Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Determine Your Values, So You Can Find Your Path in Life

I just finished reading David Bach's Smart Couples Finish Rich. It's actually the second time I've read it. He talks early on about defining the 5 values that you want to work on for the next 12 months, then developing a goal or a few goals for each value. I really like his thinking on the values. Most financial books or financial planners do not work around your values. Isn't that really where you need to start?

In his book you'll find:
Step One: Learn the Facts and Myths about Couples and Money
Step Two: Determine the True Purpose of Money in Your Life
Step Three: Plan Together...Win Together
Step Four: The Couples' Latte Factor
Step Five: Build Your Retirement Basket
Step Six: Build Your Security Basket
Step Seven: Build Your Dream Basket
Step Eight: Learn to Avoid the Ten Biggest Financial Mistakes Couples Make
Step Nine: Increase Your Income by 10 Percent in Nine Weeks

In his book, he also focuses on working together as a couple on your values, then goals, to have the life you've dreamed of together. When my hubby and I began this journey - our quest for a simple life, we used tools like David Bach's book. Take the time to read, sit and talk about what your really want in life, what is important to each of you, your values and your goals, then find a path together to reach these goals! You can do it. My hubby and I became so much closer emotionally when we determined where we wanted to be in life and we took action and started a path on our quest. If this in an intention for you, I highly recommend his book. Read the book, complete the steps, then take action!

The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have - and that is a moral problem, not an economic one. ~Paul Heyne

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gifts for Kids: Educational, Creative & Encourage Exercise

Do you have your spending plan in hand for the holidays? What about your list of gifts to buy? Or supplies you need to make your gifts?

My favorite type of gifts for the holidays for kids are those that promote:
1. education
2. creativity (building, use of imagination)
3. exercise

Some items I like this year are:
Kids Knex
Lincoln Logs
Nature books
Reading books, especially a series

Some we are enjoying now are The Boxcar Children series, the Magic Tree House series as well as VeggieTales. We've also enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie series. My children also enjoyed watching the DVD of Little House on the Prairie after reading the books. Imagination comes alive!

If you've been reading my blog, you know I like Dave Ramsey. He also has a group of children's books available, particularly Financial Peace Junior. It is a book designed to teach kids about money. I do plan on purchasing some of them this year as well.

Keep in mind while shopping or better yet, while planning your shopping list, what values are you promoting when purchasing your children's gifts?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Holiday Shopping - Planning Ahead by Decluttering Now!

One of the things I like to do in early December is declutter the kids current toys. I go through their toys to determine which they no longer play with anymore or they've outgrown. I take them either to Goodwill or offer them to a friend. After all, where are you going to put the new things? Make room for them ahead of time. This also gives you an opportunity to declutter. You can also apply this to the kid's clothes if you haven't already gone through them with the change of seasons.

I go through the kids' clothes with each change of seasons. That way I know what they may need for holiday shopping. Then I add those items to a list of potential gifts.

For our family, in keeping these simple, we have choosen to give 3 gifts to each child. It really does keep things simple. We have done this since the beginning so that is what they know. =) When they ask for a lot of things, I ask is this item one of their 3 gifts? I find they are really able to prioritize! What a great skill to teach them now!

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucius

Monday, November 19, 2007


My blog has been quiet this week as I've been sick. It got me thinking of how important it is to:
1. have a place for each of our things
2. have routines
3. return our things back in their places after each use

This week, I've been able to stay on top of things here at the house by following those 3 guidelines. It has really helped me maintain some order while not feeling well. If you can just do the minimal and keep those things going, everything will be okay when you are down with an illness. Then when you are back on your feet, just jump back in.

Now looking ahead to the week that celebrates thankfulness! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!

"For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ready for the Holidays?

Earlier this week I was shopping at a really big retail store that offers food shopping as well as all household products. I entered the store and there was a BIG Christmas tree staring at me! I can see quickly that things have been moved around, out with Halloween stuff. Those things were hidden in an aisle with 75% off on them. In front of the store, next to the Christmas tree, was a big assortment of gift cards with a big sign on them – only 52 days left until Christmas!

Now as Dave Ramsey says Christmas (Hanukkah or Kwanza) all come EVERY year, once a year about the same time. Are you ready? This is something we should have in our yearly spending plan.

I thought I would take a moment to get organized. Are you shopping this year? Do you have a list of gifts to purchase and do you have a spending plan? I really encourage you to pay cash if you can for your gifts. You may want to consider making gifts as well! Some are very simple and fun!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Just Passing Through

I have just heard this story....of the American tourist traveling through Israel who encountered a rabbi living in a simple room. A bed, table, and chair comprised his furnishings. The tourist was shocked at the rabbi's lifestyle, and asked how he could live with so little. The rabbi in turn asked the American how he could live with only the luggage he brought on his trip. "But I'm just passing through," the tourist protested. The rabbi smiled and replied, "So am I." So are we all.

Friday, November 2, 2007

This is What It is All About!

We just had the most amazing night! Earlier this week, we decided our family is going to head to the beach on Friday evenings. We’d all have a heavier lunch on Fridays, then meet with Dad and have a quick dinner of granola and fruit. Tonight was our first night. We met at the beach as planned. We went out to look at the pier. There were dolphins swimming in the water! We watched them for about 20 minutes. The kids loved it. We could see their spouts, top fins and the tail. They were about 20 feet in front of us. WOW! We also saw some pelicans fly by. There were shrimp boats in the water and small planes occasionally flying overhead. We walked along the pier and saw everyone’s catches. One man and his two sons were pulling a crab trap out of the water. There were 2 crabs in it – a Blue Claw Crab and a Stone Crab. We stopped to watch. The Blue Claw Crab was too small. The man let the crabs out of his trap. The kids got to watch them walk sideways! It’s always interesting to see them do this “live and in person”. The fisherman’s 5 year old son gently pressed his shoe on the back on the crab’s shell and got a hold of his pinchers so he could throw him back in the water. We were all fascinated. Afterward we took a walk along a wooded trail. On the way back, we passed some bicyclists who asked us if we saw the deer. We had not so we kept an eye out for it when suddenly it was running right towards us!!!! It was running right along the bike path. It was AMAZING to watch! It got scared and run back into the woods, but WHAT a sight!!!

We then headed along the beach. There was a group of people “beach sanding.” They had the big 100 foot nets and got in the water to net up some fish, shrimp and crabs. We caught up with them right when they were coming up, so we were able to see what they caught. The kids are just amazed at all of this!

There was also an INCREDIBLE sunset tonight. Just lit up the sky like a big fireball! Beautiful!

We were out for about 2 hours tonight and all of these events occurred within a mile of one another. What a great night! How much we all got to experience!!!! It’s nice to have simplified our lives to be able to concentrate and spend time on the things that really matter, like tonight. We will definitely continue our Friday nights at the beach as this one was a huge success.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

How Much Do You Need?

Yesterday a friend of mine shared that her microwave was no longer working. They used it often so they felt it was a loss. That reminded me of a time when I stopped using our microwave, not because it was broken. It just took up too much space on our counter. I was challenging myself to go without it. We did go without it for over a year. I was fine at first; I didn’t think I used it that often. Suddenly something would come up where I felt I “needed” it. I didn’t need it though. It was the convenience I enjoyed having. I did without and it was fine. It just took a few minutes longer to make our meals and I had some extra pots to clean. =(
Everyone has their own needs and wants. Every family operates differently. We moved and we chose an over the counter microwave. I challenge you to look around your home and see if there are things you do not need.