Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Financial Peace University

You may have heard about it before "Financial Peace University" or FPU, you may have also heard the name Dave Ramsey. I assure you this is not a gimmick, it is a life changing method of getting out of debt and building wealth.

Dave Ramsey is a fellow who had wealth and lost it all, you can read his story here Dave's Story He is now a best selling author, has his radio show and talks all things money. I have two of his books and have met him in person. I believe in his methods, they are so simple. He has also started this FPU class.

Here is a description:
"Financial Peace University is a life-changing program that teaches you how to make the right decisions with your money. You'll be empowered with the practical skills and confidence needed to achieve your financial goals and experience true financial peace!"

FPU is coming to our church in February and I am inviting YOU! Bret and I are taking it too. We have never taken it before, although we have read Dave's books and follow it's methods. We believe we can learn even more from this class. Even if you are on your way to get out of debt you can still benefit from this class. You will learn about insurance and investing, retirement, job hunting, real estate, mortgages in addition to handling finances and reducing debt.

The kit will cost you $93, but you will get the book, envelope system, worksheets, workbook, CD's and more. But you will get the best thing of all, that is a path to financial freedom. It is worth it, you can afford it because it will change your life. Come to a free preview class and see what it is all about. Childcare will be available:

The free previews are being held at Stonebrook church (as well as the class) at 5100 Almaville Road in Smyrna (just down from my house). Here are the free preview dates:
Sunday Feb 8, 2009, 12:00 PM
Wednesday Feb 11, 2009, 7:00 PM
Sunday Feb 15, 2009, 4:00 PM

Please visit The Financial Peace Website to find out more.

I will be following up this blog post with yet another one about when the actual class is and more.

Financial Peace... Do you have it?

Those of you who know Bret and I well, know that financial freedom is an important thing in our life. We have worked very hard to get to where we are and made sacrifices along the way. For those who do not know us well, let me tell you a little bit about us and our road to financial peace. If you want to skip the story, that is okay, but please read my next blog post.

Neither one of us were privileged growing up, we saw our parents struggle and I think we took away from that the desire be different. We both attended college. Although I did not know what I wanted to do and my parents nor I had the ability to pay for it, I took out student loans to go. I did stay at home with my parents, worked through college, and tried to minimize every expense that I could because I knew I would have to pay for it all eventually. I did not party in college, I took it seriously because I knew that I would have to pay for it and I didn't want to waste my money and also because I knew it was an opportunity to make a better life for myself. In fact I have worked from the time I was 15 years old. I wanted a job as soon as I turned 15 because I wanted to buy some things for myself, to lessen the burden on my parents. In my whole life until college my parents never owned a home. They owned one when my sister was little and had to file bankruptcy and was never able to afford one until I was in college.

I graduated and was able to find a job that paid more than either one of my parents ever made in their lifetime of working. For a brief moment when I didn't know if I had a job out of college I thought about going back for a Finance degree, funny how now Finances surround me in every position that I hold. I moved to Nashville away from my parents, rented an apartment and started working. I bought a car after several months of working because I was borrowing my Mom's during this time.

I hated wasting my money living in an apartment, well that dreaded Y2K helped me to get out of that apartment. The Y2K bonus that was common in the IT field allowed me to have closing cost and down payment on our home. I had just started dating Bret shortly before buying my house. He also owned a house in Murfreesboro.

I came into the relationship with debt and he had none beside his car and house. I still had my student loans, car, a credit card, and now a home. Not too bad, but certainly not where I wanted to be. Before we got married we decided since we were both able to make it on our own before we were married, once we were married we would take one of our incomes to do nothing but pay off debt. We paid my entire income toward our one home. We paid off the student loans, applied that extra money toward the credit card, payed that off, and then payed more toward the mortgage. We decided to never again carry over a balance on a credit card. We still have them for internet purchases and vacations, but we ALWAYS pay them off. We paid of my house in just 7 years! It would have been so easy to blow money, on new cars, new stuff for the house, electronics and vacations. But we chose not to.

You may ask then, why did you go and buy a bigger house? If I were only a stay at home mom, I assure you we would not have. I have a business, a growing business. It was starting to make money and the space in our home was not cutting it for the family and the business. The question came, do I lease a space, or do I keep in in our home? It did not make sense to us to throw money away on a lease, and we were not ready to make the big leap of purchasing a retail space. It also made more sense for our family to keep it in our home. My business pays for the extra space that we have. We applied all of the $ from the sale of the other home to this one.

We have been a little bit lax with $ lately and are trying to get back into saving more. We have an emergency fund and invest all that we can in retirement and Kyndal's college and we tithe to our church. We love vacations though and we are sacrificing buying things for the house to save for our much needed vacations.

So why am I writing all of this? Well because I hate to see people struggle. I want everyone to have financial peace. I know something that can help you...that is if you want help. Help in all things, reducing debt... saving...investing and more. Please read my next blog post and I will share with you how we did it and you can too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A vent about the library

So I decided to start making my way through some books that I have been wanting to read or have already started reading. I have a stack in my nightstand drawer of books that I have started, and one I just bought and am half-way through. Now, Bret works for a book distributor and can get books at a good discount so we normally just buy the books that we want. Well since there were several I wanted I decided to use a novel concept.... the library. I thought why buy it, I will just check it out. Our library rarely has the books that I want, but this one in particular they had and it was checked out. I reserved it and got a call today that it was available. I picked it up and was told that it was a high demand book and is due back on Feb 3rd. WHAT? So because it is high demand I have to read all 39 chapters in ONE week instead of TWO. WHY, are they losing money by letting me keep it two weeks, I don't think so. I don't understand this at all, please someone impart their wisdom upon me on this subject. I have a hard time finding the time to read as it is why does the library have to make my life more difficult?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Update on the new law for children's clothing and toys

On Jan. 8th the CPSC revised its position to exclude thrift and consignment stores. This however does not protect small manufactures of children's products. Keep the heat on Congress as the CPSC rulemaking is still underway. Click here to sign a petition and send a letter to your representatives.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Blessed Birthday,........

Yesterday was my birthday. It started out as a very crazy day me, in fact it remained pretty busy all day. I did get a wonderful surprise from the most wonderful Mommy friends a girl can have, a brunch in honor of my birthday. I unknowingly put a kink in the plans by changing the time last minute from 9:30 to 10:30, LOL! When I arrived at Kim's house yesterday after a stressful morning, I drove down the street and saw all of the cars parked outside her house. It was nice to spend the rest of the morning with Alison, Jamie, Robin, Angel, Samantha, Kim, and Trisha. I can't tell you how special they made me feel. I am blessed to have these wonderful ladies in my life, to share stories with and raise our children together.

Later in day, Bret picked Kyndal up from school so that they could do errands together. We met up and went to Bounce-U for a fun time. We ate dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse and came home for birthday festivities. Kyndal loves birthdays! Bret and Kyndal got me my favorite kind of cake, flowers, chocolate covered strawberries (My favorite) and just what I wanted for my birthday; Pampered Chef (Thanks Trisha). I spent the evening with my two favorite people in the whole world!

I got a ton of cards and many calls yesterday too.

I was having kind of an emotional week before yesterday... Thinking about family that aren't in our lives much or at all and having to think about decisions that I need to make in my life. Although there were some that didn't even call yesterday like my own sister and others, It was really nice to have all of these special birthday wishes to be reminded of who loves me. I am blessed for all of the people that I do have in my life!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New law will shut down consignment sales and sales of new and used children's merchandise via ebay and craiglist

There is a new law going into effect on February 10th that will ultimately ban the sale of used and new children's merchandise that hasn't gone through extensive testing for lead and other contaminants. This includes the sale of clothing and hand-made items. See the article below for the full story and details.

This will effect Goodwill and Salvation army, consignment stores, consignment sales because merchandise made before February 10 would be deemed unsafe and not be able to be sold. Ebay sales, Etsy sales, Craigslist sales would also be effected since these companies or individuals would never be able to pay for such expensive testing on merchandise. Even used merchandise that you sell will be deemed unsafe as they state it is not just the responsibility of the manufacturer but also that of the reseller. The law also applies to new clothing, not a problem for large manufactures but effects all the handmade merchandise that may be sold on ebay or etsy.

If something is not done to change how this law is interpreted then all of the used items must just go to the landfill. There is a possibility of reprieve by exempting items made of natural items such as wood and wool.

Here are some links with info about the ban.
LA Times Article

A Quilter's blog

Send message to your Representatives

I have a ton more links if you want to know more, including youtube videos explaining the law. Just email me.

I am still researching what we can do to change the interpretation of this law. Please read some of the information that I posted above, it effects all of us parents.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Holly & June

We decided to add Holly and June to our family. They were the two little calico's that I fell in love with a month ago. Bret said he has never seen me react to any other kitties that we have seen who where up for adoption like I did Holly and June when I first saw them.

They have been doing great and we all love them already. We are keeping the names that they came with, it suits them. Kyndal calls June Junie. Junie did have quite a day yesterday but seems no worse for wear, she fell from the second floor (went between the rails to sit on the ledge above a door)to the floor below and she jumped in the bath-tub seemingly unaware that we had water in it preparing for Kyndal's bath. We think it was Junie that fell, but not certain because it happened so fast and they look so much alike.

I will be posting about my experience adopting shelter cats in a later post. Poor Bret, he now as 4 females in the house. I will post more pictures later, I can't seem to get a good one of Holly by herself, I have several of June. On the picture above, Junie is on the left (Black moustache) Holly is on the right(brown moustache). They each weigh 5 pounds.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Calico Kitties Oh My!

Part of my Christmas present from Bret was a giftcard to Petsmart, his gesture to give the okay to adopt one or two kitties to add to our family. So we have been searching Petfinder to find the perfect kitties. I fell in love with two little Calico's that were paying a visit to the Pet-co in Murfreesboro from the Shelbyville/Bedford County human association, that has been about a month ago. We have been trying to arrange a visit with them, that may happen tomorrow. In the meantime I got an email from Proverbs 12:10 Animal Rescue from a foster that has 2 calico's. I talked with their foster Mom for a while and I love those already even though I haven't seen them. So now I have to make a decision as to which pair I want. We will probably see both sets first. I have been honest with both people that I talked to and said we are looking at two sets of kitties. I don't know how I will decide, I want them all! Here are pictures of them all. Please weigh in and tell me what you think.

Holly and June (Poor quality pics here, I snatched them from PetFinder). We saw these in person and they are so so cute.

Delaney & Darby - Pictures emailed from their foster mom. They are so so cute too!