Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Switching It Up!

Hiya!  How are you?  I finally feel like I'm coming out of the cloud of tissues and orange juice that surrounded me all weekend :)  Even my poor hubs has ended up sick!  But after a morning spent hitting everythinginthehouse with disinfectant spray, I feel like the germs are finally leaving us :)

Its the end of no spend month, so how about a little no spend makeover?!  This is part one, I'll show you the rest of our little transformation tomorrow. 

Do you ever have a space that just makes you feel itchy?  That's how our 'dining room' made me feel.  I put it in quotes because its really just a part of the living room, that happens to have an overhead light fixture in it.  Have I mentioned that the house we are renting has some serious layout issues?  Like the breakfast nook and dining room are basically the same size, and in the same space?!  Bizarre.

Anywho, back to my itch.  Our dining room (pictured above)  was completely unused and nonfunctional.  It pretty much ended up being a dumping ground.  Oh, and another area to decorate during the holidays :)  But I think something important about making a home work, is using spaces how you see fit, not necessarily how they were designed to function.

So after being over the gigantic round table, that just doesn't work in this house, I decided to do a great furniture shuffle.   And turn our dining area into a play area!  Oh, did I also mention that we got a bunch of furniture with the rental?  So lame.  You should see our garage /shudder.

But the name of the game is work with what you've got, right?

So I moved bean's little Ikea shelf out of the corner by the couch, and brought it over to the dining area.  I pulled out a rug I've had sitting in the spare room doing nothing, and set up his little table and chairs.  It didn't take two minutes for Gage to come over and claim his space.  So at least he will find the area more functional :)

I also moved the painting I made a while back, to hang over his toy storage area.  It helps the space feel more complete, instead of feeling like 'hey this is where we dump the toys'.  The room has been like this for about two weeks, and its been a total 'why didn't we do this sooner' moment!!  It gives Gage so much more room to play, and our tv area is much more relaxing now that it isn't covered in toys.  

Its really fun to see how a little rearranging can make something work soooo much better!  So what have you shuffled in your house lately?  Anyone else with a room that makes them itchy?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Wannabe Coupon Queen

Hey hey!  Hope you are having a fantastic Friday!  Beanie and I are fighting colds, so I see a lot of orange juice and couch time filling up our weekend.

But I wanted to pop in and share some fun little apps I've been using on my iPhone :)  You know by now, that I am all about saving were we can.  And these two apps have been :D

First up, RetailMeNot!  This little gem offers coupon codes on EVERYTHING!  Just type in the store, or restaurant, you need a code for and bam!  Lets just put it this way, I will never pay full price for a Papa Johns pizza again :)

And then there's Cartwheel.  This awesome little app lets you pick the coupons you need when you need them.  Saving money on items you actually need?  Yea, I can get down with that!

So those are just two little money saving gems :)  Do you have any tricks you use?  Any extreme couponers?  I would love to achieve that level of awesome!  Have a great weekend, and happy shopping!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Wks 14, 15 & 16!

Hello!  Can you believe its Monday again?  And since I haven't done a pregnancy update in a couple weeks, I thought I'd pop in and share!

Not a lot seems to have changed for me over the last couple weeks, but I'll give you the highlights :)

This was week 14.  I got this tank top at Gap Maternity a few weeks ago for $2.50.  Now I want one in every color so I can wear them every day!!  Soo soft, and nice and long!

And now I have my first comparison pictures!  The one on the right is me at 14 wks pregnant with Gage :)  I think I'm definitely bigger this time around.  And carrying a little higher

15 wks!  This was the week the crazy cravings started!  Not necessarily for weird combinations, but more of a 'ohmygoshIwantthatRIGHTNOW'  sort of thing.  I was watching tv and saw someone eating a pepperoni pizza, and just HAD to have one!!  And it was delicious :)

And 16 wks!!  I am officially at the four month mark!!  I'm feeling more movement, which is so much fun.  Its only for brief moments throughout the day.  But whenever it happens, I can't help but smile :)  Something about finally feeling that tiny life move is so magical :)  

The food cravings continue to be strong and frequent!  This weeks preferences include- dill pickles (of course),  tuna sandwiches and key lime pie!  Oh man, now I want all of that lol!!  Off to raid the fridge!

Monday, July 15, 2013

No Spend Weeks 1 & 2

Happy Monday!  So remember when I said I'd be back with progress on week one?  And then I totally didn't post anything?  Whoops!!

So here I am with a little recap of weeks 1 and 2!  To start, not spending money is HARD!  It seems like going out and stopping for a coffee, or buying something cute I find on sale, is kinda second nature.  And it really takes a conscious effort to say 'wait, I don't need this'  or 'this is just going to have to wait'.  To be perfectly honest, I slipped twice.  I spent $20 two different times on clothes for bean and I that were SUPER clearanced.  I can't say I felt too bad, as finding great deals ultimately saves us money.  And I've learned to be a crazy bargain shopper!  $3 maternity tops at the Gap?  Don't mind if I do :)

I had another big fail during week one.  I set out a budget of $125 a week for groceries, toiletries etc.  And totally blew it out of the water!  Between a trip to Target, Whole Foods, and Publix, I spent $170. This left me feeling defeated :-/  One of my biggest goals was trying to reign in our food budget, and I felt like I failed miserably.  But I figured that, maybe with our desire to shop mostly organic, $125 wasn't a realistic budget.

Enter week two!  I had a couple of moments of thinking maybe I should just scrap the no spend thing and move on.  But I decided to press on, and had a better week!  Planning ahead a little bit helped me save.  And I managed to only spend $54 of my grocery budget last week!  So, maybe it will turn out that one week we have to spend a little more, because we are purchasing staples.  Then the next week will be cheaper since we only need to fill in the gaps and get produce!  That would certainly make our bank account happy :)

We also managed to toss in some free fun along the way :)  Gage and I went to Celebration a couple times, walking the trails and playing in the fountains.  I'm grateful we live so close to such a beautiful area!  It certainly makes staying active easier in this Florida heat.  We also took advantage of the toddler play area in the mall :) Then this weekend we cashed in some free tickets to a water park!  It was beanie's first trip to Typhoon Lagoon, and we had SO MUCH FUN!  We played in the wave pool, rode the lazy river, and did the big family raft ride.  Such an amazing day!

I hope week three works out well, and I continue to be more mindful of my spending!

Monday, July 1, 2013

13 wks

Hello friendlies!  Popping in with a quick update :)  Week 13 was filled with excitement (said with mild sarcasm).  While not a whole lot changed in the appetite/energy/size department, I still had my share of fun this week (again with the sarcasm).

So on Thursday, we had our second ultrasound!  Gummy bear looked great, super active :)  And I got to meet my doctor for the first time!  We decided to switch practices this time around, and so far I'm so glad we did.  My doctor seems incredibly kind and knowledgeable, two things I know I'll value on the big day :)  Oh, and I had to have blood work done.  Lots of blood work.  And I almost passed out.  I'm such a girl, I know, but I HATE needles!!  A necessary evil, but I avoid it when I can.  So that was my first bit of excitement. (guess sarcasm is going to be a trend ;P)

And then this happened.  This is the view from my hospital bed while my sweet guys kept vigil.

I woke up Friday morning feeling dizzy, and the sensation wouldn't go away.  After trying everything the doctor recommended, and getting no better, we were told to head into the ER for monitoring.  We got there around 3:00pm, and within 10 minutes I was booked in a room, laying in a bed, being informed of the tests they were going to run and FREAKING OUT!  Especially because the nurse said the words 'we are going to start an IV'.  Queue panic attack.  Oh and hubs and bean were busy parking the car, so I was all alone at this point.  But they got there before anything happened, for which I'm thankful.  They were a welcome distraction from it all :)  But, 7 hours, 2 ultrasounds and a painful IV later, everything was declared perfectly fine!  They just said to make sure I drink PLENTY of water, and relax.  I made no promises on the relaxing part, not with beansie around :)  But in the end we were all happy to hear that everything was okay.
So yea, that was a first that I hope to never repeat.  Here's hoping the following weeks are much more uneventful :)  Oh and huge shout out to my guys!!  They stayed with me the whole time, and just having them around made my heart happy :)  Love you both!!

Let's Get It Started!

You know you sang that title a la this Black Eyed Peas song ;)

So how about it?!  I think its kinda awesome that this month just happens to start on a Monday.  Because I love starting something new on a Monday.  Just seems like the day of fresh beginnings, amiright?

Hopefully over the last couple of days, you've had an opportunity to decide how you'd like to participate.  Or if you'd just like to spectate, which is perfectly fine too.  If this goes well (and I hope it does), there will be more no spend months in the future :)

To start, I'm going to give you my little budget break down.  This is the first time I'm attempting anything like this, so I'm just kinda pulling these numbers out of the air.  I'm trying to base it on our spending now, so none of this is very scientific :)  But thats okay!  Since we are planning to only spend money on food, bills and gas, our numbers are pretty simple:

$125 a week for food (for 3 people)
$90 a week for gas ($45 for each vehicle)
$400 a week towards bills

And thats it!  We'll have to get creative at times I'm sure :)  But the idea is that we will be more mindful of things like how much we are driving, and only buying the necessities in the food and toiletries department.

Now for those of you who know me, you know we like to buy organic in our house when possible.  I know sometimes buying organic can seem very expensive, especially depending on the size of your family.  But I'll keep track of my grocery receipts, and share any tips I learn along the way!  And if $125/wk for a food budget with organic produce is entirely unrealistic, well I'll share that too :)  This is all an experiment after all!

I'm hoping to get several things from this experience.  One, I want to find out what we can truly budget each month for groceries and gas.  Right now its all over the place.  I'd love to get a realistic number and maybe become one of those people who only grocery shops once or twice a month.  Instead of like every other day ;)  Two, I want to find out how much extra money we are just kinda wasting each month.  Now thats not to say we don't have wants and needs above and beyond food and gas.  Because I pretty much want everything on Targets shelves at any given moment :)  But I think holding an idea like 'hey, we could have an extra $300 at the end of this month if I don't buy these five little things'  will be powerful for me.  Because creating a savings is important.  And dude, I need to get on that!  Three, I'm excited to see what fun, free stuff I can discover in our community!  Who doesn't love free stuff, right?

So now I'm excited to hear from you!  What have you decided to challenge yourself with?  Have you created a simple budget?  Have you done a no spend month before?  If so, please share your wisdom!  And to one and all, happy saving!