Book Review: Smart Money Smart Kids


In an earlier blog post discussing my 4-year old’s materialistic obsession with toy trains I said, “I don’t blame him, but I do want to “train him up in the way he should go”.  I want him to understand the difference between needs and wants. I want him to grasp that money doesn’t grow on trees.  I want him to learn the value of hard work.”  You know what happened the day after I posted that blog?  I received an e-mail saying I had been selected to the book launch team for Smart Money Smart Kids, written by Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze.  Talk about timing!

I have finished reading the advanced copy of the book and, honestly, it’s hard to decide how to begin explaining how remarkable it is.  It provides answers for all my concerns stated above plus so much more.  It is a practical guide to train your kids to make smart decisions about money.  Let me stress again that it’s a practical guide, not theoretical, because as a parent, who has time for theoretical?

Rachel Cruze was a baby when her parents filed for bankruptcy.  While recovering from this difficult time, Dave and Sharon Ramsey “made the declaration that where money was concerned, we would start a new family tradition—a tradition of money knowledge, money character traits, and wealth.”  Rachel and her older sister and younger brother are successful products of this declaration.  Dave and Rachel share in great detail, from their respective perspectives, the money lessons taught to the Ramsey kids through the years and how you can apply them to your family.

The book has chapters dedicated to the subjects of work, spending, saving, giving, budgeting, staying away from debt, and contentment (this one is critical to your child’s success).  Whether you have a preschooler or a teenager about to enter college or anywhere in between, this book has you covered. It offers sensible tips broken out by age groups.

Rachel Cruze says, “It doesn’t matter if you are deeply in debt or have a million dollars in the bank, your kids are a clean slate! You CAN start teaching them how to handle money and your family tree can be changed no matter what kinds of mistakes you may have made.”  If you’ve spent most of your adult life drowning in debt, can you imagine how awesome your child’s wealth building potential would be if she never, ever took on debt of any kind? This book shows you how it’s possible. Maybe you’ve worked hard, avoided debt, and saved hence you’re doing pretty well with money, but you’re worried about your child growing up to be a lazy, entitled, immature adult. Oh, is this book for you!

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. All of the methods in the book to train your children to be money smart are fairly easy to implement – except one. One of Rachel Cruze’s favorite sayings is “More is caught than taught”. Sorry, there is no way around this one.  If you want your child to eat healthy, you have to eat healthy.  If you want your child to have good manners, you have to have good manners. If you want your child to handle money well, it is vital you learn to handle money well.  But it’s ok, the book will teach you a lot about handling money too. I’m here to help too. If you’re struggling with debt, can’t seem to get any traction on your retirement savings, or just feel like there’s too much month at the end of the money, contact me about a one-on-one coaching session.

I plan to share my thoughts on specific chapters of the book in upcoming posts.  But for now, you can check out the Smart Money Smart Kids trailer, download the first two chapters for free, and pre-order the book here. The book’s official release date is April 22.  But if you pre-order before then you’ll get $50 worth of extras for free!

What is your biggest worry or struggle regarding your kids and money?

If you read the first two chapters, I’d love to hear what you think!



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Fun with George and Dave

George Strait isn’t doing a show in Florida for his farewell tour?   Are you kidding me? What are we going to do? This was Eric’s and my dilemma several months ago when King George released the schedule for his last ever concert tour. This was just not acceptable; we had to see him one last time.  So we poured over the tour schedule to decide where we would be traveling. And there it was – Nashville! It’s within driving distance (saves money), we have friends there with a guest room (saves even more money), and we could stop by Financial Peace Plaza to see the Dave Ramsey Show in person! Decision made. All we had to do was make sure to include saving for show tickets and the trip expenses in our monthly budget.

I’m writing this while driving home from our awesome trip to Nashville.  At the Dave Ramsey Show2014-03-21 13.34.47 I got an updated photo with Dave to replace the sorta blurry one from last year. And  watched a debt free scream in person.  If you’re not familiar with the debt free scream, it’s a tradition on the show.  Folks who have paid off all their debt (including or not including the mortgage) call in or show up in person to talk about how they paid it off and scream “I’M DEBT FREE” live on air.  I watched Timothy, a 24-year-old single guy.  On air, he explained how he paid off $19,000 in mostly student loan debt in 12 months on a $36,000 salary.  Impressive. I absolutely loved why he decided to get serious about paying off debt.  His girlfriend told him she didn’t want a Christmas gift; she just wanted him to take Financial Peace University so he could get out of debt. Wow, the things we do for love!

Even from our nosebleed seats, George Strait was amazing – the best concert of his we’ve seen.  It hit me during the concert that George and Dave actually have a lot in common. Really, they do. They both have somewhat of a cult following.  They both have a way with words – George with his songs, Dave with his clichés. They both are on the radio a lot. And, well, let’s just say, there aren’t a lot of surprises with their wardrobes.  For George it’s a cowboy hat and Wranglers.  For Dave, it’s the blue shirt.  He seems to be breaking out of his comfort zone lately with some green and grey shirts, but there’s just something about that blue shirt.

And one last thing they have in common. They have co-written with their child. George Strait doesn’t talk much in his concerts; he likes to just stick to the singing. But every song he co-wrote with his son Bubba he made sure to tell us about.  You could hear the pride in his voice.  Dave just recently wrote a book with his daughter Rachel Cruze, called Smart Money, Smart Kids, scheduled for release on April 22.  It’s geared for parents who want to teach their kids how to manage money and make wise financial decisions.

Guess who is reading an advanced copy of the book right now?  That would be me! I was selected to be on the launch team for the book.  As a brand new blogger, this is very exciting! Within a Facebook group for the team, I’ve “met” many other more experienced bloggers and others who are as passionate (maybe even more) as I am about helping people achieve financial freedom. I’m about half way through the book and can’t wait to finish.  It is full of practical advice for parents to teach children the value of work, how to be wise spenders and savers, and how to be generous givers. I’ll give a more detailed review in future blog posts.  But for now just know if you have a kid, this book was written for you.  If you don’t have kids living with you, it’s a great baby shower gift or gift for any parent really.  Check out the first two chapters of the book or pre-order it here.

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Training up a Child

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

“But, Mommy, I need it!”  No, sweetie, you don’t need another Thomas train.  The fifteen you have plus the hundred non-Thomas trains cluttering our house are more than sufficient.  Yes, my 4 year old seems to be deeply embedded in a materialistic phase of life.

It’s hard to blame him.  Those Thomas folks are marketing geniuses.   Every time you buy a Thomas product there is a colorful wish list inside for your child to drool over the trains he doesn’t yet have.  There are wood trains, metal trains, and plastic trains.  There are wood tracks and plastic tracks.  There are books, lunch boxes, Easter baskets, blankets, and pillow pets.  Every time a new video comes out it features new trains that “need” to be added to his collection.  What’s a four year old to do?


I don’t blame him, but I do want to “train him up in the way he should go”.  I want him to understand the difference between needs and wants.  I want him to grasp that money doesn’t grow on trees.  I want him to learn the value of hard work.  I want him to understand he has control over his purchases, not the mighty marketing machine.

In Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey’s daughter, Rachel Cruze, discusses using a commission system for kids to teach them the value of work and how to handle money.  It entails paying your child a commission for doing chores.  If they work they get paid, if they don’t work they don’t get paid.  It also entails helping your child budget his or her money by dividing it into three categories – give, save, and spend.  What types of chores, how much they get paid, and how often they get paid depends on the child’s age and the family’s preferences.

We started Little Man on a commission system last April when he was still three.  Since he is so young, we keep it as simple as possible.  He earns quarters by taking his dishes to the sink and picking up toys.  In the beginning, he had no clue he could buy things with quarters, but he was still excited when he earned them.  He liked them because they were shiny.  And I think they reminded him of gold doubloons (Thanks Jake and the Neverland Pirates.  Don’t even get me started on Disney’s marketing prowess).

Every time he gets 10 quarters in his bank, we count and “budget” them.  The first quarter goes into his “Give” envelope to teach tithing.  The next two quarters go into his “Save” envelope.  The remaining seven quarters are for his “Spend” envelope.  When the “Spend” envelope gets weighted down with quarters, he helps me stack the quarters in groups of four to exchange for one-dollar bills.  The math lessons are a great bonus.

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We made a big deal out of it the first time he got to spend his quarters at a frozen yogurt shop.  We invited his grandmother to join us for the historic occasion.  We took pictures and video.  We talked with him about how he was going to spend HIS hard earned money to buy his frozen yogurt.  Isn’t that exciting, Little Man?  I had him stand at the counter and help me count out his quarters for the $3 purchase.  Let me re-phrase, I tried to have him help me.

Not surprisingly, we were way more excited than he was.  He loved the frozen yogurt, but the spending HIS money concept was completely lost on him.  But that was ok.  It’s been just a few months since the frozen yogurt adventure and now he says “Mommy, can we go to Wal-Mart to pay quarters for a new Thomas?”

We’ve had several teaching moments since we started the commission system.  One day at Wal-Mart standing in the toy aisle, I showed Little Man the trains that were within his spending limit (the money in his envelope).  He picked Percy – Thomas’ best friend.  We continued on with Mommy’s shopping.  Things came to an abrupt halt when we reached the book aisle.  There was a Thomas book!  Not just any Thomas book, the Thomas book that had a map of the Island of Sodor and tiny trains to “run” along the tracks on the map.  He recognized it right way because he already had this book, but most of the tiny trains had been lost – one in the Atlantic Ocean, but that’s another story.  Oh, how he wanted that book to replenish the tiny trains.  It just so happened to cost about the same amount as the Percy in his hand.  After a difficult conversation about making choices and almost having to “borrow” a tent to camp out while he weighed his options, he confidently laid down the Percy and picked up the book.  Decision made.  He never looked back.  Mommy was proud.

Don’t get me wrong, commissions haven’t turned him into a little angel when it comes to working and spending and wanting and needing.  It’s a process.  Some days, it’s a nightmare to get him to do his chores; some days he’s a rock star.  But he is progressively getting better.

Things have been a little tougher since receiving an abundance of gifts for Christmas and his birthday.  We had a tough discussion about how his birthday was over so he wouldn’t be getting gifts all the time; he had to go back to earning quarters to buy things he wants.   I didn’t think it had really sunk in until one day he was watching the Sprout channel.  Sprout makes a big deal about birthdays and when a host said we want to celebrate your birthday with you, Little Man yelled at the TV screen, “No, it’s not my birthday, my mommy said it was over!”  Oops, maybe that discussion was just a little too tough.

Some days, I still hear “I need, I need, I need” all the way through a shopping trip.  But saying “sorry, you don’t have enough quarters to pay for that today, would you like to earn some more when we get home?” certainly helps get through those tough days.

Eric and I look forward to seeing his growth in understanding money matters in the years to come.  While the giving and saving portions of his budget are still a bit of mystery to him at this point, we love that they will always be a part of his life.  We pray when he is older, he will not depart from our training.

Do you use a commission system with your child(ren)?  How is it working?  Not using it, but want to?  As long as your child is still living in your home, it’s never too late to start.  What other techniques do you use to teach your child(ren) money lessons?

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Breaking Bad?

I know I’m late to the party, but I just watched the pilot episode of Breaking Bad.  Wow, this Walter White guy is a sad, sad man.  What we learn in the initial episode is he is a brilliant, accomplished chemist who now attempts to teach chemistry classes to a bunch of unenthused high schoolers.  He has just turned 50, his 40ish year old wife is pregnant and his teenage son has MS (or something like it).   It’s clear he has money problems – he works a second job at a car wash, his wife fusses at him for a $15 charge on the “card we don’t use, remember”, and his back yard is a wasteland with a dried-up swimming pool.

And then there are the sweaters – in New Mexico.  Why, Walter, why?  What is with the sweaters?  But I digress.

Ok, so he clearly doesn’t seem to be where he wants to be at 50.  But, so far, his life is not too much different from many Americans today, right? Then things turn really bad, he passes out at the car wash, tries to get the ambulance to let him out because he doesn’t have good insurance, and later finds out he has lung cancer and two years to live.  In an instant, Walter feels his life goes from struggling, but hanging on, to utter despair and hopelessness.

So, what does he do?  Well, since this is a television drama, he must choose something dramatic and somewhat “cringe-worthy”, as my husband would say.  Even if you haven’t seen the show, you most likely have heard enough about it to know what he chose.  He chose to not tell his wife and son about his cancer and in a crazy series of events he partners up with a former student to make crystal meth.  Obviously the car wash gig just wasn’t paying the bills.  But, a life of crime – maybe, just maybe – that will work.  While this bright idea ends in disaster in the pilot, presumably he has some success with it later on or the show wouldn’t have continued for several seasons.

As a financial coach, I truly feel for Walter.  My heart goes out to anybody with financial struggles.  But, I can’t help but think how his life could have been so much different if he had taken Financial Peace University just a couple of years before we meet Walter.  He would have been so much better prepared to face cancer and the possibility of leaving his family fatherless.  For starters, he would have had a decent term life insurance policy.  No more stress about leaving his wife with debt, no income, and alone with two children.   He and his wife would have been living on a written budget and working together on their debt snowball.   Working together!  That is the most important thing Walter would have learned from the class.  Spouses are a team, they communicate, they are open and honest always, they make decisions together.  So much more can be accomplished when you know you have each other’s back.

But, there really is no point in overanalyzing what Walter should have done in the past is there?  The same goes for each one of us.  As much as we want to sometimes, we can’t go back in time and change past decisions.  We have to start from where we are today.

So, let’s start from where Walter finds himself in this episode, at the point where he feels his life is crashing down around him.  If he had decided to come to me for coaching at that point instead of choosing the crystal meth option, what would I have advised him to do?  Since in this theoretical situation, I don’t have access to the details of his finances – income, expenses, savings, debts – I’ll stick with “big picture” issues.  First and foremost, this man really, really, really needs to talk to his wife.  If he didn’t bring her to the session, I’d let him know there would be no coaching until his wife came with him.

I’d let him know I get it.  I get why he doesn’t want his wife to know.  He feels he should be the provider, the protector, the MAN.   This is truly noble of him.  The world would be a much better place if more men lived up to their responsibilities as husbands and fathers and be the MAN for their families.  But being the MAN doesn’t mean doing it alone.  His wife clearly loves him and is hurting because she already knows something is terribly wrong.  She wants to be involved; she wants to help; she doesn’t want to be on the sidelines.

After he had let it all out to his wife and they had had a good cry together (or she had a good cry, I know, I know, real men don’t cry), I would encourage them to find emotional support.  Yes, their finances are a mess and need to be dealt with, but when we’re talking about terminal cancer, baby on the way, special needs teenager, this family needs all the love and support they can get.  They need to reach out to their family, to support groups, to a church.  They need prayer.  They need shoulders to cry on.  They need people who have been through similar situations to give advice.

For their finances, it’s hard to say much without all the details.  But, criminal activity is NOT an option.  It is never an option.  It might be time for his wife to find a stable job.  Currently, she is a writer who hasn’t been writing much.  I know this will pain Walter.  He doesn’t want his pregnant wife to help support the family.  He’s the MAN.  Guess what man?  It’s time to do what is best for your family.  Proverbs 31:10-11 says “Who can find a wife of noble character?  For her value is far more than rubies.  The heart of her husband has confidence in her and he has no lack of gain.”    Have some confidence in your wife, Walter.

It’s time to get organized, have a written budget every month, get proactive in dealing with creditors, letting them know why you can’t pay them but you’re getting your act together as best you can.  It may be time to sell stuff, though the scenes in their house indicate they may have already done that.  It doesn’t look pretty, but there is hope.  There is always hope.  Even if the house if foreclosed on, even if bankruptcy is declared, there is still hope.

Speaking of hope, Walter really needs Jesus, doesn’t he?  Walter needs to know the unfailing, unconditional love of Jesus.  He needs to know that Jesus died on the cross for Walter’s sins.  And Jesus is yearning for him to accept His gift of salvation.  “For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 2:13) He already knows all his worries and fears, He’s just waiting for him to “phone home” and ask for help.  He’s just waiting to provide a kind of peace and hope that only He can provide.   “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus” (Phillipians 4:6-7).

I guess if Walter had followed my advice the show wouldn’t have made it past the pilot.  It wouldn’t have been dramatic enough.  I’m ok with that.  Do we really want lives filled with drama and crazy bad decisions?  Or do we want a life filled with peace and hope?

I pray your life is nothing like Walter’s, but if you are struggling to find peace and hope with your finances, I’m here to help.  Contact me at

P.S.  For all of you Breaking Bad fanatics, I actually did enjoy the show – good writing, good acting, very intense.  So don’t be upset with me for wanting it to go in another direction, you know, if it wasn’t a TV show.

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Going Green – Cash Envelopes

In the last blog post I promised to share my experience with using cash envelopes and pass along some tips.  So here we go…

I learned about the cash envelope system while going through Financial Peace University (FPU) in early 2012.  It seemed like a great idea to me – in concept.  I saw how it could help “other people” save money and stay within budget, but I wasn’t convinced it would make a big difference in my life.  You see, I’m naturally boring.  In FPU we learned about two natural tendencies everyone has.  We are either a nerd or a free spirit.  We are either a saver or a spender.  I’m a nerd and a saver.  Boring!  A nerd likes doing the budget and tracking all expenditures.  A saver likes to see her saving accounts grow more than having an expensive pair of shoes.  So, I felt keeping track of expenditures during the month and inputting it into my fancy spreadsheet (nerds love, love, love spreadsheets) would be enough for me to keep my spending in line.

But, in April 2013 I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Counselor Training.  I loved it and knew counseling others was something I really wanted to do.  It hit me that if I was going to suggest to “other people” that using cash envelopes was the way to go, I needed to try it for myself.  So, in the beginning of May, I did our monthly budget, went to the bank, took out some cash, and loaded up some envelopes.  I started with just envelopes for groceries, restaurants, small household items, and fun money.  My biggest struggle that first month was remembering to actually use the envelopes.  I was so conditioned to pull out the debit card.   It took the first three months to really get comfortable with it and work out some kinks, but now I really like it and can’t imagine going back to my old swiping ways.

Here’s what I like about it…

  • Tracking my spending is sooooo much easier.  I don’t need the memory of an elephant to keep up with how much money is left in each category.  I don’t have to save receipts or constantly check my debit card transactions and remember to input them in the spreadsheet.  I just look in the envelope and count the cash. As nerdy as I was, before using envelopes there were times where I went over a few dollars here and there because I didn’t track well enough.  Those few dollars can really add up over time.
  • I spend less.  Why? When I go through the act of counting out cash to pay the bill, I notice and remember the total amount.  When I swipe and sign, I see the total, but it doesn’t sink in.  Knowing I’ll have to count out the cash affects my decision process while I’m shopping or ordering lunch.
  • My four year old sees me using cash, not the magical swipe card.  He sees that it takes money to purchase things.  I had a friend tell me her six year old wanted something at a store one day and when she told him she didn’t have money for it, his reply was “you don’t need money mom, just use your credit card.”  Ugh.
  • I’m never stuck without cash for those few places that don’t take cash like a farmers’ market or parking at a sporting event.
  • Less swiping means less risk of fraud.  Remember the issues Target had last Christmas with credit and debit cards?  Not an issue for me.  I used cash.

Ready to give cash a try?  Here are some tips.  Some I figured out on my own; others are from friends.

  • It’s ok to start small, just pick two or three budget categories, if you want.  But if you’re like me you’ll want to add more envelopes over time.
  • There are many ways to keep your cash separated.  Figure out what works best for you.  A popular way is to use an envelope system wallet available at  (I get nothing for that plug, wish I did.  :-))  It’s what I use.  I color-coded mine with tape to make it easier to find the right envelope and it prevents the envelopes from ripping.  A friend uses a simple coupon binder.  I love that idea; I might even try it.

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  • For the guys, I’m guessing carrying around a big wallet or coupon binder just isn’t your thing.  There are options for you too.  If you’re married and your wife does most of the shopping, you might be ok with Dave Ramsey’s method or a variation thereof.  He carries cash in his front pocket for G-E-M – gas, entertainment, miscellaneous.  No need to split into envelopes.   Another option is to use colored bands or paper clips to keep the categories separated.  Or use the big wallet but keep it hidden in the console or glove compartment of your car.   Just take out what you need before walking into the store.
  • If you’re not comfortable carrying around a full month’s worth of cash.  Don’t.  Just carry around what you need weekly or bi-monthly.
  • Paying cash at Wal-Mart or Target can be a bit of challenge sometimes because they sell everything – food, clothing, household, gifts, etc.  How I handle this depends on the specific situation that day.  I might pay cash out of the envelope that is the highest amount, and then when I get to the car “pay back” that envelope from the other envelopes.  I might split my purchases into two transactions at the register.  I might do a combination of both.  Regardless, it’s not that big of a deal, I promise.  It may seem awkward at first, but it really makes you pay attention to your purchases, which is the whole point!

One last point about cash envelopes, just like with budgeting, I was worried it would feel restrictive.  But now that I’m using them I don’t feel that way at all.  I feel they help me make better choices – no impulse purchases I’ll regret later.   Do we really need that box of cookies?  Won’t the $10 bath mat look just as nice as the $30 one?  As it turns out, there are plenty of times there’s a little cash left over at the end of the month for a treat of some kind.  That little treat is so much more satisfying knowing I can enjoy it guilt free – knowing it’s not stealing from the rest of our budget.

Are you already using cash envelopes?  Have any advantages or tips to add?  If you’re not using envelopes, are you ready to give it try? Why or why not?

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The Emotions of Cash

Go ahead, you can admit it, it’s ok.  When you see those coins at the top of this blog, you have an insatiable urge to grab them up, don’t you?  They are so enticing aren’t they?  Makes you feel kind of silly doesn’t it?  I mean, come on, really, they only add up to about seven bucks.  Oh my goodness, some of you are trying to verify that aren’t you?  Stop it!  And those are just coins, not even the green stuff.

In my last blog post, I discussed the importance of having a written budget.  Having a written budget is great, but just preparing a budget isn’t good enough, we have to actually stick to it!  Today, I’ll share one way that can help us not bust the budget.  It’s called paying for things with cash.  Whoa, crazy concept, I know.   Before I went through Financial Peace University, I paid for everything with “the card”.  Swipe, swipe, swipe.  It was upsetting if a business had a $10 minimum limit for credit card purchases or, heaven forbid, they didn’t take credit cards at all.

Remember when fast food places only took cash?  When McDonald’s started allowing credit card purchases, the average purchase went from $4.50 up to $7.00.  That’s nuts isn’t it?  How did that happen?  It’s called “feeling” the purchase when using cold hard cash.  In The Money Answer Book, Dave Ramsey says, “When you pay in cash, you can “feel” the money leaving you. This is not true with credit cards. Flipping a card up on a counter registers nothing emotionally. If you use plastic instead of cash you will spend 12 percent to 18 percent more. “  In other words, with cash we tend to order off the dollar menu, with plastic, supersize it please!

Advertisers recognize our emotional attachment to cash.  I’m sure you’ve seen the insurance commercial with the guy riding the motorcycle covered in bills.  Ok, that one creeps me out a little bit, to tell you the truth, so bad example.  But I like the tax advisor commercial where they put $500 in cash on every chair in a stadium and the one where pallets of cash fall out of the sky.  Very effective visuals.

Want to keep your budget on track?  Use cash.  Not on everything, it would be pretty cumbersome to pay the cable bill with cash, but on certain things it can be worthwhile – groceries, eating out, entertainment, clothes, just to name a few.  In Financial Peace University, Dave recommends the cash envelope system.  Have a separate envelope for each budget category in which you plan to use cash.  Fill up those envelopes with the amount you budgeted.  When the envelope is empty you’re done spending for the month in that category so you better manage your envelope wisely.

I’ll be honest, I was hesitant to try the envelope system at first, but I finally gave in and have been using it for a few months now.  It works.  It really does.  I’ll share more about my experience using cash envelopes, along with some tips and tricks I’ve learned from friends and through trial and error in next week’s post.

Do you think cash envelopes could help curb your spending?  In what area(s) do you think using cash instead of plastic could be the most beneficial to you?  Do you already use the cash envelope system?  Have you figured out exactly how much money is shown in the photo at the top of the blog?  Good grief, get a life 🙂


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Having Enough

“My only money problem is I don’t have enough of it! “ Oh, if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say that…well, then maybe I wouldn’t have any money problems!

So, how much is enough?  If your personal money fairy started raining cash down on you from her fairy blimp, when would you say, “Hey, thanks money fairy, I’m good now.”  What about $45 million?  Would that be enough?  It wasn’t enough for NFL player Vince Young who filed for bankruptcy in early 2014.  What about $400 million? It wasn’t enough for Mike Tyson who filed for bankruptcy in 2003.  And they are not alone…78% of NFL players and 60% of NBA players file for bankruptcy within five years of retirement.  And lottery winners?  55% go bankrupt.

So does that mean having crazy amounts of money is a bad thing?  Absolutely not!  It just means to win with money we have to look at both sides of the money equation – the inflow and the outflow.  All those bankrupt athletes and lottery winners thought their millions of dollars (input) was enough to spend it (outflow) anyway they wanted.  They remind me of Dave Ramsey’s saying “you can’t out earn stupidity”.

You and I might not have millions and maybe we never will, but we can have “enough” – enough to meet our needs and a whole bunch of our wants, enough to give generously, enough for today and for the future.   But it starts with having a plan for the outflow side of the equation – also known as a written budget.

Oh, no, did she just the say the “B” word?  Does the thought of doing a budget make you cringe? Afraid of what you’ll find if you examine your spending habits too closely?  Don’t want a budget telling you “no, don’t buy those shoes” or “sorry, you’ve eaten out too many times this month?” A budget doesn’t have to be scary.  John Maxwell says, “A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”  Think our bankrupt millionaires could have used that advice?  For me, once I learned how to do a written budget, it was actually quite freeing, not scary at all.  I knew I could buy those shoes without messing up next month’s vacation plans.  I knew if an emergency came along, we had money set aside in the budget to handle it.

And don’t think the income side of the money equation isn’t important too.  It is.  I want you to make more money.  I want you to make crazy money.  But I want you to be prepared to handle that crazy money when it comes instead of it handling you.

Before I was living on a written budget, when I got a pay raise, it was pretty exciting for that first pay check, but then it was quickly forgotten and my bank account and my lifestyle didn’t seem all that different.  Sound familiar?  Now that our family is on a written budget, every dollar has a purpose.  Even though right now as a “mostly stay at home mom”, my income is small and irregular compared to Eric’s, when I get a paycheck every dollar of it has a place in our budget and it matters!  Several people have told me living on a budget feels like getting a raise because it shows them where they’ve been wasting money.  How awesome is that?   You can be your very own money fairy!

Ready to make your income matter?  Ready to have “enough”?  Ready for that money fairy to rain down some money?  Me too, but my money fairy and her blimp seem to be grounded at the moment.  I’m ready to help.  Contact me at .

Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.  – Proverbs 27:23

The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.  – Proverbs 21:5

I’d love to hear your thoughts on budgeting.  Do you currently do a written budget?  Have you tried budgeting in the past, but it just didn’t work?   Are you afraid budgeting will cramp your style?

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