Feb 28, 2012

Sallie Mae has been given notice

When listening to the Dave Ramsey show, he always asks people what the last debt they paid was when they scream, "I'M DEBT FREE!" The answer tends to be "my student loans". His reply is then, "Oh, yeah. Kick that old lady to the curb!" Well, because we have 3 student loans, Dan and I have broken it down into 3 different steps of getting Sallie Mae out of our house: Giving her notice of eviction, Getting her bags packed, and Kicking her to the curb. We have finally given her notice of eviction! The other day we finished paying off the smallest student loan. In fact, they actually owe us $.39 back because their "estimate" was off. Kinda of ironic that a loan company would owe US money back :-P

The best part about this is we've even been able to pay for things with cash that we normally wouldn't have. We had a car issue come up that was a couple hundred dollars. We both had some dental bills come up that was right around $1000. Our middle child also needed to go into the ER when she knocked her teeth loose, so we had to pay for some of that as well. It's just nice to finally be in a position where we don't have to worry too much about the little things that happen. I can't wait to be ready for if the BIG things happen (not until we are much more steady, I'm sure).

We are so thrilled that we are a step closer to our financial goals. We are going to do whatever we can to try and make this next step go by quickly. The amount is pretty high, so I think we are going to break it down into smaller goals to get to the big goal. We might even have a small celebration like going out for a REALLY nice dinner somewhere, but who knows.

Since February 2011, we have paid off $17,586.87 and have $35,981.65. Finally below the 40k mark. Woo-hoo!

Feb 6, 2012

PIF 02/04/12 and a shopping trip

I have been knuckling down, trying to get our house organized. We have had SO many extra bags of non-perishable groceries sitting around because I had not cleaned out expired medicine, put like items together, kept kids stuff in their own area, etc. So, I made it a point to go ahead and start with putting everything together that belonged together. Then, I slowly found a home for it. In the process of organizing my stockpile, I sent out a message to my family and told them to let me know if they needed anything. I managed to pass on:

-Toilet paper
-Agave (sweetener)
-Body wash
-Laundry detergent
-Liquid dish soap
-Shaving items
-Feminine products

All in all, I think the shelf cost was somewhere around $100, probably a little bit more. It's exciting to be able to pass on so many blessings to those around me. I have been trying to slow down a little bit on buying things that I might no make it through any time soon. Also, I've been trying to focus more on trying to buy food, instead of toiletries (which are ALWAYS on sale/free). It's nice to be to a point where I can have my "rock bottom price" and not buy more of something until it get there or lower. If any of you are starting out with couponing, I would encourage you to keep up and get a little at a time. It might take a little while to get to that point, but the persistence is worth it.

As far as shopping goes, I went to Safeway and Walmart today and managed to get a pretty good deal! I actually got $1.00 put back into my pocket after shopping at Walmart today. That was the first time I've done that! This week was also a great trip to Safeway because they had their $10/$75 purchase and I had a Catalina from last week for $5 off your next trip. Gotta love "free money" ;-) Here's what I got:

The shelf cost for these groceries came to $150.26 and I paid $37.23. This gave me 75% savings! Here's hoping for some other good deals on food in the next few weeks :-)
Look at all the great stuff I got! There is a common misconception that you cannot eat healthy if you coupon. It's true that there are A LOT of coupons out there for junk, but it's not like you have to use them. I pick and choose which coupons I plan to use. I tend to keep all of them in case I need a snack to take somewhere or if I know someone else in the family will use it. Honestly, the part I miss about living in Gresham was being near all the whole food stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc.) If anyone reading this lives near those, Google that store + "coupon matchup" (i.e. "Trader Joes coupon matchup). There are plenty of people out there that can help you get good deals at those stores! Plus, many of them have their own store coupons and allow you to "stack" them with manufacturer coupons. It's great! I have found SO many good deals I would take advantage of if I still lived in the area :-P

Oct 25, 2011

PIF 10-22-11

2- 14 lb boxes cat litter ($15.98)
1 sinus nasal spray ($7.99)
1 package cough drops ($2.49)

Total shelf cost of items given: $26.46

We were also able to pass on one of our old dressers to a family member since we were given 2 from a friend.

Dan has continued getting loads of overtime, so I'm hoping we can start the next phase of our debt repayment soon. My student loan has been on deferment for the last year and is going to be kicking in come December. We are saving up some money to pay off all the accumulated interest before we start focusing on our next snowball step. Hopefully we'll get the amount saved up that we need really soon :-)

Oct 13, 2011

Blessings of furniture!

I forgot to post about the HUGE blessing my husband and I received not too long ago! We had finally gotten the last little bit of money together to pay for the Volvo loan. I'm not sure how he was feeling, but I was very nervous about clearing out the majority of our savings to pay it off (even though that's what it was dog-eared for). We had wavered back and forth for a while; "should we save up all of the amount? Should we make lots of little payments?" We finally stepped out in faith and decided to stick to our original plan. Guess what? The next day Dan had so much overtime. And the day after that. And the day after that. And it has continued today and looks like it will keep up, at least for a while! The best part is with the overtime he received, we were then able to pay off the small remainder of the loan.

During this whole time, we came to the conclusion that we needed at least one more dresser for the kids. Trying to shove 3 kids wardrobes into one tiny dresser just does not work! After we have spent our money on some cheaply made, but expensive furniture, I decided that we needed to become more purposeful about what we are buying. After scouring Craigslist for months, I got very frustrated. No one would email me back, or pickups wouldn't work out because we lived too far away. We were planning on buying them with money that could have been used to pay off our loan. We finally decided to give up and just focus on what we had (ignore the mess, basically).

After we stepped out in faith and paid off the big part of the loan and used the OT to pay off the remaining small part, one of my friends posted they had 2 FREE dressers that they wanted to get rid of. I quickly emailed her and she said they were ours if we could pick them up! The nice thing is they are solid wood and can be distressed to go along with the design style I like!

After we picked up the dresser, Dan's mom asked us if we were looking for a queen frame. I think she was asking in jest, but we jumped on that as well. Again, it's a solid piece, so I can distress it as well! AND, right before we headed back home, my sister-in-law told me they were done using our old crib and that we could have it back. Let me tell you, this was probably the BIGGEST blessing we could have got. Dan and I were both to the point of wanting to get Ms. S out of our room and into her own. I also needed a huge kick in the butt to get that room organized (it has been our catch-all room since we moved here in March).

We are so thankful for what God has graciously given us! (especially since it was free). Our house is slowly coming together and having to sort all the items I have collected through my endeavors of crafting had made me realize how much STUFF we have accumulated. We are trying to focus on bringing this into our house that accomplish our end goal. It will take some practice, but I'm willing to work at it :-)

Oct 12, 2011

PIF 10-12-11

Oct. 13, 2011

-16 double rolls toilet paper ($8.99)
-Chloraseptic throat lozenges ($3.99)
-Hand sanitizer ($1.99)
-4 cat treats ($6.36)
-Cough drops ($1.99)

Shelf cost of items given = $23.32