Monday, May 28, 2012

keeping your chin up

when it wants to hit the floor. :(

It's hard to keep your chin up when you feel like a failure. I know, because i am there RIGHT NOW!

I have done all of the right steps. I have followed Dave Ramsey's steps perfectly and found myself on the road to completing #3 with PRIDE. Then... it happens. You have to fix your car, you have to help a child buy a new one, you have to pay for that once a year insurance that sneaks up.... GRR!!!! I am trying really hard to keep my chin up.

today I am watching myself go backwards on the steps. The steps i thought I had completed are now staring at me... AGAIN!

but, it's ok.

Sometimes we take steps back. we don't WANT to do that, but it happens. for me, right now I am working my through a small amount of debt and working on building back up my 3-6 months in savings. And it makes me sad... it makes me sad that I am back here again.. BUT, it makes me super happy that I did it once, and I can do it again!

Keep your chin up. Money gets ya down, i know it does... but keep your chin up and look how far you've come!

(Ok, I am totally talking to myself here... but hopefully it speaks to you as well.)


GUEST POST--Saving big by buying out of season!

Saving Big by Buying Out of Season

Planning ahead can save you a surprising amount of money

Too much of what we buy is wildly overpriced, because we buy it when everybody else does. If you’ve ever been to a craft store right after Christmas or Halloween and seen decorations going for 75% or 90% off, you’ve had a taste of how much you could save. Check out these other big-ticket items that become much more affordable out of season.

1. Holiday decorations and costumes

This is an obvious one, and it’s easy to save on. At almost any time of year, you can go to a craft store and pick up decorations from the holiday that just passed, at ridiculously low prices. In early October, all those Halloween costume stores start cropping up all over town, and if they don’t sell their inventory by Halloween, they have to pay a year’s rent on a warehouse to store everything—so it’s worth your time to pay them a visit on November 1st. Of course, their stock will be somewhat limited, but there’s almost always some great stuff left over.

2. Prom/Homecoming Dresses

Prom dresses are an item you may not have considered; but in June and July, you can find beautiful, designer items, even Mori Lee and Jovani dresses, at slashed prices almost everywhere. This doesn’t just go for used dresses, although they are cheap and plentiful right after prom season; even if your teenager has her heart set on a new dress, buying out of season can potentially cut the cost in half. The same goes for buying a homecoming dress—if you can shop for these dresses in the off-season of your teen’s sophomore or junior year, it’ll take some of the financial sting out of a very special, but very expensive time.

4. Seasonal sports equipment

Sports equipment is another category that can be way too expensive in season, and surprisingly affordable afterward. Do a little Googling (we’ll wait)—this time of year, you’ll find skis and snowboards going for 30-50% off at every major outlet. The same goes for big-ticket items like wakeboards, wave runners, waterskis, and trampolines in the fall. This is also a great antidote to impulse buying: the lure of running straight to the slopes in brand new skis might push you to spend a lot of money on a passing fancy, but if you’re ready to wait a couple months to break in your new toy, it’s probably something you really want.

3. Home improvements

The winter months are slow for the construction industry in general, but for seasonal improvements like sprinkler systems and swimming pools especially, you can find skilled contractors who are hungry for your business and willing to offer a deal. Resist the temptation for just one summer, and wait until October or November to call your pool contractor—you’ll be amazed at how much cheaper it gets. What’s true of skis and trampolines is even truer of a swimming pool—when you decide to drop a couple thousand dollars on a pool in the winter, you know it’s worth the money to you.

5. Christmas gifts

You might not be able to afford to do all your Christmas shopping right around New Years, but if you haven’t totally broken the bank, ease into it; hit the after-Christmas sales and see what you can pick up. Not only will you find many things at deep discounts, but it will also spread out the stress and financial burden of your next December. Then, next Christmas, you might find yourself able to do ­all of the following year’s shopping that January, and save even more money.

Smaller items to buy out of season might include garden supplies, swimsuits, warm clothes, and spring dresses. What have you bought out of season, and how much did you save? Let us know in the comments!

Trying something new...JUNE'S CHALLENGE

Like anyone, I get SUPER bored when things are always done the same way. I figure since these are MY rules, i'm allowed to change them.

I have lived by going to the grocery store once a month for the LONGEST time now. And it's worked very well for us. I have saved a lot of money by limiting my grocery store trips, adding coupons, and doing my "homework" before hitting the stores. But for the month of June I am going to try something new...

For the month of June I am going to take $20 dollars EVERY SINGLE WEEK to the grocery store. Hmm... what can I do with a $20?

Here's my plan...

1st week:

3 lbs of hamburger meat (average of $1.84 if I go to Kroger on Wednesday)=5.52
1 gallon of milk=3.50
1 loaf of bred=1.00
1 dozen eggs=2.00
2 bags frozen veggies=2.25
4 cans of veggies=2.00
bag of red potatoes=3.00


2nd week:

1 bag of chicken breats/strips=7.00
1 can rotel=.79
tortilla chips=2.00
toilet paper=4.00
1/2 gallon orange juice=1.79


3rd week:

FRUIT=10.00 (lots and lots)
hamburger meat=8.00


Haven't figured out the 4th week yet, but i'm working on it. Now keep in mind that up until JUNE I have ALWAYS purchased groceries on a once a month basis, with the few trips here and there for milk, bread, etc. SO, while it looks like I will hardly be buying anything you must understand that I STILL have quite the stock pile. I'd like to see how long I just add a small amount weekly and be ok. Without having to do a HUGE run. I would LOVE to see that I can go 2 months buying just $20 worth of groceries a week, and then every 3rd month doing a LARGE, stock pile kinda trip.

Here it goes! I'm excited to try it!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Use your head

It happens. We ALL do it. We get sucked in!

"Spend $50 dollars and get $10 off your next purchase."

"Spend $25 and get 10 back TODAY"

"Buy 2, get the 3rd free"

"Rent two movies, get .50 off"

REALLY?Come on.. we MUST be smarter than this.

Let's look at them one by one.

1. If you have to spend more than you planned, to get "Free" money to come back and spend MORE, then it is NOT a deal. Bottom line. It's a way to get suckered in to spending more and coming back to spend more. Plain and simple.

2. This one is not too bad. IF, IF IF IF IF IF, you had already planned to go to (for example) Old Navy because you needed 2 pairs of pants that just happened to be on sale for 14.00 a piece, then THIS would be a great coupon or sales tactic. PERFECT! BUT, if you had NO plans of going shopping and were trying to avoid spending money, then you just got TOOK if you fell for this.

3. If you don't need 3 of something, then it's not a deal. And let's face it... unless its socks, underwear or tanktops... can't think of much that you would need 3 of.

4. Redbox gets me all the time with this mess. I only want ONE movie, but you will make me feel like I am getting SUCH a deal to rent 2. But i don't even have time to watch one, so i actually wasted .50. Darnit!

Be smart. You HAVE to know that most of these are gimics, right? I mean come on... this is to get you to spend more. you HAVE to be smarter than the stores and their marketing team. You MUST be if your financial portofilo is going to be thicker, better, and wiser than these stores take you for!


Monday, May 21, 2012

How do you get through a "slump"?

Everybody has them...we all have slumps. Job slumps, relationship slumps, and of course those dreaded financial slumps.

Any kind of "slump" is a bummer, let's just call a spade a spade. But there is something about financial slumps that really get us down.

Maybe you only pay your insurance twice a year and its coming up and all of a sudden you feel broke.
Maybe you are looking at the amount of money you will spend on daycare this summer and are feeling broke and "slumpish".
Maybe you just realized that your perfect budget is not so perfect and you are actually under every month.

Either way, we ALL have financial slumps. How do we get through them? What happens when you realize that you don't have extra money to spend? What happens when you realize that the next few months may be super tight?

Here are just a few things that I suggest:

1. Take this time to clean. I know it sounds odd, but if I know i cannot spend any money it forces me to take pride in what I already have. Wash your car, empty our drawers, make your house sparkle. Put together new outfits, organize your children's toys, dust the fans. I really DO know how silly it sounds... but i promise, it will give you something to do to take your mind off your money troubles, your house will thank you, AND you will find yourself being more grateful. When you are forced to look at things you already have and not dream of things that you WANT, you become grateful that you are so blessed.

2. Take this time to PURGE! Sell your dvd's, list books on ebay, have a yard sale, write a paid for blog, pawn your old earrings, sell some cd's... take this time to get rid of things AND make some money!!!

3. Take this time to look for work. Get a part time job. Babysit. Clean houses. Mow lawns. Rake leaves. Clean swimming pools. Get crafty and sell stuff on etsy.

4. Take this time to be grateful. Above all, when we get in slumps we tend to be down in the dumps and very woe is me. Well, that needs to change. God has blessed you with so much and just because things are tight right now doesn't mean you aren't so fortunate.

Keep your chin up! God's gonna pull you through this slump if you let him!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sorta, kinda, retracting my own personal endorsement

I blogged not too awfully long ago about That was NOT a post I was paid to write. I wrote it because I was super pumped to find an ACTUAL free, online credit monitoring company. And it is legit--it's free.

But, there's a problem... it doesn't update very well. i paid off my car in March and on it still shows that I owe that. I understand that things take a while, but that's been PLENTY of time to update. SO, it's free, and it's accurate (according to my research), but keep in mind that if you use (which I totally recommend), don't expect it to be up to the second accurate.

just letting you know!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dave Ramsey says...


Not whole life. Which SO many people have. And that's fine. It's your deal. It's your money. Dave Ramsey says that buying term (which is SOOOO much cheaper) is better. He says that you should NOT look at life insurance as a "retirement policy".

Ex: I just purchased a sizeable amount of insurance at $10.24 a month for 30 years. So if I die in the next 30 years that sizeable money will go to the people i have listed on my policy. If I had purchased this same amount in WHOLE Life insurance it would have cost me $112.84 a MONTH... and if I'm still alive at 68 I could take it out.

but let's do the math... It would cost me $55,000 over the 40 years I would be paying on this insurance. OR... i could put $55,000 in an IRA at what I am currently drawing and end up taking out TRIPLE the amount whenever i'm ready for it!

So... be smart. Do not look at life insurance as retirement money. Look at it as a way to protect your family if something were to happen to you.

Be smart.

Look into ZANDER insurance today. This is a great company, and hey--it's Dave Ramsey and Cara Matthews approved. :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Good news for small businesses!

Fortunately, we just completed tax season. To me, that is a SIGH OF RELIEF when it's all over with.

My husband owns a small business, we have 3 kids between the two of us, 2 in college, and all sorts of expenses! So when tax season is over--we SIGH!

It's very stressful for most people to deal with taxes. Not everyone understands numbers very well. Myself VERY much included! I know that there are lots of deductions out there to claim, but I am always at a loss for which ones apply to me. I know that I have many of things that I pay for each month that are deductible on my taxes, but it just seems like a foreign language to me.

Luckily there is This is a site that I can help make sense of your taxes. Make sense of the numbers and the deductions. It's a handy website that is perfect for a small business owner that is struggling with how to keep up with tax information.

if you or someone you know owns a small business, be sure and tell them about the help that is available with outright! big news for small business owners 1099 K Infographic
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