Saturday, April 25, 2009

Author Fun...

Today we're going to have some fun with our authors...They have supplied us with some tips, a quiz and a recipe and a nice little giveaway. So read to the end and enjoy...If you missed yesterday you may click here to read more about their featured book: Learning to Live Financially Free

Marybeth and Curt Whalen know what it's like to juggle marriage, kids and money. Their new book will encourage readers to manage their money and marriage more effectively.

Let's start with some yummy fun. Marybeth has provided us with a money saving recipe. Sure sounds yummy to me.

Lean Times

Mexican Chicken Filling

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Package of taco seasoning

Can of chicken broth

Lay chicken breasts in crockpot. Mix together taco seasoning and chicken broth and pour over chicken. Cook all day on low. Just before serving, shred meat with two forks. Use as a filling for burritos, tacos, or even over lettuce for a taco salad. Top with cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and other toppings.

Kids love this! (I usually double it to feed our family of 8.)

Now how about some money saving tips:
Top Ten Tips For Saving Money In Tough Times

1. Make a budget (and stick to it). A budget overwhelms many people but it is really nothing more than devising a plan for every dollar you bring in. Having a budget helps you spend smarter and think more. It also helps to improve your buying power. The best way to make a budget is to start by sitting down with your spouse and deciding how much you spend on regular categories like groceries, gas, medical, etc. each month. Talk through these things and get them down on paper. Then spend accordingly. An article that goes into step by step detail about making a budget can be found at:

2. Stop using credit cards. Studies show that people who use credit cards buy more and think less about their purchases. By learning to spend cash and limiting your purchases, you make your money work for you rather than against you. Credit card companies are getting craftier as the economy struggles. 25% of all credit card users in this country will have their rates raised this year, or their monthly payment raised. When you are in debt, you are at the mercy of the company you owe. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by credit card debt.

3. Cook at home. It sounds so basic and yet how many of us resort to eating out because we just can’t deal with dinner? By taking a few moments once a week to devise a menu plan, shopping for the needed ingredients for that menu plan, and cooking the meals in your home, you can save lots of money and have more time to gather as a family and enjoy a slow evening at home. Eating at home not only saves money, it saves valuable family time.

4. Buy clothes at thrift or consignment stores. This is especially true with children’s clothes. When you are in a department store, always shop the clearance racks and avoid the other racks so you aren’t tempted. It’s also an income generator if you consign your own clothing. You can then take the money you earn on consignment and buy clothes for a new season without being out of pocket any money!

5. If you must eat out, only go to places you have coupons for. Keep a small photo album and arrange restaurant coupons so they are easy to find as you are heading out the door. It’s also a great idea to look for “kids eat free” nights and frequent those. Other ways to save on eating out include ordering water (big savings on this), share meals, order a kids’ portion if the restaurant allows it, and go out for lunch instead of dinner. For people who work, it’s always a good idea to pack your lunch regularly instead of running out to eat. A jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread will go a long way.

6. Learn to play the coupon game. Many people devote themselves to clipping and organizing coupons—and reap great savings from doing so. There are many frugal websites and blogs that detail exactly how to save a lot of money with coupons. A great one to start with is And here is a great tutorial video you can watch:

7. If you have children, limit the number of activities they do to one per child, per year. If you are struggling to pay for even one activity, consider asking for the activity as a gift from grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, etc. Instead of another toy that will end up broken or lost, your child can receive a gift that truly keeps on giving as well as one that invests in their future.

8. Think about the things you regularly spend money on like gas or utilities and research ways to save money on those things. For instance, tells you where to buy the cheapest gas according to your area code. Bundling services with your cable provider can save money each month. Calling your energy company to find out when their off-peak hours are and doing your laundry or dishes during those times can save on your monthly bill as well.

9. Don’t shop as a recreational activity. If you can’t see it, you won’t feel a need to have it. Use time you used to spend shopping to go for a walk, visit a park, exercise, read a book, or spend time researching money-saving sites on the internet! If you have a friend you used to enjoy shopping with, sit down and list out other alternatives for your time together.

10. Look for ways to generate additional income. Whether it be an additional part-time job or a way to make money from home using a skill or talent you possess, get creative, get motivated, and get excited about the potential you have to generate income that you didn’t have before. Every little bit helps, so put on your thinking cap and don’t be shy about stepping out and trying something!

Let's see if you are financially focused with this quiz that the Curt and Marybeth have provided.

Are You A Financially Focused Couple?

Instructions: Give yourself 1 point for every "yes" answer, 0 points for every "no."

1.Do you have regular budget meetings?
2.Do you communicate about daily expenses?
3.Do you discuss large purchases before they're made?
4.Does each spouse have an equal vote about money decisions?
5.Have you planned for your future through life insurance and a will?
6.Do you agree about tithing and giving?
7.Can you both list out your debts, including the amounts and monthly payment for each account?
8.Do you have a plan that was written together for paying off debt and saving money?
9.Do you encourage each other to save money?
10.Have you discussed the spending habits and attitudes about money that you carried into the marriage?

Tally up your score and use the guide to the right to see what category you fall into.

0-2 points: Don't get discouraged. There's nowhere to go from here except up!

3-5 points: You are taking steps towards being a financially focused couple.. Keep working together and you will get there.

6-8 points: You are almost 100% financially focused. Keep up the good work and get intentional about those trouble spots.

9-10 points: You are a financially focused couple and could show us all a thing or two! Consider sharing your wisdom with other couples who are struggling in today's uncertain times.

And now for the giveaway that the Whalens are so graciously providing.
The winner will receive:
1 copy of the book
1 copy of Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
1 subscription to P31 Woman Magazine
1 copy of God's Purpose For Every Woman (collection of the best devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries)
1 cd of Marybeth's message "Becoming A Woman of Influence"
1 Dove Chocolate bar (because everything is better with chocolate!)

How do you enter? Glad you asked. Each blogger with at least 10 comments can send a name from the comments to submit for the grand prize drawing. Leave me a comment with your score from the quiz and/or what intrigues you most in the prize giveaway. Be sure to leave a way for me to contact you if you are the winner. This contest will run until May 20th.

This blog tour is through:



Stephanie said...

I would love to win this fantastic package. We scored a 6, good but could be better!

I am always looking for ways to become for frugal. We are currently trying to readjust our finances since my husbands hours have been cut at work. I have been unable to find even part time work right now, so I am doing all I can to stretch our hard earned dollars. I love the tips already presented here!

Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!

titus2teaching (@)

babalisme said...

I scored only 3!! Wow, I guess I'm the one who jumps into the water before testing it.

Thank you for all the tips here, I always scared to bring out this subject to our conversation, because I'm afraid he looks at me as a "material" woman, but now I can bring out the issue, confidently, because it's making me a "logical" woman.

Kathy said...

I only scored a three on the quiz. I am doing most of the things on the suggestion list. I cook most of our meals at home. I show with a plan and stick to it most of the time. I use coupons at the market and at restaurants.

I need the book for more suggestions.

Anita Yancey said...

We scored an 8. I guess we are doing pretty good, at least I hope so. Thanks for having this great giveaway.