Thursday, February 28, 2013

Early to Rise Challenge

Tomorrow starts the Early to Rise Challenge over on I will be blogging about my particaption in the challenge.

I have wanted to get up before my kids for a while. I do it occasionally. One week will be good and then something happens and I just feel too tired to get up early.

Once my kids are up I feel like I get nothing done and when I finally get them to bed, I am so worn out from the day that I just want to relax or go to bed. I want to get up about an hour before my girls get up. I hope to have my morning devotion and coffee before the girls are up and maybe start some house work.

This is the push I need to take more control of my life. We end up like little hamsters on a wheel never really going anywhere. Now is the time to be in control of your life and your day. I want my day to start and end like I have done something worth while. Being a stay at home mom is so wonderful but many days I feel like that hamster and wonder if I am making the most out of my days. My husband is up and going by 4:30-5 every morning. He has several hours of work done before most people, including me, get up. We all wish we had more hours in our day, well maybe now I can put at least one more hour in my day to take care of me.

If you would like to participate get your copy of Early to Rise and then head on over to and read the rules.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Saving Money on dishwasher soap

As a stay at home mom who is in charge of the shopping and the finances I know how much things cost and I'm always trying to find ways to save money that doesn't require hours of clipping coupons. One thing that seems to add to our budget is dishwasher soap. A container lasts a little over a month and then I am always having to buy the Rinse Aid to go with it. The most logical way to save money would be to hand wash everything but doing dishes three times a day doesn't really sound fun, does it?

A few years ago I started cleaning with baking soda and vinegar. I found a recipe for dishwasher soap. It worked fine but it was a tablespoon of one thing and two of another. When we moved into our new house it just didn't work very well and I gave it up.

A few months ago I came a across a recipe that was so incredibly simple that I figured I should at least give it a try. I did and it worked great! I have been using it for 2 months now and don't plan on going back to store bought. I did change a few things in the wash routine that has helped tremendously. 

Here are some tips in making the most out of your dishwasher:
  • RINSE everything. The less food on the dishes the better.
  • Clean out the bottom of the dishwasher every single time. You'd be surprise at the food that was left on dishes.
  • Run hot water in the sink with disposal for a few minutes before you start your dishwasher.
  • Run your garbage disposal and make sure it is clear before you start your dishwasher. 

Dishwasher Soap Recipe     
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 Tablespoon Lemi Shine or Lemonade (sugarless kind)(this becomes your rinse aid)       

2 Tablespoons of soap in each load. (This last about a month and I run the dishwasher at least every other day)

You can use Lemi Shine to clean your dishwasher also, which I would recommend doing once a month especially if you have hard water. 

I'd love to hear if it worked for you!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Adventures in Budgeting: Month 3

January was so much better with our budget. We were able to not only stay on track but discover changes that needed to be made. We added items that will be cash only to our envelope system and created more specific categories. 

My husband and I actually sat down and discussed the budget and where our money is going. This made a huge difference and we are finally on the same page. He saw places that we needed to budget to avoid a large bill coming out of our emergency fund down the road.

We have decided we needed to add three more budget items that go into the envelopes. With the envelopes, the money is added every month and taken out as needed. It makes it much easier to save for bigger items. Our three new categories are car maintenance and repairs, house repairs, and entertainment including our membership to the zoo. 

Something else I overlooked was that we are going to need to replace our old beat up pickup. In April we will start putting away money to replace it. After a year we should be able to pay cash for a used but decent pickup.  

 Yesterday I looked over our budget and was amazed at how little we have been spending compared to before the budget. I go to Sam's club with a calculator in hand so that I can buy the big things but not walk out spending $200 like I used to. I stick to my lists. Now I can go every month and get $50 of groceries and about the same with household items and stay under budget. In almost every category we were under budget or exactly on. The few categories we were over, but it was a very small amount and unavoidable (two categories were only $2.00 over)

Ending the month of January has felt so good. The spending was limited and we have more in our checking then we usually have. I feel less stressed and very optimistic that we can begin paying extra on our debt and pay it off faster. If you are thinking about your finances I'd encourage you to read My Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. There is so much information and advice on how to be smart with your money and build wealth for your future by paying off debt, making the right investments, spending money wisely, and being smart about spending what you have.