5 Tips To Saving Money

Last year I shared our biggest financial lessons we learned throughout our twenties. You can check out both posts here: Financial Lessons We Learned In Our Twenties  & Financial Lessons Part 2.  Money is such an interesting topic because we all need it but many people feel strange discussing it. I feel like it is one of those topics we tend to avoid in conversation because everyone has different feelings/circumstances surrounding finances. I know these past couple of months have been financially devastating to many families and I can only pray people begin to get back on their feet.

During this time I have thought and felt many things. Every day I have remained grateful for our finances and the safety net Mason and I have created for our family. I wanted to share what I have learned when it comes to saving money and being diligent in saving. I know it can be hard to continuously think “big picture” or “long term” with savings, but it is definitely worth it.

Taking ownership in your finances reminds me of creating a health and wellness routine. If you try to do everything at once it becomes completely overwhelming and hard to manage. However, if you take small steps and implement one thing at a time it turns into habits which generate results.

What has helped you save? I would love to know any tips or recommendations!

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Savings Step One: Pay Off Debt

Look at what you owe or make payments on and come up with a plan. Write it down and hold yourself accountable. Cut back on other things and prioritize your finances. Start with what is manageable to tackle and go from there. Also be realistic with some debt, such as a house.

Savings Step Two: Don’t Spend What You Don’t Have

Really look at your finances and situation and assess where you are. Know what you bring in each month and on average what you spend with bills, food, etc. If you are constantly putting things on a card and unable to pay it off, think about if they are things you actually need. Look at ways to cut costs of certain things if applicable.  I am a huge believer in if we don’t have the money to pay for it, we are not purchasing it period. Credit cards can become a tricky game of constantly paying off/catching up…

Savings Step Three: Eliminate Multiple Credit Cards

If you are tempted to constantly put things on a card and worry about it later, try to eliminate having multiple accounts. Pay off any cards that are not primary and focus on having what you need. Those amounts on multiple accounts can add up fast and then accumulate into something difficult to manage.

Savings Step Four: Set An Amount

Set an amount from every paycheck that you are going to pay yourself. Write it down like it is another bill that has to be taken out each and every time…no exceptions. If you are able to, set it on auto draft so you eliminate any temptations of keeping it where you want to spend it. It does not have to be anything big, small amounts accumulate over time. Choose something reasonable that is not overwhelming and be consistent with it.

Savings Step Five: Create An Emergency Fund

Have a goal when you start saving. This will help you stay on track and motivated to be consistent. I have mentioned our emergency fund is 3 months of living plus what we think is a good amount for any house things that happen unexpectedly (ex: ac unit). This will become your safety net if anything happens and should be treated as that. It is not for vacations, pampering, material items, etc. Once we hit our goal, I didn’t even consider that amount as part of our “savings” anymore since it serves a completely different purpose.

Once you get to a comfortable point in your savings, consider doing other things such as investments, retirement accounts, stock, mutal funds, etc. You can read more about those in my previous posts!

Blessings,

Jac

 

 

 

10 Daily Health Habits: Toddler Edition

I recently shared daily health habits I implement that you can read here:10 Daily Health Habits. I began thinking of my son and the healthy habits he is practicing and learning at two years old. He definitely is at the stage where he absorbs (and imitates) everything, so my husband and I try our best to stay intentional with our words and actions around him. I thought it would be fun to share what he practices or does on a day to day basis.

I would love to know anything your family or children implement!

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1.Special Morning/Evening Routine

I think these times of the day are so important because they are the book ends to everything that happens in-between. It is a time of snuggles, no distractions, and connection with our son and provides that safety net to the day. You can check out more on why I value routines here: Why I Value Routines

2.Dinner At The Table

Connecting with family around the table is one of the greatest gifts. It is a place where every member is present and conversations can be held. We are big believers in sitting at the table and have done it with him ever since he began eating foods.

3.Prayer

There is nothing sweeter than listening to your child pray.

4.Affirmations

I started affirmations with my son right when he turned two that we go over every night. I think it is so beneficial for him to be speaking positive, uplifting words day in and day out.

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5.Sunshine

We try to play outside as much as possible. Nothing is better than sunshine and fresh air!

6.Limited Screens

Although I think screen time can be beneficial and necessary on “hot mess” days, we really try and stay intentional with limiting the amount he is allowed to have. He knows when he is allowed an episode or movie and is completely okay with not having it!

7.Reading

As an educator I am a huge believer and advocate for reading and early literacy. You can check out more info here: 5 Ways To Promote Early Literacy

8.Free Play

Our son loves to play with his toys and could spend hours imagining and creating. We encourage any and all play time!

9.Variety In Foods

We try to be as healthy as possible with our foods and meals as a family and strive to  continuously introduce different things while providing a balance.

10. Boundaries

I think it is important our son knows and learns his boundaries as he grows and develops. I am a big believer on following through with my word, giving choices, redirection/guidance, and acknowledgement. This can look different for each child and each family!

Blessings,

Jac

10 Daily Health Habits

With a new month around the corner, I start to think about goals for myself and reflect on the previous weeks. There is something about the beginning of a month that is refreshing and exciting for me personally. With so much out of our control (especially now) I like to focus on what I can control in my day to day. Of course not every day is perfect, which is all part of the journey and is where I tend to learn the most. However, there are so many good things implemented in my daily routine that have now become second nature that I wanted to share. I will say some of these habits or routines took longer than others to build and get to a place where they became automatic. Time and consistency are always your friend when creating something new….as well as grace!

What are some healthy habits you implement day to day? I would love to know!

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1.Waking Up Before The House 

This has become such a sacred time for me. I finish teaching an hour before my son gets up to carve out “me” time. I started doing this once we moved, and I will never go back. I heard the motto “wake up the day, don’t let the day wake you up” and it really resonated with me about creating intentions in the morning and having that time.

2. Water

I have mentioned before I am a huge water drinker. I have a 40oz hydro-flask that I love to keep me on track since I only need to refill it a couple of times. Drinking water makes such a difference all around and can be something simple to implement. There are so many different systems to track your intake if that is a personal goal. I also bring my hydro-flask everywhere so it is a constant reminder to drink.

3.Vegetable With Every Meal

I have always enjoyed vegetables, but there have been many seasons where I was barely eating any throughout a day. I am now at a place where I implement at least one serving with each meal. It keeps me full and most importantly provides value to my health. I don’t follow any diet or eating plan but try to focus on giving my body nutrient dense foods.

4.Mind Fuel

This can look different for everyone, depending on personal preference. I like to listen to podcasts or trainings that are uplifting and educational. I also enjoy reading different books that are geared to self growth/development as well as journal (gratitude), practice affirmations, and pray.

5.Movement

This does not have to be an intense workout. Any movement is good for your body. I enjoy following some type of fitness program to challenge myself and keep myself accountable, but it can be whatever is best for you. Find what you enjoy doing and implement whatever that is!

6.Sunshine 

There is nothing better than getting outside! My son and I love our morning walks and look forward to it everyday.

7. Vitamins/Supplements 

This is such a personal thing since we are all so different in what our bodies need. If you are ever curious about any deficiencies, you can get blood work done and discuss with your primary doctor. Supplements can be anything from a greens powder to a collagen powder and can be completely tailored to your needs.

8.Making Your Bed

Although I love a made bed, I think the act of making your bed is what is more important than the bed itself. It starts your day with you accomplishing a simple task which can snowball into more accomplishments/productivity throughout the day.

9.Self Care

This does not have to be some elaborate thing that you only do certain times. Doing something for yourself every day is so important. It can be as simple as your skin care routine, to reading a book, to having 10 minutes of alone time.

10. Maintain A Learning Mindset

It is a journey, and we continue to learn, evolve, grow, and improve with trial/error and time. Try new things, challenge yourself, and be kind to yourself along the way!

Blessings,

Jac

At Home Toddler Hair Cut

My two year old is not a fan of getting his hair cut…like at all.  Many tears have been shed over getting his hair trimmed and each time I would pray we were the only ones in building. After a few visits I decided I was going to purchase some scissors and attempt them at home. I have now been cutting his hair for a few months, and he has done great! I currently only use scissors since his hair is fine (and he is freaked out by clippers)  but have ventured out with my husband’s hair.  I  wanted to share some things to consider if you plan on cutting your toddler’s hair at home and what has worked well for us!

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1.Find A Good Spot

I have tried a chair, on my lap, and the bathtub. My son prefers the bathtub because he isn’t too confined and I can quickly clean up once we are done. Test out a couple of different spots and see which place your child responds to best or prefers. If your child is in a chair, I recommend cutting outside so there is no clean up.

2.Provide Entertainment

Having your toddler distracted is key! I allow my son to watch an episode of a show to keep his head looking a certain direction and still. I have tried toys, books, etc, however his head would move too much or he wouldn’t keep it in a certain direction long enough which extended the whole process. Using his IPAD has worked great for us and is a special hair cut treat!

3.Purchase The Correct Tools

Definitely invest in some scissors, clippers, and comb. I also use a spray bottle to keep his hair damp throughout! It makes it so much easier having the right tools. Here is what I use!

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4.Start Small & Follow Their Lead

I was pretty nervous starting out so starting small and cutting only a little helped me become comfortable and used to cutting hair. I had to learn how long my son could stand there for me to do it and what worked best for him to become more efficient. His hair cuts now take around 10-15 minutes which is great!

5.Make It Fun

I like to make it a special time for him by watching a show and eating a favorite snack. It is something he now enjoys and a special thing we do together.

 

** I also recommend watching videos on cutting hair in general. This helped me so much not only for my son, but also my husband. You definitely become more comfortable each time and better with practice!

Blessings,

Jac

Exercise While Traveling

My son and I recently spent the last week at my parent’s house to welcome my brother’s first child into the world. It was so nice to have a change of scenery after being home the last two months! They live on a beautiful wildlife reserve, so it is always feels like a mini vacation when we go. I always plan to exercise or workout when I travel/vacation, however sometimes that doesn’t happen the way I intended (which is okay). While I was there, I started thinking about what I have learned over the years to keep myself moving with travel. I thought I would share my top five tips today!

 I would love to know what has worked best for you!

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1. Have A Game Plan

You do not have to have every single day laid out because that can be overwhelming and feel like a huge task (especially on a trip). However, having some type of plan will be extremely helpful in staying accountable with yourself. It can be a specific workout program you are following, something you created yourself, or classes you signed up for.

2. Take Advantage Of Where You Are

If you enjoy being outside, take advantage of where you are traveling to. Go for a hike in the mountains, jog on the beach, run the track around the boat. It’s so nice to move while getting fresh air and enjoying the place around you!

3. Choose A Good Time Of Day

Decide what time of day works best for you with whatever trip you are on. For example, if you have jam packed days, the mornings may work best before you exhausted at night. If your vacation is more relaxing, maybe mid-day or evenings are more desirable. Decide when you are going to incorporate exercise so you aren’t falling into the excuse trap each day.

4.Have A Buddy 

If possible, have someone join you! It is way more fun to exercise with someone else and gives you something to look forward to together.

5.Sign Up For Classes

If you regularly enjoy classes at home, find studios/classes you can sign up for while traveling (if applicable). When you pay for something, you are way more likely to follow through and classes are always a fun and different way to move or switch things up.

Bonus: Bring Equipment 

If you are traveling by car, bring some equipment if you won’t have access to any. I like to bring a heavy/medium set of dumbbells and resistance bands. Of course you can use your own body weight, however it is also nice to have a few things on deck.

 

 

What are some ways you stay accountable when you travel? 

Blessings,

Jac

 

Pregnancy Series: Recovery

I have shared some of my pregnancy journey and what I learned throughout each chapter. You can read those posts here: Initial Signs & First TrimesterSecond Trimester Recap, Third Trimester Recap,Birth Story. With my niece making her arrival in a couple of days (can’t wait), I thought I would share my experience with recovery and what that was like for me personally. Like I have mentioned, we all have such a different experience when it comes to pregnancy and birth, which is always something to keep in mind. Out of all of my experiences, I honestly wish I had been a little more prepared for the “after” or recovery phase, especially as a first time Momma!

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It’s so easy to forget everything a woman is going through after having a sweet newborn baby in the world. You can easily forget that the woman is personally recovering from something major and trying to heal her body, learning to nurse (if she chooses) and having her body change/adapt to provide for her baby, running on little to no sleep, navigating taking care of a precious baby that there is no manual for, handling a multitude of hormones, and so much more! You go through so much change overnight that it can feel difficult to navigate and adjust, which is okay! You are already everything that baby needs and with time you learn and gain confidence in your new role. .

Depending on the birth, you will have a different recovery experience physically. Thankfully, our hospital had awesome nurses so they helped me A LOT as I tried to move around. Just remember….your blood volume increases when you are pregnant so it has to normalize after. Gravity is not your friend when you stand so having your partner help as much as they can is nice (or staff members). You will probably be sore for a few days/weeks depending on your situation and ice packs/medication help. You don’t have to be a super mom during this time because you can easily overdo it. Your body definitely needs that recovery time. Our nurses quickly showed me how to do everything myself so that I immediately felt comfortable using the restroom on my own and gave me all the materials to bring home (they will monitor the first time, especially if you had a catheter). You definitely want some cheap/different undergarments to use as well as recovery products.

Every time the nurses came in to check me, they would look at my vitals, ask about pain or any specifics I was experiencing, as well as check on swelling in my legs/feet. I also asked a million questions which is also OKAY. They are there to help you, reassure you, and provide valuable knowledge and insight. I also had a lactation consultant come a few times in our hospital room to observe/help as I was learning to nurse. Take advantage of those resources! You will initially produce colostrum and then have your milk come in a few days later which is such a strange and surreal feeling. Nursing is a whole other ball game that I will share more on later!

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For the most part my physical recovery was pretty easy, which I am extremely thankful for. I felt stronger with each day and was able to do more. I also had new Momma friends which helped a TON in seeking advice during an unknown time and asking if certain things were “normal”. I did call my doctor a couple of times from home just to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary. The emotional side is a tough one to navigate because it is so unique to each person and can be a totally different experience. With time, the emotions and hormones do balance, you do begin to feel normal, and there is so much help and support if you are in need of something more. Becoming a mother is such a humbling experience full of firsts. People truly want to help!

What were your recoveries like? Anything that surprised you? I would love to know!

Until next time…

Blessings,

Jac

Positive Self Image

I was listening to something the other day about how we treat ourselves, and it made me think about self image and how we can create a more positive one, no matter how young or old we are. I truly believe knowing yourself, appreciating yourself, and loving yourself are so important and create such a joy centered life. We have the ability and power to become who we want to become if we allow it and work towards it day in and day out.

I wanted to share some ways I have found myself building my own self-image and what I think is important to keep in mind. I would love to know any of your thoughts!

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1. Self Talk/Affirmations

What we say to ourselves is so important. We have the ability to fill ourselves up with positive self talk and affirmations each and every day. Never underestimate the power of your mind…it can alter so many things.

2.Grace

No one is perfect and we will all fall and make mistakes. Recognize those mistakes as an opportunity to grow and learn…then move forward! Give yourself the grace you deserve and probably give to others easily.

3.Supportive/Uplifting People

I once heard you become who you surround yourself with. There is nothing better than being with people who support, encourage, and lift you up throughout all of life’s ups and downs. Choose those who make you a better version and let go of those who don’t.

4.Live Your Life For You

You are on your journey. Do what makes you happy and live your life for you, no one else.

5.Avoid Comparison

I’m sure we have all fallen victim to comparing ourselves to others but it really is the thief of our joy. We are all created differently and perfectly in God’s image with our own set of gifts and abilities. Learn to love those differences and appreciate them in others. Always remember, your beginning may be someone’s middle or end.

6.Do Things You Love & Fuel Your Spirit

Find the things that bring out the light in you and make them a priority.

7.Accept Areas Of Improvement

Accept yourself as a flawed being and recognize the areas of struggle or improvement. Decide if those are areas you want to grow in, but don’t let them define you.

8.You Are More Than Societal Expectations

Your value is not based on anything society has told you it is. Your identity lies in your heart and spirit.

9.Take Care Of Yourself 

Your life is not a dress rehearsal. Make yourself a priority and take care of yourself in the ways you need it. Be kind to your body, mind, and spirit.

10.Love & Be Kind To Others

Love and kindness are contagious. Spread it as often as possible.

What are some things you try to focus on?

Blessings,

Jac