It’s the Ultimate Bundle Sale week at To Love, Honor and Vacuum! And today I want to talk about developing a two-month plan to get your financial house in order.
I know not all of you are interested in the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle, and that’s okay. You can still get a lot out of this post, because the principles are universal: take stock, make goals, and then make small changes incrementally that add up.
But if you’re wondering why I keep talking about it, it’s because I honestly do believe it’s a great deal. As an author in it, I got access to all of the books and bonuses about three weeks ago, and I’ve had such FUN going through all of them and making plans of how I’m going to tackle them (seriously, it’s a TON of FUN to have this many new things on your computer!). I really do believe that you will love it.
This Bundle is TOTALLY NEW. If you’ve bought bundles in the past, rest assured that you’re getting an entirely new collection here. I think only 3-4 books have ever been in ANY bundle before.
And this may interest you: the money that I’m making for the sale is going to become seed money for a new business venture I’m starting to employ university students as virtual assistants. I’m setting up the business this summer, and the money will pay for the legal and accounting fees. With my daughter in university, I have a special heart for helping kids graduate without debt, so I’m looking at starting a business that can help them do that!
Oh, and one more thing: don’t forget that when you buy the bundle from me, if you email me your receipt I’ll send you the link to enter yourself in a contest where you can win a bunch of prizes, including more ebook grab bags and a $100 Amazon gift card! More details here.
My husband and I have never fought about money. We’ve hurt each other about sex, we’ve had disagreements about housework, we haven’t always seen eye to eye on parenting. And yet money has always been a breeze for us.
It’s not because we’ve always had money; we haven’t. We spent the first seven years of marriage living in tiny apartments, even with babies. But I think it comes down to the fact that we have very similar values about money. We both are determined to live within our means; neither of us has expensive tastes; and we both are truly committed to giving money away.
I respect my husband so much in this, because he’s one of the few physicians I know who has never in his life owned a new car–or even a really nice car. He doesn’t have the most expensive clothes or the most expensive shoes. He just lives out his values, and I can’t think of a better man to be married to because of that.
Yet I know that money is one of the biggest sources of tension in so many marriages. Well, I have some awesome tools that can help you sort out money–and start living with a feeling of abundance rather than poverty. In the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle which is for sale just until Monday, you’ll find a TON of books that can help you figure out your finances. Here’s the step-by-step plan that I would use, over two months, to turn your attitude and your wallet around!
Budgets. We may not like them, but there really aren’t shortcuts. You need to know how much money you have, and you need to know how much money you need to meet your current obligations.
Kimberlee Stokes, in her book 5 Days to Budget Breakthrough!, writes this book not as someone who has had it all figured out, but rather as someone who has lived in the trenches–and seen how her poor money decisions have really affected her family. She writes:
For me, the wake up call came when I had to return to full-time employment for the third time (even though I felt very strongly that we should home school our children) and I saw the consequences in my children’s lives. I finally realized that money wasn’t the problem…
(Cue dramatic music.) I was.
I realized that I was making excuses rather than taking responsibility for my choices. I had to break through my denial, acknowledge that we had a limited amount of money and stop spending everything I had. In other words, I had to grow up, and since I am pretty sure that being over 30 qualified me as an adult, it was about time I started acting like one.
She has worksheets you can use, great suggestions on how to track your spending, help for changing your mindset, and really practical tips for actually saving instead of going into debt.
The best part of the book, though, comes in what she says about our attitudes, which I think is the key to making financial change. She writes:
Do any of these statements sound familiar?
“We can’t afford that.”
“There is never enough. We need more money.” “We have to go without.”
“We can’t make it.”
Impoverished thinking makes people discontent, always striving and never arriving. No matter how much money they make, they can never be at peace. A poverty mindset is based in fear and makes you feel out of control and helpless.
So how do you overcome a poverty mindset? What if we change those statements to:
“We choose not to buy that because we have other priorities right now.” “We have exactly what we need.”
“We choose to make do with what we have.”
“We can make this work.”
Empower yourself by recognizing your freedom of choice.
5 Days to a Budget Breakthrough is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Not all of us are minimalists. I have 14 plastic rubbermaid containers full of yarn in my storage room–yikes! I even have a storage room. Minimalists don’t have storage rooms.
But I’ll tell you, Rachel Jonat makes sense. She’s arguing that most of the stuff we spend money on we don’t even need. And the more stuff you have, the harder it is to find the stuff you need, so we end up buying doubles. Or triples. And it never ends!
At least, it doesn’t end until we say, Enough is enough, and really start trying to live with only what we need. It’s totally freeing!
Rachel wrote this book for moms of babies, but I don’t have babies right now, and I STILL loved this book. It made me think so much.
So what I’d suggest, after doing the hard work in Week 1 of actually making budgets, is that you take a week to read through this book. Write down the things that really speak to you, and then start putting small things into practice. Even if you don’t become a full-blown minimalist, it will likely change your outlook enough that doing the rest of the work to get your financial house in order is actually fun!
The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
We’ve done the big attitude changes. Now let’s do the practical changes that will make it so much easier to save money.
How often do you order pizza because you don’t know what to eat? Run for fast food at lunch because there’s nothing in the house? Or buy a ton of vegetables in a “let’s get healthy!” frenzy, only to see 1/2 of them turn into a slimy green mess in the fridge before you can eat them?
Planning your meals is one little change you can make that will also bring a real financial boost!
The Nourishing Home provides all you need to plan your meals–including worksheets, grocery lists, and even meal plans of their own you can use.
Take week 3 and make out a month’s worth of meal plans that you can then cycle through–and help you save money at the grocery store!
Meal Planning Made Easy is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Now that you’re meal planning, let’s take it one step further and help you get creative with kids’ lunches–and with lunches to take to work for you and your hubby, too!
This is such a FUN book. You won’t even feel like it’s work! And many of her ideas end up being cheaper than the traditional bread-with-expensive-lunch-meats that we often use. You can eat healthier, use up leftovers (including those veggies that threaten to go bad), and earn rave reviews from other parents!
The funniest part of the book is the story of how author Katie Kimball started writing it. She says,
I have known for a while now that we eat differently than most of the rest of the world. I knew most kids probably don’t use reusable sandwich bags and stainless steel containers at lunch. But I didn’t realize that our lunches were really that different from the norm until my son went to summer camp, where he ate a packed lunch among 350 other kids for five days.
Then I found out that camp counselors were sharing pictures of his lunch on Facebook.
You’ll love it.
The Healthy Lunch Box is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Food is one of the biggest expenses we have at the grocery store, but it’s not the only one. There’s also cleaners.
And what if you could make cleaners with regular household products you already have? Even things you would throw away–like lemon peels?
I started making my own cleaners last year, and it is FUN! First, I feel so frugal (and almost righteous ) making things that are so cheap. But second, they smell so wonderful!
It’s also a great activity to do with children. The cleaners are safe, non-toxic, and easy to make, so kids can participate. And if the cleaner is non-toxic, it’s no problem giving your child a spray bottle and a cloth and having a 3-year-old wash the bottom of the kitchen cabinets.
DIY Natural Household Cleaners is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Week 6: Let’s Get Couponing!
Now we’ll get into some serious money saving.
Beth Cranford explains, step by step, how she uses coupons to drastically bring down her grocery bill. She tells you how to use the concept of “stock pile” (as opposed to hoarding, which is a definite no no!), how to organize your coupons, how to get double deals on your coupons, and even how to find coupons!
If you’ve thought the idea of couponing sounds too much like WORK, I understand. But she lays it all out here, and it looks like once you’re organized it won’t take that much time.
But think about it this way: how much could you make at a job? $20 an hour? $15 an hour? Even $30 an hour (depending on your education?) If you spend 2 hours a week (and it shouldn’t take that long) organizing coupons, you’ll save more than that. And so it’s like you ARE working.
It’s Me or the Coupons is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
Week 7: Earn Some Money from Home
Rather than highlight just one book from the Working/Blogging at Home section of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale, I want to point you to all the great ones that are here. First, if you’re a blogger, the two different blog planners are absolutely amazing. They’ll tell you what to do to actually market your blog, get you organized, help you track your expenses and your income, and help you plan. And if you do all of these steps, you’ll find that you’re starting to actually make money–through reviews, or giveaways, or affiliate sales, or anything!
I love the way the blog planners are laid out. If you already blog, but you’re not really earning an income, these kits will help you go in the right direction.
But what if you’re just not sure how to blog? Or if you should speak? Or write? Alyssa Avant, whom I’ve known online for years, shares about taking a “FaithLeap” and figuring out how God has called you to share your message.
These are all great books (and I’m already printing out the blog planners!)
Week 8: Have Fun with Your Kids
But remember the difference between a poverty mindset and an abundance mindset that we talked about in Week 1? I want to end this two week financial exercise with that feeling of abundance. There is so much you have–and so much you can do!
This book is chalk full of 76 ideas of what to do when your kids say, “I’m bored.” The things don’t involve having to pay money to do anything. They’re all fun things you can do at home, with items you already have, or out of the house, taking advantage of some of the great things around your community.
76 Free Things to do with Kids is part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale!
We can live a life where we do tons of things, enjoy each other, and are able to give to others when we start having this attitude of abundance rather than an attitude of poverty.
Take this 8 week challenge, and you’ll find so much of your stress has evaporated. And your relationships will be blessed, too!
In the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale there are 77 ebooks, plus printables and an audio download (from me!), that will help you get different parts of your life in order. I’ve shared just some ideas about money today, but I could have written a similar post on how to get real with God, how to plan a better schedule, how to teach your kids to read, and more! This bundle has so much in it.
And the freebies are awesome, too–over $200 worth of great products, including eye shadow, laundry detergent, herbal teas, and more.