Beautiful Work

Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands…. Psalm 90:17a

50% off all Clearance at DownEast Basics! November 13, 2009

Filed under: Saving money — Leah @ 2:29 pm

Fall209_CreamSugarSkirt_VLGREAT sale starting today at my favorite place to buy clothes: DownEast BasicsF209_FeelinFall09_VL

Take an extra 50% off all clearance with code: FALL50.  Get there quick and have fun!  Super cute skirts for $12 are my favorite find.  Remember to check ALL shipping options upon checkout, as I often find UPS to be a dollar or so cheaper than the default USPS.

Happy Clearance-ing!

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50% off at Payless Shoes NOW October 29, 2009

Filed under: Saving money — Kate @ 11:42 am

Here is a coupon good TODAY and TOMORROW for 50% off all shoes at Payless!  I know I need show boots for one of my kids still and maybe can find some other shoes to fill holes in our wardrobes here.  Check it out here.

 

Know where your money goes! October 8, 2009

Filed under: Homemaking,Saving money — Kate @ 11:14 am

Money in general was not a fun word during the first few years of our marriage!  (It still CAN be a stressful subject!)  We were both in college full time and working part time, bringing home a grand total of $13,000 in a year!  We look back and wonder how we made it, knowing that God truly was taking care of us each and every day!  I remember checking our account balance before we would run to the grocery store to see what money we had left for food that week.  The thought of a budget sounded restricting to both Matt and I, until we realized that we were bring restricted by the lack of budget in our house!  We didn’t know where our money was going each month and didn’t really know if it was ever okay to spend even a little money to get coffee, grab dinner out or go to a movie!  (All things that seemed to happen even if we didn’t plan for them :) )

We took a budgeting class at our church together 2 years after we were married and it was so FREEING!  We actually could know what money we had to spend, what bills we could afford and plan for things each month/year!  We used a worksheet like this one to figure out what we were spending, and how we should/could adjust it.  Even though our budget has grown and shrunk over the past 7 years, we can plan for how much money is coming in each month and where we would like to see it go.

For me as a the stay-at-home wife and mother, I find that I need to have a really good perspective about how the budget is doing!  Somehow I end up doing most of the spending of our money (ah!), which Matt has trusted me with (ah! again), but I want to be a good steward of what we have, especially since I’m not specifically the one earning it!  I find that keeping up to date with what money we have and what money we have spent each week helps me to have a much better outlook on not only our budget, but on God’s provision for us.

Have fun budgeting!

 

Budget: A four lettered word? October 6, 2009

Filed under: Saving money,who we are — Leah @ 6:00 am

Yes.  I hate the budget.  I hate most everything that the budget represents, except the part where it helps us to save money.  :-)  There are several reasons I dislike the word “budget!” so much:

1. I am the spender in our marriage, so it’s HARD for me to stay within a budget.  It almost always feels much too confined/restrictive.

2. I am also slightly Type-A.  So breaking the budget month after month is very frustrating and feels like I’m constantly failing.

3. I strive for efficiency by nature.  Taking the time to outline a budget – just to then break it pains me to no end.

So, where does that leave us?  Well, it left us in a state of almost total disfuction for the first 6 years of our marriage.  We have never bounced a check or overdrawn an account, and rarely have carried a balance on a credit card.  But nonetheless, it’s been a struggle.  That is until we attended an FPU class this last winter.  Several thing happened during that class for me- only one of which was moving to a cash system.  We’re almost a year in and it’s worked GREAT!  We have paid down almost all of our van loan and put more into savings than previous years as well.  (That’s a small miracle when you keep in mind that my husband recieved what amounted to a 9% paycut last school year.)

In reality at this point our budget looks daily like any other envelope system out there.  We virtually spend all of our money on payday and assign it to different areas for that month:  Christmas, Car Loan, Savings, Food, Utilities, Gas, Haircuts, Gifts, Household, Entertainment, etc…  Some areas empty out to zero each month, others accumulate and then when we need the $ for that area, it’s already there.  It’s amazingly simple…and amazingly brilliant.  Why don’t they teach this stuff in high school?

:-)

 

Writer’s cramp…the gift that keeps on giving! July 1, 2009

To back-up the effectiveness of the idea Gretchen shared in the last post: my favorite wedding gift (except the beautiful quilt my mom made us…duh.) was my Red Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer.  It was a gift given to me by a group of close to 20 friends who joined efforts to buy us (me!) something that I wanted most off our list.  It was such a wonderful surprise to open and I think of that group of friends every time I use it (no joke…!).  :-)

One of my other favorite gifts was a little metal recipe box that looked awfully unassuming on the outside…then I opened it and saw, literally, a hundred handwritten recipes, each with a Bible verse and a cute sticker on it.  Each recipe was a dish that was a tried and tested recipe from this seasoned mom’s kitchen.  As their family lived on an extremely tight budget, it was the only gift they gave us and we knew that this gift was truly a labor of love.  MANY of the recipes we received in this little garage find box are now part of our family’s menu.  Many are popular potluck dishes and many more are made with ingredients that are friendly to a tight food budget.

Any wedding/bridal shower I’ve attended since, my gift has always included several recipies I believe that the bride will love and appriciate.  I feel so lame when my hand starts cramping up at 10 recipies or so…and then I think of the amazing gift we were given and I write a few more.

IMG_3465 IMG_3466I’ve even been quoted as saying it was one of the “5 Things I’d Grab if the House was on Fire.”  :-)

 

Inexpensive and Creative Wedding & Baby gifts June 29, 2009

Filed under: Gift Giving,Saving money — Andie @ 7:22 am

It’s wedding season! We have a weekend coming up with two weddings in two days, so wedding season has hit us in full force. Thankfully, I’ve mostly passed the age of being a bridesmaid, but I get to attend least a few every year at this point in my life. Here are my ideas & tips for wedding gift buying.

-Make something special- I used my favorite wedding cards to make a collage to frame and keep. I incorporated our vows into the collage, as well.  If you are crafty, making something for a bride who is not crafty can be a real blessing. You could get a frame for 40% off at Michael’s (they have sales and email coupons regularly) and leave it empty with a note to the bride that you will make her a custom collage of her cards sometime after the wedding.

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-Make something special part 2- Some of my favorite gifts I received were things that I could hang on the wall. As a single I only had enough to decorate a room, not an apartment! A wall decoration can be relatively inexpensive to make. Take a few photos (scenic detail photos work well) and get a frame on sale that already has a mat. Choose appropriate scripture verses to go along with your photos and voila! you have a lovely gift. Sidenote: it helps to look at the couple’s registry to get a sense of their style and colors they like and then you can choose photos appropriately.

-Buy something that goes to a good cause- This would fall into the not-so-cheap but meaningful category. I recently had a bride choose a fine art photo from this site, which benefits an adoption from Uganda. It was totally worth it to me to spend the extra bucks and the bride was happy the money went somewhere useful, too.

-Stock their freezer- This is a little unconventional, but you can give the gift of food. When we returned from our honeymoon, my dear friend Brianne had left easy reheat meals for us to eat. I was SO GLAD I didn’t have to cook, especially since I was still unpacking and opening gifts. You can find the person with the key to the newlyweds place (usually someone has it to deliver presents) and you can send in some yummy “Welcome Home” meals.

-Pre-loved items for baby- I spent all my space on wedding gifts, I’m hoping the other ladies don’t mind taking the baby gift portion! I do have one idea to mention in that department. I have attended showers that indicated “Pre-loved items are welcome.” I think this is such a nice way to encourage others to bring along gently used items. One of my son’s favorite toys and many favorite outfits for both children have been pre-loved.

 

Free Foil! April 11, 2009

Filed under: Household tips,Saving money,Uncategorized — Leah @ 7:03 pm

Free roll of Reynolds Aluminum Foil!  Yea!

The rebate form (good for up to $3.99!) is downloadable ONLY on Earth Day (4/22).  Read it well and make sure you buy the right kind!  It needs to be the 100% recycled one.