All In

My adventure as I jump into life all in!!

How I Got Soft Hands Again

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway over at Bargains with Barb and guess what!? I won! I know, right? Who ever wins these things? Well this time it was me. The prize was a bar of ‘Tingle’ soap from Creamed Gourmet Body Treats. So, it arrived in the mail last Friday. I tried it out and thought I’d give you guys a review (This is not a sponsored review, I receive no money if you decide to purchase this product, just the joy of referring you to a good product)

Now, let me share something with you guys. It is the middle of winter in Iowa and my hands are DRY, I mean duh-rye! I don’t know if it is the hand soap at my office or just the winter conditions getting to me, but my hands are so dry they are cracking in a few places. So when I got the chance to enter to win a new (to me) soap named Creamy, I was like “heck yes!” I figure if it’s named creamy, it must make your skin soft, right?

Now here’s another share for you: I have sensitive skin. It’s not so sensitive that I have to buy special soaps or wash my clothes with special detergents or anything. Not everything messes with my skin, there have been a few random occasions where things have made me break out in splotches all over my body.

I was still eager to try the soap out, I just knew it could be good or bad for me, so I approached it with a cautious, but open mind.

Tingle Soap from Creamy

Tingle Soap from Creamy

So here is what I received. A cute packaged soap in adorable pink packaging. Immediately after opening the smell of peppermint filled my nose. It smelled great! Of course I had to try it out, so the next time I used the restroom, I washed my hands with it. Even when it lathered it was creamy, not super bubbly like most soaps. So far, living up to the creamy name. Immediately after I dried my hands, I could feel how much softer they were. I was amazed a soap could do that!

Tingle Soap from Creamy

Tingle Soap from Creamy

Now that it’s been a few days, my hands are showing improvement, but still slightly dry. Hey, you can’t expect the soap to work miracles on these horrible hands of mine. But I can definitely feel a difference. They are softer than they have been lately. I am excited to keep using the soap and see how much the soap continues to soften my hands.

Also, Creamy is an organic soap, so there are only natural ingredients, unlike the randomly named things on the ingredient list of most soaps at the grocery store. The ingredient list on my Creamy soap includes things like coconut oil, shea butter and peppermint essential oil (hence the peppermint smell, Yum!!), among other things. I can understand what all of these ingredients are! They aren’t some crazy unpronouncable thing fabricated from some factory in the middle of who-knows-where. It is handmade soap with REAL ingredients.

Overall, I am loving it! Great product! If you want to learn more about Cream, visit their etsy page here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CreamedSoaps?ref=l2-shopheader-name or contact them at get_creamed@yahoo.com or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CreamedBodyTreats?ref=br_tf

What about you? Do you have dry hands? How do you combat dry, cracked hands in the winter? Have you tried homemade soaps? What results did you experience?

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Cutting Your Grocery Bill

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Budget Deficit

Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes

Over the past few weeks, we have been going over budgets. Now we are focusing on cutting some of your expenses so they fit within a balanced budget. This week we will focus on ways to cut your grocery bill. Here is a list of ideas that you can implement to save money in this area.

Photo Credit: Nick Sherman via Compfight cc

1. Shop at Cheaper Stores.

If you are truly struggling with your budget, but are spending hundreds of dollars each week on groceries, re-evaluate where you are shopping. Many of the cheaper stores still have the same quality of items as other stores, but at half the price! Even if you are a little leery about the quality, just try it for a week’s worth of groceries, or even just for one meal’s worth. If you don’t like it you can always go back to where you where shopping before, but at least you will know whether a cheaper store works for you. Some stores in my area are Aldi and Costco, but there are many discount grocery chains nationwide.

2. Check your local ads for sales & pric-ematch

Even if you live in a rural area, you should receive ads for your stores in your nearest large city. Look through the ads and try to buy items that are on sale. Beware of items that seem on sale, but are really listed at their usual price. You will have to pay attention to your previous receipts to notice this, but most items in the ads are truly on sale. Try to come up with meals that include the items on sale. You could even make a game of it and see if you can come up with a week’s worth of meals using only the items on sale. Make sure to look at the ads for all the different local stores. Some stores will price-match other stores’ ads. You will need to check with your store and see if they do this. Some stores require you to bring in the competitor’s ad with you, so make sure you find out what your store requires to price-match. If none of your local stores price-match, try to stick to one, maybe two stores and buy items on sale.

3. Coupons

I know, I know, no one has the energy to be a crazy coupon-aholic like the people on Extreme Couponers, but you don’t have to be addicted to use a coupon. Check your local paper for coupons or look online. There are many sites that offer coupons that you can print right at home. Look through the coupons and see if there are any for items that you already buy. Why not save money if you are already buying it? If there are no coupons for items you already buy, are there coupons for items you might consider buying? You don’t have to change your eating habits immensely, but evaluating whether coupons can help lower your grocery bill is worth a shot.

4. Buy cheaper items.

If you have tried all of the methods above and are still unable to lower your grocery bill, you may need to take ‘drastic’ measures. There are some people who have been so motivated to get their budget under control that they have lived on a diet of Ramen noodles, rice and beans. Now hopefully, you don’t have to go that drastic with your grocery budget, but is there a middle ground? Are you buying T-bone steaks and fancy wines? Until you have your budget a bit more under control, consider buying cheaper items than you normally buy. Also, while you are shopping, look for deals. Some stores don’t put all their deals in their ads, but still offer random discounts on items. For example, you may find a deal for 10 pork chops for $10 when they are usually priced at $2 each. Often, stores will discount items when they are close to expiring. If you purchase these items that are due to expire in a few days, you can take them home and cook them that night or freeze them to be thawed and cooked later.

So, have you come up with ideas for cutting your grocery bill? What ideas do you think will work best for you? Do you have other grocery-saving ideas that weren’t discussed here? Feel free to comment and be sure to come back for the next post for more ways to save money.

Femme Frugality
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Budget Deficit

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

The Nitty Gritty

Cutting Your Grocery Bill
Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes

By now, you should have gone through steps 1-3, creating your budget. If you have a budget deficit (your expense total was larger than your income total), you will need to find ways to reign in spending or increase your income to get your budget to work. For the next few weeks we will go over ways to reign in spending.

You will need to go over your expenses and decide what expenses can be lowered. Some expenses are unable to be lowered, such as your rent or mortgage payment. But some expenses can be looked into and you can find ways to lower them. Which of your expenses is out of control? Look for ways to lower them. Here are a few examples:

  • Do you spend a lot at coffee shops? Try to cut back or cut it out of your budget
  • Is your vehicle’s gas budget high? Try to do multiple things in one trip to a certain area or look into carpooling to work.
  • Do you spend a lot of money on clothing? Try to work with the outfits you already own and cut this out of your budget for the month.

The point is, determine which of your budgets are too high and try to brainstorm ways to lower that expense. Your goal should be to make all of your expenses less than or equal to your income. Once you can get them to be less than your income, you can focus on saving. If you feel like you have cut everything unecessary out of your budget and you still can’t pay all your bills, we’ll talk about ways to generate some extra income in a few weeks.

Be sure to come back next week for some specific tips on cutting certain expenses, beginning with groceries. And feel free to comment below. What are some ways that you have found to cut some of your expenses? Have you been sticking to your budget or do you need to re-determine what you truly spend on your categories?

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The Nitty Gritty

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Other Half of the Budget

Budget Deficit
Cutting Your Grocery Bill
Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes

By now you should have completed step 1 and step 2. You should have all of your expenses listed, along with all of your income. Now on to the nitty gritty in the next step.

Step 3: Compare your expenses with your income.

Add up the amounts of all of your expenses. Add up the amounts of all of your income. Subtract your total expenses from your total income. What total do you come up with?

Did you have a positive number? If so, congratulations!! You are already doing well with your budget! You may want to set some of the extra money aside for future expenses or retirement, but we’ll go over that later. Did you come up with 0? That also means you are on top of your budget! As long as you keep your expenses within the numbers listed in your budget, you should be able to be on top of your money! If you get to the end of the month and realize that you wrote down a completely insane number for a category (such as $50 for a month of groceries), you have probably blown that budget already. Re-evaluate for the next month with a better idea of how much you spend on that item.

Did you have a negative number? If so, that means that you spend more than you make in a month, which can lead to an inability to pay your bills or excessive credit card debt trying to pay off those bills.

Now that you have determined what is left after all of your expenses each month, you know where you are with your budget. Basically your budget is complete, but come back next week for some solutions to shortfalls in the budget. Feel free to comment below. What did your budget look like? Did you have a positive number, a negative number, or basically zero?

P.S. I am a HUGE Dave Ramsey nerd, so if you are having trouble with what categories to write down or you just want to have an easy form to fill out, you can use Dave Ramsey’s forms by following the link.

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The Other Half of the Budget

This post is part of a budgeting series. See All the steps below:

Budgets, Where To Start?
The Nitty Gritty
Budget Deficit
Cutting Your Grocery Bill
Keep Those Dollars In Your Pocket
I Need Extra Income
Irregular Incomes

Last week we went over Step 1: Write down all of your expenses. If you are just joining us, follow the link to go to step 1.Now that you’ve written down your expenses, have you noticed any trends? Where does all your money go? Now that you’ve had time to think about your expenses, it’s time to move to the next step.

Step 2: Write down your income.

This step should be easy. How much money do you make each month? If you are budgeting for your family, include your spouse’s income as well. Also, on a side note, make sure your spouse is on board with the budget idea. It is hard to stick to the budget if one of your is not in agreement and constantly overspends in certain categories. Make sure you write down ALL sources of income. If you babysit for your neighbor every Friday, write that income in your budget, if you sell cookies at your local coffee shop, write the income down. Any way that money comes into your hands needs to be written down.

Now, a question you might have is, should I write down my pre-tax or after-tax income? I prefer to write down my after-tax income because that is the money that I actually see. I also have health insurance deducted from my check, so I just write down the amount of my paycheck that I ‘see,’ basically after tax and benefits are deducted. (On a side note, that doesn’t mean that some of your ‘unseen’ expenses can’t be examined later, but we’ll discuss that later).

At this point you should have all of your expenses written from Step 1, and now all of your income listed. Come back next week to find out what Step 3 is. Feel free to comment below. Was it difficult to budget for your income? Do you have an irregular income such as commission?

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