The title may be a bit exaggerated, but I was thinking of random things I have wanted to post about and it seems like the overriding theme of them all is that they have changed my life. Okay, only one really has (my great friends) but the others have definitely made my life awesome so I wanted to share!
Best.DI.Find.EVER. I love rocking chairs and have always wanted one. I came across this beauty at D.I. for 25 BONES! Are you kidding me?! Love at first sight. It is in awesome condition and extremely sturdy. And we were even able to shove it in the Accord without too much incident. Don’t worry, the gold grandma designs on it are just painted on so I plan on re-painting it at some point. Hopefully I will use it to rock my babies some day!
This is the only real life changer. I love these gals and always will. Shelley came to visit and her and Bre came over for dinner without their cute kiddos. I missed the kids but loved talking to them like we have since high school. It’s weird how much has changed in our lives but how exactly the same things are when we get together. I can’t believe how long we’ve been friends and they are amazing people and have truly changed my life. I love skyping with them too!
Another shout-out to Breanne for introducing me to Lemi Shine. My dishes have been looking pretty awful for quite a while now. They are grimy and have a film on them. I always end up re-washing them. I tried a few things but Lemi Shine was a game changer. No joke, this was incredible. My dishes looked brand new and I am so happy! I followed the directions (use without dishes first) and I will try to scale back and use the least amount as possible but wow, I am a happy camper now.
Along those same lines, I have been making and using my own laundry soap for a while now! I know it seems pretty hippie/granola/weird but I love it! I heard about it a while ago and dismissed it, but saw it again on a blog and decided to check into it. There are a lot of benefits including saving money and using less harmful chemicals.
The ingredients were all found at Walmart in the laundry aisle and I have made and used an entire batch and I can easily say that it does the job as well or better than Tide or Gain which I have used in the past. It cost about $8 for these and it lasts a while and then you just have to replace the Fels-Naptha which are only $1 per bar (the other ingredients will last forever). Here is how to make it:
1 cup Borax
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Fels-Napth soap (I’ve heard Ivory works as well)
The only hard part is grating the soap which takes forever unless you have an electric grater but it’s not a huge deal. Mix them together and use 1-2 tablespoons depending on the size and dirtiness of the load. I made one batch and I loved it so I’m going to make a triple batch which should last me several months. I feel hippie-ish doing it, but I love it!
I have mentioned perkstreet before and I really love it still so I wanted to share. I think everyone should go and get a perkstreet account IMMEDIATELY. Really. We first heard about it from Dave Ramsey and we have been using perkstreet exclusively since November. It’s an online bank (backed by the FDIC), and it’s not a credit card. You use the Mastercard for anything and everything and if you run it as credit, you will accumulate rewards and you get 2% back on EVERYTHING. Really, everything. When I say “you get 2% back”, you can get it back on a Mastercard giftcard which you can use anywhere you can use a Mastercard credit card. Groceries, gas, bills, shopping, etc! Sweet! We used it to pay Dan’s tuition which was awesome! We have earned over $600 back since we opened it in November!
It took a little while to switch over all our automatic bills to the new card, but most of our bills (except mortgage and few others) accept credit cards so we earn 2% on those. The only stipulation is that you have to have at least $5,000 in your account to get the 2%. But even if you don’t, you still get 1% back! Currently they only have a checking account, but they keep saying a savings account is coming very soon. I have my perkstreet account linked with my Zions Bank account so once in a while I can easily deposit checks to Zions and transfer money back and forth to perkstreet. We use our perstreet card everywhere and you can set a pin and run it as debit if need (but you don’t earn the 2% on debit). We set up direct deposit into perkstreet as well and it has been really awesome.
I HIGHLY recommend looking into getting a perkstreet bank account. It is a great idea and the people who work for perkstreet seem to be genuinely great people who want to encourage people to live within their means and avoid credit. There is also no annual fee or any fees unless you don’t use the card at all for a month (not a problem if it’s your “regular” card). They have a facebook page where they respond to questions within minutes and I’ve heard their customer service email and phone is also great. If anyone has any questions about it, let me know and I will be happy to answer them!
We are still really into Dave Ramsey and love his theories and overall philosophy about avoiding debt, saving money and living frugally and within your means. We are totally debt-free except our house and we’re working on building a comfortable 6 month emergency fund. Dave suggests waiting to contribute to your 401k until you have your emergency fund, but we are still each contributing a small amount to our 401k’s through our work because our company each has a good match that we’re taking advantage of.
I feel really strongly that people should take control of their finances, make a budget, and live within their means. Money isn’t everything, but having bills you can’t pay creates unnecessary problems and stress in your life. If you can avoid that, then why not? It’s hard to not get everything we want right now and not easy to drive old cars (harder for Dan in that department), but it’s so worth it to not have debt hanging over our heads and know that we have a good plan for our future. I also think that there are a lot of women who are completely uninvolved in financial decisions, budgets, etc and this is a huge mistake. I would die if something happened to Dan, but it’s important to think about the future and so many women wouldn’t be able to take care of themselves or their families if they lost their husband. This needs to change and women need to take control of their lives and become empowered by learning about their finances and making decisions for their futures. I’m not even going to get into the importance of getting an education but too many women rely on their husbands to always take care of them and this doesn’t always happen. You need to be prepared for any possibility and by sitting down with your spouse and discussing your budget, savings, and future financial plans is a great start. I also recommend looking into life insurance and making sure you have a term life insurance policy. Don’t just take your life for granted and think that it will never change. Being educated is the best way to be prepared for the future and the feeling of comfort that you have in knowing that you are financially secure and knowledgeable is priceless.
Sorry for my little rant there, but it’s something I feel strongly about and something I want to share! It’s obviously my opinion only and if you know me, you know that I have a lot of opinions