Wednesday, November 03, 2010
I know, two blogs in one day! It is amazing for me! Although my husband and I have debt, it isn't like we don't know how to live frugally. One of the things we have learned because of lack of funds is how to live on a budget.
When we were ready to have kids, I chose to stay at home even though this put us under financial strain. I know in my heart it was the right thing to do. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home for about 5 years.
I started back to work part-time and now have been working full-time for 4 years. Through all of this my husband has been self-employed. It has not been easy. I also started on my weight loss journey during this time. I learned quickly that brown rice and beans go a long way and are very nutritious and healthy. We have cut almost all red meat from out diet and finding the best deals on fruits and veggies has been a personal quest for me.
coming up with innovative and healthy recipes my family likes has been another goal of mine.
I often tell my hubby that I can pay more for groceries now or I can pay for his million dollar cath lab procedure ( heart attack) later. We choose to be proactive!
So, clipping coupons, never paying retail for anything and buying used instead of new has become a way of life for us.
One of my goals for 2010 was to find Financial Zen. I prayed about it and God put Dave Ramsey in front of me. Just as he put Flylady in front of me several years ago! It wasn't the first time I heard about Dave Ramsey that I jumped on board, nor the second. It took several chance meetings and circumstances before the light bulb finally went off. Now that is has, I am on board 100%.
My husband is also on board 100%, not like with my weight loss journey.
My husband has a serious emotional eating problem and although he recognizes that eating healthy is the best way, he still clings to his old habits. A lifetime of habits are hard to break. I know with my encouragement and support, he will eventually "get it". ( he gets it now, he is just dragging his feet).
What has this got to do with my finances? Well, everything, They are well tied together. The difference between the weight loss and the finances is that I am leading the way in the healthy eating front and really, my husband is the leader over the finances, although we are going at this as a team ( in both endeavors). I think in order to have marital harmony you need both partners engaged. But I digress.
So, although I am new to the Dave Ramsey system, I am not new to living a Frugal lifestyle. I look forward to all that this new adventure will teach me as I travel down this path to Financial Peace. Feel free to come along for the ride!
Keeping the Spark lit, Paige
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Yay, so after all the great advice I received from my readers of In Search of Financial Peace blog, I went with Hubby's advice to put our extra money in an Emergency Savings plan. So Baby Step one is somewhat accomplished. My question to you is...
1. Do I just put it in a regular savings account? My hubby and I are concerned that if this money is too accessible we will blow throw it, as we have done this in the past. I would like to put it all in a credit union account that is not accessible online. This will mean we need to actually physically go to the branch when it is open to access the money.
Any thoughts or ideas?
2, We will be using a little extra of our money to get jump started on Baby Step #2 by paying down some small credit cards we have had for awhile. Then on to the bigger cards, auto loans, home equity, ect.
Thank you for your input, it is really appreciated!
Keep Sparking, Paige
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I have been maintaining my 70 lb weight loss for over a year now. I have been able to maintain around 145-150 and although I would like to see it lower, it is just a number on a scale, and I am now working on building muscle and toning.
With that said, a few weeks ago I wrote a blog about finding financial Peace and one of my Yearly Goals for 2010 was finding Financial Zen in 2010. I haven't quite found Financial Zen, but I have found....Dave Ramsey! I think it is amazing that once you set your mind on something and you put it into words, things start falling into place.
Since I wrote out my blog on my finances, my husband and I have teamed up together to get our finances in orcder. Apparently ( according to Dave Ramsey). I am normal! But I want to be more than normal. I want to be downwright weird.
Over the last month I have been listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show almost every day. He has given me the tools I need to get this train going in the right direction. I am so grateful and blessed to have found this. Isn't it amazing that if you send up a prayer it is answered in the most unexpected ways? I had a friend lose her home last month. She mentioned she was going to try using Dave Ramsey's program and something clicked for me. As I started investigating I realized t his was the solution to my poor money management and asked my husband to take a look as well.
We are in the beginning stages of this process. We are still working out a budget and identifying our debt and spending habits.
We have always been frugal with our money, but we have been poor money managers. Already, I can feel a change in our attitude towards our money and our bills. It is very liberating.
I know if I continue down this road, I will eventually find Financial Peace. My next step is to get the book Total Money Makeover and have hubby and I read it so we are on the same page.
Dave's babystep program seems totally doable but right now we are so overwhelmed with info we don't really know where to start and are having a hard time focusing. Any advice from anyone who has started the program and has been successful with babysteps is greatly appreciated. We have a little money and I want to whittle away the debt but my husband wants to put it away for an emergency fund. Is it ok to do this? Right now we are paying down the little bills and putting the rest aside for an emergency fund. I am ok with this. What do you all think?
Spark people are the best! Thanks for reading and Keep Sparking!
Monday, October 25, 2010
This weekend started off with a bang! I left work and headed straight home to grab the girls and head to the pumpkin patch by our home. I had invited my sistser as this is an annual event (tradition) for our family. Rain had been predicted for the day. I was a little worried as we headed out that we would get the worst of it. As it turned out it was a balmy 65 degrees and the rain held off until later that night!
We have a great time at this particular pumpkin patch. It is close to home and they offer a variety of activities for a fair deal. First we hit the corn maze. It is a hoot with little halloween riddles placed throughout the maze. We enjoy following the path and getting thoroughtly lost. We we emerged from the corn, we are greeted by a barnyard of animals. Goats, bunnies, and a variety of fowl greet us in their cages. They are fun to look at! Next, the kids get a chance to run through a mini obstacle course on their way to the playgroud, the huge Pumpkin Slide, and the light alley ( think nonscary spook alley, very cute and with light displays to enjoy). As we leave the light alley we are greeted by the pumpkins ready for picking out and taking home. After spending several minutes picking just the perfect pumpkins I spy a deal on some fresh tomatoes. The last of the harvest and the gardens "seconds" for $3 a 1/2 bushell. The "seconds" are just not washed. I pick through them and determine it is well worth the $3. We can make salsa galour and have fresh tomaotes. My garden was planted a little late and I didn't really get much from it this year so I am thrilled with the "deal".
After finishing up at the Pumpkin patch we headed home for a quiet evening.
Saturday we had neighborhood cleanup. I love my neighborhood for this very reason. Everyone pitches in and does all the necessary yardwork that hasn't been done all summer or that needs attending before the fall weather gets too bad. All the men gather with the trucks and shovels and go from home to home and dig up old stumps, cut down trees or do some pruning and help get the junk out of the garage or basement. We usually get two industrial dumpsters from the city and have them filled within a few hours. We were able to get rid of some clutter and all the trash trees in our yard within an hour! It was fun to see all the neighbors helping each other out and cleaning up our neighborhood at the same time.
The rest of Saturday was filled with running errands and getting all the last minute items for Halloween costumes. Then the rain started to come down! I was so happy we had actually gotten everything done!
Sunday arrived way to early, as always. We made it to church, visited DH's mother, and made it home. For some reason Sunday is not always a day of rest for us. We started on a few projects which should have been short and sweet but ended up taking most of the day. I was in the middle of helping my daughter with a homework project when we noticed water all over the basement floor! and all of our pictures were sitting in a cardboard box in a few inches of water, YIKES!
We spent the rest of the afternoon trying to salvage the pictures which were all glued together. Thanks to my husbands expertise we were able to save almost all of the prints but our house had pictures laid out drying for hours. So off to find a quick dinner and early bed!
This morning I awoke to snow in the forecast! What happened to fall?
I did feel a sense of accomlishment,though. We did quite a bit of needed work around the house. It feels good to be on the right path even if the rest time was minimal. Maybe next weekend I will get a chance for some R&R! But what am I saying? Next weekend is Halloween!! Oh well, some day I will look back at all this and think those were the good 'ol days!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
This morning I got up like every morning and low and behold. I had gone to bed without laying out my workout clothes or deciding on my workout dvd beforehand. So, as it happens, things didn't go as planned. I didn't get up on time, I lay in bed a little longer than normal. When I did get up, I had to search for my clothes. Then I headed for the coffeepot, This I did do last night, so just had to turn it on,yay!
I went down stairs and planned on starting my exercise on the computer with a little sparkpeople Coach Nicole dvd. Nope! Computer decided to reek havoc with my routine! I ended up wasting a lot of time trying to get the internet up and finally gave up and went for the 30 Day Shred. It had been awhile so I hurriedly popped it in and did the first level. I was pleasantly surprised I flew through it! I have been trying to increase my ST time, so after the 25 mins I was done. I had run out of time as well. So if you fail to plan, then you most definitely plan to fail.
I have a lot of Sparkbuddie comment on how I always have a plan, and this is why.
If I don't plan, its doesn't happen, just doesn't! I do feel grateful that I did have an option and so although things didn't go the way I wanted them to go, I did get in some exercise.
On a different note, I have been basically maintaining my weigh between 146-150ish for the last year. I had decided it was time to get my finances in order. This has been on my mind a lot lately so first things first.
For years my husband and I had been lamenting the fact that we just didn't have enough. Not enough money to do all the things that needed to be done. Sometimes we just barely had enough to keep the roof over our heads and pay the bills ( and not always on time!)
Now we both have jobs. We are both smart people. I would say we were in the middle class, probably the lower half, but still. Probably make more than a lot of people and not so much we aren't continually humbled.
Anyway, I digress. We have both known couples with similar incomes who have done so much better than us financially. I just kept thinking we were missing something. We didn't go out to eat a lot, we didn't buy extravagant things. We could barely go on vacation and then it was something fairly inexpensive like camping. Well, we had missed something.
We had not figured out how to manage our money. How could we both be well educated and make an ok income and still not have anything to show for it? So for the last few months we have talked a lot about finding someone who could help us manage our money better.
It finally started clicking for me when a dear friend had her home foreclosed on. This friend comes from a very wealthy family and I thought her parents had taught her all the secrets that I had not learned, all the things Robert Kiyosaki talks about in his Rich Dad, Poor Dad books. But apparently she was a poor manager of her money as well. She said she was going to take a look at Dave Ramsey's program.
For years I have heard that name and had never really taken a look at his program. I mentioned it to my husband and we subscribed to his daily podcast/radio show. Just listening to a few minutes of his show has really shed some light on all of our financial wows.
I took a quick look at his website yesterday and he had a section outlined on there called Babysteps. After looking it over, it dawned on my. I had plenty of money to get my finances in order. Especially if someone with a similar income had gotten out of debt and paid off their home within two years! i had heard of the Latte Factor years ago and had been living a frugal lifestyle so that really wasn't the problem. I just needed to focus on one thing at a time and whittle away at this mountain of debt one piece at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. My mountain of debt had become the elephant in the room!
After deliberating with my husband on the best way to eat this elephant, I found some money in various spots. I had put extra money in our W4 in anticipation of paying taxes. This year we received a return, so that money isn't needed there. The next spot was my savings. Yes, I still think I needed savings, but I tend to dip into it every month so its really not a savings. Its just in another account. I found this money and it was in plain view the whole time! Next, I am going to apply it to my credit cards and all my little medical bills so I should be able to pay it all off by the end of the year! Yay!
This has been really hard for me to write and lay it all out there. It is embarrassing to have debt and not be able to pay your bills but it feels good to finally be on the right path. I can tell this time, just like with my weight loss, it will stick. No more unnecessary debt. I need to treat this like I did my weight loss process. With deliberation and determination. It is true once you get your weight under control, the rest of your life seems to fall into place. It takes hard work and dedication. Just like it takes hard work and dedication to lose the weight and to keep it off in the long run.
Good Luck to you,my spark friends in finding your path on this lifelong journey! Paige
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