Peeking in to say Hello!

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After a whirlwind trip to Utah (one full day up; one full day back; only 2 days there), I’m back in Tucson and back at work.

I am eternally grateful that all of these issues are popping up during summer when I have a pretty flexible schedule. Even so, it’s been tough to keep up with work, as I missed 3 days the first week of June (for my grandmother’s funeral), had one solid week back at work, then missed another 3 days last week for my Dad’s house clear out. This week is also a short week, as my Mom flies in on Thursday to help celebrate the girls’ 4th birthday with us this weekend. I’m still treading water, but just barely.

Also, hubs just received word this morning that his grandfather has passed away (if you read this post, you know that this was expected as his grandfather has been on hospice and not doing well). Fortunately (if you can even call these things “fortunate”???), his grandfather specifically requested to be cremated and have no funeral. His only wish was to have his ashes spread on his family land out in Luling, Texas. My husband plans to go back to Texas to be with his mom at that time, but it will be awhile. Basically, my mother-in-law is in the process of buying a home right now (her closing date is set on July 15), and she wants to wait until she’s closed on the house to spread the ashes because she wants my husband to do some flooring work in her new house (remember, hubs is a flooring contractor), and it just makes his life easier to make one trip (for the ashes AND floors at same time) rather than having to make multiple/separate trips. It’s a bit unconventional, but mom-in-law was an only child so there’s no one opposing the plan and it’s what works best for her so I guess that will be happening in about a month. We haven’t decided yet for sure, but I believe the girls and I will stay in Tucson at that time (of course, the family makes a plea for us to go back any chance we get, but – well, work. Like, that thing that pays our bills and keeps a roof over our heads. So, yeah.)

The passing of hubs’ grandfather does have a (very) small monetary benefit to us. He wrote in his will that each of the grandchildren should receive $1,000 from his estate. Hey, every little bit helps, right?

For those who asked about the estate sale, let me give a super quick update.

Basically, it went “okay.” I was so terrified of a potentially huge turnout that I didn’t advertise widely. I only put it on a single Facebook yard sale site (with 3500 members) and advertised it as being Thursday night and Friday morning. I was able to have a friend babysit the girls on Thursday night, but it was for naught, as only 4 people came that evening. On Friday I was able to convince a cousin to come help us in exchange for some free goods (being that EVERYTHING that didn’t sell was literally going to be thrown away or donated anyway). All day Friday was pretty steady (from 7am-9pm), but it was never crazy. As the day wore on I kept posting reductions in prices on items, etc. By the end of the day we’d barely made $600. To be fair, a lot of the big/pricey items had been moved when my Dad moved, but this low number also reflects the fact that we were practically giving items away (again – we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side, so we couldn’t be choosy or hold out for better offers).

That being said, by 4pm on Friday we were still overwhelmed with the amount of items still laying around. We ended up calling a local company (Everything Goez) and paid them $500 to clear all the remaining property items. So in the end we had made just a teeny tiny profit of about $100. Next-to-nothing.

That being said, the #1 objective of our trip to Utah was to clear out the property. When I got there and realized how much remained, I was worried about what would happen. My sister and I were on the phone a lot and talking about additional trips, etc. I didn’t feel good about that (plus don’t have time for extra trips and more time off work), so in the end I thought this was the best possible solution. My siblings aren’t thrilled with the lack of money made at the estate sale, but I think we all realize that the alternative would have been even more costly (again, given the time off work, additional travel expenses, and longer time that this house is sitting vacant and costing us money). So in the end, paying to have the place cleared was the right move for us. I went with one goal (= clear out property), and I accomplished that goal (albeit, only by paying people to help us).

The house, garage, and yard are all now completely empty and ready for a professional cleaning and to be placed on the market. I met with a property management company while in town and got some pretty bad news about rental prices. I’ve since then called to get another quote (actually 3 in total), and it looks like we might not be able to make as much from renting as we’d originally thought. That means (fingers crossed), I may be able to talk the siblings into just selling the property, as I’ve wanted from the beginning. There’s not a lot of equity in the property, but enough that we wouldn’t lose any money. Plus, I literally had 3 separate groups of people offer to buy the house while they were going through and looking at items to purchase. One family (across-the-street neighbors) offered to pay cash with a quick close. We have a sibling conference call planned this week so we’ll see what happens (for newer readers, my brother & sister are both proponents of keeping it as a rental. I’m the only one in favor of selling, but I respect the majority vote so there are no hard feelings one way or another. I just don’t want to deal with this out-of-state property anymore).

So that’s about it. I have to apologize for my lack of numbers posts lately. I’ve still had it in the back of my mind that I need to do a budget update from last month (May), but by the time I have a chance to write it we’ll likely be ready for a June budget update. With all the balls I’m juggling I just have to do what I can and that may mean a missed numbers post here or there.

That being said, June should be a good month for us. My full-time job paycheck is higher because I have fewer deductions (I work at a university where most are on 9-month contracts, so during the Spring semester the deductions are higher to account for summer months. But since I’m actually working over the summer, too, I get my full without those deductions since they were essentially “pre-paid”). My part-time job paycheck is higher, too (since I only get paid in 2 lump sums:  June and July. Though that means I get no paycheck at all in May or August).

I’ve really got to get our emergency fund back up after raiding it last month (which I mention here), coupled with the fact that we were hoping to buy a house soon! For those wondering, we haven’t even started looking yet! With all the health crises and emergencies we’ve been experiencing, we’ve talked about the possibility of pushing our house hunt back into the Fall (we’d always planned to start hunting this summer). We could start in late summer, though, so that’s a possibility too. We’ve got to save more for our downpayment and need to get a bit beefier safety net (in terms of the EF). So that’s what’s going on with that. I’m still searching Zillow all the time and grabbing flyers from desirable areas whenever I see them – just for reference (and for fun). But no official looking yet. I’ll keep you posted on that.

I hope you all have a great week! Talk to you soon!

 


My First Estate Sale – HELP ME!!!

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Hi guys!

I gotta pop in for a super quick post today because stuff is crazy right now!

My family (hubs, me, and the 4-year-old twins) drove up to Utah on Wednesday. We usually split the 12-hour drive into 2 days but pushed through and did the whole thing in one day.

The purpose of our trip was to finish clearing out my Dad’s house. I came here in November when my Dad officially moved, but he’d used a POD and a lot of stuff got left behind. My brother came back with my Dad again a couple months ago and, from all reports, the house was nearly ready to go. There were still a few boxes of paperwork and miscellaneous odds and ends. The big things were that there are still 2 vehicles here. Those were my marching orders.

SOOOOoooooo imagine my surprise when I get here and it seems like the house is still fully furnished. I mean…kitchen still has everything in it, there’s a full bedroom set,  lots of household and holiday decorations, multiple televisions, accent tables, garage is still fully stuffed, and on and on and on.

Guess how many days we’d planned to be here! Two. Yep. The plan was to get here Wednesday night (as we did), get a dumpster, and throw the remaining stuff out, then head back to Tucson early on Saturday (another 1-day trip).

But the overwhelming amount of items coupled with the fact that there are still so many items of VALUE meant that I couldn’t just throw stuff in the dumpster (which I’d called and had placed at the residence before getting to town). The only solution I could see was to have an estate sale.

Here’s the deal. I’ve never done an estate sale before. And I’ve now been warned by 2 separate people that these things can be brutal – people fighting each other for items, shoulder-to-shoulder people bustling throughout the house, etc. Just chaos. And remember….we’ve only got 2 adults to manage the situation (plus 2 toddlers to still watch and take care of!!!) Gulp!

To try to help things a bit, I decided to split the sale into 2 days. We’re prepping things today by separating items (we’ll take some things with us to Tucson so there’s a “not for sale” pile), shredding old documents with identifying information, and generally trying to organize things and sort through to see what’s here. I’ll also be taking care of some business things today (meeting with property management company, etc.). Then the first “preview sale” will be tonight from 5-8:30pm. The remaining items will be sold on Friday from 7am-gone. I posted to a local Facebook garage sale site, stating that all items are first come, first served and there are NO HOLDS!

I’m hoping that (1) the fact that the estate sale is being held on weekdays and (2) the fact that we’re splitting it into two days will help in reducing the craziness since we’ll likely have fewer people than we would on a Saturday. By Friday afternoon, everything will turn to FREE (with associated posting on the local Facebook site) and we’ll start trashing any remaining items in the dumpster.

Other tips or ideas? Are we absolutely insane for attempting to do this ourselves while we still have kids here? I’m really nervous about things getting wild! If they do, the plan is for me to stand at the front door (with kids playing in front yard), and hubs to be inside doing the negotiating about item prices. I’ll be paid on the way out (standing at the door ensures no one just walks away with items without paying).

I’ve literally NEVER done this before and this shiz is getting down TONIGHT so I could really use any helpful ideas or tips that you might have! Help meeeee!!!!

Thank you!


The Twins

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History Buff (L) and Sea Cadet (R)

History Buff (L) and Sea Cadet (R)

On my last post, several people asked about the twins and their plans.  Since we have been discussing that ad nauseum around here, it’s an easy post to write. The twins just completed their junior year of high school.  (For those that haven’t followed our story, just a little background.  The twins were placed with me when they were 12 years old as foster kids.  When it was determined that they couldn’t go home, I adopted them at the age of 15th.  They will be 18 this fall.  Sea Cadet is older by 20 minutes and he chose to be homeschooled beginning his freshman year of high school.  History Buff was pulled from public schools at the end of the first semester of his freshman year after not making the grades (he and I had an agreement based on grade expectations.)  History Buff’s first day at our homeschool co op – “my best school day ever!”)

History Buff is on track to graduate next year, and is college bound but he is very unsure of what he wants to do or study or even where he wants to go.  So for his senior year of high school, he will be dual enrolled at a local community college.  This will allow him to finish his high school credits and get some college credits simultaneously.  He has applied and must complete the English and Math Virginia Placement Test before he can enroll in classes.  Other than that, all school decisions are up in the air.  He would really like to move to Austin, TX where most of my family lives for college, but I have put my foot down on out of state tuition costs, so we are considering a gap year for him to move there, get acclimated, a job, etc. and then enroll at a local college.  But truly, all up in the air.  We will visit some VA schools this summer, and possibly do a second year at the community college.

This summer he is working two jobs.  He continues to work at the local movie theater, mostly because he loves the benefits

Sea Cadet, History Buff and Princess

Sea Cadet, History Buff and Princess

it gives his social life with free movies and discounted snacks.  He also works at a sub shop which was a job he was given by a family friend and he loves it.  He’s enjoying some free time from school, dating and hanging with his friends while he swims an hour a day for swim team and is working out three times a week with a personal trainer.

We’ve just modified his money plan.  Since the twins began working, they have been required to save 50% of each paycheck for college, 25% is used for bills (car insurance, gas, cell phone and clothes/hygiene) and 25% spending money.  He has done great, and learned some hard lessons.  I am so proud of him.  In the last month, we changed his plan to this: 25% college savings, 25% personal savings, 50% bills and spending.  We did this to give him a bit more control over his “free” money and let him save some money for car repairs or a newer car whichever comes first as we have had a few scares with his car.

Sea Cadet will graduate in two years.  We knew going into high school that he had some challenges with education and at the end of the first semester decided to slow down a bit to give him a chance for a much more successful high school career.  In homeschool, it’s called a super senior year.  (Before this becomes a discussion, he has what is called an ISP through the public schools which is evaluated every year, even though we homeschool.  And when he was in public school he had services in the classroom.  Slowing down was just what he has needed and he has been very successful.  When the twins were placed with me in 7th grade, Sea Cadet tested at a 3rd/4th grade level, again a public school administered test.)  He will receive a general diploma when he graduates and will have met all VA state requirements to do so.

Back to Sea Cadet’s plans, he has two more years of high school to complete.  He will also be dual enrolling this fall, but since he has a very strong interest in the medical field, he will be going into a two year EMS program at the local

Sea Cadet at lakehouse

Sea Cadet at lakehouse

community college.  He has already passed the English portion of the VPT, and will take the math portion this week.  We are doing this for two reasons: 1) it will give him a chance to try out college with home support and 2) if he completes the program and can pass the certifications he will have a career option available immediately just in case he decides college is not for him.  His dream is to be a flight nurse in the military, so we think this is a good way to see if that is a good career path for him.

He is also working two jobs this summer.  He continues to work at the movie theater with his twin brother, but he will also be away for 5 weeks this summer, working as a junior camp counselor at the Christian summer camp they have attended the last 4 summers.   He has completed his drivers ed course, but does not seem to be in a rush to get his drivers license especially when he considers the cost of insurance.  Sea Cadet continues to save 50% of every check for college and has done great with that as well.

I could not be more proud of the twins.  They are great young men, responsible, polite and really working hard to make good life choices.  I am so proud to call each of them my son.

Twins and friends at homeschool graduation event

Twins and friends at homeschool graduation event

 

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Cruising With Kids: Must Haves (and Do Withouts)

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This post is long overdue, as we returned from our Cruise 2016 in early May! But life happened, as it always does, and this got away from me for a bit.

Luckily, I’d jotted down some notes while we were still on the cruise so I wouldn’t forget. And I now present to you a list of “Must Haves” and “Do Withouts” for cruising with young children. Note, this is only from our own experience so I can’t necessarily comment on cruising with older children/adolescents. For reference, our kids (twins) were almost four years old at the time of our cruise.

Cruising With Kids:  Must Haves

  • Nightlight:  The cabins get pretty dark when the lights are out, so unless you want to sleep with lights on (or the kids in your bed, if they’re afraid of the dark), a nightlight is a great idea. Honestly, this is one I would recommend even just for adults because if you ever wake in the night and need to use the restroom, a nightlight will prevent you from tripping over unfamiliar terrain!
  • Multi-Outlet Power Strip:  This was absolutely invaluable for us, as outlets are at an absolute premium in the staterooms! We only had a single outlet and TONS of electronics to juggle (laptop charger, cell phone charger, tablet charger for the kids, hair straightener, hair dryer, curling iron, etc. etc. etc.) I do not know what we would have done without the power strip!
  • Beach Toys and Puddle Jumpers:  If you have young kids, it’s highly likely that most of your excursions will be beach-based (since many of the high adventure options have minimum age requirements). The problem is that the beach gets boring quickly for kiddos without entertainment, and anything sold by the port or on the beach is crazy-overpriced! We picked up a $5 bucket from Walmart that included lots of sand toys (shapers, scrapers, shovels, etc.) and it worked like a charm. The puddle jumpers were also clutch because it allowed the kids to safely wade into the water with a bit of a “safety net” (for those unfamiliar, puddle jumpers are similar to life vests, but designed for young children. Safety note: you absolutely still need to supervise, of course!!!).
  • Bottled Water and (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks: So, we cruised on Royal Caribbean. Every cruise line has its own rules so ask your cruise line to be sure. Royal Caribbean’s website states that they do NOT allow beverages to be brought on board. That being said, I read lots of blogs/websites/chat rooms where people said they brought on non-alcoholic beverages with no problem. We decided to chance it and see what would happen. We brought a full case of water and a 6-pack of soda. We had absolutely no problem going through security – no need to hide it or anything, we just set it right on the scanner and had no issues. This was fantastic because the waters on the ship are crazy pricey (like $4/bottle), and we didn’t buy a soda package so it was nice to have a couple sodas on the trip. You can also bring one bottle of wine per stateroom (again, see your cruise line’s policies). To me, the water was the biggest thing because it wasn’t always easy to get to water otherwise, especially on our excursions and exploring the different ports. We went through the entire case of water in the week we were on our cruise.
  • Snacks:  This would be nice even for adults, but with young children it was practically a requirement! Our kids wake up hungry IMMEDIATELY! It was nice to throw them a granola bar as we got dressed and made our way to the dining hall. Same is true around dinner time and even later in the evening before bedtime. We brought a variety of snacks (granola bars, cheddar bunnies, fruit leather, etc. etc.) and went through everything while on the cruise, having to re-stock on some snacks while in Mexico! Another tip is to grab some snacks from the dining hall. For instance, I’d always take an extra mini box of cereal in the morning and give it to the girls during the day as a snack (they eat it dry, without milk). Soo thankful for those Cheerios (and the girls loved their first experience with fruit loops!)
  • Cash: We had saved up all this money for our trip, but ended up bringing a pretty small amount of actual cash on the ship and we wished we’d brought more because we ended up having to use an ATM for additional cash. Not only is cash nice for tips (and I’d suggest bringing lots of $1’s for tipping porters, shuttle drivers, and really anyone handling your bags), but you also have to have cash if you want to gamble. We’re not huge on gambling, but we like a little Black Jack and the one night we hit up the casino we succumbed to the pricey ATM fees so we could pull out the cash to play. You’ll also want cash to tip the waitstaff and room attendant at the end of the trip. Note that a standard 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill (which goes on whatever card you have on file), but having worked for many years in the service industry, I wanted to tip a couple specific people over and above the 18% minimum. For that, you need cash.
  • Backpack:  To carry all your money, IDs, snacks, waters, etc. I much prefer a backpack over a big beach bag or diaper bag because I like that it requires no hands and doesn’t have to be juggled with a lot of other things. Just slip it on and you’re ready to go!

 

Perhaps equally as important as the “Must Have” list is the list of items that you should not bother bringing!!! Save the space in your suitcase for something more important!

Cruising With Kids: Do Withouts

  • Binoculars:  We actually bought a new pair of binoculars just for our trip after reading several sites that suggested them. Total waste of money and space, we didn’t use them a single time! This might be different for adults traveling without kids who are able to attend all the evening events. We only went to a single night-time show and really didn’t feel the need for the binoculars. Plus, it’s enough just trying to keep the kids quiet and in their seats. No time or space to deal with binoculars.
  • Empty Re-usable Water Bottle: I brought this thinking it would be valuable for our excursions. Turns out, since we were able to bring our case of waters, I never once used the reusable bottle. Plus, all the water stations on the ship had big signs prohibiting the filling of re-usable water bottles for health reasons. You’d be limited to filling it in your bathroom sink, which I never wanted to do because I swear the water tasted funny.
  • Sunhat: Another thing I bought specifically for this trip that was a total waste. With all the wind on the upper decks, I couldn’t keep a big sunhat on my head! And it was large and bulky and challenging to get around (especially considering all the kid toys, snacks, towels, etc. that I was also toting around). I ended up taking it to the beach at our first port and the wind just basically destroyed the thing. Stick to using sunscreen as your form of sun protection and leave the big floppy hat at home.
  • Walkie Talkies: Again, I bought this after seeing other reviews that recommended them. The problem is that the cruise limits the strength of the walkie talkies you can use and, in our experience, we were not able to hear each other unless we were already in very close proximity. Plus, we kept picking up other peoples’ conversations no matter what channel we tried to use. They also woke the kids up from a nap one day when they started crackling with someone else’s conversation. Cell phones don’t work either, so you just have to resort to the good old days pre-cell-phone when you would plan out in advance meeting times and places, etc. Note that room-to-room calling is free, so that helps!
  • Lots of Shoes: I really limited the number of shoes I took, but I still had 5 pair (tennis shoes, 2 pairs of fancy shoes, and 2 pairs of sandals/flip-flips). Even though I thought I’d been space conscious with shoes, I ended up basically living in a single pair of sandals the entire trip. I never once put on my tennis shoes, and only wore 1 of my fancy pairs of shoes. The other 99% of the time I stayed in my comfy sandals.
  • Ice Chest:  I brought a small ice chest for our drinks, again, based on recommendations of fellow travelers. However, in our experience it was totally unnecessary. We had a mini-fridge in our stateroom so we just put our drinks in it to keep cold. The ice chest ended up being used by our kids as a stepping stool to reach the toilet (so I guess it wasn’t entirely pointless….just not used for its intended purpose).

 

Those were our experiences, but I’d love to hear from others too!

What item was a “must have” on your cruise and what item do you think you could have done without?


May 2016 Debt Update

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Late is better than never! Plus, my debt payments are all scheduled for middle-to-end of the month so these are all still true numbers, no additional payments have been made in June yet. Here ya go:

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date Original debt, March 2014
Navient$725356.55%$980May$74218
ACS Student Loans$85966.55%$20May$8215
Balance Transfer Student Loan #2$73500% (through April 2017)$300May$7650
Medical Bills$58110%$25May$9000
Balance Transfer student loan #1$00% -Paid off in March 2016$5937
PenFed Car Loan-2.49%-Paid off in January 2016$24040
License Fees-2.5%-Paid off in April 2015$5808
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June 2014$2220
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May 2014$1381
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May 2014$7697
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March 2014$413
Totals$94292 (April balance = 95,250)$1325Starting Debt = $145,472

The past couple months (April & May) had smaller debt payments than what I’d originally planed. One of our 2016 goals is to pay $30,000 toward debt in total. Here’s a table showing planned and actual debt payments:

Month 2015 2016 GOALS 2016
January $1678 Goal: $3500 $4013
February $1822 Goal: $1000 $1261
March $653 Goal:  $1000 $2134
April $1796 Goal:  $2000 $1521
May $1708 Goal: $2000 $1325
June $725 Goal:  $4000  
July $2125 Goal: $4000  
August $2250 Goal: $2500  
September $2575 Goal: $2500  
October $5513 Goal: $2500  
November $2751 Goal: $2500  
December $2522 Goal: $2500  
Total $26118 Goal: $30,000  

At this point (Jan-May), our goal was to have paid $9,500 in debt so far. Our actual payments put us at $10,254. So even though our recent payments have been below our goal, overall we’re still on track to hit our annual goals. Just as a note, the reason why the goal is set so high for June and July is because I get big checks from my part-time job these two months (instead of spreading out the payment across 4 months, which would be normal sized, I don’t get paid in May or August at all, but instead I get double-sized payments in June & July). Right now it feels scary/intimidating/impossible to be making a $4,000 debt payment (though, to be fair, I haven’t been paid yet this month so that’s probably why). I still want to be cautious and re-allocate some funds back to our emergency fund after having to raid it for life’s recent emergencies.  But I still think (fingers crossed) we should manage to make some pretty hefty sized debt payments, too. Time will tell and I’ll keep you updated! : )

Hope you all have a great weekend!

 


My Absence

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I apologize for my absence these past weeks. And I hate to say, I may be absent for a few more. Life has come flooding back like a tidal wave after months of trials and despair. And while it hasn’t all been candy and flowers, lots of good things happening.

I have two very steady clients now that are giving me more than full time hours, sometimes closer to double full time. The pay is decent if not great, and I am working like a crazy person. All contract work, but no end in site and have been given more responsibilities and hours on both sides a couple of times. Good news.

We have finished out the softball season for Princess and volleyball season for Princess, Gymnast and Sea Cadet. A blast was had by all, but I am definitely ready for a break from the busy-ness. We start swim on Monday for all four, but that doesn’t take quite as much out of me and I can work while they practice an hour daily. I was able to barter for our pool membership this year, but do have to pay for the swim team. But I think it’s worth it since it is literally three months of daily fun and exercise. Cost $215 for all four to be on the time.

Car wreck, my fault – ack! It was very disheartening, just when things seemed to be turning around for us and now I have to come up with a $1000 deductible. Everyone is fine and the car is driveable. So I’m putting it off for a short while to get a bit more financially stable. I don’t carry rental coverage, so we will be down to one car when I put it in the shop, so trying to make wise decisions there.

Short trip. We made a short trip to meet up with my parents in GA and visit my grandmother. My dad paid for my gas and provided food for us while we were there, so financially it was not a burden. And it was good for the kids to see their grandparents.

Housing is going well, it’s a lot like living at summer camp. I am so grateful for the blessing and working hard to make the most of it financially.

Lets of other changes happening in our lives, some harder than others. I am truly focused on work, lots and lots of work right now. So I will try to keep up with weekly posts, but no promises just yet. Really trying to stay focused, not worry about what is coming next and save, save, save.

Thanks for your understanding and patience with me. I truly appreciate the support of the BAD community.


Money Saving Tips

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It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a money-saving tip, but they’re still a big part of my life! When I first started blogging, I posted little things we did to save money all the time. Here are some examples (and for the record, I still do ALL of these things….with the exception of the homemade baby wipes since the kids have now outgrown diapers!!!):

Today I’ve got a different kind of tip. Instead of a DIY product or finding a way to make something myself, I’m sharing a way we stretch every last drop of a store-bought product.

You know when you get to the very end of your lotion and there’s simply no more that will come through the spout? That doesn’t actually mean the lotion is gone! No, no, no! On the contrary, there’s still a TON of lotion leftover inside the bottle! It’s just stuck to the side walls of the lotion container so it’s not being sucked up through the spout. But you can stretch your lotion another good week or so by cutting the bottle right in half and accessing the lotion that way!

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Look at all that lotion goop still stuck to the inside of the bottle! Pro tip: once you cut your bottle in half, the remaining lotion will dry out quickly! Extend the life of your lotion by putting a simple plastic baggie (or saran wrap) over the top to keep it fresh. Seriously – another week worth of lotion in there!

I know some of these tips seem a bit silly or extreme, and they definitely are! But all the little things really do add up! Even as we’ve started loosening our purse strings a bit this year (monthly date nights and plans to buy a house!!!), we’re still mindful to be frugal in other areas.

How do you like to save money around the house? Do you have any DIY or make-it-yourself money-saving tips to share?


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