This mom is kicking budget booty left and right.
The private school that my daughter attends is coordinating a summer camp for the grade school kids. The were offering summer camp for grades K thru 12 for $88/week. Definitely better than the $110 I was looking at paying to just keep her in plain old daycare.
So if my daughter is starting kindergarten in August she should qualify for the camp right? Wrong. Well that is what the one of the pre-K teachers told me anyways.
So being who I am I decided to speak to someone who actually had authority to say yes or no, the summer camp director.
After some chit-chatting that lasted 15 minutes I was able to get my daughter enrolled into their summer camp program for the summer. I had to pay a $140 registration fee that covered all the summer field trips and activities and others things like gas, lunch, and snacks. I will then pay $88 a week for summer camp. I don't have to pay for weeks that she will not be there (which is perfect since I will be doing a lot of traveling this summer) and Sweet Pea will be sent to the grandparents.
Now on top of saving myself $22 a week (about $100/month) my daughter will have an event- field wonderful summer which will included trips to Cypress Gardens, water parks, roller and ice skating rinks, swimming everyday, water skiing, water tubing, and even canoing. I am given the option of attending any and all field trips.
Two down and two to go. This funny money business didn't know who it was messing with.
Recent Divine Discussions
Thursday, May 29, 2008
This mom is kicking budget booty left and right.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Remember in my "My Money is acting Funny!" post I talked about how some of my budget categories would be increasing in June? And how I was going to work on finding a way to combat some of those?
Well I was able to get my monthly internet bill lowered back to the original $19.99 I have been paying for the last year.
I called Brighthouse earlier this week and requested that I be put on another promotion with a lower rate than I currently had ($29.99) or I would cancel my service and go with someone else. Within 5 minutes I was put on a current promotion that was running for new customers, $19.99/month for Roadrunner Lite. I was also able to keep my current internet plan and speed (which is a bit faster than Roadrunner Lite).
Now to work on the other stuff.......
Friday, May 23, 2008
I am so late on this because I don't have cable and I usually catch up on my fav shows on Friday and the weekend. So I saw the part 1, House's Head, earlier this evening and it left be mystified and wanting more. But I could not, for the life of me, find part 2, Wilson's Heart. So I put my detective cap on and did some spy work on google.
AND I FOUND IT!!!!!
I am all cried out........................
I just received the following comment from Anonymous on my "Crockpot Recipe of the Week: BBQ Riblets" post:
"ok, seriously, WHERE are you shopping for this meat for so cheap? Do you hunt it down yourself? You dating a butcher? I'm impressed and thoroughly intrigued by your cooking. See, now i'm hungry...lol "
No I do not hunt my food nor am I dating a butcher. I am just blessed to be located near some very inexpensive stores. I bought the package of riblets on sale at a Dollar General supermarket (there are only 3 in Florida). I also shop at a farmer's market and they are also super inexpensive.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
1 package of pork riblets = $1.96
Dimples' Special marinade = $1.00
- - 2 tsp of red pepper flakes (adjustable to the level of heat you want in the dish)
- - 2 tsp of garlic powder
- - 2 tsp of onion powder
- - 2 tsp of salt free seasoning
- - 1 tsp of black pepper
- -2 tsp of chopped parsley
- -1/2 cup of italian dressing
- - 2 cups of low sodium ketchup
- - 2 capfuls of white vinegar
- - 1 tsp of chili powder
- - 2 tsp of garlic powder
- - 2 tsp of onion powder
- - 1/3 cup of brown sugar
TOTAL COST = $3.96 (approximate)
Prep Time = 5 minutes (marinading riblets overnight is optional)
Cook Time = 4 hours on high or 7 hours on low
Make marinade. It should turn into a nice paste. Clean riblets and then put them into a gallon size ziplock bag. Pour in marinade. Close bag and massage riblets until they are thoroughly covered in the seasoning paste. You can either marinate your hen over night or just season with marinade right before putting the riblets into the crockpot. What ever fits your schedule. I marinated mine overnight. Make BBQ sauce. Place ribs into crockpot (without ziplock bag of course!). Pour BBQ on top. Turn on crockpot on at the high or low setting. Cover and let it cook.
OMG! This smelled heavenly when I opened the door to my apartment. And it was soooo good. The meat was falling off the bones and it had just the perfect hint of heat and sweetness. I am so proud of myself. I served it with homemade mashed potatoes. My baby ate all of hers and wanted more.
Of course I saved the sauce that remained in the crockpot. It will make a great sauce on the salmon I will make later this week.
Yeah man! Ya girl can BURN!!
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The past two weeks have been real hectic. I was working on a important project that took a lot of my time and drained a lot out of me. I was hitting the sack no later than 9:30 on most days. But it is complete and I am done with it for good.
Now let us get into this funny money business. Remember my budget for this month and the highlighted fields? If you don't then here it is again:
My expenses have increased by $75 since last month (technically it increased by $510 if you count the car note but I am focusing on the categories that were pretty much stagnant for the past several months). My rent went up from $650 to $700. The promo that I was on for my internet ended and I am now paying regular price. Food prices have increased and I had to increase my grocery budget in order to keep up. I am outside of my home more than usual and I have to resort to using my cell phone more than usual. I had to upgrade my plan after two months of excessive overages.
On top of all that my monthly expenses will increase even more in June. My daughter is currently enrolled in Florida's VPK program which pays for 15 hours of my daughter's weekly tuition. I basically pay $75 a week versus the regular of $110. Well VPK ends on May 28 and Starting June 2 I will be required to pay the full $110/week which basically increases my daycare budget by about $140/month. By the look of things I will have around $100 a month for my debt payoff which kills any chances of me becoming debt-free by October much less the end of this year.
Don't EVEN get me started about gas!!! I spent a total of $200 on gas last week. ONE WEEK!!!
So I have been brain storming a couple of ways to handle and reverse this funny situation:
- 1. Internet Service
- - Call bill company and threaten to close my account and see if I can get a lower rate.
- - Call bill company and see if I can hop onto another promo.
- - Research and find cheaper internet service.
- 2. Daycare
- - Call around and find inexpensive daycare/summer camp around my area.
- - Talk to director at current school and see if she can work with me
- - Send the munchkin to stay with Grandma for the entire summer (:-))
- 3. Gas
- - Get on projects that I can work on from home.
- - Find ways to save on gas.
- 4. Cell
- - Use work cell phone more
- - Down grade plan and remove data package
I will also work on my side hustle to bring in more income in order to combat my increasing bills.
In other news......
I received my stimulus payment on Friday in the tune 0f $900. Remember when I stated that I would add $100 to the and add all to my savings? Well I changed my mind. Here is what I have done with the money so far:
- - $461 to my savings account
- - $30 for trip to Dominican Salon on Saturday (Thanks SM)
- - $75 for car tints
- - $100 for bro's gradaution gift
- - $110 eye exam and contacts
So much to do yet so little time.....
Saturday, May 17, 2008
CAREER DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR 2008
- * Become a Lead Engineer on one or more projects. – 11/1/08
- * Increase knowledge and skill level in following programs:
- + AutoCAD – 7/1/08
- + Pro E Drafting – 11/1/08
- + Access – 6/1/08
- + Oracle – 8/1/08
Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam.--> I took the test on 4/12 but I won't get the results until July.– 7/08
- * Initiate steps to obtaining a graduate certificate in the following program:
- * Complete online certificate program at AMBAI for following programs:
- + Finance and Investing Certificate – 9/1/08
FE EXAM: > Register for the April FE exam - 1/11/08 > Study with co-workers - 1/08 à 4/08 > Take and pass exam – 4/12/08
- - FURTHER DEVELOP EXPERTISE IN DATABASES:
- > Access – 6/15/08
- > Oracle – 8/15/08
- - AUTOCAD:
- > Complete AutoCAD Training CD – 7/1/08
- > Take online AutoCAD training courses – 7/15/08
- - PRO E:
- > Search for Pro E training material – 11/6/08
- > Search for online Pro E training courses –11/6/08
- > Take online Pro E classes (if Applicable) – 11/6/08
- > Talk to mentor at job who knows Pro E – 11/6/08
- - GRDUATE CERTIFICATE:
- > Meet with advisor in program – 5/26/08
- > Admission requirements – 6/15/08
- + Online admission application
- + Residency Classification
- + $30 app fee
- + Immunization form
- + Official transcripts
- > GRE needed? – NO
- > Course load? – 12 credit hours minimum
- > Obtain schedule of classes – 5/23/08
- > Secure funding – 6/1/08
- + Scholarships
- + Grants
- - ONLINE CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS
- > Complete Management and Business Administration program – 7/1/08
- > Complete Finance and Investing program – 8/1/08
Friday, May 16, 2008
Here is my updated 2008 Goals list. All updates are in red.
- *Eliminate CC Debt (current standing: $10,007)
- -Using my debt snowball plan ---> I will need to recalculate this. I am not sure if this will happen by October.
- *Double Emergency Fund to $6,000 (current standing: $3069.42)
- -Once I pay off all my credit cards, I will redirect all money left over after all bills have been paid to my E-fund until I reach $6K.
- *Get car loan balance under $15K (current standing: $19899.55)
- -My car payment is $392. I have been paying $532 for the past year. I am bumping the payment up to $435 for 2008. ---> I changed this one. See all changes in red.
*Look into hiring an accountant to do my taxes.---> Negative. Didn't need an accountant. Did it all by my self.
- *Obtain $300K in additional life insurance.
- -Research additional life insurance and find affordable plan with good company.
- *Increase credit score to 700+.
- *Change to paperless billing system with all bills.
- *Find a permanent hustle
- *Create a Career Plan for 2008
- *Lead 2 major projects at work
- *Get more face time with VP or President of company
- *Take on more hands-on projects
- *Pass EIT Exam in April
- *Take online classes to improve and expand on skills
- *Get started on my business
- -Pick and concentrate on first business venture
- -Create business plan
- -Get educated on business ethics and other needed info
- +Take classes at local university or college
- +Look into free classes through the city or county
- +Use online resources and local library
- *Increase salary by at least 5%.
- *Look into investment/rental property.
- *Network ---> Again this is one of those ongoing things. I have gone to a few networking events.
- *Exercise at least 3 times a week.
- *Eat healthier ---> Again this is one of those ongoing things. I limited the amount of salt in my diet so I am definitely taking a step in the right direction.
- *Get down to my desired size
- *Keep hair in braids or any style that allows my hair to rest.
- -Develop a good hair regimen
*Find stress reliever.---> Meditatiing
- *See Optician for eye exam and glasses and contacts.
- *Set-up and see Dentist for check-up and cleaning.
- *Make an appointment with a Dermatologist (I have extremely sensitive skin and I am limited on what products I can use. They won't break me out but they don't really do anything for me either.)
- -Find a good skin regimen
- *Get daughter involved in at least one extracurricular activity.
- -Between dance or soccer
- -Fashion Design?? ---> My baby is so unique!
*Search for grants or scholarship to assist with private tuition (I have decided to enroll my daughter into the private school she attends currently for kindergarten. Check here for more details.) -Search for grants or scholarships online -If I can't find a grant or scholarship then create a savings account for next school year's tuition ($4800)---> I am sticking her butt in public school. I'll do a post soon to update yall on why I changed my mind.
- *Create chore chart and system.
*Increase allowance to $3 a week.---> Done
- *Open savings account for Sweet Pea.
- -Take sweet pea to bank once a month on a Saturday to make her deposit into her account. ---> Lord oh how I have slacked on this one. I plan to open up her account by the end of this month.
- *Update Single Moms of Florida blog more often. ---> Eh. I have updated more than usual but not as often as I would like. I am thinking about bringing my BFF on to do some guest posts.
*Increase subscribers to Dimples Divine Domain to 150+.---> I hit this back in late March with 151 readers for one week.
- *Take at least 2 out-of-state trips. ---> I got one down and one to go.
- *Better time management. ---> I have been doing good in this area. I can't exactly cross it out because it is something I will need to work on continuously.
- *Be more organized. ---> Same as above. This is continuous but I have been doing much better than before.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
If you haven't received your stimulus payment yet, then check out the following:
WHERE'S MY STIMULUS PAYMENT?
The IRS online tools works just like their "Where's my refund?" feature. Just enter the required information and receive an up-to-date status on your stimulus check.
I still haven't received my payment yet and I have been seeing news stories of payments being deposited into the wrong accounts. So I used the feature to ensure that I hadn't gotten duped out my moola. My payment should be in by tomorrow morning.
Monday, May 12, 2008
1 whole hen = $2.89
Dimples' Special Caribbean marinade = $1.00
- -1 cup of Mojo Criollo marinade ($1.89 a bottle)
- -2 tbsp of curry powder
- -1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette
- -2 tbsp of italian seasoning
- -1 tbsp of chili powder
TOTAL COST = $3.89 (approximate)
Prep Time = 10 min
Cook Time = 4 hours on high or 6 on low
Make marinade. Chicken should be thawed over night. You can either marinate your hen over night or for 5 minutes. What ever fits your schedule. Pour half of the marinade over the hen and some inside it's cavity. Place hen in crockpot. Pour remaining marinade into crockpot and evenly over the hen. Turn on crockpot on at the high or low setting. Cover and let it cook.
The chicken is actually for this upcoming week's dinners. I have a busy week ahead and will not have time to cook. So I am making some dishes ahead of time. This hen should make about 3 dinners. Making it today allows me to make the side dishes like stuffed peppers or sauteed veggies in my crockpot each day.
I bottled up the remaining chicken stock to use for other dishes. This is a great way to save on time and money. I can use the stock to marinade chicken, sautee veggies, and even to make rice.
Here are some recipes that I will be attempting in the upcoming weeks:
- - Stuffed Mushrooms (portebella)
- - Stuffed Peppers
- - Baked Ziti
- - Peach Cobbler (Yes!! I think I can! I think I can!!)
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
The categories highlighted in yellow are uncontrollable increases in my budget from April. I am hoping to spend less or none of the categories highlighted in pink.
My budget tells me two things: I need to get rid of this debt pronto (lottery anyone) and I need to bring in more income.
- - Update resume
- - Start job hunting and apply
- - Practice for upcoming interviews (I haven't done an interview in 3 years)
- - Obtain domain name
- - Look into starting a website
- - Order business cards
- - Network
- - Start business plan
- - Research
- - Bring in more secondary income
- - Spend less
- - Reevaluate debt payoff plan
- - Plan and start exercise regimen (gosh! I swear this is ALWAYS on my goal list...lol)
- - Do a detox
- - Look for a spa or clinic that does colonics
- - Start meditating again
- - Read
- - Plan a mini vacay for this summer (perhaps in June)
Friday, May 2, 2008
Steve Madden is having a hot sale. Mmmhmm. Check out how to get an additional 15% off here.
I want these but only size 4's are left.
And these but they are out of my budget range.........of ZERO!!!!
I mean with the 15% off they would be $36.51. No shipping. Hmmmmm..........
NO!!!! Can't get 'em. Won't get 'em. NO MAM!!!
Plus, I would wreck my ankles trying to werk these snitches.
Yes......it is for my own good.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
April went pretty smoothly. I need to control my spending. Thankfully, I brought in a nice chunk of extra money to cover my spending. Alrighty, shall we begin?
Income: I had $84.53 left over from last month. I brought in an extra $277.98 that consisted of blog income, Revolutionary Money Exchange referrals, Vindale Research, and two sales on Amazon. left over from my tax refund.
Rent & Utilities: I had to pay my cell phone twice this month. I was wondering why I had so much money left over from the previous month. Turns out the payment I made in April did not get processed. So I winded up paying for my cell phone twice. Luckily I had the money ready in my account.
Auto: No car payment this month. Yay!
Food: I went over my grocery budget by $13.19. Due to my health situation I had to clean out the unhealthiness in my fridge and restock on spices and condiments.
Debt: I made regular payments and paid down a credit card.
Misc: I went way over my beauty budget. The internet is the debil and satan's offspring invented sales. *sigh* I didn't spend my entire clothing budget. The Old Navy and Macy's sales this month were off da chain and I did real good on getting more for wayy less. I went over my medical budget. I had one prescription that was more than I bargained for. And then it turned out my daughter didn't even need it.
Other: This included tithing and dry cleaning.
My net worth increased by $1006 this month. Any increase is good for me. I don't know about that goal of $1 by January 09 though. Can I really increase my net worth by $25,248 in 7 months? That would be something else.
In other news, I won a local radio station contest (I was caller number 9) and won myself $94 and put myself int he running to live free for a year!!!! Basically, if I get chosen, my rent/mortgage and car note would be paid for a year. Now wouldn't that be wonderful!!! I haven't gotten the money yet so I did not include it in this month's financial report. I should be getting a call to pick up the check in 3 days or so.
My budget for the next few months is gonna be a little tight. I am not sure if I will be making my debt zero goal of October. I have to choose between that and providing an enjoyable summer for my daughter. I'll explain further in my next post.