Came across this quote today and goodness, I needed the reminder.
What do you want most right now? Determine today to wait for the very best, and don’t sacrifice what you really want for what you want right now.
Came across this quote today and goodness, I needed the reminder.
What do you want most right now? Determine today to wait for the very best, and don’t sacrifice what you really want for what you want right now.
First giveaway is live – enter to win HERE!
Goodness gracious, I can hardly believe this but I’ve been typing from this side of the screen and on over to you for exactly five years this month. WOW!
What I completely started on a whim turned into something I never would have imagined, and I can hardly believe I’m still hanging out here with you each day. In case you haven’t figured this out (~ahem~), I’m just a mom. I don’t have any degrees in marketing, advertising, or journalism . . . in fact, I’m in sheer amazement each day that so many folks take time to read what’s here on PPP. (It’s all I can do just to keep this technologically-challenged brain on top of things most days!)
Blogging has changed my life so much these last five years that I can hardly imagine life without it. It’s given this kind-of-shy-goofy-not-very-confident mom a little presence on the internet, taught me so much about what I’m really passionate about, instilled in me the importance of some serious determination, and been just a wonderful gift (despite the ridiculous number of hours it’s taken to keep it together. Yikes!)
I looked back to my very first post back in October of 2009 on “publixpennypincher.blogspot.com” (when I made myself “pretend post” for a few weeks to see if I even enjoyed sharing deals at all.) Here’s what it looked like . . .
(seriously folks, we’ve come a long way ~ it took me a whopping six months just to learn how to hyperlink!)
I feel so incredibly blessed to have this virtual home here with you, and am simply overwhelmed that you take time to read what’s here each day. I love how this has completely changed our family’s ability to give as well as beefed up our children’s college funds, and having you all to chat with each day has helped me through some crazy difficult times.
(I know that sounds nuts, but you all are just the nicest cheering section!)
To top that all off, last week we reached ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND FACEBOOK FANS (WOW!) So, of course we need a little giveaway to celebrate, don’t you think?
Thank you so much for sharing this little spot with me each day – I’m so very thankful for you!
And on a very important side note, I do NOT do manage all of this by myself most days. A big thanks to my friends Cheryl, Misty, Susan and Staci who help out with various tasks around here when I need them, and a HUGE thanks to Shannon (who y’all know is a rockstar.)
My husband and I had a long drive back this weekend with three sleeping kiddos in the car after visiting Cedar Point for a conference, and started talking about our finances (and really, how we got from HERE to HERE.)
A long time ago (way back in 1996 to be exact), we decided as a young married couple that we wanted me to be able to stay at home with our kids. So, when we bought our very first little-fixer-upper house (even though I was working), we based every financial decision we made on my husband’s income alone. (I never made much more than minimum wage, so it wasn’t all that difficult a decision in some ways!)
In fact, when I sat down to interview for a better paying position in my first job, the interviewers asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
Naively stupidly (at age twenty-one), I replied, “Um, I really just want to be a mom.”
Yup, moving up the ladder to success with that position clearly wasn’t going to happen.
That very clueless comment was the truth though, and shaped the way we looked at every financial decision we were faced with. It made us purchase homes that we could afford on just one income (even while we both worked outside the home), and forced us to stay frugal when our children were small as we were determined to stick it out.
Fast forward 18 (really?) years.
All those things I learned in those early days apparently paid off, and I’m lucky enough to write about them for a
few several hundred thousand readers each month. (Can I just tell y’all that’s crazy?????) And while this blog does now earn an income (learn more about how to make money blogging HERE and HERE), we’ve chosen not to spend any of the money we make from it.
I wish I could give you just a taste of what it feels like to have that financial freedom after years of working towards it. It’s still so weird to know that if something unexpected comes up our finances are in decent shape (which was an incredible blessing during our recent move!), and I wish I could just let you feel for a moment the peace that comes with that.
Do you know what’s the coolest thing about our decision? That one choice has given me so much freedom as a business owner. (I really don’t think of myself as a business owner, more a crazy-momma-who’s-too-excited-not-to-share-a-deal-with-you all day long? Ahem.) Our choices early on gave me the opportunity to learn this crazy blogging thing; it gave me wisdom in an area that some folks don’t really understand; and it gave me the ability not to worry about making an income while I was learning the ropes of blogging and running a business.
I have no idea where your family’s finances are at. I do know that we are incredibly blessed to be in this position after many years of hard work, and I know that it simply won’t work for some folks.
But, maybe you’re a young couple just looking at your future and trying to determine where you really want to go. Maybe you’re a mom thinking about re-entering the workforce now that your children are a wee bit older. Or maybe you’re a family that does have two incomes, and have never considered trying to live on one and allowing the second to go towards savings.
I encourage you to maybe consider what life would look like with just one income (if that’s even a possibility – I know it absolutely won’t work for everyone!) Even if you have two incomes (which is fantastic if both of you love your jobs – I’m not at all against mommas working here!), consider what would happen if you continued those jobs and chose to live on just one income to allow the excess to bulk up your savings account?
I firmly believe that the only way we did it in those early lean years was by clipping coupons and shopping the sales ads. Even today our grocery budget rarely exceeds $300 a month, and I talk to so many folks who are spending two to three times that on groceries alone (almost enough to be a second income alone!) Please understand that I know this won’t work for everyone, but as we’ve watched the peace that’s come from years of penny pinching, I guess I don’t want to miss this opportunity to tell you something that we (truly accidentally) learned along the way.
Your turn now? I’ll be honest, I’ve been a little afraid to share this post as I hate the thought of offending anyone, but I’m so thankful (truly, overwhelmingly thankful) for the peace that we’re finally feeling after so many years of penny pinching. I just wanted to mention it as a possibility to consider, and would love to hear your thoughts too.
(My littlest might just be the picture of not quite perfect but still really, really good!)
I absolutely love reading The Nester. In fact, her tagline (and now the title of her book) “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful” rings over and over in my head oh-so-often when I’m fluffing up my home.
It reminds me while I’m adding a few knick knacks to my kids’ rooms that just fluffed a bit and not-even-close-to-perfect is okay.
It encourages me while hanging wallpaper (eek!) that if there’s a teeny-tiny flaw somewhere along the way, it’s really not the end of the world.
And it allows grace, knowing that even if my home doesn’t look like Martha Stewart just stopped by to decorate (or goodness gracious, the Nester herself . . .), the home that my family comes home to each day is really just fine.
And guess what else? It’s a reminder that our lives are exactly the same way.
Last night, after a long day of putting kids on buses, missing them (a tiny bit?), mourning a little over missing my traditional back-to-school breakfast with good friends (not quite worth a drive to Alabama . . . ), hating that there was no one to knock on my door for a 5AM run, and just feeling a little more lost in this new home of ours, my running buddy texted to check in on the day. I was whining (so much more than I deserve to!), when she sent this text (I hope it’s okay to share Carrie!)
She hit the nail on the head, didn’t she?
My home doesn’t have to be perfect. But it’s good.
My kids don’t have to be perfect. But they’re good.
My situation for today is not just perfect. But it’s good.
And really, my life won’t likely ever be perfect.
But it’s (really, really, really) good.
I went to bed last night thinking about how God’s grace showers me so much more than this crazy-mess-of-a-momma every could have imagined. Right now things aren’t perfect, but my life is so much better than I ever deserved.
If you’re struggling along and feeling like nothing’s just quite right in your own life ~ know that nothing really ever is just quite right.
(Well, maybe it is . . . I just haven’t seen it yet?)
Beyond the facades we see of cute folks on the outside, hide a bunch of other folks feeling not-so-perfect too. But that doesn’t mean that a single one of us ~ nor a single one of our lives ~ isn’t good.
Be encouraged that your not-quite-perfect home, not-quite-perfect kids, and maybe even that not-quite-perfect husband (ahem?), is probably pretty darn good. Cling tight to the good in your life right now today in the midst of where you’re at. I’m holding on to my not-quite-perfect too.
I’d love for you to comment and share your thoughts too ~ I love hearing from you!
We had so much fun this week at the Ohio State Fair, and I thought you all might enjoy a peek! We haven’t gone to a state fair since living in Kentucky almost ten years ago, so it was fun to check out the food, rides, and (my favorite!) the exhibits. (I’m telling you what, next year I’m coming up with a recipe to enter in the fair – my family’s already debating what they want me to bake so that at least once a month for the next year they get to test it!)
I will tell you that the fair is far from penny pinched. If you have little ones, try to steer far from the rides (which is tough to do!), because just the exhibits are neat to see and don’t cost anything more than the fair’s admission. (We found discounted tickets at our local Kroger store.) We ended up purchasing $45 in ride tickets which was more than enough for my kids (thankfully they’re not big riders), and I kind of wish we encouraged them to just pick a ride or two, because they really would have been content with that.
My husband and I have always loved visiting the fair for the people-watching, to see what kind of ridiculous food’s being concocted, and I love checking out the cake competitions and handwork items. It’s just fun to see what people can do! Okie dokie . . . here’s what we saw ~ on what had to be the prettiest night I’ve ever seen in July.
Tried out Fried Buckeyes – they were so good! Fried Grilled Cheese . . . um, not so good
Noticed the Sloppy Donuts ~ yikes
My Reagan who’s always been fascinated by pigs (hence the pig overalls her Uncle Jack got for her) got to see her first piggies up close and personal.
After petting this one, she said “They’re so sort ~ that makes me love piggies even more!”
Then we saw this monster boar~ at 1440 pounds, it was not what we think of when Reagan says she loves piggies!
We also checked out a few pigs and bunnies (and made those goofy faces for some reason?)
Saw huge tractors . . .
and a few little ones too.
Checked out some fantastic train sets,
milked Buckeye Bessie,
and loved seeing the cookies, cakes and mode towns on display.
My son is convinced I’m making him that cake next year for his birthday (I promise to post pics when I do . . . )
And I loved looking at the quilts and handiwork on display.
All in all it was a fun but-not-so-penny-pinched afternoon, and we loved seeing all Ohio has to offer! Hope you’ve been able to do something extra fun this week with your family too.
Yesterday I made a quick trip to Sam’s to treat my kids to a bargain lunch and pick up a few groceries. (Did you see where the deals are at Sam’s?)
We made a beeline for our pizza and hotdogs as soon as we walked in the door, and the guy who served us was fast.
Do you know how much this hungry momma with even hungrier kiddos appreciated that? I bet you do.
We finished up our shopping and tried out the self checkouts that were fairly empty. There was a slightly disabled young man working there, and he hopped right to it to help me out. He hurried to get my items checked off, made sure I didn’t lift a thing (which took some extra effort on his part), and I had the nicest checkout experience I think I’ve ever had at Sam’s. Maybe anywhere.
He was awesome.
Sure enough, we handed an older gentleman our receipt to check off as we walked out the door, and he made a point to make small talk with my kids. He asked if they were ready for school to start, was genuinely kind to them, and just put smiles on the faces of my kids (who of course aren’t ready for school to start!)
He was awesome.
We then raced to get everything in the car before heading home, and as I was emptying my cart another worker walked over and let me know he’d take care of my cart (even though he was already pushing a jillion others.) He made sure I didn’t do anything extra, and sure enough took care of my cart (which I normally return on my own – unless I’m shopping at Publix of course.)
Guess what? He was awesome.
It got me thinking – ever single one of these workers chose to wake up and be awesome at their jobs today. They weren’t getting paid huge wages, didn’t have any reason to work extra hard for me, but they each did it anyways.
In the midst of our shopping I’d hurried to take my girls to the bathroom. (I have one who’s determined to visit every single toilet in every single spot all over every single town she’s in. Ugh.) While I waited for them, I looked in the mirror and was so disappointed. I just didn’t look like the fun cute moms that I keep noticing all around me. (Did I say ugh? Thankfully, my family seems to like just the mom I am – I’ve got to get over that!)
While I was worried about the silly stuff ~ lines on my forehead and bags under my eyes ~ other folks were out there being awesome. I was worrying about stuff that just doesn’t matter, rather than letting my behavior do the work to show a little awesomeness.
How often do I worry about things that have no real value (and that I really can’t fix . . .), instead of choosing to be awesome? How often do I just muddle along, half-doing this job of mommy-ing, cleaning my home, and being a wife, while I could instead step up and share a little awesome?
What if I decided to be awesome while driving carpool?
And showed some awesome every time I cleaned the kitchen sink?
What if my attitude even showed awesome to my husband when he walked in the door at night after having a the-kids-are-making-me-a-wee-bit-nuts-today-kind-of-day?
Today, I encourage you to work along with me and choose to be awesome too. No matter what God hands you – no matter where you’re at or what you’re doing, choose today to show a little awesome too.
(Wouldn’t it be fun if someone watched us as we worked at whatever our job was, and at the end of the day said “Goodness, that girl was just was awesome today”?)
That’s the kind of girl I wanna be. I’d love it if you’d join me too.
Okie dokie folks, I received a great comment on this post yesterday, and wanted to address it both for Peggy and for you. As you probably notice, I post alot of Amazon deals (which as I’ve shared do create a way to earn money for our family and others here on PPP.) BUT, I don’t post them only to earn income, and here’s why.
Believe it or not, there’s a little more thought that goes into posting here on PPP (and on most coupon blogs) than you can imagine. I watch what you all click over to read, see what people are most interested in, and try to share deals that are most beneficial to the largest number of readers. What I’ve found in the last few years is that more and more often, readers are more likely to get excited about easy online deals than they are for coupon deals. There are literally times when Shannon and I spend huge amounts of time on large shopping scenarios to share, only to see that we get a few clicks on those compared to hundreds of clicks for online savings. We want to use our time wisely, so we focus mostly on what the majority of readers are interested in. (We want to be efficient in our time too!)
AND, I vet our deals constantly, working hard to post prices on online savings that are at the lowest or very close to the lowest prices they’ve ever been at. This weekend Shannon and I Skyped and were discussing the great deal on diapers at Target this week. She’d done the math, and the best price ended up at $.12 per size one Pampers. That’s a great price, but there were quite a few hoops to jump through to get that deal!
Today, I happened to notice diapers were actually $.10 per diaper at Amazon (these were Luvs, so not high-end Pampers of course!), however Huggies ended up being just $.12 per diaper – the same price as Target without coupons or gift card deals. Now, I am all about a great deal, but my absolute number one favorite way to save is getting the very best price as easily as possible (especially for mommas who’ve got their hands full with busy babies!) So, to me this is a deal that I’m definitely going to post too, because I’m all about taking advantage of a deal and saving myself some time!
And like I shared in my comment with Peggy (you can read it HERE), there are only so many hours in my week to devote to PPP, so I’ve got to be smart in where I spend my time. Especially this summer, with a big move and three busy kids at home, I don’t have as much time to head to the stores and hunt down deals as I do during the school year. (I hope you understand!) So, it’s just easier to research online deals from home. Hopefully we’ll be back full-swing in another 6 weeks (but in the meantime I’m enjoying more time off with my family!)
I hope that makes sense, and I appreciate your (kind!) comments and suggestions on things you would like to see here on PPP so much. In all honesty, we just kind of live in survival mode here through the summer months (imagine hearing “MOOOOMMMMMMM” every time you type a sentence!), but all of that will settle down shortly. Hope you all understand, and I encourage you to always do the math to make sure you’re consistently getting the best deals!
Time for a random rambling today ~ pull up a chair and pour a glass of sweet tea – this one just might take awhile.
As I shared last week, this move has been not-so-easy on our family (or on me.) Thankfully though, this last week things have eased up a bit, and I know with time we’ll find our place here too. In the midst of it though, there have been things that I’ve noticed have made life a little more liveable each day. The reality is, we all struggle through difficult things in life ~ whether it be a move, an illness, parenting struggles, or the death of someone we love dearly.
Life (at times) is hard. There’s just no way around it. But, choosing to do a few certain things have helped ease a little stress here, and maybe they’ll be helpful for you too.
1. Get dressed, pray, exercise (even if only for a few minutes) and shine your sink, every single day. I don’t know where the magic is in these tricks, but they really do work ~ promise.
2. Skype, call, or text a friend. I’ve so missed a few friends from home, but have checked in with them through Skype, by sending a quick text, or calling them while folding laundry. I can’t tell you how much fun I had skyping a friend video of our new home (she even gave me decorating tips while I walked through the house), and just a simple one-sentence text to another friend really brightened my day. It’s amazing what simply connecting with real people who care for you can do to lift your spirits!
3. If you need to, do some tidying. Y’all, last week when I just about lost it, my husband came home and saw me in one mess of an office, and knew something had to be done. I kept telling him that since we didn’t have anywhere for most of the items to go until we had bookshelves, there was no point in tidying so I just needed to live with it. (It may be months or longer before we get those bookshelves as I’m trying to come up with a perfect plan – clearly spending hours each day in an office which is a disaster is not a great plan!)
He enlisted the help of our kids, and in less than 30 minutes the entire room was cleared out to storage in the basement. I had no idea how much the clutter was bothering me, but goodness just having a tidy (albeit empty!) spot to work in has drastically reduced my stress level. If you’ve got some clutter in your life that’s making a difficult situation even more stressful, determine to take a few hours this weekend to just clean something out. (I promise, you’ll be so glad you did!)
4. Watch Facebook less if you need to. Goodness, I love Facebook for keeping up with friends as much as anyone does, but last weekend I realized that watching what my friends were doing in Alabama that our family was missing out on was not helping. More importantly, I realized it was making a challenging situation even more difficult for my kids if they happened to scroll through and see what their friends were up to while we weren’t there.
Instead of living the life we’ve been given here in Ohio, Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or whatever it is for you), made us wish for something that couldn’t happen right now. If you’re going through something difficult (especially with a friend), limiting your time on social media and just really living might just change your perspective.
My son took these pictures in our backyard the other night ~ amazing!
5. Find the beauty right where you are. Never (ever) in a million years would we have snapped that picture in the backyard of our home in Alabama, and it truly is beautiful here. We used to walk to Publix (which I miss ~ so much!), but now we can walk to the river. We used to have a back yard full of landscaping, now we have a yard abuzz with thousands of fireflies each night and watch deer from our kitchen window at just about every meal. I’m still praying for grass one of these days (ugh!), but there’s beauty here already, if I just take a moment to open my eyes to see it.
If you’re going through something that just hurts so badly, try to find something oh-so-beautiful even in your situation. It might be a special snuggle with a child who’s struggling through a difficult season of their life, or maybe a walk outside to see some flowers in bloom. No matter what your situation, there is something beautiful to be found right where you’re at, so take a second to find it and just drink it in.
6. Realize you can’t do it all. I’ve been attending a Bible Study at the church we’ve been visiting here, and the message from Priscilla Schirer last week was on prioritizing. (Yikes!) She shared that a Godly friend encouraged her that she couldn’t do everything during the season of her life when her kids were young, so she needed to focus only on her top priorities.
This summer, the only things I can really tackle are making our move as painless for my family as possible, and keeping up (somewhat!) here on PPP. I’ve been convicted that I so often put my business ahead of my family, and right now they need to be first. School will be here before you know it, and I’ll never get back today with my family. I hate that in many ways (because I really do enjoy what I do here so much!), but until at least mid-August, they need a wee bit more attention right now.
What that means also is that there are lots of things I’m saying no to. This isn’t a season when I’m going to run 20 miles every week, I’m not going to bake homemade bread for dinner all that often, most of my penny pinching will be done just by shopping Aldi, and my house isn’t going to be perfectly clean even once. If you’re in a stressful season, really consider what your big priorities are, and then give yourself grace for the stuff you just can’t manage.
From my old office ~ we waited years for that room and I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll do here!
7. Dream. Big. Taking the time to dream has undoubtedly been the thing that has helped me to just feel some peace this last week (and even a little excitement as we’re here.) We’ve always put some effort into dreaming big in our homes, and I think in the midst of the move I’d forgotten how precious it is just to imagine something new for our future, even if we can’t have it all today.
Last week my (wise) husband encouraged me to really start thinking about my new office specifically and in general about our home, and to start dreaming about what I really wanted it to be. I hemmed and hawed, and generally felt like I’d come up with the simplest way to tackle what we have, just settling for something that would work.
He encouraged me instead to really dream about how I could make this space absolutely perfect – no holding back. Now, we may never get that big ole’ dream I’ve started thinking up, but since my dreams are free, I might just as well imagine ~ and maybe one day those dreams will become a possibility. We’ve walked around our yard and started planning what we’d like to see in each spot one day. In our last home we did the same thing, even staking out trees that didn’t get planted for years, just to start dreaming. Eventually, much of what we dreamed really did happened, but we would never have gotten there if we didn’t dream big to start with!
If you’re struggling through something that just feels overwhelming, try to look past the mountain in your life right now, and dream of where you may be in a year, two years, or even five years down the road. Dream of what you really want, not just what you’ll settle for. Work towards your dream even in the midst of your struggles, and know that those dreams might just become real for you one day too.
There are seasons of life that just come with so many overwhelming things it’s hard to even see outside right where you are. This week as I’ve struggled to find peace here it hasn’t all been easy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. (And it sure doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan right here!) If you’re struggling too, be encouraged that you are not alone, and that God has a perfect plan only for you.
Have I mentioned lately (ahem ~ today?) that we recently moved?
There’s really no way to sugar-coat it ~ this move has been H.A.R.D. on our family.
Truth be told? It’s been hard on me.
I (really) miss my life.
Honestly? I didn’t expect this moving thing to be so hard on me. I knew that logistically it would be tough ~ coordinating movers, packers, un-packers, enrolling kids in school, finding new places for the kids to do their extracurricular activities, setting up a new home ~ I pretty well guessed that all that would not be easy. What I didn’t expect though is that I’d come here and feel so . . . just . . . lost. And overwhelmed. And anxious. And ~ terrified?
My kids aren’t in school yet, so they haven’t figured out their place either. They don’t know yet where they fit. Or if they fit. Or if they ever will fit.
They don’t know where their place is, and I don’t know either. I don’t know what to tell them.
I’m still clinging tight to the hope that God has a great big ole’ plan here. And my husband’s job is fantastic. (Seriously folks, how many people would give anything just for that, and really when we have so very much what business do I have complaining?)
Much (much) of the things that have been difficult in our move have been made worse by some quirky things. We had lots of furniture damaged in our move (meaning our home feels even less like a home), we have no grass or landscaping outside which has been really hard on my we’d-rather-play-outside kids (hopes are for landscaping at least this week ~ praying!), and in general moving to a brand new home has definitely come with a few glitches.
I’m trying to remind myself that sometimes things are just hard. Moves aren’t always easy, illnesses don’t always heal, and some days things just don’t easily work out the way that we think they should.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the hard things. Whether you’re going through something physically, mentally, financially or any other way, remember the truth that you (and I) are learning something right here and right now that cannot be learned any other way.
I was reminded though yesterday that I am so ridiculously fortunate that I have absolutely no business whining (at all.) Not too far from our home I saw a family who had nothing. Not too far from my circle of friends I know people who’s children are struggling with major illnesses. What business do I have complaining?
So, I’m praying peace today to you wherever you’re at, and for me right here. And if you’ve moved recently (or just gone through something difficult), know that someone else has probably been there too. (I keep seeing people who seem to be moving so easily, and wondering what on earth is wrong with me ~ so this is my reminder to all of us that things aren’t always as easy as they look!) Hang in there, know that there’s a plan (really!), give yourself grace, and be blessed.
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