Friday, October 25, 2013

Enjoy the $eason

Fall is my very favorite time of year and there is so much to do that is virtually FREE!

Here are some of my favorites:

1)  Drive around a neighborhood that has good Halloween Decorations.  For us it is Hill-crest Avenue in Louisville, KY.
2)  Walk through a local nature preserve or park, enjoy the fall colors, listen to the crunch of the leaves underfoot.  Pick up 5 pretty leaves that catch your eye, or acorns, or interesting branches to use in your home.
3)  Check out local FREE Halloween activities.  Our church sponsors a Trunk or Treat!  Free candy for the kids in a safe environment.  We even serve FREE pizza. I am not sure who has more fun, the trick-or-treaters or the people who decorate their cars for the event.  Go to for more information (This years event is Wednesday, October 30th)
4)  Rent a scary movie from the Library
5)  Read ghost stories from books you've rented from the Library
6)  Sleep in under your winter linens!  (A personal favorite even though I don't get to do it very often)
7)  Make a pot of chili or bean soup and watch College football!
8)  Snuggle with your sweetie
9)  Rake the leaves in your yard and JUMP! in them
10)  Plan your costume using items you have around the house

St John UMC Pumpkin Patch

Happy Fall Y'all!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What do you Wa$te ?

Being frugal is more than just how you spend your money.

In my opinion it is includes how you utilize any of your resources.  Wasting time?-time is money, throwing out leftovers?-food was bought with hard earned money, have to buy something new because you can't find it in the clutter? get the idea...

Take 5 minutes this week (Time is money!) and don't over think this exercise.
1)  Set a time for 5 minutes
2)  Make a list of the ways you waste money-write down the first things that come into your head.
3)  When 5 minute are up, STOP writing

Now for the analysis of your list
1)  Try to classify the ROOT cause for the waste
Root causes may not be obvious.  For example, I occasionally have to repurchase a craft item because I didn't replace the product in the place it actually belongs.  I set it down in a heap of things and now (because there tend to be multiple heaps of things in my craft area) cannot locate the necessary product.  I could stop and put everything away properly but it usually ends up being easier to repurchase.  ROOT CAUSE:  too busy to put things away in their proper place and/or CLUTTER.  Reduce either of these bad habits and I save both time and money.   TO work on this root cause I spend 5 minutes before I craft (again, I set a timer) and after I craft to tidy up.

Other root causes might be boredom (shopaholic syndrome), unable to discern want from need, business (especially true in food waste for my household), etc.

2)  Do you have a theme among the ROOT causes (does one appear more frequently than the others)?  If so, attach this root cause first to reduce waste.

What are you wasting?  What are your root causes?

I look forward to hearing from you!


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to $pot a Knock off De$igner Pur$e

I am not big into designer labels but do own several real leather purses.  They just seem to wear better and last for years.  If you are shopping for a designer purse and find a deal that seems just too good to be true-look for these signs to help you determine if the bag is the real thing or a cheap knock off

1)  Check the stitching.  Stitching on real bags is even, straight and without loose threads or double stitches
2)  The hardware is SOLID (usually brass) and buckles often stamped with the logo. 
3)  Real leather is soft and supple.  Fakes are generally PLEATHER which is cheaper, thinner and brittle, which is particularly noticeable on longer straps.  
4)  LOGOs are perfectly symmetrical, aligned.  Knock-offs have crooked, blurry or slanted logos--always a dead giveaway
5)  Zippers move smoothly, do not stick and Coach purses have a YKK stamped on the pull.
6)  Linings are stitched-not glued
7)  Many have serial numbers in the lining. Check the serial number on the website to authenticate the bag.  

Happy Designer Bag shopping!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

4th Quarter Financial Goal$

We're down to the wire for 2013...
only 3 more months until we turn over the calendar to 2014

It is time to FINISH STRONG!

1)  Evaluate your 2013 goals to see how you are doing
If you are on target, or are at 90% of your goal; congratulate yourself and begin to formulate 2014 goals

If you are slogging along, or between 70-90% of your goal; time to ramp up your efforts as you still have time to be successful.

Not even close?  Evaluate WHAT prevented you from hitting your goals.  Occasionally, life's circumstances prevent us from reaching a financial goal (illness, loss of job, catastrophic event, accident, etc.)  but more frequently it is just that we never overcame the inertia to begin to meet our goals.  We didn't start saving, we didn't get serious about paying down credit card debt, etc.  In order to reach the finish line you have to start the race!
WRITE DOWN what prevented you from reaching your goals (I suggest you do this on a frequent basis-weekly if you are an impulse spender whose budget is wrecked by every cute pair of shoes you see).  Be brutally honest with yourself to assure success.

Didn't create any financial goals?  It is not too late!  How about a couple of the following?
1)  Have a debt free Christmas and pay CASH for all your purchases
2)  Save 10% of your paycheck beginning with the next check
3)  Give 10% of your take home pay to your church or your favorite charity
4)  Go on a credit card fast for a week, a month or the remainder of the year
5)  Ramp up your savings to at least $1000
6)  Pay just $10 more on the minimum on your credit card
7)  Read a book on finance by Dave Ramsey, Suzie Orman or similar
8)  Post your goals in a prominent place (like around your credit card or checkbook if overspending is an issue for you).  Read them often!

Good Luck-you can do it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

20 things you should know about ObamaCare

Top 20 things you should know about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or ObamaCare
1.       You must have health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty (few exceptions)
2.       You can continue to subscribe to your employer  plan or explore the Health Care exchange options
3.       For most people, the new plan will cover more, for older people they may cost less, there will not be lifetime limits and out of pocket yearly expenses will be capped
4.       Preexisting and chronic conditions will not exclude you from coverage
5.       Children can be on your plan until they are 26 years old
6.       You can only sign up during the open enrollment periods (this year it lasts from October 1, 2013-March 2014
7.       You can skip coverage and pay the penalty…and if you are injured, etc. you will bear the full cost of the treatment
8.       If you reside in Kentucky you can compare the offerings in the Marketplace  at  In Indiana it is  These sites will help you determine if you qualify for free or lower cost insurance. 
9.       If you make up to $45,950 you may qualify for a subsidy that will reduce your premiums (you must purchase through the Exchange to receive the subsidy)
10.   Other lower cost solutions are available through brokers, etc.  Shop around
11.   Expect more emphasis on wellness programs
12.   Expect new arrangements between insurers and providers (hospitals, doctors, etc.) which may lead to better coordination of care, fewer choices, etc.  You’ll begin hearing about ACOs-accountable care organizations which will move payments away from fee for service toward incentives that reward providers for keeping patients healthy.
13.   Call ahead to schedule appointments-more people insured means longer wait times for the available appointments
14.   Don’t expect immediate cost savings
15.   Expect more pressure to adopt healthy habits—you may be incentivized to adopt in the form of lower premiums, gift cards, etc. 
16.   Business are NOT required to insure employees THIS year (that mandate was delayed).  However, in 2015 employers with over 50 employees will be required to insure or pay a penalty
17.   Undocumented immigrants will not receive subsidies
18.   Hospitals will be using their emergency rooms as places for the uninsured to sign up
19.   Keep reading all the information that is pouring forth to keep up on the latest changes
20.   The free market will continue to exist-perhaps in a more robust fashion than ever before