How to Afford Twins: US Government Assistance and Other Resources

Posted on
Categories Community, Finances and Saving, Financial Literacy, Medical, Organization, Parenting, Theme WeekTags , , 16 Comments

While this may be a controversial subject to many, the truth of the matter is that not everyone has helpful families, friends, neighbors, or communities.  Some new parents find that they lack much in terms of financial resources for their future twins, triplets or higher order multiples, especially when such pregnancies are unplanned or expensive.  For them, the question of how to afford twins is very real, and very tender.  And, it is for them, that we would like make aware of certain programs and resources that are available to help them afford twins and more.

Medicaid

If you are expecting twins and don’t have medical insurance coverage for your pregnancy, or you are uninsured, or costs get astronomical (as with high-risk pregnancies) then you may want to look into your state-funded Medicaid.  And after your children are born, they may qualify for medical coverage under Medicaid as well.  The coverage is based on income and resources and doled out by the state in which you reside.

How to Afford TwinsWIC

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a wonderful program with higher income levels than Medicaid.  WIC offers vouchers for supplemental nutritional foods for women, infants, and children.  Pregnant and nursing moms can qualify for food assistance.  Babies can receive free formula (talk about making twins more affordable), jarred baby foods, and cereals.  Toddlers and young kids can receive much of the same nutritional foods as Mom, like fresh fruits and vegetables, juice, cereal, whole wheat bread, eggs, cheese, milk, peanut butter, and beans. WIC is also a state-run program, and unfortunately, not all groceries stores accept the vouchers, but many large chains do.

WIC also offers many other services.  One of those that can be very helpful to mothers of multiples is an on-staff lactation specialist.  WIC offers breastfeeding classes before the babies are born, and then one-on-one help if needed (and a hotline!) after the babies are born to help make breastfeeding successful for you and your little ones, and all at NO cost! Some WICs may also offer a B.A.B.E. (Bed and Britches Etc) type program (Indiana does), where you can receive B.A.B.E. coupons for going to your doctor appointments, nutrition counseling, and other educational/health classes. With the coupons, you can then redeem them at B.A.B.E. stores for things like cribs, clothes, bottles, formula, diapers, and so on. You’ll have to check your state for such a program.

Car Seat Assistance Program

Having trouble affording two (or more) car seats?  You are not alone.  One of the most important things, and one of the things you are not supposed to buy secondhand is a car seat.  So, when you are faced with buying brand new car seats, you are faced with a large, unavoidable expense.

The good news is that you can take advantage of your state’s car seat assistance program, where you can often receive a free car seat, as long as you are income eligible.  You will usually be required to attend a class or have your car seats inspected before you will be given new ones.  My family took advantage of this program when our twins outgrew their infant carriers and we didn’t have money to afford two convertible car seats.  We went to a local fire department.

Each state runs this program differently, but a great place to start looking for more information on this program is a local hospital or Department of Human Services.  Hospitals, fire departments, police departments, and health care centers often administer this program.  I also suggest getting your car seats inspected.  Click HERE to find a local inspection station near you.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Food Stamps

Once your children start eating, the cost of all that extra food can be strenuous on the budget.  So, if you meet your state’s income and asset requirements, you may qualify for food stamps, which can be used at most grocery stores and even convenience stores and other locations.  Food stamps can help buy formula, baby foods and cereals, and just about any other food in the store, except ready-to-eat dishes, tobacco, and alcohol.

Lifeline Assistance Telephones

Being without a phone is almost unheard of today, but phones, even a basic, plugged in the wall phone, costs money to use.  There is a government Lifeline Program that helps low-income families pay for a phone, whether a small monthly payment towards your landline phone, or a low minute basic cell phone.

Section 8 or Federal Public House Assistance

Individuals with very low-income can qualify for a housing choice voucher, or section 8, so that they can rent decent, sanitary, and safe housing.  Unfortunately, many large cities and states have long waiting lists of applicants, or are not currently accepting new applications, so you may not be able to take advantage of this program.  To find out, contact your local Housing and Urban Development Agency, or your local Public Housing Agency.

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Have an apartment but can’t afford to keep it cool in the summer or warm in the winter? That is where the LIHEAP comes in.  Based again upon your income and assets, this program helps you pay for heating and cooling costs by sending payments to the utility companies in your behalf.

Meals for Children

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

If your kids are in school, you may be able to qualify to have your child receive free or reduced price lunches from their school.

School Breakfast Program (SBP)

The School Breakfast Program provides cash assistance to state to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions.  Check to see if your local school participates.  Again, based on your income your child may receive free or a reduced-priced breakfast.  However, some schools and institutions provide free breakfasts to all children.

Summer Food Service Program

In the summer, when school is out, your child, under 18, can receive a free, hot meal from numerous free summer lunch program sites, regardless of your income.  You can try to find a local site HERE.

Diaper Banks

Huggies partners with different non-profit organizations and retailers to supply diapers to people in need through food and diaper banks.  To find a local diaper bank, click HERE.

Churches

Even if you aren’t a parishioner or member of a specific church, many churches have food pantries or offer other resources available to the general public.  Some have storehouses with more supplies (like diapers) than food alone.  They also may be able to assist you in other local organizations for more help.

Income Based Repayment Plans for Your Student Loans

It seems that just about anyone who goes to college anymore gets to walk away with some student loan debt.  If you still owe money on your student loans, and are expecting or have twins or higher order multiples and will have a hard time making payments, you may want to look into an income based repayment plan, or other repayment plan.  You can most likely claim a temporary financial hardship, because, well, twins or triplets, are a (temporary) financial hardship.  With less money going towards your student loans, you may have some breathing room financially.

Freecycle and Craigslist

On freecycle.org not only can you browse through local listings of items people are donating for free, but you can request for items as well.  This isn’t a guaranteed way to acquire things you need, but you may luck out.  You can also always check craigslist‘s local free listings as well for things you need.  You can sometimes score things like clothes, toys, baby food, formula, diapers, baby furniture, and much more.  If you are diligent in searching and able to pick things up, this can be a great way to get things for free, so you can afford twins.

Companies’ Multiples Programs, Discounts, and Samples

When I was expecting, I was told by my sister-in-law, who had twins ten years before me, that tons of companies had multiples programs and would send you free things in the mail.  When I investigated myself, calling or emailing many companies, I found that many had discontinued those programs.  However, some didn’t. Or if they had, they still sent me coupons, or samples.  I found this twin blog which outlined which companies did and didn’t and what they received.  You never know what a company might say, so it’s always worth a shot!  I received several cans of formula this way.

This list is not meant to be an inclusive, and there are still many local resources that may be available to you. We hope the question of how to afford twins doesn’t loom over you, and that you can instead focus on the blessing it is to have two (or more) bundles coming into your life.  You have enough craziness coming without having to worry about affording it all.

If you have other resources to share, please do so in the comments!

ldskatelyn is the mastermind behind this week’s theme week of saving money, trying to help others learn how to afford twins.  She loves saving money and making ends meet and is so excited that she is sharing some of her knowledge with others this week!  ldskatelyn has also used some of the resources listed above and knows how hard finances can be.  She blogs about her family and parenting over at What’s up Fagans?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Foodie Fridays: Saving Money at the Grocery Store

Posted on
Categories Family, Feeding, Finances and Saving, Financial Literacy, Foodie Fridays, Parenting, Theme WeekTags , , , 3 Comments

Food: you need it; you crave it; you can’t live without it. But, food is one of the biggest on-going expenses of our lives.  When blessed with multiples, your food costs also seem to multiply! ldskatelyn and MandyE are sharing what they have learned about saving money at the grocery store through couponing and price-matching.how to afford twinsCouponing – by ldskatelyn

I have been regularly couponing for over a year now, and I am amazed at how much money we have saved.  From January to August of this year, we have saved almost $600 using coupons.  That is some serious savings!  We use coupons on groceries, toiletries, cosmetics, paper supplies, laundry, cleaning supplies, and even at restaurants.  I am a sucker for saving money.  I love it!  I am not an extreme couponer, but I have been able to (finally) build up a little stockpile in our apartment.

Here is a brief overview of saving money at the grocery store with coupons:

  1. Subscribe to the Sunday Paper.  The small cost will be far outweighed by the savings. I promise.
  2. Sign up for mailing lists (with a non-personal email account) and print coupons from sites like coupons.com, couponnetwork.com, smartsource.com, redplum.com, bettycrocker.com, kelloggs.com, pillsbury.com, pgeveryday.com, rightathome.com, and armandhammer.com.  You can also like your favorite brands on Facebook for additional coupons sometimes.  Also, many grocery store’s loyalty cards can be loaded with digital coupons.
  3. Get your coupons organized.  I use a basic accordion file folder to store my coupons.  Some big time couponers use binders. I used to use just a few paper clips.  The point is to be organized so you can find the coupon you need, when you need it.  Put them into categories that make sense to you. Also, go through your coupons at least once a month to throw away expired coupons.
  4. ONLY use coupons for things you actually like or normally buy.  Coupons will not save you money at the grocery store if you use every coupon you clip, just because “you had a coupon.”  Clip smart, and only use coupons on products you already use or love.  If you don’t normally buy Hamburger Helper, then don’t buy it now.  (Well, you can use coupons to try out new products from time to time.)
  5. Save your coupons for when the item is on sale, otherwise buy generic.  Often, we like to think that our coupons will make what we buy a great deal.  But, it isn’t true. Generics, bulk buys, and store-brands will most likely still be a better deal if you aren’t using your coupons on TOP of store sales.  Coupons are for name brand products.  Name brand products cost more than store-brand products.  Coupons only save you money if you are getting a better deal, after its use, than the going store-brand cost. Stacking coupons on top of great sales is how extreme couponers walk away paying next to nothing for products.  It’s also how you can stockpile on your favorite non-food items.
  6. Make a “buy price” list to build a stockpile.  Figure out what is a great price for local produce, dairy, cereal, meats, and so on and compile a list of them.  Then, when you see a sale for less than that price, buy them in bulk!  Freeze the food, store them around your apartment, and enjoy saving money overtime.
  7. Use your coupons correctly and legally.  Did you know coupons are getting less valuable, and that part of that reason is because of extreme couponers, and people using coupons incorrectly?  Know your store’s coupon policy.  Some stores double or triple coupons, or stack coupons, but most don’t.  Some will allow you to use both a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item.  Do NOT buy coupons from on-line sources, or go past a site’s coupon printing limit.  Do not sell your coupons to others. Do not try to use both a digital coupon (loaded onto a shopper’s card) with a paper coupon, unless specifically allowed.   Read the fine print on coupons and use the coupon only for the product or products specified.  Don’t substitute.  And don’t use expired coupons.

Price Matching – by MandyE

I shop using coupons, as well, and I usually record about $25 a month in savings.  The bulk of my grocery bill is usually spent on meat, dairy, and produce, though, and I rarely find coupons for those items.

To save on what we buy most, I take advantage of Walmart’s price matching policy.  While Walmart’s prices are generally pretty competitive, some other chains run a high/low price strategy, where they will offer a few items at a considerable discount.  Walmart will match the advertised price from any local competitor, allowing me to take advantage of those sales without running from store to store.  (Click HERE for Walmart’s corporate policy.)

Every Sunday, I sit down with a stack of sale papers for the local grocery and drug stores.  I make a list of sale prices for items that we like.  Occasionally I find prices on packaged goods, like cereal, crackers, or cheese, but the bulk of my price matches are on produce.

For example, Walmart currently sells pineapples for $2.98 each.  A local store was running pineapples on sale for $1.00 last week…you’d better believe we ate our weight in pineapple!

At the cash register, I simply say, “I’d like the price from XYZ Store on this item.”  The cashier may reference the sale paper from that store, and then she rings up the item at that price.

We eat a LOT of fruit and vegetables every week, so I save an average of $20 a week on produce alone!

In addition to the awesome savings, this policy allows me to do one-stop shopping, which is so very helpful to a mom of small kiddos.

To the tips that Katelyn outlined, I would add that I keep a spreadsheet of my weekly savings.  It takes a few extra minutes to go through my receipt when I get home, but it’s so rewarding to see how much money I’m saving our family.  It’s definitely motivation for me to continue the effort…and it occasionally serves as justification for that trip through the Starbucks drive-thru!

ldskatelyn is a stay-at-home mom to twin girls and a baby boy.  While her husband is in charge of bringing home the bacon, she pays the bills and manages the finances. She prides herself in making ends meet, saving money, cutting costs, and getting great deals.  It was her idea to put together this savings week because she is so passionate about money.  Find out more about her life at What’s up Fagans?

MandyE is mom to 4 1/2-year old fraternal twin girls.  She blogs about their adventures, and her journey through motherhood, at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

How to Afford Twins: Bringing in Extra Income

Posted on
Categories Babysitting, Blogs, Family, Finances and Saving, Financial Literacy, Parenting, SAHM, Theme WeekTags , , , , , , 2 Comments

With two or more blessings coming into your life at once, cutting back seems the obvious route to go when figuring out how to afford twins or more, but sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially if one of the parents is now at home with the kids.  That is why you may want to consider bringing in extra income, because every little penny helps.  *Please be aware some of the links below are ldskatelyn’s affiliate or referral links.how to afford twinsDonate Plasma

Not everyone can qualify to donate plasma, and not everyone should or will want to (I have personally never done this), but if money is tight you might want to consider donating plasma.  You can help others and make a good chunk of change for going regularly.  It can be $15-35 per visit, or more.  To learn more check out donatingplasma.org and find a center near you.

Sell Your Stuff

Ebay, Craigslist, consignment shops, the newspaper, pawn shops, and yard sales are all ways you can sell things you already have and make some extra money.

Childcare at Home

As a mother of multiples, you already know how to do crowd control, so what’s one or two more kids around the house?  And an extra playmate for your kids might actually give you a break. Look into watching a friend’s children, or a neighbor’s child, or check local listings in papers, craigslist, and on sites like sittercity.com.  There are dozens of childcare websites out there, and lots of people looking to find affordable childcare, that perhaps you can help fill.  While I once looked into doing this, the thought of watching someone else’s child for 40+ hours a week, on top of my own, felt super overwhelming.  Know your limits, and know how many hours a week you’d be able to offer childcare in your home, and what to charge.

Independent Beauty or Other Sales Consultant

There are still several companies out there that still sell their goods through an in-home sales consultant.  Some of these companies are Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Thirty One, and Lia Sophia.  So, if you love make-up, jewelry, kitchen appliances, storage containers, or purses, you may want to think about reaping the rewards monetarily from your love affairs.

Tutor or Teach

Were you a brainiac in school?  Did you excel in a certain field?  Do you do a craft or have a skill that could be shared with others?  Then think about teaching or tutoring.  Whether a cake decorating class, keyboarding 101, Zumba, math, or piano lessons, there is probably a need out there for you to fill.  You can try offering your services through places like craigslist.org and your local newspaper.  There are numerous tutoring websites and networks out there for you to apply to be a tutor on.  You can check with local craft stores, gyms, libraries, and even nursing homes to see if they would pay for you to teach a class.

Online Survey Sites

While not a great source of additional income, it is an easy way to make a few extra dollars.  I have signed up and used various online survey sites, and my favorite one has to be valuedopinions.com. But, there are dozens of survey sites out there, some better than others.  What I like about Valued Opinions is they offer cash, not points, in return for taking surveys.  I like cash.  I like knowing exactly how much I will earn from each survey I take, so I can gauge if it is worth my time or not.  Another survey company that does cash payouts is MindField Online.  Other survey sites I’ve used are Toluna, which offers by far the most surveys, increasing your chance of being able to take them and earn.  (See THIS post I wrote about how some survey sites compare.)

Rewards Search Engines

Did you know you can be rewarded for searching the internet?  Yes, just for doing regular searches in a specific search engine can mean a little extra cash!  I have used swagbucks for probably two years now.  You can download their search toolbar and make them your default search engine. Swagbucks doesn’t reward a set amount per search, and is a bit hit and miss, but typically awards 6-10 points at a time.  Points or swagbucks can be redeemed for an array of different gift cards and other rewards.  I most often cash out at just 450 points for a $5 Amazon gift card.  They also offer tons of other ways of accumulating points as well, like 10 points for using a coupon printed from their site.

Another search engine you can do this with is Bing. Bing Rewards also allows you collect points for using their search engine which can be used to cash in on gift cards and other prizes.  Honestly, I haven’t used this very much at all, but I think I may start.  Bing is a much more powerful search engine than the growingly popular Swagbucks website.  My husband, for instance, hates using swagbucks to search for things because he doesn’t like that results he gets.  Also, earning is simple with Bing. You earn 1 credit per 2 Bing searches, up to 15 credits a day.  If you got 15 credits a day, it would only take you 35 days to cash in a $5 amazon gift card.  Whatever you prefer, it is a simple way to earn without having to spend any extra time.  You’re going to do internet searches anyways!

Cash-Back Online Shopping

This is one of my very favorite ways to bring in a little extra money.  I feel like I win the lottery each time I do it because I save even more on my bargain hunting online.  There are many cash back online shopping sites, and I use three different ones.  Why three?  Because sometimes one will have a better deal at the moment than another and not all websites have contracts with all of them.  And ShopAtHome.com will do 110% Price Match Guarantee (which I have used numerous times). The three I use are ShopAtHome.com, Ebates, and UpromiseUpromise – The Smart Way to Save for College is a free service, and by adding your credit, debit, or grocery card means that you can begin saving money for college every time you shop at participating retailers.  However, you can always just cash it out too.  Upromise offers 5% cash back or more on just about all of their online retailers.  Not all online retailers (like Amazon) are connected to these cash back websites, or only offer cash back on certain purchases.  Always make sure the check the fine print.  So, before you buy something online again, STOP, and shop through one of these sites!  It’ll be like getting the tax back on your purchases!

Baking and Cooking

Do you love to cook?  To bake?  Then maybe you should think about doing it to make a little extra income.  Cupcakes and specialty cakes seem to be all the rage.  Offer your services to friends and neighbors who will be having a themed birthday party soon or online.

Photography or Art

Are you an artist or a photographer?  Think about offering your services and creations to others.  There are lots of local venues and markets for artists to share and sell their goods, as well as bigger art fairs.  You can take requests and do commissions, a guaranteed way to make money. Or, create several works and take them to a fair or art show and try to sell them. Or think about opening an etsy shop with prints of your works.

Etsy Shop

Do you have a crafty hobby?  Do you already spend time creating?  Then you might want to think about starting your own business via etsy.  Etsy is a great place for creative people who also know how to operate a small business.  I have known many people to be very successful etsy sellers. It isn’t for everyone, as it is indeed a business and can be time-consuming and expensive to start up in the beginning, but can be very fun and rewarding!

Blogging

Everyone is passionate about something.  And sometimes that passion can be profitable.  If you love writing, social networking, websites, and graphic design, you may want to think about trying to make money from blogging.  There is never a guarantee return with blogging, especially as more and more blogs start every single day, but there are tons of resources out there to help you try.  Also, the more focused your niche (your hometown, animal photography, Atkins dieting, whatever) the more likely you can be successful.

What have you done to bring in extra income to afford your twins (or triplets)?

ldskatelyn is the mastermind behind this week’s theme week of saving money, trying to help others learn how to afford twins.  She loves saving money and making ends meet and is so excited that she is sharing some of her knowledge with others this week!  She blogs about her family and parenting over at What’s up Fagans?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

How to Afford Twins: Secondhand Shopping

Posted on
Categories Finances and Saving, Financial Literacy, Parenting, Theme WeekTags , 1 Comment

Buying great items for well under what stores sell them for is one of life’s great pleasures. Having something you really want to get, pouncing on it when it appears on Craig’s List, haggling a little with the seller, and then bringing it home for a fraction of the store price (legally I might add). Pure. Joy. In case you haven’t broken into this unknown glory, let me help you get your feet wet.second hand shoppingI have a TON of things that I’ve bought secondhand. There are so many options available for buying secondhand these days too. Consignment sales (such as the M.O.M.’s bi-annual sales), individual garage sales, community garages sales, secondhand stores such as Kid-to-Kid and Goodwill, Craig’s List, eBay, Freecycle (totally free), and more that I’m sure I haven’t even tapped into yet.

In my experience children’s secondhand stores tend to be a little more pricey than I like. For example, I went to one in my area called Cottonwood Kids and found a Leap Frog music table that I had been wanting for my son, Cameron. Normally these are about $40. The one in Cottonwood Kids was being sold for $20, which is still a great deal, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay it. I resisted and the next day was rewarded at a garage sale. There it was in the dewey morning grass. I rushed over to check their price on it as if it was the last one on the shelf at Black Friday and low and behold, $3. THREE DOLLARS??!! I snatched it. Oh man, that little table still puts a smile on my face.

I have had success with a couple pairs of shoes at some children’s secondhand stores though. If you want a nice looking pair of name brand shoes, these kinds of stores are a good place to look. I also got a bumbo from Kid-to-Kid for $20 and they are $39.44 on Wal Mart and $43.99 on Amazon. It was something I really wanted, so I was willing to settle for 50% off.

Craig’s List and garage sales are where I most often strike gold. Partly because if it’s not the perfect price you’re looking for, you can haggle. I probably haggle about 95% of the time. I’ve talked people down $10 on a 250 piece Mega Bloks bin, $5 down on a Little Tikes lawn mower, $50 down on our couch, $100 down on our bedroom furniture set, and the list goes on. That’s all on top of the money you’re already saving just from buying something used instead of brand new. Don’t be afraid to put an offer on the table!

The other beauty of Craig’s List is that if it’s a fairly common item you’re looking for and you don’t love the price the seller is stuck on, you can just pass it over and wait for another one to pop up. Your Craig’s List shopping can be as leisurely as you want it to be.

For instance, I’ve been checking Craig’s List about once a week for the last month looking for a great deal on a double umbrella stroller to use when we travel. Most of them are in the $40-$60 range and since I don’t need it right now I’m fine just hanging out for a smokin’ deal. If nobody gives it to me by the time we travel for Thanksgiving, I’ll settle for the $40 range.

My last suggestion for any secondhand shopping is to know your prices. I normally refer to Amazon for customer reviews and Wal Mart for price matching because they generally have the lowest prices. My handy-dandy smart phone makes this super convenient as well. If I see something at a garage sale that I’m interested, but don’t know a lot about I can just look it up right then and there to make sure I’m getting a great deal.

Shopping secondhand does take more effort because you have to do a little more research and hunting, but it can save you loads of money. Plus, the bragging rights are sometimes priceless.

Shop on, Mom.

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

How to Afford Twins: Introduction

Posted on
Categories Ask the Moms, Finances and Saving, Financial Literacy, Infants, Theme WeekTags Leave a comment

According to babycenter, I will be spending about $9,180 on raising my 3 year old child this year.  Little does babycenter’s “Cost of Raising a Child Calculator” realize that I actually have two 3 year old children, and a newborn.  While I’m sure a lot of the costs blend over from one child to another, like housing and transportation costs, it all adds up to a lot of money for raising a child, raising twins, and raising multiple children each year!  Having kids is an expensive endeavor, and new parents can feel overwhelmed at the idea of affording twins.how to afford twinsThat is why we are putting together a money savings series of posts this week.  Everyone likes having extra money in the bank.  Everyone likes being able to make ends meet.  And no one likes having financial hardships.

We hope that we can pass along some of our money saving and money making wisdom so we can stop stressing about money as much, and start enjoying our twins and triplets much more.

So, get ready to learn how to afford twins!

ldskatelyn is the mastermind behind this week’s theme week of saving money, trying to help others learn how to afford twins.  She loves saving money and making ends meet and is so excited that she is sharing some of her knowledge with others this week!  She blogs about her family and parenting over at What’s up Fagans?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Pinching Pennies and Tightening Our Belts…It’s All About Saving More and Spending Less

Posted on
Categories Family, Mommy IssuesTags , , 6 Comments

Anyone out there remember learning about Victory Gardens? According to Wikipedia,

Victory gardens, also called war gardens or food gardens for defense, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom during World War I and World War II to reduce the pressure on the public food supply brought on by the war effort. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil “morale booster” — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. Making victory gardens became a part of daily life on the home front.

I have been thinking about those gardens lately…little plots of dirt and seed that united our nation. The reason why I was thinking about those gardens was because we as a nation seem to be facing a new challenge together: finding ways to stretch our dollars. There is no getting around it, the price of EVERYTHING is increasing, and people are changing the way they live their lives, much as the gardeners did. I truly believe that saving money and being thrifty and conscientious of our dollars and cents is going to be the new “in” thing. You can quote me on that the first time a celebrity announces they are clipping coupons!

I wanted to address several issues in this post, and if our readers are interested in reading more, I will address some of the more specific ways we MoM’s can save money in future posts.

Let’s start with this: Conflict over money is the number one cause of conflict and divorce. Yep, number 1! And with gas prices rapidly rising, grocery prices skyrocketing, and all of the child-related expenses (times 2 or more!) we face every day, living life is pricey.

As a stay at home MoM, or a paycheck collecting MoM, now is the time to keep your eyes wide open. It is not time to shy away from the truth of your family finances. Regardless of who pays the bills in your household, I believe it best for both husband and wife to be aware of the money coming in, and going out. Simple budgetting and regular discussions about your financial needs and wants will go a long way toward making your marriage with your financial partner strong.

Regardless of your current earning status, we as MoM’s are stewards of our family finances. More often than not, we are the main shoppers for our family. We have tremendous “buying power.” How we choose to spend our money makes us the most powerful consumers in America! (okay, maybe I made that up, but I bet it is close to true!)

Another lesson that I have been learning lately is to practice contentment. It is so easy to get caught up in the idea that things=happiness. According to the huge pile of “things” in my basement, awaiting their time to shine at my upcoming yard sale, “things” DO NOT=happiness. Nope, they actually=more dusting! I think I may have to stop watching HGTV, as that channel does not help me to be content!

What are your current money worries? Do finances play a large role in your daily life? Would you like to read more about this topic? What money saving topic would you like to see addressed?

 

 

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Happy Birthday

Posted on
Categories Birthdays, Celebrations, Family, Other peopleTags , 4 Comments

Next month, my babies will turn one. About a dozen of our family members, and a handful of my friends will celebrate their big day with us. Their party will be at our house, with a potluck lunch, strategically scheduled around nap time. There will be balloons from the dollar store on the front fence, quilts on the ground and a washtub of iced down cokes.  I plan on making their cakes, and can’t wait to see their expressions as they dive into their yummy treats.  Honestly, this party is as much about Jay and I surviving our first year of parenthood,  as it is about our little ones!

Our party will be simple. Family. Food. Cake. Play. And it won’t cost me more than any other party we have ever hosted…unless you count the balloons. That is why, it totally floors me when I heard a recent report on the news about lavish parties for kids. I watched the report with my mouth gaping…the idea of spending thousands of dollars on a one year old’s birthday party?! Tens of thousands?! Not in this house, not in this lifetime.

I have wonderful memories of my birthdays as a kids…I clearly remember my receiving my first big girl bike (a Strawberry Shortcake one), hiding under the table at Chuck E Cheese when the animals came out to sing to me, inviting my now-step-dad to my rollerskating party. My family surprised me with a special sweet 16 party, and a surprise party at 18.  But none of these parties were over the top. They were quite modest, with a few balloons, homemade cakes, and the same “Happy Birthday!” banner, every year.

Parenting is competitive. And the competitiveness starts early, with talk of how much weight we gained during pregnancy, which carseat we registered for, and of course, the method of delivery. Seriously? I don’t buy it. Why should I be competing against other mom’s? Other mom’s aren’t me. I am me. And to be honest, I think there are more mom’s like me, who value family over things, time over money, and the simple pleasures of an ordinary life over celebrity hype.

So, will I feel badly about not having a $50, 000 first birthday party? Um, no. Not even close. I think for now, I will just spend my party planning thinking about where I am going to put everyone if it happens to rain!

 

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone