How To Make Your Family Funds Go Further

It’s not easy, or cheap, providing for a big family; they eat enough food to feed a small army, all the kids have different extracurricular activities you need to pay for, and you always try to set aside enough money so you can all enjoy a nice summer vacation together. While there is a lot of advice out there to help you improve your family’s finances, there are also a few things you can do to make your money go further. Some tips do involve a few budget cuts here and there, but overall they are just ways of spending your money wisely. If you impart a few of these money-saving tips to your children, you’ll also teach them to be financially responsible when they grow up.

Cut back on unnecessary luxuries
There are two different kinds of luxuries; there’s the necessary kind, which helps you to relax after work, provides you with an outlet for your stress, and which doesn’t cost too much money so cutting it out won’t make too much of a difference to your budget. Then there’s the unnecessary kind, which costs a lot of money, you barely use, and you might not even miss if you stopped doing it. For example, you might pay around $25 a month for your gym membership because you got a great deal, you wanted to get into shape, and it’s the only thing encouraging you to exercise. Unfortunately, if you don’t go to the gym at least three times a week, you’re usually not getting your money’s worth out of the membership. This is especially true when there are so many way to work out for free in the comfort of your home. Magazine subscriptions are another drain on your savings. Try cancelling all your subscriptions and only renew the ones you actually find yourself missing, or just buy the occasional issue when you see it in the stores.

Workout at home to save extra money

Look for bargains
Don’t assume that the first price you see is the best price you’re going to get. There are plenty of websites such as Groupon that will give you excellent discounts on family days out, occasional treats for yourself, or even bulk household items. Believe it or not, if you want to get free stuff there are websites that can make that happen. You can legally get free things on Amazon, such as music, Kindle eBooks, and even a way to get cash back. Finally, there are always thrift stores, Craigslist, or eBay, where you can find hundreds of items at a fraction of the retail price.

Shop smart
Buying groceries on a budget is a struggle for a lot of people for various reasons. The best thing you can do to keep your food bills low is to find ways to reduce the amount of waste you throw away each week. Fortunately, there are several more ways to reduce your food bill each week, including shopping for cheaper store brands, buying non-perishables items in bulk, or sticking to a shopping list. You can also save money on food by avoiding takeaways, packing a lunch to take to work, or freezing your leftovers to eat them later.

Shop wisely

Cut down your energy bills
If your energy bills are the biggest expense in your household, the easiest way to start saving on this is to make your home environmentally friendly.  Start by switching to energy efficient LED bulbs, unplugging all appliances you’re not using, and insulating your home so you don’t need to turn up your thermostat as much. Doing these small things can reduce your energy consumption, saving you money on your bills each month and helping the environment. If you want to do a little more to help your energy bills, you can improve the insulation in your building, and upgrade to double-glazed windows; doing this will reduce the amount of heat that escapes your house by at least 25 percent, which will cut down on your use of the thermostat each winter. Finally, if you have enough in your budget for new appliances, you could shop around for an energy-efficient fridge. Refrigerator technology has made dramatic strides since the 1970s, so you’re actually wasting more money by not buying a new fridge. Any other eco-friendly appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, may seem expensive initially, but it is estimated that you will use a significantly less amount of energy with a green appliance than you will with its predecessor.

Learn to repair clothes

There was a time when people knew how fix tears in dresses, holes in socks, and prolong the life of pantyhose. Clothes nowadays are made from very cheap material, therefore are more prone to tearing and wearing out. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to fix these clothes, so they end up throwing them out and buying new items merely two months after they just went clothes shopping. Save your wallet the hassle of another shopping spree by learning how to repair the holes in your jeans; the cost of a sewing machine will certainly pay for itself with the money you save on new dresses. Once you’ve learned how to sew up the rips in your clothes, you can put off clothes shopping with a few more tricks. If you dresses are a little shorter than you would like, or your shirts pinch a little too much around the waist, you can lengthen them using lace, or use fabric inserts to add some length to shirts and sweaters. Oversized dresses can be hemmed slightly, or turned into a comfortable, baggy shirt.

DIY
Sometimes the best way to save money is by doing little things by yourself. When things break around the house, try doing your own home repairs instead of calling a professional (as long as it’s nothing too serious). Blocked pipes can be easily sorted with a solution of baking soda and vinegar, and then using a plunger to push out the blockage.

DIY is not just limited to fixing things that are broken. There are plenty of home remedies online for face masks, or hair products, which only require things you’d put on your grocery list. You could even set aside a Saturday and do a spa day in the comfort of your home for a fraction of the price.

Caffeine lovers can save dollars every week by brewing their own coffee at home instead of getting a takeaway from a cafe. A really good coffee machine will soon pay for itself with the savings you make from skipping the visit to your local Starbucks. If you also go to cafes for the delicious pastries, then learn to bake your own treats at home.

Transportation
With the price of gas constantly changing, your car is an unpredictable money pit, and that’s before you even factor in the monthly payments, insurance, and unexpected repairs. You can save money and still keep your car by only using it for long trips, such as family vacations. In the meantime, there are plenty of public transport options to suit your lifestyle. Monthly bus passes are more than worth their value if you take the bus to work every day. Carpooling with a colleague splits the cost of gas, and can reduce traffic if enough people get in on the scheme. Finally, if you’re going out for the night and don’t have a volunteer for designated driver, Uber can save you the trouble of standing out in the cold to call a cab.

FTC Disclaimer:
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.

Fund Your Dreams With These Money-Saving Tips

We all have goals and dreams. For our family, for us, for our friends. The problem is, it’s all good and well having the intention to do good things with your time, but the truth is: there is a price tag associated with making our dreams come true. Whether it’s finally getting the house you’ve always dreamed about, or traveling to some of the world’s best destinations, it’ll be an uphill battle to get the level of money we need. It’s not, however, impossible. Far from it, in fact. Below we offer 5 tips for putting more money in your pocket.

Fund Your Dreams With These Money-Saving Tips / Photo By JTwisdom

Money Out, Money In
There’s one very simple way to have more money. And that is: spend less of it. Easier said than done, of course. Instead of having a general ambition of spending less money, make it specific. For instance, if you’re going out for dinner or drinks once a week, think about making it once a month and then put the difference into a savings account. We’re all guilty of spending more money than we realize on the non-essentials. If we can take control of it, then we’ll be on the right path.

Slash the Household Bills
It’s our homes that end up costing us the biggest percentage of our monthly income. You won’t be able to eradicate these bills entirely, of course, but you can reduce that percentage. The key is to look at where the money is going. If you have an expensive cable bill or are using too much energy, then your bills will naturally be higher than if you lived without them. See where you can trim the fat and your savings account will grow faster than you realize.

Avoid Paying Top Dollar
Some things we simply have to buy, like new clothes, certain electrical items, and food. While you can’t avoid buying these things, you can help yourself by buying them in a smart way. Take a read of the 7 most important tips for couponing, and you’ll soon find that you’re spending much less on your groceries if you incorporate the tips into your shopping habits. If you need to buy clothes, wait until the end of season sales – the clothes are brand new, still in fashion, but will be a fraction of the cost. The same goes for electricals and the Thanksgiving/Christmas sales.

Fundraising
If you want to speed up having the money you need to reach your goal, then you might have to sell some of the stuff you already own. Have a walk through your home and see how many items you have that you no longer use. Once you’ve gathered up all the items, it’s time to start listing them on eBay and other online stores. You might have hundreds of dollars worth of goods just sitting there in your home!

Golden Rule: Think!
Finally, a key rule – think before you buy. If you’re conscious of the money you’re spending, you’ll be in a better position to say no and keep that money in your bank account.

FTC Disclaimer:
This is a collaborative post and may contain affiliate links.

Life Lessons From The Garden: Find What Brings You Joy

Hello Wonderful People!

I hope you having an awesome day!
Summertime is in full force with temperatures soaring into the mid-90s this weekend. Coupled with high humidity levels and it definitely is a good idea to be inside where it is cool. While my hubby and I have been staying inside whenever possible, we have also been heading outside to take care of our backyard tranquility. Owning your house means it’s good to keep the grass cut, the trees trimmed and we like to plant flowers. In the last couple of weeks while working outside, we have learned several valuable lessons. Not just about yard work and gardening; but about life in general. We wanted to share with you what we have learned about life, through our time working in the garden. We call it Life Lessons From The Garden. This is the first in those series of articles.

Flowers from the Garden / Photos by JTwisdom

I know what you are thinking. Why would I be working in the garden when it’s so hot and humid?
Ever since I was a little girl, I have spent many hours outside with my daddy, and now my hubby, taking care of our yard and the flowers. My mother would often have me outside trimming weeds, watering the plants or doing whatever she thought needed to be done. Through the years, what began as a chore has now blossomed into one of my passions, and brings me some of my greatest joys. I have grown to enjoy the time outside and I can truly say that it brings me peace. After a long day or week and needing some time to unwind and destress, I head outside to see what needs to be done. It lowers the blood pressure and the stress just melts away. Spending hours planting, watering, weeding and tending to the garden, and then seeing that flower show off its vibrant color or aromatic scent, the joy just builds up inside of me. I take breaks and drink plenty of water; but I still sweat. Coming inside to eat some delicious watermelon is always nice.

Getting my hands dirty in the garden.

The first lesson learned from our time in the garden — Find What Brings You Fun times.
For me, my number one Joy is Jesus, my LORD and SAVIOR! I can’t put anything before him, He makes it possible for me to enjoy my everyday life.
God gave me this passion for gardening.
It’s a lot of fun going to the gardening center with the hubby to purchase the flowers and plants.
For me, fun is deciding how to arrange them in the yard for the greatest display of color.
For me, fun is making sure to water, to weed an to manicure each day.
For me, fun is cutting a flower and bringing it in our home.
For me, fun is the flower’s aroma tickling my nose each time I get close it.

For you, what brings your fun times?
Maybe it is a walk in the park with your dog.
Maybe it is spending time with your family.
May it is reading a good book with a hot cup of tea.

It does not matter what it is. Once you experience that joy, you know you will want to keep it going. Take the time to find out where your joy comes from and be sure to do it as often as possible. When you have more joy in your heart, you become a happier person and being a happier person means you can enjoy more of what life has to offer.

Check back for more lessons learned from the garden. Until then, happy gardening! And be Joyful!

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

This weekend before Independence Day, is time to relax, and enjoy family and friends. My husband and I celebrate Independence Day because it is more than just a date for us. This is a time to thank those men and women in uniform who have fought and are fighting for our freedom for our country, the United States of America. Their sacrifice allows us to enjoy living in the greatest country.

At church this past Sunday, we had a guest speaker, Matt Roever from Operation Warrior Reconnect.

What is Operation Warrior Reconnect?

“Operation Warrior RECONnect is dedicated to rebuilding self esteem, confidence, financial freed country.”

Did you know that on average, twenty-two soldiers commit suicide every day? This staggering number has to stop and Operation Warrior Reconnect is doing an amazing job and making an impact.

Matt and his father, Vietnam veteran Dave Roever, head this organization that is making a change in the lives of so many men and women who have fought for our country. At Sunday’s service, Matt introduced three men who served in the military. They shared their stories from the war and how Operation Warrior Reconnect, with the love of Jesus, helped to change their lives.

I left the service, feeling more patriotic and thankful for the United States military.

In honor of Independence Day, I wore my red, white, and blue. I wanted to style my outfit in a different way. I thought at first this was too much red, white, and blue, however it was just right. I actually received a compliment from one of the veterans who spoke at Church. He said, “That’s a really put together outfit, anchors away baby!”

Red white blue

Red white blue

The Look
Wedges – Skechers (These wedges give height and are so comfortable)
Purse – Carlos Falchi
Chambray shirt jacket – Tommy Hilfiger
Freedom Blue shirt – Church on the Rock
Skirt – Charter Club, Macy’s

My doggie Vinny, has to be in the my pictures with me. Sometimes to he is photobombing behind me.


Pattern of Skirt, photo by Bubblingwitheleganceandgrace.com

This is the pattern of the skirt, see the anchors and the stern.

I do not share 10 or more pictures of the same image on one blog post. My limit is no more than four. I like to share something different and I that is too much of me in the same outfit.
In this collage, I also share my Zuni-inspired real turquoise sterling silver bangle. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones. I wear all year long and it was perfect with this outfit.
I was working out in the yard and accidentally clipped the three star gazer lilies that looked like they wouldn’t bloom. This disheartened me and husband said, “This one has a bud, so lets put it in the stalk in the dirt with the other flowers.” Guess what, it bloomed!! I will bring it inside, and my wise husband said you bloom where you are truly planted; I couldn’t of said it better myself.

Independence Day collage

Independence Day collage photo by Bubblingwitheleganceandgrace.com

If you would like to help the Warrior Reconnect foundation, you can click on Roever Foundation.

Memorial Day: Remembering the Ultimate Sacrifice For Our Freedom

Hello Beautiful People,

Eagle

Today is Memorial Day. It is a day to honor and remember the soldiers who died for our country, The United States of America.  Freedom isn’t free! Praise God for our military. We should and must pray for them and their families everyday.

We Will Never Forget!

Decorated Vietnam War veteran, Dave Roever, spoke at my church this holiday weekend. His testimony is awesome and will inspire you. He was burned beyond recognition and by the healing power of Jesus, he is alive and is devoted to helping other wounded veterans. Roever will make you laugh and he will make you cry.

Please listen to his testimony on Trinity Broadcasting Network.

When I hear him speak about helping war veterans get the help they need to get back into daily life and gain that connection with their families, it is amazing. It makes me want to help in anyway I can. If you would like to help please go to the Roever Foundation.

“The Roever Foundation’s goal is clear; to assist those especially in underprivileged countries and the youth in our public schools and assistance to our military providing them with inspirational speaking tours and training for wounded warriors through the wounded warrior alliance. Roever Foundation is preparing these young speakers who have lost limbs, suffered TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), with a future in public speaking.”

On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to reflect your freedom and the remember men and women who sacrificed their life so that you can enjoy it.

*References
Roever Foundation

Mother’s Day

Hi Beautfiul People,

Azaleas

Today is Mother’s Day. Even though I did not at first feel I should I need to share some words. My mother has been with the Lord for almost twenty-three years, it is a hard holiday. My mother was strict and did not let me do much. My parents picked my friends and they did not just let me hang around anybody. Many times I would wonder why she was so hard on me. I am the only child and was in my teens at the time I naturally felt this way. But now that I look back at it and I see why. She wanted me to be somebody, to put God first, to have integrity and character.

My mother always told me that she was not my friend, but my mother.
As a teenager I would wonder what did that mean? Girls are having friends over; but I could not have my friends over. Why can’t I go to the party?
With some years hopefully for some comes wisdom. My mother wanted me to know that she was not hear to make me feel good even, when you may not be right. My mother told it like it is and didn’t pull any punches with me. I didn’t have a lot of role models when I was young. My best role models are my parents, my grandmother, and my aunt. My mother wanted me to get an education and I did. She wanted me to stick with the books and not get hooked up with the wrong crowd and praise the Lord I didn’t. My mother was not perfect; but she was and is in my heart, a Proverbs 31 woman. She always looked out for the best interest for me and she believed in me.

I was not planned.

What do you mean, you say?
I was not a planned pregnancy. My mother didn’t want to have children. My grandmother told my mother go on ahead and have that baby and she did., By God’s grace and mercy, my mother delivered me, a healthy 8lbs. 6 oz. baby girl.

My mother and father helped me and sacrifice for me to have a good life. My grandmother helped and was also there for me. They loved me and it hurts that they are not here on earth in the flesh. I know that they all believed in God and that Jesus Christ died for their sins, so I know they are in heaven.  Virtuous, Virtuous, Virtuous I say as I literally run through the halls expressing my thankfulness to God for giving me such loving jewels in my life that are with my heart. I know they are Jesus followers, but it does still hurt.

Joyce Meyer has on her calendar the title for today, “The Only Way Out Is Through”.
I continually have to thank the Lord that I had such a rich inheritance of Godly parents and a Godly Grandmother. I know that they wouldn’t want me to feel any other way.

The Proverbs 31 Woman is my mother and my grandmother. My Aunt is still here on earth so I am putting her in here too because she is the description of character and integrity. Please read Proverbs 31 below, its a lot to take in but the words have so much wisdom in them.

Proverbs 31

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
*BibleGateway 

 God loves you and if you are not feeling so great today because it seems like everyone is having fun on this Mother’s Day. It is not about the day, it is about what you do each day that counts. We celebrate moms, dad moms, moms who adopt, step moms, pet moms, those who influence are lives, those who are mothering and mentoring. We comfort those who have lost a child, those who are having difficulty with adopting, those who are estranged from their children, those who are having interferences in having kids; peace and comfort to you.
Remember you are not alone and that God is for you.

Psalm 23:4,6
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. … Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

II Corinthians1:3
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”

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