Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Billboard

Did you ever find yourself driving down the road, minding your own business, maybe had the family along for a nice evening out, when you look up and see a 20-foot picture of your kid on the side of the road? Don't you just hate that?

Yeah, me too. Happened to me and my family on Friday night. See?

I was driving and almost left the road! Here's the story behind the billboard:

We volunteer with the Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society. Its a rescue and educational organization for horses, donkeys, etc. Every year we do a Horse Expo to promote the rescue and raise money for the horses. Last year the little guy in the picture was there. His name was Thunder. He'd been around for a while and the previous owner reported that he was broke to ride. Unfortunately, there wasn't anyone near his foster home that was small enough to test that claim out. Enter the Peanut up there ^^^^^...

Somewhere around 6:30 the next morning (it's never too early to ride), the Peanut hopped on little Thunder and the two of them went off and had a grand time.

A few months later the rescue was tossing around marketing ideas and someone looked into billboards. They put out the call for pictures of kids with their horses and we tossed some that were taken that morning into the mix. The next thing I knew, we got a message that everyone loved the pictures and they would use one. We all thought "what fun."

The thing is, the billboard was only supposed to show up in Arkansas. So when we were all driving out to the Expo Center for this year's Horse Expo and saw it right there on the side of the road by the Austin Airport...well, let's just say that steering was suddenly not in the forefront of my mind. Though it quickly made its way back there.

Of course, the next morning we had to stop and get a picture:

'Cause seriously, when you go to school on Monday and say "Hey, guess what! I'm on a billboard!" whose gonna believe you?



Monday, October 5, 2009

Living on Half: An introduction to Money Mondays

This time last year life was good. My husband was gainfully employed, we had just made the decision to start growing our little home-based internet business so I had a small, part-time income while still staying at home and I was a year from finishing my much belabored degree in business management. Of course, to everyone with half an eye on the economy it was clear that the good times were not going to last much longer.

Sure enough, five months later life hit. My husband was laid off after almost 20 years with the same company and our income was limited to my little part-time pittance. NOT enough to support a family of four with one kid barely out of college and the menagerie of animals that call our place home. Not to mention the debt! Yeah, that stuff we’ve all been told for a couple decades now that we absolutely positively CANNOT live without, even though every other generation before ours recognized its dangers and would never even have considered living outside their means. Uh huh…that stuff. We had two car payments, two credit cards, student loans and a mortgage. Within a couple months of my husband being full-time with our little company our income had increased a little bit, but we are still making less than half of what we were.

So how do you manage debt and bills that reflect one income when your actual income is suddenly less than half that? I don’t know. But I do know it can be done. I know it because I am determined…and stubborn. Just ask my husband, he'll tell ya. I will teach myself how to cut, scrimp and make do until the things I love and that matter most will fit in this new lifestyle.

And I’d like to take you on this journey with me. Every Monday will be Money Monday and I will share with you some the of things I have already learned, some I have yet to learn and, I hope, some of your great money-saving ideas. We’ll share recipes, web sites, personal triumphs and struggles. I know I'm not alone on this little road of mine and, even if you don't share my situation, you probably want to learn how to do more with what you have too.
Oh, but don't hold me to the EVERY Monday thing. I'm a little on the ADD side and I may get distracted.