Budgeting software: You Need a Budget

When it comes to my budget, the way I typically keep track of my finances is pen and paper. It gets the job done, as long as you use it (I do) and it has suited me well for many years. A few years ago I DID try Quicken. I used it occasionally, but wasn’t married to it and found myself going back to pen and paper. I purchased it last year and… same thing. I wasn’t really impressed with it and stopped using it quickly. What a waste of money… at least for me. Since I rarely waste money, that stung a bit.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a new to me software application titled You Need a Budget and I must say that I’m really enjoying it immensely. I’m currently using the trial (I was actually offered two months for free) and I leaped at the opportunity. I like that I have so much control of how I use this software, of course I do. I keep a tight rein on my finances. You have to if you want to stay on top of things and while you can link to your bank accounts (just like Quicken) I won’t. I never was comfortable with that feature, and while I HAD used it, in the past, with Quicken. I eventually removed that capability.

I must sat the amount of people living paycheck to paycheck is a bit sobering. Sure, the economy definitely is a factor in some instances, but in others? It’s just poor decision making. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck but are continually eating out, perhaps you need to rethink your priorities. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck and received a tax refund, but instead of using that money to eliminate some debt (if you have it) you decide to purchase some wants… yeah you might need to rethink your priorities. I’ve met some of these people. I must admit, there lack of taking responsibility and getting aggressive about tackling their debt does leave me puzzled. For me, paying bills as they come (I don’t have debt, just monthly bills) having an emergency fund and being able to survive for several months if something were to happen to me, makes all the sacrifices I have made worth the effort.

My parents were fabulous examples of being a good steward. I’m a Christian and God commands me to do just that. I’m passing on what I’ve learned to my daughter. So yes… she sees me make budgets and adhere to them. She also sees me write down monetary goals, setting aside money for big purchases that I can pay in full, and do what’s needed to meet them.

But back to You Need a Budget… by the way isn’t that a catchy phrase? It’s quite accurate, right? I do like the free webinars that they offer, a lot of what is said isn’t new to me, but you know what? At times, it is nice to be surrounded by others, even virtually, who totally get it when it comes to staying on top of their finances. I’ve watched several of their videos and while they don’t come out and say it, it’s very obvious that credit cards aren’t put on a pedastal to whip out and use often. You know what is? Budgeting, paying bills as they come and saving so you can get to the point where you are able to make large purchases without a credit card. I only used a creadit card, briefly, in my early thirties.

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My first hybrid: Toyota Prius

This past Thursday, I purchased a “new to me” vehicle. It’s a 2003 Toyota Prius in dark blue.

2003 Toyota Prius – stock photo

I have no desire to own a new car and most likely won’t ever own one. I much prefer used and love paying the bill in full so I don’t have any more payments.  It’s the oldest car that I’ve ever purchased. In fact it’s the first generation of the Prius’s.  It’s a 2003, which was the last year they were made before they moved on to the second generation. And that’s another new to me feature… owning a first generation car. I guess a first gen, would be appealing to some car collectors or so say some of the Prius enthusiasts where I’m a member. Guess what? I’ve been wanting an older Prius for well over a year and this one came along at the right time. Can you believe I’ve been praying for a Prius for the same amount of time? Yes, it was paid for in full, so that means no bills. There are a few minuscule nicks on the paint, but it’s not noticeable. I might eventually get a paint job, but for now I’m content.

This car was well cared for by it’s owners (two) and is in pristine condition. You want to know something? It’s the most quiet car I’ve ever owned. I rarely hear it when it’s running. In fact, I had no idea it was running. It’s fooled me a few times since I’ve driven it. My daughter loves this vehicle. Since purchasing, I’ve done a bit of additional research about the Toyota Prius. These cars tend to last a long time. I knew that. My “big purchase” might be purchasing the battery, which can cost a few $1,000, but if you get a refurbished battery, you can have it installed for a little over $900.

What I like is that it uses electric and gas to run. The gas tank only holds 9.9 gallons and thus far I’m averaging a little over 42 miles per gallon. On the highway, I was averaging 51 mpg. That’s not bad, and it’s much better than the “gas guzzler” Ford Expedition that I was driving. That was about 18 miles per gallon. Yes, big difference! I’m slowly getting used to being low to the ground and not up above the clouds as I was in the Expedition and while I do miss that, I’m not missing the frequent trips to the gas station. We’ve already had a few short road trips. I must say, it’s a shock returning home and seeing the gas gauge hasn’t budged at all! I predict several road trips for my daughter and myself.

Towards the end of this week, I’ll be taking the car in for general maintenance. After all, it has over 140,000 miles. Again, I was well aware about high mileage Prius’s before I made my purchase. I’ve quite a few Prius users, online, that have cars with over 200,000 miles. I plan to drive this car (Lord willing) until it stops working. In a few months, I’ll start saving up for a “new to me” car so when the time comes, I can pay that in full to. If it’s Gods will, that won’t happen for years.

Just keep swimming…

I’m slowly getting back into my normal writing routine. Let’s see, the past several months so much has been happening in the real world one of the biggest events that happened in November was that I sprained both wrists.

Today, I’ll be creating a few ‘crafting boxes’ so I can use for various items such as my hand-knit socks. Since August, I’ve knit 11 hand-knit socks It’s not the first time I’ve knit socks, but these are the first that I’ve knit toe-up.

I’m still juicing several times weekly. That along with eating whole foods only I know has contributed to me being able to withstand any cold viruses that try to hang out in my body. They instantly get ejected. I’m hoping to post some of my crafting and food adventures very soon.

Still here…

My goodness, where has the time gone? It’s been so busy in the real world. 2016, will definitely be memorable. Many positives and a few negatives thrown in the mix, but in all things I’m thankful. Towards the end of 2016, I sprained both wrists. Which were painful, I might add, and limited a lot of what I can do. However, I am happy to say that the sprains have healed and I’m back to all my usual activities.

This past weekend, I created a pizza with a black crust. I must say, that pizza was success. I’m hoping to post pictures of that very soon.

Avoiding candida triggers

The past few weeks, I’ve been really toying with sticking to a “candida free” routine. I must admit, that at times it can be frustrating. After all… I do eat healthy. My daily intake consists of whole foods. I rarely eat processed and if I do the ‘processing’ has been done by myself. However, over the years I have developed candida. Which is just an overgrowth of fungus within our bodies. We all have candida, it only becomes a problem when there’s an overgrowth.

I’m trying to think how I could have developed an overgrowth? I don’t take any medications at all, no antibiotics… I DO eat fermented foods and there have been times when I have gotten a bit crazy with the amount that I did consume; kimchi, sauerkraut, water kefir are a few that I can think about.

I’m happy to say that the foods that I’ve been consuming have been”candida-free.” I’ll be sure to post pictures of some of the foods that I have been consuming, once things calm down a bit… and yes, drinking green smoothies/juices are playing heavily into what I consume daily. My green smoothies are savory. An acquired taste… for some, but I happen to love savory over sweet.

Savory green smoothie adventures

The next few days, I thought I’d mainly focus on consuming green smoothies. Not the sweet kind, these are all savory. I’m hoping to be able to share some of the green drinks I consume here on Celebrate Life, but we’ll see. It’s been so busy for us the past few months, and… it’s about to get busier… for me! Yikes!!! I know I can handle the new opportunities that are coming my way. I’ve been proactive and have planned accordingly, and now it’s just a matter of seeing if everything goes according to plan.

Cleaning raw fleeces

Wow… where has the summer gone? It’s been a busy one for my daughter and me. I’ve been posting sporadically here, although I’ve done a bit better on my crafting website. This past February, I started spinning and a few months ago, I added something else to the mix and started purchasing raw fleeces. Initially, the fiber I’d purchased had already been cleaned, but I must tell you there’s something truly satisfying about doing the entire process myself. Of course… it means added work, but I really don’t mind that at all.

Before I took this step, I was looking at my dwindling pile of cleaned fiber and thinking, “I need to purchase more,” but… BUT I really didn’t want to spend too much on the fiber and so I looked into raw animal fiber. The pricing is usually lower, and if you choose “dirty fleeces” the prices typically can drop by a lot. Currently I have about 60 pounds of fiber (wool, mohair, alpaca and llama) that needs to be cleaned. I do believe that will be enough to last me in my spinning adventures for quite some time.