Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Rich Dad, Poor Dad {Book Talk}

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I am an avid reader, and I love all kinds of books. Lately, I have not had the time to read the books I enjoy reading because of all of the literature I have to scour through for my dissertation (I know, crazy, right!?!?) When meeting with my professor one day, he recommended two books to me. I hurriedly jotted down the titles because I honestly think he recommended these same two books to me during a previous discussion with him. I figured, hey, if he is telling me for the second time to read these books, they must really be worth it. 

When I got home that afternoon, I looked them up on Amazon. Neither of these books were about my degree or my dissertation topic. I smiled. Yes, a reason to read something else other than other dissertations and peer reviewed articles. I couldn't press the "submit order" button (budget buster, yikes) quick enough! They both arrived two days later. 

The first recommended book I chose to read was Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money that the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki. What an excellent read! I couldn't put it down. I read it in two days. It was an easy read, but it was packed with common sense and advice on how to make your money work for you....not you working for money. 

It all made so much sense, and it shed a new light on how I began to view my job, my commitments, and my time. (I will not spoil the book because it is such a good one.) If you decide to read the book, or if you have already read it, I would love to hear your take-aways from the book. For those who have not read it, I encourage you to do so. 

After I read it, I began thinking about my previous conversations with my professor. Had I said something that made him think I needed financial advice (although, most of us do, or at least we need reminders)? Had I indicated I wanted to quit my job and figure out a way to make money work for me (surely not because I am in school to earn an advanced degree)? I believe all things happen for a reason. The reason he suggested I read the book was simply because I needed it, whether he knew it or not. 

The other book he recommended will be discusses in another Book Talk post. Happy Reading!

Monday, January 5, 2015

How to Make Paperclip Bookmarks

Several months ago, I saw this cute little paperclip bookmark. I adored it! I had to learn how to make them. They couldn't be that hard to make, right? 

I went to the store and bought paperclips and ribbon. I scoured the internet trying to find the perfect way to create them. Then life became busier, so I simply put this little project on hold. Sunday afternoon my little girl asked if we could make a craft. Sure thing! Out came the paperclips and ribbon, and we got started. 

While there are many ways to create these cute little bookmarks, I will share with you have we made them. 

-Jumbo Paperclips
-Hot Glue Gun and Glue Sticks

After you have all of the supplies, my suggestion would be to go ahead and cut the ribbon for the desired number of bookmarks. Cut the ribbon 5 inches. We made piles of ribbon and paperclips. My little girl wanted to color-coordinate the paperclips, so that gave her a fun task for her to do. 

Now you are ready to begin making the paperclip bookmarks. 

Step 1: Place the cut ribbon center over the top of the paperclip. 

Step 2: Loop one side through the back of the paperclip and pull it up towards the top. Repeat this same process for the other side of the ribbon. 

Step 3: Once the ribbon is looped through and pulled tight, use your scissors to cut the top of the ribbon into V's to keep the ribbon from fraying. 

Step 4: Add a dab of hot glue on the backside of the bookmark to keep the ribbon secure. 

In the pictures above, you can see we made quite a few. We plan to give them to our family members and others. Also, you can see what it looks like coming out of the top of a book...so cute! 

This was a fun craft that even my six year old could help with. I hope you enjoy making some paperclip bookmarks. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Picking Yourself Up...How to Get Back on Your Feet

Let's face it! We have all been there before...flat on our face, down on our knees...wondering how we in the world we would get back up again. Now, at the time, getting back up seemed impossible. But, if you remember that feeling you felt once you were back on your feet, the blood, sweat, and/or tears were worth getting there. 

Our little family went ice skating the other day. I will use the work "ice" carefully because we live in the South, so there is little to no ice outside in the winter time. The venues make do and simulate the experience with what I call a cutting board rink...or at least that is what it looked like when you got really close to it. 

Anyway, we went. Our daughter had her skated laced first, so she was not scared to try it out by herself. At the onset, all was good...until, you know it...she fell. Trying to see how she would react, I stood behind her for a moment. Suddenly, she began to get up to her feet. Then she fell again. She got to her feet again, and then fell. By this time, I was beside her. 

I helped her up, and I held her hand until she had a pretty good feel for the skates. I then let go of her hand, and she took off. Now there were many more ups and downs ice skating for her, but there were none for me. And let me tell you why. 

I was scared. I was terrified of falling and not being able to get back up. What if someone saw me? What if I simply could not do it? What if I failed? How you ever fallen to the point you felt like you couldn't get back on your feet? Have you ever lost a loved one? Lost a job? Had a broken heart? Failed that test at work? The list could go on and on. 

Here are some helpful ways to help you get back on your feet if you ever experience a fall: 

1. Embrace It: I know this is easier said than done; however, if you can first come to terms with what made you fall or why you fell, it will be much easier to take the first step to getting back on your feet. 

2. Take the First Step: After you have embraced the fall, you must figure out what the first step is you need to take. Is it applying for a job? Is it calling a long, lost family member? Is it forgiving yourself? Once you figure out what you need to do, take that first step. You can do! I believe in you!

3. Trust Yourself: If we cannot trust ourselves, who can we trust? You have got to regain some confidence in yourself. Treat yourself to a "you" day and do something for yourself you love. It will make you feel better, and hopefully it will get you building your confidence in yourself you need. 

4. Enlist Some Help: Call a friend, your mom, your dad, a co-worker, a pastor, or a counselor. Depending on your fall, you will need some help from others to serve as your support system. You will need someone you can talk to about your situation to help you work through some of the obstacles that may be blocking your path. You will also feel better after you have talked to someone you know will be there to support you. 

5. Keep up the Fight: This is probably one of the hardest steps to overcome because along the way, you may stumble and fall again. Do not be discouraged. Go through the steps again...and again...and again...until you have overcome this great fall. 

Once you are able to work your way through all of the steps and see the outcome of your progress, you will feel so free and proud...just like doing a triple-axle on skates. 

On this day, I learned a very valuable lesson from my daughter...no matter what life throws at you, you simply have to pick yourself up and get back on your feet.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Year- New Month- New Budget

As much as sitting down and making a monthly budget is tedious, it is a task job that must be tackled...and completed! Let me be quite honest, I am terrified of budgets. Yep, that's me! I am not terrified to sit down and create the budget; I am terrified I will not follow the budget. Thus, I fail. (Sigh)

However, this year- this new year- I vow to not get so worked up about failing. I am human. We are humans. And one thing I have learned in my life is we all have to start somewhere, no matter where "that" is.

In starting the year off with a new budget, I am solely going to focus on one month at a time. I am not going to focus on the next month or into the future other than the current month.

First things first...we listed our incomes. Since we are both working right now, we simply combined the two monthly incomes into one column. Next, we wrote down our fixed bills (those payments that are the same each month)...home mortgage, insurance(s), cable, internet, retirement accounts, school tuition for our daughter, piano lessons, gym membership, house phone bill, alarm bill, etc. Then we added another column of our other bills (those that are subject to change each month)...utilities, groceries, gas, , cell phones, credit card, etc. We added up our fixed bills and our other bills separately. Our next step was to look at what was left after we subtracted both columns from our monthly income. We were able to decide how much money we wanted to start putting into our savings account. We looked at expenses that were not necessary. 

January is a hard month for our little family for several reasons. Our car tags on two vehicles is due in January, so we have to be very diligent about stashing away money monthly for this...which we did not do a wonderful job of this year. Since we dropped the ball on that, we will not be able to save as much money this month since it will be going to pay the car tags. This was definitely worked in our January budget to start putting money towards this January bill for 2016. 

For this month, we are just going to cut out eating out...period...this will be the hardest for me because I seem to run out of time once I get off work and do errands, that I lose track of time so we wind up picking up supper. This is not a healthy option for us...physically or financially. This will take better planning and preparation on my part, but I am willing to do it to see results. 

I will update you during the month as we venture down this road of not eating out...period! I know that I will need some accountability because I am the world's greatest at coming up with excuses for not cooking. Hold me accountable, folks! 

We have talked long and hard about cutting back in certain areas. I feel like 2015 will be the year we take that step. We have some wishes and dreams for the future, and we want to be debt free to pursue those. Although there are many areas we can find to cut back, we are choosing to do them is small steps so we see little successes along the way. Each month we will add one or two ways to cut back, pay off debt, and save...and you will see our journey every step of the way. 

If you have a budget success, please share it in the comments below. I love to see how others are winning at budgeting! And we can inspire one another along the way. Here's to a fabulous new month!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It's Okay, Mom! Intro

Welcome to this little blog! It's Okay, Mom! was inspired by my daughter. When life happens, she is there to constantly remind me "it's okay".  It is hard to believe a young child can have such a profound impact on an adult, but she never ceases to amaze me. 

In the posts, you will read real life stories, how-to tutorials, and how our little family saves, spends, and gives. Follow us on our journey through life. Share your stories with us. Let's learn from one another. Let's support one another and hold each other accountable.  

I chose to launch this blog on January 1st as my way to make my resolutions (and our family resolutions) public. By doing so, it will serve to hold me accountable for those resolutions we tend to let go of too quickly. 

Some posts I have lined up for you in January include the topics of: de-cluttering your home, budgeting tools, cheap date nights with the hubby, home improvement ideas, teaching your children about money, several book reviews, and some of our favorite family recipes. I will also spontaneously write posts pertaining to what is going on in our lives and world that particular day. If you have any suggestions or requests for blog posts, please leave them in the comment section. I will try my best to get to them.  

It will be raw...real...life. But in the end, I will always remember, It's Okay, Mom!