How Do I Do It? Financially? #SingleMom #Budget

How Do I Do It? Financially?

As a single mother, I’m not sure when people say “How do you do it?” if they mean emotionally, physically, or financially, so I’ve decided to turn this question into a series.

Financially speaking, this is how I do it.

 

Buy Used & Sell Used
The majority of things we buy are used. If I have exhausted all options and can’t find something used, then I will buy it new. The key to this is knowing what things cost and refusing to pay more. If I know that I can buy something for $5, then I won’t pay $10 for that item. Additionally, I save all of the kids’ outgrown clothes and sell them at a consignment store.

Make a Menu and Stick to it
Before you grocery shop, see what you have on hand and what you can make a meal out of. Then, make a menu including the items you have available. You don’t have to have tacos on Tuesday if you would rather have that roast you had planned for Thursday. Feel free to switch days and meals around, but stick to what you planned. The less you are in the grocery store, the less you will spend on impulse buys. It also helps to know what days you should prepare easy meals for. If you know it is going to be a busy day, then you don’t want to plan a labor intensive meal which could cause you to end up in the drive-thru ultimately spending more money.

Cheap Entertainment
While I do sometimes dream of extravagant vacations and taking my kids out of state to do fun things, I don’t feel like they are lacking in the entertainment area. As a family, we attend free festivals, see dollar movies, and skate on the cheap-skate days. Most places like zoos and museums offer reduced admission during non-peak hours or seasons. Take advantage of these offers. We have gone to the zoo on $1 day a few times, or used can food as admission into some museums.   

Barter
If you know you have a service to offer, see what bartering can get you. Maybe you can watch your neighbor’s kids twice a month in exchange for them cutting your grass. Or maybe you don’t have a garden but have chickens that lay eggs. If you have a creative talent, offer that as a barter. Never pay for something that you could get with a barter.

Sell Your Talent
If you are good at something, there is no reason you shouldn’t be making money for it. If you know how to play an instrument, consider giving lessons a couple days a week. Know how to paint? Sell some of your artwork. Don’t beat yourself up thinking your talent isn’t valuable. More people than you may realize will find value in your talent.

Be Patient
My kids are just like any other YouTube watching, game playing kid out there. As soon as they see a YouTuber playing a new game, they want it. A little patience pays off though. Don’t purchase the game (or whatever it may be) right away. Instead, wait a few months and the price will drastically drop or they will lose interest in it. Just think about it, how many times have you bought something your kids wanted, only to find it abandoned a few weeks later? Your kids may not have the newest thing, but they will be okay.

What are some of your budget tips to help single moms (and those on a single income) do it financially?

We are… ADOPTING! – Single Mom Adoption

Single Mom Adoption

Our family of four is growing in size;
In no time at all, we’ll be a family of five.

Yes, that is right. We are expanding our family.

No, I am not pregnant.

We are adopting!

We are Adopting! #SingleMom #Adoption

 

Growing up, I always wanted a large family and knew that I would adopt children with special needs. When I had children of my own with special needs, I thought perhaps it was God’s way of giving me what I always imagined my future to be like.

So, I focused on nuturing my children and waited to see what the future would bring.  

Even though I had three children, I knew I wasn’t done. I still wanted a larger family. I assumed I would get married before I was 30 and then work on adoption with my husband. I’ve come to realize that marriage just isn’t in the cards for me. And that’s okay.

I also thought that there was no way they would approve a single mother to adopt children with special needs. I was also under the impression that single mothers/single people in general were not able to adopt or foster in the state of Arkansas. The more I learned, the more I realized I was wrong. Single mothers are chosen a lot and actually preferred by some. Single mom adoption isn’t as uncommon as I first thought! 

When I realized this a few years ago I began getting serious about the idea of adopting as a single mom. I sent letters to inquire about the process and even filled out a couple applications but found it hard to commit to the process and stopped. But I never stopped browsing the children available and praying that if it was in God’s plan it would happen.

Another fear was the fear of judgement. I’m already judged as a single mother. What will everybody think when I announce my intentions to grow my family as a single mother? I’ve never lacked confidence in my ability to raise more children as a single mother, but there is just something scary about the unknown.

But, the more I thought about it, the sillier it seemed. Why was I worried about what people would think when I was trying to give a child a loving home? If I was going to be judged, then so be it.

The Big Reveal

Over the weekend, the kids helped film and edit a video announcing our plans to adopt. They had already been involved in the process of searching for available children and I had to get on the ball with announcing before they spilled the beans.

We are all super excited, and while we each have our preferences as to what kind of child we would like, we know that it is ultimately in God’s hands. We are only in the baby steps and there is a lot that must be done in order for this to happen (for one, I want to trade my car for a van). I cannot give a timeline, but it could be anywhere from 4 months to 4 years. You never know what can happen. In the meantime, we are preparing as much as we can.  

I will be filming a video with some frequently asked questions as well as answering some on the blog, so if you have any feel free to leave them in the comments, send an email, or find me on social media.

Stand Still. Stay Strong. Have a VOICE.

VOICE

Stand still. Stay strong. Have a VOICE.

Voice is my 2017 word of the year. I probably started thinking about it in October and one day it just came to me. It may seem like a funny word, but I promise there is a story behind it.

2017 Word of the Year

 

In 2016, I worked through a lot of the issues in my past. I was able to sort through and put away some things that had always bothered me. I was able to find myself in the midst of everybody else and part of that was realizing I have my own voice.

To me, voice represents speaking out and standing up for myself and my family. Far too often I have kept quiet when I shouldn’t have. I have let people walk all over me to avoid conflict rather than speaking up. Coming from a verbally abusive past, I feared conflict. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing and anger somebody, so I just kept quiet.

Finding My Voice

Thanks to some dear friends who played the part of therapist and some great books, I was able to figure myself out and why I was the way I was. I was also given new techniques to try and I am already finding relief from using my voice.

Voice also represents the physical in that I want my house to be a reflection of me and my beliefs. I want my children to have their own voice too. When we moved into this house, nothing was changed. I didn’t decorate or paint. I only hung what few pictures are hanging because there were already nails in the wall.

As you may have seen, I began the process of decorating and organizing at the end of the year starting with my laundry room. Throughout the year (and probably longer) I want to work on making my house mine and letting it speak for me. When somebody walks in, I want them to get a sense of me.

I added the quote at the top to my planner to remind me everyday to have a voice. 

What is your 2017 word? Or what are some of your goals/things you are working on during 2017?

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa #giveaway

This post has been sponsored by Pop Pop Shoppe.

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa

Can you guys believe it is almost Christmas?! I can’t, but I’m so excited for Christmas to come. I’m going to thoroughly enjoy spending it with loved ones and spoiling them with goodies. One person who is getting spoiled this Christmas is the kids’ grandpa aka Pop.

The Perfect Gift for Grandpa

 

Hands down, he is my kids’ favorite person and my go-to babysitter. Not only does he watch my kids for me when I have to do something, he spoils them with his cooking (whatever they ask for) and sweet poems like this one that he wrote to Aloshua a few years ago:

Somewhere in the loving arms
of a mother who cares
is a beautiful sweet baby
and the troubles he bears

He is loved so much
by one and by all
From his aunt and brother
to his Nanny and Pa

He is quite special
a precious little gift
and if you’re around him
your spirits, he will lift

Even with all of
the trouble he knows
tenderness and love
is all he ever shows

He will grow up strong
maybe a leader of men
and all who will know him
will surely call him friend

But for right now
he has much to endure
the love of his family
he has this for sure

The pain he once knew
and the troubles he used to bear
all seemed to have vanished
almost into thin air

Someday he will be
a handsome young man
with ideas of his own
and having his own plan

The time he is little
you will wish you could keep
for when he is grown
a tear you will weep

Tears come to my eyes just reading that. How can we not spoil such an awesome grandpa like that?

So, for Christmas this year, I am including a basket from Pop Pop Shoppe in with his goodies to make the perfect gift. I simply added a few lottery tickets and this handmade tag to give it some extra oomph.  The basket is filled with some of his favorite popcorn flavors including yellow cheddar, and caramel. It even has a bottle of wine and some cheesy puns.

“We are so glad you are our POP. We love you a LOTTO.”

The pre-made baskets are to die for, but you can even customize your own with a variety of delicious flavors that your recipient will love. Flavors include Pickle Pop, Wedding Cake, White Chocolate Vanilla (my new favorite), Hot Chocolate, White Cheddar, Cinnamon Roll, Butter, Confetti and more! For a complete list of flavors visit Pop Pop Shoppe on the web.

Pop Pop Shoppe is located at 416 South University Ave. Suite 130 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Your comment below will get you 1 entry into a drawing for a Pop Pop Shoppe prize valued at $40. For every friend you refer in the comments you will get an additional 2 entries. Winner must pick up at the location listed above. Drawing will end Dec 18th at 11:59pm CST and winner will be announced on my Instagram @AdukeSchulist, Dec 19th, so get those comments in.

What is your favorite Pop Pop Shoppe flavor? Or, what flavor would you like to try?

 

DIY Laundry Room Makeover (In Progress)

DIY LAUNDRY ROOM MAKEOVER (IN PROGRESS)

Disclaimer: This is not a DIY blog, but I am a DIY kinda gal.

One of my biggest complaints about my house is the lack of organization. When I moved in (almost three years ago!), things happened to find a resting place and stay there, whether it was meant to be that item’s home or not. Since I didn’t really have a clear plan of what I wanted, I just let it go, but as time goes on, I am realizing this is “Home” and I want to get it looking more like a home. A big part of my 2017 goal is to get my house in shape!

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still don’t have a clear plan of what I want to accomplish, but I have been browsing pinterest for some inspiration and wanted to start with my laundry room/mud room. This room just so happens to be the entryway to my house. As you can see, it is very cluttered. 

Laundry Room Mud Room Before Decluttering

The Clutter

I hated that the first thing people saw upon entering my home was a big cluttered mess.

With pinterest’s help I knew that I wanted to implement a basket system. I have yet to decide on the color, and because I rent, I will not be repainting the room. Instead, I will make do with something that matches the current paint color.

To get rid of the clutter, I took every single thing out of the laundry room and put only the items that belonged there back. I threw away a bag full of unused/unneeded items and found homes for the rest of the items in a more fitting location.

The Plan

Until I decide which color and kind of basket to use, I am utilizing milk crates and small plastic totes. While this isn’t totally bad, I would like something a little more uniform that hides the clutter. I picture in my mind some larger baskets (approximately 5-6) for the top shelf and smaller ones (4-5) for the lower shelf. Depending on the type of baskets I use, I may put my detergents into glass dispensers/containers instead of stored in a basket or on the shelf as is.

Additionally, I need to figure out a better way to store our coats and shoes. I feel like this is almost a project in itself. I did tidy up the area some, but it still lacks cohesiveness with the rest of the room. I am currently debating some sort of shelving system, but I have to be mindful of the water heater’s location. I am thinking I want a decent sized mirror with 3-4 coat hooks directly under it (or attacked to it) – or a mirror with a small shelf with hooks attached to the shelf directly under it. In the meantime, I have straightened it up and decluttered a little. 

The dog food (grey tote) is now being stored in another container and out of the way. The wood table that the shoe rack is on will be out of there soon. I want to replace that whole bit with a shoe cubby of some sorts and then the mirror and hooks above it.

Laundry Room Mud Room After Decluttering

The Budget

My budget is somewhere between $50 and $75. The bulk of that is going towards the baskets. The coat rack will probably be DIY. I haven’t really factored in something for the shoe storage (shelves or whatever) so my budget may change. I wanted to browse pinterest some more for ideas that would work in the small space I have before nailing down an idea or budget. So far, I have spent nothing and just used what I had around the house.