Cake NecklaceA good friend who had moved away many years ago had her birthday this month. I made her one of my cards (Yes, I’m still stuck on the same Tim Holtz technique I learned back in August!) and an anchor necklace with some California sand in it.

Cake Necklace I love this birthday cake stamp, but I think I’m going to have to invest in another set or two if I am going to keep sending out birthday cards. Do people want to get the same birthday cake card, albeit with different colors, from me every single year? Probably not.

Cake NecklaceMy sister purchased these cute little glass anchor vials and let me play with a couple of them. I thought it was perfect to hold some California sand in it for my friend, who no longer lives in California. Just a little bit of home away from home!
Cake NecklaceHere is a photo of the anchor with a quarter for size reference–I love how delicate and small it is!

Here’s something that has been a huge help to me on my financial journal, and just in general: check registers! I don’t write checks that often (although I still use one or two a month!), so I use check registers faster than I get them. It made a lot of sense for me to make my own and I’ve gotten a whole lot of use out of them. I hope you do, too!

Check Registers
Check Register – Lined

Check Registers
Check Register – Green – A5

Check Registers
Check Register – Blue – A5

Check Registers
Check Register – Purple – A5

Check Registers
Check Register – Rose – A5

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Last year I re-discovered the website swap-bot.com, a great website for swapping. I also discovered swapping one of my new favorite things: ATC’s–artist trading cards. It’s like little pieces of art and even better, they’re easy to store. They fit in baseball sleeves so I have a great album set up for my collection, which I’ll have to share!

I love creating ATC’s because you get to share your art with others, and sometimes you get the challenge of creating art you wouldn’t have necessarily thought of. This is one of those challenges. The challenge for this swap was to make an ATC using only straight lines. I pulled out a ruler, some colored pens and make an ATC!

And man, what a challenge it was! I don’t consider myself “artistic,” despite the meaning of ATC, I consider myself crafty, so to make something from scratching like this with just pens and a blank piece of paper. It’s so intimidating! I do like what I ended up with, though, and I hope my partner likes it, too.

One of my credit cards offers free FICO scores, so I whipped up some pages to keep track of them. I hope you can use these, too!

A5 - FICO
FICO Score – A5

A5 - FICO - shaded
FICO Score – Shaded – A5

A5 - FICO - no border
FICO Score – no border – A5

A5 - FICO - no border - shaded
FICO Score – no border – shaded – A5

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Well, I’m still chippin’ away! My goal for February is to pay down a big chunk of debt on my credit card, and while I’m not there yet, I have paid most of my bills for the month, and we’re only halfway through the month. I am hoping to take a couple of huge wacks at it in order to make my goal, but for now, I am slowly chipping away at it. I’ll let you know if I made it or not once the end of the month arrives!!

I am still on the fence about sharing my specific debt numbers, I already feel so exposed sharing what step I’m on and what I’m working on paying off (for example, you know I’m officially on Baby Step Two and working on paying off credit card number three). I am hoping to find a debt calculator online so I can tell you what percentage I am — for example, if it’s totally maxed out, that would be 100%. If it’s halfway paid off, then that would be 50%, so I can at least give you an idea of how far along I am on paying it off.

At the end of the day, what counts is I am working on credit card number three, and I am seeing it go down and only down! (The only time it goes up is once a month when interest is calculated.) As you know, I was frustrated by the slow progress of January because I had to stop my debt paydown and complete Baby Step One, so I’m just ready to really see a lot of progression in February, even if it is a short month. I’m in a unique position to throw a lot at it, and I am determined to do what I can, as fast as I can. It’s still going to take a while, but I am going to make a big difference as fast as I can just the same!

Did I mention I’m still on No Spend February? I’m doing really well with that! I haven’t been shopping and have only paid bills, bought gas, things that are necessary and not frivolous. I have something fun coming up at the end of March that was scheduled months ago so if the momentum goes passed February, well, then I’m just going to let it! Because I want to kick as much debt in the butt as I can while I’m motivated to. I tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude, and if I am on a roll with not spending, I need to ride that wave as long as I possibly can. Is anyone else like that? Does anyone else struggle with the all or nothing mentality?

I hope you’re doing well with your spending. Let me know if you have any tips or tricks to getting your finances in order.

Here’s something I thought was fun: I took those Savings Jar and turned them into Journaling Jars! So, in a break from sharing some finance downloads (don’t worry, they’ll be plenty more!), here are two Journaling Jars I created. At first, I totally “emptied” out the jar. I thought it would make a great page “fill” with ephemera, like postage stamps or magazine cut outs, or to draw a scene in. The second thing I did was create a jar with lines because I am a journaler by nature and who wouldn’t want to journal inside the jar?

Journaling Jar - Full
Empty Journaling Jar

Lined Journaling Jar - Full
Lined Journaling Jar

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I had a couple of verses that really meant a lot to me during January’s Sweet Blessings Scripture Writing Plan, which i’m continuing for February because I enjoy it so much.

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Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

This verse came during a week I was having a rough time following my financial plan. I have explained in previous posts I felt like my savings “set me back” in my financial goals (I know it didn’t, but it just felt that way) but this verse made me realize that this job I’ve been in, that I feel like God lead me to, that God put me in a better financial situation, has finally given me hope. I have hope for a better financial situation, hope for being debt free, and hope for a future that I didn’t consider even a year ago.

 

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Psalm 37:8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; Do not fret–it leads only to evil.

This verse came during an exceptionally difficult week at work, when I felt like everything was going to fall apart. I’m still fighting that fear, but I’m also holding on to hope that God’s plan is bigger than my fears. I have it pinned up next to my bed, as well as taped up at work to remind me to “be the better person,” in my mother’s words.

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I purchased supplies to make what I knew were going to be wonderful earrings full of sand from a local beach. And when I say “full,” they could be filled easily with sand that falls in your shoe when you take a quick walk on the beach. They’re so dainty and light, I love them so! I’ve already been asked to make a pair for someone’s birthday and can’t wait to make some for gifts for a couple friends.

I love the meaning of carrying something local with you — it’s not just any sand, it’s from home.

I have some downloads that have really helped me get my finances together and so I thought I’d share them with you in hopes they’ll help you.

I created the Debt Pay Down page to keep track, and to keep myself motivated, to see the debt go down. Yes, it’s great to keep track of on a spreadsheet on the computer, but it’s nice to pull out my planner and see numbers while I’m fretting, and to look back and see the whole pay-down journey, rather than just what was paid down that month.

I hope the pages help you keep track of your finances and you find as much motivation in using them as I have.

Debt Pay Down Lined
Debt Pay Down – Lined

Debt Pay Down Shaded
Debt Pay Down – Shaded

Debt Pay Down Lilac
Debt Pay Down – Lilac

Debt Pay Down Pink and Green
Debt Pay Down – Pink & Green

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The first thing I did when I decided to start Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step One was The Thousand Dollar Jar. After I created it, I felt completely overwhelmed. How was I going to save that much? Easy–a little at a time. So I created The Hundred Dollar Jar.

And yet–that still didn’t cover everything. I was so motivated to keep going that I thought I could use it for other things as well. Maybe I want to use the jar to break down paying off my credit card into chunks, or save for a vacation, start a Christmas fund–there are so many possibilities! So I created these Custom Savings Jars.

Are you saving for a trip to Disneyland? A new car? Let me know!

Personal Custom Savings Jar
Personal Planner Savings Jar

 

A5 Custom Savings Jar
A5 Custom Savings Jar


Full Size Custom Savings Jar
Full Page Custom Savings Jar

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