That Payday Feeling

Do you feel like this on payday? photo credit: juleswrules via photopin cc

Ahh, payday. You wake up in the morning, check your bank account and feel a glimmer of hope that all is well in the world. Then come the bills and by the end of the day you don’t even feel like you got paid any money at all. 

I got paid today. Immediately, 70% of my paycheck went towards our debts and bills. 10% went into savings, leaving me with the rest to try and be able to put towards Terry’s credit cards at the end of the month. Normally this money goes on gas to get to school, but as it’s summer vacation, I can hopefully put this towards our debts instead. I have very little money that is unaccounted for in our new budget. I know I don’t need any spending money, so I don’t give myself any. 

Oddly, even though I don’t really have any money left over after payday, I no longer feel broke. I know my money is going to help us be debt free and every month helps us get closer to our goal. How do you feel on payday? 


4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Day 6

Yesterday I took the day off from my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge – but today it’s back to work. Here is Day 6’s Challenge:

1. I finished cleaning underneath the bed now that Terry has fixed it. 

2. Get dressed in something that makes you feel great.

Today that’s an Ann Taylor Loft Dress

3. Sit down with a cup of coffee or tea and create a list of weekly goals.

One week today I leave for America to visit my family for two weeks, so here are my goals:

     1. Pack for America

     2. Make birthday presents for my nieces

     3. Make birthday cards for my family

     4. Continue to do both 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home and Squats Challenges every day

4. Set the timer for 15 minutes and run through your home quickly picking up everything that’s out of place and putting it away.

Hurricane Terry left his mark, but now the house is nice and organized again

5. Clean out the inside of your vehicle. Remove all trash and clutter. Use a vacuum attachment to vacuum all the seats and floors out.

I’m going to wait and complete this when Terry is home so that we can do both vehicles at the same time.

6. Find 5 items to get rid of today. Throw them out, stick them in a donate or garage sale box, give them to a friend who can use them, or list them on Craigslist or eBay.
1. Takeaway menus – recycle

2 & 3: Union booklets – recycle

4 & 5: Models – donate

Month 5 Totals

It’s that time of the month! Tomorrow is payday and I just couldn’t wait to add up our totals and find out how well we did during the month of July. Without further ado:

Terry’s Credit Cards: £705.23

Mandi’s Student Loans: $1184.80 (£699.61)

Total for July: £1404.84

YTD: £7147.68 ($12,103.85)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have officially paid off more than $12,000 in 5 months!!!! Next stop, £10,000. Stay tuned.



£3487 paid off of Terry’s credit cards so far


Birthday Fun

Again, thank you to everyone for the kind birthday wishes – I had a wonderful day. What did I do on my no spend birthday? I spent money! Well, technically Terry spent money on me, but it was a wonderful change of pace from our recent frugal lifestyle.

We walked over to Starbucks in the morning for a special treat and then walked around Bicester Village shopping for two hours – not spending money, just shopping. I don’t go into shops often, but the weather was so lovely and it was a nice walk and I just love looking at gorgeous things. I know they say you should avoid shops at all costs when not spending money, but every once in awhile I just can’t help myself and take a quick peek in to see what I’m missing. In the first two months, this led to a meltdown or two where I just wanted everything so desperately and felt sorry for myself for not being able to have it. These days, I walk into a shop, I think Ooh! That’s nice! and remind myself that if I work hard and pay off all of my debts, I can come back to the shop and buy whatever I want with cash. I find this very motivational. I know it won’t work for everyone, but it works for me and gives me a nice kick in the pants to keep going so that I can be where I want to be. I got a free hand massage at l’Occitane – just for asking, which was also a nice treat.

We went home where Terry cooked me a nice lunch and then we went to the movie theatre that opened in Bicester last year that we still hadn’t been to and watch a matinee performance of the new Transformers movie. I don’t go to the theatre often – obviously – but when I do, I love to watch action films. This one was jam packed and incredible. Sure the plot got a little muddled here and there, but there was plenty of action to take your mind off of it. 

After the movie, we went back to Starbucks to use our treat receipts from the morning – two Starbucks in one day!!! Then we met Terry’s family at an American diner in town for a birthday meal. The food was good, the conversation was fun and we left in high spirits. 

I got some lovely presents on my birthday – for which I am grateful. Terry, anticipating the whining that would come every month, gave me a gift Birchbox subscription to get me through the end of my year of no spending. (Can you hear the angels singing?) Terry’s parents gave me cash – but made me promise not to put it towards my debts. If they hadn’t said that, that’s exactly what I would have done with it. That’s what I do with all spare money these days. I’m really excited to have some spare cash – but what am I going to do with it? In the past, any money received would automatically go towards something I had my eye on. Those new shoes I just saw, that dress that I had just tried on, the new eyeshadow palette that I had read about in a magazine. But now, nothing springs to mind. This is new territory for me and I am really looking forward to spending the money on myself and finding something really special. 

It’s My Birthday!

Today is my birthday, which means a break from my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge (but not my squats challenge – I’m really into challenges at the moment) and a lovely day with friends and family.

Thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes. x



photo credit: <a href=””>Aih.</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Day 5

I’m undertaking Money Saving Mom’s 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge. Today is Day 5. 

1. Get dressed in something that makes you feel great.

Cat leggings it is, then…

2. Remove your couch cushions and clean out any crumbs, toys, or other miscellaneous items you find. Use an attachment on your vacuum to vacuum the cushions, underneath the cushions, and all crevices of your furniture. Spot clean the fabric, if needed.

My couch doesn’t have removable covers – thanks for getting me out of this one Ikea!

3. Set the timer for at least 15 minutes and do something you really enjoy and that relaxes and rejuvenates you. Take some time to just stop and enjoy life today!

My favorite part of the challenge so far 🙂 Today I chose to do some cross-stitching as I have a project that I’d really like to finish, but has just been sitting around taking up space for the past year. 

4. Find 5 things to get rid of today. 



1. Ikea Catalogue – recycle

2. Crazy Cat Lady gift – don’t need a reminder as this is my actual life – donate

3. Pattern – donate

4. A Streetcat Named Bob – donate

5. How to Survive Your First Year in Teaching – giving to a friend who is about to begin teaching 


4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Day 4

Today is day 4 in my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home challenge

1. Get dressed in something that makes you feel great {there’s something about dressing in clothes that make you feel great that just gives you more energy and zest for life!}

It’s Sunday. My pajamas make me feel pretty great on Sundays. 

2. Set the timer for 15 minutes and do a quick-clean of your bathroom. Need specific directions? Read this article on How to Clean Your Bathroom in 15 Minutes.

Argh. Thanks to our tiny bathroom, this gives me enough time to deep clean everything but the shower. I also earned a multi-tasking merit badge by putting on a face mask while cleaning. 

3. Clean out underneath your beds and furniture. Remove clutter and trash and put it away or throw it away. Move the furniture (if possible) and vacuum underneath.

Double argh. Not digging today’s challenges. My first thought is ‘I could get away without doing this and no one would ever know.’ Almost immediately, Ninja reaches under the couch and pulls out this beauty:

What is that?

So, I was wrong. I pulled out the sofa and was horrified to discover this:

Before: That is actually disgusting

Luckily, it was a quick fix. 

Ninja giving it his seal of approval – but really trying to find the toys he keeps under the sofa

Then I moved upstairs to clean under the bed. I was doing pretty well, until I realized that the bed had actually collapsed at some point. Luckily Terry’s home tomorrow to help me fix it. I learned a long time ago that my short attention span and firm belief that I know exactly what to do mean that it’s best to leave all things DIY to Terry. This project has been postponed. 

First thought: Ooh! There are my Rebecca Minkoff flats!!! Second thought: Is it supposed to look like that?

4. Find 5 items to get rid of today. Throw them out, stick them in a donate or garage sale box, give them to a friend who can use them, or list them on Craigslist or eBay.


1. The broken felt pieces & instructions from the doll kit I completed yesterday. Part of me wants to keep it to use as a template, but the likelihood of that happening is pretty slim – throw away/recycle

2. Journal – donate

3. Ancestry book – donate

4 & 5. Old Birchbox guides – recycle

4 Weeks to a More Organized Home: Day 3

When not sewing a doll, which is very little of today, here is what I got up to on my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge Day 3:

1. Get dressed in something that makes you feel great

Today, that’s a blue J Crew dress

2. Set the timer for 15 minutes and do a quick-clean of your bedroom: throw out any trash, put away items that are out of place, get rid of clutter, tidy up, vacuum, and make your bed.

15 minutes is actually a good amount of time to clean up

3. Clean out your freezer(s). If you need step-by-step help, read this guide on How to Clean Out Your Freezer.

We cleaned out the freezer 2 months ago, so I skipped this one (happily)

4. Find 5 items to get rid of today. Throw them out, stick them in a donate or garage sale box, give them to a friend who can use them, or list them on Craigslist or eBay.

20140726-214901-78541928.jpg1. Pair of Reef sandals, unworn – sell

2. Conference Materials – recycle

3. Map of Amiens from recent visit – recycle

4. Old perfume bottle – recycle

5. Double sided fashion tape – donate


Look What I Made Today!

Last year I bought a DIY Doll Kit from a jumble sale figuring that I would one day make the doll for one of my beautiful nieces. Which is code for it will forever take up space in a closet. But then I stopped spending money. While looking for items to donate for my 4 Weeks to a More Organized Home Challenge, I came across the doll and thought I would give it a go. When I opened it up, I found this:

The kit that I purchased
The kit

Sadly, the pieces where a bit ripped where someone without the patience of a saint had started and then stopped the project. Also there was only one arm piece. As I couldn’t really make the doll with the pieces at hand, I thought I could just trace the pieces onto some felt that I had in my crafts cupboard and perhaps still be able to use the kit?

Making use of some old felt
I managed to trace all of the pieces I need, but will they work?

With the new pieces cut out, I set out following the kit to make my doll.

The eyes went on first
…then the hair…

Once the doll was stitched I got to make the super cute doll clothes.

Look at her cute vest!
All she’s missing is some rosy cheeks

After five grueling hours (I had no idea it would take that long or I probably wouldn’t have started) I have a beautiful doll for my beautiful niece’s belated second birthday present.

What do y’all think?

The finished product
I made this!