Budgeting Chaos

Budgeting… Such a crazy thing, that sadly not enough people do.  I know some people that are seriously like, “I still have checks! That must mean I still have money, right?” Of course, those of us with common sense know that this is simply not true. We wish this was true. Just like the people that dream of the wallet that never runs out of moola. However, this is just not the case.

Have you ever actually sat down and took the time to write out what your monthly expenses and bills are? No, seriously? Everyone should take the time to do this. It’s amazing to find out what you actually owe, and how much you really shell out every single month on a regular basis.

I do this every month. EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH. My husband thinks it’s silly, but it definitely helps with keeping us afloat. I take the time to see exactly how much cheddar we have going out and when it’s going to be going out. That way, when the paycheck (cha-ching!) comes in every two weeks, I go ahead and pay what needs to be paid before the next paycheck comes… (Waah!)

But, you know what else this does??? Huh, huh? Do ya?? It helps me watch as our debt dwindles down each month too. See, here in the future, the goal is to have all that stinkin’ debt paid off and be debt free again. Won’t that be nice? Ah, to be able to say we don’t anyone anything. I CAN’T wait for that day to get here.

Do you do a budget?  If you do, why kind of budget do you use? If you don’t, you definitely should. Take some time and just jot down all those monthly expenses. Is there anywhere that you can cut back? Think about it.

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

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Low Carb Bikini Madness

So, there’s this crazy diet trend out there called low carb.  Would you believe that?! People actually crazy enough to NOT eat bread!!  Just kidding. Don’t get me wrong, I love bread, but honestly there are a lot of tasty low carb options out there. Especially if you’re one of those that wants to keep that bikini body in check. I’m fortunate enough that I love veggies and fruit, not many people get that lucky.

I’m writing this post as an idea from my leggy, gorgeous and loveable sister-in-law. She said that when people see low carb they go for it. Truth be told, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. It isn’t necessarily the low carb aspect, but when you put the right ingredients together you can totally create some tasty (but good for you) meals that aren’t going to send you into a carb coma. Check out some of the wonderful yummies below. 🙂

Zucchini Pizza Boats     Yields: 12 servings 
You can find the full recipe and instructions here.

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Turns out zucchini is quite versatile.  Check out this delicious variation of a zucchini meal below!!

Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats      Yields: 8 Zucchini Boats
You can find the full recipe and instructions here.

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Skinny Bell Pepper Nacho Boats      Yields: 18 boats (9servings)
You can find the full recipe and instructions here.

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Are you starting to notice a trend??!!  Lots of boats!! But trust me, sooooooo delicious and absolutely good for you!

Low Carb BLT Wraps      Yields: 2 Lettuce Wraps
You can find the full recipe and instructions here.

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Look!! A break in the cycle of boats!

Baked Cauliflower Tots      Yields: Serves 16 people
You can find the full recipe and instructions here.

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Now this is a short list… just to get you started! There are many more wonderful recipes out in the world of Low carb no bread eaters. 🙂 You just have to take a chance and try each one. You never know, you might just find one that you absolutely love!  Give it a chance! You won’t regret it.

Now as a bonus, here is a treat recipe for ya’ll! Enjoy!!

Low Carb Mocha Frappe

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This one right here is scrumptious!! And if you LOVE coffee as much as I do, then this one is right up your alley!
The recipe for this yummy goodness can be found right here!!

Thanks for stopping by! More tastiness to come!

Disclaimer: Please note that the pictures in the post are directly from where each recipe is from.

XoXo
Santana

Summer Lovin’ and Infused Detox Water

Summer is upon us!! I’m not a huge fan of summer. Mainly because it is HOT, and well, I live in Arizona. But there are definitely some ways to make it more enjoyable. I present to you infused detox water drinks!

It’s a well known fact that during the summer you should drink more water and less sugary drinks like soda and chocolate milk. I’ve been drinking a lot of water lately so I decided that it is time to shake it up a little bit so to speak. While it’s known you should drink more water during the warmer months, it is less known that you can make this normally blah beverage choice taste a whole lot better!! Not only can you make it taste better, you can make it taste better without adding a ton of sugar, or any sugar at all! Plus, there can be some major health benefits associated with it when you combine the right ingredients! Definitely makes it a worthwhile option for those that just can’t do plain ol’ water.

I’m going to share some of my favorite infused water recipes with you. They each have their own special benefit aside from the regular water intake you should be doing anyway.  It’s a lot cheaper drinking these kind of drinks than the premixes and soda you can buy at the store, too! I hope you enjoy some of these delicious beverages!

First up we having a slimming detox water. Super yummy and refreshing. This water consists of cucumber, strawberry and basil. You can find the recipe here. Definitely good for reducing that waistline! The more water you drink the less hungry you are!

Another fav of mine is Apple Cinnamon detox water. This recipe is especially good for anyone that struggles with blood sugar issues. The apples help with flushing heavy metals of your system as well. Check it out! The recipe for the this delicious detox water is available at this lovely blog here!

Now, I LOVE Dr. Oz! Been a fan for sometime. He always has some useful information and some great recipes. His Fat Flush Water is not only good for you, but it’s kind of pretty too! It consists of cucumber, tangerine, peppermint leaves and grapefruit. Such a beautiful combination of colors! This recipe can be found at this link here. They also have a wonderful selection of even more infused waters and detox drinks.

Want another delicious option?! How about some yummalicious Watermelon water? That’s right!! A two ingredient tasty water option. Watermelon is overabundant during the summer months! Simply slice up some watermelon and toss into a pitcher and cover with water and let it infuse for a few hours so that watermelony goodness can soak in. Once it has set for a little while in your nice, cold fridge pour yourself a glass and drink up!!

Not only is water good for you, now you know you make it taste incredible. By adding the additional ingredients, not only do you get some wonderful health benefits from it, it also curbs your cravings! So when you go to grab that next soda, think about giving infused water a try. Your body will thank you!

Thoughts and opinions??  Feel free to leave a comment! I look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by!!
XoXo
Santana

How to Save Money And Barely Notice…

So, you want to save money, but you don’t have any to save? I hear this all the time. In fact, I have often felt this way myself. Turns out there are many ways to build that savings account, and not feel the pinch right away. And, that in itself is always a good thing! Nobody likes seeing big globs of money disappearing.

Now, see me personally, I use a few different methods to help bulk up that savings. If you have a Bank of America account, they still offer Keep the Change savings,  which we use. Honestly, I LOVE it. It automatically rounds your everyday purchases up to the next dollar and deposits the difference into your savings.  Pretty nice way to build it up and the only work you have to do is remember when you balance your checkbook to keep those little amounts in mind if those transactions haven’t posted to your account. Saving without thinking about it!!

I have seen various other methods over the years, and each one is great in it’s own regard. It just depends on what method will work the best for you. How do you want to go about it?

One method, is the basic change method. In this one, you simply save small amounts based one what day of the year it is. (YES, I said DAY… It is a daily version of saving.) How this option works is on day 1 you save $0.01, on day 2 you save $0.02, on day 3 you save $0.03, and you just keep changing the daily contribution to the amount of what day in the year it is times a penny. Once you get to the end of the year, you have saved up over $660.00!!  That’s a healthy chunk of change.

Another method is the 2 litre bottle method with dimes. Yeppers, don’t spend any of those dimes you get!! It may not add up as quickly as other methods, but it has it’s advantages. I mean seriously, a dime is NOT a huge amount to sacrifice for financial bliss. Once you have filled the two litre bottle you will have anywhere between $500-$700! Imagine what you could do with that! You could even intentionally get those dimes knowing you can’t spend them. If you ask the bank they’ll give you a roll of dimes (which equals $5.00). Think about it.

Then there are some people who save monthly. Not a bad method if you want a larger chunk at the end of the year. Only pitfall with this one is that you see it a bit more. It’s more obvious to your eyes that you’re lopping off big chunks of what you could be spending elsewhere in one big swoop. The most common version of this is saving $25 in month one, $50 in month two, $75 in month three, and just upping the deposit amount by an additional $25 each month. It definitely becomes harder to contribute towards the latter part of the year because that amount just keeps getting BIGGER. But, hey, if you can swing this method and keep consistent with it, by the end of 12 months you’ll have managed to save $1950!!

There is also saving a flat amount each month. The same boring amount as the month before and never changing it. But, this method can work and you can budget it in if you do a budget. If this is the way you take, make sure you set it up for automatic funds transfer when your check is deposited or, if you have the option, get it directly deposited into your savings account. The second choice is better honestly because then you won’t have seen it in your checking and then watch it walk away over to your savings. Most people that do this method do between $25-$100 each month. If you do $25.00/mo you’ll only save $300.00. If you do $100.00/mo you’ll save $1200.00. Each person/family’s budget is different and the method they choose will be different too!

So now I’ve shown you a handful of methods to help bulk up that savings account. Which do you think is the best?? Which do you think is the most likely method to keep you on your savings track? Let me know!!

Thanks for Stopping By!!!
XoXo
Santana

Living Paycheck to Paycheck? How?

I don’t know about you guys, but most people live paycheck to paycheck. Well, honestly, most people live paycheck to five days to paycheck. Does this sound familiar? If so, you are in the right place!

A little back story for ya. I was working for quite some time, barely making over minimum wage. We’ve all been there. It was a job I was good at, but the benefits weren’t really anything to be desired. And the salary, well, if it hadn’t been for my husband having a good job, we would not have been able to make ends meet. Nowadays, households have to have two incomes to make it through. It’s kind of sad when you think about the fact that there was once a time that the head of the house made enough money to cover everything and still have enough left over for the fun stuff, like going to the drive in. Sodas were only five cents kinda of time.

Well this job, while it was a job I enjoyed for the most part, and it allowed me to take my kids to and from school (their bus stop is over a mile from our house), it just wasn’t cutting it financially. I worked at a school as an hourly employee. Any time there wasn’t school, I didn’t make money, and we would go a month up to three months without me making anything. So, I started looking for another job. I found one too! I thought it would be perfect! It paid well, had excellent benefits, all adults. I thought to myself, I can totally do this. Bonus, it was a work at home job once the training was complete. Training was only supposed to be 8 weeks.

WRONG!!! The weeks just seemed to keep piling up, and there was mandatory overtime every week. I was tired, stressed, still not working at home, and to top it off I had lost 20 lbs from the stress. I was getting yelled at day in and out from customers on the phone. They would get irate when I couldn’t tell them something, not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I wasn’t allowed to. My supervisors weren’t much help either, which tore me apart. A customer would ask for a supervisor and I was supposed to basically tell them no. My morals didn’t let me put my heart into my work, I simply hated it and it was affecting not only my health, but it also affected my time with my children who are still young.  My husband and I discussed it and decided my health was more important than having the job that would make it look like we had received a tax return every two weeks into our bank account. It killed me to do it, but I walked in and quit the very next day.

Which brings us to now. I am now in a household again living paycheck to 5 days before paycheck. It’s a real struggle, and I know that I am not alone. But, we’ve managed to find a way to keep everything paid that needs to be paid. We have a system to organize our payments based on importance. We pay the necessities first (rent/mortgage, electricity, water, gas, food), then the things that keep the house a float (trash, car payments, insurance), then our credit obligations (credit cards, loan payments, etc.) Then once all the important stuff is taken care of we see what’s left. Often there isn’t much and we have no spending days.

I’m on a mission at this point to pay off as much debt as possible while still having only one income providing for our family of four. So it leads me to these questions: How do you keep your family afloat while still living on only one income?  What do you sacrifice to be able to provide what your children need?

Let me know in the comments how you do it? I will be sharing more tips and strategies as this blog progresses. Hopefully we can all help each other out with our own personal bits of knowledge!

Thanks for stopping by!
XoXo
Santana

Welcome!!

I would personally like to thank you for stopping by Saving and Crafting! Welcome to my own little slice of the blogosphere. My name is Santana and I’m a wife and Momma. I’m starting this blog in hopes of sharing some of my knowledge with the world. Some things you will find here are how to make your money work for you and not the other way around, recipes, DIY and basic crafting. I LOVE to make pretty things!

I have two beautiful children that are also quite crafty in their own right. My son illustrates and writes his own comic books. Quite a feat for a nine year old. And my beautiful daughter is an artist in her own right. She loves to upcycle! She is a seven year old that is a true believer in the old saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I am also married to a wonderful man that is incredibly good at building and creating things as well. He’s the woodworker in the family. He’s also skilled at making things work when most people can’t figure out a workaround! Welcome to our crafty family. Enjoy!

If you have any questions about any posts on this blog, please feel free to contact me at my email address! I will gladly answer what I can. Please note that all opinions you find on this blog are completely my own. And if I snag an idea from elsewhere, I will link to their page so that you can check out the awesome mind it came from as well!

Thanks for stopping by! I’m happy to have you here!

XoXo
Santana