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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    commercials have been filed away in the memory of my youth in the category It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time along with Lunchables and Little Debbies What s left is the sound advice to make my bed the helpfulness of routines from my mom s 1981 paperback copy of Sidetracked Home Executives a healthy appreciation for baking soda the strong urge to get rid of stuff and my eternal love for a good makeover Who taught you how to clean What influences how you clean now 70 Comments The Best Part of This Blog Photo by jules stonesoup I have to tell you something I am so grateful to each of you who stop by here to visit or who subscribe and read in your email or via RSS But there s something you should know The best stuff is in the comments at the end of each article If you re only reading the post without clicking to see the comments then you re missing out I have such a good time getting to know you and hearing the funny touching inspiring practical helpful comments you share There is so much to relate to Melody and Kim shared about kids helping out with the cleaning Jenni shared the recipe for her family s favorite comfort food Jessicah has talked about going back to work and trying to balance everything And lately I ve been cracking up because Kait shared how her grandmother used to spray Windex in the air to make it smell like she had cleaned It fooled her Grandpa every time And that s just the beginning If you ve never visited the Comments section I d like to invite you to come over and see it Just click the link at the bottom

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/75/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    expense most of his lunches for work I like to buy whole chickens that are already smoked because dealing with raw chicken is just too medieval for me We chose our apartment by looking at Whole Foods locations on a map and drawing a radius within a certain number of miles How does this relate to your budget I ll let you do the math 123 Comments Messy With Purpose Sometimes being able to overlook a mess is a good thing Sometimes a mess simply means you re working really hard on something and you ll come back to it later So you push the mess over to the side find a clear space and get to work Friends I want to tell you that I ve been working on an eBook After hearing so many women ask the question I love blogging but how do I manage the time that it takes I thought about how I asked the same question when I first started and what I ve learned since then It s a topic I m very passionate about and writing this book has been terrifying in the best way More details to come 32 Comments What to Expect When You re Expecting and You Still Live in an Apartment One day my kids will be too big to carry around in tote bags What s it like living in an apartment with a baby is a question I am often asked Usually it s from someone expecting her first baby and trying to decide where to live If there is one thing I ve learned from all these years of apartment living it s that I don t need a house to have a home And that s the truth There is something really special about having a story that begins When we first started out we lived in a small apartment But that s not all there is to it of course When all our friends were buying houses we chose to stay in an apartment and here is how our experience has been so far We lived in a one bedroom apartment when we found out we were expecting Lane After the shock wore off one of my first thoughts was for the nursery I wanted a room that was beautiful just like in the pictures I saw We had a small side room with a slouchy couch and a television set We sold the couch and later the television and turned that little space into a baby room with a crib and a changing area We turned a wet bar cabinet into an organized baby closet With just a few changes our one bedroom apartment had a nursery I wished I could paint but I learned to live with apartment beige Apartment beige is like builder s beige but with 20 layers and extra overspray We had no option but to live with less stuff than catalogs say you need We chose travel

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/76/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    a book or snacks So I don t forget what I need to do I use this Before the Trip checklist to get ready Do you like to travel light or are you prepared for everything What are your must haves for taking on a trip 13 Comments Routine Reminders Photo by Kanko We have only one clock in the house It s a little Timex alarm clock that I ve had since I was five and it sits on my desk Most of our daily tasks are guided not by the clock but by everyday objects that have knit themselves into our routine A cup of tea to prod my sleepy morning self to wake up already The bed made to remind myself not to get back in it The tote bag with snacks that signals to drop what you re doing because we re about to go somewhere fun The white blanket that tells my young daughter yes it is in fact time for a nap when otherwise saying it s two in the afternoon is meaningless And if your child associates an object with nap time by all means buy two The dinner candle that entices to come sit at the table and eat If Lane eats well then she gets to blow out the candle so meal times have become much easier now The bedtime cookie that soothes the bedtime routine and finishes the frequent stalling and delays The clean kitchen at the end of the day to agree my work day is over and I can call it quits for now These common things that we use every day turn routine into ritual and make us feel at home What objects do you use at your home to guide your day from one moment to

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/126/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    the money saved from not eating out or making impulse buys Advice for getting started Leave your debit card at home and use cash budgeting a certain amount for each week Spend as little as possible at the beginning while you re motivated so you ll have more to spare later in the month Don t eat out One restaurant dinner could be your entire week s grocery budget Every family has a different situation so adapt this plan to best fit what your family needs Make your budget amount challenging but still realistic If you have a special event planned just make an exception for that day Maybe focus on one area of spending such as not eating out or buying new things for the house You ll find plenty of things to keep yourself busy this month without spending more Updates 1st Week of No Spend Month 0 spent this week 2nd Week of No Spend Month 40 spent this week 3rd Week of No Spend Month 50 spent this week 4th Week of No Spend Month 93 spent this week Last Days of No Spend Month 57 spent 10 remaining What I Learned From No Spend Month Related Posts Last Year s No Spend Month 30K to 0 How We Became Debt Free in One Year Add Grace to Your Budget 20 Pocket Change Date Night Ideas 20 Tips to Waste Less Food Don t miss what s coming next Subscribe to Small Notebook What fun things can we do for free I think I ll go to the library and pick up a novel What would you do 49 Comments Looking Forward to No Spend Month Goodbye restaurant meals I ll be cooking at home Yesterday I realized I had forgotten to mention a television interview that I did The producer called and invited me to talk about No Spend Month and he said bring the family with you Well my husband sure but not my two year old daughter Bring her he said we love kids Would she run around on set like a crazy person Maybe I could convince her to sit quietly with her juice box Either way she came too and she definitely entertained us Being on the set was exciting The newscasters and production crew cracked jokes and used funny voices during the commercial breaks There were television monitors everywhere And it was live No Spend Month starts on Wednesday I ve been thinking about it for a long time trying to figure out how we ll make it I ve experimented with recipes in the kitchen to see if I can cook some of the gluten free convenience foods that we normally buy Some have turned out well and some were huge flops The food will definitely be our biggest challenge What I m looking forward to is having more time Shopping takes a lot of time especially when you conscientiously try to compare quality and prices It s been

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/125/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    baby advice have you been glad to know 65 Comments Cleaning Products Are you spending more than needed Many times when people talk about their grocery budgets in a way to see if they can save some money I often hear them say I spend XXX on my family s groceries each month and that includes cleaning and paper products I include cleaning and paper products in my grocery budget as well It just makes sense if I buy the laundry detergent at the grocery store not to itemize the receipts for my budget when I get home I can t help but wonder though are people spending too much on cleaning products Those are such a small part of my spending that I don t even notice them The cost is so negligible I never think to mention it So just in case let s talk about cleaning products and see if we can find some ways to save you money Laundry detergent Our detergent comes with a scoop but the instructions say to only use half of a scoop Read the instructions for your laundry detergent and check the recommended amount You might even want to use a little less than that I have a baby and with our family of four I do a load of laundry almost every week day In addition to that we also use cloth diapers but washing those requires only a minimal amount of detergent One box of laundry detergent can last six months Dishwasher detergent Here too check the instructions to make sure you re not using more than you should One time when my husband turned on the dishwasher I noticed he poured enough of the powdered detergent to fill up both detergent cups on the dishwasher door He didn t know that particular brand only required one tablespoon Fabric softener I m probably in the minority here but I haven t used fabric softener in years When my clothes are clean I want them to smell like nothing My favorite scent is unscented so I don t like the scent that comes with fabric softener I always thought you had to use it or your clothes would have static cling Cotton clothes don t require fabric softener to stay soft and static free It s the synthetic clothes that build up static so if your clothes are mostly cotton try a load without it Towels work much better to absorb water when they aren t coated by fabric softener Laundry Stain Remover This hasn t been a problem since we switched to cloth diapers but when we used disposables I went through a lot of Stain Stick stain remover trying to treat diaper leak stains on baby clothes I didn t know that if you dry the clothes and cloth diapers in the sun sunlight makes baby poo stains disappear It s amazing For most potential stains I take special care to rinse them out when they happen Then

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/77/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    cost more What are your favorite cheap meal ideas to save money I wanted to mention some people who are doing their own No Spend Month challenge this month so you can cheer for them If I missed yours or if you re not blogging about it share it with us in the comments Kait from Your Morning Cup is trying to go for the month of July spending 150 or so on food and not buying any superfluous items She says Last year when we did this we were able to save enough to make our 1 000 emergency fund That sure came in handy when last winter we spent 800 on tires for my car We were lucky to not have to go into debt then and quickly built the savings back up This year the goal is to kick most of the rest of our credit card debt Jamie from SteadyMom has set a limit of 350 to spend on her family of five for the month and she s thinking of ways to have fun with her kids for free Sharon from Musings of a Midlife Mom is doing her No Spend Month with a husband and 4 teenagers If she can stick with her plan she ll save 900 She says My ultimate goal besides saving some money is to become more conscious of my spending This challenge will force me to make every dollar count Preeti from Heart and Mind has a 300 budget for a family of 4 for the month She only spent 33 last week You can do it 62 Comments Is it a good buy Or just a bargain There are always good sales in July Actually these days there are good sales in every month but I especially notice the good ones in July That s when I m trying not to spend any money During a No Spend Month I don t set foot inside a mall Not that I go to the mall very often during a normal month In fact I don t even like to shop at Target Am I allowed to say that on the internet It s true Please don t throw things at me One day last week I surprised my daughter with a trip to the mall so she could run around the children s play area All of a sudden I saw lots of stuff that I didn t even realize I needed until I saw them on sale Especially sales for children s clothes Just a couple of days earlier I had congratulated myself on having fewer baby clothes this time around Maybe it s due to having a boy instead of a girl He has enough clothes for one week before the drawer is empty and I wash the laundry Fewer clothes means everything is well worn and there will be less to sort and store later It certainly doesn t hinder the cuteness to have fewer clothes

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/78/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    pots We re obviously not having to go without much if that s what we can think of Maybe we could even go a few more days before spending that first dollar but I d rather go to the grocery store and not try to find out Cherries are on sale and I m sure not skipping that How about you Did you have any saving money successes this week 40 Comments Before You Leave the House Today Photo by lepiaf geo Before leaving the house a lady should stop look in the mirror and remove one piece of jewelry Coco Chanel Before you get started today before you start the rush take one chore off of your To Do list Cross it off without even trying to do it Make today s goals attainable so that you can find some breathing space as you work through the day Stop for five minutes between tasks and sit and close your eyes Drink a glass of water occasionally Stop reminding your kids to hurry up but slow down your pace instead Take a moment to notice the details 20 Comments Send It Back Photo by tyger lyllie Since I m not thinking of anything new to bring home it s time to think about stuff I can return to the stores I had an extra bag of potting soil and some light bulbs that were the wrong size to go back to the hardware store There s a small stack of books that can be taken to Half Price Books I changed my mind about the curtain rods so those can go back too I don t have receipts for everything but store credit is better than clutter Maybe I could use those things eventually but I have an apartment mindset

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/124/ (2016-02-10)
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  • Blog - Small Notebook
    the men a silver dime a day Most of that money was used to buy beans and cornmeal for the family and nothing was wasted Whatever was for Sunday lunch ended up in Monday s stew and it always tasted good Saving food has become somewhat of a lost art due to abundance and convenience but it s essential to save money on groceries Here are twenty tips to make the most of your food and minimize food waste Use the Freezer 1 When you cook a meal that s big enough to have leftovers go ahead and freeze them right away The food will taste better and you won t have to eat the same thing three nights in a row 2 When you freeze sauces or soups in plastic freezer bags squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bag Stack them flat so they won t take up much space in your freezer 3 Preserve an abundance of lemons and limes by squeezing the juice into ice cube trays and saving the frozen juice for later 4 Fruits like grapes bananas and strawberries can be frozen Spread out berries on a cookie sheet to freeze so they won t be stuck together before you wrap them up 5 Leftover wine can be frozen in ice cube trays and then later added to simmering meat dishes or spaghetti sauce Make the Most of Older Food 6 What do you do with old bread Cut the bread into squares and toast on low heat to make croutons Toast and then crumble bread in a food processor to make bread crumbs Make french toast or stuffing 7 Fried rice is better when made with day old rice instead of fresh cooked rice 8 Brown bananas taste sweet in smoothies and banana bread 9 Old vegetables can be added into stews or stocks 10 Tomatoes can be pureed into tomato sauce or salsa Save the Smaller Things 11 A small portion of leftovers might not be enough for a meal but it could make a good snack Check the fridge for small servings before pulling out a bag of chips 12 Leftover roasted chicken can be added to a stock 13 Rinds of hard cheeses such as parmesan can be frozen and later added to soups for richer flavor 14 When your little one runs off without finishing a glass of milk don t pour it down the sink and wash the glass Put it back in the fridge for the next time they want something to drink Prevention is Best 15 Know what s in your freezer or fridge Keep foods in the freezer labeled well and review your inventory every few days or at least before you go to the grocery store 16 Package foods properly Don t toss something into the fridge uncovered or leave something sitting on the counter Wrap it up or place a plate over a bowl of food to cover it up

    Original URL path: http://smallnotebook.org/blog/page/123/ (2016-02-10)
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