Happy Halloween

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

The girls and I went trick or treating last night. They had planned on being a cop (Kailyn) and a fairy (Ava) and then decided to visit their dress up boxes for last minute wardrobe changes. We ended up with a Sofia and an Elsa!

 

girls laughing

me n girls 2

 

ava2

elsaAnd it was cold!! (Around 45 degrees.) Luckily they both tired after about an hour of trick or treating so we were able to make our usual 7 p.m. bath time. :)

It was fun but we actually have a super special weekend planned. Since we didn’t take a vacation I decided I’d take the girls to see Disney on Ice! It was kind of planned on a whim after we stumbled upon some Disney on Ice YouTube videos. (They watched them for a good hour.) Then we discovered this weekend was the only chance we’d have to see the show until next year. I might just be more excited than they are. Have you ever seen it?

Any big Halloween plans for the weekend?

 

7 Money Saving Organizing Systems

money saving organizing systemsI always find that when I take the time to stay organized I’m in a better mood, can think clearer, stress less, and save money.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that organization begets organization.

For instance last week the girls and I went through all of their clothes, throwing away some and bagging up the others for a yard sale. The rest were organized and neatly put away based on the type. Then on Friday I cleaned out my car.

By Saturday I was ready to tackle our big problem: toys. It took me about four hours and (embarrassingly) six trash bags full of junk and two bags full of “sell” stuff. It was so awesome to be rid of all the junk that gets handed to my daughters.

It feels so good to have everything organized. It saves me time, money, and even helps me earn more! So, today I wanted to share with you the organizing systems that I use.

A Simple Budget Spreadsheet

Normally I don’t track my spending. That’s because I choose to live a low cost lifestyle and my bills don’t really fluctuate. I have the same expenses month in and month out.

However, when I’m in a season of life like I’m in now, where my income and expenses are starting to fluctuate (more income, more taxes, less babysitting, more school related costs, etc.) I start to get overwhelmed. That’s when I turn to my super simple budget spreadsheet to track my spending.

After I track my spending I can get a feel for what a realistic budget looks like for me at this time in my life. (And of course, I adjust as needed.)

My favorite budget spreadsheet is the “Family Budget Planner” template from Microsoft Excel. (And I have tried A LOT of budget spreadsheets.) It’s nothing fancy which makes it perfect. You simply input you’re incoming and out goings and the spreadsheet will calculate everything for you.

A No Nonsense Menu Plan

When I went from eating out all the time to going completely cold turkey a simple menu plan is what did the trick!

I used to be completely intimidated by meal planning. I’d see other women posting these elaborate meal plans or fancy meal planning sheets and I automatically though “that’s not going to work for me!”

But when I decided I wasn’t going to succumb to drive thru madness anymore I knew I had to make a plan.

A No Nonsense Menu Plan

Every week I just rip out a sheet of notebook paper and come up with seven dinners based on the food I already have. I try to plan things for specific days (like crockpot meals for busy days) but I am totally flexible. I can look at my meal plan and just choose something off of the list.

Pinterest – For Organizing Meal Ideas, and DIY Repairs

Once again I ruled out Pinterest a long time ago on the premise that I’m not a girly girl. I thought Pinterest was the place where women shared hairstyles, clothing, and nail designs. Then about a month ago I started playing around with Pinterest and was hooked! (And totally wrong in my assumptions.)

I love pinning easy recipes and crockpot meals so that I can put some variety into our meal plan. I’ve also been pinning DIY solutions to common household problems, cleaning solutions I want to remember, and so much more.

Pinterest is actually a great site for pinning all those resources you want to remember and can greatly help you with your menu planning.

A Coupon Holder

I got my coupon holder way back when extreme couponing was the thing. I hated the thought of carrying a big, bulky binder around and my coupon envelope was the perfect solution.

coupon holder

I’m not an avid couponer but you better believe if I have a coupon for something I plan on buying I’ll use it. (I’ve actually been trying to use more coupons lately.) My coupon holder fits nicely in my purse and is very convenient.

A Designated Spot for Receipts, Unpaid Bills, and the Checkbook

To keep all my receipts and bills organized I have designated drawer in my coffee table. I just toss everything in there and then about once a week I’ll go through and record all of my expenses and file my paid bills.

A Filing System for Your Bills

Looking to get your finances organized? These are the seven (simple) systems I use to save both time and money!As far as bills go I have a filing system I’ve been using for a couple of years that I love.

I have an expandable twelve pocket briefcase folder and each folder is labeled with a month. I put all my bills for the month in their designated spot. When I come back to that folder (12 months later) I shred all of the contents and start over.

Important documents go into file folders in my desk.

And lastly What I’m Working on – A Regular Decluttering System

You know how I said I took out six trash bags full of junk? I waited far too long to declutter the toys. I used to do this routinely every month and would take out a trash bag full. So my guess is that it’s probably been close to six months since I’ve given the junk toys a purging. (Boy, do they pile up fast!)

Regularly decluttering and keeping your house organized can save you a lot of money. Especially when you’re buying doubles of things you already have.

For instance, I thought we were getting low on pony tail holders. Then we went through the whole house and our hair thing drawer now looks like this…………

pony tail holders

I’ve done the same thing with thermometers too.

Keeping Up with It All

Keeping up with it all can seem overwhelming – but it’s really not. If you spend twenty to thirty minutes a day going through your stuff and remember to put stuff back where it came from, then it’s not hard.

What’s overwhelming is waiting too long and having eight trash bags full of junk to get rid of. Am I right?

Do you have any special systems for keeping your home and finances organized?

Linked Up at Thrifty Thursday

 

Why I Don’t Shop at Walmart

Do you think shopping at Walmart saves you money? You might be wrong. Here's why.

Why do I refuse to shop at Walmart?

The fellow shoppers are always rude, other customers crash into my cart without even acknowledging they did so, nobody says excuse me, and I hate waiting 45 minutes to check out. The end.

Just kidding. (Well, kind of.)

I think you can probably tell that Walmart and I don’t have a good relationship.

But those aren’t the only reasons I loathe Walmart.

No, it doesn’t stop there. Here are more reasons why I straight up refuse to shop at Walmart. (And maybe you should too.)

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You Don’t Need a Degree to Make Money on the Internet

You Don't Need a Degree to Make Money on the Internet. (I Promise!)I was asked the other day if a college degree was necessary to get freelance writing jobs. The comment reminded me so much my thought process when I first started trying to work from home.

“Nobody will hire me I don’t have a degree.”

“Everyone else has went to college. They must know more than I do.”

Those thoughts make me smile now. :D

I probably have three semesters of community college under my belt. And the bulk of those classes were accounting.

I have no prior experience in writing. I don’t have a degree or a certification. The closest thing I have is a personal lines insurance license which hardly “qualifies” me to be a freelance writer or virtual assistant.

Yet, companies actually come to me asking me to write for them – offering me what equates to be around $50 an hour. When I quit my day job I was earning $11.50 an hour and working a whole lot more.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet or hate your job I want you to know that if I can do it, you can too.

And you know what?

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Another Great Way to Give: Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas ChildI’m completely convinced that giving back to people whether that be with a thoughtful note, big batch of cookies, or small gift is one of the best ways you can make a difference in not only the world, but also in yourself.

Something amazing happens when you selflessly help others.

A quick “I love you,” a sincere “I’m here for you,” a random card in the mail, or a hug to someone who really needs it has more power than you realize.

Another great way to give this year is through Operation Christmas Child, a Samaritan’s Purse organization that delivers shoe boxes packed with small gifts to needy children around the world.

But first I want to show you something.

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How to Make Goals You Actually Stick With (And My Goal Setting Mistakes)

How to create goals that stick. (And my goal setting mistakes!)The month is more than half way over. Even though I set goals that were important to me, it seems I’m only getting about half of them done. Which is kind of a bummer.

I started digging deep, wondering why some of the goals I set were easy to attain while others were a real challenge.

Here’s what I discovered. (And what I think will help you, too.)

Specificity = Actionable

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3 Great Kids Books to Read this Fall (Plus Free Activities to Go With Them)

Here are three great children's books to read this fall plus fun and free activities to go with them. My kids absolutely loved these! Especially the activity that went with book number two.Kailyn came home from school Monday with pink eye. I took her to the doctor who advised her to stay home from school for the next two days.

She was so bummed about missing school that we decided to have our own school at home. We dug up three of our favorite fall books and found free activities to go with them.

The girls loved all of these activities sooo much that I just had to share.

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