This is the last week of the contest!! Can you believe it! The 11.5 months has gone so fast but gone so slow! We have worked so hard at this contest! We met with our budget coach yesterday and reminisced about our life at the beginning of the contest. We had some good laughs! Last week Park had a pizza party for us. We met 2 of the other families! We had a great time! It was nice to meet our competition! Everyone was so nice. How can you not want everyone to win?! Like they say in the movie Facing the Giants, "Win or lose, give God the glory!"
Getting Into A Routine
School has started and our routine has begun! It has a good feel to it this year! My children are at good ages (8 & 10). They are doing a great job being focused and doing their work more independently this year! We all have to be more schedule driven this year. Since we moved we have to schedule our time more strictly. Otherwise, we will be spending way too much money in gas and wasting a lot of time.
Still No Treadmill!
Remember back in January when our budget coach said "no treadmill"? Well, we still do not have a treadmill. I am checking Craig's list faithfully though to see if someone wants to give one away. It happens! Seriously, my friend's neighbor gave her a really nice one. I have hope. But in the meantime Douglas is walking with me in the mornings or I do a walking dvd. I love those walking dvd's (from the library)! I can do them in my pajama's if I want to! Douglas and I have begun another new routine. Some friends told us about livestrong.com. It is a website for tracking calories and fitness. It really has been a great tool for us. Check it out!
The Ikea Store
Have you ever been to the Ikea Store? Ever heard of it? I had not until about a month ago by 2 different people! So I thought, I need to see this store! It just so happened that we had to go to Cincinnati for an appointment and guess what is in Cincinnati? The exciting Ikea store! Douglas compares it to going to Home Depot for men. And everything is reasonably priced! So if you ever get to Ohio try the Ikea store! Or at least go to the website and order a catalog! And by the way, we did not spend 1 penny there!
We just completed probably our last commercial for Park at WDRB Fox41. Evan is glad not to be doing any more. Even though he has never seen one of our commercials he says he does not like to be on TV. He is funny! Faith is funny too. She does not want to do them because her big brother does not want to do them. Douglas and I have thoroughly enjoyed doing the commercials. It is just a fun thing to do! And to top it off, everyone at WDRB is soooooo nice. Victoria who has scheduled our commercials is always so professional and sweet. We even got to meet the weather man Marc Weinberg. That was awesome for my kids since they are really interested in the weather. Thanks WDRB! It has certainly been an awesome experience!
Since October 2010:
Since the start of the competition, with the guidance of Park, we have reduced debt, opened multiple savings accounts to help with our budgeting and have an emergency fund. It has been a blessing to become more accountable with our finances and continue to be good stewards of our money. In addition to this we were able to purchase a house at the beginning of 2011. We certainly could not have done it without God and the help of our budget coach and Park! Unfortunately the contest has to come to an end sometime. And that sometime is September 18!!!!!!
Old Technology is sometimes the Best:
With the latest storm that caused so many people to lose power it made me stop and think.
My thought was this: what happens if we are out of electricity and I cannot do my on-line banking? And what happens if I go to Park and it is closed because of no electricity. So I contacted Park to get setup to do my banking over the phone just in case I cannot get on the internet to do it. Now I have comfort if we ever lose power I will still be able to do my banking. Does your bank or credit union have this feature? If not, call my Park! They will help you out!
We have another blessing from the challenge! Wendy was told by the kid's school that we owed more than we thought. Thankfully due to the practices we have picked up from the contest we knew how much we owed and had records of what we had paid. We had no surprises! Praise God! In the past a message like that could have brought great stress and devastating results to our finances for the month. Thanks again Park and Bobby, you rock.
7/27/11 The Adventure Trip:
Douglas and Evan are on the adventure of a life time, at least for a 10 year old, with Boy scouts!
Day 1 They travel to Knife World in TN where there are 13,000 knives!
Day 2 They drive to Big East Fork, NC where they will hike a four hour trail which actually turns into 10 hours!
Day 3 They go to the Lost Colony Show at Kitty Hawk.
Day 4 They go to the Wright Brothers Museum, camp at Hatteras.
Day 5 They dine at the infamous Orange Blossom Cafe for breakfast and tour the Cape Hatteras Light House and then take the ferry to an island with wild horses.
Day 6 They will camp out on the ocean while fishing, crabbing and swimming.
Day 7 Then it is off to the USS Yorktown Aircraft carrier to sleep.
Day 8 A surprise adventure!
Day 9 Come home!
Now you tell me is this an adventure?!? But here is the exciting news...It was all paid for!! We worked hard for it selling camp cards for Boy scouts. Hard work pays off!
7/18/11 I am Ready to Make my own Laundry Detergent
I am ready to make my own laundry detergent! It should be simple...only 3 ingredients needed! Try it! Everybody is doing it! And it is only .02 per load or less! I may have to change my middle name to "Frugal"!
This recipe is from Malia Russell from her blog Homemaking 911:
Step One: Shred, chop or shave your soap into small pieces.
Step Two: Measure and start heating water. You will need 6 cups of water heated to melt the soap in a sauce pan. Add the soap and water to the pan.
Step Three: Once the soap is all dissolved, you stir in half a cup of Borax and half a cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda. Stir over the heat until it is all dissolved.
Step Four: Remove from heat and pour into a large bucket. I used a five gallon bucket, but a smaller bucket would have been just fine.
Step Five: Add four cups more of hot water to the bucket and stir until well blended.
Step Six: Add one gallon plus six cups of cold water to the mixture. Mix well. Let sit for 24 hours.
Store it in your old laundry soap bottle or other plastic container for easy pouring.
Ready to use! I used 1/4 of a cup because I have a high efficiency machine. Most would probably use half a cup. It looks like a liquid gel.
What about scent?
If you want a scent other than the soap smell, you can add 1/2 - 1 oz of essential oils. I have not tried that yet because I have a daughter with Asthma, and I wanted to try a batch with no scent first.
There are no suds. Is it cleaning?
This has low suds, so if you open the washer and look you will not see a lot of suds.
Does it clean and deodorize well?
Our laundry smells good and clean. The results are very good. So far we have not been unhappy with any loads.
How much are you saving?
Based on us using liquid Tide from Sam's Club, I estimate that I spent 8 cents per load (I use half as much as the bottle recommends). Using my homemade soap I will spend half a cent per load. It takes less than 15 minutes to make.
Will I still need dryer sheets or fabric softener?
I still use dryer sheets.
Where did you learn to make your own laundry soap?
I saw several sets of directions on different websites and looked around for the most commonly used ingredients and instructions. Once I decided to try it, I took pictures along the way to share for people just learning like me. One website actually sells the individual ingredients pre-measured if you do not want to buy a whole box of ingredients yourself. If you are interested in trying that, see the following website. http://crystalscountrystore.com/laundryroom.htm
Is she awesome or what! I hope to have a free day in the very near future to try this. I am all set with my ingredients!
7/8/11 To Spend Or Not To Spend?
Douglas wants to spend and I don't. What do you think? This question does not pertain to you Bobby (our budget coach) because we know what you think :) On our anniversary we went to get my rings cleaned. This is something we try to do every year. And it is a good thing too. One prong was bent. The gentleman who was helping us took my ring to see how long it would take to fix it. He came back with more bad news. Not only was there a prong bent but the setting was cracked under the main diamond. Great! Another expense! How much now? $180.00! To fix or not to fix?
7/1/11 Yard Sale winding down!
The mini-challenge comes to an end at the end of June. We have gone all out trying to have as many yard sales as our lives would allow. Today was our 4th one. Having a yard sale is a lot of work. And the return is not always that great or it could be! You just don't know...how many people will show or how the weather will be! And dragging all the stuff in and out is drag! This has to be the hardest challenge so far! I may try to have one more during the week. We graciously accept all prayers! :)
6/27/11 Fun and Free Field Trips!
We did not do many field trips during the year so this summer I want to take the kids to different ones close by to save on gas. Two that we have done recently were the Salato Wildlife Center and The American Printing House.
Salato is in Frankfort. We loved it. Indoors they had a few live exhibits with tons of interesting information. Outside we saw a black bear, bison, elk, white tail deer and a bobcat. It also has hiking and fishing available -- a place we will go back to especially since it is free and close to us.
We were at the AHP for several hours. They actually did a workshop with the kids to teach them the braille alphabet, how to type braille and write it! Then we visited the museum and were taken on a tour of the factory. I would like to go back to the museum and spend a little more time there. If you ever get a chance it is an awesome place to go.
6/24/11 Day Of Fun!
All the blogging paid off when we won the mini-challenge! Especially since we had never been to Holiday World and that was the winning prize! We were so excited to spend a fun-filled day just relaxing and enjoying life with the kids!
The park was everything everyone said it was! The kids had the best time and are excited about going back next year. We have already figured out how much we need to save up and will start that as soon as our budget coach approves it! :p
In addition to our fun day, we also saved money that morning at Chick-fil-a! We received 2 chicken biscuits, (4) 3 pack mini's, an egg/chicken/bagel meal, a large O.J., a water and yogurt parfait all for only $4.50ish!!!! We were ready to go! Plus we took our lunch and took a break during the day to eat it.
Holiday World was a fabulous experience and we thank Park for it! Praise God!
6/17/11 Saving Money With Our New Lawn Mower!
You may be wondering how we can save money with our lawn mower. It is the coolest thing! A push mower! No gas, no spark plugs, no oil, no tuneups! The real terminology for it is ''reel mower". We had to make a purchase of a lawn mower for our new house and we did not want to have to spend a large amount of money. Some of those mowers are outrageous in price! At Sears there are 18 different models (online) of these reel mowers!
I think they will definitely catch on if you have a small yard especially with the price of gas. Plus it is a good workout!
6/10/11 Yard sale fever
We are so into having yard sales in this weather! Not! We were so burning up Saturday at 92 degrees! I so dread getting up at 6:45am to pull all the stuff out of the garage just to arrange it neatly on the driveway to wait for the shoppers to come. Oh but I so love it! I get to meet neighbors and chat with lovely people. I truly do love having yard sales. It is fun just waiting and relaxing with my family. Waiting to count the money up at the end of the day. Thinking all along that we have not made very much just to be pleasantly surprised.
We are determined to have these yard sales. I am going to say that we will have a minimum of 5 before the end of June. I will keep you posted on the results of the mini-contest at the beginning of July. Thanks for keeping us in your prayers!
The cars are really trying to cut into our savings account. I went to do a tune up on Wendy's car the other day when I found the wells for all four spark plugs full of oil. I was afraid I was looking at a several hundred dollar repair. After calling around I got the car into Bob Hook Chevrolet in Shelbyville that day. Then I started making plans for having only one car for a few days. The same afternoon the Bob Hook shop called me back to tell me that the car was done and that it was all warranty work! As always, God is good!! Thank you all for your prayers and support.
I am just really convicted about how much we (my family) can live without. By that I mean saying no to ourselves everytime we have the urge to purchase something on a whim. How often do we go to the Lord about spending his money on daily purchases, not just the big ones? And we are guilty of this, our worst purchasing whim is going out to eat. And that seems to be an easy one to justify because it is food and we do have to eat. Especially when our lives are busy and we are not home long enough to prepare a meal. Maybe we are not buying something but we are still spending money that does not need to be spent.
It is a sacrifice that is so hard for us. But we have definitely cut down on our eating out since the beginning of the challenge in October. Being budget-minded has to be intentional! Is it a need or a want, and if it is a need do we really need it?! And I am thankful to God because that has become a part of our new thought process
The Costly Car
Hello Everybody! We had an exciting day not to long ago. First the belt on my car flew off while I was driving on I-264. I had the car towed to my Father-in-laws where I was able to fix it. Second, I had to go to Michele Tires for four new tires on the same car. Third, while there it was brought to my attention that the front brakes needed to be replaced. Another trip to Auto Zone for parts and I had the job done. It was such a blessing to have the money in savings to be able to handle these emergencies. Praise God!! I have more work on the cars to do but thankfully I have picked up extra hours and overtime to pay for it!
Our New Table
Did you hear about the new Kroger in Shelbyville? One of the workers there told us it cost $20 million to build and is 3 acres inside! It is a huge store but I never imagined it was that big! We do love it! We found a great deal on a new table for our kitchen. 4 chairs and a table for $125.00. What a bargain! Deal, deal, deal! I love a deal since we are on our budget. So we went to Kroger to buy our new table for our new house! But here is what happened. Before Douglas paid for it he came up to me and said, "Do you think we should buy this?" I said "Let's pray right now". So we did right there in the toy department. I confessed that I had felt the same way but brushed the thought aside because I really wanted to buy the table! How is that for selfish! Anyway, neither of us had peace about buying the table so we didn't buy it. We have no regrets about it! We are happy eating on our 90 year old antique table with the broken leg.
Since we have been in this contest I have stopped often to think about how much we do not need. How much people in other countries do not have. How much we have but do not need! How much other people need but do not have. It makes it so much easier to deny myself and my family when I think like that.
Do Not Worry
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
"Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:22-34
The Easter Pageant
The Easter Pageant is over! It was such a blessing to be involved in. It was a huge commitment though! I had no idea how big it was. I believe if I knew I would not have done it. God had a hand in that for sure. The very last week of the pageant I got sick and Faith had a "raging" ear infection the doctor said. We did manage to feel better for the last night. We are still trying to get back into our normal routine. Our life was so different for those 6 weeks. We are glad not to be so busy but we also miss it! We are also sad that it was the last one. Fortunately there are several versions around the country if we really want to see it again!
We Were In A Pickle:
To quote our budget coach "you are in a pickle". And what he meant by that is this, at the beginning of January 2011 (the month of our closing!) the part-time job that Douglas had was going to end. So the extra income we had every other week was going to stop. There went our vision of winning the contest or at least changing our family legacy. The pressure was on. And something needed to be done. Douglas put in applications and more applications. Our stress definitely went up several levels. We did not even need to talk about it, it was there, hanging in the air! His hours had stopped, we had just moved and our gas budget was going to have to increase because now we were driving more miles. And we are suppose to be saving money and improving our finances, not going in the opposite direction! But we were going in the opposite direction at an overwhelming rate! I don't know how you handle stress but I just slid into a dark whole. Douglas was such an encourager to me though.
It is hard being on a budget!!!!!!!!! Unforeseen things happen, unforeseen things come up! Being in a " have to" situation of denying ourselves, deciding what is a need or want, and do we really need a need? These are all apart of the experience! It is really going too fast. I feel like we still have so much to learn! Being on a budget in this contest is so much more than numbers on a paper. It has affected our humanness. The worst seems to come out before the best!
FYI the whole reason we moved was because of the Park contest. In September we decided to move because we were renting. We were going to continue renting but just cut our rent in half. Huh! That was not going to happen with 2 dogs! Everyone wanted pet deposits and increased rent. So that is when we decided to buy the house for 109k. Our mortgage would be less than our rent! That is why we moved! Well with the new plans our new house puts us at about the same place we were with renting BUT we own it!
Also since we have moved we do not have internet! It is astounding how much our lives revolve around the computer! It has truly become apparent what a time waster the computer is! Needless to say, it is hard getting our blogs done without the internet! I am just having a hard time conceiving the thought of paying $45.00 a month. In my mind that is a ballet lesson! And we gave had to cut those out along with gymnastics!
Did I mention how awesome God is?! We have been praying about the ultimate part time job for Douglas since September, He put an application in at the Shelbyville Fire Department in September after we signed the house contract. It is less than a mile from our home. We really thought God had closed that door but on March 2nd Douglas got the job. When he called to tell me I was so excited by what God did I had to pull my car over to sing praises to him! So now we are not in as big of a pickle anymore. We do have some catching up to do to get our momentum going again. Thanks goes to our budget coach and his continued pressure on us :) My prayer is for God to continue to guide us to be content, grateful, cheerful givers, debt free and to be the BEST managers of His money.
Thank you all for your support and your prayers! They mean so much to us! And we know they work! Please let us know how we can pray for you and any pickle you may be in right now!
After The Move:
The house we moved out of was 2000sf with a full basement. Our new house is 400sf smaller than our old house and it does not have a full basement either but a crawl space. So needless to say our house is full of boxes.
We were trying to get settled in quickly because the Southeast Easter Pageant rehearsals have begun. It is the last year of the pageant and our first year ever doing it. We are all excited about being in it to tell the story of Jesus. It is a huge commitment though. I did not fully realize how much energy would be needed to do it. It will be a lifestyle change for about 6 weeks.
I am sure after the 6 weeks we will be happy it is over but also sad. I hope you will all join us for the Easter Pagaent at Southeast March 18-April 1. Go to SoutheastChristian.org
New House Story:
God has blessed us with 2 great opportunities. The first, as most of you know, is the Park Savings Families Challenge. The second blessing is our new house. We have not been able to post lately because of packing, moving and no internet available.
What happened with our house is a little bizarre! But we can look back now and see that it was a plan that God was in control of, not us. In December, Douglas received a call from Dominion telling us that we could not buy our $109,000. brand new house which was withing a few weeks of being finished! When Douglas called and told me I just laughed and laughed because this is not the first house we have ever tried to buy and the door has been closed. So needless to say I almost expected a call like that.
The whole month of December was so stressful with this call, packing, my birthday, Christmas, our Park challenge and just life in general. Douglas was on top of this situation though. He had many conversations with the Senior Vice President of Dominion along with multiple other employee's of that company. He negotiated or rather God negotiated a great deal for us. Here is what we were told...we could not move into the house because when Dominion bought the land for our subdivision there was a deed restriction stating that Dominion could not sell a house for less than 140k. After many long days of prayer and stress in December here is our plan from God. Our 145k house was lowered to 140k, our real estate commission was raised to 5%, they paid our closing costs, our interest rate was bought down to 3.75%, we got all new appliances and the lot and house are bigger. We moved January 29th! God is so incredible, we could not have even prayed a plan that great!
Our moving day was great! We prayed for a sunny day of 70 degrees. Pray specific right? Actually 70 would have been too warm so God blessed us with a sunny day of 51 degrees! It was perfect! We had so many friends help us out in so many ways. God is truly faithful in all situations!
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January 18, 2011
Thank You Old Navy
Well Bobby was not about to let us buy a new treadmill so I had to take matters into my own hands! That's right I put my foot down! And did not buy a treadmill. What I did do was a search on the web for cold weather gear and came up with a list of gear that we would need to run safely outside in the cold. This is a big problem for Wendy because she gets soooo cold. She's really an indoor athlete.
After compiling a list I thought it would take some time to get it all together but then Old Navy came along. Our friend Lisa introduced us it is her favorite store. We received an e-mail from Old Navy today saying up to 80% off. Plus Wendy had an additional 20% off with other coupons.
We ended up with over half of our list taken care of with Old Navy wicking and fleece garments!! We spent less than $38.00 for both of us!! That's a whole lot less than a treadmill. Thank you Old Navy and Lisa!! Bobby you can breath again:).
It Comes In Three's
Because of the pending snow we had to replace Faith's snow boots because the one's we purchased 4 weeks ago literally fell apart! Yesterday Evan put his gloved hand through the glass door. No one was injured thank God but there's another unexpected expense. And last week the mirror on our car was broke off. Can anyone relate? At least we have been better stewards of our money and were able to address these issues when they arose. Win or lose, give God the glory!
Jan. 09, 2011
Out With the Old and In With the New!
December has come and gone and we made it through, however, not with out a little back sliding. Bobby needed a couple extra Tums after it was all done. It was the first December in a long time when we still had money in the bank to start out the new year! Thanks Bobby, the next Tums are on me if you let me buy them!
We did a lot last month. First, was Wendy's birthday, I kept it as simple as I could but I went a little over budget on it. We did get in and out of PF Chang's for under $30.00. She enjoyed it and that's what I was going for.
Next, we went to the Appalachians to help with the "Mountain Santa". For the last 37 years this man has brought toys up the mountains in Harlan County to the kids for Christmas. It is amazing to see how God has used this man to help people in need. We will be back next Christmas to help again.
Third, Wendy found out that the Creation Museum is free on Christmas Eve. We had been wanting to go since it opened but it was out of our budget. So we took the trip up and took advantage of the day and were glad we did. God is amazing.
And of course we had Christmas!! Thanks to our Christmas club account at Park we had the money ready for gifts for the kids. It was such a relief and it made the shopping so much more fun.
Last but not least, we rang in the New Year with our great friends and now we can play spades!
Happy New Year everyone, may God bless you all (and tell Bobby to let us get a treadmill).
Blog Entry 4
We have paid off 6 bills! How exciting is that!? And we finally got word today that we are approved for our mortgage! I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel! We thank God for Park and Bobby who have helped make this possible!! I was just telling Douglas yesterday that before this challenge I felt a hopelessness about our financial future. Not now! 6 bills paid and the challenge goes until August! Something else exciting...Douglas interviewed today for another part time job. He is excited about it. We are praying that it comes through, it will help out a lot. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
Blog Entry 3
Our family was one of the first 100 people one morning last week to arrive at a brand new Chick-fil-a. It was a bit chilly so I bundled the kids up in their warm coats and gloves. After receiving our instructions for the next 24 hours from CFA we set up our tent and got settled in. A while later they fed us a late breakfast. It was so nice to be fed Chick-fil-a three times that day and not have to cook! It was a mini-vacation! The weather turned out to be a perfect sunny fall day. There were plenty of other families with children. Games and activities kept them busy all day. We ended the day with an ice cream social. The next morning we walked away with 52 free meals! What a great way to save money for our food budget! Chick-fil-a is such an asset to our community. There is always service with a smile! We are excited to be spending time with them in the future!
Blog Entry 2
Douglas and I have always been accustomed to having date time when he was off work and the kids were in school. Our favorite place to go for lunch would be Qdoba's. On this particular Friday we met with Bobby (our financial coach) while the kids were in school. After our meeting we were starving and I just presumed we would do lunch at Qdoba's. I mentioned this to Douglas and he refused to go. I literally begged and pleaded. Still he refused as he drove past the restaurant. He turned into Kroger where we picked out Qdoba type items. We then proceeded home to have "Daddydoba"! Ha! I loved it and I even had "Daddydoba" leftovers! It was yummy, we saved money and it made me very proud of my husband's decisions for our family!
Blog Entry 1
Hi! We are the Pedersens (Wendy and Douglas). Douglas is a firefighter and I am a homeschool Mom. We have two children. Evan is 9 and Faith is 7. We have two Miniature Schnauzers named Rocket and Rosie. We are members of Southeast Christian Church.
We are so excited and thankful to be one of the four families in the Saving Families challenge. We have been praying for a long time for an opportunity like this. Accountability is something we know that we could certainly benefit from. And now thanks to Park we have a financial coach for the next ten months. What a blessing! We want to be good stewards of our money, but it has not been working for us. We have been blessed with this challenge from Park and we know in ten months our lives will be totally changed because of it. What an awesome experience! We are hoping to reduce debt, save money, and buy a house. My prayer is that Park will be able to continue to provide this challenge for other families in the community so that they too may change their family tree.