i took an accidental 5-month sabbatical from the blog, when my contract got cut at my old job and i had to get a new one. then i was all kinds of busy and forgot about it, but now it’s become routine again and so i decided to pick up where i left off.
plus, i heard a rumor that some folks enjoy reading about nerds, so i’m obliged to continue.
over the last six months, not much has changed, but some things definitely have:
a) i have a new job – this means i make more $$ and am much closer to paying off my debt. i just received my tax return and applied it towards this goal, and now my total debt is down to about $9k from my original starting point of $25k.
b) i have embraced living in the basement. J and I bought an entertainment system and now after A falls asleep we can watch LOST. also, i like to pretend that we are living in the hatch, like Desmond did, and that has kept me sane sometimes. it’s pretty cool to pretend to be in LOST. especially when your nightlights become “torches”.
c) we bought a real bed. i think we paid about $700 altogether for a new mattress and box spring, and it has made a huge difference. i am sleeping so great, and love the bed, and would have paid 500x as much money for it. a great bed makes all the difference.
d) i only owe $9k now. i used to owe $25k. that’s huge. i have about 9 months until i will be able to completely pay it off, and then i’ll have an awesome debt to income ratio, and then we’ll be able to buy a house. after a year in the basement, i am counting down the days. officially i only need to pay off another $4k to qualify for the loan we want, but by the time we find one, sign the papers and move in, i’ll have $0 owed.
e) my baby is officially a little boy. he’s talking. he makes demands. he states preferences. he loves thomas the train, elmo, toy story and mickey mouse. he can watch toy story as many times in a row as you will let him (yes, i have tested this theory). yesterday he was able to entertain himself with his toys and Sprout for an entire 3 hours while J and I slept in. he’s practicing potty training at daycare, and pretty soon will be ready to start at home. he knows all of his abc’s, his numbers 1-14, most shapes, and a lot of nursery songs. he also knows all of the characters in his favorite movies, how to give a hug and make someone feel better, what it sounds like when a baby cries (his toddler room is next to the infant room at daycare). he’ll be moving into the preschool room after his 3rd birthday. he is so smart. i can’t believe he’s so big already.
as far as big changes go, those are it. i’m working on reducing our grocery bill by as much $ as possible also – to save J some money that he can add to general savings or the down payment fund. we figure we’ll need to replace both cars in the next 5 years (his in the beginning, mine towards the end of that period), so we need to save for it. we also need some emergency savings and whatnot so i’m considering that also. i basically want to maximize the $ we have, and cut spending down to where we can spend $300 on groceries and household a month and not feel like i’m missing anything.
so far, i have discovered there are so many things i can make in the crock pot! and some that i can’t. i made thai peanut beef (amazing), beef stew, mexican taco filling (beans, corn, carrots, ground turkey, and whatever other veggies i have), and those were all winners. the epic failure came when i tried to make a crock pot with too many beans.
i started using dry beans (the kind you have to soak overnight), because they were cheaper. but i didnt know they would absorb so much dang liquid! so when i put them in the crock pot i put too many for the amount of liquid i had, and came home to a dry, burned mess. at least now i know how to make them properly, and next time i’m going to boil the hell out of them before putting them in a crock pot.
we also got the popcorn that is just the seeds, and you put oil in a pan and pop it that way. omfg it is so good. that is a HUGE money saver for us because we both LOVE popcorn (A doesn’t, but he’s two and doesn’t like weird textures). we used to go through a box of microwave popcorn in two weeks, but the seeds we bought cost like 1.50 and will last for a couple of months. i think its going to save 20 bucks a month, and every 20 bucks you save adds up! can you tell i have gotten even more nerdy about money?
it has become an obsession really, trying to find ways to do things ourselves to save money. or to find what we want cheaper than retail price. i read about couponing, and yes i know you can buy $200 of groceries for $0.04 if you get the right coupons and go to all the right stores and whatever, but that just sounds like a waste of time. i’m not going to 4 grocery stores, and people who do are insane or have nothing better to do. i stand by that. you waste the $ you save in gas, people!
i have a sewing machine though, and i want to break it out and start using it. it’s still in the package from Christmas, because it has a ton of small parts that i don’t want A getting into, but it could save me a ton of money if i could learn how to make something cool and sell it on etsy. if i had the time to run a business on the side, that is. i also knit and am wanting to do it more, but the problem is it takes FOREVER to finish something that way. a scarf big enough for J to wear takes me about 3 months to finish…an Ugli doll fake that i sewed by hand for AJ took me 6 months to finish. it’s not because i don’t want to finish it, it’s because i run out of time or other things have to take precedence, or a lot of days, i am too damn exhausted from being a full time mom AND full time employee.
the way i’ve done the crock pots started out imitating the crock pot lady. i made three huge crock pots a week, we ate what i made for dinner and froze the leftovers into individual portions. then i packed our lunches with whatever we had in the freezer. it ended up ROCKING and saving J about $1k last month combined with all my other efforts (Walmart shopping, DIY, trying to stick to needs vs. wants at the store, not throwing random things in the cart, etc). apparently i am a car thrower-inner.
ya, J thinks i just throw stuff in the cart when we’re at the store. but really, i see stuff we need that goes on sale and go, “we need this” and throw it in. granted a lot of those things are “oh we should really improve xyz aspect of our lives with this product”, but i still see it as a need. i’m a mom, i’ve learned to anticipate the future, and i like to make one huge grocery trip a month instead of several small ones a month. so i anticipate our needs. is that such a bad thing?
what else is different….oh ya, i decided that just because we have some $, doesn’t mean we should spend it. so thats helpful with the whole “trying to not live in a basement” thing.
i am going to write a lot more on the trials and errors that go along with living in a basement, but for now just know that living in a basement with your two year old is sometimes a form of hell on earth. and sometimes, it’s awesome.
until next time.