Thursday, April 5, 2012

Sufficient for my needs

So I was talking to some ladies from my old ward tonight and the conversation reminded me of this post I had done last September on our family blog, just after my Birthday. I thought it would be nice to post it here as well, as a little reminder. I still believe every word!

I love this time of year. I love the smell and feel of the air. I love the colors of the trees as they change and lose their leaves. I love that my Birthday falls just 2 days away from the first day of fall. But mostly I love the time that I take to reflect on the things that I have been so blessed with in my life.I am asked over and over, “What do you want for your Birthday?”, and really, it’s hard for me to think about what I “want”. I think we can get so hung up on the things that we want, or that we don’t have, that we make it hard to see the blessing right in front of us. I have always been told that as long as I am doing what is right, I will be blessed sufficient for my needs. It isn’t that I will have sufficient for my wants, or sufficient for the things that are nice, or that I really like. It means that I will always have the things that I need.When I think of needs, I think of the basics; food, clothing and shelter. As I reflect on my life, I can see that I have always had sufficient for my needs, and then some. I have always had food to eat. I am pretty sure that everything I have consumed in my life time has not been my favorite, cooked just right or had a dessert to go with it, but I have always had food. I have always had clothing. A lot of my clothes have many, many years of wear and hopefully many more years of wear still left in them. I don’t usually have the trendiest clothes, they usually have a hole or a stain some where, but for the most part I try to look decent and I have never had a time where I had nothing to wear. (Although I am pretty sure I have said that before.) I have always had shelter. I love my little house. It provides protection from the elements, warmth in the winter and refuge from the summer heat. It is big enough for my whole family, and welcoming to family and friends. There are times that I wish I had something more “grand” to drive up to when I get home, or a larger kitchen for my kids to gather in, but that would not make my house any more safe, warm or secure to be in. What I have is truly sufficient for our needs.I am so grateful for my home, my family and my amazing friends that help to give me perspective in my life. I think if I can just remember how blessed I am, I will always be happy. I think if we all really reflect on our lives we can see that we have the things we truly need and that all the extras are not always adding to our lives, but can in a way, actually be taking away from what will make us truly happy. There is so much “stuff” in this world. I have a good friend that helps me remember that if I am spending all my time taking care of my “stuff”, than I won’t have any time to take care of the things that are really important to me, like my family! I had a wonderful Birthday yesterday, filled with family and amazing friends that showered me with love and gifts. It is times like this that I can truly see how blessed I am. It is not the gifts that mean so much to me. That is just “stuff”. It is the time they take out of their lives to spend with me, the thoughts that they share and the love that is felt when we are together. Don’t get me wrong, the gifts are great, but to me, they are just extras. So if you ask what I want for my Birthday this year, it is you, because as far as things, I have sufficient for my needs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My mom reflects on her No Spending Month!

I am so pround of my mom and asked her to send me her thoughts about her No spending Month. Here is what she had to say:

Now I am excited to tell my story of what I have gained and learned from Jamie's challenge at the end of Jan to have a no spend month in Feb. Probably the most challenging day of Feb was Valentine’s Day, it was the first one in our married life of nearly 55 years that we didn't go out to eat either for lunch or dinner. I was proud that I could keep my promise to myself and was creative in fixing a very special dinner at home. I am also excited to say that I filled my car with gas on the 31st of Jan, and by March 3rd I still had a 1/4 of a tank left. When you don't go anywhere to spend money, you don't spend the gas and it was amazing. I found an inner strength that has given me the ability to know that I can do anything if I want it bad enough. I have been trying for many years to complete my husband’s life story and have been spending my days at home accomplishing so much in the goal. It is March 20th today and I feel like by the end of this month I will have completed the biggest part of his story. The first part of March I committed to exercising at the local Rec. Center in Bountiful, 5 days a week. I have been consistent in walking 30 minutes on the treadmill each week day of this month and will be doing it until the 30th. (And she plans on continuing after that too!) Along with eating the proper food choices I am seeing a slow weight loss that has been a plus. I tell myself every day, that it doesn't matter if I am loosing, what matters is that I am taking care of my health.

In regards to our financial budget, I have to say that the biggest decision to not have my American Express Costco card was a difficult one, but I knew that it was too easy to use the card and have that debt to pay out of the next month’s money. There is truly a freedom without owing later what you thought you needed and couldn’t do without. When I traveled a lot, I would benefit with 2 nice refunds at the beginning of each new year, but when I realized how much I had to spend to be getting checks for over $100 each, it wasn't worth the debt stress each month, for it never was the same amount and I bought more than I would have if it had been cash. Believing in a principle is one thing, but to live it is another. I am so appreciative and grateful to my daughter Jamie for her challenge and her example, you really can teach an 'ole dog new tricks'. I still don't have any desire to go shopping or spend needless gas each week. I am looking forward to eating out soon, but only when I can afford it.

Yesterday when I picked up my prescription at Smith's, there was an offer of $25.00 credit for transferring a prescription from another pharmacy. So along with saving on my prescriptions, each one gives me 50 reward points towards money off gas. In Jan, I got 30 cents off per gal. The credit of $ 25.00 will be used when I go grocery shopping next time. I won't be running off to Costco very often because I will be without my membership I won't be charging my gas there either. I regularly shop at Smith’s and now with prescriptions adding to the total, buying gas at Smith's will be cheaper too.

Thank you Jamie for your love and support. Mom

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Organizing School papers

Having five kids means having a lot of paper coming into our house. I had to find a way to organize the kids school papers, special cards and momentoes. One year the boys came home from school with these boxes that they decorated in school. They are the perfect size for papers (12.25x9.25x3), close and stack nicely. These boxes are from Tharco (M-419), but you can purchase them at Xpedx for $2.59. I use these for more than just my kids school papers. I have one that I have all the recepts, paint cards, carpet samples and contacts that I used when we finished our basement, and past tax papers.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

No spending month

So normally February is our "no Spending Month", the month that we don't buy anything extra or anything that we don't need. Unfortunately this year it just didn't work out. I had a bunch of lab work that needed to be done, doctor visits for me and the kids and my focus just wasn't there. We will have a "No Spending Month", but it will have to be later. I did challenge my mom to take February and see what she was capable of. I was not too hopeful that she would do it, or even stick with it. I was surprised to find out that she had made a commitment to me and herself to do it. She would call me every few days and keep me posted on her success and struggles. She would let me know where she was struggling and I would give her ideas and suggestions on how she could save money. (She called and found out she can get her prescriptions for a lot cheaper than she was getting them, which is going to save her a LOT in the months to come!) She never called to complain, and in fact, would thank me for giving her this challenge ever time. She decide to stop using her AM EX, (I had been telling her that for years, but she had to figure it out on her own, which was great!) and even chose not to renew her Costco membership. I gave my mom $20 with a note on it in the beginning of the month that said it was for an emergency. She said she wasn't going to use it and was going to stick to her plan.
Yesterday my parents came out and my mom gave me my $20 back. I am so proud of her and what she has FINALLY learned about herself. One, she can do anything she puts her mind to. Two, she has very few needs that can easily be met with the money she brings in and a little planning. And best of all, don't give up on yourself. Believe in yourself and don't give up! My mom said she had so much fun doing the challenge that she is now challenging herself in other areas. I could not have asked for a better outcome. What a wise woman to listen to her youngest daughter. ;)
I would challenge everyone to see what you are capable of. Have a "No Spending Month". You will quickly find out that it is not just about the money. You will feel more empowered in your life and look at things much differently. The little pain you may feel in the beginning, will be worth the reward in the end. And hey, if anything, you will have a bunch of extra money to spend at the end of the month. :)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I love KSL!

I love KSL! Have I said that already? This week we spent Saturday posting and selling and made almost $150. The kids got some of their things sold and posted as well. The money we make on KSL goes right into a box and has it's own way to be spent. One year we used it for home improvements. Last year we used it to go on a great vacation with the in-laws before they left on an 18 month adventure in Africa. This year, it's all for the loan. The student loan that we keep saying we are going to payoff. This time, we are going to do it! I am done with the talk, it is time to walk the walk and do it! I look forward to more Saturdays like this, that we can do more to reach our goals.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Proverbs 31:27 She looketh well on the ways of her household...

I just came back from an amazing night. I was asked by some of my best friends to come back to my old ward and talk about managing your household. I really enjoyed looking back on things I have done to get my finances, meal planning and family in order. I had such a great time and really feel like this is something I want to do "when I grow up".
I am posting my lesson and will post additional information that was requested tonight.
Thank you to those that came to to the meeting. I really enjoyed learning from you!

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27

“The Happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have.”

Most valuable resource is TIME!
We don’t make the same amount of money, have the same size house, or same number of kids, but we all have the same amount of time. How we manage our time is where you will find the value.

How do you spend your time? ie, work, hobbies, facebook, pintrest, tv, sleeping, reading, shopping…

I want to talk about 4 ways that can help you manage your time more efficiently.

1-Manageing your money

Do you have or use a budget? What negative thoughts come to mind when you think of the word budget? Restriction, no fun, …
A budget is really nothing more than a plan for your money. If you don’t plan where your money will go or how it is spent, it will find ways to get spent. A budget is a way to take control of your finances and can really be a fun tool to help you.

Simple Budget
The easiest way to do a budget is to take your income and subtract your expenses.
Start with the necessities; shelter (utilities included, HOA fee) food, and transportation (gas, car payment, insurance, services), loans and other debt and tithes and offerings. Then move on to your “adjustable” expenses, the things that can be flexible. Phone (home and cell), tv, life insurance, clothing, haircuts, date money, preschool, music lessons, …
If you get to the end of your list and you are out of money or in the negative, you now that you need to reevaluate your budget and perhaps your priorities.
There are many ways that you can cut back.
Cut back on cable (this will also give you back TIME),
Check your phone bills, are you paying hidden charges, check your minute usage, can you cut back?
Use more energy efficient lighting, Turn out lights when you leave, use timers
Cut coupons (but be careful that you are not buying things just because you have a coupon. Buy what you use and use what you buy. Many times the store brand item is cheaper than the name brand, even with the coupon. Also, be careful that you are not spending more time than the savings is worth. Remember, your time is valuable, if you are not getting to the papers and they are piling up, take a break for a while and start back up when you feel you can.)
Do you need to down grade on your cars? Lower car insurance.
Never pay full price, and always ask if that is the best deal. Many times you will be surprised that there is something cheaper, you just have to ask. If you just have to have the name brand or the clothes from a certain store, find out when they do markdowns, what is their policy on getting a price adjustment? Get on their friends and family list or email list.
Limit the number of clothes you buy. This will save time and money on washing and if your kids are like mine, they wear the same things over and over anyway!
Look into refinancing. If you established or refinanced your loan before July 2009, you may be eligible to refinance at a lower rate and not pay mortgage insurance, even if your house is not at the 80/20 value.
Use cash! This is the best way to help you curb your spending. If you don’t have the money, you don’t need it!
The Microwave story
If you find you need more money, sell!!! KSL and eBay are fantastic was to make more money on the things you no longer need. My husband and I have decided that my time is better spent in our home managing our finances, and family. He makes the money, but I make sure it lasts and goes as far as it can.
Payoff debt, start with the smallest and pay it off first. Then “roll” that payment into your next debt and continue until you a debt free!!!

2-Managing a Meaningful meal time!

“When you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
Again, it starts with a plan.

1-Start by making a list of everything you make
2-Place a star by the meals you have everything you need on hand, all the time.
3-Place a checkmark next to the meals that require only buying one or two items.
4-Evaluate your month one day at a time, ie; kids activities, scouts, YM/YW, work meetings, school activities, music lessons, family parties, etc.
5-Now make a “Master Month”. You can categorize your days, Chicken night, Mexican, quick or no brainer meals (Pizza night, pancakes, freezer meal) double up (these are great for last minute meals, meals for neighbors or when you just don’t feel like cooking), leftovers, Special day dinners, free for all, teach your kids to cook night and then give them a night to cook, Mom’s night off, try something new.
You can start out simple, use the school menu as a guide. Use the same menu each month, just modified for that month until you feel like you can branch out.

Start a food inventory binder- keep track of what you have and what you need.

Gather your year supply using your meal plan.

Bottom line-Make a plan and stick with it!

3-Manageing your family-KIDS!

Are we over scheduling our kids? Are we supplying them with more than they need? Are we giving them time with themselves?
1-limit media/screen time to 30 min a day - “Unplug” as we tell our older kids.
2-limit activities- there can be too much of a good thing. What toll is it taking on you and the rest of the family?
3-limit time outside the home. Make your kids get along! Are we making our homes a Haven?
4-Monitor your kids, “Friend” them.
5-Say “Yes” more. Answer your kids by saying “Yes” not “what or huh?”
6-Teach them to work. Don’t take away their chance to learn. Remember, we are raising future missionaries, students, husbands and wives. 4 steps to learning,; show, help, watch, know!
7-Give them responsibilities, not money. Teach them the value of money. Give them an income that they earn, not an allowance. (Find out what is of value to them, money, time with you, extra media time, etc.) *Find the charts in an older post in March 2009
8-Teach them to save for their future.
9-Kids do best with structure! Make a schedule, chore chart and a list of boredom busters! Also make a snack list or basket.

4-Manage to have FUN!!!

As President Gordon B Hinkeley said, “In all of living have much JOY and LAUGHTER. Life should be enjoyed, not just endured.”

Spend time, not money!

Play games together, watch movies together, eat meals together.
Set family goals together, Challenge yourselves! You never know what you are capable of until your try.
No spending month (February) *see how my family did the first time in 2009
No sugar month *see how my family did the first time in 2009
No tv

Have your kids help you find ways to save and make money! Maybe it can be used to go on a family vacation!

Is our stuff taking our time and money?

FHE- Needs vs. Wants, budget, If I had a hundred dollars…(teach the value of a dollar).

*Check out previous posts for time cards, and see how we did on our no spending and no sugar month! It's fun to look back.

Income Chart

A salary will be paid for work done in the home. The weekly work will be evaluated and if not done, you will pay us back for any job not completed, or not completed to the standard it should be.
10% tithing
20% long term savings (not to be withdrawn until mom and dad okay it, which will be no sooner than 21!)

From the time you can do chores until you are 8 you will get paid a monthly salary equal to your age. This will be paid on the 7th of each month.
*You are not required to pay for any gifts for friends, but are more than welcome to add to the amount that mom and dad are willing to pay.

From the age 8 until 12 you will get paid a monthly salary equal to twice your age. This will be paid half on the 7th and half on the 22nd of each month.
*You are required to pay half for any Birthday gift, extra clothing items and full replacement for anything that you choose to ruin.

From the age 12 until 16 you will continue to receive a monthly salary equal to twice your age. At this age you can take “loans” from you parents, with interest.
*You are required to pay for any gifts, extra clothes and replace anything that you may ruin, during your reckless teenage years.

At age 16 you are old enough to get a job unless you are involved in high school activities that make it difficult to have a part-time job. We will continue to give you a salary until 3 months after you graduate High School, at that point you should have a job.