Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Dannielle's Story with Dave

Last week I spent countless days telling you about MONEY.  Sharing with you my personal journey, our married journey, and how we are teaching our kiddos about money.  This week I want to share with you stories from some dear friends of mine.  Friends who have somehow got a hold of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and allowed it to move them in a direction of financial freedom. 

Dannielle and I knew each other from college and blogging has brought us together.  She's been gracious enough to open up and share their story in hopes to inspire you to take charge of those finances!

She shares with you how they are still on their journey and snowballing that debt.  I love her attitude because it doesn't matter how long it takes them, what matter's is that they are getting rid of the debt.  I also have to highlight a key point in her story because I can totally relate.  Once you make a decision to do this, you can guarantee that Murphy will come knocking at your door.  Your car will break down, your cell phone will break, something will go on sale that you've been wanting for years.... Anything and everything to get you off track from the goal.  But if you've decided to take Dave's challenge to get debt free, don't let Murphy beat you up!
Can you spot the two of us in our college graduation picture?

Thanks Dannielle for sharing your story with us!  You can find it HERE

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Teaching Kids About Money

We've made it to PART IV!  If you missed this series you can check out the other posts by clicking on the images below. 
IMG_1977     12528706_10156549384485251_1926199911_o   why

As I have said before, kids are going to learn about money from us one way or another.  As parents we can choose to teach them or hope they will figure it out.  

Creating Opportunities
You don't have to have a set plan to teach kids about saving, spending, and giving.  BUT creating these opportunities will help facilitate the learning.  Kids will come across birthday money, Christmas money, tooth fairy money.  Help them make the decision to set some of it aside to save.  You can also create a checking account for your kids and put money in it every month.  Show them every month how it grows. Give your kiddos your spare change and let them put it in a jar.  Over the years see how those coins turns into dollars.  My dad use to do this with us as kids and I remember cashing those quarters for $100.

When you go to the store, start carrying cash.  Let kids pay for the groceries or their new shoes using cash so they see how much money is actually being spent.  I read this article of a dad taking home his monthly check all in cash.  He sat down his kids to show them and then handed them all the bills.  Dollar per dollar they used the cash to pay off each bill.  There is a lesson those kids wont forget!

There are always opportunities with giving.  Let kids bring part of the family tithe to church to give in the offering.  My aunt took each one of her sons out to buy their brothers a Christmas gift.  They got to have a special day with mom but also experienced the joy of giving.  She told me they were just as excited to see their brothers open the gift as they were about their own.  

There are endless opportunities to teach our kids about money!  Find opportunities or a method that works best for you.  

Chores, Payday, Managing Money
Yesterday I shared that we give an allowance and why we do.  Our approach to teaching the kiddos about money is a little more direct but it is simple.  This is a trial and error system and I am sure it will change as they grow older but for now it works.  If you choose a more direct way, the best system is one that YOU ARE CONSISTENT WITH.  It doesn't matter what it is, but if you aren't consistent with the type of chores, pay day, and managing days then it won't work. Teaching them starts with you and you have to be the first to commit to the system. 

With that said, because she is only five I've kept everything super simple.  I found this great chalkboard chart at Target for three dollars.  At the end of every day I check off what chores she has completed [making her bed, emptying the dishwasher, cleaning toys, laundry, clearing/setting table].  Notice that some of these are contingent on me completing my chores.  Great motivator moms.  She can't put away laundry unless I have it done or empty the dishwasher if I didn't run it. 

Payday for us is twice a month, the 15th and 30th.  She gets a quarter for every chore that she does, which I would say is pretty fair.  If you do quarters, be sure you get $20 worth at the bank.  Then we follow the 1/3 rule.  

She has a wallet for spending, a piggy for saving, and wallet for giving [to the church and chapel at school].
Each Sunday she counts her X's and she get's her quarters.  It's divided up into three equal parts.   That's it!  It's so simple but we've seen her learn some awesome life lessons with this system as you've read in the last post.

The key to making a system like this work is being consistent.  It's doing it with them so they can learn.  I can't wait for her to save her first $100 and start investing it.  Money doesn't grow overnight but it does grow over time.  It is a habit that is developed and it takes discipline.  I share our method with you in hopes to encourage you to start seeing those opportunities and maybe even create a system in your home to teach your kids about money.  

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Why We Give Our Kids an Allowance

You've made it to Part III of this series!  If you missed the first two posts you can find them by clicking on the images below.
IMG_1977     12528706_10156549384485251_1926199911_o

In Total Money Makeover Dave says that taking charge of your finances could change your family tree, it will affect how the next generation that you are raising in your house handles money.  You already read my follies with money and I don't ever want my kids to make those  same mistakes.  If they don't learn about money from us, who is going to teach them?  I don't expect them to figure it out when they are adults and hope it works out. 

We are teaching money by give our kids an allowance [the little man is still too young].  I know what some of you may think.... Why teach them that they are going to get money for doing things that they are already suppose to be doing?  We give an allowance because it is an opportunity for them to learn lessons about money.  To learn habits and disciplines that they will carry into adulthood.  They will learn the importance of working hard, the value of saving, the joy of giving, and the blessing to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  These life lesson are not available for purchase, you can't learn it on a computer screen or in a workbook.  Experiencing these lessons is the best way to learn.  

 I'll share our system of how we do chores and dish out the money in the next post, but I want to tell you the why and the what.  

We have money for three reasons: to give, to save, and to spend.  Each week the little miss divides her earnings into these three categories and she gets to experience for herself how to give, how to save, and how to spend. 

The first pile in the black wallet is for church.  My hubby and I believe in giving God our first 10% and that's what we teach them.  I have not always been the best at giving God the first of my earnings but I'm seeing why it's essential.  Money is a resource that I have and need to live, but God is the source. When I give him the first 10% of my little paycheck it affirms that truth.  I'm putting my trust in him and believing that the money I am giving is not "wasted" or "lost".  When she counts her allowance she sets aside that money to give to God and the older she gets I want her to know this truth.

Her preschool always takes donations for items that others are in need of [diapers, food, toothbrushes].  Instead of me buying these items for her to give, I want her to see that she can buy them!  She has the power to give with the little that she makes.  Taking some of her money to go out and buy these things helps her to see that in this world, people struggle but we have the opportunity to help them!  

The joy of giving doesn't just come from helping the needy.  Her very first allowance I got to see her experience the joy of giving.  It was beautiful.  She earned a little over two dollars and of course she couldn't wait to spend it.  

That day when we went to the gym and she decided that she would buy a chocolate milk and also get one for her brother [proud parent moment].  We didn't tell her to or force her to.  She dumped out all her quarters on the counter and got the milks. She got to experience that feeling.  You all know that feeling you get when you buy something for someone who you love.  Since then she's always thought about her little brother, buying him slurpees and a little trinket at the dollar store.  She even offered to pay for our hot dog lunch at Costco once.  Ha!

Each quarter spent on someone else is an opportunity for her to learn how to give.  

This is really where my parents fell short in teaching us and saving is still something I struggle with. I lack that discipline and self control.  I can't see in the long run.  I refuse to pass this along to my kids.  So through this, we both are learning how to save.  

Each week she saves a third of her earnings.  Each week we have seen it go from a dollar to three and now she has twenty dollars!  It's taken three months but each week she has seen how it's grown.  Imagine the impact it will have for her to save money for the next ten years.  The impact it will have for her at sixteen to see how that one quarter saved over time can turn into thousands.  I want her to have the habit of saving, self control to not spend it all, and the ability to see in the long term.  

She's surprisingly taken to the saving pretty well and has not yet asked to spend any of the money in the piggy bank. One night at the dinner table we asked her what she was going to do with the money in her piggy bank.  Is she saving up for a really big toy?  NOPE.  She told us that she is saving it for her kids.  [Proud parent moment .  She wants to buy them a mini van one day so they can watch TV in the back seat.  Ha!  When we shared that moment at the table it really warmed my heart to know that she can see in the long term.  Little by little she is getting it. 

Saving doesn't come natural, that's why we have that fable about the grasshopper and the ant.  Saving is learned.  Saving is a discipline because you don't get the instant gratification. 

 Each quarter earned is an opportunity for her to learn how to save.  

Now this is probably the favorite for most of us.  Spending!  A third of the allowance goes to spending because God wants us to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  I want her to see that the more chores she does, the more money she can earn.  Feeling lazy?  Well, those quarters will reflect that.  Sounds like adulthood doesn't it?  Laziness doesn't cut it in the real world.  We also want her to see that stuff cost money.  Some things cost a lot of money! 

When she bought those chocolate milks, she learned the cost of stuff because she told me mom, that man took all my money!  Yup, stuff cost money!  Now when we go into the store she understands that we can't just swipe a card and boom it's ours.  We have to work for money and money buys stuff.

Each quarter earned is an opportunity to learn about spending. 

I encourage you to find a way that works for you to teach your kids about money!  

We choose to give our kids an allowance but this isn't the only way.  An allowance for us is the best way right now to show her that in life you have to work and work hard for the things we have.  We want them to know the three purposes that God has given us for money.  That money is not a burden but a blessing when we use it with wisdom.  It's  a resource that we need to live on, but God is our source.  

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

3 Financial Tips to Getting Debt Free

In PART ONE I talked about the possibility of living without debt and told you the beginning of my financial story.  I also shared the link to the reviews of The Total Money Makeover in case you wanted to check them out HERE and HERE. .  


For PART II I want to share with you the three lessons Dave Ramsey has taught me over the years.  These are my three tips that will help you get Debt Free.

1.  Make a choice. Have a plan.  Learn all you can. 
When we first got married my amazing hubby soaked up Dave's plan and made THE CHOICE that this was it.  We both graduated and thanks mostly to me, our finances were in shambles.  I had credit card debt for clothes that were probably at Goodwill, thousands and thousands in student loans for a degree I never ended up using, a loan for our wedding that was over, two car payments and only one of us had a stable job.  Debt was not the best way to start our new lives together. 

I admit that I was NOT on board at first.  It seemed extreme!  We just got married, I wanted to spend money decorating the house and buy new furniture, I needed a new computer because I was starting grad school.  My hubby was persistent because our future was at stake.  Our kids [who were at the moment just a dream], their future was at stake.  I eventually got on board.  I got a $7 an hour job and we did the PLAN.  The Total Money Makeover Plan.  We were going to snowball the debt.  We would sit down every few months with the budget sheets and tell our money where to go instead of wondering where it went.

I finally read the book and took it all in.  I LEARNED all I could.  I read the success stories and dreamed about our success one day.  Dreamed that we would have financial freedom.  I learned about loaning people people, about interest, savings, retirement. We saved, spent, sacrificed, and snowballed.  We started as newlyweds on this journey, it took years, but...

We paid off my past due credit cards, both cars, the wedding, and student loans.  That dream became a reality because we made a choice, had a plan, and learned all we could.
2.  Be Ready to SACRIFICE
If you think the way I use to, you will think this plan is too extreme.  It is extreme, but that's what it takes.  I had to decide every time I wanted to get back into debt for a car, or a trip.  This sacrifice was for something more important.
It took sacrifice.  Don't get me wrong, in Dave's plan you get to have "fun money" but it was budgeted.  That first year we were married, there wasn't enough fun money to buy all new furniture or our first Christmas tree with all the trimmings.  When we moved to Germany we couldn't have it all.  We could either travel or we could buy a new custom BMW.  We spent most of our fun money on travel over the stuff.  

To get to where we are now, we had to make sacrifices.  We had to make a choice, one thing over another.  We didn't have to give up everything.  We still had lots of fun in those early years and enjoyed the fruits of our labor, but I learned then that I can't have it all.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  

We always tell our kids CAN'T is not a word and yet we so easily use it in our own lives.  I remember the first year we were doing "the plan" I was sitting around with co-workers chatting.  I remember them saying it's impossible.  You can't live without having all those payments and loans.

Where there is a will there is a way!  What made me realize that I CAN'T was really just I WON'T was when when we saved up enough money to buy a brand new car in cash.  The dealer looked at our young faces and thought we were crazy.  Who buys a new car in cash when you can finance at such a low interest rate???  It wasn't the BMW, but not having to pay 5 years of interest [about $7,500 extra dollars] on a car makes it worth it.  We got to take it off the lot and it was ours.  That day my faith grew.  That day I knew it is POSSIBLE. 

One day I dream about us owning our own home and I know it will take years to save.  We will probably have to get a 15 year fixed loan for it.  It may not be Pinterest perfect, but it will be ours and we will get to pass it on to our kids.

I tell you my story because I hope is it encourages you to know that YOU can live without a pile of payments.  As Dave says, imagine how much money you could give every month, save every month, and spend every month if you didn't have payments [It's about $1,850 a month for a typical 40,000/yr income].  You can live without payments.  I want you to know that if you start Dave Ramsey's plan and commit to it, over the years you'll see the impossible become possible.  There is no greater freedom than living financially free and being able to pass that freedom onto your kids.  

And speaking of kids:

  why       money1

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

You Can Live Without Debt

Money.  I have so much to share that this is going to be a four part post.

When it comes to money, you learn what your parents teach you OR when you're 18 you try to figure it out on your own using the money habits you inherited from your parents.  Unfortunately for me those money habits looked like this.... live paycheck to paycheck, save $100 just in case, I have a credit limit so use it and live to the max.  I was a high school grad, in college, and my finances were on a fast spiral down the road of stress and struggle.  I can't blame my parents though because as an adult I didn't make the choice to educate myself. 

 Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge.  Let's just say out of 100% I was maybe at 10%.  I had a habit to live beyond my means.  Charge it and pay it later.  Give away money I didn't have.  I couldn't see far enough in the future to save, not even for a substantial emergency fund.  All I knew was how to spend.

Flash forward to college graduation [I've already racked up more debt that I even realized].  My then fiance [that stud in the high school grad pic] and I got a book as a gift from my brother and sister in law.  I am telling you saved that it saved our financial future and will help the financial future of our kids.  I wish I would have gotten the book sooner.  It is now a brick in the foundation of our marriage.  Money is not a giant crack that we fight about how to fix.   READING the Total Money Makeover was our first step to getting out of debt. 

 If you're reading this and you're a young adult, get the book and soak it in.  Live by it.  If you're reading this and you're in debt up to your eyeballs get the book or listen to it on audio, take the class, live by it.  NO situation is impossible.  It may take a really long time and a lot of sacrifice, but it is not impossible to get out of debt.  You can live without paying for credit card interest, without car payments, stuff payments, without student loans.  It is possible!  We're proof!

This has been on my heart because money can either be a blessing or a curse.  You can fight about it or enjoy it. Imagine how much of your actual paycheck you could give every month, save every month, and spend every month if you didn't have payments.  

When Dave told me that I will probably see $2 million dollars in my entire lifetime it was a reality check.  That's a lot of money.  I don't want to get to the end of my life and wonder where it all went.  I want to be able to freely give to others, enjoy life, travel, have things, save for the kids, save for retirement and not have to worry about payments, debt, and interest.   I want to leave my kids with an inheritance and knowledge and not a pile of stuff and debt.  

This book is so valuable it would be an injustice NOT to share it with you.  In the next post I'll be sharing tid bits of our journey with Dave and the top four things I learned over the years. 

If you're serious about living without debt and are interested in the book, you can read an overview of the book HERE and HERE.   Right now you have the choice.  You can hope your finances work themselves out and hope your kids will figure it out one day.  OR You can take charge of your finances and live a life of financial freedom.

Related Posts:
  why       money1

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Don't Believe Everything You Read

You may have read my post about wisdom HERE.  

 One of the things I want to do on this blog is share some books that I've been reading with you.  I use to think with the busy mom and wife life, I didn't have enough time to sit and read.  The truth was, I didn't want to make the time to read.  I didn't realize all that I was missing out on until I picked up Power of a Praying Wife.  

There is a book for everything.  Want to learn more on parenting? Marriage? Friends? Money?  Love Language?  Dealing with Anxiety, Depression, Stress, A Messy House?  There is a book for it! I try to find books in these areas that show me how to live based on God's word.  

With that said... I DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING I READ.  Why?  Because we are all human.  We all make mistakes.  Our thoughts are not God's thoughts.  Sometimes authors misinterpret, sometimes I have my own understanding, but that's part of being human.  I try to match up what I read and advice I'm given to what God's word says.  

I DON'T AGREE WITH EVERYTHING I READ.  BUT I don't discredit the entire book or author based on a few disagreements.  Why?  Because in those hundreds of pages there are some golden nuggets.  Most of the time, LOTS of golden nuggets.  There is value to some of the things being said and sometimes I know God is speaking to my personal life through these books. 

Tomorrow will be my first book review [of sort].  In these reviews I won't be pointing out what I don't believe or agree with but will instead share with you the golden nuggets.  I'm going to tell you how the book has impacted my life and my thoughts.  

So if you pick up a book I've reviewed, you may not agree with everything the author says but I implore you to find value in some of the things they are sharing.  

My hope is these reviews encourage you to pick up a book and start reading.  [Maybe that's the teacher in me].  I've learned so MUCH this past year and I didn't realize what I was missing out on.  Words are powerful.  I want to give credit where it's due.  My thoughts are not original and most of the things I share with you I've learned from someone else. I want to share these book with you because I want you to see that wisdom is readily available for anyone who seeks it.  

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Going from Unhealthy to Healthy Takes Sacrifice

Today I want to sit and talk to you... the mom or grandma or girl sitting and reading this because you want to get healthy.  You want to lose a few pounds, feel good and confident about yourself.  You want to stop the crazy unhealthy cycle and give your kids a healthy future.  

This is on my heart because we are starting our next accountability group.  I'm thinking about what to say to the ladies.  I want to be an encouragement.  I want to tell them that THEY CAN DO IT!!   

I want to tell them it won't take a lot of work, not a lot of time, you can eat whatever you want.  Just do a little this and little that.  BUT this isn't true.  It does take work, it takes time, it takes a lot of sweat, consistency, self control, patience, you will give up portions, you will have to minimize the junk that goes in, eat out less, cook more, drink less sugar.  

Why?  Because going from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one takes SACRIFICE.  You have to give something up in order to do something else or help someone else. 

In the process of my workout today I thought this....

This sacrifice I make to be healthy is on a small scale like the sacrifice I make to be a good mom.  I sacrifice my sleep to comfort the little one back to sleep.  I sacrifice some time for me to get ready so we all look decent,  I sacrifice spending money on me so it can go to them. 

 Being a good mom takes sacrifice, but I don't even think twice about it because those crazy little people I call my kids are worth it every day.  Seeing them grow up is such a reward.  It's worth every messy moment, it is worth all those little sacrifices.  Sure I grumble and complain about mommy hood at times, but it's less of a sacrifice now and just a way of life. 

To live healthy I have to sacrifice time somewhere in my schedule to workout.  I have to sacrifice processed sweets for more fruits and veggies.  Gigantic portions for smaller ones.  I have to sacrifice nightly desserts for a once a week affair.  

To be healthy it takes sacrifice but now I don't think twice about making those sacrifices because I know it's what is best for my body.  I know how good it feels when I'm taking care of myself.  I see how my stress level goes down and I'm yelling less.  I see the impact it makes on the kids when they see me get up and get movin.  Sure I complain about it sometimes, but those little sacrifices that I make to be healthy, they don't feel like sacrifices now, it's just a way of life.  

I wish I could say it was easy.  It's not.  Living healthy is like motherhood.  It's a lifelong commitment.  You'll struggle and you'll find victory but you have to decide what you're willing to sacrifice.  You have to decide if it's worth it to be healthy.  Is it worth it to feel good?  Worth the little sacrifices that will help you learn self control, discipline, and consistency?  Is it worth it to lose the weight?  You have to decide for yourself and maybe right now it's not worth the sacrifice and that's okay.

I just want to tell you the truth.  Going from unhealthy to healthy is NOT EASY but worth it.    It's my lifelong commitment to myself and to my family.  

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