9 Ways to Go Broke {2013}

Dave Ramsey has pretty great advice if you will listen. You know what to do with your money, but will you do it? I do not want to be broke in 2013…or any year after that. The advice he gives is not new. It is the same issues he has been preaching about for years. Some people listen, others don’t. Where will you be in 2013? Dave Ramsey has plenty to say if you will listen. My comments are below his advice in red.

9 Ways to Go Broke in 2013

Chances are pretty good that you’ve set some type of financial goal for 2013. And we want to help you get there—which involves knowing what not to do as much as knowing what to do.

So if you want to make it happen with your money in 2013, make sure you don’t do the following things—they’re sure to make you broke.

1. Just wing it.

This is the opposite of making a plan. If Dave Ramsey had an evil twin brother, “just wing it” might be his catch phrase. You can’t just wing it with your money. You have to make a plan—including a budget—that includes all your short-term and long-term financial goals. If you want to make a plan but you’re not sure where to start, download the all-new Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting for free now.

I am very bad about “winging” it. I mean BAD. Budgets are dumb and not needed. I could smack myself in the forehead. Budgets are vital to you and your family. Single? You need one too. Do you really want to marry someone and bring in debt? No. They will thank you later. 

2. Wait until 2014.

If, while thinking about your goals for the year, you said something like, “This just isn’t a good year to try and get out of debt,” then you’ve already set yourself up for failure.Now is the time. This is the year. Unless you just enjoy stress and debt, no more procrastinating.

We have all said this before. I think I said it multiple times last year. That was a mistake. I have more nights of restless or no sleep because I have been stressed about the debt we have/had and how it will be paid off. When will it be paid off? Ever? Don’t do this to yourself. Life is short for all the nonsense. 

3. Expect the government to help you.

If you’re waiting around on the folks in Washington, D.C., to change your life, then you had better settle in and get comfortable—it’s going to be a while. Remember, they just passed the decision to take more of your money! The better plan is to take charge of your own life. The bucks (pun intended) stop and start with you. You are in charge of you.

The government is not going to help you. AT ALL. Wake up and realize that entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Welfare, Social Security, etc will not always be there. Figure out a plan, budget your money, and move away from these programs as soon as you can. Find a Roth IRA for your retirement or a company 401K. And seriously, the faster you pay off your debt, the more money you will have. 

4. Make excuses.

When we mess up with money, we sometimes tend to think we are the exception—that if people really understood our situation, they would know that a car lease or an adjustable rate mortgage or a pile of student loans is okay. Everyone goes through rough spots in life, but that’s no reason to let go of common sense and create more stress and heartache for yourself in the long run.

I make excuses 24/7. I don’t want to cook- let’s eat out. I don’t want to exercise in my neighborhood- let’s buy a gym membership. I don’t like anything used- get it new and sparkly. Is this you? It use to be me. It has been me my entire life. Not anymore. I’d rather have my money than waste it away on junk. 

5. Use payment plans.

If you want to win with money, you need to take “payment plans” out of your vocabulary. Successful people don’t finance their couches. Or their dining room tables. Or even their cars. If you have to put it on a payment plan, you can’t afford it. As the old saying goes, “Broke people ask, ‘How much per month?’ and rich people ask, ‘How much?’”

The majority of the US uses a payment plan of some type. It is all we see. It is the way to buy goods and services. Not hardly. I can’t lie, I have car payments and a mortgage currently. However I want to sell my car, downsize to one (my husband’s) and then save up the cash to buy my next car out right. That’s the plan. 

6. Buy every “updated” version of all the hot products.

At some point, we’ve decided that having a nice phone or a nice computer or a nice TV isn’t enough. We must have the newest, nicest version of everything. We’ve become entitled. That’s why some companies release a new product every single year. They know we’ll line up outside a store at midnight and wait in line for five hours to get a new phone that is 1/8 of an inch thinner than the one we already have. And the saddest part? How many of those people in line are dropping $500 on a phone when they don’t even have money saved for retirement or their kids’ college funds? Don’t get us wrong; new things are fun … as long as your priorities are in order.

Been there. Done that. New BlackBerry’s. New iPhones. Live and Learn. Then I found this awesome online yard sale page on FaceBook. You will never believe the stuff people are selling. Marty does need a new iPhone since his 4 was stolen in May. He has been using my old, broken, cracked, iPhone3G since then. It is about to bite the dust and I know where to go to get an “almost new” iPhone 4 for less than $200. Beats paying $500. 

7. Listen to your broke friends (or family).

If you got through all the holiday family dinners unscathed by horrible financial advice, lucky you. One of the best ways to go broke is to take advice from broke people—like Uncle Earl and your old friend Pete. Listen to those guys and, before you know it, you’ll be invested in a pyramid scheme, leasing a BMW, and taking out a home equity loan to finance that Civil War figurine collection you just had to get.

It is hard not to listen to advice for your family or friends. But if they aren’t rich (no trust fund babies), then you should close your ears. You will be in worse shape if you do. Trust me, I know. 

8. Live in the past.

January is an opportunity to forget about how you got into a bad financial situation and, instead, look forward to how you plan on getting out. You can beat yourself up all you want, but that will only make things worse. The fact that you’ve realized the problem—whether it’s credit cards, overspending, not saving enough, etc.—is a great indicator that you’re ready to change. Now go do it.

Stress is constantly hanging over me. Somedays I can’t function from the thought of past mistakes. Blah. Drop that like the nasty trash and move on. You know you messed up, so forgive yourself and get right. 

9. Spend more time dreaming than working.

The opposite of living in the past is spending too much time dreaming about the future. That’s not a good option either. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming—that’s what hope is all about. But dreaming and working go hand in hand. You can’t let your dreams paralyze you and keep you from stepping out and getting things done. As we say around Dave’s office, “Goals are dreams with work boots on.”

Remember, winning with money is not just about doing the right things—it’s also about not doing the wrong things. If you can make it through 2013 without doing any of the above, then you are well on your way to having an awesome year.

Who doesn’t want to daydream all day about living in fancy houses with luxury cars? You can live like that (if you want to) and it isn’t hard to achieve. Those dreams can be goals as long as YOU work for it. Keyword YOU. No one else is going to pay your way. If you don’t want to do what is necessary to succeed, then maybe you should rethink your dreams! 

What else do you vow not to do in 2013?

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 10.44.05 PM

{Bee} Busy. Our Week.

Last week was a whirlwind of craziness. It all became too much by Wednesday, that we took Thursday and Friday off from school. Yes, it was that rough. I am lucky that Marty supports me through all my venting, rants, and breakdowns. Oh and that was just about the curriculum issue I was facing. As I am cleaning out Iron Bee’s room to make it an 8 year old’s room, I noticed that his teacher from the DOD (Department of Defense) school we were at last year, sent all his workbooks back to us. They must have been tossed in the back of the closet because I am just now digging them out. As I am flipping through the books, I realize that the current curriculum we are using, Iron Bee covered last year (Language Arts). What? I call and vent to Marty. He then asks one simple question. Has he learned anything new? I stop. I think. Oh my word, no. And another breakdown came around. I could have flung those books across the house if the flooring guys weren’t there. Ah, the flooring guys. I bet they think I may be a basket case. Or at least a little bit of a looney toon. One of them must have caught on to my frustration because he kept being supportive and telling me I have patience and he couldn’t do that. He did make me feel better. An outsider not condemning my decision to homeschool. Moving on.

After my 4.5 year old carpet was removed and my fancy new wood floors installed, we all fell victim to dust mite allergies. Gross. Iron Bee is back to normal, Princess Bee still has a runny nose, but poor Baby Bee had to visit the doctor. This is where more frustration sat in. Oh did I mention I have a short fuse? Our doctor was unavailable to see her for her coughing and such, so another one took us. He comes in, listens to her chest, then says “It’s RSV”. Sorry doctor, but it isn’t. We had that in November and I was told it usually only affects a child once per season. I kept insisting it is allergies due the carpet removal but he didn’t care. Then the RSV test came back negative. Duh. A waste of a trip to the doctor. Next time, I will ask for my doctor and drive to see him, wherever he may be.

Friday finally made it and the week started looking up. Check out the photos below to see how I turned it around with a new phone. Hehehe. I love retro things and my mom picked up this snazzy Sharper Image phone for me to attach to my iPhone. It works and I love the looks of those driving next to me as I chat away. Friday night is also our home group. As I am sitting there enjoying the company of some amazing people, I can’t help but think of those in other countries who can’t meet up to discuss God, Jesus, the Bible or even mention Christianity without some sort of repercussion. I am blessed alone for that.

Saturday, I stayed home until church. I find myself in a church setting more days of the week than I ever thought I would. These days make me feel better as a person. After cleaning and tackling 17 loads of laundry, we ended the evening in service. We wrapped up the night with dinner with friends at the local Cracker Barrel. The kids were actually really good too. Who would have guessed I could go out in public with 3 kids and not want to lose my mind?

Today was a bum day. Marty and I spent the majority of the day together cleaning. He watched me clean. Then he watched me watch the kids clean their rooms. The photos below will show the chaotic mess we created before putting it back together. We also started the separation of Legos by color. It will probably take a week to finish that task.

What did you do this weekend? What are your plans for this week?

First off for us on Monday: changing the curriculum & Iron Bee’s Cub Scout Pack Meeting. I love those. It’s great to watch the kids be awarded for their accomplishments and achievements.

All photos are from my iPhone & Instagram.


Don’t you love this phone? I am about to bedazzle it with some bling!
2013-01-25 14.51.48

It plugs into the headphone port.
2013-01-25 15.30.25

New floors. Now I don’t have to shampoo carpets every other week because of the dogs.
2013-01-23 11.37.17

Maybe not 17 loads, but it was a lot. Amazingly they all fit into 2 baskets in the laundry room.
2013-01-26 15.14.40

Iron Bee’s room. It was out of control without organization.
2013-01-27 11.35.20

The Lego separation begins.
2013-01-27 20.48.40

Disney On a Dime.

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Hello to all from Serenity Now! Thanks for stopping by. You may have seen this post before, but this time I changed out the photos and added a DIY project for Autograph Books!! If you enjoy it, please share via FaceBook, Twitter, & Pinterest.

The Mickey silhouettes: were created in Photoshop. You can download the template from various sources online but I liked the ones available from Disney Family. The bows were also templates. The rest were recreations from Pinterest. If you are interested in me helping you create a great Disney Vacation, please comment and share with your friends!!

The break down of costs:

Iron Bee’s shirts: $2.50 each *on sale at Jo-Ann Fabrics through 6/13. Spent: $10
Princess Bee’s shirts: $3.88 each *regular price at Wal-Mart (Granimals). Spent: $7.76
Transfer Paper: $8.97 per pack of 6 sheets at Wal-Mart. Spent: $17.94
*we only used one pack of the transfer paper though*

Total Spent: $35.70 (not counting the two shirts that we bought for Princess Bee that aren’t DIY).

Marty and I had a great time working on these tonight. Lots of laughs and burned fingers on my end.

Enjoy our shirts in action!!!

SO what is with the black shirt? Have you ever heard of the HIDDEN MICKEY’s in the parks? It’s our Hidden Mickey! Oh and I made two canvas totes to take along as well. Our trip name (since we name all our vacations) is “Ohana” which means “Family” from Lilo & Stitch.


I also wanted to create autograph books for each of the kids (because we all know they will be fighting over one book if I didn’t). I picked up a couple $1 books from A.C. Moore and 2 sheets of 12×12 paper for $1 each as well. It beats paying $6.95-$12.95 per album.


The before:

The After:

We made buttons to wear as well. The kids are super excited too. The buttons were $1 each and I just printed out the Mickey silhouettes from the house.

UnPlugged. Plugged In.

I have been meaning to get on here and blog but truthfully, I have had my computer unplugged. Gasp. Yes, it was completely unplugged. I did access the internet via my phone, but it isn’t the same. So why the technology unplug since January 19th? Well first I took Iron Bee to a camp out at the Jacksonville Zoo. The trip for him was amazing but it was crummy for Princess Bee. She spiked a fever of 103.7 and it was hard to keep down. Once we returned, I started moving furniture around because Marty and I started on our Resolutions for 2013 by having the carpet in the living areas removed and wood flooring put down. Yes, we paid with cash (well my debit card).

I didn’t have to move anything since the installation guys do that for you, but I wanted the floors put in as quickly (in days) as possible. Plus I decided to trash our bookshelves since the movers broke them anyway. It was a sad moment. I love those things. Now my bedroom has become a storage area for hundreds of books, my computer is now stuck in my room, as well as a bunch of curio pieces. Ugh. I am not a fan of all this junk around me.

The floors are completed and beautiful. Now I want to put them in all the bedrooms. I did not know I was going to love that floor so much. I will do a complete post about my floors, but it will be a bit later. If you are interested, the floors and installation came from Savannah Floor Company. {Swoon} Iron Bee was even able to help install a piece of the floor. I was highly impressed with them.

As for the blog and what is new! Well I am working on a Guest Blog Post about deployments and homeschooling. Also on the to-do list is a review for another blog. Woo-Hoo. Busy Busy.
Life in the homeschool area has been rough. I am not a fan of our current curriculum with Abeka Books. They are great but my son learned most of this in First Grade. Sigh. Thankfully there is a Homeschool Convention coming up in March. I plan on attending and checking out different curriculums that may suit his needs and learning style better.

How about you? How are you doing this week?

Off to the doctor I go! These babies here have allergy issues (hopefully just from the carpet being removed, but I’d rather be safe than sorry).

Here are a few Instagram photos of the work in process.

2013-01-22 09.58.53
2013-01-22 13.14.51
2013-01-23 11.37.17

DIY Laundry Detergent. {revisited}

Weekend Bloggy Reading

In February of 2012, I made my own laundry detergent after seeing various ones on Pinterest.

Here is my take on Homemade Laundry Detergent. Sorry there are no photos. I assume with the blog move that they were lost in cyberspace. I will be making more here soon and will update you with some. Thanks for being cool about my lack of photos!!! 


I love my homemade laundry detergent! It is awesome. I mean AWESOME! It took Marty and I about 30 minutes to make and it was fun as a couple to do. I have used the detergent on 5 loads of laundry so far and the results were great, if not better than the high end detergent I was using before. All of the supplies came from Wal-Mart and we picked up a new 5-gallon bucket from Lowe’s.

Want to know how to make your own homemade laundry detergent for under $16 that should last 6-12 months (depending on frequency)?

Ok, here goes!

You can substitute the Fels-Naptha for Ivory soap if you want a different scent or you can add essential oils to it.

Everything will be mixed in your bucket.

  • Use a cheese grater to grate all the Fels-Naptha
  • Add in the Borax
  • Add in the Washing Soap
  • Add in the Baking Soda
  • Add in the Oxygen Cleaner (optional, but I use it for my messy kids)
  • Mix with your hands until it is mixed thoroughly
  • Scoop into your container

For the containers, we used two Mainstays 1 gallon plastic jars for the detergent. They work great and the lid seals.

Price Breakdown:

Lowe’s 5 Gallon Bucket $2.98
Mainstays 1 gallon containers $5.94 ($2.97 x 2)
1 Box of Borax $3.38
1 Box of A&H Washing Soda $3.24
1 Box of A&H Baking Soda $2.12
2 Small Containers of Oxygen Cleaner $3.92 ($1.97 x 2)
3 Bars of Fels-Naptha $2.91 ($.97 x 3)

Complete Total $24.49 (plus applicable tax)

Total for Detergent Ingredients ONLY $15.57 (plus applicable tax)

Not too shabby for your own detergent eh? I use the scoops that come in the Oxygen Cleaners for my laundry scoop. For my loads, I use 1 scoop per load. I also bought all HE safe products (it is stated on the label). If you have an HE washer, put your scoop of detergent in the barrel, then add clothes (I usually wash large loads). You will not see any suds when it washes, but trust me, it cleans your clothes. I was paranoid at first (and I tested the detergent first on towels). It all worked out and my clothes are clean. This homemade laundry detergent should last you between 6-12 months, depending on how often you wash clothes.


Homeschool and Socialization

“There are tons of reasons for homeschooling. And I truly applaud you for taking the leap. However this picture, and online learning in general, concerns me about the adequacy of opportunities for socialization. Are we as a society moving our children away from face to face interactions in favor of technology-moderated human interaction?” – a friend.

The above comment came today as a response to a photo I posted of SuperHero Bee working on the computer. Well actually he was sitting in front of the computer for about 3 minutes (long enough for me to take his photo). It was orientation for a Lego Club I enrolled him in. The Lego Club meets once a week in the afternoons. He builds and communicates with others via webcam. I thought it would be a great opportunity to work on his computer skills as well as have fun building legos. Legos are fun. I love Legos myself. This month’s theme project for the club is snowflakes and next month’s club theme is Ancient China.  March is Knights and Castles. April is Playgrounds. How cool is that?

Back to the topic at hand. Socialization.

This comment came from a friend so I didn’t really get upset about it. Shocked at first, but then I realized that this was the very first time someone in my circle of friends questioned my decision to homeschool. The sting of that realization is still burning and to be brutally honest, it hurts a little. Again, I am not mad, but hurt because it came from a friend not an outsider.

Socialization in school is a joke. That I know this will tick off a few people. It is though. Please wake up to the crummy American public school system. We think our kids have all this awesome social activity with their cute little friends at school and that is hardly the case. The typical day in a public school here in Georgia (both civilian and Department of Defense, which by the way DOD schools have high ratings) goes something like this:

  • Bell rings
  • Student sits down and does not speak as the teacher is speaking
  • Copy work and school work is done silently
  • Lunch is in silence on most days because the cafeteria gets too loud.
  • P.E. meets once a week now, not every day.
  • Outside activity is daily for 25-35 minutes IF the weather is permitting (no gym time).
  • Computers are used daily and frequently for classwork, again no talking.


Kids do talk and have their free time but it is limited. If you send your child to school thinking that they are making tons of friends, think again. School is probably the worst place for socialization. Bullying is growing rapidly in schools and the faculty isn’t doing much to curb it. In fact, the news portrays a very dark portrait of school bullying with suicides and drop out rates. School equals socialization.

School is made for learning. If you make friends, you make friends. If not, oh well. It is for learning.

Children interact socially when they participate with others OUTSIDE of school. My children socialize by:

  • Cub Scouts – we meet once a week and our weekends are filled with camp outs and pack activities.
  • Co-Ops – “school” for homeschooled children with field trips and fun stuff.
  • Sports
  • Church- We are members of a Mega Church- Wednesday Nights Service.
  • Church- We attend Saturday nights for service instead of Sundays. Our kids programs are MASSIVE.
  • Church- We are in a small group that meets on Fridays. Kids, Kids, Kids.
  • Neighborhood Kids.
  • Play Dates – Friends that we have known for years.

I think he has plenty of socialization. More so than he would ever have in his public school. That is us though. We are an active family. We are busy, busy. My kids are Three Busy Bees.


Now why do we homeschool? I have been holding back on this one because of my husband’s job. However, I find that this is probably the best time to discuss our decision.

Homeschool was not an over night decision. We were unhappy with the public schools in the entire county in which we live. Private school was our next option. The minimum was about $10,000 per school year (ouch), per child. We were okay with that. Education is very important to us, so we were going to make it work. While at a volunteer meeting at church one night, I asked a friend about private schools (she went to a private school and her children went to the same one she did). To my surprise, they were now homeschooled. Homeschool? We discussed it further and then time went by. Marty and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that it may be a perfect opportunity to lay the foundation we wanted our kids to have.

We prayed. Then prayed some more. I believe God answered with a fat yes after we had some issues at the school (not with our son, but in general). He always guides you where you need to be according to Him, it is just the listening that we fail on. I wasn’t failing this time. As for Marty and his job you ask. Well my husband is a contractor. Oh man, I said it. Other than my inner circle, I have never said those words. I guess it was always assumed though. He does government contracting overseas. We left behind our life in the Special Operations community (Ranger Regiment) after 12 years. With his deployment schedule, he would never see our son. Well, not with the public school schedule of : Bus Pickup -8am and Bus Drop off -5pm. Bed time is a few hours later. It isn’t worth it. Plus my husband’s job isn’t considered one that can have excused absent days, only active military. Homeschool it is.

I love my kids. I love spending time with them. They go on vacations with us. We take them to celebrate our anniversaries and birthdays. They are not excluded. Half the time they end up in our bed and we don’t mind. One day, they will grow up and I will miss them more than words can describe. So for now, we homeschool. And I love it. 


Homeschool Spaces

Homeschooling is a love-hate relationship for me. I felt I was called to do this by God, yet some days I feel like I am the furthest I have been from Him in a very long time. We are very new to homeschool, and by very new, I mean November 1, 2012. It will take time and I completely understand that. Since I started, I haven’t felt any opposition from anyone I know. Whether they are keeping it to themselves or simply just don’t care how I raise my kids, I do not know.  We wake up in the morning and our day begins after breakfast. At first, our formal dining room was the “school”. Now it is our breakfast nook in the kitchen where our “school” has moved to. I prefer it there better because there are little distractions and I can complete other tasks around the house, while keeping an eye on him (when we are working on seat work).




Okay I started to writing that two days ago. Yesterday, I had a homeschool breakdown. Today was a bit better. I guess we all have our highs and lows. I just need to find a happy medium. Marty decided that I need to have a dedicated workspace/classroom for our son. We are limited in space since moving back to our house from the move. He suggested we give up our sunroom. My sunroom? Seriously? I don’t want to give up that space. However, it needs to be done. I plan to revamp it with school-ish stuff with a chic vibe to keep me happy and our son in a “school” feel.




Here are a few ideas of rooms that I have fallen in love with.

Pottery Barn Kids


TLC Parentables