I love hearing from people who have made changes in their lives because of something I’ve shared here, and on our Facebook page, or challenges I’ve made to encourage others on ways to take control over their own financial future. It’s not always possibly for someone to take on a second job; or even in some cases, working outside the home at all. But there are lots of ways we can all make changes to help save and stretch the use of the money that IS coming in to the home. So I was really excited to hear from a friend of mine who had not only done just that…but utilized one avenue quite literally, by catching raindrops in her water (buckets) barrels!
Meet Erica Manly, a stay at home mom, who previously worked full-time outside the home. Much has changed in Erica’s life over the past five years, including marriage, quitting her day job, having a baby, and moving three hours away from her family for her husband’s job. Erica’s life changed…so Erica had to learn how to adjust her lifestyle to her new normal. Let me let her tell you more about that.
My name is Erica and I’m a wife and stay at home mom to the cutest and busiest little three year old you’ve ever seen. In order to make it possible to stay with her full-time and to save for our future (and hers), I am always looking for ways for our family to save wherever we can. We became even more serious about saving last year after reviewing exactly how much money was going out every month. I started serious couponing first, because most of our budget was going to the grocery store. I wouldn’t call what I do “extreme couponing”, but we are definitely saving about $400 per month in comparison to two years ago between the grocery and other big box store spending. And as a bonus, our cupboards and closets are full of food and toiletries!
I also took up gardening last year with one raised bed garden of vegetables. Whenever I decide to start a project like this, I’m sure my husband cringes as this means work for him. He built a nice raised bed for me and filled it with a truck load of dirt. Our friend had started extra tomato plants and had other extra seeds, so we actually spent absolutely nothing on our plants!
As a new gardener, I noticed how much more everything grew when it rained in comparison to my usual watering from the hose. Our friend calls it “magic water”.
Partly inspired by our Catching Raindrops friend, Gloria, I told my husband that I needed a rain barrel. The way I remember it, he rolled his eyes and sighed. A couple days later, my man was researching rain barrels and told me he found some 55 gallon drums for sale nearby and had found a way to tie them into our downspout under the back porch. Within a week, the project was complete – three 55 gallon drums filled with water after one good rain.
I can’t break down exactly how much money it is saving us, but I was watering our new landscaping on the front of the house and/or the veggie garden almost everyday. Since installing the rain collection system, I have only pulled the garden hose back out a few times. I am looking forward to expanding my garden this spring to two raised beds of vegetables and using my good and bad experiences from last year to improve. My husband will also add another rain barrel or two to be sure we never run out of rain water.
While my ways may be extreme to some, and my reasons to save money may be different from yours, there are almost always ways to spend less and save more for a rainy (or even not rainy) day!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go follow my child around while turning off lights and try to explain (again) that just because you can flip all the light switches now doesn’t mean you need to turn all the lights on!
Tag Archives: new normal
Yes. Welcome Back to Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets. That’s what I tell myself every winter and summer break when I actually have the time to devote more attention than just a Facebook post (find us and join our group on Facebook — catchingraindropsinwaterbuckets) or make a Pinterest share(https://www.pinterest.com/ggproverbs31/catching-raindrops-in-water-buckets/). The conversation doesn’t end when I’m not here. I’m just having it multiple other places too; places where I can drop in briefly, share a tip or two; give out a challenge to those ladies who are, like me, still trying to find, secure, and grow our place in this world amidst the changes, and sometimes, challenges of our “new normal.”
My New Normal included transitioning from a Talent Agent, to starting my own business (gloriagreenentertaiment.com) to now being a full-time college Professor. My job requires more of my time than I at first imagined, as well as much of my physical and mental energy — as working with older teens and young adults often does. And as much as I love what I do and the impact I’m having on college students interested in the Recording Industry, I strive to be careful to take my own advice, from personal experiences and the experiences of other women I’ve watched having to transition in their jobs, martial status, and other life changes. I don’t ever want to be in “that place” again where I rely soley on another entity or someone else’s financial ups and downs.
In the sporting world, a team’s Offense often gets most of the glory when they win a game. But the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how many points the team puts on the scoreboard, if the Defense isn’t keeping the other team from scoring just as many (or more) points, then there would not be a win. As is often said, “the best offense is a good defense!” That’s how we have to approach our life…our jobs, our finances, our relationships…It’s not just about how well you’re doing what you do but also, how well you prepare for what you may end up having to do, even if it wasn’t originally in your playbook of where you saw yourself coming into the “game.” As I’ve said many times before,
Life is full of unexpected surprises and unplanned stops in the middle of places you never imagined yourself ending up. And while we can’t control all of the circumstances that may happen to us, we can control how well prepared we are to take them on when they happen.
So with that reminder to myself, as well as all of you, I now go back to working on the other parts of who I am. I’ve dusted off the water buckets, and put them back out around the “yard,” ready to catch the raindrops during this rainy season so that I am prepared, and able to survive the next dry spell, when/if it comes again.
What about you? Do you even own any water buckets?
The Cost of Laziness
On the way to work earlier this week, I stopped at a gas station and filled my tank for $1.74/gallon. The actual price of the gas at this Thorntons station was $1.77, but I had a rewards card which gave me an additional three cents per gallon off. Now for you West coasters and Northeasterners, I’m sure your jaw has dropped at the thought of gas prices being this low. But down South, we’ve been significantly under $2.00 since before the holidays; albeit, that was only a few weeks ago. But given that the average gas price where I live is about $1.86, with bargains like I found at other stations for those willing to look, I’m completely dumbfounded whenever I pass a gas station these days with prices starting above $2.00 and people actually at the pumps filling their tanks. What gives me more of a “scratching my head, I don’t get it,” moment is when I see other stations mere blocks away with prices 10, 20, even 30 cents cheaper than the one where some people are stopping. So I can’t help but wonder, how lazy can you be that in today’s economy, you wouldn’t do just a little homework to find the best gas prices in your community or near your workplace? Certainly not “that” many people could possibly have been on empty and forced to pull in to the first gas station they saw, when a half mile down the road, they could have saved 20 cents a gallon.
Now I know, there are people who think 20 cents is nothing; not worth the extra drive. Those are people I call too lazy for their own good. They don’t completely understand the cost of laziness. You see, it’s not just 20 cents; it’s the cumulative effect of paying more for the same thing, just to avoid taking the time to find something better — and it adds up. Let’s take a vehicle that has a 20 gallon tank. Assuming you’re filling up because you’re on or near empty, that 20 cent difference that doesn’t seem like a big deal right now, actually comes out to be $4.00 more you spent filling up your car, than what the woman down the street saved. What’s $4.00, you say? Well one way you can look at it is this. Let’s assume, regardless of the price of gas, you continue to shop at a station that charges, on average, 20 cents more per gallon. Filling your tank once a week would mean that you just paid $16.00 more that month than you could have saved. If you continue that pattern all year long, then you just spent (better known as wasted) a total of $192.00 that year! Now, I don’t know about you, but I can think of several things I could do with an additional $192. That’s the cost of a carefully selected airline ticket back to my hometown. It’s also about what I paid for my last electric bill, and more than double the cost of my current home gas bill. What’s more, if you take into consideration there are 52 weeks in a year (of course, only one month has exactly four weeks in it), then really, you’ve just spent $208 more that year than I did…all because you’d either prefer maintaining your habit of getting your gas at the same station every time, regardless of the price (yes, there are those people who won’t let anything get in the way of their routine, even when that routine stops making sense). Or, it’s not a matter of routine, but rather laziness — “see station, pull in, gas up, go!”
Interestingly, just this morning a devotional popped in my email. It’s one of those I subscribe to for only weekend delivery, so I thought how fitting and timely that today it would actually be about this very topic that I had already planned to write about.
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. Proverbs 6:6-8
For most of us who don’t have the luxury of a lottery win, a trust fund, generously rich relatives, or even hard work, high earning generated income, we have to seek out ways to save the money we have and use it wisely. For me, that means, not going out of my way to find the best gas prices, but rather, making it a point to find out which ones offer the best deals along the routes I’m already taking — to work, to church, to home, even to friend’s houses on a different part of town. It means yes, I shop during Buy One, Get One Free sales; and then only select one of the products (most stores allow that now), which means a 50% savings on something I planned to purchase anyway. It means I try not to run out to do any one errand, but rather hit most places up in between the other destinations I have to do. That means that on my way to my doctor’s appointment, I drop my recycles off at the center going, and stop by the Home Depot to pick up the floodlights I need, on the return. And it also means using coupons – not just for groceries, but for any and everything that’s available. Recently, that meant saving $40.00 on a brake job at a national chain. While I waited for my car repair, I went online and found the savings of $20.00 per brake service. Since I had to have two new brake pads installed, the $40.00 was a huge and welcomed savings (thank you smartphones and wifi!).
The devotional I read, which was from Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries, went on to say: consider how many characteristics of the ant people would be smart to adopt: preparation, cooperation, perseverance, diligence, and unity.
My ongoing challenge to anyway reading this, is to think about the bigger picture with even the smaller things you do. If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you’re probably one who is looking for ideas on how to save money, or perhaps how to generate more. I hope we have provided some of those ideas for you in the past, and we certainly plan to share much more in the future. But remember, no matter how much money you make, win or inherit, if you spend more than you have, you will be back to living in debt!
Learn instead, how to adjust your lifestyle to a life with your new normal.
Holding the Date…
Life is full of unexpected surprises and unplanned stops in the middle of places you never imagined ending up. And while we can’t control some of the circumstances that may happen to us, we can control how well we’re prepared to take on those events, and what we do with them when they occur.
So life took you in a new direction; one you weren’t expecting. Okay, so now what?
Stop trying to maintain the lifestyle you once had, and start living the new life you have today.
Learn how to adjust to and love your new normal!
Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets: The Conference…Coming March 20-21, 2015
What I Wish I Knew Already Five Years Ago!
I met Mildred Walters four years ago when she was the Executive Director of a small business Incubator. I don’t really remember how we met, but our initial meeting revolved around a book she’d written, and she wanted to talk to me about some promotional ideas for it. At the time she was still working at the Incubator, and I was not even a year into a new journey; one that I didn’t really see coming, and hadn’t fully planned on. It was a journey into self-employment without the benefit of the time to make a plan. Though our initial meeting was about PR, we ended up staying in touch for months (and now years) later, as she shared with me her plans to leave her steady-income, health benefits, retirement package, paid vacation job, and venture into the world of self-employment. I congratulated her, and at the same time thought about how different things might have been if I’d been able to develop an exit strategy; create a plan for launching forward into something I knew I had become more passionate about. But like thousands of other people, I didn’t have that luxury of time. In one moment, an otherwise ordinary day turned into a large clock ticking down, hand moving each second closer to the end of a 13+ year run.
If only I’d met Mildred, now the owner of BizOwner Coach, LLC, two years earlier. I could have talked to her about the advice she shares here in our Newsroom about the 5 Things You Should Do Before You Leave Your Paycheck Job!
Perhaps that’s why I’ve become such a huge advocate and encourager to the women I meet and friends I know; especially single women with no “back-up income,” to become proactive in securing multiple streams of revenue for their lives. As a former employee with a “worker bee” mentality, I was loyal to a fault pretty much everywhere I worked. Now, I am one of the biggest supporters of doing what I can to help encourage my friends to turn hobbies into money making ventures, to develop businesses out of the creative juices that drive them, to reach beyond the 9-to-5 world of generating money for someone else’s business, and start exploring opportunities to make money for your own. That is one of the main foundations of where my passion to start Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets all began, and where my drive for all that will soon develop from out of that, comes from.
But before you quit that day job, and while you still have the benefit of time, a regular income, and financial flexibility, click over to the Newsroom and read Mildred Walters’s tips to help you plan for the next step in your future. And if you’re interested in more of Mildred’s advice, or need her consulting services, visit her website at www.mildredwalters.com.
WELCOME to Catching Raindrops in Water Buckets
I’m glad you found us. We’re just getting started, but we have no plans of going anywhere any time soon! I hope we provide you with enough information, resources, great stories, useful tips, some humor, and inspirational moments that will make you want to come back time and time again. Better yet, why not sign up to receive notifications of blog posts, and then you never have to wonder what you may be missing out on! If you haven’t already read About Us, tab on over and discover who we are and why we’re here!
For those of you who like your community a little more social, feel free to leave a comment here (or your own tips, suggestions, and resource links), or meet us over in our group on Facebook. You’ll need to LIKE our umbrella company (facebook.com/gloriagreenentertainment.com) and then send us a message requesting an invite into our Catching Raindrops group. We promise we’re not trying to be exclusionary; we just want to know everyone coming in so that we can all have fun, but feel safe interacting with one another.
If you’re more of a visual person, there’s a YouTube for that (http://www.youtube.com/user/CatchingRaindropsN), or if pinning is your thing, we’ve just joined some of the rest of you over there (http://pinterest.com/waterbuckets/). We still have a little more work to do in that area, but it’s been fun so far! And of course, for those who want to digest things just 140 characters at a time, follow us @CatchingtheRain.
Whatever your choice of media, we’d love to hear from you and learn more about you. We’d especially like to hear how you are catching raindrops in your own water buckets.
So if you like what you find when you visit us, how about tell some of your other friends where they can find us as well. We’ve got plenty of room for as many as you want to bring over!
Thanks again for visiting. Looking forward to connecting!