Category Self help

Creating a budget 101: determine your income

Money rule #1: don’t spend more money than income you take in!

Spending more than you make is a sure fire way to get covered by debt and weighed down by more bills than you already have. Knowing this fact and living by this fact are two different things. It’s easy to say you know this rule to be true and totally another thing to be disciplined enough to make the necessary choices to live within your means. But there is hope – even if you aren’t currently living within your income limit you CAN make changes to ensure that you are moving forward. How you ask? Simple, make a budget.

Now, when you stop laughing and rolling your eyes at me, hear me out...

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Creating a Budget 101: gathering your expenses

Budget. When I say that word how does it make you feel? Freaked out? Overwhelmed? Excited? Restricted?  I am going to guess that over time you have heard many people talk about how important it is to have a budget. It’s important to know what you are spending your money on and to make sure that you aren’t spending more than you are making! However, the actual art of making a budget can be monstrously confusing. How do you make sure you cover all your expenses? How do I know how much I’m actually spending? Where do I even start getting all the information on my expenses?

Know that you aren’t alone in your confusion. I have had a budget that I ‘follow’ (I say that loosely as I’m not always good about sticking to my numbers, cause a good sale price always gets me) for over 15 years...

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Living Clutter-Free with Kids in the House

I would consider myself a fairly organized person and yet still find myself somewhat overwhelmed by the condition of my home with three young children home almost all the time. As a stay-at-home mom I don’t have time to remotely keep up with the chaos and can’t even wrap my brain around the extra time challenge that moms who work outside the home face – regardless of how old their kids are! I often find myself wandering aimlessly through the house knowing that I should be doing something and yet paralyzed about where to start because, let’s be honest, when you have kids in your house you don’t ever really get to complete a task all at one time.

A while back I read the book Living Clutter-Free with Kids in the house by Mike Burns...

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5 Ways to Maximize Savings on Groceries

You’ve clipped your coupons and looked at the sale ad, but are not sure what to do next! Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Each of the suggestions about coupons here and rebate apps here are great on their own, but in the end the best way to maximize your savings on groceries is to combine all the knowledge you have into a master plan! Here are my top 5 ways you can maximize your savings.

#1: Make a List

The best way to save money is to have a plan. And the best way to remember your plan is to write it down – a.k.a. make a list! Every week before my shopping trip I write down exactly what I’m going to purchase….down to the size, brand, and quantity! I spend time figuring out what I want to purchase BEFORE I head to the store and make sure all the coupons I’m planning to use are t...

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Organizing Important Paperwork Before Doing Your Taxes

It’s that time of year again that I always dread – tax time. We usually get money back so I shouldn’t dread it, but it requires gathering so much paperwork and since sorting papers isn’t my favorite activity I never look forward to it. I have a filing system that works great, when I actually use it. It’s nothing fancy, but works for us and makes gathering the papers no big deal once they’ve been filed.

I use a two drawer filing cabinet to store all of our important papers, but a file box would work too. I have folders for a variety of different categories labeled in one of the drawers (I don’t keep them in alphabetical order, but it would make it faster to find things later)! Over the years I have found that having these folders keeping me organized makes life so much easier ...

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Couponing 101 for Beginners

Using coupons is a great way to save money, but learning all the rules and lingo can be VERY confusing! I recently sat down with some friends who were totally new to couponing – they were starting with just the knowledge that coupons come from the paper! We worked through the very basics of coupons and how to best maximize your savings when you start out using this information (I also included some of the acronyms so you can better understand the other coupon blogs you read). They left feeling empowered to purchase their first paper and get started on their coupon adventure. Happy Saving!

(Personal note: Our family mostly shops at Meijer stores, which have the MPerks progam, but the coupon basics apply even if you don’t shop there.)

Before you begin there are two important rules to remembe...

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Cherish the Simple Things


Cherish the Simple thingsToday has been a day filled with screaming, whining, hitting, and never ending lessons on sharing so I feel like I’m at my whits end! Caring for children isn’t for the faint of heart and the number of things I never expected to have to teach my children grows daily, but the moments of peace and understanding are bright spots in the journey. “Cherish the Simple Things.” I have this saying in the window behind my sink, which is a great reminder to remember that I need to cherish something at every stage, especially the small moments that may be overlooked through the chaos.



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Child-led Potty Training

Get Potty Trained

I’ve never considered myself a super laid-back mom. I enjoy being in control, by nature, and running my family is no exception. However, kids can’t be controlled…they have a mind of their own and certainly mine have come with a stubborn streak (must be from their dad!). In order to cope, I try to live with the mantra ‘choose your battles’. I just can’t make everything a big deal so it always goes my way and emotionally survive the drama! Potty training, for me, is one of the things I choose to not make a battle. My husband, on the other hand, has thought our daughter should have been trained a long time ago, which has led to more than one disagreement and fit of tears...

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It’s time for a parade!

being prepared for a paradeTaking kids to parades and local festivals is something I look forward to. Small towns in our area have lots of events for us to check out so we often are out and about with the crowds. However, I feel like since I’ve had children my ability to be prepared for large events, like parades, has gone out the window. I attempted a parade with my children several years ago and while I think the children had fun, it sure was stressful for me as mom. So when the invitation came this year to watch my nephew march for the first time I wanted to handle things differently so we could all have fun! Here are some things I’ve learned the hard way that you may want to consider before you hit the next parade or large scale event near your area.

Bring something to sit on

when I went to the parade unprep...

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This is NOT what I had in Mind for Motherhood

motherhood journeyI dove into motherhood with my eyes wide open, full of expectation and dreams for what having a family would be like. As a child my family did so many wonderful things together and as I grew the adventures I had with my friends were amazing too, so I have learned that I love making memories with people (and capturing them in pictures, but that’s another post). When I was pregnant with my first child I wanted so badly to start making memories with her right away. I wanted to jump right in to traveling together and taking her to ‘see’ all sorts of new places as soon as possible. I spent the first year of her life including her in all our activities and trying to squeeze in as many new ‘first’ experiences as possible.

Over time reality hit me like a rock in the face. I discovered ho...

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