09. 17. 2014
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Was feeling left out of the blog mascot world… Meet Debty Donkey!

Today kicks off FinCon 2014, the conference to be at if you are a personal finance blogger, which I kinda am. I suppose. Ish.  But I’m unable to attend this year due to having using up all my paid leave to go and have a baby, which seemed important at the time.

Several others are also left behind holding down the fort, so we are having some fun this week and breaking away from our normal blogging routines to have an online “I’m not at FinCon” party organized by Debt Debs and dubbed “Frugal FinCon Fiesta”.

Here’s what we are doing – we are kinda-not-really live blogging (I have a job, people) for the length of FinCon, which Is Thursday through Saturday. You ask me any question (within reason, for an anonymous blogger who doesn’t reveal detailed income information) and I’ll answer by updating this post. We are linking up over at Debt Debs and then there’s something about me being able to display the link-up here, too. Confused yet? Me, too. Just ask me something.

I’ll start.

Who in your life knows about your blog?
Honestly, I’m not really sure. I just told my hubby at the beginning of August, when I signed up for Cat’s freelance program. I suspect my mother-in-law (hi?) found my blog after my twitter account somehow notified her I was on twitter, despite my efforts to create an anonymous account. My sister found me on Bloglovin’ because I had initially used my real name to sign up. After that, I updated my last name to be “Indebted”. I told a friend of mine from Texas, who leaves comments so I know she does actually read this thing (hi, Daesha) and other than that, I don’t think anyone else knows. My sister did pass along the link to some of her friends, but I haven’t seen comments to verify that any of them have been here.

UPDATE #1
Brian, from Debt Discipline (fellow Plutus Awards finalist!!!), wants to know why I didn’t share my blog with family. That is a great question and I wish I had a great answer. My answer has changed over time, actually. When I started my blog, I was on maternity leave and was doing it to pass the time and motivate myself all at once. I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to find time to continue blogging once I went back to work – it seemed like a temporary past time, so the was no reason to share it. In the beginning, I never promoted my blog, but people started finding it and following it and then it kept growing. Now, I’m at the point where I’d like to share it with more family, BUT. I would probably be fired from my job for my blog, so it’s very important to stay anonymous. Not all of my family (or friends) can honor that. It’s one thing to share my blog on Facebook, but it’s a whole different ball game to tag me when sharing it. I didn’t want either of my pregnancies shared on Facebook, and family had a really hard time honoring that. I was deleting comments on a weekly basis. I can’t be sure what they’ll do with the blog, so I can’t share it with them now, even though I’d like to.

09. 16. 2014

This weekend, Kassandra at More Than Just Money nominated seven other bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award. You guessed it – I am one of the seven, so I’m thinking this ruins my chances at the Plutus Award this Saturday (because that would be what does it). I’m game to provide the seven facts about me, especially as I’ve declared this “get to know me week”, but I’m going to pass on tagging others. I know, total party pooper (bonus fun fact).

 

A Better Shot of Mom and Baby

A Better Shot of Mom and Baby

1. I’ve always (like, always) known I’d have a career in aerospace. I announced at the ripe age of three that I wanted to be an astronaut. I went to Space a Camp in sixth grade and got a taste of a Mission Control and realized it was much cooler to tell the astronauts what to do. The rest is history!
2. I started drinking coffee, black, around the age of eight. My daddy loved his coffee and he drank it black. I wanted to be just like him and had been drinking milky coffee (you know – mostly milk) for a bit, but I one day demanded to drink it black. My parents assured me I wouldn’t like it, but went ahead and poured a small cup for me to try. It was nasty, but there was no way I was going to let them know that. I’m stubborn like that (another bonus fun fact!). From then on, I always took my coffee black and got some really interesting looks from waitresses when that’s what I ordered at dinner.
3. I’m obsessively early for everything. My husband does not share this gene and I have been known to just leave him when he’s running too far behind. It’s better for our marriage. He’s taken to trying to sabotage me by leaving me to get myself and two girls ready at the same time. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
4. My first language was German. My dad was in the Air Force and was stationed in Germany when I was a child. My mom hired local babysitters and I watched German TV and so I naturally picked up the language. My mother said I mixed my sentences up with English and German together and sometimes had to have the babysitter translate.
5. Since turning 18, I have lived in 14 different towns/cities. I’m (only?) 35, so you can’t see there’s been lots of bouncing around. The longest stretch at one address has been four years.
6. When you google my name, you’ll mostly find race results. Apparently all I have done in life is run some races.
7. I have no filter. None. In high school, a guy once asked me if I’d go out with him. I told him no. He said “mind if I ask why?” I said “because I don’t like you”. Depending on the situation, I’m called “honest”, “blunt”, or “tactless”.

Are you early, on-time, or late? Do you have a good filter? What do you find when you google your name?

09. 15. 2014

It’s FinCon week! I’m feeling slightly jealous of those of you who will be there (but happy for you, too). Because of FinCon, I’m going to be doing things differently this week on the blog (you might just want to come back next week). I’ve decided to let you guys get to know me a little better, which is made easier by things happening at a few other blogs. Kassandra at More Than Just Money nominated me for a blogger award, so I’ll go ahead and share the obligatory “fun facts” about me tomorrow. And then later on this week, I’ll be participating with Debt Debs (and others) doing a FrugalFinConFiesta, where you can ask me anything and I’ll answer questions on the blog Thursday – Saturday, coinciding with FinCon.

For today’s get-to-know-me post, I got the idea several days ago. It started off with these same two bloggers (so you will have a lot to blame them for this week) – Debt Debs and her hilarious reasons she’s not going to FinCon, and then Kassandra shared her weirdness and encouraged her readers to share theirs. I shared something about my love of NASCAR, some tweets flew around, and here I am, telling you my top 10 reasons I’m a crazy NASCAR lady.

crazy NASCAR fan

First, some background. I grew up in the South and my dad was just a good ole boy who loved Awesome Bill (Elliott) from Dawsonville. If you wanted to watch TV on Sunday afternoon, it had to be the race. I hated racing. Hated. It. One day, I camped out in the living room during the end of a race, knowing I could take over the TV just as soon as it was done. There was a guy that was in the lead by a fair bit and in my eight year old brain, I knew if he won, the race would be over that much quicker. I silently rooted for him to get the race over with. The driver, turns out, was Davey Allison and I became a die hard fan of his until he died in ’93.

It’s important to know that, no, cars do not just go around in circles. And I don’t just watch for the wrecks (eye roll). I’m in it for the action. The strategy. The skill. Yet I know most people can’t understand watching the whole race. Here’s the deal: the only way you can watch four hours is to like somebody and hate a lot of people.

That passion has driven me to be a little crazy with my NASCAR obsession, so here are the top 10 reasons why I might have a NASCAR problem.

10. I’m better at diagnosing problems than most announcers.

“Oh no! Looks like Tony Stewart has lost an engine!” Um, dude, did you not see the hard right into the wall and the complete lack of smoke? Cut tire. I don’t even need a replay.

9. I’ve been known to record a race I’ve missed and watch it from beginning to end. It’s not the same just finding out who won.

8. I love the noise.

My college dorms were very close to a major NASCAR track. When the cars would fire up, the dorms would shake. Lots of kids hated it and found the noise disturbing, but for me it was the most exciting thing ever.

7. I bought my husband Daytona 500 tickets for Valentine’s Day / his birthday. He doesn’t watch NASCAR.

6. The qualifying races for Daytona are held on a Thursday. I’m usually sick that day. Really sick. Must.stay.home.

5. My husband isn’t allowed to speak during the race. Not even during the caution, honey. And definitely not during the red flag – I mean, they are interviewing people! And oh, that commercial has my favorite driver in it, so just go ahead and be quiet then, too. For some reason, he just takes a nap instead of watching the race with me.

4. When I was younger, I wanted to have two kids, a boy and a girl, and name them David and Allison (get it? Davey Allison). We have two girls, so I instead tried to pass off Charlotte, Sonoma, Daytona, and Talladega as girls’ names. Hubby didn’t bite.

3. I support the sponsors of the teams I like and I avoid the sponsors of the teams I don’t. Where the sponsor is on multiple cars, as long as they support someone I like, they are cool. At NASA, my coworkers made me publish a good and bad list, so they were aware of what products and stores to avoid (or likely, to irk me with). Frugality is done within the confines of these restrictions.

2. I actually left my aerospace engineering program for a short time and switched to a motorsports engineering program. I had designs on being the first female crew chief in NASCAR. I still think I would’ve rocked it.

1. I got married on a Monday so I could watch the race. Otherwise, I feared being on a flight to Hawaii.

Do you watch NASCAR? If so, probably shouldn’t tell me who you root for – it might damage our relationship forever!

09. 13. 2014

Success Story Saturday

Welcome to my Saturday reflection on what things went right this week – “Success Story Saturday”. We are short on huge successes this week, but that’s ok. Not everything has to be a huge win.

People Don't Seem to Believe I'm Not Photogenic?

People Don’t Seem to Believe I’m Not Photogenic?

1. Today we are going on our first date since May (which was only about 30 minutes away at a coffee shop). It’s nice because our preacher and his wife have agreed to watch the kiddos and they do it for free.

2. Last week, I found a closeout model laptop at Wal-Mart and they didn’t have any left in stock – just the display model. So, I took the plunge and got it – it was already about half price and I got an additional discount since it was a floor model. I am not sure if I have greatly increased my blog-related efficiency, but I will say it’s easier to type the posts and get the formatted well. I think? Maybe? Tell me things are looking OK, people.

Good Reads

Enough about me – let’s move on to other people’s good stuff that you might have missed, due to your obvious obsession with my blog.

FAITH

I seem to find most of my faith blogs through Meredith’s blog. She is building a small community over there and I can see it starting to grow rapidly. Anyway, she introduced us to Amy Dalke this last week, and just in time. Friday was shaping up to be a stressful day and then I read this post from her. Just go read it – she puts some pep in your step.

FAMILY

Laurie at The Frugal Farmer has been letting us in on quite a bit of her life lately. She’s definitely been through rough things – things I can’t even imagine. This week, she did two knock-out, life-on-the-table-for-the-world-to-see posts, but if you only have time for one, read her domestic abuse account. She’s a survivor and I’m proud of her for sharing her story. I just know it’s going to help someone see the light before it’s too late.

FINANCES

Broke Millennial let us in on how to set your rates as a freelancer. I loved this because it contained an equation. Hi, I’m an aerospace engineer, so I heart formulas. And now I know I’ll never undervalue my time – unless I choose to do so.

FITNESS

I didn’t find any topics that I had flagged this week for fitness, and honestly, I’m a little light on blogs I read that have fitness as a major focus. But I am a runner. I love running. I didn’t want to leave this category blank, so I went in search of some new bloggy-fitness-inspiration. I found , and I am thinking I’ll be back for more.

JUST FOR FUN

Robin runs a pretty new blog called The Thrifty Peach (and I do mean pretty. She did some work on her theme and I think it’s awesome). This week she did a cute little post on how grammar (or, actually, spelling) got her a sweet deal on a refridgerator refidgerator fridge. I may have found this especially funny because I am such a nerd about this stuff. I was recently on a team that was tasked with composing a memo for the company, regarding an incentive plan. As we reviewed the wording one last time, I asked the author to add a comma. One of the engineers said “no, I don’t like that comma”, to which I replied, “it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. It’s an introductory prepositional phrase that is greater than four words. It requires a comma”. Yeah. That shut him up.

Are you a grammar nerd? Do you have any favorite non-personal finance blogs that you’d like to share? What were some of your financial wins this week?

09. 12. 2014

can't afford to stay home

I feel like I only go to church to nurse my baby. We have a nursing mom’s room, but the speaker has never worked properly, so when I am in there, I can’t hear much of anything (we are getting it fixed soon). As luck would have it, for the past six months, it seems like worship time coincides with feeding or nap time, so I spend a bunch of time in the nursing room, quietly rocking my baby. Just a few weeks ago, a local lady had a baby girl. She normally travels a great distance to worship where her father preaches, but she’s been attending with us while her daughter is so young.

Since we can’t hear anything anyway, we got to chatting last week. She asked what my husband did for work and I told her, but I also threw in that I worked for the same company. I know how this usually works – there is often an assumption within the walls of a church building that young mothers do not work. I returned the question and then gingerly asked if she worked. She doesn’t.

She (very nicely) explained that she and her husband felt it was best for her to stay home with their young children. She talked about how it’s just so hard with two parents working – getting home to rush through supper and homework and baths and using your weekends to do errands, cleaning, and yard work. I nodded my head enthusiastically – I totally agree. Being a working mom is hard. I live the mess, chaos, confusion, and exhaustion every day.

I told her as much – that I am worn out and I’m always afraid of all the firsts I could be missing. In a motherly tone, she said (as so many women before her have) “we made a lot of sacrifices. You have to sacrifice for what you want”.

I smiled thinly and told her the basics of our situation – that I can’t afford to stay home. That I out earn my husband. That we have a great deal of student loan debt. That I’ve looked at my budget a hundred times in the last 4 years. And she just shrugged and said that it was hard on them, too, but they’d done it. I dropped it, because sometimes it’s just not worth the battle (and maybe partly because I was already drafting this post in my head). But, here’s what I could have told her.

On my husband’s salary alone, I can’t afford to stay home. There are simply no sacrifices that we can make in order to clear that thorny, muddy path for me. After taxes and church contribution, here’s a sample breakdown of my husband’s take home pay:

And if you add that up, that is over 100% – andd we haven’t even paid for operation our vehicles (gas, registration, vehicle maintenance, insurance, repairs), utilities, or medical care.

We can’t cut our student loan payments. We are willing to sell our house, but since we just bought it, we’ll actually be taking a financial hit in the short term. After losing most of our down payment money, we would not be able to purchase another house and rentals will be roughly the same price as our current mortgage (there is an extreme rental shortage in our area). However, rentals will be smaller, so we would save on utilities, but note that I didn’t include utilities in the cut from my husband’s check, so that doesn’t get us any closer to me staying home. I have tried and tried and tried to reduce our grocery spending, but we live in an expensive area, so I couldn’t get it much lower. If I stayed home and could cut coupons and shop at different stores in town for different items, finding the best value, I could probably bring us down to using just 100% of hubby’s take home pay, but I am still going to have to work.

The one solution we see is to try to move to a cheaper area, while somehow securing a raise for my husband. Those two things do not often go hand-in-hand. I’ve covered it here on the blog, I probably don’t need a ton of money to stay home, but there is no way I’d ever be anything other than a work-from-home mom. Does that solve some of our problems? Yes. Does it create other problems? Yes. Would it be worth it? I wouldn’t be going after it if I didn’t truly believe that.

I have grown to despise hearing the (often, holier-than-thou) “if you sacrifice, you can stay home with your kids” bit. It’s gotten old. Yes, I know I won’t have to pay for daycare if I don’t work. Yes, I know I can avoid things like dry cleaning and work lunches – but I don’t do either as it is. I also don’t ever get a manicure or pedicure and I get my hair cut once a year, if that often, so I’m not going to save money by giving up personal care luxuries. I will also not save money on gas and car maintenance, because I ride with my husband about 90% of the time. For now, we don’t have a car payment, so telling me to cut back to one car saves a couple hundred dollars in insurance and registration and creates a logistics nightmare since we live so far from work in an area without public transportation.

If you got to stay home with your children, I am 100% happy for you, but make no mistake – our situations are not the same. Telling me to make sacrifices is non-specific and extremely unhelpful. I can’t afford to stay home.

If you are a stay-at-home mom, what specific sacrifices did you make in order to stay home? Do you earn money? Does your husband have a second job? For everyone else, would there be sacrifices you could make if you needed/wanted to go to one income?

 

 

09. 10. 2014

why I stayed

With “#WhyIStayed” trending on twitter this week (given the Ray Rice abuse-triggered firing, if you hadn’t heard), that’s what was on my heart to write about this morning – why I stayed. Let me start by saying that I have never, ever been hit by anyone I have dated, so I’m not going to share with you my struggle of why I stayed, but there are days that I think “what if…”

I was engaged once before I met my husband. It was a quick courtship and a quick engagement and just a few months in, I began recognizing some warning signs. I felt isolated from friends and family. He only liked me talking to one of my friends. He was allowed to go hang out with an ex-girlfriend, but I wasn’t allowed to talk to an ex-boyfriend, who had truly been one of my best friends for years. He bordered on the controlling side, dictating where I went and when. Although he worked a decent-paying full-time job, he borrowed money from me or had me pay for dates.

One day, I did a little internet research on abusive relationships and realized that our relationship definitely had some red flags popping up. He happened to see my computer screen and went ballistic. I tried to pass it off as looking up some information for a friend that I was very concerned about, but he knew. And he tried hard to intimidate me (as if that was going to make his point that he wasn’t actually going to hurt me).

Good thing I don’t intimidate easily and our relationship was over not too long after the incident. I’ll never know what I would have done, had he ever hit me. I’d like to think I would have absolutely called the police and put him in jail. The reality is, though, that he’d isolated me. Would I have been strong enough – with no friends or family to turn to? I just don’t know.

I want so badly to protect my beautiful girls. I want to keep them from ever having a broken heart. I want to keep them from ever knowing pain – no skinned knees, bumped heads, or black eyes and broken ribs. I want to keep them from ever believing that they aren’t good enough – for anything. From believing that they aren’t pretty enough, thin enough, or smart enough – or whatever garbage the TV throws at them (and perhaps their boyfriends, too).

I can’t keep them protected, no more than we can change the people we love. Because, know this, there is nothing you can do to change the people you love. My husband and I have a solid relationship and there is nothing I can do to get him to put his dishes in the dishwasher, so ladies, you can’t love your man enough to change him.

That statement holds true for just about everything. You cannot love your man enough to change his hygiene. To change the way he speaks. To change the way he handles money. To change the way he talks to you. To keep him from hitting you. To make him believe in the God you believe in.

I want to speak a moment to the ladies who think their man just needs a little God in their lives. I hope you know by now that I think everyone needs a little (a LOT) of God in their lives. There’s lots of ifs here and I can’t counsel every woman through every if – if you are married and if he doesn’t beat you, if you aren’t married and if he beats you, and the ifs go on…

If you are in an abusive relationship (and make no mistake – he doesn’t have to lift a hand to abuse you. He can do it with his words), please get help. You might call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).

Yes, I know the Bible says that you might win him over. Yes, I know the Bible talks about planting seeds. But the Bible also talks about removing yourself from people who won’t right their wrongs against you (Matthew 18:15-17). It also talks about letting the spouse go, if he wants to go (1st Corinthians 7:15). And the Bible never says to stay until he kills you.

I don’t know why you are staying, but I’ll be praying for you. And I’ll be praying for my girls and the men that they might marry someday. May you all be strong, wise, and brave and may you love yourself as much as you love him.

09. 09. 2014

lessons on student loans

When we got married, I was just finishing up my undergrad degree. My husband was in graduate school, but it had an online option so I could move us anywhere after my graduation. I moved us to Tennessee, close to family, for my very first job. After a couple of years, we realized he probably wouldn’t be able to get a job in the area, but my own field (aerospace engineering) isn’t exactly in every state, either. We made the decision for me to find a job in a major metropolitan area and hope that he could follow suite.

Turns out, I landed my dream job at NASA in Houston. After a few months, my husband landed a job all the way across town (a very long commute, since Houston is so big) for about half the salary he thought he’d earn once he had his Master’s. It didn’t take long for him to be lured away to also work at NASA – for a cooler job, shorter commute, and better pay. He was working in engineering, instead of using his aviation business degree, and he wasn’t making quite what he thought his Master’s should justify, but he was making decent money and he liked his job.

When I realized I actually wanted to stay home with our daughter, he set about looking for  job that actually used his Master’s degree, still feeling like he would be able to earn quite a bit more. However, every job he interviewed for required a pay cut from his NASA engineering job. After two years, he finally got “the” offer, which was a raise and was in his field. It still wasn’t what he thought he could make, but he was excited about the job and the pay wasn’t bad.

I followed him this time, as the job was across the country. I hired on with his employer, working in project management. I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t even negotiate my pay, because I wanted him to be able to earn at least as much as me for once (plus I had the distinct feeling I was only being hired to keep him happy).

He’s had a few issues with his position, so he recently applied for an exciting-sounding transfer. We found out late last week that he didn’t get it. Then we found out I got a significant pay increase, surpassing his earnings once again. And now he’s found out that he didn’t get a job with another company – one which would have moved us closer to family and allowed me to stay home, if only for a year or so.

I imagine he is feeling pretty down right about now. His wife is the top earner and the company that he was so excited to work for seems to value her more than him. I think he’s finally coming to terms with the fact that he borrowed six figures worth of student loans for a degree that couldn’t pay for them.

I wish I had some positive and uplifting note to end this on, but all I can do is offer up this lesson to those who are preparing for college (or who have kids preparing): if you are going to take out student loans, be very careful. Here are a few lessons on student loans:

  1. Make sure your anticipated salary can realistically pay for how much you think you will need to borrow
  2. Do everything you can to graduate college with applicable work (or volunteer) experience so that you can easily land positions and command a higher salary (my husband had never worked anywhere but the family farm until he was a couple of semesters into his grad degree)
  3. Avoid unsubsidized loans if you are going to be borrowing, as the interest is accumulating the day you sign the loan paperwork.
09. 06. 2014

how I got my raise

Where Things Went Wrong

No Negotation
My husband had spent seven years following me around the country for my career, never really using his Master’s degree. After a two year job search, a company up north courted him and gave him an offer. The initial offer was much less than he thought he could earn, but he was excited about the opportunity. There was the obvious haggling to be done, and after a few rounds, there was a great deal of difficulty bridging the measly $2,000 gap between what we wanted and what they wanted to give, but it was done and our move up north was on.

Of course, I had to find a job. The obvious employer – the only one in my industry – was my husband’s company, so I applied for several positions. It’s a long story, but let me just say that they clearly weren’t overly interested in me.

I was shocked to get an offer from them in the end. The figure was low, but it was for the same amount that my husband had practically had to beg to get. After seven years of making substantially less than his wife, now was his chance to earn the same. Plus, I was fairly nervous that a counter-offer wouldn’t go well. After all, it hadn’t gone well with my husband and they wanted him.

Even though I knew better, I took the offer without countering.

A Promotion Without a Raise
I’ve already explained it here, but in case you are new, I got promoted last year, but the company hadn’t budgeted for raises. My manager at the time was apologetic about the lack of raise and had secured a bonus for me. I felt he was sincere, so I accepted the title and the bonus… But just a few short months later, I reported to a new manager.

Fast Forward
As performance evaluations began happening, I started checking with other employees who had been promoted last year. None of them were getting raises. And while their immediate management is upset about the situation, they were telling their employees to basically never expect a raise. Great.

What I Did Right

Excel
I am a hard worker (for the most part). You want something done quickly (and right), you give it to me. I deliver. I speak up. I can be counted on. All the reasons I deserved a promotion have continued to be true.

Speak Up (see above)
When it was time for my performance evaluation this year, I gave my boss a heads up that I didn’t get my raise last year. That gave him time to think about it, review my performance eval from last year, and even check into my salary with Human Resources.

Be Prepared
Meanwhile, I was off using payscale.com to do an assessment of what my salary should be. It’s a neat tool because it takes into account your title, industry, location, company size – everything that matters in salary calculation. When I had my performance eval, I came prepared to talk my worth.

How I Got My Raise

Here’s what actually happened: we got all the way through the eval, in which I was highly ranked again, and then my manager wanted to know more detail on how much I thought I deserved. He asked several questions and I began to think I was in for a fight. But I gave him a figure and stood my ground, describing how I’d arrived there. I think the number is still a little low, but our company is not known for it’s excellent pay, and I was asking for a large jump in salary – 12%.

With the number established and my manager satisfied that I’d factored in industry and location, he pulled up a form, typed in the exact number I asked for and … Viola. Raise!

After taxes and church contribution, we will have about 60% of the raise left, but that is still plenty good enough for us to be able to pay off our first loan this year. Now, I’ve talked here before that we have some budget shortfalls. We have around five categories that are cutting it close, if not completely under budgeted. We are operating on faith that we will be ok. I have freelancing income and we do have possibilities for some bonuses this year. I’m not planning to adjust our budget at all – just pay down debt.

I could to be more excited! For the record – my manager did tell me “never take a promotion without a raise”. Point taken. Never. Again.

Have you ever asked for a raise outside of a performance evaluation? Have you ever researched your salary and found you were underpaid?

09. 06. 2014
financial successes

This here is what we call a dusting

Success Stories

Hey there, folks! It’s Saturday, so that means I force myself out of my rut of talking about whiny debt stuff and I focus on what went well – even if it’s really tiny. So let’s get right to it – my financial successes for this week!

Financial Successes

Other Successes

Good Reads

So you don’t just want to read Indebted and In Debt? Really?! I’m not enough for you? :-( Well, lucky for you, I’m not enough for me, either! Check out some of these great posts I’ve enjoyed this week.

Faith

I found a site quite by accident this morning, when trying to find a different site that I wanted to link to for this category. Barbie is being laid off from her job, but she wrote a totally moving piece about faith and courage. Seriously, every other line is tweetable, so you get some bite-sized, but powerful doses of what makes her strong. Best one, in my opinion: “courage is faith with shoes on”. Amen, sister. And prays for you.

Family

Over at Be More With Less, I saw a great post this week on how to simplify your life when no one else in your family will. I thought, hey, this is for me! I could live in a one room shack, but my hubby would never agree to give up all the things he’s accumulated. Until I realized that, you know what? I haven’t even scratched the surface myself. My realization wasn’t really the point of the post (in case you read it and think my summary sucked). Just something I took away from it.

Fitness

I’m kinda loving Budget and the Bees. It’s a newish blog, so if you haven’t heard about them, go check it out. I dig the teamwork they have going on over there, too. (Maybe that’s where I went wrong here??) Anyway, B&B wrote a post this week on eating well on the go, which I think is a challenge for most of us. Turns out, though, that eating well on the go probably means saving money.

Finances

This is always a tough category, because I read so, so, so many personal finance posts – trying to learn more to help hubby and I out. This week’s nod goes to a financial recap post. I gotta be honest, folks, I don’t read most posts that have anything to do with investing or income/debt recaps. It’s not an all or nothing thing – I read them occasionally. I just find that the investing is out of my league for the moment (but one day!) and the income/debt recaps just aren’t as motivating to me as some of the other personal posts. For whatever reason this week, I read Laurie’s recap at The Frugal Farmer, and I loved what she had to say about sharing so openly. It’s tough. She’s putting herself on the line, but she does it to encourage and she does it to stay motivated. We shouldn’t harshly judge someone else’s financial decisions because no two people or families have it exactly the same. What is a stupid decision for one person, is a wise investment for another. Now, notice I said “harshly” judge. Maybe you realize someone is headed down a slippery slope – it’s OK to step in and offer guidance and support. But keep the harshness in check.

Just for Fun

Usually, I can only think of one post that fits this category. Well, that was before I found Frugal Woods and now I could probably just turn this category over to her every week. But, if I elminate her snort-worthy posts, this week I have to choose between Debt Debs and More Than Just Money. Now that I’ve named them both (well, all three) and sort of violated my unwritten rule for one post per category, I’ll give the nod to Debt Debs, mostly because she talked about her breasts. All Kassandra has going for her is a dead fish. Sorry, Kassandra!

Your turn – what great posts did I miss this week? Should I read more on investing now, even though my time is limited? 

09. 03. 2014

Get it all doneGet It All Done – Yeah, Right

I’ve been asked a few times lately, “how do you get it all done?” The answer, of course, is that I don’t. Beds aren’t made, dishes aren’t done, and clothes are never, ever put away. My inability to complete my to-do list is largely a function of this goal I have in mind – and I’m going after it with as much oomph as I can muster. At the same time, it seems silly to put off time with the kiddos now, in order to spend time with them later, so I’m doing my best to balance things out. Sleep, me-time, hubby-time, and housework are instead paying the price.

But here’s the way I get what I do get done, done. (Spoiler: it’s my mobile technology).

I use my commute time.
Thankfully, hubby and I work at the same company, so he drives us to work and I ride in the back with the girls. I do my best to smile at the baby and help my oldest play games on her iPad during our 30 minute drive to daycare. Meanwhile, on my iPhone, I read blogs, comment on them, and tweet them out. If I get comments early in the morning, I’ll sometimes try to respond to them on our drive in.

If hubby is on travel, I lose this productive time. Just yesterday we drive separately so he could have his vehicle worked on, so I lost a bit if blogging-related time.

I use my break time.
I take three 30-ish minute pumping breaks at work. I do not take a lunch and we often get there early, so even though US law guarantees me appropriate break time for pumping, I’m not actually using much (if any). During this time, I draft my next posts and comment on as many blogs as I can manage.

In order to be discrete, I use my iPad. I just tuck it in my pumping bag and no one knows I’m plugging away at anything other than making milk.

I use nursing time.
I usually nurse the little one in a quiet room while daddy entertains loud big sis. If the little one is nursing off to sleep, the moment those eyelids flutter closed, I’m reaching for my phone, tweeting, emailing, etc. I despise this some days. I wish I could just hold her. Soak in the moments. Feel her breath and watch her sleep smiles. But I also want to be home with her all day at some point and I don’t want to work until 1am, so it’s a compromise.

I stay up late and get up early
Since I’ve begun freelancing, I work those articles in during weekend nap times or late at night or early in the morning. I try to use our a netbook for these times, but honestly, it’s slow as molasses. It’s probably quicker on my iPad.

Workarounds and Lessons Learned

Is using an iPhone and an iPad the most efficient way to work online? Of course not. But it is the best way to have a little work-life balance because I work on the go. But while we are at it, let me take a few moments to point out some unique challenges for iPad blogging.

What are your tips for fitting in balance with blogging, if you blog? Not a blogger – tell me how you juggle your life in general!

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