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With the holidays over and the new year fully settled in, perhaps you are looking at your finances and seeing a need for creating a personalized budget. You know what hasn’t worked in the past but you still feel the need for something to help you reach your financial goals.

Let’s talk about Creating a Personalized Budget that works for you.

I have a question for you. Do you know how much you spend on average a month for food, gas, clothes and disposable paper products? Could you tell me what your average monthly income is?  Many people cannot, because they do not know.

Everywhere, people are in debt. College loans, credit card debt, tax debt, medical expenses and house mortgages can really eat up a paycheck. Leaving one with nothing to live on, creating more credit card debt.

My honest belief is that no one can get out of debt or remain debt free without a plan. That plan involves knowing where you are in your financial situation.

I don’t have a traditional budget. It wouldn’t work for us, but here’s what DOES’S work: We track our income and our spending At any given time, I can log in, enter my last receipts and deposits and know exactly how we stand financially.

Food related spending for example:

We buy our meat directly from farmers and enough at one time to last us a year. In the spring/summer we have a garden so we aren’t spending so much on fresh foods. So some months our grocery category shows that we spent a lot, and other months show a nice low number.

At the end of each year I can pull up a chart that shows me exactly how much we spent on food for the year, and it shows how much we spent eating out as well. Here’s a year end report for food spending.

Because we track our spending, it’s easy to see where the money is going. Perhaps we are consistently ending the month in the red, I will go into my Quicken account and see which categories we are spending money in.
Maybe we’ve been spending $75 or more eating out those past few months, so we can see that eating at home more will help. Same goes for clothes, household stuff and anything else we are spending money on.

I can look at my charts and know that money will be tight this month due to (insert anything that could cause it) and I know to put big things on hold. Other months I look at our charts and Jason and I will decide that this is the month we will fix the car (or anything big that’s been needing done).

Each month I have our bank set up to automatically transfer x amount of dollars to our savings. This is automated in my system and never shows up as money to spend but rather money already spent (just like our bills). This helps keep our savings growing because sometimes we need it for big uh-oh’s or repairs.

In the past I would send any extra money from the month into the savings as well. But, we created a plan to pay off our house as soon as possible, and since interest charged is far more than interest earned, we decided that any extra that we have at the end of the month needs to go towards the house instead of savings.

Budgeting Styles: Start Creating a Personalized Budget

Anyone can budget. You can follow a program to the letter, or you can look at different budgeting styles and create one that works for you.

You can create your own budgeting style by doing the following:

  1. Get all of your financial info in one place.
  2. Decide how you will track both your income and your expenses.
  3. Learn where your money goes each month.
  4. Set goals.
  5. Create a plan for those goals.

The most important thing when considering budgeting styles is to consider how your brain works. If you are “hands on”, envelopes may work better. If you love numbers, spread sheets may work better. If goal keeping is hard for you, set up a rewards system.

Remember, there is no one budget style that is better than another. The best budgeting styles are the ones that work for you!

Budgeting is how you can achieve your dreams. No matter what your dreams are, I truly believe that they can be possible.  Know your money, set your goals and achieve them. Nothing worth having ever came easy, but it will come if you plan for it.

The post Creating a Personalized Budget appeared first on A Proverbs 31 Wife.

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Food Trucks are a huge hit around here. They pop up at festivals, attend rally’s and cook offs, enter competitions and fill the bellies of those looking for unique dishes. I was introduced to pulled pork street tacos last summer at one such rally, and fell a bit in love!

To clarify, I wanted pulled pork and figured the food truck I was waiting in line for could provide the meat I was craving. I planned to play it safe and order a sandwich but my brain had other plans.

The “order-taker” asked me what I wanted just when my eyes landed on the photo ad for pulled pork street tacos and that’s exactly what I ordered! Then she asked me what toppings I wanted.

Thoroughly flustered at having flubbed and said the wrong thing and not wanting to change now since there was a huge line, I just said “everything” and hoped for the best.

While waiting for my pulled pork street tacos to be prepared, I decided to look at that evil ad (after all, it did trick me into ordering something I didn’t intend too) and see exactly what I was getting.

It all looked okay except for the coleslaw. I DON’T like coleslaw. Not one bit!

“Oh well, if it’s too horrible, I’ll just pick it off”.

So I stood there waiting on my food, I could smell so many…. good smells! My stomach was rumbling, and when my tray was served up, I dug in!

Oh

My

Goodness!!!!!

 

They were delicious! The coleslaw was a totally different flavor tucked in with the sweet and smoky pork, the spicy salsa and the creamy cheese. Talk about a party in your mouth!

Now it’s kind of my thing. If I’m selling Norwex at an event and there’s a truck selling pulled pork street tacos or nachos, that’s my lunch!

Of course, food trucks aren’t exactly known for being healthy or good for you, but why couldn’t I create my own Pulled Pork Street Tacos? Of course, they are more like “pulled pork kitchen stove tacos” if you make them at home, but let’s not finagle over the name, okay?

Turns out Pulled Pork Street Tacos are easy to make! So here’s the recipe for you!

Recipe for Pulled Pork Street Tacos

Pulled Pork Street Tacos
 
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
8 hours
Total time
8 hours 30 mins
 
Author: Kendra ~A Proverbs 31 Wife
Serves: 20 Tacos
Ingredients
  • 3 pounds Pork Roast
  • 16 ounce bottle of beer
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite dry rub
  • 2 tablespoons black molasses

  • Coleslaw
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 carrots - shredded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika

  • 2 cups fresh tomato salsa
  • 2 cups cheese
  • 20 soft taco sized tortillas
  • 2-3 limes
  • cilantro (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Pour beer into slow cooker pot.
  2. Place pork roast in the beer and cover with dry rub and molasses.
  3. Cook on low heat for 7 hours - shredded the meat and cook for another hour.
  4. Make coleslaw:
  5. Mix egg yolk, oil, sugar, salt and paprika together.
  6. Use a blender (immersion style works best) and blend on high until light and creamy.
  7. Stir carrots and cabbage with egg yolk mixture.
  8. Assemble Tacos
  9. On each tortilla add:
  10. Meat
  11. Cheese
  12. Salsa
  13. Coleslaw
  14. Garnish with cilantro and squeeze ⅙th a lime over top
3.4.3177

So tell me now… Is your mouth watering????

 

The post Pulled Pork Street Tacos appeared first on A Proverbs 31 Wife.

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Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM1

Not much is worse than hearing a “sploosh” and looking over to see your phone going swimming. While the obvious answer is to simply keep the phone away from water, that’s easier said than done.

Just a few months ago, I bought a new phone on my Walmart Family Mobile monthly plan. It was time for an upgrade and my tax refund was put to good use. Unfortunately I forgot I had kids, and when the oh so helpful sales rep offered the $20 protection plan I said no.

Too bad for me. I enjoyed my new phone for all of 2 months before my oldest dropped it in saltwater. I’m guessing it fried instantly, as it never turned back on for me.

This summer, don’t let a drowned phone ruin your summer fun. 

I plan to be around water a good deal this summer and most of the time a zip-lock freezer bag is enough to keep my phone water proof. However, if my phone was dropped into the lake or a pond it may stay dry, but it would sink and I’d never find it.

So why not use a pool noodle to keep your phone afloat?!

But first things first. Once again I need a new phone.

The Walmart Family Mobile phones (powered by T-Mobile) are found in the no contract area at Walmart.

Our monthly plan: the $49.88 PLUS Plan = *Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to *15GB of 4G LTE then 2G plus a free VUDU movie credit every month ($7 value) per line for $49.88, isn’t changing. I just need a new phone.

Why Walmart Family Mobile?

  • Keep your current phone (that uses a sim card) or get a new one (they have a great selection!)
  • No contract (!!!) pick your monthly plan, activate (No ACTIVATION fees!), and go!
  • Powered by T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G LTE network
  • No late fees – pay as you go
  • 15GB of 4G LTE data is amazing for those summer trips when I’m away from WIFI but still need fast internet
  • The best pricing found in the no-contract wireless plans at Walmart
  • The $49.88 PLUS Plan also gives you a free VUDU movie rental credit valued at $7.00 each time you renew your service.
    ◊Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU’s website: http://www.vudu.com/termsofservice.html

I went with a different style of phone this time. The LG L59 – Grace. And before you ask, yes. Yes I added the protection plan!

I simply purchased a new phone. Still saving money on our monthly plan. Still enjoying a free VUDU credit each month. Still making good use of the 15GB of data.

Still enjoying the perks of the $49.88 PLUS Plan: Unlimited * Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to *15GB of 4G LTE then 2G by Walmart Family Mobile – Powered by T-Mobile.

  • Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Want more ideas for summer fun and savings? Here you go!

Now… For the floating phone case!

I don’t recommend using this as a reason to take your phone swimming. Rather, it’s a precaution against water problems when you are at the pool or lake. 

You will need:

  • Pool noodle with hollow inside
  • Graph paper, pen and scissors
  • Sharp knife and/or razor blade
  • Masking tape
  • Waterproof glue
  • Air tight freezer bag

Start by tracing your phone on graph paper. When you cut the traced image out, cut 1.5 squares in from the line. This will make your “pattern” smaller than your phone.

Reason being is to make the noodle “case opening smaller than your phone so it slides into the noodle a bit. Still confused? Keep reading, it will become clear.

Make a 45 degree cut on the end of your noodle.

Use your “pattern” to measure from the short end of your cut, and mark the length of the next cut. Make a second 45 degree cut.

Make a second long piece, then using the short end of your pattern, mark and cut two short pieces.

Now that you have the basic frame, it’s time to glue!

I used a water proof Mod Podge, but I’m sure there are better glues out there than that.

Glue both ends and press them together. Use masking tape to stabilize the pieces and hold them together while the glue dries.

Let it sit at least 24 hours. I had to leave mine sitting almost 48 hours because the glue was thick in places.

Carefully remove the tape.

Use a razor blade knife to cut a slit through the center of the bottom noodle. This slit needs to be wide enough to slide your phone up through it into the center of the case.

Next make 1/4 inch deep cuts around in the center of the case. Inside the corners you may need scissors to snip through the glued spots.

Slide your phone into a freezer bag and seal tightly. Fold excess bag over in the back and tape.

Now, slide your phone into it’s new floating case!

If your measurements and cuts are done right, the noodle frame will hug just the sides of your phone, but won’t cover speaker or buttons.

Next you want to make a couple holes so you can reach power and volume buttons.

Flip the frame over, and beside where the buttons are, cut a small hole so you can press against the center of the noodle and adjust volume or turn the screen on.

Now, enjoy your time around water, and don’t panic if your phone takes an unexpected splash!

(yes, my phone is floating in a kiddie pool!)

Still confused? Maybe a video will help!

DIY Floating Waterproof Phone Case - YouTube

The post Don’t Let a Drowned Phone Ruin Your Summer Fun! appeared first on A Proverbs 31 Wife.

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Memorial day weekend was our annual church conference and with 2 small tykes in tow, there were multiple times my head just hung down and I wondered what’s the point in taking kids to church?

In fact I wondered why I was even trying. Most of my time in church was spent hushing little ones and picking up the few toys we allow them to bring. Then picking up bookmarks and pens, because kids will make toys out of anything.

What’s the Point in Taking Kids to Church?

The rest of the time I’m out of church with a little one who has become so noisy I cannot hear a thing being said in church so what’s the point? Why do we even try to take these babies to services? Why do we deem church such an important part of a Christ centered family’s life when we cannot even hear what’s being said?

Saturday services went okay. Sunday’s services became increasingly challenging, and by Monday morning I just wanted to stay home in bed. But we went and I tried to listen. But the little I heard, only made me feel worse.

Monday morning the question was asked:  “Why did you come to conference this year?

As I’m fighting back tears, the voice in my head replies “I have no clue! I cannot take notes, what I’m hearing is so mixed with my children’s fussing that it makes no sense. Everyone else else seems so joyful and peaceful and I’m just failing! Failing at being a mom, failing at being a christian…” and the nasty little voice keeps whining on.

That little voice, it lies.

Anytime the voice in your head brings condemnation, discouragement, depression, self pity, envy, etc. rest assured, it is not of God. The Still Small Voice of God bring peace and comfort, not condemnation and discouragement.

So what’s the point in taking kids to church? Why bother even trying to go to a worship service when you have little ones. Why not wait until they are a bit older?

The Reason for Going to Church with Young Children.

Or rather 3 reasons!

#1. Fellowship

While I was feeling so down and frustrated, my 1 yr old became so loud and unruly that I had to take him out again. Sitting in the baby-room though, something occurred to me. I wasn’t alone! There were a dozen other moms in there, ALL also attempting to settle their little ones.

What a comfort to be surrounded with Christian sisters, and see that we all share the struggle of seeking spiritual nourishment while still caring for our babies. I wasn’t alone, and the nasty little voice in my head began to be silenced as I visited with other sisters, sharing our struggles.

God isn’t limited to speaking only through our elected ministers. He is just as easily able to speak through a sister in the baby- room.

#2. A Firm Foundation

My almost 3 year old amazes me sometimes. He remembers the oddest things that happened months before. He remembers things Jason and I talked about and we didn’t even realize he was listening.

Church is no different. Even though it seems like he is only worried about his toy, or snack, or going out to potty/get a drink, his subconscious is picking things up.

While christian parents cannot simply take their kids to church once a week and expect them to become followers of Christ automatically; taking children to worship services is a fundamental part of giving them the firm foundation upon which they can grow.

#3. God’s Love for Children

On the wall in my boy’s room is this verse: “suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not” Jesus spent time with children, he loved them and he blessed them.

I cannot help but believe that a church full of wriggly, noisy little children is a delight to our God! What a shame it would be for me to sit at home sulking because I don’t get what I used to from sermons.

Scripture also backs this up:

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

In fact, search for verses in the New Testament containing the word “together”. You will find many, many verses talking about being knit together, working together, striving together…

This “togetherness” cannot happen if I’m sitting at home sulking because I cannot get much out of the church service due to kids.

So we will keep taking the children to church with us. Perhaps over time, the nasty little voice in my head will be silenced entirely. Or maybe I will always struggle against it. But I know this much: No matter how hard, or dark a place I find myself in, God’s light can reach there and I can trust that he will bring me through.

Our children are the only true legacy we have. They are the only things on this earth that we both leave behind and can take with us. It’s worth my life, to raise them in a manner that they can follow me to heaven someday.

So what’s the point in taking kids to church?

Everything!

The post What’s the Point in Taking Kids to Church? appeared first on A Proverbs 31 Wife.

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