Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Miss me miss me now you gotta..........

.......well, just read this I suppose.  Being that I'm way over here and you're way over there.  So, wow, what a BUSY time of year!!!  Between Halloween, little one's birthday, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas is upon us; well I just haven't found the time to talk to you one on one.  My how I've missed you though.  So, last we met I was about to embark on a CUH-RAZAY adventure called "throwing the little one's birthday part at home".  I was almost involuntarily committed, but instead I just threw a fabulous party.  I did it all for around 135 bucks.  Ain't that swell???  Breakdown of the costs:
Decorations and activities (crown and necklace making) via oriental trading:  $50
Balloons (cause it ain't a childs party without balloons!): $35
Food (I planned a late afternoon party to avoid feeding the kids an entire meal and instead we just had snacks and juice):  $20
Cupcakes:  $0!!!  They were a gift from an awesome girl.
Present:  $30
Costumes:  $0 We already had them.

All in all I'd say it was a huge success, and it saved me loads of money over having it at one of those fun-factory-don't-forget-your-excedrin-because-the-screaming-children-will-make-you-crazy-playhouse type thingies.  A couple of photos of the party-awesomeness:

So now that that's over, and Thanksgiving has come and gone.......mmmmmmm fried Turkey.........we're staring down the barrel of
                                                    C H R I S T M A S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
OMGEE OMGEE OMGEE I simply ADORE Christmas.  I love the pagentry of it, the lights, the sounds, the smells, the people, it's my most favorite time of year.  Well that and 4th of July cause I am a sucker for fireworks.  If I could combine the two and have the 4th of Christmas, or the Christmas of July, or Independancemas Day I would be the happiest girl on the freaking planet.  So what have I done to make this Christmas even more special (read: make The Husband go completely insane?) oh just invited FOURTEEN people over for Christmas Eve dinner, and then have 7 of those people spend the night.  Woo hoo!!!  So, do you know how much frige/freezer space it takes to feed 14 people?  I do.  Way more than I have.  So, I'm giving that whole "clean out the fridge" thing the ol' college try.  Like for reals this time.  Like the ol' Harvard try, or the ol' Stanford try.  I mean it!  What?  You don't think I'll follow through like every other time?  This time it'll be different.  This time I'll do it.  This time it'll work.  I swear.  I can stop buying groceries anytime I want.  I can quit anytime!  Why are you judging me?!?!?!?!  I'll prove you wrong and then you'll love me.  Or, well be proud of me?  Please?  OK, so I have three days to empty out as much as possible from this:

This will be fun!  You'll see!!!

As a side note the debt board looks like this:

Le Credit Card:  $8021.26
Le Student Loan:  $6898.04
Le Van:  $19977.50

Le Horrible Total:  $34,896.80

I know what you're thinking, we're not making much of a dent in that right now, but a couple of things deserve notice.  1.  the student loan is under $7000.  2.  the van is under $20,000.  3.  CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pantry challenge follow up

First order of business, we paid off Le "forgotten" credit card!  Yay!!!  Now onto the pantry thingie:

Well, as you can see there is still a LOT of food left.  So, I think we will just continue until there is not a lot of food left.  Besides, we never did get to that single shake and bake packet, and I feel we need to eat that to truely have a victory.  I will follow up again with this later.  The villagers are getting cranky about not having their favorites around, lets see how long I can go listening to the whining about ramen/cheetos/meat/basic nutrition/blah blah blah. 


Monday, October 8, 2012

It's about that time.

Time to eat out of the pantry/fridge/freezer!  Not for any particular reason, other than they all need to be cleaned, and I don't want to grocery shop, and I want to use up the weird stuff like that single packet of shake and bake, or that half pack of kidney beans, or that granola that nobody really likes.  I'll post before and after pictures so you can see how well we do.  I do not plan to grocery shop, unless there is something I need to use up something I already have (like chicken for the shake and bake).  The plan is UBER minimal spending, creativity, and to not buy some of that weird stuff ever again!  So, without further ado, here are the befores:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Scratch, ding, and dent booyah!!!

Frugal tip of the day:  ALWAYS and I mean always, check your grocery store's "ding and dent" section, as well as the end caps.

 Today I found these organic milks on clearance for $0.99 each, and they don't even expire for 5 more days!!!  The way we go through milk in this house, 5 days is more than enough to get through it.  This milk is normally $3.99, so that's a great savings!  Also, I found these two splenda's in the ding and dent section because the boxes are a bit smashed up.  The price on these was $1.31 each plus I had two coupons for $1 off any splenda product so I paid a whopping $0.62 for BOTH BOXES!!!  Can you say score?!?!?!  I'm so pleased with today's ding and dent success.  What's the best find you've ever gotten?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brrrr it's getting cold in here. So put on all your clothes.

I am getting so cold, I'm gonna put my clothes on!  Please tell me you remember that song "It's getting hot in heereee" by Nelly otherwise my post title is really stupid!

Fall is really upon us, and while it gets to a nice 60-65 degrees at the top of the day, at night it is brisk to say the least.  I am determined to NOT turn my heat on yet.  Electricity in Germany is very very very expensive.  We pay on average $375-$400 a month depending on the exchange rate.  We pay a set amount every month and at the end of the year we are reconciled and will pay more/be refunded based on our useage.  Obviously I'm aiming for the "be refunded" aspect of this.  So, I'm sitting here in my sweatpants, my sweatshirt, and my slippers with my heater of a dog in my lap covered in blankets.  But hey, I'm saving money!  How about you, have you turned the heater on yet?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fridge clean out Friday

I decided to move Fridge clean out Saturday from Saturday to Friday because "Fridge clean out Friday" just sounds cuter, doncha think?  So, here it is, Fridge clean out Friday:

NOTHING!!!!!!  Wahoo, nothing to be thrown out!  We did have some super bendy carrots that I was going to throw out, but decided that I could peel, slice, and water them back into crispiness so I didn't have to throw them out.  I'm SO proud of us!!! 

How'd your Fridge clean out go?

Payday. Blech.

I know I should be thankful that The Husband has a nice stable job with a good income, and that I have a nice parttime gig with great hours, but I still hate payday.  First you're rich.  Then you're not!  After paying all the bills, buying winter clothes for the little one, buying birthday party supplies and a gift for her, buying rotors for my car, and setting aside money for the Civic's oil change, we're back to nothing again.  While I'm grateful that there is plenty of money to meet every single one of our needs, and a couple of our wants (yea, so I totally bought boots today but they were 25% off and AWESOME and as they say in Winterfell:  Winter is coming!), I am frustrated that we're not just rolling in dough.  I know that's my mental thing I've got to get around, but we live in a society that expects us to spend money left and right.  What if you don't have any money to the left or the right?  Then what do you do?  Well, before we'd whip out the shiny plastic credit card and continue to spend money that was never ours to spend.  Now we've decided that we'd do something totally crazy.  You ready for this?  We're going to....................................NOT SPEND.  Holy cow, did I just say that?  It's almost taboo to say, let alone do, but that's precisely what we will do.  Or not do.  Whichever is grammatically correct.  So, if you're local to us, don't be surprised if we turn down the invitation to go out to eat, and please do accept our invitation to eat here.  It can be really fun hanging out with friends, playing games, eating homemade food, and drinking wine!  The challenge is to find free activities for the kids.  Tonight The Husband has got that covered, he will be camping out in the living room, playing games, and making smores in the fireplace.  FREE!  So, on that note, I'm off to the grocery store (with my coupons of course) to secure a reduced price good time for the next two weeks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

I've been lying to you.

And to me.  I completely "forgot" about a whole 'nother bill that needs to be paid.  I say "forgot" because I just didn't want to face the reality that we'd racked it up even a little bit, so I pretended that it wasn't being charged on and that it didn't exist.  That totally worked for me until I actually got the bill in the mail today.  $480.  Sigh.  Admitting it means accepting it, and accepting it means facing it, and facing it is the whole point right?  So, here it is in all it's expanded glory:

Total debt:
Le credit card: $8328.52
Le Student Loan: $7294.82
Le Van Payment: $21563.88
Le "Forgotten" credit card:  $470.00

Le Crappy Total: $37657.22

God that sucks, but it's something that we do all the time.  We pretend we didn't really eat those calories in that handful of m&m's, we pretend we didn't really spend that $3 on that latte, and we pretend lots of other things to make us feel better about our situation.  All that pretending is good for is digging our heads deeper into the sand, and we're not going to be free and clear until we admit what it is we're trying to be free and clear from.  So there it is.  The Husband and I are trying to be free and clear of $37,657.22 worth of debt in a minimal amount of time.  Join me won't you?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I just might have lost my everlovin' mind

The Husband and I just decided to do the unthinkable.  We have decided to have the 5 year old's next birthday party......................................... AT HOME.  This is something that I've never ever ever done.  I'm not so great with kids, I feel like I can't relate to them, so I've always done birthday parties at locations where I don't have to provide the entertainment.  Think Chuck E Cheese, or the bowling alley or something like that.  Well, in our quest to get our finances under control, we decided that it would save us a CONSIDERABLE amount of money to entertain the children ourselves.  I might end up being committed after, but atleast I'll be saving money!!  The theme is a princess tea party for about 10-15 little girls.  If you know me, you know this is the antithesis of me, but my little one will love it, and so will my pocketbook.  I know for a lot of people parties at home are the norm, but for me this is a hugely radical change, and frankly I'm pretty darn proud of it.  So, tell me, what radical change are you willing to make?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Fridge clean out Saturday!

So, today I decided that I would clean out the fridge.  Meal planning has made it so that we almost never throw away food anymore.  Here is a picture of what we're throwing away this week:

Half a container of yogurt and three slices of pizza from a week ago.  We did slack off a bit on the meal planning this week otherwise these things would have been eaten.  Every time I throw food away I think about the millions of people starving in North Korea who would do anything to have these things but can't, and I feel guilty.  I take it upon myself to be a better consumer so that if I can't fix the hunger for those in North Korea, atleast I can be sure to not be wasteful with the abundance of food available to us here.  On that note, here is a link to my favorite meal planning worksheet:

And here is a link if you are interested in helping provide food for hungry orphans in North Korea:

How does this relate to being thrifty/paying debt/getting a masters degree?  If we are mindful of all the things available to us, how much we consume, and the monetary amount of  how much we throw away, then we are more aware of missed opportunities.  The food in the picture above totals around $4.  While $4 doesn't seem like a lot, it could feed a hungry child, or lower our debt amount, or any other plethora of things.  Instead, we threw $4 in the trash which is something no one would consider doing if it was actual paper money instead of old food.  I am mindful of that and vow to do better next week. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm thankful that you're here.

Today I am feeling so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life.  The friends that just understand what The Husband and I are trying to do, and don't pressure us into spending money we don't have.  We are learning to reevaluate our ways to entertain.  More cooking at home for friends rather than going out, and I've found that when I put love into my food and cook for them, I am so happy when they are pleased with what I've prepared for them.  They also tend to be more appreciative of the food when it's been prepared by me.  They know I worked hard, they know I did it for them, and we both receive satisfaction from that.  Who knew dinner parties could be so enjoyable (especially when your guests help you do the dishes!).  Life really is about the company you keep, not the things you keep.  I'm determined to remind myself of that as much as possible.  That super cute pair of boots that I don't need will not bring me fulfillment, but the wonderful people in my life sure as heck will, and that's what matters!  Happy Thursday everyone, I'm so glad you're here with me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Things that make you go hmmmmmm

Have you ever just stopped to think about how much we consume in an effort to feel enough?  Like, we need the right clothes, we need the right cars, we need the right knick-knacks, but why?  Why do we "need" these things?  Why should I spend $20 on a bowl that's pretty, when a $5 one is just as functional?  Why do we feel it necessary to surround ourselves with beautiful things, when if you just look out the window you're already surrounded by beauty?  Corporations spend millions trying to get inside our heads to make us feel when we buy, so that when we're done buying we feel bad, so we can spend more to feel good again, lather rinse repeat.  Well, I want off that ride thankyouverymuch!  The Husband and I have taken it upon ourselves to limit our intake while simultaneously reducing the amount of "stuff" in our home.  It's so liberating.  It's like giving a big eff you to the corporations that have only their pocketbook in mind, not mine.  No more!  Reevaluating a need from a want is hard.  It's really really hard.  I don't like it, I don't like sacrifice, I'm a typical American with an unhealthy expectation of immediate gratification, but I don't want to be anymore.  So, with that being said, I'd like to refer you to one of my absolute favorite blogs at the moment.  Please enjoy!


I'm heeeeeeeere!

Allright people, I'm baaaaaaack (but not like in a creepy poltergiesty way, just in an OMG I forgot about my blog and my dedication to paying off debt kind of way).  I hate to admit it but clearly I must.  4 years later, and lots of wagons that we fell off (seriously, I bought a new van and everything), add in a move to Europe (wah hoo!!!) and we're still massively in debt.  As of right this second we are sitting at $37,187.22  .................................................................

Sorry, I passed out there for a second.  See, here's the thing, The Husband is going to retire from the military in 5 scant years.  At that time we will be moving back to home, buying land, building a house, etc etc.  Also, The Husband wants to be The Stay-At-Home dad while I become The Breadwinner.  That means not only do we have to pay off $37,187.22 worth of debt in 5 years, but I need to get my masters degree as well.  Do you know how much a masters degree costs?  Like as much as a tricked out mercedes!  Of course it is a must and completely priceless once it's done, but the price is painful in the process!  I plan to use The Husbands GI Bill to pay for it but The Teenager is going to be going to college in 18 months.  How am I suppose to pay for that too????  So, I'm completely freaking out!  Like, omg someone hand me the belgian chocolates and the cheetos puffs kind of freaking out.  I'm not sure it's entirely possible.  Especially when you add in the fact that we live in freaking EUROPE and the travel just calls to me.  It whispers to me in the night like a secret lover, wanting me to fly to different places and eat ethnic foods.  How can I say no?  It says all the right things and knows how to get me to say "yes".  It's like giving up your bachelor pad when you get married, you just don't want to.  We'll only be here for two more years and there are still a billion and five places I want to go!  Grrrr, being a responsible adult sucks almost as much as being a monkey in a zoo.  That poor monkey can't go to Rome on holiday, but I can and it's killing my budget! 

The biggest issues over here with budgeting is that I can't get the kind of deals I used to in the states.  No CVS, no walgreens, no craigslist.  We have something like it but it's not as profitable over here.  Also, I'm dealing with two currencies so that makes my budgeting extra difficult.  So, in short, I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack, I have to be.  I have too many grown-upy type things that I have to do, so here we go again!

Total debt:
Le credit card:  $8328.52
Le Student Loan:  $7294.82
Le Van Payment:  $21563.88

Le Crappy Total:  $37187.22