Monday, May 28, 2007

Why I Started This Blog - My Story

I started this blog because I am on a quest for financial peace and want to share what I have learned with others so they may also work towards financial peace and benefit from what I have learned.

As I have been a stay-at-home Mom for the past ten years, my family has learned how to live on one income. We had always planned that I would stay home with the kids and therefore even when we were DINKS (double income no kids) we resisted buying an expensive house that would require two incomes to support. Instead we bought a modest two family house. We lived downstairs and rented out upstairs. Even though this was a wise financial decision, instead of saving bundles of income during this lucrative time when our expenses were low and our income was high, we saved almost nothing at all. In fact, we even managed to spend a little more than we made. In other words, like most Americans, we accrued debt. Nothing outrageous, or so we thought. Just some furniture and a few vacations put on the credit card.

Once I had my first daughter and stopped working, we cut back our spending and managed to live on my husbands ample salary. Well, almost. We basically continued to spend just a little more than we made, or live just a little above our means. After we had two more children and moved to a larger house and my husband's income continued to increase, so did our spending. Then when my husband changed jobs and no longer got a company car, we went into more debt to buy a $22,000 SUV. As our income went up, so did our spending.

Finally, a couple of years ago I got serious about saving money. The grocery bill became my number one target. I realized that food was our second largest monthly expense, exceeded only by our home mortgage. I was on a quest to get the grocery bill as low as possible. (Read my article The Secret To Saving Money On Groceries to learn how keeping a price book drastically reduced my grocery bill.) The problem was we didn't have an overall plan. Saving money on groceries is great but it needs to be in the context of an overall family financial plan.

Then in February 2007 I stumbled upon Dave Ramsey. I read Financial Peace and The Total Money Makeover. I found his website and signed up for the Financial Peace University class. I listened to his daily talk radio show. I learned that his six Baby Steps to financial peace make a lot of sense! (Read Dave Ramsey Knows The Way To Financial Peace to see an outline of the Baby Steps.)

So, now my family has a plan. We are on Baby Step 2 - Pay off all debts except for the home mortgage. This includes car loans, home equity loans, credit cards, student loans - any type of debt at all (except for the home mortgage, that comes later). We started in February 2007 with $42,000 in debt. As of May 2007 we have paid down $4,000. Not bad on a tight one income budget with a large mortgage payment, but at this rate it will take us about 5 years to be debt free. Too long. So, I recently started my quest to earn an income from home. It has been going very well and I will be posting my progress along with opportunities for earning money that you may consider taking advantage of yourself.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Earning Money With Associated Content

Sign up with Associated Content on-line and earn money for writing articles. Signing up is free and easy. Submit your writing and wait for your payment offer. This usually only takes a couple of days and you'll be offered anywhere from $4 to $50 for your article, usually around $8 I have found. They may decline your article but that has not happened to me yet.

Sign up at: Associated Content

Check out my articles at: Jennifer Reardon-Associated Content Producer

Dave Ramsey Knows The Way To Financial Peace

I highly recommend you read Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. It is an excellent book that outlines the steps anyone can take to achieve financial peace, regardless of their financial situation. Dave calls them Baby Steps. Here they are:

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 Baby Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debts except for the home mortgage using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: Save a Fully Funded Emergency Fund of 3 to 6 months of living expenses
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your gross income into retirement savings (Roth IRA, 401K, etc.)
Baby Step 5: Save for your children's college education
Baby Step 6: Pay off your home mortgage early
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!

Check Out Dave Ramsey's website at: