Money Madness

With the rising cost of everything, it can be difficult to make ends meet, especially if you’re living on one income.  Even if there is more than one income in the family, it’s still difficult.

I don’t have any cool life changing stories about our finances (actually I have a lot of cool stories on how God provided for us but no getting debt free in a year stories etc.)  Hopefully, I will before we retire but as of now, I don’t.  But I wanted to share some money saving tips and ideas that are good reminders for me and probably for you too.

I’m not a money expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have been thinking about our finances a lot lately.  We’ve always had to be creative with our finances, missionary training, living on one income, and with the added medical cost of T1D and our retirement not that far away, money is on my mind.  So I’m going to share what I’ve learned and hope it will help someone else too.

In no particular order, here are some money tips:

~ Live within your means

Pretty much don’t spend more than you make.  Keep track of your spending and create a budget.  As annoying or scary this may seem, it’s important and helpful.  Even if you have a very healthy money tree growing in your backyard, it’s crucial to know where your money goes.

~ Live debt free

It’s easy to get into the habit of buying now and figuring out how to pay it later.  I tell my children (and myself too), if you don’t have the money, then don’t buy it.  Most of the time we end up buying things we don’t want or need anyway.  The marketing specialists are super good at making us feel like we need more than we actually do.

~ Live on a budget

Write out a budget and tell your money where to go.  Pay attention to what you spend your money on each week, write a budget and stick to it.  Money tends to disappear without a budget.

~ Save your money

Put at least a little bit of money into savings each pay check.   When we were in missionary training, we didn’t have an income and had to live on whatever money we brought with us and support from others.  It was tough!  God provided all the money we needed to get through 4+ years of missionary training, including having 3 children.

But during the Missions Training (Boot Camp) in 1998, every time I had a dollar bill or change, I would put it in a random can we had sitting around.  This part of the training lasted a year and for the whole year, I put all of our dollar bills and change in this can.

When we graduated at the end of the year, we wondered if we’d have enough money to drive back home (from Oregon to Arizona.)  I dumped all the money out of the coffee can and counted our change ~ I had saved $80! I was shocked!  I had no idea I put that much in the can throughout the year.  I figured it was just pennies in there.  Scott didn’t even know I had done that.  Nice surprise.

It’s also good to have money saved for an emergency.  A little bit each pay check adds up faster than you realize.

~ Invest your money

I was always under the impression that it was risky investing your money.  I thought only the super rich did this because it wasn’t that big of a deal if they lost their money.  I don’t know where that mindset came from but I learned a few years ago that this thinking is a lie.  There is a safe way to invest your money that gives a higher interest rate than any savings or money market account.

This is something you would do long term so even if the market fluctuated here and there, you’d still be heading upward.

I’m not confident enough to dig deeper in this but we have a great financial advisor from our church who has helped us tremendously in this area.  If you live in Arizona ~ I can hook you up!  😀

~ Give

Giving to the Lord, giving to those in need and giving to missionaries is the best way to demonstrate faith, trust and love.  God wants us to give Him our first and our best.

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.  In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Genesis 4:2-5

Abel gave the Lord the fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock.  He gave the Lord the first and the best.  Cain did not!  We know how that story ended.

A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

I know there is a lot more I could say but keeping it simple is best for me when it comes to finances.  This is something on my heart so I thought I’d share my thoughts.  This has helped our family and I hope it blesses you too.

Health and Wellness Tip

A good way to get extra vegetables in your diet is to blend them up in a food processor and put them in your meals.  Include blended up broccoli, carrots and spinach in your spaghetti, beans, pizza sauce, noodles, gravy or whatever you make.  This will add nutrients to everyday meals.  I’ve even added them to desserts too.  If I blend them well enough, no one even notices. 😉

Thank you for reading my blog!  I’d love to hear what you think.  Please share any money tips you have or if you have a cool story about how you became debt free, I’d love to hear about it!

Have a wonderful day and be blessed!

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6 Ways To Save Money on Homeschool Curriculum

Saving money on homeschool curriculum is a big one for me. We’ve been homeschooling for 18-years and it can be down right expensive! It’s actually a pet peeve of mine that homeschooling stuff if so expensive (although I understand) when most of us homeschoolers are trying to live on one income. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help you homeschool without breaking the bank.

1. Make your own curriculum

 I REALLY enjoy making curriculum for my kids! When I first started homeschooling that is all I did. I bought a few things here and there but I pretty much made everything myself. But when my kids started junior high, I started buying curriculum because I was unsure of myself and worried if I could be thorough. I spent a lot of money, even though I bought the less expensive curriculum. I ended up re-adjusting the instructor guides to make it the way I like it and not using all of the books, which made spending all of that money worse. So, although I still buy some things, I went back to making my own curriculum. It’s a lot more cost effective, a lot more fun and a lot less aggravating.

HELPFUL TIPS: This is the strategy (and books) I use for making my own curriculum.

~I have them read a good book and we read aloud

~they work through a good workbook (Spectrum, Wordly Wise, Explode the Code, Latin, Writing and Rhetoric, etc.)

~flash cards every day (vocabulary from each subject etc.)

~Bible reading and write about it every day (I also do devotions with them twice a week)

~I get nonfiction books from the library and have them read them and write about them

~I make my own educational activity sheets from library books or readers

~I have them write vocabulary words from their readers or read alouds and use as flash cards

~ memorize bible verses then recite to the family

~ here are more ideas from my homeschooling Kindergarten blog

I also use Apologia for Science and…

…Horizons and Saxon for math.

~ I use books from the library and Pinterest for art (again… check out my homeschooling Kindergarten blogs for more ideas!)

2. Use catalogs

 I use homeschool catalogs to get ideas for making my own curriculum. I also buy supplies from these companies but I don’t buy a lot. So I feel like I’m still supporting these businesses while at the same time, saving a lot of money on curriculum. Mixing up buying curriculum and making it myself has been extremely helpful in having a complete set without spending too much money.

3. Compare prices

 I always compare prices on eBay, Craigslist and other online companies. And I’m generally won over by free shipping. Because it has been cheaper and more cost effective, I’ve been buying brand new books from my favorite homeschool companies. Buying used hasn’t been great for me lately but I still look just in case. The exception is math textbooks. eBay has won my heart in buying Saxon Math books although I really love my brand new Algebra 2 textbooks I got from Christian Book Distributors several years ago.  A friend blessed us with a couple Teaching Textbooks CDs that are good too.

BY THE WAY: In case you’re wondering what my favorite companies are for homeschooling, I use:

Sonlight Curriculum

Alpha and Omega Publications

Classical Academic Press

Christian Book Distributors (CBD) (this is where I buy most of my stuff)

I don’t get paid to promote any of these companies or products.  I’m just sharing what we use and what we like!  😀

4. Look for free shipping

 I already said this but since I LOVE free shipping, I’ll say it again. Some companies offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount so I’d wait until I needed that amount of books and then I’d buy to get the free shipping. Thankfully, for readers and read alouds, I don’t need anymore for awhile WHEW! But I bought them brand new from Sonlight making sure I got free shipping!

5. Buy only what you need

 The temptation to buy a whole bunch of curriculum or buy for the year is great. Don’t do it!! I buy only what I need. I make a “grocery” list of things I need and stick with it. If I’m trying to get free shipping, then I wait until I have enough for free shipping.

6. Outdated books

 You can get a lot of great classics and homeschool curriculum on a thumb drive on eBay. I got 400 books for $30. I print them out as I need them. G.A. Henty, Encyclopedia from 1911, McGuffey’s Readers, Bobbsey Twins, Harvard’s classics etc.

ALSO: I don’t use a lot of online or computer curriculum but our kids do practice their math on and their typing on this site.  They also sometimes take free online classes from our local library.

What are your favorite educational websites?

What curriculum do you use for your homeschool?  Do you make your own curriculum?  Please share any money saving tips you may have.  I’d love to hear from you!!  If you like this post ~ please share it with others!  🙂




As a homemaker and living on one income for over 24 years, I have learned a few tricks on how to save money each month, especially on groceries.

I have to say that in order to save money, I have had to do more work because you pay for convenience ~ but it is well worth it. I’ve also learned some things about making life a little easier while working harder to save money…but that will come another time.


One thing we did years ago to save money is we ditched cable. We have our computer connected to the TV so it makes it easier to watch Netflix and other things from the Internet right on our TV screen. And an antennae works great to get the local channels.  You can even stream cable news live on YouTube.  We haven’t looked back! Definitely worth considering!


We also do the cheapest plan possible on our phones. We don’t need the best phone and all the fancy stuff. I got my first smartphone at age 44 (one year ago) but I had the basic phone for many years and it worked fine. The only reason why I got the smartphone ~ besides the fact that I broke my phone and needed a new one ~ was to help my son manage his Type 1 Diabetes. He was first diagnosed right after I broke my phone and in the hospital they were talking about all the apps on the iPhone to manage his diabetes and his blood sugar. So, I got an iPhone! I waited until the new iPhone 7 came out and then got the iPhone 6 with the least amount of gigs available. I just wanted the most inexpensive phone possible. 😀


Our children do not have smartphones. They have one basic phone that they share since we don’t have a home phone.  Our children tried to convince us, at one point, that they needed a smartphone but my husband and I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s and raised two children in the 90’s successfully without cell phones, so the “need” complaint didn’t have it’s full affect on us like they had hoped. They are surviving quite well, thankfully. 🙂


Our family only has one vehicle, which helps with our finances. It’s easy for us because my husband works a mile from work. But for most of our marriage we have had just one vehicle and we just made it work. We have had second vehicles in the past when we had teen drivers who worked and we have a 16 and almost 14-year old in the house now.  We don’t allow them to use our only vehicle so we will get a cheap, second vehicle for them to use…so there are exceptions to this… but most of the time, we only have one. 🙂


THIS IS A BIGGIE:  We go through our car insurance, step by step, to make sure we’re getting a good coverage for the best price. Sometimes they sneak things in that cost extra money that we really don’t need or want. (SO ANNOYING!) When we moved from Goodyear, Arizona to Phoenix (just 20 miles away) our car insurance increased $80 a month. We were persistent (that’s an understatement haha!) and asked to speak to a supervisor and they ended up working with us to decrease our insurance rates.  We also pay for 6 months at a time to save money.


Homeschooling curriculum can be very expensive. I buy some curriculum but I also make a lot of my own. I found that when I spent a lot of money on curriculum, I ended up changing it to fit our needs or not using it all, which was extremely aggravating for me. I compare prices, look for free shipping, and get a lot of things at the library. I will be talking more about this another time. This is a big one for me so I am going to spend a whole blog speaking about the tricks and tips of acquiring homeschooling curriculum for less.

7.  GROCERIES!!!!!

THIS IS HUGE FOR US!!! (That’s why I’m yelling!  haha)  I’m pretty picky when it comes to the ingredients in our foods and I love buying organic groceries. Making everything from scratch can be super time consuming but it is EXTREMELY cost effective (and much healthier). For the most part, if I can make it from scratch, I do. There are a few exceptions but in our house: I MAKE IT HOMEMADE!

FOR EXAMPLE: I make my own flour tortillas, pizza including crust, refried beans, salad, salad dressing, salsa (I sometimes buy Herdez because it’s inexpensive and my family likes it!), bread, enchiladas, pancakes, waffles, desserts, crackers, muffins, breakfast foods, lunch and dinner stuff too. I also make my own laundry detergent.

The first thing I do is I make a grocery list based on my menu I have set up for the week. I try to have a lot more fruits and vegetables than meat but I do include a little bit of meat in my meals. I cook my meat ahead of time and use it throughout the week. I always think about what I’m putting in my grocery cart and ask myself if I really need it or if I can do without it. Usually, I decide that I can make it cheaper with ingredients I already have in my cart or at home. Making homemade snacks, like bread, crackers and muffins, will help to keep my family from being hungry in between meals. That also helps to cut down on grocery costs. Since I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables, I rotate them so I’m not buying everything every week.  A lot of my food was going bad before we used it up so I started being more careful with how much food I made instead of going overboard. I cut way back and now I don’t throw hardly any food away, and I save a ton on groceries. Being more intentional about our meals has helped me cut my grocery budget by $400-$500 a month.


Most of our vitamins, supplements, toothpaste, all of my cleaning products, our laundry and dish detergents, lotion and face products, I get from an online wellness company. I get high quality, safe for your home, products for a very good price. As a member, I get a discount, free products and other member benefits.  We’ve been a happy customers for almost 10 years and saving money each month. Because it’s an online store, I don’t have to make an extra trip for my purchases.  Click here for more information and let me know if you have any questions at all about this.  Totally worth looking into.  🙂

Because we live on one income, we have to think first before we buy.  Most of our lives we have had to live like this but now it seems so easy for us to get caught in the trap of just buying without really thinking about it or asking ourselves if it’s necessary. Sometimes I think our society has finally figured out how to market their products. It’s amazing how much money we save by paying close attention to how we spend our money.

What do you do to save money? How do you save money at the grocery store?  I’m always wanting to learn more so please share your tips!  😀  Also, if you like what you read, share this post with others.

T H A N K ~ Y O U and G O D ~ B L E S S !