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Pay Day


After a recent change at my company my husband and I now get paid every Friday.  It is sort of like being in high school again with a weekly paycheck.  I’m thankful for the timing of the change b/c it has helped make this all feel more doable. 

We each get $200 per week out of which we have to pay for groceries for a family of six (I’ve made HUGE strides in grocery spending since the first of the year), gas and anything else we need for the week.  I’m getting pretty good at making it a game for myself–to see how long I can hang on to the full $200.  This little game has already made an impact on decisions.  I was in such a terrible habit of using the debit card and not keeping track of the many swipes.  My goal is to use whatever I have left at the end of the week and pay down debt…even if it is only 10 bucks! 

It has also been a great lesson for the kids.  In this world of debit cards they’ve grown up in seeing cash is somewhat unusual for them.  The 12-year-old hadn’t gone into a gas station to pay cash for a tank of gas before—and that was a great experience for him, the other kids and me!  All of the kids are at a great age to learn from our new spending habits. 

So, it’s Friday night and I still have ten 20 dollar bills in my wallet.  🙂

Giving to Charity Debate?


Last week I talked about giving to charity. My husband and I had set a goal early last year to be more giving and we met our goal. I was surprised at how many readers commented on reasons NOT to give to charity while in debt. Most said they’d rather skip paying interest to the banks, making the banks richer, and reduce their own debt instead.


I disagree.

Looking at the numbers, taking nothing else into consideration, those readers are correct. Giving to charity delays debt payoffs and does mean you will be paying more in interest overall.

BUT, and it’s a big BUT, there will always be reasons to skip donating to charity.

I’m in debt. I need to pay off debt first.
I should pay off my mortgage. I could use that money headed to charity to reduce my mortgage and save interest.
I need to fully fund my emergency fund.
I need to save for my child’s college.
I need to save cash for my car.
I need to…

you get it.

If everyone believed in being debt free before donating to charity… only the rich would donate.

And, do you stick by those same beliefs for everything? Do you never go out to dinner? Do you never buy clothes unless absolutely necessary? Do you never waste a single dime while paying off debt?

I highly doubt it.

I don’t see giving to charity as an exercise solely for the charity. It’s an exercise for me. For my heart. For my obsessive frugality.

It keeps me from believing it’s always about ME.

If you still insist that giving money should never be done, then I encourage you to spend your time. Charities would love an extra set of hands… and it’s free.

So what is the consensus? Give money to charity while in debt? Or don’t?

Passing Down Traits…


After picking up my son, I arrived home tired from work last night. I schlepped off my formal work clothes and donned an oversized t-shirt, sweat pants, and fluffy pink slippers. Just thinking about making dinner was making me drag.

Baby boy started fussing a little, hungry for his dinner. I looked at him, smiled, and started asking him if he was hungry.

Asking him while singing in an opera voice.

I didn’t even realize I was doing it until about the fourth time singing, ‘AaaaaaAAAaaAAaaare you HuuuuUUUUuuuungry BoyyyyYYYYyyyYYY?’

I don’t sing opera. Um. Hubby would like to say I can’t sing at all. And before baby Cash was born, you wouldn’t catch me singing…ever. But here I was, standing in my living room, singing in an opera voice to my son.

And then I choked.

I have turned into my mother.

My whole life, my mother sang in an opera voice to children. I don’t think she’s capable of speaking to them, only singing. And I realized, I’ve picked up a lot of traits from my mother. That got me thinking, what traits will I pass to my children? I want them to be good, kind hearted, giving, etc. But what will they find themselves doing that says ‘I’ve turned into my mother!’? What stands out about me?

Will it be my goodness? My kindness? My giving?


I have a feeling Cash will be standing in the snack aisle screaming ‘I WILL NOT buy you!!’ to the Lays potato chips when he’s thirty.

I’ve got to start being the person I want my son to become.

I may never shake the singing thing… but maybe that’s not a bad thing. It reminds me that tiny little eyes are watching.

Cough, Ack! Spending!


My sister and sister-in-law have been AWESOME at supplying clothing for baby Cash. My sister shopped garage sales in Kansas and brought two suitcases full of clothing. My sister-in-law has been passing over the clothing from her little boy as he outgrows it. I have purchased precisely ONE top since his birth and it wasn’t out of necessity, it was simply a cute top that said ‘Take Me To My Mummy’ for Halloween.

The recent cold spell illuminated the holes on our kidlet’s wardrobe. The poor little dude, while loaded with adorable t-shirts, pants, and jackets, has no long sleeved shirts. We were ill prepared for our weekend at the coast and needed to grab some long sleeve onesies for the trip. I asked hubby to ‘run by Target for some cheap clothes’ thinking surely, it wouldn’t cost more than $20 for a dozen or so warm tops.

Clearly, I have never purchased kids clothing before. Eek.

$60 later, he had the long sleeved tops he needed, and our clothing budget was robbed for the year.

Needless to say, I plan on hitting up some garage sales in the future and being very, VERY nice to my sister and sister-in-law while begging for hand-me-downs.

Negotiating Vacation


My brother and my husband are both celebrating their 30th birthdays in the next few weeks so we are heading north for a weekend away. Whenever we take a trip, we typically stay in vacation homes or in REALLY cheap hotels/motels. Depending on the area, vacation homes are typically priced the same as or lower than local hotels but the added kitchen makes it convenient for cooking in rather than dining out.

I found a couple homes I liked and contacted the owners. One owner offered her home at a 30% discount since it’s a last minute booking but she wasn’t in the best area of town. Before Dave Ramsey, I probably would have booked the discounted one and never thought to negotiate with the homes I’d rather stay at.

Oh how times have changed.

I went directly to the best place and asked them to beat the price. What could it hurt?

Not only was I able to get the home we wanted deeply discounted, I was able to negotiate the refundable deposit to 75% less.

Hubby worked an extra side job and we have the whole weekend away covered with cash. Can’t wait!

No Food, No Cash, and No Active Accounts…


Even though we promised not to, my husband occasionally surprises me with a gift on our anniversary. He’ll usually save a small amount of cash from his second job and buy something really thoughtful and sweet. This year, he purchased something but was unable to pay cash for it since it was out of state. He didn’t want me to see where the gift was coming from so he went to Western Union and put it on our debit card.

What he didn’t know? Transactions from Western Union automatically shut down our account for possible fraudulent activity – even though the charge was less than $100. No charges, no cash out, AND no online access. I didn’t know why the account was shut down and I couldn’t check the transactions online.

Being the naturally calm, level-headed person I am, I called my hubby to tell him our identities were stolen, we were destined for a life of poverty because of a thief, we wouldn’t be able to buy food for weeks, and we’ll die from slow starvation.

Accustomed to my overreacting downward spirals, he hung up on me, called the bank, and had the whole thing sorted out in less than 5 minutes. BUT, it would take them 24 hours to turn the cards back on and enable online access. Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal but since this week is payday, our cash grocery fund has about 12 cents and the fridge is empty.

Dinner tonight? Pita bread and tomato soup. Breakfast tomorrow? Pita bread and tomato soup. Lunch tomorrow? Pita bread and tomato soup.

It’s going to be a long 24 hours.

Lesson learned? No more Western Union.

Meet Our Son…


Some of you have been asking about the baby so I thought I’d do one last non-debt related baby post and introduce you to our son.

A couple Friday’s ago, I wet my pants. Embarrassed about my newfound incontinence, I changed my shorts and didn’t tell a soul. Saturday morning, I woke up to wet pants again. Horrified, I changed again. That afternoon, I went to a wedding reception, finished last minute baby supply shopping, and cleaned around the house.

It wasn’t until Sunday, when talking to my husband in our dining room, that more water went running down my legs onto the floor. His eyes grew to the size of saucers, ‘Did your water just break?!?!’

‘Hmm. Is THAT what that’s been the last few days?’ I asked myself out loud.

‘The last few DAYS?!?!?’ he said as he grabbed my hospital bag ‘We’re going to the hospital NOW.’

‘Eh. I’m going to hop in the shower, shave my legs, and put on my make-up first’ I said as I headed to the bedroom.

He stared at me.

‘What??’ I asked.

Rather than fight, and get nowhere, he decided to make quesadillas while I got ready. I could hear him yelling ‘Are you ready YET?!?’ about every 5 minutes from the kitchen.

I think babies know when you get to the hospital because as soon as I walked through the doors…

YOWEEE!! contractions started.

A couple hours later after two particularly nasty contractions, I asked for an epidural and immediately fell asleep.

Fast forward a few more hours, the nurse woke me up to check the progress and discovered baby was ready to go.

The on call doctor strolled in, shook my hand, instructed me to push 5 or 6 times and…

out the baby came…painlessly.

When the doc put my beautiful baby boy on my stomach, all I could think was…

‘Um. Is that it? No seriously. I’ve had root canals that were a heck of a lot more painful. I think I’m missing something.’

My husband looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, ‘You are such a strong woman! Not a peep or pained scream from you! I’m so proud of you’ as he kissed my forehead.

‘Pain? Oh. Um. Yeah. It was, uh, horrible. I thought I might die’ I said.

Shh. He doesn’t need to know.

Sure, there were a few minor complications. Since my water had been broken for a few days, baby and I had to go on antibiotics. I spiked a fever over 100 and my blood pressure seemed to set off the alarms every couple hours when it would drop to 60/40. But overall, very minor stuff.

I was fortunate to have a really awesome delivery experience and I’ll be one of those women who look back and smile when I think of that day.

It’s true. No one can express what it feels like to finally meet your child. Sure, there’s a little bit of terror, but mostly an overwhelming sense of love. I have been so very blessed.

So what did we name him?

Well folks, I’d like to introduce you to…

Cash Ryan