If you know me, you know I LOVE doing live Q&A's. I've been doing them off and on for years. It's a great way for me to engage with my Freebs (aka YOU!), and hear what you're truly curious about! I did Live Q&A #14 on a whim on Tuesday via Periscope. If you don't have Periscope, you should get it! (I explain why in this post.) It's a free app you download, you follow me (@funcheaporfree), then turn on your notifications so you know when I go live. I then broadcast live, straight to your phone, and you watch (just like you would on YouTube, but it's live) and can chime in via the chat feature to ask questions and engage with me if you'd like! It's a ton of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
So many questions come pouring in, I was only able to answer a fraction of them! To make sure you don't miss anything, here's a summary of all the questions I answered, and my answers to all the questions I didn't get to!
But first, here's the video of the Q&A in case you missed it. Watch it online or click and watch below:
Now onto the questions I didn't get to!
What is your advice for potty training a girl??
Sheesh, I don't have good advice! Priya basically potty trained herself (literally) so I didn't do much of anything. I mention this in the live Q&A, but in terms of potty training in general here are a few of my best tips:
- WAIT UNTIL THEY ARE READY! They may be 3…or 3.5…that's fiiiiiiine. I know it's cool and trendy to potty train them at like, 8 months old (kind of kidding, kind of not) but for Heaven's sake, wait until they are good and ready and it'll be less traumatizing for everyone.
- Make it FUN! Celebrate! Give treats! Throw a party! Celebrate every victory 10x more than showing any form of frustration over their mistakes.
- Go straight for the big potty. This is just me, personally, but I tried the tiny floor potties and hated them. I stick them straight on the big potty so they feel comfortable enough to go anywhere, at any time, on any toilet. Plus it's way less messy. Enough said.
When are you going to show pictures or a video of your new home?
I can't WAIT to show you every inch of it!…but it's not our house yet. We haven't closed, and won't until March. So until the papers are signed, done, dealt, and delivered, I'm not going to celebrate too early. Plus, it's not my house…so it's weird to give a tour of someone else's casa, you know? haha. However, I have shown a few sneak peeks on IG and FB, so follow the #PagesAreMoving hashtag to tide you over until we officially move in, end of March!
How do you have the energy for everything? I am a working mom and when I come home it takes everything in me to keep going. How do you do it with soon to be 5 kiddos?
I don't sit down. And I eat a lot of sugar. But mostly I just don't sit down. (Kind of joking, but not really.)
I mention this in the video, but if I sit down, I'm a goner. I go through my typical day in the Q&A video so watch that for an hour by hour breakdown. I also have a “day in the life” video I've filmed that I hope to edit and post soon so that will help show you my typical day as well. But otherwise I try to stay busy, and I really compartmentalize my day to switch things up which helps me keep the energy going! Here's what I mean:
For example, in the morning it's “go-time”. I literally say that in my head over and over. It's not craft time, laundry folding time, computer time, Instagram time…it's “feed my kids and get us all out the door!” time. I get the kids to school then accomplish family-type things; running errands, taking the kids to an activity like reading time or a museum, going to the gym, Costco, whatever.
Then, once the kids are down for naps around 1:30 it's “work time”. Other than switching out a load of laundry (and throwing the clean laundry on the couch to be folded later) I try to ignore everything else and sit down to work on my computer. It switches my brain from mom-mode to blog-mode, and it's like I've stared a whole new part of my day. And yes, it's really hard to leave the counter sticky or leave the laundry out, but I have to buckle down or no work gets done.
When the kids wake up/get home from school, it's “mom-time”. We do chores, clean, do an activity together, cook dinner together, etc. I keep things moving at a swift pace until the kids are in bed, usually between 7-7:30. Once the kids are in bed it's “wind-down-time”. I turn on the DVR, and move at a snail's pace because I'm EXHAUSTED. I switch out the laundry, then wind down for as long as I can, folding laundry on the couch or floor. I'll tidy up a few things, clean the kitchen, then I'll grab my laptop and work on the couch for the next few hours. It's not as effective of work because I have the TV on, but it's MY TIME and my brain needs it. I'll just mute or pause the TV when I need to concentrate.
Long story short…compartmentalizing my day helps me stay energized and get things done. I feel no guilt leaving the dishes in the sink during “work-time”, or shutting down my computer during “mom-time”. Everything has it's time, and it can wait until then.
BUT…I have another secret weapon.
By Thursday I'm usually a tired, grumpy prego mom that needs a boost. Addiction runs in my family and I'm super sensitive to the thought of using a substance to give me a boost, so I really am not a huge fan of caffeine in general (it's very addictive). I figure if I'm needing caffeine every day to make it through the day (which I used to), something else is the matter (like needing more sleep, perhaps? wink wink). So I allow myself one cheat-drink per week, which is a giant Diet Doctor Pepper with coconut cream and raspberry puree from Swig. It's dessert in a cup. And it's amaaaazing. Don't get me wrong, some weeks I might need 2 or even 3 pick-me-ups in various forms throughout the week (I have a fitness powder with natural caffeine in it that I'll toss in a water bottle when I'm dying for another cheat drink). But I aim for 1 caffeinated drink and really try to get more sleep if I'm tired, or eat something more energizing, before reaching for the caffeine first.
WHEEW! That was a long one, sorry guys!
Are there cleaning tasks you do every day just to keep up?
As mentioned in the answer above, I try to set aside time to do daily things like laundry, tidy up, and do dishes. Otherwise the rest is really hard to do regularly! My “clean your house with one chore per day” list really does help. But ultimately, I'm a Work At Home Mom and have decided that I'd rather play with my kids than ignore them and scrub my baseboards, so we found room in the budget for cleaning ladies come once in a while to help me deep-clean. I may not have money for take-out or home decor as much, but the cleaning ladies are way worth it in my book.
Here are a few other ways I stay on top of the day-to-day grind:
Where do you buy maternity clothes? How do you pick clothes you know will work for maternity?
To be honest, I don't really buy many “maternity” clothes! I have a few pairs of maternity jeans that I got mostly from Ross and Zulily, and otherwise just shop at Ross and TJ Maxx and go for flouncy/flowy/loose-fitting tops and sweaters. I also love long tunics with leggings, or sweater dresses with leggings. I usually always put a light, open sweater or cardigan over it (which I can get away with much of the year in Utah) because I tend to gain weight in my love handle and back area when pregnant, so I prefer to cover that up. I have found that with official maternity clothes you 1) pay WAY more, and 2) they are pretty darn frumpy! If I go with “normal” clothes I can wear them pregnant, postpartum, and otherwise.
Here's a video of my closet and the type of clothes I'm drawn to:
Dining out budget? And is it included in your food budget?
No, eating out isn't in my “grocery” budget, but it is in my “other” budget for the week (read all about that HERE). Except for when we eat out as a family or on a date night, that comes out of Bubba's budget (read all about that HERE).
Can I send you a handmade product to review and keep and hopefully be featured on your blog?
That is SO sweet of you, and I'm so proud of you for asking! As you can imagine, I get approached all the time to promote products. It got so overwhelming and I felt so bad saying no to some and yes to others, I decided to make it a standard policy to NOT trade blog or social media exposure for products. You are more than welcome to send me a product and I would love to try it! But full disclosure is that there is no guarantee that it would ever get blog or social media exposure. If you are interested in sending it anyway, I'd LOVE to try it. Or if you want pricing and info on what a sponsored post or social media shout out costs to guarantee exposure, please email me! firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your best advice for making money while being at home?
I have a whole section of this on Budget Boot Camp!! It's such a huge part of my belief system; making money doing without completely overhauling your life to do so. My advice is LOOOOONG and would be a whole post in and of itself. In a nutshell, sit down and make 3 separate lists:
- 1. what are your talents, skills, areas of expertise and experience. This can be anything from: patient with kids…crafty…good cook…safe driver…took 10 years of piano…used to do receptionist work in college…
- 2. what do you enjoy
- 3. what are you doing each day ANYWAY. Driving kids to and from school? Doing laundry? Helping kids with homework? Gardening? Running to the grocery store?
Then, take those lists and use those skills to fill a need that other people have! Take your schedule and what you are doing or enjoy doing already, and capitalize on it. You may need to perfect or brush up skills, but you do NOT have to go back to school or get a part-time job to make money.
In high school I couldn't get a job because my sports/extracurricular schedule was so erratic. I narrowed down some of my marketable skills: I was a safe driver with a reliable car, I was good with kids, I got good grades, and I had years of piano lessons under my belt. I made fliers calling myself a “Mother's Helper” and put them around local daycares. I would drive kids to and from activities after school, I babysat, taught piano, and tutored kids. I made WAY more per hour than I would've flipping burgers, made my own schedule, and was getting paid to do things that I was pretty much doing anyway.
GET CREATIVE and ASK PEOPLE what their pain points are and how much they would pay to fill it. Start there and the wheels will turn 🙂
What do you and your husband discuss during your financial dates?
Oh boy, what DON'T we discuss? We usually come in with a specific goal in mind. One of the last ones we had was to sit down and budget out buying the new house we're getting. How much do we need for a down payment? How much do we have? How much are we willing/able to spend on renovations? What's the estimated closing costs, realtor fees, etc.? Can we afford movers? What are our top 20 “this needs fixing” wants, what do they cost, and what priority do we want to put them in? etc.
Before that one we went on a Money Date where we talked about investing. We had hit all of our savings and debt goals, and are living well below the 70% rule, so we have excess that sits in bank accounts. We talked about investing – do we want to? how much? what kind of investing? how risky are we willing to be? what's our ultimate goal? etc.
Pick some things you want to accomplish and go off of that, instead of going in blindly; because you'll just end up all over the place 🙂
When do you and your husband do for anniversaries? Trips? How much do you set?
Honestly, we don't do much for anniversaries and Valentine's Day. We aren't big gift-givers. I find that if we get in the “I need to give you a fancy gift” mode, we drop $100+ on something that isn't really that important. We'd rather put that money toward something awesome, like a new couch we really want, or a home improvement item, or a trip. We are big into fun experiences, or meaningful moments. I would much rather have a fun date than a gift or expensive dinner, and Bubba would rather have a romantic night in than just about anything. So we really focus on those!
Trips are a totally different story. We don't travel a ton for pleasure, because most of our traveling is to Arizona, Oregon, or California to see family since we live alone in Utah. So much of our budget goes to that. But last year we took our first big trip to Europe. It was 10 days, 3 countries, and our budget was $5,000. We came in right on budget.
What do you believe in?
I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, AKA “Mormon” or “LDS”. Go HERE to see a full rundown on what we believe as a religion. To summarize, I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost and that they are 3 separate beings. I believe that families can be together forever, and not just “until death do you part”. I believe in The Book of Mormon, which is a compilation of records that were discovered on the American continent. They were discovered by Joseph Smith in the 1800's and since it was so recent, many people believe they were made up. But if you read it, you'll see that's physically impossible. The records go hand-in-hand with the Bible and I can't imagine life without BOTH records – they give such a bigger picture! I also believe that we were all put on this earth for a purpose, and that life is a test. We were given a body (what a gift!) and allowed to come down and choose, 100% for ourselves, how to act and what to believe in this life, with the hope that we will choose wisely and return to Heaven again. Which, I believe in repentance and that there are different degrees of Heaven; just because you mess up doesn't mean you miss out on your chance, so thank goodness for that! So there you go, some of the biggie “believes” in a nutshell 🙂 Again, see much more on everything I mentioned HERE, and if anyone has additional questions, pop in HERE at any time and ask anything you want! We've got nothing to hide 🙂
How do you set up long term goals for your family?
This post about how we calendar out our entire year will help, or this post on setting goals. Additionally, I have a video I recorded and am working on editing that shows exactly how we planned out our year and set goals for ourselves! Can't wait to share it so stay tuned!
Tips for parenting and self-care with your husband out of town?
SO MANY TIPS! I was a “single mom” for 4 months while Bubba was away for work, so see all my tips about surviving HERE!
Selling a house to get out of debt, yes or no?
YES! Big fan. Debt is debt. Do whatever it takes to get rid of it. We tried to sell our home but couldn't do it without taking a loss, so we did the best we could with what we had. We sold our car instead (my husband walked to work for an entire year), and even sold our living room couches. We sat on blankets and folding chairs. But hey, in 1 year we got out of $15K credit card debt while only making $31K salary, and we were able to live so much better after just one short year! Rip off the bandaid, get the wound healed, then you'll be stronger than ever.
will you put this up on youtube?
Yup 🙂 Watch it HERE.
Does your insurance cover well baby/child 100%
Yes! Any well baby visit or preventative healthcare is covered at 100% which is kind of awesome.
Does your husband take lunch or buy lunch to save money or is it that in his budget account?
He takes lunch 100% of the time when it's his choice. He's not big into eating out, except for going on dates or going out for business. He often has lunch meetings with clients and they eat out. It's a business expense though, so that doesn't come out of his budget. It gets complicated when you're self-employed 🙂
Do you have stretch marks? Are your veins better this time?
No stretch marks, yes HORRIBLE veins. (See my post and video all about my varicose veins for proof.) They are better this time, but still horrible. If you watch the Q&A video I give you a peek. I'll do another follow-up post toward the end of my pregnancy, or shortly after the baby is born, don't you worry! (I have no filter, remember??)
Do we have a baby page name yet?
NO! Any suggestions???
When are you moving into the new place?
March, fingers crossed! Keep your eyes peeled on Instagram, I'm going to shout it from the rooftops if/when this bad boy goes through!
Lunch is the WORST. I hate it. We do a lot of (frozen) PB&J's, ham & cheese sandwiches, homemade mac ‘n cheese, quesadillas. I usually eat leftovers or a sandwich or can of soup or something gross. I HATE LUNCH. But I let the kids eat kid food for lunch, and we do healthy, grownup food for dinner and breakfast. I figure it balances out eventually 🙂
Can you freeze honey? (in regards to freezer sandwiches)
I had no idea! I looked it up and here's what it said online: “During storage, honey gradually becomes a darker color and changes flavor and composition. Differences can be seen in less than one year. For longer-term storage,freeze honey in the freezer. Freezing stops such changes almost completely and preserves all the natural goodness of the honey.”
Are you having anymore kiddos after #5?
We take it kid by kid, so we'll see how #5 goes. But if I had to go with my gut I would say we aren't finished yet. #OctoMomHereICome #YesI'mCrazy
When do you get work done?
My word…I feel like I don't! I'm always behind. Stay tuned for my Day In The Life video coming soon, it will give you a really good idea. And refer to the question above about having energy – I give a taste of my schedule up there, as well as in the Q&A video.
Does your oldest nap?
Yes, believe it or not! All of my kids do (6, 4, almost 3, 1). My oldest only gets to do it 2-4x per week now though because of school. He's just a kid that needs lots of sleep, and I'm happy to oblige as long as I can!
Tips for newborn stage?
Hang in there and enjoy it 🙂 Schedule, schedule, schedule! It's easy to just wing it every day. But I have found that with each baby my life actually gets easier, because it's naturally more regimented. With my first I was all over the place, had no schedule, couldn't even shower or get things done. With 2 and 3+ I now have a good schedule and it's made everything so much better! My babies sleep better, eat better, I get more done, and we're all happier. So find a rhythm and don't be afraid to block things out of your schedule that don't fit!
What are your thoughts about welcoming baby 5? How are you preparing?
I haven't had much time to think about it because I have so many other HUGE things going on in my life right now. Which is a blessing because pregnancy isn't really that fun for me…so it's made it go by in a flash! Right now my #1 priority is to get us moved into the next house, get things set up and organized, so when baby comes we can all relax and enjoy our bundle of joy. Bring on the nesting!
How about making money online?
See question above!
How does your family decide how much is allocated to your husband budget?
“Husband” is tricky in our house because 1) Bubba hardly spends any money, 2) when he does spend money, it's usually a business expense of some kind. His budget is very small. What I recommend doing is figure out what's included in his budget, find out how much you're spending on those things currently, cut back by at least 33%, then start there!
What do you do at the gym? If you eat so much sugar, how do you stay so thin?
My repertoire usually consists of pilates, Zumba, Barre, or doing the stair stepper when I don't have time for a full class. As for eating sugar and staying “thin” (thank you, by the way), it's mostly genetics. I'm tall (5'9), so my height hides weight fluctuation a little better than some other body types. However, I don't eat junk food ALL the time. Yes, I'm usually eating junk when watching The Bachelor, but it's maybe a handful of Cadbury Eggs or something. Throughout the day I'm not a huge eater so food isn't a big temptation for me. I try to stay active, and if I find myself gaining weight, I focus on it before it gets out of hand. THIS POST about how I lost 10lb in 1 month might help!
AND HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS I ANSWERED LIVE, IN THE VIDEO:
- Update on Budget Boot Camp?
- Can you give wedding advice on the cheap?
- Potty training advice
- How much do you put in your HSA?
- How do you keep up the energy?
- What should my newborn baby sleep in?
- Can you tell us what a typical days schedule looks like? Sleep?
- Are you going to do a boys haircut tutorial soon?
- what’s your advice for first time home buyers?
- you don’t care much about brands but you use tide for laundry. Is it better? Is the Tide you use cheaper at Costco?
Again, go back and watch Live Q&A #14 HERE.
Thanks for all your questions, have a great day!