Surprising Library Benefits that Will Save You Money!

I can't think about the library without remembering the song my kids' favorite little aardvark on PBS used to sing. It went something like this "having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card." And boy, ain't that the truth! I am a huge reader, and lately, I've been loving audiobooks {though sometimes I show my age and call them books on tape, who else is with me?} and never once have I strayed from my love of the library. But after talking to some of my local friends, I know they have forgotten to use the library as a resource because when I got on a little tangent about the surprising benefits and the offerings of the library, most people sat mouth agape saying "I didn't know that!".  
We are in the thick of a no-spend challenge {click the link to read more}, and I can't think of a better way to help encourage you to save money than at the library! Come check out the surprising library benefits that will save you money! Let me just tell you now, the library is more than just books!

the library has more than books

The Real Cost of the Impulse Buy: 7 Ways to Stop Overspending on Impulse Buys

We are in the thick of the no spend February challenge, hands up if you are with me! It has made me start thinking about how I spend money during the month. For me, I spend the most each month at the grocery store. We all need food and we all need to eat, so it's easy for me to think that what I purchase at the grocery store is a necessity. But it's not. I know I'm not alone because a recent survey I read said that more than 70% of people said that food was their biggest impulse purchase. 

Regardless of what your weakness is or how you justify it, we all have unplanned purchases so how can we cut back on those purchases and use that money on things we have planned for {a new car without a car payment} or something that brings us joy {a bucket list vacation}

no spend month challenge

The Biggest Loser Reboot: A Former Contestant Speaks Out

I have loved reality TV since the early days of  COPS and MTV's The Real World. I easily got sucked into season after season of The Biggest Loser, and I must confess, I was kind of surprised when I noticed that the show, after running for 17 seasons slowly disappeared from the television lineup. While there is no shortage of reality TV out there, it was a show my husband and I enjoyed watching together. After taking a four-year break, the show is back, this time on a new network with a reboot. I had the chance to sit down with season 2's runner up Suzy Hoover recently to ask her what she thought of the new show. Let's just say, she's not hopeful.

what a former biggest loser contestant wants you to know about the reboot

No Spend Challenge Month: Saving Money on Utilities

When I started thinking about the details and the rules I was going to impose during my no spend challenge month, utilities were one thing that came up as a non-negotiable item that would be paid. Regardless if you own a home or are renting, there are monthly bills that come with living somewhere. These utility bills, we will call them, seem hard to budget for, and there is little wiggle room in paying for them. It almost feels like you can't lower your utility bills, but I'm going to help you take a look at a few ways you can lower those standard utility bills to save money.

saving money on utilities


Why Travel Matters: Stories from Bangladesh

The thing I love about travel is how it can change people. And not only that, how two people traveling on the same trip can be impacted in different ways by the people that they meet. In 2018, I had the opportunity to travel with World Vision to the slums of Bangladesh. I will never forget the small group of street children {ages 8-14} that spent the bulk of their days working and their afternoons at a special school run by World Vision that was formed to help them keep up in the classes they were missing. I won't forget the eight-year-old child that told me that she gleans for work scraping up the tiny grains of rice that were thrown to the floor at a local market. Gleaning was something I didn't even know was still something being done outside of Bible times but this child was working 6-8 hours daily doing it to help provide food for her family. I also will never forget seeing for myself how very dangerous life in the slums can be and how children are literally slipping through the cracks and drowning.

Paula was with me on that trip. She is a faithful volunteer and is now a World Vision employee in Nashville, TN. I really got to know her on that trip to Bangladesh and have come to love her like a sister. Sometimes when we travel, it takes months or even years to process fully the experience, especially travel with an NGO to a hard place like Bangladesh. I've heard Paula talk about the impact of one of our security details, a man named Delowar, but when she typed up her story, I finally got a chance to really see how that "chance" encounter has changed her life.

Paula has graciously allowed me to share her story here.

Bangladesh indigenous tribe


No Spend Challenge: Our Family Rules

Last week, I introduced you all to a no-spend challenge. A no-spend month or a no-spend challenge is where you don't spend money in a certain area for a designated period of time. The rules are different for everyone, but the goal is to cut back on overspending and reevaluate your spending habits. I can't set the rules for you because everyone's intention for the challenge will be different, but I can share the rules that our family has decided to use for this monthly challenge.
It's not too late to join us for the no spend February challenge! If you're curious, here are the rules our family will be following.

Last Minutes Valentine's Day Gifts under $10 All Available with Prime!

Some holidays just sneak up on you. Valentine's day is one of them. At least for me! So how can you quickly and easily get prepared for the upcoming holiday without spending a lot of dough but still show the people you love how much they mean to you? I've got you covered. I've got the perfect last-minute Valentine's day gifts all under $10 and all available with Amazon Prime. You're welcome.


No Spend Month Challenge

I'm fairly frugal but I have never taken part in a no spend month. A few weeks ago, I was at book club and a few of my friends were talking about currently being in the thick of a no spend month. I had never even heard of this. Though the name was self-explanatory, the idea was foreign to me. I'd never considered trying to attempt a no-spend month. Especially as a family...with teens...who have jobs and make their own money. We don't have any debt and we live really well on a budget so I guess the idea never occurred to me. But I thought the idea of pushing reset on our unnecessary spending and being intentional in our shopping habits could be really beneficial overall.

A no-spend month or a no-spend challenge is where you don't spend money in a certain area for a designated period of time. The rules are different for everyone, but the goal is to cut back on overspending and reevaluate your spending habits. Do you think a no spend month sounds interesting? Maybe something you would like to learn more about? Then read on! I've got a little no spend challenge for you!
family money saving challenge

10 Travel Safety Tips You Should Know

In general, the world is a relatively safe place for travelers. It's always a good idea to be prepared so that you can minimize the chances of something bad happening to you when you are traveling. The truth is, we are more vulnerable when we travel. It's easy to get lost or confused and there are many times when we might struggle with the language or customs of an area we are visiting. These 10 safety tips are fairly easy to implement so that you can be prepared and just a little bit less vulnerable next time you travel.

The Best Times to Visit Disney World or Disneyland Without Missing School

Taking a Disney vacation can be one of the best trips you go on as a family! Disney World is magical, but it can also be an unpleasant experience. The large crowds and high temperatures can turn a magical vacation into a miserable experience. We all know that the best times to visit Disney are during the offseason, but many of us can’t afford to pull our kids out of school every time we want to take a trip! And as kids get older it's harder and harder for them to miss school. If you are looking for a way to visit Disney without missing any school, here are the best times to visit.

mouse ears in front of walt disney world


Common Homework Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Everyone has their own opinions about homework, and regardless of how you feel about it, it's a basic pillar of our education system. By now, your students are settled into the school year, and homework assignments, projects and papers all come with their own unintentional mistakes. As parents, we want to do what we can to help our children succeed and learn from those mistakes so that when it really counts, kids can perform their best. Here are some common homework mistakes students make and tips on how you can help avoid them.

child doing homework


Travel Checklist: Everything To Do The Day Before Vacation

Have you ever had so many things to do that you get stuck not knowing what to do first? This can be kind of tricky when it comes to planning a vacation! We are all ready for our trip with fresh plans and new outfits, but we don’t know what we need to do before we leave! If you are planning a trip before you leave, here is everything you should do the day before your vacation.

travel tips for your trip


Teaching Your Teen to Drive: 4 Ways to Keep Your Cool

Of all the milestones to look forward to, teaching your teen to drive is probably the most frightening and stress-inducing. There’s nothing like barreling down the highway at Mach 1 with a squirrel behind the wheel. Okay, that’s not exactly how it is but you understand the panic-inducing feeling that image has to invoke right?

When listening to other parents talk about teaching their teens how to drive, there is an almost immediate feeling of “thank goodness that’s not me” followed by a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach because eventually, it will be you and keeping your cool when your teen is behind the wheel is just as scary as it is important, to their success and to your sanity. Here are four tips for not keeping your cool while teaching your teen to drive.

teen driver

5 Reasons to Send a Handwritten Note PLUS Free Card Download

We just came out of one of my favorite seasons of the year. I love sending and receiving Christmas cards and every day when we check the mail, it's like a fun surprise seeing who sent a card that day. Bonus points if it's got a fun handwritten message or letter inside. The art of sending and receiving mail is dying, and sadly, I'm noticing fewer and fewer Christmas cards and letters too. But I'm hoping the art of letter writing isn't dead. I get it, sending texts are easier, but don't you get that rush when you see a handwritten note in your mailbox instead of a bill? Today I'm sharing a free PDF file with several different card designs that you can color in or paint with watercolor and then send off to a friend. Let's make sure the art of letter writing doesn't die!

why send a handwritten note


10 Things Professionals Do Every Time They Clean a Home

If you’ve ever had your home professionally cleaned before, then you know the fantastic feeling you get from a genuinely spotless home. Professional cleaners do a better job of making our homes sparkle, and despite all my scrubbing and time spent cleaning, this is a reality I’m having a tough time facing. However, if you want to make your home sparkle like a cleaning crew just came through, you don’t need need to hire the professionals! Here are ten things that professionals do every time they clean a home.

cleaning your home house cleaning tips

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