Happy Veterans Day

The FrugalSource would like to take a moment to thank our brave men and women in uniform for all they do for our country.  I, Mrs.FrugalSource spent several years working at VA Hospital and it was the best job I ever had. I was deeply touched by the many sacrifices and stories that I was honored to witness during my time there and it has forever changed the way I view the world and those that work tirelessly to protect our part of it. We are extremely grateful.

Below are a few links to sites listing numerous discounts and freebies that our offered for these brave men and women.  We hope all veterans will take advantage of as many as possible.

Veterans Day Freebies

Veterans Day Discounts

Veterans Day Sales, Deals, and Free Meals.

Celebrating Christmas on a Budget

It’s not about the money we spend…

Budget.  That is not a word that most people like to use when they discuss their holiday plans.  Our society constantly shows us that the holidays are meant for excess in every single way; gifts, meals, celebrations, excursions, decorations, desserts and adult beverages just to name a few.

We have come to a point in our society that we need to step back and take a good look at why we are taking a religious holiday and turning into a circus. The holy days are such a beautiful time in the year and can be enjoyed while creating wonderful memories, even on a budget.

While raising our kids, we have always been on a budget, trying to dig ourselves out of medical debt and now our mortgage. So, over the years, I’ve needed to be creative and come up with ways to enjoy the season without breaking the bank.

I have shared many of the ways that we celebrated the Christmas season with our family in our new book, “Frugal Seeds Christmas Edition: 101 Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season on a Budget”.  It is available on Amazon in both paperback and ebook and can be read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Wishing you a happy and budget friendly holiday season.

who doesn’t love a list?

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
– Unknown

There is something about lists that make me intrinsically happy. I actually enjoy writing down what I hope to accomplish over a specific period of time, be it that day or 5 years from now.

These lists allow me to plan and to dump all the thoughts bouncing around in my mind and free up space. But what I enjoy doing even more than writing out a list is crossing things off. Yep, I actually get a small rush of happiness each time I take my pen and make a horizontal line through the achievement written on my index card, which is now my preferred way to write out my lists (using both sides, of course). Sure, I could create a list on my phone but then that would deprive me of drawing a line, and that is more than half the fun of creating a list in the first place.

What does creating list have to do with finances? Quite a lot, actually.  In order to reach our goals, we need to have a plan.  You can try to walk around all day with all of your goals rattling around in your head, or you can write them down.  Just the act of writing down your goals makes them more real.  According to a 2016 study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, you are 42% more likely to reach your goals and dreams if you write them down on a regular basis.

Should you be a slave to your lists? Absolutely not, but they give us the framework of what we find important, our priorities for the day.  And it is in our daily activities and consistent behaviors they allow us to win with our money.

I have found the following lists helpful while digging out of debt:

  • grocery lists – stay focused in the store so we purchase only what is needed
  • book lists – keeps me focused on what I want and need to read instead of getting off track with something with a catchy title
  • daily lists – what i would like to accomplish that day in order to keep moving toward my goals
  • financial lists – lists of goals for 1, 5 and 10 years; without these goals you have no idea what you are trying to accomplish with your finances
  • personal lists – areas that I would like to enhance in my life, such as learning new skills
  • spiritual goals – it is my firm belief that we are all spiritual beings and our highest calling is to help others in their life’s journey
  • house list – similar to a grocery list, but helps Mr. Frugal Source stay focused when surrounded by all the tools he didn’t know he needed at the local big box store

Lists make the world, at least my small world, a much better place as they free my mind to think about the most important things in life.

As always, we want to hear from you. We’d love it if you’d take a moment to comment about what you do to keep yourself focused and stay on track to your goals.

Baby Step #7 – Build Wealth and Give

Give freely of your time; it is far more valuable than any amount of money.

We have finally reached the very last baby step. And if you personally have or will soon arrive at this step, congratulations! It takes an incredible amount of work and dedication to get here, and you deserve to sit back and enjoy this part of the ride.

Even if you’ve been investing 15% or more, have set aside enough to help your kids get through college debt free (we think they should pitch in; it’s good to have “skin in the game”), you still may not be in a position to give much more financially than you have been throughout the process, and that’s okay. While we think you should certainly give whatever you can, and hope that your ability to give financially continues to increase over time, there are so many other ways you can give that may have an even bigger impact on the lives of others.

Continue reading “Baby Step #7 – Build Wealth and Give”

Baby Step #6 – Pay Off the House Early

In our last post, we discussed baby step #5 and mentioned how steps 4, 5 and 6 are to be worked on simultaneously. And, that it is our humble opinion, steps 4 (investing 15%) and 6 should take precedent over saving for your children’s college (step #5).

Now, on to the debate that every single personal finance blog has touched on at least once; do you pay off your home early or invest more money? Which one will be better, financially speaking, in the long run. There are a ridiculous number of variables to consider: Do you plan on staying in your home long term? What is the interest rate of your mortgage? How much is your home worth? How much principal do you have remaining to pay off? What return do you expect on your investments? How soon do you plan to retire? What do you anticipate the rate of inflation will be? It’s enough to make you dizzy.

Continue reading “Baby Step #6 – Pay Off the House Early”

Commentary on Step 5 – Saving for College

Here we are at baby step #5, saving for your children’s college.  As you likely know, Mr. Ramsey’s guidance is to work on steps 4, 5, and 6 at the same time.  He does keep this step more vague then the others due to the differences in family circumstances, from those who do not have children to those who have a boat load, creating a much bigger challenge in saving for college for the entire brood.

Most of what we’ve read, heard, and watched from Dave himself about this part of the journey implies it’s a non-negotiable step if you have children.  This is concerning, as everyone’s situation is different.  To be fair, Chris Hogan, one of the “Ramsey Personalities”, has shared on more than one occasion that one size does not fit all and, furthermore, making sure you can afford to retire should take priority.  Amen to that!
Continue reading “Commentary on Step 5 – Saving for College”

baby step # 4 – investing

Once you have reached this part of the Dave Ramsey plan you are now instructed to invest 15% of your household income into ROTH IRAs and pre-tax retirement. We will not get into the pros and cons of various types of investing in this post, but instead of focusing on the amount. So, this will be a short one.

Investing money is a very important step in winning with money. It is a necessity to save money for your future if you ever plan on retiring. On the flip side, none of us have any idea what life will throw at us and we may not be one of the lucky ones who actually get to choose when to stop working.

Continue reading “baby step # 4 – investing”

Is Baby Step 1 Too Small?

Over the next seven weeks we are going to be delving into Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and how we tweaked them to work for us.  I realize this may ruffle a few feathers as there are many strict adherents to his financial peace protocol, and with good reason. Mr. Ramsey has designed a plan that works for many people, and it was a great starting point for us as we were completely clueless when it came to financial matters.

That said, there are many of us who do not fit into the “average American” bell curve; in fact, our circumstances place us on the fringe of the curve.  For our one-income family of six, with multiple chronic illnesses, $1,000 for a starter emergency fund is a complete joke.  It is certainly better than nothing, but $1,000 barely covers anything, even if you do have health insurance.
Continue reading “Is Baby Step 1 Too Small?”

Who Knew 0 Was Such a beautiful number?

Calculator with coins
Give every penny a job!

In a previous post, I ranted about how all the money ran through our hands with nothing to really show for it.  Our lives finally began to change when we ran across Dave Ramsey, read his book, took a financial peace class, listened to his radio show, and started working the modified baby steps.

What helped us most from all that we learned was the zero-based budget.  It is so simple.  You take what you bring home each month, assign a job to every cent and stick to your budget.  It is amazing how, when you take the time tell your money what to do, it doesn’t  just disappear.  Gaining control over your money gives you confidence and control; when you want to win with money, control is a very important piece of the puzzle.

Continue reading “Who Knew 0 Was Such a beautiful number?”