Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm a little behind on my FPU updates, but let me tell you the Debt Dumping lesson was the BEST one so far. Dave had a big bunch of balloons and popped each one for every myth that we Americans should believe, here are just a few:
1. Car payments are a way of life, and I'll always have one.
TRUTH: Staying away from car payments by driving reliable used cars is what the typical millionaire does. That is HOW they became millionaires (just one of the things).

2. Playing the lottery and other forms of gambling will make me rich.
TRUTH: The lottery is a tax on the poor and on people who can't do math. He had some interesting statistics about people who pay the lottery and lets' just say they aren't good. Poor is a state of mind, broke is a temporary circumstance.

3. I'll take out a 30 year mortgage and pay extra-I promise!
TRUTH:Life happens! Something else will ALWAYS seem more important, so almost no one pays extra every month. Never take more than a 15 year fixed loan and NEVER spend more than a quarter of your income on a mortgage.


There were lots more, but he was just giving all these facts and numbers about the credit cards companies and how differently millionaires and rich people operate. I realized that I really could live the rest of my life without a credit card and for the first time I had peace about that! If I need something I can't pay with my debit card -DON'T BUY IT. Crazy, I know. Walking that out is probably not going to be easy, but I no longer want to be the credit card company's slave.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

Then he had this great clip of a gazelle and a cheetah and how we have to BE like the gazelle or the cheetah will get us. It was really great, he is a very engaging speaker and so funny. If you don't want to do financial peace, get his total money makeover book. It will change your life.
So debt dumping is starting with your smallest debt and paying it off, then applying what you were paying on that to the next one-as you lose debt, your payments start getting huge to the others. It also gives you victories and hope that there is an end. He says sell something, get a part time job, do whatever it takes during this short season to pay stuff off!!
I can't wait to be able to call his radio show and scream in his ear: I'M DEBT FREE! But that won't happen for awhile, because Mike and I are like the billion other Americans who have been snared in a trap, but there is a way out!! Yipee!

Oh, he also brought truth to the whole credit score thing. What a relief. When you pay cash for things it doesn't matter what your credit report is-it is just a NUMBER! Him and his wife have been living like that for 20 years and he went to get his FICO score and they sent him a letter that they couldn't find one on him!

Our emergency fund is almost built back up.
Our first cash system and budget starts June 1.
We have begun the debt snowball.
We are talking about money and goals together with a lot less fighting :-) that should be at the top of the list!

Monday, May 25, 2009

What a great three days off, and Mike and I get Tuesday off, so we'll get four! Yeah. We had a great weekend. We went to a park and hiked Saturday, I kept hearing about how much fun Camelback park is in Boise, so we went and it was great. The hiking was fun, that is a good activity to do as a family and the playground there was awesome. Taylor ended up doing it one more time all by himself (and me not looking) before we left. Hannah was a little scared of going up that high and coming down, but she did it all by herself (with me following of course).

After that we got some treats (free iced mochas!) and headed home. The kids probably watched too much TV this weekend (see how bothered I am?), I watched movies (DO NOT see Benjamin Button!, so see Bride Wars), had some more treats in the form of indoor smores, BBQ'd on Monday night-I made some fabulous ribs and got some gardening done. Tomorrow Mike and I are sending the kids off to school and doing some baking together to get some items in the freezer to have on hand. We might even crank out a casserole or two. We've found we enjoy cooking together!

The photos are in reverse order and I'm too lazy to change them.

View from the top

Taylor making a run for it at the bottom.

Hannah manuevering the stairs

Beautiful scenery

At the top!

Our little companion Isa.

Mike and Taylor climbing Camelback.

Hannah measuring up the hill and deciding her and I will take the "side route".

Pics from the zoo field trip with Hannah's class.....
Don't see Hannah? Well that is either because she is pouting about having her picture taken and hiding or....hello, what could the other reason be??
The wiley group I got to escort all day-they were pretty good!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The past month has been absolutely crazy. Between juggling 4 jobs at one time, trying to keep up on all the couponing and shopping, menu-planning and Financial Peace classes means my brain has officialy gone on vacation. So today starts our family's STAYCATION. We have four days off and I'm taking advantage of it.

We are staying home and not doing anything we don't want to. There is going to be large amounts of outside playing, movie viewing, chocolate consumption, and some reading, maybe some gardening but who knows? Baking is in there some where but only because I enjoy it! No worrying about deadlines, client projects, homework, housework and maybe even meal preparation (GASP!). Hannah voted to get up on Monday and have breakfast and watch a movie in our jammies, and I said, "Now that is the SPIRIT!"

But seriously so much busi-ness leads to a overwhelmed, irritated grumpy I am taking the time to just relax and enjoy what I have. I might have already planned a hike tomorrow, but that is only because I WANTED to.

To-do lists, goodbye! Now I am off to make some "indoor smores". Chocolate begins now.

PS-I got the magazine contract for another month and I get to do it from HOME!! June's issue is out on Friday. I'm so excited!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

So my goal was to take $50 in cash and buy my weeks worth of groceries. It seemed daunted being that I usually spend about $100 here and there. So I figured out everything I needed for my dinner menus (and I still have to pick up about 4 things) and using the tips from the ladies at the blogs I follow, coupons and store deals, here is most of my groceries for $37.52!! I will use my $12 for the other things that I am going to WalMart for. I was so excited. This is only for food! Household and most toiletries get their own budget. That will come later, I can only handle one thing at a time here!!

I do have some things in storage like meat, pantry items, etc which shows that buying things when they are on sale really works. See my 5 bottles of BBQ sauce, they were FREE! That Capri Sun which I would never give to them for breakfast and I don't usually buy, will be great for picnics and BBQ's and at only .97 each, it will come in handy. Those strawberries were 4lbs for 3.88!! This does take more time shopping and going to more stores but if I do all my preparation before hand, it pays off!

Our menu for the week:
Sunday: meatloaf, potatoes, green beans
Monday: bacon wrapped chicken, veggies & rice
Tuesday: sandwich night every Tuesday or leftovers -basically I DON'T cook!
Wednesday: beef enchiladas, beans and salad
Thursday: Lasagna & salad
Friday: fish sticks, fruit salad, veggie dippers, biscuits
Saturday: papa murphys pizza

Well, turns out my kids really don't like soccer...and of course we have to pay for the uniform, cleats, and shin guards to see that. Oh well I am of the attitude that it's better to explore something first to see if you like it then not even do it at all.
So with that said, soccer is over!! We had a nice dinner and then BBQ for each of the kids teams. Here are some pics of them..actually playing instead of looking at the sky or doing cartwheels.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The big "B" word

Um that is budget for all of you out there who think I'm swearing! For any of those who know me, budgeting is not my idea of a good time. However, like Dave Ramsey says MONEY IS ACTIVE, if you don't tell your money what to do, it will always RULE YOU! Isn't that the truth, I'm sick of being ruled by my money!

Spend your month on paper and allocate where everything goes. Simple words but lots of work. Plus he says it usually takes 90 days for a budget to really work, and you have to do a new one each month. So I started it, Mike and I will do it together on Friday (I know, what a fabulous date night-make a budget!) and it is amazing how much further your money goes!

Another big lesson is using the envelope system to pay cash! I know, some of you might just ask... CASH, WHAT IS THAT? It's that green, paper stuff you can pay with that does not resemble a debit card. Now bills and some things you don't pay for cash (EFT's) but food, entertainment and clothing should all be allocated a monthly amount and used. So my first lesson will be getting my week's groceries with my cash! When it's out it's out! I think most of the blogs I follow with the coupon ladies, they all use cash. You see how much you spend, you don't have to keep track of it with your bank and will probably spend less. You put the amount in an envelope and there you go. Now with clothes I don't buy them all the time but I know that summer and back to school will be here before I know it, so I'm going to start allowing some cash to go in an envelope so I will be ready and NOT GET OUT THE CREDIT OR STORE CARD!

So remember how excited I was with my baby step 1 and emergency fund? You'll never guess-this week we have two EMERGENCIES. Our washer broke. So there goes $200 because we kinda need our washer. Our car is idling all weird and the engine light is on, so we'll have to take that to the shop for a diagnosis and then who knows how much it will cost (the warranty ran out last year). The good news is: we don't have to put any of it on a credit card!! Bad news is: we have to build our $1000 back up. There is a sense of peace knowing you have the money to pay for it though and not the guilt and remorse over pulling out the credit card.

Words of the wise for the week:

"The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty". Proverbs 21:5

Overdrafts are a sign of CRISIS LIVING and sloppy, lazy money habits.
Note: in 2008 banks made 10.3 billion in overdraft fees

A written plan removes the "managment by crisis" from your finances.

Use the four walls principle: you must build your (financial) house with four walls before you can do anything else, so always make sure every month you have paid for: food, shelter, clothing & transportation.

If you will LIVE like no one else, later you CAN live like no one else!