Can you go for 30 days without buying anything new?

How long could you go without buying anything new?

How long could you go without buying anything new?

Yerdle is challenging people to make a commitment to stop buying new things for 30 days (or however long you decide works for you!) by taking their Unshopping Challenge.

They want to encourage people to unclutter their lives, save money, and create less waste.

If you decide to take the Unshopping Challenge, you can make your own rules. Yerdle encourages you to still buy food (of course!) and consumable items, but what they really hope to do is to challenge people who have a shopping “addiction” or who just shop as a recreational activity, to break free from excessive shopping and spending in order to save money and simplify your lives.

Here’s how they encourage you to consider setting up your Unshopping Challenge:

  • For 30 days, buy nothing new (except things you can’t re-use like food and gas).

  • Sign up for a Yerdle account (it’s free!), go through your stuff, and post pictures of items you no longer need, love, or use.

  • If someone is interested in your item, they can purchase it with Yerdle credit and you’ll earn Yerdle credit when you ship it out.

  • You can use your Yerdle credit to “buy” items from other sellers on Yerdle. You pay shipping on the items you “purchase”.

This is a great way to not only clear your home of clutter and save some money, but by taking the Unshopping Challenge, it will likely help you evaluate your spending habits in a new light. And maybe you’ll end up forever changed as a result.

Sign up for the Unshopping Challenge here.

Tip: When you sign up for Yerdle, you can grab your referral link and share it with others. If others sign up through your link, you’ll earn 10 free Yerdle points and they’ll get 10 free Yerdle credits, too!

{This post was underwritten by Yerdle. See my disclosure policy here.}

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No, I Don’t Think Credit Cards Are Evil

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

My interview with John Stossel aired on Fox Business and in that interview, I shared how I have lived for 33 years without a credit card.

Most people don’t believe that this is possible. But it’s true.

I’ve never had a credit card and I’ve never had debt. Yes, for real.

My grandpa raised my dad to never go into debt for anything but a mortgage. My dad not only embraced this belief, but then he took it further. When I was a young girl, my parents paid off their mortgage and began saving everything they possibly could in order to buy land and build a house in the country.

After a few years of scrimping and saving, they sold our house, we moved to an old trailer out on land they had bought, and my dad was the General Contractor for our debt-free house-building project.

Seeing the sacrifices that my parents made and seeing the freedom that being debt-free gave them and the stress it relieved from their lives inspired me to commit to never go into debt.

My husband and I went into marriage with an audacious goal for him to go through law school debt-free. This was a much harder to actually follow through with than we could have imagined, but our firm commitment to a debt-free lifestyle inspired us to make many short-term sacrifices in order to achieve long-term benefits.

After law school, we decided to continue our commitment to living debt-free and we set another big goal: to pay cash for our first house. We knew that if we continued to live very simply and save as much as we possibly could, this goal could be a reality in the next 5 years (it helped that we lived in Kansas at the time, where housing prices are very reasonable).

Hitting that goal in less than three years was almost 100% thanks to the huge increase in income we saw from this blog. However, we both feel like had we not set the goal in the first place and had we not been so committed to a debt-free lifestyle, we would never have been so inspired to work very hard at growing this online business nor as motivated to think outside the box and look for passive income streams.

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

We look back at the last 12 years of our married life and have zero regrets that we’ve chosen to live debt-free. It’s allowed us much more flexibility to make business changes and life changes — like our big move to Nashville last year. It’s also allowed us to be able to continue to live simply so that we can invest our money in priorities that matter to us as well as be in a position to give generously.

I prefer to use cash and rarely swipe a debit card for anything — except for online business purchases, gas purchases, and travel expenses.

Some people think that I’m dumb for choosing this lifestyle. I’ve been called names. I’ve been told I was crazy. I’ve been reprimanded over and over again for missing out on so many credit card rewards.

And here’s the thing: I own that I’m weird. I own that the choices I’ve made personally and the choices our family has made are not for everyone.

But I hope that our story challenges you to think outside the box. I want to inspire people to not just fall in line with whatever everyone else does or feel like debt has to be a normal part of everyone’s everyday existence. Because it doesn’t have to be.

No, I Don't Think Credit Cards Are Evil

You don’t need to do what we’ve done. You may choose to use a credit card or get a mortgage. You might have found a way to meticulously track your credit card expenditures so that you are actually spending less and earn big rewards that you use to further lower your costs.

You might find that you have more self-discipline when you swipe a card than when you carry around cash. Instead of using cash, you might choose to track your spending through an app like Mint.com, EveryDollar.com, or YouNeedaBudget.com.

I’m a big advocate of doing what works for you. And if you’re responsible with your spending and you have found a system that works for your family and keeps you organized and (mostly!) stress-free, than I say to stick with it.

But if you are struggling financially and you are feeling discouraged and disorganized when it comes to finances, I encourage you to not just keep doing whatever it is that you’re currently doing. If you want to see change in your life and finances, you have to do something different than what you’re currently doing.

If you’re new here, I’d love to for you to sign up for our daily email newsletter here where I share money-saving advice, tips, tricks, and great deals. In addition, if you’re looking for practical ways to save more money, check out my series on 52 Different Ways to Save $100 Per Year.

My passion is to challenge people to live with intention in all areas of your life and finances. You aren’t stuck, unless you choose to be. So begin today to make wise financial choices. Be willing to make those short-term sacrifices. Be okay with going against the grain — even if others think you’re weird.

Your hard work and effort and sacrifices will pay off. And I’ll be here cheering you all the way!

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How We’re Supporting Our Family with a Handmade Business on Etsy {And a Weekend Giveaway!}

MSM post pinnable image

Guest post by Melissa Kaiserman

In the spring of 2013, my husband was in his seventh year of a position that had gone from dream job to highly toxic work environment. The stress was getting worse by the week and affecting both him and our family. Despite his best attempts to just focus on doing his job well and not let it get to him, it reached a point where he really believed he was supposed to quit.

While my husband is (thankfully!) not a big spender, he is definitely the Free Spirit while I am the Nerd. I’m the one who knows the budget inside and out, divvies up the cash into spending categories, and pays the bills. So I was trying my best to be supportive and not panic as I analyzed how the finances for our family would be impacted since I was a SAHM with just a little side business that I was doing mostly for fun.

At this point in our marriage, we had been completely out of debt (except for our mortgage) for about five years, which was a major factor that allowed us to even entertain such a drastic change. So for the next few months, we saved the profit from my handmade business as well as our tax return and anything extra from paychecks. After we had accumulated about 3-4 months worth of living expenses, Dave resigned from his job.

He immediately started looking for another position in his field. While he was going through the process of applying and interviewing, he mentioned that I may as well teach him some ways he could help with my business since he was home and had time. So I did, though neither of us had any idea how vital this would turn out to be!

A few weeks after my husband left his job, I received an Etsy convo from a credit union many states away that resulted in an $1800 order! There is no way I could have fulfilled that request without my husband home.

From that point forward, we clearly saw God blessing my business and my shop continuing to grow. But while Dave had made it to the final interview round for three different jobs for which he was highly qualified, he wasn’t offered any of them.

After some initial discouragement, it hit us: Maybe God is closing doors because He wants us to do this together! We had assumed my husband would continue in his field and I would continue to be a SAHM who operated a side business that simply provided extra for Christmas gifts and vacations. Having a family business and working from home seemed like too big and lofty a dream.

For the past 2 1/2 years, we have supported our family of six with a handmade business which, despite the warnings of the pundits, has sold products exclusively on the Etsy platform. My husband gets to work in his field from time to time and keep his skills sharp, and while that only accounts for a small percentage of our yearly income, the opportunities always come at just the right time.

People often express amazement at our story and wonder how we are able to make it work. While there’s no magic formula–and while as Christians we believe the main reason for our success is that we’re doing what God has called us to do–I believe there are three very practical areas that contribute:

1. We are out of debt.

My husband quitting his job was a step of faith, and we couldn’t have taken it with confidence if we had been under the burden of debt. If you have a dream of one day quitting your day job to work from home doing something you love, I strongly encourage you to get “gazelle intense” about eliminating debt!

We have also stayed completely out of debt with our business. In the very beginning, I used cash to pay for a limited amount of supplies until I created some profit and could purchase more, increasing inventory as I went. We’ve never used and don’t even own a business credit card–only debit.

2. We work as a team.

While I am the one who manages pretty much every aspect of the business, my husband does not view any job I need him to do as beneath him. He doesn’t perform any of the sewing, but he completes so many of the intermediary and finishing tasks that I find tedious, freeing me to focus on the areas where I thrive.

The same teamwork principle applies to our home. In addition to being an excellent handyman, Dave washes all of the laundry (and passes it along to our four who fold!), does virtually all of the transporting of children as well as many errands, and is quick to jump on anything he sees that needs to be done around the house.

3. We live frugally and on a budget.

If we didn’t tell our money where to go, our money could easily tell us this won’t work and that my husband needs to return to a traditional job. The truth is, we love our life and want to do this for as long as possible. So for us, it is worth it to make sacrifices and forgo doing and having some things in order for that to happen. It wouldn’t be possible without choosing to be content and having a spending plan.

When I made my first cash envelope system wallet for myself over four years ago, I discovered that ditching the paper envelopes and having a pretty and durable way to organize our cash made living on a budget seem a lot more enjoyable.

MSM collage May15

Enter to Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Our Store!

I would love for you to experience that same feeling I experienced, so I’m giving away five $50 gift certificates to be used on any of our envelope system products and accessories.

Also, through May 9, MoneySavingMom.com readers can receive free shipping on any purchase. Just click “Apply shop coupon code” at checkout and enter MSMMAY15. (Free shipping applies to domestic orders only, but international customers may leave a note at checkout requesting a refund equal to the shipping amount a U.S. customer would save on that order.)

Giveaway ends Saturday, May 9, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway

Melissa Kaiserman is a wife, mom, and handmade business owner who designs cash envelope system wallets & accessories that put the beauty in budgeting. She also blogs at A Time for Everything and uses her experience and passion to support and mentor fellow makers at Makery Space.

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How I Simplified Our Home and Became More Content

simplified home

Guest post by Sarah of The Jelly Jars

Over the course of the last year, my husband and I have completely rewritten our life plans, moved away from the city we thought we would retire in, said goodbye to our best friends, gave away 1/3 of our possessions, and downsized our living situation from a 2600 square foot home to a 900 square foot apartment as we pursue this new dream.

The biggest surprise for me in this whole journey has been how much I’ve loved downsizing!

Here is what I have learned in the process:

1. I only own what I love.

In cutting down on our possessions, we asked a lot of questions. Did the item have great value – was it of high quality, an investment that we made? Did the piece have great sentimental worth – were we tied to it because of family history or special memories? Did the item serve a specific purpose – does it serve a necessary function in our home?

If an item met certain criteria, we kept it. If not, it was donated.

2. I don’t need as much as I think I do.

Because of this process of downsizing, I realized I had accumulated so much stuff without even realizing it. Our basement was filled with boxes of decorations and extra clothes and anything I wanted to hold on to “just in case I need it one day.”

But now, without these extra items, I realize that I am still content and still can live a full and joy-filled life because life is not made full by material possessions.

How I Simplified My Life & Became More Content

3. I opened up room in my life for things that mattered.

I am no longer worried about that season’s trends or decorations or the fact that I need a better mail organizer.

My heart is less tied to material possessions and is now more available to the little gifts that I see in our moments and sprinkled throughout our days.

4. I gained perspective.

It’s so easy to compare yourself against advertisements or movies or even your neighbors and friends, thinking you need more and more to keep up. But when I looked at our possessions with a different perspective, I saw how very much we have and that we actually are very well taken care of.

Once I silenced the driving need to keep up with friends or commercials, I have been able to find contentment with what we already have rather than being discontent with what I wish my life looked like.

The process of simplifying helped me to clean out our home yes, but even more so it helped bring about a new way of thinking for us.

Now we are much less apt to buy something without truly evaluating if it is worth it to us or if it is just a purchase to satisfy a short-term desire, and we have found much more contentment through no longer buying into the belief that we always need more.

Sarah is a mountain-loving, dark chocolate-eating, Frank Sinatra-listening, owie-kissing, truth-telling, freelance writer/blogger who seeks out a passionate life with her husband and two kiddos. She writes at The Jelly Jars.

Feeling overwhelmed with managing your home and life?

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6 Ways We’re Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low — Without Using Coupons

6 Ways We're Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low Without Using Coupons

So, I figure it’s high time I let you in on something that’s changed for us this past year. Some of you have probably already guessed this was the case. Some of you might be shocked and disappointed.

But regardless, I need to come clean about it. Because I don’t want you to assume something is the case when it isn’t.

So here’s the truth: I’ve basically not clipped or used any coupons on groceries this past year.

Nope. Nada. Zilch.

I had slowly been easing out of “extreme couponing” the past few years as life picked up its pace, we baby-stepped our way to fewer processed foods, and I fell madly in love with Aldi.

Then we moved to TN and lost our wonderful full-time assistant/babysitter. I had every intention of getting back into couponing, but with all of the transition and processing involved in moving + writing another book, Jesse ended up taking over most of the grocery shopping and cooking for us.

I would have never seen my husband as someone who would rock out as a chef (when we got married, I’m not even sure that he knew how to make toast!), but the guy has taken to the kitchen like white on rice.

In fact, he now runs circles around me when it comes to recipes. He loves experimenting with new ingredients and spices and he finds great delight in cooking things that require many pans and steps… which is the complete opposite of me!

6 Ways We're Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low

As a result, we more than doubled our grocery budget and we eat much healthier. However, we’ve still found many ways to keep our grocery budget relatively low without using coupons and while eating a diet comprised of lots of quality, whole foods.

I’ve been surprised and excited that we’re able to eat very healthfully for our family of 5 and only spend an average of $100 to $120 per week.

Here’s what’s working for us:

1. Shop at Aldi

I know I’ve sung the praises of Aldi over and over again, but I cannot help but include them on this list. When Jesse first started doing the shopping, I encouraged him to try doing most of the shopping at Aldi and then just shopping at Kroger for anything he couldn’t get at Aldi.

It took a few weeks of suggesting it, but he finally tried it. And he came home all stoked exclaiming, “I saved SO much money by shopping at Aldi!”

He’s now a diehard Aldi fan. Which is just one more reason to love him all the more. :)

6 Ways We're Saving Money on Groceries Without Using Coupons

Aldi has introduced so many new features and products in the last few years, including gluten-free foods, organic foods, and more. If you have an Aldi nearby, I cannot stress enough how much you need to go check them out. Just do it and maybe soon you’ll be singing their praises along with us!

2. Keep It Simple

While Jesse continues to add in new recipes to our weekly rotation, we still keep a lot of things very simple.

Breakfast is usually oatmeal, bacon & eggs, or cereal. Lunch is often sandwiches or leftovers. Dinner is usually just a main dish and veggies of some sort. Sometimes, we’ll throw in a side of fruit or sweet potatoes, too, but we’re good with just having a few options at dinner time. It saves time and money — and makes for less food waste.

freezerfriendlyoatmeal_zps1e7f5ce6

3. Eat Up Your Leftovers

Speaking of food waste, one thing we work hard to do is to use up leftovers or to re-use leftovers in a creative fashion. We’ll often have leftovers for lunch and, if there are quite a few different leftovers, we’ll serve a Leftover Smorgasbord for dinner one night.

Our philosophy: why make new food when you have food still in the fridge waiting to be used up? Save yourself cooking time and money and eat that instead. :)

4. Make Things From Scratch

We don’t buy many boxed or canned foods these days. We slowed weaned ourselves off of them over the past few years and now we not only love homemade so much more, it also saves us money.

Plus, since we keep our means simple and Jesse and I both help out with the kitchen/cooking, it really doesn’t take a lot of extra time to make things from scratch.

6 Ways We Keep Our Grocery Budget Low

5. Cook With Inexpensive Ingredients

As I mentioned earlier, we keep food pretty simple. We do buy higher quality ingredients, but we stick to recipes that use (mostly!) inexpensive ingredients — and mostly ones that can be purchased from Aldi.

We eat a lot of eggs, sweet potatoes, oats, fruits and veggies that are in season, beans, chicken, and some beef and pork. Those are the basic staples that many of our meals include. Jesse does branch out and try new recipes, but he usually only buys a few new ingredients every week. The rest of the ingredients are things we may already have on hand or things that we routinely buy at Aldi.

6 Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill

6. Pay for Specialty Foods With Swagbucks

We do buy a few specialty ingredients — such as protein powder, Trim-Healthy-Mama approved sweeteners, and olive oil — and we get these with Amazon using gift cards earned through Swagbucks. It’s a great way to be able to afford a few of those high-quality ingredients we love to use in recipes.

6 Ways We're Keeping Our Grocery Budget Low Without Using Coupons

How do YOU keep your grocery budget low?

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