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...a mommy with a passion for saving, personal finance and investing

Women’s Personal Finance Network

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Yesterday Lexi and I ventured to the library together for the first time.

As soon as we stepped into the sunniness of the lobby, I felt right at home. Libraries are like the perfect sanctuary—where it is okay to tip-toe about and wander a bit lost before stumbling into different worlds. It is okay to slip away for a time. To engage in deep thought. Everyone keeps a respectful distance and no one questions or judges you or anything. Nobody gives a shit.

Lexi and I shilly-shallied near the rear stacks. A smartly dressed man was glancing through Forbes magazine and we maneuvered past him to settle into a quiet seating area near the window. The cresting rail of the chair dug into my back as I hoisted Lexi onto my lap. I twisted about to get comfortable in order to get through some readings of Dr. Seuss and Curious George.

Look, Mommy! Lexi pointed in awe at all of the dragons and faeries and stories full of whimsy surrounding us, her rosebud lips forming a delicate ‘o’ as tiny features filled up with that concentrated wonder of: omg, so many books! A wee imagination that was unfolding into new and different worlds of exploration and magical adventures.

My itty-bitty bookworm.

A library is where books live and it’s impossible not to feel tranquil in that quiet atmosphere. I love circling through all of the stacks and slowly thumbing through the different volumes before delving into a certain section. As silly as it sounds, somehow it makes me feel more illuminated. More relaxed. As if somehow the books are transferring their deepest secrets to me.

Does that sound insane?

books
…perhaps not, but books can be that perfect companion.

Have you recently visited a local library or bookstore?

~¤~¤~

If you haven’t had an opportunity to do so, here is a list of reading material to sustain you through the weekend. So grab a coffee and relax with some of these epic reads from the personal finance blogosphere:

The First Million is the Hardest – The 99 Best Personal Finance Posts of 2012

Femme Frugality – For the Love of a Turtle

Brick by Brick Investing – Slow is Smooth & Smooth is Fast

My Money Design – Welcome Back to Work – Did You Notice Your Paycheck is Lower?

Tackling Our Debt – Blog Planner – Grab Your Free Digital Copy

LBee and the Money Tree – Financial Realities: Living with Endometriosis

Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses – Bye Bye Rainy Vancouver, Hello Sunny Thailand!

Frugal Rules – Even More Blogging Tips From a Beginner

Edward Antrobus – December 2012 Net Worth Update

When Life Gives You Lemons…Add Vodka – Beat Those Winter Blues

Monster Piggy Bank – Using Coupons to Save Money

Reach Financial Independence – 13 Money Resolutions for 2013: #6 Crush Your Debt!

Young Adult Money – Save Money: 5 Sources of Free Entertainment

The Money Principle – About New Year’s Resolutions, Saving and Wasting

Modest Money – Not Paying For Someone Else’s Mistakes

Debt RoundUp – Should You Consolidate Credit Card Debt?

Work Save Live – Rock That Debt – Reader’s Budget Analysis

Canadian Budget Binder – Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving

Club Thrifty – My Escape from Hotel Hell

Master the Art of Saving – Saving Up Money To Pay Cash For A Car

Digital Personal Finance – How Frequently Should You Check Your Investments?

Happy reading!

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I am on a quest for that perfect bag.

For the past few years I have been hauling around an ultra cheap purse that quite literally is on its last threads. Little bits are starting to flake off the strap and the seams are becoming undone. The bottom is spongy and torn and getting ready to let loose. I figured it was time to buckle down and make a serious effort to do some bag hunting to find a suitable replacement.

And being that Lexi and I are grappling with nasty colds, which has made it difficult to concentrate on anything productive these last two days, I used the opportunity to fudge around online and mindlessly browse for some price options. Meanwhile I am trying not to bash my head on the keyboard. (This is the third time I’ve had to stop to blow my nose since starting this paragraph, yecch.)

I envisioned a quality mid-cost leather satchel for all of my essentials: bottled water, a  mini tablet, a journal and pen, my cell phone, a wallet or pouch for credit cards and my keys. Something cute and original. Perhaps a tad boho-esque, with a charming dash of Indiana Jones.

However I have no clue what an efficient price threshold for a quality mid-range leather bag is. $100? $300? As I am researching these things, Etsy has been an addicting solution for stumbling upon that perfectly unique handmade or vintage bag.

I despise head colds and my inability to concentrate BUT I have discovered some darling bags on Etsy during my down time. ;)

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handmade leather-canvas backpack. (Source: Etsy)

I love the generous size and the earthy tones of this unisex leather-canvas backpack. I really admire that faded beat-up look and this handmade pack looks to be of decent quality. I could definitely see this pack accompanying me on many different adventures. Original, and just too adorable! ($85.00 by SandyLeatherBag)

camel_messenger_bag
vintage camel leather messenger. (Source: Etsy)

The description says this vintage camel leather messenger is for men but I totally would use it! I love how durable this bag appears and depending on how easy those buckles unsnap, it might be the perfect bag for a writer. At 18″ however, this is probably a bit too bulky for my personal preference. ($89.00 by Genuine Goods)

And for the romantic at heart…

antique_satchel
an antique leather satchel. (source: Etsy)

Seriously, how cool is this?? According to the seller, this is an antique leather satchel from the early 1900′s that once belonged to a British officer in the Royal Navy and it has spent an entire life at sea. Talk about an abundance of character in every ding. This beautiful one-of-a-kind antique satchel may require special treatment and extra TLC but it is sure to inspire the dreamer and poet in all of us. ($60.00 by Rolling Hills Vintage)

I always feel a bit reluctant to purchase a big ticket item without being able to touch or view it first. Have you used Etsy before? What is the most you would spend on a bag?

Okay, time to tend to Lexi. She is getting very restless and is a bit uncertain on how to deal with all of the mucous oozing through her system right now. The poor wee mite.

Until next time. Sniffle. Cough.

=^..^=

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Holy smokes. I logged into this site last night and immediately I was battered by one hundred and eighteen 129 spam comments—all from yesterday. (Oops, more came through this morning.)

Was there a change or update somewhere that I have been oblivious to, that is attracting all of these unsolicited messages? This is my first instance of being pelted so ferociously by spamm-y comments. Usually I will receive a handful, but never of this magnitude. Is anyone else experiencing an exponential increase of spam on their own site?

So last night I sipped on fizzy wine and noodled around in my comments folders, trying not to get swallowed up in the unrelenting density of spam.

Here is a quick update on my writing project currently underway (a collaborative personal finance e-Book I am working on with several other financial bloggers):

I began writing actual words on Wednesday and I am in the process of producing a rough tattered first draft. Also it has been difficult to reach my desired word count for each day so I’ve been toying with several different writing methods, one of which I dub the ‘mental vomit’ technique, and it has worked splendidly.

I tend to agonize and stutter over every word, which seriously disrupts and paralyzes the whole thought process, and therefore this mental vomit method has been absolutely brilliant with snuffing out that bitchy inner-critic and editor, in order to just get the damn words flowing.

Basically I set a timer (usually for ten minutes or so) and then force myself to write as quickly as possible to capture my stream of consciousness during that time frame. I am so easily distracted and it actually helps to turn off my computer screen and just pound out the words. Now I can splay thoughts across the page in a deliciously deranged fashion and later return to craft something tidier and more presentable from all of that mayhem.

This has been a great technique with slicing through that mental barrier of having to stare in terror at the blank page. Do you have your own writing techniques that help you push through your own barriers? I love hearing about this stuff!

Also: remember that short list of inexpensive indulgences to pamper myself with this winter? Santa must have been reading because I received a beautiful black soft-cover Moleskine writing journal for Christmas, y’all! Finally a place to capture those spur-of-the-moment thoughts and ideas.

Many of you related to my New Years resolution to stop being such a damn shut-in, and I have been making an effort to reach out to my social circle for catch-up coffee dates and other niceties. Seriously I need to get out of my head more.

And also: progress on my ‘read a book each month’ resolution. Things were so hectic with the baby last year that I severely neglected any type of substantial reading due to time constraints.

Currently a copy of Pound Foolish: Exposing the dark side of the personal finance industry by Helaine Olen is resting on top of my favorite canvas tote that depicts a loveable devil character carrying a tray of cookies, with the words: WELCOME TO THE DARK SIDE—WE HAVE COOKIES scrawled across the front. (Looove this tote bag!) Anyway Pound Foolish appears as if it aims to shred apart personal finance gurus, such as David Bach, Jim Cramer, Suze Orman, et al. I am still on the first chapter but so far it is an interesting read. My goal is to have fifty pages of Pound Foolish read by Monday.

How are your resolutions developing? Reasonable progress here and so far not a bad start to 2013.

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The holidays nearly are over, oof. This week I will return to my regular schedule of visiting/reading/commenting on everybody’s fabulous blogs that unfortunately I have been missing out on. And overall playing catch-up with writing duties. It has been a strange feeling to be so absent from the blogging community these past few weeks and I look forward to interacting with you all again soon-ish.

Here are a few resolutions for 2013:

1. Start a dream journal.

2. Write every day. EVERY DAY.

3. Increase writing productivity. Blog maintenance and project participation is an excellent way to encourage consistent writing, in order to build up that mental muscle of transitioning thoughts to words (somewhat) gracefully. Also to continue to explore different styles in an effort to find my true writing voice.

4. Stop being such a damn shut-in. Be nicer and not so guarded with others and balance it somehow with the isolation of a robust writing schedule. I tend to clam up around those I don’t know very well and may come off as aloof, which makes me cringey because it really, truly, is not how I feel. It is just overwhelming and draining to be stuck in a crowd.

5. Continue to set new financial savings goals, even as a stay-at-home mommy. Purchase stock.

6. Seek out a cause I am passionate for and volunteer my time.

7. Have the gumption to finish a hands-on project. Bake more. Sew.

8. Unplug more with M. by incorporating “date nights” into our post-baby life. So more time with Hubs away from Bubs.

9. Learn to play chess.

10. Become more comfortable with spending money! Though I am a rabid saver, rarely will I splurge. For example, my purse is frayed and disintegrating—a quality-bought chewy leather replacement would be beautiful and useful.

11. Read a book each month.

Those are some of my resolutions, what about yours? Sweet mother of Cheetos this year flew by.

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Dear interwebs: I have dipped into a zillion different types of desserts and some spiced wine and it is GLORIOUS. Happy holidays to all—don’t get too loaded, you smurfs.

christmas_tree
a jolly ‘olly Christmas

Wishing you all a happy, healthy New Year (or, as my drunk Uncle might mumble: “Merry Christmas and Happy Go-to-hell.”)

hugs,
me.

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Noticeably I have been absent this week, and the third “Hi, are you dead?” type of email just popped into my inbox. I am fine, my zexy kittens. It just has been a frenetic, nutsy type of week.

Here is a quick spewing of mental vomit, with a recap. (And apologies for wonky grammar!):

Relatives arrived from out-of-state and four adults plus two toddlers squished into our teensy apartment for a couple of days.

My sleep patterns are off since the wee one has been suffering through a pre-Christmas cold.

Yesterday M. and I were about to wrap up our Christmas shopping and we were just getting ready to reach for our coats to beat it to the mall before the crowds became intolerable, when suddenly our rambunctious toddler came barreling into the living area, tripped over our tawny rug and face-planted straight onto the oval coffee table.

Immediately I scooped her up and said, “Okay, wow, we have to go to the emergency room. NOW.” Daddy started losing his shit and I chastised him to stop scolding Lexi because her lip would start quivering and the big crocodile tears would start, and then her forehead would wrinkle, causing MORE blood to gush out of the deep inch-long laceration over her left eyebrow, and blood all ready was pooling on the shoulder of her lilac jammies with the dancing teddy bears.

Daddy calmed down and gently wrapped gauze around her brow and we spent the next few hours of our evening in the ER while Lexi received five stitches to her left eyebrow. The hospital staff strapped her down to tiny papoose board (a full body restraint) and covered her eyes during the procedure and she shook like a leaf and bawled while I stood next to her feeling terribly helpless.  But I forced myself to sound calm and I soothingly talked to her in a loud clear voice during the entire procedure, reminding her that it was just like being swaddled as a newborn and that Mommy and Papa were right there and her kitty was waiting for her at home, and I assured her how brave she was being and kept giving quick updates on where the doctor was in the stitching procedure, and immediately I nursed her on the boob the very second I could snatch her up from that horrific metal table.

Lexi gave me a bewildered, yet charming smile through her tears and chomped away on the booby while the doctor shuffled out and the poor male nurse was trying to register her vitals through all of the commotion. But thankfully my sweet butter bean was calmer and visibly comforted.

The little stinker was merrily giggling and caroling baby gibberish to Mommy on the drive home from the hospital. I, however, have been more than slightly traumatized and was shaken by this whole she-bang. Once we arrived home and Lexi was tucked in bed, my strong exterior crumpled. Scary, scary.

If I could offer any advice to new parents, it would be: always to follow your intuition. If your instinct tells you that baby is fine immediately following an accident, they probably are. However in that split second if your gut is screaming that something is wrong, LISTEN. Don’t ever squelch that voice.

Soo we busily have been prepping for Christmas with cookies and brunches and a hodgepodge of other festivities, and since I didn’t want to sully anybody’s holiday plans, I did allow Lexi to participate in Christmas-y things today as long as she took it easy. She proudly toddled about and showed off her healing stitches to family. Now we call her our Lil Scarface and quip about how she will have more scars than the boys, although really that is SO not funny.

Also this week amid all of the family drama, the End of Days slunk past us rather uneventfully.

And besides the blustery weather and fretting over snow tires, there actually was some good news to share.

M. has been offered a raise at his work come mid-January, which is a terribly exciting and welcoming development on the financial front.

And I am noodling around on a novel that has been marinating in the background for some time now, and this new year I will be polishing up the first draft.  This is an entirely new venture and I am excited to see where it may lead. At least it will feel cathartic to breathe life into some of these raw ideas. Also I have been offered a fantastic opportunity to work on a collaborative writing project with a handful of other financial bloggers for this coming month. (More news on this forthcoming.)

I look forward to enjoying a saner January, and I hope your holidays are ruling.

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Enter below to win $100.00 Cash through Paypal or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice) !!

Have you gone buck wild with your finances and now you are broke and dwelling in the poor house with threadbare pockets? Financial responsibility begins with you. Now is the time to stop making excuses and derailing your financial progress. Here is how to steer your paltry finances back on track to begin paving the way to riches and financial prosperity, proactively.

Aim for financial stability. Practice these simple adages that warrant repeating because they are so important, such as: spend less than you earn and save up an emergency fund, etc. Yes, it really is that simple. You will never get to the good stuff of wealth accumulation until these first two steps are conquered and you can place yourself on firmer financial ground to plant fertile seeds of prosperity.

Negotiate debt repayments. Debt is like quicksand gobbling up any type of financial progress unless your debt is providing passive income streams (such as a mortgage on an income property). If your debts are sucking the life out of your wallet, you’re sinking down a slippery deep hole of stagnation. Contact each of your debtors and try to re-negotiate a payment plan that will allow a bit more flexibility and financial wiggle room and, as a sign of good faith, be sure to stay on top of each payment and contact debtors immediately if you know you may be late on a payment. Show a willingness to responsibly work through the situation with your debtors and then focus on aggressively vanquishing each of your debt beasts.

Stop spending strictly for today. By utilizing credit today, you are using your future earnings and future life energy to deprive yourself of tomorrow. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? Instead stay out of the vicious debt trap by saving first for the items and experiences you crave.  If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it!

Step away from a mindless consumerism mentality through more conscious spending. Be aware of each purchase and only buy what you truly love. Try to adopt a more minimalist lifestyle and eradicate all of the useless clutter in your life.

To celebrate this concept of not having enough money and how to avoid financial destitution, Broke-Ass Mommy is teaming with other personal finance blogs to help sponsor the ‘Not Enough Money at the End of the Month’ giveaway, with a prize of $100 Cash through Paypal or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice).

Here is how you may enter for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to all of my broke-ass participants!

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Did you enjoy this giveaway from Broke-Ass Mommy? Be awesome and vote for it by clicking below.

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

(This contest has been submitted to Instant Win.)

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Apparently it’s that time again and as the countdown to Christmas continues, here is a fabulous list of articles from the personal finance community to occupy your quieter moments. So find an opportunity to buckle down and snuggle onto the couch to sip on a hot drink in your favorite mug. At the moment I am indulging in a mellow toasty coffee with a splash of heavy cream, mmm, and watching tiny birds joyously flit from branch to branch outside the window. Blissful.

So dear reader, laze about with me and enjoy this weekend scouring edition of Broke-Ass Mommy, filled with some winter babies of the fuzzy nature.

polar_bear_cub
Brr! All ready for the winter! (source)

First up is some link crushin’ and I really enjoyed reading all of these posts from some of my favorite financial blogs. Here are some epic reads to cozy up to:

Brick By Brick Investing – How A Single Person Should Live If They Want To Be Rich

Tackling Our Debt – Blog Planner – An Effective Way to Organize and Manage Your Blog

My Money Design – Budgeting Advice to Help Keep You Motivated

Frugal Rules – First Steps to Investing in the Stock Market

Monster Piggy Bank – Has Christmas Become too Commercial?

Reach Financial Independence – Little house in Guatemala, week 6

Club Thrifty – Guarding Your Personal Information from Corporate Interests

Pelican on Money – Has Your Boss Been Naughty or Nice?

Canadian Budget Binder – Winter Vehicle Maintenance…Costing You Less In The Long Run

Free in Ten Years – Men: Save money by cutting your own hair

Femme Frugality – The Best Way for College Students to Stay Financially Fit

Making Sense of Cents – Maintaining a Minimalist Wardrobe

Young Adult Money – Is Collecting things a Waste of Time and Money?

Debt RoundUp – Free Shipping Day Is December 17

When Life Gives You Lemons…Add Vodka – The Zero Food Waste Challenge: 10 Tips to Avoid Throwing Food Out

Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses – Battle of the Bulge – Losing Weight with the Help of a Scale

The Frugal Path – Credit Cards: Do You Spend More With Them?

The Dog Ate My Wallet – Becoming a Better Boss, Now That I Don’t Have Anyone to Boss Around

Master the Art of Saving – How To Decide Which Financial Goal To Tackle First

Edward Antrobus – Bad Behaviors at a Company Holiday Party

Work Save Live – How Do You View Your Money?

The Money Principle – Four reasons why freelancing leaves me lukewarm

First Million Blog – Saving Half of My Income – Can It Be Done?

Digital Personal Finance – Income Is Important!

baby-penguin
Mama! (source)

Some Broke-Ass Mommy Golden Oldies. Enjoy these golden oldies dug up from the archives:

  • Baby Dribbly-Doo – Those beginning months of Mommyhood are just hilaaaarious. Here is when Lexi first started experiencing extreme separation anxiety.
  • An ‘I’m Frazzled’ Friday” – Sometimes you wake up and just, oof. Frayed nerves spooling everywhere. Here is how I cope with an episode of the frazzleds. Grumble.

Broke-Ass Mommy was featured in the following carnivals: (a colossal thank-you to each host)

  1. Yakezie Carnival at RamblingFever Money
  2. Carnival of Retirement at Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses
  3. Y and T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
  4. Carnival of Financial Planning at Master the Art of Saving
  5. Carnival of MoneyPros at Life Insurance by Jeff

snow_leopard
a purring beauty

And now, some gratuitous searches that may have led you here:

“important financial lessons I’ve learned” … do share.

“frazzled” … bourbon helps.

“grimy bitches quotes” … hah!

“need coffee good morning” … I am so dreadfully tired too.

Let me know how your weekend is chugging along.

=^..^=

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Dearest Lexi, as your mommy, the things I am not.

  1. I am not your chew toy to gnaw on to test-drive pointy little incisors.
  2. Nor is my nipple.
  3. I am not The Keeper of your stuffed animals. There will be a new rule: if YOU chuck Mr. Blobby into the toilet, YOUR FATHER will fish out the toy.
  4. Speaking of whom, I am not here to be meddlesome and cast a disapproving eye on all of your rowdy skirmishes with Papa. Heckle him back.
  5. I am not inclined to lock into a dubious battle with you over meals by trying to jam stuff down your gullet.
  6. As your mommy, I am not a dumping ground for unsolicited advice from others. Therefore I am not going to allow quibblers, with their endless heaping of opinions/criticism, to undercut my natural parental instinct. Although I will consult our pediatrician or peers I respect, my intuition is still the best handbook on the market.
  7. I am not obligated to endure your spits of tantrum or to engage in wrestling matches with you over attire, and I have no qualms about shipping you off to the funny farm. (Psyche!)
  8. I am not your best friend and sometimes things I do or say are really going to piss you off.
  9. I am not going to be amused and sweet when you wiggle into bed at four in the morning and slap me in the face. (And then incidentally snuggle right back to sleep, you little punk.) You need to learn to respect my sleep and to be kinder to old people, especially this crotchety bat.
  10. Despite my best efforts I am not a perfect mommy. This is what you’re stuck with, I’m afraid.

Anyhoodle, I love you.
hugs, me.

=^..^=

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Brrr…

I am lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and you can find me scurrying about like a loony as I efficiently attempt to get everything scratched off of our to-do list. Time simply is evaporating and things are a wee berserk around here. Family is arriving from Montana on Friday evening and it will be stirring and thrilling for Lexi to spend time with her cousin. As I scrub and scour our apartment and hasten to accomplish everything else that needs doing before then, I will leave you with some pretty wickedly fabulous giveaways that you really ought to be entering.

Okay, my broke-ass readers, here are some holly jolly winter giveaways for your perusing pleasure:


Ho ho ho!

Good luck to all of my broke-ass participants!

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She paints a world inside her room. A sea of violet covered stars. She finds a home inside this cold. She never sleeps enough to ever feel sane.

~Janus, “Lifeless”

Okay, I’m stressed out. It’s been an insane whirl of activity with holidays and family obligations and lack of sleep due to toddler teething and trying to minimize all of the useless clutter surrounding us and writing projects building up and dealing with all of this December-y stuff. Sooo in the midst of all of these convulsive duties, it feels as if the days are just being guzzled up too rapidly!

Chop-chop.

Here is how I expeditiously try to retain any shred of sanity, with some gentle reminders to myself:
(Note: I am a work in progress still.)

Reminder #1. – Always strive for excellence, but cast perfectionism tendencies aside, darling. I seriously need to stop being so anal because at this point it simply is masochistic assholery. When I am sluggish and pale with a pulsating throb penetrating through my left temple from sleep deprivation, it is perfectly okay to leave the dishes for an hour or five. The immaculate carpet scrubbing also can wait. But when the cat barfs all over the rug (again), it needs to be taken care of promptly. Drats, that bitty-kitty miscreant!

Reminder #2. – Create boundaries and stick to them. Nothing has been more empowering than creating my own standards and boundaries that are not dictated by anybody else. This really has been a work in progress as well as an incredible experience. The tender, blossoming me used to be a gi-normous people pleaser, which is absurd and kind of a dick move because it is also futile. So I am learning how to stop taking anybody’s baloney!

Reminder #3. – Stop trouncing myself with guilt. Repeat to self ad nauseam: do not feel guilty about not accomplishing the zillions of things hastily scribbled on my roseate Post-It Notes. Do not feel a tinge of guilt over needing to shift gears unexpectedly. I am not infallible and can only do so much at once and that is perfectly peachy-keen, jelly bean.

Reminder #4. – Prioritize wisely. If writing becomes a priority, there is no question that I will carve that time out and make the English language dance across the page somehow. Occasionally however my priorities flip-flop and family takes precedence. In fact family trumps work, always.

Case in point: I tuned into my favorite streaming radio station (hence the Janus lyrics quoted above) and my sweet butter bean has now disrupted me three times while writing this paragraph, begging to be scooped into my arms for a tango. I probably will have to write slightly past my mental deadline now due to this but that is okay.—Check time, yep. Wrapping this up an hour late.—She truly puts things into perspective, which leads me to the most salient of points:

Reminder #5. – Be flexible and learn to efficiently adapt. With children things can change rapidly at any given moment so I try not to have too much austerity in my day. Actually I enjoy following Lexi’s lead and just when I think I’ve hammered down one routine, she keeps me on my toes and shakes things up a bit. (Right now we happen to be in the teething phase, the absolute pits!) But I’m more than happy to slip into her groove.

Putting these reminders into practice helps me to retain a sense of humor and appreciate the absolute ridiculousness in even the seemingly mundane. All of this pandemonium provides excellent fodder for writing, nonetheless, and when all else fails: a nip of scotch is the perfect panacea.

Soo my darlings, how do you strive to balance it all? Any particular coping mechanisms to slash through all of the objectives etched into your daily agenda?

=^..^=

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Okay, this is why it totally is dangerous for me to have expendable cash burning a hole through my pocket. Because I will go all out pirate rogue and that sometimes can be a very thorny issue. Or in this case, horn-y. No, not like that, you pervs. Recently I acquired THIS from a private collector:


Some pirate booty for the family coffers. My lustrous itty-bitty 1/20 oz gold unicorn is killing it with her miniature awesome-ness.

Merry Christmas to meeeeeee!

So I’ve plumped up the family coffers with a new member to my coin collection. (Remember my recent purchase: an Isle of Man 1 oz gold Angel coin? Hey, that one was not my fault. Discover card practically twisted my arm with their cash back incentive, those cheeky muffs.)

This latest addition has been dubbed LuLu the Unicorn and she is sheer miniature awesome-ness.

My mystical unicorn coin is a teensy 1/20 ounce of gold, roughly the size of my pinky nail, and she arrived snugly sealed in the original packaging from the Mint, accompanied by a tiny scroll of authenticity scribed in Chinese. I can’t read it, of course, so maybe it’s really a treasure map to a hidden portal leading to a magical dimension, full of real dragons waiting to rend away our fleshy bits! And unicorns to slay the demons. Or maybe it’s really a tiny magic carpet for other miniature unicorns to frolic on and all cruise around racing each other. Because even though LuLu is only a bust portrait I am pretty sure she lacks wings.

Regardless.

The Chinese Mint released their mystical Unicorn coin series from 1994 until 1997, which features different depictions of Qi’lin (the Asian Unicorn) on the obverse and the Western Unicorn on the reverse. LuLu is from the 1996 breed and eventually I hope to collect more of these rare coins from this limited series. I do find the Chinese artwork and detail on these coins stunningly beautiful. Also it would be neat to gradually hoard accumulate a unicorn coin collection for Lexi. However, although LuLu herself is not a rarity, some of her more elusive coined cousins can cost upward of thousands of dollars.

So that is LuLu, the teensy gold Unicorn, and she’s now all mine. My preciousss.

Isn’t she swell?

=^..^=

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Enter below to win $100.00 Cash through Paypal or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice) !!

Hello everyone, did you have a productive weekend? I am excited to announce our latest giveaway for this broke-ass Monday. With ever-increasing food prices haunting us, the theme of this giveaway will be dealing with the relevant financial issue of how to save money on grocery shopping.


Cool the beans there, Homer.

Here are a few ways that my family attempts to cope with inflationary food prices:

  • Always try to buy in season. We enjoy frequenting the farmers market and community co-op to purchase local produce and fruit in season. This saves us a tremendous amount of money since we establish personal relationships with local farmers. Certain farmers recognize us each week and provide us with some awesomely killer deals!
  • Invest in quality foods that are nutrient-dense. Purchase organics whenever possible. This may seem like a more expensive option but in fact may be saving butt loads of money on a slew of health problems and medical bills in the long term. Your cells replenish at an alarming rate so give your cells the necessary fuel they need to help renew your organs and body in the healthiest possible manner. (Remember the old adage, you are what you eat?)
  • Consider coupons, sales and any other discounts offered. Also consider investing in your community in the process. Our community co-op is three blocks from our apartment and offers attractive discounts to members (those who pay a flat annual fee to own shares, or a slice, of the business). Being a co-op member not only gives me deeper daily discounts on every product when I shop, but I also receive a dividend check based on the overall profits of the co-op at the end of the year. Also I actively can engage in my community and have a say on the co-op’s offered foods/merchandise and be familiar with their sources. Hecka cool!
  • Forego big name brands for generic if quality is similar. If the taste, quality and ingredient list are the same, don’t be fooled by big fancy marketing schemes by paying out the caboose for a fancy-schmancy ‘designer’ label. Consider generic options whenever possible.

And, the number one tip for saving money on your bulging grocery shopping bill:

  • Plant your own garden! My family always is amazed at the quantity of food a very simple garden can produce. Consider growing some of your own basic staples: tomatoes, peppers, onion, beans, herbs, etc. The rewards from growing your own food by nurturing your garden and watching it flourish are enormous. Cool beans, right?

Sooo to celebrate this concept of saving where it matters to rescue your wilting wallet, Broke-Ass Mommy is teaming with other personal finance blogs to help sponsor the ‘Save Money on Groceries’ giveaway, with a prize of $100 Cash through Paypal or Amazon gift card (winner’s choice).

Here is how you may enter for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck to all of my broke-ass participants!

=^..^=

Did you enjoy this giveaway from Broke-Ass Mommy? Be awesome and vote for it by clicking below.

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(This contest has been submitted to Sweepstakes.)

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Has the weekend arrived all ready?

Time seems to evaporate sometimes in our little apartment. Even with trembling barren branches scraping across the bedroom window and the onset of dark gray skies, time is standing still.

I love jamming chilly toes into my pale gray slippers or wool socks in the morning. Sipping on Egyptian licorice tea, which has a subtle warming sweetness without being cloying. Gazing at Lexi as she naps so contently against my chest, all flopsy and delicious and warm. I am enjoying these winter-ish mornings, as a crisp dappling glow creeps through the room to lap at the threads of our mahogany couch. Quiet moments that stir my soul and allow me to scamper through the meadows of my imagination.

My butter bean loves to chatter now, although I can’t understand more than a word or two of her gibberish. It is her own secret language to know and if I’m lucky, she will allow me an occasional glimpse inside her magical little world. I am so humbled by her and my days feel so, so full.

When she smiles, my world explodes. Full of wonder. My sweet girl.


Why, don’t I look dapper this a.m.?

And now it is time for some link crushin’. Enjoy some of these epic reads from the personal finance blogosphere to cozy up to:

The Free Financial Advisor – Can’t Save? Write It Out, Bitches!

Pelican on Money – 10 Habits of People Who Are Well Off

Master the Art of Saving – Getting the Most From Your Life Altering Moments

Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses – Taking Personal Finance Blogs with a Grain of Salt

Making Sense of Cents – Identity Theft (Someone bought a house in my name)

Femme Frugality – Upcycle Scarves into Hats

Frugal Rules – How do Credit Cards Make Money? I Found Out the Hard Way

Plunged in Debt – Curb Watching and Ways to Get Free Stuff

Canadian Budget Binder – Budgeting With Mr.CBB Got Us Back On Track!

Reach Financial Independence – Being Outside of Average

Modest Money – It’s Your Blogging Journey, You Make The Rules

Club Thrifty – Toys ‘R Us Corporate Policy: Stealing?!?

Broke-Ass Mommy was featured in carnivals this week:

I have been receiving a steady increase of organic traffic through Google search terms and here were some of the highlights this week.

And now, some gratuitous searches that may have led you here:

“a broke ass first time” … I certainly empathize, my friend. My wallet is empty too.

“scrooge mcduck investing” … yeesss!

“funny rat with hair” … i found a funny rat with fuzzy white patches when I opened the foyer door to our apartment building. You may claim her from beneath my porch stoops. Answers to the name Miss Squiggy.

“wiped out financial” … Another sympathetic nod. It’s le suckage, I know. Time to start rubbing together those pennies. You’ll probably be fine with discipline. And copious amounts of booze.

(I kid.)

Have a great weekend dudes. Unburden thyself!

=^..^=

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Remember the financial goal I set for myself waaaaaay back in June?

You don’t?  It was when I was determined, as a stay-at-home mommy without a reliable income stream, to forge a financial challenge at the start of summer to raise $1,000, somehow. Yeah. That financial challenge. This is how things currently stand:

(All income was made from writing projects, sponsors and focus group participation.)

June – $80.00
July – $57.71
August – $425.80
September – $0
October – $262.50
November$150.00 $250.00

TOTAL: $1,076.01

My response (the censored version): Eeee! I made it!!

My response (slightly uncensored): Hells yeah, muthaf*cka!

I will use this wonderful achievement as initiative to roll out some rousing new goals for December:

Financial? I am stumped. Should I continue forward with my savings goal and plump up the amount to $2,000? Or $5,000? Here is what else I’ve been systematically undertaking:

  1. Implement an envelope savings system and aggressively tackle a specific goal until it has been accomplished. PASS! M. and I resurrected our envelope savings system with all of our objectives clearly prioritized. For instance our most pressing family savings goal is to save up enough dough for a king sized bed. Once this has been accomplished we will continue to move down our list. I am pretty satisfied with this system because it catapulted us into action as opposed to wistfully chit chatting over all of the stuff we want and then remaining stagnant about it. Now we visually can document our progress and propel our ideas into action. (Instead of waffling with “we should…“, it is now “we MUST. And this is how we will…)
  2. Bring my local community checking account to $3,000 while adding $2,000 to my Discover online savings account. FLOUNDERING! I am insanely close to touching these totals, however. Just a reminder that I enjoy keeping a highly liquid amount in my checking while scouring for treasures at local estate sales. I will delve more into this aspect in the future.
  3. Create a Christmas budget 2012 — figure out Secret Santa and home-made/useful gift ideas for loved ones. FLOUNDERING! This was supposed to occur last weekend and for whatever reason didn’t transpire. Progress should be made shortly as we rally our family and pull the names for our Secret Santa exchange. I believe a $30 limit per gift was discussed and agreed upon. Also, I need to order a set of America the Beautiful silver quarters from the U.S. Mint for my father-in-law’s Christmas gift. I’ve been gifting him an annual silver set for the past few years now, and this needs to be done as quickly as possible to ensure timely shipping (PASS! on the coins.)

Blogging goals.

  1. Update Broke-Ass Mommy (minimally) two to three times per week. Thus far I’ve experimented with a Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday posting schedule and a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The latter felt more natural/preferable. PASS!
  2. Comment on others’ blogs and tweet their posts. It seriously takes two seconds to compose a tweet after commenting, so why not share the love? :) PASS!
  3. Consider potentially setting up a Broke-Ass Mommy Facebook account (??). Social media will carry heavy weight in the future, I believe. I am slacking on this front because I lack sufficient time to properly engage fans on Facebook, however.  FLOUNDERING!
  4. Break 200,000 Alexa Ranking. I have been successfully bobbing around the 185-190,000 mark so I want to maintain this momentum. PASS!

Writing Goals.

  1. 500 words a night, minimum. It means manifesting courage to face that dreaded blank screen each and every evening, but it will force me to write continually/more persistently. PASS!

Other Goals.

  1. Yoga, daily. This needs to be a critical priority as I feel quite a transformation with both body and mind while faithfully engaging in yoga. Since I am pretty rusty now, I will need to warm up through the basic asanas (sun salutations) to rebuild my endurance, if necessary. The standing-on-the-head stuff will have to wait.
  2. Find a new and fun recipe per week to experiment with. Preferably, baking. I love baking. :)
  3. Join our community co-op. Now that the farmers market is hibernating for the winter season, M. and I need to look elsewhere for fresh fruit and veggies options. Our local co-op has such a cozy inviting atmosphere, and I would receive a dividend check at the end of the year for co-owning a hunk of it.
  4. Buy storage bins this weekend for de-cluttering our apartment. I totally blame M. for being a packrat. At the very least I need to shuffle a lot of crap into bins and slide them under the bed and into the closets. Then systematically I will go through all of my stuff and trash/sell/donate the bulk of it. I am beginning to realize that too much stuff makes me miserable and slightly derailed. PASS!

There you have it.
Et tu? What are your goals for this month?

=^..^=

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My Broke-Ass Budget

    Striving to reach one financial goal at a time.

    Paid-off Distress Debt:
    $15,000

    Current Net Worth:
    $31, 653

    My current financial challenge, as a stay-at-home mom, is to raise $1,000, somehow.

    Progress:

    $0 $112.50 $372.50 (February 2013)

    Total =
    $372.50 out of $1,000


    $0..................................$1000

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