What My Parents Taught Me About Money

Little eyes are always watching.

How many times have you heard that line as a parent? Probably at least 30,000 if I’m speaking from personal experience. Lately, I’ve been looking back at my childhood and realizing just how true that is. My parents taught me a lot about life in the moments they didn’t know I was watching. They taught me about relationships (both good and bad), respecting my elders, how to be a parent, and they also taught me about money.

One of my earliest memories is of my dad sitting at his desk each month balancing his checkbook. He never paid a bill late and always knew just how much he had in his account. My dad wrote checks for everything, and always took out $20 extra when he paid for groceries so he’d have cash for things he couldn’t use a check for. He was also super cheap, in fact, some things he did I didn’t realize were ‘green’ until I became an adult. My dad just did them because he couldn’t stand to spend unnecessary money.

For example, we never had paper towels in our house, rags were used instead. And the lights were always turned off when we left a room. My dad packed my lunch every single day for school because it was cheaper than buying me the school lunch. Breakfasts were also the same meal most days, oatmeal and toast because it was cheap and filling.

When he did spend money it was to take us to specials nights at restaurants. We never missed an all you can eat buffet night at Pizza Hut if my dad could help it. And he would spend money on our birthdays. He had no idea what to do with a little girl, so he would sit in a chair at Claire’s and let me go to town filling up my basket every Christmas and birthday, which looking back was pretty dang amazing.

My mom, on the other hand, was a shopper. But she didn’t always have the budget for big spending. My mom was not scared of a clearance rack and taught me how to get the best bang for my buck while filling my closet. My mom also holds onto close so long that they come back into fashion, which I’m sure has helped her budget over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents aren’t perfect with their finances. There has been debt and bad decisions, which have taught me a lot as well. Once my dad even told me that car payments were just a part of life. But the way my parents have handled it has shown me I can overcome my own debt. And reach financial freedom some day.

What did your parents teach you about money? What are you teaching your children? Tell me your stories in the comments section below.

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Back To School Tips That Will Save You Money


Back to school shopping is exciting for everyone. The kids are excited about going back to school, and you’re excited to have a clean house again when they are in school! But, back to school shopping can also be stressful, especially if you don’t have a plan. It can easily get overwhelming and expensive, which no one wants to deal with, but it doesn’t have to be. There are things you can do to keep your budget on track while shopping for back to school items. Below are five back to school tips that I use every year to save me money and keep my budget in check.

Set a Budget

The first step in sticking to a budget is setting a budget. It’s easy to go overboard if you don’t set a limit. Your limit might be different based on school uniforms or the cost of living in your area. My budget this year is $420. That’s $120 each for school clothes per kid, and $60 for Addi’s supplies since Atlas and Austen will not need to purchase supplies this year.

Shop Your Home First

I might have a slight craft hoarding problem. I have so many sets of paper, crayons, and markers around my house it’s probably not healthy. One of the ways I’m saving money is by shopping what I already have first. Pencils, crayons, and watercolor paint will not need to be bought. Addi’s pencil box from last year will work fine for this year, and so will her backpack.

By shopping my house first, I will save a ton of money in the end.

Check Your Ads

Check your weekly ads to make sure you are getting the best deals. You might find a great deal on Crayola at Target, but JC Penny’s might have a better deal on uniforms. I like to make a day out of back to school shopping, that way I can hit up all the stores I need to in order to get the best deals.

Utilize Coupons

Check your local paper, store ads, and scour the internet for coupons to help you save money on back to school purchases. Target often offers coupons in their ads, as do many other stores. You can also look for manufacturer coupons for other things you need, such as facial tissue and hand sanitizer. Combine these coupons with the sales in your store’s ads for maximum savings.

Buy Used

Kids are hard on clothes, and when I became a parent I thought this would be something they would grow out of. Ten years in though, my oldest is still just as hard on her clothes as her little brother and siblings.

Because of this I often can’t bring myself to purchase their clothing new. I would rather spend half the price on a used pair of jeans because I know it will end up with holes in the knees within a few months. The only time I really deviate from this is to buy from Target’s Cat and Jack line, and that’s because they have a one-year durability guarantee as long you keep the receipt. I have a special envelope in my desk to hold receipts for this reason.

Buy Extra

Many schools ask that you donate classroom supplies, such as paper towels and hand sanitizer, twice a year at back to school time and then again after the winter holidays. This doesn’t bother me as a parent like it does some, maybe because my degree is in elementary education. I know that schools do not get very good funding and they really do need help from parents to donate these items.

To help myself be able to give what is needed to our schools without breaking my budget I buy extras of these items at the beginning of the year when I can get great deals on back to school sales. I then just store them in my basement closet until the school needs them again. That way I only have to budget for them once, and often pay the lowest prices for them when I do. I’m also helping my kid’s school out in a way that I know they need.

Do you have any tips to save money on back to school shopping? Let me know in the comments below!

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A Cash Envelope Wallet For Every Budget

Carrying cash is one of the keys to financial success through Dave Ramsey’s plan. But carrying your cash in paper envelopes or plastic sandwich bags can get really old. Insert the cash envelope wallet, it fits the style of a wallet and the organization needs of your cash budget.  Below I’ve listed some of my favorite cash envelope wallet systems. Check them out to find one that fits both your style and your budget!


This Etsy shop is one of the first shops I came across when searching for cash envelope wallets, their wallets are big enough to hold all of your cash and are handmade in several different fabric options. You can choose whether to close them with a button and hook, or a snap to keep everything secure.

My favorite part about this wallet is it comes with real envelopes, instead of just dividers to keep your money separate and secure.


jHowellDESIGNS is not your traditional Etsy shop, they sell traditional wallets and then modify them with dividers and tabs to organize your cash. This is great for individuals who want a traditional wallet look, with the benefits of a cash envelope system.


Do you have small children and are wanting a stain-proof option for your cash envelope wallet? ATime4Everything has you covered. Their wallets are simple, with zippered pouches that come with plastic tabs to keep your cash organized. At only $21, their Cash Envelope System Wallet is the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t want too much fluff. And the Organize It Wallet is a little more expensive, but it comes with a coin pocket, debit card slots, and a spot to put your ID.

Bella Taylor Wallet

If you are not wanting to wait for a wallet to be handmade for you by an Etsy shop, there are options available on Amazon as well. That means if you have Prime you can get your wallet in only two days. The Bella Taylor wallet is classy and sleek in black, but it comes in several other options if you are wanting something a little more festive.

The Rachel Cruz Wallet

Wanting to purchase your wallet from the Dave man himself? Well, he doesn’t have one, but his daughter Rachel does! It’s classic and affordable and comes in both black and tan. You can go ahead and pick it up while you’re grabbing a copy of Dave’s book The Total Money Makeover, which (in my humble opinion) is a must-have for anyone starting their debt free journey.


Which wallet do you like best?


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Monday’s With Meagan | All About The Side Hustle

Happy Monday everyone!

Yay, I have my camera back and I’m excited to finally get back into the swing of things on YouTube. Today I’m talking all about the side hustle, and ways to make extra money to get your family out of debt.

I currently have four jobs, you read that right FOUR. I’m working all hours of the day but it’s helping to get my family out of debt. It’s all apart of living like no one else so that later we can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE.

The Obedience Game: My Kids, Their Chores, My Sanity

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Over the last few months, something has happened to my kids. I don’t know what caused it, or where I went soft, but all of a sudden they have been rude and argumentative. Chores that they have been doing consistently for months, or even years, are all of a sudden a fight to make happen. There was more yelling, more crying, and a lot more timeouts and groundings than I had ever given before.

Something had to change.

So a few weeks ago I came up with an idea, the obedience game.

The game goes like this. On my china cabinet in my dining room, I have two large jars. One filled with pennies, one filled with silver coins. You will get a penny every time you do something the first time I ask, without complaint, and remember to say yes ma’am. Silver coins come from extra jobs that you can do around the house.

These chores already have dollar amounts assigned to them that range anywhere from fifty cents to 3.00. The kids can find out what is available easily by looking at our chore cards that are hanging up in another area of the dining room. Each card lists a chore, with a picture of the chore for our non-readers, and the dollar amount the chore is worth. The kids can take down the card for the chore they want to do, and then bring it to me when the chore is done. After a quick inspection to make sure it was done thoroughly I will put the money in their jars right then and there. Instant gratification, sort of.

I say sort of because while the money is put in your jar right away, you have to wait until the jar is full to find out exactly how much you have and be able to spend your money. Once your jar is full you can count your coins and divide it into your spending, savings, and giving accounts in the Bank of Mom and Dad (that’s another story for another day).

Now you might be saying a penny isn’t a lot for doing a chore. And you’re right. But honestly, these were chores that my kids weren’t getting paid for in the past. These are chores they are supposed to do because they are a member of our family and it is part of their job to help it run smoothly. The pennies take a long time to add up, so they are more or less purely for motivational purposes, especially for Austen and Atlas, who are only three and four-years-old, respectively.

Our obedience game started officially right before vacation. That Saturday night I sat the kids down and explained the game to them. I showed the kids their jars, the extra chore cards, and I explained to them the chores they have that are apart of their daily routines. These they can find in their daily chore packs, which tells them what they should be doing each morning and evening step-by-step to help us get into a routine and make our days a little less hectic.

We’re currently on week three of The Obedience Game, so far the kids have money in there, so I’d say it’s working, at least for now.

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Dream Big: Plans For After Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball

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When I was a little girl, the only thing I ever dreamed of was getting out of my small hometown. Where did I want to go? That was easy, New York City. I read everything about it, watched every show that set there. I even read the New York Times when I could get my hands on it.

This was probably because my mom traveled a lot with her job and New York was one of the places she went most often. She was even there when the city had the massive power outage in 2003 and came home to tell me how fun the street parties were. There was never a doubt in my mind that I would get there someday.

You could say I was obsessed.

But, as it often does, life happened. I got pregnant and married young. We did move out of our hometown, but it was where the Army sent us. When my husband got out we moved back home, then moved away again to Colorado when Austen got sick. I’ve spoken to my husband about my dreams of moving to New York continuously over the years, but we aren’t naive. We know to live even halfway comfortably in New York it takes money, a lot more money than Colorado or Texas. Especially when you have children and a family.

I’ve talked about why I want to get out of debt before, how I want to travel the world with my kids, how I want to retire comfortably. How I want to leave my children a legacy. Oh, and I want to move to New York City. Maybe not forever, but for a few years at least. One thing the military taught me is that you don’t really experience a new place by visiting. Instead, you want to live there.

I want to really experience New York.

But, I know New York is a long way away. We have to get our personal finances in order, pay off our debt, and make enough money a month so that we don’t get back into it. That might take a while! But it will happen. And it will be so worth it to be able to go there without worrying about having a creditor call me the day after we move in.

This is a big dream, I know that. But it is my dream and somehow, some way I know I will make it happen.

Now, it’s time I get back to our budget.

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I Could Kick Myself

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Three years ago we bought a van from a small dealership in Texas. Within a few days we realized it had a coolant leak, and vowed that if we ever bought another vehicle again we would get it looked at by a mechanic or it would come with a warranty.

Guess what I didn’t do when I bought my Honda Odyssey two weeks ago?

That’s right. You can yell at me now, I am definitely yelling at me.

Within a week I noticed the A/C not working. Dr. Google told me it was probably the compressor, but I prayed it was a smaller fix. It wasn’t.

1350.00 later (thanks to a deep discount from the dealership) it was fixed, but when I picked it up I was told even more was wrong with it.

First I was told, thanks to a communication error with the tech and secretary, that it was the drive belt tensioner that needed to be replaced. At only 300.00 I told them to go ahead since I had budgeted 1800 originally for the compressor. But yesterday I got a call saying the secretary was wrong, it’s really the timing belt tensioner that needs to be replaced, and that would be a 1200.00 fix.

That’s money I just don’t have.

So I called around, I’ve learned that lesson at least, and had a shop look at it yesterday who has great reviews online and told me it would only be 780.00. Would you believe when they looked inside it was neither the drive belt tensioner or the timing belt tensioner? Nope. Instead, it was the serpentine belt tensioner that was leaking and needed to be fixed.

So I did that and went ahead and had him do my back shocks, which I knew needed to be done, and both he and Honda had mentioned.

The work did need to be done, and I’m out another 780.00 but I know my car is safe.

Y’all, I want to cry. I cannot believe I didn’t learn my lesson. I even thought about getting checked out before I bought it but I was in too big of a hurry.

One thing is for sure, I’m learning exactly what they mean by patience is a virtue, and I think I might need to take some time to focus on that.

In the meantime I got a heck of a lot of work done this weekend because I wasn’t going anywhere and risking something worse happening to the van.

My Top 5 Favorite Financial YouTube Channels

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I make YouTube video’s because I want to help inspire others that taking hold of your finances is possible. And that you can make small and conscious decisions each day to work towards your goal while still living a full and happy life.

If you’ve ever looked beyond my channel on YouTube, which I am sure most of you have, you will know that I am not the only one with this goal in mind. There are several financial YouTube channels out there that can inspire you on your debt free journey.

Below are five of my favorites.



Christine and Josh, along with their three daughters, started daily vlogging way back in 2011 to show how they were working towards their debt free journey. They were the first Dave Ramsey related YouTube channel that I found and it quickly felt like they were my mentors guiding me along in the process.

Although they do not vlog much anymore it is so worth it go back and watch their videos. Their Debt Kickin’ Sunday series offers a ton of valuable information, as do their weekly dinner videos. Seriously, I still use Josh’s spaghetti sauce recipe as my go to.

Jordan Page, FunCheapOrFree


Jordan Page is one of the most popular frugal YouTubers, having graced our screens in an episode of Cheapskates as well as on the Today Show, Rachael Ray, and many others. Her website, Fun Cheap or Free, offers a wide array of advice on anything from budgeting to organizing and even parenting. And since she has 5 kids with another on the way, and has managed to keep them all alive so far, I happily take any advice she can dish my way. One of my favorite series she has right now is her Q&A sessions with her husband.

Pennies into Pearls


Brittany from Pennies into Pearls is another YouTube channel that I follow, along with her blog. I love this channel because Brittany often gives us her budget with real numbers, to let families know that paying off debt can be done on just one income. On top of that she also has a ton of DIY crafting ideas that can be done for cheap on her website, and a lot of good meal planning tips too.

Our Life…On A Budget


Our Life…On A Budget is a Canadian family who are following Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps to get out of debt. Well, actually, they are out of debt (as is every channel I’ve posted if I remember correctly) but they still post videos on frugal living and how to handle life on a budget. I love to watch this channel because it lets me know that Dave Ramsey is not just for Americans. The principals are the same no matter what country you come from. I also like that they still post actively even though they are already out of deb.t



Okay, let me tell you. Although this couple has not put up a new video in over a year, they are hands down my favorite financial YouTube family. I actually first found them through their birth vlog and then realized they were on a debt free journey.  Anna and Joel are just so real and relatable. Seriously from day one, I felt like Anna was a long lost best friend. Plus, they are doing this job on a freelance/ self-employed budget which is totally awesome.

We Paid Off Our First (And Second) Debt!

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I am so excited to be able to say we have paid off not only our first but our second debt as well. And in the process, we got rid of 15,095.00 of debt!

How did we do it?

Well, it’s kind of complicated-

First, we bought a “Dave van” with a small personal loan, a 2005 Honda Odyssey that is in really good condition actually and I am hoping can last us well beyond our debt free journey.

Then, we took both of our vehicles to Carmax. We sold my 2010 GMC Acadia and the Hubs’ truck. My Acadia was paid off, so we used what we got from it to pay what we were upside down in his truck.

We then had a bit left over, so we used that to pay off our smallest debt, the Hubs’ new iPhone.

So yes, we did semi use debt to help us out of this situation. Dave has said this was okay before in order to get out of a vehicle you are upside down in. And the loan is actually less than the amount we had to pay to get out from under his truck.

Some might ask why we didn’t save up each month to pay for the Dave van in cash, the answer is because his truck was costing us almost 900.00 a month between the payment and insurance. You read that right, 900 a month. We were having trouble making ends meet and that truck had a lot to do with it. It was seriously hindering out debt free journey.

This is why we also went to Carmax instead of selling the vehicles private party, which is something Dave also recommends. We simply could not wait any longer to get them sold.

Now we will take what we were paying on that truck and pay off our other debts, including the one we just took out, a lot faster instead of just treading water.

So here’s to progress! Now let’s see what we can do next month!