Monday, March 11, 2013

Living on a Budget

The King and I recently joined one of those warehouse shopping clubs where you can buy a box with 20 lbs of cereal or if you need some paper plates, you can grab a package with 800. In all seriousness though, joining one of these clubs can definitely save you money but it does take a little extra effort and a little extra planning too. This inspired me to write a blog about saving money.
When the King and I decided to run our Junk King franchise full time together, money became kind of tight - while we're on the subject - let's clarify the fact that most small business owners are not super wealthy (especially at the beginning!).

Anyways, I started to look for ways to save money that wouldn't radically change the way we were used to living. Here's a few ways that we've learned to conserve our money and get the most out of what we have:

1. TV/Movies - We have 2 little princesses and in a perfect world, they wouldn't watch any TV and in a semi-perfect world, they would be limited to watching 2 hrs a day (or whatever the recommendation is), but let's talk realistically here. The princesses watch TV (especially when I'm trying to make dinner or get something done!). The King and I also watch TV and have a few shows that we follow and enjoy watching. We dropped cable a couple years ago and never looked back.
Now we use Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime to watch our shows and movies. Sure, you have to wait a day and watch the show the next night but really, who cares? We still enjoy it and mostly commercial free (a plus for the kids shows - one of the princesses pointed out "Lysol" to me in the store this week - undoubtedly she saw a commercial for it, they really soak that stuff up!).
A side note: This works for us because we don't really watch sports - that's the only thing I haven't come up with a non-cable solution for - any sports lovers out there figure something out yet? Anyways, for under $20/month, we have a huge selection of movies and shows to watch and it's a major money saver!

2. Food - This is kind of a two-fold topic because for me it was about balancing eating healthy with not spending a lot of money. I found that I was going to the supermarket weekly not really knowing what I was going to cook each week and then just trying to grab what I thought we might need. In doing this, I ended up with a big grocery bill every week and a bunch of duplicate stuff because I just wasn't taking the time to plan.
The first thing I did was write out a list of all the meals my family enjoys so I could pick from it each week to decide what we'd be having for dinner. Then I started to look through my pantry and refrigerator to see what I had from previous shopping trips that I could use to make the meals on my list. What a difference it made!
As I mentioned above, shopping in bulk can really save you money, but you have to plan and you have to have self control. One of the things I buy in bulk is meat because I can freeze it and use as needed. Case in point - ground turkey:
 
Took these 2 packages of ground turkey
 

and turned it into turkey for 5 meals for our family

Last words: I know buying in bulk, freezing, and all that isn't anything new but it does take a little extra work. In the convenience world we live in, it's easy to do things a certain way even if it's more expensive but really, it took me 10 minutes to split that turkey up and I definitely saved money!
Til next time!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Queen Gets Down & Dirty Part II: Attic Cleanout

Remember the Queen's first day doing junk removal? I was such a rookie back then. I've graduated from simple small jobs to helping out on whole house cleanouts! (Yes, I just patted myself on the back) Our latest house cleanout job had an attic full of stuff, I'm not just talking lowercase "full", I'm talking "FULL". Here's some pictures to prove it:

 
 




Where do you start on a job like this? Well, basically you start at the staircase and work your way in. As we worked through the layers of stuff, we sorted things including books, toys, metal (for recycling), wood, etc. There was a lot of carrying things down stairs which means that you had to walk back up the stairs each time - the Queen likes a good workout anyways :) You never know what you'll find under the piles and although this job didn't yield anything overly interesting, we did find a couple neat things (blasts from the past):

Old Box of Crayola Crayons

Kodak camera c.1969

Army Guy Toys (no, they're not G.I. Joe) - The princesses are enjoying these! I know there's a Star Trek toy there too - the King would want to make sure I mentioned that!
This particular job was a house that was owned by the bank, it does spark a little sadness in you when you're sorting through all this stuff and think about the stories behind how the house got to the state that it's in. This cleanout (the attic plus the stuff from the rest of the house - another story for another time) was about 4.5 truckloads total. The attic itself was about 1.5 truckloads.

Last words (and pictures!): I'll end this blog with the "after" pictures so you can sigh a sigh of relief to see all the open space we made by getting rid of the clutter!


 



Hope you enjoyed the transformation! Til next time!