Thursday, October 9, 2008

Making "Dollars and Sense"!

With rising unemployment rates, dropping rates of stocks, and gas prices going nowhere soon but up (NC has the highest gas prices in the 48 states--I'm not including Alaska & Hawaii) we've all been feeling the need to make our dollars stretch further. I'm going to do a little series and hope to share some ideas for doing things that make "dollars and sense"!!

  • Decorating on a Budget

  • Ways to Save $ Around the House

  • Grocery Shopping -- Getting the Most for Your $

  • Spending Less for the Holidays

  • Needs Vs. Wants

  • We're All In This Together -- Family Goals

These are just a few of the topics I'll be covering, and I really hope that this will be a "discussion" where you, dear reader, feel free to join everyone in sharing your ideas on the topic in the comment section!!! The more ideas that we have and share, the better all of us can be in saving $$!

I really think that the foundation for all of the rest of our series should be an honest look at our current financial situation. There are many great books and worksheets out there that can walk you through the financial steps, and I think that they're great! (If anyone wants some recommendations, I'd be happy to do a list of some to read)

However, they all start with sitting down and making a list of how much $ you bring home every month and how much $ you spend every month. Include all bills, fun expenditures like movie rentals, eating out, kids' allowances, babysitters, gas, lunches or coffees during work hours, clothing, etc, and make sure you really, honestly list everything! This won't work otherwise!! A great way to do this is for one month track everything by entering your reciepts in a notebook at the end of each day...this will help you really see where your money goes!

Now, the goal in all of this is that hopefully we are bringing home more $ than we are spending. Unfortunately, due to job loss, tough times, or just poor spending habits that isn't always the case. That's when the budget needs some adjusting. Here is where the next part comes into play: Needs vs. Wants!

Tomorrow I'll continue with Needs vs. Wants! Take some time today to make a list of where your money really goes each month. If this seems overwhelming, at least get the basics down. You may want to do a comprehensive list later on, though. Get thinking about your current spending habits. Take a deep breath in, say a prayer, and let it out! Because this is the beginning of a new way of that will benefit your family and get you breathing easier!!! :)

Are you ready?!! Let's go!!!


kristi_temple said...

We just finished Dave Ramsey's course - Financial Peace. You are right! Sitting down and writing it all out is scary but you have to know what's coming in and what's going out and where it's going. We highly recommend Dave's books and website.

My Place of Peace said...

Way to use your influence as a blogger to help other women!

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

I've also done Dave Ramsey workbooks, and they are really great! I would recommend him!

My Place of Peace--
I really have a desire in my heart to encourage women! Having a fun, creative outlet was one reason I started this blog, but the other was to encourage other women with heart inspiration. I used to work with Women's Ministry in different roles at my past churches, and meeting the needs of women really holds a dear place in my heart! I appreciate your kind & encouraging words (and those of all of you here) more than you know!

Thanks, you guys!!
Let's keep the discussion going -- I'll be popping in on my "Comments" section to respond from time to time!!


Betsy said...

Did you watch Oprah yesterday? She was all about thrifty spending. I got up from my comfy bed at 11 and started cleaning out. I have tons of stuff to have a garage sale this weekend. Put the money towards Christmas or debt. I love that you are doing this!

Stacey said...

Excellent idea.

I've actually spent some time searching the internet for good money saving ideas. Some, to me, are strange. I read that some people keep frozen milk jugs in their toilet to make the toilet use less water when it flushes!! Now I get how this works, but not me!

I look forward to reading some real life ideas. This is really a deep issue. Basically we must examine our hearts to be willing to change our ways.

My 16 year old son thinks NOTHING of spending $10 at Starbucks when he meets his friends there. I have to set a good example for him to follow.

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Betsy -- I DID watch Oprah yest.! It was fantastic! It's great that you're clearing out the clutter and are willing to work to do that and make some extra $$! Great job!

Stacey -- You're right, we must set an example for our families, and I'm going to definitely do the topic of a family meeting! I have heard of people putting a brick or something in their toilet to cut down on water used, but I think that only works on old toilets, not the newer ones that use less water per flush to begin with -- you need somethin' to push it all along in the pipes! Good for you doing research on saving money for your household!!

Jenny S said...

I am going to be glued to my computer to read this discussion! Thank you for bring this up and I might link to it on my blog if that is okay?

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

Go right ahead if you want to link to this! :)

Sandy Toes said...

Great idea...I am in! Did you see Oprah this week? How to stretch a was amazing how much those women saved!
-Sandy Toes

Imperfect said...

This series will be really interesting to read. Hubby and I are just starting life together and are learning to budget and save! Looking forward to reading. And I'm glad my grocery saving gave you motivation to do the same!

Angie said...

Hey Stacey...

great minds think alike, huh! Of course you can link to my blog...I think we all need to help each other get through this junk!


Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Can't wait to read your you know, this is near and dear to my heart. We are debt free (except for the house) and heading into another period where we are going to be so glad that we have a emergency fund, savings etc since my hubby's comp was bought out and his job is moving to Houston... we have opted not to. UGH, it will be a faith walk for sure.
We've been there before...

Oh, and yes, feel free to link to my grocery/thrift tips.

Wendy said...

Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog...I'd love it if you added me to your blogroll...Thanks for asking!

Blissful Nikki said...

I am so glad you are doing this!! I love saving money and get a total rush from a good bargain! My favorite is walking out of the grocery store with $200 worth of groceries for $20! :)

Darlene - Our Creative Life said...

Great post! I will be doing one soon on grocery shopping and show ways to cut your grocery bill.

M.L. @ The House of Whimsy said...

Thank you for doing this. I will pass your site address to my young marrieds and some of their friends. Thank you for having the desire to bless others.
Mary Lou

Tina said...

Great idea, Stacey!
And I saw somebody mentioned Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course.
It really is good!
Our church offers it.

Kelly said...

I just found your blog today. Thanks for the great ideas and links. We are also big Dave Ramsey followers. Have you ever seen his show?