The Government Says We Are Poor

For a family of 4, the government says that anything below $23,550 a year is poverty.

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Honestly, this completely shocks me. How is it possible that a family making that much could be poor? I mean, we make a significant amount less than that, considering that my husband is the only one that works, and he only works part-time. Yet we still are able to have the things we want. We’ve got a savings account and an emergency fund. We bought our own house. We own two cars.

We aren’t rich, but we definitely aren’t “poor” as the government defines us.

So why is it that $23,550 is considered a low-income? Debt.

Anymore, people are told that they have to be in debt to go into debt. If you don’t have a credit score, then you can’t buy a house, or a car, or really do much.  How do you get a credit score? You go into debt. You make timely payments and your score goes up. You pay your debt off? Your score goes down. You get punished for not spending money. It’s really a vicious cycle and a horrible method of doing things.

So how does that apply to us?

My husband and I have never had a credit card, and, other than our house and one car, we have no debt. When we went in to find out the amount we would qualify for to buy a house, we were consistently told they couldn’t do much for us unless we had a credit score. Magically, though, once we had picked a house and made an offer, it didn’t matter. We qualified with absolutely no credit history.

Credit cards are not necessary to move forward in life. Neither is debt. The biggest lesson that all young, old, or anyone can learn is that you can’t spend money you don’t have.

My family lives comfortably in our small home. We are able to save and buy the things we want. All this, under the “poverty” line. We do other things as well, such as coupon, but in all reality, it’s the fact that neither of us has any debt that has allowed us to live on just one income.

Happy savings!

What do you think about credit scores? Answer in the comments below!

The Stockpile: A Housewife’s Dream

Remember when I told you about the easy way I coupon? Here’s why I do it:

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Do you do laundry? Because if you do, then you use laundry detergent. In the picture above, there are nine bottles of Purex. At Wal-Mart, they are $2.98 a piece (Walgreens is over $5).

Do you know how much I paid for 9?

$1.50.

Yes, you read that correctly. I paid less for 9 bottles with couponing than I would have paid for one. (The relish was free, I paid $4 for all the deodorant).

But the part I’m trying to get across here, is that I now have about 300 loads worth of detergent that I got for less than a 33 load bottle costs. I won’t have to run out to the store to grab some because I’m running low. And really, that’s the best part about couponing. Always having that security of knowing that you have what you need.

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A lot of people look at stockpiling as crazy. (“My family of 3 would never use 40 bottles of detergent! Why would I buy that many?!”) Guess what? Detergent doesn’t go bad. Neither do free toothbrushes, floss, or razors. And unless you are a very smelly, unhygienic cave man, I can bet that you’ll eventually use up all of those. So if you buy 40 bottles now, you’ll pretty well be set for a long while. And it’s much nicer to pay $20 and get it in a large quantity than to spend $120 to buy the same amount one bottle at a time.

While some hygiene products will eventually be not as good, it takes a long time for them to get there, and even longer when they aren’t opened yet.

And it isn’t just cleaning products and personal care. You can stockpile anything. Canned goods, cling wrap, you name it, you can coupon and stockpile it.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that even if you don’t think you’ll use all of an item, if it is free or dirt cheap you can always get it and donate it to a local church or shelter to help others in need.

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I wouldn’t call myself an extreme couponer, by any means. I’m just a housewife that wants to provide for my family. Since I don’t make an income, the best I can do is to spend less money and get more for my dollar.

And while couponing what you need right now will save you money, it doesn’t give you any security.

If my husband were to lose his job tomorrow, or get his hours cut back, I wouldn’t have to worry about how we were going to afford shampoo, or razors, or detergent. We have it. We can spend that money on more important things, like food or bills, because we already have everything else we need.

It’s really all about having security. (Plus it’s pretty cool to have your own mini mart).

Happy stockpiling!

Do you stockpile? Answer in the comments below!

5k’s and Heart Attacks

I’ve been running since last November. I have pushed myself, ran when it’s 10º outside, and cross trained like nobody’s business.

I decided that it was time to move forward.

Sooo….

I entered my first race. (So I wouldn’t have to sell my left arm, some dear family members chipped in on the entry fee. Thank you!)

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It’s just a 5k, a distance I can now run easily (at the moderate pace of a 10 minute mile), but I am nervous out the wazoo. I don’t expect to place, and I will be thankful just for crossing the finish line (not to say I don’t hope I get a 30 minute or less time anyway!).

It’s on  Sunday, February 23rd,  and the weather is supposed to be in the mid-thirties with wind and possibly freezing rain, conditions my sister-in-law that lives in Florida would have a heart attack at the thought of running in.

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Here’s to hoping I don’t have a heart attack myself.

Happy running!

Have you raced before? What was your first race like? Answer in the comments below!

How I Conquered the Laundry and Became Pile Sober

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I love doing laundry.

*gasp!*

I mean it. I love doing it. I love putting it in the washer, transferring it to the dryer, and throwing it on the bed in a warm, clean-smelling mound. Unfortunately, that’s where my enjoyment ends. Folding it? Pfft. And completely forget about putting it away. It’s not that it is difficult, but for some reason I just have a huge mental block to completely finishing the task. A lot of the time, my husband and I have found ourselves digging in a huge pile for a towel, a pair of underwear, or a shirt. If we’re lucky, we are able to find one at the bottom, wrinkled almost beyond recognition. It had just become habit to let it all stack up.

It was driving me nuts. It was driving my husband nuts. It was pure pile-jumping-in ecstasy for my kids. It had to change.

But how?

To be perfectly honest, I’m dying for an organization system like this, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. So, I figured out a different way.

I dived right in, getting ALL the laundry done in one day. Every last sock was clean. And, against my nature and through sheer force of will, I managed to get everything folded, put away, and hung up.

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With a clean slate, I created a mastermind plan. I have a small round laundry basket. This officially became the dirty clothes basket (though giving it an official name doesn’t prevent my husband from throwing his dirty clothes one foot away from it). When the dirty clothes reach the rim of the basket, I do a load of laundry. As soon as it is done drying, I sort it into kids’ clothes, shirts, pants, towels, etc. Then, I fold each category individually and put it away.

But here’s the key: I don’t start another load until the first one is completely finished. So if I don’t hang the shirts up from the first load, I don’t start a second load yet. If the towels are folded but still sitting on my bed, I don’t start a second load yet. This helps prevent the pile monster from wreaking havoc on our bedroom floor.

The best part? It relieves me of a huge amount of stress. I’d like to say I’ve been laundry pile sober for a few weeks now. And I don’t plan on turning back.

Happy washing!

How do you stay pile sober? Answer in the comments below!

Couponing…Without the Craziness.

I coupon.

A lot.

I get stuff for free or for 50 cents or less.

A lot.

I don’t have a coupon binder. I don’t even have last week’s newspaper coupon inserts anymore. I spend maybe an hour a week on couponing, and since I do it with our normal grocery shopping, I don’t spend any extra time shopping. (well, maybe 5 minutes.)

I know, I know. I hear you. “But…how do you coupon without being organized, and saving the paper coupons, and..and…”

There’s a lot of hype anymore about “extreme” couponing because of the show on TLC. Let me give a little tip on this show…they bend the rules! See, that stuff that happens at the register? Where they reached the line limit? STORES CANNOT GO PAST THAT. But somehow, that show manages to let them. And when they buy 20 of something in one transaction? Most coupons state “Limit 4 per transaction”, so they’d have to split their items into 5 separate transactions to use those coupons BUT THEY DON’T. While I’m not saying that the show is completely wrong, I am saying that’s not what couponing is really like.

It’s really simple, though, to coupon effectively. Want to know my super easy method? Yes, of course you do.

1. I head on over to www.thekrazycouponlady.com.

Here I find my store:
Find Store

Then I scroll through the list of deals, looking for ones that I know my family will use. Most of them have a link you can click on to print a coupon. Some have paper coupons listed as well, but unless they are the current week’s coupons, I don’t use them. The only time I save these is if it is a product I know we use frequently (such as Clear shampoo) and that  I know I will probably use regardless of whether there is a sale.

Here’s a sample of what the deal’s list looks like:
Deal's List

Once I click on the link, it directs me to where I can print the coupon. You can print up to 2 coupons PER COMPUTER unless otherwise stated.. I have two, and print 4 coupons. This works well since most coupons limit you to 4 in a transaction anyway.

Link

I organize the coupons by store in a small expanding file, about 4″ by 8″ or 9″, that I bought from Target’s One Spot for $1. It’s got 7 different pockets; I use the very back pocket to put receipts in. The pocket in front is for gift cards, register rewards from Walgreens, and so on. The pockets in the middle are labeled with stores: Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Price Cutter’s. The remaining pocket is for whatever I need it for (usually a shopping list and pen). I put a post-it note in with the coupons if I need to use a mobile coupon or save a receipt for Ibotta.

Then I go shopping! I don’t write how much each item is supposed to cost or figure that up. Usually it’s pretty close to what Krazy Coupon says it is going to be, so I don’t worry about it too much. I check out (paying close attention to number of items and coupons scanned) and go home!

Then, out of curiosity, I add up retail price from the receipts, and what I actually paid after coupons, to find out how much I saved! I usually save 60-80%, with an average of about 65%. That’s quite a bit of money still in my pocket, while I have name brand products to use! See, easy peesy.

Since my husband is the only one that works, it’s vital that we save every penny we can. Couponing is one way for me to do that. And, using this method, it is absolutely zero hassle.

Coming soon: The Stockpile: A Housewife’s Dream.

Happy couponing!

How do you save your family money? Answer in the comments below!

My Frenemy, the Foam Roller.

As a runner, I often read and hear about the amazing wonders of the foam roller. I have heard that it cures aches, soreness, and pain. That it prevents injury and feels like a deep tissue massage. That it possesses magical powers which, when activated, can make you able to fly.

Okay maybe not that last one.

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There are so many people who swear by the use of foam rollers, especially runners. My left knee has been hurting so, last week, I broke down and bought one in hopes that it might help.

(With a sale, Christmas gift card and coupon code, I paid $6.26 instead of the retail $40! Yay!)

It just arrived today, and is a 36″ High Density j/fit foam roller.

Browsing through Pinterest, there are a ton of different ways to use this hunk of medical-grade foam. Since I had no idea how to use this thing, I decided to try this guide I found. It covers hip flexors, IT band, hamstrings, glutes, calves, upper back, lats, and chest.

Most people look up how to use things; not many people look up how NOT to use things. I think that this is a very important step that is skipped often, especially when it comes to health! The only warning I really found was not to use it on your lower back. Putting pressure on your lower spine could cause injury* (which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid by foam rolling in the first place.) If you have come across any other warnings, please leave it in the comments below!

So I’ve got a few exercises to do, and know how not to use it. Time to get down and dirty.

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OH. MY. WORD.

Whatever this thing is, it is NOT relaxing. I had read other people mentioning that it hurt, but seriously! Pain flared through me with every roll. I sounded like a dying elephant. I kid you not. So for those of you who are wanting to start foam rolling, be warned! It HURTS.

However, it’s been a little while since I’ve rolled now, and my whole body feels so much better. I didn’t even realize how tense I was before. So maybe the 10 minutes or so of pain was worth it.

I have a five mile run this afternoon. Here’s to hoping that my knee hurts less.

Happy rolling!

Do you foam roll? Answer in the comments below!

 

(You can find more resources here and here.)

*I am not a doctor or anything medically related. This is based on research that I’ve done, and should not be consider a Professional’s opinion.

In the Beginning…

Hello there!
If you haven’t already done so, go to my About Me! page to learn who I am.

Now, down to business. I have a passion for being a housewife. I want to do the best I can in taking care of my family and myself while spending the least amount of money possible. I believe that you can have a healthy lifestyle, money in your pocket, and family bliss. Some people may see this as a far stretch, but with a little creativity and drive it is easily within your grasp.

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Over the past few years being married and having children, I have learned so many ways to save money. I coupon. I cook at home. I don’t buy things we don’t need. I have found ways to cut back our electricity bill, our internet bill, and our grocery bill. I want to share this knowledge with you!

While saving money, I’m still able to feed my family healthy, nutritious dinners. My oldest is 3 and I am doing preschool here at home with her. I plan to continue to home school her all the way to graduation. I do my best to keep my house clean and organized so it is a relaxing place for my husband to come home to. I run. I stay healthy and fit. I teach my children to move their bodies and be active. I can help you do all these too (if you want (: ).

I want you to be involved too! If you have any questions, comments, critiques, suggestions, or compliments head on over to my Contact Me page! I’ll do my best to respond to every message I see. You can also post comments on posts. Feel free to share anything from my blog, but please give credit and link it back to me!

Happy reading!