Monday, March 28, 2011

Oh, We ARE Serious.

I'd be lying if I said that this whole thing has been easy. In fact, it's been harder than I imagined. It's a very slow moving having to push a 6-foot boulder from one end of a football field to the other, using only your bare hands. It's exhausting.

Actually, we've occasionally been so exhausted that we have taken breaks (bad, I know!). Like last weekend when I accidentally went into Hobby Lobby. CHOKE.

But today was the tipping point!

We just got back from selling our Chevy Cobalt. Yes. It looked just like this one. We just freed up a car payment + insurance payment each month AND made a small profit on the car.

The OPTIMAL thing to do would be to put the entire profit on the next bill. Instead we're going to use some of the money on maintenance for the other two cars. Even after that we will have enough to pay off another bill.

Did you wonder if we were serious about this whole thing?

We most certainly are.

Friday, March 25, 2011

That's What It's All About...

We're just a couple months into our Total Money Makeover, but we've already figured a few things out. Now remember, we're SLOW learners. There is probably nothing you will ever read here that you haven't heard somewhere else.
It's all about being organized. Duh, right? Well, we WERE organized with our money before. We knew how much was coming in and how much was going out. We had spread sheets in Excel, made grocery lists, etc.
But that's not the organization I am talking about.
We have saved an amazing amount of money by organizing our time and home!
  • By getting everyone to bed on time we're able to wake up earlier and eat breakfast. This has saved us from eating out for breakfast AND from over indulging at lunch time/snacking unnecessarily.
  • By keeping the laundry organized we keep track of all those little boy and baby girl socks. This has saved us from running to the store for another package of socks, only to look under the couch a few weeks later and find all those that were missing!
  • By packing up left-overs immediately after dinner we get tomorrow's lunch prepared. Obviously this has saved us from going out to eat for lunch.
  • By reading grocery store ads, making lists, and checking for coupons we save money at the store. In the last 2 months I have not made a single "shoot-from-the-hip" purchase at the store. You know the ones I'm talking about..."Oh those Cadbury Eggs sound so good, I'll just grab a couple bags..."
  • By regularly sorting through our closets we keep track of our bars of soap, boxes of tissues, tubes of toothpaste, etc. This has saved us from buying things we don't need.

Organization has been the key the last few months! In fact, I'm down to only two trips to the store each month. I use to go once a week and spend at least $125 each time ($500/month). Now I'm spending just $150 each trip ($300/month)...That includes diapers and formula. AMAZING!!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Increasing our Income

We've heard that the fastest way to increase income is to sell the belongings that you don't need.

A few weeks ago we walked into Cabelas and walked out with some cash. I attribute every bit of this success to Evan. It was his idea, his items that we sold, and his drive that has pushed us through the last few weeks.

He's the greatest!!!

Our current status: One bill has already been completely paid off and a second bill will be finished by mid-April!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

$0.44 Couch Clean Up

My kids make a HUGE mess of our couches. We knew that would be the case and that's why we chose Microfiber upholstery. And it really is's easy to clean--IF you catch the spill right away. Other wise you can run a cloth over the mess, but you can almost never get it completely clean.

And then there are the smells!

We use to rent a Rug Doctor each spring to clean our upholstery, but I recently tried something new and I love it even more.

All you need is:
  • A good vacuum
  • Baking Soda--likely the only thing you need to buy! And I got mine for $0.44 the other day.
  • Water
  • A washing machine and detergent
Step 1: Vacuum all the loose dirt off your cushions and frame
Step 2: Unzip the cusion covers and remove them. (Our seat cushions are foam, but our back cushions are filled with stuffing, so we used garbage bags to hold the stuffing while we cleaned).
Step 3: Throw your cushion covers into the washing machine (first make sure the dye in your fabric won't run). This is suppose to work for all microfiber material.

Step 4: While your upholstery is in the washing machine, use a damp cloth to clean the parts of your frame that can't go into the washing machine.
Step 5: Make sure that the couch is still damp...take a handful of baking soda and rub it all over the damp part of the couch.
Step 6: Trust me on this. Make a huge mess! Rub the baking soda into the fabric. It should make a flaky paste.
Step 7: Walk away. Leave the couch alone until the baking soda dries. We let ours sit overnight.

Step 8: While the soda is drying remove the upholstery from the washing machine and let it air dry. We like to use our dining room chairs for this.
Step 9: Vacuum the baking soda up, put the cushions back together, and reassemble your couch.
Step 10: Enjoy an odor-free, soft, and clean place to sit!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Do You Solve a Problem...

Baby girl needed a new dress for Church. We are finding that she is about as wide as a 12-month-old, but as short as a 6-month-old, so finding clothes that fit is becoming difficult (and expensive).
I have yards, and yards, and yards of fabric in the basement that my Mother-In-Law has passed on to me over the years. So I tried my hand at making a dress on my own:I know what you're thinking..."that skirt looks a lot like drapes." Well, we THINK that's what the fabric was originally used for. So, yeah. I'm pretty much a modern day Maria Von Trapp.

Cost of this dress: FREE! (Unless you count the time it took to measure, cut, sew, re-sew, pick seams, sew again...if you counted THAT, then this would be a VERY expensive dress :) )