Halloween Deals

Did you know there are great deals to be had the day after a holiday?

Yes, the stores immediately mark down items for quick sale. The markdowns typically start 50% and may get as high as 75% or 90% if you are willing to wait.

Everything that is related to that holiday goes on sale.

Halloween deals

As we gear up for several holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s), there will be several opportunities for stocking up on items at discounted prices.

Here is your guide for what you can be stocking up on after Halloween.

Costumes:

If you have children or grandchildren or are a teacher with a dress-up area, you will want to check out the discounted costumes. Target has some great quality costumes that we have bought over the years.  They are great for playing dress up all year long. If you plan to go to Disney World within the next year, it is the perfect time to get character costumes for your children. Last year we bought an Elsa and Belle dress for our daughters. We put them away and surprised the girls before we left. I guarantee we spent far less money buying them after Halloween on discount than if we had bought them in June before our trip.

Halloween deal on costumes
The girls in their dresses at Disney World. Both bought 9 months before our trip for less than $30.

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Three Simple Solutions for Clutter

Why do you have clutter?

The million dollar question, right?

No, not really.  There is a simple answer.

You have clutter because you put off making decisions and you don’t have good systems in place.

I bet it’s not because you actually like clutter, and if it is then stop reading. You don’t need my help.

Think about it.

That pile of papers and miscellaneous items in your kitchen, what is all that?

I bet it is all papers that you put there because you didn’t know what to do with them.

Maybe some require action be taken, and you didn’t have time to do the action right away. Maybe some you weren’t sure if you should keep and others, well, you simply got distracted. You set them down and never returned to figure out what they were or where they were going.

If you are not a successful minimalist – and I argue some of them still struggle too – you will always have clutter.

It is what and how you deal with the clutter that will determine how messy and unorganized your home is.

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Set Up a Donation and Resale Station

Every home should have a donation and possibly resale station.

Why?

Because every home has excess stuff that needs to be dealt with.

No matter how often we declutter our homes and donate items, it is a never-ending process.

There will always be things your family “outgrows,” whether it is clothes, toys or items around the house. Our tastes and needs change over time.

The sooner you recognize and accept this, the sooner you deal with your household clutter.

You need to set up a donation/resale station in your home.

This is a spot where all items that you are donating or selling (varage sale, Craigslist, LetGo, eBay, etc.) are stored.

Technically, it is probably two separate areas: one for donations and one for items you are selling.

Some of you may decide that it is not worth it for you to sell items and you just want them out of your house as fast as you can. Another factor in determining whether you should have a resale station is the amount of free space you have in your home.

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My Little Daughter with a Big Personality

The choice was before me.

Let my child be herself or stifle her personality.

What do I do?

This is a choice that is before me more often than not. God gave me two unique children with a LOT of personalities.

Amelia relaxing

But I asked for it. In fact, I prayed for it.

When we were pregnant with Cassidy, I prayed that we would have a child with personality. Sure I prayed for her health too, but I wanted a kid with personality.

Have you ever met a boring kid?

Be honest, you have.

Well, I have met many of them over the years working in day cares and schools. I knew I wanted a kid with personality and boy did God listen.

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What is Good Reads?

Do you love to read?

Do you keep a list of books you want to read?

Do you ever find yourself picking up a book and trying to remember if you already read it?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you MUST check out Good Reads if you haven’t already.

The number of avid readers I have talked to recently who did not know about this website shocks me.

So today, I want to take the time to explain what Good Reads is, the features of it, and how I use it.

What is Good Reads?

It is a website, which also has a convenient app, where you can track books.

You can create “bookshelves” for yourself. You can set up an annual reading challenge. The site allows you to see reviews of books from every day readers like yourself. You can add your friends to your network so you can see what they are reading and how they are rating books they’ve read. Good Reads will make recommendations of books for you to read based on other books you’ve finished.

The features:

Bookshelves- If you click on the book icon that says “my books” you can create shelves. When you select a book you click on the down arrow next to “want to read.” This will allow you to pick which bookshelf to put a book. You can select one that is pre-set or create a new shelf.  I keep my shelves pretty simple. They are: Want to Read, Currently Reading, Read, and Abandoned Reading.

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Debt Snowball Progress – September 2017

 It’s eight days until payday, and your checking account is running on fumes.

Is there enough money in the checking account to cover any automatic withdrawals?

Who wrote check #1031 and how much is it for?

How much cash do we have around the house that we can deposit into our checking account right now?

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

debt snowball september 2017

These are actual statements that were said in our house last month, and it was a bit scary. I thought the days of sweating a zero balance in our checkbook were behind us, but I was wrong.

I was completely shocked when I sat down to look at our accounts and balance our checkbook. Our balance was $110.84.

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What is a podcast?

I’m a self-proclaimed Podcast Junkie and I’m okay with it.

I will not seek rehab for this “problem” because I don’t see it as a problem. In fact, I see it as a problem if you haven’t discovered the sheer amazingness of podcasts yet.

what is a podcast
Copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

If you don’t listen to podcasts or worse yet don’t even know what a podcast is, you have come to the right place. By the time I am done with you, you will know what they are, why they are AMAZING, how to find them, and which ones I am recommending right now.

So what is a podcast?

The “official” definition from Wikipedia is an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download and listen to. A podcast can be downloaded to your computer, a mobile app or your MP3 player.

Or more simply put it’s listening to a show on the radio, but much easier because you can listen on any of your devices, for any topics whenever you want. You don’t have to wait for their regularly scheduled air time.

Why are they amazing?

As a self-proclaimed podcast junkie  I have no shortage of reasons why they are amazing. I will limit myself to the top reasons so as not to drone on and on.

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You Might Be a Podcast Junkie If . . .

Hi, I’m Meg, and I’m a podcast junkie.

It’s true. I’m completely addicted to Podcasts.

I started listening to podcasts a few years ago, back when I had to download them onto my iPod. [It was a lot more work to listen to them then, but then I got an iPhone. I’ve only had a smartphone for two years] Two years ago I got an iphone (I was a complete hold out to the new technology), then I discovered the ease of downloading podcasts, and it was over.

Copyright: antonioguillem / 123RF Stock Photo

I have never looked back and quickly I became a podcast junkie. I listen to podcasts every day, everywhere.  I listen while getting ready in the morning  – of course thanks to my Oontz speaker. There aren ‘t many times I can’t incorporate a podcast into my daily life. I listen while exercising, driving for work, cleaning the house and cooking dinner.

Of course, I still have some times I listen to music (not many) and some times that I enjoy the quiet or when my family is around. However, the times in the day that many other people would watch television or listen to music, I am listening to a podcast.

Some of my podcasts are educational and informational, and some are just for fun and inspiration. It is amazing the sheer amount and variety of podcasts that exist. There truly is something for everyone.

So are you wondering if you are podcast junkie or not?

You might be a Podcast Junkie if:

  • You start most recommendations and stories to your friends with “I heard on podcast…..”

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Closet Clean-up

Just because you have space, doesn’t mean you need to fill it.

Don’t wait until your closet looks like it could be on the next episode of Hoarders before you address the issues.

Maybe you have too much stuff, or it’s just disorganized. Either way, I suggest that every few months you visit your closets and do a quick closet clean-up.

Recently I was invited to help my niece organize and tidy up her closet.

Yes, I’m the crazy person who thinks that an invitation like this is a positive thing.

I love to organize and tidy spaces up.  The type of cleaning that doesn’t require scrub brushes and cleaning supplies!

My sister’s house is newer, so the closets are much easier to organize and store things than I’m used to in my house.

At first glance, my niece’s closet looks pretty bare, albeit a little disorganized, but not messy.

before closet clean-up

Looks can be deceiving.

I introduced my niece to the six tips for organizing a closet, my tried and true method for organizing spaces.

Once we removed everything from the closet, it was quite a shocker to even her what all was in there.

Yes, all of this came from inside that empty looking closet.

clothes from closet clean-up
Clothes from the closet to be sorted

Many of the clothes we took out my niece was not even interested in keeping anymore. She didn’t like them anymore, or they didn’t fit. We honestly paired her hanging clothes down to less than a dozen items.

Her donation and sell pile were quite large.

donation pile from closet clean-up
Giant pile to be sorted for donation and sale

 

We sorted all of the other miscellaneous items out after we emptied the closet and assessed what she wanted in the closet. One of her main goals was to get her craft supplies organized in her closet so she could see what she had and easily access them.

 

One of the most important steps in organizing a space is looking at the space and taking time to decide how that space needs to function for the individual/family.

Once we had removed all of my niece’s things, and we had gone through what she was keeping we spent a lot of time talking about her needs. We took some breaks so we could get fresh eyes to look at the big open area.

For this project, the only thing that was “new” was the hanging shoe rack which I had purchased second hand for a couple of dollars. Everything else we used was repurposed from inside her closet or around the house.

Throughout the process, there were quite a few giggles. For instance, when we discovered how many fake and 3D glasses she had. Apparently, she had a big need for them, or more likely she had no idea how many pairs she owned until they were all organized together.  (side note: we did the same thing with my daughter’s Minnie Mouses….oops!)

glasses found in closet clean-up

My niece may have some pack rat tendencies, but never fear there is a way to help all pack rats.

In the end, my niece was very pleased with the outcome, and I had a lot of fun helping her.

after a successful closet clean-up

The hardest part of this project for me was stopping with the closet.

Once I get started, I want to keep going. Her desk was a bit disorganized, and she let me help with it for just a short time. If only she would let me finish that area.

Organizing is addicting, and when I see a space that needs tidying, I struggle to stop myself.

It was a privilege to be able to help my niece organize her closet, and in doing so, I learned a little bit more about her. She invited me into her personal space, and by doing so, I was able to see a different side of my niece. I had no idea how creative she was or how much she really enjoyed crafting.

A person’s space whether that is an entire home, a room, or a closet can tell a lot about a person. Including what they value, what their talents are and their goals.

What does your space say about you? And what do you want it to say about you?

What is stopping you from making that happen?

Debt Snowball Progress – August 2017

August 2017 debt snowball

Good-bye summer and hello fall.

Okay not quite, but it sure feels like it the minute we hit Labor Day.

Fall is the best season for us when it comes to paying down debt.

I spent some time thinking about that recently and was able to identify a few reasons why:

 

  • We pack our lunches and eat out less often.

 

  • We don’t typically have any vacations in the fall.

 

  • I teach a class or two as an adjunct, so I bring in more income.

 

  • Brian works more overtime, and there is holiday pay several times before January.

 

I’ve been feeling a bit defeated by our debt lately because the amount doesn’t seem to be moving at all. I know it’s a marathon and not a sprint, but sometimes I just feel like quitting.

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