Down With Debt: June 2015 Report   Recently updated !

downwithdebtWell, it’s a new month, so it’s time for a new monthly report.  We are currently trying to pay off our credit card debt.  Right now, we’ve got all credit card debts paid off except for my medical bills.  Those had the lowest interest rate, so we saved them for last.  It’s so exciting to see a light at the end of the tunnel!

Anyway, here’s our overview for June:

Hubby’s Income:  $2,682

My income:  $670 + $53 (coin deposits) = $723

Total:  $3,405

imagesExpenses:

  • Hubby’s Tithes:  $269 – we pay 10% of our net income to tithes.  It’s something we feel strongly about, and will not ever give up doing.  These numbers obviously vary a bit every month, based on our income.
  • My Tithes:  $72
  • Charitable:  $26 
  • Mortgage:  $1,017 – this is a fixed expense.  Our mortgage is actually $1,016.83, but I like to round up to the nearest dollar.  Makes it easier for me, and hey, $0.17 extra goes to the principal each month, ha ha.
  • Phone:  $68 – this is for our 3 cell phones.  We don’t have a landline phone.
  • Utilities (Electric, Water, Natural Gas):  $125 – gas bill was much lower, electric bill was higher.  Time to start hanging our clothes to dry!
  • Internet:  $51 – This is a fixed expense.
  • Medical Bills:  $250 – I’m shocked and relieved that my bill wasn’t bigger after my ER visit in April.  Thank goodness for insurance!  (sometimes)
  • Car Insurance:  $72 – our car insurance is going up in July because we’ve added a second car to the plan.  This number will be higher soon. :(
  • Life Insurance:  $32 – this is a fixed expense.
  • Car payment:  $231 – this is a fixed expense (until we’ve paid off the CC debt, then we’ll start paying more on this)
  • Groceries:  $200 – we usually budget $250 – $300 to groceries, but since I have the summer off work, money is more tight and this will be lower until I’m back at work again.
  • Car gas:  $100 – not having to drive my son 65 miles to and from school every day, our gas bill is down from it’s typical $210 a month. :)
  • Spending money:  $100 – $60 of this went towards savings for gymnastics for my daughter.  $15 of it went to Scout camp for my son.  I honestly don’t remember where the other $25 went.
  • Debt:  $792 – this is what money we had left after paying other bills.  Anytime we can manage to pay more than $500 on it, I’m happy. :)

Total Expenses:  $3,405

 

 

You_Need_A_Budget_LogoWe were able to budget every dollar (every penny, really) using the YNAB software.  It’s been such a huge blessing for us to have that tool!  Since we started using it back last September, we’ve managed to knock our debt down from $9,091.40 to $1,870.54.  It’s over $7,000 of difference.  We would probably be closer to being completely out of debt, but we have had some issues with medical bills and a car accident that bumped our debt number up.  That’s okay, I’ll still take $7,000 gone!  If you ever look into the software, let me know…I can get you a discount!

 

The next few months (July, August, and September) tend to be tight months budget-wise for us.  My last paycheck came in June, and since I’m off work for the summer, I won’t be receiving a paycheck again until September.  Usually my income is what we try to use for groceries and gas money, so we’ll have to be cautious.  In all reality, we probably just won’t be paying off as much debt for a bit.  Our garden is growing, and we’ve been able to save money on breakfasts by eating fresh raspberries every day for the last few weeks. Hopefully we can use what we’ve got growing to save a bit for the next little while.

 

Original Debt:  $9,091.40

Current Debt:  $1,870.54

Paid off so far:  $7,220.86

So, that’s where we’re at!  How did your month go, financially?


June Online Money Report   Recently updated !

Here’s a quick, fast summary of the money I made online.

 

Let me make one thing clear.  I’m NOT a blogger making a full time, or really even a part time income online.  This is money that I tend to use for “extras”…a new trash can for the bathroom, raw almonds from Amazon.com, etc.  The amazon money that I make from July – November will be used for Christmas.

 

Online $ Total:

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CrowdTap:  $25 amazon.com gift card

Swagbucks:  $29 in amazon.com gift cards

PineCone:  $24 Paypal

Survey Spot:  $5 amazon.com gift card

Izea:  $25 Paypal

User Testing:  $30 Paypal

 

Total:

$59 Amazon.com gift cards

$79 Paypal cash

 

 

 

 

 

 


WAVEstream Wireless Speaker – Review   Recently updated !


*I received the product free for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% my own.

 

11403413_10153737014175353_7891874408194885858_nAbout the speaker:

WAVEstream Wireless Bluetooth speaker system

Designed for your work and play lifestyle. Audio fidelity is clear and sharp with nice deep bass tones. Keep WAVEstream in the conference room at the office for phone call meetings with the team or use it in your home and take it with you from room to room with ease. 

Product Features: 
– New Bluetooth 3.0 Technology 
– Change tracks from your phone or directly from WAVEstream track buttons: works on Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, Sound Cloud & more music apps! 
– Two 40MM drivers deliver deep, rich clear sound 
– Built-in Phone Conferencing Microphone for Taking Calls 
– Line In input gives you a wired listening option (great for non Bluetooth device connectivity) 
– Audible Low Battery alerts notification sound 

 

My Thoughts:

I love the speaker.  You can see my video review below:

 

So, I’m pretty new to bluetooth technology.  I’m quickly learning to love it, however!  This speaker produces a nice, deep, rich sound.  And it’s so dang easy to use!  I simply turn it on and then turn the music on my phone on…it connects automatically and provides me a better sound experience.  There are some negatives as well, in my opinion.  The cord to charge the speaker is REALLY short.  I also feel like the battery life isn’t as long as I’d like it to be.  Here’s a good summary:

 

Pros:

  • Connects automatically
  • Deep, rich sound
  • Connects  to my phone from 25 or so feet away, so I can be in another room and still hear it.
  • Awesome sleek design
  • Really easy to use
  • Good deal at $24

Cons:

  • Really short charging cord
  • It sometimes takes awhile to connect
  • Needs to be recharged quite often – at least daily
  • When it connects, it beeps really loudly – scares my son.

I’ll keep using it, I’ll tell you that!  I kinda want to get another one for my daughter so she’ll stop stealing mine, but then again, two loud speakers playing two different melodies in one house might be rough….maybe I’ll get her some bluetooth headphones instead. :)


Homemade Nut Milks and a Nut Milk Strainer Bag Giveaway! 1 comment   Recently updated !

I received the product mentioned below for a heavily discounted price, for the purpose of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.

 

Y’all know how I can’t ingest much dairy, right?

 

I think I’ve figured it out.  I think it’s the lactose.  I seem to do okay having whey, and the hardest cheeses don’t cause me too much grief.  Drinking straight milk, however, is NOT an option.  Since buying myself a BlendTec, I’ve been having a hay day with making homemade coconut and almond milks.  It’s really, really simple, and the taste is great!

 

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To make my coconut milk, I start by drilling a few holes in the coconut.  You know, where those indents are at?  Then I drain the coconut water from them.

 

 
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Once they’ve been opened and rinsed off, I stick them on a cookie sheet and “bake” them for 15 minutes or so….this is simply to loosen the hard shell and make it easier to remove the meat from the shell.

 

Once you’ve got your pieces of peeled coconut, blend it with the coconut water and added filtered water.  I usually do about 2 cups of water with one coconut.  (Two cups of filtered water, this is in addition to the coconut water I drained from the coconut.)  You’ll want a high-powered blender for this.  Blend it for a good few minutes, and then strain.  I used a Nut Milk Strainer Bag for this, and I couldn’t believe how much better it worked than other methods I’ve used in the past.  My favorite coconut milk recipe can be found HERE.

 

 

 

To make almond milk is similar.  Simply soak 1 cup of raw, organic almonds in water for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight.  Rinse them and blend with 4 cups of filtered water, a pinch of sea salt, and a bit of sweetener of your choice (optional).  I’ve added a few Medjool dates, and also stevia for sweetening.  Both are delicious.  Strain with the bag and enjoy your milk!  Two of my favorite recipes for almond milk are here and here.

 

8cc0c31ba8f2538a914535beae79f94b07a43e2bThis is the strainer bag I used.  It is from My Nut Milk Bag‘s website.  It comes in a 2 Pack (1 Large 12″x12″ & 1 Medium 12″x9″), and the bags can be used in place of cheesecloth for making your own fresh/healthy soy milk, nut milk, almond milk, juice or for sprouting. These multi-purpose nut milk bags are made of food grade, commerical, strong, high quality fine nylon mesh that does not stretch out in the same way that cotton cheesecloth does and can be reused over and over again.

 

Reused over and over!!  No more cheesecloth for me.  I wish I’d gotten one of these YEARS ago.  It has made the process so much easier, so much less messy, and I’ll never go back.  I’ll also probably never want to go back to commercially prepared coconut and/or almond milk, either. :)

 

 

 

I like these bags enough that I’d like to host a giveaway for one of you, my awesome readers.  YAY!!  Enter below, and good luck!!  Ends July 17.

 

 

 
Nut Milk Strainer Bags Giveaway


Konjac Facial Sponge with Activated Charcoal – Review

*I received a complimentary product for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% my own.

2a1f770e62447b99912ebfc1950e299e811a0d26About the sponge:

Gently yet effectively exfoliates dead skin cells, removes toxins, oils and impurities from your skin. Furthermore, it removes fatigue appearance and customers have amazing results with acne skin. 

100% SAFE FOR EVERY DAY USE BECAUSE it is luxuriously gentle, pH balanced and doesn’t damage your skin as other harsh products do. You will even save your money, because this sponge doesn’t require a cleanser and does all the job of removing blackheads and breakouts.

100% NATURAL ECO-AND-ANIMAL FRIENDLY BIODEGRADEABLE – We have evaluated dozens of sponges on the market before putting our name below it. The konjac fiber is grown on a very high altitude in Japan, Korea and China, thus being very pure and pollutant free. It is filled with precious nutrients such as protein, carbohydrate, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and folic acid. Your skin will thank you every day!

ENJOY THE COMFORTABLE 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE

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My Thoughts:

 

Okay, people…this is the real deal.  Everything that the description says about your skin feeling amazing afterwards is true.  Holy cow, it feels so smooth and soft!  It’s so weird, because you’re just rubbing a sponge on your face, but it feels like you’re putting on a moisturizing product.  It’s silky…it GLIDES.  I kid you not.  I’m in love, I really am.  There is minimal packaging, which I appreciate.  It seems to lose its shape after a few uses, but it still works, so I’m cool with it.

One of my favorite things about this sponge is that it tricks my son every time I get it wet.  He sees it and asks, “Mom, why are you rubbing a brownie on your face?”  It cracks me up. It does kinda look like a brownie when it’s wet, I guess!  It’s only $10 at Amazon!


Pravana Nevo Intense Therapy Leave In Conditioner – Giveaway! 6 comments

*I received a complimentary product for the purposes of this review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are 100% mine.

 

I love me earth friendly products!  Here is one that you may be interested in hearing about:

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Pravana Nevo products are 100% Vegan.  They are 100% gluten free.  Their packaging is 100% biodegradable.  Nevo Instense Therapy Leave-In Treatment instantly detanges hair, provides deep hydration or equalizes hair prorsity.  It also protects hair when heat styling, adds shine, eliminates static.

 

Munchkin and I both used this spray to see what we think.  I can tell you now, it’s more costly than other hair care products that we usually use at my house.  However, I’m impressed enough with it that I will plan on buying from them again.

 

Pros:

  • It made our hair super soft.  It wasn’t an immediate effect, but after consistent use for a few days, we noticed a difference.
  • I would spray it on and then braid my hair and keep it that way over night.  In the morning, I could tell a difference.
  • The bottle is pretty, and the design is sleek!
  • It’s totally easy to use.
  • It is a wet spray, but it had such a conditioning effect that it didn’t act like a “wet” spray.  Usually when my hair gets wet, it poofs up a bunch as it dries.  I didn’t experience that poofing when using this, which was a pleasant surprise!
  • My daughter felt like it did a good job with detangling.
  • I really like the smell.
  • No sulfates, no salt, paraben-free, no animal testing – need I say more?  Okay, I will. :)  100% vegan, no phthalates, 100% biodegradable.  Yay!!
  • 5% of the proceeds for every NEVO product sale are donated to City of Hope.

Cons:

  • NONE.  We love this product!!

 

Are you excited yet?  Because we are hosting a giveaway.  One lucky reader will win their own bottle of this Pravana Nevo Intense Therapy hair treatment!!  Enter below.  Giveaway open to the U.S. only.  Ends 07/08/2015.  Good luck!!

 

 
Pravana Nevo Intense Therapy Leave-In Hair Treatment