Thursday, December 16, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Nancy also decided to grill last year on the coldest snowiest day of the year. We also did delivery then too. I chalked that time up to her being pregnant.
This time Nancy marinated eight venison steaks because we were planning on a party that has been postponed. Rather than throw the raw meat back in the freezer we thought it was better to cook them first. So yes I encouraged the grilling.
Posted by Ryan at 7:00 PM
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
- 1 stick butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 2 1/2 cups quick oats
- 1 cup craisins
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the butters and sugars together. Then mix in the eggs and vanilla.
- Use the mixer to mix the dry ingredients except the chips and the craisins with the wet ingredients.
- Add the chips and craisins, stirring with a strong wooden spoon.
- Use a small scoop or a spoon to shape the ball and put it on a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let the cookies sit on the sheet 1-2 minutes and then put on newspaper to cool completely.
Posted by Nancy at 9:52 AM
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
I admit I am so frugal I have trouble spending a free gift certificate so having conservitive financial practices is not hard for me.
It has been two years since we have taken the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class. Five years since we have become debt free. Eleven years since we started paying down our debts faster than the minimum payments. We have had large incomes, and small, job losses, failures, and stupid decisions. Overall, and most important we have gone from many money 'conversations' to few. Even though we are now in one of the lowest incomes, highest spending times of our life our financial relationship is at it's best.
Over the years we have used Quicken, MS money, Donor Manager, Dave Ramsey software, DR paper forms, Crown Financial software, Crown paper forms, and our own forms. The last two years we have been using a self made simple one page paper budget each month with good success. A second quarterly paper form tracks our sinking funds and investing. There is one other form, which we have not used since 2006, tracked how much debt we had, principle, interest, and number of payments remaining for each account. Each of these forms are in excel, printable and readable on one page.
Going from having debt and not caring to a connoisseur of debt reduction programs I have now come come to rest at simplicity. Most programs are way too complex esp for someone wanting to change. My advice if you want to change your money habits start with this little simple workbook called The Household Money Organizer Workbook. In a few years take a Dave Ramsey, Crown, or other course that covers everything about money from car buying to college to retirement but it is best to start now and start simple.
Looking back the below is how I wish we had done it. It is a mashup of all the sources I have read. Note I am stealing 90% of this from a post by Jason (gatherer) posted on YNAB discussion site at the bottom of the page.
0. Get term life insurance 5x your annual income if you are married, optional if single or its complicated. It seams crazy to add an extra bill but so worth it given the risks. Just get a 5 year policy it will be cheap, use a reputable vendor, like one of Dave Ramsey's ELPs. Insurance sales is filled with scumbags who waste your money on thier boats and condos.
1. Have a spending plan. Each month write a new one, call it a budget or a pain or Evil Aunt Matilda just know that once you set this plan it rules you. Make it real, don't say you will spend $50 on food and $500 on the credit cards when you have 8 kids. Spend nothing on things you want, as little on things you need and as much as possible on:
2. Live on last months income, make it last month - spend it this month. This is your first goal. For us this ends up as an emergency fund with about $1500 in the bank at all times. If you are paid differently make a true emergency fund of money in the bank that is never touched unless there is a broken leg. Dave says $1000 I say 1 month income. Sell stuff, do stuff, make this fund a quick as you can. If you have an emergency and spend it start back here and fill er up as quick as possible. But still to make life easy have the spending plan based on what you made last month.
3. Pay down debt except the house. Every single debt. Use a debt snowball as Dave recomends. This will take several years, take the time to learn more about money while doing this step.
4. Boost your term life insurance to ten times your annual income, the end of the term should be about the same time you plan to retire this will cost you more but you should have the money for it now.
5. Six month emergency fund. What you spend for six months now, not what would last six months if you cancel the cable, phone and only eat spam and your front lawn. In a long drawn out emergency, such as a job loss, you should be only use about 1/5th of this fund before you have an income again, any income such as pizza delivery.
Ok those steps done in order. If there is a setback start at that and rebuild, two steps forward one step back is life. Now for the ones that you can do combined after the ones above are done, and stay done.
6. Create sinking funds. For example once each year we get hit with bills for life insurance, car insurance and stuff insurance. They total $3000 so each month we set aside $500 for those bills. We drive two cars over 12 years old so we put $400 into savings for our next car. We want a house so $1000 each month into the house fund.
7. 15% of your pretax income to retirement. I do a Roth 401k that my work matches. They are invested in the 4 mutual fund types Mr Ramsey recommends, that is what I recommend too. I have also rolled my pension and old 401Ks into IRA's (most are Roth because in 2006 I had no income so the tax hit was not bad for me. One fund is not because the phone jockey at Fidelity did not do what I asked...) Keep it simple and buy index funds like Gail Jarvis says in "Saving For Retirement Without living like a pauper."
8. Help out the kids for college. Tell them to plan on two years at a community college, and three at a university after that those kids are on their own. Hopefully you taught them #0-5 by now.
9. build sinking fund accounts into super-fund accounts... "these are accounts where if you need a car you take the interest you've earned off this money and go get one. these are accounts where you don't drain them to 0 like the sinking fund accounts. replace sinking fund accounts with this type of account - can use a snowball method to get this happening ..." -Jason (gatherer)
10. pay off the mortgage. OK I don't even own a house. Renting is good. I owned two houses and spent so much changing them I lost lots of money. Being a renter means that we pay $1000 a month and that is it. I have a great landlord he pays for the materials for the fixing up projects. Mortgage is debt and debt is dumb so get rid of it.
11. retire wealthy. Be reasonable, if you find yourself with insane amounts of money you need to:
12. give give give. Because really that is the goal goal goal of doing this whole thing for me.
Posted by Ryan at 9:33 PM
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Posted by Nancy at 6:28 AM
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
We spent the day touring farms and sustainable homes and farms around the Decorah Iowa Area. I have a even greater respect for those out there that are making a living by providing us with organic food.
And thank you even more to those of you that take time out of your busy schedule to tell all of us about what you do via your blogs and Facebook posts.
Posted by Ryan at 8:18 PM
Monday, August 16, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
We took the opportunity to have some family pictures taken of us. Sadly it was an overly sunny day with high winds so most of the pictures are squinting with windblown hair.
Posted by Nancy at 2:41 PM
Thursday, June 10, 2010
What is a scape? Green garlic, the stalk of the flower to a bulb of garlic.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Posted by Nancy at 3:59 PM
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
In 2009 I only worked part of the year, as a result we cut back on our giving. Usually we are above the standard deduction for giving, not so in 2009 and it looked like the value of our 1000 things would not get us there. Being so thrifty
weNancy just took things weshe did not want and put them in a box in the basement under the stairs waiting for 2010.
I think there are more than a 1000 things under the stairs now that I added the 4 things I don't want.
Now that 2010 is upon us
weNancy is entering into DeductionPro, that wonderful sister program found with H&R TaxCut. This helps to assign a realistic value to all our wonderful gifts to charity so we can get an accurate tax write off.
Nancy has entered in about 150 items so far. Lo and behold DeductionPro is helping us get there! Lets go through an example. Shirt, thrift store value $1.00. Save file. Open file. Shirts $5.00 total. Save file. Open File. Shirts $25.00 total. Save File. Open File. Shirts $125.00 total. Nancy called the help desk and was able to figure out a work around before the person at the other end could even understand what was going wrong. No it is not PEBKAC. For some reason if anything is donated and assigned to the other category there will be five of them if that file is reopened. Open and close the file again and there will be 25 of that item. All other categories are fine and stay correct, there are issues with other. The work around is once you save and close a file, never reopen it.
A file is supposed to represent everything given to a specific charity on a specific day. Our plan was to catalog everything thus far and then call St. Vincent and have them pick the stuff up. New plan is to tell the software we are donating each day then when it is all documented call St. Vincent and have them take our many days of donations away in one day.
Late breaking news! Nancy just found another solution. Use her computer instead of mine.
Posted by Ryan at 7:25 PM
Monday, March 8, 2010
The update is that the baby is still on the inside. Nothing is happening, no contractions and the Doctor doesn't think I will go into labor. Normally they would go for a C-Section at 39 weeks but thankfully Dr. O is on vacation.
Baby DeVries - we don't know if its a boy or girl yet
Convant Medical Hospital
441 East San Marnan Drive
Waterloo, IA 50702
3:30 pm on March 22nd
Because its too comfy for a baby to stay in me :)
Posted by Nancy at 1:08 PM
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I wish we did not have to say goodbye,
Posted by Ryan at 9:19 AM
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Posted by Nancy at 12:50 PM
Sunday, January 17, 2010
We have a lot of stuff. It filled 26 feet of length of an ABF you pack trailer. Well now Nancy and I have set out on a challenge to reduce the stuff. Yes we did the garage sale before our last move and are doing some Craig's List and eBay. But for the most part much of our stuff is not worth the effort of selling.
Posted by Ryan at 10:32 PM