Sunday, June 26, 2016

An Anniversary, A Few Ideas, and Rambling Thoughts

Today is my parents 51st Wedding Anniversary!  Happy Anniversary to both of you!  Love you Mom and Dad!

This is my parents dating going to the Govenors Ball for Govenor Romney.  They worked on his campaign back in Michigan. 
(Mitt Romney's father)
My parents are standing outside of my Grandparents home in Farmington, Michigan.

This is my parents on their wedding day, before they joined the church. 

My Mom in her wedding dress just before the ceremony.  

I loved my Mom's dress and when I was a little girl I would sneak into their closet sometimes to sneak a peak at it.  It was beaded and very pretty.  I especially love the long train.  That picture of my parents  standing at the alter and my Mom's train flowing down the stairs is my favorite picture, even though I can't see their faces.  It's beautiful!  

I've really enjoyed all of the comments and emails that I've received over the past few days about ways to save money and stretch your dollars.  I read each and every one of them personally and share them with my family!  I love learning from each other and there were plenty of ideas shared by many of you!  What surprised me the most was how many of you suggested eating out less.  It makes me wonder if restaurants will be seeing a change in their business soon.  Ha Ha!!

I loved the personal experiences shared in emails!  Thank you for each and every comment and personal note!  I'm motivated!  I've learned from you and hope that others have too!  Here are a few of the ideas from some emails:

-- This was my personal favorite!  Increase your offerings to your church.  It may be more out of pocket in the beginning but the blessings that come from it end up bringing tremendous blessings in the end....healthier family, cars that run longer than they should, less breakdowns of appliances, a better attitude, neighbors being willing to offer their help with things otherwise hired done....the list goes on.  Love this!!!!!

-- Shop at the dollar store for things such as cleaning supplies, paper goods (Staples is another good place for paper towels and believe it or not bulk packages of toilet paper), party favors for kids

--Menu...Never throw away leftovers.  Use them in upcoming meals.  Freeze them for soups and casseroles if you aren't going to use them right away.

--Use what's in your refrigerator or pantry.  Don't make runs to the store for one ingredient.  Aside from baking, recipes are merely suggestions of ingredients and can be altered. 

-- Do date night at home.  Put the kids to bed, enjoy a TV show together and make it a "special affair" by popping popcorn or giving a foot rub or back rub during the show.  Eat in another room than the dining room for a change.

--Clean out the dryer vent frequently and the furnace or AC filter.  

-- Keep a list of things that you need to buy.  Incidentals, wants, needs.  Only purchase these things once a month.  Take the list and shop only from the list.  You'll be surprised at how many things you'll decide you don't need after all. 

-- Stay home more.  Entertain at home instead of going out for dinner.

--Plan to do all of your errands in one trip rather than a few every day.

--Plan "backyard" stay cations and day trips instead of expensive trips for summer.

-- Invest in some things to keep your kids at home instead of always "needing" to go to the local amusements. I.E.: trampoline, swimming pool, Wii.

-- LOVED this idea:  Take a "stand" against spending.  Decide on a two week period that you will not spend any money on anything.  Fill your gas tank and buy the things you'll need for groceries and then just do not spend a penny for that two week period.  Make no allowances or exceptions.  Put the money that you saved towards a debt or into savings.  (I think I'd like to try this one as a blog challenge this summer.). 

Over the past several days, I've been paying attention to the things that I do to save at home:

-- This may sound silly, but use mini-chocolate chips.  You can get by with less chips because the minis go further!

-- Walk.  Instead of hopping in the car to drop something off around the block, take a walk around the block instead.

-- Make lists!  (You should see my purse or tote bag sometimes when I clean it out with the number of lists I find.)  Rather than going to the store every day, I really do try to do it once a pay period.  Lately it hasn't worked but we try.  I do buy less because a lot of things in the "need" column are no longer needed after some time has pasted and we don't buy them at all.  Plus I save gas too!

As more ideas come I will share them.  My SIL reminded me of the website which is a great place (and it's free) for all the great deals at all the grocery stores in your area.  They also tell you which coupons to use and when to get the best deals.  It's a great one!  

Another great idea is to buy meat in bulk.  My Son-In-Law says he gets his best deals at Albertsons.  He had a stock pile of all kinds of things when he and Danielle got married.  Love that!  And I use to shop at Albertson's all the time when I lived closer to one.  Now that I know where a few stores are, I'll have to check them out again.

Another great place to shop is WinCo!  I get flyers in the mail all the time from them with great deals on things like a gallon of milk for 99 cents.  Love that too!

This money stretching thing doesn't have to he that hard.  It's mostly about changing the way you think about things and sometimes just flat out saying NO!  No doesn't always have to be a bad thing.  It can be good to say NO once in a while especially when it's for something far better, like getting on top of you finances and making your money work smarter and not necessarily harder for you and your family.  

I use to lye awake at night worried that I was going to become one of those old ladies that had to decide, medicine or food in any given month.  I can honestly say that if we don't make some serious changes that could become a very real possibility.  Not exactly how I want our future to be, that's for sure!

So, I have a real vested interest in making sure that never happens.  It's going to take some time, but it can be done.  I have faith that my Heavenly Father will help me do this, especially since I feel it was Him who helped me get to this point already.  We can do this!  

I'll let you in on a little secret.  My goal is to eventually be able to buy a house that we can fix up so its wheelchair ready in every single room for Kevin.  I would love to be able to buy the house we are in now, but that may not be an option.  However, it wouldn't take much to do the things I want (or need) to do here.  Time will tell.  That's a far off dream for us right now.  We need to focus on the present and take each day one step at a time. 

Baby steps as Dave Ramsey calls them.  I love listening to his radio show about money.  Eventually I might even have to take his course too.  In due time.  I also have a lot of resources elsewhere that I can tap into as well that will give me guidance and they are completely free.  Love that!!!

It's going to be a process.  One step at a time.

In other news......

Our car is STILL in the shop!  I know, I can't believe it either.  Neither can our mechanic, but he's trying to save us some money by NOT having to take the engine apart.  The car is just not cycling through its checks and balances quick enough.  Not at all our mechanics fault at all.  In fact, we are so grateful for him!  He is a-MAZ-ing!!!!  He's just trying to get it through emissions.  The check engine light may come back on after, but if it does we will just have to trade off the car.  The cost of the repair is just way too much and we just don't have it.  So, we wait.  

Danielle, thankfully, has been patient.  At least as much as she can be.  I know she wants her car back and we want her to have it back too.  I'd rather drive my own car.  However, Danielle got really sick last week and has been home.  She has strep throat and today she called to tell me she thinks she has pink eye too.  She finally went to Urgent Care yesterday (thank you Chance for taking her!) and they put her on an antibiotic.  Finally!  I'm afraid it's not going to be strong enough, but we are hopeful.  I offered to send Kyle over so Chance and Kyle could give her a blessing but I haven't heard back from her yet.  Poor girl!  These are the moments when I want to jump in and pay the doctors bills to get her the care she needs.  (They have insurance but they have a big deductible).  Plus, I'd take her to our family doctor that knows her and has all of her records, but I can't.  I have to work.  I'm just glad Chance really takes good care of our Daughter and loves her.  He may dislike his in-laws (that's right folks I think he does) but he sure loves our daughter and that's what really matters.  I told Danielle that she couldn't come over to our house until she was completely better.  Something like that would surely land Kevin in the hospital for sure, or worse!  We aren't going there.  
That reminds me, I've got to find life insurance for that man.  He has none!  AND no retirement plan either.  Yikes!!!  So see, it's critical that I stretch our money! 

Well, I've got dinner cooking.  I really should go.  Take care my friends and we will talk again soon. 

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