Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When looking for something unique...

OBVIOUSLY I am very much ALL about the holiday season. It is my FAVORITE time of the year and I plan for it all year. I plan all year so that I can spread out my gift buying so that I don't feel hit all at once. That's such a sickening feeling.

Even though I spend all year blogging about how important it is to start shopping early, I still know people that are finishing up shopping on Christmas eve. :) It's ok, not everyone can think about Christmas all year so this blog is for YOU! :)

If you are needing baby items (seems like everyone i know had a baby this year) look for something unique and different. Check out babyblankets.com for some unique baby blankets. I'm talking some SUPER cool stuff!! For the cutest baby boy blanket you need to check out their site to see some of the coolest options! 

Living on less, saving money, and budgeting are what my blogs are all about. BUT, you have heard me say before that when you DO have to buy something you need it to be unique, different, and special. Take the time to find that PERFECT gift instead of just running to the local Walmart and buying something off the shelf.

If you need help selecting the perfect baby gift, cehck out babyblankets.com and see all they have to offer. You will be glad you did. :)

The Car Story

Since I am one that is ALWAYS searching for the best deal, a buck I can save, or something to make my life less stressful, then its no surpise that I have considered selling my car. Obviously we can't live as a ONE vehicle family so my plan was to see if I could downsize. But here's the process AND problems of that....

1. My car is a 2006 Honda Accord Ex-L. nice car, runs great, has all the bells and whistles. I owe a lot less than it's worth which is a PLUS! That's how you WANT to be when it comes to a vehicle. So for that reason I felt like it was a good time to sell my car. i didn't want to TRADE it on anything. I've done my research and that wasn't the way for me to go. So in order for me to take the money I would make off my car I needed to have something in mind that I could go pay cash for.

2. Buying an older car may mean more problems. Just because I can pay cash for it and get out from under my car payment doesn't make me instantly rich. It may actually put me into a situation where I am pouring all sorts of money into an older, more junked up car.

3. I wanted to buy a vehicle from a family member. That actually worked out... my dad has a 2004 Explorer that is super nice that he was willing to sell me because he wanted something different. The milage was about the same as my Honda and it was 2 years older, BUT, at the end of the day I could pay him cash for it and eliminate my car payment. Problem??? Yep...

4. Gas mileage. My Honda averages in town 26.4 and on the highway I get around 31. Dad's explorer--12 miles to the gallon and possibly up to 14. It's a V8. I still wasn't convinced that this plan was bad.

5. Then I put a pencil to it. I get paid mileage where I work which is AWESOME. Every month I am able to at the VERY LEAST cover my gas expenses and some months I have extra money in my pocket. IF, I drove the same amount of miles in the Explorer I would be doubling what I spend on gas....

I decided not to do it. I decided to keep my Honda. Now, don't get me wrong--I love my Honda. i was just trying to eliminate a car payment. BUt, i have been doubling up on car payments and will have my car paid for next October which is 2 years and 1 month earlier than my loan says!! YAY! I mean don't get me wrong... I am so proud of the progress I have made on my Honda payoff plan, it's just thought of instantly having it paid off is more appealing. :) But--it's a process and I have to remember that.

At the end of the day... no matter if I kept the honda or bought the explorer I would have an aging vehicle that ran the risk of major problems. So I decided that I need to start thinking about that.
My plan--start saving now! I am going to put back $100 dollars a month over the next year while I am working to pay off this car. That means at the end of that year I will have $1200 so if any repairs are needed I can either pay for them with cash, OR at the very least have some money to put down on repairs.

I've never been like this. I have always traded vehicles about every 2 years. I did the math on that and realized how much money I have spend over the years and have nothing to show for it. I WILL own this Honda. I WILL drive it until it is not driveable. I WILL be glad that I have a vehicle and take pride in it and take better care of it. I will be content that this is the vehicle I chose to buy, so now I am keeping it and making it mine for as long as it will let me.

While saving money is important it's not always a cut and dry scenario. To me it sounded so simple. Sell my car, take that profit and buy something I can pay for with cash. But when I looked at the WHOLE picture it was not the best thing for me.

Living on less, saving money--all of this comes with wisdom and good decision making. remember to weigh every aspect before you decide.

And there. that is my car story. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Got my job

This guest post from Werner Rogers

When I got smallbusiness.xo business voipI didn’t really use it much – mostly because the phones weren’t ringing and I had no clients to speak of! But after the local Our State magazine did a big feature on my farm I had people calling in by the hundreds – you wouldn’t believe how many requests I was getting to talk and to produce products for people I’d never even heard of or met. This year I decided to host a festival to try and capitalize on some of that publicity and that was a great decision – the festival alone brought hundreds of people to the farm and I’ve got some big clients now that I don’t think would have taken me very seriously before. I just can’t imagine a better way to live your life than to do something I love which is what I get to wake up doing each and every day – it’s not a bad thing! My wife wants me to retire but I can’t imagine not doing this work day in and day out.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The move

First of all, I sincerely apologize for neglecting my blog here lately. Life has been insane. I don't even know if I told you that I changed jobs! I didn't change jobs for way more money, but for MUCH better reasons.

1. Sales was stressing me out. I was so tired of being stressed about finances. Never knowing what was coming in was so hard to handle. I always managed to make it, but the stress between each paycheck was wearing me down.

2. I felt like i was stuck on a corporate ladder trying to climb up something that I didn't want to be on. I love to work, and I enjoy earning money and providing for my family, but I didn't want to do that forever so why was I working so hard?

3. I felt like I wasn't making a difference in anyones life. I know that sounds silly, but making a difference in the world is important to me and I didn't feel like I was doing that.

So I left that job. I am now the Director of Marketing for CrownTrace Villa in Hot Springs. It's a retirement community located in the heart of beautiful Hot Springs. I have fallen in love with these residents. They make such a difference in MY life, and i hope to get to provide some smiles in their life as well. The job has it's stresses for sure, but it's a breath of fresh air to do something that I love and to feel like I am making an impact in my community.

I also am on salary which means for the first time EVER I know what my paycheck is going to be. :) SUCH a relief! Doesn't mean that we don't all still have financial stresses, but a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

We also moved to a HOUSE. a real live house :) No more apartment living for us! HOORAY! Now that being said, it was sort of a hard decision.

We have always lived where a swimming pool was within a short walk if that. We have spent LOTS of summer days and nights laying by the pool which has been heavenly! But we also lived closer to shopping, gas stations, and restaurants so it was much easier to go spend money. Now, we live in the boondocks and there is no just running up the road for something quick. We have saved money for SURE! We live on 3.5 acres of land. Fun times :) LOTS of places to ride 4-wheelers. I am watching my daughter come alive in the beautiful nature that we live in. She is spending her afternoons running around the yard, chasing the cat, making piles of leaves to jump in, pulling her wagon---instead of running in to watch tv all afternoon.

Our rent went up $100 dollars. Which is SO against the rules. :) But we weighed it... and for us having nature right outside our door and having privacy was worth the extra $100 each month.

Lots of changes going on! Glad those are finally over with and we are settled into our new home and I am settling in to my new job.

With the move came lots of packing and lots of realiziations of how much STUFF we have. Stay tuned... i have big plans for all that "Stuff"

Thanks for reading.

It's me!!!!

Check it out! :)

I'm so pumped1


Never too early

It is NEVER too early to begin thinking about New Years Resolutions. And I am NOT referring to the fact that you (for the 5th year in a row) put lose 10 pounds on your list... again... and again... :)

I'm talking about huge financial changes. I'm talking about living on less. Getting rid of things. Set goals for yourself. If you don't set them, no one else will.

I've been thinking about mine but I don't have them all together YET. But I will shortly. And as soon as I do I will get right to posting them.

Be thinking of realistic goals that you would like to see yourself accomplish in the next year. Stay tuned for a follow up post which will include my 10 Minimalistic yet Monumental New years resolutions. :)