Out With The Girls While On Baby Step #2

So, what do you do when your group of friends want to meet up for coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner or a movie, and you can’t really justify using the family “Dining Out” or “Entertainment” funds for just yourself?
At the time that I’m writing this, I’m on Baby Step 2 of the Dave Ramsey plan. My husband and I have budgeted for $50/month for any dining out situation that may come up. That fund tends to be used for birthdays when we go to a pizza parlor. Very special occasions, and we’re paying for 3 of us to eat. So, in the case of just me going out with the girls, I realized that I needed to budget my personal pocket money. My husband and I budgeted $20/month for ourselves to get things we wanted like a coffee while shopping, or a magazine (me). Very recently, I bowed out of, yet again, another get-together with the girls from my old youth group days. I can’t attend every single event, but I realized that I really did need to go out now and then. For the record, this particular “bow-out” was also due to having several household projects going on as well with a time line. I’ve had friends offer to buy my coffee or meal if I come, but I don’t want to owe anyone.
This is the time that I realized, that to be able to say “yes” more often, I needed to start telling my pocket money where to go. I needed to start an envelope for “girl time”.

So that is the plan. My next outing may only be for coffee, but I’ll be able to visit with friends for a bit.

UPDATE: It’s been about a year since this was written, so I’ve had that time to put this into practice and really follow through.  The get-togethers for meals tend to not happen as often as the get togethers for movies.  I’m ok with waiting for most movies to come out on DVD and watching them at home (another post for another time). When my friends start planning to get together at a restaurant, I check to see how much I can afford, including the tip, look up the restaurant’s menu online and see which meals are in my budget, and let my friends know.  Hopefully, they’ll read this and know that I’m not poor, or strapped for cash, sometimes dinners are just not in the budget at that time. There was a time in the recent past where that was the case. But not now.  Now, I can.

Elizabeth

Advertisements

New Years 2019 Post #1 New Financial Goals

At the beginning of 2018, Kevin and I decided to take a finance class, more specifically, Financial Peace University, taught by Dave Ramsey. About 9 month prior to this decision, I started reading the book version and started listening to his show on YouTube. At around that same time, our daughter was getting married, and because we didn’t have the money to pay for a wedding, Heather and her fiance were paying for most of the wedding themselves. We felt so bad that we couldn’t do that for them. Many evenings, Kevin would get rather bummed out that he didn’t have the money to do this for our only daughter. During this time, we were also looking down the road at retirement, possibly 17 years away, and we started getting the question, “What are you going to do when you retire?” Our answer was “travel”. Both of us had grandparents who traveled a lot after retirement. The thing was, I was also looking into the future, and I knew how much debt we had and how little we had saved, and I didn’t want to be 17 years down the road and having the same conversation with my husband, bummed out that we didn’t have the money to do what we wanted to do with all of the “free time” in our future.

So, while Kevin was on a business trip, I gathered all of our bills regarding debt. Then I made a list of what we owed from largest to smallest and started planning how to attack it and focus on that initial emergency fund. When my husband came home, he noticed that debt list when he went to bed as I had it taped to his closet door, which is next to his bed. I think he thought I put it there to bum him out. So I explained what I was hoping to accomplish and he was on board with that.

In the 9 months since we started, we each worked hard to watch our spending and we paid off a few of the small bills. However, we still hadn’t attended the class or any financial class together. I had attended one years ago (not FPU) at my church. During this 9 month time, we also had new debt crop up, so the list of what we owe had a couple of revisions. But we kept plugging away and thanks to that emergency fund that we saved up for, we were able to pay for minor emergencies that cropped up. So we were doing ok, but I was still the one who had most of the information from the FPU book that I was reading.

So, back to January 2018. In December of 2017, there was a small announcement in the local newspaper about an FPU class at a local church. We both decided to go and agreed that it was a worthy investment, and it would be good if we both had all of the information. I ordered the materials and signed us up.

The class was held at the Nazarene church here in town.  There were 3 other couples attending with us, so it was easier to get to know the others who we were going to talk about finances with.

Along with setting up an emergency fund, our first order of business was setting up a budget together, which this time included entertainment, clothing, doctors, prescriptions etc. Basically giving our money assignments.  So, jump to today. After being on the plan for the past 17 months, we’ve been able to keep our bills paid and take care of the unexpected  things or basic maintenance things fairly easily.  Anytime we’ve needed to repair something in the house or on the car, we’ve been able to take care of it because it was in the budget.

So, this is hopefully the first of a few posts about this journey we’re on. I’ll try to share how we’ve found alternatives to going into debt (my husband will hopefully be sharing how he was able to replace his phone when it stopped working).

I’ll chat with you later,

Elizabeth

Happy October!

Good Morning!

After a busy week, I finally have a chance to write.  We’ve had an eventful summer  and some changes in our family, so today, not only can I catch up on my blog, but catch you all up as well.

-Kylin continued with his GED class through the summer term.  It kept what he’d learned still fresh in his mind.  The term ended at the end of August and he had most of September off.  He had nearly 4 weeks of not having to wake up early in the morning and doing homework.  Now he’s back for the Fall term and getting back into the routine.  However, he does miss the sleeping in.  He still does get 2 days to sleep in a couple of days of the week, so he isn’t completely suffering!

-Heather and her husband moved suddenly, to another state.  He heard about a job up in Washington, immediately applied for it and was offered the job by the end of the week.  He moved up there first to settle into his new job and office and also to find a home for them to live in, while Heather stayed behind at their apartment to pack up their things. Before they left, we and many of their friends met up at the pizza parlor (where she  used to work) to see them one last time before they moved.

A couple of weeks after the move, we drove up to see them and their new house.  We had bought a car from our neighbor and drove it up there.  I’ll probably write more about the car purchase when I start sharing more about our experience going to Financial Peace University (that will probably come in a few months).  We’re looking forward to , watching them establish themselves in their new surroundings.  When it was time for us to go, we took the train home for the first time.  The trip took a little longer than it would if we had driven, but it was certainly more relaxing, especially for Kevin would normally be focused on his driving instead of enjoying the view.

So now that school has started, Fridays seem to be the day to either catch up on housework, or spend the day grocery shopping.  This Friday is the housework Friday. Once I’ve cleaned up an area, there’s always that hope that it’ll stay clean.  I think the record is one month (entertainment center).  I’m working on the living room today, so we’ll see how long that lasts.  It’s the room that is lived in the most.

I’m hoping that I can keep up with the blog with life stories and photos at least once per week.

I hope you have a great week,

I’ll chat with you later

Elizabeth

I’m Back Again!

Hi There,
It seems that Spring is the time when life calms down long enough for me to think about blogging. Then, I wonder what to write about.
So how is your year going?
Doesn’t it seem like the year has been speeding right along?
It seems like we just finished with Christmas and now the warmer weather is here more consistently.
It’s time to buy vegetable and flower starts and get them planted.
It’s time to shop the sales at Hobby Lobby for summer décor.
For me, it means that I also need to shampoo my carpets, and bring the rest of our furniture in from the storage unit, and start thinking about what might look better at a Goodwill than in our house. It also means painting walls, and moving the last of my married daughter’s belongings to her house.
It means that it may be time to look for a part time job since I’m no longer homeschooling.
Settling into some things and changing in other things.
All sorts of possibilities and opportunities ahead of me.
What season of life are you in?

For me, I’m hoping that whatever my season is, that I can be more consistent here

Elizabeth

The Latest “Goings On”

I’m a little late, but, Happy Spring!
The sun is out more often, the sounds of lawnmowers are in the air, the birds are visiting more often, and daylight is starting to last longer. Several of us in the neighborhood are planting our gardens. In less than two weeks, Easter will be here and at this house, we’re planning a family dinner.

How is your Spring looking so far?

E.C.

A New Season, A New Name

Hello Everyone!

Just a quick note to say that I’m still here. It’s been an interesting year.
Just before my last post, we had just moved to a small town. It’s about a 20 minute drive from where we had lived, and this town is a small fraction of the size of the town we used to live in. Just a few things about our town that might be different from our previous town:
1. I think that there are 4 stoplights in this town and one stop sign.
2. Our town does not have any major grocery stores. If I want to make a large grocery run, I need to go to either the town that we just moved from or the town that I grew up in. There is a small market here for last minute purchases if I run out of something for making a meal. So we’re not totally without.
3. There’s a video rental store here. The owner has probably seen every movie in the store and if the only info you have is an actor and what it might be about, he knows exactly what you’re looking for. There is not a Redbox to be found in this town, and if there were, I don’t think that it would survive. You can’t beat good customer service!
4. I think that there are more neighbors with more chickens. Every morning, I can look outside of my kitchen window and see what the chickens behind us are up to. I discovered recently that a neighbor on our street has some chickens who like to leave home and visit other yards.

I do like living in a smaller town. It’s peaceful. We have neighbors who have warmly welcomed us and even drop off eggs from their chickens and produce from their gardens or fruit trees. It’s a friendlier place, at least the neighborhood we’re in is.

So, I thought that perhaps, I should change the name of this blog to reflect our new, calmer surroundings.

Also, we’re in a new season of life. I’m not homeschooling right now. Heather graduated from GED class and is working AND…. planning her wedding! Kylin is going to GED class so now, the only educating I do is when he needs help with his homework. So, other that all of the driving I do to take the kids to school/work, I need to start thinking of new things to fill my “extra” time. It’s an exciting and yet kind of sad time. I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I hope to. Many other parents have done this long before I was born.

So, a new adventure begins!

Elizabeth

Coffee House #6: Creswell Bakery

These coffee cups can be purchased for $10 at the Bakery

These coffee cups can be purchased for $10 at the Bakery

Since we moved to this community, I’ve been anxious to visit Creswell Bakery in Creswell, OR. This morning, Kevin and I finally made the trip. We arrived at 10AM, and one of the first things that stood out was the number of cars surrounding the building, so we assumed it would be a full house. We walked into a spacious dining hall with plenty of available tables, and plenty of customers. I had an idea of what I wanted to try from the menu on their website, http://www.creswellbakery.com, and ordered the breakfast burrito. It had potatoes, eggs, sausage, salsa and guacamole. Kevin ordered a version without sausage. I also ordered a cup of coffee. This particular bakery only offers brewed coffee, so if you are expecting a latte, you’ll need to go elsewhere. The coffee they offer is Stumptown Coffee (www.stumptowncoffee.com). It’s delicious! It ranks up there with the coffee we buy for special occasions. The ladies waiting on us were friendly and cheery. These burritos were huge! They were very filling. I couldn’t finish mine, but it was delicious. I’m looking forward to going back and try the other dishes they offer, such as French toast or pizza. So, anyway, that is my short review from our latest breakfast/coffee venture. If you want to try something new, Creswell bakery may be your cup of tea……..or coffee!

Elizabeth

CoffeHouse #4- Tailored Coffee Roasters in Eugene, OR

It was my turn to pick out the coffee house for #4, and I chose Tailored Coffee Roasters. TCR is located at 291 E. 5th Ave, right across the street from the 5th Street Market, tucked in along a row of various businesses that share the same building. I had heard of this place from a Facebook friend who had photographed the process leading to it’s opening.

Good Morning!

Good Morning!

When we arrived, it was still early on a Saturday morning. There was only one other customer and the barista. It was very quiet.

There are coffee cups available for purchase.

There are coffee cups available for purchase. They also sell coffee beans

Also, several vinyl record covers decorated the wall. I even saw one from The Roots (those who watch "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" will know who they are.   There was a lot of peppy music playing over the stereo too.

Also, several vinyl record covers decorated the wall. I even saw one from The Roots (those who watch “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” will know who they are.) There was a lot of peppy music playing over the stereo too.

Ok, I was surprised that my coffee was served in a drinking glass, however, that did not influence my opinion of the coffee.  It was delicious and I always love it when the barista can make a design with the foam!

Ok, I was surprised that my coffee was served in a drinking glass, however, that did not influence my opinion of the coffee. It was delicious and I always love it when the barista can make a design with the foam!

The menu was rather short, which took us by surprise.  I ordered toast with peanut butter & honey.  What was really neat though is that it was artisan bread with the fresh ground peanut butter, and the toast was served on wooden cutting boards.

The menu was rather short, which took us by surprise. I ordered toast with peanut butter & honey. What was really neat though is that it was artisan bread with the fresh ground peanut butter, and the toast was served on wooden cutting boards.

On a personal note, TCR’s location is right next to the railroad tracks and they have a window through which you can watch the train go by. A big plus if you have a train enthusiast in your family…………..like we do.

If you are interested in checking this place out and all they have to offer, their website is at http://www.tailoredcoffee.com/

Elizabeth

Happy New Year (a little late)

Hello Everyone,

I hope that your holidays  were fun and that you’re enjoying your new year.

Our new year started with the need for a floor replacement in one of our bathrooms.  Usually when we’re ringing in the new year, we’re wondering what the year will bring. I don’t think that water damage and mold in the sub-flooring was what we thought we’d start with.  When all is said and done, I hope to have “before” and “after pictures.   In the meantime, we’re getting ready for a bit of  a remodel.  Something we’ve never experienced before.  We’re also sharing our bathroom with the kids. Extra toothbrushes and shaving supplies and not a lot of counter space.   We’re adjusting.   Learning to adjust is a good thing.

School is back in session for Kylin.  He probably wishes that Christmas vacation lasted longer, but he hasn’t complained. However, there are days when he’ll hide out in his room to play and hopes that I’ll forget about school.

This year is also the “year of firsts”.  That first year of holidays and events after a loved one passes.  We lost two family members in the past two months.  My grandma passed away one week before Thanksgiving.  My sister’s mother passed away on the Monday before Christmas.  So the holidays were a bit mellow, and full of thoughts of our loved ones.

I guess that this is the year of adjustment, and not just adjusting to one less bathroom.  Also adjusting to the new normal, and whatever else may change the plans or hopes we have for this new year.

Here’s to a  new year and opportunities to adjust, or be flexible.

Cheers!

Elizabeth

 

 

 

Coffeehouse #3- Allan Bros Coffee Roasters/The Beanery in Eugene, OR

So, this week’s choice was Allan Bros Coffee Roasters/The Beanery, located at 152 West 5th St. Allann Bros has several locations in the state as well. But we didn’t feel like making that road trip to compare all of the locations. This one also happens to be right next to our favorite home and garden store, Down to Earth (which is were we went for garden starts after our coffee).

When we first walked in, there were people everywhere. It wasn’t crowded, but you could see that this was the place where a lot of people liked to come, sit and enjoy their coffee and food while reading the local paper or visiting with friends. So, we did like the atmosphere right away.

There are plenty of bags of coffee beans for purchase, in case you want to brew some for later at home....

There are plenty of bags of coffee beans for purchase, in case you want to brew some for later at home….

Shelves of beans are everywhere!

Shelves of beans are everywhere!

From this case, I chose a piece of crumbly coffee cake.........

From this case, I chose a piece of crumbly coffee cake………

My non-fat Vanilla Latte.......It was delicious!

My non-fat Vanilla Latte…….It was delicious!

Doesn't this look like a neat place to visit with friends or read the paper on a Saturday morning?

Doesn’t this look like a neat place to visit with friends or read the paper on a Saturday morning?

Doesn't this look delicious?

Doesn’t this look delicious?

I am looking forward to another visit to this cafe (followed by a visit to Down to Earth to check out their kitchen gadgets and dishes). If you’d like to visit before I get another chance to, here is their web address for you to check out http://www.allannbroscoffee.com/

Elizabeth