Why I’m not a Target Mom

Why I'm not a Target mom, benefits of minimalism, contentment with finances

{Let me preface this by saying I love shopping at Target. I love the quality of the products, I love the colors, I love the makeup, I love all the baby clothes that seem to always be on clearance. But what I don’t love is the focus on “more”.}

I always figured I would be “the Target mom.” You know the one. The mom in the yoga pants, workout top and a puffy vest, pushing her cart with her kid with one hand and holding her Starbucks cup in the other. Or the one who is dressed in the latest trends and looks super put together. And pushes her super-put-together kid in the cart while she drinks her Starbucks. Either way, coffee is included. But as it turns out, I am neither of those moms (but if you are, my hat’s off to you, I think you’re awesome!).

I turned out to be the mom who makes her makeup and her toothpaste, doesn’t paint her nails much because of the toxins in nail polish, and (probably most importantly when it comes to Target or any other fun store) I am the mom who practices contentment and minimalism.

I want our home to be full of memories, not nicknacks. I rarely buy new anything, not because we can’t afford it (because now we can), but because our value system is different now. We have seen how far our money can go with a little effort.

If we genuinely need something new, we happily go to Target. But I can’t let myself wander because the temptation for more stuff, spending more money, and buying things we don’t need is too strong for me. Even though I do really like those Santa hat-wearing Walrus pajama pants.

As we come in to 2016, I want our focus to be on our family and enjoying every moment of Tristan exploring his world. I have not changed my purse in over a year – why would I want another one? I do not need another pair of shoes. Those things are fun but they take the focus away from what is truly important.

I would like to challenge each of you (and myself) to make each day count this year, and to make more memories than purchases.

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2015 in Review

year ornament snowflake 2015
Last week, Peter and I went to an ornament exchange Christmas party. I got a yeti in a Santa hat, and Peter got this snowflake with 2015 inscribed on it. When he opened it up, he said, “2015 was a good year for us. I really like this.”
Of course, when we got home this called for some reflection on 2015 and for awhile we just sat there in awe of how far we have come in just one year. Here are some highlights:

  • We established a clear budget that worked for us. We had tried several ways of tracking our spending and budget and finally found the way that we can consistently follow.
  • We have never had credit cards, and we never want them. When things were horrible and tight and our car needed to be fixed, we sold things to make it work. This saved us from being in a tighter situation later.
  • We not only met our big audacious savings goal, we beat it! We met our savings goal in September and have saved another 50% on top of that!
  • We bought our washing machine in March and have been able to stay home and save time and money by doing laundry ourselves.
  • We have significantly paid down our student loans (our only debt) and will be debt-free before the summer.
  • Thanks to the generosity of some friends, Tristan has everything he needs until he’s 4, and it’s all nicely organized in his closet.
  • We have questioned, tested, and dissected what we believe and while that is a life-long process, we have really grown a lot in response this year.
  • Peter finished his personal training certification and passed his test! Thanks to our savings, we found out about the class on the last day to register and were able to pay the $700 to sign up easily – and STILL meet our savings goal by 150%!
  • I started my awesome job in August. It has been a growing and stretching experience that I am so thankful to have. I’m learning everything from time management to conflict resolution to dementia care to how to be a manager. And Peter’s stress advice “it’s only a problem if there isn’t a solution” has been a huge source of calm and strength for  me.

We have set some goals for 2016, but those will be in a later post. It’s so fun to look back!

What have you accomplished in 2015?

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How to Earn Money with Swagbucks

With the baby coming, I’m looking for ways to creatively stretch our budget to include money for fun splurges, like a trip to Starbucks, cute things from the Target dollar bin, or the occasional Paleo “treat” online (spiralizer, anyone?). It’s hard to justify those splurges when we have a budget that we stick to, so I’ve been enjoying practicing contentment and making the most of what we have.  It’s really been a great lesson, but it’s nice to be able to provide some extra fun into our week too!

Related: How to Eat Organic for Free

Have you ever heard of Swagbucks?  

I used it a lot several years ago, and then for whatever reason I stopped.  However, a few weeks ago when I was looking for ways to give us a bit more “fun” money, I resigned up to start earning gift cards with Swagbucks and am over halfway to earning my first reward!

How do you earn points? 

– The most popular way to earn points is through using their search engine. When you search, you can earn several points (usually I earn 11 points).  This doesn’t happen every time you type something, but usually every 3-5 times.  I do a lot of searching during the day anyway, so I can collect points that way.  Plus, if you install their toolbar, you get points daily just for having it exist on your computer.

– Answering the daily poll earns you 1 point a day.

– Watching videos earns you 3 points for every 10 videos you earn.  I usually open them in a separate tab, mute my computer, and have them going in the background while I work.  You can do this until you run out of videos.  Usually I earn 6 points a day.

– Daily deals are my favorite!  If you normally shop at Amazon, Walmart, Kohls, even Groupon and Living Social, you can purchase through Swagbucks and earn a certain amount of points back per dollar.

– By printing their coupons and using them, you earn points back.

– Referrals.  They changed their referral policy from what it was the last time I was a member and now when you refer someone you get 10% of their points for life! (used to be matched for the first 60 days and then nothing).

– Bonus points.  You have a “daily goal” to earn a certain number of points a day.  If you do, you get awarded with extra Swagbucks.

Maybe you want a little bonus money. Maybe you want to pay for Christmas gifts for free.  Maybe you need some wiggle room with your grocery budget.  Maybe you just really like to earn gift cards. Swagbucks is a great way to get you any of those!  So what are you waiting for? Sign up today and start earning those gift cards!

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