Tips and Tricks

Debt Free Summer ☀️

 This is how we feel about it being summer time!☀️ 

This is how we feel about it being summer time!☀️ 

I don't know about you, but we aren't going anywhere this summer (or maybe even the entire year). We're trying so hard to get debt free, fix up our house, and send our kids to preschool in the fall... so planning my weeks out in advance so that I'm not tempted to spend money is a must! Here's how I do it:

1. Plan your weeks in advance! Pick themes for your weeks. This coming week is monster week at our place. Here's what we have planned:

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Get this amazing lego challenge calendar here!

2. I take advantage of all things free in my city! 

- children's museum (we were gifted a membership) - summer movie days at your local theaters (bring your own snacks) - splash pads - pool day in your neighborhood - concert nights in my small towns Main Street area - library trips - storytime at Barnes and Noble  - free days at your local museums - 

 Swimming hole near our house. Free fun and it's beautiful! 

Swimming hole near our house. Free fun and it's beautiful! 

If you life in the Austin area you must follow Do512Family! There's so much to do for free. 

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3. Make a weekly budget for your extra spending, and get that money out of your bank account. Having cash to spend at special outings is a must or you'll just keep swiping that credit card / debit card without a care in the world. Cash is king and when you run out of it, no more spending!  

4. Try to set aside a certain amount of money each week throughout the summer. My husband and I have started a thing where if one of us says "let's go get coffee" - the other person has to get on the phone right then and throw whatever we would spend on coffee into our savings account. Are we always successful at this?! no way! We give in. Especially when it comes to going out for coffee or food... it's our biggest weakness in our spending life. 🤦🏼‍♀️ But it is a fun game and it's nice to have someone keep me accountable to our goals. 

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I hope you enjoy an amazing summer. Full of memories, lots of laughs, cook outs, pool days, and tons of fun without going into debt or breaking the bank. Have fun, and remember moments with your families are the very best gifts you can give one another. ☀️☀️☀️

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Traveling tips for your summer vacations with kiddos

Recently my family and I traveled to Austin, Texas. It was our first big trip as a family of three and Eleanor's first time flying. I was little hesitant because I wasn't sure how Eleanor would do on a plane and being away from home for so long. However with a little planning ahead we were able to have a great trip. So today I want to share with you some things I learned while traveling!

1. Plan ahead what everyone will wear

Comfy clothes are a must on trips but practicality is just as needed. Going through security can be a daunting task especially when you have little ones. I made sure that Eleanor had clothes that were easy to get on and off and didn't have any buckles or things that would go off in security. She wore a simple little dress that was perfect for the trip. For me it was important that I wore something that I could easily breastfeed her. A button down shirt was great because I didn't need to lift up layers upon layers to be able to feed her. 

2. Bring new books/toys/shows/movies

On road trips when I was younger I remember my mom always had a little special something for us on our trip. It usually wasn't anything extravagant but it was fun for me as a kid to have a new little toy, movie or book to explore when we were on the road. For Eleanor I got her some new books and downloaded her favorite show from the Netflix app. Her Usborne books were a hit. She loved having something new to look at and it was easy to stash in our bag. It doesn't have to be anything expensive but having something new (could be from the dollar store) is a sanity saver. 

If you are interested in some great books for your road trip or travels this summer check out Usborne books! They have something for every age! You can shop my link here or if you are interested in earning free books by hosting a party comment below and I will be sure to get in contact with you :) 

3. If you are staying with friends or family ask to see if they have extra carseats, strollers, and pack n' play.

One of the best parts about our trip was the fact I knew I didn't need to worry about the carseat, stroller or pack 'n play. My sister, Amber had extras of all these for us and it was such a lifesaver. If you are able to check with family or friends to see if they have friends or family willing to let you borrow those big items so you don't have to worry about checking them when you fly or stuffing them in the back of the car. 

4. Pack smart

It is so easy to over pack especially when you are a new parent. I packed Eleanor's bag multiple times before I finally knew exactly what I needed. One thing we decided to do that was a big help was that we only packed enough diapers and food for the flight going to Texas. We knew a Target was close by and could stop and pick up a pack of diapers and get her food for the week there. It saved us a lot of space, which was really helpful.

5. Dont stress

It is so easy to think about all the things that could go wrong with your trip and stress about it. I know the stares that other travelers give and how unnerving it can be to have a crying baby in public. However when you keep calm it helps babies and kids know that everything is going to be alright. Other passengers can wait, it wont hurt them when you have to take the extra moment to calm yourself and your kiddos. Don't stress about other people around you and what they might think. And remember if the lady in front of me could travel with 5 children ( all under the age of 9) by herself you can do it too!

-Sarah

Valentine's Traditions

Will and I have never really celebrated Valentine's Day, but when we had Liam and Lily we started a few traditions that have been so fun for us to do together as a family every year! (not to mention the kids feel so special and have so much fun) ❤️

First thing I've always done is get them Valentine's shirts. Ever since their very first Valentine's  ... I wonder how long they'll let me do this. 

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We always make them a fun breakfast and decorate the kitchen. I went a little over board last year but it was so much fun, I couldn't help myself. 

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We also get them small gifts. $5 or less type of gifts. But they're always appreciated and loved so much.  

For dinner, we go to Chick-fil-A. If you have never been to Valentine's Day dinner there, you are missing out. They decorate the tables and it's super cute. We always have the best time! Making Valentine's an amazing day to celebrate family has been the best and we love it so much. We also save money. We don't do elaborate and fancy dinners (even though there's nothing wrong with that) ... and we don't need a sitter... because it's a family day! 

 (just found out kids it free at PDQ on Valentine's Day) ❤️

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There's nothing I'd want, and no where I'd rather be than with my husband and my kids on Valentine's! so make Valentine's a family day this year, you won't regret it. 

Do you have Valentine's traditions?! 

 

Love, Amber ❤️