Thursday, December 15, 2016

Selling On Line Fail

So recently, I decided to give selling on Amazon a chance. I found an item that I could flip for a $30 gain. That's awesome, except I did not know what I was doing. It spent every bit of my profit on shipping and then I came to realize that I selected the wrong picture and needed to include a car. I had to buy the car on amazon and have it shipped to the buyer. I actually lost money on the deal. However, I have been talking to people who do this for a living and have learned a few things. Had I known then what I know now, I would have turned a nice profit. I will be trying this again and plan to make money on it this time.

Have you ever tried selling online? What are some of your favorite items to sell?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Savings Goals

We are working working on baby step one of Dave Ramsey's baby steps. It's rough. We are trying to figure out how to work our way to financial freedom. Doing this on income is very hard. We are barely scraping through, let along have the ability to put money back. Baby step one is to put back $1000 emergency fund. On paper it looks so easy, but holy moly it is not! We are trying to find creative ways to pinch penny's. My notebook and Pinterest and Facebook groups are quickly becoming my lifeline. I am finding ways to come up with $10 here or there. It's not a lot but every penny counts! Sell anything that we don't use. I am keeping a log of everything. If I have an idea it gets written down. Expenses go in the book. We are going to be debt free. We are going to find our financial freedom. 

Things I am learning:
Budget is king. Use it until it's gone or fix it if it's broken. You don't eat out. When you don't feel like cooking, tough eat a sandwich. Coupons are cash. Free events are amazing for a family our size.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

We are Moving!!!

We are pleased to announce that after many months of busting our humps to fix some financial issues, we have been approved to buy our first home. We are over the moon about finally getting to move forward and spend each and every day together as our little or not so little family. Now we are looking at where to start. We are looking at houses in a price range that we initially thought we couldn't afford, though we would like to buy for much less. We have the option to look for land. We would love to have a small farm. We are looking for a fenced in back yard or full yard so that the boys can just run wild. I would like a large enough yard to have a garden and chickens and possibly an above ground pool.

We need at least three bed rooms. Of course we would like four or more, but we can make due with three. I am praying for a second bathroom and a dishwasher. I really am dreading the actual moving process. I hate unpacking and rearranging. I like to paint so I am excited about changing up any colors. I like decorating. I get a minor panic attack when I have to think about pre cleaning the house to get rid of the dirt and germs acquired by the previous owners.

So much to do! I am in the process of making some checklists to help the move go more smoothly. This is my 9th move in 12 years so I feel like a pro. I hope that we can transition this easily for our little family. One thing that I am super excited about with the move and unpacking... Decluttering! I plan to go through every box and Kon Mari everything... again. Last time we did the Kon Mari method, was shortly after Ex had moved out and I was not in the best place to be trying to find what brought me joy, because I really wanted to get rid of everything except the kids. Needless to say, I gave up quickly and did not get rid of much. This time I anticipate getting rid of a lot. And by a lot, I mean tons! Since July of this year, the boys and I have been living with my parents due to my illness. We have had most of our belongings in storage and have only made one trip to storage to get anything out. I haven't really missed anything. So I really see me getting rid of most of the boxes in my storage unit.

That is another transition that I am worried about is combining our belongings. He is not bringing many possessions to the house which is probably a good thing. We will be adding thing for DS1 and DS2 at our house. We are so excited.  To officially and beautifully blend our family.

We are seeing wonderful blessings from this great news. We are going to be together every day and not just a couple days a weeks. We are saving money on what our rent would have been and there are not restrictions on how many bedrooms we have to have. We will be saving close to 300 dollars a month on housing. We will be able to be cooking every night and eating healthier, in return saving us money on our food costs. Selling the items that we no longer want and using that money toward our baby steps.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Christmas Time is Here Again

Christmas is rapidly approaching. We were certainly not prepared for this. I won't even begin to lie. I would love to say that we have it all together but holy moly we are a hot mess this year. We became a serious couple in the middle of the year and yes I had intended to buy DS1 and DS2 gifts, but I had not intended how this year would unfold for us. I didn't expect that we would be combining and buy for 5 kids. I didn't expect to not be working due to illness. I didn't expect not to be in our own home but here we are.

So we got word that we will have all 5 boys overnight for Christmas just last week. This is super exciting for us. I am so thankful that Baby Mama is letting us have them! So we will be making the trek out to get them on Christmas morning. Of course, it will be close to 11 before they are down here on Christmas morning. So we are combining traditions. I typically get up with the boys around 7 on Christmas morning and open their gifts. However, Brad won't be back with the boys by then so we are going to have to wait. I have the tradition of making green pancakes and hot cocoa but we will have to do that without the boys.

Trying to make it completely even is really hard. I want all of the kids to experience the same thing! I want them to all know that they are even. There are no steps in our home except the ones that lead to the basement. That is why presents are so hard this year. Do we do the same amount of money on each kid? Do we do the same amount under the tree? Do we combine our limited budget and buy a really large gift for the 5 of them to share?

So this year, due to poor planning we are having to pull some Christmas magic and rely on creativity and lots of prayers. We have a game plan. We are going to take all of our used books, movies and CDs to the local used book store. We are going to opt for store credit instead of cash, because it pays out better. We are going to then look for the boys as many used Xbox games and board games as we can and use the credit and the cash we have on hand to rock this Christmas. Most of the products there are half off. I have been known to get games for $7.

Our kids, always have everything they need and most of what they want. They are thankful for what they receive. They don't care if it is used as long as it is in good condition and has all the pieces they are happy. To kids it's not about what you spend or the packaging it's about the fun and the mystery. I think that is a great start.

Now, we have started a game plan for next Christmas. So we can do it bigger and better! I am scrimping and saving and planning. If everything goes according to plan, we are planning on a family trip to Disney! Here's to hoping!

What are your tricks to provide on a budget?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Making Our Own Gifts

So we are making our gifts for each other this year! We are not allowed to spend any money. We are being creative. I have the ability to paint. I'm no artist by any means. Brad loves lions. So I painted him a lion. He's been teasing me by giving hints but won't tell me what he is making. I want to do it up right, but I don't know what else to make. I am making a couples coupon book. You know the "get out of fight free" or "I'll do your chores today" plus a couple of fun date ones. 

I have spent about 4 hours painting and working on the computer to make the coupon book. I really hope that he likes it. I get anxiety when it comes to gifts. It's such a joy for me to let the people I love know that I love them. 

He made me a steel sculpture. I LOVE it!!! It could not have been better.

What are your favorite homemade gifts?

Preview of 2017

So 2016 was a sucky year for most everyone I have talked to. Many of us lost loved ones, ended relationships or had financial hardships. Our household was no different. I lost my "mama", a women who helped raise me and loved me like her own. I adored her! I lost my house, my car bit the big one and I became a medical mystery with my illness. DS5 got pneumonia and was hospitalized. It was rough but so many good things happened. Brad and I found each other after looking for a lifetime. We have learned a lot and want to move forward making our lives and the lives of our boys better.

Everyone sets resolutions for the new year, but never seem to keep them. I am setting goals, because goals make changes happen. This year is the year of learning in our home. So here are the goals I have set for myself and we will be setting goals with the kids:
  • Read 5 books a month
  • Complete Dave Ramsey Baby Step 1 and 2
  • Learn to sew
  • Learn to can
  • Take a Spanish Class
  • Take Cake Decorating Classes
  • Start Couponing again
  • Lose 10 pound
  • Learn Calligraphy
  • Get Married
  • Save a down payment for a house
  • Paint once a month
  • Spear head our way to financial freedom
This is just a few of the goals I've come up with. What are some goals you have? I am open to suggestions! What else should I add to the list?