Copyright © Winged Abode
Design by Dzignine

Travel Blog II

When it comes to travelling and planning a vacation, the most important thing to do is to give yourself adequate time to prepare yourself. Save money, plan your trip, organize your life for when you are away, and request time off from work or school. All of these things require weeks if not months of preparation.

Research, research, research. Do it online and discuss it with other travelers. For inspiration, go to websites to browse travel photos, journals and videos posted by real people sharing their experiences. Southwest Travel has great things to do in all of the cities that Southwest stops in. Written by travellers for travellers.

Be prepared for certain situations. Planning ahead for things that could possibly happen will make the trip a whole lot smoother. Decide on a schedule for what each person wants to do along the way. Gather the family together and discuss what you had in mind. Be prepared for arguments. Everyone must be willing to compromise.

Find a pet-sitter ahead of time if you own any animals that can't come along. If you decide to bring any, you must remember that they can't go inside restaurants or hotels, and they will have to make bathroom breaks as well. It's best to leave them at home. Put your pets into detail for the sitter and leave them with your phone number in case they have any questions while you're gone that you forgot to cover.

If it's a family vacation and you're traveling by vehicle (for a long time), bring stuff to keep everyone entertained and comfortable. AAA Fuel Cost Calculator will tell you what to expect from your vehicle when making the journey.

Estimate the total cost of your vacation. Be sure to include restraunts (food & drink per person each day), gas for the vehicle to get there, back, and to places nearby where you'll be staying, hotel rooms per night, and any other activities that you plan on doing. (Swimming, the zoo, etc.) Holiday Travel Calculator is brilliant for calculating the total cost of your trip, including lodging, food, transportation, etc.

If the trip seems a bit pricey, you may want to consider looking for discounts. You can normally find accommodation and travel discounts online. While you're at the site, they can also help plan your trip.

Work around the price. Normally if you're visiting family in another state, you can stay at one of their houses overnight (if there's enough room for everyone). (Free showers, food, television, and bed!)

As with anything: Planning=Savings.

Travel Blog 1

A certain special some one in my life is off traveling for business, pleasure and joyful reunions. So it would make a great deal of sense that Traveling would be at the forefront of my mind.

On that note, may I present the first post in a series on traveling cheap!

Let face it though, vacations are one of those things that require careful planning and saving of time and resources. You can't just throw everything into a bag and run to the airport, no matter how often they do it in the movies, without reeling from consequences. You have to take into consideration where you're going, how long you'll be there, airfare, accommodations, transportation, entertainment, not to mention ensuring that everything will be taken care of while you're gone.

First things first: Packing your luggage.

Nothing is more horrible than getting into your hotel room after eating the most garlic riddled exotic dish only to realize you forgot your toothbrush. Well I guess walking into your hotel room to see a stranger using your toothbrush would be equally as horrible, but I can't help you much there.

What I can help you with is saving money in buying only exactly what you'll need for your trip. Everything you'll need from how many changes of clothes to inclement weather necessities.

The Universal Packing List can be directly tailored to your vacation or trip. Enter in your specifics and it will generate the perfect travel list for you. Mind you, you don't have to purchase everything on the list, but the necessities are there so you won't be forgetting much of anything.

It provides also a list of Things to do before you leave most of which will save you money!

Wash the dishes- Save money, save water. Do the dishes before you leave so you don't have to battle caked on food when you get back.
Make a lunch- Taking food from home is always cheaper than eating out. I can't beat this into your head hard enough.
Pet Care- Leaving pets with loved ones saves money and temperaments versus placing pets in a kennel.
Unplug electrical stuff- No sense in paying money to have your surge protectors running power to your PC, TV or Fish tank. Okay, leave that last plug alone, but unplug everything else that isn't necessary.
Turn down the temperature in your home-Or just turn it off. hmmmm...
Confirm airline tickets-Save money on fees, make sure you don't miss your flight.
Get your airmiles in advance-Free flight!! I'm on this!
Memorize PIN codes to credit cards-Don't write them down.

Check out what hospitals are covered by your health insurance

Install or recharge batteries
Get maps

Plan your trip enough in advance that you can ideally have everything taken care of and save yourself some money.

Save Money on Fast Food

My primary goal when it comes to fast food is just don't. Its unhealthy, its small expenses that add to big expenses, and its just downright nasty at some establishments.

That being said, it is often at times too convenient to pass up.

So if you're in the same boat, please eat smart and pay smarter.

First understand that the numbered combo meals are designed to get us to spend maximum dollars per visit. Menus are designed to capitalize on the fact that the average person either doesn't read the full menu or is unwilling to take the time to piece together a meal from the value menu. My local McDonald's charges $6.29 for a twenty piece chicken nugget box. A four piece box costs a dollar. By reading the menu and ordering 5 of the 4 piece boxes, a person can save $1.29. Granted, most people do not order a 20 piece, but I don't think the pricing difference is an oversight.

Here are some tips for reducing costs at a fast food restaurant.

1) The kids menu portions are closer to the recommended portion size for adults than anything else on the menu. So eat smaller and spend smaller! Look at it like this a combo meal ranges anywhere from $4.50 to $6.50 or more! Factor in a supersized fries and a supersized drink for only fifty cents more and you have a meal fit for a small family. Do you really need that much food? Absolutely not. Look elsewhere on the menu. Value menus are popping up all over the fastfood world. These value items are typically smaller and definitely a better bang for your buck.

2) Learn to Share or Save. Share a large fry or large soda or even the whole meal with some one else. Its just the right amount of food to satisfy and the cost of the meal is halved when you let some one else join in on the fun. If you buy a meal from a fast food joint, eat half and save the rest for later. Microwaved fries taste horrible to me, but wrap them in a moist paper towel and they're from the greaser fresh!

3) Read the menu! Many restaurants sell a double cheeseburger for a few cents more than a single. If a single burger and a few fries is not filling enough, go for the double burger. It only adds a few pennies to the cost of the meal. Exploit the value menu like nobody's business!

4.) Not only is water better for you, but it’s also free. You can usually save around $2 a person by ordering water instead of soda.

5.)In our area, some of the fast food places have weekly specials — like Sonic burgers half price after 5pm on Tuesdays, a meal at KFC on Tuesday and Wednesday for just $2.49, half price soft drinks and slushes during happy hours at Sonic and a local drive-in, etc. Learn your areas specials, and utilize them if you want a fast-food-fix.

6.) Check your receipts! One make sure you were charged correctly and two you may have an offer to complete a survey and get free food out of it.

You, Your Job, Your Money

I'm quite fortunate. I have a job that I love and work with people that know just how to make my day. While it's not all fun and games the work that we do helps a lot of people and I'm glad to be a part of it.

That being said, my job would suck if I was just in it for the money.

There would be no compass, no guiding force to my life other than looking forward to payday and attempting to fill the void in between.

If that describes you, well I'm sorry my friend but it's time to look for a new job. You're not doing yourself any favors and you're not doing your boss any favors, no matter how much they feel they may need you.

So whats the first step?

Well the resume of course. Having a good resume that describes your experience, education and protrays you as an individual confident in their abilities is equivalent to holding the golden ticket to Wonka's factory.

If you take a look at your resume and it doesn't sell yourself to the point where you'd hire yourself, well then thats a problem. Most employers only ever see your resume before they schedule the interview. Your resume is a representation of you so it has to say, "This is me. Here's what I can do. You'd be stupid not to hire me."

Resume Writing services cost money and you know how I feel about that. But never fear! Where there is Google, there is a way.

Resume Resource provides numerous examples for all different types of resumes for all different types of candidates. Use the resources they provide to be of a guideline to writing your own.

Now with your resume in hand, lets go get a job! First place to look...? Well, you could thumb through the paper, check out CareerBuilder or Monster or if you're in El Paso ElPasoHelpWanted.Com. If you have had more success with physical jobsearching than stick to visiting different establishments, speaking with HR, or calling for availability.

If you are having no success on your own a staffing or recruiting firm should be able to help. Keep in mind though that this should be a free service to the jobseeker. Thats a good gauge to determine how profitable and how successful the company truly is.

Hang in there! Don't get discouraged and don't get desperate! If you're applying for a sought-after position it can get a little lengthy and may get you down. Just stick to your guns and continue to utilize the tools and resources you possess to land yourself in a position most suited for you.

Phone Phone Phone

Part of my money saving plan for the summer was to evaluate my cell phone usage. The plan that I had was a familyshare plan that I was more than happy to pay for initially to cover two phones. As my financial situation deteriorated, I began paying the bill later and later until I was barely making the duedate.

Our plan consisted of 700 shared minutes for one month, unlimited texting, with perks like mobile web and a few paid subscriptions to game services.

In easier terms to understand that brokedown to $134.00 for two phones, minus any renegade minutes over (once during the month that my nephew was born) or inconvenient calls to Thailand at three in the morning. I don't drunk dial, honest.

When I started getting my finances in order, my cell phone bill was the first thing I tackled. I hoped to negotiate a better plan for my family. While 700 wasn't a lot of minutes, we still never used all of them. Calling each other or other phones on the network, plus free nights and weekends, helped to severely curb our minute usage. But without renewing our contract this would have been impossible.

So I began snipping away at the extras. I had access to the internet at work and home, and while having access to the internet was quick and convenient it was really a perk that I could do without. My primary mobile web browsing consisted of looking up directions on google, phone numbers on google, and wikipedia (via google). With all of my browsing centered around google it only made sense to nix the web browsing and text my google questions to GOOG (4664). With the unlimited text plan that I had, texting my questions to google was free and saved me money after I eliminated my internet plan.

Empowered, I also figured I could cut back even more if I eliminated those pesky game subscriptions. The monthly pay to play games weren't fun anymore and frankly that is $3.99 I'd much rather have spent on anything else.

In the end I knocked my phone bill down to a manageable $105 every month. Set my checking account to automatic billpay and that was only $26.25 a week or in my case, per paycheck.

And now I've eliminated my cell phone bill completely. I've been supplied a work cell phone to allow me to be connected to my work email, database, and other responsibilities. While this isn't a foreseeable event, it would definitely be something you should look into. If you primarily use your phone for work related functions, you may be able to speak with your employer and request that they reimburse you for your expenses or possibly consider putting you on their corporate account.

As anything, it only hurts you if you don't ask. Just make sure to practice your proposal before you storm into your bosses office and insist that he adds you to the office mobile plan or you'll quit.

Ya... That might not go over too well.

The Bible and Your Money

It would be wise to say that the Good Book has all of life's questions nestled inside. It would be wise to also say that when it comes to finances, people are more often to pick up a magazine or schedule a meeting with a financial adviser before thumbing through the pages.
Given today's tumultuous economy, more and more people are looking for answers. If you own a Bible, you may not have to look too far or too hard. If you aren't religious, than you can truly appreciate the simple messages within its pages.
First lets solve the problem of you possibly not owning a Bible. You can request a free copy Here . Or if you enjoy being technologically savvy, there are numerous websites you can view the Bible on the internet.
You can even view the Bible in its entirety on your iPhone!
So now we have our literature, let’s take a look at exactly what the Bible has to say about your money.

1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
If you are to save and be prepared, you will be more ready to meet your goal, whatever it may be. While this particular passage pertains to offerings on Sundays, why not implement this same principal in your savings plan? Find a goal, set the date, and figure out when and how you’ll meet your goal.

Ecclesiastes 11:2
Divide your portion to seven, or even to eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur on the earth.

True enough and simple enough. While investing has become a bit more complex, it can still fall under the basic principle of don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Like anything I forcefeed to you, do your research and make an informed decision before you gamble with your future.

Proverbs 24:3-4
Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; and by knowledge the rooms shall be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

While it goes without saying, I’m pretty sure the Bible would consider an Xbox 360 absent from its riches categories. But, this is the perfect budgeting passage because it once again instills the importance of being responsible and setting priorities.

Romans 13:7
Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Owe! Tax day. Not my favorite, how about yours? But where would we be without government, order and laws? While we may not like how the system functions today, what if we had no system. Let's be redemptive in our living and obedient in our citizenship and ask God to bless our country and bring it revival.

This has probably been one of my most interesting posts to research. I’m quite pleased with my perspective going into and coming out of it. Let me know what you think, all comments welcome!

Twenty Dollar Challenge

I am hereby challenging you, yes you, to survive on $20 cash this week. Not including your essential purchases/bills/expenses, this leaves fuel, groceries, lunch at work or school, entertainment, etc.

How does this work?
Pick a week in the near future and start the week with a twenty dollar bill. If you finish the week off with any money left over, you've survived the challenge!

How do you prepare for such an undertaking?
With gas prices skyrocketing, it is going to definitely take some planning. However, you'll be surprised how resourceful you can be when you have a goal set in mind. Carpooling, busing, hitchhiking (:P) are all methods of getting to work. If you work nearby, try biking or walking.

When it comes to groceries this might prove to be difficult for a family budget, but not impossible! Venture out and see what kind of coupons or deals you can find. The purpose of this challenge is to prove to yourself how resourceful you can be! Clip coupons from the paper, do price challenges, plan your meals for the week, stick to your lists! If you have a fully stocked kitchen, then the time for the challenge is now.

Entertainment is going to be the simplest endeavor. My post "Free City" describes how to find free or discounted events or activities in your city, take advantage of that. If there is a park in your neighborhood, take the initiative and get out while the weather is providing.

The most important thing is to plan plan plan. You can accomplish so much if you do your research before hand. If you're willing to test your potential, then please let me know how it goes.

I'll be starting my twenty dollar challenge Monday next week, I'll be brutally honest with myself about my expenses as well as with you in my posts. I'm actually quite excited, I love short-term goals! They're great ways to gauge how you're doing on the bigger budget picture as well as confidence boosters. I'll keep you updated on the progress and any great deals I stumble on!

I hope you'll plunge into the ISYS Twenty Dollar Challenge.

Colossus College Expenses

As a parent, it weighs on your mind what will happen when free education calls it quits. What will you do to pay for your child’s college tuition? It is stressful and worrisome for just about any parent that has dreams of their child going off to college to become a doctor…a lawyer or something else. Saving for college is a big decision and it is something that we must take into consideration.

My Child Will Get A Scholarship

Many parents think that a scholarship is the best way for them to pay for their child’s education. Today, there are all types of scholarships available ranging from local scholarships to the school’s themselves taking on the child without any cost to you. The problem is that although this number of programs has gotten higher, so has the number of students that are now enrolled in college. That means that there is still only a small portion of students getting a “free ride” through school. Even if your child does get a scholarship, it probably will not cover the total cost of their education and needs.

The next thing to consider, then, is the cost of sending them to school. There is no doubt that this price tag will continue to grow and that means an increased number of students that need to find the funds somewhere. Most students that do not have funding for their education through their parents will get student loans and grants to help subsidize their costs. While this is a choice for most students, it is one that comes with a finance charge at the same time. That means that your child’s graduation always comes with a price tag that puts them in debt right off the bat.

If it sounds frustrating and stressful, you are not alone. The process of sending your student to school is one that is likely to cost you a decent amount of money. Yet, funding it is something that all parents have to think about in some way. Saving for college may be something that you have to do. If it is, there are programs and services that can help you to make that happen. The longer that you wait, though, the more costly it will become to you.

Saving for college presents a wide variety of saving vehicles that you can use. You don't need to be told how costly college will be, and unfortunately it will keep getting more expensive. In the next years, college education just continues to become more and more expensive. Starting to save today is the best way for you to possibly have the funds needed to make sure he or she gets the education that they need.

Crunching the numbers can be very difficult,but, you have to do it. For your child’s sake, make your first step figuring out the overall cost of the child’s educations. There are easy to use financial calculators available to help you. What you want to do is to insure that the college savings is enough. All you need to do is enter your child’s age, the type of school he will likely attending and the various factors that play a role. Out comes a large number, the cost of college that you need to save for.

What You Need To Consider

Now that you have an idea of the cost, you can begin to figure out just how you will save for it. There are several things to consider when it comes to college savings vehicles. Obviously, you want the best and safest method to saving for college available to you. Here are some things to consider about the type of savings you plan to use.

• How much time before your child starts college.
• The growth of the savings vehicle. How much does this type of savings plan grow per year? What potential does it have for you?
• Who owns and controls the funds? How are your investment dollars invested?
• What are the fees and costs of using this savings vehicle to you?
• What about taxes? Are the funds taxable prior to investing, while earning money or when the funds are withdrawn?
• What is your risk level? How likely is it that you will lose it all?
• Is the plan easy to manage? Can you make changes to it as you see fit when you see fit?

Take the time to consider several methods to saving for college. Which methods are the best choices for you and for your child? The safety of your funds is important. Getting the most that you can for your investment dollars is also important. Although it is stressful to find the right solution, once you do make a choice, you will know that it is the right one if you have completed this research. Remember the sooner you START the easier it will be!

I just signed up for Upromise. They have devised a way of linking your Upromise account to your club cards at major supermarkets, debit cards and credit cards. When you spend money at their partners or just use your cards, you earn money for college. It doesn't matter if you have already been. You can register your student loans and use the rewards you earn to pay off student loans. They also offer a Citibank credit card which also helps you save.

You can even earn money when you eat if you eat at affiliated restaurants. Why not? You have to eat to live. It's been a nice suprize when I have been out to eat to see a surprise bonus on my Upromise account.

Looking to purchase a home in the near future? If you use their affiliated realtors, they contribute $3000 back to you! What? Buy a condo and pay off your loans in part? Fantastic!!

You can invite other family to register their credit cards online--aunts, uncles, older brothers and sisters, family friends...the list goes on.

Don't miss out! Visit Upromise today!

529 Plan
A fabulous way of saving for college! Don't have student loans yet? Upromise can also link to a 529 plan. Pre-tax contributions can also be made from a paycheck--just like a retirement account. This includes parent contributions or a student's jobs before or even during college. A 529 Plan has another benefit over a regular savings account. The government does not tax the interest you earn in a 529! This means even more money for college! offers a College Rewards American Express credit cards that links directly to a 529 account if you have one with them. They give 1.5% cash back rewards straight into your account! offers a 529 account through Upromise. It makes the application process easier because all of your information is in their system.

The best thing is to find a 529 administered by your state. You can also search 529 and your state. What are you waiting for?? Start saving today!

Now playing: Lifehouse - Whatever It Takes
via FoxyTunes

Free City

There inevitably comes a time when you're with friends, gathered around some ones living room, staring at the ceiling, each other or the tv when it dawns on all of you. There is nothing to do in your city!

Well, I'm here to provide you the resources to curb that train of thought, as well as save yourself some money.

More often than not, its not the lack of events occuring in your city that keep you from trying new things, but more the cost of getting into the movies, concerts, shows or other similar venues.

Well fear not my frugal friends, the internet has your back when it comes to having fun without spending funds.

One great thing to look into is a magazine or newspaper in your city that highlights the events going on in and around you. Most often they have them listed by category and one of those categories might just have that wonderful word, "free"!

Here in El Paso we have the El Paso Scene. From free concerts, free museum days, art galleries, and other events to cheap discounted days for admission, it really helps those of us on a money diet.

If you're looking to do stuff for free with the family, Parents Connect-GoCityKids has a comprehensive list of events and activities in over 40 cities. Including camps, entertainment, outdoor and indoor fun.

Or maybe you're just looking to join a group or fellowship of likeminded individuals. Thats a really lengthy way of saying meet new people. Well then is the site for you. Seriously, I joined and I have found some really interesting people out there that do two of my favorite things: have fun and keep it cheap. More often than not, they'll get you on the right track to getting out in the world and experiencing new and fun things with minimal impact on your budget or wallet.

Check your city out on City Search. With Arts & Entertainment listings for art, attractions and entertainers, there is definitely going to be a listing here for you. Check out El Paso!. When it comes to planned venues or events, make sure you do your research before hand and build up the anticipation, rather than wait to the last minute and realize that you're not going to be able to make the show.

Finally, put a little bit of faith in your local government. The City of El PAso has an events calendar, so by all means, if we have one the chances of your city having an events calendar as well are astronomical!

And if you can't figure out what to do to cure your immediate boredom, just call everyone up on your phone, head to your local park with a cheap grill, hotdogs, buns, chips, and a ball. Splitting the cost between everyone coming out should be pretty minimal for all takers.

Do your research and you'll come to love your city as much as I'm falling head over heels for mine.

You can't reinvent yourself overnight

No matter how much I try every night before I go to sleep and no matter how early I set my alarm clock, I will inevitably snooze it at least three times in the morning. If ever I have to get up earlier, I will myself awake and get moving. Its just how I am. My routine and I'm comfortably uncomfortable with it. I know I should wake up earlier and hit the gym before work. I know that I should attempt at eating breakfast. But knowing and doing are too separate things.

So, like my morning battles, reinventing the way you handle your money is going to be equally as difficult. Over the course of the year I have had varied perceptions about money. Initially it was, gimme gimme gimme, buy buy buy, regret regret regret. After I'd thrown myself headfirst into tackling money it was more of a gimme gimme gimme, save save save, treat treat treat, regret regret regret. Now I'm in a place comfortably where I receive my paycheck, divide the portions, resist the urge to spend, and plan for my next payperiod.

Is it a fun process? Not precisely, but I'm working towards something and thats always challenging enough to provide some form of entertainment.
Is it a rewarding process? I enjoy paying down my debt, I enjoy saving towards a goal, but i do miss out on a lot that i have sacrificed.
Is it working? You bet your bottom!

What helped me transition towards a different perspective, was answering the simple question: What do I want from my money? What am I trying to accomplish?

After I figured the direction I wanted to go it was just babysteps in that generation direction. I veered off course a few times, but I'm back on track and loving the journey.

You can do this too! If you have debt and you're sick of being a slave to your finances, well now is the time to really buckle down. Figure out what you want to do, what you want to change, how you're going to do it and start.

I'll help with whatever information or advice I can. Between the two of us we'll have enough motivation to see us through. I got your back, homes.

What's in your wallet?





Ready to budget?

Whoa whoa whoa. Slow down. First erase everything you think you know about the paper pen budgeting. Its nonsense. In a perfect 2 dimensional world where we actually achieve every goal we've put to paper, then yes you may proceed with penpaper budgeting.

Step one- Have a print out of your debit card statement for the last three months.

Step two- Have check stubs from the last couple of pay periods.

Step three- Grab at least three sheets of clean paper and a pen. Grab a drink while you're up too. :)

Step four- Review your information going over every significant purchase once and every insignificant purchase twice. Make sure to highlight or mark items you pay every month, purchases you make once every couple months and luxuries you can't remember buying.

Step five- Using one of the sheets of paper, label the top "Have To". "Have to" purchases or expenses include things that are not negotiable and must be paid every month. This includes: Rent, Utilities, Car Payments, Insurance, Phone. etc. If you're confused, for the most part, anything that costs the same amount of money each month. Start a column and write the names of every "have to" expense on its own row. Create a new column next to this one and put in the amount with a grand total at the end. Push this paper aside and continue on.

Step six- Label your new paper "Just Do". "Just Do" purchases or expenses are things that you don't necessarily have to do but without alot of effort on your part, seem unavoidable at times. "Just Do" purchases include pumping gas, credit card bills, utilities, cable tv, etc. "Just Do" expenses fluctuate often in times with a little more effort on your part can be lower. Remember that whole turn off the light when you leave the room? Or make sure the air pressure in your tires is correct? Follow setup similar to the "Have to" list except now we're going to average out our expenses by adding the information we gathered from our bank statements. Tally the totals and then take the average payout for your "Just do" purchases for the last three months. Push this paper aside and continue on.

Step seven- Label your new paper "Want to". All the other purchases you made... ya. They get thrown into the "Want to" category. Get busy... You have a lot of them. Average them out like your "Just do" purchases and look at your results.

Congratulations you have a budget! Well you had one before, you just didn't get it looking straight back at you. Its kind of like a diet. Even if you're not ON a diet, you still have one.

Your budget includes expenses that you "Have to" make as well as "Just do" make, plus all those purchases you "Want to" make. No amount of idealistic penpaper budgeting could have shown you this.

So what now? Well we move on to the next step to see how to live within our means!

Step eight- Turn over one of your papers (we're saving money people!) and at divide it into the number of payperiods you have in one month. I get paid weekly, so I would divide my paper into at least four columns. Most of your "Have to" expenses have a due by date. Think of each divided section of your paper as a portion of the month, whether it be the beginning, end, middle, quarter... label the top accordingly. Create as many rows as you need, but the top row needs to contain the amount of one of your last paychecks. Begin filling in your rows with have to expenses that are due at the beginning of the month... then the middle... or if you out of columns, what's due at the end of the month. The last row should have a total remaining amount, if any.

My example is very nice as there is plenty of money to put towards savings or investments. But lets say you don't have any money left over or worse you're in the negative. This is a classic sign of some one living outside their means. The only way to fix this is to tackle your "Want to" and "Just do" lists. Its much easier to pick up the phone and ask your credit card company for a lower rate than it is to quit smoking or curb the majority of your "Want to" habits, so start with the "Just do" list first.

Check for cheaper utilities-gas, water, electric, cable, cell phone, internet... etc.
Conserve gas- combine trips and errands, carpool, check your tire pressure...
Ask for a lower interest rate on your credit cards, or stop using them.

After you've exhausted your "Just do" list, move on to your "Want to". Start taking baby steps towards cutting your expenses by a quarter. Eat out only on certain nights, cut coupons, go to the early matinee and sneak in your candy ;), listen to pandora for free instead of downloading songs on itunes, smoke only half a cigarette at a time... Whatever you feel you can do to save money, do it. You'll only make yourself stronger and keep your money in your wallet where it belongs.

Also take into consideration all of your undocumented cash purchases, loans, school costs, vehicle maintenance, etc. Seems when you have all of your eggs lined up, something comes along and steps on your basket. Or something like that. Plan ahead and start building that emergency savings account. You'll thank yourself for it later.

I hope my budgeting tips help you. If you have any questions at all, don't hesitate to ask.


You may have noticed a couple of changes. The largest one being the domain name! Okay that might be a little pig-headed of me. Of course the layout has changed as well, although I'm not sure its exactly what I want so I'll most likely change that as well. In the interim you will notice also the addition of radio boxes at the end of my posts that say funny, interesting and cool. Please check one of the boxes that fits the mood for the post and if you're daring enough please comment on any future or past entries.

I'm very excited in the direction that the site is headed in and I hope you are too. For any and all your financial questions, you can contact me at

Thanks for your continued support and look out for more posts from me! :)


Save Money on Laundry

Having just bought my new washer and dryer, it wasn't too long before I tried to figure how to get the most out of them and still save money. While I don't actually have them in my new place, hopefully that'll happen this weekend, it's good to be prepared.

Cold Water

Always wash in cold water rather than in hot. Not only will you save a lot of money not using hot water when you wash your clothes but you will also keep stains from setting in. Try washing your clothes for a month in cold water and check your power or gas bill at the end of the month to see your savings. More than likely there will noticeable savings.

Line Dry

You may think you can’t live without a clothes dryer, but you can especially if you are experiencing financial difficulties. Clothes dryers use a lot of energy and if you have a lot of clothes to dry then you will certainly be spending a lot of money on your power bill each month. Try hanging your clothes out on a clothesline and you will save a great deal of money on your power bill. At the very least, try hanging half of the laundry on a clothesline and half in the dryer. You will still see a great deal of savings.

Inexpensive Detergent

Detergent is expensive, especially if you buy name brand. However, store brand and generic detergents work just as well and are considerably more affordable. If you buy store brand detergent in bulk you will save even more money!

These are just a few tips to help you save money on laundry. It’s amazing, but you can save money on everything you do including laundry. If you take the time to evaluate all of your daily activities and where your money is going then you will quickly be able to trim some expenses from your budget without actually having to stop doing the things you are accustomed to doing.

How can I help?

I find that when I am busy I tend to spend less money. I'm not sure if that is true for other people or maybe I'm one of a kind, special, like my mom tried to convince me of when I was in elementary school and beyond.

So finding myself back in school helps alot. Can't spend money if I'm in class. Working all day helps as well, did you catch the part where I've stopped buying out for lunch? :)

But weekends aren't easy. Sleeping in really helps curb spending, lol. But I figure I have free time, I should get out there and volunteer my time. I'll feel great for helping others as well as be physically unable to spend any money. I know it sounds drastic, maybe even borderline pathetic, but I'm a recovering debtaholic and I'm sure in the 12 step program somewhere there is advice on how to curb temptation. I'd imagine that step is avoid situations where spending money would be involved.

Plus what better way to spend one's time than by helping some one else?

So I decided to look into it. Found a good website that has postings for local and national volunteer openings.

A few I found interesting:
Help at the USO
Mentor a child
Help Animals

I'm not sure which one I'm going to jump into, but I'm really excited about these opportunities and hope that you'll look into volunteering and sharing with organizations in your community.

Truly Blessed

I'll be having a busy time getting my new washer and dryer into my house.. :)

Got one hell of a great deal on them! I'm still in shock.

My boss was having a moving sale and she told me to come over and pick up some clothes. I flew to her house so fast! A girl can't pass on free clothes now can she?

While I was there I mentioned that I was looking for a tv for the new place and if she was selling hers. Well she was! Nice 36 inch screen, only problem is that it was stuck in a tv stand. If you want to buy the tv you have to buy the stand.

I told her I'd think about it...

She wants to get rid of it so she sweetens the deal. "Buy the tv for $115 and I'll sell you the washer and dryer for $10."


I was on that faster than flies on poop.

Now I just need to round up a truck and a crew to go claim my best deal in the history of deals.

I am truly blessed.

All in a days work...

My goal this month...

Seriously, don't laugh...

Spend as little money as possible. Thats all. Plain and simple.

On my do not buy list:
~Lunch at the office
~Clothes (I definitely have a sizable wardrobe now!)
~Alcohol :(
~Groceries (Have enough to last me through the month)

Man its going to be tough. But maybe I can make it happen. Excuse me now though, I'm going to go buy a pack of cigarettes, a 40 ounce, a veggie burger combo meal and a pair of new shoes to celebrate my new resolve!

Heh. Just Kidding! :)

May was a great month for me and for my savings goals. I paid off more than I expected towards one debt and my minimum for another. Its getting harder to allocate my funds to the proper place but I think its all going to work out well in the end.

Look out June! HERE I COME!