Recipe For A Simple Life

Simplify your life, one day at a time

Workout Wednesday

I hate working out.  No, really, I HATE working out.  I don’t like to sweat and unfortunately, I’m so out of shape that all it takes is a walk around the block or running up the stairs to grab the phone to wind me.  I’m not sure how I ended up here, but I don’t really enjoy being this unhealthy. 
For those of you who have been reading my new weekly segment, Money Makeover Monday, you know that we are making some big changes in our life in 2011.  It really all started with a coupon and a page long list I made in December.  Instead of a simple, cheesy New Year’s resolution that I make and break each December 31, I decided to really take a look at what I could do to have “peace within” in 2011.  That’s what I titled the list I keep on my desktop.  Every so often I look at the list to see what I’ve accomplished so far.  It’s a long list, and I doubt I’ll get it all done in 2011, but that really wasn’t my goal. 
Two of the things that WERE on my list were to exercise and eat healthier.   As you know from my post yesterday, Sister C and I are both participating in a Biggest Loser contest.  I’ve also taken on two challenges from a friend at work.  She is in much better shape than me and has challenged me to give up Dr. Pepper and find time to exercise.  For those of you who know me, you realize how difficult these two will be for me.   So far, I’ve cut back but not eliminated my Diet Dr. Pepper.   My personal goal is only 1 bottle per day instead of the 3 I’ve been drinking.  I have also made a “date” with a friend at work for 3 o’clock each afternoon.  We are going to spend our 10 minute afternoon break walking each day.  It’s not much, but for me it’s significant and more importantly, it’s working.  I’ve already dropped a couple pounds this week and I feel great.  
I’d love to hear what YOU do to find time in your busy lives to exercise!
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Transformation Tuesday

Hey all you losers out there!!! 

I mean that in the nicest possible way, of course.  :o)  I’m referring to any of you who are now, or have ever been, trying to lose weight.  Sister C put a call out a week or two ago for anyone who was interested to join her for a “Biggest Loser” competition.  It’s a friendly little contest with cash prizes intended to motivate those of us who are struggling with dropping a few pounds. 

I, Sister K, was hesitant to sign up since I have done this contest 2 other times and failed miserably each time.  However, in the end, I decided that this time I was really committed to making a “transformation” in my life.  I recruited Scott and a good friend from work to do it with me and, of course, this time I have Sister C along for the ride also.

We started yesterday, and I’ve been staying on track so far.  (The first days are always the easiest for me.)  I though you might enjoy following along as Sister C and I compete to see who can be the “Biggest Loser.”  We’ll be posting our progress and helpful tips we find along the way as we work toward transforming our bodies and our behaviors. 

One free tool that I found on my i-Pod is an app called LoseIt!  You can also access it online HERE.  Like I said, it’s a free tool that will help you track your food and exercise calories.  I really like it and find that it helps me to make better choices just because I can see what I’m doing throughout the day.  If you do decide to use it, search for me, Katie Richtsmeier under the “Friends” tab and we can encourage each other along the way.

If any of you would like to join us on our journey, there’s still time.  We are only on day 2 of a 12 week contest and we’d love to have you join in.  Who knows, maybe YOU can be the Biggest Loser? ;o)


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Money Makeover Monday

Hey everyone – I hope you had a great weekend!  We celebrated Scott’s birthday today with homemade (by Payton) cake and Subway for supper.  (2 for $9.99 footlongs on Sundays you know)

This week was a big week for our Total Money Makeover.  We worked on our budget to see where our money is going and committed to track every penny we spend beginning Friday, July 1 since it is the beginning of a new month AND payday.  Just by writing out the budget, we’ve identified the fact that we have a significant amount of money that we can’t account for each month.  It may be money well spent on things we need, or not.  I guess we’ll know in about 4 weeks, right?

We also took our first big step toward living a debt free life by paying off the balance of our loan on my van.  We took out over half our savings account to pay the remaining balance.  While it was an incredible feeling to know we just erased our first debt, it was also scary to “give up” that much of our savings.  For our own peace of mind, we decided not to take anymore than we needed for one loan, even though Dave Ramsey’s plan advocates to pull everything but $1000. Neither one of us was comfortable parting with that much of what we’ve managed to save.  Fortunately, we only started with 3 big items on our debt list.  The next debt on our hit list is the loan for Scott’s vehicle.  Using the debt snowball plan, we estimate that we will be able to pay that one down by February 2012.  Truthfully, I’d love to get rid of it sooner, but we’ll see how the budget tracking goes first. 

That’s all I have for this week.  Don’t forget to share your stories and tips on how you balance your family’s budget.  We love to hear about your successes!

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Financially Fit Friday

Have you started a money makeover?  What are you planning on paying CASH for?  What bill are you paying off?  Share a bit of your story!  No story is too small to share!  Real life stories keep Sister C motivated 😀
Emergency Fund – Stocked
Vehicle Fund – Gone 😀
  • We bought the vehicle!  With CASH!!  We are officially a 2 vehicle family.  Oh, it’s so nice having 2 vehicles, even if one is a van lol  I have loved our last 2 SUVs, but I knew the previous owners so I know this vehicle was taken car of, so I caved.  After 6 years of only having one, this is so wonderful.  We were also able to buy it for less, so the leftover from the fund is enough to pay for our kids’ tuition bill for the entire school year!  Very excited about that!  Especially since the first installment is due in just a week.  We are blessed and highly favored! 😀 
Indiana Fund (Goal is $500)
  • We won’t be stocking this fund again for a few months.  Grandpa will be visiting us instead.  Current balance is 0.

Colorado Fund (Goal is $250) – I leave August 15th!

  • Deposited $20 Fun Money
  • Total – $66.77
    • Yes, this doesn’t add up if you noticed my total from last week.  I have NO idea why my math was off by 50.  I blame my mommy brain.  Hubby R and I decided that when I pick up a shift on Tuesday nights, we’ll split my tips 3 ways – Fun Money for Hubby, Fun Money for Me and the other third goes into our budget/pays off credit card.  This will also delete the “gift money” portion of our budget as we will each have enough in our fun money accounts to pay for any gifts that come up for birthdays, Christmas and other occassions.

Credit Card Beginning Balance 4/29/11 – $6031.08

  • Deposited $12.33 in spare change
  • Deposited $249.95 in leftover income
  • Current Balance $4,995.31

     *If you follow Dave Ramsey, he says no matter what to pay down your next lowest balance.  This is not our next lowest balance, but it’s our highest interest rate one.  Now that we’ve paid off so many loans in the last 2 years, we believe this is a better route to go, where as our other loans have such a small interest rate on them, this is by far the worst “loan” we have.  So,  Ready…Set…GO!

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Couponing 103

In a way, this “I left my coupon purse in Wisconsin” thing isn’t so bad.  I can print the majority of coupons I could use off the internet.  This has also made me stop and think about if I really need the product, or am I just getting it because it’s a great deal?  My husband and I are starting a Biggest Loser contest on Monday, so I’m also watching more of what we eat.  So I may not be saving a ton of money at the grocery store, but we’ll be looking fabulous 😀 

Today, I ran a few errands.  I picked up a few more mini accordian files to restart my coupon stash – this actually gave me a reason to buy these.  I’ve been using note cards to separate out my different categories for coupons, and they are so hard to use, they are all bent out of shape.  This way, I have two small files that will fit into my coupon purse.  I may buy one more once I get my purse back if it will fit three.  Otherwise I’m just going to streamline things.  While I was out, I made sure to do a quick run through each of the isles to see if there were coupons to grab.  I did snag a few 😀 

What I learned today was that at Hy-Vee Spirits (their liquor store, is that the name?) they have Wine Bucks, similar to their Baby Bucks.  For every 300 points (1pt = $1 spent) you’ll get a $10 Hy-Vee gift card.  Nothing spectacular, but I don’t see any other place in town doing that.  I can also use my Hy-Vee gift cards there that help pay for our kids’ educations.  It may take me 10 years to save up 300 points, but in 10 years, I’ll have enough to get a small bottle of wine lol

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Couponing 102

One thing I, Sister C, have learned is that you don’t need to get every amazing deal you come across.  We are on a tight budget, so we don’t have a lot of extra to spend on things just because it’s a great deal.  I received a NOWWOW from Hy-Vee for a $5/$50.  This is usually before other coupons, at least that’s how Cub operates, I’m going on assumption that Hy-Vee is the same.  I save up my FREE product coupons I received from following Kristin’s 5-a-Days from Couponing to Disney and other ones offered on Facebook for these type of deals.  Usually I will get $30-40 worth of FREE products, then the last $10-20 is my fruits and veggies and other great deals in their flyers that will put me at the $50 mark to use the extra $5 off.  However, I didn’t run uptown to use this up as they didn’t have a lot I wanted to get this week, so I didn’t waste my time.  However, if you are on NOWWOW and needed things from Hy-Vee, today would have been the perfect day to run there! 

So, Day 2 of restarting my coupon stash…I decided not to use up the few coupons I had for deals I really didn’t need.  I printed a few coupons from online for products I will need to get soon, sent a few emails for the 5-a-Days and that’s about it.  We are going to be eating out of the cupboard more and more this week as I’m hoping to save money on groceries. 

I did make a run to the Sara Lee Outlet on 169 and scored a good deal on my breads and stuff for this week.  Total was $6.87 for all of this.

2 Soft and Smooth loaves
1 pkg Chocolate Donuts
2 bags Mini Bagels
3 ct box of popcorn

Wednesdays there you get an extra 10% off your order.  Every day you get a free item from their stash if you spend more than $7.  The cashier was super nice and allowed me to take one (the Mini Cinnamon Bagels) even though I was 13c short 😀

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Couponing 101

I still can’t believe I, Sister C, left her coupon purse in Wisconsin.  So, for those of you that are new to couponing, I’m starting basically from scratch and you can come along! 

My first step in couponing actually has nothing to do with getting or using actual coupons.  It’s making a list of what you have in your house as far as supplies and what you will be needing to “stock up on” soon.  For me, it’s toilet paper, kids toothpaste, toilet cleaner, bar soap, dish soap and laundry detergent.  These will be the items I will be looking for this week or next week in all the ads from the stores in town. 

My second step is to make a list for lunches/dinners this week.  This can be such a daunting task for us, so I simplified it into “themes” for each lunch and dinner during the week.  For example, every Monday night we have something with Chicken.  Tuesdays is Pizza Night.  Below is a pic of my schedule.  Give it a shot – this has saved me from making so many trips uptown because we have “nothing” to make in the house.  I’ve also learned to use Super Cook for ideas on what to make.  I love this site.  You type in the ingredients  you do have in your cupboard and it gives you ideas on what to make with it.  So, I challenge you to either give my schedule of lunches/dinners a try, or to come up with your own.  Of course I don’t stick to it all the time, but it gives me a starting point when thinking about what to make, otherwise I get overwhelmed with decisions lol  
Once I have this down, I can go through my cupboards and figure out what I need to buy.  I’m out of fruits and baby carrots since we were out of town for a week, plus yogurt, popcorn, mac and cheese, crackers, cheese, fish, sandwich meat…I think I should have just listed what we do have haha  So now that I have my list, I know what to look for in the ads this week. 
To start getting your coupon stash going, I’d sign up for your local grocery stores’ newsletter emails.  I’ll get a list going for you if you want to wait until tomorrow, I need to get to work 😀  I’ve received some good ones lately, so it’s definitely something you want to do.  If you don’t like getting emails to your personal email account, I’d recommend setting up a separate one just for your couponing adventures.  I personally just have it all sent to one email. 
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Money Makeover Monday (Early Edition)

Hi all!  Sister K here.  Just thought I’d follow up Sister C’s Financially Fit Friday with my own Money Makeover Monday story.  (I know it’s a few hours short of Monday, but we’ve got softball in 2 different town tomorrow night and I don’t want to forget to write then.)   I was inspired by Sister C in January to start couponing and I’m hooked on all the great deals.  I can’t believe how much money I have saved and how much better my budget looks because of it. 
I’ve also been intrigued by her references to Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover plan and her Financially Fit Friday updates.   I admire her determination to not only become financially fit, but to share her story in such a public way so she can motivate others too.  Hubby S actually bought some Dave Ramsey books and dvds about a year ago and they’ve been collecting dust ever since.  About a month ago, after seeing all Sister C’s updates and realizing I had those books on my shelf, I decided to read them.  Wow.  What a great message.  Hubby S just finished Financial Peace University Revisited and I am almost done with the second book, Total Money Makeover.  I’m chomping at the bit to get going on the program.  For the first time in over 10 years, I’m interested in knowing where every penny of our paychecks is going and I’m questioning purchases before just spending money.  (If you aren’t familiar with the system, it basically lays out a 7 step plan to help you become debt free and live life to the fullest.)
We’ve always paid the bills and gotten by with what we had without charging much, but now we are working on our first real budget and have already established our first emergency fund.  As soon as we tweak the budget and make sure we really know where our money is going, we will be ready to move on to step 2 and start paying off any and all loans, including 2 car loans and one family loan.  It’s an amazing feeling just to have the plan. 
I have to admit that I’m not quite brave enough to bare the family finances on the blog, but I’ll try to keep you update on our progress too.  Like Sister C, I think it helps to see how others are doing and to know you are not the only one pushing toward a goal.  We’d both love to hear your stories too.   How do you keep your family budget financially fit?
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Financially Fit Friday

Well, Sister C, Hubby R and Baby S came back from Indiana on Tuesday from the burial.  Our funds are now depleted and we did have to tap into our Emergency Fund :o(  I then went to pick up our older rug rats from Sister S’s house and headed to Wisconsin to spend time with Mom – Saturday is Mom and Dad’s 35th Wedding Anniversary, so it’s going to be a rough weekend.  Then it’s back to the old grind next week and hopefully we can get back on track getting rid of the credit card!

Have you started a money makeover?  What are you planning on paying CASH for?  What bill are you paying off?  Share a bit of your story!  No story is too small to share!  Real life stories keep Sister C motivated 😀

Emergency Fund – Currently $775.31
Vehicle Fund – Stocked

  • We’re buying the vehicle this weekend!  It will be officially ours 😀

Indiana Fund (Goal is $500)

  • We won’t be stocking this fund for a while now.  We have made 3 trips to Indiana in 2 months, so we need to concentrate on getting rid of the credit card now.  Grandpa said it’s easier for him to come see us, so we will take him up on that for a few months 😀

Colorado Fund (Goal is $250) – We leave August 15th!

  • Deposited $20
  • Total – $99.16

Credit Card Beginning Balance 4/29/11 – $6031.08

  • Transferred $224.69 from Emergency Fund
  • Current Balance – $5245.26

     *If you follow Dave Ramsey, he says no matter what to pay down your next lowest balance.  This is not our next lowest balance, but it’s our highest interest rate one.  Now that we’ve paid off so many loans in the last 2 years, we believe this is a better route to go, where as our other loans have such a small interest rate on them, this is by far the worst “loan” we have.  So,  Ready…Set…GO!

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