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?  



Snacks Worth Snacking

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We have officially ran out of our freezer snacks and breakfast meals so we spent some time last week on early dismissal day loading up the freezer again.

This time we stayed with our tried and true egg muffins and pancake muffin recipes, but I bought a 48 muffin tin pan that made life so much quicker!!! Gotta love the 50% off coupons at Michaels!!

We did add one amazing breakfast item that will be a frequent flyer in our freezer now. They work great for healthy snacks too.  They are…

Yogurt Granola Bites Let your creativity fly with this one. We used Aldi granola and used 6 different kinds of yogurt. We only put blueberries on top of ours because that is what we had but you could do any berry. We have to limit each person to 3 a day because they would be gone in a flash if we didn’t.


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Financial Lessons: Give, Save, Spend

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We have said before that ‘parents are teachers.’  One important part of the curriculum is money management!  It is crucial that we teach our kids about financial principles, because the decisions they make about money will affect every step of their lives. Financial Principles are really “Life Principles,” in a lot of ways.

We want to teach our kids…

  • The importance of tithing
  • The benefits of delayed gratification
  • The value of hard work
  • Generosity

This is a relatively new area for us, so my question for you is: how do you achieve these goals with your children?   Continue reading

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

Your 5 Limited Resources With Unlimited Potential, Part 2


Yesterday I introduced the concept that we have 5 limited resources with unlimited potential.  That seemingly contradictory statement has helped me to keep a realistic understanding of each of the 5 areas of my life, without limiting my expectations of what is possible.  We covered Time and Focus last week, and today we will cover Energy, Money, and Relationships.

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Organization: 5S

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Clean Garage

Today’s post is a brief introduction to a “sophisticated” business strategy that is probably something that your mother taught you when you were 5 years old.

5 S is a strategy taken from Toyota, which famously rose from mediocrity to worldwide fame.  Their leadership practices contributed to their achievement of such success, so for a while it seemed like no business meeting would be complete without someone saying Kaizen or Kanban or Go to the Gemba.  Many books and consultant sessions have been sold as a result!  One of the practices in these books is a methodical way of organizing your workplace to improve your efficiency.  They break down this process into 5 steps, which conveniently start with the letter S, both in the original Japanese and in the English translation.  Keep in mind that this was designed for factory work with many employees, so it may not neatly fit into your work or your personal life.  However, I think the general principles can provide a helpful framework for how to think about any processes you carry out routinely. 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