Happy Hour Friday – Will’s Office Reveal

You know Will, the Hubster, (if you don’t read about him here).  He’s a hard working guy, one of the most generous, selfless men that I have ever met.  Sure he’s particular and quirky, but he also has strong character and a higher perspective on life.  I could go on and on with the list of commendations, but that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about Will’s new office!  It was my surprise gift to him as a reward for all his hard work.

here is, hard at work in his new office.

We are only renting right now.  We have thought about buying a house, but the time just isn’t right.  Nor have we seen anything we’re crazy about.  Honestly, we like the idea of building a house… if you’re going to spend the money, get what you want, right?  All that rabbit trail was supposed to say is that our home isn’t really ours.  And honestly, sometimes it didn’t really feel like it was ours, hand-me-down, hodge podge little honeymooner bungalow that it is.  We put a fair bit of effort into it when we first moved in, but not much since then.

Before-ish:  Right after we replaced the bed with the futon

Before: Will's old, squeaky twin bed.   It "doubled" as a couch/Izzy's perch while Will was on the Computer

Before - The desk that was left here

Now, 2 years later, I decided that it was time to give Hubster his own space.  A room that reflected him, where he could work and relax.  You know that feeling when you have a space, and it just feels like it has your DNA woven into it?  That’s what I wanted for him.  He deserves it.

Now, if you have read any of Will’s posts about budgeting then you probably are wondering how I did this as a surprise.  Well, when we bought the futon a few weeks prior Will told me he was fine with using some of our savings for putting a little effort into our home (furniture & décor) to begin investing in things that we like, we want, and we will keep with us.  So…. I took that as permission to redo his office.

My original intention was to post tutorials on all the little DIY elements first, BUT I just can’t wait any longer to share this office with the world!   I have already waited a month.  But you can find tutorials on the bookshelf, the Marquee Letter, and the curtains on the projects page. =)

For Will’s office I really wanted something baseball themed because he has a lot of Cincinnati Reds/baseball paraphernalia (there’s still more that isn’t being used yet).  The problem with a baseball theme is that I didn’t want it to seem like a little boy’s room or some meat-head baseball jock room (nothing against jocks – I still am one).  I did a lot of thinking, happened to receive two pallets from my neighbors, and saw this coffee bar on a blog I follow.   Those things all got the wheels spinning and brought me to envisioning this room.

Emma letting out her inner hoodlum, and spray painting the heck out of random odds and ends I collected.

Will's Office  (6)

the painting process.  and yes we had to leave everything in there so he wouldn't see it in the morning when he stopped by the house.

I can’t take all the credit by any means!  I had a ton of help from my sister, my little sister Carrieli, and my good friend Emma.  Without them I would still be working on this room, and probably have had about 7 mental breakdowns.

The other confession I have is that I did have to kick Will out of the house for a night… and I still didn’t quite finish even with Emma being over till am, so he had to finish building his own desk…. BUT it got done! AND HE LOVES IT!

Replaced the bookshelf and made this cool wall display:

the bookshelf is made from crates that I got with coupons from Michael's, and the Chain link on the wall is from a coworker.  It was rusty so Emma spray painted it with Chrome Rustoleum Spray Paint.

Recovered the futon to go with the new room and because Izzy was getting the black too dirty.

I recovered the futon with a massive drop cloth.  It matches the curtains.

made new curtains that stick with the new brighter colors in here to play up the natural lighting that pours into this room.  Also made them floor to ceiling to help the room feel bigger.

there are the curtains =)

Here’s the redone filing cabinet that I added because I knew he really wanted one and before he was using milk crates to house our papers.

Emma did excellent work on this piece! Look how shiny those chrome drawers are@

I actually got this little gem for free from someone who had extra.  It was originally a weird grey color, but I wanted to use it to contribute to the scheme of the room and be another pop of color, so Emma painted it for me while I painted the walls.

Some other items from around the room:

that was originally a cheapo, black plastic organizer.  Awe the magic of Chrome Spray Paint.

the Bobble heads, UK newspaper clipping, and our mini Louisville sluggers =)

Some pictures from his old room before we got married and the collages of all of our baseball adventures so far that I made him for his birthday.

And finally, the desk!

These next few are of the desk.  The pallets were free, the ductile iron plumbing pipe leg was expensive, and the desk top boards were pretty cheap!

Dara and I came up with the design for the Desk, and Will made it work.

it's the details that matter.  we put little boards in the pallet to create a recessed shelf for office supplies.

would you believe the desk top and the pallets are stained with the same stain?!

DIY Drop Striped Cloth Curtains

Something I learned on my latest DIY bender is that drop cloths can truly be your best friend.  They are cheap and the material is pretty decent quality!

Now back it up about 2 years, when Will and I first got married I stumbled across the idea of drop cloth curtains.  It went on the list of things to implement someday.  I hadn’t had the opportunity yet, but when I was planning Will’s office redo I knew that it was the PERFECT time.  The texture and color of the material were perfect for the scheme I had chosen.

Originally the office only had these little valances I had made one afternoon with the cheapest red fabric I could find a JoAnn’s.  I had planned on keeping them, but decided against it.  I did not want to chop the room off or make it dark… part of the reason I was redoing it was because it was chopped and dark.  BUT I did use those valances to choose the right color of paint for the curtains (yes. You read that right. We’ll get there), and they ended up being repurposed into tie backs (props to Emma).

see the lovely red tie backs behind Hubster there!  Good work Emma!

I did a lot of reading on drop cloth curtains…. In the end, it didn’t really change my plans at all.  But I will say this, if you plan on washing your curtains, or you want them to be super good quality then I would suggest buying fabric medium to mix with your paint.  I was on time and budget constraints so I skipped that step because I decided I didn’t mind if the paint cracked whenever I wash the curtains in the future.


  • Drop cloths (I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths)
  • Painters Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Paint
  • Fabric Medium (Optional – see previous paragraph)
  • Paint Brush
  • Sewing Supplies

How to Make the Curtains:

First, wash and dry them.  This really softens up the material and makes it more workable and attractive. Plus, they DO SHRINK… and they don’t do so uniformly.

Sew them how you want them.  I did this last, but in hindsight I would do it first as the sewing machine isn’t fond of going through the painted areas.  As I mention I used two 6’x9’ drop cloths.  There are only two windows in the office and they are both pretty narrow.  The 6’ wide cloths were big enough for me to cut in half and then have two curtains on each window.

Emma past on some wisdom to me and told me When you sew the top (assuming you aren’t doing grommets, tabs, or some other cute idea) be sure to leave some extra room at the top.  I don’t know how to describe what I am talking about so here’s a picture of it.  I have made curtains without at that little “ruffle” before, and Emma is right – they do not hang/lay as well.

The part that sticks up at the top is what I am referring to.  Mine is about 2" tall.

Once they are sewn, decide where and how big you want your stripes and begin the taping process.

the measuring process.

ready to begin.

If you are going to use fabric medium be sure to mix it into your paint.

this is the paint that I used.  I opted for a small can of interior paint rather than a dozen little bottles of craft paint given the amount i needed and the durability I wanted.

When painting your curtains, I found that it was best to either put the tip of my brush on the tape and brush into the stripe area or just dab along the edge.  Too much pushing against the edge of your tape lends to the paint bleeding out aka…. Not crisp lines.

Let them dry.

part of the way there

Here they are hanging to dry.

Hang them up and enjoy your hard work!

you can see one of them here.  It's hard to get a picture of them with my cell phone because of the back lighting from the window =(

I have another drop cloth project to share as well.  I will give you a hint, it’s in that last picture.

Enjoy your weekend! Go try something new!


DIY Marquee Letter

Continuing with the affordable, DIY projects that I started with the Crate Bookshelf a couple of weeks ago, today, this is also a cheap and easy DIY.

I had been seeing these marquee letters ALL OVER on pinterest. I first saw one around Christmas time and knew instantly it was one of the projects I pin that I actually was going to make sure happened.

The letter P was the obvious choice.

Before I tell you how to make this happen for yourself I have to give a shout out to my little sister Carrieli and my good friend Emma who did the majority of the work on this eye-catching letter.  I skimmed several different tutorials to see how people made their’s, and found out there was a wide range as far as quality & price goes.  Some people made very sturdy, time and money consuming letters from wood and outdoor lights. Me on the other hand being on a time and money crunch decided to go the cardboard and Christmas lights route. Before this Marquee P Will’s office had this lamp…. he loved(s) that lamp. But now it’s hiding in the attic. I will give him props for his taste in the lamp stand, but not the lamp shade.  It was olive green and khaki gingham. Not attractive and definitely did not match the office.  Will happens to be an ambient lighting sort of guy anyway, so I knew this Marquee P was the perfect solution – cool lamp relocated until a better looking lamp shade materializes, AND hubster still gets his ambient lighting.

Some mood lighting right above his desk.

What you Need:

  • a large piece of cardboard (I took mine from a paper box)
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Scissors or Xacto knife
  • Hot Glue
  • Spray paint
  • White Christmas lights.
  • paper clips or twisty ties

Here’s how to make assemble it:

  1. Draw out your letter.  This is where Carrieli helped me.  She is very gifted.  Draws us pictures at Christmas and handmakes cards all of the time.  I would had to redraw this letter about 5 times, but Carrieli drew it up in one quick try.  This one is about 18 inches tall.
  2. Cut it out.  the base letter and then measure and cut out the strips that make it three-dimensional. My edge pieces stick out 2 inches.
  3. Glue on the edge pieces.  Marquee Letter (2) sorry for the blurriness.  It's hard to hold the camera still while gluing things together.
  4. Paint it.  Emma handled the painting and the light bulb placement.Before Emma Painted It
  5. Count how many lights you need to fit into the letter and then make the appropriate number of holes, evenly spaced around the letter.  Since we had a lot of small lights Emma did two rows of lightbulbs sticking through.
  6. Use paper clips or twisty-ties to hold all of the extra cord together behind the letter, so it doesn’t show anywhere and you have a clean, professional looking marquee letter. there it is!  2 rows of lights poking through and none of the excess cord showing.
  7. Ta Duh!  It’s not very heavy so you can use the clusters of cords on the back side to hang the letter up.  Ours has an extension cord running to it so that we can easily plug it in.

this is what it looks like not lit up.  Still awesome!

Marquee Letter (1) Marquee Letter (9)

DIY Crate Bookshelf

I am going to be posting some inexpensive, easy projects that you can do to spiff up a space over the next few days!

20140720_170453 (2)

Before I begin, let me just say that I am sorry I get so excited about projects that I forget to take step by step photos and, in this case, before and after photos.

When it comes to décor, I am honestly not sure what label to put on Will and I’s style.  The important thing I do know is that we both like distressed cabinets.  So someday when we are turning a house into our dream home I know we will be buying or DIYing some distressed cabinets for the kitchen.  I have to start somewhere, right? Lol.

Currently our home décor style is a hodgepodge of handy-me-downs and gifts.   Seriously.  If it is in our house (up until this last weekend) then  it was either a wedding gift, a wedding decoration, a hand-me-down, something borrowed long-term, or the coffee table that we made for ourselves almost two years ago.

Our coffee table with the coffee filter flowers I made.

So going off of that knowledge, I suppose that our style at the moment is crate furniture.  There’s enough of that stuff floating around Pinterest for it to be its own genre.  A genre that we really like because crates are pretty cheap and you can make paint them, stain them, add designs, stack them, cover them, and build them into something cool that fits your needs – like this bookshelf!


We want to keep the old book shelf that was in the office.  It is a decent bookshelf that Will brought with him into our marriage.  It’s just that it did not match anything else in the spare room (not that much in there did match as it was just full of spares).  Plus the spare room was always on the darker side, and I wanted to brighten it up a bit.

Here’s the old bookshelf.  Sorry for the terrible photo.  It is a cropped portion of the only picture I could find that even had the old bookshelf in it.



Stay tuned for some other projects that I have had going on, and at the end of it, the whole picture put together!  To make sure you don’t miss any of the good stuff over the next couple of weeks you can subscribe to the blog. Either subscribe via the box below our picture on the left side, OR just click the link in the yellow banner at the top of the page.

Step 1) Gather your supplies.

As for how to make this bad boy.  First you will need to gather your supplies:

  • The crates,
  • finish of your choice,
  • and a brush for applying it.

Yep, that’s it!  You could get some 1”x4” to make a frame for extra support and stability, but I did not go that far because I was not sure if I was going to need to add to the bookshelf or not.  Plus, hubster is better at those things, and this was kind of a surprise for him.

You can find the crates at Michaels and larger JoAnn’s stores (heads up, the one in Lexington does not carry them last I checked).  Also, I just saw a bunch of these on sale at Home Depot the other day as well. The base price for them is about $13 each.  BUT Michaels always has coupons on their app, and they accept competitors coupons so if you have a coupon for JoAnn’s or Hobby Lobby. I usually have at least a 40% off coupon so I get each crate for around $9 after it’s all said and done.

Step 2) Finishing

I used Minwax Golden Pecan (bought it at Home Depot of course).  I applied it with a standard paintbrush.  You don’t want to apply it heavily because you will end up with runs and drips all over.

I find that it is best and quickest if you start with crate setting on its side as these are in the bookshelf.  Stain the top, and then stain the bottom, back, and sides of the inside.  Carefully turn the crate around and stain the back and then the outside of the two side pieces (the solid pieces with the handles).  If it is dry enough you can flip it over and stain the two sections that you are missing, if not just begin staining your next crate and come back to it.

I applied a second coat of stain to the outside of the crates.  That wood had been sanded more smoothly and looked much lighter than the inside after the first coat.

Step 3) Assemble

I didn’t opt to put any cool logos or transfers onto this bookshelf.  I just wanted something simple.  But that depends on your space.  Depending on your space and storage needs you might opt to have the crates standing up so that they are tall rather than wide.  Or you might want a mix of both directions.  Originally I had wanted to make the book shelf look like our coffee table, but on its side.   However, I did not trust myself to put it together so Will got this simple arrangement instead.

Step 4) Fill and Enjoy!

Fill ‘er up and be proud of yourself!  You just made an awesome, unique, inexpensive bookshelf all on your own!


Also, only 6 days till our two year anniversary!


what is a project that you are really wanting to tackle at the moment?

Day 11: Coups…. Super Coups!

Yesterday night Will and I left the grocery store feeling very pleased with ourselves.  Actually we felt like we had ripped off the grocery store, but boy were proud of ourselves for it! Our greatest coupon success so far.

We try to strictly stick to $200/month for food, health and hygiene items, and household cleaning items.  Consequently coupon clipping has become the thing that we follow Sunday brunch with.  We actually lost track of time clipping coupons and scanning the ads and wound up being late to church.  I know…. We are so strange.

Typical Sunday Morning in the Pomeroy Life.  Clipping Coupons over brunch before church =)
Typical Sunday Morning in the Pomeroy Life. Clipping Coupons over brunch before church =)

I don’t know if you know this about Will or not, but he is quite the mastermind.  He started looking through the ad and figuring out how to capitalize on the deals that were going on this week.  Between the two of us we found a coupon for all but 5 or 6 items in our cart.  And everything we had coupons for was already on sale.

Now when we check out we like to wait till the very end to scan the Kroger card and all the coupons.  When the total initially read $84.34 I think that we were a little nervous… how are we going to knock enough off of this total to make it stick with our budget?! But you know what we saved $24 with our Kroger card (some of that was digital coupons) and another $10 in clipped coupons!  That was 41% of our original total.

Maybe you don’t find this very exciting, but trust me, it was! We won’t have to buy cereal for like two months.  We are set on hot chocolate mix for the foreseeable future.  Have enough chocolate chips for several batches of cookies and they are even the name brand (there’s a difference when it comes to chocolate chips).  We even snuck some gluten free munchies in there for me!

so proud of ourselves!
so proud of ourselves!

To quote Col. Hannibal Smith from the A Team “I love it when a plan comes together!”

 And to help you achieve your own coupon-clipping success story here are the few helpful baby steps that we have taken or tips we have received:

  1. Get the coupons from the Sunday paper
  2. One of the biggies is to use cash or gift cards to shop with.  Knowing that you have an physical limit really helps.  The cash is nice because you can split up between you if you like.  But the giftcard was nice too because it was more convenient to carry around and deal with.  Paying in cash stress me out sometimes like everyone around me thinking “Really you have paper money and change…. Who does that anymore?  You take forever!”
  3. Go here: http://www.coupons.com/
  4. If your grocery store has a coupons ap or has digital coupons on their website take advantage of those.  They load them to your rewards card and they are automatically discounted when you scan your card.  It’s nice because you don’t have to carry the paper ones around with you, forget them, lose them… etc.
  5. You can sometimes find Nestle Tollhouse, Libby Pumpkin, and Carnation coupons here.
  6. One of my friends recommends: Coupon clipping mom.
  7. You can find P&G coupons here.
  8. If you really want to be hard core about your coups, then make a separate email account to have coupons and deals sent to.  There are so many places that you can sign up for coupons from, and if you have a separate account than your normal email remains spam free!
  9. The thing that Will does to keep me motivated is he takes the money that our receipt shows as “mfg coupons,” manufacturers coupons, and puts it into a separate savings account to help keep me motivated to put effort into clipping coupons. Whenever I/we get home from the store he looks at the receipt and makes the online transfer. I don’t know what it is going to go towards, but he told me that I get to decide.

I hope that this was helpful and/or inspiring. Either way, it’s still something that I am majorly thankful about.

What are you thankful for today?

Poppin’ Tags

This weekend isn’t going quite as planned. You know what they say about the best laid plans… However, sometimes it’s the unexpected turns that lead us to the most scenic views and memorable adventures. And I think that this weekend turned out pretty good =)

And this post exists solely as an excuse to put the following picture up on the internet:

Sorry Hubster, but these awesome 80's trench coats were too good of a photo op to pass up on.  You'll thank me for this memory someday. =)
Sorry Hubster, but these awesome 80’s trench coats were too good of a photo op to pass up on. You’ll thank me for this memory someday. =)

Originally, the plan was to go to our friends’ wedding and then hop in the car and head for Red River Gorge for an over night camp and hike with Izzy Pup. Well…. Mother Nature must have frowned upon our plans because she sent threatening thunderstorms our way. Share our tent with a wet, muddy, panting pup. No thanks. We’ll take a rain check (pun intended) on the campout and try again another weekend.
But this weekend was not void of excitement. Instead of packing our hiking packs we went to Goodwill and went garage saling (as shown by the picture above). If you live in Lexington, here’s a tip: the Goodwill way out on Harrodsburg near Southland is the place to shop. I’ll spare you all the details, but here are the best deals: I got a pair of dress pants originally from the Limited and I got them for $3! AND the best part… We got this awesome lightweight, waterproof Columbia jacket for $5.

Here Izzy Pup and I are, modeling the jacket!
Here Izzy Pup and I are, modeling the jacket!

And then we found $2.

No really, there was two dollars rolled up in the pocket of the jacket.  Yeah, like I said.  It was a good trip!

Hope that your Sunday is filled with Joy,


Sneak Peak: 

Tomorrow is Munchie Monday: Cilantro Lime Chicken tacos.  It’s a crock pot friendly meal, and has a yummy salsa recipe!

Month’s worth of Meals on a Budget

Please leave comments on what you do to save money at the grocery store, or feel free to ask me questions!

I have always liked the grocery store- I don’t always like what I hear at the checkout though.  Lately I have been leaving the grocery store with the biggest sense of accomplishment!  I love it!  Why do I feel so accomplished?  Because Will and I have been doing an amazing job of eating really well, but not spending money like we do.

It’s hard work.  But it feels so good!

Today for instance, I came away from the grocery store having spent $49.52.  But here is what I bought:

  • broccoli
  • 2 bunches of green onions
  • cilantro
  • mushrooms
  • 4 packs of strawberries
  • 8 ears of corn on the cob
  • 10 yogurt cups (yoplait, not the off brand)
  • OJ
  • a bag of lemons
  • a loaf of bread
  • brown sugar
  • chocolate chips
  • cocoa powder
  • paper towels
  • 2 cans of baked beans
  • 18 Large eggs
  • a pot roast, and
  • 2 steaks


Yeah I know.  It’s an impressive score for a newbie wife.  And you don’t blame me for feeling totally awesome after leaving the grocery store.

See, Will and I recently revised our budget and decided to try to cut our grocery budget down.  Our goal is to spend $200/month at the grocery store.  If possible we try to have that number include things like shampoo, body wash, laundry soap, ect.

It all starts with a plan.  You have to plan out what you are going to be eating.  The way we do this now wasn’t possible for us until a couple of months ago when we got a chest freezer.  Before we could only hold enough refrigerated/frozen food for maybe 2 weeks (even less since our wedding cake was taking up 20% of our teeny freezer). Now that we have Chester (I just decided that it’s name) out in the mud room we can stock up on meat when it goes on sale, freeze it, and build the following month’s menu off of the meat that we have stock piled in the Chest.

This is one of our new favorites! The recipe will be up here soon; I promise
This is one of our new favorites! Here is the Recipe

Month #1 was April; we did it!  Actually we only spent $195. =)

So here is how we accomplish it:

  • Make a menu and try to stick to it
  • Don’t over eat
  • eat leftovers
  • use the crockpot
  • clip coupons
  • look for the “manager’s special”/marked down items
  • side items like rice or potatoes
  • don’t be afraid to use the off brand

For starters, when making the menu, try to make dishes that have overlapping ingredients.  For example, pick dishes that use the same fresh vegetables.  That way you don’t end up with a bunch of half used, rotting bunches of vegetables in your fridge.

This menu doesn’t have breakfast and lunch on it because breakfast is a rather unvarying routine that we are used to keeping eggs, and toaster strudel on hand for.  Lunch is usually leftovers for Will and yogurt, fruit and granola bars for me.  We also keep a pantry pretty well stocked for baking. All that being said you might think that $200 a month for two people is impossible, but honestly we could eat even cheaper if we had to… life just wouldn’t be nearly as yummy.

Check out the Kitchen Adventures page of our blog for some of our favorite recipes!

Here is what the original Menu looked like:

April Menu Here is what ended up happening with the month:

April Menu- what really happened

Some of the changes were due to having leftovers.  Some were scheduling issues.  Others were we just really didn’t feel like eating what was on the menu so we made something different.  The thing about making something different is that we would always stick with the same ingredients that we had on hand, so that while the menu changed we didn’t have to spend any extra money.

I watch the Kroger add a lot.  If something that we use frequently is going to be on a big sale then I stock up and freeze it if possible.  I also clip coupons from the internet, from Will’s Mom’s Sunday paper, and Kroger offers digital coupons as well.

When it comes time to make the grocery list, I know about how much most items that we buy cost, so I am able to make a grocery list each week that adds up to just about $50, or however much we have budgeted.

Something else truly wonderful that I have learned is that when you make a meal in the crockpot, it goes so much further. I think it is because most of the time you end up shredding the meat (which stretches it so much further), you serve it over rice (which is filling), or there is a lot of liquid involved (which is also very filling).

I plan on gradually posting the recipes for some of this food.  The problem is we don’t normally take pictures.  So bear with me patiently.

Here is what May’s menu is supposed to look like:

This very first week has already been shuffled around some, but hopefully the rest of it works out. lol
This very first week has already been shuffled around some, but hopefully the rest of it works out. lol

The “B” word…

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for your feedback from the last post, it was great to get some comments/questions!

This week, I think that I want to focus on something that is essential to financial stability – building a budget.

As most of you know, I am an engineer.  As such, I have been trained to be detail oriented and to pinch pennies.  I can’t help it!  I can’t even walk into a fast food restaurant anymore without the urge of pointing out where the inefficiencies lie.  Fortunately, this critical thinking has a fiscally positive impact.

One of the first things Devra and I worked on once she moved to Kentucky was developing a budget we could stick to.  I would argue that this is one of the most important conversations you can have with your significant other.

Budgeting allows you to plan for the future; it takes the focus off of there here and now and reveals a more complete picture.  I have a friend who has been trying to dig his way out of debt for a couple years now, when he discovered how useful of a tool budgeting was, he stopped living paycheck to paycheck and was able to establish and track financial goals and responsibilities.

One of the best tools I’ve found is called Mint (https://www.mint.com/).  Mint allows you to import and track all of your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, investments… you name it, all in place.  Better than that, it’s free!  They have a budgeting tool that really helps you figure out where your money is (or will be going) and allows you to see where you stand at any point during the month.  Once you set up the budget, all you have to do is keep an eye on it and make sure mint is putting the transactions you make into the correct category.  For example, if you buy something off of Amazon as a gift for someone, mint will count that in the shopping category while you may want it categorized as a gift.  Overall, Mint is a great tool and is really good for making your first steps toward developing a budget.

For those of you who want to have a more hands on approach to budgeting, let me suggest a website to you.


My own family makes fun of me for how much I use excel, but I don’t care.  It’s an amazingly helpful program that I use on a daily basis (not kidding!).  This website has a ton of great spreadsheet templates that you can use.  The personal budget template offers you more control over the categories you want to monitor.  I found it especially helpful for tracking multiple incomes and savings accounts.

Well, I hope that these tools help some of you keep track of all those cash monies!  In the next post, I will probably be talking about setting financial goals, make sure you check back!  And as always, you can ask questions or leave comments!

Here is a little deal for snapfish that I came across – Devra and I are decorating our house with wedding pics and such:  http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/149-lexington/deals/458220-30-to-spend-on-photo-gifts

Being Disciplined Pays Dividends

As usual, the semester picked up last week.  You’d think that after 14 semesters of college I would have figured out that the eventual (and relentless) wave of homework comes crashing ashore very quickly.

Anyway, here is a little update on how the deal hunting goes.

We got our first “big fat check” from Ebates for a whopping $10.22!  It’s not much, but every little bit helps.  Devra and I have decided to set up a separate savings account for any sort of rebate or cash back we get. Over the course of a year, the little savings add up.  For example, so far this year I’ve earned $246.00 cash back using my Discover credit card, if you combine that with my Amazon card cash back you it jumps to about $300.00.

If you simply let these cashback bonuses collect you can use them for some pretty awesome things like a vacation, Christmas gifts, spontaneous road trips, a new iphone 5, or helping a friend in financial need!  Our cashback will likely be going towards getting friends and family Christmas presents this year, which means less financial stress during the holidays.  Something that my mom did is let these rebates go into an investment account for my brother and I.  By the time we each turned 21, those accounts were each worth over $1000, I’ve got a pretty smart Mom!

Since I mentioned something about credit cards, I suppose I will go on my little rant about them.  A lot of people think credit cards are evil and say that you should cut up any you have and never think about getting a new one.  Dave Ramsey, a very popular Christian financial guru is of this opinion.  I disagree with him, but ONLY because I know that some people are financially disciplined enough to not live beyond their means.  For those of you that lack the discipline to pay your bills on-time or that tend to spend more than your make, STAY AWAY FROM CREDIT CARDS.  On the other side of the coin (pun intended), credit card companies can help you build your credit score and literally pay you in the process. If you would like a referral to a credit card (and get a $50 cashback bonus) email/facebook me.

The last thing I want to mention in this post is for those of you looking for cheap dates!  Devra and I keep an eye on Groupon/Living Social daily for good date ideas.  We like to try new restaurants and often times local restaurants have 50% off vouchers online.  Last week we went to a place called Jasmine Rice and we got an appetizer and 2 dinners (and we each had leftovers for lunch the next day).  Total, we spent about $20 and it got us out of the house, we tried a new restaurant and had 4 meals… you can’t beat that!

Here is a little deal I found today: 50% off backyard burgers ($5 for $10 worth of food).