Saving Money

With a family of four living on one income, creating a budget is a necessity. Our family budget allows us to save thousands of dollars each year through couponing and more strategic money saving ideas like sharing a car, cutting my husband’s hair, and more. Below are all of my posts to help you save money for your family!

Are you saving for a sunny day?

Hubster and Kristin at C's Baby Shower
C’s baby shower

If you looked at your last 10 Google searches, how many of them were related to money? I remember when I first found out that I was pregnant with C. It was a huge surprise, we were in a new city, didn’t know anyone within a 5-hour radius, and had just started graduate school. My Google searches were frantic ones!

  • How much does it cost to have a baby?
  • How much does it cost to raise a baby?
  • How much does daycare cost in my area?
  • As a first-time parent, what do I need?
  • How many diapers is this kid going to use?

We were not in a good financial situation at that point in our lives and it was scary. That experience taught us a lot about money. We knew that we needed to save for rainy days, but we learned how to save for sunny days, too. Sunny days – like bringing home a new baby!

Baby Jo Newborn 2
Baby Jo

While surprises are bound to happen in life, we can do our best to prepare for every instance by focusing on our budget. Do you know where your money is going each month? Try tracking all of your expenses for one month so you can visually see where it all goes. You will quickly see your frivolous expenditures! Too many visits to the coffee shop? Refreshing your iTunes library too often? Paying for more smartphone data than you need?

Pinpoint where you can cut down your expenses and start putting that money into savings! You might miss that daily coffee or weekly sushi at first, but as your savings grows and you get closer to your goal, you won’t be tempted to look back! Everyone deserves financial freedom and the confidence of a life well spent. With planning and effort, we can get there.

What is your sunny day? Start planning yours here!

Sunny Days start here.  At SunTrust, we have the tools and resources to help you achieve your sunny day. Start here to find out how we can help you enjoy the things that matter to you.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.  They know we all live for the sunny days and want to you help you live yours.

yoursunnyday.com

Subscribe to the Shine newsletter and receive inspiration and advice twice a month to help you live for a sunny day.

Visit the SunTrust resource center anytime for help achieving your financial goals.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust Bank. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Make your own all-natural diaper cream and skin cream with essential oils.

Disclaimer: You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. I am a Simply Aroma Independent Consultant and links in this post go to my business page.

Lavender & Tea Tree Skin Cream and Diaper Cream

Baby Jo gets a fiery red diaper rash every time she is teething. She used to scream when we would change her diaper. Even the most expensive diaper creams didn’t make her rash disappear. Sometimes she even had open sores on her bottom. I felt uncomfortable putting chemicals on her skin. I started making this all-natural diaper cream with lavender and tea tree when I first started learning about essential oils. You guys – It. Worked. The redness went away, her sores healed and her skin looked healthy after a few days.

C has a tendency to get rashes on his body, especially around his g-tube. I started using this diaper cream as a skin cream for him and found that it works well for his rashes, too! Once I saw how well it worked on diaper rashes and other skin rashes, I started using it as a general moisturizer. It moisturizes dry skin, soothes skin irritations and scrapes, and it’s much cheaper than all those diaper creams and lotions I was buying. I love it!

The best part, though? Lavender relaxes my children and helps them sleep at night!

Lavender and Tea Tree Diaper Cream and Skin Cream

Lavender and Tea Tree Diaper Cream / Skin Cream

1/2 cup coconut oil
8 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops tea tree essential oil

Whip coconut oil with a hand mixer. Add essential oils and mix. Scoop into a jar and store in a cool, dry place.

Note: Do not use lavender essential oil on children younger than 3 months of age, or tea tree essential oil on children younger than 6 months of age.

Simply Pampered Facebook Event

If you’re interested in learning more about how to destress, unwind, relax and pamper yourself or your loved one with essential oils, please join our Simply Aroma team at our Facebook event on March 27. We’d love to have you join us, and we’d love to serve you! Click here to RSVP.

Team Simply Brilliant March Flash Giveaway

You may also enter to win a bottle of Fractionated Coconut Oil and a 10mL bottle of Peel, our fantastic citrus essential oil blend with a hint of vanilla. It has quickly become a personal favorite! This FLASH GIVEAWAY (open to US only, ages 18+) ends on March 17th so enter now! You will also find a linkup below with other essential oil uses and recipes from fellow consultants. Hop over and check out their awesome ideas!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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30-Minute Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias

When Hubster and I moved to Minnesota for graduate school, we never expected what was about to happen. I got pregnant immediately, became too ill for my graduate assistantship and had to withdraw from school. We found ourselves living beneath the poverty line with a baby on the way. I quickly learned how to coupon and make cheap meals. When your grocery budget is $25 per week, meat becomes a luxury and you learn to incorporate a lot of beans into your diet. Beans are a great option for budget-friendly protein. This Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe was one of my go-to meals using affordable canned ingredients. Only after Hubster graduated and we moved back to Wisconsin for his professional position did we start adding chicken to this soup.

Finding organic canned goods at #MyPicknSave #ad

Stop by your local Pick ‘n Save grocery store and you will find all the ingredients you need for this 30-minute meal. Did you ever hear someone say that you should only shop the perimeter of a grocery store? Well, that’s not true at Pick ‘n Save. The health key™ system allows you to quickly find the ingredients that will fit your health goals. For us, that’s things like organic tomatoes and free range chicken broth. Don’t forget to grab a rotisserie chicken – that’s the secret to making this Chicken Enchilada Soup in just 30 minutes!

What you'll need for Chicken Enchilada Soup #MyPicknSave #ad

Note: if you want a stronger enchilada flavor, select the large can of enchilada sauce. If you want spicy soup, grab the one labeled, “Hot!”

Add rotisserie chicken to Chicken Enchilada Soup #MyPicknSave #ad

Pour the diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chicken broth and frozen corn into your stock pot. Cut your rotisserie chicken into pieces and toss it in.

Rinse beans for Chicken Enchilada Soup #MyPicknSave #ad

Rinse your kidney beans and black beans before adding them.

30-Minute Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe #MyPicknSave #ad

Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes. Serve topped with your choice of shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado or tortilla chips. We like to pair it with a side salad to complete our meal!

Do you incorporate budget-friendly canned goods into your meals? I’d love to hear about your go-to recipe! Be sure to connect with Pick ‘n Save on Facebook and Twitter, and stop by their Pinterest page to view boards filled with beautiful recipe ideas.

30-Minute Chicken Enchilada Soup Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
A rotisserie-chicken and canned goods make this a quick weeknight meal!
Ingredients
  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 - 32 oz container chicken broth
  • 1 - 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 10 oz or 28 oz can enchilada sauce
  • 1 lb frozen corn
Instructions
  1. Add chicken broth, diced tomatoes, enchilada sauce and corn to a stock pot.
  2. Cut rotisserie chicken and add pieces.
  3. Rinse beans in a collander, then add.
  4. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.
  5. Serve alone or topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado or tortilla chips.

 

Posted in budget, grain-free 2015, Kristin, recipe, sponsored | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Homemade Baby Wipes

I am a Simply Aroma Independent Consultant. This post contains links to my business page.

Paying full price for baby wipes? No, thank you. I don’t even like buying baby wipes on sale. They’re expensive! I started making homemade baby wipes about a year ago, and I’ve since perfected our “recipe.” With the exception of cutting a paper towel roll in half, the process of making homemade baby wipes is simple. Baby Jo has a tendency to get diaper rash but when I add lavender essential oil to her wipes, her skin stays smooth and healthy.

Homemade Baby Wipes #essentialoils

You will need one-half of a paper towel roll. I like to use Viva for these, because Viva has a soft, thick texture. Put the paper towels into a reusable, resealable container. Melt 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil in a measuring cup, then add 1 cup of water, 1 Tbsp of baby shampoo, and 4-5 drops of lavender essential oil. Stir and pour over paper towels.

Homemade Baby Wipes with Lavender EO

Seal the container and shake to evenly disperse the fluid. When the roll is damp, you may easily remove the cardboard roll. Pull out the first paper towel to get your roll of wipes started!

Homemade Baby Wipes

½ roll Viva paper towels
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp baby shampoo
1 cup water
4-5 drops lavender essential oil

Insert half roll of paper towels into reusable, resealable container. In a measuring cup, melt coconut oil. Mix in water, baby shampoo and lavender essential oil. Pour over paper towels. Seal container and shake to distribute the fluid. Remove cardboard roll from paper towels.

Posted in budget, essential oils, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

3 Do’s & Don’ts of Consignment Events

3 Do's & Don'ts of Consignment Events

Go ahead and call me crazy, but there are few things that get me more excited than saving loads of money. Children take up very little space themselves but they require an enormous amount of stuff. It’s disproportionate, really. All that stuff costs a small fortune. At first, it was tempting to buy everything brand new so that my child was the first child to have ever touched this book or that blanket. I’ve lived and learned that kids don’t really need brand new stuff. Even used kids items are often like-new because kids outgrow things so quickly! I love to shop consignment now. I can find things for a fraction of the cost – sometimes with the tags still on them. Cha-ching!

#JBFMilwaukee consignment best deals and haul

  • DO bring your own reusable bags or cart. You may think that wheeling a cart around is old ladyish, but you’ll be right at home wheeling it around at one of these sales! If you don’t have access to a cart, bring your own reusable bags. Bags are usually provided but the straps are likely less comfortable than the ones that you have at home. You also can’t utilize their bags to bring your haul home!
  • DO NOT bring the kids. Susie and Jimmy are adorable, yes, but a consignment sale event is not the place for them. Leave them at home and save yourself the stress and hassle of keeping track of your kids amidst a sea of people!
  • DO grab everything that you think you might want. You can always sort through your items later and put back what you don’t want to purchase. By grabbing those, “This might be nice,” items you’re eliminating the risk of someone else snatching them up.
  • DO NOT take tags off of items. If you’re interested in a large item, either have a friend stay with the item while you look for assistance or flag down a volunteer if you’re alone. The tags need to stay on the items to ensure consignors are properly paid.
  • DO come with a list. Grab your list and embark on a mission of finding the best deals on the items you need. A list will keep your spending in check. There are so many pretty things to look at!
  • DO NOT wear your flip flops. These consignment sales cover an enormous amount of floor space. You will want to wear comfortable, supportive footwear while you spend hours shopping stellar deals.

#JBFMilwaukee rows of ride on toys

If you’ve never been to a huge consignment sale, you’re in for a treat! Stop by the Just Between Friends Milwaukee sale this week at Wisconsin State Fair Park. You’ll be amazed by the sheer volume of stuff! Share your best deals and hauls with JBF Milwaukee on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, April 6th 10am-7pm $3.00 admission
Monday, April 7th 10am-7pm
Tuesday, April 8th 10am-7pm
Wednesday, April 9th 10am-5pm
Thursday, April 10th 10am-7pm (*50% off day)
Friday, April 11th 10am-1pm (*50% off day)

*Items with a star will remain FULL price! Consignors decide which items go half off.

State Fair may charge for parking. Note that this is State Fair and not Just Between Friends! You are welcome to park on the city streets or at the Petit Center and walk on over, or bring your family and friends and split the parking cost.

#JBFMilwaukee haul in trunk

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Just Between Friends of Milwaukee.  This program is in partnership with Real Mom Media (www.RealMomMedia.com).  All opinions are my own.

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7 Tips to Save Your Family More Than $4,000/Year

7 Tips to Save More Than 4000 Year.jpg

We all like to save money.  What started out as a necessity in our household has become somewhat of a game for me.  How much money can I save during this shopping trip?  How can we save an extra $20 this month?  Can we get by on $25 worth of groceries this week (without going hungry)?  It’s my own personal challenge. 😉

Here are 7 money-saving tips that save our family more than $4,000 each year.

  1. I cut my spouse’s hair.  Hubster needs a haircut every 4-5 weeks, and he’d spend at least $20 each time.  We purchased a haircut/trim kit for $40 and now we save $200-250/year.
  2. We eat at home.  Unless we have a gift card, we dine in almost every night.  Instead of spending $20 on a weekly pizza or $40 at a restaurant once/week, we save $1,000-2,000/year.
  3. I grocery shop based on weekly sales.  Except for the staple items (in our household: bread, milk, yogurt), I plan our weekly menu based on what’s on sale that week.  We now typically spend $50/week or less on groceries instead of around $75+.  That’s a savings of at least $1,300/year.
  4. We purchase C’s clothes second-hand.  Unless I find an amazing deal (like the Old Navy toddler slippers I just bought for $3.33!), I purchase C’s clothes at a store for used children’s clothing.  I find name-brand clothes that look new for around $3-5 per shirt (retail: $8-20) and $3-6 for pants (retail: $7-25).  I’ve even found shoes for him and they have never cost more than $8/pair.  It’s a great deal!  We save about $300-1,000/year this way, depending on the size of C’s wardrobe and how many sizes he grows out of each year.
  5. We own one car.  Luckily, we’re in a situation in which Hubster can walk to work.  We’ve decided to share a car, thereby halving our insurance and maintenance costs.  This saves us at least $1,200/year.
  6. I coupon for diapers.  If you want to learn how to coupon, see Couponing 101 and 201.  The bottom line: I never purchase diapers unless I can buy them for less than 18 cents/diaper (they retail at 25+ cents/diaper).  This adds up to an average savings of at least $150/year.
  7. I stock up on essentials during sales.  This includes cleaning supplies, toothpaste, deodorant, diapers, etc.  I only purchase toilet paper 3-4 times each year.  I love stocking up on things at Target, because they often run gift card promotions.  Last week, I purchased two 24-packs of our toilet paper of choice.  I found printable manufacturer coupons online and also received a $5 Target gift card for future use.  Combining the sale, manufacturer coupons and gift card, I saved $8 and we won’t need to purchase TP until summer!  Stocking up on essentials during sales saves us hundreds of dollars/year.
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