Deciding to become a "mom" for a living has been one of the best and most difficult decisions of my life. Coming from a family who had two working parents, going to college and having typical "wants" on this earth, I have definitely felt the pressure of going back to work in these difficult economic times. But I have to look to God and what He wants for me and my family, and when I do that, the decision is easy, I want to be a mom, the best mom to my children, and for me (not everyone else), that is staying at home and providing for my children from there. I just wanted to share some amazing things that have gone on in my world since moving to Florida in order to make it through this tough economic time on one income: 1. Brian and I have started to adhere to a tight budget and do not use credit cards for purchases anymore. 2. I have cut our food bill by $400 a month just by making what I like to call..."all things mine" meaning, I do not buy anything that is already made, in a box, or needs to be microwaved to be eaten, yes this includes all snacks, cookies, cereals etc. 3. We have gone vegetarian....well, sort-of- I make 2-3 vegetarian meals a week now to save on the cost of meats. 4. We buy all our meats at Costco now, which is a little compromising since I would love to be eating all organic local farm raised meats, but that is for another budget...not ours-yet (read on to see my future goals) 5. If I want something sweet- like a cookie, I make it myself, if I want it that bad, then I definitely can put out the effort of 45 minutes to make a cookie. 6. No more Bottled Water! That's right, I HATE the water down here in Florida...I feel like it makes me sick. But I have given up the bottle. We purchased three large non-leeching plastic containers that I bring to Whole Foods every week and fill up for .30 a gallon. This lasts us for about 5 days and I refill again. This one is eco-friendly and money-friendly 7. No more coffee-- well, no more coffee out.... When I started budgeting, I found out that over a 3 month span, I had spent $125 on coffee!!! Ridiculous! So I vowed to never get Starbuck's again unless I paid for it in loose change.... FYI- I've had about 3 in the last 5 months :) Yay me :) 8. Monthly Meal Planning- yup, I plan for all of our meals for the month, which allows me to know exactly what I need from the grocery store. I have also stopped buying anything for lunches since I always have leftovers from the night before. I totally recommend meal planning... I still purchase food weekly, but am going to attempt to purchase food bi-weekly at some point. Now that I have told you some of the ways I am already saving, I want to share a little about my future goals: 1. Cloth Diapers- This is a big one for me...Having 2 in diapers right now costs about $125 a month. This is what it would cost me up front to purchase the cloth diapers, but from that point on, I wouldn't be spending but about $4 a month more in washing costs. 2. Making my own bread- I know, I have been working on this one for a while, but it takes a lot of practice. I am already baking bread, but my goal is to make bread that is truly edible on a daily basis...tee hee 3. Join a local Co-Op- this is where I would get our fresh fruit, veggies and eggs while supporting local growers and farms in the Florida area. 4. Start a garden, a good garden- not just an insect restaurant, but a garden that is maintained, actually grows and is edible. Our garden now consists of already eaten carrots, spinach, cilantro, and possibly growing peppers that seem to not be liked by the bugs. Got some good tips from friends as far as eco-friendly dish soap for bug repellent. 5. Purchasing beef from a local farmer. This is expensive, but I think it is worth the money if you can afford it. The health benefits are huge. 6. This kind of goes with 4, but I want to start a compost bin. I just recently learned how to make one pretty simply for about $15. This would cut down our waste as well as allow us to have really good soil for growing veggies. 7. Buy more in bulk. Eventually, once I have mastered the art of breadmaking, I will be going through a lot of flour. I would love to create a bulk system in my home with some items in large bins in the garage, and glass jars in the pantry in the kitchen. I use a lot of flour, rice, lentils, and beans. Hopefully throughout this blog, I will take an aspect and talk more in depth about it.. Thanks for reading and joining me on my journey!