Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Some things

As I have mentioned before, I really love to read. I have more time to read than when I was in college, but since starting a new job, I’ve been busier and don’t have as much time to read (unless I want to give up sleep…ya right). But I am still reading and loving it. I just finished, The Life of Pi by Yann Martel and I really loved it. I would highly recommend it. It was a little slow at the beginning but a great story and really well written.

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I can’t remember if I posted about these, but I have also recently read These is my Words by Nancy E. Turner and it was awesome. Such a beautiful story and I absolutely couldn’t put it down when I was reading it at the cabin in Island Park this summer!

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A Thousand Splendid Suns was another great book, but very sad so be prepared. It made me so grateful for all that I have and take for granted. It was a wonderful and inspiring story but very hard to read.

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Coming up…I’m reading Rainwater by Sandra Brown. I don’t even know why this was on my list, but I’m going to start it tonight! Let me know if you’ve read it and like it!

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Also on my upcoming list: The Book Thief. This is based on a recommendation by my visiting teacher who loves to read and I had already heard of it so I just need to pick it up from being on hold at the library!

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Now I realize I’m way out of the loop on this, but I’m going to read The Hunger Games at some point too. I didn’t want to wait for them at the library or buy them, so I’ll borrow them from my parents :). Sometimes I tend to be put off reading a book that becomes “all the rage”. I have read the Twilight books and many other popular books, but I still haven’t read most of Harry Potter and some others. I know they’re great and I love to read everything, but for some reason, I usually end up reading them years after they were popular…

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Also on my list to read is Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I started listening to Mr. Ramsey while at work and I LOVE him. Seriously, he is all about saving money, being debt free and saving.

Luckily Dan and I have been really good with our money and I’m grateful for his cheapness frugality because we have been able to buy a house and save for things we want! I’ve always been OCD about budgets and keeping track of every little thing, but Dave Ramsey has given us some tools and information to help us save even more money and be smart for our future. I don’t want to have to worry about debt or paying for school or emergencies or even retirement so following his advice has been great.

I have been blessed to have a good job that allows us to pay our bills but what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter if you make $10,000 a year or $10 million a year, everyone needs to stick to a budget and save and pay off debt. Dave believes that you should pay cash for everything (except a house) and that no matter what, credit cards are evil :).

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I love Dave’s 7 baby steps and I think that if you follow them, it will make a big difference in your finances and life in general. You can listen to Dave’s archived radio show at daveramsey.com.

A few changes we have made have been to open a PerkStreet debit card. I did a lot of research and this card is pretty awesome as far as benefits go. It pays 5% back for the first month, and 2% back after that (if you have at least $5,000 balance and 1% if you don’t). So if your monthly expenses are $5,000, and you use this card to pay for all that, you will get $250 back the first month and $100 back after that! You can get the “cash back” in the form of itunes, gift cards (Target, Amazon, etc..), or just as a Visa gift card which is the same as cash! I think it’s pretty amazing so we signed right up. There are no fees and you can easily transfer money to and from other bank accounts. Check it out here.

We also re-vamped our budget a little to pay off our car earlier and save more money to pay for Dan’s schooling. October is our “trial” month to see how our budget goes, but we are doing well so far and I think we’re pretty close with our predictions for expenses.

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Another thing we did was refinance our house. This wasn’t really because of Dave Ramsey, but our neighbors had mentioned it and when they told me the rate they were getting, I called our broker and it turns out we can do a “streamlined refinance” because we have an FHA loan. This means we don’t have to pay ANY closing costs or fees and if the rate change can save us 5% or more per month, we can do it! The only downfall is our loan goes back to 30 years, but we have only had our house for 10 months so it’s really not a big deal especially when we don’t plan on living here forever. So we are saving some money that way too which is awesome! Check into it if you have an FHA loan and a rate above 5%. I was really surprised and super excited!

Hopefully I haven’t bored you too much, but if you skipped past all that, and didn’t read it, that’s fine too :)

**Update: I forgot to mention one other thing we are doing that I heard on Dave Ramsey. We met with a CPA last night (for free! first consultation is free…sweet!) and he helped us figure out how to fix our W2 form so that we get more money in our paychecks and avoid getting a huge tax return. This may not make sense to some people who look forward to that big chunk of cash, but I see no reason to give the government and interest free loan with my money! And I would rather get bigger paychecks throughout the year and save that way than get one big check in the Spring. Look into it if you’re interested!**

3 comments:

Shell said...

Done...I'm for sure going to read Total Money Makeover. I have listened to his show a lot and he is very reasonable about the things you can do to better your financial situation. I have heard a lot about his book, but you reminded me and I am going to buy it in UT! Also, Kim gave me These is My Words and for some reason I haven't read it yet, but I will now cuz you said it's good:) You are so great w/ money and I hope one day I will be frugal/cheap/smart like you! Love ya!

perkstreetjen said...

That's awesome - I'm so glad to hear we're part of your plan to live debt free!

I find it hard to make time for reading, too. I actually just finished reading Total Money Makeover last week on a flight to UT. It was a long flight, so I also read some essays on food and cooking. By the time I got home I was ready to make some serious frugal meals!

Good luck with your budgeting plan and let us know how else we can help.

Jennifer Scott
Digital Communications Manager
PerkStreet Financial

Kelsie said...

I just finished the Book Thief a few months ago, and I LOVED it! The storyline was a bit slow, but the writing is amazing, so I think you'll like it.

I'm so glad you talked about Dave Ramsey, because I used to listen to his stuff but haven't in forever, so thank you for the reminder!