Monthly Archives: October 2017

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How Much Do We Meal Plan, Budgeting With Inconsistent Income, Getting Ready for the Holidays | October Budget Q&A

How Much Do We Meal Plan, Budgeting With Inconsistent Income, Getting Ready for the Holidays |

Friends!

It’s time for October’s Budget Q&A!

Last month was my first every Budget Q&A and it was a huge hit!  I answered your questions about how we spend only $100 a person for groceries each month, how much we spend eating out and how we meal plan.  The Budget Q&A was so popular and I received a ton of questions from you.  So I decided to make it a monthly theme. 

Today I’m answering a few of the questions I’ve received lately from you.  With the Holidays coming up, now is the time to get your budget in check.  Budgeting doesn’t have to be perfect every single month, so please do not let the fear of mistakes stop you from creating a budget.  This time of year is absolutely perfect to get to work on a new money plan for your family.  The holidays are always the time of year people tend to overspend, use credit cards too often and not put money back into savings.  So by starting your budget today you can at least have a good starting point before we get into the chaotic Christmas season.  

Watch the video online or down below:

If you’re looking for a specific answer check out the time stamps:

How Much Do We Meal Plan At A Time: 2:10

Budgeting With Inconsistent Income: 5:55

Getting Ready For The Holidays: 8:52

For more help with your budgeting problems and to get your ready for the BEST Christmas ever check out the posts below:

How We Meal Plan to Save Money

how i meal plan, free meal planner template

How to Create a Simple Budget

one tip to create a simple budget, how to create a simple budget, budgeting made easy

How To Do Christmas On A Budget

Christmas on a budget

If you have any questions you would like answered, please send them to me.  You can leave a comment below or email me at meredith@merelynne.com. 

8 Minute Makeup Routine – The Perfect Mom Makeup Look

Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that when you click links and purchase items on this most, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. Thank you!

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As Moms we have very limited time to get ready in the morning.  Between getting dressed, making breakfast, starting laundry and chasing a toddler it leaves little time to actually look presentable.  

As a working mom I have places to me and need to look decent for client appointments.  I have started mastering my morning routine so that I can not only take care of my family, but also look like a confident professional.  In today’s post I’m showing you how I put together my full face in under 8 minutes.  Of course because I love a good deal, I try to buy affordable makeup products and I love to pass on what I use with you.  I’ve linked the products or a similar one I use down below.

You can watch the video online or down below:

 

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Here’s what I use on a daily basis, some of the links and products may not be available any longer.  But I have put together a similar list for you. 

e.l.f. Poreless Face Primer
Morphe Eyeshadow Palette – 35R
Rimmel Gentle Eye Makeup Remover
Mac Eyeshadow – The Holiday Palette from a few years ago
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation (in 112 and 120)
wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick – When The Nude Strikes
wet n wild MegaGlo Makeup Stick – Call Me Maple
wet n wild Brow Pencil – Brunettes Do It Better
LA Colors Lipgloss
Covergirl LashBlast Volume Mascara

Here are the brushes and tools I use:

Morphe Foundation Brush – M439
Morphe Eyeshadow Brush – M428
Wal-Mart Blush Brush
Wal-Mart Eyeliner Brush
Mac Foundation Brush – 130
Eyelash Curler

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How To Budget For Your Pets

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Not that long ago I shared over on Youtube Live all about budgeting for your pets.  I get asked ALL THE TIME if we include our three dogs in our grocery budget or if they have a budget all their own.  Well… watch the video to find out what we do to cover vet bills, food costs and boarding fees.

You can watch online or down below.

How do you budget for your pets?  Do you keep it separate or lump it all together in your other monthly categories?  You have to find what works best for your family.  We played around with our budgets until we found a system that worked for us.

If you need more help with budgeting, check out the posts below:

How To Create A Budget in Under 10 Minutes

how to create a budget in 10 minutes

How To Create A Sinking Fund

What is a sinking fund

Why Amazon is Mom’s Best Friend

amazon is mom's best friend

How To Save Extra Tomato Sauce

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Friends,

I have a confession to make. I posted this dinner tip to my youtube channel awhile back and I totally forgot to share it on my blog (shame on me!). So I figured today was a good day to do that.

Do you ever create a dinner to look over and discover extra tomato sauce, pasta sauce, tomato paste leftover? Well we do and it happens way too often. I just hate throwing good food away (which is why we have a weekly leftover night). It just bothers me.

I discovered something amazing after doing an experiment one night. You can freeze all that leftover sauce and tomato paste. Yep! It’s amazing.

All you do is distribute the leftovers into an ice cube tray or a muffin tray then place directly in the freezer. By next morning you’ll be able to pop them out of the tray and place in a freezer bag. Just label and you’re good to go.

Perfect.

Now if you really want to help with dinnertime you can even season the sauce before freezing. If you typically use the sauce with the same spices then go for it.

You can watch my quick video online or below:

 

Why You Should Have Your Accounts on Auto Pay

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Today, I’m popping in to share with you a quick video that will transform your budget.  I am all about being efficient and streamline with my life.  I love helping families that want to get out of the scarcity mentality so they can start paying down debt.  The first step I share with clients and anyone willing to listen is why you should setup your bills on auto pay. 

This one feature can help minimize (or completely stop) late payments.  It can also help decrease your monthly cost of paying bills (watch the video to find out how) and so much more.

You can watch the video online or down below.  For more helpful posts, check out below.

How to Streamline Your Life

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How To Afford Paying Off Your Credit Card

How to Afford Paying Off Credit Card Debt

Why We Have So Many Different Bank Accounts

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How To Set The Right Financial Goals

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One of the biggest issues I see with families is not knowing how to set perfect financial goals.  Goals need to be specific and measurable, as well as what is best for your situation.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having big goals.  My husband and I have some pretty big dreams and goals that we are working towards, but the first step with any goal is breaking it down into smaller ones.

You can watch this video online or below to learn more about creating the right financial goals for your family.

Creating the right financial goals doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming.  You just have to do some research to know how much you can afford each month and how much the final goal is going to cost you.

For instance, if you want to save money for a down payment on your dream home that’s great.  However, it can be overwhelming to say I want to save 20% of a $200,000 home – that’s $40,000 you’re trying to save.  When you look at $40,000 that can feel almost impossible, which is why so many families struggle with the paycheck-to-paycheck mentality.  You see a big number and are immediately discouraged.  You result in giving up before even trying.

Instead what you should be doing is setting your $40,000 goal with a realistic time period.  For example, you want to save 20% for a down payment and you would like to do it in 4 years.  Well now you need to save $10,000 a year or $833 a month.  Once you see the smaller number it becomes much more manageable.

BUT if that smaller, monthly amount is still too high then there are a few options you can pick from.  First – spread out your goal.  Instead of 4 years, try 5 years.  Now you’re talking about only $667 a month to reach your goal.  

Second – re-prioritize your goal.  Do you really want a $200,000 home?  Can you reduce any current expenses so you can put back even more towards your goal?

It’s all about making your goal more manageable and then having an honest conversation with yourself and your spouse.  Maybe you realize there is a better option than a $200,000 home – perhaps you could get $150,000 home that’s a bit more out of town so it’s the same size.  Or maybe you realize you don’t need a new car every 3 years and can work on paying off your car loan so you can have more spending cash each month to put towards your goal.

I’ve been talking a lot about a house, but your goals are anything you want to accomplish.  A vacation, a new car, buying a boat, saving for your children’s college costs, remodeling your home, etc.  

To set the right financial goals you need to make sure you are following this formula:

  1. Decide on the final amount for your goal
  2. Decide on a time frame to reach your goal
  3. Break it down into a monthly (or weekly) payment
  4. Re-prioritize your goal if it’s not feasible to save that amount or reach your goal in that time frame
  5. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate because goals change with time

 

Q&A About Me

q&a about me, meredithrines, merelynne, meredith rines

Recently I shared this Budget Q&A video where I talked about how much we spend on groceries each month, do we meal plan for every night and how much we spend on eating out in a month (plus more!).  However, I started thinking that I haven’t really shared a lot about me… who I am, why I love budgeting so much and my passion behind living a debt free life.

Well have no fear! I finally put together a quick Q&A all about me.  I know I’m not much different than you – I’m a mom who would do anything for her son to succeed.  I work hard every single day helping clients with their money goals.  So take a look and find out a little bit more about who I am.

 

Fun Fall Activities

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Since this month’s theme is Focus on Family, I thought it was time to update our fall bucket list from last year.  This year our little man can walk (even though he usually runs everywhere) and he’s learning to be more independent.  I was such a stubborn, determined little girl and our son is just like that – he always wants to do everything himself without any help from Mom and Dad.  He takes it upon himself to figure something out and he usually doesn’t give up without a fight.  We figured we might as well keep him busy this Fall so he can keep learning and trying new things.

This year we plan on doing a lot of fun stuff this fall.  I wanted to share with you some fall fun activities that you can do, too.  I put together a bucket list for our family, you can download it here.

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One of the biggest questions I get this time of year is how do you afford doing all of these things… well the truth is we plan for it and budget for them.  There a couple different ways you can budget for any day trip or fun outing.  First you can create a sinking fund, which means you decide on an amount you want to spend a month or so before it happens.  Then you put money back each week tor each your goal.  

The next way is to use any leftover money from your previous month’s budget.  For instance, let’s say you didn’t eat out one week and didn’t need all of your grocery budget.  Well you can use that for any day trips or things you want to buy that are outside your normal budgeting.  Finally, you can always take from your current budget category, too.  I don’t love doing it this way because it could leave you having to go without until your next budget period, but it’s a possibility. If you choose to take from your current budget then I recommend taking from your eating out category.  That way it’s easier to go without and you can always prepare one more dinner that week to help make up for it.

We typically try to find places that don’t charge to get into or they have a discount for a specific weekend.  If they have a petting zoo then we sometimes will buy food for our son to feed them, but that’s usually not more than $1 or $2.  Now if you love carving pumpkins, like we do then we prefer to buy them at the local pumpkin patches.  They are typically a better price than you can find at the grocery store, plus we like supporting local farmers and business owners.  But we usually only buy one pumpkin since our little one is too young to actually carve yet.  

 

What are some of your favorite fall activities to do with your family?  Leave a comment letting me know!

Focus on Family Month

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Happy October! They say winter is the most magical time of the year, but I think Fall is a very close second. This month since the temperatures will be starting to drop we’ll be spending lots of time outside.  There are a few pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other fun stuff we are going to try to do.

I figured this would be a great time to have another focus month.  If you remember, back in February I typically have a Focus On Finances month.  I always planned on having another focus month, but it never happened.  I guess that’s what happens when you’re a Mom – your brain is going a mile a minute, all the time and if you don’t write it down then it just won’t happen.

Anyways, I realized that October would be perfect for a Focus on Family month.  I put together a bucket list last year, but now that our little boy is older we’ll be able to do a lot more.  Last year we went to the pumpkin patch and he was barely 6 months old so there was a lot he just wasn’t able to do.  But now he is 18 months and is full of energy.  He runs, never walks.  Our sitter’s husband calls him Mouth of the South, which is some former wrestler that apparently never stopped running his mouth.

This month will be all about spending time together.  Fall is a great time to be outside, it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold yet.  Where we live pumpkin patches pop up about this time of year, so there is always a fun (and cheap) activity we can go do on the weekend.  I’m planning on putting together a new fall bucket list of things we are most excited about doing this year with our little man.  

But to get you started with the Focus on Family month, here’s a list of a few fall fun activities you can do with your family:

spend time together at the local pumpkin patch
go apple picking
attend a fall festival
plan a family themed Halloween outfit
have a few picnics outside
go to the park
have a movie night

What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?  Leave a comment letting me know!