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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

save money but break a washing machine?

so, like any day at the ott house there is mountain of laundry to tend like any day at the ott house, i wake up and toss in a load. now the only difference with this day and the others is that i had 2 extra kids...making my normal routine a little, we will just say more bright and early i realize my desk top is not working ( this of course happens the day after i sell my laptop, of course) hour or so later i hear a shouting from the bathroom..." the toilet looks funny" what??? " the water is all gone, it looks funny" ok, so now the already sketchy, 25 year old, 3 different shakes of pink toilet, that all 4 children will be using all day is broken. no problem. we can survive a broken toilet...i just hope no one needs to go at the same time. (i would so send them out to the back yard to find a tree to pee on if they were all boys..(does that make me super red neck..i hope not) ok, so we survive the broken toilet for the whole day...yay!! but then netflix breaks....well the Internet goes down and we have the streaming disc for the wii....and no cable of course because after all we are trying to save money where ever we can, right? now they are mad because all they want to do is hear david bowie sing the "power of the babe" in the labyrinth..(who blame em though) but of course it won't work now either....yay!! so i promise a sprinkler and pop ice...only to have the sky fall out moments later...complete with thunder and lightening...and it last allllllll dayyyyyy longgggg.

by the time the extra kids dad comes to pick them up, i am ready to lose my crap. it has just been "one of those days". dave has a meeting this particular night until about 9:30 so it's just me and the girls, left to ride it out. it then occurs to me that i forgotten the laundry from the i go out to the garage basket in hand and as i approach the washing machine i notice that the rug i keep in front of it is soaking wet. not good! so i take the load out and put another in to see where this water could be coming from. seems it was leaking from under the machine...CRAP. and dave is not of course i call him, freaking out, because "we have two kids and he changes clothes 3 times a day and i have about 2 shirts that will stretch over my ever growing stomach....I HAVE TO BE ABLE TO CLEAN OUR CLOTHES!!" oh and there is that whole, we don't have any freaking money to fix any more crap that breaks, thing.... so when he finally gets home to look at it, i am at the kitchen table crying...because i am pregnant and stressed and thats what i do....and all that i can think of that will make it all better is sushi, or a nasty steak and shake burger or donuts....of course i can have none of these...instead i had eaten chicken that i had managed to burn for dinner with a jar of spaghetti sauce poured on top...YUM, dont' be jealous now! anywho, so i am crying and i call my mom because that always seems to make it a little i explain the busted machine (which by the way is only like a year and a half old) and she says, "did you look to see if something is clogging it up where the soap goes"(because she is the smartest person alive, really she is) and dave says "that's a good idea".....flash forward 20 minutes later and tada..... THE FREAKING HOMEMADE, MONEY SAVING DETERGENT WAS THE PROBLEM......the bar of soap that you grate and add seems to not have been much for saving us butt tons on laundry detergent...i almost cost us a butt ton on repairs...good one kat! (i will now give audra credit for wanting to make the liquid kind, but i protested sighting that the powder would be easier...the liquid is mixed in a 5 gallon bucket and lets just say i have a tendency to spill things, break things, cut and burn myself while cooking and so don't get a nick name like hazard by doing nothing)
so maybe the liquid would not cause the problems that the powdered caused....not sure if dave would even let me try it at this point.
i am just beyond annoyed that in my latest great effort to save the family money, it eating out, no cable, cutting corner everywhere we can and i am still discouraged.....when will all of these efforts pay off? cause for now, i am not seeing a difference....and i am getting tired........ .... did i mention we go to messianic synagogue...we read a bible portion for each day, we get a little piece of paper that tells us what to read for that a portion of the old and new testament...when i got in bed last night to read, i saw that we are staring job....i laugh out loud at this now because it is too perfect...not just me...but any one keeping up with their portion would be reading job now. can you think of a better biblical example of trials and tribulation...and not just me, but everyone it seems is having a pretty rough time right now too...but are we having a "job" of a time...i pray we don't end up there...i pray that through all of these test, that the Lord does not allow it to go as far as it did with job( i am always thankful for my situation when i read this book of the bible!)....we are all gonna have trials, we will all suffer and struggle....i just pray i can always stay thankful for the blessings i still see everyday...even when the toilet, t.v, computer and washing machine break in one day...when i burn the chicken and have 4 kids screaming at me at one time...when i sit around waiting on magic sushi to find it's way to my door step..and it never does.. i still want to be able to tell the lord thank you for just getting me through another day. and i would also like to apologize to him for all the complaining i do about my washer being in the hot garage...cause had it been in house yesterday, i would had one big freakin mess to clean up....but as it stands, all that water ended up on 100 degree concrete, drying up on its own in a matter of hours..THANK THE LORD FOR THAT!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

the grows

so like i have said earlier, i know there is more to this whole thing than just not eating out. i know God has some bigger plan in action for us. and it seems with each passing day, my conviction to do better and save more grows......and then i argue with God, i'm all " really, God you want me to do more than not eat out and sell all of our junk.....there is nothing else i can do sir" and then He of course reveals to me yet another thing i "could" do if i would just do it. i

also am becoming more aware of how i can not spend an entire year just whining about how i don't get to eat out and how much it pisses me off. so, i have decided to share the other "things" God is showing me i can do and maybe they can help other people who are in the same boat as us.
so my good friend saundra started making her laundry detergent forever ago. and although i knew i was cheaper and not that hard, i was still too lazy to give a whirl. it was just way easier to drop a bottle of 7th generation in my cart and be on my way. (and for those of you who buy 7th generation anything, you know it's not cheap) so i mention this to my very frugal friend audra..... and well, before i knew what had happened audra had the recipe and had called all over jacksonville looking for and buying what we need to get started. so, last night audra and i got busy making homemade laundry soap, fabric softener and dish soap. it seriously was so easy and pretty fun. now lets do some math:

7th generation detergent= around $11 for 32 loads (if you are lucky)
home made=around $8 for 80+ loads
so 11x3=$33 vs. $8
$8 wins!!
so here is a recipe for the powder detergent. i did laundry today and was pretty pleased with the results:

2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda
and i bar of soap, grated.
mix and store in whatever container you want ( we used glass canning jars)
use 2 table spoons a load

for the fabric softener you just mix one cup baking soda and one cup water. after dissolved add 6 cups white vinegar slowly...after fizz dies down add 6 cups more water and then 10 to 15 drops of any essential oil you please...and tada!!!

by the way all of the things you need to make these items can be bought at publix in the laundry isle.

Monday, June 21, 2010

a cheating

so it's been a little over a month and i am not gonna lie...THIS SUCKS!!! i will begin working on my bad attitude when i am less hungry for crap i should not eat in the first place. who knew not eating out for just one month would be so freakin hard. maybe it is because i am the one that cooks EVERY meal we eat. add up three meals a day for 365 days....crap, that's a lot of i am pregnant. every day i am more and more pregnant and i want to do less and less cooking.....not to mention the cankles i have by the end of the day. the last thing i want to do is stand in my overly hot kitchen, cooking on my 25 year stove with an old, stupid timer that randomly buzzes at me, forcing me to have no other choice but to attack it with a set of metal tongs to make it shut up...only to have the buzzing noise worsen..causing my very frustrated husband to have to disassemble the timer to make it stop. did i mention that in my rage i managed to nearly shatter the glass front of said timer...and from time to time, for no good reason, IT STILL FREAKING STARTS BUZZING AND WON'T STOP!!!! ok, needed to get that out.
so one month down and 11 more to go. i do need to mention that my sweet mom did order us some chinese last week. i would feel like a fraud if i left that out...but we did not buy it ourselves, so it does not count! i could not get off my couch and she felt bad enough for me that she got us dinner. i love my mom. i was soooooooooo excited. i feared the chinese delivery man might think we had died ,considering we normally called them once a week ( i would hate to cause them worry :) but sadly when we got it, it was not that great. all that anticipation and then i was a little let down. so maybe there i something to be said for good ol home cooked meals. it's cheaper, healthier, and normally taste better than anything you could eat out.(see already started working on that bad attitude) unless of course no one in you house is a very good cook...but hey, it could force you learn. if only dave would get on that boat. i am a little worried how we will eat once the baby comes. i might starve if i count on dave to feed me the first few weeks home from the hospital. i think i will make a rule that you can only come to see the baby if you have food in hand. don't care if you made it or picked it up on the way..but it best hot and tasty, OR NO BABY FOR YOU!!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

official rules of the year without eating out:
1. no eating out period!
2. no buying a cup of coffee, tea, chocolate milk ect. while out.
3. if someone kindly offers to take us out to dinner i will not decline...did not say i would not step foot in restaurant, just not gonna use our own money to pay for it.

and that's it...those are the rules, plain and simple. on your mark, get set, go!

and it begins.

so we are in debt...just like most people i would imagine. we are in debt and want out. now the thing about our debt is it is not really self created debt ....we are not in debt because i can't stop buying shoes or my husband can't stop buying sports cars...we are in debt because our a/c broke and we live in fl. our faucet broke and we were broke so to home depot we marched. we are in debt because we were out of groceries and we have two kids to feed and no pay check in most of these debts sprang from my husband being self employed for almost 4 years. if you are, or ever have been self employed then you know the pain of debt i speak of...if not, i am not sure you could ever really understand. anyway, self employment tax SUCKS and when you can not pay it quarterly because you don't have it, well you end up owing more than you would ever imagine. call us stupid, or uninformed, or whatever you want...we are just regular people who wanted to have the freedom of self employment and it did not work out for us. for those that it does work for, i am ever envious.
so we get on a payment plan with said irs....we pay them 500 a month for a few years. then tada! we should be done....well, no so fast. it seems that they want 250 of that 500 for interest and pentalties. now i officially HATE the irs!! at that rate it will clearly take us double time we thought it would to pay them plus, it is gonna end up costing double the original owed amount. AWESOME..NOW I CAN T BREATH AT ALL.. oh did i mention i find this out when i am 5 months pregnant with our third child...well, needless to say one can not stop breathing when trying to grow a whole other person. ..BLAH BLAH BLAH we suddenly need a plan and it needs to be a good one....
we have friends, lots of friends who have tried to live by dave ramsey's principles. after talking to them about these principles it seems to me that they would work. get out of debt and live on cash the rest of your life. seems like a no brainer really. but now we have to start doing really crazy things to get out of this debt. we are gonna have to sell anything we don't need and put that towards the bills....fine, i can live with that. after all it is just stuff. so i make a list and i get on craigs list. i tell myself that one day i can rebuy that guitar or sewing machine...i don't really need that coffee maker that is just sitting in the pantry..right??? and people on craigs list will buy anything!!! i mean anything...the dumber and more useless it seems to me, the quicker people seem to snatch it up. so i tally up how much i could possibly make...then i deduct it from the irs debt total(the rest of the debt is gonna have to wait for this chunk to go away)...CRAP..if i sold everything that we just don't need i am still gonna be short a few thousand dollars...and that is if and when i manage to find people to buy these in the mean time i am crying sobs...and praying and yelling at the lord asking him why we are in this place...not proud of that yelling part.. but i know it would not be happening unless that was part of his plan from the get i calm down a bit and head to the beach to get my head straight.
so we are at the beach and i am thinking about how i want nothing more than some sweet tea from chick-fil-a....the stuff is crack. now i know we have no money for even a sweet tea. the irs owns us now, remember...but i still consider asking my sweet husband, in my sweetest most pregnant voice if he will let me stop on the way home for said tea.....and then a thought hits me. and let me assure you, this thought did not come from me...i just know it...because, i am 100% driven by food...even when i am not pregnant i wake up and think about what is for dinner that night. i love food! i love coffee! i love not having to cook considering it is my job in our house for three meals a day. it is the one thing i will spend money on....not shoes, not clothes, but food and not cheap food either. we are very healthy in our house. we eat organic everything . if we do eat meat it is a very rare occasion. my favorite food is sushi...would eat it you see where this is going right....we don't have the money to eat out. not now. not that i think we ever really did . we have never been able to save money...oh. cause we don't have any extra to save...blah blah blah..but i can find sushi money! i can always find money for starbucks or a donut if my little heart desires. but here i am now, wanting sweat tea and it hits me that i can not get that tea...i can not!!!! so instead of putting on my sweet face and sweet voice and begging for the tea, i ask my husband how much he thinks we spend in a year on going out? his answer is "not that much" but i know that can't be right. there are four of us in our family and one bun in the oven. one trip to starbucks with all of us in tow is gonna cost us about 10-15 bucks. after two coffees, couple chocolate milks and a few's always cost us over 20 bucks...and back to the sushi..never, ever less than 50 bucks..CRAP. i just know it has to add up over a years time. even if we only spend 50-100 bucks a month going out here and there, that would put a dent in my tax payment...a small dent but a dent never the less.
so i purpose in a moment of sheer insanity, best i can tell, that we don't eat out for a WHOLE YEAR! what, no, surely not a whole year. what will we do when we are driving to and from atlanta to see family what will we eat...does that mean not coffee, not sweat teas, not water bottle from a gas station...yup, that's exactly what it means. nothing, nada, zip. if i can't make it at home then we don't get to have it. you want ice cream kids...well, we will have have that at home. you want coffee on the way to work in the morning...make it and take it. suck it up Ott family, it is gonna be a long year..but we will make it. i know we will cause i promised God that we would not waver. i know it sounds extreme but i have no better plan. and because God has never broke a promise to me, i find it really hard to break one to him if it is in my power not to. it was the only way i could stop smoking years and years ago. i finally just told God i would stop for 2 years. so i did. and after exactly 2 years, i lit up..felt convicted and promised i would not do it again for another 6 years, seemed i needed longer than i thought (by now i am sure you think i am totally insane) but it is what works for me. i hate math but love numbers. i have to give it a specific number of time and i can normally do what ever thing i am trying to do. i am stubborn and don't like being wrong either. with this eating thing, i feel like there is no other option. we make what money we make every 2 weeks. the debt is large and we have to pay it off or we will never be able to afford the things we need. another baby will cost more money and we have to be able to provide for our kids. i hate living paycheck to paycheck. who doesn't? i want to be able to give my friends money if they are having a hard time, no strings. i want the gifts God gives my family to be spread far and wide! and i am willing to try this crazy thing for a year and ask God to bless it. of course i hope some of those blessing are ones that will pay off my taxes and other debt in a years time. but i also know that our family will blessed outside of money through this. i know our kids will remember this year, maybe not always fondly, but it will have an impact on them. they will see Gods grace, mercy and provision through this little project. i hope it changes me..i hope and pray it brings my family closer together, closer to the lord and i hope it can do something for other people too. so here we go. day two of this project and i am nothing but excited.