Thursday, October 8, 2015

Life Lately...


Week two... 

And the first post?  A little bit of my story.

The second post?  Sarah's story is right here.

So hop over and read it pretty please!  I think you will find this series of posts really encouraging!And please get in touch with me if you want to share your story or tips!  My email is
If you want to follow along feel free to use a special media venue of your choice (or more than one;) to do so!)


This week our small group took a quick break from our study of Galatians to learn how to hand letter.  Now, I did not even know what hand lettering was.. but one of the ladies in our group taught us.  Now, those that know me well know that my handwriting leaves something to be desired… so I thought this would NOT be my thing… but I loved it!  If you follow me on Pinterest you may have even noticed my new hand lettering board!  
               Follow Stasia's board Handlettering on Pinterest.    
And here is my first work… 
yes I went super simple the first time (I named my font simply skinny), but I am still proud… I will try to get more complex next time.


Have you ever tried Stitch Fix???
It is a styling service where 5 personally picked pieces get delivered to your mail box!  Getting a Fix super fun… like Christmas when it arrives!  It has been almost a year since my last Fix.  Maybe Christmas (hint hint Andrew :))???
               Follow Stasia's board Stich Fix on Pinterest.    


I started wrapping Christmas presents this week… no lie!  Never too early, we are only 78 days away.  Another perk is I might be surprised Christmas day with what I give, because I don't remember! :)
This pic from Instagram


This past couple of weeks has been a roller coaster ride when it comes to ups and downs emotionally.  Stress, busy, frustration… and good things too.  I was reading over at A Holy Experience and came across this…
And today I will continue to choose joy!

How has your week been???

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Budgeting Diaries: Abiding in Grace

Welcome to the second installment of The Budgeting Diaries!  If you missed my story from last week you can read it here.

This week I am so excited to introduce you to Sarah.  She is a fantastic blogger that I have been reading for the past few months and you should really check out her blog! :)
This week she is sharing a little of her family's story, as well as a little about Dave Ramsey's baby steps!  Take a minute, read and I pray you are encouraged! :)

As I was driving to the store late last night, the Dave Ramsey's show came on the radio. I rarely listen to Talk Radio. The stations in the car I drive usually blare Slugs and Bugs or Disney tunes. I was using my husband’s car that night, so I just sat back and listened as a young, newly pregnant couple described how they had just become debt free in four months. “Wow,” I thought. “They must have not had a lot to pay off….” Then I heard that they had paid off $12,000 worth of debt in 4 months! I suddenly sat up a straighter and listened closer. Reducing debt is not foreign to us. My husband and I decided to start really paying off debt about two years ago. We had met with a financial planner who was also a friend. We were just so tired of working hard and at the end of the month, not have anything to show for it. Meanwhile our debt slowly grew and grew. One of the exercises was to write down all of our expenses. Then, we kept our recipes for two months and wrote down everything we spent. We were amazed at all of the times we ate out and spent money on extras. Our financial friend helped create for us a “debt snowball." Basically, we would start paying off the smallest part of debt or the debt that has the highest interest rate first. Then we would end with the highest chunk of our debt, with the lowest interest. Two years later we have paid off everything except for student loans and our house. Yes, we counted our house as debt. We understand owning a house allows for equity, but if we are able, our goal is to eventually be completely debt free, even from a house payment. We have adopted since then. We were able to pay for each of the steps of the adoption debt free. All to the glory of God! I want to encourage you, as you begin this journey of financial freedom: it is freeing. When we paid off our very first thing, which was my car, we felt elated! It only took a few months to pay it off. It was an amazing feeling. You can do this! We only have maybe six months and we will have his student loans paid off. After that, we plan on paying off our house.

Steps to Start a Debt Snowball

  1. Write down all of your expenses. Then keep your receipts for everything you spend. Create a spreadsheet and keep track for a few months. Mostly to keep you on track, but also to give you a good idea of where you might be over spending.
  2. Get help. If we hadn't had a financial planner we would have not been held accountable for what we were spending. There is something about someone else looking at your finances that makes you want to spend well! Choose someone trustworthy, maybe not someone in your family. Definitely find someone who is experienced with debt reduction or financial planning.
  3. Make an emergency fund. Figure out how much extra you have each month and put it in a special savings for emergencies. We have had to use our emergency fund twice in the past two years. One was when we experienced an unexpected job loss and the other was when we were in a car accident and had to purchase a new car.
  4. Start paying off your debt. Credit card debt should come first. It is usually the one with the highest interest rate. Our car was almost paid off, so we went ahead and started with that. We moved from there to our credit cards. The best advice I can give you is to don't keep putting things on credit cards after you pay it off! Seems simple, but keep track each month and plan on paying off the credit cards each month.
  5. Trust God to provide you needs. He has promised to provide all that you need. We have found this to be so true.
Let me leave you with this story. Three weeks ago we were in a car accident. Our car ended up being totaled. Before this, we had discussed buying a bigger car to accommodate our growing family. However, we wanted to pay cash and we did not want to go into debt to purchase a car. When we were forced to have to get a new car, we did not have enough in savings to even begin to pay for a new car. As we shopped, we realized that we couldn't really afford the big SUV we had wanted. We ended up looking into minivans. They were just as roomy and half the price. When we were given our check from our insurance company we were elated that it was a little more than we had first thought. The week of our accident we found out that Jason was going to be getting an unexpected bonus at work. Amazing how God was providing! But as we added up the numbers, we were still a few thousand dollars short. We didn't really want to finance the last little bit, even if it was less than $5000. We prayed and trusted God. As we looked at cars, we were able to negotiate with the car dealer. It was lowered enough we could pay the rest of the car off a few days later with Jason's next paycheck. Praise God! 

 God cares about all aspect of your life, even your finances. Invite Him in, with prayer, and He will guide and provide!
  Sarah Frazer button


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Life Lately...


My brand-spankin-new series started this week…

And the first post?  A little bit of my story.
So hop over and read it pretty please!  I think you will find this series of posts really encouraging!
If you want to follow along feel free to use a special media venue of your choice (or more than one;) to do so!)


Our biggest little has been in school for about a month now.  
I was talking to the director the other day and she told me about how quiet BD was at school.  Que jaw drop… she talks all.the.time at home!  As  a teacher I have told this sort of thing to parents a million times, but never been on the receiving end.  It was not a negative thing just surprising!  Have you ever been surprised but what your child's teacher said about how they are at school?


Favorite posts from the week… check a few of these out :)
An inspiring book and some inspiring quotes…
A book about the Lord's Prayer for kids…

Improving Your Morning…


If I could get anything this fall to add to my wardrobe…
Boots like these:  Lucky Women's Basel Boot


This week has been about rest and God's provision… who am I kidding, God is always teaching me those things!
God brought me back to this post from a year and a half ago!!!

How has your week been???

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Budgeting Diaries: An Introduction

I have been mentioning this on the past couple of Fridays and it is finally here.  Grand premier of 
get excited… right!!!!

So what is this anyways?  Well, when I started this blog a few years ago, I had a vision to write about budgeting and all our frugal ways.  Now don't get me wrong, we are still frugal- just ask my hubs, or my in-laws, or my parents, or my kids (in about 5 years;)), but the good ol' blog grew to be about life and not just budgeting.  And I am fine with that. 

But as I was praying about this blog and vision for the future, I kept coming back to the name…
Our Life on a Budget

 and goodness… how hard is it 
to be on a budget
to live with in our means
to be a good steward of what God has given us
to be a cheerful giver
to give sacrificially

And as I pondered those things I thought about how encouraging it would be to hear from real people, their real stories 
and tips 
and pointers 
and where they've been
and where they are going
and how God has/is/will use what He has entrusted to them.

So it starts now, just stories from real people… starting with me!

I could go all the way back to my childhood, but my story probably really starts when I was 14 years old and got my first job.  Burger King.  Yep, you heard me right, I worked at Burger King- I wish I had a picture to share with y'all.  When I turned 14 my mom said, "You are 14 ,you can get a job and your brother already works at Burger King."  And since my brother could drive there were no options, I applied and started working with in a few weeks and I was the only 8th grader I knew with a job… seriously.  My conversations at school went something like this:
"What are you doing Friday night?"  
"I have to work."
Cue blank stares
"But don't worry, I can still hang out, they aren't allowed to let me work past 7.  I may just smell like grease and french fries."
Okay, so I may have left off the last part.

Working so young had its pluses and minuses.  I knew the value of a dollar from a young age and I can probably thank my early work experience for my frugal tendencies.  I learned about saving, paid for most of my first car (that we still use 12 years and 200,000 miles later), and paid for most things on my own.  Minuses?  Besides being spread a little thin as a high schooler, I think I formed some unhealthy relationships with money as well.  Worry, stress, stinginess when dealing with money.  I also felt like I could never quite do or get the things my peers got… whether this is a positive or negative I am not sure.

Moving from there I went to college.  I am fortunate because between HOPE (a scholarship program in Georgia) and my parents, my college was paid for… zero debt… wahoo!  I had not had experience with debt, so I did not realize at the time what a big deal this was.  I just worked during the summer and did a couple of babysitting jobs during the year to get my spending money.  Met my now husband in college. Then I graduated, got married, moved to a new city, started my first teaching job.

During this stage we were pretty wise with our money… but definitely could have been wiser while we had two solid incomes.  We listened to and read some stuff by Dave Ramsey.  Paid off *almost* all the debts we had… and man are we glad now:)!  But we coulda, shoulda, woulda saved a little more here.  

Then after 6 months of marriage I came home one day and Andrew said "I think I am called to go to seminary.  God is calling me to be a college minister."  This is the same husband that told me he NEVER wanted to go into vocational ministry.  But you know, God calls as where we think we will never go right?

So God provided an awesome teaching job for me in New Orleans, we packed up and went.  

Now we were paying for school, out of pocket and thankfully did not go into debt to do so.  But again looking back, I was working in a well paid teaching job and Andrew had a paid internship in addition to school, we lived on campus in cheap housing.  Another time we coulda, shoulda, woulda saved a little more.  

Toward the end of our time in New Orleans we got pregnant with Bailey Drew.  BD was born in March, Andrew was graduating in May and we had to move off campus.  Oh yea, we also needed a job for Andrew. We did not know exactly what Andrew graduating would bring… but we were sure it would be a job and I may or may not work.  Well… we searched high and low for jobs… boo job market at that time.  And God provided a one year internship in Statesboro, Georgia.  An internship?  Really?  I mean it was God's provision, but not what we expected.  How were we going to make ends meet?  Did I need a job?  Just for a year?  So many unanswered questions, but we knew were supposed to go, even if it financially did not make sense.  

We went.  I started looking at some local preschools and with in a week or so of being in Statesboro I found a part time preschool job and BD could come and be down the hall form me.  And an anonymous donor paid for BD's tuition.  I mean praise the Lord for His provision, because we did not realize how necessary it was for me to have this job… life is expensive right?

So if you remember I said this was a one year internship.  January rolls around… we start looking, surely by May or June or July at the latest we will have something.  Andrew had a few interviews and one "sure thing,"  that was not a sure thing at all.  And all the while July rolled around and we were going to have to move somewhere and had no job lined up… and God kept saying to me-

"Trust ME.  Not your budget, or your plan or even your emergency fund."

The week before we had to move out we were packing boxes and did not even know where we were moving to!  Andrew gets a call from his home church about the possibility of being a college minister there and within the same week he got another offer.  We went from nothing to choices!  And just in time- again God's provision.  

We ended up coming back to Andrew's home church.  But the lack of job for so long and the "late" timing on the job led us to move in with the in-laws.  I LOVE Andrew's parents, but definitely not my ideal situation! But provision again- we had a place to live.  We did not know where we would be until the last week in July, so I thought I had basically no hope of finding a job.  But I took my application to an awesome half day preschool, they had a teacher quit after the first day (for a different job) and again God had provided the right job at the right time!

During this past year we saved and bought a house.  It was not my ideal scenario of 20% down, 15 year mortgage, but we just could not afford rent for any decent sized place, especially if we were trying to save to get into a house.  We trusted that this was where we needed to be.

We also found out I was pregnant with Jameson… due in July.  This pretty much made it so I could not work the next year, he would be a month old when school started.  It just wouldn't work.  After the school year ended this past May we started making less money than we ever have, in our entire marriage.  While we had planned the budget for one income, it was tight, like super tight and the idea of saving to pay for a car or a big expense or pay down the house, would just be impossible.  

So again God has brought me back to a place of trust in his provision again.  When my dad said a few months ago, "Well, your cars are getting old, you need to start saving for replacements."  I bit my tongue and thought- I know this, but I also know we are where God has called us right now, I have to trust that He will provide just like He always has. 

So right now… I have my feelers out for jobs I can do mostly from home- and I am trusting, we are trusting that God will provide the right thing in the right timing just as He always had.  We are rubbing our pennies together, and watching how God provides.

So really the story is not done… this is where we are now… 
the biggest things I have learned from our journey so far?
*God's provision
*Give even when it is hard or does not make sense
*Budget and save and be smart- but don't trust rely on your emergency fund- trust and rely on God! :)


What is your story?  Or do you have some tips or pointers or anything you think would be encouraging to readers trying to be good stewards of what God has given them?  Email me at and you can share a post! :)


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Life lately...


I am so excited to announce a new venture and passion!  Starting at the end of this month, I am going to be sharing one story a week from friends and their adventure/struggles/stories in budgeting.  
Budgeting, living with in our means, being good stewards of the money God has given us.  These are are all difficult things.  It is good to hear stories from others, relate and grow.  My first stories have been rolling in and I seriously can't wait to share them!
AND… if you have a story you would like to share, please please please email me (  I would love to talk to you and put you on the schedule!


Leah shared some great tips on getting good pictures at Disney!  These tips are good in general too!


BD is officially closer to three than two… is this real life?  She is biggest ball of personality and it is ah-mazing to see her learn.  My little sponge!  Check out her update here and some really cute pics :).


This from Instagram… she loves him so fiercely...


Favorite posts of the week…

Making this this weekend


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BD 2 1/2 years...

Oh Bailey Drew...
When did I have to stop counting months and have to start counting years? I am trying not to blink, but each time I do you are another day older.

2.5 years…
You talk so much and understand more than I ever imagined you would at this point.  
Your personality is booming.  
You are spunky, in charge and have a great sense of humor.
You have leadership qualities and perseverance…
we are praying that we will be able to steer you well in those qualities!
You run and jump (or try to at least).
You have "big friends" and "little friends" and love them both!
Your favorite thing to do is to read books… I think you would sit and listen to a chapter book if we tried it.
You love movies too.
You are all about a party.
School is your favorite, you come home and tell us about Jesus, lost coins and friends.
You love Disney.  I never imagined taking you ayr 2 years old would have such an impact but you ask all the time, "Can we go to Disney today?" and tell us about the trip and draw pictures of it too.
You are potty trained, and still very proud of your self for that (as are we :)).
You LOVE your little brother so much.  You talk about him, read to him, hug him, take care of him.  
You are a helper.

Each day we pray for you. That you will walk in the truth of the Gospel.  That you will give thanks in everything and truly learn to talk to God and listen.  That you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  

Even as I write this it is quite possible that I will blink again and you will be 3… but I am going to soak in 2 1/2 today :)