Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pinterest! "To do's" went to "did do's!" :)

I did more than pinning today! lol If you're not on pinterest, you're missing out. I had an account and never really did anything with it for months. Than all of the sudden I found myself pinning everything I saw. Not really, but it sounded good. lol Anyhow, today I did three things I've seen on pinterest and wanted to share them with y'all.


1. First thing was buying a small water bottle and filling it with 1 part olive oil and 5 parts water. This will be a time and money saver! You use this to spray on frying pans before cooking to prevent food from sticking. I can't wait to give this a try! It seems plenty thick enough at 1:5 ratio. :)

2. The second thing.. With homeschooling, we go through a lot of paper when it comes to teaching them their lessons, especially math. We live in a travel trailer and I don't have a big dry-ease or chalk board nor room to put it. I saw an idea on pinterest to buy those page protectors for school work, taping the edges, and use them as dry-ease boards. Here's the link to the video on how to make them. The lady said they were super cheep, but when I went and looked at the price, I didn't find them very cheep to make, although her video was really informative. I recommend watching it to get ideas on the things that can be done with your new dry-ease boards.

Anyway, this is what I bought and put together for the kiddos. It is a report folder with the front being clear for them to write on and than I can put any piece of paper inside of it for them. It even has the 2 clips to hold the paper into place. Come to find out, just about any of these kinds of products can be re-purposed as a board for them to write on. These little dry ease markers are the best too! They have an eraser on the end so there's no need to keep up with extra erasers. They just keep this marker with their pencils. :)

 3. Last but not least.. We made doughnuts! This is who gets credit for this recipe! I didn't do exactly like the recipe so I'll post here how I made them. For further directions, I'd recommend you going to the link. It tells you how to make the chocolate frosting and how to mix up the cinnamon and sugar to have as coatings. I went with the all time favorite GLAZE on ours. This is so EASY, I can picture every person who reads my blog to go pick the ingredients on their next grocery trip and try it for yourselves! :)

First you buy some biscuits. They recommend Grands Buttermilk Biscuits. I used the Big Country Biscuits because they were sold out of Grands. I was told that the Texas Style Biscuits were good to use too. You need to cut a hole in the center. I bought cookie/biscuit cutter, but my holes seemed to be a bit big. Do they look to big to you? lol Anyhow, this didn't affect the taste of the doughnuts, so lets carry on. I took regular vegetable oil and filled a pan about 1/2"-1" high. The recipe says to warm the grease to 350 degrees. That was hard for me to gauge so I just made sure it was plenty warm before I dropped the first one in. My pan, as you see, held 4 doughnuts and 4 holes at one time. I cooked two batches which came out to 16 doughnuts and 16 holes. I recommend not overheating the oil. Just make sure you keep an eye on them when you first put them in. The darker they get, the more crunchy they get. Crunchy and doughnut isn't suppose to go in the same sentence. lol If you can tell in the bottom picture, the doughnuts on the far right, they are darker.. They really don't take long to cook on each side. Keep a close eye on them! You'll need some tongs to flip them while in the hot grease.

Once they are cooked, I pulled them out with the tongs and sat them on some paper toweled covered plates and added glaze to them. Oh my Lord, this glaze is GOOD! You mix 1 cup of powered sugar, 2 tbs of milk, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Elijah mixed ours up and each of the children took turns spreading it to the top of the doughnuts with a BBQ brush. We ended up glazing both sides! Yummy! This is a must do! I highly recommend it and I think it's safe to say that we'll never buy doughnuts again! This is the way to go!

Another thing I bought to make was seasonings to make my own taco seasoning. Rachael Ray gets credit for this one! I found the recipe here! I am so going to make this! All I need to get is an air tight container to hold my mixture in. I bought the spices the other day. I get so sick of having pre portioned mixes. Sometimes you need more and sometimes less than what they give you in the packets. I can't wait to try this one! To bad I didn't have it mixed up a couple of days ago when I made tacos for dinner! Here's the recipe!

1 part chili powder
1 part ground cumin
1 part garlic powder
1 part onion powder
1/4 to 1/2 part crushed red pepper

Basically what every portion you use on one, you use on all except the red pepper. If you use 1 cup of chili power, you use the same cup on every ingredient till you get to the crushed red pepper and you only add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup. Make sense? I knew I had a smart group!

I have some other things I'm planning on doing/making. Walmart just didn't have everything I needed today. :( When I do more, I'll share them with y'all! :) If you'd like to follow me on Pinterest, You can find me here! Follow me!

Thanks for reading! ♥

Friday, August 10, 2012

Yearly Cash Flow Spreadsheet

I would like to write up a couple of blogs. One about how I do my family budget and the other on how I keep up with all of our household bills. This one will be about my personal family expenses. I hope you enjoy and learn something that you can put into action within your own household! :)

How many of you know how much debt you owe out as a household? I mean really really know? I can honestly say that I know each and every month how much my husband and I owe in debt.

I have a BIG Christian faith so everything in my life, I TRY (not perfect by far) to live by what the Bible tells me. The bible speaks a lot about money! Did you know that? Here are a couple of scriptures I ponder while thinking of my finances..

Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

The rich ruleth over the poor , and the borrower is servant to the lender.

The first one is always in the forefront of my mind when thinking about debt. "Owe no man anything, but to love him." Wow, I could about preach a sermon on that one.. Good stuff! Anyway, as we can see, debt is not a good thing. It affects our outlook on life, our mood, our relationships with family, friends, spouse, and even our relationship with Christ. So with that being said, the reason I did this yearly cash flow chart to begin with was two fold. One, to see where my money was going so I could be a better steward with what the Lord entrusted to me and two, to get out of debt! Plain and simple. Good reasons right?

I have been married 14 years and I have to say I have been doing this since day ONE of my marriage. I can dig back through paperwork from where I was writing it all out by hand. I kinda miss it! I think about going back to the paper version. Both paper and computer have their pros and cons, so for now, I do it on a spreadsheet on my computer. :) Saves me from having to keep up with a calculator all the time. lol All I do is put in a number and it all adds itself up for me. Hey, I told you I'm OCD about my finances! lol You'll see as we go on.

Ok, let me try to do this.. without giving out to much of our personal info.. HA I'm going to change almost all of our debts and change the amounts we pay out. I'm sure y'all all understand that.. ;)

These are my steps when I put my "Yearly Cash Flow" chart into place.

1. I wanted the whole years worth of expenses on one or two pages, max, so across the top I have labeled Jan-Dec.

2. I divide all of my bills up into 3 categories. Bills to be paid out/mailed on the 1st of the month, the 10th of the month and the 20th of the month. These are the only 3 days of the month I pay bills. Talk about simple! This is where my budget plays such an important roll. Any bills due between the 7th and 16th of the month are paid on the 1st of the month. Bills due on the 17th through the 26th of the month are paid on the 10th and those due between the 27th of the month through the next 6th of the next month I pay on the 20th. Make sense? This is helpful to anyone who makes a habit of paying bills late. Paying bills late just cost you more money, so we want to prevent that from happening. It is possible to eliminate those late fees.

3. So, going down the first column of my spreadsheet I have listed each bill or expense, starting with the list of bills that are paid out on the 1st of the month.. After that, I list those paid on the 10th, than the 20th. I put all of the bills that are paid once or twice a year at the bottom of the list. This helps me to start at the beginning of the month and work my way down the page without searching out the next bill I need to pay.

Note: These bills/expenses on the spreadsheet are only fixed expenses like power, water, credit card bill, phone, mortgage, insurance, etc. I do not include changing expenses like groceries or clothes because these items don't incur late fees by not buying them. These are items that you buy if/when you have the money. Good, bad, up, or down, through the years I have always paid my bills FIRST. Than I bought groceries and if anything was left it went to other things we needed in our home. Trust me, it has been to that point where we had less than $50 a week to feed a family of 4. Maybe less.. Its been so long, it's hard to remember specifics. Maybe I should have written that down too? lol Anyhow, back to the task at hand..

4. Beside each bill/debt I have how much the bill is for the month and how much I paid. Not all bills have to be paid in full each month (example: credit card bill, insurance, etc.) So knowing how much you owe, how much you paid, and how much you still owe on that bill is important.

On regular bills I just put the amount owed in that month and the payment on the line below it. On others, like line 4. the loan. The first line is how much is due that month, the second line is the payment, and the third line is the balance. At one time I was even keeping up with the amount of interest I paid on each loan. Can anyone say OCD?

I have debts in red so they're easy to see. I have my spreadsheet automatically set up so when I type in a payment, it automatically adds it to my monthly payout at the bottom of the spreadsheet. When I type in my balance it automatically adds it to the bottom as well. Do you know how much of your income goes out in bills each month? At the end of each year I reflect on the debt we had at the beginning of the year and what we had at the end of the year. What debts we paid off and which new ones we incurred.

It's easy to see if I missed a payment and can catch it and pay it (hopefully) before it becomes past due. :) No need for extra files to keep up with BILLS. This also.worked when we were self employed. I was able to keep business and personal expenses separate and had one piece of paper on hand when I filed my taxes at the end of the year. :)

If you are interested in setting one up for yourself or me helping you to set one up for you on your computer, let me know. You'll need a spreadsheet app on your computer. Mine is Microsoft Works Spreadsheet. I could even write up a blog on how I set up the spreadsheet to do all of the calculations automatically for those that do not know.

Don't forget, this can also be done with a pen and paper. You don't need a computer. They have green spreadsheet paper at Walmart. I LOVE this paper! I used this for my budget back in the day as well. :) Don't have to worry about computer crashes when it's written in ink! :)

(This is a 6 column you can do 6 months at a time on. They also have a 12 column pad to do a whole year on.)

Here's a sample "Yearly Cash Flow 2012" spreadsheet!
As you can see, I still have my water bill and vehicle bill to pay this month. :)
I've used this method quite a few times to get us out of debt. If I see that my balance is close to the next $1000 platform, I may pay extra that month to get it below that threshold. Example: The Land debt... The August balance is $2340.93. If I wanted to go below $2000, instead of paying $150 or $200, I would pay like $350. Unfortunately, I didn't have it to pay this month because hubby started a new job after being out of work for almost 3 months with no income, so I was paying only what I needed to. I hate paying the minimum payment on anything! lol I'm hoping to go ahead and knock out these debts as we build our home DEBT FREE! I believe! I believe! I BELIEVE!
This is a passion for me and it's my goal to help families to live free from debt even with the smallest of incomes. If we could do it, anyone can!

This is one topic in your life that you have to get mad at to see change in it. I literally HATE debt! You have to get to the point that you hate it too. See it as I do.. As bondage. It keeps us from having and doing what is purposed for us to do in life. Personally, we have been way over our heads in credit card debt before and with the Lord's help and guidance, He helped us pay it off. Now on my credit card debt you see on this page, I pay the bill off every month. I don't plan on paying anymore interest than is absolutely necessary.

Feel free to share your goals and achievements with me. I want to celebrate them with you. As you can tell with my goal to build my home debt free that I believe with God, anything is possible!