New Year, New Budget

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January is a great time to create a new budget.  Here are some of our favorite posts about managing your money.


Budget: Where is your money going and where did it go?  Meet the Ghosts of Money Past, Present, and Future and learn their valuable lessons!  


Budgets: Eating Out and Entertainment  How much do you plan to spend on restaurants and entertainment in 2014?  Now’s the time to decide!


Budget Deliverables  7 money management printables, I mean, Deliverables, to help you take control of your finances this year.  


Grocery Budgets:  Grocery expenses can take a big bite out of your budget! What tips and tricks do you have to pinch your pennies?  


Budgets? Show your money who’s boss!  We want this to be the year where you finally break through and conquer your budget!  Get fired up here:


Budgeting, Self-Discipline, and Christmas Lists  How do those 3 things fit together?  



Budgeting: Where Is Your Money Going, and Where Did It All Go?

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Money is a strange thing.  It is just an object, made of copper or gold or paper.  It’s a math problem.  Paychecks come in, and payments go out.  It completely logical and free of emotion on the one hand, but it is inseparable from emotion on the other.  On the surface, money management is simple:  Spend less than you earn.  But when I’m standing in front of that new gadget that I have been reading about for months, it feels a lot less clear.  Or when it’s been a long week and a nice hot cup of FourBucks would be just the antidote for my lethargy.  Money is tightly intertwined with many bigger issues that we face, making it much more complicated than simple adding and subtracting.

And so, you need a budget.

The Ghosts of Money Past, Present, and Future

A budget works in the past, present, and future.  It gives you a clear vision of the past – how you have measured up over time.  It tells you, in black and red, how you are doing currently.  It helps you plan out the limits of what you want to spend in the future.  And it helps you prepare for good and bad things coming up, like vacations or private school or braces.  (Wow, I’m getting old!) To summarize:  It is a way that you tell your money where to go, and it is a way to track where it actually went.

We have several posts that deal with money and budgeting.  We hope they are helpful for you.

Budget and Money Posts:

Show Your Money Who’s Boss!

7 Budget Tools For 2015 

Your 5 Limited Resources with Unlimited Potential, Part 2  

Restaurants and Entertainment Budget

Grocery Budget

Budgets, Self-Discipline, and Christmas Lists 

MidYear Money Updates 

MidYear Money Update

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July 1 marks the midpoint of the year.  We have checked off 6 months for 2014, and we have 6 months left.  For many companies this marks the beginning of a new fiscal year.  For us, it is an opportunity to sit down and make sure that we are still on the right path.  Back in December/January we described our annual Budget Summit and Deliverables,’ and I like to prepare an update at 6 months to see how the year is progressing.  Continue Reading…

It’s Magic!! No Really, It Is!


Moving really puts your housecleaning on display! It highlights the areas that you do not prioritize or deem unimportant. Ouch.  One of my low priority places is the glass shower door in my master bedroom. The main reason it is low priority is only Nate and I see it. Even when we have a house full of guests it is not used by anyone else. Since Nate’s expectations for cleanliness are even lower than mine, it definitely doesn’t get cleaned as often as it should. But when you are trying to sell a house and the master bathroom is one of the most important areas, the shower door quickly got moved towards the top of the list. Continue Reading…

Budget Deliverables


We’ve talked about budgets and how to save money, and today we are going to share some of the tools that we use to keep ourselves organized.  These aren’t fancy, and they may or may not help you, but here we go…

First, get a 3 ring notebook.  If you are me, you will get a white or black one from Walmart.  If you are Dana, you will get a nice pink one with a floral print.  Regardless, it is worth it.  Put these deliverables into the 3 ring notebook and keep it in a handy location.  I think the correct Blog Word is ‘Printables,’ but as Luke would say, “That is girlish.”  So I will call them “Deliverables.” Continue Reading…

Budgets: Eating Out and Entertainment

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In our epic quest to tame the budget, we now turn to a couple more of the big targets:  restaurants and entertainment.


Remember that money is a tool.  It is a basic principle that you can spend money for:


  1. Quality
  2. Achieving your goals
  3. Convenience
  4. Fun

Keeping that in mind will help us to allocate our money effectively.


Restaurants are definitely convenient, but the math is just as inconvenient:

Nice dinner for the Hansons at home:  $12
Nice dinner for the Hansons at a restaurant:  $20-$50 Continue Reading…

Budgets: Grocery Shopping

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Budgets used to be a four letter word in my book! However as I have gained knowledge in this area, it has been fun to see the money get saved!!

The main area that I really focus on is food. You have to have it, and as your family grows you need more of it! It is also the easiest area to splurge in and waste money. But on the positive side, it is the easiest budget line to see immediate results.

Here are some tips on how to start saving money immediately: Continue Reading…

Budgets?!? WHY?????


A new year is coming quickly upon us, and 1/1 is the best day of the year to begin a new budget.  Why?  Because it is a fresh start.  Whatever you spent in previous months is irrelevant, because the new year is, well, new.  You haven’t spent a dime in 2014 yet!

So, before 2014 begins, let’s prayerfully make a plan for how to spend all of those dimes.  Joe McGee and Dave Ramsey say that either you tell your money where to go or it ends up telling you where to go.  The idea of a budget is to realize that you’re spending a finite amount of money that does not belong to you.  You need to take control over which direction it goes.  But first, why?  Continue Reading…

Traveling-Snack Bags


Figuring out what do to about snacks on trips has been one of the best headache savers yet! Between the four kids we get asked for food about every 30 seconds, I mean minutes. (It definitely seems like every 30 seconds!) I can handle maybe 2 asks on a good day but by the 6th time I have a hard time not getting annoyed. You also have the frustration of which snack we are going to open and passing them around the car without something getting spilled. This year I came up with the perfect solution for us. Individual snack bags. I get a gallon storage bag for each kid and write their name on it. Sometimes I made two per kid, one for the trip to and one for the trip home. Then I get all our snacks out and split them up between the bags. If they are not already individually wrapped, I put them into snack bags.

Putting crackers in Snack Bags

Putting crackers in Snack Bags

Continue Reading…

It’s Cooking Day!!

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Meals I made this summer.

Okay, so today is the day we will talk about ways to make the cooking day a huge success. Here are a couple pointers that will help make it a fun day instead of a stressful day.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes!! I hate shoes but today is a day I break out the tennis shoes.
  • Follow your cooking plan. You spent the time and hard work of making it. Follow it so you do not get lost and frustrated not knowing what to do next. See last week’s post for details on how to make a cooking plan.
  • Cross off meals so you know what is done and what is left. This is important to helps build your confidence and excitement as you see what all you have accomplished.
  • Make sure you drink and eat throughout the day. If you have low blood sugar, you will have a hard time thinking and staying focused and you might get a little cranky. Or maybe that is just me 🙂
  • Have a plan for supper. After a long day of cooking you will not want to think about making another meal. Have a frozen pizza on hand, eat out or plan which freezer meal you will eat that night.
  • Ask for help with the dishes. This is one of the main reasons why I love freezer meals: I have a minimum amount of dishes at supper time during the week. The downside to freezer meals is you use almost all of your pots, pans, bowls etc the day of cooking. So enlist a husband or kid to come in periodically to help with the dishes.
Lots of dishes!! But SO worth it!

Lots of dishes!! But SO worth it!

Continue Reading…

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