Working towards financial freedom in 19 months

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

This up above was in my email so I thought I’d post it. I haven’t been to this blog in quite some time. I’ve been very busy getting my financial life in order. It’s been pretty exciting and I have accomplished a lot since reading Joe’s blog. The day that I received the deed to my house in the mail was an awesome day! I was actually jumping up & down with excitement! I took pictures of it and sent it out to my family members. When some of them asked me how I did it, I sent them to Joe’s blog.

When Joe’s blog first ended, I found myself with no internet for quite awhile. I live wayyy out in the country and we had a change of internet providers which were much cheaper and faster. Not long after they came, they decided to make some major changes which was great for me but would take some time so I was offline for awhile. It worked out though because I became intimately familiar with having yard sales. I work weekends, at night, so the weekends were out of the question. I made some fliers and hung them up all over town, remember, I live in a pretty small town.

I decided to get creative with these yard sales because of me not being able to have them on weekends. In my fliers I invited everyone in town to come to my yard sales on Mon & Tues and have lunch on me. I would BBQ burgers and hot dogs and make some lemonade. I’d have everything ready by noon for peoples’ lunch breaks. It started out slow and I had my phone number posted everywhere. After the 1st week that went so~so, I started getting calls asking if I was going to do it again the following week. I thought I’d give it a try and I’m really glad I did! For the next 2 months I did BBQ’s at my house every Mon & Tues until everything was gone! It became the social hour (or 2 if you were the boss) twice a week but I couldn’t complain as I was selling on average about $500.00 worth of stuff a day. Don’t forget, I’m old, with many past hobbies and a shopaholic as well. The BBQ’s actually went from 11:30 am to 3:00 pm.

I had tried ebay but it was a little overwhelming for me as I had a lot of heavy stuff to get rid of at first, and shipping wouldn’t have made it worth it. The BBQ’s turned out to be a lot of fun, I made a lot of money and have paid down quite a bit on my land payment as well as my school loans. I feel so free now! No more rooms full of unneeded items! I had items that were still brand new, in the package, never opened. I had little stickies on them with peoples’ names on them to remind me who they were for, for their birthdays, xmas, etc. So it wasn’t exactly hoarding, it was a lot of gifts that I changed my mind about giving. The problem with me and shopping was that I would shop all year long for events and I’d put the gifts away. Then as someones birthday got closer, I’d see something that I thought they’d love even more and buy that instead. That, on top of all the hobbies I’ve had over the years, equaled a lot of brand new items that needed to go. There were older items as well. I had 3 entertainment centers that weren’t needed anymore. They were huge! No way I could sell those on ebay and make it worth it. I sold cars, furniture, tools, a ton of clothes and regular household items.

Anyways, I’m getting closer to my goals and as of tomorrow, I will be only 2 years away from retirement! In these next 2 years I will make sure that the school loans and the land will be paid off. Come retirement, I will no longer have any of these payments! I will be the happiest camper ever when I no longer write checks for these things! Yes, I still write checks. I am soo glad that this past year I had stumbled upon Joe’s blog. If it weren’t for him I’d be in the same boat that I’ve been in for years. He opened my eyes and gave me the jump start I needed to pay everything off and live debt free. For this, I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart. If you haven’t gotten his book, go here, it will change the way you think about your finances. He has 2 books out. Read them! You won’t be disappointed!

See you next year!

My House Is Paid Off!

Here is how it happened…My son has bugged me for 12 years to sell it since I don’t live in that state anymore. I held onto it thinking I’d always have a place to live if it didn’t work out where I live now. Him and his wife went to my house a few months ago and he called me up saying it’s finally time to sell this thing. He wanted to make improvements and get as much for it as possible so I’d have something for my retirement besides the one I’ll be getting from my job. It all happened so fast! I had been reading Joe’s blog and had finally realized that I really did want to retire debt free and then my son ended up at my house to fix it up and sell it, all at the same time. It made my head swirl as I heard myself tell my son, “Do whatever you want to it, sell it.” My son had just sold his house after fixing it up and made a great profit from it.

My son called USDA/FHA, found out what the payoff was and that’s when it started to feel real. I was nervous, feeling like a piece of my security was going to be gone very soon. But that security was costing me a fortune at 7.5% interest! He laid it all out to me and it wasn’t pretty. I have had this house since 1996. I bought it for $54,000. and after 12 years I still owed $47,000.!! I’m sure $54,000. doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, and it’s really a beautiful house. It’s 2 stories, 3000 sq. feet and it sits on it’s own corner lot. The state it’s in is affordable and an awesome place to raise kids. It’s a small town though, so there aren’t a lot of great paying jobs in it unless you’re a farmer or rancher which I’m not. That’s why I left.

So we got the paperwork for the payoff and my son took it all to the bank where he is friends with everyone there. Because everybody knows everybody in that town, getting a loan to pay my house off was easy! I never once spoke to anyone at the bank. I didn’t have to go up there in person and all I had to do was fill out a loan application. Once that was done, I waited a couple of weeks and the loan papers were sent to me. I filled them out, got them notarized and bam! My house was paid off.

The loan was for $50,000. at 4.9% interest. I kept trying not to freak out while reading the paperwork and then I saw something that made me almost jump out of my chair searching for my phone. There is a balloon payment due in 2014 for $43,000. I called my son screeching into the phone…WHAT IS THIS? HOW am I suppose to do THAT?! he said, “Breathe Mom, just breathe, it’s ok.” Then he explained to me that he is confident that the house will sell soon, I pay off the loan immediately with the profit from selling the house and the balloon payment goes away. I had to ask…”What if it doesn’t sell?” He kept saying it will sell and not to worry. And if it didn’t sell, he would pay the loan off. That’s not happening. I’ll make sure that I can pay it off if it doesn’t sell.

Then he says…”You know…I think me and my wife just might buy it anyways.” HUH?! I asked him, “Are you serious?!” He said they are thinking about it. Once they had sold their own house they had moved to where my house is to talk me into selling it since they were right there. They are currently looking for a house to buy to be closer to what he does for a living. But he was looking in a town 4 hours away from my house up there. Now that he’s remodeled it and loves how it turned out  they just might buy it! That would make me sooo happy if they bought it! I would love to know that my son was living in it. We’ve had such great memories in that house and I’d love to visit them up there. He laughed when I said he can have it for $50,000. I’d actually just give it to him if he really wants it. But I know him, that wouldn’t be an option he’d take.

So this month is the first month that I don’t have a house payment! The first loan payment is due in Oct. I put the $527.00 house payment that I had been paying, in the bank this month. What a nice feeling! If he decides not to buy it, I’m sure I will be freaking out when somebody else does. But I’d also have to get over it. Memories are forever, right? Nobody can take those away from me.


Losing Focus On My Own Blog….

This blogging is still new to me and I discovered today that I was losing focus on my own blog. I found myself much too wrapped up in somebody elses’  blog and doing silly things on my own blog. I deleted my last post since it was pretty ridiculous, so I’m giving it all a rest. I guess getting so wrapped up in that blog was an excuse for me to put off the things that I need to attend to. I have a ton of ebooks downloaded on my Kindle Fire waiting to be read but I have other things to get to first that have been waiting. 

I still have a garage full of stuff that needs to be gone through and sold or thrown away. It’s an overwhelming task that I’m not looking forward to. I need to stop putting it off. Now that my house in another state is up for sale, I need to find a place to live here. I don’t want to spend a ton of money on something as I retire in 3 years and I don’t really like this town. So it’s back to sorting and selling on ebay and craigslist.

What’s been really nice this month is that I don’t have a house payment! I made my last payment last month and my new loan payment of much less starts in Oct. So that was pretty cool. I just banked the money that I didn’t have to pay this month. Not having that payment this month has really made me see that I don’t want any payments of any kind once I retire. I know I’ll still have to pay gas, electric, etc. but not having that house payment feels like a bit of freedom. Once that house sells and I immediately pay off that loan, I’ll be able to cross that off my list forever!

So as not to bore myself with my own blog, I’ll be posting on it only when I have made another accomplishment. Maybe one day I can look back at this blog and smile when I’m no longer in the position I’m in.

Joe…are you listening? I’m getting there thanks to you!

August was a crazy month! My middle son helped me tremendously this past month. When I bought my house, the one that’s out of state, we were all sooo excited to live in it. It’s 3000 square feet and just beautiful! It was the 1st house I ever bought. I obtained it through USDA/FHA. They had a program for single parents with strings attached. I had to have a full time job, which I had 2 and somehow acquired my B.S. degree at the same time, and I had to have really good credit, which I did. Trust me when I say that just because you have a college degree doesn’t always mean you are smart. I’m living proof of that. I bought this house back in 1996 and I was paying 7.5% interest. It was 9 years old, really beautiful and believe it or not, I bought it for $54,000.00. There is only 1 neighborhood, so there is no such thing as the good side of the tracks. Very small town. Great place to raise kids but unless you’re a farmer or rancher, you’re not making money. Hence the 2 jobs. But even with those 2 jobs, I wasn’t making much at all. And because of my income, my payment was reduced to $269.00 a month. That’s what I paid for years. I ended up leaving that house and moving out of state for a good job. Because I did that, my mortgage payment went up to the full price of $535.00 a month. I was able to afford that and more but stupidly didn’t pay more on it. Now it’s 16 years later, and after my son looked into the payoff, I still owed $47,000.00 I finally knew the full price I owed and wanted to scream. Instead, I put my big girl panties on and took out a loan to pay it off. It was approved of 2 days ago and yesterday I made my last payment to USDA/FHA. Hooray!! 

My son was up there with his wife adding to it. Brand new carpeting, tiled floors, new bathtubs/showers, sinks and toilets in the bathrooms, new kitchen cabinets, all new black kitchen appliances, central air to go with the central heat I already had, all brand new doors with key pads and the inside & outside painted. They also just finished the wrap around deck as well. I am dying to see it but I told my son not to send pictures. I would sooo love to live in that house, but I also hate the below zero weather in the winters. It also doesn’t go with my retirement plans in 3 years.

So now my house is ready to sell but my son flew out to Ireland to watch the Notre Dame/Navy game and will be there for a week or so. As soon as he gets back, it’s going on the market. He thinks he can get at least $150,000.00 for it but he’s going for more. Our bad economy hasn’t effected that state at all so I’m hoping it will sell before the end of the year. I’m totally psyched!! That’ll be one expense gone with just the school loan left! If he gets at least $150,000.00 for it, I can pay off my school loan! And then the rest can go into an IRA or something.

Joe…are you listening? I’m getting there thanks to you!! I know I haven’t been around lately, but I did just get caught up on your blog. It’s 4:25am right now and as soon as I’m finished with this post I’m heading over to amazon to buy this….



It can be purchased here…. for anyone that somehow miraculously happened upon this blog before Joe’s. 

Oh come onnnnnnn…WHO am I KIDDING?! That wouldn’t happen!

Remember how I said that at the end of this year I was going on a cruise to Puerto Rico? That’s not happening. You Joe…it’s all because of you. I mean really, where do I get off going on a “free” cruise for 7 days? This “free” cruise was going to cost me a small fortune! The 2 bedroom suite on the ship was free, but I would have had to fly to Puerto Rico to the tune of over 2 grand, plus the cost of any excursions, a passport, only because I wouldn’t have wanted to carry my birth certificate around which would have been required had I not gotten a passport, the cost of buying gifts and trinkets at every port and I’m sure there are many other costs I didn’t think of since I’ve never been on a cruise. The friend of mine that wanted me to go with her is such a sweetheart for inviting me to go, but this year I just can’t do it. I don’t want to be on this big beautiful ship knowing that every penny I spent could have gotten me to a debt free retirement. I can cruise when I retire! I felt bad when I told her I wasn’t going to be able to go. I haven’t heard from her since then. I feel really bad but I don’t want the sale of my house to make me lose focus and think that I have this in the bag, you know? I want the debts IN the bag, sewn up tight and gone forever before I spend that kind of money on a trip. Am I wrong for disappointing my friend like that?

So I have to tell you guys…I love my Kindle Fire. It was a gift. I totally love the indie writers. I wrote a book that will be up on amazon & smashwords very soon which I’m excited about. But that’s not what this is about. So I bought this woman’s book on smashwords for my Kindle. I “met” her on facebook along with a ton of other indie writers. One day on facebook she was talking about how she had 9 people edit her newest book so that it was perfect. As soon as I started reading it I saw a mistake. I figured she would want to know about it so I told her. She was pissed! She said, “There is NO way you found a mistake! I just had 9 people edit that book! You must have the old version.” She then asked me which version I had, the new or old. How was I to know? Anyways, she figured out I had the newer version because I had gotten it on Smashwords not amazon and that made her even more mad! But then she asked me where the mistake was so I told her. She fixed it and I never heard from her again. I wasn’t looking for a thank you or anything, I really wasn’t, it’s just that now she acts like I don’t exist. 

Some people just really amaze me. 


It’s been awhile…

I can’t believe how much I’ve gotten done in the past month! I sold a car for the first time ever and I made an awesome deal with it. This car needed a new windshield but I didn’t really want to spend the money on it. A friend of mine came over and had priced out a bunch of the idiots tools on the sly for me. So I was able to trade a couple of tools for a brand new windshield with the glass guy!

I think people are starting to “talk” in town about me. I don’t really know these people, it was just in the way the local glass guy traded me tools for the windshield that makes me wonder. I don’t really care if they are talking, I want all of this stuff gone. Including the idiot. 🙂

Anyways, I was going through a closet recently to see what was in there that I don’t need. I saw a huge suitcase that I’ve known has been in there for a few months. What I forgot about was that it is filled with women’s clothes that most have tags on and I don’t think any have been worn. But this time it’s not MY shopping that filled that suitcase. My sister who is very stylish and much younger than I am gave me those clothes because her closet was bursting. She’s a clothes horse. I need to sell them as I have no place to wear such pretty clothes. Besides, they would never fit me. Really girls? You all wear sizes like, 2, 4 and 6? That’s what these say. Most are designer names too. I’m telling you, she’s a clothes horse with great taste. I feel like a country bumpkin just looking at these clothes. I also have a box of shoes, belts and accessories from the 70’s that she gave me to sell! It’s funny, that whole box of things are all back in style!

I understand my out of state house is coming along beautifully. It’s going up for sale in Sept. There’s going to be an open house complete with a BBQ. I still haven’t seen pictures and I don’t want to. I know I’ll want to move back again. I really miss that house. Too bad my job is 1800 miles away from it. I know it’s better this way. I don’t want any payments once I retire. In 2 months, I will be one year closer to retirement with only 3 years left instead of 3 and a half which was where I started when I began this blog.

Which leads me to my next dilemma. I have this land as you all know. If I was to remain here by myself, I would need to refinance it. The interest is at 7% which is crazy!  If I refinanced it right now, I could have it paid off by the time I retired.  If I moved from it, I’d be paying 4 times what I pay now just to rent something in the same town. The next closest town is an hour away and I don’t like my job enough to drive 2 hours a day to get there and back. The only way I’ll make retirement is if I’m in this town.

Now for the idiot. He too likes this land and doesn’t want to leave it. I personally think he should just leave since he committed what he did. It’s in both of our names. If I sign it over to him, no more ridiculous 7% interest for me, but I’d be paying more to rent something else. I wouldn’t want to buy anything else here as I don’t plan on staying here forever. I had planned on paying this off and leaving it to my youngest son but he says he really doesn’t want to live here forever either. Decisions decisions.


Back From L.A.!

What a fun trip!! I took one of my sons with me and we had a blast! Joe would have been proud. I was able to talk down some hotel rates with Best Western & The Ramada! That was actually kind of fun. The first best Western I stayed at wanted to charge me over $100.00 a night. We got the room with 2 queen size beds for $72.00 each night. On the way home, I stopped at another Best Western and she wanted to charge me $147.50 for one night. Simple room with 2 queen sized beds. Just like the one I had just been at, now for much higher. I laughed and said no thanks. Then she got this attitude with me saying I wouldn’t find anything cheaper within a 100 mile radius in any direction. “And you look REALLY tired. Your best bet is to get a room here and sleep.” That’s what she said. I laughed again and told her to back away from the crack pipe.

18 miles later I found a Ramada. Beautiful room. I walked into a living room with a sofa bed, a complete kitchen, and then behind it in another room was a king size bed with a vanity, closet and the bathroom. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After all the meetings I took my son to see a few places. We didn’t have time to visit any amusement parks, plus, he’s 26 and really wasn’t interested in any of that. He wanted to see what it was like where I grew up. So the first thing he saw was this..Venice Beach.

Then he saw these places to live, on the beach..

I couldn’t decide which I liked better…this one…

or this one..I think I like this one better. Bigger windows..

But then…I took him through a side street…there are a few little bridges you can drive over, all in a row, and you’ll find this…

This was taken from my driver side window while I was in my vehicle. Sweet huh?

Then we were driving back to our hotel room at 10:46 PM and he took this picture…

He was shocked at all of the traffic at that hour and says he now knows “why you drive like you do”. What’s THAT suppose to mean?!

On our way home…this is the room I got 18 miles later after I spoke with the rude hotel lady. Originally this room was $140.00. But I got it for $95.00. Much much bigger than the last room we had. I walked into this…

And this is in the same room…

And through that open door I found this…

I didn’t get a shot of the vanity and bathroom that was off to the left. I wanted to call the rude hotel lady 18 miles away and tell her, “You REALLY need to see what I’m staying in for much less.”

Oh wait…in the morning I went outside to load everything up and saw this…typical Calif pool boy. I just had to get a shot of that, to…you know…make sure you all knew what one looked like in case you ever came across one. 😉

Almost home and as we came across this lake, I thought the reflection in the lake was beautiful…

And this one…

One more shot..

And when I turned around to get back in the vehicle..look what I found on my antenna!

How cool is that?!

I’m easily amused. 🙂




I’m a new business owner!

I can’t really say exactly what I’m doing yet until I get everything just right. But I will say this…I am really excited and I do think this adventure will get me out of debt in the time frame I had planned on! Tonight I met with someone in another state about this business and what happened? I will be driving to Los Angeles and I’ll be staying in a hotel for 3 days to iron out details!

I told Joe, on his blog, that I will let him know when I am rich & famous. And I’m not kidding. I will fly to Austin and search him out while he’s sneaking in his flask at a bar or something. Ok, wait, that makes me sound like a stalker. *lol* I wouldn’t really search him out. Plus, I have no reason to be in Austin. And by the way, ever since I read Joe’s blog, it seems everyone is talking about how great Austin is. I always had it in my head that Austin was just like the rest of Texas, a great big hot place. When I was a kid we used to drive from Calif to NY and we would go through Texas. In a station wagon with my dad, a pregnant mother every summer, up to 6 kids, a Siamese cat, and no air conditioning, Texas was miserable! I’ll probably never know what Texas is really like, and I’m ok with that. *lol*

I also have great news about my out of state house! It’s being gutted out right now and everything being put back inside of it will be brand new! The best part? I don’t have to pay for any of that stuff until the house sells. The very best part is that it’s going to sell for twice what I thought! I’m kind of torn about whether I want to see the new & improved or not. I absolutely love that house. It’s taken me quite a few years to allow myself to sell it. I realized, just this year, why. First, I always looked at it as insurance in case I hated it where I am now. It was a place where I could go back to and live out my life if it got too bad here. Second, I was holding onto it because it was an emotional thing. I have the greatest memories in that house and I didn’t want to let those go. I realize now that those memories will never go away whether I sell that house or not. I’m thinking I don’t want to see the new house after it’s done. I think I will just let it go as I remember it.

OMG this scorpion was crawling on me!

       This was sooo gross! I felt something crawling on my arm and when I looked down…there it was! I flicked it off and landed on my keyboard. I then grabbed a paper towel and waited until it crawled up onto it. Then I pulled the paper towel down off the keyboard and smashed it with my cell phone. Now I feel all creepy crawlie!  


And this is what it looks like dead. Look at that ugly face! OMG this is making me sick! I wonder if I brought it in with the laundry that was hanging outside?! I will definitely be shaking out every single piece for now on!




Graph of Household Bills & Mortgage Payments

Graph of household bills & mortgage payments…

by iowenomore


This is where I’m at so far. Hopefully my next bill will make that red area smaller. I am loving being able to hang dry my clothes outside.  They dry faster outside and smell really fresh and clean. There are a few tricks that really seem to work better. Hang the jeans/pants & skirts by the waist. Hang all shirts by the bottom of the shirt. Hang socksby the toe and don’t overlap the sock over the line. I hang dresses by the top of of the dress. For towels and blankets, give them a good shake or 2 before you hang them up and I split them in half over the line. I love when it’s windy because the towels & sheets rub against each while drying other making them not stiff. If anyone uses cloth diapers, the sun really whitens them as well as helps in killing germs. And if you hang up your skirts by the bottom, they will dry more quickly but take up more room.


Mortgage payments…my regular payment is $293.40

Date:   Amount:     Principal:   Interest:        Fees:           Balance:

5-13    $400.00      $182.33     $207.67        $10.00         $33044.27

6-13    $500.00      $283.47     $206.53        $10.00         $32760.80

I really need to up these payments even more to make my goal. It’ll be a lot easier once my out of state house sells. I’ll be able to take that payment and add it to this. The interest is killing me!

I’m off to do more laundry now that my work week is over and I have a few days off.


My power bill has already dropped!


I just received my power bill and it’s already down $22.34! All I really did was unplug things that I rarely use and I started using cold water when washing clothes instead of warm or hot. I have a water well and it takes electricity to heat up the water. For the first time in years my power bill is under $100.00! 

Today was definitely a good day! I hung clothes up to dry, I bought a bunch of groceries that cost $125.00 and I only paid $18.00 for them, and now I find my power bill has dropped! I will add the savings to my land payment.

Here is a list for anyone interested in getting started using coupons. I will also list a few sites where you can find freebies out there.

And here is something where you can find freebies like I get every single day.

Here are a few things I received today in the mail. These are small compared to a lot of the stuff I get for free.





I can’t seem to turn this picture in the right direction but I’ll keep trying.

There is also a site that I absolutely love and have never heard of it mentioned on any show or on any of the couponing sites which really surprises me. Susan Samtur is the Original Queen of Couponing. She started couponing back in the 70’s. At that time, she was on all of the TV talk shows. She would take the hosts of those shows grocery shopping and they would see first hand how she would pay under $10.00 for a full basket or 2 of groceries. She shows you how to not only save with coupons but also how to get refunds from the manufacturer’s for the products you buy.

Now remember the $18.00 I said I paid for my groceries today? I will easily get that back by next week because of Susan Samtur and her little magazine. So that is why I say most of my groceries are free. Every month. Without fail. 

Here is her site. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back and read her site.