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And it all comes tumbling down...

Oh the frustration. The pure and bitter sweet agony. What happened to my game place? My game plan? My game?

I've hit a wall, and that wall is in a room that is closing in on me. No matter what I do, how much I plan, whatever I put my mind to, it always seems that something pops up and creates a muck in my plans. September was supposed to be the month that I got everything back on track and yet it seems September is the month that is kicking my butt the most.

I had a budget. I had a plan. My debt is getting paid off, so thats not the problem. But I've been endlessly pulling from my savings. Adjusting to a part time paycheck is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I am honestly looking forward to payday tomorrow and that is a feeling I haven't had for most of this year. Primarily because I have never had to worry about money. And now I'm in a place where I am worrying about money constantly. Not what I have in my checking account, but how can I keep my money in my savings!!!

All of my Dave Ramsey empowerment is slowly dwindling. BUT!!! As always there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully I do get paid tomorrow and I can garner all of my budgeting knowledge together and the tidbits I picked up over the weekend and get my act together.

Zero-balance, Zero-tolerance Budget.
Recouping my Savings.
Re-Configuring my debt payoff.

Ya, October will be the month of redemption. The month where it all comes together for me. Quite frankly, the only month that matters at this point. September isn't a lost cause, we'll just have to see how it played out in the end.

To all my loyal supporters, thank you for constantly dropping by. And to any new members, not to worry! I'm usually more on the ball than this, hardly ever author these 'woe is me' posts.

Stay tuned, I'm going to change my world in one month's time.

Dave Ramsey Followup

Dave Ramsey Followup

I could think of no other way that I would want to spend five hours on a Saturday than at the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover Broadcast. It was well worth the twenty dollars I separated myself from to attend at First Baptist Church. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the wonderful staff that provided ample seating, snacks, and COFFEEEEEE. On behalf of my willing companion, Panda, we were welcomed into an environment that would allow us to take full advantage of Dave Ramsey.

Now as to the presentation, I was really impressed with Dave. You see, I feel we're on a first name basis now. Dave Ramsey was able to hammer down the last remaining hangups of my budget, teach me about retirement, and become intricately involved in my personal finances. You're #*&@ right we're on a first name basis.

Budget wise, the place where I have been faltering is going over budget. I couldn't manage to tame the beast. And the reason that was happening was because I was working a budget that was less than the money I had coming in. Every time I would set my budget I had funds left over undelegated. That money would then be mentally spent, phyiscally spent, and shared over my assigned categories. Essentially, spending the money more than once. Inevitably, going over budget at the end of the week. Dave says zero-balance is the way to go. Krystal says zero-balance=zero-tolerance. Dave says, every dollar has a name. Krystal says, every dollar has a name and a job to do. Father Abraham had many sons and I'm putting them all to work. Start my budget from the ground up, do my saving and my giving before I work my budget together and then work my budget until every dollar has been spent. If I wait to do my savings until I've thrown my budget together, I run the risk of not saving. And I've been not saving. I've also been jolting on the offering bowl at church a bit more than I should. No more. Dave says, NO MATTER WHAT! Krystal expands on that and says, NO MATTER WHAT, This is my budget! I'M DONE MESSING IT UP!

Debt wise, I was doing fantastic at the beginning of the year. Now I'm making my weekly payments, but am I doing it effectively? Best to go back and review the Debt Snowball. One of my first posts was on how to put one together and I think its back to the basics I go. The snowball effect works wonders! Read my post here.

Retirement will be the beast I tackle at the start of 2010. Why don't I start now? Because frankly, taking on a financial responsibility that requires a great deal of research, knowledge, and setup isn't something I have the emotional capacity to take on right now. I may be screwing myself out of some serious compounded interest, but frankly I'm banking on the opportunity to do this the right way, the smart way. But when I do start, 15% of my income will be thrown at it. To help me plan ahead and decide how big of a risk I'm willing to take, punching in my figures and utilize the internet calculators, gives me a good idea of what I'm capable of doing with my money and future income.

I highly recommend anything and everything Dave Ramsey. My good homie from Tennessee.

Enjoying the Weekend

Other than forking over the $20 to attend Dave Ramseys Televised seminar tomorrow, I hope to dramatically curb my spending. I have a few things I need to save up for... my oil change, possibly having to have more serious work done on my car and paying down the remainder of my debt.

But, having now gone part time, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to stretch my dollars. I have to frequently dip into my savings account to cover purchases I was making last month just fine. And that is incredibly frustrating. I'm really going to have to stick to my budget and develop a better spending mindset. The way I see it, I will be in school fulltime for the next three years, part time at the office... I should begin creating these budgeted spending habits now as to not create another mess of my finances in the future.

So here's to hope, here's to a great cheap weekend, and here's to friends who support me and occasionally buy me lunch. Hint hint. :)

Dave Ramsey-Live--ish

Just thought I'd inform everyone about a great opportunity!
Would you like to enjoy life free from debt?

Would you like to control your money rather than it controlling you?
Would you like to learn principles of money management that will revolutionize your life?

You can--with Dave Ramsey's
The largest event on personal finance in the United States

This is a live simulcast presentation at FBC on Saturday, September 19, from 1-6pm. The cost is only $20 per person. For more information or to register, contact the Family Ministries Office.

El Paso, TX
Date: Saturday, September 19, 2009
Time: 1:00 - 6:00 PM
Location: First Baptist Church of El Paso
805 Montana
El Paso, TX 79902
Speaker: Dave Ramsey

NOTE: Limited Seating Available!

About This Event

In this five-hour event, Dave presents the proven plan that has helped millions of people take back control of their money. If you're married, this information will get you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to your money. If you're single, Dave will walk you through the tools you need to stay financially focused.

In The Total Money Makeover LIVE!, Dave shares personal experiences, stories and information not found elsewhere in this setting! It is packed with humor, energy and incredible information ... and that's why it has become the country's number-one event on personal finance.

Plan now to host or attend this life-changing event!

September 11th

It has been eight years and we will never forget.

We interrupt your usual broadcast...

Over the course of this year, I've thrown alot of information at you. I hope that some of it has sunk in, but in the event that it hasn't, here is the whole year in one blog post.

Save money, by not spending:
Budgeting, best tool to help you understand your spending habits. Once you can track your spending, you can make adjustments to cut out spending and start saving. My What's in your wallet post, has excellent budget creating tips.

Factor out your Latter:
My latte factor is smoking. I've really cut back this year... on paper. I smoke just as much today as I did at the start of the year, the only difference is I don't pay the same amount. I buy cigarettes when they're on sale (2 packs for a discount) or when its buy one get one. I save pennies and hand those over for my cigarettes so I don't have to worry about pulling money from my checking account to feed my latte factor. While I wish I could cut it out completely, I'm not in a position in my life to make that change. But I adjust my latte factor so as to get the most out of my guilty pleasure as possible. If you're struggling with your latte factor, figure out how to make it impact your budget on a minimal level.

Shop during sales events:
Sales events are easy to spot. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Labour day, Independence day and other major holidays are excellent times to make big purchases. If you intend to purchase a big ticket item like furniture or plasma TV, wait for a long weekend and you will see prices being slashed at the stores that carry them. You can also apply for a store card and save more. Many stores will offer you a 10% off your first purchase or offer you an interest free card for the first year. And for the love of watermelons, look for coupons before hand. Get the most out of your sale!

Split the difference:
I know that many financial experts recommend paying of debts - especially high interest credit card debt first, before saving. Conventional wisdom suggests that paying off high interest debt garners an immediate 13%, 18%, 21% (or whatever) rate of return on your money. Makes sense. Here's the problem. If you take all of your available cash and pay down debt, then what will you do in case of an emergency? I find it a bit more psychologically comforting to save some money for emergencies, even if you are paying off debt. To my mind, it works the same way as the debt snowball. The debt snowball, class, is a method of repayment where you pay off the smallest debt first, regardless of interest rate. Once you have success in eliminating the first debt, you get a psychological boost and roll the former debt payments into paying off the next debt on the list. Psychologically, a good idea. Financially, not so much. But sometimes the process is not as crucial as the end result.

Fast Food, not Frugal:
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. 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.

Its Electricity my dear:
Large appliances like your refrigerator, stove, and microwave are other big consumers of electricity. Your fridge can account for 20% of household electricity use. Replacing old appliances with newer energy efficient models may seem like a big expense, but it can pay for itself in a few years. Set your fridge and freezer to lower (warmer) settings and make sure that the doors seal properly. You can do this by taking a piece of paper, your GECU bank statement would work nicely ;), and closing it in your fridge/freezer door. If you're able to move the paper up, down or pull it out, your doors are not sealing properly.

Noxious Gas of financial doom:
Check the web for deals. With the ever increasing gas prices, use the Internet to find the cheapest gas near you. Some of these sites even offer text messaging capabilities, where they will send you the a text message with the location of the cheapest gas in your area. Here are 3 sites that enable you to search for lower price in your town: MapQuest, and now supplies a free gas card valid at most gas stations. But don't drive miles out of your way or wait in excessively long lines (your car gets 0 MPG while stopped and idling.) just for a cheaper station, or you will defeat the purpose.

Of course this is a loose overview of posts, and boy are they all over the grid. I hope to have some time to put my blog in ebook format so that you may all enjoy the lessons I've learned over the year. :)

Keeping things local...

I love this city. I really do. I have lived in cities all over the world. I enjoy different aspects of all of them, but I really do love this city the most. I can't explain it, whether its founded in the deep relationships I've cultivated here, the experiences I've had as a teenager and then into adulthood... although I'm leaning pretty heavily on the fact that the best mexican food on the planet is overflowing here.

Regardless, I want to help El Pasoans save money. So I'm doing the legwork for you, you just have to sit back and reap the benefits.



Dine With Us Today, We'll Buy Tomorrows Dinner!
During the month of September we want to make you an offer that's very hard to beat (okay, an offer you can't refuse). Dine with us any day of the week, and take home tomorrows dinner with you for FREE!! We want you to know how great our Take and Bake products are and we're sure you're going to love them. So bring in this email, spend $30 on dinner, and we'll send you home with one of our Take and Bake pizzas, a 2 lb tray of our Award Winning Lasagna, or a quart of our tangy Marinara sauce. So kill two birds with one stone. Have dinner with us today and have dinner with us at home tomorrow!

Not valid with any other offer
One offer per table
Expires 9/30/09
Email me for a copy of this email:


Member Benefit:
Visit their site for more information
As a “Value Club Member” all you need to do is present your Value Club card to your server each time you dine with us. We
will keep track of your expenditures for food and drink. As a Value Club member, you will receive 1.5 club points for every
dollar you spent at a Cattle Baron Family of Restaurants location. Each time your earned points total reaches 500, we will
send you a $25.00 gift card. Your gift will be mailed in 5-10 business days and is good for 1 year! As our way of saying thank
you for joining the Value Club, you will receive an automatic 10% off on your first use of your Value Club Card. Look for future
Value Club benefit programs.
Terms & Conditions:
Must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
Members must present Value Club Card at time of purchase.
Points are earned on, and are applicable to, the products purchased for the individual use of the cardholder only. Cardholder
must be willing to present a picture ID on request.
Points only apply to the cardholder paying the bill. Cardholder can earn points on one bill
per visit.
Points are earned based on the purchase price of products excluding taxes and tips.
Points are earned on products paid for with a gift certificate.
Points are not earned on the purchase of gift certificates.
Cattle Baron Restaurants, Inc. is not responsible for lost or stolen cards.
This card is not transferable.
Points cannot be applied in conjunction with other discounts/special promotions.
Example: 10% student discount/compliment cards/fundraiser discount cards.
The Value Club Card remains the property of Cattle Baron Restaurants, Inc. and must be surrendered on request.
Retroactive program points cannot be issued.
The Value Club Card has no redeemable cash value.
Program rules and guidelines are subject to change at the discretion of CBRI.
By clicking on the submit button you agree to the terms and conditions of the Value Club Card as set forth in this application.

The Wine-Club at GREENERY
Wines of the Month

Each month, for 11 months, Greenery wine and food club members will receive 2 bottles (per members preference) of imported and domestic wines made available to wine and food club membership at a substantial savings of at least 15% off our retail pricing. Wines of the month will cost approximately $29 - $50 per month. Members will be notified by email or telephone and wines will be available for pick up, at Greenery Market, beginning on the 5th of each month and credit card charges will be billed on or about the 5th of each month. A Greenery wine and food club member or an authorized adult (at least 21 years of age) must pick up purchased wines from Greenery Market, Sunland Park Mall, El Paso, Texas. We are unable to deliver or ship wine. Wine and food club members can purchase additional units of wines of the month, at their discounted prices, as long as supplies last. No special orders can be taken.

Monthly Tasting Seminar Credit

$20 per month = $220 value. Each month, with the exception of December, wine and food club members will be entitled to attend one wine tasting seminar at Greenery Restaurant and Market and receive a $20 credit for the tasting and/or any wines purchased at the tasting/seminar. The term credit designates a credit towards the cost of the tasting/seminar and/or specific wines featured at the tasting/seminar. Should wine and food club member not attend tastings/seminars, no carry-over credits will be issued. A wine and food club member must be in attendance in order to receive credit. Credit is non-transferable and may not be used for any other purchases.

First Offerings and Advance Notification of Special Releases

Wine and food club members will receive notification of special offerings, special releases and pre-sale purchases for futures. Notification will be made, via email, at least 48 hours prior to the offering being made public.

Winemakers Dinners

Wine and food club members will be notified, in advance of public notice, of our winemakers dinners and will receive a 25% discount on all wines purchased at the events.

Everyday 10% and 15% Discounts

As an added benefit, Greenery wine and food club members will enjoy a 10% discount on all retail food and merchandise along with an everyday 15% discount on wine purchases made at Greenery Market. A Greenery wine and food club card must be presented for discount. Discount does not apply to purchases made in Greenery Restaurant.

Also at the Greenery....
Greenback$ Frequent Dining Program

Receive 1 GREENBACK for each dollar spent while dining-in at GREENERY Restaurant. For every 500 GREENBACK$ accumulated during the year, you will automatically receive a $25 GREENERY giftcard - redeemable in our restaurant or market. For every 2000 GREENBACK$ accumulated during the year, you will automatically receive a $100 GREENERY giftcard redeemable in our restaurant or market. Purchases redeemed with giftcards do not qualify for discounts or additional GREENBACK$.

The annual cost of membership in our GREENBACK$ frequent dining program is $10. To enroll and purchase your GREENBACK$ card, fill out the attached information sheet and submit along with your $10 fee. Within 45 days, you will receive your GREENBACK$ card along with a $10 GREENERY giftcard (available to the first 500 members as our way of saying thank you for helping us launch this exciting loyaltyreward program). Your GREENERY giftcard will then be redeemable upon any visit to GREENERY Restaurant and Market but will not qualify toward GREENBACK$ purchases. Annual renewal notices will be mailed 1 month prior to expiration.

GREENBACK$ are awarded on food, beverage and purchased GREENERY giftcards. GREENBACK$ are awarded on dollars spent after any promotional discount is deducted. Tax and gratuity DO NOT qualify for GREENBACK$ awards. In order to receive GREENBACK$, you must physically present your GREENBACK$ card at the time of the transaction.

GREENBACK$ have no cash value and are redeemable as stated in this brochure. GREENERY giftcards received as GREENBACK$ rewards are valid at face value for one year and cannot be extended. Cash cannot be redeemed or given as change for any GREENERY giftcard purchase.

One GREENBACK$ card will be issued per application. GREENBACK$ are not transferable to another members account and are only available to individuals. If you would like an additional card for your spouse or your card is lost or stolen and you would like a replacement card, the cost of the additional/replacement card is $5.

GREENERY Restaurant and Market reserves the right to change GREENBACK$ membership rules, regulations and rewards without notice and may revoke or cancel this program with 90-days notice.

Also Please Support Local El Paso-Visit

This College Girl...

It has been an emotional two weeks and I'm glad, so glad, that things are falling into place.

Least of my worries is how I'm paying for college this semester, next semester, and beyond. Thanks to financial aid and NAWIC scholarship, I'm stress free for quite some time.

If you're not in the same situation as myself, Sallie Mae has some items she'd like to share with you about Financial Aid.

"Sallie Mae’s Financial Aid Top 10 Tips

1. Know your budget
In order to determine how much financial aid you will need to cover the full cost of attending a college or university, you should develop a budget. Tuition and room and board are not the only expenses you will incur – books, lab fees, transportation and personal expenses should all be factored into the equation.

2. Know your deadlines
Deadlines for applications and financial aid forms vary by school and state. In addition, some schools require applications in addition to the FAFSA, (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), check with your target schools to make sure you have completed and submitted everything. Know the difference between grants, scholarships and loans.

3. Know what your family’s contribution will be
The expected family contribution, also known as EFC, is the amount that the federal government and your college or university expect your family to contribute toward your education expenses. The EFC is calculated based on the information you submit on your FAFSA.

4. Know that parents can help
PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students) loans are federally insured loans for parents of dependent students. Unlike Stafford loans, PLUS loans allow individuals to borrow up to the full cost of the student’s education, less any other financial aid received.

5. Go for the free money first
Unlike student loans, scholarships and grants do not have to be repaid. To search for scholarships, use a search engine like the one at

6. Know what your exact interest rate will be and how it can change
The interest rate on federal Stafford loans issued after July 1, 2006 is fixed at 6.8 percent. Interest rates on private student loans can vary so check with your lender. Also, interest rates can change depending on your payment history so make sure to always pay your monthly bill on time.

7. Know the details or your repayment plan and what your monthly payment will be
Lenders offer a variety of repayment plans that allow you to manage your monthly payment amount. You can make standard payments of principal and interest, pay on a graduated basis or pay as a percentage of your monthly income. In addition, Sallie Mae offers benefits or incentives that allow you to reduce your interest rate or receive cash back in reward for successful on-time payments.

8. Know the difference between deferment and forbearance
Deferment entitles federal student loan borrowers to payment relief by postponing payments in certain circumstances for specified periods of time. In some instances, the federal government pays the interest that accrues during the deferment period. Eligibility is outlined in federal law. A forbearance is also an authorized period of time when a borrower does not have to make payments; however, a forbearance is granted at the lender’s discretion. During forbearance, interest accrues and the borrower has the option of paying it quarterly or it will be capitalized.

9. Know that you can deduct tuition and interest on your income taxes
In many cases, you may be able to deduct up to $3,000 in tuition and education-related expenses from your taxes. In addition student loan borrowers may be able to deduct up to $2,500 of interest paid on education loans. More information is available at

10. Know your loan counselor
Students with federal educational loans are required to receive counseling before they receive their first loan disbursement and before they graduate or withdraw, during which the borrower’s rights and responsibilities and loan terms and conditions are reviewed with the student."