Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Oops

So I went the grocery store after work yesterday. My intention was to buy just soup (for lunch) and milk (for my boy). But I had a list and some other things were on sale as well. I bought bottled water, on sale for $3.24, I had coupons for the soup (saved $2.10), bratwurst was on sale (2/$6) I bought a few other things on sale also. So I check out and forgot to use my bonus/loyalty card. I didn't realize until I got home. It was late and I had a major headache and could not go all the way back to the store, even though they're only about 20 minutes away. I was so upset with myself and the cashier for not asking me for it. I immediately thought, I'll call the store and ask for my savings back. As I'm dialing the number, I'm thinking this is crazy, there is no way they'll let me have my money back. And there on the bottom of the receipt are the savings I could have to gotten if I had used my card. Guess how much . . . $9.53. So I call the store and sure enough I can come back and get my money. Usually, I am the first to enter my phone number or pull out my card, but not last night. It's no wonder the bill was so high. My head was throbbing at that point and I just wanted to go home. I'm still mad that I paid full price for the water, it was $6.27!!??!! I'll be getting my money back tonight, thank you very much.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

How much is that really costing you?

One thing that can have a big impact on finances are the little things that we buy everyday. Author David Bach calls it the 'latte factor'. Usually done during the week when we are on our way to work, at work already. It's the $7.00 coffee or the $1.00 bag of candy every afternoon or the 3/$1.00 cookies you see where this is going. Well, you may not think you have one, but I think we all do. For me it was a bagel every morning. I was able to justify this purchase because it was cheaper to buy a bagel from the firm cafe than from across the street. But the thing about a little thing, it multiplies.

Take for example a $1 bagel every morning. That comes to $20 per month. Or worse that $7 cup of coffee every day before work: $140 per month. OMG!!! What could you do with an extra $140.

What is my latte factor? I think it's the multiple trips to the grocery store during the week. Every time I go I am paying in gas, tax and time. If I just make one trip at the beginning of the month it would save me time and money. Another money waster is taking my son to get fast food every Friday, that is just a waste. He doesn't need to be eating that junk any way. But in the back of my mind, I sometimes think it's just $5.00, but it really can add up after a while.

Happy moments:
I won a free trip to Mexico for next summer, my son is doing very well at school, I got a good nights sleep (can never be too many of those), a free haircut, no bills in the mail, recieved payment for my ebay sale.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I was busy with some other things last week and neglected to post anything new. My eBay items ended. I sold one item. Yeah, I know, but I am trying to remain positive and look at the bright side. I felt a little discouraged, so I posted two other things on Craigslist to see how they do. I also began researching some other ways of making or saving money online.

One way of making money is to be an e-juror or online juror. It's just like being a member of a jury in a courtroom, but you're at home instead. These are mock trials that lawyers use to make an evaluation of their cases. It helps them get ready for trial. Depending on the case you can make anywhere from $10 - $60 per case. Sign up with more than just one website, because it could be a while before you are contacted. Here are some to get started with:

jury test
online verdict
zap jury
trial juries
trial practices

I will list some other money making/saving tips in the next few days. I read the book
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It's the story of how the author sold everything and traveled to three places and her experiences. At the end of the book she says we should keep a journal and write down three things every day: 1) your happy moments; 2) what you really, really, really want; and 3) your mantra. I try to do all three everyday and sometimes it's hard to find the happy moments, but you will find them. I will list my number one here every day just to remind myself and all of you even in the midst of it all there are happy moments to share and look back upon and remember.

My Happy Moments:
I sold 1 item on eBay, I woke up to a beautiful morning, I have a job I love to come to everyday, my son gave me hugs and kisses and said he loves me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Was that really necessary?

My office has a cafeteria. I can get breakfast, lunch and even dinner (after 5:30pm). Sounds great right? And here's the best part, I can charge my food order to my personal account. Say what, you might be asking. Yeah, I can charge it and have the money taken right out of my paycheck. That has to be the worst thing ever. Here we are struggling to save money, pinch pennies, and scrimp. I am sure the company thinks it's a great idea. I'm sure the think they're doing us all a big favor. Well, I say keep that favor. I have done it, but when I get my list of charges it just feels wrong. It's worse than getting taxed twice. Because you did this to yourself. Not Uncle Sam, not "The Man", but you. You chose to visit the cafeteria and charge your food order.

That's just how credit cards feel to me. When I get a statement and see what I charged. I am sometimes in a state of shock, I charged what??!!!??? It really makes me look at my spending habits. So instead of ignoring the bills when they come, I force myself to look at them and realize I really didn't "need" half the stuff I charged. The higher prices are forcing us to make choices.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Have a frugal weekend . . .

It's the weekend, we shall all rejoice. And a three day weekend, let's all do the happy dance. I can wait. . .

But for those who don't have a lot of disposable income, (like me) the weekend doesn't have to be boring. What can I do for free? Well, go to the park with my son. I could also exercise outside. Go for a run or walk or bike ride. Watch some movies at home with popcorn. Clean the house all day, every nook and cranny and air out your house also. It tends to get stuffy after a while.

This is a long weekend so let me tell you what I'll be doing. I am baking a pound cake and some banana bread. I wish I could sell my baked goods and make more money. I haven't figured out how to do that yet. But I digress, I am also having dinner with family. I have to take my truck in for service; a much needed task. So there goes my Saturday. Sunday, I am cleaning the house and watching some movies on DVD. Monday, I may visit family again, it doesn't cost a thing to spend quality time with loved ones.

And last but not least I have searched the house and put some things on eBay. We'll see how that goes.

Money saving tip:
Use coupons when shopping. And don't be afraid to use the store brand.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Planning my work and working my plan

Since I am a single mother, I have to be home with my son every evening. Working a part-time job is out of the question. Working weekends is out of the question because, that's when I spend quality time with my son. After school there is dinner, homework, bath and bed (in that order). We have little time to do anything fun.

As I stated before I need to find ways to increase my income. The first thing I want to do is sell some things on eBay and craigslist. I have some clothes that no longer fit, shoes and purses I no longer use and even some jewelery that could fetch a pretty penny. I may have one or two televisions that could go also. I've heard of people that make a living selling things on eBay. But that's not what I am trying to do. I just want to unload some of my own unwanted things while making a tidy profit. One woman's trash is another woman's treasure and there's nothing wrong with that. I just need to pull everything out of their hiding places, photo, and get them up for sale.

Money saving tip:
Write down everything you buy for a week, even a pack of gum. Then you will see where your money goes and where you can cut back or cut out all together.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why is it every time I use a credit card I feel like I'm the one being used?

I am a Single Mother in Debt. I have 3 credit cards and every time I pay them down, I end up using them for something. Even though I say, I'll pay it off in 2-3 months it never happens and I end up carring a balance from month to month. I swear every time it gets swiped, I can hear a crowd of people getting happy. Like the credit card people are excited I'm using it. Last year I chopped one up only to get "checks" in the mail. Oh yeah, that's the newest thing. They send you checks when they notice you haven't been using your card. It's like they know that you've cut it up. I used the checks to buy the things I 'needed' only to find I ran the balance up again.
Well, it's the end of August and I am right back where I was last August. The creditors aren't calling yet, but if I don't get my butt in gear they will be soon. I cannot blame once single incident that has caused this senerio. I just fell behind due to a combination of events. The gas prices went up, the cost of summer camp went up, the cost of school uniforms went up, the cost of food went up, do you see a pattern? The only thing that didn't go up was my paycheck. So I need to find ways to increase my income. I have a few ideas in mind and I hope they work out to my advantage. We shall see . . .