8 Reasons Why the Cricut Joy Makes the Perfect Graduation Gift!

This post is brought to you by Cricut. All opinions are 100% my own. 

It's almost grad season! It's such a fun time to celebrate all our graduate's accomplishments. Many people find themselves at a loss on how to pick the perfect graduation gift to congratulate and honor this accomplishment in a young person's life. I find that the best gifts are those that are useful to them as they start to enter into the next chapter of their life. It's why I think that the Cricut Joy is the perfect graduation gift. Now, you may be thinking, my mom asked for a Cricut for Christmas last year, or Nancy down the street is the only person I know with a cutting machine and she's middle-aged, what would a kid do with a Cricut Joy? Friends, hold on! I'm about to share with you why the Cricut Joy makes the perfect graduation gift and why your kid will be the envy of every person on their dorm floor!

cricut joy college crafting


Can You Really Make Money With a Side Hustle? How I Made $1000 in a Month!

Side hustles are a great way to increase your income so you can pay off debt, save up for a big purchase or hit some financial goals you are falling short on. For years I was a stay-at-home mom, but I have always liked being able to help provide financially for my family when I could. I started working side hustles decades ago, but for the first time, I kept track of my side hustles in a little challenge I called Money Making March and I heard time and time again that it was everyone's favorite money challenge so far! Know what? It was mine too! I even threw in a few new side hustles to see if they helped me get to my goal faster. Want to know what I did to make an extra $1000 last month? Keep reading!

money making side hustle


Why Your Family Should Do a Personal Financial Audit

When is the last time that you did a financial audit? If you're still thinking, it's been too long! If you're wondering why your family should do a personal financial audit, there are so many benefits to having one done. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that everyone in the family can take an active role in understanding the importance of fiscal responsibility when it comes to your finances.

personal financial audit


Discovery+ and the New Magnolia Channel Everything You Need to Know

Let's face it - we just can't get enough Fixer Upper content. Chip and Joanna Gaines are just a fun and sweet couple, but the work they do on homes is truly stunning as well. Since their success just keeps increasing, it's been recently announced that they're getting ready to debut again on the newly rebranded Magnolia Channel. What does this mean for us? More Fixer Upper, more DIY projects, and even more Chip and Joanna Gaines.

If you're as excited as I am about this recent announcement, make sure to read all the details below so that you don't miss an episode or moment.




Tips for Making Money Selling at Consignment Shops

There are a lot of reasons I like to sell at consignment shops. Not only is it a great way for me to be able to clear out my closet, but it's also a great way to make a little extra money without a lot of effort. You can find consignment shops that will sell furniture, used sports equipment, baby and kid's stuff, and clothing. Consignment shops give you a storefront to help sell your items easily and I'm sharing my best tips on how you can make money selling your used stuff at a consignment shop.


The Number One Question Most Asked After a No Spend Challenge Month

At the beginning of the year, I decided to really focus on sharing some of my most practical money-saving tips with all of you. I started making up fun little names for each month {Jumpstart January, Frugal February, Money Making March, etc...} and each month I focused on small challenges that could add up to big change. As part of our Frugal February, the challenge month focused heavily on a no-spend challenge. Don't know what a no-spend challenge is, start here. Now that we've turned the page on the calendar and moved to the next monthly challenge {Money Making March is probably my favorite challenge month so far!}, I'm still getting this question about our challenge last month. I'm going to answer it and share all my insights from my experience. Any guesses what question people are always asking? Read on!



10 Expert Tips for Selling Used Stuff Online

If you are new here, this year I've been focusing on money tips. One of my favorite things to do as a side hustle is to resell items. I buy a whole lot of my "stuff" used, and often at quite the markdown, so I'm often making money selling things for a profit.  Some people don't want the hassle of selling online, for various reasons, but I'm here to give you some of my expert tips so you can find success selling items online. Before we start, go check out this post on how to make money buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp and Craigslist. This post is meant to help you overcome any of the obstacles in your way after you get past these initial first steps.

10 expert tips for selling online


Must-Have Thrift Store Decor Finds to Create with the Cricut Explore Air 2

This post is brought to you by Cricut. All opinions are 100% my own. 

You all know how much I love a good thrift store! Shopping second-hand is like a fun treasure hunt for me and I'm always taking the time to dig for that diamond in the rough. I love reimagining something that someone has had stopped finding joy in, and give it that spark again. I also like the price tag! I can usually DIY something with my Cricut and some imagination for a fraction of the price of something I could find retail. And there's something about taking someone's trash and making it into a treasure that is part of the real fun for me. Unique bespoke items are kind of the norm at a thrift shop, which sometimes makes it hard for me to share a project and for you all to feel like you could recreate a piece, but I have found through decades of thrift store shopping that there are a handful of staple items you'll always find easily second-hand. I'm sharing those items with you and giving you a few ideas on how you can upcycle them using your Cricut Explore.

thrift store decor using the Cricut explore


10 Money-Making Side Hustles You Can do From Home

I am always a fan of earning more money. Whether it’s to give yourself a little flexibility in your budget or just use your time more effectively, side hustles are always a great idea! You can do so many great side hustles from home that don’t require you to leave the house or get any extra supplies. Plus, if you are looking for a way to use your time better while at home these days, making extra money is always an option! Here are the best money-making side hustles you can do from home.

New here? Want to know how to start saving money? Start here

money making side hustles you can do from home


5 Ways to Make Extra Cash

We all could use a little extra cash right now, and if you aren’t quite making ends meet, then there are plenty of side things you can do to make some extra cash. Maybe you just want to stockpile some money for a big expense coming up. If you are looking for a good side hustle or just some extra money for a hectic season in your life, here are five ways to make extra cash.

side hustles ways to make extra cash


How to Make Money Buying and Selling on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp or Craigslist

Making a little cash is my favorite part of decluttering. It's also one of my favorite parts of buying secondhand. I love picking something up for a deal, enjoying it for a bit, and then making money on it. It literally gives me a rush. I've been reselling for more than a decade. I've seen how online selling platforms have changed through the years and I have gotten pretty good at figuring out how to make some easy money in not a whole lot of time. Today I'm sharing how to sell on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp or Craigslist and giving you all my tips to make some extra cash on the side!

make money buying and selling on craigslist, offerup and facebook marketplace


Money Making March Challenge: Put $500 In Your Pocket This Month!

We are closing out Frugal February and moving into Money Making March. How did it go with your no-spend challenge month? Did you participate? Even if you didn't, did some of the posts and challenges make you reexamine some of your spending habits? I know I stopped myself a few times from mindlessly scrolling on Amazon or popping on to other online stores just to take a look at their sales. I made a few minor purchase slip-ups, most of them were around the $5 mark so I call it a win. If you are new here, this year, my husband and I will be making the final payment on our home {the only debt we have}. I often get asked how we are able to live life like we do. I usually take this as a compliment because it means we are making frugal living look glamorous! I'm going to add $500 extra to my pocket this month. Want to know how? Keep reading for more!

money saving march


DIY Painted Wood Bead Garland

When it comes to home decor, DIY is my middle name! I think it's because so often when I was younger, my mom and I would be shopping and she'd always say to me, "you could make that"! {Side note, also one of the worst things you can mention out loud at a craft fair to the vendor.} I always liked the challenge of creating something and making it my own. This mostly came out of being thrifty but it also comes out of some weird calming effect the art of mass-producing things gives me. I've seen these painted wood bead garlands all over the place, from the shelves at Magnolia Market, to the baskets at the local hobby shops. I thought I'd try my hand at making them and am sharing how you can do it too! Let's go and make some DIY painted wood bead garland!

Speaking of Magnolia Market, here are 5 things you need to know before you visit!

diy painted wood bead garland


Living with a Traumatic Brain Injury

I consider myself a fairly open book. I am not a fan of secrets {maybe because they are hard for me to keep?} and I tend to overshare more than keep things to myself. I've been writing a blog since 2005 so sharing my life on the internet isn't something that's new to me, but keeping things to myself is. Five years ago, I was driving my minivan with our golden retriever Sophie to pick up my daughter from a friend's house. I was stopped on a two-lane road waiting for traffic to pass so that I could make a left turn into the neighborhood when a minivan {the exact same make, model, and color as my own} didn't attempt to slow down and rammed into the back of me going around 50 mph. I was able to walk away from the accident, but it didn't take long before I realized that even though I didn't have any outward scars and the bruising and swelling were going down, there was something more going on. I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury {TBI} and now, with the insurance settlement behind me, I can talk about what it's really been like to live with a TBI.

back of mini van after rear end crash


How to Get the Fixer Upper Style from a Thrift Shop

If you’re on a tight budget or just looking for a few ways to save some money while giving your home the Fixer Upper treatment, you don’t have to look far to snag a great bargain. Thrift shops have so many great options that need a little coat of paint or some DIY work to give you that Fixer Upper look you’ve been dreaming of! Here is how to get the Fixer Upper style from a thrift shop.

fixer upper style on a budget


How to Fix a Crooked Picture Frame on a Gallery Wall For Good!

Know one of my pet peeves? Crooked frames. I just cannot stand seeing a crooked frame hanging. There is one frame on my dining room wall that is constantly moving. I literally walk to it at least once a day just to straighten it. It's become my little OCD habit. One frame is one thing, but when you have a gallery wall and there are eight or twelve frames askew, watch out. I'm looking for a solution. I took to Twitter to see what you all would recommend and I loved the creative solutions. I decided to try one simple thing surprised that I hadn't thought of it before and dangit if it didn't work like a charm. So I'm sharing my secret tip on how to fix a crooked frame for good!

gallery wall frames


How to Make the Perfect Pancakes

Whether sweet or savory, making pancakes can be a great activity to get the whole family involved. Have you ever heard of Shrove Tuesday? I hadn't until I started watching an Irish TV show. Shrove Tuesday is also called Pancake Day. Who knew? 

Pancake Day is the day before Lent commences, a Christian festival which sees people fasting and giving up rich food. It is traditional for those involved to use all their 'bad' foods up in recipes on Shrove Tuesday, hence the idea of serving pancakes with a wide range of fillings. It's always exciting for me to learn about a new cultural tradition. Even if you are just making Saturday morning pancakes or pancakes for brunch, these tips to make the perfect pancakes will still help. 

basic pancake recipe and tips and tricks


Wants and Needs: How to Balance Both in a Budget

Budgeting is a balancing act, and a good budget helps you create a balance between your wants and needs. However, when it comes to determining your monthly budget, you need to understand whether a category is considered a want or a need. Outside of budgeting, this goes for your purchases too. Wants and needs will vary from person to person; determining whether a purchase is or not can be tricky. Here are a few ways to help you distinguish between wants and needs.

wants and needs finding a balance for both in your budget


Easy Pet Fashion Personalized Bandana with the Cricut Joy

This post is brought to you by Cricut. All opinions are 100% my own.

Our dogs are like a part of our family. I know I'm not the only one who feels this. Pet adoption rates during COVID have been soaring! If you didn't adopt a pet during quarantine, I bet you know someone who did! Today, I've got a little something for that furry member of your family...or to give as a gift! Create a fashion statement for your pet with these easy to make personalized bandanas. Using your Cricut, you can personalize just about anything for anyone, even the furriest members, and no, I'm not talking about my dad! Why not customize one of the most iconic fashion statements a dog can make and add some personality to a bandana. I'll show you how you can easily sew a basic pattern to make an over-the-collar dog bandana or personalize an existing bandana to fit the personality of your pet. Don't worry, you can even make these for your cat or other furry friends with some tweaks to the pattern. Want to find out how? Come check it out!

personalized dog bandana using the cricut joy


Which Budget System is Right for You

Sticking to your budget can be hard no matter what method of budgeting you choose. However, choosing a budget that is best suited to your lifestyle and goals can make a huge impact on how well you’re able to stick to your budget. There are so many different ways and apps to budget that it can be challenging to pick one if you’re just getting started. So here is a guide to help you choose the best budget system for you!

money and budgeting how to find the right system


8 Simple Tips for Success During a No-Spend Challenge Month

Welcome to February! We closed out our monthly pantry challenge and moved on to our new challenge. This month, we will be focusing on a no-spend challenge month. Last year, I combined the two {a pantry challenge and a no spend month} and it was eye-opening. I noticed my spending pitfalls very quickly {shopping was one...but at thrift shops, so is it really that bad?} and made some changes that ended up saving my family a few thousand dollars. 

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 with 8 simple tips that will help you succeed!

tips for success


Sneaky Ways to Save More Money -Tips from our Depression Era Grandparents

The Great Depression Era was a time when most people didn’t have much money. Our grandparents had to be frugal out of necessity and do everything they could to pinch a penny back then. To survive and help their families through this challenging time, they picked up many frugal hacks that most of us wouldn’t dream of doing nowadays. If you’re looking for sneaky ways to save more money, are some of the best tips from our Depression-era grandparents that you should try.

money saving tips from our depression era grandparents


How to Save Money by Using What You Already Have in Your Home

There are so many ways to save money. From changing your light bulbs to changing where you shop, all of these money-saving tips require you to spend money to save money. If you’re looking for a more practical place to start, I recommend you start saving money using what you already have at home. This can not only help you use up the items around your home, such as extra shampoo and soap, but also help you save money by avoiding the stores!

woman at home with dogs


10 Hacks for Sticking to Your Budget

The calendar has turned and it feels like the perfect time to hit reset on life. This year is a big year for our family financially. We will be making the final payment on our home! It's been a lot of years of frugal living and making financial choices with intention. Years ago, on this very blog, I did a series I called "living well on less" and shared a lot of the tips we lived by. I'm doing a little bit of a refresh on those tips in a year-long series we are breaking down monthly. This month we are focusing on Jumpstart January. It's important to have a rough budget {would you believe we've never really had a real budget?} to live by and I'm giving you some of my 10 favorite hacks so you can stick with your budget.

hacks for sticking to your budget


5 Practical Tips for Setting Savings Goals

We are entering into the first week of our Jumpstart January challenge. I already introduced our pantry challenge. I have a $100 bill in an envelope to spend for our family's groceries for the month. Think we can eat out of our pantry and freezer and feed our family of four on this admittedly very limited budget? As part of our Jumpstart January challenge, we will also be looking at setting savings goals. Deciding to save money is often easier said than done, and my hope is that you can set savings goals that will set you up for long-term success. I've got 5 practical tips for setting savings goals. Check it out!

practical tips for setting savings goals


The Secret Money Saving Formula No One Wants You to Know!

We are off to a strong start during our January Jumpstart. In case you missed it, start here for our first challenge. A new year means a new fresh start and it's a great time to take charge of your finances. Through a series of challenges and practical tips, I am helping you work towards those savings goals. The only way you can do that is by identifying a practical savings goal and then making intentional choices as you make small changes to achieve your goal. For our family, we will be paying off the balance on our mortgage. We took a 30-year mortgage and have been able to pay it off in 10 years with frugal living, wise choices, and clear goals. I'm sharing some of the practical tips we have used to help us through the years with you because practical is my middle name. There is no special formula to money-saving, just a lot of practical choices and those often start with a budget. I'm sharing a few of my favorite budgeting tips today.

practical budgeting tips


How to Live a Debt Free Life without a Budget

I may be in the margins here, but I think budgets are boring. Don't get me wrong, I have more than a handful of budgeting posts {just do a quick search right up over there in the search bar}, but if you peg me down, I'd have to be honest with you and tell you that our family has never really had a budget. Never. Not ever. All that to say, we have been able to live debt-free, save money, and make investments, and this year, we will be paying off our largest purchase, our home. So how can we do that when budgets are boring? I'll tell you how! 

pencil budget live without a budget


20 of The Best Family Board Games for Teens

I grew up playing a lot of board games. My mom taught 5th grade and I remember a little side hustle she took on selling Discovery Toys. Are those still a thing? {Quick Google search says they are!} Board games are a way to bring everyone together to enjoy a shared experience and those shared experiences are so important for a family, especially a family with teenagers. I collected a list of our family favorites and opened up the floor to some of my readers on social media who had some excellent suggestions too. Want to pick that perfect family board game? Look no further!



Jumpstart January the Pantry Challenge

Happy New Year! Can you smell that fresh start? New Year's resolutions get a bad rap, but the few I have started with intention and realistic goals, have been the ones I have kept. In fact, 12 years ago, I made the lamest New Year's Resolution {I say lame because everyone makes this one!} and I've kept it all these years later! My hope with these monthly money-saving challenges is that you will find practical ways to make small changes because small changes add up to big changes in the long run. Want to get started with our first Jumpstart January challenge? Come check it out!

pantry challenge money saving

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