How to Change Your Money Mindset

How to Change Your Money Mindset

What is a Money Mindset?

“Everyone has debt.”

“You need debt for your credit score.”

“I mean, who doesn’t have student loans?”

“You’re supposed to have a mortgage forever.”

“That’s what credit cards are for!.”

Statements like these are what is keeping people in lifelong debt. And it’s what kept me in debilitating debt for years. I grew up in a household where the phrase “we don’t have enough money for that” was played on repeat and where I saw my parents go into bankruptcy and struggle to pay bills. And for many of us, we just assume having debt is what life is ‘supposed to be like’.

Well, what if I told you, YOU had the power to change that narrative. You could get yourself out of debt and start to shift the money story that your family has? You can be the change for your financial legacy and your children’s story. But you have to start with your mindset.

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What’s holding you back?

A lot of times when we have a negative money mindset, it stems from the way we grew up. And honestly, as a parent now, it is frightening to think about how much impact I really do have on my children. How much what I say (and don’t say), how I interact with them, and just our day to day life really will make a difference in their future.

And for most of us, when it comes to money, it all comes down to how we were taught to treat it. If you think about money, does it make you anxious? Is money something you and your family don’t talk about at all? Are you constantly complaining about what you don’t have? Do you do it in front of your children?

Because I guarantee, if you dig into it, and think about how your parents were about money around you, you’ll see yourself looking into a mirror. And it’s up to us to start to change that story for our future and the future of our children.

To determine why you think the way you do about money, ask yourself some questions about how it was for you growing up…

  1. When you think about finances, what emotions are brought to the surface?
  2. Did you grow up in a household where people talked about money?
  3. Did you ever hear the phrase ‘we can’t afford that’?
  4. Did your parents argue about money?
  5. Did you ever feel like you didn’t have as much as a friend or another family?
  6. Did you see your parents stressing over bills?
  7. Did your parents ever talk to your about creating a budget?
  8. Did you earn an allowance?
  9. Did your parents buy you whatever you wanted?
  10. Did you ever have to have a job to pay for things yourself?
  11. Did you ever have to go without important life staples such as food or heat?
  12. Would you consider yourself spoiled?
  13. What would you have changed about the way your parents talked about money?
  14. Did you ever have a period of lack where your family struggled to have a place to live?
  15. Do you harbor any unforgiveness around money and your parents?

As you dive into these questions, realize how your parents interacted with money played either a negative or positive role in your money mindset. They either left you a really great example of how to be frugal but smart about money,how to have an abundance mindset even when the money might not be there, and how to work hard to be able to make smart purchases OR they made you feel insecure about money, that bills and finances are something to stress over and that there will never be enough money for you and your needs.

And honestly, this may really sting. I know for me, I grew up with a really negative money mindset and can vividly remember times where it was ingrained in me that I will always struggle with money and felt very financially insecure. I am someone who struggles with anxiety and, for me, money issues are a HUGE trigger. WHen I have to spend money at all, I become that little girl again hearing my parents argue about bills and feeling guilty for buying anything.

Can I ask you… are you still becoming that little girl too? Do you blame your parents? Are you holding onto those mindset that they taught you? If so, the next step to changing your mindset is…

Forgiveness 

 

Maybe you didn’t realize until you started going through the questions that a lot of your mindset was shaped by your parents or maybe this is something that you struggle with day to day. Whatever the case, I want to encourage you to LET.IT.GO.

 

If you hold onto this spirit of unforgiveness about finances towards your parents, or maybe their boss for making them work long hours but not paying enough, or someone who borrowed money from your parents and never paid it back, or anyone that impacted your mindset, then you will never be ready to move on financially. You will always be that little girl afraid of money and feeling inadequate when it comes to finances.

 

You have to give forgiveness to those people in order to move on. Maybe your parents didn’t realize how much you heard of conversations whispered in the kitchen, or realize how much it would impact you (I mean as parents, how often do we think about it?) or understand just how much the words we put into the universe impact how our minds are shaped. Or maybe they did; maybe they thought they were teaching you these incredible lessons to ‘harden you’ in the world, or maybe they wanted you to see what hard work really meant (but in turn just taught you that you have to struggle no matter what).

 

Today, I want to encourage you to write down those people’s names and experiences in a journal. Brain dump all of the thoughts you have, all the emotions both positive and negative, and at the end I want you to write out the words… I FORGIVE YOU.

 

Because especially as parents, we don’t realize how much we impact our children in the long run. And just because they may have said things that could have impacted our mindset negatively, it really is up to that person's personality to either become resistant or have negativity ingrained in them. And even if you felt it was deliberate, most of the time, our parents DID THE BEST THAT THEY KNEW HOW.

 

If you felt a sense of peace after this activity, I want to challenge you to give that person a  call today to talk about it, to say that ‘this is how I felt, and I’ve been holding it in for a while but I'd like to move forward. Giving forgiveness is the first step!

 

How can you change your money mindset?  

 

Visualize 

 

After you’ve made the decision that you’re ready to move forward, forgive anyone who might have had a negative impact on your money mindset and took part in creating those money blocks, the next thing you need to do is visualize your future.

 

What do you want it to look like? Why do you want to be debt free? What would you do with your money if you didn’t have any bills each month?

 

When you take the time to dream big, and to actually picture what things could be like and how you would feel without money stress, your brain start to realize that these things can actually be a reality. Take 10 minutes today and either journal, draw or just dream what a debt free lifestyle would feel and be like for you.

 

15 minutes a day 

 

Whenever someone comes to me and says that they need to adjust their habits to be successful, I always suggest they start small and just with 15 minutes a day. So often, we become paralyzed because we don’t feel like we can ‘do it all’ so we don’t even do anything at all. Don’t let perfectionism stand in your way of making a change.

 

Start with just taking 15 minutes a day to adjust your money mindset. The best way to do this is to inventory what you are putting in your mind. If you are spending your time around people who complain about money, or brag about what they have, or only watching TV where consumerism is in our faces every single moment than your mindset will reflect that.


If you intentionally choose to put positive money thoughts into your head, over time, positive money thoughts will start to become your reality. I Like to listen to a good podcast every day that helps me learn financial tips, develop a more positive money mindset and start to dream big and realize that I CAN become debt free if I truly work at it.

 

You can do this through podcasts, youtube videos, books or audiobooks or any of the great free resources at your local library. Don’t let the fact that you ‘don't have money for a new book’ stop you from changing your mindset now!


Take 15 minutes while you are folding laundry, cooking dinner or waiting in the drop off line at school and, instead of scrolling social media, daydreaming, or listening to music or news that doesn't fuel your soul, and turn on some podcasts that will do just that!

 

Some of my favorites include;

Money for the rest of us

Journey to Launch

Afford Anything; build a better life

Suze Orman Women and Money

The Dave Ramsey Show

Optimal Finance Daily

Money for the Rest of Us

Planet Money

Chris Hogan's Retire Inspired

Money Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life

 

Did these tips help you?? Hit the SHARE button or PIN it so that they can help other moms too!

 

How to Change Your Money Mindset

What is a Money Mindset? “Everyone has debt.” “You need debt for your credit score.” “I mean, who doesn’t have student loans?” “You’re supposed to have a mortgage forever.” “That’s what credit cards are for!.” Statements like these are what is keeping people in...

How to Survive When Money is Tight

“Ma’am, it says your card didn’t go through. Do you want to try it again?” I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes already because I knew that if that card didn’t work I had no other options to buy the rest of the groceries I needed for the week. “Ummm, no...

4 Steps To Cheap Summer Activities

With summer right around the corner, I am SO excited to spend most of our days outside, getting inasmuch sunshine as my super fair skin can handle, and making memories with my family!   In the summer, I find that we spend way more money than needed because of all...

How to Survive When Money is Tight

How to Survive When Money is Tight

“Ma’am, it says your card didn’t go through. Do you want to try it again?”

I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes already because I knew that if that card didn’t work I had no other options to buy the rest of the groceries I needed for the week.

“Ummm, no sorry. I’ll just have to put it back”, I said as my voice cracked.

I hear a soft voice behind me at the check out, “I’ll get it hunny, no problem” she said as she slid the cashier a $10 bill to cover the measly amount I couldn’t afford at the moment.

I somehow managed a “thank you” before making it to my car to ugly cry and wonder when it would happen again. My husband had been out of work 2 months at this point and anything we had saved had been pretty much used up. I knew that I would keep running into a similar scenario each week at the store (or probably not even make it to the store) if I didn’t take some steps to focus on our budget.

Thankfully now, 10 months later, my husband is back at work after 7 months unemployed. And, while we are still working to get back on track after being in a struggling season, I know that if I hadn’t made the choice that day to get in control of our finances again we never would have survived… let alone actually thrived as a family, during this time.

 

When Money Is Tight 

 

When you are in a tough financial season you have a few options. Some people stay in denial and continue to spend because ‘things will work out at some point’, some people just go right to their credit cards for things, some decide to not spend anything at all, and some make a plan so that they can actually LIVE and not just survive.

Our months in this season were not easy at all, we had very few luxuries, holidays meant little or no gifts, and we had to give up some more exciting food choices to make ends meet. Luckily through this season, God humbled us to realize what we actually need in life, made us become closer as a family, and kept us on track to be good stewards of our money.

I want to share with you the tips that helped keep us afloat in hopes that they spark you into realizing that you can thrive during this time. You don’t have to be in the victim in this story, you can take charge and help your family make ends meet (or even get ahead).

Before I dive into those tips, I just want to give you my most important one that is to PRAY. God knows your needs and will ALWAYS provide. But you need to talk to Him, you need to ask Him for help, you need to humble yourself because you can’t always do it alone. Maybe you pray to have a way to get groceries one week and pass a sign for a food pantry. You might need to humble yourself and go get the assistance, it’s there for a reason and maybe that’s the sign God wanted you to have.

The other thing I want to share is that, during this time, we tithed 10% every single week. This money was definitely not the same as it was when we had more income but that’s why God only asks us for 10% of what we have. It’s personal and nothing to compare to anyone else. This came from money we got from unemployment and what I was bringing in from my blog and coaching services. Some weeks it was only $20 but we knew that that $20 needed to go back to God. Money is just something He lets us borrow while we are on earth and nothing we need to get attached to. Give back to the Lord and He always provides (may not be on our timeline but hey… it’ll came back around!)

 

How to Make Ends Meet 

 

Focus on your budget and track your spending

First things first, you NEED to have a budget. You can download free apps, create an excel spreadsheet or just use a notebook but, whatever you do make sure you are tracking your money. If you don’t know how much you need to make for bills you won’t know how to create an action plan.

Start with printing out last month (or even 2-3 months) bank and credit statements. Go through with a highlighter and categorize what spending you already have done. Make pink for eating out, green for kid’s stuff, yellow for groceries, purple for bills etc…. This will give you a great overview of where the money is going.

Next, go through and chart out all of the spending so you can see where you are putting your money. You can go through this list and start to see what you can start to cut out. When times are tough, or you just want to pay off debt, cutting out unnecessary spending is a must. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how much we are swiping our cards and where our money could be going.

Once you’ve tracked your spending, you can use this information to create a budget based on the bills that have to get paid (always priority #1), the spending that is a necessity each month (food, gas, diapers etc…), and what you can cut out to make ends meet. Stick to this each month and, while you are in this season, realize that luxuries are just something that have to go. Your kids don’t need a toy every time you go to the store and you can DIY a mani/pedi at home!

 

Cash Flow Life

Once you’ve created your budget, I highly recommend a cash flow system. If possible, do NOT use your credit cards at all during this time. There were times the past 10 months where we had to use a credit card for emergencies, like when my husbands car broke down, or bills that we couldn’t cover by cash. This is NOT ideal and if you can freeze all credit card use you’ll be in a good position.

This way, if you don’t have the cash for it (or in your account and use your debit card to pay online bills) than it doesn’t happen. This helped us take what I thought our grocery budget should be down to a place we could really stretch. We currently spend $100-$125 a week on all of our groceries, toiletries, and diapers and there were weeks in this season I cut it down to $50. You can read more about my tips on cutting grocery spending here!

Call the companies

If you are struggling to make ends meet or some bills are just out of control, your first call should be to the companies you owe money too. We immediately called our student loan lenders (ugh student loans) and got on smaller payment plans and some forbearance time while we figured things out.

You can call your cable company or gas company and see what they might have to lower your bill. I also suggest calling your auto and life insurance policies! We were able to drop almost $300 a year from our bill just by a simple call and filling in some paperwork. It’s worth the time to save the money!

If you are ready to pay a bill that you are late on, always call and see what they can offer you. Once my husband was back at work and we had steady income, we called all of our creditors to make things right again and almost every single one helped us lower a more reasonable monthly payment AND got rid of the late fees once we explained our circumstance.

Meal Planning

Meal planning is the #1 suggestion I give to moms when they tell me they want to save money. Meal planning allows you to eat out of the pantry and use up the food you already have (during our hard times I never got another box of cereal unless I couponed it for free or we had NONE in our pantry! The kids don’t need that many choices!). Meal planning helps you waste less food and get creative in the kitchen. I’ve done an entire series on meal planning on a budget that you can check out if you want to learn more about how to do it!

If you’re not sure about meal planning, the first two things you CAN start doing right away to see some financial gain is to stop eating out and bring your lunch to work. By packing just one meal a day for your family you can save anywhere from $15-200 a week depending on where you all eat! When I was a teacher, if I didn’t pack my lunch, my only option was the cafe across the street where I’d spend $15 easily on a meal for myself. I can pack 3 days (or more) worth of my lunches for $15!

I won’t go too much into eating out because I think you and I both know it’s a no brainer. If you are struggling to cash flow it, don’t do it! Spend time planning meals so you don’t have to and you’ll save a ton! For my family of 5 to eat out, we’d spend anywhere from $50-$100 each time and that’s just ridiculous! If you do choose to eat out, make sure you check out your local newspaper for coupons or find places where kids can eat free with an adult purchase!

Put yourself on a fun budget… but learn to say no

While luxuries were limited during this time for us, we knew we had to have some fun and live a little or we’d struggle mentally. It can be really hard to plan activities for the kids and your family when money is tight but I suggest you make a small fun budget. Maybe it’s just $20 a week that you spend to do something as a family but that little amount can go a long way! $20 a week could get you a trip for some ice cream, some rides at the local carnival, or a date night to the diner with your husband.

I suggest checking out sites like Groupon for discounts and deals and always plan ahead. You can also hit up the movies for a matinee when the prices are less or host a game night at your house and make it a potluck. I have more suggestions and a great list to get you started right here!

Declutter + Sell things

If your problem isn’t a spending problem but an income problem, you’ll have to find ways to make the money come in. The first thing I did was start to clean, declutter and organize my house. This way I came across so many things that I could get rid of (and outer order leads to inner calm in my mind!) and sell on the Facebook marketplace.

I love the marketplace for good finds and an easy way to make some cash. I suggest pricing things super low just to get them out of your house and pay it forward with a good deal. If you price too high you’ll never sell anything and, I don’t know about you, but I would rather have an extra $10 than hold out for $15 and get nothing at all!

You could also take all of that stuff and have a yard sale and hope to get rid of it in one fell swoop. Whatever you do, start to look around your home with a new lens. What are things you and the kids aren’t even using? Could they provide value to someone else? How much do you need this week to pay the phone bill, get some extra groceries, or that pair of sneakers your kids need? Use that as your goal for the week and aim to sell that amount. I can’t tell you how many times our sales from the marketplace covered things we forgot about like school activities, haircuts, or dog food.


Grab some side hustles

While you’re out there looking for ways to bring income in, I know it can be tough to find something that fits with your passions, the salary you need to make, and the life you live. Trust me, my husband was a school principal and I can’t even begin to tell you how tough finding a job that fit those criteria was for him!

While we were looking, I thankfully have my blog which brought in extra income though my e-courses and books, work as a health coach (email me at coachingwithcara@gmail.com for a free consultation!), and found some other side hustles to make ends meet.

I am thankful that working as a health coach helped me bring in enough money each month to cover our mortgage during this season. This way, a lot of the pressure was taken off my husband and we were scrambling a lot less. And luckily, since this was a passion of mine, I really was able to stay home with the kids instead of going back to work myself. {If you are passionate about health and fitness too, you can learn more about coaching here}

If you are in a tough financial period I first want to say that I’m sorry. I know how hard this is on your wallet, your mentality, your relationships, and your life. But know that you WILL get out of it. You need to just begin with being a good steward of your finances and taking control of what is happening with your money!

 

If you want to get started and more tips, head over and grab my Kick Your Debt to the Curb 5 Day Challenge!! And if this information was helpful, please PIN it or share it on Facebook!

 How to Survive When Money is Tight

How to Change Your Money Mindset

What is a Money Mindset? “Everyone has debt.” “You need debt for your credit score.” “I mean, who doesn’t have student loans?” “You’re supposed to have a mortgage forever.” “That’s what credit cards are for!.” Statements like these are what is keeping people in...

How to Survive When Money is Tight

“Ma’am, it says your card didn’t go through. Do you want to try it again?” I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes already because I knew that if that card didn’t work I had no other options to buy the rest of the groceries I needed for the week. “Ummm, no...

4 Steps To Cheap Summer Activities

With summer right around the corner, I am SO excited to spend most of our days outside, getting inasmuch sunshine as my super fair skin can handle, and making memories with my family!   In the summer, I find that we spend way more money than needed because of all...

4 Steps To Cheap Summer Activities

4 Steps To Cheap Summer Activities

With summer right around the corner, I am SO excited to spend most of our days outside, getting inasmuch sunshine as my super fair skin can handle, and making memories with my family!

 

In the summer, I find that we spend way more money than needed because of all the fun events and things we want to do and this year, I vow to stick on my budget! We are coming out of a season of financial hardship and for the past few months, haven’t really had any space in the budget for luxuries and events.

 

Due to that, I’ve had to get super creative in finding and creating fun that our whole family can enjoy. So I sat down and said that no matter what we will have a fun summer, not break the bank, and find things that they all enjoy! I came up with a simple summer activity planning system that will keep the kids busy, you from going crazy, and your wallet happy!

 

Step #1 Identify your time pockets

 

Depending on your household, your kids may or may not have a schedule for the summer. Some families send their kids to camps, some prefer to keep their schedule more open and some take a lot of trips or homeschool events.

 

For us, none of our kids will be attending camp regularly (though my stepson has the occasional basketball drill on the calendar) and we’ve decided to keep a more open schedule. This helps a lot because currently, baby naps rule our life! I am a HUGE proponent of good sleep practices and try my best to make sure that the baby and the toddler get their sleep!

 

Their nap schedule also helps identify when we will be doing things and what days we have more free time. There are days when we will want to do a fun day trip and naps will happen in the car but, for the most part (and my sanity) we’ll try to be home for nap. Since I also work from home, that nap time is crucial for working so I plan to keep it as much as I can.

 

Identify for yourself what your typical day will look like this summer. How structured is your time? Do you have to do a lot of driving to activities? Will kids have time at camp or be home all day? How many activities do you want to plan each week?

 

Once you have that time picked out you can look at a typical day and see where you might want to add in an activity. For us, we have about a 2 hour window right now in the morning where all of the kids are up and we’re ready to be out and about so that is when I will plan something fun or an errand. Otherwise, we keep the day open. The kids are encouraged to play with their toys, read and do other crafts, and play outside. We’re also fortunate because we have a pool so that keeps the 11 year old pretty happy! I’m hoping this year goes better with the toddler in the pool because last summer she hated it!

 

Step #2 Determine your summer bucket list

 

Once you see your week at a glance, you’ll be able to see how many day trips, overnight trips, or just fun activities you can fit in. I’m not huge on planning every little bit of the day out but I do like routine and I like a plan in advance. I’ll encourage the kids to just do their things most days but I will plan out a few fun things or playdates just so we can get out of the house and have fun together.

 

If you’re trying to stay on a budget, you won’t be able to always do every single thing on your and your kids’ lists. There may be a limit to how many trips you take and places you go. So many of the fun places out there cost a fortune and when you add parking and food you’ve spent almost $100 for a few hours, and in my mind that is not worth it! I also suggest picking a ‘summer fun’ budget for eack week. This will give you the freedom to do things while making decisions that fit your budget. 

 

Sit down with your family and come up with a list of things that they’d love to do this summer. Is there a place they really want to go? Can you determine one big weekend (or longer) trip you want to take? What do they want the day to look like?

 

This is much easier if you have older kids because my toddler really has not idea what we’re planning but, if you can invest the older kids in the summer plans they may be more excited to do things or less bummed out if you can’t visit all of the places that they heard their friends talking about.

 

 

Step #3 Plan Ways to Enjoy Summer Activities on a Budget

There are actually a lot of fun things you can do with your family that doesn’t cost a ton. You just have to do a little research, some planning, and being creative and you can all have an excellent summer. I know sometimes we look at other moms and see their pictures and get envious because we’d love to take our kids to a lot of the same places but maybe it’s just not in the budget. We need to get rid of that mindset and realize that you can all have an amazing summer without always doing things that cost a lot.

Join local groups and community pages

You can go to Facebook to search local groups and community page and will be able to see a bunch of events going on. The other day in my area I randomly found a post about a free carnival for the kids. It wasn’t huge at all and we only stayed an hour but it was a free, fun activity and got us out of the house.

You can save these events as you see them on Facebook or, I like to write them directly into my planner so that I didn't forget about them or have to look somewhere else to plan activities for the week.


Local colleges are also a great place to look for activities and events because they are always posting things that might be open to the public. The library is another great stop. Ours has movies outside for free, fun day time activities for the little kids, and it’s always a great place to just go spend a few hours.

You can also check out the newspaper to see community events or things happening in the area. I just saw an ad the other day that some Regal CInemas offer $1 movies on Wednesdays and it’s the perfect time to try out taking the toddler to the movies!

Find Out Policies In Advance

Check out a place’s website before you go and see all of their policies. You might be able to bring in your own lunch, find a special place to park for cheaper, or a cool special free event one day.

We live super close to Sesame Place and last summer went a few times a week. I knew from their website that I could bring in all my own food so when we were there we never even went into the food places so the kids wouldn't even know to ask and we’d just have our snacks that we brought in. Most places will let you do so and it never hurts to ask or check. It just takes a little extra planning to do it.

Look for discounts

I am a HUGE couponer so obviously before we go anywhere I scour the internet for coupons. They often aren’t too hard to find if you just search google! You can also find discount codes on apps, in other Facebook groups and in some stores just sitting right on the counter! Our local library also has free tickets for local zoos and parks and all you have to do is call and pick them up!

If you know you might be going to a place a lot, like we did with Sesame Place, it may not hurt to get a season pass. Ours paid for itself in 3 trips and, like I said we went 2x a week! You could also maybe get passes to split with another family or meet up at someone’s house before going and split the cost of parking.

Also make sure you check out local YMCAS for what activities you can get with a membership or kid’s gyms that have discounts for open play! And before you get tickets to anything, check out discount sites like Groupon to see what events they have going on!

Budget Friendly Summer Activities

Step #4 Have fun at home

There are also a ton of activities that you can do right in your backyard without spending any money at all (or maybe a few bucks at the Dollar Store!)  So on those days when you don’t want to leave the house, spend money at all, or have a ‘home summer camp’, just have the kids go outside or do something fun together!

Check out this list of activities that you could do that are free and cheap and super fun!

Bubbles

Family Walks & Bike Rides

Water Play

Hikes

Geocaching

Make  a Time Capsule

Take a park tour

Go local

Nature Walk

Find cheap museums

Baking Day (bring to a neighbor)

Game Nights

Make a summer scrapbook

Puzzle

Parks and Splash Pads

Farmer’s Markets

Find free classes (college campuses)

Utilize the library

Outdoor games

Busy Bags

Sensory Boxes

Pick a Summer Read Aloud

When you’re planning out your summer activities, don’t let the stress of spending money get in the way of making fun memories! Use this system and ideas to get the ball rolling and just enjoy the memories!

And don’t feel like you have to plan out every minute. I know we want our kids to have a fun time but there is something magical that happens when we let them get bored and use their imaginations!

Did these tips help you??? Make sure you PIN the image below and share it on your Facebook!

Budget Friendly Summer Family Activities

How to Change Your Money Mindset

What is a Money Mindset? “Everyone has debt.” “You need debt for your credit score.” “I mean, who doesn’t have student loans?” “You’re supposed to have a mortgage forever.” “That’s what credit cards are for!.” Statements like these are what is keeping people in...

How to Survive When Money is Tight

“Ma’am, it says your card didn’t go through. Do you want to try it again?” I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes already because I knew that if that card didn’t work I had no other options to buy the rest of the groceries I needed for the week. “Ummm, no...

4 Steps To Cheap Summer Activities

With summer right around the corner, I am SO excited to spend most of our days outside, getting inasmuch sunshine as my super fair skin can handle, and making memories with my family!   In the summer, I find that we spend way more money than needed because of all...

I am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Post Partum Depression and Anxiety

I am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Post Partum Depression and Anxiety

I was sitting in my therapist office one day and we were talking about guilt and shame and why I always feel like if something goes wrong, it’s automatically my fault.

“Well, that’s the depression talking”, she said so calmly.

Wow.

We had talked earlier on in our sessions about my anxiety and it was very clear that I was struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) but we had never talked specifically about Postpartum Depression (PPD).

To me PPD felt so much more real, so scary, and it honestly just made me feel so much more broken.

I felt like I could ‘deal’ with having PPA, I mean isn’t everyone just a stressed out mom? But PPD was so foreign to me. I felt fearful that people would think I was a bad mom, that I couldn’t take care of my kids, that there was something wrong with me. I mean I didn’t feel depressed. I wasn’t under the covers crying and unable to get out of bed (which was my previous experience with my depression when I was in high school) and I felt like I was getting better.

But there it was, clear as day and right out of my therapists mouth. I was a woman who had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

cara harvey

Did you know that 1 in 5 women suffer from either PPA or PPD? And so many moms out there just suffer in silence. They are afraid, just like I was and sometimes still am.

“What will people think of me?”

“Am I really crazy?”

“Why can’t I just get it together?”

For me, my anxiety isn’t always panic attacks or heavy breathing like they show so often on  TV but more of a mental tug and what we refer to in my home as my ‘spiral’.

It starts with the smallest trigger, mostly connected to me feeling like I’ve made a mistake or am inadequate in some way and it turns into spiraling thoughts that I struggle to shut down. Something as simple as getting the wrong thing at the grocery store can become catastrophic.

“Ugh, I don’t have time to go back out”

“I always do this”

“I am so forgetful”

“See this is what happens because you never pay attention”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“Ugh, why are you thinking like this again?”

“See, now no one wants to talk to you because you’re crazy and ruined dinner.”

This spiral is followed by some tears on my part, my family looking confused because they don’t know what to say to me, and me feeling even more guilty because I ‘ruined it again’.

It wasn’t until this pattern had happened for a few months in a row, and a LOT more crying on the middle of my kitchen floor that I realized I needed help. I told my husband I had to do something, I was tired of feeling so tired, and life was just exhausting me. As a life coach, I felt like an even bigger fraud because I felt even less together than I ever had been, and I knew that it was going to have bigger repercussions for my family if I didn’t get help.

So one day, I bravely walked into a therapist office and just said it “I think something is wrong with me”… followed by those ever flowing tears.

 

Cara Harvey

 

After a few sessions, she had diagnosed my PPA (and later my PPD) and we had come up with some coping techniques that have helped me get through my days better. I share them openly with my husband, though honestly I sometimes worry that I am TOO vulnerable with him, and they help him help me with my anxiety when it gets really bad.

In the 5 months since I realized that I needed help, I am proud to say that many of the techniques (from counting, to breathing, to reframing, and more) have really helped me when I am in a spiral. And while I would love to say that my spirals are gone, at least I can say that when I am in the moment, I can self identify what’s happening and bring myself out of it much quicker.

So many of us are afraid to speak our truths because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want to admit that something is wrong with us. We love our kids and want to be seen as a ‘good mom’. But in keeping our struggles silent, we not only harm ourselves but our family and other women who are suffering in silence.

In that vain, I’ve had a few amazing women be willing to speak out on their struggles and share their personal experiences with PPA/PPD. Because the things is, it affects everyone so differently, which is why it’s also hard to identify right away. We might just think we’re stressed or hormonal or just having a bad day. But mama, if you feel off, if you’re struggle lasts a bit, if you know something just doesn’t feel right, can I encourage you to go and talk to someone, be it another mom, your doctor, or a family member? Because you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel alone, and you don’t have to feel lost. Because YOU are not alone!

I’ve wrote a bit more about my PPA on other pages so feel free to check out my guests posts over on;

Scary Mommy

Jessica Grace Blog

What Postpartum Mental Illness Looks Like; 4 Moms Stories

Alyssia’s Story

I got pregnant with my 1st child within 2 weeks of going off the pill.  My 2nd was not as easy and I had secondary infertility. After many doctors appointments, medications, and months of tests I got pregnant.  

From the moment I got pregnant with my 2nd child, Reilley, she did things her own way.  The pregnancy was rough.  I felt like a beached whale from day one.  A few months into the pregnancy I found out I had placenta previa. I planned my C-section and little miss decided a few days before it was time to party! The C-section went well and I felt physically okay afterwords.  

In the weeks after getting home with the most beautiful baby girl on Earth, I felt sad, emotional, and disconnected from my entire family.  Nursing went very well. (It was the opposite of my first.) I began to resent her for never taking a bottle and her constant need for me. She hated my husband for the first 9 month of her life. (I wish I was joking.)

I knew something was not right and I talked to my OB at my 6 week check up.  I recognized depression from years before and explained exactly what I was feeling.  At the time I didn’t talk to anyone other than my doctor about my feelings. They put me on a safe for breastfeeding, antidepressant.  It helped BUT it put me to sleep! I couldn’t fall asleep on the sofa with an active toddler running around.

After about 4 weeks I just stopped the medication.  I don’t recommend this to anyone! I was already told I was on the only medication safe for breastfeeding and my baby girl wouldn’t take a bottle EVER (and never did!) I went back to not feeling myself and feeling disconnected from the world. I didn’t take as many pictures with her as I did with my first.  I didn’t snuggle her or sing to her as much as my oldest. If she was happy with someone else, I let them hold her for as long as possible. I cried while nursing her all the time. About month 8 I started feeling myself. I had eaten my feelings and felt awful in my own skin.

Now, 5 years later, Reilley is my little mini me!  She is the sweetest and sassiest little girl you will ever meet!  I catch myself taking more pictures of her and snuggling her more now!  The guilt I have for my feelings toward her are sometimes overwhelming. We now have 3 children and after her baby sister was born I had a moment of panic in the hospital.  I cried in my husbands arms because I was so scared of feeling the same way again. I was ok but very aware of every little feeling I had in those first few month postpartum. I look back and know I could have done more for myself and my family but I can’t go back.  I was lucky because everything turned out ok and hope to help other women now they are not alone!

Linda’s Story


I think when I had thought of PPD/PPA initially, prior to my postpartum experience, I thought it was something that hit you like a ton of bricks right away. You’d give birth and just know right away that this was something you were going to have to deal with. This was not my experience at all…and the more I speak with other women who have dealt with PPD/PPA, this is not their experience either.

For me, PPD/PPA crept in really slowly, building overtime mysteriously in a way that it was disguised underneath sleep deprivation, sleep training, lack of proper nutrition, a huge life transition from being a full-time working mom to a stay-at- home mom, and a long cold winter setting in.

One day, I realized that my husband was looking at me differently and treading softly around me. I thought back to the past week or two and realized that he had asked me if I was “okay”multiple times and called to “just check in” numerous times in a day. I had been losing my patience with him and our 8-month old boy pretty regularly, especially around naptime, bedtime, and middle of the night wakings.

PPD/PPA did not feel like what I thought it would feel like. I did not feel “sad” or “unable to bond” with my baby. Instead, I felt angry and frustrated…but with what I didn’t know. It almost felt like really intense PMS.

I reached out on social media to my mom friends and found so many had been through this as well. I received a lot of sound advice on ways to deal with it, but most importantly, I found support.

I am now 13 months in to my postpartum journey and I’ve been dealing with PPD/PPA for five months. I have learned that the most important piece is giving yourself a voice. A voice to say “I’m having a difficult day,” or “I need to get out of the house tonight,” or just “I need a hug.” My advice to other moms is that if something doesn’t feel right, no matter what that “feeling” is,

talk to someone. Ask others around you for help. You don’t have to silently deal with it alone.

 

Danielle's Story 

PP Anxiety.... you never think it will happen to you. 

 With each child the anxiety grew stronger, but I hid it. Why? I felt so ashamed like it was something I should have controlled, something I could have prevented. Four years later and hear I sit, writing about my story. My struggle, still raw and real.

 I always thought I would be the Mom who has it all together. Even when my first was born, overwhelmed and unsure I put on my face, fake it til you make it right? 

 Until one day, It happened... I had an anxiety attack. It came out of no where, I couldn't stop it. I sobbed, felt terrified, felt like a bad mom for the overwhelming feelings. Feelings that started out of what felt like no where. 

I've realized a few things since that night over three years ago; 

Post partum anxiety doesn’t make me weak. When I look at my wonderful (and wild) toddlers I see the beautiful things I created! Wow!

It's okay to need help; we lost my husbands parents, one around the time we brought each of our beautiful children into the world. That's hard. That huge loss and becoming parents at the same time triggered anxiety that wasn’t explainable; that hasn't really stopped since.

I struggle every day, trying to balance being a good mom, holding a career, trying to save money, helping women through my blog and passion, maintaining great friendships. Adulting is SO HARD. Add in parenting, no wonder we struggle right?

I have finally realized something.... it’s okay. It’s okay to ask for help. To struggle sometimes, feeling overwhelmed and unsure. To admit that it's too much, that I need rest too.

I'm not weak, I'm strong and I'm brave, because I fight the odds. I’m raising two brave and beautiful kids who love me no matter how I’m feeling; unconditionally through the good or bad. I remain positive (99% of the time) and continue to do what's best for myself and for my family.... each and every day.

If there’s ever a day you feel you aren’t good enough or strong enough, please remember this. Tomorrow is a new day, thank God!

With each new day I hope to be the mom, wife, person I need and want to be without limitations.

To anyone else struggling, I'm here. You are not alone. You are God’s masterpiece just as you are. 

To connect more with Danielle, check her out on her blog Coffee, Grace and Tomato Paste or over on Instagram!

 

 

Jess's Story

 

 

These three pictures were taken at very different times. True, they are only a few years apart, but the person in them is different. The first was taken in December  2012, The second in May 2017, and the last, in April 2018. It’s the same person on the outside, but a very different person on the inside.

 The girl in the first picture is scared, haunted by obsessive thoughts and feeling like a bad mother for wanting nothing to do with the baby she can’t believe is hers. This girl would be put on medication for the short term, but then suffered with crippling anxiety and rage long after. This girl was a one and done with children. This girl thinks she just made the biggest mistake of her life. She hates the baby, her husband, and herself. She overcompensates by keeping her house obsessively clean and working out for hours on end. She cooks months worth of homemade organic meals and keeps herself up at night making homemade graham crackers. She is not me anymore.

 The girl in the second picture can’t believe she did this again. She can’t believe she’s feeling this way again. She had it right this time: exercised and ate healthy all through pregnancy, switched from her  OB to a more natural minded midwife, had a natural birth, encapsulated her placenta, took magnesium supplements and had read every book out there. Yet, once again, she’s plagued by sleepless nights, panic attacks, and a crippling depression. She’s heartbroken to see a safe haven sign and learn that she can only drop off a baby 30 days old, and her son is 33 days old. She has visions of dropping her newborn down the stairs. However, she’s  acting as if nothing has changed, and she can totally handle life. She repeats to herself: This is normal. It will pass. She is not me anymore.

 Then that girl got the help she needed. That girl started therapy, found the right medication, and met her people. She made it her job to go to every possible event at the Center for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety disorder. She learned she has struggled with anxiety her entire life. She learned that therapy, meditation, mindfulness, writing, exercise in moderation, medication and acupuncture could help her thrive.

 The woman in the third picture is not without her battles. The difference now is that smile is genuine. Sure, her kids drive her nuts sometimes and she still struggles with anxiety and not having a constant sense of order. But, she knows how to handle it. She laughs more and stresses less. She’s found a sisterhood of amazing women who accept her for who she is. It’s hard work changing her mindset, but she’s committed. She loves her boys fiercely and knows that she was brought to this place for a reason. This woman is me.

Maternal Mental Illness is a REAL thing and 1 in 5 women (at least) will struggle with it post partum. There is nothing to be embaressed or ashamed about. Know that YOU mama are strong and if you, or a mom you know is suffering, there is help out there for you. Mom life is hard. Don't do it alone!

If these stories inspired or helped you, do me a favor? Make sure you SHARE them! Share this article over on your Facebook or hit that PIN IT button on the image below!

 

Post Partum Anxiety and Depression

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5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (without using coupons)

5 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (without using coupons)

 

 

How to Save Money on Groceries without Coupons

 So I want to start with saying that I actually LOVE coupons.

Using coupons was one of the strategies that helped us when my husband was unemployed for 7 months and we had virtually NO money coming in for groceries.

During that season of our life, I used coupons to stretch the budget, pinched pennies like crazy, and did a lot of small side jobs to make ends meet. Thankfully now, he is back working and we on our way to getting back on our feet.

 But just because we have more of an income coming in, doesn’t mean that we went back to spending like crazy. Our time of no income actually taught us a lot about wants vs. needs and helped us create amazing habits that is really helping us get rid of a lot of the debt we accumulated in those months.

 Yes, I still use coupons for things that we use (it’s actually one of my hobbies now!) but I also incorporate it with a variety of other money saving hacks that allow us, as a family of 5, to have a $100 a week grocery budget with ease.

 

Use a Meat Delivery Service

 

I have been looking for a great meat delivery service for a long time. I kept hitting a lot of roadblocks in my search, such as they were WAY out of my budget, the meat quality wasn’t as high as I hoped, or that they didn’t deliver in my area.

 So when Zaycon Fresh opened in my area I was jumping for joy. 

I had heard a lot about their farm to table meat services and was super excited to try them. The way it works is that you order your meats (they have everything from chicken breast to beef to bacon) online in bulk (orders go in sets of 40 pounds a package) and select a pick up date. When it’s your day and time to pick up, you simply drive through the line, give them your name and get your meat. The process takes minutes and you get a TON of great meat.

Since we don’t have a large freezer space, I got my first order and split it with 2 friends. I also had a coupon code for … get this… $1.49/pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (!!!) so I couldn’t pass it up. The typical price for chicken there is $1.89 a pound which is still a steal and the meat tastes great.

You do have to order about a month in advance but, we’re at the point where we’ve ordered enough so we have a great selection and variety in the freezer which makes cooking so simple. And seriously… the price can’t be beat!

 Even if you’re not sure you’re going to get it now, I recommend making a free account  because they’ll email you a ton of promo codes each week and you can take advantage of sales. If you’re a blogger or influencer, or think you might recommend the service to others, you should take advantage of their referral program! You get $15 per person that uses your link to order (so thanks in advance if you use mine!) and that’s a great way to pay for your meat! Oh, and at some locations you can even volunteer to help on delivery day for a $10 meat credit.

 

Check it out now!

Shop Now at Zaycon Fresh

Look for Grocery Markdowns

Using grocery markdowns is one of the major ways we not only got some variety in our menu but, save money on fresh produce!

Most grocery stores have a section of clearance or markdown items. For my local stores, you can find them in the back corner by the produce and also by the meats. These are items that are either close to expiring (but not expired, they aren’t allowed to sell those), the manufacturer is getting rid of, or were seasonal and didn’t sell.

The cool things about these sections is that they change daily based on what gets pulled off the shelves so essentially, if you wanted to go to the store each day, you could make a killing using these items.

You’ll often find bags of fruit where maybe one of the apples is bruised, meat that is about to expire (but you could toss in the freezer to extend the shelf life) or really random pantry items that most people in your area might not buy.

What’s great about this section is you can also use a coupon if you happened to have it to make it even cheaper but, if you don’t, most things go from as low as .50 cents to around $5. You could grab items from this section to make your dinner that night (so they don’t go bad and you wate them) or just freeze them to use later. We’ve often frozen fruit that is close to going bad to toss in smoothies at a later date or make banana ice cream with.

Shop the Discount Stores & Farmer’s Markets 

People have told me for a LONG time that I needed to check out Aldi Markets and I never bothered with it. SHAME ON ME.

Aldi is the best thing since sliced bread and now, between one Aldi shop and one coupon shop, I have everything we need for the week for less than $100.

Aldi is an employee owned store that is a ‘brother store’ to Trader Joes. They have some pretty odd quirks you have to remember like bringing your own quarter to get a cart and bagging your own groceries (so make sure you grab those reusable bags) but if you can get passed that and not be a brand snob, you’ll LOVE Aldi too.

They also have a great line of gluten free and organic products at a fraction of what you’d pay anywhere else. They save a lot of money because they don’t sell name brands (you might see the occasional name brand floating in the clearance section) and because they don’t always have the same items. For example, my Aldi will always have yogurt but might not have the cauliflower rice that is a new staple in our home.

I also love that I can get more snacks for the kids without the gift. All of their cereals don’t use food dyes but instead use natural coloring and many of their meats are without added nitrates (we love their deli sliced turkey breast and turkey bacon for that reason)

Save Money at Aldi Markets

The one thing I will say is I don’t love the produce at my local Aldi so I do go to a farmer’s market for that. Our farmer’s market has a great selection and I love knowing that I’m helping our community while giving my family stuff that has been treated with less pesticides and is better for their little bodies and our environment.

Meal Plan and Use Leftovers 

The #1 way to save money on food is not to waste what you have. How often have you thrown out that gross moldy tupperware container of leftovers that no one eats or had to toss the product that you forgot you put in the crisper?

Each week, I spend a little time adjusting my meal plan (I plan a monthly dinner plan so I only need to adjust some lunch and breakfast ideas) and do a shop to get any ingredients I am missing. I spend about 2 hours on Sunday cooking and preparing (and making a huge mess in my kitchen) so that I can save time during the week. You can see my whole system here!

This saves me a TON of money because I only shop for the ingredients that I actually need (not just some random impulse buys of things that I think I need) and use what I already have in my pantry. We also make sure to use leftovers to mix up some menu items and repurpose them for lunches which helps us save.

Every 3 months we also take the challenge to eat only what we have in our pantry (but can buy some fresh stuff that we need) and see how creative we can be. I love the site SuperCook where you can put in the ingredients in your cabinet and it gives you sample recipes. If you do this for one week every few months it’ll help you clean out the pantry and save money.

 

Use Rebate Apps

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about coupons but I have to add a bonus section for Rebate Apps… I mean technically they aren’t the same as clipping coupons right?

I love rebate apps and find them to be the easiest way to save some money here or there. Rebate apps get downloaded directly to your phone and you can use them after you shop to get cash back. You use what you already purchased on your receipts to claim money that they’ll send you, most of the time via paypal.

For most of these apps, you may only get a few dollars each time you shop but, trust me, I’ve gotten HUNDREDS of dollars from these apps by just claiming a few dollars each time I shop. You can read more about my favorite apps and why I love them here!

So whether you love or hate coupons, know that you CAN save money on your groceries if you’re willing to take a few steps to get there! I suggest aiming for $20-25 per person per week for your budget and really look at what you’re buying. Cut out some luxury items for a bit, clean out your pantry and shop smarter to save money and cut costs!

 

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