Thursday, November 28, 2013

Black Friday

I've never been much of a Black Friday shopper but have been known to *occasionally* run out for a good deal or two in years past. This year we are not spending any money on Christmas so I have no need to even look at BF deals, however I feel very blessed to not have any pull to the big shopping day. I know there are some great deals (an iPad mini for $199!) but knowing that my budget is zero, I'm just not interested. I'm glad it's easy!

If you're wondering why we're not spending anything for Christmas, we recently took a trip to DisneyWorld and we all decided earlier in the year that birthday and Christmas money would go towards that trip. We paid cash for our trip. Actually, pre Dave Ramsey, we set out with a budget and a plan to go to Disney debt free. Instead of birthday gifts, we contributed money on each of our birthdays, sold stuff, as well as set aside money each month to cover the cost of the trip. Now that we've learned Dave's plan, we realize that that money should have paid down debt but we're not beating ourselves up about it. It is what it is and we're taking the steps to get out of debt now. 

I've challenged myself to make a homemade gift for each of the kids this year but with a twist. Since I have a zero budget for Christmas, I am making them things with what I already have. No supply shopping......not even for a single zipper or bias tape!  I'm about finished with Kip's gift. I made him a fabric tic-tac-toe mat. Aaron is going to make wooden X's and O's for it. I'm still working on ideas for the other four. The girls are pretty easy to come up with gift ideas but the older boys are a challenge. I'm hoping Aaron can help me out with ideas for them!

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!  And if you're heading out for Black Friday shopping, may the force be with you!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

I don't like cash. :/

Aaron and I put together our first "zero based" budget a couple weeks ago and put it into practice last Wednesday (payday). I went to the bank and withdrew cash for everything except for the bills we were paying out of our checking account. 

You know what I realized?  I don't like cash. I know that sounds crazy. I think I'm afraid of it...actually I think I'm afraid of losing it. I need to get over that!

After I got home, I divided up the cash money into envelopes. I carry three envelopes: food, pets, and clothing/household and Aaron took gas and giving/tithe. At first I wouldn't carry all three envelopes in my purse but now I'm getting a bit more comfortable with it. 

I also realized that envelopes in the checkout line are not too appreciated by the cashiers and folks in line behind me. I'm a bit clunky trying to get change together and then money and a receipt back into the envelope. I think I'm going to try to make some type of fabric pouch to separate money into. Pinterest, here I come!  :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

There's a new man in my life...

I know, sounds crazy, right?  For those of you who know me well, you know that I am head over heels in love with my husband, Aaron. In February we will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary!  (Yes, I was married at a VERY young age.) ;) As strong as my love for him is, there is a new guy in my life. Who? You ask?  Dave Ramsey.  Go ahead, laugh.  I am. 

If you don't know, Dave Ramsey is a financial expert who has his own radio show. I found him when someone posted a short video of him talking about Obamacare. After watching that video, I was hooked. I had to know more about this man and his program. As it turns out, the Lord directed me right to him because his ministry is just what I need right now. He thinks that debt is dumb. He says that cash is king. He teaches people to dig out from their debt and then invest their money for their future using his "baby steps". His teachings are so NOT what is normal in today's America and I am hooked. 

I've never spoken publicly about our family's debt. I don't talk about it because I'm embarrassed by it and, quite frankly, I find it overwhelming. Aaron and I have very good credit scores and we've never missed a payment....ever. However, we are maxed in minimum payments on everything from cars, to credit cards, to a home equity and even a dentist bill.  I'll share more of my story as we go through these baby steps, but for now I'm not ready to spill the beans completely. We'll just leave our debt total as "a lot" and come back to it another day. ;)

Baby step number one is to put $1,000 in an emergency fund as quickly as possible. This is to protect your household from financial upsets so you have no need to use a credit card. So far, we have $560 in our savings account and I just sold a small desk on Craig's List for $40. Typically a Craig's List sale would fund a family pizza party and a movie. Not today. I'll be going to the bank in just a bit to deposit today's sales. Once baby step number one is set, we'll move to baby step two, which is paying down debt using the debt snowball method. That one scares me. Here's to completing baby step one first. Our goal is to have it finished by the New Year. Time to sell more stuff.....

Here is the desk I sold today. I bought it a few months ago at the goodwill for $20.99 and painted it with paint I already had at home (leftover from the kitchen). I'll miss the storage, but am glad to be $40 closer to our first goal. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Disneybound Snow White Outfit

My daughter introduced me to "Disney-bounding" this past summer and oh. my. word!  It is the coolest idea ever!  If you don't know what it is, it's basically putting together modern, stylish outfits inspired by a Disney character. I put together the following outfit for our recent trip:

I found the Capri pants, tank and jacket at my local Goodwill. The shoes are from (by Gotta Flurt) and the charms are from Hobby Lobby. One is an apple, the other is a mirror that says, "Fairest of them all." Carrie bought me a red satin hair bow that I also wore (not pictured).

I had a lot of people stop me in the Magic Kingdom to compliment me on my outfit. I had one cast member stop me and tell me that I had the same colors on as Snow White. :) She had never heard of Disney-bounding so I filled her in. I saw her later in the week and she said she had googled the term and couldn't believe how many outfits had been created. It is a lot of fun and totally addicting. 

As a bonus, Carrie found out that Snow White was having a meet & greet the day we were there so I had my photo taken with her. I'll post that once all of our vaca pics and downloaded. Snow White really liked my outfit. :)

Minnie Mouse Inspired Zip Wristlet

We just got home from Disney and I'm missing all of the ears, bows and magical outfits!  I haven't been feeling well so I decided to cheer myself up with a sewing project. (That's what everyone does, right?) So I made this on the fly without a pattern. Let me know what you think. :)