Friday, March 23, 2012

Today is about saving money!

Today is saving money day!!!!

FIRST, I saved more money on my car insurance. i got to looking at EVERY detail on the bill and realized there were some discounts missing. SO, I made THAT phone call, faxed THAT info, and saved $700 a year for taking MY time to do THAT !WAHOO!!

THEN I headed over to Really? I had NEVER EVER checked my "usage" on their website. WOW, was I getting ripped off. Since most of the people I know have verizon, and same goes for my husband, we were only using 390 of our 1400 minutes EVERY month for the past year!! HOLY COWZERS!!! What was I thinking... i am literally sick at my stomach at the thought of the money I have thrown out the window and at Verizon's doorstep. Ugh... makes me so mad at ME! SO, I got on the phone immediately and changed my plan. I saved $45 bucks a month. That is $540.00 per YEAR! WHOA BABY!

Now I am blogging AND waiting for the dish network guy to chat back with me. I am going to make some changes there too... if i don't WATCH the channel, i'm doing my best to get rid of it!

Let's save some money guys--don't let people TAKE your money without your consent and if you are NOT checking bills, that is EXACTLY What you are doing!

Say no to debt. say no to over charges. Say no to watching your money run away from you!! CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN!

Dave Ramsey case you need reminding!

Get a full outline HERE.

Baby Steps:

1. Save up $1000.00 for your emergency fund.
2. Debt snowball!
3. 3-6 months worth of bills in savings
4. invest 15% of household income into IRA and other pre-tax retirement accounts
5. College funding for children
6. Pay off home early!
7. Build wealth and GIVE!

Okay so these are the baby steps that Dave Ramsey tells us to use. He is so wise. If you look at his plan it TOTALLY makes sense. And the best part is that you aren't trying to do 7 things at once. So many (from talking with people, financial tv shows, radio shows, etc) people are trying to pay off debt, save money, invest in their accounts, etc, ALL at the same time! Dave Ramsey takes the load off. By following his steps, you will SEE just how easy it can be.

Me personally... I will set aside money to help my daughter through school. BUT, I am not paying for all of her school. I believe in working hard, getting  scholarships, getting a job, and being there to help and support your kids without doing it all. That's my philosophy--i am not downing ANYONE elses. that's just me. So I don't have to save up TONS for college. I know in my heart the amount I would like to provide her with when she graduates high school, and that is that. I don't own a home. ONE day I plan to do that again, but that is in my ten year plan. I know the kind of house I want and I am willing to wait for it and save for it.

I am currently on babystep #3. I have 3 months saved worth of bills, but I would feel much more comfortable if I had all 6 months saved. This economy is scary, and I feel much more at ease with money put aside. I have NO debt, and I have an emergency fund. YAY!

So my goal is for the next 3 months to SAVE SAVE SAVE so that I can obtain the goal of 6 months worth of bills in savings. THEN, I plan to open a separate account to essentially start over with my savings. I am not going to touch my 6 months worth of bills until I HAVE to, and if I never do--then fabulous! But IF I do, I want other money waiting on me.

The goal for 2012 is this... SAVE. Save it all--save as much as you can.

What about your? What step are you on? What progress have you made??

Cubs tickets online

This guest post from Hong Alexander

I have been married and living in Chicago for five years now. We live in the Old Town neighborhood and absolutely love it. It is a quick walk to the zoo and the lake and also very close to lots of restaurants and night life that we like to be a part of on the weekends. Since we have lived in Chicago my husband has been wanting to go to a Cubs game at Wrigley field but he will never buy the tickets because he is so frugal. He always find a way to spend that money on something for our place or even for me but he is so self-less that he wouldn’t dream of getting Cubs tickets for himself. This year for our anniversary I decided to go online and buy him an entire set of season tickets. I was so excited I could barely contain myself. Luckily I was at work with access to which is our really fast internet provider. I already had the most amazing seats picked out for him that I wanted to get and I didn’t want anyone else swooping in and getting them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Did I mention????

That my insurance has gone WAY down!!! i mean like by over 2500 a YEAR!!!! Now THAT is saving money, my friends!

So how IS it gonna feel being debt free?

I think it's gonna feel pretty dang great! :)

I haven't really had time to sit and process just EXACTLY what being debt free is going to mean... but i have a few plans already in the works...

3. Help my husband get debt free
4. Give more. Above and beyond my tithe.
5. Plan a HUGE vacation. it's WAY overdue. :)
6. Live STRICTLY on cash. I want to ditch the debit card for cash ONLY!

So this isn't the most elaborate list ever, I know, but I haven't much time to process everything! BUT I am super, DUPER excited!

Dave Ramsey would be proud!

Well folks.. I sold my car! I've had it listed on Craigslist for a while and finally got a serious person that wanted to see it. She met me yesterday and drove it, and called me this morning with her final offer and I took it!

So... the Honda is going bye bye. :( Kinda sad, BUT... i'm trying to make Dave Ramsey proud.

Dave Ramsey says "SELL YOUR CAR". I've heard him say that for years and kinda let that go in one ear and out the other. I just figured it was a way of life to have a car payment. AND to have a spouse that had a car payment too. Then about a year ago I started really feeling guilty about having a car payment. yes, I HAVE to have transportation. My husband and I can NOT be a one car family. Some families can and that is TERRIFIC, but we simply can't. There is NO logical way that would ever work for us. So I began praying about it. I knew that by selling my car I would be 100% debt free. I would owe nobody NOTHING and I knew that would be a terrific feeling.

My dream car is a car that I won't be able to afford for quite some time, but how much QUICKER I could own my dream car (AND pay cash for it) if I sold mine. I have been faithfully paying on mine double and triple time over the past year. Finally I am WAY over what I owe. So I knew then that I could sell it, get a profit, and then turn around and pay cash for something==so that is EXACTLY what I am going to do.

The car I am buying is by no means by dream car, BUT, it's going to be a good one. (I pray.) It's a 2003 Mitsubishi Lancer. It has 86k miles on it which is significantly less than my Honda, but it is an older car. Dave Ramsey says to "buy a beater." Well, I can't exactly buy a beater, but i can buy something nice, decent, clean, and in good shape that will get me where I need to go WITHOUT having a car payment.

another thing... I will see my insurance go down significantly. Insurance on my Honda is a lot because its FULLY loaded. There isn't one more thing that could go in this car. It has it ALL. Plus I won't have to carry as much coverage.

So, today I am getting ready to bid farewell to the Honda. I'm sad because i have liked that car JUST fine, but I am more excited about selling my car, living debt free, and watching my savings grow more and more!

I understand that i'm just 27 years old, but the future is scary. Nobody knows when there jobs will be cut, when prices of gas, food, etc, will rise even more than they are now, and i don't think I will be fortunate enough to retire with social security. So, i have to handle these things on my own.

To some this will seem extreme and i'm okay with that. To others it will seem awesome. To me it just seemed like the right thing to do, the smart financial decision I needed to make, AND I felt God's hand in this situation.

So goodbye Honda, and hello Mitsubishi. :) At LEAST it's still foreign. :)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm afraid of my IRA...

I realize that seems silly, but I will try my best to make it not so silly.

I have been faithful to put money in my IRA over the past 10 months. I have been proud of myself. BUT, what about the ups and downs? SO many people will argue that IRA's are the BEST way to invest for your retirement, but maybe i'm not cut out for this. i don't like the "Risk" factor. I don't like the fact that I watch my money grow, then fall to nearly nothing. THAT makes me so nervous.

So what do I do? Do I keep investing? And just assume that the natural economic trend will take place and one day the money will go back up again? Or do I keep it there, leave it alone, and invest in other ways.

Any tips? any advice?

Let's say you have done it all...

Let's say that you have done ALL of the right financial steps and you are good to go.

Your debt is paid off. Your house is well on its way. The cars are owned by you FULLY. Your savings account has a nice amount in it. Your IRA is growing with each monthly deposit that you make.

What happens next?? What would be the point of continuing with these steps? I mean... afterall you have DONE THE RIGHT THINGS!

Here's a few reasons to continue with the "Right" steps:

1. RETIREMENT--don't you want to retire? Don't you want to have more than social security to depend on?? (If you are in my generation then we don't need to bank on that anyway). You MUST continue with these financial steps so that you can retire debt free with lots of money.

2. YOUR KIDS. Your kids #1, will need money from you for the REST of their lives, and #2, your kids need to see that you made this a lifestyle, not just a few years to play catch up and then quit a program that obviously worked for you. Kids depend on US to teach them about money, finances, and how to handle them. Keep doing it for your KIDS sake!

3. The What-if's of life. WHAT IF you need a roof on your house one day? What if you REALLY need a vacation? What if you need money to cover an insurance deductible? The what if's of life should be enough to keep EVERYONE in financial tip-top shape.

4. For FREEDOM. If you don't keep on this right path then you are very likely to get back in debt. It will start small--and then before you know it your hard work has nothing to show for it. The freedom of having savings, living on less, no debt, and an IRA give comfort AND freedom to people. Don't give that up for the sake of a few fun purchases.

Keep on the road!! Keep your head up! KEEP thinking about the future!

Making it a habit

It doesn't take that long to make something a habit. AND, it only takes 21 days to break a habit. The question is... what do you want to make a habit?

When looking at the financial aspect of things, some good habits to learn are:

1. saving
2. spending less
3. shopping with coupons
4. eating out LESS (notice I didn't say NEVER)
5. thrift store shopping
6. buying Christmas gifts ahead of time
7. Opening an IRA
8. Faithfully putting money in your sacvings account
9. Using cash
10. balancing your checkbook

These are just SOME of the wildly popular financial habits that people are diligently trying to make part of their lives. There are many, MANY more and i'd LOVE to hear the ones that are important to you.

The thing is... once you decide what you want to do, you have to have a follow through plan. you can't do too much at one time. you cannot try to complete the list from above in just a matter of a few days. Best thing you can do is think of ONE financial habit you would like to create in your life and go for it. Then once that one is second nature and no longer something that you have to force yourself to do, you can move on to the next one.

So much of financial habits go hand in hand. You can save more when you spend less. You can spend less when you buy things at a thrift store or shop with coupons. You can pay down your debt when you have more money.... AND so on and so forth. Start SOMEWHERE.

Make a new financial habit this month. Start small, and watch your money grow BIG!

Well...there is that ONE card...

Last week I blogged VERY happily (is that a word?) about how I had just paid off my debt. i am STILL so excited. It's SUCH A good feeling and i'm proud of myself.

but there is that ONE card.... Let me explain.

I paid everything off, yes indeed. BUT, I am not cancelling the cards. That looks bad on credit and I am trying to keep my good credit rolling in. I have no intention of using them...but there is that ONE card.

I travel 3 days a week for work. I get paid mileage which is nice, but in the meantime, I am the one that initially pays for gas, oil changes, etc. SO, i keep that ONE card to put all of that on. It's a way for me to keep track of how much gas I using in a month (that's work related), how many oil changes, any car expenses, etc. I decided to do it that way because in previous months I have used my debit card and at the end of the month i wasn't quite sure which was work stuff and which was me just needing gas so I could run around town and shop. :)

Even though I was SO happy about my debt being paid off and now I am using the card again, it DOES get paid the end of every month. But without doing it that way, it becomes so hard to decipher between work expenses and personal expenses.

As long as I am paying it off I see no harm. PLUS, that's another big fat 1 on my credit report every month. Credit doesn't HAVE to be a bad thing. It's only bad when you cannot pay it off, you use credit for daily living expenses, and you have no intentions of getting out of debt. that is when it's bad.

I felt like I had to come clean. :) But ALSO I wanted to use this as a suggestion for others who may be in a similar boat.

**Dave Ramsey would probably NOT be proud of me. He would say just to use my debit card or open up a separate account. i can see the benefit in that as well, but to open up an account means lots of transferring of money, and yet another account to keep up with. If i'm doing it smart, i think my way is JUST fine.** :)

Yet another cheap outfit.

Let's see....
Shirt--Old navy on sale $4.00
Skirt--consignment store $2.00
Black cape looking thing--$6.00 TJ MAXX

ALL of these things can be worn separately with different outfits. That's what makes it so awesome. I LOVE items that you can wear with many different things!

Ok so the shoes weren't THAT much of a bargain,but they were on sale. $29.99. I splurge on shoes and I make no BONES about that :)