Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Around the House, D.I.Y., Dave Ramsey says . . ., For My Book, Inspiration, My Testimony, Proverbs 31 Wife, Recipes, The Crazy Life

Seeing as Christ Sees

It has been a while since my last post, but in this new year, I am vowing to get in shape both physically and spiritually in my relationship with God. And, as I commit to make the most out of 2013, in my quiet time this morning, I came across a quote from Marcel Proust, a French novelist –

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.

The contentment in our journeys is truly not about seeking earthly happiness, the peace and joy of our journeys truly comes from seeing our days through new eyes, the eyes of Christ.

For some of us this may mean that today, we simply ask God to reopen our eyes to Him, to His ways. For others, this may mean that we need to take the first step into a relationship with Christ.

No matter the case, we cannot find true contentment and peace without looking with Christ-like eyes.

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Posted in Advice to "Love" By, Dave Ramsey says . . ., Proverbs 31 Wife, The Crazy Life

Tip #3 Date Nights are a Must!

Keep dating even after your married! (Bill Fox)

A great deal of our relationships get boring after we begin to wear our wedding bands. I cannot remember if it was something I once read or something I once heard, but whichever the case, I love this analogy:

For men, the courtship is like going for the Gold. (Really, I heard this a bit different, but for the sake of keeping Olympic spirits high, we’ll go with the Gold.) Once they receive the Gold, there is nothing else they have to do in order to keep the Gold. They have obtained the prize.

For us ladies, we are Gold medals that need to be polished, adored, talked about, flaunted and put on display for the world to see.

When our husbands take Bill’s advice, they are taking a step to meet our needs and the desires of our hearts. As ladies, we simply want to know that we are still our husband’s precious bride that he worked so hard to get in the early days of our relationship.

But ladies, we must not get frustrated or be so hard on our husbands if “dating” us is hard for him. In his mind, our husband has us, he has worked hard to obtain his prize and he won! Griping at our husbands (which I’m pretty good at) about this issue doesn’t make him set up a romantic date night. But, sitting down with the love of your life and telling him you need a date night . . . alone with him . . . will show him how important this is to you.

I mentioned in another post this week that Nathan was that guy that worked so hard to woo me. He listened to me and brought gifts that proved he was listening. He would have dropped anything for me. Actually, he was probably too head over heals for me! But, it worked!

He is still the most amazing gift giver – he actually keeps a list throughout the year of things that I say I would like to have. He is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, not because of the gifts, but because of the thought he puts behind the gifts.

Our first Christmas in Missouri came after we had visited our best friends, Monique & Joel. During our visit, I found gold stilettos that I so wanted but couldn’t really justify. I mean, how many times in 2006 was I going to wear gold heals? Joel probably even said to me, “Ummm, what do the shoes do? Are they necessary?” So, I opted for the much more logical choice – black. But, I still got the gold ones . . . for Christmas . . . from my hubby who had called Monique, had her purchase the shoes and had them shipped to his office . . . just for me! He is pretty thoughtful. I am pretty blessed.

All of that bragging to say, he is good, but we as a couple have recently neglected the aspect of “dating” in our relationship. When we first married, every Tuesday night was date night, and it was sooo much fun! But, as times changed, life changed, kids arrived, work ran into evening meetings, family sitters grew too tired or too busy and the Dave budget doesn’t have room for date night sitters . . . date night has been put to the back burner. And, I so miss them. We need to make them a priority. We need to make getaways for just the two of us mandatory.

When our kids leave the house, we will need to be connected with one another. We cannot lead our home on the foundation of Christ without a passionate love for one another.

If you have trouble dating your spouse, let this be a reminder of the importance. Perhaps we do in-house date nights weekly as a sitter/budget alternative. We are blessed to have kiddos that go to bed at 8PM, so it is going to begin to be a priority to have one night a week for Terry-In-The-Home-Date-Night and hopefully a monthly date night.

Be sure to read this gal’s blog and scroll down to reader comments for some great date night ideas! Then head back to this post and share your fabulous date night plans!

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Christian Stay at Home Moms

Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . .

29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt

Today, Dave shared 29 Ways to Leap Out of Debt in his online newsletter, so I thought I would share them with you in honor of this Leap Day . . . and add in a few comments of my own that you can live without, but I’m sharing to make it more of a “real” blog post (or, I just like to try to be funny even though I’m not).

Frugal Living

  1. Start couponing. It’s worth the time, and you can save a ton of money. (I’m pretty novice, but I did save 44% at Kroger today!)
  2. Cut cable. Welcome to 2012, where you can watch most of your favorite shows online. Put that $80-per-month cable bill toward your debt. (So, we have no willpower to cut the Dish, but we did cut down on the programming.)
  3. Stop eating out. If you don’t know where all your money is going each month, we’re pretty sure Applebee’s can locate it for you. (This has been big for us!! I’m hoping it doubles as a weight loss plan.)
  4. Visit the library. Remember libraries? They have free books you can borrow! Free is a lot cheaper than Amazon! (Sadly, I have only been to our public library once in my lifetime. Yes, I know, it’s sad. Does it help if I say I’ve intended to take the kids to story hour?)
  5. Plan your grocery trips. Or, follow your stomach, who really doesn’t care about your budget. Your choice. Get tips for cutting your grocery bill. (Really, I am a nerd that loves sitting down to make my 2 week grocery list while planning the next 2 weeks of meals and matching Kroger deals with our needs. Then, it thrills me even more to see if I can beat my budget during the shopping trip.)
  6. Learn the word “no.” Learn it. Make it a new part of your vocabulary. Love it. Embrace it. Because, when it comes to money, you’ll be saying it quite often. Practice with us now: “NO!” (This one is tough!)
  7. Tell the kids to shut up. When it comes to money, the kids can be a worse guide than your stomach, and they don’t care about your budget either. (Our kids are actually great!)
  8. Avoid expensive hobbies. $200 a month on golf? And you don’t even have a 401(k) or a college fund for your kid? Are you serious? (It’s definitely a pro that my husband doesn’t have hobbies.)
  9. Use eBay or Craigslist. Sell your stuff. Or, better yet, if you have a skill for making something, put that skill to use by making stuff and selling it online. (Consignment has been more of our recent forte.)
  10. Sell the car! The average car payment is more than $400 per month. Everyone, say it all together: “Sell the car!” (We fail, we aren’t selling the car!)
  11. Stop making excuses. If you don’t want to get out of debt, then guess what? You’re not going to get out of debt. To win with money, you have to change the way you think. (Done!)
  12. Cut up your credit cards. Shred ‘em. Burn ‘em. Shoot ‘em. Drop ‘em in a trash compactor. Cut ‘em up while skydiving. You’ll never get out of debt until you stop making debt a way of life. (So done!)
  13. Use the envelope system. You spend less money when you use cash. (Love our envelopes!)
  14. Get on a budget. So unoriginal, right? But it’s true. You’ll never get out of debt without knowing exactly where all your money is going. (We have been budget fools since the day we married. . . this is another one of those weird things that I enjoy. )
  15. Listen to The Dave Ramsey ShowEvery day, Dave helps millions of people across the country find hope with their money. His advice will help you too. Listen online. (Apparently, I’m not smart enough to find our local station.)
  16. Merge bank accounts. If you’re married, you and your spouse should share the same account. When you got married, “two became one,” right? (That was one of my biggest excitements of getting married!)
  17. Stop investing. Yes, you read that right. Once you’re debt-free, then start putting 15% of your income into a retirement plan.
  18. Use your tax refund to pay debt. The beach will still be there next summer. We promise.
  19. Build your emergency fund. Start with $1,000. After you’re out of debt, build the fund to three to six months’ worth of living expenses.
  20. Ignore your broke friends. Twenty years from now, you won’t have a financial worry in the world, and they will still have car loans, mortgages and credit card bills. If they call you crazy, like Jeff and Crystal’s friends did, you’re on the right track! (We are living like no one else so that one day, we can live like no one else!)
  21. Subscribe to My Total Money Makeover. MyTMMO has one of the most active and exciting financial forums on the planet. Our members love to talk money. Plus, as a MyTMMO member, you get access to archived shows, budget tools, fresh articles and all sorts of other cool stuff.
  22. Give more. Wait a minute … give more? Yes, giving changes your spirit. Make giving a priority in your budget and you’ll see a difference. (What a blessing to be able to give, and it really is true that God blesses when we are giving.)
  23. Ask for a raise. Why not? Unless you’re sitting at home reading this article right now, after calling in sick with a “sore throat” for the fourth time in three weeks. If that’s the case, maybe you shouldn’t ask for a raise. (Um, probably not a good time for this one!)
  24. Don’t quit your day job. You’re in debt, so you need money. Pursue your dream while you are working your day job. Learn how. When you’re debt-free, you have so many more options because money isn’t an issue.
  25. Get a part-time job. This guy made nearly $20,000 a year delivering pizzas. No excuses! (We get a pass on this one – 3 kids 4 and under is more than a part-time job!)
  26. Stay away from get-rich-quick schemes. If it smells like a pyramid scheme, then it’s a pyramid scheme. Don’t get hoodwinked by a smooth-talking salesman. Check out six scams to avoid.
  27. Get in shape. Better health means fewer doctor’s bills. Walk, run, lift, press. Just get off the couch and do something!
  28. Read a book. Instead of watching mindless television, read a book … from the library that you’ve already visited for free! (Well, what about me? I don’t go to the library, remember.)
  29. Take a successful friend to lunch. Find someone who is doing things the right way—with money, with marriage, with life in general—and do what they are doing. Get to know them. (Um, I did this on Tuesday with my best friend . . . but I guess I owe her because we both paid.)
Share your tips with me and other readers!
Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . .

Buyer Beware

I just thought that I would share this in case you were curious from my last Dave post.

Significant Purchases

A “significant purchase” is normally anything over $300.
Our bodies go through physiological changes when making
a significant purchase.
We all have that spoiled, red-faced, grocery store kid living
inside of us. His name is immaturity.

What To Do

Because you can always spend more than you make, you must develop a power over purchase by:

1. Waiting overnight before making a purchase.
2. Carefully considering your buying motives. No
amount of need equals contentment or fulfillment.
3. Never buying anything you do not understand.
4. Considering the “opportunity cost” of your money.
5. Seeking the counsel of your spouse.

“Almost any man
knows how to make
money, but not one in
a million knows how
to spend it.”
– Henry David
Thoreau

“For where your
treasure is, there your
heart will be also.”
– Matthew 6:21
(NKJV)

“He who is impulsive
exalts folly.”
– Proverbs 14:29
(NKJV)

Posted in Dave Ramsey says . . ., Proverbs 31 Wife

Really? Did Dave Really Say That?

Sitting in Sunday School this week, listening to Dave Ramsey speak on the topic of “Buyer Beware”, he just had to bring up being a Proverbs 31 Wife. I mean, really? My best friend looked over at me laughing because she knows this piece of scripture has been on my heart a lot recently, and I couldn’t help but laugh, as well. I just wanted to say, “Okay, God, I get it. If you can’t get my attention any other way, you will use Dave!” I must really be ignoring something. I really did love Dave’s take on the scripture, though because he felt the need to interchange “husbands” into the mix. Dave mentioned that in our financial journeys, we must make it a rule to seek the counsel of our spouse when making purchase decisions and referred to:

“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The
heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain.”
– Proverbs 31:10-11 (NKJV)

Thankfully, Nathan & I began our marriage as a Dave marriage, and though we have often gotten off track, the foundation of communicating in our finances has always been important to us. If this is not a part of your marriage, I strongly encourage communication. In our class discussions, I am certain that our classmates were laughing at us when we mentioned that we talk to each other even about $50 purchases! It is never a “permission” discussion, we just really value one another’s input in financial matters.