Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Funny that I am feeling led to write this next post on cars, because both of our cars need some repairs at the moment. But that is okay, because even though we hate forking over the money to pay for these repairs, we have enough money in our emergency savings to cover these repairs.

Have you heard this phrase before?- The cheapest car is the car you already own.

If you are going to live on one income, you need to be satisfied with the car you have. You need to be okay with seeing friends from college and still be driving the car you had in college! Let go of that pride! It's okay- you own both of your cars and have no car payment and that is cool.

We bought Casey's car 11 years ago- it was used. My van, we did purchase new, and we have one payment left on that (probably not a choice we'd make again). When it comes time to replace Casey's car, we will pay cash for it. When we make that final van payment next month, we will save up that money that would go to the payment until we have enough cash to buy a car for Casey when his finally conks out.

Living on one income requires sacrifice. It is okay! God honors these sacrifices. Driving a new car means nothing when you have to miss your child's school play because you have to work. Keep your goal in mind and the pain of sacrifice becomes so worth it!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

As painful as this sounds- switch to an all cash system. Use cash for anything that is not a monthly bill (mortgage, utilities, car payment, insurance). Get some envelopes and each envelope is a category- gas, groceries, gifts, car expenses (tags, oil changes, etc), entertainment, clothing, household projects, lawn care, etc.. After you pay your monthly bills, cash out what you have left and divide it (not necessarily evenly) into the envelopes. When the cash in that envelope is gone, you are done spending.

You spend much less money when you have to fork over the cash. It is way too easy to spend money you don't have, or money that could be used in a better way, when you use your debit card.

When Casey and I first switched to this cash system, it was really, really hard for the first month, but it got much more fluid quickly. I felt a tremendous sense of relief knowing exactly how much money we had and what I could spend. Your use of the credit card will go way, way down. Let's say I was buying a wedding gift (BCS, before cash system), I would panic wondering last minute if we really had enough in the checking account to cover the cost, so I would charge the gift.

Today Casey and I have no credit card debt. We haven't carried a balance in years. The key- don't spend what you don't have. You really have to refuse to spend money. Don't borrow from those other envelopes!!! You will not have the cash you need for those license plate tags when you need them!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Through the years I've had many friends say they would like to stay at home with their kids, but don't think they can. I have been a stay at home mom for nine and a half years (that sounds long!) and we have been living on a teacher's salary for all that time (with a exception of a few very part-time jobs on my part). By next few blog posts will be dedicated to explaining how we do it. We are far from experts and we are still learning- but we are living proof that it can be done!

I love this quote from Jill Savage: You have to reject the belief that bigger is better. You need to have a vision for your family even if it's different than your neighbors. And you have to think smarter than than the marketing experts want you to think.

Jill has written a book called Living with Less So Your Family Can Have More
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I totally recommend this book. Living on one income requires a change in perspective. Your standard of living will change. You might fear that you will have to deprive your children or yourself. Living with less is not about deprivation, but it will actually increase appreciation and contentment in your family life.

We don't have cable or a cell phone package, but we don't miss these things at all. Trust me, when your kids don't see commercials, they don't want stuff. Don't go to the mall or read magazines, and your desire for more stuff just fades away.

I'm excited to discuss this topic on my blog. Please feel free to pass on your money saving tips and ask questions- I'd love to hear from you!

One more thing, if you are currently working, but want to stay home, start by making the decision to stay home. Don't quit your job today, but get a reasonable end date on the calendar. You will need that urgency to compel you to make the tough choices you will need to make.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I borrowed and slightly altered this facebook status for today's blog post from Heidi Weimer- LOVE IT and couldn't agree more:

Nothing is hotter than a husband who has willingly handed over comfort, ease, wealth, security, and the American Dream to become a father to the fatherless. Happy Father's Day to Casey and all of the other dads out there who have said YES to fathering...both by birth AND by adoption. True fathers. True heroes. True models.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

I have two new gluten-free favs:

Udi's Multigrain bread and Food for Life's English Muffins!

The GF life is tasting better than ever.

Click to view larger product image.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adoption Update: we have nothing to report.


I find myself vacillating between being extremely anxious and filled with longing to bring our girl home, and finding the sweet spot of contentment, knowing God has everything under control.

I really, really, really thought we'd have her home by now. Since that is not the case, I have decreed unto myself that I will enjoy this summer as much as I can. I thought this summer would be filled with travel plans and heart surgery, but instead it looks more like endless trips to the park, swimming, and toasting marshmallows in the backyard. Not so bad. Maybe I need this time to refuel for the days to come.

A good friend of mine who is adopting from Ethiopia coined a phrase that has become my new mantra- "peace in the process". That is what I need! My mom then came up with "mellow in the meantime". Oh yeah. If that is the hardest challenge before me today- so be it. I accept. I will wait and I will enjoy. I will be still and I will listen. I will have fun and be refreshed. And when Burkina calls- I WILL GO!
I think I might have just spent the best $100 of my life. Let me clarify, the best $100 spent on my family ever. We just got a membership to the Morten Arboretum.

The Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum

What a great place! There are endless things for the kids to explore and do. I'm already planning a to give my husband a day to himself there to explore the trails (and planning a reciprocal day just for me, of course).

I am so convicted of how little time we spend in nature and I am hoping this membership will give us the push to get out there and see some of God's creation. I know I always feel so much better after even just a little time spent outdoors.

Feeling so blessed to live in a country where we have time to enjoy beautiful places...