Friday, September 9, 2011

Welcome to my Journey......The Freapy Way!!

I dont know what I am doing.....I am planning on living this entire semester totally on the Freap! Other than fresh basics I dont plan on buying anything but fresh basics. Crazy? Yeah, probably. But what a thrill when after my last final I can look back and see that I have done it!!

Now lets rewind back about a year, June 2010 my husband and I made the decision to try and short sale our house. We had bought at the top of the market and got taken for a ride when we did buy. We poured about $12-15,000 into that house in the 5 years we lived there. We were still paying off and facing the ever accumulating medical bills from our sons medical journey with having a condition called Neurofibromatosis. Our son started 13 months of chemo when he was just 2. And he still gets MRI's every 4 months and he is now 4. There was no light at the end of our tunnel and it seemed to be getting dimmer. Even the run away train about to hit us was retreating.

We decided that if we were going to let the house go we would not be in the same financial life boat we were in. We stopped making payments and started pouring every extra penny with a vengeance into medical bills and paying off one of our 2 credit cards. By the end of the year the credit card with the highest balance and interest rate was gone.

Work had been very understanding to a point of my schedule and attending our sons weekly chemo treatments but I was sensing that it was being a bit of a burden and the understanding was coming to a close and at a cost. I actually decided after an incident at work Feb 2010 to do everything in my power to quit. Of course at the time I saw myself with a lower-paying job in the same field. I couldnt see how it would work out. But work made me physically sick almost everyday. It wore me down so much that soon between the chemo and work there were days I dont know how I even had the strength to get out of bed. Much less work a 10 hour day, cook dinner, take care of my son and husband, keep the house up and continue with the college course I was taking. So in February I had a goal but had no idea how I would accomplish it. For a time I added it to all my other dreams that in my head and heart I didnt see ever coming true.

Bare with me as I jump to and fro on my timeline. So now jump from February 2010 to December 2010. I was so close to paying off that credit card I could taste it. I could hear that beastly thing crying out in pain knowing we would never us it again. With each extra penny I paid I was throwing water on it.....I'm melting, I'm melting it would cry and I laughed at it with great satisfaction that went to my core. When one day I was at my desk all alone. Everyone in my office was gone for the day and I had the music playing and singing to myself. When a still small voice said to me "maybe you should learn Braille".....What the heck I thought! Sure my son was blind in one eye and I have met other mothers whose children were completely blind by their preteens. The thought of my son all of a sudden not knowing how to read was terrifying for me. So I checked with Arizona Foundation For The Blind and found out they offer free Braille classes to parents with visually impaired children. I trembled, knowing I needed to do this, fearing the reason I felt this way. I approached my husband and he didnt like having to think about it either. A week later, there I was alone in my office again, reveling in the alone time with my work and my tunes. When that still small voice said "check into special education". Now I have been on the lifetime road of achieving my accounting degree for over a decade. A few years back I had taken a detour and tried my hand at working in a school for children with Autism. It was the time of my life. I was in my element. But due to conditions beyond my control found myself behind a desk again and back in accounting, in my job and in my courses at school. I thought oh man, how am I going to tell my husband I was changing my major yet again, and back to special ed. But when I approach him he was open and attentive as I discussed it with him. January 2011 found me with that pesky credit card paid off, my major changed and saving every penny I could. I was slated to give notice at my job the end of February, host my fundraiser for Children's Tumor Foundation "Spring For A Cure" March 5th 2011 and started school full time March 7th 2011 as a special education major. It was excited, nerve-wrecking, overwhelming and exhilarating all at once. I was so blessed that one year after I made the goal to quit my job it was a realization. I was home for the first time with my son. We were settled into a cozy apartment almost a third of the cost that our mortgage had been.

Money has been tight I wont lie, and my dream and blessing sometimes feels like a nightmare I brought upon my family. They are sacrificing so I can try to better myself and eventually have a better life for all of us. I started back at couponing in May 2011. Quickly achieving 70% savings. I saw my inventory of household items and some food quickly fill our small cupboards. But we had some unexpected expenses along with some unwise spending. I saw our savings getting lower and then was denied financial aid, even loans because I had been at the community college to low. I applied for over 20 scholarships in the Spring and got nothing. Discouraged I only applied for a few in the Fall. I was notified that I received a $1000 scholarship, $500 for Fall and $500 for Spring. For Fall this would cover tuition but not books and for the Spring this wouldnt even cover tuition. It was quickly looking like it might take me longer to get to ASU. I started looking for a job wondering how stupid or ridiculous I had been to think this would work. It works out for other people not for me. I didnt hear back from the one job I applied to. I kept looking but not much was fitting with my school schedule and now my sons school schedule either. I got the impression to wait and maybe look for a retail seasonal job. I just found out my appeal was approved so this means that I will hopefully get some loans. But in trying to keep expenses down I am not wanting anymore student loans.....

So my brain child? Live off my inventory except for buying the freshest, bare basics we might need, and/or getting things for free or really inexpensive. Lets see if I can do it for all semester.

I welcome any tips on how you stretch a dollar, a pound of meat or just about anything..

And if you have made it through this whole story you must be as crazy as me..

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