Blogging My Way Through Debt

 - Blogging My Way Through Debt

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! :)

Guest Post (Reader Tip) at Money Saving Mom

So, I finally shared what we did with our tax refund in a “reader tip” post over at Money Saving Mom!

Click here to read the post!  :)  For some reason, I didn’t clarify what exactly mortgage recasting is when I wrote the post.  However, the very first commenter gives a brief description.  I knew I wanted to share the tip so others could research mortgage recasting themselves and decide if it was something they wanted to try themselves.

The main reason I researched “mortgage recasting” is for when we FINALLY sell our lot!!  With a larger chunk of cash we will definitely be recasting our mortgage again and making our payments smaller as we work towards paying off our loan!!

I love talking to others about life whether it’s outside the World Wide Web ;) or sharing info on blogs.  We share ideas and experiences.  I take what seems like is best for our family and apply to our circumstances.  As my little motto states on my sidebar, everyone has a different story and different circumstances.  Do what you think is best for your family and your circumstances!!!

***Sorry, if you came to visit the site yesterday!  I experienced my first server-down with Mrs.Debtfighter!

It Pays to Talk to Your Friends!!

A week or so ago, my husband made a comment to our neighbor how we had received a text from our cell provider saying that we already used 90% of our allowed data.  We had about 10 days left in the month.  My husband and I share 1GB of data.  Since October 2012 this was never an issue.  We really only use the data when absolutely needed and use wi-fi where available.  Somehow we used a crazy amount last month AND ended up going over, having to pay the extra $15 for another GB.

The neighbor and his wife have the same cell provider as us.  He told my husband that his wife just talked to the company and they are now paying LESS per month for 2GB shared data.  I logged into our account and sure enough there were shared plans available for significantly less than what we were previously paying!

I am super excited to be saving that extra $30 or so a month on our phones and not have to worry about going over that 1GB!!  If hubby and the neighbor didn’t have that conversation, we could still be paying that extra money!!!  It pays to talk money matters with your friends!! :)

Are there any recent conversations with friends or neighbors that have saved you money?

Weekend Reading-Thought Provoking Series

photo (12)Obviously this post is going up a little late….

I am LOVING my current book stack!!!  All of these books are having such an impact on my thoughts and intentions for the current season of life I am in!

I am almost finished with Hands Free Mama.  The author made me reflect on how present I am with my children/family, reminded me to LIVE and determine what is important in my life!

As my youngest heads off to Kindergarten this fall, I am spending a lot of time sorting through my feelings on what my next step should be.  I am hoping that Restless helps me follow the direction in which I feel “lead.”  I am not even going to get into the list right now because trust me my mind is firing off in several different directions!!! :)

And last but certainly not least, I am reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People because my oldest son’s basketball coach actually works as a speaker/trainer for Stephen Covey.  I figured anything that I am going to read in a book with that title definitely could benefit me no matter which path I take!

What are you reading?  I love hearing about new books to read!

Refund Payment, Sidebar Picture and Major De-cluttering, Oh My!

Thought I would drop in the ole blog today and let you know what I’m up to…..

We’ll start with the first; refund payment.  Not quite the big reveal on our tax refund BUT $5000 from our tax refund was applied as a principal payment towards our mortgage loan today….WOOT WOOT!!

Second, you will notice in my fancy sidebar picture that our mortgage balance dropped from $231k to $226k due to above payment!  Displaying our balance as a graphic has been on my to-do list for awhile and today I finally took the time to figure out how to do this super simple task.  YAHOO!!

Lastly, I have some major de-cluttering going on here.  I am tearing up the 2014 items in 2014 challenge!  I am trying to get this done before the boys are home for the summer!

What is keeping you busy these days?  Were you able to do anything exciting with your tax refund?

We Planted Our Garden!

It is the perfect time of year for us to start our garden AND it is also that time of year that everything seems to be blooming all at once thanks to our CRAZY winter.  Because of said blooming, my sinuses threw my body (head) through a whirlwind this week!  I finally caved and went to the doctor yesterday who gave me antibiotics for a sinus infection.  Thankfully, I now have the energy to get things done around here! :)

photo (9)


Last year was our first year planting a garden.  We started small so we wouldn’t get overwhelmed.  This year our garden is twice the size and I am so excited!  We planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, cantaloupe, watermelon, radishes, cucumber, okra and pumpkins.  I LOVE being able to pick fresh food from our garden.  Having a garden definitely saves us money over the summer and I love sharing our abundance with family and friends!

Do you have a garden?  What fruits and veggies do you like to grow?

Quick and Easy Homemade Pizza


In the past, our family would sometimes “splurge” on a Little Ceasers $5 pizza instead of buying the frozen ones from the grocery store because they are pretty much the same price these days!  After reading this post over at The Nester, we now make our own pizzas every Friday night and they are DELISH!! :)

In short, she shares a SUPER easy pizza crust to make and uses whatever is in the refrigerator as toppings.  We have a Sam’s Club membership so I bought a huge container of spaghetti sauce and a huge bag of mozzarella cheese.  This past Friday was my favorite pizza to date!  Since I have always enjoyed Hawaiian pizza, I used the leftover ham from Easter and added pineapple!  Mmmm, Mmmmm, Mmmm, yum!!!

Do you make your own pizzas?  Any special topping combos you really enjoy?

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:


  • 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!


  • 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!


  • 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!)


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

This week:


  • 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! :)


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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?

Mrs. Debtfighter Goes on Vacation!


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?