MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Why Our 3 Kids Share a Bedroom

A number of months ago, I mentioned online that our three kids share a bedroom. A lot of people were shocked, surprised, or even bothered by our decision to have all three of our kids in the same bedroom. 

I personally was surprised at how many people said the picture made them feel so much better. Many people wrote in and told me that they had no idea that our house wasn’t huge and spacious and perfect. They said that seeing that picture helped them to realize that just because we do have a really spacious kitchen and living area, that doesn’t mean that our entire house is huge and perfect!

Let me be clear: We do have a great rental house — it does have a great kitchen, it has a wonderful backyard, it’s in a really convenient location, and our rent is very low for this area.

Compared to many places we’ve lived, this is a really nice house. But it pales in comparison to our previous house. The floor plan is not set up well for our family, it doesn’t have a basement, it’s not conducive for hosting big groups, and we’ve had leaks and termites and A/C problems and ear wigs and a host of other issues while living here.

We rented this house sight unseen because we were living in Kansas when it was available and there was no way we could make it to TN to check it out with Jesse’s work schedule. Plus, it just didn’t feel like a wise use of time or money to drive or fly out to check out a house before we signed a contract on it.

So we asked some of our TN friends if they’d go look at it for us and make sure they felt it was okay to rent. They graciously agreed to do a walk-through and sent us a video tour of it and said they thought it would be good to rent.

We talked to the landlords at length, did as much research and investigation as we could from afar, and both felt this was the house we should go with. So we signed a two-year lease on it, because that was what the landlords were offering.

It was a little crazy to pull up to the house the day we moved and see the area and neighborhood and house for the very first time knowing that we’d signed a contract to live here for two years!

Many people have suggested that we should have purchase a house here when we moved instead of renting. We only briefly considered that option, but we knew that it wasn’t a good option for us for a few different reasons.

1) Housing prices are MUCH higher here — so there was no way we could afford to pay cash for a house at the time.

2) We didn’t want to mess with having to try to sell our house + find a new house + pack up everything and move our family across the country all at the time same.

3) We didn’t know if we were even going to stay in TN long-term.

So we decided renting was our best option — and it’s been a great option for us, despite the drawbacks of the current home we’re in.

One of the biggest drawbacks is that, due to the limited bedroom space, all three kids are in one bedroom. Some people would say we are terrible parents for living in a house where they all have to share a room and don’t have a lot of their “own space”.

Honestly, even though they are 11, 9, and 7, we see so many blessings and benefits for the three of them sharing a bedroom. Here are 3 of those blessings and benefits:

1. It Helps Them Learn to Get Along With Each Other

I grew up in a family of 9 and I remember my mom always telling me that if we can learn to get along with our siblings, we could probably get along with just about anyone. We like to remind our kids that sharing a bedroom with two other people who are very different than you is a valuable life skill!

You get to learn how to be gracious when other people are “in your space”, you get to learn how to keep your area more clean, you get to learn to work together to keep the room clean, and you learn to share your space well with others. 

(And honestly, most of the time, they really love being together. Last night, they were all in their room talking and laughing together for at least 30-45 minutes before they fell asleep. It’s not always like that and there is plenty of arguing that goes on, too, but I think they actually do really enjoy the closeness that sharing a room provides!)

2. It Teaches Them Contentment

When Jesse and I were first married, we lived in a basement apartment. Our budget was very tight and we did everything we could to stay out of debt. Those sacrifices are — in big part — what has allowed us to be where we are today.

But here’s the truth: Our kids were little when we made a lot of financial and personal sacrifices to get to the place where we are now. They don’t remember those days.

We want our kids to have the same opportunity we had to learn that happiness is not based upon where you live, the car you drive, or the room you have. You can be content no matter what because contentment isn’t based upon your circumstances, it’s a state of your heart.

3. It Helps to Prevent an Entitlement Mentality

We now have a lot more wiggle room in our budget than we had 10 years ago when the kids were little (or not even born yet!) They get to enjoy things we never imagined we’d be able to afford for them — like swim team and figure skating and even an international trip to South Africa. However, we don’t want them to grow up thinking that everything will be handed to them. We want them to experience short-term sacrifices for long-term benefits.

One simple way we’re teaching them this is through having them share a room right now. We don’t want them to grow up thinking that they can just get whatever they want without having to work for it, save for it, and/or make sacrifices for it.

So we’ve chosen to continue to rent a house that has less than ideal sleeping arrangements (along with a long list of other “less than ideal” things) because it is not only teaching us all good lessons, but it’s allowing us to be able to save more aggressively and give more generously.

By the end of this year, our goal is to have saved enough to pay cash for a house here in TN and we would like to buy a house that has enough space for them to each have their own room (especially since they are getting older), but in the mean time, we’re learning contentment in the house that we’re in and are choosing to be grateful for the many things about it that we love — like the wonderful neighbors, a beautiful kitchen, and a great backyard.

Our hope is that these lessons in contentment will be something our kids will carry with them for the rest of their lives — no matter where they live.

Please note: Do what is best for your family and please be careful if you are putting boys and girls in the same room. This is something we have seriously considered and it is the reason we are planning to move in the next year. We know that these types of sleeping arrangements will not work long-term — especially as our children reach pre-teen age.

However, we have strict modesty rules at our house (Such as: Never change in front of another person. Bathrooms are for changing in, not bedrooms. Always knock on a closed door. Always leave the door open when you are in the room playing with another child. Etc.) and our children have always been very respectful of each other’s privacy and respectful of our modesty rules. I think it’s important to have these types of rules and precautions in place no matter what the sleeping arrangements are at your house.

Ultimately, when it comes to sleeping arrangements, you know your own children and what would best best in your own family. As I always say, it’s so important to do what is best for your own family and your own children!


BIG changes are coming to the blog this year!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for weeks. I wanted to wait until I had everything settled in my mind and heart and that my team had given me the a-okay to move forward with this.

Some of you have been worried as I’ve mentioned the “big changes” that I was going to stop blogging.

Well, I’ve got some good news for you: I’m not quitting blogging. On the contrary, I’m actually starting three new blogs this year! 🙂

Yes, I promise I haven’t lost my mind. Let me explain… 🙂

When I started MoneySavingMom.com, I had every intention of having it be a side thing that I did in addition to other blogs and online things. However, I never expected that it would blow up like it did and become our family’s full-time income.

Within two years, I had shut down all of my other online things and blogs (yes, I used to have two other blogs), because MSM was requiring every single bit of time I had to give it.

That worked well for a while. I was in a season of change personally and focusing on just talking about saving money online gave me space to step back and process other beliefs and convictions that I had once held and had blogged about (those of you who read my earlier blogs know what I’m talking about!!).

I needed to be in a quiet season, where I inwardly processed instead of sharing what I was thinking through and pondering with all the folks on the internet. 🙂

But after about two years of that quiet season, I had various things I wanted to write about that weren’t related to saving money. Since MoneySavingMom.com was my only online platform, I shared some of those things here.

Over time, as I had more and more things I wanted to write on, this blog became more of a scattered, random conglomeration of my personal thoughts and passions and interests. And it strayed from the original purpose of helping people save money.

You all have been along for the wild ride. And you’ve been gracious and kind. You’ve rarely complained, but I know that it’s been confusing to some people.

I know many people have wondered: Why is a blog called MoneySavingMom.com talking about things that have nothing to do with saving money? 

I was kind of confused about this, too. 😉

On the one hand, I know I can’t confine myself to just writing about money topics. I would get bored very quickly with that. But on the other hand, it’s important that I define what this blog is about — and that people know what they can expect when they come here.

However, if I re-focus this blog back to its original purpose and only share deals, freebies, and money-saving tips and advice, what on earth am I going to do with all the other topics I’m passionate about and want to write about???

These are the things I’ve been thinking through, pondering, asking people for counsel on, and praying about for many months. Actually, it was most of 2016!

I’d come up with ideas and what I thought would be a solution, but then I’d quickly realize that it just wouldn’t work longterm. So then I’d start over again.

It took many rounds of ideas and much contemplation before I finally landed on clarity. And here’s what that clarity was…

What’s Changing in 2017

1. It’s time to re-focus MoneySavingMom.com back to its original purpose.

Starting today, this blog will only be a place where I’ll be sharing things related to saving money/earning a little side income: great deals, freebies, money-saving tips, free ebooks, frugal living inspiration, money-saving recipes, ways to earn a little side income, grocery shopping trips, frugal family fun, and much more.

I plan to share at least 2-3 posts of my own here each week, plus feature a few guest posts. If you are interested in contributing a guest post, you can read our guidelines here and submit your post here.

The only non-money-saving posts will be my Sunday Peek Into My Life posts. I thought it’d be fun to include those to change things up a little and for me to have one place per week to share a little of what is inspiring me, what I’m reading, links I’ve loved, pictures from our week, etc.

I’m also bringing back the daily LIVE show on Facebook. I’ll be going live every weekday morning between 9 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. CT. On this show, it will be a place for us to hang out and talk about great deals, for me to share money-saving tips, for me to answer a few of your questions live, and to just share daily inspiration with you. It will be like having our morning coffee together every morning… except I don’t drink coffee anymore! 🙂

Want to know my favorite deals every day? Follow my Deals Only Instagram account that I personally curate and post to each day.

2. It’s also time to give myself permission to start some new blogs.

After much thought and counsel and contemplation (and making sure that I’m not biting off more than I can chew!), I’m ready to let you know that I’m launching two new blogs in 2017!!

These are blogs that are on the topics I’m most passionate about and are ones that you request I write on the most:

YourBloggingMentor.com will be a blog dedicated to inspiring and educating beginning and intermediate bloggers find their voice, increase their income, and broaden their impact.

CrystalPaine.com will be my very personal blog filled with practical advice for the everyday woman on topics of faith, family, fitness, and fashion.

Each of these blogs will just have one post per week, mostly written by me. I’m excited about the opportunity to offer specific niche blogs so that you can subscribe to the topic(s) that most interest you and don’t have to come here to wade through lots of content that isn’t related to you or helpful to you. I’m also excited to have a place where posts that I put a lot of time and effort into don’t get quickly bumped down by new deal posts.

Note: The blogs aren’t live yet, so in the mean time, while we’re working behind the scenes to get these blogs set up, if you want to get my weekly personal email newsletter, sign up here. You can also follow me on my personal Instagram account or subscribe to my channel on YouTube.

We’ll be sure to let you know just as soon as these blogs are up and running. Our goal is that they will be live by the end of March! I’m SO excited and can’t wait to see what the future holds!

Thank you, again, for being with me on this journey. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you. It’s my heart’s desire and goal that by making these changes, it will allow me to serve you in a more organized, streamlined, and helpful manner!

photo credit

A Peek into My Life This Week (new feature!)

Welcome to a brand-new feature I’ll be running here every Sunday called a A Peek Into My Life This Week.

Starting today, the rest of the content on the blog throughout the week is now going to be focused on where to find great deals, money-saving tips, and content that has a frugal focus (look for my post tomorrow where I share all the details on the big changes that are coming for me as a blogger in 2017), this weekly post will be our place to just chat and for me to share things I’m loving right now and give you a little peek into our life from the past week.

So many of you have asked for me to share these things on a regular basis and I thought this would be a fun way for me to do this every week in one place. Plus, it will be fun for me to keep track of these types of things for myself, too. 🙂

What I’m Reading

This week, I finished reading Looking for Lovely. There wasn’t anything earth-shattering in it, but I enjoyed it and it inspired me in my Year of Yes.

This week, I’m reading books from my shelf from the four different categories I chose for 2017: Candles in the Dark (an old Christian reprint), A Portrait of Emily Price (a story-driven book), A Trip Around the Sun, and The Year of Yes (a book on life improvement).

I’m hoping to finish both The Year of Yes and A Portrait of Emily Price this week. I’ll let you know how that goes next week! {See my Reading Goals for 2017 if you missed them yesterday.}

What I’m Listening To

I love to listen to music while I’m working on the computer. But I’m picky about what music I listen to while working because I can get easily distracted by music and instead of it enhancing my productivity, I’m so into the music and the lyrics that I forget I’m supposed to be writing or answering emails or working altogether!

I found this playlist on YouTube this week and I’ve loved using it as background music while working. There are only a few songs on it that I don’t really like — which is saying a lot because I typically like about 15% of songs in playlists I find! 😉

Do you listen to music while working? Do you have any recommendations for me? I’d love to know because I’m always looking for new playlists to try out!

What I’m Watching

Jesse and I are slowly working through Season 2 of Poldark. While there are a few edge-y parts of the show, we overall really love it. It’s engaging, interesting, and we love the depth of the character development.

We also watched The Secret Life of Pets for family movie night this week. I’d give it a meh rating. Not great, not bad.

{Any family movie recommendations for us? We’re always looking for new ones. Or, any other shows you’ve loved that you think Jesse and I would love, too?}

What I’m Working On

I’ve not been a Planner Girl for a long time because I’ve fallen in love with Google Calendar. However, when I saw Beth Anne’s beautiful planner, I knew I wanted to support her Kickstarter and also try to experiment with becoming a Planner Girl again. I honestly think there’s a good chance I’m going to really, really love using a planner again. (See lots of pictures of the inside of my planner here.)

I can already see the benefits of sitting down and really mapping out the week. I’m still using Google Calendar for business stuff and my editorial calendar, etc. but I think having a place to plan goals for the week and write down successes and blessings and projects is going to be a really valuable exercise for my life overall.

Plus, I LOVE the feature to track habits!

What I’m Pondering

I posted the above picture on Instagram last night and said:

What are you filling your mind with? Are you letting it be filled with negativity, with worry, and/or with made up stories about situations based upon what something might “seem” instead of going to the source and finding out the truth?

Or, are you choosing to believe the best, focus on uplifting and positive things, and cultivate a grateful spirit?
You get to choose what you fill your mind with and what you let stay there. Choose wisely!

What you think about dictates how you live.

What are you reading, watching, listening to, working on, and/or pondering? I’d love to hear!

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.