um…Disk 7

I thought it would take me a lot longer to get through these disks but a few days in and I’m already on disk 7 out of 15. The end of disk 7 almost had me in tears. I won’t ruin the story if you haven’t heard it but Dave makes a point, financial planning is about life, the ability to enjoy life. Making sure your family is taken care of in any situation. It’s not about denying yourself vacations or products but just making sure you have the money to spend when you do spend.

For me, it’s not about how much wealth someone can accumulate but the ability to simply take care of their family and enjoy their lives together without the constant burden and stress of finances.

Personally, had I thought about this a very long time ago, I could have put myself in a position to quit my job and pursue “happier” careers now because I would have the savings to do so. Theoretically speaking anyway. Sobering thought. Especially when most of those things I did spend money on…didn’t create memories or didn’t bring me or anyone else I know long lasting happiness.

Something to think about anyhow.

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Announcing the WINNER of the TRACING RABBITS PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE

Vintaged Rabbit and Traci Sewell Photography are excited to announce our winner of the Tracing Rabbits Photography Challenge! BUT before we do that, we thought we should share the story of how this challenge came about.

Vintaged Rabbit and Traci Sewell Photography have worked together on some photography project in the past and while doing that, we found that we challenge eachother to look at our creative and technical sides a little differently. Having someone to challenge how you see the world through your lens is a good thing and it has certianly helped us develop our style and improve our technical abilities. Through this activity, we decided that it would be fun if we challeneged other people too and even more fun if we offer a prize for the winners. So we set out looking for sponsor and were so fortunate to have found five wonderful sponsor step forward and support the challenge. We have been working with them throughout the challenge and would quickly reccommend them to everyone!

So, with all of that said, we would like to THANK everyone who participated in the photography challenge and our sponsors. We hope you all participants were challenged and learned something about themselves and photography while participating.

Enough of the small chat… time to announce the winner!

CONGRATULATIONS TO KAYLA!

Kayla was one of the most strong contestants the entire challege and submitted some really exciting work. You can see more of her photography portfolio here!

Kayla- we will be contacting you shortly to collect your pizes of over $100 in goods from our lovely sponsors!

Disk 1

Got through disk 1 of the Financial Peace University series in one and a half commutes to work, about 45 minutes total. I’m impressed. The “baby steps” seem totally do-able.

I finally listed a few things on craigslist that can help get me to the emergency savings goal, which is first priority over paying off credit cards or other debt (I had this backwards and it now makes sense why). I had my “savings” category all the way at the bottom of the list…if I didn’t get to it, I didn’t get to it. Now, it’s first, if I don’t get to other bills, I don’t get to other bills. Trust me, it makes sense. I don’t want to go into the whole explanation because then why would you go and listen to the disks? (No, I’m not getting paid for this review). Dave is quite entertaining so you will enjoy it even if you hate finances. And I can’t explain it quite the way he does.

I also decided to lean down the house. Meaning, that all the STUFF I have needs to be either given away if I don’t use it, either by way of garage sale, donations, or selling online. I want everything in my home to function for a purpose, I want to know what is in my home. I went through 2 closets and forgot I had things in there….I haven’t seen these items in over a year!! And that is a crazy idea since in that time I have moved twice. So that means I moved things I didn’t even know I had….TWICE! Ergo, I don’t need it if I don’t realize I own it. I imagine this is going to take a while because I have taught myself or learned that this STUFF is protection or security for some reason and it’s not. I have to retrain my brain.

Debt

So here’s a not fun topic and something I never thought I would publicly discuss. Like most people, I don’t like debt, it’s irritating to owe someone money. To have that hanging over you, flying around you like a dang gnat.

Lately at church they have been discussing finances and how money is something that should be talked about and dealt with. I won’t get into the biblical aspect of this because that is not my area of expertise nor is it something I want to discuss in this blog. But religious, spiritual, or not, they brought up some great points. It made me review what I am doing with my brother. I went to his office the other day and said “what can I do differently? what do you do so I can put myself in a better position?” For the most part, I have a good handle on it. I don’t make a lot and everything is put where it supposed to go, there just isn’t anything substantial enough left over to save a lot or pay down debt.

My goal: no car payment and no car payment ever again, no credit cards, start paying down student loans.

I have no clue how long this will take me but at least it’s on my mind. I want to eventually be able to say, “it’s okay if I lose my job because I own my assets outright and no one can take them from me”.

My brother also brought up the idea of having a zero credit score. ZERO. Sounds awful right? Not necessarily. If you have a zero credit score it can mean that you don’t owe anyone anything, so you are not being tracked. You are using CASH to pay for what you need/want. If I can’t afford it in cash…guess what? Then I don’t get it. It’s scary to not have that credit card around in case things get hard. But it makes you rely on yourself. Luckily, I’m not that materialistic and want a lot of things so it won’t be hard to not go shopping but that makes it a little harder to save in my opinion. If I’m not shopping….then what in the world do I cut out of my budget? Need food, need diapers (could finish potty training him but I’m sure he’ll quickly need something else after that money frees up), need transportation. I would love to get a different car and lower my monthly payment but I can’t sell my car for enough to pay off the balance quite yet…so that’s not an option.

My brother also recommended listening to a finance series called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. So I am going to listen to the disks to and from work and I will report back here on my thoughts.

Anyways. I’m gonna try this out. Sorry to those that I end up saying no to going out but I would really like to be somewhere else financially, so bear with me while I do this please 🙂

Here is my challenge for the remaining month. No spending except for the basic necessities. I also have to exception the trip that was already planned. Here is where I got this idea. Sounds extreme so I’m sure I won’t get it right on my first try. I’m giving myself through the end of the month to start getting in this mindset. I want this to be a lifestyle, not an extreme diet fad.

Now it feels like a game, a challenge….the last time I challenged myself, I lost 40 pounds. 😉 Heck, I may lose the last 10 pounds by not spending money on going out food!

Now that the weather is getting nicer, bike more, use gas less. That really isn’t going to get me far, but it will save a little bit. The store is less than 1 mile away and same goes with my parents. I have a bike trailer for Smiles and groceries. Bonus: Smiles loves being outdoors. …note to self : need to get a bike lock.

Here are some more helpful links I may tap into:

Interesting Article 

Thrifty Fun

Way above my head at this point but want to bookmark it anyway

Tracing Rabbits Contest Closing – Vote Here!

After a fun and exciting eight weeks of photo contest fun with Tracing Rabbits, we are excited to have our last and final voting opportunity for you to tell us who you think should be the winner of our fabulous prizes.

Before we open the voting up, please take a moment to thank our amazing sponsors by liking them on FB or following them on etsy. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to have such an amazing contest with fun prizes!

Sponsors

Lionfish Vintage 53 is giving away something I desperately want to keep for myself! A Kodak Master Photoguide Book For Still Picture Taking Circa 1974.

Nana’s Creations with Love offered a generous prize of a beautiful hand made cocoon and halo set! Check out Nana’s Creations on Facebook and Etsy .

Noelle Grace Designs donated $25 to her store!! Don’t forget to follow Christy and Noelle Grace on Facebook and Pinterest for specials, discounts, and news!

Button Bikini is giving the challenge winner a $25 gift certificate to the shop! Super awesome since there are some great deals going on through the website! Visit FaceBook or in person Belle Lacet in Chandler, AZ

Dream Boat

Precious Little Baby offered up one of their adorable headbands! Don’t forget to visit them on Facebook

 A HUGE THANK YOU to our sponsors! We couldn’t do this without you! 

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NOW LETS VOTE!!

Blurred Background Winner:

Submission 2

Over Exposed Winner:

Kayla

Nighttime Photo Winner:

Kayla

Rule of Thirds Winner:

– Leigh

Motion Winner:

Who will be our winner of the grand prize? Voting open until Monday 10/15/12 at 12pm.

Link Outs

 Traci Sewell Photography

Vintaged Rabbit

Traci Sewell Photography Facebook

Vintaged Rabbit Facebook

Ramblings and Reflections

Looking back through this past year, I am relieved I made the decisions I did. I am happy that my life is where it is at. I love my life, I love the people in it and I am fairly certain that I will be this happy or happier in the future. I know there are some downsides and I pray that those downsides come around and turn out to be positive. Mainly, Smiles. I am keenly aware of how the past year has not been easy for him. He has been a happy boy, but the changes must have affected him in some way…of which I may never really know how the extent. Right now though, I hope he sees a happy mom and a happier dad.

In the future, I pray that he knows that I made this decision with him at the center of it, that I wanted him to grow up differently than the path we were on. I hope he will understand what a healthy, happy, and functioning relationship looks like. I pray every day that he is sees how I am treated and how I treat Mr. 72 and decides that is what he wants in a relationship…and I want him to find that. I want to raise him knowing what is acceptable behavior in a relationship, and what is not. I could not have done that previously. I know the argument could be made that I saw what a loving and functioning relationship was all throughout my life from my parents example…but I think I had other influences that told me that wasn’t real or only few people in life found that type of love…and for some reason I listened to those more than I did the example that was right in front of me.

I really believed that after all this time that the butterflies, excitement and happiness I feel by being with Mr. 72 would have decreased by now…at least a little. It hasn’t. Just this morning driving to work I felt so overwhelmed by how much I love him, how much I love our life and how much I love what it is going to be. I feel satisfied, I feel relief.

Even though I don’t have what everyone would think of when they imagine their dreams coming true…as long as I have Mr. 72, Smiles and my family, I’m good…everything else is a bonus. I still struggle with a career choice, although I have it pretty locked in at this point. I still don’t know what my religious beliefs are…or at least what I want them to be. I’m still not where I want to be financially. And it’s ok.  I have what is important.