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This is the Dad’s first post to the family blog, I hope you enjoy!

Deployments are major life changers. For our family, the most recent deployment this past summer was quite the adventure. We had to cope with “Daddy” not being home, reading books over Skype, fix a broken refrigerator (brand new), save the world, and make it home with an hour to spare on bringing our newest addition Brendan to the family. It was eventful to say the least! One of the most important things that came out of the deployment was the time Katherine and I got together in deep discussion about future life plans and other circumstances.

One of the circumstances that we got to talk about was how me being a “picky eater” caused me to dream about food over and over again. I dreamt about P.F Changs, On The Border, Red Robin, Texas Roadhouse, just to name a few. The list went on and on until one day I discovered this really cool website called “StumbleUpon.” (Pretty much the guy version of “Pinterest”)

With this wonderful discovery, I also found that pictures of food help you feel better when your only food options are less than desirable. The pictures soon turned into me saving recipes as favorites, and before I knew it, I was only searching the food and cooking categories! I was so ready to eat good food that I told Katherine about all of my finds and how I couldn’t wait to come home and cook dinner with her!

Little did I know that cooking with her would evolve into what it is now. This experience brought up conversations about how much money we could save by eating at home a lot more than we did in the past. These conversations then turned into conversations about how we never had a budget or even knew where our money was going. We were definitely not spending our money wisely and we have been blessed with a great source of stable income. We were never in danger of not being able to pay the bills but we also put money on credit cards and bought things that weren’t really important or needed.

Our conversations eventually got to the point of searching new ways that we could look at our finances and really start to turn around the downward spiral towards debt. We were quickly going to have two children and horrible spending habits with no plan of paying off our debt. We ended up going with a website called Mvelopes.com to help track our spending and create a budget. This is an envelope budgeting system that allows us to track our spending electronically like the “old” envelope and cash methods.

We have been able to see where our money was going, slow the spending and learn how to cook so much better than our pre-deployment times. I absolutely love cooking at home and have found so many recipes that fit into my “picky” tastes. One of my personal favorites comes from Todd Wilbur’s “Top Secret Recipes” book series, It’s P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef. We add some veggies and use our fancy wok, adding to the flavor! Including all of the fixings, drinks, and appetizers, we are saving about $30 eating this meal at home.

Without dragging this post out even longer filling it with all the details, we’ve changed! We are continuing to “Feed The Pig,” our piggy bank. We have solved a lot of problems with our money struggles! We have helped people in need! We have taken care of all of our debt! We are finding more and more blessings in being financially fit! I had no idea how much of a hold these negative spending habits had on me and how much it affected our family. We will continue to post more about how these decisions are greatly impacting our life and what this means for our family as we continue to grow. Thanks for reading!

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