Feb 042014

Recently, my husband and I were having a date at a large bookstore, reading and drinking coffee together, and I came across this book.  I have not read the whole book, but skimmed through it and liked what I saw.  In it, author Michelle Singletary talks of taking a 21-day fast from spending any money unnecessarily.

Top Ten Fun Things to Do Without Spending Money www.habitsforahappyhome.com I shared the idea with my husband, and we decided to begin immediately (good thing we had already purchased a slice of cheesecake to split!).  Now we’re on day 9.  Here are a few things that have come up and had to be decided:  Food is necessary; eating out is not.  A new pair of jeans for a growing teenager is necessary; a new sweater for mom (who has several) is not.  A new sheet to replace our torn one is necessary; new lamps for our bedroom are not (phooey).  There are other facets to Michelle’s plan, but we’re just doing the Financial Fast for now.  It’s going to show us, supposedly, where we are unecessarily spending, and how much we can save if we stop for awhile.  I see it as a kind of challenge.

So here are my Top Ten Things to do for Fun Without Spending Money Unnecessarily:

1) Use those empty Starbucks coffee bags!  If you drink Starbucks coffee at home, save the bag!  Return it to Starbucks for a free tall hot or iced coffee.  No need to say “no” to a friend who wants to meet at Starbucks to chat!

2) Pop popcorn and play a game with your family.

3) Get movies from the library instead of renting them.

4) Do something creative with all those pictures that are hiding in a box in your closet, or on your computer desktop!  Use supplies you have on hand.

5) Have another family or two over for a potluck dinner.

6) Enjoy a cup of tea by the fireplace.  Invite your teenager to sit down with you, and really listen to her.

7) Rearrange the furniture in one of your rooms, or move decor objects around from room to room.  I even change my living room and dining room curtains around sometimes!

8) Do a household project you have been putting off… one you already have the supplies for.

9) Walk around your neighborhood, just a stroll to enjoy where you live.

10) One of our family’s favorites:  Set up your own bookstore in your living room.  Put out books and magazines from around your house for each age group in your family, some baked cookies or a simple sliced pound cake, a pot of coffee and tea, and some music.  A fire is nice, too.  Everyone helps themselves to the snacks and drinks, grabs a stack of books, and settles down for a good read.

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse

The Habit of Waiting for His Time

 Posted by on November 13, 2012  1 Response »
Nov 132012

Meandering down a country road in my minivan, I saw it.  Out of the corner of my eye, surrounded by miscellaneous, unwanted household items.  I held my breath as I pulled the van over and approached the woman in charge.  “How much?”  I asked cautiously.

“Twenty,” she replied.  My budget is currently tight.  Very tight.

“Will you take ten?  That’s all the cash I have.”

(Without hesitation)– “Sure!”

My next hurdle was getting my husband on board, for he would have to remove the seats from the van and return with me to load it.  I wondered what he would say.  To my delight, he was happy… especially when I told him what I was paying.

We returned to the yard sale, my husband loved the piece as well, and we brought it home.  It now sits in our garage, waiting for its painting and distressing job, which shouldn’t take long.

I have been married twenty-two years, and have always wanted a full dining room with a table and chairs and a buffet.  I prayed about this almost from the start of my marriage.  We were married almost 16 years before my husband found the table and chairs set at an antiques store.  For the last six years, I’ve had a dining room with a lovely table and chairs, but no buffet.  I’ve looked at pictures in magazines, tried to figure out how to purchase one, plotted where to get the extra money , and even sighed, “I don’t have anywhere to put my grandmother’s china!”  All along, God said, “Wait.”  For the right time, the right price, the right piece… a quality antique with value that I could pass down to my children’s children.  He gives us the best but wants us to trust Him for the timing.  And then, one day when I least expected it, there it was as I was driving by.

This is the one God had for me, at exactly the right time. I smiled, because He is good, and loves me enough to give me things I want as well as things I need. All in His good time.

~by Kim A., The Daisy Muse

Mar 282011

It’s that time again…the beginning of spring and of yard sales!  I get giddy just thinking about waking up early on a Saturday morning, putting hot, strong coffee in a take along mug, and heading out in my van, extra seats removed, to the nice neighborhoods north of me.  Here, on sunny weekends, I can always find several good yard sales.

Why go “yard saling”?  Well, first of all, it’s the frugal way to decorate your home!  I obtain many needed or wanted items for my home at yard sales…all purchased at rock-bottom prices and in decent condition, simply because someone wanted to get rid of them.

Here are some of what I call my “golden finds”:Our kitchen table and chairs, purchased for 100.00 total.  What a blessing to find a set that matched my existing décor, and finally be rid of the used, 80’s formica table and chairs I’d had for 4 years!   (No, it does not look like the picture all of the time.  It usually has several used glasses and some schoolbooks strewn across it!)

My Kirby vacuum, with all attachments, manual, and full bottle of carpet shampoo.  The price was $100, I asked “How low will you go on this?”  and got it for 85.

My Hoover vacuum…so I would have an extra one for upstairs, purchased for 1.00.  The man also gave me several extra vacuum bags with it.  It is old and not made to last as long as a Kirby.  But for 1.00, I will use it upstairs as long as it lasts, then guiltlessly toss it as the cost per use is practically nothing!  I have had this for two or three years already.

My Homedics sound machine…I love to sleep with the sound of crickets or the ocean, but would never pay full price for one of those.  But for $3.00?  Certainly!

Jeans for my husband…in his size, Levi’s, with the tags still on, for $2.00.  I almost wanted to offer her more!  This, of course, was a one-in-a-million find, but we are always on the lookout for those! Continue reading »

Aug 202010

Heidi is a friend of my heart. We share many common interests. We homeschool together, attend the same church, have taught children’s choir together. Even our children match in ages – and are best of friends. Plus, we love to save money. May I introduce to you the one everyone admiringly calls…

The Coupon Queen.

I am blessed to be able to share with you what I have learned about saving money because I believe that as Christians, we should be wise spenders. Everything we have is a gift from God and how we spend our money should honor Him. We need to take control of our money. Being good stewards requires us to plan ahead and make good choices in how we use the gifts God has given us and being responsible with those gifts will be pleasing to Him.

Proverbs 27:23-24 says “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”
Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much”.

Like many homeschool families, my family struggles to make finances work on a single income and at times it can be is very difficult. As a family of five, I was budgeting over $200 a week on groceries, that is over 25% of my family’s total income. I was willing to try anything to help my family save money. A little over a year ago I was introduced to a new way of saving money, an idea that would change my family’s finances and prepare us for even the most difficult financial times. After 12 months of using this “new” system, on average I spend less than $70 every week on groceries and have a stockpile built up that can provide for my family for a month. Couponing has made a huge financial impact on my family and the blessing of security and peace that comes along with it is priceless.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:12-13 Continue reading »

The freedom of frugal living

 Posted by on August 17, 2010  31 Responses »
Aug 172010

Every now and then I need to make fun of myself.

See, I’m afraid I’ve become that stereotype. That bread-baking, homeschooling, make-your-own mixes type of mama. Really, it was a slow, years-in-the-making process. Now, simple, money-saving steps are just part of my life.

Bam. I was there. Bread-baking, homeschooling mama.

I know. I know.

But part of the poking fun at myself is the figuring out. Finding the freedom in frugality. Continue reading »