Saturday, November 08, 2008

If I could make my brain type.

I write the best blog posts in the moments right before I fall asleep. Really, I do. I don't think anyone can succeed if their best work happens in their head, right?

Maybe I'll get back to the one I was thinking of last night, it had spoons and bread and bed partners... I know! Riveting.

Clay told me he likes my narrative posts much better than the photo journal blips. I think I whined a lot about how hard it is to write a good post because I get interrupted so many times, for I'm a very important person with lots of people wanting me to wipe their butts and feed them processed food. Geesh, the pressure.

We went out to eat last night, like on a date. It's been a long time since we've had a date, you know, because we are now the most frugal people on the planet. Which reminds me, I need to tell you how we're doing on the whole debt payment shindig and that means I'm going to start bullet pointing.

- We haven't used a credit card for over six months.

- The hardest thing I've found is to keep us fed. It's a huge temptation to go out to eat after sports and after church or go get a treat after school. It's a pain, but we save a lot of money not eating convenience foods.

-I'm personally challenging myself not to buy any new clothes until my birthday, which is in April, hence the name. Right after I made this decision the strap on my favorite bra disintegrated right off my shoulder. So, I'm down to two bras for the next five months. Not pretty.

-Other people bust my budget. It's something I'm struggling with. It's hard to plan for other people asking the kids to go do something or being asked to contribute to this gift and that gift. This month we're adding a category to our budget for this purpose and hopefully it will help.

-No. No. No. It's a little word, but I use it a lot.

-We're taking Dave Ramsey's class, Financial Peace University, it's very helpful and has kept us motivated. Especially Clay, I've never seen him so determined or excited about our financial well being.

-Levi can't say Dave. He calls is our Damn Ramsey class.

-There are days when I call it our Damn Ramsey class.

-I can say Dave just fine.

-Christmas is coming. We need a good plan. I've got everyone taken care of except my children.

-I can't write what I want to do for them because they read my blog.

-Damn Ramsey says, "Christmas is a craft". I'm going to be giving food gifts to teachers, like our jams, breads. pork and eggs. I just read how to make homemade vanilla here. How fun is that? I would love to get that as a gift. It's on my to do list.

Now, who's got a great money saving tip or idea to share? Post them in my comments or leave us a link to your blog and write us a post.

I love using our library for entertainment. We no longer use Blockbuster or Netflix. We love movies, so this has saved us a lot of money and forced us to watch some great classics.


Clayvessel aka Fleur Cakes said...

Good vanilla beans are VERY expensive and it takes the savings away from making your own extract, unless you get the lower quality ones on ebay. I bought a bunch really cheap. (I forget but something like 100 for $15) They were short and dry rather than long and plump like you want for baking fine desserts. The short dry ones work fine for making extract, you just need to use more. You better get moving if you want to do it for Christmas though. The extract needs to brew for 6 or more weeks. The longer the better the flavor.

Last year I made some Kahlua (also very easy - you use cheap vodka, rum, brown sugar and coffee) and gave it as Christmas gifts to a few people. Love it in my coffee!

Jenni said...

LOL, Damn Ramsey indeed. I haven't read any of his books or taken his class. I looked at the FPU (good thing for P!) online and it was more than I wanted to spend at the moment because, you know, I need to pay down debt. I just keep reading tips from people who have or are taking his class and I'm going to look for some books at the library.

This is a difficult time of year because I love giving gifts. I love giving gifts even more than I love getting gifts. Even though we have never spent a whole lot on even our kids (at least compared to some), it adds up when you have four kids and the friggin' property taxes that the county keeps hiking up are due at the same time. So, I'm making some gifts, but probably not so much for my kids. It's harder to make gifts teenagers will appreciate. (And I mean truly enjoy. They always appreciate any gift and are very sweet kids.) What to do, what to do?

I will tell you this. It is not generally cheaper to make aprons as gifts unless you just already have fabric and all the thread and doodahs on hand. It is *really* not cheaper to make aprons as gifts if you buy all the stuff to make them and then let it sit unfinished in your closet for a year. Better get to making those aprons I planned to make last year. And the ones I planned to make a few months ago. And those pillows. And the felted wool items I bought all those sweaters from Goodwill for. Ugh. I have a problem. Okay problemS, but we're just talking about this one now. This has been a nice therapy session. Please don't charge me. I need that money for the kids' Christmas presents.

Tina Miles said...

I've started saving ideas of homemade I need to pick. If anyone needs ideas, here are two sites:


Rhea said...

I was born in April too. It's an awesome month for a birthday. And a nice birthstone...

Good for you for handling your debt so proactively! I hate debt. Putting a husband through law school accumulates a lot though.

Psuedokim said...

Funny this is the topic of your post today - it was mine this morning's as well! We are having a leaner week than usual this week, so I shared a bunch of tried and true methods and fun things to do when you're broke!
I am very interested in looking into the Damn Ramsey course though!

ElleBee said...

I love "Damn Ramsey". Of course, I can't completely get my husband on board, so we're having a bit of conflict. Anyway, I'm actually making the vanilla for Christmas gifts. It's been in my pantry for a week. I found some good vanilla beans at Costco, got 14 for $11.99, and they're really good. Hopefully my friends and family will love the homemade baskets they're getting! I'm also making garlic-rosemary olive oil.

Lori R said...

We've been trying to live frugally for years. I tell my hubby every day he's so lucky to have me for a wifey because I hate shopping for clothes (now books, on the other hand...)
My big tip is (wait for it, wait for it) stay out of the malls. They just make you want stuff (junk) you don't need. Remind yourself that every doodad you bring home you're going to have to store or dust. If you hate dusting as much as I do, this little reminder should help you reduce your spending.
Also, on the subject of Christmas, go to the library and find Unplug the Christmas Machine. It's a great book!

Miss Lila in Atlanta said...

Good afternoon from Atlanta, Ga April.
I sure enjoy your blog. Also read your sisters everyday. I don't always comment, (I'm trying to get better at it) but trust I read you every day and wait with bated or baited breath till a new one comes out.
Have a blessed Sunday.
Miss Lila

Becky Meyers said...

april, homemade vanilla takes a while to sit b4 its ready...i am doing that for christmas this year too. i have two vodka bottles of it almost ready. it is very fun!!

Southern Gal said...

I checked out Total Money Makeover from our church library. I'm trying not to go out and buy a copy. Trying to be frugal, you know.

I'm fortunate to have a husband who never let us get into huge debt...only one credit card for emergencies that gets paid off immediatey and house and cars only. Now he's seen the light about buying new cars. Just paid off the last vehicle yesterday. YES! So we're working on paying off braces and saving for implants for the middle child with the debt snowball method.

It sounds like you're doing a good deal of the things we're doing. No eating out. Homemade gifts. Budgeting. Coupons are a big help.
Stick with it and breathe easier soon.


Leila said...

I'm all about frugality, yet we are still in debt.
I always say, "God gave us many blessings but money isn't one of them!
The best tip I have is one you probably have already done: to transfer your credit card balances to a card that offers 0% or at most 1.99% and then put that card in your desk drawer and never use it! said...

use - it'll teach you everything you need to know get everything free (or near free) at stores like CVS, Target, Kroger, etc.

April said...

Hey I'm making vanilla right now! I got some very yummy and affordable beans from

~the Other

thehiers said...

Hey April, We are still gazelle intense. It's nice to know someone is going through the same thing we are. We have been on the plan for a year now. Still on baby step #3. I bet Richard and Clay would have had some lively discussions on Damn Ramsey out in the narthex if y'all hadn't moved. like no one else, so your kids can live like no one else! Tip: listen to Damn's podcast to stay motivated. Miss you, Annie

Lori said...

Hey April,

Love your blog. I'm going all debt free out here in California as well. I also like the book "Debt Free Living" by Mary Hunt. Very Dave Ramseyish with a few differences. The best tip I have is to have a good budget. I was never good at this until I recently bought a software program called "you need a budget" (or "YNAB" for short) A goofy name, but it is really awesome and so easy once you get the hang of it. Google it and sign up for the 10 day email course that is free and explains how it works. I actually almost like doing the budget entries now, which is kind of scary really. Anyway, check it out. Best $ I ever spent.
I am struggling to send my daughter to college debt free. I feel your pain. (and recently went for the maidenform 3 pack at Costco for the same reason, lol)

Good luck!

Norma said...

I've always been frugal, so Dave can't help me now, unless he can give Obama advice.

I blog in the early morning. Also married to an architect. I used to be a heavy library user, now I google.

Sharon said...

I blog in the show. I have thought about taking my son's recorder with me so I can preserve this genius moments. ;)

I need Damn Ramsey but no money to take his class. ;P

I am no help with cutting back on Christmas gifts. I am writing down each gift as I think about it and purchase and keeping a running total. I am almost done shopping which is nice except I keep finding more I would like to buy. So I put it in an online shopping cart and leave the site without checking out.

Renovation Therapy said...

Cheap holiday idea...if you have a Target near you. All the Halloween stuff is on 90% off clearance. I bought a ton of cool (from a teenagers viewpoint) pictures frames for 60cents each. Part of my gift to all my nices & nephews is going to the frame with a family photo in it. Also, the candy is 90% off. Run for it, the stuff will be completely gone in the next day or so.

Alicia said...

Hi April! I read 'Total Money Makover' and am working on my first emergency fund. We haven't been quite gazelle-like, so it's taking us a little longer than it should. With Christmas coming up and a plane ticket we have to buy, I have a feeling that we may have to start over again in Jan.
I canned some homemade salsa today that I think I will use as Christmas gifts. It was pretty easy and came out really good! I'm also going to can some applesauce and I found some really cute mason jar candles (Apple cider scented) at the dollar store that I may pair up with the applesauce as gifts. Really cute, really cheap!

KM said...

we are Damn Ramsey people too!! You made me laugh so hard. I have tips that I gathered posted on my site. Paperbackswap and freecycle are my good ones.
I was thinking for Christmas of doing Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls recipe for everyone.
We have come a long way by using Damn Ramsey but it can be very hard at times.