Living on a budget

  So I was browsing twitter this weekend and came across this wonderful article, at first I was like blah whatever, she probably just clip coupons and stuff well i do that too, but then I started reading and it was way more indepth than that! after reading each paragraph i fell more and more in love with this girl it was like she knew my life and spending habits, now although I won’t be following this to a tee I will definitely apply some of her homemade remedies as well as some of her penny pinching tips!

LOL anywho here goes:

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Blissful and Domestic;  Alright today’s topic is Oh yes ladies and gents you did not read wrong. I am 100% serious. My family of 4 lives on about $14,000 a year. We are not in debt, and own our home and both our cars. Want to know how we do this all and still save money? Well I am going to share some tips that have helped us along the way. I promise that if you just try some of these tips and tricks I will share today, you will notice a HUGE, GIGANTIC, TREMENDOUS difference in your spending habits and the balance in your checking account will no longer create stressed frown lines.

Make a Budget

You will be filled with nothing, but smiles knowing you are doing alright in the finance department. Ready or not, let’s get started. First off I have to say we were not always savy with money. We were pretty smart Hubby was smart with money. His parents had taught him well. My poor hubby had no idea what hit him when he married a woman who was absolutely NOT savy with money. I had never had to pay a bill before. I had quite a learning curve to catch up on. We got by, on a military salary and were doing ok. We lived pay check to pay check, but still put a little bit away for a rainy day. We had no credit cards. Rush forward a few years. Hubby was serving a second deployment in Iraq. I had a horrible time taking over the finances. I would cry everyday on the phone to him. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep track of everything. Bills were constantly late and I would over draft our account like nobody’s business. This was seriously the worst ever. Hubby would call from Iraq everyday to find out what was going on with the finances. It was bad. I went shopping to give me something to do with my littles. Target and I were BFF’s. Their clearance section and I were even tighter. I would tell myself it was on sale or marked down, so really I was saving money. BIG FAT WRONG! Just cause it is on sale, does not mean you need it. Finally that sweet hubby of mine had a very serious conversation with me. He asked me if I wanted to buy a house someday, which I did. He reminded me of our goal to pay cash for a house. The way things were going, it wasn’t going to happen. He told me he understood I was sad, but shopping was not the way to deal with him being gone. He told me about a book he had heard of. He really wanted me to read it. It was called America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams . I requested it from the library and when it came I read it cover to cover. I can honestly say that next to the Bible and Book of Mormon, no other book has made such an impact on my life. It taught so many things I had not learned in my 25 years (at the time). This book gives amazing examples of how the Economides family lived on less and always within their means. Below are the simple changes we have made over the years since that day so many years ago. Today I am going to share how we changed our lives by living within our means. I promise that if you incorporate some of these tips, into your life, your family will be happier and less stressful. Your marriage will be better. Remember the things couple fight most about is finances. Why not do yourself a favor and get it together. Less stress in a marriage means it is a happier one. I know mine surely is! Make a Budget Oh my heck this is the.most.important.ever! Set a budget. If you are married, sit down with your spouse and do it together. It should be something you both take part in. If you are single, then make one with just yourself. Literally make a list of every bill you pay in a month. Electric, water, gas, trash, cable, groceries, gas for the cars, insurance, etc. These are all bills that need to be budgeted. Do not include “extra” things like dates, movie trips, shopping trips, etc. These are not necessities. These I will talk about in another section. Now once you add up all of your bills for the month, compare it to the amount of money you have coming in each month. This will tell you right away if you have enough money to cover the basics of life. Again trips to Target and Dates are not things you need to live.

They are bonuses if you have money. DO NOT include them in this area. Now if you have money left over, then you have a little play room. Budget in a date night or two for the month. Everything must be budgeted. From family outings, to toiletries to clothes purchases.It must be budgeted.That is key folks. Remember all those trips to McDonald’s add up. If they are not in your budget, than you do not have money for it. If you do not have money left after comparing your bills to your income, then you need to reevaluate your spending.

Say No to Cable

Do you really have to have cable TV? Can you do a lesser insurance on the car to save money? These are all things you can do to save money. The main thing is to set a budget and stick to it. No matter what! Say No to Cable Just because cable sounds fun, doesn’t mean you need it. Do you really watch all those channels you currently are paying for each month? Most people spend over $100 for cable TV and for the internet. Yes most cable companies do a little package deal and say you are saving money, but remember it is NOT saving money if you do not use it. We do not have cable. We have a small antenna to pick up basic channels for free, like FOX and PBS. For all of our other viewing needs we use Netflix. They have a good selection of plans, starting as low as $7.99 per month, with no contracts. You can cancel or put your account on hold any time you want. You can even try them out for free! We pay about $14.99 per month and get one movie out at a time and unlimited viewing on our PSP. They have a separate kids section full of current TV shows. Wizards of Waverly Place, ANT Farm, Yo Gabba Gabba….and The Office, Burn Notice, Downton Abbey, Vampire Diaries, Army Wives, etc for the hubbs and me.. Seriously they have everything. We are able to find things from every genre and ratings for movies and TV shows are all listed for us. They are also always adding new titles. We never have a problem finding something to watch and enjoy together as a family or a couple. Saving money on your cable was essential. Remember why pay for something you don’t use and only have to channel surf on? Not worth it folks! We do have internet through our cable provider and only pay about $35 per month.

Pay Cash

Pay Cash Paying cash for everything means you will spend less. Going grocery shopping with a debit or credit card can sometimes make you feel like it is ok if you go over your budget a little bit. No worries you have your card right? Wrong. When you use cash you have to stay within your set budget because that is all you have the dinero to pay for. I do this when I go grocery shopping. We budget $400 per month. This is $300 for normal groceries and we use the extra $100 to stock up on sales and food storage. Once that $400 is gone….. it is gone. There are no extra shopping trips made because there is no more money. I make every single penny count when I go grocery shopping. I also shop once a month, which makes a HUGE difference. The more you go to the store in a month, the more you will spend. Way to many trips for impulse purchases, which can add up real fast.

 Buy Second Hand

Buy Second Hand I was not always a thrifty shopper, but I have learned. We find so many amazing things at thrift stores. Most of my home has been bought at thrift stores. I love to find clothes for my whole family there. I can usually find name brand things for my whole family! We love it!! I actually give my kids money and tell them to pick out their own shirts. My son loves it! His shirts are only $1, so he gets to pick out a bunch for each school year. We have found Hurley, Quicksilver brands, just to name a few at thrift stores. Once you start thrifting, you can’t stop. My children grow so fast. Thrifting helps us stay within our budget. Remember that B word is key to the whole enchilada. Set a budget and stay within it. I also make a ton of our clothes.  We also purchased our rice cooker and breadmaker at a thrift store for $7 each. They are both going strong and saving us money. Home baked bread is the best! Here are some recipes.

Go Homemade

Go Homemade For real folks! Going homemade has saved us tons and tons of money. From clothes to food. We go homemade as much as we can. We make our own laundry detergent. It works great and is way cheaper than the store bought stuff. It smells better too! I make our own bread, cook meals at home each night. I also have ready made mixes I use as well. I either make or thrift our clothes. We do the same with furniture or “things” for our house. If it isn’t made by me or thrifted, we don’t have it.

Watch Your Miles

Watch Your Miles Gas is crazy expensive right now! Well really has been for the past few years and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. We watch our miles. We only fill our tanks up no more than twice a month. We shoot for once a month. We combine errands when we go out, so we aren’t wasting our gas. We also limit our across town trips. When we visit family in another city, we make the most out of it. We know we don’t get to drive and visit family often, so when we do we cherish it. We don’t go just for an hour, we stay and visit and even run errands that may be close to where we have family. We try to remember that when the gas is gone…it is gone. We really think about places we need to travel in the month and factor that into how much gas we have left. Trips for fun things that may take up a lot of gas, are spaced out. Moderation is the key. Really think about what you are using your gas on. Is it really worth it? Also check your tire pressure. When tires are filled correctly, you can make your tank go further for you.

 No Credit

No Credit Say no to charging it. This is such a biggie folks! Our Philosophy, when it comes to credit cards, is that they should be for emergencies. They are there when you need them. If you do have to use them, pay them off as soon as you can. Don’t let that interest build up, if it doesn’t have too. I know some people use credit cards to build credit. I totally understand this.We did that in the beginning of our marriage, but we paid everything off each month. If you don’t have the cash to pay for that shirt or dinner date, than you shouldn’t be charging it. Make sense? Do you have credit card debt now? Well you can totally get out of it. Every summer our credit cards are used. Hubby is a full-time student, so in the summer things are tight. We use our 2 credit cards for bills and then pay it off as soon as possible. We add our credit card payments into our budget and keep it there until it is paid off. Budget in a payment for your credit cards each month. If you get a little extra money during the month, pay off those cards. Keep paying them down.Eventually you will pay it off and have a little extra money each month to play with. This is the best! Once you have paid off your credit card, keep it clear. If you have a hard time controlling yourself around that plastic beauty, then leave it home. Don’t allow yourself to carry it. Take some control over your fiances. I personally couldn’t handle a credit card when we first got married. When that baby got in my hands, I would suddenly have the need to spend. Eventually I cut it up and told my hubby I couldn’t handle it. I had to admit I had a problem and deal with it. Now I still do not hold a credit card. I prefer to let hubby have them. I can control myself, but hate the temptation. I leave my cards at home. I know I have ti if something happened, but I don’t allow myself to carry it in my wallet. Know your limits folks. Research Take an interest in your family and their finances. Want to make things better?

Research

Research. I research all the time. Knowledge is power! I google, blog, read, etc. The library has an amazing selection of books on everything. Finances, cooking, sewing, decorating on a budget, etc. So much you can learn here. I am always interested in how people save money. I ask my friends, search through blogs, etc. There is so much stuff out there. So many tips and tricks to learn. Don’t stop searching for ways that will helps your family this year. It may seem like work at first, but I promise it will become second nature to you. Set Goals Set goals! My hubby and I always set goals together. Our dream was to pay cash for a house and we did it. We bought our house for $30,000 and paid cash. It took us 7 years to save it, but oh boy was it worth it! When we bought our cars we also had to go into debt, but paid them off as soon as we could. My hubby came into the marriage with his truck. He still owed $8,000. Once we had the money, we paid it off. Now we own it and that cars is still running great. Four years ago we bought a van. We had saved $10,000 for the down payment. We paid that and then 1 year later we had paid off the $12,000 left on it. We set a goal to pay it off and did it! It felt great! (we did all this before he got out of the military and when my hubby actually had an income. Now that income is gone. We are down to $14,000. We are able to make it on that income work for us because we paid off the cars years ago when we actually had money. Make sense?) We always talk about our future. We make plans and dream together. THis is such a fun part of our relationship now. We love fixing up our house together and thinking of the next project we want top start and save up for. It may take longer, but I have the patience for it. Set a Goal with your hubby and decided where you want to be financially this year, next year, 5 years from now. Write the goals down and talk of them often. This is a great way to see if you are own the right track to achieving that goal. Decide Today Enough said right? It is though! Decide today how you want to live. Make the choice now and commit. We committed to a thrifty lifestyle and we stuck with it and have been so blessed for it. Don’t try to do every tip I shared with you here right away. Baby steps. Think of a baby…Would you feed a baby steak? No, of course not. You start with milk, then oatmeal, then soft food. You move up to steak. This is the same way. Pick something simple. Decide you will not charge anything this month, or you will stick to a grocery budget. I promise that those small changes will make a HUGE impact on your budget and finances. Decide now how you want to live and do it! I promise you will be a happier person when you are free from the strains money can cause.

You can find more helpful tips by visiting BlissfulandDomestic.com

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Steubenville Ohio Rape Case

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I usually, scroll past these types of articles because not only do they disgust me but I feel like these days they’re becoming just about as popular as people getting pushed onto subway platforms. What really made me sit down and read through this story was the fact that not only these were teen boys but some of these boys were actually younger than my oldest. As I scrolled through my twitter timeline I noticed quite the debate about this story and even a video floating around with the boys gloating and bragging about what they had done to this 16 year old girl. Here is a brief run down on this story in case you haven’t heard about it

(CNN) — The videos, pictures and tweets are chilling. A picture of a girl dangling limply from the arms of two young men.

Other boys, laughingly saying the girl had to be dead because she didn’t flinch as her body was violated.

An alleged rape, made into a joke.

The images and social media messages are at the heart of criminal charges against two high school football players accused of sexually assaulting an underage teenage girl during a series of end-of-summer parties in August.

Both boys are charged with rape. One also is accused of “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.”

Their trial before an Ohio juvenile court judge is scheduled for February 13.

CNN is not identifying the girl, who is a juvenile, in accordance with its policy not to release the names of alleged rape victims.

The alleged attackers also are juveniles, but they have been identified by a judge in court, by defense attorneys and in newspapers and other media reports as Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, both 16.

The case has attracted the attention of bloggers and even Anonymous, a loosely organized cooperative of activist hackers.

Anonymous has released information about the town and the football team and is threatening to release more unless everyone comes clean about what happened that August night.

“The town of Steubenville has been good at keeping this quiet and their star football team protected,” an Anonymous member wearing the group’s trademark Guy Fawkes mask says in a video posted to the group’s LocalLeaks website.

The organization, he says, will not allow “a group of young men who turn to rape as a game or sport get the pass because of athletic ability or small-town luck.”

The girl was assaulted the night of Saturday, August 11, and early the next morning, according to authorities.

Police got involved on August 14, when the girl’s mother came forward to report the alleged assault, according to Steubenville police Chief William McCafferty. The family provided a zip drive showing a Twitter page, possibly with a photo, the chief told CNN.

A kidnapping charge was dropped by the Juvenile Court judge at a probable cause hearing last October, said McCafferty and Mays’s attorney, Adam Nemann.

“My client asserts his innocence, and he looks forward to his day in court,” said Nemann.

At an October hearing, attorney Walter Madison, who is representing Richmond, raised questions about the alleged victim’s actions that night, according to CNN affiliate WTOV.

On August 27, the same day authorities charged the two defendants, Jefferson County authorities asked for help from the attorney general’s office in investigating and prosecuting the case. Interviews and witness statements led to the arrests, McCafferty said.

“What we want is to be able to show the citizens of Jefferson County that everything that can be done in this case is being done, and if that means eliciting the help of these people from the attorney general’s office, then that’s what we want to do in this case,” county prosecutor Jane Hanlin told WTOV at the time.

By that time, images and messages from that night had made their way around social media.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Here is a Link to the video– Warning it is graphic and disturbing~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I couldn’t watch the whole thing, we teach our children responsibility and accountability right from wrong but in all honesty, what were warning signs that A. your daughter would be at a party where alcohol was being served to minors and B. that your grade A average football playing son could rape a young girl unconscious and then laugh and joke about it with his friends as if its something normal. The media has been saying we’ve been teaching our young daughter how not to get raped but not teaching our sons to not rape girls. In my opinion being a part of your child’s life, not just checking homework and signing their planners, feeding and clothing them but being an intricate part of your kid’s live plays a major role in how not only your child is raised but how they view and respect other people, finding themselves in a potentially bad situation and knowing to say NO I will NOT be involved in this and this is wrong says alot about parenting. I violate my kid’s privacy regularly, I feel like as long as they’re under my roof, their business is my damn business. I’m gonna know who you’re talking to, tweeting to, what your fb status is, whats in your phone. You HAVE to be that way or be in the dark, you could be living with a potential sociopath and not even know it, missing vital signs and red flags that were a cry for help from your child but you were too busy focused on your life and hittin the next club or party or whatever lifestyle that isn’t conducive to setting a good example for your child. This is just my two cents and how I feel about the situation. I can say all day how this could have been prevented, it was definitely an eye opener as more and more stories similar to this are coming to surface, women are being violated by groups of men everywhere even in India, and the victims are getting younger and younger

We have overcome

Read what a white reporter wrote in a Georgia newspaper

 

Without Love There Is No Life, Without Life There Is No Love”

 

This is a MUST read which resonates with at least 90% of the world.

 

Please, please pass this one on, even if you have to print it and mail it to

your “computer challenged” friends and relatives.

 

Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in

Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.

 

Andrew M. Manis: When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

 

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race

problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have

been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their

difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African Americans

finally going to get over it?

Now I want to ask:

“When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with

skin color?

Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes”

should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in

“Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of

comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to

John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do

more than “talk the talk.”

 

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once

again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

 

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and

United States for some 400 years on this continent.

Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during

the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his

agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any

headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of

presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them,

yes.

Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their

heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator

was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

 

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties

again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven

what conservatives are always saying — that in America anything is

possible, EVEN electing a black man as president.

But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are

talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”

How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less

the whole world, look like us?

How long until we white people can – once and for all – get over this

hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white

skin makes us superior?

How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being

demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

 

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head

of the line merely because of our white skin?

How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when

they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only

conversations?

 

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making

racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners?

How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise

personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to

edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the

United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

 

How long before we start “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both

civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red

and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect

an African American to the presidency. I still don’t believe I’ll live long

enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.

 

But here’s my three-point plan:

 

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves

Built, I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him

and his family from us white people.

 

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying,

in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President

Obama.

 

 Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the

world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our

damnable color prejudice,

 

“We HAVE overcome.”

**************************************

It takes a Village to protect our President!!!