Becoming Debt Free in 2009

December 31, 2008

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Filed under: Journey to Debt Freedom,Positive Thoughts — ambercouric @ 10:15 am
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I can’t believe I started this blog about 2 1/2 months ago.   My plan was to work on the layout  and visit other blogs and do a little “practice’ writing until Jan. 1st.  It’s amazing how connected you begin to feel to the people who visit and encourage you daily.  You can not imagine how much you all have motivated me.  Once I got the first comment from Jennifer at Finding Financial Peace I couldn’t wait to get started.   I have paid off more than $2,500 in debt in just the short time I’ve been on here ( I haven’t updated all of December’s total yet) and all of you have cheered me on along the way.
I love knowing that people stop to  read and are sometimes encouraged.  I enjoy reading your blogs and feel as if I know many of your children, husbands, boyfriends, bosses, co-workers and everyone else you write about.

We are all at different places on our journeys to becoming debt free but we understand each other more than the people in our real lives understand this desire we have to pay off debt and live without debt.

I just want to say a special Thank You to all of you.  When I began this blog I had little more than a small hope that I could be debt free in 2009.  Now, I know without a doubt that I’ll make.  Hey, I’ve given up Diet Coke and chips because I didn’t want to come back and tell you all I failed.  There is something great about this online world and I thank you all for allowing me to share it with you.

Goodbye, 2008 and Hello, 2009.  It’s going to be a great year and I can’t wait.

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December 30, 2008

Cash Only 2009

Filed under: Budget,Dave Ramsey — ambercouric @ 11:21 am

It is official.  Or at least official for me.  I will only use cash for the entire 2009.  That means I will use the Dave Ramsey cash envelope method for the entire year.  In the past I have only used the credit card for large purchases – there will be NO large purchases for 2009.  I use my debit card all the time which leads to overspending because I know there is plenty in the account to cover whatever I spend. 

Since the 1st is a holiday DH’s pay will be deposited today.  So as of today I am a cash only girl.  I think the hardest part of this will be paying for gas with cash.  I hate to walk into a convenience store.  But I can do it.

Now, just to be able to budget well enough so that I’m not short at the end of the month.

December 29, 2008

I’ve Never Purchased Used Items

Filed under: Shopping — ambercouric @ 2:01 pm
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Okay, I have said it.  I don’t have a reason other than I just have never bought something used.   Just about every PF blog out there recommends buying used as a great way to save money.   I’ve just never thought to buy used.  I’m pretty new at this reducing debt lifestyle so give me a little break.  I do want to explore the possibilities but the question for me is there anything I really need?  New or used.

Well, actually, I bought one used car -10 years ago a Volvo that I loved and paid cash for.  And two of our five houses were “used”.    My current house is in the “historic” district and is about 60 years old.  I plan to move once more in a few years to a new house.

Now, the point of this post is really to discuss buying used items from thrift stores, yard sales, craigslist, etc.  Even the items  I have purchased on eBay are new. 

I am not sure what items are bought used.  I know clothing can be purchased used.  I went to look in a thrift store the other day and name brand polo shirts for the boys were $3.99.  That seems like a good price but to be honest most of the shirts I buy are around $5 on clearance – same brand I found in the thrift store.  Shoes I buy on sale and I just don’t know if I could wear used shoes.  All of our coats were purchased on major clearance usually 80% off.  We only wear coats a few days a year here so there are great sales in January.  I did look at a particular new coat at the mall for $250 but I would never spend that amount on a coat.   I will have to buy Kennedy a good coat for his trip to DC but I am sure I can get a good one for less than $20.

As far as knick knacks around the house, I buy only what I really love.  I have a minimalist look – less to clean- so I don’t go shopping for things to decorate the house.

Most of my furniture was purchased new.  We  tend to buy something new once every few years.  The furniture that isn’t new was given to us.  We have a couple of antique bedroom suits that we dearly love but we didn’t pay for them.  My living room furniture I bought with the credit card this year.  I do wish I would have waited until I could have paid cash for it.  But I love it and will use it for many years.

My car was purchased new.   It is a Toyota.  I’ve had three Toyotas.  The first was in high school andmy dad bought it for me.  I drove it for 8 years.  My second Toyota I bought after my first child was born and we had that car for 10 years.   We had the Volvo at the same time we had the 2nd Toyota.  Now, I have another Toyota that is two years old.  Truth is I like having a new car.  I know financially it doesn’t make sense but because we keep the cars so long I think it is not such a bad thing.  Granted my next car will probably be a used car that is not more than two years old.  But I can guarantee that I won’t buy a new one.

Books would be fine to purchase used but I tend to just borrow from the libary.

Maybe it is because I don’t tendto shop a lot, but I have never really considered buying used as an option.  Another reason maybe because with our group of friends once we are finished with something we just tend to pass it on.    Our friends do the same.  Also, we have a couple of neighbors that we share with.  I don’t own a ladder but my neighbor owns 5 so we just borrow one when we need one.  About twice a year.  We have a GPS system and my neighbor doesn’t.  When they go on a trip they just borrow ours.

Also, my kids are too old for toys so I have no need for buying used toys now.  Maybe when they were younger I should have looked into used toys.  But for now their wants are more electronic in nature and we purchase those items new.

For 2009, I would like to evaluate purchases to see if buying used is a feasible option.  The only thing I can think of right now that we have plans to purchase is a fence for the dogs.  Can you purchase a used fence?  

 Do you purchase used?  What items do you purchase?  What type of savings do you see 20%, 50% or more? 

 I would love to know what I should look for.

December 28, 2008

Vet Bills

Filed under: Pets — ambercouric @ 10:15 pm
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I was just talking to my sister about our vet bills.  She just got a pure bred dog that is about a week younger than our new animal shelter adopted puppy.  I was surprised by the difference in the vet bills.  I was told by a friend that my vet is expensive and I should try this office on the other side of town.  First, let me say that we have had the same vet for 8 years.  Our older dog is a rescue dog that was hit by a car and left on the side of the road for dead.  My neighbor (who happened to be a surgeon) picked her up and took her to this particular vet.  She has a metal pin in her hip and because of this runs sideways.  Back to the point, we stayed with this particular vet because we honestly believe he is the best in town.

My sister said that her dog’s visit for checkup and shots is a third of what I paid for the first visit.  Our second visit was even more because of the skin rash.

I don’t mind paying for a quality doctor – I do the same for my family members – but I was a little surprised by the difference from one office to another.  The vet that we use is on the “rich” side of town and the other is on a “poorer” side of town.

I think it would be hard for me to change vets.  Just like a doctor for my kids I need to completely trust him.

Have you noticed big differences in vet fees within the same area?  Would you change vets based on the cost?

December 27, 2008

Blog Info and a Question

Filed under: Uncategorized — ambercouric @ 7:30 pm

I am thinking about changing the format of my blog.  I think I need  a design that uses a bigger font.  If I try one out that you HATE please let me know.  If I try one that you LOVE let me know that too.  I want  a design that is easy to read and functional at the same time.

I am also thinking I may start adding pictures if I have something that is relevant to the post of the day.  Do you like pictures on a blog?

Also,  just wanted to mention that I have updated my blogroll.  I have added quite a few so if you have a few minutes click on a couple of  links.  You may find a new blog that you really like.

A 14 year old’s shopping strategy

Filed under: Budget,Dave Ramsey,Kids,Shopping — ambercouric @ 11:27 am
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I had to run out to the mall yesterday and pick up some shoes for Ashby.  They were part of his Christmas but we knew they would be on sale after Christmas so we waited to go buy them.  Kennedy wanted to go with me to the mall so he could stop by Chic-Fil-A.  While in the mall, I asked if there was anything else he wanted to shop for.  He said that he only had $5 with him.  I was a little surprised because he received a large sum of money for Christmas.  He said he had $3 for the sandwich and $2 buffer in case he decided he wanted a candy bar.  He said there was nothing else he needed or wanted.

As I added the last 20+ debits made in the account since Monday to the check register, I realized if I went to a cash only method how much easier it would be.  Having a debit card and knowing the money is in the bank makes it so easy to spend more than anticipated. 

Dave Ramsey may have a point with the cash only philosophy. 

Are any of you on a cash only basis?  No debit or credit cards.

December 26, 2008

A Great Relaxing Holiday

Filed under: Random — ambercouric @ 4:52 pm

Hope everyone had a great holiday.  We had a nice quite couple of days.  My husband has said at least three times that this was the best Christmas.  This was by far the simplest Christmas we have ever spent.  We all did volunteer work, Ashby served a holiday meal at the homeless shelter.  Kennedy participated in the soup kitchen’s Christmas party for the children.  He was able to see the excitement of the children receiving the hats, mittens and socks he collected for the Giving Tree.  We also had the opportunity to help a local family with food.

DH’s parents came over on Christmas Day and his mother had cooked all of the children’s favorite foods.  Which means we had double food.  We will be eating leftovers for days.  My FIL has been sick and they weren’t sure they were up for a lot of company.  So they came by here for a few minutes.

The only downside to the holiday was our new puppy developed a rash and had to go to the vet this morning.  She was given some medicine and should be fine in a few days. 

I am going to spend the next few hours catching up on reading all the PF blogs.  Hopefully, by next week, I’ll have several great new blogs added to my blogroll.

December 23, 2008

$10 Well Spent

Filed under: Budget,Journey to Debt Freedom,Shopping — ambercouric @ 3:22 pm
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My neighbor called and wanted me to go with her to Target.    I didn’t need to go but decided to ride  with her anyway.   The store wasn’t packed like I expected so we took our time and looked around.   

The only thing I bought was a $10 Mrs. Claus outfit for my new puppy.  Truth is this was such a waste of money.  First off, I don’t put clothes on my animals.  They are fine for others but it is just something I don’t normally do.  Secondly, I thought the outfit was on sale 30% off so it would have been $7 – it wasn’t on sale just on the wrong rack.  So, I wasted $10 on a dog dress.

As in the title of this post, where is the $10 well spent?  I’ll tell you.  Since getting home with this stupid purchase I have gone over the entire thought process behind what I purchased.  I know it was a waste because my dog will probably wear this a total of 10 minutes.  But, the lessons it taught me are much greater.

  1. I need to watch the register more closely and if a price is different than I expect I should question it.
  2. I need to buy only what I went to the store to buy in the first place.  If I don’t need anything I should leave my debit card at home.
  3. Every purchase should be questioned no matter how small.

Thankfully, this lesson only cost $10.  I could have purchased a $100 useless item.

So in the end I don’t feel bad about this because I feel like the lessons learned will change the way I spend money for years to come.

December 22, 2008

I had a dream

Filed under: Goals,Journey to Debt Freedom — ambercouric @ 9:15 am
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I had a dream last night that I was had finally paid off all the bills and was debt free.  I would think I would have been happy but all I remember in the dream was asking my husband “what am I supposed to do now”.

I don’t think I have ever really planned long term goals.  Every goal has always been centered around this or next year.  Never 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years down the road.  One reason for this is my mother passed away when I was younger so my philosophy has always been there is no guarantee for 10 years down the road.

This year while paying off debt I’m going to spend some time to think about what my long term goals are.

Do you have long term goals?  What are some of them?

December 21, 2008

Reading?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ambercouric @ 9:39 am

 I’m not sure how but I have lost quite a few of  the links that I had saved in my favorites folder.  I usually like to read a blog for a couple of weeks before I add it to my blogroll.   Well, with the touch of a button all of those blogs disappeared.  I have been able to find some of them but not all.  So, if you have a blog to recommend please do.  Also, if you would like to be added please leave me a message.

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