Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Inexpensive Wedding Flowers...

Today, I am participating in "Show us your life" over at Kelly's Korner blog. The topic is show us your wedding flowers and bridal party.

I love simple flower arrangements so my bouquet, pictured below, was just roses.
To do this inexpensively, I got my roses from our local grocery store- Safeway at a price of $12.99 for a dozen roses. Luckily, I had a friend offer to arrange my flowers for me because she works in a flower shop. This was another way that I cut costs on my wedding day. The red roses were just beautiful!

A kind blog follower, Kathleen, left a comment about getting inexpensive flowers from Sams club. Here is what she had to say:

"Get your flowers at Sams! They have an online fresh flower service and they will ship directly to your home via Fed EX. My florist wanted to charge me $4 per stem for roses, and I ended up ordering from Sam's and they were 75 cents per stem. They have beautiful roses, and the other basic flowers, and they come in pretty basic colors, but they are so inexpensive it's crazy. If you don't mind putting together your own bouquets and centerpieces, they are a great way to go. We spent $300 and literally had flowers EVERYWHERE on our wedding day. It looked like we had spent $3000. That's my biggest money saving wedding tip!"

Thank you Kathleen for that great tip!

Previous Post of my Wedding Dress:

Popular Janie Out of Debt Posts:

Did you charge your wedding expenses on your credit card? Were you in debt after your wedding? Leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

Best wishes,


P.S. I recommend the book The Conscious Bride for all brides to be. A friend gave it to me as a wedding shower gift and it was the best book. I loved it. Her writing style calmed me down during all the wedding planning and preparation. It is a must read for all brides to be.

4 Sites for Brides with Tiny Budgets

Last week, I received a bunch of emails in response to my wedding dress post. You asked, "what websites do I visit for ideas when planning a wedding?" Below is a list of 4 sites that give helpful hints.

4 Sites for Brides with Tiny Budgets:

Do you have any inexpensive wedding ideas? Leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

Best wishes,


P.S. I recommend the book The Conscious Bride for all brides to be. A friend gave it to me as a wedding shower gift and it was the best book. I loved it. Her writing style calmed me down during all the wedding planning and preparation. It is a must read for all brides to be.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Was my financial life simple or complicated?

I am participating in Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family with my Keeping It Simple Method for organizing my financial life. I hope you enjoy!

Was my financial life simple or complicated? At one point in time, I think I had the most complicated financial life ever!

First, let me paint a mental picture for you, I had a pile of financial papers and bills stacked 3 feet tall on my bedroom floor. Back then, my system of organization was to open my mail and place the bills on top of the pile. So, my bills went from January to December spanning multiple years on my floor. While cleaning up this financial mountain of papers, I found papers and bills from 1998, 1997 mixed in with 2007. It was complete total madness.

Also, it wasn't a good idea to have my bills by my bed because I would think about them before going to sleep. probably on my mind while sleeping, and then I would see the pile when I woke up. If you are like me, I would suggest moving your financial papers or bills to a more ideal place (outside of the bedroom).

If everything is electronic or you have a mix I will discuss this in a later post. My financial life now is all online. No more mountain of paper by the bed!

Did I know where all of my important financial papers and/or online statements were located? No, I didn't have all of my credit card information in one place. I didn't know where credit cards were located nor did I have my passwords memorized. Therefore, in an emergency (a.k.a wallet getting stolen) I wouldn't have known what credit cards to notify in this event.

Finally, I didn't have a system or process for anything. I was smart but scattered in my life. Interestingly enough, this didn't just extend to my financial life it also touched all other areas of my life like- fitness, family, friends, work, meal planning, etc.

Now, I live by the KISS method- Keep, It, Simple, Stupid. However, I don't like referring to myself as stupid so I replace the word "stupid" with "silly." My new improved version of that method is:

Keep, It, Simple, Silly

I know this can all seem like a daunting task but it is well worth the effort. Plus, you will save yourself money and time by getting organized and keeping everything simple! If you need some organization help right now, I would take a look at Online Organizing or Cocozza Organizing and Design.

Janie Out of Debt Related Articles-

Action Items:

1. Are you overwhelmed and exhausted when you think about your finances?

2. Do your finances interfere with personal relationships?

Best wishes,


Saturday, July 25, 2009

What do I do with loose change?

What do I do with loose change? First, I want to let you know that I get satisfaction from accumulating my pocket change. This may sound crazy but I have a system for my coins. In my car, I have two different Vera Bradley change purses like the one pictured below.

One is for silver change (nickels, dimes, quarters) which I keep and use for tolls, meter parking, vending machines, etc. and the other is for pennies. Whenever, my pennies are over flowing I go to the bank.

Yesterday, I had a full change purse of pennies that ended up totaling $1.78. So, I deposited this amount in my checking account. You may be asking yourself, "why on earth would you deposit $1.78 of pennies into your account?" My rationale for this, is money is put to better use sitting in my interest bearing checking account than sitting in my change purse.

This is something for you to think about the next time you have a bowl or jar full of coins. You can ask yourself, "does this change have a better use than sitting in this jar?" For instance, maybe you could use this change towards a credit card balance or inexpensive treat for yourself. Every little bit counts when you are trying to get rid of your debt. I know this from experience!

If you haven't already, check out the cute blog post from the other day about counting pennies-

How did I pay off my debt? I worked full time at my corporate job during the day and at night worked a retail job. It was an exhausting schedule but it helped pay my bills. I am so thankful now for all of those years of working 2 jobs.

While reading the August 2009 edition of Marie Claire, I stumbled upon this article: "Moonlighting Makes a Comeback." It states that nearly 2 million American women hold down two jobs to make ends meet. But some moonlighters are making the best out of their situation by working a second job that they are passionate about. For instance, there is:

Susi Wegener
31, Portland, Or
Day Job: Yoga Instructor
Moonlighting gig: Horse Caretaker
Extra Cash per month: $500 to $600

Do you have a passion that you would like to try out? Maybe this could be your opportunity to follow a passion and try something new, all while earning extra money.

Action Items:

1. Is your financial life simple or complicated?
2. Do you know where all of your important financial papers or online statements are located?

Best wishes,


Weekend Quote #1- At the working man's house...

I will leave you, my hardworking blog reader, with the following quote for this weekend.

"At the working man's house, hunger looks in, but dares not enter."
~Benjamin Franklin

Go here to view other weekend quotes.

Best wishes,


Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Inexpensive Wedding Dress...

Today, I am doing something fun and participating in "show us your wedding dress" over at Kelly's Korner Blog. I love reading her blog and I find her to be such a positive and inspiring gal! Here is the picture of my wedding dress from David's Bridal:

I got it from David's Bridal because I wanted to keep my expenses down for my wedding. It was a beautiful dress and so comfortable to wear throughout the entire day. Thank you for taking the time to look at my wedding dress. In the future, I plan to talk about how I had a 100 person wedding in Washington, DC for under $10,000. This included my dress, shoes, hair, make-up, flowers, reception, music, photographer, tux rental, limo, etc. I will give you one hint, I had my wedding in the morning and I had a brunch type reception.

Also, please continue to email me at with names of people who are in financial trouble that you would like for me to add to my prayer list. You can go here to see the names of the individuals I am praying for at this time.

Best wishes,


P.S. I recommend the book The Conscious Bride for all brides to be. A friend gave it to me as a wedding shower gift and it was the best book. I loved it. Her writing style calmed me down during all the wedding planning and preparation. It is a must read for all brides to be.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cute Story About Counting Pennies!

I read the Editor's Query in The Washington Post Magazine this past weekend (July 19, 2009 edition). It was "tell us about a time when counting your pennies led to an interesting result." Here is the answer:

For quite some time, I have accumulated small change during the day and each evening have put the coins into a large plastic bucket that used to contain Pepperidge Farm "goldfish."

Several years ago, my wife and I had reservations for dinner at a local restaurant. Earlier in the day, I was running errands in town, so I thought it was time to head to the bank to exchange the coins in the bucket for some paper cash.

When I handed the bucket to the bank teller, I tried to guess the total that all that change would yield and estimated about $50. The teller took the bucket to a counting machine in a back room, but when she returned, she told me that the coins added up to only $35.89. I put the bills into my wallet and the 89 cents back into the bucket to start another accumulation.

That evening, my wife and I enjoyed a very nice meal at the restaurant. But there was a surprise when the waitress handed me the bill. The total, before tip, was $35.89.

I thought is was just a cute story. I couldn't resist putting it on my blog.

Best wishes,


Was I intimidated by money?

Was I intimidated by money? Absolutely! I held this belief that I could never manage money because the terms used to describe money and money management were difficult. It was like a foreign language to me. I didn't have any experience with money and I was scared of it. I was scared of all of those money related terms that I didn't know and I felt that people who knew about money didn't have the time of day to explain it to me. Ultimately, I had to overcome those unhelpful beliefs to get financially literate and get out of debt. It just takes time and seeking the answers to your money related questions.

Did I think I am smart enough to learn about money and finance? Back then I wasn't sure. I felt that I needed a finance degree to understand money. This is one big myth. The guys on Wall Street are no better than you! They just spent the time learning about money and made different career choices. Also, as a woman I held a belief that money was a man's job and should be left up to a man. Oh my gosh, that is just an outdated belief and ladies you should be in full control of your money and learn about money. I am dealing with my mother right now who hasn't a clue about money now that my dad is gone. Please, please, please ladies don't let this happen to you. You are smart enough to learn about money! I wish that everyone learned about money is school. If everyone knew about money and money management I think that there would be less debt and less divorces over money. But that is my opinion because I have seen the suffering first hand in my own life and lives of family and friends.

Action Items:

1. What do you do with loose change?

2. How are you paying off your debt? What income are you using (main job, extra income, savings, investments, moonlighting etc.)

Best wishes,


Related Articles

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What's the definition of debt?

What is the definition of debt? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary debt is:

1. Sin, Trespass
2. Something owed
3. A state of owing
4. The common-law action for the recovery of money held to be due

I don't know if I would classify debt as a sin. But who am I to make that judgement. All I know is that having debt is an unpleasant experience and I wanted to get out of it so badly a few years ago. This burning desire kept me going during those tough times.

What is my definition of debt? I believe debt is a state of owing and that is the only definition that I would give it. I might also add that being in debt is a lack of freedom. You are tied to someone or something for as long as that debt exists.

Action Items:

1. Are you intimidated by money?

2. Do you think you are smart enough to learn about money and finance?

Best wishes,


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Was I willing to work hard?

Was I will to work hard? Yes, I was willing to work hard and this is the reason why I am debt free now. It was hours of extra work at my job, working on my self, soul searching, and working a second job to pay the bills. To this day, I believe the hardest work that I had to do was on myself. For me, going to work was easy and paying bills was easy. The hard part was the discipline, learning about my spending habits, and then ultimately changing those bad habits to become debt free. So, yes if you are really serious about wanting to get out of debt you have to be willing to work hard. It is one of the main ingredients. I think Benjamin Franklin said it best in his book The Way To Wealth when he stated, "There are no gains without pains..."

Was I willing to make sacrifices to get out of debt? Yes, I had to make sacrifices and this was so hard for me. I didn't want to give up anything. I liked getting my hair highlighted, manicures, pedicures, going out, eating out, etc. But if I was going to get out of debt I had to cut back. I had to constantly remind myself that I was giving up now so that I could have freedom and more in the future. The "more" I got now isn't stuff or material possession the "more" is myself and my freedom. I found out what was important to me: that is my time, my mind, my family, my pets and my friends. Just as a side note, if you are a pet lover they can be the best medicine for helping you get out of debt. I would just sit and play with my cat and it would instantly make me feel better and my worries would just melt away. If you have a pet or are a pet lover I would suggest spending time with your animals during this difficult time of getting out of debt. They will love your attention and you will get so much back in return. I promise!

Thank you so much for reading my blog. I hope that you are doing well and these questions are helping you. Please let me know if you ever have any questions. You can leave a comment or email me. I am always available.

Action Items:

1. What is the definition of debt?

2. What is your definition of debt?

Best wishes,


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

6 Step Plan For Getting Out of Debt

A few weeks ago, I talked about preparing "Janie's Getting Out of Debt Action Steps." These steps have been created to reinforce structure to this whole getting out of debt process. Eventually, I will place the "Action Item" questions that currently appear at the end of each post under the appropriate steps in my plan. This way you have a better understanding of why I am asking certain questions after each post. The steps are:

1. Moment of Truth: this is the moment when you determine just how much debt you are in

2. Discovering the Root of the Problem: determining your relationship with money and credit

3. Analyzing Habits: figuring out what are your good and bad money habits

4. Planning, Organizing, and Tracking: gives you an indication of whether you are on target or not

5. Working and Paying Your Debts: earning the money to pay back your debt

6. Rewarding and Encouraging: rewarding yourself for all of your hard work so you stay the course and do not become discouraged

I sincerely hope that you are feeling more in control of your situation. I know and believe that all of your hard work and soul searching will pay off in the end. It did for me and has shaped me into the person that I am today. For that I am truly grateful because I am able to share my knowledge to the blog world. As a side note, I just love reading other blogs and I learn so much from all of them. It really makes the world seem like a smaller place to me.

Best wishes,


Did I shop for retail therapy?

Did I shop for retail therapy? I absolutely loved to shop. As a little girl, I was brought up to believe that shopping was a sport. It was something that I did for fun and enjoyment. I would go shopping if I was bored, it was raining outside, or just for fun. I can't tell you how many memories I have going to Tyson's Corner Mall in Virginia with my mom and grandmother. Shopping shaped my childhood and early adulthood. The retail therapy shopping began after a break up with an ex-boyfriend. I was so sad that I just went shopping and I just couldn't stop. I felt like the only thing that could make me feel better was another pair of shoes. I would need a new pair of shoes after a bad date or break up. So, I used shopping as a way to calm me down and make myself feel better. But at the time I had no idea what it was doing to my wallet.

How did I feel when I was buying something? In the past, when I would buy something it felt like a total adrenaline rush. I couldn't get enough of it. It was like a drug that felt so good inside. I just needed those new shoes or clothes so badly. Those possessions defined who I was and the image that I was building at the time.

Action Items:

1. Are you willing to work hard?

2. Are you willing to make sacrifices to get out of debt?

Best wishes,


Monday, July 6, 2009

Did I try to keep up with others?

Did I try to keep up with others (a.k.a keeping up with the Joneses)? Yes, I did try to keep up with others. I wanted to appear like I had money! Basically, I was lying to the world and myself about my means. I was living outside of my means.

Did I have monetary jealousy? Yes, in the past I thought that the more money you had the happier you were. That was such an untrue statement. I can only say that now because I am out of debt, I have over $35,000 in my retirement account, and my salary is the highest it has ever been in my life. Am I happier now? No, it has actually made it more complicated. Yes, I can pay all of my bills now but it hasn't cured my depression that started in childhood.

Now, I am going to share with you a very valuable advice column that I found in the Washington Post a few years back. I apologize that I don't have the exact date but I just clipped out that advice section and didn't keep the whole paper. My hope is that you find this advice column to be as helpful to you as it was to me. Here it is:

Question: How do you advise others to handle monetary jealousy? My husband and I own a small condo with a lot of hand-me-down furniture. We make about $110,000 combined a year. We owe on both of our cars, plus a little credit card debt, plus $8,000 in student loans. I know that we live pretty comfortably and don't want for much. But friends of ours are much better off- a lot of upgrades to their homes, newer bigger homes, bigger savings and retirement accounts, etc. Sometimes I get really down about our situation and emotional. How do you recommend I deal with this?

Answer: Those friends who seem like they are living large are probably living large are probably living large in big debt. You just never know about people's personal finances. So stop comparing. Credit card debt (even a little), car loans and student loans should be enough to keep you grounded and focused on improving. You are not in bad shape, but with an income of more than $100,000, you should not be carrying credit card debt. And why don't you pay off those student loans of just $8,000? Keep in mind, the problem with looking at other's people's grass is that from your side of the fence, you can only see so much.

I just love this statement: "Keep in mind, the problem with looking at other's people's grass is that from your side of the fence, you can only see so much." So, the next time you are comparing or down and out because someone has more than you remember that statement. It helps a lot and it put things into perspective for me.

Action Items:

1. Are you purchasing for retail therapy?

2. How do you feel when you are buying something?

Best wishes,


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Updated Prayer Requests

I wanted to let you know that I have updated my prayer request list with another name. You can go and view the prayer request here if you would like. I will continue to pray for the names on this list. I will also pray for those of you who would like to stop thinking about your debt and focus on other parts of your life. I know how all consuming debt can be and like you I couldn't stop thinking about my debt a few years back either. I hope that by answering these questions, following this blog (will give you hope), and giving yourself those inexpensive rewards you can get some relief from your all consuming debt thoughts.

You can go to my previous blog post about: 30 Inexpensive Rewards You Can Do For Paying Off Your Debt for some ideas to reward yourself for all of your hard work.

You may be wondering why I changed the format on this particular post. Well, I just wanted to give you an update about my prayer blog and address how you can stop thinking about your debt. Since this seems to be a popular question I promise to spend a lot more time discussing how to shift your thoughts and focus on something else when you have debt.

Best wishes,

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