The Secret to Saving BIG BUCKS as a Mom

Yeah… I need a snow cone.

I’ve been reading up on how to make my own laundry detergent and dish soap. It seems to be “all the rage” on pinterest right now. Plus I’m trying to figure out a way to tighten our budget so I can buy more chocolate licorice and snow cones this summer. I printed out a few recipes, made a shopping list (Who has this stuff at home? I mean, really, borax? I haven’t seen that since my granny made me scrub her toilet with a toothbrush. Ugh.) and then promptly lost it – the list, that is.

So, I started over. But decided to check the supply closet in my bathroom first. Just in case I already had a bottle of super toxic kitchen cleaner tucked away in there already. Sure enough, I had a bunch of stuff tucked away in there; toilet bowl cleaner, counter top spray, glass cleaner (who bought that?), carpet deodorizer, wood polish (again, who polishes wood in this house?), and even some spray and wash. I stared at this treasure trove of cleaning supplies in amazement. I didn’t remember buying all this stuff, although it was clearly a collection of odds and ends I picked up off clearance shelves. And I also wondered – why haven’t we used this yet? I hadn’t bought any of this stuff recently. In fact, I couldn’t remember the last time I bought a cleaning product of any kind. What was going on?

Then I shifted my gaze and noticed the bathroom floor. Eeew.

Yah, that’s why I hadn’t used any of these cleaners – I wasn’t CLEANING. Great. I could suddenly feel ten generations of my grandmothers shaking their fingers at me from heaven.

But look at all the other great stuff I was doing! Building chicken coops! Roller skating! Planting a garden! Writing kids books! Running lots of cold, cold miles! Eating cookies to warm up! Teaching my kids to bake the cookies so I didn’t have to! Come on grandmas! Lighten up.

The final note to this story is that after a quick survey of my closet and the comfortable layer of grime in my home, I decided I was already saving a TON of money on household cleaning products by using them SPARINGLY. And I thought this was a tip worth sharing.

Ladies, do not clean unless someone you know to be anal is coming over.

Remember that sanitary does not equal “spotless”. You don’t need to be gross – no roaches or rats in my home – but a little dirt on the kitchen floor never hurt anyone. Neither has a ten-day-old noodle. CHA-CHING! No more silly floor wax!

Buy way more paper plates than you’ll need for that party and use them for meals weeks afterwards – you’ll save BUCKETS of money on dish soap! CHA-CHING!

Make your kids wear their PJ’s all day and then to bed again that night when it’s raining outside. Who cares? CHA-CHING! Another dime in my pocket that I stole from the washing machine!

Brush your teeth with your finger when you’re in the car. If they are especially carpeted, use the inside of your shirt collar. Way easier on your enamel than a tooth brush. CHA-CHING!

Give your kids raw oatmeal for their cereal in the mornings. Tell them it’s just like eating raw cookie dough. CHA-CHING! Time AND money saved on that one!

Always wear shoes in your home, or at least a very thick pair of socks, so you can’t feel the lumpiness of the seriously needing to be vacuumed floor. CHA-CHING! Saved the environment by reducing my carbon vacuum footprint of greenhouse gasses.. and stuff…

As you can see, if you are anything like me, you’re probably well on your way down the road to achieving financial independence and complete budgeting bliss. So kick those clean clothes off the couch and back into the basket on the floor and sit back and enjoy some netflix and a snow cone. You’ve EARNED IT!

What? Those clothes are dirty? Well what are they doing on your couch? Get them on the floor, girl!

**Footnote: When the neighbor kid with OCD offers to clean for you, let him. It’s not saving you money, but it’s giving his mom a break, so technically you’re paying it forward. (Thanks for the reminder Wendy!)



Puke Waxes Poetic

It has been a crappy, crappy month. Which sucks (yes, I’m using all the mommy swears today) because it’s our big birthday month. Several of us have birthdays in February, plus we have Valentine’s day and all those other fun, lesser holidays. Anyway, we usually party our brains out, but instead we’ve been puking our guts out for two weeks straight plus fevers and sinus infections. It’s like I’m living in a dystopian novel or something. Anyway, it’s reminded me of this poem I wrote a few years ago. My, how nothing changes… I love my job, no matter how gross. Mike Rowe has nothing on me.


A Mother’s Valentine

I do not love you with candy hearts 
Or waxy chocolates from the dollar store.
I do not love you with flowers that wilt
Or toys that break by lunchtime. 
I do not love you with frothy cards 
Full of glitter and inane declarations written by some other hand.
Rather, I love you with bacon sizzling in the dark morning hours before the birds.
I love you with a soft blanket tucked around your shoulders after you drift away. 
I love you with bags full of library books and bags under my eyes,
With lectures on strangers and street ball,
With broccoli and cabbage and peaches and spinach
and dirt under my nails from our three season organic garden. 

I love you with long walks in the park and stories about childhood without video games. 
I love you with homemade cookies. 
I love you with piano lessons. 
I love you with a foggy, sleep deprived brain. 
I love you with red leaky eyes and a heavy heart when you are hurting. 
I love you with exclamations and swelling emails to your grandparents when you are triumphant. 
And oh! 
So very, very, very many photographs. 
I love you with blossoming fears and fully rooted dreams. 
I love you with food on my floor and barf on my shirt. 
I love you with marker decorating the new couch. 
I love you with Tide, Clorox, baking soda and vinegar. 
I love you with toothpaste and tear-free shampoo. 
I love you with gluten free vanilla special ordered from Madagascar. 
I love you with the latest Pixar movie and popcorn and a blanket on the floor. Likewise, 
I love you with time out and grounding until you turn 21. 
I love you with the keys to the car, 
my best lipstick,
the necklace your daddy gave me, 
and my credit card. 
I love you with pride and humility and every night I love you on my knees,
pouring out my soul to Our Father who made us, 
grateful to be your mother, 
pleading for your safety,
longing for your comprehension,
but knowing it will only come 
when you are a parent too.