Thursday, December 15, 2011

True or False?

1)  Shopping sales = Smart shopping


How many times have you gone into Target to get "just this 1 thing" and walked out with a basket full of stuff because it was on sale?  If you're like me, then the answer is too dang many.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's been too long...

Sorry I have not written in such a long time.  Sadly, our family suffered the tragic loss of my grandmother, Mammaw, in a car accident.  We have been trying to pick up the pieces and get back to some sense of normalcy around here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Budgeting Misconceptions

Alright, I have been living on a budget for almost 18 months now and I have finally felt the need to straighten out some of these misconceptions people have about budgeting.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Double Date Nights!

It is hard to get out and have just one date night a month with my husband, so imagine how excited we were to have two - in a row!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Throwing away money!

There are so many things we do that are a complete waste of money.  I know I do at least one thing every day where I might as well not do it and just burn some cash.  One thing that jumps to my mind, and I did this on Wednesday, is

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Labor Day Weekend!!!

BBQ with family - check
Swimming with friends - check
Getting some much needed R&R - check
beep.beeP.beEP.bEEP.BEEP (alarm clock noise)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Buying second hand...

Have you ever bought anything off of Craigslist, Ebay or from a consignment store or garage sale?  I think these places can bring amazing deals to those people willing to look and take a chance, but I'm noticing a growing stigma that buying second hand is "icky" or not classy or something.  Really? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why work?!?

There are some days, like today, where I have to remind myself why I go to work and leave my beautiful little boy at home.  I wish I could be with him all day every day.  I don't want to miss any moments, any smiles, any new words, or any hugs and kisses.  Wouldn't it be better for my family if I could just stay home?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lofty Debt-Free goals...

These past two weeks have been a little rough in our house.  I've told you about the car problems, some of them anyway seeing as how the Kia is in the shop AGAIN.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Contentment! defines that as being "mentally or emotionally satisfied with the way things are."  If I were a tattoo person that is what I would need tattooed somewhere, CONTENTMENT.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stock Market Come On!

Alright, it is payday; each payday I look at how our investments (Roth IRA and 401k) are doing.  Holy cow!

Car Troubles: part 2 (or is it 3!?!)

Well, if you haven't been keeping up with my car troubles here is a link to where it all started.  We did get my car in (and out) of the shop and it is now running beautifully; sadly, the same cannot be said of Chris' Kia.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No Spend Month!!!

Alright, Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) seems to have moved in with us, so my family is going to have to take action!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Balancing a Budget

Have you ever balanced your budget?  Do you know what I mean when I say that?  It is something that is completely simple on paper, but so hard to actually do sometimes.  When you write out all of your bills and compare it with your income which number is bigger?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Budgeting Tools

Well, on my foverever-journey to find "just the right way" to keep my family's expenses (projected and actual) available for viewing at all times I have discovered a few things.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Life is HARD!

I know this is kind of a "duh!" statement, but it is so hard being a full-time working, going to school mom.  I think I regret my decision to go back to school almost as many times a day as

Thursday, July 21, 2011

$100,000 house!

One of my "hobbies" is looking at pictures of homes on websites such as Trulia or Realtor just to see what is out there.  I came across a beautiful 2 story colonial style home the other day with hard wood floors, stained glass windows, a kitchen any body would be jealous of, all for just $100,000!!! I was so excited.  The problem came when I discovered I was looking at a...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Some Days!

There are some days where I just want to quit.  Quit budgeting, quit watching every.single.dollar,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Car Troubles

Well, we spent  a long weekend with my family and it was great, but on our way out of town our car started making a growling noise and had a terrible burning smell.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Going to see family...

We are packing to leave right now to spend 4 days with my family.  They only live an hour away, so it "shouldn't" be a huge ordeal, but...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's the cost?

I have read so many articles saying it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to raise a child to age 18 (not including college costs) and I have to admit that large number scared me.  What if I couldn't come up with that much money?  Would I be a bad mom if I couldn't buy everything my child wanted?  I wonder if the huge cost associated with raising a child deters people from having any kids at all.  Then on the other side of the coin...

Monday, July 11, 2011

2 hours of sleep...

We have sick little one at home so none of us have been sleeping very much lately.  Two nights ago we spent 4 hours in the ER with a 105F fever and last night we spent the whole night up alternating tylenol and motrin, giving luke-warm baths and putting cold towels on Will's head because once again, he was spiking a fever, this time it only got to 104F.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Is there ever a time to not be concerned about money?

I don't know what the answer for you is, but for me I don't worry about money at all when 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Saved money tonight!!!

Hey, I wanted to let everybody know that we just saved about $20 tonight by cooking at home.  I know it sounds simple, but that is because it is.  I just got off of work - a 10 hour day! - and really REALLY didn't feel like cooking.

I love SmartyPig!

I have been trying different ways to manage our sinking funds - money that is not used every month, but is still needed at random times throughout the year for specific things.  We started out with 1 savings account and I just kept track of how much money was set aside for each category in an excel spreadsheet.  That worked okay, but I was constantly having to manually update it and that just took too much time, in my opinion.  So, I have finally found the answer to our sinking fund storage problem...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Grocery Budget Busters

I have been trying to lower my grocery bill each month and I finally have it to an acceptable amount (for us) but there are still things that will bust my grocery budget every time if I let them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How do I make a budget!?!

I have been asked that question a few times now.  It really is not a hard thing to do.  It takes a little time, and if you're like me, a little bit of "getting over the guilt" of wasting money by not making a budget sooner.  Anyways, I've written down the steps I follow for making a family budget.  I hope they help.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thats a "No Touch"

If you read my last post about chasing Will all over you'll remember we use the phrase "no touch!" a lot.  That really got me to thinking about these baby steps; actually, I'm always thinking about the baby steps, I have to admit I have a nerdy financial addiction going on.  Anyway, I started thinking about baby step #3, the fully funded emergency fund (FFEF from now on - it is much shorter) and how hard it is to save up all of that money for no real goal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Train up a child

Okay, so this isn't really a finance post, but I just have to say that being a parent is hard work.  Chris and I thought we were geniuses with "baby proofing" our living room.  We have a fairly small space with very large furniture, so we arranged it in a way where Will was blocked in on all sides by either a wall or a sofa and he had his own safe fortress to play in.  Well, in this toy fortress he was allowed to touch, pull on, and play with...

Gazelle Intensity

Dave Ramsey, the man behind the baby steps, coined the phrase "gazelle intense" when talking about how you approach tackling your debt.

When a gazelle is being chased down by a lion they are laser focused on the task at hand; it is much the same way while you're working on getting out of debt.  Everything you do needs to be geared towards moving to a better financial life for you and your family.  Some people are more "gazelle" than others; you have to pick a level that works for you.  I just wanted to give some suggestions of things that you can do to help lower expenses to free up more money each month to get you out of debt faster.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Baby Steps

What are the baby steps?  These are Dave Ramsey's suggested steps to debt freedom.

1)  Save $1000 emergency fund 

2)  Pay off all non-mortgage debt in order of smallest to largest

3)  Save 3-6 months of expenses (Fully Funded Emergency Fund)

4)  Save for retirement

5)  Save for children's college (if you choose to do so)

6)  Pay off mortgage early

7)  Live like no one else!  Give, save, invest, travel, etc...  You have NO more debt!  You're free!

They're called baby steps; they're easy to understand; there are only 7 of them.  How hard could this be?  Famous last words.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Summer vacation: on a budget.

We are planning a couple of trips this summer, and since living on a budget affects every aspect of our lives, this is definitely no exception.  My husband is a big dreamer. He wants to go to Hawaii, on a cruise, to Disney World and to the grand canyon, but the fact is that we don't have the money (yet) to do those things.  So, what are we doing?  We are doing things closer to home that we can do relatively inexpensively.

I know my family is not the only one who doesn't have the money for a huge getaway this year, so I have put together a list of some practical tips to vacationing on  a budget.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Murphy's Law

Anything that can go wrong - will go wrong.

I always thought people that said this were too cynical, but it turns out either I am also cynical, or there is truth behind it.  Every time we had a couple of good months - BAM! - we had a really bad month that took us two steps back.  Yeah, we got our credit card paid off! The same month we had to replace walls and tile in our bathroom because of a leak behind the shower.  Here is what your e-fund (that $1000 from step 1) is for.

~You don't want to add new debt (if at all possible) so that is why step 1 comes first.~


Baby step 1 and 2

I put these two steps together because somehow we actually already had $1000 in savings.  It was in a savings account I had from before we got married and just never moved it to our joint account, so hey, we were on our way!  One down, 6 to go!

Baby step 2 (paying off all non-mortgage debt) is not as easy.  We were looking at mountains (to us anyways) of bills.  I am going to be very real here and go ahead and list them...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making our Budget

First thing we did was sit down and write out all of our average expenses over the past 3 months.  This was a little time consuming, but not too difficult because we always used credit/debit cards so there were paper trails for everything.  Let me just say, it was embarassing to see the amount of money we (a family of 2 up until this point) spent on food.  I figured we spent $250/mo at the grocery store; I was off by...

What now?

Faced with the fact that I was not going to be able to stay at home under our current financial situation, we looked at ways we could change it.  There were two obvious answers to our problem: 
1) make more money
2) spend less money
Both of these sound very simple, and they really are, but doing either one is very hard.  My husband already works 50+ hours a week (he is in ministry and takes his work EVERYWHERE with him) so him getting another job was going to be difficult, and we were looking at this so I could work less, so me getting another job was not going to happen.  So, we went with option #2 - spend less money.  Where could we cut back?  Financial surgery (budgetting) is where we had to start. 

My next post tells about our struggle to actually start a budget and how we did it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Eye Opening Moment

I had just brought my son home from the hospital; he was born 6 weeks early and had to stay in the NICU for 2 weeks before he got to come home, but as soon as I sat down on the couch holding him it hit me - I want to be a stay at home mom.  There is no way in the world I can leave my new little love, so my husband, Chris, and I sat down and looked at our income and expenses to see how possible this new idea was.  As we sat and looked at our finances all written out (for the first time in the whole 2 years we had been married) not only did we see that it would be impossible for me to quit my job without us living on the streets; we also realized we were spending more then we made.  It was an eye opening experience to say the least.  This moment in April, 2010 is where it all started for us.  This is where we declared war on debt.  This is where our debt free journey began.