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Category: Money-Saving Ideas

My plan for getting our house organized in 2019

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

(Christmas mid-day: Savoring some quiet and tea at my in-laws house after the wonderful chaos of Christmas morning!)

The past few months, I’ve been feeling like there are a lot of nooks and crannies and drawers in our home that I want to organize and set up better systems for. But I’ve also been struggling to find big blocks of time to tackle these areas.

So I was super excited when I found the Organize in 5 Diary! It gives you a 5-minute organizational project for every day in 2019.

This was exactly what I was looking for, so I bought it almost immediately. And I started looking through it and I was SO excited about it!

It is perfect for me! And I’m so anxious to get started on it!

And here’s the cool thing: each of the tasks build upon one another. So in little tiny bits of time throughout the year, you are basically overhauling your entire house.

The Organize in 5 Diary gives you daily projects (that can be done in 5 minutes or less) to help you work through your entire home and set up better systems and habits. It covers almost all aspects of your life:

You can see a peek at a few of the inside pages/projects below (by the way, it’s a digital file so you can print it or it’s interactive so you can keep it online and type into it and save it as you work your way through it):

I can’t tell you what a perfect solution this is going to be for me! No more stressing over feeling like I need to find a big block of time to get those pesky drawers and the storage room and the cupboards and my closet organized.

I can just follow the Organize in 5 Diary and take 5 minutes a day to get our home in better order, the set up more effective systems, and to no longer feel frustrated about not finding big blocks of time to declutter and organize!

I’m planning to start the Organize in 5 Diary on January 1, 2019 and will be documenting some of the tasks on Instagram Stories. I’d love for you to join me!

If you think this might be something that would be helpful for you and your home, you can get the Organize in 5 Diary for just $9 right now. Plus, when you purchase it, you’ll also get access to the Priorities and Goals Diary to help you set and follow through with your goals for 2019.

You can get both the Organizing in 5 Diary and the Priorities and Goals Diary for just $9 total!

Click here to purchase — and let me know if you do! I’d love for you to join me in this!

What we did with the $10 extra in our grocery budget this week

Since we only spent $58.91 of our $70 weekly grocery budget this past week, I surprised the kids last night and told them they got to go to the store with me and pick out $3 each of whatever they wanted to go along with our dinner and Family Game Night last night.

The kids had the BEST time at the store looking at their options, comparing prices, and deciding what to get. (And taking a detour to check out the cake decorating designs!)

I gave very little input and, instead, just had fun watching them interact, analyze, and calculate totals.

In the end, sweet tea, Jell-O (we don’t usually buy it because of the food coloring), chocolate chip cookie dough, Milk Duds, and Lindt chocolate truffles won out.

And their total was $9.55 — which they were super proud of. Silas was all, “Now THAT is how you get good deals at the store!”

We came home and then they pretended to be me doing Instagram stories about my groceries (you can swipe right on this post to see their videos!)

Family fun and memory-making doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; it just requires a little bit of creativity and learning to make the ordinary (grocery shopping) into something special.

What are some of your family’s favorite frugal fun ideas? I’d love to hear!

Oops! I accidentally went over the grocery budget this week!

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our disclosure policy here.

Well, y’all, I had thought I was about $6 under budget this week… and then I went to add up my receipts and discovered I was actually $1.72 over budget.

Whoops! I realized that I read one receipt as saying I had spent $36 when it actually said I saved $36 and spent $42. Oh well!

I have a little wiggle room in the budget since I’ve been under budget a number of weeks, so it will be okay. But lesson learned: Don’t just glance at your receipt before heading to the store!

(I keep my receipts and then use those to tally how much I’ve spent for the week. I know; that’s ridiculously old fashioned, but it’s usually what works for me. Maybe I should move up to something more sophisticated and techie!! Jesse does track it all in YNAB, but he’s usually a few days behind in tracking and inputting everything, so I usually just go off of my receipts!)

I try to stick as close to the $70 mark as possible — it’s a fun challenge for me PLUS I love getting to show you how it works for our family and the deals that I find!

At any rate, here’s what I bought this week:

Kroger Shopping Trip #1:

  • Back to Nature Cookies — on sale for $0.99 when you buy 5 participating items, plus used a $1.50/2 coupon that printed while I was checking out = $3.45 for 5 boxes (my kids were SO excited about these!!)
  • Lemon Juice — $2.49
  • Alo Juice — Free with free Friday e-coupon
  • 2 dozen Happy Eggs — marked down to $2.49 per dozen
  • Hillshire Ham — on closeout for $2.09
  • Planter’s Peanuts — $2.49 when you buy 5 participating items, plus used $1.50/1 Kroger digital coupon = $0.99
  • 1 loaf of bread — marked down to $1.39
  • Clementines — $3.99 for a 3-lb bag
  • 3 bags of Sweet Potatoes — marked down to $0.99
  • 1 bag of grapefruit — marked down to $0.99
  • 2 packages of Cheddar Bratwurst — marked down to $1.79 each
  • 4 packages of Eckrich sausage — $1.50 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 5 boxes of Simple Popped Popcorn — $1 per box when you buy 5 participating items (plus each box has a free Redbox movie rental code in it!)
  • 1 container organic Spring Mix (no romaine!) — marked down to $1.79
  • Total with tax: $42.38

Psst! Need some help with cutting your grocery budget? Check out my series: 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget.

Kroger Shopping Trip #2:

Kroger Shopping Trip #3:

Cashback earned this week: $0.10 from Ibotta for submitting my receipt and 284 points for submitting my receipt to Fetch rewards (that’s basically the equivalent of $0.28).

Total spent this week: $71.72

Also, I just had to show you this 52-week Meal Planner that my friend, Erin, from Simple Purposeful Living sent me. 

There’s space to write out your menu and then your shopping list — and then it’s perforated so you can tear it out and take your shopping list with you to the store!

Aldi shoppers, I thought this would make you smile. (And excuse the fact that the meme says “Aldi’s” not Aldi and “grill’s” not grills.)

What We Ate This Past Week

Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate.

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon (from the freezer) Yogurt, Hard Boiled Eggs, Banana Bread

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Banana Bread, Cheese/Crackers, Avocados, Salad, Leftovers (for Jesse & Me)
  • Ham Sandwiches, Clementines, Cheese/Crackers, Yogurt, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs (for the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Yogurt, Cheese/Crackers, Popcorn, Hard Boiled Eggs, Cookies

Dinners:

  • Saturday: Dinner out
  • Sunday: Fend For Yourself — snack-y food and leftovers
  • Monday: Peppers & Sausage over Brown Rice
  • Tuesday:  Pork Sandwiches, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Wednesday: Whole Wheat Pancakes, Bacon, Grapefruit
  • Thursday: Turkey Meatballs, Sweet Potato Fries
  • Friday: Leftover Turkey Meatballs & Sweet Potato Fries

What I Wore Today: The perfect outfit for an at-home Saturday

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our disclosure policy here.)

It’s a quiet at-home Saturday and I picked a comfy and cozy outfit to wear — all that are pieces I got from Amazon or Proozy at great prices!

My sweatshirt is from Amazon and I adore it — and it’s just $19.99 and comes in a lot of different colors.

By the way, the photo on Amazon of the sweatshirt makes it look more distressed, but mine came and it’s brighter and more shiny as shown by these photos.

I pulled the drawstring out of the hoodie part since they were really long and you either need to cut them or just pull them out. Also, the pocket stitching is a little loose and it’s come undone a little bit with a lot of washes, but otherwise, it’s held up really well.

My leggings are some of my favorites and I wear these so often and they are as low as $18.99 on Amazon. They are so comfy and they fit really well. Plus, they have held up well with many, many washings (I’ve had them for quite a long time!)

And my shoes are my new Nike shoes from Proozy and they are just $45 shipped through Sunday night! (Be sure to use coupon code MSM45 to get this deal!).

Oh and my tumbler is my very favorite Contigo tumbler. It’s one of my secret weapons to help me drink a gallon of water every day.

By the way, would you be interested in seeing posts like this occasionally where I share an outfit and details on where I got everything? Let me know!

How to Create a Home You Love — even if you don’t have money and don’t know how to decorate!

Other than my podcast interviews with Jesse, this week’s episode of The Crystal Paine Show was my very first interview to do in-person — with Myquillyn Smith (aka The Nester) sitting right across the table from me as we recorded (Ryan, my podcast producer and Myquillyn’s husband are in the background of the above photo).

I loved getting to chat with her face-to-face and be inspired by her heart for creating a cozy and inviting home that serves your family well — even if you are on a tight budget and don’t know how to decorate!

(You know what else was so fun about having Myquillyn and her husband, Chad, come to our house for the interview? They brought their tiny home with them!)

Myquillyn and I talk about the importance of making your home into a place that fits the way you’re called to use it, and she offers practical advice for women who may feel intimidated or insecure about decorating or who want to decorate but don’t have any extra money to do so.

If you’ve ever wanted your home to be a cozy, welcoming place, but aren’t sure where to start, you don’t want to miss this episode!

(And while I’m not much of a decorator at all — as I talk about on this episode! — I surprised myself by truly being inspired by her book. Listen in as I share more on that!)

I also give you some last-minute tips for simplifying December, tell you one of our favorite Christmas traditions when our kids were younger, and share some of our favorite Christmas read-alouds for younger kids.

And I close out the show by sharing some encouragement from my heart to moms of littles. If you currently have babies, toddlers, or younger kids and maybe feel a little overwhelmed by this season of life, I hope that my words will inspire you and help you feel less alone!

In This Episode:

[01:34] – Our Christmas Bucket List is what’s saving my life this week! This simple practice makes our Decembers so much simpler, calmer, and fun-filled.

[06:54] – Instead of just one book, this week I tell you about some of our family’s favorite Christmas picture books.

[07:50] – Today’s guest is Myquillyn Smith — a woman who is well known on the internet for encouraging people to love their homes and that “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”.

[10:16] – I asked Myquillyn to share advice for women who have insecurities or fears when it comes to decorating their homes (because this is 100% me — I was even insecure about having Myquillyn come to my home and had to talk myself out of that before she got there!)

[15:17] – One of the things I often hear from women is that they wish they could redecorate or change some things in their home but they are on a really tight budget. We talk about this and Myquillyn shares some of her best tips for loving your home and making it cozy and welcoming — on a tight budget.

[17:45] – We talk about what it’s like to be an introvert and how to step out and do scary things in spite of our fears. Myquillin addresses my question on how she has managed to invite 1000 people to her home for a festival and go on book tour. She shares how it’s been for her and why she chose to do this, even though she knew it would be a lot.

[21:58] – Myquillyn shares three books she’s planning to read soon — two of which have been on my radar screen and that I promptly ordered after she talked about them!

[23:04] – And we talk about none other than baths. Yes, for real! You’ll have to tune in to find out why! 🙂

[24:45] – Many listeners have written in to ask about my advice for a first-time mom. I share some of my best advice and encouragement — that I wish I would have learned early on!

Links and Resources:

How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show

The podcast is available on iTunesAndroidStitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.)

Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app.

Sponsor Spotlight

Today’s episode is sponsored by Twigby — a company dedicated to providing fantastic phone service at great prices. As I mentioned in the podcast, if you are looking for a great deal on a phone for your teen (or yourself!), I’d highly recommend checking out what Twigby has to offer.

Unlike traditional cell phone companies, they give you the ability to create your own custom, prepaid plan — without a contract or an unnecessary activation fee.

You don’t have to mess with going to a store and picking out a phone plan. You just go to their site, pick your phone plan and either switch your current phone over or get a new phone, and they get it all set up for you.

My favorite part about their service (in addition to their great prices!) is that they offer plan flexibility with the ability to change plans or phones at any time for free. You’re not locked into an expensive contract that has activation and termination fees.

They also offer Free Overage Protection, so you can rest easy in knowing that you will never be charged for overages without your go-ahead! You have complete control.

Special offer! Want to save 25% off your first 6 months of TwigbyClick here.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!