I promise this is the last time! If you are coming here via my blogger profile, Being Frugal is now located at http://beingfrugal.net/.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday, July 9, 2007
Here on the West Coast school has only been out for a few weeks, but school supplies are going on sale already. I know it's not what you want to think about at the beginning of summer, but you can save big if you take advantage of the bargains now. This morning we hit Walmart and got 25 cent poly folders, 20 cent crayons, 50 cent markers, and 10 cent single subject notebooks. Then we headed to Staples and bought 3 packs of pencils for a penny each and a pack of pens that was free after rebate. Finally we headed off to Office Depot for some 15 cent binder paper and a 99 cent protractor, and we splurged on a ruler for $1.49. I spent $6.01 on school supplies, and I'm almost finished. I think I will easily come out under $10 total this year.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
And how much should you tithe? 10%? Less? Conventional wisdom would lead one to believe that tithing while trying to repay debt is counterproductive to the goal of being debt free. If you put the money you would normally tithe toward debt repayment, you'll be out of debt more quickly, right? Conventional wisdom, however, is not Godly wisdom. The Bible says "'My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord." (Isaiah 55:8) In Malachi 3:10 the Bible says, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it." Test me in this. That's a pretty strong statement. Test me in this. I've taken God up on that challenge many times. When my daughter was born, my husband made less than $20,000 a year, and I was a new stay at home mom. We still tithed. And we never went without anything we needed. Sure, we didn't have a plasma TV or a brand new car. But we had food, shelter, and clothing. And we appreciated it. So yes, I believe that Christians should continue to tithe when they're paying off debts. The Bible commands it, and I would never advise going against God. Beyond that, giving creates a mindset of appreciation. By giving away some of your money, even though things are tight, you become more aware of other people's needs. When trying to climb out of debt, it's all too easy to become completely focused on your own problems. By noticing the needs of other people, you become more thankful for what you have, even if it's not a lot. And God will bless you for continuing to tithe. Here's a true story from my life. When my daughter was 3 years old, I had a roll of film developed. The pictures weren't very good, and I realized my old cheapo camera was dying. I was sad, because we didn't have the money for a good camera, and I wanted to be able to take good pictures of my daughter's growing up years. I remember standing in my kitchen, thinking to myself that I could buy a great camera for $150. I quickly put the thought aside, because there was no way we could afford to spend that much money. I didn't tell anyone about my thoughts. Not even my husband. I didn't want to discourage him. Three days later I went out to check the mail. There was a letter from the church. Curious, I opened the letter. It was a check for.....you guessed it.....$150. We got a new camera and did some much needed work on our old car. God is concerned about the extras in your life. He will bless you richly. Sometimes the blessings will come in life lessons: perseverance, trust in Him, faith. Those are the lessons that come only from hard times, and they're necessary. Other times he will bless you with seemingly frivolous things like unexpected money for a new camera. This is when we learn that God cares about the details in life. If we rely completely on ourselves to provide for ourselves, how will we ever learn to trust God for our provision? I urge you Christians to tithe and then trust God for your provision.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
In Oregon there is, at least for kids. We found out that our local elementary school offers free breakfast and lunch for any children ages 1-18 during the summer. Income doesn't matter. Funding is based on how many children used the service the previous year, so using the program actually helps the school maintain funding. I took my kids down to the school for lunch yesterday. They enjoyed hanging out with the other kids, they got a great lunch, and I didn't have to cook or clean up. Most importantly, it helped me save a bit on my grocery bill. We'll be visiting the school a lot more this summer, I'm sure.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Shannon got his first paycheck at his new job today. It isn't even enough to cover the rent, much less any other expenses. Before everyone panics and thinks we're sinking, we do have reserves, and we did expect this check to be low, even though it's nearly a full pay-period's worth of work. Shannon works in sales, so he gets a base plus commission. While he is training, he just gets the base. Unfortunately the base salary is only about 2/5 of what he was making at his old job. I talked to him today (he's in Utah for job training), and he thinks he can up his income fairly quickly. I believe him. He's pretty good at media sales. We do need to survive until that happens, and I don't want to go through all of our reserves. So, cutting expenses is what we will be doing. Time to triple my efforts.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Shannon is out of town for a couple of weeks on business. My kids are picky eaters, so I'm definitely not cooking if I'm the only one eating. Our diets aren't the healthiest this week. We're eating lots of macaroni and cheese and sandwiches, but my grocery bill was only $60 last week! Yay! We go shopping for another week tomorrow. Hopefully it will be around $60 again. I would be THRILLED!
Monday, June 18, 2007
We received the info about COBRA insurance coverage today. Our insurance from Jim's former employer lapsed on May 31. He should be getting insurance from his new job in 90 days. That leaves us without insurance for 3 months, a daunting thought when you have two young kids. COBRA will cost us over $1000 a month. That will take a serious chunk out of our savings. So should we elect to take the coverage or not? I think we have another month before we have to decide. We'll probably take the entire month to decide. It's a gamble if we don't take it. If we do, we could be spending $3K on money that we could instead use to pay down our debt.
Friday, June 8, 2007
What to do? What to do? After I washed my bathroom rugs last week, it became apparent that the toilet lid cover is in very sad shape. I'm trying to save money, and I don't really want to replace it. If I replace it, I need to get a new rectangular rug and contour rug, as well. The ones I have now are useable, but they're faded, and if I get a new lid cover, it will be obvious that the other rugs are really old. I could just take the lid cover off, but the toilet lid isn't in great shape. One of the downsides of renting. In the past, I would have just headed to Walmart to pick up a new set of rugs. The new me is going to think about this for a couple of days, though. I guess the fact that I'm going to wait before making a decision is progress.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Too often people think there isn't enough time to be frugal in today's society. We rely on convenience items like fast food, ready-made mixes, Shout Color Catcher (so you don't have to take the time to sort laundry)...you get the picture. According to Trent at The Simple Dollar you can be frugal by devoting just 15 minutes a day to frugality. By making small changes, you can reap big rewards in your budget. Trent provides a list of 20 money-saving strategies that take 15 minutes or less to accomplish. Then he challenges his readers to spend 15 minutes a day on frugality for the next 30 days. I'm in! For the next 30 days, I will spend at least 15 minutes a day doing something frugal. I've already done today's task. I made a menu plan and grocery list for the next week. Is anyone with me?
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I think a huge reason behind our debt-laden society is the sense of entitlement people today seem to have. We take out mortgages we can't afford, because our friends have huge houses, and we think we should have one, too. Instead of buying a car we can afford with cash, we take out a loan to buy a brand new car that depreciates as soon as we drive it off the lot. We are constantly competing with those around us, trying to be bigger and better. The solution to America's debt problem is contentment. When we're content with what we have and willing to live within our means, the debt problem goes away. I struggle with contentment as much as the next person. We rent a modest duplex when it seems all our friends have nice houses, and sometimes that is really hard. But I'm comparing myself to the wrong people. The people I should be thinking about are the ones half a world away, who would be overwhelmed with gratitude to have what I have. I really am blessed. My family has a safe place to live, we drive cars that run, and we have enough food and clothing to get by. There are so many people in the world who don't have the very things I take for granted. In Philippians 4:12, Paul writes, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." That is my prayer for myself, to learn to be content, no matter what the circumstance.
Monday, June 4, 2007
I was talking to a friend at church today, and she had a brilliant idea that I'm going to use. She took the summer activity guide from the paper, and wrote ALL the dates of things she might be interested in on the calendar. That way, if she just HAS to get out of the house with the kids, she knows exactly what is going on that day. And since most of the activities in the paper are free or inexpensive, she'll have a whole summer of inexpensive fun listed right on her calendar! I'm definitely going to use her idea. Experience tells me that there will be at least a few days during the summer where the kids are fighting and we just need a change of scenery.
Friday, June 1, 2007
I had to go into town this morning to buy some medication for our goldfish, who is very sick. Sadly, I don't think he's going to make it. But I digress, I decided to do a little window shopping, since it was my last morning out without the kids for the rest of the summer. I went to the mall and wandered into Evangel, our local Christian bookstore. I should know better than that. I don't think it is humanly possible for me to get out of that store without spending money. I was browsing the books for women, when I saw it. The book I've had my eye on for a long time. Disciplines of a Godly Woman. I spent $15.99 on the book, which I could have probably found cheaper elsewhere. On a more positive note, I found a swimsuit for Liz that only cost me $14.99. That was quite the adventure in itself. To read all about it, visit my other blog.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I went grocery shopping this morning. My goal every week is to keep the grocery bill under $100. I'll probably try to trim it in the future, but for now, that is my goal. This morning's trip cost me $79 and some change! I probably have about $10 worth of stuff that I'll need to buy early next week, but that's still well under $100! I also have all my meals planned for this week, thanks to Menus4Moms, so there should be no eating out this week. Hopefully since I've posted that for the whole internet world to see, I won't cave to my desires for fast food!
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I have a problem with eating out. I don't love to cook, and all too often I find it easy to tell my husband to bring home dinner. Tonight I had a serious craving for our local Mexican restaurant, but instead of begging my hubby to pick up dinner, I made Chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, and broccoli. And you know what? It tasted pretty good!
The weather is warmer, the flowers are blooming, the air is crisp, and it is just absolutely beautiful outside! Gas is $3.47 a gallon, our van doesn't get great gas mileage, and we don't have a lot of extra money. These are all great reasons to walk my daughter to school in the morning instead of driving her. That is exactly what we've been doing for the last two weeks. The benefits have been more than financial. On the way to school, I've had some great discussions with Liz about what's going on in her life and what she's thinking. On the way home, I have time to plan my day. I'm getting some great exercise, too! Estimated savings: 20 cents. It doesn't sound like much, but after two weeks, that buys me a gallon of milk. Related Tags: frugal living, saving money, walking
Once upon a time, 9 years or so ago, my husband and I lived a very frugal life. We had just had our first child, and I was a new stay at home mom. My husband worked at our local Christian radio station, and though the work was fulfilling, his paychecks were very small. At the time I became very adept at stretching our money. Over the years, my husband has switched jobs a few times, and our income has gone up considerably. We welcomed our second child into the family, and our expenses increased also. What they say is true. When your income goes up, you find ways to spend it. I became more frivolous in my spending. It was no big deal, because we could afford it. Two and a half weeks ago my husband lost his job. Fortunately he starts another job next week, but the pay is very commission based, and it will take a few months for him to get off the ground. As we have been walking through the trial of unemployment, I have been reflecting on my spending habits. I don't think I've been a very good steward of our resources. I could stand to make some major improvements. In the short term, we need to make our money stretch, so we don't spend up all our savings while we're waiting for Shannon's paychecks to get bigger. In the long term, we just need to be better managers of our money. I would love to see us become debt free in the next year. We're off to a pretty good start. We don't have any car payments, our credit card balance is around $2000, and our student loan is around $7000. I think we can do it, but it will take some discipline. I thought about adding posts about our frugal journey to my other everyday-life blog, but this area is going to take some intense focus, so I decided a dedicated blog would be better. I figure if I write down the steps I'm taking to save money, it will make me think and grow a bit more in the area of frugal living. We'll see where I'm at a year from now. Related Tags: frugal living, saving money
Posted by Lynnae at 5/30/2007 08:01:00 AM