Category Archives: Marriage & My Spouse

How We Survive On One Income

When people find out that I am a Stay at Home Mom they automatically assume that my Husband must “make a lot of loot”. That just isn’t the case. Sure, he makes an average salary but we really had to change our lifestyle to make it work.

Like most of you, when Ryan and I got married we were both working full time and had a little apartment so we really had the freedom to do whatever we wanted. We tried to save a lot knowing one day I would stay home but for the most part, money wasn’t an issue.

The first couple of months trying to figure out how to live on one income was challenging  but with a few changes, it has been pretty manageable (we lost about 30-40% of our income!). Now, it has not always been easy. And, it does take a lot of discipline. But, it has been worth it.  I am so grateful I get to stay home with my babies, I wouldn’t give that up for the world (unless I had to…)!!

A lot of people have asked me how we do it so here it is… my Stay At Home Mom Money Saving Tips:

1. Pack your lunch. My Husband packs his lunch everyday for work. If we go to the Zoo or the Mall or to the park, I pack a lunch. Festivals, day trips… we pack food. This takes some preparation and I know that there are so many better food options when you buy out, but the money we save not buying food when we don’t have to allows us to use that money for other things, like a nice dinner date or, more groceries. This goes for your coffee too, make your coffee at home! $2.00 a cup adds up.

2. Minimal Christmas. Ryan and I do not exchange Christmas gifts and we only get our children four gifts each. The main reason we only get them four gifts is to save money but the other part is to not spoil them. They DO NOT need 10 new toys for Christmas, it is a waste. We get them four things that they really want or need and they are just as happy with those four things as they would with 100 things. We both have large families so trying to afford to buy gifts around Christmas (and a tree and parties and decorations and cards…) is really challenging so we really try to stick to a strict budget. I do cheat and buy something for Ryan sometimes if we have left over money….

3. Basic Cable. We have very basic cable, it is only about six channels, and that is so we can get the internet package. I really wish we had HGTV and Disney JR, but, we don’t and that is okay. We have Netflix and watch things for free through the internet sometimes so I don’t feel totally lost. Not only does this save us money monthly but it also keeps me from getting into bad habits (like watching trashy TV that will rot my brain…).

4. Cheap Groceries. Do not just shop at the grocery store that is closest to your home, shop at the stores that have the cheapest prices. You all know that ALDI’S is my jam, but I also will shop at Wal-Mart (however, I hate it there and I regret going every time I go) and BJ’s (they have the cheapest lunch meat! ). Sometimes I will go to Giant because they have things I can’t get at other places but I will not do all of my shopping there. ShopRite has good sales and coupons too.

Look, you do not have to buy name brand food, it all tastes the same. We should all be eating mostly fresh produce and healthy meats anyway so that shouldn’t be a problem. I do not know how to coupon and I am not interested in learning, so if you are like me, just start price comparing and make smarter shopping choices, not just the easiest option. This will save you money!! I get so sad when I am behind the person spending $400.00 on groceries at the basic grocery stores.

5. Less Eating Out. We rarely go out to eat at a restaurant. We will buy food one time a week (usually a weekend) but that means Chinese or Chipotle or Penera, not a sit down joint with a waitress. I would LOVE to eat out more, I LOVE eating out, this is probably the hardest sacrifice for me personally. Anytime I can eat something that I didn’t have to make or clean up is wonderful but we just can’t do it regularly. We get to go on a date not very often, maybe twice a month, and we will go out to eat (because paying for two people is way cheaper than four or five) but I would do it more if we could.

*There are times where I get lazy packing food or we just want to get out of the house and we will go out to dinner, but not going out to eat is a goal we try to stick to because it is the biggest waste of money.

6. No Random Shopping Sprees. Boo. I remember a time when I could go buy a shirt if I wanted one, any time I wanted one. Now, I just don’t do it. I can’t just randomly buy a new candle or a pair of shoes if I like them. I have to strategically save up my money and plan a time where I can go shopping and get a few things. I can not just pick things up here and there if I see it and I want it. This is actually a great habit because I end up spending less money in general, but it is also really hard when you see that thing that you would really love to have.  It is not easy, but the more I resist, the easier it is to resist.

7. Make a Budget. Come up with an amount that fits within your budget and budget out specific items. For example, I have a little file thing that I have labeled for different things (i.e. gifts, clothes, food, hair, etc.) and I try to put money into it weekly and only use what is in the designated file. I don’t get my hair cut until I have enough money in my “hair file”. If you are not that organized, just be aware of what you have and what you can/should spend. Being aware of your bills and finances will help you make smarter buying decisions.

8. Avoid Temptation. Avoiding going to stores that are really tempting unless you know you have the money to spend. I had to stop taking my kids to Storytime at the Mall at one point because the temptation to buy all. the. clothes. was too hard and I was spending money when I shouldn’t have. Don’t go walk around Target if you have nothing else to do. You will find something to buy even if you don’t need it.

And, that is basically it. There are a few other things that I don’t spend money on like manicures and pedicures, coloring my hair, massages… things like that. These things  weren’t really something I spent a lot of money on before so it isn’t a difficult thing for me not to do but I realize that some people may have a hard time doing their own nails vs. getting a professional manicure. I do like an occasional pedicure though, I’m not gonna lie. I just have to budget for that.

*

Welp, I hope you find this helpful. It has definitely been a growing experience for me but with a little self-discipline, I have been able to stay home full time for the last six years.

And, yes, I do wish I had the flexibility to take random vacations with my man, or buy fancy clothes or go out to eat more often, but like I said before, it has been worth the sacrifice!

Also (I will stop rambling in a minute), you do not have to be single or a Stay at Home Mom to practice any of these money saving tips. Try it for a month and see how much money you have been able to save. We do it so I can stay home, you can do it so you have more money to spend on other things! ha.

=)

 

 

 

 

 

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More About Practically Loving Your Husband

Hello World.

It’s me. I’m here.

What a whirlwind of a Summer. My life, I mean really. Lots of exciting things. And of course there is always some gloom thrown in there too. And tans.  And tears. And baby sitters needed please!

Moving on.

On my way to Church yesterday I was daydreaming. I had a revelation that I wanted to write about. One reason because my thoughts are more clear to me when I write them out and two, I have found that most of the time I am not the only person with these thoughts and that most people usually enjoy when I write about such things.

Okay, picture this. <Yes, I’m asking you to daydream with me for a minute…>

You are out somewhere and one of your girlfriends walk up to you. Well doesn’t she look cute and stylish?!

“Awe! I love your shoes, are they new?” 

(We all notice when our friends have new clothes, don’t we?)

“Yes, they are, I got them last week! I just had to have them.”

 “Well isn’t that nice. New shoes. I need new shoes.”

You shoot a look over towards your husband and say “Wish I could afford new shoes”. Then you look back at your friend and continue on your normal conversation.

And there it is.

Did you see it? Did you see what I did there? I just blamed my Husband for not having a nice new pair of shoes. That look, and comment, just said everything.

{I don’t have new shoes like my friend here because YOU wont let me get them. YOU don’t make enough money so I can’t look cute like my good looking friend here. YOU are not a good enough provider for our Family therefore I have to suffer.}

Ouch. That hurt a little bit when I thought about it. Is that really what is in my heart when I have a response like that? Yes, I believe so.

I know my situation may be a little different from yours. Together, we made a choice that I would be a Stay-at-Home Mother and with that obviously comes sacrifices (like shoes) but I know I still do this. I know I sometimes unintentionally put the burden on my Husband to not only provide for our needs, but ALL of my wants. And blame him when it doesn’t happen.

When I am not satisfied and I am being ungrateful (or blaming him for what I “don’t” have), I am telling him he is not doing a good enough job. 

That is so far from the truth. He is amazing. He works so hard for us. I may not get new shoes every season, or year, but I am clothed and we do take vacations and I  get to go on a date every once in a while and I pretty much get Chipotle every time I want it.   

I’m sorry Ry-Ry for being ungrateful. I’m sorry for not trusting God with my needs and wants and putting all of the burden and responsibility on you.

So, before you give him “that look”  or make a “certain comment” when your BFF buys a nice new house or your neighbor pulls up in that shiny new car… just think about what you might really be saying to your Husband, and don’t say it.

 

=)

 

(Disclaimer- I am not judging anyone else here, I am just sharing my personal feelings. I also know that it is NOT wrong to desire new shoes or a new outfit, or anything you may be desiring. I am just commenting on my response to my Husband in situations such as the one I have experienced.)

 

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Anniversary in Annapolis

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Ryan and I celebrated our sixth Wedding Anniversary this past Saturday in Annapolis.

You would think since we live so close to our states capital, we would have been there at some point by now. We haven’t. Well, we have now, but we haven’t been prior. You know what I mean.

Going to unfamiliar places for the first time is always kind of hard. You don’t really know what to do or where to go or what to see so we will definitely have to go back now that we have been.

I love old historical places. They are so cute and filled with so much charm and, well, history!

Apparently Homemade Ice Cream is a big thing. They have ice cream shops everywhere. I really wanted to get some but I was trying to save room for our dinner. I was very tempted though. There were lines out of every shop and everyone was walking around with a melty cone. I will definitely be indulging when we return.

 

map

This is where we were specifically. We parked on Newman Street (which is just below Green Street) and walked to Main Street from there. Most places were metered parking but we got lucky and found a non-metered spot on a side street. The walk was not bad at all, it looks a lot further on the map.

harbor

This was the view of the Harbor. If you have boat envy, you probably never want to visit here. Boats are everywhere. All kinds of boats. And Yachts. It is quite beautiful.  Everyone has a boat or looks like they have a boat. A lot of people dock their boats and hang out on them. I have never been interested in having a boat. I kind of want a boat now.

=)

This is the view up Main Street. Isn’t it adorable? I LOVE, love all of the old buildings that have been turned into shops and restaurants, little bars and coffee shops.

violin

I tipped this guy. He was amazing. I love live entertainment. His music really added to the atmosphere. Good job, sir. Keep on playin’!

street

That’s my man (who refuses to shave his beard) in front of the State House. What a sport.

pussers

After we walked around for a while we stopped into what seamed like a local joint called Pussers Caribbean Grille (terrible name, cool place) for some refreshments. It was a nice place and I wanted to highlight it. You can’t highlight everything else and not include a picture for others, right? Anyway. You should go here if you visit. Sit outside. You are right on the water and have a beautiful view. They have live music too! Eek!

melt

And lastly, we ended our evening at The Melting Pot in Annapolis. We have never been and have been wanting to go so we made reservations because it wasn’t far from where we were spending the day. It was really amazing. You should go there. You could definitely just go for dessert or appetizers if you didn’t want to go for dinner. We did the whole “four course meal” thing. Too much food! Of course, I ate all of it.

We had an amazing day exploring a new town and enjoying the day together. I am beyond blessed by the man I get to call my Husband. Happy Anniversary! Here’s to 100 more!!

… I’ll let you know how the ice cream is!

 

 

 

 

 

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“Don’t You Want Me” Music Video

What do you guys do when you are having a romantic evening with your Spouse?

Oh, you mean, you don’t make silly YouTube videos together?

Oh, Yeah, me either.

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27 Candles

I think this is the year that my hair will start turning gray.

I WILL be motivated to not just work off my baby weight but to get toned. Amen.

Stretch marks… doesn’t everyone have them at this age?

I WILL eat lots of Ice Cream because it is amazing.

Happy Birthday to me. What a wonderful year it has been!

A Hot Date, my favorite cake and some new shades- what more could a girl ask for?!

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The Little Things

It is the little things that Ryan does that really displays his love for me. Sure, it is nice to hear the words “I love you” every now and then but when he does something that I know he is only doing because it will help me or because I like it, that is when I really know he loves me. It is those little selfless acts of kindness and compassion that make me feel like the luckiest person in the world.

Cheese ball, I know.

After preparing dinner, cooking for an hour and finally sitting down to relax and enjoy it (the best you can while serving a husband and a child), it certainly is nice when Ryan says that he will clean up dinner. I’m sure he wants to do it just as much as I but he does it anyway because he wants to serve me and that speaks miles.

You guys know how much I loathe doing the dishes so really anytime I hear Ryan in there putting them away or washing them I love him a little more.

Last night I heard Lucy on the intercom and without thought or discussion, Ryan jumped right up to go check on her (when Ryan has to work all day I kind of feel like it should be my duty for midnight calls because he wakes up so early and my schedule is a little more flexible). When he got out of bed I remember thinking “wow- that was really nice!”. That doesn’t happen all of the time, most of the time it is I that has to run to her rescue but when he does do it, it really blesses me.

On Saturday Ryan dug up all of our landscaping, re-trimmed the gardens, planted all new garden things (you know, like plants and flowers) and has been non stop watering them (I didn’t know you had to water things so much- no wonder everything I plant dies). I’m sure the condition of the exterior of our home matters a little bit to him but really he did it all for me. Hours of intensive work because I wanted a nice garden (what man honestly really cares about color coordinated flowers?).  All of his hard work brought me so much joy. I really love it. He did a great job.

There are plenty of other things that he does for me on a daily basis that just says “I love you” without actually saying it (like calling me everyday at lunch time, hanging up his towel after the shower, taking out the trash, making extra eggs for Lucy in the morning and putting them in the fridge for when she wakes up…). When I stop and think about them, instead of all of the things he is NOT doing, it makes life a little sweeter.

I am feeling so blessed  by him this morning. Thank you Lord for such an amazing husband (flaws and all…).

* This post is not intended to make you jealous of my life or discontent in yours (trust me, my life and marriage are NOT perfect). I’m sure some of you are thinking “my Husband, Fiance, Boyfriend doesn’t do that”. I bet if you really think about it, there are things that you don’t even notice. You should go tell him/her right now how much you appreciate those things. I better go do that too before he leaves us for work.

Good-bye!

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300 MEMORIES

This is my 300th post! Please forgive me for not having written sooner but I was waiting until I had something else besides complaints and baby news to write about. It turns out that in the season of life that I am currently in… baby news and complaints is all I’ve got.

I have decided to dedicate my 300th post to the two people who have inspired almost everything I write about; Ryan and Lucy. Without these two crazies in my life, I wouldn’t have the crazy, fun, silly, serious, frustrating…. things to write about.

My life may seem mundane, lonely & boring to most of the outside population (I would indeed agree on most counts on most days) but behind all of the chores, child training & other endless domestic responsibilities I have- there is so much love and joy shared here.  It is the simple things (like my loving family)  that make up for everything that we don’t have. I hope you have seen that through my writings.

Heres to the people who give me everything. I love you guys. Thanks for the memories. Can’t wait to record 300 more!!

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