Thursday, December 3, 2015

Updates

Hello friends!!


I feel like lately life has gotten away from us. We have been so busy! Every weekend and week day night have been jam packed since Hannah started back at school. Now that the holidays are upon us it seems to be even busier! For the first time in a long time I am actually looking forward to the boring cold days of winter so we can catch our breath. Don't get me wrong, I love being with friends and family and doing all these activities but it's feeling a little jam packed like my schedule may burst at the seams.

Anyways, I would like to just throw up a little update for you guys. We paid off our van!! That frees up 250 dollars extra a month for our snowball and we are beyond excited!! We really feel like we can make it though this journey .While we can't quite see this finish line yet, we know it's there. We received our letter today saying the loan was paid and out title. It is such a good feeling to know WE own that van now and not the bank.

As far as my job, for now, no news is good news. It is still in limbo so we are working like crazy to get enough debt paid off so if I do lose it, it won't be a huge blow to us.


Other than that, our tree is up and we have plenty of holiday festivities planned .Of course, we will try to share as much of them as we can with you.

Happy Holidays friends! We hope you are all blessed with a fantastic holiday season.

Talk to you soon!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Resetting Our Grocery Budget!

Hello friends! When we first started our YouTube channel it was all about how we were living on a grocery budget of 30 dollars a week. I decided that for the January we are going to do that again for one month.

I want to show you that it is possible to survive and thrive on a super low grocery budget.


I am going to show you every meal we make and every grocery trip we take.
 I am giving us until January so we have as little as possible stock piled in our pantry and freezer. Because not everyone will have that stockpile and while it is nice, it isn't essential.


Whether you are living on a small income or you just want to reduce your expenses, this blog series will be for you. We will chonicle some of it on the youtube channel but most of it will be here on the blog. I hope you come and read all about it and I really hope it helps!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Tips For A Successful Yard Sale






We had a garage sale over Labor Day Weekend. It was our most successful garage sale ever, we sold most everything we put out! I want to tell you about what I learned and what I think worked to make our garage sale a success.


1.Price To Sell

Don't think of how much you paid for it when you got it, and price it that way. 
Price it to sell!
Remember that you are selling it used, and people came looking for a good deal.
That being said, make sure to make SOME money don't price everything for a quarter or you 
will be wasting your most precious resource, time.  Also, take into account that most people will want to pay less than you marked so keep it at a fair price but something you could negotiate down too.



2. Be Willing to Negotiate

 People almost always haggle at garage sales. If what they are negotiating a price for is something that you know no one else has picked up, looked at or seemed interested in then negotiate a price you and the person buying it feel is fair. Remember that getting something for it is better than nothing at all. Also, when you see people who are getting a lot of things make them an extra deal to get them to buy even more. We did a lot of buy 2 get 1 or 3 for a certain price. This worked wonders.

3. Have Lots of Signs

This one was key to our yard sale success. Advertising is important and you will never get as good of advertising as you will with well places signs. Invest in some bright poster board (dollar store sells them for .50 each)  and some sign stakes. Make sure if you are a little ways away from major streets to have extra signs pointing people to your house. 


4. Advertise!! 

There are many ways to advertise your sale. I prefer to use the free ones. 
Craigslist is a great way to advertise for free. Make sure  you list a lot of things you are selling so your ad will show up when people are searching for more than just yard sale. List baby clothes, specific toys, products and furniture. It will drive more traffic to your ad. Make sure to take a lot of pictures of your items, pictures always help to get more people to your sale.
Facebook buy/sell/trade pages are a fantastic way to advertise for free too. Try to find one for your specific neighborhood and neighborhoods close by. Don't forget to add lots of great pictures of the things you are selling.


5. Half Price At The End Of The Sale

At the last couple of hours of your sale of even the last day. Make everything half off! Make a new ad on Facebook and Craigslist and make an extra small sign to put on your neighborhood signs saying that everything is half price. You will get A LOT of traffic at that point and remember what I said earlier, it's far better to get something for it than nothing at all. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Day With Xander



Yesterday I went to the museum with Xander, all day. I didn't work, I didn't blog, I didn't answer emails, I didn't vlog. I just focused on my newly 2 year old son.



It was the best day! We spent the day learning, talking and playing. I got to really focus on his voice and his little view of the world. We didn't rush through anything. I let him lead me to where he wanted to go, which was the African prairie display 9 out of 10 times.




                    


He was so excited to share with me his major love of all things Zebra. I was excited to listen to his squeals of joy and zebra facts he rattled off to me. "Zeeyas are black and white momma", "I love zeeyas" are the only facts he really can articulate, but  I appreciated them :D

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Time goes by so fast and I want to revel in every minute I have with my children. That's why I have decided that once a week I will spend unplugged, uninterrupted time with each of them. This day reminded me of just how important that is.




Do you spend unplugged, un-phoned time with your kids? What's your favorite thing to do with your kids?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Blowing Up The Log Jam





I was watching a video clip of Dave Ramsey's Radio show a couple weeks ago. (Did you know you can watch the radio broadcast live on daveramsey.com ? Or clips on youtube here ) The clip I was watching had a caller on the line asking Dave what he could do when he felt like he just couldn't get traction. He was making enough to just pay all the bills and minimum payments. Dave told him something has to give. You need to sell something or increase your income. He compared it to when loggers used to float logs down stream and they would all get so stuck, this is called a log jam. To get the logs moving again the loggers would have to use dynamite to blow up the log jam. Once the log jam was gone everything could keep flowing smoothly down river.


With my probable job loss (the company I work for is being sold) and having to save my income for now, we have our very own log jam. I keep having to pull some out of savings just to keep our payments (our gazelle intense payments) the same. So, I am having a hard time reaching our savings goal, which is 2500 dollars . The reason we chose 2,500 instead of the 1,000 dollars Dave Ramsey recommends is because we want to be prepared for a job loss and a possible big emergency at the same time. Our insurance deductibles for our house and car are both set to 2,500 to save us some money every month in the premium. If an emergency came up where we needed that deductible, we need to make sure we have it safe and sound in the bank. We need to do this as quickly as possible.


So, that is our log jam and here is how we are going to bust it! We are having a yard sale. A huge one. I have asked some friends to come and sell too. The reason I asked friends to come and sell is the more you have out there the more likely people are to stop and shop. I have been going through every nook and cranny of our house and boxing up anything that we no longer use, or barely use . If we barely use an item we can more than likely borrow that item from someone and don't really need to own it. As I have been going through our home I am realizing HOW MUCH STUFF we have. I wish I could go back and kick myself for every item I bought and never used or used once. I have 15 boxes and a couple garbage bags FULL of stuff, ready to be sold! I am pricing everything to move because we are not taking it back into our tiny home. Anything left will be donated. We are hoping to make a couple hundred bucks and blow up the log jam for good! All of the garage sale money should be going into savings. If we do make more than expected I will take a tiny bit out of the profits to do something fun with the family.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Value of Memberships

Hey guys!! How are you?? We are plugging right along on our debt free journey, slow and steady wins the race.

I wanted to talk to you guys today about entertainment on a budget. One of our favorite ways to have fun and not spend a lot of dough is through memberships to different places. We actually have three of them and it has saved us tons of money! We always have a place to go to meet friends or take family from out of town. We have extra passes that came with each membership so we can take friends and family with us. Since we can invite them along we don't need to meet at a restaurant or any other place that would end up costing us extra, and since we can take a picnic along to each place, we save even more.






We have one for the zoo ; that we bought for Xander on his birthday. This zoo is so big! Instead of rushing around to see everything in one trip we now get to take our time and look at just a few animals a visit. We find many teachable moments at the zoo too. Xander (and even Hannah!) is learning so much and so fast.The zoo never really gets old either, because the animals are always doing different things!











We also have one to a beautiful nature center. I can't even tell you how nice it is to leave the city behind and take a walk in the woods when ever you want. Also, talk about learning opportunities! Xander is learning about trees, animals and plants and even how to catch frogs :D
There is also a serene beach. It's the prefect way to de-stress and unplug for a while. We don't bring our gadgets with us (except for my camera of course!) we just hike and enjoy the beauty of god's work.




The last one we have is for the  museum,.We buy this membership as a Christmas present to our family. We have been going to the museum for quite some time now (5 years) and it still isn't old! There is so much information in there I don't know if we will ever be able to see it and read it all!!We find this membership especially valuable in the loooong winter months in Wisconsin when it's too cold to be outside. It gives us a place to get out and walk and learn with out any extra money being spent.


We feel like with these 3 memberships we have the best of all worlds! We get to spend the whole day exploring different places and when we do the math it costs less than .50 a trip. That is hard to beat. Do you guys use memberships? What is your favorite way to spend your down time?

Monday, July 20, 2015

What Being Frugal Has Taught Me


There are not many times that you can tell the difference between a frugal person walking down the street and someone who is not frugal. These differences appear more in the conversations and day to day life of a person. I find that our frugal-minded friends tend to talk more about how they are doing i.e. their family, their children, friends and so on. They talk more of relationships. When I talk to my not so frugal friends the topics tend to be more on things, careers and stress.

I've come to a conclusion about this. I love being frugal!!! I love that my focus has shifted away from the "stuff" to the things that matter. I used to be sooooo focused on appearing successful and having what my friends and neighbors had. Now? I could not care less what kind of car you drive or how big your house is, what kind of TV you have. What matters most is who you are, not what you have.

I am happy to just be able to enjoy life. Sure, we still have things that we like, but if they broke or were stolen, it just wouldn't be as big of deal as it used to be.
Taking a step back from consumerism has made me a million times happier with the stuff I have now. It has also helped me to realize that I don't need all the stuff I have now. (I will be working on de-cluttering very soon) It's amazing how much more joy and contentment you can have when you stop collecting more and more stuff.

Our lives have become more about making memories and finding the joy in everyday. So, one example is  instead of buying our son a bunch of toys he will scatter all over the house and barely play with for his 2nd birthday we got him a membership to the zoo.We aren't having a party for him because he is just turning 2 and just plays near kids not really "with" them, and frankly he wouldn't care if we did throw him a party so why spend the money?  We decided to do something meaningful for him. He loves spending time with his family and learning about animals. With the membership he can enjoy family time and all the animals that little boy could want and I won't have to trip on any extra toys, everyone wins!

To sum it up this debt free journey and learning to live beneath my means has made me and the rest of my family happier, contented and closer than ever. We couldn't be happier to be the weird family on a budget.

What differences have you noticed as you started this journey? Do you think you are better off now? Have you always been frugal and lived a life of contentment? Are you thinking about starting the journey but something is holding you back? Let me know!!