Ideas For Relaxed Weekends With No Chores

effects of overscheduling weekendsAre you like me who feels like the weekends fly by in a jiffy? Weekdays are so busy that most of us look forward to Friday evenings. However, weekends get much busier than the weekdays if we lot more things filling up the plate.

Unsurprisingly, many weekends are filled with household chores and activities. It can be trips to grocery store to laundry to house cleaning. If not chores, we pack our weekends with taking kids outside. Spending quality of time with kids is sooo important. But it’s equally important to relax and rejuvenate before the next week starts. Even if it’s 30 minutes, spending time for ourselves is essential. But what about the pending tasks that need to be done during the weekend?

Below are some of the ideas I have tried that made a difference in our lives:

Catch Up Chores On Weekdays:

This is something I have been following religiously for years. Complete the chores during weekdays rather than waiting till the weekend. House chores like grocery shopping, house cleaning, mopping and everything else can be done during the weekdays. Plan 30 minutes a day to complete these tasks.

I have a cleaning schedule I follow to complete our household cleaning. Do I follow them every single day? probably not. But most of the days I stick to my cleaning schedule.

By the time weekend hits, I’m ready to relax. I’d rather sit idle for 2 hours on the couch rather than cleaning the bathroom. I want the weekend to be with minimal chores. Again, if I miss any chores during the weekdays, I do complete them during the weekend. But I don’t want it to be a routine.

Multitasking:

Time and time again I realized I’m not good at multitasking if I want to complete a work effectively. Focusing on just a single task helps me complete it faster than trying to juggle 2 different tasks. I also came across multiple articles that confirmed the same. If you try to multitask, I’d suggest you try to focus on one task at a time and I’m sure you’ll notice the difference.

No Social Media Saturdays:

This is something I have been trying in the last few weeks. Not surprisingly, I love this routine. A few people I know follow this routine on Sundays. Unfortunately, I start checking work emails on Sunday evenings, do some blogging on Sundays etc. So I moved my no-social-media day to Saturday.

Social media has a lot more effect on our behaviors than we realize. That’s why it’s important to connect with the right people even in social media. Only the good things are shared in social media and what you see in there may not be a complete picture. Staying away from social media at least one day a week helps us bounce back to reality. It definitely made me calm, relax, and cherish the current moments.

I don’t know if I am able to explain all of its benefits in words here. But I know I feel good and I would highly suggest you try this approach.

TV Time:

Relaxing doesn’t need to involve TV.  I used to be a person who would switch on TV if I wanted to relax. Back in the days, we used to spend way too many hours in front of TV. Now, Friday evenings are our TV time. Saturday evenings, we either hit the bed early or Husband and I talk instead of switching on TV.

What’s the problem with watching TV?

Nothing except we will be glued to TV rather than conversing with the people next to us.

We made one simple change in our TV setup that made a huge difference in controlling the urge to switch on TV. We moved TV to the end of the living room and it’s not longer a centerpiece of the living room. Now it doesn’t even occur to us to watch TV unless we got to know a specific program and want to watch it.

Once we do follow all the above ideas to clear out the schedule and mind, below are the things we can do to further enjoy the weekend:

Plan Your Weekends:

This may sound like a no-brainer. But planning the weekend ahead of time helps us predict what comes next. My husband and I talk about our weekend plan every Friday evening. It’s a 10 minutes discussion on what we can do during the weekend, where we can go, whether we need to book the tickets, the weather, kids sleeping schedule etc. With 2 kids, we cannot function without planning our schedule. It also keeps us sane especially if the weekend schedule involves any trips.

Family Rituals:

I think it’s important to mention family rituals here. I love family rituals whether it’s pancake breakfast every Sunday morning or watching movies every Friday evenings. It eventually becomes a family tradition that creates some fond memories among us. Our kids will remember these rituals forever and they might end up recreating these when they have their own family.

We already follow some family rituals and we are looking to create more rituals that can be incorporated without too much work/planning.

It’s easy to follow rituals during the weekends because we have more time and our body is more relaxed to try new things. But if you have jam-packed schedule even during the weekend, these things might not be possible.

I’m always on the look for ideas. Please share yours if you follow any rituals in your family.

Meet With Friends:

Even in a hectic schedule, spending time with good company can make a huge difference. Who doesn’t love some good conversations? At the same time, avoid spending time with negative people. They can let you down.

The reason I specifically mentioned “Friends” because they’re your friends for a reason. We choose our friends and it’s obvious that we enjoy their company.

I love game nights with friends. Those are so fun that I still remember some of the fun nights we had with friends. With young baby and toddler, our game nights are non-existant right now. But we are looking forward to resuming it as soon as the baby sleeps longer hours at night.

3 Websites To Make Extra Money

3 websites to earn extra income

Here, I’m sharing my absolute favorite list of websites that require only 5 minutes of your day to earn extra money. I have been using them for years and quite happy with the $$ I receive for my very little effort. You can find my lifetime points/earnings in the pictures as well. Have a look and let me know if you have any questions. I’m adding my referral link in a couple of them below. You can earn initial points worth $ if you use my referral link and I get some points by sharing you these websites.

Bing.com:

Bing is a search engine owned by Microsoft. Create an account at bing.com and earn points everytime you search through Bing. You’re basically registering your existing email address to start earning the points. Every day, you can earn 150 points through PC search and 100 points through mobile search (install Bing.com app). Everyday Bing also provides options to get bonus points. You can redeem these points for gift card/buy services.

I mostly use Bing.com rewards points for Skype credit or Starbucks gift card. 500 minutes Skype credit is only 4250 points. All our India calls are through Skype or Whatsapp. So having some Skype credits in handy helps with calling India numbers directly. More on that in a post here.

Instead of searching in Google, you search through Bing. The bonus is, you get to ear $$ for the searches. Double win if you ask me.

MyPoints:

I have been using MyPoints from 2009. They offer you multiple different ways to earn points. To be honest, I hardly have time to try all of them. The only option I try, yet I’m able to redeem good $$ over years is clicking the emails that they send. When I clean up my mailbox once every few days, I just open these emails and click. That’s all I do. MyPoints offers 5 points to click the email. It’s an easy money for spending less than a minute every few days. All I have been doing is, clicking the emails that they send.

Those emails clearly say “get 5 points for clicking this”. These 5 points add up and in few months you can redeem them for gift cards.

Swagbucks:

What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is more of a search engine that rewards you with Swagbucks for searching. When you search, you will be randomly awarded Swagbucks for searching, from 5 bucks and more.

You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at Swagbucks.com

These Swagbucks can then be redeemed for a variety of different gift cards and other items. I got so many Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks over the year.

Join Swagbucks!

They also offer many different ways to earn more Swagbucks. Some of the most popular ways to earn Swagbucks are doing online searches, signing up for offers, printing coupons, completing special offers, or taking polls.

How to get started with Swagbucks?

Just sign up for a free Swagbucks account. Once you’re signed up, I encourage you check out the left hand side of swagbucks home page where they list out different options to earn money. Experiment with different ones until you determine the ones that works for you.

I encourage you to set an earnings goal each day and try to login and hit the points goals, if possible. Try to invest at least 5 minutes a day, it can really start to add up!

You can get $5 Amazon gift cards for just 500 points. With few minutes of your time, you can easily hit 40-50 points a day.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions.

A Simple Habit To Increase Your Savings Exponentially

How to reduce spending

There are two ways you can create wealth. 1. Earning more money 2. Saving more. Out of the two, we have more control over our spending habits than earning more money.

Even if you have lean budget and you don’t want to reduce your spending, there is one simple way that will greatly reduce your spending.

It’s quite simple: ELIMINATE WASTE. It’s around the same line of MINIMALISM. Minimalism indirectly helps reduce the waste. Let’s say you have tried all the ideas to reduce grocery spending, and want to reduce it even further, look nowhere other than your kitchen.

  • Go to your kitchen and find out the items that are about to expire. Make some meals out of them
  • Create weekly meal planning with the ingredients you already have in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. Once in a few weeks, I cook all my meal from items in the kitchen without buying anything from the store. Those are days when I get creative and cook some different meals. Some turned out to be really nice, some turned out to be ok
  • Clean your fridge, freezer, and pantry once a month. When you take everything out for cleaning, you are forced to see the unused items that are about to expire
  • Maintain a “Monthly Waste” list and stick it in the freezer. Every time we waste something, that item and its value are entered in the waste list. It’s easy to throw something and not think about it in the next minute.  But when you write the item you wasted and its value, you can feel a pinch in your heart. So next time when you waste something, you’ll think twice (the current one in my mind is unused Asparagus stems in the fridge. I’m thinking of making a soup out of it. Hopefully it turns out well)

Where to start:

Below is the timeline I follow when it comes to cleaning the unused items.

ItemTimeline
ClothingOnce a month
Kids ToysOnce a quarter
FurnitureOnce every 6 months
Anything that's torn and not fixedevery 3 months
Kids clothesAfter every season
Foodafter expiry date (obviously)
MedicineAnything that you know you won't use it anymore + expired
Makeup + skincareanything not used in the last 3 months + expired

How to avoid waste:

  • Don’t buy bulk if you are not going to use the item within 2 months
  • If the item doesn’t excite you, it has to go. Whether it’s piece of clothing or a kitchen utensil, if you don’t find it exciting to use or wear, it needs to go
  • Invest in good quality items and buy less. For example, I only have 4 kitchen vessels in total (including my pressure cooker). I cook all my meals using those 4. It’s been over 2 years since I ditched my extra utensils and I haven’t missed them so far. Try it. you’ll be surprised.
  • Have a budget (Here is more on how to start budgeting). High-quality items are typically expensive. If you buy expensive items within the budget, you cannot buy too many items and fill up the house

When you start implementing the above ideas, you might feel like you’re throwing away too many items at once. But those are the items you have not used for a whole or you can no longer use. If possible consider donating them or selling them on Facebook. Once you’re past the first step, the total waste goes down and you can eventually see a difference both in your spending as well as in your life.

Weekly Meal Planning – April 17, 2017

Indian weekly meal planning + weekend prep

Super late to the menu plan party for this week. My dad flew to India last week and Chuttu started daycare. A lot of things were happening that I didn’t have time to put together a menu on Thursday. Nevertheless, here I am sharing my next week menu with you:

BreakfastLunchDinnerSnacks
Whole wheat pancakeRice, moong dal sambar, and carrot curryPesarattu with coconut chutneyFrozen yogurt bark (my favorite dessert lately)
Dosa waffleRoti with Chayote kootuIdly with coimbatore style kurma (this kurma is my mom's recipe. I'll share the recipe later)Chia seeds energy balls
Oatmeal breakfast cookiesRoti with eggplant kootuBaked pasta + SaladCrunchy puffed rice snack
Cereal + smoothieLemon rice, tamarind rice, and potato fryTofu masala burgercarrots with dip, fruits
PB&J with fruitsRice, yogurt gravy, and beans-lentil usiliSalsa soy casserole (I will replace soy instead of chicken and use grains instead of rice in this recipe)
Masala lentils

If you’ve been following my blog, I don’t follow a set rules on the menu plan. I change it according to our current lifestyle. This week I included Snacks in my menu planning.

Do you know why? Because I’ll be sharing my weekend-prep with you in a video if you’d like to join me. I do prepare some of the snacks during weekend to keep healthy snacks around the house all.the.time.

Below is my weekend-prep list. Would love it if you can join me as well:

  • Chia seeds energy balls
  • Puffed rice
  • Cooked toor + bengal gram dals for paruppu usili
  • Cooked lentils for snacks
  • Cooked moong dal (for sambar + instant payasam)
  • Whole wheat pancake

Below is the list of ingredients you need for the above menu: 

BreakfastLunchDinnerSnacks
Spinach
Egg
Instant oats
Nut butter
Chia seeds
Flax seeds
Milk
Honey
Goji berries
Whole wheat flour
Banana
Dosa dough
Moong dal
Chayote
Eggplant
Carrots
Lemon
Tamarind
Potatoes
Yogurt
Green beans
Toor dal
Black beans
Salsa
Corn
Grains
Soy chunks
Chia seeds
Puffed rice
Peanuts
Yogurt (for frozen yogurt bark)
Raisins
Chickpea
Baby carrots
Dates
Dry coconut
Pistachio
Walnuts
Flax meal
Cacao
Vanilla extract
Nutmeg (optional)

Once again, if you are looking for some Indian meal planning inspirations + support, check out the Indian Meal Planning Support Group in Facebook. I’ll see you around! 🙂

First YouTube Video on Weekly Meal Planning

I’ve been meaning to shoot videos on meal planning for at least a year. As an outgoing introvert (!) I’m always hesitant to throw me out in the world, be it in the blogging world or YouTube world. After so many months I got the courage to do my first video and here I am posting it on meal planning. Guess that deserve a separate post? 🙂