6 sanity saving items & places I can’t live without

Life is hectic. It’s also expensive. Here are some items & places that have made my life a little bit more manageable as I try to balance work, a budget, and life on the go with toddler.

  1. Who has time to prepare elaborate meals? Not this working Mom. I absolutely love my slow cooker. My family can have a delicious, nutritious meal (without me feeling guilty) any day of the week. It makes for great leftovers as lunch or dinner the next day. We’ll throw in ingredients for a stew or roast in the morning, hit the button, and come home to a mouth-watering aroma as soon as we enter the house. Throw on some water to boil for pasta or add rice to the rice cooker and if you’ve got dinner, with veggies and all, in 15 minutes tops -Yes!
  2. Ditch the diaper bag and opt for a sturdy backpack instead. Why didn’t I think of this from the beginning? I only recently realized how much more convenient it is to carry a backpack around when a toddler’s in tow because it keeps both my arms and hands free! With the diaper bag it kept sliding off my shoulder and causing strain on one side of my body. They’re also expensive, and not very versatile. We use our backpack to store diapers, wipes, clothes, snacks (you can find one with a stay cool pocket, I’m sure) and other necessary items. It’s great for day or out of town trips, picnics, hiking and everything in between.
  3. When picking out strollers, opt for one with an aluminum frame. The first stroller we owned was a beast. If I could go back I would skip purchasing the travel system (waste of money) that comes with a monstrous sized stroller, and opt for a lighter, portable stroller instead. Plus it doesn’t take up all that space in my trunk and it comes with a travel bag, since it’s light enough to carry.
  4. I always bring my sneakers with me wherever I go. I can put them on anytime of day and any day of the week to get free exercise. There’s no more excuse not to exercise. Who needs to pay monthly membership fees that go unused when you can exercise for free? I love to take a walk during my lunch break. It gives me a chance to stretch, get some fresh air and clear my head any time of year.  When you’re ready you can graduate to jogging to really build up your energy and stamina, and tone those muscles.
  5. I’m at the library at least one time each week. We’ve saved so much money by borrowing books instead of buying them. The library book sales are fantastic. We’ve managed to snag some great reads so cheaply. $5 is all it takes to get a big bag full of good reads. We also use the library to sign out passes that give us reduced or free admission to many fun local attractions.
  6. Our state parks have been a lifesaver this summer. We purchased a season pass for $35 and have been discovering and exploring conservation land all around Massachusetts. There are so many amazing areas to explore right in your own state. This summer we’re saving money and time by staying close to home and acting like tourists in our own state.  Who knew there was so much to do right in our own backyard?

I’d love to hear from you. What are your sanity saving items and places?