January 2013

Living With Less {part 1/3}

It’s no secret that Shawn and I took a huge pay cut to move to Missouri to start Echo Church.  I’ve heard that most new business owners don’t typically start earning a paycheck for years.  This is not exactly the same situation, but is similar in the fact that if we would have taken a full salary, I’m not sure if Echo Church would be around two years later.  In fact, Shawn has counseled other new start pastors and told them to slash their initial pay.  They said that would be impossible, and now, sadly their church is no more.  {this is not a hard and fast rule for all new start churches, but it was for us}  Well enough about the reasons…lets look at some tips I’ve learned thus far.

~~  You have to change where you shop and how often.  I shop for most groceries at Aldi where I can get great food (their summer produce is stellar) at a fraction of the cost.  So, I have to bring my own bags and use a quarter to get a cart…totally worth the savings.

~~  A gal can spend a lot of money to look “beautiful”.  I used to pay $15/area for facial waxing.  Now, I do it myself with a Sally Hensen product I got at Wal-Mart {link to Sally Hansen Hair Removal Strips}.  Now, for less than $5.00 I can wax away for a year or more. {less if you have some Chewbacca in your heritage}

~~  DIY hair color saves a ton of money!  I prefer the highlighted look, but that gets crazy expensive and high-maintenence.  I happen to have a friend who’s a professional hair dresser.  She’s able to get me salon quality hair color and I apply it myself.  Total cost $5-10!!

Happy Saving!

Look for more tips tomorrow!


Brook’s New Favs from 2012

I know we are almost into the second month of 2013, but I just found the notebook containing several of my blog ideas.  {oops, better not have so many notebooks around}  One idea I’ve been waiting to do for a while is a list of favorites from 2012.

In no particular order:

1.  Aldi – I can’t believe I haven’t shopped at Aldi my entire life.  What is wrong with me?  It has the best prices, period.  Now, I still have some brands I get from other stores that Aldi doesn’t carry {like Jif peanut butter}.  A big trip to Aldi might cost $60 as opposed to $115 at other stores.  They own Trader Joe’s so I suspect many items are interchangeable, they just don’t have the fancy “Trader Joe’s” logo on them.

2.  Dollar Store – Again, why have I not shopped more at the Dollar Store?  I don’t mess around with this Dollar General business either…I go straight for the place where EVERYTHING is a dollar!  Lots of crafting ideas can be fulfilled here along with cleaners and seasonal items.

3.  Avacados – I have been craving avocados for months.  I just can’t get enough of these little green mushy vegetables I used to turn my nose up to. Now I love them in soups on sandwiches and of corse as guacamole!!  Yumm!

4.  Nutella – Again, something I crave.  Great on toast or spread on crescent rolls and baked!  {Aldi carries it’s version of Nutella…tastes good, but not as creamy}

5.  HUMMUS – Definitely one of my all time new favs that is now a staple in my diet.  I started off dipping chips in any flavor variety.  Now, I prefer it as a dip for carrots.  My favorite flavors are anything jalapeño and roasted red pepper.  If you’ve never had hummus, don’t be afraid to try it.  I describe it as being similar to a flavorful bean dip.  My kids love it too!

6.  Juicing – Shawn and I were going strong making fresh juice for months and have gotten away from it a bit.  It can be a bit time consuming but is soooo good.  My kids beg to have a glass of any kind of juice I make.  I’m not as adventurous as some but I think even being a basic juicer is fabulous.  My favorite…apple, orange, carrot, peach!

7.  Greek Yogurt – I love yogurt but the Greek variety took a bit of getting used to.  But now that I have made the switch, the regular yogurt just tastes like watered down sugar.  Greek yogurt is VERY creamy and more tart than the regular.  I love Chobani with blueberries the best! {um, anyone else notice there is a lot of food on my favs list?}

8.  Gotye – On to music.  When I heard the song “Somebody That I Used to Know” on the radio I was in love!  It was so different than anything else out there.  I went on youtube and found a bunch of his videos about him making his music.  He’s just a very creative dude making art out of everything.  It’s also an album I can listen with my kids in the car and have no worries.

9.  Karmin – Another band I fell in love with instantly.  I went on a Karmin youtube diet one night and was hooked.  I love their story and their music.  I hope they don’t get sucked into the hype of the music industry and remain “cool”.

10.  Pinterest – Rounding off my list is a website that no one knew about a little over a year ago.  I had to get invited to join by my sister and then wait several days to get accepted into the Pinterest community.  I think they just grew faster than expected.  Now, Pinterest is everywhere.  I use it for everything.  One of my favorite uses is for recipes.  I have a virtual cookbook at my disposal and I love it!  It is picture driven which I also love.  We’re about to create a Pinterest account for Echo Church to link pinners everywhere to Pastor Shawn’s sermons!  Exciting times indeed 🙂