5 Ways to make Holiday gift giving not feel like a Burden

Let me first preface this post by saying Christmas is NOT an emergency! It comes every year on THE SAME DAY. So in actuality we should be prepared when the holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start shopping. But I will be the first to admit that I have been one of those people stressed and ill prepared for Christmas. In fact I have felt tremendous amounts of anxiety and sadness and inadequateness (is that a word?) when Christmas was coming because I was not able to afford the things I wanted to give the people I love. Let’s be real, the holidays have become hella commercialized and people spend a lot of money this time of year unnecessarily and if you don’t have it to spend you can feel less than. The holiday season can go from joyful to feeling like you had a chair pulled out from under you REAL QUICK! So I wrote this post to hopefully make us feel what the holidays should be about which is making memories with our loved ones.

So how do you make the most magical time of year feel magical again? Let me give you my two cents!

  1. Manage Expectations– You are not superwoman (or man) and you cannot nor should you even be trying to make everyone happy. When I say manage expectations this means letting the people that matter know where you are at and what you are capable of this holiday season. This includes the kids. My kids usually get one major (i.e. expensive) gift from us (the parentals) each year on Christmas. They may get a few smaller gifts or maybe not but we do try to get the ONE major thing they ask for. They understand and are perfectly fine with this because they know all year long they are getting things they need and may want. If you have smaller kids understand you set the expectation for Christmas now so don’t go overboard or it will be something they always expect. Also I stopped buying for adults a few years back. Let me explain. I was raised in a family where Christmas was strictly about the kids. Also we only celebrated Christmas with immediate family so you only bought for a limited amount of people. My ex husband’s family is the opposite. They buy a gift for everyone! And I mean everyone! The gift could be big or small but anyone that visits them on that day will not leave empty handed. I love this about them but it was very different and intimidating for me after awhile. To try to match that effort was exhausting mentally and financially. I had to learn this is the way THEY celebrate and not necessarily how I should or have to. So a few years back I let them know I would not be purchasing major gifts for adults (I may give something small). If they had kids I would make sure the kids would get a gift. And I make sure my in laws have a nice gift because they are always a help to me all through the year. No one was offended or mad about this and it actually lessened the pressure because I was one less person they had to worry about on their list. So speak up and let people know what you can do instead of trying to make miracles happen.
  2. Set a budget– This should go without saying but you need to have a budget for your holiday shopping. It can be a budget per kid or per person. Or you can say I’m spending $500 on gifts for everyone and that’s it. Now after you have the budget the key is to stick to it! Don’t apply more stress by trying to make more happen than you can. This is one day a year. If you feel like you want to give a loved one something special you can do it ANYTIME of the year specifically when you CAN afford it. And it would probably mean more to them anyway. Who doesn’t want a gift anytime of year?
  3. Use your talents– We all have something we are good at. Whether is cooking or baking or writing or even make up we can always give our talents as gifts to the ones we love. Bake cookies and package them up really cute and give as gifts. If you write for example make a book of poetry or a story especially for that person. Or make a coupon book for a free make up session or even to babysit the kids to give a stressed out mama a night off. With the internet and Amazon anything is possible lol! But use what you got, be thoughtful and you can still give a gift your loved ones will cherish and remember.
    Focus on creating memories– The best and most expensive thing you can give anyone is your time! It’s something you can never get back so it really is a treasure when you take time out to spend and create times you can look back on with your family. I used to host a night when my kids were younger where their cousins could come over and we would make Christmas cookies and drink hot cocoa. My kids still remember this! Now my in laws host a gathering a few days before Christmas where everyone comes over in their pajamas and watch movies and eat lol. This is what the holidays are for in my opinion and this should be the focus instead of just gift giving.
    Give yourself Grace– It is not only important to manage the expectations others have of you but you must also manage the expectations you set for yourself. If this is a rough year for you in whatever way don’t stress yourself out trying to make things happen for one day. It’s never that serious. Accept reality whatever that may be and take the pressure off yourself. Sometimes, no most times we are our own worst enemies. We also live in an instant society that has put a timeline on things and events that in actuality take years to happen. If it’s Christmas time and you don’t got it like that understand that is okay. It doesn’t make you any less than a person. It makes you real & actually wise to not try to make happen what you cannot.

I hope this post gives you some things you can do to make this season a good one. Please understand people & time cannot be replaced no matter how hard science is trying to clone folks. Many people have lost ones they love either through separation, divorce, death etc and they wouldn’t care not one bit about a gift if they could get a few minutes with that person. So it is so important to know life is the most precious gift of all. Spend the holidays, give your time and believe me things will be just fine.

Love Ricki

Creating a better morning

If you read my last blog post you know that one of my ways of beating stress or at least lessening the Single Mama blues is to be better prepared and more organized. Especially on the weekdays when it’s a mad rush to get out of the house on time. I wanted to share the new morning routine I’ve created to make getting out of the house in the morning not just easier, but way less stressful.

Every morning routine actually starts the night before. This is the time you should lay out your clothes (or at least think about what you are going to wear) and have your kids do the same. This includes undergarments and socks. Especially socks – do you know how many times I’ve almost been late because Lil Diva was trying to find socks? Anyway if you are packing a lunch, do it now and also if anything needs to be signed or checked make sure you complete that and have the kids tuck it away in their backpacks. This whole routine should take you 15-20 minutes but will save you hours of frustration in the morning time.

The first thing I like to do in the morning is take 15-20 minutes for myself. Before anyone wakes I take some time to read my bible verse (or more) in the morning, say my prayers and affirmations and also have a little personal time scrolling through social media. This helps me get going in the morning and sets my intentions. I also make sure to thank God for everything big and small. Gratefulness is a wonderful way to set your attitude in the morning.

Next I start my coffee machine and then if I am planning on wearing make up I take a few minutes to start applying it and do my hair before I wake up the crew. I need that time to focus on me and my morning needs. Just like the airplane air mask, you can’t help others if you don’t have yourself together.

I then wake up Bean and Lil Diva and drag her out of the bed. I always have her get ready in the bathroom while I finish my routine. It helps me to make sure the gets all her tasks done like washing her face and brushing her teeth. Otherwise she will forget or drag on the process. Next year she will be in fifth grade and we will transition her to getting ready without supervision but for now this is what works for me. Always do what works for you. Please don’t let anyone tell you how to run your tribe!

Finally we will get dressed, backpack and laptops and lunches and head out the door. Bean is a pro about being ready in the morning and Middle Diva doesn’t have to get up as early because her school bus comes later. One thing I try to do every morning is check our calendar and to do list to see if we need anything else before heading out the door. I usually create this list the night before so I can be prepared.

Me & Lil Diva doing our morning Instastories!

This is what works for me in the morning. I encourage you to create a routing that works for you and your family and start the night before preparing for your day. This is the major key that helps my morning flow smoothly. Also don’t forget to take a few moments for yourself. What tips can you share to create a better morning? Comment below. Also check out my Morning Routing Vlog style where I show you how my morning goes IN REAL LIFE. Don’t forget to comment, like and subscribe!

Love Ricki

Single Mama Blues & How I deal with them

The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. Some things have went really well like my cookbook (thanks everyone for the support) and my social media is growing. I’ve really felt like I’ve been on my purpose which is to encourage and inspire women in some way, shape or form. However some days I have barely been making it. Baarly (say that like the lady who said she was legally blind lol). This week I was frustrated & stressed trying to get my children to school safely (it was storming and they normally walk) and ended up being late for work. Like a possible write up late. I broke down in the car. I know life has it’s peaks and valleys but it is sometimes too much when they happen in the same day. I cried real tears this week, it was a struggle.

When you are a single mother it ALL FALLS ON YOU. Now don’t get it twisted I have help which I am grateful for but at the end of the day I am the decision maker, boss, executor of tasks, ALL OF THE THINGS. I am blessed to be in the position to be several people’s mama but I am also still stressed, overwhelmed and exhausted sometimes. But I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to feel this way. I posted on my social media earlier this week how the first thing someones says when describing a black woman is that they are strong. And I don’t like that. Don’t get me wrong I am strong, I believe it’s an inherent trait built in ALL women (I mean we bear children and that shit hurts!) but it is not our defining characteristic. In fact the description of strength we have been given has somewhat been our downfall. As I’ve talked about before we think of ourselves as Superwoman and have thrown on this imaginary cape and all it’s really doing is choking the life out of us. I am not here for any of that. I was put on this earth to be an example of God’s love, to love my children unconditionally and live an abundant life. All this other stuff that we’re trying to live up to so we can shout about being strong to whoever is listening (nobody) doesn’t do anything but stress us out. Plus from the Bible I read it says something along the lines that our strength lies in God. Not us. And that’s what I had to remember this week when I was overwhelmed from trying to do everything on my own. Especially when I don’t always have to. I got my self help tools out and took some of my own advice to get myself together and get back on track again. I am sharing my tips below:

  • Cry – This is one of the main reasons why I don’t like this whole strong woman definition. It makes us think it’s not okay to feel. We are feminine!!! We were made to feel emotions, to be soft and vulnerable and loving and nurturing. It is therapeutic to cry. It helps us get out emotions we may not know how to put in words. It also cleanses us. It’s okay to cry. I give you permission to do it but more importantly give yourself permission to.
  • Ask for help – You knew that was coming right? I know what you’re going to say tho. If I had help I wouldn’t be in this situation. You probably have help you just haven’t asked for it. And usually it’s because we are ashamed to (trying to keep up some image), we don’t want to be disappointed, and we don’t like giving up control. We need to stop thinking we were created to be islands in this world. We all need each other at some point and it’s usually not a one time thing. When you have to ask for help look at it this way, you are giving someone the opportunity to be a blessing to you and in turn one day you can be a blessing to them. Simple as that. So stop being prideful and ask for what you need. It’s way better for someone to be able to throw you a life preserver now than try to perform CPR after you’ve already drowned.
  • Take a break – Whether it be from social media, TV, a bubble bath with the door locked, or a fast food meal in Walmart parking lot, take a few minutes or more for you. Even if you have to steal them from somewhere else. As women and especially as mothers our lives move super fast. We are always going and doing and never taking the time to slow down, hell sometimes we just can’t for whatever’s reason. However we cannot keep going if we don’t take some time to break away from the busyness of life and breathe. So even if it’s a 15 minute break before you lift the garage door and all the kids run out telling you who did what to whom, take it!!!
  • Talk to someone- I am grateful for my family and friends because I know when I need to sort the thoughts running thru my mind or just express what I’ve been feeling, I can call and do that without feeling judged or like I’m being a bother. And they can do the same to me. It is vital that we do not hold things inside. It only hurts us, not just emotionally or mentally but physically. Also there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG with speaking to an objective third party, aka a therapist. Sometimes we just need to talk and let it out or get an opinion or make sure where headed in the right direction. We may not have a person we trust, so that’s where a therapist can come into play. Shoot they even have them online. Whatever you have to do tho, get those thoughts out to someone.
  • Prepare & get organized- This is something I don’t like to admit but we often cause our own stress by not being organized. By not packing a lunch the night before or figuring out what we are going to wear. We run thru rushing in the morning, hollering unnecessarily, forgetting things and just making life harder than it has to be. Do yourself a favor and when you have time use it wisely by getting prepared for what you know is coming. You know you have to go to work and school so stop looking like a deer in headlights and save some time and stress and make it easier on yourself.

Those are some of the things I do when I start experiencing the single mama blues. But you don’t have to be a single mother to do these. It applies to all women just out here trying to live our best lives. We play so many roles as women from daughter, sister, wife, auntie, mama, caretakers, business women, teachers, lovers and on and on we have to learn to preserve our most important role – YOU.

Love Ricki

Cleaning Tips for the Single Mama

I titled this post Cleaning Tips for the Single Mama because that is what I am for and it is the viewpoint I speak from for this blog. Please don’t side eye me though because the tips I share can be applied to any mother married or single. Now that we have that out of the way let me start by saying, CLEANING IS NOT LIFE!!! I love to have a clean house, candles burning and everything in order just like the next mama but that is not reality. And if I try to make it a reality everyday I will only drive myself crazy. And crazy me is not cute. So I have learned not to obsess over having a clean house. I also think a lot of people live this way to or else Clean with Me videos on Youtube (see mine linked below) would not be so popular. I truly come from a place of you can only do what you can. Also just because your home isn’t sparkling doesn’t make you a nasty or bad person. It makes you human. Again, I clean and enjoy a clean house but I also enjoy living and sometimes that can get a little messy especially with a family. FYI: “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is not in the Bible *shrugs shoulders*

  • Tip #1: Establish a routine – I’m old school so my cleaning routine usually is on Saturday morning and consists of Pine Sol and Comet and music blaring on the speakers lol. Saturday mornings I usually take the time to give the kitchen a deep cleaning and clean out the refrigerator since it is trash day. This also helps me take inventory of what we have on hand or may need because I also usually “make groceries” that day to. Assign a day and commit a few hours to get important cleaning done such as the kitchen and bathrooms – the most used spaces in a home.
  • Tip #2: Everyone gets a job – even the little kids. If he or she is 18 months and above they can pick something up and put it away. Lil Diva has a job and even though she despises cleaning (she took a “vacation” for almost a month at her granny’s house to avoid cleaning – that’s how much she dislikes it!) she knows what she is expected to do. We are a team and even though kids least favorite thing to do is clean they do enjoy a clean, fresh smelling space. I also do not give my kids an allowance for cleaning. To each his own and no judgement if you do but cleaning is a necessary skill of adulthood and since I’m raising several people it is understood you need to learn how to clean as a life skill, not an extracurricular activity.
  • Tip #3: Make a system – I have a way of doing things. It helps the process flow and ensures I get everything completed. I started off going from one place to another and truth be told I am not a great multitasker. It is not my strongpoint – if too much is going on I get overwhelmed and frustrated and nothing gets done. I learned I have to have a system. You’ll hear me say in the video I wipe everything down first and onto the floor and then I sweep and mop last. Do things in a particular order that works for you.
  • Tip #4: Stop trying to do everything – I used to try to have EVERYTHING done in one day and then want to cry when a few hours later things started getting a little messy again. Plus I took up my whole off day! We actually live in these spaces. Which means things will get left out of place, spills will happen and dust will collect. You will frustrate yourself trying for perfection. Saturday mornings are for my kitchen and bathrooms. Sundays are laundry and straightening the bedrooms. During the week we make sure the kitchen is clean Saturday thru Thursday and I make sure kids put backpacks and shoes away etc. Fridays I usually give myself and the kids a break from cleaning anything. We just don’t try to fit it all in one day because in my opinion ultimately it’s wasted energy. I wouldn’t suggest you do it either.
  • Tip #5: Give yourself a reward – I learned this from @farahjmerhi. She lights a candle when she finishes a room. I pretty much do the same but mostly because I love the smell. Reward yourself with fresh flowers or a satisfying cup of coffee or tea or 15 minutes of Youtube or an audiobook. This will motivate you to keep the routine going. It really works.

Those are my tips for maintaining a clean space. Nothing fancy just get the basics done and don’t worry about trying to have everything perfect. It’s just gonna get messy again anyway lol.

Check out my very first Clean with Me video below! Also in the comments let me know what your cleaning routine is!

Love Ricki

I Slid in her DMs – Friendship in your 40s

Bestie date!

Yup you read that right, I slid in her DMs. On Instagram of all places! It’s so funny to me when I tell people that and see the look on their face but the truth is social media is a pretty common place to meet people in this day and age. So let me tell you the story and then we will get into some tips on how you can maybe meet and develop friendships as long as you are not apart of that “no new friends” club. Thanks Drake *side eye*

So I honestly can’t remember how I started following Sheena on Instagram but some kind of way I did. I remember I thought she was beautiful (because as women we can appreciate another beautiful woman) and she was stylish. I also noticed she had just moved into a new home which she was decorating and she lived in Houston! So I liked a few pics (well maybe more than a few lol) and commented here and there. Let me back up some tho. I had recently felt a yearning in my heart for a friend, a real friend. I had been going through some things, I was struggling and I remember asking God to bring me a friend. Not a relative because I do have a sister and sister in laws that I am close to but sometimes you need a friend who isn’t family. Where you know the connection is based on ya’ll purely having a mutual affection for each other. Plus a person outside your family tends to be less judgmental and of course unbiased. I even remember posting on my Instagram stories about how I was open to friendship but I felt it was just weird trying to make friends when you were older. Let me tell you something, when you pray and ask God for something He will give you the desires of your heart as long as it aligns with His will. I didn’t know what I know now but looking back it all makes sense.

Our first lunch in 2017 and the Toni Braxton concert in January 2019

So anyway back to the story, Sheena was decorating her new home and since I knew this I used this information to slide in her DMs. I was browsing the At Home store and noticed they had pillows on sale. So I sent Sheena a message with a pic of the pillows. She said thank you and let me know she would be picking some up. I don’t remember but I think she also shared it on her stories as well. Listen I was thinking to myself I hope this lady doesn’t think I am weird or crazy or something because back then stories was fairly new and people weren’t really responding to them or sending messages like they do now.  So I continued to follow along with her stories and I would message her and she messaged me back here and there etc. Really wasn’t too much going on until she relaunched her boutique.  I decided to buy a purse I really liked from her but instead of shipping it to me we decided to meet up for lunch so I could get it from her. Now if you know anything about Houston Sheena lives way on the Southside of the city (still does) and I live way on the Northside (still do) about 45-60 minutes away (yes Houston is that big!). So we decided to meet at a central location for lunch and I can say we had a really great time just laughing and talking about our lives, our kids and just things we loved. I knew I had left that lunch with a new friend. Now were we best buddies? Not yet but we continued to keep in touch thru IG actually (even though we had each other’s phone numbers we still DM each other ALL THE TIME). We would share posts, laugh, comment on each other’s posts and stories and so on. We started showing up on posts on each other’s page. We met again for brunch and I came to Sheena’s house and ironically we did a live together before Christmas about marriage lol. Well later that December Sheena decided to start her weightless journey and I had mentioned to her that I had lost weight through the Keto diet. I gave her the basics because I am no expert but Sheena took that information, did her research and took off! I mean my friend really did the damn thing and lost over 60 lbs. But this was just the beginning of our story. I can’t really get into specifics about everything but I can tell you she is someone that was brought into my life when I needed it. When I decided to end my marriage she was there, through my tears and sadness she was there, when I struggled and was hurt she was there. When I was proud of myself for making a way for me and my kids on my own she was there, when I celebrated turning the big 4-0 she was there. She was never judgmental, she always told the truth and she was always caring with her words. I also knew if I needed to whoop someone’s ass she was down for the cause! Just being honest. I’m sure we have moments where we get on each other’s nerves (like when I wanted to nap in the DR, what? naps are a sign of good health!) but Sheena has blessed my life. I only hope I have been able to be as good as a friend to her as she has been to me. She’s my sister, she’s even my sister’s sister, that’s how good she is! And this was all because I decided to send her a message. I talk to her EVERYDAY and I don’t even want to imagine what my life would be without her. I write this now with big old tears falling onto my keyboard but I LOVE YOU SHEENA & I thank God and the Universe for letting us cross each other’s path! He will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21) because He did it for me with my best friend!

The Holiday dinner and Girlfriends live we did! We were always business minded- still are!
Punta Cana with the Ladies
Happy Hour with my sister and sister lol

Now that the sappy stuff is done let’s talk about making friends later in life specifically your 30s, 40s, & beyond. Here are my tips:

  • STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE – This may mean visiting a new spot to eat at, commenting on a post when you’re usually just a lurker or speaking to someone while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store. I can tell you right now going outside of that comfort zone is scary BUT the best things can happen when you take that chance.
  • FIND COMMON INTERESTS – I hear all the time opposites attract but you have to have some similarities to get along with someone! Sheena and I both have four kids similar in ages. We are both the oldest, love style and make up and decor and so on. These things give us something to talk about and bond over. Find people that like things you like. And in the next bullet we will discuss how.
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA – Listen how do you think these hook ups are happening??? People are meeting each other thru social media. Whether its a DM or a Facebook group folks are finding people with common interests and forming friendships. There are so many groups on Facebook. Groups for mommies, singles, single mamas, TV shows, memes, diet groups and I could go on forever. As a person that has been apart of some of these groups there are often meet & greets and events that happen where you can meet new people. GO TO THEM! Our Seasoned & Single FB group had a painting event in August. We met some fabulous ladies and had a great time. You can too you just have to get up and go out and be social!
  • GIVE IT TIME – When me and Sheena first met we had a great time and we hit if off but we weren’t Besties right away. Just like anything else good worth having in this world it takes work and time. We made time to talk AND listen to each other. We made time to see each other in person. We learned about each other and eventually walls came down and now we are the dynamic duo you see on your IG feed all the time. We live in an instant society however when you meet someone new, it might take some time to develop a friendship and thats okay.

Those are my tips but I want you to leave reading this post truly believing that friendship is a good thing. Based on the question sticker I posted yesterday on IG and the way the media pits women against each other I don’t think people view friendship and sisterhood as valuable anymore. I know if God wanted us to be alone He wouldn’t have created 7,655,957,369 people (as of 2018) to be in this world together. True friendship and especially sisterhood is necessary so we can continue to be encouraged, inspired, supported, esteemed, challenged and improve our quality of life. Yes even later on in age.  You of course cannot get time lost or wasted back BUT the God I know and serve can redeem your time and have you thinking you have known someone and been best buddies all your life! Ask me how I know.

Love Ricki

Back to YouTube!

Hi Y’all so you asked and I delivered! I am have relaunched my YouTube channel and I am so excited with all the ideas for content I plan on bringing you! Please make sure you subscribe and check out my first video back below!

Don’t forget to like and comment!

Love Ricki

How to “make” groceries! 10 Tips for grocery shopping on a budget

Now you may be saying Ricki, how do you “make” groceries? Simply put that’s what the old folks say in the south when referring to going grocery shopping. Last week we talked about meal planning but now its time to take that plan, make a list and get the food in the house that you need.

Since I usually grocery shop on Saturday morning, I do my prepping on Friday so I am prepared and stay on budget. So I’m sharing 10 tips with ya’ll. Here we go:

  1. ASSESS YOUR INVENTORY -Before you go to any store, you need to assess your refrigerator, pantry and freezer first. Look at your meal plan, do you have things already that you can use? What staples are you running low on? WRITE ALL THIS DOWN!
  2. WRITE A QUICK LIST-Next take the list you just jotted down and your meal plan and write out your grocery list. Having a grocery list is necessary to shop on a budget. If you have a list you will not buy unnecessary items and you won’t forget the things you actually need. Now this is a rough draft. Because the next step is to…
  3. SET A BUDGET- UGH! I know right but this is usually where we mess up at. If you don’t set an amount I am telling you now, you WILL OVERSPEND! In order to stay on budget set an amount. I usually like to set a few, let me explain. I have a amount I will spend on groceries like $60 for the week, then I may add an additional $10 for stock up items – we have a store here that will discount great things to very low prices so I use this extra amount to take advantage of a great deal. And then I may have an extra $5-$10 for fun items, like a treat for the kids or to try a new product. So my budget for the week would be $75-$80. Look at your rough draft list and maybe remove some things that may cause you to go over budget like do ya’ll really need steak this week? Is there a veggie or fruit in season that you may like that will be cheaper to replace one on your list? When you buy in season you are getting better quality at a better price. Once you’ve set your budget you can make your final list.
  4. KEEP UP WITH YOUR LIST- I won’t tell you how many times I forgot my list at home which defeats the whole purpose so TAKE A SCREENSHOT of your list and your meal plan or write it in the notes section of your phone. I bet you won’t leave that phone! Seriously, when trying to save money you have to make things easy and convenient or you won’t stick to it!
  5. TIME TO SHOP- But before you head to the store you need to make sure you’ve eaten a full meal. When they say don’t shop on an empty stomach no lies were told. Listen, EVERYTHING looks good when you’re hungry! Don’t play yourself! Also, if you can, grocery shop in the morning before you run the rest of your errands etc. Shopping with a clear mind leads to better decisions and if you can leave the kids at home (unless they’re older kids that can help) DO IT!!! And if you know you have a tendency to spend at the store, take out cash and leave your cards at home. Hunny, you will stick to the budget in order not to be embarrassed in that checkout line. Ask me how I know lol.
  6. SET A TIME LIMIT- The more time you spend in the store the more money will part from your wallet. Why do you think they have all those free samples at stores on Saturdays? The main objective is to keep you in the store longer so you will be more likely to spend.  The grocery stores specialize in using psychology to help you part with your money at their establishments. They spend millions of dollars on learning our behaviors. You have to outsmart them and stop letting them win. Set a time period for each store you visit and stick to it. I actually started doing this so my older kids would come help me because they said I took too long but I noticed it actually helped our budget!
  7. DOWNLOAD THE STORE APP AND ANY DIGITAL COUPONS- Now you actually should have checked the store ad when you were making you meal/menu plan however sometimes you may get in the store and find something you really may need. Check to see if the store has a digital coupon. Also you may want to check another store’s app to see if maybe they have the same thing on sale. There also apps that get into cash back. I don’t know too much about them but you can always do a google search. Anyway the technology is available, use it!
  8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STORE BRANDS- Honestly the time of being brand loyal is over. Many but not all store brands are made by the same manufacturer. You have to understand there is not a manufacturer for every single product, that’s just not feasible. When you buy a store brand, like butter if you take it out the box you’ll notice it will have the same wrapper as another brand lol. It was made at the same dairy it’s just cheaper because there is no brand label. Now is this true of every store brand, no but it doesn’t hurt to try them out.
  9. USE YOUR CALCULATOR-Again back to that budget thing, if you want to prevent overspending take out your phone and use that calculator function! I usually round up when calculating but it helps to stay on track and you can also use your calculator to determine if buying in a certain quantity is a good deal. Also, every thing that’s on sale isn’t a good deal if you’re not going to use it. Exactly how many time have we thrown away a food item because we couldn’t or didn’t use it prior to expiring. Please remember that when you throw wasted food away you are actually just making a donation to the grocery store. I need all my coins, what about you?
  10. SHOP ONCE A WEEK- Ideally if you shop according to your list for the week you SHOULDN’T need to come back to the store again. I personally don’t like having to go to the grocery store several times a week, that’s my time I can’t get back and my gas! But things happen and sometimes we forget because we are human. If you do need to pick something up quickly try to just bring the cash for that item so you won’t be tempted to spend more.

Those were my 10 tips to have a successful grocery shopping trip on a budget. Let me be real with ya’ll it takes a few times to get this down so please don’t beat yourself up if you mess up. I do all the time lol. But eventually you will find a system or routine that works for you and. your family. Take all the tips and apply them or a few. Depending on where you are in life every tip might not apply. The number one thing is to have a plan and that will set you on the right path! Make sure you follow me on IG (@severalpeoplesmama) because on Saturday I will be headed to the grocery store on my stories so you can see exactly how I shop. What grocery shopping tips can you share? Comment below!

Love Ricki

How bad do you want it? Let’s talk about WORK!

It’s Labor Day and for most people that means a welcomed Monday off from work. Me, I WAS most people. However, today I’m putting in work, I’m planning content and writing recipes and shooting insta stories, etc. Why? Because it’s time to put in work. I’ve played skating around my dreams for too long. This leads me to this post, how bad do you want it? Everyone has dreams whether it’s being an entrepreneur and working solely for themselves or getting their dream job or being a first time home buyer. The issue arises when it’s time to put in the work, discipline & consistency to make those dreams a reality.

Dress: thrifted  Shoes: Forever 21

I am a firm believer that you can have the life you want but it won’t happen saying affirmations, writing in a planner or even making a business plan. It only happens when you take ACTION. I have been listening to James Clear’s book “Atomic Habits” (I highly recommend) on Audible and he wrote something that took me clean out! He said and I’m paraphrasing, smart people often make the mistake of being in motion instead of taking action. For example, I may plan out 5 new blog posts (motion) but when I actually write the blog post and publish it, that’s action. He also pointed out that motion is important (because duh) we need to plan or research BUT motion does not produce results, only action does. Motion feels like we’re doing something but in actuality WE ARE NOT. In other words motion keeps us comfortable with a false sense of accomplishment. But action, now that’s stepping out of our comfort zone and on faith. I don’t want to keep going on an on because I’m sure you get the point, go read the book for yourself or check out this article here. It’s time for me to work or take action, I’ve done enough planning aka procrastinating. If I want to have the life I have dreamed of it’s time to put in the work. Even on Labor Day. And I wrote (and published lol) this blog post to encourage you to do the same. Tell me below in the comments what kind of actions are you taking towards your dreams?

Love Ricki