God Is In Charge

As you have your budget meeting, and you track your speeding, and you allocate your money, always keep in mind that God is ultimately in charge.  

This should not be a daunting realization but a freeing one.  What you need to know sweet friend, is that God wants only the best for you.  Now, granted, sometimes He has some interesting, and sometimes painful ways of getting you to what He considers His best for you.  But, I promise, once you are there it will be like nothing you have ever experience.  There is something so peaceful about living in God’s will – walking the path that He has laid before you!!

So here are a couple of reminds from the Bible today for you to ponder.

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.  -Proverbs 16:1

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. -Proverbs 16:9

Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.  -Proverbs 19:21

Don’t you just love Proverbs?  It just speaks the truth.  Sometimes it might not be what we want to hear, but the truth nonetheless.  I pray that this series is helpful to those of you that are following along!!

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My Experience With Coupons

I have tried several times, with great intentions, to clip coupons.  And, every. single. time. I have failed (whichs means I quit). Mostly because I’m too lazy, but partially because I really want instant gratification – I want to save $100 my first time out – and I just don’t think it works that way.  Or, at least, it’s never worked that way for me.

Maybe you coupon, and maybe it’s the greatest thing for you, and to that I say bravo!!  You go girl!!  But for me, I just can’t seem to make it worth my effort.  I’m sure, as the experts will tell you, if I were to work at it for a time it would pay off.  Any experienced couponer – whether big or small – will tell you it takes time.  And folks, I’ve told you I am not a patient person.  

Also, I don’t buy name brands for the most part.  I have always bought generic or off brand when I can, so there’s that.  

For my family I find that shopping for groceries takes quite a bit of time anyway, without coupons.  🙂  We (yes, we – my sweet hubby almost always goes with me) make a morning of it and hit three stores in one area – Aldi, Sams, and Walmart.

There are four men/boys in my family who must have meat, and lots of it – so we shop at Sams for that and a few other breakfast and lunch convenience items.  I know I could probably save a bit on some of those things by making them myself and I am working towards that :).

If you have an Aldi in your area and you haven’t tried it out before – GO!!  I steered clear of it for years, because it was small, there was hardly anyone ever there, and you have to pay a quarter for your cart and bag your own groceries!!  Well, I am now an Aldi convert.  I LOVE this place!!  

If you refuse to buy off-brand than Aldi may not be for you, but I can tell you that just because the label is different means nothing.  Many of their products are manufactured in the same factory as the name brand stuff, and just labeled differently for Aldi.  I am shocked every time I go there – even still and I have been shopping there for over three years – when the cashier gives me my total.  What would have cost me $200+ at Walmart or any other discount grocer, even with coupons, cost me $100 or less at Aldi!!  No joke, every time!!

I shop Walmart last, because there are a couple of things that I am still a brand snob about, and a few things that I can’t find at Aldi.  

I do need to clarify that I love coupons I receive for some of my favorite clothing, shoe, or department stores – those I most definitely use!!

I am not saying couponing is bad, I’m just saying I’m not any good at it :).  If you are interested in couponing, Ruth has a wonderful step-by-step guide on how to get started and do it right.

Anybody else out there love Aldi??!!??

Blessings and Peace!!


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Bargain Hunting

I don’t know about you, but I love to find a great bargain.  I am the one who, when you tell me you like my dress, will yell out “and I only paid $20 for it!”.  I really struggle to pay full price for anything, and I also don’t like to pay more than something is worth.

Bargain hunting can be fun, but it is usually just that – a hunt.  I have to admit sometimes I just want to walk into the small boutique, find just what I want, pay for it, and walk out.  But, honestly I always feel better when I wait, and score that illusive deal.  

What would I say to newbies??  The number one thing to remember is patience.  You may not be able to find exactly what you are looking for at exactly the right price, right now.  So, obviously the next thing you need to remember is flexibility.

Don’t be afraid to check out your local thrift stores. Find the ones that run sales, and have the best prices and check their stock frequently.  People donate great stuff!!

Garage sales are fabulous, and a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday morning.  My kids were raised on garage sale and thrift store items!!  

Dollar stores are great for some really basic items. I’m sure everyone has their go to items there.  I but all more plastic organizing bins there.  Plus, greeting cards, gift bags, tissue paper, paper party supplies, and contact paper.

I have signed up for way to many email lists over the years, but this is a great way to know when your favorite stores are running sales and on what.  This is how I stock up on my favorite things.

These are just a few ideas on bargain shopping.  I’m sure you have your own tricks, so please share them in the comments below.  I love learning!!

Blessings and Peace!!

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The Envelope System {for the cash}

Now that you are operating with cash, you will need a way to keep your cash categories separated and organized.  This is affectionately called “the envelope system”.  People have been using cash forever, but oddly this seems like a totally new concept to most people – I know it was for me.  I mentioned that I use the envelopes that I received when I participated in the Financial Peace class.  Nothing fancy – they look like this –

There is a log on the outside of each envelope, which I used in the very beginning, and then I decided stuffing the receipts in the envelope worked just as well. Truthfully, for me, I don’t need to know how much I spent where on what.  If there is money left in the envelope then great, if not then….  

I have seen a lot of cute envelope systems floating around the blog world, and etsy, via pinterest.  I only had to spend a couple of minutes to find this cute DIY, and this one, oh and this one looks simple, and I love that it’s not too bulky.  Also I found this one on etsy which I really like, and I even found a man’s wallet on etsy that is designed for this system!!

Sometimes the tricky part is making sure that the right person has the cash.  Sometimes, I would ask my hubby to pick up a bag o salad or something on his way home, but he didn’t have the grocery cash.  Major stumbling block.  Typically he would be smart enough to use his ‘blow’ money and then reimburse himself from the grocery money when he came home.  

This is so doable!!  Take heart my friends.  It is so much better, and peaceful to live within your means than beyond them. 

Blessings and Peace!!
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Record Keeping {Budget Binder}

I mentioned here that we use an excel spreadsheet to keep track of our budget and bill paying. This is only half true.  Several months ago, when my anxiety level was off the charts, I surrendered the money management to my hubby.  I have been doing it solely because I had more time.  Truth be told, he’s probably better at it than I am – but don’t tell him I said so ;).

He uses the excel sheet to look at, but then he scratches out his own (illegible I might add) notes on whatever scrap piece of paper he happens to find.  Bless him, he just prefers pencil and paper.  

So, today I decided to check out my own pinterest budget board, because I knew I had pinned some things on budget binders, and budget planning sheets.  {What did I ever do before pinterest??}

There are so many options, some free – like this one, some at a low cost on etsy – like this one.  I also came across this site with some very basic financial pages to print.  And of course there are the starter pages from Dave Ramsey.

Honestly, I had trouble finding something that was exactly what I wanted.  So I made my own, with a table in Word, and printed it out.  Now, I am assuming that these sheets don’t take too long for someone who knows how to use these programs fairly fluently, but for the basic beginner – me, it took a little bit of time to get everything in place, and looking the way that I wanted. Let’s just hope hubby likes it.  

Blessings and Peace!!

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