Author Topic: And so it begins!!  (Read 8578 times)

nyxst

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And so it begins!!
« on: January 03, 2014, 02:44:49 PM »
Ok.. So I've done my reading.. now, I am going to join in the conversation :) Why am I writing this?  Accountability.  I have found myself in a crappy situation.  I have to raise 3 kids on my own.  I have to work full time.  I make $45,000 a year because we always invested in my ex-husband’s education instead of mine.  (I’m almost done my degree… just a few more months…) And, on top of that I have a lot of lawyers fees to pay for my divorce and continuing battle with my ex.  I have found myself on my ass and I cannot allow these changes to stop my life from being wonderful.  I need to find a way out from under this weight, so I am forcing myself to spend $0.00 of unnecessary expenses. 
So to start… No more Cable.   This is officially the beginning of our fourth month as a cable-less family (before I even found this MMM site! So glad I did, though!).  I thought for sure this would cause some heartache, but amazingly, the kids didn’t even seem to notice!  And, the moment I called them and successfully dodged all of the friendly man-on-the-phone’s “special offers” and other attempts to keep me on board, I felt a weight lift off of my shoulders!  Who knew how oppressive that $100 monthly payment was?!?!  Granted, we still have our internet connection bill (just under $50.00 per month) and our NetFlix Streaming bill ($7.99 per month), but now we have an extra $100 in our family budget!  Not only do we have that cash, since we aren’t being bombarded with corporate commercials, our other spending has miraculously cut itself down!  I have to admit, advertising works on me.  I would see that cheesy-yummy-goodness pizza commercial and all of our healthy dinner plans went right out the window! 
I’ve been taking it a little slow, as to not completely shock my system, but since I found this site, I have really gotten on the band wagon!! For Christmas we took step number two of my “adding cash adventure” (sounds much better than “tightening the budget”.. right?).  And now, the kids are FULLY involved with the plan!  Instead of buying a bunch of last minute crap to fill up stockings and make Christmas a bit more expensive… I planned ahead!  This year, each kid got a bike.  (I did too!! I haven’t had a bike in a couple of decades… and honestly, I was AFRAID to get on it… and I waited until no one was looking before jumping on.. just in case it didn’t go so well!)  Two of the bikes were new, but bought on sale with earned rewards points, and the other two were second hand, but basically brand new!  So the stocking stuffers were fun accessories!  Everyone got a simple water bottle holder, the young ones each got a fancy bike bell, the oldest got a pouch to hold her phone, and we all got issued the challenge to bike instead of drive for our local shopping trips!  Believe it or not, even in the cold New England winter, the kids WANT to ride their bikes everywhere!  I am the only one who is seemingly a bit squeamish about the idea…. haha!  We also got a second hand bike trailer for hauling the groceries.  Savings from these adventures are yet to be calculated, but we certainly will be saving electric and entertainment money by taking the time to enjoy some life out on our bikes!
The other big gift, my oldest and I switched to a primarily-WiFi phone service instead of our old EXPENSIVE Verizon Wireless plan.  Even though we had to pay cash for the phones up front, the miniscule monthly payment for unlimited everything (EVERYTHING!!) is $45.00 per month (for both phones with tax and everything already included!!!).  Since the phones counted as Christmas gifts, that completely nullified the upfront cost (smooth move, right? hehe!) and the monthly savings… $90.00 per month!  So far so good! 
The final stocking stuffer was a brand new LED light bulb for each kids room!  Again with the up front costs being nullified by the Christmas season!  Would you expect a kid to get excited about a light bulb?  Well as it turns out, my third grader has been learning a lot about green energy and conservation of resources in school!  We looked up the calculations of how much energy we were saving (they don’t care about the $$$$ that goes with it like I do…) and we added up how many old junkie bulbs we replace!  Again, the actual cash savings are yet to be determined, but I am hoping my January bill will be at least noticeably lower than my previous year comparison.  (No, I didn't punch myself in the face for each incandescent bulb i through out.. I'm not that badass yet... haha!)
Now, to the big ticket, right up front savings!  I have to pay my lawyer $5,000.  Well, the firs have of that is already on my credit card (eating away my new found money at 14.75% interest).  I have been selling items on Craigslist, Ebay and Amazon and that balance is nearly $0.00 now.. Total damage for that will be about $100 in interest payments total.  So I did some research before paying the second half of my bill.  One thing I am definitely luck to have kept through the divorce is the outstanding credit score I have worked to build over the years.  My research found me a credit card that offers… wait for it… a SIGN ON BONUS for people with great credit scores!!! That’s a $100 score! Not only that, it pays 1.5% cash back on all purchases!  AND, it has a special offer of 0% interest until 2015!!!!! So, when everything is said and done, I should have saved about $250 in interest charges, plus I will have gotten about $125 in bonuses! Can't wait to see what else I can save.. and after the lawyer is paid, I'm going to dump that onto my mortgage.. It is feasible that I will be debt free before my oldest starts college.. hmmm.... so exciting!
Sorry this is so long!

Carolina on My Mind

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2014, 03:09:25 PM »
Wow -- that is inspiring.  Thanks for posting! 

Eric

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2014, 03:33:02 PM »
How come you're not more excited about this?  j/k 

Sounds like you've made some great strides.  Congrats and welcome!

frugalecon

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2014, 03:36:58 PM »
You are an awesome Mom. Your ex should have his head examined for not doing what he needed to make things work (unless it was you who wanted to boot him out).

Daleth

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2014, 04:04:02 PM »
You are an awesome Mom. Your ex should have his head examined for not doing what he needed to make things work (unless it was you who wanted to boot him out).

Haha! I second that.

AlanStache

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2014, 04:11:26 PM »
Congratulations, you are showing your kids the right way!

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2014, 04:25:33 PM »
I am excited :) I really didn't realize how stupidly long that post was until I saw it on my phone.... Sorry everybody.... Haha! And I'm going to be much better off with the rest of my life, we all will, without the ex :) (he's a p.o.s.) Yay to freedom!

Zaga

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2014, 06:39:46 PM »
I'm so proud of you!  Just like I was of my mom who went out and changed careers at age 55 because she had to to support yourself.  As a child of a mom who divorced the non-financially savvy dad (who I also love, but for different reasons) I really get how awesome you are.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2014, 06:46:20 PM »
Nice turn around! Hope things keep going that way for ya.

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2014, 06:57:34 PM »
Loving the positive feedback, thank you! I'm glad I still feel like I'm young enough to make a huge impact in my life and in my kids perspectives .. (I'm 33)  I really want to own some investment properties someday... And I don't want to have to work for bosses anymore.... I am in this for the long haul :)

Ziggurat

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2014, 10:32:32 PM »
...“adding cash adventure” (sounds much better than “tightening the budget”.. right?)...

Love this attitude. Gets my vote for quote of the week.

scrubbyfish

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2014, 11:49:05 PM »
This all ROCKS! F

From another sole provider/sole child raiser/sole etc, here's to an awesome turnaround for you! You're doing amazingly! Love the creativity!

Scooter H

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2014, 12:00:39 AM »
Way to go!! Keep kicking ass!!!

Greg

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 07:14:13 PM »
What an exciting read.  You've done and are doing so well I'm reluctant to add... but I will.  The netflix could be dropped and you could settle for hulu type things instead.  With older kids, this might not be palatable, I would understand.

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 07:44:05 PM »
I will look into hulu and see how it goes :) I know I still have a lot of work to do, but I am definitely feeling a whole lot more in control of my situation already! I have a couple of big ticket items I'm working on selling (things that I don't really want to sell... Sigh...) but its just stuff, and I can always buy it again someday!  I got Mint the other day and once I plugged everything in, I found out I actually am doing ok net worth-wise, so I only have a little digging to do and I'll be well on my way :)

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2014, 08:37:04 AM »
Update -  I can't believe how far I've come along since my initial post on January 3rd... amazing how much a change in mindset can really do :)
When I posted then, I had about $2500 in lawyers fees on my credit card, and another $2500 that I had to come up with. At that time, I was really just making ends meet and terrified of how I was going to find the money.
Now, (using all of the mustachian muscle I could muster) I have paid off that bill completely and have the second installment ready and waiting  AND I've gotten my emergency fund up to $4100 (on its way to $10,000) AND I've set up automatic withdraws from my savings account to fully fund a Roth IRA (Up to $625 already!) for this year AND my family and I didn't seem to notice any difference in our overall happiness :)
Granted, I sold most of my stuff to get here... Sold my Chevelle :( , sold a ton of books, Craigslisted a bunch of stuff... and I substantially downsized our monthly bills (no cable, no more Verizon cells, cooking every meal, not falling into buying snacks for three kids at every "event", finding other ways to bond with my dad besides taking him out for breakfast every weekend, for example, lots of sledding, walks in the park, and crock pot dinners he loves to come over for).  It was nice to get a boost when got my tax return which helped speed things up a bit... (normally would have blow that on toys for the kids and dinners out)...  but the tides have definitely changed! Now we just need this rough winter to end so we can start riding the bikes we all got for Christmas... yay!
Instead of worrying about how I am going to swing this "massive" bill for the lawyer, I find myself wondering what type of account I should send my savings to after my emergency fund is full :) A lot less stressful!!!
Thank you all for having this super active forum going to keep me focused! What a wonderful find :)

reginna

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2014, 09:05:07 AM »
...“adding cash adventure” (sounds much better than “tightening the budget”.. right?)...

Love this attitude. Gets my vote for quote of the week.


+1 on that! Might have to co-opt this phrase.

Thanks!

LeighinCT

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2014, 09:09:18 AM »
YOU ROCK!!! So excited for you. I'm going to share this with a mom of 3 who is in a similar circumstance. Very inspiring. Congrats!

AlanStache

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2014, 09:14:52 AM »
keep up the great work!!  congratulations!

Numbers Man

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2014, 09:46:07 AM »
Great job on managing your financial life. Just don't let the lawyer fees pile up and have them suck you dry without no results, i.e., enforceable court orders.

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2014, 11:06:23 AM »
@Numbers Man - Yes, I am being painfully observant of the lawyers fees.  I am lucky to have worked for this lawyer in the past, so I know how she rolls, and I know how to keep the costs down a little.  I am afraid I may have to set up a permanent budget for legal fees, but that will depend mostly on my ex and whether he chooses to grow up or not.  My hopes aren't high.  Still, I am in it to win it for now and that costs money that I begrudgingly spend. 

@LeighinCT - Thank you for that honor!!! I plan to live up to being a good model :)

@reginna & Ziggurat - Watch using "adding cash adventure" because it turns into a treasure hunt of sorts :) Leave no stone unturned!  Always look for the "X"!  stagger, stagger, crawl, crawl, roll.... (sorry... Yellowbeard reference that no one will understand, but still makes me laugh! hehe)

greenmimama

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #21 on: February 27, 2014, 12:44:36 PM »
Your story is very inspiring, thanks for sharing it and great job!!!

You are changing your family tree

FrugalAussie

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2014, 06:12:24 PM »
Quote
...AND my family and I didn't seem to notice any difference in our overall happiness :)


It's fantastic that you've made such significant savings, reduced your stress and realized that saving money doesn't have to mean depravity, and you're teaching your children this.  I wish I'd been as wise at your age.  I was a sole parent also, I didn't spend big but I did waste quite a bit.  For me, the overwhelming memory of that time is being stressed due to financial pressure.  So sad. Thankfully you've overcome that challenge.  Well done.

Exflyboy

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2014, 10:42:17 AM »
Excellent.. I am most impressed. It may seem to others that you are living a terrible life (I know thats how my family chose to view my existance).. But saving expense is actually fun!..:)

soon you'll be wondering if you really need to work anymore..:)

Keep going

Frank

nyxst

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2014, 01:22:47 PM »
@Frankh - This is the first time in my life that I believe that not working someday is possible.... outstanding!

SJS

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2014, 07:19:32 PM »
WOW!  Amazing!   So glad you are taking control of your life and determined to get on track!  YOU CAN do this!!!  Never too late!  And you know, when you start cutting things out, after awhile, you don't miss them.  We haven't had cable EVER!!!    You are going to be an amazing example for your kids! I hope when they are able you will encourage them to get part-time jobs - it will teach them so much - responsibility, dependability, money management, etc.   Good luck - keep us posted!  We are ALL rooting for you! 

Prairie Stash

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Re: And so it begins!!
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2014, 12:43:25 PM »
 

Granted, I sold most of my stuff to get here... Sold my Chevelle :( , sold a ton of books, Craigslisted a bunch of stuff... and I substantially downsized our monthly bills (no cable, no more Verizon cells, cooking every meal, not falling into buying snacks for three kids at every "event", finding other ways to bond with my dad besides taking him out for breakfast every weekend, for example, lots of sledding, walks in the park, and crock pot dinners he loves to come over for). 
I like the part you did for your father. Nothing is better than home cooking.

Great story, I look forward to updates.