Friday, December 26, 2008

Little People Big World

Have you ever seen the show "Wife Swap"? I don't even know if it's on anymore but I saw one episode a few years ago. A friend-of-a-friend was on the show and so I watched it. Basically, two families have the mom swap families for a week or two. They are usually drastically different families and they are supposed to learn something from walking in someone else's shoes.

I was thinking about this show the other day while I was watching an episode of "Little People Big World" that I taped a while ago on my DVR. I would LOVE to see the mom on LPBW trade places with Kate Gosselin from "Jon and Kate Plus Eight" or maybe Michelle Duggar from "17 Kids and Counting". ((Yes...I'm a little bit addicted to these shows on TLC.)) I felt so bad for Amy Roloff on LPBW -- her kids seem to treat her like crap quite often. They never pick up after themselves (she admits it's because she never emphasized it while they were growing up) and often ignore her when she tells them to do something. Let me tell you -- I'm FAR from the perfect mom but my kids don't get away with ignoring a request from me. I'd like to see her trade places with a mom who has trained her kids to do their share of chores around the house just so she knows that it CAN BE DONE.

And speaking of the Duggars, did you see the latest episode of their show?? The new baby is so adorable! While I am fairly certain God is NOT calling me to have 17 or 18 kids, I admire her for listening to Him and following what she feels He is calling her to do. Can you imagine how much better this world would be if more of us actually listened to God in prayer rather than just blindly doing whatever we want to do? That's my goal for this new year -- listen quietly to God in prayer. It's quite a challenge in my house since quiet time is rare. But I WILL make it happen even if I have to take my prayer time out to the van in the garage all by myself. :-)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Want some Cash-Baq?

I signed up for a great site called CashBaq the other day. It's free to sign up and you get $5 in your account just for registering. You can earn cash back on all sorts of things. I bought an Entertainment Book for 2009 and ended up getting it for free with the cash back. They have a "deal of the day" each day as well as lots of other specials. If you want to sign up, I would really appreciate it if you did so with this link --


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cash for Christmas

Have you started your Christmas shopping? Do you have a budget? Do you make a budget and then end up spending more than you intended? Many people do just that so you are in good company. But remember -- just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean it's a good idea!

Ideally you want to plan for Christmas spending all year long. Remember -- Christmas comes at the same time every year so don't let it "sneak up on you". Set aside a little money every month and then next December you will be ready to go. Remember those "Christmas Club" accounts that your parents might have had at the local bank? I wonder why those fell out of favor with people? It's a great idea to set aside the money every month. I bet it was when the banks started issuing credit cards; they would rather you spend using those and then take half of the next year to pay them off.

At the first of December go to your bank and withdraw CASH for the amount of your Christmas budget. Put it in an envelope and make your spending list on the back of it. Decide ahead of time who you will buy for and how much you will spend. If you budget $20 for Uncle Joe and end up spending $40 on him then you will need to take $20 away from someone else to make it balance. When the money is gone, that's it -- you're done!

The first year we did this was was just amazing! We ended up finding sales and stayed under budget. As a result we were able to make a larger donation to a local charity than we had planned. Every year I feel such power and control when I spend cash for Christmas. I pay more attention to what I'm spending than if I were just swiping the debit card ) or worse -- the credit card. I do still use the debit card when I shop online, though. I simply make sure that I have enough cash in my envelope first and then set it aside to deposit back into the bank the next time I am out running errands.

This system has worked for us for many years now and I know that if you give it a chance it will work for you, too.