Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Down...but not out!

The road to financial freedom has been bumpy as of late. The month of February has been particularly challenging. Today, I found out that we need a hot water heater like YESTERDAY! Unfortunately, we no longer had our home warranty, so this one will be  on us!

I experienced so many emotions the past hour, but thanks be to God for His abundant grace! I had so many options:

a)I could turn outward and spew out my frustrations on my husband and children

b)I could turn inward and blame myself for not seeking another home warranty plan

c)I could turn upward, Psalm 121:1 and cast this care upon my Father who knows the end from the beginning and cares for every detail of my life, Matthew 10:30. I could give thanks and seek His wisdom and rest.

I chose "c". As I called upon the Lord, He comforted me and gave me wisdom to redo our budget to accomodate some of the debt. He reminded me that unlike previous times, we actually had a little over half the amount of the estimate we were given and that we could use the upcoming tax refund to build up our emergency fund again. I also enrolled with a new home warranty company so that we are better prepared for any future repairs!

Even  in our disappointments, God can cheer us and give us hope. I can thank our Father that:
- the water heater didn't burst
- the new water heater is much more energy efficient and can save us as much as $600 year
 - we get a rebate from our electric company
 - this year we can use this purchase as a credit on our taxes

This event reminds me of our Christian life. There are ups and downs, good times and bad times, but through it all, we can(unlike many in the world), give thanks and be comforted and above all, we have a hope which far surpasses any of the losses, disappointments and failures of this present world. Praise Him!

Friday, February 24, 2017

5 Minute Friday

This post of part of the 5 Minute Friday with Kate Motaung. Today's word is slow. The word slow brings to mind slow roasted beef or a favorite slow cooker meal. It also reminds me of some older people and their slow movements. I like watching them as they move purposefully and intentional throughout their day no matter how fast the world around them is moving, they continue at their same pace. I notice that they seem relaxed and peaceful not frustrated or hindered by the buzz of activity around them. It's as if they know some secret that the rest us of don't as move at breakneck speed through life. As I grow older, I am learning to embrace "slow". I used to frantically wash dishes to race on to the next thing. Now, I savor(kind of !) the moment and look out my window at a setting sun or two mourning doves lingering along the driveway. I see a lot of things that I missed when I rushed through and it has given me a greater appreciation for each moment and taught me to truly be in each moment that the Father has blessed me with.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Money Monday-My 2 Favorite Apps

I try to save however and whenever I can but I really like when I can save without thinking about it a lot. That's where Digit, comes in. I have been using Digit for over a year and have effortlessly saved over $2,000. If you are considering using Digit, please use my referral code. I get $5 for every person that signs up! https://digit.co/r/sAOkI?wn

Another favorite app is Ibotta. I like Ibotta because I can get cash back on items such as produce that you don't normally find coupons for. They seem to regularly have rebates for bananas, oranges and onions. This is slow and steady saving, but every little bit helps. When you sign up using my referral code, wkkkgkv, I get $5 and you get a $10 welcome bonus!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

February No Spend Update

Well, this month is just about over and although there have been some bumps along the way, I've learned some things to help me as I continue on this journey:

1.  Leaving the debit card and checkbook at home has caused me to REALLY plan my grocery list and shopping. No more impulse buying!

2.  I used to think that our income needed to change before we could become debt free. The more money we have, the easier it will be to pay off debt, right?! Sadly, this is not necessarily the case. Like many others, when we got more we just spent more. I'm learning,( as the Lord exhorts us), "to be faithful in the little."

3.  I've found daily encouragement from others on the debt-free journety through Instagram. Some of my favorites include: elliemondelli,eatpraybudgetloanfreestudent, debtfreeinsunnyca, debtwarrior  pocketfuel, and thejanellekeith.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bumps along the way

This has been an up and down, but mostly down week with finances. We had to purchase a new car battery for my daughter. That was $120, then we had another car issue which was $100 and required the use of the credit card, which had just been paid off! This was me:
Paying off credit card only to incur a new balance 24 hours later!

This is so frustrating, but  through this, I am reminded that there are things that are absolutely, beyond my control and that I am blessed beyond measure and have so much to be grateful for. So, I choose joy and gratitude today. I choose to keep going moving forward, trusting God each step along the way. Praise Him!
Remembering that in God alone is my hope. He has made me GLAD!

Highlights of the week:
1. Saved $15 using coupons at Kroger
2. Enjoyed time in the Word and fellowshipping with a good friend
3. Participated in blogging boot camp led by Latonya at Joyintheordinary.com! She's tough!
4. Used a gift card to get treats for myself and my daughter at TJ Maxx
5. Watched "Duke". It was really good. Get your Kleenex ready..
6. Enjoyed good health. Lots of people sick with flu right now.
7. Daily 15 sec hug and kiss from my 15 yr-old son.

Keep looking away to Him!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Five Minute Friday-Safe

Today's word is safe. A person that is safe has been saved from something, whether a fire or natural disaster, this is a person who has been rescued and brought into a safe harbor. Christ is our safe harbor. He has rescued us from the penalty and power of sin and now we are safe in Him. He is our hope, our stay, our safety. Safe is a wonderful word. For me it brings up images of a mother tucking her child safely in bed and shooing away all the monsters under the bed. One of my daughter's was afraid of worms. One night as we entered the house, she noticed some words by the gate. She was terrified.  As I took her hand, I reminded her that I was there and that I would hold her hand all the way and lead her inside. In that moment, I was reminded that the Father does the same for us. We are not always kept from the terrible, scary things, but He holds us in His hands and leads us safely through.

He is -


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Saving Money on Groceries

Saving $ on Groceries

The grocery budget is one of the budget areas with the most flexibility. Many families save big in this area by using coupons, but using coupons isn't for everyone due to time constraints and limited availability of coupons in some areas. However, there are several ways that families can save whether they use coupons or not.

     I believe this is the most crucial step. As the saying goes, "When you fail to plan, plan to fail." Having a written menu plan and using it, is a simple, yet effective way to save both time and money. This avoids the frenzied dinner hour rush and eliminates the fast food or pizza delivery option.

      I enjoy cooking, but with homeschooling and extracurricular activities for myself and my children, I don't have time to prepare elaborate meals. Through the week, I like to have meals that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. I save the elaborate, labor intensive meals for the weekends. Check out the recipe boards on Pinterest and other sites such  as Simply Recipes  and  Real Mom Kitchen  .

     Eat the food you have. Don't keep shoving leftovers to the back of the fridge. Put them front and center and use them for the next day's lunch. I even serve them for breakfast sometimes. One of my friends packs her leftovers in containers and then labels the container with a eat- by date!

     As much as possible, buy food with either  few ingredients on the label or no ingredient label at all! These foods are usually found on the perimeter of the store-meat, dairy and produce. These are also the departments where you are likely to find markdowns. Try to avoid prepared foods. Take a little time and do the slicing or mixing yourself.  Instead of buying a box of oatmeal packets, buy whole oats and flavor them yourself. The same goes for rice. The Internet abounds with recipes for Spanish rice, cilantro lime rice and other flavored rices. By making your own mixes, you can control the amounts of salt and sugar.

     It's tempting to buy a dozen avocados when they are 4 for $1, but if not used within a few days, you will end up throwing your savings in the trash. When it comes to produce, keep in mind how soon you will be using the items and their shelf life. Carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage are hardy vegetables which can keep for awhile. Avocados and berries, however, do not last as long and should be consumed or frozen within a few days.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

February No Spend Challenge

I've embarked on a no spend challenge with my best friend and sister-in-law. We each set our own guidelines and plan to share the its and misses at the end of the month. I receive a lot of encouragement and inspiration from Instagram. Some of my favorite blogs are: Money PeachFamily Balance Sheet, and Financial Freedom Quest

We are only 4 days in, but it has been going good so far. I was tempted several times to stop for fast food since it was just myself and my daughter. It would ONLY be $10, but this made me realize how often I justify such expenses and how "little" expenditures add up quickly. As a game/challenge, I took the $30 that I would have spent on eating out and purchasing books and added it to our savings account. I've been trying to save my grocery receipts, so I hope to have a tally at the end of the month. Fortunately, I was able to stock up on meat at really good prices last month, so really should be purchasing only produce and perishables. Check in again next Saturday for an update!

grace and peace,

Friday, February 3, 2017

5 Minute Friday- Breathe

It's another 5 Minute Friday. You can read more about it at KateMotaung.com . Today's word is BREATHE...

Throughout my years of exercise, the thing I kept hearing most was, "Don't forget to breathe!" Well, how could I forget that! I've been doing this breathing thing for awhile. I might not have the V step, down, but I have got this breathing thing down! What I didn't realize was that there was a way to breathe that was exhausting me and counterproductive. When Christ breathed on the disciples and they received the Holy Spirit, He intended them to live and walk in the Spirit by the Spirit, not in their own efforts which were exhausting and counterproductive. He calls us to do the same by simply breathing Him in, taking Him as our very life. As Paul said in Galatians, "Now it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life which I now live, I live by the son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.