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Money

Looking for Beta Testers for Our Brand New Money Course… Who Wants In?

November 28, 2016

******UPDATE AS OF JAN 2017**********

We have received way more applicants than we will even be able to take in the beta class so we are closing applications for now. Thank you all for your enthusiasm for the class and stay tuned for a debut in 2017! 🙂

Those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while know that we’re into financial freedom and managing our financial resources for the glory of God. We’re also wanna-be entrepreneurs with approximately one million ideas that could land us on Shark Tank.

We’ve decided to merge those two loves together into a brand new class on relating with and handling money in 2017.

To be super duper transparent, the class is completely 100% in our brains at the current moment. We need a handful of individuals and couples willing to help us get what’s in our heads out onto computers and into your homes.

I know some of you are thinking, “But wait, aren’t they about to have another baby in like a week?” Yes. Yes we are. But you know what, life has this funny way of never having good timing when it comes to pursuing dreams. That’s where a pilot class will be helpful not only to us but also for those who join us. We’ll have you keeping us accountable to getting our ideas out each week and you will benefit from the nuggets of wisdom we’ve got stored away. We both win and it gets our dreams one step closer to reality.

I know we are completely qualified and confident to do this…because we’ve been doing it for years now. We’ve had countless meetings with individuals and couples in our homes or at various events about their finances and what next steps to take in getting financially fit. From getting out of debt to starting a retirement account to setting up a will, we’ve talked about it all with others.

It’s no secret that we love Dave Ramsey and we admit his influence on our lives has been tremendous. However, we believe we’ve got a unique perspective on this money thing and we believe it will be useful to you and others. That’s why we’re creating a money class you can take in the comfort of your own home and creating an online community of others pursuing the same thing.

This is where you come in.

Do you want financial freedom? Are you sick and tired of debt? Do you need advice on how to save for college and retirement? Do you need encouragement and accountability to create and stick to a budget? Do you want financial hacks that will save you hundreds every year? Are you ready to retire a millionaire and steward those funds wisely? Do you want to give more generously? Are you facing an income issue and need ideas on how to bring home more for yourself and family? Do you need fresh ideas on how to get rid of debt quickly? Do you want to see a radical financial turnaround in only a few short weeks?

We’re going to cover that all and more in our class.  In order to do that, we want to invite a few of you to join our pilot. 

What type of individuals and families are we looking for?

  • Ready to commit 110% to pursuing financial freedom
  • Able to dedicate 2-3 hours per week watching videos, doing homework, and participating in the online community
  • Learners who are open to trying new things
  • Ready to provide open, honest, and helpful feedback each week after our lessons
  • Vulnerability and able to openly discuss their emotions regarding money and spending

Are you ready to get financially fit in the New Year…and for the rest of your life?


Sign up above and we will review your application. We should be getting back to you in the next couple of weeks before the New Year.

Money

Don’t Get Fooled By A Phony Black Friday Deal

November 22, 2016

Black Friday in only a few short days away.

That might invoke love or hate in some households but in ours? We love it.

Growing up, Black Friday was an extension of an already awesome day – Thanksgiving. I remember having a second serving a pie while scanning the toy ads with my trusty permanent black marker. Of course I circled about $100,000 worth of toys knowing full well I’d only get 1-2 items but it was a lot of fun to dream. We’d hit our pillows that night knowing that in a few short hours we would hear mom and dad getting up to go sniff out and snag the best deals to be found.

When we got older, we actually got to join them in going out, hunting down the bargains, and meeting people in line at all hours of the night. It was super fun (and no I never saw anyone get run over or punched or anything you see on YouTube…because Nebraska). Jonathan and I have continued the tradition into our marriage and absolutely love being part of the action.

Ahhh. Black Friday. 🙂

Y’all know we are Dave Ramsey peeps. We are deal hounds who have a knack for sniffing out and snatching the best of the best prices available.

But aren’t all prices and items on Black Friday the best of the best?

No, my friend, they are not. And that is what I want to walk you through in this blog post. If you plan to shop this Black Friday, I want you to know you’re getting the best deal you possibly can.

Craigslist/Ebay

Wait, what? Why would I look for a used item on Black Friday when all these brand new items are deeply discounted?

Jonathan and I have found stellar deals on used items the day of Black Friday or the weekend following because so many people ran out and bought new items and now need to sell their used ones to make room. And when they already have the new item, they are much more willing to take lower offers just to get the old one out the door.

The year Josie was born, I was stocking my cloth diapers and I knew that Rumparooz Black Friday sale was 25% off brand new inventory. So I went on Craigslist and a Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade group and used that sale as leverage in my offer to buy barely used diapers for 50% off…when typically they would have sold for about 25% off.

And that’s how we do.

Do Your Homework

Is that 85 inch TV on sale for $139 actually worth it? This is where you have to put your detective hat on and do some sleuthing.

Black Friday is all about padding the bottom line for these stores. Some of their “deals” are actually duds, as you could walk in the store anytime of the year and buy the item at that price. (Totally happened to me once when I was a teenager…went back to The Nebraska Furniture Mart months later and my $19 DVD player was still $19. All that after I had stood in the cold for 3 hours to buy it.)

Market Watch LLC claims that 42% of the prices they are seeing on 2016 ads are the same as last year! So look at past Black Friday ads for insight. If it’s an Amazon item – check CamelCamelCamel to watch price comparisons.

Pay Attention to Quality

Sometimes stores will not specify the brand of the item being discounted – which matters in certain areas like a refrigerator or a computer and not so much on pajamas. While in your mind you know that a Black Friday LG washer and dryer set sell for $900 for a set, buying random-no-one-has-ever-heard-of-it brand set for $500 might seem like deep savings but if it’s nothing but junk that will break within a year, you should’ve just spend a little more for higher quality.

Read item reviews. Take the actual model number and input into Google and read all the reviews associated with the item. Or check out The SweetHome to read tested reviews on common household items. Sometimes stores use low end models (or even known brand models that didn’t sell well) to draw people in during Black Friday just to get rid of last year’s inventory. Be careful to make sure you aren’t buying a pig with lipstick.

Use Technology

Times are a changing and our smart-phone world has even crept its way into Black Friday. There are many apps you can use to ensure you’re getting a great deal even while out and about shopping.

Or hey, if crowds aren’t your thing, go ahead and Black Friday shop from the comfort of your own home online. Most of the deals these days are also available via the company’s website! One year I pounded the pavement all night long looking for a black peacoat in my price range. I got home in the wee hours of the morning, empty handed and exhausted as could be. I jumped online to Wilson’s Leather and what do you know? The perfect coat at way better prices that the brick and mortar stores I hit up.

Pay With Gift Cards

One last tip I’ve got for you is to buy discounted gift cards to shop with on Black Friday.

If you already know you are buying something at Sears, why not buy a gift card at 5%-15% off to maximize even more savings? We do this all the time with stores we regularly go to: Chipotle, Starbucks, Ebay, Target, Old Navy, you name it. Free money, people! And if you can combine a coupon on top of these Black Friday and gift card discounts? Even better!

I hope that helps you snag the best deals out there this Black Friday! Last and certainly not least – don’t Black Friday shop unless you have it in the budget. Any sale that makes you go deeper into debt and/or wasn’t planned for at your budget meeting isn’t a sale we’d recommend.

Money, Parenting

Are Cloth Wipes Cheaper Than Disposable?

January 29, 2016

OK, admit it.

Some of y’all thought we were crazies when we wrote about our cloth diapering venture.

But today I am putting the final nail in the coffin for you because I am going to share why we also make our own cloth wipes. I swear we aren’t turning into Colorado hippies despite how with each passing year we get more and more crunchy…hmmm.

You are also going to get a taste of just how nerdy we are with all our calculations, equations, and measurements. I’ll be honest, we primarily cloth to save money. Sure there are other reasons in there but if it wasn’t going to save us moolah, we probs wouldn’t be doing it. Same goes for cloth wipes. It had to be economical for us to consider it.

Making the leap into cloth wipes sort of happened on accident in the beginning. I bought lots of barely used cloth diapers on Cragslist for a hella good deal from a lady who was so utterly sleep deprived (she had a sleep trainer at her house when I stopped by) that she threw in a bunch of extra baby stuff, cloth wipes being one of them. Then another friend saw we were cloth wiping early on and passed along some she didn’t plan on using. We invested $0 into cloth wipes so it was a no-brainer to try them out.

Eventually we ended up doing some traveling and had to buy disposable diapers and wipes and all I can say is OUCH!!! It was really pricey compared to the virtual nothing we were used to spending on cloth. That got me thinking…I should sit down and figure out in a concrete way just HOW much we’re saving with cloth diapers and wipes.

So today I bring you our cloth wipe geeky cost-savings calculations.

Let’s start with what I use to make wipes: Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Soap from Costco, Kirkland brand coconut oil, Bumkins flannel cloth wipes, and boiling water.

wipesstuff

Now lets take a peek at the cost breakdown is per batch of wipes.

Dr. Bronner’s  Peppermint Soap

This costs $9.79 at Costco. It’s a 40 ounce bottle, which converted is 1183 ml per bottle. We use approximately 1 tbsp (15 ml) of soap per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 79 batches of wipes per bottle. Taking the total cost of $9.79 divided by 79 batches leave us with a grand total of 12.4 cents per batch.

Kirkland Coconut Oil

The oil costs $25.99 for two tubs. Each tub is 1200 grams. We use approximately 1 tbsp (14 grams) per batch. Doing the math, we can get about 85 batches per tub, multiplied by two comes to 170 batches for the set. Taking the total cost of $25.99 divided by 170 batches comes to 15.3 cents per batch.

Bumkins Flannel Cloth Wipes.

These were given to me FREE so really, I don’t need to calculate this in but for the sake of other’s we will pretend we purchased them. The wipes cost $9.79 per pack of twelve. I feel that four packs, or 48 wipes, would be what is needed. The cost of four packs of wipes comes to $37.72, or 78.6 cents per wipe. That seems high per wipe but we will demonstrate the amount of mileage you can get from this inital invesment later.

Boiling Water

The amount of money used on this a few times a month is negligible and not even worth doing math over. This won’t be what makes or breaks cloth wipes for you.

Total Cost

When you add together the cost of the above items, your first batch of 48 wipes will cost you 79.2 cents per wipe. That’s really expensive compared to store bought, but again, we see the savings over the long haul as the wipe cost disappears and cost gets spread out over time.

Subsequent batches (now that the hard cost of wipes is out of the equation) cost 27.7 cents to create a batch, or .58 cents per wipe from that point forward.

Assuming you make two batches of wipes per week, in two years’ time you spend $95.62 total.

Getting a Comparison.

Just for fun, let’s compare this cloth wipe system to Costco’s Kirkland brand pack of 900 baby wipes, which sell for $19.99 or 2.2 cents per wipe…which is a great deal in the ‘sposie wipe world unless you strictly coupon or use some form of reward points.

Let’s also assume, that you use 96 wipes a week to keep the numbers the same. (Which is VERY CONSERVATIVE since disposable wipes tend to disappear MUCH quicker than cloth!) That means the box would last you 2.3 months before you would have to purchase more.

The 11 packs of  9,900 Costco wipes costs $219.89 over the course of 2 years.

The difference saves $124.27 over a two year period…which only increases the longer your kiddo is in diapers. At three years, the difference would be $215.25! Then if you happen to have more than one kiddo the cost savings continue to grow!

Conclusions

No, that amount of money isn’t anywhere close to what you save on cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers…but it’s something! Again, our estimations were very conservative since in our experience cloth wipes are not used anywhere near as fast as disposable wipes…so in reality the savings are likely larger.

A final note: Cloth wipes also just make life easier when you’re already cloth diapering because you can just toss them all in the wet bag together opposed to throwing just the diaper in the wet bag AND then taking the dirty gross wipes to a trash can where they stink things up since they aren’t wrapped up in a disposable diaper. The reverse would be true if you use disposable diapers…what a pain then to have to wash cloth wipes without having to wash the diapers!

A final final note: This post above made me realize we may or may not have a Costco addiction. EEP!

Intentional Living, Money

One Simple Thing to Dramatically Reduce Your Anxiety

January 25, 2016

Your future. Your past. That big decision you’ve got coming up. Work. Holidays. Kids going off to school. Travel. Your living situation. There is no shortage of sources of anxiety and worry and stress in our lives.

What if there was one thing you could do that would affect every aspect of your life and make each one easier? Would you do it?

What if it took a little discipline? A little time? A little saying “no” to one thing so you could say “yes” to another? Would you still do it? Or would you rather keep living a more stressful life?

I hope you’re committed to severely reducing stress and are ready to do this.

The one thing you can do to dramatically reduce the anxiety you feel in every area of your life is:
Budgeting.

That’s right. Budgeting your money affects every area of your life for the better and reduces anxiety, worry, and stress. Here’s how:

Budgeting – creating a plan for your money and sticking to it – takes the guesswork and the worry out of your money. And because money touches every part of our lives, when we make money easier and more pleasurable to work with, we make every part of our lives easier and more pleasurable.

  • If there are money issues from your past, budgeting helps you clean them up and move on.
  • Big decisions to be made? Budgeting gives you the freedom to make the best choice – either by enabling you to save money up or simply using money more wisely – so the best choice – even if it’s something with a financial impact like quitting your job to start a new career – can be made.
  • Stressed out because there’s always more cool stuff to do with your family or roommates than there is money to do it with? Budgeting patches the “leaks” in your wallet so there’s more to use AND trains you to prioritize your activities so you can identify and choose what’s most important for you to do.
  • Big projects at work got you stressed? Budgeting works your planning muscle, which you’ll be able to flex in all sorts of situations!

Now that you’re sold on the benefits of budgeting (or at least interested), here are some quick tips for getting started:

  1. Budgeting is easier than you think.
    • You can do this.
  2. It’s a simple income – outflow equation.
    • Take the money you have (income) and plan how (groceries, cell phone bill, etc) you’ll spend it (outflow). Your planned spending cannot exceed your income.
  3. Every month is (slightly) different, so every budget you create should be (slightly) different.
  4. Start With Cash
    • While budgeting software like YNAB and Every Dollar can be very handy, it’s probably best for you to start out using cash and the envelope system (grocery envelope, clothes envelope, etc. one envelope for each budget category) so you can feel your money.
  5. Be Ready to Say No
    • Budgeting helps you set priorities and stick to them, which means it involves saying no to some things (like going out with your roommates, again) so you can do other, more important things (like saving for a car, or paying off debt). Your “yes” to better things will involve “no’s” to lesser things. Be ready. (And don’t feel bad about it!)
  6. Be Patient
    • It’s going to take a little while (3 months or so) to get a good handle on the right amount for your budget categories. Don’t get discouraged in the meantime. And don’t feel bad if you need to adjust your amounts. Just make sure it all evens out. (Adding $10 to one category means taking it from somewhere else).
  7. Ask for Help
    • Getting started with budgeting can be intimidating. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you know who’s been budgeting for a while for help. They’ll be glad to help. You’ve always got our contact form, too.
Marriage, Mission, Money

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

December 31, 2015

It’s been an awesome year around True Good and Beautiful.

2015 brought exciting and new opportunities our way, such as guest posting for Dave Ramsey (!!!!) and Mama Needs Coffee among a few others. We also branched into some new content since we were parent newbies (still are, who am I kidding!?) at the start of the year. All in all I am happy to say we continued to blog after Josie’s arrival and I know 2016 will be an even more exciting year around these parts…more to come so stay tuned 😉

Without further ado, here are your favorite blog posts from the past year:

10. The Adoption Puzzle is Here

I cannot tell you how many times we’ve received emails from couples wanting to make an adoption puzzle like ours to help offset adoption costs. Jonathan is in the process of setting up an Etsy shop for this very reason so our puzzle can be ordered in a much easier way! We never thought it would bless so many people! 🙂

9. 3 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill in 2015

Groceries continue to be the one category in our budget that we bump up against monthly. Following these three tips helps our family stay on track and not bust the budget.

8. How Motherhood Changed My Infertility

Praise you Jesus that I got to write a blog post like this…I thought I would never get to while we were battling infertility for years on end.

7. New Here? Allow Us to Introduce Ourselves

Our Dave Ramsey blog post brought nearly 25,000 people to the True Good and Beautiful blog in only a few short days! It was exciting and such an honor.

6. Teixeira Debt-Free Scream!

And oldie but a goodie! Here you can follow our debt-free journey on The Dave Ramsey Show and hear about how broke we were when we got married! Hahaha. Even on a low income we were able to obliterate debt…sometimes I look back and am shocked since I don’t think we could do that now.

5. My Favorite Catholic Infertility Blogs

I am always glad to see this one in the top blog posts for the year. We write about a LOT of topics here on the blog but really infertility is probably the closest to my heart. I am thankful to provide a resource for couples to find quality infertility bloggers to help them in their journey. It’s how I stayed afloat in our battle and I’ll do anything to throw a lifesaver overboard to others in the same fight.

4. The Husband’s Guide to Breastfeeding

God. Bless. Jonathan. Seriously this past year I had some serious breastfeeding anxieties and he stepped up the plate in a big way. He truly had the heart of a servant and supported me every step of the way. I don’t think Josie and I would still be nursing at nearly 14 months if it wasn’t for him.

3. How and Why I Induced Lactation

Another one I have gotten LOTS of inquiries about from fellow adoptive Mommas. I am so glad that my breastfeeding journey has inspired others and given them confidence to try!

2. God Spoke to Me and I Didn’t Believe Him

Hands down my favorite blog post from this past year. We have a father who keeps his promises and I only wished I trusted him far more.

1. I Was About to Leave The Church and Then THIS Happened

Jonathan’s conversion story from his time in college. He was apathetic in his faith and God put a new fire in his heart through some quality friendships.

Happy New Year True Good and Beautiful family!

Tex112

Much Love from Jonathan, Amanda, Josephine, and Wrigley 🙂

Money

The December Budget Breakdown

December 9, 2015

Epic fail.

Yup, this budget post is coming to you a solid week-ish into December because my brain.

Of course this is THE month we didn’t blog on time.

It’s the one month of the year that people blow their budgets out of the water and leave the month with a nasty financial hangover. Hopefully if you were headed for destruction, this post will draw you back to safety!

With that, let’s dive into December’s budget post.

In these posts we will write-up typical expenses that may get overlooked for the particular month.

So, what expenses might you expect in the month of November:

  • Immaculate Conception/Our Lady of Guadalupe
    • Party or gathering supplies
    • Special menu to celebrate the feast days
  • Holidays Travel (get ready to seriously break the bank if you are booking flights this late)
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s
  • Advent
    • Decorations
    • Spiritual reading or retreat fees
  • Christmas (Yes, it’s really December already)
    • Gifts
    • Decorations
    • Special Outfits
    • Food
    • Party supplies
    • More gifts (that random gift exchange you forgot about…)
    • Christmas cards (Jonathan designed and ordered ours this year, savings us hundreds for the amount we send out! Woot!)
  • Winter Clothing
    • Jackets/Coats
    • Ski or Snow boarding gear
    • Boots
    • Gloves
    • Other accessories
  • Winter Fun!
    • Ice Skating
    • Skiing
    • Snow Boarding
    • Sledding
    • Cross-country skiing
  • Birthdays
  • Car Maintenance
  • End of year donations
  • Life Insurance premiums

Again, these are some expenses we’ve found ourselves budgeting for this month, so they might be applicable to you or not. Some of these expenses are best budgeted for as a sinking fund...like car maintenance or life insurance premiums.

Happy budgeting y’all!