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Don't use coupons? Think you can't save money using... I wrote this in response (as a comment) to a comment quoted in a post on the Five Cent Nickle blog. ========================================================= Coupons are the single best way to...

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Working with credit card companies - the good, bad... A few months ago we knew we were headed into "negative" territory on our bills.  A perfect storm of events were happening and we could see what was going to happen. In our efforts to work with our...

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I paid 25c for all of this food.... 4 boxes of crackers 4 packages of cookies 2 boxes of cinnabon bars 1 hotwheel Had to throw the hotwheel in just cause I had a $1 left to "spend" from my freebie stuff!  How did I do it??? Albertson's...

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Allowances, complications, compensating for chores...... It was with surprise and well, a bit of disgust that I was recently reading a plethora of comments on a financial forum I participate in about this very subject. Let's see if I can reiterate without...

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KILLED WALMART IS DEAD ! ! !

Posted on : 22-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Debt Discussion, Money, The Journey

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$97.02 paid in full = Walmart is dead.

There is no R.I.P for the Walmart card!

The pressure to spend . . .

Posted on : 21-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, Money, The Journey

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Here is an element of what I was talking about in my last post – Jason over at Bible Money Matters said it much better than I did.

Avoid the Pressure to Spend.

It’s the little things that catch you by surprise . . .

Posted on : 21-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : budgeting, Money, The Journey

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and ultimately become sacrifices . . .

I very much would love to be a “chauffeur” for my son – he’s going on a field trip with his class next week and they are looking for volunteer drivers.

Cool!  I’m in.

Only to learn that it will cost $3 admission to the event I would be driving to.

Hum.  We have decided to budget so tight that $3 is nothing to sneeze at and frankly, I’d much rather throw it towards debt and be FREE than to spend it just so I can drive (and pay for gas too).

It’s things like this that come up and nickle – and – dime you to death.

Don’t let that happen.

Don’t let others make you feel guilty for not doing something like the above when the ultimate reason you are doing it is so much better for you and your family then to drive a few classmates on a field trip.

So sorry! Comments are enabled now…

Posted on : 03-10-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Away with the FAT, Debt Discussion, free activities, Free Finds/Yard Sale Finds, Giving, Groceries, Money, Political Thoughts, Quotes & Affirmations, The Journey, Yummy Frugal Meals

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I had something set that required people to already be logged in to post a comment, which effectively turned commenting off for most people.  I apologize for that!  Comments are now open, enjoy!

Allowances, complications, compensating for chores… what’s a parent to do?

Posted on : 15-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Money

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It was with surprise and well, a bit of disgust that I was recently reading a plethora of comments on a financial forum I participate in about this very subject.

Let’s see if I can reiterate without divulging specific details… the basic question was how do you compensate your kids, be it allowances, pay by chore, etc.

There were lots of different answers, many of which were pretty complicated.  For example, they get X per week based upon a fractional variation of their age in number of months but they can get X+5% per week of they do chore B, but X+15% per week if they do chore F.  Another one was based on requiring a certain number of daily chores, weekly chores and monthly chores.  And another one… ok, you get the picture, COMPLICATED.

What was truly amazing to me were the people that said their children had only one or no required household chores.  WHAT??? Do people not teach their children how to work, share the load, be a family???  We are talking about children ages 8+.  Their child has the daily chore of feeding the animals and if they do that, then they get their weekly allowance.  No other household chores.

I don’t know about you, but in my house, it takes a whole heck of a lot more than feeding the pet to keep the household running and frankly, I am their mom, not their maid.

Our children are expected to help with daily chores which include: keeping their rooms cleaned and beds made; taking care of the pets (feed, cat boxes, poop duty); vacuuming; sweeping; dishes; etc. as well as particpate in bigger cleaning events we do as a family such as cleaning the bathrooms, “spring” cleaning, etc.

Our children do not get compensated for any of these household chores… it’s part of being a family.  It teaches responsibility, discipline and character.  It’s no wonder kids today are so lacking in self-discipline and personal responsibility, their parents aren’t teaching it!

When you get into the game of compensating for every little thing, you have to continue the game.  Were is the heart of service, giving and sharing involved in that?  A job is for making money, household chores are for being a family.

Each person in our family receives a monthly allowance, parents and kids alike. This allowance is because we are all part of the family and it is not dependent upon doing a household chore.  That’s how we give out allowances.  For additional money the kids want, they have to earn it by being entrepreneurial.

We happen to pay for mowing/edging the lawn.  We used to pay for a service, but one of the kids wanted this responsibility so we gave it to him this summer and he reaps the financial rewards because of his desire.  We’ve never had to take this away from him because he does it happily every single week without being reminded.  Were he to not do this, we’d simply go back to the lawn service again.

Since when is it “OK” to stop tithing to the Lord in order to pay off your debt?

Posted on : 06-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Money

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A friend of ours told us that he and his wife have been not paying tithe and have supposedly been using it to pay off debt (all the while they continue to have cable TV, cell phones for their kids, consume coffee daily at the java place…).

They told us that it was advised by Crown Financial and frankly, I was in shock and disgust… so I did some searching…and look at what I found:

The principle of tithing is just that—a principle. God is looking for the right attitude in a person’s giving.

If there is not a true heart-felt willingness to give back to the Lord a portion of what He has entrusted to us, giving tithes upon tithes would be without purpose.

For people who feel that they cannot afford to give the full tithe because they have too much debt, yet they are willing and want to tithe, perhaps there is an option that can satisfy both situations.

Because God expects us to remain true to biblical principles, if we have made prior vows (in the form of taking on a debt) to man before making a vow to tithe to God, God directs that the vow be maintained in order to present a good witness (see Proverbs 22:1).

In such cases, the tithe should come from the money not already pledged to creditors, but available to disperse.

However, a commitment to give to God would certainly take precedence over any payment to creditors for debts contracted after a pledge was made to tithe.”

Well, Crown Financial “sort of” says it’s ok to send your tithe to your debts, but only if you were not previously tithing. Hum… way to take that concept and distort it dear friends of mine. However, I disagree with Crown Financial and Dave Ramsey also disagrees with their stance, here’s his take:

Many people have observed that after they stopped tithing, their finances seemed to get worse.  In the Book of Malachi, God promises that if you do not rob Him of your tithing, He will rebuke your devourers and protect you.

If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.  It does not require a miracle for you to get through the month.  I think that if you sit down and look at your budget, you will see that you can make it while giving at least 10%.  Read the Bible and take from it what you will, and if you tithe, do it out of love for God, not guilt.”

I firmly believe that the number 1 “line item” in your budget (as a believer) is your tithe, plain and simple. And, a tithe is 10%, not 2%, not 8%, it’s 10%. As a believer, there is no excuse to not be giving the Lord back 10% of what He’s given us. If you have nothing, you can give nothing but your time. If you have little, give back 10% (or more in offerings) of what the Lord has provided you. If you have lots, give 10% plus offerings. When you are in debt, you must be giving your 10% to the Lord and working out a plan to pay your debts to others.

We often have the mindset that it’s “our” money when in fact, it’s God’s money and he’s letting us have some. Tithing is also a matter of obedience, yes it is also a matter of the heart, but first and foremost it is a matter of obedience (which is a direct matter of the heart). God even challenges us to test Him in this (Malachi 3:10). When you do not tithe, you are robbing God (Malachi 3:8). Out of love we obey, and our heart must be right when we obey. Obedience is done with a joyful heart. A heart full of love for the Lord.

We tithe, no matter what our debt is, no matter what other obligations we have. Right off the top of all money that comes into our home (including tax credits!!) we give 10% right back to our local church. We don’t think of it as lost income, it’s just an automatic thank you gift we give with all income. We want so much to do more and we are working towards that day. We have been able to do lots in the past, just not recently and I really don’t like that feeling.

Besides, if there is money enough for anything besides shelter, basic food and clothes, there is money to tithe, period. Yes, that means if you have cell phones, cable, internet, coffee, things you could sell, etc. then you have enough to give back to God.  If you aren’t tithing, as a believer, in no way should you be paying for any additional items, including a “blow” fund.

So true, so true…

Posted on : 04-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Money, Quotes & Affirmations

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This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this:  most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time.  Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.  ~Douglas Adams

So you have your own business and you’re trying to get out of debt. Why on earth would you go get a second part-time job?

Posted on : 03-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Money

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As someone who has my own business, I see this repeatedly within my industry. People will say they need more income, but instead of putting their nose to the grind stone for an extra 1-2 hours each day, they’ll go out and take a 2nd job, paying around $10/hour. Uh, whatever!

That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve seen people do. Seriously.

There are a multitude of reasons why this is dumb. First and foremost, you have a business, why aren’t you working it? Put that 20+ hours a week you are spending on a second job into your business! Pound the pavement. Put your nose to the grind stone. All too often, the things that will grow and multiply your business are things we don’t necessarily enjoy doing, but just a few hours a week of doing those things will reap rewards upon your business.

Let’s look at the business we are in: real estate. Both hubby and I are full-time REALTORS®. We don’t have another income source to fall back on. We don’t have second jobs. Sure we have ways to help pad our income now, but those ways bring in a ten here, a twenty there. We need more money, so guess what we are doing? Old fashioned things that bring in business: spending more time people-to-people!

I hear repeatedly from other REALTORS® about how bad business is, and every single one of those complainers is blaming it on the economy.  Hum… if it’s so bad, why is it that some REALTORS® are increasing their business in this “bad economy”?  Some have been in the business for a while and get that everything is a cycle.  Others just started in real estate 1-3 years ago and have nothing else from which to gage their business, yet they are plowing ahead.  The thing is, there are always people buying and selling real estate so if you think the economy sucks, get over it and go out and find business.  Don’t wait for it to come to you.

Frankly, small business owners are shooting themselves in the foot when they take on a second job. Your business reputation is at stake and taking on a second job can seriously harm that reputation. How can you be an expert, a professional, if your interests are divided? When I look at people in our industry and they tell me they have another job, I immediately think that they aren’t serious about their business and I wouldn’t work with them for anything. What do you think a prospective client is going to think and do? It’s just a hobby to them.

Get your butt in gear and spend more time building your business. Get out and meet more people, attend more networking events, exchange business cards more often, spend more time on a “power hour” reaching out to past, current and future clients.  ASK for business!

August Update – what progress have we made in debt elimination?

Posted on : 01-08-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Debt Discussion, Money, The Journey

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I just updated the “our progress” section…  hoping to do this on the 1st of every month.

Looks like in the last 2 months of being focused, we were able to eliminate $2,328.62 in debt, which is an average so far of $1,164.31 per month.  With an average of approximately $1,000 per month of debt payoff, it’ll take us approximately 43 months to get rid of auto loans, credit cards and taxes.

That’s entirely TOO LONG.  We’ll keep plugging away at finding any money in any way we can to pay off this stuff.  We want it done by Christmas 2010.

Our first grocery shopping trip using circulars, coupons and multiple stores…

Posted on : 26-07-2009 | By : The Wife | In : Groceries, Money

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Years ago I used to do this every week… however hubby and I changed our food consumption to literally only meat, fresh veggies and limited fresh fruits. We pretty much ate nothing else. Not too many coupons available for those limited items so I quit even bothering to look for coupons, although I’d watch for meat sales.

However, we are now a family of 6 with 4 boys that have ginormous appetites and they are only getting bigger. So, our diets have changed and for now, that’s going to have to be ok. Our diets will be dictated by our budget. Our “healthy” eating will simply be that we do not eat at fast food places or restaurants. We will have some version of protein at every meal and it will be very plentiful.

Anyway, the first trip this week was to Albertsons… I used their circular and coupons that I found on coupons.com. I spent a total of $64.00 and this is what I came home with:

  • 20 dozen eggs
  • 4 boxes general mills cereal
  • 2 gallons whole milke
  • 1 loaf white bread
  • 5 half gallons of minute maid brand limeade/lemonade
  • 10lbs chicken thighs
  • 8 lbs cheddar cheese
  • 2 one and a half quarts breyer’s ice cream

This is just one trip and not everything we need for the week, nor is it things we always eat each week.  Because of the coupons and discounts, I was able to take advantage of a few things we don’t normally eat such as cereal, the drinks and the breyer’s ice cream.

As I said I am not concerned about organic or “perceived” healthy foods (ie: low fat, lean meats, etc.)  I am concerned about getting as much “balanced” food for my family as possible, with the lowest price possible.  In fact, our current grocery budget is $500/month but my goal is to get our grocery spending down to $300/month on average.