Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Credit Card I Use Despite our Cash Budgeting Plan

Disclosure: The links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

As you know, we've been trying to follow the Dave Ramsey cash budgeting plan.  Despite understanding the good reasons not to use credit cards as our primary method of payment, I still pull a few credit cards out once in awhile.

One of those cards is the Target REDcard because it truly saves me money on the items I regularly purchase from Target, plus things like wedding gifts and baby gifts and other purchases that I simply like making at Target.  For a long time, I avoided applying for a REDcard because I did not want to have too many credit cards, but I am SO glad that I finally decided to do so.  I've had my REDcard for about 3 years now, and I can't believe that I didn't sign up sooner.

Target REDcard

My favorite feature (by far) is the 5% of every purchase!  5% may not seem like a lot, but it definitely adds up.  Each time you check out, your receipt will tell you how much you have saved throughout the year with your REDcard.  Plus, you can still use the discount with manufacturer coupons, Target coupons, text offers from Target, AND Target Cartwheel.  You can save tons when you stack and combine all of these methods!

Beyond the discount on every purchase, I love the benefit of free shipping from Target.com!  This comes in handy around Christmas each year.  Last year, the Target store location didn't have the toy we wanted to Baby Prez for Christmas, so while I was in line to check out with my other purchases, I ordered the gift from Target.com using my cell phone.

There are so many more benefits like an extra 30 days to return purchases, easy online card management, an immediate approval process, and the choice between a debit card and a credit card.  And through the Take Charge of Education program, you can choose a school and Target will donate up to 1% of your purchases to the school of your choice!  (I'm excited about implementing this part once we move to South Carolina this summer.)  Target has donated over $400 million to schools around the country since 1997!

5% off and Free shipping with Target REDcard

To sign up for your REDcard, CLICK HERE.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Our Weekly Menu {March 22nd}

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday -  Driving home...Mr. Harvey and Miss Coco on their own

Dinner @ HOME Group

Monday - Homemade Cauliflower Crust Pizza with Salad

Tuesday - Pork Roast Paleo Sandwiches with Salad and Fruit

Wednesday - Zoodles and Marinara with Sauteed Mushrooms

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Italian Mushroom Casserole with Veggies

Saturday - Leftovers for Lunch

Pork Roast, Veggies, and Salad for Dinner

Sunday - Leftovers for Lunch

Dinner @ HOME Group

Monday - Almond Crusted Chicken Strips with Carrots and Fruit

Tuesday - Chicken Salad with Spinach Salad, Tomatoes, and Cottage Cheese

I also want to check out these Paleo cookbooks: Against All Grain by Danielle Walker and Make Ahead Paleo by Tammy Credicott!

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post may contain affiliate links.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Our Weekly Paleo-ish Menu {March 15th}

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday - Bacon and Eggs for Lunch

Dinner @ HOME Group

Monday - Almond Crusted Chicken Strips with Carrots and Strawberries

Tuesday Chicken Pad Sew Ew

Wednesday - Collard Wrapped Turkey Burgers with Cucumber Salad

Thursday - Leftovers

Friday - Homemade Paleo Pizza with Cauliflower Crust and Salad

Saturday - Baked Salmon, Collards, & Fruit

Sunday - Leftovers for Lunch

Dinner @ HOME Group

Lunch Boxes for Miss Coco: Egg salad, Leftover turkey burger, Boiled eggs & turkey bacon, 2 lunchables

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mission to Financial Freedom: March Financial Goals

March Financial Goals

For March, we have three major financial goals toward our Mission to Financial Freedom.  One is debt-related, one is savings-related, and one is budget-related.

This month we will finish the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course at church and we'll be on our own.  Yikes!  I've loved the class because it's like a little support group for people who want to be financially free.  Hopefully, I can stay connected with some of the other couples we've met in the group and stay inspired.

Without further ado, here are our March Financial Goals:
  1. Put at least $2,000 in savings.
  2. Pay off one student loan bill @ ~$4,300.
  3. Be on or under budget for the month.
  4. Finish and submit our taxes early.

Overall, we are focused on savings right now instead of debt pay down, but we had one outstanding student bill that we wanted to get paid off right away.  The rest of the student loan balance will wait until this summer or early fall to start the debt snowball on it.

You can read more about our Mission to Financial Freedom HERE.

What are your financial goals for the month of March?

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

3 Crazy Ways to Make Extra Money

3 Crazy Ways to Make More Money

1. Sell your Hair

Seriously.  You can sell your hair online at HairSellon for upwards of $400!

Ideally, buyers are looking for virgin (i.e. not chemically treated) hair of at least 10 inches.  Even so, you can list your hair for sale even if you do not meet these criteria.

My hair (which has been dyed, but could have 10-12 inches cut off easily) is worth $108 according to their Hair Price Calculator.

And a friend of mine recently sold 14 inches of her virgin blonde hair for $400!  Wow!

You find out more information or post an ad to sell your hair HERE.

2. Sell Plasma

I know this one sounds gross, and that's why it is a crazy way to make extra money.  If you live in a reasonably-sized city or a college town, you can likely find a local plasma center.

This is a pretty common way for college students to make extra money, but why not us adults?

The pay for selling plasma varies, but at the local Biotest facility, you earn approximately $40 for the first donation and $50 for each subsequent donation.  You can donate twice per week, which means that you could be making $100/week or over $5,000/year if you were really consistent!

3. Rent out a room or your car

If you have an extra bedroom in your house, consider renting it out to make extra money.  You could go for a regular boarder, but if you just want to make some extra income at various intervals, consider listing the space on AirBnb.  Before we had our first child, I considered renting out our basement bedroom for football game weekends because all of the hotels are sold out far in advance.  One of the great parts about Airbnb is that you have complete control over when your room is available and you have the control to approve or reject people who are interested in renting.  We've also used Airbnb to book vacation rentals and have had great experiences!

Check out the statistics in your area with AirDnA HERE.  
Create your Airbnb listing HERE.

There's also a new service out there similar to Airbnb called RelayRides, but instead of peer renting rooms, you can list your car for rent to make extra money!  Again, you have control over who rents your car and when it can be rented.  What a cool way to make extra money if you have two cars, but could deal with using one car over a busy weekend in town.

These crazy methods to make extra money are definitely going to be out of some people's comfort zones, and that's okay, but if you are willing to go the extra mile, you could earn extra cash painlessly (unless you hate needles)!

What crazy ways have you used to make extra money?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Our Weekly Paleo-ish Menu {March 8th}

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday - Leftover Chicken Salad

Dinner @ HOME Group

Monday - Egg Salad and Fruit for Lunch

Italian Mushroom Bake with Salad for Dinner

Tuesday - BLTs and Fruit for Lunch

Naked Breakfast Burritos for Dinner

Wednesday - Curried Cream of Broccoli Soup for Lunch

Leftovers for Dinner

Thursday - Tuna Salad Sandwiches for Lunch

Nacho Pot Pie for Dinner

Friday - Zoodles with Marinara and Meatballs

Leftovers for Lunch

Saturday - PB&J for Lunch

Chicken Pad Sew Ew for Dinner

Sunday - Leftovers for Lunch

Dinner @ HOME Group

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post contains affiliate links.

American Girl is 30% Off at zulily! Rare sale!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

When I was a little girl, I adored American Girl dolls.  I got the catalog in the mail every month and looked through that catalog constantly.  My favorite doll was always Felicity, but I loved ALL of them!  I still remember the Christmas when I received my Kirsten doll!  And I still have her to this day!

I will always remember my mom and grandma making clothes for Kirsten and playing with her for hours on end.

Well, right now, you can get an American Girl doll for your daughter or granddaughter at a 30% discount.  (Which never ever happened when I was a child.)

Here are my favorites from the discounted options at zulily

American Girl Doll Medium Skin, Layered Brown Hair, Brown Eyes + 2 Outfits $104.99 at zulily
This is the American Girl doll I would get for Baby Girl (assuming she looks at all like Baby Prez).  She even comes with an extra outfit!  So cute!  Check her out HERE.

Soccer Doll Outfit $27.99 at zulily
I also love this soccer outfit!  Not that I was ever a soccer player, but it reminds my of my younger sister, who was a rock-star soccer player back in high school!  
Check it out HERE.

Don't wait to check out these discounted American Girl products
There are already a few that are sold out and 
the sale ends on March 12th!

Find them on zulily HERE.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Friday, March 6, 2015

Five on Friday {Life Lately}

1.  Announcements!

I've alluded to it a few times here on the Harvey Ever After blog, but a comment from a friend recently made me realize that I haven't actually made an official announcement.  So here it is. . .

2.  Godly Women

I'm so excited to start a new Bible study with some lovely ladies from our couples' HOME Group this Saturday (tomorrow!)!  We will be studying Lysa Terkeurst's The Best Yes.

I'm a huge Lysa Terkeurst fan after reading Unglued and meeting her at the Women of Faith Conference last year.

(I am secretly hoping that when we move to South Carolina later this year, that I will happen to run into her on a day trip to Charlotte and that we will immediately become best friends.)

3.  Money, money, money

I've tallied things up and we did awesome with our first month on the Dave Ramsey plan.  I've dubbed the whole thing our "Mission to Financial Freedom," which makes it sound super cool and is somehow motivating for me.  Yay for us!

4.  Baby Prez

My little man is getting so big!  I just can't get over how much he has grown and learned in the past few months.

And this hat.  

He loves hats.

And his hair.

What can I even say about those curls?

5.  Cake & Juice

Here's my wedding cake after two years in the freezer.  Yes, I said two years.  Alexander the Great and I are just terrible at doing things like anniversary celebrations, so finally just over two years after our wedding...the night before Lent began, we finally ate our cake.


Surprisingly, it still tasted delicious.  (I guess that what happens when you wrap the thing in 8 layers of saran wrap, 5 layers of tin foil, and 1 giant freezer bag.

But really, I just want to use my last number to give props to my husband.  He's been juice fasting for Lent, and I'm so impressed that he has juiced for 17 days straight!

Throwback Friday to one of our last real dates at the Ben Carson book signing!

Mostly, he's just awesome.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Coming June 2015 . . .

The announcement is a little overdue, but now it's official!

We are excited to announce that Baby Girl Harvey will be arriving sometime around June 9th!  Baby Prez is excited to be a big brother, and Miss Coco is thrilled to have a new cousin to play with!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mission to Financial Freedom: February Update

We started our Mission to Financial Freedom back in January when we began Financial Peace University at our church.  This is something that it a long time coming, but I'll be honest...I just figured that if we could keep our heads above water, not take on any more debt, and living frugally, that we would figure out the paying off debt part after I graduate with my PhD this summer.

Honestly, I should be ashamed of myself.  

There's no excuse to not take control of your finances and figure out ways to better your financial situation NOW.  Every day we waited, we accrued more interest on student loans and in essence, dug our way further into the debt hole.  Beyond that, there are plenty of reasons to find financial peace.

February was our first full month to really take control and make this mission happen.  You can read the mid-month status here.  Here are the major changes we made:

  • Set up a zero-based budget (we always budgeted, but not using a zero-based system)
  • Moved most transactions from the credit card to cash (I really do love the rewards on my Discover card, but we are going with the Dave Ramsey cash plan for now.)
  • Made a savings/debt payoff goal for the month
  • Decided to actually move that savings money into our savings account so that it was less easily accessible

We were also blessed in February with some unexpected sources of income:
  • I took on an additional course to teach when a professor had to take an unexpected leave of absence, which meant about $500 in income for February and additional income for the rest of the semester
  • Alexander the Great hired four more tutors for NU Tutoring Company and began scheduling them with students 
  • Alexander the Great also took on more tutoring hours himself, which meant that he earned about $500 more than we had budgeted

Our savings goal for the month was $1,000, and instead we were able to earn more, cut expenses, and save $2,119!

Budget-wise, we ended up right on target with most of our line items, but in a few places we were over or under.  Despite meal planning every week, getting the grocery budget right has been a struggle as we have become a family of four in the past year instead of a couple with a breastfeeding baby, plus we have been moving towards eating meals on the Paleo diet.  In case you're not familiar with the Paleo diet, that means we primarily eat fresh produce and meat and no processed foods.  In other words, we eat more of the most expensive items in the grocery store and none of the items I can get for free with coupons!  

We were over budget on: 
  • $32 over budget on groceries
  • $4 over budget on parking, which we had budgeted $0 for

But, we were under budget on:
  • $90 under budget on eating out (our $3 XXL pizza helped out here)
  • $14 under budget on gas (I was very surprised at this one!)
  • $48 under budget on my tuition and fees (again, a nice surprise)

So, the month of February was a budget success.  We are well on our way to accomplishing this Mission to Financial Freedom!

In the next week or so, I'll be posting about why we are not starting the debt snowball right now, but are instead building up savings.

I hope you follow along with us as we continue this adventure!

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Toddler Products I'm Drooling Over Today

It's a window shopping kind of day.  I'm crazy frugal, and when you are on a mission to financial freedom, you have to be frugal.  It's just a requirement.  But, I often think along the lines of "Someday...when I have a better job, when we own a house, when we have more money..."

You get the idea.

And without further ado, here are a few of those things that I would love to have for my toddler, still known as Baby Prez.

1. Booster Seats

Baby Prez has decided that he is too grown up to sit in his highchair and with a new-to-us dining table that takes up much more room in our dining room than our old dining table, I'm inclined to agree that it is time for the high chair to go.  I'm wanting to get a booster seat for him, and honestly, I'll probably find one on Craigslist.  But, if not, these are the ones I have my eye on!

I love that this one comes with a chair pad and is a neutral color.
Available at Target or Amazon

How awesome is this travel booster that folds us with a handle and a storage compartment?!  I would use this at home and on-the-go!
Available at Target or Amazon

2. Big Face Mickey Mealtime Set

Baby Prez loves Mickey right now because he gets to watch one episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse each day at daycare, so he has been picking out shirts with Mickey on them and notices Mickey on his place mat at dinnertime.  So, he would just love this set, and so would I!  It's so cute!

Right now it's available at Zulily.com or Amazon!

3. Daniel Tiger Pillowcase and More!

Baby Prez is also loving Daniel Tiger these days after we discovered the show on Netflix.  He loves that Daniel Tiger has a "Tiggy" just like he has a "Teddy".  How cute is this personalized pillowcase?!

Available at Zulily

4. Woody Cowboy Hat

Maybe my kiddo likes too many characters these days, but he loves his Woody doll (that used to be his Daddy's), and he's a bit crazy about hats!  I think he would look super cute running around with a this Woody cowboy hat!

The hat is even a pretty good deal right now at zulily for $14.99.  (It's $19.95 at Amazon.)
Disney Toy Story Cowboy Hat

5. Little People Bus

For Christmas, we got Baby Prez the Little People Pirate Ship.  He loves it, but still steals Miss Coco's Barbie car every chance he gets.  So, the last toddler toy I'm drooling about is this Little People School Bus!

Available at Target

Well, I'm done window shopping for now!

But I'd love to hear about your favorites - What toddler products are wishing for right now?

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Sunday, March 1, 2015

weekly wallet wins {week 9/52}

Thanks for joining us on our Mission to Financial Freedom!  It wasn't a landslide week, but I found a few deals at the end of February!

saving money on weekly wallet wins

For the Little Ones

Valentine's Clearance 90% off at Walgreens
     10 Activity pads @ $.19 or $.02 each
     1 pink rubber ducky @ $.19
= $.19 + $.19 = $.38

These made great filler items for some the other deals/transactions I had at Walgreens this past week!

For Our Tummies

Butterball Turkey Bacon on Sale at Walgreens
     2 packages @ $1.29 each
     used 2 $.75 off coupons
= $2.58 - $1.50 = $1.08 or $.54 per package

Hiland Whole Milk on Sale at Walgreens
     1 gallon @ $2.99
     submitted for $.40 Ibotta rebate
= $2.99 - $.40 = $2.59

Banana Chips @ $.99

Used 2 $2 Register Rewards (from transactions below), so my total for the bacon, milk, and banana chips was only $.66 out of pocket

FREE - Leftovers all week long!  Last Sunday, Alexander the Great made a gigantic batch of chicken fried rice for our HOME Group.  Either our group didn't eat much or we made way too much...or both, but we had tons of leftovers.  So, instead of using up all of the groceries I had bought for meals last week, we ate chicken fried rice.  Over and over and over again.  And I even froze a full 9x13 sized pan of it for sometime in a few weeks!

For the Bathroom

It may not be exciting, but it is necessary.

Kotex Feminine Products Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off at Walgreens
     1 box @ $5.79
     2nd @ $2.89
     used 2 $1 off coupons
     used $4 Register Reward from last week
     submitted for $1 Ibotta rebate
= $8.68 - $1 - $1 - $4 - $1 = $1.68
Received $2 Register Reward
Earned 1,000 Reward Points (like $1)
$1.32 Moneymaker!

Speed Stick Gear on Sale at Walgreens
     1 deodorant @ $2.99
     used 1 $2 off coupon
= $2.99 - $2 = $.99
Received $2 Register Reward
$1.01 Moneymaker!

Extra Income

Extra Teaching = $500
     I got my first bonus paycheck for subbing for a professor that has taken an unexpected leave of absence.  It added about $500 to my February paycheck!  Yay!

Did you have any wallet wins this week?

Read more about our Mission to Financial Freedom HERE.

Follow Elise Harvey {Harvey Ever After}'s board Money Matters on Pinterest.

Our Weekly Paleo-ish Menu {March 1}

Our Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday - Chili

Dinner @ HOME Group - making PW's Sherried Tomato Soup (paleo with cashew cream)

Monday - Salmon with Collards, Yellow Peppers, and Fruit

Tuesday - Leftover Chili

Wednesday Chicken Pad Sew Ew

Thursday - Chicken and Apple Sausages with Mac N Cheese and Fruit

Friday Italian Mushroom Bake with Salad

Saturday Nacho Pot Pie

Sunday - Leftovers for Lunch

Dinner @ HOME Group

Lunchbox Ideas - Lettuce wraps, egg salad, quiche cups, salads

Find previous meal plans here.
**Linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie for Meal Plan Monday**

This post contains affiliate links.