We Got to See Dave Ramsey Live!!!!

 Faith, family, finances, Frugality, girls, Growth  Comments Off on We Got to See Dave Ramsey Live!!!!
Oct 242013
 

Let me start by apologizing for the length of this post. I thought the background information was necessary and didn’t want to split it up into multiple posts for this one. I started out trying to write a review of the Legacy Journey Live event, and ended up spilling my heart out instead. You are warned! There will be more posts coming up on the theme of Legacy and what we are leaving for our children and children’s children. Not just materially, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Be watching for it in the next month!

 

A year and a half ago, HubbaHubba and I were blessed to have been able to take Financial Peace University at our church. Let me start .by saying, if you have never taken FPU, get yourself to Dave Ramsey’s Website and look up a local class and commit to joining before you read any further

 

Ok, you are now registered for a class? Good. You may now continue reading.

 

FPU was a massive game changer for us. Knowing what the Bible says about debt is one thing, finding practical ways to implement it in our consumer driven excess of a society is a lot harder.  We both came from homes where money was just not really talked about. In my family, if my sister or I asked financial questions, we were always told it was none of our business and not to worry about it. My mom would worry about money a lot. Dad was more of a free spirit and didn’t worry about credit card balances or having money in the checking account at all, so mom took control financially of everything. And I mean everything. She paid all of the bills, did all the shopping and no one had any say in anything at all. Asking if we could buy something she deemed as an extra was always met with derision, scorn and then shaming. No matter what it was we asked for (something more fashionable to wear, a better pair of sneakers than what she had decided we could get, flowers for the dining room table, a different brand of ketchup than what she decided was acceptable…) was always shot down. Wanting something new and especially for ourselves was a sign of greed and selfishness and not being grateful for what we had. Going out with friends rarely happened, especially if it involved money.  I learned from her that wanting anything for myself was tantamount to a sin. To this day, I can hardly spend any money on myself. Just ask my poor husband about me spending what I felt was a rather large amount of birthday money on myself last year (it was hardly over fifty dollars…).  I’m surprised he was able to be so understanding and kind to me while I vacillated for two hours with hitting purchase on my cart at Amazon….then after I clicked the mouse to purchase that cart load of books I had been dying to read and the Firefly series, I about had a panic attack. Why he didn’t commit me over that, I’ll never know.

It probably didn’t help that my dad really has never been too great when it came to managing finances.  If he saw something he wanted, he would buy it. One time, he had no cash and my sister and I did (we were given a small allowance as children, but we were never allowed to spend it. We would sneak it to Wal-Mart in a purse and pretend we could spend it secretly in our heads) and Dad saw something he wanted to purchase. Knowing mom would have had a conniption if he used any of the family’s money for such an item, he asked to borrow the cash my sister and I had on us. Having had the “obey your parents” thing drilled into us so much, we had learned not to question and went ahead and let him have our money. He promised to pay us back. It’s been twenty five years. Dad was also unemployed most of my high school career, which also added to the stress and strain at home. One time, he was laid off from his job for several weeks before I accidentally found out. If my parents had had their way, I probably never would have known about that particular layoff (I was a senior in high school at the time).

So you see, I don’t deal well with money. When I was single, I would earn my paycheck, shove it in the bank and pay my bills and go as cheap as I could on groceries. I also had a habit of having jobs that didn’t pay very well. I thought that was normal. I thought it was normal to have just enough to get by but barely, because I wasn’t worth having enough money.  I never bought myself new clothes. Having to replace my shoes caused me to freak out so I always bought the cheapest off the clearance rack, no matter how they really fit or if I liked them. The day I broke down and bought myself a cell phone nearly caused me to have a panic attack and was met with derision from my family, as they believed they were a fad and unnecessary.

FPU showed me how messed up my thinking towards finances was. I knew there had to be a better way to live than how we were (through a series of events we had been living paycheck to paycheck well under the poverty line for our family for most of our marriage. That is another story for another day perhaps. One of God’s provision for sure).  I had to confront the way I personally thought about money, how it made me feel, and realize for myself that I can spend a bit of cash on myself and I don’t have to feel guilty over it. I am a work in progress.  Sometimes I can handle having money, other times I still freak out over buying groceries and paying the utility bills.

So, it was with great excitement when I opened my email back in April to find that Dave Ramsey was going to be in Tulsa on October 10. After confirming with my husband that he would get the time off work so we could go, I purchased the tickets.  Dave was coming to Tulsa as a part of the launch of the new Legacy Journey.

The evening far exceeded any expectations I may have had (it was informative, engaging, the Live Events are FUN [never thought I could say fun and financial in the same sentence…] We laughed, learned, got misty eyed and it was incredible. If you ever get a chance to attend a live event, do so. I really don’t think you would regret going.). The theme of legacy fit in beautifully with the theme of my life in recent years. The last year and a half after FPU and the realizations it brought me in how I relate personally to money, showed me about how I react to these things and how our children are learning by my example. They see me when I start to have issues buying groceries so they get scared we don’t have enough money to live on. They see when I have some spending money for myself how stressed out I get and how it affect s my relationship with them. I don’t want to leave that sort of a legacy for my children. While the Legacy Journey is about building a financial legacy to pass on to others (taking care of now, the future, the family and then others and how each stage builds upon the last ones), one that is full of blessing and sharing of financial blessings, it is much more than that. One can have ample money, yet if they constantly worry about it, hate spending it on anything and let the worry of it not being there control them and their behavior and leave a bitter legacy behind them. I grew up in a financially disadvantaged family, but worse than the legacy of being constantly broke, is the legacy of financial fear and shame.  I do not wish to pass that legacy on to my children. If I had to choose between giving my children millions of dollars to manage at the end of my life, or being assured that they had a good attitude about money and didn’t let it bring them worry and shame, I would chose to give them the legacy of peace and freedom instead of the dollars.

Leaving a legacy is so much more than leaving earthly possessions behind when we finally are done with this life. Yes, being able to be a blessing to others financially is an incredible legacy to leave. One I sure wouldn’t mind being able to give. However, if I have the ability to give away money and help out tons of people and not try to help their hearts, what good have I done? What good will it be to give my children a solid financial standing in life if I also pass on my phobias about money? What good is it to have money if it brings you fear? I would not be a good steward of the legacy I am passing on to my children if I instill in them a fear of spending money, of being terrified to use money at all. What kind of a legacy filled with burden is that? It is one I have to live with daily and fight constantly in an attempt to find the proper balance with money in my life. It is a legacy I have no desire to pass on to my children.

The Legacy Journey series/study itself looks phenomenal (I hope to be able to get it on the class schedule at church in the very near future. If not there, we will be getting the series ourselves. It wasn’t in the budget to get at the live event unfortunately). Attending the live event lit a fire under us for sure to finish with the steps in FPU and be more disciplined with how we spend the money entrusted to us.  We don’t have a car payment, no credit cards. The only debt left is a bit of my student loans and the mortgage. We live on less than the average household in this country, but it is more than we were living on before. And way more than what the majority of world’s population lives on. We have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, and can’t wait to be able to be a blessing to others in ways yet to be seen.  And through this journey of changing the legacy I was given, I have learned so much. I have learned I don’t have to be a slave to the legacy of guilt and shame that has been given to me.  I don’t have to pass the same legacy down to the Bugs and the Beans. In fact, it would be wrong of me to do. So, even though the journey to a better legacy is painful, it is less than the pain of knowing that I am passing on what was passed to me; to the girls. The tastes of freedom that I have had on this journey are sweet, and knowing what life should be like for not only the girls, but for myself will keep spurring me on towards freedom.

So I shall continue on in learning the appropriate place for money, to not let myself feel guilt for spending it on things that are necessary for life, and I will work on not getting stressed over having mad money of my own to spend for myself and on myself. This is just part of my Legacy Journey. I have a lot of other areas to work on to leave a better legacy for my children than the one I was given.

What sort of a financial legacy are leaving to your children?   For that matter, have you given any thought to the kind of overall legacy you are leaving behind?

Apr 152013
 

I use a lot of vinegar for cleaning in my home. I find it does just as good of a job if not better than the chemical cocktail cleaners you buy at the store, and it is so much cheaper. Add in the fact that it doesn’t aggrevate my migraines or cause other allergic reactions in my family, it is a great deal for us health-wise too.

However, I really don’t like the smell of regular vinegar. My husband doesn’t either. In fact, he absolutely can’t stand the smell of vinegar. Which, is mainly my fault. You see, when we were in college, we got into a prank war….I left an open bowl of sauerkraut in his closed up car in the late spring for about three days…Granted, I didn’t think he wouldn’t go anywhere for that long and that it would have been found well before then…But to say that he wasn’t impressed is an understatement (and he still married me, believe it or not. And before you jump on my case for something so “mean” let me say, he did some pretty good ones too).

While I can tolerate the scent of vinegar (and I know that it normally doesn’t take too long to dissipate), I did find myself wishing for something that would have a better scent to it. I read somewhere online (couldn’t tell you where) that you can take orange peels and put them in a bottle, dump vinegar on them and let it soak and you get orange scented vinegar. I decided to try it, and low and behold, it worked. I just added orange peels as my girls ate oranges (mainly cuties, a few tangerines got in too) and let it sit for about three weeks. I left the peels in and just pour some of the vinegar out when I am needing to clean.

It works like a charm. The vinegar combined with the orange leaves a nicer scent behind. It helps to clean beautifully too, plus I get the purported benefits of the orange oils that have seeped out of the peels. You can look and find articles online about how good orange oils are for you and for cleaning.

If orange doesn’t work for you, you could try lemon or even lime peels (or why not a combo for a fun citrus scent so you can at least pretend you are in the tropics). And I have mixed up a spray bottle of half vinegar and water plus about fifteen drops of a thieves/germ fighter essential oil blend and added some peppermint essential oil to it to make it smell a bit better. That stuff cleans very well too, especially in the bathroom.

I think if my lavender takes off this year (I’m sprouting some, we’ll see how they grow) I may make some lavender infused vinegar for cleaning later and perhaps even mix in some eucalyptus oil or tea tree or rosemary with it. The possibilities are near endless with this project. I may like it even more than when I made my own homemade enzyme cleaner!

Customer Service

 Frugality  Comments Off on Customer Service
Nov 132012
 

Which company do you think will get my business again?

Business A) is having a sale on an item I was needing to replace. On a Wednesday I go and attempt to place my order. Everything is fine until I hit the checkout page where my order is not processed and I’m told to try again. After two attempts, I try an alternate payment method and it was still rejected. Knowing full well that there was money there to order, I email the company and ask if there is something wrong with their order processing.

I get an email back the next day saying that there was nothing wrong at all with their order processing page and to go ahead and finish placing my order. I had a better coupon code for twenty percent off my purchase and free shipping so I went ahead and tried again. It worked and I was ok with the ordeal. On Friday, a massive e-mail came out from the company saying that they were sorry but apparently their order processing system wasn’t working on Wednesday and here was a code for thirty percent off your order, good for Friday only and not good on past orders. I then waited over a week for the item to ship when the website said that what I ordered is always shipped within 48 hours.

Business B) was running a special on some reference books. I decide to order to finish off my collection of their reference books at half their normal price. I order the following Wednesday mid-morning. I get an email an hour later saying my order had shipped. They arrived two days later. Each book is neatly wrapped in brown paper and tied pretty a pretty twine bow. I was not expecting my order to ship that quickly with such a sale going on so I knew they had to have been busy.

So, which company do you think that I shall do business again?

Please companies, if you are reading this, I hope you realize that the level of your customer service matters. You customers notice the little things that you do that may seem like a waste of time or is trivial. Please, consider how a great customer service experience will bring back existing customers and will bring in new ones when the word gets out. It is a simple matter of marketing if you want to succeed. Which I am sure you do.

Happy Thursday

 Crazy Life, family, Frugality, Gardening  Comments Off on Happy Thursday
Sep 202012
 

I can’t believe we are nearly through week week 4 of our second six week cycle of school already! Where has the time gone?

I also can’t believe that a week from this coming Saturday, the Bugs is going to be six! How did that happen so fast? We just brought her home from the hospital!!!!

We were gifted with a dehydrator a while back and I have used it for the first time this past week too. My first foray into dehydrating was chili peppers. We now have our own chili powder. It took way less time to dehydrate them than I thought. And yes, I knew to do it outdoors as opposed to potentially pepper gassing ourselves in the house. Right now I’m dehydrating some peppermint. The house is starting to smell minty. Later today I’m also going to dry up some oregano, basil and sage. I also need to get a loaf of bread in the bread machine. And then I should get ready to throw supper in the crockpot. We’re having beef stroganoff tonight.

Well, I should get the girls started on school. I delayed the start today as I’m waiting for the tech from our internet service provider to come check out why our connection is so wonky. I wasn’t wanting to interrupt school for when he arrived, but I don’t want to delay it any longer.

Hope you have had a good week!

Jul 072012
 

I hadn’t know of the Garden Challenge until I saw it on Twitter tonight. If I had, believe me, this was my first year gardening and I would have joined in (probably…If this gardening adventure had turned into a total failure, I’m not sure I want the public embarrassment of having to admit it).

Our first cherry tomatoes, still green, tiny little ones.

We planted two four by four raised beds this year. In one I have five tomato plants (a cherry tomato, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Arkansas Traveler and Pink Brandywine) along with a host of hot banana peppers and two peppers that lost their tags before I got them planted thanks to the Bugs’ attempt at trying to be helpful (they are either Tabasco or jalapeno). In the other plot, we have a red sweet bell, green sweet bell, Thai hot pepper, Serrano and then the other remaining Tabasco or jalapeno and watermelon and cantaloupe. We have basil and oregano growing in a pot on the back porch and attempted to grow lettuce in an old wash tub, however, it has been way too hot and they stopped growing after they sprouted. We also tried some sunflowers, but I directly planted them into the ground and the squirrels found them.

Our first Serrano pepper. It was nearly 8 inches long!

It got really hot here the last few weeks so that the tomatoes refused to set blooms except for the cherry tomato (we got our first five off that this past week. The eldest and I stood out there and ate them right off the vines, they were so yummy). Our hot peppers are extremely happy though. We’ve harvested close to twenty Serranos off the one plant and it has even more buds! HubbaHubba has used them in omelets, hamburgers and made three jars of pickled hot peppers. He is extremely proud of his pickled peppers. I am proud of the fact that he pickled them mainly on his own with his intense aversion to the smell of vinegar. All three of the jars sealed up and we are waiting for them to be good and pickled before we start to eat them. I can’t wait to try them as all the pickled peppers at the store contain sulfites, of which I am very allergic to.

3 jelly jars of pickled hot banana and Serrano peppers

We can’t wait until the tomatoes start to ripen (the like six we have) to make some homemade salsa. And tomorrow (Sunday July 8) we are harvesting a lot of the basil to make some homemade pesto sauce for our wedding anniversary. We both love pesto, but hate the extreme price of it. Our local Aldi had pine nuts as a special buy this week at an extremely reasonable price so I grabbed some. We’re both looking forward to celebrating a wonderful 7 years together and what I pray is many more until we’re both old and gray.

The girls have loved watching the garden grow. Every time a new pepper is formed or a cherry tomato is ripened, they come running into the house yelling “It’s a miracle Mom!!!!! Come and see!!!!” I love their excitement in watching the plants that they helped plant grow and produce wonderful food for us to eat. This ties in so nicely as we are going to do botany this next school year (which starts for us on Monday, too hot to do much else, may as well get ahead). They are living what they will be studying in science this year. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.