Spring Food & Fitness

Hello spring, we are thrilled to see you! Spring is such a transformative season with new growth for nature and can lead to many fresh opportunities to step outside of one’s comfort zone. Kayla (Kaydealive) and I (Functun) have set out on an adventure to bring a breath of fresh air back to our health and wellness journeys by sharing food and fitness inspired by spring. By documenting this exhilarating experience between our different lifestyles (both married, one with kids), we wish to motivate or inspire you to join us in your own creative way.

Food

Balanced nutrition is a major factor in acquiring results on a successful health and wellness journey. Having a repertoire of delicious, yet nutritious meals help everyone reap the benefits of indulging in a health-conscious way. We were thrilled to partner up and hunt for easy spring inspired meals to bring to your plate this season while making sure to have reoccurring ingredients that don’t break the bank. We decided to focus on five dishes: breakfast, lunch, appetizer, dinner, and dessert. 

Molly: I chose the breakfast and lunch dishes. 

For breakfast, my husband and I always love making egg scrambles. I started with sautéing the sweet potatoes and onions on medium heat. Once those were cooked to my liking, I added the eggs and a few random seasonings. Choose any that work for your palette, but I always like a cajun style with my eggs.  Once those were almost scrambled, I added smoked gouda cheese and stirred until melted. This dish incorporates a lot of protein and complex carbs. 

For lunch, I chose beef and beets. This is another go to for my husband and me.  We always get our beef from the Fresh Market on Tuesdays at a great price and try to find ways to incorporate it into many meals. Beets are a beautiful vegetable that are low in calorie and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. I sauteed them together on medium heat with some truffle salt and once done, topped with dried rosemary. 

Kayla: I chose the appetizer and dinner dishes.

For the appetizer, I chose my family’s Easter classic deviled eggs recipe. It is as follows…

  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or unflavored Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • paprika, for garnish
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low (or off) to ensure the water is no longer boiling or has bubbles and use a skimmer to place the eggs in the water. Then increase the heat back to high and set a timer for 12 minutes. While the eggs are boiling prepare an ice water bath and set aside. After 12 minutes, remove the eggs from the water and place in the ice water.
  2. Once the eggs have cooled completely, peel them and slice in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk to a small bowl with a spoon and place the egg whites on a plate. Mash the yolks with a fork and add the mayonnaise or yogurt, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir everything together until it’s smooth. Use a spoon or a bag to add a portion of the deviled egg mixture back into the hole of each egg white. Sprinkle paprika on top.

This continues the protein train while making it fun and a go to for spring parties.

For dinner, I chose salmon and asparagus. Salmon adds a lot of healthy fat with Omega 3, and asparagus is another low-calorie vegetable that is high in antioxidants. I laid the asparagus on the sides of the baking sheet and put the salmon in between. I topped off the salmon with lemon and rosemary. As always, pick what seasonings work for you. We cooked everything in the oven at 325 F for 23 minutes. If you plan on using this meal, be sure to put everything on top of aluminum foil to make for an extra easy clean up.

Together we picked the dessert. We knew a light, tart, and perfectly smooth lemon bar would compel our mouths to water and thought this dessert would be a fantastic addition to any spring family or friend-oriented event you may have coming up. The lemon bar recipe is listed here, and it does not disappoint!

Pictured below are the dishes we chose followed by the grocery receipt. 

All meals were extremely simple to make by only having one or two dishes per meal. Many items were reintroduced, leading to a very inexpensive grocery list for a few days for a family or week if by oneself. There are also many other ways to pair these ingredients outside of what is presented. Last, some items were not included on the shopping list as they are typically food staples such as condiments and seasonings. Please account accordingly. 

Fitness

Molly: I like to have fitness choices that relax me and bring balance to my life. I am always on the go with work and knew I had to pick exercises that took minimal thought and effort to avoid wearing me out further. 

My first choice is running. Fun fact, I previously hated running. I believe this was due to the fact that I always saw it as a chore or something on the side of my main goal which used to be soccer. Once I changed this mindset last spring, it gave me a way to escape COVID and focus on what I could control – me. I had only run 5 miles prior to last spring (maybe once?), but I ended up accomplishing a half marathon (13.1 miles). That was insane to think about, but it allowed me to destress and find a new form of fitness that I love. I want to continue to run this spring and would like to accomplish another half marathon, if my schedule permits. Regardless, I will lean on running as a go to exercise and will be happy with any accomplishment. As far as equipment needed, the only thing is a good pair of running shoes which is an average investment of $100, if you don’t already own a solid pair. 

To bring more balance, my second choice is yoga. I don’t have much experience with this as I have only taken five beginner classes before, but I am open to learning more about it and how to control my body. I am looking to use this exercise as a way to kick off or end my day in a very peaceful manner. The equipment is minimal since you only need a mat. If desired, you could even practice without one!

Kayla: I’m a creature of habit and tend to get stuck in a rut with exercise. I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone this spring which led to barre being my first choice of exercise. Barre is distinguished from other fitness activities by its use of the ballet barre and its incorporation of movements derived from ballet. Enthusiastically, I searched for new ballet slippers, looked up how to build a cost-efficient barre for my office, and found stimulating videos for barre beginners online. One of the coolest things I have found is that barre workouts contribute to weight loss because it breaks down muscle and builds strength within every section of class. It is a great rehabilitative exercise for any fitness level. 

On the lookout for a new adventure with yoga, a friend of mine asked me to try aerial yoga with her for her birthday. Wow! What an electrifying and breathtaking way to move. I’m not gonna lie, I enjoyed flipping upside down like a kid on the monkey bars. Aerial yoga is a hybrid type of yoga developed by Michelle Dortignac in 2006 combining traditional yoga poses, pilates, and dance with the use of a hammock. In a typical aerial yoga class, the average person burns about 320 calories. My muscles were sore for a few days after my first experience, but I see it as a really good sign that I used muscles I don’t typically use. Our instructor did a wonderful job of guiding each person through the sequences. Each sequence takes core engagement and balance, but my focus was on accomplishing the poses so I barely noticed the burn. I could not get over how strong and empowered I felt walking out of the studio as I left! Needless to say, I fell in love with aerial yoga that night and am making it a weekly venture.  

We want to thank you if you took the time to read through and take any of this blog back to your life. Life can get overwhelming when creating food and fitness to reflect your needs. That’s why we hope we could inspire you to look at your life as a season and see if there were any food or fitness options that you would like to focus on with us during this spring. 

YouTube video below.

Editing my Closet

One day I was scrolling though Instagram and stumbled across an amazing personal stylist, The Chic Next Door. Every service related to clothes – she covers! The owner, brand, and overall feel drew me in. I needed to know more on how to make my closet work for me through editing, organizing, and pre-made look books. 

As someone who loves to find ways to optimize their life, I decided to take a chance and book the Total Closet Edit service for the following reasons…

  • Spring clean – My husband and I recently did some spring cleaning with our house. I intentionally left out my closet area so I could let an expert help me out. 
  • Next chapter in life – I am thirty years young and entering the next chapter of my life. It was time for me to shed my twenty-year-old style and become the professional I know I am. 
  • Destress – I have a lot on my plate and getting dressed shouldn’t be something that I have to stress about. I wanted to open my closet and feel a sense of calm and direction.
  • Time efficiency – I think I’m good at organizing and styling myself, but having it reviewed and paired with a look book would allow me to get ready quicker and with confidence. 
  • Invest/treat myself – I love to invest and treat myself, but it was never through organization and styling. I was ready to upgrade how I presented myself through my closet and style. 

The picture below was what I was starting with. Although it wasn’t dirty or unorganized, it wasn’t optimized. It’s not a walk-in closet with high dollar items, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t worth upgrading. 

As far as the final result, all I can say is service, service, service! This woman did it all. It started with the first conversation until I felt I no longer needed her service. She gathered information on my life and style and used that to produce a closet that works for me. She was professional, friendly, and listened to all my needs. The picture below is the final outcome, and I am thrilled! I’ve also included one of my favorite outfits from my personalized look book. 

I can genuinely say that I would do this all over again. I had peace of mind knowing that someone else was handing this for me, and the result was more than I could ask for. I now have a dream closet that makes me excited to get ready with a look book for inspiration and direction when needed. If you enjoy style and custom services, the Total Closet Edit is for you!

Thank you, Emma!

How to Financially Plan for a Large Trip

Last week, I discussed how to make an annual budget that works for you. Within that, you will find that I like to set up sinking funds prior to a large trip (>$500). This post highlights how to financially plan for that trip, whether for personal or small business purposes. This thought process can be used for smaller trips, however, I find that larger trips are typically the hardest to capture financially.

Estimates with Example

I have found that expenses for large trips typically fall within 6 categories. These are listed below with some short descriptions.

  • Purchase Prior – This is for any items that relate to the upcoming trip. It may be decorations for a Bachelorette party, alcohol or minimal food items to avoid higher costs in the city the trip is taken, or anything that may not have another use after the trip and does not fit into your other budget categories.
  • Transportation & Parking – This includes gas, ride sharing, or other means of transportation on the way to, during, and/or from your trip.
  • Lodging – This would be for any lodging you may need during your trip.
  • Food – This would be for food that you would consume while out during your trip.
  • Paid Activities – This is for any ticket, event, or activity you may want to partake in during your trip.
  • Tangible Items – This is for any personal or family/friend gifts that you would want to take back home with you.

Now that I have discussed the different types of purchases that I have for a large trip, it’s time for an example. I’ve displayed my expenses from a trip to Universal Studios and Island of Adventures that my family and I took over Christmas break 2020 in Figure 1 below. You can see dates with costs (rough costs in orange), resulting with a final total cost of roughly $1,547 and an average cost per day of $258. Please note these costs may not be the same for everyone and are used for example purposes.

Some things to note with the expenses below are that I did not always pay the complete totals by myself. We would often pay one tab and distribute any funds after. There were 8 people total (6 adults and 2 kids) split between two connected rooms and cars. The below expenses highlight what I spent as a 30 year old and does not include the other 7 people’s expenses with me, including my husbands. For example, I split the lodging and paid activities for the park (hotel with general and express pass), gas traveling to and from, and overnight parking for the vehicle I was in. We decided to spend a little more to stay at the Hard Rock Hotel so we could have general and express passes included with our lodging expenses. Also, this was the quickest walk from a hotel to the theme parks and City Walk. We highly valued spending more here because it lead to more flexibly for everyone and eliminated any driving between the trip or additional parking charges at the theme parks. The express passes allowed us to ride more rides and really maximize our time at the parks. I highly recommend the Hard Rock Hotel and/or paying for express passes if you can budget it in. I also don’t eat breakfast everyday or much myself, so I tend to have lower food costs.

Figure 1. Example Trip Expenses for One Adult

Planning

Now how would one want to plan for this? I would estimate costs within each category and then take the final estimate and divide that by the time until the trip is taken or needs to be paid. Since the trip was in December, if I started saving now, I would budget roughly $155 dollars for 10 months. This way I have the funds accessible to pay lodging prior to the trip and close out the balance on my credit card to avoid any accrued interest if not done so.

There are a few things to note while planning. I recommend to not wing it. If that is done, I can almost guarantee you will go over your budget or result with expenses that you could have avoided. Research where you will be going (lodging, how to get there, any local food menus) and understand yourself and others joining. Do you value maximizing your time, drinking a lot of alcohol, fine dining, bringing gifts home? It’s okay to spend money, but we want to make sure we budget and stick to our budget. I promise you will mentally enjoy this trip over feeling like you overspent.

I hope this blog helps you prepare for your upcoming trip. Thank you for taking the time to read all the way to the end. Please reach out here to book a free introductory call so I can learn more about you and your personal and/or small business needs. I would be happy to share my excel file and draft a version for you!

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

How to Make an Annual Budget That Works for You

When I first started my budgeting journey, I only focused on reoccurring monthly expenses. I quickly found that miscellaneous items crept up on me throughout the year. The birthdays, vacations, weddings, pet items, etc., that popped up didn’t leave much room for savings or lowering debt. I knew my process had room for improvement, so I did a little research and tested out a few different styles. I finally crafted something that works for me, and I know the concept will work for you. Continue reading to find details on how I prepare an annual budget so those pesky funds don’t take away from my financial goals and/or awareness.

Grouping

I’ve tracked my expenses the past couple of years and have found six groups that stand out.

  • Income – Anything that increased my incoming cash flow. Last year, it was my primary day job, one stimulus check, tax return, and miscellaneous gifts (wedding and Christmas).
  • Taxes – I like to know the taxes I pay. Last year, this was primarily income and property tax for personal expenses. There are plenty of other taxes that can occur. I encourage you to look into your states Department of Revenue website to understand further. For my fellow Alabamians, individual tax info is here and business tax info is here.
  • Foundation – These expenses cover basic needs that are not debt. For me it includes health, housing, additional insurance, transportation, and pet items. I do not have any children, but if I did, I would put their monthly needs in this category too.
  • Debt – These expenses are what I owe, interest charging or not, and must pay back to avoid penalties or negative reports on my credit score. For me it includes loans, credit cards, credit lines, and any money I owe my husband. To be clear, I do not get any negative credit reporting from what I owe my husband. Since I owned the house before we were together, I have all the expenses under me. He pays me at the beginning of the month for a worst case scenario, and I return what wasn’t used at the end of the month.
  • Savings – This group is for money that you set aside for a later use. For me it covers emergency, retirement (401k), health (HSA), and maintenance. There are so many types of savings, but having at lease one short term and one long term savings is highly recommended. If you do not have at least one month of an emergency fund (short term) for your foundation and debt expenses, PLEASE START NOW. I may not know you, but I know that unexpected things happen all the time, and this fund will help out with that. Retirement savings (long term) is sadly often overlooked, but can bring the most return. The sooner you start this, the more your money can grow leading to a less stressful retirement.
  • Fun/Other – These expenses are not necessities, but help with peace of mind, life balance, or any other needs. I believe there should be something set aside for this even if it is $5 a month. For me it includes any contributions to charity, video streaming subscriptions, music subscription, fun food & drinks, miscellaneous items for myself, birthdays, vacations, and Christmas gifts. I also toss any annual fees here like Amazon Prime or specific credit cards.

Now that I have discussed how I generally group my expenses, it’s time for you to try. What is similar to what I have and what may be different? There may be some that could go into two or more different groups. For example, housing. I have a loan covering our house. I put the principle in the debt group and the interest and escrow in the foundation. That way I can focus on how much principle I pay down instead of grouping the other monthly loan expenses with it. Try to think of the governing group and if needed, set up more columns to add other descriptors. Figure 1 below shows this further relative to my life. Remember, I am married with no kids, and my husband and I still have separate checking and savings accounts. This should be used as a reference and modified for your personal/family needs. I love color coding to provide mental notes. Yellow showcases my projected column with the light orange being fixed costs and the light red showing costs that may slightly change. The lighter green are bills that my husband pays and the purple are what I pay. Last, the darker green shows actual numbers from the respective month.

Figure 1. Annual Budget Example

Sinking Funds

So those pesky items… This is where you account for them. A sinking fund is something that you know is coming up and would prefer to set aside funds prior vs after. The benefit to this is that you have more available cash (if needed elsewhere) and could even put it in a savings account to gain positive interest depending how long you are saving. Also, you can avoid paying any credit card or loan interest for the items you pay in full. I have sinking funds for my cat’s needs, Christmas gifts, birthdays, vacations, travel/gas, and annual fees. Some other good sinking funds would be a down payment for real estate, preparing for a baby, home upgrades/repair, and starting a business. The opportunities are endless! All you need is the available income to put aside until the time comes to use it for the designated intent. Keep in mind if you have minimal funds to dedicate each month, saving earlier/longer will help reduce this monthly number.

I would like to say that if you have outstanding credit card debt with high interest, it is recommended to pay that down as soon as possible instead of starting a sinking fund. It may take some time (often years if really bad debt) to be able to start one, but do not be discouraged. Personal budgeting is a journey and if you give up, the problem does not go away. You must be persistent and trust me once you get out, you will never want to go back. I find my mentality shifted greatly in the positive direction once I got ahold of my spending and started planning.

Prioritizing

What needs to be paid first and at what rate (amount/time)? The priority does not directly appear in the figure above, but I know that I don’t mind paying my house, student, and car loans to their full term so I can have funds for other things. I also have 0% APR (limited time) on items that carry a credit balance and another loan for our water softener ending soon. Each of those I have a plan to pay down by the designated date. At this moment, I am more interested in developing savings and sinking funds. This may change in the future, but it reflects where I am at now.

How will you prioritize your funds? Would setting an annual goal help you achieve this? I have another blog post on how I made my annual goals here if you would like more support on that.

Business

This budget is for my personal expenses, however the thought process can be applied towards small businesses as well. I apply this thought process to my business, Functun, and continue to put any remaining personal money into it.

Maintenance

This may be the most important part to fulfilling your annual financial goals and where you may find the most varying resources. I am not here to tell you the best way to maintain your budget, however, I will share what works for me. I like to budget by the half month since my primary income is received on the 1st and 16th. I always designate where my money goes by the paycheck (sometimes more if unexpected income). Otherwise, I WILL SPEND IT. I know myself well enough now to know that I will not set it aside later if there is no purpose designated for it. Note there are plenty of online/apps that can help with budgeting, but I chose to make something specific for me on excel. There is more to the process when you get to the monthly motions. Stay tuned for another blog that will cover how to make a monthly budgeting process that works for you.

Thank you for taking the time to read all the way to the end. Please reach out here to book a free introductory call so I can learn more about you and your personal and/or small business needs. I would be happy to share my excel file and draft a version for you!

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Six Things We Learned from Our First Year of Marriage

John and I kicked 2020 off with a bang – our wedding. We did not know that our every day life was going to change so much, starting with COVID-19. We sat down and talked about our first year of marriage and how we made it through all the craziness. Six main things stuck out to us that we want to share with newly weds or those thinking of marriage.

1. Clear Communication

Clear is the key. If it is not clear what is needed when people communicate, then there is still not much fulfillment. We’ve gone back and forth on figuring out what is clear for us and this usually resulted with the other reiterating the other person’s needs. Basically, I tell John what I need and he repeats it back to make sure he understands. I do the same for him.

2. Listen as Much as You Talk

Learn to listen. Your partner needs and/or wants to express how they feel too. John and I both have things we repeat over and over because we are so passionate about them. Do you think he wants to hear another thought on Functun?! No, but he still chooses to listen and support what I love although it may not be his first love. Likewise, I may not want to hear about the next big stock or the price of bitcoin, however, I listen because it means a lot to him. We do this to show each other that we care about what each other enjoys.

3. No Games

Say what you mean! In marriage, we want clear communication (wink, wink). Don’t avoid saying what you are feeling in the moment or you may miss that opportunity to get your needs met. Mind games may be cute when dating, but marriage is the real deal. You want to make sure that you are 100%+ committed to that person and the world you are creating together. We don’t keep score on who is right and there is no competition to see who makes the most money, cleans more, etc.

4. Set Financial Goals

This is very important to both of us. We see ourselves creating lots of financial opportunity in the future and in order to achieve that, we both need to be on the same page with how we allocate our money. We do not make the same amount and we continue to both keep some to ourselves, however, we recommend having the conversation about what is shared. Take the shared and have a plan. Will 33% go to every day needs, 33% vacation and wants, and 34% savings? This will look different for every couple, but it is imperative to determine where the money needs to be allocated.

One thing to keep in mind when setting financial goals is to create a maintenance fund. Maintenance is often overlooked and can cause serious marital issues if not planned accordingly. Unexpected things DO happen! This past year we had trees fall on a shared fence, found a leak in our roof, and also started having air conditioning problems during the hot summer months. We had to take care of the fallen trees ($900) and have set up funds for both the roof and air conditioner

5. Patience

We continue to work on this every day. Emotions tend to take a lead, but we don’t like blowing up on each other when we lose patience. Learn your habits and the triggers that cause this. Is it when you are hungry, late, uninformed? What can you do to avoid these blow ups and continue to be patient for your partner? It is really hard to take back what is done, so make sure your actions are what you really want them to be instead of ruled by impulse emotions.

6. Learn Each Other’s Love Language

You’re in love with your partner so might as well learn what makes them feel LOVED. If you haven’t heard of a “love language” give it a quick internet search. I am fulfilled by words (love, kindness, and encouragement) and actions (cleaning, supporting me, etc.), while John is fulfilled by actions (completing tasks) and communication (talking with me in morning and understanding my goals for the day). Sometimes the main need changes depending on what we are doing each day, and it’s okay to be fluid and change preferences.

They say the first year of marriage is the hardest, but it doesn’t have to be when you keep these six things in mind. We made it though and hope that others following our footsteps can use these main points to help them through the first year of marriage.

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy and John Murphy

How to Set and Maintain Annual Goals, Pt. 1

ANNUAL GOALS… The buzz is going around this time of year (December). I’ve struggled with setting annual goals in the past, so I set some time aside to analyze my process, both past and present, and create a final outline that both personal and small businesses could start with and grow from in the coming years. This is the first part of a new five part blog series on how to set and maintain annual goals.

In this first part, we will learn how to set our annual goals. I’ve created an eight step process that helps me do this. Each step is listed below with a paragraph covering the step. I end with an example from one personal and two small business goals of mine in Figure 1. These goals will be used throughout this series. I also have mine presented nicely, but having a large piece of paper to brainstorm is recommended.

  1. General Goal, Five Year: Think of a best case scenario for this goal in a five year snapshot. I will not elaborate on this very much other than you need a main goal that you could break down further in the next step. This could be an easy goal, all the way to extremely hard.
  2. General Goal, One Year: This should be a more obtainable one year version of the five year or larger goal. Still generalized, but you now have a little more direction for yourself to brainstorm later.
  3. Previous Hurdles: Typically this will be similar goal to goal for the individual filling it out. For me, not having a maintainable plan was the downfall. This was mainly due to goals lacking specifics or plans that were unrealistic with the time I was willing to dedicate towards achieving them.
  4. Next Year Variables: This may be similar goal to goal for an individual as well. For me, the unknown effects of COVID-19 on the economy and having multiple jobs could result with some of my goals not being achieved. If I were pregnant, have children, or any other dependents, I would put this here as well.
  5. Average Available Time: What time metric do you need to set this goal around? I recommend focusing on minutes or hours per day, week, or month based on your general routine. This may also change quarter (3 months period, typically starting with January) to quarter. In the below example, I have a personal goal set by week and two business goals that are set by the month.
  6. Finalize Plan and Goal: Knowing the information from the steps above, start to craft that final realistic and definable goal through a quantity of time (minutes or hours) within a range of time (day, week, month). I recommend using the extra paper for this step since you may need to play around with how this goal will transpire. You may find yourself making smaller lists of the bigger goal and having multiple mini quarterly goals for the same annual goal. Overall, this should be an outline covering anticipated steps to achieve the desired goal. For someone who is newer to setting goals, you may want one that is the same throughout the year. For a more experienced person, you may have mini milestones that change month to month resulting with a two page outline. To make for an easy read, I only showed examples below of goals that would be the same throughout the year. However, brainstorm until you feel comfortable with what you feel you can achieve. Setting the final goals at the low end may be helpful to avoid burnout and keep some work/life balance.
  7. Execute and Document: Now it is time to let your wings soar! Hopefully you have direction and can see the bigger picture of the goal from step 1 – the five year snapshot. If there are hurdles during this step it will more than likely be due to inaccurate planning or unexpected variables. Maybe you have less hours than you thought or it took a lot more time to achieve that goal. BE PERSISTENT and still document your journey. There is nothing to build from if you don’t have it documented to learn about yourself and improve over time.
  8. Review and Adjust: I recommend reviewing your goal progress at least monthly if not weekly depending on the goal. Eventually you may find you want to adjust your goals. I find having more of an outline with main milestones from step 6 makes adjustments easier. This way I focus on the next step, regardless of when I get to it. Depending on the success, you may want to adjust your goal quantity per time range to something more achievable. This may be increasing the time range to get it done or decreasing the hours you need to allot per a task if you’ve gotten quicker. Step 8 will be covered more in later parts of this series.
Figure 1. Three Examples Using the Eight Step Goal Setting Process

Hopefully setting goals seem easier after reading my process. To get a glimpse of the whole series, the five parts are listed below with general times of when to expect another post. As mentioned earlier, we will be referring to the 3 examples above throughout the series.

  • Pt 1. Set Annual Goals
  • Pt 2. Q1 Review, Early April
  • Pt 3. Q2 Review, Early July
  • Pt 4. Q3 Review, Early October
  • Pt 5. Q4 Review and Final Conclusion, Early January

If you have any questions or comments, please reach out through Instagram, email, or by booking a free introductory call here.

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Postpartum

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part four, postpartum. 

We discussed important and potential birth expenses in the last section. We also touched on how learning about and creating a birth plan can help alleviate any stress of the unknown. Now it’s time to learn more about your little one(s) and how life works as a new unit. Postpartum needs can vary drastically from person to person, but baby supplies will always be on that list. In addition to the items discussed during the prenatal period, the following items may need to be incorporated into the foreseeable budget: 

  • Additional medical or disability needs 
  • Upgrades as baby grows (clothes, strollers, bedding, etc.) 
  • Toys and development items 
  • Scrapbook to document milestones 

You will typically follow up with your care provider within a few weeks and the pediatrician you chose for your baby will also want to see them within 3-5 days. If your child experiences complications after birth, they may be admitted to the NICU for a few hours or a few weeks depending on the amount of care they need. After you return home or your care team leaves your home, your postpartum doula will begin their home or virtual visits to help you during recovery and then as you transition into parenthood. You may want to consider hiring a night nanny, or see if your doula does overnight care, as many sleepless nights lay ahead.  

If you’re having trouble with lactation and feeding your baby, a consultation with a lactation consultant could be very beneficial. They may need to work with you over several visits depending on your needs. Other services to consider during this time are mental health support, exercise classes, chiropractic care, postpartum massage and yoga, pelvic floor therapy, naturopathic or homeopathic medicine, and folk or traditional healing practices. 

Lastly, think about when you (and your partner if applicable) are going back to work. If you have family or friends available to help care for your baby, the transition back to work might be easier. Regardless, you will likely have to think about child care at some point. There are so many different daycare services and programs including Head Start, which may have a wait list depending on your area. Look into and plan these things as far ahead as possible to ensure you are able to secure what you need for your family. 

Thank you for reading our Birth Budgeting Series. We hope that you learned a few things and were inspired to begin planning ahead for your growing family. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly to help achieve specific goals for personal or small business needs (molly.murphy@functun.com). If you have any questions related to the information provided throughout this series, please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us. 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Birth

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part three, birth. 

We discussed in the last sections how insurance and the care provider chosen will provide a starting point to understanding your upcoming financials. The insurance company can provide plan specifics and inform you how much of your deductible you have met within the calendar year, while the care provider can provide insight into the extent of their care and billing practices. This includes how long the care lasts and specific costs involved for tests, medicine, etc. so there are no financial surprises due to miscommunication. You may end up working with multiple care providers and each may have their own prices with the chosen insurance plan. We also touched on some key items to purchase/get gifted for baby and parent and thoughts to help structure your birthing plan. Let’s explore the day(s) of a little more.   

Pre-planning will be key to minimizing and understanding costs when it’s go time. This includes researching your desired birth plan and emergency interventions (such as a cesarean section). We want things to go to plan, but also being knowledgeable of the alternatives can help your stress levels if something does not go to plan. Consulting with your doula or childbirth educator can help you be prepared for the many situations that may occur during labor. We have listed some items below that may involve financial resources during birth.  

  • Transportation to and from a location other than home 
  • Overnight bag prepared with essentials 
  • Labor tools and comfort measures 
  • Food and drink 
  • Nights of stay 
  • Cost for any other person’s care if absent (parent, child, other) 
  • Medical interventions (such as epidural, Pitocin, etc.) 
  • Emergency costs (just in case) 
  • Birth photography 

Some items to consider to facilitate your labor and provide comfort are a birth ball, peanut ball, labor scarf, birth pool (which can sometimes be rented from local birth professionals), massage balls, stress balls, oils, lotions, diffuser, hand fan, and a mini speaker to play music of choice. If you have a doula or midwife, they may provide some of these items for you. A hospital or birth center might have tubs for water birth and birth/peanut balls – be sure to inquire about these items ahead of time to be prepared and ensure your birth setting will meet your needs. Also, be aware of policies or interventions that may limit your ability to do things while in labor. For example, many hospitals may not allow the birthing person to eat while in labor due to the potential for an emergency cesarean. 

Stay tuned for the next article exploring key financial areas within the postpartum phase. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly to help achieve specific goals for personal or small business needs (molly.murphy@functun.com).

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Prenatal

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry. The series will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part two, prenatal. 

Let’s start by discussing the most essential components of the prenatal period. First, you will need to select your care provider. Will you be working with an obstetrician or a midwife? Sometimes this decision will depend on if you’re considered to have a high-risk pregnancy. While most providers accept an array of insurance providers, midwives who welcome home or birth center babies may or may not accept insurance. Additionally, the medicines, tests, and procedures in the hospital will be an expense to anticipate and the amount you pay will again depend on your insurance. Next, consider whether or not you will have a doula. The cost of a birth doula can vary quite a bit and will depend on where you live. Childbirth education classes can be very helpful in understanding birth and the accompanying stressors. You can look for online or in person classes or attempt to find free resources. Insurance may provide some reimbursement for classes. 

So, what is all needed to care for your new baby? Here are some items to consider: 

  • Crib & crib mattress 
  • Baby clothes 
  • Diapers 
  • Blankets 
  • Wipes 
  • Soap & lotion 
  • Baby monitor 
  • Bottles & nipples 
  • Breast pump 
  • Formula 
  • Car seat 
  • Stroller & carriers 

This is just a starting point, as there are many items you can look into buying for your baby. If you want to splurge on certain products, feel free, but know that the affordable options are just as good for your baby as brand name ones. 

Now, we should think about what all you will need for the day of the birth. How much time will you be taking off and will it be paid for? If you’re not having a home birth, how will you be getting to the place you’ll be birthing in? And what are you bringing with you in your bags? You should also think about how many days you’ll be staying away from home and the costs associated with additional days at the hospital and meals. If you have other children, you may need someone to take care of them while you are away. 

Some other services to consider are things like chiropractic care, prenatal massage and yoga, naturopathic or homeopathic medicine, mental health support, and lining up a birth photographer. If you’re going to be having a baby shower, you can include ways to pay for some of these services through funds or gift certificates. Maternity clothes and self-care products should also be budgeted for as your comfort and wellbeing are critical to birthing a healthy, happy baby. 

Stay tuned for the next article exploring key financial areas within the birthing phase. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly for specific budgeting and time management/process support (molly.murphy@functun.com). 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy

Birth Budgeting Series: Introduction

The Birth Budgeting Series was inspired by both The Doula Nurse and Functun’s audience: people focused on their goals and budget. One goal many people share is to become a parent. Even though we may be told we will never be prepared for children, we can be knowledgeable of the finances involved with having children. This series explores key areas during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases that one would want to be aware of and decide if it needs to be included in their personal budget. It will be presented in four parts: introduction, prenatal, birth, and postpartum. This is part one, the introduction.  

Kat Louis is a Birth and Postpartum Doula who is in the process of becoming a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. She has a background in public health and nursing and answered her calling to birthwork as she learned about the unjust practices within the US obstetrical healthcare system. She provides physical, emotional, and practical support; education; and advocacy to birthing people in the Atlanta area so they can reclaim their power and autonomy throughout their birth and postpartum experiences. 

Molly Murphy has worked as a mechanical engineer for the last eight years. The first three were on the research and development side for desired metallic properties, while the latter five have been regional support on fastening (nuts and bolts) for top manufacturing companies. She created Functun as a way to apply her technical mindset towards helping other women and small businesses achieve their goals. She focuses on analyzing budgeting and time management relative to each client’s need and/or industry but specializes in product development and financial planning.  

We will start off with the most important note throughout this series: the birthing person’s care and parental education are top priority. Everything found within this series is to inform on the process and the potential finances involved with the prenatal, birth, and postpartum phases. This is not to find the most cost-effective way to have a child, but to understand the potential resources provided to each of us based on some of the most common birthing practices. If your situation is not listed within these articles, we encourage you to do additional research or reach out to alternative resources that may be within your desired industry.  

We believe the budgeting process starts with the individuals involved having open communication on the anticipated needs during the birthing process. This will be different for all but putting a plan together indicating the financial income and time available for resources will help keep everyone on track and aware of the families’ goals throughout the birth cycle. We will explore priority and supplemental needs within each phase.  

The second step would be to discuss insurance. This deserves its own series, but to keep things informative, we recommend fully understanding your current insurance plan. Is it through your employer, network of choice, Medicaid, under parent/guardian or partner, or uninsured? Please reach out to your provider or provider of choice to get financial and network specifics on the current or desired policy to determine if it satisfies your preliminary birth plan. Insurance is important because birth plan specifics will have different financial outcomes depending on the plan chosen. Such as, do you want to give birth at a specific hospital? If so, are they in network? Will you want an epidural? If so, that will have an additional cost. Being aware of the preliminary birthing plan will help determine the proper insurance to align with it. This should be fully understood to put everyone’s mind at ease, knowing when and how much a medical bill will be.  

Stay tuned for the upcoming articles that will explore key financial areas within the birthing process, starting with prenatal. As always, feel free to reach out to Kat for doula support and resources (thedoulanursekat@gmail.com) and Molly for specific finance and budgeting support (molly.murphy@functun.com). 

XOXO – Mrs. Molly Murphy