The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to and end...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Prayer and Thrift stores!

2 weeks ago I wrote of my resolution to get out and stay out of credit card debt.  I consider this period I'm in the "honeymoon phase", it's the time period that your new resolutions are still fresh in your mind and you're still excited to achieve your goals.  I know about a month or two into this I might be tempted to fall back into my old ways, so that is why this first recommendation in staying out of debt is so vital.  It is PRAYER!  Yes, prayer. 

In my last post I admitted that I was a poor steward of the money God had blessed us with, I have prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me of this and I know He has.  What a true blessing to serve a loving and forgiving God!  But after asking for forgiveness I still need to be in prayer about our finances- asking God to give me wisdom each day in spending money wisely, asking God to give me strength to resist the temptation of frivolous spending, knowing that true joy and fulfillment comes in living for and serving God each day- not in finding satisfaction in shopping.

So the first, and most important thing you can do in getting out and staying out of debt is by praying.

But here's another idea:  Thrift stores!!

5 years ago I very rarely stepped foot in a thrift store.  I wanted new, so I bought new.

3 years ago I would go in a few every now and then, at times coming across some good finds, but spending most of my money in department stores.

This past year I realized just what a good investment thrift stores really are, and how much fun and exciting it is when you find a "real gem".

Here's a few examples:

a Tupperware shape sorting ball (that when purchased new is $35)- I got it for $1 !!!  It was a Christmas gift for my 11 month old son who could care less that it didn't come in the original packaging.  Yes, I bought a gift at a thrift store and I'm okay with it, so is my son.  :)

a practically (and when I say practically, I mean nothing wrong whatsoever, and the only thing missing was the tag) brand new Calvin Klein denim skirt for only $5 !!!  It fits me perfect and I couldn't love it any more if I got it from Calvin Klein himself.

a practically (see above)  :)  brand new brick-red-cable-knit-v-neck-Ann Taylor sweater for only $5 !!!  I seriously love this sweater, it is my all time favorite!!

Okay, moving onto the kids...

Remeber my 11 month old son, well when he was 9 months and in need of a winter coat instead of looking for new coats I went to a thrift store and found a brand new coat!  An Osh Kosh coat in his size for only $4.30 !!!  Yes, it was brand new and I paid under 5 bucks for it.  So, you can still go to thrift stores and find brand new (with the tags still on) clothes.  It truly is an amazing feeling when you realize just how much money you're saving, and you're still getting good quality clothes. 

Here's another example:  Wrangler jeans.  Do you know how expensive wrangler jeans are?  You know, the ones with the brown leather tag on the back pocket?  You can't hardly find them used on ebay for less than $20.  I have found more practically brand new wrangler jeans for my boys (not even a faded mark on the knee at all) for less than $5 !!

And it's not just clothes, I love finding great shoes at a great price!  I found a nearly brand new pair of white and pink Nikes for my daughter for only....are you ready for this??  $1.50 !!!  I just about squealed out loud in the store when I came across these in her size!!  I probably would've bought them anyway even if they weren't in her size and then resold them on ebay for much more.  But I was so glad they were her size since she needed a new pair of shoes.

And when I say good quality, I mean good quality.  I find "real gems" all the time, and I actually look for the real gems.  By that I mean the high quality name brand items you find in department stores:  Gap, The Children's Place, Carter's, Gymboree, Aeropostale, Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Calvin Klein, Eddie Bauer, etc.   You'd be surprised at just how many of these great "finds" I find.

I can't tell you enough how much I love thrift stores, I'm only disappointed that I didn't figure this out sooner.  Not only do I save money, but it is just the best feeling when you come home with BAGS of clothes for less than $20 instead of one item for $20.  I guarantee you we don't look like we are wearing rags, or our clothes are outdated.   

But one note of warning.  Just because you will find amazing deals at thrift stores doesn't mean you should just buy whatever you come across.  I only go in thrift stores when I am specifically looking for something we need.  For example there were 3 things on my "need list":  a new winter coat for my daughter because I melted her zipper on her current coat when I put it in the dryer at too high of a temp., and jeans and boots for my oldest son.  Well I went into the Salvation Army thrift store today and lo and behold there was a super nice coat in her size for only $4 !  I couldn't find any boots or jeans, and I wasn't going to settle for something that was too worn so those two items are still on my list.  I went into a second thrift store to look for jeans and boots but they didn't have any in his size so I walked out having bought nothing.  That's okay too, remember the idea is to save money.  If you don't need it, it's not the right size, or it's too worn out then don't get it- it wouldn't be very wise.

That's one thing about thrift stores, sometimes you find what you need but sometimes you don't.  I suppose that's the thrill of the find.

So, what about you?  Are you a thrift store shopper already?  If not, why not try it- you might be surprised at just what good deals you'll find.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

a Buck for Ben!

Hello everyone!  I wanted to use my blog today to spread awareness of a condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB for short). 
In a nutshell, EB is a connective tissue disease causing blisters in the skin and mucosal membranes, with an incidence of 1/50,000. Its severity ranges from mild to lethal. It is caused by a mutation in the keratin or collagen gene. People with EB lack these protein anchors, so when there is any friction on the skin, the two layers rub against each other and separate, resulting in painful sores and blisters.

In it mildest form the blistering is confined to hands and feet. In its severest form the whole body is affected, wounds heal extremely slowly, there is significant scarring, physical deformity, and disability. In its severest form EB is fatal in infancy.

Benjamin Joseph Wiley, Jr. was born on Oct 27th, 2011. Though it had been a normal, healthy pregnancy and delivery for Ben and his mom, it was immediately clear that something wasn’t right: baby Ben was missing the skin on his hands and his left foot, and had blisters in his mouth and on his lips.

Up until about 6 months ago I never even knew this condition existed, and then I came across a facebook page called, 'Honoring a EB Soldier, Ben Wiley Jr.'.  I saw a picture of this precious little boy, and he stole my heart instantly, but the pictures also broke my heart because he suffers from EB.  As I learned more about EB through his mother's posts I came to realize not only how this boy suffers each day, but just how expensive this condition is.  The money involved in cleaning the open wounds and blisters, keeping them covered appropriately, preventing infections- it's staggering! 

As a parent myself I simply could not imagine what Ben Sr and Sirena, Ben Jr's parents, go through each day.  My mother's heart wants to help them through daily prayer, but also through raising funds to help ease the burden of the cost involved. 

"A Buck for Ben" has come about as a way to raise money to help this amazing family. 
I know times are tough, financially speaking, and not everyone can afford to send $50, $20, or even $10.  But most people CAN afford to send just one dollar!  Yes just one dollar, one buck for Ben Jr.  It would leave only a teensy-weensy dent in our wallets, but would impact this family tremendously if we all could pitch in and help.  One dollar- One Buck- that it! 

Would you please consider helping them?
Please help them by praying for them each day, please visit their facebook page to learn more about this horrendously painful condition.  As an adult, I couldn't imagine the pain of open wounds and blisters.  But as a child, who doesn't understand why he is in so much pain, and who still has to endure the pain each day, it just breaks my heart.

Please click on the link to their facebook page:  and become a follower by liking their page.
Please pin this image if you're on Pinterest
(and repin weekly or daily for more exposure)
And please visit the new blog:  to find out how you can help, and how you can donate your Buck for Ben.

Thank You!!

Raising Homemakers

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Lower Debt Resolution (with a budget worksheet for you!)

Yes, I'm adding to the Resolutions posts in blog land.  It makes me wonder how many others have posted on their New Years Resolutions, probably quite a few. 

As I was thinking about what my resolutions were, I also began to wonder what the word really means.  So I used the handy Merriam-Webster online dictionary to look it up.  Resolution means "the act of determining". 

But I also like the meaning of the word Resolute-
"marked by firm determination. 

This year is different than past years, as far as debt resolutions go.  In past years I wasn't determined to stay out of debt.  Even as I write that it sounds odd, almost like I don't mind being in debt, which is definately not true.  I hate being in debt.  This past year has taught me just how much I hate even the word debt.  Our debt prevented us from being a blessing and a help to others.  It took peace from our lives.  It caused a sense of chaos in our lives instead of a calmness.  I'm through with living that way.  I'm not blaming anyone else, I know full well that I was not a good stewerd of the money God entrusted to us.  Things are going to change.  I am resolved!  I have firm determination!  I will be bold in attacking this debt, and I will be steady!
We plan to have our credit card debt paid off in March, and once eliminated we are determined not to use it again like in years past.  This past year we would see something online that was "such a good deal" so we would put it on our credit card telling ourselves that when the bill came we would pay it right off.  Or we would be at the store and see something that we thought we "needed" but didn't have the money for, telling ourselves we would pay it off with the next paycheck- but we never did.  And that folks is the beginning of the end.
We have discovered this past year that the "really great deal", and the item that was "needed" weren't necessary at all, and only brought discouragement.  We are done with discouragement!  Debt=Discouragement!  If you're discouraged over your debt do you have a plan to be done with it once and for all?

Over the next month I will be sharing our plans for staying out of credit card debt.  One thing I'm going to share right now is a link to a great budgeting tool.  I printed mine off and will be using it regularly.  It's the Freddie Mac Monthly Budget Worksheet, take a look and see if it'll work for you too.