Daily Routines

In the book, “Small Habits Big Changes” Steven Handel talks about the importance of making daily routines.  He suggests to start out by writing down what a typical day looks like.  This is like budgeting in that you would write down what you spend in a week, month or so and figure out what you are doing wrong with your spending by writing down what you spend during those times.  In order to make changes I guess you would have to know what you are doing during the day.  Are you sleeping too much? Watching tv too much?  Spending too much time on social media? He also suggests what a typical week would look like if you do weekly things like laundry, grocery shopping or even going to the gym.  He also suggests writing down what is done multiple times a day such as meal time, snacks, dog walks to let fido do its business, or some people even shower multiple times a day.  If any of these things are done multiple times a day, Steven suggests that you write it down.


Personally, I don’t do much during the day and that is a bad thing.  I do need to do this exercise to figure out where I can make time for routines and not only that but if I could do them for life or at least a pretty long time until other major changes have been made.  I have been getting pretty lazy by sleeping too much (thinking there is not much else to do, but in fact everyone knows there is plenty to do one just has to think about it) taking too much time going to restaurants and getting depressed that the apartment is a mess when I could be doing something about that!  I should write out what I want out of life more and set some goals to work for. Something that would excite me enough to want to achieve those goals.  I need big financial goals too.


Usually, I get up, set my clothes out from the night before so I feel like taking a shower in the morning.  I do need an exercise routine.  I have a couple of books that I like and could use them to exercise for an hour a day or even just 30 minutes a day.  I bought some weights specifically for this book but haven’t gotten around to using them which I should. So, I do need to exercise more, clean more and write in my journal more.  I bought specific journals that I like specifically to write in them about my goals and what I want out of life as far as spending my time and my money.  I also need to meal plan more so I will stop spending all my money and time eating out.  Also, I need to know I have more than just peanut butter sandwiches to live on such as soup and chef Boyardee.  I have plenty of eggs to boil and make eggtastics which are like scrambled eggs zapped in the microwave with onion and green pepper if I have enough of those on hand.  I did make a dozen of hard boiled eggs and eight hot dogs which I could have on hand as a quick lunch or even as a snack.


I usually go to Hope Center Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 5pm.  So, my days are pretty much shot there.  I also usually spend an evening at a friend’s apartment so, my evenings are also pretty much shot there.  I should have fall back things to do in case I don’t go to Hope center those days or my friend doesn’t invite me over that time or so.  I have plenty of reading to do or I could quickly write a song on my guitar.  But usually I just spend my time doing nothing and waiting for the day to go by.

I think if I keep writing down what I do during the day I will get it down to a science like a I do my budget.  I still have to keep track of my expenses and keep track of my no spend days and my no eating at restaurant days.  Right now I dangerously have too much money in my wallet which could easily just be spent on I really don’t know what.  I have a budget for myself of only spending 20 dollars a week which I seem to think are for McDonald’s which I have to stop doing.  I seem to think that otherwise there is nothing else to spend my money on.  My friend is also giving herself an allowance of only 25 dollars a week and she has been pretty good with that.  She has an easier time than I do about not eating at restaurants.  But she does seem to spend most of her money on vaping.  She seems to think that vaping is more important than eating.


If I keep track of my time more I will know what I have time for and what I don’t have time for.  I will also be able to know what is a waste of time and what I am wasting my time on.  I know I need at least a morning routine and possibly an evening routine.  I don’t know if I will have time for an evening routine or if I will be too tired from the end of the day to have an evening routine.  Maybe it is something I can work on.  I know I have to get back to to do lists and setting mini day goals for myself of what I want to get done that day.  I know I don’t like using the lights to stay awake at night but by not using the lights during the day maybe using the lights at night won’t be too much more expensive.  I will have to analyze that in my time book the way I analyze my budget book.  Time is money.


Farmer’s Market – great way to save and go local – get your money’s worth!

Portage Farmer’s Market kicked off their season in May of 2019.  They are open every Sunday from May to October 13, 2019. They are located in the City Hall Parking lot 7900 South Westnedge Avenue.  Like most farmer’s markets they have a lot of vendors as much as 20 seasonal vendors are featured.  Such vendors include fruits and vegetables, Bakery items, treats and ice cream, coffee, meats, sauces, kettle corn along with children’s crafts and various musical acts will be shown.  A complete list of vendors, musical acts and activities are shown on their facebook page called the Portage Market facebook page.  You can also visit the website directly at www.farmersmarket.portagemi.gov


Another example of a farmer’s market located in the Southwest Mi area is the Texas township farmers market.  They have more vendors at their place with over 35 vendors.  Some of the vendors include vendors with eggs, meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, breads, pasteries and baked goods, potted plants and cut flowers.  They have two days that they are opened, one on Saturday and the other on Tuesday.  The one on Saturday is 8am to Noon from May to October 19, 2019.  The Tuesday market is opened at 4pm to 7pm from June 4, 2019 to August 27, 2019.  The Texas township market can be found at 7110  West Q Avenue in the Joyce I. Neubauer Farmer’s Market Pavillion.


Other Farmer’s Markets in the Southwest Michigan area include the Kalamazoo Farmer’s Market, Almena Farmer’s Market, Paw Paw Farmer’s Market and the Lawrence Farmer’s Market.  So, you can see just in the Southwest Michigan area there are a lot of farmer’s markets to go to and enjoy.  They all have different things to offer and are loads of fun to go to for an afternoon and don’t costs anything for admission.  The Kalamazoo Farmer’s market is open from 7am to 2pm Saturdays at 1204 Bank Street til November 23, 2019.  Almena and Lawrence farmers market are open on Saturdays from 9am to about 1pm or so.  The Paw Paw Farmer’s market is open at 9am to I think 2pm or a little earlier on Sundays.  They have signs when they are open in their respected cities and towns.  Just look around.


What I like about farmer’s markets is that I know the food came fresh off the farmer’s garden. It didn’t travel from tim buk two to little old Paw Paw or wherever.  So, the food tends to be much fresher and mostly and naturally organic.  They will tell you if their food is organic or not.  If they don’t have a little sign telling you if it is organic be sure to ask them.  I am sure they will tell you the products that they use to keep the little buggards off the plants.  The fruits and vegetables were probably picked from the night before the markets open.  I never really thought to ask when they pick their vegetables and fruits to get them ready for the farmer’s market but I am sure they would tell you their process if you ask them.  Most vendors are really friendly people and are always there to help people out to pick the best vendor item for them.


Since the products are local, you don’t have to pay money to have the products shipped or even packaged.  They like to just put it all in a plastic bag and will reuse the bins that they put the fruit and vegetables in for the other fruits and vegetables that they are going to sell.  It saves them money and therefore they would, I hope, pass the savings on to their customers.  It is also a nice form of recycling, not that I would have anything to do with the bins they wanted in the first place.  Going through the whole market place at least once is a good idea as you will know who is competing with who and will get the best possible price and the best looking fruits and vegetables available at the time.  Each vendor could tell you something more or a little different about their products.  They are the food experts and they know the best way to store the fruits and vegetables, what to look for and the different things, pies, casseroles or whatever to be made out of their products.


You get more bang for the buck at the farmer’s market than you would at a grocery store.  It is a little more personal and homemade.  A very unique experience with each market that is gone to. A variety of products and a lot of times just cheaper than you would get in a grocery store. Of course, you should know your prices and what you are getting.  Unlike a typical grocery store, a lot of the farmer’s market have down home good folk music.  It is a fun thing to do on a Saturday or Sunday morning or afternoon. You get more for your money as far as entertainment goes.


One time I got garlic bread at the Paw Paw Farmer’s market one Sunday morning.  The garlic bread was wickedly good and the taste of garlic and olive oil filled my mouth with each bite.  Other times, my friend and I, get zucchini, cucumbers, squash along with green pepper and onions.  We like to cut up the zucchini, cucumbers and squash and put it in as a side dish for eggs or even to flavor in with the different types of meat that we eat usually pork chops, ham or even fish. The green pepper and onion, I like to put in with my scrambled eggs for a tasty dinner or even breakfast.  My grandfather used to make us parsley and eggs.  That was good too.  If I ever got a hold of some parsley that’s what I would do and of course, I like to eat just plain parsley to freshen my breath.


When my friend and I go to the farmer’s market, she likes to get a bunch of lavender to make her apartment smell pretty.  She also loves to get the honey that you can get from the farmer’s market.  She likes the local honey you really can’t get from a grocery store.  She also won’t buy eggs from a grocery store either.  She just buys eggs directly from a farmer who lives down the road.  She calls him the eggman.

Recycling to save money

They always tell you, first thing, to always pack a lunch if you can.  They don’t tell you that there are ways to save money on those packed lunches, if you, of course, recycle.  If you don’t want to buy the brown bags specifically made for sacked lunches there are alternatives.  You can always use the plastic bags you get from Walmart, Walgreens or Target or any other store that has plastic bags for the products that you buy from them.  You don’t just have to save those plastic bags for the garbage can or Sav-A-Lot that doesn’t supply grocery bags or at least will make you pay a price for their plastic bags. A kiddy lunch pail will pay for itself and sometimes you can get a pail from a garage sale or flea market for not too much. You can even get a nice insulated sack specifically for lunches at a nice church rummage sale or thrift store.


Another way to save when having a packed lunch is to use a water bottle. Again, you could get a nice used one for not too much at an estate sale or even a yard sale. After a couple of fill ups, the water bottle will more than pay for itself than just getting water out of a fountain or buying water. The plastic bottles fill up the land space and most people don’t recycle the bottled water anyway.  Why pay a dollar or two for bottled water when you can get the water for free out of your own tap?  You can also put ice in your water bottle or even freeze it in your freezer overnight.


Also, another way to save money and recycle is to look for a good thermos. You can get an insulated thermos that keeps the hot, hot and the cold, cold.  Soups, stews and oatmeal can be put in a thermos. Also, blue berries, raspberries, and other small fruit could be put in the thermos.  Keep an eye out for a good thermos that might go on sale during school sales or you might get a good, cheap thermos in the camping section.


To save money and recycle is to use a good sandwich box to hold any type of sandwich in it.  This could save on those plastic baggies or even saran wrap that could be needed to wrap a sandwich in.  The little plastic box could also keep the sandwich from getting smooshed and it will be sealed to keep the sandwich fresh for a little while longer.


A clothe napkin could be used to save money and recycle.  You could use the clothe napkin numerous times as opposed to a paper napkin that would be used once and thrown away.


Of course, these things would have to be washed again sometime soon.  If you wash by hand, you could save the dishwater for watering your plants.   The excess food, soap and water act as nutrients for the plants, veggies and fruit plants too.


This gets into compost for gardens as a way to recycle and save money. Compost for garden can be a lot of things including unbleached, undyed hair when cutting your own hair to save money. I have an electric shaver that collects my hair as I shave my arms, legs and chin. You could try eyebrow hair too but I find it a little bit of hard work trying to keep all the hair straight in the compost pile.

Also, used for compost pile are egg shells, banana peels, orange peels and cut up pieces of vegetables such as onion or sweet pepper.

Tea bags, coffee grinds, newspaper and mail can also be put in the compost pile.  Of course, when using mail as compost just use the paper and not the plastic and other stuff that come with it.


Cleaning supplies can be used to recycle and save money such as rags from old t-shirts and other pieces of clothes.


You might not reuse vinegar but it is a cheap cleaning product that can be used for just about everything.  People put a vinegar solution of part water and part vinegar on their floors, stains, dishes and clothes.  It kills about 90% of germs.  I was even getting pencil marks off of walls by just using a vinegar/water solution spraying on the stain and scrubbing it off with a scrubby.  You can get rust stains off with vinegar too.


Baking soda is used in the fridge for two months or so and then used to scrub stains out, deodorize carpets and cat litter.  My grandmother would use a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to brush her teeth.  She taught my mom that and then my mom taught me that.


To save money by recycling use sponges, scrubbies, towels and/or rags instead of always using a scott towel.  You can also use rags instead of toilet paper.  Just use, rinse off in the tub and put in a bucket to dry and use again when needed. Rags can also be used instead of tampons.  Just rinse out in the tub, spray with some vinegar/water solution and let dry.


Another thing to recycle and save money on is presents for birthday and Christmas.  It is important to know what people are looking for and if you don’t you are only wasting your money and time.  There are used books, DVDs, VHS, Games, Star Trek, secrets of the universe and other things people might be interested in.  I even went in with a tea set with a friend for a friend.  I also bought my friend a knitting set, and knitting supplies bought mostly at a church rummage sale for pennies on the dollar.  I get most of my clothes and food for free.  Churches and community centers and even food pantries give out a lot of things for free.  Soap and deodorant can be gotten for free at Eleanore’s Food Pantry in Paw Paw, MI.


I try not to double dip on my food supply.  I know I have plenty of good food to eat at home.  One trick I read about to eat more at home is to plan ahead of time what you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I put this on my daily to do list along with my hour of cleaning that I plan to do that day also. I know I can have a big glass of water, tea or even tang to drink at home.  I have a radio to keep me company and plenty of books I can read to fill my mind with knowledge.  I have a foot massager I look forward to also.  I know I can spend more time at home.  I say I am eating at Christine’s place to make me feel as if I am eating at a restaurant. Plus, if I plan my meals ahead of time, I think about what I am going to eat when I get there to really make me want to eat at Christine’s Place.

Basic Math skills to save money

Basic math skills can be used every day.  Especially when living on a budget.  A budget should be looked at every day, weekly or at least monthly when sorting out money to pay the bills.  It is good to know how much money you have at the end of the day and especially to know where the money went.  I like to count my money at night and put my change in the appropriate change jar.  I have a change jar for quarters, dimes and I put my nickels and pennies in the same jar. That way my change doesn’t fill up so fast and I will have an easier time roll up my change when the time does come for me to do that.  If I get another change jar maybe I will also separate my pennies and nickels.  If writing down where the money went on a piece of paper or tablet, at the end of the day is a good time to see where the money went and to learn from your mistakes.  Make a mental note of what went wrong and how you are going to do better next time.  Substitution and trickery are good methods to saving money, if that is what you have to do. Anyway, getting back to basic math and budgeting.


Basic math is used to know what your income is (what is coming in) and what you need/want to spend money on (what is going out).  What is going out can include bills, payments, savings and investing. It is good to keep track of when getting paid.  You should make a budget if paid once a month, twice a month and even four times a month, each is done accordingly as not to mess up the budget.  I found that I would mess up my budget because I would not add in the extra $192.80 that I was getting paid at the end of the month.  Even if I did put it in, it still mess up my budget as I had $192.80 less at the beginning of the month because I didn’t get paid that until the end of the month.  That would throw off the whole budget. So I make sure that I don’t have the $192.80 on something unless I paid that particular bill at the end of the month.  Basic rounding off can be used to make budgeting easier.  Better to think you have a little less than a little more when budgeting. For instance, I would say 107.57 is 108 subtracted from my income instead of 107.


When taking into account income, I am also clearing out health insurance and having my income as net income as opposed to gross income.  Net income is income after fica or the government have taken their taxes out. Leave the taxes or extra income during tax time when you get your tax refund.  Even then it is a good idea to start an emergency saving with the refund or put the refund towards a savings goal that you might have.  A big chunk of money like a tax refund can just fritter away to nothing in no time at all if not kept track of carefully and put in a safe place. I had $10,000 from an inheritance.  I made a couple of bad investments and it just went.  I have no clue where but I just don’t have it anymore.  I would have just have better had put it towards saving or at least my retirement account. When coming into a big wind fall like that it is better not to take it for granted but to put it someplace safe.


When adding up bills in a budget book, it is good to have a calculator.  But if a calculator is not at hand at the time and just have some basic bills some tricks can be used to add and subtract in your head.  These tips and tricks are good for when you have to add and subtract when buying something or going out to eat. Group everything that you can in 10’s and add or subtract accordingly.  You can even group together into 20’s, 30’s ect.  It is easier to add 30 + 30 than to add 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 and so on.  Just figure out what is easier for you.  Also, when you are leaving a tip or figuring out what is a certain percentage off just move it over a decimal.  That would be 10 percent.  For instance, 10.97 over one decimal would be 1.097 that would be rounded off to 1.10. Now it is more appropriate to leave a 20% tip so you would just add 1.10 + 1.10 and that would be 20% of 10.97. For 20% you could also divide by 5 and for 10% you would divide by 10.  For 25% you would divide by four.  For 5% you would divide 10% in half and for 15% you would add 10% + 5%.


It is good to balance a checkbook so you don’t bounce a check and you know how much money you have.  Also, you would know what fees, fraudulent charges and anything else happening in the checking account.  When looking at your checking account you would also know what has been cashed, cleared or whatever.  When looking at a checking account, it is good to know if there is any extra money to be had. Also, unfortunately, you might not have as much money as you thought you had do to miscalculations, fees and the like that have happened.  An adjustment would have to be made accordingly.  Better now than to have bounced a whole bunch of checks and be thrown in jail.  Being able to electronically check your account is better than by mail.  The electronic or by computer is more accurate and more up to date than by mail which is usually only done monthly. It is good to be able to plan ahead and make adjustments accordingly.


Along the same line with a checking account, is the credit card account.  It is just like budgeting and a checking account.  You should know what you have and what you don’t have.  Also, knowing how much credit you have would be a good thing so you are not unexpectedly out of money at the register. Hoping your credit card will go through is not a good habit to get into.  Trying to pay more than the minimum payment is a good idea as that would be less interest you would have to pay.  Paying the whole card in a month is the best way to go but I realize that is not always an option.  They say you should pay off your credit cards before investing as it is really unlikely that you would make 20% or so investing but would have to pay that when you are in credit card debt. Using your rewards is a good idea, especially to pay off debt.  Keep track of your rewards as they add up quickly and could be put to good use.  Forty dollars to 100 dollars is better than nothing.  It is good to check your statements for any fraud or even any fees that you might feel would be uncalled for such as late fees or over the limit fees.  Sometimes fees can be taken off if it is only the first offense.


When buying things it is good to look at the receipt.  You never know a cashier may have sticky fingers and double charge you for the same thing that you didn’t even buy.  If you do a quick rounding off and some grouping together of numbers it will tell you if you have been given the right change or not.  Always look to see if you have been given the right change or not.  You might be pleasantly surprised as you might have been given a little extra by mistake.  I know McDonald’s doesn’t like to deal with pennies or give 99 cents back in change and may give a penny more than they should.  I feel this is ok as long as it is on them and not on me.  I usually forget about tax when buying an item.  Six percent can add up to a couple of dollars or more depending on what is being bought.  This usually throws me off.

Saving Money when eating out at a Restaurant

When planning on eating out at a restaurant, it is a good idea to plan first.  If going out by yourself, it is especially good to go over what exactly it is that you plan to do.  It might be just as good to try to make your own place as good as a restaurant.  For instance, I like going to McDonald’s for the unlimited drinks to be gotten there and the TV with CNN to be watched.  I don’t have cable.  To create an environment like McDonald’s would be relatively easy.  I just have a radio that is battery operated and for the news I have a lot of books that I could be reading.  Since summer is only three months out of the year, air conditioning at Mcdonald’s is not really an excuse.  But for those months I could settle for a Popsicle to cool myself down and wait until evening comes for cooler weather. When McDonald’s comes to mind and I am not with anybody I say to myself, “No. I am going to eat at Christine’s place.  I am going to eat at Christine’s place!”  I then go over what I would eat at Christine’s place and then ask myself if that would be just as good then at McDonald’s and it usually is.


When eating with someone else, it is still a good idea to talk it over.  A lot of times the person you are with is just as poor as you are or just would rather spend money on something else other than food. Maybe you’d both be satisfied with a dollar burger and water.  Instead of getting a five dollar meal deal at Taco Bell, I might just as well be satisfied with a taco supreme and water. When going to a restaurant, it is a good idea to ask what their specials are.  You’d be surprised at how often the menus change from time to time. Sometimes it is cheaper to eat there during the week than on the weekend.  Such is the case at Apple Bee’s. It is really good to know when the specials are as it could be the difference between an affordable dinner and one that could be regretted. You should know what you are getting. You might be able to get more than you would expect which is usually the case with the specials.

Another thing to always ask if what you are getting is being charged extra. I ordered a soup and half sandwich on special at Main Street Pub.  The waitress dazzled me with so many options of bread I could have as a sandwich.  I never thought to ask if those different types of exotic breads were extra. Turns out I look at my bill and I got charged 79 cents extra for the pretzel bread that I ordered. Not much, but 79 cents is 79 cents. I knew I was paying extra for the cottage cheese because it said on the menu that it would be a dollar and nine cents extra. Little things can add up so you might think you are saving but they still get you in the end.  Ask also what the food might taste like if it is something different than what you usually get.  If you don’t care for spicy and/or hot food be sure to ask. Even though it said on the menu what I was ordering was spicy, hot I was distracted and ordered it anyway at Apple Bees.  Luckily it wasn’t too hot.  I just needed a lot of extra water to cool my mouth down.


Also, when at a restaurant, it is good to know when they have Happy Hour and to try to come during those times. Happy Hour is not just for drinks such as Taco Bell and Arby’s.  They could have sandwich specials, dessert specials as well as drinks. Some restaurants even have birthday deals such as Finely’s steak house.  They have 10 dollars off for a good steak dinner just for having a birthday. You need to bring your license or some sort of proof that it is your birthday. Some other restaurants also honor birthdays but might need to go online to print out a coupon or have the coupon in with your smart phone such as Ihop. Other specials include veteran’s day, Mom’s day, and Father’s day.  You should ask to if the restaurant has specials for College ID, Triple A and/or AARP.  Sometimes kids will be able to eat free or get a discount such as places like Denny’s. If you are a senior citizen, you can get special discounts so be sure to ask. They may have a special day for you such as Tuesdays that get 10% or 20% off. I know McDonald’s has senior coffees and fountain drinks. An extra forty cents for being old pays off sometimes.


Of course, when with another person, you could split a meal.  Who needs ten dollars’ worth of food anyway? You could even just split an appetizer.  Some appetizers are just as big as a meal. Most of the time a restaurant won’t charge you extra for doing this, but be sure to ask.  When asking if allowed splitting a meal also be sure to ask for another plate. Most of the time, you shouldn’t be charged extra for doing this.  If you are, it might just be a nominal amount that it would be worth the split.  You could also split a dessert the same way. Some desserts cost just as much as a meal but to get a taste of something sweet maybe someone would go in with you.


Also, when at restaurant, look for gift card specials. Sometimes you might get as much as ten dollars off for getting a fifty dollar gift card. You wouldn’t have to get that gift card for someone else but you could just get it for yourself.  I doubt anyone would ever know.  Granny gift cards on the internet have cheaper gift cards for places you might like to go. Just go on the internet at Granny gift cards and pick out which one seems the best for you. If I ever had gift cards I would keep them in my glove compartment just in case I unexpectedly get a chance to go to that restaurant. I also keep coupons in my car.  I have burger king, arby’s and other coupons that I have collected just in case I am with someone or other people I could use those coupons. Sometimes coupons make me spend more than I anticipated.  Like a McDonald coupon for a large sandwich, drink and fries might be more than just a McChicken sandwich and a large coke. But sometimes I do splurge on myself. Groupon.com is also good for people who regularly eat out with a large number of people but I have never really felt a need. The Sunday paper, flashes and advertisements usually have good coupons to use.


When going out to a restaurant, sometimes I like to participate in fundraisers that are held there. I might spend a little extra money for a good cause.  For example, my church at St. Mary’s in Paw Paw will have a night at Big T in Lawton MI where 15% of the bill will go to St. Mary’s school.  Sometimes I like to support the restaurant that supports the causes that I support. I also try to go as local as I can.

Paying off Mortgage – Start small and work your way up

We were sitting around talking when the subject of my blog came up.  It was a fair, comfortable afternoon turning into evening.  We were gathered together to enjoy some pork chops that I have bought over from Eleonore’s Food Pantry and the host had vegetables made up for sides.  She’s a good cook but I would like her cooking anyway since it was another free meal to be had. One of my friends, who ask the grand question for a blog which I didn’t have a ready answer for was knitting a hat she planned to sell but didn’t really know where.  I suggested etsy or some other place like Amazon or Ebay to sell online.  Another one of my friends suggested the farmer’s market where you could get a booth pretty cheap and they could go together while she would sell the homemade plants to put up against a wall type of deal.  But the elevator pitch I missed for my blog was,


“What’s the one sentence best way to pay off a mortgage,” she asks in all of frustration.


I told her about refinancing her mortgage for a better deal.  She would have to shop around for a little bit but I think for the money she would save it would be worth it.  I ask her if her credit score was good and she said yes.  That would be one thing to work on is to improve the credit score. A major change like getting a job would improve the credit score a lot.  The extra money from a job she could put towards her mortgage also. I suggested putting her tax refund towards her mortgage but she said she hardly gets anything these days although at one time she did get 7 grand.  That would be a big chunk to put in a mortgage.  But she didn’t like either of these ideas. Moving into a smaller, more affordable house and maybe just renting, I believe wouldn’t be a good idea for her as she is still married with a couple of kids living in the house, which comes to mind, making her kids pay room and board.  One is sixteen and the other is twenty one.  Most people are against this but I did pay room and board at the age of sixteen until I moved out.  Even when I moved back in again and on disability, I paid room and board. Even just a small amount, such as 10 percent of the pay, would be a bargain compared to the real world of living on one’s own. She could put that towards the mortgage. As a sixteen year old I also had to pay for my own car, car insurance and clothes.


Of course, there is House Hacking, Car Hacking and/or getting roommates. She could rent out extra, spare rooms that she has if her house is big enough and the kids slowly move out. I think she only has one car and uses that car a lot, so she wouldn’t really be able to car hack. I don’t think she would go for getting an Uber account. I know I really wouldn’t.  She has a big plot of land she could rent out to hunters or even gardeners.  Again, it might not bring in much money but every little bit helps. An ad in the flashes is all it would take.


If she didn’t want to get a job, she could try a side hustle. She could teach what she knows, sell hobby or just plain sell something or even flip garage sale stuff, freelance writer, and photographer or even be a digital assistant.  She could try blogging or owning her own home based business or even try real estate with her first try being house hacking.


To put a little more money towards her mortgage, she could try decluttering her house for items to sell at a garage sale, craig’s list or even ebay. Maybe she has a coin collection she inherited or some other stuff she just doesn’t use anymore. She could even rent a booth to sell her knitting stuff that she has created. Maybe her husband has lots of stuff that he doesn’t need any more and is willing to sell for money to go toward the mortgage.  A lot of guys like good, guy used stuff.


Along with decluttering is sacrificing just even temporarily to get more money to go towards the mortgage.  I am not saying forever don’t have these things but just temporarily until the mortgage is paid off.  One big thing would be cable and wifi.  An extra 200 a month could go towards the mortgage or depending on the cable and wifi maybe even more money could be saved. Live on one car while selling the other car for money to put towards the mortgage. Try selling the computer and the TV too if she could. Cigarettes and drinking would be a big help to sacrifice just temporary to pay off the mortgage. Going on a shopping fast or a shopping freeze and only pay for the things she needs might also help her pay for the mortgage. Eating at home and planning out the meals while only going grocery shopping with what’s on the list.  Temporarily giving up the boat, hunting, and fishing might also save enough money to put towards the mortgage.  I am saying she doesn’t have to sacrifice this forever but just maybe long enough to pay for the mortgage.


If she must spend, she could try money challenges such as putting her change into a jar and watch all those pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters add up.  A quicker way to save is to save the dollar bills and five dollar bills when breaking a ten or a twenty. The 52 week challenge for 1,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 dollars could be had. Just put in 1 dollar one week, 2 dollars next week and so on and so forth. She didn’t go for the $416 a month for 5,000.  But she might go smaller.  Who knows?  She did settle on putting an extra 100 dollars a month for $1200 a year.  She said she is still paying off for her car.  What I would do is put $100 a month towards the car and pay off the car.  Then put what I was paying for the car and the $100 a month towards the mortgage until she pays off the mortgage with her husband, of course.


This gets into the Dave Ramsey technique called the snow ball effect.  She would have to gather all her debt such as the mortgage, car, credit card and student loans. Put all money into debt until paid off on the one debt concentrating on.  Then make minimum payments on the rest of the debt have.  Once the debt concentrating on is paid off then concentrate on the next debt and make minimum payments on the rest of the debts she has.


I don’t know if she would be interested in getting a temporary job, seasonal job or even a part time job to put money toward her mortgage.  But if she doesn’t want to get a job there is always dumpster diving big stores like Target, Walmart.  She might find lots of food to pick up, something to sell or even get coupons.  While she is dumpster diving she could even check out the parking lot for any loose change somebody might have thrown out while cleaning their car.  While she is collecting change from breaking a dollar and treasure hunting for coins if she knew the value of the coins she could sell them on ebay.  Or just roll them up in the coin rolls she got from the bank and cash them in at the bank.  I wouldn’t recommend going to coinstar as they take 10 to 20 percent of your change just to let her cash in on her coins.  While she is dumpster diving she could also look for any pop cans to turn in for deposit.  She could go to neighbors and ask if they would like her to turn in their pop cans.  She would keep the money, of course.


Other things she could do legally for money for her mortgage is give blood, and sell hair.  She could also grow a garden on her land and sell the produce along with her knitting collection at the farmer’s market.


Those are the things I would suggest for her to do to pay off her mortgage.  But she seems to be getting by as it is so I will just leave it alone.

Talk about saving money – whenever, however you can

I got an inspiration for an article from the Kalamazoo Gazette Business section called, “Hey, Can We Talk?”. It was an article written last Sunday on Easter which was April 21, 2019. It made me wonder about my blog and how I should talk about money more often.  Not just read on the internet and get the same ideas over and over again.  But maybe a fresh down home perspective from the friends and family I know that don’t take the time to write but may have fresh ideas in their heads and good experience worth talking about. Everyone seems to want to help out but maybe not sure just exactly how. The article Hey, Can We Talk, covers just that.

The article first says to make sure people want and is ready for your financial advice. They have to buy into the concept.  To be persuaded that what you have to offer is good, sound advice that is usable to them.  The advice can’t be overwhelming and should be broken down chunk by chunk and step by step. Don’t just tell keep track of your expenses but show them the best way how to do that and maybe even why, when and where to do that. When giving advice, you have to make sure it is right for them and that you are on the same page with the person you are giving financial advice to.  It also helps if the person knows where you are coming from. It is also good to get a perspective of where the person you are giving financial advice of where they are coming from.


When giving advice, the article says to give warmth, encouragement and empathy. In doing this, it is a better way to reach the person in need of financial advice. It is good to be human when giving advice.  To have the person know that you too have made mistakes, what you did about the mistakes and how you have learned from them. The moral of the story, if you will, sometimes need to be explained as it might not be so obvious to the person in need of financial advice.  As mentioned before, it is good to break down the advice into chunks and have a 1,2,3 method.  The 1,2,3 method breaks everything down step by step to see if each step is accomplished, one at a time instead of all at once.  If done all at once, it might be overwhelming. The person won’t be totally lost and will understand better if you don’t just tell but show how, when, where and why. Ask them about the mistakes they have made along the way.  More importantly, if they have learned from the mistakes they have made and what they will do next time.


It is good to discuss goals, aspirations and dreams with willing people.  Ask them about the plans they have made and how they intend to reach their goals. Plans and goals are a good road map to success. A minute of planning saves ten minutes of doing. If your friends and/or family want to save money it would be good to have a money night to discuss different ways to save money, mistakes, accomplishments.  Different people have different ways of doing things that might be better, worse or somewhere in between. They might have better ways of helping the person that you know of that have financial problems that could be solved. When getting together with friends try to see if they are open to talk about money.  Share tips and techniques that might be different from what is offered on the internet or even books. It would be a good night to brainstorm ways of saving and making money.  There might even be a circle of friends to hear them brag about their successes with money and how they did it.  You and your friends could cover the mistakes made, what learned from mistakes and a plan on what to do as not to make those mistakes again. Your friends could have better ideas and could help you help other people.