Archive for the ‘Money & Finance’ Category

What I Wish We’d Known About Money Before Getting Married

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Marriage and Money

I don’t remember getting a lot of advice before I was married. This may be the result of a faulty memory; after all, we’re talking about 16 years ago. Or it may be because most of my friends and family stuck to the party line: “Don’t get married. You’re too young.”

Those helpful folks were half right. We were certainly too young to get married, but we sure did it anyway. I’m glad – but I do wish we’d gone into the rest of our lives, forever and ever amen, with a little more wisdom. Okay, a LOT more wisdom – and especially in the area of finances.

Over the past decade and a half, my husband and I have made so many mistakes with our money. (SO MANY.) Today we’re feeling optimistic, though I’ll admit we’re still paying off some of our more recent and long-lasting mistakes. So while I’m certainly no expert on family finances, I do have a list of things I wish we’d known about money before getting married. We’ve figured them out along the way, the hard way. My hope is that if I share them with you, you won’t have to!

Practice living with one salary. This is actually the one piece of advice I remember hearing in the days before my wedding, but as a young, stubborn, modern girl, I ignored it. Because I wasn’t going to “just” be a stay-at-home mom! I was going to work! I couldn’t wait to work! And I would always want to work!

Right. You can see where this is going, can’t you? As it turns out, living within one salary is good preparation for times of unemployment or underemployment (we’ve had both, huzzah!) – even if both spouses continue working. And, what you don’t know at the ripe age of 20 is that you might change your mind on how much you want to work later in life.

Save now. And if you don’t need two salaries to pay your bills, you can save a whole lot of money when times are good. As it turns out, you should also try to save a little when times are hard, too.

Plan to give it away. (And then, you know, give it away.) Though I grew up going to church, I wasn’t necessarily taught to tithe (give ten percent). Though my parents and my in-laws are giving in their own ways, neither my husband nor I were taught how to align our giving goals with our financial priorities. The importance of this is different in each family, but we’ve grown in our desire to give more over the years – and wish we’d made choices early on that allowed us to give more now.

All the years we’ve spent paying ridiculous interest on credit card debts or car loans add up to a lot of years we’ve missed out on the gift of giving. We look forward to the day we pay off our last debt and can help others more.

Just because you are approved, doesn’t mean you should. Speaking of credit cards…

Actually, I’d say this goes for every kind of loan: credit cards, vehicles, homes. I’m not saying that it’s bad to have a car payment or a mortgage! What I’m saying is to really consider the reality of what a bank will give you compared to what you can truly pay back.

That starter house might be your home for 20 years. The one time we made a good choice (without making a whole lot of bad ones first) was when we shopped for our first home. Now, we made a whole lot of first-time home-buyer choices. Don’t even get me started on the wisdom of buying a house without a basement in a place very near the inspiration for The Wizard of Oz! But when the bank pre-approved us for a large amount, we said no thanks. We bought a house for much less than we were approved for, which is good because we’ve had many months (years? yeah…years.) of barely scraping by when even that smaller payment seemed impossible.

It’s also good because we’ve lived in our first home – our STARTER home – for almost 12 years now. Thank you, real estate market crash! And that leads me to…

Something always comes up. House repairs on that starter home you can’t sell? Check. I’m not talking about a tear in the screen door either. I’m talking about replacing an entire sewer line from your [only] toilet, under the house, through the front yard, to the street. And if such a thing happens and you’ve slacked off on your savings plan or don’t have any wiggle room in your budget because you’re using every penny of every salary, then you’re in big trouble.

Not all home repairs cost thousands of dollars, obviously. But something – daycare tuition increase, basketball shoes, speeding ticket – always comes up.

And ignoring it does not make it go away. I mean, maybe you wouldn’t try this strategy. But just in case you would, let me tell you it does not work. (Don’t ask me how I know!)

Those are the big things my husband and I have learned, the hard way.

What money lesson have you learned that you’d like to pass on to someone starting out?

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Apron Full of Giveaways 02.10.15

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Navy Stripe Apron via Etsy

Source: Flirty Aprons,  $24.95

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday February 6, 2015

Friday, February 6th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we started our m challenge for February: Focus on Money Management (you’ll want to make sure to enter to win a copy of Slaying the Debt Dragon, our read-along for this month!) and shared articles on  Decluttering Your Space and the Power of Living Small. I also shared two DIY projects with you, How to Make the Perfect Prayer Shawl and a Yarn Wrapped Letters Tutorial (I chose to spell LOVE!), as well as a wonderful Sundays with Writers interview with William Kent Krueger, author of Ordinary Grace. Be sure to check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things for your weekly dose of happy!

You can find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink

Coffee at Chick-Fil-A
Gevalia Coffee Sample
Twinings Tea Sample

Health & Beauty

Zarbee’s Naturals Immune Support Sample
Advil PM Sample

Entertainment

Alaska Vacation Planner
Colorful Branches of Government Poster for Kids
Solar System Notebooking Pages
Winter Learning Activities
Valentine’s Day Math Worksheets
Valentine’s Day Fun Pack
Disney Frozen Spelling Worksheets
50 Dr. Seuss Printables

This Week’s Freebie Events: February 713

7th – Barnes & Noble: Story time featuring Ready Rabbit Gets Ready, 11 am

7th – Home Depot: Build a Heart Box, 9 am – 12 pm

7th – Lakeshore Learning: Create From The Heart Coupons, 11 am – 3 pm

7th – Toys R Us: Build a MegaBloks SpongeBob Squarepants Jellyfish Launcher, 12- 2 pm

7th & 8th – National Museums: Bank of America Cardholders get free admission all weekend long

7th thru 13th – Pottery Barn: Create a Valentine’s Card for a special child in need all week long

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Apron Full of Giveaways 02.03.15

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Pastel Owls Apron via Etsy

Source: Lottie Ann Designs,  $20.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday January 30, 2015

Friday, January 30th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we discussed our m challenge book for January, Wheat Belly, I republished our fruit-infused water recipes which are a great way to ditch the juice boxes, and we introduced our special m challenge Notebook Syllabus where you can find all the articles we’ve published for the challenge as well as other links to inspire and inform! In addition, Shaina shared with us a recipe for French King’s Cake, which would make a fun for a family tradition, and I had the privilege of interviewing author Karen Joy Fowler about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves for our first Sundays With Writers of 2015.

You’ll also want to check out week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: January 31February 6
31st – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Masquerade Mask, 11 am – 3 pm
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Apron Full of Giveaways 01.27.15

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Waxed canvas apron via Etsy

Source: Artifact Bag Co.,  $145.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday January 23, 2015

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we showcased not one, but two amazing guest post transformations in honor of our m challenge focus on health – Renee shares how she lost weight and keeps it off, and Ashley gives us ideas on incorporating healthy back into our lives! I’m focusing on the fridge and giving it a healthy makeover, along with a great no-bake energy bite recipe for the challenge. And then, in honor of the amazing Ultimate DIY Bundle available only through Sunday, I’m giving you a glimpse into how I went from a girl who thought she couldn’t make anything into a glue-gun-loving diy-er – and if I can, anyone can! And I hope you’ll check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy.

You can find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Note: I want to lead off this week’s freebies by reminding you that although The Ultimate DIY Bundle I mentioned above costs money, it’s like getting over $1,100 worth of FREEBIES. For example: take one eCourse like the photography 101 ($60+ value) after purchasing the bundle at $34.95 (and that’s like a 50% sale) and all other 75 eBooks & eCourses are FREE. Not to mention the actual freebie bonuses like beautiful prints, cards, magazines and craft classes! Click here to learn more or buy.

Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: January 2430
24th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring I Love You Night and Day, 11 am
24th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a My Friends Photo Board, 11 am – 3 pm
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Apron Full of Giveaways 01.20.15

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Black-Aqua Ruffle Apron via Etsy

Source: Flirty Aprons,  $24.95

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday January 16, 2015

Friday, January 16th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

It was another fabulous ‘m challenge’ week this week on MomAdvice with a focus on maximizing our health: we learned the essentials to carry in our gym bags from a fitness studio owner, the first aid essentials every mom needs from an emergency room doctor (along with a FREE printable AND a $100 GC giveaway!!), and we republished a classic recipe to maximize your mornings – Quinoa-Berry Breakfast Bowls! We also heard from our marriage and family contributor, Mary Carver, on ways to maximize your marriage for 2015 by making goals. This week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things – is very special, so I know you’ll want to check out what’s making me happy (hint: it’s way more than 3…)!

Our regular feature,  Amy’s Notebook, is filled with lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
Entertainment
 
This Week’s Freebie Events: January 1723
17th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring Hug Machine, 11 am
17th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Crafty Catapult, 11 am – 3 pm
17th – Michael’s: Check out the Art Skills Demo, 1 – 3 pm
17th – Pottery Barn: Join the Nursery Style Event, 4 – 6 pm
19th – National Park Service: Get free admission to over 100 National Parks all day long

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 01.13.15

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Yellow Half Aprons via Etsy

Source: She Sews Vintage,  $60.00/set

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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