Let's face it. It can be really hard to stay motivated while paying off debt. You're working hard, you're trucking away and there are times when it feels like the balance will never reach zero.
But hold fast. You can do this and I am going to share with you a few ways to stay motivated.
1. Tell fear to stop lying to you. Fear is that voice that tells you "it will always be this way" or "your life will never change" or "just accept that you are a failure."
Fear lies to your face every morning when you brush your teeth. You have to tell it to shut up.
Remind yourself of the progress you have already made. Remind yourself that there is a hopeful future and tell fear to leave you alone.
2. Stop the excuses before they start. I am the QUEEN of making excuses. I can give you a reason for not doing something without even having to think too hard.
It is an ugly quality. Trust me.
But last week I was listening to The His and Her Money Show the episode was about a woman who paid off $160,000 by herself. A single mom who paid off over $100,000.
Seriously? So what excuses do I have to save money this week?
3. Start small. There is a reason the "baby steps" are so successful. People feel a sense of success when they pay off that first smaller debt.
Set a small goal you can reach quickly. For example, decide you're going to find an extra $10 a week to throw at a debt or put into savings. Put that money in a jar where you can see it and you will feel extra motivated.
Which brings me to...
4. Make a visual. Create a place in your home where you can see the progress of your debts, like a tally board.
Make a vision board of what you want your life to be like after you pay off your debt. Put on there your goals and dreams. Be it a new house, a trip to Hawaii, a baby, going to college, building a water well in Africa. Whatever your motivation is put it where you can see it and look at it daily.
What about you? What are some ways you stay motivated?
I am not sure if I am actually going to be making this a series. But I think from time to time I will be sharing with all of you the free stuff I bring home.
I am by no means a hoarder and I won't take anything just because it's free, but I do like a good deal. And what better deal is there than things you actually want or need that you get for free?
So I wanted to tell you about all the stuff I got for free this week.
I picked up copy of "Big Hero 6" on DVD. We haven't seen the movie, but it looks cute so I put it away for Ryals for Christmas.
I saw this deal on SouthernSavers
It's free through Topcashback.com, a rebate site. So I won't get my money back for a week. But I did this last year to get our much loved copy of Frozen and I was reimbursed $20.
Click here to read more from SouthernSavers on how this works.
I scored the boys a cute Spring outfit from Schoola, an online kid's consignment that sells gently used clothing and donates a portion of their proceeds to local schools.
You can click HERE and get a $15 credit once you've made a purchase you will get your own link to share and earn more $15. I currently have a $75 credit balance!!
I also got free dish soap, dishwasher detergent and baby wipes (not pictured) from ePantry.
You've probably read about this company on a lot of different blogs lately. I was skeptical, but since I got a $10 credit through SarahMae.com I decided to try them out. I was really impressed with the quality of their products, the speed at which they arrived and their customer service.
I was able to score these deals through credits I received by sharing my referral link with friends. You can click here to get your own $10 credit and once you place an order you will get your own referral link.
Note: You do have to make a $20 purchase.
I am not joking when I say they have great customer service. And it's a small business with just 15 employees!
Note: This post contains referral or affiliate links. This means when you click and make a purchase I will get a small commission in the form of payment or credit for items. This is at NO additional cost to you. I never talk about products I wouldn't buy with my own money. For more you can read my FULL statement here.
We love pesto at my house. It's flavorful and pretty kid friendly. But I understand it's not very allergy friendly. While my family doesn't personally have to deal with food allergies I know some of your families do.
So a couple weeks ago I whipped up this spinach pesto with flaxseeds modifying this recipe from Chow. . It's budget-friendly because instead of basil it uses pesto and it's allergy friendly because instead of pine nuts there are flaxseeds.
Plus it's really simple.
You will need:
8 cups loosely packed spinach (baby spinach works best)
1/2 cup flax seeds
2 garlic close
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt and pepper
a food processor
Place half your spinach in your food processor along with your flaxseeds and begin to process. after about 20 seconds add in your garlic and the rest of your spinach.
Add in your salt and pepper along with your cheese.
Now comes the fun part. While your processor is still running begin adding in your oil, allowing it to drizzle down the side of the bowl until the entire thing is a green velvety dip!
Serve with some whole wheat pasta. Trust me. It's delicious.
What about you? What have you been cooking lately?
Over the past few months I have written A LOT about saving money. Is it crazy to say that it's a passion? But really, helping others feel hopeful about their futures is a passion.
Particularly moms. I've been a mom in debt and I am have been a mom out of debt. Which one feels better do you think?
Today I am going to share the top five MOST read money saving posts.
If I had to describe what it felt like to live with a pile of debt it would be this: like constantly wearing a backpack full of bricks.
Could you breath with that on your back? Move freely? Rest peacefully? No. You couldn't.
I know that it isn't polite to talk about money. But I am going to do that today, because I feel like telling our story will encourage some of you.
I think at some point we have ALL reached a point when there is more month than money.
We may have entered the month with the best of intentions, but we just didn't stick to our budget. That could be for a number of reasons.
But for a lot of people it comes down to three things, emergencies, lifestyle and guilt. Of course there are endless things that can wreck a budget if you let them, but it seems that these things that cause our money to fly out the window the fastest.
One day I woke up and decided to stop living paycheck to paycheck. I remember the day clearly. We had more month than money, our checking account was in the red and we had about $136 in our savings account. That's a bad day.
It is days like that you feel you won't overcome, that you will always be in debt, that you will always feel the noose of credit cards and bad decisions and self-doubt.
But you won't. I am speaking directly to you, sister. YOU WON'T. You can break the cycle, you can get off the crazy train, you can own your life, get out of debt and stop living pay check to pay check.
Okay, so how does one break the crazy cycle? These are the things that worked for our family while we were working to become debt free.
I've talked in the past about how I save time in the kitchen by meal planning.
But I thought I'd share some other time saving techniques.
1. Chop a week's worth of veggies all at once.
If I know we're going to have some roast vegetables with dinner on Tuesday and roast green beans with dinner on Monday I will go ahead and just chop of all the veggies for a few nights at the same time. I already have my cutting board, I already have my knife. I just take 10 minutes to chop and place everything in freezer bags. I will go ahead and throw in all of the oils, seasons etc. I am going to use to cook my vegetables later one.
2. Make your own frozen skillet meals. You knows those skillet meals you see in the freezer section where all the meat, sauces and veggies are ready to go? You can do that at home. Last week I bought a giant pack of chicken breasts. (They were really on sale!) I went ahead and planned a couple meals and again complied everything uncooked into freezer bags and threw them in the freezer.
For example, I put all the ingredients for stir fry in a bag, including the soy and teriyaki sauce. When it's time to cook I will dump it all in the skillet and go! The same thing can apply to crock pot meals you prep in advance.
3. Brown your meat and freeze. Recently I browned an entire pound of ground beef, but I didn't use the whole pound for one meal. I placed it in bags again- in the freezer- and pulled it out when I needed it.
5. Preportion your beans. I cook dry beans instead of using canned. It saves a lot of money and I think tastes better. When I cook a big batch I freeze them in smaller portions measured out for recipes I know I will make.
6. Group your ingredients. Keep canned tomatoes and chili seasoning together or pasta and pasta sauce for quick access when making your favorite dish.
For more tips pickup a copy of the The Poor Girl's Handbook to the Kitchen.
What about you? What kitchen tips do you have?
I am not a clothes horse or a fashion girl. Oh no. I have to make a conscious effort to look nice everyday.
That's why it was really no big deal when I decided to get rid of half my clothes last year. However, I did replace a few of the things I donated with pieces I love and wear often.
And the best part was most of them were free or less than $5 per item.
Thanks to credits at places like Twice and shopping at my local Goodwill.
SO I thought I would show you some of my frugal outfits and tell you how I came up with the outfit pairings.
I got this Ralph Lauren sweater at Goodwill for just $3.99 and I paired it with my thrift store jeans ($4.99) and my Goodwill scarf ($1.99). Throw in my $2.99 JC Penney shoes and that outfit cost me less than $14.
Not bad for an outfit that is 90% thrift!
I got this cute black and white striped top from Twice. It is made by New York and Co. and I wear it all the time with black pants, jeans even my denim skirt.
And Twice will give you store credit in exchange for gift cards to major retailers including Walmart!
This outfit might be the one I am the MOST proud of. Hand-me-down jeans, thrift store shirt and sweater ($1 and $3.99 respectively) and a sweater that was a gift.
This outfit is a mash of old, new and thrift. (Please excuse the dirty mirror!)
The jeans are from Old Navy and the top is from Goodwill.
I know a lot of you are probably thinking "my Goodwill isn't that great." I understand, I really do. But keep looking, keep digging through those racks and you might just be surprised.
Here are some tips when shopping at thrift:
Look for things that are "NWT" new with tags. When searching online boutiques like Twice put NWT into the search function to find thrifted items that have never been worn.
When at a thrift or second hand store check the labels. Don't pay $3.99 for something you could get for the same price new on sale. Instead, look for name-brand, top-quality items.
Look for fabrics that are heavy or weaves that are thick.
Check for tears, pulls or loose threads.
Choose patterns that are vibrant.
What about you? How do you find cheap and cute clothes?
This month marks one year since our family became debt free. There are a lot of things we did on our journey to dumping debt.
We learned to budget. We started meal planing. I could go on. But I think one of the main reasons we were able to pay off debt and free up income was because we cut a lot of little things (and a few big things) out of our budget.
So here are five things we don't spend money one. Note: I don't think ANY of these things are bad, or wrong, or inherently wasteful.
1. Paper towels and napkins. I actually don't use paper towels for a lot of reasons, one of them is I think they're kind of gross. They always shred on me, or bunch, or leave something behind. It's grody. (Adult work there, grody.)
ut also, I don't see the point in wiping my countertops or child's face with something and then trowing it away.
So instead I use tshirt rags, which are basically free.
And instead of napkins we use cloth napkins. I purchased some at Michaels' four for $1.
And in case you were wondering, this adds one load of laundry a week to my rotation and according to this handy calculator, it costs me $1.34 to run my washer and dryer per load.
Plus it's one less thing to have to keep up with, I don't have to track when we are running low on paper towels and napkins.
2. Shopping clubs. Paying to shop? We did have a membership to Sam's Club that we got when Groupon ran a special.
But I found the hours we were "allowed" to shop limited me and that I ended up buying a lot of stuff I didn't need and spending MORE money than I needed to.
I could just as easily order toilet paper and other bulk items from Amazon for the same price. And then I don't have to put on shoes or leave my house. WIN!
3. Subscription boxes. You know what I am talking about. Those really fun and colorful boxes filled with all sorts of great goodies like snacks, make up or treats for your kids. They are certainly fun to receive, but are they a good value?
A lot of them are between $10 - $20 a month and you have no choice in the items you receive.
I did get a Bluum box for three months last year and it was a total disappointment. You can watch an unboxing here. I had ordered it during a special and had not paid full price for it, but it still wasn't worth the money, even in a sale price.
I would rather save my money and then go and purchase quality items I want to have.
4. Cable. I have talked about this a lot. But no, our family doesn't have cable. Not even a basic plan. We have an antenna, a subscription to Netflix and an Amazon Prime membership (worth every penny!).
We save over $75 a month and I feel we are better able to control what our children see.
My husband is a HUGE football fan and we live in Alabama where football is king, and I feel like if he can give it up I can give it up.
5. Movie rentals. I have written about this before, but we don't pay for movie rentals. We either rent movies with our free Redbox codes, check them out from the library or wait until we have some sort of iTunes or Amazon gift card.
I realize $1.50 isn't going to make or break anyone, but when you add up ALL of these things over the course of time it can really make a big budgeting difference.
What about you? What things are you NOT spending money on to save cash?
I am pretty sure I have photographed my children everyday since they were born. Well, almost everyday.
If your child is anything like mine they are constantly in motion. I have lots of blurry photos, lots of pictures of the back of my child's head and lots of pictures of him crying because I made him sit still.
And while I am NOT a professional photographer and have no desire to photograph anyone other than my family I have picked up a few tricks for photographing a toddler.
This is NOT a sponsored post, I just wanted to share this deal with you. Although it does contain a referral link.
Do you have an old gift card to a store you never visit? Twice wants it! You can trade in your gift cards for credit to Twice!
If you don't know what that is it's an upscale online consignment boutique that sells and trades name brand clothes in ALL sizes.
I am a plus-sized woman and I have gotten dresses, shirts and sweaters from Twice that I LOVE.
Right now Twice is offering an amazing deal. They are offering to take your unused gift cards to several MAJOR retailers in exchange for credit to Twice. They will give you full value of your card and you can do some shopping.
Tip: While Twice is a consignment shop, they do have several items that have never been worn. Simply use their search function and type in "NWT" that means "New With Tags."
If you order something cute, I want to see it. So snap a photo and tag me on Instagram!
Twice is accepting gift cards from:
New York & Co
The North Face