Saturday, February 28, 2009


Apparently all the planets were aligned yesterday in my universe. First, the mail-man came to the door and delivered me a box...the Financial Peace University kit I ordered on EBay three weeks ago finally showed up. I was so excited about digging in and getting to work.

Three hours later the UPS man came to the door with my inventory order! (I almost kissed him!) I couldn't wait to dig in to that one!

Then I had a telling that the same day Dave Ramsey takes over my life my largest business expense to date shows up?!

So, I opened my order, checked it for accuracy, updated my spreadsheet, and tried the Satin Lips product. I'd read about it and was SOOOO excited to try it because I have the most awful winter lips...ewww. WOW!! I knew immediately that I had to order more of those because once people tried them, there was no way they weren't going to order them! My lips felt like heaven!

Next thing I did was applied color to my face (finally, no more sample cards littering my bathroom! One of the bonuses I received was a complete set of make up (three eye shadows, eyeliner, a blush, lip liner, lipstick, lip gloss and brushes) chosen by the Company based on a profile you put in to the computer. I figured that they must know something about colors being as great as they are so i decided to use the colors they came up with.

I have never bought anything pink when it comes to make up and if somebody tried to see it to me I'd have laughed them off the face of the earth.; "Pink? Me? Are you Nuckin Futs?" Well, some Dusty Pink lip liner, Pink Shimmer Lipstick, and Melon Sorbet lip gloss and I am astounded!! Who knew pink could even look like this!

Today I tried the Microdermabrasion Set and was surprised and satisfied. I have never had microdermabrasion so I had no idea what to expect. I guess I was expecting something like a face scrub you buy at the store...umm no! As I applied Step One: Refine, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. It's almost like using a fine sandpaper...that sounds unpleasant; I just can't think of a more appealing description! I'll think of something...Step Two: Replenish felt so soothing on my freshly stripped skin...not stripped in a bad way, stripped of impurities and dead skin cells...good thing I'm not on their marketing decision team...'sand paper and stripped skin' probably wouldn't sell very many products!!

After using these products for less than a week I can already see and feel the difference in my skin. It is much more soft and looks great!

Immediately yesterday I called three friends to let them know I received my inventory and that they had to come try this Satin Lips. I almost sound like a damn salesman!!

I have two weeks until my Business Debut Party/Open House. I know I need to make some sales this week so I can buy more Satin Lips, Microdermabrasion Sets, and Satin Hands Pampering Sets. I also want to purchase samples to give out because I am convinced that after trying these products just once they will sell themselves!

My Sales Director sent out the monthly Unit Newsletter the other day. Of course being a new Independent Beauty Consultant nobody would expect to receive any recognition. There are various little recognitions for accomplishments in several areas. I have a really good chance of being at the top of the list for "Queen of Wholesale Production" for February...not bad for a newbie! I also had a $100 day. For each $100 day your name is put into a drawing...I had one of those in February too...

I was a little scared seeing the numbers of the other women in this unit. The numbers were not even close to what I plan to make...their numbers were about half of what I plan to do! Was I setting myself up for failure?? Were my goals unrealistic? No, I decided that I was just more driven and more determined to reach goals.

Of the people in our area that I know of who sell this product, not one of them is what I would consider active. They may be considered Independent Beauty Consultants, but they aer not business minded. It seems to me that they entered in to this business with the idea it would bring them money just by sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring with orders. Most of them place an order only every few months (usually to replenish their own needs...and oh, you need anything?)

Not me, I plan to THINK AND ACT LIKE A RETAILER. I am already talking to people, enlarging my network of friends, and pounding the pavement. I can't wait to get the business cards I ordered so I can hand them out with catalogs and samples! I plan to have an inventory available so my customers know that if they need or want something they can call and I can drop it off that day, or they can stop and pick it up any day of the week.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Another new beginning?!

You'll never guess what I did. I decided to start my own home based business. Yep, me...the one who said I had absolutely no interest in EVER running a business of my own.

After last pay-day I think it finally hit me that I was going to have to step up to the plate and quit my whining about how broke I am and how much our family is struggling and do something about it. I could get a job...but then I'd have to find daycare, buy some clothes (sweats are not usually acceptable employment attire!), and all of that sounded like too much work!

A friend of mine started her home based business and suggested I look in to it. She gave me all the recruitment information and we talked quite a bit. I did my research and then some...for those who know me, you know I don't jump into anything without all the facts.

After some thoughtful prayer, deep thought, and much research I decided I would order the "starter kit" and decide from there. I knew the recruitment information would not have all the nitty gritty details and the small investment ($115.82) was worth my time.

The kit showed up and I was absolutely thrilled with the info and the opportunity. Enclosed in the kit was EVERYTHING needed to get started; I actually made my first sale the following day for $108.63 retail! This immediately went towards my initial investment.

I wrote a business plan, made many business decisions (who knew I even had it in me!?) I talked with the Independent Sales Director and asked for guidance as far as how to start up and what step two was.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know how sales people talk and I can ferret out the truth from the hype. Like I said, I didn't just close my eyes and jump off the ledge.

We finally received our federal tax refund deposit and I immediately paid off all the credit cards I had planned to. Here's where my plan began to take a bit more shape. After looking over my business plan I decided that I would place an inventory order and get serious about making money. With a generous profit margin and various bonuses I decided this was worth a try.

My first order was developed over the next few days with the vision of not exceeding my set investment budget of $1000.00. Yes, this was going to be on a credit card...I know I said no more debt and that "just this once" turns in to once more, and once more...not me I say (as I'm sure millions of bankrupt people have said in the past). The order I placed was large enough to take advantage of the "new recruit bonus". Of the $243.50 retail value for this bonus, I will keep $113.5o for personal use, the rest is available for sale.

I've heard Dave Ramsey tell people there is no need to go in to debt to start a business; that the best way to grow wealth is to start at zero, not a negative number. You'd think I'd listened to him enough that it would actually stick in my head...apparently not!

So, now I have an investment budget of $1000 of which there is now $32.75 available. I have an inventory order worth $1705.09 retail on the way. I have made other business related purchases for things like office supplies that have made up the balance of my investment. It is my goal to have all the business debt paid in full within two months of my start date (February 13). From that point forward, it is my intention (and yes I know about intentions...) to operate a debt free business from that point forward.

Here are my business goals for my first year:
  1. Pre-sell $300 (wholesale) before business debut. (March 16, 2009)
  2. Break even on initial investment on or before April 13, 2009
  3. Continue to operate my business with no additional debt. (My Investment budget was $1000.00; I have spent $1075.88 and taken in $108.63).
  4. Make a net profit of $6000 before December 31, 2009.
I don't expect any of this to be easy or to just have money fall in my lap. I know I have to work, I know I have to get out there and pound the pavement, make phone calls, attend consultant training and unit meetings.

My first thought was that I was wondering how much money I could make with this business. Within a day I realized this was ineffective thinking. I needed to set a goal and reach for it. I couldn't sit back and expect this business to run itself! No wonder people fail. They hear the hype and the rhetoric, jump in and then sit back and wait...I wasn't going to wait, I AM NOT GOING TO WAIT. I set goals for myself. My profits will be spent as follows:
  1. Church - 5%
  2. baby Step 2 - 85%
  3. Savings - 5%
  4. Blow Money - 5%
As I am still operating in the red my first customer payment ($108.63) will be used to open a bank account. I will use this account for business use only. My first priority will be to pay back my investment debt. Fortunately, the credit card I used to make this investment had a zero balance so it will be easy to track any interest payments as a business expense. Then I would like to say that the next $5100 towards my personal debt, the following $300 will go to Savings, the next $300 to the church, and then $300 for 'blow money'. Any profit in excess of $6000 will go towards Baby Step #2. Once I have completed baby step #2, baby step #3 is to build an emergency fund equal to 3-6 months of living expenses...
  1. Church - 10%
  2. Baby Steps 2/3 - 70%
  3. March of Dimes - 10%
  4. Blow Money - 10%
Baby Step #4 involves investing 15% for retirement (depending on whether I am still married or not this amount can vary widely because I may be saving either just 15% of my income or 15% of the total household income...) Once Baby Step 4 is in place it is time to pay off the mortgage...

  1. Church - 10%
  2. Retirement - 15%
  3. Short term savings -40%
  4. March of Dimes - 15%
  5. Blow - 20%
So, that's my plan. During our first conversation my Independent Sales Director asked what my ultimate dream would be if failure was not an option. I replied that I would never have to get a 'real' job, my family would go on a vacation every year, and we would live the rest of our life debt free!!

Anybody need a complimentary facial? ;)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reality is beginning to set in

Hubby's paycheck was less than $750. He deposited all but $50.00. This leaves me $60.00 short after the partial unemployment payment he received earlier in the week. I know I need to get looking for a job and that it is up to me to support my children as much as it is up to him. I am struggling with the fact that I'm not the one who asked for this divorce yet seem to be the one paying the highest price.

Our tax returns have not yet been deposited and I am wondering if I should still follow through with the original plan of paying off all but one credit card. What if Hubby continues to have less than 80 hour paychecks? The credit card payments are $200/month so I would have a lighter burden (only one card would still have a balance and the minimum payment would be right around $30). On months when I receive the full amount I would put more toward the card plus build up my emergency fund. I have a small emergency fund that would get me through a minor catastrophe; anything more would cause me to pull out the credit cards...ugh. I've run the numbers a thousand ways and it seems to come out about even either way. I guess it just comes down to personal preference. Do I want the freedom of knowing I only have one credit card payment to make every month, or would I rather make a few payments and have a few extra dollars in the bank just in case?

Personally, I'd prefer the less payments. If I keep the money and continue to make payments to more than one card I'm not getting anywhere. This way, when the last card in finally paid off I can put all that money towards a larger emergency fund. In the meantime, if I do have an emergency I've got the small amount I have put away and would rather risk having to use a paid in full credit card to get through than having cash sitting around costing me in interest payments every month. Another rationale is that I think it would cause me to really think about what constitutes an emergency if I have to drag out a card to cover it.

I think I just talked myself in to my decision. I know me better than anybody else (although my new shrink is catching up real fast)! Psychologically this is the answer for me. I just can't wait to have the money to start paying the cards off.

I should probably do something to celebrate. Maybe I'll treat myself to a manicure at the local community college. It's like $7.00. I think I can swing that! I am a nail biter (although not as bad as I used to be) and there is something about a manicure that makes me feel so damn sexy! Guess I'll have to quit biting them for a week or so before I go. It's amazing how erotic I feel when I have on nail polish; how crazy is that? It doesn't even have to be some bright, off the wall hooker color. As long as there is nail polish I'm good to go! Maybe I'll get fake nails just to try them out. I'll let you know.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How can this work?

Well, Hubby offered to pay $750/pay period...I wondered how long it would last and was hoping that I could at least build a little cushion to have for when he figured out that there was no way he could afford that...amazing how quick one learns to walk when nobody is there to hold your hand...

For MONTHS I've been trying to explain that we spend more than we earn and it has to stop. I didn't nag, yell, or belittle. I would ask for a budget meeting, show him the numbers, and let him mull it over. We were spending (on credit cards) an average of $600 more than we brought in. Does it strike anybody else as odd that he decides the marriage isn't working when the money runs out?? hhmmmmm

The first pay period of our separation has been typical of the last few months. Now I am curious about how he plans to address his deficit this week. I asked last week what he would do in the event his paycheck was less than $750.00. He casually said that he would have to hope that he had enough money in his pocket to last the next two weeks...

Today he calls to see if there was an unemployment deposit into our joint checking account. Yes there was, $77.00. "Well, there you go unless I can have it" he says. WHA are you kidding me??

I think the reason he agreed to pay like he did was only out of guilt/pride. The marriage counselor had asked me what it cost to run our house every month. I said the bills and credit card minimums were $1287.00. He said I needed AT LEAST $750 every other week just to survive. When Hubby returned to the meeting he was told that upon his moving out he would have to deposit $900/pay for me to continue to pay the bills and put food on the table and clothes on our kids backs. In the event his checks were less a minimum of $750 was required.

As the days pass by I am wondering how he plans to make ends meet in TWO houses when we couldn't afford ONE. I know he is expecting me to get a job, and I am currently looking for work. They aren't exactly handing jobs willy nilly in this area. Two of the areas largest employers recently laid off hundreds of people each. As a single parent, the days and hours I can work are limited by daycare availability (no evenings, nights, etc). Currently there are no spaces available for #5 in the town where we live so I would have to find daycare where ever I find work. Even Wal-mart and Kmart are not hiring right now. I've made calls, dropped off applications and resumes, talked with managers, supervisors, and everybody else I can think of. Not having an employment history (except for a three year job over 5 years ago) isn't helping the process either.

If I didn't have to drive 50 miles I could go work the lunch shift at McDonald's (10am - 2pm). They start at $8.00/hr with a review at 30 days. Would even be good full time, but with a commute like that it would be a wash financially. It would actually hurt because as it is I receive Food Stamps and would lose that benefit ($141/month). It feels like trying to paddle down the river as the waterfall pulls you back.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Working on it

Taxes are finished and e-filed. I am looking forward to feeling rich for a day or two when the deposits hit the bank...then I will pay the bills and life will be back to normal...a new normal.

I really don't like this 'new normal.' I want my family back together, I want my husband to come home, I want my kids to not have to split their time between two houses (which right now is a treat for them...).

February bills are coming in and being paid, the kids get up and go to school in the morning, #5 still poops three times per day, supper is still at 6:30...looks the same, acts the same...definitely NOT the same though...I want my old life back.

Hubby has said that if he was asked right now if there was a chance we might get back together he said as it stands right now, no...he doesn't see it happening. Very sad. Very hard for me to swallow.

Everybody says they are so surprised at how I am handling the situation and are impressed with my composure. I know I am doing well, I am still able to look at the big picture. I am still able to keep in mind that my children have needs and it is up to me to meet them (for the most part). Hubby is doing his part to meet their needs from his side of the fence.

Not a lot of money talk today...that's why it's called FAMILY and finance.!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The plan

Hubby has agreed to pay $750.00 every two weeks for me to continue to pay the bills. I have run the numbers and that will be enough to have all our bills paid plus money for the little things (gas, toiletries, basketball game admission, school 'stuff', and whatever else we need the rest of the time.

It amazes me how much of a different outlook I have towards finances during this car wreck of a week. Why haven't we done this in the past: deposit the $750 every other week to an account to pay bills and open a second account for spending money. I think having the one account for everything has been difficult and caused much stress between Hubby and I. Maybe that was one way I could have given him some control...

I have no idea how long this financial arrangement will carry on for. It is nothing official, just an agreement. I have been told by several people to file court papers at least for child support and temporary custody. I have no motivation to do this unless he decided to stop paying. To me this is another nail in the coffin of our marriage and I haven't even closed the lid yet. I also worry that beginning the legal process will only strengthen his resolve to file for divorce. At least in our state you have to live apart for 6 months before a divorce can be finalized...which would be on our ninth anniversary (not quite what I had planned).

Hopefully his last W-2 will come tomorrow so I can finally file our taxes. I cannot wait to get out from under these credit cards!

January Autopsy

Here is my January financial Autopsy. The $340.00 transfer is the amount I carried forward to the next month. I am not using that amount to pay towards credit card payments as I am not sure how this is going to work with hubby paying me...the agreement is that he will pay me $750.00 every two weeks to pay the bills. I have no idea how long this will last or what will happen on the weeks when he doesn't bring home that much. My first goal of making all my bills current is accomplished (YAY ME). Now I need to build a $1000.00 emergency fund. We had already planned (and still agree) that our tax return will be used to pay off all our credit cards. We will have enough to pay them all off except for one. That one has a four percent interest rate and I will use the amount I have been paying on the others to snowball that debt.
Home Budget January

Total income$2,676.97 $1,857.65
Total expenses$2,676.97 $2,347.64
Income less expenses$0.00 ($489.99)
$791.00 $750.00
Salary$277.95 $750.00
UI$224.00 $224.00
$475.80 $133.65
Total income$2,676.97 $1,857.65

$340.09 $0.00
% of expenses$0.13
Finance PaymentsActualBudgeted
$42.00 $42.00
Orch A
$15.00 $15.00
Cap A
$67.34 $15.00
Cap B
$51.00 $50.00
Cap B
$15.00 $15.00
$116.84 $116.84
$264.81 $264.81
$836.54 $800.00
Total finance payments$1,408.53 $1,318.65
% of expenses$0.53 $0.56
Fixed ExpensesActualBudgeted
$21.00 $20.00
Auto Ins
$64.25 $64.25
$130.00 $130.00
$112.87 $112.87
$50.00 $50.00
$98.05 $47.69
$62.18 $62.18
$102.00 $102.00
Total fixed expenses$640.35 $588.99
% of expenses$0.24 $0.25
Variable ExpensesActualBudgeted
Spending$140.00 $140.00
Spending$120.00 $120.00
Total variable expenses$288.00 $440.00
of expenses$0.11 $0.19