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The 10 stupid things we have done with money…that are “normal”.

I keep promising to do a post about the “normal” stupid things that we have done with our finances over the years.

Afterall, if we are going to inspire others and talk about how we are 100% debt free including mortgage, and cabin…THEN….

We have to be completely transparent and talk about our journey and struggles before we followed the Dave Ramsey plan. Most of these  are  completely normal in our society. Complete normal money practices. Make no mistake these are things that keep you in debt and remember “borrow is slave to the lender” mode and mentality.

 

  1. Took out a loan against our 401K.
  2. Debt consolidation loan.
  3. Home equity Loan
  4. Hid money stress and spending from my spouse.
  5. For years, I bought to make myself “feel better”even if it was garage saling or on sale.
  6. For years, bought things because I was immature, and justified the purchases to myself saying “I deserve it because I work hard…” (“wah wah” sound effect should be playing). Or a temper tantrum.
  7. Buried my head in the sand, and didn’t look and add up how much money we owed.
  8. Didn’t do a monthly budget.
  9. Interest only loan with a balloon payment due at end of 10 years.
  10. Not following the wisdom of the bible on how to manage your money.

WE have all done stupid with money, what is your worst?

 

Don’t fool yourself into believing there is “good debt” – there is no such thing… if you don’t believe me read his book.

A great place to start is with Dave Ramsey’s book the Total Money Makeover. It spells out the 10 Babysteps to get out of debt. The plan that we followed. What are you waiting for? Click here to get the Total Money Makeover. .

I stand in a relationship with Amazon Services LLC Assoc. Program and use their affiliated links. This means that some of the links take you to Amazon.com where you can view and/or purchase a recommended item. If you do purchase the item (within a certain time period), I may earn a small commission from the sale. I ONLY link to products that I have reviewed or used myself and would recommend to family or friends, or have bought for family or friends.

Time to get control of your money, and get out of debt,  What are you waiting for?

 

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You never know how strong you are…

I have so much fun with decorating, doing pinterest projects, home focused stuff that I forget to post about myself. I decided to start going a “deep thoughts” post every so often so you know there is a person behind this blog.

You never know how strong you are…until it is the only option you have.

I believe that is one of the truest statements of life. I have been through some amazingly trying times in my life. One thing that I know for sure is that I just kept moving through them.

The bible calls it diligence. I love that word.

Diligence

There have been those times in my life when I have just wanted to just stop.  Just to say “uncle”.  I didn’t–and I don’t.  I just kept moving through it. Getting up and moving through it.  Listing hardships,  that I have been through will sort of be mute. They are the similar things in life that everyone is faced with (heartache, betrayal, loss…). That is life.

 

Things that I know:

  • I am a very sensitive person.
  • I am human, not perfect.
  • God is absolutely crazy about me.
  • I am simple.
  • I work hard.
  • I am stubborn like my dad. It has served me well.
  • I believe in the life that I have built. I believe in working hard for the people I love.
  • I married a better person than I could ever be, and have known that since the day I married him.
  • I believe in my children. Someone said to me once. You think your children are perfect. ( No- I just don’t spend time repeating their mistakes, trials or tribulations to just anyone, as they already have to live with their choices, they don’t need my gossip or the gossip of others to expand their mistakes).
  • I hold the expectation bar high for my children. When they fall, it is not as far…I live and hold the same expectations for myself.
  • I am a parent first, maybe someday I will  be blessed enough to be my children’s best friend, if they so choose. But, I love them enough to be their mom first, and “popular” second.
  • I am fiercely strong. (I mean mentally, though crossfit is helping I am not that physically strong yet).
  • I am proud of my mental strength. It has been a blessing to me and others.
  • I am learning to have boundaries.
  • I am no longer accepting poor treatment from (family or otherwise). (Even if this means having fewer people in my life).

I am glad that life has made me show how strong I am.

 

 

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Journey to Debt Free – Part 5

 

Paid in Full cabin

We became debt free including our home and cabin on February 28th, 2015. The last day my husband was 50. We had the goal of being debt free by the time we were 50 years old. DONE!

Am I here to brag? No !!!! The exact opposite. I am here to celebrate and give others hope that if you follow Dave Ramsey’s plan you can be debt free and have financial peace. We had a TON of debt so it took us 10 years-  9 years 9 months if you count the moment we became gazelle intense.

We do not owe one single dime to anyone! In fact, after our last recent payment on the cabin -they owe us a refund of 261.23!

Now it is time to “live like no one else-give like one else”-and save like crazy and make up for lost time!!!

 

We are not sure how we are going to celebrate –we are kind of in shock. We have had this carrot dangling out there for so long. Now it is time to find a new dream.

If I am being transparent– I have to admit that I got a little depressed after we paid the house off. It has been a specific personal goal of mine my whole life and it drove me to work hard in so many areas of my life. It was almost a ” now what”? feeling.  I was melancholy and sad. Weird I know.

Then we continued to hammer away at the cabin– we had a ton to throw at it with the house being paid for. That gave me some more drive.

My husband has been just amazing. It has made us so much closer. We work together. He pays bills, I form the everydollar budget and we both have equal say. He is not saying “no” all the time and I am not hiding the stress of money issues  from him. We were in a horrible pattern for alot of our married life. Of him putting his head in the sand, and me just doing what I wanted with our money.  Not a great or successful way of doing things.  We’ve  never separated our money. We always have lived as one, ever since we took our marriage vows. But, we weren’t managing God’s money correctly.  About 10 years ago it hit me, and I handed the bill paying responsibilities over to my dear husband. (He is way better at it. He is able to be more on top of it ;being home fulltime).  It helped us both learn from each other and jump back on board with the Dave Ramsey program.

When he first started paying bills he would track me with my debit card purchases, I remember my sister warning me and saying it is never going to work. (obviously she saw how much I spent, a reasonable thought). It was a little  very tense at first but, it was time for me to grow up and be mature. We got out of debt the first time because I did it all, the second time we did it together. I think that is why we kept going and hit our goal. So— to get to the point- it is not easy. But it is worth it and the one thing that is the number one cause of divorce has made us closer.  I actually had a family member say to me after I explained that we needed to put maximum in IRA for my husband every year and catch up on the contributions, ” your going to put it in his name? what if you divorce?”  What would have angered me years ago, made me really sad. I am glad that I don’t view life that way and make decisions based on “worse case” scenerios. Besides, if we divorce my husband deserves half of what we have accumulated after being together for 32 years. Amen to that.

We  started to teach Financial peace classes together and it really kicked our level of understanding of finances and building wealth. It helped us realize what we could do- most important volunteer and help others have financial peace. It is so motivating to sit in a class we teach and have someone thank us after class because they finally had the courage to face their debt, and to face their behaviors that caused the debt.  It is fun to see them calculate how long it will take themselves to get out of debt. The difference in their walk from week 1 to week 9 is amazing. They feel confident and most important are full of hope.

Following the program, gives you a sense of power and control, so much that you get all areas of your life together. Power and control? Yes– because you are planning and telling every dollar where to go at the beginning of every month. You realize that you are in control. You learn how  to get organized and take care of other areas. We did the following:

Life insurance, disability insurance, identity theft insurance, wills, IRAs, regular insurance, sink accounts, savings accounts, and college accounts and savings.

Of course we had to learn the hard way and go broke or get back into debt before it stuck!!! It’s stuck – this time– BIG TIME!

Stay tuned for Part 5 where I dig into the Top 10 stupid things we have done with money. Things that are normal…. oh yeah and I have to do our debt free scream- “WE’RE DEBT FREE!!!” FREEDOM!!!!

 

 

 

 

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How to cook Bacon in the oven…

Okay I love bacon. I know don’t lecture me on nitrates and et al. (I love Whole Foods and tried their healthy bacon- not so much—- it was gross). I want my bacon to taste like bacon. (Sorry guys!) I just love bacon.

Got bacon

 

When they started making cult following bacon shirts I secretly wanted to wear one. I have been on the hunt for the best way to cook bacon. Let’s face it –it is a losing propsition with grease in the kitchen. Well after many googles and visits to websites I found it on line by Culinary Arts expert Danilo AlFaro. Seems as the trick is to put it in a cold oven, on parchment paper, and turn to 400 degress and walk away.

Here is the link to Danilo, afterall I am no chef.

Best bacon Ever.

 

 

Best tasting bacon ever….bacon picture

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Did I tell you I started Crossfit?- very humbling…

June 29th, 2014 – I started on this crazy and amazing journey. (you will see posts on my instragram feed).

crossfit logo
Let me back up a little, in March of 2014 I lost my dad. After losing him I struggled to get my life back on track. I never realized what an impact our “little conversations” had on me. He had grown into such a cheerleader for me in my life.
Through depression bouts and moments of self doubt I embarked on a journey to try to be my best self.  As “cheesy” as that phrase can be “my best self”. I really thought to myself I am not getting any younger, what if I challenged myself to get in the best shape of my life?
That lead me to facing the fact that I needed to start making my physical and mental health a priority.   I didn’t realize until my first few sessions how much strength, functionality and agility I had lost. Let me just say–It was a very humbling experience. Not being able to get up off the floor quickly or without alot of effort. very humbling. In my mind, I still feel as if I am in my early 20’s, and assumed my body was the same.

Enter-Crossfit.

 I have to say that I am like many crossfitters, and was very passionate about my workouts and discussed it often. (insert- me in Joey from Friends picture). I am so excited to discuss and share my progress. You do not have to do crossfit. You just have to move and work out! For me I am on a journey to do my best effort and become in the best shape possible. For the challenge, for my well being…What do you do to stay in shape?

joey

me against myself

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Journey to get out of Debt -Part 4 (Yes Finally!)

If you follow Dave Ramsey  you will know after reading part three to our journey to get out of Debt- that we moved to step 4. We put our retirement accounts back up to the 15% .  That was a quick click of the computer. 

During  this phase we also, had one of my work pensions bought out and rolled into an IRA. Why? Because if we keep it in the pension, and then pass away  my husband gets half til he dies then- the money is gone. BUT–If you roll it to an IRA  my husband, our kids and grand kids can inherit the money. And as Dave would say you have more options on how the money is invested. Here are the babysteps as a reminder. 

Babysteps

To say we were very behind in saving for our dear daughters college- would be an understatement.

 

image

We increased the amount we saved and then every extra ounce of money from my job went into  an account for her. When we had 3 years saved up we stopped and started working on the mortgage. We paid bills and then every bit of funding left over went to the principle. On our home. Any bonus, contest wins etc…

15 yr

 

I have to to say another HUGE step in paying our house off early was refinancing our mortgage to a 15 year. Once we got out from under our un secured debt (legal fees, credit cards. Etc ) the banks were   jumping to refinance us. We lowered our interest rate dramatically and had greater principle amounts going to the loan. Our payment  went up $200 a month but, we were paying a greater amount of the payment to principle instead of interest. This graph is not our home. Just a great borrow from the internet to demonstrate the power of 15 year vs 30.

I have been asked about whether the legal situation we were in had anything to do with debt. And it did not. We paid every cent we owed. (It just made our debt worse and our situation harder to climb out of).

We paid our home off in May 2014. (Yes I know it took me 9 month to write an update).

Ten years and one month after purchasing it.  We would say 9 years and 2 mos if you take into account the time we were gazelle intense about it. This includes working our way through some really tough times.

image

 

Omg !!! Yes our home is paid for but we are not debt free.

Remember this cute little cabin in the woods?  We are currently paying every cent extra and will have it paid off  very soon. Update Part 5?

cabin picture

We write this not to brag but to be an example to others that they can do this. We were “normal” too – until we started the Dave Ramsey plan.  I have to say that we still budgeted for senior pictures, sports for our kids and other life events. It is possible. What are you waiting for? Go to Dave Ramsey’s website and get signed up for a class.

You may think that this is not possible, and that we must make loads of money. While we do make a great living, it is what you do with what you make. It is a matter of telling your money what to do and where to go instead of wondering where it all went. It is living like the previous generations lived.

 

One of the best parts is that we are leading his FPU class! What a positive experience it has been for us. We are able to give others hope and share in our “stupid” moves with Money.

Remember, you don’t want to be “normal”. As Dave says, “normal” is having credit cards, student loans, car loans, and working paycheck to paycheck.

 

 

 

 

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Successful Thanksgiving Dinner

I am excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year. We have a group of about 11-12 people. Perfect size for a nice cozy dinner. This is not my first trip to the “Thanksgiving” Rodeo. I have learned quite a bit over the years. Thanksgiving from A to Z if you will.  I would have loved to have some of these tips my first couple of times around, so I wanted to share.

Some helpful tips:

First and foremost- it doesn’t have to be perfect to bless others…This is important to remember- so you can enjoy your guests.
1. Take the time to sit down and make out a written menu…this will save you time, money and stress. Decide what you will cook, what you will buy already made and what guests are pitching in.. (my little sis is bringing the salad- thanks Nine!) Here is a peak at mine this year…

Thanksgiving list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Collect your recipes, and write out the ingredients with your menu- love to hunt easy recipes on line. (like this one here for crockpot mash potatoes).
3. Shop your pantry and see what you have on hand- this will save on the food bill.
4. Think about your table centerpiece ahead of time, will you be casual or more formal. We do a comfortable formal. (nice but not stuffy). The dollar store and glass containers you have on hand can make a cute centerpiece. This is a good link on Thanksgiving centerpieces. And the video embedded below.
5. Write out the errands you will need to do ahead of time, and make a plan for when you will do what. (pick up turkey, shop groceries, supplies for decorations etc)
6. Make any dishes that you can the night before. (crock pot mashed potatoes, sweet potatoe casserole, green bean casserole (without the fried onions- add them when reheating) dinner rolls .
7. The night before layout the ingredients in groups, this will save you a ton of “hunting time” and will save you from running to the store the last minute for a forgotten ingredient.
8. Plan out the timing of when you will cook what- this will be based on cook time of dishes.
9. Set your table the night before. Hunt for that gravy bowl, or serving platter you stashed away.. the carving knife..This will save the last minute panic. This will also give you extra time to be creative. (we are making gratitude journals for this Thanksgiving to set at each place setting). I looked at about 15 videos on table scapes and this is the one I am going to do this year. It was inexpensive yet Trendy looking. Theses two are great.

 

10. Do not try to do it all yourself. Enlist your family to jump in and make one of the dishes. My daughter makes the greenbean casserole, and sometimes the ambrosia salad.

What ever your beliefs take a quiet moment to pray…and put yourself in the moment and be Thankful- and you will have a Successful Thanksgiving Dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The perfect Outfit- I love everyday.

It all started for my search  for the pefect pair of leggings, and then searched for the perfect outfit and turned into a epiphany on clothes and how I will think about them forever.

black legging outfit

My new truth. I will not own any piece of clothing that doesn’t fit me perfectly and look fabulous on me.

This is difficult for me, as I have been caught in a trap of keeping clothes that I loved on the hanger in the store, that never fit right. I also have an array of sizes. I have my skinny clothes, my bigger clothes and my in between. All shapes and sizes.
Over the years I have collected a massive amount of clothing. Trendy pieces, Classic pieces and pieces. Clothing I bought on sale because it was a great deal.

I went through my closet and got rid of 3 large garbage bags full of clothes.  It was difficult at first. I tried everything on and got rid of anything that I could not fit into today.
What a blessing to pass along clothes that didn’t fit me but, others can wear right now today. What a waste to have it just hang in my closet.
I read a few great blog posts on womens clothing but, this one by Kelly at redefined mom, is by far the best. It was like she was inside my head this week and wrote about it so beautifully.

I cannot wait to watch this documentary. Fabulous Fashionistas. Kelly references it in her blog article.

I still have to go through my coats, rest of my shoes and my drawers…but I am getting there one step at a time. I will save so much money by simplifying and streamlining my clothes.

Most important- I will look and feel fabulous. I will be ready to conquer the world even on days when I may not feel like conquering anything. I will be wearing the perfect outfit.

perfect outfit
perfect outfit

 

I will keep you posted on how it goes. Thoughts?

 

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Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Buns

One of my favorite things to do is cook and feed people. I especially love to make homemade from scratch items. Soups and breads are my favorite. I was inspired by Kristen from the Frugal Girl blog. This is her recipe, and the link to her very detailed photographed instructions to make them.Click here.

If you have not tried to make homemade buns they are so simple and delicious. They save money because we are more likely to heatup leftovers and make sandwiches having homemade hamburger  “buns”. Yum.

I agree with Kristen they are really yummy warm with jam or butter. Sorry Paleo eaters – I made mine with white flour! Still doesn’t compare to my MIL Evelyn’s bread but, what does?

I have made these twice and the time is cut in half after your first attempt.

Pretty simple. Just have to have time to let the dough raise. They have yet to last more than 4 days. Of course I gave away some of the first batch. random thought in my head there I go again, loving to feed people. 

Sorry for the iphone photography. They look so much more delicious on Kristen’s site. Here.

Let me know what you think.

homemade buns1 IMG_7197 IMG_7196

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5 Frugal Things…

5 Frugal Things

Frugal Girl inspired me to share -5 frugal things.  Well, first it is important to say that she is the “queen” of frugal. If you haven’t checked out her blog- click here. But here goes…

1. We buy packaged Ceasar salads from Costco.

One bag will feed the 3 of us. ($4.27) (sniff, with DD off to college it is no longer 4). We like to add Chicken or serve with some type of quality meat protein. When you compare it to buying 3 salads, buying all the ingredients and making them yourself, or ordering out on impulse–  it saves money. (I work more than full time – time and convenience are important). random thought in my head – this is the lunch I packed this summer for a group of us to go to the WaterWorld amusement park, using the ceasar salad package. ceasar salad

2. We buy things from Craigslist. Even big items.

We bought this “pit couch” for our great room for $375.00 dollars. The previous owners had it for 5 months and were unhappy with how large it was for their space. We saw the original sales receipt- $3400.00 couch.  I dress it up with my own pillows.  It is large and comfy. Nice for entertaining or family time. It provides alot of needed seating. thought rambling through my head. The one I was shopping for from Arhaus was a small fortune. As much as I loved that couch, I just couldn’t get myself to pull the trigger. My hubby was great, he didn’t care either way since we had saved cash for it. I am so glad I went the frugal route.     sectionalIf you missed my post on our sectional click here.

3. Do it myself decorating.

Spray painted garage sale and pre-owned miscellaneous frames to create our Family Legacy collage on stair wall. The cost :  1 can of  spray paint. not bad..Spray paint can save you money- if you missed my refurbished house lighting post click here.


photo wall photo wall 2

4. This is a “silly” one- Toothpaste.

I cut open the toothpaste tube when it is flat and “out of paste”. When you cut it open, there is another couple weeks of paste. thought rambling through my head Kind of cool, I am so clever.  Not for an OCD clean freak–it can be a little messy and you have to store in a ziplock baggie.

5. We eat leftovers.

I know this seems like a “no brainer”. But you would be surprised how many people don’t eat leftovers. We eat them for lunches the next day mainly, and if I know I will be going out of town, my DH, dear hubby and DS, dear son- will eat them for dinner. Add a fresh salad and they are set. Saves time and money!! Besides some foods are even better heated up the second time!  thought rambling through my head – I have had people look “down” on us for taking our leftovers home. My response to that? to each his own. But, I am on the better half of that situation, when I am not having to spend money on the meal that we eat leftovers. Sounds smart to me. Just add a fresh salad.  Click to get  10 Leftover Foods that are better the second day. Here is an egg sandwich made with homemade hamburger buns.

Egg Sandwich

 

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