Monday, March 28, 2011

Fit and Frugal

I have a love for personal finance! I love to teach it and read about and help others with it. I have co-instructed money management classes at ISU and even helped open a Financial Wellness Center on ISU's campus. Someday I hope to work in a financial counseling office, helping others with their personal finances. I have a library of great reading and have taken several seminars and college courses. However, applying the principles that I know can be so darn difficult! Dane and I are really big savers--we currently live off of one income and save the other one. We are working hard to pay off our car and a little bit of student loans. We are serious about paying our tithing and have faith that things work out financially for us because of this! I know that we could do much better!

Today was a bit difficult for me. I have been wanting some shelves from IKEA for about a year now. Just this weekend I found out that my mom and sisters are planning a girls trip down to SLC for some home decor shopping in April. Oh, I can hardly wait to go--and I have a jar full of money I have been saving for an occasion such as this.

Today was hard because I decided to put that in savings instead. I have really learned to have patience and to postpone that instant gratification by saving for things. Dane and I have some pretty bright financial goals to fulfill before the little babe arrives, so I am doing my very best to stay on target. If I can just work really hard for the next few months, we will have so much peace of mind when our tiny man arrives.

You know, Dane and I just measured--and those bookshelves of my dreams are actually a bit too large for our room anyway. It is a purchase that would naturally have to wait for a little house in the future. I am feeling much better about that silly savings decision earlier.

I spent a while today also rebuilding our budget for the next few months, and it was wonderful. We definitely have some cushion and will meet our goals if we can stay on track for a little bit longer. Right now I am thankful for two parents who taught me that value of saving and being careful with money. They were able to pay cash for everything but their home, and they are wise and finance with 15-year mortgages, paying them off early as well. We lived comfortable, good lifestyles, and I hope to imitate what I have seen for so many years.

Dane and I did splurge this weekend and purchased a little bbq grill with money from the savings jar--nothing fancy by any means, but it is enough to encourage us to keep managing these apartments for another year or two. We are getting a bit stir-crazy, so having a useable space outdoors for the summer will make a huge difference for us! Onward and upward.

Poor Dane--once I am hooked on something finance-related, I just go crazy. I am an all-or-nothing kind of girl. My recent financial inspiration came from good old Dave Ramsey himself. I have been putting off his literature for a while because I have clashed a bit with a few of his ideas--however, after a good read of one book, I am pretty hooked. Of course, 95% of the book is really consistent with all financial authors I have found.

I was wondering if this idea is silly: I want to start a financial blog, where I chronicle (anonymously) my financial practices for better fitness and tie in statistics, tips and tricks, and sound money management advice all in one place. Is that a silly idea? I think I would take more time to make posts worth reading than I do here (of course). I could even have little guest-posters with their frugal ideas (couponing, furniture refinishing, cheap dates, etc.). If you made it all the way to the end of this, I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ready for Some Summer (or Warmer Weather)!

Today might have welcomed a bit of snow, but it was really pretty fabulous outside overall. What better can you do to welcome in some nice weather than throw some burgers on the grill?!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Time for a Little BUNCO

After a successful year of the avoidance of hosting Bunco, I finally gave in. Last month when the question regarding the host came up, there was silence. If anyone knows me well, they know that I will always volunteer to do something if no one shows interest within the first 30 seconds. Bunco is one of my favorite nights each month, and I must say that I still had a great time, even if I was worried to death about fitting 12 of us girls and 3 tables in my dining and living rooms. It helps when they are 11 of the kindest gals around.

I decided to attempt to dress up the usual Bunco stuff: the food area, the prizes, and all the Bunco necessities/tools. I wish I had thought about doing that sooner, but a few minutes and a couple of extra things seemed to work out okay. Please note: I am not yet a professional party planner--I think those people plan things out more than one hour in advance, a habit I still haven't discovered.

I am usually pretty competitive when it comes to Bunco--and let's be honest, there is really no strategy or skill involved whatsoever. I have practiced the art of "The Secret" a few times and really believe that some positive energy makes a big difference, as silly as that sounds. Anyway, I think I pretty much had the game of my life: I had 4, count 'em 4, Buncos--that is equal to about my grand total from previous times, and I also had the most wins. It was certainly a night to remember. Cali and some of the other girls will have to watch out because I am on a roll!

Of course the girls are really the most important part of Bunco. I am so grateful for how flexible and kind and fun they are! It ended up being a great night for me because of them!

And now we'll see just how long I can possibly go before my turn to host Bunco comes up yet again. It will be a breeze the second time around! Thanks to everyone for coming! It was good to see you all!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Add that to the Dictionary

Last week, after I wore different cardigans six days in a row, Dane dubbed an obvious wardrobe staple the "card-again."

Needless to say, he sang the famous cardigan line from Miley's "Party in the USA" one too many times.

I am in need of an intervention, especially after I wore yet another today. So, I am trying a new experiment for the chilly month of March this year--I will wear a new outfit each day of the month--no repeating cardigans or sweaters--all different clothing. This will give me an opportunity to be more creative with the clothes I do have, and it will help me to move away from my little obsession.

Oh, dear cardigan, how I do adore you!

Image found here.

Do you happen to have a favorite item of clothing?