Hey, Milagro, I love the stories of “fell off the wagon but got up, dusted off, got back onboard.”

We sort of had an odd week here. On the one hand, we had a triple hammer of “compliance” crap come down on us – the insurance issue, which hasn’t been resolved, then some new federal laws that are coming out which peripherally involve our work, then some county laws which definitely involve our work. All in one week. Then, we had not one, not two, but three major meetings to attend, one of which was an all-day workshop on Saturday. Yes those meetings were fine and good and helpful and instructive. But dang I think the word “meeting” sucks the wind right out of my sails just hearing the word anymore. And my truck, which we continue to have issues with, is SO VERY CLOSE to finally being fixed, but came home with a $750 repair bill on Friday. And we’re not quite done yet. Ouch.

The good news in all that (desperately looking for the Polyanna in all this) is that by participating in all this regulatory stuff now, which is a pain, we’ll be in very good position to be in compliance when the heavy hammer of the law kicks in, either later this year or down the road. A lot of work up front but it’s work that we need to do, and we’ll feel good having it done. Similar with the truck – in the last year we’ll have completely redone the transmission and now basically given it a very thorough heart/lung cleaning. Once we get this last issue fixed up, my 30 year old truck will be good for another 30 years. Or at least a bunch of years.

DH and I also learned something important about each other. We’ve been working SO hard to get our finances squared away, the truck squared away and now some major business stuff squared away, and that feels great. BUT, when we get tired and maybe push our endurance too far, we start snipping at each other. It’s stupid and it’s like something out of 8th grade playground politics, but it happens. “Well, you didn’t take out the trash.” “Well, you didn’t send off the phone payment.” “Well, you didn’t run to the store like you said you would.” “Well, you forgot the kerosene.” And on and on. That sort of cheesy argument, at the end of a long day, can wipe out a lot of good progress made. So when we see we’re going to that place of “Snippyland”, we try now to stop, back up, say in advance “I’m really tired now, and not in a good frame of mind to get into this, but yes I know it needs to be done and I want to take care of it. Can we do this later?” That has “saved the day” more than once lately. So, we continue to live and learn. And I think very soon I’m going to have the most awesome 1983 Ford Ranger anywhere on the road. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

I sat down and looked at:

four walls
minimum payments on CCs

without unemployment coming in (should they decide to jerk us around) we will be out of money in 3 months, or by the end of May. That really sucks, as I was hoping in a worse case scenario, that we would be able to make it through the end of June.

This week since I am feeling much better post-pneumonia, I am going to contact all my CCs and find out if any of them have that job loss insurance stuff on them. There would only be 2 of them I think…maybe the car payment.

I’m going to stop by a doctor’s office tomorrow whose business is mostly Medi-Cal patients and find out how to get on that. I really wanted to have private insurance, but $500 a month is more than I can afford. Cell phones go off end of this week.

The good news? Roof over our head, food on the table, DS now qualifies for “free lunch” at school, so that’s a blessing, and things are not DIRE.

I too blew the budget yesterday

I went to Target, my big weakness. This was the store that got me into the most trouble (credit card debt wise) when we were in debt. I would say I used to go to Target a couple of times a month and blow 100-200 dollars a pop without any real budget line for any of it. I’ve since learned to put in generic line items for Household, Personal Supplies, and Clothing for things at stores like CVS, Rite Aid and Target. But this still was a BIG trip.
I spent $289! Aaaah, and that was without the Icee!
We got clothes for the girls and mom. Bathing suits and lots of socks. I came out of the store with three bags. Wow, a hundred bucks a bag. Crazy! Luckily, I do have line items for some of this, but other things I’ll have to zero out the clothing and personal supplies lines for March as well to try and get things to balance out.

Trying to eat healthier at home and spent $98 at the grocery store. That’s just for 3 days! Yikes. I may have to get creative at home for the other days. Luckily we have plenty of household supplies to get us through the week, so I won’t be running to the store for toilet paper.

My oldest DD (12) just went off to Catalina for three days with her school. I’m excited for her. She loves camping and adventures of any kind. I’ve never been to Catalina, so it will be fun to hear all about her experiences when she gets back. I’ve decided to add a $10 weekly line item to our budget for her. I’m not telling her, but it seems that I was getting nickeled and dime with miscellaneous things she needed. It’s kind of blow money, but also just keeps my budget balanced and give me a little wiggle room. I just sent her off to Catalina with $20 and it came out of the DD blow money budget. Happy Mom!

I’ve realized over the years in budgeting that I’m much happier spending money on the kids or when my DH buys something when I’ve planned for it. For example: it seems that every couple of months there is a fundraiser for soccer. If I put $25 a week in the budget and just carry it over, then when something soccer related comes up, I’m not bitter about it. I just “have” the money.

I totally blew our budget this week

Our waterline that someone else dug doubled in price. We also added a treehouse to the swing set plan. It wasn’t that big of a deal since we are debt free. I got out my copy of TMMO and read the success stories to get back on track. I mannged to make cuts other places to get us back on track. It had been so long since we spent money it was easy to get off track. Normally I say house or whatever I want to buy. That stopped the urge to shop cold. Now there is no mortgage. I now see I need to be more diligent. I still have retirement and college to finish saving for. I did manage to drain, clean and patch our pool myself yesterday. That saved a bunch. Our filter broke at end of summer making a swamp to make Shriek proud. LOL
So there is my week. I flopped but I am back on the wagon!

Thanks for the well wishes

I hope to build efficiency quickly though! LOL I have another show this Saturday and one the next. I also registered for a show on May 18, a rerun of the one I just did. I hope to build repeat customers … one family only needs so many coasters but they are excellent, inexpensive gifts for all occasions. With my stash of stamps and stencils the design possibilities are literally endless, especially considering I have over a dozen colors of ink pads to use.

Oh I did go purchase some stamps and stencils that will go with others I have so I can create sets …. coasters and trivets that match or coordinate.

dh came home with a “wagon”, for lack of a better word, that I can load up with boxes of coasters and trivets. It makes for easier transport to/from the car and booth. He is on the patio assembling it right now. I never knew a 50 something lady could get so excited about stamps, stencils and a wagon! LOL

Well, I am off to clean up the studio so I can try to design one or two coasters or trivets this evening.

I have reported earlier how I have started a new small business making custom coasters

Yesterday I went to my first craft show as a vendor. I wanted to report on my success. I sold 11 sets of coasters and 1 trivet (only had 1 trivet at the show). A couple of people signed up to get emails from me on upcoming events and specials. Quite a few people took business cards and my hand out for my next 2 craft fairs. Several people commented on how they were definitely calling me for gifts for upcoming occasions. When taking in to account the vendor fee, I did see a profit. However there were other costs that I didn’t cover yet but will with the next 2 shows …. vinyl banner with my name, 2 six foot tables, tablecloths, etc. Actually part of those were covered with what I made but not completely.

I thought I did pretty good considering I just started my business in mid-December and no website or formal advertising. I had read a lot online about how to have a successful booth at a craft show. I will continue to learn by asking questions of vendors, reading some online, and tweaking what I have read/learned to fit my booth.

The weather did not help but was not a total loss. It was chilly and overcast all day. Once or twice we heard thunder and expected a downpour, however, it only sprinkled briefly. I ended up having a booth under the patio area at the store we were located at … an antique store/café. I was afraid the others under the patio, nor I, would not have much business on the patio compared to the ones out front. However, there is parking for the store and café by the patio and the customers entering/leaving through there had to pass right by my booth.

I did not have to set up my tent since we were under the patio. Dh came to help unload. Yeah for dh! It didn’t take all that long to set up. There was sort of a vignette that was already set up on the patio in the corner where I was … already there for the café. I left it like it was because it added a little interest, was not in my way, and didn’t want to have to move it back when done!

I have 2 shows on the books for March 2 and March 9. I hope to see some people from the first show and that this time they will purchase. I think sometimes it helps builds credibility when customers see you at more than one show. What do you crafters think about this?

Me too!

Ironically, Trent is addressing buying dividend stocks in today’s post! There is a Vanguard high yield dividend fund that I am determined to purchase within the next couple of months. I just need to become die hard and figure out how to scrape together the extra money to do this along with all the other stuff we’re already covering. Early Retirement Extreme is another blog I’m just starting to follow. The thing about these guys (the Early Retirement Extreme guy and Mr. Money Mustache) is that they might still use the credit card thing (and pay it off every month so anti Dave in this regard), but they look at how toxic debt is, and how important it is to have no debt, mortgage included (although this is the one permissible debt to Mr. Money Mustache even though he doesn’t have a mortgage). The feeling is to have no debt, stream your lifestyle to what’s really important, invest, buy real estate and rentals (Mr. Money Mustache), and live a good life. I don’t agree with everything I’m reading (the Early Retirement Extreme guy has his money separate from his wife’s), but there are little gems I’m picking up from these guys. These guys live on very little, and have great lives. Trent definitely falls in that category too. Sometimes I pick up something from the Dollar Stretcher, but a lot of it is info I already know. Nothing that’s super exciting to me. I want excitement! Heck, I need excitement to help me get that extra money I need to buy that new mutual fund!

What great blogs can you recommend to me?

I’m not talking about Money Saving Mom. I’m not looking to read blogs which are telling me to spend money in order to save money. I subscribe to a lot of those but find I just erase them and don’t even look at them anymore. I know how to coupon and I’m stockpiled. I’m overly stockpiled. I’ve got that concept nailed. Enough is enough at this point for me. What I want is to read are blogs that will get me fired up and have me looking at my life in a different manner. I was recently reading Get Rich Slowly and I read about Mr. Money Mustache. I’m loving this guy. His language is a bit salty, but he’s caught my attention.
You can scroll through the site and read all his blogs from the beginning. I’m just going through them now. Apparently there is this whole mustachian movement and I didn’t even know about them, but I want to learn more.

I’m socking away money to purchase a high yield dividend mutual fund so reading Dividend Mantra is interesting to me. I’m still a novice at all this, but if something is easy to read and if I can find the time, I want to learn all I can.

J.D. Roth has a new blog, but I’m not really into it. It seems like he’s going in a different direction since he got divorced and has a new girlfriend and money in his pocket now, but I used to love what he wrote. I really enjoyed his early material. Any suggestions for blogs like J.D. used to write?

So, I’m looking to get a new fire burning in my belly. I want to get excited about new ideas, and tweek some of the old ones I’ve become rather complacent about. I want to get excited about saving and saving some more, and saving even more! I don’t want to learn where the new deals are. I don’t want to spend any more money! I want to keep funneling it in the areas that are most important to my husband and to me, but I really do need some new reading material that will poke me in the sides and grab my attention. Any suggestions? I would really appreciate some help, and I bet some others here I would love this info as well.

I love it when we get these generic robot calls that say something to the effect of..

we are calling about your credit card. There is not a problem but we want to speak to you. ….
If you hang on a live person comes on. If not, they give you a phone number to call.
Once I did hang on and when the person came on the line, I asked “Which credit card are you calling about? We have not credit cards.”
“Oh, sorry mam. I’ll take you out of the system.” click.
We have no personal cc’s and have not since fall of 2015 but we still get these calls 4-5 times a year and DetroitHarmonie best service for bad credit payday loans. Now that we have caller id, we usually don’t answer numbers that are “out of area”, blocked or that we don’t recognize. But sometimes we get messages on voicemail. Fortunately they have not found our cell numbers.
To be up front, dh did a cc for our business. He uses it for certain purchases but it is paid for before the statement is ever mailed.

That is funny!

After we paid off everything old debts I forgot about would call. We’d pay them. Now when a bill collector call it’s because they got the wrong number. LOL I enjoy telling them so. A sample conversation . Them: This is an attempt to collect a debt Me: not my debt I have no debt . Sorry buddy your wrong.Them: well let me check our computer. What’s your name ? phone number? and etc . Me : go ahead we don’t finance ANYTHING ! Them: Oh your right your not in our system. Sound of shocked disbelief We will take you off our list. Me : hahaha !! See now aren’t I mean?

You really have to LOVE the MS way of life

I just got a phone call (and made the mistake of answering my cellphone for a number I didn’t recognize) from a bill collector (basically, a re-buyer of a rebuyer of a rebuyer of a debt) incurred SEVEN years ago.

They wanted to offer a “settlement” of $400. He was very nice, very polite. So was I. I’m like, husband got let go, we have no income, there’s nothing we can do right now. He’s like, Ok.

But it’s funny—I so rarely get those phone calls, and it’s amazing how much the old panic cylinders start firing up, even though you (a) know you can’t do anything about it (b) it’s not your 4 walls (c) it’s 7 years ago, so really?? how long ago do you write it off as gone.


at least you’ve got things rolling, and you do have work starting tomorrow, so that’s all positive! I hope things work out with the university position as well. At least it’s getting your foot back in the door, right?

It figures…

So of course, *today* I get a message from an HR person at the German company I interviewed with a few weeks back. She was wondering if I was still interested in the position, and if I had already found work.
I responded that I start a 6-week contract tomorrow, but would be interested after that if they still needed me. I’ll still fill out the application they sent, but I worry that it won’t be available when the contract is over. It would have been nice if she had contacted me even as late as Thursday…
The phone interview today was for a part time(20 hr/week) position at the University. They should be making a decision by next week.


My first thought was that you’d grabbed baking soda vs. powder but yeah, that would explain the problem! So glad your keeping a smile and laugh through all these issues….we’re having the exact same thing happen!

Still trying to engage my brain

I don’t understand what is going on with dh and I lately, we both seem to be shall we say “befuddled” on and off. This weekend dh went to the garage to get the saw horses and could not find them. He was there for over 30 minutes when the walk-thru door slowly swung shut to reveal the two sawhorses. I told him it was his Dad’s spirit helping him out because he knew this last week was very trying. He said he thought he felt him. Either way they were exactly where they are suppose to be stored and dh could not remember where that was for the life of him.
Today is dh’s 65 birthday and as a surprise I decided to make him a coconut cream pie from scratch for dessert. We’ve been doing without desserts since the first of the year trying to trim down our poundage a bit. So I thought for the big 65 it would be great to give him his favorite pie for his birthday along with a pot roast and homemade bread.
I got the roast and bread going and the pie crust made and cooled. So I decided I’d go ahead and make the pie this afternoon so that it would be well cooled by dinner. I carefully measured the cornstarch and sugar into the sauce pan and mixed them together well and then started pouring in the three cups of milk slowly as I stirred. I stopped pouring the milk when I realized the mixture in the pan was foaming up as it heated up. “What the?” I thought.
I removed the pan from the heat and carefully tasted the foamy mixture with a clean spoon. Then called myself stupid. I turned to verify what I thought and found I was correct. I buy my baking ingredients in the large size at Sam’s club because I do cook most of our meals from scratch. I looked over at the cornstarch container and realized it had a blue lid, not a silver one. I had grabbed the baking powder out of the pantry instead of the cornstarch!!!!

So that wasted 2/3’s cup sugar, tablespoons of baking powder and ¾ milk. Better than ruining the whole pie I guess. I need a sign to wear around my neck that says “please engage brain before proceeding.”

Oh dinner is at 5:30pm and I’ll be the only one here for it. Guess who just called to say he and ds got put back on overtime for his birthday. LOL! Oh well it will all hold very well until the guys get home. I told him Happy birthday and that the tax man would be pleased that he’ll get paid.

It’s dangerous for me to be trapped inside when it’s cold

Just like most of the nation I’ve been trapped inside, other than the chores around the farm, and too bored with any of the facebook games to play them. So I decided to be productive and work on one of my blogs, any blog, I didn’t care. Well if you click on the link below you’ll see what the result was. Let’s just say that it turned out to be closer to twelve posts that include everything from making your on insect traps to creating starter for Amish Friendship Bread and cleaning the refrigerators to store Artisan Bread doughes in. So if you are bored like I was there is plenty of reading on all six of my blogs.