|A Major Milestone|
As of yesterday, December 22nd, our book Living The Savvy Life, has maintained its status as an international bestseller for a full year!
For those of you who know the struggle we experienced in getting it published (two years and 36 rejection letters), just getting it on bookshelves was a triumph.
The fact that it has experienced such staying power is proof that our message of smart spending and rich living is one that is appreciated here in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany, Austria and Finland!
I want to thank all of you who helped us get to this point including David Hancock and Rick Frishman of Morgan James Publishing. Thank you for believing in us and believing in our message!
|The Best Investment I've Made This Holiday Season|
I'm a make things from scratch kind of gal. From pancakes and waffles to cornbread and cakes, I enjoy the experience of combining basic ingredients to cook and bake rather than using a premade mix.
Two years ago, we decided to build a gingerbread house - from scratch. I purchased a gingerbread house cookie-cutter-set and used it to cut the dough I had made (from scratch) for the walls and roof. We made the icing (from scratch) and added all kinds of candy that we had purchased to decorate the structure.
Between the cookie-cutter-set, the ingredients for the gingerbread and all of the candy, we easily spent $35-$40.
Despite having Paul's help, who is actually really good at this type of thing, our gingerbread house suffered severe structural damage and, as Dante likes to say, it EXPLODED!!!
It didn't actually explode, it imploded.
Although the results were disastrous and the process a bit stressful, it was still a fun afternoon. However, Paul and I weren't eager to try it again.
A few weeks ago when I was at Trader Joe's, their Gingerbread House Kit caught my eye. It contained everything we would need, including premade walls and roof pieces, for the unbelievable price of $7.99. I grabbed one and ran.
Last night, Dante and I sat down to put it together while Paul made dinner. It was so easy that Dante was able to jump in and help put together the structure itself. The entire experience was relaxing and enjoyable.
It was a great lesson for me that "from scratch" isn't always better!
The Tosetti Family Gingerbread House - 2011
|Costco - A New Record|
I managed to get in and out of Costco last night in 12 minutes, with 2 items for $12.58!
|The Tosetti Family Holiday Calendar|
The month of December can easily get out of control with gifts to buy, events to attend and halls to deck.
I learned a long time ago that if I don't go into the month with a plan, I'll easily get swept away and miss out on doing the things I want to do. Having a plan helps to ensure that something like decorating the tree stays enjoyable because I've allotted enough time for it, rather than stressful because I've waited until too late in the evening to start, I'm tired, the living room is a mess and I just want to go to bed.
Here is an overview of our family's plans up to December 25th...
Week of December 5th
This week we plan to decorate the tree and put the lights on the outside of the house. Because putting up the tree can be an overhwhelming process sometimes, our plan is to do it in two steps. On Saturday morning, I'm going to put the tree together (we have a beautiful artificial tree) and string the lights on it while Dante is sleeping. I love it when he wakes up in the morning and discovers the tree magically appeared. Early that evening, we will put up the decorations.
Week of December 12th
For the past 10 years, we've celebrated Christmas with my family a week or two early. What I love about this tweak in the schedule is that we can focus on spending time with my family rather than worrying about having to get to my in-laws house the next day.
Christmas at my dad's ranch in Chowchilla, also known as Camp Haze, has become a much talked about event ever since my other-mom Linda bought everyone Nerf Guns as gifts a few years back. Since then, their 40 acres has become a playground for epic Nerf Gun battles. Not necessarily the most Christmas-ey activity, but a much loved Haze family tradition.
That afternoon we will visit my mom and grandmother in Fresno for a quieter, but very enjoyable, Christmas dinner.
Week of December 19th
Paul, Dante and I will attempt to build another gingerbread house. Our last effort resulted in structural issues that were comically devastating. Our back up plan for the day is to make hot cocoa and watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
On Christmas Eve we will head to Paul's dad's house. This is Paul Sr.'s favorite day of the year. With three grandsons running around the house he is at his happiest. One of my favorite traditions from the Tosetti side of the family is having St. Honore' Cake for dessert.
For as long as Paul and I have been together, December 25th is a sacred day where we stay at home. Our tradition is to open presents, have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, watch movies all day and then make dinner together. With all the running around we normally do, plus the added frenetic pace of December, we love to give Dante an entire day to just be at home so he can play with all of his new toys.
|And The Winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card Is....|
I'm thrilled to announce that the winner of the $100 Visa Gift Card is Pamela G. of Arizona. Pamela won the gift card after participating in The Savvy Life phone interview series.
The interviews were conducted as a research project to learn exactly what Savvy Life readers are looking for to make 2012 the best year yet from a financial and lifestyle perspecting.
As we move into 2012, look for new programs and opportunities through The Savvy Life to help you gain control over your financial life to not only create a strong financial foundation, but to help you buy the things you want to buy, do the things you want to do and visit the places you want to visit.
I want to again thank everyone who participated in the interviews.
|More Cyber Monday Deals|
My friend The Budget Babe has an extensive list of the best Cyber Monday clothing deals. Just two of the outstanding sales she posted include:
To see the entire list, visit http://bit.ly/v2hqZ2
|Cyber Monday Deals|
I am not a fan of Black Friday because it overshadows Thanksgiving, one of the most important holidays of the year.
I am however, a big fan of Cyber Monday. You can take advantage of the year's deepest retail discounts without the need to camp in a parking lot!
For a consolidated list of some of today's best deals visit CyberMonday.com.
|A Thanksgiving Confession|
I've never hosted and prepared Thanksgiving Dinner and a small part of me still feels like a kid because I haven't experienced this rite of passage.
For now, I'm ok with continuing my "guest" status, but one of these days I'd like to don an apron and play host. In the meantime, I'm grateful to my mom who is hosting dinner this year.
In addition to dinner at my mom's we're going to have breakfast with my dad and other-mom Linda tomorrow morning. It's going to be the first time we spend Thanksgiving together in a long time so it's a treat!
I have an amazing family that I love to be around so I am especially looking forward to the day!
A big part of Living The Savvy Life is being grateful for what you have while working toward achieving what you want. I have much to be grateful for and tomorrow, like every day, I will be counting my blessings.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.
|Were You Taught About Money?|
For the last few days, I've been conducting phone interviews of Savvy Life readers to determine the type of information they want to learn to make 2012 their best year yet from both a financial and a lifestyle perspective.
During the interview, one of the questions I ask is, "Were you taught basic day-to-day money management as a kid". This is a question I always ask audiences when I speak or give seminars. I'm never surprised when only a few hands are raised. In fact, when I spoke at Author 101 University in Las Vegas last month, only about five out of 300 people raised their hand.
What I find particularly interesting about this question during the phone interview is that not only has almost everyone said "no", but they've actually laughed and then said "no". It's obvious that this is a touchy subject.
In truth, basic day-to-day money management is not taught in the U.S. and because of that lack of education, we suffer for it and the economy has suffered for it. One of my goals is to push for personal finance to be taught in school and not just a single class, but an ongoing curriculum beginning in grade school and continuing through high school.
But for now, it's imperative that we educate ourselves. Whether that education entails attending a personal finance class, picking up a book or taking part in a course like the Living The Savvy Life Online Program.
It's time to stop beating yourself up for struggling with money... and don't beat your parents up either! I have the most amazing parents in the world, but it just didn't dawn on them to teach me about money - because they weren't taught about it as children either.
One very inspiring conclusion from the phone interviews is that every single person I spoke to had already improved their financial situation or was in the process. A brighter financial future is in your power. It's time to take control!
|Win a $100 Visa Gift Card|
With the New Year just six weeks away, it’s time embrace 2012 with a positive outlook – but more importantly, with a plan!
Now, through November 30th, I will be personally conducting phone interviews with Savvy Life readers. I want to know what it will take to make 2012 the best year of your life and what The Savvy Life can do to help.
If you’re willing to spend 3 – 5 minutes answering a few questions, I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a $100 Visa Gift Card. Only those who I actually speak with will be entered to win.
The drawing will take place on Thursday, December 1st.