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Oh Dave, Shmave!

Dave Ramsey, I tell ya… this love/hate relationship has gone on LONG enough.

Every time someone says Dave Ramsey in my house, they KNOW to expect me to say “Dave Shmave.” He has some REALLY good points and I apply ALL that I can to my financial life. But sometimes he and I just part ways.

dave

I DO want to “live like no one else so that one day I can live like no one else”. So many of Dave’s principles have been incorporated into my family’s financial world. But others- well, Dave Shmave.

  1. He is all about some cash. And I am too! “CASH IS KING” as he says. I cash out money every Friday and divide it up into my envelopes. I have my envelopes in hand when I go to the grocery store, the gas station, or {gulp} the mall. BUT– we see a LOT of advantages in credit. (OH THE HORROR!) Hear me out… I pay whatever bill I can with the credit card. Every Friday when it’s time to sit down and pay bills I will use our American Airlines card to pay any bill that will take credit. And THEN I go straight to the credit card app and pay that amount on the card. No harm no foul! I pay it RIGHT away but in return I got miles. Now I don’t know about your credit card miles but OURS is too legit to quit! Last year we went to NYC on miles at ZERO cost to us. And we have purchased airline tickets for next summers vacation at ZERO cost to us…using strictly our points! So for us, using that card on things we have to pay anyway has a HUGE benefit!

If you have a card that would allow you to go on a free vacation somewhere– use it! I know what Dave says. I listen to the Podcasts, I read the books, and I am constantly reading his articles online…BUT for us we are essentially STILL paying cash for everything because we aren’t carrying a balance…but we ARE reaping the benefits of credit card miles.

2. Dave says sell your car. But CAR-UH {that’s me} says no. I should, but i’m not going to. I have done that before. I sold my car, paid it off, and took the money I made beyond what I owed and purchased an older car. It didn’t even have cruise control! Now there was nothing wrong with that car. It worked, it got me from point A to point B. Maybe i’m a brat (I mean just MAYYYBE), but I don’t want to do that. I will clip coupons, I will do my own pedicures, I will cancel cable and make my own detergent… but I am standing firm in keeping my vehicle. We all have that one thing we just won’t do for whatever reason…and for me, it’s the car. I don’t have to drive a fancy car but I want a newer, reliable, fully covered by warranty/insurance, vehicle to drive. Now I will work like a dang gazelle to pay it off long before the loan is due, but i’m keeping it!

3. I won’t sell things that I may use later. Dave tells you to sell so much stuff “that the kids are afraid they are next!” I have sold several things on eBay recently. And after the first of the year I have some MK purses that I intend to go through and sell. But if I have a shirt that I only wear 1-2 times per year, I am not going to sell it to get $1.00. I just refuse to do it. It’s worth more to me to keep it. That being said, stay tuned for some things I do to help de-clutter and keep my life organized. Selling my daughter’s Wii for $10 dollars is just not worth it. I’d rather keep it.. or give it away!

4. Dave tells me to use any savings I have (except $1,000) to pay on debt. That sounds great and if that is how you do things-then you GO! My husband and I struggled with this one. We knew we had enough in savings to really get that debt snowball going, but it meant more to US to keep our savings higher than Dave’s recommendation. That meant starting a bit slower on the debt snowball, but it also meant our peace of mind was at a comfortable level for us.

5. Dave paints this picture of saying NO to anything fun. Now granted he does suggest having money for going out to eat, fun stuff, etc., but then he also reminds you to keep it to a minimum. I can understand that! If you are trying desperately to get out of debt and save money then I can see the logic he brings to the table. HOWEVER- I have learned that if I don’t have a trip coming up or something to look forward to then i’m going to go on a shopping spree and undo MONTHS of hard work! I don’t want to say NO to meeting friends for dinner or going to watch a musical. So we BUDGET for those things!  I mentioned those airline points earlier…same applies to hotel points! Those add up! And this weekend we spent the night out of town in a hotel at no cost to us. (Thank you Hilton Honors!!) That night away meant more to our sanity and our marriage than I can even explain. We NEED those things. So while I may not say NO to everything, I may have to make different suggestions. If our “FUN” envelope is down to $12 bucks and we get invited out to eat I might instead suggest everyone come to our house for a game night. We smoke some good meat and play board games that we already own! It’s a win-win! We had fun, spent time with friends, and spent little to no money. Saying NO over and over will cause you to lose your motivation and in turn will be counter productive to your financial health.

6. That brings me to this… view this process of budgeting, getting out of debt, saving money as Financial “health.” We all know that healthy means balance. Moderate exercise, days of rest and relaxation, meditation, vigorous exercise…. a balance of all of those! Financial health is the same thing. It means keeping good track of your spending while enjoying a treat from Starbucks. It could be buying some new jeans while forgoing a movie night. It is BALANCE! Keep that in mind throughout this process because let me tell you– as a professional stopper/starter of Dave’s plan I can tell you that keeping balance is what will keep you motivated! And isn’t that what its all about?

Sometimes you have to say yes… sometimes you have to say “nope that won’t work for me.” But at the end of the day what matters is that you stay focused and motivated while working on your financial health!

What is the one thing that YOU won’t do? Or the one that has/hasn’t worked for you in the past? I’d love to hear! Comment or email roxyrambles02@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

For Now,

Cara Roxanne

Budget BUSTER #1 Grocery Shopping

I despise going to the grocery store.

Not just like a slight dread but like legit hate every second of it. It’s ALL the prep work.

You have to find the recipes on pinterest that you want to try. Make the list of all the stuff needed to try out these new fancy recipes… then it’s finding coupons and looking through the pantry to see what you have/need. Then it’s realizing you are never going to do all of that and starting over with your same ol’ weekly recipes. {I can’t be the only one…right??}

My husband will NEVER understand all of the work it takes to go to the grocery store. (Though I try to explain every single time we go…) I try to keep up with what we have/need, find my coupons, match the ads for the best prices, decide what night is going to be what, look at our calendar to see if we have anything planned that night, who will be home, who is gone… it’s legit like a never ending cycle!!! STOP THE MADDDDNESSSSS!!!

Two things that have helped:

Clicklist

eMeals

Clicklist is amazing and I use it when I can! You can do it through the Kroger app or desktop and fill your cart, pay for it, then set up a pick up time. It REALLY is life changing! After the first few times you use it you will start to incur a $6.00 fee.

Pros: I believe that I spend less when I use Clicklist. I am not tempted by impulse purchases or a “bargain” that ends up wrecking my budget.

Cons: The fee. You have to decide if that $6 fee is worth not going inside. You might make the perfect list and still forget something. Walking around the store may spark that memory of a forgotten item and you won’t have to make an extra trip to buy it. IF you use coupons then it is more difficult. You pay for your items from your comfy couch, but when you get there and they bring them out to you, you then hand them coupons and they go back inside and bring you back out cash or a gift card. (I’ve had it happen both ways.) Either is great but I have had it take $20 minutes before they came back out. Not griping just telling you the cons.

Price: $6 per trip (be on the lookout for a occasional freebies from Clicklist)

grocery.jpg

eMeals is a great meal planning site that literally gives you printed recipes, meals PLUS the shopping list!!! Wanna know something super cool- It is DAVE RAMSEY approved!! You can sign for free for 14 days and see how you like the program.. You choose your meal plan (family meals, vegan, gluten free, etc.) and from there your program is built. I still spend some time matching my coupons to the list and deciding what I already have and don’t need to buy but it is a time saver for sure. Several of the meals are not worth trying (in my opinion) but if you desperately want to try new meals on a budget while saving time- combine eMeals with Clicklist and there ya go!

Pros: If half the battle is planning meals– then here ya go! Problem solved. You can print the recipes/grocery lists and re use them later! I chose to pay for it for 1 year at a time and I print every weeks meals/list and file them away for next year.

Cons: A LOT of the recipes I don’t want to eat. I don’t think of myself as picky but a few of the recipes required bottles of stuff that I bought and will NEVER use again because I won’t be remaking it. It’s a nice way to try new stuff though. So maybe that isn’t a con…

Price: $50 per year, $10 for 3 months, first 2 weeks free!

Other tips for not busting your budget at the grocery store:

1- Know your family staples.

Each week {most weeks} we are going to have some form of Mexican food, hamburgers and spaghetti. Quick, easy, and yummy! That means no matter what I am picking up a few taco seasoning packets {or making my own when i’m feeling super frugal}, jar of tomato sauce, and hamburger meat. I can use the meals I always have in rotation and then I really only need to focus on having a few more. When Kroger runs their taco seasoning on clearance, I stock up! When Spaghetti sauce is 10 for $10, I just grab my coupons and head out the door. Know what you make on a regular basis and keep extra on hand!

2- Shop on Tuesdays.

It stinks because that is ALSO senior day, but that is also the last day in Krogers week. Which MEANS the mark-down wands will be waving their magic powers all over the store. That is a terrific time to get meat and produce on sale. Go later in the evenings {learn from my mistake} and enjoy a less stressful time to search the bargains.

3- Cut and freeze.

We don’t like to waste at our house. If I have to invite friends over to eat to avoid wasting food– I will do it! When I find meat on sale I will bring it home and cut it up, bag it up, throw in the deep freeze. For example– yesterday Kroger had pork loins on sale for .99 a pound!! (HOLY MOLY!!!!) We stocked UP! Several I froze whole knowing that we will throw them in the smoker and invite friends over for a game night. But 2 I cut up into smaller portions for me to throw in the crockpot during the week. What would have been $55.80 for 20 pounds of pork loin was $20. Now THAT is what i’m talking about. I also freeze bread, buns, and chips.

4-  I’d love to have a 4th point but i’m a Baptist preachers kid… so I have to stick with 3!

What are YOUR tips for saving at the grocery store? Share them with me in a comment or by emailing roxyrambles02@gmail.com

Also–the link to the lettuce wrap tacos is one I found on pinterest earlier this year when I did the Whole 30. It was AMAZING and super easy!!

Thanks for reading!

For now,

Cara Roxanne

To keep… or to toss?

That’s the REAL question.

My husband and I sat down at the kitchen bar and went over EVERY little thing we could think of that we spend money on. Having these kinds of real discussions regarding your finances is a vulnerable and wonderful time! It’s hard ya know? Finances are very personal and they weigh differently to men and women. What I value and want to see happen financially is not always what my husband wants. Finding that common ground is SO important!

Our list of random things we spend money on went like this:

Gym membership

Netflix

Hulu

Apple Music

Amazon Prime

Sam’s

Dish Network

bills

Let’s start with the gym. It is ONLY $22 bucks a month. And we have NOT been in 3 months. {FACE PALM}

We had the discussion of what to do with it. It’s very inexpensive but we are NOT using it… yet we both WANT to. It is hard for us to find the time between our busy schedules, my husband traveling a large portion of the time, having a child who isn’t old enough to be IN the gym, and let’s not forget having the TRUE motivation to go work out. We talked at length and decided to keep it until February. If we haven’t used it at least twice a week (on a GOOD average) then it’s gone. If we start using it like we desire to–then it stays.

Netflix. We can’t get rid of that! That was a pretty quick conversation. However, we DID make a change. Our bill is going up in January to $13.99 a month. I looked at the plans and we are currently on the 4 screens at a time/ability to download on 4 devices plan. We lowered it to the 2 screen plan for $10.99 a month. The ONLY time we ever need more than 2 devices is when we go on trips…which happens often. On an airplane we will each have our phones watching a downloaded tv show/movie from Netflix. That cannot happen on this new plan. However- Netflix is AWESOME in the fact that you can change your plan at any time and just pay the prorated difference. For now, this plan works. “But is is JUST 3.00 a month you saved.” You are correct. But that’s 3 dollars that WE get to keep. That’s a redbox movie and a 20 oz Dr Pepper to split. That’s a date night. And THAT is worth it.

Hulu. It’s going “Bye-Bye-BYE” as Justin Timberlake would say. {Well-now you know my age bracket!} For $7.99 a month we can get 99% of the same shows that are either on Dish or are on Netflix. My daughter will NOT be happy because she loves her some Cake Wars on Hulu… but I bet you anything we can find some of those episodes on Youtube. #THATISFREE

Apple Music. My husband doesn’t have an iPhone {which drives me crazy} so this one was up to me. I use my Apple Music every single day of the week! It is $14.99 a month and I DEFINITELY get my moneys worth… but I set that to cancel at my next payment date. I have used Pandora a lot this holiday season and though I cannot be AS selective with the music, it really is okay. I’m a big girl. I can do this. I think. I hope. I pray.

Amazon Prime. My number is up with them. They discovered [through their detective ways] that I am no longer a student. I purchased Prime last year as a student so it was half price. Starting in January it will go up to $99 a year. That’s not bad-right? But we don’t use the Prime Video often at all as most of the content can be found on Netflix or tv, and due to our cutting back on spending we really don’t have a lot to order this year. We got our moneys worth last year and ordered some large items, but I don’t see us doing that again this year so— buh bye!

Sam’s Club. I need to verify but I believe we have a membership through March. I jokingly {not so jokingly} told my husband that before our membership runs out we are going to stock up on some TP and paper towels! That is all I REALLY buy there! I mean if I am there I will be a gigantic bag of almonds because they are cheaper than Kroger, but overall, I don’t buy much there. I have found that for a family of 3, we can’t eat the yogurts before they expire, and I can’t eat all those bananas! I hate bananas… but I buy them because they are healthy. {yuck} So all in all, we might spend a LITTLE more on TP and other paper goods but not enough to cover the membership. I never buy gas there even though it’s a little cheaper because it is out of my way. So– there goes another savings of (I think) around $100!

Dish Network. Every month I pay for a TV service provider so that I can watch something I’ve either already seen or own the DVD of. {FACE PALM} It’s so true! We watch 20/20, Dateline, This is Us, Teen Mom [hey- this is a judgement free zone] and reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond. We pay a significant amount for that and even though my husband recently got them to lower the bill by $40 bucks, we pay over $80 each month! So here is the plan- I called to find out when our contract is up. Valentines Day. I confirmed this… we will cancel on that day and 30 days later we can come back as “new customers” and receive the same equipment and channels for 1/3 of the price. Basically this means that in January we will be doing the Whole 30 plus fasting social media for 21 days with our church, and then turn right around and have no cable for 30 days. Sounds like a stellar start to the New Year, huh?!

It comes down to your priorities. Maybe you have those perfectly in line. Or maybe you need to reevaluate them. I know that for US, this year is about paying off as much debt as humanly possible. If that means not having Apple Music and Dish for 30 days (And who knows? Maybe we will end up 6 months and just get it back in time for football season?), then those are sacrifices we are willing to make in order to reach our GOAL!

What is your goal? Figure that out NOW! Maybe it is to pay off one credit card and move right along. Maybe you can’t sleep at night for fear that you won’t be able to pay your bills. Whatever your situation is, decide what your GOAL is. Once you have prayed/meditated over that goal and decided this for SURE what you want… NOTHING will stand in your way!

Thanks for reading.

For now,

Cara Roxanne

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