Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pictures Make a Blog Much More Exciting!

Here are some pictures to catch you up on what we have done in our exciting life during the month of September. September happens to also mark 7 months married. Hooray! It's going by so fast!

We are slowly but surely making headway on our Temple Goal. We finally visited Jordan River on Sept. 23. It is a beautiful temple! I never knew this because I always see it from so far away, but at night, the windows on the temple are colorful because they are stained glass! It gives the temple a sort of celestial look because I always imagine the Celestial Kingdom to be white and pure mixed with rainbows here and there. The colorful windows against the white temple was really stunning!

Rachel Steele is 16 years old, goes to Mountain View, plays volleyball, and has leukemia. You can find out more about her by reading her blog:
Saturday Sept 25 was the day of bake sales to raise money to help Rachel, so my sisters and I got together Friday night and made goodies! The national Leukemia awareness color is orange, and orange also happens to be Rachel's favorite color.

Saturday, my uncle Joe and his wife Tara were in town from Pennsylvania so of course we had to gather all the Gravers in town and have a get-together at my parents' house. It was really great to see them - I have so many fond memories of Joe and Tara as a child because they were always hanging around while they were out here going to BYU.

This is Elizabeth Graver. She is my aunt. Can't tell, huh? She (with most the rest of them Gravers) is so fascinating to converse with because she is so intelligent and funny. Love her!

Last but not least, I had to get a picture of the three brothers together. From left, Phillip, Joe, and Peter Graver. They are my mom's half brothers. There are about 2 more Graver brothers and another in-law brother, but they are all out in Pennsylvania. They are a great, but loud, bunch to be around!

It's been a fun September. I can't believe it's almost over already. But I sure can't wait for Halloween!!

My Favorite Part of Halloween

Well, this isn't my only favorite part, but it sure is there on the top of my list!

I can't wait for Halloween and Halloween parties!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Financial Retirement Planning

I am taking a really awesome class online through USU called Family Finance. I am loving this class because I am learning so much about a topic that has interested me for a long time. I was always the penny pincher in my family. I was the only one out of all the kids that never bought a car when I was in high school. My mom always knew that I was the one that wouldn't go out and foolishly spend my money, but save it for things more important.

In my reading for this class, I have discovered so many things that you must do at a young age to save up money for the future. The biggest thing I read about was RETIREMENT. I know at such as young age as 21 that a retirement 44 years in the future is not something that matters to me now. However, that is 44 years of saving and interest that could be accumulated. Time is such an important factor. A person who began saving for their retirement at the age of 23 saved and earned almost twice as much as someone who began saving only 10 years later at the age of 33. The power of compound interest is astounding.

In my other book, "The Automatic Millionaire" by David Bach, I read about a couple named Jim and Sue McIntyre who became "automatic millionaires" by following just a few simple rules. When I read these rules, I was happy to find they were already my rules and goals for the future.
First, they had no debt. With the exception of buying a house (and I say education because the church says it is ok), they saved up their cash and paid for everything in full.
Second, they paid themselves before they paid their bills (and of course we will want to pay tithing before we do any sort of other paying at all). They set up an automatic payment to pull up to 15% (you don't have to start this high! They only started out at 4%) out of each paycheck to go into savings/retirement. 15% really adds up over the years.
Third, they cut back on unnecessary spending. They explained that they used to smoke, but after calculating how much money they wasted on cigarettes, they figured they could do without and ended up saving all that extra money that would have been spent buying cigarettes.
Fourth, they increased their mortgage payments. They explained something about splitting their mortgage payments in half and paying twice a month, they were able to end up making an extra payment each year. They also decided to add a little extra to each payment and ended up having their house paid off in less than 23 years. Most mortgages go for 30 years. Because they paid off their house so quickly, they saved up and bought another house and used their first one as a rental to bring in extra income.
Fifth, they bought used. They saved up and bought used cars (that were always inspected by a mechanic to ensure it was running well and took good care of it), and they even bought a used boat.
By the time Jim was able to retire at age 55, they had no debt and have saved up toward $2 million dollars.

So what is my moral of the story? "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." A little saved here and a little saved there can accumulate to be something great in the end when you are ready to stop working and retire.

Take a part in your work's 401(k) plan if you can. You will gain so much by taking advantage of the benefits your work has to offer you. And don't be worried that you don't have it yet. We are all still so young and still working our way through college. We will always be working various jobs until we can land ourselves in a career with a company that we like. Be patient, but be diligent. I know we will be blessed for it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Yes, We Got a TV

Here's the story: We got a used TV from Scott's brother right after we got married. I didn't care that it was old and huge. It was still in excellent condition and actually didn't look too bad, but Scott had to come home from work every day, "Can we please get a new TV??" He works in the WalMart electronics section. He stares at brand new TV's all day.

Well, apparently he had had many conversations with his co-workers that all revolved around the same idea: Sabotage the TV to beyond repair and blame it on its age. I was not about to fall for that trick. And then one day Scott decided to hook the XBox back up after taking it up to his parents' house and the color was wrong. Something had happened to the TV, because everything was completely washed out. I knew Scott didn't do anything to it, but he sure took this as a good sign that we really did need a better TV. I didn't see what the big deal was. I knew we didn't have the money for a new TV, and we were still able to watch shows on the old one just fine.

But then the fateful day came. Unknowingly, I went to WalMart like I always do to pick my husband up for lunch. The first thing he did was pulled me over to the TV wall. Not again...., I thought. He showed me the latest TV's he had been looking at, except this time he had graduated from a 32" to a 42". Of course. I was about to lead him away when he used his one last trick up his sleeve:
"Limited Time Offer: Buy this TV and receive a Free $100 WalMart Giftcard."
How could he do this to me?? That was a $100 of groceries! Or a nice TV stand! He said he had never seen an offer like this before, and me being the bargain shopper I am, actually agreed with him!

I told him I would have to think about it, but it probably wasn't going to happen tonight if it did. He clocked back in and went on his way to work and I went home and did my things.

....and then I went back to WalMart to pick him up at 10:00pm and bought a new TV.

...and assembled it that night and was up til 1am. But it sure was fun!! And Scott is now a very happy man and I am actually quite pleased myself. So there ya go. Moral of the story? Don't let your husband work at WalMart in the Electronics department. Or maybe do. I don't know :)