My personality type is pretty type A and motivated by to-do lists, not about feelings and emotions. I was going through the motions of parenting, checking off what I thought I needed to in order to be “successful” at it. This book has helped me shift my mindset about my relationship with my child and what my ultimate goal is.
Love Centered Parenting is on the very short list of books I’ve already bought multiple copies and versions of to give to friends and to keep to re-read myself. I know I will be referring to it in the years to come.
The start of the new year is a great time to think about setting new financial goals. 2020 was a hard year financially for most of us. Let’s start 2021 with some easy to follow, realistic frugal tips.
Make a list of every single subscription and autopay on all of your accounts. Cancel the ones that are no longer usefull. Add the dates they come out to your calendar. This can potentially save you overdraft fees if you forget about an autopay for car insurance…. I learned that the hard way.
What other frugal tips do you foresee yourself using in 2021?
I am loving podcasts. I know they’ve been around for a while but I only got into them in the last 2-3 years. I definitely have jumped in headfirst though. My podcast queue is longer than what I normally have time to listen to!
If you do not know how to listen to podcasts or what they are (radio shows on your phone), leave me a comment or message and I’ll help you out.
Podcasts are a great way to entertain yourself while cleaning, working or exercising. You can listen to podcasts for free on your phone or computer. I’ve saved a lot of money on audiobooks since I listen to primarily podcasts now.
The following are the podcasts that I never miss an episode of. These are my absolute favorites and first on my playlist.
Cultivating The Lovely
Jim Harold’s Campfire
True Crime Obsessed
The Crystal Paine Show
The Same Page
Aaron Mahnke’s Cabinet of Curiosities
The Bible Binge
Lighten Up With Melanie Dale
The following list are podcasts that I enjoy but don’t listen to every single episode. I skip the ones that done interest me and listen to the ones that do. These are my frequently listened to podcasts
The Mom Hour
10 Things to Tell You
That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs
The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey
Everything by The Parcast Network
I’m subscribed to just about every podcast by The Parcast Network. The following are my favorites but I suggest checking out their entire selection if you’re into weird or crime type of podcasts.
What are your favorite podcasts?
Back in November 2017, something great happened. I finally tied the knot after over 5 years of living with Brandon. We’ve planned to marry for years and never got around to doing it.
I have a complicated history with an abusive ex-husband and really wasn’t in any hurry to remarry. My ex-husband wanting to sign off on his rights to my daughter to allow Brandon to adopt her was the kick in the pants we needed.
Originally, we planned on having a courthouse ceremony but my daughter had her heart set on being in a wedding. We managed to pull off a memorable ceremony with only a few weeks of planning. And the best part, it was super frugal.
Disclaimer: I am writing this post for those couples who either can’t afford an elaborate wedding or choose not.
I’m NOT judging anyone who decides to spend more on their wedding. It is a special day and I know that for many couples, the expense of a fancy wedding is worth it. And that is great, it just wasn’t what we wanted.
I never dreamed of having a fairy tale wedding and don’t particularly enjoy having a ton of people staring at me. Don’t worry, we spend money of other things some people might find’ ridiculous (way too many books and video games).
We only had a few close family members and friends in attendance, if you have a larger ceremony, I recommend budgeting more money for food for your guests.
I couldn’t find any way to save money on the marriage license. It was fairly inexpensive, under $50.
Food & Cake
We chose not to have a reception. Instead, we had family members over to our home for pizza and cake. It was very low key and low stress. Family chipped in on the cost of pizza so our expenses were very low.
We got married at a local church. They didn’t charge us a fee to use the facilities.
Our family did our photography. We have a couple budding photographers in our family.
Funny thing about my dress, I didn’t pick it out. Brandon did. I was looking at other dresses when he found the perfect one. It was in my size, the perfect style for me and the price was great. I bought it from Goodwill for $28. Yep. I went to Goodwill for my wedding dress. Zero regrets. I was really planning on purchasing a long casual dress but I started looking at their strongly good selection of wedding dresses and I was sold.
My daughter’s dress we had found (for free!) months prior.
I am not a jewelry person. Don’t worry, I’m plenty expensive in other areas (like technology!). My wedding band and Brandon’s cost us under $100 combined.
I didn’t carry a bouquet but my daughter did. She gave me away and walked down the aisle with me. She originally wanted to be a flower girl but didn’t want to throw her flowers, so, she got a bouquet.
This was our most expensive part of our wedding. The pastor provided us with marriage counseling prior to the ceremony and we felt it was important to prioritize this cost.
Final cost: $448
What did you do for your wedding or what do you plan on doing? What is/was your biggest money saving trick?
I recently finished “More Than Just Making It: Hope for the Heart of the Financially Frustrated” by Erin Odom of The Humbled Homemaker. Before delving into my thoughts about the book I want to mention that if you pre-order it before the release date of September 5, 2017, you are eligible for some amazing goodies. Some of the best goodies (in my opinion anyway) is the free gift package from Free Reign Farm, access to the first 3 chapters while you wait for the book and a printable gratitude journal. If you are going to order this book, pre-order it now to get all of these goodies plus a ton more! Visit MoreThanJustMakingIt.com for more details.
One of the hardest struggles I’ve faced while in poverty is the stigma. I love how Erin addresses the stigma she felt while in the trenches of barely surviving. She is honest with her feelings that she was above the stereotypes. She was educated and a hard worker. Then she goes on to say “None of it mattered. So instead, I told the truth.” That sentence gave me chills. I shared my introduction into poverty in an earlier post and had many of those same thoughts. And just like Erin, none of it mattered. Poverty is humbling but it does not define you.
The stigma of poverty is hard to rise above. Especially when our families and friends contribute to it. Sometimes, we contribute to it ourselves. I’ve heard so many comments from wealthier people about low-income families. Maybe you have heard the comments too.
“Poor people shouldn’t breed.”
“If you only worked hard, you wouldn’t be in this position.”
“Learn how to manage your money and you’ll be fine.”
“Poor people are lazy.”
“My tax dollars pay for your family.”
“How dare you enjoy any luxuries, you should be eating rice and beans. Meat is for the better people.”
These comments can hurt even the strongest of us. Every so often on social media, a picture of a fridge full of junk is posted beside a picture of a fridge with barely anything in it with the caption “The difference between a working class fridge and a food stamp fridge. Implying that those on food stamps can afford a fridge full of junk food.
I need to jump on my soapbox for just a moment. The idea that those struggling with poverty can afford a fridge full of food bought with food stamp dollar is absurd. Now, someone with food stamps may be able to stretch those dollars by using coupons and fill their fridge that way.
Social media often brings the worst in people out. Hidden behind their screens, they feel they can say anything they want, regardless of who they hurt. And yes, it hurts. Even comments by complete strangers can make you feel small.
What the people making these types of comments don’t realize is that they could easily find themselves at the other end with one major health problem or loss of a job. Yes, there are some people who abuse the “system” and that is sad. But, the majority of low-income people are hard working folks facing hard times.
Erin has a whole chapter in More Than Just Making It titled “Eating Well on a Rice and Beans Budget”. That chapter shows the reader how to stretch the money they have (whether it’s food stamp dollars or not) and feed their families well. Yes, it is hard work but it has great rewards.
What I love the most about this book is that Erin shares her story while giving hope to those still just barely surviving. She shares how she helped her family make it through hard times with practical advice and ideas. Throughout the book, hope is found.
If you or someone you know is struggling with poverty, this is the book for you.
Being poor is nothing to be ashamed of.
If there is one thing that you take away, I hope you learn how to stop being ashamed of being poor. Learning that poverty doesn’t define your character is so important. Believe me, I get it. I’ve struggled with low self-esteem because of poverty. I wish I would have realized earlier that the amount of money I have is not equal to my self-worth.
If you are reading this, you probably asked the question “how did I get here” a million times. I know I have. Poverty is a struggle that transcends all races and religions. Any struggles seem to be magnified if facing them as a low-income family. Maybe you’re here because you lost your job suddenly, maybe you are facing medical issues or it could be that you are unable to find a job. Whatever your situation is, you are welcome here.
I know how hard it is to have chosen which bill to NOT pay each month. I know what it’s like to live off of the cheapest meals you can find. I know what it’s like to cry at night over the balance in my bank account.
I never made the choice to live in poverty. I don’t think many people do. I went to college to pursue a degree to become a paralegal. My plans were to continue on and go to law school after that. That didn’t happen. I got married young and went through a horrible, abusive marriage. Right after my ex-husband decided to walk out on me, I learned that I was pregnant. He refused to provide any sort of support to me during the pregnancy. Even going as far as to quit his job and cancel my health insurance. I had a complicated pregnancy that left me unable to work through most of it. As the medical bills piled up, I swallowed my pride and walked in the county assistance office.
When I looked around, I saw different types of people. I saw the elderly. I saw the young. I saw people dressed in rags and people dressed in their best. To be honest, before that I assumed that everyone who was on welfare was some sort of “welfare queen” living off of the government for fun. I was so wrong. No one else wanted to be in that office any more than I did. We were all there because it was the last option we had.
After I delivered my daughter and healed, I began to look for work. I was appalled at the cost of childcare. It was impossible for me to find a job that paid enough to cover the costs of childcare. (I didn’t realize there was childcare assistance available!) It was then that I started to look at options I could do from home. There were many nights I stayed up crying and praying that I could figure out how to support this little person that was totally dependent on me and me alone.
Thankfully, things can change.
It is now five years later. I’ve been with my current “lobster” for five years now. (If you don’t get the lobster reference, you must go watch Friends). I’ve learned how to make a dime stretch into a dollar. I’ve learned how other people make an income from home. And most importantly, I’ve learned that poverty doesn’t define anyone as a person. I feel as if I’m ready to share what I’ve learned now. Hopefully, I can spare someone the headaches that I went through trying to figure it all out.
I’ve been at the bottom of the income ladder. I’ve climbed slightly higher up and fell back down again. And so the cycle goes. I would often find myself on the internet searching for ways out. I didn’t find much information and what I did find was confusing. I hope to break some of the information out there down in a way that is easy to understand.
I fully believe that the church should support the poor and disabled, not the government but this country isn’t there yet. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who accept help do not make it a “career”. Rather, the majority of people only stay on assistance for a few months.
I have a free e-book that the above information is listed in. I wrote it as a way to help families in poverty find the assistance they need. Throughout the next week or two, I’m breaking apart the book into easy to manage blog posts. It’s occurred to me that not everyone is interested in reading about all of the different ways to get help. By breaking it apart into blog posts, anyone can easily pick and choose the posts that are applicable to them. Of course, if you do want the information in a book format, that is always available for my email subscribers.
I often joke that I would’ve been considered a vampire back in the day. I “come awake” when the sun goes down, I get my best sleep during the morning hours and I break out in a rash if I’m exposed to the skin too long. Even though my natural tendencies are geared to a night shift schedule, it does take a toll on your body. I rely on my “night shift survival kit” to get through it.
Room Darkening Curtains
I actually have double curtains hung up in my bedroom to block out all of the sunlight during the day.
I like this sound machine. It’s battery operated and it has an AC adapter.
I call my thermos my sippy cup because I take it everywhere with me.
I especially like listening to audiobooks of the classics. I’ve had a lot on my “to read” list for a while and listening to it in audiobook form allows me to cross them off a lot quicker.
Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.
I use the Amazon Music that comes free with my Prime subscription. I don’t love the interface of the app but once the playlists are made, it works fine. I suggest making your playlists on a computer first.
Need these to listen to my audiobooks and music!
A Good Planner
Spring is such a busy season for me. It’s a very busy period at work and with sports. I would forget more than I already do without my trusty planner.
Got to stay hydrated!
Of course, a lot of these items are not necessities to everyone. It is possible to get through a night shift without them. But, they sure do make it a lot easier for me. Do you work night shift? What is in your survival kit?
I’ve spent far too much time trying to figure out ways to handle severe menstrual cramps without painkillers. And when I say severe cramps, I’m talking about the cramps that are worse than labor contractions. Unfortunately, the epidural is not available to women during their time of the month. I’m hoping that this little list might help one of you out. Looking for ways to save money on your period, check out this post.
This is my number one helpful tool. I love my heating pad. I am looking into getting a rechargeable one. I just found out they made them!
I only recently bought a tens unit and am so glad I did. It’s not a miracle worker but it helps. I do notice a huge difference in the pain levels while I’m using. But, my body quickly reverts back to maximum pain once I take it off.
Essential for when using a heating pad isn’t feasible.
Epsom salt baths are great for relaxing your entire body and soothing cramps.
I am not an essential oil expert and don’t believe that oils can cure all the diseases in the world. That being said, Clary Sage and Peppermint are helpful for relieving cramps when applied topically (diluted) on the abdomen. I buy mine from Amazon or Plant Therapy.
I do want to point out that if you are having horrible cramps, you should see your doctor. I didn’t know that a period shouldn’t hurt that bad until I was in my mid-20s. I’ve learned that mine are caused by a combination of endometriosis and ademysosis. I’m really upset that it took me so many years to find out that what I was dealing with wasn’t “normal”.
Do you suffer from horrible menstrual cramps? What are your best tips to relieve them?
I suffer from Hashimotos AND Grave’s Disease. My thyroid was destroyed via radioactive iodine and since then, I’ve had a hard time keeping it under control. On top of that, I also struggle with issues with my pituitary gland and prolactin levels. Add in my endometriosis and ovarian cysts to the mix and that is a recipe for weight gain.
Have you heard about “Trim Healthy Mama”? It’s a “diet” plan that’s gained a large following over the past few years. I say “diet” plan very loosely as it is not really a diet but more of a lifestyle change. I first heard about Trim Healthy Mama when I started researching ways to lose weight after my thyroid went haywire on me.
I never struggled with my weight before my health issues started. I was under 100 lbs before I got pregnant with my daughter and went down to 105-110 lbs afterward. (which was a much healthier weight!) My thyroid went out of whack right before I started taking Lupron for my endometriosis. Lupron is a drug that pretty much induces an artificial menopause. I went up to 135 lbs within a few months. Since then, it’s been a constant struggle to get the weight off. I know that the numbers aren’t that big of a deal to most people, and I really don’t care about the number on the scale myself. But, gaining 25 pounds that quick was not healthy for me and my body type.
When I heard about Trim Healthy Mama, I was intrigued because it didn’t seem “strict”. I knew I couldn’t do a “diet” that had me counting calories or only consisting of juice or something. I went ahead and ordered the book. I finished it within two days. I loved the ideas in it. Instead of telling what to eat or what not to eat, Trim Healthy Mama (THM ) tells you how to put your meals together to refresh your metabolism naturally and healthily.
I really liked how the THM plan doesn’t require you to buy any bizarre ingredients. They do have a few recommendations that are “special ingredients” but you don’t have to use them. You can follow this plan by shopping at your local store.
I did want to try some of their “special ingredients” and Trim Healthy Mama was nice enough to send me a few samples to test out and review.
I’ve tried Stevia in the past and hated it. I was surprised to find that I didn’t mind their version as much. I’m not a fan of it unless it’s mixed with something else though. I think it’s just one of those acquired taste things.
Super Sweet Blend
Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of this blend. It really is super sweet, which is too sweet for me.
This is my favorite of their blends. It’s sweet but not too sweet.
I went ahead and purchased the THM baking blend when I found it at a local store. I tried to find a comparable DIY blend but I quickly gave up. Baking and cooking isn’t really my forte. I LOVE the baking blend. It’s yeast free and perfect for making my daughter’s muffins and such.
I also found the “doonk” spoons which I purchased too. I do like them. They make it much easier to measure out stevia.
I ordered mine from Amazon and am amazed at how strong my hair and nails have gotten since I started adding it to my coffee. This is defiantly a “special ingredient” I stand by 100%.
I haven’t tried any of the other “special ingredients” because there hasn’t been a need for me to try them.
I don’t agree with everything in the plan but overall, I love how easy it is to adapt to different lifestyles. I have tried many of the recipes and really enjoy most. Some, just aren’t my style. I haven’t fully followed the plan. But, I’ve been loosely following it for a few months with some basic common sense. I don’t stress too much about how often I’m eating or “what type” of meal I’m having. I do try to make sure at least one or two of my daily meals are “on plan”. My daughter has a yeast allergy so most of our meals are naturally sugar and yeast free. I am very happy that the recipes in the Trim Healthy Mama cookbook are easily adapted to her allergy.
I am happy to report that I have gone back down to a normal weight, even though I’m still drinking sweet tea and soda! Yes, those are my weaknesses. I’ve been able to cut out soda before and hope to do it again. I’m not sure if I will ever go fully “on plan”. I am happy with how my family is eating. Which is very little processed foods, lots of fruits, veggies, and meats. We don’t eat a lot of normal pasta, we use quinoa pasta instead. There is a bag of Hershey kisses in my nightstand and some Doritos hidden through the house. It’s about balance for us.
Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama? What are your favorite recipes?
Have your recently upgraded your phone or tablet? Don’t throw your old one out. Read on to find out what to do with all of your old devices.
This is a pretty obvious option. Many people look to buy used, older phones for a decent price. Find your local online yard sale group and see if anyone is interested.
Back Up Phone
There is nothing wrong with keeping an old, working phone in a drawer in case you break yours.
Dedicated GPS System
I love using my phone as a GPS system. I do not like how much it drains my battery though. Solve this problem by downloading the maps ahead of time to an old device.
Note: I’m not sure if this will work for all devices. It works wonderfully for old Windows Phones that allow you to access “Here Drive” which can operate 100% offline. Check your particular device before relying on it 100% as a GPS.
Remember the days when MP3 players were popular? I thought it was amazing that I could listen to music, without carrying a portable CD player. Anymore, music devices are also phones, organizational systems, movie players, cameras and more. Go back to the basics and turn your old device into a dedicated MP3 player.
There are several apps dedicated to saving you money. If you don’t want all of those apps cluttering up your phone, throw them on an old device.
Many women’s shelters and other charities accept old devices as donations. Make sure to fully wipe your data before donating!
Give to a Child
There are countless educational apps for children. I gave my daughter an old phone of mine so she can listen to audiobooks and she loves it!
If you aren’t going to use your old device, don’t throw it away. Recycle it!
What do you do with your old devices? Do you wait to upgrade until your phone is completely dead or do you like to have an upgraded phone every couple of years?