Katie Loves Kansas

Ramblings about racing, Kansas, travel, motherhood and life.

Threshing Days – Goessel, Kansas

My small hometown doesn’t have a lot of big events, but every year, the first weekend of August we celebrate Threshing Days. A reminder of days gone by, this three day event features displays and demonstrations of antique tractors and engines, along with Mennonite food, a parade through main street, a sand volleyball tournament and kids activities. It is always a wonderful way to celebrate the community. With a population hovering around 500, and around 20-25 graduates a year, the town slogan “Small Town, Big Heart” fits Goessel well. Goessel Kansas, Small Town Big Heart

 

 

I haven’t been back for Threshing Days since high school, but made the trip with Jaxten this year. My parents joined us during the rainy morning, and while the temperatures were considerably lower than expected, it didn’t put any damper on the fun!

Jaxten loves tractors so he thought the parade was wonderful! It was nice to be in a low key environment, too. He had plenty of space to chase candy without being intimidated by big kids. There was also lots of fun, free stuff for kids to do on the museum grounds, and a train display that just fascinated Jaxten.  He even got to use an old fashioned crank corn sheller. I think he would have stayed there all day sheller corn if we’d have let him. Parade Time

Goessel High School Band, Threshing Days 2016

The current GHS Band. The whole band. On one trailer.

Train Display

Look at that face! Pure joy!

One of the things I was most looking forward to was the wonderful food, and this year did not disappoint! Zwiebach, New Years Cookies and Bierocks, oh my!

I’ve attempted Bierocks at home before with some success, but Zwiebach are one of those things that still elude me. Mostly because a lot of the recipes I find for this type of thing read like the following “Enough flour to handle”. No more hints. Good luck with that! The failed attempts are worth it though because these things are delicious!Zwiebach Recipes

How I Earn Free Starbucks!

I love Starbucks. I’m not at all ashamed of being “basic”. It’s a great way to treat myself and nothing I create at home tastes near as good as what they whip up. Unfortunately I’m also about as cheap as they come and have a hard time shelling out $4 or $5 for one drink.

So I get my Starbucks for FREE! (Most of the time)

How you ask? A combination of things including surveys, rewards and the Starbucks rewards program itself! Just this week I loaded $45 worth of Starbucks cards into my Starbucks app and didn’t pay a dime.

Let’s break it down a little –

The first $10 card is from my Toluna Survey rewards points. I would say I’m a so-so survey taker. I go on spurts where I’ve read lots of blogs about earning money on surveys and I’m able to motivate myself to do them consistently, and then there will be weeks where I don’t do any. I try to remember this is just bonus slush money vs something I’m relying on, and since I wouldn’t typically pay for Starbucks, it’s a great way to reward myself!

The next $25 reward was an e-gift certificate from e-Rewards. Another survey company, e-Rewards is probably where I’ve had the most success of all my survey adventures. The typically reward you a small amount even if you don’t qualify and sometimes their surveys are worth $4-$7. The only catch is that having $75 or so of e-Rewards cash only translates to a $25 gift card, but you can choose places like Starbucks, Restaurant.com and more.

The final $10 gift card is from my Chase credit card. We don’t typically use credit cards for day to day spending, but if we have a major purchase coming up I make sure to use the card then pay it off immediately. I’ve gotten tons of $5 Starbucks gift cards which make great little treats for me or stocking stuffers and gift additions.

Finally some of the best rewards I’ve seen are from Starbucks themselves in the form of their rewards program. You simply download their app, connect your Starbucks cards, and then use the app to pay. You get a free drink just for signing up, plus one on your birthday! Throughout the year you are rewarded with bonus days, special offers and more. It’s a great payback for not much work – plus you don’t have to worry about losing a gift card!

What great ways have you found to feed your Starbucks addiction?

 

8 Apps for organizing your family!

Time and money – the two things we would all love more of! These are just a few of the great apps available to help you streamline your family’s life and save money. All of these are available free in the app store, although some may have extra features you can purchase for an additional cost.

Quip – This file sharing and list app is designed for businesses, but I’ve found that it makes it very simple and straightforward without a lot of frills, which I love. You can create files, to-do lists, spreadsheets and more to share with whoever you decide and then you can both change and edit them together. I really like that you can see when someone has accessed the lists or files as well (No hubby pretending he never saw my list!).

EveryDollar – A great app from the geniuses with Dave Ramsey, this financial app operates on the thought that you can only keep track of your money and debt if you know where every dollar (Get it?) is going. You can set up your budget with categories and savings goals and track your progress. There is also a web version available if you’re like me and sometimes are working both from a computer and a cell phone.

Mint – I’ve actually switched from EveryDollar to Mint because I love how Mint syncs all my accounts and makes it easy to see our net worth and balances across the board. There is a little more set up work as you have to input your passwords and account numbers for different financial institutions but it is totally worth it to log in and see everything! Due dates, spending habits, uncategorized purchases, it’s all there!

Cozi – If Quip was designed by a mom – it would be Cozi. The same great list and to-do functions that you can sync with different family members – plus you can organize schedules by color for each family member, and track extra things like grocery lists and meal planning! There are helpful time-saving tips throughout the app and its very user friendly.  You can also upgrade for the option to add contacts and birthdays!

These next few apps are more on the money saving side, and help me to get a little dough back on daily spending!

Walmart – I haven’t had a ton of success with the Walmart Savings Catcher app, mostly because I shop a lot at Aldi and Dillon’s, but I’ve got friends who get tons of money back! Since it takes two seconds to snap a photo on your receipt I try to do it every time just in case. Walmart compares their prices with others in the area and gives you back any savings you were missing! So far I’ve gotten $12 or so back, but my plan is to redeem everything around November and put this towards Christmas shopping!

Ibotta – If you don’t mind a few extra steps Ibotta is great for earning some spending cash. You get rebates based on what you buy – say $1.50 for a pack of diapers, or 25 cents for a gallon of milk. It’s nice that there is a great mix of items to get rebates on, because typically I don’t buy specific brands or gimmicky food, but you can still earn money back on things like eggs, any brand of bread, or produce! If you are a liquor buyer there are TONS of liquor rebates as well.

Receipt Hog – This one stop app processes almost all of your receipts and gives you “coins” back you can later turn in for Amazon credits or Paypal transfers. There are also challenges and games or slots you can play to earn more coins. The amount you earn is based on how much you spend, and there a cute little pig in the app that reminds you to “feed” it. Even though it’s just an app I still feel bad when my pig is looking skinny!

Cartwheel – I hesitated on adding this app, because the best way for me to save money at Target is just to never go. It’s like a spending black hole. But if you are going to spend money there anyways, you might as well save some money, typically between 5 to 20% on certain items, but sometimes as much as 50%, especially around the holidays! The nice thing about Cartwheel versus some other apps is that the money comes straight off your bill, instead of having to wait to get it back later.

Any other great apps you guys use to save money?

Racing is a funny thing…

Racing is a funny thing…the highs are higher and the lows are about as low as they get. One moment you feel like the world is collapsing on you, things are going horrible and you’ve wasted all your money on a pile of junk, and the next you are reminded of the amazing racing family you’ve gained and everything is well in the world in again.
It’s been one of those seasons for Jeremy. He can’t seem to get comfortable in the car and we’ve torn up more stuff than we have in years. Since he is already discouraged, and because we have such a fun little one at home, he has a hard time getting motivated to go spends hours alone in the shop, but the last thing an ill-handling race car needs is less attention.

Then this weekend a couple things happened. A local racer, someone who anyone you ask would tell you was a wonderful guy, lost his life in a work accident. Friends, family and competitors banded together to wrap the family in love. Tributes were made and money was raised. We race in a different class, so Jeremyand I knew him only in passing, and then were out of town racing ourselves for most of the weekend activities, but the outpouring of love was so great you couldn’t help but be thankful to be part of such an amazing sport. Suddenly we are reminded the hundreds or even thousands of dollars that may be lost in a racing accident or bad night pale in comparison to the struggles some may face. All of this could be gone in an instant.
We also happened to get stuck, along with our fellow sprint car racers, in Dodge City, Kansas for a two day show that turned into a Friday- Monday event. Rain on Saturday postponed our race until Sunday, so suddenly you had lots of families with small children looking for a way to get them out of the RV’s and get some energy burned off. No matter how fierce the competition in on the track, off the track it’s one big family full of people who care about each other. People who know your struggles. People who know the ups and downs of racing, and the joys and stresses that come with this costly addiction.

Headed to watch their daddies race

Headed to watch their daddies race

We all ended up at the same hotel (some of us with rooms, some not) and let the kids run loose in the pool area and courtyard for a few hours. They all had a blast. Even though they only see each other on weekends here and there they play like best friends. Watching the kids together in the stands and listening to their little conversations warms your heart. They point out their daddies to each other and have their own hot wheels races.

Pool Fun
This is not a sport that will make us rich or fill our bank accounts, but we are no doubt rich in the important things. Friends, family and the “village” it takes to raise our children.

 

Racing As A Business- what we do.

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Jeremy and I have always wanted our racing to support our lifestyles and vice versa. I think that is probably the dream of every race driver, to make a living doing what they love. Although the cards didn’t really fall into place for Jeremy to race full-time long term, we did get to live the dream for a few years, traveling full time and “supporting” ourselves, and we still get to race pretty often.

The major change for us has been our stage in life and taking full financial responsibility of the team (besides the motor program). While we were on the road traveling full time, I was working for various groups associated with racing, and Jeremy was running the team with his father. My income was okay to support us because we really had no debt, no vehicle payments, no house payments, and our expenses were mainly food and a hotel room now and then.

Obviously things have changed. We both work full-time jobs now and we have a home with a shop, vehicles, retirement accounts and savings account for Jaxten. The ultimate goal is still to be race where and when we want, without jeopardizing our financial security. Here are some of the things that I think have helped us along the way:

Background / Schooling – I knew from my time growing up watching my father race that I was interested in working in motorsports. My degree is in Mass Communications with a focus on Public Relations and Electronic Journalism, and it’s helped us save money on various things throughout the year because I can do them myself (website, press release etc, ) vs. hiring someone.

Industry Sponsors – Jeremy has been loyal to many of the same brands his entire career. This saves us money because he has personal relationships with many of them.

“Racing” Account – We have a dedicated banking account, check book and credit card for our racing. T-Shirt Money, race winnings, sponsorship, it all goes into that account, and then everything Jeremy orders or spends racing –wise is put on the same credit card. Every Monday I log on and HOPEFULLY am able to pay off the balance and move forward. It doesn’t always work this way, but it helps keep our spending in line, as we try not to use money from our 8-5 jobs to pay for our racing. Our trailer payment and RV payment do come out of our regular income though, so that’s a little bit of a grey area.

Long Term Sponsors – Many of the sponsors on Jeremy’s car came over from my dad’s race team when he retired. Both Jeremy

Shameless plug. You can buy our 2016 shirts here!

Shameless plug. You can buy our 2016 shirts here!

and my dad do a great job of representing them. We send weekly updates to them during the season, along with thank you gifts at the end of the year.

Merchandise – Merchandise is scary, exciting, stressful and fun. It’s a huge amount of money to spend in hopes that people will want your product. We also spend money each years on things we know are just giveaways, such as autograph cards, website fees, temporary tattoos, glowsticks, etc. Got to keep the kids happy!

Training – Something new we invested in this past season is training specifically for growing the racing business with Dirty Mouth Communications. Kristin and her husband share a lot of similarities and goals with Jeremy and I, and we felt like the investment really helped up to focus our effects.

Website – We’ve used Go Daddy Hosting / Domain and Website Builder for years now. The program takes a little getting used to, as most would I’m sure, but the service and help is wonderful! We spend $25-$50 a year total, and it’s another great outlet to share out team. If you are looking for a easy website service I highly recommended though. You can follow the affiliate link below for specials offers.


$.99* .COM Domain! Get going with GoDaddy!

 

We are looking forward to continuing to expand and grow Jeremy Campbell Motorsports. Are there any ideas you’ve seen with other teams that really excited you?

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