Off the Credit Edge: What to do Without a Credit Card

Credit and information management leader (PQ) estimates that over 5 million consumers discontinued use of general purpose credit cards over the past year. This is in addition to the approximately 70 million active consumers who were not using credit cards in 2017. These estimates come along with the knowledge that the credit card delinquency rate (defined as the percentage of bankcard borrowers 90 days or more overdue on one or more credit cards) decreased by 24.6 percent over the past year.

According to PQ, this is because consumers are being more conservative in their spending in order to maintain good relationships with banks and credit card companies. In other words, consumers want to avoid overdrafting, late credit card payments and defaulting on traditional loans, so they’ve simply stopped using these banking techniques. Others may already have bad credit or other financial hardships and are unable to access these lines of credit. In this economy, all kinds of people from many different walks of life have dropped off the credit card cliff and are looking for options to hang on to.

We know that these consumers are in need of alternative credit and loan fast cash options. A number of products have been created just for people seeking loans without the need for a credit check. We’ve mentioned quick cash loans in the past. This personal loan product is in many ways ideal for those outside the traditional credit circle. You simply have to be 18 or 19 years old depending on your county, have a verifiable source of income and a checking account in good standing and live in a county where it is offered. There are no credit checks. The best thing is PQ can help consumers build credit. Second time borrowers who pay back their loans in full have access to greater lines of credit of up to £2,500 and lower interest rates. Even better, PQ will report your payment status to a major credit bureau to help you increase your credit score.

There are several other options that we’ve covered on our website for consumers in the land outside of traditional credit lines. These include payday loans, prepaid debit cards and car title loans. If you’ve dropped off the edge of traditional banking, take some time to look into these options. They could save you from plunging into a financial crisis.

I want to do as much organic as I can since we know I am chemically sensitive

Stuff like Aspertame can put me in the hospital and nitrates and MSG tend to leave in sick and in pain. I cannot use a lot of detergents like tide and cheer as I break out everytime. So we figure if it is part to get detoxed organic is the way to go or at least for a good part of it. We will be putting gardens in and growing a lot more so even when we are off of the juicing we can still have a good amount of produce.

As for seeds I love seeds. We call the Bakers Creek Catalog seed porn lol. I have a good healthy collection of organic heirloom so will not need to buy any. From time to time I do place an order with Tomato Bobs. Every month they have a collection of .50 packets of seeds. This helps with our abundance of seeds. Until the last 2 years when I started getting sick we used to grow a good amount. Hope to get back to that soon.


When we started juicing, I made the decision that it was better to juice “regular” vegetables and fruits than not juice at all because we couldn’t afford organic. Not saying that is the decision everyone should make, just saying for us.

We are one of those people who grow organically, non-GMO, heirloom, but never in a million years would I be willing or able, to do what Kathryn has done and get certified. So while I hear what Kathryn is saying, we are definitely in the camp Robin speaks of.

Of course, most of the reason we grow organically and heirloom is because I can’t afford pesticides and I’m too cheap to purchase seeds every year, LOL. Non-GMO is just because I hate Monsanto (the food side of them anyway) on principle.

Thank you for all your info and ideas

I am so greatful for everyones input. We have an organic farm that is about 40 minutes from here. We are thinking about next week taking a drive to see if it is a better option but we do have to factor is $3.75 a gallon gas for the Van since we are really tight on our gas budget too. They do have a CSA which deliverers in our area. I am going to look into that too for now. I do hope to get enough in the ground to offset the cost but until I am start feeling like a whole person again it is a bit difficult. One issue is we do live in a big city surrounded by big cities so there is not much organic farm land and the little organic farms that have been popping up are still a bit costly.

I would be very careful with this

We are actually in that position of using organic practices, yet we aren’t yet certified. We went through certification in summer 2012, and most of the farm passed but a few details for the hogs and poultry snagged us during the inspection. We were given the option to fix those items prior to the end of 2012 (it was already the end of September), and PAY to go through the certification process again, or just make the changes and re-apply in 2013. The certification office made the offer to credit part of our 2012 application fee, towards our 2013 application. That made more sense, so that’s the direction we went. Yet when we re-applied in 2013, our state ag department “lost” the confirmation of that credit. We hadn’t budgeted for the whole balance, only the amount which the credit didn’t cover. So when they lost that credit, we didn’t go forward with our certification this year. We will try again in 2014, and we’ll budget for the full amount so that if they “find” that credit, it’ll be a happy surprise. So yes, there are folks out there who are very diligent about meeting certified organic standards, and aren’t yet certified for some legitimate reason. If that’s the case, they should be happy to provide any information about those practices if/when asked.

Having said that, many MANY growers are using the claim that they ‘follow organic practices but aren’t certified’ as a dodge. I know of multiple instances just in my area of folks who use that claim, but don’t meet the standards. For instance, a gal who claims she follows organic practices for her meat birds, but “is forced to give them antibiotics because they keep getting sick”. Um, no, antibiotics in the feed, or given medicinally, is strictly not allowed for meat birds or layer birds under certified organic rules. Once they have that medication, they’re no longer certified. She doesn’t want to clean up her chick brooding area to prevent disease, so she gives drugs in the feed to treat it. That’s about as non-organic as a person could be, but she claims to be following organic practices. Another grower “only uses a little bit of pesticide” but claims to be following organic practices too. That’s also not only prohibited under certified organic standards, but it demonstrates that the grower has no idea about what they’re doing, and doesn’t care enough to look it up.

When a grower is certified, the buyer has quite a bit of assurance that they’re following those practices. Every farm has to be re-inspected every year to maintain the certification, and the paperwork trail we’re required to maintain is quite extensive. It’s not enough to just “clean up the farm” for inspection day. I have to show all the feed I bought, all the soil inputs I bought, all of the supplements or treatments or cleaning agents I used. I have to document my normal feeding regimen, grazing rotations and crop management practices. I have to show which of my animals was sick and/or died, how I treated them, etc etc etc. it’s expensive to get the certification then blow it by falling off the wagon, so the list of folks who are certified and then lose their certification is pretty short. Meanwhile, it’s cheap to make the clam that they ‘couldn’t’ get certification, but that they’re following the practices. That claim is worthless.

In my previous email, I specifically did not mention whether to seek out certified organic, because that’s a choice every buyer has to make for themselves. Some folks have to buy certified organic, thanks to health issues like allergies to antibiotics and the like. Or they are strongly motivated by concerns about pesticide residue, etc. Certified organic can be, but isn’t necessarily, more expensive. Our pricing is based on our costs, not our pending certification. But many folks claim to be following organic practices specifically so that they can charge higher prices. So here as always, buyer beware. If organic produce/meat/dairy/eggs are important, there’s no substitute for organic certification. Way too much abuse of the “I follow organic practices but I’m not certified” claims. When in doubt, ask if they’re certified. If they try the “we follow those practices but we’re not certified”, ask them why not. Ask them for their livestock management methods, or their crop rotation plans, or whatever details might be of concern. If they start hedging their answers, walk away.

It has always really bugged me

that organic produce is priced so high as to be out of reach for folks who want, or need, to eat better. One of our ongoing battles here, is to really run a tight ship cost-wise, and really nail down our break-even point, so that we can offer that high quality food, for a price that folks can afford. It’s an ongoing battle, but it’s doable. And we’re definitely not the only ones doing it. I do hope you can find local growers, and/or local buying groups, who can help you get high quality foods, for less than the boutique pricing that you’ll find at the farmers’ markets. Let the folks who can afford to shop there, shop there. I’m positive that with a bit of elbow grease, you (or anyone) can find the same high quality, for a lot less. And of course I applaud your efforts (and anyone’s) to grow as much of your own foods, as you can.

And then there is the possibility of

finding grower that grow using organic practices but are unable to obtain official “organic” designation for one reason or other. These folks have produce (meat, dairy, etc) that is every bit as healthful as labeled “organic” but haven’t jumped through the hoops to call themselves organic.

I applaud you getting your life back

by eating better and by growing as much of your own as you can. I did want to speak to the part about organic produce being so expensive at the farmer’s market. It pains me to say that didn’t surprise me, but that’s NOT the only method for finding and acquiring organic produce (or meats or dairy or eggs for that matter). Please know that farmers’ markets are really the top of the top of the food chain, in terms of pricing. That’s the only way that farmers can afford to sit there for the whole day, or hire someone to sit there for the whole day. It’s a very expensive proposition business-wise, and pricing will reflect that. It also pains me to say that a lot of farmers bank on (literally and figuratively) the fact that farmers’ markets are frequented by folks who can afford that pricing. Not to say that’s the only type of person to shop there. But if a person is a) looking for high quality produce and b) on a strict food budget, farmers markets are definitely not the way to go.

What you might try instead, is one of several other options. First, look for bulk buyer clubs and/or farm-to-consumer buying clubs. We have a few up here, and I’m pretty closely affiliated with one of them. The folks in our buyer’s club wanted more affordable foods, direct from small-scale growers like me, at a price that was better than the farmers’ market (or the organic section of the grocery store for that matter). So a bulk buy of, say, tomatoes, will have the coordinator contact a few different growers, and work out a big buy, all at once, at pricing that is better than the local markets from the consumers’ point of view, and better than the wholesale markets from the grower’s point of view. The grower only has one or two dropoffs to make, and they know exactly how much of which type to bring. It’s a really potent concept for both the grower and the consumer. I would be very, very surprised if SoCal doesn’t have several such groups. For top-notch product, at the best pricing, you can’t really beat that.

A second option would be to find a regional list of growers, or a national list like and find local growers, then work with the growers directly. That can give you more options, but it’s also more legwork for you to search out and find these folks.

A third option would be to haunt classifieds like craigslists, Little Nickel and the like, either in print or online, and read through their Good Eats or whatever the category is called, to see who’s selling what. That also takes more effort on your part because it’s easy to miss a once-in-awhile listing. But many very good micro-growers who can’t afford normal advertising, or who are brand new, will start there.

It has always really bugged me that organic produce is priced so high as to be out of reach for folks who want, or need, to eat better. One of our ongoing battles here, is to really run a tight ship cost-wise, and really nail down our break-even point, so that we can offer that high quality food, for a price that folks can afford. It’s an ongoing battle, but it’s doable. And we’re definitely not the only ones doing it. I do hope you can find local growers, and/or local buying groups, who can help you get high quality foods, for less than the boutique pricing that you’ll find at the farmers’ markets. Let the folks who can afford to shop there, shop there. I’m positive that with a bit of elbow grease, you (or anyone) can find the same high quality, for a lot less. And of course I applaud your efforts (and anyone’s) to grow as much of your own foods, as you can.

Thank you so much for this post

We just watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I had a rough 2 years that really knocked me for a loop. It had gotten so bad to shop I had to use the handicap cart and I now have a handicap placard. After they found the kidney stone embedded and blocking my kidney and my kidney very enlarged and infected they did 2 different surgeries just on my kidney. Never mind the dental that had to surgically remove 4 back teeth and rebuild the bone since it turns out I was having on and off dental infections but for the 2 years I was on and off so many antibiotics so I never really felt the infections but the bone was pitted with remnants of infections. Any way it is time to get my life back

My husband and I are starting the Juicing reboot in the morning. Went to the farmers market today to get organic produce. Yikes is all I can say. We live on a very tight budget of $300 a month for grocery including Food, Paper, HBA and pet. The $300 does not include the #10 cans we get some months for long term. There is 6 of us, 4 dogs, 4 cats and a gold fish living in Southern Cali on a small city lot so this diet could get expensive fast. We have already ripped out our front yard and as we had money been putting stuff in. We keep loosing some from the pesky pocket gophers. We have been getting stuff off freecycle to set up our back yard with a garden area. We have to fence it off since we have cats and dogs and today we are picking up a gate from freecycle. If it was not for freecycle we would not be able to do as much as we are trying to do.

I guess even though Southern Cali is expensive to live at least we have growing weather all year long. We have a Mayer lemon tree with is usually full each year. We should have a good amount or persimmons from our tree we planted about 7 years ago. Our pomegranate tree we planted 2 years ago gave us our first and only pom so far. Hope we get more next year. Our neighbors behind us has a cherimoya tree that is full and hanging over our fence and the guy next doors avocado tree is full and a good part of it is over our fence. He is so funny when there are so many avocados and he does not think we are taking enough he will leave some on our door. So I guess there are some trade offs.

I know some are going to say how can you make it on $300 but we use lots of coupons, look for real deals, cut our meat eating back, use cloth diapers, make our own laundry detergent and more. The only help we get is WIC which amounts to 3 gallons and 1 qt milk, 2 whole grains (bread, rice, oatmeal or tortillas), 2 bottles juice, 2 boxes cereal, 1 lb cheese, 1 dz eggs, 1 jar peanut butter and $6 produce a month.

Also since there are fruit trees everywhere there is so much wasted food here that a site was started called fallen fruit. It maps out areas where fruit is hanging over public space and falling and rotting. This does help too. From time to time they even have fruit tree giveaways. We have an orange tree in the front that we hope will start giving oranges in the next few years we got form them for free.

Good to know, thanks!

It’s been hard to think about college while she’s struggling so hard to stay in high school, but we just found out she is definitely a junior (wasn’t clear for a while) and it’s looking more likely that she’ll graduate with her class, so it’s time to think about it more. I’ve got a 529 fund that, well, it would be enough in some states but won’t cover so much here.

BTW I think *exhaustion* is a big problem for single moms. I’m a single mom with a somewhat special-needs kid and a demanding full-time job and it’s a real struggle to get through everything I need to do (including studying to stay current in my career. If I had to add on top of that, the time it would take to class, plus spending enough time sitting someone else’s kids for *them* to get to class, well, I find it hard to imagine. And I have a hell of a lot of respect for the people who manage to do it.


In Massachusetts UMass/Boston costs $6k/semester and UMass/Amherst costs $12k /semester (although that second number includes room&board)
So four years of UMass/Amherst, in-state tuition, would be well over $100k . I have no idea how much aid we’d be eligible for but aid seems to translate to “grant+loan” and I don’t know if you can take one without the other.

My daughter has some learning difficulties – she is very smart but struggling hugely in school – so it’s likely that she’ll be working and going to college one course at a time. Also because of her learning difficulties, her grades are very poor, so she’s not likely to get any scholarships. But her grades are improving, and it’s clear that her path is going to require a college education. (again, partially because of the learning difficulties, her physical coordination and spatial senses are very poor – this child is not going to be a tradesperson, she’s going to have to make her living with words in some fashion.

Posted in wow

Were you asking me, I am in Maryland?

Believe me, there are more expensive options – Johns Hopkins is not far and the University of Maryland is 9 thousand for the year.

My kids are 6 and 7. They each have a college fund set up by their grandfather. One has about 14 thousand in it and the other has about 9 thousand. They have time for it to grow, but it is not going to be able to completely fund their college years unless we are super careful. Even then, I don’t know.

I looked it up

and it is 92 dollars a credit at the community college and about 3 thousand a semester at one of the local public universities, but we have several universities fairly close and we could pay much more than that. Luckily, it looks like my kids could get their 4 year degree by paying the community college tuition through partnerships with some local unviersities. I am not sure whether it will make sense for what they want to do, but I think that we will be doing the first two years at a community college.

Looking forward to starting work in

two weeks at Macy’s down the road for the holidays. It’s only minimum wage, but the BEST part is they have a self-assign scheduling system ! They post the available shifts online, and you sign up for the ones you want to work, up to 40 hours/week.

So for me, that is IDEAL, since it means I can keep my homeschooling, tutoring, babysitting gigs going during the day…and I should never have a conflict.

It’s not going to be huge money, but every little bit helps.

I have another project idea for you

As I’m reading about your trivets, for whatever reason, I began thinking about the lazy susan I have. I swiped it from my parents when I moved out into my first place about 30 years ago. Everytime my dad comes over to my house, he compliments me on how nice the lazy susan is (which always seems like a funny thing to compliment someone on, but he’s not the only one to do so). I have to remind him it’s actually his but when they told me to grab some things for my new apartment, this was something they had in storage, so I knew they wouldn’t care if I took it. People like lazy susans. They are useful, and they can be attractive as mine is, and I think it’s a product that would tie in nicely with your coasters and trivets. I also think these would be wonderful sellers year round. Just an idea that popped into my mind reading your last post….

I am working my coaster business big time right now

I had a craft show this past Saturday. I had built up my stock to double what I usually take. More on that in a minute. The church that had this craft show did not advertise well and the weather was cruddy in the A.M., rainy and nasty. However about 11:00 it started clearing up. Dh and dd were there to help me and dh asked the lady if she was open to some constructive criticism. She said yes. When he was relating this to me later I knew what he had talked to her about … advertising. Any of you in business knows you need advertising so people will know who you are and what you’re doing. He suggested she take 1/2 of what they took in on booth fees and food sales and put it back for advertising the next show. (They are trying to raise money for their ladies ministry.) He said they would have less money for the ministry right now but getting the word out will bring more shoppers. You see, these organizers, whether a church or a community event, gets their money up front no matter how the vendors do. The vendors need shoppers to encourage them to attend again. Who likes all the prep, travel, sitting there all day and tearing down with little or no sales for all their efforts? I can sit at home all day and not make money. It is not that I expect to get rich but would like to see a nice profit for my effort. At this show I sold one set to a customer and traded a set with another vendor.

I built up my stock to double what I normally take to craft shows because I have 4 more shows, each of the next four Saturdays. Whatever I sell at a show needs to be replenished before the next show. Obviously I don’t have a lot of replenishment this week which could be a Murphy type event.

However, having a lull in work and my hands itching to do something, I got out and stirred the pot a bit today. I went by the store I am wholesaling to in my town. Just to check on things and see I find out if they needed anything. I was speaking with the manager and she that last time they ordered some for customers that she ordered some extra stock so, no they really didn’t need anything. About the time she said this, the owner came out and saw us talking and she said, “We need to order some coasters!” I also showed them a trivet design that I thought would sell well in their store, I had the actual trivet with me. They ended up ordering 22 sets of various monogram coasters (number 1005) and 6 of the trivets (#T-1025)! Wow! I went from a “thanks but no thanks” to such a big order.

After getting home from work and stopping by the gift shop where I wholesale I realized I didn’t have enough 4”x4” tiles to get much done so I had to go to the flooring store. The sales person there is a really nice lady named Jill. She knows I am in several upcoming shows and said she’d check her stock to make sure they had some for me as I go through these sales. I ended up getting 6 sets made this afternoon. I am going to get another couple of sets made tonight. I have all day tomorrow to work on this order. However it is not promised till Thursday afternoon.

On the store front side, our retail business, we have rented a storage unit down the street from our store. We don’t have much space in our store for back stock and had already filled a storage container. We needed a place to store fire retardant work clothing. Dh spent the afternoon getting things organized between the two storage places. He is hurting tonight from all the physical work. Hurting so bad he has taken some Tylenol and has been on the heating pad sitting on one of the recliners since supper.

We are doing some work in our retail space as well. Rearranging some merchandise, cleaning up and getting ready for Christmas. After the first of the year, if sales the rest of the year are good, we will replace some flooring and rearrange where the check out area is. The flooring will set us back some and we want to be sure we don’t lower our reserves too much. It will be cash only and will end up being the first big expense for the retail space since we split this store and the other one with my brother 1.5 years ago.

First, we had a big hog slaughter over the weekend

two of our very mature sows met their Maker. Hard work getting that put together, because these girls were quite old, and weren’t as mobile as youngsters. We always did the best we could to help them with their mobility but hey, when you weigh almost 800lbs and your legs are only 12” long, mobility is going to be an issue. But we got them moved to where the holding pens were, and the crew did their usual really good job. So that’s $1400 worth of income after all that hard work.

But then Mean Ol’ Mr. Murphy came a-calling, in the form of truck issues. My old Ranger has been dying during cold-start mornings, frequently enough that I think it’s a return of the issues we had last year. But that particular issue is limited to when the engine is cold. As soon as she warms up, she’s good to go (true for so many of us!) But then on Friday morning, I was driving home and both my engine temp and oil pressure gauges started going wonky. At first I thought I really had an engine overheating, so I cancelled a few errands and just went home. Got home before the temp gauge got to High, but it was close. Told my DH about that issue, and we tore into it a little bit Friday afternoon. He was thinking maybe I had blown a gasket and coolant was leaking into the engine, which could explain both symptoms. But I had full coolant and normal black engine oil (ok, so it needs to be changed, but no sign of the milky discoloration that comes when coolant is leaking). Hmmm.

Then Saturday, when I drove it across the road to give the butcher truck some room, I had normal oil and temp gauges, but my fuel gauge was off the charts higher than I’d ever seen it. To legitimately have it that high, I would have had to be overflowing with gas. So then we started to suspect the instrument cluster.

I called the shop this morning, described the two situations, and we’re going to take the truck in this Wed to have them run some diagnostics. We simply don’t have the time right now (for reasons which I’ll get to in a minute) to spend chasing down these issues. So that’s $200 right there, just figuring out what’s wrong. I can already see at least some of the pig money going towards that unintended repair, but it’s gotta be done.

In other news, we thought Murphy wasn’t done with us yet, but it might turn into a Millie moment instead. We didn’t get all our hay harvested this year, for various reasons, which means we’re already low on hay, and we have standing grass out in the field waiting to be cut. We finally got a nice run of clear weather so we went ahead and had our landlord cut several acres for us. That went well but then fog moved in. Hay on the ground can’t dry properly when the humidity is so high that fog has formed. So our hay crop, which we need (and which we really don’t want to have to buy) is sitting there waiting for the sun to shine. In this weather pattern, that may not happen. If we allowed Murphy to get that crop, we’d be out several thousand $$$$ replacing it. So last night, in a moment of desperation, I told my DH that we need to go old school, and build a loose haystack instead of trying to bale it. Without going into a lot of detail, haystacks aren’t really used that often anymore because they are fairly labor intensive, and they take up a huge volume compared to bales. But they have one big advantage – they can safely store cut hay that is too wet to bale. And that’s exactly what we have. So yours truly has 12 days (before the next forecasted rain), to put together all the equipment and the work crew we’ll need, to build an old-fashioned hay stack out there in the field. Suffice to say I’ve been thinking of the Mission Impossible theme song all day. But if we can pull this off, not only will we save several thousdand dollars worth of hay, we’ll have experience with a method of hay storage which will give us the chance to get more cuttings in every year. That means using our hayfield more efficiently. So, that’s the Millie part of that whole scenario.
Cracks me up that we’re going back 100 years to a solution that most folks would sneer at today, while those same folks lament the spoiled hay and would just go out and buy more (on the charge card). They can laugh all they want. We’ll have our hay stacked and preserved for winter while they’re spending their money. But we have to build it first. So that’s my project for this week. Good thing I was sittin’ around with nothing else to do.


Sadly, she hasn’t gotten into the mindset of saving for emergencies yet. She even bought an Infinity(used, but with payments) last year. I tried to talk her into paying cash for a cheaper car to get by in the meantime, but she chose to ignore my advice. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a beautiful car, but not what *I* would have done in the same financial situation.

We thought about it a bit and realized it’s all

biodegradable and that the cat fur would be an excellent source of various nutrients for the soil. It also may help keep gophers and moles away because we are certain there would be some smell of the cats on it, even if we can’t smell it.

Kind of like putting human hair on a garden to keep deer away or using zoo poo to fertilize with to keep all sorts of animals away from your garden.

OH come on

I joined this blog a few months ago to try and keep a friend from making a leap into an MLM. This blog has offered me some great advice – get cash loans at RTLoans! Its too bad but I was unable to convince her to not do it. I cant believe people come on here saying NO THIS ONE IS UNIQUE. Give me a break. So now you are a travel agent??????? Just another scam like the rest. What you leave out is all the money you have to put in and all the people you have to sign up to get the great “PERKS”. Perks are given to an individual as an added incentive. Not to be confused with “spend this much and we give you this”!!!!

I usually only lurk as I hope to convince my dear friend that she made a mistake before she loses so much money. I was given great advice here.

Thanks for those that stay and warn others and support others. Why join this blog and come here and lay on the crapola. WE DONT CARE. YOU ARE NOT UNIQUE and neither is your SCAM you are peddling. No one here is going to jump in. We are the smart ones!

You might have noticed that

I’m not as chatty as normal lately, that’s because my entire family has been in a huge deep cleaning mood and I find myself more interested in culling things than chatting right now. This too shall pass I am certain.

As a result of this deep cleaning urge dh purchased me an early Christmas/birthday gift, while it was on sale. A new Wind Tunnel vacuum. It is the first new vacuum I’ve had in roughly 25 years. The one he had brought up from the garage ate belts like there was no tomorrow, about 1 an hour. It didn’t take us long to figure out that could get VERY expensive, very quickly. So when these wind tunnel ones went on sale, he purchased me one.

We couldn’t believe how much it sucked up from a carpet we’d vacuumed just the day before with the old sweeper. Ds was so impressed with the sweeper he went and purchased him one for upstairs on the same sale. We’ve been vacuuming fools ever since and still at it. It’s a bagless, and we’ve been dumping the cup on the garden to add to the layers for next spring. At the rate we’ve been going we’ll save the cost of the vacuums just on not having to purchase belts, bags and garden soil. LOL!

We need to spend a “run weekend” this weekend ie: a run to the dump with both trucks (it’s been over 6 months since our last trip), a run to the recyclers, a run to the charity drop off. Where do we get so much stuff when we aren’t buying anything—except the two sweepers and burn our burnable trash?

I’m still plugging away at the Best Buy bill and running budget numbers constantly to make sure we are on track for our total credit card payoff by early summer. It’s coming together so well I worry Murphy is going to sock it to us bad when we least expect it. I’m definitely not counting my chickens before they hatch, but for those of you who have doubts about your own debt payoff plan, do know it DOES all come together a lot faster toward the end. Our basic snowball money is letting us make triple payments on BB right now and that’s besides the extra sweet feed I’m giving the gazelle. A bill really drops quickly when you are making triple to quadruple payments on it each month.

We have so many variables in our budget between now and January 31 that could make a huge difference in how quickly we get cc debt free I’m nervous about it. So I keep checking balances, projected budget and such almost daily.

While we have loosened up a little on the purse strings about eating out, we are limiting it to once a week and it’s generally off the $1 menu or with a b1g1 coupon or both. LOL!

Sunday we needed a break and the weather was gorgeous so we spent a little on fuel and drove the back roads to run our errands instead of the shortest route. It was nice to just enjoy the day, even if it was running errands. We are planning another staycation as soon as the trees start changing color good. We’ll do a fall foliage tour complete with a picnic lunch and maybe going to play dominoes at dbil’s while we are out.—Big plans right? It works for us. LOL!

Did three blog posts this last week. If you missed them the final one refers to the other two with hyper links to them so you can click on the link below and get all three.

I do not think that there are any tricks

They offer it because they make money on it. Most people with rack up interest charges and that is how it is worth it for them. Most people spend more because they justify it in their head and that is why they can afford to do this. They do follow through with giving you the points. I did it and there were no tricks.

Like I said, I do it. The only negative is the annual rate, but I know that I save more than that with our yearly trip to see family. Since all of our extended family is on the other side of the country, we really feel that this is a must expense for us.

I tried using that site when I was going to visit my sister to help her with a new baby

We did not book ahead of time because we did not know when the baby was going to be born. It turned out that I was not able to beat the Southwest price even if I took a flight in the middle of the night.

That was several years ago so I don’t know if it would be the same. Since then, I have only tried looking for hotels and rental cars and I can do better by just going directly to the website and using a AAA discount.

It will make you spend more

because you will justify the spending in order to get the free ticket. Now, IF you only do utilities, gas, etc and not eating out or that other stuff, do it carefully, also, you can cancel the card if you take the trip before the year is up and not pay the $99. We have done this with several card and it worked. We did it for Southwest and Amex to get 48,000 points we used at a Hyatt. But we have the money in the bank already to pay for the charges. At least Southwest is one of the easiest airlines to get free tickets one.

We did try priceline last year when we were going to go but our bid wasn’t excepted

It was about $75 less per ticket then what the airline was charging. The problem is that since there are only 3 airlines that fly into Midland, we kind of get screwed on prices. I think in orger to get a good deal on priceline it would have to be last minute. Priceline doesn’t deal with Southwest (as at least I think they don’t) so that leaves us with two airlines. It’s just not a competetive market.

I think we have decided to get the card. We KNOW we won’t use it if we can’t pay it off before interest charges apply and we are disiplined enough to use it that way. I know for others they can’t do that, but we aren’t tempted that way.

We most likely can’t use the card for this trip for two of the tickets because as of right now it would cost us 57,360 miles for two tickets. The sign up bonus is 50,000, so that would mean we would need to charge more. And we wonder if the cost would go up more by the time we have the 50,000 points to spend. I am thinking the 50,000 isn’t available to use until after the 3 months. But even if we have one ticket less to buy it’s worth the $99 annual fee. Plus, if we continue to use it to pay bills (and christmas coming up…we have a fund for it so we will replace the money on the card) we will rack up some points from time to time. I am planning to call the card today and ask for any loop holes, gimmicks, and terms today to make sure it’s worth it. If it didn’t have the annual fee I wouldn’t even care to be honest. I know we won’t abuse it. I haven’t canceled any of our other cards but we don’t use them. Outside of our mortgage and our oldest son’s braces (and the braces are paid off) we are debt free and have been for a couple of years.

Now there’s a darned good idea

How far in advance, and/or how near to travel time, can you bid on them? For instance, can you bid months in advance, or the day prior? I’ll have to look into that the next time we travel. Sure like that idea better than paying full price.

IF you only pay bills

and IF you can pay it off every month, and IF the cc company doesn’t screw you over, it might be ok. However, I’ve heard Dave say, “If the only way that is works is if everything WORKS, then don’t do it.” So I’m sure it’s possible(I have a friend who pays off her card every month). But last month she charged $1900 worth of stuff. She paid it off, but now she’s cash-strapped for a couple of weeks. *I* think that having that credit limit tempted her to buy more than she would have if she had to pay CASH for stuff. But I refrained from lecturing her about it.
If you do it, good luck. I may have to make a similar choice next April in order to be able to rent a motorcycle in Reno…my only other choice is to take $1500-$2000 cash to the rental place for the deposit, since they won’t do a debit card.

I will admit that I do this

I have a southwest card and use it for everything to get the credit for traveling to see family. But, I am super disciplined about it. I have not paid one cent in interest in two years. When I charge something to the card, I go on that same day and transfer the amount that I spent from my checking account. The things that I know are coming up, I pay even before they are charged to the card. So, for example, the phone bill and the daycare bill have set amounts and I know what day that they will be charged. So, in other words, I am treating it like a debit card.

But, don’t do it if you can’t do that. And, don’t do it if you think that you’ll spend more to try and get to the 2 thousand dollar limit. Since I’ve had mine a while, I don’t need to reach any limit. I just take advantage of being able to earn the points by using it for day to day purchases. The only thing that really bugs me is that I have a fee, but it is not as much as the one you mention. I think that I pay 49 dollars a year, but maybe my next fee will have gone up. I think that I saved about 600 dollars in ticket fees last summer.

This is NOT DR endorsed. He would say to run the other way because so many of us have these issues because we cannot control spending. We see a credit card as available money to spend. If you would see it that way, then don’t do it.

I would be concerned that discipline might slip

and you’d start tacking on some purchases here and there which went beyond your original plan. Such that you had more to pay down every month. I mean, isn’t that usually how stuff like this gets away from us? Those of us who got into trouble with credit cards, started off thinking it made sense, and that we could keep control of it. And what if the card issuer jacks up the interest rate? I can understand the dilemma of wanting to take advantage of what seems like a good opportunity, but these “opportunities” usually have some pretty nasty strings attached. I’d find another way to do this. One that didn’t use a credit card dangled in front of your nose in such an enticing way. That right there makes me wonder what the “catch” is. They’re not dangling it there for nothing. They’re going to make money on this and they might have a few aces up their sleeves that you don’t know about. The cards I got which made perfect sense at the time, all had tricks like that down the road at some point.

Need some support

I want to do something really stupid. I even have it rationalized in my brain. So I come to you all for support. Here’s the deal:
My hubby is from Texas. We in live Washington state. His mom passed away in June of 2012 and we had to drive there due to airfares. His moms passing was a wake up call for him and he wants to visit more often. He has a twin brother that lives there who before I came along was his best friend. They are still really close and talk several times a week. We were going to go visit this past April but due to finances we changed our minds and promised we would go in April of 2014. There are only three airlines that fly into the airport closes to his dad’s house. The next close airport is Dallas or Albuquerque, which is 6 hours away. For 4 tickets on Southwest (which is the cheapest) the cost is $2100. BUT (here it comes) they have a deal right now that if you apply for their credit card and spend $2000 in the next three months you get enough points for 2 round trip tickets. The annual fee is $99. So what I think is to apply for the card, pay all our monthly bills that can be paid with a credit card untill we hit the $2000 for the 2 tickets. It’s money I would be spending anyway and I know that I would pay it off before interest came due. The bad part is that our biggest bill, which is our mortgage, can’t be paid by credit card. SO we would have to use the credit card for ALL the other bills, including food and gas.

I did have an 81 Chevy Truck

it had a crated gasoline 350 engine in it. A kid had installed 4″ lifters or whatever they are and had swapped the suspension over to an 88 so it was more sturdy – and I needed a step stool to get into it!!

It had straight pipes so it literally roared up and down the road. I drove it from South Dakota to home and bounced all over the place – it still gives me a terrible attack of the giggles every time I think about it.

It got terrible mpg though, compared to the 84 truck with the 6.2L diesel engine so I sold it.

But it was straight, had never been in an accident and I sold it to a kid who was thrilled to bits to get his dream truck – I called it the Big Green Machine.

I’ve been to the Chupps auction a couple of times and to several in Arkansas and it wasn’t worth the time spent – waaaaaaaaaaaaay overpriced. I HAVE noticed that up north the prices are much more reasonable for a LOT of items ranging from vehicles to tractors to livestock etc etc. I have to get my sheep minerals from Minnesota because I can’t source them around here – which is just daft since Oklahoma is the 2nd largest goat producing state next to Texas. I picked up several items in Michigan a few years ago for literally pennies! I was so excited I did a happy little jig on the spot and had the Michiganites thinking I was a loon (perfectly okay with me lol).

Another point of interest, Trailers here in OK are high priced. I’ve looked at trailers with NO floors and rust holding it together and the seller wants $1500 and won’t budge.

Arkansas, on the other hand, I can get a really nice 16 foot bumper stock trailer for around $500 – $1000. (That’s in my business plan to purchase – I try to use just the truck since obviously fuel consumption is much less than pulling a trailer) – if I get a mini hereford I’ll have to have a trailer available though, just in case. So trailer first, then cow and in no rush to get one right now – hopefully my young neighbor will get a cow and it can graze my field and help vacuum up the parasites so my sheep don’t get so hard hit – one reason I HAVE to get my fencing done by the time my pasture is 8 inches high. I need my sheep out there chomping on uninfected pasture (hasn’t been grazed in over 2 years and previous inhabitants were horses).


I was hoping the Ranger was the oldest in our collective circle. Oh well. My FIL drives a 1984 Ford diesel in Alaska , possibly as the original owner, and it’s still going strong. My DH drove it when he was in high school and summers home from college. That was the 2nd oldest vehicle in our collective family circles other than the Ranger. But tell your Dad that he might win the contest. And that if he ever wants to sell that truck, call me…….

Posted in fil

One final idea:

don’t overlook farm auctions as a place to get cars. We recently attended a farm auction where several perfectly roadworthy vehicles were sold in the $500 – $700 range. We scored a $3000-ish tractor for $425. Everyone at that auction went home with some amazing deal. And this is the perfect time of year for such auctions because no one wants to store unnecessary equipment over winter. So, keep an eye out for those – you’re in the perfect part of the country for having a farm or estate auction somewhere within a 2-hr drive of you probably every single weekend.

OK, this is me wanting bragging rights

Does anyone on the list have a daily driver older than my ’83 Ranger? If so, what make/model/mileage?
My husband and I are both convinced that WAY older vehicles (say, older than 1985) are dramatically under-rated as reliable vehicles. Somehow a lot of those older vehicles just keep going and going without much more service required than vehicles 20 years newer. So I’m curious if other folks have truly older vehicles, and if so, if they seem to be less trouble than some of the newer ones. Our next vehicle acquisition, according to the current plan, is going to be a 1970’s era flatbed truck so that we can haul more hay. That thing is going to have to be a work animal because it’ll be strictly for farm use, and it’ll have to pay its way. But we have zero interest in going newer than 1980. So now we’re shopping for same, with the blessings of our mechanic. The closest we’ve come so far was a 1956 1 ton flatbed with hydraulic dump feature so that we could use it as a dump truck too. We may yet buy that thing, but we weren’t quite ready to put the $2500 in it at the time. We got skunked on a 1978 Ford commercial-duty flatbed which an acquaintance sold as part of an estate sale for all of $1200. Ouch, we would have loved to come home with that if we’d acted sooner.

Posted in car

Ds posted this on my facebook wall

but since a lot of you aren’t face book friends I thought I’d share this idea with you. It’s for storing your seeds where you can quickly and easily see what seeds you have on hand. The suggestion was to use a three ring binder and baseball card sleeves to organize and sort your seeds. It’s definitely something I’m going to see how much it would cost me to do. I’ve got so many seeds and need an efficient way to sort them.