Tag Archives: Frugal

Feed The Pig {Small Savings, Big Reward}

Hey y’all! Do you want to go on vacation next summer? Us too! We can’t afford to make a line item in our budget for a vacation, so we’ve had to get tricky and think outside the box in order to fund our first ever family vacation. Yes, I said first ever. We’ve never been on a real family vacation before, so we’re planning to take one in 2017 no matter what. 

But how will you fund this thing, you ask? We’re feeding our pig! No, we don’t own a real pig. We have a big, chubby piggy bank we’re feeding every time we find a coin or cash in our bottles and cans for money. All of that goes straight into the pig.

Pig
Seriously the saddest photo of a pig I’ve ever seen. This pig needs to go on vacation!

How did you ever get such an odd idea, you ask? I got this idea on my birthday when I was thinking up ways to give a gift to my family because they have given me the gift of love everyday. I shared my idea with them and they love it!

Originally, we’d started saving coins in a clear two and a half-gallon jug, but we could see the coins and after years of emptying it every time we had an “emergency” we decided that just wouldn’t work, so now we’re feeding the pig! So far, we have it about half full already! We estimate there is about $50 in there, but to be fair…it was already about 1/4 full when I first got the idea.  I’m excited to crack that piggy open next summer and see what’s inside!

You might be asking “well, what happens when you fill the pig? Will you empty it out and refill it?” Well, yes and no. We’re going to leave all the money in there until next summer. When this pig is full, we’re going to fill another pig. Ideally, we’ll make our own pig out of fun recycled materials. If we do, I’ll be sure to share the tutorial of how we did it. If not, you know me…I’ll fess up and humble myself enough to tell you we broke down and purchased one at the Dollar Tree or a yard sale. 😉 I estimate we’ll fill this pig by the end of summer, but we’ll see!

We have some ideas about what we want to do. The kids obviously want to go to Disney Land, but I am vehemently opposed. I do not fit that into my list of values. There are much more frugal things to do with that money, y’all! Personally, I’d prefer my kids experience a national park or a cool new beach. I want to experience the outdoors and reset our natural clocks…maybe get Anthony to wake up before 8 am for once? (Yes, I am one of those annoying morning people. I wake up happy, want the house cleaned and children fed before 9 am. I swear, I was meant to be an Army drill sergeant. I missed my calling.)

Anyway, this is going to be a really interesting experiment. If we can all keep up with it, we’re going to have an amazing time. If not, well, I hope the kids like beans and wieners cooked over a campfire at a local campground because I am absolutely serious when I say we’re going on a vacation next year and it’s absolutely not going to be funded by our line item budget – this is all to be funded by coins and bottle returns.

What is the oddest way you’ve ever funded a vacation? Have you ever tried to fund one from bottle returns and coins? How did that work out for you? Share in the comments below. And remember – feed your pig!

 

IMG_20160428_182536
A random photo of my adorable son enjoying his first BBQ rib last night. Because my sense of humor is nuts and I love showing off my super amazing kids. Enjoy! 

RV Life – Week One {Debt Free Journey}

Moving into an RV is hard to do in less than a month! But it’s worth it. I already know by the amount of difficulty we’ve had this far. Whenever our family is challenged greatly, we learn amazing lifetime lessons.

Whenever I’ve encountered a challenge in the last few days, I remind myself why we’re on this journey. I envision the outcome and then I find the strength to keep going.

We spent our last night at our rental home preparing the motorhome to live in full time. That was a challenge! Even though we’d sold, given away and donated about 90% of our stuff – we still have had to face the fact that we have too much! All these years, I’ve thought I needed a glass, fork, plate, knife for everything. Well, I don’t! A coffee cup works for tea, coffee, hot cocoa, cider, etc. It’s a multi-purpose cup! Who knew? 😉 And a steak knife cuts a whole lot more than just steak. Just saying.

We thought that because we didn’t shop excessively that we were being frugal and careful with our money. We thought that because we’d downsized about a year ago (donating over 70% of our stuff) that we’d already entered the  world of minimalism – you know, dipping our toes in, testing the waters. Well, we didn’t even have a full toe nail in the water! I seriously recommend a full two months or more to downsize to just the bare essentials. With a family, I’d increase that to three months because life happens and children are so much more important than stuff – incoming or outgoing stuff. We simply didn’t have a choice this time around. The rental market crashed, our rental home was put on the market and we were given 30 days to move out. We felt God calling us into RV life and we quickly answered “sure thing, God!”IMG_20151008_174432

I’m glad we didn’t think this fully through first. We might not have obeyed. We would be missing out on great blessings.

The amount of work this has required and is still requiring, is teaching our kids to move past their comfort zones.  It’s shaking them up in a good way. Suddenly, they can’t just sit in front of a television. They have to get up and explore the world around them. They can’t dump out all 300 wooden blocks because there is no room for that. They must get creative. And they must begin helping with chores.

A major disservice we’ve done to our kids is to relent when they fight us on chores. Because of that, the girls haven’t learned about the importance of a good work ethic. They’re learning now, out of necessity! Future bosses and co-workers of my children – you’re welcome. 😉 Seriously though, it’s been good for all of us. It’s team building and I see small fruits forming already.  In due season, they’ll ripen and be ready for the harvest.

We’ve encountered our fair share of challenges, but we have hope, faith and spirit. We have love. And we will conquer this mountain and be all the better for it.

When Treasures Get Dusty

We’re preparing to move in the very near future and as I sort through our belongings, I’m just overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff that we have! I’m constantly getting rid of items, but it seems as though they multiply in the night. I know that so many of us here in the United States have this issue and it’s mind boggling to me. How do we acquire so many items, especially when families like mine are so intensely frugal and aren’t really out there shopping for fun or “wants”? 

When my husband’s grandfather passed away, we were given a lot of his items. They were wonderful, quality items (most of them) but they were triples and doubles of items we already had. My parents, hoarders at heart, have given us truck loads of items over the years. (Seriously, my dad never visited us in Washington without a pickup truck full of items!) Friends have given us many great items, and Anthony and I started out our marriage with most of our house put together already, from items we either owned previously, or purchased together. Add in a couple of crib midgets, and well, you have a house overflowing with stuff! 

Most of this stuff has absolutely no value to me. I don’t know what to do with it. I can’t use it because I’m already using other items. I don’t care for most of it, and it makes me sick to look at it, knowing there are people out there who live in garbage dumps and dig among others’ discards just to find clothing and shelter. Why should I have all this stuff in my possession? What purpose does it serve me? None. It is a distraction from what really matters. 

The devil doesn’t come to you dressed in a red cape and horns. He comes disguised as everything you’ve ever wanted. 

Huh? 

So all the things lying on my floor right now in disarray are things I actually wanted at one time? Well, yeah. Truth be told, there’s so much more than what’s on my floor right now that I’ve really wanted – that I’ve spent a lot of time coveting. It’s easy to covet, especially when we believe that the item(s) will bring us happiness, joy, comfort, relaxation. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve purchased pretty organizing baskets to keep my kitchen, pantry, bedroom, bathroom, living room in line. Most of those baskets found their way either to the Goodwill or to the trash can because they were poorly made. 

We’re spending our pay checks on trash, people. Look around at the items in your home right now. How many things are a poor use of God’s money? How many items are going to break soon, if they’re not broken already? How many items do you use on a daily basis? How many items sit, waiting in drawers, cupboards, on shelves just waiting to be used? 

A couple years ago, I read a really amazing book by Dave Bruno called The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My SoulLet me start out by saying that I resist change out of fear, so it takes a long time for stuff to set in. 🙂 Now, I’ll say that lessons from this book keep coming back to me. I absolutely love the idea of only owning 100 items, but I don’t really know how to make that happen when I’m drowning in stuff! 

 

amish

Going Amish?

amish

 

One of my all-time favorite books is Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth. I cannot read this book enough! Right now, I’m reading it for the fourth or fifth time and taking more intensive notes than I ever have before. God has been placing it upon our hearts to live more sustainable lives and to love and tend His creation. For the last couple of years, Anthony and I have been working really hard to live more with less. We got off track about a year ago when we moved back home to Oregon, but we’re slowly getting back to where we want to be. Eventually, we will switch from 100% electric lighting to 100% non-electric lighting, from owning a clothes dryer, to not owning one (and line drying all of our clothes), and we will cut down on our use of a car for any errand within five miles of our home (unless it’s on the way home from church or work, which are both more than 10 miles from home). We’re selling pretty much everything that is non-essential and that does not honor God. This includes home decor, clothing, and most small electrical kitchen appliances. This change began in the heart, and is moving outward, to our actions. It’s not so much that we want to be Amish, as that we want to honor God in all we do and say, and we want to be sure we’re considering long-term cost to our environment, neighbors, and our wallets, as opposed to short-term gain for ourselves.

The more we pare down, the freer we feel. We live in a small (by “normal” standards) two bedroom, one and a half bath apartment. It’s around 900 square feet and it’s ample room for the four of us. We park in a community car port and we live less than half a block from the schools, and less than one-quarter mile from a local grocer’s. Everything we need is within one mile of our home. Though we do not have a backyard, we do have a small patio, and we are using that to grow some food. We currently have cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, broccoli, limes, lemons and oranges growing on our back patio. There is still room for our two girls to play out there as well. We plan to increase our crop by double next year, adding beans, cilantro, potatoes, radishes, cucumbers (for pickling), and tomatillos or some other type of peppers.

Our girls are expected to help water the plants, feed the pets (we have a small dog and a cat), and clean up after themselves, as well as set the table, prepare some simple foods (like cutting olives with a table knife, tear lettuce for salads, stir baking mixes, etc), fold laundry (towels, wash cloths, socks, underpants, cloth napkins, etc.), and sweep and mop tiled areas, to name a few. I also expect them to clean the bathtub every Monday evening. (They love that particular chore, since it means they’re the first to take a soak in a clean tub!) We do not pay our girls an allowance. We had been using a rewards system to bribe them to do chores, but we’re removing that from our home, since we don’t believe that it’s spiritually beneficial to bribe them to assist the family, or for any other reason. This can lead to a sense of entitlement, and that is not a spiritual blessing in any way, shape or form. Instead, we reward ourselves with time spent outside, such as a daily walk to the park to play on the playground. We live exactly a half mile from two different parks (one in each direction), both with playgrounds. Taking a walk to the park is a daily occurrence, provided it’s not pouring down rain outside. This is ample reason for the girls to complete their chores in a timely manner. They absolutely love going to the park with enough time to spend socializing with the neighbor kids.

We have significantly decreased screen time for our children, to a mere 20 minutes a day (for computer games on Sesame Street.org) and one movie a week, on Fridays, when we make popcorn and settle in on the couch as a family. This week, we watched Beauty and the Beast and all of us girls were delighted to discover that my husband knew all the words to every song in the movie! Anthony and I have cut down screen time for ourselves, as well. We’re working on cutting it down even further. It’s a tough habit to break! He is in online school, working towards a degree in forensics and criminology and I home school Theresa, using the internet as a frequent resource for her. (I have found very helpful videos on YouTube for my visual learner.) We have to be very mindful of how we are using the internet. It’s so easy to become distracted!

Our financial situation has always been bleak. We were love-sick kids who got married on borrowed time and borrowed money. We barely had two nickels to scrape together, and then we started having children. You can guess how that’s all turned out. 😉 We tried chasing after the “American dream” but found that for us, it’s more of an “American nightmare.” We have little interest in corporate America and even less interest in working far from home. We value our time together as a family, and our small home that allows us to be in close proximity to one another. Yes, we do occasionally (read: daily) drive each other nuts, but we also have some insanely funny moments. I would not trade this time with my family for anything, nor would I desire a larger house so that I could “escape” from my husband or my children. We make time for each other, and for ourselves. It all “comes out in the wash” as they say.

Behind our home is an empty property, full of grass, wild flowers, birds and often, deer. We love to stand on the patio, quietly talking to our friends, the deer. Right now there are five young bucks that make the trek to our “backyard”. It delights our girls to no end to see them out there, munching on the sweet grasses or laying lazily in the sun. I love listening to the hundreds of birds outside our window. There is a stream about 50 yards away, down a bit of a ravine, and I know the area is teeming with wild-life. I am in heaven here. There is always something new, something beautiful to enjoy, even in the middle of a small town.

Because we enjoy our friends the birds and deer so much, we want to preserve their land. Limiting our time in the driver’s seat, cutting down our carbon footprint, and reducing our use of non-renewable energies. We’re beginning to shop locally (which is an adjustment, I’ll admit! I love Fred Meyer!), frequenting farmer’s markets, purchasing locally made toiletries, using cloth napkins exclusively, cleaning with water and vinegar, and clearing our home of unnecessary clutter. (Clutter equals fire hazard, among other things.)

The reactions we’ve received about these changes have been, surprising to us, mostly negative. People ask why we’re striving to be so different, and ask why we’re trying to buy our way into heaven. It’s not about buying our way into heaven at all! It’s about ensuring there’s still a planet with fresh air, healthy (recognizable, non-genetically modified) foods, and room to run and play and explore nature, for future generations. Most of all, it’s about living in a way that allows us time to be free to do what we love best, and that is to love God by serving others. I cannot serve others very well when I am tied down to a large house, cleaning lots of things that I do not really need, and working at a job I hate just to be able to afford these things. That, to us, is the opposite of a dream.

God has deeply and richly blessed our family. I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve discussed leaving this town to go somewhere else and make more money, and on one finger the number of places and situations I’d rather be in. God has planted us here, and we intend to bloom right where He’s planted us. This, above all things, is the Amish way. We will bloom where God has planted us until it is time to be with Him forever in Heaven.

Clean Your Vacuum {Frugal Tip}

I know this probably seems a bit silly, but this is something that I don’t think a lot of people tend to do on a regular basis anymore. Our culture is very much into replacing items when they’re dusty or old. I say just deep clean your cleaning tools on a regular basis and keep them running long after the warranty is up.

The first step is to purchase a quality vacuum in the first place. We’ve struggled with money a lot, so the best we could do several years ago was a Wal-Mart special on a $79 Bissell Wind Tunnel Vacuum. It’s worked out very well for us. We’ve used it to vacuum our car, furniture and our house. We vacuum daily, and we have two pets who shed a lot!

The second step is to plan on deep cleaning your vacuum at least once a year. Ideally, you should be cleaning out the filters monthly and washing out the bag-less dirt holding section every time you empty it. I have kids that I home school and a life, so I only do this about every two months. Whoops!

Unscrew
You’ll want a shorter screwdriver for those annoyingly tight spaces. Most vacuums require a Phillips screwdriver.

Anyway, to deep clean, you’re going to turn your vacuum upside down and unscrew the bottom, removing the bar that holds the belt. You’ll want to remove every part that you possibly can, especially the hoses, the bar that holds the belt, and the bag-less dirt holding tanks.

Nasty hose
This is seriously disgusting! I know this isn’t able to clean allergens out of my house when it looks like this!
dirty vacuum
I would advise taking your vacuum apart on either a tile floor or outside, so you can sweep away the mess. It’s a very messy ordeal!

As you can see, this vacuum is incredibly gross! It’s actually been longer than a year since I’ve cleaned it out properly.

OK. So your next step is going to be cutting the strings off the bar that holds the belt. You’ll want to pull all the fuzz and whatnot out of the bristles as well. cut strings

As soon as every part of the vacuum is taken apart, and your screws are collected, you’ll want to take all the parts to the sink to rinse off.

rinse parts
Make sure the area around your sink is empty. The water can splash and reach areas up to 3 feet away every time you wash anything in your sink.
cleaning hoses
You’ll want to use an old bottle brush to thoroughly clean the smaller hoses
flush hose
You’ll want to flush out your larger hose with the hottest water possible.

Once your vacuum is rinsed and taken apart, load the parts into an empty dishwasher.

Put the smaller pieces into your cutlery basket so they don't travel around the dishwasher as they're being cleaned.
Put the smaller pieces into your cutlery basket so they don’t travel around the dishwasher as they’re being cleaned.

I chose to wash my screws as well this time because they were completely dusty and covered in grime. I just placed them in a dish of hot soapy water while the rest of the vacuum cycled through the dishwasher on “light wash”.

While the parts of the vacuum were in the dishwasher, I used a damp rag to wipe down the rest of the vacuum that couldn’t be placed in the dishwasher.

naked vacuum
My poor, funny looking naked vacuum!

When the dishwasher was done, I was towel dried the pieces and put them all back together. I’ve done this quite a few times with various vacuums, so it came a little easier to me this time. I’d advise taking a lot of pictures your first time doing this, so that you remember where everything goes, including the screws. When I first started cleaning my vacuum this way, we had some funny moments with “extra parts”. (I’m so grateful for my husband’s sense of humor and his engineering degrees!) Now I’m quite proficient in taking apart and putting back together vacuum cleaners.

And the finished bottom looks something like this!

Clean vacuum
Yay for clean vacuums!!

 

I’m hoping to extend my vacuum beyond it’s 5-6 year life expectancy. I’m half-way there and knocking on wood! I have a Shark Steam Mop that I’m in love with, that has lasted me almost 6 years, and I’ve heard from a lot of people that there’s only lasted 3-4 years. Routine maintenance seems to make a really big difference in a frugal household.

What have you done to improve the life of your cleaning tools? Please share in the comments section below.

Mustard Rosemary Chicken

Mustard Rosemary Chicken

Mustard Rosemary Chicken

This chicken is delicious and full of flavor! My family loves it and so do I. It takes about 5 minutes to prep for baking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (this recipe coated my 5-1/2 lb chicken perfectly)
  • 1/3 cup mustard
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-2 cups water and 2 teaspoons olive oil for bottom of roasting pan

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400º F and pull out your roasting pan
  2. Remove your chicken from its packaging and rinse well with cool water, making sure to remove neck and any goodies from the inside of chicken. Pat dry with a paper towel, then set chicken in your roasting pan.
  3. Combine the mustard, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl
  4. Either with a pastry brush or clean hands, rub mustard/herb mixture all over chicken, making sure to lightly coat inside of chicken as well.
  5. Pour water and extra oil into the bottom of your roasting pan and set pan (lid on) in oven.
  6. Bake at 400º F for 30 minutes, then lower heat to 350º F for another 20-60 minutes of baking time. Remove the lid for the final 15 minutes of baking time for best results. (You want to be sure to bake your chicken 12-15 minutes per pound, or until the temperature of the thighs and breast are 170º F and all juices run clear.)

We love to make grilled asparagus and baked potatoes with this chicken. If your kids like to dip their chicken chunks in something tasty, try mixing equal parts honey and mustard together in small ramekins for them to dip into. My girls love it and so does my husband.

 

Cloud Cookies {Recipe}

My girls and I made the best cookies today. They’re so light and fluffy. And addictive. 😉 I’m not a big fan of blogs that go on and on about how the recipe was developed and include tons of pictures.  I just want the recipe! I will, however, admit that these were created today because I was out of vanilla extract and I was craving a sugar cookie with flavor, so I grabbed what I had on hand. So without further ado, here’s the recipe for Cloud Cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 -8 ounce bag shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and add apple sauce.
  3. Add egg, mix well
  4. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda; gradually add to the creamed mixture.
  5. Add in the coconut and mix thoroughly
  6. Shape into 1-inch balls
  7. Roll in sugar, then place on greased cookie sheet, flatten with a glass
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Cool on a clean tea cloth or a cooling rack.
  9. ENJOY!

The Frugal Nerd {Grocery Store Savings}

I know, I know…I’m a complete nerd. I spent the morning calculating price per pound, ounce, and cup of each item in the Fred Meyer ad for this week. It was really eye-opening for me to see how much each item costs. Some of the Easter candy on “sale” is actually about $25 a pound! At that price, investing in a nicer piece of jewelry or a well made toy is more cost-effective.

Also, it’s cheaper to purchase pancake mix than to make it yourself from scratch, even if you buy *all* of the ingredients on sale. That surprised me!

Flour and sugar purchased from the store brand is significantly cheaper than a name brand. It’s roughly 25 cents cheaper per loaf of bread to make your own at home, assuming all ingredients were purchased at sale price and you’re making 2-4 loaves at a time. This includes electricity and water prices for baking at home, so the initial savings will seem like even more before you see your electric and water bill.

The price per pound of fruit isn’t always cheaper when purchased frozen – it’s about $1-$2 more per pound to purchase most fruits frozen this week. So look at the fresh selection and buy that instead if you can.

If you’re in a bind and need a dessert now, most bakery desserts are selling for about $1 per serving, some are closer to 50 cents a serving in the freezer aisle. Choose wisely or make it yourself for less. 

As most of us know, it’s significantly cheaper to consume beer than wine. It’s about a 40 cent per cup savings there. Extra beer can be used to make delicious bread, pancakes, and batter for fried foods, not to mention it’s very effective slug deterrent for your yard. (Not the most healthy, but quite delicious for a sometimes treat.)

Instead of purchasing M&M’s candy, you can save about $1 per pound by purchasing chocolate chips on sale (even name brand!) and serve these to kids instead. I know, not as fun, but it’s significantly cheaper. Perhaps pair these with some nuts and dried fruit for a fun and tasty trail mix snack? Or toss into homemade granola bars, which can cost up to $3 less a pound to make than the store-bought kinds! WOW!

Frugal Nerds
My happy helpers! They’re always excited to learn and to help me plan the grocery shopping trip.

Store brand peanut butter is about $2 a pound cheaper than the stuff you squirt out of a fancy machine into a cheap plastic tub. Guess what? Both are genetically modified and it’s incredibly difficult to find any peanut butter that isn’t these days. So if you’re going to indulge in PB&J, just spring for the store brand and save yourself some dough.

Those fancy little cheeses near the deli section? They’re selling for $7-$10 a pound! Best to wait for cheese to go on sale for $2 a pound and stock up. It freezes really well, especially if you shred it first and store it in air-tight freezer bags.

Finally, when looking at the price per pound of meat, a suggested serving size is 1-2 ounces of meat per person, so consider dividing the price by 8-16 to see what the cost per serving will be. It will really surprise you, especially if you’ve thrown out any meat recently that’s gone bad. It’s amazing how much money goes into the trash can each month!

Purchasing seeds or plant starts is extremely cost-effective, even for those of us in apartments. We purchased some of those nifty railing pots and have them on our back patio. We’ve got herbs for tea and cooking, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and cucumbers growing out there on our tiny deck. And yes, the kids play out there, too!

As we work hard to cut down our debt, we save a lot of our money at the grocery store. Now I know to cut out a few more things in order to save even more!

24 days until Christmas: Holiday Light Show {Opening Day}

Tonight was the opening day for our town’s annual holiday light show in the park. Anthony and I bundled up the girls and took them tonight as a surprise. I wish we’d remembered the camera, darn it! The girls had no idea what we were doing, so as soon as we drove up to the Winter Wonderland, they were excited!

Nature's Coastal Holiday Brookings Oregon
Nature’s Coastal Holiday Brookings Oregon

It was lightly drizzling and there is a fun new to us feature this year. They were giving out 3D glasses that made each light display appear to be made of colored snow flakes when you wore the glasses! How much fun is that? The admission was only $1 for adults and kids over the age of 12, making this a frugal and fun adventure we’re likely to enjoy again and again. (I’ll make sure to take my camera next time!)

What fun, frugal holiday activities are going on in your neck of the woods? Care to share? Let us know in the comments!

 

Thankful For: Outlook

Recently I got into a pretty heated argument with someone close to me. We were discussing differences in opinion over something fairly significant, and this person asked me how I was able to continue doing something (a chore) that I absolutely hated doing. Many people close to me know that I am an avid couponer. I can sniff out a deal a mile away and then pair it with a coupon, coming home with a cart of groceries practically free! It would seem to those closest to me that I love what I do with coupons. Yes, while I love the savings, I absolutely hate the process of couponing. I do! But I do it anyway, with a good attitude about it because it benefits my family in ways I’d never expected it to. (Like recently purchasing $30 worth of grass fed, grain free organic cow’s milk for a mere $5 with coupons for a total of 84% off!)

The secret to doing things you hate is your outlook on life!

Some time ago, I heard a great story about an older man who was placed into an assisted living home by his estranged children. As the nurse showed him around his room, he kept interrupting her, saying “I love it!” The nurse, startled by his enthusiastic reaction asked him what he meant by that. He’d hardly seen the room, and it was, frankly, bare bones. It was not her idea of a lovely home. He responded emphatically “It’s a state of mind. I decided to love it before I even got here. It’s beautiful now that I see it and I absolutely love it!”

He’d already decided before he got there. I love that. He knew it was something he couldn’t change and so he chose to change himself in order to adapt and thrive. This is something I’ve had to do in more areas than simply couponing. I don’t particularly enjoy disciplining my kids at times, nor do I enjoy mopping floors, washing dishes, running errands, or paying bills, but what I have decided is that I love to do it! I love to do it because it benefits my family, it betters my own life, and on the way to completing these tasks, I honor the Lord and magnify His goodness with my attitude. When I save 84% on organic (gold) milk for my family and do so with a smile, I’m building healthy bodies, using my God-given resources wisely, and am witnessing to others through my actions. When I mop up the gooey mess I just accidentally dropped on the floor, I model responsible behavior for my kids and teach them that cleaning up after ourselves benefits the whole team. When I do this without complaint, I model working in everything as though I am working for the Lord and I would not honor the Lord by complaining while completing a task He has asked me to do. 

Your kids are watching you. What is your outlook on life?
Your kids are watching you. What is your outlook on life?

I am thankful that God has opened my eyes to the importance of a positive outlook in life, and that He has grown me into a woman who can complete the chores I like least.  I take no glory for myself, but offer it all up to Him on this day.