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Archive for August, 2007

Finally - something to help keep me organized!

August 30th, 2007 at 04:59 pm

I am one of those people who can't remember what needs to be done unless it is written down. Therefore, I have about 4 to-do lists floating around at any one time. One for home, one for work, a grocery list, a Target list, an event planning list, etc. Unfortunately, the lists never seem to get shorter and they tend to get lost before they can do any good.

Well, I found a great site on-line called BackPack that has been helping me with my list problems. Basically, you can sign up for a free account that let's you create as many as 5 separate to-do lists at any one time. They can be accessed from any Internet terminal and has little check boxes for you to check stuff off as you get it done. You can even email stuff directly to a specific list from a blackberry or PDA if you are technically inclined (which I am not)!

In other news, we got the new rates for Caleb's daycare that go into affect next week. Was really hoping for a significant change so that we could put more towards debt payments. I should have known better. We went from paying $218/week to paying $213/week. Know we can almost afford to go out to eat once a month. Also, we found out that the cost for an infant for the next year will be $288/week which is more than we had planned on for sure.

All we can do is try even harder to get out of debt as quick as possible to free up a little more money for daycare payments. I am going to have to propose some pretty tough restrictions on spending if that is going to happen, though. Once again I have to be the bad guy...

Well, we were able to avoid having 3 separate repair people come to our house last night. I managed to fix the DirecTV ($0), Scott fixed the garbage disposal ($0), and then we both worked at fixing the weed whacker ($13 for parts). I figure we saved ourselves about $600 by repairing what we had instead of throwing it out and buying new.

6 months of progress

August 9th, 2007 at 03:37 pm

We started this journey out of debt just shy of six months ago in the middle of February. When we realized that we were thinking about expanding our family and realized that we couldn't afford to pay for daycare for a second child with the amount of monthly debt payments we were under.

So I started doing a little research on the internet. Found out about the "snowball method" and knew that it was something we could stick to. As you can see at the left, we have paid off over $4000 in debt and are almost done paying off the THIRD of four outstanding revolving debt accounts. The best part is we have a PLAN and (for the most part) are sticking to it. There have been more downs than ups and most of the time I feel like I am in this battle alone, but I am determined that we will get there.

As for the birthday party update (see previous post) we have decided to go with the party at the local Children's Museum. To compensate for the money we will be spending, the party will be our present to Caleb and we will just tighten our belts in a few other areas. Thank you to everyone for the great advice and helpful hints! The biggest factor for me in making this decision was the fact that it will be a LOT less stress for me and at this point in time, that is what I really need.

In other news, Scott and I have made the decision to actually use some of the money we have been socking away into our vacation fund and go away for a long weekend together without Caleb. This will be our first time that we have been away together since Caleb was born, almost 3 years ago. We have each tended to get away for separate weekend things, but one of us has always been there to stay with Caleb. He will be staying with my parents so I know he will be fine, I just hope he knows it.

Anyway, we have decided to take a trip down memory lane and go back to our university town for the first time in almost 9 years. That is where we met and we will soon be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary. It is located in the middle of no where (Houghton, Michigan; google it and you will see what I mean) and there has been no REASON to go back to visit, but we both realized how much we miss the area. Plus, we are going in the middle of September when the fall colors should be almost at their peak (did I mention we will be as far north in Michigan as you can go without a boat?). Can't wait!

And the best part is that we have enough in the vacation fund to pay for the hotel, meals and gas (as long as we don't go crazy) so we won't be putting ourselves further into debt to do it. Now THAT is what I call progress....

Birthday Party Planning woes

August 1st, 2007 at 04:40 pm

My son, Caleb, turns 3 on Labor Day Weekend and we have decided to throw him a little party with his friends. After the last two years with all of the family there turned into nightmares, we will be limiting it to his little friends ONLY. Here is the rub....I have NO IDEA what to do. There is a local Children's museum that sounds fun, but it is a pretty big expense ($170) and if not many kids show up, I am still out that full amount. Of course, last year I spent at least twice that to throw the huge family party (food, goody bags, beverages, ice, etc) so this might actually be a cost savings in the end.

I know we could do cake and ice cream in the backyard, but I am afraid that his grandparents would want to show up and I WILL NOT go through that again (long story). Some how it is August already and I have to get the invites out in the next few days. Argh! I am going to have to figure this out quick!

Anyone have any other ideas? I have never done this before and am feeling a little lost...