Of Mice and Money

Between increasing housing costs, medical, and school loans; it’s no wonder that so many American’s are facing problems with debt. The subject of finances is nothing new and one that usually causes the most stress. (According to an article on eHow.com, marriages in America “at this time have a 50/50 success rate potential…one of two marriages potentially heading to divorce due to a money issue.” This is not good news.

Speaking of news, did you happen to see this article from CNN that talked about how 1 in 3 American’s are in debt collections? Now, I know the data collected might have all different kinds of contributing factors, but how often have you met with someone who had money problems? It’s not unheard of for me to start talking with someone and they end up mentioning something like their mounting student loans or overwhelming medical bills. It can almost make you feel that you don’t even stand a chance, which is pretty scary.

I know that companies are even now checking applicant’s credit before interviewing. Following this train of thought, you might be someone in debt trying desperately to work your way out, but you can’t even get an interview for a job because your credit isn’t great.
I know this is an unusual topic for me to blog about, but when I read the headline, something just grabbed me and I couldn’t stop myself. I really wanted not to go on any kind of rant about the state of the economy or anything like that, but I was thinking maybe I could encourage a collection of wonderful money saving ideas on this post, so if you have some ideas – PLEASE SHARE THEM BELOW.
So, here is a personal story of mine when it comes to money.  I have noticed that I never seem to have a financial emergency until after I spend a good amount of money on something else.  For example, we just recently got a new dining room table (it was needed our old one was falling apart), but the day after we made that purchase, my husband and I hear “scurrying” noises coming from above our head in our bedroom at night. (And yes, you could hear the theme music from Halloween here.) Sure enough, after calling our pest control company, it was discovered that we had mice in our attic. (Insert girly scream…three times….by me, not the hubby.)
You remember Indiana Jones and his fear of snakes?

Still of Indiana Jones Raider's of the Lost Ark (1981) from www.imdb.com

Still of Indiana Jones Raider’s of the Lost Ark (1981) from http://www.imdb.com

Yeah, imagine that multiplied by a thousand or so. (This is what I think of when I hear mice.)

Still from The Princess Bride image courtesy of www.imdb.com

Still from The Princess Bride image courtesy of http://www.imdb.com

I know it’s silly, but I just can’t seem to control it. So when our unnamed pest control person quoted us a price tag of $1500 to seal up “multiple wholes” for the “infestation”  in our attic, not even to set traps, I was this close to discussing payment plans, just to get the process started before I lost my mind. Luckily for me, my very level-headed husband, who is not afraid of mice, was like, “Uh, no,” and we got a second opinion from a good friend who not only came over and put some traps in our attic for free, but helped us look around and find that we really only have one or two places that we might need to cover to fix this problem. (God Bless our awesome friends – we have the best.)

So, aside from flesh-eating, zombie-killing mice, all is right in our world again….for now.

Going with this theme, I recently read a book called, America’s Cheapest Family, that if you ever get the chance to read, I highly recommend it! This family survives on an income of less than $40,000 a year and they are very happy. They’ve got some really great suggestions in there that I believe everyone could benefit from.

So, what about you? Have you had any mice emergencies lately? What are some great money-saving tips that you would suggest for those out there trying to save?

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Checking In

Good Friday morning everyone!  How have you been doing lately?  I tell you, not to complain, but it’s been busy in this mama’s life with work, revisions on my submissions to two agents (where I have been feverishly working to either delete or rework a character), I slipped in a quick family vacation down to San Antonio, and now I am enrolled in a two-week Fast Draft Course with the wonderful Candace Havens that is totally blowing NaNoWriMo away!

Phew! *wipes brow*

Insert also into this time busy time the fact that the hubby and I have made some major life decisions – just to make it a little more interesting.  First, the hubby and I have made the decision to get a better handle on our financies and we evaluated how much money we spent for the last year.  I don’t want to say how much I spent on books (it was a LOT), but I seriously must have lost my mind.  One of the driving forces for this review is not just because it’s important, in my mind, to have a good household budget and stick to it, but also because this leads to another life change that the hubby and I have decided on…and that is we are going to homeschool our four-year old daughter.

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I know that many of you are going to have varying opinions on this matter, and I appreciate that, but this decision was not made in haste, it is actually something that I’ve been researching for the last year or so. (Hubby took a little extra convicing, but we made the decision together, as a family.)

So now that the decision has been made, I’m going to have to figure out better ways to save money on books, becasue I mean, come on, I HAVE to have books.  I need to be surrounded by them and always have options of what I’m going to read next.  Are you that way?  I like to have all kinds of books at my finger tips because I never know what I’ll be in the mood for and thanks, in part, to a wonderful writer and friend, Roni Loren, I’ve been expanding on my reading list into other wonderful genres that I would have never given time of day to before.  It’s been so amazing getting out of that comfort zone.

On that note, I’m going to give you a quick review of three new books that I have read recently, in case you are interested.

1)  “Hold on to Your Kids,” Gordon Neufeld, Ph. D. and Gabor Mate, M.D. 2006 Ballantine Books Trade Paperback Edition

     This book was referred to me from another friend’s site and basically the premis is that our society is raising a bunch of peer oriented children.  Basically children that look to their peers for “their values, identifty, and codes of behavior.” (back cover)  I don’t know that anyone would argue this basic fact, given the media attention given to so many examples, the most notably the Miley Cyrus scandals that have been on TV.  Now, as a parent, I constantly struggle with being the primary influence in my daughter’s life while not overwhleming her and becoming that “helicopter parent.”  It’s a balance,  But until now, I’ve never read a book that so eloquently discusses what the problem is, how it begins, and what you can do to help fix it.  The only critique I have for this book is that it is a little in-depth, and doesn’t flow as I would prefer, but really that’s just a preference.  If you haven’t had a chance to glance through this book, parent’s I highly recommend it!

2)  “The Brainy Bunch,” by Kip and Mona Lisa Harding, 2014 Gallery Books

     What an interesting book – another one that I pulled from a blog.  The pull for me was when another mom told me about this family that homeschools their ten children and all of them have started college by the age of twelve!  All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind about whether or not this was even possible, let alone a good thing, but the book (written jointly by both parents with inserts from the kids), gives an overview of the families values and teaching methods that allows each of their children to pursue their dreams and gather education in areas that interest them.  Among the children are a Navy Doctor, an Engineer, and an Architect.   The parents stress over and over that their children aren’t geniusus but that their achievments are made by allowing their children the pursue what interests them and to ensure that they are always challenged.  It gives you an interesting persepective about how you will look at your child’s education and the education system today.

3) “Smart Money, Smart Kids,” by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze (his daughter).  2014 Lampo Liscensing, LLC.

    Now, I believe almost everyone has heard of Dave Ramsey and his secrets to “financial success,” but I never knew that his daughter, Rachel, was also a financial educator.  Their book, co-authored, gives a unique perspective on money that many parents might not have given consideration to before – how to help your kids make the best decisions when it comes to your finances.  As I said earlier, financial peace is something that even my husband and I struggle with today.  But Rachel and Dave explain in their book how to be a good role model for your kids and how to set them up for financial success.  They talk about not using the word, “allowance,” but instead having children work “on comission.”  It’s an interesting conecpt and a very easy read.  I highly reccommend this book!

How’s your Friday going?  Ready for one of these?

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