Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Waiting for Spring

February always seems like the longest month of the year; all 28 days. This February seems longer than ever. We have had more snow this month than all of winter and the cold days are not going away. In fact, we are in the midst of another winter snow blitz as we post this blog. We are peppered with a warm day every now and then, where you can shed the winter coat, but it is just a tease of what is to come. Perhaps that is why it is such a long month.

I’m also looking at seed catalogs and dreaming about a bountiful harvest from my backyard garden. I’m anxious to start to work in the dirt, plant seeds and see nature take its course. The taste of fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, lettuce cut from garden is something I’m longing for. A back yard garden is not only good for your health; it is good on your wallet. You can harvest loads of fresh fruits and vegetables for pennies comparatively.

The sun is coming up earlier and setting later. In walking the dogs over the gardens in the snow, I can visualize the vineyard I am going to plant this spring, and the straight rows of corn in the field.

Maybe all of this dreaming of what is to be -is making February longer; but it is my way to get through the longest month of the year…February. Let us know how you get through February and what your dreams are for Spring. It will be here before we know it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sequester = Politician Self-Interest

We are only a few days away until the automatic government budget cuts and Congress and the President can't come to agreement on specific budget cuts and/or increasing revenue. Ramifications will be across-the-board cuts, effecting defense, education, national parks, air traffic controllers and all services provided by our Federal government.

Why can't the congress agree? To me it all comes down to self-interest, not willing to step up to hard choices and not agreeing on common values. Roy Disney is quoted as saying "When values are clear, decisions are easy." What does Washington value? “How I am going to get reelected” -not what is best for the country?

If a family is in debt, they have to agree on how they are going to reduce that debt. It typically is achieved by a combination of reducing spending and increasing income. If the family agrees to common values, decisions on what to cut and where to increase income become easy. The family looks inward on where to cut and makes sacrifices to balance their budget. The cuts are difficult but the family makes the difficult decisions and works to balance the budget.

On the other hand, our Federal Government can't make difficult decisions so everyone gets cut. It saves the politician's political career because they did not vote to cut anyone's project. Yet they can look good by restoring federal funding. As a country, we need to decide what we value.

The sequester tells me what the politicians do not value the fiscal commitments of the United States. They do not value how hard the tax payers work to earn money to pay their taxes. The sequester could put our economic recovery on hold which impacts everyone. The politicians do not value cooperation and working for the common good.

Politicians were elected to work for the common good. Now is the time to get to work, make the hard decisions, put aside partisan politics, and agree to a budget before the sequester goes into effect. Please do what you were elected to do - damn it!

Friday, February 15, 2013

MarketPlace Money Fun

From Barbara Bogaev on Marketplace Money, “We're still fresh off of our love hangover from Valentine's Day here at Money this week, so we've invited a couple of personal finance experts to answer your questions about money and relationships. Bob and Kristy Walker ..."

The show airs this weekend (2/15/13) on most National Public Radio Stations. If you don't find it on your local NPR station, here is a link where you can listen: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/letters-how-can-i-budget-when-im-self-employed

It is a great show, regardless if we are on or not so we highly recommend you tune in weekly to enjoy and learn. -Happy Listening

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Can’t Buy Me Love – Happy Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, I think back to the Beatle’s song “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The Wall Street Journal was also thinking of the little things that show love in their article “Small Acts, Big Love.” By putting the other person’s needs above yours, spending a little time, and being creative in your approach, really shows that you appreciate and care for them and you don’t take them for granted.

Some key things to remember when you demonstrate your love through actions:
• Don’t expect a pay back
• Think about what your partner would like, not what is easy for you
• Put your partner’s needs first
• Show respect and appreciation
Here are a few little things that say ‘I Love You’ every day of the year:
• On cold days, start their car and scrape the ice off the windshield
• Make the bed
• Pack their lunch
• Open doors
• Leave the toilet seat down
• Leave the bathroom sink clean
• Pick up after yourself
• Empty the dishwasher
• Make a meal
• Say “thank you”
• Anything that your partner usually does for you, take your turn and do it for your partner

Show your love and appreciation 365 days a year, not just on Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to cost a penny and to quote the Beatles “Money can’t buy me love.” Happy Frugal Fun Valentine’s Day – every day of the year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Building Blocks

Hosting a baby shower? Hate shower games? Pinched for funds?

Try this one. We took scrap wood and cut them up into 2x3x3 inch blocks, sanded and painted a baby-powder white. As the guest arrived, they selected a number or a letter to feature on their block. We had acrylic paint pens for everyone to work with. It was a fun opportunity to release our inner artist. We coated each block with a protective spray, and wa la! Our guest have collectively created a one-of-a-kind set of blocks.

The project cost $5 in paint material and provided not only a group project, but a very special gift for that little one.

Very frugal and fun!