Author: Becca Eby

We’re having a baby!

 BabyFruit Ticker

We could not be more excited to share our good news! I’m pregnant! Our first baby is due at the end of May. This pregnancy has been a huge part of my disappearance from the blog lately. I have been so tired and the nausea has been out of control. That is all on top of losing Jed’s mom, my huge fundraising banquet, and moving. Yikes. Things are still a little crazy, but hopefully I will be around a little more now that I have nausea meds. 🙂 I’ll have lots more posts about the pregnancy, so I hope you don’t mind. I have baby on the brain lately. Is it weird that I think the blob on the sonogram is really cute? Because I definitely do think it is the cutest baby blob I’ve ever seen. The whole sonogram thing was weird, but totally worth it. After seeing my baby and hearing the heartbeat, I definitely feel like a mama.

Frugal Friday – Rent vs. Buy

Is it better to rent or buy right now?

$190,000 3 bed, 2 bath, 1580 sq feet
This one is in a great neighborhood, with a great elementary school, but a TOTAL fixer upper.

3 bed, 2 bath, 1085 sq. feet $189,000
This one is in our current neighborhood and is pretty much the norm. Dallas is just soooo expensive, it is out of control. We looked at one house that was 890 sq. feet for $179,000. That is pure craziness.
The American dream tells us that we should own a house. Before we found our new rent house, we debated whether or not this was the right choice for us. Would it be better for us to continue to rent for now, or buy a house? We’ve looked at houses, looked at our options, and decided that for now, it is better for us to rent.
We want to save up a 20% down payment, so that we don’t have to pay P.M.I., and because that’s what Dave Ramsey recommends. Well actually he recommends paying cash for a house, but that is unfortunately unrealistic for us. If you can’t do that, Dave recommends paying 20% and doing a 15 year fixed rate mortgage, and then pay it off early. The interest you pay on a 30 year mortgage is seriously out of control. I’m excited that we are taking it slow and waiting for the right time, but I’m impatient. I want to have my own house and decorate it to my taste! Other factors for us include:
We don’t know how long we want to live here. Don’t get me wrong, we like it here, we just don’t know what the Lord has for us long term.
We don’t want to use our emergency fund for a down payment.
Dallas real estate prices haven’t really gone down at all, and are still really crazy high (in my opinion).

Want to find out if you should rent or buy?
The calculator above is pretty useful.
For discussion: Do you rent or own?
If you own, what made you take the plunge?
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

A Fall Display and a Little Venting

Two weeks ago I set up a simple fall display on my front porch. I love a fall display. I love pumpkins and hay bales and fall in general. I thought my display was cute, and it brought me joy. Jed took me to buy pumpkins on our first date 3 years ago, so they remind of that joyful occasion.

My crazy landlady saw my display and became enraged. She made me remove the hay bale, stating that it would destroy her porch. It wasn’t wet or anything, and I just don’t understand. We removed it, but this was one of the last straws that is forcing us to move. Our lease expired last month, and although we love our house and hate moving, our landlady is just not worth it. She comes over to our house without warning and hangs out in the front yard for hours, completely ignoring us. We have a drawer full of passive/aggressive letters that she has written to us over the past year. We literally live in fear of her. She has made me cry more times than I can count. We are done. I only wish I could warn future renters about her. We found a great house to rent in our neighborhood that is bigger and only $25 more. I can’t wait to show you pictures and move in!

I will be setting up a new fall display and carving some pumpkins at our new house!

Would you put up with a crazy landlord to avoid moving and stay in a nice house?

Frugal Friday – Community

For those of us trying to live frugally, on less than we make, it is sometimes difficult to find like minded friends. You may be watching your friends and family make bad money decisions while they mock your frugality. Even if you don’t have the support of a frugal community where you live, you can still find one.

As everyone knows by know, we subscribe to the Dave Ramsey school of thought financially. We are members of the My Total Money Makeover online community, and we find a ton of great advice on the site and on the forums there. There are thousands of folks who are trying to reach the same financial goals that we are, and they are all sharing their ideas about how to make it work. There are conversations about how to live on less than you make, how to save on daily expenses, and advice from those who have been there. The online community has been a huge help to us during our financial journey over the past year.

My newest frugal community is on Blog Frog. The Frugal Living community is very active, and a great place to seek advice. Right now there are conversations going on about frugal date nights, freeganism, couponing, marriage and money, and dozens of other topics. They also give away stuff all the time, and are affliated with EBates. I have won a $25 Target giftcard, $25 Sephora giftcard, and $25 ITunes giftcard on the community forum. It has been so fun to win! Right now they are giving away a IPad. Check it out.

I'm a Frugal Living Member

So the question is:
Where do you find frugal community or advice?

Young Life – Why do we do it?

If I could sum up my job for you, and why I do it in ten minutes or less, this would be it. If you have ever wondered about Young Life, check it out. If you are a current or former YL leader, watch it and be encouraged.

Real Loss for Our Family

This past Saturday we lost Jed’s mom, Carrie. After a long battle with scleraderma and pulmonary fibrosis, she left us suddenly and without warning. No one expected that she would leave us in this way, and truthfully we are happy for her but sad for ourselves. Her body fought against her for 19 years, and doctors predicted that she would have 6 months to live back when she was first diagnosed. God had other plans, and gave her family almost 2 decades more time. Doctors also predicted that death would be painful and lingering, but God in His mercy brought it swiftly and painlessly.

She and Jed’s dad, Roe, had been shopping together Saturday morning, and she felt fine. They arrived at home and while he was helping her into her chair, she collapsed. He caught her and said that when he looked at her face he knew she was gone. Roe and Houston (the youngest son) did cpr until the paramedics arrived. The paramedics tried everything they could for 45 minutes, and took her to the hospital, but she never regained a pulse.

Houston called us right after he called 911, and we threw bags together and were in the car in 15 minutes. Soon after we got the call that she didn’t make it. It is still surreal and heartbreaking. We spent the weekend with family, but had to come back home yesterday for my fundraiser (more on that later) and for Jed to take the GRE. Our hearts are so torn, wanting to be with family but having to get stuff done here. Hopefully we will get back this weekend. Her memorial service will most likely be Oct. 16th, giving everyone time to prepare. She and Roe chose cremation several years ago, so we are able to take time to remember her well.

We have regrets about not talking to her more, spending more time with her, etc. We are both so sad for ourselves and for Jed’s sweet daddy, her husband of 42 years. I wish that I had called her more. Jed wishes that he had talked to her more. Our comfort is that she knew that we loved her and that we all said it often.

Carrie Scott Eby was a loving wife, a wonderful mother, a great listener and friend to many. She will be greatly missed. She was a woman of great faith, and we know that she is dancing in heaven in a new body that is free and not bound by disease.

Please pray for the family, for peace and comfort. Thank you.

A January Wedding…

I love weddings, especially when they involve people I care about. One of my oldest and dearest friends is getting married in January, and I am so excited for her and her fiance. We have been friends for about 17 years, and she is one of my favorite people in the world. I’m thrilled to be one of the bridesmaids. She has is one of the most creative and original people I know, so I couldn’t wait to hear about her vision for the big day.

She sent me these pictures to capture her vision of a “Winter Woodland Wedding”. I am obsessed with it. It is so them and just perfect. So, in honor of Marci and Scott, here is a glimpse of their winter woodland wedding fantasy for your enjoyment. I’ve added in the lyrics to The Avett Brothers’ song, “January Wedding” to get us all in a wedding mood. Go listen to it!

January Wedding by The Avett Brothers

She keeps it simple
And I am thankful for her kind of lovin’
‘Cause it’s simple

No longer do we wonder if we’re together
We’re way past that

And I’ve already asked her
So in January we’re gettin’ married

She’s talkin’ to me with her voice
Down so low I barely hear her
But I know what she’s sayin’
I understand because my heart and hers are the same
And in January we’re gettin’ married

And I was sick with heartache
And she was sick like Audrey Hepburn when I met her

But we would both surrender

True love is not the kind of thing you should turn down
Don’t ever turn it down

I hope that I don’t sound to insane when I say
There is darkness all around us
I don’t feel weak but I do need sometimes for her to protect me
And reconnect me to the beauty that I’m missin’
And in January we’re gettin’ married

No longer does it matter what circumstances we were born in
She knows which birds are singin’
And the names of the trees where they’re performin’ in the mornin

And in January we’re gettin’ married
Come January let’s get married…

I’m sorry but I don’t know the source of all the photos, because they were sent to me.

Our wedding theme was a mountain fair and barn dance, with brown and robin’s egg blue as the colors. We had snow cones, a popcorn machine, a photo booth, and a Marble Slab buffet. Our ceremony was in a field and our reception in a barn.
What was your wedding vision or theme?
Or, what is your dream theme?

Frugal Friday – Financial Peace University

One year ago, we were in the middle of Financial Peace University. It rocked our world and changed our financial future forever. Now we are debt free, have a 3 month emergency fund, and are saving for a house and baby, and investing for retirement. That is a world away from where we were, and we owe it all to the Dave Ramsey plan. Because we believe so strongly in his plan, when we heard our church was offering the class we had to volunteer. I can’t make it every week because of my work schedule, but Jed is committed. He is a gifted teacher, and is so excited about sharing our journey with the folks in the class.

He had class tonight, and the 15 people added up their debts (consumer – non house) totally $304,000 for the group. Wow. I can’t wait to hear their stories of freedom in a few months or years. The class is 13 weeks long, and according to Dave’s website over 1 million families have already gone through it. Each family pays off $5300 in debt and saves $2700 in just 90 days on average. That is truly awesome.

I think this may be Jed’s new ministry. He gets so fired up about financial freedom, and loves sharing it with everyone he knows. Being able to do so in an environment where people actually signed up to hear about it is a great fit for him. I want to support him as he helps others along in their financial journey. Hopefully he can officially become a FPU coordinator and lead more classes. Teaching others will help to hold us accountable as well.

How does your family hold itself accountable financially?

Need a budget? Do it here in 2 minutes:

Weiner Dog Wednesday – Relaxation

One of Jackson’s favorite activities is the carpet stretch and roll. It looks like he is having so much fun when he rolls around like crazy. Confession – I tried it once. It was not as fun as it looks, at least for a full grown adult. I’ll stick to yoga.

What do you do to relax and unwind?

Hoping for Fall – A Frugal Wreath

Dear Fall Weather,
The good people of the South are pining for your arrival. We are sweating in our jeans in hopes of hurrying you along. All we are asking for is a little cold front, just a taste of things to come. You are my favorite season, after all. This 95 degree with 85% humidity madness has to end.

In honor of the fall weather that I just know is right around the corner, I decided it was time for a little frugal crafting. Hobby Lobby had wreaths and fake flowers on 50% off, so I got a grapevine wreath and a bouquet of sunflowers for under $5. Then I found a fall leaf garland at the Dollar Store. The grand total for the wreath was $6, plus the glue and scissors I already own. I’ve seen a few fall wreaths around that I’ve loved, but they cost $25-$45. Not in the budget…

I wrapped the garland around the wreath, securing it in the back in between the wires of the wreath, securing it with a little glue. I removed the flowers from their stems and covered the backs of them in glue. I wedged 3 of them in a row down into the wreath, holding them in place with pressure until the glue set.

Now I have a little simple fall festiveness to brighten up my front door.

Now if the weather will just cooperate, I will be spending a lot of time here:

Do you like the table Jed made out of our ice storm casualty? It holds a mason jar candle and will soon accommodate my drink of choice as I rock away. The mason jar candles got kicked off the front ledge to make room for the jar in the forefront, a solar powered mason-esque jar. Jed created 4 of them for our front porch. I’ll try to get him to do a tutorial. They are way cool.
Fall is my favorite season. What is yours?