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Money

Financial Peace University Giveaway!

August 27, 2014

Drum roll please….

It’s time for a giveaway around the True Good and Beautiful blog!

What are we giving away, you ask? (just in case you didn’t see the title…)

3 FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY MEMBERSHIPS!!!!

If you know our story, you are well aware that Dave Ramsey has a huge influence on how we choose to live. Using his materials and methods are the sole reasons we are debt-free and living on a budget today. Dave Ramsey’s message has literally changed out entire life.

And we can’t help but pass along this opportunity to others.

No, we weren’t given these by Dave Ramsey’s company.

We are simply a family who believes so powerfully in the freedom that comes in handling money God’s way that we want to pay it forward to someone else. We want to bless an individual or family who would benefit from going through this class.

What is Financial Peace University (FPU)?

“Financial Peace University is a nine-week class on money taught by America’s most trusted financial guru, Dave Ramsey. Dave and his teaching team will walk you through the basics of budgeting, dumping debt, planning for the future, and much more!”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=62emrljp03c

You can see a sample of all nine lessons here.

Most classes start up in a couple of weeks, hence the giveaway. You can see a list of locations, dates, and times at the FPU website.

Jonathan and I have attended and facilitated Financial Peace University and it’s been a huge blessing in our life and parish. If you could benefit from sprucing up your finances or demolishing old habits and starting over, then sign up to win one of these classes we are giving away.

It literally can change your life and the lives of those around you.

Lastly – I shouldn’t have to say this but…if you know you will not complete all nine classes and take the class seriously, DO NOT ENTER THIS CONTEST! If you are ready to dive in and apply yourself in class, ENTER ALL YOU CAN! We want to make sure the people with the right attitudes are the ones who win this opportunity.

Best wishes and “may the odds be ever in your favor!” 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Uncategorized

Little Happies: BY JONATHAN

June 2, 2014

Time for this week’s Little Happies, and I thought I’d take a turn recalling some the things that made me smile this week.

-one-

Memorial Day. We office was closed and we spent the day with another missionary couple.

We spend the day by:
Playing Bocce (lost and then found 2 balls in the last round!)
Grilling burgers and dogs
Playing Dominion.

A good day.

 

-two-

What’s better than a 3-Day Weekend? (thanks Memorial Day!)

A 5-Day Weekend.

Not sure what this smells like, but it smells good.

Not sure what this smells like, but I’m guessing top notes of fresh laundered pillows and maple-topped pancakes, followed by a base of playing cards, with slight under notes of sweaty runs. Mmmmm!

Working at the FOCUS office has some cool advantages. Among those are a chapel, daily Mass, fun coworkers, and days off. We get a certain number of days we can use when we’re sick, vacationing, or just need a day to chill. The policy governing these days states we must use 10 days per year. The FOCUS fiscal year runs June-May (aligned with the academic year), so the year ended this week. Turns out I had only used 7 days so far this year. If I didn’t use 3 more, I’d lose ’em. So, after being at work one day (Tuesday) I took the rest of the week off.

And I’m glad I did, because we have a MOUNTAIN of paperwork to do as part of our adoption process. Thanks to the time off, we have most of it done. I also had a great time hanging out with Amanda a ton. A lot of our adventures lately have been related to Happy #4.

 

-three-

Running again.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKRHW-6M3zQ

I love running. I was a sprinter in High School, but got lured onto the cross country team with the offer of delicious brownies after practice every Friday. To this day, Coach Berkowitz’ wife’s brownies are the best I’ve ever tasted. By a long shot. Anyway, that turned me into a runner. The weather started getting nice around my birthday at the beginning of May, but then I got sick for 2 weeks, then it snowed, but now it’s sunny and I feel great, so I laced up my shoes (a great pair courtesy of our mission partners at Greg Baum’s Flying Feet) and hit the road. I downloaded a new running app, Zombies, Run! which is an audio story that unfolds between songs. I am “Runner 5” and I go get supplies for our base. Of course, throughout the missions, I encounter “Zombs” and have to increase my pace 20% for a minute or so to outrun them. It’s really fun, AND it can run at the same time as Nike+ (which I’ve been using for years to track my runs) and Stitcher, which I use to stream podcasts.

 

-four-

SWIMMING!

The complex in which we currently live HAS A POOL. We finally took the plunge and visited the pool. You might think we were hesitant, but regarding this decision, we jumped in with both feet. Aaaaaaaand that’s all the pool puns I have.

Anyway, it’s been really hot this week in Denver, and it was quite refreshing to take a dip in the pool. Our friend Lindsay came over so Amanda, Lindsay and I hit the pool. We hung out at poolside, swam around a bit, and then when the girls went back to lay poolside, I grabbed my kindle in it’s waterproof case (A.K.A. a ziplock bag) and read IN THE POOL. I started reading Zero to Maker, a book that chronicles a man’s journey from passive consumer of technology to active maker and co-creator of openROV, an open-source underwater robot project. After that, I paged through an Arduino project book, Make: Simple Arduino Projects to get some ideas for my next project.

Pool Books:

-five-

DEAL CITY.

As you may have seen in some of our other posts, we bought a townhouse and will be moving in about a month. As of late, we’ve been doing our best to sniff out deals for furnishing the new house. Hunting for these deals has been a lot of fun and the bulk of our fun adventures lately. I’ll hold off on most of the details because we’ve got a full post coming up explaining “How We Furnished Our New Home for Only 1/X the Cost!” It’s felt like a game trying to get that fraction as small as possible. Each little success there has certainly been a happy, but I won’t share them all and ruin the upcoming post.

But, since you asked nicely, here’s one (very) small preview:

We wanted a sectional for the basement. We found one on Craigslist that would perfectly fit our smaller space down there, so we jumped at it. Here’s what it looked like on Craigslist:

couchclist

And here’s what it looked like when we finally got it in the small SUV we borrowed from friends to haul it home:

couchcar

It fit! Kind of…

We made it safely home and the couch is chilling in our garage (along with a number of other sweet deals waiting until they move into their (and our) new home.

 

Thanks for checking out my week! How was yours? Leave it in the comments below.

Money

7 Paths to Financial Freedom in 2014

February 20, 2014

Many of you enjoyed the last post on 7 Ways to Go Broke in 2014. Or now you are mad at me for exposing that your habitual behavior will actually lead to your financial destruction over time. Sorry, not sorry. I wanted to follow up with that post by diving into what you can do to begin a path towards financial peace this upcoming year. We want everyone to experience this blessing.

How do you get started though? Below are 7 Paths to Financial Peace:

1. Acknowledge the problem in the mirror.

dog in mirror

Anytime I can work in a dog photo, I am happy.

“I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place (If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place) Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change…..” Michael Jackson

The first step in changing anything let alone your financial world, is to stop and ackowledge the problem: You. Personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. If you aren’t experiencing financial freedom, you gotta look at you and your behavior first. Therein you will find your problem. Owning that is the first step towards any healthy changes to come.

2. Attend Financial Peace University – FPU

fpuThis past Fall Jonathan and I coordinated our very first Financial Peace University class. It was awesome!!!

We had a group of about 35 people who met once a week for 9 weeks. In that time we watched videos, reviewed our budgets, had great discussions, and held one another accountable. This class is completely worth signing up for! Visit this website to find a class beginning near you today. And no, we didn’t get paid to host the class or to endorse it in any way whatsoever.

3. Read The Total Money Makeover

tmmmoIf you haven’t read this book…you need to. Get it here today. Super easy read with lots of inspiring stories to motivate along the way!

4. Begin walking through the 7 Baby Steps

baby stepsRemember Doctor Leo Marvin from “What about Bob?” Possibly the world’s most hilarious movie. Well, his Baby Steps book has absolutely zero to do with the Baby Steps I am referring to.

Dave Ramsey’s materials will walk you through the 7 Baby Steps on the journey towards Financial Freedom. Walking up these steps is a lot of fun and are incredibly motivating.

5. Embrace the budgeting process.

YNAB

 

The very first thing to do after you assess your financial situation and get a grasp on how much money you have and or owe is to set up a monthly budget and begin implementing the budget process. Why do you need a budget? Visit this blog post for a few reasons. Now, do you have to use software like You Need A Budget (YNAB)? No but we have chosen to utilize that tool and have completely fallen in love with it. Pen and paper, envelopes, budgeting apps, etc. are perfectly fine but you need SOMETHING to help you implement your budgets once you create them.

6. Learn how to say “No.”

no cat

 

This is pretty self explanatory. There will undoubtedly be 1,000 opportunities, desires, temptations, reasons, etc. to NOT follow your budget, attend FPU, read the Total Money Makeover, etc. Matthew Kelly once said, “If you can’t say no, your yes means nothing.” Or maybe he said, “You can’t say no unless you have a deeper yes.” One of those…but both are good and true. You will not haphazardly improve any area of your life. Saying “no” to lots of things that come up and “yes” to intentional decisions that will aide you in your goals will be vital to changing your life.

7. Live like no one else.

live like no one else

 

“Live like no one else so later you can live and give like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

Jonathan and I didn’t sell our Nintendo, eat rice and beans, tell friends no, or sleep on a donated RV mattress for nothing. We lived like no one else so we could live and give like no one else. We’ve already begun to see the effects of this in our life and are pumped to see many more ways down the road.

There you have it folks. PLEASE keep in touch with me if you begin implementing any of these! I would love to be your cheerleader, coach, accountability partner, etc. Whatever you need me to be, I will be it! 🙂

Marriage

5 Ways eMeals Will Help You in 2014!

February 17, 2014



I am really proud to be part of the eMeals.com blogger network! It’s a lot of fun to get to be “part” of a company that I really believe in and find useful! Trust me, if I didn’t love something, it wouldn’t make it onto this blog and I wouldn’t spend my time or energy promoting it.

Many of you remember this blog post introducing eMeals.com on this blog. I still wholeheartedly stand behind everything I wrote then and everything I write today. Without further ado, here are 5 ways I know eMeals will help you in 2014:

1. Keep you Healthy

Do you have a particular eating plan you are attempting to follow? Gluten-free, Paleo, Organic, Clean Eating, Low-Fat, etc? Well, eMeals has a plan for you. And guess what? If you aren’t buying junk, you never end up eating junk. If you tell eMeals you want the Paleo menu…processed junk won’t even make it to grocery list, keeping you safe and on track with your health plan.

2. Predictable budget

I am consistently surprised at how darn consistent eMeals is. Jonathan and I subscribe to the plan for two adults, which usually allows enough for leftovers occassionaly. So buying groceries for 5 dinners a week, with some leftovers, we typically spend between $75/week. We switch our plans every few months and find the Paleo one (meat in every meal) is more expensive than others but not by that much. We could get that lower by purchasing lower quality ingredients but hey, we are debt free now! We ate like no one else so now we get to eat like no one else!

3. Grow in you culinary skills

Have you ever braised something? Cooked with leeks? Bought a haricot vert? I know I had NOT done any of those things prior to eMeals. There was a learning curve to start but now I love cooking with lots of ingredients. It made me realize how narrow my menus truly were prior to eMeals. I bought the same items at the grocery store for years on end and this led to monotony and fear to try new things in the kitchen. Now I trust that eMeals won’t let me down and if it’s telling me to saute parsnips and shallots, not only will I learn some new skills, but I will also enjoy new delicious tastes.

4. Save time and energy

I work full time. We have one car. I dislike wasting time or wandering around stores without a very specific purpose. Meal planning and grocery shopping used to exhaust me…which is probably why I bought the same stuff over and over again for years. Now, I know that eMeals will think for me, organize my shopping list according to aisles, and give me step by step instructions for how to prepare the meals. Fool proof, really, and I don’t have to be in charge of one more thing around the house.

5. Consistently tasty recipes

Look at what eMeals sent me in preperation for Valentine’s Day:

emeals

Are you drooling yet? All of those, even the healthier options, sound AMAZING. Check out a sample dinner menu:

emeals 2

Again, don’t those sound AMAZING? Well, I cook them on a regular basis and they are! I am not someone that typically cooks a dish and then gets compliments. I have other strengths and I am OK with that. With eMeals though, it’s like my shortcomings are set aside since a real chef made the recipe up and all I have to do is follow directions and it ends up tasting awesome. I can hardly take credit for it!

Head on over to eMeals.com to check out what they’ve got to offer you.

15% Off Your Order at eMeals.com with Bonus Comfort Foods Brochure! Use code Dinner15

Money

5 Reasons You Need a Budget!

October 7, 2013

Many of you are aware of our slight obsession with all things Dave Ramsey. We have gone and drunk the kool-aide and it tastes great! Often we are asked things like, “How do I do what you guys did?”, “Do you think there is hope for my situation?” etc.

We are happy answering these questions, since using Dave Ramsey’s principles and methods have blessed us immensely. We can’t help but want to pass it along as a blessing to others. Hence this post. Trust me when I say that if you don’t have a budget, you will not win with money. Everything hinges on this one discipline, so check the 5 Reasons You Need a Budget below and see if you need one:

budget

1. You wonder where all the money went. 

Have you ever gotten to the end of the month and wondered where your money went? Me too. You need a budget.

A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” Proverbs 27:23

A budget puts you in control of your money, not the lack of money in control of you. It’s giving every dollar a name, whether its savings, fun, or paying off debt.

Can you imagine being in full knowledge of what happened with every dollar that was given to you last payday? It’s empowering. With a budget, there is never “more month than money.” You will feel like you got a raise over night by simply being aware of your money.

2. You check your account balance (in fear and trembling) to see if you can afford a purchase.

Is checking your account balance or mint app your idea of seeing if you can afford to go out to dinner tonight or shopping with friends? You need a budget.

A budget is telling your money what you plan to do that particular month or pay period. You can tell it to have $50 set aside for restaurants. You can tell it $50 for shopping. You can tell it whatever you want, as long as you give every dollar a name before the month or pay period begins.

By following a budget, you take all stress and anxiety away from spending or the dreaded overdraft. If you are married, and you’re spouse budgeted $40 for shoes, you aren’t shocked when they walk in the front door with a Shoe Carnival bag. You budgeted for it. You don’t have to check the bank account to know whether or not you can cover it. And you don’t get into a fight. Double win! 🙂

3. You have used a Credit Card for “emergencies.”

Many people’s “emergencies” look more like needing more gas, forgotten birthday gift, new brakes on the car, a medical copay, or going to dinner with friends. I call these “emergencies” since a they are pretty much all items you should anticipate. Cars break. Christmas comes at the same time every year. You will go to the Doctor sometime. You will drive your car and need gas. These are not emergencies. You need a budget.

When someone is truly in an emergency situation they really couldn’t plan for, the LAST thing they need hanging over them is a nice fat credit card bill charging them 18% interest. The emergency is now a nightmare! No one would wish that on their enemy.

By following Dave Ramsey’s principles, the first step is $1,000 in an Emergency Fund. After you pay off all debts except the house, you fund that Emergency Fund up to 3-6 months of expenses. You don’t need a credit card because you pay for any emergency that comes along. A budget allows you to get into this financial position.

4. You think budgeting is for poor people. 

Do you think that people who budget only eat bread and water or are so broke they have to follow one? You need a budget.

“Adults devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good.” Dave Ramsey

“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20

Wise people budget. If you poll and study most millionaires, they will tell you they didn’t just win the lottery one day and become wealthy. They had a plan for their money. They made it work hard for them. They told it what to do instead of floating along hoping one day they would have some wealth. They budgeted.

Actually poor people could change their financial position and not be as poor or poor at all if they simply put together a budget. Anyone living on less than they make, telling their money what to do, and stewarding it well will end up winning with money. Anyone can achieve financial peace, whether you make $20,000 a year or $200,000 a year. Both need budgets to win with the money entrusted to them.

5. Your idea of savings is to calculate whatever’s left at the end of the month.

Do you spend and buy whatever you want throughout the month and then save whatever ends up leftover? Or do you not really save consistently at all? You need a budget.

In order to achieve your financial goals and dreams, you have to start putting money aside to pay yourself first. If you don’t do this, the tyranny of the urgent will take over and you will likely never have momentum in your savings efforts. After paying your bills and necessities you can figure out what you want to be saving that month or pay period for whatever goal you are working towards (debt freedom, down payment, honeymoon, newer car, etc.)

This is the secret to really tearing ahead and making progress. However, it does require the ability to say “no” to yourself/others temporarily so you can say “yes” to your bigger goals and dreams.

Need a budget?

In case you were one of those people who needs a budget, you may be wondering where to start? First, I would read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover to set a solid foundation for yourself. Then when you are ready to budget there are lots of programs, software, apps, etc. out there for your budgeting use. I recommend ones that we have used/currently used.

1. For you Paper & Pen Folks – http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/

2. For you Tech Savvy Folks –  YNAB -You Need A Budget. (includes a $6 off coupon)

We started using the paper and pen and eventually wanted our budget to be in “the cloud” so we switched to YNAB. We absolutely love it. We did try Mint.com and had nothing but trouble. It may be helpful for some but wasn’t for us.

Warning – YNAB does take time to learn and I highly recommend taking the online courses they offer. We LOVE the ability to buy something and instantaneously use our YNAB app on the iPhone to track the purchase. One and done. We always have an accurate view of our bank accounts and know what’s left in every budget category at all times. Our budget meetings take about 10 minutes per month now. Zero surprises. Financial peace.

Let me know how budgeting goes for you!

 

Mission

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April 5, 2013

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