Family · Frugal Life

My 2019 New Years Goals

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of goals.  Goals keep me focused and motivated as I try to better myself.  With the new year right around the corner I decided to share a few of my new goals.

It’s fairly common for many of us to make goals….and then a few weeks later forget about them.  (please tell me that’s not just me!!)

Here are a few tricks I have started doing to make those goals actually happen.

  1.  Write the goals down
  2. Include Action Items (what steps will you take to meet these goals)
  3. Tell Someone (this keeps me accountable!)

2019 Goals

This year I decided to choose a word for each goal category.  The goal is that this word will be at the front of my mind and remind me of these resolutions.

Personal Goals

Personal 2019 Word of the Year:  Prioritize

It’s so easy to allow my priorities to slip.  This year I want to make time for the things that are truly important to me personally.  My health and daily scripture study are the two at the top of my list.

I have scheduled time each day for exercising.  I decided to do this in the evening because it just hasn’t been happening in the evenings!  I am hoping my husband keeps me accountable.  I have gotten into a habit of reading my scriptures daily, I am hoping to continue that into the new year with a focus on more STUDYING what I read.

Family Goals

Family 2019 Word of the Year:  TIME!

As much as I have tried to stop them, my kids continue to grow!!  ;( Every time I blink they seem to be a little older and a little more independent.  This year I want to focus on TIME, enjoying the time I have with my kids NOW, before that time is gone.

We have made a goal to go on a small family trip each year and have one planned not to far from home.  I am also going to work on spending more intentional time with each of my children.  I have made the goal to take them each out on monthly dates and to put my phone away when they are in the same room as me.

Business Goals

Business 2019 Words of the Year:  Organize and Monetize

My business gets two words this year!

Last year I launched my business Sweet Frugal Life on a complete whim.  I assumed nobody would care about my opinion and that I wouldn’t even enjoy it.  I have really enjoyed blogging and watching my business grow.  This year I am no longer growing it on a whim and instead want to organize it and be more professional and intentional with the time spent on it.

I would also like to learn how to turn this business into something that actually makes money!  I am learning everyday and have committed to learning what I need to do to make this business successful.

Financial Goals

Financial 2019 Word of the Year:  Growth

This is an obvious word!  We all want it! We have spent a lot of money the past few years (building a house is expensive!) and now I want to start seeing growth.

We are increasing our emergency savings by 6%, increasing retirement savings by 1% and trying to save $5,000 for a new vehicle.

 

What goals do you have for the new year?  Let me know below in the comments!

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Affiliate · Amazon · Christmas · For the kids · Frugal Life · Holidays · Homemade · Recipes

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

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I was introduced to Christmas Hard Candy when I married my husband.  It is a Christmas staple in his family.  It’s also so easy to make, and even more fun to eat! 😉

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I made Cinnamon version.  But, you can also make a peppermint version (tinted green) which is equally as good!  It’s fun to make both and have both red and green candy to give to neighbors.

You will need cinnamon oil or peppermint oil.  These are not usually found at a grocery store.  I buy mine at a craft store in the cake decorating section.  I also found them for you on Amazon.  Do not use cinnamon or peppermint extract, it won’t turn out as good!  (I promise, I tried!)

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

3 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

1/2 tsp cinnamon or peppermint oil

1 tsp red (for cinnamon) or green (for peppermint) food coloring

In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Cook on medium to high heat until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in oil and food coloring, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong.  Immediately pour onto an oiled cookie sheet.  Cool and break into pieces.  Store in air tight container.

 

 

Let me know if you try it and like it!  It puts a big smile on my husbands face every year!

Check out my other Christmas Recipes:

Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Family · Finances · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin · Money Helps · Parenting

My Story: The nightmare experience that changed me from Spender to Saver

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I’ve tried to write this story many, many times.

I’ve typed, and deleted more times than I can count.

It’s hard to share about a time in my life when my thoughts were so dark, my joy completely gone, and my shoulders heavy with burdens.  This is a time in my life when I would wake up every single morning with tears in my eyes and panic in my chest.  The moment I opened my eyes was the hardest part of my day.  The realization that I was going to have to live another dark day was almost more than I could bear.

I still have some PTSD from this situation.  My heart still clenches every time someone says the word “unemployed.”  The memories come back into my mind and I am reminded about the pain and stress during this time of my life.  It is hard to talk about, hard to relive it all.

And, yet, I know that others deal with much worse.  This small trial in my life is so small compared to what others go through.  I am so embarrassed that I wasn’t able to handle it all with more strength and courage.  I am embarrassed that it affected me so deeply and sent me into a dark depression.  I am embarrassed that others go through heartache after heartache, burden after burden, all with a smile on their face……and I couldn’t even handle this.  It makes me feel weak and full of shame.  I wish I would have, could have been stronger and better through it.  But, I wasn’t.

4 years ago my husband came home and told me he had lost his job.

My world immediately came crashing down on me.  I still shed tears every October 8 at 1:36 PM.  The moment everything changed.

The next 7 months was a nightmare.

I found myself checking and rechecking our bank account.  Calculating and recalculating how much we spend each month and how much we can cut out.  Every penny spent was like a kick in the gut.

I found myself worrying about all of the “what ifs.”  What if he can’t find another job.  What if we have to relocate (for the 4th time!).  What if I have to go back to work and leave my favorite job in the world as Stay at Home Mom.  What if we will never be able to afford to retire.  What if we won’t be able to send our kids to college.  What if we have to take my daughters out of gymnastics and piano lessons.  What if we can’t afford to buy the kids Christmas presents.  What if life will never be the same again.  What if we lose everything.

I worried about my husband.  Worried about his confidence, self-esteem, and pride.  I worried about my children.  I worried about the stress and burden they would have to feel.  I worried about our future, our present, and everything in between.

We began conversations about medicaid, unemployment and food stamps.

We felt like failures.  Failures as parents.  Failures as adults.  Failures as people.

We didn’t want anybody to know.  We didn’t want the judgments or the whispers.  They all found out……but nobody said anything, and that felt almost worst.

We wanted everyone to stop pretending like everything was normal.  As neighbors would smile at me and say in passing, “Hey, how’s it going?”  I knew the response they expected was, “Good, how are you?”  When really I wanted to scream at them, “I am miserable!  My husband is miserable!  We are crying every second behind closed doors and yet here you are wanting me to smile and make fake conversation!”

Or, there was the family members who planned a family get together that would require everyone to spend a lot of money in order to come.  I couldn’t understand how anyone could be so inconsiderate.  Do they not realize that we have ZERO money coming in right now and every penny spent feels like we are one step closer to living on the streets?  It hurt.  It hurt really bad.

These are not easy things to admit.  I told you that I wasn’t in a good place at this time.  A better person would have handled it all better.  A better person wouldn’t have gotten so upset…..but I wasn’t that person, and I am ashamed by it.

Not everyone was insensitive to our situation.  Their was the neighbor that held me for 10 minutes as I cried and cried.  My sister who allowed me to vent all of my frustrations day in and day out and never judged or condemned my feelings.  My dad who hired my husband for odd jobs and used his personal connections to try to network for us.  The many secret envelopes of money that showed up at our doorstep right in time for Christmas.  We had many many earthly angels placed in our life at this time.

My husband is an amazing man and an extremely hard worker.  He immediately updated his resume and spent every single day visiting local businesses, trying to network and make connections.  He would call and stay up to date with everywhere he placed his resume.  He spent hours browsing the internet looking for any new positions posted.  He picked up every side job he could find.  He hung Christmas lights, worked for a sod company, stained a pig pen, bottled milk at a dairy plant, and hired himself out as a handy man.

We started out with the hope that he would only be out of work for a few weeks.

Weeks turned into months.  7 months went by and he began sending his resume further and further away.

He had a few interviews.  He even had a job offer, which suddenly disappeared one day.  And that was my breaking point, the moment I felt as if I had been thrown in a deep dark hole and all hope was lost.

And then a miracle happened.

He decided to look on Craigslist again (which had always been a dead end in the past).  He found a job posting for what looked like the perfect fit.

The ironic thing about this posting is that this was the very first business he stopped by that first day of being out of work.  They had told him they weren’t hiring.  7 months had changed that.

He sent in his resume.  Didn’t hear anything.  He called them a week later to check up.  He was offered an interview.

He showed up for the interview the next day and was shocked when he was greeted by two of his good friends from college.  They had graduated in the same program together, worked on research projects together, and then had gone their separate ways.  That was 10 years ago.  These friends vouched for him and were a huge part of him getting this job.

The interview went well, but we had gotten our hopes up far to many times and feared another letdown.

Three days went by without a word.  Again, my husband called to check up on his status.  He was offered the job on the spot.  This was his dream job.  A perfect fit for him and our family.  Do you believe in a higher being?  Because I do.  And, I believe He helped my husband find this job.  The friends that were vital to him getting this position, both left the company just two months later.  Coincidence?  I think not.  This all happened as it was suppose to.

Why am I telling you this?

So that you understand why am I am the way that I am.

I am a natural spender.  (Read my post A Financial Tale of Two Sisters for more info on that).  Before this experience I lived fairly frugal.  I didn’t have any debt, I made 80% of our meals at home, and I tried to save a little from each paycheck.

Yet, I didn’t stick to a budget.  I didn’t blink an eye when I would drop $200 at Target.  I impulsed shopped.  I bought what I wanted, when I wanted.  I used the phrase, “I deserve this, so I will buy it” far more than I would like to admit.  I assumed life would always be easy and there was really no reason to worry about money.

I was wrong.  So very wrong.

When we spent these 7 months unemployed and I felt all of the many heartaches and pressures of finances, constantly worrying and wondering if we would have enough to survive; I learned just how important the value of a dollar is.

I vowed to never feel that way again.

I can’t control whether my husband loses his job again or not.  But, I can control my spending and my saving.

I realized that when there’s a will, there’s a way.

We learned to live life without ever going out to eat.  I figured out how to cut my grocery budget (something I had always deemed “impossible” before this).  I learned to shop at the thrift store, to use what we already had on hand.  I learned to say “no.”  I realized just how much unnecessary spending I had been doing, and just how wasteful it all was.  I learned that all of my excuses, were just that, excuses.  When we absolutely HAD to cut our spending, we DID it!

I worried a lot about my kids.  I didn’t want them to feel these adult burdens.

Immediately after losing his job, my husband and I sat our children down and told them through tears what had happened.  We explained to them that things were going to have to change as we needed to be more careful with our money.  Our kids cried and cried as we hugged them and told them everything would be ok…..all the while I was secretly wondering, “would it be ok?????

About 5 months into unemployment my oldest child announced, “Nothing has really changed!  It feels the same as it did before!”  I was so relieved to hear her say this.

The thing is, everything had changed.  I was spending 75% less each month than I had been before.  Yet, my kids were obviously not hurting.  This taught me that kids do NOT need a lot of money spent on them in order for them to be happy.  They were perfectly content with the simple life we had created.

This is why I am frugal.  This is why I would rather have money in the bank than stuff in my house.  Saving money brings me the security and assurance that we will be taken care of if we ever find ourselves in this situation again.

I have learned that I can live on MUCH less than I had originally thought.

It is not always easy for me to live frugally.  I make mistakes, I get lazy.  But, when the thoughts and emotions of those horrific 7 months come back to my mind I am reminded that it is ALL worth it!

And THIS is why a spender learned to be a saver.  THIS is why I live a frugal life.

 

 

Frugal Life · Travel · Uncategorized

New York City in a Weekend

I have always dreamed of visiting New York City.  There is just something about the lights, the buildings, and the hustle and bustle that appealed to me.

I’ve talked about this dream with my sister for years and one day she stopped me and said, “Let’s do it! Let’s go visit New York City this year.”  And I said, “Ok!”  We decided to try to keep the budget low and to only visit for 3 nights, one weekend.  We made our list of “must stops” and started planning.

weekend in nyc

Day 1:  Thursday

We arrived in NYC at around 6 pm and after checking into our hotel we hit the streets!

*Money Saving Tip*

–We booked our hotel Priceline.  We found that they had the best deals (this is NOT sponsored!).  We also used ebates which gave us an extra 6% off the price.  We scored a boutique midtown hotel (with a king bed) for only $200/night.

Our first stop was pizza at Uncle Pauls Pizza.  The pizza was delicious and only $4/slice.  Win, Win!

After dinner we walked around and enjoyed sight seeing.  We visited Grand Central Station, St.Patricks Cathedral, window shopped down 5th Avenue, and ended the night in Times Square.  Everything we saw Thursday night was completely free!

 

Day 2:  Friday

Breakfast Friday morning was at Home Front Deli.  This is a small little restaurant, but boy was it delicious!  They made the best bagels I tried all weekend!  I highly recommend!

After breakfast we headed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or The Met for short.  This was one of my favorite stops of the entire trip!  It is WELL worth the money!  You could spend DAYS in this museum.  We focused on the Egyptian Room, The American Wing, and European Art.  Everything was absolutely incredible!

 

*Money Saving Tip*

–To help on costs we bought the Explorer Pass.  This was the cheapest option we found for us to be able to see our “must stop” places.  We used it for The Met, Top of the Rock and 9/11 Memorial Museum.  You can customize the Explorer Pass, enabling you to pick and choose the places you want to go.

After The Met we rode the bus down to Top of the Rock and were treated to absolutely amazing views of New York City.  Going to the top of Top of the Rock is not only cheaper than the Empire State Building, the views are also better.

 

Next, was lunch at The Halal Guys for the best Gyros I have ever had.  This is seriously a must stop.  The portions was huge and only around $8 for a platter.

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That night we had tickets to go see The Lion King on Broadway.  This was one of our big splurges for the trip and it did not disappoint!  We paid full price for our tickets to The Lion King, but there are ways to get discount Broadway Tickets.

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*Money Saving Tip*

—You can buy same day Broadway tickets at the TKTS booth located right in Times Square.  These same day tickets are heavily discounted for a select shows.

–For Hamilton tickets download the Hamilton app onto your phone.  You can enter a lottery with the winner given the option to buy two Broadway Hamilton tickets for just $10 a piece.  Warning:  I have entered this lottery numerous time with no success!

–Check out Today Tix for discounted tickets that can be bought in advance.  We used this service for a Broadway show Saturday night and were very pleased with it!

Day 3:  Saturday

Saturday breakfast was at Zuckers Bagels.  I didn’t enjoy this breakfast quite as much as Home Front Deli, but it was still really good!

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Immediately after breakfast we headed to the 9/11 museum.  We were treated to an amazing museum full of heart wrenching photos, survivor stories and gut wrenching facts.  We spent about 3 hours walking around and taking it all in.  We honestly could have spent all day there, they had so many exhibits and information to look through.

 

 

After the museum we headed Downtown to hop onto the Staten Island Ferry.  This is a completely FREE ferry that takes you right past the statue of liberty.  It was so simple to walk right on to the ferry.  I recommend going to the very back so that you can also be treated to a view of the NYC skyline.

The views of the Statue of Liberty were even better than we had expected!  Once we arrived to New Jersey, we walked off, went around the corner and walked right onto the next ferry to ride back to Manhattan.  This was really easy, and you just can’t beat FREE!

Next, we headed to Brooklyn for a walk across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.  It was a wet and stormy day, but we still enjoyed the views on the bridge. The architecture was incredible!

 

That evening we had dinner at The Melt.  They make gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.  The food was amazing and very budget friendly!

After dinner we headed to another Broadway Show, Waitress.  To save money on this show we bought our tickets using TodaysTix.

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Day 4:  Sunday

We had half a day on Sunday before needing to catch our plane.  Breakfast was at Wafels and Dinges.  Which is absolutely delicious, and a MUST stop when in New York City.

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Following my sweet tooth we went straight from breakfast to Levain Bakery for the absolute BEST cookie I have EVER had!!!  You MUST, I repeat, MUST stop by Levain Bakery.  Their cookies were absolutely amazing!

 

We ate our cookies in Central Park and then spent the rest of the morning wandering the paths and enjoying the day.  It truly is a beautiful park with so many unique areas and sights.  I loved strolling through all of the different areas.

 

Our trip was a busy whirlwind, but I wouldn’t change anything!  We were able to see everything we wanted to see, and had a lot of fun doing it!  I can’t wait to go back again one day and visit even more of the amazing sights.

Be sure to check out my post 20 Completely Free Things to do in New York City for more budget friendly New York City ideas!

 

 

Frugal Life · Travel

20 Completely Free Things to do in New York City

Did you see my post about our recent whirlwind of a trip to New York City?  We had so much fun in the big apple!  I fell in love with all of the beautiful buildings and delicious food.  We tried to keep costs low and were still able to find plenty of fun activities to do.  During all of my research and planning I just couldn’t believe how many completely FREE things there are to do in NYC.  I’m sharing a few of those ideas with you today!

nyc on a budget

20 Free Things to Do While in NYC

Explore a City Park

1.  Wander Around Central Park

You could literally spend DAYS in Central Park.  There is SO much to see and do!  We loved wandering around watching the performers and enjoying the beauty.  Be sure to visit The Mall, Belvedere Castle and Bethesda Fountain.

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2.  Walk the High Line

The High Line is a beautiful elevated park.  It was made from an old railroad no longer in use.  The High Line provides a miles of walking paths and gardens.

3.  Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park has over 9 acres of beauty located in Greenwich Village.  It is well known for the landmark Washington Square Arch.  This park provides many different things to see and do.

4.  Bryant Park

Bryant Park is located right in midtown, making a visit quick and easy.  We visited Bryant Park in late October and they had their Christmas Shops and ice skating rink set up.  It was so fun to walk around looking through the cute little shops.

5.  Battery Park

Located near the entrance to the free Staten Island Ferry you will find Battery Park.  It is another large city park with paths and many statues and memorials.  A visit to Battery Park will also give you a good view of the Statue of Liberty!

Famous NYC Landmarks

6.  Take the Staten Island Ferry to Statue of Liberty

You may not be able to go visit the Statue of Liberty for free, but you can get a free boat ride that will take you right past Lady Liberty.  The Staten Island Ferry is a completely free round trip ride with fantastic views!

7.  Visit Grand Central Station

It only takes a few minutes to pop in and visit Grand Central Station, but it is WORTH it!  The architecture of the building is absolutely breathtaking!  I loved ever minute we spent inside.

 

8.  Walk Across Brooklyn Bridge

We had so much fun walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.  The architecture is absolutely beautiful and it only takes about 30 minutes!  The best views are when you walk from Brooklyn into Manhattan.

 

9.  9/11 Memorial Plaza

To gain entrance into the 9/11 museum you will need to pay, but walking around the grounds and seeing the site of the beautiful memorial is completely free!  There is a special reverence on the grounds that will touched me.

10.  Times Square

There really is nothing quite like Times Square.  A true melting pot of lights, colors, people and sounds.  Times Square is completely free to visit and a great place for people watching!  It’s fun to visit at least once, but I wouldn’t recommend staying for more than 5-10 minutes.

11.  Rockefeller Plaza

Home of the famous Rockefeller Skating Rink is Rockefeller Plaza.  It’s a fun section of the city to walk around and explore for a few minutes.  We visited when the ice skating rink was set up and we loved watching the skaters for a few minutes and window shopping past the buildings.

 

12.  Flat Iron Building

The iconic Flat Iron Building is a perfect spot for an Instagram photo!  It is such a unique building and I can’t wait to visit it someday.

10.  New York Library

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t really believe a library was a worthwhile stop on our trip, but I was SO wrong!  This building is absolutely beautiful!  We spent about 20-30 minutes to quickly walk around and view the different rooms (be sure to stop at the Rose Reading Room!).  This was one of my favorite buildings we saw.

 

11.  Charging Bull

If you are in the Wall Street area, you must stop by and see the famous Charging Bull.  It’s another picture perfect spot!

Free Museums

12.  Bronx Museum of the Arts

The Bronx Museum of the Arts is the home to many unique art exhibits.  It is large and open and rarely ever crowded.  The best part is it is completely free!

13.  Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology

If you have any interest in clothing and fashion, you would probably enjoy the free Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology.  It’s exhibits showcase the history and workings of the exciting fashion world.

Visit an Old Church

14.  Trinity Church

A visit to Trinity Church on Wall Street gives you not only a visit to a beautiful old church, but it’s also has an old cemetery on the grounds.  You will be able to find a few historical figures buried there, including Alexander Hamilton and his wife.

15.  Cathedral of St. John the Divine

The Cathedral of St.John the Divine is the largest cathedral in the world.  With plenty of detail and beautiful stain glass windows, it is worth stopping at!

16.  St. Patricks Cathedral

St. Patricks Cathedral is a must see when in New York City.  I originally thought we would only stop by for a few minutes, but the cathedral was so gorgeous with lots of details to look at, we ended up staying much longer.

 

Explore a New Neighborhood

18.  Walking Tour

Google “NYC Walking Tour” and you will find countless free guides that tell you exactly where to walk and what to visit in each neighborhood.  One of my favorite parts of New York City was taking in the beauty and uniqueness of each neighborhood.

 

19.  China Town

There is really nothing like visiting China Town.  I love walking through the streets, browsing the shops and taking in all of the sights, sounds, and smells.  China Town is a place you could spend hours in, or just walk through quick, it’s completely up to you!

20.  Window Shop on 5th Avenue

We had so much fun walking down 5th Avenue and peeking in all of the different stores.  This is not shopping for the cheap!  But, it is free (and fun!) to look!

 

There really is nowhere like New York City.  You can enjoy this great city, without breaking the bank!

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Be sure to check out New York City in a Weekend for more budget friendly NYC tips and tricks!

Christmas · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Good Ideas · Holidays · Homemade · Recipes

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Hot cocoa is such a fun staple to have in your home during these cold winter months.  My kids will spend hours playing outside in the snow and the first thing they ask for when they come inside is some hot chocolate!

Back in my “spender” days I use to buy hot chocolate mix at the store like it was nobody’s business!  Once I started learning how to save and live a frugal life I learned how to make hot chocolate mix from scratch and I have never looked back!

Not only does making your own hot cocoa save you money, it is also so quick and easy to do.  It also tastes much better than what you will buy from the store!

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Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup powdered creamer

1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in a tightly covered container.

To make hot chocolate:  Stir 1/4 cup mix with 3/4 cup boiling water.  Enjoy!

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We usually make this mix for our family to enjoy all winter, but it would also be a really frugal christmas gift for friends and neighbors.  Whip up a large batch, portion it into cute jars and tie a bow around it. Done!

 

Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting

Teaching Kids to Help with Family Chores: Including free chore chart printable

Teaching my kids how to work is a huge priority for me.  In today’s world with busy schedules and so many kids focused on screens, it’s hard to find the right way to instill a hard work ethic.

I’ve tried so many different methods to try to encourage my kids to be hard workers.  Many of those methods have failed, but the method we are using right now has been going strong for 5 years.  That’s definitely a record in my house!  I don’t know if it is teaching them the hard work ethic I desire, but I know it has been teaching them a lot about household chores and so I am happy with it!

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My cleaning system is nothing fancy, SO un-fancy in fact that it probably shouldn’t even be called a “system”! 😉

My kids have 4 main household chores that they are responsible for each week.

Bedrooms

The kids’ bedrooms are expected to daily be kept clean and tidy, including making their bed each day.  This usually only takes 5 minutes each morning, sometimes more or less.  Once a week they are required to vacuum and clean their rooms.  I always check on Saturdays to make sure they did what was asked of them and to verify that they haven’t stuffed anything under the bed or in their closets.  😉  One of my printables includes our Bedroom Responsibilities chart.  This is hung up in each of my kids rooms so they can make sure the chores are completed correctly.

Dishes

We have three “Dish Duties” that we rotate each week between our three kids.  These duties are:  Load the Dishwasher, Sweep the Floor, and Wipe the Counters.  After our nightly dinner the family all cleans up the dishes together with the kids each helping with their specific assignment.

Household Chore

Each week my kids are assigned a Household Chore.  The Household Chore is usually centered around a room in the house; one that the entire family uses, so we all need to help keep it clean.  These chores are rotated each week through each of the kids.

Our current list of household chores are:

-Kitchen

-Bathroom

-Great Room

-Basement Family Room

-Your Choice

I include a Your Choice week so that the kids have one week where they can have a little control over the area they clean.  They really look forward to this week!  The Your Choice options are:

-Do the Laundry

-Wash the Walls

-Clean the Car

-Clean out the Refrigerator

-Wash the Windows

These household chores are rotated weekly between each child.  This way everyone gets an equal amount of turns with each chore.

Paid Chore

I assign my kids one paid chore each month.  (other paid chores are given when they request it).  Our paid chores revolve around taking care of our animals (six chickens, one dog and one cat).  They will ONLY get paid if the chore is completed.  These chores are rotated monthly and the kids are paid monthly.

You can read my article Teaching Kids Smart Money Habits to learn more about my views on giving kids an allowance.

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This is how we do chores in our house.  Are my kids perfect?  No way!  Am I perfect?  Not even close!  But, we are trying.  And for now, this is what has been working for us.

I have turned my Family Chore Chart and Chore Responsibilities into free printables for you!  These are the exact charts we use!  You can get them emailed to you by following this link:  Free Chores for Kids Printables.

How to Use Chore Chart Printables

I highly suggest laminating the Family Chore Chart after printing it.  Or, you can just stick it in a page protector like I do!  😉  This way I can use a dry erase marker to write down all of the chores and adjust them each week.

You will want to cut the Clean Chores printables into sections and laminate each section.  This is obviously not necessary, but I have found it helps to keep the instructions more durable with my kids use.

I keep the chore instructions hung up in a bag for my kids to pull out of when it is their turn for that particular chore.

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I truly believe one of the greatest gifts we can give a child is teaching them how to work.  They WILL look back one day and thank you for giving them this gift.  I whined and yelled and cried and complained and told my parents they were the meanest in the world…..but I grew up….and I realized just how GRATEFUL I am that they taught me how to work!

The saying says there is more than one way to train a horse!  That falls true with kids too!  This is what works for my kids, you might find something different that works for your family.  All that matters is that we are TRYING.  Keep trying mamas!  We got this!