How To Save Up To Buy A House

Buying a house may be closer to your reach than you think. It’s all just a matter of controlling your money and making it work for you. In today’s article, I want to share with you the top 5 tips that have helped us save. I hope these will help you guys too so you can start this new, exciting chapter in your life.

1. My first tip would be to find the cheapest grocery store to buy your food. We previously did our grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s (a health food store) but that would easily bring our total price to $200 and sometimes more per week. And we’re just a family of two adults and a toddler! I searched around to see what stores had the best prices for food. It turns out that Walmart has some of the best prices. So I now do the majority of my grocery shopping there. But…surprise, surprise…the 99 cent store actually has a whole lot of produce all for $1! When I shop there, we save $70 a week which adds up to $280 a month! That’s a whole lot of money to save on just one bill! And trust me, I was skeptical about dollar store food too. But we have already tried it for 2 weeks and everything tastes just fine. Nothing spoiled right away or anything. So just give it a try. Maybe you’ll like it too.

2. Another area where we’re saving money is on our electric bill. Im so sorry to say but we used to live with our AC going non-stop! Its so embarrassing to admit. But now, we’re rarely using it and only put it on when the heat is getting to be just too much to handle. Turning on the AC is now a last resort for us. We’ll open the windows, turn off the lights, close the blinds, take a cool shower, turn the fans on, we’ll do all that before we finally decided to turn on the AC. We haven’t gotten the bill back yet but i imagine that we’ll be saving anywhere from $100 – $150 a month minimum. I’ll try to update you guys once we get the actual numbers back.

3. We also limit eating out now to only once a week. That’s something I had already been doing for a while now just for weight loss reasons but now my husband is jumping on board too. So he no longer will order out for lunch while he’s at work. But I take responsibility for making sure he has meals so he won’t have to eat out. If I miss a day for packing his lunch, I wont blame him if he does have to eat out. But its rare that that’ll happen. Lately I’ve been making a lot of crockpot meals so we’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. I’ve also been focusing on making delicious recipes so he wont miss eating out over the weekends. Often times before, we would go to Jamba Juice and buy a smoothie but now if we’re craving a smoothie, we’ll just make one at home. Its a whole lot cheaper that way. And you’d be surprised how much it adds up when you’re eating out.

4. My next tip is to look through the coupons you get sent to your door. Before we wouldn’t even bother and would just throw them out right away. ( I know, we were super wasteful :/ ) but now I take the time to look through them. I’m not a super couponer or anything so you won’t see me at the store taking out a binder of coupons (not that that’s a bad thing, I’m just not at that level). But if I do see a coupon for something that we use on a regular basis or for eating out, I’ll make sure to save it. For example, just last week I found a coupon for a free pizza. There were no strings attached either, we didn’t have to buy anything else. So last Friday for our day of eating out, we literally spent $0 on dinner. That was amazing to me and quite exhilarating to be honest lol😄

5. I’ve also been loving no spend weeks. I often will just do one week at a time and then the following week I will let myself buy something that I’ve been wanting (home decor, makeup, etc…) But lately I’m doing no spend months (since we’ll be moving into our new home in a little over a month) and I want us to save up as much as possible so we can have enough to make the renovations on the house that we’re wanting. I have been loving the challenge of not spending any money though. It really forces me to get creative and to find local events that are going on for free. It makes me do more hands on and nature things with my daughter. It’s been so nice and its getting easier over time. This is now my third week in a row of not spending any money on personal things and I’ve been so proud of myself for it.

As we’ve gone over the numbers to see if we can afford a house, I’ve realized that we’ve had the money all along but because of our mindless spending, the money would just slip through our fingers and in the end we wouldn’t have enough for anything else because we had spent it all on meaningless stuff. But spending like we were was just keeping us in the same situation of living in a small outdated apartment that we really didn’t want to be in. I’m so happy that we’re finally taking control of our money so we can really do the things we want with it and not just waste it. It makes me feel so good too as a stay at home mom because I know that I’m helping my family save TONS just by spending smarter. Sometimes us stay at home moms can feel like we’re not contributing enough to the family but I can see now that I am. By being more mindful with our money, I’m enabling us to be able to buy our own home. If it wasn’t for that, we’d always be stuck in the same boat. Because even if I went out and got a job, with our reckless spending, we still wouldn’t have any money left over.

This experience has helped me to see that we need to be in control of our money so we can take it in the direction we want to go. It all comes down to priorities and about what you want most. If you really want a house, then making these changes won’t be such a big deal. But if you rather have stuff, then that’s OK but just know that you may not be able to save for other things. I hope these tips will help you guys with getting a rein on your money so that you can soon move into a home of your own. It’s such an exciting, new chapter in our lives and I cant wait to share all the details, home decor, remodels, and DIYs that we do on the place. Which tip did you find the most helpful? And if you have any tips of your own, please let me know in the comments below. I’ll take all the help I can get!😄

Till Next Time,

Paula Moral

The Problem With Living Your Best Life

I’m sure by now so many of you have heard the phrase “live your best life”. A motto like that has good intentions I’m sure. But the more I see that way of thinking affecting people today (youths especially), the more I’m starting to feel that a phrase like that just does more harm than good. Let me explain…

I have seen that this motto of living your best life is actually starting to make a lot of people stressed out and feel under pressure. It creates this way of thinking that if at any moment you are unhappy with anything in your life, you need to drop it immediately because it’s keeping you from living your best life. It’s causing us, especially as a generation, to not work as hard as those before us. It’s as if we no longer want to have to endure the hard work that comes along with so many good things in life because why go through that if it’s not “your best life”. Here are some examples.

Take marriage for instance. In prior generations, marriage actually meant something. It was a lifelong commitment to your partner; a promise that even when things got rough, you would still stick it out and work through those it all. But now, we are so quick to give up! If we don’t feel constantly infatuated and in love with our partner, we want to end it. Instead of having that enduring love for our partners, we are so quick to give up because in that moment, we are not “living our best life”. We think, “why go through this if I can just end it and be with someone else who I don’t have problems with”. The thing is though, sooner or later we will start to have problems and disagreements even with that new beau. That infatuation wears off and before you know it, you’re right back where you were with your last partner. We are so quick to think about the what feels best in the moment rather than thinking about the long term consequences of our actions.

Another example is work. Before, it was long understood that you have to do the nitty-gritty, dirty work before you can make your way to the “top”. It was understood that you have to work your way up in your career which meant that you’d probably have to start out doing work that you hated. But it was worth it because there was a goal in sight and you knew that this was the way to start on your road to success. That was the understanding before but now, people just want their first job to be their dream job. They want to start out making millions. I have seen so many people that refuse to do any work (even though their dirt broke and living off their parents) simply because it’s not their dream job or not “what they want to be doing with their lives”. That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard! It doesn’t matter if this is what you want to do with your life or not. The bottom line is you need money right now for your day to day expenses. You may have to work a retail job, a waitressing job, or at as a gas station clerk for the moment. That doesn’t mean you have to work there indefinitely. You can work on reaching your career goals on the side while you also work a not so glamorous job to get by. That’s just life. But now that we have this expectation that we have to constantly be living our best life, the thinking now is “why work at a job I hate if it’s not my best life?” And I agree that you don’t have to stay at a job that makes you miserable (at least not forever) but you may for a time have to stick it out, just until you have something else you can lean on financially. We have lost our work ethic. We no longer know how to work hard and to endure anything. We want to give up and quit so easily and it’s all because we’re basically told that we should.

Another reason why I don’t like this motto is that I feel it keeps us constantly dissatisfied. Years ago, people would appreciate their “mundane” lives. They appreciated their family unit, their home, they had a steady income, good health, basically they had all their needs met and they were satisfied. Now, we are always constantly striving to be bigger and better. We no longer are OK in a normal family home. No, now we want to live a luxurious fast lifestyle. We want fast cars, exotic trips around the world, a mansion, lots of money, we basically want the life of a celebrity. We’re no longer satisfied with the typical family life because why be satisfied with just that when you can have it all? In a way, it causes us to be greedy because we think that there’s always better out there for us. But you know what, the grass is always greener and will always be. We will always think that there is more out there that will make us happy. But having that mindset is exactly why happiness will always elude us. We will never be content and satisfied in life so we will always feel that we need to trade in our life for a bigger and better one and then we will finally be happy.

I also feel like that saying keeps us from being content with our bodies. I don’t mind people working out and trying to look their best. But I do have a problem when people are constantly going through plastic surgeries and injections, trying to obtain the “perfect” look. It’s no judgement against any person. I think if I had some extreme “flaw” that really made me self conscious, I would maybe consider getting it fixed. But most of the times that’s not what’s happening. People want to give their lips the “perfect” pout, they want to shave their nose down ever so slightly and get injections in their butt to look like a photoshopped version of a celebrity. These aren’t major “flaws”. There is nothing wrong with them to begin with. This is obsessing over your body and trying to get it to obtain a look that you can never achieve (because it’s fake). But we are told to live our best life, which at times involves doing whatever it takes to be “happy” even if it is going under risky, life threatening surgeries. But again, these things hardly ever end with someone feeling happy and satisfied with their results. It often becomes an obsession. Once they see one thing “wrong” they start noticing all these other things they’d like to fix too.

Living your best life basically makes you feel like you can never be satisfied with your current life. You must always be improving and bettering until you one day you are living your best life. It causes us to see “problems” in our life that we never saw before. We are told that we can’t be satisfied being “just a mom”, or a dad who works a normal 9-5 job and comes home to his happy family. Why settle with that when you can have a bigger and better life?

And that ladies and gentlemen is why I hate when we say “live your best life”. I understand that it has good intentions. It basically is supposed to be motivation to better yourself and your life and I am always for that. But I feel the actual outcome of trying to live by this motto is just a generation of people who are never satisfied. When ever we have problems, we just want to drop whatever is causing them and runaway from it. We no longer want to put in the work that most great things in life require. But the thing is that most of the time we have to muddle through the rough times to enjoy the good ones waiting for us on the the other side.

Let me know in the comments below what you guys think. Do you agree with my viewpoint or do you think I’m just taking it all too seriously? I would really love to hear from you and see how you guys feel about it. But until then, I’ll see you all next time. Bye!

Paula

My Goals For The New Year (2019)

I’m sure most people would agree that the start of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals. It’s like a fresh start to a whole new and improved you! It’s a time I look forward to because it motivates me to work hard on bettering myself. I think it’s so important that we’re constantly growing and becoming better in life and goals help you to do just that. So I thought I’d share with you my goals for this year in hopes that maybe it’ll help motivate you with your own.

1. First and foremost I really want to work on building my blog up to the point where it becomes my business. This is a goal that I’ve had for a while now but never really stuck with it. Mostly because I thought it wouldn’t work out. I was basically setting myself up for failure. But after hearing lectures from others who built a business out of their blog, I realized that all I really need to do was put in the work and be consistent with it. I believe in myself now and I know I can do anything I set my mind to. So I’m ready to put in the work.

2. Another top goal that I have is losing 20 pounds! For those that have read my previous posts on weight loss, this may seem confusing to you. I know at one point, I renounced weight loss and said I was going to just accept my body for what it was. But you know what, that didn’t work for me. I was still uncomfortable with my weight and was just acting like I was fine with it when I really wasn’t. I was tired of feeling self conscious and always feeling nervous once the warmer weather came around because I no longer could cover up. I’ve already been working on losing the weight for about 2 weeks now and I’ve seen great progress. So I just want to make sure that I stick with it until I’m happy and confident with my body (which I’m guessing will be around 20 pounds lost).

3. I want to continue working out consistently at least 3x a week. I used to work out really consistently before I had my daughter, who is now 2 years old. It’s not her fault at all, I just think I’m more tired now and busy so it just takes more of an effort to get it done. Since she’s been born, I’ll have spurts of working out for a whole month but then I’ll stop and won’t exercise again till months later. So I just want to be more consistent with it during this new year because I know I’d make great progress. I’ve been working out now for about a month and a half so I want to make sure that I stay with it and that this isn’t just another one of those months where I workout hard and then don’t do anything for a while. 

4. Along with goal #1, I want to take classes, read books, and watch videos on growing my blog and becoming a better writer. I want this to be my profession so I really want to take it serious and educate myself so I can become the best that I can be.  

5. I’d like to also expand on the recipes I make for dinner too. I think I cook really good and my husband agrees too but I just want to shake it up a bit. We tend to eat chicken (or any other kind of meat), rice or couscous, and roasted veggies or salad. It’s really yummy and I love eating those kind of meals but I also know that it can get boring eating the same thing everyday. I’ve tried changing it up in any way I can, by using different grains, meat, and veggies. But we’ve pretty much tried every variation you can think of so we just need some new recipes in general to help us out. 

6. I also want to switch all (or at least most of) my makeup and beauty products to natural ones. My main reason being that conventional beauty products have been known to have carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and so much more junk and it’s all making us sick. This is something I’ve been knowing for a while now. I started switching my products back when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was more important to me then since I wanted to make sure that she was able to develop as healthy as possible. But once she was born and things got busy with a new baby, that all kind of took a back seat in my priorities. Lately, I haven’t been feeling well, like my hormones are not right. So I’m doing all that I can to get them balanced and cleaning up my beauty products is a huge part in that.  And if we can prevent ourselves from getting sick or developing certain diseases, then why not do it?

7. I also want to choose to watch more documentaries and educational things on TV too. I just want to constantly be learning new things and expanding my mind. It’s good for you too, just to constantly be learning new things and challenging your brain. I don’t want to waste my time watching reality TV shows and sitcoms. Those are fun and entertaining and I definitely will continue to watch those, but I also want to make sure that I’m taking the time to actually learn new things too.

8. Another big goal of mine is to save up enough money so that we can visit Massachusetts this year. That is my home and it always will be. I miss everything about Massachusetts. The city I lived in was filled with mainly Dominican people which is also my family’s nationality so it just feels like family no matter who I talk to over there. I miss that and I miss the culture, the sense of humor of the people, the greenery, and of course I miss my friends and family. I just feel like a part of me is missing and was left behind in Massachusetts and until I go back, that part of me will just remain empty. I can’t wait to simply get reconnected and back in touch with my roots. It’ll also be the first time that my daughter will be visiting my hometown so that’ll be really exciting. I think it’ll feel so nostalgic taking her to see all my favorite childhood spots. I can’t wait!

So what do you think? These are pretty much my main goals for this upcoming new year. Are any of yours similar to mine? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you 🙂 I hope you enjoyed this post and that you were able to get a little something out of it.

Till next time,

Paula