Debt, Debt and how I plan to pay it off – UPDATE!

Ok this has worked out really well!!!!

When I posted the blog in January (link)  I was really a tad sceptical. I wrote it knowing that I had to take control of my finances. Being on a fixed income I had to come to grips that things had to change, plus I was really scaling down my craft stuff a whole lot.. so.. The first thing I said I was going to do was stop spending on Amazon unless I had the money in my account to immediately pay on the credit card.. So YES! that worked. It is so easy to find something on Amazon and hit the buy it now since my credit card is on file there for all my purchases. The only thing wrong with that is that it is too easy to just click and buy without really thinking.. omg.. “I just put that on my credit card, I so hate myself right now”  I started  using my daughter’s 48 hr rule.. if you see it and want it,,,, WAIT 48 hours and after that if you still want it, need it or (and this is the big one) can afford it?.. then go ahead and buy it. The winter is a particularly bad time for surfing on the internet and finding stuff you don’t particularly need but.. Hey.. why not.. Why NOT?   well because you probably like what you see but honestly do you really need it?.. So with that in mind I made a few purchases and as soon as I received notification that it was shipped, I went into MasterCard and paid the exact amount that I had just spent. ( I did not buy anything unless I had the money in my account)

So that was the first life change for me and you know it worked!.. The second one was….. I have an Etsy store and once a week they send me the payments I received. So on Monday morning I would get a notification from Etsy saying funds are on the way. I would take that amount, round it up and put that immediately on MasterCard.   So that worked. No extra money coming out of my account,,,seriously… I was only putting the money that was being deposited by Etsy.  I purged my room, sold 2 of my sewing machines because like I said I was downsizing. That money went directly into MasterCard. Every time I had some extra money in my account I would put it on the card. I was never short in my account, I didn’t want for anything and this extra money was being put directly on the principal amount which was beneficial to me.  This was a great time to start all this because my expenses are the lowest in the winter/spring because I usually hunker down and not go out unless I absolutely have to.  I also run and organise craft shows and I just finished my biggest one the end of May. The profit from that show went… ready for this… yup.. right on my MasterCard.  I no longer feel the need to go right out and spend it on something I don’t need.   

Now on a slightly non related story.. I had some savings that were available to me.. Sitting down with pencil in hand (yes I do it old school) I figured out it if was more beneficial for me to leave it there, or take out the amount I had put on MasterCard to pay for my newer car that I got last June. Finances figured out, I went in today and took out the money that would be enough to pay off the cost of my car. DONE!  I now officially own my car!!!!!!!! The savings were there earning very little interest so it was more prudent for me to take that out and dump it on the credit card therefore lowering the interest costs. 

So with the MasterCard at an extremely lower balance that means that the payment owing will be significantly lower each month since the interest rate is based on the amount you owe on your card.   WIN WIN…. All this time the payments I was making were going to the interest on the balance and not the actual principal. This is how these cards keep in business. You pay.. you pay,,,you pay and unless you pay way more that what is required each month, you are just putting the money into their pockets.. NO MORE!!!..

for example.. you receive your credit card bill… the payment due is $342.00. Now look closer at your bill. (usually at the bottom part of your statement)  The interest accumulated on this payment is $196.00 leaving $145.00 for the payment on the principal.. so yes it looks good that you are paying $342.. but in actuality you are only paying $142. Just think how long that will take to pay down your card while they are pocketing almost $200  a month just for the privilege of using their card.   

So with the lower payments I will have to pay I still plan to keep paying what I had been required over the past year.  That way it will be paid down faster and hopefully soon to be a zero balance. I want to have it gone by January of next year.. Then I can call it my One Year Plan Success!!!.. it will be hard but I want to do it. I can do it.. maybe.. you think?  Heck.. over the past 4 months I have paid $3600. That is including offsetting purchases I made and paying extra when I could.  But that also shows that I can pay that much at least to bring it almost to a zero balance. It will come down faster because I will be paying more on the principal. Does this make sense to you?  Am I explaining it enough? 

And on that note I am off to have a well deserved coffee and give myself a pat on the back for a good job done. 

And this is my disclaimer:   I have never been really good at math,  either in school or in life. It wasn’t that I was not capable, I  guess I just didn’t care one way or the other. I had more of an artist brain and finances didn’t matter to me.  I never worked in the finance field. I was a stay at home mother with no money for many years, who went a little nuts with her new found freedom and no one telling her if she could spend or not.  🙂 One day it just dawned on me and this is how I got it all to work for me.  Hope it helps you in some way.

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Celebrex, weight gain and reactions

Here is my story… It is only my observations but after a year of stopping celebrex and no big changes in my daily routine or eating.. (yes some changes but nothing drastic) I have lost 35 pounds.

I was prescribed celebrex for arthritis in my knees about 16 years ago. Now I must say it worked for a while but not wonderful. This was not a life saving omg I can walk again drug. It did ease the pain so I was happy with it. Year after year I took it. I was told it was better than taking Tylenol everyday.. or Aleve and that it was safe to take on a long term basic. So who was I to dispute this? My life went on.  I had gradually gained 70 pounds over 16 years. I just thought.. hmm  not very active… menopause.. getting up in years.. I am not in any way blaming my weight gain totally on Celebrex but I am saying it snuck up on me. I had pain (often wondered if I stopped the meds how much pain I would be in). The last few years I was getting lower leg swelling, sometimes my knees were as large as my thighs.. ok maybe not but that is how they felt. My feet would swell horribly and I was generally much heavier than I was 16 years ago.. WHAT?????.. how did this happen? What really prompted me was that I was having horrible sinus problems. Yes, I have seasonal allergies and was used to a couple of weeks or a month of allergy pills but heck, this started in November of  2016 and went on until about a month ago.  WOW  is all I can say.  I had turned to sinus sprays to sleep at night and this went on for a year. My doctor last spring started prescribing sinus sprays and it seemed I could not breathe at night unless I sprayed my nose before bed.  My sleep cycle was almost non existent since I was waking up so much with a stuffed nose and not being able to breathe. What the heck???  I started using saline spray, which I think is my life saver from catching colds by the way. When I go out in public, as soon as I get home I spray and blow my nose. I know,, sounds odd but it works, it clears the sinuses and gets rid of any germs I might have snuffed in while I was out.  ok I got off topic for a bit but I wanted to sing the praises of the saline spray as it has been my life saver.. So anyway, along with all this was the indigestion, headaches all the time, and  apparently newly developed adult eczema. WHAT????  My face was a mess.. I was a mess.   

Totally peeved off, I grabbed my laptop one day and decided I was going to find out about this drug.. do some research of my own.   I found this LINK

Well according to all the research it seems that YES celebrex can cause weight gain however very rare (so they say) plus now many more reported side effects that were not available when I started this drug.  Now the very rare, as far as I am concerned is attributed to the fact that no one is reporting this weight gain. When I did the research many years go it was not even on the radar so I figured.. yup good to go.  Well last year I started to see some people reporting the swelling and leg cramps and weight gain. So I went to the Dr and said.. time to change this medication what can I take.  He wanted to know why after all these years do I want to change and basically I said.. well.. time to change it up, I think I am having reactions to it, and after all it was written up that it is not meant to be a long term drug and I have been on it for 16 years. What can it hurt to change. So I am now on Meloxicam,  15mg and have been on it since last year. I very rarely have leg swellings, my feet will swell a bit in the heat or if I sit too much. It seems to be working just fine and the cherry on top is that I am down 35 pounds.  After 16 years of slow and gradual weight gain I am now on the downward slide. My headaches are very rare, my skin is all but cleared up ( have to be careful what I eat as peanuts, etc will cause me to itch) It took about a year for the celebrex reactions to leave my body. Yup a full year!.  

So in a nutshell, do your research!.. read up on the drugs you are taking, be proactive. It is your body, you know it best. The doctor can only work with what you give him and how YOUR body reacts to medications. I am in no way putting down Celebrex. It might be a good medication for most people but I had the extreme reactions to it and was on it for too long, so I opted to stop taking it. 

And if you don’t believe the weight I have lost, check out this picture.

may 30, 2018

So life goes on, I will always have arthritis but it will not have me! I am generally feeling better, sleeping better and able to eat without it constantly coming back on me.  My general outlook on life has improved, and I am a much more content person. I hope reading this will make you do your own research and compare your life with the possibility of  drug side effects, whatever drug you are taking. Keep a journal and write down anything you notice, how you feel, etc. The doctor is not is not the all seeing floating head and cannot magically predict how your body will accept or reject a certain drug. Work with him for your own sake. If he doesn’t want your opinion or working suggestions then maybe he is not the right doctor for you. You know your own body.. TAKE CONTROL OF YOURSELF!.

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Altered Dog Crate

Well we have a new puppy.. yup  his name is Tucker!.. (aka Kracken) poodle/terrier mix.

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Cute little bugger but I have been  crate training him so this crate has been in front of my end table beside my chair in the living room. Everyday I have walking around this crate thinking.. geeze something better has to be done about this.

So I kept thinking and came up with an idea to use my end table over the top of his crate. Well you know about best laid plans.. yup the table top was 1/2 inch to short for the top of the crate.. oh no!  what?.. I hate when this happens.. hahahaha.. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if the table had slipped exactly over the top of the crate?  So I went to the shop and got the screw driver and proceeded to remove the legs from the table.. yup.. that should work right?.. well NO… by the time I put the top on the crate the end table was about 4″ taller than I wanted it and it just balanced on the top of the crate. You can see all kinds of potential catastrophes right? Also you want to be able to have the crate be as inconspicuous  as possible.. This would not do for me.. so.. back with the screw drivers and decided to remove one of the shorter pieces under the top part that connected the legs.

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That side would be the front side of the table. It was easy enough.. take out the screws that held it to the top, give it a little snap and off it came.  VOILA!!!  Now it fits nicely over the crate..It had three sides that go down over the top of the crate ( the two sides and the back) hence eliminating the chance of the table top sliding around.  The  one thing.. now the table is too short… hahaha.. I know I am OCD when it comes to that so I had to figure out what to do next.  GOT IT!.. I had to find something to lay on top of the crate about 1″ in thickness so the table would be at least almost to where I wanted it to be. In to my studio I go.. I found a cork board.. 3/4″ thick I think.. didn’t measure..I was just happy it would work, and it did!  Here are some pictures of the finished (not quite happy yet but it will work) project. Tucker doesn’t seem to mind that the cover is on top, the door will swing open flush to the couch so no more running into the door. Easy peasy!!!!…

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The first picture is the crate sitting on the floor in front of my end table. That really bugged me sitting out that far into the living room but I wanted him to feel comfy by going in his crate and still be near me. So.. the last picture proves he approves the new digs. Just have to find a deeper board to put under the table top to raise it another inch and I will be a happy camper. yay me!

Now to move the catch all basket that was under the table in the first place. And it truly was a catch all so now that problem is also solved. Next to tape the plastic bag with the screws in it to one of the legs and then store the table legs in my studio so I can reassemble the table when the crate gets moved to another area.

That was my morning and now I plan to sit back now with a hot cup of tea and watch a movie while I work on a pattern that I am designing.

And on that note. Have a great weekend and enjoy the Olympics

~~~MSH

 

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Debt, Debt and how I plan to pay it off

Well I saw a segment on GMA this morning how a lady paid off her credit card debt in 15 months. They didn’t go into it a whole lot but they explained how she did her reverse debt. I sort of understand how she did it, I think. It is all so confusing.. lol. Her way was a bit extreme as she paid off $24000 in debt in 15 months.. Now being retired I would love to say that I  actually earned $24000 for a year…hahahaha.. so she and her husband are making decent money to be able to rethink her finances and start dumping money onto her card to be able to do that. That is not an option for me so I plan to at least start somewhere. Every little bit will help.

Here is how I see her doing it.. it is like when I am out and I am doing my errands and I think.. geeze.. I am hungry.. maybe a short trip to McDonalds?.. Now last year that would not have been an issue.. I would have gone through the drive through and spent over $10 for a meal that firstly was not good for me but totally unnecessary at the time. This year I think twice because my eating habits have changed mostly from necessity. Meaning, my stomach cannot handle fast food anymore so the decision to go through the drive through makes me gag. But.. had I been able to, it would have been $10 out of my pocket and I wouldn’t think twice about it.  So.. what the lady was saying,,, is… don’t do the fast food, keep track of what you would have spent on the trip out that day and put that money on your credit card debt.  Ok.. I see what she is saying! I think that can be done.. so instead of swiping the debit card for that drive through meal, go home and take that $10 and put it on your credit card.. right?  is that was she is suggesting?

That will take a bit of a life style change and that also should not be a problem for me. I will just come home.. and transfer the money directly on the credit card. I plan to do it right away because knowing me I will leave it in the account and then find something else insignificant to spend it on.. “oh lookie  I have extra money in my account”!.. right?.. you see what I am getting at?

So to explain how I will be doing it,,, here goes… I am a seller on Etsy.. digital downloads.. so there is no expense to me except the listing  minimal renewal costs once every three months.. I have my account set up that my sales get deposited into my bank account once a week.. SO!!!!.. every week when that direct deposit comes in, I will put that money received onto my credit card. ( I will actually be rounding up the money) On top of that I will pay the monthly payment requirement. That way I am dumping extra money every month onto my card. Paying down the principal.  All the money from my Etsy account will be paying down the card each month!… I can certainly see how this will benefit me. I am going to see how long this will take. I know I don’t owe much on my credit card, not as much as some people are dealing with, but being retired does not allow me a lot of extra cash flow and I really hate credit card companies making money on the fact that I am just paying the required amount, therefore extending the length of my payments to their company. What can it hurt?.. 

So today is the first day that I took my weekly sales and payed that amount on my credit card.. Let’s see how this will work . After all, how can it hurt.  I plan to set up a reminder on my calendar to check my account for the etsy deposits and take time to immediately pay the credit card with that amount deposited. As well I plan to get an excel sheet started for a reference to see how the new plan is working.   If I have no deposits for a particular week (yes I do have weeks that I don’t sell or the money goes into paypal for the payments) I still plan to put a minimum amount of $10 on the card that week. You really don’t miss $10.

Time to take control!!!!!!!! It’s a new day.

 

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Reflections of 2017

Well I guess it is my time to reflect on 2017. All in all it was a year of discovery, acceptance, and realisation.

 For those that have known me over the past 10 or so  years know that I have put my heart and soul into the local craft/artisan business. Organising these shows as well as participating in some of them gave me the best as well as the worst times of my life and sometimes both on the same day!

Well all that is coming to an end this year. I have made the decision to retire from shows as they got to be more than what I bargained for, or can deal with.  Lately the new slot of vendors and venues have become a whole new breed of entitled all about me people that took all the fun of doing this from me. The last really big show I did really sucked the life out of me. Seriously,,,, I don’t know how I survived it. Anyway it all comes down to respect for each other  and  that respect is gone. I am hoping the next generation that comes up is a better lot of people than the ones I have been dealing with over the last 5 years. Every year it seemed to get progressively worse. God I hope this changes or our society is in a heap of trouble.  This year has been a test for my tolerance.. and I failed that test. I no longer have any tolerance for it.  

 I am truly thankful for all the respect I got from the  long time vendors who truly get it!  They know how much time goes into organising, booking tables, arranging vendors so they complement  each other. Not just the first come, slap them anywhere mentality.  I thank these vendors for standing behind me,, and some in front of me during the good and bad times. It is still up in the air about one show I organise but that might be the only show that I will even think about organising  in late 2018. I think I just need to step back and take a breath. I need a break.

 Over the past years I might have lost sight of some family and friends. I am truly sorry for not trying harder to break the control I was under years ago. I was not strong enough at that time to fight for myself and keep connected with  all these good people.  I should have been stronger.  It was easier being complacent and not make waves to keep peace in my life but I should have realised that by doing that I was losing the peace I was seeking.  With that being said, I have made some good friendships over the last few years but I am still a guarded person who truly has a difficult time being around people (just the introvert in me I guess).  Negative nellies will no longer exist in my life.  This will be the difficult part as I do not like to hurt people but seriously when someone doesn’t take your feelings into account then it should be easy to do,,, right?. I want to do this without having to  crawl into a black hole trying to hide away instead of facing it head on and saying, “I don’t need this anymore.. I can do this!” yes I can!!!!!!

 So What I am trying to do,, no.. what I WILL do this year is work on being a better ME. I have already completed the first goal in my personal weight loss journey  and will continue slowly as that is working for me.  I will be  letting  go of people and situations I have no control over.

Breathe deep~~~~~

I will spend the next month or so cleaning and purging both my studio and my soul.  I am going to take time to relax, reflect and figure out what the next chapter of my life will be. Right now I am just too tired to even think of turning that page but when I am ready it will be easy I am sure of it.

 As a very wise, special person in my life says.. MORE time for ME, my Health,  my Marriage, my Family and most of all my Happiness.  That sounds totally selfish but in all honesty if you don’t take care of yourself first, nothing else can be taken care of, right?

So on that note, I am wishing everyone a Happy, Prosperous and Respectful New Year.

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Sock Monkey Mittens (with afterthought thumb)

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Well I finally got my act together and got the pattern written up for my sock monkey mittens. These mittens are knit on 2 circular needles (my preference) with a bulkier yarn #5 and I use an afterthought thumb. This design goes fast because you don’t have to think about adding stitches for your thumb gusset. Easy peasy style and that is what I am into right now.. ..  easy.. fast.. non thinking patterns. I  find it easy to knit the both mittens at the same time that way you won’t have the one mitten done syndrome.. many’s a time I have knit one mitten and then put it down to come back and knit the second mitten only to move on to something else. I am not saying that my lack of concentration is going.. yeh.. I guess that is exactly what I am saying. So to alleviate that problem I just knit both mittens at the same time. Done and done!…………………………….

Anyway to find this pdf purchase link go to my webpage

Sock Monkey Mittens on True North Knitting

or to Etsy at

Sock monkey Mittens on Etsy

and on that note I am off for a cup of Hot tea and a big ole cookie to celebrate my doneness. Is that even a word?…..well it is now.

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My Pet Peeve

My pet peeve

Beyond a doubt my worst pet peeve is lack of communication!This stems from multiple areas of my life. Everything from vendors to friends to family. People who think that it is acceptable not to respond to emails is my first peeve. My job right now is to fill a craft show with the best vendors I can. I do this as a volunteer and takes many many hours of dealing with people, drafting floor plans, placing vendors so they don’t have an identical vendor next to them, it is all a work in progress usually up to the last week of planning. At first when the applications go out I usually get a ton of applications. I go through them to make sure I have an equal amount of varying crafts and products. When that is done I send emails to confirm, explaining that payment will secure their spot. (and this is indicated on the application form) Some vendors are really great, they either just respond with payment or contact me to say when they will pay. My email and phone number is always available and I have always made it my mission to treat people the way I like to be treated. Good concept right? I go above and beyond what I should be doing but most people that know me, know that is how I am. I just don’t get people lately. In a society that is so socially  connected they think that it is OK to ignore instead of stepping up and saying.. “I’m sorry but I am unable to attend” Simple response  but they think I have nothing better to do than to chase after them for a response. They treat it like they are too busy to take time to respond but don’t take into consideration that I also am too busy to keep chasing them down for a response. So my solution for this particular problem is. Remove them from the floor plan and move on. No need to explain anymore to them. They don’t have the consideration to contact me, I should not feel guilty about taking them out of the show.

Next…People who use you for their own gain!. I call these people inconsequential friends. (which means they don’t consider you important or significant unless they need you for something). Unfortunately I have run into lots of these people during my 64 years. Seriously it takes me a bit to realise this but in the end it usually hits me and I think “Holy crap I did it again” . A good example is, I contacted someone who I considered a friend on Facebook, to meet up for a coffee. Well I don’t know if this person realises that I see when they read the Private Message or not ( or maybe they just don’t give a damn). So, the message was read but this person didn’t have the decency to even respond with, ‘sorry can’t make it” or.. “you suck so I don’t want to meet for coffee” or “I only friended you because I hoped that your relationship was not good and I could swoop in” or “You called me on my fabricated stories, exaggerated stories and outright lies and now I can’t be around you because you know the truth”. Either way I gave it the 48 hour rule (wait 48 hours before you act or respond) then I promptly deleted this person from my list. There are many more recounted stories of this type of problem but I won’t get into it right now. I am sure you have your own accounts and honestly I would love to hear them if you want to respond to this post.

The next one is the exclusion from family matters. I like to keep to myself, not one to blat out there everyday about how my life is going. No one else’s business and I am sure that no one out there really cares if you had coffee and yogurt for breakfast, right? I don’t get the “I have to post something on my news feed or my day is not complete even if it is stupid or boring” 

opps strayed off the tracks for a bit, sorry about that.

Well anyway, that doesn’t mean that I don’t care or I don’t get hurt when this type of thing happens. One in particular comes to mind when family events happen but. “oh I thought I told you” or “Honestly it just slipped my mind” or “I didn’t think you would be interested.” Seriously. I live a short drive away and it seems like it is too much bother to even think or ask? Like I said, communication. I have done everything I could to keep in contact, and to what end! Missing activities because I didn’t find out about it until I see the pictures posted on Facebook truly hurts.    I realise now that I was more than likely purposely excluded (not sure why and not sure I really care at this point) I could read a lot into why but honestly it is not worth my time and effort to explain this behaviour.  At one point I tried for 3 weeks to coincide a good time to drop off a gift when every date seemed to be an inconvenient time. Seriously? Karma will bite the hand that feeds it and I will just sit back and watch.

So in conclusion, treat people with respect and kindness. If a confidence is given to you, respect it and don’t spread it around. If a trust is given to you, wrap it up gently and store it away as it is truly a gift to have someone trust you. Treat friendship like a good wine, savour it and make it last.

Communication is the key in the end. It only takes a minute of your time to respond to someone, or to treat them with kindness. Pay it forward daily. Wave and smile at an unsuspecting stranger, it could be the brightest spot in their miserable day. Send someone a Private message telling them that you are thinking of them and just wanted to say hello.  

What is your pet Peeve?  let me know. I would love to hear your stories.

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