at 12:41 am

My $300 check came today. $150 will go to savings and $75 will go to the student loan, and $75 to the tiki fund.

I added $10.84 in Web site sales profits to the tiki fund today, and I will post profits from an Amazon book sale tomorrow.

Also, I put $200 in Beaner's college fund, so I'm $100 away from the goal for the year.

Some freelance money coming soon (hopefully!)

October 15th, 2008 at 03:48 am

I sent some invoices out for freelance work today, to the tune of about $2800. I also finished about $100 more of freelance work today. If all goes well, of that $2900:
$1450 will go to savings
$450 will go to the vacation fund
$500 will go to extra on the student loan
$500 will go to the tiki fund

I'm expecting the first check, for $300, sometime this week. The $100 check (it will likely be for more) in two weeks, and the $2500 check by mid-November.

I hate to count my eggs before they are in my bank account, but I want to have this on record so I don't forget what I am supposed to do with it when the check comes!

Tiki update and stock profit

October 14th, 2008 at 02:54 pm

I added $5.46 to the tiki fund today. I sold two toys on my web site and after costs, mailing, etc. that is the profit.

I also sold 100 shares of National City today for $3.00 a share. I profited $115 on that sale, after all brokerage fees are accounted for. Normally I don't hold short term, but I thought I would take a chance. And, because it was held in my IRA, I don't have to pay taxes on the profit. At least not yet. That's a wrap for today!

I'm famous-- not really, but it's still nice!

October 8th, 2008 at 01:54 pm

My Tiki Challenge got a mention on the TikiTalk blog. sniff. Makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside.

http://tikitalk.astropad.com/archives/former-bartender-savin...

Revamped money goals and revamped tiki challenge

September 24th, 2008 at 08:42 pm

Finding those two bars for sale has really been a kick in the pants. It's true that chance favors the prepared, and it's time to REALLY get prepared so that when my dream tiki bar location goes on sale, I will be ready to jump on it.

So, I'm revamping the savings strategy and the tiki bar fund strategy.

From now on, any money I make from jobs or freelance will be divided as follows:
50 percent to the family savings account
25 percent to extra on the student loan
25 percent to the tiki fund

My goal is to save $40k to start the bar and buy a building, without significantly impacting my family's finances.

This new system will allow me to compile the money faster, while still padding the savings account and paying off our one debt. It will allow me to save without hurting the family money and while getting ahead.

All of this is predicated on us accomplishing the overall savings goals
outlined on my sidebar.

For instance, if we haven't met our goals for IRAs, 529 contributions, etc., then no deal, and the money will flow to those first, and to the tiki last.

I have about $1150 in the tiki fund this year. Obviously way short of the goal, but as this was the first year, it was more of an experiment to see what could be done by saving little bits. And all of that money came from money I made not from my usual line of work.

I think this new system will also motivate me to track down more freelance money and more odd jobs. It may even help me get my photo business up and running, as that pays well.

Motivation has a cascading effect: the more I make for the tiki fund, the more I am making for my family. What better motivation is that?

I am also thinking of going on a "seriously trimming down the consumption" kick for me and the hubby. We seem to spend a lot of money but not really buy anything substantial, so it's time to slow the leak.

Boy, I am feeling the burn of inspiration.

Found a bar for sale!

September 24th, 2008 at 05:32 pm

I found two bars for sale, both include the building and the liquor license. One is $224k, the other $130k. The second is what I want, with rentals above to pay the note. These are very inexpensive, so I am doing a drive by later to check out the areas. The $224k one would work, but doesn't have rentals, so isn't quite what I am looking for. (Both would save big bucks on getting the license and not having to buy all the bar equipment).

My plan is to open the bar in five years, but it can't hurt to start looking now so I can identify a good deal when I see one.

Thinking about getting a bartending gig

September 17th, 2008 at 05:48 pm

I'm thinking of applying for a part-time bartending gig. It'd be two nights a week. Probably the same nights. This would get me out of the house and provide some fun money to put toward the student loan and the tiki fund.

But, it might be rough working two 12-hour days then waking up and taking care of the bean, and it would take some schedule rearranging to make sure I get there on time for my shifts.

The hubby is against the idea. Not sure why. He says we don't NEED the money. I say we can use it.

Not sure what to do yet, but the window of opportunity is closing.

Won $5 at the Sweet Corn Festival!

August 30th, 2008 at 03:57 pm

I won $5 in quarters at the Sweet Corn Fest last night. I was playing the game where you pick a color and if the ball lands on that color, you win. It's like I couldn't lose. $5 one quarter at a time, isn't easy! So, that's going to the tiki fund.

A new grocery challenge. Fed up of wasting food and money.

August 23rd, 2008 at 02:32 am

I picked 12 pounds or roma tomatoes today and made them into sauce tonight. It was fantastic.

So good, it inspired me to clean out the fridge. I couldn't find a spot for the sauce leftovers.

When I threw away an entire grocery bag of spoiled food, I realized something had to change.

We spend A LOT on food. I don't even know how much. It's a category where we have no spending limits.

Well, that's going to change. We're obviously wasting a lot, and that is unacceptable, for many reasons.

So, I am going to institute a grocery challenge. I'm not sure exactly how it will work but I have a rough outline.

Step 1. Tally up how much we spend each month on dinners out and groceries.

Step 2. Reduce both of those amounts by 25 percent for Sept. and October, with the ultimate goal of reducing it to 50 percent of current spending within 6 months.

Step 3. A cook at home challenge. This may help accomplish step 2, and help us eat healthier. I have been wanting to make more home-cooked meals and have lately, but I can do better. I will start looking for healthy, possibly vegetarian cookbooks at the library.

Step 4. Plant a wonderful garden next spring. My plans were derailed this year due to being too pregnant to bend over. Hard to plant seedlings that way. I will focus on foods we eat often and items that we use that are expensive. Third, specialty varieties and items we can freeze for winter.

I do most of the grocery shopping, so I shouldn't need to enlist the hubby's help in this. Plus, he loves home-cooked food, so he'll be on board.

The money we save (compared to our current average monthly food expenditures) will go into our savings account, which frankly could use a boost because we just spent $7200 on a new roof.

$37.50 to the tiki bar

August 20th, 2008 at 03:52 am

Yay eBay. I finally made more than $5 profit on something. The 1950s prom dress was a decent seller. It feels good to add so much at one time.

I have also decided to pay for my computer OS upgrade with rewards certificates from Amazon (form my credit card. I have to wait another week for my $50 GC to come) and change I have lying around the house. I'm going to cash it in at a Coinstar machine for another Amazon GC. You don't pay fees if you turn your change into a gift certificate. This should get the cost of the software I need down to $50 or so...

Tah-dah! The new item for the tiki challenge

August 15th, 2008 at 03:37 am

This is what I have been working on. It is a set of Hula girl magnets.(This photo is only half of the set) They are very big, almost 8 inches tall, and hopefully will help me pad the tiki fund.

I made them out of vintage advertisements, I hand-laminated them, hand cut and hand magnetized them. It was a new project for me. It's fun.

A new project for the $20 challenge

August 13th, 2008 at 08:42 pm

I came up with what I think is a cool new project to raise money for the $20 challenge. I am going to try making a new craft item that I can sell, and which will put to good use my extensive (and I mean extensive) collection of vintage books, magazines, and advertisements.

I bought $17 worth of supplies today. That money will come out of the Google Adsense money I will be adding to the challenge at the end of the month.

I am not going to say what the project is yet, because I am not sure if it will turn out. But if it does, it will be great, I am sure!

Thanks to all of you for your great suggestions on how to make more money for the tiki fund. I appreciate your input.

The funny thing is, just concentrating on wanting to add more to the fund has really kicked me into high gear. I've spent a lot of time crafting and thinking of ways to make money this week. It's been very productive. I even got the ball rolling on some projects that had been on hold. Thanks for the inspiration, y'all!

Some sacrifices for the $20 challenge

August 12th, 2008 at 12:04 am


Well, depressed by my lack of growth in the tiki fund, I decided to put one of my all-time favorite dresses on eBay. It's a red prom dress from the 1950s. I used to wear it out a lot, but now it doesn't fit me anymore . Darn babies! They ruin your figure. Well, or in my case, give you a little too much up top. Ahem

So, on ebay it has gone. I hope it goes to a good home. I also posted a new monster purse on Etsy. He is very cute as well. I always get so attached to them when I make them!

How can I make more money?

August 11th, 2008 at 03:04 am

I feel like I've hit a wall with the $20 challenge. I do eBay, sell this and that online, etc.

I need some new ideas on ways to make more money. It doesn't have to be a million dollars at a time, just something to get the tiki fund padded!

How do you all make money for your $20 challenge.

I'm interested in new ideas for NEW income. I choose not to count money I save from coupons, etc. So if you have any ideas, I'm all ears...

Tiki challenge back on track a little...

July 30th, 2008 at 01:57 am

Well, despite all the stuff in my personal life I did manage to add about $38 to the tiki fund.

It would have been more, but I got soaked on some shipping for an eBay item. I guess that was my amateur mistake. It cost me $22 to ship the lamp when I had budgeted $14. Oh well. Thankfully I didn't lose money on that one.

Next month should be better because I'll have some money coming in from Google Adsense. And I may try to post some more items to sell on Etsy.com.


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