My Thoughts

Want to take a moment and share an important topic. Organ Donation. Most know that our oldest, Matthew, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Along with that, we were given choices for his survival: Let him die, Heart transplant, or a series of major surgeries to re-plumb his heart. We chose the surgeries to hold off on a transplant. It was a choice based on multiple reasons. It is always better to make a bad heart last as long as you can. Not only because there actually is less medicine then compared to a transplant, but also getting a transplant is slim pickings in young children. They are young and healthy and there is less available organ donations.
We ask that you watch this awesome video below. It is about one of my (Matt) college dorm buddies, and his little girl, Mia. She had severe aortic stenosis. And thanks to Jacobs Mother who wanted her child’s memory to live on in another little child, Mia.  This subject is dear to our heart because most likely in the future our own little Matthew will need this priceless gift from another to live.
So take just a moment, watch the video, and the adorable music, get your Kleenex, and think about what would you do, if you too had that question asked? Will you donate?

For Jessica from Lilly McDowell on Vimeo.

 

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Filed Under: A Thrifty Dad, I'm a Heart Mom, My Thoughts, Valentines Day - Acts of Love

debt freeSo as I mentioned in the last post, it seems that it is harder to find good budgeting advise and software to go with it. You can read more on my first post here. I have no accounting education background, and I actually do not like math, it was my worst subject. I have no degree in financial education or advising. So legally I can not help you. But what I can tell you is how we budget, how we got debt free, and what we currently budget with. Experience is all I have.

I mentioned before how I used note pads and a ruler to plot out my bills and credit card debt over $10,000. Every day I would sit down and evaluate where we were financially. We were able to scrimp and save and live a thrifty lifestyle long before we ever thought of running a thrifty blog. So how do we plan our budget now? Like before I hate the idea of charging people to learn how to be thrifty and live on a budget. Many programs both online, consulting and software all charge you flat fees and subscriptions. But with Mint.com it is all free and comprehensive. You can plan a budget, set goals and review and add all of your financial institutions and accounts. It updates and recompile’s itself on a routine basis. You can track your spending, get updates when things are purchased, and when payments are received. Mint.com will send you reminders on a schedule that you set up. It gives you tips to save and ways to plan for the future.

We have every thing set up with them. Our mortgage, our investments and incomes, our bills and utilities, checking and savings, everything. You may ask about it’s security and how it protects its data? Well Mint.com is a sub-company of Intuit, the makers of Quickbooks and Turbo Tax. They have an excellent security program already in place.

You can check out Mint.com and see if it fits you. Don’t be to prideful to think you can do it all on your own. SO much happens in our life that it makes it near impossible to manage everything. This is why we use Mint.com In my next post we will explain how to get things set up if you think this is something for you.

If you have debt – don’t feel like you are trapped. There are steps available to get out of the incredible weight of financial burden. Follow along in my mini-series of post, to start your path in a new thrifty living life. Being “thrifty” is so much more then couponing!

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Filed Under: Debt Free Zone, My Thoughts

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debt freeThe economy in today’s world is so topsy turvy. You can not expect anything to turn out how the professionals say it will. Who knows what country, state, company, or person will default on a bill? With money you can never expect anything. So what are we to do?

The average credit card debt in the USA is about $16,000. And with the economy and so many people loosing their jobs or receiving a pay deduction, the ability to handle the monthly bills much less the credit cards minimum payments is near impossible. There are so many different sources to help and give advice. Which ones should you follow? Which ones are really there to help you verse take your money to benefit them self? I could never understand why some one wanting to help others save money and get out from under the burden of debt would charge those in financial need.

To make things worse it seems that banks are trying to find ways to squeeze even more out of their customers. Many of us have dropped the credit card to turn to debit cards. The idea has always seem good. You still got to use a card and not carry cash, and yet did not have to worry about paying back the bill because it was automatically deducted out of your checking account. But with the Bank of America now going to charge debit card holders a monthly fee, and other raising their atm fees to near $5 a swipe, it seems like cash might becoming the new in thing. And why not?

Many of you who have been to Sarah’s class, might remember in the beginning she mentions how much debt I brought in to the marriage. It was a little over $10,000.  In just about a year and a half we were able to get out of debt! How? Well we only made minimum wage and had to change our spending habits. We both made minimum wage. We ate cheap, very cheap. Our meals consisted of potatoes and at dinner would eat potatoes. Every now and then we added noodles or dumplings that were home made with flour and eggs when we had them. No it wasn’t fun, and no we didn’t enjoy weeks and years of potatoes. But the reward of being debt free out weighed the meals and thrifty life style.

How we managed to get out of debt so quick, on minimum wage was with a little note pad and a pen. Every day at my desk at work I would review and check my note pad. I set up my note pad with columns and and rows. Each row was designated a bill. I started on top with the most important. I wrote down the mortgage, then the car, the insurance, then utilities and on to the credit cards. With credit cards I figured out which ones had the highest interest rate and then figured out which had the highest balance. If the rates were similar I would write down which one had the lowest balance first. And the ones with the higher interest rate next. Each paycheck I divided out what little we made into to the columns on the note pad. As months went on I stapled them together and developed a little journal of our progress. As the columns and rows became smaller and smaller, we both began to realize how close we were to financial freedom.

That was over 10 years ago. Now a days with the internet and more and more information out there to help others, there are many ways online to accomplish a debt free life. One online resource we use in Mint.com. In line with my theory of not having to pay for things – Mint.com is FREE. In the next few days and weeks, we will review the steps to become debt free.  Any questions you have on Mint.com feel free to comment here.

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Filed Under: Debt Free Zone, My Thoughts

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The world is so busy and so loud that sometimes we forget how important the simple things in life truly can be. I was working away on the blog and a link popped up on my tool bar and I thought I would click on it. It was an article on a cochlear implants. If you are unfamiliar with these devices they are basically a hearing aid that is implanted into the skull to electronically stimulate the inner workings of the ear to give the sense of hearing. Now it is not a clear and understandable sound. But it aides in the understanding of words and music melodies.

I bet most of us daily never think about our hearing and what it means. The music plays in the background, the kid yell at each other and we tell our kids good nite. All goes with out thought and appreciation.

I hope to bring a better realization to the precious ability to hear. Take two minutes watch these two cute videos and watch the persons emotions, excitement, and thankfulness to the new sounds they hear.


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