Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This thursday, I am thankful we made it through this month.  With all the extra expenses of vehicle repairs, unbudgeted items and school costs, I am just glad we held it all together.  Yup, I had to put off some things I had budgeted, but we covered all the extra things that came up this month, and I still have $16 in my bank account and $20 in cash.  It's not alot, and sometimes the progress feels too slow, but I am not discouraged.  I choose to be glad that we are not in the hole, and $20 more will go into savings!

Window Plastic....Worth It?

Ok, you know the stuff I mean, that plastic window film that you shrink into place with a hair dryer?
I'm considering putting it on some of our windows this year, especially in bedrooms.  I think putting it in the living room would be a waste of time, since the kids would have holes in it before I had it up.  I have never done it myself, and was wondering if anyone knew what the actual energy savings are supposed to be?  I checked the saskenergy website, and they don't give an specifics, just that it saves some energy.

Worth it or not?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cost Break-Down : Bread

Ok, I have to start with a disclaimer.  I set out to find out exactly what it costs me to make bread, but I don't really care if it is less than store bought.  I love homemade bread so much!  The aroma of it cooking in the kitchen is such a warm and welcoming smell!!

I figured out the cost of my most used recipe, which I got from a book called the 250 Best Canadian Bread Machine Baking Recipes  . I use the Sally Lunn Bread recipe from page 25 as my go-to white bread recipe.

for a two pound loaf: Use sweet cycle.
1 1/4 cup milk ($0.31)
1 egg ($0.16)
1 1/4 tsp salt ( works out so low, its less than a fraction of a penny)
1/4 cup sugar ($0.07)
3 Tbsp margerine ($0.32)
3 1/2 cups flour ($0.30)
3/4 tsp bread machine yeast ($0.16)

Which adds up to $1.33

I don't really know which bread to compare it to though.  A loaf of bread at the store is $1.67, but that's a sandwhich bread, and this one is more for with a meal.  It is half the size of the store loaf, but four times as dense.  Store bought loaves definetly toast better, and probably make better sandwiches, although we don't eat many of them.  When we want to make bush pies, we definetly buy bread.

The cost difference isn't as much as I thought it would be, so I guess when I'm busy and behind on the baking, I will just give myself a break and buy the odd loaf or two.  This is kind of an expensive recipe, having milk and eggs in it.  I might try findig the cost of a few other bread machine recipes, and see if I can find a cheaper one.

Do you have a go to home made recipe?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Family Time VS. Overtime

Yes, our goal is to get out of debt, but at what cost?  This weekend, we bumped into this dilemma …family time or overtime?

My husband was offered the opportunity to work this weekend, one he was supposed to have off, and earn some overtime.  Of course we need the money.  Next month we have some serious budget busters on the way.  Shawn needs winter work boots, and if you’ve ever shopped for steel toe, steel plate, chemical proof winter boots that are good to minus 50, you know that they aren’t cheap.  Of course, Christmas is also on the way.

But it’s not easy for me to lose out on having him home.  My love language is time.  If you wanna show me you love me, spend time with me.  Just hang out, be here and part of whatever is going on.  Plus we’re all tired and have head colds.  I’d just like to have him around.

I have considered working a part time job to help our family budget, but because Of Shawn’s job responsibilities, it’s impossible to work around his job, and paying a babysitter would negate the idea all together.  I have tried selling things from home, but it’s just not my strong suit.  Besides, then I would have more time away from my kids, and I think being with them is just more important. But, I can choose to sacrifice some of my time with Shawn so he can work.  So as much as I don’t like it, I am grateful that he is able and willing to work overtime.

This weekend, we compromised. During the fall, all of his weekends off are spent hunting, so we’ve been lacking some family time already.  Shawn stayed home Saturday, and is only working the one day, Sunday.  We spent the day puttering in the yard, getting it tidied up, which is something I love to do.  Then we watched some shows with the kids, popped popcorn and snuggled on the couch….A great weekend!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Life Without PRINT

My printer is dead.

I honestly didn't think I used it very much, and would never have guessed I would even miss it.  My husband had a clue how much I used it, but apparently I did not.  I'm so used to it being there, that I never thought about how much I relied on it.  A new recipe I'd like to try? Print off a copy.  Crochet pattern? Print off a copy.  Kids want a season or holiday specific colouring page? Print one off!  Hubby makes a map of a huting area? Print it off!  Wanna spell check something? Print it off and read it with fresh eyes.  Make a personalized present with an iron-on transfer? Print it off!  I have so many specialty papers for different projects, iron-ons, stickers, cardstock...all for a printer I never appreciated until now.

It's not coming back to life : my youngest warped the tracks the cartridges travel on.  Even turning on the printer sends my computer into a tizzy requiring a total re-boot.  I can't eat a printer ( althought the mental image of me eating an ink cartridge with ink running down my chin IS funny) so I am not buying a new one.  How do I live without a printer?  Ok, I admit, I have mooched off friends to get them to print the odd thing  for me.  And if the item was needed for the school or church, I brought it to them on a flash drive and got them to print it themselves.  As for the rest?  I guess I can write out recipes on a scrap paper instead or photocopy or print things at the library. 

Friday, October 22, 2010


I have finally started this week applying some of my brain power to the kid's halloween costumes.

Both of my daughters chose items from the dress up clothes.  One will be Snow White, and the other will dress up like a "little house on the prairie" girl, complete with bonnet! ( I wore it as a kid, can't wait to see it on her!)

My son's took a bit more planning, he is determined to be a bat!  I found a neat idea off the net about making wings from an old umbrella.  My husband spotted a huge table umbrella in the garbage and grabbed it.  I'm going to cut it in quarters, dye it black and use two of them for the wings. 

And last week, the freebie at the grocery store, for a purchase over a certain amount, was halloween choclate bars, so I'm all set!

Looking foward to halloween!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thankful Thursday- No More Atmosphere-ick Pressure

This week I am focusing on how the atmosphere in our house is changing.  We're not as stressed over all, because we know where are money is going, and where it went.  We know that we have all the bills for the month covered and a plan for the Christmas.  Our whole home feels less pressured, I think we're all more relaxed.  We are on a family adventure together, and I'm sure that one day it will be a great tale to tell.
I'm working on some more ideas for having a great home atmosphere that I heard from the ladies in my on-line Bible study, called " A Fresh Brewed Life".  Today, I had instrumental music playing, instead of the kids stuff I often listen to.  I found that music without words feels less busy.  Today I even lit a candle for a bit ( with three kids, this is hard to do!) !

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Laundry Soap Update (with recipe)

Ok, I get alot of questions about the laundry soap, so I thought I could answer a bunch of them here, and share the recipe in case you were interested.

Yes, it cleans awesome!  It even got the chemical smell out of our hot tub bathing suits, which no other cleaner has done.

No, it does not bother any of the people with sensitive skin/eczema in our family.

Yes, it is SUPER easy and fast to make, and I will definetly be doing this as an on going thing.

drum roll is the recipe:
I got this from the Duggar's book: 20 and Counting!

1 bar of soap. ( apparently you can use any soap that doesn't have lots of extra moisturizers, like dove would.  I used a sunlight laundry soap bar, found in the laundry isle.  I like the slight lemony scent, but you could use any soap you like the smell of.  I found that the sunlight left no trace of scent at all once the clothes were washed.)
1 cup washing soda  (found in the laundry isle as well, and no you can't just use baking soda, the pH is a bit different, and it's important)
1/2cup borax  (Also in the laundry isle, basically a water softener)

Grate the soap into a saucepan.  Cover with water, and cook over med-low heat until it's all disolved. 
While soap is cooking, add washing soda and borax to a 5 gallon pail.  Pour in the hot melted soap and swish it all around until well mixed.  Fill bucket with hot tap water, seal the lid up well and let sit overnight.

Their directions say to mix this 50/50 with water when you put it into smaller containers to use daily ( I used a container from my old laundry soap), then use 1/3 cup for front load washers, or 1 cup for top loading machines.  The mixture is a pearly gel.  I found that I don't need to dilute it for my machine, I just use even less.  make sure to mix up the bucket as you take some out to use, and maybe shake your daily use container before you use it for a load.  I find that without all the chemical additives in commercial soaps, the ingredients seperate a bit.

Also, I put some of the undiluted soap in a squitry bottle, and use it as a stain treater, instead of buying expensive ones.

There are lots of similar recipes out there on the net, and even some dry detergent ones too, wh not give one a try?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Free Glasses!!

This week, I saw a friend of mine mention a free pair of glasses give away on Facebook.  I was all over that in seconds!  Apparently was giving away 10 000 pairs of glasses! 

My husband has been needing glasses for a long time, and wearing his contacts all day was making his eyes very sore.  But he needs a high prescription, and in the past the cheapest we could find his lenses was $500!  His insurance coverage barely covers 6 months worth of contacts, so new glasses were just not in our budget.  He's been wearing his prescription sunglasses around the house at night! ( and yes, I did often sing "I wear my sunglasses at night" to him hee hee hee...)

I made him take a coffee break from work, run to the optometrist and get his prescription printed out.  He raced home, and we picked out a pair we both liked.  I ended up having to pay $50 for the upgrade to the lenses he needs.  What a steal!!

Ok, so by the time you read this, the sale will be over, but has amazing deals all the time, you just need to have a copy of your prescription.  They even have a virtual mirror where you can "try on" glasses on your picture.  Really cool!  Complete glasses start at $38 and this includes scratch resistant coating and anti-glare too!  Check it out, and tell me what you think!!

More Stubbling Blocks!!!

Remember last month, when I made a list of things that kept tripping us up so we could get better at avoiding them?  Well this month, we already have a whole new set!!

The first thing seems to all come from school.  Two hot lunches in one month, book orders and fundraising requests, and I only have one kid in school!  I guess I am just going to have to start a budget catagory for random school stuff and plan on $20 a month.

The second thing was shoes for my son.  I swear they fit him two weeks ago!! But he's been wearing his crocs since it was so warm out lately.  This morning when he went to put his runners on, he could barely cram his feet into them!  Yes, this is something I thought he wouldn't need, haha!  So off to walmart today to find him something.

The good news, we're still on trak to finish the month without going any further into just required some shuffling!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kid's Activities

This week I was discussing with a friend which activities her kids were trying out this year : hockey, boxing, music lessons, skating... and I admit it, I was a bit jealous (except maybe about the hockey, I would not want to spend that much time at a rink!).

I have always been a person who believes that kids should not be in more than one activity at a time, a philosophy my husband and I discussed before we even had kids.  We both grew up in the country, and our parents were not going to drive to town everyday.  Besides, with each of the three kids in my husband's family being in one activity, it was already lots of trips into town.

Plus, I totally understimated the cost of kids activities before we actually had kids.  Soccer must be about 40 bucks, right? Um, where we live its more like $150, plus equipment.  Lacrosse and skating are about the same.  Not sure how much baseball is.  My daughter's ballet last year was $37 a month for ten months, plus a $60 costume, $20 registration fees, and pictures and a video of recital.  My son wanted to look into Scouts Canada's Beavers program.  It's $160, plus uniform.  It's basically a great playgroup with crafts and activities, but none of the badges, skills and outdoor education that we would want.  So I guess it's not for our family.  With three kids, the cost of activities gets prohibative pretty quick!

I want my kids to get to try things they are interested in, to develop skills.  Sports and activites teach so much more that you might think.  Ballet taught my daughter about being part of a group, following directions, listening to the beat of the music, and more.  Plus she looked really sweet in her fluffy white tutu!  We decided not to put her in ballet this year, since we can't really afford it.  Besides, she can always take more ballet lessons in a year or so.  Tiny tot ballet is not exactly critical.  My kids are all pretty young still, how early do they really need to be enrolled in stuff?

I'm also a homebody, and don't want to be away every evening of the week.  I believe firmly in the value of large quatities of time spent just being together as a family.  Plus, with three kids, its hard to find windows of time to participate.  I'm still scheduling around naps and an early bedtime.

So why, if that's what I believe, is this hard for me?  I think partly, because we can't afford it.  It doesn't always feel like this is what we are doing because we want to, but because we have to.  Also, I worry that my kids won't get the opportunities others will.  I know my son, who is in school, often mentions all the neat things some of his classmates get to do.

My kids have seven grandparents and six great-grandparents (seriously), so we've asked them to consider this year, as a Christmas gift, paying for an activity instead of another toy.  But, lots of activities start in the fall, and my kid's birthdays all fall after Christmas too.  I suppose they will just have to pick a spring sport, or a summer camp at one of the many awesome local bible camps.

I'm still looking for great low or no cost kids activities.  Our library has a great book club program, but, in my opinion, it runs at dumb times.  One is mid-afternoon, which is nap time for my youngest, and the other is 7:30, which is bed time at my house.

So for now, I guess I will wait and keep looking.  Do you have a limit on number of activities or days you will be away from home? When do your kids start activities?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reflecting on "Merge and Purge"

Last night, I hosted the merge and purge party I had mentioned earlier.  A bunch of ladies came over to my house toting large bags of clothes they no longer liked/fit/wore, as well as some goodies.  Once we were all here, we started pulling out all the clothes and showing them to the other ladies.  Some of us were sure that no one would have anything that would fit us because we were bigger/shorter/taller than others..but everyone found some awesome stuff anyway!

At first, everyone seemed appologetic, explaining why they didn't wear it, or feeling bad that they hadn't brought as much to get rid of as others did.  After a few minutes, everyone started to laugh together and relax.  Clothes were piled up and tossed around.  Ladies were changing in every bedroom, bathroom and corner of my house. 

The atmosphere was so fun! We started encouraging one another  "common, try it on!" and " That colour is really great!" and "look how awesome that fits you!".  Several of the ladies are really trendy and awesome at creating outfits, and they were giving suggestions as to what to wear an item with : "That would look great with those boots you have!".  By the end of the night, we had all laughed so hard, and been lifted up by our friends.  Some outfits were tried on by everyone...even a pink tube top from...well you can guess when it was from !

At the end of the night, we boxed up everything that was left and sent it to a local community room to be used by others who would need it.  Then we broke out the goodies and laughed some more.  And finally, we all changed into our swimsuits and laughed some more in the hot tub.  I said good night to the last guests at 1:30am. 

This was such a great experience, I feel like I got a new wardrobe, and it was really fun to encourage one another.  Now, when we see each other, out at church or visiting each other, we can say "nice sweater" with a wink and a smile and remember who much fun it all was!

Thanks Girls!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

Ahhhhh.  This week I have alot I am thankful for, but it requires some explanation....

Friday night we set out for Kindersley, where I was looking forward to visiting my Aunt and Uncle, my cousin, his wife and their son.  Shawn planned to spend the weekend hunting.  While passing through Saskatoon, at almost 9 pm, we had to brake VERY hard to avoid feeding the car in front of us their back bumper.  With a fully loaded van and trailer, we almost didn't make the stop.  Just outside of Saskatoon, near the potash mine, I made Shawn pull over because the smell of smoke was very thick in our vehicle.  It turns out the emergency stop broke the cylinder that engages the brake, and locked it up.  The brakes were glowing red hot, and smoking.  The van could go no more.

Sitting on the side of the road, with three kids and the dog, we could have gotten upset, but instead we took a moment and evaluated what to do.  Some of our very good friends were at their parent's house near Outlook.  We were able to call them and they had a vehicle with enough seats to come and get all of us by 10 pm.  We ended up crashing at their parents house on thanksgiving weekend, when they already had 6 other guests and were trying to get their harvesting done! Shawn was able to limp the van into another friend's house in Saskatoon the next day, order the brake parts and fix it himself.  Saturday night he was able to get out and hunt afterall, and downed a 300 pound mule deer buck.

Sunday, though my cousins were planning on leaving in the morning, they decided to stay until after noon and we were able to visit with them for a bit after finally making it to Kindersley.  Then we enjoyed a wonderful Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with my aunt and uncle, helping them in a few small ways with their last day of harvest.  My kids played in Grandpa's grain bins and ate uncooked wheat to their hearts content ( they love that!).  I was able to show them the farm I visited so often as a kid and the forts I helped build.

So, after the weekend I have a huge list of thing I feel thankful for!

I am thankful we didn't hit the car.
That we stopped when we did, and nothing had totally broken yet
For good friends who will help us even in the middle of the night, move their kids out of bed and come and get us, and that they had used the vehicle they did this weekend.
For the friend's house we were able to use when they weren't home, and the unknown to us renter of their house who helped Shawn with the brakes.
That Shawn could get the parts, and knows how to fix this himself.
That because of this money makeover we had some savings and didnt have to panic about how to pay for the parts.
For the parents who welcomed us and loved us on Thanksgiving and Harvest.
For the deer that will feed our family.
For the eventual safe trip.
For the cousin's extended stay.
For my Aunt and Uncle who spoiled us.
That I was able to see the harvest off my dad's land this year, his last since he is selling it.
That my kids could see the farm, and play with so much freedom.

That none of these things was a surprise to God, who knew all about it and had all the help we could ever need lined up for us.  God is Great!!

oh, and one more thing...for those of you would would get this, on the way home we passed Jim Shockey with a big non typical white tail buck in the back....brought an extra smile to our faces.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cost Break-Down : Hot Chocolate

Mmmmmmmm.  I LOVE hot chocolate.  Our family buys those super tubs, and I make it for the kids when it's cool out, or when we just want to sit together and enjoy some family time.  One night we were visiting Shawn's aunt and she made us the most delicious cup of hot chocolate I had ever had.  I asked her what kind it was, and she laughed.  "I just whipped it up" she said.  I asked for the recipe and she just chuckled more and said " I don't know, some cocoa, some sugar, and mix it all up with hot water".  I hate people who cook like that, because you can never get a recipe, but on the other hand, I cook like that! Haha!

So began my search for a great homemade recipe.  There are lots out there on the net, some include snooty imported chocolate from somewhere I've never heard of, and some insist on "dutch process" but I dont even know what that is!  I tried a few different ratios, when I decided that simple is usually best.  1 part sugar, 1 part cocoa.  Perfect!!  My kids thought it was more chocolatey than the mixed stuff and if you dont like it that sweet, you can always cut back on the sugar.  I always mix my hot chocolate in steaming hot water to disolve everything, but I only fill the cup 2/3 full.  When everything is mixed well, I fill the rest of the cup with milk.  Its perfect drinking temperature and its nice and creamy.  Even better if you have some cream in the house you need to use up.

Ok, not only do I like it better, I feel better about using it.  I read the ingredients on the side of the store bought stuff, and the list is so long, it blows my mind.  And it includes fillers, preservatives and things I can't even pronounce.  Cocoa, which is essentially the main ingredient, is almost at the bottom of the list.  There is more hydrogenated vegetable oils in the mix than cocoa (!!!!!).  Don't let me get going on how terrible hydrogenated fats are for you!!  So, after reading the list, I didn't really care if it was cheaper, I'll be drinking homemade from now on!

But being the math geek that I am, I still had to figure out the cost.

500g container of store bought is usually about $5.

To make the same amount of homemade, I ended up with less actual weight ( the difference must be in those fillers, yuck!)

300g of sugar ( 1 1/4 cups) costs $0.39
100g of cocoa(1 1/4 cups) cost $1.00

you could add 1/2 c of powdered milk if you want, which would add a few more cents, but I like adding the milk when I make it.

yup, thats $1.39 instead of $5, and 100g less fillers and junk you don't wanna eat anyway!

Make Do

Make do with what you've got...its an expression that is alot easier for me to swallow than "do without".  I'm pretty inventive, and I enjoy the challenge to my creativity.

I've been finding lots of new uses for things around my house, and new recipes too.

One night, for some reason, I found myself reading the side of the Penaten bum cream. "Good for excema.." Hmm, really? Why not, if its soothing to diaper rash, it will be soothing on my dry chapped hands, right?  I tried it out and I love it!  Then, I was looking up ideas for a home made facial mask, since I am out of the one I love, and I can't afford any more of it right now.  Guess what I stumbled across?  Zinc Oxide creams are great for acne, skin redness and facial masks. Really?  So, I admit, rubbing bum cream on my face seemed wierd at first thought, but why not?  I LOVE it!  I put it on right before bed, and either rub it right in, or rinse it off before I go to sleep.  Wow! My skin feels so great!  And I've always got diaper cream around!

One night, I found myself needing to make my son's lunch for school.  I have no bread.  I cannot make bread because I have no yeast.  I found a depression era recipe that raises bread with baking powder, of which I had just enough.  After feeling so proud of myself, I laughed when my husband just looked at me and said " mean like bannock?".  Of course, I hadn't thought of just making bannock, or biscuits for that matter, but I did find a new recipe I like!

I miss my central vac, truely I do, but I can't afford to fix the motor right now, so I am making due with the upright I have.  I am thankful that atleast I have the upright!

What creative uses for everyday products have you found?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I am so thankful for all my friends who are helping me with this journey.  Sharing ideas and tips, planning this blog, supporting us in tough choices, encouraging us and just being along side us.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meal Planning

Recently, I've become a huge fan of meal planning.  No more wandering around with no idea what to cook at 5 pm!  I make a list, take out what I will need and make that meal for supper.  I try to plan almost two weeks at a time, because with three kids in tow, I don't want to grocery shop more often than that.  But you know what? For the first little while, it actually cost me more money....huh?

I realize what my problem was.  If I sat down to plan a meal, it was a bit more elaborate that it might have otherwise been.  I didn't plan on deer sausage ( freezer's full of it) mashed potatoes and carrotts with harvard sauce.  That's a meal I would throw together with no plan! Buuuuut, I would plan more meals with ingredients and sides I had to go out and buy.

Another reason it fell flat was that I was only planning on supper.  With three young kids, I actually make atleast 6 meals a day ( Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, supper and bedtime snack).  So I didn't always have things on hand for lunches, or good healthy snack foods.  At 11:45, I'd be faced with no useful items in the fridge and a husband on his way home for his lunch break.  I also failed to buy different, more lunch kit friendly items.  With a son now in school full days every day, I need different items.  Sometimes I would buy more fruit than we could eat before it spoiled, and sometimes we'd be out three days later.  Do you count how many pieces of fruit you'll need to eat in a week?

One week, I actually sat down and wrote out what we would eat every single meal of the day...but that was alot of work and planning.  Besides, just because it says yogurt in the snack colomn today does not mean that my 18 month old wants that today.  So I can't be that regimented either!

I'm learning on the go now, trying to plan most meals for a two week period.  Trying to buy a few snack items each trip, and a few lunch items for days when we don't have left overs.  I need to make sure we have lunch kit worthy items, like sandwhich meat and fruits.  I try to leave a few dollars left over from that pay period for those items I invariably forget, and the top ups on things we run out of, like milk.  I wing whatever spaces are left with what's in the freezer and cupboard, and I'm trying to simplify our meals more often.

Some resosurces I love are all the Sandi Richard cookbooks, complete with weekely menus and shopping lists.  I also like .  She posts new meal plans everyweek, with shopping lists.  She has them all categorized, and you can choose all kinds of meals, including ones on a budget.  You can follow eat at home on facebook too.

How do you meal plan?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Learning to Budget

Ahhh, its the beggining of a new month, so its time to sit down and come up with a budget and spending plan for the month.

I am not a natural budgeter.  We've tried so many times in the past to stick to a budget, but I always ended up spending whatever, and then hoping the numbers would somehow match up at the end of the month.  Since starting our money make-over, we are trying to stick to Dave Ramsey's system.  We sit down together at the beggining of the month and plan a whole month at a time.  We start with my husband's  lowest possible expected income ( it fluctuates ) and start deducting in order of priority.  I can always go back and adjust his income on our spreadsheet if he ends up with more pay than we expected...which also adds to the bottom line in the nifty spread sheet I made.  We pay the minimums on everything, and divide up whats left among the more flexible catagories, like groceries or gas.  Then we take those amounts out in cash, put them in seperated spots and spend only that.  I have to figure out how to live on that amount, not figure out how to make the amount I wanted to spend fit into the budget.  Whatever is left goes to the emergency savings fund, until we reach $1000 ( Dave Ramsey's suggested number).  When we have an emergency fund, we'll start hammering away at debts.

This plan also means we have to sit together and evaluate what things will or may come up this month.  For example, this is hunting month at our house, so we need to figure in the cost of tags, ammo, and the added fuel bills.  If there is a birthday in the month, we need to plan on the amount we can spare for a gift..and stick to it!  If someone needs to renew their drivers, or it's school photo month, it all has to go into the month long plan.  Then Dave Ramsey's rule is...if its not in the plan, and its not a major emergency ( think water heater exploding, or engine lighting on fire in your only vehicle) you do not pay it.  Many things that might come up can wait until the next month's planning session.  If an emergency does genuinely come up, a mid month re-meeting is called with your spouse ( if you have one) to decide how you will cover that bill (take it from the emergency fund etc).  Well, that is the plan anyway!

This is our third month trying to stick to this, and we have not been perfect, but thanks to God, we are making progress!  In the first couple months, we realized that there were a few items that seemed to trip us up, because we forgot to check if we needed them.  First was dog food, oops, sorry pooch but I can't let you go hungry!  We also forgot to check if we had enough toilet paper to get through the month...I can't eat it, but that was definetly an exception!!  The first month we forgot to plan on enough laundry soap, but now with a 10 gallon pail in the laundry room, I don't think we have to worry about that one anymore!  I also didn't leave wiggle room for things like my son's school mate having a birthday and inviting him ( which I might add was dumb of me since they have been friends for three years, and I knew when this little guy's birthday was!).  I'm learning, and each month, we add to our list of things to double check, and hopefully, we won't make the same mistakes again!

Do you have some things that seem to get left off your plan?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Free is out there!

I've been recieving so many good tips on free stuff from some of my friends.  One that I have already followed up on is a printing site.

There are tons of things you can have printed for free, and you only have to pay the shipping.  I took a look at what this week's free specials were, and tried to see how I could make use of them.  Personal note cards were on sale, and I know my kids love to write letters, so I got them each some personalized with images they would like. I  made personalized stationary for my son's teacher. Canvas totes were on sale, picked up one of those for free too.  Note pads, sticky notes, pens...the list was huge!!

In all, I ordered $90 worth of product, at no charge, and I had to pay just $20 shipping.  Check it out for yourself!!

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