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Life

How To Practice Gratitude So You Can Live Your Best Life

“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” -Lao Tzu

How often have you heard about the importance of practicing gratitude? From Rachel Hollis to Tony Robbins to Oprah the word on the street is that gratitude is a key factor to a fulfilled and successful life.

Which got me thinking.

I know that being grateful is a good thing. When you feel grateful you feel better, right?

I write down things I am grateful for everyday and I often try to look at a situation through the lens of gratitude. Since I started doing this, I have noticed small but profound changes in my everyday life.

But I wanted to know WHY we feel better when we are grateful. How does being grateful impact or physical and mental health?

So, I started to do a little research.

How to practice gratitude | The Benefits of Gratitude | How to Teach Your Kids about Gratitude | #gratitude #attitudeofgratitude

 

What Are the Benefits of a Daily Gratitude Practice?

Turns out, gratitude and its impact on our mental and physical health have been well researched. And the results are in…

From supporting a strong immune system to helping us develop better interpersonal relationships, practicing gratitude is an amazing tool that you and I can use to improve many areas of our lives.

Check out all these amazing benefits of practicing gratitude!

Experience Life in a Positive Way

According to a research study from the University of California, Davis people that practice gratitude regularly are more likely to experience situations in a positive way.

Does this mean you’ll never have a negative experience? Of course not! But incorporating gratitude into your life will help you see the silver lining in more situations rather than focusing on the negative.

Better Memories

If you are more grateful and view your experiences in a more positive way, you are more likely to have good memories.

If you consistently practice gratitude and look for the blessings in your life, when you look back at your day, month or year you will be filled with more joy rather than negative emotions.

Better Relationships

Studies have shown that people who are more grateful have better relationships. Essentially, grateful people are empathetic. Because of this people who practice gratitude are more likely to help others and in turn they receive more help. Better relationships can help you feel more connected and fulfilled in your life.

More Patience

Another study found a direct correlation between individuals who practiced gratitude and their heightened levels of patience in interpersonal relationships.

Better Sleep

Many of us suffer from poor sleep due to stress and anxiety. The more you focus on gratitude the less likely you are to experience stress and the more likely you are to sleep better.

Better Overall Health

When you are full of negative thoughts your stress levels increase. A lot of the times this stress manifests as physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches or even more long term health issues.

One study found that stress actually creates inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be a good thing when we are sick because it helps to fight off germs. However, if the inflammation is caused by stress our bodies start to attack the good cells in the absence of germs. This can actually weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

Benefits of gratitude | How to practice gratitude | How to teach kids gratitude

How To Practice Gratitude

You can practice gratitude just like you practice any other skill like playing an instrument or a sport. But how do you build an intentional gratitude practice?

The general consensus is that as you practice gratitude you should focus on both the big things in your life you are grateful for (your health or your family) and the small things in your everyday life (a good cup of coffee or a beautiful sunrise).

Start a Gratitude Journal

One of the easiest ways to practice gratitude is to start a daily gratitude journal. This journal is a place for you to write down the things you are grateful for that day. (If you don’t know where to start, I’ve listed some prompts below.)

You can also purchase a gratitude journal that contains prompts and can help you develop your gratitude practice. Here are a few of my favorites:


The Gratitude Journal for Women: Find Happiness and Peace in 5 Minutes a Day



Instant Happy Journal: 365 Days of Inspiration, Gratitude, and Joy

 

Create a Gratitude Routine

Just like you need to make time in your day for working out, cleaning the house or walking your dog, you should carve out some time as part of your routine to practice gratitude. Pick a time of day when you know you will be able to focus on gratitude and when you won’t be distracted. It might be first thing in the morning before the kids wake up, or right before bed.

I like to write down 5 things I am grateful for on my lunch hour. It’s a time in my day when I know no one will bother me and when I have some time to focus on all that I am grateful for.

Make A Gratitude Board

Similar to a vision board, a gratitude board uses images to help you focus and visualize the things in your life that you are grateful for.

As you choose the images for your gratitude board focus on why you are grateful for the things in the image. Hang this collage somewhere you can see daily or even multiple times a day to keep all that you are grateful for front and center in your life!

Gratitude Prompts

If you are just getting started with a gratitude practice and you are struggling to find things to be grateful for here are some prompts to help you.

  • What are 3 things I own that I am grateful for?
  • Who are 3 people in my life I am grateful for?
  • Write about a happy memory.
  • What do you like about your job?
  • What author, musician or artist are you grateful for?
  • What is something you can see, feel, touch, smell, taste and hear that you are grateful for?

how to practice gratitude | benefits of gratitude

Teaching Kids How to Practice Gratitude

The best way to teach our children about gratitude is to model gratitude in our daily lives. As you develop your gratitude practice, think about incorporating your kids into your practice.

Here are some fun ways you can help your kids develop their own gratitude practice.

Talk With Your Kids About Gratitude Daily

At bedtime, I talk to each of our kids about things that we are both grateful for in our days. I start by sharing something I am grateful for that happened that day and then I ask them to share what they are grateful for.

Most of the time their response is dessert or a special toy. But sometimes I am amazed at the things they say. My 5 year old told me once she was grateful for all the love in her heart. That was validation that our gratitude practice was working.

Read Stories About Gratitude

There are so many wonderful children’s books that have gratitude as a central theme. You can use these stories as prompts for talking about gratitude, what it means to be grateful and how to practice gratitude. Here are a few of our kids favorites:

Andy and the Lion (Picture Puffins)

Splat Says Thank You! (Splat the Cat)

The Blessings Jar: A Story About Being Thankful

Thankful Together

Gratitude Jar

Have your kids write down something they are grateful for and place those notes in the jar. If your child is too young to write, talk with them about what they are grateful for and write it down for them.

When the jar is full, sit down with your kiddos and read through all the notes. You’ll be able to talk about all the wonderful things they felt grateful for.

Gratitude Rock

Find a rock and paint it with some beautiful colors and designs. The idea is that whenever your child holds the rock or rubs the stone they should think of something they are grateful for.

 

No matter how you choose to practice gratitude the most important thing is that you do it regularly. It may seem difficult or totally unnatural at first, but over time you will find it easier and easier.

Friend, let’s be real for a second. It’s impossible to be grateful all the time. Sometimes we experience seasons in our life when gratitude is a struggle. People who practice gratitude will still experience sadness or other negative emotions. This is all normal and you should never feel guilty for not being grateful all.the.time.

So friend, let’s start today’s gratitude practice together.

What are YOU grateful for today?

 

 Read all about the benefits of gratitude, how to build a gratitude practice and how to teach your kids about gratitude. Gratitude has both mental and physical benefits and a daily gratitude practice can improve many areas of your life. Read more to learn how to build a gratitude practice #gratitude #attitudeofgratitude #grateful

 

The benefits of a gratitude practice can improve all areas of your life! #gratitutde #personaldevelopment #feelhappy #
festive and frugal Christmas
Frugal Living

How to Have a Festive and Frugal Christmas This Year

While the holidays are a time for enjoying our families and reflecting on what we are grateful for, they are also one of the most financially stressing times of the year.

Most of us have suffered from the debt hangover after the holidays. You know, that awful feeling we have once the credit card statement shows up in January and we realize we went overboard AGAIN this year.

So how do you make Christmas enjoyable and affordable?

Here are some of my favorite tips for having a festive and frugal Christmas!

How to Have a Festive and Frugal Christmas | Money saving tips for a budget friendly Christmas

Festive and Frugal Christmas Fun

Free Pictures of the Kids With Santa

Taking your kids to the mall for pictures with Santa is a holiday tradition for many families. But it is also one that is so expensive!

But don’t worry, friend. You don’t have to pay to get a cute photo of the kids with Santa.

There are so many free options these days for getting those special pictures. Churches, local festivals or even businesses offer free pictures with Santa.

Each year, we take the kids to Bass Pro Shop and have their picture taken with Santa. You get one free photo that has a Bass Pro logo on it. They will also allow you to take pictures with your own camera (quickly of course because there often is a line). While you wait for you picture with Santa, there are lots of activities and crafts for the kids to enjoy.

If you don’t have a Bass Pro shop near you, check your local news or local family resource to find out where you can take free pictures with Santa in your area.

Christmas Light Displays

Looking for a festive activity that doesn’t cost any money? Go look at Christmas lights!

Whether it’s just scoping out your neighborhood, or going to see a professional Christmas light display, this is a free and fun activity the whole family will enjoy.

Every year, we pack the kiddos into the car, play Christmas music and bring hot cocoa and cookies with us while we look at lights!

Borrow Christmas Books and Movies from the Library

Stock up on Christmas children’s books and Christmas movies from the library instead of buying books or renting movies.

We like to get 12 books and read one book each day for the 12 days of Christmas. But word to the wise, don’t wait for the last minute because lots of people love borrowing these materials!

How to have a Festive and Frugal Christmas

Festive and Frugal Christmas Gifts on a Budget

Make a Plan

It’s important to have a good plan in place for buying Christmas presents. This will prevent waiting for the last minute and buying anything. Not only is Christmas shopping without a plan stressful (I should know I’m totally guilty of this) it will often lead you into an overspending trap.

Before you go to the store (or start shopping online) come up with a budget.

First, look at your finances and see how much you can reasonably spend on Christmas.

Next, write a list of all the people you need to buy for.

Finally, start divvying up how much you will spend on each person. Once you know how much you can spend on each person, you’ll be able to shop smarter and stay on budget.

Use Reward Programs

My favorite app for earning cash back on purchases is Ibotta. They are partnered with so many awesome retailers including Target, Walmart, Khols, Macy’s, Sears and more!

Sign Up Now With My Referral Link and Get a $10 Bonus!

Shop the Dollar Tree for Stocking Stuffers

The Dollar Tree is my absolute favorite place to shop for stocking stuffers.

There is literally something for everyone! From candles and picture frames to puzzles and books for the kids there are so many great budget friendly stocking stuffers.

Send E-cards Instead of Mailing Christmas Cards

Save money on printing fancy Christmas cards and postage by sending your family’s Christmas card by email!

You can use pre-made e-cards from americangreetings.com or hallmarkecards.com.

You can even add you own pictures for free to some of the cards!

Shop Consignment Stores or Facebook Marketplace For Good Quality Used Toys

If you have young children, this is by far my #1 recommendation. If the toys are in good condition, they won’t know that they are used nor will they care!

You can often find good quality toys for a third of the price! That’s my kind of deal.

Get Organized this Free Christmas with the 2018 Christmas Planner! Shopping lists, To do lists, Calendar and more! Get It Now!

Festive and Frugal Christmas Decorations

Make Your Own

I LOVE Christmas decorations. I love them so much, I decorate the house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving #sorrynotsorry.

But decorations can get expensive fast!

Instead of spending money on new decorations for the tree you can make your own. You can create a popcorn garland or have the kids use construction paper to cut out stars and angels.

Not only will these make your home more festive but you will create memories and keepsakes!

Shop the Dollar Tree

For those things you can’t make, there is often a great selection of decorations at the Dollar Tree. Last year I was able to score new stockings, candy canes and even a wreath! All for $1.

Skip the Lights

To save on your electricity bill, skip the lights on the outside of the house and on the tree.

Instead, you can put ribbons, garland and tinsel on the tree. To decorate the outside without lights, you can wrap columns and trees with ribbon and put a wreath on the door.

Christmas Tree

For real trees, buy a pre-cut tree and buy it closer to Christmas. If you wait until the second week of December, you may even be able to haggle the price down at the Christmas tree lot!

If you prefer a fake tree, you can buy a pre-owned tree or use store coupons to get great deals. Hobby Lobby and Michael’s often have coupons for 40-50% off one item. You can get a great tree AND a great deal!

You can also buy a table top tree at your local drugstore for under $20.

How to have a festive and frugal Christmas

The Bottom Line

My last piece of advice is if you are really struggling financially, talk to your friends and family and be honest. Simply ask if you can skip the gift exchange/holiday vacation/etc. this year. Trying to keep up with everyone will just suck the joy out of your holidays and breed resentment towards your family and friends.

It may not be easy to have these conversations, but it the long run it will be well worth.

You don’t have to spend so much money over the holidays to be festive. Making some small and simple changes to your traditions can ensure that you are able to still have a wonderful Christmas without the debt hangover in January.

 

What are some of your frugal tips for the holidays? How do you save and still stay festive?

Get Organized this Free Christmas with the 2018 Christmas Planner! Shopping lists, To do lists, Calendar and more! Get It Now!

 

How to have a festive and frugal christmas #budget #moneysavingtips #christmasonabudget
best debt free books #debtfree #personalfinance
Debt Free

Must Read Getting Debt Free Books for Your Debt Free Journey

When my husband and I first decided I would leave my job to become a full time stay at home mom, we had to take a good hard look at our finances.

I knew we would have to make some adjustments but I thought we were doing pretty darn good. We were able to make minimum payments on everything and we weren’t coming up short at the end of the month.

During nap time, I started looking online for ways we could cut down our expenses to give ourselves a little more wiggle room. I found an awesome and super active getting debt free board on babycenter (I think this makes me old).

That board was awesome and everyone shared their money saving tips and financial struggles. I learned so many useful tips for managing our expenses better at home and some really awesome tools I still use today, like meal planning.

This is also where I was first introduced to Dave Ramsey and the whole concept of becoming debt free.

It turns out that I had gotten a lot of bad financial advice over the course of my lifetime. And most of that bad advice came from marketers and companies that were selling their “great deals”.

I also never even considered that having car payments or financing furniture was even debt. No, seriously.

It was like a light switch went off and I realized I needed to relearn how to manage our personal finances.

4 Personal Finance Books Every Adults Needs To Read #debtfree #budget #finances

So, I headed down to the local library and started reading all the personal finance books I could get my hands on.

Friends, I was shocked.

So much of my thinking, and the financial advice I had gotten, were the exact things that were keeping us in debt. I started to hate the fact that we owed other people so much of our paycheck and it was enough to make me seriously commit to becoming debt free.

Armed with the new knowledge from these books, along with an excel spreadsheet and my new financial BFFs over on the debt free board on babycenter, we were able to tackle our debt and create a financial foundation and strategies that we still practice.

Here is a list of the books I read back then, along with some newer ones. When it comes to our personal finances, I’m still learning and growing but I’m confident in the direction we are moving now.  

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan For Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

This is the first book I read and it opened my eyes to so many things. In this book, Dave outlines 7 baby steps to becoming completely debt free. This plan outlines exactly what each step entails and provides some serious truth bombs that force you to take a good hard look at yourself and your spending habits. While I took a lot of advice from Dave’s book, I didn’t prescribe to every single thing he suggested. It still worked.

The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

This is an oldie but a goodie. This book was originally published in the 1920s but so many of the financial lessons in this book hold up today. This is a series of biblical style stories that introduce and explain the concepts of thrift, financial planning and personal wealth. A favorite lesson from this book was that we will all continue to struggle financially no matter what our income is if we continue to spend on our wants rather than simply fulfilling our needs.

I will admit it is a bit hard to read because of the style it’s written in, but the lessons are solid.
The Richest Man in Babylon

Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide To Financial Freedom by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

If you are serious about becoming debt free, this book will motivate, inspire, and give you the push you need in order to reach your financial goal. Lynette Khalfani-Cox shares the exact strategies she used to pay off $100,000 in debt in 3 years. She provides a step-by-step 30 day plan to encourage better personal finance practices. She covers the best ways to pay off debt, how to eliminate student loans, and how to negotiate with credit card companies (among other tips).

Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom 3rd Edition

Maxed Out: Hard Times in the Age of Easy Credit by James Scurlock

I like to think of this one as a personal finance thriller. James Scurlock travels across the country to talk to real people struggling with debt in order to expose our flawed financial system. It’s a real eye opener (and a bit of a sucker punch) about the myth that credit is a good thing.

Maxed Out

 

On the Road to Becoming Debt Free

Friends, no matter where you are in your debt free journey, it’s always important to continue learning from others and to try new and better strategies to reach your financial goals.

I also have a few other resources that you might find helpful:

Download My Debt Repayment Chart Here to track your success!

31 Simple Ways To Save Money Each Month

5 Simple Steps To Creating Financial Goals

3 Simple Steps To Reach Your Financial Goals

How To Earn Money with Ibotta

 

If you found this article useful, I would love if you could share it with others.

Pin It, Tweet it, Share it on Facebook!

Who knows? Maybe you’ll help someone find the tools they need to help them move closer to their goal of becoming debt free!

Best Books for your debt free journey | Debt Free | Personal Finance | money

Must read books for your debt free journey | Personal Finance | Debt Free | Money

Best productivity tips from female entrepreneurs
Motherhood

Best Productivity Tips For Working Moms from Female Entrepreneurs

There is so much on your plate you don’t know where to start or you are caught staring at your screen with only the sound of crickets playing in your head.

Does this sound familiar?

Whether you run your own business, work outside the home or in the home, you have probably struggled with productivity at one time or another.

We have all been there.

I started working from home 4 years ago when our second child was born. While I am so grateful for the opportunity to work from home it took some time, and a really awesome babysitter, to find ways to be productive in order to fulfill both my roles as an employee and a mother.

During that time, I came to realize that the foundation to being a productive working mom is good time management.

Related Article:  “Time Management Tips for Moms

best productivity tips from female entrepreneurs

Female Entrepreneurs Share Their #1 Productivity Tips For Working Moms

So how do you set yourself up for success and increase your productivity?

I talked to female entrepreneurs that are rocking it in their online businesses to find out what their number 1 productivity tips for working moms.

My best tip would be to set timers. I am someone who usually focuses too much time on one specific task. What I like to do is list out my tasks from most important to least important. Then I will set a timer on my phone (usually an hour depending on the task) Once the timer goes off I will stop the task and focus on my next “to do”! If I don’t complete my task by the time my timer is up, I will bring it to the bottom of my list and work on it again after I work on all other items on my “to do” list! -Ell Duclos

Ell is the creator behind Boss Girl Bloggers and ellduclos.blog and has turned her passion for writing and inspiring others into a full time career.

 

It’s so important to be intentional with your time. Create an hourly schedule, set an alarm, and stay focused on your work during work hours. It’s really the best way to get things done and excel in your business. – Cate

Cate Rosales is the mommy-of-two and blogger behind SweetandSimpleLife.com. She helps aspiring female entrepreneurs start a blog and earn passive income, so you can live life on your own terms!

 

Avoid over-scheduling your time. Plan no more than 60% of the time you have available during a work session. You will be able to tackle unexpected items and allow yourself to go slower, so that you can be more creative and thoughtful about your work. – Jenny

After years of juggling work and home life, Jenny left her job to be a full time mama to her three littles. She loves encouraging other mamas to find the right balance so their families can thrive. Read about Jenny’s tips for Spending More Time Doing What You Love, on her blog Home After Three.

 

My number 1 productivity tip is to practice single tasking. When you turn off distractions and focus on one task at a time, you can put 100% of your energy into that project. What’s more, you don’t waste time refocusing your thoughts while jumping from task to task. Single tasking helps you quickly reach your “flow state” and stay there, which allows you to plow through your to-do list with much greater efficiency. -Paula

Paula is the voice behind I’m Busy Being Awesome, a resource for busy women looking for balance in their lives. Working together, she helps women create strategies to manage their time, get organized, maximize their productivity, and find time for fun. Read all about Paula’s “3 Simple Steps to Singletasking” to learn more!

 

Staying productive as a WAHM is essential because it is easy to fall into the trap of doing household chores instead of working. One of my biggest tips is to be consistent in your planning. Before I start each week I plan my days with themes. Monday may be an admin day, Tuesday a writing day, and Thursday a promotional planning day. Having a theme allows me to create a plan for each day according to how it’s themed. This keeps me organized and on task!Autumn

Autumn is an honest, real and never perfect bad-ass wife, mom and PPD, anxiety and life survivor. She’s also behind the blog She’s A Wreck that brings you practical parenting and motherhood tips. 

 

I feel that the best strategy to increase productivity is to stop multitasking. I have found that when I focus on one task at a time I am more efficient and focused. As a mom this means that I often work when my children are asleep or outside with friends.- Lauren

Lauren’s site Simply Well Balanced, helps moms create balance and find the joy in motherhood. She shares tips about practical minimalism, homemaking and family activities.

 

Sometimes we bypass the most practical things for what’s new and flashy. However, when it comes to getting more done, as much as possible, you should get more sleep! -Rose Barnett

Rose Barnett knows what it means to struggle as a mom and that’s why she compiled 97+ Successful Mom Resources to help you find purpose, get organized and generate an income.

 

Set Yourself Up For Success

Now that you have these awesome tips to help you with productivity, I want to share with you a few tools I use that help me stay on track and keep me moving towards my goals.

Planners

Passion Planner

Planners are kind of my thing and this one rocks. I have used a Passion Planner 3 years in a row. This planner is laid out in such a way that you can organize both your personal and professional life. There is lots of space for goal setting and reflection at the end of each month. It’s high quality and the binding never breaks.


Academic Passion Planner Pro Aug 2018 – Jul 2019 – Goal Oriented Daily Agenda, Appointment Calendar, Reflection Journal – (B5) Monday Start (Radiant Rose Gold)

Productivity Planner

This is another planner that I absolutely love. This planner provides some guided list making and helps you beat procrastination!


Productivity Planner – Daily Planner – Non Dated 5 x 8″ – Accomplish your 2018 Goals

 

Motivational Books

If you are looking for some books to give you a kick in the butt and jump start your productivity, here are a few of my favorites:


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business


The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life


You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth


Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

 

Tech Tools

These are some of my favorite tech tools that work wonders for my productivity. And they are all FREE!

Google Drive

You can create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more with google drive. Plus, since everything is web based you can access your documents from anywhere, even your phone. And the autosave function is a life saver.

Google Keep

Think of google keep as your virtual sticky notes. I use google keep to take quick notes, or write down an idea or something I need to add to my to do list.

Stayfocused

StayFocused is a free Chrome extension that restricts the amount of time you are allowed to spend on “time-wasting websites” like Facebook.

Cozi

The all in one family organizing suite. It includes a calendar, to do lists, recipes and meal planners, and a family journal.

Remember The Milk

The BEST To Do list app out there right now.

 

Armed with your new set of productivity tips for working moms and some awesome new tools, it’s time to set some big goals and get to work!

What do you struggle with the most when it comes to productivity? What’s something that gets you motivated and keeps you on track for meeting your goals?

best productivity tips from female entrepreneurs | time management tips for moms #productivity

 

 

 

31 simple tips to save money every month
Frugal Living

31 Simple Ways to Save Money Each Month

Are you looking for simple ways to save money every month? Do you need to find a few extra dollars (or a few hundred) each month to reduce your spending?

Then you have come to the right place, friend. Because I have a list a realistic ways to save money each month.

When we were on our debt free journey, I looked for any and all ways to save money. Some of the ways people were sharing were kind of extreme and while I was committed to reducing our spending to pay off debt, I had to draw the line somewhere.

All these strategies I list below are actual things we did to save money.

And they worked.

We were able to pay off $40,000 in debt on one income in less than two years. Read more about the steps we took to becoming debt free.

Saving money is not just about curbing your spending but it’s also about mindset.

The biggest hurdle for so many folks is not the actual act of cutting back their spending but the comparison game. They want to look like the girls on Instagram, or drive the fancy car like the neighbor down the street. So they overextend themselves financially. 

Related: Save Money With an Eat Down the Pantry Challenge

To this, I say to just stay in your lane. Stay focused on your end goal and put some blinders on if you need to. And if there are people in your life that are judging you because of what you have, you need to re-evaluate those relationships.

Some of these may seem really simple but trust me when I say they all add up.

31 Simple Ways to Save Money. These are realistic ways anybody can save money to reach their financial goals #moneysavingtips #frugal #budget

31 Simple Ways to Save Money Each Month

1. Meal Planning

Planning out your meals can help you reduce food waste (ie money waste) and reduce how much you eat out. Check out this “meal planning for beginners guide” to learn how to get started with meal planning.

2. Cutting Cable

Cable was the very last thing we cut. We downgraded our package from the get go, but it was still so frustrating to have our billed increased every year for no good reason.

Full disclosure: I was the one holding on because I just couldn’t imagine life without E! TV and Bravo. But after we finally cut our cable and switched to Netflix and an antenna for local channels, I couldn’t believe how little I missed it!

3. Use the Library for Entertainment

Instead of buying new books on amazon or renting DVDs, go to your local library and borrow them. They usually have the newest items available.

They also have lots of great programs for kids and adults. You could take a knitting class, or even a yoga class at your local library all for free!

4. No-Spend Challenges

For a lot of us, the weekends are when we are most likely to spend money, either by eating out, going to the movies, going bowling or any other activity.

Once a month plan for a no spend weekend. Choose free activities, eat all your meals and home and enjoy that extra cash in your pocket. read these tips to rock a no spend challenge.

5. Combine Car Trips 

We sometimes take for granted that we can drive everywhere anytime we want. Gas is expensive and limiting your driving can help reduce your monthly spending on gas.

Instead of running out whenever you need to, try combining trips. This will help you save on gas, and it’s good for the environment too.

6. Review Your Car Insurance, Homeowners Insurance Policies

If you haven’t reviewed your car and home insurance policies lately, call up your insurance agent and see if their are ways you can reduce how much you are paying on these each month.

You might be surprised at how much you can save, while still maintaining a good level of coverage.

money saving tips

7. Groom Your Pets at Home 

Instead of taking Fido to get his nail trimmed, go to the pet store and get yourself a nail trimmer and other grooming supplies. It might be a bit of money upfront, but it will save you in the long run.

8. Adjust the Thermostat

Did you know that adjusting your thermostat by 3 degrees can save you 10% on your monthly bills?

Throw on a sweater if you’re chilly, or snuggle up with your honey for some extra warmth.

9. Don’t automatically replace things when they break

When something breaks, don’t automatically replace it. Try and fix it and if you can’t, ask yourself if you really need it.

10. Babysitting exchange 

Start a babysitting exchange with your friends. Instead of paying for a babysitter, ask your friends if they can watch your kids one evening and in exchange you watch theirs for one evening.  

11. Drink Water

Replace juice and soda with water. And when you do, don’t buy bottled water, drink the water straight from the tap.

For what it costs to buy a case of water you can purchase a water bottle that you can refill forever.

drink more water | money saving tips | 31 simple ways to save money each month

12. Pack your lunch 

Instead of buying lunch at work everyday, pack your own lunch. Even if you only spend $5 a day for lunch (which is hard) that’s $100 a month i savings.

13. Use a cash only system

If you find yourself having trouble keeping track of your spending because you are swiping too much, move to a cash only system.

Allocate a certain amount of money for each of your expenses (grocery shopping, gas, etc). When the envelope is empty, you can’t spend any more. It’s as simple as that.

14. Get the basics from the dollar store 

The dollar store is a great place to buy some basic items that can be costly at other stores.

The dollar store is my go to for bandaids, kids toothbrushes, envelopes, and storage containers.

15. Buy second hand 

There are some things you never need to buy new. Cars are the most expensive second hand items you should always buy, but there are many other items you can buy second hand that are just as good.

Kitchen appliances, cell phones, kids toys like bikes and even furniture are big ticket items you can save a bundle on by buying second hand.

16. Barter with your neighbors 

Trade services and items with your neighbors. If your neighbor is an awesome cake decorator, as her to decorate your child’s birthday cake instead of buying one. In return, you can watch her kids, or wash her car.

17. Grow a garden 

Growing a vegetable garden is a great way to save money on your grocery budget.

Even if it’s just an herb garden, you will more than cover the cost of planting your garden and save money over time.

31 simple ways to save money every month | money saving tips | budget

18. Wearing glasses instead of contacts

Contacts are expensive. Period. You can save $100’s of dollars a year by wearing your glasses instead of contacts.

Maybe it’s not cute or even the most comfortable but the savings will pay off.

19. Make your own cleaning products 

All you need is vinegar, peroxide, and baking soda and you can make a whole variety of cleaning products.

Not only will this save you money, it’s better for your health to use cleaning products without chemicals.

20. Use plastic bags as liners for small trash cans 

Instead of buying trash liners for your small trash cans, reuse your plastic shopping bags. You can also use those shopping bags to pick up after your pet on their walks or line your cats litter box.

21. Buy reusable snack and lunch containers

There is a small cost up front, but you will save in the long run when you don’t use plastic baggies for sandwiches and snacks.

22. Unplug electronics when not in use.

When your electronics are plugged in and you are not using them they are still using power. The name for this is “vampire power” or “ghost electricity”. Vampire power can add up to almost $150 in expenses a year, which is about $12 a month. So when your done with the coffee maker or toaster, unplug it and start saving.

23. Stay away from stores that tempt you 

If there is a store where you always overspend (ahem…. target) don’t go there. Find another store that has the items you need without the temptation.

24. Ditch paper napkins and paper towels 

You can buy cloth napkins at the dollar store and use cut up old t-shirts as paper towels. This is not only good for your wallet but also for the environment.

25. Workout at home 

Ditch the gym membership or even the subscription workout package. Instead, exercise or you can find any type of workout you like for free on youtube. Check out this list of free at home workout videos.

31 ways to save money every month | money saving tips | budget

26. Buy generic 

Most store brands are just as good, or even better, than the brand name items. Most stores also have organic generic brands which are significantly cheaper than the organic brand name products.

27. Make a list before you go to the store

Before you make a trip to the store write down what you need. Having a list in your hand will help to keep you on track and reduce those impulse buys.

28. Buy frozen vegetables

Frozen vegetables are an inexpensive option for getting your veggies in. Using frozen vegetables also helps to reduce the amount of food waste you waste because they won’t go bad at the bottom of your produce drawer.

29. Order your groceries online 

If the grocery store is your money saving arch nemesis, try ordering your groceries online. Most stores have this option now and you can either have them delivered or simply pick them up. Shopping online will reduce the impulse buys and you can keep track of your total easily as you add items to your cart.

30. Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap 

Liquid soap is expensive and it gets used up so quickly (not to mention it’s full of funky ingredients if it’s not organic). Instead, try and use bar soap. It’s cheaper and lasts much longer.

31. Ditch bad habits 

Cut down or completely eliminate those money sucking bad habits. This includes cigarettes, wine, pumpkin spice lattes, candy bars and chips from the gas stations or whatever you spend too much money on that you don’t need.  

Additional Resources to Help You Reduce Your Spending:

The Total Money Makeover

The Total Money Makeover is an easy to read and life changing book. This was the book that completely changed my outlook on our finances and motivated us to become debt free.

Join Budget Friendly Facebook Groups

When you need some extra support or some great money saving tips and budget advice, Facebook groups are a great place to go. I recommend The Busy Budgeter Facebook Group. It’s an active group with lots of great ideas. 

Use the Free Ibotta App

Learn how you can earn money just by scanning your receipts. Read everything you need to know about Ibotta

Looking to save money on your monthly bills? Check out these super simple money saving hacks! #moneysavingtips #moneysavingtipsformoms #savemoneyideas
time management for busy moms| productivity
Motherhood

7 Time Management Tips For Busy Moms

As moms we juggle so many things on a day-to-day basis. It’s easy to feel a sense of overwhelm at all the moving parts in our day.

Guys, I have a little secret for you. I write a lot about getting organized and time management tips for moms not because I am the most organized person on the planet. It’s because I used to struggle with managing my time and often ended up overwhelmed. At some point I realized something had to give, and I needed to buckle down and figure out how to stay on the ball.

Related: Best Planners for Moms

In the beginning, getting organized and time management was actually really hard. I thought I would put things on the calendar and poof! They would automagically get done. (You thought that too, right?)

I messed up a lot and tried so many tactics before I figured out what actually worked. My success in getting organized to reduce the feeling of overwhelm was part mindset and part having the right tools and systems in place.

A Winning Mindset

Let’s talk mindset. I can sum this up with one simple quote. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”.

If you think you are doomed to be forever overwhelmed. Well, you will be right. If you think you’ll never get a handle on your budget and finances, you will be right.

But, if you think you can tackle your to-do list. You will. If you believe in yourself and commit to a budget, you will achieve your financial goals.

Now, I know this is easier said than done.

Our minds are muscles, and powerful ones at that. If we train that muscle to think negatively about our ability to get organized, be productive, and achieve our goals (both big and small), then we will continue to struggle in these areas.

But, if you begin to train your mind to see that you are capable of achieving what you set out to do, then it will become easier for you to accomplish these things.

Before I share with you my list of tools and strategies to win on a daily basis, I want you to close your eyes and visualize what it is you want to achieve.

Do you want to have a cleaner house?

Do you want to be on time more often?

Do you want to have more free time?

Whatever it is, these are your goals. Focus on them for a few minutes and feel what it would be like to achieve those goals.

Good.

Now let’s talk about some tools that will help you achieve those goals.

Time Management Tips to Reduce Overwhelm

time management tips for moms | increase your productivity | mange your time better

1. Put it on a Calendar

I know I said putting things on the calendar doesn’t mean they will automatically get done. But using a calendar and writing things down will set you up for success.

Writing things down and being intentional will make it easier to be more productive.

Most smartphones come with a built in calendar app. But there are so many other free calendar apps out there that let you do so much more. I’m talking email reminders, specialized alerts, and more!

One of my favorite calendar apps is Cozi. It seriously does it all, and it’s free. You can read all about Cozi here.

Start using a calendar and write down the things that have to get done.

 

2. Make Daily To Do Lists (and make them shorter)

I love my daily to do lists. They help me stay focused, reduce my procrastination, and help me to just get things done. But not all To Do lists are created equal.

The trick to getting through your to do list? Make it shorter. Make it realistic. What can you actually accomplish? That’s it. I’m talking a to do list of 3 or 4 tasks, 5 at the most.

Making shorter realistic daily to do lists, rather than a total to do list can help you focus and be more productive.

You can still have an “Everything I need to get done list”, but break it up into smaller chunks each day. It will reduce the feeling of overwhelm and will actually serve as a motivator.

If you get through your to do list each day you will have a greater sense of achievement and you will be motivated to do more.

And if you don’t? It won’t make your next day’s to do list too much more overwhelming.

 

3. Create an “Already Done List”

A few years back I read the book “The Gifts of  Imperfection” and it was a total eyeopener.

Among many things that I loved about the book was the author Brene Brown’s suggestion to create an Already Done List at the end of the day.

A lot of us (me included) get to the end of the day and think “I didn’t get anything done today”!

But it’s not the truth.

In reality, I got the kids to school on time, walked the dog, ran to the store, tidied up the house, breastfed a baby all day, and gave everyone baths and got them to bed.

So as part of your evening routine, or really any time you need a reminder of how much you actually do accomplish, sit down and write out all the things you did that day. I bet it will be a longer list than you thought.

 

4. Create a Meal Plan

Look. I know cooking from scratch everyday is not a realistic goal for everyone.

But, you can still create a meal plan that will reduce the stress around the question “what’s for dinner?”

Meal planning saves me so much time and stress. I don’t have to panic on a day when we are running from one place to another after school. By having a meal plan in place, I can plan to make one of my go to easy meals for busy nights.

I won’t go too much into meal planning here because I’ve already talked about meal planning a ton here.

Just know that meal planning will save you time, money and stress.

 

5. Morning routine

You know those mornings where everything goes wrong?

It can ruin the rest of your day, right?

You can set an amazing foundation for an awesome day by creating a morning routine. I mean a morning that has intention and sets you up for success for your whole day.

I have 7 simple rules for creating an amazing morning routine. I’ll give you a sneak peek here:

  1. Wake up early
  2. Get dressed
  3. Don’t Check your phone
  4. Hydrate
  5. Eat A Healthy Breakfast
  6. Pack up the Night Before
  7. Give yourself some wiggle room, even if it’s just 5 minutes.

Read more about setting up your morning routine.

 

6. Sunday Planning Session

Every Sunday I sit down for 20 minutes with my coffee and I look at my week ahead. I think through the things I need to do, where we need to be, and set some goals for myself.

If you are new to creating a weekly plan or even if you are a sometimes planner like I was, creating a plan and writing it out for the week actually provides you with greater flexibility. By doing a weekly planning session you will 1) know what happens when and 2) make smart decisions when things come up. This will deter your week from going into a tailspin when there are hiccups.

Starting a weekly planning session may seem daunting, but I promise you after a couple of times you will have your weekly schedule done in no time! You will feel prepared and ready to take on the week.

I love doing this on Sundays because it’s a chance to take a deep breath and really focus on the week ahead.

You can read all about my Sunday planning session here.

 

7. Make time for self care

Yes friends. Take some time for yourself.

If you don’t, you will burn out and you will not get anything done.

And you know I’m right.

You should schedule self care just like you schedule everything else. Put it on your daily to do list, or block some time on your calendar to take care of you.

Self care is not selfish and is necessary for us to be the best versions of ourselves. Self care doesn’t have to be a trip to the salon or an hour massage. It could be as simple as going for a drive, listening to your favorite podcast, or going for a 5 minute walk.

 

Final Thoughts….

You don’t need to implement all these time management tips tomorrow. Start with one and slowly weave it into your day. Once you get the hang of one, try another.

Remember to also work on your mindset. Focus on the positive and on achieving the things you set out to do each day. Believe that you can and you will.

 

time management tips for moms Having trouble keeping up with all the things? Check out these 7 time management tips for moms to get more done in less time. #timemanagementformoms #workingmom #lifemanagement