Monthly Archives: August 2013

Top 3 Money Tips From Our 3 Years

Mr. We’ve Had Them Since They Were Tiny and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary this week.  See?  We’re 3 years old.

anniversary pic

In honor of our anniversary, here are the top three money tips from our first three years.

1.  It’s you not him.

I secretly blamed my husband for busting our budget.  I thought, “We make a budget, then he ruins it by buying gas station food.”  I’ve thought this a GABILLION times.

Until…we were running errands one day, and I was complaining about how we’d just blown our budget (I was really thinking, “you blew our budget from buying a ton of gas station food!!!!!!!”)

A few minutes later, we passed one of my favorite shoe stores.  I gasped when I saw a “going out of business” sign over the door.  I started foaming at the mouth, and I convinced him to go in by saying, “I just want to see what they have on sale.”

Three minutes later my hands were full with five boxes of shoes.  My husband was sitting patently on a bench.  “Look what I found!!!!  All on saaaaaale!!!!” I sang it like I was Mary Pumps Poppins.

“That’s great babe,” he said.

“Ready to check out?” he asked.

As I was singing, “Yesssssss!” our busted budget floated over me like a black cloud.  Then, slowly, an even darker thought creeped into my mind.  It’s not him blowing the budget, it’s me.  Ugh…. I thought.  Nooooooooo. Slowly, I put all the shoes down and walked out of the store.

Before you blame your spouse/partner for blowing the budget, take a long, hard look in your shoe closet bank account.

2.  If it’s not working get rid of it.

For the first couple years we overdrafted our bank account like maniacs.  It was mostly me.  I’ve been a huge fan of overdrafting since college.   Anyway, we finally got fed up with it and canceled our overdraft protection.  It is one of the best moves we’ve ever made.  Now, if we run out of money we get denied.  So, we’re more careful not to run out of money.

Overdraft protection is a joke.  Making you pay $20 each time you overdraft is NOT protection.  It’s like someone stabbing you to save you from a paper cut.  The only thing overdraft protection protects is the bank’s bottom line.

3.  If you build it…it will get bigger.

I only remember one piece of advice from my wedding day.  My father-in-law said, “Marriage is like a bank account, you’ve got to put more in than you take out.”

On my wedding day I thought this meant to make sure you give more than you take.  Now, it means more to me.  Marriage is a like a bank account– because you’re trying to build something, together.  So, if you make a withdrawal of trust or money or whatever, you’re taking away from those dreams you’re building.  Every time you make a withdrawal you’re damaging your relationship and future.

Woah! did I get deep or what?

Let’s lighten things up with a picture of DOGS!

photo (10)

Do you have any relationship and money tips?

The Easy Way to Get a Raise

Today’s post is hard to put into words.  I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but it transformed our lives.  I keep feeling guilty by not writing about it, so here goes.


We’ve been trying to find a church for awhile.  We’ve visited several churches, and we’ve loved them all.  But, they were never close enough to home to make them practical– stupid living in the middle of nowhere!  Last October, we stumbled into a church that is closer to home, and it seemed like a good fit.  A few weeks in the pastor started a series on tithing.  I’ve heard a TON of tithing sermons.  It’s EXTREMELY awkward.  First, people start shifting in their seats.  Then, people start coughing and squirming in their seats.  Next, the preacher says, “Money isn’t a comfortable thing to talk about in church, but…”  Finally, everyone screams…”RUN!!!” and bolts out of the church.

This sermon was different.  It was really a powerful sermon.  The pastor talked about tithing and giving your money to God, but he also talked about the blessings you’d get in return.  Specifically, I remember this this verse.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”  Malachi 3:10.

Our Decision:

The preacher said this verse is the only place in the bible where God says, “test me.”  I thought, “wow, if I’m going to test God on anything, I guess here’s my chance.  Maybe he could send me down a gold harp.  Or a pearly gate to keep Pink and Rick inside the yard.  Or a angel to take them on walks.  Because I’m getting tired.”



Around that same time, we started on a huge adventure–paying off our mortgage.  So, we thought about it, and then decided to start tithing.  We give 10% of our income to the church.  But, we’re not perfect about it.  Sometimes we give at the beginning of the month, and sometimes we give at the end.  One month, I didn’t tithe because we were trying to buy a foreclosure, so I doubled up the next month.   Also we don’t even give based on our before tax income– we give based on our after tax income.


What I’m trying to say is, we haven’t been perfect about it– by far.  Even with all that imperfection, God has bessed us tremendously.  Since we started tithing six months ago, we’ve both gotten new jobs.  And, we’ve both gotten raises.  This is after three years of nothing.

It’s been pretty incredible to be a part of.  We’ve been really blessed.  The coolest part, is you don’t even have to be perfect.  Because I’m not.  I’m not even close to being a “good” Christian.  Actually, I’m pretty pathetic most of the time.  I like to drink wine–a lot!  I don’t read the bible much outside of church.  I can be jealous and mean, but He still blesses.  It’s crazy to think He would bless us.

Wait, don’t get freaked out!

This post isn’t meant to persuade you.  I don’t care if you tithe or not.  It’s makes no difference to me.  I’m only writing about it because since I’ve started writing about finances, I’ve felt awful for not writing about tithing. I was only telling you half of the story, because the ONLY  reason we’ve been able to make progress on our goals is tithing.  If we could get raises alone, we would have done it years ago.  So, I guess I just want you to know how much it has done for us, and you don’t even have to be perfect while you do it.  Tithing is our secret weapon.  If you’re a Christian– even a sometimes sucky one like me– and you’re not tithing, you’re missing out.  Because we tested Him.  And He passed.  Big time.

Do you give money to a church or charity?  Have you seen results?

Bucket List Shut-Update

This summer, my bucket list started taunting me.  It said, “You’re never going to get me done, mwahahahahahaha.”   I took immediate action.  The past couple months, I’ve kicked it in the throat with progress.  Here’s my Shut-Update.

Side note: Pink and Rick discovered furniture this summer.  I'm pretty sure this was on their bucket lists.

Side note: Pink and Rick discovered furniture this summer. I’m pretty sure this was on their bucket lists.

If you want to read about the bucket list beginnings, start here.  If you want to get on with the post: here ya go.

1. Write and publish and an ebook.  (Deadline: June December)

In May, I changed the deadline to December.  Since then, I’ve put my fingers to the keyboard and started writing.  Ahhh!  I can’t wait to publish it.  I’m going to self publish it, but I’m not sure exactly how to do that.   I’m sure I can google my way to a solution, so I’ll let you know when I’ve figure out a RELEASE date!

1.  Make a monthly video (Ongoing.  First deadline: January 31)

I haven’t released a video every month, but I’ve sporadically released six throughout the year.  Here’s my latest edition:


2.  Keep my car clean for a month.  I was tired of riding around in a trash can on wheels.  So were my passengers!!!

I finished this in January. Check out the results.

3.  Finish P90X.  (Deadline: March)
This one was ugly.  I got to about P 65X.  So, I’m calling it a fail, and I’m tossing it out of my bucket list.  That’s the great thing about bucket lists, if you don’t like something, just toss it out!

4.  Do something really nice for Mr. We’ve Had them Since They Were Tiny. (Deadline: July)

I’ve played around with a few things, but nothing ever felt “really nice” enough.  So, we’re going Deep Sea Fishing next week.  Hold on to your rods and reels.  And your cookies.

5.  Pay off 40K on our house (Ongoing)

We did really good during first of the year, but now its creeping along.   We’re up to $16,000, and we’re going to have to get focused if we want to get this done.  And maybe find some organs to sell.  Just kidding, but does anyone want a gallbladder?

6.  Invest in something besides retirement. (Deadline: December)

We tried buying a foreclosure.  That didn’t work out.

Now, I’ve got another iron in the fire.  It’s just beginning, but it’s really exciting.  Actually, its what I’ve always wanted to do.  If it goes through, you’ll be the first ones to know!

7.  Really help out a stranger.  Or someone I know.  Just help out another person in a big way. (Deadline: December)

I haven’t made much progress on this one.

8.  Tithe every month.

We’ve tithed every month this so far, and it’s shocking.  It’s been so good for our finances.  I’m working on an entire post about it for next week.

But, true confession, we didn’t give June’s tithe until July.  We got pretty tied up in the whole foreclosure flop, but we doubled up in July.  I’m still counting it, because we’ve done about %100,000 percent better than any other year.  When you do %100,000 better, you’ve got to say it’s a success.

9.  Eat low carb for a month.  (March)

I did this and lost 10 pounds!  I’ve kept them off, but I need to lose another set.

10.  Sew something I can wear outside of the house (Deadline: September)

Done!  Check out my project here.

11.  Make a podcast (Deadline: August)

Done!  Check out my first podcast here.

12.  Run in a 10k (Deadline: October)

Great news, I picked out my race.  Now, I just need to train…

13.  Wake up early for an entire month.  Early means 6:00…a.m.  (February  September)

I never did this.  I’m moving it to September, but I may not do it at all.

Overall, I’m doing better.  I loved getting the sewing project and podcast checked off the list.

If you made goals for this year, how are they going?

psst… if you like this post, please follow my blog.  Just type your email address in the box in the right-hand column.  Then, you will get an email when I post something new/crazy.  It would mean a lot to Pink and Rick.  They are always bragging to other dogs about how many followers they have.

We lost $25,000… maybe

We may have lost $25,000.  Remember this house we almost bought in January?


 It was a foreclosure.   The bank was going to sell it to us for $14,600.  But, we backed out after an electrician said it would cost thousands to get the wiring up to code.  There were other problems too.  Like a kitchen on its last…(table) leg.


 After we backed out, I noticed it got snatched off the market pretty fast.  Like within a day.

Then, this past weekend I was stalking real estate websites.  And there it was.  Our tiny little nugget of a house.  It’s been repainted, and it looks a lot less scary than it did.  Want to know how much it’s listed for?  Sorry, but I don’t feel comfortable saying that.

jacksonville collage

Just kidding!  Like I would hold out on you.  It’s listed for $39,000.  If it sells for that, we lost around $25,000.  Minus repairs.

How do I feel about it?  About like Pink feels this week.  He has an open wound on his side.  We took him to the vet.

Pink at vet

The wound is on his other side. Trust me, you don’t want to see it.

The vets diagnosis?  “This looks like a knife wound.”

Yep, Pink’s been in a knife fight.  I knew it was only a matter of time.

I sympathize because I feel like I got stabbed by a real estate knife.  I’m just going to pretend the house won’t sell for list price.  Which it probably won’t.  But, if it does I hope I don’t have to find out about it.

Since we’ve been battling real estate all year, we’ve decided to wait until we get our house paid off before we buy a rental.  Why?

1.  We’re tired of being beat up.

2.  It’s not quite the right time.

It’s almost the right time, just not quite.  We’re not comfortable enough be able to swing our current mortgage and a rental house.  But, in about a year, when we get our house paid off, I think we will be ready.

3.  Return on investiment.

If we pay off our house we will get to keep our mortgage payment every month.  That’s guaranteed money.

If we buy a rental house–even with cash– we wouldn’t make more than we will save by paying off our mortgage.  That’s if we paid for the rental in cash, which we couldn’t do, anyway.

So, for now we’re laying low.  Pink is too.  We’re just waiting to heal up.

Unfortunately, laying low isn’t exciting.  It’s slower.  And if the house sells for $39,000, it’s pretty costly, too.


pssst… If you like this post, please follow us!  Just go to the top, right-hand side of the page  under “follow us” and put in your email address.  You’ll get the latest posts to your inbox.  Pink and Rick want to be the most followed dogs in our tiny town, so you could make their dreams come true.  It’s like Disney World, but bloggier.

Anyone want a swamp dog?

I’m on vacation this week.  I didn’t bring the dogs with me.  Pink and Rick could not handle the beach.  Actually, they would probably love it so much.  They would run around until they exploded into hundreds of pieces.  Like they are made of skittles.  Hmmm… skittles.  Maybe I should have brought them.

Anyway, instead of showing you pictures of the beach, I thought I’d show you what Pink and Rick are up to.

1.  Being Swamp Dogs.

Mr. We’ve Had them Since They Were Tiny texted me this picture.  They are some where around his parent’s house.  Pink looks like he’s on the prowl for vampires and zombies.  Or he is hunting for swamp things.  He’s thinking, “Big Foot eat your heart out– just don’t eat us.”  Rick is thinking, “did you just say eat?”

swamp dogs

The theme song for the show True Blood won’t stop playing through my mind when I look at this picture.


2.  Having water fights.


water fight

They’re not just fighting with each other.  They are also fighting with other fisherman.  Apparently, they’ve spent a bunch of time chasing down fishing boats.  Then circling them.  I guess I need to explain to them that the men in boats are looking for fish… not dogs.

3.  Hanging out with mom and dad

puppies with parents

Doesn’t Ricky look so beautiful in this picture? You can’t tell which is which? Well, from left to right it’s Pink, Harley, Hannah, and Rick.

Who doesn’t love a family reunion?  When these four get together they spend their time searching for people with food.  Recently, they struck gold and found a nice couple of suckers about a mile away from Mr. We’ve Had Them Since They Were Tiny’s parent’s house.

After the dogs disappeared, he looked for them and found them on the stranger’s porch.  Yep.  All four of them.  He parked the truck, and the couple came outside.  The woman said the seven most dangerous words, “we feed them when they come over.”


beach bum

The beach!

Sorry!  That picture just slipped in.  I promise.  Beach pictures are so slippery.  It’s so wonderful, I don’t think I can go home to Pink and Rick.  Does anyone want to adopt a swamp dog?

How I Drove a Free Car For Two Years

Hi, if you’re here from Get Rich Slowly, welcome!  I’m excited to be guest posting on the site I read every day.  It’s great to have you.   You’ll probably be most interested in my posts about personal finances and goals, but if you’re up for it I’ve got some crazy dog posts too.  Here’s my most recent post about how I drove a free car for two years.


Recently, I told a friend I was getting a new car.

“New or used?” she asked.

“Neither,” I said, trying to think of a way to explain how my family buys vehicles.  It’s pretty weird, but it’s also the reason I drove a free car for two years.

What kind of cars do we buy?  Rebuilders.

What’s that?  Well, when vehicles get damaged and the owners don’t want them anymore, or the insurance company decides they are a “total loss,” some of the cars go to the junk yard.  But, the fixable ones go to rebuilder lots.  Also know as salvage yards.  A rebuilder lot is like a dent-and-ding appliance store, for cars.  For the past 20 years my dad has been buying rebuilders and restorying them.  So far, he’s kept five drivers on the road with out a single car payment.  Impressive, right?

So we’re on the same page, I did a very quick search and found some rebuilders for you to check out.  First, this 2011 Honda Accord has 17,000 miles on it and costs $8,900.  Also, here’s a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee for $4,900 with 64,ooo miles.  There’s a lot out more out there, I just wanted to show you a few examples.

rebuilder collage

For the past two years, I’ve been driving a 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt named Colbie.  She was an awesome ride.  “Colbie” the Cobalt was in pretty good shape when my dad found her.  She was in a storm and a branch fell across the back corner of the roof.   We paid $5,000 for her after she was fixed.  Two years, and almost 50,000 miles later, we sold her for $5,000.  This means I drove for free for two years.

Rebuilder cars can be really good… or really bad.

Here’s the good.

1.  They are cheap.  These cars are damaged, so there are limited buyers who want them.

2.  No car payments.   Typically, you have to pay cash for these vehicles.

3.  They are typically great, reliable cars.  My dad’s theory is that unlike used cars, the owner wasn’t trying to get rid of these cars when they were wrecked.  So, the former owner was probably pretty happy with the vehicle before the accident happened.

Here’s the bad.

1.  You have to know or find someone who can repair them.

2.  No warranties.  Rebuilders are sold “As-is.”

3.  Rebuilder/Salvage cars have rebuilder/salvage titles.  This means they can be hard to resell (although ours wasn’t).

4.  You have to know what you are doing.  My dad looks for specific damage when buying a salvage car.  He is VERY picky.  So picky, he takes months, sometimes years, to buy a car.

This isn’t for everyone; but, it just goes to show there is more than one way to skin a cat… or get a car.  Most people buy new or used and never know rebuilders exist.

Rebuilders are such a great option for us that I got another.  Meet my new to me 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.  His name is “Tom” Cruze.  He is a 2011, with 30,000 miles on him.

Unlike “Colbie” he was in a wreck before we got him.

Here are the before pictures.

tom cruze collage

Here is the after.


cruze pic

I realize this picture doesn’t show the damaged places, but I went out of town and it’s all I have. So, I added the Viking helmet.


If we decide to sell, I bet we can make our money back… if not more.  Then,  I’ll have driven another free car.  Or, we will drive Tom Cruze until the wheels fall off– which is more likely.

What do you think?  Ever thought about buying a rebuilder car?  Did you know they exist?


pssst… If you like this post, please follow us!  Just go to the top, right-hand side of the page  under “follow us” and put in your email address.  You’ll get the latest posts to your inbox.  Pink and Rick want to be the most followed dogs in our tiny town, so you could make their dreams come true.  It’s like Disney World, but bloggier.