When Tom and I first started getting serious about money, budgeting and paying off debt, all the things we read got to be really overwhelming. The different books and articles we would read would say things like, “Build up your savings.” “Get all your debts paid off.” “Don’t get behind on your bills!” “Don’t have a credit card.” It all felt so overwhelming that we weren’t really sure where to start. Even though we got the debt snowball rolling, and kept adding to our savings we weren’t really able to fully dedicate ourselves to our finances because we were getting pulled in so many directions without any real guidance or game plan. Enter Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We were given the answer to this question that had plagued us for a while and I want to lay it out for you if you’re asking yourself, “Should I save money or pay off debt?”
I’m going to get really honest with you; I did not want to be a stay at home mom. It was a thought that never had crossed my mind. My mom always worked. Sometimes from home, but mostly, I grew up in daycares. No, I don’t have major memories of horror stories or feelings of being neglected by my parents. That’s not why I decided to be a stay at home mom. In fact, it all happened very quickly. My previous step dad was stopping in for a quick visit. I say previous because at one point my mom had been married to him. They were married through my whole childhood, really. Then the family I had known was completely ripped away. The good days. Days of family dinners, outdoor sports and Sundays with extended family. So when he stood in my home and told me he believes children benefit highly from stay at home parenting, I took it very seriously. At that point, I had graduated with my graphic design degree and had been hunting for jobs hoping to work for at least a year before starting a family. His advice change all of that. Being a stay at home mom was my new plan. Financially, I knew it would be a challenge but I had no idea the other challenges it would present. This post is about surviving SAHM status. Mentally and financially.
If you are new to budgeting, it can be a tough thing to get the hang of. At least it was for us. First of all, it’s tough to lay everything out to begin with. When you’re used to just letting money spend itself it can be tricky trying to tell it where to go. Then there are those weeks or months where you feel like the entire budget blows up in your face and you are left scrambling to figure out what went wrong. Don’t worry, I’m here to tell you you’re not alone and give you a game plan on what to do if this has happened to you. So let’s talk what to do when budgeting goes wrong.
Whenever I watch shows like Extreme Cheapskates, I usually start out thinking, “That’s a pretty good idea, actually!” “Oh my gosh, we could totally do that to save some cash!” Then, of course, there is the turning point where I start going, “Okay…yup…too far…too far…” This is when the cringes and the permanent Mr. Ick face comes into play. If you have no idea who I’m talking about, Google him. If you’re as old as me it may just bring back some childhood memories. Let’s just say Mr. Ick wants nothing to do with Extreme Cheapskates when they start urinating into plastic bottles and serving their house guests road kill. That’s why Mr. Ick and I highly suggest watching the show to get some money saving ideas and look away when the dumpster diving begins. With that in mind, let’s talk about 88 Extreme Cheapskates money hacks that are actually pretty normal. So normal you might actually be able to use them without changing your life or bailing on your dignity.
When we made the move from our big house to our “starter home,” I knew I wanted to make our home feel cozy and authentic to who we are as a family. I didn’t want to spend all my time shopping for brand new things that most of my neighbors also had in their homes. Creating an original home was important to me and now, every day (when the dishes are put away) I feel content and cozy in our little house. I accomplished this more simple look by changing the way I decorated. A minimalist home makeover is totally doable without breaking the bank. Here are 8 frugal ways you can create a cozy home that is unique to you and your family.