Monthly Archives: October 2012

tRick or Treat! Cheapest Pet Costumes Ever.

Happy Halloween!  This year, Mr. We’ve Had Them Since We were Tiny and I dressed up as Honey Boo Boo and the Tooth Fairy.

Yes, my shirt says “You better Redneckognize.”  Yes, I made it myself.  No, it’s not my best work.

We got engaged three years ago on Halloween .. it only took me three years to see him in a skirt!  I’m a proud lady.

Here’s a close up of our tutus.  Check out my pageant socks.

Side note:  while we were dressing up, Pink and Rick were playing tRicks.  They had a Let’s Eat Insulation Party!

Nothing says full bellies like fiberglass
Back to the story:  my Honey Boo Boo T-Shirt made me think.  What else can I do with t-shirts and paint?  Besides a 90’s sweatsuit decorated with a puff paint snowman… Remember those?!
 I didn’t think Pink or Rick could fit in a sweatshirt so… Instead, I made the cheapest dog Halloween costumes in HISTORY.  Meet Super Pink and Super Rick.
We’ll slobber on your face until you cry…Ricky.  

The shirts made them think they had super powers.  They attacked each other.  While I took pictures.

I’m going to eat that t-shirt off of you!  Tastes like bacon. 

Then the eventually settled down and modeled like men.

How much longer do we have to wear these?  Our heads barely fit in the holes.  
What are you up to for Halloween?   I’d love to see your costumes/activities.  Maybe you could post a link in the comments?

Get on Board With a Tough Plan

Hey!  I’m guest posting on Arkansas Women Bloggers today!  Here’s a link: 

Also, if you’re visiting, welcome!  So glad you’re here.  Look around and let me know what you think!

Now… on with today’s post…

Do you have trouble getting on board with a new idea?

A new idea looks so shiny at first.  It gleams and sparkles– you think you’re the only with such an amazing idea.  It’s genious.  It’s brilliant— then…

You realize you have to DO the new plan.  This happened to me this weekend.  Our plan to pay off our mortagage in the next eighteen months… got real.

I turned into Rick.  Rick is my hundred pound puppy who can’t get in the back of the truck.  He puts his feet on the tailgate.  But, he’s just vertical dead weight.

Like Rick’s dead weight, I bought the paper and got ready to rebound from my coupon fail.  But I was miserable.  Slowly pawing through the paper looking to clip a good deal.

Then, I started making excuses, like, “this won’t help that much.”  I turned into Pink.  He’s my eighty pound puppy who acts like he’s never seen truck before.  He just walks around like, “well I liked the idea at first, but it’s not going to work for me.”

At a certain point.  An idea gets real.  Then, you realize that it’s work.  Our real work has started.  We’re strategizing, couponing, and…thinking about budgeting!

We’re straining and lifting to get ourselves on board with the plan.  Just like how Mr. We’ve Had Them Since They Were Tiny gets the puppies in the truck.

So even though I was hesitant, I clipped and I planned. I’m ready to attack with my coupons.  Watch out!!!

I’m going to be like Hannah.  She’s the puppies mom.  We left the truck door open, and she climbed in.  I think she’s actually smiling!  This week, I’m just going to be like her and jump on board, again!

See, I can do it!

Are you trying to get on board with a new plan?  How’s it going?

My Big Fail at Couponing

One way we are  going to pay off the house is to start couponing.  I jumped into coupon world this weekend.

It was scary!  I think couponers have a secret club.  Like, there’s a code word and a secret handshake.

I was nervous when I checked out.  I asked the cashier, “when do I give you these?” as I slowly slid my printable coupons to her.  I intensely stared at her.  I squinted my eyes, daring her to tell me no.

She said, “after I ring up your groceries, ma’am.”  I didn’t want her to forget that I had them, so I propped them up on her register so they would stare at her too.  It worked.

But, I need to rewind—

I wanted to start small in couponing world. So, I focused on one store, Walmart (I plan to try other stores in the next few weeks!).

Here’s how I got the coupons:

Step 1: Downloaded the Walmart App on my phone.
Step 2:  “Clipped my coupons” from the app.  The app allows you to select coupons you want then email them to yourself.
Step 3: Printed the coupons from my email.
From the title of this post, you know I failed.  Here’s how:
1.  Forgetting to bring the coupon.  I needed cheese for soup we wanted to make.  I clipped the cheese coupon.  I printed the cheese coupon.  And I left it at home.  Bleh.  My fail!
2.  Buying something because you have a coupon.  I knew to watch out for this! But, I succumbed to the coupon trap anyway!  I bought two boxes of name brand cereal with a coupon, then realized it was still cheaper to buy my regular generic brand. But, I worked so hard to get my coupon.  So I kept the fancy breakfast buy.

Side note: My best buy?  I got six dollars off these razors!

3.  Total Chaos.  It is so tough to keep track of these slippery slips.  I couldn’t remember which ones I decided to use and which I needed to toss.  Also, I couldn’t find the ones I needed for the section I was shopping in.
4.  Spending more.  The worst fail?  I spent double.  Ahh…. Usually I can look at my cart and estimate how much I’m going to spend.  However, with the coupons, the math was complicated.  And some of my coupons required I buy two items.  Bleh.
After we checked out, Mr. We’ve Had Them Since They Were Tiny said, “we’ve got a long way to go before we’re extreme couponers.”
This was a fail.  However, I was pretty sure it would be.  I’ve never succeeded at anything the first time.  I had a glimmer of hope that I would be the next coupon prodigy, but, alas, I will not save the world from a full priced evil dictator…But, watch out dictator…after I learn the system, I’m going to be a coupon boss!!!

Have you ever had a coupon fail?

How to Stay Married For 33 Years–And Love It!

In honor of my parents’ anniversary last weekend, I made them take this survey.  It’s very scientific, as you will see. They inspire me every day. Check out their great example of how to keep a relationship going through highs and lows.  They are best friends and still so in love. 

I put my questions and comments in italics and my parents (Bob and Nancy) in regular font.  

1. Married for 33 years, right? 


2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found out about each other? 

All things considered, Bob would rather drive an old car than a new car.  I love the smell of gasoline, but I’m not a car lover.  

3. Team Edward or Team Jacob? 

I’m pretty sure Bob is neither.  If I have to pick, I’m Team Edward.  

4. Team Peeta or Team Gail?  

Who?????  Just kidding.  Haven’t seen Hunger Games.  

(I should probably tell them The Hunger Games were books first.)

5. When did you meet? Was it love at first sight? 

We met through mutual friends, I was 17, Bob was 19.  Probably was not love at first sight. Bob said it was love at first sight, but he was just trying to get brownie points. 

6. Who’s your favorite child?  


(None of their children are named Chris.  They are either being cute or having early memory loss.)

7. What’s the toughest time you’ve been through?  

We have three healthy, safe children….so everything else is just stuff.  However, the loss of my Mom and sister were really bad times.  

8. What would you tell a couple to do who is struggling? 

That one is tough.  There are all types of struggles.  I want to say just keep working on the marriage and don’t quit because so many times divorce just brings more problems.  However, there are exceptions.

9. How do you keep your relationship fresh? (PLEASE KEEP THIS PG. DON’T 

Bob has a great wink.  


10. What do you wish you’d have done differently? 

I feel like I was too tense while the kids were growing up.  They turned out great.  I shouldn’t have worried so much.

11. Looking back, what are you glad you did?  

Stayed married

12. Come on, who’s REALLY your favorite kid?  


(Alex is also NOT one of their children’s names.  The memory loss is worsening)

13. What big challenge(s) are you facing now?

At this stage, we worry about our kids and parents.   We have had some really big challenges at work this year (Bob works long hours, and I have a project at work that has not permitted vacation time).  Hopefully, this will be changing during the next few months.  

14. How do you fit two full time jobs, three kids, and a strong marriage in 24 hours a day?  
Not very well some days.  We heard somewhere that the true heroes are the people that get up and go each day.  Just keep trying.

15. What’s the best way to get through a fight? 

 I am silent while slamming a few doors (real mature, huh).  Your Dad has learned to not ask me what is wrong, when I know he knows what is wrong.  We eventually talk it out.  

(this was funny to hear.  I take after my mom during fights.  I didn’t know that was genetic!)

16. What is ONE thing you’ve been meaning to tell each other— that you never have. (come on, dig deep, but DON’T GET GROSS!)  
After 33 years, I need some pretty heavy equipment to dig deep enough to think of something I haven’t told your Dad.  I’ll keep thinking.  We are pretty boring.

17. Besides an amazing middle daughter (me), what’s kept you together?  

Love and prayer.  Plus, I’ve got to stay around to see what trick your Dad might try to pull next.  

18. What should people know –that I didn’t ask about?  

Married couples should try to laugh together as much as possible.  Those 3 kids and 2 son-in-laws help with that.

My favorite answer is number 14.  I agree that true heroes just keep going every day.  See, we can all be heroes if we just keep trying!  Thanks mom and dad for filling this out!  And thanks for the great example of a strong marriage.  

What is your best piece of relationship advice?  

Planning for a Paid for Home: Part 3

The down and dirty of paying off our house.

I told you about how we got started.  I told you about what we’ve done recently.  Now, here’s the nitty gritty: how we’re actually going to do it.

1.  Live off one salary.

This part is the worst.  We did it when we paid off my student loans.  Did I say it’s the worst?

I think it’s so hard, because we live of my husband’s salary and we pay debt with mine.  So sometimes it makes me feel like I’m working full-time…but not getting paid.  To make it through, I’m going to focus on the goal and remember that we are blessed to both have jobs.

Here are the steps we took, to make this easier.  

  • My husbands check (the one we’re living off) goes into a checking account that we use to, well… live off.
  • My check goes into a money market… that we don’t live off.
  • We will send a monthly, extra principal check out of the money market.
  • We will not look at the money market account.
  • I will cover the money market account with my hand when I see it on our online banking screen.  Because sometimes I hear it screaming, “let me out!”

2.  Use extra dollars–above our salaries–to pay off house.

Mr. We’ve Had Them Since They Were Tiny is a new salesman for his company.  He may get a bonus next year.  We don’t know how how much it will be, because this is his first year as a salesman, but he’s already agreed to throw it at the house (not literally, of course).

I’m going to start couponing, or maybe I’ll figure out a way to sell stuff on ebay or craigslist.  I haven’t flushed out this plan yet, but I’ll let you know.

3. Set a timeline.

Since we don’t know what extra money we will get, it’s hard to put a timeline on our goal.  Best-case-we-get-a-money-miracle-scenario?  We will finish in eighteen months.  Worst-case-life-happens-like-it-always-does? Three years.  I probably need to remind you that we bought a TINY house, and it used to be filled with cats. And we actually still call it the cat house (see picture below)  So our mortgage is small!

4. Have as much fun as possible.

I’m way more successful if I turn things into a game.  So I made some posters!  I converted our total mortgage into percentage points.  Then, I made ten posters one for each group of ten percentages (100%-90%, 90%-80%…).  Here’s a picture of the 70%-60%.

When we get into the sixty percent left range… I’ll start coloring this poster in.  For now, I have all ten hung inside a closet door.  It’s kind of terrifying.  That’s a lot of cat heads.

Do you have an suggestions?  Where would you start?

Part 0: Planning for a Paid for House

Part 1: Planning for a Paid for House

Part 2: Planning for a Paid for House

p.s. If you like, you should follow it!  Click the ‘join this site’ button near the top of the right hand column. Prove you’re not a robot and then you’re in. Thanks!

Planning for a Paid for House: Part 2

Here are some quick changes we made to save thousands.

This is part two of Planning for a Paid for House. If you don’t know what I’m talking about check out part 1 and part…0.

We knew if we wanted to pay off our house as quick as possible, we would need to make sure we P.C.S. all our bills.  Price check, cut what we don’t use, and make smarter choices.  There has to be a better acronym out there, right?

Also, I didn’t spend much time making these cuts–less than thirty minutes apiece. 

1.  Health Insurance-  Since I started a new job, we split our health insurance plans.  Now, I get health insurance through my job, and my husband gets his insurance through his employer.

Savings?  Monthly-20 Yearly-240

2.  Car Insurance-  We had our Home insurance through All State and my car insurance through State Farm.  I’m not sure why we had it set up this way.  But, we combined our home and car insurance to get some savings.  I could have probably gotten a better deal, but these are quick changes, right?

Savings? Monthly-16  Yearly-192 

3.  Cut Movie Channels-  We don’t have HBO anymore.  We weren’t watching it, but it was comforting have around!  I guess we’ll have to brave the no movie channel world alone now, because it’s gone.  And, after I saw how much we’re saving, I think they will stay gone for a while.

Savings? Monthly- 50 Yearly-600 

4.  Eating at home- I’m not working nights anymore so we’re eating together at home.  We were eating at restaurants probably twenty times a week.  Gross.  Now we’re down one or two nights a week.

Savings? Monthly-200 Yearly-2400

5. Back to the Family Phone Plan- My husband gets his a phone through his company.  We switched my phone back to my parents’ family plan.  Thanks Bob Cat and Nanc!

Savings? Monthly- 50 Yearly- 600.  

Total Savings? Monthly- $336 Yearly- $4,032

Wow.  I had no idea.  I knew we were making a few changes (P.C.S’s).  I had no idea these changes would add up this much.

What I’m still thinking about:
Couponing: This scares me.  Where do I start?
A small business: sewing, painting, writing an ebook?  Do you have any ideas?

What we’re NOT going to do:
Reusable toilet paper.  Check out this lady from a TLC show!

Next I’m going to get down and dirty with “the plan.”  We’re going to put the pen to the paper and find out how long it will take up to pay off the cat house. Move over ghosts of cats past, this is our house!  (if you don’t know what I’m talking about… don’t worry, neither do I sometimes.)

Have you done anything to save money lately?

Planning for a Paid for House: Part 1

Any big goal requires planning. This is not a gift of mine. I hate planning. I don’t even like deciding what to eat for dinner…I will plan for dessert though!

Despite my planning reluctance, we need a plan to pay off our house. The next three posts are how we plan destroy our mortgage. 

The steps in this post are the most important.  They are essential to achieving ANY financial goal.  Here’s how we ended up in a good situation.

Step 1. Forced into a small mortgage.

The most important step in reaching a financial goal is to have money. Since housing is a huge expense, an easy way to free up cash is to make sure your mortgage/rent payments are small.

After we got married I was unemployed for six months. In that time we moved from Memphis to Arkansas. The town we moved to doesn’t have rental options–like none. And renting is more expensive than buying–we would have paid $150 more every month to rent a house than to buy a house.  Because we only had one income, we bought a small, older home that used to be filled with cats. We bleached it, tore up the flooring, and painted every inch to make it our own. The only thing that stuck? The name. We still call it the cat house!

Now that I have a great full time job, our house payment is only 1/8th of our take home salary. 

Step 2.- No car payment

Find a way to get rid/decrease your car payments. The first job I found in Arkansas was a part-time gig making minimum wage. It was 40 miles away. After paying for gas in “Dora”- My 1999 Ford Explorer- my salary was pretty much a wash.

Luckily, we got a tax return for $4,200. My dad found a beat up 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt and made a few repairs.  Now, she’s mine. Her name is Colbie.  She gets awesome gas mileage, but she doesn’t have power locks or windows.  I don’t mind- it only costs 40 to fill up the tank.  Plus, I’m building up my left arm bicep!

Step 3.- See ya later student loan gator

The last category? Other debts. This category includes student loans, credit cards, other loans…even my favorite, Banana Republic Credit Cards. 

I came out of college with $20,000 in student loans. Six months after I graduated, the lender came knockin. They wanted their money back, can you believe it? They wanted a payment every month?  Since I’m not a planner, I was terrible at making those payments.  Other purchases seemed more important.

Since we have a small mortgage payment, no car payment, we decided to live on one salary and kill those loans as fast as possible. We sacrificed shoes and cool stuff to get rid of those nasty beasts. We killed them completely last Christmas. It was the best present. The lender sent me a letter and it said “you killed us, we are dead.” –at least that’s what I pretend. 

Take away–

My unemployment, small salary, and missing payments, and our sacrifices led us to a great place. Debt free. Isn’t that weird?  We haven’t had a long leash to strangle ourselves.

You need one thing to start a financial goal: free up some cash.  If your money is tied up, it’s impossible to make progress. So check out these three areas: house payment, car payment, and other debt, to see where you can find some wiggle room– $50 of free money a month is a fortune.

Maybe you don’t want to pay off your house, maybe you want to take a big trip, buy an awesome car, or buy a snake farm. Whatever it is, free up your money and you can head towards your dreams.

Next time, I’m going to you what we’ve done recently to free up some more cash.

Do you have a big financial dream?! Maybe you want to start one, and we can track our progress together… Let me know!

Next Big Goal: Watch Out Mortgage!

Since we finished last month’s challenge: No Sugar September, I thought I’d tell you about our next big challenge… paying off our mortgage!

You know how some people want the latest car?  Some want the fanciest phone?  Some want to go on luxurious trips?  Well.  I want all of those things, too.  I really want them!  But I want something else more.  I want a paid for house.

I don’t even know why I want this.  I’m not an extremely frugal person.  I don’t coupon.  I don’t recycle rain water (although I’m probably going to have to start doing all this!)

I think my biggest motivator is how BIG of a challenge this is.  I love big, near impossible challenges.  Also it’s been about nine months since we got done paying off my student loans.  Since then, we haven’t been as intentional with our money as we should be.

We have to force money where to go.  Without a goal, getting money to work is pretty impossible.  We all work too hard to let money slip through our fingers and it will because money is a slick sucker.  Money is kinda like the stages of water.  It starts out like ice, falling in chunks into your bank account, then it turns to water, flowing out to bills and creditors, and before you can stop it, it turns to steam and disappears.

We’re going to be like Pink and Rick who aren’t afraid to make water work for them.  We’re going to make our money work for us.

So for the next few posts, I’m going to tell you how we got ready for this big challenge and how long it will take us to finish (if we don’t give up waaaayyy before then).

Have you ever tried a big money challenge?  I’d love to hear!

How No Sugar September Got Nasty

Remember No Sugar September?

Good news? Now it’s over.

More good news, we sorta completed it.

Bad news.  I cheated some.  Once, with an amazing muffin basket (yep, I cheated with an entire basket.  Super gorge city) And twice, a waiter slipped me sweet tea by mistake.  I drank it anyway.  I couldn’t stop.

More bad news, I didn’t lose any weight.  Sad.  But, it wasn’t completely about weight loss.  It was about getting control over my eating habits.  I wanted to lose weight, but it’s enough to finish-ish our goal.

Worst news.  My last big cheat.  Saturday night I dreamt that my sister was having a slumber party (weird, yeah).  She left to get all of her friends cartons of ice cream, but she didn’t bring any back for me.  So I picked up the empty, dripping boxes and threw them at her.  Sorry Beth!  Because my cravings were making me violent I decided eat ice cream on September, 29th.

What did I pick for my first treat back on sugar express?  A Sonic M&M Blast.  Here’s a picture.

 I used to be able to throw these suckers back.  And I threw this one back… for about an hour.

Then I threw up.  It looked like a chocolate milk shake… tmi?

I don’t know what happened.  Sugar was my best friend!  Not this time.  I felt sick and dizzy and gross.

Lesson:  I don’t have the tolerance I used to have.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Overall, except for what happened on Sunday, I’m happy I did the challenge.  And, I’m going to try and continue my good-ish habits!

Have you tried any big challenges lately?  Remember, it only takes 21 days to make a new habit!