Thursday, August 5, 2010

Vacation's All I ever Wanted

We are back from vacation. I hoped to blog during vacation but we were visiting family and it was hard to get on the computer. I was online about three times in two weeks. That time was spent checking our bank account. It was a nice time. I was ready to come home midway though. At some point you realize that you are turning into your parents. Mine were real home bodies, my dad especially. I just wanted to come home. We also were low on funds which makes vacation especially stressful.
Toward the end of vacation we were paid again and I was so excited I went back to my old spending habits - just spending without really thinking about it.
Now, back home we are struggling again! I wish I could start over with no debt and at ground zero to build it all up again. I know I would be so much smarter. Perspective.
Well, I am still trying to figure out how to make extra money since I sold everything that I was wanting to get rid of this summer. Now that the school year is starting I should have some opportunities with workshops or such but maybe not. I am going back to my old job and there might not be as many opportunities for extra income there. I am trying to think outside the box with my extra income here but I am at a loss. I wish Ramit could climb into my head and straighten me out.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

So Woe is Me being a drama queen!

We got home yesterday and husband looks in bank account. He freaks out that we are not going to have enough money for our trip. We start having panic attacks and worrying.
We then sit down, go through (each of us holding a calculator to make sure we are correct) every payment and bill. Turns out we are fine. We had to change an auto bill pay for our return but other than that we are fine.
We are so used to freaking out about money. It seems like we are not used to being calm about money.
I am in a big rush now, trip starts on Saturday and I still have to clean, pack and get car cleaned.
Rush Rush Rush!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Financial Woes

Woe is me. We are in it again. I will talk more about it tomorrow. I Zumba'd my a** off and I can barely keep my eyes open.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Passing on GOOD $EN$E

I took daughter to the bank yesterday. They have a new saving program for children where they get pretend bucks for every deposit. After a certain amount of bucks they get to cash in for prizes. They get a new piggy bank and newsletters come in the mail for them. They also get a balance booklet.
I am really excited because I want to teach daughter how to balance a checkbook and how to be responsible with finances. She is three and I think it is important for her to know the value of money.
She was thrilled. The lady asked me how she could help me and daughter (who is the most brilliant child in the world, if I have not mentioned this before) steps in front of me and says "Hi, I would like to open a Kirby Kangaroo account please." The whole bank goes "aaaaaawwwwww." It was precious.
I am going to have to go soon tonight I went to sister's house and she just got the new zumba. OH BOY, did I shake it and I may have even broken it. I am exhausted!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Almost There

Vacation is a week away. This week my friends have all invited me somewhere. I am going to breakfast on Wednesday, pedicure on Thursday and I still need to ready the car and start packing.
All of these outings are great but cost money. Thankfully we have a few extra bucks from the garage sale or I would feel really guilty about going. I hope that we don't go crazy on spending this vacation. I hope that the autopay system is helpful and not hurtful.

In the hopes of finding something outside of selling all my stuff I found a website that I am trying to join to write prayers. I thought my first prayers were great and I hope that they enjoy them. I enjoy writing. I never thought of doing it for money. I think that is one of the great things that the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich is doing for me. I feel like it is pushing me to do more than I thought possible, to expand myself in ways I never thought I could. If I get the assignment, great, if not, I enjoyed the writing and will keep looking for places to do it.
Nice huh?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Money Frustrations - As USUAL

When you suck at money and don't make a ton of it - it really blows!
I know I am trying to dig us out of a financial hole that we dug ourselves in and it is only going to happen one day at a time, but it is so frustrating! I have been on a no interest program for teachers for the past year paying only towards my principle loan that I took out for my Masters program. I am behind by one payment and I was not able to keep my status and therefore am going to be cut off the program. Grrrr....I know it is my fault for being behind but whine whine whine. I will stop now.
I am running out of ideas on how to earn more money. I am not yet at $100 for July and I hope that I will get there. Maybe tomorrow I will wake up with brilliance and ideas!
I am off to bed to dream of millions!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Garage Sale-ing

Was waffling yesterday about whether or not we would have enough stuff to make a decent garage sale. Pulled out more stuff from who knows where to sell and actually had a good deal of it. I checked for tips from and got started pricing, labeling and sorting things. Our computer ran out of ink last night at about ten so husband and I were handmaking signs and consequently high on permanent marker.
Got up bright and early this a.m. and placed my signs about the neighborhood. I sold for a couple of hours then it was off to ballet to take daughter to her class. Husband manned the garage sale while we went. Daughter was so cute, she asked if I was outside "sale-ing."
We got a few people. We got a few drive-by's. Great thing was that the people who did stop all purchased something. I guess I priced things better than last year because last year I had so little sales it was sad.
So I made $44.75 today and then immediately took the left over stuff to Goodwill so it would not sit in the garage for another year.
Well, I am exhausted now and off to bed with a good book.

I am now reading I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak. He is such a great writer. I love the way he expresses things.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Complaining here, complaining there...

Funny thing happened yesterday. I was getting all the stuff that I have been putting in a box in the garage marked "garage sale" and thinking that I was just full of junk! I got all the stuff last night. I really don't have that much. I decided to go through the cupboards and everything to get stuff to sell.
We had a garage sale last year and it was such a flop. I really was trying to charge much more than the people that came wanted to pay. I am charging really low prices but that said I want to sell only things I am willing to sell for very little money. I am going to go through my Christmas stuff to see what I want to sell there too.
I had a tin out and husband laughed and said that no one would buy it. I laughed and said I have seen people buy weirder things.
Off to gather more stuff! Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shake that Money Maker!

Received another amazing email from Ramit Sethi today. Seriously, if you have not started reading at least the website you need to start. This guy is so funny and practical.
He was talking about how all the advice we hear is about cutting back and saving money but he recommends trying to earn more money. It is so true, we can only save so much. Even if we stopped all our fun activities completely there were certainly be an end as to how much we can save, but earning more - THAT is limitless!
As you know I am starting off by trying to earn an extra $100 per month. I met my goal for June and I am starting by trying to sell some surplus things from home. I know this is temporary but I will be purging unnecessary items while making cash on the side. That is helpful.
So this weekend I am holding my summer garage sale. I hope to make a few bucks. Wish me luck!
I am off to start getting these things ready!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Frikken Frakk!

I was visiting with a friend from out of town today at my house and my cell phone rings. I am pretty sure that anyone who might call me knows I am home. First it is my mom then my husband. Turns out that my phone service has been disconnected. We were late on our bill last month and had an autopayment scheduled for it. The autopay already left our account but apparently had not hit their system so they disconnected our service! I had to call and make another payment over the phone and it just got me frustrated.
I decided to sit and check the finances and for some reason what it says we have in our account is not what we have according to my records. Frustrating.
I have to sit and look at it again tomorrow to see where I am off. I have a massive headache and am going to bed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Daughter and I were talking today and she asked me when her daddy would be a grandpa. I explained that when she had babies then he would be their grandpa and I would be their grandma. She then asked who would be their uncles? I almost cried because I had to tell her no one would be. She is an only child right now and so as it stands there will be no aunts and uncles. That made me so very sad. I come from a huge family with tons of uncles and aunts. My daughter also has a lot of uncles and aunts. I don't want to leave her alone in this world.
I told husband that we have one year to get our finances in order and we are going to try for another baby. Damnit. I am not leaving my grandchildren with no aunts or uncles!
What does this have to do with a blog about money? With no money we can't support our baby. We both need to work and I can't quit my job to stay home with the baby so we have to figure it all out. One year!
I am excited at the idea of it when I think about it.
We are still monitoring our finances really closely. I think that because of this we are feeling more comfortable and relaxed. I have a few more bills to fret over before we start our vacation.
When we get back in August I need to hit the ground running because I am starting a new job and daughter starts pre-school. I get teary eyed just thinking about it.
Well, until tomorrow.

Monday, July 5, 2010


You will think I am silly but I am limited in my typing today because I broke a nail. I never can have my nails long. As a kindergarten teacher they break so easily and often that it is futile to try to grow them. In the summer I try to grow them for as long as I can. Unfortunately this little bit of vanity hurt the hell out of me today because I went to hug my husband and caught my nail on the leather cushion of the chair and bent my nail backwards. It is now bleeding in the middle of the nail and I am wearing a Batman band-aid because that is all I could find. I know that this has nothing to do with money but while I worry about money iife goes on, the big and the small so I am expressing it here.
We had a wonderful barbecue here yesterday. I sort of lost track of my finances yesterday. There is not a day that goes by that I do not know how much I have sitting in the bank nowadays. I will go back to it tomorrow. I know we have a lot of automation going on tomorrow so it will be good to wait.
I had a little post Fourth of July barbecue here today since we made so much food. I am also having my mom, neice and nephew over for hot dogs tomorrow or we will lose it all.
I am off to finish reading my book - that is my relaxation method. Lovely.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dreaming of the Lotto

I woke up this morning planning on what I was going to do with the THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND dollars I won in the lottery. I was so happy to pay off my house and bills and remodel and do the backyard. I was talking about building the wall I wanted and I was telling my family all about it. Then I woke up.
My husband had a dream we won a million dollars in the lottery last week!
I buy a ticket whenever I think about it but I am going to think about it a lot more. I have to say that I know people think it is a big waste of money but I like it. I like gambling a little. I am a miser when I go to casinos giving away only twenty or so dollars and I am fine with it because I go very rarely. I enjoy the thrill of what might happen. So two dollars a week is not that bad. I think it is fine.
What a great feeling it was to wake up this morning thinking of getting out of debt. That is the feeling I get reading I Will teach you. I feel like I am really going somewhere.
All these years just buying things on a whim and now I am looking around and selling these things for so much cheaper than I paid. I want to surround myself with only things that I really love, that are totally beautiful or have sentimental value for me.
I am hoping to get my husband on this money making bandwagon and start earning 100 extra per month. Together it will be easier. I think that we did a really good job in June and are starting out July great. Funny that it took a twenty-eight year old (Ramit) to make a thirty-five year old and forty-one year old grow up!
It is The Fourth Of July. Happy 4th everyone! I am off to ready the house for our family barbecue!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

To blog or not to blog?

I am not that brand new to blogging. I have been blogging for about six years and I am looking at it in a new way. I never thought of using a blog to make money. I did sign up for Google Adsense with my original blog but never earned a dime. Life took over and I stopped blogging except for the occasional post here or there.
I also joined a website called and started a blog there but I guess I never really considered it a blog. Weird huh? Well now I am noticing all these people blogging for profit and of course on my quest to make more money each month I am wondering: Am I a blogger?
I know it is funny that I never thought of myself in these terms but I did today and I was sort of shocked. I guess it is like me saying I don't cook but I cook almost every day, until someone says you are a good cook I don't see myself that way. Truth is I enjoy writing down my thoughts and (even though not a damned soul is reading this) I look forward to comments that may or may not appear! I think I am a pretty good writer. Grammar is one of my favorite things ever, along with spelling. I do like the chattiness of a blog though. Not so technical, more conversational.
Now I am wondering if I should try harder to get freelance jobs for blogging. How do you do these things?
I feel like one of those old ladies that are popping up in technology classes saying "when you say 'right click' what do you mean?" No I am not that bad, but I am not that good either. Or maybe I am. I guess I just need someone to tell me.
On a personal note I did look up Ramit Sethi on Facebook (no, I am not a stalker - or am I?) There were around five Ramit Sethi pages, I guess it is a very popular name in India (most of them were in India.)
I did not request to be his friend (even though he has around 1000 of them.) I think it might be too stalker like.
He did not have a fanpage, I would have become a fan.
I will teach you to be

Friday, July 2, 2010

I like the way you work it!

Back to reading and applying all the wonderful information from IWTYTBR. According to RAMIT your categories of spending should go something like this:
Fixed costs (utilities, debt., ect. = 50-60% of your pay.
Investments (401K, Roth IRA = 10%.
Savings (gifts, unexpected expenses, vacation) = 5-10%
Guilt Free Spending (ining Out, movies, clothes etc.) = 20-35%
I have not applied these numbers to my life just yet. I am off to vacation and just put some money into my car (to get to the vacation) and I am not there yet. It sound good though.
Investments scare me. I can't wait to do it but it scares me.
I am waiting for my autopayments to come out today too and that scares me.
On my money making quest front I have sent out more books and am expecting more money soon. One place I sent books to is seding me a check for $1.00. How funny is that? I also am going to host a garage sale next Saturday. Pray that I price well and that people buy!

Personal note: I am going out to eat tonight. We decided to either take my daughter to dinner tonight or go to the amusement park in the neighboring town. I decided that dinner would be much cheaper and besides we are going to a BIG amusement park on our vacation. That is amusement enough!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

And I feel fine!

I am going to keep this brief because we need to turn the computer off soon. It is thundering and lightning over here and I am typing as fast as I can.
Automation ROCKS! I swear if Ramit were here I would kiss him!
It is all looking up from here. Last month was rough. This month it looks like we are actually doing something to dig ourselves out of the hole we dug.
Our vacation planning is going well. After this post I am going to sit down and plan a budget for our vacation. I have not ever done this (hence all the feelings of guilt and nervousness after or during vacation.) It is ridiculous and I should not be allowed to call myself a grown-up I know!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Insanity of it all!

I have all my bills set up for auto payment (well except for two.) I am nervous about it but it is going. I think it will be great when we are on vacation and the bills are just paid without us having to worry about it at all. I also want to make sure that we plan a certain amount to spend on vacation so that we don't accidentally overdraw our account.
I was going through our bills today since our autopay starts up on Friday and we should really be doing so much better than we do each month. We were amazing in June and we really stayed within our means. We did not go crazy buying things we don't need and it felt good. I don't think we lacked for anything and we actually had money left over at the end of the month.
We are debating renting a car or putting the money toward tuning up my car for the road trip instead. My husband's car needs the air conditioning fixed and so that is going to be really expensive so not an option right now. I think after this vacation it will be easier because we can start putting the extra money toward savings instead of toward the vacation.
On the other hand it is going to be really difficult because I am going to have to go back to school and won't have as much time (or patience) to be so indepth with our finances. Some days it feels like a full time job.
Today was Ramit Sethi's birthday (I am not a stalker - he sent everyone on his mailing list an email.) He asked us to list the things we have used and been successful with from his book I Will Teach You To Be Rich. I actually had a lot of things listed that I have done and been successful with. I am so proud.
I still have not implemented everything but I am getting there!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Earn $100 extra Per Month Challenge - June

In one of Ramit's emails he talks about how it is important to try to earn extra money. He does consulting/freelance and so I think it is MUCH easier for him to do this. As I mentioned I am a teacher and so I think it is difficult for me to do this unless I am interested in getting a second job- which I am not because I am also a wife and mother.
So I challenged myself this month to try to figure out how to come up with extra money. I did not start out by trying to come up with $100 like Ramit recommends but as I started doing it I figured $100 was a good goal.

Now it is not recommended by Ramit to sell things as a continual method of earning more money (unless you are making things) because eventually you will run out of stuff. Unfortunately I make nothing so I did sell stuff to earn money and this will have to be my option until I run out of stuff. I have a lot of stuff so we will see how far this gets me.

I started out by selling books online through It scouts out places that buy back books (such as and then links you to their site.

So book selling so far:
Total - $100.95
Then, I went on Craigslist and did a beta test on a website and got:
So for June, my total thus far is: $120.95!
I think I still have a couple of book orders still out there that are coming soon so my total for June might to up. If they get here in July I am counting them towards my July total.
I am also planning a garage sale for two weeks from now to help me with my July sales.

I know this has nothing to do with money but it is my release and so I write about it anyways. I love to read and I started reading my Maeve Binchy again. I am starting from the beginning so I am starting with Light a Penny Candle. I have read all of her books two or three times each and I just love them so I am starting again.

Monday, June 28, 2010

OoOooOoOooOOO - Ramit!

So in my email this morning was Ramit's IWTYTBR newsletter. He is accepting letters from people who would like a personal consultation on getting themselves automated. A thirty day automation make over. I just finished automating my bills but wonder if he could help me start to save and invest. I don't know if that is what he is looking for. As he states, he is going to be inundated with emails so I need to hurry up and decide if I am going to try to win or not. I wish I had readers to ask the opinion of them. (I am a Libra and have a terrible time making up my mind.)
In my quest to make more money and reach my goal of $100 this month, I finished my Beta test for a new website. I read the email this morning that contained the survey and I did not read it all the way through. I was supposed to reply as to whether or not I was interested in participating. I did not. (NUMBER ONE RULE that teacher's teach about assignments: Read the whole thing before you begin!!!) Anyhow, I finished it and submitted it and I hope they do not say that since I did not reply it is invalid.
I am searching money making options online and it is scary. There are so many scams out there that I hate to fall victim and ruin myself in the process. I am now searching Craigslist to try to find something (like the beta test- that was on and it was perfect...unless I don't get paid because I did not follow directions.) I hope more opportunities like that come along.
I used to answer questions on and made a tiny bit of money. It was more for the fun of it. I have not answered in a long time however and I lost my status as an expert. I need to wait to be accepted is a pain. I figure if I can do that a few more times I can get some money into my paypal account to use to sell Ebay items.
Summer is going to run out fast and I am going to have a full time job again. I hope that it all does not fall to the wayside like so many other times.
I think I will enter the competition. I will never know unless I try.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Forget about it!

I just returned from my cousin's daughter's birthday party. There were a ton of cousins and aunts there and even some cousins from out of state. It was a really fun time. I did not spend any money (well aside from the gift Barbie Make-Up Set and Disney Ariel, Slippers, Costume, Dress up Pretend Play Light up Shoes Girl Size 9/10) and I really enjoyed myself. I think I need to just forget about it sometimes. I get caught up in the money, spending, saving - all of it that I need to take a step back and breathe.
Now that I am back from my party though I need to finish an assignment for a beta test for a website that I signed on for. It is actually fun and I think I will stay on the site as a member after I am done. I am supposed to earn $20 dollars from the survey when I am finished.
According to I Will Teach You To Be Rich writer Ramit Sethi, we need to make more money. He suggests trying to earn an extra hundred in the first month. Selling my books so far has gotten me 12 dollars in hand. This survey is twenty dollars. More book payments are coming - hopefully before the end of the month so I meet my monthly quota. I know that nobody reads this but just in case someone does today, do you know of any ways to make extra money that have worked for you?
Well, I need to go and earn my twenty dollars.
On a personal note, I am reviewing a book called Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani. In re-reading it I am reminded of how wonderful a writer she is and how I love this book. I think I will start it again.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dreamer - I'm nothing but a dreamer!

I play the lotto. Not faithfully which would increase my chances of course, but I do try to remember to buy a ticket (or send my husband for one.) My best friend Marlene (a math whiz and math instructor at a college) does not play the lotto. She thinks that it is a waste of money. I might agree if I did not KNOW of someone winning. My brother won $100,000 in the lottery! I could do so much with that amount. Of course I am greedy and really would love to win in the millions. What would I do with millions? I am glad you asked.
I would quit my job. Flat out. I would never be one of those noble suckers that say "Oh, I would never quit my job." Forget it, I would be so gone. (If my boss ever reads this, please note that this is not a reflection of anything but my desire to be free to do whatever I please with my day.)
I would pay off my house and do all the renovations I have dreamed about...just to see my current house in all it's potential. Then, I would move to a bigger house in the oh so perfect part of my town. I would pay off my daughter's tuition as well as the tuition of my neice and nephews. I would start paying things off for my family and husband's family. Bills would be paid people. In full! It would not be fun to be rich and fancy free alone. I would want to bring all my loved ones along my happy path with me.
I would then start my travels. I would buy a house with a vinyard in Strasbourg, France. Of course I would have to have people to clean for me and keep up our property.
I just get giddy with the potential of financial stability. It makes me drool.
Alas, it is a dream. Reality is that I am going to have to keep digging my through it all. Right now we are being very conscious about our spending. It is not what we usually do but it is making me feel more settled. I think getting rid of old things is helping me too. I feel like I am freeing up space for the new. A new less cluttered life. Financially stable life. I can't wait. It is my dream (next to the lotto.) Thankfully this dream is in my hands and not up to fate.

What am I doing with my time aside from trying to get finance savvy? We own all the DVDs of The Gilmore Girls

We started watching them again from beginning to end. It is such a well done series. Witty and smart. I love me some Gilly Girls!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bills Bills Bills

Trying to be organized and ensure that we pay off our monthly bills on time is such a pain. We accrued a bit of debt when I stopped working to stay home with my daughter. We are trying to get back on track and into smart spending and saving. It just seems that as soon as you finish with the bills more bills come in! What an exhausting process. Yet another reason my dream job is to be either an heiress or a princess is that I would have an accountant!
In our organizational process we are making sure that our bills are on time. We finished automating our bills. First of all yes, I did skip a chapter of Ramit's I Will Teach You To Be Rich because it was on investing. We are heading out of town next month to visit family and we are not saving money to invest right now it is all going toward getting the car up to par and the trip. I will have to go back to that chapter upon our return.
We sat down with all our bills and decided which bills needed to be paid at the beginning of the month and which needed payment at the end. We went on our banks website and signed up for auto-payment. It was unbelievably easy and I can't believe that I did not do this earlier. Mind you I am a bit nervous that something horrible will happen like our checks won't get deposited or something and then we will drown in it all but in reality I think it will turn out great. I think it will be REALLY helpful while we are out of town.
You know, if you are reading this (which I know not a soul is because I have one of those trackers on my blog) and you are in college or fresh out of college you really should buy this book. I wish I knew more about finances when I left college. I would have been so much better off now than I am. 'nuff of that - like I said, I am not going to lament my past but ensure my future!

On a personal note, I am thinking of re-reading my books by my favorite author, Maeve Binchy. My husband bought me one of her books called Echoes, but as it turns out I already owned it and read it. I might read it again what the heck. She is an amazing storyteller if you ever feel up to looking into her books.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Money

One of the tips from an email I received from Ramit's I Will Teach You To Be Rich newsletter was about earning more money. He of course gives tips for freelancers but I am not a freelancer. (That would be so cool as a teacher...I will teach 18 students this year for this amount. Every time you the contract changes my money goes up! Haha!) I already mentioned my selling old books via and my intention to sell old DVDs but as Ramit points out I am going to eventually run out of things to sell.
Obviously as a teacher I am never going to earn a whole lot more than I earn now. I have my Masters degree and am at the highest pay for my field. Unfortunately it is not that much. So unless I go into administration (a lot of work for not much more than I am making now) I need to think of more ways to make money.
Ramit suggests perhaps selling something that you make. You need to be sure that it is something that people want. I am not sure what I can do that people want. I am a very creative person in general but not specifically you know? I was browsing blogs the other day and so many people are so amazingly talented. The artists, the jewelry makers - these people can really sell their wares. I don't have wares. I wish I did. I have hobbies but I guess I don't make as many as some people. I guess more importantly I am not sure if people want what I do. My family of course thinks what I make or do is great but what are they going to do tell me how awful I am?
I wish I could get paid to read. Is there a job to pay readers?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Ramit has a very strong opinion about banks. His second chapter is devoted to "Beating your Bank." I have never had that strong of an opinion about banks. I had an account with Bank of America in college and on through my first job but then I was charged a $30 fee on a one penny overdraft and that soured my taste for them. According to Ramit it right well should have!

He says, no fees, no overdraft charges, large interest rates - that is what the goal is.

I belong to a credit union which is good unless they have fees. I screwed up last month and I had overdraft fees (used the debit before the paycheck was deposited - I swear I am like a small child when it comes to finance...somebody needs to put me in the naughty corner!)

Anyhow, emboldened by my recent success at lowering my APRs with my credit card I called the bank to get the overdraft fees waved.

This is a small credit union where they know us by name and even have called us when there was suspicious spending on our card (our card number was highjacked at a local gas station and someone was spending right through Mexico - jackasses!)

This call was going to be so hard. I found it easy to be tough with Jana, a person I never met before but to be tough on the sweet ladies from my own credit union?

I made the call. I talked to Diana and told her that I made a mistake but that I wished to have the overdraft fees deposited back into my account.
She told me I had to put a letter in writing for a review. I asked if email would do and she said yes.

I wrote:
Dear Diana,
I would like my overdraft fees reversed and the money to be deposited back into my checking account. It was a mistake that will not happen again. I have been a member of this Credit Union for a very long time and do all of my banking through this credit union. I appreciate your help in this matter.

I called back later that day and she said she would call me the next day.
She never called but the charges were deposited back into my account that day.

Now do you see why I am crushing on Ramit! He is a genius!

Now I need to research banks. Ramit loves him some online banking...I guess I am going to have to research that.

As I wrote yesterday, I finished the book Julie and Julia and I watched the movie afterwards. (I like to do that read the book then watch the movie.) I really liked it. I like how they showed the life of Julia Child a lot more than inthe book...she was an interesting woman. My favorite quote from the movie - Julie: "I am such a bitch." friend reply (what was her friend's name anyway...did they ever actually say it?) "yes, you are." Julie: "Do you really think I am a bitch?" Friend: "Yes." Julie: "I know."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Credit Cards

Credit cards. They are so great and they are so horrible. I guess that is beside the point. The point is that I need to start using them responsibly and making them work for me.

The next step in IWTYTBR (I Will Teach You To Be Rich) in the credit card chapter is to take an inventory of all of the APRs on your credit cards. Then to call the company and negotiate down that APR. There is a script in the book for you to follow in case you are not confident in telling your credit card company what you want (that is me.)
I am not a confrontational person. I work with Kindergarteners all day for Pete's sake! This was going to be very hard for me.

I got a bill ready with all the information. I read (out loud) the script in the book and with shaky hands I dialed the number. I got through remarkably fast and was on my way to talk to Jana.
Jana: "Hello, my name is Jana, how may I help you today?"
Me: "Hi Jana, I am going to be paying down my credit card debt more aggressively and I would like a lower APR."
Jana: "Let me just say congratulatons on your decision to pay your cards more aggressively. Let me have a look at your account....okay, I see that you have been on time with your payments and I just want to congratulate you for that. Hmmmm....hold on just a moment while I see what we can do for you." (puts me on hold.) "Okay, let me congratulate you again on both paying your card on time and deciding to pay your cards more aggressively. I can go ahead and bring your APR down by 1 percent."
Me: (fueled by Ramit's saying that I should ask for 50 or 40 percent and being congratulated at my good deeds)"You know Jana that is just not going to work for me at this time. I would like you to bring it down 40 or 50 percent."
Jana: "Ma'am why do you think we should bring it down that much?"
Me: "Well Jana, I recently returned to work after some time off. I received my Masters and a substantial raise because of this. I am currently looking at a very aggressive approach to paying my debt and I would like you to lower my APR by 40 or 50 percent. I will also tell you that I have been receiving offers from other cards offering me interest rates at half of what you are offering or 0% on balance transfers. I have been a customer for quite a long time and I would hate to have to take my business elsewhere but as you can see I can't pass up these lower interest rates." (I swear I think Ramit must have inhabited my body because I was ready to rumble - over finances!)
Jana: "Let me put you on hold for a minute."
You know when you just know -- I knew! She was going to do it...I could hear it in her voice. I played the game and I won.
Jana: "Ma'am, let me go ahead and congratulate you on being a customer with us for such a long time and on improving your financial situation. I would now like to offer you an APR 40 percent lower than your current APR."
I did it. I did it. Go Ramit, Go Ramit!
I think it helped that Jana was so congratulatory too. It was like "great job for being a customer. Great job on paying your bill, great job for calling to lower your APR..." Ego boost.

Okay so by now, I am not sure if you have noticed but my husband has. I have developed quite the crush on Ramit. I keep telling my husband "Ramit says this and Ramit says that." He looks really dorky on the cover of his book, I am not sure what the bright pink shirt and barefoot look was supposed to represent but now he is unabashedly my main crush. He helped me lower my APR and I was empowered by it! The POWER!

I will zoom back down to Earth now.

I am done with step two to my financial stability...lowered APRs all around!
On a side note I finished reading Julie and Julia.
What an inspirational story! Only in America!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Two Part Plan

I am of course reading . I also checked out Ramit's website: and signed up for emails. One of the emails linked me to another site he has called (this boy is getting rich before our eyes!) Anyhow, I have not signed up for that site and not sure if I will. It sounds great but my goal right now is to get a grip on debt and not start something where I will be paying $30/month or whatever the cost is. A one time $13.95 for the book is fine but I am not ready to commit to Ramit just yet.

So my two part plan for this summer vacation of mine is to get our monthly budget under wraps AND to start earning extra cash. As I mentioned, being a Kindergarten Teacher does not allow for overtime or extra pay. Occasionally I do go to workshops but it is $16/per two hour workshop (workshops last 2 hours) and then minus the tax. So it is few and far between...not really a viable source of income. I go for my own professional development as a teacher however and not for the money.

Ramit's email for his Scrooge Strategy site today had a list of things that could possibly help you generate more income. One was start a blog (here I am and it is all monetized etc.) I also have started to purge. I do it every summer just to help get the house back in order but this summer my goal is money.

I spent last week (during my daughter's nap time - even though she is not really napping but instead singing and playing - if she would at least be quiet then I could pretend she took a nap!) finding out which books from our overflowing bookshelf could be sold. I figured that when I have my garage sale I would sell my paperbacks for 25 cents and my hardbacks for 50 cents. I decided that if a site offered me more than that for either type of book it would be worth it. I found a great site called where you could research a number of bookseller sites that might buy your books. I found that most pay with check or paypal, pay for shipping and let you print the labels out right then. offers a good amount of money but gives the return in gift card exchange.

Anyhow, I sold a boat load of books (and am consequently out of packing tape) and I am not finished. Of course my husband's geeky gaming books packed in the money but he let me sell them so that was great. I had a couple of books that I kept after I got my Masters and now four years later decided that I was never going to use them again and that brought in some nice dough. I LOVE books and am a book junkie but I decided aside from not having the space for them there are just books I will never re-read.
So there you have it. My first endeavor to make money - step one. Done.

Ramit (raw meat not ram it)

I was at Borders with my daughter and husband, Molly and Rob respectively. We were doing our regular tag team browsing - I take Molly and read to her while Rob looks for his books then we switch. As I was looking for a quiet spot for Molly and I to read we plopped in a comfy chair with an ottoman in what turned out to be the Financial Book section. When Rob came to take over I grabbed a book called "I Will Teach You To Be Rich!" by Ramit Sethi. I Will Teach You To Be Rich Who can resist a title like that? The cover said it is a six week program. That is what I need - an actual program - like a diet for money! "Give me six weeks and you will be 10 dress sizes smaller!" Right up my alley!

I need to go back here and just let you see a snippet of my relationship with money. It is actually very close to my relationship with food and exercise if I really think of it. I am a miser...for a long time. I scrimp, I save (I decide to lose weight, I measure food, I eat healthy - I start my exercise regimen) then I collapse. We go out to eat followed by a trip to Borders followed by a trip to Target (I eat a piece of cake or chips and "don't have time" to exercise) and am right back at square one.

Unfortunately I am no financial genius nor is my husband. We are both the youngest in our families and I think that it made us financially challenged. We were always taken care of by our older siblings and parents. We are just stupid when it comes to money. We do live in an incredibly expensive city and while we earn enough to survive I know we could do so much better.

Hence the drive to stop this cycle and get on a path of financial gain and responsibility.

So I have read the first two chapters of Ramit's book. Let me just say that I feel like a doofus because he wrote this book targeting people fresh out of college and I am a thirty five year old woman who was fresh out of college in 1996. I think back to all the wasted money and I could just kick myself. BUT that is not why I am here. I need to stop looking back and move forward.

I am planning on making it a two part project - first, get financially savvy with the money I make and spend now and second, make more money. Getting ourselves out of debt, avoiding late charges and still having a little left over to occassionally go out to eat followed by Borders followed by Target is just the first half. I want to save money. I don't want a (recent) trip to the auto shop to totally get us behind on all our bills and in a black money pit of late charges. I also need to generate more money. I am a teacher and that is one of the downfalls of teaching. No matter how many hours I put in either at the school or at home - there is no overtime. (My husband does not have the possibility of overtime either.)

So back to Ramit:
In chapter one it is all about optimizing your credit cards. The first thing we did was sit down and list all of our cards, including monthly payments, total money owed and APRs. We decided which card we are going to pay off first. We decided to pay off the credit card with the lowest amount due first (The Snowball Effect- check out my savvy terminology!) We thought that it would psychologically feel good for us to pay something off. So there we are. I know, some of you are going to argue that we should go with the highest APR but according to Ramit (I just don't like saying Raw-Meat - don't tell but I call him Ram IT! in my head) you should not waste time deciding...choose one and do it. So we did!

Step one - done.