My 11 Go-To Costco Items

 

Today, I want to talk about my favorite things I get at Costco. We already talked about how I save money at Costco, but there is more to this. I love to know what people buy at places! I might be the weird one, but I even like to see grocery hauls. They either make me feel like I buy too much or not enough.

So, the first thing you should know is our grocery budget is $300 every two weeks. This budget doesn’t include pet items, pull-ups, or personal care items. We don’t eat any specific way, except we try to eat as healthy as we can. While I would love to purchase all organic items, that doesn’t fit in our budget.

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  • Organic Bananas: Costco sells prepackaged bags of organic bananas. Each bag is 3lbs and costs $1.99. That equals $.66 per pound! I buy three bags each time I go there. My kids love bananas.
  • Water Bottles: The Kirkland brand of water bottles are sold in a pack of 40 for $3.39. It is a great price, even if you compare it to Wal-Mart!
  • Honey: I prefer to get my honey from local sources, but I like to use Costco honey for baking. When you heat up honey, it does lose some of its natural nutrients and benefits. Costco has both raw honey and clover honey. Their raw, unfiltered honey costs $13.89 for 44oz.Costco7
  • Maple Syrup: The last two years haven’t given us a great yield of maple syrup. We don’t use the fake syrup made of high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, maple syrup is very expensive in the stores. Costco sells a 33oz bottle for $10.49! You won’t find that price anywhere else.
  • Romaine Lettuce: There are a few options for romaine lettuce available at Costco. One bag has 5 heads of romaine lettuce, and it is sold for around $3.50. We go through a lot of lettuce when it isn’t gardening season.
  • Dog Food: I mentioned this before. We purchase a large bag of dog food that is grain-free at Costco. It is 35 pounds and costs $33.99. Before we found this deal, we would spend $35 on a 15lb bag of dog food. It saved us a great deal of money each month!costco9
  • Salmon Burgers: If you try to find salmon burgers at the stores, they are expensive. At Costco, I purchase a bag with 12 wild Alaskan salmon burgers for $15.99. This price might seem high, but Wal-Mart sells a box of 4 for $4. The kids absolutely love these, plus there are only a few ingredients!
  • Lunchmeat: My kids love lunchmeat, but it is expensive to buy in the stores. Hillshire Farm sells a deli variety pack at Costco. You get oven roasted turkey breast, honey ham, and smoked turkey breast. It is priced at $9.99. That equals $3.30 per pound!Costco6
  • Flour: I love to bake. Whether it is bread or cookies, I go through a lot of flour. If you use all-purpose flour, Costco sells 25lb bags for $5.89, equaling $.236 per pound. You might think that somewhere like Aldi would be cheaper, but it isn’t! Aldi prices their 5lb bags of flour at $1.87, equaling $.374 per pound.costco10
  • Applesauce Pouches: I tend to stray away from prepackaged items at Costco, but their applesauce pouch price is amazing. They make the perfect snack for the diaper bag. Kirkland sells 24 organic applesauce pouches for $9.99.Costco11
  • Drawstring Kitchen Bags: Trash bags are expensive in the stores. Kirkland brand bags cost $13.49 for 200 bags. Yes, you read that right! The box will last you a long while.

Clearly, this isn’t all that I buy at Costco on a regular basis. Some other items include:

  • Alaskan Pollock fish sticks (the only meat that my youngest consumes)
  • Jones’ Sausage Patties – typically priced around $10.89 for 36 patties, with only a few ingredients.
  • Whole Chickens – if my local store doesn’t have a good sale, I get them at Costco.
  • Organic Ground Beef – when I can’t get it local, I always buy from Costco.
  • Outshine Bars – my kids love these popsicles made with real fruit. They are typically priced at $9.99 for 24 bars!

Are you a Costco shopper? If so, I want to hear YOUR favorite items. I love to pick up new things while I’m there. Don’t we all? Let me know in the comments!

Genius Tips for Saving Money at Costco

Costco is one of my favorite stores. It is a frequent date location for my husband and I. Oh, the joys of being an adult, married couple!

I frequently am asked if Costco truly saves money. When you have to pay to shop at a store, you want to make sure it is worth the cost. For our family, the answer is a resounding YES. However, there are some tricks that you need to know to make it worth it for your family.

Tips for Saving Money at Costco

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  • Be Careful Buying Produce: Unlike paper towels, bananas and lettuce have an expiration date. Even though the price per pound often beats your local grocery store, it is a waste of money to buy ten pounds of apples if you can only eat five pounds.
  • Know the Price Per Unit: When you shop at Costco, everything is more expensive. It isn’t hard to spend $100 because everything is sold in bulk. How do you know if it is a good deal? First, you have to know the price per unit at your local grocery store, allowing you to compare to Costco.Costco7
    For example, if maple syrup costs $6.97 at your local store for 6 ounces, you know that the price per ounce is $1.16. Perhaps your local Costco sells 16 ounces of maple syrup for $12. The price per unit is $0.75, making it a clearly cheaper choice, even though it is sold in a larger package!
  • Buy What You Always Use: Are there things that you buy every single grocery trip that your family devours faster than you can buy? Those are the items you want in your Costco grocery cart. Sure, toss in a snack or a package of bagels, but your goal is to save money on the items you always buy.
  • Check Costco Coupons: As a homeschooling mama of three kids, I honestly don’t have time to coupon. Costco sends out a coupon package each month. The coupons come off automatically if you purchase those items, awesome for us absent-minded folks. Make sure that you check out what these items are. Sometimes, the deals are great, allowing you to stock up.
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    For example, GoGurts go on sale frequently. The box typically has 32 tubes and is priced competitively to start. Every few months, the boxes have a $3 coupon, allowing you to get 32 tubes for around $4. That is a steal! If you have room in your freezer, it is a great stock up purchase.
  • Look at the Books and Clothes: Costco sells more than just groceries. Some of my favorite deals are their other items. I purchase rain jackets for my kids every year, priced at $20. Each year, my kids get their winter jackets at Costco. They sell Carter brand clothes that are consistently priced at Carter’s sale price!
    Don’t get me started on the books! Homeschooling families love to purchase as many books as we can. I find that their books match the price listed on Amazon, a rarity for stores.
  • Compare Organic to Conventional: I love to purchase organic food for my family, but let’s be honest, it’s expensive! I wish I could afford to buy all organics, but that isn’t in our budget. Costco lets me buy more organic food for my family than ever before because the price of their organic food closely matches the conventional food at my local grocery store.Costco3
  • Buy Frozen Veggies: Frozen veggies are often overlooked for their fresh counterparts. Don’t get me wrong; I love fresh veggies. Frozen vegetables and fruit are put into the freezer at their peak freshness when their nutrients are maximized. Costco has an amazing selection of frozen veggies for a great price!
  • Check the Fresh Meat Counter: Fresh meat prices fluctuate, and you won’t always find the best deals at Costco. I always check the sale price at my local grocery before I visit Costco. You don’t want to pay $3.99 per pound at Costco for stew meat if there is a sale elsewhere. But, there are plenty of times when the meats beat out other stores, so take the time to check the prices!

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  • Go for Store Brand: Kirkland is Costco’s store brand, and it is high quality. Their products are typically cheaper than the brand name items. In the five years I have shopped at Costco, I have never once had an issue with Kirkland products. They are worth your consideration, and they will save you even more money!
  • Buy Your Baking Supplies: If you are a baker, Costco should be your best friend. The price rarely is higher than your grocery store. I purchase my flour, sugar, and yeast in bulk. Flour can be frozen! If you know you use these items a lot, you will save money here.
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  • Check Out the Dog Food: Before we were Costco members, we bought our dogs a name brand, grain-free dog food, costing $35. The bag would last two weeks! Costco sells their dog food in larger bags for the same price. We save $35 each month just by this one thing. So, take a look at their animal selection.
  • Enjoy the Samples: If we are discussing saving money, you can’t for
    get the samples. Samples save my skin when I take all the kids grocery shopping, and they decrease how much I have to give them for lunch. Speaking of lunch, stop at their food court. Pizza is cheap, and then you can make the trek home!
  • If you want to save money at Costco, it will require some pre-planning on your part. You have to know the prices you typically pay to ensure you actually are saving money. Once you take the time to know these facts, saving money at Costco is a breeze.
    Check back soon to see my favorite items to buy at Costco.

5 Awesome Ways to Save Time with an Instant Pot

Every now and then, I find a product that changes how I work in the kitchen. The Instant Pot is that new product. Never heard of it? You are in for a treat, my friend.


An Instant Pot is essentially a pressure cooker, but it does so much more. You can use it to brown meat, as a rice cooker, yogurt maker, and a pressure canner. Instead of having multiple devices, you just need the one.

Why Do I Love the Instant Pot?

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There are few times that I say I LOVE a product. The Instant Pot is true love. Because we are focused on saving money, I would never share it if I felt that it wouldn’t benefit your family. Here are the reasons why I love it so much.

  • It saves me money. I can cook a dinner in 25 minutes. As I started to write this post, I considered calling for pizza. Our night was busy with an EMT class, soccer, and a Montessori meeting. Take out sounded great, right? I made a dinner in 20 minutes in the Instant Pot, a shorter time than pizza!
  • It’s great for summer. You know those hot summer when you can’t stand the idea of standing in front of a stove or oven? Put your dinner into the Instant Pot! While it does heat up, it won’t heat your entire kitchen.
  • It’s portable. Are you heading to the beach and want to save some money? Make dinners in the Instant Pot. It weighs close to 5lbs, and it isn’t huge. You can easily put it in the trunk of your car and use it.
  • It replaces other devices. I love my slow cooker, but I’ve rarely used it since I purchased an IP. Who needs a rice cooker or yogurt maker now? I don’t! If you plan to pressure can, the IP can do that as well.

My 5 Favorite Ways to Use the Instant Pot

  1. One Pot Meals: The very first time I used the IP, I followed a recipe for a Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. I was totally skeptical. Hello, I was putting UNCOOKED pasta into this thing! 25 minutes later, I was blown away by the amazingness on my plate.

    Since that time, we have been known to toss a variety of ingredients into the IP, creating tons of one pot meals. Chicken stir fry, chicken and wild rice, spaghetti, roasts with potatoes and carrots. There are so many great recipes.

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  2. Rice Cooker: I can honestly tell you that rice and I used to not be friends. It always had that crunchy texture, even after I cooked it exactly what the directions told me to do. I love rice, so disappointment typically followed. The IP changed my relationship with rice. Every time I use it in a dinner, it is always perfectly cooked! Even my rice-cooking challenged husband succeeds.
  3. Baked Potatoes: I LOVE baked potatoes, but they can take an hour to cook. If you know me, you know that I tend to forget everything. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to put them into the oven. You only need 25 minutes in the Instant Pot to create the perfect baked potatoes.eggs
  4. Hard Boiled Eggs: Hard boiled eggs are a favorite in our family. My husband takes a few to work each day. I add them in my salads and chicken salad. With the IP, you only need 7 minutes to perfect hard boiled eggs! You can see directions here. It really is simple.
  5. Cooking Whole Chickens: One of the top ways that I save money is by purchasing whole chickens instead of all boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I typically would roast or boil a whole chicken, but I always forget when I needed to put it into the oven. Are you holding onto your seat? You can cook a whole chicken in 30 minutes in the IP. Did your mouth fall open? Mine did the first time I read it and then tried.

The Instant Pot has truly changed my kitchen. Do you have one in your kitchen? Let me know your favorite ways to use it!

+I may receive compensations from items linked in this post. It doesn’t influence my opinions on the products listed.

How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil

Did you know that dandelions have a purpose? They do more than dot your yard with pops of yellow. My husband creates delicious bottles of dandelion wine each spring. Years ago, your grandmother might have sent you out to gather dandelion greens for a salad. There is even more.

Medicinal Purposes of Dandelion Infused Oil

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Besides the delicious scent, dandelion infused oil has medicinal uses that can benefit anyone. You can leave it as an infused oil or use it to create salves and ointments.

  • helps ease aching muscles and joints
  • calming properties when combined with lavender
  • stress relieving properties
  • excellent skin moisturizer

How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil

Lucky for you, making dandelion infused oil is very simple. It is a cold infusion process that uses the heat and light from the sun to extract the useful properties. One thing to note is that, unlike other infused oils, you only let this set for two weeks due to the high moisture content in the flowers. If you allow it to set longer, you increase the risk of spoilage and molding. Here is the simple process.

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  1. Pick enough dandelions to fill up your selected jar. I use mason jars. You only want the flowers!
  2. Allow the dandelions to dry for a day or two. As they dry, they will shrivel up, taking less room in your jar. I collected a pint jar of dandelion flowers and only filled up a half pint once dried.
  3. Fill up the jar with olive oil. You want to submerge the dandelions fully. Poke with a spoon to eliminate any air bubbles.
  4. Put the lid on your jar and allow it to set for two weeks in a sunny spot. A windowsill works perfectly. It needs to steep to allow the properties to soak into the oil.
  5. Once the two weeks are up, strain out the oil with a coffee filter. Now, you can use the oil!

Ways to Use Dandelion Infused Oil

Unlike other infused oils, this is not meant to be used for culinary purposes. The best way to apply it is topically. You can apply it directly to your skin or use it in homemade products.

Have you ever used dandelion infused oil? I would love to hear if you have tried dandelions for anything!

Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

Psalm 127: 3-5 – “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.”

It has been nearly two months since my last post, an upsetting fact because I have so many plans for this blog. Unfortunately, a miscarriage rocked our world, shattering the goals and dreams for our family. Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me back up.

Preg

Our youngest was only 11 months old when we discovered another child was on the way. It is painful to write this in past tense, but it is a reality I must face. On February 9th, I went grocery shopping alone, an enjoyable experience as a mother of three kids, and picked up a few pregnancy tests. I was late, but since my postpartum cycles had just returned, I didn’t expect it to be positive.

I was totally wrong. Walmart tests seem to take forever, but once I stood up, I saw a light line that only darkened. I quickly texted my best friend a picture who freaked out along with me. Another child?! The babies would only be around 20 months apart; that seemed insane.

Unable to wait any longer, I told Andrew, as he ate take out hibachi. The fork stopped before he could finish his bite. We hadn’t planned another child, especially so soon. Yet, it was our reality to face.

What would any sane mother do? I took around 10 pregnancy tests, one each day, to ensure it was real and that the baby was growing. It isn’t a foolproof method, but the line darkens as the HCG rises.

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Time went on. We told our parents, who were as delighted and shocked as us. We told our close friends, but didn’t announce to the world. We had plans for that.

As the fourth baby, my body reacted immediately. Cramps, back pains and food aversion rocked my world. I was more tired than ever before, not a good thing with three kids always at home. Yet, my body started to grow within a few short weeks. The human body is amazing! My body seemed to say, hey we remember this! Let’s get this show on the road.

Preg3Preg4It was a lovely thing, to see my body responding as it should.

However, something felt off. I couldn’t shake the feeling that was something wrong. So, I booked an appointment for an ultrasound. I don’t typically rush to my OBGYN, opting to wait for the 10-11 week mark to have my first appointment.

It was the day before St. Patrick’s Day, the day we wanted to announce the 4th leaf to our clover. Caelyn and I zoomed up to Pittsburgh, eager to see the baby and get a picture for our announcement. At that appointment, the world crashed around me as I learned the baby had passed away.

How could that be? How could my baby be gone when I’m still nauseous? The smell of coffee turned my stomach and nothing tasted right. My womb was growing but the baby had stopped. They encouraged me to call my OBGYN, who got me in the very next day.

He confirmed the findings. The next week and a half was a never-ending cycle of bloodwork and ultrasounds. Waiting is horrible, especially for someone who lacks patience, but waiting to lose your baby is a burden I wish none to face.

On one hand, the final end means nothing is left. The baby is gone, and the womb is empty. On the other hand, carrying a child that is no longer alive is another type of torture. My symptoms continued as my HCG very slowly declined.

Finally, almost two weeks later, my physical miscarriage began. Apparently, it is a missed miscarriage when it takes so long to take place. Nevermind the name, it is horrid. On a Wednesday afternoon, the bleeding began, followed by five hours of heavy bleeding and cramps that resembled contractions. It slowed down by that night, allowing me to get some much needed sleep.

Many people asked me why I opted not to have a D&C. Wouldn’t it be easier just to end the process? For some, yes that would be true. I know myself, and I knew I needed the physical side of it to truly grieve, unless I medically needed a D&C. Despite the mental and physical trial I faced, I am glad my body did what was needed.

That Friday, I headed in for more bloodwork and an ultrasound that confirmed the miscarriage was nearly complete. My doctor prescribed me Cytotec to help finish the process. That evening, I watched Moana with my kids, eating pizza and laughing at the songs. Oh, how my heart needed that joy in the midst of sorrow.

Over the next few weeks, the bleeding slowed, and life slowly picked up its normal pace. Yet, our lives will never be the same. At the time of my miscarriage, I was over 11 weeks pregnant. I yearn for the child I should feel kicking at this moment. We should’ve known the gender at this point, as I would be over 16 weeks. While the tears have subsided, multiple times a day I think of what should be.

Now, a month after the miscarriage, I knew I had to write. Maybe you skimmed this or read it straight through. If I am totally honest, the sharing is more for myself than anything else, a type of closure. Part of the reason I chose to name this blog is because our family was growing to grow and expand. Now, it takes on a new meaning as the pain portion is very more clear.

FlowersTonight, as Andrew and I read through James 1, a particular verse caught my eye:

17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming from down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Our child, yet only here for a short period, was a true gift for our family. We don’t know the future of our family, but we do know that God is faithful and loving. Our trust is in Him fully during this period of time. I have cried more tears than I knew was possible, yet spring brings hope for the beautiful future ahead.

It felt wrong to start writing again, with no mention of our life in last two months. Now, we can move forward, because I have plenty of goodies in store.

How to Plan Out Your Vegetable Garden

In most areas of the country, we are still embracing the wild weather of winter transitioning into spring. As I type this, it is snowing outside. Thankfully, the time to plant seedlings is coming closer, fast!

I look forward to this time of year. There is something so refreshing and rejuvenating about working in the dirt, even if it is inside. It reminds me that winter doesn’t last forever, Thank God! Spring is a time of new life and birth from our gardens. It is time to prepare!

One of the top questions I asked is how I plan my garden. How do I know what to grow? And, most importantly, how do I know when to plant everything? I’m going to take you step by step through my process. Just promise not to laugh at my drawing skills, okay?

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My first step is to think about what our family consumes on a regular basis. What veggies do I purchase every week at the store? Do I purchase certain frozen veggies and canned goods? Then, I think about what I need to grow to replace those items.

For our family, we grow quite a huge variety. While I have listed just tomatoes, I grow, on average, five to seven different types of tomatoes. I grow over seven varieties of peppers.

Once I have my list ready, I draw out my garden, such as the one pictured above. It is a rough sketch and it doesn’t indicate the actual amount of plants that I will grow of each. However, it gives me a way to organize it all in my mind.

Next, I order my seeds. Who doesn’t love to buy seeds? I purchase all of my seeds from Baker’s Creek Heirloom Seeds. They are fantastic and worth every dollar! When my seeds arrive, it is like Christmas!

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We have the seeds and the general idea of where to plant everything. Next comes the big when to start planting.

The USDA split up the USA into Hardiness Zones. You can discover yours, which indicates your first and last frost date each year. Remember, it is an average. there is no 100% foolproof way to know when the last frost will take place.

Here are my steps to determine my gardening plan.

  1. Many plants need to be started indoors 8 to 9 weeks before the last frost date. I count backwards from that date and mark that as the general time to start my indoor seedlings.
  2. Four weeks before the last frost, there are certain plants ready to go outside, such as cabbage and broccoli. Mark this date on your calendar. This is also a good time to start your potatoes!
  3. Next, certain plans can be directly sown into the garden beds two weeks prior to your last frost date, such as peas, carrots, radishes and lettuce. At this time, I also start my zucchini seedlings. You don’t want them to become root bound in the containers, so don’t start too soon.
  4. Finally, you have reached the last frost date! At this time, it is safe to set out the rest of your seedlings, like the tomatoes and peppers. Also, you can directly sow plants like corn, cucumbers and beans.

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Gardening is, generally, forgiving. If you don’t have the perfect dates, everything will work out fine in the end. To avoid stress, take an hour and plug in the dates on your calendar. It is really just that easy!

For all of my new gardeners,  I hope this was helpful! Coming up in the next week or so, we will talk about how to start seedlings on a budget! Stay tuned!

XOXO,

Bethany

Using Pen and Paper for Budgeting

Chances are you have seen numerous budgeting software that lets you track your spending. While I do love Mint.com, all of the other choices have fallen short for me. Add in the fact that they want me to PAY to track my SPENDING, I think I will stick to pen and paper.

This blog might seem obvious to you, but there are many people in need of serious budgeting help. If you are like me, creating a budget doesn’t come naturally. I am NOT a math person. I would rather watch paint dry than have to solve mathematical equations.

I wanted to give you a low down on how I set our budget, with a varied income. My husband has a fairly consistent income with a base pay. So, creating our budget with his income is quite simple. As a server and a freelance writer, my income varies greatly. I have really good months and low times. These are my simple steps for creating a budget with just pen and paper.

  1. Create a Total Income Assuming the Lowest Amounts: What is the lowest amount of money you typically bring in each month? This is the amount you should use to create your budget. If you use anything else, you will struggle each month.
  2. List Out Your Bills: In one column, write out your bills. In another column, write out your debt payments. If you have the space, it is a great idea to put your total debt owed along with the payments to give yourself motivation. Some people prefer to write out bills in order of “importance,” but I opt to do so based on payment deadlines.
  3. Check the Calendar: The day before payday, I take a look at my calendar. I keep deadlines for each bill in a planner. Look at the bills due during this pay period. It may be 5 or it could be 10. Either way, go down the list and pay each one accordingly.
  4. Subtract Budget for Groceries, Gas and Essentials: It is wise to create a budget for your groceries, gas and other essential items you purchase each payday. If you save for clothing or have a sinking fund, subtract that from your total after you pay bills.
  5. Budget Down to Zero: If you have extras left over, the fun comes! Maybe not the type of fun you were wanting. It is time to decide where these extras need to go. If you follow the Dave Ramsey plan and have your $1,000 emergency fund, the extra should be applied to debt. Only you can decide where to put the extra money, but don’t forget to give it a place! You control the money, not the opposite!

It can’t get more simple than this! There is no reason to spend extra money on budgeting software when you are totally capable of controlling your money.

If you typically overspend in areas such as groceries, it is time to start a cash envelope system. I will discuss this later, but everything that can be bought or paid for in cash should be. This simple method drastically decreases overspending.

I hope this is helpful for someone! While budgeting seems like a simple process to some, many are stumped as to where to start.

XOXO,

Bethany

How to Pay Down Debt Faster with a No Spend Month

 

Are you searching for extra money in your budget to throw towards debt? When your budget is tight, finding even an extra $20 can be a struggle. Or, you may feel lazy towards debt payoff and need to kick it into high gear.

There is no better way to beef up the debt snowball than to have a no spend month.

Wait, a no spend month?! Does that mean our family won’t spend money on anything?

No! That isn’t what a no spend month is at all. The concept is whatever you make it, but most people assign these typical rules to a no spend month.

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With all of the money we save, we will be able to make larger payments toward debts. Our primary goal this month is a remaining credit card that needs to go!

I am excited (and nervous) to start March! We are going to try to encourage the kids and tell them it is a game. I’m hoping the weather brightens up so we can spend extra time at the park and less time other places.

We do have other goals for our no spend month of March

  • Curb Our Spending Habits: After Christmas, it can be hard to stop the insane amount of purchasing. We are ready to be done!
  • Sell Unneeded Items: As I mentioned before, we hope to move this summer. Everyone knows that moving reveals just how many items you collected over the years. This month, I need to get rid of things. No items in and a lot out!
  • Trim Our Budget: I have had the same budget for months now. Sometimes, I feel as if we need a refresh button. I need to look at it with fresh eyes to see what needs change and what needs updated. This month, we will focus on changing and adapting our budget to meet the growing needs of our family.

Does a no spend month sound like a great idea for your family? Do you want to commit to paying off more debt in one month than usual? Join me! Post your updates on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #NoSpendMonthFGP

XOXO

Bethany

Introducing Our Family

DSC_7593.JPGHi y’all! I am so thankful that you stumbled upon my little blog. It is just in the beginning stages, but I have many wonderful plans. I hope you check out and see all the great ideas.

I want to introduce you to my family. My husband, Andrew, and I were married in 2012, after dating throughout high school, which was 10 years ago. That makes me feel old! Our youngest, Caelyn, was born in 2010. Our middle child, Brayden, came along in 2012, a few months prior to our wedding. Our third baby, Connor, is our sweet little rainbow baby. He joined our family in February 2016.

Aside from having three wonderful kids, our lives stay busy on a regular basis. We are a homeschooling family, a passion I love to discuss. Later, throughout the blog, we will talk about our homeschool plans and lessons. I garden throughout the spring and summer, focusing on preserving many of our foods.

Don’t worry; you are going to find out so much about our family before long. I can’t wait to jump into the most important topic of this blog: living on a budget.

Do you struggle to live on a budget? Is it as frustrating for you as it is for us? For us, 2017 is geared towards knocking down debt as we aim towards purchasing a new (to us) home this summer.

I don’t want to spill the beans too much. I have too many good tips to share. Check out soon; March is going to be a fun month!