Category Archives: Frugal

Are We in the 47 Percent?

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I normally ignore politics.  I followed the Obama campaign four years ago because I thought he would be good for America, but ever since then, my following has been just about non-existant.  Well, until the last couple weeks that is.

Dave and I have been working on a couple (BIG) projects and in effort to get our name out I’ve been working on developing a presence in social media.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, we’re on them all.  Twitter has been my primary concentration, however, because I’m realizing that in order to build a presence over there, you have to be consistently active.  As such, Twitter has become my news source.

Although not always the most reliable source for the latest news story, I was looking through the posts of those I follow when the video of Romney and his 47 Percent leaked.  Having just come back from laughing my butt off when hearing his interpretation of “middle class” income, my jaw dropped.  I HAD to watch the video.

In case you missed it, you can either click above or read what he said:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Again, my jaw dropped.

When I left my ex-husband, I was unemployed.  Feeling it was necessary to get my sons and I into a safer environment, I looked to the state for public assistance.  Did I expect help?  No.  But I was EXTREMELY appreciative when I received it.

In order to qualify for Ohio’s Cash Assistance program, I needed to be actively looking for a job or be employed.  Let me preface this by saying that it was not my choice to be unemployed.  I am a college graduate with my bachelor’s in interior architecture.  I am an artist, or at least I would like to believe I am.  Two years prior to leaving my ex I lost my job.  While I tried to secure another job in the industry, finding an interior design job in the midwest was, and still is, like finding a needle in a haystack.  I applied at gas stations, fast food restaurants and local stores.  For TWO years I applied to all of these places just so I could contribute to my household.  The response I got was always somewhere along the line of, “You’re overqualified,” or “We don’t want to put time into training you when you’re just going to move on to something better.”

Finding a job after moving out turned out to be a whole lot of luck.  I was in the right place at the right time with the right person, when I secured my first job in more than two years.  But I didn’t get a job because somebody was telling me to.  I was doing it because that’s what I needed to do for the boys and I.  I didn’t believe anybody owed my a job.  I simply hoped somebody would give me a chance.

Every Friday morning, recipients of the cash assistance program were required (I’m not receiving the assistance anymore so I don’t know if it’s still the same) to attend an open interview session at our local job office.  Upon hearing about this I was excited.  I thought it would be my chance to get a job.  I was wrong.  Walking into the office, I was visably one of the very few attendees who cared about getting a job and getting off the program.  First, I had bathed.  My hair and teeth were brushed.  And I had worn a suit.  Looking around, I was surrounded by unkempt people wearing pajamas and sweat pants who looked as though they hadn’t showered all week.  I was flabbergasted.

But it got worse.  The employers, knowing this is how people were approaching the mandatory open interviews, had stopped attending.  There was ONE employer there, a gas station, and they were looking for somebody to work third shift.  As badly as I needed a job, I couldn’t work third shift with the boys.

I’m digressing, so I’ll get back to my point…

I work full-time now and Dave is in college full-time.  The cash assistance and food stamps are long expired, and yes, we struggle.  But no, we don’t believe the government “owes” us.  I don’t EXPECT them to give me housing, healthcare and education.  I didn’t even apply for housing assistance when I left my ex.  What I do expect, however, is that all Americans be given the same opportunities for equal care.

I have been employed by the same company for the last 17 months and have been a great employee.  I get my job done and don’t create drama at the office.  I get paid every week and pay for health insurance out of my paycheck.  I repeat, I pay for health insurance.  With that said, paying for health insurance doesn’t provide me with the same benefits as somebody receiving public assistance.  Example: Dave and I found out we miscarried earlier this year and I had a D&C shortly thereafter.  A month later the bill came in the mail.  We owed $8500.  Out of the $9000 bill, our insurance had covered approximately $500.  Does this sound right to you?

When I had the boys 7 and 10 years ago, the entire pre- and post- natal bills for each boy equaled $500.  This included monthly-turned-weekly check-ups as well as delivery and the hospital stay.  For the youngest, it also included an extra week in the hospital for me when he tried to come two months early.

Following our miscarriage earlier this year, Dave and I had two more (miscarriages).  During the third pregnancy, I found out that women who met specific (low) income guidelines could apply for pregnancy health care through the state.  While I didn’t want to apply, I did.  With a bill of $8500 from an out-patient procedure, it scared us to think what the labor and delivery would cost.  Would we be shelling out the cost of a full-year college tuition to welcome this miracle into our life?  Bah!  When I started miscarrying the third time, however, the fear of cost played into my health decisions.  I went through three days of excrutiating pain and dizziness before finally going to the ER.  That bill has yet to come, and I’m sure it’s not going to be pretty.

I can’t say who I’m going to vote for, however I can say that I don’t like being generalized.  Dave and I DO take personal accountability and responsibility for our lives.  Can we always pay the bills we have?  No.  But we’re not applying for assistance we don’t need.

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My Latest Theme Song

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I heard a great song when I was listening to slacker.com at work today and right away had to share it with Dave.  (I’ll share it with you in just a second.)  While it seemed like it written especially for me to share with him, I related to it just that just more because of the line:

Everyday a million things cluttering up my mind

Let me share the song with you, and then I’ll write more…

What Means the Most – Colbie Caillat

Colbie Caillat – What means the most from Miss Whatever on Vimeo.

OK, so back to a million things cluttering up my mind…

I have so much on my mind lately.  My brain never ceases to tease me with a bunch of “what ifs?’ and to-do items.  My to-do list feels as though it’s a million miles long, and by the time I get home from work I really don’t feel like working on any of them.  My brain is exhausted from thinking all day and I just want to veg out.  Unfortunately that’s not how I work.  Here are a few of my many thoughts…

  • How many words can I write in my book tonight?  Yes, I finally started writing a book about a month ago.  I have the general story line worked out in my head, but how to get from here to there is puzzling to me.  I’m about 3,500 words in, and from what I’ve gathered on the internet, an average size chick-lit starts at 60,000 words.  So, yea.  I’m struggling.
  • I have an idea for another non-fiction book, however I believe it would be best written under a pseudonym.  While my family and loved ones will know it’s out there, I’d rather that a big part of my past doesn’t.  I think the fear of its discovery has kept me from starting to write it.
  • How do I get hired permanently by my employer?  I’m working my butt off, as I have for the past 14 months, and would like to be a permanent associate.
  • Do I want to pursue another degree and open my job opportunities up tremendously?  I’ve been applying for jobs at a local (great) university in hopes that I will be hired there and be able to pursue another degree for free.  (Yes, they pay for employees to take up to a certain number of classes for no-cost besides books).  My only dilemma is that I have no idea what field I would want to pursue degree wise at that university.  I want to be creative and not pursue a field just because I could make more money in that field.  I just wish I knew what creative field I wanted to go into.
  • What do we need to do and how do we do what we need to do to buy a house?  Plainly said, we’re paying too much rent for what we’re getting, but other apartments in the area are even more expensive than ours.  However, we could buy a decent sized house and pay the same as we are now.  Unfortunately I’ve heard that a temporary job (even if it’s 14 months long so far) doesn’t get viewed as a “real” job by mortgage lenders, and my credit score is…  less than favorable.  I know I need to work on the credit score, however the job situation takes me back up to “How to get hired permanently
  • Four short years ago I got paid double what I do now and was tremendously unhappy…  And broke.  I was living off credit cards, unable to pay their bills, and paying thousands of dollars of year in bank fees due to interest and a constantly overdrawn bank account.  Now, we still live paycheck-to-paycheck, however I have learned to budget.  No, not all bills get paid every month.  But rather than pay tons of money in bank fees, we’ll deal with phone calls reminding us that our payment is late…  again…  But I’m happy.  We’re happy.  TREMENDOUSLY HAPPY!

36 Days to Go…

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And I’m just now finalizing the wedding invitations.  No, I didn’t procrastinate.  And I definitely don’t have cold feet.  But these things are kicking my creative butt!

First I tried to design my own version of this invite using Photoshop.  Yes, I borrowed a design.  At $4 a pop for these invites because there are such a small quantity being ordered,  I/we couldn’t justify the expense.  I thought I could make my own version and get them printed at Walmart on photo paper.  When I uploaded the “picture” to Walmart’s site, however, it warned me that the resolution was too low.  I ordered one anyway, but without even picking it up (yet) I decided I better look for another option.




I think I found one.

This design, found at Snapfish.com is both affordable and quirky, like us.  The only hesitation I have is that my best childhood friend has a thing about photo booths with her husband, and they had a photo booth theme on their Save the Dates two (or three?) years ago.  Hopefully she won’t mind my borrowing from her.

Finding pictures to use has been difficult.  With all the pictures we take, we have surprisingly few of the two of us together.  In the next year we’re going to have to be sure to take many more of us together.  The people in the pictures to the left ARE us.



The bottom of my wedding dress...

Did I mention I knit my wedding dress?  It only took a month…  If you take a look at my profile picture (for the moment) I’m wearing it there.  Or…  You can wait for a post after March 31 to see me in it on our wedding day!

Learning to Live Frugally #1

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I have a problem.  I love to spend money.  I usually have no money, however when I get it, I always buy something I shouldn’t.

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Like dinner for the four of us at Chipotle.  Mmm mmm…

I decided, in my attempt to live a frugal life, that I should point out objects I see in my everyday life that people really don’t need to spend money on.  Today’s objects come from an e-Flyer I received at work.  I won’t name the company the flyer came from, and I won’t deny that the objects are cute, however each could be made for less than half the price using craft supplies found at your local JoAnn’s or Michaels.

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These fabric thumbtacks are being sold for $7.95 for a package of 25.  $7.95?!?!?!?  How about if you buy a package of upholstery tacks on clearance and make your own?  Together with a hot glue gun (assuming you already have one), you could MAKE your own for approximately $3 per 25 and sell them for profit on Etsy!

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Like the fabric thumbtacks, I know these magnet clips are ridiculously overpriced. $11.95 for a package of 4.  All I can say is WOW that anyone would imagine paying this much.  Personally, I’d rather give my boys some paint and glue and ask them to make me some Mommy Magnets.  Unlike the paper based refridgerator art that often falls off the fridge before getting trampled on or eaten by the pets, the magnets would last a lifetime.  Think about it.