52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 17

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One more bathroom cupboard down this week and just one more to go and then both bathrooms have been decluttered. If you haven’t noticed already I am hitting all the living areas of our house first.

These areas are the ones that when decluttered make the whole home feel more inviting and with summer coming we tend to do more entertaining so I am hoping to have all the major living areas hit by then. After that it is on to the bedroom and one closet in particular that is going to take weeks to clear out! (that will be a humbling project for sure).

long upstairs bathroom cabinet beforeThis cabinet was exactly like the one above it, full of junk and really poorly organized.

upstairs bathroom cupboard cleaningFirst I emptied the cupboard out and then I wiped it all down with some of our families favorite cleaner.

dirty sockThe oddest thing I found in the cupboard was a dirty sock crumpled up at the back of one shelf. Into the laundry it went. I am sure one of the kids who I sent up to clean the bathroom one time must of tossed it in there and said “there job done!”.

long upstairs bathroom cabinet doneWhen I was done I ended up with a lot of empty room in the cabinet. I am going to see if my husband can pick me up the parts to fix the shelf that broke and then use the area to hold some items from here and there that need a home. Since our home is older we don’t have a lot of closets so what storage we do have needs to be put to work, even if it doesn’t seem room appropriate placement for some things.

What did you declutter this week?

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grab the printable and join along!

Today’s Top Deals

free crockpot

1. You can get a free Crock Pot through a cashback deal with Top Cash Back (new members only).

To get deal

  1. Sign up to be a Top Cash Back member
  2.  Go the Kmart-freebies page
  3. Go through links to Kmart
  4. Find and put the Hamilton Beach ensemble’ (it’s red) programmable 5 quart slow cooker in your cart
  5.  Go through check out “click pick up in store for free shipping” or pay for ship to home.

Here are the details I found on the site

Visit Kmart through TopCashback, search for and purchase a ‘Hamilton Beach ensemble’ (it’s red) programmable 5 quart slow cooker originally priced at $36.99 but cut now to $24 and within seven days $26.50 cashback will have posted in your TopCashback account.

I checked this morning and the crock pot was still available.  Here is what Top Cash Back says about payment

Within 14 days the $26.50 will turn payable and can be credited straight to your checking or PayPal account. Alternatively you could opt to be paid in an Amazon .com Gift Card, which with its 2.5% bonus on top would mean you’d get $27.16 instead of $26.50.

In order to get this deal to work you must use the link found at the cash back site to go to Kmart and then find crock pot (I entered”‘hamilton beach ensemble’ (it’s red) programmable 5 quart slow cooker” and found it right away) put it in cart and check out. DO NOT add anything else to your cart.

$1.00 OFF ANY ONE (1) RIMMEL LONDON EYE, FACE, OR NAIL PRODUCT

$1.00 OFF ANY ONE (1) RIMMEL LONDON EYE PRODUCT

2. These Rimmel London eye product coupons may snag you free make up when used at the Dollar Tree, if yours happens to carry Rimmel London products.

3. Click image for full details but right now when you buy 2 qualifying Tide products at Target you get a $5 gift card back.

I don’t know if you can combine coupons with this deal but if you can here is a $1 off a 40 0z or larger Tide product.

 

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April Goal Update For 2015 Goals

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goals for 2015

10 Goals For 2015

My Mind

1. Read 52 books this year. 

Up to 14 books so far. My favorite that I read in March was “In The Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day” all about being fearless and chasing your dreams. Very inspiring read. I should be at 17 books read but I am not worried as I read more in summer time.

My Health

I had a few health problems pop up last year, that left me thinking I have reached that age where I should be paying more attention to it so I set two goals for my fitness and one goal  for eating habits.

Make A Fitness Goal For This YearHow to set and track a yearly milage goal (med)

2. 1200 Miles Ran in 2015

By the time April closes out on Thursday I will have made 100 miles for April plus one more mile to make for February’s shortage (as of this morning I am at 95.25 miles and need make it to 101 miles  to finish catching up). What is really helping is that now with the good weather my redhead runner and I are running a 10 mile run pretty much every Saturday.

3. Take an overnight, multi-day bike ride trip with my son

I was hoping to at least get our bikes out and ride a few times but it has been so windy and rainy this month that it hasn’t happened, but it will.

6 habits to form this year for healthier eating creating good eating habits one inch at a time (med)

4. Take six small steps over the year to build better eating habits

I did better at charting this month and I went back to doing the ABS Diet. I did really well with it a few years back. It helps me not over eat as the foods on it fill me up for fewer calories, plus I feel like I don’t have to change my eating habits much to make it work for me. This month I was suppose to be concentrating on carrying around water by mid month I finally found a travel mug we own that works really well for me. It fits perfectly in my SUV’s cup holder and the side pocket of my craft bag. I also broke down and bought a case of water just because sometimes I forget until last minute and the pre-filled water bottles are so convenient when I am in a rush.

My Marriage

These goals are ones I set and made in 2014 and I liked how they strengthened my marriage so much that I am doing them again.

5. 1 real date a month with my hubby each and every month: A meal of BBQ followed by ice cream! YUM

6. 1 weekend getaway per season just the 2 of us. : This seasons getaway will be a honeymoon (we never went on one when we got married 20 years ago) We booked it this month! So excited.

My Home

52 Weeks To A Simplified Home Decluttering A Home One Inch At A Time (med)

7. Declutter one area of my home each and every week of the year.

Trudging though this goal and although it still is my least favorite task every week the results are really beginning to show. Our home take a lot less time to clean up now.

My Business

8. Write a 30,000 word ebook.

Up to 35,000 words and going through a first major edit and rewrite. After that I will edit it one more time myself and then ship it off to be professionally edited.

My Spirit

9. Do a word study in the bible  of the words, discipline, diligence and self control.

DONE all three words so now I moved on to disgrace.

My Wow Goal

10. I like keeping my wow goal very private as it is so dear to my heart. It is just as big as last year if not bigger.

This is not going well at all. It is like I have hit a ceiling and just can’t make progress but I did something big this month that I think should help.

Did you set any goals for yourself this year? If so tell me about them in the comments. Also consider joining my Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where I will be sharing my goal updates as well as creating and environment that will encourage women to reach their goals one inch at a time.
Got a goal you want to reach but not even sure how to start? Crystal Paine’s 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life is a helpful read that can help your break down your goals into bit size pieces and make the a priority in your every day life.

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10 Thrifty Reasons To Buy The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

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PLEASE NOTE THIS SALE IS NOW OVER!

I am thrifty to the core and I have to admit sometimes I look at these HUGE ebook bundles like The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle and go…I won’t even use half of that, that is not thrifty, or I got a lot of those same ebooks for free from Kindle, or I don’t really need those bonuses.

10 Thrifty Reasons To Buy The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle However with this current Ultimate Homemaking Bundle I am having a hard time getting any of those excuses to work.

10 Thrifty Reasons To Buy The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle

1. It comes with 3 or more items you could give as gifts

I might be thrifty but I love giving good gifts, and the current Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has some good ones

  • a Deborah & Company Scarf  $20 value
  • 2-8 by 10 prints from Hope Ink and a $15 credit  $70 value
  • 65 Tyndale Rewards points which is enough for most children’s books $15 value

That is $105 of gifts for just $29.97 and you still get 100 eBooks and eCourses to keep for yourself and several other nice bonuses. (please note some of the bonuses have shipping costs)

2.  A Class to Learn A New Money Saving Skill or Money Making One

The current Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes a free online Craftsy course up to a $60 value. The list of available classes you can take are 24 of Craftsy ‘s most popular courses. Learn photography, jewelery making or….?

3.  An Afternoon of Fun For the Kids

One of the bonuses of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle is a green kids craft box full of crafts for an afternoon of fun.

4.  Amazing Grocery Saving Tips

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes the Grocery University audio course. I have listened to several units of this course and let me tell you it is top notch. Even us thrifty ninjas can pick of a tip or two from the teacher.

5. 3 Planning Packs To Help You Manage Your Time Well So You Can Squeeze In More Money Saving & Making Activities

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes the following 3 printable planning packs that contain everything you need to stay organized plus a free 90 day Pro Membership plan to List Plan It (a list making resource like no other). There are also several meal planning resources and a free 90 day membership to She Plans Dinner. With the dreaded question of “whats for dinner ” taken care of and your time managed you will have more time to save money or make money.

  • 90 Pro Membership plan to List Plan it : $30 value
  • 90 day “good deal” subscription to She Plans Dinner: $15 value
  • HOME PLANNED: printable pack $5.99 value
  • Sweet Life Printable Planner Pack: $35 value
  • The Homemaker’s Companion: $9.99 value
  • List Plan it: Meals ePlanner: $5.00 value
  • Frugal Real Foods Meal Plans: $15 value
  • Backwards Meal Planning: $2.99 value
  • Costco Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plan: $5 value
  • Simple Clean Home: Clean Less Live More $7.99 value

That right there is $131.96 worth of resources and you have barely dove into all the other resources available in the $29.97 Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

6. Thrifty Baby Raising Advice

One of the most expensive aspects of having a baby is diapering. The Homemaking Bundle has two resources to help you cut cost in the area of diapering.

  • Cloth Diapers: A How-To Handbook on the Basics of Cloth Diapering $5.99 value
  • Early Potty Teaching $3.99 value

7. Thrifty Date Ideas

Lets face it sometimes us thrifty couples fall into horrible ruts of buy one get free shake dates. (or is that just my hubby and I :) ) Anyways the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes the book 50 Frugal Dates ( a $2.99 value)

8. Gardening And Canning Help

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 2 books to help those of use who garden to save money.

  • The Canner’s Cookbook a $4.99 value
  • From Your Garden to Your Family (ideas on what to do with garden bounty) a $10 value

9. Creative Ways To Use Products

Admit it us lovers of thrift pride ourselves of how many ways we can reuse an item to avoid buying another. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle has one book for thrifty re-users to glean more great re-using ideas called Coffee Filters to Cheese Graters a $4.99 value.

10. Natural Cleaner Recipes

Yes natural cleaners are better for us and the earth but they also are better for our wallets. The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes the title DIY Natural Household Cleaners a $9.99 value.

Bonus  Thrifty Savings

If ten reasons were not enough here is one more; as a thrifty ninja I am always reading books on how to save money, gleaning new tips and applying them to our household finances. The Ultimate Homemakers Bundle has one entire section devoted to finances including….

  • Become a Frugalista: Money-Saving Secrets for the Frugal Family Manager $2.99 value
  • Build a Budget that Works $2.99 value
  • Hope: Thriving While Unemployed $4.99 value
  • How To Save Money: A 21-Day Challenge To Save $500/Month $5.99 value

Total value of these thrifty titles is $16.96 that is a little over half the $29.97 bundle price and you are getting another 96 resources plus all those bonuses.

This amazing thrifty deal disappears Monday April 27th at 11:59 EST so you have only a short time left to grab your bundle and enjoy all its thrifty value.

SALE IS NOW OVER!

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Best Deals & Top Post Of The Week

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I know I don’t normally post on Saturdays but some really great deals came into my inbox the last few days and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Schoola is offering free shipping right now and if you have signed up with them yet you can start your account with a $15 credit through my referral link (those words in blue). I finally used my sign up credit this morning and grabbed 2 t-shirts and a tank top in women’s size medium for my daughter (how did she get that big!). The credit should show up at check out. I don’t know how much longer the free shipping lasts so be sure to check at check out.

2. Amazon has a selection of children’s outdoor toys on for 40% off including this swing by Little Tikes. I happen to know from my daycare years that this swing works great and holds up to a lot of use. The swing is just $14.99, a great way to use up your Swagbucks earned Amazon gift cards.

Screen Shot cute baby shoes3. When my 3 kids were babies these are the only types of shoes they ever had on there feet. Today you can grab them at Jane.com for $10.99 a pair plus $3.00 shipping for the first pair and $1.50 for every pair after that. These would make great baby shower gifts. (best part that I like these are from an Etsy seller so you are supporting small business)

4. Click the image to get all the details but right now you can get a $5 gift card when you buy 2 Tide at Target.

5. Upload a Selfie and create a trip to be entered in the Selfie-ish Hobo Contest. Three couples win Flight Tickets to destination of choice.


$3.00 off (1) Spin Master HEDBANZ game

$3.00 off (1) Spin Master MOUSTACHE SMASH game

$3.00 off (1) Spin Master FIBBER game
6. My daughter LOVES the Headbanz game and these other two games Fibber and Moustache Smash look just as fun. Use the $3 off to save and stash them away for future birthdays.

The Number One Visited Post This Week

Welcome to Our $10,000 Home: No that is not a typo ten thousand dollars is what we paid for this house.My husband is still irritated with me for not at least removing the upside down reindeer from this photo; but hey I promised a real life tour of the home we purchase for $10,000 and the reindeer left out way, way too long after Christmas is life around here! (he wants me to however tell you that the reindeer is now properly put away :) )

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The Top 10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money

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There are millions ways for homemakers to save money but today I am going to concentrate on the top tip to save money in 10 different areas of your household expenses.

The top 10 ways homemakers can save money: these tips really add up.

If you are new at saving money just doing one thing in each area of your household budget to save money will have a snowball effect that will dramatically lower your bills for month to month. To get you started in your saving money efforts I thought long and hard about what one thing saves me money in 10 different areas of our home finances.

10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money In 10 Areas Of Their Household Budget

1. Groceries

My number one tip for saving money on groceries is create a method for comparing prices, so that you know the lowest prices of the top 20 items you buy over and over. This will dramatically lower your grocery budget. You can do this by making a price book, or a spread sheet or save it in your notes app on you smartphone.

2. Clothing

Want to know about all the upcoming sales at your families favorite clothing stores? Sign up for their emails. Yes you do end up deleting email but I find it worth those few seconds as I am first to find out when our families favorite clothing stores are having their big end of season clearance sales and often receive a promo code to use online to further reduce cost or a printable coupon to use in store.

3. Cell Phone Bills

I currently pay just $17.46 a month for my iPhone, and that includes all taxes and fees. My son and husband pay $10 a month for older android based smartphones.  That is $37.46 total for all  3 phones. How do we keep our bills so low? Pay as you go plans. If you like newer smartphones like I do, then sign up for Ting. You can have pretty much any phone you want through Ting as long as it can work in the CDMA or GSM network (see the Ting website for full information). If  you are fine with an older phone and don’t use much data or text that often then Tracfone might be even cheaper for you.

4. Eating Out

It is true that avoiding eating out all together is going to save you the most money in this area but I don’t think that is realistic for all families. Instead what has worked best for us is to set a weekly budget for eating out and put it in the form of cash in our cash envelopes each week.  When the money in the envelope is gone we don’t eat out.

Our budget covers one fast food  meal for the entire family each week. If we want to eat at a sit down and be served style restaurant then we save up and don’t eat out for a week or two.

5.  Heating & Cooling Costs

Find the lowest temperature your family is happy with in winter and the highest they can stand it in summer.

The rule around our home in winter is  “if we are all not wearing sweaters inside in winter, then the thermostat is set too high” and in summer it is “if you feel the need to put a sweater on indoors the air conditioning is set too high”.

For us that looks like 68 in the winter and 70 to 75 in the summer (depending on how bad the humidity is). We like to sleep cool so at night in the winter we turn down the heat to 63.

Experiment in your own home. At what temperature do people start complaining (and not just that one hot body or cold body) ? Also are they dressed appropriately for the weather? I don’t see anything wrong with wearing a sweater in the house in winter but if people are dressed in down parkas and long johns you might have the heat set a bit too low.
Follow Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations’s board Homemade Cleaning Products on Pinterest.

6. Household cleaners

Making your own cleaners is the best way to save money in this area of your household finances. Check out My Homemade Cleaning Products board on Pinterest for ideas.

7. Transportation costs

To save money on gas combine your errands with your weekly activities. For instance if your daughter has gymnastics every Monday afternoon then try and do one errand before class and perhaps pick up groceries right after.  Simply look at your list of “need to do” errands and see which ones best fit in the route to and from the activity of the day. This will significantly cut down on your gas usage.

8. Cable

Cut cable completely. You can use Bing Rewards to pay for Hulu and steam your favorite shows when you want to watch them (here is a tutorial on how to earn enough Bing Reward points to do this each month) . If you like News and daily talk shows invest in a high quality antenna. Our family spent $150 an antenna so we could watch the last Winter Olympics and we have loved it . The channels it brings in are crystal clear. (our current antenna looks a lot like this one and is set up in our attic)

18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (medium)

9. Use point programs to pay for your vice

Love Starbucks coffee? Keep it in the budget but use InstaGC  to earn gift cards to pay for it. (see how to use InstaGC here)

Love Kindle books but the titles you like are rarely on the freebie lists? Enjoy a few each month by doing a few simple things on Swagbucks each month to earn  Amazon gift cards. (see how to earn a $25 gift card to Amazon each month through Swagbucks here)

There are so many different point programs available that you are bound to find one where you can earn gift card without too much monthly effort.
10 books you need to read if you want to be a thrifty ninja (300)

10. Never stop learning

This point will save you money in all areas of your budget. If there is one thing I have learned in my 20 years as a homemaker it is this “there is always room for improvement; and improvement comes through learning”. My favorite way to learn is through reading. I can pick up a book and read a chapter here and there and find out about a new way to save money in an area of our finances then apply it and reap the savings.

Here is a list of 10 books I recommend for those wanting to reduce their month to month expenses.

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Snapshot Thursdays: Welcome To My $10,000 Home

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This week Snapshot Thursdays is going to look a little different. I have joined the Keepin’ It Real Home Tour & Blog Hop. When I read that Sarah of My Joy Filled life was going to be doing a homemaking challenge that showed what our homes really looks like I knew I wanted in.

When I tell people that we purchased our home for just under $10,000 they immediately want to see it. So today I am letting you have a peek at what the living areas of our home look like; keeping it real style.

Welcome to Our $10,000 Home(this is a keeping it real post so hence the reason I didn’t move the upside down Christmas reindeer lawn ornament)

  My Keeping it Real House Tour

I never want to be that blogger who makes it looks like she has is all together; because I  don’t. So today I am sharing what my home really looks like on a good day. I say a good day because my husband, the cleaning ninja of our family,  without knowing I was going to take these photos after I got home from a run surprised me by cleaning our home up while I was running with a friend.  So today’s tour will be a little neater than a normal day.

I want to mention 2 other things (besides an awesome husband)  that are helping my home stay a lot neater lately . One my 52 weeks to a simplified home, is making our  home easier and easier to pick up and make presentable. Two I am way past the toddler stage of life where everyone makes a mess and even if they do help clean it up they still make the mess again two minutes later, my kids are 12,14 and 19 and they help keep our home clean and keep it that way. Mom’s training your kids to help clean when they are little does pay off eventually trust me.

our front porch 2015 (near front door)This is the view you would receive as you stepped onto to our front porch and headed to our front door. That wicker couch, yard sale, the cushion, clearance. The lounge chair, thrift store, the cushion clearance sale. The table, left behind by a previous owner of our last house. The welcome sign; something I won in my MOPS days.

Yes we believe in thrift around here. Even our home was a thrifty find costing just under ten thousand dollars. We spent forty thousand and two years  fixing it up from top to bottom to be just how we wanted it. I had so much fun doing the renovations, it truly drew my husband and I closer together.

Our libraryThis is the first room you will see as you walk in the front door. We call it our library. It can get cluttered really quick as we don’t have a coat closet nor a real defined area to put shoes and such. I make do with a big plastic tub for our coats (see the corner of it near the lamp) and  laundry baskets for shoes. Oh and that banana box you see, it is full of stuff for the thrift store but I just haven’t put it in my car yet; which breaks my own decluttering rules.

our dining roomOff the library is the dining room. Yeah I really need to stain those china cabinets. I only bought them oh 7 years ago at an unfinished furniture store. That project has been on my to do list a long time. :)our kitchenOff one end of our dining room is our galley kitchen. I loved being able to plan my kitchen from scratch. We bought stock cabinets and painted them white. I however am not happy with how the white paint has held up. If you look closely it has worn off near the handles on the cabinets, yet another thing to add to my to do list

Oh and my hubby in the picture is making me a breakfast of fried eggs and hash browns. YUM. I am very blessed to have him.

our family room 2015To the other end of the dinning room is our family room. Yes that is a safe on the ground it is a long story, but nothing is in it currently. The bean bag over in the corner is the dogs bed. Oh and those two baskets stacked up on top of each other is actually where we store all our socks. Yep, all 5 of us share socks. We all have the same sock size. Years ago I got tired of sorting socks, so I went out and bought 2 dozen black socks and 2 dozen white socks and now I just stuff them in those boxes for people to grab them as they need them. It works for us.

That makes up the living areas of our home. It isn’t large but it is big enough for our family of five; plus we own it 100% debt free and that makes it awesome. As a homemaker I work hard at making it a home. It took every thrifty trick I had to decorate it and stay within our budget. It takes all 5 of us working together to keep it clean.  front porch swing 2015 I wanted to share with you just one more spot on the front porch. My favorite spot. If you lived near me and asked me to spill my homemaking secrets I would take you out front to sit on the swing porch a while and discuss what has worked form me and what hasn’t.  I would also want to hear what works for you too!

In this busy world though there isn’t enough time to sit on front porches, sip sweet tea and share wisdom with one another, so instead before you leave let me share some of my favorite books that have helped me with my homemaking skills over the years.

For cooking help nothing is better than the classic Better Homes and Garden 3 ring binder style Cook Book. It has all the instructions you need to cook great meals from scratch.

For time management I really like Don Aslett’s book How To Handle 1000 Things at Once. It was written in the 90’s but the wisdom in it is timeless.

If you feel like you are lost in the trenches of motherhood Say Goodbye To Survival Mode can help you find your way back to living a passion filled life.

Thanks for visiting our home and hope you come back soon! Stay in touch by joining me on Facebook.

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What To Do When You Don’t Feel Talented At Homemaking

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I can honestly say my husband is a better house cleaner than I am. For years that really bugged me, until I realized just because cleaning didn’t come natural to me, I wasn’t a bad homemaker. In fact if you list all the elements of keeping a home, housecleaning is just a small point on a list as long as my 5 foot 9 inch self, and I am pretty darn good at some of the other points on that homemaking list.

What To Do When You Don't Feel Talented At HomemakingYet, I still end up with piles of unfolded laundry like the one in the picture above. Yep, that isn’t a stock photo that is my actual couch and a real life pile of clean yet unfolded laundry. Thankfully my kids are old enough to fold it all for me so I can go on to other areas of homemaking. Years ago a pile this big of unfolded laundry would have made me feel like a failure but not anymore; I have learned ways to be content in my homemaking skills.

What To Do When You Don’t Feel Talented At Homemaking

1.List what elements of your homemaking you are good at

I know some of you are  saying “but I am not good at anything related to homemaking”. That simply isn’t true. It is probably true that your not perfect in any area of homemaking but being perfect is impossible being good at something isn’t.

From day one I have been good at budgeting and stretching our families dollar further. When I had down days  those first few years of homemaking, when it felt like the dishes were going to eat me alive and if not then the laundry would certainly drown me, I tried to focus on how good I was at stretching a dollar as well as a few other homemaking talents I have for just a few moments to drown out the voices in my head that were telling me about every area of homemaking I needed to improve in.

2. Look at each mistake as a chance to learn

You are going to fail, but that is okay because failure makes you human. Instead of dwelling on your failures as a homemaker look at them as a challenge to come up with a plan to learn so you can do it better next time you are faced with that same challenge and believe me a lot of work us homemakers do is repetitive so you are going to have plenty of chances to learn from mistakes and try again.

3. See correction for what it truly is

Sometimes the person who points out all our wrongs is doing it for the wrong reasons, other times they are truly correcting with the right spirit and we need to listen. The hard part is growing in discernment and wisdom enough to know the difference.

There is this one person in my life who always points out the one thing that isn’t done and never once praises me for what is done well. They then go on and on about how I could do that one thing I messed up better next time. At first it really upset me, now that I am older I can see that this person is looking for one area where they feel superior to me so they can teach me something.

Are they in the right? Nope, not at all, but this is simply this person’s way of starting a conversation with me, odd, but they is loved dearly by one who loves me so I try to just let the “here is how you do it right” lectures roll off my shoulders.

Other people have corrected my wrong homemaking behaviors simple because it was wrong, and I usually end up thanking those people once I get past hurt. I don’t take criticism well, but I am learning to keep my tongue when I receive some and then figure out if it was constructive or unwarranted before taking action.

4. Seek encouragement

Homemaking is the toughest job I have ever taken on . There is always something to do, always something I am behind in, always too many things that tugging for my attention than I can possible give energy to at one time.

For tough times I love a small group of close friends that I have in one Facebook group. They are there to pray when I need them to. They quietly read my rants and then tell me every so kindly that I need to change my attitude. They provide me with their wisdom and encouragement.

 If you haven’t already make it a point this week to create a  private group of a few close friends on Facebook this week who you know will help encourage you in your homemaking walk.

 5. Never stop learning

The best way to improve as a homemaker is to have a life long learner attitude. Pick one area of your homemaking most want to improve in and then read up on how others do it. Never stop gathering new knowledge.

A great book to start with especially if you currently fell like you are drowning is Say Goodbye To Survival Mode by Crystal Paine.

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 16

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This weeks decluttering area is super small; just one cupboard. Originally I wanted to do all the upstairs bathroom cupboards, and I was upset with myself that I had left it to last minute to do and was running out of time.

Then I remembered I set out to declutter my home in 52 weeks because I can take small steps that way. Last week was a hard week on me emotionally and it meant that a lot didn’t get done and now this week I feel super stressed. Stress is a choice however and I choose instead to just do what I can, there is always next week to tackle more.

top cupboard upstairs bathroomSo I emptied out just the top bathroom cupboard of its contents and I gave it a good wipe down.

miracle goThe oddest think I found in the bathroom cupboard was this box of Miracle Gro, neither my hubby nor I  even remember buying it.

upstairs bathroom cupboard done.When I was done this was all that was left. The top shelf is completely empty. Oh and that heater back there, I have a great reason for it being there I promise.  Our home’s heating system can’t keep up during the really cold Indiana winter days, so I help it along with space heaters placed in rooms we use most, including the bathroom.

What area of your home did you declutter this week?

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The Best Tip For Improving Your Homemaking Skills

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It makes me cringe when I hear a woman say “oh I am just a homemaker” . A homemaker is so much more than “just”. A homemaker is “all” and “more”.

You are so much more than just a homemaker you are all, you are more.

A homemaker is a child specialist, a communications expert, a time management whiz, a first aid attendant, a squeezer of a dollar, and much much more.

Yet, the job is given with no need of a degree. The training is all on the job,  without anyone to supervise and train. Sure your mom probably taught you how to wash dishes and scrub a floor, but did she prepare you to figure out how to do it after you have been up all night with a crying baby and you have 30 other “to dos” tugging at your mind.

The best tip for improving your homemaking skills So simple and yet it makes such a huge difference

Which is why I think on of the best ways to improve as a homemaker is gain knowledge from those with experience by reading. Read books on time management. Read books on cooking. Read books on home finances. Read books on home business. Read books …and then read some more.

I think reading isn’t just important for new homemakers either but also for those of us who have been homemakers for years. You can always learn something new and that something new could change your day to day in such a positive way that you will wonder why it took you so long to learn about it.

How To Make Time To Read

If you want to find time to read first you have to make it a priority. I do that by setting a goal every year to read 52 books.

I make time to read those 52 books with the tricks you can find in this article…..15 Ways to Read More.

How To Squeeze Reading Into Your Budget

Thanks to your local library reading can be 100% free. However sometimes you find a book on homemaking to be something you want to refer to again and again, for those types of books I like to use Swagbucks to earn Amazon gift cards.  (if you are new to Swagbucks here is an article that explains with screen shots how it works).

Books I recommend for homemaking help

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10 Ways To Save A Dollar A Week

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A dollar might not seem like much all on its own but when you start stacking one on top of the other, they can have a huge impact on your budget and your savings.

10 ways to save a dollar this weekFor instance, lets say you find 10 ways to save $1 each  week, that is $10 a week saved. Ten dollars might not seem like much, but if you save $10 each week for a month you will have $40 and that is enough to start impacting your finances. Keep saving $1 ten times a week and in a year you will have $520 to pay off debt, take the family on a few memory building day trips, or invest for your future.

Finding a few ways to save just $1 on your every day purchases or expenses ten times isn’t hard. To get your brain storming going I am going to help you by list 10 ways our family often saves a $1 each week.

10 Ways To Save A Dollar This Week

1. Use a coupon app to get cash back on your groceries

Grocery apps are getting easier and easier to use and some are no longer store dependent meaning you can use them to get cash back on your grocery items no matter where you get your groceries.

  • ibotta: store dependent but offers cash backs for more than groceries, including movies, clothing and more.
  • Snap: not store dependent and offers cash backs for bread, milk, eggs as well as national brands.
  • Checkout51: not store dependent and offers cash backs for bread, milk eggs as well as national brands.
  • Saving Star: store dependent and savings can be done by linking it to your store card or submitting receipt.
  • Berrycart: store dependent. Excellent app for gluten free, organic and non GMO food savings.

2. Order water when eating out

Sure not eating out all together would save you a lot more money than just getting water instead of pop, but we are looking for small tweaks to your spending habits with this article. Some of us (myself included) are not ready to give up our eating out entirely to save money.

Best part about this tip, this is a per person savings so the more of you in the family that do this the more you save.

3. Remove one item from your grocery cart

I learned this tip from Queen of Free in her book Slaying The Debt Dragon. Even when you have stuck to a grocery list chances are you can find at least one item you put on your list and in your cart that you can really live without; remove that item before heading up to the checkout .

4. Combine your errands and lump them with appointments

To save gas, I grocery shop  and do other errands only on days I have to leave my house anyways. For instance if I know I have to take my daughter to gymnastics I might swing by the post office and mail bills (the few that can’t be paid online) on the way there and then swing by the grocery store on our way home.

I figure this saves me at least a half a gallon of gas a week which is more than $1 .

5. Sign up for free Redbox codes or go to the library for movies

You might not host an at home movie night each and every week, but you can substitute your own way to save a buck on those weeks you don’t. On the weeks you do make those $1 Redbox rentals cost zero by using a free code that you can get by signing up for their emails, and texts as well as joining their Redbox Playbook Pass. The site Money Saving Mom also lists free redbox codes frequently.

Another great free movie source our family loves is our local library that lets us take out up to 7 DVDs at once for a full week. Which brings me to my next point…

6. Set a reminder on your cell phone for library due dates

When you have a family that loves the library like ours does overdue fines can add up in a hurry. By taking just a few seconds to add the date into my cell phone for a reminder to appear when the books are due I save the cost of library fines.

7. Switch from name brand to store brand on one to two products

Whenever I see a new store brand product on the market that is similar to a name brand we love I always give it a try. I think it is safe to say 80% of the time I end up switching to the store brand since it works or tastes just as good and is less expensive.

Word of thrifty wisdom: Always test out new store brand products in the smallest amount available. You don’t save money if you try out a 32 oz bottle of shampoo because it was cheaper per ounce than the 16 oz bottle, only to discover 3 hair washes in that it leaves your hair greasy and you can’t bear to go on and finish the bottle.

8. Start a price book and find cheaper sources for products each week

Just recently I found a cheaper source of natural peanut butter that will save my family a few dollars each month (my kids eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches as snacks). I wouldn’t have noticed the price difference if I didn’t keep track of what I pay for peanut butter and an easy way to keep track of prices like peanut butter is by keeping a price book.

9. Sign up for samples of your favorite brands

Freebies4Mom and Money Saving Mom both list free samples that you can sign up for. The samples themselves save you money but what will save you $1 a week is the high value coupons worth $1 or more that generally come with these samples.

10.  Use your bread machine

I uses our bread machines every week to make hamburger buns, bread rolls, pizza dough or cinnamon rolls. These freshly baked items not only taste better than their store counterparts they are also cheaper. And yes those of you that prefer to make dough with your own two hands can save even more as you are not using electricity to run a bread machine.

Bonus Tip: Make A Dollar Or More Each Week With Swagbucks

If you spend any time at all online during the day chances are you could earn $1 week with Swagbucks without doing one extra thing except for signing up for Swagbucks and downloading their toolbar or making the Swagbucks homepage your page.

I read recently that the average Swagbucks earner earns 300 points a month just from internet searching done through using Swagbucks as your search engine. That is $3 a month right there. The other 100 points could easily be earned through shop and earn programs or more. Check out my post that explains how to use Swagbucks  as well as the post where I go over all the ways to earn.

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