In the frugal spirit of the upcoming holidays, I wanted to interrupt nonprofit blog series, to bring you insights from my one and only mother! Around the holidays I just absolutely love love love all of the deals and discounts available. In my thoughtful nature, I am already thinking of my family when I am shopping, but, I can't help but get heart eyes when I walk past the new styles and wonderful store sales. I have been known to buy myself a Christmas present (or two) every year as it seems that I convince myself that another discount or offer will not arise! Which, by the way, is absolutely not true. Deals and discounts come around OFTEN!
My mom grew up with FIVE other siblings, three sisters and two brothers. Needless to say they did not have a lot of resources to go around. My grandparents basically had to figure out how to make ends meet, so they became creative. For this reason, I thought what better way to set our expectations and mindset ahead of the holidays than with my mom's 5 frugal living tips! Which by the way are not all necessarily about being frugal, or spending. 3 out of the 5 tips are about side hustling (sound familiar?).
Here's her tips!
1. Frugal Clothing
As a young child we could not afford to buy new clothes, so clothes were given to me. They were mostly hand-me-downs from my sister, or clothes from friends or family. At an early age my mom taught me how to sew. This came in handy when I received the hand-me-down clothes! I would take apart the old dresses that were given to me and then custom design the skirts or dresses to fit me and my style. In this sense it taught me to change things for the better. I felt very creative and self-sufficient in my ability to be practical. Moving forward, I figured out how to make my clothes last for many years because of the skills that I learned growing up. This also is attributable to my weight being pretty consistent through the years, reducing the need to buy new clothes constantly. Also, I do not worry about keeping up with the current trends or styles from other people, because I know my style, and know how to make things look good by accessorizing each outfit.
3. Side Hustle: Hairstylist
I was a hairstylist right out of high school. I worked full time at the salon and also made extra money at home doing hair for family and friends. I made the time enjoyable in that we had a pool and my clients (family and friends) would go for a swim after their haircut. The extra money I earned from the side hustle would pay for utilities, gas, and spending money. I also instilled this work ethic in my daughters’ lives.
4. Side Hustle: Piano Teacher
I took piano lessons at an early age. So, when I became a young mother I taught piano lessons at my home in order to earn extra income for my family. Playing the piano brings me joy and is one of my favorite pastimes. I stopped teaching piano lessons, and now I volunteer my time playing for my dad's retirement home and Senior Center. This is such a fun time for me, and for them as well. I love bringing the gift of music and happiness to those listening.
5. Side Hustle: House Cleaner
When I was pregnant [with you], I helped my mom clean houses. I learned from my mom what a side hustle was because having so many siblings we needed all the extra income we could get! My mom would iron clothes for others at home, and charge per item. Then she would also clean houses to help make ends meet. She taught me how to do this work and I would go with her in order to earn extra income. She instilled these values within me so that I could also be resourceful and frugal.
It was during this point in the conversation where my mom and I had this light bulb moment on how my grandma instilled within both my and my mother's generation the values of resourcefulness, earning extra income on the side, and being frugal.
In fact, I believe what it comes down to is this; the number one thing that my mom has taught me growing up was creativity. I was a very picky eater and did not necessarily like all of the food that was offered to me when I was growing up. My mom basically empowered me, and showed me that I needed to be creative to figure out what I liked so that I could create it myself. Being on a mission, my seven-year-old self would open the fridge and throw together a few items, make up a name for it, and enjoy the fruits of my labor. (Granted, not all my recipes were/are delicious!) The idea that I needed to use what I had on hand, and then go from there is the most very basic Frugal Living tip we could all go by.
This holiday season, I challenge you to first take a good hard look at what you already have on-hand before you make any purchases at the store. Here's my case in point; I literally found a brand new frame in a drawer in my hallway closet. You bet I am going to make that into a present for someone at Christmas! The funny thing is, I have a feeling I am not the only one who has brand new items hanging out in their home. Try your best to take the extra time and save yourself some money (and maybe your sanity too?!).
As we head into the holiday season (CRAZY, RIGHT?), now is the perfect time to think about charitable giving for 2018. This is the second post in my series of blog posts where I am featuring nonprofit organizations that I love, in the Los Angeles area! The next organization that I am featuring is Elizabeth House.
From their website, “Elizabeth House is the only 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the San Gabriel Valley that specifically addresses the needs of pregnant women who also have small children and who lack adequate shelter and prenatal care.” The 501(c)(3) designation is specific to charitable organizations -- and the good news is, your cash donation is tax deductible.
Who is Elizabeth House?
Before this year I had never heard of Elizabeth House. In fact, when I started my research on them I realized their office was a place I had walked by on a number of occasions. Elizabeth House serves the Pasadena community as a residential shelter program for adult pregnant women and their children, for their own health and wellness.
A key factor is their programming. Elizabeth House accommodates six women and four children, and clients may stay between four to six months after their babies are born. “Each woman who enters Elizabeth House participates in our main programs: Case Management, Parent Education, Health Education, Financial Management, Job Skills Training, Therapeutic Services (individual counseling and group classes), and Spiritual/Emotional Health.”
How did I find out about them?
I was connected with Elizabeth House earlier this year, and I will speak more on that connection in a later blog post. Essentially, I have been working with Elizabeth House for the past several months as a financial consultant (skill-based volunteer). Since my professional expertise lies in the area of nonprofit organizations, I am partnering with the President and Director of Development to be their business partner in providing professional financial advice. I am honored and fortunate to be included in these conversations, to come alongside this organization during their season of growth, and knowing how much good they do makes things that much easier.
What do I like about them?
Teaming up with the leaders at Elizabeth House breathes life into me! They are the most gracious and loving humans to work with, which brings me hope. I know that their impact is far and wide, even though I am not directly involved with day-to-day operations. The beautiful thing that captures my attention about Elizabeth House is the mission of the organization, and their goal to house single women who are pregnant, and to provide an education for them during their time of need. Their office is a beautiful craftsman home in Pasadena that has a very welcoming environment.
How do I get involved?
Elizabeth House loves their volunteers, and have a wide variety of areas for you to volunteer. From office assistance, to childcare and babysitting, to transportation. Volunteers are needed for events as well as home repairs. If you decide that you would like to spend time with them in skills-based volunteering or hands-on in different areas that they have available, know that it will bless your heart. Some areas have specific requirements or prerequisites, so make sure to read the website thoroughly first before proceeding. They accept donations in various forms as well, like furniture and home decor. I would recommend connecting with Elizabeth House to understand what needs they have before donating any new items.
Additionally, if you would like to financially support them that would be the very best way you can help. This year is coming to a close rather quickly and to help meet their budget goals a monetary donation is of the utmost importance.
Additionally, they are having an annual fundraiser coming up! The Garden Party is October 21st. Visit Elizabeth House’s Facebook page to watch the video highlights from last year’s garden party. It looked like such a lovely time!
My thoughts on numbers, spreadsheets, money, spending, forecasting, budgeting, and everything in between. Read on!
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