Family Adventures, Motherhood

10 Ways to $ave Money & Contribute to Finances as a Stay -At- Home- Mom

What a title, huh?! Finances have never been my strong suit, but I’m learning that in order for me to stay at home I better crack down on our spending habits and be smart about how we can save money. Before I dive into my list let’s talk about the 4th of July weekend festivities! Sunday afternoon was a beach day for the Florida Morehouse Family. We arrived at the beach around 3:30 (Cherie Down Park is one of our favorite spots in Cocoa Beach!) and didn’t get home until 11:30pm! That’s probably the latest Little Johnny has ever stayed out, and boy was he a party animal! We decided to venture over to Cape Canaveral’s Harbor to see the firework display.

Okay, let’s talk $avings now!

The decision to stay at home and cut back to one income these days is extremely rare and a very difficult decision to make. On those circumstances though, you have to make sacrifices and realize where in your monthly expenses you can cut back. While being a stay at home mom I have moments where I feel helpless because I’m not “contributing” financially, but now that I look at it I really am doing a whole lot to help out with our finances. I have learned that here are other ways to help out with saving/ contributing to the everyday finances. Making a list always helps to visualize exactly how that’s happening, so here’s the list!

10 Ways to $ave Money & Contribute to Finances

as a Stay-At-Home-Mom


1.Cut Cable Completely – We have been using hulu for a while now, and quite honestly all the shows that we watch are on there. I have no complaints. We have a very busy schedule and sometimes we don’t even have time to watch tv…so why waste money, right?!

2. Home Cooked Meals- While we love to eat out (the convenience is so nice, isn’t it?) we just don’t have room in our budget to do so. When cooking meals at home it saves us so much money! I try to plan out our weekly menu with a variety of foods that we would like to order in restaurants. (I get a lot of my inspiration from other blogs as well!) I even made homemade tortilla chips one day and they were so easy & delicious! It can be something small as well, like making your own brewed sweet tea and drinking it out of a Mason Jar! It’s the little added touches that make the experience at home fun! 😉

3.Shopping at Aldi- I would love to get into couponing someday, but man that seems like so much work and dedication! I applaud all those who are true couponers! Way to go! My way of saving on groceries is by shopping at Aldi. We save so much here and they range in a variety of foods, plus they also have an organic selection and some name brand items. Before I go I try to always meal plan and use the most recent flyer as a guide. It’s definitely a process, but it saves a ton of money along with writing out my meals for the week.

4.Driving Less- We try not to venture too far during the week, and occasionally we’ll drive out to the beach on the weekends, but that’s about it. We have a park close by that we can walk to and other close things nearby as well (I am so thankful for the location we are in.) I have learned to adapt to hobbies at home such as cooking, reading, art projects with Little Johnny, and just enjoying our home.

5. DIYing- This one is fun for me! While some DIY projects can be expensive, not all of them are. DIY projects range in all sorts of categories from sewing your own clothes to family pictures and home decor projects. (I also include food in this topic as well.) Whatever it is that you would love to go out and purchase, try creating it yourself first. It doesn’t have to be anything huge either. We don’t own a home, but I know that home repairs are always the cheapest way to go for most projects. (YouTube is a great friend for that!) It may take more time, but the amount you’ll save is worth it.

6. Consignment Store Shopping- We have bought most of Little Johnny’s clothes (and toys) at Once Upon A Child. Their clothes are at a really great price, but the best part is the quality is amazing! I have bought so many clothes (name brand too) that still have the price tag on them. The best part is we actually get compliments from others about a certain outfit that looks cute on Little Johnny.

7. Clothes Shopping is put to a STOP- While I seriously love to shop for clothes, it’s been almost one year since I purchased any new clothes item for myself and Big John. Of course when we do need something we’ll go out and buy it, but for now our clothes are still in good shape and I’m finding things in the back of my closet I can fit into that I couldn’t wear after having a baby (although we’re mostly in our gym clothes anyways with running a Martial Arts gym).

8. Barter System- We’re going back to the olden days where this is what women use to do. “I’ll give you something in return for something I need”. Whether it’s helping out in doing a babysitting swap or a switch out of toys, this is a great approach to save money. If you want to take it a step further, managing a blog can be a great bartering tool for entertainment and children activities that you would like to be involved with.

9. At Home Date Nights- While it’s nice to go out and get away from the house, but when you factor in the cost of a babysitter, plus the expense of entertainment for the night…it adds up quick! We have yet to try this one  as our schedules are so busy, but I would love to set up a date night in our house as it’s so important to stay connected and have one-on-one time in a marriage, even when schedules are busy! It can be simply just making a favorite meal together and watching a movie with your favorite treats. If you want to really take it to the next level, here is a post I found on some unique “At Home Date Night Ideas“. (Now, the trick is convincing your husband to do some of these! 😉 ) You can also do “at home happy hours with friends!” how fun, right?! Remember it’s all about the ambience!

10. Develop a “Turn it off” Rule-This one seems like a no brainer, but there have been so many times in the past where I just leave lights on when no one is in the room. Now I’m becoming more conscious and trying to turn all electricity off (including fans) when no one is using them. These are just small ways to cut back on the utility bills. If you want to know more easy money saving tips on utilities, click here.

 

**Bonus**

Freelance Work- Finding something that can bring in a little extra money can be a huge help! Even if it’s just paying one bill. Recently I have been working for VIP Kid and with the amount of classes I teach I am almost at my monthly goal with being able to pay our rent! (So far I have also helped 2 other moms to reach their goals of earning money while staying at home too! I find so much joy from that!) There are many types of small jobs you can do from home, although the tricky part is finding one that fits your schedule along with something that isn’t sketchy…

Other Resources


Recently I have been looking into the Dave Ramsey system, have you hear of him? He’s the one that guides millions (maybe billions, I’ll have to check into that) of people to become “debt free”. He has a talk show that I have been listening to and I was skeptical at first about becoming debt free on one incomebut I have heard so many positive stories, and it can be done! This is a goal of ours that I have now come to terms that we can start working on, even with living on one income. We will work on the baby steps of becoming “debt free” so that one day we can live a less stressful life where we are not tied down to “bils”. It won’t happen over night, and that’s something I think I had to come to terms with…we need to just “buckle down” and realize that with time and determination, it can happen.

One thing that helps to keep track of finances and not indulge in over spending is keeping track of your budget. I’ll be honest, we have never been the best at this, but you have to start somewhere, right?! There are so many different apps and ways to go about this and I have recently found everydollar budget system that we really like (I actually found it on the Dave Ramsey website). Right now we really don’t have any wiggle room, which is why it’s so important to constantly keep track of our spending. We have never been really good with sticking to our budget, but now we’ve come to terms and are maturing with our financial decisions.

Right now we are living a frugal and simple life (although don’t get me wrong we still have very stressful days). It’s been a long and difficult road, but I’m finally learning to show gratitude and contentment in where we are (even if we’re not the richest folks on the block). Learning to be happy with what we have now and not always want more is helping to provide us with a simplier lifestyle (even during one of the hardest times of our life, and man was that a difficult lesson to learn).

The reality is this is a different type of lifestyle and with all things it takes time to change your spending habits over the years. Focusing on one thing at a time and evolving into multiple tactics have helped us to stay on track, basically getting into a routine of things. Focus is key, and also wanting it to work,  because if you’re not all in it’s very difficult to stay on track.

“The less you need, the happier you’ll be. Less is always more.”

Not everyday is easy, it takes a lot of self- control to stick to these tactics, but it’s well worth it. What are some ways that your family has been saving money?

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Motherhood

Finding your personal “niche”.

Isn’t it funny how after having a child it seems as though you are living a completely different life? (I’m feeling the nodding of the heads already!) Sometimes within motherhood you may find a new niche in life. Yup, motherhood definitely changes you. Here’s the truth, I for one never thought of myself as being a creative person, but something inside of me just sparked. I don’t know if it has to do with me trying to build a comfy environment for my little family, but it seems as though I have found a new niche in life that I never before knew was there.  (I swear this post has a point, so keep with me.)

I have been staying home and taking care of Little Johnny for about one year now. I’m so grateful that I am able to do so. My husband is working very hard so that I can continue to be at home. I am truly blessed.

Back in the day (and I say that because it really feels like forever ago!) when it was just the two of us, I actually said that I would probably be back at work after a few months of having our baby. Well, we all know emotions can change once you have a little one, so here I am staying at home taking care of Little Johnny.

love being at home, but I soon realized that I also needed to take care of myself and still find joy in the things that I’m interested in.

sidenote- This post is for ALL mother’s in life.

You’re probably thinking what is she trying to get across to her readers? Well first off, let’s talk about this fabulous word, niche. It’s one of those buzz words that is floating around all social media platforms. It’s something that I struggled to find for a while as a new mom that stays at home.  When you actually look up the meaning of the word it can have multiple denotations. Here’s what I found when I googled the meaning. img_5343

The type of niche I’m referring to is…

#2-a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.

Your calling in life,  basically sums it up.

  I’m referencing to the niche that relates to your own personality as an overall person.  Before becoming a mom my niche was my career…TEAHCING, but now I have that on hold (although I still think of myself as a teacher to Little Johnny) so I can focus on staying home and caring for our little boy.

Throughout each stage of life sometimes a new hobby or career is developed. Especially after having a little one.

Raw Moment…

A few months ago I kept having many moments and thoughts where I had a hard time realizing that for now my life consisted of cleaning, cooking, managing our home, and taking care of our little boy. Please don’t take that statement the wrong way as it is by far VERY rewarding and it’s something that I’m cherishing for a lifetime. BUT I soon realized that I still have to carry out my own hobbies & personal interests in life, thus referring to my niche. I was worried that once our children (yes, we would love to have another little one someday) were in school what would I do then? Of course, I realize I can go back to work, but things change so much over the years. So I knew I had to start building my personal profile now.

Have you ever felt like that?

Being a mama will always be my #1 priority, but I have realized that I still have to be the most version of me . So, that’s where this little blog comes in play.

It’s given me the chance to develop my own self while still being home with our little boy.

While being at home and caring for Little Johnny I found my “niche” in being creative with DIY projects, which help to make our place feel like a home. You’re probably wondering when does she find the time to do this? Usually it’s during Little Johnny’s nap time, and mostly at night when he’s in bed or on the weekends. Sometimes if Little Johnny is doing well during the day we go outside and I’ll start on a project while he enjoys playtime outside. YES to water tables! (No hazardous objects of course, don’t worry my #1 concern is about being safe.)  I have a little set up outside (thank goodness for Florida’s amazing weather!) where I can be hands on with my projects.

This has brought so much joy into my life and it helps me to feel like I’m contributing, because sometimes I feel like I’m not always “contributing” (even though deep down I know I am. ) Have you felt like that too?

Anyways, my whole point is that even in motherhood you can find your personal niche. It doesn’t have to be left behind. It doesn’t always have to relate to money either.

There are so many types of niches out there. Let’s take a look at just a few of them.

  • cooking-maybe you realized you enjoy creating meals for your family where you research different recipes OR just explore in the kitchen.
  • creative projects– this can range from sewing, woodworking, crafts, games… you name it.
  • education– maybe your taking courses to develop a career once your children are in school, OR maybe you’re advancing in your career.
  • career- maybe you developed your career and enjoy working.
  • blogger– maybe you are taking joy from documenting your life.
  • connecting with others– maybe you have joined great mom groups where you encourage one another along with planning fun playdates.
  • developing your style– Maybe you enjoy shopping and developing your style to share with others.
  • fitness– maybe you developed a hobby of some sort of fitness class or activity such as running, kickboxing, yoga, pilates, weight lifting, and so forth.
  • reading– maybe you realized that the joy of books and sharing your insights with others brings you joy.
  • planning activities- maybe you find joy with planning fun activities throughout the week for your little ones.
  • staying organized- maybe you love keeping your home organized and clean.
  • decorating- maybe you have found joy in rearranging your home and developing an interior style.
  • photography– maybe you enjoy documenting your life or capturing pictures of things that just catch your eye.
  • finances– maybe you enjoy being in charge of your finances at home and making sure you’re sticking to the planned budget.
  • hosting- maybe you enjoy planning fun get togethers with other families at your home.
  • volunteering- maybe you enjoy participating in volunteering opportunities.
  • outdoors- maybe you enjoy being outside and exploring new parks with your little ones.

And the list goes on..

So, today I’m asking you…

What’s your personal niche while also being a mom?

Here’s to all the mamas.

Wishing you well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life

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Motherhood

You’re Doing Great.

“You’re doing great.” Has anyone said that to you lately? It’s funny how these simple words can lift your spirits up, even if it’s just for a moment. Almost every time I speak with my mom on the phone she says these words to me “Honey, you’re doing great. I’m very proud of you, you know that?”.  She can always tell in the tone of my voice when I need some encouraging words (even when we’re 1300 miles apart). Here’s the thing about these simple words, they honestly send a boost to my motherhood confidence. 

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Stepping into the world of motherhood felt like literally exploring a whole different universe.

You speak differently. (sometimes I don’t know what I’m saying half the time.)

You dress differently. (I’m all about those boyfriend t-shirts and comfy pants, ocassionaly I’ll add the button down shirt “Claire Style” from Modern Family. )

You eat differently. (I’m starting to actually eat a little better in front of my son, but then ocassionaly I scarf down the “good stuff” when he’s asleep #guilty )

You drink differently. (sooooo much coffee, and on bad days I pull out the good stuff)

You google differently. (How to handle toddler tantrums? How to feed a picky eater? How to help a constipated baby? )

You sleep differently. (even when Johnny sleeps through the night I still wake up ocassionaly just because, you know I’m a mom and I worry…A LOT)

You overall look differently. (no more contacts, glassess all the way, which I actually recently broke! Good thing for backups!)

Basically it’s a whole lot of changes that happen so fast. Some days you feel like super mom, other days you feel like Cruella de Vil.

It’s tough this motherhood thing, but it’s also so marvelous. Along the way through this journey we often need to hear these words…”You’re doing great.” Because, let’s be honest a majority of the time we feel like we’re not. It’s hard to see the good when you’re not standing on the other side. In today’s day and age it feels like there are so many rules to follow, so many books to read, and so many people to judge you. It’s hard to believe that you’re doing great.

I’m here to tell you that it’s true, YOU ARE. No matter what stage you are in motherhood, you always need to hear these words. You’re trying your best, and some days you’re figuring it out as you go. Even if I haven’t officially met you, somehow you were brought to this post, so that right there says so much! I truly mean it when I say you’re doing great. I probably don’t know you personally, but I do know what a mothers heart feels like, so we have that in common. I also know that no matter who it’s from, we crave for these words to be told to us.

Can you do something for me? I want you to take a moment to  yourself in the bathroom and stand in front of the mirror. Seriously!? YES, seriously.  Just do it. I’ll wait…………..

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Take this moment to…

PAUSE

BREATHE IN

BREATHE OUT

SMILE

Enjoy this moment.

Look at yourself and truly examine your “mom eyes” your “mom wrinkles” and your “mom hair” (we all have them, no reason to hide it. Embrace It.) 

REPEAT

I am an amazing mom.

I am doing the very best for my family.

I am proud of myself.

I’m doing great.

“You’re doing great.”

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Listen, I know it’s hard to actually believe it sometimes, so let’s do a run down of what it looks like.

Do you feed your kids? (even when they refused to eat)

Are they somewhat clean?

Are they filled with love?

Do you tell them “I love you”?

Do you show them affection?

Do you give them words of encouragement?

Do you interact with them?

Notice how these items are the foundational platform to the art of mothering. Nothing above stated getting house chores done, or buying your kids toys. It simply states the heart of motherhood. Today I’m just here to tell you,

“You’re doing great, you know that?”

Love to all the mamas!

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Motherhood

The “grit” in Motherhood

Lately I have been feeling very tired and overwhelmed with so many items on my “to do” list that just never seem to get done. (partly my fault because I keep our schedule so busy, but that’s what makes our days so special). Also, we’re currently in the terrible ones (YES, that’s a thing!) with a very strong-willed little boy. There comes a time in your life where you  feel like you can’t accomplish it all. Plus add-on the exhaustion and emotions of motherhood, that’s a “hot mess train” right there! Here’s the thing about that. I realized  it’s okay to not accomplish it all. Sometimes you need a break, sometimes you need to slow down and just BREATH.

We all know life is messy and chaotic, but when you dig deep and look at the value of your life, that’s what really matters. That’s where motherhood grit stems from.

I often wonder, “How is it that I am able to keep going, even when I’m exhausted?  When I actually took a moment to really think about it, I realized that mothers have such a strong character trait called “grit”. This is what helps us to manage our everyday tasks along with our unconditional love for our family. Motherhood has many challenges, but it’s our grit that helps us to stay focused, optimistic, and determined to raise our children to become successful adults.

Have you ever heard someone say either to yourself or others “I just don’t know how you do it.” Well, that’s the motherhood grit I’m talking about. We just figure things out to work for our family’s lifestyle by holding onto the grit that defines us.

Now, you’re probably wondering “what is she actually talking about?” I’m referring to the strength of your motherhood character that pushes you through, even on the long and hard days.

courage

bravery

gentle spirit

determination

tenacity

perseverance

endurance

Mamas, this is motherhood grit. It’s what keeps us strong for our family while we build a loving home foundation. Here’s a fun fact! The above characteristics are what “top corporations” look for when hiring. Isn’t it amazing to think that as a mother you hold those exact qualifications? (I am definitely putting that on my resume once I am ready to go back to work!)

When you’re… chasing after little ones, dealing with picky eaters, taking on that heaping pile of laundry & dishes, dealing with toddler tantrums, going on very little sleep, making sure appointments are made (and you actually go to them), grocery shopping (when all you want to do is just order take out for the rest of your life), preparing dinner, all the house chores (there are so many!), working a fulltime job or volunteering/ taking leadership with mom groups, and basically making sure everyone is taken care of and thriving…ladies, that’s MOTHERHOOD GRIT!

We don’t give up, we can’t! We stay strong and manage to provide a loving home for our family.

Here’s the thing though…

Sometimes our motherhood grit has to be restored, we have to take care of ourselves in order to fulfill that grit characteristic.

So, I encourage you to take time for yourself to refuel that “grit”, so that you can continue to  love and provide for  others.

Today I did just that. During Johnny’s nap time I ate a cupcake drank a vanilla latte, and actually took a nap. It felt AMAZING! It’s been a long day, actually more like a few weeks (hence a late blog post).

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I think it’s time for you to refuel your motherhood grit!

Love to all the mamas!

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Motherhood

Hello Little One

Lately I have been really reminiscing back to when my little boy was a newborn. It was around this time last year (December, 2015) that I was going into “nesting mode” and anticipating the arrival of our sweet baby boy. He’ll be 1 years old in January, but I just can’t help to start thinking back to all the preparations we did for our little guy to arrive (but really nothing can prepare you for a baby)!  I’m keeping this post short and sweet, but while I was watching my little boy play this morning these words were flowing through my “mom brain”.

~Enjoy

—>->>->——->

Hello Little One,

Today I looked at you and I didn’t see my little baby. I saw a child, someone curious & brave. You are growing into someone I always hoped for & more. Those little hands are exploring so much, and you have even shown me a few new things in life. You have transformed me into a superhero, (because moms are). Every touch, word, babble, smile, & laughter are things I look forward to each day. I thought I was supposed to teach YOU about life, but really you have taught me more. You are my sunshine who brightens my everyday. I love you to the moon & back.

Love,

Mama

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Click >>>hellolittleone<<<  if you would like a printed version to use. These are words that I’m sure everyone mom has thought about with their child. It’s funny how children redirect your thinking. Love to all the mamas out there!

I always love hearing from people, so feel free to share your insights in the comments below! You can also share this post with anyone else and follow me on my facebook page,  as well as instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

Wishing You Well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life

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Motherhood

Experienced Mom Talk

Have you ever wondered how experienced moms survived all the stages of raising children (and they had more than one!)? Maybe you’re one of them. Recently I attended a MOPS meeting where a “mom panel” of experienced mothers who have been through the stages of motherhood and shared their advice. If you’re not familiar with MOPS it’s a nation wide support group for Mothers of Preschoolers, click here to get more information on this lovely group! Basically it is connecting wonderful women together to share the glory of MOTHERHOOD!

Listening to experienced mothers brought so much clarity and confidence in my “mothering” style. Motherhood is probably one of the hardest and greatest things women will ever go through. It’s a bittersweet kind of love. I’ll admit google is great for quick on the spot responses, BUT nothing beats advice from REAL moms. They have lived & breathed through it all.

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In my teaching days we always had professional development meetings where we would do “takeaways” at the end , basically what stuck with us. After listening to the “mom panel” I wanted to share with you MY takeaways. Maybe you’re a new mom and need this as a daily reminder, OR maybe you’re an experienced mom and need this list just as an “oh yeah” moment, OR maybe you need this list to reminisce back to when your children were young. Whatever you need it for, it’s yours to look at and “take away” something that will stick with you for encouragement in this beautiful world we call MOTHERHOOD (and yes, it’s a whole different world).

Advice from Experienced  Moms 


Be a Model for Them

Be Together

Focus on a Happy &  Healthy Marriage 

Cherish the Routines

Think Before you Speak (sometimes silence is key) 

Take Time to Celebrate Moments 

Set Traditions 

Find your Purpose as a Mom 

You are the Mom that God Wants for your Children, Remember That 


Click momtalkprintable for a FREE PDF form that you can view and print. (It’s a prettier version! ;))

love that moms are so willing to share their incites on motherhood, and I am so thankful to have heard such wonderful advice from these experienced moms. Remember, these are just words of wisdom, NOT “how to be a mom”. This list is here for support and a reminder that we as moms have a natural gift called, mothering.

If you’re an experienced mom what would you add to the “mom panel” for words of wisdom? If you’re a new mom what was your “take away” from this list?

Just one more thing…

Podcasts are great for moms to listen to as they’re running errands or doing house chores. Here is a recommended podcast to listen to ->>—> Focus on the Family <—<<-

 This podcast is dedicated to helping families thrive.

I always love hearing from people, so feel free to share your insights in the comments below! You can also share this post with anyone else and follow me on my facebook page,  as well as instagram. Thank you so much for taking the time to read!

Wishing You Well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life

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Motherhood

“Perfect Mom”~I think NOT

Okay, let’s be real for a moment. Let’s talk about what makes a perfect mom. Honestly, is there one? Raise your hand if you have never messed up once while being on this wild roller coaster ride of motherhood. (Remember, perfect means: make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.) ~source merriam webster dictionary

Okay, so we can agree to throw out that term perfect mom. Well, the media sure makes it seem like there really is one, but in reality there’s not. Here’s what there are… REAL moms, who are only human and at times will make mistakes (yes, that’s plural form). We’re all just taking each day as it comes and going to bed with a sigh of relief that we made it through another day! And hey, if you have to “fake it till you make it”, by all means whatever gets you through the day.  I mean, come on, we are raising tiny humans. Are you still with me?  Okay, good there’s a great point coming your way… Continue reading ““Perfect Mom”~I think NOT”