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“There are plenty of ways to get ahead. The first is so basic I’m almost embarrassed to say it: spend less than you earn.” ~Paul Clitheroe~

“Money is something you have to make in case you don’t die.” ~Max Asnas~

Numbers scare the life out of me! I fear them almost as much as clowns (clownphobia). But I do know that the cost of everything has gone up and well…my paycheck has stayed pretty close to nothing (3 small kids still a priority) and my husband’s…well…gets us by comfortably (thank goodness). But I would say we live in a modest house and since we got married have always lived off 1 paycheck. I never wanted us to get used to a second one in case I decided to stay home with the kiddos for 11 years – like I did. As far as I’m concerned or know, we are living the American Dream (don’t tell me otherwise – I don’t want to know -ignorance is bliss). We don’t jaunt off to Europe for extravagant vacations (Destin here we come), we send our kids to great public schools, we never wanted to be house poor and bought sensibly, we pay off our credit cards (almost) every month, we have health insurance from the military for the rest of our lives – and I won’t complain a bit about it, we eat out a little too much (because I am cooking challenged), we have a boat and 2 cars, I quit going to Starbucks on a regular basis a long time ago, I go to a reasonably priced hair salon, I only get a pedicure once in a blue moon, I don’t go to the spa, I spend at least $50 a month on my 2 adopted soldiers (the least I could do), I do not buy anything unless it is on sale and yet…we still are feeling the OUCH at the gas pumps and grocery store just like everyone else. And don’t remind me that next week is Teacher’s Appreciation Week, I had to pay up all school meal accounts, buying uniforms & school supplies for next year already, birthday parties & then Christmas/Hanukkah will hit us like a big freaking Mac truck …YIKES!!!

I am glad we made good decisions along the way and neither of us are high maintenance. And we all know that 1 event, such as a hurricane or a family hardship can bleed us dry in a heartbeat. We sweated it out last year with 2 mortgages for 2 months and decided to sell low and take a hit rather than sweat it out any longer (phew). We were just sinking some saved money into painting and putting wood floors into our house (22 yo when we bought knowing we would have to sink some $ into it) while shopping for a more economical commuting car and then….”Sorry folks, your heating & air unit is in danger of catching fire or freezing and flooding your house any time – please pay $7500.” S*#T happens – and there is nothing we can do about it. UGH!!!! We needed that like a poke in the eye! But I can’t change it – out of my control!!!

There is also nothing I can do about the rising gas prices or the cost of milk. Everywhere I turn – people are complaining/discussing about all these things that directly impact their lives but things they can’t control!!!! I feel for everyone, I would like to think I am a very compassionate person – but most people make stupid choices along the way and still don’t realize how great they are living the American Dream! You can live without a cell phone, you don’t need 50 credit cards, you can use the purse from last season (I bit the bullet & am doing this), you don’t need a $5 mochajavalottacaffeine every day, you can go to free entertainment events, you can possibly change your driving habits (we stopped servicing the South Shore for our organizing business right now). You gotta cut corners somewhere – anywhere. And if money is still tight – I guess you need a Plan B!

I have read that many people have about $6,000 worth of stuff they don’t need in their house. As a Professional Home Organizer – I believe it!!! You gotta unload some crud, and cut some corners to make it – there is no other way. Craiglist is a wonderful thing for these tight times – hey – anyone want to buy a wooden castle with knights for $50?

The cost of living sucks right now, it really does and I hope you all are able to keep your jobs or even try and get a better one right now. I hope you can pay your mortgage and electric bills every month and you don’t have to find extra jobs (heck – I can’t even get a roofer out here – good for them). Like I said in the title, I can’t balance a checkbook! Money and numbers scare the tar out of me. But I do know that you can’t spend more than you earn & you can take that quote to the bank! The Princess of Positive has spoken!

***Special thanks to the The Nola Notes & Pontchartrain Pete Academy for bestowing an award on me for the “best newbie Jazzfest post.” Lookie here at my prize.2459631195_322785c093.jpg

* tune in your radio or computer every Saturday 3:00-4:00 (central time) for my radio show AM 690 WIST

* I hope read and enjoy KMG every day at Kiss My Gumbo.com & NOLA.com. It is free entertainment!

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