My 4 Favorite Homemaking Hacks for 2018

I love Christmas break. Time off from spelling tests, chauffeur duties, graded papers, packing lunches, and best of all I’m not desperately rushing everyone to not be late…..oh how I love time off.

We always spend a few days at my parent’s house and a few days at Alan’s parents’ house, and it’s such a blessing to spend time with them and soak up the rest and good conversation.

With people you see on a daily basis, it can be easy to fall prey to simply talking about your shared problems and the annoying people you have to deal with. Ha! We all have them.

But when we get together with family at Christmas, we can re-focus on what matters and gain wisdom from others. We can always do that during the everyday too, of course, but I get the best ideas when I have some time and space to read and think!

Daniel and his favorite cousin at Christmas. They were born only a month apart.

I am reading 2 books and taking 1 online course that I’m gaining immensely from. One is on grocery budgeting and the other is on marriage. The course is about planning.

Alan even found an app for us to use for grocery shopping that has also been hugely helpful. I wanted to pass those along to y’all.

The Books

1.) How to Win the Grocery Game

I’m including an eBay link above for that one, which I do not make any money from. I just found the eBay price to be slightly better than Amazon.

This is an extremely practical book about saving money on grocery shopping. However, it was written in the 1970s and is extremely outdated. I’ve had to look for more modern ways to implement some of the strategies in this book, but it’s the strategies and the meal planning tips that make the book worth while…..if you can look past the insane price amounts on everything. You have to ignore those since this book is from the 70s!!

I’ll share with you a modern app I’ve used to help me do one thing from the book later in this post.

2.) Created to Be His Helpmeet

The above link is to the Amazon Kindle edition, but it is available in paperback on Amazon and other sellers as well. I do earn a small percentage when you buy through this link.

This book doesn’t even attempt political correctness with words like “hillbilly ugly” and “submit”. Ha! You have been warned.

But I’ve found it to be practical and helpful, a solid reminder. It has also helped me understand my husband better, as she divides men up into three groups: command types, visionaries, and steady men.

The book is about becoming a kinder, more helpful wife, and by doing that, you can’t help but improve your marriage, even if you’re married to the Grinch himself. I’m only 1/3 the way through it, but so far it has helped me to straight up be a nicer person at home with my husband.

I also love that it’s written by an older woman. She has walked through all the phases of life, and she’s sharing what she has learned.

Us with Alan’s side of the fam. Greg was MIA this year due to food poisoning. You were missed, Greg!

The App

As I mentioned above, I’ve found a more modern way to implement the grocery strategy, but it isn’t foolproof. I’m not sure if the database is leaving out all the goods from stores like Aldi and the Pig because they came up less frequently than I expected. Some work may still need to be done there.

But if you want an easy way to compare everyday prices at one store with sale prices from the circulars, this is an awesome app.

It’s called Basket.

You type in your grocery list. It gives you options for brands and lines them up by price. Try it out. You may end up spending hours on it like Alan and I have.

We put in our entire grocery list, and then we hit “compare prices”. It showed us that the cheapest way to get all our groceries at one store was to go to Walmart. However, the real issue was that Walmart was the only store that carried every item on our list.

To get the best savings, you can tell it to break it up into 2 stores. That gave us Walmart and Food Depot. In the list, it breaks down which items we should buy at Food Depot and which ones we should purchase at Walmart.

Wow, huh?

It was funny how it would switch stores as we put more groceries in!

However, Alan found that not all of the prices and sizes were available at Walmart, so checking your weekly circulars is still important.

I think this is a good tool, but it doesn’t truly replace searching through the weekly grocery ads.

 

Christmas morning

Chore Looping

Another exciting tip I got this Christmas is “chore looping,” which my sister-in-law, Amy, told me about.

For those of us who have trouble with other methods of keeping up with house cleaning schedules, chore looping is the way to go.

You make a list of tasks, like this:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.

etc., etc. Add whatever rooms you have.

Then you work through it until you reach the end and start over, and it doesn’t have to be all in one day, all in one week, or even all in one month. You just work through the list as you are able.

Some tasks you have to write on your list more than once, like scrubbing that bathroom that all 4 boys use…bleh…

For Example:

  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Scrub master bath.
  • Vacuum.
  • Scrub hall bathroom.
  • Tidy up dining room.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Tidy up living room.
  • Dust the house.
  • Scrub hall bathroom….lol…again and again and again…

…And the list goes on until you’ve covered all the tasks you can think of.

Some days you do 3 or 4 of them. Other days you do 1 or none at all. It just depends on when you have the time!

If you do marathon clean, then you skip the repeats. I almost never marathon clean. Why? Because it’s exhausting, and I was always hoping I’d be affording a maid by now….lol

Daniel helping with the Men’s Pancake Breakfast at church

I’ll save my excitement of my new Brilliant Life Planner and accompanying online planning course for another day. I can’t wait to show it to you. In fact, I’m definitely going to do a Facebook Live all about this planner this week, on my Stories of Our Boys Facebook page.

I hope you all had an absolutely fabulous Christmas and are as excited about the new year as I am! Actually, I’m pretty nervous about 2018. Moving…deep breaths…deep breaths…I’m going to need all the organization I can accomplish!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”    Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

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Why Is It a Good Idea to Pay Your Kids for Chores?


Lately, I’ve started a system where each of our boys has a couple of new chores he must do each day. Yes, even the 4-year-old. I instituted this because I actually cannot keep up with the housekeeping all myself anyway.

I pay them a quarter for each of those jobs, plus I give them extra coins when they exhibit a wonderful attitude.

I’m able to pay them on the spot because I have a big juice jug full of change.

This has been working extremely well for us. Though yes, I always inspect their work, and make them fix things they’ve skipped over, like little Lego men peeking out from under the sofa.

 

Killing bugs for mom also counts as a chore. The 3 of them teamed up to kill the cicada under that stack of books! That particular job was free of charge. Ha!

 

Today I have asked Josh Wilson, of FaithFamilyFinance.com, to fill us in on why paying children for chores is a MARVELOUS idea, not just for us, but for our kids too….

 

Why Is It a Good Idea to Pay Your Kids for Chores?

One financial decision you will need to make with your children is if you should pay your children to do chores. There are several different reasons why this is a good idea. For starters, they can learn valuable life lessons. If you are on the fence about paying your children for chores, read more to find out why it can be a good idea.

Adults Work for Money

Adults work to earn money because they have bills to pay. Paying children for chores teaches them the value of work. They can learn about the incentive of working harder to earn more money. Just as you don’t get paid if you don’t work, you have the option not to pay your child if they don’t complete their chores on schedule.

Until your children are old enough to get a part-time job, paying your children for chores can be a good way to allow your children to work for a goal instead of simply being given everything they want.

It's a great way to teach your kids to work for a goal rather than being given everything! via @AprilandAlan storiesofourboys.com #responsibiityClick To Tweet

Chores Teach Commitment

Chores can consist of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. Even if you decide not to pay your child for some everyday chores, money is a strong incentive to remain committed for additional chores. Your children can establish a work ethic early on.

Offering to pay your child for optional tasks that you don’t necessarily have to do is a good starting place. By not paying your child for every single chore they complete, you can reward them for their efforts while avoiding the entitlement spirit of thinking they “must” get paid for every chore or they won’t do it.

Chores Can Instill Entrepreneurship

Depending on your child’s personality, paying for chores can instill a level of entrepreneurship. By realizing they can make money by providing a solution to a need, completing chores in this case, they may decide to pursue their own side hustle as they grow older.

For example, if you pay them to mow the lawn, they might ask your neighbors to mow their lawns for cash. During the winter, they might offer to shovel driveways and sidewalks for extra cash. If you only pay them an allowance for not doing chores, they might miss out on these additional money-making opportunities.

Paying for Chores Establishes Expectations

As the parent, you can set the expectations for when your children will be paid for their chores. If your children don’t do it right the first time, have them redo the task to your satisfaction. Chores can be an excellent opportunity to learn attention to detail and working efficiently to maximize their earning potential.

Remember to consider your child’s age and experience when setting expectations. Just as there is a learning curve when you start a new job, your children will need to master new skills as well. As they mature, you can increase your expectations and maybe even give them a raise as well.

Chores Can Encourage Communication

Communication is a two-way street in every relationship. Paying for chores can teach your children communication skills that can benefit them in the professional world. On payday, you can review your child’s performance and encourage them or tell them how they can improve.

Your child can also improve their communication skills because they will learn how to accept feedback, good and bad, from their superiors. Chores can also teach negotiation. Your child might offer to perform additional tasks if they are trying to increase their income.

Children Can Learn Money Management Skills

Earning money allows children the opportunity to learn the value of saving money for future purchases and accomplishing other financial goals. If you offer them additional money for completing extra tasks, your children can have an additional incentive to work hard to achieve their goals sooner.

In addition to paying your children for chores, you can also teach them budgeting and banking. Instead of just giving them money and letting them go on a spending spree, you can have them divide their paycheck into saving, spending, and giving.

For example, you can help your kids open up a savings account and they can watch as their interest grows. Each month opens the doors for a new learning experience, and even earnings for your children. You should likely use an online account with low minimums and fees to help you children keep more of their money. My children use Capital One which has an account created just for them. This will prepare them for adulthood when a portion of each paycheck goes to taxes and living expenses.

Summary

Paying children for chores is one of the most debated topics about parenting. While no parent is required to pay for chores, doing so can teach your child valuable life lessons. If you decide to pay your child, remember that you don’t have to pay them for every single chore, and you can also base the payment on their performance.

 

 

Josh Wilson is the owner of a start-up personal finance blog, Family Faith Finance. Check out his blog and learn more about his journey through life.

 

 

4 Hacks to Help You Save and Pay for Your Child’s Higher Education

Allow me to introduce you to Jacob. Jacob is a finance blogger over at Dollar Diligence, where he writes practical tips like this post on food budgeting. Today I’ve asked him to share with us about college savings accounts. I hope you’ll stop by his blog and say hello!

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As a fairly recent college graduate — and as someone who just paid off hefty student loans — I know firsthand how expensive getting a college education can be. The cost of a degree is rising. What you may have spent on your own tuition and fees may not even cover a semester of your child’s tuition by the time he or she is ready to head off to a college university. The thought of paying for college in this era can be daunting. However, » Read more

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