Monday, August 13, 2012

YNAB: YOU NEED A BUDGET!

Hi Everyone!

I know I said I wasn’t going to write until the end of summer, but I just wanted to share this with you, as it has revolutionized my life! Seriously! And it’s about something really rather boring: Budgeting!
I was sick and tired of not knowing where our money was going every month; not knowing how much I really had for personal spending; or if there were areas we needed to cut back in, in order to get more of things we wanted. To make things even more complicated, my husband is essentially “self-employed” and his income fluctuates month to month, which always makes budgeting a little more difficult.

For months I have been using Excel and it’s been OK – but I knew there had to be something better out there to help track and categorize EVERYTHING – all on one page. In my job, I use Quickbooks on a daily basis and realized that my own personal finances needed to be more like this (It’s a sad thing when you are way more organized at work than you are in your household) ….so I went looking and found this amazing program called “YNAB: You Need A Budget”! It’s wonderful, and I am going to tell you why.
Before I go on, I should note that I didn’t spend a LOT of time researching which Budgeting Software was better than the other, BUT I have been using this software for a couple weeks now and have to say that it is very user friendly, easy to understand, and it’s liberating to know what is happening with your money.

Here’s the interesting thing: The budget doesn’t always make you want to smile. When I plugged in the numbers of what I want to be spending – especially with savings in mind for an upcoming trip in October – it can kind of be a little depressing! But what’s funny is that it’s not depressing at all because at least you feel in CONTROL of your money and are being very proactive about it. I can’t say enough good about it.
Now I am sure there are other good programs, but I strongly suggest (if you don’t already use such a thing) to GO TO THE WEBSITE AND CHECK IT OUT!! Trust me – it will revolutionize your life too!!  You can download a free month trial – and the whole thing only costs $60. Let me know what you think!

http://www.youneedabudget.com/

Good Luck!
Stacy
P.S. I just went online to see if there were reviews, and here is a link to reviews of personal budgeting software….YNAB shows up as #3! http://personal-finance-software-review.toptenreviews.com/

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gluten Free Pizza Dough

Hi Everyone! How is your summer going? I cannot believe that we’re well into August already.

I’m sorry that I haven’t been writing much here lately – I guess I have just been enjoying the summer! I can’t see this changing, so I don’t think you’ll be seeing too many new entried for a while. But I promise to touch base again come September.
However, I did say a while back that I would follow up with the Gluten Free Pizza Dough information, for anyone who is interested – so here it is!
You can see how the edges are a bit "droopy"...
I didn’t have any experience with gluten free crusts prior to this, and I figured that for a crust, it would have been easier to just buy one premade. But my sister Kari (daughter of the year) insisted that our dad (who is celiac) have a home-made crust just like us ;)
The mix she used was the “Gluten Free Pantry French Bread and Pizza Mix”. I wish I would have taken some pictures of this crust because it’s not something that you can compare at all to a “regular” crust. The consistency is batter-like, and it basically slides onto a pan and gets moved around with a spoon or spatula to the desired shape and thickness.  

To be honest -- after the toppings were added, I had serious doubts (because of how “batter-like” it was) about how this was actually going to bake up. Well….I was shocked at how “crispy” and how well that it actually turned out!  Best of all, my dad was happy with it, AND the leftover portion of the mix was put into a loaf pan to make the French loaf.
I haven’t tried any other mixes, so I can’t say how well this compares to others. My sister has been so good to experiment with other gluten free mixes and recipes of different sorts because of my dad being celiac, that I really should get her to post here one day with some of her findings.

For now, I will bid you all a beautiful remainder of the summer – and we’ll talk again soon!

xoxoxo




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