Monthly Archives: April 2013

Getting it Together: Budget

GITWeek4So, although cleaning is never my strong point. Paying bills on time definitely is. Let’s let’s discuss budgeting!

Getting it Together: Week 4 – Budgeting

Properly budgeting bills is a big deal but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard. However, when you keep up with your bills and your budget you save money because everything gets paid on time and you have better control over your money. Joseph and I have throughout the years managed to pay off all our debt, save up for a new house and move to a 1 income household. 

To get a good budget down, the first thing you need to do is find all the monthly bills you have to pay, how much and when they are due. Put them on a calendar, write them in a list, do whatever will work for you but get the numbers in front of you. Then consider your daily living expenses that aren’t a bill but still take up bits of your money… mainly gas and groceries. Give yourself a larger estimate than you think you will use. As you get this budgeting thing down, you can get to a more specific number but right now we don’t want to run out of money before you get paid again. 

For our bills, since Joseph gets paid on the 15th and 30th, I keep a simple spreadsheet that lists out our income, bills and expenses, as well as the estimated totals and actual totals each category comes down too. Since I mark the due dates, I know which bills need to be paid with the 1st pay check of the month and which needs to be paid with the 2nd pay check of the month. See example below and hit the link underneath to download a working template to fill out for yourself.

Monthly BudgetBlank Monthly Budget

Now, I realize it is nothing pretty but it really does the trick. A bill is never forgotten, I never pay late fees and I never go in the negatives in my back account. 

As I mentioned up there some, Joseph and I, at one point, paid off all our debt and was debt free. Now, that is no longer the case because we purchased a new car last year. But, here is a secret… I HATE owing money. I find myself more secure in my financials when I have less bills to pay to less people. Because of this, I also keep track of our debt and paying it down in an accelerated manner. 

Because I budget my money to make all my bills get paid and estimate gasoline and groceries, I am able to play around with the leftovers. I know that the mid month paycheck is going to give me a lot more money in which to play around with. Right now my choices have been pay debt or work on the nursery… and I’ve done both. But what better way to keep track of debt milestones than by keeping a simple spreadsheet showing off your accomplishments?

Debt Payoff SSLook at that pretty spreadsheet. Just put the date you’re paying on your debt (even if it isn’t extra), mark what it is (car, credit card, student loan, etc) the current total, the payment amount and then the new total. Because it is a super simple spreadsheet that I actually print out because I find writing it out more satisfying, I keep track of starting and ending amount so I don’t have to try and factor in interest. No one has time for that!

So, if you have a little debt you want to pay off, print this sucker out and put it to work. You’ll notice it matches the cleaning list and cleaning recipes. Almost like they are made to be BFF in a home binder (hint hint).

Anyways, this is just a quick run down of how budgeting works in my house and could work in yours, if you wanted it too. The most important thing I want to stress is to actually keep track of your monthly bills and about how much they cost so paying them isn’t a surprise or a burden. Sure, emergencies come up, but when you know your bills are paid, emergencies are MUCH easier to deal with. 

 

 

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Being Okay With Me

I previously have mentioned how I broke a major female stereotype in getting rid of a large amount of shoes. I also got rid of most of my fingernail polishes and pared my make up down so that it is only what I actually need in my day to day life. Part of the reason I did this was because I wanted to de-clutter and have less to worry about, but that wasn’t the only reason.

I don’t know if it is because I’m pregnant and expecting a girl, or if I’m just more comfortable with being who I want to be but I realized that a lot of what I have/had has to do with society pressures. I had a lot of make up because I see all these pins on pinterest that make me think I should care a lot about my eye make up. As a woman I’m supposed to have lots of shoes. My outfit is supposed to be perfectly put together and styled to a T.

And since being pregnant, and especially since finding out I’m having a girl, I realized that I am not that person who cares about that and I don’t want to be. While, I don’t fault anyone for finding things important that I don’t. I’ve found that I am more okay with admitting to myself who I want to be.

I want to be the kind of person who has a closet full of shoes she will actually wear and enjoy, so I got rid of the heels.

I owned tons of fingernail polish, but in reality I rarely wear it.

While I enjoy seeing perfectly put together outfits as much as the next person, in my heart of hearts I am a cute, comfortable casual girl. Jeans and a t-shirt are my go to and I’m okay with being that girl. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to slap together the perfect “going out” outfit, or know how to look “boho chic”. While sure, they are cute looks, they aren’t me. Those pinterest pins of millions of perfect outfits just exhaust me with how much I’d have to keep in my closet.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I want to be me and not worry about what should be cool or hot or in style. And, I think a big part of that is that I want my daughter to be okay with being her. Girls have it hard these days. Whether it is in your face advertising of “this is what you should want to be as a female” or more subtle cues, girls and women are constantly being shown who they should want to be, who they should strive to be and judged more harshly when those expectations aren’t met.

So, my make up drawer is super neat because I can spread out the few items I need. My nails (toes and fingers) are naked. I only own 3 pairs of heels. My wardrobe doesn’t have those “Must have” pieces and I rarely wear jewelry. And, I’m OKAY with that. I’m happier now than I was when I thought I needed to worry about those things.

And don’t misunderstand, it isn’t that I’m not vain. I’ll give a dirty look to anyone who says “it’s only hair” when discussing my locks. I just don’t happen to want to do some new style with it every day… which is good since I’ve got no hair skills.

My main point is that I’m okay with who I am, even though it is necessarily what society expects of me. I have those things I care about and I have things I don’t care about.

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The Rude Stroller People

This past weekend, a subdivision near where I live, had it’s huge annual community yard sale. For the first time ever, I went out and braved the crazy people and the too packed to drive properly streets to find some good deals. And, good deals I did find. I got a myriad of items including a breadmaker for me and a cute running frame for Joseph that we are going to turn into a metal display hanger. But, the main goal was to get some stuff for the baby. I will say that she made out like a bandit with some adorable clothes and some cute toys.

Then, we have the stroller story. We had stopped at this one house and as we were walking up heard “No, I am not lowering prices today”

That little fact is very important for the point of my story.

Instantly, I zero in on a Jeep Running Stroller. It looks to be in great condition, it’s a good brand and a running stroller is something I could definitely dig once the little girl gets here. For a couple of minutes we debate amongst ourselves and I look up and ask “How much is it?”

The woman selling it replies with the price. I say “I’ll take it”

Her husband says “here let me get that out for you” because it was surrounded on all sides by other baby merchandise.

Then, as the stroller is in the air, being lifted into a clear spot for me, the wife who just gave me the price says “No they just bought it.”

As in, after I said “I’ll take it”, they gave her money for it.

As in, I had already staked my claim and it was being moved for me and because they were standing in front of her with money in hand and could shove it in her hand faster, they took it.

And how do I know it wasn’t sold before that? Because they were asking if she would lower the price ($15 down to $10) when we walked up and she refused to lower it. And after a couple of minutes discussing whether to buy it or not, they still hadn’t bought it because she provided me with the price. I instantly said “I’ll take it” So needless to say, the rude stroller people won out.

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Getting it Together: Daily Chores- Evening & Weekly

GITWeek3This week I am focusing on adding to my little routine with some evening & weekly chores.

Getting It Together Week 3: Daily Chores- Evening & Weekly

So, last week I discussed morning chores. How did everyone do? I did so/so. I have a feeling this week will be better. Now that we’ve discussed doing a little bit of stuff in the morning, let’s discuss a evening routine. I’m going to warn you now, this list is going to look long, but that’s mostly because it is detailed and includes things that you have to do anyways that no one ever mentions.

Evening:

Cook Dinner – very important and should be on all daily chore lists assuming you cook at home. This is a legit chore! Also, try to clean the kitchen as you go, makes the job easier
Sweep kitchen – probably more of an every other day chore, or as necessary but considering it is such a high traffic area with little food bits, very necessary.
Fill Dishwasher & Run
Wipe Kitchen Counters and Table down
Dry, Fold & Put Away Laundry – I struggle with this. Drying it is fine, but then it sits in a basket. Which is ridiculous because if I’d just go ahead and deal with it this only takes 5 minutes! Plus, I can do it while watching TV
Wipe Down Bathroom Counter – takes a second and could do while brushing my teeth since that is supposed to take 2 minutes
15 Minute Tidy around the house
Weekly Chore*

That list does look long, but think about how quickly most of those tasks can be done if actually done every day. Maintenance is a whole lot quicker than start to finish cleaning!

Also, one thing that all chore lists have that I fully agree with is doing a bigger cleaning task every day that only needs to be done on a weekly basis. That is what the Weekly Chore is. The weekly chores Joseph and I need to do every week is a short list so we will have days that we might not have to do anything extra, or I can use those days to de-clutter or organize (yay for nesting!).

Weekly Chores:

Sweep & Mop – this includes sweeping the bathroom and laundry room as well as mopping them, the kitchen and the main floors as necessary.
Dust & Vacuum – including our bedroom (which might be more than a weekly task), the stairs and upstairs (which get less traffic and at this time would probably be once a week AT MOST)
Toilets, Tubs, Showers & Mirrors
Clean out the Cars/Wash Cars – a task we fail at but we need to be better at.

And now something super fun, the daily chores in a fun printable!

 Daily Cleaning List Daily Cleaning List

 So, share time. Do you have an evening routine? Are you the type who has to have a clean sink to go to bed? What helps your house feel more put together in the evening?

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Fabric Pom Pom Tutorial

PomPomTutorialI’m not sure I ever officially announced on here but Joseph and I are expecting a little girl! Pretty much since the minute I found out, I started pinning ideas for her nursery. One idea I ran across was fabric pom-poms but I couldn’t find good instructions so I ended up winging it. I plan to use these as part of her mobile, but really I could hang these anywhere and be happy.

Materials

For each Pom Pom I used:
1 Yard of Fabric
1 6inch Styrofoam Ball
Straight Pens
Hot Glue
A pencil
Scissors
Something round to make my circles

IMG_0384

To make the Pom Pom, I folded the fabric into a long strip and traced the round object and cut out about 8 circles at a time.IMG_0385

Once all the circles were cut out, I stuck a pin through the middle of each circle.IMG_0386

Folded the circle overIMG_0387

Added a drop of hot glue right where the pin was stuck throughIMG_0388

Folded over again so it was folded into fourthsIMG_0389

Stuck the fabric into the ball

You continue this until the whole ball is full. Every few pins I’d go through and check to see which sides were too packed in and pull out a fabric circle at random to keep them loose and fluffy.

PomPomCollage

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Green Cleaning

So I have a confession guys. Ever since getting pregnant, and especially since nesting has set in, I’ve turned into a green hippy. I want to eat more organics (which is hard considering where I live), I want to recycle and also I want to use more clean, green homemade cleaners.

I went and rounded up all the cleaners in my house, not including laundry and dishwashing detergents and this is what I found.

toxiccleaners

Ya’ll, that is ridiculous. Some of the warnings of those things are scary… Like the antibacterial wipes that are a hazard to humans and animals. WHAT? Then why are they sold?

To be honest though, making my own homemade cleaning agents is something I’ve been interested in for a long time. After a ton of research and deciding exactly what I need to replace (because we all know I don’t need that many different cleaners) I made a list of what I wanted to make and went about finding the information.

For one thing, I knew I didn’t want to have a bunch of things I’d have to make up each time I wanted to clean. A lot of recipes are one time use sort of things and I knew that would never work for me. I’m lazy. If I can’t make up a batch, the chances of this happening are nil. Another thing is I wanted things that were easy to make but still gave a really good clean.

So, I rounded up my ingredients:
White Distilled Vinegar
Castile Soap
Natural Dish Soap
Tea Tree Oil
Lemon Oil
Water
Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking Soda

CastofCharacters

When it is all said and done, I decided to make the following cleaners:

Multi-Purpose Spray – to be used in the kitchen, bathroom, quick spill clean up, etc
Dusting Spray – pretty self explanatory
Shower Spray – great for tubs, showers, sinks
Glass Spray – for mirrors and windows (Half water/Half White Distilled Vinegar)
Disinfecting Wipes – for bathroom sink and other quick clean ups

FinalProducts

The toilet cleaner looks to be the only thing I’ll have to mix up when I want to use it and that’s because it is a mixture of vinegar and baking soda and clearly that can’t be pre-mixed because the reaction is part of what does the cleaning.

Now, I’ve only just made these up, and I’ve not really tested them out but I’m hopeful that since I’m using someone else’s tried and true recipes that they will work out.

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Getting it Together: Daily Chores -Morning

GITweek2

This week we are going to focus on morning daily chores, the problems behind them and the solution to conquering them.

Getting It Together Week 2: Daily Chores- Morning

Alright peeps, let’s discuss the major flaws I’ve found in daily chore lists floating around the internet and on pinterest.

Here is an example of a typical chore chart that I’ve found around pinterest. It actually has less listed than most chore charts and really I don’t think it is horrible, but it suffers from the two flaws we are going to discuss.

Flaw 1: These charts are made by women and for women with the assumption that a woman is going to come across this and feel the need to do all of this herself every day.

Flaw 2: They never involve food prep, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And as much as a person may love cooking (like I do), it is still a chore. Cooking is a chore that not only creates a mess that has to be cleaned up, but a chore that takes time. It can be exhausting to do at the end of the day and to not include it in a chore list seems ridiculous.

Now, I don’t think everyone needs a daily chore list but for people like me, having a list is helpful. I feel a little bit of success every time I can cross off a task. I also don’t subscribe to this belief that I should do all the cleaning because I’m a lady. Thankfully, neither does Joseph.

Anyways, for the past few days I’ve been putting real thought into what sort of tasks I think needs to be done around the house daily. I don’t want this long list of chores because I get very easily overwhelmed and that only leads to failure. Instead I wanted a list of things that Joseph and I could complete every day that wouldn’t take too long but would enhance our life at home. Additionally, since I’m wanting to add these tasks slowly, this week we are just going to focus on the Morning routine!

Morning:

Make Bed –I don’t care about it, but it apparently does make Joseph happier. When we do this together it takes us like 2 minutes tops and since it is important to Joseph it goes on the list.
Make Breakfast
Pack Lunches
Empty Dishwasher & Refill with any dirty dishes – typically the only dirty dishes at this point are from breakfast or packing lunch. It takes a minute to do but helps me not feel so overwhelmed.
Put clothes in washer

DailyCleaningListMorning

Do you have a morning routine? What tasks do you complete in the morning that help your house stay organized? Do you do it alone or does your significant other pitch in with or without being asked?

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