Blogging My Way Through Debt

 - Blogging My Way Through Debt

Weekly Goals- 4/14/14

My word for 2014 is intentional.  Each week I will be intentional about making goals that align with my 2014 goals!

Last week’s goals:

Health

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week  YES!  I can’t believe I am becoming a fan of running!

Personal

  • Finish week 11 and start week 12 in the Bible.  (Finished 12 too!)
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.
  • Create boys’ chore charts.  I created a Minecraft chore chart and will be sharing this week as a free printable!

Financial

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts. (I started planning for the month- better than nothing) ;)

This week:

Health

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week ( Each day I am working towards beating my time from the previous day by running more and longer spurts!)
  • Start a wellness journal. ( I don’t want to diet and I don’t want to restrict myself!  In my journal, I want to keep track of how certain foods make me feel, i.e. do they give me energy or make me feel sluggish?)  Here, I will document my running times.  I want to start running in 5K races sometime this year! :)

Personal

  • Finish week 13 and start week 14 in the Bible.
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.  We will be discussing Easter this week!
  • Create boys’ goal sheets. (These will either be Minecraft or Lego themed.  I will share the goal sheet as a free printable too.)  I’m thinking a school goal, a home goal and a sport goal….
  • Create master of list of things that need to be done.

Financial

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)
  • Begin planning a summer reading program to offer.

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts.

Hmmm, it seems my writing is the first thing to get pushed back!  I am working on fixing that! :)

A few weeks ago, I substituted for my son’s kindergarten teacher from last year.  I knew she was amazing then but after spending the day in her room…WOW!  Her room was so organized that those kindergarten students knew EXACTLY what they were supposed to be doing and when they were supposed to do it!  I was there as a supervisor pretty much!  That day made me realize that I want that feeling in my house!!  What I have now, is what I refer to as organized chaos…  I will be an organizing fool over the next few weeks!  I believe this will be more efficient and productive in all areas of my life!!  Wish me luck! :)

 

What are your goals this week?

 

Mrs. Debtfighter Throws Her Son a Birthday Party

Okay, so I actually started this post the day after my son’s birthday-March 17.  But…. the following week was spent prepping for our vacation and I never came back to finish the post. ;)

Yesterday we celebrated my youngest son’s 5th birthday!  We all had an amazing day and it melts my heart to see him so happy!!!

Several months ago, birthday boy asked if he could have his birthday party at Chuck E Cheese.  Anyone with kiddos knows that birthday parties can add up quickly cost-wise!  Most of my kid’s parties are at our house because they enjoy having all our friends and family together to celebrate.

For this party we stuck with a small number and let the other normal guests know that we were keeping the guest list to mostly cousins with a few friends his age.

Here are some things OUR family does to keep birthday parties low-cost but still make the birthday boy feel special:

  • A big birthday party IS your present from mom and dad.  Our kiddos know and understand that if they want a big birthday party that is our present.  However, the price we pay to feed our guests is similar to what we would spend to buy them presents which they are already getting from the guests!!
  • We only decorate with balloons or items we already have around the house.  We always get one or two packs of colored balloons to go with the party theme.  This only sets us back $1-$2.  The beauty of using balloons is that you can put them all over the house/outside making the space feel well-decorated.  On his 4th birthday he wanted a tractor party.  We took several of the tractors/farm toys he already owned and used them as centerpieces.  Here is a link to an article I wrote last year about planning a tractor party.

tractor cake

  • We keep the menu simple. The benefit of having this party at Chuck E Cheese was that the food was included.  It was nice to just show up at the party.  We usually let the birthday boy pick their food but limit the menu to 3-4 items and make a birthday cake/cupcakes.
  • We politely eliminated guests to keep our costs minimal.  We certainly didn’t want to hurt any of our friends’ feelings by not including them BUT we also didn’t want to pay for 3 times as many children who my son probably wouldn’t even get a chance to talk to at the party.  We let our friends know that we were keeping the party low-key since we were having it at Chuck E Cheese.  Since they all have children of their own and have been-there-done-that, they were all very understanding!
  • Most of the time we make our own invitations.  We could save more money by sending e-vites but I think the little ones enjoy getting mail so we spend the small fortune to get stamps. :)  I include the boys in search of invite ideas to go with their theme or picking out a picture of themselves to use.

What are some ways that you save money when planning a birthday party?

Weekly Goals- 4/7/14

My word for 2014 is intentional.  Each week I will be intentional about making goals that align with my 2014 goals!

Last week’s goals:

Well…..it took me about a week to play catch-up from our vacation!!  So, I didn’t do very well with my goals! :)

Health

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week ( NO :( )

Personal

  • Finish week 11 and start week 12 in the Bible. ( NO :( Fell behind over vacation)
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos. (Didn’t complete but we are have more thoughtful discussions at dinner and bedtime!)

Financial

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts. (Obviously, NO :) )

This week:

Health

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week

Personal

  • Finish week 11 and start week 12 in the Bible.
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.
  • Create boys’ chore charts.

Financial

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts.

 

What are your goals this week?

 

 

Mrs. Debtfighter Goes on Vacation!

DSC_0097

Last week was my sons’ spring break.  We enjoyed a 9-day, much-needed vacation!

Everything worked out perfectly as I planned our trip!  10 years ago on March 27th, hubby and I got married.  We were young and it was the semester I was student teaching.  When we were offered a basically-free honeymoon to Disneyworld, we took it!  Last fall when I started thinking about how to celebrate our 10-year anniversary, I loved the idea of celebrating with our kids at Disney!

Since this is a blog about saving money and being frugal, I’ll share how we enjoyed a memorable vacation on a budget.

  • We drove instead of flying! Obviously, the number one reason we chose this option is because the flights were expensive.  If we flew, the vacation would have only been 5 days instead of 9.  I wanted our trip to be a little bit of everything.  I wanted our boys (ages 5 and 7) to see others states.
  • We spent one day at Magic Kingdom! I am SOOOOO glad we planned only one day!  We spent the entire day at Magic Kingdom; open to close!  The boys were pooped and fell asleep on the bus ride back to the resort.  We planned on visiting Universal Studios the following day but it would have been too much for boys; they needed a more relaxing day.  We took our time and made our way to Downtown Disney the second day.
  • We shared meals and ate leftovers!  Based on how hungry we were, we shared meals so that none of the food was wasted.  If we had a lot leftover, we took it back to our room refrigerator and ate it as a snack or meal the following day.
  • The boys got a t-shirt and that was it!  My parents and the in-laws went to celebrate our ten-year anniversary with us so they each bought the boys one thing on the trip.

We left on Friday, 3/21 and drove to Kimball, Tennessee.  We packed snacks and lunch for the drive so that we would only need to buy dinner.  Part of the fun was trying different foods at new restaurants in different cities!  Saturday, we drove to Tifton, Georgia.  For lunch, we enjoyed our leftovers from dinner the night before.  Sunday, we arrived at Pop Century Resort in Orlando, FL.  After driving, we enjoyed the movie UP by the pool and walked around taking in the awesomeness of the resort.

On Wednesday, we left Orlando, FL and drove to Sanibel, FL to spend the next three nights on the beach!  Of course, at such a beautiful place there are several tours/activities you can purchase.  The four of us were beyond excited to take advantage of the FREE activities Sanibel has to offer.  Wednesday we just rested by the beach and played Frisbee.  Thursday, our anniversary, we took a bike ride along the island (bikes provided FREE by the inn).  The ride was AMAZING and oh so beautiful!!  We set out for a nature reserve in search of alligators for the boys.  Once we got there they told us it was a four-mile ride.  Neither one of us was interested in tacking on extra miles on the bikes, so we opted for heading back and coming back in the car.  BUT, we ended up spotting two alligators on the ride back, which made our day!  Friday, was the nicest day weather-wise and we spent the entire day enjoying the beach!!!  The boys built sand castles and rode the waves.

We definitely could have saved a lot more money as far as the food was concerned by making different choices but it could have also been way worse!! ;)

The whole trip was perfect and we did not have to spend a fortune to enjoy it!!!  It felt great to be unplugged for awhile but I am happy to be back and writing again!

How do you stay frugal on vacation?

Weekly Goals- 3/17/14

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

My word for 2014 is intentional.  Each week I will be intentional about making goals that align with my 2014 goals!

Last week’s goals:

Health (Now that I am pretty consistently sleeping and eating well, I will not be including those as goals anymore.)

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week

Personal

  • Finish week 10 and start week 11 in the Bible.
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.

Financial (I am pretty consistently budgeting every Thursday when hubby gets paid so I will be taking that off as a goal also!)

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book (Will have plenty of drive time coming up.  Plan to print off and work on in the car.  Probably won’t be finished until April sometime.)
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts. (It was definitely nice to have Friday’s post scheduled since I was not on the computer at all to write and post myself!  We have a lot going on with the boys’ spring break coming up that having posts scheduled will be great!)

This week:

Health

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week

Personal

  • Finish week 11 and start week 12 in the Bible.
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.

Financial

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts.

 

What are your goals this week?

 

2014 in 2014- Update 1

photo 1 (3)So, I have told you before that the majority of the 2014 items in 2014 that I am about to get rid of will be from our storage room.  As you can see from the above picture….JUST LOOK…..Oh My Goodness!!!!  There are several pins on Pinterest that I told myself I wanted to try with these boxes like the real life Angry Birds backyard game (still want to try but I am sure I can accumulate more boxes before summer) or the drive in theatre where my kiddos can decorate their own “car.”  Today I chose to say buh-bye to those boxes.  Little Bit and I enjoyed burning them in our fire pit on this chilly day!photo 2In addition to the 11 boxes that I burned, I have a small bag of goodies that I have set aside while cleaning out our closets (14 items) which comes to be 25 items today!

photo 3

Before I announced this challenge, I gave several bags of clothes/toys to my good friend pregnant with twin boys.  I am sure I am underestimating on the number of items I passed on to her, but I am going with 40…

As of March 14, 2014, I am currently at 79 items!  Wait until you see the rest of the storage room!!

The Purpose of Mrs. Debtfighter

As I strive towards being intentional while writing at Mrs. Debtfighter, I have used The Nester’s suggestion and developed a purpose statement!

Here it goes (soon to be moved to the sidebar):

Here at Mrs. Debtfighter you can join me and we can share our lives as we live frugally and strive to pay off debt!  Everyone has a debt story; whether it’s how you became debt-free, working towards paying off debt or in over your head and don’t know where to begin.  I believe there is so much to gain from hearing other’s stories!

 Mrs. Debtfighter is a place for me to journal my own experience of paying off debt, striving to live simply, decorating on a dime, scoring awesome deals and sharing the everyday life of living frugally!  Everyone has a different story and everyone has different circumstances!  What works for me, may not work for you or be the best option for you during this season of life.  BUT, I hope you can leave Mrs. Debtfighter with motivation for your own journey and ways to help save you money!

Fun question- Can you guess what movie gave me the idea for my blog name?

If you are a blogger, do you have a purpose statement?  If so, feel free to link to your statement.  :)

Getting to Know the Readers-Financial Relationships

Today I am curious what other couple’s financial relationships look like….

Much like our actual relationship; mine and my husband’s financial relationship has changed several times over the past 15 years.  We started dating when hubby was 19 and I was 17.  At that point, we didn’t care too much about finances.  But, even then, I was at one end of the spectrum and him ALLLL the way at the other end.  I was always the saver and he was always the spender.  As we got older, we moved closer and closer towards each other in the middle.  We started to balance each other out!

Are you the saver or the spender?

I’ve read on other blogs that monthly budget meetings with your spouse are beneficial.  Hubby and I are getting better at these.  We don’t sit down and meet formally.  We do discuss future home projects, future purchases and where we can save money!

Hubby has seen the benefits several times of saving our money and not blowing it on random purchases.  He does not seem interested in knowing how much money is in certain accounts.  I teased him the other day that he must think it is better off that way.  I have always been the one to balance the checkbook.  He trusts me 100% and I still discuss with him any out-of-the-ordinary purchases.

Do you and your significant other hold budget meetings?  If so, what do they sound like?

Who balances the checkbook or is it a shared duty?

I would love to hear about your financial relationship!  I enjoy these conversations because they help me think about my own life and ways to tweak our “meetings” to benefit our financial relationship!

Weekly Goals- 3/10/14

My word for 2014 is intentional.  Each week I will be intentional about making goals that align with my 2014 goals!

We had our taxes done last Friday.  I can’t wait to share what we will be doing with our tax return! :)

Last week’s goals:

Health

  • Run 18 minutes/day on elliptical 6 days/week. Up to 20 minutes now.  I was just telling my husband this weekend how when I first started I could hardly handle 5 minutes and now I am up to 20 minutes!!
  • Follow a pretty strict bedtime 900-600!
  • Eat to live instead of live to eat (in a healthy way of course).

Personal Goals

  • Finish week 8 and start week 9 in the Bible.
  • Plan after-schooling activities and morning Bible activities for the boys.

Financial Goals

  • Start the year with a zero-balance budget- Budget every Thursday when hubby gets paid!

Writing Goals

  • Continue working on children’s book- complete another chapter!
  • Work on guest post.
  • Finish updating my Book/Author fan page.

This week:

Health (Now that I am pretty consistently sleeping and eating well, I will not be including those as goals anymore.)

  • 21 minutes on elliptical OR  / 3 miles walk-run outside 6 days a week

Personal

  • Finish week 10 and start week 11 in the Bible.
  • Plan morning Bible activities for kiddos.

Financial (I am pretty consistently budgeting every Thursday when hubby gets paid so I will be taking that off as a goal also!)

  • Start using coupons (You will start to notice a few more links to coupon deals on the blog.  I’m going to start myself with the free to almost free deals; which is what I will be sharing with you!)

Writing

  • Complete children’s book.
  • Get ahead and write future blog posts.

 

What are your goals this week?