Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Five Super Simple Ways To Stash Some Extra Cash

Below are five simple ways that my husband and I have learned to save and stash cash that actually results in hundreds of hidden dollars being saved every year. Then, we are able to strategically (and painlessly) use those extra dollars for specific purposes at specific times throughout the year. This has resulted in HUGE savings along the way!

1. Learn to Budget Using a Cash-Only Envelope System - 


By using Dave Ramsey's envelope system we're learning (have been learning for a very long time) to curb spending and save money. When I first started working (part-time three-and-a-half-years ago) I asked for help in setting up a budget. While definitely far from perfect, we have made great strides in learning to adjust and overcome. We leave enough money in the checking account to pay bills and the rest is divided up into envelopes to be used for gas, groceries, and other day-to-day living expenses.

2. Save and Roll All Loose Change - 


This is something that we've done since our children were small (and using the cash-only system produces a LOT of loose change...which is GREAT!!!) But, when the children were small, we'd save our loose change all year long, roll it, and turn it in at Christmastime. Between that and our 'override' checking account system (more about that in a minute) Christmas money was being stashed throughout the year and when it came time to buy all we had to do was take it to the bank and turn it into bills. We still do the same thing now, but, instead of Christmas we use our rolled change to pay for weekend getaways and mini vacations. 

3. Use the 'Override' System in Your Checking Account - 

This is one that drives some people absolutely crazy when I tell them about it, but it's something that we've done since the early days of having a checking account as a couple and it has worked for and benefited us in multiple ways over the years. I don't know why I call it the 'override' system, but that's what I've always called it and I'm not changing it now. LOL! 

What I do is simple. When making a deposit, I write down the actual amount of the deposit in the DEPOSIT, CREDIT (+) column (for example - $353.76), but in the running total column on the far right, I round it DOWN to the nearest whole dollar (using the example above, I would write down $353.00) and that is the total that I go by. In reality, there is a difference of 76 cents in the account that is not showing up in the total that I'm seeing on a day-to-day basis. 

Likewise, when I  write a check or pay a bill or make a payment for something using automatic withdrawal, I write the actual amount spent in the PAYMENT, FEE, WITHDRAWAL (-) column. For example, say whatever I purchased or paid for using my checking account or debit card totaled $24.01...that's what I would write in the (-) column. But, then, in the running total column I round the that amount UP to $25.00. In doing so, I just hid 99 cents from myself in that checking account. 

It all sounds crazy I know, but it's a simple method of hiding money from ourselves and at the end of the year we are usually sitting on an extra $300.00 to $500.00 that we didn't know we had.

I mean, we do know we have it...obviously...because every month when I balance the checkbook I know exactly how much is in the 'override' at that point, but, you know what I'm saying...we know it's there, but we don't acknowledge it being there until we decide to use it for something specific. This method has come in handy over the years to be used for Christmas, in an emergency, to pay towards credit card debt, or to be given away to someone in need. It's a great way to build a hidden savings account a few cents at a time.

4. Take Advantage of Store-Instituted Savings Programs - 
For example, Walmart's Savings Catcher -


I can't say that Walmart, in reality, makes our lives better, but I do save a lot of money at Walmart every year by taking advantage of their Savings Catcher program.

In a nutshell, what the Savings Catcher does (after making your account and going to the trouble of adding your receipt information in each time you shop) is check your receipt against all the other store ads within a so-many-square-mile radius of the store you purchased from, and, if there are any items on your receipt that you could have been purchased cheaper somewhere else, they give you the difference. I guess you could call it electronic ad-matching at its finest (or not). 

Anyway, I save up all my Saving Catcher dollars until I have a fair amount, then I have it transferred to my Bluebird card (this is the ONLY thing that I use my Bluebird card for) and then decide how to spend it. Last year we saved up $100.00 and gave it away as a gift and, just yesterday, I used my savings to purchase my entire $72.51 Walmart grocery shopping trip for FREE.

So...it really does pay (for us, anyway) to participate in this. 



5.  Take Advantage of Store-Instituted Point Programs - For example, Pete's gas station's Kickback card -

I really enjoy my Kickback card! Even though we, occasionally, have to settle for something else, we really don't like running any gas other than Conoco or Phillip's 66 through our vehicles. Those are the ones that our vehicles perform best on and that we get the best gas mileage with. So, we were super excited when our local Pete's chain of gas stations started the Kickback program! 

What happens with it is, after enrolling in the program and by sliding your Kickback card each time you spend money at Pete's (gas, drinks, food, whatever), you receive points. Each point equals 1 cent. You can't redeem the points FOR cash, but you can spend the points LIKE cash. For us, this results in one to two full tanks of gas for FREE each year!

Also, Kickback keeps track of fountain drinks purchased. Buy 9 and the 10th one is always free. 

Well, folks, these are a few of the ways that we've learned to stash some extra cash over the years in our home. When you add them altogether, these have added up to some substantial savings! 

Are there ways that you and your family have learned to stash some extra cash? If so, I'd love to hear your ideas in return!

Until next time...
~Rebecca

Some recent posts that you might enjoy...

Happy Homemaking Monday - August 28, 2017




Monday, August 28, 2017

Happy Homemaking Monday - August 28, 2017


Greetings, Dear Ladies!

It's so good to be able to be here with you all this week. We were of town last week and I didn't get a chance to post. I know I'm running late this week, but, Monday's not over yet! What a blessing it is to be linking up with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and the sweet ladies at Happy Homemaking Monday


The weather...

The weather is absolutely beautiful this evening! At present it's 69 degrees and it's supposed to drop another 10 degrees before morning. The moon is in a waxing crescent phase and the stars are twinkling brightly in an inky black sky. 🌛🌟


Right now I am...

Listening to the night sounds outside my window. It relaxes me and helps me to unwind after a long day while I work on this post.

On my reading pile... 


I don't know why I even bother to share in this category. I'm not making much progress in it...that's for sure! I'm still working on the same books as before 


- People of the River's Mouth - In Search of the Missouria Indians by Michael Dickey
Talk To Me: Connecting With The Heart of God by Lynette Hagin
Trim Healthy Mama Plan by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

I did manage to read several chapters of Talk To Me this week while a co-worker drove us to training for work and back (7 hours driving time). I'm pretty sure I will have it finished by week's end.

On the menu this week....

The past week has been a total THM fail. There's been a lot going on and we haven't been home much, but it's okay. The beauty of THM is that you're never more than three to four hours away from starting over. Here are this week's menus...


- Monday - pasta, sauce, meatballs, and garlic bread (company meal)
- Tuesday - Salisbury Steak (S) pg 174, Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes (S) pg 361, Simple Steamed Broccoli (S) pg 354
- Wednesday - Troodle Casserole (S) pg 135
- Thursday - Grilled salmon (S, E, or FP) pg 284 Original THM, baked sweet potato, Creamless Creamy Vegetables (FP) pg 352
- Friday - Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (E) pg 100 served with 2 slices sprouted bread toast
- Saturday - out of town
- Sunday - leftovers

On my to do list....

- Complete my "home blessing" (this will be done on Tuesday this week as I was out of town most of today and company in this evening)
- Go over this week's planner and try to get a handle on everything that's coming up in the next week or two (detail plans and make lists)
- Work on getting the old house cleaned out and finished up (we've got less than 30 days to get it finished before selling)

In the craft basket...


- A craft project for an upcoming program at work - hanging stars made from the stems of tall grasses 


Looking forward to this week...


- Our family reunion (my dad's side of the family)


From the camera...

Watkins Woolen Mill (where our youngest daughter works) in Lawson, Missouri







Scripture Reading....

"And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring..." (Luke 21:25).

There are certainly a lot of unsettling things happening in our world today, but there is no need to fear. May all of these things serve as a reminder to each of us to draw near to God and put our complete faith and trust in Him and no other.

Well, Ladies, that's if for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed week ahead and I will see you next time!

Until then...
~Rebecca


Recent posts that you might enjoy:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Thrifty Week - Post #7


Hello! And welcome to "My Thrifty Week" - Post #7! 🙋 


It's been a busy week here with a lot going on and not much time for posting. I do, however, have several thrifty happenings to share with you this week. Here are the ones that I've managed to keep track of...

- Received a one month free trial on THM's member site (a $9.99 value ) for preordering the new cookbook.

- Only spent 86 cents for 2 peach ice waters at Sonic on the way home from taking my friend to chemo.


- Received $5.00 off at McAllisters for using my birthday coupon.


- Received $10.00 off and free shipping at Puritan's Pride when I did my bi-annual vitamin stock-up. Most of the items received were on sale 'buy one - get two free'.


- Received a free 32 oz. drink at Pete's  as a Kickback Card reward. 

- Purchased 9 totes (normally $7.93 each) on clearance at Walmart for $3.50 each.


- Received a discount on one 4-pack of Oikos Triple Zero vanilla yogurt by using the attached $1.00 off coupon.

That's it for the "thrifty happenings" here this week! What "thrifty happenings" are happening at your house?

Remember..."A penny saved is a penny earned!" Little things done consistently add up to big savings over time! 

Until next time...
~Rebecca


Related and recent posts that you might enjoy:



My Thrifty Week - Post #6






Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Good WEDNESDAY Afternoon

Good WEDNESDAY Afternoon, Sweet Ladies!

All of a sudden I felt like sitting down, taking a break, and getting in a good visit with you all. It's been a long time since I've done that and I've missed it. 

This week, like all the others, is flying by. Monday was crazy. I didn't accomplish half of what I set out to do, but, at the end of the day it didn't matter. It was a good day with a great ending! Got to go listen to several of our grandchildren recite their scripture verses as part of the National Bible Bee. Papa and I were super proud of all of them! 🐝 

Yesterday was spent at the cancer treatment center in Joplin with my friend, Laura, who is undergoing chemo for breast cancer. It's been quite a journey for her and it has been a blessing to both of us to be able to share in this journey together. Breast cancer is a terrible, terrible thing, yes, but the Lord is good; His mercy and grace abundant. Laura stands daily on Psalm 118:17 declaring that she will live and not die and will continue to declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I stand in agreement with her. You can meet Laura and keep up with her progress by visiting her blog at Harvest Lane Cottage. I know that any and all prayers on her behalf would be most appreciated! 🙏

Today has been fairly quiet. I haven't gotten anything major accomplished really, but have wiped out several small jobs that have needed doing for quite some time. In addition to that, I had an enjoyable outing with one of our granddaughters in celebration of her 10th birthday. It was a lot of fun! 🎈🎂🎉

As I write this there is a torrential downpour taking place outside. It looks like more storms are on the way, so I suppose I better get a move on and get supper fixed before they arrive. You all have a great evening and I'll talk with you again soon!

Until then...
~Rebecca

Other recent posts that you might enjoy...

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Is Happening In Less Than A Week!




Monday, August 14, 2017

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017 Is Happening In Less Than A Week!

PHOTO CREDIT
The Great American Total Solar Eclipse 2017 is happening in less than a week, on August 21, 2017, and what an amazing event it is going to be! 

People in all 50 states are going to the view the eclipse. Depending on where they're at, those that are within the path of totality will view the eclipse as a total eclipse of the sun; those who are not in totality will view the eclipse as a partial eclipse of the sun. Either way, it's going to be exciting!

Below is a list of eclipse facts that I put together for a program that I did for work back in July. I am sharing this information here for anyone who is interested in understanding more about what is going to happen during Monday's total solar eclipse.

PHOTO CREDIT

# 1 - A solar eclipse happens when the sun, moon, and earth line up just right and the moon's shadow is cast over the earth. 

#2 – A total solar eclipse occurs on earth about once every 18 months, but most of them occur over the ocean.

#3 – There are two parts to the moon's shadow – the penumbra and the umbra.


#4 – The penumbra is the larger part of the moon's shadow that, in the case of the August 21st, 2017 eclipse, will be observed by people in all 50 states as a partial solar eclipse.

PHOTO CREDIT
#5 – The umbra is the smaller, darker part of the moon's shadow that lies directly in line with the moon as it passes between the sun and the earth.

#6 – The umbra's path is only about 70 miles wide and that small 70-mile-wide band of shadow is what we call the path of totality.

# 7 – In the U.S. people in all 50 states will experience the Great American Eclipse to some degree, but not all states are going to be under the path of totality.

#8 – Major cities that will be within the path of totality include Salem, OR, Casper, WY, Kansas City, MO, St. Louis, MO, Nashville, TN, Columbus SC, and Charleston SC.

PHOTO CREDIT
#9 – When the eclipse occurs, those within the path of totality are going to experience something that very few people get to see. The sun will disappear and it will become nighttime in the middle of the day.

#10 – Some of the things that will happen during this time are – temperatures will drop, birds will begin to roost, nighttime insects will begin to sing, and stars will appear in the sky.

#11 – It has been 26 years since the last total solar eclipse in the U.S. and that one was viewed only by those in Hawaii.

#12 – It has been 148 years since the last solar eclipse in Missouri (my home state).

#13 – During the Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017, it will take approximately 90 minutes for the moon's shadow to cross the United States from coast to coast.

#14 – The umbra will take only about 13 minutes to makes it's trip across the state of Missouri.
PHOTO CREDIT
#15 – The longest periods of totality will occur across the center line of the eclipse path. This is because the shadow is a circle. A location near the center of the circle will get the widest part of the shadow.

Now, those are some of the basic facts about the upcoming eclipse, but it is, by far, NOT the most important thing that you need to know if you and your family plan on viewing the eclipse. The most important thing that you need to know about the upcoming eclipse is that YOUR EYES MUST BE PROTECTED!!! Sunglasses are NOT enough! Every single person that plans on viewing the eclipse must have a pair of special mylar eclipse glasses that are made to view the sun. Without them blindness can and does occur. Please, please, PLEASE make sure your eyes are protected!

Please watch the following video in which the UALR's Darrell Heath does an excellent job of further explaining explaining everything that you and your family will need to know before Monday's eclipse. 


Thanks for viewing! And safely enjoy the eclipse!

Until next time...

Happy Homemaker Monday - August 14, 2017


Greetings, Dear Ladies!

What a beautiful and blessed birthday week I have had! One that has been filled with the love of family and friends and unexpected blessings on every front! Thank you to all here who have helped to make it special!🎈🎉🎂🎉🎈


And what an honor and blessing it is to be linking up with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom and the sweet ladies at Happy Homemaking Monday again this week! 

The weather...

The weather has actually been quite nice. Daytime temps have been in the mid-80's with nighttime temps in the mid-60's. At this moment it is 76 degrees and mostly sunny with a 40% chance of rain later in the day. The week ahead promises to heat up a little, but not be too bad considering we're in the middle of August. 🌞


Right now I am...

Doing laundry and enjoying a Diet Cherry Pepsi (a habit that I'm trying to break) while working on this post. 

On my reading pile... 


The same as last week. Am keeping up with daily Scripture reading, but don't think I've read more than a few paragraphs to a chapter or two of any of these this week. 


People of the River's Mouth - In Search of the Missouria Indians by Michael Dickey
Talk To Me: Connecting With The Heart of God by Lynette Hagin
Trim Healthy Mama Plan by Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

On the menu this week....

As with last week, I've made a few blunders along the way, but, considering it's been birthday week, I've not done too bad with staying on plan...at least when I've been home and have been able to. While out, even if not considered THM friendly, I've consistantly tried to make the healthiest choices possible, and, while splurging a little, have chosen not to eat a lot of junk. 
For my birthday dinner my daughter went all out and made me a full and complete THM dinner. It consisted of broccoli-cheese soup, herb-roasted chicken, roasted cauliflower, green fries, and cheesecake. It was superb! Restaurant quality and full of flavor! She did an excellent job! 💓


Here are this week's previously written supper plans, but, as there are still a lot of leftovers in the fridge from last week, these are very likely to change...

- Monday - Crispy Salmon (S) pg 283 Original THM, Deviled Eggs (S) pg 228, sliced beets
- Tuesday - Peanut Sauce Night (S) pg 337 Original THM
- Wednesday - Chicken Tenders (S) pg 345 with Green Fries (S) pg 357
- Thursday - Fakertot Casserole (S) pg 147
- Friday - Slow Fajitas (E) pg 53 with rice and beans
- Saturday - Grilled Salmon (S, E, or FP) pg 284 Original THM, Sweet Potato Fries (E) pg 217, Creamless Creamy Vegetables (pg 352) (FP)
- Sunday - leftovers

On my to do list....

- Complete my "home blessing"
- Go over this week's planner and try to get a handle on everything that's coming up in the next week or two, detail plans, and make lists)
- Hear several of our grandchildren present the Scripture passages that they've been working on over the summer as part of the National Bible Bee.

In the craft basket...

- Nothing at the moment


Looking forward to this week...


- Spending time with my friend, Laura (chemo), having birthday lunch with two of our granddaughters, presenting my night program on bats at work, and watching eclipse in totality


From the camera...

Visiting the old haunts of childhood. Went to church here on Sundays as a child and stayed a couple of weeks with my aunt and uncle in the summertime to attend Bible school. Am glad we stumbled across it by accident yesterday. Brings up a ton of sweet memories! 💓

Ohio Christian Church - Lowry City, Missouri

Scripture Reading....

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Well, Ladies, that's if for this week! I pray that each and every one of you have a blessed week ahead and I will see you next time!

Until then...
~Rebecca


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Friday, August 11, 2017

Five Minute Friday - PLACE


Five Minute Friday a free write, which means, as our hostess, Kate Motaung, says, "...no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write."

This week's prompt is: PLACE


Go!


A lot of people that I know are going through some really tough times right now. I have one friend who is battling breast cancer; another who just lost her apartment and has been forced into living conditions that are waaaaay beyond less-than-ideal. Others are facing financial difficulties, illness, loss, loneliness, and more. Many of these circumstances seem hopeless...like there are no answers, and, in the natural, there may not be.

But there is One...One Who loves us so very much more than our finite minds could ever even hope to comprehend...One Who, no matter what we are going through, can bring us to a place of peace in the midst of the storm (and it doesn't matter how bad the storm is). This One that loves us so much (to the point that He laid down His very life for whosoever should believe on Him..."whosoever"...that's you...that's me)? His name is Jesus and it is only in Him that we will find rest for our weary souls. He is the Cleft of the Rock...our hiding place...our place of peace and joy in the midst of a crazy, cRaZy world. 

Do you know Him? If not, don't delay. Ask Jesus to make Himself real to you. Ask Him to come into your life and to do something with it. When you're lonely...or feeling depressed...when you're overwhelmed...when you're afraid...put your trust in Him. Jesus will never leave you, nor forsake you. He's got the answer to every problem that you will ever face.

Stop!


"Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me 
from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7)



Until next time...
~Rebecca


Recent posts that you might enjoy - 

My Thrifty Week - Post #6



Product Review - Magic Things Natural Mosquito Repellent Bracelets and Mosquito Repellent Patches


Making Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles) For the Freezer



Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Thrifty Week - Post #6


Hello! And welcome to "My Thrifty Week" - Post #6! 🙋 

How has your week been thus far? Mine has been pretty calm compared to usual and the weather has been beautiful! It had cooled off there for a couple of days and hints of autumn permeated the air, but, now, it has warmed back up and, after the weekend rains, the humidity is soaring. 

(Rebecca whispers) Have I mentioned to you before that I love fall and can't wait for its arrival? 😏 (Rebecca laughs out loud) I know! Only about a hundred times! 😆

🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂

Okay...so on to this week's "thrifty happenings"!  

- This week we were able to shut the air conditioner off much of the time. I do have it back on now because the humidity is so high, but, over the weekend and for the first half of the week it was off. That should result in a lower electric bill come September.
- I had enough points on my Amazon Rewards that I was able to order a new filters for the vacuum cleaner for FREE! How cool is that???
- I found this huge container of red, green, and gold Christmas ornaments valued at $24.98 for only $2.00 at a thrift store this week. I plan on using the really big ones to decorate the front porch at Christmastime and the others will be incorporated into other decorating and craft project ideas.
   
- I love finding money that I didn't know I had! This week I discovered, by accident, that I had a $13.00 balance at Paypal. I used the money towards an online purchase that I was in the middle of making when the discovery was made. Yeah! 

- I purchased $10.00 worth of zucchini and yellow squash again this week from my friend that grows and sells at a farmer's market. What I get from her for $10.00 would cost two or three times that (at least) at the grocery store, so it's quite a savings for us and it's wonderful getting in on the fresh-from-the-garden summer bounty! 

That's it for the "thrifty happenings" here this week! What "thrifty happenings" are happening at your house?

Remember..."A penny saved is a penny earned!" Little things done consistently add up to big savings over time! 

Until next time...
~Rebecca


Related and recent posts that you might enjoy:


My Thrifty Week - Post #5