Saturday, July 28, 2018

Getting Started with Financial Freedom

I have decided to do a free financial freedom coaching or consulting via the old blog and You Tube.
So today I'm sick, my hands even hurt but my minds working well enough. The short story I want to share this for our kids. To offer help, but not in the "Here's a fish kind of help" but "Let me get you a fishing pole" kind of help.

Okay so follow along this journey if you want. I'll add VLOGS as we go (video blogs).
*Here is a link to my old You Tube Channel that has some advice on being resourceful. 

How to get started.

1. Find your Why. 

Why are you ready to change? Why do you want to learn how to get out of this darn mess. I was in a darn mess at age 33.  $1400 negative a month (that's right). Shamefully buying groceries on my credit card. I was lost. I had been debt free just a few years before and we blew it. We weren't wild spenders we just didn't have the knowledge we needed. The bank gave us a big loan for a house we couldn't afford and it ate our lunch. I was sick and tired of being broke and scared. What's your why?
Video Lesson 1

2. Write down all your bills and expenses (be honest) and your income (all of it). Make two columns. 
First how much you make and when it comes in and total that monthly. 

Example: Husband $950 every two weeks,  Wife $1000 every 2 weeks. Random in our case. Total is $3950

Then all your bills, due date, how much: House note $1250, on the 5th.
If a bill is quarterly divide it by 4 and put it in your budget.

Just look at it and add up both columns. Subtract bills from income. This is what you have leftover.
Lesson 2 Video

3. Now look at what you can slash or get rid of NEEDS VS WANTS

You don't need expensive phone plans or cable. Those are wants.
Wants can be handled later. For now get busy getting out of debt.
Lesson 3 Video

4. Go on a spending freeze: 

For the time being until you get an emergency fund make a budget for needs (food, basic transportation not joy riding) and all other spending gets frozen.
Lesson 4 Video
5. Save $1000 Emergency Fund 

Get busy selling stuff. Yard Sales, Auctions, EBay, Craigslist, Resale Shops, Facebook Marketplace, old cars to the salvage yard. Clean up your crap and get rid of it (this also has a psychological impact on you in a positive way, you start to feel lighter). Get a $1000 fast. Then ear mark it for emergencies. Your tires are not an emergency you know you have that coming up, you will now start a savings account for those types of things.
Lesson 5 Video
6. Slash your budget and use excess money to pay debt. '

If you can slash your budget by $100 then you will put your $100 towards the smallest bill. Your goal will be to get debt paid off fast. I was a follower of this method long before Dave Ramsey was preaching this but he makes it really easy to understand. I know some people don't agree with his politics or religion or whatever but regardless just take the class and get the gist of it. It's the best program out there and it works.
Here is a link to the courses:,-92.289595

7. I've already said it but I'm going to say it again. Sell everything you can and get out of debt.
YOU MAY NEED TO GET A SIDE HUSSEL, or as we old timers call it "a second job". 

You can buy it again when you can pay for it. Get rid of the expensive cars, boats, phones, cable packages. I know many of you are upside down, figure out a way to get rid of all you can. You are going to have to study on how to do this. I actually sold the fancy house for $197,000 and moved into a fixer upper for $97,000 and lived there for 15 years. You heard me. We also got used cars, sold the boat and did the work ourselves on the house and it felt damn good to be out of debt.

At times in my life I've had two or three jobs (we actually still do until our farm is paid off). I've  cleaned houses, taken in people's kids, dog sat, ran errands for money, worked a multitude of odd jobs. Right now I'm taking extra contracts and keeping my school open until I have a full years worth of living expenses paid up and our farm paid off.

One day I opened the door because my kid ordered a pizza (with money they earned) and a friend of mine was there delivering pizza (he was getting out of debt). This made me so happy! 

Get your butt to work. As Dave says "There is a place for broke people, it's called work".
Lesson 6 & 7 video

8. Maintain this idea and hang with people who support you. 
Find people who are living the same way. You will not be like the average person and they are everywhere and they are broke.
78% of Americans live pay check to pay check. You are going to be the 22%

Follow things on Instagram, Facebook, You Tube that have words like "frugal, debt free, simple living" In them. Find your people!

BE THE 22%. Link to article about 78% of Americans.

Here are some basics while you are getting out of debt and building your emergency fund up to six months.
  • Meal plan and eat at home. Have a little fun money set aside and use coupons or find specials and share.
  • Get rid of cable, rent movies from the library or get books. The library has tons of free resources and entertainment. FOR FREE! Well actually you pay taxes to use it, so do. 
  • Wear the clothes you have or buy your clothes at resale shops. If you must buy new then shop a sale but DO NOT SHOP for fun. I still buy 95% of all my clothes at resale.
  • Pack your lunch. It's also a great way to lose weight. 
  • Work out at home, take a walk, use a free app, ride your bike. The library often has free yoga. 
  • You should not have one app on your phone that isn't free until you are out of debt. 
  • Stop shopping unless you need something. 
  • Tuesday nights are usually $5 movie nights in my town. I am not saying never have fun but find the deals and stick to the budget. 
  • For meals out find the cheap places to eat or go to lunch or use a coupon. Lunch is usually 1/2 the price of dinner and 1/2 the calories. 
  • Don't shop resale, garage sales, or flea markets for fun if you are getting out of debt or trying to build your savings. Only shop when you need something. 
Video 8

9. If the emergency fund gets used go back to filling it up then restart debt pay off.

10. Once the debt is done then focus on 3 months expenses in the bank. 
If you make $4000 a month, then you will save $12,000.
Video 9 and 10

11. Pay off the mortgage and or invest in retirement. 
Here is where Dave and I differ. And it depends. At this point you have
a. no debt
b. An emergency fund that has three to six months living expenses
Dave would say put 15% in retirement. It depends on your situation and how you feel about it. Right now I have a good amount saved and my husband has police retirement. I know that with no debt we will have more than what we make now. So I am choosing to pay off the mortgage first and then start putting more into my retirement. And that's not 100% true. I am self employed so each year I ask my accountant how much I should contribute to my IRA to save money and I usually add in about $4000.
I also am not super confident in our government right now and don't feel great about the stock market.

12. Invest in retirement and then you can contribute to your kids college fund or help them with college. 
We have six kids. That's right. Three are currently in college and they get Pell Grants (some money not full), two of them get a load of scholarships and then they have to take out some loans. We pay what we can, this summer it was two summer tuition's which we paid cash for. We also pay for their car insurance and health insurance. We have also bought them all cars and we have helped at times but we also make them work for us if they need extra money. They are expected to work part time and go to college. I did and they can.

13. Help others or volunteer your time. 

When you don't have to work or retire you can give your time to others or your money to programs and people who are less fortunate and that feels good. You may be able to help your kids go through college, or help a grand child. It feels good to give.
Video Lesson 11 through 13

I will be posting videos and updating this frequently.

* So as a side note I was on this journey 7 years ago when I got a divorce. That threw me into a state of living in poverty. Still I stayed out of debt, worked harder, paid all my bills, paid off my car and lived pretty well taking care of four kids on less than $45,000. a year. The first few years I made only $27,000 but had some child support. It was hard as heck. Now my husband (I got remarried in Jan.) and I have worked up to having a 40 acre farm (that is our only debt and we have quite a lot of equity as we paid for a lot of it as we built it). I have a decent retirement account, we have six months expenses put back and a savings for large bills that come up like house insurance or tires. Things can come up and surprises and I know life is not perfect but we try, surprises and emergencies are much easier to recover from when you have an emergency fund. If we have a slip we figure it out but we don't give up.  We don't live a lavish lifestyle, we buy used items (often) from clothes to cars. We think about our purchases and we are now able to take a nice vacation (without any credit cards). Life is easier without debt and worry.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Why We Buy Rocks

This weekend I was doing some landscaping at my house with my mom and my husband. We were talking about buying edging for the gardens and I've always been partial to those little rock walls. Thinking "Well we have forty acres of rocks so that should work",  I realized that there are a lot or "rock shops" where I live that sell rocks. Yes they are easier to stack so there is that. Generally they can run between $100 a pallet to up to $900. I've actually purchased big Clinton rocks to build stairs before. Those stairs cost $900. Clinton rocks "grow" about 2 hours for me in Clinton, Arkansas.

So why am I telling you about rocks. Because I became resourceful and told my husband what I wanted to do and that man, working hard as he does, got the tractor and in 3 hours had piles of nice rocks up by my front garden beds. We will be using "Robinson" rocks off the Robinson's Ranch.

*Our cabin prior to landscaping.

We make life so complicated sometimes. One of my goals is to simplify my life and have a better quality. Moving to this big farm I have gotten where I crave it even more. I feel safe here, tucked away from the outside world of noise and crowds and consumerism. Here I feel like it's our little part of Heaven and I crave more and more time here.

Here are some of my reasons for simplifying & how I do it.

Reasons to Simplify
1. You don't have to work at a job you hate if you don't have debt.
2. You can enjoy relationships more.
3. The quality of your relationships is better when you are not stressed.
4. Having no debt brings a sense of freedom to travel or have hobbies.
5. You have time to focus on your "inner" well being as well as your overall health.
6. It gets you out of the rat race of consumerism that is never a long lasting thrill.

How to Simplify
1. Have a plan. Design your life. Where do you want to be in 1 year, 3, years, 5 years, 10 years..etc.
2. Figure out the steps to this plan. They will look something like this. Reduce bills, pay off debt (may require more work for a bit of time, short term work for long term gain), save money, work less, play more, enjoy life.
3. Have clear priorities about what you want so when you make decisions (especially financial) you can ask yourself "How does this impact my long term goals?". If you want to retire in 10 years on an average income getting a bigger house and going into more debt probably isn't part of your plan. Use your own rocks. :)
4. Get rid of the clutter, sale your stuff, pay off debt, save extra money.
5. Reduce your bills if you can. If you need to sell the boat, sell the fancy car with debt, sell the house (I've done it all for a time being then I was able to replace with cash eventually). Get rid of debt. I moved to a smaller older home (sold the one I built years ago). I drove an older paid for car. We sold the boat. Fast forward 14 years I purchased a farm, a boat, a car and built a home and we have no debt except a small mortgage that will be paid in a few short years. All because we saved and were able to pay cash.
6. Learn to meal plan, shop and cook at home. Reduce your meals out.
7. Learn to live with less clothes (This is so freeing I cannot tell you). Sell what you don't wear, buy better quality clothes (I find high quality clothes for a fraction of the price at resale shops, they are a bit nicer than thrift stores like Goodwill) that last. I bought two pairs of jeans that cost over $120 new in the past two weeks. I paid about $20 for them.
8. Think about entertainment cost. If we had good internet we would Net Flix everything but it's not possible where we live because we are limited on data so we are back to doing Red Box, even so a night at home with a Red Box DVD, homemade popcorn and smoothies cost us less than about $10 where a night out would be $50 to $100. I don't like crowds and would rather stay home with my honey and snuggle in my jammies and have my clean bathroom. :)
9. Daily you can make choices to help you save. If you meal plan you can cut a lot off your bill. If you buy breakfast at McDonald's every day for $6 a day every  week x a month this is $180 a month, if you eat at home for $1.00 to $2.00 (easy with oatmeal or eggs and toast) you are spending $30 to $60, you have saved $150 to $120 a month. In a year you are talking about $1800 saved! And people wonder where their money goes. It's about 5 choices a day like this. You feel it in your bank account. If I buy
$100 a month ($1200)  in retail clothing versus $200 every 6 months in resale clothing (and probably better quality) I have saved $800 a year! Recently I saw a woman on You Tube figure that making little choices like this each year saves her $14,000 a year. Seriously folks you can buy a good used car for that or pay off some serious debt.

Hope this helps. It really is the little things when it comes to money. Every once in a while you can save big like when I sold my house of 14 years and paid off my car and socked away a bunch of money. On a day to day basis you are faced with many chances to save that really add up.

Much Love,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

How to Make a Net Zero Purchase

What does Net Zero Purchasing mean?

So I had this little happy accident when I put limits on my buying an spending for one year. If you follow me on my YouTube Channel, Facebook, or here you know I made a pact to not spend money on clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry or books for one year. Through this I discovered the net zero purchase, which is when the money you spend on something equals or is less than the money you received for that same type of item. 

Here is how it works. This year I made a caveat to my challenge. I could not buy these things unless I sold the same type of item and earned the money for it. So if I sold $11 worth of books I could spend $11 on books. I indeed spent 9.99 on a magazine and .99 cents on an ebook. 
On clothing I've been doing this for years but never really thought to much about it. I sell my clothes to a resale shop and get a credit that I can either cash in for a check or use in the store. I use the credit to buy new to me clothes. 

I've been thinking of doing this with my car. So my car is only three years old and I'm known to drive a car for a long time. However I've put almost 100,000 miles on my car in three years due to a crazy work life. I'm now considering driving my car two more years, saving the money I would spend on a payment and then selling my car and using that money to buy a new to me car. If I spend the amount of money I sell the car for then it is Net Zero. If I use the money I saved plus the money I sell the car for it is not Net Zero but I will have no debt. 
Recently we purchased a 2009 Camry with 50,000 miles on it for a second car for my husbands business. We paid $8000 cash for the car. 
If I sell my car for $10,000 in 2 years (now it's worth about $16,000) and I save $7320. Then I could spend a total of $17,320 for a new to me used car with low miles. Or I could choose to spend $10,000 on an even older car with less miles. 

How can you apply this in you daily life?
Well you can apply the examples I've given above or similar examples but also think about the hours you work in a week.
If you make $20 an hour and you spend $800 a week, that is similar except you need to have some savings for when big things come up. 
Start thinking about would I work this long for this item? If you want a pair of shoes and they cost $200 but you can find a similar pair for $60 or another pair at a nice resale shop for $20. Then you either work 1 hour, 3 hours, or 10 hours for that pair of shoes. Applying this to your purchases will help you keep your priorities in check. 

You can also barter for services. I will sometimes barter my services for hour for hour cost of someone else's services. $60 of yoga for $60 of massage. 

Living a Net Zero life and having savings and no debt will get you to a life of Financial Freedom which means being able to choose your work and how you live your life. You will be free of being a slave to the lender and have more control over your choices. 

5 Tips for Net Zero Purchasing
1. Grow food and barter for other folks who grow food.
2. Barter your services for other's services in dollar value.
3. Sale your clothes and use that money to buy new clothes.
4. Sale your books on Ebay and buy new books on Ebay.
5. Sale your jewelry, sunglasses and purses and buy new to you similar items at resale shops.