This post is sponsored by Andy Pandy. As always all opinions are my own. Raise your hand if you’ve ever had to deal with an unfortunate case of diaper rash? Awful stuff right? If your kiddo is anything like my Margs, diaper rashes just seem to pop up out of nowhere and they cause a ton of discomfort and fussiness. In the early weeks and months when she was just a wee infant we struggled with redness and chaffing and other uncomfortable diaper rash related issues. We were totally new to the whole parenting thing and despite thinking we were on top of her diaper changes we somehow were clearly missing the boat because no matter how well we cleaned her, how much diaper cream we applied and which diaper brand we used baby girl seemed to be constantly dealing with irritation on some level. And, as most of you…

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Summer is all about creating fun and lasting memories for our kiddos am I right? Have you read Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox & Rene Gutteridge? If not, I highly suggest you do because it really does an incredible job of dealing with this idea that we should focus on memory building  when it comes to our kiddos because quantitatively we’ve technically only got 18 summers with them. The novel uses the perspective of four families to drive home the idea that the time we’ve got with our littles is seriously fleeting. I’ve got to say that I lost my breath a few times when I realized that this is our second summer with our little girl – I’ve got only 16 left! Seriously folks, why do they grow so so fast? Margsy is still very young and by consequence very much satisfied by splashing around in her tiny…

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One Sunday morning during Margsy’s  weekly swimming lesson a fellow swim mom (is that even a thing?) stopped to tell me how cute she thought my daughters bathing suit was and to find out where I bought it because she’d like to purchase a similar one for her kiddo. Now, I’m pretty open about my frugal lifestyle choices and will gladly tell you that x, y or z is used with great pride but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel judgement from time to time.  You see the judgement I often face is not necessarily about our choice to live this way but more about the perception or maybe assumption that by living frugally we’re somehow parenting our kiddo incorrectly or depriving her in some way. I was met with a little- okay a lot – of judgement that day and to be frank, it sucked. It didn’t suck…

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Way back when Mer and I were ultra money wasters we never and I mean never brown bagged lunches. We sucked at organizing ourselves food wise and so it only made sense to pass by the food court or drive through to get something to eat at lunch hour. We seemed to never be prepared, never have enough food, never have enough energy and never be organized enough to actually pack anything to take for lunch. Apparently we never ran out of excuses too! The worst part? There were ALWAYS leftovers sitting in our fridge begging to be eaten. Worse even is that those leftovers often got thrown straight into the garbage because we’d forget about them and let them spoil. We were so incredibly lazy and really had no idea how much our bad  habit was costing us so we kept spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars each month…

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I was hiking with my boyfriend Tom in the woods just north of the Golden Gate Bridge when he said something I’ll never forget. “Why don’t we live up here for a year?” At first, I didn’t understand. We were in the popular Mt. Tamalpais State Park, with trails that wound through old-growth redwoods and twisted their way down to Stinson Beach. It was tourist galore, and there was definitely no place to live. Live where? I thought, my head spinning. “What are you talking about?” I said. “Move out of our places, save money on rent. Camp up here for awhile. Imagine how much money we’d save?” I thought he was crazy. There was no way I would move out of my plush Mill Valley studio apartment, which with utilities, came to a cool $1,800 per month. I worked full-time as a radio news reporter and figured I could…

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever gotten sucked into watching Extreme Couponing? I don’t watch it anymore but back in the day when we were struggling financially I’d sit there and try to soak up every ounce of wisdom those coupon divas had to share. I mean, how did they do it? How did they manage to save hundreds and hundreds of dollars on their hauls? Impressive right? I mean from a quantitative point of view – aka accumulating the most amount of stuff for the least amount of money- it really is impressive. But, as a frugal lifer I take issue with stockpiling so many items for the sake of stockpiling. In most of these episodes you’ll hear things like ” I’ll buy the whole shelf – we don’t really use it but at least I can add it to my stockpile “. In retrospect these ladies were probably…

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10 years ago I was a completely different person. To the outside world I appeared to have it all together. I wore fashionable big ticket clothes, had killer designer handbags and wore expensive and uncomfortable footwear. I was a marketers dream! If it was “in” I had to have it. If it was trendy – I was the first in line to buy it. If it made me “appear” more successful, put together, worthy or important you bet I’d drop cash on it. I was a hostage to consumerist chaos and the more, more, more narrative that marketing and consumerism convinces us should be part of our lives. I lived my life by establishing my worth as a person by what I owned. The major caveat was that I had a dirty little secret. I couldn’t afford that lifestyle, it made me miserable and no matter what I bought it…

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