five tips for an easier, better year!

in 2014, i realized one big thing. 

i can make choices that make my days, weeks, months & even years better. meaning, i have this big ol' super power to make intentional choices, moves & decisions each day that will make my life easier & brighter. 

today i want to share with you five tips that i have implemented in my own life that i hope will make your 2015 even better, brighter & easier...

1. find a tribe & build community: i don't want to hear your excuses. call up some gals, text some acquaintances, write a status on facebook & put out a call on instagram. do it. now! start a book club, coordinate a play group or meet for coffee. 

i used to not be a tribe believer; i was certain quality groups of girlfriends weren't possible after college. people just don't get me. i am a weirdo blogger after all. but after a series of unfortunate friend events, i finally threw in the towel & asked some girls to weekly coffee. i mean really, could it get any worst? my people, we are still meeting weekly for coffee & it's the best thing ever. so make that call & schedule that meet-up in 2015.

2. budget: budgeting looks different for everyone & there is no right way to make intentional financial decisions. whatever way you choose to track your spending & earnings, just do it. i can't wait to share how we budget (an upcoming blog post scheduled for late january...), but until then sit down with pen & paper (& your partner if you have one!) & start creating a budget. there is freedom in a budget, friends. 

3. sign up for epantry!: my friends, i have never loved a company quite as much as i love epantry. look at my face when i tell you i've got a deep love for these people & their goods. 

i signed up for an epantry subscription in 2014 & this sister will never go back! just a bit about epantry - epantry is a fantastic company that sends your favorite cleaning supplies right to your door. they're cheaper than what you'll find at the store & you can make thoughtful decisions about what you need versus that impulse purchase i know i tend to make at target. epantry also helps me to budget my household spending, which is always a plus.

the folks at epantry are sweet as pie & they are offering natalie creates readers $10 off their first month's purchase, free shipping AND a free mrs. meyer's hand soap. woo hoo! just click the link right here to join (there's no catch, i pinkie promise!) & never run out of toilet paper again!

4. hire a housekeeper: it took months for us to budget a housekeeper, but once we did, i'm fairly certain i heard a choir of angels singing. my housekeeper, amanda, is my favorite person on this earth. she comes just once a month (that's all we can afford!) & she does the dirty work i avoid like the plague. she dusts my open cabinets, cleans the baseboards, scrubs our dirty fridge & mops my floors. ask around & find a recommended housekeeper in your area that works with your budget. i can't wait to see how it decreases your overall stress to come home to a cleaner, more relaxing home. 

5. schedule date nights: we budget about $40 a month for dates. oftentimes those dates look like movies on the couch in our pjs & sometimes our dates are at a fancy restaurant in our sunday's best. whatever date nights look like for you, plan & schedule more intentional time with your partner in 2015. tip for partners with kids: my girlfriends with children swap date nights. while one couple is off on a date, the other watches both sets of kids. try it! it's free & it builds community. awesome.

please tell me! what tips do you have to share that make your days easier & brighter? i'd love to read your thoughts!


Nina said...

House keepers are amazing! Here in Chile they are very common and affordable. We have one, her name is Ines, and she is pure magic. She comes twice a week for a full day (10-5:30) and she does everything! Sweeps, vacuumed, mops, ironing, even cooks. Sometimes I'll have her prep something for later in the week like if I'm planning on making empanadas she'll make the dough for me. She is just the best. You really notice a difference!

Razmataz said...

All great ideas.

Natalie @opendoortraders said...

Those are some great tips, thank you for sharing! Love the idea of swapping date nights with other friends with kids! Annnnd a housekeeper, genius!! Checking out epantry now-cheers to a brighter new year!

Laurel said...

Spending time with girlfriends and our couple friends is on my priority list this year! As a couple we are switching into that "empty nest" mode and friendships have become more important than ever before. I like the idea of setting a weekly coffee date with girlfriends.

@susannah_becker said...

Hi Natalie! I'm a 23 year old who has been following your blog for a while and really look up to you! Thank you for your insight and wisdom! Is there an app that you guys use? I currently have Mint but haven't really began taking advantage of it.



Ravenna said...

Just found your blog through Instagram and I love love love it! This is something I am working toward as well, moving away from the rat race into living a healthier and more intentional life. You've got a new follower here :) Keep it up!

Heather said...

Love the budgeting idea! We do that, too, and it brings so much freedom and takes away stress. :)

ali grace | cookies and grace said...

I totally agree about the tribe thing. It took a WHILE for me, but a friend invited me to a book club and it has truly been a God send. Fun girls and lots of fun books! I think everyone should be in one.
Also - I LOVE the housekeeper idea. We'll see if I can convince the hubby. Maybe one day? ;)

Brittany A said...

Mind made up! I've been thinking about paying my younger sister (who's still in college in our town) to clean our house super good once a month. Clean house and support the win :)

Min♥ said...

Hi Natalie... have been following your blog from the beginning and it just keeps getting better! Thankyou! Totally agree with having a 'tribe'... fun and support all at once... how much better can you get :). I am soooo looking forward to your budgeting post. I also follow you on instagram and you've mentioned it before. I showed my hubby what you guys do and we are keen to start... but don't know where to begin. We've always lived on a budget, but now we're really trying to simplify and it will be interesting to see if we can implement any of your methods. Thanks Again and Keep up the wonderful posts... I know how hard that is in itself.♥♥♥

Anonymous said...

thank you for the deal on ePantry! i was skeptical at first, but when i looked on their site it REALLY made sense! i live in a rural area, so i usually end up getting most things at the nearest grocery store... which is not cheap. this should be PERFECT for us and save us money, too.

i also always start with a budget and then lose track of things. it's my goal to be better about that AND successfully get my partner involved. oh, that should be fun.

Janine van Emden said...

About the cleaning: having a housekeeper sounds like a dream.
although i am probably one of those people who cleanes before the housekeeper comes XD

So I "have to" do it myself ( should I mention i work as a domestic aid for elderly? ;-) )
But I didn't have a schedule or something and I was mainly doing what really needed to be done.. or whatever I felt like ( which , surprise, most day was nothing)
But recently I found the blog. She also has an instagram account. She has the most wonderfull cleaning schedule and daily tips.
I've been following that and am not longer running around trying to do everything at once.

Holly said...

Natalie, what are your favorite Mrs. Meyer products and scents? I'm joining e-pantry because of you! Thanks!

Christa said...

Hi Natalie,

#1 is very relevant to my life right now. Could you talk more about your experience with building that tribe? I'm always looking for new ideas. Thanks!

Amanda said...

I second the housekeeper! I'm living in China right now, or I don't think I could afford one (back home in Canada). She comes every Friday for 2 hours and it makes such a difference! Coming home after a long work-week and walking into a clean apartment, not having to spend my Saturday morning cleaning, ahhh!

When I do move back to Canada, I have a feeling my fiancé and I will try to find a way to afford it!

Rhiannon Langford said...

I loved this post so much I featured it in my first Siesta Sunday of 2015! See the post here: All the best!

Shaina Longstreet said...

Such great tips!! I love the budgeting (looking forward to that post) and housekeeper ideas. :)

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