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Black Cloud

February 2nd, 2016 at 06:58 pm

The past year and a half have involved this black cloud of horrible events in our family. We have had a significant number of deaths including our infant daughter and a suicide in our family. We recently found out our dog has bone cancer. Very upsetting. He is only 11, but also has a tumor in his liver.

Our most recent IVF cycle appeared at first to be a boon with 20 eggs retrieved; however, none made it to the elusive blastocyst stage. This is the second cycle with such a result. We are regrouping, possibly trying naturally and hoping we would a) actually get pregnant and b) our child would fall into the 75% unaffected category. We have also scheduled consultations with two other prestigious IVF clinics. Lastly, I'm going to work to get us on the list to foster or possibly adopt.

What is worst about this scenario is really the embryology lab. The second cycle, the lab director called and stated our two embryos were at the morula stage and they expected (her words, not mine) them to reach blastocyst. Neither did.

This cycle, I received an extremely inappropriate and negative (i.e. lacking any sort of bedside manner) phone call from the laboratory nurse. Not exactly sure the call was warranted or necessary. She was unbelievably rude and incited near panic and depression in me. I'm a realist and had already been worried about the negative possibilities, but she threw me off a cliff. We meet with our reproductive endocrinologist next week. I intend to be very frank with her regarding my opinion of their embryology lab.

To face such heartache after losing our daughter is insurmountable to say the least. I feel we have this black cloud circling over our lives. I love my home life. We have a wonderful loving family. We just wanted to add another personality to the mix Frown

Thank goodness for emergency funds!

January 9th, 2016 at 05:34 am

So DS came to me the other day with his expander having broken out of his mouth. I tried calling the orthodontist yesterday, but they must not have been in the office. I am hoping it is a small fee to have this fixed but am worried I will have to replace the piece of orthodontia.

His birthday is next week. I've always given him the option of either gifts or a birthday party (as many popular party sites are extremely expensive!) He has chosen party yet again. I think it's a nice way to allow him to decide he values relationships over material items anyway.

When I am paid next Friday, I will began slamming down the balance on my chase card. It is such a relief to have paid off those nasty Springleaf loans! Never again!

It is supposed to snow this evening. I think once I return home, I will clean the house so there's a more relaxing day tomorrow. DS has a basketball tournament today.

I may have my egg retrieval this week. I'm currently on stims. After two less than stellar cycles, I am pleading with the universe that this one goes better! All good vibes are readily accepted.

Fresh Starts

January 1st, 2016 at 06:36 am

I love fresh starts, especially this illustrious time after the new year. It has been a psychological struggle, but I've come to the realization that you can have a fresh start at any month, day or time. There needs not be a milestone! That said, new year is good practice for setting goals and working towards achievement.

I was able to cash my inheritance. I paid off my two high interest nasty loans, stashed 2K in my emergency account and 2.5k set aside for the IVF procedure we need to pay out of pocket. I also have begun my 52 week challenge which I've decided to do in reverse.

I subscribed for 2 weekly sunday editions of the newspaper so I can jump back on the couponing band wagon. Now that we have a house, we have plenty of space to store my couponing treasures.

Wishing you all a bright, happy, healthy and prosperous new year!

Been busy!

December 30th, 2015 at 07:01 am

I have lurked at various points over the past two years, but in remembering how much better I stayed in track with this community, I'm coming back to focus, vent and be supported financially. A lot has happened in two years! I remarried to my long time significant other. We had a daughter who was born prematurely and passed away. I began working as a school administrator and have finally increased my salary. We purchased a house. All in all, life is GREAT! I have yet to really pound down my debt situation.

I recently received a sum of money due to a death in the family. I have decided to use it to pay off two high interest loans, save a portion and use a portion of it towards our IVF procedures (it's a loooonnnngggg story).

That being said, my emergency fund should be funded by the end of the week. I need to wait to cash the check until given word the funds are clear. Prior to starting my 2nd masters degree, I was hot and heavy into coupon savings. I want to call our local newspaper today and start up two Sunday deliveries to get back and rolling. I also think the 52 week challenge is awesome and easy! Recently saw one of the blogs suggest a monthly savings goal. Perhaps will try that too.

I really appreciate this community and am happy to always jump back in! Aside from heartache and some financial hiccups, life is good. Looking forward to nothing but positive things in 2016! Wishing you all well!

At least I know

March 6th, 2013 at 02:51 am

I had a nice, honest heart-to-heart with my financial picture for the next few months yesterday. In the teaching world, I am paid for ten months of work. My employer takes out a specific percentage (22.6% to be exact) every pay period and holds this money to pay me when school is not in session. This is known as deferred pay. Not all districts do this, but most do. My employer decided in the fall to discontinue this practice. We will be paid a large lump sum at the end of June rather than be paid out all summer.

I understood this, but reality sunk in recently when our pay schedule for the 2013-2014 school year came out. We will not be paid until September 20th! As a single mom, I will need additional funds to make sure my DS has what he needs to start school including his glasses. It is with that I decided if I do not gain an administrative position, I will have to teach summer school.

So yesterday I sat down and was completely honest with myself and my budget. I calculated the cost of living for three months, or rather the cash amount I will need in order to make do. I will have just barely enough to make do, but not enough to cover going back to school expenses. But WOW! To be able to see the exact number I will need, be very clear about my big picture, it is so freeing and wonderful! Now, when I see that impulse buy, I will have that figure in my head reminding me that I have to keep our family afloat. Perhaps it will encourage me to squirrel away the extra pennies, dollars, windfalls.

The Job Search

March 2nd, 2013 at 05:58 am

After over a decade of teaching, I am now working at the loveliest school EVER. It has been an exceptionally peaceful year and I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity. While I would love to continue teaching, I am finishing a masters program that will allow me to become an administrator and collect a higher salary. While money isn't everything, I also feel that it is time to utilize my vision and skills in an administrative capacity. Thus, the job search has begun.

I have applied for four administrative positions thus far. I hope to at least get an interview (like a needle in a haystack, I'm sure). Chicago is going through this CRAZY school closings thing, so I'm not really banking on any positions opening up in the near future. I don't want to be a principal right off the bat. I would rather dip my big toe into the water with an assistant principal position; however, I am very qualified to be a special education administrator. We will see what happens. I will keep you posted Wink

Slow, but steady

February 24th, 2013 at 05:46 am

In the past four weeks, I have not once borrowed money from any type of creditor. There have been moments of panic and temptation, but no follow through. This is good. No, this is WONDERFUL. I requested a refund of insurance money for a policy sold with one of my loans and cashed that the other day. I have $50 in an emergency fund and am plugging away at my 52 week challenge. Deep breaths and affirmations are my mantra right now. I WILL do this.

surprise check

February 9th, 2013 at 03:20 pm

Opened the mail today to find a check from the union. I was a delegate briefly at my other school. $315! How welcome that check was! Not to fill an overextended budget or anything of that nature, but to pay off a few bills earlier and save some money. Yay!

Every day is a struggle, but I do make progress. I have yet to be able to sit in on a Debtors Anonymous meeting online. I have been SO busy as of late. I have yet to have a weekend at home and it's been about two months. Plus, I'm out of the house from 6 to about 6 between trying to walk in the mornings and getting hours for my internship. I will be very happy when this program is over in May.

Life rolls along, it is good and I make progress. Still planning meals and trying to make as much as possible at home. I downloaded a meal planner iphone app that I adore. My dinners are planned for the next two weeks and this made my shopping list easy peasy. I'll post some delicious meals soon.

Things that make the budget go BOOM!

January 29th, 2013 at 03:46 am

Picked up DS from his dad's house Sunday and he had just come out of the shower. Saw a HUGE rash on his tummy with lesions. Called the doc and got him in. Turns out to be just dry skin (phew! save those sick days!), but it wreaked havoc on the budget. I had to procure, per doctor's orders:

1) Cetaphil cream
2) Unscented Dove
3) Mineral Oil
4) Hydrocortisone prescription

CVS only had one type of mineral oil which cost over $11! Cetaphil cream was expensive and I had NO coupons! I love to coupon and get the best price, so this whole thing was a thorn in my side. Luckily, CVS had a Dove ECB deal going on and I had coupons. I stocked up on unscented varietals for him. Sigh.

This is a sign that I need to be better about SAVING and trying to plan for these expenditures. He is rather healthy so this is not an often occurrence, but still. SH*T happens.

And...breathe out

January 27th, 2013 at 05:21 pm

So I took Jerrold Mundis' advice and tried as best as possible to just live and track spending during the month of January. Although it is not yet February 1st, I spent the weekend creating a spending plan that includes debt payoff projections. I also updated my debts list for a nice reality check (OY!!!) I USED to do this, but in current months I have always used my spending planner but without the projected payoffs. Thus, nothing gets paid off and I spend the extra money. That bad habit is being set aside.

My income increased slightly in January and I have adjusted my withholding as I received way too large of a refund for my comfort. I am feeling much more optimistic about my financial world.

The young man whose wedding gift bounced? He was more than gracious about the whole thing. It took awhile to get a hold of him, but I am mailing a money order tomorrow. It's so amazing because when you're in a panic, it feels like the whole world is going to implode. As always, everything is absolutely all right. Now, breathe out!

So the most embarrassing thing that could happen...happened

January 13th, 2013 at 08:15 am

Back in October, my mother found out a former neighbor for whom I babysat got married. She instructed me to get a card and give a little money. This was on Halloween. I wrote a check, gave it to his mom and that was the end of it. Lost track of that check and low and behold, it was cashed last week and bounced. They are a young couple and I feel AWFUL! I have to slink to his mom with tail between my legs and request his address. I am hoping she does not ask why, but if she does I am prepared to be honest. I am also prepared to foot the bill for any fees incurred as a result. Oh the horror!

I am trying to spend a month relaxing about my finances as Jerrold Mundis instructed, but it is so hard, especially with gift checks being bounced. Christmas and a child's immediate birthday add to the financial stress I've placed upon myself. I have been diligently tracking spending, planning meals and even walking the aisles of Aldi calculating my total as I shop. I am going to make poached salmon using a large piece I had stored in my freezer and needed a bottle of wine. WAS going to buy the $6.99 bottle as a splurge and drink a bit myself, but by totaling up my purchase as I shopped I put it back and got the $2.89 bottle instead. It's movement in a good direction.

On a better note, I have been making lots of yummy things from scratch and have not thrown away as much food as a result. Thanks again Lucky Robin! This week I made a slow cooker full of low fat, low calorie lentils. I froze half and ate the rest daily for lunch. Utilized the whole pot! I then made a slow cooker full of coconut curry chicken which we ate for two nights and I ate for another night and a lunch. We used the whole thing! Woohoo! I stuck to our meal plan, didn't eat out and also ate reasonably well for my weight loss goals.

I am trying to stay positive but I am still living in a fog of anxiety and embarrassment right now. Next Saturday I am attending a meeting for people with addictions problems (it is a general meeting. A friend who is in AA suggested I go. I will attend with him.) I want the emotional weight of my finances gone so I can focus and achieve goals.

Debt reading and other things...

January 4th, 2013 at 07:27 am

Thanks to Spondulick's Forever for being one of my favorite blogs. Upon reading your sidebar, I found How to Get out of Debt, Stay out of Debt, and Live Prosperously by Jerrold Mundis. Lovely BF gave me an itunes gift card which I used to purchase this book and have been reading for two days. While I have read Suze Orman, am acquainted with Dave Ramsey, this program seems the most realistic and feasible. I will mix it up with some SO and DR to my liking and hopefully get the ball rolling.

A win for me was receiving a catalog yesterday for the Company Store. Winter sheets on clearance with free shipping? I almost purchased, was so close to the trigger. Then I remembered how much more expensive those sheets will be from not paying off the interest on the debt I already have. I stopped myself and was successful today. That being said, I will build room in my spending plan for myself, but not enough for $100 sheets I do not need.

I have updated goals, etc. I will refine later. I am still working on my food stamp challenge for myself. It is exceptionally difficult, but it has helped me to plan meals and curb frivolous spending. I made pizza dough and a huge slow cooker full of sauce for New Year's Eve. I then used the sauce over the course of the week for pasta dishes. I used it all! I will continue to refine my planning and what not.

Last year I had a goal of accumulating Target gift cards from good sales and Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks to use towards Christmas. That plan got derailed due to my beginning a masters program to get my administrative certification (before the law changes in 2014...best do it now). I did have a nice chunk to help out with the holidays. I am going to continue that work and see if I can better that number.

Here's to a better year! I feel like I'm always jumping off the wagon, but as Mundis points out, first you must admit you have a problem. I admit it, I have a problem. Let the real work begin!

My Own Food Stamp Challenge

December 10th, 2012 at 03:01 pm

I was very inspired by Lucky Robin's food stamp challenge and after some research, decided to jump on board. I perused my freezer for meals for the week and planned my shopping list accordingly. The great part about not eating as much in terms of servings is that it will help my perpetual weight loss agenda.

Trip to Aldi:
Green beans $1.29
Bread $0.50
Refried Beans $0.79
Bananas $0.55
Taco seasoning $0.35
Pumpkin Mix $0.99
Gala apples $3.69 (bag of about 10)
Tomatoes 2pk $1.49
Lemons $1.29
Mini OJs $2.99(splurge for my bf who drinks in the morning)
32oz plain yogurt $1.99
dozen eggs $1.59
gallon milk $2.09
clementines (bag) $2.99

Total with tax $23.10

Today I purchased $15 worth of groceries from Butera to complete our lunch/dinner needs for the week: 2 packs tortillas, fresh blackberries for $0.99, frozen berries, vanilla yogurt (accidentally bought plain and realized when DS exclaimed "ewwwww" last night during snack time), mini water bottles (have repeatedly attempted the cheaper, more environmentally friendly reuseable bottle--two lost), and spanish rice).

I found pork chops in my freezer and had a can of cream of chicken soup as well as a hard apple cider in the fridge. I made slow cooker pork chops making a gravy with the hard cider and cream of chicken. They were delish! Served with leftover rice and green beans (half of the package). I had a pound of ground turkey in the freezer, shredded cheese and sour cream. I am making tacos, refried beans and spanish rice tonight. This will last for two nights. I also found a recipe for baked pumpkin banana oatmeal which I made last night for the breakfasts this week. I have a ton of oatmeal and will be exploring different recipes as part of this challenge.

Wednesday is my school Christmas party, meal paid for already, so I'm not counting that night. Thursday, I need to return to school for a meeting and am bringing DS with me. I may pack myself a small meal but splurge on a Subway $2 footlong for DS. Friday, I've chicken breasts, green beans and potatoes (probably mashed). Saturday to be determined although I do have a whole chicken and a huge piece of salmon in the freezer still.

I will plan out my meals for the following week. I am very pleased that I kept the bill as low as I did first time out! Many challenges await, but I am up for it! I have an Indian slower cooker book and once I get the correct spices, it will be very cheap to replicate those recipes for lunches, etc. Thanks Lucky Robin!

weight issues among other things

January 21st, 2009 at 09:30 am

I used to have a weightloss ticker on my profile. I've deleted it, but am still lost in the struggle to lose weight--but I'm not too serious about it. I try to eat as healthy as possible, stick to a rough calorie count (VERY rough, I might add). In the fall, I took home a mountain bike free care of my parents and bought a bike helmet. When the snow vacates the area, I will again begin biking to and from work (a work-out, money saver AND greenie all in one). I had a coupon from Costco for $10 off a weight watchers scale. When I purchased it two weeks ago I weighed 163.4. Today, I weighed 162.2. Hurrah to that!

Also, checked out online payroll system to see what I will be paid on Friday. Thus, here is what I will be doing with that money on Friday:

23-Jan-2009 expense
Firestone 200
groceries 230
Library 60
Orchard Bank 1 25
Orchard Bank 2 25
Fed SL 50
HFC 100
savings 1169
gas 40
1899