Author Archives: Darcy Cronin

About Darcy Cronin

I'm a Mother/Coach/Blogger/Business Adventurer from Portland OR. My family consists of my Hubby of 12 years, our 8yo Kieran, 5yo Makenna, and 1yo Teagan. I love dreaming about a better future, and making it happen.

Consciousness Check

Most wake up calls don’t feel very enlightening at first, but I was lucky enough get a reminder in the mail about how unconscious I used to be about our family finances. 


Over the weekend I got a letter letting me know that I never cashed a $208.33 pre-tax reimbursement check for child care tuition. Ironically, the check was issued 1/19/2009, just 6 days before Girly’s birth! I was obviously busy with better things, like planning for a home birth. I guess my “mommy brain” kicked in a little early 😉


But don’t really have an excuse, I used to simply be really unconscious about our finances. My old self would mentally celebrate any possible avoidance of dealing with our finances, and there was always something more worthy of my time and energy. 


I don’t claim to be perfect these days, but both Hubby and I are making a sustained effort to keep our finances in order. Over the weekend, Hubby spend some time filing everything from our recent mortgage refi. I wrote a request for the $208.33 check to be reissued, and started to dive into our post-holiday finances! 


Then we all went out on a bike ride to the park to test out Big Guy’s new tag along bike


Have you ever been lucky enough to find money you didn’t realize you lost?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Healthy Eating & Living

In honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Obamas spent time yesterday volunteering at Stuart Hobson Middle School in the District of Columbia painting apples in support of Michele Obama’s initiative to create healthy eating and living habits.


Creating healthy eating habits for your kids (and yourself) is not only good for your health, but also good for your wallet.  Some quick tips on how healthy eating can help your bottom line.

  • Eat in, rather than out, is almost always healthier and cheaper
  • Veggie snacks, i.e. carrot sticks or ants on log (celery with peanut butter and raisins)
  • Hot cereal! This is a great and healthy alternative to expensive cereals, add in apples, raisins and nuts for an added bonus. Yum! 
  • Make your own applesauce with kids instead of cookies, they will remember the activity
  • Buy in bulk, you’ll save more than you think on good whole foods than you think you can
  • Make a list and stick to it.  Good intentions can go out the window to grocery marketing.  Better yet, shop at spud! (mention SFF and we get a referral)
  • Drink only tap water and you’ll save a bundle and be much healthier
  • Don’t buy junk food.  Not only is it bad for you, but it’s bad for your wallet
  • Buy in season and on sale, it is amazing how much you can save when you shop smart
  • Visit a farm and see where your food comes from, great cheap activity that reconnects

Help build happy, healthy, and smart kids.  Here is a great resource for kids volunteering, on a site called Compassionate Kids.


Another quick shout out to a great blog post on MLK, Jr. from the folks over at The Story of Stuff, entitled Honoring the Spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.Through Action.


Did you volunteer yesterday?  It not too late, the volunteer spirit lasts all year!
What are your tips for healthy eating?


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Volunteer Together!

If there is one thing Hubby is most proud of, it’s his personal commitment to volunteer service. He served in the first group of AmeriCorps members, and even had the opportunity to meet President Clinton at the White House. AmeriCorps members are encouraged to become volunteers, and he’s taken that to heart.


We participate in a handful of projects each year, and have often organized events through our workplaces. Admittedly, since having kids we’re not always able to be the most efficient volunteers. But I figure that it’s the ethic and experience that makes a difference. And I know that the trash we’ve picked up and trees we’ve planted have been because we took time from our busy life to give back. Hubby and I both worked community events this weekend, so we’re going to save our family service for a few weekends from now when Friends of Trees will be planting in our neighborhood.


Here’s a great quick video on volunteerism and finding your special niche.


Here are the best national ways to find service opportunities:


All for Good
Do Something


Here are my favorite local places to volunteer:


Friends of Trees
Hands on Portland – search for Children’s Book Bank
SOLV


Enjoy your day on!


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Family Finances

While I was a natural born environmentalist as a child of the seventies, motherhood has brought out my own focus on eco-friendly finances, supporting both my family and the earth.


After a whole year of blogging, I realized that I have close to 250 posts (another 40 topics in the queue already too). I’ve tried to do my best to categorize things along the way, but that’s easier in theory…so I thought I’d compile some my favorite themes.



Frugal Family Fun
Okay, first the fun stuff.  Check out tips on frugal family fun, everything from winter kid-friendly activities, frugal fun tipsfamily camping, family camping gear, free parksbeach clean-up, Burgerville, and family outings.


Kids
childcare expenses, eco-healthy childcareswapping kid related stuff, practical advice for dealing with head lice, Children’s Book Bankfavorite green kids’ books, Business of Being BornHealthy Child Healthy WorldAnother part of children, is deciding how much is right for you, as we are leaning toward sticking with two kids. Plus Grandma’s gift policy and green birthdays, and saving early.


Spouses
Money Honey, that’s what I call our time together to discuss our finances and goals. Making time for our partners outside of “business” or family matters, whether you are lucky enough to benefit from Flex days, or work close enough to enjoy lunch once a week together as we do.  Finding cheap getaways, though sometimes that also means opting to take solo vacations.  Also remember heartfelt ways to celebrate your marriage.


Nitty Gritty Family Finances
Integrating our finances, including choosing a community oriented bank, maximizing family healthcare coverage, managing our finances with Mint.com, money saving tips interview, middle class meaningDealing with student loan debt, including looking at the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, and applauding new regulations in student loans. Frugal lessons.


Home Economics
EcoMaidsgardening, extra cargo space, grocery shopping, shopping Spudopting out of cable, honing your yard sale savvy, finding alternatives to basic sack lunches, getting the most of shopping online, frugal lessons, groupon, treebate, plus other simple ways to safe money…in contrast to Affluenza.


Pets
Doggy Debt, Building a Poop Composter, and Building a Worm Bin.


Protecting Your Family
With as much as we do to support our families, it is also essential to take steps to protect our family.  While it is important for individuals, having a Just in Case Plan, including updated Wills, life insurance, and keeping an eye on your credit is essential. Last year this included developing an emergency kit and plan for our family in case of emergencies.


Consumer Culture
Conflict-free camera, Story of Electronics, Story of Bottled Water, Story of Cosmetics, Story of Stuff,  


Green Family Transport
Taking public transportation with kids, Baby Biking, Sunday Parkways, Bicycling Culture, and Zero Dollars Per Gallon.


Books
Get a Financial Life by Beth Kobliner, Living in Bliss by Eric Weiner


More Fun Stuff
What I Am Sesame Street music video, Pop Culture by Ben Lee, We’re All in This Together by Ben Lee, Green Police, and The Majestic Plastic Bag.


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Sustainable Family Finances 
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.