Posted 12-1-2017 at 06:45 PM by Jessica
Stocking stuffers don’t need to break the bank.
It seems like even when you start out with good intentions and get most of your items from the dollar store the stocking ends up costing you way too much money. Before I get into a list of inexpensive items to fill the stockings with, look at these 2 tips to help you get the most bang for your buck:
Tip 1: Fill it with larger items. Not only will this fill the stocking up faster and with fewer items, but you’ll also avoid some of those tiny knick-knacks that never actually get played with anyways.
Tip 2: Add a few things from around the house. Already have an apple in the pantry? Maybe some leftover boxes of crayons from your back-to-school stock up? You certainly don’t need to purchase everything from the store. You could even check out local yard sales for gently-used items!
Check out these creative ideas…
- An apple
- An orange (for some reason, kids get so much more excited about fruit if they find it in their stocking)
- Slime (it is THE hottest trend lately)
- Small hand-sanitizers/lotion
- Watercolors (this Crayola 24ct set looks like lots of fun!)
- Sidewalk Chalk
- Toothbrush (this was always a staple in our stockings, and we loved it!)
- Free printed coloring pages
- Playing cards (UNO, Go Fish, Pokemon…)
- Mini Play-Dough (make your own with this recipe!)
- Small stuffed animal (Disney Tsum Tsums would be a big hit!)
- Bath toys
- Fluffy socks
- Chapstick or lip gloss
- Hot Wheels cars
- Finger puppets (divide this adorable finger puppets 12-pack between a few stockings for a great value)
- Silly putty
- Kinetic sand
- Flash cards
- Rubiks cube
As long as you follow those tips and then just choose a few of these items, you’ll be set! And of course, balance it out with some candy, too. If you’re trying to limit the candy you could always include snacks like Goldfish crackers, granola bars and fruit snacks! They’ll take up some space and be much healthier choices.
What do you like to fill your kids’ stockings with for Christmas? Let me know in the comments below!
Posted 11-24-2017 at 11:50 PM by Jessica
Financial problems have a habit of bleeding into every other aspect of your life. It hurts your marriage, work performance, strains other relationships, and more! When those money problems are reduced or even eliminated, those problems can subside drastically.
Less Marital Problems
A lack of money is not the cause of all marital problems, but it doesn’t help. If you don’t know how you are going to pay for this month’s rent, medical bills, or your child’s class field trip, it causes stress. A couple starts blaming each other. One should have made more. The other should have spent less. They say things they don’t mean. Eventually they figure it out, but next month is coming and they both know it.
A frugal lifestyle may not fix all money issues, but it reduces the amount of bickering it can cause. Both work hard, while clipping coupons and finding deals. They are in this together rather than trying to figure out where to lay the blame.
Children Have Healthier Money View
It’s nice that our children know that money doesn’t grow on trees. We also want them to know that money is not a defining factor in their lives. Money does not make them better or worse than anyone else. It is a tool that helps us get to where we are going. They will know better than to bury themselves under a mountain of debt in their twenties. They will also know how to enjoy a small splurge within a budget rather than go overboard and live in denial about their money reality.
When a frugal family is light on money you can really feel it. They don’t fall back on loans and credit cards unless there is no other way to meet their family needs. They will also go to great lengths to avoid that position. They will sell crafts, raise chickens, plant gardens, and even find ways to make money they hadn’t known were possible. Being short on money does not have to mean being short on solutions and there’s no better way to learn that than to live it.
Posted 06-28-2017 at 01:55 PM by Jessica
Nowadays there are so many harmful ingredients in a lot of the cleaning products out there. If the ingredients concern your family, you should know that there are other natural solutions that can be just at effective. One of my favorite all-natural cleaning solutions is made with just orange peels, vinegar and water! With this simple recipe you can save money and protect your family from products with harsh chemicals. The ingredients used are not toxic or harmful to health, and can disinfect your home while also leaving a pleasant aroma behind.
Okay, lets get started! For this all-purpose spray you’ll need:
- The peels from 3 oranges
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup white vinegar
- A large bottle (preferably glass)
Cut the orange peels into pieces and put them inside the jar, adding a cup of water and a cup of vinegar, seal the jar and let it stand for about 2 weeks. After the 2 weeks passes, open your jar and split it in equal parts and, if you’d like, add a teaspoon of olive oil to one part – making sure to shake it every time you use it to properly incorporate the oil. This mixture with the olive oil is perfect for cleaning your furniture as it will leave it shiny and give it bright and fresh citrus aroma. Put the other part into a spray bottle and use to clean surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom. If you’d like it to be an even more effective disinfectant, add a spoonful of rubbing alcohol.
There you go! A super easy and effective all-purpose cleaning spray made from ingredients you likely have around the house already! You’ll save money while also protecting your family from harmful chemicals.
Posted 06-26-2017 at 06:13 AM by Jessica
I LOVE crepes. And I know that I say I LOVE every recipe I write about, and that is absolutely true as well. My heart is big enough to love all the food. There’s just something about crepes though. They’re much lighter than pancakes, and even though they’ve got their fair share of sugar, they seem kind of healthy to me – especially when they’re loaded with berries.
Another reason I love them so much is because of how easy they are to whip up with kitchen staples you likely already have on hand! I’m about to take the ease one step further, by whipping them up using NO mixing bowl. Yep, you read that right! No mixing bowl needed – the only supplies you’ll use are a clean recycled plastic water bottle, a funnel, a frying pan and a spatula.
Note: This would be PERFECT for camping! Simply add all the ingredients to the bottle and store in a cooler until breakfast time!
- 2/3 c. flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. milk
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil or melted butter
- Optional: Powdered sugar, Nutella, whipped cream, fruit
Take the funnel to the bottle nozzle and start adding the eggs, flour, butter or oil, milk and sugar. Seal the bottle and shake until the ingredients are well mixed. Butter your frying pan and place on medium heat, then pour enough of the batter to coat the bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Let cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, flipping when it reaches a golden brown color. Put the crepe on a dish and add your choice of toppings (Nutella with lots of berries is my favorite!) fold in half or roll, then top with powdered sugar.
How simple was that?! Enjoy!
Posted 06-19-2017 at 02:22 AM by Jessica
Oftentimes, when people mention eating out they mention how expensive it is, and a lot of times, they’re totally right. However, there are various ways that you can save money when eating out so it’s not such a huge burden on your wallet!
Here are just a few of my favorite tips…
1. Find promotions and discounts
Groupon always has lots of great discounts for restaurants, and it often forces you to try out somewhere new! Also, lots of places offer days where kids eat free, and sign up for emails to score birthday discounts (lots of places offer up a free entree for the birthday boy or girl), free appetizers and more!
2. Share meals
Instead of ordering an entire kids meal that your kiddo likely won’t eat more than 3 bites of, just get a few dishes that the whole family can share! Just be aware that some restaurants may charge an extra fee for sharing plates.
3. Skip the soft drinks
Ordering soft drinks (or coffee or juice or tea) for everyone in the family is going to add up quickly – you could buy a whole liter of soda for around the price of one glass at a restaurant. Instead, have everyone opt for a water! Not only is it healthier, but your wallet will thank you.
4. Save the leftovers
Never be shy about asking for a to-go container to take home the rest of the bread or the last few bites of pasta. You’ve paid for all of it, so don’t just leave it behind!
5. Go during lunch hours
Either choose to go out for lunch instead of dinner, or go for an early dinner! Lots of restaurants offer great prices on lunch specials.
6. Skip the appetizer
You’ll likely get plenty of food with your entree, so unless you have a coupon for a free appetizer, or it’s your favorite part about that restaurant, steer clear. Ask for extra bread or a basket of fries to munch on instead.
Posted 06-14-2017 at 10:00 PM by Jessica
Summer is officially HERE! Well, in terms of school being out it is. The first official day of summer according to the calendar is the June 20th, so we’ve got just a bit longer to go. As soon as the weather gets warm enough I transition from my boots, flats and sneakers to nothing but flip-flops. I’m honestly a very lazy person. So much so that even the thought of taking a few extra seconds to strap on sandals is enough to keep me wholeheartedly addicted to flip-flops.
Even if you aren’t a huge flip-flop wearer like I am, I doubt you’ll be able to resist how cute these flip-flop wreaths I’ve found are! They are the perfect symbol of summer, and you can usually score them for super cheap at Walmart or during a sale at Old Navy! Take a second to look through the following tutorials – then get crafting!
A few of my favorite flip-flop wreaths…
You can make this fun flip-flop “wreath” welcome sign in under 30 minutes! Now that’s my kind of craft! Head here for detailed instructions.
Head here for a tutorial on this style of flip-flop wreath. There are 6 different flip-flop wreath themes that A Day in the Life with TJ has crafted, from Patriotic to Wild Colors!
This last wreath is also super inexpensive to make, and has a cute flower in the middle! Check it out here.
Prefolds have been around for quite some time. Before prefolds, flat diapers—squares of cotton that were folded and pinned onto baby—were the most common way of diapering in Europe and the United States. However, one issue with flats was the time needed to fold them into the proper shape and thickness for baby. Folding one flat is fast. Having to fold six to a dozen flats or more a day, every single day, for every diaper change for a year or more, easily tired out families who were already swamped with cooking every meal from scratch and hand washing the laundry.
In the 1950s, the prefold was invented when someone had the bright idea to pre-fold and sew together a flat diaper. The prefold still had to be pinned into place, but the more time-consuming part of folding all the layers together was no longer an issue. Although cloth diapers have gone through many more innovations in the last sixty-five years, prefolds are still extremely popular. Part of the reason is that they are still fairly cheap compared to other cloth diapers—really, only flat diapers are generally less expensive than cotton prefolds—and the traditional cotton prefold tends to last forever. Ok, not really forever, since cotton is a natural material that breaks down organically, but they tend to last far beyond their uses as diapers.
This is a typical picture you might see attached to a diaper-selling posting. Nothing fancy, but it does the job!
There is a large market for used cloth diapers. If you’ve never thought about using used cloth diapers before, your initial reaction might be: eww. I mean, I wouldn’t buy used underwear. And diapers take a heck of a lot more punishment than underwear.
However, unlike most modern cotton underwear, cloth diapers can hold up to some hardcore cleaning. A couple of good washes and some bleach and cloth diapers are basically as good as new (assuming your washer or dryer doesn’t catch fire and char everything to a crisp in the process; unlikely, but always a vaguely potential possibility when working with electrical appliances). The advantages to buying and selling used cloth diapers are many: when you buy used, you save more money than you would buying new diapers, you will want to wash them but you don’t need to prep them six or seven times before using them, and you can try different diapers for cheaper than it would be to buy them all new. Once you’re finished cloth diapering, you can sell off your diapers to make back some of the money you spent buying them. Don’t think that just because your diapers might have holes or stretched out elastics that they’re unsellable—many thrifty people look for cheap, worn diapers that they can repair themselves, if they happen to be handy with a sewing machine! But where should you sell these cloth diapers once you’re done with them?
As you are currently reading this article on a website called Diaperswappers.com, you may have guessed that this website is one place to sell your diapers, and you’re right. Diaperswappers has several forums and subforums you can sell your diapers on. You can also use sites such as Craigslists or Facebook to sell diapers locally, if you’re not up for paying for shipping diapers across the country (or even internationally!).
You’ve decided to start using cloth diapers, part time or full time, for one or several reasons. Congratulations, and say good bye to all of your money, because cloth diapering can get pretty addictive pretty fast. Well, it doesn’t have to be addictive, but more often than not you’ll start hearing those trendy prints calling out your name and you’ll find yourself reaching for your wallet. If you can resist the temptation, well, double congratulations! For the rest of us with weak willpower, here are some places to buy cloth diapers:
As this article is being published on a website called Diaperswappers, it only feels right to start off my list with the “online” option! Most people are connected to the internet these days and indeed, if you live in an area without any fancy stores this might be your only option! Sites such as Diaperswappers provide an online marketplace where members can buy and sell used diapers. It’s not as gross as it sounds; as long as the diapers are washed well they are good to be used on your child! The advantage to buying used diapers is that they are often cheaper than new diapers, so you can get a decent deal. If you are savvy with a sewing machine, some members list old diapers in need of repairs for just a couple of bucks per diaper, so if you are able to put in a little bit of time repairing these old diapers, you can get some amazing deals!
If you’re not so keen on used diapers, or if you’re buying friends some new diapers for a baby shower, then there are many, many cloth diapering stores online to choose from. All of the major brands such as bumGenius, Blueberry, Fuzzibunz, etc., have their own websites you can purchase diapers directly from. There are also many online cloth diaper boutiques which sell dozens of brands—great if you want to try a few different brands all at once— and also have their own customer rewards programs, often offer free shipping over a certain purchase amount, and have “extras” such as cloth wipes and liners you can buy as well.
Cloth diapers are addictive.
Many people, mostly people who don’t use cloth or don’t have kids, will stare at you blankly when those words come out of your mouth. For heaven’s sake, they are diapers! It’s easy to understand buying an entire clothing line of baby clothes you think are adorable, or several of the same cute blankie because you know a few will get lost as the years go by. But…diapers? They’re just diapers, right?
No. They are not just diapers. They are diapers made out of mind-controlling, obsessive magical fabric that spurn you to open your wallet the second your favorite cloth diaper company comes out with a new line of prints, sending you running to grab the mail a few days later, throwing the diapers in the wash and the packaging in the recycle bin before your spouse can come home so they don’t realize you’ve bought EVEN MORE DIAPERS. This crazy obsession with cloth diapers has led to people spending hundreds of dollars on a single hard-to-find, highly sought after print (these people make far more money than me, by the way).
If you’re on a budget, or are afraid of getting caught up in the obsessive side of the world of cloth diapers, then a “Plain Jane” stash might be for you. The definition of a plain cloth diaper stash is a little different depending on the person, but it is basically a simple stash without the hundred-dollar prints or dozens of different types of diapers. For many people, it is a stash of flats and prefolds with some white covers. For others, it might be a stash of 25 white all-in-ones. Still others might have 30 tie-dyed prefolds and a couple of wool covers. Plain stashes can cross over with minimalism, so if you don’t have a lot of space or you just hate having “extra” things lying around (no 100-diaper stashes for you!), this might be something to consider.