Okay. I have my final list of items that need to be purchased and wrapped for Christmas. I have my paycheck (and bonus!) ready to go to the bank. There will be enough left to pay the electric bill and cell phone bills that are due this week.

I’m ready to fight the crowds to get those last few items. Next year: Save ahead!

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Merry Almost Christmas

Much to my chagrin, it looks like I will be finishing my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve this year. Ugh. Fortunately, I will be receiving a small bonus from my employer this year. That helps alleviate the sting. And I will be enjoying 4 PAID days off the week following Christmas.

The week off will give me ample opportunity to declutter my mind and home. Things I would like to accomplish during my time off:

  1. File away this pitiful year
  2. Re-organize my home office and filing system
  3. Re-organize how i handle unpaid bills. Any ideas? For now, mail is opened, looked at, thrown in a pile and shipped upstairs to form a new pile on the desk where it sits until i either a) pay and file it or b) get a late notice, dig it out, pay and file it. I’m thinking it’s not such a good system ūüė¶
  4. Button up my 2011 Budget
  5. Get way ahead on EMT homework
  6. Get MFR stuff organized (payroll, PCR’s, Schedule)
  7. Work on MFR training for 2011
  8. Work on Truck Book for Ambulance
  9. Make and freeze lots of lunches/dinners
  10. Clean house top to bottom
    Here’s to hoping i get it all accomplished… Cheers!

Goals for the New Year

2010 is going to be a photo finish. We will be starting the new year with lots of remaining debt. HOWEVER, the snow plowing revenue has been progressing nicely. January should be a good month to get ourselves at least current with our creditors.

Also, I have been working full time for 3 months now and it looks like that will stay steady. And my health insurance contribution has been reduced by $37/week, so that’s a little extra. The extra income from MFR¬†runs adds about $150/month. ¬†Since our cash flow will improve in the new year, I’ve been thinking of not only how to tackle our debts, but stash some cash for the leaner times.

My 2011 GAMEPLAN:

  1. Get current on all utility bills
  2. Get current on mortgage
  3. Set up automatic savings in ING Direct for things we need to save for (E-Fund, Christmas, Home Repairs, Vehicle Repairs, Health/Dental, Rainy Day) Weekly or Monthly? How much each category? All undetermined…
  4. Set up a snowball plan for credit card debt
  5. Set up a repayment plan for relatives who have loaned us money
  6. Snowball like hell
  7. Start contributing to Roth IRA
  8. Have cumulative savings of at least $2500

I hope these plans aren’t overly ambitious. The dump truck will be paid off in October¬†next year. Some credit cards will be paid off this year, even if we only make the minimum payments. Barring any catastrophes and as long as we don’t incur new debt, this should be feasible. I’m afraid to get excited just yet.

We have not used credit cards in almost 5 years. We’ve been aggressively paying down debt for more than 4 years. We’ve rid ourselves of all toys, vacations, and extras for more than 4 years. I’m ready for the end. I’m ready to start seeing real progress. I’m ready to start answering the phone again. I’m totally geeked that it’s finally time to start thinking about how to handle our money rather than have our creditors dictate what we do with our money.

2011 here we come!

Where does the time go?

Christmas is in just over a week! Yikes! Where has the time gone?

I got my fire check in the mail yesterday. Deposited it this morning and am ready to go finish¬†Christmas shopping. There are only a few items i need, but they are all higher ticket items. Hopefully i have enough $$…

Hubby has class tonight and i have a meeting at 9. Can’t go shopping until at least tomorrow i guess. I think i will work on Christmas cards and put up the tree. Yup, haven’t even done that yet! Usually, it’s done the weekend of Thanksgiving. I’m so thankful to be working full time and am really enjoying my EMT class, but Christmas is passing me by in a blur. I am sad that i am not taking the time to enjoy and celebrate the reason for the season.

The bank called and said they need more paperwork. Of course they do. I hate their game, but gotta play it i guess. Hubby suggested resending everything that they have required to date in one package. Not a bad idea. Then they can’t say they are missing portions of it. Like they always do. And? If you’re willing to stay on the phone long enough while they “look” for it, eventually they do. But then they just make up more stuff that they need.

Okay, getting a little more in the Christmas spirit! Off to make a list of card addresses!

Snow! Snow! Snow!

About 3am Saturday morning it started snowing. And it kept snowing all day. YAY!!! Hubby has been out working, coming home for quick meals, quick naps, and quick showers.

I turned in our rewards points for an Amazon gift card so i was able to get some online Christmas shopping done this weekend. Still don’t have a tree up though. Maybe tonight. Also need to work on sending Christmas cards. At least they are purchased, now just need to get them signed, addressed and mailed.

Life is good.

Spinning My Wheels

So hubby and I were going over some business stuff last night to see what the winter is going to look like. Looks like things will finally be going our way! Of course, all of this depends on the weather. But if we only consider the addition and losses of accounts, our winter sales should double from last year. YAY!!!!

Hubby went off to work in the barn and i pulled up the budget for 2011. With the expenses we have reduced already and guesstimating at a mortgage modification, we should finally land in the black at the end of¬†most months. Of course we will have to continue to watch our spending and be diligent about setting aside money for the leaner months. I’ve decided NOT to let hubby in on that strategy. Money burns holes in his pockets and if he knows we have it he finds¬†“needs” to spend it on.

Though the future looks promising, it’s the getting there that gives me anxiety. Hubby put a lot of time and effort into landing new contracts. But that won’t pay off for months. I am taking a class to get my EMT license. But that won’t pay off for months. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for immediate gratification. I know that hard work sometimes takes a while to pay off. I’m just saying¬†the waiting is¬†tough.

I’ve been dropping nuggets to the hubby lately about the need to start saving for retirement. I know, i know. We should have started this 10 years ago. Can’t change the past, but i can control what we do from here on. My employer does not offer any kind of retirement, so we are all on our own. I’m hesitant to pay a financial advisor at this point because we don’t have much to invest. And, as of today, I have nothing to invest so it doesn’t matter anyway.¬†

It’s so encouraging to be able to finally think about what to do with our money. For the past 4-5 years there was nothing to think about. Everything that came in went out immediately in the form of a payment. The only thing we had to think about was which bill was more important to pay first.

As though emerging from a deep, dark winter, i can finally see the sun rising. Can’t see the sun yet, but the skies are lighter and the sun is just over the horizon….

the BIG picture

It is just beginning to flurry out. YAY!!!!

Maybe, just maybe, we can get some plowing/salting done, billed, and paid before Christmas. THAT would be awesome!

Although times are tough and we are struggling, I have a really good feeling about this upcoming year. I just really think things are going to start turning around. I have a good feeling about the loan modification that is in process. I have a good feeling that work is going to pick up. We have paid down a lot of debt in the past 4 years, this past year especially, and are nearing the end. 2011 will be the end of many debts – including the dump truck. Finally, FINALLY, we will be able to lead normal lives again!

And it’s not that i want to go on glamorous shopping sprees, or spend recklessly. I want to catch up some basic maintenance around the house. Paint the downstairs. Fix the basement stairs. Mulch the flower beds. Yikes, they are the worst. And maybe save up for some wants. New mattresses. New laptop. Ours died over the summer and we’ve been using the dinosaur desktop. It works, but good lord is it sloooooooow.

That’s pretty much it.

I want to visit freely with family without their generous and much appreciated loan hanging over us like a personal storm cloud. I want to back to church, since i’ll be able to tithe again. I want to work in my flower gardens without thinking about what we can’t afford to do. I want to plant flowers. Though this year i think we’ll try from seeds instead. I want to be able to take a weekend or two getaway with hubby and/or friends. I want to re-focus on the BIG picture.

I really, really believe that next year the BIG picture will finally start to come into focus…