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household solutions

Nest Building

An Evening Routine for Moms

This entry is part 30 of 41 in the series Hope for Homemakers

I am a night-owl.  I am by nature a stay-up-late-to-get-it-done kind of lady.  The idea of getting up early truly did not originate with me (and never would have naturally!).  I like to wait until everyone in the house is quiet and do dishes, bake, play video games, veg and then crawl into bed and read for a little bit before I drift off to sleep somewhere between 1 AM and 2 AM.

That’s what I like to do.  But, having my kids makes this an impossibility.  They are wake-up-early-and-ready-to-go kind of ladies.  They must get it from my husband who didn’t use the snooze button until after we had kids.  He hears the alarm (the radio alarm! set to where only the house cat next door and he can hear it), turns it off two seconds later, and rolls out of bed.  He passed it on to them and now I am doomed to a life of waking up CRAZY early, just so I can get some things done. Continue Reading

Nest Building

Task #8: MVP Bin

This entry is part 9 of 22 in the series Tackling Tasks

In the last few weeks we have been doing a challenge called 28 Days to Hope in the Hope for Homemakers series.  Each week we have added a new habit to help get our homes in order and keep it that way.  The third habit brought us to the bathrooms.  We are to check each day (each bathroom) for clutter and pick it up.  We don’t have to spend hours scrubbing each day, just simply pick up what has been left out or left in the wrong place.

Well, our bathroom is always the messiest (every day) because we use so many things and leave them lying around.  I thought about it and decided I need a “place” for everything I use on a daily basis.  So I came up with the idea of an MVP Bin: A Most Valued Product bin. Continue Reading

Nest Building

The Builder’s Wife Shares

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Builder's Wife Shares

You know the old phrase, “The cobbler’s wife has no shoes?”  Well, I grew up with a landscaper for a father and am now married to a custom home builder.  And the phrase seems to apply to these professions as well.  It seems we always have projects going on around here that rarely get completed.  My husband is amazing at his job – organized, professional, friendly, results-driven (I could go on), but when he gets home from his job, he wants to relax!  And I can understand that.

Thankfully, we have made friends with a lot of the subcontractors that work for my husband and I have learned quite a lot from asking them questions and watching them work.  So, I decided to start a new series on the blog called, “The Builder’s Wife Shares”  to give tips, tricks, checklists, and guidelines for your home.  These are from the mouths of the professionals that help my husband build some pretty amazing homes. Continue Reading

Pennies from Heaven

ABCs of Saving: Limit Yourself with a List

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series ABCs of Saving

Do you remember those American Express ads from the 80s and early 90s that said, “Don’t leave home without it?”  I can’t recommend you follow their advice regarding their product, but I can recommend it when it comes to lists.

I get into more trouble financially when I walk into a store without a list.  I always have.  But the problem has grown worse lately (ahem…pregnancy and babies).  I can literally discuss the items we are there to buy with my husband just outside the store, walk in the doors and ask, “Why are we here again?”  It happens all the time!  And my forgetfulness is expensive! I either overcompensate by buying a bunch of items I don’t really need or I don’t get anything and then get home and kick myself because I suddenly realize what I really needed (and I get to spend more gas money driving back to the store)!

The reasons for making a list are pretty obvious: they keep you on track on spending, they help you to remember to get all the items you truly need, and they force you to really consider what is necessary.

But have you considered which lists to make?

Here are some lists you can make that help you keep your finances on track:

Grocery This is a standard list.  I always make mine on the front of an envelope, so I can put any necessary coupons inside.  I make my list based on our weekly menu, after I have shopped my pantry.  I also make the list after looking through the grocery ads (either print ads or online) making sure I can stock up on items that are at my buy it now price.

Household Goods This is a great list to keep on the refrigerator or close to the door where you leave the house.  These are the items you need, but don’t necessarily buy in the same place you purchase groceries.  When we have a list of a reasonable size, we plan on going to the store as a weekend outing with the family.  Having the list helps keep us out of the store for every little item that comes up, in danger of impulse purchases.

Wish lists  I talked about making a wish list in this post. But it bears repeating that having a list of items you really would like to have on hand will help you when you get to the store.  Seeing an item that you just love, but don’t know where it would go in your house can be tempting.  Those get it for a rainy day purchases often sit in closets, contribute to clutter, and become regretted purchases.  You will save yourself money if you only buy items on the wish list.  (TIP: Keep in mind the item on the wish list could be as unspecific as “a piece of furniture for the entryway” or “organization for under sinks”)

Meal Plans/Go-to Meals – This is a new one for me and I am working on creating a go-to list of meals.  These are meals that can be prepared with less than 15 minutes prep time and require only a few items from the store.  Keeping a list of these meals and the ingredients required on hand (even in your phone) can ward off the last-minute drive-thru desperation and keep your family fed with meals they love.

To Do/Priorities – This list will help you keep things straight when the temptation is there to get everything you need at once.  This is part of holding off and having a plan.  Keeping a list of the items you want and the things that need to get done in the house, by order of priority will help to keep you on track with your plan and save you money by not purchasing all the items on your wish list at once.

What lists do you take with you when you head out to the stores?

Nest Building, Pennies from Heaven

ABCs of Saving: Know Your Price

This entry is part 12 of 16 in the series ABCs of Saving

The best way to save money while having monthly expenses is to know the best price on the items you buy the most.  Knowing the price where you will maximize your savings helps you to recognize the “buy it now” price and avoid only “average” savings.  This helps you to decide when a good deal is a great deal.  Use your knowledge for items you buy on a regular basis.

But knowing your price is not just for the items you buy on a regular basis. It is important to know the best prices on items that are big-ticket purchases as well. It just takes a different approach.

Here are some tips for discovering and tracking your best price: Continue Reading

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