In 21 days our family of 4 (in case you missed it we adopted Calvin!) will be moving. Moving is nothing new for me, I grew up moving, and I’ve moved multiple times since being an adult, but this will be the first time, as an adult for me to move to another country. It’s hard to believe that after years of pursuing foreign missions, we’re finally going to West Africa! I know my life will be changing a lot and I’m both excited and nervous, but I know God will be with me through it all!

As far as the blog goes, I’ve really missed blogging and I’ve thought many times about coming back to it, I’ve even gone as far as starting some rough draft posts. However, it’s also been good for me to get away from it and spend time and thoughts on other things.

I’m hoping to keep posting sometimes, although it won’t be as often as I used to post….and if my posts do become really frequent I give you all permission to write me  and say, “Katy, what’s up with all these posts? Are you getting your other things done first???”

I’ve also been updating our ministry blog more frequently too, which covers more ministry and family type things.

Right when you feel like packing’s going good……

…you realize, you need to start all over again! :)


With all this traveling and moving I haven’t felt very frugal at all, let’s face it plane tickets, typhoid shots, malaria preventatives, and passports aren’t cheap. And it doesn’t help that we keep saying, “We need to eat at (insert all of our favorite State-side restaurants) before we go!”

To make myself feel better about all we’ve been spending, here’s 5 ways we’ve been frugal recently:

  1. I bought a dual-voltage blow dryer and flat-iron on amazon, using my earnings from swagbucks* to cut the price quite a bit.
  2. We opted for a small layover in Brussels on our way to Senegal because it was significantly cheaper than flying straight.
  3. We have over $50 at a consignment store, that I plan on collecting before leaving the country.
  4. I’ve been collecting lots of free e-books for my Kindle. I’m so thankful for modern technology, that allows me to pack buckets of books into one small device! :)
  5. I’ve been finding tons of coins lately when I go on run/walks. I wish I’d been keeping track of how many, but almost every time I go, I find at least one or two…Cameron makes fun of me, but hey, every penny counts!!


Linked at Sarah Titus for Frugal Friday.

Frugal Friday
  • I was this close (imagine my fingers just 1/2 inch apart) to grabbing a fast food meal this week…actually multiple times this week. But each time I managed to avoid it by the skin of my teeth telling myself it’d be cheaper and healthier to eat at home. One of the times it was actually a deal for a $6 pizza, that I almost ordered, but then I thought about how little nutrition was in it…how eating food we already had would probably be less than $6…and I wouldn’t have to drive to town if I just made lunch myself. The one time we did eat out was on Saturday when Long John Silver’s was offering a free fish and fries to each customer. The kids and I enjoyed our free and very greasy meal. :)

Completely free meal for me and the kiddos that Long John Silvers was offering Saturday!



Since this picture, the kids have gotten a second free ice-cream from a different place. I ended up buying one for myself too. :P


  • I’ve been earning more swagbucks recently. This is for 2 reasons, I have more time on my hands and videos aren’t blocked. During the semesters the training center blocks streaming because of all the bandwidth it uses. Sometimes I just play videos while I do other things on the computer, and sometimes I put the kids to work earning swagbucks for me by letting them watch animal video clips. They love learning about animals and I love getting swagbucks! And like I mentioned last week, about buying Cameron’s birthday present with swagbucks, it got in this week! :)
  • Cameron’s birthday was this week and he’s getting home tomorrow!!! We’re all so excited! We have home-made cards and a home-made banner all ready. We also wrapped all the gifts in bags or paper that we already had on hand.
  • Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, we’ll be having a cookout by the lake with some family and hoping to go watch fireworks after that. Enjoy your day!



  • The night before Cameron headed for Mexico, we had a spur of the moment date night. His parents watched the kids = free babysitting. :) We went to Subway where Cameron got a $6 footlong and I got 2 flatizzas for $5, cuz I had a coupon (thanks Mom!). We got waters = free again! Then we went and walked around the outlet mall, which always reminds me how out of touch I am with cool people. We didn’t buy anything, just looked at stuff. Then we finished the night off by going to Sonic for slushies.
  • I’m trying to make use of free and cheap ways to have fun with the kids. So far this has involved swimming in the lake, going to parks and enjoying the library.
  • I just ordered Cameron’s b-day gift off of Amazon.I paid it COMPLETELY with credit earned from swagbucks!!!* Woo-hoo! He’s always making fun of me for doing swagbucks, so I like to buy him things with my earnings, then he doesn’t have a right to poke fun at me! HA!
  • You know how I had myself a little canning lesson? Well…last night, after the kids were in bed, I tried canning all by myself and now I have 4 jars of pickles sitting on the counter. I’ll have to update you after we’ve tasted them.
  • I gave Little Dude a hair cut. Oh how I love the savings of cutting male hair at home!


The kids with their new haircuts...and the cones they earned in the summer reading program.



Not-So-Frugal: Speaking of cutting little Dude’s hair, we took Gracia to Wal-Mart this week and got her hair cut. I have tried to do trims on her before, but I have a bad track record with female hair, so I’m sticking with professionals for longer hair.


*Referral link

Odd jobs can be a great way to earn a little extra cash, in fact odd jobs have kept Cameron quite busy this summer! Some odd jobs we’ve done in the last few years are:

  • Car maintenance and repairs - Thankfully Cameron has some experience working on cars and has done things all the way from basic oil changes for people to troubleshooting car problems.
  • Cleaning. Both homes and businesses, and sometimes people just want someone to clean one thing, for example one time we cleaned windows for an elderly couple.
  • House/pet sitting, which we’re actually doing right now. We get paid indirectly by not having to pay rent and it feels kinda like a vacation being in a house with cable TV, more space, etc…
  • House remodeling/maintenance. Cameron’s redone floors, painted a pool and all kinds of house repairs.
  • Babysitting
  • Selling things, we’ve successfully sold things on craigslist and made over $400 doing a garage sale.
  • Making things to sell. I had an etsy shop at one point, but it was unsuccessful, however I know a lot of other people have made extra money doing this.
  • Blogging. I haven’t really made a profit or anything, but maybe someday.
  • Swagbucks. This isn’t really a way of making money, but a way of earning point that you can cash in for prizes or giftcards, you can read more about my experience with it here.

Want more money earning ideas? Money Saving Mom has 27 ideas. What odd jobs have you done?

Sell handmade items


I used my swagbucks to purchase this skirt.



I was always leery of swagbucks and other point-earning sites, until I read The Frugal Girl’s review and finally decided to give it and a try. And I’m so glad I did!   I’ve earned:

  • $10 Barnes & Noble gift card which I gave to Cameron as a Christmas present a couple of years ago.
  • $10 Old Navy gift card, which I used to buy the jean skirt pictured above.
  • A tube of toothpaste which I used to …brush my teeth of course. :D
  • And 4 $5 gift cards for Amazon, my most recent one was used to buy toilet paper off amazon! :)

Basically you can do various things to earn swagbucks and then redeem them for anything from the swagstore (like the items mentioned above). I only do 3 things on a regular basis. The daily poll is a super easy and quick way to earn 1 swagbuck a day (30 a month if I do it everyday). I use the swagbuck search engine and usually end up earning around 10 a day for that. And lastly I do the NOSO (No Obligation Special Offers). You just click through some offers for 2 points at the end. You can click on the offers, but I’ve never done that, I just push the skip button at the bottom to get my points. Now I’m working on earning some swagbucks another way, through referral links. If you click my referral link and sign up for swagbucks through me, then I can earn points when you do (up to 1000 swagbucks).

Do you do swagbucks or another point-earning site? What have you gotten with your rewards?

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