Homeschooling in full swing

This is my daughter’s first year of homeschooling and she is really enjoying it immensely. Things are starting to settle down for the both of us and I’m slowly trying to incorporate blog writing back into my schedule. I had “penned” it in for earlier this week, however, I never got around to writing anything until today.

With my daughter, she’s doing a mix of online and classes at a local homeschool co-op. She’s already been to one even with her local co-op (field trip to a local 3D printing company) and she has another one coming up soon, that focuses on honeybees and ways they can incporate 3D printing to help save the honeybee population. I gave her a few suggestions on what she might use, and amd curious to see what she comes up with and see how it transfers as a 3D print. It’s her job to create the design, submit it for printing to her teacher. Socialization? That’s not an issue, and it’s something I hear some people parrot a lot without really thinking that socialization happens anywhere. Also, in regular school, children aren’t doing too much socialzation within a class setting since they are typically in a class setting being instructed by the teacher. But… there are numerous ways for my daughter to socialize in what she typically does with her friends and the various activities that she’s involved with. What I do like about non-traditional schooling is that they are socializing with more than their peer group.

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A new (to me) Planner: Franklin Covey Day Planner

In my last post, I mentioned that I was acquiring a planner and here it is, says hello to my ‘new to me’ Franklin Covey (Classic) Day Planner.  After a lot of research, I decided that my planner of choice would be a Franklin Covey and although I was impressed with the videos and written posts about them, I decided that I didn’t want to spend that type of money to purchase a new planner. From my research, new this planner cost over $100 however, I was able to purchase it for under $25. Yes, that included shipping. Where did I purchase my planner? Ebay of course! I went on the website and found exactly what I was looking for and it had the added bonus of this cute hangtag.  Do you see what it says?

“Attitude is everything!” Isn’t that the truth, if we’re constantly filled with negativity, is it any surprise that the ‘world is against us?” 🙂 The ‘world’ really isn’t,  but at times our negative attitude pits us against ourselves whether we know it or not. But back to the planner. It arrived at my house quickly. I won the bid for it on Friday and Monday it arrived!

This Franklin Covey Classic day planner was in amazing condition and after wiping it down with a soft cloth and adding my own homemade leather conditioner, it looked as good as new. I’ve had this planner for almost a month and I must say that I’m thrilled with this purchase. I use it daily. Currently, I am on the lookout for a Franklin Covey Monarch day planner. Why would I want one? For my 8″ x 11″ documents that I don’t want to fold in half when I give information to clients, I never fold their paperwork, however, what they do after I give it to them is their prerogative. Another bonus for the Franklin Covey planners is that they will last years since they only thing that “needs” to be changed is the paper and since I’ve been making my own inserts, I save even more money.

 

It’s not about the planner

Your plan means nothing, if you don’t put them into action.

I’ve always been a planner. Whether I keep a list in my head or write it down on paper, for myself, I found my productivity is best when I have a plan. It keeps me accountable. However, you can write down numerous things and it means nothing if those plans go nowhere. Based on my views of planning my recent posts about budgeting shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s just another way to document. For me… it just works! I see the results of putting my goals on paper, restricting certain wants to achieve financial freedom and for me, it’s worth the minor sacrifices. As I mentioned in my last post, one way I stay on top of my busy schedule is to visit my notebook/planner on a daily basis.

Earlier this week, I had purchased the above planner to replace my old notebook and planner. It was advertised as refillable. The frugal me leaped at that since it meant I’d only have to rotate calendar/note sheets each year. Well… guess what? It wasn’t refillable! Although it was lovely, I decided to return it and get something that suited my needs more, also I wasn’t thrilled with the false advertising.

My online search lead me to this planner, however, the more I thought about it, I realized that this would be the perfect planner for my daughter.

This is a large planner, which should easily accommodate her writing style. Currently, she writes her plans into her journal, however, she also uses that to document her thoughts and so I decided this planner will be for her. It’ll be a nice wonderful unexpected surprise for her.

 

Since I still need a planner, I went online and purchased a Franklin Covey planner. It’s used, but will be new to me. I love the hang tag “Attitude is Everything” that is attached. Since it is used, I’m spending much less than I would if it was purchased new. Those who know me well, realize that I in many cases, I look for used items first. I pay attention to the description and will choose “like new” or “a “gently used” item. I should receive this planner sometime next week. I must say that I’m looking forward to this product and I’m thrilled that I should receive numerous years using this item since it is refillable.

On a side note, last evening I stumbled upon CandiKCan, on YouTube and I’ve been watching and listening to her videos as I go about my daily tasks. What led me to her was searching for videos about Franklin Covey and what kept me on her page was I found her informative and entertaining. I know I’ll be back.

In other news…

I still haven’t started my free trial of the Harvest software. The more I research, the more hesitant I become that it’s exactly what I want and so I’ll do a bit more investigating before I take advantage of the free trial.

…decently and in order

When it comes to work, just as with my budgeting habits I try to stay on top of things since I’ve found being efficient is much better than “flying by the seat of my pants.” A few days ago, I stumbled upon a new to me software titled, Harvest. I must say the title appealed to me since I do enjoy growing things in our garden. It makes me think of all the efforts that go into the finished produce and the pride that I feel as I pick the produce to turn it into something awesome or share with others.

Since I cannot share my administrative tasks with others, at least not yet, I’ve been thinking about a more efficient way to get this accomplished without at much effort from myself. While I’ve used Quicken in the past, I’m not overly fond with it and I’m more than eager to give Harvest a try. Since it’s free for 30 days, I’ll sign up within the next few days and put the software through it’s paces. Perhaps, it’ll be love at first entry, just like YNAB. We’ll see! With my freelance work, I’m thrilled to say that I’ve never missed a deadline so even though I might jump through extra hoops to get things accomplished, I’ve been able to stay on top of things.

Although I have a good memory, I do write my appointments/deadlines down in a notebook or planner. I like planners that are refillable. I recently purchased this refillable planner, it should arrive soon. Naturally a refillable planner appeals to the frugal part of me, that wants to hang onto an item for a long time.

So of course you know a monthly calendar/whiteboard is perfect for someone like myself. I love that I can see what’s happening for the entire month. With all the ways that I cover the bases for freelance work, I should never have an excuse for not getting my assignments completed on time and this is important because next month, my freelance workload is going to hit a new record. The beauty of that is, I work around my schedule and from home with the occasional on site audit.

 

It’s Amazon PrimeDay!

It’s Amazon PrimeDay!  Amazon has been promoting this day for several months. There are a limited amount of products available for the items that are reduced and you have to make the purchase in a few short hours, so in some cases you have to act quickly, otherwise the items will be sold out.

Today, I’ve seen many Facebook groups, sharing what they purchased. Of course, others responded within the comment section to show what they’d purchased. Some people were undecided, since they ‘wanted’ the items but were unsure if they’d make the purchase since it wasn’t in their budget. Did I purchase anything? Yes, but I’d budgeted for those purchases in advance, so I was fine. I had planned on buying one item this past weekend, but then I remembered that today was PrimeDay and so I held off until now to see if I could receive a better deal. I didn’t for that item, but I did for the other.

The cleaning sprays that I purchased for my Toyota Prius weren’t reduced more, but…

the sketch pencils that my daughter needed for an upcoming class were!  An additional $7 was knocked off the price.

How much did I spend on Amazon PrimeDay? $26.34. It was budgeted and I came out ahead. You want to know something?  It’s the first time I’ve ever purchased anything at Amazon on  PrimeDay. I’ve been an Amazon Prime member since the service was offered. Were there items that I wanted to buy yesterday, but didn’t? Of course, but those items were ‘wants’ and although I COULD have made the purchase without going over my budget, I chose not to do so. I figured those items that caught my interest would be good deals for someone else.

Towards the end of this week, I’ll be cleaning the Mass Air Flow sensor in my Toyota Prius instead of taking it into the auto mechanic to take take care of this for me. This past weekend, I drained/refilled the oil in my Toyota Prius. Another way to save money for car maintenance since the work was done by myself. I typically do most of my own car maintenance, some jobs I save a few dollars and others I can easily save over $100. 😉 To ensure that I have my 2003 Toyota Prius for a long time, I stay on top of doing the maintenance when it’s recommended. Often times, I do it at least a thousand miles before the suggested maintenance.

New Credit Card: 666, the mark of my credit score

As mentioned, in May of this year, I acquired a credit card. I hadn’t had one for years. As l already mentioned in earlier posts, I stopped using it because my debit card did exactly what a credit card did with the added bonus that it came directly out of my checking account, just how I liked it to be.

For several years, I’d been using my debit card and I was fine with that, however, I started thinking about the possibilities of it not being accepted at some places. Now granted, I had never run into this issue, but I’m the type that typically has a back-up plan for everything (that’s just how I roll) so I must say I’m surprised that I went without a credit card for so long.

Approximately 14% of the population has no credit score whatsoever, and is labeled as credit invisible. As a result, these underbanked individuals will have difficulty obtaining new lines of credit.

I Have a Low Credit Score Because I Didn’t Use a Credit Card

When I went to apply for a card, guess what I found out? There was absolutely no credit history about me to report and I received a message (like the one quoted above) stating that my credit was invisible? I pay my bills on time and have no debt, but it still had no credit history of me within the system. I have read about this from some homeowners that don’t use credit cards and I suspected this might be the case if I ever decided to acquire a credit card.

 Personal Responsibility: I pay my credit card bill weekly

But as you can see, with the chart below, I make payments on my credit card frequently. It’s about personal responsibility, I don’t spend what I don’t have, even with a credit card. So yes, I treat it exactly as cash or a debit card.

As you can see the first month, I only used it for a few purchases, however, in June I increased the amount I purchased and this month that has increased even more. Sorry credit card companies, but you won’t make any interest off of me for carrying a balance. As mentioned many times, I pay my weekly and have a zero balance. I love paying for my credit card purchase as soon as it’s used. That might sound ‘odd’ to some, but being debt free makes me happy.

However, I’m not fooling myself into thinking they aren’t making anything. You see, when I make a purchase using my credit card, the merchant is charged a fee. It would make sense for the merchant to factor this into their listing prices, so I don’t feel bad about that at all. My credit card doesn’t have an annual fee so I’m not ‘paying’ that way. Also, my credit card doesn’t have an annual fee.

I have heard some say that people tend to spend more with plastic than with cash. I honestly don’t. My purchases are always planned and I don’t go over my budget. I am a natural saver. My debit card should arrive any day now, but I’ll still be using my credit card for all my purchases. I’m thinking I won’t use my debit card at all since it was compromised. You can read about the attempted unauthorized use of my debit card issue here.

What if  I lose my job or am ill?

As mentioned, I’m a natural saver so I do have an emergency fund in place to prepare for the unexpected, so my bills will still be paid, regardless. That goes back to personal responsibility and preparing for the unexpected in advance, so you aren’t scrambling when those unfortunate circumstances happen. I don’t indulge in my wants. I rarely go out to eat at restaurants. I much prefer cooking and it saves additional money that I can put aside to planning for our future. Also, when it comes to entertainment, most of it is free. This all ties into me being able to effectively set aside money for the unexpected. It’s just smart and being a wise steward, just like Joseph from the Holy Bible. Also, I’m not dependent on one source for an income, that’s the importance of creating multiple income streams.

I Budget

I use YNAB (You Need A Budget) for my budgeting needs. I’m enjoying it immensely. I still keep a budget on paper too, but YNAB is great since it gives me the opportunity to digitally record transactions when they occur. By the way, you can try YNAB free for 34 days by clicking on this link. YNAB contacted me a few months ago about joining their program and I was honestly thrilled, but I didn’t act upon it until now. This is an affiliate link. You can search my website to see what I’ve written about YNAB. After the trial, if you do decide to use their service we both receive a free month of YNAB! I manually enter all my transactions into YNAB. I simply like that level of control, however, you can allow it to link to your bank accounts.

Resources:

  1. Does Your Credit Score Matter if You Don’t Do Debt?
  2. Average Credit Score in America
  3. Thank You To People With Credit Card Debt
  4. How Paying A Credit Card Works

July 4, 2017: It’s Independence Day!

My daughter and I aren’t planning on doing too much today. We will most likely go and view fireworks this evening and she’s been asking for cheese steak so I do believe I’ll make that for her. Of course, we’ll most likely watch a show that focuses on this holiday and simply enjoy spending time together.