Sunday, January 16, 2011


We have no money.  Zero.  Why would two people that make as much money as we do not have enough money to fill their gas tanks when ever they want?  90% my fault.

     I grew up wealthy.  My mother was/is a doll of a woman that never denied me anything.  I was a person that was very good at manipulating her.  There for I had her credit card at all times and used it like it was my job.  I was living a very high life.  I tried very hard to fill the lonely little hole in my heart with crap.  Being used to that life style I didn't really understand when I married Josh that the pay out had stopped.  He got laid off three weeks before we got married.  I was working retail.  (Pottery Barn!!!!!  So fun!)  BUT, I was still spending like my mother was going to bale me out.  Except now it was my own credit card.  I ran up so much money that I lack the bravery to tell you.  It would be a healthy years salary for a new school teacher.  

     One of the other big problems was the biggest purchase.  This house.  We got an amazing price on it and even put it on a 20 year loan.  Then he got laid off and I went back to nursing school.  We maxed out the houses equity.  MAXED it out.  When the smoke cleared the farm was buried so deep we couldn't sell if we wanted to.  And with current mortgage situations we could never afford to buy anything even close.  Plus we LOVE this place.  It is part of our identity.  Leaving would be nearly impossible. 

     How did the problems get fixed?  About two years ago we ran out of credit.  Gone.  All burnt up.  So now what the hell were we to do?  Bottom out.  Just like an alcoholic.  I couldn't fix my stupid addiction with out hitting the bottom.  

We had a few months bickering with each other about this.  But instead of letting money rip us apart we became a team.  We closed every single credit card account.  You don't have to pay them off to close them.  We can not have the temptation.  We began to hold each other liable for our choices.  If he bought something I called him out.  If I spent money he called me out.  We got paid and then we talked about what to do with the money.  I haven't bought myself brand new shoes in years.  

We survive by working together and figuring it out.  We just saved up and scrounged up $1100 cash to replace Josh's tires.  It took us a month but we did it.  And it was so satisfy to pay cash for it.  

We called our credit cards and told them we were tapped out.  They didn't want to believe us.  But finally we worked out.  We got a five year (or maybe less) plan with how to deal with them.  We are 1.5 years in and so far so good.  We have three paid off.  The HUGE ones are still in progress but they are going along.  They should be done early actually.

We did have one major expense occur during this time period.  The vasectomy reversal.  Yikes.  This kid better make the 10K up to me.  (I have no doubt he/she will).

So what is the progress:
We have one car payment.  Mine. If that car can make it a little longer I would really appreciate it.  But at 125K miles we are on borrowed time.  My plan is that it is dies we will just have to make do with what ever we can afford to replace it.  Which will not be anything to write home about.  Josh's truck better just last forever.   

The credit cards will be paid off for sure with in the next 3.5 years.  Which will clear up $550 dollars a month.   

The vasectomy loan will be over in 2.5 years.  Clearing up $350 a month.

We cut our winter energy bill by $600 dollars MONTHLY!!!  You may not believe that, but I have a post coming up to prove it.  

The biggest improvement has been us.  Josh eats ramen noodles every day for lunch.  That man is the master of thrifty.  He is so good at not spending money.    I buy the kids clothes at goodwill and used kids clothing stores.  We don't buy things just because we are sad or annoyed or bored.  We only buy what we need.  If we want a little splurge we talk to each other about it.  We save up for it and we only pay cash.  I don't even buy gas on my debit card.  If my wallet is empty than I am done.   Christmas was a cash only event.  I avoid places were easy shopping occurs.  I don't go to the mall.  I don't even got to Target (so tempting).  I grocery shop at walmart because its cheap and had few temptation for clothes or shoes.

One of the hardest things for me has been figuring out how to be a deal shopper.  I am trying to but together a post on deal shopping.  What kind of tips do you guys have?  How do you get what you need, but get it for less?  

Like -
Getting my hair cut at the Aveda Beauty School for $15 instead of $40 at the salon
Grocery shopping at walmart
Only using cash to cut out temptation buying
Deal shopping online to cut out the extra temptations (like at Christmas)
Not eating out.  Well, hardly even.  My kids have not been to a resturaunt were a waiter brings you your drink (Except on vacation, cheap Mexican, or with Grandma) in two years.  But Lily did just get really good grades so I think a sushi treat is in order.  
And what else?????


  1. Oh, we are the same boat. I do try to watch the ads and pair the store specials with coupons. I actually find I spend less at the grocery store than I would at Walmart on most things.

    I just blogged about homemade laundry soap here

    I'm still learning too. I do have a blog I like called Learning the Frugal Life. She has lots a good tips. Her family is on a spending freeze for the month of January. She has been making a lot of their household cleaners over the past few months. They have a family of seven on one income.

    I wish we could have chickens here, but I think our dogs would think it was a chicken buffet. But we do garden and have a table at the small local farmers' market. I'm always looking for new ideas on living more frugally.

  2. i'm amazed recently at how much less i spend when i actually plan meals instead of buying whatever is convenient just because i didn't plan ahead. plus then i actually LIKE grocery shopping and cooking because there's such less stress related to how i spent my money. silly me, why did it take so long for me to learn what my mom did EVERY single week when i was growing up?

  3. we are/were in the same exact boat. we changed the way we were living over a year ago, and we have yet to run into big problems.

    i plan out my meals weekly. I write down every ingredient that we need- down to flour and spices. I then look through my list of stuff that i need for the entire week and cross off waht i already have. then, what is on the list is what we get. nothing more.

    also, for breakfast foods, i spend a day cooking pancakes and waffles. i divide them up into serving sizes that i know my kids will eat and put them into plastic baggies and into the freezer. they microwave great and dont' cost any where near what they do in the store.

    pop, koolaid, and juice is out of the question- water and milk only at our house.

  4. Wow! So impressed with what you guys have done. We pay cash for everything after we got into a very small amount of credit card issues. I hate to owe someone else money. I have really cut back on our grocery bill for our family of 6 by couponing. You can find some great deals and really learn a lot. I was using a 100.00 a week for all of us and that included diapers and baby food. I have now been able to crank it down to 50 dollars a week. Looking forward to your energy saving post. I am your newest follower.

  5. COUPONS my dear! I have been clipping coupons for 10 years (since I was 17) and you really can save a lot of money. I have several websites I check and they have printable grocery lists matching up whats on sale with your coupons. And it's FREE! If you want the sites or more info, just let me know!

    Also, we have our garden & chickens, like you. We canned 50 pints of green beans this summer and are still eating on them. I think this year we are going to plant enough to have u-pick & make some extra money.

    I'm still working on other ways to save money. We are a family of 5 living on my husbands 43k (I think?) yearly income. I lost my job in June & havent been able to find anything since. We've been through a foreclosure, a truck reposession & tons of bills, so I know EXACTLY how you feel.

  6. i forgot that living in basically a cash-only society TOTALLY changed me. spending $20 (or 2000 yen) is totally different for me. i LOVE it!

  7. Hi

    Well done!!

    There is a website and it has heaps of really useful and practical savings ideas. Although it is an Australian website Im sure a lot of the ideas are good no matter where you live.

    Keep up the great work and I love your blog.

    Michelle :-)

  8. Can I just say..... I love you and your honesty



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