Friday, April 18, 2008

Learning to contribute

As I have mentioned I have recently started following the Fly Lady system which I highly recommend. It has really helped me establish routines in my day to make me more productive. Its interesting that the more i've done in my home the more empowered i've felt to do more! I have been feeling guilty that my husband works such long hours while I get to be at home enjoying my son. Now that i've started taking better care of the house and working more throughout the day part of that guilt has become unnecessary.
But I have still wanted to contribute more financially than I have been.
So, I've done two things...
1. Beginning already a rather thrifty person (by choice not nature ha!) I have begun looking for even more ways to SAVE money. I went to the library and checked out some Tightwad Gazette books to help myself get ideas and more importantly get in the right mindset.
a. Whenever we need something now I am trying to have my first thought be "how I can I make or get that for
free?" What do I already have that would substitute for it. Who could I borrow that from? Or
where could I find something that could work instead? We are too often in the habit of
rushing out and buying things as our consumeristic "right and ritual." We think that if its on
sale that we've been good stewards of our money.
b. This has actually been a fun challenge that has unleashed my creativity. When I think of
throwing away a pair of old stretched out, or uninteresting pants I now try to come up with
ways that I could simply update them. When we began running out of kitchen soaps, and
body wash I went online to find out how to make natural versions out of simple ingredients.
2. I have also started looking for small ways to make money.
a.My son and I babysit a local family with two girls 2-3 times a week which has worked really
well for us as its a way to make money without leaving my son, and we get out of the house in
a way that lets him play with other kids.
b. As i've been decluttering my home i've realized how many books we have that we will
never read or even need to lend out again. So, today I put them all up for sale at If
all eleven sell we will have around $250 coming in! (Two of them were old textbooks.)
c. I love thrift store shopping. I recently found a Michael Kors tunic new with tags for $4. I
checked and I could easily sell it on ebay for 5 times as much. Or, I might send it to my
grandma for her birthday, she loves his clothes! (Yep, my dad's mom has cute, funky, style.)
d. Finally, I have tons of ideas for things I want to make and sell somewhere like if I
ever get up the nerve. One of them is a spin off of the Fly Ladies office in a bag. it's a great
idea but hers just kindof looks like a binder cover. I want to make one that looks like a cool,
vintage, messenger bag, but still has all of the pockets necessary to hold note cards, pens,
your journal, paper, a calculator, phone, post it notes, etc. etc. I have started doing this with
my beautiful messenger style, multi pocketed diaper bag that my dad got me for my birthday
from Moveable Feast in Geneva. Now, whenever i'm stuck in a waiting room or as a
passenger on a car ride I can just whip it out and write Thank you notes or letters that I
normally would never get around to. My mom just called to tell me that her parents had
received a card I wrote in a spare moment and were so touched they were nearly in tears. All
it did was put down in words how I feel about them and what i'm grateful for about them. But
if I hadn't had those cards with me I probably would never have thought to write it.

Well thats all for now but this is probably a topic I will be revisiting quite often as I come up with new ideas of ways to save and make money. Please send me any ideas you have had!


Stacy said...

I loved your post! I saw your comment on another blog, Keeping the Home i think, and thought, Wow! We sound a lot a like! LOL Any who, i hope to remember your blog, so im going to add it under "Blogs i read" on my blog, i hope you don't mind? *hugs*

Stacy said...

whoops =p the blog i saw you on was Home Living. ;)

troubling stars said...

Hey Stacy! Of course I don't mind. The more people who read my blog the more interaction I will get on these issues; advice,encouragement, stories... and hopefully I will get to bless a few people in return! PS I loved your idea of "homeschooling" your one year old! I tried that for a week with alot of excitement bc it made me feel that our days were very full of meaningful activity, but then I drifted away from it. I'm glad you gave me that nudge to get back at it!

S. Belle said...

I saw your comment on Home Living, too. I've enjoyed reading your posts. I love reading about other young homemakers who are learning and adjusting to being a fulltime wife and mother and learning to love it!

I can totally relate to your journey with cleaning and serving your husband that way. I'm overcoming that same battle. Now, I'm getting to where I don't feel at peace until my home is in order, and I work until it is nice and orderly.

Glad I found a new blog to read!:)

Rachel said...

Slight side note... please please please don't use bleach! It kills our little microbe friends that purify the water at treatment plants. I read the Fly Lady's shiny sink scheme and I would recommend an organic alterative: using a dual cleansing system that I read about in a WONDERFUL book called "Organic Housekeeping". Basically you have two spray bottles, one of vinegar and one of hydrogen peroxide (you can usually just buy a spray nozzle and fit that onto the hydrogen peroxide bottle- the bottle holding the hp has to be opaque since sunlight and air deteriorate it) ANYWAY, first spray your sink with vinegar (or fill the sink with vinegar, if it's really stained! (she recommends this for toilets too) after you spray or soak the sink, spray it with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect (it's very satisfying seeing the bubbling and knowing the germs are dying). You can use hydrogen peroxide directly on produce, too, to kill any of those nasty food-illness type bacteria. I like to use the hydrogen peroxide any time I cook with meat so I know that my germs aren't going everywhere!

troubling stars said...

Rachel, don't you worry. I super try to avoid bleach. I actually just purchased vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, lemon juice, baking soda, and borax to make my own cleaning products with. I found my recipes through Loretta's place (i dont know the exact address but if you google it oyu should find it, and then you follow her link to clean and green household cleaning products. ) She also has great recipes for skin care, tooth care, homeopathic medicine, even some makeup! I like it and am excited to start! Thanks for the sink ideas.

troubling stars said...

Also, environmental friendliness is not a front issue for the Fly Lady unfortunately, but alot of her ideas do end up helping to minimize waste! She still helps me a lot. Hmmm... maybe you could bless the world by being the "green" fly lady! Maybe the dragon fly?

LadyLydiaSpeaks said...

There is a woman I know that just amazes me. She can be squeezed by finances, not all her own fault, and still end up with money, simply because she doesn't spend it.She isn't tempted by anything because it is cheap. She knows it is a good deal, but in her circumstances, is not desperate enough to have them, finding it more valuable at the moment to have the money.