Great Re-Post From Dave Ramsey

blog_ai_ny14_inoutsWhat’s In and Out in 2014

Here at Dave Ramsey’s place, we keep our finger on the pulse of the culture. You might even call us culture connoisseurs.

Well, not really. But here’s what we can do: We can tell you what will be in and out in 2014 when it comes to money.

For some people, these things might just be a passing fad or a temporary trend. But, if you’re like us, these things are a way of life.

In: Retirement

Out: 30-year mortgages

The longer you have a mortgage, the less you can put away for your golden years. Unless you plan on living with your kids when you’re 70, think seriously about cutting that mortgage down to a 15-year fixed at most. Connect with an investment professional in your area that Dave recommends.

In: Saving for Christmas

Out: Buying for Christmas at the last minute

Wait a minute. Christmas just ended, and we’re telling you to start thinking about Christmas again? Exactly! Put away a little bit of money each month (a.k.a. a sinking fund) so you’re not scrambling come December. That’s the cool thing about Christmas—it’s the same time every year! Make a plan and save for it all year long.

In: Going to college in-state

Out: Going out of state for college

Have you seen the cost of out-of-state tuition? Unless you’ve got a lot of scholarship and grant money, in-state tuition will cost you a lot less out of pocket, and it usually makes a lot more sense. Whatever route you take, The Graduate’s Survival Guide will prepare graduating high school seniors for their college experience.

In: Used cars

Out: New cars

Dave Ramsey has been saying this for years, but do you really realize how much you’ll save by buying a two-year-old car instead of a brand-new one? Buying a new car is a horrible investment. Maybe, just maybe, 2014 is the year America will finally take notice. Read these essential five tips you need to know before buying.

In: Budgeting

Out: Wingin’ it

Let’s make 2014 the year of the budget. It’s cool to budget—it really is! Wingin’ it might work for you when you’re making dinner plans at night, but it’s a terrible way to plan with your money. In with the budget this year! Get started now with free downloadable budgeting forms.

In: Finding a job you care about

Out: Working a J-O-B just for the paycheck

Do you hate your job? If so, why are you still there? Make this the year that you re-examine your career and do work that matters—both to you and to others. Sometimes, you need to just work to make a paycheck so you can get out of debt. But it doesn’t have to be that way your whole life. Make a career plan this year and pursue it.

In: Giving money

Out: Borrowing money

You already know that taking out a loan is stupid, right? Of course you do. This year, instead of taking out loans, focus on getting out of debt. When you’re debt-free, you’re much more able to help out other people and make a difference in their life. What if you could provide $100, $500 or even $1,000 worth of Christmas gifts to needy children next year? Make that one of your goals in 2014.

If you know Dave Ramsey, you know all of the above will always be in style. These are not passing fads. They’re a way of life.

Organized for a Purpose

I REALLY enjoy being organized!  I’m not always as organized as I’d like to be, but I have come so far from where I used to be.  I used to be more of a free spirit (as Dave Ramsey calls it) but now my hubby and I are Mr. and Mrs. Type A, for sure!  🙂

With a schedule in place, a written to-do list in my hand, and a place for everything, life runs so much smoother!  I’m still not as organized as my hubby, but he’s working on me!  Money Saving Mom has also taught me a lot in these areas over the past few years!  Being organized means I can do more things that matter to me, I can do more for others, and I can be dependable to friends and family.  I can put more meaningful things on my plate because my plate is neatly organized.  (Well, most of the time!)

I used to be a paper junkie with 100 projects that needed done “someday.”  2012 was a big turnaround for me, I ruthlessly got rid of stuff… and papers… and projects.  It felt so good!  So freeing!  I still get buried in stuff from time to time, but doing that one huge clean-up of my life has meant that I’m always within reach of getting on top of things.  Maintenance is a lot easier if you start with a clean slate at some point!

If you’re not where you want to be, don’t be discouraged!  Take it one little step at a time, maybe over the course of a year (a 2014 goal for ya?!), you can (like I did)  get your piles and messes all whipped into shape!

I really liked this list of 7 Things That May Be Lost Due to Disorder by Kelly from The First Commandment

“You can lose a lot more than just matching socks….lol! This list is not intended to make anyone feel bad.  I myself have lost all 7 of these things at one time or another.” 🙂

1) Time Time is lost when you cannot find things that you need.
2) Space- Space is lost because there is clutter taking it up.
3) Money- Money is lost because you will purchase things you already have.  Additionally things you do have are more likely to spoil or become broken in a cluttered environment.
4) Blessings-Blessings are lost because we will not let go of things to give to those who are in need; because we are in fear of needing it ourselves in the future.
5) Good Relationships Good relationships are lost as a result of not being dependable to those we love because everything around us is in disarray.
6) Opportunities – Opportunities to serve others are lost because we cannot pull our own selves together.
7) Sanity- Sanity is lost as a result of losing items 1-6.

Six Reasons People Stay In Debt

My husband and I are big Dave Ramsey fans.  Not because he’s the greatest guy in the world, but because he’s highly motivating and has a simple-to-follow plan for leading families out of debt.  My husband and I have led two of his Financial Peace University classes, I HIGHLY recommend FPU for all couples!!  I have seen and heard time and time again and all debt-free families will tell you, it is incredibly freeing it is to be debt free!  Debt is simply not worth it.  I know a lot of people who think debt is not that bad and it’s not really a problem.  But I tell ya, once you’re debt free, you will NEVER want to go back to having debt!  Being debt free is by far more fun than making payments!

Here’s a recent Dave Ramsey article that I enjoyed reading…

Do you remember the moment you decided to get out of debt?

You were sick and tired of being sick and tired. You might have even gotten angry at being in debt. Eventually, the burden and the stress of the constant bills and piling debt broke you down. Something inside you “clicked,” and you decided it was time to make a fresh start.

But what keeps people from getting out of debt? Why would someone want to stay in chains instead of living in freedom? Sadly, there are all sorts of reasons people choose MasterCard over being free from debt.

Here are just a few:

1. They want to keep up appearances.

This is the dreaded “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality. But little do you know, the Joneses have a leased BMW, an underwater mortgage, and an unwelcome visitor named Sallie Mae living in their basement. The Joneses are the most broke people in your neighborhood. And if you’re trying to follow their example, you’ll be following them into bankruptcy if you’re not careful.

2. They are unwilling to sacrifice.

How can you possibly give up eating out three nights a week? Or what would your life look like without cable? You’ll never know until you’re willing to give those things up in order to build a legacy for your future. If you’re in a lot of debt, something in your lifestyle has to change. It’s about priorities. Here’s the question: What are you willing to give up?

3. They fear change.

Debt can be comfortable, kind of like slowly cooking in a pot of boiling water. If you’ve always used a credit card, and if you always had car loans, then you know what to expect. The unknown can be scary—except for the fact that millions of families have gone through Dave’s plan to get out of debt and changed their lives. We can promise that you have a lot more to fear if you stay in debt, rather than if you make this change in your life.

4. They’re addicted to stuff.

In other words, they’ve bought the myth that you are what you own, and they simply can’t get enough. The more they have, the more powerful and confident they feel. But it’s all a fraud. They can’t afford that stuff and, eventually, it’s going to weigh them down. Their addiction to debt will, at some point, cause a financial heart attack.

5. They don’t know how.

Everything we do around Dave’s office revolves around helping people make a plan with their money. These people have good intentions—they want to kick debt to the curb—but they don’t know how. They’ve been in debt so long that getting out under a pile of $50,000 in credit card bills seems impossible. But it isn’t. People call The Dave Ramsey Show every day to tell us about their debt-free stories. Getting out of debt isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline. But it’s definitely not impossible. All you need is a plan.

6. They’re lazy.

These people know what to do. Maybe they know about the debt snowball and they sorta, kinda want to get out of debt. They know how debt can affect their marriage, their stress levels, their relationships, and their future, but they just aren’t motivated to make a change. How sad is that? You know that you’re ruining your future—and if you have kids, you’re putting them behind the eight ball when they go out on their own—but you still go into debt anyway? If you know how to get out of debt, but you’re just too lazy to do it? Well, that’s just embarrassing.

Every day, people are making the decision to get out of debt and change their lives. They’re ready to sacrifice and get rid of their fear of change or their addiction to stuff.

If you’ve yet to make that decision, what’s holding you back? And if you’re already debt-free or moving in that direction, what caused you to make a change in your life?

We all need a plan for our money. Financial Peace University (FPU) is that plan! Find a class today.
http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/6-reasons-people-stay-in-debt?et_cid=2718702&et_rid=0&linkid=

Enchilada Sauce

We have a few different enchilada recipes at our house that are big hits… let’s see, there’s regular Enchiladas, Enchilada Casserole (always a family fave), Potato and Kale enchiladas (creamy and yummy!), and Michelle’s Spinach Artichoke Enchiladas (another yummy!)  So we always need a good enchilada sauce!  Buying one at the store can not only cost more, but often the ingredient list isn’t the healthiest.  So make your own!

Enchilada Sauce:
-1/2 cup oil (I use coconut oil)
-1/4 cup flour (whole grain is all I use)
-1/2 cup chili powder (yes, that much!)
-Can of tomato sauce
-3 cups Water
-1/2 tsp Cumin
-1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
-1/2 tsp Sea Salt
-1/4 tsp Onion Powder

Heat oil, stir in flour and chili powder.
Reduce heat to medium, stir constantly.
Stir in tomato sauce, water, cumin, garlic powder, sea salt, and onion powder.
Stir until smooth and slightly thickened.  Salt to taste.

This makes a large batch of sauce.  It freezes well if you have extra!

Whipped “Cream”

This is super easy to whip up and tastes great!  A great dairy-free option for whipped cream!

Whipped “Cream”
1 can Coconut Milk- put in refrigerator overnight
1/4- 1/2 cup Sweetener (I used Raw Agave Nectar this time but will also try Maple Syrup)
1/2-1 tsp Vanilla Extract (not the imitation stuff)

Remove can of coconut milk from fridge and scoop out all the solid stuff (not the water left at the bottom of the can).  Whip that solid coconut milk with other ingredients until it resembles whipped cream!

This recipe from Money Saving Mom.  Which by the way if you don’t already subscribe to Money Saving Mom’s emails… I HIGHLY recommend it!  A lot of the deals and freebies she posts about are not things I use because a lot of products and foods just aren’t very healthy.  But, she has wonderful posts about saving money, giving generously, fun ideas for the family, tips on freezer cooking, and more!  Sign up today!

Homemade Baby Wipes and Solution!

Regular baby wipes from stores are loaded with harmful ingredients.  Even if they don’t visibly cause problems with your child’s skin, they are still adding toxins to your child’s body.  And anytime you can reduce exposure to chemical ingredients (especially the strong smelling ones), the better.  Here’s what I do for homemade baby wipes!

For the Wipes:
Baby wash cloths are great to use.  Or if you sew, you can hem some 7×7 or 8×8 squares of fabric (flannel or other preferred fabric).  Or you can cut some baby blankets or baby towels into squares and wa-la, free homemade wipes!

For the Wipe Solution:
Dr. Bronner’s Option- My favorite recipe is to put 2-3 drops of Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap (citrus and rose are my favorite scents) in some water, and that’s it!  Just add wipes!  (Dr. Bronner’s soap is very mild and is much safer for your baby’s skin than 99% of the other soaps out there.  You can buy little travel sized bottles of it for around $2.  Use it for baby’s bath time too!)

Tea Tree Oil Option- I’ve also used 2 drops tea tree essential oil diluted in water for my wipes (I don’t measure the water, just however much is needed to wetten all your wipes).

Oil– Some people also like to put a few drops of olive oil or almond oil in their water solution to act as a moisturizer, this works great too!

Getting Your Wipes Ready-To-Use:
Option One:  Get a gallon sized baggie.  Add one cup water or so and your chosen ingredient(s) from above.  Shake up the baggie a little, add a handful of dry cloth wipes.  You’re ready to go!  (Although I usually use a baggie, I plan on switching to a leak proof container or wet bag soon).  (If your wipes are still too dry, add more water).  Wipes will store for about a week, or perhaps a little less, when wet.  I usually prepare them each Sunday to take to church and then use the rest throughout the week.

Option Two:  Get a small spray bottle, fill with water and your other chosen ingredient(s) from above.  Grab a handful of dry cloth wipes.  You’re ready to go!  When it’s time to change baby’s diaper, spray your wipe to get it wet and then proceed to change your baby.  Don’t spray baby with the spray bottle, he/she probably won’t like it.  🙂

We Met Dave Ramsey!

Recently we drove through Nashville, Tennessee.  We are big fans so we wanted to check out Dave Ramsey’s office building and to our surprise, we got to meet and shake his hand as well!  He has a beautiful office building.  Right when you walk in the front door, you see his studio on the right surrounded by glass.  He was LIVE on the air when we got there and I was so excited that we would get to see him that I immediately started waving like a crazy girl!  He waved back with a big smile while trying to concentrate on his serious caller who was deep in financial trouble.  Our hostess, Martha, showed us around his office, told us about his day-to-day operations, and gave us a behind-the-scenes look at how his radio and tv shows are broadcast.

For those of you who don’t know who Dave Ramsey is… he has a radio talk show for three hours a day Monday through Friday, is on the Fox Business Network, has a 13 week DVD series called “Financial Peace University”, does LIVE events throughout the U.S. that are ultra motivating and inspiring, wrote “The Total Money Makeover,” as well as many other books and appearances.  He’s a busy man!  My husband and I first heard of him in 2005 and have been listening to him ever since.  I can’t say that I agree with everything he says, but his basic plan of handing finances is AWESOME!!  And the presentation of his message is entertaining, motivating, and VERY informative.  I have learned a lot from him!  Basically, he teaches common sense.  You know… don’t spend more than you make, live on a written budget, be in control of your money, GIVE money away, and one of his biggest points… DON’T borrow money!!  Every Friday on his radio shows he allows callers to call in who have recently paid off all their debts (does not have to include mortgage) and they get to share their story and then SCREAM “We’re debt FREEEEE!!!”  It’s SO fun to hear other people’s stories.

I could talk a long time about financial stuff and I don’t want to edify man too much, but truly, Dave is a super generous and kind man.  He was very sweet to us when we met him and Martha got to tell us more about how much he GIVES to others.  He gives a lot of money away to others and different ministries!  Also, he has great family values.  Every day, he locks his building doors at 5:30 and makes all of his employees (some 300 of them) go home to their families.  He doesn’t want people working late.  I, as a stay-at-home mom with a husband who goes to work every day, can really appreciate this!

Our personal experience with Dave:  My husband I actually coordinated his “Financial Peace University” 13-week course at our church.  It was a blast!  We had a lot of FUN getting to know our small group and talking about financial topics with them.  We also called in to his show over two years ago and did our debt-free scream!  Now that was NEAT!  I loan out his “Total Money Makeover” book often as I think it’s a fantastic resource for anyone wanting to improve their financial situation.  Good stuff!  The book’s worth buying by the way in case you’re wondering!

At its roots, the message of financial peace goes further than just finances.  It’s all about having a SOLID marriage that glorifies God and that is unbreakable.  And it’s TRULY all about giving God the glory, not just with our words, but with our life… our marriage, our children, our home, our things, our schedules, our food, and… our finances.  The fact that someone as popular as Dave Ramsey points people to Christ in his business practice and on his radio show makes him my favorite go-to resource for financial questions of any sort.

Giveaway:  If you’d like to win a copy of Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover,” leave a thoughtful comment.  Winner will be chosen on May 31st, 2011!
From random.org, the number selected was number 1.  So, Katee, you’re the winner!  Congratulations!

Tips for a Healthier, Happier, and Longer Life

I’m a fan of Bragg’s Olive Oil and Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, as well as some other products of Bragg’s.  Recently I received a newsletter from them and it had such great points in there that I wanted to share.

Tips for a healthier, happier, and longer life from Patricia Bragg:
-Fast one day a week, drinking only water and vinegar drink
(unless pregnant or breastfeeding).
-Take 3 Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks daily, also when fasting.
-Eat organic fruits and veggies, etc.
-Take Vitamin C (1,000mg) daily.
-Cut down on stress:  exercise, walk, pray, and listen to music.
-Exercise daily, do deep breathing exercises and practice good posture.
-Don’t skimp on sleep, take naps.
-Burn your bra, wear a chemise.  (Bra wearing is linked to breast cancer)
-Have massages to improve circulation.
-Resolve every morning to live a simple, serene, and sincere life.

Aren’t those great tips?!  I especially like the sleep one, the posture one, massages of course!, walking, and living a simple & sincere life!  Wow, these things can do a lot for our health!

Some other quotes by Patricia Bragg:
“Most modern day Americans are living in the fast lane and are practically committing self-suicide with their unhealthy diets, lack of exercise and shallow breathing.”
“Americans are killing themselves by the millions with their knives, forks, and spoons.  With their two hands, homemakers can prepare either health or sickness for their families!”
“Refined, processed, unhealthy foods should be avoided.  Meats should be avoided or limited to no more than three times a week.”
“Daily exercise is a health essential!  Brisk walking is the king of exercise and 30 to 40 minutes a day does miracles for your body.”

Bragg’s Posture Exercise:
Looking in mirror, stand tall, feet 8″ apart- tighten buttocks, suck in stomach muscles, stretch up chest, shoulders back, chin up slightly, nose plumb-line to belly button.  Swing arms to normalize your posture.  Daily do this often to reconstruct your posture to perfection and for instant youthfulness!

I like how she says to do the posture adjustment many times a day.  We forget about our posture often and doing this several times a day can do a lot for getting us in the habit of having good posture all day long!

I’ll share more about what Patricia Bragg says about Fasting and Apple Cider Vinegar in another post!

Homemade Toothpaste!

This is SO cheap!  Since starting using my homemade toothpaste, I haven’t bought one single tube of toothpaste, and I’ll never buy a tube of toothpaste again!

Toothpaste Recipe:
1- Put a few Tablespoons of Baking Soda in a small container
2- Add 3-5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil  (you can omit this or use a different flavor if desired, although it greatly contributes to the fresh mouth peppermint feeling!)
3- Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil  (you can omit this if desired)
4- Begin adding a small amount of olive oil while stirring.  You have enough olive oil when the mixture is  a “paste,” the same consistency as regular toothpaste.
5- You can leave your toothpaste in a small container with a lid in your bathroom and it’s ready to use!  OR, you can take the time to put it in a tube…

To put your paste into a tube (which really isn’t all that necessary in my opinion, but it was fun the first couple times I did it):
1- Get an old toothpaste tube
2- Cut off the top of the tube (not the end with the cap, the other end)
3- Using a toothbrush and plenty of water, clean the inside of the tube well.  (A small travel sized tube is great too- less cleaning!)
4- Through the top, put in your new homemade paste, pushing it as much to the bottom as possible.
5- Begin rolling the top of the tube down (like you would a normal tube of toothpaste that is running out), flattening the tube as you go.  Put a clip (black paper clip or other clip) on the end to hold your rolled tube shut.
6- Squeeze out your new toothpaste and brush!

Okay, so I’ll be honest here… I don’t do all these steps above.  I cheat!  Here’s what I do now…
Tooth “Powder”:
1- Put a few Tablespoons of Baking Soda in a small container
2- Add 3-5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil (you can omit if desired)
3- Add 2 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil, then stir.  (you can omit tea tree oil if desired)
4- Keep your small container with a lid on it in your bathroom and put a little powder on your toothbrush each time you brush.

Whitening:

To whiten teeth, you can spray a littler hydrogen peroxide on your toothbrush each time before you brush.  This will whiten your teeth significantly.  The easiest way to apply it is to get a small spray bottle of peroxide (a dark brown bottle) from your department store.  Spray your brush with peroxide, then apply a little tooth paste/powder to your brush, then brush and rinse.
Never buy a whitening product or service again!!  Most of those things are very harmful to your teeth.

A Few Dental Tidbits:
-Floss daily, being careful not to jam the floss up into your gums and causing them to bleed- can cause infection.
-Eating sugar contributes to unhealthy teeth.  People who consume little to no sugar in their diet have excellent records of dental health.
-Brush often and brush well, but don’t brush with a lot of force/ roughly.
-Root canals are very dangerous to your health.  Avoid them!
-Amalgam (silver) fillings are highly toxic, as they contain and leak mercury.  Never let a dentist give you an amalgam filling!
-Fluoride is a KNOWN carcinogen.  Avoid fluoride treatments and fluoride products- toothpastes, mouthwashes, etc.
-Consider seeing a holistic, natural dentist for your dental needs.