A Realistic Christmas Budget: 7 Things You’re Forgetting to Include

realistic Christmas budget

Inside: How realistic is your Christmas budget? If you’ve only factored in gifts (and maybe stockings), I guarantee you have underbudgeted because you’re forgetting to include so many Christmas items that all cost money – and they’re not cheap.

It’s only August, and Christmas seems REALLY far away. But unless you want to have a super depressing January after December’s credit card bills arrive, now is the time to start creating this year’s Christmas budget.

Paying off last year’s Christmas debt is not a fun way to start your new year, especially when New Year’s is supposed to be a time for inspiring goals and fresh starts.

Here’s the thing about Christmas budgets: most of them are not realistic. They focus exclusively on the cost of the gifts – the ones that end up under the tress. Very few take into account all the other Christmas spending that usually occurs during the holidays, which means your Christmas budget is seriously flawed.

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7 Benefits of Minimalist Meal Planning for Busy Moms

minimalist meal planning, minimalist meal plan

Inside: Have you ever heard of applying minimalism to meal planning? There are so many surprising benefits If your family can tolerate eating the same meals over and over again, you will LOVE minimalist meal planning!

Minimalist meal planning is a tool every mom should have in her meal planning toolbox. This method will not work for everyone long-term – not everyone loves to eat the same meals week after week.

But there are events like childbirth, deaths, and moves when you just need to not think about meal planning. Decision fatigue during these times is overwhelmingly high.

You need the ease of take-out without the cost. Minimalist meal planning can help!

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How to Save Money Every Month With Very Little Effort

save money every month

Inside: Learn how to save money every month by purchasing items that will eliminate or greatly reduce future monthly expenses.

We lived on one income for eight years. Only after a year of blogging am I starting to earn a few hundred dollars a month, and I’m definitely not relying on that income yet. When I look at our budget and rising prices, I’m constantly looking for new ways we can consistently save money every month.

Especially after I stopped clipping coupons (you can read more about my reasons in this post), I knew that I needed to find other ways to save money long-term that didn’t demand the crazy amount of effort that intense couponing required.

I kept thinking, “What can we invest in now that will save us money every month down the road, but relatively passively?”

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10 Cheap Decorating Ideas to Make Your Home Beautiful (even when you’re broke)

decorate on a budget

Inside: Just because you don’t have a lot to spend doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home! Use these cheap decorating ideas to create a home you love for next to nothing.

I have a confession: I compulsively rearrange my furniture.

I do it all the time, to the point where my husband wonders whether or not the house is ever going to look the same when he walks in the door after work.

Why do I do it? It’s not exactly easy to rearrange furniture by yourself.

I do it because it’s the king of all cheap decorating ideas.

Rearranging furniture gives your home a whole new look for FREE.

I want my home to be beautiful, but we have very little money to invest in making it so. I had to get creative to make a home I love with only a few dollars to spare.

Thankfully, creativity (and necessity) birthed several cheap decorating ideas that I wouldn’t trade for all the expensive home decorations in the world.

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How to Save Money on Groceries When Your Husband Isn’t on Board

Groceries on a Budget | Save Money on Groceries | How to Save Money | Saving Money Ideas | Saving Money Tips | Frugal Living Tips

Inside: Are you working so hard to save money on groceries but your husband supportive? You can still save money on groceries with these tips!

I finished unloading the groceries from the car and sat down to pay myself on the back. I was pretty darn proud of myself. I stuck to my grocery list, saved a ton of money on groceries, and was pretty confident that everything I bought would be more than enough for the week.

That is, until my husband looked through the grocery bags.

“Is that all the groceries?” he asked. “Do you still need to go to BJ’s?”

“Ummm, no. That’s it.”

He started doing the “cupboard crawl”, digging for some missing food that looked good to him. He came up empty-handed.

I sighed. It was going to be a long week.

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Everything You Need to Start Your Paperless Kitchen

paperless kitchen products, unpaper towels, going paperless

Inside: What paperless kitchen products do you actually need? This master list of paperless kitchen products will help you get started on the right foot!

Now that you know why a paperless kitchen makes your mom life easier, and the best tips to start your paperless kitchen, it’s time to talk products.

What paperless kitchen products do you actually need?

The only thing on my mind last summer when I got this crazy idea was paper towels. We needed to ditch the paper towels, or at least cut down significantly on the quantity we ripped through every week.

But once I entered the whole new world of green living, I realized that a paperless kitchen was SO MUCH MORE than just unpaper towels. 

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14 Things We’re Not Buying to Make Ends Meet

Inside: When you need to make ends meet (and avoid acquiring more debt), you find any way you can to cut costs. Here’s a growing list of things we aren’t buying right now to make ends meet – from the trivial to the really inconvenient!

Crunching the numbers every month and trying to find new ways to make ends meet gets old after a while. As much as I appreciate a new year bringing new possibilities, it also brings not so fun things like insurance hikes and higher internet bills.

With expenses increasing faster than our income, I (along with thousands of other American families) am always looking for new ways to cut costs. But as we search for new ways to save money, often we just need to do the hard things, like making inconvenient sacrifices for a few months, or even years.

You might not learn anything new from this post, but sometimes it helps to know that you’re not the only sacrificing to make ends meet.

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How Minimalism Can HURT Your Budget

a downside to minimalism, minimalist consumer

Inside: Minimalism promises freedom from consumerism. But what should you do if instead of setting you free, minimalism makes it worse?

The kitchen displayed so perfectly in the photos was divine. The clutter-free marble countertops (granite, maybe?), called to me.

I couldn’t help but glance around my own kitchen with dismay. 

The blogger mentioned the few items surrounding her sink, one of which was a simple human soap dispenser. The second I saw it and read what she loved about it, I knew.

I wanted that soap dispenser – two of them, actually: one for dish soap and one for hand soap. They looked both functional and beautiful, something I look for specifically in anything I buy for our home, new or second-hand.

I hopped over to Amazon right away and was SOOOO close to clicking “add to cart”…until I stopped to do the math.

I realized that together, they would cost $30.

Thirty dollars. Not that big a deal, you say.

Well, it is a big deal when that thirty dollars is about half the wiggle room you have in your budget every month.

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This Library Hack Will Save You Hundreds on Books

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Inside: Love reading the latest books but hate paying for them? Bookworms everywhere will love this little known library hack that will save you SO much money on books!

If you love books, like I do, and you follow blogs that share the latest and greatest books, you’re probably itching to get your hands on those new releases. But for any number of reasons, you hesitate to click “purchase” after you add it to your Amazon cart.

Maybe you love physical books, but don’t want to clutter your bookshelf with a book you’ll likely never read again.

Maybe you’re living on one income, and your book budget is non-existent.

Maybe you just love being careful with your money and would rather borrow than buy yourself.

Maybe you homeschool, and if you bought all the books for your kids that you want to buy, you wouldn’t be able to pay for groceries!

I get it. Books are expensive, and I’d much rather let my library foot the bill for my reading habit (though we do chip in from time to time to pay off our rather large fines).

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How to Stop Eating Out (& save money instead)

stop eating out

Inside: This simple solution will help you stop eating out and wasting hundreds of dollars every month.

Eating out. There’s nothing like the instant gratification of a delicious burrito from Chipotle, or a juicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-a, or what used to be my favorite guilty indulgence – a grande vanilla latte, no foam with whip.

In college, I succumbed to the eat-out temptation over and over again, and I did it without giving it a second thought.

Fast forward to the baby years when we had to makeover our finances so we could afford to live on one income. We had to get serious about ditching our bad habit of eating out whenever we felt like it, along with tightening our belt in other budget areas like groceries.

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