I am now a college grad!

SO sorry I’ve been MIA lately. But, I have a good excuse! I have been finishing up the last semester of my Associates degree! 🙂 That’s right folks, you are now reading the blog of a college grad! But that last semester was a doozy! I was working full time and was totally exhausted every evening when I got home. So, I’m sorry to have neglected you for so long. I hope you can forgive me.  Continue reading

Happy New Year 2016!!

We here in our little nut shop would like to welcome you to 2016! At the beginning of a new year I like to take some time to reflect on the year that just ended and look forward to the upcoming year and make a few plans.
Reflection: 
2015 was a pretty good year around here, despite the fact that I completed another 2 semesters of full-time schooling. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that attending school full-time with 5 little nuts running around (okay so they’re not that little, but they still need their mom) is no easy feat. Continue reading

Get rich with pesto!

Gardening is something that I really enjoy. However, this year was the first year we were able to plant anything in our new garden. One thing that we were able to plant this year was some basil. I love basil! It smells so good, and can be used in so many tasty dishes! And it grows quickly, so one plant will give lots of basil for use in many, many dishes. This summer we enjoyed our basil in caprese pizza, tomato basil soup, and fresh pesto. Continue reading

I’m sorry sir, but you lost more than $1,200 on your new car.

Last weekend Mr. Cashew and I went out on a date. We’re pretty laid back when we go out. We don’t always plan ahead what we will be doing, but we have a standing appointment that every Friday night is date night and we will be going out together (with no children).

And so it was that Friday evening had rolled around again, and we went out on a date. We keep our dates pretty simple and low-cost. We almost always go out to dinner, we have a variety of places that we like to go where we can both eat for under $20. We had dinner at Noodles & Co. and then we wanted to do something fun. We decided to go wander around the mall like we used to as high school kids. As soon as we walked in the doors we were immediately greeted by the sight of 3 jewelry stores. Continue reading

How I cut my power bill by more than 50%!

In my quest to save more of our income so that we can achieve our goal of early retirement I have been thinking about where our money goes.

Our top spending categories are (in no particular order):

  • Mortgage
  • Tithing (yup! We give 10% of our income to our church and still intend to save enough to retire early)
  • Expenses related to cars (Gas, insurance, maintenance, registration, etc. at least we don’t have to add car loan payment to this list.)
  • Food
  • Utilities

Just about everything else we spend money on is fairly optional, and can vary, or even be lived without if we decide to (at least for a period of time). And even the things we need that are not on this list cost less than the above mentioned items.

So, if this is where most of our money goes, and these things are all necessary, what can I do about them? Continue reading

In order to know how far you’ve come you must know where you’ve been.

I would like to keep track of what our investments are doing on this blog in order to show you (and me) a realistic picture of what can be done by a “normal” (yet larger than average) family. We eat several times every single day, we use our power, sewer, water, gas, phone, and internet at levels we’re comfortable with (physically and financially). We live in a lovely home, and we are a 2 car family (though I keep trying to figure out if we can change this realistically for the long term). We have hobbies that we enjoy and sometimes spend money on (sometimes a bit too much I think). And yet, even with all of this luxurious living I hope to show you that it is possible to save a large portion of your income and retire early – if that is your desire. If only you make saving a priority. Continue reading