Simple Ways to Improve Your Family's Finances

February 23, 2021

 Poor financial management can lead to debt and cause stress and arguments in your household. Fortunately, more and more families are taking steps to pay off debt and practice responsible spending. If you’d like to feel more in control of your money, then here are some simple ways to improve your family’s finances.

Establish a household budget

Establishing a household budget is essential if you want to feel in control of your finances. You must monitor what money is coming in and out each month and create a budget to guide your spending decisions. You can use an online budget calculator or download a template to help you calculate a budget for your household. According to, you should follow these steps to create an effective household budget:


1.     List your reliable income, e.g., your monthly salary.

2.     Calculate your monthly outgoings by combining all of your expenses.

3.     Work out your net income by subtracting your expenses from your income.

4.     If your net income is negative, then identify ways to reduce your expenses.

5.     If your net income is positive, then aim to save this money each month or use it to pay off debts.

Save 20% of your incomings

Experts recommend that you should save 20% of your income. If your monthly income is $3,000 after-tax, you should aim to put $600 of this towards savings. This money can be used to build an emergency fund, pay off debts, or put towards large purchases like a new car or a family vacation. If you are struggling to save 20% of your salary each month, then you should look for ways to reduce your expenses. Saving can be difficult, but there are likely to be plenty of ways to slash your costs. Start by tracking your spending and evaluating your purchases. Make a note of anything you spent money on that was not essential, e.g., your morning Starbucks. Make a plan to reduce your spending and increase your net income. This may involve being more frugal with your purchasing habits or switching to cheaper alternatives. For instance, you can save money by shopping on an e-commerce platform like DHgate that allows you to buy various items at wholesale prices. You can save even more money on your purchase by using a dhgate coupon.

Evaluate your debts

Talking about debts can cause anxiety, but it’s an important conversation to have. Discussing your debts and coming up with a financial plan will help you take control of your finances. It will also motivate you to deal with the issue of outstanding debt. Make sure that you track any debts and have an action plan in place to repay the debt as quickly as possible.

Final thoughts

Becoming more responsible with your spending will help you feel in control of your finances and avoid money worries. Taking steps to improve your financial position will mean that your family has more freedom and can enjoy a higher quality of life. Follow the above suggestions to boost your family’s finances, get out of debt faster, and increase your savings fund.

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Meal Planning Monday

February 22, 2021

Another week, another meal plan. 

Admittedly, after going to Atlanta I could not find it in me to meal prep yesterday... so hopefully today I will. Or I'll starve. 

Monday | Meatball Parmesan with a salad (just meatballs, marinara sauce, and shredded mozarella baked until it's bubbly) 

Tuesday | Leftovers

Wednesday | Sam's Chick-Fil-A Nuggets with Fries

Thursday | One Pot Spicy Alla Vodka Pizza Pasta

Friday | Leftovers

Saturday | Eating Out 

Sunday | Trader Joe's Meal

Breakfast - Orgain Shake or Atkins Bar
Lunch -Chicken Salad with Green Cabbage Cucumber Salad 
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Laissez le Snow Day Rouler

February 17, 2021

Yesterday we had the most fluffy powdery snow, and the kids loved it! The best part, this got us a two day Mardi Gras break! 

Here's a few pics from our morning.  

They were so proud of their snowballs! 

Elliot did great for his first time to see snow, he played for a long time and was super excited about it... until he wasn't. 

How do y'll like those homemade mittens, socks. They both had on pajamas and then real clothing. Two socks and then some of my fluffy socks. Two jackets and a hat. 

The upside of it all, it kept everything but their hands really dry. 

Snow angels and more snow tasting. 

Finally a family picture, by this point Elliot took off down the road as I was setting up my tripod. Long gone. Jeremy grabbed him and you can see his feelings about being stopped. 

You can also see his belly for that 10 second continuous capture because holding him down when he doesn't agree with you is like holding an angry alligator down. 

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King Cake Reviews || Murmurs of Ricotta

February 16, 2021

 This is the end of King Cake Review friends, Murmurs of Ricotta's take on the Dong Phong King Cake is the end all, be all, of perfection. 

She has techniques I've not seen on another king cake recipe. The dough stays so moist and soft throughout the entire process that you know it won't disappoint when you bake it. 

Baking. The bake time is spot on. Perfection. 

The icing is so good I forgot about Low Carb Monday and had King Cake Monday. I ate two pieces after I photographed this. Judge me. 

I'll be handwriting this recipe to add it to my recipe box. I'll probably also print this one out. When I die my grandchildren will have someone write this recipe in my handwriting and say that it reminds them of me, 

This is the king cake recipe to end all at home recipes, especially for the Louisiana expats. Make it, bake it, and don't step on the scale for a solid week after this cake. 

I even went so far as to make my own colored sugar when I saw how this was coming out. My initial thought to leave the sugar off or maybe use sprinkles was squelched when I noticed just how amazing this was going to be. This cake deserved colored sugar. 

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Meal Planning Moday

February 15, 2021

That's Mardi Gras break I've been begging for, well the Weather Channel granted it. 

Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll grant two days. 

In the meantime, and in very not-low-carb-day-fashion I'm working on the Murmurs of Ricotta Dong Phong king cake knock off recipe. I'll post a review this week and let y'all know how it is. I can already tell y'all this though, the dough is moist and the butter I just browned should be a candle scent right now. And I'm still in the proofing stage! 

Monday | Low Carb Enchilidas with Salad and Tomatillo Avocado Ranch (Ole tortillas, quesadilla cheese, trying the Gimme Some Oven sauce out, and ground beef) 

Tuesday | Leftovers

Wednesday | Sam's Chick-Fil-A Nuggets with Fries

Thursday | Cube Steak, Salad, Roasted Baby Potatoes

Friday | Issac Toups Hog Backbone Stew - round 2. I was missing two ingredients last time and want to make it exact this time. 

Saturday | eatin gout

Sunday | Trader Joe's Meal

Breakfast - Orgain Shake or Atkins Bar
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Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box || February Mood Detox

February 13, 2021

 Simply Earth changed this packaging recently and I love it so much that I had to photograph the entire unboxing. 

You just have to see how great the new design is. 

Where in the past we were getting a box for the Big Box items separately from the monthly box, they are now combined. Everything nestles together. 

How much do you love that the roller bottles and blend bottles are hidden right until the monthly recipe box! 

You still get the same amazing carrier oils, almond, coconut, and a solid coconut. 

Now for this month's box! 

I feel like some weird broken record, but every single month the new blends just make me so happy! They're always exactly what I need that month. After a cold wet winter, bright and cheery is the house scent mood boosting I wanted and needed! 

Ours sense of smell is directly connected to our brain and can help support our emotion. This recipe box will do just that, help support a positive mood with scent. And from diffusing them in my own house, they are so uplifting. 

This month's oils are: 

Basil  - single oil, light and earthy - calms, soothes
Happy Joy (blend) - light, happy, smells like spring - uplifts
Lava (blend) - a little deeper of a smell than Happy Joy, but just as bright and spring scented - uplifts, energizes
Geranium - single oil, a light floral, not overpowering  - uplifts, skin care 

All the beautifully colored cards and stickers! 

The additional items (to the oils) this month were sea clay and a pretty roller bottle and spray perfume bottle.

These items go along with a mud mask recipe, a body spray, and two roller bottle recipes.  

I've never used sea clay, so I'm excited to break it out and have a special Valentine's Day mask. And the pretty bottles...

I had to do an up close pic of both of these. Isn't this the prettiest bottle?!

Here's a sneak peak for next month: You'll get a Beauty Within Blend, Tea Tree, Amyris, & Palmraosa! 

As always head over to Simply Earth to order your February box and use the code LABRIDEFREE to get a $40 giftcard/credit towards your next order when you get your Bonus Box! 

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More King Cake Reviews || The Southern Living Recipe

February 6, 2021

 Consider this the year of the recipes. 

Last year I purchased cakes. This year I'm burning up the kitchen with recipes. 

This friends, was a fail. 

it looks pretty, and I finally nailed down my icing recipe thanks to a million conversations with my baking buddy Caroline... but it's s funky king cake. 

Caroline actually asked me to make it, she had tried it and had problems with the bake times.

People. There are problems with the bake times.

And the dough, the dough was tough. Like, make sure you have fresh denture glue tough. I was worried about my personal teeth with this cake. 

In case you're curious, I'm not linking it, but it's the Southern Living Pecan Cream Cheese King Cake recipe. 

Man did it have a great color and pretty icing before it disappointed me so badly. I threw it in the trash as soon as our company left, it was that bad. 

Here's my list of complaints::

1. The dough is super tough, yes I didn't knead by hand and it's probably my fault for kneading with my Kitchen Aid mixer, but I am not sitting there for 10 minutes giving myself carpel tunnel like a wanna be Paul Hollywood. No. 

2. The bake time was bad. 350 for 25 minutes. Still a raw center. I went back and put it back in the oven, cooked but yuck. 

3. The dough itself isn't sweet enough and doesn't have enough butter. You're getting all your sweet from the icing and that isn't what this party is about. 

4. I didn't roll this monster of a chunk of dough thin enough. There needed to be better instructions for the filling too. I filled thin like a cinnamon king cake, that was wrong. This puppy grew SO MUCH during rises. Then it grew again during the bake to the point that the ends separated big time. 

5. The filling almost came out curdled, it tasted fine, but was strange. 

It didn't end there. This makes two king cakes. 

I had saved the second dough and filling for a retry, just in case. 

I grated in a whole stick of butter, rolled it super thin, kept the filling in one tube shape down the middle, and baked in a bundt pan (Nola Bake House style). Changed the bake time to 350, 20 covered and 25 uncovered. 

This kept the butter from leaching out, but it was still tough and not up to par. 

Zero stars. 

Zero stars people. Do not make. It's a waste of bread flour. 

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JANUARY || Things I Bought & Liked

February 5, 2021

*Post contains Amazon Affiliate links.  

It's been a minutes since I wrote one of these posts. 

But here we go, some of my faves from the past month. 

1. SPORTS RESEARCH COLLAGEN PEPTIDES || It's been a second since I used collagen. I ended up on a brand last year that I wasn't the biggest of fans of in the end, it had too much taste in coffee. But I decided (after major skin issues on the old face) that it was time to get back to it. I can 100% say this has zero taste in your coffee and tea and I've seen such an improvement in my face. So much so that Jeremy even commented the other night that my skin looks really clear. 

2. LIBEREX FACIAL CLEANSING BRUSH || Count this as #2 is what is changing my skin. I hyped up the Retin-A (and am still bitter than I can't get this doctor to give me a topics antibiotic so here we are trying other things), am taking collagen daily, and use this brush every morning. It comes with 3 heads and I tend to use the soft daily and the rougher brush once a week for a deep exfoliation. This is my reasonably priced dupe for the higher end facial brushes that I could never bring myself to spend the cash on. 

3. DRMTLGY ACNE SPOT TREATMENT || This is #3 in the acne solutions to clear skin that has been going down! Since I again, can't get my hands on a topical antibiotic that I know works great for me, I've resorted to this. Here's a tip, only apply it where you need it. Don't all over face it if you don't have to, it's strong. To not interact too badly with the Retin-A I use this in the morning on my chin, nose, and forehead (my problem areas). Just a dab too! If I have breakouts I will slap some on that area as well. 

4. EverTrim FITNESS RESISTANCE BANDS || My favorite plastic-ish bands molded in the rental (y'all it was a situation) so I needed a replacement when I got back on my health game in January. I've been seeing a lot of people using this style of fabric bands and I have not been disappointed. Not only are they tougher to stretch, I've been super sore! 

5. MONIN COFFEE SYRUPS (SF VANILLA/CINNAMON BUN) || After ages upon ages of not being able to find the syrup I want consistently here (why on earth does BHAM have stocking issues ole po-dunk New Iberia never had) I broke down and ordered the same syrup a local coffee shop uses. It was worth it. Now I just need to get the birthday fairy to drop me a Nespresso and all will be right in the world. The cinnamon bun is their version of the Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce. The SF Vanilla... well that is just what I usually order. 

6. COOP HOME GOODS PILLOW || This is the holy grail of pillows! We've had My Pillow for ages and they started going flat, like waking up on your death bed flat. I've been hearing a podcast I like talk about this pillow, so I bit the bullet and got two king size. It is heaven. HEAVEN! They send an extra bag of fill and you can increase the amount you have or remove some. It'll take your pillow game to the next level! 

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Meal Planning Monday

February 1, 2021

Let's see if we can get our macro life together this week. 

I'll probably destroy it in my attempt to salvage a giant hunk of dough though. I finally made the Southern Living king cake and it was tragic. But! I've got an idea! I'm going to grate frozen butter into the dough, roll that mess back, and light some prayer candles in hopes it works. 

Surely a celebrity prayer candle is being sold with the likes of Paul Hollywood on it by this point? Surely. (I'm clearly joking and am not actually lighting celebrity prayer candles with any real meaning folks) 

Monday | Crack Chicken, Roasted Zucchini, Tortilla Chips

Tuesday | Leftovers

Wednesday | Sam's Chick-Fil-A Nuggets with Fries

Thursday | Brined Pork chops (Issac Toups Cookbook), Baked Sweet Potatoes, and Green Beans

Friday | Trying another Issac Toups stew recipe from Chasing the Gator

Saturday | Eating Out

Sunday | Trader Joe's Meal

Breakfast - Orgain Shake or Atkins Bar
Lunch - A low or regular carb wrap with caramelized onion, roasted deli turkey, blue cheese aioli, and arugula with either Zapp's chips or raw broccoli with ranch. 
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