What have you done for me lately?

If you are singing a Janet Jackson song in your head right now, you rock!  That is what pops in to my head when I think about money these days, because I don’t worry about where my money goes. I tell it what to do.

Several posts back, I touched on how my husband and I handle our money.  Since then, I have had questions about more specifics on how we go about our “budget meeting”, and what tools we use to stay on track.  So, I decided to share a few more details, and share some of our success since we started telling our money what to do.

First, the budget meeting.  We both get paid twice a month, so we typically have our budget meeting the evening before we get paid.  We gather a few things to get started; Our budget binder, current and past bills, one of our laptops, and a calculator.  Our budget binder is something my husband crated that has several sections.  It has our past bimonthly budgets, our current and most recent bills, blank budget sheets, and notebook paper.  We use the zero based budget sheets from the Financial Peace University class we took.

To start the meeting off, we make sure we have the total of what we are getting paid, and write it at the top of the budget sheet. Then, we go item by item and decide how much money goes in each category.   The first category is tithing.  This comes right off of the top, before anything else on our list; before our mortgage, before our bills, before our food money.  There isn’t much discussion about that one, it’s 10% of our income straight to the Lord to do with what He wants (it’s really all of His money anyway, if you think about it). Next we move on to the most important money categories; no, not credit cards, or other debt, but savings, housing, utilities, food, clothing, transportation, and then medical/health.  We move item by item, and talk about how much we want/need to allocate for each.  Next we move to funds such as any insurance, personal needs like toiletries, subscriptions, replace furniture, and my favorite: pocket money (which we spend on whatever our little whiny hearts want to and not feel guilty).  Then we set some aside in our recreation fund for things like entertainment and vacations.

What about our debts?  Why don’t we put those at the top of our list?  The easy answer is that it’s what we learned in the Financial Peace University Class, of course!  More seriously, because we make sure our needs are taken care of first.  Period.  It wouldn’t make sense if we were on time with our debt card- I mean credit card payments, (which we no longer have), but didn’t have enough gas in the car to get to work to earn the money we use to pay those bills, now would it?  So our debts are at the bottom of the list.  This took a little getting used to, but to give you some examples, since we started doing this zero based budget, paying God, ourselves, and our necessities first, we have paid off all of our credit cards (about $6,000),  $6500 on my car loan, and other smaller debts.  At the same time, we saved about $1500 for our summer trip to Texas, about $700 for Christmas presents, and almost $3000 so far for IVF (this one in the past 2 months).  We have also had money for unexpected occurrences like fixing our daughter’s car to pass inspection ($400), having some routine maintenance done to my car before our trip ($500), and a few smaller things like replacing some broken cell phones.  Did I mention we paid cash for all of it?  No more credit cards.  They are chopped, and accounts are closed.

At the end of our meeting, we make a list of what amounts go in which account, how much cash to pull out and put in its designated envelope, and in what denominations.  It’s an extra step, but it really helps us keep track of everything.  The money we keep in our accounts is kept in a Drop Box folder.  If you haven’t heard of Drop Box, it’s kind of like a cloud to store information that can be accessed anywhere (I also store pictures on it).  You can choose whether or not it is public or private.  They also have an app, so files are easily accessible while shopping to check balances.  We can even update the balances from our phones so we have the most up to date information (and so we don’t forget to update then later… I keep my reciepts until I know I’ve updated the balance).   Here is a generic example of what we have saved on ours.  We also have a page of definitions in that folder, which lists what belongs in each fund and where it is located.  Like what is considered a toiletry, and whose account it’s in.

If something comes up that wasn’t expected, we have an emergency fund.  This is a fund we don’t touch unless an emergency occurs.  We have also discussed what constitutes an emergency, so there isn’t any confusion.  For example, a new pair of shoes on sale would NOT be categorized as an emergency, no matter how adorable.  Same with a new video game.  We have to stay pretty strict on that one because should something happen like a car accident, we don’t have to worry about where our deductible is going to come from, because at a time like that we have more important things to worry about.

Now, we aren’t perfect by any means, and we still have a long ways to go, but I think we have a pretty good foundation built for our financial health.

Again, there is a link below to the Dave Ramsey website, where you can get more detailed information about getting to financial peace.

What questions do you have for me?  What suggestions can you offer to someone who might feel a little lost when it comes to doing a zero based budget?  I look forward to hearing what you think in a comment below, or on my facebook page.

Thanks again for reading!

Jenn

No more stink.

First, I want to thank each and every one of you for supporting me and this blog!  I am amazed at the amount of people I have reached so far, and I am loving the feedback I am getting as well.  Also, thank you for following me on my Facebook page.  You guys rock!!!

With that said, this post is a review on a homemade deodorant recipe I recently whipped up, and have been using for the last several days.  As some of you may remember from one of my first posts, I threw away all of my commercial cosmetics a few months ago.  Since then, I have been using all natural, homemade, and organic products, one of which is deodorant.  For a while, I used coconut oil and baking soda, which works wonderfully as far as prevention of stink.  The problem was, my skin would get a little raw after a few days from the backing soda and the change in PH. So, I decided to purchase a sensitive formula “primal pit stick” from Primal Life Organics.  This stuff was pretty good as far as not irritating my skin, however, I had to reapply it a few times a day in order to prevent the stink.  I also purchased the regular “primal pit stick” to see if maybe the ratio I was using was what was causing the irritation.  While it certainly took care of the stink and lasted longer than the sensitive formula, it was still a little irritating. So now what? (By the way, this company has some other products I use and love.  I use the “dirty mouth primal package”, and love it.  I also do not get any compensation from this site for mentioning it, just sharing about a company that shares skincare beliefs.)

After a few days of not using anything on my arm pits, (sorry hunny), I came across a recipe on Pinterest for homemade deodorant for sensitive skin.  I had all of the ingredients, and I was going to be in the kitchen anyway making a fabulous whipped body butter recipe, so I decided to try out a batch.  You can find the recipe for the green paste on Oh Lardy’s website here. (I added some lavender and lemon essential oils to give it a nice and fresh scent.)  I love this recipe because it’s simple and it doesn’t require heavy machinery to produce.

The results?  My pits don’t stink, and they don’t turn red.  Ta da!!  I still sweat, mind you, but we are supposed to sweat.  And if you are wondering about the greenness rubbing off onto clothing, so far it hasn’t.  I only use about a peas sized scoop per pit.

What recipes for cosmetics or body care have you tired?  Please share below, or on my Facebook page.  I also have a homemade board on my Pinterest if you would like to see other recipes I’ve tried or am going to try.

Thanks again for reading!

Jenn

New year, new mistakes, new memories, and new avenues.

After last week’s post, I have had some time to unwind, relax, and reflect.  I am definitely in a much better place then I was.   I am starting to feel the passion and excitement for my life flow through my veins again.  I have also made some discoveries as to what avenues I might be led down in the near future.  So let us take a deeper look into a few things… (For some reason this is reminding me of The Lion King when Simba is looking at his reflection in the water and- well hopefully you get it.)

First, I have discovered a few things to enhance my family’s health recently.  I have found a local farm to inquire about a cow share to get some yummy raw milk, a local butcher shop that supplies grass fed meat, and a health food store that carries a lot of products I have had to order online.  Woo hoo!! Not that I mind terribly ordering online because it feels like Christmas every time a package arrives even though I paid for the stuff.  Anyone else feel like that? Anyway, I have some places to check out on my extra day off this week.

Second, I have refocused on how much what I put in my body affects how I feel.  There is nothing like a weight gain, clothes shrinking, all over rash appearing, and mood flying all over the place to smack a reality check over my head.  Not going to dwell on it, but I have been putting the healthful stuff down my chute this week, and I feel much better already!   I have also started sipping an organic herbal tea to help my body recover, along with some more probiotics, enzymes, and upping my water again.  Besides, I need to make sure the soil is rich if the Lord decides to bless us with a new life this year… 🙂

Finally, I have felt more peace about my future career.  It will be a while till I’m able to go to the class and get certified, but I am learning so much right now and getting more and more prepared to take the next steps.  Who knows, maybe I will have a few letters after my name in a few years?  So exciting!!

A few other side notes; I have switched back to a paper planner after years of not being able to remember to put things in my phone’s calendar. I am also going to utilize the binders I have laying around and organize my papers.  It’s also been a while since I’ve done that so it should feel great!

Thank you for sticking with me as I live this blessed journey!