Thriving Thursday

Thriving Thursday Saving Money

 

Welcome to the inaugural Thriving Thursday! This idea came about when I started thinking about resolutions for 2019 and how I wanted to talk about some things that have worked for me in the past, mistakes I’ve learned from, and maybe offer some help/direction for anyone else looking to make positive changes this year! Each Thursday in January, I will be discussing some of my resolutions as well as tips and tricks to help you (if you’ve made similar ones) and also check in throughout the year to keep up with progress!

Among the goals I have set for myself for the next twelve months was to consistently save money and cut down needless spending. Last year, I gave it a try and I feel like I did A LOT better than in years past, but there’s always room for improvement.

In December 2017, I found a year-long savings plan that would help me save money throughout the year without making the BIG deposits during the most expensive months of the year (November and December).

I actually did pretty well with this! That is, until the summer.

I decided not to work during the summer months at the Mother’s Day Out program where I teach during the school year because I wanted to be able to have the freedom to go and do things with my kiddos/visit with family as much as possible. It was a fun summer, but I felt the pinch of my purse strings quite a bit.

This year, however, I’m determined to complete this challenge!

Here is my savings plan:

Thriving Thursday Savings Chart

I know it doesn’t seem like much, considering what most households are able to save with two, full-time incomes, however for a stay-at-home-mom like myself, this is will come in very handy!

Do you have a money saving plan? What are some resources you use? Share in the comments below!

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! I feel like we haven’t talked in so long! How’ve you been? How was your Christmas? Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, its time to start thinking about how you are going to make 2018 YOUR YEAR! Any plans? Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got chu.

I’ve posted about this before, but I’ll do a little recap on how I like to do my resolutions list.

Write out “2018” vertically on a sheet of paper. Then, for the number two, write the two best things that happened in 2017. For the zero, jot down a habit you’d like to break in the new year. The one is for your one wish for 2018 (i.e., health, stability, find love, etc.) and the eight is where you list eight goals you’d like to accomplish over the next twelve months. Need help coming up with ideas? Here’s my list to help you get started!

 

2—The Two Best Things That Happened This Year

 

Adding to My Friends List

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No, I don’t mean on Facebook. I’m talking about real life, yo. This year I’ve really got to know some awesome ladies and have become super close with. It’s just nice to have some gal pals you can commiserate with, laugh with, and swap stories with who totally “get you”.

 

Teaching KidFit

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Last year was my first year teaching at my church’s Mother’s Day Out program. I enjoyed working with the Littles I taught but this year, instead of working in a classroom with the same kids all day, my co-teacher and I decided to shake things up and teach “KidFit” (basically P.E.). It’s so much fun! We get to see all age groups of kids AND we get paid to PLAY. How awesome it that?!

 

 

0–Something You Want to Stop in the New Year

 

Getting Unnecessarily Stressed Out

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Ugh. I do this so much. Something trivial will happen, I’ll freak out, and then later I’ll think: “Wow that really wasn’t a big deal. And now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m super embarrassed about how I handled it.” This happens to me frequently throughout the day. I want to be more relaxed—especially about stuff that doesn’t really matter—because I think that will add to my (and everyone around me) quality of life. *takes deep, cleansing breath*

 

1—My One Wish for 2018

 

Health

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Last year I saw so many people I know and care for come down with terrible sicknesses and diagnoses. My wish for the New Year is health—for me, my family, my friends, and acquaintances.

 

8—Eight Goals for the New Year

 

Get Down to Pre-Huff the Tot Weight

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This has pretty much been a goal since I gave birth to HtT…four years ago.

 

Find a Literary Agent

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Again, this has been a goal of mine for YEARS. Last year, I may have sat down to work on my book and find an agent ONCE. O-N-C-E. I really want to become a published author with a literary agent, so I’ve got to actually TRY.

 

Practice Banjo Everyday

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For our anniversary last year, Huff the Hubs got me a banjo! I’m super excited about learning and I’ve been doing lessons now for about three months. As you can imagine, it’s hard to accomplish anything when you’ve got two little ankle biters running amok, so my practice times have been few and far between (especially with the holidays). But, it’s the time for resolutions and I’m ready to stick to this one!

 

Be Consistent with Tot School

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I’m prayerfully considering homeschool my turkeys. For many reasons, of which I won’t bore you with now. I have basically two years to decide whether or not it will be the avenue our family will take, so I’m trying to get a glimpse of what it would be like by creating—and sticking to—lesson plans for Tot School. This is a BIG goal of mine for 2018!

 

Wake Before the Kids

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This is a constant goal. I want to wake before the kids so I can workout, shower, read a devotional, eat breakfast, and pretty much get my head in the game before, as Huff the Hubs calls it, “The Krakens awaken”, ha!

 

Read One Book a Month

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Last year I read two books. TWO. FREAKING. BOOKS. That’s it. My sister has read NINE in the past two weeks. Yeah. If I want to be a better writer, I’ve got to be a better reader. This means I need to read so I can learn from other writers I enjoy (and even some I dislike)!

 

Blog Consistently

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The holidays really threw off my groove. I felt like I was doing okay with blogging and then bam! Thanksgiving hit and it was all downhill. I want to blog more consistently; even if folks don’t read what I post, it’s a great outlet for me!

 

Save More Money

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When Christmas came around, I sadly saw my checking account was not as plentiful as I had hoped. Why? Because, Target Dollar Spot. And Chick-Fil-A. And Starbucks’ cake pops. And Chick-Fil-A. And Chick-Fil-A. (Seeing a pattern?) I’ve made up a personal savings plan for myself (I even made a spreadsheet in Excel, woot!) and I intend to make it rain…in the safety of my account.

 

What about you? What are your resolutions? Share in the comments below!

Try It Tuesday

Try It Money

As you all know, I’m all about saving money. Huff the Hubs and I went through Financial Peace University, so we utilize “the envelope system”. This means we pay for everything in cash and separate our budget into literal envelopes. Last month, I decided to do a little challenge. I told myself that every time a $1 bill came into my possession, I would stick in a shoe box in my pajama drawer. The rules were I was not allowed to spend the money until April was finished. I also tried to not count the cash–even though the box filled up quick!

After 30 days of doing this I ended up saving–drum roll, please–$84!

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That’s right, people! By simply not spending my ones, I saved almost $100 in a month! If I were to continue this, I could save a little bit more than a thousand dollars in a year! That’s a plane ticket to London, mate!

At first, I thought this challenge would be difficult. After all, that’s money I could put toward stuff we actually need, like groceries or gas. But, honestly, I didn’t really miss it from my wallet. It made me more conscious of what I was spending my money on and taught me to do without.

I think this would be a GREAT way to save money for a trip you have coming up, a birthday, or Christmas! I think I’m going to keep the momentum going and do the challenge through May!

Who’s with me?

 

Have you done the “$1 Bill Challenge” before? What were your results?

 

 

 

Try It Tuesday

Try It Tuesday Cooking Badge 2

 

I am always trying to find new ways to save money. That’s one of the main reasons Huff the Hubs and I decided to cloth diaper; the savings were astronomical! Now that we’re saving for a down payment, my money-saving mind has been searching for tips and tricks that will help our spread our budget a little further. So earlier this week when I noticed I was almost out of coffee creamer, I thought, “Why don’t I try to make my own?” Then I stumbled upon this pin!

try it original creamer

Its DIY coffee creamer!

Here’s what you need:

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~1 can (14 oz) condensed milk (I used fat free; I like low-cal creamer)

~Milk (again, I used skim; but the original pin says that the more fat your milk has, the creamier it will be)

~Vanilla extract

The original pin has a host of other flavor mixes, but since I typically use French Vanilla coffee creamer, I used that recipe!

All you have to do is combine the can of condensed milk with 1 3/4 cup milk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and mix well:

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And then, BAM! you’re done!

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I think it turned out pretty good! I’m kind of picky about the brands of creamer I use, so it was a little different using this. But it wasn’t bad. PLUS, I did save some money! Here’s the math:

Coffeemate Sugar Free French Vanilla Creamer: $3.18

Homemade Creamer: $2.46

Savings: $0.72

Not a huge chunk of change, but every little bit helps! I’m going to use all of the creamer I made and, by the time the bottle is empty, if I’ve gotten used to it I think I’ll continue to make my own!

 

Have you ever made your own coffee creamer? What recipe did you use? Share in the comments!