Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to live like a four year old

I was looking at a pic of my oldest son the other day and thought to myself. Look at that smile! Not a care in the world. He radiates geniune happiness and loves life. I think as adults we get caught up in making money and working at a job we often times hate. We trade our precious time for a few bucks, are on a schedule and never spend enough time, well, really living. No not existing.... But really living. And by that I mean enjoying what you are spending your time doing, everyday. Living with purpose, with fulfillment. So how do you live 'like a four year old'? #1 Don't let the little things bother you. I spent too much of my life overanalyzing stupid things like, why did that person say this or do that. I've come to the realization that the only persons actions I can control are my own. How I react to the things people do make all the difference. #2 Make time to do something that brings you joy everyday. Whether that means taking a walk after dinner, playing with your kids outside doing cartwheels on the lawn, put on a pair of roller skates or just allow yourself to indulge in a bubble bath and read a magazine. #3 Don't let your life be all work and no play. This past year I have been on kind of a spirtual and personal journey. I have a lot of goals that I'v been putting off for years that I only this year, started really pursuing. Most of my goals have been financial and business related so this next year (2016) I'm making it a point to find more balance, not work less but just enjoy life more. #4 Take time for friendships. This is something I'm guilty of not doing as much as I should. I need to take more time out for friends. I find that picking up the phone and talking with a friend you haven't talked to in a while really helps your mental mindset. Or meeting up for lunch. #5 Enjoy little moments and little victories. If you want to really enjoy life. View life though the eyes of a child! Kids light up when they accomplish little victories like catching a ball or putting a puzzle together. Why not enjoy little victories too? We as adults put so much pressure on ourselves to do better, have more, buy a bigger house, t.v or car. Celebrate the little things like getting your daily to-do list done or finishing that project you've been putting off. #5 Do what you love. If you are working at a job you hate find a way to transition into doing what you love. Find a way to make a living doing what you love. For me this is writing and making things. I write to help people. I feel like that is my calling and purpose on this earth. I remember working jobs I hated just to make a living and it was literally soul crushing. Everyday I would wake up feeling like a robot, like I was living life on autopilot just going though the motions. Now I own my time i make money the way I want to. Could I be making more money working at a job I hate, yes! But being happy is more important than money. You could be the richest person in the world, but if you aren't happy or living with purpose then it is really worth nothing. I came to the realization that after the calculations (cost of working outside of the home) I realized my actual take home pay was $600 a month. To have someone else raise my kids for a lousy $600 a month and be a grouchy, worn down, tired, unhappy mom. It just didn't make since. It's actually pretty easy to make $600 a home check out my other blog bringingmomshome.blogspot.com for more on this subject. #6 Help others. Kids have such open hearts and are full of compassion. My oldest son has such a tender heart. He notices when someone needs help. He asks me questions about people he sees that are down on their luck. And I think he's old enough to understand. He likes to help and says things like "mom, that person needs a coat on" or "do you think that person wants a cheeseburger"? He is a smart little cookie. Do you find joy in helping or serving others? Why not find joy, by bringing it to others. Do someone small everyday to make a difference. This Christmas Eve I fed a homeless man in my neighborhood. I try to makr it a point to think about people who are in a bad situation. After my divorce I was once there. Here I was with no car or house, two kids under 3 and $100 to my name. That was almost two years ago. I lived at a womens shelter for a few weeks and with my mom. Thank god it was only briefly but that was such a humbling and scary experience. Through a series of events. A sweet friend of mine gave me an old car that she wasn't using.I also met my current boyfriend who started out as a good friend that has helped me so much along the way. I'm forver grateful for the things he's done for my boys and I. I wss able to find a job and a place and through working hard and never looking back life is so much better. I just look at people who are homeless differently now. I'm only one person so I can't help everyone,but i do try to pay it forward when I can. I think there is no greater joy than feeling useful and helping someone in need. Happy new year!!!! Hope you have joyful and prosperious 2016!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why I'm not keeping up with the Kardashians!!!!!

The Kardashians are a glamorized, highly publicized, and an idealistic version of the modern day 'Jonses'. Ok minsus, sex changes, alcoholism and big butts. Why do we as Americans watch this show anyway? I have watched this show a few times, I have a weakness for reality T.V. what can I say? For me the reason why I watch this show is just for the simple fact that these people have problems too. Just because they have millions of dollars doesn't buy them a free ticket to a problem free existence and that makes me in some small way feel better about my life, wow did I really just admit that!? Some of what they go through feels very staged but in a way they are just a typical family underneath it all. While we might be able to relate to them in some ways, we all can't live that lifestyle. We have what I like to refer to as 'iwantitis' we want what everyone else has. The latest iPhone, the bigger house, the more impressive car, the latest tech gadget but living this way is not going to buy happiness. It will keep you in debt, working long hours, paying for a house you only sleep in, financing a car you practically live in and providing for a family you rarely see. Is this happiness? What if we could change our mindset? Sc$#@ the Jonses!!!! Do the Jonses pay your bills? No! Focus on your own life, your own dreams, and your own goals, I changed my mindset. I used to care about what others thought about me. Now, the older I get the more free I feel, and I hope that transcends into my blogs and other work. I kind of speak my mind and am little more brash and realistic rather than idealistic. Now that doesn't mean that I'm not optimistic....omg that sounded like a hip hop song, sorry about that. The point is, you can have a better life and be happier if you shift your mind set! Stop caring so much about what others are going to think and live your life. Do what makes you happy. The money will come. If you find a way to make money doing what you truly love that to me is true happiness. For me 2016 is all about new beginnings...making changes, tying up lose ends, saving money, building on what I started and finishing projects. I tend to take on too much at once so I'm definitely going to prioritize and try to be on more of a schedule. And decide what's working, what's not and emphasize my strengths rather than weaknesses. I don't care anymore what the Jonses are doing or the Kardashians for that matter. As long as my family is taken care of, I'm doing the best I can everyday to make tomorrow better, I am on the right track and I'm happy, that's all that matters. I'm just having faith, working hard and trying to save as much money as I possibly can. Here are some of the things I've been doing to save money and live better. Some tips for saving in 2016 1) Buying used (stop yourself from buying that $2000 sectional) that same one might be on craigslist for $200. Save yourself $1800. 2) Go out to eat less, (I was spending $600 a month on just groceries now about $400) how much is dinner out? $60??? I can practically buy a weeks worth of groceries for that much. Try to eat at home more. If you work at home this is easy. If you work outside the home try bringing leftovers for lunch instead of frequenting the drive thru. 3) Buy used but gently worn clothing. I buy most of my clothing used. I use websites like, ebay, swap.com, and Thred Up. I also frequent thrift stores, consignment stores and yard sales. I still wear nice, name brand clothing, those who know me would call me a bit of a fashionista. 4) Reduce your flexible monthly bills and expenses. Switch companies, compare prices. 5) Save up for large purchases like a car, electronics or furniture 6) Pay yourself first. Make sure necessities are taken care of first always put some money away for a rainy day. 7) Trick yourself into saving. For me this is putting change in a jar. Change to me doesn't feel like real money so I'm less likely to spend it. Also, when you go to the bank if you are having a hard time saving money. Ask for that amount you want to save per month in change. Want to save $100....Ask for it in quarters then add it to your change fund. If you do this you will probably have over $2000 saved at the end of 12 months. It's amazing how it adds 8) Focus on your monthly bills that can be negotiated or reduced. Things like cable, entertainment and even car insurance can be reduced. Can you live without cable and just have Netflix? Can you switch insurance companies? Maybe entertainment will be less eating out or movies out? The less expenses you have the more financially free you will be. 9) Find ways to not only save money but also focus on bringing in extra money. If you are a stay at home mom then you have time on your side. Can you sell on eBay? I've been selling on eBay for years and it's a great way to bring in an extra paycheck. Do you write? Take on some side gigs for people that need work done but lack time to do it. Sign up for a freelance virtual assistant job. There are so my companies that hire V.A's it is a win-win situation. You do a project for them, you get paid. They save money by hiring per project rather than taking on a new employee full time. Sell on craigslist flip furniture....there are so many things you can do to bring in extra money. You can afford to be a stay at home mom, you just might not realize it yet. See my other blogs for more money making, money saving and work at home ideas Bringingmomshome.blogspot.com Mommiesfrugalfinds.com

Sunday, December 6, 2015

How to Run Your Avon Business on a Tight Budget

DIY Orange Julius only .75 a serving!

Time to break out the blender! After the holidays everyone is on a new health kick. Well, I'm starting it early!!! No time like the present right? Or is that it's always a good time to get presents! Or is that to always be present. lol Just kidding! During the holidays there are so many treats. Home made cookies and fudge and pies galore. I have always had a bit of a sweet tooth so I love donuts, pies and candy! Yep, I'm like a kid at a candy store, actually I go crazy in candy stores, I want to buy everything! So the point I'm getting at (believe me I have a point) is that I need to start eating healthier. I was diagnosed with a condition called fibromyalgia which is an arthritis type of condition that causes a lot of pain and discomfort. So I'm looking into more natural ways of treating this very common condition and I've started taking vitamins and supplements, as well as trying to eat healthier, duh right?! I'm going to be turning 38 this year and for some reason these kinds of things (sweets) don't sound as appealing anymore. I'm now wanting more healthy choices and my boys (even my picky four year old) have also been eating healthier (even if I have to be a little sneaky about it). I've been buying less processed foods and trying to make more things from scratch. It takes longer, but it is so worth it. Here is one recipe I thought I would share that my kids and I both love. I have been on a yogurt kick and absolutely love Tillamook yogurt. I've actually been eating this kind for about five years. I lived on it during both pregnancies eating it every night before I went to bed. I really like the Honey Creme Brulle( always out of stock at Wal-Mart, come on Wal-Mart get it together) one that Tillamook has in the black cups. Yum! Anyhoo, this is a delicious snack or fast breakfast and it's super cheap to make! Only about .75 a serving and you can double the batch by adding another banana another cup of yogurt and more juice and a splash on milk. No ice required. 1 cup Tillamook yogurt any flavor will work I love the vanilla or honey 1 Banana 1 cup of apple juice 1 can of apricots or peaches (apricots make it a little sweeter) 1 handful of strawberries 1/2 milk 2 tablespoons sugar (if needed) In blender add strawberries, banana and apple juice, blend...add in the rest. Blend, serve and enjoy! Makes 4 medium size servings

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Book Review: Blogging for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup

For those of your who have never blogged, or bloggers that have been blogging for years. This is a must read if you are either curious about how bloggers generate income or if you would like to get started blogging but you have no idea where to start. Like the author, Ruth Soukup, I started blogging around the same time. While I have learned a lot through trial and error. I don't have anywhere near the expertise this author does. The author has a website called Living Well Spending Less which I have been following for years. I stubbled upon her youtube videos on couponing (she started as a coupon blogger just like I did). Maybe I should have started a youtube channel back then? Oh well, you live and learn. As I was on Pintrest (which I swear is my fav website ever) I stumbled upon her income reports one day and was instantly sold on this book, I went to Amazon and purchased it immediately. (She makes around $10,000 a month, actually a lot of bloggers do). Likes and dislikes about this book... I did like that she included a lot of useful topics like Pintrest and finding advertisers. I liked that it walked you through the main steps of starting a blog I did like that she hit on the design element and how that comes into play with the whole overall functionaity of a blog. I have used some one her ideas for driving traffic, which I really think have worked. Dislikes.... I really wish it was more in depth on DIY blogging. I do most of the work myself. I haven't hired a designer for this. I do everything through trial and error. I do everything with my own two hands, well that and some help from youtube. I really wish there was more on wordpress and how to monetize with wordpress. I am just starting a blog mommiesfrugalfinds.com using wordpress and the only thing I'm still confused about are how to monetize using wordpress. Which she uses for livingwellspendingless.com Overall I would give this book a 4 out of 5 stars, It's perfect for the beginning blogger just starting out, or maybe someone with just an idea for a blog. This could take your idea to the next level. While I have never personallly met Ruth, maybe someday at a convention who knows, she seems like such a sweet and sincere mom blogger who made it big. I could only dream of being in her shoes someday. On a side note: she says in the book that people would laugh when she told them what she did for a living (I'm a blogger) and would roll their eyes. Who's laughing now? She's laughing all the way to the bank. She makes literally thousands a week with her blog and other projects. I think blogging is so "new age" that a lot of people don't understand that there are so many ways to generate an income from a blog (either directly or indirectly). Blogging is one platform out there that can take really any business to the next level. Check out my other blog bringingmomshome.blogspot.com for more on making money blogging as well as other business opportunities for moms.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to have an amazing Christmas on a budget

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....everywhere, literally everywhere you go. Is it just me or does it come earlier and earlier every year? It seems like Halloween isn't even over and you start seeing Christmas decor. So this year instead of turning my head and thinking omg, I am so not ready. I decided to embrace the thought of decorating early. (See pic, this is my house, not bad for $60 spent at the Dollar Tree right?) Yes, our tree is already up!!!! since November 8th! I did this for several reasons. First of all last year was really hard emotionally and financially. I just left my husband after being Married 16 years. Just getting thru everyday was more of a priority. I put everything off but in the end with a little help I was able to have a great Christmas for my boys. Secondly, I feel like I'm just In a better position this year emotionally as well as financially. More reasons I wanted to get it out of the way because I am going back to school and working hard on a lot of projects. My boys love Christmas and my oldest son's bday is Dec. 22 so I also have a bday the same week as Christmas...then mine is two weeks later. All of the best Christmas decorations are fully stocked. Waiting really limits the possibilities of getting what you want. As soon as Thanksgiving is over it is game on! And shopping becomes like wrestle mania! You have to fight for what you want. (Wait isn't that true for really anything? Lol) I was able to get some awesome decor at the Dollar Tree, all of it fully stocked!!!! And super cheap got everything for $60! They really have stepped it up and got better quality items too. It would be a tragity to buy this stuff anywhere else. I think we saved around 75 percent by shopping here compared to maybe Target or Walmart Ok enough about decor...back to having an amazing Christmas on a tight budget. Here are some tips and tricks. #1 set a limit per child. Obviously older kids are going to want more expensive gifts so they may only get a few while the younger ones will get several smaller cheaper gifts. I only have young kids ages 2 and 4 so they don't understand prices or brands which makes shopping easier. #2 Think outside of the box. Shop other stores you may have overlooked before. Ever thought to Christmas shop at Walgreens? I shop there every year to get toys. Now I don't get all of the toys there but I finish my shopping there. I have been able to get two carts full of toys for less than $100 buy utilizing there sales with the buy two get one free or buy three get two free toys! Be on the lookout for those sales! #3 Use layaway. I usually only use Kmart for Christmas layaway but this year I think I will use Walmart and see if I can save more. The down side is not being able to put clothes on layaway so I may go to Kmart as well. Layaway is awesome because you can pay in payments and you don't have to worry about hiding the gifts, you can pick up the week of Christmas wrap it all and find a temporary hiding spot. #4 If you are on a very tight budget and you are going through hard times and don't see how you are going to pull off the holidays here are some ways you can get help. Call the Salvation Army and sign up for food baskets and toy giveaways. Call churches and see if they offer any help What organizations are you involved in? So many organizations offer help. My son's school offers all kinds of resources (head start) a great program for low and moderate income kids and their families. Cal for referrals to other programs and resources. I don't think you necessarily need to be homeless. It doesn't hurt to call and ask. Social services can offer resources or give you some suggestions # 5 Plan early. Start as soon as possible, setting money aside and planning your Christmas budget. Also, prepare for unexpected guests and have little gifts on hand for gift giving like boxes of candy, lotions, small gift baskets, etc. #6 Start a change fund for Christmas in Jan. (While this won't help this year it is an idea for next year so you won't stress out last minute). How this works is put all of you change in a big jar or five gallon water jug. All of you change at the end of the day is put in it. If you save all coins you could have around $3000 on average at the end of the year. #7 Cut your budget per gift in half if you spent $20 on each giftlast year try cutting it to ten. There are so many good deals that this is easy with a little planning and you may have to shop several stores and have a little patience. #8 Does it have to be new? If you have really little kids to buy for, do they really care about the box? No, they just rip into them. They want the toy! If there is a toy your child wants that's out of your budget you might be able to find it used on eBay or craigslist, or even a thrift store, yard sale or consignment store. Just make sure all the pieces are there and it's clean and in good condition. You could even trade old toys for store credit to get new ones at some children's consignment stores #9Sell old items like toys and clothing on capitalist and eBay for extra Christmas money. #10 Make gifts. If you are crafty you might be able to make things like leg warmers, scarfs, gloves, hats, blankets or jewelry. Try reusing materials. You can repurpose old clothes to make a quilt. For jewelry you might be able to redesign old costume jewelry and for leg warmers, think old sweaters. #11 Black Fiday and Cyber monday. If you can brave the long wait, crowds snd chaos uou can get some great deals. I personally like cyber monday better, it's less stress for sure and a lot of stores offer free shipping. #12 Gift wrap cards and postage. Use flat rate priority for everything. This is a money and time save for several reasons. No weighing, if it fits it ships. Try redesigning the box to fit more. The flat rate envelopes can hold more if you make the bottom flat. Another plus, free tracking and insurance and drum roll.please, no stress, just schedule a pick up. The post office will come get it. Just print your labels at usps.gov and schedule a pick up. They will even drop the boxes off, just go to usps.gov to order supplies. Cards and gift wrap can be purchased at dollar stores. Why would u want to shop anywhere else? And spend double or even triple. You can even use fabric scraps and old ribbon to wrap gifts. Hope these tips helped relieve a little holiday stress! Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season!

How to have an amazing Christmas on a tight budget

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last minute frugal Diy costumes

Halloween is Saturday!!!!! Are you ready? If you need a last minute DIY halloween costume on the cheap, here are some videos with lots of inspiration. Look through your closet and see what you already have that you can work with. Grab a black tee cut open the neckline more to make it off shoulder, grab some tight black pants, black heels and you csn be Sandy from Grease. Grab a red shirt red leggings and red heels and you can be a devil. To make the ears get a regular headband cut two peieces of cardboard in the horn shape. Now cut four peices of red fabric in the same shape by tracing around the carboard cut outs. Now glue the fabric over the cardboard peices front and back. Let dry. Now cut two scrap peices of red fabric sbout 3in x 2in fold over ear hiding seams. Now fold both and sew with a seam allowance to slip headband through both horns. About 1 in seam for a regular headband. You could also be a zombie. Just dress in all white use dirt or ash to dirty things up. Look up zombie makeu tutorial for inspiration. You can use everyday makeup you already have for almost any costume with a little creativity. Happy Halloween! http://youtu.be/dM9WHm1I3fU http://youtu.be/-v2QSWhPe-0

Love your life.....now!

Recently while reading another blog I had somewhat of an awaking...it talked about enjoying the now and not always trying to base your happiness in terms of the future. I will be happy when I find my dream house, dream guy, finish my degree or land that dream job! I have to admit that I have been guilty of this. I think I kind of lived with this mindset, constantly focusing on future goals and thinking that happiness will be found within these goals. Going through divorce, nearly losing my son when he got really sick, moving, changing career paths, my other son being diagnosed with Autism and going back to school have all been eventa in my life that have occured in the past year. I realized that life is short and not everyday is a guarantee so I have made a the choice to live in the now and be happy and content today, not tomorrow because we have no idea what that day will bring, but just appreciate the moment. I feel like I have gone through hell and back so just having some calmness, spending time with my kids, writing, working on my shop, my blog and website have all brought me so much joy. Happiness can't be bought or sold, it comes from being content amd happy where you are right now and making time to do the things you enjoy. For me it's writing, creating and helping orhers. With Thanksgiving coming up I am trying to focus on what I love, not on what I've lost. Hope you can find a way everyday to find some peace, calm and contentment. Make time to take a step back and enjoy the little things. Just having a cup of coffee and reading a magazine or listening to my boys play bring me happiness and peace. Try to embrace these little moments.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Breaking The Silence....Why I left. Throwing it all out there.

I'm only writing this because I feel that it could help another person who is in the situation I once was. Sometimes it takes hearing others stories in order to realize what you are going through is domestic violence. Im here to tell you, there is hope and there is a way out. I know there are so many women going through this exact same situation. You want to leave but you feel trapped, you have kids, you have no resources and the abuser controls everything. Im going to tell you the signs of that you or someone you love is going through domestic violence and how to plan a way out if you are. I know someone who is going through ths righht now so it really encouraged me to help with awareness. The saddest and sickest thing about domestic violence is the manipulation. The abuser not only manipulates the person hes abusing but,they also manipulate everyone else in their lives as part of the game. You may find that your closet friends and family have turned there backs on you. This is when you know the abuser has sabotaged your relationships. He might tell them lies about you, anyhing he could possibly say to devalue you and discredit you in any way. He might tell them you are cheating on him, lie to him, a horrible mom, abuse him...anything that would cause them to look at you in a bad way. This gives him total control. This is a huge red flag and sign the abuse is at its worst and time to find other resources of help because at this point no one will believe what you are going through.The abuser will use anything they can to manipulate you and people in your lives. They want to always play the role of the hero and portray you as crazy, helpless, stupid, whatever in order to maintain control over the situation and leave you feeling helpless and powerless. Once you wake up and realize what is really happening you realize its time to plan a way out. When I decided to leave I had $100 to my name and a 1 year old and three year old, he took my car and all of our belongings and I can still say it was the best decision I ever made. Once you find your own voice the abuse gets worse. In my case there were many nights of being yelled at until 4am or until I apologized for something.... could be anything just so I could go to bed. There were threats, shoves, being held against my will, being nearly choked, my son being put in harms way by my ex jumping with him behind my car, being nearly ran over by my car, Being forced to not contact friends and family and major isolation. I was, at one point stuck with a toddler, pregnant, with no car, living miles away from civilization. The list goes on,there is too much to write it all. It just went from bad to very bad to, I have to leave. What a lot of people dont understand about abuse is it doesnt always result in someone appearing beat up. Abuse can be emotional, verbal or physical but in many times all of the above. Signs you or someone you love is being abused... Isolation,cancelling appointments, losing contact Appears worried, frazzled Nervousness Obviously, black and blue marks, or scratches, marks Lack of resources, car, money, etc. everyday needs Hearing weird stories that dont add up or make sense from either the aabuer or person being abused Do you hear stories about a loved one that seem strange or out of character? Depression Anxiety Not answering phone Not involved in everyday activities like work, school, church, social activities, etc. Tells you they are having marriage or relationship ploblems, this is a sign they are trying to reach out...listen Suicidal Anger outbrusts Very emotional or senstive These are just some of the sign to look for If you are in this situation, contact someone you trust. At one point I couldnt even trust my own mom because he even was able to turn her against me. You may have to contact a womens shelter to get a non biased opinion and they can help you plan a way out. I ended up having to stay at one for about a 5 weeks but they offer so many resources, I was able to connect with an old friend, talk with women going through the same thing and have counseling everyday. Its really time to focus on yourself and your kids and find peace and happiness in your life again. You may have to accept that you may lose friends, family, belongings, but none of that matters if you dont have peace or happiness,or even safety. The people who really care and are worthy of being in your life, will come around. Sometimes people dont know what to say or do in this situation. Its not like someone died and they can say, Im sorry for your loss, give you a hug and thats that, its so much more complex. But it is like someone died. You go through a period of loss and morning. In my case I was with this person for 18 years. I still have love for him and his family so that makes it so much harder. I have days where I still think maybe counseling would have worked. But in the end I know I did the right thing. My kids and I are happier, I feel like I am in a better place emotionally and financially on the right track. To anyone in this situation I wish you peace and happiness and the inner strength you need to know you can do this!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Love to eat out????

Love going out to eat? What are your favs? Totally in love with Red Lobsters cheesy biscuits? or what about Outbacks clam chowder? Why not copy kat it? Have your favorites for a fraction of the cost of eating out. I usually spend around $50 for my family to eat out at a restaurant not including tip. What id you could make it yourself ans spend half that? Would you eat out less? Food... Ok let's be real here... Convienience food adds up quickly. I have really tried to cut back on these costs dramatically. I also am not going to lie, have a hard time taking my little guys tp a sit down restaurant when we do its usually pizza or buffet. Usually other places are reserved for date nights. Parents... Never ever underestimate date night. Try to take one once a month. It seriously may save your marriage. Anyway, back to the program. So I found this website Copykat.com that cracks the code on all your favs. There's a ton of youtube videos on this subject too worth checking out. Tonight it's Outback potatos with bacon, cheese and sour cream. Also making meatloaf patties with gravy. I think my little guys will like it. My two year old loves pretty much everything I make, my four year old, not so much. More money saving tips to come

Car Payments Are NOT OK

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Store Secrets you need to know now!

Did you know that stores have tricks to get you to buy certain items? Or more than you need or want? It's true stores have their sneaky ways of digging into your wallet deeper. Here are some secrets, knowing these will save you up to 50% on your grocery bill. #1 Never buy from the end-cap. This is reserved for promo items. These are usually items the store just got so they aren't really in any hurry to liquidate these items. They put these front and center to catch your eye and get you to buy. #2 Never shop at eye level. All of the items the store wants you to buy are see to see and therfore, easy to grab. For the best deals you want to look on the bottom shelves. For example, at walmart pasta at eye level is around $1.50-2 a box, look at the bottom of the shelf and it's .87 same for bread. You could end up apending $4-5 a loaf unless you look again at the bottom of the shelf and bread is only .88 and it's not bad. It actually tastes pretty good. The quality is very good for the price. They also have hamburger and hot dog bun buns for .88 wheras at eye level thet are around $3 #3 Know what times your favorite store clearance items. For my favorite stores it's in the morning so if I shop around 9am-10 i can find meat for 50% off. I just throw it in in the freezer and stock up. Always know where your stores clearance secrion is and check there first for items on your list (yes, always shop with a list). #4 Don't buy non-grocery items at the grocery store. Things like diapers and houswhold cleaners are often over priced (walmart is an exception to this). #5 Shop the weekly ad. The front and back pages have the best deals for the week. These are the stock up price items. #6 You can use a manufacturers coupon with a store coupon and a sale to score a killer deal. Stores never tell you these things. #7 The first day of the sale ia not the best time to shop. Sure you will have the best selection but the end of the sale is when stores are getting rid of items to get ready for next weeks sale. #8 Costco is not always the cheapest store. Buying in bulk is not cheaper if you aren't going to use half the stuff you buy. Don't buy a 10 pound flat of strawberries unless you are feeding a lot of people and you will use these in a few days. Stawberries and a lot of other fruit, will go bad very quickly. I only buy things like diapers, paper towels, sugar, flour and kitchen staples there. There's a reason why people call it the $200 store. It is so easy to be tempted to buy things we really don't need here. Hope these tips help get your shopping smarter and on the road to saving big at the grocery store. More on this topic later and I will be going some youtube videos as well on this subject check out mommas2monkeys on youtube.

Married to 'stuff'

As a nation we are so consumed by 'stuff' we work for it, plan for it, save for it and shop for it. We buy, consume and store. Isn't it kind of ironic how you now see a mini storage on every block it seems these days. This is simply because...We have too much damn stuff!!! The reason why I'm writing this and I'm writing it in kind of an abrasive way is because I came to the realization the other day that (this is pretty embarrassing to admit)....I was married to stuff! So let me clarify what I mean by this. I was married for 16 years (in this relationship since I was a senior in high school). I was in a miserable marriage I really didn't want to be in but I realized the reason why I didn't leave a long time ago was simply I was afraid to lose all my stuff. I loved collecting and have grown fond of things like antiques and odd furniture. I love clothes and had a nice collection of vintage clothing, shoes and collectibles. Well, I did finally end up leaving. I just couldn't live a lie anymore, the fake smiles the fake...marriage. The loss of control I had over my own life. Living in an abusive relationship is hard because you can either tell people what's really going on, and they can choose to believe you or not, or you can just ignore it and hope things will get better. It's amazing how the person you are living with behind closed doors and the person the world sees you with can be two entirely different people. I lived this was for too long. After 18 years I was over it. I wanted the whole picture perfect family and the holiday dinners and the Martha Stewart house, isn't that what everyone wants at some point? lol Ok, maybe not, but that was my dream damn it, so don't laugh!!! Anyway, I did end up losing so much of my stuff, not all, but a lot. Word to the wise (never let anyone put anything in storage unless it's in your name too, it doesn't matter if you are married to the person). Ok, I'm still a little bitter about my loss but it was a small price to pay for the freedom and piece of mind it has left me with. My kids even lost so much of their stuff but we have never been happier and are in the process of re-building. The lesson I learned from all of this is this, I will never be married to 'stuff' ever again. There is great piece and freedom in contentment. Be content everyday...let's just vow to stop trying to work so hard to accumulate more stuff and just embrace the present and enjoy what you have right now.

How to Build Pallet Couches (Frugal patio furniture)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Be the crazy one!!!!

As you probably know by now I have been following Dave Ramsey. Now I'm not taking his financial peace class but I am atudying his advice and watching his youtube videos. There was one video in particular that caught my eye. He was basically saying in order to get ahead financially you can not think like everyone else. You have to be ok with being different and doing things differently. You have to look at money, debt and really life in general from a different perspective. I'm going to call it " think like your grandma". Let's think about this for a minute, in our grandparents generation they had no credit cards, they used what they had and they did not shop fir recreation. They bought what they needed and most importantly, they were content, they lived and they lived within their means. I think if we took a step back and re- adapted our life styles to these simple concepts we could really get a lot further. Say goodbye to the Jonses too. If the people in your life can't understand your new way of thinking you have to re- evaluate who are the important people in your life. If you have to try to impress people, they aren't your friends. Friends will stick by you during good time and in bad. No matter what sseason of life you are in. Just a little food for thought.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Save up to $1000 or more a year by buying these items @ The Dollar Tree

20 things you should be buying at The Dollar Tree saving you up to $500 or more a year 1)Hair accessories, clips, barettes, ties, brushes combs 2)Shampoo conditioner and styling products 3)Socks 4)Baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby bottles, lotions, etc. 5)If u have animals pet products, leaches, collars, dog food, biscuits, bones, toys, sweaters 6)Cleaning sprays, wipes, bleach, air fresheners 7)Tupperware 8)Paper plates and paper products 9) stationary, office supplies 10) cards, gift wrap, 11) snacks drinks 12) beauty products like lotions, sunscreen, baby oil, makeup 13) vitamins 14) medicine cabinet over counter meds and bandaids, etc 15) books 16) ziplocks and garbage bags 17) phone accessories, like iphone cases, chargers 18) home decor frames, vases, flowers 19) toys, perfect for party favors, or stocking stuffers 20) frozen foods and pantry items. Some things I frequently buy in this dept...... Pasta Sauces Seasonings Frozen fruit Frozen pancakes and waffles Frozen Sausage Frozen entree for lunches Ravioli canned Olives Canned chicken Condiments mustard, mayo Tea coffee Creamer (they even have specialty coffee syrups like french vanilla make your own Starbucks on the cheap) Hot cocoa Soda Movie candy Popcorn

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Save 300-$400 a month just by doing one simple thing....

I decided it was time to re-evaluate my budget when my grocery bill per month got to $750 a month ( yes I got a little off track). I guess with everything that I've had going on in my life (divorce, moving, son in the hospital) the stress was too much and I stopped budgeting like I should have been. I used to clip coupons, meal plan, do make ahead meals, etc but all of that took the back burner for a while. So anyhow, now it's time to put my foot down on spening too much!!!! I'm getting back on track. I have some goals in place (more on that later) and it's time to make some changes. Here are some ways I am cutting our grocery bill down. One simple thing!!!! Shopping at the dollar tree! If you don't have a Dollar Tree in your area maybe you have a .99 cent store or something similar. Just by know what to buy here you can save hundreds. Here are some of the things that I feel are a good value and I will do a price comparison Dollar Tree vs. Walmart Cream Cheese $1.00 vs. $2 @walmart (we go through a lot of this with bagels and crackers) Snack crackers $1 vs. $3-4 a box Bread or buns $1 vs. $3-4 Sour cream $1 vs. $2 Soda .25 a can about the same right now Juice $1 vs. $3 Pasta $1 vs. $2 Pasta sauce $1 vs. up to $4 Frozen waffles $1 vs. $2-3 Coffee and tea And hot cocoa $1 vs. up to $6 or more Snacks (this is the biggest budget breaker in our house) i would say just buying all your snacks here tou can save $50 a week (assuming you grocery shop once a week) Frozen foods $1 vs. 2 Misc Paper plates $1 vs $2 Tylenol $1 vs. $4 Band aids $1 vs. $3 Coufh or cold medicine $1 vs. uo to $10 Vitamins $1 vs. 4-$9 or more Tupperware $1 vs. 2-$3 See how fast the savings add up? You can basically cut your bill in half every week. I shop about once a week (big shopping trip) and a couple more for misc. items. So basically what I am now doing since the main stores i shop at are Walmart and the Dollar Tree, I am only buying milk, meat, eggs and produce at walmart. Everything else like pantry and household items I'm now getting at the Dollar Tree (not everything depending on sales but most)and I am back to clipping coupons. More on that in another post. Happy saving!

Monday, August 3, 2015

What Does Success Mean To You?

As I was lying in bed I couldn't help but think about what success is, what it means to me and how we as as Americans define success. I couldn't help but think about a conversation I had a couple weeks prior with an old friend. The way she defined success didnt sit well with me. She defined success as having a mortgage she can't afford, a new car every year with a payment that she couldn't afford ( really if you are financing a car you really can't afford it let's be honest), and a recent refi to make her new house better ( move over Joneses). And heres the biggie. She slaves away at a job she hates five days a week... This is success??? Living for the weekend? Buying a beautiful house that you never use and having a family you never see. Is this really what auccess is to most of us? To me it's not. If you are happy, healthy and you have your bills paid and food on the table you are more successful than a lot of others I would say. I think we really have lost track of the important things in life. We are so consumed with accumulating stuff that we forget to enjoy that stuff we worked ao hard for. Are we working to live? Or living to work? I guess another reason this was running through my mind was becuase of Dave Ramsey. You know, the financial guru that teaches Financial Peace University? Well he was saying so many Americans are working ao hard for their money yet we don't know how to make our money work for us. This is what we need to learn to change our lives. If we learn to do this we can work less and enjoy life more. So basically how this worka is tthis. If you don't have the cash for it... You can't afford it, so don't buy it! Easy right? Well not really, but it can be if you change your perception. What I mean by change your perception is....stop trying to keep up with the Joneses!!!!! The Joneses are mot going to make that car payment for you. Stop trying to impress people who don't care. Worry about your life, your financial goals and your own definition of success. I think this lesson has taken me some time to learn myself. It really took going through a divorce, living as a single mom with two boys under four and no help or financial support from my kids' dad to realize this harsh leasson. I need to cut costs and only spend money I actually have. No credit cards! No car payments! I now live within my means. Not that I didn't before but I did have a car payment and used credit cards from time to time. I don't even buy furniture on credit now. I buy nothing on credit. If I can't buy it then i save up for it. But otherwise I don't need it. Its more important to pay yourself by saving than to pay a bank interest. Duh, right??? You would think that would be a no-brainer. Why they don't teach finanical planning and credit to high school seniors is beyond me. I'm sure that would have changed so many peoples lives. Anyhow back to my point. My finances look a lot different. And I can honestly say I am happier and feel a hell of a lot wiser. Funny how divorce does that.😃 I have now cut my budget in half These are the only things I now pay for.... Rent Food Gas Utilites Cable ( this one is going bye-bye soon going to comcast and netflix for movies and t.v) Car maintenance Insurance only liability Misc household expenses Misc healthcare amd beauty products (hello Dollar Tree) Clothing (i have a couple friends that own thrift stores and i exchange clothes with friends So this one has been cut way down i would say $60 a month Kids clothing about $60 a month some months more like this month which will be back to school shopping so atound tjis time and Christmas more like $200. My set expenses are less than $1000 a month which I feel pretty good about. The rest there is some wiggle room. I will be doing some more posts on saving money after divorce as well as saving and earning more as a single mom. 😀

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What the tech? The virtual interview.

Technology...you either love it or hate it. But even if you hate it, you might as well just get on board because like it or not it's not going anywhere. Hey maybe tomorrow that Delorian will be on the market...as if (oh wait that was the 90's). Anyhoo, I just wanted to tell you about a rather weird and unfamiliar experience I have had in the past two days. I am interviewing for jobs, but get this, I have had two virtual interviews. What the heck is that you say? It's a video interview that is done on platforms like skype and facetime. I also had to do interview video questions through a website called Onjobs. Onjobs (I had never heard of it) is a website where you basically create a video resume and profile and interview for the jobs of your choice. I really think this website is on to something and I feel like this is going to be the future of jobs interviews. This approach really seems like it would save companies  a lot of time and money (and isnt that what everyone needs more of always?). I really found this to be a great experience, more of a personalized experience, in comparison to the boring, mundane, application and resume process. Update: I got a job offer for both jobs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Money Making Mommies

Looking for ways to make extra money? Here are some ways that I make money at home, with no out of pocket cost, and you can too.


Sell stuff. We all have stuff we don't need or want right? Why not sell it? One persons junk is a another persons treasure. There are several ways you can do this....

Ebay
 (fees are a little high but still worth it) I've been using ebay for years. I once paid for our family vacation with just my ebay money) The key to ebay is take gretat pics, write an attention grabbing description and be a fast shipper. One thing I like about ebay is you have instant access to the cash when you make a sell through paypal

Etsy...
Do you have a knack for handi crafts? Do you sew, knit or paint? Why not sell your items on etsy? This is the ebay of handmade items. You can always find unique items in here and this is a very popular site.

Craigslist....I use this website all the time. Love it. You can buy or sell with no fees attached. Always check the free section on this website. Sometimes you can get something free that you can turn into cash. Have a knack for design? Re paint furniture and make a killing. People love unique items...the weirder the better. Make it your own.

Love to write? Start a blog, write an ebook, write article's for magazines. Do freelance writing through freelancer.com, odesk or elance. You can also use these websites for other areas of freelance work. I have personally used these websites for freelance writing and virtual assisting assignments.

Lots of companies now hire work at home agents...some companies I know of 1(800) flowers, delta, united, west co.

Hope these tips help. More ideas to come

Cut your monthly budget in half!

Ok, lets talk budgets. Yeah, there are more exciting things to talk about but let's get this out of the way to make way for some more exciting topics. As a newly single parent I am faced with a whole new set of financial challenges. Before the divorce my husband and I weren't rich my any means. We were the typical american family.  Well, maybe not totally typical. I stayed at home and earned money at home (this was our extra money) while he worked a  full time sales job to pay the bills. We did ok (more on this later on ways to make money at home), but we never felt comfortable. Let's just say there were no Hawaiian vacations...maybe one to Louisville Kentucky, lol,  but we really were just staying afloat.
Now as a single parent, there are even more challenges financially so I had to give my finances a kick in the pants, and myself. Lol Here's what I had to do to cut my budget in half.....


Determine what is your main expense? For most of us it's housing.
This is usually something non-negotiable. It's a fixed monthly expense. There are some ways around this expense though. Look into housing assistance programs in your area. As a single mom I now qualify for assistance with this. Call your local social service agencies. If one says no, there may be another, don't give up. Ask questions, tell them your story, people are mostly good and willing to help if you are just friendly and polite. If you don't qualify for any kind of assistance there are other options.
Get a roommate and split expenses in half. Move in with mom and dad or a brother or sister.  Also, another option is to buy, it may actually be cheaper to buy than rent...talk to a mortgage broker or do a rent vs. Buy comparison

Rent $800 ( cut in half) $400 with these tips

Ok, going down the list....
Car
Most of us have a car payment, this is another fixed expense (I don't have this one). I got a car from my friend Sarah (thank you girl, love ya). I will also be looking for another one that will be purchased with tax money (try to pay cash for a car if you can...payment monthly zero)
You can try to refinance your loan to lower your payment (this may lead to more installments, but less monthly expense)
You could take out a personal loan with a lower interest rate and pay the car off.
Let's say your payment is $300 you could reduce it to $150 buy doing this.

Next on the list.....utilities
This is usually somewhat of a fixed expense. Ways to reduce this expense...
Barter...for example, my neighbor and I share internet I use her internet and she uses my garbage service. A win/win scenario. We both save monthly about $50 or so monthly. My internet bill is a whopping 0.
I don't have cable but I watch movies and use Netflix steaming which is awesome and I don't even miss cable or the $150 bill that follows. I do have a pg&e bill every month but there are even more ways to reduce this. If you qualify there is a program called CARES that saves you a portion of your monthly bill. There's also a program called HEEP, its an energy assistance program that will help with your bill.

Moving right along.....
More flexible expenses
Groceries....this is my favorite one because this is my most flexible monthly expense. If you have a good panty stock you really can get creative with this one. You can use coupons (see my kindle ebook for sale on amazon to get started). If you aren't into that just meal plan around the weekly ad at your favorite grocery store. Buy produce that's in season, try cutting some meat out of your meals. You can still eat a balanced meal with other protein. Eggs for example, are so cheap and versatile.

Clothing
This is my weekness. I love clothes. But I refuse....absolutely refuse, to pay retail prices. You will not see me in Macy's. Sorry Macy's you have some cute stuff but I can't see spending $50 on a shirt when I can go to a consignment store and buy the whole outfit and shoes for $50. I always dress nice and my kids always have nice name brand clothing. There are several ways I do this...
Thrift stores (ask questions a lot of times these stores have bag days or half of days doesn't hurt to ask)
Consignment stores....I love stores that take items for store credit. This is a lifesaver when you have kids...they outgrow their stuff so fast.My son is four but as tall as a six year old. These stores always have like new items. No one will know you bought it used.
Garage sales...super cheap clothing and household items
Rummage sales....went to a church on (the best ones) today. Go on the last day of the sale for the best deals usually a dollar or two a bag
Friends and family....love the hand-me-downs. With two boys I pass all of my four year olds clothing to his lil brother then after he outgrows them we pass them on to friends or family or trade them.

Other expenses...credit cards.

This is a tough one. Best tip. Don't use them. If you can't afford to pay cash for something....you can't afford it. Sorry. I know easier said than done. If you have a credit card balance try consolidating to one card. A lot of companies like Capital One will have the zero interest for balance transfers...take advantage of that. When the offer runs out transfer to another zero interest card. Keep doing this until its paid off.

Student loans
Consolidate, apply for a forbearance, the main thing with student loan companies is communication...they are there to help. These to me are good debt. Student loans are one the lowest interest loans of there. Not that I would encourage taking out student loans but if you want an education  and would otherwise be destined to  a life of flipping burgers, this is your best option. And your credit score doesnt matter since it is backed by the goverment.

Entertainment
This is a tricky one. Most things that are fun cost money. But you can still have fun on a budget.
Utilize your local library...you can rent movies, cds, books, use the internet....free.
Redbox...movie night? Sign up for free redbox movie codes
Parks...pack a picnic lunch and have a park day with the kiddos. Bring some skates, kites, jump ropes, tennis rackets. Take advantage of the park.
Take a hike...haha...yes litetally. I love to explore my local area. I live in beautiful Northern California, an area rich in recreational opportunities. We have Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown, endless camping, hiking and adventures to take advantage of.
Summertime fun in the park...in my area during the summer there are family movies in the park one night a week..there are also Friday concerts in the park. Check your local newspaper and entertainment magazines for info on free local events.



Hope these tips helped trim your monthly budget. I will be posting more about budgeting and makign money at home. Stay tuned.

Divorce

Hello money saving mommas!!!!! Just wanted to give you an update on my life...the joys, the chaos the heartache.lol Ok, that sounded like the intro of a soap opera. Anyhoo, after 17 years of marriage my hubby and I decided to call it quits. I normally don't blog about anything this personal but I thought that, number one I needed to apologize for the hiatus I've been on and number two I thought it could be helpful to some of my readers who are going through the same thing. Being a single mom now of two boys under four is hard but I think I've mentally prepared myself for this for years. I really think that going through this has really taught me some invaluable life lessons. It's opened my eyes to a new world and I've learned how to rely on myself and trust my own decisions. Something that I never learned until now because I got married way too young (at 19). But the scary part is doing this alone, being a single mom is the hardest job I've ever faced. Anyway, enough venting, hope you follow me on my journey into the misadventures of single parenthood.

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