Thursday, November 27, 2014

From My Home to Yours

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Job Loss. Now What?

I never thought I'd be in this boat, but I was fired from my job yesterday. I am a hard worker who showed up on time, got along with my coworkers, and did what was asked of me. But I was let go for insubordination? 

Oh and I hung up on a customer who was a jerk, but still... I had one write up from said hang up and was told that three is automatic termination and yet I was fired. Hmm, whatever... I'm choosing to look at it as a blessing!

While expenses will be tighter one just one income, now I must be extra diligent with the finances. Here is what I will be doing:

 Cut out all the fluff
Cable, the Sunday newspaper subscription, and my Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription will all be cancelled immediately.

Cook and bake from scratch
Now that I have time I can plan our menus based around the sale items, pair that with coupons for the most savings, and cook and bake from scratch. Also eating all leftovers.

Reduce expenses
Keeping electronics and lights off when not in use will save electricity. Not leaving the tap running while brushing teeth or washing dishes, as well as making use of the cold water that goes  down the drain while I'm waiting for it to heat up. Limiting car trips by combining errands will save on fuel costs.

Needs are the priority.
It is my goal to live on as little as possible, while still maintaining comfort. The things we need will be purchased after price comparisons and on sale if at all possible. The less money we have going out, the more can be applied to savings and debt reduction.

Minimum payments on debts
For the time being I'll be making the minimum payments on all debts except the one with the lowest balance.

Continue saving
We have a little cushion for which I am thankful, but I will continue to make savings a priority. The more we have tucked back in savings, the less we will need to rely on credit in an emergency.

Keep a level head
The worst thing to do is panic. Though money may be tighter than what we have grown accustomed to, I'm fairly certain we can get by on Alfred's income alone. I will be going over the budget in the next few days in preparation for December and will see where we stand.

Be creative
I'll be looking for more ways to be creative here at home to create a beautiful life on a budget. When funds are limited, creativity gets put to greater use. It becomes an adventure!

Count my blessings
I consider myself blessed because we have been actively seeking to reduce our debts and build a cushion. Plus Alfred works for a great company that pays well. I believe all will be well and that unexpected blessings will unfold along the way!

I have always been happiest at home. Though I had planned to work for a couple more years to speed up debt repayment, I plan to not only survive but thrive with this unexpected curve ball.

You gotta love it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Inexpensive Christmas Decor Ideas

While a few of you may have already begun decorating for Christmas, most people wait until after Thanksgiving to deck the halls. In need of a few ideas to freshen up your holiday decor? Here are a few ideas that are affordable and charming:

This could be a gorgeous centerpiece for the dining or coffee table. I would mix in a few Christmas bulbs with the pine cones to add a little more pizazz. 

A darling way to create the feeling of a winter wonderland, especially if you have a large picture window, is to hang snowflakes on fishing line tied off to the curtain rod.

Wire snowflakes together to hang on your front door in lieu of a traditional wreath.

Plain vases filled with candy cane sticks and inexpensive ornaments. Super easy and festive!

Use a vinyl place mat to make a custom holiday flag and it would be much sturdier against gusty winter winds. Why didn't I ever think of this?

This looks so fancy! You could use it to write display holiday menu, or write a Christmas phrase, or use it at a coffee/hot cocoa bar.

Bringing a touch of nature indoors is always nice. This can be customized, of course, to your decor style and colors.

Throwing a holiday bash? Make your own tiered trays!! Super cheap and easy...

Framed Christmas art to add holiday cheer to unexpected places in your home.

Cutie patootie stockings! Your teens may act like they are too old for such childish stockings, but pay them no mind. They secretly love the magic of Christmas.

Believe it or not, you do not have to spend a fortune decorating for the holidays. Just about all of these ideas and items used can be found at the Dollar Tree!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do Less.

May I make a suggestion, dear reader?

With the holiday season already upon us, I want you to think about lowering your expectations and simply do less.

What is supposed to be a peaceful season, is often anything but. We have busy schedules and already tight budgets. We don't have to do every activity or throw a holiday extravaganza. The world will not end, I promise!
Instead, gather your family and ask them what their favorite things/activities about the holidays are and focus on those.

Simplify holiday decor.

Do not go into debt to buy gifts. Present the idea of exchanging names for gifts and put a cap on the amount spent.

Simplify the holiday meal. You don't need tons of sides or desserts. Make the family favorites and let it go.

Do something for you. We, as wives and mothers, are often so busy caring for everyone else, we let ourselves fall to the bottom of the list. That's a big no-no in my book!

You have no idea what to do for you? Oh, sweet one, no worries. Here are a few ideas:

Schedule that haircut you've been putting off or try a new way to style your hair.

Paint your toes a gorgeous shade of red!

Take a nap. 

Enjoy a mug of hot cocoa.


Call your BFF for a long chat. Meet for brunch. Or meet up to do your last minute Christmas shopping together.

Do less and enjoy the season!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Little Ways I've Simplified Recently

I'm always trying to find ways to simplify my life. The less I have to think about or do, the less overwhelmed I feel.

~ I cleared out my purse. I had reward cards that were expired or never used. Off the key chain they went. Receipts and old papers I'd been carrying around were trashed. Little odds and ends I carry went into a clear plastic zip pouch.

~ My keychain now holds only my car key, house key and my grocery store reward card.

~ I've simplified my makeup routine. I only wear a tinted moisturiser, mascara and a sheer lip balm. Easy peasy!

What things have you simplified recently? 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

In My Kitchen This Week

The weather has turned cooler so it's time for heartier meals and comfort foods. This week I'm serving:

~ Beef tips, rice and gravy
~ King Ranch Chicken
~ Cheesy Potato Soup with cornbread
~ Chili with crackers
~ Spaghetti with garlic bread and green beans
~ Chicken Nuggets, mac&cheese, green beans
~ Chicken and dumplings with cornbread

If you notice, the meals get progressively easier the further into the week I get. That's because I get more tired as the week goes on and this is my long week. I'm working Monday through Saturday.

I spent $62 at the grocery store to feed seven, including a $12 bag of dog food, so technically $50 for people food! *smile* I took stock of what I had in the pantry and freezer and made a list after checking the sales flyer. I didn't have to buy any meats this week.

With the holiday season approaching the stores are beginning to have sales on their baking  items and holiday foods. Now is the time to stock up!

From my table to yours, 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

How I Prepare For the Work Week Ahead

On my off days I try to rest while also preparing for the week ahead. Being better organized helps greatly to reduce my stress level on work days.

~ I create a menu and grocery shop for the week. Knowing what I will be cooking saves me from scrambling to come up with a decent meal when I'm already tired.

~ I make sure all work clothes are clean and hung up for both myself and Alfred.

~ I clean out my purse and clean my shoes.

~ I know what bills need to be paid that week because I have a budget written out for the month.

~ I clean my car inside and out and top up on fuel.

~ I make note of any tasks or appointments that need to be handled and plan accordingly.

How do you plan for the week ahead?