Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Holiday fun on a budget: Total Money Makeover

It's hard for me to digest that Halloween is two short days away & November three!  That means Christmas is right around the corner!  Christmas is by far my favorite time of year, but with it comes stress.  Get togethers & parties cramming every weekend, shopping, wrapping, trying to fit in as many magical moments as possible for the kids.  But most of all, the stress topper tends to be all of the money flying out the window $$$$$$! 


Money doesn't have to be the star topper on the Christmas tree of stress though, if you're prepared & on a budget.  I've blogged about our budget, but not lately.  We follow Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover & stick with a completely cash-based budget to help pay down all of our debt.  We've been doing this for nearly two years & we've made a lot of progress & hope to be debt free in the next year or so (minus our mortgage).  I keep envelopes in my purse that my sweet friend Lesli made for me, take cash out of the ATM each Friday & use no more than what we allot for each household expense.

 I keep six envelopes: Groceries, Entertainment/Fun, Gifts, Clothing, Pets & Personal/Home Care.  Sometimes I get strange looks when people see me with my stash of envelopes, but it doesn't bother me.  I get harassed the most at Target since the cashiers are always looking at me with shock, "You DON'T want to get a Red Card & save 5%?!?!?!?!!?"  Um, no, no thank you.  Just today I was asked & my response was, "No thank you, I'm a cash girl!" 

Week to week, things go very smoothly with the budget since we only spend what we have, never using our debit or credit cards.  Vacations, birthdays & holidays take much more planning though.  Last year I worked out a Christmas budget including anything we'd be spending money on:  Who we shop for, how much we spend on each person, the Christmas tree, Christmas cards & postage, teacher gifts, etc, etc, etc, etc.  For us, this adds up to $1,500.  Sometimes it's not fun to budget & plan, but it's a must for us to stay on track.  Like Dave Ramsey says, Christmas comes every year in December, it's not unexpected & our budget shouldn't be blown because of it. 


When we hit the stores last year, I literally had a calculator out to stay on budget for each person we bought for.  That curbed the tempting, "Oh, but he/she would love this!"  Those little extra buys throughout the holidays seriously add up. 

I find that so many people live in a world of excess with instant gratification & unnecessary purchases happening constantly.  Your kid loves Lightening McQueen so he has every car available in stores.  Minimizing is another perk of staying on budget; it keeps your house less cluttered & your kids less distracted.  So here's to hoping we all have an awesome holiday with less stress & less unnecessary money spent!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Crazy little thing called fun

We have had quite a bit going on these past few weeks while Mike's mom was in town from Chicago.  We headed to Disney & the whole Pernecky clan flew down from Chicago & met up in Orlando.  It was very exciting since it was Reese's first time to Disney World.  Even though we live less than an hour & a half away, it's so expensive!  Mike's mom & dad have always dreamed of taking their grand kids, so they were sweet & generous enough to treat the whole family!

In keeping with firsts, Reese got her first pedicure with me & Grammy; all matching with a Disney theme!

With the matching pedis came the adorable matching t-shirts that Mike's mom & sister designed.  We got so many compliments & I loved that we could easily spot each other in a crowd!

Even though "they" say it's the happiest place on Earth, Reese had a mega meltdown within twenty minutes of getting into the Magic Kingdom.  I tried to pawn her off on passerby's, but had no takers!

The kids met a bunch of characters.

But absolutely nothing compared to Reese's visit with Cinderella.  Lets just say she was star struck; she did not know what to do with herself.  Positively adorable.

Reese's dream come true was when Cinderella asked her if she would play hide & seek.  Absolutely precious.

Cameron was tall enough to ride every single roller coaster & he did awesome!  The look on Nick & Erika's face in the picture above on the Tower of Terror is hilarious!!

Grammy & Papa wanted to take the kids to Disney's Not so Scary Halloween so we were able to park hop over the food & wine fest at Epcot for some adult beverages & awesome food.   So fun!

Anyone who has taken a Disney vacation knows it isn't relaxing & you end up absolutely exhausted after, but it was totally worth it!  We had a blast together & it's so rare that the entire Pernecky family is together; I was very thankful.

On our last morning, we dragged our lifeless bodies out of bed at the butt crack of dawn to make it to the only character breakfast we could get into.  Word to the wise, you really need to reserve any character dining 180 days in advance or you won't get in.  We know from experience!

What an awesome trip that we'll never forget!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Birthday celebrations

We had a blast celebrating Cam's sixth birthday over the weekend with my family who came up for the night.

On Cameron's actual birthday, he was so excited to open presents that he scarfed down dinner & even skipped cake so he could play his new Pac-man Xbox game.

The decorating of the cake was quite interesting & I think Cam & Reese ate more of the whipped cream than went onto the cake!

We're wishing for a year of good health for family & friends!

Cameron was connected at the hip with his partner in crime, Mikayla all weekend long.

This cute girl rocked her Bears dress, but unfortunately they sucked it up & lost to the Packers.  Boo!

Back to opening presents, Cam's favorite pastime!

Happy birthday to my sister Lauren who celebrated two days after Cam!

We had a great weekend celebrating the birthdays & there's more excitement today since Grammy flew in this morning!  Next week, we're heading to the most magical place on Earth, Disney World, with the entire Pernecky clan.  I cannot wait!!!

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