Showing posts from 2011

Money Monday: Give Like No One Else

It's Monday again...and it's the last Monday of my series about my journey through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.
If you've been reading these in sequence from week to week, you might recall that I mentioned in last week's post that I would be combining the last two lessons in this post since I had missed (and then made up) a session two weeks ago entitled, Real Estate and Mortgages: Keeping the American Dream from Becoming a Nightmare.
However, after last night's amazing lesson, I decided that I want to end the series with it -- and it alone. So, if you are interested in what Ramsey has to say about real estate (and there is some good info there), you can find it on his websiteradio show, or when you take his class for yourself.
I hope that doesn't disappoint anyone, but since I'm the master of this domain (literally and figuratively), I figure that I can make that executive decision.
So....the last lesson, The Great Misunderstanding: Unl…

Rediscovering Christmas

It's only a few days away from Christmas, and I desperately need Jesus.

Being out there in the great hustle bustle of shopping madness and hurry scurry of busyness has made me a bit melancholy -- because the prevailing sentiment I sense from those around me is one of lackluster fatigue and a "let's just hurry up and get this over with" mentality.

People are rushing around with lists and check marks, with payday loans and credit card transactions, with gritted teeth and a grin and bear it frame of mind.
A Christian friend of mine recently admitted to "hating Christmas." Taken aback, I asked her what she meant by that. She explained how this is her least favorite holiday of the year because of all the trappings and pressure to buy, do, and be. 
I understood....but my heart was heavy.
I understand how those without Christ can go crazy into materialism and the glitz of "the holiday." I can even overlook and forgive the sanitizing of Christmas into &q…

Money Monday: Getting Creative

So, if you follow my Money Monday posts, you might have noticed that last Monday, I went AWOL. I went out of town over the weekend (and yes, I made up the FPU video I missed), and brought back the stomach flu. It took me (and select members of the family) until Friday to feel normal. So, I figured I would give myself a free pass and then make next week's post a double-header with last night's class and then the final session of this course.

My awesome news for this week...although my FREE coffee streak came to an end (I'm not complaining because that 6 or so weeks of constant freebies was awesome!), I hit a new one! Somehow I started on a streak of getting free offers at the bottom or store receipts for completing surveys. In one week I received either free items or a $ off discount to:

- Starbucks - free tall beverage
- Old Navy - save 15%
- Panda Express - free entree (I ended up with 4 of these total due to how the week went)
- Baja Fresh - save 15%

And yes, I ate out …

The Power of the Apology

This past weekend, I ran in what was my fifth half-marathon event and eighth race since I started running a few years back. One of those half-marathons was Nike Women's Challenge in San Francisco -- a large venue of 25,000 runners (mostly women) -- and the largest I had run until...

...the Las Vegas Rock 'n' Roll Marathon & Half on Sunday night. read that right...Sunday night. It was my first ever night run (awesome concept!) down and back the Las Vegas strip.

It was my first-ever terrible race experience.

I won't go into all the gory details (I feel like I have been reliving and rehashing it all in my head and seeing other people do the same on the race Facebook page), but here's a short list of some things that made for a crazy race experience and unsafe post-race conditions.
Overcrowding on the course with 40,000 half-marathon participants in the wrong start corrals and a street that was not big enough to handle the participants. Later down the cou…

Frugal Christmas Gift Tags

I think I've established that I'm a Frugalista.

I'm always looking for ways to save money and to keep from spending our hard-earned dollars on things we don't need....or can make/use from items we already have or own.

Last year, I noted that I was going to use up the last of my gift tag stickers and that I would need to purchase more. However, since it was my soon-to-be New Year's resolution to try to be more frugal and use things we already had around the house, I tried to think of ways to avoid spending money on new gift tags.

I thought about making them...much like the one in the photo above. I have friends who hand-make tags from their own card stock, pens and printer ink, but that's too much time, forethought and still requires money spent on supplies for me at this point in my life. Plus, I plain just like the items of reclaiming items that are pretty much destined for the trash/recycle bin.

So, last year as I gathered up the bundle of Christmas cards we…

The God of Soap & Starbucks

I have been a Jesus-follower since the tender age of seven. It was then that I finally understood the story of the Cross and His death and Resurrection and what that meant for me -- of course in my 7-year-old way.

However, it was real, nonetheless.

I remember finally "getting" how much He loved me (and the world....but ME!!). I marveled at the Bible stories of the miraculous. Need some money to pay your taxes? No problem...throw out your line and reel in a fish that just happens to have a gold coin in its mouth. About to starve and watch your son do the same? Simply be obedient and use the last of your oil and flour to make a meal for a visiting prophet and voila...never-ending bread buffet!

As a child, believing these stories as gospel wasn't a leap at all. Children are predisposed to believe in wonder and to not let things like "logistics" or "relativity" or "gravity" shake that belief.

But as adults, we tend to put on our "reality g…

Easy Instant Pancakes

Pinterest has struck again! I know that it's easy to get sucked into browsing and repinning -- only to realize an hour has gone by.

However, tonight I redeemed some of that time.

I actually put one of the pins into practice.

Tonight was a rough dinner night. My plans to roast a lovely pork tenderloin in the oven fell apart when I realized that my intention to clean the oven earlier in the day was never fulfilled. I had an oven full of sprayed on oven cleaner and no amount of scrubbing and wiping down could make it stop smelling like chemical.

Opting not to subject my family to chemi-loin, I went to my clutch dinner option -- pancakes!

While I was whipping up a batch of from scratch pancake batter (courtesy of my friend, Deborah), I realized -- "hey, since I'm taking the time to make this stuff from scratch, I should utilize the time and make a DOUBLE batch for breakfast this week."

And I knew I could not only do that, but store it in a convenient and easy way due to…

Money Monday: The Power of Cash

This week was another tough one for us as we continue to adjust to the zero based budget idea and how close that takes us to the wire every month --and this is not necessarily bad since funds are allocated to savings, etc, but can still cause the "more month than money" phenomenon if you are not on top of things.

Our house was plagued with the stomach flu last week (causing us to miss out on, sniffle) and we let things slide. I've come to realize that in order to keep our budget from breaking, I have to be vigilant about checking our bank balance and envelope balance on Inzolo.

Well, due to the above circumstances (and a little bit of laziness), I didn't check things enough. We didn't get into much trouble (and it was easily corrected), but still...I was bummed out that I let it get out of hand (which goes to show you just how quickly that it can happen). I'm glad that it wasn't a "painful lesson" like it was a few months bac…

Money Monday: Prepare to Win

Happy Monday All!

I trust you're having a great week.

This week has been interesting, with some highs and some lows. First the highs...

Last week, I shared about being given a Kohl's $10 off card in addition to $20 another person gave me to use with that card.

This week, I went shopping with my mom to use her 20% off savings pass to see if I could find a sweater (like the person who gave me the $ suggested) and to see if I could perhaps find some new jeans -- my favorite pair were on their last leg...literally.

I'm pleased to say that between a great sale, a clearance rack, the 20% off coupon, the $10 off card and a credit that my mom had on a gift card from the store, I was able to get a pair of jeans and a very cute sweater for $16!!!! I paid with the $20 I was given and then gave the rest to my mom to go towards the credit she "donated" to the cause.

Now...I'm a bargain shopper, but even that kind of a deal boggles my mind.

Couple that with more Starbucks…

Run Your Race

A few days ago, I ran in what was my sixth official race...and the fourth time that I have done this particular local event here in my hometown.

This year, however, was the first time that I did not run the half-marathon event. Instead, I ran the two-person relay with my friend, Gina. This was due to a variety of reasons including an injury (mine), not loving the current course, gearing up for another half mara in a few weeks in Vegas, etc. But, none of these reasons could keep us from participating in the race in some way and the relay was the best of both worlds.

Yet...somehow it felt a bit like cheating -- knowing we have done the the full 13.1 before, but chose this time to halve that distance. However, as relay participants, we got all the swag associated with the event, got to share the road with thousands of other runners -- some competitive, some walkers, and even some friends and family. It was too good to pass up.

So, once again, a group of us were out there excited, cold a…

Money Monday: Changing Your Perspective

So, yes, it's Monday once again (funny how they keep coming around every seven days) and I have another opportunity to share what's been happening on the financial front.

As per usual, we are daily living in a state of grace and dependence upon God to meet our needs and help us deal with not getting some of the "wants."

Last week, I mentioned about how tough it was for me to buy that $29.99 Target sweater/shrug -- even with a coupon. However, this last week when I wore it to our weekly morning Bible study, I got a ton of compliments and someone brought up how I had blogged about it and so I shared the story.

Later on in in the morning, one of the ladies there gave me a $10 off Kohl's card to use towards the purchase of $10 or more. She said she wanted me to use it to buy something I needed. I was so touched by her gift because really, it was like handing me $10! I put it on the table next to my stuff and didn't think about it until after the lesson was over …