All In

My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

Envelopes – Not Just for Mail Anymore

(If you like this post, be sure to check out my Budgeting Series)

Envelope System
photo courtesy of https:\\www.freedigitalphotos.net

As of yesterday, my husband and I are officially graduates of Dave Ramsey’s 9-week Financial Peace University! (To see if any Financial Peace classes are offered in your area, click here) If you don’t know what Financial Peace University is, it is a class that goes through seven baby steps toward achieving peace with your finances. Dave encourages a monthly zero-based budget, which basically means that each month, all of your income, minus your expenses, should equal zero. Whatever is left after your bills are paid should go towards paying off debt or building up savings. For example, if you make $1000 a month (theoretical example, obviously, cuz who can live on only $1000 a month, am I right!? If you find them, let me know so I can copy what they’re doing!) and your expenses are $900 a month, the extra $100 should go towards your debt, such as vehicle loan or credit cards, or if you have no debt, it goes towards savings, whether for a new car, house, retirement, or whatever!

Envelope System ID-100106853photos courtesy of https:\\www.freedigitalphotos.net

Anyway, as part of the Financial Peace course, Dave encourages using the envelope system. That basically means that, for certain categories in your budget, you should use cash instead of your debit card. The idea is that you ‘feel’ it leave your hands better when it is in cash form and therefore, you will be more intentional about spending that money. Last month, my husband and I started using the envelope system for a few of our budgeted categories. The ones we chose to do this way are: Grocery, Restaurant, Car Repair, Gift, and Entertainment. The idea is that, at the beginning of the month, you withdraw all the cash that you have budgeted for each of these categories and place it into the corresponding envelopes. Then you use the cash within these envelopes for purchases that fall within these categories. The envelope system sold by Dave’s website includes envelopes that are covered in a register-type log. That way, you can keep track of what goes in and out of the envelope and ensure that the right amount of money in there. Even if you don’t use the envelope system from Dave’s site, I think it is a good idea to keep a log of the money in the envelope, just like it is a check register for a mini checking account.

For us, the envelope system has been a bit of trial and error. Our grocery and restaurant envelopes are having a bit of trouble keeping themselves to their limit. But we are slowly getting the hang of it and getting the right amount of money budgeted in there.

If you want to try the envelope system for yourself, there are a few options. You can buy them from Dave Ramsey’s official website by clicking here. Also, you can check Etsy or Ebay for unique envelope systems made by crafters out there. Some of them are pretty cute! Amazon also sells Dave Ramsey’s official envelope system. Or for a super cheap option, you can make your own out of paper (pattern courtesy of http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com) or fabric, via some great tutorials, here or here (these are not the only tutorials out there, scour the web to find one that works for you!)

Tell your money where to go

Tell your money where to go

photo courtesy of https:\\www.freedigitalphotos.net

Have you tried the envelope system? How did it work for you? Any money-saving tips or tricks for the rest of us?

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about Dave Ramsey, you can start by reading one of his many books, such as The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

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My First Mother’s Day

Well, the Friday before Mother’s Day we got our first foster care placement! We can’t post very many details about them, but we got a baby girl almost a year old and her older sister, about 3 years old.

Needless to say, for our first time as parents, we totally freaked out! The girls were soo well-behaved, but I think the idea and reality of parenthood took my husband and me by surprise. I was excited and scared and worried and a million other emotions all at the same time. And my husband felt even more overwhelmed than I did!

 

When they were placed with us, it was an emergency placement, so they were still in the process of contacting family. On the Monday after Mother’s Day, they ended up going to stay with their grandma. We were glad for them to be able to stay with their family, but also sad, since we had grown to love them during the short few days they stayed with us. But we also felt a bit relieved because of the overwhelming feelings we felt over the responsibility of suddenly becoming the parents of two little girls.

 

Looking back, it was a great weekend. The girls were so well-behaved, given the situation they were in. The baby really took to my husband, which of course he loved! He has always wanted a daddy’s girl. It was great to have a taste of motherhood over Mother’s Day, but we are glad that they can be someplace familiar. We have definitely missed them over the past week and half and will continue to miss them. We pray that they are doing well and can grow up to be beautiful young ladies.

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Santa Fe Chicken Enchilada Bake from Kraft Recipes

Each week, I get an email from Kraft with a bunch of recipes. You can sign up for these recipes too at Kraft. Anyway a few weeks ago they had a recipe for their Santa Fe Enchilada Bake. It didn’t seem like it had a ton of complicated expensive ingredients, so I thought I’d try it out. For the full recipe, follow the link to their website.

The ingredients that it called for were:

1 lb Chicken breast

1 onion ($0.69)

1 pepper ($0.99)

1 16 oz jar of salsa ($2)

10 oz frozen corn ($1.99)

12 – 6 inch corn tortillas ($1.59)

1 cup sour cream ($1.19)

1.5 cups shredded cheese ($2)

Ingredients for Santa Fe Enchilada Bake

Ingredients for Santa Fe Enchilada Bake

So the ingredients I got were a bit different. There were only two chicken breasts left in the package since I had used it for other recipes. I got 2 cups of cheese instead of 1 and 1/2 cups (and used it all), the corn was a few ounces more than recommended, and I got flour tortillas instead of corn. I just don’t like corn tortillas, even in casseroles. The total spent for this meal was $10.45 not including the chicken (I had purchased that on a previous shopping trip). If I guess the cost of the whole bag of chicken at around $5, and that I only used 2 breasts out of the bag, it probably costs between $1.50 and $2 for the amount of chicken I used. So the cost of the mail was $12.45, which figures out to $1.55 per serving. The recipe says it makes 8 servings. Even if each person took two servings, that is $3.10 per person. I’d say this meal is definitely a budget meal.

Anyway, first, I chopped the veggies and chicken breast:

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Then, cook the chicken and veggies in a skillet for about 10 minutes while the oven preheats:

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Once the chicken is cooked through, mix in the corn and salsa:

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Then, line the bottom of your pan with tortilla’s and layer the veggie mix, sour cream, and cheese in, then another layer of tortillas, then veggie mix, sour cream and top with cheese. The recipe says to put six tortillas on the bottom, but to cover the baking dish, I only needed three or four.

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Here is the final product before I added tinfoil and put it in the oven:

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And here it is fresh out of the oven:

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The little white blobs are the sour cream underneath the layer of cheese. It spread out more on the middle layer. Overall, the recipe was pretty good. My hubby said it could have had less corn, but I didn’t mind it. I thought it could have used more zing, so maybe I’ll try a spicier salsa next time or add some green chiles or sprinkle green onions on top. But I think for $1.55 a serving, it was great! It definitely CAN serve up 8 servings, because I took a small corner and with both layers of stuff, it was VERY filling! I will be able to take the leftovers to work for lunch the next few days, so this meal will definitely live up to the value.

What are some budget friendly meals you’ve tried? How do you cut corners in your grocery budget? Do you make extra and have leftovers for lunch?

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Rest

Have you ever thought about taking an entire year off from work? Just dropping everything and taking a tour of the world? Or even staying home, but just not having to drag yourself into work every day? It sounds crazy, right? But in Exodus and Leviticus, that’s exactly what God called the Israelites to do.

Exodus 23:10-12

10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.”

Leviticus 25:1-7

“The Lord said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the Lord. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the Lord. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest. Whatever the land yields during the sabbath year will be food for you—for yourself, your male and female servants, and the hired worker and temporary resident who live among you, as well as for your livestock and the wild animals in your land. Whatever the land produces may be eaten.”

Crazy right!? What were they supposed to do for an entire year? As the daughter of a farmer, I can tell you, farmers feel the need to be doing something. All winter long they busy themselves up with whatever they can and then when spring comes, they are busy from dusk till dawn getting their fields planted. What would they do if they took an entire year off? I can’t even come up with what I would do for an entire year. Would my job even be there for me when I came back? Our generation is the total opposite of this mentality. We have to go go go and every second that we aren’t occupied by something is a second wasted.

Now, I’m not saying we should all just stop working for a year, but it does make you think, doesn’t it? We spend our lives rushing to work, to home, to church, to parties, to whatever we fill our time with. Even when we have free time, we occupy it with time on the internet or watching TV (or at least I do). What about the Sabbath day? Do you have a day of the week where you don’t work or do anything close to work? Do you have any time in your week when you are simply ‘resting’ (And I don’t mean sleeping!)

I would like to challenge my readers to take a break from the busy-ness of life and simply rest in God’s arms. The world will not go on without you, you won’t miss anything important (except maybe the newest episode of your favorite show, but let’s be honest: Are you going to look back in ten years and even remember this show or episode?). Just take a day, or even a few hours if a day is too much. Spend some time in the Word and simply rest. You will be surprised how must this time can re-energize you and bring you closer to God.

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