No Spend June

Today’s a special day, you’re getting two blog posts from me. I’m so excited about this news I just couldn’t help myself.

This morning I sat down with my husband and offered up the idea of a no spend month. A month where the only money coming out of our wallets is for gas, groceries, and bills.

No eating out. No trips to the ice-cream store or to the movies. No Target runs for mom (well, other than the once a month I have to go get Austen’s meds).

Nothing, nada, zip, zero, zilch.

I know that getting ahold of our finances also requires getting ahold of our spending habits, and a no spend month will help us in that endeavor. It’s going to be tough, but I know when July 1st comes around and I see my bank statements, it will also be so rewarding.

Six Ideas For A Fun (And Free) Date Night

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“Never stop dating each other.” 

It was a piece of marriage advice I heard once while I was a teenager. I think during a sermon but I’m not 100% sure. It’s funny how you can remember a quote or a saying, but not take it to heart until much later. It’s definitely true about me and that sentence.

Tomorrow my husband and I will celebrate seven years of marriage. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it sure seems like a lot to us. Our marriage has not always been a walk in the park, and there have been times when both of us wanted to give up. But we’ve persisted and held strong. The other day I was thinking back on the last seven years, both good times and bad. I was trying to pick out what made the good years good, and the bad years bad. And while I truly believe it was several things, there was one common denominator during the good years: we dated.

During the good years we made a point to nurture our marriage and each other, and it showed.

It’s easy to stop dating your spouse. To make up excuses about why it’s not practical.

We don’t have a babysitter.

We work too much.

We don’t have enough money.

It’s so easy to come up with excuses, but let me tell you now there is no excuse to stop dating your spouse. Not even money. A date night doesn’t have to be an expensive extravaganza to be fulfilling, in fact some of my favorite date nights haven’t cost us a penny at all.

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. A Walk in the Park: I love this one because it can be done with the kids in tow if the need arises. The kids are distracted by the playground and you can take some time for yourselves on a park bench. Just sit and talk, reconnect.
  2. Netflix and Chill: Put the kids to bed, grab a cup of tea or a bottle of wine and some popcorn and sit together to watch that new series you’ve been eyeing for weeks but can’t let the kids see. Grab a blanket and cuddle, you don’t even have to talk if you don’t want to.
  3. Game Night: You know that game of Scrabble that’s been sitting in the closet since college? Take it out and have fun! See who can come up with the longest or craziest word. Up the ante by declaring winner makes dinner and does the dishes tomorrow night.
  4. Volunteer Together: Volunteering cost 0.00 and it’s always fun to help others out, doing it with your spouse is even better.
  5. Budget Meeting: I can see the eyes rolling now, but hear me out. When you and your spouse are both on the same page, planning a budget, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and allowing yourself to just dream can be fun. I love sitting with a glass of wine and dreaming about what we will do when our debt is all gone.

May 2017 Debt Total

I have a confession to make. Until earlier this month I hadn’t totaled our debt up since last summer. That’s right, I didn’t know how much debt we had for 9 months.

Even when we stopped using our cards earlier this winter, I still couldn’t bring myself to total our debt. I knew it was high, but I was scared and ashamed to see just how high.

A few weeks ago I gathered up the courage and bit the bullet. I added it all up; and y’all, I almost fainted. It’s that bad. 147,557.02 bad to be precise. You having trouble reading that?

147,557.02

I told you it was bad.

But you know what, it’s okay. I mean the debt is okay, but seeing the number is. Seeing that total might have made me almost faint, but it also lit a fire under my butt. It’s time to get to serious work on this debt free journey.

 

And the winner is….

Congratulations Sara on winning two sets of unpaper towels from Creekside Kid! You should have gotten an email letting you know of your win. Please email me at meagan@themoogie.com by Sunday May 14th to claim your prize.

Thank you all for your participation, and I hope you have a fabulous day!

 

Meagan

The Lazy Mom’s DIY Dish Soap Recipe

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When I first started on our minimal waste journey one of the main things I knew I wanted to tackle was the mountain of cleaning products I use. My great-greatgrandmother didn’t have this many cleaning products, I told myself (she was the author of several Home Economics books back in the day) and she somehow survived. If she could so can I. So I started reading and researching different products I could make on my own using less, and more sustainable, ingredients.

Alas, one of the first things I ran out of was dish soap, and for some reason it was also the most intimidating. I mean this needs to clean the things my family eats off of each day. Our healthy quite literally was dependent on me getting this right.

But y’all, I’ve got to admit, I can be lazy. I was not interested in a massive undertaking involving melting, cooking, and stirring ingredients. Ain’t nobody got time for that. I have been a huge fan of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for several years now, so I started looking for recipes that involved it, but then I made another discovery. Dr. Bronner had another product that I had somehow missed all these years-and it’s seriously changed my life, and my cleaning game.

So here it is, my DIY easy-peasy, lazy mom approved liquid dish soap. I hope you enjoy 🙂

 

1 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Organic Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner

1 Cup Distilled Water

1/4 Tbsp White Vinegar

10 Drops Plant Therapy’s KidSafe Germ Destroyer

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Zero Waste and Toiletries: Making the Switch

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When I first decided to jump on the zero waste, or minimal waste, bandwagon I wanted to start in the easiest place possible. Low and slow have been my motto, and after analyzing my household usage I decided that the bathroom was it.

I decided this for once simple reason: I was already out of almost everything in my bathroom so I could simply replace it all in one fell swoop. It was fast, it was easy, and it was actually relatively painless. In fact, the only things that we continue that still create trash are toilet paper and my husbands toothpaste. Even though his shampoo and conditioner are still in bottles, as soon as those are done we plan to head on over to the Zero Market with the hopes that they have liquid shampoo and conditioner that we can refill our bottles with.

I’ve honestly been very excited about how easy the switch has been, and how little my husband has complained about it.

Interested in seeing exactly what I use? Well wait no further…

I switched out both our adult and child sized toothbrushes to bamboo alternatives. I love this brand because literally everything about the toothbrush, from the bristles to the packaging, are all 100% biodegradable. No more toothbrush waste! My toothpaste is a homemade recipe I’ve been trying out that includes activated charcoal as a whitening agent. I’m still 100% how I feel about it, and will post the recipe once I perfect it.

For my hair I went to Lush to check out some of their zero waste options, the New Shampoo Bar and Big Solid Conditioner had me a little nervous at first, I’m not going to lie. But they have been amazing for my hair so far. In fact, I have been able to go longer in between washes than I ever have in my life, and my hair feels soft and healthy. I’ve tripled down and also started using a solid soap bar as well instead of liquid body wash. Lush’s Honey I Washed the Kids Soap Bar is tough enough for the adults in our home, while gentle enough for the kids.

Like with my shampoo and conditioner, I wanted to try out some zero waste options for my face as well. Lush’s Movis Face Soap and Full of Grace Solid Moisturizer have been great choices. The Movis Face Soap is tough enough to take off most of my makeup, while also gently exfoliating my skin, and the Full of Grace Moisturizer feels light on my skin while doing a good job at protecting it from the dry Colorado climate.

When my makeup is super tricky to get off I reach for a normal kitchen staple in coconut oil, seriously nothing has done a better job at getting of my water proof eyeliner! I then reach for an alcohol free witch hazel as a toner, although neither of these products are fully zero waste I can reuse the coconut oil bottle in my pantry, and the witch hazel bottle is recyclable in my city.

Last but not least comes my deodorant. Aluminum based antiperspirants are the pits, studies show they are horrible for you, but every time I’ve tried to move towards a more natural option I’ve been left smelling like a barnyard. I have to admit I didn’t hold out much hope for Lush’s T’eo Deodorant, a solid deodorant bar that is again zero waste, but I have been more than pleasantly surprised. It smells like sweet lemons and lasts all day long. Please remember though, this is not an antiperspirant, so you will sweat. But sweating is actually good for you, so that’s okay with me.

The awesome thing about Lush is they also offer reusable tins to hold your products in. So when you buy from a Lush store you do not even have to use any packaging to purchase your products.

There is only one thing in my bathroom that has not yet been switched out, and that is my razors. I am down o my last disposable product, and my next purchase will be a good quality safety razor. I have to admit, I am scared to death go. Stay tuned for an update on how that turns out!

Zero Waste Paper Product Alternatives | GIVEAWAY!

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Hello everyone!

I am so excited to be hosting this giveaway, seriously Creekside Kid’s products have made it so easy for me to begin switching to a minimal waste lifestyle and I love being able to share that with you. Check out the contest rules below and don’t forget there is more than one way to enter! The winner will be announced Wednesday May 10th!

Meagan

Products Featured:

Unpaper Towels

Facial Rounds

Baby Wipes

Contest Rules:

Open only to contestants in the United States.

The only mandatory entry is that you MUST subscribe to my newsletter.

Additional entries can be obtained through following me on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as commenting on this post.

WordPress Contests by Rewards Fuel

Blow Money – The Budget Category You Should Not Be Slacking On

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blow-money-The-Moodie
Brand Indentity Logo Design by Garlic Friday www.garlicfriday.com

Were you the person creating your budget and wondering if blow money was really something you could justify? Have you ever found yourself in the midst of your debt free journey and found yourself thinking, “well I’m doing so great now, if I gave up my blow money I could put all that towards my snowball and get done with my debt x amount of times faster?”

Don’t do it!

I was you, and it was a huge mistake, seriously.

While blow money might seem like an easy thing to cut in order to reach your goals faster, in my experience it actually did the opposite.

That’s because while blow money also provides you a little bit of freedom, it also provides you with structure. The structure of having a set amount of money you can spend on you is often a huge motivator in continuing your journey.

It allows you to get that Venti Starbucks Caramel Mochiato you’ve been craving.

It allows you to buy that fancy CC Cream that’s the only thing you like on your skin.

It allows you to take the kids to grab a snowcone as a treat on a hot summers day.

It allows you to say yes to the new Melissa & Doug Puzzle your kids have been drooling over.

And it allows you to do it all guilt free.

Let me tell you a secret: taking away your blow money is not going to stop you from spending money on yourself. All it does is take away the structure, the boundaries, and the that it’s line in the budget creates. Taking it away is a breeding ground for guilt, and it’s not a fun way to live.

So allow yourself a little bit of freedom, your conscience and your wallet will thank you. I promise.

Going Minimal Waste?!

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Hi Guys!

I’ve always considered myself kind of crunchy. I cloth diaper my kids, breastfeed as long as possible, and try to go the more natural route with both our food and our health. But I recently came across a few Zero Waste YouTube channels, and then read Zero Waste Home by Be a Johnson and I came to the realization that even though I am a little crunchy, I am not making anywhere near as much of an impact on the planet as I would like to.

So I’ve decided to tackle our waste output, to bring less packaging into our home, and decrease the amount of waste going out of our home as well. I know I can’t be completely Zero Waste, Austen’s medical needs would never allow that, but I want to make an effort to combat the amount of trash we are sending to the landfill.

I know that a lot of people assume that by going green we will be spending a lot of green, but I am going to tackle that too. I actually thinking that going green will help us on our debt free journey. Because by reusing what we have, recycling what we can, and buying the least amount of extra stuff as possible we will be saving money along the way.

I look forward to taking you on this journey with us, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter to stay up to date on everything going on, as well as subscribe to my YouTube channel so you never miss a video!

Love,

Meagan

The Budget: Why It Is Your Most Important Financial Tool

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Ah, the dreaded budget. The list of rules that dictates your life and your wallet. Most people hate the idea of a budget, many say that they do not need it, they are doing fine without it, it’s just not a necessity. They are wrong.

If there is anything, anything at all you take from this blog in regards to financial advice, I hope it is the importance of a budget. Not because I want to you to live a life restricted by the numbers on a list, but because I want to experience the freedom that a budget can give you.

Freedom, from a budget? You heard me, the budget is your number one tool to gaining financial freedom, and here is why.

It shows you where your money is going.

We made our first budget by analyzing our last three months of expenses and averaging out what we spent in different areas each month. Things like rent, internet, and our utilities were not a surprise. They rarely changed each month anyway. The fact that we spent almost 200.00 eating out in one month, yea that we didn’t expect. By seeing where exactly our money had gone in the past we were able to see what changes we could make to achieve bigger goals in the future.

You are in charge of your budget, not the other way around.

You tell your money where to go, you set the rules. Your budget isn’t this big bully trying to confine you into a rigid set of rules. You can choose how much money you want to spend each month eating out, or going on dates, or on that awesome new toy you’ve been eyeing for the kids.. All that matters is that it fits into your budget, that it equals zero when your done. Seriously, that’s the only rule, the rest is up to you.

Your budget is fluid.

Our needs change monthly. Sometimes unexpected events come up, last minute plans are made, or spontaneous opportunities arise. These things do not have to be budget killers, only budget changers. Did you just get invited to see Hanson on tour? I can only dream. Well, you don’t have to say no, you just have to adjust the budget to make it fit. Spend a little less eating out, save up your blow money, don’t buy that new mascara you’ve been dreaming of. It’s all about the give and take. It’s up to you.

Your budget is an asset, not a jail sentence. Simply take charge, be vigilant, and chances are you will discover your money can go a lot farther than you thought.

Want a copy of my free budget planning printable? Simply sign up for my email list to gain access to the free resources page!

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Are you still confused about your financial situation, or are completely overwhelmed by the idea of a budget and just don’t know where to start? Adam Hagerman, a certified financial planner, has set up a program designed to help. Adam will walk you through the steps of why you need a budget, how to implement it, as well as how to go beyond it to the path of financial freedom. And the best part? Whether you go with his payment plan option or pay upfront the whole 97.00  fee for the class, Adam’s Budgeting for Budget Haters Class will help you control your finances without emptying your wallet in the process.