Want to Make a Full-Time Income From Home?
Sign up for my Free 5-Day Course!
Just type in your name and email address below and I'll get you signed up for this 5-day course—for FREE!

Our Almost $0 Baby Budget For Our 1st Baby (How & Why We Did It)

Our $0 Baby Budget

Ten and a half years ago, we welcomed our first child into the world — a beautiful baby girl, Kathrynne. Jesse was in law school at the time, I was trying to piece together enough income from various online pursuits to keep us afloat, and needless to say, we were poor as poor can be.

We were so poor, in fact, that we spent right around $0 out of pocket on baby things. Not because we didn’t want to spend anything, but because we literally had no extra money to spare.

As best as I can recall, the only thing we spent money on was a baby blanket. For real.

{I was overdue and we realized that we were going to be having this baby sooner rather than later and it was January, so we probably needed more than the one blanket we’d been given by a friend!

We scrounged together a few dollars, went to Walmart and bought a blanket, and that was the last we spent until Kathrynne was close to one year old and we went and bought her a cute new outfit to get her pictures taken for Christmas gifts.}

Our $0 Baby Budget

How did we spend almost zero out of pocket on baby things? Well, here’s how:

1. We Used What We Were Given

We were blessed with very generous friends. So blessed, in fact, that we ended up having three different showers thrown for us! One was by Jesse’s co-workers, one was by our little church, and one was by our church back home.

When people asked what we needed or wanted, we suggested practical things — like diapers, wipes, onesies, sleepers, and blankets. We ended up being gifted enough clothes to make it through almost the entire first year of Kathrynne’s life without buying her any new clothes.

A few people went in together and bought us some of the larger items — like a stroller, playpen, and carseat.

Our $0 Baby Budget

2. We Willingly Accepted Hand-Me-Downs

Some friends kindly offered to let us borrow their baby items or passed along baby clothes to us. We willingly accepted all of these offers and they were a huge blessing!

Yes, Kathrynne may not have been outfitted in name brand, brand-new clothes most of the time, but she survived just fine! Plus, I discovered that I didn’t have to worry if something got stained or ripped because it was already used and worn. :)

3. We Focused on Needs Versus Wants

It’s nice to have some of the non-necessities, but I’m here to tell you that your baby will be just fine without them.

Kathrynne didn’t have very many outfits per size. In fact, in most sizes, she only had 6 outfits, plus PJs. Yes, this meant I had to keep up on laundry more, but she survived.

We also had very few toys or baby gadgets. Some of the gadgets are nice and helpful, but very few could be considered actual necessities. {I wrote a post here with a list of what I consider to be the only items you really need to buy for your baby.}

This might not work for you. You might not have friends who bless you with multiple showers or offer you hand-me-downs. But I hope that this post encourages you to think outside the box and to realize that babies can get by without all the bells and whistles.

What are your best tips for saving money on baby things? I’d love to hear!

We Spent Almost $0 Out of Pocket

Psst! One of my very favorite companies — ePantry — is offering a special Introductory Baby Bundle deal exclusively to MoneySavingMom.com readers this week only!

This deal is valid for new or existing ePantry customers through September 7, 2015 only.

The Introductory Baby Bundle is a $67 value, but MSM readers can get it for just $29 for the first month. The bundle comes with the following:

  • 5 packs of Seventh Generation Diapers
  • 2 packs of Seventh Generation 64-count Baby Wipes
  • 1 Grove Collaborative Hand Sanitizer

Here’s how to get your $29 Introductory Baby Bundle.

Share This:

Overcoming My Shopping Addiction

shopping addiction

Guest post Elizabeth of Witty ‘N’ Pretty

The world we live in values beauty above all else. The more beautiful a person is, the more value they have. It’s no wonder people, women in particular, lack confidence. We try to make up for our shortcomings in many ways.

For me, I tried to make up for mine by shopping because in my mind, the more expensive things I owned, the more value I had.

Every time I bought something, I experienced two things.

First, was happiness, because I felt prettier and more valuable.

Then I felt guilt, because I knew I couldn’t afford what I was buying.

When I bought something I couldn’t afford, it counteracted the happiness because my value was decreasing. The lifestyle I wanted was unattainable for a girl still in college.

For whatever reason, I couldn’t come to terms with that. I didn’t accept it until I maxed out a credit card and ended up using student loans to fund my shopping trips.

I knew I had to change, so I did.

Since I’m confessing my struggles to you, I may as well say that the temptations to shop and spend money never completely go away. However, I learned to ignore the little voice inside my head telling me to spend, spend, spend.

Eventually, you’ll learn how to do this too… here’s how I’m just doing that:

1. Cut up the credit card.

Yes, the most precious piece of plastic you own will be in little pieces after the scissors gets through with it.

Having a credit card in your wallet tells you that even if you can’t afford something at that moment, your line of credit will let you buy it anyway.

Chop up those cards!

2. Write it down… with an actual pen.

Write down anything and everything you buy and exactly how much it cost. This allows you to see where your money goes and any trends in your spending.

I noticed two things about myself: I liked to drink overpriced coffee and I liked to look good doing it. Knowing this helped me take the next step toward addiction recovery.

3. Stop doing the things that cause you to spend money.

For one month, I didn’t allow myself to buy anything but food and gas. It didn’t matter what was on sale or how great of a deal it was (I love getting a bargain), I wasn’t going to buy it.

At first, this is like giving up the last life ring on a sinking ship. You feel like you’re going to drown. Just like anything else though, it becomes routine.

4. Retrain your brain.

For the longest time, I honestly believed that my worth and my attractiveness was based on how many Kate Spade bags I had and the car I drove.

During my month long shopping break, I focused on building my confidence up. I tried to find beauty in the talents I had and the personality I was born with. I talked with mentors and people I trusted to help me find my self-worth.

Truthfully, I’m still finding my worth. I believe it’s a journey though. It can’t be done in a month or even a year. I still appreciate pretty things, but I don’t place my worth in them.

Do I struggle with wanting these things? Of course, but I can say “no” to myself now. I understand and respect my financial limits and still see value in who I am.

Some may scoff and wonder what’s wrong with me, I can only tell them that everyone struggles with something and being addicted to shopping was my “something”.

Liz is a young, 20-something with a passion for living a beautiful, debt-free life. After graduating college, she realized how important it is for her to get her finances together and start sharing how you can have a great lifestyle for a lot less. She blogs at Witty ‘N’ Pretty.

photo source

Share This:

3 Ways an Organized Refrigerator Can Save You Money

organized refrigerator

Guest post from Megan of Frugal Finds During Naptime

I was looking for a place to shove the leftovers from dinner in my refrigerator when I spotted it. There was this green-looking gunk coming out from underneath one of the bottom drawers in my refrigerator.

Yuck!” I said out loud, as I was completely grossed out by it.

Upon further investigation, I discovered it was a cucumber… rather, what was left of a cucumber. The remnants (that were not oozing out of the bottom produce drawer) were still in the produce bag from the grocery store.

As I began to clean up the mess, I found other leftovers I had forgotten about. Of course, these leftovers were no longer edible, and I was a little saddened by it. Not because I just love leftovers either, but because it made me realize how much “money” I was throwing away in my garbage can all because I didn’t have an organized refrigerator.

If you can relate, here are three ways having an organized refrigerator can save you money in the long run:

1. You Will Use Up Leftovers

If your refrigerator is organized, you can clearly see your leftovers, and can then make plans to use them in other meals.

For example, as I was throwing away a small container of leftover taco meat, I realized that it would have been just the right amount for my girls to have tacos for lunch.

2. You Won’t Overspend

When you can clearly see what is in your refrigerator, you won’t purchase the same items you already have.

As sad as it is, I found another (fresh) cucumber in my refrigerator as I was throwing away the remnants of the other cucumber. If my refrigerator had been clean, I would have known I had one and wouldn’t have purchased another cucumber the week before. I could have made plans to use the cucumber I already had before it was bad.

3. You’ll Use Less Energy

With a full refrigerator, you can’t find things quickly; therefore, you will (more than likely) be standing there with the door open longer. This, in turn, causes your refrigerator to work harder and your electric bill takes the hit.

All of these may seem like little things; however, they quickly add up over the course of a year, or even a month.

When you’re trying to lower your grocery bill, save money for a vacation, or get out of debt, taking an afternoon to organize your refrigerator, meal plan with the leftovers, and commit to keeping it organized can help you reach your goals!

Megan is a frugal, couponing, stay-at-home mom to two girls {ages 5 and 2}. She enjoys finding deals, and breaking it down to small, easy-to-do scenarios to help others learn to save money. You can find her at Frugal Finds During Naptime where she posts deals, money-saving tips, her trips to the grocery store, and writes about lessons she has learned as a mom.

photo source

Share This:

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!

Share This:

“You are such a FUN person to wake up to every day!”

Make Over Your Mornings

Instagram photo from raeschaffer

Thank you all so much for your sweet, kind, and encouraging comments as you’re going through the Make Over Your Mornings course! You all bless me so much!

I spent Wednesday catching up on sleep and life after a few days (and parts of nights!) devoted to the launch. And then the last two days, Silas and I traveled to San Francisco for some business meetings with the wonderful folks from ePantry.com. I’ll share more about that trip in my 5 Things I’m Loving post tonight.

Thank you for letting me step back from the usual blogging schedule here this week to focus on the launch. I’m excited to dive back into regular blogging and our normal routine now that this big project is completed. My head is exploding with creative new ideas for future projects and upcoming posts. :)

Make Over Your Mornings

Instagram photo from Amy_Grable

I’ve had so much fun following along with your posts on Instagram, on Twitter, and on the Facebook Group. I’ve also been so encouraged by your emails of gratitude. Cheryl gave me permission to share this email she sent me:

Crystal, I am LOVING the Make Over Your Mornings course. You are such a fun person to wake up to every day! :) Wish you could just give me a pep talk every morning as I start my day!

Seriously, some of the highlights for me thus far (I’m on Day 3) have been:

Being personally encouraged to realize that I’ve heard you say some of these things over the years that I’ve followed you, and I’ve ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED SOME! YAY! I sat down to write out an evening routine, and realized we have a great one! Of course there are ways we can improve it (ahem – can you say “cut down on screen time”) but we have a good framework.

Seeing you have your quiet time in PJs (or comfy clothes, if they’re not actually your PJs). Can I just say this is such a relief? I’ve read so many things about successful mornings that strongly suggest getting dressed immediately upon getting out of bed in order to feel ready for success. Honestly, I love drinking my coffee and having my quiet time in my yoga pants. So thanks for keeping it real.

Giving such practical, yet flexible, advice. I love how the ideas you share are applicable to so many life situations. I’m a WAHM (virtual office manager) with a preschooler and a toddler. I am trying to apply some of these same tips to afternoon nap time as well. If I don’t go into nap time with a good plan, I end up wasting the time that could have been so productive. With a great morning plan and a great nap plan, I am working towards reducing work-related stress during the other times of the day when my girls need more of my attention.

I could go on, but just know that you are blessing us in such a huge way! Thank you SO much! Can’t wait to see what is to come! -Cheryl

Make Over Your Mornings

Instagram photo from Brigett.Holmes

Have you gotten your copy of Make Over Your Mornings yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Go download it here. {And yes, those are actually what I wear for my PJs in the videos!}

Share This:

Why We’re Ditching Mainstream for an Airstream


Heather from Queen Bee Coupons shared a post today on why they are ditching mainstream for an Airstream. I think some of you will really enjoy reading it. Here’s a snippet:

In just a couple week my family and I will say goodbye to our traditional home and move into a 180-ish square foot Airstream trailer. Not just for a weekend camping trip – but for a year. And we’ll take that shiny, tiny home all around this beautiful country.

That’s right. We’re ditching mainstream. . .for an adventure in an Airstream.

I know this sounds crazy. Let me explain. . . .

We’ve spent the last 12 years pursuing the American Dream – a 2,000 square foot house, two cars, two full-time jobs, a couple vacations a year, kids in public school and preschool – we worked extremely hard and were very happy, grateful and blessed.

Life was good but we wanted something else. Something different.

We were sick of the stuff, the excess, the clutter. A life dictated by a 9-5 job. A rat race that had us thinking if only we had a bigger house, more storage, more money – things would be easier and/or we would be happier.

We spent the last year talking about buying a new house or moving to a new part of the country. We spent a year looking at big, beautiful houses – dream houses, really, but nothing felt just right. Even if we could afford it, we kept asking ourselves – will that gourmet kitchen really make us happy? Will that waterfront property really bring us joy? Maybe. But for how long? And how hard will we have to keep working to keep up with that dream house?

Read the rest of the post here.

Share This: