Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Am Trying Emealz

I always hear emealz being advertised on the Dave Ramsey show but was never really brave enough to try it. I would always figure it would be no good to me since I don't have a family. However after putting off grocery shopping and going coupon stir crazy I just went ahead and took a dive right in.

Its $15 every 3 months and they do your meal planning and grocery list for you! Yes I can be lazy at times what can I say.... It has been a long time since I have really cooked (like real food) so its always challenging to make sure I get everything I need and not have to make trips to the store because I forgot an ingredient. With the meal time makeover you pretty much are guaranteed you won't need to return to the store until your next grocery shopping experience.

Posted Every
Plan Posted Every
Kroger Sunday
Wal-Mart for 2 Friday
Publix Wednesday
Any Store for 2 Friday
Wal-Mart Thursday
ALDI for 2 NEW MEAL PLAN! Tuesday
Any Store Wednesday
Publix for 2 NEW MEAL PLAN! Wednesday
ALDI Tuesday


They also make it to where a lot of what you purchase that week is on sale and they tally up how much your total will be based on sales. I printed off 2 weeks worth of groceries, and the total would have been $150 dollars.

After getting mostly everything I wanted on the list (I edited it some) plus a few other items that don't relate to dinner I spent $138 dollars after coupons and savings. I don't remember ever having this much food in my frig or pantry all at once let alone spending $138 for at least $200 worth of groceries.

As soon as I got home, I started prepping my food. I cut up all the veggies and put them into plastic baggies so when its time to cook, it goes right into the pan. I also put all the meat and fruits into baggies so I could create more of a grab and go type situation so there would be no excuse for when I am in a hurry. Emealz is set up for people to shop once a week but since its just me I think I have enough to last me at least 2 maybe 4 weeks which is nice. Its going to be great to say bye bye to eating out for a long while!!

I may take pictures of my dinner creations so stay tuned and check out emealz if you have a free moment, I think it works well even if its 1 person or the Duggar family!

Monday, July 26, 2010

10 Things We Say That Keep Us Broke...

This post comes from Money Plan SOS-Debt Free Coach. I heard Dave Ramsey mention this post on Friday and thought it would be fun to share. Check it out and add to it if you DARE!!


1. I’m too ________ (old, young, in-a-middle-age-crisis, broke) to save money.
2. I deserve ________.
3. I did it to improve my credit score.
4. My student loan/mortgage is “Good debt”.
5. He told me I would _______.
6. The “Little Man” can’t get ahead.
7. I can write off the interest on my taxes.
8. How much a month?
9. I have retirement covered, Social Security _________.
10. When I _______, then I’ll be able to ________.

So whats keeping you from building wealth?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Decluttering & My First Couponing Experience

So I did tell you all a few post back that I was starting to collect coupons. After much consideration and anticipation I finally stepped out and used what coupons I had. I decided to go to walmart to buy all of my tolietries but later discovered I may have come out cheaper at meijer.

My total spent was $68 dollars and a savings of $11 worth of coupons. I got a LOT of stuff I never would have brought all at once had I not had the coupons. The only bad thing about this experience is that in discovering walmart doesn't double coupons I could have went to another store and came out a little cheaper especially with the $1.00 off coupons. All in all I had a lot of fun and I look forward to getting more coupons. However I must stress that couponing doesn't matter if you are not actually working a budget. You could say what I did yesterday was like someone having an expensive hobby, fun but not really benificial.

I haven't been on a budget this much and until I went grocery shopping yesterday I really didn't care. Im not over spending or anything but I am not really trying to keep close tabs on my funds, stress is playing a big factor in all this but I am trying to do some damage control before it gets out of control.

After I put all my shopping items away I started cleaning and realizing I had a lot of junk laying around I don't use. So I grabbed a big ole trash bag and started throwing stuff away. Over these next few months I want to get my life into a simple routine preferably one that doesn't cause me to spend lots of money thats not in my budget. I do believe once this house situation is done with I will have things a bit more under control, but for now I am going to do the best I can with what I got!!

Have you ever experienced a time where financial stress caused you to be sloppy in other areas of your life? How did you bounce back?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Got The Feeling!! My New Car

This video best describes how I was feeling when I received the keys to my new silver crysler 300 (pics below)

All those feelings I had suppressed for over 2 years came rushing back into my lifeless body. I felt like a new woman! As I drove off I began to wonder was this the feeling that so many people crave when the make new perchases. That feeling that puts you so high on cloud 9 that the cost doesn't even factor into your thought process.

Who really cares about college funds, or 401k's when you can cruise down the highway in style feeling like everyone is looking at you thinking "how fly is she in that new whip" Driving this car makes me feel like I can do anything, go anywhere and be anybody. Now I can say "Im normal" again, I fit in with the rest of America and I FEEEELL like the rest of America too, sooo good. When you take a ride with me you can enjoy that new car smell, xm radio, and don't forget you have your own temperature controls.

Leather seats, custom wheels, the steering wheel audio controls, I mean life really doesn't get much better than this! I mean its like, why not be in debt when you can feel like this every day of the week. You know what they say "you really only live once so why not enjoy your life now" I couldn't agree more. That is why I couldn't resist when the offer was presented to me. Jetta wha? that ole thing? don't worry I gave it to someone who will take good care of it.

I really wonder if this feeling will last or if it will fade away over time. I don't know but time will tell, because I have to return that sucker back to the rental place tomorrow morning!!

haha got cha!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

On My Way To PA!!!

Random trip to Pensylvania, couldn't even spell it right until I had to map it irroncially but hey what can I say! I am headed to a family reunion that I totally forgot about due to stress! My cousin reminded me and I jumped at the chance to go. So by the time you read this I will be on the road! Back with plenty pictures, stories and money still in the bank!

Gratitude Friday

I was looking over my calandar at work yesterday and was thinking about how fast this year is going by. Im a few months shy of 28, and closer to debt freedom than I have every been. Dispite the home situation this year has been a pretty good one. I have great friends and family and I have enjoyed much much financial peace throughout the months.

I am very grateful and I believe that there isn't a situation good or bad that I can't learn and grow from. I am thankful for another year and I am sooooo looking forward to the next!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

8 Reasons to Never Borrow from Your 401k Retirement Plan

I was browsing the comment section of my last post and came across a comment by Mogul in Training. As I was explaining to a previous poster, where I would be getting the money to pay for my house, she chimmed in and raised a great point. Always check with a professional before you borrow any money.

I am currently aware of all the risk that are involved, as I have taken out loans before (pre Dave). However I want to share with the rest of blog land why its such a bad idea. There are plenty sites out there, that will tell you "oh yes go ahead and borrow from your 401k" but trust me they aren't giving you all the pros and cons. So I was able to pull a site that gives ALL negatives. Why would I do that you say? Because I don't want people borrowing money just randomly. Even in my situation, I am looking for ways to lower the amount or just allow the home to foreclose (which I will probably explain the ramifications of that in a later post). Bottom line is it should be a LAST resort, my advise.. .JUST DON'T DO IT, but if you need real reasons here you go: This information comes from

8 Reasons to Never Borrow from Your 401k Retirement Plan
(March 4th, 2008)

According to a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute in 2005, 20% of all 401k investors who were eligible for borrowing from their 401k plans (taking out 401k loans) did so. The average loan option exercised in 2004 was $6,946 which is about 1/2 of the average debt of households in America (excluding mortgage debt). The $6946 figure represents the following percentages of peoples' total retirement savings.

Age % of Total Savings
20s 25%
30s 20%
40s 22%
50s 11%
60s 9%

As you can note from above, as the person gets older, he has more retirement savings and tends to borrow less from his/her 401k plan. However, people in their 40s borrow about 2% more than people in their 30s, anyone have a logical explanation for this? Post your comments below if you do! And while it is good that as the person gets older, he tends to borrow less, it is not advisable to borrow from your 401k at all! We will go over 8 major reasons why you should never borrow from your 401k.

Some financial advisors might tell you that borrowing from your 401k is better than using your credit cards or taking out a commercial loan with higher interest rates. They also say that when you repay your 401k loans, you will be repaying interest to yourself, and not some bank. While this is partially true, in the long term, you would be way better off accumulating your savings and gaining compound interest, rather than reducing your principal amount by borrowing money from it.

1) Your Savings Growth is Reduced

If you take out a 401k loan, most plans have a provision that you cannot make any more contributions until a certain percentage of the loan is paid back. Some plans may even have a provision that states that 100% of the loan amount must be repaid! Added to that, even if your plan does not have a repayment provision, you may not be able to afford to keep up with your 401k loan payments and make additional 401k contributions (that you were supposed to make every month anyways). This significantly reduces your ability to grow your 401k savings. The whole point of 401k plans is to save for your retirement, by withdrawing any amount of money from it, you are really defeating the purpose of the plan!

2) You Are Losing Money

Every monthly contribution that you miss also misses the growth & appreciation that is available from the stock markets, bond markets as well as commodities futures markets. Furthermore, you are also missing the power of compounding interest on your total principal balance. The low interest payments that you are paying to yourself is likely to be insignificant compared to the appreciation & returns on investment that is available in stocks/bonds/commodities markets. Also, the money you are paying yourself will be after-tax. For every $1 you earn, your ability to repay the loan will only be $0.78 (considering you are in the 22% tax bracket). Also, that $0.78 that you have to repay yourself will be taxed AGAIN when you retire and withdraw your money from your 401k. You are pretty much getting beat down by the double taxation & losing the power of compounding interest, you do not want that!

3) Time is Not In your Favor

By making monthly contributions to your 401k, the idea is that over the long term, your money will grow substantially and accumulate the power of compounding interest. Compounding interest calculators state that your money will double every 8 years if you invest diligently and with discipline. Most 401k plans allow loans to be held for up to 5 years. If you used a 401k loan to purchase your home (or finance for a down payment on the home), you are losing the ability to double your money in 8 years average. What's more, you will lose the power of making additional contributions & more growth opportunities & returns on investment. Over time, your 401k balance will never reach its maximum potential and the greatest sum of money you could have had!

4) Unable to Repay the Loan? More Trouble!

If you get yourself in a situation where you cannot repay the loan, it will be considered a taxable withdrawal and you will be subject to income taxes. This is in addition to the 10% early withdrawal penalty you will have to pay for your withdrawal.

5) Quit Your Job? Repay the Loan!

If you quit your job with your current employer, the 401k plan administered by your employer will require you to repay it immediately! Thus if you have a 401k loan, you will be stuck at your current job for as long as you do not repay the loan. This is because if you quit, you will have to come up with the cash to repay the loan. If you do not have that cash, you cannot quit your job. This might require you to pass up a better opportunity where there's more pay, challenge and career enhancement.

6) No Financial Cushion

You should borrow a 401k loan in the toughest of circumstances where you really have NO other source of funding, no family, no relatives, etc. If you borrow a 401k loan to pay off your credit card debt or to fund an exotic vacation, this money will NOT be there when you really need it in the toughest of circumstances. That is why we say, do not borrow from your 401k!

7) Living Beyond Your Means?

If you need to borrow from your 401k, this automatically creates a red flag that you are living beyond your means. If you cannot find any other way of making money other than borrowing from your 401k, you should revisit your spending habits and see where you are blowing up excess money.

8) Violates the King Rule of Personal Finance

Borrowing from your 401k violates the very important saying of "Pay yourself first." It is definitely a bad idea to violate this rule.

So there you have it. If I do end up needing the money, I will put myself on auto repayment for minimum $1000 a month payback, I can't spend what I don't have and once you set up auto withdrawl there is no turning back. I will be in debt longer than anticipated but who said all this was suppose to be easy? 2.5 years on a debt free journey isn't all fun and games and I made a commentment to see it to the end, in both good and bad, so thats what I intend to do.

Monday, July 12, 2010

"To The Wire To The Limit To The Wall" my homeownership struggles

Its been so hard the last couple of weeks and seems like it keeps getting worse. At first I was going to blog after all the smoke cleared but I think its even more important, to share what I have been going through so people can learn from my mistakes.

To make a longer story short, my home has been on the market for 6 months under the conditions of possible foreclosure. I will say based on bad information I decide to stop making payments on my home, so I could negotiate a short sale. I purchased my home in 2007 and have had it rented for 2 years because it was to far away from my job. It was pre Dave and there are days I could undo the situation but I cant.

The closer I have gotten to my debt free date the more I realized I wanted to be completely debt free. I didn't want to struggle with loosing money on a personal residence turned rental. I didn't want the stress of owning a home with a tenant and mortgage looming over me in a city an hour away (never purchase real estate you don't work or live near). I knew when I decided to list the house I would be opening up a BIG OLE CAN of worms but I wanted to at least see if selling the house was possible.

I have dealt with not so great Realtors and now a tenant who insist on not paying rent or cooperating with potential buyers because of the foreclosure. By the time I tried to explain to her I was not going to let the home actually foreclose, she had already decided she was going to rebel. So now the foreclosure date is looming over my head and I have done EVERYTHING possible to make sure the possible sale goes smooth. My new realtor keeps telling me she has a buyer but has not given me any paper work to begin the process, she actually hasn't even listed the house with her company. Today I wanted to take matters into my own hands and list the house on craigs list, but I know that wouldn't be trusting God.

The law firm says I have til July 23rd to pay $8600. The plan from day one was to borrow the money from my 401k which is the only exception to borrowing money on the Dave Ramsey plan. However I never anticipated it would take this long to sell. Its partially my fault for being extremely passive about my old realtor and now my new one, but I have yet to figure out how to deal with them.

Even though my credit isn't of much importance I DO NOT want that dreaded "Forecloser" stamp added to my report even if I never plan to borrow money again its just some silly psychological thing I got going on. If I pay the 8600 I get to keep my home without having to deal with the "AFTER FORECLOSURE" after math. If I wait to let the home foreclose, the bank will still work with me but I still have to deal with my tenant,eviction and the foreclosure workout plan which honestly all this at once has been way to much stress and that would be more than I care to take on.

If I pay the balance I will have another debt added back to my snowball and it will be another year or more paying it off. In hindsight I will be debt free except for the housing loans, but mentally it wont register that I will have paid off $40k in 3 years so I won't be able to relax until the ONLY debt is one mortgage or none at all. So that's the update, and I ask everyone to continue to keep me in prayer as every day is a struggle but I think I am doing a lot better since last week. I limit my phone calls with people that will speak negative things to me and contribute to my stress regarding my home. I was aware what I was getting myself into but all of this has been WAY more than I would have liked to have gone through. Not to mention I have to pray my tenant doesn't do damage to my home out of anger. If I could go back knowing what I know now I would have tried to sell the home 2 years ago when I moved out, but my stubbornness got the best of me, so time will tell how it all plays out so stay tuned....

Have you ever done anything financially that you regretted?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Hey guys, I haven't fallin off the face of the earth "YET" lol, its been a super busy week!! I finally got a new realtor for my house so hopefully things will be back on track. I will keep you all posted!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July Weekend Fab

Obviously I haven't done my budget for July yet but I promise its coming soon!! My boss let me have Friday off so that I could go enjoy the lake with my friends. We had a great time, and I think I spent $20 bucks in gas to get there and I had an oil change for $30 which was way over due. The yard sale was a big success, I made $80 bucks off the sale of only a few items, which was great because I didn't have to do much work.

I think today I will finally sit down and work out a budget and figure out my expenses. I might even do some grocery shopping.

Its very important for me to get organized this week because my over time starts at work and I want to keep things at home as stressless as possible. Im gonna clean, and organize my week so I don't become over whelmed with work.

I hope everyone had a super fab weekend see you next week!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Extra Income and Budgets For July!

Yesterday, while at work I was informed that my department will have an opportunity to work 1 full week of overtime. Boy was I excited when I heard the news!!! As soon as I got a free moment I calculated how much I would make if I worked 20 hours and It came out to be an additional $560 bucks!! With the yard sale this weekend and over time, I will be able to put money towards my debt and possibly have a little fun.

I thought I would feel like going spending crazy on my first day off the budget but suprisingly there is nothing I actually need right now. This is good because it gives me time to plan out my spending, and keep track of whats coming in and going out. I am looking forward to the holiday with no major spending. My best friends birthday is tomorrow, I know we are schedule to have a bowling party and of course I am going to get her a gift, it would probably be a good idea to sit down and do my budget today.

I shall return with Julys figures!!