free budgeting apps

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“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” — Dave Ramsey, financial radio host and best-selling author

 

Everyone can benefit from budgeting his/her money, but having a chronic illness makes your financial life more complicated…….every dollar ( at least in my situation ) must be stretched in order to be able pay all the medical bills and their friends that come along for the ride!

Below are links to free budgeting apps, each a little different so you may be able to find one that fits your needs.  If you know of anymore I would love to add them to the list, thank you.

 

mint

goodbudget

wally.me

everydollar

nerdwallet

pocketguard

dollarbird

honeyfi

claritymoney

fudget

spendee

expense-iq

“Beware of little expenses: a small leak can sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers, inventor, diplomat, and the author of The Way to Wealth

things I did to keep my young kids entertained at home while chronically ill

depth of field photography of p l a y wooden letter decors on top of beige wooden surface

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Although I had been “sick” for as long as I can remember, no one could find anything wrong with me.  As a result, I went on with my life the best I could and that included the blessings of children.  It was not until after my last child was born that I became too ill for the doctors to ignore.  Once a diagnoses was finally made, my life was more complicated, stressful, and difficult due to increasing symptoms.  There were many days that I lived minute by minute, not sure how I was going to last until it was their bedtime.  I had to figure out ways to make taking care of the kids a little easier and these are the things that I did.

We hung a bird feeder outside our dining room window.  This was a place we could all sit and watch the birds.  I purchased a few storybooks with birds and a bird guide to help us identify the visiting creatures.

Special boxes.  Every late summer when school supplies went on sale, I would put together a box for each child.  Their boxes would include paper, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, stickers, glue sticks, craft supplies, a puzzle, journals, a book or two, and a few smaller toys.  These boxes were only brought out with my permission and I used them on days I couldn’t handle much noise or activity.  They were a HUGE hit with my kids as I was adamant that the boxes were only brought out at specified times and when they were done everything went back into the box and it was put away until next time.

Playdough and Model Magic.  I had a bin with plastic silverware and plates and small toys and  plastic animals to use with the playdough.  Kids loved it when I pulled out this bin, but it had to be used on days that I felt decent, as it involved more clean-up.

Special DVDs.  There were several movies that my kids loved to watch and I would hold those back for times when I could not get out of bed.  The kiddos would climb into bed with me and “we” (mostly them) would watch the movie.  This would give me a solid hour and a half to be still.

Books.  I read A LOT to my kids, hundreds and hundreds of books.  I would sit in a comfy chair and the kids would gather around and listen while playing quietly (most of the time).

Legos.  I LOVE Legos.  We had all kinds of legos at our home and as the kids grew the legos got smaller and more dangerous to have scattered all over the floor.  These could keep my kids entertained for hours.

Blocks.  I had a very large plastic bucket full of wooden blocks and my kiddos would sit and play with those for hours creating their own imaginary kingdoms.

Trains.  A train table was given to my oldest child and Thomas and his friends joined shortly afterward.  There was enough room at the table for all of my kiddos to sit and play.

Dress-up bin.  Old clothing, jewelry, hats, halloween costumes, they could dress up and become anything they wanted.

Art supplies.  White paper, scratch paper, construction paper, packing paper, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, finger paints……….I kept all of this contained to one area of the house.

Dolls.  Dolls and doll clothing plus beds made from clementine crates and plastic doll food from the dollar store.

Sandbox in the backyard. My husband built a simple sandbox in our backyard and the kids LOVED playing in it.

Tire swing hanging from a large tree in our backyard.  My husband put this up for the kids and it was an instant hit.

I hope you can find something you are able to use to entertain your kiddos or grandkids while you deal with CI.

 

Until next time, you are a superhero!

Charities that will pick up your spring cleaning giveaways.

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Sometimes we are just not able to personally remove all of the unwanted stuff out of our home.  It is either too heavy, too big, or there is just too much to physically put in a vehicle.  So, during my last decluttering session, I went on a quest and searched for places that would be willing to come and pick up all of my discarded treasures.

The quickest pick-up date was given by Goodwill and they were willing to come to my house and take all my stuff as long as it was on the first floor and was near an exit.  Done!  I set up an appointment via computer and they showed up on time and away my stuff went.  In fact, it was so easy I had them come back for more!  It felt so invigorating and freeing to let stuff go.  Less stuff = less cleaning = more energy for other activities.  Woohoo!

The organizations below are not available for pick-up in all locations, but I have provided links below for further information.  These are not posted in any particular order and is it not an all inclusive list.   Happy Spring Cleaning!

 

General household donations:

American Kidney Fund

Goodwill

The Salvation Army

Big Brothers Big Sisters

AmVets

Vietnam Veterans of America

Disabled American Veterans – DAV

Volunteers of American

Military Order of the Purple Heart

The Arc

St. Vincent De Paul

Lupus American Household Goods Donation Program

 

Cell phone/Smart phone/Tablet

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Secure the Call

Medic Mobile

1 Million Project

 

Boat donations:

Boat Angel

Orange Coast College School of Sailing and Seamanship

Chapman School of Seamanship

Angel for Hope

 

Motor vehicles:

American Children’s Cancer Foundation

American Kidney Fund

Wheels for Wishes

Kars 4 Kids

Volunteers of America

The Arc

 

Building Materials/Cabinets/Appliances:

Habitat for Humanity

 

Don’t forget to get a receipt for tax deduction purposes.  All of the stuff you move out of your house to make it more comfortable and enjoyable is going to help others also live a better life.  A BIG win-win situation!

Until next time………….YOU are a superhero and helping others is what superheros do best!

10 ways I extend my energy with chronic illness

water flows from the tap to sink

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Life can be challenging.  Add on a chronic illness or four and life can be down right hard.  Not matter what our situation is, we all have only so much energy in a given day, some days we have less than others.  Finding ways to make our energy last as long as possible is always helpful.

Through the years I have discovered (usually by accident) small ways to extend my personal spoons with energy saving activities.  These strategies are used with a hope and a prayer I could accomplish at least part of what needed to be done that day.  Most days, even now, I am not working with a whole lot of energy, or anything else for that matter.

 

1.  I set up my kitchen in a way that is convenient and efficient for me.

2.  I do freezer and double batch cooking so when I am having one of those really bad days, I have food already prepared.

3.  I keep meals simple.  Complicated recipes with unusual ingredients just can’t be part of my life at this time.  So, I spend less time in the kitchen (saving my energy) and I am not purchasing ingredients that will seldom be used (saving money).  I would call that a win-win.  Smoothie anyone?

4.  When I do laundry, I do not fold my underclothing or pjs.  Nope, I just throw them in my drawer.  Heck, I wear pjs so often (I call them my official uniform), there is no point in making them look nice in a drawer.

5.  I hang up clothing that does not need to be washed after wearing.  This saves me from doing so much laundry……….and I have the kids do the same.

6.  I do one load of laundry per day.

7.  Unfortunately, I spend a lot of time in bed.  So, I keep my side table well stocked.  No need to go searching for things I need/want on a regular basis.

8.  I take care of mail as soon as it comes into the house.  This sounds like a trivial task but I have found that it piles up very quickly.  So now I sort through every piece, recycling what I don’t want, opening bills and placing them in my to-be-paid slot and then take any reading material and put in my room for later viewing.  By dealing with the mail immediately, I also keep track of all bills coming in so there is less chance of them getting misplaced.

9.  I combine errands.  Just getting out of the house can be tiring, so I try to combine as many errands as I can physically do each time I head out out the door.

10.  I keep my calendar on my phone so it is with me at all times.  It took me a long time to start using my phone calendar as I found it frustrating.  But once I got use to using it on a consistent basis, I found it extremely helpful.  When I am at an appointment, I find it much easier to make follow-up appointments as I always have my and my kids schedules at my finger tips.  I still keep a calendar, ok, two on the wall, just in case I misplace my phone, again.

 

Until next time…….YOU, my friends, are superheros.

 

In my kitchen with chronic illness.

macro photography of a stainless steel faucet

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When you are ill, you still need to eat.  Nourishing our bodies with real food is one important way to stay as healthy as we can.  For me, meal prep, well actually all kitchen activities are exhausting.  From food gathering to kitchen clean-up, it all wears me out and makes me want/need to take a nap.

There have been times when I wanted quick fixes in the kitchen.  Overwhelmed with life,  dealing with chronic illnesses, being a wife, a mother, and all of the work that entails, I physically couldn’t do it all and something had to give.  Well, I gave in to the wrong things.  I should have let the laundry go, let the cleaning go……..it was going to get messy again in about 13 minutes anyway.  Nope, I picked the worse thing to let go…………food.  I tried hitting the easy button.  I did my best to still eat a healthy diet in comparison to the SAD (standard American diet) most people were consuming but I short changed my health by taking too many short cuts in the kitchen.  In my opinion, when you are chronically ill food MUST be a high priority, right after your spiritual life.

In the kitchen I am slow, it physically hurts to bend down, and at times it hurts to carry a pot or a frying pan.  So I have tried to work around my physical limitations and make things easier for me, even though it makes my kitchen look crowded and not aesthetically pleasing. I had to give up having things look pretty and organized so the kitchen could be more functional for me.

Here are a few things I did to make the kitchen more functional.

1  –  I got rid of things that I didn’t use.  It is physically exhausting for me to be searching for things that I need.  De-cluttering my kitchen made space for all of the items I use on a regular basis in easy to find uncrowded places.

2  –  I keep all of the pots and pans that I regularly use on top of the stove.  No bending down wasting more precious energy.

3  –  Kitchen appliances that I or my family uses on a regular basis are kept on the counter at all times, this includes a microwave, crock pot, and a blender.

4  –  Everything else that I use on a regular basis is within an easy reach.  Nothing is kept on a high shelf, or a in a low, out-of-the-way cabinet making it a circus performance to get to it.

I know these things sound so simple and you are probably doing all the same things too.  But I have found through my YEARS and years of dealing with chronic illness, you need to be kind to yourself and set up your home in a way that works best for you no matter how it looks to an outsider.  This is true whether or not you are married, have children, or are a single person.  It is harder to do when you have to think about the needs of others in your household, but it is vitally important that you do what needs to be done to help you.  So, if you need a twin bed in the family room because you need to lie down while hanging out with the family, who cares how it looks!  You need a big bulletin board in the dining room to remind you to do certain tasks, put it there!  Those that love you get it………it took me way too long to figure this out.

So……back to the kitchen.  Set up your kitchen in a way that makes food preparation as easy as possible.  Make it functional, whether it looks “pretty” or not.  A functional kitchen makes a healthier you.

How do you make your kitchen more functional?

Until next time, YOU are a superhero and healthy food is your fuel!