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

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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

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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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Wildfire Farms- One of my favorite “things”

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We have been fortunate enough to meet the owners of a local farm in our area. WildFire Farms- click here to visit their site. They  make homemade treats from their own  family farm. They are fellow Financial Peace comrades. We received such a treat the other night when they came to class bearing such gracious gifts.
A dozen eggs from their farm. Aren’t they delightful?

Wild Fire Farms Eggs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can not believe how much better they taste than the store bought. Makes sense. But seriously delicious.
Handmade soap. They make it with the milk from their goats. Wow…What a treat. I don’t want to open it. It is so cool.

They would definately be listed as on of my Favorite Things.

Wild Fire farms soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The perfect Outfit- I love everyday.

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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

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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…

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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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Bucket List Found…

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I can’t help but feel a little nostalgic when I look at this picture of our chalkboard that I found this morning.

Chalkboard  Bucketlist
Garrett’s Bucket List

It is a bucket list written out on our kitchen chalkboard that my DS, dear son made.  I am estimating it was probably when he was 8-9 years old. I need to remember to do this the beginning of every season. This would be a great tool when we are trying to figure out what to do on a weekend or when we have some spare family time. Delete the need for the question- “what do you want to do today?”… or the response ” I don’t know what do you wanna do?is a great

Great site that has Bucket List ideas from the Blog Daring to Live Life Fully.

he getting so big…sniff sniff…

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Craft Room Studio Makeover – Continued

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My Dream Space- Craft room studio makeover

It is finally time to makeover my craft room/studio. I am so excited! After redoing all of our bedrooms in the house ( DD,  DS and mine and my DH’s)  I am finally in a place to rework my studio/crafting space. There are so many wonderful rooms out there in blog land that I am amazed by. I would have to say my favorite it would be Raising up Rubies.  She turned her dining room into a crafting sewing studio and it is marvelous. I love the non traditional use of her space.  She didn’t have a dining room in the space because that is what the space was desgnated for she used the space for what was best for her family. A wonderul inspiration.

Raising up RubiesPlease visit her site. She is very inspirational. There are tons of other blogs that I are AMAZZZZZING as well but, her studio struck a core in me.  Because the story behind it is so inspirational.

So here is a sneak peak of the before: (I realized that I never posted before pictures of my space). I don’t have an overall view of the room. Not sure what I was thinking.

craft room collage before picture

Here is a teaser on what the carpet will be changed out for…

wood f

 

 

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Outdoor Lighting Upgrade

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House Lighting Update

When it is time for an Outdoor Lighting upgrade–it is time… Ours was overdue. This is the lighting that came with our home. They looked pretty good with the original paint. We painted our house, Khaki – with white trim and black shutters and doors. I love the colors! The only thing left to add some pop was to get black outdoor lights to match.  To be honest I went on a shopping for black lights. Wow!  I surprised at the price and I could not find any that really liked.
OUtdoor lightinI set out to spray paint ours and make the old look new. Enter the spray paint. Hint: Make sure you get outdoor and rust resistant paint. I love this brand.

Spray paint outdoor lights

You can see the cost $39.40. This purchase included an attachment for the can to spray easier, and some blue tape. The spray paint itself only cost 23.04 for 3 cans. I only needed 2 for all 5 lights. I bought the paint at Home Depot.

 

Outdoor Lighting 2

How does this compare to purchasing new lights? We have 5 lights and to replace the same lights (to be fair). Would be $378.45.
This is with free shipping. Click here to view.  That is a good savings. $15.00 vs $378.45!

lights

 

Here was our process:

Outdoor Lighting Collage

 

Outdoor lights Collage 2

 

Here is how great they look. Lighting Finished

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My “New” Used Sectional

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Our “New” Used Sofa from CL (craigslist)

I had this post in archieves for way too long, the story behind Our “New” Used Sectional from craiglist.  One of the things that was on my “wish” list for our home was to have a large kitchen that opened up to an even larger family room. It has been a wish come true- this area is my favorite part of our house.  We spend a lot of time in this main area of our home.The one challenge was fitting furniture into the space.  The first reason is the lack of real walls in the space. We have:
A stairway, a sliding glass door, a opening to the kitchen, a fireplace in the corner, and a row of large windows. Not one plain wall…CRAZY RIGHT?

We took furniture we had from our old house and crammed it all into the great room.  It worked good for awhile. It wasn’t what I wanted but, what we could afford at the time.  So we have waited and saved….fast forward to Nov 2012…six  years later…we saved enough in our “house” account to purchase my dream sofa.

I was so excited. Here is my dream couch from Arhaus Furniture.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Add another piece on the end and upgrade the fabric to leather and you have it! (This is the small version).

I am not sure if the DR (Dave Ramsey) mentality was getting to me or what but, I could not pull the trigger. I went back 7 times!! It was just so much money. Funny how when you save and are paying CASH it is so much harder to purchase. I kept thinking of all the things I could do with the money.
My DH encouraged me to do what I wanted. When we were discussing my lack of being able to pull the trigger he said,” It just doesn’t seem like you, you always find great stuff for less.” That was all it took. I took his challenge and started hunting on Craigslist. For our new used sectional.

I cannot believe what I found: A sectional sofa that is perfect for our space.

It was only a year old, the couple who we bought it from realized it was too big for their room. There were compromises and a little bit of elbow grease on my part. I recovered the pillows. They were so f-ugly.  I used the backing and zipper from the original pillows and used it as a pattern.

Don’t you like it? Okay it isn’t the Arhaus sofa but it is 12 year old boy/teenager and friend proof.

Here it is today (we bought it two years ago) with pillows that I purchased on sale over time to give it a more updated look than the pillows I recovered.   I am pleased with how it has held up, and someday I will find my leather sectional on CL for a great price!

sectional

Pictures can give us so much insight on what we need to change in a room. Looking at these pictures, my mind races with things I need to do. Like refinish/paint our coffee table. It is 9 years old and needs some TLC.

Sectional CollageMy favorite part is when I talk about eventually upgrading the couch my son and daughter argue. They love it. It fits so many kids on it for late movie nights and sleepovers. Sometimes not pulling the trigger and listening to your gut is what is best. I wish I could say I spent the 7K in our house account on tons of cool stuff, but we put it in our emergency fund as an extra budget. So much better…right?

 

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