Monday, February 29, 2016

How I am Saving our Family Money by shopping Bi-weekly

Out of pure determination to pay off all the unexpected dumb debt we accrued while building our dream house (Yes we knew that most building projects go over budget but we were optimistic that ours wouldn't) Bitty Bit and I have been doing ALL the household shopping while the kids are at school every other Friday on payday and trying our best not to spend money on any other day other than for fuel. No we aren't perfect but so far we are sticking to our spending freeze better than we imagined! Household Shopping day for our family of seven is quite a work day and I put a great deal of time into meal planning, clipping coupons, looking at sale papers and planning our route for the day. Afterall, we do have to make it home and unload everything before picking the older 4 kids up from school at 3pm! So far it has paid off big time as we have been able to come up with extra $200-400 dollars per month to pay down on our debt by planning ahead and shopping this way. We are so excited about the progress we are making that it gives us the motivation to keep living this way even though it can be hard and inconvenient. 

Here is Bitty Bit and I psyching ourselves up for the 40 minute drive to Roanoke. We have found that with our large family. It is worth it to drive to Roanoke to shop at Aldi and Sam's Club where we can buy in bulk and get more for our money. Since I don't take all the kids, Bitty bit and I cram into a tiny 2-door Honda so that we don't cut into our savings goals by driving the 2004 gas hog Suburban that serves as our family vehicle. We are blessed that we can pretty much hit up the four stores we shop at in one circle. Aldi, Sam's Club, Kroger and CVS (we may stop at other stores that day if I hear of a great opportunity to save money).

Here are some great deals that Bitty Bit and I found on Friday! 
I should have saved receipts but we got the kids Easter candy, toothpaste
and a 2-month supply of laundry detergent for our family at CVS and spent a total
of $1.57 by using manufacturer coupons, a store coupon and extra care bucks
combined with the stores sales! 

Another way I have been trying to save is by getting organized
and planning ahead for things we will need in the future by buying
things ahead when there is a deal to be had. Dollar General had
all of their Valentine Stuff 70% so I was able to stop and get all the valentines
that our 3 girls would need to give out next year for a total of $0.95 cents!

At the end of the Day, Bitty Bit and I saved money. We were able to come up with $200 to put towards our debt by using what we saved out of our food and household budget combined with the $45/per paycheck we budget for clothing for our family since no one needed any shoes or clothing this pay period. It may have taken some time but overall it will save time because the shopping is done and I won't be wondering what is for dinner, or lunch or snacks for the next two weeks because I was forced to figure all of that out before household shopping day. Hopefully this will eliminate the need to waste gas and money by making multiple runs to the store and reward me with more time to invest in my family!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wonderful Sunday!

We had a glorious Sunday, though it didn't start out that way. Getting to church with five children is no small feat but I thought I had everything planned out to have a lovely, smooth sailing Sunday. The roast  was thawed and ready to go in the crock pot to cook while we were at church, The girls were bathed the day before and I had matching dresses for all three laid out. We would arrive at church on time and then come home to lovely smelling pot roast for lunch... or maybe not!  I woke up and there was no power. I was so frustrated because the power company had called and said that there would be a scheduled outage but that it would be back on before we got up. I immediately started to panic as all of my carefully made plans for the morning went out the window. I texted Shannon, one of my closest friends, that lives within a five minute drive of our house to see if they had power. Thankfully, they did! Daniel and the boys quickly went over there to get showers and took my crock pot with our Sunday lunch in it to plug up in Shannon's kitchen. We would swing by on the way home from church and get it. Everything seemed to be going smoothly except that my hair still looked horrible and there was no way for me to go to Shannon's and get a shower. There just wasn't time. Just before Daniel and the boys made it back, the hospital I work at 1-2 days a week called to see if I could come in and care for a mentally impaired patient. This would save me from having to go to church with bad hair because it wouldn't matter if my hair looked bad with my scrubs. It would be expected. I threw on my scrubs and made sure the girls were ready when Daniel and the boys got back. They all went off to church and I headed to the hospital. The hospital only needed me for 2 1/2 hours so I got to spend the rest of this glorious day with my family! And boy did I appreciate the gift of electricity when we all arrived home to eat our pot roast! 

The Rich sisters in their matching dresses

 Our whole family loved being outdoors today! It was 61 degrees which is rare for a February day here in the Southwest VA mountains.

We even got a family selfie on the trampoline!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Bitty Bit Gets Glasses

      Our three year old daughter Susanna (Bitty Bit) got glasses on Tuesday. It has been quite a change for her and all of us! I know this sounds shallow but I didn't want my beautiful, tiny little girl to have to wear glasses. It sounded so expensive and like so much work! I was afraid they might detract from her cuteness. Thankfully, none of my fears have been confirmed thus far. First off, the Lord provided financially for us to order them quickly. She did take them off the first day and hide them in her princess backpack and I couldn't find them for a few minutes. Yes, I may or may not have turned into crazy mama and gone into a short panic until I found them! However, she has not taken them off since then and has looked so cute in them that I almost can't handle it! I am thankful for God allowing this to be a smooth transition for her and for our family. We now have two children that wear glasses since our oldest son Isaac (age 11) got them since last summer. Thankfully, the three children born between these two have excellent vision and don't need them!

Friday, February 26, 2016

What Is Important in Your Life?

This awesome post by Becoming Minimalist really challenged me this week to think about what is important in my life and what is simply urgent! 

Elevate the Important

Years ago, I read a short book published in 1967 by Charles Hummel called Tyranny of the Urgent. A man ahead of his time, Hummel describes the tension between two contestants battling for our attention: the urgent and the important.
He argues that the urgent things—deadlines at the office, the demands of other people, and even our own “inner compulsions”—typically trump those things which are most important—regular dates with our spouse, time with our kids, personal solitude, exercise, or meditation (just to name a few).
With incredible depth of insight, he notes that important things are polite; they do not clamor for our attention. They wait patiently for us to act. The urgent, on the other hand, boldly cry out impatiently for our time.
In the long run there is a price to pay for the neglect of the important stuff. Like a volcano, there comes a day when the neglected areas of our life explode and wreak havoc. Ironically, we wonder how we missed the warning signs.
One temptation in life is to say, “Well, I just didn’t have enough time to do everything.” But, most frequently, this lack of time is merely a problem of setting appropriate priorities. As Lao Tzu said, “Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘I don’t want to’.”
Today, deciphering the difference between the important and the urgent is even more difficult. David Goodman, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine sums it up well, “We are being flooded with so much information, we can’t selectively filter out quickly which is important and which is not important.”
For me, becoming minimalist has always been about more than removing physical belongings. It is also the intentional promotion of the things I most value. It is about deciding what is most important in my life and removing the things that distract me from it. It is about removing the urgent for the sake of the important.