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Archive for August, 2010

A glorious cheapache

August 25th, 2010 at 05:33 pm

Well, our bed broke a few months back and we have just been living with it. The support beams are shot. We built new ones, but it didn't seem to do much good. One night at about 2 a.m., I rolled over and the frame collapsed. I was so mad, I decided right then that I was buying us a new frame.

I told hubby and he agreed. Until today. He's convinced me that we can fix it, and upon further reflection, I think we can.

I was planning to buy a new frame at IKEA for about $200. But, I found out they also sell the support beams and slats seperately, for about $30. That's really what we need.

I like the way the new one looks a lot more. It would fit better in our house. But I thought about it, and if I just remove the legs, paint it, and add a new headboard (really just cut 3.4 birch plywood that's been painting), I should have the equivalent of a brand new bed, that looks similar to the $200 bed, for about $50.

So yeah. Hubby's cheapache is going to save me about $150. Go hubby.

75 percent done with my first novel!

August 15th, 2010 at 11:05 am

It's a non-money goal, I know, but a life goal nonetheless. Today I hit 75,000 words and officially 75 percent finished with my first novel!

Almost back on the wagon

August 14th, 2010 at 08:01 pm

All in all, it's been a decent week.
I got paid for a freelance gig I did in February, and I put all of it-- $387-- to my IRA.

I also got a check for June freelance to the tune of $750. I have to pay my self-employment taxes, but will be making a transfer to the IRA later this week, after that chore is done. It feels nice to make some progress.

Also, made $5 on my online garage sale, and if the guy who is supposed to buy our old futon shows up tomorrow, we can add another $75 to that. So, $80 to the online yard sale, for a total of about $160. Not too shabby. The money will either go in the tiki fund or to the kids' extra college fund.

I dropped off three more boxes to the Goodwill. I'm thrilled to be clearing the house of more things we can easily do without. I do wonder if it will ever end, if we will ever live something remotely close to the clean, uncluttered life of my fantasy...

How do you do it? I'm failing

August 10th, 2010 at 07:25 pm

I have a confession: I am not good at family life. I don't enjoy it at all.

Let me preface that by saying I L-O-V-E love my children. I would die if anything happened to them.
But there is a big BUT

I don't like being a parent. Frankly, I think it sucks. I take care of two boys under two from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., from 9 p.m. to midnight every night I clean the house, do the dishes and laundry, take a shower, and then I have to WORK. Yes, I am blessed that I can work from home, but while hubby is downstairs playing video games or reading, I basically have to "go into the office." (and much of this time, I have to listen to our youngest yell and scream from his crib or the older one keeps getting out of bed and trying to walk around the house. It never ends. )

There is no downtime. Usually, I can manage this. It's like my daily marathon. But, when something is thrown into the mix, it's very stressful.

The stress really starts when we try to take the kids somewhere. Every time I leave the house with both kids, my stress level hits the roof, and it stays there, no matter what is happening. It just stays at a sustained high level until we get home.

Tonight, we went bowling. Bean was all over the place, jumping into other peoples' lanes, running all around. He runs off. It scares me to death, because it takes him 10 seconds to make it 30 yards, and he is wily and quick. Once, he managed to get away from me at a community barbecue, and I couldn't find him for 10 minutes, and I literally thought I was going to die.

This would be hard enough, but throw in the 9 month old, who is crawling and cruising, and it's almost unbearable for me. Hubby doesn't understand why I just "can't relax."

I want to, I just can't. He somehow magically thinks everything will be okay, while I feel like things are only okay if someone makes sure it is okay, which unfortunately is always me.

I feel stuck at home a lot. Bean gets to go places and do activities with an "aunt" (really one of my friends) and grandma. But hubby always complains I don't take the two of them out more to do more things just the three of us.

I feel like I can't handle the two of them alone.

I did try to take them to a play place at the mall. I thought it would be perfect. But bean kept running out, because he saw a gumball machine. So there I was, hauling 50 pounds of backpacks, car seat and little brother jut trying to keep him in eyes view while he ran all over. It was a nightmare.

Bean needs a dedicated adult, just to keep him from running away or into traffic.

I feel like a bad parent, always being stressed out when we leave the house, alone or as a family, but I don't know if there is a solution. I am hoping this feeling will go away as they get older and more capable, rather than being a toddler and a baby, but I don't know. I see my friends with older kids and in some ways, it looks like it just gets worse.

How do all of you deal with this (or in the past, dealt with it?) Am I losing my mind? I sure feel like it. And will I ever get a good night;s sleep ever again?

Wagon update: $750 to savings plus my first new car

August 6th, 2010 at 08:14 am

Today, we managed to put $750 from the paycheck, some freelance work, and ironically the check the junkyard gave me for my dead car, into savings. So yay! It's a step in the right direction.

I cut my savings goal in half for the year, to $6,000, to reflect recent events, namely hubby giving the $5,000 we had already saved to a friend in a fix. I'm trying to just forget all about that. Otherwise, we would have been on track to save $12,000 this year. But now, there's no way I can save that much by the end of the year.

We bought my first new car ever last night-- Honda Fit. It's my first new car and my first car note. Of course, we used the super cheap 0.9 percent dealer financing, for 60 months, but will certainly be paying it off early. The goal is to have it paid off in 24-36 months.

Some have wondered why we didn't buy used. Normally, I would. But, we drive cars until they die and we needed to have at least one sure bet, perfect safe vehicle to get the kids around town. Plus, the used Fits cost about what we paid new. With no other debt-- including mortgage, we thought it was safe to take on a car note. It will be about $200 a month.

The wagon: almost back on

August 5th, 2010 at 08:04 am

Since I confessed my financial transgressions and overall sloppiness a few weeks ago, things have started to get a little better.

Money is finally going into the savings account every paycheck, and the credit card bill has been a bit lower.

My savings goals have still taken a giant hit thanks to the $5,000 hubby gave his friend. We are buying our planned for new car (a $14,821 Honda Fit. The payment will be $175/month for 3 years, although I have no intention of having the loan that long.) tonight, and since hubby gave away the down payment, I had to pull an extra $3,000 out of savings.

Thanks to this, I'm pretty sure I have no chance of making my $12,000 savings goal this year. We're pretty much treading water at this point. It's frustrating, because my plan has been to stockpile as much as we can while hubby is working, because in this economy, he could be laid off at any moment.

Feast or famine, you know? But, it isn't happening. Our college savings and our retirement savings are on track, but our liquid cash account is not.

I guess now I need to regroup and figure out what a realistic savings goal is for the rest of the year.

Buying my first new car

August 3rd, 2010 at 12:23 pm

The car my dad gave me when he died has finally died.

(we always called it dad's last laugh, as he was always trying to talk us into taking or buying it when he was alive, and we never wanted it, and alas, we ended up with it anyway...)

It's in the driveway completely dead. It got a short circuit in the interior lights that drained the battery. The mechanics say it would take days to find the source and then they'd have to disassembled the dash and interior to fix it. For this car, a piece of crap that has required thousands of dollars in repairs AND almost killed hubby when the brakes suddenly went out on the interstate, the repair makes no sense.

We planned to buy a new car this year and well, the time has come. Actually, the time is Thursday night at 7 p.m. We test drove a few cars and decided the Honda Fit was the best one for us. I was surprised. We looked at bigger and more expensive cars, but the Fit actually had the same amount of interior space and still a decent sized trunk, so it won.

We solicited internet bids on the model/configuration/ color we wanted from five local dealers. I highly recommend this to anyone. The bids for the exact same care varied by about $1000 from low to high. Clearly, we are going with the low.

I'm happy to have a dependable car, and my first NEW car ever. At age 35, this is the first time I will have a car note. (of about $191 a month)We qualified for the Honda 0.9 percent financing, so it makes sense to finance and pay off early than to take the money out of savings. I think I'll be paying about $66 a year in interest.

It's kind of exciting. But mostly, I'm just happy we got a very inexpensive car, AND a safe car for me and the kids to drive.

I'm waiting for the tow truck to take dad's car to the junk yard. They are paying me $236 for it, which is pretty good, considering. Sure beats another repair bill. I admit I did sit in the car last night and have a cry, since it is one of my last physical connections to dad, who ironically died two years to the exact day this car gave out.