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10 Ways to Be Smart with Money | Molly's Money

If this is your first time here, Molly’s Money is a regular series I write on this blog that includes ALL things personal finance – debt management, budgeting, home buying, savings,investment, etc. I am NOT a financial advisor, but I am married to one! These are just things that I have learned over the years as I struggled with my own personal finances and ultimately, became debt free in 2012. Got a question about money that you want answered? Leave it in the comments below or email me!

I have seen so many financial articles and blog posts lately spewing all kinds of negativity at people telling people why they’re failing with money, why they’re broke, etc. etc. etc. That kind of attitude (in my humble opinion) doesn’t help people… it only makes them feel worse about their situation.

So, instead, I kind of wanted to turn what I’ve seen on its head and talk about ways to WIN and be SMART with money. Start with even a few of these things and you are well on your way to having a healthier financial life.

10 Ways to Be Smart with Money

  1. Set up a detailed, MONTHLY budget (Have I mentioned before the importance of a budget??)
    • For real, though. Having a detailed monthly budget is an absolute necessity if you want to be on the way to good financial standing
  2. Make sure you have an emergency fund.
    • Saving for a rainy day is so important because that way when your air conditioning goes out (like ours did last weekend… UGH), you can easily afford to have it fixed and it won’t crush you
  3. Make sure you’re saving money outside of your emergency fund, too.
    • Having additional savings (for things like a car, maybe a down payment on a house, kid’s college funds, etc.) is also super important. It’s important to plan.
  4. Don’t spend more money than you earn (It’s easy to avoid this if you have a budget… see #1).
    • This should go without saying. :)
  5. Don’t set up bills for automatic draft.
    • I realize that setting up bills for automatic draft sounds like a good idea, but what it does is it takes you out of the process. You forget about them and then, one day, a bill drafts before you get paid and boom… you’ve overdrafted your account… or something with your account information changes and boom… you’ve missed a payment. It’s important to be a part of the process… it keeps you in charge.
  6. Speaking of bills, pay them on time. Always.
    • Again, goes without saying. :)
  7. Don’t co-sign on a loan. Ever.
    • I realize you’re probably doing it to be nice, but you assume just as much responsibility as the other party if you co-sign on a loan. If they fail to pay, it falls back on you… it can really kill your credit report.
  8. Speaking of credit reports… be sure to regularly check your credit report.
    • This can help you look out for cases of identity theft, fraud, outstanding cards, etc.
  9. Make sure you have insurance. Good insurance. Auto, home, rental, life, etc.
    • There’s no perfect formula for this. Too much insurance and you’re hurting your bank account. Too little insurance and you’re not protected. Talk with a qualified agent to see what’s right for you.
  10. Start saving for retirement. Now.
    • SO many people think they’re “too young” to start thinking about and saving for retirement – this is just false. The earlier you start saving, the more money you’ll have down the road.

So that’s it! Well, not all of it… but it’s a start. These are 10 GREAT things you can start working on to be smart and win with your money!

What things have you not thought of before? Are there things you’re already doing? What would YOU add to the list?

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Back to School Recipe | DIY "Hair Spritz" with Essential Oils (1)

It’s that time of year… allllllllll of the kiddos are heading back to school! I love seeing my feed fill up with kids on their first day all ready and excited to take on the new year.

I’ve mentioned a few times that Lilly is starting preschool in a couple weeks. It’s just a two day a week program, but still! My little girl is growing up so fast!

Well, in anticipation (or let’s say, with the arrival of the new school year) comes being prepared for all the things! So, over the next few weeks, I’m going to share some simple and easy DIY recipes for keeping your kids healthy and well this school year!

This first recipe is what we’re calling a “School Spray.” I spray this on Lilly’s hair before she goes to school (or to the church nursery, gym childcare… anywhere there’s a lot of kids, etc.) and I also spray it lightly on her clothes and backpack. I also spray it on her when she gets home or when I pick her up.

I can’t take full credit for this recipe… it’s very much “crowd sourced” from other oily users!

Back to School Recipe | DIY "Hair Spritz" with Essential Oils (2) Continue Reading →

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Lilly for Target dress, Root Collective Shoes, Nickel and Suede earrings, blue bag

Dress: Lilly for Target (similar) | Shoes: The Root Collective c/o (Use this link for 10% off your purchase) | Bag: Target | Earrings: Nickel and Suede c/oWatch: Wristology Watches c/o (Use code 45 for 20% off your purchase)Bracelets: Alex and Ani c/o

Photography by Em Grey

I turned 30 yesterday. And I’ve been thinking a lot about “age” and all that stuff. You know, birthdays always make me introspective. Or something.

I’m honestly, really, truly not a big birthday person. At least when it comes to myself. Other people? I love celebrating other people’s birthdays… but mine? Not so much. It’s not that I have a problem with turning 30… in fact, I really am quite pumped for my 30s. I feel like I’m going to take 30 by storm! I just don’t want all the pomp and circumstance of a day celebrating something I really did nothing for… I just showed up.

Now, my daughter’s birthday? I care WAY more about that now! I mean, I WORKED for that thing. That was months and months of carrying her and hours and HOURS of labor for her to come into this world… Now THAT is a birthday worth celebrating.

Lilly for Target dress, Root Collective Shoes, Nickel and Suede earrings, blue bag Continue Reading →

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Fitness Friday: 15 Min Low-Impact Prenatal Workout

I am SO excited to share my first “Fitness Friday” with you guys. As you know, I’ve been working with a personal trainer since February and up until I got pregnant, I’d lost about 12 pounds and was feeling and doing awesome! Now, JUST because I got pregnant does NOT mean that I have an excuse to go backwards and gain all of it back right away and be unhealthy. My goal this pregnancy is to keep up the momentum I had before I got pregnant and be very cautious of my weight gain through what I eat and how I exercise.

So, with that in mind, I want to share weekly pregnancy fitness and health tips or workouts for you guys throughout! It will also help me keep myself accountable!

This prenatal workout from Rachel Sevier of Shape Fitness is great for any stage of pregnancy! No matter how far along you are, always listen to your body and if you feel like you need to rest, REST! So many things about your body change during pregnancy so be sure to perform exercises safely and with correct form to prevent injury.

You will find extra tips about exercising during pregnancy in the “Trainer Tip” following each exercise to be sure to read them as well as each exercise description.

This particular workout uses 3-8lb dumbbells, BUT if you don’t have dumbbells, get creative! Canned goods, water jugs, babies, and even pets can be your weight! You can also use a resistance band if you have one, or just your bodyweight! As long as you are contracting your muscles, weight or no weight, you are improving your fitness and being healthy for your baby!

Now, for this workout, I do three rounds of 8-12 reps of each exercise. You’re done in about 15 minutes or less. This is the PERFECT at-home workout to do if you’re not feeling well, super nauseous, tired, or just don’t have the energy to get to the gym. Trust me, working out in my first trimester was so hard, but I always felt better when I pushed through and did it anyway.

**Always consult your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.

15 Min Low-Impact Prenatal Workout

Continue Reading →

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My First Stitch Fix Maternity Review

YAY! I have been WAITING to share this with you guys! It’s my first, “official” Stitch Fix maternity review! I was really excited to update my Stitch Fix style profile with “pregnant” after we found out we were expecting our second child. Don’t judge me. :)  I SO wish something like Stitch Fix maternity existed when I was pregnant with Lilly.

Since I am going to be pregnant in basically the EXACT opposite seasons that I was pregnant with Lilly in. I mean, literally the opposite seasons. Lilly was born in August. This baby is due in February. So, I’ll spend the majority of this pregnancy in cold weather and almost all my maternity clothes from before are summer dresses and tank tops.

I’m definitely showing A LOT earlier in this pregnancy than I was in my first… but I hear this is common in second pregnancies. I can still wear my normal clothes, but I know that’s not going to last much longer.

I have been very much in a “simplify” and “purge” season lately when it comes to my closet and I really want that to carry over to my maternity style this go ’round. I’m going to be very intentional with what I decide to buy and invest in.

When it comes to maternity clothes this time, I’m looking for:

  • Classic, timeless pieces that I can hopefully wear if we have more kiddos down the road (or pass on to friends)
  • Comfortable. Comfortable. Comfortable.
  • Pieces that could, potentially, be worn as non-maternity
  • Pieces that will transition well through the seasons
  • Pieces that are made by ethical, fair trade, or made in the USA companies (this one is the hardest, but I want to do the best I can! Not always possible, but I can try!)

SO, as long as the piece(s) fit at least most of the above criteria, I can justify investing in it. I know that’s probably more information than you really wanted to know, but I wanted to give some context.

As always, I’ll be sharing what I get in my Stitch Fix fixes, size, price, fit, quality, etc. I will also be sharing if I know the company is ethical, fair trade, or made in the USA. Now, some companies may fall into that category but I just don’t know it… Just putting it out there.

Oh, and I’ll be sharing if I kept it or not.

Without further ado, here’s my first Stitch Fix maternity review! Continue Reading →

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Lilly's Second Birthday (1)

Dear Lilly,

I’m fully aware that you are unable to read yet, but I figure one day you’ll be able to… so, when that time comes, you can read this letter. Lilly's Second Birthday (2)Today is your second birthday. Two. Years. Old. You’re TWO. I can’t believe it. I realize it’s the ultimate cliche to say, “Time flies! You’ll blink and boom… they’re out of the house!” …but it couldn’t be more true. It HONESTLY, in pretty much every way, feels like yesterday that I was in labor with you and thought you’d never get out. There were moments when I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever.

Lilly's Second Birthday (3) Lilly's Second Birthday (4)

The anticipation of your arrival was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. Literally. The moment your daddy said, “It’s a girl!” is a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. And there I was, two years ago, completely unaware of the extent to which you’d completely flip our world upside down.

Lilly's Second Birthday (5) Lilly's Second Birthday (6) Lilly's Second Birthday (7)

You have more personality that most adults I know, let alone toddlers. You’re this ball of excitement and energy that is never stopping. You light up every room you enter. And everyone loves you. You’re insanely smart, hilarious (you actively try to make us laugh daily), and you’re BUSY. Oh so busy.

Lilly's Second Birthday (8) Lilly's Second Birthday (9)

You’re curious and eager to learn. You teach me daily about taking in the little details and remembering them all. You also teach me the importance of taking in the world around me and appreciating everything in our lives, large or small.

Lilly's Second Birthday (10) Lilly's Second Birthday (11)

You already have this generous and giving heart (you LOVE to share… what toddler loves to share?!). You feel the emotions of others around you and you hate to see other people (especially your friends) sad.

Lilly's Second Birthday (12)

You just want everyone to be happy.

You also are extremely strong willed (hmmm, I wonder who you got that from?) and you let your opinion and feelings be known… sometimes to everyone in the neighborhood… but that’s okay!

I love every single little thing about you.

Every little quirk. Every little word you say. Every little song you sing. Every little face you make. It’s all so precious.

Lilly's Second Birthday (13)

I love the way you snuggle. I love watching you sleep at night (it’s a whole lot less creepy than it sounds). I love the way you jump up and down and run to the door when Daddy gets home from work. I love watching you play with the dogs. I love the hilarious way you run around naked after a bath. I love your running hugs and I love how you ask for kisses on the regular.

Lilly's Second Birthday (14)

Your Daddy and I couldn’t have hand-picked a better kid… you are exactly what God knew we needed in every way imaginable.

I also love the way you love Jesus so much at such a little age. I see you pray by yourself. I love that you beg to read the bible. I love how you get so excited for church. I love this zest you have for learning everything you can about Jesus. I pray, DAILY, that your heart for the Lord only grows stronger with time and that this earnestness that is within you is there for the rest of your life.

Your Daddy and I can’t imagine life without you. You complete our family and you make us feel so honored to be your parents.

Sweet Lilly, there’s nothing you could ever do to make us love you any more and there’s nothing you could ever do to make us love you any less. We love you unconditionally… not because of your performance or your achievements… We love you because of who you are as our sweet, precious gift… our daughter.

There really aren’t words that will ever accurately explain to you how much you mean to us. I really don’t think that it’s until you have children of your own that you fully understand the love that your parents have for you.

Lilly's Second Birthday (15)

We love you, little girl.

Happy Birthday.

Love,

Your mommy and daddy

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Altar'd State, Elegantees, LOFT, Nickel and Suede, Kendra Scott

Kimono: Altar’d State (similar, similar) | Shirt: Elegantees (Use code MOLLY for free shipping!)Shorts: LOFT (similar) | Shoes: Famous Footwear c/o (similar) | Clutch: Stitch FixNecklace: Rocksbox / Kendra Scott (use code “stillbeingmollyxoxo” for one free month of Rocksbox)Cuff and Earrings: Nickel and Suede c/oBracelets: Alex and Ani c/oWatch: Wristology Watches c/o (Use code “45” for 20% off your purchase)

Photography by Em Grey

First off, I wanna say THANK YOU to everyone for the messages, Tweets, comments, emails, etc. congratulating us on our little (big) announcement last week! You guys are AMAZING and we really feel the love and support. So, THANK YOU!!! <3

Now, today’s post… I wanna get a little honest with you guys. Not that I’m not always honest, because I am, but I guess what I’m saying it… I’m gonna get a little real with y’all…

Altar'd State, Elegantees, LOFT, Nickel and Suede, Kendra Scott Continue Reading →

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sears back to school style with shopathome.com (1)

It’s that time of year. BACK TO SCHOOL TIME! Can you believe it? The summer FLEW by!! It’s insane how fast it went.

Well, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, Lilly is going to be starting PRESCHOOL in a few weeks! WHAT?!?!! It’s not full-time preschool… just a two-day a week program for two-year-olds… but still… PRESCHOOL. I can’t even.

Anyway, as I was cleaning out her closet the other day and switching out clothes, I noticed that pretty much once the cooler weather hits, Lilly has ZERO fall / winter / cold weather clothes in her size. Her entire closet is dresses and shorts and summer clothes.

So, needless to say, I’m starting to do all the back-to-school and fall shopping and I am NOT trying to pay a lot for clothes that she’s going to quickly grow out of. Ain’t nobody got time for that.sears back to school style with shopathome.com (2) Continue Reading →

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Well, we have something to share with you guys!

I sure do hope this movie will be showing in IMAX…

Yes! We are expecting baby #2! We are so excited and could not feel more love. We really, truly thank the Lord every day for this blessing and trust me, we do not take it for granted one bit. It is truly a blessing.

A couple of questions I know y’all have…

  • How far along? Today I am 12 weeks 3 days along. Baby is doing great and healthy!
  • Are we going to find out the gender? Nope! We loved not knowing with Lilly and we have decided to not find out the gender again with this baby.
  • Will you be doing weekly pregnancy updates again? Yes, BUT in a little different way… As y’all know, I’ve been working with a personal trainer to try to lose weight… well, now that I’m not exactly in weight loss mode anymore, I’m shifting gears with her to focus more on not gaining so much weight this pregnancy and having a much more active and healthy pregnancy. SO, with that being said, I’m going to be doing “Fitness Fridays” and sharing some healthy recipes, easy pregnancy workouts, etc. along WITH my weekly pregnancy updates! I think it will be really fun and I can’t wait to share with you guys what all we’ve been working on behind the scenes.

That’s it for right now!

We are just so excited to share this news with everyone! We love you and thank you in advance for your prayers and for your kind words! <3

 

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For the Guys | DIY After Shave with Essential Oils (3)

So many people ask me, “Does your husband use oils?” And the answer is, “YES!” Now, of course I definitely use them more than he does… BUT, over the last year, he’s really grown to love them and use them in so many different ways.

One of the best ways to use oils for men is in DIY products like cologne, lotions, and after shave! I made this after shave for John for Father’s Day and he loves it. I thought it would be the perfect DIY recipe to share with you guys this week!

It’s REALLY easy and takes less than 2 minutes to make. Check it out!

For the Guys | DIY After Shave with Essential Oils (1) Continue Reading →

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