Tag Archives: Dave Ramsey

Partying “Inside the Lines”

halvahLast week I wrote about the party tithe and how I was going to take 10% of my net income and use it for whatever would give me pleasure.  As it turned out, there wasn’t much that I wanted to spend my cash on.  Suddenly the muffins I’d been buying quite regularly – with debit, credit or gift cards – lost their appeal.  It was kind of weird.  I’d walk by the Local Roast, look at what was on offer and walk on.  The only thing that I ended up buying all week was a bar of Halvah.

I like halvah and it’s relatively good for you with all those sesame seeds, but I am trying to remember that too much of a good thing is not good.  So I only buy this at my local Planet Organic store – and only when I need to get things there.  (This week Kefir starter was the draw!) .  I have to say that I really enjoyed it – but I know that’s because it’s not something I buy every day.

So, what happens to the leftovers of the party tithe?  In the Bible, the party tithe was used only once a year.  I’ve opted to keep the change in my wallet and I put the bills in my suitcase.  That way I’ll have some “party money” for my next trip, which is coming up in April!

Part Two: (January 17, 2013)

I wrote this post last week, just before a huge paycheck which included a great many holiday hours.  Let me tell you, its been a while since I had a paycheque over a $1000.  Because I have two jobs, I do have the luxury of  getting something in my bank account every week.  This week that second paycheque was very small because I didn’t work over the Christmas break.  Still, I am able to give, save and celebrate!  For example, this week I matched the amount I put into my “Savings Game” account.  The “party money”  is only $24 this week, but since I haven’t been spending most of it anyways, this is not a big deal.  It’s nice to be saving some of it to enjoy later when I visit my family!

All I can say just now is that I am enjoying this financial discipline.  And I’m enjoying the benefits of being debt-free and able to do the things I really want to do.

If  you have debt issues, here’s the system that helped me: Dave Ramsey’s Snowball  I’ve also read and re-read his book, The Total Money Makeover which helped me create an emergency fund and continues to encourage me day to day.

What I’m learning now is to “party inside the lines” – using the 10% figure in cash to help me.  It’s easy to go way outside the lines with lattes, smoothies from Jugo Juice and snacks here and there when they go on a debit card or plastic.  This way I know where I am and what I want to spend it on!

Have a great day!

Marcia

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A Toast to Payday!

About a year ago I had almost $3800 in debt.  Of course it was in my line of credit – which has a lower interest rate than a credit card.  None the less, it was a debt and I owed it.   Mom, if you are reading this – no comments.  I know that’s hard to do because I have a daughter too, and I make too many comments to her.  Just saying that I know what’s on the tip of your tongue.

To be honest, I’ve been working on the debt issue for several years – especially motivated by Dave Ramsey and his Debt Snowball and the blog, Get Rich Slowly – and I finally managed to get rid of the whole kit and kaboodle this summer.  I’d been steadily whittling away at the sum, paying a chunk every pay cheque, observing the total diminishing, as did the amount of interest I was paying on the debt.  It felt good.  Finally, this summer I had to make another work adjustment at Co-op and they paid out my vacation pay!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was a huge chunk of change and enough to bring the figure under $400.  By September it was done.

Now in theory the amount of money I was no longer feeding to my debt account should have gone into a savings account.  I mean, after all, the next savings step is 3 – 6 months of expenses, right?  Well, let me tell you that it didn’t and probably for many people doesn’t go quite as planned.  There’s a sense of freedom and release when everything is in the black – and somehow saving gets forgotten – or at least it did by me.   And then this picture started making the rounds on Facebook:

52-week-savings-planIt’s pretty basic and it’s been shared by several blogs, but I got this image from Survival Mom.  Several of my friends posted it, and I sure hope they follow through.  There is a lot less stress when you have savings – even when you are in debt.  However, I wanted to crank up my savings rate just a little, so about two weeks ago I opened another savings account.  (I bank with President’s Choice so this is pretty easy to set up online).  And because I am fortunate not to have any debts at the moment, no young children at home, and no major expenses in the future, I am starting at the top of the chart and staying there.  $52 per paycheque gets transferred to my “pay yourself first” fund and because I usually have a payday every Friday, I can do this every week.

I am sure that many people want to save more money than they are currently saving.  Starting small and working your way up is a great way to start.  Maybe I should even start adding a dollar a week in the new year.  Just thinking of saving $100 per week is a little scary for me at the moment- I need to think about that.  On the other hand we could just keep increasing that dollar a week or paycheque until it was just too hard and stay at that number for a while.

I’ve set a goal of saving $5000 this year – and flying to Toronto twice.  I’ll keep  you posted.

I wonder if I could add a savings thermometer to this blog!

Have a wonderful day!  And a Happy New Year!

Marcia

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Where does all the money go?

Today was payday, and of course all my bills are now paid up and I’ve got a little bit for groceries.  Actually, compared to some others in Calgary I’ve got a lot. It just amazes me how fast it all goes!

So here’s a bit of a breakdown.

$200 a paycheque goes to paying down the debt.  Praise God, there’s only one left and thanks to the debt snowball, it’s being brought down nicely.  If all goes according to plan we should be done with that in 21 paychecks.  I do want to have this paid for before my cruise!

$550 a paycheque  goes to short term savings.  That includes half of my rent and money for next week’s groceries.  This is probably my best money strategy.  Unless there is some major emergency in my life, I am rarely broke.

I have three savings accounts that get fed $20 each as well.  These are the Christmas fund, the vacation fund and the Long Term Fund.  I’m not exactly sure what that is for just now – just recently it paid my course tuition. Maybe it will go towards grandbaby needs.

My biggest challenge this week is to save on groceries while increasing the purity levels of the foods I eat – made from scratch with as much organic food as possible.  Here’s a blog post from Get Rich Slowly that I’m going to be following.  I also intend to check out this vendor at the Kingsland Farmers Market.  Probably next weekend, when I’m off!  Looking forward to that!

This isn’t a “detailed, itemized” spending report.  It’s probably a way for me to focus on the realities of my own finances in the hope that it helps someone else!

Have a great day!

Marcia

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Motivate and Live…

First of all I’m going to post a picture.  Clicking the picture will send you to one of the blogs I try to read every day.

  I think this post summarizes quite nicely what I’d like to say about what I’ve been reading in my Napoleon Hill this week and last.

There was first of all the call to control my mind.  I need to be more aware of my choices and also my control over them.  Take last night’s peanut butter “binge” for example.  Sure I was tired, I was coldish, I was for lack of a better word, “blah”.  I could have made different choices.  I just didn’t bother to make them.   However, now that I’ve made those “less than stellar” choices, it’s time to move forward.

This weeks chapter talks about having a burning desire to achieve something.  Apparently it’s something I can create.  But how?

Dave Ramsey talks about “gazelle intensity” when working the debt snowball.  I don’t have that either.  I just keep plodding along, eliminating credit card after credit card until they will be all gone!  (Two left, one of which is almost done!)

In this third chapter, Hill mentions Henry Ford and John Wanamaker and he concludes it with a quote from Mr. Wanamaker

I acquired the education I needed the same way a locomotive takes on water – I scooped it up as I ran!

So here are the three steps I need to take in order to change:

  1. Start where you stand – knowing what I know, being who I am, looking as I look…
  2. Make the best of what I do have – employments, physical health, and all the many gifts God has blessed me with!
  3. Trust that what I need will be available when I need it.

Now I need to jump in and get going!

I do hope this is helpful to you.  I know I need to sit down and make some plans for the next week, based on this!

Have a great day, stay warm if you’re in Alberta and wherever it’s still frigid out!

Marcia

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Looking Back – and some Oopsies!

Last payday I accidently sent a payment to a wrong account – all because I didn’t delete the company from my list of bills.  I’ve learnt my lesson from that and today I got to delete another bill.  This is important, as I usually pay bills while drinking my first cup of coffee, not after!

Today I made a different mistake – and again I’ll blame the coffee.  I paid a bill twice.  Fortunately it was a credit card, but it temporarily deprived me of downsizing another debt – one of the last ones!

I solved the problem by using the credit card to purchase a gift card at Co-op, which I have used for buying my bus tickets and will use for groceries on Monday.

What I failed to do was plan my “bill paying” which I usually do before pay-day.  If I had looked back, I would have realized that I did cover the transaction I used the card for.  Then I would have paid the right bill.

What I learned:  There’s always a way to solve the problem.  My first mistake cost me $10 to fix.  This mistake actually gives me some rewards points.

However, as the year comes to a close, I am pleased with my results.  Back in April I paid off my oldest debt.  Take one bill off the list.  Paying off this debt was counter-intuitive – it had the lowest interest rate and the lowest balance.  But PSYCHOLOGICALLY it was the most burdensome.  I’m glad it’s gone.  In August I paid off my riskiest debt – one of those “No interest for 2 years” kind of deals.  Now I’ve paid off my other credit card and I’m working soley on the Line of Credit.

The nice thing about being at this phase in the process is that the bites are getting bigger – about $200 per pay check.  I’m hoping to be finished this process by the end of the year – and paying off my cruise as well.

I’ll continue to keep you posted, mostly on Fridays, but I can tell you this – Debt Snowballing, in whatever order you chose to do it, is very exciting!

So, don’t give up.  Keep working at it.  There will be a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see it just yet!

I will probably write some kind of reflective post – it’s kind of the thing to do, but in case I spend more time quietly reflecting than I plan, I do  want to wish you all a wonderful New Year, full of grace, blessing and growth.  God has been very, very good and I am grateful.

Marcia

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Gift Cards and the Emergency Fund

(A Financial Friday kind of post)

‘Tis the season to give and recieve gift cards.  From a corporate perspective this makes a lot of sense. Rather than buying “stuff” that may not be necessary, your employees can use the card to get the things they need or want. 

My Gift Card Collection

My Gift Card Collection

And I don’t think these are it for the year.  But it doesn’t matter.  They are money that I can spend that I didn’t earn.

The SportChek card will go towards a new pair of running shoes, as I sign up for another year at the gym.  The extra $50 will help me buy a better quality shoe or take part in their 50% off deal (Check your flyers!)

The Calgary Co-op cards will, however,  be spent on food.  Originally I had intended to keep them at home but the “what if’s” started running through my head:

  • What if they melted in a fire?
  • What if they expired?
  • What if I lost them?
  • What if I forgot they were there?

You get the picture. Silly worries, but they led me to a different solution.  Yesterday I transferred the value of the Co-op cards to my ING account.  That’s where my emergency/cruise money is sitting.

On Monday morning I’m going to shop until I drop.  I’m thinking that my groceries will come to about $100 with the turkey.  We’ll check that out next week!  In addition to my gift cards I have some coupons which should save me about $20.

So here’s the main idea:  What if you took the cash value of your new gift cards and coupons and transferred it to your emergency fund, or your cruise fund, or whatever other project you have on tap?  If you’re having trouble building the fund, this may be a part of the solution.  People who are giving you these cards can be giving  you an emergency fund instead.  How nice of them!

I hope this  is as helpful to you as it is to me.  Except in my case, they’re giving me part of my cruise!

In the meantime, here’s the next adventure in the continuing saga of the silver star!  “Muddlers”
[Originally broadcast 15 December 1937 — 2.83mb, 12:22]
Judy and Jimmy use their one wish, given by the Wishing Well, to get rescue Cinnamon Bear, and now they can’t fix their Silver Star with the Wishing Well’s magic. While trying to get out of the Wishing Woods, they encounter the Muddlers and the River of Mud.

Have a great day!

Marcia

PS: TOPS weigh-in and I was down a pound.  Now I’m focusing on the next one! Had a good work-out at the gym!

PPS:  This post was inspired by Get Rich Slowly’s posting earlier this week.

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Pebblestones and Milestones

How far is it still?

Well, it’s one mile to Holt.  Milestones answer questions about destinations.  Where will I get to if I continue on this path?  I’ll get to Holt and I’m only a mile away.  Important information if you have to go to the bathroom, desperately need a coffee, or have a mortal enemy in said town (in which case you might want to turn around!)  What’s your destination?

My cousin Christy is on the same journey that I am on.  We are both on the road to “Smaller Clothes”  So is my friend Terri.  We have milestones along the way.   Christy gloriously posted on Facebook that “Her first number is officially a 1”  That’s a mile stone I want to get to.  It’s big and it’s significant in that I haven’t been able to say that for too many years now!  I want to say it and it’s only 25 pounds away.

Yesterday at the gym I learned that most Albertans plan to retire debt free at 62.  That’s a milestone goal too. I’ve got about $5000 to pay off and 10 years.

Any journey has a destination.  Some journeys are long and some are short.  But they all have stops along the way.  These are your milestones and they are usually big and significant, to you if no-one else!

I am reading (Thanks to a post at http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/) SWITCH  – How to Change Things when Change is Hard  While many of the examples relate to business, they all relate to people and that makes for interesting reading.  Right now I’m reading about making small changes to reach for a big goal.  (Think Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball or Flylady’s 5 minute room rescue or 27 fling boogie!)  Fred Heath (the father of the authors of the aforementioned book) used to tell his IBM teams this:

When milestones seemed too distant,look for inch pebbles instead.

(That’s on page 136 in the book!)  Inch pebbles, or “pebble-stones” as I call them are the little things we do on a regular, consistent and daily basis to get to our milestones. 

Financial Example: Every paycheque I feed my debts $200.  This makes them smaller.  I am that much closer to being debt free.  Each debt paid off is a milestone.  So far I’ve knocked off two of them.  I have a chart on my bulletin board that tracks my pebbles – every $100 I pay down equals a smiley face!


Weight-loss Example: My destination is of course to weigh about 150 pounds and reach my goal.  In TOPS lingo I want to become a KOPS who “keeps off pounds sensibly”.  Every 10 pounds I lose (“the second number is a  ___”) is a mile marker.  “My first number is officially a ONE is a mile stone.  Every loss in between, every visit to the gym, every sensible morsel of food – those are the pebbles along the way – all important because without them I’m not going to get to the destination.
One thing I don’t always like about self-help books is that they give you “homework” so this is optional, but helpful:  Pick  a destination.  Then find some milestones along the way.  Then find the  pebbles (actions) that will get you there.  Have fun.  Find some rocks and put them on your counter!

Here’s a link round-up for this blog.  Not all my posts will have them, but I thought it would be helpful.  I hope they work:

Get Rich Slowly: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/ and the post that made me read the book: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/09/20/logic-and-emotion-why-smart-money-management-isnt-just-about-math/

Fly Lady http://www.flylady.com/index.asp  Marla Cilley is a pro at helping to create pebblestones.

Dave Ramsey and the Debt Snowball: www.daveramsey.com Dave’s Total Money Makeover is very helpful for setting the financial mile and pebble stones!

More about the authors of Switch?  Check out http://www.heathbrothers.com/ where you’ll find their blog, freebies, and more.

See you somewhere!


Marcia


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