In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘money’

These 3 Items Clean Almost Anything

CleaningLately when I clean I am trying to get as much done as possible in the shortest amount of time. I never seem to have a decent chunk of time to devote to a deep clean. Because of this state of perpetual rush, I often do not have the less used cleaning supplies on hand such as drain de-clogger, dishwashing cleaner and soap scum remover. I don’t buy these types of products often and because they tend to have harsh chemicals I am reluctant to use them. (I once used way to much shower cleaner and I made myself sick from the smell. )

This has lead me to explore Pinterest and the internet for more natural, quick assemble cleaners with items I might have in the pantry instead of having to run to the store for expensive cleaners. Luckily, it seems almost everything can be cleaned with vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.

It appears only the method and applications of cleaning differ.  One downside of more natural cleaners is that they don’t usually have the strength of the store bought versions. For that reason I have been on a hunt to find applications and ingredients that will actually work in a busy house of kids and pets.

So far here are the ones that have been working well for me. If you have any natural go-to cleaners or a method that you swear by I would really appreciate if you shared them here.  Would love to here if  natural cleaners are working in your home.

How To Clean Your Dishwasher from Cleanmama.net

Dishwasher cleaner

Homemade Drain De-clogger from onegoodthingbyjillee.com

unclog a sink

Garbage Disposal Cleaner and Refreshers from cleanandscentsible.com

garbage disposal cleaner

How to clean your glass Cooktop from HappyMamaTales.com

DIY Window Cleaner from cuckooforcoupondeals.com

 

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5 Things To Consider When Getting a Family Pet

5 things to consider when getting a family petAdding a pet to your home is an important decision. One that should not be taken likely or done on a whim. Unfortunately, many families do what I have done and don’t think through the consequences of a pet in their household. We fall in love with an adorable puppy. Take him home only to find out the breed is not quite right for our family environment.

Often people adopt an animal but later have misgivings about the amount of care and time it requires. I have seem people who swing from feeling wildly excited about their new pet. Only to bringing it back to the shelter or pet store because it is not inconvenient for their life style.

When I hear of this it totally burns me up! Pets are not a new toy or novel item to be discarded when it becomes a hassle to care for or the newness has worn off. When you get a pet they become a family member, and an important reasonability to care for and love.

We have all heard the stories of people who decided to by a python only to have it out grow its enclosure and be released into the wild. Down in Florida we have some of these former “pets” completely destroying the ecosystem of the Florida everglades. In our disposable society, it is become far to frequent that family’s adopt a pet and don’t take into consideration if it is the right pet for them before they bring it home.

Speaking from personal experience I watched a loving, sweet dog become intensely fearful and aggressive after it was brought back to the pound. It had spending over a year with it’s prior owner until she no longer had a use for the dog and it became an inconvenience for her. It was absolutely heartbreaking. To me actions like this are selfish, cruel and irresponsible. In our disposable society it is become far to frequent. The idea of having a family pet is wonderful until it is brought home and in need of feeding, care and time. The animal is then returned, discarded or given away like yesterdays news.

In my view this heartbreak could be avoided if families took a little bit of time to examine what pet would be right for them before they head out to the pet store. Here are 5 things to consider when looking for a family pet.

 

How much time do you have?

Do you work crazy hours, long shifts? Do you have to travel frequently? Remember the level of care a pet such as a dog will need. Consider if your schedule will allow you to care for it properly. If you travel frequently and have to board the pet all the time, a dog might not be right for you. Your lifestyle may be better suited for a more independent animal.

How much care can you give your pet?

After having children I was not able to give my pets the care I wanted to. I no longer had the time and ability to devote to the care of my animals. Not in the way I did before having children. Things like picking up the yard and brushing them weekly were no longer activities I could fit into an over packed schedule of caring for children and working full-time.  Be honest as to what you are able to devote to the care of a pet. You have to consider you might no longer have the time to purse other things in exchange for the care of your pet. If you can not see yourself doing this a pet may not be the right choice for you right now.

What type or breed of animal a good fit for you?

After 101 Dalmatians came out, many families were enamored with Dalmatian puppies. They were in for a rude dalmationawakening. They soon discovered Dalmatians are high energy and get restless when left alone for too long. (Like when you are at work or your kids are at school.) These types of puppies while cute might not the best fit for busy families. Consider the disposition and traits of the animal. Do a little research before you adopt your pet so that your home and family will be a good fit for you and for your new animal. You can take this Animal Plant Pet Picker quiz to help you get started in finding the fight pet for you.

How big will your pet grow?

How much space you have and how large the animal will grow to be makes a big difference in what type of pet you decide on. If you get a mastiff puppy but live in a small apartment with no yard. There are going to be some lifestyle adjustments the family will need to make. If you get a pet that is high energy having a backyard might be a necessity. It might be prudent to consider how much space your pet will need to have a happy, healthy life. ? This is something that happens frequently with snakes, and lizards.snake

“That beautiful 20-inch baby Burmese python may fit well in a 5 or 10-gallon aquarium style tank when you first bring it home from the pet store, but within 5 months it is likely to reach 5 feet, and it has the potential to grow to 18 feet at maturity. Keeping an 18-foot snake is obviously a very different proposition than you bargained for when you left the store cheerfully toting your aquarium and thinking that was all that you were ever going to need. Buying that snake only to have to find a new home for it before it reaches maturity is unfair both to you and to the animal,”-Peteducation.com

What changes in family environment might affect your pet?

Take into consideration what your future might bring to the life of this pet. Are you planning to move in a few years? Do you planning on another baby? Are there other animals in the home? Different types of animals react differently to these environmental changes. Some better then others. Some pets might be more sensitive to simple changes such as a new feeding time or seasonal weather patterns. (like summer thunderstorms.) If you have an idea what changes are in store for your family environment it would be helpful in selecting a pet that can adapt to these changes.

Pets are life changing in the most wonderful way. They can provide the love and companionship that can fill in an empty space in your family. Pets can give that unconditional love and affection making your household complete. Adopting a pet is a responsibility.  You owe it to yourself and the animal to take the time to ensure you can provide the love and care it needs.

Crazy 8 Sale On Now!

Help Wanted: Apply with Dad

Help wantedI have to hand it to my husband. When I am all out of creative ideas to motivate our children he pulls one out of no where. Over the past few months I have found it increasingly difficult to get my children to help out and do chores. We have used a chore chart and have had a monetary incentive to help out around the house. It has been working well for quite sometime, several years in fact.

Each week we have given them the option to do up to 5 tasks at $1 per chore. They can do them all, only a few or none. Also there are bonus chores they could do for extra money. This will vary from week to week based on what I have to get done around the house. In the past this has included painting, to gardening, to cleaning to bath tub.

However, recently, my kids seem to lack the motivation to get any chores done with out constant reminders (almost to the level of harassment.) Weeks will go by where they have opted do no chores and earn nothing. I thought maybe is was because they had gotten many of the items they wanted at Christmas but their lack of participation continued through most of January.

Dad’s creative idea

I was out of ideas on how to motivate them and was quote frankly to tired and overwhelmed after Christmas to bagger them onto helping out. Then one morning me and the kids woke up to find “Want Ad’s” for two positions posted on our refrigerator. One was for a “Recycling Manager,” and the second for “Household Security Officer,” The posting listed the duties preformed in the positions and the qualifications necessary to apply. To apply the posting requested applicants submit a resume. It also stated that the weekly pay for the position would be $2 per week.

Image from quotegram.com

I was floored at how creative and detailed the job posting was. My husband really got into it. It certainly got my kids attention because the two of them discussed at length, which job they should apply for. Soon after reading the postings they asked my what a resume was. I showed them typical resumes found online and advised them to the type of information they normally contained.

My daughter decided to apply for the” Household Security Officer.” This position required her to turn the porch and front door light on each night and off each morning. It also required her to check the front and back doors each night before bed to make sure they were locked.

My son opted for the “Recycling Manager” position. This entailed taking the plastic bottles and cardboard recycling to the appropriate bin near our garbage and making sure it was put out for collection each week.

Apply within

The two of them took the applications very seriously and worked together for hours (in almost silence) crafting their resumes. The enthusiasm and eagerness this creative approach brought forth was amazing. Once my husband “reviewed” the applications and choose the best person for the position, they we’re so excited.

Surprisingly, they have been preforming their job duties fairly consistently each week. My daughter has forgotten a few times. However, she got her act together when she was told she may be fired for not fulfilling the job requirements and her little brother could then apply for her position.

I don’t know if it is the sense of ownership, the title or the acting like a grown-up but my husband certainly tapped into something with this idea. It has been a great life lesson for my kids about what is required to get and hold on to a job. Mainly it is about trying your hardest, showing up consistently, and doing what you where I hired to do. Now if only some adults can learn this.

Are you Black Friday is broke?

Black FridayDid you get bitten by the Black Friday bug last weekend? These advertisers know what they are doing, making you feel that you will totally miss out on the best deals ever by not being first on line in front of their big box store at 5:30 in the morning.

So how many of us take the day off work. We crawl out of bed, leave behind a sink full of Thanksgiving dishes to drive over the nearest superstore. Only to fight out way to what we are told is a great deal. If you don’t go then someone else will get all those sweet deals. Right?

Well, maybe not.

Remember it was only a few years ago that Black Friday sales actually started to creep into Thursday evening. It began as a midnight madness type of sale but then inched closer and closer to 4:00 pm. The Black Friday frenzy was overtaking Thanksgiving dinner. Retail employees we’re wolfing down their turkey and stuffing because they had to head out to work on a day that was designated specifically for home and family.

Luckily, after a few years of consumer pushback many stores dropped the early Thursday sales and moved it back to Friday where it belonged. However, that didn’t necessarily stop shopping. They just moved it to cyber space.

According to NBSNews Black Friday Online sales it a new high this year. These followed quickly by Cyber Monday show that more people are buying online for the holiday’s. And why not it’s easy, convenient and might be less expensive. Or is it?

The online ease of time sensitive flash sales are still tapping into a buyers urgency to not miss out on the savings. I know from my own experience that I have said to myself, “I better buy this (insert useless item I don’t really need) because I won’t ever see it for this price again.”

I don’t care what it is at that price I need it!!

The issue then isn’t the price of the item it becomes the fear that you will miss out on these insanely low prices. (which are usually not insanely low at all by comparison.) Advertisers have become so adept at creating a feeling of scarcity we don’t think twice about parting ways with our money for the Memory Form cat bed, (although cats can find comfort on a car tire.) We really need that water resistant shower speaker (can’t sing in the shower without one…oh wait you can.) Can’t forget about the Ukulele Starter Pack (because one day you will sing tiny bubbles in the shower to your cat on their form bed.)

Cyber Monday

Black Friday and its online twin Cyber Monday help you fulfill that Christmas anxiety with the words BUY NOW. But when you look at the credit card bill sticker shock is an understatement. I remember thinking “What did I buy?”

There is something to be said for the physical presence of counting out bills that makes you more aware of what you are spending. Couple a click of a mouse with the new internet urgency and you have the makings for an overspending disaster. That is no way to have a happy holiday.

Black Friday sales can be a force of good if you give yourself limits. Here are 5 ways to use the Black Friday frenzy to your advantage.

  1. Know what you intend to purchase before the sales come out.
  2. Remember most sales are cyclical and these prices will come and go.
  3. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are no longer a single day event but have been extended to weeklong sales with most merchants so do not rush into anything. Take time to consider your purchases.
  4. Just like Santa says make a list of what you intend to buy for whom. More importantly make a budget plan and stick to it.
  5. If you missed Black Friday don’t forget you can still compare prices between stores and prices match at some retailers to pay the least for an item.
  • Most importantly…remember the holiday season is not about your Black Friday 50 inch TV or other electronic item. Matter of fact it is not about things at all. It is about  people. You are giving gifts from the heart to show people you love them. Despite what advertisers tell you it is not about putting yourself into debt impulsively buying to combat the feeling of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.)

Five Reasons to Shop Small

Small Buisness SaturdayHometown businesses, local artisens, and handmade gifts when you purchase from these types of vendors your money is not going to a big corporation that has an army of faceless nameless employees or an home office states away. It goes into the pockets of neighbors, communities and friends.

This year I have pledged to by as many Holiday gifts from small business owners, handmade crafters and locally known shops. Small business Saturday is November 26 by why wait until then to start your shopping.  Here are 5 reasons to shop local and small.

Your money is fund a dream

When you buy from small business you directly support the business owners and their family. Maybe for the owner this shop was always a dream for them. By using their business you are helping fund that dream.

Your money goes to people and families you know

By purchasing from a local business, direct seller or small business owner you are helping people that you know. Does your neighbor sell at a craft fair? Does that mom at the PTA sell Avon? Look around at the people you know you will be surprised to find how many people have a business on the side that you could contribute to.

You money helps your local economy

When you buy from local business, that business owner will most likely spend that money locally, it might be dance lessons for their daughter or supplies from a local manufacturer or a dinner out at a local restaurant.

You can find something unique

If you have not perused handmade online marketplaces like Etsy you are missing out. Handmade crafts are unique, and one of a kind. They are crafted with skill and caring not found in mass produced items. When you order handmade you don’t just get a gift you get an experience from the packaging to the hand-written notes it goes far beyond a Target bag.

If you can’t find a local business that fits your needs, check out direct sales

I am a big supporter of direct sales businesses. There is a pride in knowing when I purchase from direct sellers I am helping a friend. I’m supporting the future of a stay at home mother, and a newly made entrepreneur to grown in their business.

If you are a handmade business owner, direct seller or you want to give a local shop a shout out please leave a link in the comment below. Let’s share the love this holiday season and shop local, handmade and small business.

How to Get Back on Track When Financial Calamity Strikes

When financial calamity strikesUggg…bye-bye savings, hello debt… again.

These are moments when financial emergencies erase everything you have worked so hard to achieve. Dave Ramsey would say it is in those moments when Murphy comes to visit… as in Murphy’s Law. It happens to us all from time to time and well it just sucks. It is hard to watch your progress be undone, your savings melt away, or your fun money become not so fun.  When the planets collide, the stars explode, and everything conspire to screw you.

It is those moments when a calamity of costly events converge. For example, you find yourself with illness or injuries that require medical attention (aka doctor bills.) At the same time your car breaks down, your roof leaks and the washing machine explodes. It is during these times when you feel like you are being buried financially.  Really it is all just the timing of things. If we planned a little better we might have been able to avoid the stress of converging events.

So then we have to ask ourselves what could we have done set ourselves up better when these things occur. Lets face it, stuff happens and more often then not it is going to happen at the most inconvenient time. Like right before a major trip, or after you just finished unburdening yourself from a large debt. Here are some things to consider when financial calamity parks itself at your door.

Don’t beat yourself up

Sometimes all the planning in the world won’t prevent Murphy from coming to town. The best thing you can do is accept the situation and make a plan to prevent it from happening again. Yes, it sucks. Give yourself a few minutes to feel bad, then get down to the work of digging your way back out.

Know it is only temporary

You got out of debt once your will do it again. Even though your situation might seem like it will never go away (like the college loan that takes forever to pay off.) If you keep in mind that you have already know the way to get out of debt and get on better financial footing. So this time around it will not take as long to recover.

Don’t give up

I know it is easy to start spending when you are already outlaying a huge chunk of money for car repair, home repair or another big expense. You might think, “what is another few grand I might as well tack on a couch or vacation expenses to the bill.” This will only dig you in deeper. It is a slippery slope once you start to spend. Soon you will find an excuse to wipe out your hard earned savings or run up that credit card you worked so hard to pay off.

Make a new plan

The key to this experience is to get though it and learn from it. After going through a major financial set back you are that much more educated to prevent it from ever happening to you again. We can all be caught off guard when these things happen. That is why an emergency fund is used from “emergencies.”  Here is your opportunity to make a new step by step plan to avoid this type of setback in the future.

Travel Lessons from a Frugal Grandma

travel lessons from a frugal grandmaTraveling is something I have always enjoyed ever since high school. Growing up my family did not travel anywhere but our yearly trip to Florida where we  visited the grandparents. And no unfortunately this trip did not include a theme park visit. However, I still have fond memories of my travels to visit the Grandparents. I think  that is how I got bitten by the traveling bug, one summer when visiting my grandmother Mildred.

My Grandma the World Traveler

Written on the back by my grandma "Peace Treaty Signed 1919 Verselle France"

Written on the back by my grandma “Peace Treaty Signed 1919 Verselle France”

During one of our visits, she showed my some amazing photos of her recent trips. It turns out that grandma was doing more then just playing pinochle and going to the clubhouse during her retirement, she had become a world traveler. Going all over Europe, and Asia.

My grandmother Mildred was a working mom before there were working mom’s. She was fairly serious and never very talkative or emotional but you could tell sharing these pictures was a joy to her. Being able to travel the way she had is something I had wanted to do ever since she described her photos to me.

During that time I asked her a ton of questions about her trips. I asked about how she had planned for traveling, what she would have done different and where she liked to travel best. She gave me some great advice.

Something else I learned was that my grandmother was not only adventurous but she was a frugal planner who was ahead of her time. Her careful handling of finances are what made these trips possible.

My grandmother has long since passed away but many off her lessons stay with me. I realize now, I am a lot like her in that I want to see and explore the world. Also like her handling of the family finances are what will make my dreams of traveling possible.

Written on the back "8/86 Le River Guliane China"

Written on the back “8/86 Le River Guliane China”

She approached life in a frugal way with the end goal being to retire and travel. Although I want to travel, I do not want to wait for retirement to do it. So what does that mean for a working mom with two kids? Planning.

Here are some of the nuggets of wisdom that helped her save enough to travel in retirement.

Plan out your trip cost long before your travel date

She advised me to get as clear an idea of where I wanted to go and estimate how much those visits will cost. Have a long timeline to save for these trips, and break them down into time increments to save for. Credit was should not be an option. It wasn’t for her.

If possible travel Europe when you are young and save the U.S for retirement age

She said it was much easier to travel in the U.S at an advanced age. There were more senior discounts for attractions and travel and it was easier to navigate then Europe. She added due to the age and make-up of most of Europe it is not as easy for older bodies to handle cobblestone streets an centuries old staircases.

Don’t be afraid to have experiences when travel

I will never forget a picture my grandmother showed me of her standing in front a plane. It was taken in Communist China and she admitted that she felt pretty scared when she was there but was grateful she got to see a part of China usually restricted to travelers.

Written on back "Aug 86 Beijing China, Great Wall"

Written on back “Aug 86 Beijing China, Great Wall”

Sacrifice now to reach your travel goals

My grandmother always functioned in a frugal manner with her end goal of travel in mind. Like with any type of goal setting, you want to having a clear picture of what to achieve and formulated plan on how to achieve it. This will probably mean making sacrifices and being creative with your finances in order to free up money for travel. It mean giving up some things now (like those expensive lattes and dinners out.) to save for travel later.

 

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