Friday, March 30, 2007

Frugal weekend ahead...

So, here it is Friday morning and I am looking forward to the weekend. Big plans you ask? Nope, not at all, which is why I am so looking forward to it. :) Seems like every weekend is always so busy and full of things to do that we rarely get a chance to relax and rejuvenate from a busy week, so come Monday mornings I feel like I still need a weekend. Well not this time. The only thing I have planned is dinner on Sunday for my sister in laws birthday. I bought her gift a week ago, it is wrapped and ready to go and I don't have to bring anything for dinner or dessert either! Yah! This afternoon after work I am going home to make chicken chow mien for dinner, most of the ingredients are chopped and ready to go, the chicken is already cooked, so all I will have to do is put it together. Tomorrow I have absolutely nothing planned but maybe taking a walk if the weather is nice, catching up on some reading and a watching a movie that will be in tomorrows mail from Netflix. I have decided to forgo the evening out on Saturday with my girlfriends, one because I don't want to spend the money on it and two because there are a couple of people going who I don't enjoy spending time with so I think it would ruin it for me and then I would resent the fact that I am spending money on a not so fun evening. It will be interesting to see how much money I spend on this weekend with not many plans, I am hoping it will be as frugal as I am anticipating. :) I'll let you all know on Monday as I think I will try to stay off the computer all weekend as well. Time to regroup and re-energize and spend some quality time with me. Catch up with you all on Monday, I hope everyone has a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Be kind to yourself.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I'm approved! :)

Well, I don't have anything going on to tell you all about except that I do have my mortgage approval letter in hand and can begin the home shopping in earnest! I will hopefully have a chance to go out this weekend and see what is out there. I'm in a good position in that my lease is up and it is just month to month now with no chance of a rate increase, so I am not in desperate need to buy something. I will get out there and look and when the right thing comes along, I will know. I do have my eye on somethings I have seen online and will go check them out. I'll keep you posted on how that goes and hopefully soon I will be writing with details about my new home!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Meeting mortgage broker

Today after work I am heading to meet with a mortgage broker and I am excited, anxious and nervous. I will see what I qualify for and go from there. Ultimately I think I w ill decide what to buy based on what I am comfortable with my monthly payment being. I will be looking in to getting a first time homebuyers mortgage with a low down payment, so I have no idea what to expect the magic number will be as to what I qualify for, but I will let you all know tomorrow what I find out. Have a great evening all! ;)

Friday, March 23, 2007

Do you know your number???

Do you know what your credit score is? As I was saying a couple of posts ago, I really want to become a homeowner in the next year or so. Well, I decided to meet with a mortgage broker and see where I am currently and what I might need to do in order to get my financial house in order to obtain a mortgage. So, I called a gal I know a couple of days ago. I spoke to her on the phone last night and again this morning. She was going to run my credit report today and get back to me. All day I waited anxiously to hear from her. She finally called me 10 minutes before I left work with the good news. My 3 scores came back in the excellent category as 795, 820 and 791 creating an average score of 802!! I am thrilled! I couldn't be more pleased, nor could she. She said it is very rare for her to find someone with such a great credit rating! I am on cloud nine right now. I will be meeting with her on Monday to run some numbers to see what I am comfortable with so I can begin my search for a home to buy. I knew I had good credit, but I had no idea it was that good. I also have a realtor friend that I called and filled her in on the good news, she said she has NEVER had a client with that good of credit! So, yeah for me! So, now the hunt will soon begin for a condo/townhouse for me to call home! I am really picky, so I have a feeling this may take awhile, but at least I will be pre-approved so that if I find the right thing I will be ready. I will keep you all posted on how it is going, in the meantime I will continue to live frugally and save at least 32% of my salary giving me more for a down payment and bulking up the emergency fund. Happy Friday all! Perhaps I should use one of my free Blockbuster coupons to get a movie to celebrate! :)

A new challenge

Today is payday and I recently changed my direct deposit so that more of my money (32% of my paycheck) goes into my savings account each payday. I have written out my bills that will need to be paid in the next 2 weeks and I have $179.26 left in my checking account until next payday, which is April 6th. Now I do have money in my savings that I can draw on if I really need it, but I am hoping to make it to the 6th with all my savings in tact. Do you think I can do it? I have a birthday party to attend that I have to buy a present for still and I was suppose to have a night out with the girls on the 31st, but I have decided to forgo that because a couple of people I don't care for will be going and it would ruin the fun for me. But other than gas and a few groceries, I think I should be able to make it just fine. I know this sounds strange, but I really like to challenge myself like this and for some reason I seem to have amazing discipline when I decide to do something. For example, I decided that I wanted to run a marathon, I trained for and completed the Portland Marathon last October, training was grueling and I had to do many 14, 16, 18, and 20 mile training runs beforehand, but I did it and I enjoyed it. I started doing sit ups every night before bed, now I am up to 400 a night and can't seem to get to sleep until I have them done. I know, strange! So, this is a new challenge and I will see how I do with it. Do you ever challenge yourself like this?? Or am I bizarre? :) Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Free stuff....

I love, love, love getting something for nothing. I also really enjoy filling out surveys online as long as they aren't too long. This week I have earned $13, 6 free movie rentals from Blockbuster and a year subscription to TV Guide, all from taking surveys. I know there are a lot of bogus sites out there in regards to surveys, but I have found a few that really do come through and pay well. I also do all my online shopping through ebates so that I can earn money back on items I would have purchased anyway. If you are interested in a referral for any of these, please let me know. You can email me at leanne229@hotmail.com and I will be happy to send you a referral.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Suze Orman

Tonight I got a chance to see Suze Orman live. I was so impressed with her story of how she started with nothing and how far she has come. She has such a passion in her message and I really enjoyed myself hearing her speak. I didn't buy her new book that she was out promoting, but I listened to her speak and took lots of notes. She has some great links on her website and during her lecture she gives the passcodes for a lot of great information on her site. I came home and logged on and am so excited about what I have done up to this point and where I am heading financially. In fact, I am so excited about it my mind is racing and I can't sleep. :) If she comes to your area and you get the chance to see her, I highly recommend it. I wish I would have had the chance to ask her a question, but there were so many people there and I learned a lot from others questions. I think I will try to e-mail a question in to her show and see if I can get an answer. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. Well, I really must try to get some sleep, morning will come much sooner than I will be ready for. Yikes! Good night all!

I am not a patient person

I want to buy a condo and I want to do it now! I look online all the time at what is out there and available. I am trying really hard to put money into my savings, every chance I get. I changed my direct deposit from work so that I am now saving 32% of my salary every two weeks. Once I am use to this, I will try to adjust it a little bit more at a time so that more and more of my salary is going into savings. I like the idea that Simplicity in Kansas has for living on half of their income and saving the rest. This is really helping the savings to grow quickly, and I am selling everything I can or don't need anymore in order to add more to the savings. I want to have as healthy a down payment as possible so that when the time comes I have greater buying power. I have a good friend who is a realtor and she is keeping her eye out for good homes for me as well. She knows I don't want anything too big, but I would like "nice"! I fear that I am very picky about what I want to buy and therefore it may take me awhile, but in the meantime I will just keep putting money into savings and hopefully by the end of this year or early next year I will be a homeowner! I must admit that looking at mortgage options scares the bejeezus out of me, but I know this is a good thing and will only help my net worth grow. I have got to get over that fear! As much as I want to buy a home NOW, I am also scared! Bear with me while I ramble on about things, I'm getting there $1 at a time.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Pretty excited about my find this weekend....

I had just been thinking the other day that I hate how many plastic and paper bags I seem to get stuck with after going grocery shopping and wish I had some of those neat canvas bags that I could reuse over and over again. Well, I know I am on a grocery hiatus this month, but I had to bring something to my mom's for St. Patty's Day dinner, so off to the store. Well as I was in line to pay, I noticed that they have these great canvas bags for sale, for only $.99! I grab 2 and off I go to pay for my items. And what do ya know, every time I bring my bags back in, I get a 5 cent credit for each bag I reuse. It will take a long time for them to pay for themselves with the little bit of shopping that I do, but it is much better for the environment and I won't get stuck with a huge surplus of bags! I like it!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Grocery shopping hiatus

In response to my last entry, anonymous asked me what I eat. Well I am currently on a grocery shopping hiatus, but that doesn't mean I am skimping on what I eat. I have an overstocked pantry that I am in the process of eating through. I also have a fully stocked freezer with lots of great stuff. I have a friend who is a fisherman and he gave me lots of salmon and halibut so I have been eating a lot of that. I also shop at Costco for meat a lot and break the bigger packages up into smaller ones and then freeze, this is coming in handy now as well. I tend to stock up on things I know I will use when I find them on sale. I also eat a lot of in season fruits and vegetables which I get at the local farmers market, very inexpensively. I use powdered milk for cooking and I drink a lot of water. I do like to bake so I make a lot of homemade treats and share them at work. It's a win win for everyone. I am currently growing my own herbs in my garden window, this is a first for me so I will see how it goes. Also, a good savings tip, if you are buying spices, don't buy them from the regular spice aisle in the grocery store, if you go over a couple aisles you will find them in the ethnic sections MUCH cheaper or if convenient, you can shop at ethnic stores, even better savings! I tend to buy cheaper cuts of meat and marinate them really well or cook them in my crockpot which makes them super tender. Ahh, the crockpot, now that is an exceptional way to save money as well. If you don't have one, you should get one, I use mine year round! I hope that answers the question of what I eat! :) I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A scattering of thoughts....

As I was saying earlier, I am really starting to embrace frugality and a simpler lifestyle. I have checked out some books on the subject at the library and am learning a lot. I have also started tracking my spending and am noticing that just by having to write each penny down, I am spending less. Maybe just making myself accountable is making it harder for me to spend money. I have been continuing to declutter and have sold some more items on Craigslist and donated a bag of clothing to the local women's shelter. I'm sure I will find more to send their way soon. All the items I have sold on Craigslist, I have put the money in my savings account to add to my down payment money. I love watching that account grow! I am making do with some things I already have on hand before buying new. And I am currently in a grocery shopping freeze with the exception of milk and produce. I am going to see how long I can go with only buying the few essentials. So far I have only spent $11.14 this month on groceries. Not bad! If you go to www.aquafresh.com you can get a coupon for a free trial size tube of toothpaste. I fixed my CD player and now that it is working I can list it on Craigslist too. Hmm, what else is going on? Not much here, just learning to live better with less and I am really enjoying it. I will continue to keep you posted as I learn.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Selling more items.....

As I mentioned before, my office just moved and as we are settling in, we seem to be getting rid of a bunch of things. Seems that my co-workers don't want to be bothered with these items either seeing if they are usable or trying to sell them on eBay or Craigslist, they would just rather toss them out and buy new. Well, isn't that the American way? Ha! So, I am taking a printer home for my personal use that no one wants, and another one that works just fine, but isn't top of the line. This one I will list on Craigslist, along with 2 stereos that we have at the office and a futon possibly! Not only do we have the printers, but also all of the ink cartridges to go with them. And a laptop that no one is using, they were going to pay to dispose of it, the hard drive crashed, but all of the other components can be reused, I will sell this one as well. Sheesh! I could make a nice little deposit into my savings with all this loot! :) And I won't be filling up a landfill! I'm thrilled to get a new (to me) color printer to have at home. I'm sure as we settle in, there will be more to come for me to sell and less for them to throw away. My co-workers and friends can't believe that I wouldn't want to buy a new car or have new clothes every week. Why would I try to save as much of my hard earned money as possible?? I am currently working on saving 1/3 of my income and hoping to increase that as I learn to conserve even more. They all think my frugal ways are crazy and that I am nuts for putting, what they consider, so much effort in to things like this, but let's see, I am debt free and they are mostly all in debt up to their eyeballs. Who do you think sleeps better and night and is happier? I laugh all the way to the bank.....

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Really embracing fruglity

and simple living. I am amazed at how much I can do to simplify my life and minimize my impact on the environment. I have reserved some books at the library to learn more and am looking over my budget again to see where I can cut. I found a great website www.simplicity-in-kansas.blogspot.com and she has SO much great information on her site. I look forward to reading more and sharing with you all. I will keep you posted on how it is going for me and if I am able to more quickly reach my goal of owning a home by saving more for my down payment. Stick around, I think it's going to get interesting! Happy day everyone!

Found money

What do you do with found money? I ask because yesterday I was out for a walk and on the sidewalk I found some bills folded up together. To my surprise, it was $17.00!!! What a nice little windfall and since it was on the sidewalk and there was no way to determine who it could have belonged to, I put it in my pocket. As I have said before, I find change on the ground all the time, but I have never found something like this. What would you do with it? I am very, very frugal, so much so that this could buy me my groceries for at least a week and a half, so I don't know what to do with it. Should I put it in my ever growing savings account or should I splurge and treat myself to something nice? Or should I donate it? Answers please.....and thank you! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

I found a place to buy my old dresses...

Yes, I am still holding on to my dresses from high school dances! Why, I am not sure! But I'm glad I did. This past weekend I visited a vintage clothing store and found out that they are in desperate need of 80's style prom dresses and formals! Yeah! I will gather them all together and take a trip down there this coming weekend. I like the idea of selling these and making some money off of them. And I really like the idea that someone can wear them and won't have to go out and buy new, also nice for the environment. I am finding that the more simple I make my life the less money I am spending and an added bonus is that I am being friendlier to the environment. :) Gotta like that!

Monday, March 5, 2007

How I make extra money....

I love to make extra money and am always on the look out for ways to do it. I have recycled cans, bottles and newspapers. I do online surveys, I make regular purchases online, but only before I go through ebates in order to get a portion of the money back. I love to participate in reward programs offered by stores where you get a gift card back for a % of your purchases, I then use the gift card to buy gifts. I find money on the ground all the time, it may only be a penny or so, but those add up. I also sell on craigslist and half.com, I have yet to venture in to eBay sales. I consign my clothes when I don't need or want them anymore. I love to have a garage sale too. I also do online surveys, but there are only a few reputable sites I believe. If you are interested in a referral email me at leanne229@hotmail.com and I will be happy to send you a referral.

What do you do to make extra money?