Hi there! Welcome to my blog! I’m Sandi I’m a momma to two boys ages five and eight. My eight year old has Autism and Selective Mutism. I started this blog originally eight years ago when my first son was born to fulfill my need for a creative outlet during his nap times, he was three months at the time. This blog started out as a money saving/couponing blog. I got super excited when I realized how far I could stretch my very tight stay at home mom budget. I figured my “finds” should be posted so I can help other mommies stretch their budget as well.
This blog is being updated and now I have a huge passion for not only helping moms save big, but also create ways of earning income online as well. I’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy into testing work at home businesses ideas and passive income strategies to help you build multiple income streams at home and I hope to pass this knowledge on to other moms! I’d love to have you follow along! Mommin’ ain’t easy, but this blog will help you make mommin’ easier!
Check out what I’m up yo on Instagram daily @ mommiesmedia!!!! Or on Facebook @ mommiesmedia
The Kardashians are a glamorized, highly publicized, and an idealistic version of the modern day ‘Jonses’. Ok minsus, sex changes, alcoholism and big butts. Why do we as Americans watch this show anyway? I have watched this show a few times, I have a weakness for reality T.V. what can I say? For me the reason why I watch this show is just for the simple fact that these people have problems too. Just because they have millions of dollars doesn’t buy them a free ticket to a problem free existence and that makes me in some small way feel better about my life, wow did I really just admit that!? Some of what they go through feels very staged but in a way they are just a typical family underneath it all. While we might be able to relate to them in some ways, we all can’t live that lifestyle. We have what I like to refer to as ‘iwantitis’ we want what everyone else has. The latest iPhone, the bigger house, the more impressive car, the latest tech gadget but living this way is not going to buy happiness. It will keep you in debt, working long hours, paying for a house you only sleep in, financing a car you practically live in and providing for a family you rarely see. Is this happiness? What if we could change our mindset? Sc$#@ the Jonses!!!! Do the Jonses pay your bills? No! Focus on your own life, your own dreams, and your own goals, I changed my mindset. I used to care about what others thought about me. Now, the older I get the more free I feel, and I hope that transcends into my blogs and other work. I kind of speak my mind and am little more brash and realistic rather than idealistic. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m not optimistic….omg that sounded like a hip hop song, sorry about that. The point is, you can have a better life and be happier if you shift your mind set! Stop caring so much about what others are going to think and live your life. Do what makes you happy. The money will come. If you find a way to make money doing what you truly love that to me is true happiness. For me 2016 is all about new beginnings…making changes, tying up lose ends, saving money, building on what I started and finishing projects. I tend to take on too much at once so I’m definitely going to prioritize and try to be on more of a schedule. And decide what’s working, what’s not and emphasize my strengths rather than weaknesses. I don’t care anymore what the Jonses are doing or the Kardashians for that matter. As long as my family is taken care of, I’m doing the best I can everyday to make tomorrow better, I am on the right track and I’m happy, that’s all that matters. I’m just having faith, working hard and trying to save as much money as I possibly can. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to save money and live better. Some tips for saving in 2016 1) Buying used (stop yourself from buying that $2000 sectional) that same one might be on craigslist for $200. Save yourself $1800. 2) Go out to eat less, (I was spending $600 a month on just groceries now about $400) how much is dinner out? $60??? I can practically buy a weeks worth of groceries for that much. Try to eat at home more. If you work at home this is easy. If you work outside the home try bringing leftovers for lunch instead of frequenting the drive thru. 3) Buy used but gently worn clothing. I buy most of my clothing used. I use websites like, ebay, swap.com, and Thred Up. I also frequent thrift stores, consignment stores and yard sales. I still wear nice, name brand clothing, those who know me would call me a bit of a fashionista. 4) Reduce your flexible monthly bills and expenses. Switch companies, compare prices. 5) Save up for large purchases like a car, electronics or furniture 6) Pay yourself first. Make sure necessities are taken care of first always put some money away for a rainy day. 7) Trick yourself into saving. For me this is putting change in a jar. Change to me doesn’t feel like real money so I’m less likely to spend it. Also, when you go to the bank if you are having a hard time saving money. Ask for that amount you want to save per month in change. Want to save $100….Ask for it in quarters then add it to your change fund. If you do this you will probably have over $2000 saved at the end of 12 months. It’s amazing how it adds 8) Focus on your monthly bills that can be negotiated or reduced. Things like cable, entertainment and even car insurance can be reduced. Can you live without cable and just have Netflix? Can you switch insurance companies? Maybe entertainment will be less eating out or movies out? The less expenses you have the more financially free you will be. 9) Find ways to not only save money but also focus on bringing in extra money. If you are a stay at home mom then you have time on your side. Can you sell on eBay? I’ve been selling on eBay for years and it’s a great way to bring in an extra paycheck. Do you write? Take on some side gigs for people that need work done but lack time to do it. Sign up for a freelance virtual assistant job. There are so my companies that hire V.A’s it is a win-win situation. You do a project for them, you get paid. They save money by hiring per project rather than taking on a new employee full time. Sell on craigslist flip furniture….there are so many things you can do to bring in extra money. You can afford to be a stay at home mom, you just might not realize it yet. See my other blogs for more money making, money saving and work at home ideas Bringingmomshome.blogspot.com Mommiesfrugalfinds.com
Time to break out the blender! After the holidays everyone is on a new health kick. Well, I’m starting it early!!! No time like the present right? Or is that it’s always a good time to get presents! Or is that to always be present. lol Just kidding! During the holidays there are so many treats. Home made cookies and fudge and pies galore. I have always had a bit of a sweet tooth so I love donuts, pies and candy! Yep, I’m like a kid at a candy store, actually I go crazy in candy stores, I want to buy everything! So the point I’m getting at (believe me I have a point) is that I need to start eating healthier. I was diagnosed with a condition called fibromyalgia which is an arthritis type of condition that causes a lot of pain and discomfort. So I’m looking into more natural ways of treating this very common condition and I’ve started taking vitamins and supplements, as well as trying to eat healthier, duh right?! I’m going to be turning 38 this year and for some reason these kinds of things (sweets) don’t sound as appealing anymore. I’m now wanting more healthy choices and my boys (even my picky four year old) have also been eating healthier (even if I have to be a little sneaky about it). I’ve been buying less processed foods and trying to make more things from scratch. It takes longer, but it is so worth it. Here is one recipe I thought I would share that my kids and I both love. I have been on a yogurt kick and absolutely love Tillamook yogurt. I’ve actually been eating this kind for about five years. I lived on it during both pregnancies eating it every night before I went to bed. I really like the Honey Creme Brulle( always out of stock at Wal-Mart, come on Wal-Mart get it together) one that Tillamook has in the black cups. Yum! Anyhoo, this is a delicious snack or fast breakfast and it’s super cheap to make! Only about .75 a serving and you can double the batch by adding another banana another cup of yogurt and more juice and a splash on milk. No ice required. 1 cup Tillamook yogurt any flavor will work I love the vanilla or honey 1 Banana 1 cup of apple juice 1 can of apricots or peaches (apricots make it a little sweeter) 1 handful of strawberries 1/2 milk 2 tablespoons sugar (if needed) In blender add strawberries, banana and apple juice, blend…add in the rest. Blend, serve and enjoy! Makes 4 medium size servings
Ok, lets talk budgets. Yeah, there are more exciting things to talk about but let’s get this out of the way to make way for some more exciting topics. As a newly single parent I am faced with a whole new set of financial challenges. Before the divorce my husband and I weren’t rich my any means. We were the typical american family. Well, maybe not totally typical. I stayed at home and earned money at home (this was our extra money) while he worked a full time sales job to pay the bills. We did ok (more on this later on ways to make money at home), but we never felt comfortable. Let’s just say there were no Hawaiian vacations…maybe one to Louisville Kentucky, lol, but we really were just staying afloat.
Now as a single parent, there are even more challenges financially so I had to give my finances a kick in the pants, and myself. Lol Here’s what I had to do to cut my budget in half…..
Determine what is your main expense? For most of us it’s housing.
This is usually something non-negotiable. It’s a fixed monthly expense. There are some ways around this expense though. Look into housing assistance programs in your area. As a single mom I now qualify for assistance with this. Call your local social service agencies. If one says no, there may be another, don’t give up. Ask questions, tell them your story, people are mostly good and willing to help if you are just friendly and polite. If you don’t qualify for any kind of assistance there are other options.
Get a roommate and split expenses in half. Move in with mom and dad or a brother or sister. Also, another option is to buy, it may actually be cheaper to buy than rent…talk to a mortgage broker or do a rent vs. Buy comparison
Rent $800 ( cut in half) $400 with these tips
Ok, going down the list….
Most of us have a car payment, this is another fixed expense (I don’t have this one). I got a car from my friend Sarah (thank you girl, love ya). I will also be looking for another one that will be purchased with tax money (try to pay cash for a car if you can…payment monthly zero)
You can try to refinance your loan to lower your payment (this may lead to more installments, but less monthly expense)
You could take out a personal loan with a lower interest rate and pay the car off.
Let’s say your payment is $300 you could reduce it to $150 buy doing this.
Next on the list…..utilities
This is usually somewhat of a fixed expense. Ways to reduce this expense…
Barter…for example, my neighbor and I share internet I use her internet and she uses my garbage service. A win/win scenario. We both save monthly about $50 or so monthly. My internet bill is a whopping 0.
I don’t have cable but I watch movies and use Netflix steaming which is awesome and I don’t even miss cable or the $150 bill that follows. I do have a pg&e bill every month but there are even more ways to reduce this. If you qualify there is a program called CARES that saves you a portion of your monthly bill. There’s also a program called HEEP, its an energy assistance program that will help with your bill.
Moving right along…..
More flexible expenses
Groceries….this is my favorite one because this is my most flexible monthly expense. If you have a good panty stock you really can get creative with this one. You can use coupons (see my kindle ebook for sale on amazon to get started). If you aren’t into that just meal plan around the weekly ad at your favorite grocery store. Buy produce that’s in season, try cutting some meat out of your meals. You can still eat a balanced meal with other protein. Eggs for example, are so cheap and versatile.
This is my weekness. I love clothes. But I refuse….absolutely refuse, to pay retail prices. You will not see me in Macy’s. Sorry Macy’s you have some cute stuff but I can’t see spending $50 on a shirt when I can go to a consignment store and buy the whole outfit and shoes for $50. I always dress nice and my kids always have nice name brand clothing. There are several ways I do this…
Thrift stores (ask questions a lot of times these stores have bag days or half of days doesn’t hurt to ask)
Consignment stores….I love stores that take items for store credit. This is a lifesaver when you have kids…they outgrow their stuff so fast.My son is four but as tall as a six year old. These stores always have like new items. No one will know you bought it used.
Garage sales…super cheap clothing and household items
Rummage sales….went to a church on (the best ones) today. Go on the last day of the sale for the best deals usually a dollar or two a bag
Friends and family….love the hand-me-downs. With two boys I pass all of my four year olds clothing to his lil brother then after he outgrows them we pass them on to friends or family or trade them.
Other expenses…credit cards.
This is a tough one. Best tip. Don’t use them. If you can’t afford to pay cash for something….you can’t afford it. Sorry. I know easier said than done. If you have a credit card balance try consolidating to one card. A lot of companies like Capital One will have the zero interest for balance transfers…take advantage of that. When the offer runs out transfer to another zero interest card. Keep doing this until its paid off.
Consolidate, apply for a forbearance, the main thing with student loan companies is communication…they are there to help. These to me are good debt. Student loans are one the lowest interest loans of there. Not that I would encourage taking out student loans but if you want an education and would otherwise be destined to a life of flipping burgers, this is your best option. And your credit score doesnt matter since it is backed by the goverment.
This is a tricky one. Most things that are fun cost money. But you can still have fun on a budget.
Utilize your local library…you can rent movies, cds, books, use the internet….free.
Redbox…movie night? Sign up for free redbox movie codes
Parks…pack a picnic lunch and have a park day with the kiddos. Bring some skates, kites, jump ropes, tennis rackets. Take advantage of the park.
Take a hike…haha…yes litetally. I love to explore my local area. I live in beautiful Northern California, an area rich in recreational opportunities. We have Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown, endless camping, hiking and adventures to take advantage of.
Summertime fun in the park…in my area during the summer there are family movies in the park one night a week..there are also Friday concerts in the park. Check your local newspaper and entertainment magazines for info on free local events.
Hope these tips helped trim your monthly budget. I will be posting more about budgeting and makign money at home. Stay tuned.
Is one of your new years resolutions to save more? If it is, here are some creative ways to save for a rainy day, that vacation your dreaming about, your next big purchase.
$ Get a water bottle! No, not that kind. A 5 gallon water cooler bottle. If you don’t have access to one you could ask someone who has a water cooler, get one at work ( ask first), or purchase one at the a store like Winco, for example.
At the end of everyday dump in all of your loose change. This is like a savings account, but its a way to trick yourself into saving. When the bottle is full take it to your bank and cash out. Even if you just put all pennies in the bottle you would have upwards of $300 when the bottle is full. If you put in all your change you would have a pretty substanial amount of money to work with
)…more than enough for a nice getaway, new furniture, to pay off debt or whatever you are saving for…( mine is half full as I’m writing this)