Eli, media mogul

you crazy moms
you crazy moms
My pal Rachel Calderon over at News9 featured Eli being adorable and cute, along with a story about stuff we’re doing to plan and save.

But srsly I look at the video and I just keep rewinding to him getting on his beloved truck.

Ooooh so cuuuuute.

For real though: Rachel worked up a 30-day financial challenge series for her station and asked us to participate! She reads my blog (Hi!). She was having a hard time sourcing a family finance story, probably because the only time people want to talk about money is when they’re showing it off! PAHA!

Not us! Oooh let me take you to Goodwill in the ’97 Ranger we bought with cash. Maybe after we get back we can have some Ramen! Yes? No? Doesn’t work?

Thank God Rachel knows what she’s doing, or who knows how this story would have turned out.

My family’s part in all of this was to do some number crunching, share the numbers with a financial planner, take to heart any criticism, listen to tips and implement them.

It was great to have an expert cast her expert eyes onto my budget and an expert journalist cast her eyes on our story. And it was easy, oh so easy — maybe too easy — for me to blather on about our goals on camera.

Rachel did a great job telling our story and included in it context and additional facts about financial challenges faced by families with chronic disease.

Here’s a link to the piece.

I’ll let you read and watch Eli being adorable surrounded by some facts about money.

In the mean time, we’ve begun rolling out new financial plans as we roll on into 2015.

We’ve implemented a few, but not all of them.

A few of our savings/spending goals are:

-Space out auto-deductions into savings account throughout month; save more to account for occasional purchases like clothes, electronics, gifts and auto repairs. Use cash for those occasional, yet expected, costs.
-Save more for fun dreams, ie, we want to take my kids to the ocean in ’15
-Invest in fun for ma and pa; it’s OK. It’s really OK.
-We’ve knocked out our December and Christmas budget; creativity in gift-giving shall commence now.

First of all making a budget, and second of all sticking to it, is a challenge.

2015: Bring it.

I try to write about our effort to save, survive and thrive each Monday in the category Money Madness. Cold, hard green. Bookmark it bay-bay.

What are your savings and investment goals leading into 2015? Leave a comment below or send a note!



7 ways to knock out back-to-school shopping for $150 or less a kid. Supplies, hair cut, clothes, all of it!

Last week I gave Laila a back-to-school budget of $150 and vowed not to exceed it.

That’s harder than it sounds. Shiny, pretty back-to-school things are everywhere. A few increments of $20 or $30 and you’ve blown the budget on stuff that’s probably not going to fit in six months to a year.

I realized right away I’d have to think and buy differently this go-round with my daughter’s wardrobe upgrade.

Here’s what I forced myself to do to stay on track.

Continue reading 7 ways to knock out back-to-school shopping for $150 or less a kid. Supplies, hair cut, clothes, all of it!

The first thing I did during my week-long spending freeze was sign up for a massage

I’ll never forget the day I was cruising around Ann Arbor, MI with my mom when we passed a place called “The Relax Station.” It’s a drop-in massage parlor. Not of the “happy ending” variety like those in my ‘hood, entered and exited by old dudes in the evening hours, run by the Asian mafia and staffed by sex slaves, etc.

No, no this was a legit little place that takes walk-ins.

“Ooooh, massages! Julie let’s get massages.”

Continue reading The first thing I did during my week-long spending freeze was sign up for a massage

Total budget…breakdown

Welp, I just can’t lie. Our effort at running a tight ship on the money front went up in smoke this month.

Do you have any idea what kind of lattes they have in the D.C. area? I had a Mayan Coca and cayenne latte, people. I was there to learn about how to be a good soldier in the cause to cure cystic fibrosis, and eat all the baked goods, and drink all the lattes, at every little indie cafe I saw. NOMS.

noms noms noms noms
noms noms noms noms

Continue reading Total budget…breakdown

Follow the money…aka oh @#!$

It's money madness
It’s money madness

I have about five minutes to write this.

Laila’s gettin’ bored, Eli wants to scoot and hoot and hollar.

It’s Monday Morning Money Madness, and I am typing and baby wearing and bouncing to knock this one out. I’ve stuck a bottle in Eli’s mouth and he’s looking at me, a little confused.

I am not trying to be “super” anything here…just trying to get our lives in order ppl.

I didn’t know where to start on my new personal finance path. I have so much to learn. It’s intimidating. I e-mailed a few personal finance journos for advice. Haven’t heard back.

That’s OK. I decided to take a cold, hard look at food, based on, ya know, logic. It’s our top expense outside of housing, and housing-wise, we are doing well. While we rent, the cost of a cute little 40s home with a driveway, garage and backyard is only about 15 percent of our take home. Drug dealers and prostitutes usually stay down the way, so, we’re good there!

OK, it’s time to get real about food, wonderful food. And supplies – diapers, cleaning, etc (!) – which are mixed in since we shop at Target.

I thought we were doing well this month. Hey, I’d stopped pounding lattes and eating out!

I can stop patting myself on the back.

Continue reading Follow the money…aka oh @#!$