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

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