Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Parenting · Side Hustle

When FAMILY becomes more important than the SIDE HUSTLE

This week I walked away from a really great side hustle.

This was not an easy decision to make.  Not at all.

Did I enjoy it?  YES!

Did it earn me good money?  ABSOLUTELY!

Do we need the money? We can survive happily without it, but the money definitely HELPED!

Then WHY did I quit????

Let me back track for a bit.

Four years ago my husband lost his job.  It was a devastating, punch in the gut, slap in the face, completely unexpected thing to happen.  (This is a whole other story for a different day, but the experience shook me.)  I spiraled into a depression and struggled every day to get out of bed.  I was constantly worried.  Worried about our future and about our present.  Worried about how we were going to raise three kids on…..virtually nothing at the time.  This experience has shaped a lot of my views on money that I have today.

Long story short, after 7 long months my husband was able to find another job (and even a better job).  This released a huge burden from my shoulders, but I still felt guarded and uncertain.  (I even tried keeping good news from everyone I knew because I was worried about letting that guard down and didn’t want to celebrate).

I decided then and there that I was not going to leave our financial well being in the fate of someone elses hands.  I was going to begin actively contributing to the family finances.

I am a stay at home mom, and that has always been my first and most important job.  I take this job very seriously and knew I needed to keep it as a priority.

That was when I settled on teaching piano lessons out of my home.  Now, I KNOW that this little side hustle really wasn’t going to make a HUGE impact on our financial situation.  But, in my fragile worried little mind, it was calming to me to at least be doing SOMETHING to make a little money.

I started out small and only accepted a few students.  I found that I LOVED it!  I loved teaching and spending time with my students.  I also found that I loved earning money; the paycheck was small, but after over a decade of not earning money it felt really good to be having a little personal income.  I began accepting more students and grew my waiting list.

This went on for three years and I was ecstatic.  I was making money!  I was contributing to our family finances!  I had my own business!  YET, I was STILL doing what I loved most and being a SAHM.  It really felt like the perfect opportunity for me.

And it was perfect…until it just wasn’t anymore.

During my third and final year teaching piano I began to struggle finding the right balance between my job as a full time mom, and my side hustle as a piano teacher.  My kids were spending more and more time watching TV and arguing with each other (I would talk to my kids about this again and again, but it was difficult to enforce while I was with a student), and I began to feel myself slipping.  I didn’t like that I wasn’t giving 120% to my job as a SAHM anymore.  I didn’t like that I wasn’t being there for my kids in those moments I NEEDED to be there.  I knew at this point that I was going to have to give something up; I was going to have to learn to be okay with not being the mom I wanted to be, or I needed give up my piano teaching side hustle.

I chose to give up the side hustle.

Now, I am all for side hustles.  I am all for making more money.  I am all for teaching your kids responsibility and independence from you.  I just realized that the piano teaching wasn’t the right fit for ME personally.

We all have our own ideas of our lives and the type of person who we want to be….and neither way is right or wrong.  My kids spend a lot of time at school, and at friends houses and at extra curricular activities and I decided that during those few precious hours when they were at home and awake I wanted to be present for THEM.  I wanted to be able to drive them to the places they needed to be, referee their fighting, and spend quality time together.

This doesn’t mean I am giving up the side hustle.  I still feel very strongly that I would like to contribute to our family finances.  It really helps calm my anxiety to make a little bit of money.  I just need to find a better fit for me and for my family.  Something during the day hours when the kids are at school, or the night hours when they are asleep.

 

I talk a lot about saving money and making money and sacrificing to have more money.  And I agree with all of that 100%.  However, never lose focus on the things that matter MOST.  What matters most will be different to every person. Spend wisely.  Budget.  Side hustle.  Do what you need to do by all means.  But, never do it at the sacrifice of the relationships that are very most important to you.  Money comes and go.  Things wear out and break.  Relationships are what matters.  I will NEVER get back these years with my kids.  They are growing (to to fast!) and before I know it I will have all the time in the world to work as hard as I want.  But.  For now, for me.  I am choosing my kids and my family over the side hustle…..and I know I will never regret it.

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for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life

“Painting” Baked Rocks

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If you have been reading for a while you know that I am all about simple and frugal activities for kids.  Mom life is HARD and BUSY and did I mention HARD.  So, if I can come up with fun activities for my kids that require very little prep, I am all for it!

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This activity of “painting” rocks is one of my favorites. It starts with an old fashioned rock hunt.  I encourage my kids to find a large and smooth rock, they usually just grab whichever one catches their eye first!  Either way totally works.  (See, simple right?!?!)

 

You will then need to “bake” the rock.  This is done exactly how it sounds.  Place the rock into a hot oven and let it “cook” in the oven until the rock gets hot.  I usually turn the oven on to about 400 degrees and bake them for about 15 minutes.  There really is no science here, you just want the rock hot.

 

Take it out of the oven carefully and place it on a paper plate, paper towel, newspaper, etc.  Now you can let your kids color on the hot rock with crayons.  It is fun to watch the colors melt on to the rock and look like paint.

 

After you are done “painting” let the rock cool and dry.  You will be left with a fun colored rock, we have a collection of these outside.  My kids are always eager to add a new rock to their loved collection.

 

 

Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Groopdealz

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Womens Summer Clothing from Groopdealz

I am an affiliate with Groopdealz.  I may be compensated for purchases made from clicks on my links.  

It is finally heating up where I live and today is my kids last day of school.  This can only mean one thing!  SUMMER TIME!  There is nothing that I love more than the laid back summer life full of pool days, popsicles, and bbqs!

I decided to do a little researching and found so many darling clothes from Goopdealz, all perfect for summer wearing!

I love wearing casual tees all summer.  They are cute, comfortable, and the perfect “mom uniform.”  This Hustle Tee immediately caught my eye.  It is only $15.98 shipped and I love the meaning!  We are hustling, right!?!

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This is another darling tee!  Floral print is so popular right now and I’ve found I just can’t seem to get enough!  This Floral V-Neck is only $15.98 with shipping!

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Here is another fun tee, perfect for summer bbqs and holidays.  The Stars and Stripes Tee is just $19.98 shipped!

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There really is nothing more flattering than a peplum shirt.  I wear these all.the.time.  Seriously so great for the “mom tummy” or even that “taco tummy!”  The Empire Waist Top only costs $16.98 after shipping!

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I am seriously obsessed with this dress!  I was immediately drawn to it and just might get one for me…AND my daughter!  It looks comfortable, stylish, and very flattering, plus it is a really good deal!  It comes in 7 different colors, but this blue was my favorite.  You can get the Short Sleeve Swing Dress for only $16.99 shipped!  Such a great deal for a dress!

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I don’t usually wear bikinis, but when I saw this one I fell in love.  It is really cute and I love the high waisted bottom.  Plus, the price tag is SO good!  There are two different colors/styles to choose from.  This Ruffle Swimsuit is only $20.98 after shipping!  Such a good deal!

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Happy Frugal Shopping!  And HAPPY summer!  YAY!

 

Disclaimer:  A good deal is NOT a reason to use credit cards or spend money that has not been budgeted for.  Budget first, and IF you have money in your budget, then it’s time to bargain shop and see how far you can stretch that budgeted money!

for free · Frugal Life · Homemade

Homemade Outdoor Window Cleaner

We have been busy around here with Spring Cleaning.  I might be a little strange, but I honestly look forward to Spring Cleaning every year.  It is such a beautiful time of year with new growth and the perfect time for a fresh clean start.

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Every spring we deep clean the outside of all of the windows on our house.  It’s a family job and everyone helps.  I have been making my own window clean for years.  It does a great job getting off all those pesky  water spots.

Outdoor Window Cleaner Recipe

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All you need is:

8 cups water

2 cups vinegar

1/8 cups dish soap

Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket and you are ready to scrub those windows!

That is all!  Seriously so easy!

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Am I the only one who gets giddy over spring cleaning windows????

 

 

for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting

50 FREE activities to do with your kids over the Summer Break

Summer break is just around the corner.  I have been looking forward to summer for weeks!  I love having my school aged kids home with me and I always look forward to a more relaxed schedule full of fun family activities.  I talked a little more about summer in my post:  Our Summer Plans: Keeping the kids Entertained and Mom Sane, this post includes how I plan on managing screen time and a couple of our favorite traditions.

Today I am sharing 50 ideas for a FREE and fun summer with your kids.  There are so many free activities to take part of during the summer months.  I love taking advantage of all of them!

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Outside

  1.  Picnic at Park
  2. Play Frisbee
  3. Run through the Sprinkler
  4. “Paint” with Water
  5. Go on a Walk
  6. Picnic in Backyard
  7. Play hopscotch/Sidewalk Chalk
  8. Draw on Sidewalk with ice cubes
  9. Go on a Bike ride
  10. Nature Scavenger Hunt
  11. Go on a hike
  12. Plant a garden
  13. Jump on the Trampoline with water balloons
  14. Play Catch
  15. Blow Bubbles
  16. Go Geocaching
  17. Play night games with flashlights
  18. Catch bugs
  19. Go Stargazing
  20. Make a Fairy Garden
  21. Wash the Car
  22. Learn to jump rope
  23. Make an obstacle course
  24. Set up a Lemonade Stand
  25. Make a Nature Journal

Indoors

  1.  Make Play dough
  2. Do a science experiment
  3. Bake cookies
  4. Make up a play
  5. Build a fort
  6. Make a dream catcher
  7. Make Slime
  8. Play Hide-and-Seek or Sardines
  9. Paint Rocks
  10. Write letters to friends or family
  11. Play board games or card games
  12. Make a summer scrapbook
  13. Play charades
  14. Make an indoor treasure hunt
  15. Go to the library
  16. Sing Karaoke (find free songs on you tube)
  17. Fold Origami
  18. Put on a puppet show
  19. Play Dress-Up
  20. Have a dance party
  21. Put together a puzzle
  22. Make homemade ice cream
  23. Dress Fancy and have a DIY photo shoot
  24. Learn a few magic tricks and put on a show
  25. Make paper airplanes

 

What are some of your favorite free activities for summer time with your kids?

Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge

14 Day Frugal Living Challenge

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I have been working so hard on my 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  I wanted to create something that would encourage, inspire and help others to live a more frugal lifestyle.

I have put together 14 e-mails (one a day), each with a different frugal living topic.  Each e-mail includes tips and tricks from me and a daily challenge, all related to the topic.  There are links to other articles, free printable worksheets, and 15 of my favorite simple and frugal recipes.

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I am really excited for this project!  I hope others will find it useful, helpful and encouraging as they try to save money and live beneath their minds.  If you are interested in signing up you can do so at this page; Frugal Living Challenge Sign Up.

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Let me know if you sign up!  I would love to follow along as you participate in the challenge!

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Finances · Frugal Life

Why we Cut the Cable and NEVER looked back!

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”  I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I may be compensated for purchases made from links on my site.

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I remember very well telling my friends that, “I could never live without my DVR!”  I loved having my DVR and being able to record shows whenever I wanted and watch them whenever I wanted.  I loved skipping through commercials and I really could never imagine myself going back to life before DVR.

Well, I am here to tell you that I CAN actually live without my DVR!  🙂

Five years ago we decided to begin cutting some costs out of our budget.  When the talk of whether or not we should cut out the cable I wasn’t super thrilled with the idea.  But, I wanted to trim our budget and knew that my precious DVR was not a need.  We canceled our cable, including that DVR.

And you know what.  There has not been a single day when I have regretted it.  There have definitely been a few times when I have MISSED having a DVR (usually when I have to sit through a boring commercial),  but I have never regretted getting rid of it.  The amount of money that we save yearly is so worth it.

There are so so many alternative TV options available today.  It wasn’t hard to find a few cheaper services for our family.

The first and cheapest option we did was to buy a digital antennae.  This was a one time purchase of $30 and enables us to get all of the public channels for free.  The only TV we had for a few months was this digital antennae.  If you are on a strict budget, this is a GREAT option for you.  It provides great TV without any monthly payments.  My kids love watching PBS Kids and my husband and I enjoy the news and a few other evening shows.

We have since added a few subscription services to our TV options.  They are all still so much cheaper than cable or dish.  Here are a few of my favorites:

We use Netflix every single day.  My kids have a couple of favorite shows they always want to watch and I have my favorites (Gilmore Girls!).  We use the cheapest Netflix option of $7.99 a month and we think it’s worth every single penny.

I have recently fell in love with Hulu.  I only signed up to take advantage of the free month trial, but I became hooked and decided to keep the service for a few more months.  I have been so impressed with all of the TV options available on Hulu and new releases they have available.  Fixer Upper and This Is Us have been my favorites lately.

My sister loves using the Roku.  The Roku gives you the ability to access all of these subscription services in one easy place.  We already have a smart TV so felt the Roku was unnecessary.  My sister didn’t have a smart TV so it only made sense to need something a little easier.  It is a one time price and very user friendly.  There are hundreds of apps/channels available to add to your device.

I have many friends and family that use Amazon Prime for TV watching.  We are content with Netflix and Hulu for now, but Amazon Prime really is a great deal if you take advantage of all it has to offer; including their TV/Movie options, free shipping and music available.

I did a conservative estimate of how much extra we are saving a year by cancelling our cable service, it came to $480 yearly savings!  In the 5 years since we cancelled the cable we have saved $2,400.  Think about what you could buy for $2,400!  I don’t know about you, but I would rather put that money somewhere more useful than spending it on TV!  If you only use the digital antennae, with no other TV services, you will save over $650 a year.  These little expenses ADD UP!

How do you save money on TV Viewing?  What is your favorite subscription service?  Tell me in the comments so we can all help each other out!

 

 

 

Uncategorized

Our Summer Plans: Keeping the kids Entertained and Mom Sane

I am so so excited for summer to start.  I honestly love having my kids home with me during summer break.  There are so many fun things to do during the warmer months and it always seems to go by way way to fast.

I have learned from past experience that if I don’t have a little bit of advanced planning and structure to Summer Vacation, we all tend to get on each others nerves.  I try not to make our days overly structured, because, it IS summer break after all…but a little bit of planning and routine seems to go a long ways with all of our sanity.

With school about to be out in a couple of weeks I have started putting together some plans and developing a routine.

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Screen Time

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I really hope my kids aren’t the only kids out there who think they need hours of screen time a day.  (and tell me your secrets if your kids don’t relate to this!)  BUT, I do not want them spending the warm beautiful months sitting in the house staring at a screen.

This year I am doing something a little bit different than I have in the past.  My kids will have to EARN their screen time by doing something educational, creative or active.  They have morning chores every day that will need to be completed, and then for every 30 minutes they spend doing one of the activities on my list, they will earn 15 minutes of screen time.

I downloaded a free reward app onto my phone to help me keep track of how many minute they have earned and used.  I have already talked to them about this extensively so their will be no surprises.

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Weekly Park Ratings

I did this a few years ago and my kids had so much fun I think I am going to try it again this year.  Every week we had a picnic at a different park.  We tried to explore all of the parks in the area.  The kids filled out a “rating” sheet with all the information about the park; how many slides, whether the park had swings or not, how fun they thought it was, etc.  At the end of the summer we had a folder full of rating sheets for about a dozen different parks.  We had a lot of fun and made a lot of memories exploring our city.

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Bucket List

The kids and I sat down the other day and created our Summer Bucket List.  We brainstormed all of the fun summer activities we wanted to be sure to do over the summer break.  I am going to hang this on our fridge where we will see it often and be reminded to keep checking items off.  This is my favorite part of summer.  I love doing all of these fun traditions with my kids.  I genuinely look forward to it all year.

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Library Summer Reading Program

Every year my kids sign up for the Summer Reading Program at our local library.  This has been such a great way to keep them reading throughout the summer.  They love going weekly and earning prizes for the books they have been reading.  Most of the prizes they earn at our library are coupons to fun places around town.  It keeps us busy fulfilling all of our coupons (and I love that the coupons keep things cheap!).  Our family has set a goal to read 100 books over the summer.  I printed out a chart to keep us motivated and we have been excitedly marking off each number.  Once we complete the challenge of 100 books we will be celebrating with a fun family outing.

Chef of the Day

I try to use summer as my time to teach my kids some of the important skills I would like them to know.  We have sewing lessons and I also have the Chef of the Day.  Each of my kids is given one day of the week when they are the “chef.”  They get to decide what to have for dinner that day and then they help me in the kitchen preparing it.  This is honestly a lot of work on my part.  My kids do NOT like having to quit doing whatever they are doing to come cook in the kitchen.  But, I think the skills they are learning are going to be worth all of the complaining I have learned to tune out!

100 Miles Challenge

Our family has another goal we are working on this summer of either walking, biking or running 100 miles.  This challenge is similar to our 100 books challenge.  Once we reach 100 miles we will have a fun family day as a celebration.  I am looking forward to many family walks and bike rides!

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Feel free to download my Free Summer Printables.  The download includes 100 Miles Challenge, 100 Books Challenge, Park Rating Sheet, Summer Bucket List, Summer Screen Time Rules, and a blank Money Chores sheet for you to fill out if you want to give your kids an opportunity to earn some money.  They are yours to enjoy.  I hope your summer is magical and full of many memories for you and your family.

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