* Before we get started, let me add a little disclaimer here to say that I do not think of myself as better than anyone, nor do I believe that I parent or make my home better than anyone—I am not here to compete! On the contrary, I wish only to share a simpler way of life. These are habits & practices that we have adopted and continue to grow in and ones that work for OUR FAMILY. I intend to shed some light on our daily life and provide useful information to those who seek and will appreciate it. Thank you!
Five habits of our simple home life:
- Use natural and organic products
- Live with less stuff
- Make your own
- Reuse and recycle!
[In this post, I will finish the series by discussing bullet numbers three through five]
Budget Now this is an area where we are always trying to improve and the good news is that we are getting better! One of the best things we do to help budget is to meal plan and make our own meals. Each week, I sit down and plan out the next two weeks of dinner meals. That way we all know what we are having each night, and after a long day of work and commutes, we can come home and know what we are preparing. Also, I try to grocery shop every two weeks. Because I have already planned meals, I know exactly which ingredients I need and can stick close to the grocery list. Buying in bulk and making meals that can be frozen, stored in jars in the fridge for lunches or quick dinners, or allowed to rise overnight has saved us money, time, and relieved stress.
It also helps that we aren’t really socialites. On occasion, we will meet up with a friend or family member for coffee or a movie or something, or even dine out as a family, but that doesn’t affect our budget too much because it only occurs here and there. But even if these type of events do pop up without much notice or we want to grab lunch while we’re out or we want to have donuts with our Saturday morning coffee, the first step we always take is discussion and evaluating our finances.
In addition, the fact that we only share one car, that we don’t buy diapers, that we don’t have cable or internet, and that we thrift shop a lot of our possessions, REALLY helps to cut costs across the board.
Make your own To continue with the above habit, another good habit to have is to create more homemade things such as meals, other food items that you use often (coffee creamer, granola, etc.), cleaning supplies (as I mentioned before), gifts, and cards. This is another area that Asa and I are always trying to get better at doing. We are always eager to enhance our creativity, talents, and skills. Over the years, we have made a number of gifts (and cards especially) for each other and family members or friends. There is something special about giving (and receiving) thoughtful and unique homemade gifts. We have discovered that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on gifts for people – simple gestures and treasures of gratitude, friendship, and love are usually preferred anyway.
Food and hospitality are great gifts! Inviting friends and loved ones to your home to catch-up or celebrate a special occasion is always very welcoming. To be honest, I usually prefer food as a gift! 😉 Sharing meals with others allows for deeper connection and better conversation. We have hosted a number of events including an afternoon coffee & pastries hangout, dinner with friends or family, a movie watching & snacks, an Oscar party, and perhaps a few others.One of our biggest “homemade” projects was our wedding. Since we were funding our own wedding, we did a lot of brainstorming and decided to make a lot of things ourselves to help save money. Others pitched in to help with the creative process which was appreciated.
- Our wedding invitations were of our own design – envelopes hand-measured, cut, folded, and addressed; our friend helped us create the design and text for the invitations that we wanted and we went to Office Max for all of our printing needs throughout; we choose the specific paper and it’s color and texture that we wanted all of our invitations, table labels, etc. to be printed on
- My husband made table and centerpiece labels (along with other items labels)
- My husband also made our (very fun!) “travel brochures” – filled with facts about us, games such as mad libs, a crossword, and “the kissing game” (where in order for us to kiss, rather than clinking glasses, guests had to read aloud their mad lib, share a story about us, or write a haiku), places we’ve visited (or would like to), the inspiration for our wedding day & theme, and our contact information for everyone’s address book
- I wrote names on doilies which we used as our seating chart
- We came up with our own dance! It was my husband’s idea that for our first dance we do something special. And while I am not at all inclined to do something so outgoing, it went smoothly (we practiced a lot in my apartment)!
- We also made our own centerpieces and décor (as seen below)
While a big task to undertake, it was a lot of fun and GREAT use of our creativity, talents, and skills! I would love to do a blog post of our wedding elements, but it also sounds exhausting and I suppose we don’t need to keep reliving that event anyway 😉
Reuse and recycle I don’t know about you, but we like to recycle a lot. We try and recycle as much as we can, and what we can’t, we unfortunately have to throw away. But we have found other ways to make things go a little bit further. For instance, as I mentioned in part one, the plastic baggies that we use for snacks or other storage is usually washed a few times and reused before it is thrown away. The multitude of bags that we get from Trader Joes are saved for taking donations to Goodwill, storing items in our storage unit, bringing food or other items to another’s home, using as the bathroom wastebasket, and using as gift wrap. They are bags with many functions! 🙂 We do not use paper plates, napkins, cups, or utensils unless we are planning a picnic or something, but even then we are comfortable with taking glass jars, reusable water bottles, cloth napkins, and our old utensils instead.
I hope that this journey through our home life has been fun and educational! I know I had fun writing about it 🙂 Please, always feel free to contact me directly for more information or any questions regarding this post. I am always happy to share and discuss in greater detail these elements and areas of our life about which I am so passionate. You can find my contact information on my contact page.