Monday, October 31, 2011

Saving on the little things...

Is it bad that I typically dread halloween? You have to buy a costume, you have to buy candy for kids you don't know, and you feel the need to be super festive. Well, this year I had already decided that I was going to make this a fun, happy halloween without spending very much money. Of course that is ALWAYS my goal but i've never actually accomplished it when it comes to Halloween.

My daughter wanted to be a dinosaur. Of COURSE she did. :) I knew she'd be the cutest T-rex ever, but I kinda pushed for her to be a pirate princess again. I knew the outfit would still fit and last year I went out in a hurry and bought it paying FULL price. Of course that didn't fly with her so I was on the hunt for a dinosaur costume. NOT easy to find.

I began looking online... HOLY COW! $60 bucks here for one, $94 there... I mean seriously it was INSANE! I can't spend money like that. so i decided I would have to get creative.

I actually PRAYED about it. I knew that she wanted to be a dinosaur and I did NOT want to dissapoint. Wal-Mart actually had the "pieces" for the costume. (gloves, hat, tail) for several different things and ONE of those happened to be a dinosaur! She already had black pants so I bought her a black shirt (for $5.00 and she can TOTALLY wear it again), and i bought some fabric that was lime green to pin on her like it's the patches that dinosaurs have.

Needless to say I walked away spending $15.00 on her costume. The shirt ($5.00) can be worn multiple times again AND I still have a lot of that fabric left.... I feel like I actually succeeded this year.

Halloween comes around once a year and so it makes sense to go all out... but I chose to save on this little thing and i'm so glad that I did!

What about you? Any success stories to speak of?

Read ALL about our halloween.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Living HAPPILY on less... that's the key part!

I have to confess something... i'm not always happy about living on less. I live on less for a few reasons.

1. Out of necessity
2. The rush I get from BARGAINS :)
3. To help save the environment
4. To set a good example for my daughter
5. To teach me to be more grateful
6. To have money to retire on when i am 65
7. To have more money set aside to do fun things
8. To help others on their journey
9. To focus more on the important things in life
10. Because I feel like God has led me down this road.

That being said... I ain't always smiling about it!

I love the rush that I get from bargains. I love that i only buy used items. It helps the environment, the economy(well, that is debateable), and it makes me feel accomplished. I get such a RUSH from purchasing tons of groceries and household items AND clothes and leaving a store/s having spent next to nothing. That makes me feel so proud.

I love that Ava has learned that (for the most part) to get something new we need to give something away. Or, we can put that something in a box labeled "GARAGE SALE" and when she gets paid for selling that item then she can buy something. I'm not extreme about it. i mean goodness... i bought her a toy this weekend that she hasn't even played with yet, candy at the arts and crafts fair, and she got to do the petting zoo,bouncy houses and take the horse ride ALL of which cost money. So I am NOT extreme, but I do want her to understand that having a lot of stuff isn't good. It doesn't make us happy, it gives us more work to do when its cleaning day, and we don't get to appreciate the things we have.

So many good life lessons have been taught to myself, my daughter and even my husband on the journey towards living on less.

but there are days that I am green with envy. I see a friend get a new house, or a new car, or the cutest shoes ever and I instantly begin thinking about how I want a pair, or that particular item and knowing that I can't (or at least shouldn't) buy it makes me nuts.

I see my friends have their nails looking so cute and even though i've never been fan of the fake nails, I look down at mine after seeing theirs and feel sick because I want to have pretty nails.

For me when i begin feeling that way I literally have to close my eyes and take a deep breath. I do NOT want to get into debt again. I do not want my huge walk in closet to be filled with so much stuff that i don't even know what I have! I WANT to continue looking at my savings account and smiling so big because I did this! I didn't spend when i could have, and I worked hard to live on the necessities and not over clutter my life!!!!

But it's not always easy...being happy about it isn't always easy. There is a list of things that I want right now and I know I can't do it. Well, I can, but i'm not going to. This economy scares me. People losing their jobs left and right. Businesses barely making it. It is SCARY times. So if nothing more than feeling like I have a cushion to land on, i will continue to save my money, live frugally, and try my dangdest to be happy about it!

so what do you do... when you really REALLY want something but you know you shouldn't? How do you talk yourself down.

Oh the things we waste our money on

This weekend I was entertained by several things. I got caught up in people watching at the Arts and Crafts fair, and I laughed when i flipped through the Target ad. Let's go back for a bit....

The Arts and Crafts fair is one of my favorite things that takes place in Hot Springs. I don't like roosters, and tacky wreaths, and knick nacks, but I always enjoy walking around the Arts and Crafts fair. I do lots of Christmas shopping (well some at least), and that is always the perfect place to buy Ava's hairbows. I wanted to get a Christmas sign for our front door. Something that was personalized and different. I have been looking online for one and found some adoreable ones but they were like $45 dollars! Are you kiddin' me? So I held onto my hard earned money and saved it for this past weekend. I found 2 signs for our house and spent $30 and because my daughter is so cute they threw in an $8 dollar value sign for free. :) I think I scored! Now back to my entertainment.... I love people watching. People are some funny creatures. A lot of folks enjoy going to the zoo and watching animals in their habitat but i'd rather be sitting at the mall observing the most interesting creature of all---HUMANS! I watched as people threw their money away left and right on the most RANDOM items. I'm not judging what others buy, i'm just simply saying I find some of these things very odd. Magnetic bracelets that were $45 dollars, gaudy jewelry that was overpriced, crocheted oven mits(is that even safe?), and of course there was all the snacks. Okay so I need you to hear me say that I am not judging what people spend their money on. Not in the least. We ALL have different interests and different things that make us happy (hence the reason I say we are the most interesting creatures of all). But it's the looks I saw on their faces. I saw mom's saying yes to things for their kids and then pausing to look in their wallet because they knew they shouldn't spend the money. i heard people ask if they'd take a credit card over the phone. (Really... it's an outdoor fair). I saw looks of panic on these womens faces as they knew they had bought too much.

But it's so EASY to do that. I found the cutest little booth that had adoreable handmade kids clothes. I'm talking the CUTEST outfits you have ever seen. And they were different. Not overpriced. One little Christmas dress was $18 dollars. And one little Razorback outfit was $24. Honestly, when i walked up I expected to see upper $50's on most items so I was so pleasantly suprised. Here I am, this bargain hunting mommy that is striving to live life to the fullest on LESS, and I have all of these items in my hand thinking they are bargains. I looked at my husband and said "What am i doing?" I put them down, walked away and I felt shameful. NOT THAT I THINK PEOPLE THAT BUY CUTE THINGS LIKE THAT SHOULD FEEL SHAMEFUL. PLEASE DONT HEAR ME SAY THAT BECAUSE THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEAN. I just meant for ME, it was wrong, and I knew it. But i got caught up.

So I thought alot on Saturday about what crazy things we waste our money on. I could have bought that adoreable little Christmas dress for $18 dollars, taken a few pics in it and she would have worn it once or twice. It may have fit next year too, and at some point I could have put leggings under neath it. I know I would have gotten my moneys worth. But is that something that I NEEDED to do? No. Do I kinda wish I had of bought it? YES! But that's how it is folks. We get so caught up in things that we don't need but wish we had. We want our kids and ourselves to be dressed adorablely all the time and then our kids paint on their clothes and we wash a bleach rag with jeans... it is just stuff. And I am trying so hard to over come "stuff-itis."

then on Sunday in the newspaper there was the Target ad. We don't even have a target but i love looking through their ad. i love their clothes. I don't even buy new clothes, but I still enjoy looking. But there were all of these random items in there. All of these options for things to purchase. And it got me thinking about all of the random stuff we waste our money on.

I could walk about 2 seconds into my house and see items that were not necessities. I can see items that i don't even use. I have 3 cabinets in my kitchen full of things I never use or rarely use.

1. blender
2. mixer
3. griddle
4. extra pots and pans
5. 72 plastic cups (really--i'm pretty sure I threw out 30 cups last month)

I have so much stuff in my house. i have books that I put on a shelf, I have dvd's and cds that just sit there and collect dust. At some point in time those were important enough to me to buy and now I look at them with disgust. If there is one thing this journey has taught me it's to really stop and think about what i spend my money on.

I think i'm rambling so I will stop now. But think about it... what do you waste money on? What do you have in your house that you do NOT need? Is there anything you could sell, give away, donate?