Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Debt Free Christmas, 11 months to go.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for starting your shopping here as I receive a small amount when you purchase through these links at no additional cost to you.

It's less than 11 months until Christmas!   Are you ready?   I don't mean fully ready, but last night my boyfriend and I finished the book  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

In it, he says Christmas is not an emergency and not to dip into your emergency fund for it since you know it's coming.

What have I done so far this year in preparing to get ready for Christmas?   Well, I hit a 90% off sale right after Christmas.  I bought a few items for gifts.  Some things I will sell on eBay come Christmas time, as well as Christmas gift wrap and ribbons and bows.

Now is also the time to go ahead and start entering blog giveaways in hopes of winning some stocking stuffers and gifts throughout the year.  Here is a list of blog giveaway linkups.  If you are a blogger, it's a great resource to list your giveaway.  If you want to enter, it's a great list of places where you can find giveaways to enter.

Also, how much did you spend last year?  Take that number and divide it by 12.  Put back 1/12 of your Christmas money now.  

If you are the creative type, you might want to start planning now about what gifts you can make.  I am a cross stitcher and a nice piece can take a couple months to finish.

Christmas isn't a surprise, and it shouldn't cause debt.  If you start planning now, it won't!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Living Well Spending Less Book Review and a #Giveaway Ends 2/2

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honesty review.  Family Christian generously offered a $25 Appreciation Certificate to one of my readers since they sell this book.  I received no other compensation.   This post does contain affiliate links.

I remember the first time I stumbled on Ruth Soukup's blog.  When she began her blog, she was a shopaholic looking to be able to buy the same items she'd been accustomed to buying but at a discount.  I saw the word "luxury" in the blog's tagline and a quick glance around and I backed out.  I was looking for a site where I could find bargains out of necessity -- not out of wanting the best life had to offer on a dime.  My mother had recently gone on dialysis and needed a new bed.  I gave my mother my bed and took an old futon and after it broke I slept on the floor for a while.  I was looking for bargains I needed, not for throw pillows or fashionable boots.  From then on, I always thought "There's that one blog that isn't relevant to me."  Over the years, I never went back to notice the change.  But it happened.

I was given the opportunity to review a copy of  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life.  Since I started my blog to document my frugal ways, this is a topic that always interests me.  It was not until I was reading this book before I realized this was written by the "luxury" blog woman.  But -- I've visited it since.  When you visit blogs about frugality, you often visit the big ones, I just never connected her current blog with the old one.

She documents how this change came about in the first part of her book.  My mother always told me there are always people worse off than us.  I was recently talking to a friend about my upcoming wedding and how I'm doing it on a shoestring.  I commented how it seemed almost wrong for me to spend too much because of how many people there are in the world who are in need.  I doubt that thought crosses anyone's mind when planning a wedding. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first part of her book.  Even for a seasoned frugal shopper like me, this part was very much worth my time because I loved reading about her transformation when it came to material possessions.  Would you believe the lady I used to think of as "The Luxury Deal Blogger" now has a place in my mind as "The Lady Who Took Away all Her Kids' Toys".   What happened?   She had a change of heart as to needs, and this book details that.

The first half of the book talks about just general living well -- time management, goal setting, and how less stuff can make our lives better.  The second part of the book is one of the best guides to saving money I have ever read.  I am a coupon queen -- have been for over 20 years.  But I learned something important one day when I needed some groceries and didn't have my coupons with me --  I still got some amazing bargains without any coupons.  I still save about $1500 a year, but that is with minimal time involved, not like it used to be where I would sort coupons for hours and had an elaborate filing system.  Once I was asked to teach a coupon class, and I agreed with the caveat that I would teach coupons along side with finding good bargains to save money at the grocery store.  I was turned down -- they wanted only coupons to be covered.  This book mentions coupons, but gives great ideas on saving money.  It's a very well balanced frugal book, and I can't recommend it enough.

She also mentions savings.  Not savings when you spend (which is something I still say -- in fact I just said I saved $1500 last year -- but what is missing is how much I had to spend to save that!)  She mentions savings as in for the future.  I was told when I was in Kindergarten how expensive college is, and I immediately asked my mother if I could open a saving account.   I would deposit all my birthday and Christmas money and before I knew it, I had over $1,000 saved for college -- and I hadn't even hit middle school.  I highly agree with her advice on saving for the future in this book.  You never know what will happen -- just this month I had a $1,500 repair bill because my water pipes froze then burst!  I'm thankful I didn't have to put that on a credit card.

Another thing I loved about this book is how she discusses giving.  I love to give to others.  That's one reason I do use coupons, so I can give food or other items to people in need.  Sometimes books on frugality leave out giving to others.  This one does not.

I highly recommend this book no matter if you're just now starting to pinch those pennies, or if you have a reputation of being frugal.  

FTC disclaimer:  I received a free copy of this book for review from the publisher.  Family Christian generously offered to sponsor a giveaway since they sell this book.  All opinions are my own and I only recommend products I believe have value. 

Family Christian sells  Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life  if you are interested in purchasing it.

For the Giveaway:

One reader will win a $25 Family Christian Appreciation Certificate.  You may choose this book OR the item(s) of your choice.  It works as a coupon code and cannot be combined with other coupons.  Open to the USA only, 18 and older.  One entrant per household.  Giveaway ends 2/2 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Radar's Weekly Roundup of Giveaways January 24, 2015

Feel free to link up blog giveaways here.  They must be open to the USA, hosted by a blog, and the link should go directly to the giveaway post.

While you are here, please enter my current giveaway for a $15 Peaceful Housewife gift certificate.  Ends 1/26.

Jan 24 2015 Amazon Prime Special

January 24, 2015 only, Amazon Prime is only $72 for new members.  I love my Prime membership and this is a great price!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Wedding Countdown . . . 121 days . . . Lollipics

I have been looking for ways to save money any way I can.   One of the ways is entering giveaways on blogs for things that I can use for wedding favors.  I won from DIYWeddings a while back for 48 lollipics.  I'd never heard of these before, but I recently ordered them and totally love them.

I was able to choose the color of the lollipops I wanted as well as the design on them.   I chose 24 in blue/aqua which is my wedding color and 24 in white.  From there I did two different designs on each color.  Each color got 24 of a saying my fiance's grandfather used to say about marriage.  Boompa passed away in September and he will be well remembered through our use of his quote throughout the wedding planning.   The white ones got a photo of my fiance and me, and another 12 received a photo of the church we are planning to get married in.  Many of the people who go to that church have attended there for 20 or more years and it's a small church, and I know they will be thrilled for such a personalized favor.

Here is a photo of the church lollipics -- the others I'm not showing until the wedding because I love them!  Going to be one of the most unique wedding favors ever!

FTC disclaimer: I won a giveaway for 48 of these.   I was under no obligation to write about them, and no more compensation has been received.  All opinions are my own.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pre Order the VeggieTales Noah's Ark DVD

Do you love VeggieTales?  Well, now you can pre-order the newest VeggieTales DVD.  It's currently only $12.95 at Family Christian and for a limited time if you pre-order you get a free Rack Shack and Benny DVD while supplies last.  Only at Family Christian.

Noah DVD

FTC disclaimer:  This post contains affiliate links.

House remodeling

My mother passed away a year ago.  I'm finally able to think about doing some upgrades on the house.  Basically I inherited a fixer upper.  The carpet is sixty years old.  Yes, the carpet is about ready to retire!  And that's just cosmetic stuff.  To make the house safe, healthy, etc. even more needs to be done.  Paneling will be gone soon as well as carpeting.

In the midst of all this remodeling I am planning a wedding.  Really, what was I thinking?  That's why I haven't been posting quite as much on the blog as I would like to be, hoping that can change soon.

Here's one of the completed rooms.  I don't  have a before photo, but it had a thirty year old blue sculpted carpet, paneling that had been painted dark blue, and the attached bathroom had a chopped up vinyl flooring, and the floor needed replaced.

I think it turned out really nice.  Stay tuned for more updates and photos.