We are okay here

dbil/dsil (the good ones) made it through the ones in their area. Dh’s sole surviving uncle lives in Moore, I’ve been calling and calling. Aunt Fayrene answered the phone and sounded fine, but we got disconnected before I could make certain they are fine. I’ve e’d her hoping maybe she’ll be able to get that some how.

Bob, I live in Arkansas about 20 miles from Branson MO

If you check into jobs in Springfield, you might check out places to stay in Nixa which is inbetween Branson and Springfield. There is a rv park in Hollister MO, Turkey Creek Junction I think, that is only a couple of miles from Branson. It would be nice to meet you while you are up here.

The way you get another vehicle for cash

and not worry about it being reliable is to build up a repair fund. There are some averages you can work with. I believe a car older than 2003 will have on average $1,200 in repairs a year. So you would need to put $100 a month away for that purpose. A repair fund will be a lot less per month than a car payment and if there are no major repairs, then once the fund is built up you can move that monthly $100 to another envelope.

So I guess considering strategy could be considered work

Only week three for us, we did stick to budgets and socked away a bit to the emergency fund…
We took advice from this board and listed one of our Camrys on Craigslist and surprisingly we should be able to pay it off instead of just giving the car back…

Now we are mauling over selling the other Camry, a 2006 with less then 100,000 miles on it. we can sell it and make about 3000 or so and dump a 450.00 a month car payment.for the next 2 1/2 years. we could pay 4000.00 for another vehicle and have no debt…. but the idea of having a dependable car since we travel alot ( the closest big city is 50 miles away) is what is holding us back. not sure what to do…

We did stop trash service ( rural) since we live 3 miles from the dump and go past it every day…. we can chuck the trash bag in the back of the truck when we go into our town..

This week saw a tweaking of the budget

more mystery shopping and the investment in an annual pass for Silver Dollar City. With dh’s senior discount we saved a bit of money. We plan on shopping this area a lot over the summer and fall so the investment will reap back and pay for the passes before too long. Not to mention the shops we can do in conjunction with it.

We also took advantage of our his Senior Parks pass to save on camping again for the 8 days we are here ($76 savings) plus we booked for 8 nights next month with it ahead of time—to guarantee we would have a place to camp while shopping and thengo to the Blue Grass Festival we love to attend another $76 savings.

We’ve been really watching our internet usage like a hawk, to try and avoid going over on it this month. We still have 8 more days to go and we are down to less than a gig left. It’s really expensive when we go over, so we are using dh’s cell phone, and free wi-fi locations as much as possible for our usage and we are even limiting that usage. It’s been a real challenge. You would be surprised the way’s you can cut down the number of kb you use.

Example: for one company we both work for it is normally a four webpage load to get to the log in. One of those pages is 800 kb alone. That may not sound like much, but when you load that page numerous times a day it can add up to a gig real quick. So we now have direct links on our desk tops for all the direct log in pages for the main companies we visit on a daily basis. Therefore we load only one page (the lowest number of kb one at that) each time we must log in.
We pull in our emails when we are at free wi-fi locations, or on dh’s cell phone (unlimited usage with that)—my phone was going to be an extra $10 a month to add that to it, so we don’t do email on it. All replies are typed offline, trimmed to the max, and then sent in mass when we are at the next free wi-fi location. One company we do a minimum of four shops for a day require a minimum of 14 1mb photos to be uploaded, but the number and be much higher. Those are all uploaded now at the free wi-fi locations.

Updates to our programs are now done manually instead of automatically. That way we can control when and where they are done. Weatherbug, and my news sidebar are now turned off. We also do not leave any webpages with moving text or what you on it open.
Same for job searches. In other words every day we visit a free wi-fi location and do as MUCH as we can there in 1-3 hours, sometimes hitting different places as the day goes along. It’s a hassle, but as long as we aren’t burning extra fuel to do it this way we are saving a LOT of money not going over our limit. Oh we also have the roaming turned off of the air card because that is MAJOR expensive real fast.
We’ve managed to schedule out at least three weeks of being continuing on the road so far. With dh mystery shopping too it’s really helped us stay out longer and make more money. Many of the companies are now putting limits on how many shops you can do for them in a month. If dh wasn’t shopping we’d not be able to meet our monthly financial goal we’ve set. With us gone ds has been able to pick up what few mystery shops are available around home to help with the bills as well. So that’s worked out well,.

We’ve been really working on getting grocery expenses way down. Currently I have $200 a month in the budget for groceries, I’m trying to knock that in half. Since we eat so many meals mystery shopping pays for I should be able to do it. This month will be tight because I did a basics restock before we left town.

We did real well on scheduling our shops for the least amount of fuel possible too.

That’s it, kind of a light week this week.

I have just came in from doing my first official walk around to see how well we did fair after all the storms and rain here in OK personally

We were very blessed, only dead branches and a couple of dead trees down and they fell without doing damage to other trees or structures.
As I crossed the side deck to head out to see how long it would be before I could get into the garden without sinking up to my knees (not far as short as I am) In the mud I noticed some green and one red mulberry on the deck. I figured the mulberry trees had probably been beat to death by the winds and rain. Imagine my amazement to see the mulberry trees not only survived with most of the berries intact, but many of them were ripe. I admit it, had me a nice mid morning snack. Wish I’d realized they were there before I had my French Toast for breakfast, I’d of made mulberry syrup if I’d known, oh well they were tasty straight from the tree. After all I knew they were well washed. LOL!
So for those of you who have mulberry trees, you might want to go check out your trees and maybe get a little snack for yourself.

Well, the “new Roku Layout” just went active in my area

Along with it, Roku released a bunch of new channels. (Notoriously cheap, I only added the FREE ones.)
So far, I’ve added:
PBS Kids
Venture Channel
Addictive Fishing
Hunt365.tv (looks kinda interesting, even if we don’t hunt–a bunch of different outdoor shows, All Archery looks interesting)
The Artistic Blog
Cartoon Club, which is really cute. Think old school cartoons/animated TV, like Betty Boop, Gumby, Little Lulu, etc.
America’s Survival (reserving judgment….at first glance it looks a little out there…)
RunwayTV (because on the off chance I NEVER have anything to do….it will be fun to watch superficial TV in the “Inside Edition” genre)
There’s a plethora of Horror film/TV channels if that is a genre that interests you. A lot of new channels. Would be nice if Roku could shoot an email out a few times a month or so.

Get Term insurance

meaning that you renegotiate your premiums at the end of the term (generally 15 or 20 years). Do not let yourself be persuaded to take whole life insurance.

As far as the amount of coverage, how much will it take for your family to survive if you or your husband should die before your children are old enough to care for themselves. Include home pay off (which the longer you live and continue to pay, the net profit gained over the years grows), long term/chronic medical issues, replacement of salaries, funeral expenses etc. Don’t be surprised if this number reaches a million… What ever this number is, this is the amount of coverage you need to apply for.

Here is a calculator so that you can figure out what a yearly premium would be.

Hello everyone

I am talking to USAA tomorrow morning about life insurance. Spouse and I are mid-forties with a three year old and a 15 month old that I would like to take care of should something happen to us.

I am not smart on this stuff (which is why we haven’t done anything yet) but I know the older we get the more expensive it is going to be.

I have insurance through work; my DH is currently out of work.

I am looking for advice, tips and questions for when I talk to USAA tomorrow.

Thanks so much.

I don’t know what state you are in

or what type of insurance you have on the auto, but here is my experiences which MAY help you out.

1.When on summer break from college DD was in PA working and rode her bicycle everywhere. A drunk ran a stop sign and hit my dd who was riding completely legally on her way home from work. The jerk cracked/broke nearly every bone in her body. PA is a NO FAULT state, so we technically could not go after the drunk. How sick is that? We had uninsured motorist insurance on our vehicle, and even though she was on a bicycle our Oklahoma policy considered the other driver was in a vehicle and paid out for all of her medical and pain and suffering. Then they went through legal channels to get the “gentleman” (sic). Let’s just say he did not fair well.

2.I was driving ds’ truck a few years ago and was hit from the rear by a person who gave me all false info. I had a hospital visit and doctor’s follow ups for a minor injury—in fact the wreck may have saved my life because in checking me out for it that is when they found the problem with my thyroid. Again the uninsured motorist on the policy paid all our medical, pain and suffering.

So if you have a similar policy in your state see if they will cover all or part of your son’s medical, therapy etc. They will go after the under insured person at no cost to you.


IF you move the 401K money directly to a regular IRA there is NO penalty. It’s when you don’t roll it over to another retirement fund you get hit, or if you roll it to a Roth IRA because you have to pay taxes as it goes in for Roth’s, where regular is like 401K it’s only when you withdraw it.

This past month has been a bit of a roller-coaster for our finances

After son #1 was hit by the truck, I’ve been closely monitoring the bills coming in. I will be faced with $10,000 out of pocket when all is said and done. I will be able to pay a good chunk of that with money I have set aside in my Health Savings Account.

The truck driver who hit him had the lowest legal insurance amount available, so I may be out that money (and other expenses – cost of a new bike, clothes, etc.). I may consult a lawyer to see if there’s any way to at least get those items paid out of the settlement before my health insurance goes after it all.

So that’s kind of the bad news. On the good news side, well – he’s alive!! He’s walking again and is going to go back to school (he’s been home-schooled while he was laid up) next week. And because I’m in a good place financially, this doesn’t cripple us. As a solo mom (widow with 2 boys, didn’t receive life insurance, etc.), I’m pretty proud that we’re in a good place. In fact, by tracking money in Mint.com (LOVE IT!), I can track my net worth monthly – it’s so fun to see my money doing the work, not me! (Over $100,000 increase in the last 6 months.)

I’m starting to dabble in peer-to-peer lending via The Lending Club, instead of the stock market or ING savings account and am looking at over 10% return which is lovely. I could take that money and work to pay off the house off earlier, but this makes more sense, especially since I’m about 19 years away from retirement.

I’ve been decluttering like mad and dropped off a minivan worth of stuff at the local auction house – not high-end stuff, but yard sale type items. It looks like I may get about $1000 when all is said and done with that. I continue to go to yard sales to upgrade my own household, as well as stumbling upon screaming deals that then go to the auction house for quick profits.

I’ve also been doing dog-boarding off and on. It’s not a huge amount of money ($25 per day) but it’s certainly easy money. It all adds up.

Basically, I still continue to be frugal whenever possible so that I can do the fun things (travel, save, invest, etc.) when I want.

Thanks Bob for the information

My husband’s company does match but it’s so little that I don’t think even VB tell us it’s worth keeping the money there. His company, while it pays the bills is a horrible company. They set unobtainable goals for this region. Based on how much money this region makes depends on if he will get a pay raise. Then they set yet another unobtainable goal for the company nation wide and that determines how much (if anything) they will contribute to employee’s 401K’s. This year it is 20 cents per dollar up to 6%. So they contribute $31.20 a year. If I take his % down to 1 he will remain active in the program and then we can boost it up to 6% should they ever really start matching.

As for the taxes, we are still in a VERY small tax bracket. My husband doesn’t make that much per hour, and my federal standards we are just above poverty level. We have two kids so we qualify for EIC and child tax credits. I know those may not always be available, but for us, right now, it makes more sense to pay a little higher tax now and get the tax free money when we are older.

On a side note, we consulted with a VB approved financial planner and I was less than impressed. He suggested we take all of our 401K money and move it from the traditional 401K’s and put it into a Roth IRA. Knowing we would take a huge hit in taxes and money loss. He was even pushy about it.

I plan on adjusting my husband’s 401K contributions

from 9% to 1% and taking the remainder 8% and investing in a Roth IRA. I have the company picked out, and have 1/2 of the application filled out, but I have a couple more questions for the company so I need to call them.

I will have to do this tomorrow since the kids don’t have school today, and I am not sure I will get a quiet moment to sit in front of the computer AND call the company.

We bought another car

which sets our pay-off date (for the car with payments) back. We were looking at September, but that’ll be impossible now. We had been hoping to hold off on car #3 until we got car #1 paid off, but we got a deal too good to pass.

I started the FPU class at church January 2014

I am blessed that our circumtances were “stupid” not “dire”. I had never learned to budget, loved instant gratification, and we had repeatedly tried to clean up only to get further behind. The class was a real eye-opener!

I am getting ready to make the last payment to a credit card for racked up charges. (We have another that we use sparingly for budgeted spending, and pay off monthly now.) The only other Baby Step 2 debt is a student loan for the daughter (15 months, and that will be gone.)

Onward! It sounds hokey, but this process really has provided a level of peace, even while digging in and cutting back.

I just now finally got hold of dh’s cousin

who works with the US military (he was in for years, then out, but I think he may be back in). He’s on his way to Moore to help his folks. Uncle Glen, Aunt Fayrene and cousin Charlie were in their house two blocks from the school where the children were trapped and died when the tornado hit. Physically the three of them are in pretty good shape (Aunt Fayrene has been on crutches for years), emotionally…The house is totaled.

Uncle Glen told Chad, the cousin headed that way, that their biggest problem right now is looters. He is having to stand guard over what little they have left. Uncle Glen is 71 years old.

Chad spoke to his base commander and got permission to not only go help take care of his folks, but to take a truck load of plywood and such to board up the house. Chad is ready to kick butt and take names, looters beware! Due to his military connections the base commander said when he got there to contact him and he’d give the orders to let him in. He’s suppose to let us know what we can do to help. Their faith is strong and that is probably what saved them.

When we first built our house

I bought two of these from “edibl enature” ($16.19 each plus cheap shipping). When I realized I needed/wanted a third, nobody seemed to carry them (and I’m kind of OCD and it had to be exactly the same). I found one on eBay and bought it for $24 including shipping. Now, 7 years later, I wanted another so I found them at Amazon.

For labels, again with my OCD, I needed silver colored labels and ordered them. I ordered his standard spice list with a few of my substitutions. He included a number of blank ones (hence the black marker labels). (I know I could buy my own labels, but either silver or clear round labels aren’t cheap and I know I could never use them up before they dried out in our climate. That’s why I custom ordered them from this guy.)

That said, I really like Sharon’s etched bottles.

We will still be roughly $20,000 lower than what dh was making annually

so to snowball we will really have to sell some stuff and double up as much as we can on mystery shopping when it’s available. I got hired by a new company today and my first set of shops with them will be $190 worth of shops next week, IF I am willing to open yet another checking account, but they said this could be an ongoing thing all three of us could shop every month. So…we are considering it.
That being said we are living a much more Spartan lifestyle than we were two years ago, so it should all work out to where I can go back to at least some minor snowballing.
Our budgeting is kind of weird, we will have set fixed income coming in every month from:
SS, IRA and a family member who is paying off a huge debt to us (so far she’s not missed a payment—so far)

Variable income:
Mystery shopping
Quick cash loans
Sales of things
Two tiny royalty checks
Payment from another family member that is not as reliable

So I do both fixed and variable budgets. LOL! Since dh won’t get his first ss check until the 28th and we JUST went on payment plans with everyone I’m still trying to figure out the zero budget with such a weird set up. Our bills will all be fixed, it’s the income that could mess us up—isn’t it for everyone?

Oh, now you’ve created a monster!

I am WANTING / COVETING that look! Oh, my. What’s a girl to do but figure out a way to get it done! I like the whole look of the jars but I wouldn’t necessarily have to have the etched glass. Labels would work for me. I find the cans with the sprinkle tops that a lot of spices come in don’t really seal well to keep them fresh as long as possible and to keep bugs out. Not that we have bugs, but you kwim.

This last week I’ve been busy getting my spices to where not only I

but the guys would know exactly what we have but where everything is. No more duplicate purchases, no more running to several different places to put a Master Mix together, organization. It took me a week because I kept needing to do another step in order to do the one I needed done. Isn’t that always the way? Some of the cupboards I did don’t look that different, some are still pretty full, but trust me I culled out a lot—just ask my local charity!

Not only does it work more smoothly now, but the money I’ll save from not buying duplicate spices and herbs I don’t need will go a long ways on gazelle feed!

I didn’t read through everyone comments

so if this is a repeat forgive me….But my thought is you need to know when to sell what. And where. At garage sales people want bargains. They aren’t going to pay much for just about anything. Online places like ebay and craigslist are always going to be hit and miss.

I don’t know if you belong to facebook, but there are some groups forming (like google) there, You can search for online garage sales or swap n shop groups in your area. I live in a small town and there are about three for my county….which is bigger but most of the other towns aren’t far away. They have rules so make sure you read carefully before selling. I sold a $20 gift card for $15.

It’s been over 10 years

Since I dropped out of the mlm business that my husband and I were involved with. I say “I” dropped out of because I perservered for almost 5 years while my husband abandoned ship after only a year an a half.
My story is pretty much the same as most people involved in the mlm that I was involved in: “saw the plan, got excited, bought the tools, showed the plan, went to functions and than went broke.” It took a couple of years to recover financially. My marriage never really did.
Anyway, I’m on my own now and starting over has gotten much easier this time around. I’ve got a great job, am making great money, supporting myself and have never been happier. However, a couple of years ago I went to an in home selling party and it really intrigued me. I’ve been thinking more and more about it and have even considered doing it.
That is NOT why I am here though. I have read the “rules” and will abide by them!!!!! My problem is flashbacks.
All of a sudden they started hitting me…..all of those insane chants from the rallies and functions. It’s horrible! “buy the tapes, show the plan, get plugged in…….blah blah blah blek!”
I’ve been under my doctors care for depression many many years (my screenname says it all)and at one point my therapist asked me to consider that I may also be suffering from PTSD. I shrugged it off as bunk at that time.
I’m not asking for a medical opinion on this one, but does anyone suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after being involved in a diasterous mlm experience?

They don’t know what they’re doing

I first tried it on my regular browser, Firefox on Linux. It froze it up. So I tried it on Internet Explorer, the browser that is so insecure that the Department of Homeland Security says should not be used at all (and I’m not kidding — they say do NOT use IE at ALL!).
It came up, but much of the site wasn’t visible. It also said I should use a later version of IE or Firefox, so I ran Firefox on Windows XP.
Most of the site was again not visible (a lot of images didn’t load), so I hit refresh and the browser freezes. I finally get it to load in Firefox.

It looks like they’re selling CDs, not downloads. That makes sense, because they’d need a different deal with the record companies to sell downloads and right now those are limited. I think some of the Big 4 labels are only selling downloads through exclusive deals. While I only buy CDs and don’t buy downloads (which are often crippled because they limit when and where they can be played), the vast majority of online sales are for downloads. I *SERIOUSLY* doubt much of the online market will even care about a new CD site without downloads.

It’s also important to remember if this is AW, that there’s a difference between AW (however spineless it’s become) and the AMOs.