Welcome MoneySavingMom Readers!

profile pic non wedding_cropWelcome MoneySavingMom Readers! Thanks for visiting my site and for reading my guest post on MSM. I truly love writing about creative ways to thrive on low or non-traditional incomes. This blog is dedicated to healthy and inexpensive living, so enjoy exploring!

Also, I have an e-book in the works, so if you are enjoying my writing style and topics, feel free to sign up for my newsletter on the right so I can let you know when it comes out.

Thanks again and enjoy the site!

Defining Success

This morning I am pondering the differences between my definitions of ‘success’ and ‘failure’. How we define these words will dramatically affect how we live. What we think about something affects how we feel about it, and how we feel about something directs how we act towards it.

I ran across two qfile000946031331uotes and a scripture verse that really impact how I want to define success and failure in my life. I decided to share these quotes and my thoughts about them. I pray you find them encouraging.

 

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

-Maya Angelou

I am not completely sure how to make this happen, but I want to focus on making this more of a reality in my life. I think these ideas are in order of importance and that they build on each other. If you do not like yourself you will be unable to like what you do or how you do it. Some people may feel that cultivating self-compassion is indulgent, selfish, and unnecessary. I strongly disagree. If we do not learn to love ourselves, we will never truly be able to embrace love from others. Learning to see ourselves as valued, loved, and created beings is vital to knowing and living our purpose.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

-Winston Churchill

This is so encouraging. We must remind ourselves that failure is a normal and necessary part of the human experience. It in no way means that we are less than or inferior. We must learn to give ourselves the empathy and grace that we long for others to experience.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” -

-Jesus in John 17:3

To me, this verse summarizes the entire definition of both success and purpose. Knowing someone implies relationship. Knowing also implies process, not perfection. I believe a relationship with our Creator is essential to  fully living our human experience. This verse is the key to making the other two quotes a reality.

Only when we know our Creator can we truly love ourselves as He does. Knowing our Creator also frees us to embrace our failures because we know our pain is not wasted. Failures become opportunities for grace and learning, not shame and fear. Today I am reminding myself that there is an Author who is writing my story, and all He calls me to do is to join him (Hebrews 12:5).

Healthy Living Tip: Need To Drink More Water?

Losing weight, attempting to maintain your weight, and healthy eating can be very difficult processes. I am always looking for ways stay healthy on a budget. Here is tip I recently discovered that I am really excited about!

Add lemon to your water at home

This tip saves both money and calories! Everyone knows they should drink more water but many struggle to do so. Recently, I noticed that I am getting bored with my ‘water only’ drink menu. We really can’t afford to add juice mixes to our grocery budget, and I am really trying to move away from processed foods in any form.

Last night, I finally found a solution.  I am not sure why this not occurred to me before. I picked up 3 lemons and a lime (on sale for 39 cents each). I cut them up into eight pieces and keep them in a container in my fridge. Every time I refill my water glass, I squeeze one piece into my water. This averages about 5 cents a glass which is much cheaper than the to-go drink add-ins.

Adding the lemon gives the sweetness I desire, which is helping reduce my sweet tooth. Also, lemon has a plethora of health benefits including vitamins and detoxifying properties. This has gotten me excited about drinking water again. Drinking water helps me stay hydrated and keeps my system clean. It also prevents over-snacking as our body often mistakes our thirst for hunger.

It may seem simple,  but adding lemon to your water at home is an inexpensive way to add nutrients and variety to your life!

P.S. I have been doing some online writing in additional outlets. See my previous post below for links!

P.S.S. If you are interested in additional information related to the health benefits of lemons, check out the links below:

A Dr. Oz video on the health benefits of lemons

16 Health Benefits of Lemons

 

 

3 Tips For Gaining Motivation Momentum

"Peaceful Journey" by Federico Stevanin retrieved from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Peaceful Journey” by Federico Stevanin retrieved from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today, I would like to share a few tips on how to get refocused on your goals when you feel like you have lost your momentum. I know it can be very hard when you feel like you have “fallen off the bandwagon” of your personal goals. In this post, I will share a few tips that have helped me get back on track:

1) Re-Evaluate
Take a moment and examine where you truly are in relationship to your goals. This is not a time where you beat yourself up for not being where you want to be or think you “should be.” Rather, this is a time to evaluate where you really are and love yourself no matter what you find. Beating ourselves up gets us nowhere fast. Self defeating thoughts decrease motivation not increase it. However, it is important to honestly asses our current position. They say , “If you don’t know where you are coming from, you can’t know where you are going.”

Another important part of this process is to take a quick look at why you fell off the bandwagon in the first place. What triggered this lapse in focus? It may just be circumstantial (busy work week, family problem, etc), and if so you can readily move on. For me, mine was mostly circumstantial; however, I also needed to allow myself some time to grieve the loss of my grandmother and mix of emotions that came with those circumstances. So often, I force myself to be “busy” when I really just need to take some time to deal with the pain of life. Before moving on, make sure you don’t leave any unfinished business related to what caused you to get off track in the first place. If you don’t deal with it now, it will just derail you in the future.

2) Break down your tasks into small “baby step” goals
After assessing a starting point, it is time to determine a feasible goal and then break it down into small, manageable steps. For example, my goal is to lose the four pounds I put on last month. In my old way of handling things, I would have done a complete overhaul and tired to make way too many changes at once. I would tell myself I must exercise thirty minutes every day this week, and eat only healthy food. The reality is you can’t go from doing nothing to doing everything all at once. I have had to learn how to set manageable goals for myself. My goals this week are to exercise three times, watch my portions, drink more water, and eat slower. These should be manageable steps for me. Another benefit to small goals is that you gain momentum as you achieve each one.

3) Just do it
I know this is kind of a lame tip, but it works. If you can force yourself to just work on one small goal (walking for ten minutes today, cleaning one room, etc), it really will get your momentum going. I have mentioned the “snowball effect” before, but it is worth repeating. As with so many other things in life, if you can just get the ball rolling, you will see progress which will in itself motivate you to keep going.

Originally posted March 2011

Modified Gig Tracker

Just wanted to share a quick tip on how to stay organized on a non-traditional income. We have found that it is imperative to stay organized in order to make traction on our financial goals. We use this spreadsheet to help with short and long term planning. We also use it to keep track of deductions and estimated tax payments. You can download the spreadsheet by clicking the link below.

Modified Gig Tracker

This spreadsheet was originally created by David J. Hahn and can be found here. We have modified it to fit our needs, but we are so thankful for all of the hard work he put into creating it.

Consumer Debt: A Fresh Perspective

file000444276520This morning, I was reading this blog post about learning to wait. In the comment section, I stumbled upon a brilliant quote by Cindy at getalonghome.com.

She says, “If you’re unwilling to save for big purchases, and prefer to go into debt for them, you’re doomed to spend your life worrying about how to finish paying for things you’ve already worn out.

I had to reread that at least twice because it is so profound. Her statement is so true, yet we rarely discuss debt in this way. Consumer debt (financing cars, tvs, jewelry, clothes, ect), is so common place in our society, that we don’t even think about it. I am not trying to be judgmental, trust me. Until a year ago, I thought credit was the only way to live. In the last year, God has really changed my perspective on debt and money. I really do think there is beautiful freedom in learning to save and pay cash for the things we want.

This quote just reminded me that trying to live a debt-free life really is worth it. It also gave me the motivation to keep going, even though it can get very difficult. Thanks, Cindy for the encouragement and reminder!

P.S. If you have time, check out Cindy’s blog at the link above. I really enjoyed her perspective on being a “stay-at-home-wife”.

Adventures In Homemade Cleaning Products: Part 1 (Laundry Detergent and Liquid Hand Soap).

Hello friends! I hope you are all having a lovely summer. This summer has been busier than I expected, but I am thankful for the work. Today, I took a break from work to try my hand at making some homemade cleaning products. My adventures of choice were homemade laundry detergent and homemade liquid hand soap.

I have been wanting to try both of these recipes for months, but just never got around to it. Finally we ran out of laundry detergent, and I thought, now is the time! I have linked to recipes I used above, just in case you want to give it a shot. I made half a batch of each to see if we liked them. Here is the cost breakdown for each:

Laundry Detergent
3/4 of a bar of soap, grated- I got this free with coupons
1/2 cup Borax- I got a 76oz box at Wal-Mart for 3.36 so I used approximately 17 cents worth for this batch
1/2 Baking Soda- 14 cents worth*
Total Cost- 17 cents for 12 loads or 2 cents a load Can’t beat it :) (Please excuse my less than perfect math)

*Note most homemade detergent recipes call for washing soda because it is much stronger than baking soda. I chose to use baking soda because we don’t have a lot of large stains, and we had it on hand. I would recommend using washing soda, especially if you have children. Washing soda can be found next to the Borax in the laundry isle. Also, some bloggers that I read suggest specific types of soap, but again, the major reason I am doing this is to save money, so I wanted use what we already had on hand.

All you have to do to make this is grate the soap and mix the ingredients together. Make sure to mix them really well. I will let you know if I like how it works!

Liquid Hand Soap
1/4 cup of bar soap, finely grated- I got this free with coupons
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 tbsp Glycerin -Free because I purchased this on Amazon using Swagbucks. (If you are unfamiliar with Swagbucks, see my post here).
Total cost- free

However, if you had to pay for the soap and glycerin they cost would around $1 a

 

batch. My batch looks like it will fill about 3 bottles of hand soap, so that’s about 33 cents a bottle.

All you do to make this is mix the ingredients together in a pan on the stove over medium heat, until the soap flakes dissolved (about 4 minutes). Let the mixture cool completely before putting it into soap dispensers.

Again, refer to the links above for more information. I really enjoyed making these products, and I love the fact that they are better for the environment and for us. The only hard part was grating the soap, which did take a good bit of time. However, considering that you can often get a bar of soap for free with coupons, I think the savings are worth the extra elbow grease.

Garden Lessons

gardenAs I sit here on this beautiful Saturday morning, I am feeling very reflective. Holding my comforting warm cup of coffee as the sunlight streams in through the windows, I realize it is the little things that make this life so wonderful. How often do we miss those little things as we get swept up in the business of life? I am so grateful for this much-needed relaxation filled day.

Since moving to our new house, I have been starting my day by heading out to water my now much larger garden. Gardening has been such an amazing experience; it is hard to put it into words. It has taught me so much about who God is and how he works. I just wanted to share a few of those lessons.

1) I so often limit myself by believing I can’t do things.
I NEVER thought I could EVER grow anything, but God is showing me how much I limit myself. With a little education, some hard work, more faith than I realized, and a lot of grace, things are actually growing. How many other times have I missed out on what God wants to do in my life because I thought I couldn’t do it?

2) It is not about the end product, it is about the process.
I tell other people this all the time, but God is giving me a hands on lesson in process 101. For the first time in my life, I think I am actually learning how to enjoy the process, and not worry about the results. For me to get anything to even sprout is a miracle and major progress from where I started. Every new little change has been an exciting moment of praise. I wish I lived with more excitement about the little things.

3) Growth takes time and that time can be beautiful.
I am seeing how the plants need to time to grow the structure to support the fruit they will eventually produce. How often do I hurry through the structure building stages of my life, and just want God to get me to the “fruitful times.” I am seeing how vital those structure building times really are.

4) God is the only one who can truly make things grow
We can learn, and plan, and work as much as possible but it is ultimately God who is in control of the natural processes that make growth occur. This is true in the garden and in life. Being connected to him is the source of true growth, and he is still good in times of abundance and times of drought. He is always at work, even when it really doesn’t seem like it.

Even if all my plants died today, and I never got a single fruit or vegetable, these things would still be true. I am realizing that this garden is so much less about producing organic produce, and so much more about God calling me to himself in unexpected ways. For that, I am so grateful.

Tips For Saving Money on Clothing and Other Household Items

Inspired by a recent trip to Goodwill, I thought I would share a few ways to save money when shopping for non-food items such as clothing, household items, and home improvement projects.

1) Don’t be afraid of clearance racks and thrift stores, but only go when you are in the right mood.
Thrift store shopping requires extensive patience. You must be willing to hunt for treasure amidst the trash :) If you go to these stores in the wrong mood, you are just setting yourself up for disappointment.

2) Only shop at Goodwill on sale and special days.
I never knew that Goodwill has sales and specials, but they do. Check your local goodwill store for specific details, but many stores offer 1/2 off Saturdays once a month. My store also has .99 cent Wednesday, where all specially tagged clothes are only .99 cents. They also often run a deal where they give $5 off any purchase of $25 or more.

3) For larger purchases, buy gift cards from plasticjungle.com or giftcardrescue.com.
These sites offer gift cards for many retailers for anywhere from 8% to 30% off. For example, if you know you were going to buy back to school clothes from JC Penny, you could get a $50 gift card for only $42.50. That is an automatic 15% savings. Use that gift card in combination with coupons and sales, and you could really score some major deals. This strategy also works well for home improvement projects. These sites always have Lowes and Home Depot gift cards at least 8% off. For a big project, that could add up to big savings.

4) Never forget the old standby: Garage Sales and Craigslist.

5) Plan ahead: Be ready for end of season deals.
For example, if you have children, you can get amazing toy deals right after Christmas. Buy birthday presents then, and you can really save!

The motivation for this post comes from my recent shopping trip. At Goodwill, I was able to find 4 tops, a skirt, and a great dress, all for only 25.84!!! I will include some pictures, just to show that you really can find awesome almost-new clothes for a fraction of retail price. It just takes a little patience and planning :)

 

 

Homestead Hobby Day!

So rumor has it urban homesteading is the new cool and hip thing to do. For those of you yet to hear this rumor, urban homesteading is basically just a movement that encourages people to learn self-sustainable life skills such as baking from scratch, making and using homemade cleaning products, cheese making, and raising chickens/goats.

I am neither cool nor hip, but I do like trying new things. I also love the idea of becoming more self-sustainable and environmentally friendly, not to mention the money you will save when you’re making things from scratch. Homemade food is also much healthier because you are in control of the ingredients, and there are no preservatives and artificial flavors. In light of this, I declared today “Homestead Hobby Day!” I took on some tasks I had been wanting to try including:

1) Making Basic Cheese
I put mine in the fridge and it turned out like a crumbly cheese kind of like feta. I also added a pinch of garlic salt and basil (see pictures below)

2) Making Homemade Ice Cream

I have included links to the recipes I used. I also made some easy bread (that recipe can be found here). Instead of writing out the whole process, I am just posting picture highlights. I am also including garden update pictures. So far my plants are actually growing! Knock on wood :)

The finished cheese!

Bread and cheese-two of the finished products!

The moral of the story is: If I can do it, you can do it!

10 months ago, I considered myself a sub-par cook and a completely brown thumb. I am now doing things in the kitchen and garden that I NEVER thought I would be able to do. I encourage everyone to try at least one new thing a month. You might just surprise yourself :)