Friday, July 12, 2013

Bowling for 6

The deal was $60 for two hours of bowling, shoes, 2 slices of pizza each and a pitcher of a soft drink.  I did not feel satisfied with my purchase when we only got thru one game of bowling during the 1 and 1/2 hours that we were there.  I guess 60 frames on one lane in an hour and a half works.  I am not sure how much it would have been to buy everything separately.  The other alternative would have been to reserve two lanes so that we could finish a game faster.  Live and learn.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Day 1 Evening

At the suggestion of a friend, I am trying to reduce our intake of processed foods.  That is going to be more possible once all the cookies etc are gone. 
Our evening meal consisted of a hamburger without a roll, lettuce, carrots and cantaloupe for dessert.
7 family members
5 ate the hamburgers, one needed ketchup and cheese on the hamburger
4 ate the cantaloupe

I am feeling full or satisfied.  Guess I need to do some shopping. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Desserts on a Budget

Do you ever find yourself craving something?
I made three desserts yesterday with the help of the Internet.  I rearranged my cabinets recently and I knew what ingredients I had and where all the measuring spoons were located.
I was able to search in house ingredients to search out what I could make. 
I found many recipes for chocolate brownies and peanut butter.  I choose a recipe that would produce cupcakes.  I have never made anything with a brownies mix except the actual pan of brownies.  Cupcake brownies with peanut butter was a success.  I also choose an additional recipe on a box that was supposed to make cake bars.  I added additional water and an egg so my intended bars were a cake instead.  No problem.  I might try that one again without the extra water and egg.  This cake had peanut butter in it also.  My children figured I was craving chocolate and peanut butter. 
My third dessert was an pineapple upside down cake.  Most of my children enjoy pineapple so they were willing to try it.
Now on to main meals.  I have cream of chicken soup but no additional chicken so I was trying to find a recipe for that.  I also have canned green beans and was looking at some version of a green bean casserole.  Other ingredients on hand include graham crackers and rice.  I am trying to use up some of my extra pantry items.  3 cake mixes seem like a lot.  I also had an enormous amount of peanut butter.  I am also fully stocked with red sauce and types of spaghetti. 
My craving was really for some more space in the cabinets and to try new things.
Best wishes for a fulfilling day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Monthly Expenses

Maybe the best way to tackle monthly expenses is to discuss them. Recently I asked a group online if my expenses seemed in line.  Auto insurance stuck out as something that could be worked on to be lowered.  If you have friends or relatives living in the same area try to compare your expenses.  While you might feel that you are a great negotiator and got the best price you might be wrong.  My husband thinks that our cell phone plan can't be beat.  That might be true but we don't have the best Internet access by a long shot. 
The reality is that a savings of $10 a month can really add up over the years.  Please take the time to look at your expenses and try to compare your expenses either with a competitor or with a neighbor.  Your might be surprised.  Many people switch their cable company every few years.  My oil prices are literally thru the roof.  Each year they seem to be a much bigger financial drain on our finances. 
Good luck with your decisions.  Easy adjustments include things that are not necessary, extra auto insurance, too many unused minutes each month on your cell phone and a land line that includes long distance when you primarily use your cell phone.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Stay at Home Parents Denied Credit Cards

I am afraid it is a sad day when a stay at home parent is denied a credit card.  I realize the best way to get a credit card is to have your own personal income source.  When this is not available the next criteria can be to look at the household income.

Many years ago I saw a television program where a woman was having trouble establishing her own personal credit.  I knew early on that good credit was important.  It surprises me that a stay at home parent would not be able to use the household income to obtain a credit card. 

If you are not the main account holder of the credit card you will not be able to make certain changes to the credit card account but you will be able to make all the purchases and pay the bills.  The main account holder needs to make the request for a higher credit limit or raise the question about lowering the interest rate. 

I hope that household income is considered in offering credit cards but I doubt that a stay at home parent will have the same issues with obtaining debit cards.  In the past many people have forgone using their credit card and opted to use their debit card instead.  Maybe the wave of the future will be to utilize cash more often.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Put Out the Closed Sign

A friend and her husband are starting their own business.  Getting out of the 9 to 5 grind can be appealing but in reality the hours become more than 9 to 5 because you are the owner.  Another family took over a restaurant.  They realize that the business could take over their lives and they closed the business two of the seven days per week, one for family time and one to get ready for the next week.

In our own lives, wouldn't it be good to be able to put up the closed sign once in a while.  Some people make appointments with themselves.  We also need to make time for the financial parts of our lives.  Whether you are a teacher, an architect, or a financial planner; money is important and we need to take the time to manage it. 

Do you have unnecessary atm fees, bank overdrafts or other banking charges?  Do you have time set aside to review your bank statements or do a bank reconciliation?  Try spending some time to plug the holes that are draining your bank accounts and investments.  In my case, my 529 accounts are costing me money because I am not investing currently and fees are being taken out.

Put out the closed sign for your family, friends and work.  Say hello to your financial side.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Something Happened in the Last Four Years

Just recently, I noticed that there are many 4 bedroom single homes that are affordable and costing less than my current home.  My first inclination is to consider moving.  My second thought is to take a look at what is really going on.  If these houses have become more affordable what is happening to my own home?  Is the value of my home staying the same or decreasing?
I recently looked at a four bedroom home about 20 minutes from my house that costs $220,000.  What was the value of that home four years ago?  Have the prices of homes gone down significantly or only slightly.
Some of the home valuing websites have my home listed as having three bedrooms rather than four bedrooms.  This will make some of the valuations lower than expected.  Overall my home has not increased in value.  Sad but understandable. 
Have you looked at your home's value recently?  Is there anyway to increase the value of the home?
Recent upgrades to your property could increase the value of the home.  My home could use a new shed.  We recently installed a remote controlled ceiling fan in one of the bedrooms. 
Another thing to look at is the current balance that you owe on the home.  Ideally you never owe more than your home is worth.  Over the past four years we have refinanced our home once.  If you are not planning to stay in your current home over a certain amount of years refinancing does not always pay off.
One good thing that happened over the last four years is that our source of income (my husband's job) is now local.  We are officially moved.  Both our home and employment are in the same zip code. 
Now the trick is to start paying down the mortgage significantly so that a house that is 20 minutes away non rush hour does not look so appealing because the overall mortgage amount would be less. 
It is time for an epiphany.  A time to realize that if we tighten our belts we can knock out years from our mortgage by doing a bigger snow ball payment each month.