Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Picture this… a mom, who is trying her best to keep her kids fed and thriving and learning and not fighting and the house clean and the dishes clean and the toys put away and the kids entertained and the clothes put away and the dog fed and the bathrooms wiped down and the kitchen sanitized and the carpet looking as best it can and her husband de-stressed at home and the car vacuumed and the flowers alive

Tired yet?

Yeah, me too.  Sometimes in my day I can’t seem to keep my head above water, or above the clutter.  Some days I have to literally walk around with my head looking up so as not to be burdened by all the stuff collecting in my home.  Please say you can relate!

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my closet, before

I truly believe whether you are a stay a home mom, a working mom, a single mom, or not a mom at all, we all have the struggle with STUFF.  And I believe that the society that we live in has made us obsessed with having more.  Doing more. Being more.  So when my days get heavy with the hard stuff and my house can’t even be a calming, peaceful retreat, I cannot seem to get a grasp on any one thing. 

I am so excited to share this book with you! The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing a.k.a The KonMari Method.

It was recommended by a friend, so I read it as quickly as I could.  Along the way, I shared some ideas with my husband.  He was so quickly on board that he wanted to get started even before I finished reading the book! Ha!

So what did we do?  Called up my parents and asked if they could watch our kids so that we could…CLEAN!  I know.  We are some wild and crazy kids! 

I was drowning so deep in my things that

Once we began, the KonMari rules started to make sense.  For example, the book recommends starting with categories of items instead of rooms. The author suggests touching each piece to truly part with it. We asked ourselves if different items sparked joy in our life, among other rules outlined in the book.  Initially, we mocked the rules, but as we worked through the process, we began to praise them. 

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my closet, mostly done!

 

To be honest, it has been a spiritual experience for me.  The Lord asks the rich ruler to give all of his posessions away — could I do that?  The Lord calls me to be a good steward of what I have been given, and honestly, if I can’t even be joyful in my home, am I being a good steward in it?  Can I serve my kids, husband, friends, and family well?  My problem was that I was drowning so deep in my things that I couldn’t be a good mom or wife or daughter of the King.  I wasn’t a good version of myself. 

I am learning through my imperfections that the Lord wants me as I am.  But I have to make room in my life to hear Him.   I must make room in my life and in my home to learn and worship Him in all areas. This means willingly giving up things that are currently taking up space to make room for more of God.  

Over the next several weeks, maybe even months — because truly this is a process — Creating a Great Day will:

  • Weekly have a “KonMari Spiritual Adventures” thread on Facebook as a way to encourage each other on this journey.  Post what you feel comfortable with.  This is not about embarrassing anyone but truly freeing ourselves from physical stuff so that spiritually we can be ready for any adventure God takes us on.  
  • Every few weeks encourage you to tackle a new area of your house with a Blog post.  Of course, we will be following the KonMari method so we will go in her order but detail it out for you, just in case you don’t know it, sharing our funny stories and our spiritual lessons.
Will you join us on the KonMari Adventure with a Spiritual Twist of freeing ourselves up physically and spiritually to do God’s will?  

Don’t have a copy of the book?  No problem!  Enter to win a copy.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Book Giveway

This is not a sponsored post.  Creating a Great Day is providing the book for this giveaway because we have found this to be helpful to us.

Although the book itself isn’t spiritual in nature, it does provide a lot of springboard applications that can be used to tidy up our hearts as well as our homes.

Attacking the Closet! {KonMari Spiritual Adventures}

KonMari home, mind, and soul

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

Hanging on to Dollar Bills: a Mini Guide to Big Saving and Less Spending

I’m a natural saver. I blame it on my dad. From the age of thirteen (and my first official job), my dad taught me to save. His method for my paycheck savings involved putting 50% in a bank account to be “saved” and the rest I could spend however I wanted.  I later figured out the purpose to my “saving” was so he could “borrow” (and not necessarily return) the money for family expenses that he and my mom couldn’t afford (or didn’t budget for).  Sometimes that meant 50% of my paycheck went toward groceries, school supplies, or gas for the car.  While this is not an example I would encourage parents to follow, it did get me into a habit of saving.

With Dollar Bills Come Great Responsibility

Over the years, I’ve read books and blogs, watched videos, and taught courses on how to save and spend wisely.  That by no means makes me an expert, but I have learned a thing or two about making the money that comes in last as long as possible. (I attribute this newfound interest in learning to my husband, who is an excellent teacher of good methods of handling money and all things finance-related.)
Every dollar is important (of great worth), and we have a God-inherent responsibility to be a great steward of each dollar we get.

(Insert song: She works hard for the money!)  We work hard for our money, don’t we, friends? Since we work hard to earn it, we need to learn to work hard to save it and spend it.

Today’s post is about spending!  It’s a little bit about saving too–frugal ways that allow us to hold onto those dollars so they last a little longer.

Couponing Done Easier

Ok, I’ve tried the whole Extreme Couponing thing. It doesn’t work for me!  To those of you who do it well, I commend you!  I’m not going to teach you anything extreme.  Instead, I’ll show you slow, diligent moderation.  If you want extreme, check out some of the Queen C’s (C for Coupons!) online like: Krazy Koupon Lady.

Frugal Couponing:  Guidelines I use when couponing

1.  Only coupon what you normally buy anyway.

I used to get caught up in all the coupons: “Buy 2, get 1 free.” “Buy 2, save 50 cents.” “Save $ on over-priced items that wouldn’t normally end up in the shopping cart and are a more expensive alternative even with the coupon.”

Don’t fall for these marketing techniques unless it’s:

a) something you need,
b) something you’re buying anyway,
c) something you need that quantity of, or
d) the best alternative, price-quality wise–if there’s a cheaper alternative you and your family can live with “this time,” then save and go for the cheaper alternative.

Side Note about “This Time”:  Part of being frugal (and a good steward of resources) is to keep a “this time” attitude.  It puts into perspective the short life of each purchase. When comparing brands and prices, think about the life of the product.  How long will it last? One week? A month?  Will my family survive with (cheaper toilet paper or generic ketchup) for just this month?  What about every other month?  Can they handle a cheaper, generic brand just this one time?  You might argue that the difference in price is only a dollar, or even only few cents.  

Remember our goal: to hang onto each dollar a little bit longer. That includes those few cents of savings on each item in the cart. It’s the small things. In order to be more frugal, we have to learn to make small changes now. Small changes now will turn into big changes later.  Every penny counts.  Don’t spend it “just because you have a coupon.”

2.  Use coupon apps.

There are so many money-saving apps out there. Depending on your city, some work better than others.  It might take some trial and error to find the apps that work best for you and your region, but if you want to save money, it’s worth the time to figure out.

Personally, I only use apps that give me real cash savings or cash back, not the ones that work on a points system.  There are some good points systems, but right now, I focus on real, immediate cash.

My favorite apps are:

  • Walmart Savings Catcher – download your receipt after each purchase and watch the real cash grow.  Transfer to PayPal or a Walmart gift card.  They also have an online version: https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/.
  • Kroger and Whole Foods coupon apps–because I don’t have to print anything.
  • I check the Krazy Coupon Lady app just for things I’m going to be buying anyway, so I don’t get caught up in the hype of spending gas, printer ink, and time running all over town to get free things or ‘money-maker’ things that I don’t need.  Time is worth spending frugally too!
  • Ibotta has become another favorite app.  I look for items I plan to buy, and then scan the item and receipt for cash back via PayPal or gift cards.
  • This app doesn’t usually have many items that I normally buy, but for the little time it takes to scroll through and upload receipts, I still consider Checkout 51 worthwhile.

Even if you average 25-50 cents per shopping trip (like me), that small change quickly adds up.  I’m currently at $5, but hey, that’s a free coffee!  Who doesn’t like free coffee? With Checkout 51, I can cash out when it reaches $20, in which case, who doesn’t like a free movie?  Or one hour of free babysitting? Compliments of a grocery app–yay!

3. Stay on Budget and Just Say No.

Have you noticed we live in an extremely high-consumption society?  The rest of the world calls us consumerists and gluttons.  Why do we let ourselves get caught up in the hype?

Part of frugal living is just saying no.  No to things we don’t need.  Delaying ‘wants’ until we’ve saved up to pay cash for them, which means saying ‘no’ for right now.  There is a time to spend.  Our culture is REALLY good at it.  Admit it, so are you!  I definitely am!

First, though, we need to learn to save.  Save for future needs, for emergencies, for wants.  Save just to save.  If you’re wondering why we learn to be frugal, it’s for those reasons just listed.

A Side Note on Saving:

Saving is the foundation to Big Giving.  Do you ever wish you had enough money to support a missionary for an entire year or build a hospital in a small village? Do you ever think about what it would be like to fund an entire non-profit event?  Or sponsor your kids’ sports team or band trip?

People who give big first had to learn to save big. I recently read that somewhere.  They learned to say no to things they didn’t need so that later, they could enjoy (and appreciate) the things they wanted.  To learn to save big, start small. Start with small, frugal decisions.  Talk it through with your spouse, kids, and friends.  Get them on board and excited.  They’ll hold you accountable and learn along the way!  Who knows? Maybe they’ll do this with you!  It’s so much more fun together!

Being frugal doesn’t have to mean turning into a skimpy cheapskate, but if we learn how to be thoughtful and conscientious about our spending–and saving–we will be on a good path to better things in the future.

Have any other easy couponing tips or apps to share?

hanging on to dollar bills_by tina
Five Secrets to Becoming a “Pinterest Mom”

Five Secrets to Becoming a “Pinterest Mom”

Kristin J

I am a girl who loves to sit with a cup of coffee and daydream. I am most passionate about Jesus, my family, and family ministry. My husband and I live in Oklahoma with our two precious daughters. I spend my days with my girls, discovering and growing alongside them! You can usually find us either in our sunroom, the park, or taking long walks through Target. :)
Kristin J

Latest posts by Kristin J (see all)

Pinterest.

As confident as we might feel in our abilities to parent, Pinterest is always there to remind us of what we aren’t doing. Am I right?

The crafts, the creative lunches, the sensory activists, the perfectly designed play room–I could go on, but I’ll stop there. I love Pinterest and I’ve found some wonderful recipes and enriching activities there, but it can have the negative side effect of bringing out insecurities sometimes. This is why the term “Pinterest mom” often has a bad rap! It doesn’t have to though! I think many of us would admit we’d like to be able to call ourselves one. Like all things, one must approach Pinterest with balance.

As a new mom, I felt all sorts of frustrations as I pinned hundreds of ideas I thought would make me a good mom but never found the time to actually do them. I have learned a few secrets for navigating Pinterest gracefully and have overcome the beat down. Now, I even feel that I am a “Pinterest mom”–but not because I’m perfect and using news ideas everyday. I am a “Pinterest mom” because I’m enjoying motherhood, enriching our family life with fun and thoughtfully selected ideas from Pinterest. Would you like to be a “Pinterest mom” too?

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Here are my 5 secrets to becoming a Pinterest Mom:

1. Pinterest moms don’t do everything. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed as you scroll through Pinterest. There are so many great ideas! If you click on a pin and read the article, I can guarantee you that the mom who wrote it doesn’t do it all. She doesn’t make every craft and recipe that’s online. She’s picked what worked for her family and gone with it. This was a big realization for me! I thought that in order to be a “Pinterest mom” I needed to do it all. I needed to make fun recipes every day, provide daily creative activities, fill our wall with crafts, keep up an organized chore chart for myself, and blog about all of it too! Guess what–that’s not going to happen, and that’s okay!

2. Find out what’s most important and enjoyable for you and your family. 

I don’t like crafts, so one day I decided that I wasn’t going to pressure myself to do them right now. A coloring book with crayons and stickers is enough for us right now. I do like sensory bins. Fancy toddler meals are worthless to us right now while my daughter is so picky. Printable books are a lot of fun for us. Realize what you like best and focus on that. Don’t pressure yourself to do it all. Otherwise you will be a stressed-out momma!

3. Take time each season to thoughtfully choose what you’d like to do. 

A seasonal approach works best for me, but you might prefer monthly or another schedule. Before each season, I look through all of my many pins and decide which ones I want to do. When I first started this I would pick a lot, but I’m starting to be more focused and selective. Taking time to thoughtfully plan what I want to do with my child helps our activities to be meaningful, not stressful. Even with planning, we must be flexible. A virus might make its way through your family, unexpected travel can come up, or you might realize you planned more than you can realistically accomplish. That’s okay! There is always next month, or even next year! No one has to know!

4. Stay humble and encourage others. 

This one tends to come on its own for me. As soon as I feel overly confident we will go through a rough patch and I’m naturally humbled. HA! Honestly though, it can be tempting to feel a little too proud of your activities. Sometimes I notice that I want to do a Pinterest activity just so I can post about it on social media. That is the wrong motive, sweet friends! Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing out of vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”  Let us remember that we are not living our lives to be a show of self, but rather a light of God’s glory. We are not better than everyone else for rocking the bento box lunches.

So while you are scrolling for new recipes, look up meals to take to new moms, or ways to encourage mothers of kids with special needs. Let’s find ways to encourage each other in the journey of motherhood rather than boasting, which can be the breeding ground for insecurities.

5. Realize that you are enough of a mom simply by loving your children, doing your best for them, and sharing God’s love with them.

If crafts are not your thing, not to worry. So peanut butter and jelly is what’s for lunch every day–good job, they are fed. If your kids watch PBS in the mornings instead of playing in a homemade sensory bin, it’s okay. These are not the things that make up a good mother. We do our best for our kids, and that looks different for every mother. I might also add that for each mother, our best might change as we go through different seasons. You are enough. Believe it!

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Tips for Flying with a Crawling Baby

Tips for Flying with a Crawling Baby

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

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Flying Solo With a Baby

Y’all, I was SO excited to be flying home for my sister’s college graduation this past summer. I wasn’t going to miss watching her walk across that stage for anything. And since my cutie-patootie ten-month-old baby girl was still nursing, she wasn’t going to miss it for anything either!

The one lemon was that hubby couldn’t get off work and come with us too. So, this first-year mama was going to make this flight with baby solo.

Ok. Still excited! But, slightly nervous.

I’m no stranger to flying. I’ve flown a lot of places in my day and have taken a lot of international flights, so I tried to remind myself in the weeks leading up to our grand adventure that I could do this. WE could do this.

Off to Pinterest I went, seeking a little how-to-fly-with-a-baby advice. No luck. All of the advice was for parents with newborns or toddlers. My little crawler was smack in between.

So, I took the advice I could. Consulted a few other parents who’d flown with babies before. Considered what I already knew about flying. And off we went.

The flight there could not have been any more perfect. During the flight home, we hid out in the bathroom for a good five minutes while baby cried and mama fought back tears of her own. All that said, with two flights in the books, I racked up a list of tips that might come in handy for other mamas who will be flying solo with a mobile baby.

Lindsay's Tips forFlying with a Crawling Baby

Lindsay’s Tips for Flying with a Crawling Baby

Buying Your Tickets:

Get a window seat. If you’re going to try to get your baby to sleep on the plane, this is the best seat because you can cocoon your baby between you and the window, using your body as a shield to block the distractions from people walking down the aisle. You can also control whether the window shade is up or down, which is very important if you want your baby to sleep.

Consider a bulkhead or exit-row seat.  I enjoyed sitting in a seat without a row in front of me because I didn’t have to worry about someone reclining their seat into my space, my baby hitting/kicking the back of their seat, or dealing with limited leg room. Of course, the downside to this is you can’t keep your bag at your feet. So, you just want to be sure to grab the essentials out of your diaper bag before putting it into the overhead compartment. But we’ll get to that later.

Buy the pre-check. If you have the option to purchase pre-check, DO IT! You don’t have to take off your shoes or take liquids/electronics out of your carry-on. When you’re flying by yourself, it is a HUGE stress reliever to have fewer things to do while going through security.

Packing:

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Taking the bare minimum is imperative when traveling alone, so check as much as possible. In your one carry-on (yes, get down to one carry-on, even if that means you have to get a new bag) pack the following:

  • Nursing cover
  • 2 changes of clothes for baby
  • 1 change of clothes for you
  • Dry, non-sticky snacks (i.e. cheerios, puffs, melts)
  • Water bottle (Keep in mind that your cabin will be pressurized. This means if you’re using a water bottle with a straw, you will have a higher risk of leaks or water will spew everywhere when you try to unclamp the straw/bite valve. [Guess how I discovered this!] If you’re flying first class, you’ll be given little water bottles at your seat that you can use if your baby can drink out of a lidless cup. If you’re not in first class, your only other option will be to purchase a water bottle. So, bring a leak-proof sippy cup or water bottle for your baby and fill it partially before you get on the plane.)
  • Liquids in your ziplock baggie. (TSA requires your liquids follow the 3-1-1 rule.) The only two liquids I packed were hand sanitizer and infant Tylenol.
  • Diapers and wipes
  • 2 plastic bags (for wet clothes–you don’t need a bag for your diapers since there are trash cans everywhere)
  • Changing pad
  • 3 small toys – I packed one Indestructible book, one dolly, and one teething toy
  • Burp cloth (I love the Aden + Anais ones because they can double as bibs!)
  • Receiving blanket (The Aden + Anais blankets pack up super small and they’re not very heavy.)
  • Phone and charger
  • iPad and charger (I loaded a season of Dinosaur Train onto it before the trip. Super helpful when baby woke up mid-flight on our way home!)
  • Tissues
  • Hand/face wipes
  • Wallet

At the Airport:

Use a combo of babywearing and stroller. I also wore my baby (in her Baby Bjorn) through security and when getting on/off the plane. The rest of the time, I used the stroller. If you are traveling alone, this combo is essential to sanity and saving your back/arms. For example, you can’t go to the bathroom very easily while wearing an 18+ lb baby, so it’s nice to have the baby contained in the stroller. On the other hand, folding a stroller when you gate-check it is much easier if you are wearing the baby and have both hands free.

Plan ahead for nursing. If you are still nursing by the time your baby is crawling, then y’all are probably on a pretty predictable nursing schedule. You might have to vary it up a little bit depending on your flight schedule and how long it takes you to get through security. But definitely try to stick as close to your schedule as possible.  And if possible, wear something that is easy to nurse in. I wore a button-down denim chambray shirt so that it would be easy for nursing and yet still keep me warm in the chilly airplane.

Larger airports may have special nursing/pumping cubes that you can take advantage of. Check your terminal’s directory or check the airport’s website ahead of time to find the location. If they don’t have one, of course you can nurse in the bathroom.

However, I found it was easiest to find a gate with fewer people and camp out there for our nursing session. Some mamas don’t mind nursing in public, but your baby might be easily distracted, and we really want to help our babies get a full tummy. So, finding that quiet(er) nook is really worth the extra walking you might have to do to find it. Keep in mind that there are cameras EVERYWHERE in the airport. Be sure to look UP before letting your little one latch on just to make sure you’re not sitting directly underneath a camera like we naively did!

Let your baby move around as much as possible. Camp out in your little nook or by a window. Use your stroller and carry-on bag to barricade your baby so she can crawl around. This will help your baby’s tummy and get some energy out. Just be sure to wipe those little hands off with a wipe afterward.

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Snack and drink a lot. Both of you.

Talk to the people at the gate. Go to the gate agents immediately to put on the tags required for checking your stroller. Ask them if there are any window seats available in an empty row that you can be moved to.

Prepare for diaper changes. Go to the bathroom and change your baby’s diaper ten minutes before the boarding process begins.

On the Plane:

There are two schools of thought as to when to get onto the plane–either try to board early OR very last. I opted for early for the SOLE reason that I wanted to make sure my carry-on went into an overhead compartment directly above me. If we suffered a blowout or some other sort of bodily function fiasco, I wanted that bag as close to me as it could possibly be and not twelve rows back because that’s the only spot that had room for it since I got on the plane last.

If you’re sitting in a seat without a row in front of you, then you won’t be allowed to keep your carry-on bag at your feet. The bag, along with your baby carrier, is going to go into the overhead compartment. (You will check your stroller at the gate.) Before my carry-on went into the overhead compartment, I grabbed the following and stuffed it into my seat or into the little pocket hanging on the wall in front of us:

  • Burp cloth
  • Receiving blanket
  • Water bottle/sippy cup
  • iPad
  • Phone
  • Dolly
  • Bag of snacks

Ask for and accept help. Once you’ve stashed your essentials, let someone else put your carry-on into the overhead compartment. If you haven’t accepted a lot of help up to this point, now is the time to start doing so AND asking for it. Nicely. Don’t be needy, but you want your flight attendants and people sitting around you to realize that you are flying solo. This will be helpful if you find yourself needing an extra set of hands or a pillow or paper towels at some point.

Distract your baby. Try to keep your baby distracted as much as possible while everyone boards the plane. Play. Read. Bounce. Wave to all of the passengers passing by. But most importantly, stay calm.

Realize the flight won’t last forever.  You may plan for every possibility, but something won’t go perfectly right. So, just accept it. This isn’t going to be the perfect flight, but it will end. You will land on solid ground eventually. This flight is not forever. None of the people around you will remember you next week. So, don’t worry about them! Focus on your baby. Your baby knows when you are stressed, when you’re happy, and when you’re at peace. The calmer you are, the better shot you’ll have at baby being calm too.

Have a plan for takeoff. Some mamas like to nurse their babies during takeoff because it helps relieve pressure in the ears. I opted not to do this. On the flight out, my baby cried for about a minute, and then she was asleep. Those engines are GREAT white noise! And she slept until about three minutes before we landed. DREAM flight!

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Hide out in the bathroom if necessary.  The flight home was the one where we ended up hiding out in the bathroom for five minutes. Since I had mentally prepared myself that it wasn’t going to be a perfect flight, like the one we’d had before, I am sure I was better prepared to stay focused on calming my baby instead of totally losing it right along with her. Those bathrooms make a great catch-your-breath spot. So go in there if you need to, even if it’s just to pretend to change your baby’s diaper.

Let other passengers entertain your baby.  If your baby doesn’t sleep the whole flight, then use those distractions you brought. Since moving around is a little tricky, especially if they’re a crawler, keeping their attention with your distractions is your primary goal. If you have passengers near you who are taking an interest and making faces at your baby, let them. It will give you a few moments to breathe, and it just might make their day to know they helped you in some small way.

Enjoy the trip.  All in all, you and your baby are about to take an incredible adventure together. And you are an AMAZING mama. Be as prepared as you can be. Accept help. But most of all, focus on your baby’s needs.

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Did I miss any GREAT tips for flying solo with a crawling baby? Please post them below! I’d love to hear them!

Lindsay

 

 

Lindsay's Tips forFlying with a Crawling Baby pinterest
Frugal Meal Planning: Hanging on to Dollar Bills, Part 2

Frugal Meal Planning: Hanging on to Dollar Bills, Part 2

Disclosure:  This post contains an affiliate link to Tina’s new favorite frugal meal planning tool.  

Last month, I shared some favorite grocery apps that can help save money.  Served for today’s special is a side dish of Menu Planning!  My hubby and I enjoy helping families learn how to budget, live within their means, save, and be good stewards of the resources God has given them. We are often asked for ideas on how to save money while getting out of debt.  My hope is that these tips will be helpful for your family as well, in any stage of life.  Today, I’ll share easy meal planning ideas to help save time, money, and sanity!

Meal Planning is a big deal. It’s time-consuming and if we don’t plan well, it can be more expensive than it should be.  

(If you missed Part 1 about ways to save money on groceries, here it is.)

hanging on to dollar bills_by tina p2 revised4_logo maker mac app

Hanging on to our hard-earned dollar bills a little longer means not only finding ways to cut back on grocery spending, but also having a plan for that spending.  Here are a few helpful ideas for frugal meal planning:

 

Create Your Own Frugal Meal Planning Menu Planner

If you’re crafty and have the time to make it, a Hanging Menu Planner is the way to go.  Here are some options:

Cork Board Menu:

If you’re like our friend Tia, you might get one made for you! Our friend Kayla made this cute board for Tia’s birthday.  She bought a half cork/half dry-erase board at Walmart and decorated it.  Tia can hang her eMeals recipe print-outs (more on eMeals below) and write notes for her kids on the other side.  Tia says the best part is her kids no longer ask, “Mom, what’s for dinner!?”  I love it!

tia's menu board

Magnetic Board:

I love the one from Megan at The Homes I Have Made (http://thehomesihavemade.com/magnetic-menu-board-2/).  She sells customizable templates for $6, so you just have to gather the supplies, print, and create.  I’m working on creating mine!

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Pinterest has an overwhelming supply of ideas and options, so just pick one you like and go with it.

 

Use a Frugal Meal Planning Menu Program

If you’re not so crafty or don’t have time to create, there are another gazillion time-saver menu planning ideas out there.  I’ve tested several subscription and non-subscription online, downloadable, and app-based programs.  Here are my favorites:

 

Pinterest “Weekly Meals” Locked Board:

I have a locked Pinterest board that I call “Weekly Meals.”  This is the cheapest plan (free), but I do have to make my own grocery list and decide which day to make which meal.  First, I pin a recipe to one of my other boards (faves, sides, sweets, etc) and then re-pin the recipes I want to make in the current week to the locked board.  (This was not my original idea, I learned it from another blogger.  Kudos to her, because it’s one of my favorite options!)

 

eMeals (My Highest Recommendation!):

Do you want to save money, time, eat well, and not waste food?  Or maybe you don’t know how to cook?  Then eMeals is for you!  It’s by far my favorite of all the online planners.  When my husband and I were getting out of debt, we actually saved $200/month on groceries by using eMeals!  That’s just for two of us–we’ve heard of families saving a whole lot more than that.  They have a wide variety of plans for different diets (classic, gluten-free, diabetic, vegetarian, paleo, budget friendly, simple gourmet, etc).  They plan the meals and shopping around sales at your local grocery store.  When they have you buy an ingredient for one meal, that ingredient will be used up in another meal, so it limits waste.  (Is there anything in your fridge right now that you bought for one recipe, and haven’t used it since? Then you really need to check this out!)

Even paying $5/month for a one year subscription, which includes a free phone app, we still saved $200, and I no longer stressed about what to cook or how to cook it.   Back to our friends, Kayla and Tia.  They both started using eMeals for their families this month.  Neither of them had previous experience with cooking much more than frozen pizza, but with this plan, they can cook!  Shopping is made easy with a categorized grocery list; recipes are simple and easy to follow.   You can occasionally find a Groupon to reduce the cost even further. Here’s one for a 6-month subscription: https://www.groupon.com/deals/emeals-12-little-rock. I can’t say enough about it!  Here’s the link to eMeals website – there are free sample menus you can print & try it out!  http://emeals.com/

 

Plan to Eat (My New Favorite):

I can save my pinned Pinterest recipes, edit and rate them, as well as any recipe I add via online or hard copy.  The menu planner is stellar and the grocery list is superb.  These guys have really thought of everything.  Their pricing is reasonable too.  Oh, and if your friends use it too, you can share any recipes you’ve uploaded or keep them in your secret recipes box.  SO fun!  My goal is to use Plan to Eat with my new Magnetic Menu Board to complement each other!

 

Combining money-saving apps with a meal plan, is a sure way to hang on to those God-given dollar bills a little longer.   Next time:  Hanging on to Dollar Bills by Yard Sale-ing & Yard Selling!
I’d love to hear how you do meal planning!
Hanging onto Dollars Frugal Meal Planning Pinterest
Quick Tips for a Tidy Home

Quick Tips for a Tidy Home

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

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It’s summer!! Wahoo!!!! Summer means longer days, popsicles, sunshine, and a change of schedule. While this change of schedule might not yield a change of pace, most of us tend to welcome it with arms wide open, knowing full well we’ll blink and it will be Labor Day weekend, and the craft stores will be pulling out the Thanksgiving decor already. (Why?! Why?!)

I want to savor every moment of summer which means efficiency takes priority when it comes to most of my decisions in regards to my “have-to’s” such as keeping up the home. I don’t want to spend a lot of time in my kitchen, so we eat simpler meals during the summer. I really don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning, but with two fur balls, a crawling baby, two adults in the house, and a home business, not cleaning really isn’t an option.

The good news is that I’ve found that if I stick with a few tidy habits throughout my home, it does stay cleaner, which means I spend less time actually cleaning it and more time outside enjoying summer.

So here they are, Lindsay’s quick tips to a tidy home!

Quick Tips for a

Kitchen

The heart of the home! Do all the dishes before you go to bed. If something needs to be soaked, soak it while you’re putting the kids to sleep, and come back to it before you go down yourself. Invest in SOS pads and a pair of gloves to save your nails. Then, run the dishwasher, so you wake up and every dish is clean. (Because there’s nothing worse than no clean coffee mugs!) Lastly, have a designated spot for “the stuff.” You know, all the stuff that hasn’t made it to its place yet. As much as we want to, we can’t always put everything in its place as soon as we’d like to, and it ends up living (and breeding) on top of our kitchen counters. Have a container–whether it’s a cute little bucket or a breakfast tray–that sits on your counter and keeps the stuff contained until you can move it to wherever it is that it belongs.

Bathrooms

Clear the counters off every night. In your master bath, clear them while you’re brushing your teeth. (And if it takes you two seconds, hoorah! Now do some lunges, superwoman!) After you’ve cleared them off, wipe them off, even if it’s just with a damp washcloth.

Laundry Room

Invest in laundry baskets, and if possible, have a laundry basket for every type of load you do. This might mean that your baskets are in separate rooms in your home, and that’s ok. We have baskets in our master bathroom, garage, and nursery. It saves me TONS of time sorting, and it keeps dirty laundry off of the floor which keeps my rooms tidy! Lastly, do a load of laundry every day to keep the laundry beast at bay.

Floors

Vacuum all carpets on Monday. I got this tip from my mom, and I love it! The house is going to be a disaster after the weekend, so why vacuum it during the weekend? This also forces you to pick up everything, which reigns in whatever chaos might have occurred over the weekend. After you vacuum, do your hard surfaces, and afterwards, treat yourself to an iced coffee. You deserve it!!

Trash

Empty all trash cans once a week. If you have a specific trash pickup day, then it makes the most sense to empty your trash cans the night before. If you don’t, pick a day. Might I recommend Monday to coincide with emptying your vacuum cleaner after you vacuum all the carpets? (Is there anyone else out there who thinks the feeling you get after emptying your vacuum cleaner is one of the best feelings??)

Bedrooms

Pick up everything before you go to bed. If you have a spot for everything, this makes picking things up a lot easier. I do like having a spot for the “the stuff” in each of our bedrooms though, because as much as I want everything going into its designated spot before I go to bed, that isn’t always realistic. BUT, if I at least have a contained holding spot to put it, I don’t wake up to a mess, and I can get to it when I can get to it. In our master, that spot is an upholstered chair in the corner.

Living Room

Invest in storage. This doesn’t need to be crazy. A basket for toys. A basket for blankets. A spot for the DVDs. Then, use the storage! Pick everything up and dump it in it’s spot before you settle in for a Big Bang Theory rerun with the hubs.

Pets

Our fur children. Bless us. If you have indoor pets, they probably have stuff. Keep their stuff to a minimum, and have a spot for their stuff. But most importantly, keep them groomed. If this means you do it yourself or you take them in to a professional, keeping them groomed keeps them cleaner which keeps your home cleaner which means you spend less time cleaning but just keeping tidy! It’s that simple.

Now go enjoy your pool time, you tidy-home-master!

Do you have any daily or weekly habits that keep your home tidy? I’d love to know! Please post them below in the comment section!

Lindsay

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