Friday, August 28, 2009

It's been so long since I've blogged, although there has been plenty to write about I just haven't been in the frame of mind to do it.
Balance and Energy haven't always been in the forefront of my mind as I go about my day. Little children and all the needs of running a household take precedence. Now that our children are getting older and MUCH more self-sufficient, I have more time in quiet contemplation.
It gives me the opportunity to think about the direction of my life and the life of my family. I've always struggled with what ifs and dreams of the future. I am not good at seeing a big picture, I tend to focus on the things right in front of me.
Having a balanced marriage, spiritual life, parenting life, and social life is not always easy. I have put aside some of my favorite hobbies while raising small children.
In the last few months, Wally and I have been walking at night and it has given us a calm easy time to talk and reconnect each day. I really enjoy the excercise and companionship that it gives us. This small thing has helped me regain balance in my life and recently I've been more clearly focused on getting things accomplished and having the energy to get all the domestic things done and still have time to cook homemade food and take the kids to the beach and on fun excursions.
Now that summer vacation is almost over, there is a sadness that they are all going back to school. Usually, I'm ready for a change of pace and getting back into a routine, but this year I'm not.
I have to be super organized when getting breakfast and lunches, homework and soccer practice done each day when school is in session, and still have some calm soothing energy to create a house that gives Wally and the kids a place where they can be happy.
I've noticed an amazing transformation in our kids attitude and behavior since I've lowered my hyper energy in the house. Things are much calmer and quieter because of my change in my energy. The saying "when Momma ain't happy, ain't noboby happy" is so true. My attitude and energy reflects directly back on them.

Monday, May 18, 2009

No More Debting!

Mary Hunt, a financial expert, talks about having the things you love without charging.

"The Smiths and Jones' – buy everything the same, have same income. The Jones' buy everything right now on credit and spend on average $1,200 per year on finance charges. The Smiths' save and have the exact same items, but put the $100 extra that they didn’t spend on finances in a savings account. In 10 years, the Smiths have $21,000 in their savings account!

If you even ever carrying a balance for one month on your credit cards, you are debting. You are spending more than you make because you can't pay it off that month.

Stop debting. No more. Any interest you pay on debt is money lost. Money that could be saved or used for other purposes, like giving.
Find other creative ways to buy things.

• Get one filling done at a time at the dentist.
• Selling something on Craigslist to pay for that Carnival coming up that your family wants to go to.
• Call your bank and setup an automatic debit from your checking account to your savings account of $25 a week. You will have saved $1,300 for Christmas by the time November comes around when you need it.

Make it a challenge, an adventure to figure out how to pay for everything without debting.
It is amazing to me how we don't miss the money when our savings is automatically transferred out to the savings account.

By not debting, you leave room for fun in your life. Sometimes one spouse is the scrimper or penny pincher. It is hard for that spouse to let go and spend money on having fun. It seems wasteful. But when there is no debt, it makes it easier to justify the fun money. Usually the other spouse is more the free spirit. They can easily spend money on presents, trips, and goodies for everyone else. Do some compromising.

Make time each month to sit down with your spouse and talk about the month ahead. The bills, the parties, the savings, the goals and plans you have for your family, and the fun! We don't do this enough. We've been treading water for so long that it is hard to relax and live in the moment. It is hard for me to let go of the control I have over the household finances. I know that the debt is just money, it will be gone eventually. But the time we have now with our children will be gone before we know it. Stop debting and bring some fun back into your life!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Innocence and Training

My three year old, Claire, just found a penny and wanted to put it in her ladybug bank. She said she's saving for a car. She also told me she had "a green one" in there too! I was very excited to use this as a learning experience, not just for her, but for me as well. I told her she had an account at the bank and if she put her "green one" dollar in the bank it would grow bigger and help her save for a car.

I've told all our children if they save money for a car, Daddy and Mommy will pay for the other half. Dave Ramsey calls it 401K Dad.

She asked where the bank was and I told her it was on the computer. Her account is at ING Direct. So she sat on my lap and we logged in. She looked for her name and found it on her savings account. I transferred a dollar from our savings account to her and told her she now had more money in her account. Then I took her real one and put it in my wallet to deposit back into our savings account.

She looked a bit sad, but she'll thank me later!

Monday, April 20, 2009


We're in this together! Through thick and thin. I've seen so many couples on tv lately struggling to keep their marriages together in this tough time of lost jobs and foreclosures. It gives me strength and security to know that no matter what, our marriage and family are most important. We both have made that commitment to each other and to our family. I would sleep in our car before I would give up my marriage. It saddens me that a big house or a new car could drive a wedge in between couples. Stuff is not what matters. It's family that matters...
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Allowances and Money training

I've always thought it was a good idea to give our kids an allowance. But I'm not sure how to teach them the responsibility that goes along with it. All we've done is give it to them and not taught them how to manage it, save it, or think about it.

Our 8 year old knows how much money she has, and thinks $20 is a lot of money. We have to work better on splitting their allowance money into categories. Most of the time their allowance is dolled out in $1.00 bills, so the actual splitting into different savings piles is difficult. I'm going to try to make it my goal this month to have the money split before I give it to them, so that we can work with them on saving long term, spending, and giving.

We've not directly tied allowance money to chores because our 8 year old would just give up the money and refuse to do the chores. I want them to do their daily chores because they are part of the family not because we pay them for them. An allowance is to teach them responsibility with money and let them buy things and learn how much they really cost.

I've been using the $.50 per year allocation, so an 8 year old would get $4.00 a week. It adds up quickly when they aren't buying anything! It is hard for me to make them part with some of the money to put in their savings accounts. I know they wouldn't really miss it, but that part of the training is hard for me to deal with. Hmm, maybe I need to look into my own feelings about saving on this one...

Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The two older kids are gone on a spring break trip with their grandparents. It is so quiet here in the house. Wow, what a difference and change in dynamics our household is.
It's nice that the kids get a trip to an amusement park without any output from our budget. I know they will have a wonderful time and create great memories with their grandparents.

Didn't do so well keeping in our dining budget this week, but it was a nice treat to go out to lunch with my husband! We do that so infrequently. Our monthly date nights are so welcomed and relaxing. I enjoy our time together. Lunch was a welcome distraction.

The economy is still lagging, but people in our neighborhood don't seem to want to talk about the true effects it has on them. Some seem to be cutting back, but others are spending at rapid rates. It really has to do with our spending and saving habits before the economy went south.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My First Blog

My name is Shay. I'm a stay at home mom who is turning 40 this year. I have been married to my best friend, Wally for almost 12 years. We have three beautiful, smart, sweet children; Abigail, 8 Spencer, 5 and Claire, 3. We own our own network consulting business and I am the main bookkeeper.

I have so many ideas floating around in my head. I'm not sure where to start. My main blog interest is in financial topics and the emotions and values surrounding it. Parenting and organizing are also interests of mine as well. So you may see a parenting or organizing tip thrown in here or there as well.

I have been the main budgeter and money handler in our marriage and business. I love doing it for the most part. I'm definitely the numbers cruncher. I love spreadsheets and reports. My husband trusts my decisions, so I tend to do my own thing, sometimes with bad results. I've learned so much about money in the last 2 1/2 years. Things in my life have changed. I've become more focused and less selfish for the here and now stuff and more about the long term effects of our spending. I read Dave Ramsey's book, Total Money Makeover and it changed the way I look at income and debt. I had always been a budgeter, but usually overspent and charged on credit cards. We are currently paying off our debt and saving an emergency fund.

  • I want to be able to create interesting stimulating discussions with people about how money is used and spent.
  • I want to delve into the childhood lessons that taught us about money.
  • I want to see how money is used by others to fulfill goals.
  • I want to teach you how to have peace and financial freedom.