A little faith and a lot of love go a long way…

Money and More

Of course this entry will be somewhat Pinterest related…however I thought I’d explain a bit about my family’s quest to become debt free. In January of 2012 Byron and I had the opportunity to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church. What a blessing! We weren’t going on extravagant vacations or making big purchases before this life-changing experience, but we were nickel-and-diming ourselves…and couldn’t figure out why we never had enough money. So long story short, throughout our experience with FPU, we were able to become credit card debt free and we have stayed that way. (We didn’t have a ton of credit card debt, but enough that we were uncomfortable.) Our biggest debt, besides our mortgage, is student loans. We have about 4 billion dollars in student loans. Ok, maybe not that much but it sure feels like it. Between Byron’s associate’s degree that took 3 years (he just had to get kicked out of his first school so he finished at another…long story), my bachelor’s, and my master’s, we owe Uncle Sam some serious cash. Our big plan was to start paying that as soon as we got the credit card debt taken care of. Not so. You see, we are a family of 4. I work full-time as a teacher. Byron works part-time and is a full-time stay at home Daddy. And then our house fell apart. Seriously….new roof needed, van needed major repairs and most recently, our bathroom caved in. It’s been…fun…so we haven’t paid on any more debt in the past couple months…HOWEVER we also haven’t accrued any new debt (besides the interest accruing on the student loans), which is a major accomplishment in our eyes. We will get there one day…we will be debt free. It’s just gonna take some time.

So how does Pinterest tie in with us being so broke we can’t pay attention? Well, I wanted us to be super organized to help us with our finances and just around the house…so I got the idea of a “family life binder” from Pinterest and I made one! It’s got calendars, to-do lists, cleaning lists, meal plan lists, shopping lists, etc…it’s been pretty helpful, especially since during the school year Byron and I don’t see each other much with me working days and him nights/weekends…we can look at the binder and see if things have been done or still need to be done, add things to a grocery list, etc. without actually having to talk…because we don’t get to do much of that from August to June.

Our family life binder

Next, I saw all these pins about people freezing meals in bulk.  So I figured I’d give it a try. I have made breakfast burritos, tuna casserole, and Byron made lasagna, all frozen and ready to go.  (Stop giving a side-eye to the tuna casserole…I don’t care how bad tuna smells, I will eat it. Don’t judge me.) Typically I buy cheap frozen meals to heat up for lunches while I work but this will be a little tastier and hopefully help save moola.  It didn’t cost much to make at all in fact. Most of the ingredients for things we already had. We still haven’t figured out how to do healthy on a budget. We are on a pretty strict food budget and it’s not much at all for a family of 4.  Plus Byron and I agreed when we started this that our kids will not have to make sacrifices. Our financial decisions are our responsibility, not theirs. So we try to keep things as healthy as possible for them, but that means we eat lots of pb & j and cheap frozen meals. Don’t mistake this though – I am not complaining one bit. It’s our decision to budget our money the way we have and do this. It works for us right now and we are fine with it.

Tuna Casserole…don’t be a hater!

You may be asking yourself, (as I would certainly be), why is this chick blogging about being frugal when she’s got some hot pink fake nails?! You are correct…I get my nails done.  Correction:  I used to get my nails done.  Then I didn’t for a couple years for financial reasons…then last week I started again.  We decided (yes, my husband has a say in my nails…it’s his money too) that it was time to budget for me to be able to do it again.  No, I am not a diva.  Here’s the truth – I have anxiety and when my nails aren’t professionally done and fake then my hands look like a wild animal mauled them. It’s very embarrassing for me and causes even more anxiety so this summer we had to make some other financial decisions and it led to us being able to budget for this and thinking it was enough of a priority to put our money towards. The end.

The next few things aren’t really related to money…just Pinterest.  Oh well, it’s my blog and I’ll pin if I want to! 😉 Layered jello is my new favorite thing thanks to Pinterest. Just because it’s pretty. (I’m not a huge jello fan, but the Gorilla likes it and I’ll eat it if it’s around.) I’ve made a couple different batches over the past couple months, all different colors. It take time for each layer to set but is otherwise easy. I do other stuff while the layers set.

Layered Jello

We also had some friends over this summer and instead of ice/cooler we had a laundry basket and filled it with frozen water balloons for a more festive feel. It was pretty festive…until some of the bottles ripped through the balloons that were melting and water filled the bottom of the basket. Ah well!

No ice for us…just frozen balloons…that you really can’t even see…oops

At the same little fiesta I did Pinterest-inspired treats…raspberries stuffed with white chocolate chips, inside out chocolate strawberries, and fruit cones. Big hits and EASY.  SCORE!


Speaking of finances though, I officially go back to work tomorrow and the school year officially starts Wednesday…so it’s off to bed…wish me luck!

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