Blogging My Way Through Debt

 - Blogging My Way Through Debt

New Side Gig- Test Scorer

I am always amazed how one chapter in my life seems to just flow into a new chapter.  During my years at home with my boys, I worked part time with undergraduate students in the education program.  While working with these students I graded several capstone projects.

Last year I replied to a Craigslist ad for Pearson, recruiting test scorers.  I’m assuming I may have seen the ad a little too late and never heard anything back after submitting my personal information.  Obviously as the year went on I never thought anymore about Pearson and even forget that I applied.  Until this year, I check my email a few weeks ago to find a message from Pearson asking me to update my personal information to be considered for a scoring position.

PearsonAfter updating my information and checking the areas in which I feel comfortable scoring, I am offered a scoring position.  This position will last about 6 weeks and I am committed to scoring at least 20 hours a week.  I am always looking for ways to make a little extra money from home, especially since I am home from work before the rest of my family gets home.  I am super excited about this short term opportunity and my previous experience grading those capstone projects surely helped in landing this gig.

Have you had any experience with Pearson?  Land any great side gigs you care to share? :)

I’m in Love…..Pellet Stove Edition

We live a semi-rural life here at the Debtfighter house.  Eight minutes from our little city yet hidden in our subdivision complete with neighboring cows and pigs.  Along with our semi-rural life, we are also living semi-off the grid!  Rather than city sewer, we have a septic system.  Instead of city water we have our own well.  We also own our own propane tank which heats our house.  There are many, many pros to living this way but there are also cons certainly when you don’t prepare…  Read about our unfortunate propane pain from last year when prices spiked to $4.50 a gallon!!
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Several of our neighbors own woodburning furnaces.  This is our fourth year in the house so we debated our decision quite a while.

Why we bought a pellet stove instead of woodburning furnace:

  1. Hubby is in a busy season at work, while we work to pay down debt. Therefore, he doesn’t want to come home and spend time cutting wood.
  2. Our neighbors have to go out in the current -1 degree mornings to throw wood in their furnaces.  We store our pellets indoors and can add them to the stove in the warmth of our home.

Why I love our pellet stove:

  1. I had two must-haves when searching for a house; a sunroom and a fireplace.  I got the sunroom but didn’t get the fireplace. :(  Everything else about the property far outweighed the lack of a fireplace.  The pellet stove is everything I wanted in a fireplace; heat and coziness! :)
  2. We keep our house at 68 degrees and it is currently 14 degrees here.  I cranked that baby up and proud to say the pellet stove heats the house from the basement up at a cozy 70 degrees!

I love feeling content and satisfied with a purchase, especially if it’s a larger purchase!  Do you use alternate heat sources?  Have you made a larger purchase recently that you are completely content and satisfied with?

 

Simple Journaling

This year I am all about living intentionally and making the best use of my time! Growing up I used to journal and loved the exercise of writing daily.  My plan for 2015 is to use the ole blog as a journal of my journey to the simple and debt-free life but definitely want to document my daily life.

I found a super simple and cute idea on Pinterest for daily journal writing.

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I received this adorable thirty-one bag from a student and her family at the preschool.  I was a little stumped at first on how I was going to make this cutie useful!  Then, I remembered my super bright, colorful index cards and the simple journal idea.

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I love grabbing my cute journal bag from the desk to write a quick line about our day.  You write the date (example: January 17) at the top.  Starting with this year you write 2015 on the first line and continue to write each year as you come back to the card.  When you return to that same card next year it will be fun to see what you did on that same day last year and for each year following.  SUCH A GREAT IDEA!!  :)

Do you journal?  

Word for 2015

At the beginning of 2014 I was introduced to declaring a word/theme for the year.  I knew immediately that my word should be intentional.

I declared that I wanted to be intentional in all my relationships; my relationship with GOD, my husband, my kiddos, my family, my friends, etc.!

I would be intentional with my health; sleep well, eat well and exercise!

I would be intentional with my finances; make more and save more! :)

I’m proud to say I made great strides in all areas in 2014!

I was most intentional with my health!  Just as I am pretty strict about making sure my boys get to bed on time, I started implementing my own “sleep schedule.”  I realized that my whole day is based on a good night’s rest!  If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, I don’t have the energy to exercise in the morning.  Which leads me to my next healthy accomplishment; I now regularly exercise.  These two together set an amazing foundation for the day ahead!

As for 2015, my word will continue to be INTENTIONAL!

Be intentional

 

As I mentioned, I feel I have a better handle on being intentional about my health.  For several years, I have continued to improve my finances.  In 2015, I want to be intentional in all my relationships; my relationship with GOD, my husband, my kiddos, my family, my friends, etc.!

What is your word for 2015?

 

Updated Mortgage Balance

pay off

The last time I gave an updated balance was in July.  Having that little break from being so focused on our debt pay-off made today’s number crunch very exciting!  Taking the time to realize how far we have come in under two years makes me even more motivated.  We are currently, exactly, 2 years ahead on our mortgage.

Since I needed to revise the mortgage balance badge, I went in search of a more appropriate picture for this time of year (if you remember, I previously used a beach picture from our vacation in March).  As I watch flurries fly past my window while I type, this picture is perfect.

How are you doing on your debt-fighting journey?  

 

Holiday Planning Printables

Well, friends I know it’s been a while!  Things at the preschool are going well and the family and I have worked out a pretty consistent, efficient routine.  With that being said, just as life settles into routine we move into “busy” season.  I cannot believe how fast the past few months have flown by.  I know that if I don’t plan out our holiday season this year that Christmas day will be here like tomorrow.  I don’t want to be left in the dust feeling overwhelmed and stressed!
December Calendar

December 2014 Calendar

I created this calendar to plan out special events that I want to make sure are included in this holiday season.  My boys are 8 and 5 this year and will definitely enjoy volunteering as a family ringing bells to collect money for the Salvation Army red kettle campaign.

Gift List

Gift List

I FINALLY caved to the Elf on the Shelf craze!  I stood my ground for the past few years that I was not going to give in.  But, of course my kids’ friends talked about their elves and the crazy things they did in years past.  Without any warning, an elf was brought out at a birthday party we attended recently.  That was the final straw.  My sweet boys only want an Elf on the Shelf for Christmas. They even wrote their letters to Santa already, requesting that they get one elf to share.

How is a mother to deny such a simple request? ;)  Their Elf was bought and is hiding until his grand appearance after we get our tree.  I can not wait to see their faces.  And, I have to admit I do think the Elf will be the beginning of a great tradition.

In order to make this Elf on the Shelf deal all it’s cracked up to be, I need to plan ahead or there would be many nights that; oops the Elf is still in the same spot as the night before.  I took the time to plan out the whole month of Elf on the Shelf ideas.

elf on the shelf

Elf on the Shelf 2014 Calendar

I hope you find these printables useful! :)

 

Exciting News for Mrs. Debtfighter!

God is good for sure!!!  In a surprising turn of events, I landed my dream job on Sunday!!!  I am now the director at our Church preschool!

I truly believe teaching is my calling and I love being in the classroom!  The bonus is that I get paid to do what I love!!!  The timing is absolutely perfect as my youngest heads off to kindergarten in two weeks.  I get to drop my kiddos off at school then head to work and still be home before the bus drops them off.

I am on cloud nine!!  AND……looking at the “debt-fighting” side of things; since we are used to living on one income, my income will allow us to throw larger chunks at the mortgage pay-off!!

I hope to be able to continue to write and finish the 21-day series once the dust settles! :)  As you can imagine, I have quite a bit to get ready for the new school year!

Have a great night!

~Stephanie

21 Days to Becoming Intentional About Finances- Day 2

21 days 2

Day 2- Determine WHY you want to be intentional about your finances.

It is hard to be intentional about our finances if we don’t have a reason to be intentional!  I can tell you that from experience!!  Back before we had children and both had full-time jobs, we honestly didn’t think twice about where our money was going.  As long as we had enough money each month to pay our payments that is all that mattered!

Then came baby…..we knew we wanted for me to stay home with Baby C and any future children so it was time to take a look at our finances and figure out where we could cut corners and make it work on one income!  Baby C was a great reason to become intentional about our finances.

Our WHY has since changed and we have several motivating reasons to be intentional with our finances.

  1. I want to never be tied to another payment for anything!  I have experienced the freedom of unleashing myself from several payments and am anxious to shake off the largest of all monthly payments!
  2. I want to work because I enjoy my job not because I have to!
  3. I want to give more to causes close to my heart!
  4. I want to teach my children how to manage their money wisely.  My husband and I were talking the other day about how our parents didn’t just buy us anything that we wanted.  We are both forever grateful that they didn’t.  Over those childhood years, they taught us that we need to work for the things that we want.
  5. As a family, we want to see and experience the world!  Growing up my family and I traveled at least once a year to different states throughout the U.S.  When I think back to my childhood, those trips are a HUGE part of my memory.  I want to give my children the same experience!  Not to mention, travel abroad and visit places I have never experienced!
  6. Once the house is paid off there are investments/purchases that we would like to make as a family.
  7. Having our house paid off will be cash in our pocket when it comes time to sell it!

What is your reason to be intentional about your finances?  Share your WHY in the comments below!  I would love to hear what motivates you!! 

21 Days to Becoming Intentional About Finances- Day 1

21 days 2

 

I am looking forward to writing and sharing this series!  As we begin the second half of 2014, there is no better time to reevaluate and be more intentional with our finances!

DAY 1 is all about the attitude!  Your attitude can certainly make or break your financial success.  If you don’t want to be intentional about your finances then you are probably going to end up frustrated and discouraged!  Your “why” (which we will discuss on Day 2) should be your number one motivator to be intentional about your finances.

5 Ways to Foster a Positive Attitude When Dealing With Your Finances

1. Always remember that everyone’s circumstances are different, EVERYONES!!!  It would be easy for me to be envious of the people that already have their mortgage paid off and they are completely debt-free!  However, I use that to motivate me to keep working hard!  They may have started their journey to becoming debt-free, WAY before me.  They may make more money than me, therefore allowing them to pay down their debt faster.

2. Do what is best for you and your family!  Don’t get discouraged because one group tells you to do one thing and another tells you the complete opposite.  I love hearing the views of other people regarding ANY decision.  I use the information given to me to help me make the best decision for our circumstances!

3.  Don’t beat yourself up over past money mistakes (live and learn)- We would definitely be in a different financial place right now, if we never went into debt to begin with.  I don’t regret any of those choices.  Our past financial choices helped shape the way we view our finances today!

4. Every little bit counts- As you watch/read about someone else who was able to make a hefty payment towards their debt, it is easy to wish that you could make that same payment.  If you are paying off debt and only have $50 to throw towards the debt, that is $50 closer you are to tackling that debt…it ALL adds up!!!

5. Ignore the critics-  Although we don’t hear criticism as often as we used to (our critics must have given up realizing that we weren’t going to change to fit their views on how we should live our financial life ;) ) we are still judged as to what others think we should spend OUR money on.  Again, only you (and your family) can decide on the spending that is important to you.

What are some ways that you keep a positive attitude when dealing with your finances?

 

How Our Boys Saved Up and Paid Cash For Their Kindle Fires

new-kindles***Blast from the past!****  Guest post from November 2013 @ Money Saving Mom!

Everyone around my boys seemed to have a Kindle Fire — or their own electronic gadget. And every time they were around any of these people my boys would tell me how they wanted their own.

Finally, over the summer, my husband and I sat them down and had a talk with them. We told them they could have their own Kindles but that they would have to pay for the Kindles themselves.

We wanted them to know and understand that we aren’t just going to buy them something because they really want it. We also felt that they would take better care of them if they had to save up the money and pay.

After two months of hard work, here’s how they saved the money for their Kindles:

continue reading……….

****Update since guest post- The Kindles are almost a year old now and the boys love them just as much as the first day they received them!  They are still going strong! :)