Trusting Jesus & Counting Pennies

The real reason I’m able to be a stay at home mom? The Lord! God worked everything out and is still working everything out. My husband and I took a huge step of faith when we had our daughter.

Just a few weeks before our daughter was born, my husband entered into a new position at his job, but on paper, it looked as though I’d still need to return to work. I had always longed to be a stay at home mom, but came to peace about working part time when I was pregnant. Then I had my baby girl and that peace was shaken quite a bit. I couldn’t imagine leaving her, and longed to invest all my time and energy into taking care of our home through cleaning and cooking, nurturing my baby girl, loving on her, and (most importantly,) prayerfully raising her up to know and love Jesus as her Savior. My husband felt the same.

We began to pray and seek God. Then we sat down and looked at everything financially, and realized that we could do it – but we wouldn’t have much wiggle room. No room for any big surprises in life (in other words no major car or home repairs etc.). We continued to pray for the Lord to reveal what His will for us was. He spoke to us clearly, that we were to take this step of faith and trust in Him.

Since that day, we’ve had our heat break, our washer break, had issues with plumbing, had to replace big appliances, etc. God provided for every single need. We were able to buy a home closer to my husband’s job, save on gas, save on utilities, etc. By trusting in the Lord, even though we couldn’t see what all was in store for the future, God made a way for us to cut down the cost of living and provide over and above our basic needs.

If you’re hesitant to take a step of faith in this area (or in another area), seek the Lord with your spouse. If your desire is one that is godly, sometimes you may be called to take a step of faith. It may not always be a smooth road, but God will provide and make a way.

“Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase;” -Proverbs 3:9

God instructs us to be wise with our money, so we are careful to budget out every penny, and try to save in every area that we can.  I decided to share some basic ways we have been able to cut down the cost of living, and since I love finding new ways to save money – please share your tips in the comments!

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Money-Saving Tips:

-Try using utilities less in general. Open up the blinds instead of turning all the lights on. Hang your clothes up to dry. Open up your windows in the summer, and dress warmer in the winter (but don’t roast or freeze yourself!). Take shorter showers. Join a cheaper phone company (I’m with Republic Wireless and pay $22 a month!).

-Cloth diapers! This has been a huge money saver for us. And I love it! It’s not complicated at all (don’t be intimidated). I also love that I’m putting a natural cloth against my daughter’s skin instead of chemical filled diapers (yes, even the companies that are all natural, free of dyes etc., and are organic are still filled with junk).

-Speaking of cloth, try to use cloth whenever possible instead of paper towels or napkins. Use cloth rags and cloth napkins.

-Cook/Bake from scratch. This really is a huge money-saver and not nearly as tough as it may appear. This includes making baby food from scratch – definitely way cheaper.

-Coupon. I’m not able to find incredible deals too often on organic products, but am still able to save a nice chunk of money through coupons. Check out this post.

-Start a garden and freeze or can extra produce for the winter. For a cheaper start-up, start your own compost, and save egg shells to start your seeds.

-Take a hobby or craft that you love and turn it into an Etsy shop. That’s how I started Garden Light Candles.

-Phone apps. I love to use these apps: Raise, Ibotta, Checkout51, ReceiptHog, and Swagbucks.

-Save on health insurance by joining a medical sharing program such as Christian Healthcare Ministries. Message me if you have any questions about this amazing ministry, at hillsideblessings@gmail.com (If you sign up, please let them know you heard about their ministry from member #165214)

-If you homeschool or if you’re looking to homeschool in the future, check out my friend’s blog post over at The Woolly Homestead.

-Celebrate your birthday with freebies! Check out this list of birthday freebies.

-Buy kids clothes from yard sales. My daughter wears like-new clothes and they are all either hand-me-downs or from yard sales. I spent probably $30 and was able to get enough clothes in the next size she’ll be in just from going to a few yard sales.

-Simplify your home. There are so many items that we really don’t need. I started selling items on my local Facebook mom swap, and was able to earn some extra cash, and enjoy having a less cluttered home.

-See if you can clean someone’s home, or a church for a little extra money. I have two cleaning jobs, and each of them take just under two hours, and are only once a month (and I can bring my daughter along).

-Look for free activities to do with your kids. My local library has a baby class that I go to once a week, as well as a ton of free summer activities to get involved with. In the summer, look for free concerts at local parks.

-Start making homemade gifts to save money on birthdays and holidays. Check out my post on homemade gift ideas.

-Follow money saving blogs by downloading the app, Bloglovin’. After downloading the app, follow blogs such as, The Krazy Coupon Lady, The Penny Hoarder, Passionate Penny Pincher, Hip2Save, Money Saving Mom, Passion for Savings, The Savvy Bump, Thrifty Littles, Thrifty Nifty Mommy, and The Greenbacks Gal.

-Make your household and body products. Try making some homemade cleaners, laundry detergent (I use this recipe with a bar of castile soap), lotion bars, etc.

-If you’re looking to go out to a restaurant or other fun outing, look for local deals, coupons, etc. first. We almost always refuse to eat out or do an activity without a coupon. Also, consider splitting a meal with your spouse. Here’s an example: go to Texas Roadhouse and get free rolls (you could even ask for extra), use a free appetizer coupon (they send these frequently if you sign up for their e-mail or text list, but they can only be used when dining in), and split the Texas Size Combo of BBQ Roasted Half Chicken with Pulled Pork. All for only $13.99!

I hope these money saving tips help you out. I’d love to find new money-saving tips, so comment away! 🙂

Living With Less

When my husband and I moved a few months ago, I began to realize how much we had accumulated over the past three and a half years. I also realized how much of our stuff we really don’t need. We had boxes full of odds and ends that I didn’t want to part with, yet it sat collecting dust, just in case one day we came up with some great use for it. I had clothes in my closet that I just couldn’t bring myself to part with, even though certain items had been there for years and only gotten worn a handful of times.

I began to question why we felt the need to hold on to so many things. I started to really reflect on what God’s Word teaches about materialism and apply His Word to our ‘stuff’.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Matthew 6:19-21

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” -Luke 12:33-34

When I read these passages, it really put things into perspective for me. Letting these Scriptures soak in, made it easy to begin to part ways with the things that we really don’t need.

It’s important to decipher what items are just taking up space and what items might actually be beneficial to keep (we try to reuse and re-purpose everything we can). I find it more challenging to get rid of household items than clothes. But even still, I’m continuously trying to go through things and decide what we really need. I’m big on sentimental items and have had to learn to weigh out what’s actually of great sentimental value or not. Creating small memory boxes has helped me keep some of my most sentimental treasures safely stored away

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At one time, women had their everyday dress and their Sunday dress, and this was plenty. Once the dress was thoroughly worn out, only then was it replaced. I can’t recall many times where I waited until a piece of clothing was actually ‘worn-out’ before getting rid of it.

In my mind, I liked to open up my closet and see a nice selection to choose from. But in reality, I would end up continuously choosing the same articles of clothing (about 1/3 of what was actually in my closet), while the rest of the clothing just hung there day after day.

While the idea of a big selection seems nice, it can also be overwhelming to have too many choices. How many times have you weeded through all of your clothes saying ‘I have nothing to wear!’ I’ve said this plenty of times, and I’m realizing how selfish and silly it sounds. There are some people who aren’t able to choose from a large selection of what they’d like to wear each day.

I’m tired of the American mentality that we always need more. As a Christian, I need to look at everything with a Christ-like mentality before looking at my surrounding culture. Our culture says it’s silly to only own the bare minimum of what we need.

I’ve recently been really inspired by capsule wardrobes, where you basically have just a few solid colored shirts, maybe 2-3 sweaters, a jacket, a coat, 2-3 pairs of pants, 1-2 skirts, and a dress or 2. Everything can be mix and match! You end up with a wide variety of outfits from just a few articles of clothing. This is a drastic change and obviously isn’t for everyone, and I’m not even completely there either. But it is what I’m moving towards the more I pray and really think about what I value in life (my relationship with the Lord, serving my family, and then serving others).

As I began giving things away from our closet as well as the rest of our household items, I realized how freeing it is to simplify our possessions. The hardest part is physically putting items into that donation box. Once it’s sealed up it becomes a lot easier to get rid of. I quickly forget what I put in the boxes since the items haven’t been getting used anyway.

I’m not suggesting that we deprive ourselves either, but that we find a balance, and be willing to part with certain items that someone else could get use out of. But before jumping up and tossing items into a box, pray and go through God’s Word. Get the right perspective on why you’re simplifying your possessions.

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“The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” -1 John 2:17

I’d love to hear the ways that you’re simplifying your home. 🙂

 

 

Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

A healthy lifestyle goes far beyond the food you eat. I’m constantly looking for ways to keep our home free of toxic chemicals. Most of the cleaners on the shelf at the store are not safe to inhale, ingest, or even to touch, yet we clean surfaces, kids toys, and so much more with them. I decided to go way back to the simple cleaners that were once used, before all of these chemical filled products were invented. So I started with vinegar – a great multi-purpose cleaner.

If you’re looking for an affordable, effective, natural all-purpose cleaner, try this homemade citrus spray made with vinegar. It’s easy to make, and only has three ingredients (two if you don’t count water)! I’ve been using this cleaner for a few years now, and love the fact that I know what ingredients I’m using to clean our home with.

I usually use lemons or oranges for this cleaner, but you could also use grapefruits or limes. The citrus peels add a little scent to the cleaner, but also make this cleaner more effective because of the oils that get pulled from the peels in the process.

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Anytime I use lemons or oranges in cooking or baking, I always save the peels, throw them into a jar, fill half the jar with vinegar and the other half with water. I let the mixture sit for a few weeks, then use a mesh strainer to get rid of the peels and any leftover pulp, and then pour my cleaner into a bottle. It’s that easy!

Homemade Citrus All-Purpose Cleaner

-Distilled Vinegar

-Citrus Peels

-Glass jars

Place the citrus peels in jars. Fill up each jar halfway with vinegar, and then fill the rest of the jars up with water. Place lids on each jar, and let sit for several weeks (I usually let them sit a minimum of two weeks, but have let them sit longer). After a few weeks, use a mesh strainer to strain out the peels and any leftover pulp. Pour liquid cleaner into a bottle.

What This Blog Is All About

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Welcome! My name is Brittney, and this is my blog. My posts are written from inside our cozy home, which is tucked away on the side of a hill. My family and I are so very grateful to have a relationship with the Lord, and are constantly reminded of how many blessings we are surrounded by. I am thankful for all the resources I have to provide our family with a natural lifestyle, while still being frugal and living on a budget.

After about six months of writing, picture-taking, and brainstorming ideas, I’m finally prepared to launch my blog today. I’m just a stay at home mom who loves Jesus, my family, and everything natural. Being a housewife is my passion, and I am blessed to be able to take care of our house, prepare meals, and save money!

While I can’t wait to share housekeeping, money-saving, and food tips, I also can’t wait to just be real with you and share my heart. Being a Christian, mom, and wife has its challenges, but the joy it brings surpasses every hardship. I hope you enjoy reading the stories shared from my heart, and find my ideas and tips helpful for you, as you care for your family and household as well.