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Getting Closer to My Goals

May 22nd, 2008 at 06:56 am

I have to say that I'm thankful to George for the stimulus payment. It is currently stimulating my savings account balance quite nicely. I'm getting closer and closer to my goal of purchasing a home for my family.

I have been doing a bit more marketing for my freelance writing practice and I snagged a wonderful new client. Every little bit helps and it feel great to hear a new client praise your work.

Now it won't be long before I can get pre-qualified and start house-hunting. My girls are excited about the prospect of moving out of our sardine can of an apartment into more spacious diggs. I'm inviting all of you to my house-warming party after we get moved into our new place.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

April 30th, 2008 at 06:19 pm

I'm making good progress towards my savings goals. I am really proud of the amount of self-discipline that I have developed. Yesterday was a very challenging, but ulitmately victorious day at work, so to celebrate, I stopped at the local coffee shop and had a soy chai latte. I had stopped getting lattes in the morning and started adding that money to my savings. It had been so long since I had one, the chai was absolutely delicious.

I am also making great progress in saving on my groceries, but the rising gas prices seem to be cancelling those savings out.

If things go according to plan, I will reach my savings goal for the house by mid-June. I also want to get my emergency fund back to where it was before I was unemployed last year.

So, I feel really good about my savings. I get such a thrill when I see the balance rising.

Moving Closer to My Goals

April 11th, 2008 at 10:20 am

It's been a good week. I did eat out twice, but I decided that it was OK. They were lunches with friends, and I would have had to decline spending time with them if I chose to eat my lunch alone at my desk. I feel really good about my growing ability to curb miscellaneous spending.

A few months ago I opened a disability insurance policy. As a single parent it's important to me to protect my income. This coverage also pays you when you make routine visits to the doctor's office, so I just received a check for my last office visit. The co-pay was $20. and the check was $15., so that's like a $5. office visit. That money goes straight into the savings account.

On the moonlighting Freelance writing front I found a new writing gig, sold an article and got a new resume client. So things are slowly moving along. A friend wants me to help him to find an agent for his book on foreign policy, and I'll be helping him to polish that manuscript up in preparation for shopping it around.

Tomorrow I will attend a housing fair put on by the city's housing department. They have finance workshops and other educational opportunities aimed at first-time home buyers. I'm just bursting with excitement about moving closer and closer to my goals.

Seeing Some Progress

April 3rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm

I got my $300 state refund the other day, but that will go to pay off a bill and the remaining $48. will go into savings. I have been limiting my lunches out at work to one day a week. Preparing my lunches at home and bringing them to work has also allowed me to stick to my diet more consistently.

All of this focus on saving money has caused me to realize how much I have been wasting. Reading the blogs here and following ya'll's progress is also inspiring.

When my federal refund arrives and the much fabled 'stimulus payment' arrives those will both go into my home savings account. Never have I been this excited about NOT spending money. Kinda strange. . .

Learning to Save on Groceries

March 28th, 2008 at 06:56 pm

On Wednesday when I got home from work, I found an application for a grocery store savings card in the mail. If I filled out the application and brought the card into the store, I'd get 10% off on my groceries for the first month.

On Thursday, I brought the card to the store and got an $18.07 discount on my grocery order. Sweet.

I perused the grocery coupon sites but I did not find many coupons for the foods I purchase. I did not remember bring my grocery chart with me, but I will bring it next time and I will employ the services of my ten-year-old to scribe the prices for me as we purchase items.

So, progress--even just a little bit--is a good thing.

Taming the Grocery Budget Beast

March 26th, 2008 at 09:40 am

I spend about $150. on groceries each week, and then I spend about $15 or $20 per week on lunches at work. I try to limit meals out with the girls to once or twice a month. My goal is to cut my food budget and contribute what I save there towards my house nest egg account.

I will readily admit that I have never been much of a coupon clipper. My grocery store prints coupons along with the receipt that seem to be refelctive of items that I have already purchased. Unfortunately, I don't always remember to use these coupons. (silly, I know)

Now I have become aware of how much money I am leaving on the table by paying full price for my groceries. My goal is to find ways to cut my grocery budget by at least 25% by using coupons. I will also make more of an effort to bring my lunch to work and limit eating out at lunch to one day per week, or $15 per week.

One of the challenges is that I am a vegetarian, and I don't eat many prepared foods, which is most often what the coupons are for. I buy my produce fresh and prepare almost all of my meals from scratch. So, I will will see how much of a dent coupons are going to make in my grocery store spending.

Action Items from Couponmom.com:

-start using a grocery price book where I track the prices of the items we use regularly

-remember to bring this book (and use it) as I shop for groceries

When I reach these goals I will be able to add $170. additional to my house fund.

For those who are also interested in finding creative, easy ways to cut their grocery budget, here are a couple of sites that I have found to be useful. If you know of any others, please feel free to share them.

http://www.dreamlinesavingsolutions.com/grocery-savings.aspx

http://www.couponmom.com/

Gratitude for Now

March 24th, 2008 at 09:34 am

I had a little epiphany the other day when I was thinking about the fact that we will soon be moving out of this cramped apartment and will no longer be flushing away the money I pay in rent every month. I moved here with my girls after the divorce. We had been living in a spacious home with two bathrooms and three floors of living space. Now for the past almost two years we have been squeezed into this tiny apartment that is less than a third the square footage. At first I was angry because I had to give up my comfortable surroundings and move to this less than desireable neighborhood and into this tiny apartment while my ex was left to enjoy all of that space alone until the house sold. The passage of time is a wonderous healer and with my ability to forgive and move on came my ability to make peace with the circumstances in which I found myself. I then turned my energies towards finding a way out. Once I began everything seemed to fall into place. I found many resources and people who have come to my aid with supportive advice, and I found a local non-profit organization whose mission is to help lower income people learn to save and manage their finances so that they can help themselves. It provides a matching grant for those who are saving towards a home or for education, so I am taking advantage of that. Just watching my savings account balance grow is empowering to me as well.

So, I'm grateful for where I am. I am grateful that I have been able to find a place of peace and contentment that I can carry with me to the next phase of my life, which will be that of a new home owner.

New Beginnings

March 23rd, 2008 at 12:14 pm

This is my first entry in this new blog. I am on a mission to put away enough money to buy a home of my own. I am working with a non-profit group called NACA, to help me to get a mortgage with no down payment.

At this point I must demonstrate that I can afford to pay the difference between what I pay in rent and what my new mortgage payment will be. My plan is to set up automatic payments from my paycheck to my savings account so it does not rely on me remembering to do it.

My other strategy is to find ways to spend less money and find other, creative ways to generate some additional revenue to put towards my new home. This blog will be the place where I will chronicle my progress.

I've been reading some of the blog posts of my neighbors here in the personal finance forums and I'm totally inspired by all of you.