Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Food and Fitness Plan [5/31]

Good morning!

It has been a while, eh? Friday morning no blog post was happening because Ina was awake at 6 am and in the mood to play in the kitchen. So, instead of pretending that the dirty dishes were full of “oatmeal” I decided we should bake some blueberry muffins. 


Morning hair don’t care. I love that she loves helping me in the kitchen and I hope that never changes. 

Friday night we made pizza using fresh oregano and basil from our garden and it was amazing. It is ridiculous how happy fresh herbs make me.

Saturday we worked and played and then had our friends Brad and Chessa and their son Silo over for dinner. We made chicken tikka masala.



The only work I did was make the chicken marinade.


The dads and the kids cooked while the moms talked and worked hard growing babies. Chessa is due a few weeks after me!


It worked out well. 


This week is going to be an intense work week for Dan, so I am planning to stick with some tried and true casseroles and easy dishes. Here is the plan: 

  • Sunday: shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw
  • Monday: Texas Hash with steamed broccoli 
  • Tuesday: roasted chicken with veggies
  • Wednesday: grilled steak, baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli
  • Thursday: leftovers
  • Friday: sour cream noodle bake with salad
  • Saturday: out to eat/something social
What are you up to? Have a great week! <3

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Good morning! I don’t have the brain capacity for full sentences, but today I am thankful for:

-iced coffee

-yoga pants

-my new spot


-a freshly mowed lawn

-eggs (and their versatility) for dinner

-my cleaning team


-flowers


-letter sound learning

-goodbye waves


-the ability to work from home

-not-uncomfortably tight compression stockings

-Jesus and His grace.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Our Budget: The Breakdown

Hello! Since Dan and I have become debt free, a few people have asked me exactly how we did it. So, I thought I would write a few posts about our budget and how we make our money work for us. 


The first step to creating and executing a budget is to determine what income you make per time period (week, two weeks, month, etc.) and then break it down by how you want to spend it. We make our budget a month at a time, which really seems to work for us. 

The task of determining all of your expenses in a month can be daunting at first and after doing this for a few years Dan and I still get surprised by certain expenses that seem to pop up out of nowhere (I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime membership fee). However, by now, we have a pretty solid foundation to work with and our budget runs like a well oiled (spreadsheet driven) machine.

Enough with the words, let’s get to the numbers:

Fixed expenses- not changing from month to month:
  • Tithing - 10% of income
  • House payment - 23% of income
  • Rental house payment: with the rental income minus random expenses, we come decently close to breaking even
  • Gym membership: $53
  • Auto Insurance: $125
  • Life Insurance: $20
  • Cell phone bill: $175
  • Satellite bill: $158
  • Internet bill: $47
Non-negotiable expenses - bills we have to pay but vary from month to month
  • Electricity: $60 to $450
  • Gas: $30 to $150
  • Water: $50 to $100
  • Child care: $300 to $500 (this is about to double, which I am so happy about!)
  • House cleaning: $200
I keep a spreadsheet from the year before that lists our bills by month, so I know what our electricity bill will be in July (re: freaking expensive)

Negotiable expenses - although these mostly don’t change from month to month, they can if we need them to to put more into savings
  • Groceries: $600
  • Blow money (no questions asked on how we spend it): $75 to $100 each
  • Toiletries (includes diapers): $50
  • Restaurants: $200
  • Gas for the cars: $300
  • Alcohol $60
Rotating Expenses- expenses we know are coming up but might not necessarily be in the current month. If we don’t spend the money in that month, it goes into a “fund” savings account for the coming months. I keep a spreadsheet to breakdown how much money has accumulated in each fund. More on that later.
  • Home expenses: $100 to $200
  • Gifts: $200 to $300
  • Timeshare maintenance fees and vacation: $200
  • Car expenses (oil changes, repair fees, personal property tax): $100
  • Trash bill (for some reason we are only billed a few times a year): $20 
  • Work expenses (Dan’s tools, my licensing fee, etc.): $40
  • Rental house expenses: $100
  • Clothing: $60
  • Medical: $100
Misc: ?
Most of the time this category doesn’t have anything in it, but if I know an extra expense is coming up, like decorating the nursery, I create a one time category for that month. The important part about this is that I account for that expense in the beginning of the month, not the middle or the end. 

Savings- ~20% of income.  This number varies largely from month to month, (it used to be the extra debt payment category) but when I start the budget each month I have a number in mind as a goal, and really try to stick to it. If I don’t do this, somehow the vacation, clothing, and restaurant funds tend to grow. Weird how that happens, huh?

A few notes:
  • We strive for a zero dollar budget, which means that every single dollar we earn gets assigned to one of the above categories. At first this was kind of stressful, because it meant our checking account went very close to empty at the end of the month. So, at the beginning of the year, I decided that we would budget money from the income we made from the month before. This took a little getting used to, and obviously took some moola out of our savings to jump a month ahead, but was great in that it provided us with a month’s buffer. 
  • We obviously don’t live as frugally as possible. Our grocery fund is generous (if you shop at Aldi), we enjoy satellite TV, nights eating at restaurants, occasional vacations, and pay to have our house cleaned twice a month. These are things we have decided we want to splurge on, but could and would immediately stop if needed. 
  • Before we had a budget, I never felt like we could “afford” to pay for things like fixing something on the house or our personal property taxes at the end of the year. This was because I had no idea where our money was going. Now, I know EXACTLY where our money goes and expect to pay for those types of things. 
  • This is just the first step, the next is to track the expenses that come out throughout the month. 
Stay tuned next week for Our Budget: The How. I can’t wait to share all of my spreadsheet excitement with you. 


Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

What are the Rich People Doing?

My uncle has some pretty good sayings, One of my absolute favorites is when we are having a happy day or moment, he will lean back and say, “This is great. I wonder what the rich people are doing."

In other words, if I had all the money in the world, I would still be trying to do exactly what I am doing right now. 

Yesterday was one of the days, where that question kept popping in my head. We hadn’t had a family day in a long time and it was just perfect.

It started out with making pancakes (<---I will forever be in debt to my friend Chessa for sending me that recipe.) Then we went to my parents’ house to move an obnoxiously large TV into our not so large living room.

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(This was Ina showing me where she was going to ride on the way back to our house.)

Then we just happened to drive by our friends Aubrey and Eric’s parent’s house as they were walking outside with a box of balloons for a gender reveal. Not only did we find out they were having another girl (YAY!), we were able to stay for lunch - cheeseburgers (double YAY!).

We left there and drove 15 minutes to Longview Lake Marina. When Ina saw where we were going, she started bouncing in her carseat, yelling thank you’s, and squealing. 

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We fed fish and gave them water because apparently they didn’t have enough.

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We talked to ducks.

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We walked to the boat ramp and “swam."

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We did not ride in a boat, much to Ina’s dismay. “Hey, you! Don’t leave!” We want to ride with you!” and “Mom, go stand by them. Maybe they will let us borrow the boat."

We took the long way home and looked at houses and talked about the future.

We rested but did not nap, because apparently splashing and kicking for an hour does not make 2 year olds tired.

Dan made breakfast for dinner and then we set up our new-to-us TV with minimal arguing. 

We did nothing and everything and it was great. 

I wonder what the rich people did yesterday?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Gone Fishing + My Weekly Meal Plan

Well hello there and Happy Sunday!

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It doesn’t really feel like Sunday to me because tomorrow is a holiday, and a rare one in that Dan and I both have it off work and we have absolutely no plans. Of course that means I am trying to make about 10 different plans in my head.

Should we go to the zoo? Work on the yard? Visit the pool? We will probably do none of those things and instead have our booties on the couch most of the day because I can’t really stand longer than 5 minutes without wanting to cry. However, there is a surprising amount of yard work that can be done sitting down.

The couch is where Dan and I spent Friday night, catching up on some DVR’d TV, watching the Royals game, and severely missing Ina. It had only been 24 hours and we were ready to get in the car and drive 3 hours to bring her home.

Saturday, after I worked in the morning, Ina and I were finally reunited. Then we drove to my grandparents’ farm to get down to business and catch some fish.

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Ina was very proud of her pink “handy fishing rob.”  After we caught 5 fish in the first few minutes the kids got bored until we told them it was a contest.

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Then, every time Ina caught a fish she would yell, “I beat Hallaway.” 

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She’s not competitive at all. 

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We ended up taking the fish we caught to their “new home,” a new pond my dad dug a few years ago. The kids really loved that concept. Then Ina told me she wanted a new home.

I chose not to listen.

Here is our meal plan for the week. It is getting pretty lazy, I suppose better than going out to eat for every meal.

  • Sunday: out to eat for my niece’s birthday
  • Monday: Dan is making breakfast for dinner. Yum. 
  • Tuesday: shrimp tacos with cabbage slaw
  • Wednesday: one pot pasta with broccoli
  • Thursday: Kima Curry with brown rice and roasted broccoli
  • Friday: Dan to grill 
  • Saturday: out to eat or something social

Have a great and safe holiday tomorrow!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Weekends Past

Good morning and Happy Memorial Weekend Friday! Ina is spending some time with her grandparents because I have an early morning meeting today. Last night they sent me this picture of the strawberry pies they made. 

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I told Ina she needed to share with her sister and save Baby Gary a piece. 

Speaking of babies and sisters, my good friend Liz had her beautiful baby girl yesterday! Her name is Paisley and she did nothing but sleep and squeak in my arms for the good part of an hour when I went to visit her. 

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I told Ina that Sadie (Liz’s older daughter) has a new baby sister named Paisley, so of course now she keeps saying that her baby sister is named Paisley too. Of course it is.

Any big plans for this holiday weekend?

Last year we went canoeing.

 The year before that we went camping.

 The year before that we went to the lake (I was 10 weeks pregnant with Ina).

 The year before that we went to Napa Valley and took pictures with random dogs.

 This year we are doing absolutely nothing. Dan has to work, so Ina and I are going to relax and spend some quality time together.

Whatever your weekend holds, I hope you stay safe and have a great one! <3

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Hey hey!

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(Ina and Dan “hiding” from me in the “pallet” they like to build out of 20 blankets every night.)

I hope your Thursday is going well so far. Mine is going great, and as always there are so many things to be thankful for!

I am thankful for the ladies in my small group who threw us pregnant ladies a “sprinkle.” We ate really good food, opened the cutest gifts, and enjoyed the luxury of chatting without wrangling in our children.

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Tiaras and all, it was a lovely evening.

I am thankful that Kim was able to watch Ina during the 20 minute overlap that I would be gone and Dan was on his way home from work.

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Not only did she watch Ina, she brought over ice cream cake. 

No, you can’t have her.

I am thankful for sharpies and their ability to cover the toddler induced bleach marks on my favorite (re: only) maternity maxi skirt. 

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Maxi skirts and dresses are going to be even more valuable to me in the next 8 weeks because yesterday my midwife took one look at my lovely varicose veins and told me I needed to start wearing compression on my right leg. As if having a huge belly and a waddle wasn’t attractive enough, now I get to add a nylon stocking to my look.

But seriously, other than that, my mid-wife said my pregnancy is going perfectly and all my numbers are spot on. So, of course, for that I am super thankful. 

I am thankful for Dan’s newly acquired meat smoking abilities - on a grill no less!

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Yesterday he smoked chicken breast stuffed with swiss cheese and ham, served with broccoli and potato, I could eat that every night of my life. 

I hope you have a wonderful day! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Decreasing that Morning Stress

Good morning!

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About a month ago, Ina was going through a tough phase in the morning. Everything was a fight from the second she woke up to the second I walked out the door at Danielle’s house. She didn’t want to get dressed. She wanted to hold the milk while I poured it. She didn’t need to go potty. Um, well, maybe she did...

I chalked most of it up to her being a toddler until one day Dan was off work and getting her ready to go somewhere and everything was going smoothly. Ina put her clothes on with little argument. She agreed to what he packed her for breakfast. She went potty when he told her to. That night I asked him what he did differently than me. What he told me stung at first, but then I listened.

He said, “Racheal, you are always so stressed when you leave the house. When you are stressed, it makes everyone around you stressed. I think Ina feels that stress and it makes her in a bad mood."

Stressed? I didn’t think I was particularly stressed in the morning. However, once I started thinking about all the things I try to accomplish before leaving the house, I realized that I needed to calm it down.

Here is my mental checklist in the morning:

  • Make coffee (always first)
  • Read bible and pray
  • Write blog
  • Check email
  • Balance budget (yes, I do this daily and am slightly obsessed)
  • Clean up the kitchen/start dishwasher
  • Do a load of laundry
  • Pack my lunch and breakfast
  • Pack Ina's breakfast
  • Get myself ready (this is actually pretty minimal these days)
  • Get Ina ready (sometimes her hair is combed)
  • Prep what I can for dinner
  • Call into a meeting a work (and remember to put my phone on mute so my co-workers don’t hear my singing Itsy Bitsy Spider)
  • Get Ina’s bag packed with extra clothes, blankie, and milk cup
  • Get Ina in her carseat in a good mood

No wonder I feel stressed! Sometimes I only have an hour and a half to do all of that. So, I started to change things up a bit.

I almost always pack Ina’s bag and my lunch the night before, along with making sure the dishes are done and the kitchen is clean. We lay out our clothes before we go to bed. Sometimes my blog post doesn’t get written that day. Sometimes I read my bible and pray during lunch. Sometimes Ina doesn’t have a spare change of clothes in her bag. 

Also, more importantly, I now make it a point to spend at least 10 minutes with Ina cuddling or reading books when she wakes up before I have her start getting ready. It really calms me down in the morning and I think it helps her ease into the start of her day.

These changes resulted in a huge change in Ina’s morning. She still insists on doing some things herself and although sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, we aren’t arguing over every single thing. 

How about you? Any tips on getting out of the house without pulling all of your hair out? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Things Ina Says: 2.5 years

I was driving her to daycare one morning, (silently) thinking about the next time I needed to pay Danielle.

Ina: Momma, give it to Danielle

Me: What honey?

Ina: Momma, you need to give the money to Danielle

Me: Creepy

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In the shower, watching the water drain off her hair, “Momma, my hair is peeing!"

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We were playing puzzles and Ina looks up at me and somberly says, "Momma, I don’t want you to get killed."

I looked at Dan and told him we needed to get my life insurance squared away. Also, i blame Disney.

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Me: Ina, why are you in a bad mood?

Ina: I’m not in a mad mood, YOU are in a bad mood!

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When Dan’s parents came over one day, after five minutes of them being in the house.

Mom, when are these people going to leave?

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One morning we were discussing how God made people to look different. Different colors, shapes, sizes, etc. 

Me: See - God made you with blue eyes and blonde hair and me with brown eyes and brown hair.

Ina: Aw, your eyes and your hair match! Brown! And you have brown teeth!

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While playing outside, she noticed some neighbor kids were playing in their back yard, not acknowledging us in any way, she yells, 

Hey! We don’t want to play with you!

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Dan: Racheal, can you hand me the R-E-M-O-T-E?

Ina: No Momma, I want it!

Me: What do you want?

Ina: The L-M-N-O-P!

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Danielle: Good morning Ina, how are you?

Ina: I’m still grumpy

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Me: Ina, did you just toot? It stinks!

Ina: My toots and Daddy’s toots don’t stink. Momma’s toots stink.

Me: Excuse me! Who told you that?

Ina: Aumlette! (giggling)…..He can’t talk. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Meal Planning [5/17]

Good morning and Happy Sunday!

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I hope your weekend is going fantastically so far. Our’s has been lovely.

We met some friends for dinner at a new-to-us Mexican restaurant close to home, which was amazing, on Friday night. 

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Saturday we relaxed, did some yard work, and then headed out to Kauffman stadium to watch our favorite boys in blue play. Today is chalk full of stuff too - I love weekends!

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Here is my plan for the week. Dan works over Memorial weekend - whomp, whomp, but that isn’t going to stop us from enjoying some type of activity on Monday, which he has off. 

  • Sunday: small group - someone else is making dinner
  • Monday: chicken fried brown rice with steamed cabbage
  • Tuesday: leftovers - the ladies in my small group are having a “sprinkle” for those of us who are pregnant-we almost outnumber the non-pregnant ones
  • Wednesday: Dan’s smoked chicken with roasted green beans and sweet potato fries
  • Thursday: slow cooker chicken with almond butter sauce with carrots and green beans and quinoa
  • Friday: leftovers or out to eat
  • Saturday: some to celebrate Memorial weekend. 

Have a great week! <3

Friday, May 15, 2015

Warby Parker Glasses (Help?)

Good morning and Happy Friday!

Whew, last night was a rough one for me and Ina. She kept on whining/moaning “Momma, Momma” every few minutes until 2 am. I tried to coax her into telling me what was wrong or taking some ibuprofen, but she wasn’t having any of it. On top of my new cold and the finagling it takes to make my growing belly/back comfortable, let’s just say I am very thankful for my cup of coffee this morning.

On to something more positive. Have you heard of Warby Parker?

It is an online based glasses company that offers affordable options ($100 for frames + lenses). An added benefit is that they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need every time you purchase a pair. They also have excellent customer service that has helped to give me the information I need to submit a claim to my insurance company to get the $100 back. 

The glasses I wear now are WB and I bought them when I was pregnant with Ina and they are still going strong. Dan also recently ordered a pair from here and love them. 

So how do you buy glasses from a web-based company? It is pretty simple, actually. You go to their website, pick out 5 pairs of frames you want to test out, and they send you the frames within a few days. You try the frames on, decide which ones you like (if any) and send them back with their pre-paid packaging. 

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You are not obligated to pay anything if you don’t like their frames, and if you want to try on 5 more you are also more than welcome to - they have a lot of choose from. 

If you find the frames you want, you send them a valid RX, and your new glasses will be mailed to you in a few days!

I wasn’t going to post pictures of myself in the test frames after a long night of no sleep with unkempt hair and no make-up, but then I realized that this is the state I will likely be in whenever I do wear these glasses. So, here you go, we are keeping it real today.

Also, I apologize for my atrocious lack of selfie taking skills.

Bensen in Greystone -meh

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Arthur in green spruce- I love the green color

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Beckett in stripped evergreen - whoa

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Sims in coral - Dan likes these the best. I like the shape, I don’t know about the coral color. It might be a little outside of my comfort zone. Also, I think they look pretty similar to my current glasses.

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Vaughn in Eastern bluebird fade- I really like these because they are different, comfortable to wear (a wider frame), and I love the way the frames are two-toned (brown on the top and blue on the bottom). But, looking at the picture, they kind of make my eyes look small. 

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What do you think? Do you like any of them better than my current pair?

Thanks for the help and have a great weekend!

FYI-Warby Parker doesn’t know who I am or that I have a blog - I just really liked my experiences with them and wanted to spread the good word.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Morning!

Today, I am thankful we are debt free! What I could kick myself for not writing in yesterday’s post was that Dan and I by no means got that way by ourselves. We are incredibly blessed with our support system - both emotional and financial. Our friends supported our decisions to not go out to eat as much and didn’t judge me for never having my hair/nails/eyebrows done. Also, many of the extra luxuries we get to do/have - a sporting event, a trip, even a new outfit for Ina, are funded by our amazing family. This of course made focusing all of our extra money on debt a lot easier. 

I am thankful that Ina doesn’t have a new pet baby opossum. 

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Ina spent the night at her grandparents’ house last night and they sent me this picture saying they found her a new pet. I told them we were going to have to politely decline that gift. Ha!

I sure did miss Ina last night, but I am super thankful for the long, quiet, dark, hot shower I got to take by myself and the fact that I went to bed at 8 and woke up at 7. Whew, apparently I needed to catch up on sleep. 

I am thankful for my Snoogle. I finally figured out how to position it around my belly just right, which also contributed to my 11 hours of sleep.

I am thankful Ina is feeling better. She is still coughing and drippy, but doesn’t have a fever anymore. Woohoo! However, today I woke up with a sore throat. I am telling myself it is just allergies since I don’t have a fever and will eat all the oranges today.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

We're Debt Free!!! (+ Our Story)

Last night I pulled in the driveway, drug Dan out from under a sleeping Ina, and told him we were going to make our last debt payment together. I opened my computer, logged into my car loan website, and Dan and I both clicked the “Pay-off Loan” Button together.

Debt Free

Then I had to click it again by myself, because when two people click on a Mac touch pad it thinks you are right clicking. So, a few more steps later, we were officially (non-mortgage) debt free!

Dan and I high-fived and I asked him how it felt to be debt free. He answered, “a lot like it did to be in debt.” 

Poor guy, I think he was under the illusion that once we didn’t have any debt, we could throw money in the air like crazy people. A few weeks ago I reminded him that becoming debt free is just the beginning of our financial plan for our life. But, I am getting ahead of myself. Before I go into what’s next, let me explain how we got here.

Going into Debt

Growing up, my dad reminded me over and over again that debt was bad. I listened, but in my head I was hearing only credit card debt, and assumed that all other kinds of debt (car, home, student loans) were a necessary evil. Dan was raised in a similar way, financially speaking. So, when we joined our finances (soon after we were engaged), we had a similar plan for our financial future. However, that didn’t stop us from getting and doing what we wanted when we wanted to, as long as we could make the payment that came with it. 

In the 12 years that we have been together, we have borrowed money to pay for the following things:

  • Dan’s second car (a Honda civic)
  • Our first house (half a duplex we still own and still owe money on and rent out)
  • My student loans to get through pharmacy school
  • My engagement ring (I didn’t know this at the time, but would likely have thought it was a great idea)
  • Our first couch in our living room (I am embarrassed just typing that, as the couch now sits dusty and stained in our basement)
  • Dan’s third car (a Buick)
  • Dan’s fourth car (an Explorer)
  • A boat (we sold it last summer)
  • A timeshare (very fun for vacation but not a very smart financial decision)
  • Our current house (the principal+interest, PMI, home owners insurance, and property tax combined are about 25% of our current income)
  • My current car (a GMC Terrain)

I should also say that twice in the early years before we were married Dan applied for a loan and was denied (thank God!) for a motorcycle and a hot tub. I look at this list and I laugh and how silly we used to be and the things that we thought we needed to borrow money for. I can literally see our immaturity and lack of patience in those words. 

But, like most kids do, we grew up. We always paid off our loans early and never missed a payment. So, when we signed up for Financial Peace University when I was pregnant with Ina, I thought we were sitting pretty...

Getting out of Debt

If you want to get out of debt, I cannot recommend Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class enough. (Click here for my full review of the class.) Although Dan and I don’t follow Dave's guidelines exactly, the class made us think and talk about our finances in a way that we never had before. It made us realize the evil that is debt and put us on the fast track to becoming debt free. When we started FPU, we were about $60K in (non-mortgage) debt and the road to paying it off was windy and complicated. A few things that helped us in our success:

-Following a budget. With the exception of a few wild months here and there, we have followed a monthly budget and assigned every earned dollar a job. When we did this, I swear money starting popping up out of thin air. We tried the cash/envelope system which is what Dave Ramsey recommends, and although that taught us how to budget, it didn’t work for us long term. We kept on losing the cash. After trying a few different systems, I now have one that works great for us and plan to share a post focused only on this soon.

-Tithing. I have to be honest and say at first I resisted this hard. How did it make sense to give 10% of our money away when we were trying to pay off debt? My original plan was to start tithing after we were debt free. However, thankfully, Dan intervened and pretty much told me to get over it, we were tithing. Later I learned that really I am not giving away 10% of my money, I am getting to keep 90% of God’s money. God says to test Him in this, and He came through. Literally a week after we made our first “10%” cut to the church, I found out I got a huge bonus at work. I have example after example of this. As one of my friends so lovingly puts it, “you really can’t afford not to tithe."

-Not letting a a set-back bring us down. In the last two and a half years we have had many set-backs, both large and small. We actually make less money now than we did when we started FPU. Dan had his hip replaced, had to take a lighter load at work which translated to a lower income, and then was fired. Thankfully he was able to quickly find a new job that is so much better for him and our family. I can’t say that those set-backs didn’t come with freak-outs and arguments, but we didn’t veer too far off track. We sat down together and looked at the budget and made the necessary adjustments and survived. 

Our Next Step

Dan and I have agreed to follow Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby steps which are: 

  1. Save $1000 for an emergency fund (done before we started)
  2. Become debt free (CHECK!)
  3. Save 3 to 6 months of expenses for emergencies (we have a good start at this already because I wanted an extra padded emergency fund just in case when Baby#2 comes)
  4. Invest 15% of household income in an IRA and pre-tax retirement (401K) (we already invest what our employers match, about 6%)
  5. College funding for children
  6. Pay-off home early
  7. Build wealth and give

So, our next step is to save, save, save. I hope to have a fully funded emergency fund by the end of the year, and then we can max out our IRAs. However, I must admit, our vacation fund is going to start getting a little more love. 

If you are still reading (bless you!), I would love to hear your story. Reading about others’ plans, successes, failures, etc. always helps to motivate me. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Life Insurance

Good morning!

I didn’t know if I was going to get a chance to write today, because I just had my life insurance health assessment. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, a wonderfully nice woman came to my house to measure my stats, collects some fluids, have a cup of coffee, and she was out the door within 30 minutes. 

I am now worth more dead than alive. Monetarily, anyway. You really can’t put a dollar amount on my culinary skills. Ha! (In all seriousness, if you are wanting to know a little more about life insurance, I found this post extremely helpful.)

Pretend there is a good transition here.

Ina is still sick. We took her to the doctor yesterday because it was her 4th day of having a fever and they said she had a cold. I am glad it isn’t anything worse, but sad there is nothing we can do about it. What was once just a fever that could easily be treated with ibuprofen has now transformed into a snotty, coughing, congested mess. It is so sad, she can barely hold her eyes open. Last night was a super long night that included a cough approximately every 26 seconds. Dan has the day off work, so he gets to take care of her today. I am so thankful that she is normally a healthy kid.

Being at work while your kid is sick at home is tough. Yesterday I left this:

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(they wave bye to me every morning that Dan has off work and it takes every once of willpower I have to drive away) and came home to this:

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Dan smoked chicken stuffed with ham and swiss cheese while Ina napped. He has never smoked chicken before, but I am a huge fan. Someone might be getting a smoker for Father’s Day.

OK, I think that is enough randomness.

I hope you have a wonderful day today!  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day

A few things I learned on Mother’s Day:

-Banana oatmeal pancakes taste extra good when there are a few egg shells added.

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-A shower with a toddler and a detachable shower head is less like a day at the spa and more like a nostril irrigation.

-I could not stay in the house any longer, 72 hours was my limit. Also, Sperrys that need to be exchanged, a Gap maternity store credit, and an Ina summer play clothes budget might actually burn a hole in my pocket. 

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-It is OK to take a sick toddler out in the world, as long as you are armed with a stroller that she cannot get out of, hand sanitizer, and the PBS kids app.

-Gap does not open until noon on Sundays, even though all the other stores on the plaza open at 11. 

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-H&M has a kids department that is extremely affordable. We had to get the hat - she touched it.

-I forgot what Gap smells like.

-I can successfully carry a sleeping baby out of the car, into the house, and add a diaper without waking her up.

-I can survive if I don’t tackle my to-do list during nap time and instead watch TV for two hours.

-Leftovers make the perfect Mother’s Day dinner when no one has to cook.

-Even on Mother’s Day, I can’t stay up late enough to watch the Royals win.

-Mother’s Day kind of feels like every other day.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Food (and no fitness) Plan [5/10]

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the ladies out there, mom our not.

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I am so thankful for this little lady who made me a mom and continues to teach me so much daily, including the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I am doing. Don’t tell her that.

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We hosted my family last night to celebrate some of the moms in our lives. We had a full house - 16 people total.

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I cooked some burgers and dogs before everyone showed up and kept them in the warmer.

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Everyone brought sides to help, but a few of my other contributions if you are looking for a recipe today: chopped veggies and hummus, rosemary lemonade, roasted green beans, and dump cake

It turns out i will have lots of time to prep for this week because Ina still has a fever. She acts fine as long as I give her ibuprofen, but I don’t want to go in public and spread her germs to the immunocompromised.

We were absolutely horrible last week about going out to eat. Horrible. What’s even worse is that I have food in my fridge going to waste. But, I have zero motivation to cook and nothing sounds good to eat, so I end up giving in to Dan’s suggestion of stopping by and getting something on his way home from work.

This week has got to be different. We are making a plan and sticking to it.

I hope you have a blessed and healthy week!

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