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Tag Archives: money

Saving money in the dirt

photo on Flickr by Harpo42

The wifey is making some changes at work. She’s set to end maternity leave in about a week, and when she heads back to the office, it will be on a smaller scale. So, part time work means part time income, which lead us to talk some turkey this weekend about what we’ll change in our life with a smaller budget. Let’s call it our “happy up, money down” plan.

One line on the old Dave Ramsey-inspired budget that needs some polishing is food. We spend a lot on it. So the obvious part is cutting out the lunches at Wild Sage, Parker’s and Uno Zoni, and brown bagging it. The other part is cutting on the grocery bill. We decided a few years ago to pay more for our groceries. Why? Because real food generally costs more money than fake food. We want to feed our kids goodness from the Earth, not crap, so we pay more. Not saying we never buy any high-fructose-in-a-box, but we try to cook well-rounded meals with ingredients that our grandmothers might have actually fed to our parents as often as we can. It’s a journey.

So, back to the budget. We need to grow our own food. We got way behind nature’s eight ball this year with our garden. Our house was pretty busy this spring, you know? So, the garden pretty much sucks right now. We’ll be leaning heavily on the Farmer’s Market, community garden and the Co-op. And Denny’s extra garden bounty for sure. But, we figure, it’ll save us big bucks if we don’t have to buy so much. We’re even planning to learn the art of canning.

Synchronistically, I ran across an article on the topic today on Mother Nature Network’s blog about a couple who actually kept track of the money they put into their garden, and what it would have cost them to eat the same food from a grocery store.  Read “How Much is Your Vegetable Garden Worth” here.

For this Maine couple, over one year it came to 834 pounds of veggies from their garden, that would have set them back $2,200 at the store. Wowsers.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2010 in Food, garden, money

 

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Hopenhagen


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OK, it’s time to talk climate change. I know it’s a touchy topic for some bartblog readers (and I love you anyway), but let’s just get something clear: climate change is happening, fast. And it’s mostly our fault.

All the really smart scientists say so, and so did South Dakota legend Tony Dean. And experts say it’s worse than we first thought, especially those who study the poles first hand (like Minnesota uber-explorer Will Steger). If we keep up the status quo, our changing weather will be particularly painful for lots of South Dakotans, like hunters and farmers (and people who like to drink water). So enough about some sort of debate about wether climate change is for real. (It’s as silly as a “debate” about evolution.) The only worthwhile and super-important debate is how we (as in humanity) should do something about it. There, now that’s out of the way…

Leaders from all over the planet will be gathering in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.  One of those leaders will be my friend and intern–if we all pitch in to help get her there.

Jamie Horter works with me at the Sioux Falls Green Project. She’s also a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Jamie was picked by Will Steger to be part of his foundation’s Expedition Copenhagen, a group of Midwest youth who will travel with him to the Climate Change Conference next month. Jamie has been interacting with kids and grown ups around South Dakota, gathering up hopes and dreams for our state’s future. She’ll be our messenger in December, talking about stuff near and dear to our hearts here in good ‘ol SD. Things like our place in the clean energy future, and our love of the land, rural communities and agriculture (see her video on YouTube). You can get more details on a blog post I wrote for the Green Project here.

Please help Jamie get to Copenhagen. She’s too shy to ask you, so I will. We need to raise some bucks to cover her travel expenses from South Dakota to Copenhagen and back. Her travel is not covered by Will Steger, and she’s a college student. You can drop a dime or two here, or give me a shout. Every dime will be used to help Jamie connect us to the talks in Denmark December 7-13. If you can’t chip in, that’s OK. Just help me spread the word, and this link: http://jamiehorter.chipin.com. I promise she’s way worth it.

We can’t all go to Denmark. If you live in the Midwest, please connect with Jamie to share your message. If you live somewhere else (or not), there’s a really cool project out there gathering up hope from all over the world and plastering it on the leaders who will attend the conference in Copenhagen. Please share your dreams and hopes and fears at Hopenhagen.

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Above is a shot of one of the awareness campaigns Jamie recently helped organize. Check that stunning little activist in the colorful hat on the far right!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in activism, global warming, South Dakota

 

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Freedom

Pronounced Freeeeeedoooommm!!! Screaming like William Wallace in Braveheart (you remember, before Mel went psycho off screen and tanked his reputation…).

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Jaim and I have been wearing war paint for four years now. You don’t see it, unless you go shopping with us, or listen to us budget every month (and hold emergency budget meetings once a week or so), or listen to either one of us when the other (or one of the kids) comes up with some silly spending idea… We’re debt free today.

Yes, except for our home mortgage, we owe nothing. No more student loans, credit cards, car loans, or hospital bills. Not even any couches or TVs on “no payments or interest for 36 months!” Not one red cent owed to anyone. It took us four years on the Dave Ramsey plan, budgeting and saving and scrounging, and the last payment to XLS Student Loans went out of the bank today.

How much did we pay off? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2009 in money

 

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Free Cars!

Dump that car payment, silly rabbit. It’ll make you rich.

Learn how: check this out, or watch the video below.

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2009 in money

 

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The Girl Effect

Our girls earned some money by selling pumpkins last weekend. Now we’re so proud they’re giving some of it to help other girls. We’re trying to teach them to do three things with money they earn: spend some, save some and give some away. You go girls.

Learn more about the Girl Effect.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2008 in Kids, money

 

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Debt is holding you (and me) back

Seth Godin is a favorite blogger, author and entrepreneur of mine. And he’s the biggest no-b.s. marketing guy on the planet. Now he’s sharing some personal finance advice too, and it’s music to my ears. Seth says Only borrow money to pay for things that increase in value.”

His short list includes your house, your education and your business. That’s it. Dave Ramsey would disagree, putting only the house (maybe) on that list–bootstrapping your business and kicking old Sallie Mae to the curb. The point is pretty clear though–get rid of those car loans, credit cards and whatever other stupid debt is drowning you. If it’s not drowning you today, it will. And it is most certainly keeping you from doing things you would and could do if you had no payments. Think about that…NO PAYMENTS! What would be on your list if you had cash every month instead of all those payments?

I know Jaim and I would be doing some different things. And we will once we can scream “We’re debt free!!!!” in a few more months. We’ve been skipping all the extras and holding rummage sales (and shopping at them) since September 2005 to dump our stupid hefty debt. We’re almost there. Hope you’ll join us.

P.S.- I don’t mean for you to think we’re doing this to get more stuff. ‘Stuff’ is for sure not what we’re after. Getting debt free, for us, is about freedom of choice. Being able to make choices instead of them being made for us–to open doors that are thrown our way in life.  Like Jaimie becoming a full-time mom, or me leaving my job to start a business, or taking a month or two off for a learning journey, or maybe deciding we want to live somewhere else for a while. With those stinky debt payments hanging over us, we can’t make those choices without putting our kids at risk of losing the roof they sleep under or the van they ride in. It’s about life, not stuff.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2008 in money

 

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Dumping Our Debt Dave Ramsey Style

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we’re on track to be debt free (yippee!!!) by the end of this year. A bartblog reader sent me an email, and I thought I’d answer the question for everybody:

“I read on your blog that you will have all of our debt paid off by the end of the year. How did you do that? Did you use a program? I would love to find out.”

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We follow the Dave Ramsey plan. We started by reading his book “The Total Money Makeover,” and have been following his “Baby Steps” and listening to his radio program whenever we can. I subscribe to a podcast of the first hour of his show every day and listen on my ipod when I’m driving (get the free mp3 of Dave’s show here). The first thing is, you need to agree with each other that you won’t ever borrow money again, and to budget every penny every month before you spend it. That’s a hard thing to do! Then, you (temporarily) stop investing in 401 K, etc, and then make only minimum payments on everything. You save up a $1000 emergency fund in a savings account and then start the “Debt Snowball.” You pay as much as you can on your smallest debt and minimums on everything else until that smallest debt is paid off. Then you add the minimum payment of your next smallest debt to the biggest amount you can pay and attack your second smallest debt, and so on… If you have more than $1000 put away (not including 401K, etc) then use all but 1000 on your first debt.

We’ve made a list of all our debts smallest to largest and keep it taped to our kitchen cupboard door, and cross off each one we pay off. That way we can celebrate a little for each small win.

The biggest thing is learning to change your behavior with money. It means making every budgeting decision together and sticking to the budget, or agreeing how you’ll change it. And get rid of all those stupid credit cards and recognize the difference between what you need and want. You have to stop spending more than you make!!! If you dump your debt, then you’ll be able to have plenty of money to spend and give! Good luck!!!

(We’re sending our copy of Dave’s book to this reader–you can join the waiting list to get it next, or just go to the library and check it out, or buy one–if it’s in your budget!…)

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2008 in money

 

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