Thursday, March 1, 2018

Budget, budget, budget




Budget....budget...budget.  I don't think I can say this one enough.  One of the best ways to save money is to budget.  Set a budget and stick as close to it as you can each month.   But, how do you know what your budget should be?

When we decided I was going to stay home, we wanted to make sure we were going to be able to make it.  Nothing like deciding to stay at home and then after a while realizing you have nothing.  Mainly we needed to see where we spent our money and what if we needed to we could cut out.   I briefly talk about this in my intro to this blog, but I thought I'd go a little deeper and make a post about budgeting.

The budgeting challenge:


1. Write down every expense you make, from cash to credit, bills to groceries:

I mean EVERYTHING.  Spent a $ on a piece of candy, write it down.  Found a sweet flea market buy for 25 cents, WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Find a notebook or some scraps of paper and record for about 2-3 months if possible all the expenses that you make.

  ***The budget planner pictured above is from The Happy Planner, I got this as a present and LOVE it!***



2. Start looking at the needs and wants:

Start going through and highlighting all the wants.  Leave the needs alone, things like house insurance or mortgage, or tithes.  Anything though that's something you can live without doing or having, highlight.  Things like, eating out weekly or bi-weekly, cable, Netflix, Amazon Prime, HULU...these add up; especially if you have more than one!


3. Look at the highlighted areas and see where you can cut, or edit:

For example, we use our cell phones because we don't have a land line, but we looked around to see if we could find a cheaper version that still got us calls and texting.
Also we decided we could cut out Netflix and Amazon prime because we didn't use them that often to make it worth paying for them.  But rather, would just check out movies or TV shows at our local library instead.
There's always something that you can cut if you are really serious about saving money.  Let me say that again, There's ALWAYS something you CAN CUT, if you're REALLY SERIOUS about SAVING MONEY.  Those extras will always be there.  I think that's the important thing to remember, this savings is only for a season. While after you save the money you want or grow out of the season you need to be saving in you can always start to add those extras back in.  Although I'll be honest with you, after you've lived without them for a while you realize you don't miss them that much.  But to make you feel better, just remember it's a season of time.  And the more you are able to cut out, the faster you save and the quicker you can add those things back in if you want.


4.  You need to make sure that you are only spending what you're making:

Realize how much you make in a month and make sure you aren't spending over that.  If you are, you need to make some cuts.  This sounds so basic, but it can be difficult.  That's why it's important to write everything down for a few months so you can see if you are truly living in your means.  We didn't relize when I started staying at home that we weren't living in our means for awhile.  I mean we don't really spend a lot, but those Walmart runs started to add up and writing everything down really helped us see where we were literally just wasting money.


5. Make your budget:

Now that you have 2-3 months of your expenses written down and you've gone through to see if you're spending more that you make or realizing you're not saving as much as you'd like, now's the time to set a budget.  You can go about this different ways.  One way we do it that we found works best for us is to make funds in our savings.  This is just something that we have,  whereas the bank just has the final number.  Say we have 10,000 in our savings, maybe 2,000 of that is for insurance, and 300 is for Christmas, and so forth.  You just need to decide based on what you make in a month, how much you want to put in each fund and how to save that. 

This is just the start to your budget planning, but tracking what you spend and setting places for your money to go is very helpful!  Hope this helps you get started!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Homemade Curtains



Now, I have to start off by saying, I'm not a sewer.  My sister got that talent in the family and she is awesome at it! I however, can do a few home projects.  But, with that there are things that anyone can do even if you aren't an awesome sewer, you just need some basics.

Sewing Machine
Thread
Fabric
Project :)

Something that I can sew and save a little money on, are curtains.  Curtains are pretty forgiveable when it comes to sewing.

I started by making some for our basement.  I wanted to make it a little nicer there, but didn't care too much if they didn't turn out well.  This was the perfect place for me to practice.

So far, I've made curtains for all the windows in our basement.  Plus, I've started making a curtain like door for the pantry.  It's one of the rooms we keep the cat litter in so the curtain will help block the smell.  Each new curtain I make, I improve my sewing skills a little more.

Sewing your own items, whether it be clothes, or curtains any little bit is helpful.

I'll post my simple step process in a few posts, my sewing machine is down for bit, but stay tuned for my how-to.  



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Budget Friendly Holidays

Hey friends! I hope you all had a great Christmas! :) 

If you're like me, now that the holidays are over you're thinking of next year.  Sometimes all those ideas that you see during the holidays can get lost in the shuffle, because well let's face it, you're busy. Now that we are into the new year and are at a lull of the holiday season for a bit, now's the time to be planning on how to save for next year. Especially since you probably just put all your Christmas decorations away and still know what you have! 
Planning ahead is a great way to save money. Holidays can be expensive so I brought Stephanie on board to share some ways to save while still celebrating the spirit of Christmas. 




Decorate Your Home For Holidays In A Budget Friendly Way

We believe that we spoiled you already with generously sharing all the tips and tricks on how to make the best out of holidays while still staying on the budget. Well, guess what? We will continue to do so.

And how can we not want to do this when Christmas is just around the corner. How to make sure that your little ones will experience a true magic of Christmas without having to spend so much money on fancy things?

Since you already made Halloween super interesting without having to delve into your pockets too deep, we strongly believe that you’ll make your own Santa come down the chimney by simply following some of these tips.

Make a Run for the Thrift Shop
Holidays are beautiful but they are around only once a year and it’s good reason for you not to spend too much on brand new decorations for your Christmas tree every time. Instead of exclusive shopping in big malls and shopping centers for decorations, visiting thrift shops and hitting garage sales if any in your vicinity may work well for your budget. Also, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get the products of lesser quality.

With a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can even go for various DIY sets and try making your own decorations instead of buying new ones. Apart from the fact that this will be good for your wallet, it may even bring the family together and supplement to the overall Christmas spirit in the house.

At the end of it all, holidays are about getting together with your family, isn’t it?

Spice Up And/Or Sweeten the Christmas
Once again, Halloween is no longer here so you won’t have to worry about the treats. However, having all kinds of sweets around your house will certainly supplement the festive atmosphere in the house.

Better yet, you should put your culinary skills to the test and try making some homemade delicious Christmas treats. Serve them around the house so every visitor can get a good snack when they decide to visit your lovely home.


Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/cRfWUqkr0-s

Arrange For Your Own Santa
Keeping the Christmas tradition and arranging for a visit from a Santa is almost imperative for every family blessed to have kids around the house. While Santa’s can be quite busy (and costly) during the busiest time of the year, you may want to shop for a Santa outfit and arrange for some of the family’s friends or relatives to fill in Santa’s shoes.

It might sound a bit funny but it can actually work quite well as someone who knows you and your little ones can roleplay much better than someone from the outside. Also, you’ll have all the time you need to work on the Santa’s visit and the entire scenario.

Last but not the least, it will cost less. You may need to return the favor (maybe return the visit dressed up as Santa), but it’s all part of the process. Most important thing is to make holidays unforgettable to your family and to have a good and pleasant time.

Can't wait to hear all about the new Christmas ideas you try! 



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Wardrobe





Want to expand your wardrobe without spending any money?  Adjust your clothes yourself.

Old, worn, stretched out long sleeve shirts are perfect to cut up the middle and make cardigans.  When they're cut, they don't have to fit as a shirt does, but rather they can be loose.  Once they're cut up the middle you can easily push the sleeves up and let the front just drape. This can also work with short sleeves as well.  What I really like about this is you're not out anything if you don't like it, it was a shirt that you didn't like anyway.

Here a photo of one my mother-in-love did for me.  This is one of my new favorite cardigan/jackets. Can you believe it used to be a shirt?





Another bonus, no need to sew a hem either.  If you want you can, but its not necessary.

Some other options to make clothes last longer:

1. Turn those old pants into capris & then later into shorts.
2. Cut the neckline off a shirt that you don't like and make as an over shoulder style.  Or don't cut as much and just have a little wider neckline.

How are some ways you stretch your clothes to last longer or use a different way?  
I'd love to hear! 




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