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92 days until vacation!!!

I am in desperate need for VACATION!

This week (weeks) has been insanely busy! I am counting down the days until we head to Cancun! My daughter has the countdown going on our market board and I have one going on my phone. Like– this needs to happen SOON!

So we booked the flight and hotel back when we had no clue where our money was headed. It was like a wild teenager– just went and did whatever it wanted. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Now that we are really keeping an eye on things we’ve had to stay intentional about this trip. Flight has been paid for but the hotel will want money upon arrival. So…

1. We have been setting aside money each week to pay at check-in. (We will use our credit card but don’t shame us! We have the money saved!!)

2. I spent time researching distances and transportation options to and from the airport to have a good estimate of what taxis will run us.

3. I’ve been setting aside my daughters allowance so that she has plenty of her spending money! (First time to Mexico and first to bargain… I anticipate a lot of shopping!!)

4. We have researched excursions and outings in the area and have a list of what those run

Bottom line– we are researching, planning and saving!! Preparation is KEY!

How do you financially plan for trips?? I’d love to hear!! Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

I hate surprises

I don’t like surprises at ALL! I am a planner. Type A. Everything is mapped out. Everything has its place. Naps are penciled I’m so I don’t forget to do it. Bottom line? I hate surprises.

So imagine what these past 2 weeks have been like for a “planner”.

Husband had to get an unplanned crown… and I don’t mean the kind on your head. $687.00 after insurance.

Husband had a spot checked. $238 for a skin cancer biopsy

I had 3 fillings. $287.00

I HATE surprises– good or bad!!

Thankfully Baby Step 1 had us covered. Paid for it. Grumbled. Kept it moving

If you don’t have an emergency fund– get one!! Now! Go sell some stuff, drop cable, quit eating out and stop going by Starbucks. Do whatever you can to get that $1000 stashed away as quickly as possible. Because trust me– surprises happen. No matter how bad you hate them!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Debt Payoff Planner

Thought I would share about an amazing app I found.

Debt Payoff Planner can be found in the iTunes or the Play store. (I know because I had a friend with a Samsung phone try to find it.) it’s blue and has a dove on it. (I have no clue why!)

Anyway– the app allows you to put in all of your debt, interest rate, minimum payment and then decide how you want your payoff plan to look. I chose smallest to largest because “that’s the Dave Ramsey way”. 🤷🏻‍♀️

It gives you a picture of how quickly you will pay off your debt using the snowball method.

I found it to be encouraging and a way to keep that motivation going! Hope you find it to be helpful.

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

Some days it’s just difficult…

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who also is on her debt free journey. I find so much comfort in moments when someone else is right along with me… trying to follow the steps, make smart financial moves, and get out of this mess!

We were discussing ways to stay motivated. She suggested following hashtags (like debt free, financial peace,etc) on Instagram. I totally jump don that bandwagon and spent some time finding encouraging people to follow.

Guys (and gals)… some days it’s just plain hard! It’s hard to stay motivated. It’s hard to take hundreds of dollars every Friday (our paydays) and chunk it at debt. Some days it’s difficult to “confirm” the payments!! I often pause and think of what I could do with that money. Whether it’s $150 or $750… I could undoubtedly find something “fun” to spend that money on. And instead I have to remind myself that I’ve already had “fun” with that money. And now I am PAYING for all that fun I had. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Sometimes I want to say forget it! Let’s go back to just paying the minimums on everything (I mean at least we were paying our bills, right?!?!) and book a flight to somewhere– anywhere!!

We have paid off over $13,000 since we began this journey just 5 months ago. It IS worth it. Sometimes I just need to vent and rediscover that motivation!

How do you keep yourself motivated? How do you push through the tough times? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

What I learned from a 21 day social media fast

1. It wasn’t as hard as I anticipated it being

Like I was pretty freaked out thinking it was going to be so difficult! I pumped myself up with pep talks. And then-BOOM! The day came to give it up and it wasn’t that bad. Then it became super easy. And now I’m debating on social media moving forward.

2. Facebook will email you if you take a break

It’s insane! I got emails from Facebook that said “______ just updated their status.” “_____ added a new photo”. I think FB was freaking out that I was like dead or something.

3. No one noticed I was gone

I guess I shouldn’t say that. But the truth is that the people I most closely “follow” {makes me sound like a stalker} are people I see or talk to on a regular basis. I did hop onto FB and instagram this morning and after about 30 seconds on each, I shut it down. I realized that I felt overwhelmed by all the photos, words and videos. I have NOT missed that. But my point is that the world kept on going. People continued to live their lives and post about it. No harm in that! But was my social media presence truly missed? Not at all. That’s something to chew on, isn’t it?

4. We are a vain society aren’t we?

Over the past 21 days I have taken less photos. I still went and did some cool stuff but I didn’t document it by a photo. Isn’t that strange? Perhaps it is because I wasn’t going to be posting it for others? That is sad! It hit me that we as a society are kinda vain. Gosh- that includes me!! I don’t like having that realization.

5. I felt less stressed

Mentioned above, but it is so true! I didn’t feel pressure to check in to a restaurant. I wore less makeup. Perhaps because I wasn’t going to be posting any pics? I’m sure you are well away of our “frugal” lifestyle and financial changes. We had several days that we STAYED HOME! Didn’t go and do anything special. Just legit played board games and watched Hulu reruns. If I had been on social media on those days [i feel strongly] I would have felt down. I would have seen other families/couples out doing cool stuff while we sat at home vowing not to spend a dime. I would have felt pressure AND temptation to get off track. Talk about stress!

6. I take less pictures

That part makes me sad. I did take a few–I’m still ME! But not near as many as I would have without the hiatus from social media. We went with our friends on a hike in the National Park here in Hot Springs. It was cold, but perfect at the same time. We all stopped and watched a chipmunk for a few minutes. I had never seen one that close! I chose not to document it with photos. {regretting that now}. But the point is that I just experienced it. There’s a lot to be said for that.

7. We use social media for everything!!

I was trying to remember the name of a store I love down on the River Market in Little Rock. We went there yesterday and stayed the night {on hotel points! Promise!!} yesterday and I wanted to run into my store. I knew I followed them on Instagram but couldn’t recall the name. Man- we use social media for so much!! One of the places we went had a sign for a discount if you “check in” on Facebook. I wasn’t buying anything so it was fine but even discounts come through social media!

8. Traffic on my blog was down

Without the occasional “here’s my new post” on social media, I saw a slight decline in traffic. Kinda hurt my feelings! Like come on- I have to remind you to read this?? (Totally Jk) Social media CAN be a good thing!

9. I kinda enjoyed the privacy

It was interesting to realize that no one knew what was going on in my life. And I liked it! Social media provides open doors for conversations such as “how was dinner last night? We’ve been wanting to go there.” That type of stuff happens to me a lot. And I love it because I love people and it provides small talk and open doors for friendships. But it was pretty darn nice to know that we were just doing our thing without anyone really knowing where we were. (That sounds like we were doing something bad. Can’t figure out how to better word that🤷🏻‍♀️)

10. My return will be different

I don’t think I abuse social media but I definitely am a “post too much” kinda woman. I don’t mean to me!! We do fun stuff. We go cool places. My child is just so cute and says the funniest things! I’m USED to posting on a super regular basis. But now that I’ve had a break… it’s going to be different. I haven’t decided my new “rules” but I’m praying and mulling them over. I so enjoy keeping up with people. My family is scattered and I enjoy seeing their photos. Makes me feel like I’m apart of their lives even though we are far apart. I was telling my husband on the way home this morning that “I’ve literally spent hours of my life looking through peoples photos and they were people I didn’t even like in high school! Why do I do that!!??” It’s a distraction. If I have felt stressed or been bored I have grown accustomed to hopping on social media. No more. I realize how much time I have wasted that I will never get back.

It was difficult not having social media during the Golden Globes, Oprah’s statements that eluded to her running for President, the Government shutdown!! I mean that was super tough! But the bottom line– no one REALLY cares what my opinions are on issues like that. And if they DO care they will probably reach out and ASK me! The feelings I experienced while not being on social media taught me a lot more than these 10 things. What a good lesson that was for me.

What are your thoughts on social media? Have you ever taken a break before? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

A successful no spend month

How in the world can you have a “Successful” no spend month? Doesn’t it sound horrible before you even get started? Here are some tips that will help! Promise!

no spend

  • Have a GOAL! Just like with anything in life-if you don’t know what you WANT out of it then there is no way to gauge if it was successful or not. Are you hoping to pay off a small debt? Maybe do some deep cleaning at home? Organize the garage? Whatever it is- know it and have it written DOWN! Put it in your phone to go off as a reminder. I HIGHLY recommend if you go that route have it set to go off several times over the weekend when it is temping to get off track.
  • Have a PLAN! What will you do to fill your time? Are you going to clean/organize/purge? Go for a hike and hit up the library? Put those on the list. When you are only spending necessary funds (household bills, gas for cars and groceries with NO extras in the cart) you’d better have some things planned. It is tough! And we are getting ready for another one in February. Hop on Pinterest to find ideas of free things to do. Call your library to get a list of events coming up. ALL you have to do is NOT spend money outside of the necessities. You can cash in those free drink coupons at Sonic and use those gift cards. You just CANNOT (under any circumstances) spend more than what the gift cards cover. The point is to accomplish a goal. It’s only 30 days! (or less if you pick February!) You CAN do it! Just know what you will do instead!It can be so rewarding and give you motivation to keep going but you HAVE to have a plan.
  • Recruit a friend to join in! Perhaps you have a close friend who might want to join. Or in our case, a couple who wants to try it with us. Make it fun! Together you can come up with a several ideas for goals and ideas of things to do instead of spending money. And let’s just face it-it provides accountability as well. You were NOT meant to do life alone so don’t do this alone!
  • Track your progress. If you survive the 30 days (which you will), wouldn’t it be nice to go back and read how it felt in the moment? We forget, don’t we? We forget the pain {big and small} but having a way to look back on it can be therapeutic and helpful for continuing to manage your finances! Blog it, journal it, put it in your phone. Just keep up with it! And celebrate! If your goal is to save $500 then have a dance party with every $100 you put aside!

You CAN do this!! And the fact that you read this tells me you are well on your way to a successful NO SPEND month! I’d love to share in your journey. Comment or email roxyrambles02@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

If… then what?

Let me start by saying this post is my political opinion. I have so many friends (and a husband) who view politics differently than me. And I love and respect each of them– and their opinions. (Hi babe!! Hey Kristie!!)

I’m so confused by “the worlds” fascination with providing Donald Trump had an affair and that he is a racist. He IS racist and he probably has had multiple affairs. So– if “we” prove it– then what??

What is the end game with proving these types of “allegations?” I don’t care if we sleeps with half the world. I don’t need any other “alternative fact” to prove that {in my opinion} he IS racist.

Let’s put more focus on what WE as a nation want to happen and less on proving he paid off a Lady to keep quiet. Who cares? That takes me to Bill Clinton (❤️❤️❤️❤️). He admitted it. Okay it took some coaxing but he admitted it. Then what???

Why do we try so hard as a nation, in our friendships, in our marriages, to get that “I told you so” moment? When did proving someone wrong become more important than the bigger picture??

I don’t like Donald Trump. I don’t like what’s happening in our world. I want to throw a tantrum and cry out “IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE THIS WAY!” 😭😭 But that solves nothing. Proving Donald Trump is a racist won’t do anything. Didn’t we already know that?

I don’t know people. I don’t like what’s going on in our world one bit. It’s sad. We’ve lost sight of the big picture and we are wrapped up in being right and have lost our direction.

Thoughts?

Thanks for reading,

Cara Roxanne

Tithing- it’s a HEART issue

Years ago I had a different blog. I actually made MONEY on that blog. And then one day I just got over it. I was so vulnerable at that time in my life and was using my blog as a form of therapy, so to speak.

Anyway, I was looking at it today and found several posts that were worth re-posting. This post was originally from August of 2012 but it is still very relevant today!

Original post:

Twice a year at our church, our pastor preaches on tithing. I love his approach to it because it’s not a yelling-screaming-fit from the pulpit about GIVE THE CHURCH MONEY! Thankfully, he takes a different approach. James, the pastor, speaks from his heart, and from the bible.

tithe.jpg
His focus is on being a blessing and recieving a blessing. No, I did NOT just say that if you tithe you will be rich. But more of THIS approach…

I have to paraphrase because I can never remember things perfectly.

Basically it’s like this… tithing is trusting God. Tithing is saying “Thank you God for providing, here is your cut==do with it what you see fit”. Back to the trusting part…

For me personally, in my lifetime, if anyone had asked me “Do you trust God completely”, there would have been a no hesitation response of ABSOLUTELY! Then about 6 months ago (the last time we had a sermon on tithing) I felt very convicted. I was not a tither. (I know, shame on me). I had heard about it my whole life but always said “I don’t have the money to tithe.” And I believed that answer. I did use my time and talents to help out in the church and to particpate in God’s kingdom, but I just didn’t do it with a checkbook. That was not WRONG or BAD of me at all. But then I go back to the trust part. I wasn’t trusting God enough. I said I trusted him in everything… but it boiled down to trusting him in everything BUT my finances. 

That was a wake up call for me. I began to really think about what it meant to trust God. I always knew he was there, he had helped me through some bad situations in the past, and all in all I felt blessed. But the whole trusting God with everything was so foreign to me. 

So I stepped out in faith. I wasn’t quite sure HOW I was going to pay all of my bills, buy groceries, put gas in my car, AND have money leftover. I just didn’t see how it was possible. But somehow I decided to do it anyway. Lots of people have “tithing” stories and HUGE MAJOR blessings that poured out on them the very next day. I don’t have some elaborate story to tell you but I CAN tell you that somehow I did not notice a difference in my finances. Here I was losing 10% of my income yet I couldn’t tell a difference. I have to believe that was God. Somehow, he made it work.

I don’t care where you to go to church or what your church background is… that is not the point. But i can say that trusting God 100% means just that. Every aspect of your life. Even that private and touchy subject of finances belongs to God. And we have to TRUST him in it. 

I have trusted God with my finances. And I am giving him 10% of my income. And even though it would be NICE to keep that money and get to spend some extra on fun stuff, I am stepping out in Faith. God has been faithful to me ALWAYS, and I want to prove myself FAITHFUL to him.

What are YOUR thoughts on tithing? I’m curious to know.

Here I am 6 years later still tithing. We fell off the wagon for a bit due to selfish reasons and attempting to regain control. (That never works well, does it?) I am so humbled and grateful for all of God’s blessings. He has continued to be faithful to us even when we lost our trust along the way. In all of this financial “season” we find ourselves in, we have never once considered giving up on tithing. Because I have lived and learned that God’s provision can NEVER be questioned.

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

Eating crow

In case you aren’t aware, I’m deathly afraid of birds. All birds. And no, I’ve never had some traumatic experience I just hate them. Disgusting creatures who I fear might want to eat my face if given the chance.

Anyway. That’s a post for another day

Last week I chatted with a friend over text. It was one of those ongoing all day fun kinda conversations. We covered pretty much every topic including finances/jobs/etc. I said the words “I’ve cut out everything I can but I am NOT getting rid of my car.” And there may have been a “Dave Ramsey can just deal with it” comment in there somewhere… but I can’t recall.

Well— two days after that conversation I was using some charts I created to try and determine some type of timeline on when we are going to be DEBT free and doing the scream on Dave Ramsey’s show! (And yes I FULLY intend to do that) I knew it would be a long road until we reach the end but I’ve been proud of us so far. I was looking at other ways to cut/slash and SAVE so we can make this snowball even bigger! I began to get this weird feeling in my stomach… was it– conviction?? I began to look at my car.

My beautiful, luxurious {sounds hysterical right? But they even say it in the commercial!} SUV and feel sick. It had to go. BUT I DON’T WANT IT TO GO AWAY!!!! It’s my dream car if that’s even such a thing. It rides good, drives good, has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with… {so many buttons that I always call 911 when I’m trying to turn the interior lights on. Finally I figured out how to feel the difference between the light and SOS button… and the cops are glad!} but it has to go.

Once I decided my car had to go I was ready to see it gone. Due to the price of my car and the fact it was so new I knew I would be somewhat upside down. I’ve had it less than a year so it was inevitable. I began looking online for a more reasonable car and test drive a few. I crunched some numbers and knew that for it work (and serve the purpose of going down in debt/payment) it had to be a significant change. I didn’t want to go through all the headache of changing vehicles to save $50 bucks. I saved a LOT of money by making phone calls to companies but this was going to take time and I hate spending hours at a dealership.

Anyway- called a friend in the business and explained my end goal and gave him my list of requirements(which surprisingly was VERY little)

I wrote the first half of the post from the dealership. And now, I’m home with my new Nissan Altima down below me in the garage. I told my husband “I like it. It has 2 bells and 1 whistle!” Gotta laugh at myself.

I’m growing. I’m finding comfort in simplicity and am completely satisfied/content/ and even joyful with my new purchase. My insurance lady just emailed me and I saved a good bit on my insurance. Apparently it’s cheaper to insure less bells and 1 whistle 🙂

Here’s to saving more money! Thanks for reading. It keeps me accountable and provides encouragement!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

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