11 Frugal Ways To Cut Back On Living Costs

I have a problem.

It’s called Amazon Prime.

I mean, who doesn’t want 2 day shipping, guaranteed? Well sometimes it’s not guaranteed because we have this thing called WINTER in Canada.

Being able to shop for groceries online and have them delivered to your house sounds pretty amazing, right? I’ve never tried it but I was tempted to when my second baby was born, 7 months ago. When you haven’t showered in 5 days and you’re too tired to even put regular clothing on, having groceries delivered sounds like a dream come true.

Convenience is what motivates many of us to make the purchases that we do. But you know what isn’t convenient?

Debt.

I think the majority of people my age, that I personally know have some form of debt whether that be student loans, a mortgage or credit card debt. I have mixed feelings about debt. I think it’s inevitable at some point in your life that you will have some form of debt.

I’m all about finding ways to cut down our our expenses as we have financial goals set for our family. Amazon Prime doesn’t align with my goals of being frugal and owning a home one day. Curse you Amazon Prime!

But I want to share ways we cut back on our spending.

  • Limit or eliminate Eating At Restaurants or Takeout : Why does food always taste better when someone else prepares and cooks it? Seriously. It could be a hotdog someone else microwaved and I’m all over it. Buying lunch usually costs $10 plus a $3 coffee a day (or more if you’re fancy) which adds up to $65 a week alone. If you factor in eating dinner out, a few times a week that’s easily another $50 or so. You could be saving $300 (or more) by limiting take out and packing your own meals.
  • Cook More and Buy Less Packaged (and processed) Foods: Sometimes I enjoy cooking but most of the time I only enjoy it if my husband and I are cooking together. One thing I’ve noticed with our grocery bills is the difference in what we spend when we buy less packaged, processed foods. Packaged is easier, no doubt about it! But it’s also more expensive because it’s convenient. I try to set myself up for success with very simple meals because it’s a generally chaotic time of the day. The more you cook, the healthier meals tend to be, as well. We do NOT eat organic, Keto or paleo. We have no allergies. I Have thoughts on the whole organic thing but that is a post for another day! If eating organic is extremely important to you but you have a tight budget then you will have to adjust your spending and other areas so that you can have a more flexible grocery budget
  • Have A Grocery Budget (and stick to it). When Dave and I first married, we spent about $50 in groceries a week, sometimes less. Since then we’ve fluctuated in what we spend on groceries. Recently I’ve reset our weekly budget because it was OUT OF CONTROL and I’m amazed at how little we can spend if we try. I challenge myself to do a few meatless meals a week, cook with all the meat I already have (in the freezer) and get creative with leftovers. Our budget isn’t $50 a week anymore, partly because we have a baby who drinks formula. But with some tweaking here and there we can typically eat within a budget of $65 to $80 right now, including formula.
  • Buy In Bulk. Speaking of Costco! It might be worth it to consider a Sam’s Club or Costco membership. In Canada a Costco (gold) membership costs $60 per year or $5 a month. You could easily split that cost in half and share with someone else in your family or even a friend. It’s easy to overspend at Costco if you don’t plan ahead. We typically purchase diapers, wipes, toilet paper and paper towels at Costco, once a month.
  • Shop Secondhand (especially for kids): I switched over to purchasing second clothing around the time I was getting married. I watched a documentary about the negative impact fast fashion is having on our world, today. It changed the way I went about purchasing most things. 90% of the clothing we wear as a family is second hand. I’m not a name brand person to begin with but surprisingly you can find some great brands when shopping second hand. So my 7 month old is a few pounds behind his 21 month old brother. Buying new clothing for him would be like lighting my money on fire. I have this mentality with all baby gear and things in our home as well. If I can find it second hand and repurpose it (if it needs it) then I’m going to do it. You can read more about my tips on buying second hand here.
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  • Invest in Reusable, Low or Zero Waste Products: We spend less than $60 a month on diapers. That is because we mostly cloth diaper. It’s fortunate for us that currently, the boys wear the same size diaper. My 7 month old and 21 month old wear the same size diaper! One box of Kirkland’s and one box of Huggies overnights gets us through the month, with 2 weeks worth of Kirkland’s leftover. Cloth diapers has saved us SO MUCH! And if you think we spend a ton on hydro/water from washing them all the time, read THIS. I also use reusable sanitary products which you can read more about here. We bring our reusable grocery and produce bags to the store.
  • Cut Down On Your Utilities. While utilities is included in the cost of our rent, we try to practice being smart with how/when we use our water and electricity because one day we will pay for these things. Where I live in Canada, they have on and off peak times of hydro/water usage. This means that you are charged more on your usage depending on what time of day/day of the week it is. As much as possible, We try to do laundry, shower and run the dishwasher during off peak times. Even with having cloth diapers to wash, I’m only washing them twice a week. Since my husband is in HVAC, he makes sure that the AC/Furnace are running efficiently. He changes out the filter and we close windows when we are running the air or heat. You could open windows for air circulation during the day, turn off lights when not in use and unplug appliances. Reuse dishwater for watering plants etc.
  • Do It Yourself: I am a HUGE fan of DIY. Most people probably think arts and crafts when it comes to DIY. But DIY can apply to so many things in life. It’s kinda scary how dependant we’ve become on others, to do things for us as a society. I’m wary of paying others to do everything for me. It’s good to have some SKILLS, am I right? I’m not very good with power tools but I’m letting my husband teach me. We’ve made all the decor in our home. I’m taking sewing classes this fall and we grow a garden every year. We learned how to can from my husband’s grandfather and we started experimenting with dehydrating different foods a few summers ago. My husband and I both grew up with fathers who were handy so naturally, it’s simple logic for us to learn to do certain things for ourselves. My husband is also in the trades so he’s extremely skilled with tools. We initially took our oldest son to a hairdresser for his first haircut but going forward, I’ll just cut it with my husband’s clippers. I know someone who does hair out of her apartment so I get my hair done (cut and highlights) at half the cost of what I used to pay in a salon. I LOVE a good shellac pedicure but I have a bag full of nail polish that I can use to paint my toenails for FREE.
  • Take Care Of What You Already Have: You might be wondering how this saves you money? I think it’s pretty simple but if you take good care of what you already own, the chances of it breaking and needing to be replaced are less likely. Inevitably there are things in life that will need replacing. But how much money do we waste because we are careless? My husband is in a field of work that places him inside people’s homes. He has seen everything you can imagine. He said what frustrates him is to see how people do not maintain their homes. A home is easily the largest investment of a person’s life. Why wouldn’t you take care of it? We don’t own a home yet but you can imagine that we’ve learned a lot about what not to do from the things my husband has seen. I think it’s important to note here that not everything can be done yourself. Sometimes you need to hire an expert so you don’t try to fix something way beyond your skill set.
  • Have One Car, Walk or Take Public Transit: Apart from a few months when we first married and then 1.5 years when my husband had a job with a work truck, we’ve only ever had one car. Right now he works really close to home and I am able to walk where I need to. Driving places with two babies kinda gives me anxiety right now so one car works well for us but it’s also a mindset. Do I HAVE to go somewhere every day? I usually spend money if I do. Having one car means you are paying less in terms of gas, insurance and car payment (or even LESS if you owe nothing on your car). It’s not always easy during the winter time to have one car but in the past I have driven my husband to work if I needed the car that day. During the summer I walk everywhere with the boys. We are fortunate to live in an area where parks, community centres and grocery stores are within walking distance. My dad takes public transit EVERY day into the city of San Diego. He enjoys his commute for the most part and it’s saving him a fortune in gas!
  • Live In A Place You Can Afford. This is unique to each family based on location, income and financial responsibilities. We currently rent because it’s what fits our budget at this time while we have other financial obligations to resolve before we can take on the cost of a mortgage. The cost of living is quite high, where we live. It could change at some point but we’ve lived the majority of our marriage in basement apartments and always in a shared dwelling place. This means that to some degree where we’ve lived, we’ve had to share the building with another person or family. Do I always LOVE it? Nope. Is it what works for us? Yes! When I really struggle with my perspective in this area, I try to remember that I get to be home with my babies every day for the next few years or longer. I’m so grateful and I wouldn’t trade that for the world even if it means that owning our own home is awhile away for us.

We are a single income family and we’ve been a single income family the majority of our marriage. I’m sure someone could say, “Just get a job, Sarah.” Thanks but I already have one. I’m raising my kids! And that’s not to say that a mom who works another job outside the home isn’t raising her kids. But where we live the cost of childcare would make going back to work completely pointless, for what I would earn. One income is what we’ve learned to live on. It takes discipline and perspective to live this way and we aren’t perfect at it. I think it’s taught us a lot about what we need versus what we want. It’s also fast tracking us to resolving financial obligations and having more freedom with our hard earned money!

What are ways that you cut down on the cost of living and save in your home? I’d love to hear from you!

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5 Things To Consider Before Committing To Cloth Diapers.

Cloth diapers ya’ll! I still love them (maybe even more) than when I started and that is the truth.

When I started Cloth Diapering, I didn’t know much but I learned along the way. Here are 5 things to consider if you are thinking about doing cloth diapers.

  • Will you buy brand new or pre-loved? There are pros and cons to either. If you buy brand new, the cost is more up front. That is ok if you are committed to the process. I’ve seen many bundles on FB Marketplace where a mama found out cloth diapers were not for her. You won’t get back what you spent up front, if you decide cloth is not for you. Pre-loved diapers are a great way to try things out without spending a ton of money. You can try various styles and brands to figure out what you like. Elastics and velcro tend to need replacing on pre-loved diapers and you typically won’t know the condition they are in until you see them in person.
  • Will you cloth diaper from the day you bring baby home? Remember that newborns typically go through 8-12 diapers a day. This slows down as baby gets older. You will typically wash every 2-3 days. Some choose to wash diapers every day. I personally do not have the time or energy to wash diapers that often. We also share our laundry room with the tenants below us so I try to be as efficient as possible. I’m not perfect but I don’t want to be taking up the machines every day. I now own a large enough stash to put both boys in cloth, that I wash twice a week. Make sure you do your math and have enough diapers, depending how often you wash.
  • Will you use cloth 100% of the time? Doing a combination of cloth and disposable can work really well. I always knew I would be doing disposable at night but early into cloth diapering with my first son, my husband suggested disposables on the weekends as well. It’s a nice break and gives me a chance to wash, dry, sort and fold everything in time for the start of a new week.
  • Do you have the right setup? If you don’t have access to a washer and dryer where you live, that can be complicated. I’m sure you can make it work if you are seriously committed but something to think about. You want to be able to choose how you wash/dry your diapers because it’s important for removing the nasties and making them last longer. You can check out how I store and access my diapers, here.
  • Are You Flexible? What I mean by this, is are you willing to keep going even if it doesn’t feel like it’s something you want to do? Can you give it a good go? There are things about cloth diapers that make them an entirely different animal from disposable. They aren’t convenient in certain ways but if you have an understanding of this before going in, that can help you stick with it. Things like dampness, dealing with the yuckies and such. Just keep these things in mind as you venture forth.

So those are just some thoughts of my own that I’ve compiled in the last 14 months of using cloth diapers. I still love them and I’m going strong.

Do you cloth diaper? What have you found to work for you or not work for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

My Cloth Diaper Setup.

50% of successfully cloth diapering is about your setup. You can love cloth diapers all you want, think they’re super cute and want to save money while making a better environmental choice. Those are great things. But if you aren’t organized you may find cloth to be frustrating very quickly.

I’ve probably revised my cloth diaper setup more times than I count at this point but I have a pretty good system in place now that works for me. I am cloth diapering both my 2 month old and my 16 month old. The setup I’m sharing today is what I have in my toddler’s room. I have the exact same setup just a small, taller dresser in my younger son’s room.

  1. Drawer of pre-stuffed Cloth Diapers.
  2. Drawer of disposables (what we use at night and on weekends)
  3. Wipes, hand sanitizer, baby bum stuff (for cloth and disposables)
  4. Garbage for wipes and disposables. Since we only use a few disposables at a time, this small bin works. It also encourage us to get dirty disposables out of the house. Call me biased but I’ve found disposables to smell far worse than cloth.
  5. These garbage pails with these wet bags are the BEST solution I’ve found for storing dirty diapers during the week. Since my toddler’s #2 is pretty solid at this point, it gets knocked into the toilet and all dirty diapers go in this pail. It seals really well. When it’s time to wash, I just pull the wet bags out and carry them down to the laundry room.

In my bathroom I have a cloth diaper sprayer, a bucket from a hardware store and rubber gloves. For #2’s that aren’t solid, I hold the diaper in the toilet and spray everything off. Flush. Diaper goes into the pail. Breastmilk #2’s can go right into the washing machine as they are water soluble.

That’s it! It’s really pretty simple to have a good setup. It helps to keep things organized and clean. It also is really nice for others who might be babysitting your children that aren’t familiar with using cloth diapers. Wh

Do you cloth diaper? What is your setup like? If you do something different, I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments below! Happy Cloth Diapering!

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My Top 5 Must Haves With 2 Babies Under 2.

EDITED as of May 31, 2019.

Here we are, a few months postpartum after my second and I’m surviving having two babies who are 14 months apart. Yes, you read that correctly! I share here what our daily routine looks like and I talk about our transition into have 2 under 2 here with a few tips and tricks!

So here are my top MUST HAVES of baby gear to help life go a little smoother when you’ve got 2 babies really close together in age. Many of these things apply to the early weeks and months when life feels like a constant gong show. You need all the help you can get!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. So when you click on a link and purchase something (anything) on Amazon, I make a small commission. Thank you for supporting all the hard work I do here At The Messy Housewife!

  • A GREAT camera monitor or two. We have the Levana and the Foscam R2C. Both were gifts that we asked for. We used the Levana with our first up until after we moved his baby brother into his own room. Then we set up the Foscam in big brother’s room. Let’s talk about the Levana. It retails for $129.99 CAD. It’s not cheap but for a baby monitor camera it does exactly what it’s supposed to. You can mount it to the wall and it comes with all the hardware for that. My parents bought us the Foscam RC2 off Amazon for around $60 USD. This camera does not come with a monitor but connects with your wireless internet and you download the APP onto your smartphone. You can then access all the camera’s features through the app.

  • A Swing, bouncy seat or MamaRoo type thing. I have found that my babies benefit from different types of gear. My first son loved the bouncy seat. Both boys also slept in this swing the first couple months of their lives. I scored a MamaRoo secondhand for a great price. Go for second hand or borrow baby gear if you can. The majority of our baby gear is second hand because if one of my kids hates it, I’m not out lots of money. I plan to resell ALL our baby gear when the time comes. Win win!

  • A baby carrier you like. I have 3 different types of baby carriers because it’s nice to try out different ones. I have the boba wrap, the baby bjorn and the Ergo Baby. Neither of my boys seemed to like the wrap style carrier. I’ve found the Bjorn and Ergo to be the easiest ones for me to use.

  • A GOOD double stroller. We’ve gone through 3 strollers to get to the right one. I wanted to reuse the infant carseat we’d had with Hudson as it hadn’t expired yet. I ended up with Phil&Ted’s Sport double for awhile. It’s tandem but stacked. The double kit allows you to put baby on top or bottom/toddler on top or bottom. You also have the option of buying a universal adaptor so that your carseat will click in which was a big draw for me. I scored a used one that came with everything and while I loved this troller my boys eventually did NOT. They didn’t seem to like the tandem aspect of the stroller. I also didn’t like that the brake system on the P&. It was a handbrake like a bike. It hurt my hands and eventually got a little wonky. I just purchased a Contours Options brand new. It’s not as well made or streamline BUT my boys are super happy in it. It gets the job done and I don’t stress.

  1. Baby Gates. I have 3 of these simple, wooden baby gates. They are handy to have! Get some gates, you will thank yourself.

You will figure out what works for you but I know that when I was pregnant with my 2nd son, I was scouring the internet for tips on what made life easier with 2 under 2. I hope some of this helps!

What are some of your must haves with multiple kids in the house? How did you survive those early days? I’d love to hear from you!

Diy Non-Toxic Sunscreen

After a never-ending winter, the beautiful weather has ARRIVED.

One thing I’ve learned about living in south-western Ontario in Canada is to appreciate, relish and make the most of our warm weather season. Fall is still my favorite season here but Summer comes in a quick and close second.

I LOVE Vitamin D. After all, I was a southern California girl for nearly 10 years. It was literally a shock to my system to not have access to the sweet, warm sun for months at time, when I moved here. That being said, when the hot weather and sun makes its appearance here, I am ready! I learned my lesson with NOT protecting myself from the sun, in my college years. I burned so badly one time that I had blisters on my nose and shoulders, a fever and nausea. I had to stay in bed for 2 days and avoid the sun for much longer after that. So, while I may be unconventional in how I approach sun protection-I’m no dummy either!

Sunscreen is important. In my last post where I shared about some of my non-toxic skin care, I touched on sun protection. I take an unconventional approach to the sun in that I don’t slather myself with sunscreen the moment I head outside. Katie over at Wellness Mama shares an approach that I totally agree with. She has a great article on sun protection, facts, information and great DIY recipe that she made herself. Check that out here.

Now, don’t get me wrong-I use sunscreen on myself and my almost 9 month old son but I stay away from the chemical laden stuff on store shelves. I have purchased non-toxic sunscreen and while it’s fantastic quality, the price makes me cringe. I finally bit the bullet and decided to make my own! I researched quite a few recipes and put together one that turned out to be delicious smelling success.

Disclaimer regarding the SPF of these individual ingredients: The levels I listed are a general quote of SPF based on the amount of each ingredient I use. Please read the entire article to get the exact measurements of each ingredient in the recipe. I can’t make any claims as to the total amount of SPF this sunscreen will provide. 

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The ingredients and why I chose them:

  • Coconut Oil-I have a ton of this in my house, always! I use it for anything and everything. It’s the main ingredient in my sunscreen recipe. It’s a natural antioxidant, has SPF 4-5, contains skin nourishing vitamin E, anti-aging and is antimicrobial (anti-fungal). It also smells lovely!
  • Shea Butter (unrefined, organic)-anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, and skin smoothing! It blends well with coconut oil. This also has it’s own natural SPF of 4-6.
  • Cocoa Butter(unrefined, organic)-by far my FAVOURITE body butter! I’ve purchased refined cocoa butter before and thought it smelled amazing. Wait until you smell raw, organic cocoa butter! It’s heavenly! It’s moisturizing, anti-aging, great for soothing burns, rashes and other skin irritations .
  • Non-Nano Zinc Oxide-Zinc Oxide is an ingredient found in most sunscreen and diaper rash creams. While regular Zinc oxide is not proven safe to be absorbed into the skin, Non-Nano basically means the size of the powder particles are too big to be absorbed into the skin. This is an important factor if you are wanting to make a safe, natural alternative to regular sunscreen. Make sure to get NON-NANO.
  • Beeswax-Essentially I add the beeswax to make the sunscreen more durable and resistant to water but it also offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well! I have a friend who works with bees and she gets her beeswax from there. If you can get local, raw beeswax-EVEN BETTER!
  • Vanilla Oleoresin Oil-I added this because it smells AMAZING. Vanilla is also soothing, neutralizes free radicals, anti-carcinogenic, and calming. It blends really well with the coconut oil and cocoa butter.
  • Red Raspberry Seed Oil-This has a natural SPF of about 25-50. This oil is packed with amazing-ness! It has antioxidants, Vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and so much more.

*Unrefined is another way of saying the ingredient is raw and not chemically processed. Deodorized or refined ingredients are put through a chemical process. While raw might be more expensive, you don’t have to doubt you are getting pure, quality ingredients with raw!

Non-Toxic, DIY Sunscreen Ingredients: (makes 6 ounces)

4 tbsp Coconut Oil

2 tbsp Organic, Unrefined Shea Butter

6 Wafers of Organic, Unrefined Cocoa Butter

1 tbsp of Beeswax Pellets

2 tbsp of Non-Nano Zinc Oxide* ( PLEASE read instructions with this carefully)

10 Drops Vanilla Oleoresin Oil

1 Tsp Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Instructions:

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Combine coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and beeswax pellets in double boiler (see my makeshift double boiler of a GLASS measuring cup in a pot of water) over medium heat on stove. I’m so fancy!!

Melt everything to a complete oil. Remove from heat. It’s time to add your Zinc but before you do this, cover your face with a scarf or mask as to avoid inhaling the Zinc. IMPORTANT!  Mix in Zinc and allow mixture to cool slightly but don’t allow it to solidify. Mix in vanilla and red raspberry seed oil. The picture below is what everything looked like once mixed together. The black specks are the vanilla oleoresin.

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Pour mixture into desired containers with lids. Allow to cool and solidify. I like to put mine in the refrigerator to speed up the process sometimes!

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This is what the consistency of mine turned out to look like. A very creamy, smooth consistency that melts into the skin really well. It absorbs into the skin very much like spray on sunscreen. It is not thick and white on the surface of the skin .I used it on my son after his nap and it absorbed so nicely into the skin! He also smelled good enough to eat. Store in a cool, dry place.

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No sunscreen ( chemically laden or all natural ) is going to forever shield and protect you from the sun. Be smart about sun exposure but don’t forget you NEED Vitamin D! It’s all a balance. I wear a hat and reapply every few hours if I’m going to be outside for a long time. I reapply sunscreen on my son every 2 hours, keep a hat on him and keep him in the shade as much as I can. I hope you enjoyed making this as much as I did! Do you make your own skincare products? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

***The majority of my ingredients were purchased from Voyageur Soap and Candle. I purchased my Non-Nano Zinc Oxide from Amazon and will link that another time.

Let’s Talk Non-Toxic Skin Care!

Skin.

It’s the body’s largest organ and makes up for 16 percent of our body weight!

I’m really excited to share with you how I practice non-toxic skin care and how easy it can be.

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Before we dive in, lets talk about how much skin changes and how different our skin can become as we age. 

Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist or skin care professional. The practices mentioned in this article are not medical advice and if you choose to practice anything mentioned here, you do so at your own risk.

As a teen, I was thankful to have minimal breakouts and skin issues. I’ve battled psoriasis and eczema since birth but those spots were in hidden places, not on my face. As I entered my late teens and early 20’s I started to experience more breakouts than I ever had before. I can now peg those breakouts down to a few factors: late nights, poor eating/drinking habits and stress! Those 3 factors are incredibly important when it comes to the skin on our face. When our skin starts to present problems, it’s time to listen to our bodies!

It took me into my mid-twenties to realize my lifestyle was impacting my skin negatively. Once I started removing stress factors, sleeping better and cutting out the excess sugar (and alcohol) my skin improved. From the ages of 25 to 30 were the best years with my skin. When I was working in tropical climates like Fiji and the Philippines my skin was the clearest it had ever been. I wasn’t wearing makeup, I was eating more servings of fruits, vegetables and drinking so much water.

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Ahhh the sun! I think very different about sun and skin. Obviously I don’t believe you should be frying yourself to get a nice, crispy tan and protection is important! But I don’t approach sun exposure traditionally (thanks mama!) Hear me out. I think we’ve gone a little crazy with the sun protection. Please, don’t yell at me! People today are facing an extreme Vitamin D deficiency. WHY?!

Medicalnewstoday.com says,

“Despite the importance of vitamin D, many people in the United States do not have sufficient levels in their bodies. For example, one study found that overall, more than 40 percent of the U.S. population was vitamin D deficient. So much so, that some authors have referred to vitamin D deficiency as a pandemic.”

One of our greatest resources for Vitamin D is the sun! Much of the sunscreen marketed today has carcinogenic (cancer causing) ingredients in it. Yeah, carcinogenic! Yuck and no thanks. I have an great home made sunscreen recipe here. I don’t apply sunscreen every day because I’m not in the sun everyday. I also wear hats in the sun, now. If I know I’m going to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time, I obviously apply sunscreen. Sun protection is important but I challenge you to do some research and re-think the way you approach sun protection.

Now that I’m in my 30’s, I’m serious about skin care. I wish I hadn’t waited so long. It’s never too early to start your anti aging skin care routine! My biggest skin issue is dryness. I have thin skin that easily becomes rough and dry, mostly on my face. Winter in Canada does not help my skin. Here are some things I use and practice to combat dry, rough skin:

  • Exfoliation. I use my own homemade sugar/salt scrubs with a carrier oil to exfoliate my skin a few times a week, in the shower.

  • Microneedling. What is this sorcery you ask? Essentially it’s the process of poking tiny, microscopic holes in your skin with a derma roller (a skin needling device) to boost collagen production. I don’t get this done professionally because I can do it at home using common sense. I did a ton of research before I tried it. I use the smallest needle roller and I’ve never bled. I don’t apply intense pressure, just enough that my face feels like I’ve had a sunburn afterwards. I always apply a serum with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in it before and after. I do not wear makeup or put anything on my face 12-24 hours after doing this so that my skin has a chance to breathe and recover. I’ve seen great results with the exfoliation, plumping and softening of my skin. The size of needles and how much pressure you apply will determine how often you need to do it. Please do your own research!

  • Hyaluronic Acid. Dr. Axe does an excellent job of explaining what this incredible stuff is and how it benefits our skin. Check his article out here.
  • Water. We can spend all the money we want on expensive products and treatments to hydrate and nourish our skin but if we aren’t working on our insides, we won’t see as much of a difference. I never leave my house without a water bottle, not even for a walk around the block. This will be the most inexpensive way you can nourish your skin.

  • Nourishing oils. I started making my own face oils a few years ago and have seen great results with softer, more hydrated and smoother skin on my face. I love blends of avocado oil, frankincense, myrrh, and geranium. They all have their own complex qualities that contribute to nourishing the skin. Camellia seed oil is newer to me but I’ve been LOVING it! It makes my skin feel silky soft but does not cause me to breakout.

  • Limited use of soap/face wash. Coconut oil and baby wipes are great for removing makeup. Seriously, so simple. I spent years using chemical laden makeup remover that burned the crap out of my eyes and dried out my skin. Coconut oil is 100x more efficient, chemical FREE AND it nourishes the skin. If I feel like I need an extra clean after removing my makeup, I use alcohol free witch hazel and a cotton ball all over my face.
  • I ALWAYS remove my makeup at night before I go to bed! I didn’t start practicing this until my 30’s. I know, embarrassing right? Just do it and thank yourself later.

A few of my body/hair care STAPLES right now are:

EVA-NYC dry shampoo: Very similar to Amika dry shampoo but $11 cheaper! It’s leaping bunny certified. It smells just as amazing. It uses rice starch like Amika and so far, I’ve been loving it.

Shea Moisture Soothing Body Lotion: I love this line! It’s HUGE with a variety of hair, body and baby care products. They are fair trade and cruelty free which is a bonus!

I think it goes without saying that less stress, a healthy diet and SLEEP are all very important when it comes to having healthier skin. Those are all FREE!

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You can easily establish a non-toxic, anti-aging, spa worthy skin care routine in your own home without spending a fortune. I bet you already have enough ingredients in your home to whip up a fun face mask or scrub. If you can eat it, put it on your face! There are so many ideas and recipes out there. Have fun with it!

What are some ways you practice non-toxic skin care? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

How We’ve Learned To Live In 600 Square Feet and Tips for Small Space Living.

Cozy. That’s how I would describe where live. You can’t get much cozier than two adults, two cats and a baby in 600 square feet.

We live in a 600 square foot basement apartment of a modest, brick home. We have 6 windows. Small windows. My son’s room does not have any windows. We share laundry with our neighbours. The home was not soundproofed to be a multi-family dwelling so it gets LOUD sometimes. My dining table backs up against the back of our love seat and we have enough room for 2 dining chairs. Our front door is actually the back door of the home. You have to come down the driveway, around into the backyard and onto our deck to access our place. If we run too many appliances, a fuse will blow and trip our neighbour’s electricity  upstairs. We have a cold room where we store all the produce we pressure can from our garden.  The longer I live here, the more I appreciate it. That’s not to say I don’t have my days where I feel like I’m living in a Hobbit hole that’s going to come falling down on me and boy have I done my fair share of complaining. But that didn’t get me anywhere. I’ve shared on my blog before about my journey of learning to love where we live. It hasn’t always been a graceful and easy journey for me but I’m proud of how far I’ve come!

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Recently we considered moving into a home that we would rent to own, with the help of our sweet family. After some serious thought and prayer, we realized staying put was the wisest decision for this season. It was difficult decision but we have such great peace about it. It may be a possibility later down the road but where we are at works really well for our family, in this season of our lives. It allows me to stay at home with our kid(s). It enables my husband to work one job and go back to school to finish his licensing. It gives us a chance to have savings. We can still do fun things, have date nights, buy gifts for our family, be responsible to any debt we have, plan small trips and not be stressed about breaking the bank.
We are blessed to live in a fairly safe, family friendly neighborhood with a great community center nearby as well as other stores that are in walking distance. Since we own one car, it’s a blessing to have things in walking distance.

So how do we make it work in terms of space? I’ll break it down for you and share some ways/things that have helped us streamline our small living space.

  • Intentional purchases- Since we are limited on space, we have to really consider what we purchase. We try to buy multi-purpose, space-saving things. As my son gradually outgrows something like a baby-seat or swing, it goes into storage. We recently just purchased his first brand new toy (this) and I love it because it’s multiple (educational) toys all in one! The two other things he plays with is this Fischer Price Jumparoo (it folds up!) and this Ikea Baby Gym.  I bought this Cosco high chair for the very reason that it’s small, folds down and can be stored under our dining table.
  • Frequent purging/dejunking-I’m not pumping my own tires here when I say that we make monthly trips to our local thrift store to donate boxes of items. It’s just that it’s become a habit which keeps our home from looking like a hoarders’ house.
  • Rethinking/Revisiting the arrangement and usage of furniture-We are doing this constantly and while that might seem exhausting to some, we love rethinking our living space. It helps refresh things and it gives us an opportunity to purge/dejunk.

  • Utilizing the Storage space we do have-We have a large detached garage, with hydro on our property. It is such a blessing with all the shelves on the wall and ample storage space. Inside our home, we are learning to put up shelving, build coat racks and hang things so that we utilize the vertical space we have.
  • Capsule Wardrobes-A capsule wardrobe is a collection of a few essential clothing items, usually neutral in colour, good quality and functional so as to get the most out of these items over a long period of time.
  • Practicing Self Control-I recently started implementing a new practice when I go shopping. I ask myself a series of questions. Do I need this or do I want this? Do I have anything like this already? What Am I willing to get rid of if I buy this? Is it quality? Is it Functional? How Much use will I actually get out of it?  Ok, I don’t ask myself ALL these questions every time I go to buy something but want versus need is a big one!

I’ve shared about The Minimalists in previous posts. Their documentary blessed me and my husband so much. Love people, use things-this is their motto. Our lifestyle is unique to our generation which is constantly seeking to acquire more all the time. It’s challenged us on what is important, how to manage our money better (not perfectly) and to appreciate simplicity. Living a simple life will look different every person. I’m not here to say it has to look any one way. You will know what it should look like for you!

View More: http://rachelkeyes.pass.us/remusfamily2017

Do you live in a small space? How do you make it work? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!