Friday, July 23, 2010

Running Out of $$

It finally happened yesterday...DD2 ran out out of money. She is our little spender. It is so hard for me to let her spend money on things that are "whim" purchases. But I kept telling myself, "This is her money, not mine," and "different people value different things, my kids included."

Also, she needs to feel the pain of running out of money if she is going to learn how to save. And boy did she feel it today. DD1 went clothes shopping (at Justice with a 40% coupon), DD2 LOVES Justice clothes and was so sad she couldn't by anything. But it was SO good for DD2 to feel that.

After the experience, DD2 is really resolved to be a better saver. It opened up some great conversations about past purchases, putting off spending to see if it is a want or a need, and saving for what you really value. (I could even politely say, "I told you so". :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Discount Massage

Today I finally went to the chiropractor hoping to get some relief of my pains. While there they told me that my insurance convered and hour long, in house massage. So for $25 I get a full adjustment and an hour massage. I am going once a week!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Strength in Numbers

YEAH!! A good friend of mine is on the "Parenting Breakthrough" bandwagon. She is already really good at teaching her kids life skills, but she read this book and loved it!! We spent a good time on the phone today talking about how we are implementing this into our lives.

It is so fun to have someone to bounce ideas off of. It also helps that our kids are the same ages - and friends- so that they can talk about life skills training and not feel so picked on. It also helps because we can plan activities that teach a specific skill and invite the other person and their kiddos along.

Most importantly, we can help encourage and strengthen each other as we take this parenting journey.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Cheap Leave-in Conditioner


Try this instead of paying for expensive leave-in conditioners. In a spray bottle put one part conditioner to 10 parts water. My hair stylist swears by this and we are definately going to try it.

DH Wins Belly Dancing Contest

In June DH and I were able to get away to Orlando for a week. We were celebrating our 10th anniversary and trying to get some quiet time before the twins come.

While we were there, we went to a dinner show called Arabian Knights. They had a pre-show pro belly dancer who held a belly dancing contest. I talked DH into doing it - and he won!! I was laughing so hard! My man is pretty cool.
video video
video

Budgeting Simplified


When I first started this blog, I wrote very lengthy posts about how to set up and run a budget. I still get many questions about this. It can be very overwhelming so I am going to try to break it down into a few simple steps. It still is a little lengthy (sorry Mags) but the topic is pretty big.

1. Sit down and write your categories.

2. Get three months worth of expenses (including a Christmas month) to see on average how much you are spending in each category. This is VERY important so that you can see what your habits currently are. If your spending $500/mo. on dining out cutting down to $20 isn't realistic. Your budget will fail. (You can get this info from credit card statements or other software you use like mint.com)

3. Plan your budget. EVERY dollar needs to be put somewhere - even if it is into savings. Keep in mind to take big expenses that you know will happen like Christmas, health care, car repair, property tax, etc, take the amount they each will be, divide it by 12 (for 12 months) and put that much money aside every month so that you will have enough saved when the bill comes up.

4. Assign responsibilities. I take the variable expenses i.e. groceries, clothing, dining out, babysitting, gifts, etc. DH takes care of fixed expenses i.e. mortgage, car payment, taxes, etc. Then we have his and her gas, discretionary money, clothing, etc.

5. Track it. DH is at a computer all day and loves to use Quicken. I am on the go and need to see how much money I have when I am shopping. I use a PDA with a checkbook type app. to type in my transactions when I spend the money. This way I know how much I can spend before I enter the store. This has been the most powerful tool for both me and my clients. When you know what your numbers are doing, you can shape your spending to fit into it.

*I use a Palm Z22 with a software called Budget Master. I also love the Everyday carrying case. It is getting old in terms of technology and we are looking at the iphone with apps. One that looks good there is called Checkbook 2.2, Quicken also has an app, but it looks like you have to download it from Quicken's website. We are looking for something that will sync with Quicken to make DH's job easier.
**THIS IS THE KEY TO OUR SUCCESS.

6. Reconcile. This is DH's job. He puts all the spending from all categories into Quicken to see how we are meeting our financial goals. Then we sit down and talk about how things are going. We have stopped fighting about money and are excited about how soon we can get out of debt. (If we stick to our plan, we will be debt free by the time we are 50. It could be sooner if we keep being frugal.)

I would love to hear how you are successful with your budget or feel free to ask me questions.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Thank You - Music to My Ears

Yesterday, DD1 and DD2 overheard me talking with another mom about chores a.k.a life skillz. This woman was trying to figure out how to get her daughter to do them, because right now she wasn't doing anything.

I asked DD1 later if she thought it was neat she knew how to do so many things. Trying to be cool, she shrugged her shoulders, gave a smirk, and said, "It's okay. I just can't believe other kids don't know how to do this stuff." I'll take that as a yes, she thinks it's cool.

Then this morning, DD2 sits next to me (on the couch) and we have the following conversation:

DD2: Mom, thanks for teaching us Life Skillz. I like that we know how to do so many things that will help us when we're older. (No joke, exact words.)

Me: You're welcome. I'm glad to hear you like it, even though you whine sometimes.

DD2: Yeah, sometimes it is hard.

Me: I understand that! I have a hard time too sometimes, but part of life is learning to work even when you are tired and things get hard. That is a life skill too.

DD2: Yeah, I think you're right.

HELLO...Music to my ears! This isn't the first time they have thanked me either. I have been SO pleased with this system. My girls are getting it that chores aren't just for punishment or a drudgery, but they are important life skills that will help them! LOVIN' IT!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My New Role - The Incubator

The last two to three weeks my life changed dramatically. I officially started my third trimester. I have stopped feeling human and am now officially an incubator. My energy plummeted, my stomach exploded (even DH says, "Wow Babe, your huge."), and I hurt in ways I didn't think existed.

My days consist of sleeping on the couch, sitting on the couch most of the day with my feet up, napping - yes on the couch, and heaving myself up to take care of only necessities. Oh, and the occasional yelling at the girls to stop fighting and do their chores. They LOVE that.

My new motto is, "SURVIVE" and I keep telling myself it is easier to do this than sit in the NICU with preemie twins - and I am sure it is.

So here I am waiting, incubating. Time seems to be passing so slowly, like I am a child waiting for Christmas. But I need to enjoy it, because shortly, my life will be a blurr.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Raising Kids like Training Dogs

I had a laughable moment today. The whole family went to the grocery store for an outing. DH struggled with the kids - not because of misbehavior, but because it was hard for him to herd them around the store.

I just sat back and watched (it is good for the hubbies to get a taste of what a wife does). As we were leaving the grocery store, the kids all congregated in front of the cart. They were talking and looking at things - and blocking the entrance/exit.

DH was trying to get DD3 to get into the cart, while DDs2 and 3 were still in la-la land. I said to him, "Tell them to follow you like ducks." He gave me a weird look, but said it to the girls. Instantly, they all lined up behind him and followed him out of the store.

He was amazed, and I started laughing. I told him we needed to have a daddy training course so that he could learn all the commands the girls know and the situations to use them in.