*FAILED!* No Spend November

Well, I made it three days in and then completely, utterly failed my No Spend November.  HOWEVER, before you shake your head and are completely and utterly disappointed in me, it was for good reasons-ish!

Frontier Airlines ran a special and I’m going to be able to take all three of my daughters to Colorado for a long weekend this weekend and the total cost for our flights? Less than $200.  Not per person, I’m talking about the receipt for the entire family.  I bought the Discount Den (good for a year and priced at $49.99) and our total came to $193.99.  That’s for me, Milla, Cici, and Baby J (who will still be a lap infant).  I was able to secure a hotel with indoor pool with views of the mountains for our arrival night, and then we’ll be staying with friends in Denver for the rest of our stay. Here’s my Frontier Airlines invoice:

frontier-invoice

Since there are always incidentals on trips, I’ve decided to postpone my No Spend month until January which may work out better for me because of Christmas preparations, etc.

I know, I know.  I totally failed. However, when things like this pop up I just can’t overlook them.  Flights for all of us are generally “cheap” in the $1,000 range for the whole family.  $200 to go somewhere we’ve never been before and for the girls to see snow for the first time? Priceless.

I’m a huge cheapskate. I penny pinch on everything.  But, this is why I do it.  So that we’re not just surviving, but still have the ability to have a good life — to thrive!  I’m bound and determined to give my girls memories and experiences they’ll cherish forever.  Along with a sense of responsibility with money and a you-can-do-it-yourself attitude.

On that note, my eldest also joined Girl Scouts this month.  I was in Girl Scouts and that service-oriented atmosphere stayed with me my whole life.  I am already impressed with our first meeting and can’t wait to see how they progress from here.  I truly think that 2017 is going to be utterly amazing for us!

So please forgive my failings and mistakes.  I’m a work in progress.  And just a reminder that we’re not seeking perfection, only improvement!

How’s everyone else doing on their No Spend November?  Did you find any leaks in your budget? Let me know!

No Spend November

Growing up I didn’t have a lot, and if I’m being completely honest, my nuclear family now actually has more. That being said, I try to have a contentious relationship with money. So when I became a sole provider I knew that it wasn’t just a big, insane life change — I knew that it would be a battle to just get by. I don’t have family nearby and even if I did, there would be no calling my parents should something go wrong and I need a loan to for car repair or other unforeseen circumstances. They wouldn’t be able to help even if they wanted to.

Therefore, I was intrigued when I read about No Spend November (especially with Christmas around the corner). It’s like a financial detox. You only spend money on necessities such as utilities, rent/mortgage, milk and eggs, gas.  I put “milk and eggs” instead of food because this is a time to use up whatever is in your pantry so you can start fresh for Christmas or 2017.

Tips for Success

If you’re struggling with specific ways to handle spending differently during your spending freeze, here are a few ideas others have found successful and I plan to utilize:

  • Track what you’re saving over the course of the month. Every time you think of making a purchase, write the number down. There’s no greater motivation than seeing that number grow larger and larger.
  • Take your credit or debit cards out of your wallet, and freeze them in water until December if you have to!
  • Take out a set amount at the beginning of the month for gas.

The Why?

The goal of a No Spend November is not perfection but progress. Remember, small steps can lead to significant changes! *cough* Small step for man, giant leap for mankind! I couldn’t help myself….

Hopefully, by December 1 you will:

  • Find ‘leaks’ in your budget
  • Have more money in your pocket
  • Have a better handle on debt
  • Find clues about your next financial moves
  • Declutter your garage (I plan to spend some of this time MAKING money as well)

I plan to entertain myself with other forms of fun and amusement so I don’t get bored. I’ll be using the time otherwise spent eating out, renting a movie, or buying home improvement items to finish some current projects. I will spend a little more time with my family, invite friends over for a cocktail and/or potluck, finish some painting, get some sewing done, and put some items in my garage up for sale on NextDoor and OfferUp.

My hope is that I can find some time to volunteer with my girls as well.  November is such a perfect month for volunteering and paying it forward.  I really want them to realize how blessed we are and how things could be so different for us. To show them how thankful we should be to have the wonderful life and opportunities we have.

That being said, they say to set up ground rules.  Mine will be very basic: no spending on anything that isn’t absolutely essential.

I’ll blog every day in November and let you know how I did, what I didn’t buy, and what I got done as I kept myself busy. I think I’m really looking forward to cleaning out the bottom of my freezer and pantry on this challenge.  I have a tendency to stock up on things when they’re close to free…so I have a lot of some of the same things! lol

I hope some of you will join in with me!  It’ll be nice to hear others encouragement or issues! Here’s to a successful No Spend November!

 

Weekend Project #5: Front Door

My front door was not in the best shape and it lacked…most everything. Buying a new door is definitely not in my budget.  It was worn down, had dark oily spots here and there, and just wasn’t that inviting.  Since the door already had fake wood paneling I opted to paint it.

img_5057
Before

I used //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=solelsurvi-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B001735FM2&asins=B001735FM2&linkId=29bc288ae07f2bb60f0fcc2853e37724&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut.  I put on one coat using a regular brush and also a spong brush.and let it dry and two days later I put on a second coat.

door
After

We added a wreath and voila! I think it’s much more inviting! My last home didn’t have the faux wood paneling and we had used a Rustoleum Topside Navy Blue paint.  It really shined and held up to weather! However, if you go that route try to use a different entrance as it takes time to dry. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that door. Sorry!

Have you done any weekend projects lately?  Any ideas for me to try??

Family Update

Good morning!  Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.  I have another weekend project for you, but I haven’t given updates on the family lately so here goes. My littlest turned seven months old!

Time is just flying by and she’s on the verge of crawling — I’d say in less than two weeks. She is holding her own bottle now, though, and wearing her walker completely out!

holding-bottle
Kicking Back at Church

I’ve been frantically spending most weekends/evenings working on the house. My father is visiting us on next week and I’d like to have as much done as possible before he arrives. However, we’ve had some fun in our spare time as well!  My old neighbor just bought an absolutely divine new home and we celebrated with a Grito de Dolores theme (Mexican Independence Day). It was an amazing evening with good friends, food, and fun. Even when you’re exhausted, it’s amazing what a few hours with some good friends will do for your mental state!

dia-de-independcia
 Tex-Mex Princesitas

Somehow we found a little time for Kamilla to practice cycling.  I’m so proud — I now have a bike rider/speed racer. lol

Work is busy. Kids are happy.  Mom is blessed. 🙂  The struggle is real, but life is good.

What makes you feel like you’re thriving?

(Long) Weekend Project #3: Patio Upgrade

I’ll be honest.  This is my FAVORITE upgrade.  I’ve been talking about doing this for a while now, but had put it on the back burner due to cost and time constraints.  However, I recently sold some free furniture that I refurbished so I had some extra cash and this seemed like the best use for it.

So when I bought this house there was a HUGE, rotting doghouse that used to be in this big empty spot that my father graciously helped me tear down.  The “mud pit” left behind has been driving me mad for months.

before-back-yard
Post Dog House 

After the last rain storm I’d had enough and decided to try and eye it out and estimate a price. This is what it looked like a couple weeks ago when I decided “it’s time”. I’m visual so I had to use the wood and see what it would look like in size afterwards. I called the dig line just to make sure I wasn’t covering/digging around anything and lucked out in that department (although my plans for the side of the house were crushed once I found out a gas line was there).

backyard-before-2
Our Beautiful Mud Pit 

I used larger four-in-one pavers since they gave me the look I wanted, but less to carry.  I also have a sandbox I’ve been trying to get rid of (what can I say, I think they’re pretty gross) so I repurposed the sand from it for this project. Getting the sand level with the existing concrete pad I was expanding on was the most difficult part.  Although, carrying the pavers was pretty cumbersome as well….

patio-during
Pavers Down Finally!!

Next, I edged with a different paver and then I filled the seems with the Paver Set Polymeric Sand in Brown/Tan (there’s a Gray option as well). My daughters had a blast being little helpers and getting it all in the crevices.

patio-after
Best Helpers Ever 🙂

Once we got most of the sand off the blocks we started the wet down/hardening process.  I have to say, we love it.  It actually turned out better than I hoped.  Our 24 hour setting period ended this morning, so I hope to put the table back out here tonight so we can have dinner on our new and improved patio this evening!

patio-after2
Almost Done!

I’m so excited to have some real backyard living space now. Life is good!!  Please note, I do plan to seal it at some time in the future, but we haven’t done it yet.  More pictures to come later!

Did you get any big projects done over Labor Day weekend?

Weekend Project 2: Doorbell Upgrade

This was one of the easiest weekend projects I’ve done.  I heard about ring.com doorbell system from a coworker when we were at lunch one day and she answered the doorbell from her phone when a UPS driver showed up at her home.  I was a little intimated (as I am with all things to deal with electric), however, I was able to complete the install from start to finish in an hour one Sunday before church.

First step is to download the app to your phone and connect to your WiFi.  Once you have the software functioning it’s on to the hardware.  I started by turning the electric off at the breaker to the front patio.  I then unscrewed the original contractor grade doorbell, pulled out the wires and bent them so they wouldn’t fall into the hole.  Next I grabbed my trusty drill and put a mason bit on and drilled the holes for my new base.

ring base

Please note, most homes don’t install the doorbell this close to the corner.  I put the ring.com doorbell in the same spot my original doorbell was so that it would cover the hole.  If you do this project, I very much doubt that your will be this close to the wall so you will have a better view. After you have the base on, the camera/doorbell slide easily on and then have security screws to tighten it to the base.  The finished product:

ring installed

Once installed we tested it out and this is an example of what you see on your cell phone:

ring from cell

From your phone you can answer your doorbell from anywhere and talk to the person on the other end.  Since I connected the device to my old doorbell wiring it also rings my in-home bell still as well.

For the first 30 days you get Cloud Video Recording for free after that it’s $3/month or $30/year.  This allows you to view past events and share clips with friends, neighbors and law enforcement if need be.

I love this upgrade to my home and use it weekly.  I hope you enjoy your ring.com doorbell  as much as I do!

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DIY: Glass in Disposal!

Well, I’m not one to call a repairman at the drop of a hat.  A few times I’ve thought a repair may be outside of my knowledge base.  However, then they come to my house and it takes them 30 minutes or less to fix and I kick myself at the money I just threw out the window. I now thoroughly research items and at least attempt to fix the problem. All I can say is, I love YouTube and Google.

I broke a glass about a week ago and some shards went into the garbage disposal.  I (very carefully) pulled out what I could gently feel.  However, when I turned on the disposal it churned a few times and then gave me a dreaded hum.  I knew I had either jammed it or burned out the motor.  I quickly turned it off, plugged the hole (because I’m the type to absentmindedly use it while cooking), and made a mental note to search for a solution.

A week later, I felt armed for the task at hand which really seemed unbelievable easy.  I vacuumed into the hole to pick up any possible glass specks (a Shop Vac was the suggested tool, but I just used my regular vacuum since the disposal was dry and had been unused for a week).  Then I got out my handy Allen Wrench/Hex Key tool (seen below).

allen wrench

I unplugged my disposal and went underneath to the bottom of the disposal.  Find the correct size key and turn it around multiple times in the below circled keyhole.

disposal bottomOnce I heard the glass breaking up, I vacuumed out the top sink hole again, then repeated this process a few more times until I didn’t hear the glass breaking up and the key turned smoothly.  Afterwards I plugged back in my disposal, turned it on and ran the water, and voila, no more jammed disposal.  And I just saved myself a $75 service fee. Life is good!