Saturday, December 31, 2016

Peter Walsh - 31 Days To Get Organized

Since 2013, Peter Walsh, Organizational Expert, has been doing an "organization boot camp" called 31 Days To Get Organized.

Here is a link for the playlist for all of the 2013 days:

Here is the playlist for 2014:

Here is the playlist for 2015:

Here is the playlist for 2016:

He has started the playlist for 2017, however they are marked private until that day arrives.  However, if you go back to this playlist at a later date, there will be more to come!


52 Week Challenge

For those of us wanting to start the new year off with an emphasis in saving, here is a link to CoordinatedKate's blog post from a few years ago with a 52 week saving challenge. She gives layouts for a straight weekly saving plan, or a few options for doubling the amounts.  It's interesting to see how quickly the money adds up!

52 Week Saving Challenge

Looking Toward The New Year: Let's Do This!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Finance Basics - Back To The Beginning

Whether you have been working for a while on your debt free journey or are just now starting...

It begins with a single step.


What do you want to accomplish with the money you earn after you have paid off your debt?

Then there are people like me who are the "worst case scenario girl".  I love Laurel Christensen Ray, if you have a chance to read The Faith Experiment (small book, quick read), it's worth it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Meal Planning

This is actually something I don't do, but I need to at least try at it.

Get your calendar out for 2017 and let's see what we can do!

No matter where you are in this goal to become debt free, you can start where you are at.  It's not too late.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 8.2 - The Budget Binder

Getting ready for 2017 not only means starting out with a January budget, it can also mean putting together a Budget Binder.  Here are a few videos from Our Life... On A Budget, as well as the start of the Budget Bootcamp produced by this channel.

Would you like to know the outcome?

I'm not there yet, but I am getting close, you can do it too!

So much has been in the news regarding the politics as of late, with a lot of people getting freaked out over it.

Focus on what you personally can control.  Leave the rest to God.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

It Is Finished.

No, this post isn't about the atonement of Jesus Christ.  I will say, however, I am grateful for His help in getting me through this day.

No, this is a goal fulfilled: to get the stuff in storage moved back into my home.

I spent what I would have spent in monthly storage fees renting a U-Haul cargo van to get the bulk of it home, with two additional trips in my car getting the last of it home.

All this, in addition to sinus and coughing issues, plus a 99.6 degree temperature, thanks in part to people at work showing up sick.

At any rate, at least this part is finished.

The interesting part is, I couldn't believe I had that much stuff to store, I have a lot of work to do in sorting, disposing, donating or finding new homes for things.

Finance Basics - Lesson 8 - Budgeting 101

Among the wonderful vloggers on YouTube that handles finance, one of my newest discoveries is Our Life... On A Budget.  I heard about this vlog from a favorites post by Lydia Senn and I agree, this is definitely someone you want to subscribe to.

Angela and Jeff do a really great job of demonstrating how they budget - in detail, this is also how I do it.

If you are looking for a slightly different version of the blank budget sheet, I have one here.  Please keep in mind that Google Sheets is not as pretty or, in some cases, easy to get the formulas and formatting to work, so this is a rough version of what you could do with Excel.  But hey, it's free.  :-)

The version of the budget worksheet Angela uses can be found here.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Finance Basics - Holiday Spending

I'm hoping all of you have had a wonderful and restful Thanksgiving!

For those with no money in this year's budget for holiday spending, consider a handmade note, homemade goodies or simply a visit.  Sometimes the best gift to others is your time.

This is, however, also a good time to think about next year.  Believe it or not.

The reason?  There are different times of the year when specific types of gifts can be found at the best prices.  The trick is to know when to shop for them.

Consumer Reports gives one of the best guides I know of on when to find the best prices for different product categories.  See:  The Best Time To Buy Things

Here are some other tips from my personal favorite financial guru, Jean Chatzky.

If you enjoy listening to Jean's advice, she has a fantastic podcast that can be found in your Podcasts app or on iTunes.

Jean With Dave Framsey and Rachel Cruz

Jean discusses teaching children about money with Ron Lieber

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Finance Basics - More Ways To Track Your Progress

This isn't as much a lesson as it is more tips from Budget Girl on tracking your progress toward debt freedom!


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Finance Basics Lesson 7.2: Learning Where To Get Help

Sometimes life can hand some real blows.

Because of this, sometimes it pays to know there are resources out there and how to reach them.

There are several resources through the government to help in a time of need, including a time of financial crisis. is a site maintained by the Arizona Community Action Association, designed to give those who need assistance a one stop shop to see where it can be found.

In addition, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a Provident Living piece of the organizational pie that has an independent set of resources available to the public, not only members of the Church.

Here is a an independently produced video giving an idea of what the Church has organized:

If you are in this kind of a situation, please know you are not alone, and please know there are many, many people who care about you.

You are worth it.

Worth Watching

One of my personal heroes, Warren Buffet.

Monday, November 7, 2016

More Local Politics - The Arizona Corporation Commission

The Arizona Corporation Commission is a government entity that his charged with overseeing the major utilities for Arizona, including railroads, electricity, television and internet services.

This is to make sure that the people have a voice over the utility bills they are paying.

The problem is that as of the last few years, there have been issues with people who have ties to the corporations providing these utilities getting elected to the corporation, and some of the corporations who have indirect ties to the Commission paying campaign contributions.

How bad has it gotten?

The important part is to look at who funded this campaign advertisement, Pinnacle West Corporation.

This is quite something, given the issues Pinnacle West has had regarding campaign contributions, thanks to the efforts of Bob Burns to expose it.

Just watch:

So what is a corporation to do when it has money to burn?

Also of special interest is Andy Tobin and his interest in the railroads.  Why?

Tobin Appointed To Corporation Commission

Tobin Appointed As Insurance Commissioner

It's evident that Andy Tobin is Governor Doug Ducey's man.  Having Tobin on the Corporation Commission might make things easier to get a few things passed regarding the railroads:

Ducey and Sonora, Mexico

Finance Basics - Lesson 6.4

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 6.3 - The Windows of Heaven

From the October, 2013 Semiannual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Elder David A. Bednar

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 6.2 - Debt Management

Embedded is a private video from BYUtv, they hold the copyrights on this.  Unfortunately, it is no longer available to view from their channel, the dvd must be ordered from BYU Creative Works.

Living Essentials Resource Management

It would be great if BYUtv put this back on their site.

Monday, October 31, 2016

To Add To Your Grocery List

If you don't already have these products in your home, here are some videos from Clean My Space on YouTube to give you tips on using basic household ingredients for major cleaning power.  Clean for less!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Savior And Financial Planning

Believe it or not, even Jesus Christ believes in being wise stewards financially.  Here is some insight from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Jesus even taught about compound interest:

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 6 - Calculating Your Debt

Just a reminder:  I'm not an expert in Finance, please check with a certified professional regarding your own circumstances as not everything in these lessons may work for you.

How are you doing?

I'm off this week on vacation, but that doesn't mean there isn't work or budgeting involved.  Actually, I'm getting some things reorganized at home, so don't get your hopes up that I'm actually traveling anywhere.  Not yet.  That will come when I can afford it.

Hopefully you have started filling out the DOLP from David Bach, or the worksheet on listing your debts from the Family Finance workbook from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is a great start, but I thought I'd share with you a worksheet that I use on a monthly basis to track how I'm doing.  This is just something that I came up with for myself and I've found it very helpful in the last few years that I've been paying off debt.

This is what I call the Monthly Balances worksheet.

I pick a date around the end of each month and just simply list the total balances of everything that I have, from checking and savings to each of my debts.  This helps to give me a clear picture of where I'm at, where I need to improve, as well as to give myself a pat on the back for what I've accomplished.

I've also included spots where bills can creep up on you, like Property Taxes if you own a home, or insurance payments that may not occur on a monthly basis.  I find this is a great reminder to me to add these to my monthly budget when that month arrives for the bill.

As for paying off the debt, there are a few ways of doing this. has the best article that talks about this and identifies who would benefit from the different ways of paying off the debt.

Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps explained:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Little Bit of Local Politics

Some years ago I wrote about why I don't vote for John McCain, but since then Cox discontinued the practice of providing free web space where the documents were housed.

While I'm sure he's a good man and has done some good things, I also think he's out of touch with local constituents.  I've never seen any type of town hall meeting where he's actually meeting with the locals here unless it's election season.

What I had sent to him was a suggestion as to what could be done with the massive amount of trailers purchased by FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  News reports were showing how the trailers were sitting unused in lots by the dozens because they had no place to put them.

I sent John  McCain's office the following:

FEMA Evacuation Center Suggestions

This page contains ideas and suggestions for how FEMA and other supporting agencies can assist those in distress and in need of shelter. The basis for these ideas is a simple one: it is the blueprint of the Bishop's Storehouses for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, tweaked to include housing for evacuees.. These have already proven themselves successful repeatedly in various disaster scenerios.

  1. There are military bases closed and closing announced in 2005 prior to the Hurricane. What is the status of those closures, and what has been done with the property since then?
    1. Is this property vacant yet?
    2. Is this property on a flood plane?
    3. What structures currently exist on the property?
    4. How is the property set up with basic utilities?
  2. Given these closures, and given that this land has been vacated already, the property should be turned over to FEMA.
  3. FEMA should examine the property:
    1. See if problems from previously stored military items pose a health hazard.
    2. See what utilities exist on property and to what extent.
    3. Design layout of the new FEMA Regional Evacuation Center.
  4. Possible layout:
    1. Trailers should be placed in clusters of 3.
    2. A priority to keep families together.
    3. Each 3 trailers will share one large septic tank.
    4. There are solar panels designed to power trailers, these can be used for electricity.
    5. Water towers for each 24 trailers or 5 gallon barrels for each person living in the trailers can be provided with a refill station at the FEMA Offices.
    6. The Evacuation Center should use natural resources, so as not to strain overextended power grids and water tables.
    7. Eight clusters of trailers will surround the group community center.
    8. The group community center will also become the evacuation center for the occupants of the 24 surrounding trailers.
    9. Ask the Red Cross to provide 72-hour kits for all trailer occupants, to be kept in lockers at the evacuation room at the centers.
    10. FEMA offices will also contain a storehouse of emergency supplies, and satellite/ham radio equipment.
    11. Apartments to be built to house more evacuees, also with community/ evacuation centers.
    12. A combined school will need to be built, with portables to be used until the school can be built.
    13. Day care will also need to be provided, to allow evacuees the ability to find new jobs, or get vocational training for new jobs.
    14. A medical center will be needed with 24 hour services, portables can be used until it is built.
    15. Counseling services will also be provided at the medical center.
    16. Apartments for those needing assisted living should be built in immediate vicinity of the medical center.
    17. Cats and Dogs should be housed in a separate area, identifying pets, notifying owners if they do not know where the pet is at, maintaining their well being. This would be handled through local authorities or the Humane Society.
    18. Provisions should be made in advance for other animals.
    19. Utilizing existing contracts with vendors for the Dept. of Defense, maintain the base grocery stores for exclusive use by evacuees.
    20. Barracks for military personnel serving as law enforcement should be provided, with extra space set up if additional people needed in a disaster.
    21. Offices should be set up for insurance company representatives and adjusters.
    22. There should be a locally transmitted television station to provide updates to the evacuees.
  5. FEMA will continue to maintain property as a regional center to service future needs, and provide faster service for future natural and terrorist disasters.
  6. Emergency preparedness training camps can also be held on the property.
  7. This is not only applicable to the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, but these regional centers should be strategically placed around the USA for faster and more localized assistance in future disasters.
  8. FEMA offices:
    1. Obtain and maintain lists of those staying at the regional center.
    2. Oversight of the facilities at the Regional Center.
    3. Provide areas set up for Insurance Representatives.
    4. Provide areas for State, County and City governments to allow for better coordination between local government entities and FEMA.
    5. Oversee evacuations, once approved at the national level.
  9. SBA should also have offices on site for:
    1. SBA loans to rebuild homes and businesses.
    2. Classroom spaces set up for vocational training as some may need to change careers as well as addresses.
  10. The Red Cross should also have offices for:
    1. Oversight of provisions for food and other essentials.
    2. Oversight of medical needs and counseling.
    3. Oversight of day care needs.
    4. Preparations as needed for future disasters.
    5. Training as needed for disaster preparedness.
    6. Assist evacuees with locating and reuniting with lost family members.
    7. Assist evacuees with locating lost animals.
  11. Law Enforcement should be handled at the federal level:
    1. Active personnel in the Armed Forces.
    2. National Guard as needed.
I'll post the scanned image of what I received from his office:

 This was obviously sent by a staff member who was working in his office at the time, whether they sent it as a joke or not, I have no idea.  It just would have been nice to know my letter and suggestions were actually being taken seriously.

More On The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

It starts with a Paradigm Shift.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 5.3 - Spending Habits

It's interesting, how many books there are about habits.  The reason?  Habits are one of the key reasons people are either poor or wealthy.  If someone has a habit of spending more than they make, in order to live a "celebrity" lifestyle, expect to remain poor.  The wealthy have a different mind set.  No one is immune from this, hence the reason why so many children of wealthy ancestry tend to spend themselves into the poorhouse.

Lesson #1:  Wealthy people read.  A lot.  In order to learn.  A lot.

Book 1:  The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey

Book 2:  The Millionaire Next Door  by Stanley/Danko

Book 3:  The Richest Man In Babylon by George Samuel Clason

Book 4:  The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

A book I haven't personally read yet, but I will tell you about:

The next lesson, make sure you try to balance work with the rest of your life.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 5.2

It's Friday night and I'm writing to you from Peter Piper Pizza, waiting for the pizza I've ordered for Mom and I.

I'll be gathering some items for my City's Home Hazardous Waste dumping day tomorrow morning, then gathering the stuff that is still good to take to donation in the late morning.  Because of where I donate, I can get a receipt towards a tax deduction.

A few pieces of pizza later, I'm now home.

In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, it starts off describing who the typical millionaire is.  They live on an average of 7% of their wealth and pay an average of around 12% of their wealth in taxes.

Part of their strategy is to not only make a decent income, but to live in such a way that they are able to save, save, save.  The more you save, the less amount of your total wealth is subject to income tax. Why?  Because besides what income is actually generated from a paycheck, even more is generated in investments that do not pay taxes until the money actually gets spent.  In other words, the more you spend, the more of your money will be subject to taxes.

So now that we have spent a few weeks talking about how you are spending your money, what can you do to reallocate that money towards getting out of debt?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 5

How is the spending log coming along?  Have you tried the calendar out yet?

Here are a few tips:

Start with making a working copy of your own.  Since you have viewing privileges, you will probably need to download the pages given last week to your Google Drive.  You may need to click on the Make A Copy option.

From there, you will want to save the original sheet and duplicate it to do your work on.  Rename the tabs at the bottom for the duplicates, I listed them by month.

From there, you will want to start typing!

Color coding based on whether the transaction is a deposit (meaning it has a + in the + or - column).  Deposits are where money is added to the account.  The transactions with a - in the column will be charges against the account.  For me, some of the charges were direct transactions at stores, while others were online or on an automatic deduction.

Once you are done, you can then use the space on the side to look at the categories of the spending transactions to see where cutting the fat out of the monthly spending can be done.

This is what I came up with for my copy:

I then filled out the calendar for the (R)egular expenses (those are mostly utility expenses that are paid monthly and will not end once all debt is paid) and I used the same color codes on the calendar to keep it consistent.

Keep going, you're doing great!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 4

I will begin this by saying I'm not a financial expert, please consult with a professional for your personal questions and needs.

How was your week?  Mine has been crazy, particularly considering how late this post is.  My apologies for that.

How far did you get with tracking your spending?

Did you find any surprises?

If you still have not done this yet, don't worry, don't stress.  Go through these posts at your own pace, just make sure you are actually progressing.

If you were having trouble getting things listed in one place, I'm linking a little something I cam up with using Google Sheets.

Google Sheets is free to use, however to get the most out of it you will want to create an account (you can still use a previous email, I believe, you don't have to create a new one in order to create a Google account).  This is so you can get full access to the free applications, such as Google Sheets for finances, Google Docs for letters and resumes and Google Slides for any of your slide show needs.  They don't come with all of the bells and whistles of the Microsoft counterparts, however the Docs and Sheets do come with add ons to specialize those apps to what you want out of them.

Spending Log

Continue to fill this out to track your spending.

The next thing to do, in addition to a spending log, is to list your debt.  The first part was a bit painful, but this is the one place where people like me tend to hide from.  Trust me, it won't kill you.

Here are some helps:

Family Finances - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Go to Chapter 8 on page 19 to get an explanation regarding listing your debt, and what order is the best to use.

Another resource is from Oprah's Debt Diet - it's called DOLP.


These are some great resources to help you look at your debt, and list it in a way that will help you get successes fast.

I'm going to give you another help, though, and this one stems from a classmate in the Family Finances class that I took.  Their family was paying ALL of their monthly bills on the first of the month - and then ultimately getting hit with overdraft charges.

If you get paid more than once per month, be strategic with your money.  Don't pay everything all at the same time, split it out between paychecks.

The classmate didn't understand this until I handed them a blank calendar template from Excel and had them fill out the calendar for the current month and then write down when they were getting paid and which bills were due when.

Then it hit them.  They could plan for paying their bills with specific paychecks.

That template is what I'll post on here, I've added it to my Google Drive in order to share it.  Perhaps Google will make a template of their own like this for their Google Sheets?  BTW, this can be filled out directly on Google, you'll need to make a copy of it digitally to save it.

Blank Calendar Excel Template

Good luck, deep breaths.

Here is a little inspiration from Oprah:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 3

I will start by saying I'm not an expert in Finance.  Get a qualified CPA or Financial Planner to provide professional assistance.

Lesson 3 is probably going to be a short one to read, however a long one to actually do.

Lesson 3 is on tracking on what you spend.

This can be done two ways, however given that we are in back to school mode/ upcoming holidays mode, this can be a great time to truly track how much you spend.  These will not be normal spending months, but it does give you an idea as to where you are spending your money during seasonal times that you will need to make space in your spending plan (aka budget) to save up for during those months when the seasonal spending isn't needed.

In other words, this will tell you how much you are spending for back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Hanukkah, Kwanzai, or any other special time you are celebrating between September 1 - December 31.  Understanding how much you are spending during this time period will allow you to save during the rest of the year for this time period.

Tracking what you spend can be done three ways:  either with a notebook and pen or pencil, or accessing your account online each month to write down on paper and see where you're money is going.  The third way is the techie way:  Use Quicken.  I've used Quicken since the 1990's when it first came out and I highly recommend it.  If you have a computer and access to the internet, a less expensive alternative is Mint.

If you do not have a bank account due to low finances, create a filing system with envelopes and cash.  Write on the back of the envelope where the money went and then copy it onto a notebook.

Another resource is on

Once you have seen how much you are spending, look for ways to earn additional income to handle any shortfalls or increase any savings.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Finance Basics - Banks vs. Credit Unions

For years, the only way to handle your money was through a traditional bank.

These days, we have a multitude of different avenues to meet our financial needs.  One of those is a Credit Union.

Credit Unions are non-profit, depositor-owned financial institutions.  Let's break that down.

Credit Unions are non-profit.  Because of the structure of a Credit Union, they do no generate profits, but rather any earnings that are not earmarked for their operating budget are given back to the depositors by way of dividends.  Some give these dividends on an annual basis, others give them on a monthly basis.

Credit Unions are depositor owned.  This means the only qualification to own shares in a Credit Union is to have money in an account with them.  Your checking and savings account balances make customers shareholders in the Credit Unions.  This means the employees should be looking out for the customer's best interest - not someone who owns actual stock or bond shares in the financial institution.

Credit Unions are smaller, and, depending on their size, have the opportunity to get to know you better.

One major drawback of  Credit Unions is there must be, by law, a means of limiting the scope of membership with the credit union.  Some larger companies or a combination of school districts have their own Credit Union for their employees.

Others, however, have branched out, which means it allows for more people to be able to join the Credit Union, move their money over, and enjoy the benefits associated with it.  For instance, Motorola Employees Credit Union changed to TruWest and now covers a geographic range using zip codes.  Anyone living within the zip code they cover is now allowed to move their money over and join the Credit Union.

TruWest also has a relationship with LPL Financial which can provide additional assistance with regards to investing and IRA needs for a reduced fee.

The only really big drawback I've found is if you want to purchase U.S. Savings Bonds - or redeem them, you still need to go through a bank.  Also, international currency is another drawback that is not covered at Credit Unions.  However, if you are looking for somewhere to stash your money, you may want to look into the local Credit Unions to see if you qualify for any of them.

Oh, and there is insurance from the Federal Government to cover your deposits.  Another bonus.

Finance Basics - Lesson 2

I will start by saying I'm not an expert in Finance.  Please see an accredited CPA or Financial Planner for assistance with your personal financial situation.

Principle #2 in the Family Finance workbook states:  "When you track your money, you control it".

This is where we start to move beyond the very basics and start to get into some work.

For this lesson, I'm going to deviate a little from this book and go to a course that can be found online from BYU.  There are also accompanying videos on YouTube you can also view.

Keeping with a principle found in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, I would like to start with the end in mind. 

Why do you want to get out of debt?  What purpose would it serve?

Here is one response from one of my favorite YouTube vloggers:

Have you reached rock bottom yet?

I have.  I reached rock bottom in 2012 when I could no longer afford food.  For Thanksgiving.

I was working at a school making wages that were in the poverty level range, and I was doing everything I could to not have to go on food stamps, but the money was running dry.

I had already cut the cable years before as I couldn't afford it.
I had already gotten rid of my smartphone and the Verizon bill that came with it as I couldn't afford it.
I was coupon shopping and reducing what I bought, buying the cheapest foods I could, as I couldn't afford anything else.
I had already been working seasonal jobs in order to bring in extra money, but even that was cutting it close.

Depression was setting in big time, all I wanted was to be dead.  Then I would be with my husband again.  I felt like I was in a tunnel of despair and there was no way out.

Yep.  That's rock bottom.

I owed everyone and wasn't sure how long I was going to be able to handle all of the bills I had on a monthly basis.

Thankfully, I had some great people from my Church, including a very patient man who is a CPA and has seen others in this boat.

That's when the light started to come, although it was still a long way off.

At that point, I wasn't looking at what goals I wanted for myself, I just wanted to be able to afford to eat at Christmas.

We started at ground zero, looking for any wiggle room we could find, but there wasn't very much there.  I began looking for other jobs, in the meantime emergencies hit me, forcing me to use money from my IRA to cover, which left me with a tax bill with the IRS.  I was doing everything I could to stay away from payday loans as those are basically walking into whirlpool where you have to file for bankruptcy to get out.

Thankfully, a job within the school district came up, I applied for it, passed the tests required and interviewed.  When I found out I had gotten the job, I literally sobbed at my desk.  That was November 2013.

The new job doubled my take home pay, plus the job was year round - so there were no more unpaid holidays that would always set me back.

I was able to catch up on bills that were past due.
I was able to buy food.
I was able to put a little bit of a buffer on my checking account, rather than counting every penny.

I was able to breathe again.

Then I was able to take a second look at where I was financially.

I pulled out the Oprah Winfrey Debt Diet DVD I had purchased years before, and began watching it repeatedly, to start planning, to start doing.

I saved up as much money as I could and got the IRS paid off.  That was the big debt I paid off (interest and penalties and all) in 2015.

In March 2016, I paid off my car loan early.  This freed $300 per month.

By summer 2016 (a few months ago), I had saved up $1,100 in my savings, and was adding to the buffer in my checking.  I was also starting to pay down the next debt, which stemmed from $9,000 worth of emergency dental work from 2014.


Then I got hit with another whammy, my home was invaded with bed bugs.

Double ouch.  It wiped out the savings, but at least I could cover the extermination bill paying cash.

Yes, I'm so thankful.

I'm still going through the extermination process (I'll save that for other posts), however things are looking up, and the changes this is forcing me to make will benefit me in the long run.

I the meantime, I'm re-building my emergency savings and looking towards getting back into paying off the debt.

And I'm starting to make goals.

what I've come up with so far:

Long Term Goals

- A comfortable home (condo)

- An emergency home in Snowflake (I need to purchase Mom's property)
     - Emergency Preparedness
     - Location for a personal time out
     - Set up the home with provisions for an older person (Mom and eventually me)

- Travel
     - Places in Arizona
     - Amtrak train rides
     - Alaskan cruise
     - visiting temples
     - Church History sites
     - UK
     - France
     - Italy
     - Other parts of Europe - including Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands
     - Solo road trip
     - See General Conference live
     - BYU Education Week

- Mom
     - Continued support - physically and financially (get out of debt)
     - Buy Snowflake property
     - Furniture and renovations in the condo
          - Couch and chairs
          - Bed
          - Bathtub/shower
     - Savings to cover medical expenses
     - Vehicle?
     - Will, living will, powers of attorney

- Employment
     - 10 years at work (this has now been reached)
     - Get out of debt
     - 1 year of savings
     - Start my own business?

- Finance Degree - pay cash for this

Here is a video from that finance class at BYU to cover this lesson:

What are your goals?

Long Term (including retirement)

Bucket List

10 year goals

5 year goals

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Finance Basics - Lesson 1 - Money And Emotions

If you missed the introduction to this series, click here.

Let me start by saying I'm not an expert in Finance.  Be sure to seek professional assistance with questions and specific needs when getting your financial house in order.

The coverage of the emotional side of finance is actually found in the introduction of the Family Finance Workshop book, however it's a subject that needs more than just a brief mention.

So much of what we do in life evolves around our emotions.

Even our perceptions of things can be shaped by emotions.  (See The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)

It should be no surprise that in order for us to get our "house" in order (Isaiah 38:1).  This isn't just a spiritual commandment, but also a temporal one as well.

As a widow of 16 years, I experienced with gratitude the preparations my husband had made in the event he should die.  We had financial goals as a couple and were in the process of becoming debt free in an effort to be financially self reliant.  We were also getting food storage, water storage and other items to be self reliant in the event of emergencies.  The biggest piece of self reliance, however, came in that we were working as a couple on all of this.  I wasn't leaving it up to my husband to take care of everything, and because of this, I knew exactly where we stood when his unexpected death occurred.

I've seen other widows with the opposite, widows where the communication was breaking down, where secrets were being kept, and where both spouses were not handling all of the finances.  This can lead to more heartache and stress than what is needed.

For me, my parents were fantastic role models.  They were frugal (my widowed Mother still is), and when my older brother was killed in 1990 by a drunk driver, I watched as they sat down to discuss together how arrangements for my brother's funeral were going to be paid.  

Later, when my Mother had a mini-stroke, once Mom was home and her blood pressure stable, Dad insisted they pick out a cemetery and get the arrangements made for both of them.  This was because my Father and Mother both didn't want the rest of the family to be saddled with decisions and expenses when the time came.  As it happened, Dad was the first to go in 2006 from lung cancer.  I drove Mom to the cemetery (by then my husband was buried in the same cemetery and I now have a plot with him) and the only needed funds were for the program for his service and the cost of opening and closing the grave.  Everything else had been selected and paid for back in the 90's.

There are going to be times in everyone's lives when things are at a point where some action must be taken, however prearranged plans can help with the finances during a time when the emotions are all over the charts.

Along the same lines, saving money for a rainy day (or an emergency fund as will be referenced later), can assist in making sure small emergencies don't become bigger messes when trying to handle finances during stressful times.

The other part of emotions and finances is looking at what triggers spending, as well as what triggers saving.  If spending needs to be cut, knowing where the emotional triggers are for spending will assist in staying away from temptation to accomplish the saving.

In the last decade, there have been studies made on emotions and finance, here are a few examples.

A different way of looking at it:

So, the assignment for today is:

Where do you spend money that isn't budgeted?  Do you have a particular weakness at a specific store are type of store?

Mine are bookstores and iTunes.  I'm getting better with both. 

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Finance Basics - Introduction

From The United States Department of Treasury.  Source:
I will start by saying that I'm not an expert in finance.

I've been wanting to do some posts about money and getting out of debt for a while now, I'm finally taking the time to do it.

For the past few years I've been working to get out of debt.  I'm seeing a little glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and progress is being made.

This past March I paid off the car, which has allowed me to get an emergency $1,000 saved up more quickly.  This came in handy, but I'll save that story for another post.

What I thought I'd do for an introduction is to embed videos I've found on YouTube that give some great information regarding the historical significance about money in general, then about currency for the United States.

I'm not going to go into the politics of whether or not we need a Federal Reserve here.  There is plenty of argument for and against it, I'm still not decided on it completely myself.

The Ascent of Money

This is a fantastic series of videos that originally aired on PBS.  I purchased the DVD's, and while I have my own digital copy for my own use, I did not post on YouTube these or any of the other videos I will be posting on here.  Below is a playlist for the six episodes.

Next, let's talk about the U.S. Federal Reserve and how currency is created, disposed as well as all about that gold.

A little history, however over how the Federal Reserve was created, and why.

Now, for a look inside the currency.

For the rest of my posts, much of this will be based on several sources, however the primary source will be from the Family Finances workbook from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Family Finance

One For The Money

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Very Long Week

I can honestly say I've had worse weeks, but this one is one to remember.

For some odd reason, I've started breaking out in hives.  I have no idea why, but they itch like crazy.

Then my legs, ankles and feet started to swell out.

This past week I went to the doctor and today's full day of testing is the result.

Fasting blood work: check.
Shopping to locate fragrance free soa:  check.
Mammograms: check.
Ultra Sounds on legs to check for blood clots: check.
Appt. with financial planner: check.

Got Mammograms Part 2

Some of you may remember a post I wrote a few years ago on mammograms.

Back then I was using a ffragrance free soap bar from Clinique.

I still like those bars, but I thought I would try a new one out.  This time I was looking for a more natural bar.

I stopped off at my local Sprouts market and found this:

I tried it with today's testing and it seemed to work great!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Exciting News For Family History For Primary

Many of my friends know that at one point in time (some years ago), I was blessed to participate with a group of fantastic sisters in my Stake to put together a program geared towards getting Primary age children interested in Family History.  This was done in conjunction with a Family History Fun Fair - which was a walk in "fair" with booths that covered just about everything you could think of relating to Family History and Temple Work.  It was a fantastic experience and produced a booklet/cd called Turn Your Hearts.

If you look at the top of this blog, you will see a second page called Turn Your Hearts - this is now where it resides and has the resources we originally used for the booklet and cd.

Many thanks for your patience while I got everything together (and found after so many years) so I could post it here.


Monday, June 27, 2016


Today has been a weird day, where I've been receiving Promptings in multiple occasions.  A meeting where I was pointing out potential bugs in a computer program, then later at Costco when, while standing in line at the exit, I noticed I was not charged for an item.  

After that, while shopping at Walmart, I was looking at the Odwalla juices and found at least one that was past it's maturity date.  I was able to notify an employee, who was gracious enough to stop what she was doing to go through all of the bottles and pull any that were expired.

These Promptings happen in the most random places, but I'm thankful for them.  For some odd reason, I guess God still loves me.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Load #3

I meant to post this when it happened, but load number three, which actually contained three boxes of stuff, was donated March 31st 2016.

I'm in the process of getting more items from the kitchen and clothing gathered to donate, I'll post details as it happens.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Big Reaction

In the wake of the Orlando night club shooting, people started calling for stiffer gun laws.  There were two lines of thinking:  either regulate which guns are available to the public or regulate who can purchase a weapon.

The stories in the press - and online - were all over the place as far as where people landed on the spectrum of the two arguments being brought forward. One argument to tie gun purchases to the No Fly List is causing uproar with people because it's flawed.  Yet I don't see any rallies or demonstrations from We The People to get the No Fly List fixed.

The interesting thing out of all of this impassioned arguing was that people have had no problems in getting vocal about their views regarding gun rights and the 2nd Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution, but when other issues come up, all you get is the sound of crickets in the distance.

At last word, the latest measure in Congress to allow the FBI & NSA to have permanent powers to use National Security Letters in order to monitor your online activity has stalled.  These National Security Letters also place a gag order on your email provider so they can't tell you that the FBI and NSA is looking at you.  Who knows, they might even see the types of weapons you are looking to purchase next.  And by whom.

This would be the same "Lone Wolf" provision in the Patriot Act that gives the FBI & NSA carte blanche without any warrants that was exposed by Edward Snowden.

So, this begs the question, why are we not raising the roof in protests about this?  Do you enjoy having your private emails shared to the amusement and entertainment of government computer nerds?

Where is your activism  now?

Then there is the matter of Civil Asset Forfeiture, which allows the police, during a routine traffic stop,  to take your money, and now even credit cards and gift cards in some parts of the U.S., with no proof of any improper use of these funding sources, and you have to sue to get it back.  Don't ask what happens if they find a weapon in your vehicle.

So, if the government doesn't get your weapons by stealthy surveillance or via Civil Asset Forfeiture, they could always take your home instead.

Let's say you are living in a house, you've paid your mortgage on time every month, you pay your property taxes and everything else that goes into home ownership.  But your home is now sitting on property that a developer wants to use for, let's say, a baseball stadium.

It's call Eminent Domain, and it allows the government to take your property away from you, all for the sake of profit.

Where is your activism now?

The time is almost too late for America to wake up.  Are you threatened that someone will take your guns?  The government has already found other ways to take those guns - and a lot more from you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Busy Busy Busy

Some welcome changes have been happening here at La Casa De Bushman.  I'll cover the kitchen area on another post, as I'm still decluttering the area, but even right now, it's looking so much better and functioning so much better for me.

This one is covering my bedroom, which is in a state of complete disarray right now, but that's okay.

Due to some issues with the drapes, I'm having to change them.  There is just one glaring problem, let's see if you can see what it is.

Yep, that's right, there is a bookshelf against the window.  Decker put it there in an effort to block out the light.  The problem is, I need to replace the drapes (HOA is behind this one), so the bookshelf is going to have to move.  I was planning on moving this anyway, this is just expediting the process, so it's all good.  The change is wonderful.

Pictures before:

And pictures of what it looks like right now.  I'm going to have to make the bookshelf positioned better in that corner before I can put the books in.  

The other 2 good things about this:  I needed a new phone system in my home, and I needed to go through the books to see which ones I wanted to keep, and which ones to sell or donate.  This also facilitated both!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

IOS 9.3: Finally!

I have found less crashing since upgrading to the latest iOS from Apple on my iPad 2.

The one biggest improvement:  If you have purchased audiobooks through iBooks, you used to have to purchase them on your Mac and back them up or you wouldn't be able to access them later.  If you didn't, you had to call Apple's help desk to have the audiobooks reset.

Now, Apple has changed the Purchased section of iBooks.

Now, not only can you find your purchases, you can find updates to purchased books, but you can now also access (and re-access) your purchased audiobooks.

They do also have a feature that allows your other books to be stored on iCloud for later downloads, however I have a lot of PDF's that I manage via iTunes on my Mac and can remotely synch what I want to my iPad.  Because of this, and the storage issue, I've declined that for now.

But the Audiobooks?  Yes, Apple can finally say they have scored on this one.

Friday, March 18, 2016

More Progress!

The car title arrived in the mail today!

So thankful!  So excited!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


This is a quick, late night note.

I'm thankful.

You see, March 11th I paid off the car loan with my tax refund.

March 18th will make my first paycheck that didn't already have the auto loan partially written on it.

Granted, there are other bills it is getting used for, but I can honestly feel progress being made in this long struggle to get out of debt.

I'm not fully there yet, but I'm one step closer, and I'm so thankful to God for seeing me through this.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Emergency Preparedness

I left for Church yesterday and found this taped to my security door.

Sometimes, emergencies occur, but if you are prepared, it's not that much of an issue.  Those of you who know me, know that Decker and I had some systems in place when he passed away.  One of those was an emergency water supply.

We use the round 5 gallon jugs of water and one of those plug-in water dispensers.  I don't have all of them filled up at this point in time, however I have enough to get me through something like this easily.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm on Spring Break, it wouldn't have mattered, because I would have been away at work.  It's just funny how the timing on this worked out.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tax Time!

Photo credit:  Oaks, Linda. us_treasury_building.jpg. 2009. Pics4Learning. 28 Feb 2016 <>

Yes, I realize that today is not April 15th, although based on our current weather in Arizona, it feels like it already is.

No, but today is a special day, it's not March yet, but I did and submitted my taxes today and yes, they have been accepted at both the state and federal level!

Major progress!

Much of this is due to not only the Family Finances class I'm re-taking, but also that I have finally entered into the 21st century and now am having Quicken download my transactions automatically from my financial institution, so I can better track everything that's going on.  This also makes reconciling monthly statements A BREEZE!

This gives me less time doing the grunt work, and more time looking over my finances to see where I can cut and where I can invest time and money to do a better job of handing my finances.


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cough Suppression On The Go

I don't know about you, but I never get sick at a convenient time.

The problem is, some of the medication you might want to take, particularly a cough suppressant, is in a liquid form that gets everything sticky.  Is this something you can take on the go, when your schedule is already on overload?

Some years back I went to a doctor who told me about this nifty little product from Robitussin. 

It is a cough suppressant, much like their liquid "cough medicine", only in a liqui-gell pill.

I only take one and it usually lasts me for about five hours, and I'm able to carry this bottle in my purse with my other medication so I can actually have access to this medicine when I will most likely need it.

I've only seen this available at Safeway and Wal Mart, I've not seen it at Fry's Foods.

As with any medication, be sure to check with your physician before getting this.

This is not a compensated endorsement, just a helpful tip.

Box #2

Box #2 is filled with plastic and glass cups and mugs.  It is now in my car and will be delivered to Deseret Industries after work tomorrow.

The first box had vases that had quickly accumulated after Decker's passing.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Hypocrisy of The Politicans

So, is the U.S. Constitution hanging by a thread yet?

Yesterday a sitting justice of the U.S. Supreme Court passes away and the next thing you hear is a member of Congress threatening to stall any appointments made by a sitting President.

The Republicans are wanting to control the bench, and make no mistake, this has nothing to do with preserving the Constitution of the United States.

It has to do with influencing and agendas.

Want to make it so that civil asset forfeiture remains legal?  Get a conservative on the bench and make law enforcement very happy - and very lucrative.

Want to place term limits on those in Congress?  It will not happen if the Republicans can have any laws overturned that would place term limits on members of Congress.

Want reforms made to the Federal Tax Code?  Not if any passed can be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Why is this?  Because those who stand to benefit the most financially from legal manipulation want a "conservative" sitting President, a "conservative" majority in Congress and who will stop these two if there is a majority of "conservatives" in the Supreme Court who will use the bench to promote what the "conservatives" want, even if it goes against the Constitution of the United States.

People are forgetting that if you truly want a democracy, there needs to be a balance of power, or there will be (and currently are) a segment of people who will be shut out of democracy altogether.

When this happens, the Constitution's "We, The People" will become a lie.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Eliminating Two Birds With One Stone

I always have trouble figuring out how to declutter items made of glass, due to breakage when transporting.  Necessity is the mother of invention, though.

Not only did I want to donate some glass vases, but then I remembered I also had some clothes I wanted to donate as well.  

Problem solved!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friday, January 1, 2016

How Well Did I Do Financially In 2015?

Just a quick update for you.

I've tallied up the balances from January 1st, 2014 and compared it to today.

Drum roll please...

Last year I paid $12,127.95 towards debt.

I still owe:  $10,334.20

That's right, I now owe less than what I paid in debt last year.

It's getting close, and it's getting exciting!

I'm just praying really hard for things to continue to go this well.  

Many thanks to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and my wonderful friends who continue to stick with me.

Booklist For 2016

Carey, Chris. bookshelf2.jpg. 10/12/1999. Pics4Learning. 1 Jan 2016 <>

Happy New Year!

Rather than randomly picking books this year, I thought I would make a list of books I want to read or re-read, and in the order I want to read them.  This doesn't mean there will be changes to this list, and if I finish this list before the years end, I may choose some books I've had on my bookshelf but haven't read yet.

Here we go, the list:

The Book of Mormon (almost done, but will be re-reading for Sunday School Lessons)

The Peacegiver - James L. Ferrell

Falling To Heaven - James L. Ferrell

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

How To Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

How To Stop Worrying & Start Living - Dale Carnegie

The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell

David & Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell

The Innovators DNA - Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen

Capital In The 21st Century - Thomas Piketty

A Monetary History of The United States - Milton Friedman & Anna Jacobson Schwartz

The Way To Wealth and Other Writings On Finance - Benjamin Franklin

The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley, William H. Danko

The Millionaire Mind - Thomas J. Stanley

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee

Go Set It On A Watchman - Harper Lee

Little Dorrit - Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

The Casual Vacancy - J. K. Rowling

The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

Career of Evil - Robert Galbraith

Dream New Dreams - Jai Pausch