Casa Adalia

What kind of loan is this?

June 20th, 2017

Is it a personal loan? The benefit of having the actual student loan is that this kind of debt has the benefit of (1) cancelling out when one dies, (2) being eligible for deferment or forebearance if needed.

Personally, I think that the better plan would be to just pay the $450 each month on the current loan.

I say keep the payments due lower

June 8th, 2017

There is no guarantee for the future. And, she can always make higher payments (snowball). That is what is saving the interest—paying them off quicker.

Helen

P.S. I speak from experience. My hubby and I were making good money–I changed my student loans to higher payments. Then, I lost my very secure teaching job—and got behind. It took me forever to straighten it out. Had I kept the payments smaller—we could have made the monthly payment during the job loss and not had to worry about it.

She’s now a commissioned Air Force officer, so unfortunately, 2nd or 3rd jobs are out of the question

May 28th, 2017

Her disposable income is better than I thought it was, so she can handle the extra jump if she swaps it out to a lower interest rate. There aren’t any fees associated with doing it up front, but I’m having her check and see if she can pay off a specific loan or earmark extra payments to go to a specific loan, or does it just blob together.

So at issue now is, she has a 20,600 loan at 7.9%. This is the one which would take the majority of the swap out.

Then she has
3500
3500
4392
8000 (ish)
11000 (ish)

with interest rates ranging from 3.4 to 6.0, attached almost in reverse order of the dollar amounts shown.

Would it be better do you think, to fold the first 3500 and half of the 2nd one into the max she can swap out (25k)? Or just fold in the 4392 loan in its entirety?

And then, is she better off sticking with a normal debt snowball and knocking off lowest to highest, or knocking off the highest balances first?

Just amazing how smart I became in her view AFTER it was all said and done (I had set her up with a decent paying job transfer back when she was a freshman…but her bio mom talked her in to turning it down because “it’s important to have FUN FUN FUN when you’re in college”. Of course, did bio mom foot any of her college expenses? yeah, you already know that’s a big fat ZERO.) So who’s having fun NOW, eh?

I’d say that saving interest is a good idea

May 9th, 2017

It’s not like she’s taking out more debt. I agree with Cindy. If there are fees involved, be careful.
My main focus would be to help her get GAZELLE! She needs to light a fire under her butt and go as fast as she can to get rid of all of it. Whatever works. Transferring loans is just the tip of the iceberg. She needs to cut, cut, cut her budget. No more coffee, no more dining out, no more haircuts, no more manicures. Get the cheapest cell phone out there. No more clothes or shoes. Get a second or third job. Work and put every penny she has to those loans. She will feel exhilarated and jubilant once they are GONE forever! I’d say not five years but maybe 2? Have her live off of half her income or less and slam all the rest on her loans until they are gone.
The guy got rid of 100K of student’s loans in 10 months. He is an interesting writer and he keeps you wanting to read more. Hope your daughter can get it paid off quick, so she can move on with her life.

No one has responded yet, not sure why, but I thought I’d give my thoughts

April 26th, 2017

It seems to me that this swap the loan thing is really just that, swapping one debt for another. It reminded me of DR talking about paying off one cc with a lower interest cc or a 0% interest. He said it amounted to shuffling or swapping around debt, almost like the old ponzi scheme. No, I am not saying your dd is looking at a ponzi scheme but it has that aroma because it is swapping debt.

Is she not in a place financially to simply accelerate payments on the current debt w/o penalty?

If she does take on this new debt will you have to co-sign? If you have to co-sign for her then I’d have to fall back on DR’s advice about never co-signing for anyone’s debt.

If she does this I’d tell her to be care of fees and stuff that would get rolled into the new debt and she would end up owing more. Would she be able to make accelerated payments to the new debt w/o penalty?

Question about student loan payoffs

April 7th, 2017

DD22 has an opportunity to swap out her student loan debt. Basically, she can get a $25000 loan at 2.9% 5 years, and pay off her 20,600 7.9% 10 yr student loan. Of course, this doubles her monthly payment from $250 to $450.
The next question is: She has varying amounts of other student loans. She could swap/pay 1 other of the following 3 entirely: 4.5%, 5.6%, 6.0%. If she chose the 5.6 or 6.0, there’s enough to pay 1 of them entirely, and cut the other down by half. The monthly payments for those 3 are 45.52, 38.16, 38.16 respectively. She could probably pay the remaining balance on 5.6 or 6.0 within 6 months if she doubled down.
At best, she would be exchanging 287.71 in monthly payments for 10 years for $450 in monthly payments over 5 years, so it would “cost” her an additional $162 a month compared to if she left it the way it is.
On the other hand, she would “save” about 8,487 in interest, which is enough to pay off another of her student loans.
So the question is: does she swap out as many higher interest loans as she can and exchange them for a much lower interest rate even though it will jump her payments? Or leave it the way it is?

Letter from Lea:

March 25th, 2017

Hi, my name is Lea…. and I have a problem

Sigh, Sad …. July has been a tough month… a typical slow business month while still recooping from the business move. Getting the boy ready to go off to college… a month of company 2 family birthdays..

Its been 3 .6 years since dh was laid off and and we started the business… we paid off the car, paid off the house, I owe chase 450.00 and dh owes them 600.00 we cut out cable… use smart talk phones…
saved up for big things we wanted… grow a garden, can the food, buy our clothes at the thrift shops…

..and then I started looking at our bedroom curtains… oh I could make some… but it didn’t seem like I could find the right colors/ prints/ type I wanted… I looked on line and found a pair… way more then I would pay normally…. but they offered credit with a 30 sec. response…
APPROVED…. I bought the curatins

But why stop there the evil Lea whispered in my ear… you want several nice photo albums to sort through years of pictures and make books for each son….. maybe Kohls has them.. ( we only have a Walmart within 40 miles of us) … so I went online…. 15% off if you use a Kohls credit card… another 10% if you use it…. why heck yeah! I was on a roll

Target on line… 10% off the extra long twin sheets needed for my sons dorm room with a Target card…. type in the infor… wow that was easy! might as well throw int he matching comforter… BAM

Needed a couple of bras ( TMI.. sorry Eldred) … Victoria Secret was having a sale… and lookie here… I could get so much off my first order by applying for a credit card…

..at this point I had the exact feeling I use to ahve when I blew a diet…. if I ate a piece of cake .. if I blew it I might as well blow it all the way…

so… within 1 hour…. 1 hour of sitting on my sofa and sipping sweet tea…. I had spent 300.00 and acquired 4 credit cards…..

of course now I am listing things on the local yardsale board and only have 2 more credit cards to pay off and cancel…

I am ashamed…. don’t know what came over me…. just glad I was able to catch myself before I trolled any more websites and got more credit cards… thankful I didn’t do more damage…. and am back on track now….

Oh, geez, yea that was me and that delivery was SO hard

March 7th, 2017

That was a small two-year-old doe who was really struggling with a huge baby. We first started filming that one as a video for my brother’s kids, so they could experience “life on the farm”. When it got to be such a struggle, we thought gosh, no kid should be watching this one. Happy ending though – I was able to get the kid out, alive and definitely kicking. Mom was tired and sore for a day or two (who wouldn’t be????) but both mom and kid are thriving now. That was one of the hardest deliveries I’ve ever helped with. Happily, the next two kiddings were about as easy as it gets; at least one of those should be up on the farm’s video list as well. That little pumpkin just sorta fell out, looked around, and said “where’s my lunch?” Gotta love those.

During the darkest of my dark hours on Saturday

February 24th, 2017

possibly as a gift from On High, we had 17 (!) fluffy little chicks hatch out to a pair of hens that we didn’t even know were on eggs. What a gift! I filmed the bigger batch of chicks, together with their mom, that next morning. It’s just 75 seconds of Extreme Cute for your Monday morning. If you turn up the speakers a little, you’ll be able to hear them chirping. Mark – these are a home-grown breed tracing back to a mutt mom who’s raised SEVEN batches of her own chicks, crossed with a very nice-tempered Buff Orpington rooster. Enjoy!

I know when my sister rented an apartment in college

February 5th, 2017

the management usually kept the deposits because most of his tenants were college students that left the area and wouldn’t fight it. She went to court over it–she didn’t leave the area just the complex. She won…one of the claims against her was a dirty inside of the dishwasher–judge laughed and awarded her more than her original deposit.

So we recently ended a lease on a property

January 22nd, 2017

we did our walk through everything was fine. The A/C worked just fine when we left. 2 weeks later the A/C freezes up and now this was taken out of our deposit. They said the tech said it was because the filter was dirty. I do know the filter needed to be changed, so I have no problem being charged for a new one. My question is, is this normal for them to deduct this from our deposit 2 weeks later when something goes wrong?
I am new to this and not sure how that works. When we moved out of our apartment years ago during our walk through they told us if any of our deposit would have been kept.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Was there a signed off, copy in your hand acceptance of the final walk through?

January 8th, 2017

Do you have proof that you changed your power bill to a new address prior to notification that the AC froze up? If you’re not paying a power bill at the time the damage occurred, I don’t see how you would be liable.
I would pursue this in small claims court, if your deposit wasn’t returned to you when you returned the keys and signed a final walk-through acknowledgement. I don’t see how I can hold you responsible past the point of the lease termination.
As a landlord – I have the filter’s changed every 6 months when A/C/Heating guys perform an inspection. Summer and Winter basically. Its never my tenants responsibility to maintain my Heating/cooling systems.

Landlords! I need your help!!

December 24th, 2016

So we recently ended a lease on a property, we did our walk through everything was fine. The A/C worked just fine when we left. 2 weeks later the A/C freezes up and now this was taken out of our deposit. They said the tech said it was because the filter was dirty. I do know the filter needed to be changed, so I have no problem being charged for a new one. My question is, is this normal for them to deduct this from our deposit 2 weeks later when something goes wrong?
I am new to this and not sure how that works. When we moved out of our apartment years ago during our walk through they told us if any of our deposit would have been kept.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

About a year ago I asked if anyone knew anything about a father’s rights

December 9th, 2016

When the father lived in one state and the children in another. Reminder on the subject: State had taken the kids away from the mother for numerous home situations and drug related problems. They are in PA. My nil had been notified the state had dissolved his rights as a parent without ever notifying him of the situation. They could not even claim they did not know he was the father or they didn’t know where he was because he faithfully pays his child support through the court each month. Not only were they dissolving his rights, but they expected him to continue to pay the child support. They mailed this info to him so they definitely knew where he was.
He flew out there, got a good lawyer and fought hard for the kids—he truly loves his daughters. Instead of giving him his girls they gave them to the ex-wife’s parents, who promptly handed the girls back to the mother’s parents, who despite the “supervised visits only” mandate turned the kids right back to the mtoehr. Mama ended up badly beaten by a druggy boyfriend and the girls were removed again.
Fast forward to now. He was told earlier this year that if he moved to a bigger house so the girls could each have a bedroom. Show financial stability, AND pass a home inspection by our local department of human services he could finally bring his daughters to OK. We are waiting on the home inspection by the overworked dhs workers. Please pray it is soon and that he and my niece pass the inspection so the healing of those children’s life can beging. Those little girls are separated and in foster homes right now and should be with the Daddy and step mother who love them deeply.

Just got an announcement yesterday through one of my regional farming email lists

November 27th, 2016

that a workshop is being put together for the end of this month, on the topic of purchasing farms via lease-to-own arrangements. It won’t be a snow-job type meeting either, with all sorts of happy-talk about ideal conditions. One of the requests in the meeting announcement was for folks who have used, or tried to use this approach to purchase ag properties, to please contact the workshop organizer so that they get the chance to share their experiences (good bad or otherwise). Should be a really interesting workshop with access to regional estate planners, legal counsel, lending institutions, etc. Given our recent talk on the topic, I thought it was extremely well-timed. I know I can’t be the only person mulling how to take the next step up into a bigger/more complete property, and methods for doing so. I’ll keep you all posted on what happens with that. I plan to go to that event, armed with LOTS of really good questions. And my laptop in tow so I can take a lot of good notes.

I have stressed going to the store less often, cherry picking sales, and using coupons

November 14th, 2016

I also have instituted a policy of baking at home, rather than buying sweets. My boys devour sweets, so I challenged them if they want cookies, brownies, and the like, they have to bake them to eat them. That idea is working. Now the doubling up we are not ready for, but I am working towards that. The buying a cow and pig idea we tried a few years ago, and it was not a good deal for us the way we did it then. I went to a butcher and we bought a quarter beef and had it cut up. I was not real impressed with the end result cost. Since we live in town, we can’t raise it ourselves. BUT, my folks do raise hogs, and eating home grown meat is what I grew up with. The problem is they are a 10 hour drive away, so I would have to arrange to pick up the meat when we visit once a year. Thanks for the ideas!

For chicken –

November 5th, 2016

It depends on what kind you get to get it for .99 a lb.
Boneless, skinless breasts is usually sale price at $1.99/lb
Sometimes I can find thighs or other parts for .99/lb or less.
Although–personally—I find we like the boneless/skinless breasts better—esp me for the convenience of not having to deal with parts I don’t like….so I will spend the $2 a pound for what I want.
Then, I just economize in other parts of my grocery budget to make it work for us.

We have great Asian markets here

October 26th, 2016

I was trying to make spring rolls one day and a pack of 50 rice papers was something stupid cheap like 89 cents and then you just need the veggie. I think we made 20 for like $3. I started to make my own peanut butter, but the new Kroger by us has a peanut grinder, so it is easier to just buy it like that. My wife will often make pizza crusts and many other baked good. Learn to cook the old fashioned way and you will save $$$$$.

We just made a bunch of hummus for snacking this week. DIRT CHEAP to make.

As a person who once wrote a book on

October 7th, 2016

How to get and build up a year’s worth of groceries for our family of 7, I never quite know how to respond to the blanket statement that couponing doesn’t work.

I have ideas as to how it might not be working for you, but unless one is vegan or highly allergic or has special religious restrictions (I’m talking orthodox kosher or hallal), you can always save money using coupons. I won’t spend time trying to convert someone to my way of thought regarding grocery shopping, but I will piggyback on to some of what Kimberly said (and thank you Kathryn for the link to localharvest. I’ll check it out in a minute.)

And by the way, when I refer to “you”, I’m referring to the generic YOU, not the original poster, so please don’t take offense. None is intended.

GROCERIES. By this I mean food items.

1. If you are not going to use coupons then you need to rid your mind of brand name products.

If you’re serious about slashing your bill to save money, you can’t be buying $5.99 Pantene when .89cent VO5 will do. It’s the same with food items. There’s no reason to buy Horizon organic milk ($5.29/gal in my area) versus store brand non-organic $2.89/gal. GM cheerios $3.89/box versus storebrand $1.89. You get the point.

2. Bulk up when it’s on sale, and fit your weekly menu to use sale items, rather than grocery shopping out of a cook book.

This means if chicken is on sale .99/lb, then buy 40# of chicken that week. And all your meals (well most of them anyway) is based off chicken. It means you can’t be picky about when you’re going to eat something (or not.) There’s no reason to pay full retail for some things when they are on sale, even if you don’t use it all that week. That’s what a freezer is for.

If you don’t have enough room to store it the original packaging (I’m talking value pack chicken breast on the bone specifically) then filet it off the bone and pack it single layer in a gallon ziplock bag. It will freeze almost flat. BTW, if you throw in BBQ sauce or some kind of marinade in there at the same time, it will defrost and marinade at the same time, and you can toss in a crockpot or whatever.

3. Shop outside your comfort zone.

I live in southern California. Most caucasian people won’t step foot inside the vietnamese grocery stores, because “the store smells funny.” Too bad for them ‘cuz 50# bags of rice are regularly $29, and vegetables run an average of .33 to .50/lb. Ground beef, not used widely in asian cooking, is $1.79 or less a pound. Regular price. Ditto for mexican grocery stores where beans in bulk run about .10 – .20cents/lb.

There is a “same or next day” produce market near me which has really really cheap prices for produce. But if you’re looking to save a bundle and are willing to use it that day, then you’ll save loads. If I was vegan or vegetarian, that’s where I’d be.

NON FOOD ITEMS

1. Get over brand name loyalty. (we just had an “discussion” on this list about CVS 1000ct TP versus Aldi’s double roll versus Scott or Charmin.)

2. Become a dollar store devotee.

3. Use coupons.

AND FINALLY…learn to make stuff from scratch. Bread, cookies, milk (talking powdered, not get your own cow or goat!), laundry detergent, dish soap, bath bombs, noodles etc. can ALL be made from scratch for pennies on the dollar. I make my own bread and snacks, cream of soup and baking mixes, but am brand loyal to non-powdered milk for drinking (I live with a milk sommelier!), and would make my own detergents and soaps from scratch if I didn’t get it for free using coupons, which I do.

Hope this helps.

Did you not say you have 5 children?

September 24th, 2016

Buy a cow and a pig and have them slaughtered. It’s a lot of money up front, but in the long run, the dollar cost averaging is HUGE. We eat steak all the time. It costs us $3.90 a pound for local, organic, free range NY Strips. I look at the meat at the grocers and it’s nasty. No thank you, plus, they are charging tons more than I pay for my fantastic beef cut as I need to suit my family’s needs that’s grown locally and organically. Next. Shop less. I shop every 10 – 14 days. I do swing by the dairy for our milk weekly, but otherwise, unless I’m going to the farmer’s market (which is still a better deal than the grocers), I’m only walking into our grocery store very 10 – 14 days. Your kids are old enough to start baking cakes and cookies as snack food for the family. This is a cheaper option than buying store bought. I bought a gnormous bag of popcorn from Sams along with a huge bottle of oil. Popcorn popped on the stove top is our normal “snack food”, and it’s definitely a better and cheaper option than chips. Lsstly, double up on meals when you’re cooking. You can make two batches of spaghetti sauce, two batches of meatballs, two batches of meatloaf, tow batches of taco meat, etc., etc. when you’re cooking, and you’ll have fast and easy meals already prepped when you need one rather than depending upon a fast food meal on a crazy night. Our newest gig is to mix up a batch of pizza dough in our bread machine just before we leave for Mass. When we get home, it’s already prepared, along with the sauce and the cheese I’ve grated from a two pound block (when 2 pound blocks are on sale for $4 or less per pound, buy 12 blocks until the next sale. Do this with butter too. When you can buy it for less than $2 for one of those 4 stick packages, but 12 of them). There’s lots of little ways to save money on groceries, but it’s a huge budget buster if you’re not paying attention. It’s actually the easiest place I can think of to save money, but you have to be thoughtful, and probably glean some additional info you hadn’t thought of .

Ideals for lowering grocery and personal needs:

September 9th, 2016

1.have a pantry challenge and use up what you already have. (It’s amazing the odds and ends we have when we really look.)

2.create a meal plan and buy only what you need.

3.Make as much as you can from scratch, rather than buying already made stuff

4.Use coupons on personal care items, etc that coupons do exist for (only if better deal than non-coupon brand)

5.If shopping at Wal-Mart—take in other ads to price match

6.Do you have an Aldi in your area? Great for basics and food items without having to use coupons.

7.If eating out—have an “eat-in” night at home instead—where you create what you were going to go out for. Example: my college kids want taco bell— I make Taco Salads at home for 1/4 or less of the cost.

You didn’t mention what is your budget? How many are you feeding?

Just some quick ideas off the top of my head

I need to know what others are doing to reduce their spending on

August 31st, 2016

daily living such as groceries, as well home and personal needs. Coupons are not a whole lot of good it seems, since most are for products that we don’t want or need. We looked at the extreme couponing, and that is a joke too since almost all grocery stores around here do not multiply coupons. At most, we can combine coupons with sales, and take advantage of sales. But even the sales are getting pretty weak. We have Walmart & Gshloans payday loans services who never puts anything on sale anymore, and they don’t seem to care to have the cheapest price (without credit check) in town anymore either. We have Albert son’s that now instead of putting meat on sale, they mark it way up and advertise buy two get one free type offers.

Fact is, most of what I know about saving money no longer really seems to work. Our grocery bill has continually gone up and up along with everything else. What is everyone else doing to save money on these things?

Thanks for bringing up this topic

August 28th, 2016

I think all of with businesses (for profit or non-profit) or charities we fund raise for need band together and get the word out, especially in light of my previous post about the magazine ad being too expensive for now.

And guess who I nominate as the person to be in charge? YOU!
LOL Maybe you can at least get it started since it is your brain child. 😀

Oh, and I am thankful to have been helpful even when I wasn’t aware of it!

There are no laundry machines in my apartment

August 26th, 2016

and the laundromat is miles away through sometimes crawling traffic — and expensive. As I live alone, and work at home, with no children, my laundry demands are fairly modest.

Undies and light objects can certainly be done in a bowl and last longer when washed by hand, but “hands” aren’t the only option!

I have a “washing machine” for sturdier items (such as shirts and jeans): a utility bucket with a hole in the lid through which passes the handle of a rubber plunger (used ONLY for laundry).
I fill it while I’m in the shower with water that would otherwise be wasted. Add soap and laundry. A few minutes of plunger action is little different from a real washer except for the useful aerobic exercise.

And at bucket scale, I MUST do (if not “a load a day!”) small loads on a regular basis.

If not, my penance is a long haul to the laundromat with piles of quarters.

The real problem is drying in humid weather, sometimes best achieved by a trip to the big driers, but in winter, drying clothes hung by a radiator just help improve the dry air.

Not for everyone obviously, but an option for me. And in 15 minutes too.

The issue of marketing and generating sales is a HUGE piece of any small biz

July 21st, 2016

Any biz of any size, actually. That’s where most businesses fall-down-go-boom. Sure, we go into business because we can make X gizmo over and over again and have it come out really well. But can we sell it? And can we find a big enough flock of people, to sell enough of it to live off the proceeds? There lay the difference between success and failure. And you’re well on your way now to figuring out how big a role that plays. My decision this week to go back to hourly work for awhile is exactly due to this conundrum. We can make the bacon. But we can’t sell enough of it yet to live on.

Taking a step back from the “list an ad here vs list an ad there”, have you considered consulting with a small biz advisor in your area? There are a lot of different programs offered for small business owners, for exactly this type of question. SBA offers a lot of workshops and classes through various community colleges. You may have a chapter of SCORE nearby (Service Corps of Retired Executives, www.score.org), which are retired yet successful business owners who want to mentor new biz owners like us. I just went to look up that website, and it looks like they’ve got online classes now too.

Even talking to other shop owners or crafters like yourself, but making different products, will give you some insights into what works and what doesn’t in your area. They’ve already gone and tried a lot of the things you’re thinking about.

For me, we’ve consulted off and on with other small farm owners, we have mentors who have successful small farms, and we’re on email lists like this one, but for various farm categories. Joining up with like-minded folks trying to do the same thing, but in different communities, gives you access to a huge volume of information without directly competing with them on sales. It can create a lot of camaraderie. I know I’ve learned a lot about how to market and sell farm products that way. We just need more $$$ coming in first so we can go DO some of those marketing ideas.

Hang in there. You’re feeling growing pains right now and that stinks. For that matter, so are we. But an hour spent with someone who’s been-there-done-that can save you days (weeks, months, years) of effort trying to blaze that trail for yourself. Hopefully you can find someone who can help you sort out options, choose the ones you’re going to go for, and make the most of it. Onward and upward!

Just two:

June 7th, 2016

1 – When you do the show, make sure to let people know that they can get on your mailing list for special deals and offers.

2 – Offer something as a prize in a drawing among everyone who makes a purchase that day. Need not be present to win – another reason for the mailing list…

This morning I talked to the advertising lady from Point of Vue magazine

May 2nd, 2016

And tell her I would not be able to take out an ad at this time but to call me in a couple of months. I explained it was not in the budget this time…. as hard as that was to do. However I told her it gave me something to work towards. I told her I had some cyber friends in similar situations with small businesses and we’re encouraging each other in this kind of thing. I think she sorta liked that idea.

On the up side, she told me she mentioned my business to the editor of the magazine and he MIGHT call me at some point in the future to do an article on my business. Okay, when she said this, I was thinking … “who doesn’t like FREE advertising?!” LOL LOL LOL Of course it is not guaranteed he’ll call me or even if they interview me it may not make it to press. So we’ll see. **If** it happens, I’ll let you know.

I am thinking I need to set some financial goals to work towards. I am not sure how much or where the business will come from. I need to find more means of marketing so it’s sort of a vicious cycle. So all the more reason for FREE advertising.

On that note, I am expecting another check to clear for another craft show … $120. That will make a big dent in the funds. I am hoping to get in but I have not heard yet but should be soon.

Plus I need funds to buy more tiles. I need about 6-8 boxes to get my stock up for this big show I mentioned yesterday so I can get some coasters made. I also need some trivet sized tiles, probaby 10-15 of those. Also need some cleaner.

So I better get to moving on moving some of my current stock. I may send out an email to friends letting them know I am moving current stock to prepare for the show and see if it garners some action.

I had an appointment with an ad saleslady from the local magazine I had mentioned

April 3rd, 2016

Much to my dismay, but not totally shocking, the rates are too high for me right now. They offer a lower than “rack rate” (or whatever they call it) if you do a contract for 3 months, a year, etc. I cannot do that right now. I am thinking about saving enough to do it but it is simply beyond my reach. So, I am disappointed and trying not to worry about losing potential sales from the ads.

On the happier side …

I got official word today that I am accpeted in to a HUGE craft show here on November 2. It has 6000-8000 visitors each time they have it. It is a true craft show. More on that in a minute. All booths are 10×10 though anyone is welcome to get more booth space. I will have one 10×10. They have community involvement with clubs like Rotary, etc. My dh will work the Rotary booth for a while. The clubs sell different food/beverages to help raise money for the museum which puts this on. Here is a link to the museum … http://www.southdownmuseum.org/marketplace. This is a huge show that many attend faithfully and it’s held twice a year. Many people schedule their spring and fall around this event. Of course, not all the visitors visit every booth. However, I expect a lot of action that day and down the road from repeat business or those who could not buy that day but do so later.

Too many are called “craft fairs/shows” and they’ll have 1/2 or more of the booths filled with “resellers” … tupperware, avon, mary kay, scentsy, etc. I have nothing against those products and have bought from all those companies and more. However, for people like me it cheapens the whole event to have that kind of product in with real, true crafts. This event does NOT allow resellers. If you start out with a commercially manufactured item, it must be significantly modified. I aum, no, that’s not the motivation, and I was pained to hear that was ever a suspicion. Suffice to say we both learned a few new things. And now we both feel like we’re on the same page again, in terms of financial priorities and spending limits. That by itself feels great. If you live close enough I hope you’ll come to Southdown. I will be in booth number 55.

The other good news is that I have the custom book cases in my studio. I hope to get pics posted in the next couple of days after things are loaded into the room. I am waiting on the table top. We are having a granite top cut and polished for my work table. I am crossing my fingers it can be delivered by week’s end.

Dh has given me some work to think about. I really need to do it. It more alogn the lines of “office work”. I need to set up an official leger (eletronic or written). I have been saving receipts but have not done more with them. After getting my studio set up I need to get with him on the ledger business. I am sure I need to do more official book work in some way.

So I guess I have the proverbial good news, bad news report. However it’s not really bad at all concerning the magazine. It just gives me some goals to work toward.

No, these weren’t mystery shops dining out these were lucky coupon finds

February 20th, 2016

The first was on Tuesday. I’ve often wrote about being on mailing lists for fast food joints and restaurants to get discounts. Well this meal was a great example of why. I received an email that contained a one day only coupon for a regular Arby’s roast beef sandwich for $.63, limit one per visit. I printed it twice and had dh print it twice at work. He and ds had drove in separately that day due to appointments. Ds went in late, due to his appointment. So he took the two coupons I had printed with him.
There are 2 Arby’s directly on their route home from work. They went less than a block out of their way total to do this. Each went through the drive-thru at each location and got 1 regular roast beef sandwich for a total of 4 sandwiches. Technically the 2 restaurants, although only 2 miles apart, are in different towns and so the total with tax at one was $.69 and $.70 at the other. For a total f $2.78 for four Arby’s regular sized roast beef sandwiches.
Meanwhile at home I turned two potatoes into potato chips and brewed ice tea. The grand total to feed three healthy adult appetites was far less than I could cook a from scratch meal for.
On Thursday I received from a freebies list I am on a $5 off coupon off of a purchase of $5 or more from Smashburger—one of our favorite places to eat. Limit 1 per person. While we could have done the homemade chips and tea again the guys could have only got 2 burgers because of the coupon limitation. So we opted for me to meet them there. Technically we could have eaten for nearly free again if we’d decided on no sides and drank water. But we all decided to get 3 different sides, one each, and share them and a beverage. So that meal did cost us around $5 total, because we had coupons for two of the sides as well. Still cheaper than I could have made the meal at home.
A coupon and a meal deal at Subway fed dh and I lunch on Friday for under $5.
All three of these meals had surveys on their receipts. These surveys will be completed and we will get additional coupons for free items as well.
We had two opportunities to eat free meals for 2 from mystery shopping over the weekend, but those would have required us to pay up front and be re-imbursed later, plus considerable fuel to go to the restaurant. So we stayed home and did major chores instead. Fewer calories consumed that way too.
The point of this post is to show that you can eat out, occasionally for free or near free if you just watch for coupons and specials, then take the time, usually less than 5 minutes to do the surveys. When we cash in te coupons we always try to make it where we are not going out of the way to do so, because fuel cost needs to be factored into the cost.
The rest of the meals for the week were all out of our food storage (week #5). Other than doing home repairs and clean-up with what we had on hand that is pretty much our budget news for the week.
Oh I did my first true snowball payment on BB, so that made me smile big time. We now have officially paid, so far this billing cycle, the equivalent of 4 months minimum payments on BB and we still have a couple of days to go on it so I may be able to do a little more.

First of all, our first “budget meeting under new rules of management” went really well

February 17th, 2016

Surprisingly well. We have a tentative budget for August, with both of us agreed to the various amounts and limits. We’re putting a moratorium on all extra projects and purchases until we BOTH feel like we’ve got our collective spending under control.

Second, DH is just about done prepping not only his July spending info for sharing, but also May/June. Interesting little evolution with that situation. Keep in mind that one of the reasons we’re still in therapy is that he has a lot of difficulty with expressing his opinions, concerns, idea, etc. (Whatever my limitations in life, that’s obviously not one of them). So this whole time that we’ve been living beyond our means post-DR, he thought he was doing a good job communicating his concerns and frustrations. Um, honey, you actually have to say this stuff OUT LOUD before anyone else knows about it; walking around scowling doesn’t convey much detail! But his reluctance to share account info was based on his conviction that I had totally blown off DR and just wanted to spend all his money anyway. Wow, um, no, that’s not the motivation, and I was pained to hear that was ever a suspicion. Suffice to say we both learned a few new things. And now we both feel like we’re on the same page again, in terms of financial priorities and spending limits. That by itself feels great.

But the biggest news is that I’ve had a major change of heart concerning my own earnings potential. As I mentioned last week, DH and I were already in agreement that farm income HAD to improve. And as I reviewed this-or-that option, I kept running into the same problem. We’ve got the production end of things down pat. We can produce garden goodies. We can produce piglets and chickens and rabbits and eggs and hay and a whole host of other products. The crunch comes, though, in the sales and marketing. There is no single product we’ve created yet so far that we’ve consistently sold out. We’ve come close on some items, but we’re not at that “demand is greater than supply” stage yet. Furthermore, our cost of production is still high enough that whatever we do sell, we only make about 5% profit on it. And we don’t have the scale yet to make that 5% add up to enough for me to live on. Long story short, I could produce my little heart out over the next few weeks and months, and maybe sell all of it, maybe sell some, maybe sell nothing. And still not quite earn enough to meet our financial goals. A lot of that is because we’re still building out our capacity. But bottom line, I can’t meet our income goals for the year, with just the farm. So, over the weekend, I made the hard decision to button some things up here and start looking for non-farm part-time work again. It’s the only way I can guarantee that I’ll actually be paid for effort made, and get paid enough to make a difference. I came to that decision kicking and screaming, but the numbers just wouldn’t allow for any wishful thinking in that regard.

So the job search has already begun, and I’m already putting together application materials for two different listings I’ve found so far. Yikes, back in the job market after 3 years of self-employment. Not for the faint of heart. But that’s my homework report. I might not get an A for achievement yet, but I sure as heck hope I got a gold star for effort.