In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘savings’

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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Here are 5 reasons our goals will fail

goals will failLast year I wrote out goals in the four areas of focus discussed on this blog. It was a great exhaustive, multi-post list. How many did I actually accomplish. Ehh….maybe 1. Each year we start fresh. Each year we start new and set our sights on accomplishing new goals and resolutions. It is a great idea but often it is a failed effort. Why? Here are five reasons this happens.

We pick large goals with no path to get there

One of the reasons we often fail to stick with our goals and resolutions is we select a goal that seems almost unachievably grand, like losing 50 lbs or saving $100,000. Then we fail to map out the steps involved in achieving these big goals. It is great to aim high, but if we ever hope to achieve them we must attack it in parts. By breaking this goal down into small, achievable parts we visualize how to get there.

We choose too many goals/resolutions

My goals failed last year because I gave myself so many points I wanted to achieve that my focus was scattered. My goals were all across the board on so many topics. It was impossible to keep track of progress let alone remember what goals I set come mid year. It was way to ambitious and unachievable. In goal setting as in most areas of life simple is better.

We didn’t select goals/resolutions we really care about achieving

No, I am not going to give you the “anything is possible” line or “If you can dream it you can do it.” Yes, you can if you actually put the effort in. Dreaming alone will not get you there. It would be nice to lose the extra baby weight but if we really don’t want to change our habits then it is not going to magically happen. I would love to eat healthier and exercise more, but if I have no intention of getting off my lazy butt and changing my behavior I am going to fail.  Just stating you want to do it is not enough. You actually have to care about getting it done. If you really don’t care enough to put in the effort and change the behavior then your resolution will go nowhere.

We picked the wrong goals for us

Everyone makes the resolution to lose weight but maybe that should not be the primary focus. Maybe joining a support group or getting the help of a nutritionist might be a better goal for you. Paying off debt might be a great goal but if you are in the a habit of whipping out your credit card maybe you should focus on using cash only instead. Picking the goal that doesn’t address your current bad habit will only set you up for failure.

Not putting a number to you goal.

One of the primary items discussed in successful goal setting is quantifying you goal. Don’t talk in lofty terms of someday.  Give it a number. For example, I will eat five vegetables daily or I will save $1000 by February 1. Assign a date, amount or number to you goal. If you can not insert a number then your goal is to vague and probably needs to be narrowed down.

 

 

 

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.

5 Free and Cheap Ways to Save on Your Child’s Party

5 free and cheap ways to save money on your childs birthday partyIt is one of the most heart-warming feelings to see the ear to ear grin of your child after they blow out their birthday candles. Another successful birthday party organized by mom.

Most people (unless they are other mother’s) attending a child’s birthday don’t realize all the hard work, planning and expense that go in child’s party. Decorations, cake, venue, favors… it can all run into quite a hefty bill once you add it together. But based on your circumstances, the time of year and your craft prowess there are ways to save money  and still have an awesome and memorable party for your child.  Here are some ideas to explore when trying to reduce the cost of your child’s birthday celebration.

Have a combine party

We did for the first time this year. Not only did it save a ton of money. It also reduced the amount of jealously and fighting between the children. Each opened separate presents instead of one watching the other open gifts while they sat empty handed. It halved the expense by only planning one party. I was afraid one of the children might feel slighted but to my surprise both children enjoyed celebrated the time together. Explore the idea of going in with a friend who has a child with a birth date around the same time as yours. This not only reduces the planning load, it also halves the bill.

Have it at home for free

Although it can be a hassle in set up and clean, it saves you a bundle over paying for a venue like Chuck E Cheese, or a bounce house center like Monkey Joe’s. If having it at home is not an option look into local clubhouses, church’s or parks that might rent space for a low price. I found renting a pavilion at a park near was only $25 for the day.

Make it a pot-luck

cakesf

Homemade cake for my daughters birthday party. Don’t be to impressed Olaf’s head fell off

This will save you greatly in food costs and it also allows others to make a special and involved in the party by making a signature dish. We did this for my daughters first birthday and it added so much the party. It can make the event even more memorable when grandma makes your child’s favorite cookies, or her homemade chocolate cake. It also removes some of the expense and menu planning hassle. Also many hands make light work.

Choose a theme and DIY the decorations

Personally, this was the best part of party planning. There are a ton of sources all over the internet and Pinterest on how to do DIY party decorations for less money that still looks great. My son had a Star Wars birthday a few years ago and I had such a blast making Storm Trooper faces on white balloons and personalizing the party décor.ballon

Make it a travel/ experience birthday

This works great for an older child who has kind of out grown a party. Also this is an option for a child on the shy side that doesn’t like being the center of attention. Have them chosen a trip in honor of their birthday or an experience they would like to have instead of a party.

If you can combine a family vacation you might have been planning anyway with a birthday experience or trip, this will save you the cost of a party and still make the kid feel special. We have let our kids do this every other year to forgo the cost of back to back birthday parties. It has been such a wonderful experience. Our kids feel empowered and special in choosing the vacation. Plus the birthday boy/girls suggestions give us new vacation ideas we might not have considered.

Take a look at some of these sites for great party planning tips and ideas.

http://mimisdollhouse.com/

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/

Hostess with the Mostess

You can also check out a recent post about creating a DIY Candy Buffet.


7 Ways to Save While Planning Your Vacation

7 ways to save on your next vacationSo you went on summer vacation.

Had a fantastic time and made a ton of wonderful memories. You arrive home unpack your suitcase and there it is. Staring at you like a dog waiting for dinner( Which mine are doing as I write this)…The credit card bill. You know you need to open it but really don’t want to face the damage you have done.

In your head you run a quick tally of what you think you might have spent on vacation. That souvenir T-shirt, drinks at dinner, the novelty tote bag…did I really spend that much? It is all adding up in your brain and it comes to more then you expected. While we are away it is so easy to lose track of spending. We tell ourselves “I’m on vacation I can spend fast and free.” We live it up and pretend that there is no bill to come home to. It’s fun and freeing for the moment. Then the moment ends and the bill comes.

I’m not saying this to be Debbie Downer, only that I have done this myself. Have spent more on vacation then I should have and had to dig myself out of debt upon returning home. It puts a damper on your happy memories and makes you wary of relaxing the purse strings on your next trip away.

But life shouldn’t be that way. We should be able to enjoy out vacation without the fear of getting in debt hanging over our head. With a little planning this could be the case and believe me you will enjoy your vacation a whole lot more knowing there is no ballooning credit card bill waiting in your mailbox.

Here are 7 ways to plan out your vacation and save a little money in the process.

  1. Book your vacation as far in advance as possible – This give you ample time to save for the trip. You will be completely aware of the true cost of your vacation and can make adjustments in your household spending to put aside for the cost of your travels.
  2. Be as flexible as possible with your travel dates – This will save you money in airfare, car rental and hotel bookings. You can shop around for the lowest prices based on the date.
  3. Monitor your travel bookings to see if the fare goes down in price -With many travel sites and companies if you see that the price is cheaper, they will allow you to rebook the fare at the lower price. If the price drops in the first 24 hours many airlines will allow you to rebook at a lower price and refund the difference without change fees.
  4. Prepay your vacation – This may seem obvious but it is often overlooked. Even if you pay a small amount per month towards your vacation, that small amount overtime adds up! It can take the sting out of the full vacation bill.
  5. Investigate before buying dining, photo, or beverage packages – For some families this may be a savings. However, in most cases there are many stipulations to these programs that prevent them from really saving you anything. Find out before you go and don’t sign up for these programs on a whim or under pressure.
  6. Look for no/low cost souvenirs – Do you really need another fridge magnet or coffee mug? Look for souvenirs that cost little or no money but will hold all the memory of your vacation, like a coaster from your favorite restaurant or postcard of your most beloved attraction.
  7. Have a Staycation – During 2008 when there was massive job loss, and financial uncertainty, the Staycation became the new vacation. Look around your town, your city or your state even. Are there local spots that want to see but never got a chance? Is there a great attraction within a days drive from your home? Explore the world right outside your front yard. Forgo the hotel stay and save yourself a bundle.

5 Ways To Have A More Enjoyable Disney Vacation

disneyJust recently we came back from a wonderful family vacation to Walt Disney World. It was fantastic! We had fun, family bonding and great food. It was a trip that we will remember all year. Being a South Florida resident, I have made it my missions to travel to Disney at least once a year. I would go more but my husband adamantly refuses.

Why? Why would he not want to visit the happiest place on earth more then once a year. (Crazy I know?) Mainly, the steep price tag. It is not cheap to visit the Mouse. With the price rising year after year, we have had to scale back our Disney travels. For this reason it has become very important to me to make our time the most magical it could be. Here are some tips I have learned in my Disney travels that might improve your stay.

  1. Take advantage of discounts programs

    Most companies and organizations like AAA have a discount program that could save you some money on your trip. Sadly, in my experience it is near impossible to get a discount on tickets. Even Florida residents only save something like $8-9 for a one-day park pass. However, you can save a pretty penny on a resort stay and food using these types of discounts.

  2. Do not go for a high-end hotel if you are spending all you time at the parks

    It is not worth spending $250 a night for a comfy bed if you are spending every vacation day at a theme park. It is much more cost effective to stay at a value resort or off premises, where the per night cost is considerably lower. Don’t get me wrong the more expensive resorts are beautiful and have some great fun things to do like lazy rivers, bonfires, movies under the stars. But if you are spending everyday in the packs you will never get the time to fully take advantage of theme, making the higher price just not worth it. These type of resort are a vacations destination by themselves. If you must stay in a high end hotel, leave one day free for pool, exploring and leisure time at the resort.

  3. Bring or make breakfast in your room

    While you are staying in Orlando you and your children will be waking up bright and early (mine woke up at 5 am) to get to the parks. You can hit the snooze button a bit longer by having a ready-to-eat breakfast in your hotel room. Food such as a protein bar, smoothie or to-go oatmeal cups you can make using hot water from your coffee maker will make breakfast a lot easier quicker, easier and cheaper. A sit down breakfast for four can cost you $30.00 to $50.00 in some cases. Go to a local convenience store like Walgreens or CVS and stock up a cooler for the week. Eat breakfast in. This will save you time and money.

  4. Use Fastpass and plan out your day

    I am someone who likes to have a plan for my day. However, even if you are more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of person, it will make your trip a million times better by mapping out what you really want to do on your Disney trip. Is Disney history your thing, character greetings? Maybe there is a ride or two you just have to go on? Take advantage of the new Fastpass feature to see if you can preschedule the most busy rides, making your time in line much shorter. Also by knowing what you really want to see, you can prioritize where to spend the bulk of your time because lets face it you can not see everything (A lesson I had to come to terms with myself.)

  5. Nap your kids and yourself

    [ctt title=”This is the most important, most vacation changing advice I could give to any would be Disney traveler. NAP!” tweet=”This is the most important, most vacation changing advice I could give to any would be Disney traveler. NAP!” coverup=”Du8Vq”] I can not tell you how many times me and my family have arrived back at the park after an hour nap to witness meltdowns in every corner. It is hard when you want to see everything in a single day. It can be a pain to travel from hotel to park and back again. Disney is a lot of walking, a lot of stimulation, a lot of activity, and a lot of sweating in the heat on lines. You and your kids will benefit greatly from a mid-day rest. It doesn’t have to be long, only an hour will do to reset. Trust me, when you get back into the park you will feel refreshed and ready to enjoy the remainder of the day. Instead of short tempered, irritable and tired. Plan a nap into your Disney schedule. You will not regret it.


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