Not too much has been going on recently. This past week was a little stressful for me. The kids were all cranky - which is in part (I believe) from another caregiver in the room who couldn't separate her emotions from her personal life in the workplace. Hence, she was constantly yelling a the kids and being negative. Her negativity began to wear on both the other caregivers (one of which is me) and the babies. Andrew has been really stressed as well. Tomorrow morning at 8 am he goes up against the Below-the-zone (BTZ) Board and he's really nervous. When he's not working or fishing (there was a salmon derby this week), he's studying like crazy. If he makes an excellent impression tomorrow, he could put on his Senior Airmen promotion early. So you can see why he's under a lot of stress!
I need some advice from everyone who reads this. Whether your comment comes through here or Facebook or even in an email, I appreciate all advice. Andrew and I have decided that we need to crack down on paying off various things. This decision has been stirring around for some time, but has become more definite this weekend when I got a notice from Great Lakes.org, a lender in which two of my loans from school are serviced by, about the two loans they hold. Both are coming out of a year-long determent. Originally I put them into deferment because I qualified for Economic Hardship based on Alaskan standards. I have gotten a better job since then that pays a little bit more, but I have also had to make additional loan payments from other lenders since getting that job. Although I know it is better to pay loans back, even if it is just a little bit every month is better than putting them into another deferment or forbearance, but I don't feel I have any choice as of right now.
I am not going to discuss the exact numbers of which I owe (and it is more than you think) but to give you a general idea - by the time I am done paying I may have been able to purchase the equivalent to a lower-end ranch style house. The loan payments are not too much the issue here. We are PCSing next year (whether to a new base or to the New England area) and we would like to have our car paid off before then. And if some of you remember, last Veteran's Day we got into a car accident and are still working on paying off that loan as well.
We have been blessed in many ways. A friend who is currently on deployment is storing his stuff in our basement and we are able to use his car. He is applying to extend for another six months, which means that instead of coming back in November like he planned, he will come back in May of 2013. Having his car is a huge blessing for us as Andrew's job sometimes requires him to travel around base etc. It's a plus for me too since I work at 8 am and Andrew works at 7 am. Having two cars means that I can go to work at normal time instead of being dropped off early. It also helps out for when I have errands to run over lunch or doctor appointments to attend.
So we have been looking into ways to save some money - well, it won't be going into a savings account but rather towards the car payments, among other things. We are looking into dropping the cable and land line we have and just paying for internet. We don't even use the land line but yet we still have to pay for it. And we just found out that in order to have internet we don't need the cable of the line! Aurora Housing on base told us we did in order to have the internet - they lied! Andrew will also be canceling his smartphone plan from Verizon. Originally we were looking into combining a downgraded cellphone with the internet for Andrew, but with the GCI provider (it's the only one in Alaska) it would be the same amount of money that we pay now for the bundled cable/phone/internet package. I think what is going to happen is Andrew is going to transfer his line to my mom's family plan and downgrade to just a text-no-data-plan cell. And then we will drop the cable and land line and just pay for internet. We will be saving over $150 a month.
We just bought a Costco membership today mostly so we can get our monthly stash of meats from there. I also ordered a year's worth of contacts - and I only spent $100! Much cheaper than ordering from any other place I've found. I also found a pair of lens I liked but we need to think on it. Because of my prescription, the lens could be really thick.
What I really would like for you is advice or tips on saving money whether it is on groceries (We don't get a whole lot of coupons in the mail/newspaper etc.Most coupons are specific to grocery stores around town. Which we don't shop at) or gas or whatever you have on your mind. Anything that helps would be greatly appreciated.
Also, this summer will probably be the only time Andrew comes home (even if it for a wedding). The next time we will see everyone will be September/October of next year. Money will be tight over the next year, so trips/plane rides to the East coast will probably no longer be happening until we PCS. So if you want to see us, come to visit us instead.
Whew. Done for now.