Thursday, September 3, 2015

Budget ideas, tips and advice with teens?

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I love reading blogs, watching Youtube videos and scouring Pinterest for budget ideas but I never seem to find anything that really relates to me. I love all the helpful hints but if I'm to be honest, not a whole lot is very realistic in my world. I'm not a single parent, empty nester, homeschooler or Mom of preschoolers which seems to be the majority of information I find. I try to piece together what works best for our family but sometimes it would be nice to see a family who has two ravenous teens who eat their weight in food a week! LOL! To be honest, our food budget alone is totally on the opposite spectrum of a family with a baby and a two year old. Let's not mention clothing, school expenses, doctor visits (did I mention Austim is in the mix as well), spending time with friends and impending graduation/college costs. It's a whole lotta cash flying out the door. Teens will not be entertained with peekaboo or toilet roll crafts (okay maybe some of the times!). I can hear my own frustration here! I guess my post is sounding like a rant but there's a sea of Moms who are in the same boat...I'm just not really sure where they are?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Making money and spending money

Summer has ended...the kiddos are back in school...and I've been trying to ramp up my listings on Ebay. Summer sales were rather dismal but I didn't give up.....I listed and listed and listed....I kept hearing other sellers say to stock your store and prepare for sales to ramp up in September. Thankfully August was a huge month for me. I sold about 35 items and made a little over $800! I was very proud of myself. The money came in very handy for school clothes and supply shopping. I'm going to try to keep the momentum going and hopefully save enough in September to pay off one of our credit cards which has a balance of  $433. I've been listing everything under the sun. No item too big or too small. To my surprise, clothes have been a big seller. One item that always surprises me is old glasses and sunglasses. They are always guaranteed to sell so its worth digging around to see if they are worth anything. I will be updating my debt totals tonight so I'm hoping to get back under 150,000 but I'm not sure. Hope y'all have a great week!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Getting back on the Ebay horse....

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day! It's Monday so its a "blah" kind of morning to start but trying to turn it around and make it a YAY kind of day! I'm trying to get back on the Ebay horse as my listings have been dwinding a bit so I really need to ramp up my listing and make some $$$. I have lots of inventory so I'm going to scale back on Dad visits since my sister is off for the summer and pass the torch to her for a while. I find that a bit difficult but letting go for a bit is good for my sanity. LOL!

Summer is expensive because we try to keep on the go and naturally our food costs go up with 3 instead of 1 (sometimes 2 if I'm counting Dad) at home during the day. Add to that, electric/water costs go up and there you have it...summer money is needed. I'm also considering sending Kiddo2 to Math Camp next week. I wish I was the parent who is on top of things and had this all lined up already but I'm not. I should be...but I am not. I'm going to talk to Kiddo2 and get their thoughts on it. 

Something new that I will do with every post is give a tip on Ebaying. Do I consider myself an but after 13 years of Ebaying, I do believe I know a thing or! I'll start with one item to keep an eye out for....camping lanterns. Just about everyone has one in their garage or has a parent/grandparent who has one in theirs so its an easily accessible item.  Some vintage lanterns can bring in hundreds of dollars while the ultra rare types bring in thousands of dollars. If you have one, a quick search of Ebay completed items will help gauge what your item is worth. 

Y'all have a great day :) 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Some days.....

So its been FOREVER since I posted! Frankly, I didn't know what to write.  School is over for the kiddos and summer has begun.  We took a trip to Las Vegas for a family wedding. It was FUN but so tiring.

The trip cost us a pretty penny. We did use a bit of credit but paid a big chunk of it the day after we arrived back home. We tried to be pretty cost aware whenever we did anything. We ate breakfast off the strip which saved us a ton of money. We did a lot of free things like visit the Las Vegas sign, take a scenic drive to take pictures near the mountains and watched a few free shows at/around the casinos.  The kids LOVED visiting Circus Circus. Yes, its dated, chaotic and WAY smoky but once they saw the arcade...they were in heaven.  The circus acts every twenty minutes were so fun to watch too. We also really enjoyed our trip to the Wynn casino.  It is absolutely beautiful. Kiddo2 wanted to visit because they had seen it in the Paul Blart 2 movie.  LOL! I was so glad we went because the surroundings were lush, gorgeous and just plain amazing. I would gladly save my pennies to stay there! We stayed at the MGM Resort and Casino.  It was very nice with lots to see and do. We had dinner at the FIAMMA Italian restaurant and it was excellent! The kids loved the Lazy River at the pool. And we all were amazed by the KA by Cirque du Soleil show. It felt like a real vacation!

So now we are back at home...its been hard readjusting back to reality but all good things must come to an end. Although we had a family friend visit our cat every other day, he was still not happy.  He decided to poop on our leather couch. To say I was thoroughly disgusted is an understatement. Then, a day after we got home he did it again. I'm currently washing, scrubbing and spraying every surface possible to get the stink out. If not, we are going to need a new couch. That is not helpful to our budget. Also our garage door broke the day before we left so I need to call the repairman. I'm hoping the cost is minimal on that. But I can't complain, life can always be worse and so I have to be thankful for our blessings as much as I may want to scream in frustration, I have to tell myself that things can be replaced/fixed!

Today, I'll be working on clearing out more space and clutter. I'm seriously downsizing my Ebay stock because I need to concentrate on a small section of my items. Gathering items to take to Dad. I'm hoping everyone has a great weekend and I look forward to posting more this summer!

Performer at Circus Circus

Scenic drive

The Wynn

Every detail was so beautiful

Amazing outdoor waterfall

Fresh flower creations!

The Mirage volacano eruption

Boxing ring at the MGM

Cirque du Soleil theater at the MGM

We splurged on room service desserts while Mr. Man was a the casino

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Trying to hold it all together....

For the past couple of months, I have started to write a new post only to go back and delete it. I am being pulled in so many different directions that I didn't know what exactly I should write of. Our financial position is not a whole lot different. Mr. Man did get a new vehicle so our debt total did go up some for the time being. Thankfully we are in a good place at the current moment and need to focus on that. I've also been sick, the kiddos have been sick and finally on Easter Sunday, Dad had a minor medical emergency. He's 86 years old and although very active, he's still EIGHTY SIX years old.  Now, I'm left to decide what is our plan moving forward.  Should we find a bigger home and tell Dad to move in or allow him his independence while dividing time between our home and his. And also why am I the only one seriously considering this option. I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders. Some days I want to live carefree and just enjoy my kids and husband but life isn't allowing that.  Then, guilt creeps in and I feel terrible for just wanting a "normal" life even though I know nothing is ever "normal" for anyone. In the end, I know that I won't be content unless I know Dad is okay and at the moment it seems like I'm the only one who can provide that for him or for that matter WANTS to provide that for him. It's tough, no one tells you these parts of life. It's not always fun but in the end I know its the right thing to do.

Friday, January 16, 2015

How We Save Money...

I always enjoy reading about how others save money in their daily lives so I thought I'd share the little ways we save....

1. Skip the soda/cookie/chip aisle at the grocery store.  I find it amazing how many people load down their carts with cases of soda, chips and cookies.  Hey, I love me some junk food but I also know that I cannot have it in the house because it will all be gone within the day! Plus all that money adds up and I'd rather get a few extra fruits and vegetables instead. 

2. We do not have cable.  Some people may cringe at this thought but we cut the cord about 2-3 years ago.  And that was with a teenager and elementary aged kid.  The kids watch the shows they like online and we stream movies and tv shows through Netflix and Amazon.  Plus Youtube has so many helpful and funny videos.  We use an HDTV anntenna on our TV to catch local stations and ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and the CW. We do not miss paying the extra $100 a month at all!

3. We have a budget.  Now, sometimes we go over our allotted amounts but it keeps us accountable and helps guide us in order to save money.  Our budget lists all fixed bills as well as food, gas, lunch money and other "soft" expenses.  If ever we have a tight month we can immediately see where we can trim spending. 

4.  I coupon.  I'm not an extreme crazy couponer (sometimes I wish I .  I just search and clip coupons on items we use normally.  I also use rewards cards and keep a stockpile of items we use daily. 

5. The last way we save money is we enjoy the little things! Although I would love to spend a day at the mall every weekend shopping away...I always stop myself and ask " Is that where my time is best spent?" Making memories with my kids and giving them experiences rather than things has played a huge part in getting our finances back on track.  They remember days at the park, shows we've seen together and fun trips we've taken over things we have bought for them. 

I'm hoping ya'll have a great weekend and as always I look forward to reading how ya'll save :) 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tortillas on a cold day!

Its been really cold for here in South Texas.  The other day, I was too cozy at home to venture out so I made due with what we had here. I made some tortillas. I don't make them very often because Kiddo2 is gluten sensitive but we all did enjoy this rare treat.

I didn't have a griddle to cook them on so I just used a piece of tin foil on the flat ceramic stovetop. Worked like a charm!

I was in the mood for some zucchini so I put some in the oven...

I heated up some refried beans, added shredded mozzarella and the roasted zucchini and well I couldn't wait...

It was so yummy!