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Posts from the ‘Money Saving Tips’ Category

Pushing Through

In January we ran into Lowe’s to get a few things to fix our sprinklers and saw a great big, yellow CLEARANCE sign which is like a bright flashing light to me.  Does anyone else remember the flashing blue light specials at K-mart or am I dating myself?  So, OF COURSE I had to go over and check it out.  I found bags of tulip bulbs for $.25 and some of them were even starting to sprout a little green stem already. A master gardener may have advised that it was too late in the season to plant tulips and this was a terrible waste. This frugal mother of a boy that loves to play in the dirt saw priceless hours of digging to his heart’s delight for only $1.00  Who cares if they ever bloom! We’ll have fun digging and if we get a few blooms, bonus!   I scooped up 4 bags of a different variety of tulips and checked out.

The three of us with our shovels in hand started digging. If you have ever dug in the dirt with a child, you know how this goes.  Scoop out the dirt in the hole deep enough for the bulb and then the child fills it back up. Scoop it out again and plop a bulb in quick and cover it back up with dirt, then my son digs it back up again with a huge smile on his face. Bring in the watering can and we had a bigger mess and more fun.  Already well worth the dollar spent!  He played hide and go seek with the bulbs and once they were all buried, my husband and I  just laughed.  Well, we’ll know where we planted them all if they bloom!

The unseasonably warm winter here in California made for perfect growing weather for these little bulbs.  Just 3 weeks later we started to see small evidence that a few may actually be growing or was it a weed? We needed to wait a few more days and then could it be? Yep,  it was definitely the beginning!

Isn’t that just how God works sometimes, underneath where we can’t see it and it feels like nothing is happening? Just when we have about given up, He gives us a little hope or  perhaps a glimpse that he is working.   Maybe not all at once like we expect, but in small ways reminding us He’s faithful and present  in the midst of our struggle.

The lyrics in the David Crowder Band song Wholly Yours say,

“but a certain sign of grace is this,

from the broken earth, flowers come up,

pushing through the dirt…”

It is often the struggle through the dirt and mess that something beautiful comes. Do you have prayers that feel like they have gone unanswered? Do you wonder if God is really at work? I do too, but I know even when I can’t see what is happening, I know God is at work and more often than not, it is my own heart He is changing. Just like that little bulb pushing up through the dirt, He uses our struggle to make something beautiful in us, if only we wouldn’t give up when life gets hard. I’m sure when you look back at your most difficult circumstances now, you see the beauty you may have missed in the middle of it.

What are you pushing through in your life? Are you able to let God get you through it?

Looking for more encouragement? Head over to the The Better Mom and Women Living Well and say hi!

Simple Ways to Save Money

Simple Ways to Save Money

Use your library card!

I love the library. You can rent movies and books on tape.  You can check out music. Our local library sells past issues of magazines for .$50.  This is a great way to support your local library and not pay $5 for a magazine. I recently stumbled upon a great blog called The Great Read. She features something she calls Beautifully Balanced Collections from the library. She pairs together something to read, listen to, watch and cook. It will get your creative juices flowing and make you pull out that library card. She’s inspiring!

Save energy! 
We cut our monthly bill in half!  We contacted our electric utility provider and found out what the peak hours were in our area.  We try to run the dishwasher and do our laundry during non-peak times. We also adjusted our pool pump to run during non-peak times.  There always exceptions when you have a toddler and days when dirty laundry can’t wait. However, it is a great excuse to be able to say it was past 10 a.m. so it would cost too much to vacuum!

Eat in!
I can hear you, “But I don’t feel like cooking!”  Yes, we all have those days that’s why I try my best to plan ahead so it’s easy.  I once a month cook and put basics in my freezer so I can piece together a healthy meal.  If you don’t have time to once a month cook, make friends with the crock pot.  There are so many great healthy recipes out there and it always makes more than you need so you can invite friends over or bring a meal to someone.

Consignment Sales!
Our local area has a bi-annual consignment sale for children’s items.  When I was pregnant we spent $164.00 and bought brand new never used and barely used items that if we would have purchased brand new would have cost us over $1000. These are wonderful places to find clothes, books and toys too.  These are also great places to sell your gently used items if you don’t have someone to pass them on to or don’t need for another child.

Don’t say I can’t afford that! Coupon smart!
I used to think, “I can’t afford that brand of shampoo or food product. “ Now I realize I can often buy the better brand cheaper than what I usually pay for the cheap brand. Use sites like http://www.saveathomemommy.com/ and moneysavingmom.com.  They do the hard work of figuring out the deals. I just have my Sunday coupons organized, search these sites, and make my list for the week. I’ll be doing a whole day devoted to this later this month.

Starting to save money in lots of places on your budget at once can seem overwhelming.  Pick just one or two of these this week and it will give you the momentum you need to get started. Set a goal for something you want to save towards: an emergency fund, a date night with your husband or a vacation.  If your financial situation calls for drastic measures, I’d love to suggest you check out www.daveramsey.com.

This week be a saving grace to your family and save money!
What are some things you do to save money for your family? I’d love to hear your ideas!