Financial Peace University

Recently, Stephen and I participated in a Financial Peace University Class that was offered by our church. I was so excited to take this class, because I had heard such great things about it! We were also excited to take it because many of the young families in our church were also taking it, and we were hoping we’d make some more friends (and we did!!) FPU ran once a week for nine weeks, and last Thursday our last class. 

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FPU is taught and created by Dave Ramsey. Before the class, I did not know much about Dave Ramsey, but apparently he is pretty controversial! Dave Ramsey has a famous radio show, and he’s often quite harsh on the air. However, he has a far different personality during FPU. While we maybe didn’t agree with every single thing we learned in FPU, Stephen and I both came to really enjoy Dave Ramsey and FPU, and I guess you could call us Dave Ramsey fans!!

Stephen and I have always been savers, and have never really struggled with money management. We really wanted to take this class to learn more about investing, saving for our future children’s education, retirement, budgeting, buying a home, etc. We also were interested because it is a Biblically based class. We’re still learning how everything works in the financial world, but after taking this class I know so much more! I feel like I finally understand financial lingo and how things work.

As I mentioned previously, our class met once a week for nine weeks. We looked forward to class every week–we thought it was so fun (we’re both nerds when it comes to this stuff)! At the start of the class you watch a video. During the videos (which are hilarious and very entertaining), you fill out your FPU workbook. After the video you are split into small groups, where your small group leader asks questions and leads discussion. Once you pick a small group you are encouraged to stay there, so that you can build community. We really enjoyed the people in our small group and have become good friends with them. During the small group time we would discuss the small group questions provided in the workbook, and also discuss issues/concerns/achievements we made as the class went on. We would also have homework most weeks which would mainly include reading a chapter in Dave Ramsey’s book, creating your zero-based budget, having a budget meeting with your spouse, etc. 

To give a quick synopsis of what we learned in the class, I will list the “baby steps”. Dave Ramsey has created six baby steps to financial peace, and the class is based around these. 

The Six Baby Steps:

Step 1: $1,000 in an emergency fund

Step 2: Pay off all debt with the debt snowball

Step 3: 3-6 months expenses in a full emergency fund

Step 4: Invest 15% of income into Roth IRA’s and Pre-tax Retirement Plans

Step 5: College funding and pay off the home early!

Step 6: Build wealth and give

 

After taking the course, I would say Stephen and I learned the most about retirement, investing, and how to create a budget that works. However, we also learned a lot about insurance (what to have and what not to have), how to raise children who understand money management, and the danger of debt and credit. We thoroughly enjoyed the class and will be keeping all of our workbooks/materials for future reference. If you ever have the opportunity to take FPU, I highly recommend it! 🙂

 

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bars

I’ve made these breakfast bars twice, and we love them. They are super filling and great for breakfast or a snack when I’m at school the whole day on Wednesdays!

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Recipe adapted from thelawstudentswife.com

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bars

Makes 8 Bars

Preheat oven to 375. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

Ingredients:

2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats

1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 T. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (or more)

1 tsp. Baking Powder

1.5 Cups Milk

2 T. Honey

2 T. Peanut Butter (melted for easy stirring)

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

I Egg

I tsp. Vanilla Extract

I Banana (quartered and diced)

 

Mix together dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls. Then, stir dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in diced banana.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into 8 bars. These will keep in the fridge for about 5 days, and extras can be frozen!

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Updates: Part Two

Last week I showed some of the things we switched up in our bedroom, based off of the changes in our living room.

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Here’s a picture of what our living room looked like previously.

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Changes made:

*The bookcase! I LOVE this bookcase and I was so excited to find it on sale at Target. It is this bookcase from Target. It’s surprisingly sturdy and well made, much nicer than the Ikea bookcases we had looked at. 

*Our curtains. The curtains were a bit of a splurge (especially knowing I could have made them myself…), but that’s what Christmas money is for, right?! I bought these light grey linen curtains from Ikea, and LOVE them. They are much longer and wider than our previous curtains (top photo), so we had to lift our curtain rod so that it was higher and wider than the top of our screen door. It took a bit to convince Stephen that this is really how it should be anyways, and it truly does add height to the room! I also love these curtains because they are fairly sheer, and let tons of light in during the day. 

*The grey dresser. My mother in law has been renovating furniture lately, and I saw this dresser in her house a few times and loved it. This Christmas, Mrs. Anne decided to give each couple something that she had handmade and I was so excited to receive this! It’s painted with chalk paint, and has a very smooth, milky finish. It’s also my favorite color 🙂 I now use it to hold my school books and the bottom shelves to hold extra pantry items. (Thanks again, Mrs. Anne :))

 

I’m enjoying the new changes, and love that the room feels a bit more colorful. That first picture looks awfully monochromatic! Lately I’ve been keeping my eye out for things that are bright teal and yellow to add some brightness to the room, because there is a lot of grey and beige. I also am so excited for the day when I can paint my walls, because I know that would also make quite the difference!

100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

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Before I got married, I imagined that I would always make homemade bread. I then decided that I would wait until I bought my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Stephen gifted me my stand mixer in September, and I just recently followed through and gave it a shot. I try to make things from scratch as much as possible, and I’m glad I can add this to the list! I love that it’s made from 100% whole wheat flour (most bread you buy in stores is made with both all-purpose and wheat flour, but still label themselves as “wheat bread”). I also love that homemade bread has no preservatives and is low in sodium, something that store-bought bread has tons of! Lastly, it’s economical and tastes much better than store-bought. 🙂

I received this recipe from a friend at church. I’m not sure where the recipe originated from, but I love it.

Whole Wheat Bread:

Makes 1 one-pound loaf

 

1¼ cup hot water (hottest tap water)

3 tablespoon oil

¼ cup honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon gluten

1½ cup whole wheat flour + 1 1/4-1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon yeast

 

Blend together, scrape sides down and let sponge for 8-10 minutes. (Sponge=cover and let rest)

Cover mixer with dish towel.

 

Add in an additional 1¼ to 1¾ cups white wheat until it cleans sides of bowl.  Knead 8-10 minutes.

 

Roll out on oiled surface and put in greased loaf pan.  Cover pan with towel.  Let rise. (Mine took about 1 hour. Rise until dough doubles in size)

Bake at 350o for 30 minutes. (Rotating at the 15 minute mark)

 

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*After rising and after baking.

 

I was so impressed by this recipe, and it was so easy! The honey also adds a subtle sweetness, and you could even label this a honey wheat bread. I’m experimenting with storing methods right now, as homemade bread does not last as long as store-bought (no preservatives) and I’d gladly take any tips you’d like to give! For now I’m wrapping the bread in a light dish-towel for a few days, until slicing the bread and freezing the rest leftover before it stales. I’ve heard the freezing method works pretty well, and apparently it’s easy to pull a slice out when needed and microwave it for a few seconds to defrost. Please offer up some tips if you have any!

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Some Updates

It has definitely been awhile since I’ve updated this blog…I think before Christmas! We had a busy holiday and winter break, but now we’re both back in school and back to the same old routine. Over the holidays, I put some of my Christmas money to good use by purchasing some home items that I’d been wanting. Most of the change has occurred in our living room, but there has also been a bit of change in our bedroom.

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Stephen and I had been wanting a bookshelf for awhile. We have this metal shelf from Ikea (above) which I like, but it’s not super sturdy and doesn’t have  a back, which means we can’t really use it to hold books. This shelf used to live in our living room, but has now been replaced by a new bookshelf that I LOVE from Target (that will be a different post.) However, I’m loving this shelf in our bedroom! I’m so pleased by the move, and I like that I now have a place to stack extra books, my bouquet, and my jewelry 🙂

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We also brought our hope chest up to the bedroom. Our hope chest used to stay in the living room (in our little “nook”), and held extra pantry items. We have now replaced its spot in the living room (with a much more functional piece), so the chest now lives upstairs. We’re also liking the new spot because it adds extra clothing storage for Stephen (he has a lot of clothes. And shoes. LOTS of shoes.)

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Lastly, we added some string lights that we bought after Christmas. I really like them, but can’t decide where to keep them. For now I’m enjoying them where they are, and love the light they add to the room.

Just a quick update of some changes. I’m already noticing that my decorating style has changed a bit (since when we first moved in) and already have in mind things I would like to change! I was surprised by that. Funny how that happens….