Thursday, October 28, 2010

Music Therapy Thursdays... Defying Gravity

I'm a pretty big fan of the Wicked Witch of the West. Today's version of Music Therapy Thursday pays tribute to her (and my chosen Halloween costume this year!). Thanks to Lori and Melissa for introducing me to "Wicked." I think this version that Idina does is absolutely beautiful. If you are unfamiliar with the song (or the musical) you MUST listen to the words of this song. It is one of my FAVES!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Money Matters Monday

Well, it's been a week since I've put our family BACK on a budget and I'm here today to give you an update. One thing that I had forgotten from the last time I lived by a budget, was to leave myself a little "wiggle room." Note to self: not leaving enough cash to handle the things that will inevitably pop up during the week will have you running around like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying desperately to pull off some creative financing. It's NOT a pretty sight....

No worries, though. I pride myself on being the Queen of penny pinching. So with a few little tweaks to the budget (and a raid of my piggy bank!), it all worked out in the end. You laugh, but there are several ways that I can think of where you can get your hands on some "free" money in a hurry. Here's some of my tried and true faves:

1. The Yard Sale: Many people shy away from having them because they think it's too much trouble. I've just about got the whole thing down to a science as I have two every year. On a later post, I'll give you the deets on how to have a successful yard sale. For now, know that you are sitting on hundreds of dollars of unused stuff that is just taking up space in your closet and in your garage. That's right. HUNDREDS...

2. Roll Those Coins: I keep an old coffee can to hold the spare change that I collect from all over the house. If change is left in plain sight, it's mine! Money found in the laundry... mine! And yes, I've even found money in the couch. All mine! When you start using "cash only" instead of the check card, the change starts to add up. Get some paper rolls from the bank and roll those babies up! A friend of mine actually buys her Christmas presents with the CHANGE she saves throughout the year. Impressive, I know.

3. Sell Your Gold: I've done this a couple of times. That one little hoop earring that's lost it's mate, the ring your boyfriend from college bought you for Christmas, that broken neclace... that's money in your pocket. Gold is at an all time high right now, and many jewelers advertise with little signs in their windows if they buy gold. If you are unsure if yours does, give them a call. They can at least put you in the right direction. It can be VERY profitable. I would advise staying away from the tv advertisements and stick to your local jewelry shop, though, just to be on the safe side.

4. Selling Online: I heart E-Bay. I've never actually sold anything on there, :) , but several of my friends have. Sites like this and Craigslist are good places for getting a little more money for your stuff, as opposed to selling at a yard sale. I've been thinking I might sell some of my rubber stamps from my extensive collection when I decide which one's I can part with. When I do, I'll let ya know how it goes.

So there you have it: four easy ways to get yourself some cash in hand. Whether it's for a bill, for your savings, or for an emergency fund, go find some stuff that's taking up valuable real estate in your home and turn it into M-O-N-E-Y!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Music Therapy Thursday.....Ahoooooo!

If this doesn't put you in the mood for some Halloween festivities, I don't know what will! Enjoy today's version of "Music Therapy Thursday" by the late, great Warren Zevon. Everybody, now: "AHOOOOOOOO.......!" :D

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mondays and Money... A Double Whammy!

I've been talking to a couple of friends lately and MONEY seems to be hot topic around most households. Well, the lack thereof would be a more fitting topic it seems. I'm so sick of hearing about the economy and how the country is getting deeper and deeper into debt. What do we expect from our government when any one of us on any given pay period has to "steal from Peter to pay Paul?"

Most everyone I know lives paycheck to paycheck and none of us ACT like we do. We are all out buying new cars, traipsing all over town while paying out the wazoo for gas, and indulging our every whim with a little retail therapy. And that's just the grown-ups. We run out the first chance we get to buy little Johnny and Jane whatever their hearts desire, or worse: make sure they have whatever the brat down the street has so our little sweets won't be "left out." Pathetic. To coin a Dave Ramsey phrase, we are going broke trying to keep up with other broke people. Well, I'm DONE.

Last week I sat down and made out a budget (I know... it's such an ugly word) and frankly, I was SHOCKED to find how much of our hard earned money gets put into the "miscellaneous" category, and even MORE SHOCKED to tally up the balances on ALL of my credit cards. I had not done this in a while and it was sobering. I suggest you do it too and then we can both look around together and compare what we actually have to show for all that spending. Here's a hint: A BIG FAT BUNCH OF NOTHING, THAT'S WHAT!!!

I'm mad, can ya tell? And it's at myself, mostly. I KNOW what to do, WHY don't I do it?!?! I mean, I have already taken Dave Ramsey's seminar on Financial Peace SIX years ago. Sometimes you just have to get sick and tired of being sick and tired (another one from Dave) and I guess I reached it today when after carefully budgeting our moolah for the next two weeks, I find a lonely little bill that somehow slipped into obscurity and did not get paid. UGHHH!!! Don't you HATE it when that happens?! I know I'm not the only one. ;)

So after ranting on and on (sorry, I can get wordy) I'm on the wagon again. Yep. I'm on a budget ((wince)) and I have calculated that it is going to take approximately FIVE years ((gasp, gasp)) to become totally debt free (excluding the house). I'll dedicate my Mondays to blog about my Fiscal Fitness (did you see what I did there?? :D) and other money matters I may be facing. C'mon, let's get out of debt together!!! Who's with me??? To print out a sample budget to get started, head on over to It's an amazing website.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Have Decided....

As I begin to address the ever-growing laundry pile in my laundry room, I am going to thank God that my family has clothes to wear on chilly mornings like today.

When I move to the kitchen to load and unload the dishwasher (again), wipe down the counters (again), and clean off the table and sweep (AGAIN), I'm going to thank God that our refrigerator is full and for the delicious supper that we had last night.

When I start to pick up the kids' toys and games and books that are strewn about the house, I'm going to thank God that my husband has a job and can buy us not only the things we need, but also the things we want.

When I change the sheets on the beds today, I'm going to think about the people who don't have a home to come home to or a soft bed to sleep on at night. I will pray for them and thank God for mine.

As I begin to grumble about the hardships of caring for a child with special needs, I'm going to thank God for the progress that science has made through medicine, surgery, and equipment, making any semblance of a normal life for us possible.

Thank you, God. You have blessed me with more than I deserve. Help me to continue to see you and your blessings in the details of my daily life. Amen....