september tuition update

did i tell you all that bryan's debit card information got stolen? oh yeah, that happened. catching the four $70 dollar transactions that went through from florida might just be the only plus about obsessively checking my bank account-even on a saturday. we cancelled our debit cards, got the fraudulent transactions credited back to us [over $400 dollars!] and started discussing if it was time to switch to a local bank.

we've been using our bank back in ames for the past year. it's been working out well, the only real inconvenience being that we have to mail in our deposits. but the debit card fraud pushed us over the edge and we decided it was time to turn over the last piece of ames we were holding on to. but, really, it wasn't nearly as dramatic as that last sentence made it sound.

the good news is that the bank we switched to actually offers us the same perks checking account, which is why we stayed with our ames bank so long.

anyway, though i've been trying to switch everything over, our budget sheets are in mild disarray, but the following update is as accurate as always. and that was a long of saying that i really have nothing revolutionary to say this month. here's the update!

total tuition for 2011-2012 school year: $9,654.00
total tuition paid so far: $2,090.00
savings at the end of september: $1,583.26
difference: $5,980.74
percentage saved: 38.05%
percentage left to save: 61.95%

we still need to save at least $506.74 this semester. i'm not super confident that october will be a good month, because we're getting our dryer fixed and the estimated cost of that is $140. but you can't exactly line-dry your clothes when it's snowing. so it's a good thing. happy saving!



have you experienced problems when trying to comment on my blog?

my mom literally calls me to tell me what her comment would have been if she was able to comment, but she can't seem to figure out how.

this is a tough question though, because if you are having problems commenting directly on the blog, you're not going to be able to tell me via comment are you? so, please, do me a favor and email me or if you've traveled from facebook, leave a comment there.


dreams and things

calculating kids

disclaimer: this post is not what you think it's going to be.

since everyone knows how much of a tightwad i am, i thought i'd share just how far this can go. and it goes as far a dreams. not "i've got hopes and dreams" kind of dreams, but "i'm out cold, fast asleep, dead to the world" kind of dreams.

i dream about slightly altered versions of real life. and then the morning comes and i'm left wondering what's real and what's dreamland.

my dream sequence from the other night was as follows:

easily discerned as not real:
i was majorly flirting with a guy who was not bryan. i was practically drooling over him. i'm not going to say who, because there are some things in life that leave me red in the face, but it was bad. in reality, i'm happily married and as a bonus confirmation, i woke up next to my sleeping red-headed husband named bryan. also, this dream has nothing to do with me being a tightwad, it was just funny.

not real, but i wish it was:
i'm floating in water. i'm floating towards something. the something ends up being a bunch of assembly lines. i'm on an assembly line. and all the other assembly lines are full of the one thing i've been searching for: dryers for $50 each. hundreds of cheap dryers! i can choose anyone i want! a clerk comes to help me [i'm not on an assembly line any more apparently] and we look at tiny dryers and regular sized dryers and i pick the perfect one and i only have to pay $50 for it. can you tell our dryer is broken?

truly let down by the lack of reality:
the last dream i can remember from the other night was simply that i was driving around and my gas tank was almost full. when i woke up, i considered this, and determined that i must have filled up my tank on monday. when i got in my car to drive to work, i actually got angry at bryan for using over a half a tank of gas by driving 15 miles for adoleo practice last night. and then i remembered the dream. dang it.

i just need my dreams to actually dictate the future and i'd be set. except for the flirting part. sorry that i dreamcheated on you, bryan.


waiting for you

this music video really gives life to this adoleo song, "waiting for you."

watch it. you won't regret it.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you actually pass your trailer on your way home. because even though you've lived here over a year, all the trailers still kind-of look the same and you can't exactly remember which one is yours unless you're paying close attention.


the tightwad ditch

calculating kids

here's one thing i often forget about money management: the whole point of financial freedom is to be free.

i'm going to use a common youth group analogy to help explain this one.

every path has two ditches, right? so the path of financial freedom is the same.

one ditch is the party ditch. the one you fall into while you spend more money than you have on things you don't even need. that's the ditch that people like me avoid at all costs. what can i say, i've never been a partier.

but the other ditch traps you in the same way that all ditches do, it just feels a little more right as you're falling in. if you fall into this ditch, you may not have debt. you may have a large savings account. you may, by all evidence, be financial "free."

i fall into the latter ditch. and speaking directly from the tightwad ditch [as i affectionately call it] it's still quite ditchy.

there are days when i don't feel free at all. i feel bogged down by trying to figure out how every last penny can contribute to our savings account. i feel tired of compulsively checking my bank account and updating my check register and wondering why nothing has changed in the last hour. i get so easily obsessed with our finances that our budget sheet is almost constantly up on my computer. it's a dark, damp ditch that isn't the least bit encouraging or freeing.

and then i remember what i always forget. i remember that it's pointless to try. so. hard. at this whole staying out of debt thing and this being wise with money thing if i'm just going to fall into the tightwad ditch. if i'm constantly stressed or obsessed with the bottom line, that isn't freedom.

i think there are physical reasons to be stressed about money, like not having enough to pay your bills each month. but i've never experienced that, so i'm pretty sure the cause for my stress is completely mental. and therefore, i'm completely mental. i will drive myself crazy if i don't lighten up on myself.

jeez, this sure turned into a rant to myself, so i guess i'll just go with it:

note to self: don't be such a tightwad.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you notice some tires in your neighbors yard. and you also notice that those tires are chained to the lamp post.


recycle fail

you know, you try to do good in this world. you try so hard to be a good earthling and recycle. and this is what you get in return.


i'm just sad that every last paper shred won't get recycled into an egg carton or something.


dumping money into passion

calculating kids

i know i probably sound like a know-it-all about money stuff at this point. just to be clear, i don't know it all. i'm just a huge nerd.

having said that, if i know anything about money management, it's this: passion is a money pit.

this fact is neither good nor bad, just impenetrably true.

let me tell you about my husband. he loves playing the bass guitar. music in general is one of his greatest passions. can you guess what he spends money on?

our house is filled with records, cds, and musical instruments of all sorts. it's fantastic. it's not bad that bryan is passionate about music-it's a quality i'd love for our children to inherit from him. and it's certainly not a bad thing that we have a bunch of music-related "stuff" in our house. some (read: me) might call it junk or clutter, but not bryan. to bryan, it's the most precious stuff he owns.

thus, in our family, music is a money pit.

i certainly have my own vices as well. and between the two of us, we've come up with some shared passions. these passions, in particular, are influenced by this money pit truth. in other words, we've considered the "money pits" that are most valuable and that we want to invest in the most.

so what are our passions?

i've always wanted to be a mom. and i've known for a while that when that day comes, i want to stay home with our children. we want to provide for our children all that they need. everyone knows that kids cost money and a lot of it. but it's a worthwhile money pit.

reaching the world with the gospel. 
this is an area where we are tested to put our money where our mouth is often. while we don't have any particular plans to move overseas, we know that God could put this in our future. we want to be available and ready to go if/when God asks us to and we want to support those who do have plans to go overseas. this is a money pit we never want to lose sight of-we always want to be passionate about the work that God is going.

investing in our community.
sometimes it's throwing a party, sometimes it's providing for someone in need, and sometimes it's the simple act of investing in our local church. we don't want to forget about those near and dear to us, and investing financially is a great way to stay connected.

being a light.
sorry for the small soapbox i'm about to step on, but has anyone noticed how cheap christians can be? bryan and i always want to be open-handed with our money. we want to pay our bills on time, give good tips to waiters, and pay a fair price for services or goods. we don't want to be known for always asking favors or taking everything we can get. this can be a struggle for me especially as "frugal" can quickly turn into "cheap."

what are you passionate about? is it a worthwhile money pit?


one year

One Year Anniversary of Veritas Church from Veritas Church on Vimeo.

last weekend veritas church celebrated our official one year anniversary. 9/12/10 was our first church service in hotelvetro in downtown iowa city-it's hard to believe it's already been a whole year since then! it's hard to hold back tear when i see all that God has done.

after the awesome service, we had a big picnic where well over 200 people came and ate. here are some pictures of the day.







trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

your sanitation department actually forbids trash cans. that's right, your trailer park sanitation division requests that you place trash bags and only trash bags directly on the curb, because actual trash cans look a little too high-class for your trailer park.


stay out of debt, as much as possible

calculating kids

the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. this is one of our highest goals (second to giving) and probably will be for most of our lives.

i want to start out by saying that paying off debt can be addicting. staying out of debt can be just as addicting. it's amazingly fun to see such momentum, to feel so much relief, and to feel so free from the bondage of debt.

i don't know about you, but these feelings of relief or momentum can cause problems for my heart. it causes me to question: would i rather give to someone in need...or fill our tuition fund

the problem is, neither one of those things is a wrong choice. it's certainly wise to plan for expenses and try to stay out of debt. and it's definitely within reason to contribute a donation to someone in need. it begs the question, how do we choose? my head would choose the savings account every time. often, my heart would as well.

bryan and i have come to the conclusion that we are not going to be successful in staying out of debt unless we're committed to generosity first.

"honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine." -proverbs 3:9-10

when we give to the Lord first, He fills us up. this principle is not just true with finances, but it is true in every aspect of being a follower of Jesus. He loves for us to lay ourselves at His feet and let Him work through us, not in spite of us. we have personally found this to be true in our lives. when we are generous, which is only because of God's work in our lives, we feel blessed by God. this is not a blog promising unending financial blessing from God, or even any kind of financial blessing from God. all i'm saying, is that God always seems to meet our needs, especially when we give.

while we are always striving to stay out of debt, we simply won't consider taking away from our tithe or saying no to a support letter just because we want to lower our debt. it's just too tempting to be a good idea. : )

goals to stay out of debt in 2011-2012

  • pay off $5,500 student loan as quickly as possible, preferably before interest accrues
  • increase our mortgage payment
  • save cash for a second car
  • save 6 months of living expenses in an emergency fund


look! i'm famous!

well, after two months on staff, i'm on the website. and that's pretty much all i wanted to say.


trailer park life

you know you live in a trailer park when...

you see your neighbor lady stepping outside through her sliding door for a quick smoke with:

  1. curlers in her hair
  2. a bathrobe wrapped around her
  3. a landline telephone held to her ear


you have to watch this

seriously, this brings me to almost-tears every time. martin, we love you! i'm so glad you moved to iowa city in faith-God is using you!