Posts filed under ‘Frugal Living’

Keeping momentum…

Dave Ramsey says you need to have gazelle intensity when you are getting out of debt.

So the first year of getting out of debt I was like super intense “let’s do this!”

Last year was more like “Weee… ok moving right along, not totally fun, but we can do this”

Now that it is the last stretch, the feeling is more like this

I’m SO done.

It feels like we are SO close but there is still a lot left to pay off.  I keep wanting to get a part time job to make it go faster but childcare costs would make any job I could get worthless. Plus we are all so tired already that doing something like working in the evenings would put a lot of strain on the family.  So I guess I just need to keep on plugging with not spending as much as we can and throwing the little bit of money I make with my Etsy shop at it.

The plan is to be done by May 2013.  Under 10 months left!! But still…. 10 months left.  I may or may not claim insanity to my husband and get a new van, wardrobe, and smart phone before then…


August 10, 2012 at 9:24 am 1 comment

When I Think it is OK to use a Credit Card

If you follow Dave Ramsey’s style of money management, than it is never ok to use a credit card.  I think if you are a person who has a hard time keeping your spending under control this is the rule to follow.  In fact I think it is the rule to follow most the time.  I remember when I was in college as a graphic designer and I wanted to buy an apple lap top, my parents told me never buy anything you don’t already have the money for.  I thought “well that’s no fun, then why do I have a credit card at all!” I bought the lap top anyway and only paid the minimum payments of $35 at 19% interest on an item that cost me $2700.  I was taking my first steps to being in debt the rest of my life.  That was not my only credit card purchase but  thankfully I got a good paying job the following year and my husband and I both thought it important to get out of debt before we got married.  Only then did I start to see the trap credit cards can create.

So now that I am all responsible with money – when do I use a credit card? Only if it is something I already have the money for.  (It’s amazing this pool of knowledge you discover your parents have when you grow up.) Then why use a credit card?  My  most recent example is Christmas.  I have a certain amount of money I have been putting aside each month the entire year to save up for Christmas.  This way I know what I have to work with. No matter what, I can’t go over this amount of money.  Period.  Since we live in the middle of nowhere I have to do most my shopping online and I don’t want Nathan to see where I have been shopping or else he will know what I got him. So I chose to use my credit card. I have been keeping a little log of where I have spent Christmas money and I have not gone over.  Important Note – Since I already have the money for everything I put on that card, it gets paid off on the first bill so there is NEVER an interest fee.

Another example was when Nathan took me on my birthday trip to Seattle.  He had a set amount of money we could spend in his head already, knowing it was what we could afford, but most that money was coming from the paycheck he was going to get while we were on vacation, so we put all our expenses on the card and paid it off immediately when we got home.

One my mom use to do was use a Macy’s or JCPenny’s credit card just to get the extra discount the sale gives you by using it.  (They give that extra discount because they expect to make more money off of you by collecting your interest payments on your card.)  Then when we were done shopping she would go back to the area where you can make a payment on your card and pay it off before we left the store.  So she pretty much paid cash but got the discount for using credit.  That is working the system.

So that about sums it up.  I think it is OK to use a credit card if you use it in a way where you never have to pay interest.  That means you can afford what you buy.

December 7, 2011 at 8:03 am 1 comment

The Ever Changing Room for an Ever Changing Life

Once again we revisit the once playroom turned nursery and now – it’s the kids room.

My nephew, Aaron, recently moved in with us.  We honestly couldn’t hold back our excitement for him to come.  He has been here just 2 weeks now but it has been really nice having him.  Not only is it nice to have another set of hands half the day to help out with the little ones, move heavy stuff, and clean out the garage (mwahahaha, slave labor).  Did I say that was nice? I really mean totally super freaking awesome.  We also see a lot more of the teenagers in town and I highly enjoy having them come over.

Anyway, I never decorated the kids room when it was just Ahnna and Isaac.  There was nothing I could think of that felt like “yes! that would be so much fun!” when it came to decorating it.  This ended up being a blessing since I moved them into the nursery.  I have just spent too much time on that room to make it all miss match now.  After some brainstorming and some luck I figured out the cheapest way to make it all look nice in there.  My mom had my 2 sets of yellow sheets from when I went to college (and just had to have matching bedding with my roommate, ok maybe I’m a little obsessive compulsive). I also got 2 white down alternative blankets from for $18 each. After I stole a few pillows I made for the baby’s crib I got this!!

And the crib still looks cute, even without the pillows that now live on the kids bed.

I love little sleeping babies, so cute!

Having all the kids in one room is great.  I am going to leave it this way as long as possible.  The bigger toys like rocking horse and kitchen set are in Aaron’s room so he has to put up with some play in there but he does not seem to mind much. Eventually, when Aaron moves out, that room will be the play room.

I LOVE that I was able to come up with a simple and inexpensive solution.  Too often I think of the inexpensive way AFTER I do it the expensive way.

Sometimes teens can use a change of scenery and we are glad Aaron is a part of ours.  So welcome to living in the middle of no where Aaron, lol!

November 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm 2 comments

My cute new vinyl quote and almost free modern shelf.

I was looking at my daily Zulily e-mail when I saw this vinyl quote that said “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” Have you read this children’s book? I think it is more of a mom book in children’s book form.  If you haven’t read it, find a copy and read, I get choked up every time.

On Zulily the quote was on sale for $25 (from it’s regular $35) I thought I could do better and I found it for $10 on (woot!) WELL the quote I ordered was still in the brown packing tube (that apparently looked like trash) and someone else threw it away the same day the garbage man came. Oi….

So I got out my handy dandy cricut and made another one myself.  Why didn’t I make one in the first place? When it is cheaper and easier to have someone else do it, I buy it. Luckily I still have vinyl my mom-in-law gave me over a year ago that I’ve been using on various little things, and I had enough to replace the quote that got thrown out.  I’ll have you know that I just have the small Cricut that does 6″x12″ pages and 2 cartridges. I don’t have any of the little tools, just the basic basic stuff and I still do TONS of things with my Cricut.

I wanted a shelf but I wanted to use the wood scraps in my garage.  The 5 Shelf plan is from but I had to change it up to be able to use what I already had on hand.  The plans call for 1×6 boards. I only had 1×8 scraps – and I didn’t even have enough 1×8 scraps.  I ended up cutting 2 1×12 scraps down to match the 1×8’s and it worked out perfect!   The main part is actually 2 pieces, part 1×8 and part cut down 1×12. I was quite thrilled with how straight I got the cut.

I used a Kreg Jig jr. to make pocket holes, then I screwed the pieces together and the finished it off with hole plugs and wood filler along the seam.  After some sanding, primer, and satin black spray paint I had my practically free shelf. I just had to buy some sawtooth picture hangers $0.98 and can of paint $2.50. I can’t even see the seam after the finish was applied.  I can see the pocket holes but they are on the bottom anyway so no big deal.

October 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

My Envelope System and Budget Tools

So we are currently getting out of school debt.  Luckily this is the only debt we have besides the house.  Sometimes I need to do something crafty to keep myself motivated like our monster debt chart.

I recently fine tuned our budget spreadsheet and I needed a new envelope system.  I was using a coupon organizer before that worked but it was pretty bulky and my wallet was separate which was also bulky and annoying.  I also got this great sleek little purse for Christmas from Nathan’s grandparents that I way dying to use.

So I could use this I ended up just dividing up the budget into three categories (food, allowance, gas) so I could use the three slots in this purse. This was not the best idea.  I couldn’t track certain areas and I ended up spending more than i normally would.

Nathan and I have been watching the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University videos and that motivated me to get serious again about knowing where every penny of the money went.  So I came up with these modified envelopes I could use to separate things out in my purse.

Don't worry I only carry around about 6 envelopes. Just two per slot.

Each of them are labeled right at the top where I can see them

I pulled them out slightly so you can see them

So once again I’m on a detailed budget and it feels really good.  For a long time I had no idea how to do an effective budget and I also avoided using the cash only method because I always thought if I had cash on me I would just spend it.  Well it is different when I put a name to where all the cash had to go.  And now that it is in adorable little envelopes I want the money to stay there because it looks good. (dorky, but hey if it helps me hold onto my money I will do it.)

So if anyone has any questions about how to successfully do your budget talk to me!! I really feel like we have been very successful since we started and I don’t think we will ever go without a budget again because money behaves and goes farther if you can control it and not let it control you.  It takes time as a couple at first to figure things out but really it takes me MAYBE a half hour every pay period and its fun because part if it is counting cash on had and dividing it up and I just like playing with money like that 🙂

I attached a sample of the budget sheet I made up. I changed all the info on it so our actual amounts don’t get out there and hopefully you get the idea. I did a pdf so everyone can view it but I did it in Numbers on a Mac so I can’t upload the actual spreadsheet for anyone to use. It wasn’t until I was putting the explanation on the sample budget that I realized this can look really overwhelming.  It didn’t start out like this, the is the system I have come up with after about 6 months of experimenting.  If anyone has questions about the actual numbers in any area, let me know I don’t mind sharing but I thought I shouldn’t put my detailed budget out for the whole world to see.




February 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm 3 comments

Homemade Bread – Good for the Wallet, Bad for the Waistline

My awesome sister Pandora bought me a bread machine like two years ago for about $5 second hand (best deal ever).  I used it once with a weird recipe that did not turn out so it diminished my excitement for using it and it ended up sitting in storage while we lived with my in-laws for almost 2 years.  I was always meaning to get it out and try it but it never worked that way.  Now that we are doing all we can to save money I FINALLY got out the bread machine. Thanks Pandora for all the yummy recipes too!

We eat lots of bread already but oh man, now that it is fresh, delicious, preservative free, mana from heaven, I have to ration myself.

Picture from While She Naps

I have slowly been learning about saving money on food.  A lot of it is making your own stuff from scratch.  I’m going to be trying to make my own yogurt, mayonnaise, and maybe cottage cheese.  Nate is the only one who eats cottage cheese so I’m just worried it may not be worth it since we don’t eat it a whole lot.

Oh yeah! I did make homemade ice cream without and ice cream maker or having to shake it in a can forever.  Want to know the secret?  Just do your favorite recipe and then put it in the freezer,  Then every 1/2 hour stir it (I whisked it) really well until it is frozen.  Still an all day activity but if you hang out at home anyway its not too bad to stir something for maybe a minute ever so often.  I even left mine for an hour sometimes and then stirred and in the end it was still nice and creamy without ice crystals.  So great ice cream – didn’t have to buy an ice cream maker. Yes!

August 25, 2010 at 10:15 pm 4 comments

Child-Proofing Cabinets and potty talk

Have one of these?

Have cabinets like this?

You don't need on of these! ($1.50 each)

Just get some hairbands, they're what - $3 for the whole thing? and multiple uses

Less bulk, less money, just as affective.

Just wrap it twice and your done, takes just as long to do as the fancy one does. All my kitchen and bathroom cabinets are locked to little hands.  If you don’t have this kind of hardware, I’m sorry this can’t help you but maybe it got you thinking of some creative way to fix your child proofing without listening to what the media says you need.  If anyone has any ideas on how to lock your toilet and toilet paper please let me know, I will probably cave and buy the toilet lock guard, Isaac’s mission for the last month is find an open bathroom and play in the toilet water.  I swear that is all he thinks about because as soon as someone leaves the bathroom door open, he is in there splashing away – doesn’t even matter if you are still on the potty either.  A few weeks back Ahnna was doing her business and I hear a “No! My pee pee!” (possessive as usual) as I see Isaac disappear around the corner into the bathroom.  By the time I got there he was swishing and laughing away.  That boy really does love water…

June 29, 2010 at 9:41 pm 2 comments

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