March’s Grocery Budget Verdict!

Oh my goodness, am I excited to share this post?!?!?!  YES, I AM!

High Fivin’ Myself for being so awesome!!

During the month of March, I wanted to focus on being more intentional with our family’s finances.  At the beginning of the month, I sat down with my husband, looked at our finances, and created a budget.  Click here to read more about that.  One of our biggest budget downfalls is food, so I made a pact with myself to REALLY focus on sticking to a budget in this category.  I DONE GOOD, YALL.

How good you might ask?!  Well, our grocery total for this month was a whopping 36% less than budgeted.  And our restaurant total for this month was HALF than budgeted.  This is AMAZING because if you go back and look at the data, we usually spend MORE than budgeted on both groceries and eating out.  So it’s a BIG, BIG deal for me to spend considerably less than budgeted.  And oddly enough, I didn’t use coupons or take into consideration whatever I earned through IBOTTA or with credit card rewards.

So how did I keep my grocery & restaurant bill down?! Continue reading “March’s Grocery Budget Verdict!”

How I Shop for Clothes Without Spending a Fortune

Yesterday I talked about some awesome deals I found at Kohl’s.  Gahhhh!  I just love to find a great deal!  Especially on clothing.  Clothing is something everyone needs, but I just don’t see the sense in spending a boatload of your hard-earned income on clothes because: A) Styles change.  B) Clothing needs change.  C) Bodies change.  (Um… hello pregnancy!)  and D) Clothes don’t last forever.

And I know some folks believe in their heart of hearts that expensive clothes will last longer or look better than cheap clothes.  However, in my own regular person experience, I have had very expensive clothing wear out after a season. And I’ve had very inexpensive clothing last for many years.  And I’ve gotten more compliments on my Forever 21 clothes than on my embarrassingly expensive jeans.  But of course, I stay at home and don’t have anyone to impress so take my advice how you will.  🙂

So how do you get nice new clothes for less?! Continue reading “How I Shop for Clothes Without Spending a Fortune”

Free Food + Frugal Shopping Finds = Happy Budget

We’ve had a lucky couple of weeks for our budget!

If you are following me on Instagram, you saw that we recently had a table full of free pizza. A new branch of Uncle Maddio’s Pizza opened up in my town. And as a promo, they gave away free pizzas one Saturday from 11am to 2pm. I knew that they were planning to do the promo, but I thought for sure the line would be around the building. And with three little darlings in tow, a free pizza would not be worth the effort that would be required with waiting and all.

However, as we were finishing up our weekly Costco trip, employees from Uncle Maddio’s were in the parking lot drumming up business. They said there wasn’t much of a wait. So we hopped in the van and drove over. And sure enough, the wait was not long at all!

Hey there, Free Pizzas.  Where have you been all my life?

Continue reading “Free Food + Frugal Shopping Finds = Happy Budget”

Saving Money with Limited Time

As a mom of three with a full schedule, I have to prioritize my time.  The sooner we realize that we cannot do it all, the sooner we can decide what it is that we want to do with our time.  I WANT so badly to do it all.  But I KNOW so truly that I cannot do it all at once.  This is part of the reason that I’m focusing on different ideas each month in the blog.

My best case scenario is that at least one positive habit from each month sticks.  By the end of the year, I’ll have several new beneficial habits.  From January’s focus of healthy eating, I’m still planning all my meals, focusing on getting in plenty of vegetables, protein, and gut-healthy foods while keeping my added sugar intake at a minimum.  And because of my focus on my marriage in February, I am consistently thinking about what I say to my husband before saying it.  I’m also making a point to give my husband more little love touches during the day since he scored highly in the love language of physical touch.

And now, here we are.  Half-way through March, where I’m focusing on finances.  I’ve at least set up my budget and have been tracking my spending.  I was hoping to research and add in a few money-saving apps. And maybe even start using coupons!  However, there is one problem that I keep running into this month, and that is not having enough time.

I ain't got time for that.
Really, who has time anymore?

Continue reading “Saving Money with Limited Time”

Priorities

I just finished rocking my two-year-old before putting her down for her afternoon nap.  While rocking her, that sweet little face looked up into mine.  She had a binkie in her mouth, but you could see the joy in her eyes and the crinkle in her nose.  She is my baby, and she knows it.  I love her (and all my girls) more than I could ever say.  Rocking my darling baby girl gives me a happiness and a peace that I cannot describe.

I’d do anything for those little ladies.  But sometimes I get so caught up with doing other things that I forget my reason for doing the other things to begin with.  I lose sight of what I’m working towards, forgetting the end goal.

One of my main streams of happiness is enjoying my children while they are young and relatively untouched by the negatives of the world.  Staying at home with them in order to tap into that happiness is a priority I set for myself years ago.

But instead of happily snuggling them all day, reading books, looking into their loving eyes, and giggling over silly nothings, I often busy myself during the day with many other things that aren’t as high on my priority list.  Today’s moment of rocking my daughter gave me a sense of clarity of what is really important in my life.  It reminded me what makes me happy and what I need more of in my life.

For the blog and for my own personal development goals, I’m focusing on finances this month.  Gushing on about my love for my children and what makes me happy may not seem to be in line with that topic.  However, there is a connection between the two.  It’s about knowing what’s important to us and using these priorities to guide our behavior. Continue reading “Priorities”

Lessons Learned at Dude’s Diner

Nearing my 16th birthday, I started dreaming of getting a job. I wanted to have my own money. Once my birthday rolled around and I received my driver’s license, I started putting in applications. I had NO idea what I was doing, but I put in an application at a small local restaurant. When I got a call back, I was thrilled. I went in, talked to the owner, and started my first job as a waitress. And I absolutely loved it. On good nights, I averaged about $10 per hour with tips, which was AMAZING to me at the time. Minimum wage was only $5.15 at the time, so I was really BALLIN’.

I learned a few lessons about money (and a lot about life) during my years as a waitress.

It’s easier to spend money than it is to make money, so spend wisely.

Straight ballin’ with $10/hour.

Even though I felt like I was making bank at about $10/hour, I still figured out that spending money took a lot less effort than making it. With this insight, I determined to be a good steward of my money in high school. I knew I could buy a single shirt for $40 at the mall or I could buy a pair of pants, a skirt, and two shirts at Goody’s (a local discount clothing store) for the same amount. Being that I only had a limited amount of money, I always chose the better deal. Continue reading “Lessons Learned at Dude’s Diner”

The B word

We can’t chat about finances without knowing our current financial situations.  My first step in getting involved in my finances was to sit down with my husband and look over our monthly income as well as all our bills.  I encouraged my husband to set up a Mint account several years ago.  Mint is a free online budgeting software that keeps track of all our bills and spending. It is a great tool (click here for more information), but it has a few kinks. And I have a hard time fully understanding the data in Mint. So I created an excel spreadsheet to enter the data in the way that makes most sense to me.  Using that data, I updated our family expenses and budget.

Yes, I said the b word.  It’s not a glamorous idea, is it?  Maybe you think budgeting is about pinching pennies.  Or maybe you think it is too time-intensive or too restrictive.  But a budget is really just about telling YOUR money where YOU want it to go.  It puts you in control of what you’ve worked hard to obtain.

Continue reading “The B word”

Let’s Talk Money!

Hi!  Who here feels like they could use a little extra cash?  Everyone, right?  I’d venture to say that most people would like a little more green in their lives, and not just for St. Patty’s Day.

During the month of March, I’m going to focus on my finances.  Before having children, I tracked every single cent of our family’s income.  I paid all the bills.  I knew down to the penny how much we had, how much we spent, and how much we were saving.  Then I had a child.  And I stopped having the energy to keep up with our finances.  I let my husband take over, and I never picked it back up.  My oldest daughter is turning seven this year.  Clearly, it’s high time I got involved in our finances again. Continue reading “Let’s Talk Money!”