Friday, March 7, 2014

Frugal Friday: Tips for Saving Money

At least once a year, we re-evaluate our spending and see where we can save money.  Think of it as spring cleaning for your finances.

Here are some things to look at/think about:

  • Cell Phone Bills: Does your carrier have any new plans that meet your needs are are cheaper?  Do you actually use 800 minutes a month?
  • Cable/Satellite: Which channels do you watch, how often do you watch them?  Would you really miss anything if you cut back (or off) your cable and got netflix/hulu/etc instead?
  • Internet: Check around and see which provider has the best offers right now!
  • Gas Money: Could you carpool (with a spouse,friend,co worker)?  Is the person driving the furthest in your house, driving the best gas mileage vehicle?  Can you plan trip and errands so you only go out once?  Mass transit continues to grow, there could be new possibilities in your area.
  • Bartering: If there are services that you know you are going to need (child care, tree service, mechanic work, etc), is there anything you can barter for the services?  Maybe a friend is willing to watch your children the week you need child care, in return you can clean her house or supply a few meals.  Maybe your neighbor is willing to trim your trees for you, in return you could mow his yard or babysit his kids.  You can barter anything: photography, resume writing, editing, dog walking. ANYTHING.
  • Insurance: It never hurts to compare your home and auto insurance to what is available out there.  Make sure you are getting the best rates and all the discounts you qualify for.  Also make sure you have the coverage you need, but cut out extras that you do not need.
Happy (Financial) Spring Cleaning!!

Do you have any suggestions on where to look for a few extra bucks? Do you have a great story about bartering? Let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Parenting: Hands Off Hands On

The past two days we have been snowed in (well, snowed in for Tennessee) and I have been amazed: by my daughter.

At six years old, Shiloh still prefers NPT (channel 8 around here) programming to the Disney Channel.  She would rather watch "The Cat in the Hat" than "Jessi".  She would rather watch "Word Girl" or "Super Why" than "Austin and Alley" or "I Didn't Do It".  If you had asked me a week ago, I would have said those programs were beneath her. That she was too old for such programming.

 Hmmmm, maybe not.  Maybe, I'm the one pushing her to grow up.

What is more, she actually prefers to NOT watch TV.  What? She would much rather be working a puzzle, drawing, baking or playing make believe.  Electronics really are a last resort for her.


These past two days are really making me re-evaluate my parenting with her.  Obviously she is not a mini-ME.  She does not have the same passion for movies and video games that her brother does.

She is her, and she is wonderful.

With that being said, I'm going to let her teach me. I am going to be hands off in picking activities so her natural interests develop in their own time and in their own way.

I will be more hands on, in doing these activities with her.

I want to encourage her to grow and try new things, but never push her. Never squash her spirit.  She is amazing. She is smart, funny, creative and caring.  She is also still so innocent.

 And I am going to let her be.

Please join me in this parenting journey.  I am turning off the TV and letting my daughter pick our activities, movies, etc during play time. I will encourage her.  I will let her grow. I will watch her blossom.  Please, slow down with me and let our children be our children.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Season of Change

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So if you remember, last month I wrote about my child care issues, and well how I have none.  I should say, had none.  Shortly after that post, I accepted a position (an assistant) at a local school here in Portland.  I spent 2 weeks working crazy overtime at my previous employer to get things in order for my responsibilities to be transitioned to someone new, and then I've spent the last two weeks getting acclimated to my new schedule.  As of Friday afternoon, my hours changed (for the better!).

With this new job, I'll have more time to devote to my family, my church, my photography, BLOGGING, and other hobbies.  So I've been giving more and more thoughts to what I want this blog to be, and I need your input.  As much as this blog is a form of therapy and record for me, I want it to be something of substance, something that people want.  With this new job, I've taken a substantial pay cut, so I'll definitely be keeping Frugal Friday.  After my last entry where I wrote a rebuttal to an article floating around the internet, I think I want to do that regularly.  So once a week, I will use my God given talent of playing devils advocate, and rebute an opinion piece.  This is where I really need your help, what to you want to see, or what do you think needs a rebuttal?  If you find an interesting piece, please, Please, PLEASE send it to me.  You can leave the link as a comment on any post on this blog, email it to me, or send it to me via twitter (@brookeblogsthis) or facebook.

Also, what else do you want to see on this blog?  I will always blog "mommy blog"content.  But what else?  Would you be interested in parenting tips/resources, special needs topics, religion/church, current topics?  Please let me know what you are interested in! PLEASE give me articles for rebuttal/critique.

I can't wait to see what is in store for me this season.  I can't wait to grow as a mother and wife in ways I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do so.  I can't wait to serve in my church more freely.  I can't wait to grow my photography business.  I can't wait to see what this blog can become.  I can't wait to persue my other interests and relationships as well.  I hope you will stick with me through this season of change.