So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

When I first considered becoming a stay-at-home mom three years ago, I knew adjusting to one income would be a challenge. I was a shopaholic who visited the mall and/or Target at least once a week. Most of the stuff I bought was really unnecessary – did I really need another pair of black heels just because they had a peep-toe and my others didn’t?

Apparently yes.

My shopping fit just fine into my budget (wait, what budget?!), so I made many of my purchases without a second thought.

These days, my shopping activity is considerably different. I’ve embraced the art of budgeting. Any purchases that don’t involve food or other necessities are carefully considered.

We really don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything, though. I like to think we’re thriving – not just surviving – on our now limited income. We spend less money on frivolous things and put more towards the things that matter, such as our retirement funds and our children’s savings.

So, how did we make the transition mostly painless?

Most importantly, I created a detailed budget. We don’t always stick to it perfectly, but having it in place has made a tremendous difference. I make sure to allot money for bills, gas, groceries, dining out, savings, and even gifts.

Along with budgeting, there are three things that save us major moolah each month.

#1: We cancelled our satellite dish. A few years ago, we were extra spoiled by our dual DVR. I could barely even contemplate the idea of reducing our package, let alone cancelling it. After looking at the numbers, though, we took the plunge and cancelled the dish in exchange for subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu Plus. Sure, there are some downers (like having to wait an extra year to watch certain shows and reading spoilers from “friends” on Facebook), but overall, it’s a switch I’m glad we made. At a savings of about $80 a month compared to our satellite bill, our bank account is happy too.

#2: Meal planning makes all the difference. This step took me a little longer to get the hang of, and it was prompted more by necessity than anything. When we moved back to my small hometown from Kearney, I knew grocery shopping would never be the same. I’m no longer able to run to the store at the last minute for a needed item, so planning meals makes sense for us not only financially, but also practically. It takes some time to sit down and plan it out, but in the end, the savings are worth it. How much? Well, during months that I don’t plan meals, we easily spend about $200 more on groceries. That’s enough to motivate me!

#3: We converted to cloth (diapers, that is). There was an initial investment and getting started was more than a little overwhelming; however, the diapers quickly paid for themselves and have become one of the easiest ways we save. We’ve been using cloth for almost three years now, and while I still buy a box of disposables for nighttime, I’m only spending about $25 every few months versus once or twice a month.

Besides these things, there are other smaller ways we’ve cut costs. Our house happens to have a wood-burning stove, so we take advantage of it as much as possible during the winter months. It really makes a difference on our electrical bill. I have also slowly started making more food items from scratch, such as pizza/spaghetti sauce. We were fortunate to freeze a ton of tomatoes from my parents’ garden last summer, so it costs practically nothing to make AND it’s super easy and smells ah-maz-ing.

Every once in a while, I look back on my carefree (and budget-free) days of spending, and you know what? I don’t miss it. All I have to show for it is a closet full of shoes that have barely been worn. It’s not as if I never buy anything for myself anymore; I just give it more thought, and I end up appreciating it more.

So now I want to know – what tips and tricks for saving money do you have to share? I’d love to hear them!

address label (2)

Heather Shotkoski

http://www.andwhatalovelymessitis.wordpress.com/ My name is Heather, and I am lucky to be surrounded by handsome men! I have been married to my high school sweetheart for over ten years, and together we have three lovably wild little boys. I grew up in a tiny town near the middle of Nebraska, and after living in the "big city" of Kearney for six years, my husband and I found our way back to the small town life. I am a stay-at-home mom, and each day is definitely a new adventure with three rapidly growing boys. I absolutely love it!

Lent For Kids: 40 Ways To Spend 40 Days

In: Featured, Kids
Cross with bird

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season leading to Easter. Our 3-year-old has been talking about the Easter bunny since January, when he finally understood that Christmas was over. While I’m happy he’s excited for the upcoming holiday, I really want to find some good, concrete ways to help him learn that this time of year is not only about bunnies and candy in eggs. So, I’ve decided to come up with 40 ways to spend the 40 days of Lent with kids. Some of these will work better with older children, while others are great for...

Keep Reading

Chocolate Pot de Crème

In: Featured, Kitchen

Chocolate and romance go hand in hand and with Valentine’s Day around the bend, why not have a beautifully simple and romantic dessert on the menu? With Valentine’s Day falling on a Saturday, it might be a little more difficult to get those reservations to go out to eat to celebrate. If you end up staying home, why not have an easy, romantic dessert to finish your meal? Made in a blender or food processor and refrigerated, this recipe is easy to make and the result can be a beautiful and elegant dessert that will put the perfect cap on...

Keep Reading

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel Gnagy @ Inscribed Photography & Design (recipe originally from here) One of my favorite ‘girly’ meals to make is soup served in bread bowls. I love getting the Broccoli Cheese soup at Quizno’s (it’s healthy because it has broccoli, right?) and Panera’s Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice soup. YUM. So when I saw a recipe on Pinterest for creamy chicken and rice soup, I thought I would give it a try! You will need: 1 Tablespoon of olive oil 2-3 carrots, sliced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 5 cups of chicken stock 1 cup of cooked chicken,...

Keep Reading

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

In: Featured, Kitchen

Written By:  Rachel @ Inscribed Photography (Recipe originally from here) Valentine’s Day is coming up and with that in mind I wanted to bring you an easy, delicious meal for you and your special man. This recipe is by far the easiest Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe and it is super yummy too! Pair it with some steamed veggies on the side and something chocolatey for dessert and you’re all set for a romantic dinner for two. For the chicken, you will need: 2 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise 8 slices of deli ham 8 slices of Swiss cheese 1...

Keep Reading

Easy Weeknight Beef Stroganoff

In: Featured, Kitchen

We all have those heirloom recipes we grew up with, but when you get married you inherit a whole new set of recipes your spouse grew up with, too. This stroganoff recipe is one that my husband grew up eating and then cooked frequently for himself before I took over in the kitchen. (ha.) He made it for me once while we were dating, and I will admit – I was super skeptical. Generally, these sorts of humble dishes aren’t my cup of tea – the ones made with cream-of canned soups and noodles. However, I tried it and was...

Keep Reading

Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl

In: Faith, Featured, Journal, Kids
Hanging Onto Hope: The Dream That Saved My Baby Girl www.herviewfromhome.com

Family and friends often assure pregnant women that their “maternal instincts” can be relied on to guide them into motherhood. This previously undiscovered gift will reveal itself the first time she holds her child. As a mother of four I believe in this instinct, but also recognize that experience and wisdom help. The birth of our fifth child, Kinsley, has introduced me to another source of guidance and strength that I never anticipated. Kinsley was born the day after Christmas. She was pink, beautiful and certified by the medical staff as being in perfect health. She was welcomed with unconditional...

Keep Reading

Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged

In: Featured
Bow Your Head and Vote, Yes the Outcome is Rigged www.herviewfromhome.com

“Keep in mind this is God’s plan! And who am I to dare question God’s plan!” I say it over and over as I watch this mess unfold before me. This mess, America is calling an election. I have never been impressed with the two-party system. It allows too much power to a select few and limits our freedoms. So, as I watch and listen and pray, as Trump and Clinton march to the White House, I only hope more Americans now see the disaster that is the two-party system. Two people that should be sitting in jail are now...

Keep Reading

This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Mental Health, Motherhood
This Kick-Ass Cancer Survivor Shares 20 Easy Ways To Make Your Life Healthier Today www.herviewfromhome.com

I recently went through quite an experience with my health. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2015. Following my diagnosis, I underwent a treatment regimen of chemotherapy, double mastectomy, and then, 28 rounds of radiation.  Before my diagnosis, I felt the healthiest I have probably, in my whole life. I was exercising regularly. Eating, conscious of my health. And after birthing three kids in 6 years, finding ways to focus on myself once again. And then — WHAM — cancer.  Excuuuuuuuuse me?!?! Cancer?!? I was, for all intents and purposes, a 33-year-old with great habits and a great...

Keep Reading

The Great Melt Down

In: Faith, Featured, Kids, Kitchen
The Great Melt Down www.herviewfromhome.com

When my brother Bobby and I were little kids, one of the great treats of summer was a journey to a neighboring town where my dad would buy each of us a hand-dipped ice cream cone. During the drive home, my mom would turn around from the front seat and point out drips that we back-seat-riders needed to lick up quick. I, the ever-eager pleaser, would anxiously eat my ice cream as quickly as possible, barely taking a breath between licks. Bobby, on the other hand, came up with the more reasonable response. He would grin at Mom and bite...

Keep Reading

The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy

In: Featured, Health, Healthy Living, Kids, Relationships
The Best (and free) Drug Prevention Strategy www.herviewfromhome.com

A secret Facebook group has been uncovered by police that connects kids as young as 12 years-old to places where they can buy drugs. (see the link to the story at the end of this blog)  Shocking? Yes. Surprising? No. Kids find a way, don’t they? So what can we do? There are apps we can buy. There are rules we can make. There are punishments we can deliver.  Yet the best prevention of all is our relationship with our young people.  Time together, conversation, and honest sharing of our lives is the most effective way to influence our kids–even...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.