Monday, December 28, 2009

Mini-Emergency Fund Update

Just got back from the bank and we closed out a business account that my husband had used for his video work (sports, memorials, weddings, etc).  After looking at it, we decided to close it out and just add that money to our emergency fund.  I'm so thankful for his talents and that he can bring in extra money that way!  But since he has a full time job and five kids, the video work doesn't really need an entire account dedicated to itself because his family comes first, then the video stuff.

So, our goal ($1000) is fast approaching-three days to go, and we're pretty sure we're going to make it!  Our total is: $854.70.  I'll update on the 31st to let you know if we've made it, and go into more detail of how we got there.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Easy on the Budget Recipe

I'm going to be posting some recipes that I use pretty regularly.  My goal is to post a new recipe about every two weeks.  Here's a favorite of mine:

One Pot Pasta
  • 1 16oz. box penne pasta (I like the high fiber type)
  • fresh broccoli (you pick amt.)
  • two cloves crushed garlic
  • olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan
Boil penne 6 minutes less than al dente; add broccoli florets, and cook until penne is al dente.  Drain; return to the pot, and toss with a couple of crushed garlic cloves, some olive oil, the zest and juice of one lemon, salt and pepper, and plenty of Parmesan.   

This comes together so quickly and everyone around here likes it, which is difficult when you're cooking for 7 people!

You can check out other great recipes at Everyday Food Magazine.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Favorite Things

I wanted to share some things I've been busy working on as gifts for friends, family and a special gift I received.

OK, so instead of getting caught last minute having to buy gifts that don't really reflect the person or blow the budget, I thought I'd make most of my gifts this year. The cost to me was minimal (thus helping me keep within the gift budget)but the time spent on putting it all together was a huge chunk. Pretty much all my free time was used in sewing or knitting or whatever. This is not a sacrifice to me (although my sewing machine seems to have permanently affixed itself to my dining room table, making eating a little difficult among all that thread). As I'm creating I'm often thinking of the person it's going to (and I always pray for them).

I have two other scarves, a fabric flower clip, an elf costume and a skirt I made but forgot to take pictures of...sigh...I really wish I had a photo of that skirt-it's a twirl skirt that I made for a sweet three year old's December birthday.

If you like the flower clips you can buy them here. My friends sell them in their Etsy store and add cute vintage buttons to theirs. I got the idea from them (thanks!) and just decided to give it a go as gifts (my buttons are not quite as cute:).   What I did was made a scarf and attached one (a few would look even better) of these flowers to it.  That's what my 3rd grader gave his teacher today.

Now for one of the best gifts I've ever received!  My dear, sweet, thoughtful friend Kendra has her own jewelery making business called As You Wish Design.  She surprised me this week by putting together a personalized necklace.  She put our family motto "Race Well Run" on one disc and then stamped the initials of all our kids on another.  Then she added mine and Mike's birthstones.  It all came in the cutest pink bag with a cleaning cloth to boot.  Kendra and her business partner, Kristin, are really fun to work with and can create anything you could want!  Their prices are good and I was able to find several combinations that would have worked for my budget.  Check below to see the necklace I had made for my daughter for Christmas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mini-Emergency Fund Update

It's looking like we are going to be able to reach our goal of $1000 by 12/31.

Our fund total is: $654.25! We've given ourselves two months to come up with this.

Most of the Christmas presents are bought (although there's a bit left in the present envelope) and we have some carry-over from last month that we'll place into the EF at the end of this month. Still have a few minor things to sell on Craigslist, so we'll see how that goes. I'm pretty encouraged, because that means we can really start attacking our debt.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Club Philly

When my husband and I walked in from going out to dinner the other night, we were welcomed by a sign that our kids had made.  You can't see it very well in the picture, but it says Club Philly in the middle and then on the side it, "Race Well Run."  (It's really wrinkled!)

When they got up in the morning, I asked what it was all about.  Our oldest said they had made a fort and that was the roof.  I was so touched that our kiddos are really getting the message of what we are doing and who we are.  The older ones "get" that getting arid of debt is a big deal right now.  Do they understand all the implications?  Probably not, but their lives will be enhanced by their parents making wise decisions with their money now.  It just feels good to have our kids embrace our motto: "Race Well Run."

Just Telling the Truth...

I suppose a bit of reflection is needed at times. If you know me well, you know that I'm not really in to how something feels. I'm no Spock, mind you, I just tend to press on and try live my life well and honor God. When you are in debt, you have to look at what got you there.

Some of our debt came after losing our daughter, Rose. It was emotional spending. I felt bad that our other two children had to go through losing a sister and have two grieving parents to deal with. That doesn't make for good spending decisions.

Other debt was just looked upon as "good debt". Student loan, home equity, and an airline miles credit card. Well, when you add it up, it gets pretty large. You realize all of a sudden in your mid-thirties that you've had that student loan since you were 21! You really want that hanging around like a best friend? I don't! I hate it. I'm even considering flying to Killeen, TX and taking that last payment in cash (when that day comes) to Sally Mae's offices! Ha! We'd take pictures, make a toast and then fly back home. That will be a joyful day.

What we're doing is not about any journey. That word provokes thoughts of peacefully floating along going wherever to me (or this). We are on an all out attack (I like the analogy of a race well run-it's a Philly family theme that started from the day we met) to trash this debt and leave it in the dust, never to return. We are not simply going from one place to another. There's a plan with goals all along the way.

So, that's it for now. I'm done reflecting and am dealing with the task at hand-finishing the mini emergency fund. Fund total: $519. $481 to go by our goal of 12/31 (which just also happens to be Rose's birthday).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Unforeseen Blessing

Do you feel kind of guilty when you pass by the Salvation Army bucket without giving? I do. Almost all the time I have had nothing to put in it. Until this year. One little unforeseen blessing of using cash only is that I now have change at all times and can give a little to the cause. Of course, I can't wait till the day we are debt-free, have our full emergency fund, etc. and can really give without having to focus on paying off this dumb debt!