Month 4 of Our Journey to Become Debt Free: April 2013

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This is the fifth post in Our Journey to Become Debt Free series. To read more of them, visit this page.

 

April was a good month for our debt free journey. Nothing special happened, but we were able to Snowball a pretty good chunk of money by sticking to our budget. Here’s a rundown of what we’d contributed to our debt payoff through March:

Debt Payoff Progress through March 2013

And here’s where we stood at the end of March:

Debt Balances through March 2013

In April, I had to pay the final $50 to close out our contract with Dish Network now that we had returned all of the equipment to them. Since I had decided I wanted to keep groceries around $440, it had pretty much been a breeze. In April, I spent $442.80 on groceries. Of course, I estimated what I really thought we could do, but I was very pleased with our ability to stay within the $440 budget.

We added another line item to our budget in April. It’s what we refer to as “Blow” money. Basically, it’s a weekly or monthly allowance of a certain amount that you can kind of spend on whatever you want. We were already spending the money, so we hoped that by creating a budget item for it and limiting it to a certain amount would help with some of the frivolous spending. We decided on $160 for the month, which was $20 each per week.

The stomach issues I went to the doctor for in March ended in a Colonoscopy in April, so we paid $598.17 towards that, mainly using the leftover $515.74 from March’s Snowball.

We were also able to make a $664.27 payment on the Chase and redeem points for a $25.98 bill credit. That brought our Chase down another $690.25!

Isn’t it crazy?! A few months earlier we were adding to our credit card debt every month and now we’re making $500 and $700 payments on those credit cards every month!

Do you have a realistic budget? Would you benefit from budgeting software like YNAB ($6 off here)? What’s keeping you in debt?

 

DiY Fabric Tray

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Happy Monday Everyone! This DiY Fabric Tray makes me happy. It’s just so darn cute!

Remember this old ugly cookie sheet I got for $0.35 at a garage sale a few weeks back? This one here:
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For my DiY Fabric Tray I used:

Ugly cookie sheet

Enough fabric to cover my cookie sheet

Spray adhesive

Mod Podge

Foam brush to apply Mod Podge

I picked out some pretty fabric to cover it, which maybe ran me about $3. It was on sale and I bought some other fabric too, so I can’t remember exactly. First, cut it down to size if you have too much fabric. Then, spray the top of the cookie sheet with spray adhesive and lay the fabric from one end to the next, making sure there are no bubbles and smoothing the fabric out as you go. You can pull the fabric up and put it back down, but spray adhesive is very sticky!
DiY Fabric TrayOnce I was pleased with the top I sprayed each of the edges and pushed the fabric into all the grooves on the top of the pan and turned it over to get started on the back. I tried to make it look as neat as possible by folding it like I would gift wrap. Do your best not to touch any spray adhesive. I tested all the folding before spraying the adhesive, though. DiY Fabric Tray BackThen I sprayed it and folded over the fabric. Once your finished, go get some Baby Oil and wash your hands with it to remove all of the spray adhesive. You’re welcome for that 😉DiY Fabric Tray Finished BackI let that dry for about an hour and then started applying Mod Podge. I had some homemade Mod Podge but was too scared to try it on my pretty tray, next time though. You just paint it on, covering evenly. My advice is to do one side at a time and let that dry. I didn’t and had paper stuck to the Mod Podge and spent forever with tweezers pulling all the paper out of the dried Mod Podge. Fun times!DiY Fabric Tray Mod PodgeAfter I had pulled all of the stuck on paper off the corners, this is what I have:DiY Fabric Covered TrayI love the way the fabric sits in the grooves. That’s my favorite part, I’m not even really sure why. It just looks so clean. I had thought of putting this on Clint’s nightstand to hold a photo frame and our phone chargers, but it’s too big. I think I’m going to leave it in the middle of the coffee table for now. I do think it would make a great addition to a DiY gift basket for someone though.

What would you do with a tray like this? Have you ever Mod Podge’d fabric before? 

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Feature
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I love love love Chalkboard Paint! Now, instead of cluttering up the refrigerator with grocery lists and reminders for this and that, I can just write it straight on our DiY’ed Chalkboard Refrigerator. Amazing!

I’ve heard that Chalkboard Paint can be pretty expensive though, so I decided to DiY it. I already had black paint anyway, which is the color I wanted to paint the fridge. All you need are paint and Non-Sanded Grout. I’ve been told that it HAS to be Non-Sanded, so pay attention when you’re buying it. I think this container was around $5, but it will go a long way. You only need 2 Tablespoons of grout for every cup of paint.

Non-Sanded Grout Chalkboard Paint

This is how I did mine, although if I were to do it again, I’d change a few things. I’ll include those notes towards the bottom of the post.

Refrigerator Before CHalkboard Paint

 First, I had Clint take the handle off of the fridge for me. Then, I cleaned the entire area that I would be painting, really good. Then, I sanded it with an orbital hand sander with fine grit sandpaper. I was just trying to rough it up to make sure the paint would stick.

Sanded Refrigerator for Chalkboard Paint

Next, I taped off all of the stuff I didn’t want painted. Then, I rolled the paint on. I used a small foam roller. It went on really easy, sort of too easy. The roller would slide to the sides through the paint if I didn’t pay close attention. The first coat chalkboard paint looks really bad. Don’t get scared like I did. I let that dry for about an hour (probably should’ve waited longer) and did a second coat.

Second Coat of Chalkboard Paint Going On

It still wasn’t perfect, so I came back and did a third coat.

I got caught up with life and didn’t get back around to the fridge for a few weeks. So it had a while to cure waiting on me. Before we used it, we rubbed chalk all over it and let it sit for a day. Then I used a damp rag to wipe it of. It isn’t going to wipe super clean like the chalkboards in Elementary School, but that’s part of the look, in my opinion.

DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Finished

THE MISTAKES I MADE:

 

First of all, when I make up another batch of the paint I’m going to sift the grout. The grout chunks up like flour would and the chunks stayed in the paint even once it was rolled on. If you wiped your hand across the surface they would break down and peel the paint.

Secondly, I will prime the entire surface and sand a little better. The paint is staying on relatively well now that it has had a week or two to harden up, but at first it would come off pretty easily. Just to be safe, I would prime the surface first. I will probably be redoing mine shortly, with primer. This is why:

Peeling DiY Chalkboard Refrigerator Paint

Paint around logos or handles or whatever else first and then pull off the painter’s tape I guess. Our painters tape pulled paint off, which was still wet, from around the logo. I had to go back and fill it in with a small paintbrush.

Peeling Chalkboard Paint on Refrigerator

 

TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN USING DIY CHALKBOARD PAINT:

 

A little bit went a very long way on this fridge.

The first coat is always going to look horrible.

Sift the grout.

Sand with fine grit sandpaper between coats, if needed.

Leftovers can be saved in a mason or other airtight jar.

Do not use chalk pens. You should only use real pieces of chalk on DiY Chalkboard Paint.

Use a damp rag to wipe off chalk.

Have you ever used Chalkboard Paint, DiY’ed or store bought? What projects will you/have you done with it? 

Linked up:

Thank you so much to Jennifer Blissfully Ever After for featuring me!