Big Changes

GAA few months back, my husband made the decision that he wanted to return to school and get his Masters Degree. Only problem was, in the area we live in, he didn’t have a place to do his required clinical hours. So in order for him to return to school, we would need to move. And thus began a very scary and life changing decision…where should we move?!?! We had only been in Virginia a few years, so we weren’t very attached to it, plus snow is not my favorite thing. We knew we wanted to be close to family as its hard having 3 kids, a husband who works long hours, and no one around to help when we need it. A date night would be nice too if we had a family/friend to babysit. Its been almost 2 years since our last date night haha!!!

 

So we narrowed down our search to GA, TN, and FL. I didn’t have anything pulling me towards FL so we crossed that off quickly. TN was crossed off next as although its pretty and further south, we aren’t the least bit familiar with it. GA was the best and obvious choice. I was born and raised in the Atlanta area and still have a lot of friends and family there. My husband was raised in south GA, but the job market and housing market is not great there for him, plus that holds bad memories as he went through a lot in that area. So Atlanta area was the winner!!!

 

Back in November, we began the process of my husband applying to jobs. He had to have filled out our 50 applications, but we weren’t hearing anything back! He has lots of experience, has gotten rewards at work, and has a higher degree than many people in his field, but no one was calling! We went ahead and started fixing up our house to sell, we painted a few rooms, sanded our back porch, and removed the dated wallpaper in the laundry room. And began de-cluttering!

 

Then we got a call in February.  It was for a part time job, but it was at the hospital my husband REALLY wanted to work at. If you are familiar with the Atlanta area, then you know it is very busy and has a lot of traffic. Both things my husband wanted to avoid. BUT it was super important to us to be in a good school system and close to my family members which meant we were praying hard for this one hospital to call. And they DID!!!! Out of over 50 different applications he put in, the one we wanted the most called to schedule an interview!!!!

 

The interview went great, but the only problem was the job was not full time hours which meant a pay cut. We did the math and with my income, we knew we could make it work. We decided to go ahead and put our house on the market so if the job came through, we would be ready. And then we waited. We heard nothing back for over a week. During that time, THREE more calls came in asking my husband to set up interviews. Another week went back and no call back from his dream job. We were disappointed, but we knew God had it in control. Then, out of the blue, over two weeks after his interview, they called and offered him a FULL TIME job at the hospital he really wanted!!!! One week later, our house was under contract!

 

This whole process has been exhausting, stressful, and nerve racking, but it helped teach me again how important it is to trust God and not to make plans because it is all up to him! Now we are in serious packing mode as we leave in a little over a week!!! Luckily, my AMAZING in-laws are coming up from south GA to help us move and get settled in. The drive is going to be rough though as its 9hrs and my oldest son gets badly car sick and my youngest son hates the car. Plus, the baby is still nursing and REFUSES a bottle so we are going to stop often so I can nurse him. At least my daughter loves the car and hopefully leaving super early will make things a bit easier.

 

Needless to say, my life is a bit crazy right now. I won’t be taking on any new personal training clients/nutrition clients or hosting any Jamberry Parties for awhile. I have also put a hold on advertisers on this website and the facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/workingathomemoms ) starting this Friday until May. I’m so sorry for any trouble this causes anyone. If you need a personal trainer, I have a few great ones I can recommend until I’m back to working again.

 

If you have traveling and moving tips to share with me, please please please post them below! My kids are 4 1/2, 3 and 9 months so I’m happy to have any tips to make this process easier!!! For those in the Atlanta area, I can’t wait to meet you all in person and thank you so much for following my blog! I’ll be renting in the Conyers area, while looking to build in Walton County. Share your tips with me on home building, finding schools, finding churches, and fun kids activities in that area!! I’ll try to keep everyone updated as best I can. Thank you for your support and baring with me during these big changes <3

Dana

Save $400 Off Your Grocery Bills

saving moneyWhen extra money is needed, my first suggestion is to always look at your budget and see where you can make cuts. My family was living paycheck to paycheck and we had a strong desire to pay off all our debt, but with no extra money that was hard to do. A detailed look into my budget showed me my family of 5 was spending over $1000 a month on food. Eating out, snacks, extras, desserts….all those goodies were adding up, and adding up very fast. So I decided to make some cuts. Ok, BIG cuts to be honest, and get our grocery bill down to $400-$500 a month.

 

Is it doable?? YES! I have been sticking to this new plan for over 8 months now and have saved tons of money, and in fact I wrote the whole plan out to help others do the same!! ((you can read more about that at the end plus how to get it for 50% off!)) The hardest part for me is I am a healthy eater, so I needed foods that were cheap, but also healthy for my family. That took some researching, trial and error, and finding bargains. But it worked and we are now able to put at least $400 a month into our savings!

save 400 on food

 

Here are a few of my top tips for eating on a budget, and scroll down to the bottom for a list of cheap, easy recipes!

 

TIPS:

*Plan out your meals for the week. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks! If you know what you are going to eat, you will be less likely to spend money eating out

*Make your own snacks. I make all my kids snacks except pretzels. I do homemade cheese crackers, graham crackers, yogurt, muffins, bread….pretty much everything can be made from home for cheaper and a LOT healthier

*PLAN PLAN PLAN: I promise this is the number one tip for staying on track

*Make two nights a week a “veggie night”. Meat is pricey and you can get just as much protein from veggies, but for cheaper.

*Make a grocery list and stick with it! If its not on the list, and you don’t need it, then don’t buy it!

*Go with frozen or canned fruits and veggies. Cheaper!!

*Buy from stores like Aldis, Save A Lot, Costco, or Sams. Make sure to compare prices though as items aren’t always cheaper.

*Buy discount items in bulk and freeze! When I see meat or cheese on sale, I buy a lot and stick it in the freezer.

*PLAN! Keep snacks in your bag so you aren’t tempted to go through a drive thru

*Coupon! But make sure you have your meals planned out before looking for coupons. Otherwise you end up spending more by buying things you didn’t need that were on sale.

CHEAP MEAL IDEAS:1947685_10152074914309576_1158232217_n

*Grilled Cheese

*Cheese Quesadilla

*Veggie Quesadilla

*Soups (chicken and rice, vegetable beef, broccoli and cheese, etc)

*Veggie Spaghetti Sauce

*Chili

*Rice and Beans

*Chicken or Tuna Salad Wraps

*Tacos

*Casseroles (chicken, broccoli, rice and cheese is my favorite!)

*Potato “Bar” Night

*Breakfast for dinner

*Homemade pizza

 

OR take all the guesswork out of meal planning and go snatch up my copy of Healthy Eating on A Budget. (( https://sellfy.com/p/inKs/ )) Over 100 copies sold and thousands of dollars saved!!! Make sure to enter code “ Musings ” when you checkout and get it for 50% off! This program includes:

4 Weeks Of Meal Plans (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks)cover
Recipes For the Meal
Additional Healthy, Cheap Recipes
(over 30 total recipes)
Weekly Grocery Lists
Money Saving Tips
Grocery Shopping Tips
Healthy Cheap Foods List
Meal Ideas
Specific Food Tips

And more!!!!

Go read a few of the fabulous testimonials from people who have used this program and saved big!

Dana

Becoming A Work From Home Mom

10402444_10152513761944576_8837897643593524145_nWorking from home is a very popular topic! Especially for busy parents who want to treasure every single moment they can with their kids. In this day and age though, more and more parents are finding they need to return to work to be able to support their kids, even though they would give anything to stay home with them. I was the same way!! I went to college full time while raising two young kids, and once I graduated the bills were piling up. But if I went back into the work force, I would never see my 3 year old and 2 year old. Plus the cost of childcare in my areas was super expensive so It wouldn’t be helping us too much. Thus began my exploration into how I could do both, be with my kids and help my husband with the bills. It took time, research,  trial and error, lots of hours of work, getting outside of my comfort zone, and being willing to work my butt off. But now, 2 years later I make a full time income spending my day with my 3 kids! Its an amazing opportunity and something anyone and everyone can do, but you have to be willing to put in the work.

Learn more about how I got started, my recommendations, and balancing it all on a special PodCast Interview with the wonderful Jim and Teresa Adams of Family Matters First

http://familymattersfirst.org/podcast/99/

Feel free to email me with any questions on how you can become a work from home Mom!!

Dana

Blog Link Parties

11404_10205621130676317_4834179443480644860_nHappy Monday!!! Call me crazy, but Monday is actually one of my FAVORITE days of the week!! I know, I know, I’m weird haha. The reason is though my family has a flipped schedule from everyone else as my husband works Fri-Monday. And night shifts! So he sleeps all day, works all night. Come Monday I’m so excited because it means I have help putting the kids to bed!! Let me tell you, putting a 4 1/2, 3, and 7 month old to bed by myself would make for a fabulous episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Especially on nights like last night where it is super windy so my oldest two did not want to sleep. Extra coffee for me today!!!

I’m using my coffee time today to mingle on some great blogs!! I highly suggest everyone go check out these fabulous blog link parties!! It’s a great way to spend your Monday Coffee Time!!

Monday Link Parties:

Create With Joy

 

Moms The Word

Strangers And Pilgrims On Earth

The Modest Mom Blog

What Joy Is Mine

A Proverbs 31 Wife

I Should Be Mopping

Flour Me With Love

The Life Of Faith

A Blossoming Life

 

Tuesday Link Parties

Time Warp Wife

Time To Sparkle

Our Home Away From Home

Cornerstone Confessions

http://timewarpwife.com/

http://www.growinghomeblog.com

http://www.astrollthrulife.net

http://www.adelightsomelife.com

http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com/

http://teachingwhatisgood.com/

http://www.stonegableblog.com

http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com

http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net

http://funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com/

http://myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com

http://www.carolynshomework.com

Wednesday Link Parties

Handy Man, Crafty Woman

Ginger Snap Crafts

Ducks ‘n a Row

A Peek Into My Paradise

We are THAT Family

Milk And Cuddles

To Love Honor and Vacuum

Things I Can’t Say

Whole Hearted Home

Mama Buzz

Thursday

A Handful Of Everything

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Have A Daily Cup Of Mrs Olson

A Glimpse Inside

Saving 4 Six

Bloom Designs

Domesblissity

Jordan’s Onion

Graced Simplicity

Serving Joyfully

Living Well Spending Less 

FRIDAY

http://christianmommyblogger.com/

http://www.sarahtitus.com/

http://www.answerischoco.com/

http://romantichome.blogspot.com/

http://www.atkinsondrive.com/

http://www.thejennyevolution.com/

http://whipperberry.com/

http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/

http://tidymom.net/

http://www.sunscholars.com/

http://www.123homeschool4me.com/

http://b-inspiredmama.com/

http://www.simplysweethome.com/

http://www.dearcreatives.com/

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/

http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/

http://thebestblogrecipes.com/

http://lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com/

http://www.myturnforus.com/

http://www.craftyspices.com/

http://chiconashoestringdecorating.blogspot.ca/

http://too-much-time.com/

http://www.iheartnaptime.net

SATURDAY

http://faithalongtheway.com/

http://www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com

http://www.littlemisscelebration.com

http://cookingwithruthie.com

http://www.raisingmemories.com

http://piecedpastimes.blogspot.com

http://www.classyclutter.net

http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/my_weblog/

http://tatertotsandjello.com

http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/

http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

SUNDAY

Pams Party & Practical Tips

Silver Pennies

Barbie Swihart

http://www.onemoretimeevents.com

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com

http://www.flamingotoes.com

http://www.niftythriftythings.com

http://www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com/

http://www.pinkwhen.com

http://2crochethooks.com/

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com

http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com

http://boogieboardcottage.blogspot.com/

http://www.3littlegreenwoods.com

http://www.creativejewishmom.com/

Dana

Tax Writes Offs For Small Business Owners

tax write offsFor many small business owners, tax time can be very scary!! It was for me when I first got started, until I did my research and learned how easy the IRS makes filing taxes for small business owners. Plus, many things you never would even think of, can be written off at tax time. When you own your own business, remember that any expense you put into your business, is a tax write off. Whether it is training, supplies, work meetings etc. Make sure to always save your receipts though and keep documentation of what you are spending and bringing in with your business. And never be afraid to ask someone for help in filing your taxes. Its always better to be safe rather than sorry.

Here are a few expenses you can write off at tax time:

  1. Home Office. No matter if you rent or own your home, if you have a designated space where you do your work, then you can write that off at tax time. Keep in mind it needs to be a true office space, not your kitchen table or bed. You can write off $5 per square foot of the office area for up to 300 square feet. So if your office is 150 square feet that is $750 you can write off! http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Home-Office-Deduction
  1. If your office is at home, you can also deduct the cost of utilities. You need to figure out what percentage of your day is your work time though to get the cost you can write off.
  2. Internet used for your business can also be written off at tax time. Like utilities, you need to figure out what percentage is used for work vs leisure.
  3. If you have a car payment, and use your car for doing your business, that can be deducted. This is tricky though in that you must be driving to meet a client, pick a client up, or delivering products. Going to get coffee or groceries does not count.

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/index.html

  1. Retirement Plans- If you have set up a plan for retirement that is tax deductible. Even if you only put in a little bit each month.
  2. Office Supplies- Items like paper, pens, ink cartridge, work computer, work printer, work fax machine, mailing supplies, business cards, thank you cards for business, etc are all tax deductible
  3. Health Insurance- If you pay for your health insurance yourself and are a small business owner, that is tax deductible
  4. Child Care- If your kids are in child care at anytime while you are working, that is a tax write off
  5. Training- If you attend training events for your business, that and the cost to get there is tax write off
  6. Start Up Costs- If your business required money up front to get started, you can write all of that off at tax time
  7. Hiring an accountant to help you with your taxes!
  8. Advertising for your business
  9. Websites, domains, and maintenance that promote your business and company

Remember, when in doubt at tax time, always ask for help!! This is not something you want to mess up on. I personally do my own taxes as a small business owner and while its time consuming and tough, it can be done. If you aren’t comfortable doing them yourself, hire someone to help you!

Great Sites to Check Out For More Information:

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed

http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Deducting-Business-Expenses

http://www.freshbooks.com/blog/2013/10/22/10-tax-tips-for-owners-of-a-home-based-business/

Dana