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!
Rosie Schmitgen is a busy woman who believes that putting family first helps keep everything else in their right place. A wife and the mother of three vivacious and busy children, Rosie is also an entrepreneur, running two businesses she co-owns with her husband. With the flexibility of being a self-employed businesswoman, Rosie is able to keep focused on her family while still growing her businesses, all from home.
After several years of buying and flipping properties for resale, Rosie and her husband Allen started Schmitgen Rentals 17 years ago. A home and apartment rental business based in Corpus Christi, the company rents fully furnished and unfurnished homes and apartments to vacationing families or traveling business people throughout the year. With a 15-year background in retail management, Rosie’s desire to serve people by providing them what they need has helped to grow the company each year since its start.
Her other company, Beyond Espresso of Corpus Christi, which was started seven years ago, is a rental company of commercial grade coffee machines from Italy. Targeted for placement in small and large businesses, Rosie also provides rental of the popular cappuccino and latte making coffee machines for special events, private parties, and fundraisers around the country.
Rosie lives in Corpus Christi where she has been happily married to Allen Schmitgen for over 18 years. She loves being a cheerleader to her kids, Justin, Caleb, and Aleena, as they grow into their own individually creative self. But balancing the life of a wife, mom, and business owner can definitely take its toll. And as women, sometimes we are the last ones to take note. For Rosie, it was her oldest son Justin who recently told her that she needed to start taking better care of herself. Noticing how tired his mom was getting by the end of each day, 15 year old Justin told her that it was because she wasn’t eating right and not getting enough regular exercise.
What a revelation coming from a teenager! What was probably more shocking to Rosie was both of her sons insistence on her providing them with healthier food options for their meals, as well as their desire to join a gym so that they could get regular exercise. As if the roles were reversed, it was mama Rosie who pushed back. “I tried to explain to my sons how time consuming it would be to research all of the right foods, in addition to adding another trip to an already hectic schedule by trying to get them to and from the gym throughout the week.”
But Justin pushed back harder. “Mom, I have researched the foods, I will tell you what to buy and I will help you prepare our meals for the week,” he said, showing an incredibly high level of maturity for a teenage boy. So Rosie agreed to give it a try, and has made plans for the whole family to join a local gym and work out together. But it is the last words of her son’s plea that is probably the most worth sharing. They are words that ring true for everyone, and hopefully will prove inspirational to those of you reading this, as you go through the day, and plan your week, and wonder how you can fit even one more thing in it.
“In being organized we will eat better, have more time for things, and be healthier.” Justin Schmitgen (15 year old kid who wants his family to live a better life)