Money $ Mondays Feed

Money $ Monday: Marriage Matters

Good morning, my friends! I hope your week's off to a good start!

So my "money question" for you this week is this:

How does money figure into your marriage? Is one of you better with finances than the other? Are you on the same page when it comes to spending and saving? Has this changed over time?



I'd guess a lot of us start out one way and then through the years gravitate towards the middle. For example, I was never a frugal person (and I'd daresay I'm still not) but over time, I've become more mindful about spending. Bill is decidedly the thriftier spouse, but he's loosened up through the years. And as for handling the monies - this might sound awfully old-fashioned, but I leave most of that up to him. It's just what works for us.

So Bill earns the family income, and he handles the investing and saving. Though we do discuss things, especially big decisions (like, should we refinance or not). Meanwhile I do my best to manage the household budget. 

(And let me just add in the disclaimer here that I was the English major, while Bill studied economics and today works in finance. So clearly we play to our strengths in this department.)


So if you have a moment, please chime in and let me know how money matters in your marriage. I'm especially interested to know what your "spending personality" is like. :)

Thanks so much and have a great day ...

See you here again very soon!

Money $ Monday: Handling the Holidays

In the midst of much busy-ness here, but I wanted to get this week's M$M post up before the day got away from me! 

So here we are nearing mid-September, and though it seems far away, the holiday season will be here in the blink of an eye. This is a busy time of year for most of us, so it's easy to get distracted and then head into the holidays unprepared - meaning, without a plan. And I know when I don't have a plan, I always end up spending more money!

Of course, the holidays - Chistmas, Hannukah, Solstice, etc. - by their very nature, have nothing to do with money. But as we decorate and celebrate and cook and clean and give and get, of course money comes into play. It's up to us to make choices that work for our families, both financially and spiritually ...

Keeping our holidays simple benefits not only our hearts but our budgets!

So my question for you all today is this: 

How do you plan for holiday spending? And how do you keep your holiday budget in line?


If you have a moment or two, I'd love to hear your thougts on this subject. I'm planning several posts on holiday planning for later this month, so I hope you'll check in when you can.

Have a great day, my friends!

Money $ Monday: First Jobs

Since it's Labor Day, I thought I'd keep things simple, so for this week I'd like to talk about our earliest work experiences ...

What was your first job?


I did babysitting from the time I was 12 or so - just for a few neighbors, my parents' friends and relatives - but that kept me well employed for a while. :) When I was in high school I worked for a local department store (in their domestics department, of course!) and through my college summers I worked for a small kitchen supply store and then a household linens store. (Sensing a theme here, lol?)

But my first full-time job out of college was for a Boston-area newspaper. I started as a "service directory" reporter, which had me writing up interviews with advertisers ... not the most interesting position of course, but I loved being part of the newspaper environment. Finally I was invited to join the "Features Desk" where I got to write about all kinds of "soft" news, and mostly food articles. Those were some fun times - I got to meet a lot of interesting people and attend some very cool events. :)

I thought I might continue freelancing once I had children, but balancing new motherhood and deadlines was not an easy juggle! And so I've been out of (paying) work since Bookworm was born ...

I'd love to hear about your first job(s)! If you have a moment, please leave a comment below ... and I will see you here again very soon!

(p.s. Just finished making picalilli with Mum ... will post pictures and recipe tomorrow!)

KG sunflowers

Money $ Monday: Of Price Books & Pantries

Good morning, everyone!


My topic this week is two-fold, because I think these two subjects go hand in hand. (And thanks to Chrissy for the pantry-building suggestion!) Having a well-stocked pantry is a boon to meal planning and scratch cooking, and when you buy things at their best price you save all the more. If something you use regularly is on "special," (whether by sale, coupon or both) how much better to purchase it while it's at its best price?

So, say you routinely buy toilet paper (and I'd hazard a guess most of us do) and your preferred brand is being offered at a reduced price ... if you keep track of prices you know immediately if that sale's worth the trip. 

A price book can be kept in a binder or - if my "intel" is correct (and he usually is) - nowadays it can simply be an app on your phone.

So my first question for you all today is:

Does anyone have experience with a price book, and if so, do you keep it manually or electronically?


And here's the second part of this week's topic ... 

Some of us are seasoned pantry keepers, but many of us are just starting out. Filling those cabinets and freezer shelves can be expensive!

So when you don't have a lot of wiggle room in your budget, how do you build up a versatile and valuable pantry? Please share any tips you might have!


As for me, I can tell you I do not keep a price book (other than the random facts and figures I juggle in my head) and my pantry is slowly being built week by week. I've been a bit disorganized about it though, so I feel like my shelves may be filled with good buys, but not necessarily helpful meal starters. (I mean, how many boxes of Cheerios does one family need, lol?) So this is something I'd like to focus on as we head into fall ...

Well my friends, I'm going to sign off for now - time to rally my troops - but I'll check back in here as I can. Enjoy your day, wherever it takes you, and I'll see you here again very soon.

And the embroidery kit winner is ...

Lori B.!

Congratulations, Lori - I hope you enjoy the kit! I'll be in touch soon so we can sort out mailing details ...

Thanks to all for participating in my "Monday $ Monday" discussion - I truly value your input and appreciate your time and support! Next week's topic will be ... well, I'm not quite sure, to be honest! Saving on back-to-school supplies, perhaps? If you have a suggestion, please let me know ...

And have a great Wednesday, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Money $ Monday: Do You Work at Home?

Simple embroidery

{Now it goes without saying that every mom is a working mom, whether she's paid monetarily or not, but for the purposes of this post, I'd like to talk about the kind of extra work that earns your family money ... something you can do at home in your "spare" time.}

But before I get to today's specific questions, I'd like to point out the sewing kit shown above. This is my giveaway today! It's something I bought for myself years ago, but I've never done more with it than just look it over. (And yes this kit is meant for kids, but that's about my skill level when it comes to needlework!) Well I've finally decided to pass it on, so if you're interested, please leave a comment below and I'll enter you in the giveaway.


This week's question:

Are any of my readers currently running a home business or working at home in some way? If so, would you share a little about what you do? And please leave a link if you'd like!

... or ...

Have you ever thought about how you might earn money by working at home? If you could envision a little cottage industry for yourself, what would you do? Are there hobbies and/or passions you could translate into a profit somehow?


Well, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so please leave a comment if you have the time and inclination. :) I'll jump into the comments when I can ... but for now I have to get these kids up and get our day rolling!

As always, if you're not interested in the giveaway, be sure to let me know ... I'll be pulling a name from the comments Wednesday morning.

Have a great Monday, my friends ... see you here again sometime soon!

$ My Budgeting Notes $

Happy Wednesday, my friends!

So this morning I printed out all the comments in the Money Monday post and then sat down with a hi-lighter (and my coffee) and read. Thank you to everyone who took the time to add their suggestions and experiences - there were some wonderful tips! This is one of the blessings of the internet - being able to share ideas with each other in this way. :)

So here are my own thoughts, as scattered as they are ... and let me preface this by saying I am in no way any kind of budget guru. Quite the contrary, actually - as I have miles to go when it comes to being thrifty and clever with household expenses. Hence these Money $ Monday posts - so I can pick all your lovely brains! ;)


As of now, I think the only area I've been working on diligently has been grocery shopping. Like many of you, I find menu planning and list-making enormously helpful with paring down the grocery bill. Coupon clipping - when done well - is also quite helpful as is buying in bulk/shopping sales.


I do try to regulate our air conditioning by turning down the temperature gauge and, in general, using AC as sparingly as possible. But Earlybird is very sensitive to heat so I don't hesitate to turn it on as needed. Bill keeps bringing up the subject of "central air," but I can't seem to commit to the (enormously expensive) idea. I know it probably makes much more fiscal (and environmental) sense to upgrade to a more efficient system but, good golly, it's a huge initial investment!


I must confess I have a real weakness when it comes to books. There's just something about books - new books especially! - that truly nourish me. But I try to temper my urges to buy books - they're expensive of course, but also, they take up a ton of space! (And homeschooling for 12+ years means my house is absolutely teeming with books!) So we do make great use of the library, especially the inter-library loan system. Nowadays when I hear about a new book I get myself on a waiting list at the library rather than rush out to buy it. And yet ... I still find myself at Barnes & Noble a couple of times a month ... even if it's just to browse. ;)


I have a fairly large pantry downstairs so I can stock up on when things are on sale, but I'd also like to invest in a full freezer. (Chest or upright - opinions?) I love the idea of having a freezer stocked with seasonal produce, well-priced meats and homemade "convenience foods" ready to go. To date, however, I have not been very successful at freezing things, so I'll have to read up on that concept ... any suggestions?


I do a lot of scratch cooking, and I'm working on reducing the amount of convenience food I use (prepared foods and packaged mixes, etc.). We rarely eat out - a few nice dinners on birthdays, our anniversary - but we do indulge in take-out more often than we should. That said, Bill takes a home-packed lunch to work everyday. :)


I'm hardly a clothes hound - I still wear clothes that are YEARS old. But that's mostly because I "work at home" and honestly, who cares? I'm just glad they still fit, lol! I save my clothes dollars for special occasions i.e. a wedding or a special dinner for Bill's company. Then, admittedly, I splurge on something new. As for the kids - having three boys has been great. We just save things to pass down! (And we were very fortunate to inherit A LOT of great quality clothes from cousins when Bookworm was small. They've lasted well.)


Laundry is a constant in any family's life, but I don't really save much in this area. For instance, I don't currently line-dry as many of you do. I would love to, but I'm leery of pollen. Has anyone dealt with this? If you have allergies in your household how do you keep your drying linens free of pollen?


Phyllis just left a comment and mentioned another category to consider: gifts. Great idea. Phyllis! I tend to go overboard here, but I start every holiday season with the hope and intention to make as many of our gifts as we can. Not only are handmade gifts more frugal, but, more importantly, they're more meaningful. We get a little better with this every year, but invariably I spend the last couple of weeks before Christmas in a flurry of online ordering. This is something that needs closer attention ...


Does anyone do a Christmas Club at their bank? (Do they even still do those? I remember my mum and grandmother did this.) We tend to overspend at the holidays but my aim is to each month have a little money set aside towards Christmas. I have yet to make that happen but it makes a lot of sense. Does anyone have a system for this?


Well, I think that might be all I have time for right now ... but I am looking forward to talking more about this with you all ... please continue to leave your thoughts below as you have time. I will jump back in the conversation as soon as I can!

Blessings to you all on this day!

Money Monday: Sharing $ Tips

Budget tab

Good (Tuesday) morning, my friends! I'm a day late - though hopefully not a dollar short - with this post, but this week I'd like to talk about budget saving tips. We all have tried-and-true methods for saving money where we can ... would you care to share three of yours? If you have more than three, feel free to expand, and if you have less, that's fine, too. I'll take whatever you've got. :)

Now, I know we're all familiar with the basics of a family budget, but here are the categories I'm concentrating on ... if I've left something out, let me know!









Health Care


Kids' Sports/Activities



Thanks so much for reading today, and please leave a comment if you have the time. I'll add more thoughts later today ... for now I'm going to concentrate on this delicious cup of coffee and getting my household up and running!

See you back here very soon!

Money Monday: Kids, Money & Chores

Happy Monday, my friends!

For this week's topic, I'd like to talk about kids and money and household responsibilities ... so here are my questions for you:

1. Do you give your children an allowance, and if so, must they earn it by doing chores? 

2. How do your children handle their money - deciding what to spend, save, and give?

3. Do your children have jobs outside the home?

My answers:

1. Our children receive an allowance, and while it's not tied specifically to chores, there is the understanding that being a member of this family means helping where you can and when you're asked.

2. We allow the kids to decide how much to spend, save and give (and it's their responsibility to keep track of their allowance), but recently we've asked them to make some thoughtful decisions about this system ... especially in regards to giving.

3. Bookworm does lawn work and pet sitting for relatives and neighbors. Crackerjack does weeding for my dad and earns a tidy sum for himself each week. (My dad insists on paying the boys even though I insist he not, lol.)

KG leafy branch 2

And here is the breakdown of our kids' chores. We don't post a checklist - for the most part, they just know what they're expected to do - although, reminders are certainly helpful!


Bookworm (17):

keep room/bed neat

take care of his stuff (clutter)

help with end-of-day neatening

refresh cats' water

brush cats

play with cats

fill birdfeeders

empty dishwasher

put out trash & recycling

help Dad with lawn (mowing, raking, etc.)

help Dad with snow shoveling

clear dishes

bring in groceries

cook some smaller meals for himself (bagels, sandwiches, salads, reheating)

vacuum (on occasion)

assist with carpentry and household repairs

keep track of library bag

babysit (on occasion)

Crackerjack (13 next week):

keep room/bed neat

take care of his stuff (clutter)

help with end-of-day neatening

fill cats' dry food dish

brush cats

play with cats

help fill birdfeeders

empty dishwasher

some food prep (getting his own toast/cereal/fruit/sandwiches/snacks)

put out trash & recycling

help with lawn care (weeding, raking, mulch, etc.)

help with snow removal (cleaning off cars)

clear dishes

bring in groceries

vacuum (on occasion)

Earlybird (10, special needs)

make his bed/help keep his room neat

water plants

help with garden

help with birdfeeders

neaten toys and clutter

help clear dishes

help with some cooking

help with compost

help with dusting, sweeping

help wash/dry laundry


Currently, I'm trying to work on a better sense of budgeting so that my boys understand that it's important to be thoughtful with our money. I'm even considering going to a cash budget for a time so we can all see just where and how quickly the weekly monies go. It's so easy to whip out a card at the cash register but if you've gone over budget it's not as readily apparent ...

Bottom line ~ money is not something to be taken for granted, and being smart about how we spend means we can save - and give - more. And our responsibility extends beyond a simple list of chores ... it means being careful with, and grateful for, all that we have.

Well, my friends, if you have a moment, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. I know it tends to be a hot topic! But as always, I thank you for stopping by and wish you a good day ...

See you here again very soon!

Money Monday: Grocery $ (& a Giveaway!)


Good morning, my friends! I hope you all had a nice weekend. It's a glorious morning here in my corner of the world - quite sunny, and relatively cool for this time of year. A great day for opening up the house and letting in all that lovely fresh air ...

So, Mondays used to be reserved for Masterpiece chat* ... but today I'd like to start a conversation about money. Each week I'll pose a different question/topic of discussion and we'll see what we can make of it.

But for today I'd like to follow up on this post, and ask you all this:

How much do you spend on groceries each week, and how many mouths (human or otherwise) do you feed? If you're not comfortable revealing a dollar amount, would you say you spend more than you'd like?


I have a very hard time keeping our grocery costs down, what with three growing boys, some special diet needs, a desire to shop "organic" as often as possible - not to mention, a couple of cats! And it's been all over the news lately that grocery prices will be rising over the next year ...

Still, it's one area of our family budget where I can make a difference, so I'm constantly trying to do my best. When I'm rushed and disorganized, I end up spending way more than I mean to. But when I find time to make up a dinner plan and a thoughtful grocery list and check the flyers and clip the coupons - I spend a much more managable amount.

So I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject. :) And to "sweeten the deal" I'm going to offer a giveaway this morning ... my copy of Playful Learning, which is a terrific book, but a little young for my boys these days ... so on Wednesday morning I'll draw a name from the comments and announce a winner! (Please let me know if you're not interested in the book, and I'll keep you out of the giveaway.)

And if you have suggestions for future "money" posts, please leave those, too!

Have a great Monday, everyone!

P.s. *Downton returns January 6th - so mark your calendars! "Masterpiece Mondays" will resume early next year. :)