Juggeling Life

I’m exhausted, and I mean all the time.  Between being a full time online student, a SAHM to my 8 month old, a homemaker, and a wife, I clearly am stunned at the amount of time spent doing for others and the household over any sort of ‘me’ time. And to top it off I may take on a part time job in the evening hours to help out with the finances.  I’m so overwhelmed as it is at home, I have no idea what I was thinking while filling out the application.  I imagine our low finances was at the top of my mind at the time, but all I can think about now is leaving my baby at home with his Da-Da for a few hours out of the week.  I can’t even go to the corner store without wanting to have him tag along with me.  I love him so much, and for me possibly getting this job breaks my heart into a million pieces.

I always dreamed of being a SAHM, and when that dream finally happened last December I was overwhelmed with love and joy.  By the time my son was two weeks old I was consumed with pumping my breast milk, feedings, changing diapers and outfits, laundry, housework, and schoolwork.  I knew I could juggle it all, but I didn’t know how exhausted I would be.  I knew I would lose me time, quality time with my husband, and any socialization outside of my little bundle of joy, but never did I pout in despair. I was happy, and in love once again.

Even eight months later I am overjoyed with my little family. I love my chaotic life that I juggle from 6AM-11PM, of course this doesn’t include the occasional whimpers in the night from my little man to want a cuddle squeezed in before he nuzzles off to slumber-land again.

Of course there are some days that are harder than others.  There are days where the dishes lay dirty in the sink, laundry is piled up clean, yet unfolded on the couch, and I’m still in my pajamas at 3’oclock in the evening. But the way I look at it is; if my homework is done, my baby is taken care of, and my hair is still intact, I’m doing a damn good job!

There are even days where it seems the cat, the dog, and my son work hand in hand to make my life even more crazy, but that’s okay.  I easily laugh off the house when it is in messy mode.  My house is meant to be lived in, not be a model of perfection.

I am blessed to have a husband who understands that he may not come home to a house clean and tidy, or that my hair is in knots with a screaming hyper baby attached to my hip.

Juggling life is not easy, and I’m okay with that.


21st Century Homemaking

I’ve come such a long way from being a young wife who bought frozen and boxed foods to feed me and my husband.  I was so young and had no idea about healthy cooking from scratch or that buying in bulk actually saved loads in the long run, and I especially didn’t believe that buying healthier foods could be more cost-effective than the counter parts.

When I found http://www.onegoodthingbyjillie.com and http://www.pinterest.com I slowly but surely graduated to homemaking and experimented with resources and foods to make it eco-friendly and save us money.  I would be lying saying it was easy and it all worked out like it was supposed to, but believe me I have had a number of ‘nailed it’ moments and pitfalls.  In fact the first thing I tried was crockpot yogurt, and because I was young and naïve I tossed it out because it tasted sour.  Years later I find out it was supposed to taste like that because it wasn’t regular yogurt, it was plain Greek Yogurt! All I had to do was add fresh fruit or jam to it and it would taste awesome.  Needless to say I laughed it off and haven’t stepped foot in the yogurt section at my regular grocery store since. 

I then tried homemade powdered laundry soap and homemade fabric softener alongside homemade dryer sheets.  This worked especially when we were in a pinch, and would last us months for pennies worth of laundry, but I prefer to stock up on free and clear laundry products with my couponing strategies.

One product I’ve mastered is mixing Downy fabric softener with water in a spray bottle to make deodorizing spray which mimics Febreze, and my husband loves the smell of this and the savings!

I also homemake a batch of dry pinto beans in my crockpot and divide them to make refried beans and the other half is for meals that call for pinto beans.  I do the same thing for black beans, and trust me the savings are inextricably wonderful!

Therefore as you can see I am just like any other wife.  I make mistakes, but with patience and willpower I made it through and I have saved my family tons! 

Since we moved to Michigan within the past year and had our first baby, a number of things have changed.  My husband works 50 plus hours per week while I am a SAHM and full time student online, therefore we are very limited on our spending.  I am still learning ways to cut costs, but so far I am doing an awesome job with couponing and stockpiling, homemaking some foods, and finding clever ways to bring in extra cash when needed. 

One of the ways I save money is my Sunday coupons which get delivered right to my door.  I also print coupons from http://www.coupons.com, and other manufacturer websites.  Kroger and Meijer have their own separate website coupons so I take advantage of those too.  Probably my most favorite store lately is Target because they allow you to use their store coupons on top of your manufacturer coupon, and you can use their cartwheel app too!

Now when we schedule our monthly grocery list I make a menu of 15-20 dinner meals for the entire month and we may buy what is on the list.  The only way something else ends up in the basket is if I unexpectedly find an awesome deal that is too hard to pass up.  Sticking to the list really does help cut down on the monthly grocery bill!

On a typical monthly grocery trip I stop at three stores: Aldi, Dollar Tree, and Meijer -or- Kroger (depending on the deals).  We had a Costco membership and we were able to purchase some things for a great deal, but we found that we rarely used the items fast enough, and we didn’t have enough space to stock it all. However if you have the space I would greatly recommend the membership!

Due to Aldi non-couponing policy and products being generic, I generally only purchase dried pinto and black beans, pasta, condiments, milk, ground turkey and chicken, produce, and baking supplies. I have yet to try their cheese because we’re rather picky on our dairy choices.   

Our Dollar Tree has the coupon policy intact, so I stock up on a number of name brand products with coupons and most of the time can walk out of there with foods or household products for half the price or near to nothing. I generally purchase Bounty paper towels, Puffs Kleenex, Hormel pepperoni, tortilla shells, Hefty Ziploc bags, Kellogg Pop-tarts (for the hubby), and if I find another great deal that I can use with coupons I’ll splurge.

Meijer or Kroger is always the last stop on the list and I typically always have coupons for almost anything I need.  I especially like using coupons when they have their B1G1, or buy 6 and save, etc.

My theory of savings, as well as my way of homemaking in today’s society may not meet up to your standards, but it works for my family and that is all that counts.  Whether or not you use all my tactics, or just a few I hope you are able to make things easier financially for you and your family.