8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, which can leave many of us panicking about where that “extra” money is going to come from for buying decorations, gifts, attending dinners, and the like. October is the perfect time to plan because believe it or not, there are a lot of ways you can save money in the next 30 days that can help you breathe a little easier knowing the holidays are coming.

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

Dave Ramsey, the king of getting out of debt and saving money, has LOADS of tips and tricks that are great ideas for life in general, but I decided to compile eight of them because not only do we want to save money, but we still want to be able to shop and have fun right? You can indeed have both! Here’s 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

1.) Visit the library: Did you know that part of your tax money goes to fund your local library? When my mom recently found out that FOUR HUNDRED dollars a year of her taxes were going to the library, she decided it was high time to make some use of it. She rents books, DVD’s, CD’s, and more. Emma Kate loves going to the children’s story time and we get lots of books and DVD’s. Her interests change so quickly it’s way better than buying all of that stuff anyway!

2.) Consignment shops: Not only do I sell Emma Kate’s olf clothes and toys at the local consignment shop, but I buy from there, too! I also am a huge fan of thredUP and have gotten some amazing deals on brand new clothing!

3.) Cut cable: This one took me a while to consider because I was worried about my beloved football games, but now there are SO MANY other options for watching TV! netflix! Amazon Prime! Sling TV! Hulu! Cable has gotten so outrageous and cutting the cord can save you a ton. If you go to the Hulu website through this link, you can get a free trial, so be sure to check it out!*

4.) Check the sale papers: I feel like this is something people don’t do a lot anymore, but a lot of stores and grocery stores have weekly or monthly sale papers with the hottest deals. We use this for BOGO’s and certain days of the week that more expensive items like chicken or meats are on sale. I also use Cartwheel for Target and digital coupons for other stores. You don’t even have to go extreme couponing to save money. It adds up fast!

5.) Be electricity mindful: I was raised that when you leave a room, you turn off a light. I feel like more and more kids are not being taught to conserve these days, and it does drive me a little batty. Simple things like turning off lights, closing curtains and blinds and raising the air conditioning when you leave the house can save you a few dollars every month, which can really add up over the course of a year.

6.) Search for free activities: I know not all towns have a lot of free activities, but do some digging and you may be surprised. In Tampa, I’m subscribed to a weekly email for fun things for kids to do over the weekend in my city. Some have small costs, but most are free and there is never a shortage of things to do especially if we are willing to drive a little bit. Your kids don’t have to have the most expensive toys to have fun and make memories!

7.) Pack your lunch: The amount that this one adds up to is truly shocking. I know people who eat out for lunch at work every. single. day. That’s on average $50 a week, or $200+ A MONTH! Add on those who go to Starbucks daily and we are talking a pretty penny my friends. Sure I love a special treat or lunch on occasionally just like everyone else, but I have learned that not only is it better for my wallet to pack a lunch, but it’s better for my waistline, too! This one can be a hard habit to break especially for those who do this socially. Maybe try to go to just once a week, or when there is a special celebration. You could even try to get your coworkers to help hold you accountable and you all pack a lunch and go eat at a park one day together.

8.) Ask for discounts: There are so many places that offer discounts that just don’t advertise them (think AAA, senior discounts, kids eat free, etc.) My rule of thumb is always to ask! The worst they can say is no. You can also do an internet search, there are a lot of websites that list out stores and restaurants that offer discounts, free birthday rewards, or nights of the week for kids to eat free.

I hope you enjoyed these 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month!

*If you sign up for Hulu with my link, I receive a small affiliate commission.

Related: Top 10 tips for saving money on your Disney World vacation

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Tips for an Adults Only Disney Trip

Update: This post on tips for an adults only Disney trip originally appeared in 2016, but I have updated it for 2018. Thanks for reading!

It’s no secret I love Walt Disney World. When I tell some of my friends my husband and I are going alone to Walt Disney World for the weekend without Emma Kate, they look at like I’m crazy. Why would I want to spend my adults only time with a bunch of kids? That’s when I get to explain our “Disney style”, and how it’s very different than a trip would look with Emma Kate in tow. While trips with her are super special and so much fun, there are “other ways” to tour the world as well.

Tips for an adults only Disney trip

So, here are my top five tips for an adults-only Disney trip, and maybe you will then see why we find our time in Disney so relaxing and enjoyable.

1.) Go Deluxe: I know it’s not in everyone’s budget, but if you can swing it (go at a cheaper time of year, use discounts, save up for a year etc.) I recommend staying at a deluxe resort, and if you save lots of pennies, splurge on a club level stay. I have stayed club level at all the Disney resorts, and it is truly a special treat. Honestly, it’s not worth it if you plan to jump up every morning, grab breakfast at the park, and stay gone until bedtime, but if you want to enjoy Disney at a leisurely pace, it’s the way to go. (Think: continental breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, wine and appetizers in the evenings, cordials and desserts at night.) Plus a lounge for you to sit in and read a book, chat with family members, or simply use it as a meeting spot. There are also dedicated cast members who help just club level guests with questions, dining reservations, and more. We love to eat and relax so it works for us!

DSC_0036

Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

Even if you can’t splurge for club level, I recommend a deluxe resort if you plan to take things slow and spend time at your resort. Deluxe resorts have the best pool areas, lobbies, and food options, so there is plenty to do just soaking up the theming.

2.) Less park days: Here is where you can actually save some money. If you are going for a week, only get 4-5 days of park tickets and spend your other days doing things around your resort,  or even visiting the other resorts on property. There is plenty to do, which leads me to the next tip…

DSC_0849

3.) Beyond the Theme Parks: Since you have a couple of “free days” with no park tickets, take time to explore some of the lesser-known Disney fun such as Disney Springs, miniature golf, water parks, going fishing or parasailing, or enjoy tea at the Grand Floridian. I actually wrote two blog posts a while back about things to do beyond the theme parks. You can check them out here and here. Check out the awesome cabanas you can rent pictured below if you are at the Contemporary!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

4.) Sit on a bench: I know this sounds silly, but to this day it is one of my favorite things to do in Disney. People watching. I love grabbing Starbucks and finding a bench or laying in the hub grass at Magic Kingdom, and just watching the crowds go by while soaking up the Disney atmosphere. I feel like so many people rush from one ride to the next, that they don’t always take the time to really just soak in the fact that they are in Disney World! Stop and take a break and just be for a little while on your next trip. Grab some popcorn or a drink and just savor the moment.

 Adults Only Disney Trip

5.) Eat. A lot: I know everyone eats more on vacation, but when you are traveling with small kids, you typically don’t eat at fancy table service restaurants enjoying four-course meals. It’s more of let’s stick some chicken nuggets in your mouth and move on before they have a meltdown. This is your chance to enjoy some of the nicer restaurants, just taking your time and enjoying your vacation and the atmosphere. Some of my favorites are: California Grill, Narcoossees, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Citricos, and Artist Point. Be sure to schedule in a lot of time to sit and eat nice dinners, or even nice breakfasts and lunches, too! Whatever you want, it’s your vacation!

This was on our honeymoon! Babies!

These are just some of my tips for planning an adults only WDW vacation. The key is to relax and enjoy without feeling like you need to be somewhere every five minutes. That doesn’t sound very relaxing and enjoyable to this girl. You earned those vacation days my friend, and you don’t have to have your kids with you to enjoy Walt Disney World. Have fun!

 Adults Only Disney Trip

RELATED: Sign up for my FREE My Disney Experience and Magic Bands E-Course!

QOTD: What is your favorite tip for an adults only Disney trip?

5 Reasons To Get Over Your Fear of Starting A Blog

A lot of people have really good things to say. They have knowledge on a topic, or many topics, and have thought about starting a blog. However, that’s as far as it goes for some. For one reason (or maybe many!) they have fears and reasons why they won’t actually take that next step and start a blog. Today I am hoping to ease your mind and get rid of some of those fears for you. Blogging has literally changed my life in so, so many ways and I absolutely love getting to share my life with you, my readers. I want you to have the same excitement and feelings I have as well if that’s something you desire, so let’s get over these fears together!

5 Reasons to get over your fear of starting a blog

Reasons to get over your fears of blogging. If you can do this, you can potentially…

1.) Make Money: Let’s call a spade a spade. A lot of folks get into blogging so they can make money and work from home. Don’t be afraid to speak out if this is your answer. ‘Aint no shame in my game, I definitely like to make money! Granted when I started blogging eight years ago it isn’t why I started…back then I didn’t even know it was possible to make money blogging, but things change and it’s definitely high on the list of motivating factors for me. I love being able to work from home, have a flexible schedule, and work with brands that I really love. It’s very satisfying to be my own boss and make my own decisions!

2.) Have a creative outlet for your thoughts and knowledge: This is kind of why I started. I wanted to start distance running, and decided to blog as a way of holding myself accountable, and a way to share my training with others, in hopes it may inspire them to do the same. Here we are eight years later. Many things have changed, but one thing remains: I love having a place to share and inspire and teach others. I have always loved to write, so this is right up my alley!

3.) Learn and grow as a person: If you asked me to tell you what I have learned about myself and about other topics in the course of the years I have been blogging, it would take me approximately 27 years to tell you all about it! When I look back at a lot of the ways I have grown as a person over the years, so many things stem from my blog and things I have learned, mistakes I have made, and people I have met. Heck, I even owe my husbands CAREER to a friend I met through blogging. It’s so fun and a little unreal to be able to trace back important life milestones, experiences, and decisions to your blog or someone you met via blogging.

4.) Meet great people: Speaking of people I met through blogging…some of my very best friends in the world I met all because of the internet. I love how it connects people from all over the world, and you can share a bond with people you have never met or don’t see that often. I have also made some amazing business contacts, met celebrities, and had mind blowing experiences all because of my blog. It’s awesome, and to think of not having them if I had never started makes me so, so sad.

5.) Have the chance to inspire and change the lives of others: This is definitely my favorite part of blogging. I have a folder in my email titles “happy emails” where I have saved emails from over the years where people have taken the time to write me and tell me that I have helped them, encouraged them, or inspired them in some way to make a change, get over a fear, or try something new. Those emails warm my heart and make me feel like I truly am making a difference in the world.

Don’t get me wrong, some days are hard or frustrating, and it’s not always happy emails, but I wouldn’t change any of it if it means I got to connect with or help someone through my written word. I hope that these reasons to get over your blogging fear have encouraged you to stop being a fence sitter! The best things in life are often the scariest, but come with the greatest reward. Who knows what your life could look like a year from now? You will never know unless you try.

Hey! guess what? Ready to take the plunge and get over your fear of starting a blog but don’t know where to start? You are in luck! I have a completely FREE 5 day email course on how to start a blog of your own. Every day for 5 days I will meet you in your inbox with tips, encouragement, and how to’s for getting your own blog up and running. You can sign up now and get going on that blog!

Tips for a Healthier Holiday

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purell, however all opinions are my own.

I will be hosting Christmas Eve at my house this year, which means a lot of planning, organizing, and making lists, as well as lots and lots of cleaning. When you have family members flying in from different states that are just coming from the airport, it’s even more important to make sure your house is clean and organized to keep germs at bay.

No one wants to be sick for the holidays, right? Here are five of my best tips for preparing for having a healthier holiday:

1.) Get exercise: The holidays are extra busy, which can make it tough to fit in your regular workouts, but this is something you really shouldn’t skimp on! Exercise can help boost your immune system and in turn may cut down on the amount of colds you get this year.

2.) Get enough sleep: Another tempting thing to skip out on is sleep. With late holiday parties and staying up past your bedtime getting your kids costume ready for the Christmas play, you may find yourself reaching for the snooze (and the coffee!) more often. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to keep your immune system up. Also, infection-fighting antibodies are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep.

3.) Wash your hands/sanitize when often: PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is the #1 selling sanitizer, and they also make soap, too! While washing with soap and water is best, sometimes it’s not possible to get near a sink, so make sure you have PURELL pocket sanitizer in your purse, car, and we like to keep a pump of it by the back door as we come in and out of the house. When you sanitize, make sure to leave your hands wet for 15 seconds!

4.) Disinfect and clean your house: The PURELL® brand has an amazing new Multi Surface Disinfecting spray that I am obsessed with. It kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses in 30 seconds, is worry free around kids, pets, and food, and there is no water rinse required! It cleans with the power of bleach without harmful chemicals. Here are some common things to make sure you sanitize with your disinfectant spray: Highchairs, soft surfaces you can’t wash, your refrigerator, doorknobs, remotes, counters, light switches, handles on kitchen appliances, computer keyboards, and toys. (YES it’s safe on all of those things!)

5.) Sanitize your kitchen before meal prep: When cooking and preparing in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget about wiping down counters, cutting boards, and water faucets. Make sure to use the PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfectant for meal prep! Don’t worry, it won’t stain clothes or fabric, and is designed to quickly kill the cold and flu viruses.

healthier holiday

It comes in 3 scents: fragrance free, citrus, and fresh (my favorite!) and is available for purchase online at Amazon.com, Jet.com and Walmart.com. In addition, it is available at select grocers: Publix, H-E-B, and Shoprite and at Harris Teeter in January 2018.

Grow Your Instagram Following

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about growing your Instagram following. As I prepare to launch my ecourse next month on making money from home as a social media manager, I want to make sure everyone gets up to speed with their own social profiles, and that you know the basics so you can dive right into my course when it’s ready. Don’t forget to snag the freebie at the bottom of the page. It will also allow you to get updates about my course release!

instagram following

Instagram happens to be my current favorite social media platform. I love it because there are two separate things I can do on the account.

-One, I can post visually appealing photos to grow my following and tell my brand’s story, and

-I can also use Instagram stories to get a little more personal and behind the scenes.

It’s a great way to still post photos without cluttering up your feed with things that just don’t fit. I talk more about Instagram stories in my freebie so be sure to check it out.

Your Feed:

Ok let’s talk about your main feed and things you can do to get more followers. First of all, you want to make sure no one of your photos are blurry, and that they make sense in your feed. If you have a very narrow market, like only posting photos of coffee mugs, don’t randomly throw in a photo of a dog. It just confuses your readers who have come to expect a certain thing. Now if you are a lifestyle blogger like me, you have a little more creative freedom, but that doesn’t mean I just post whatever I feel like.

When people come to your page to decide if they want to follow you or not, they are going to take a peek at your feed as a whole, and if it confuses them or has photos that just don’t make sense, you may get passed over. Think of it this way:

If you went into a shoe store and every time you visited they had lots of shoes, that would make sense right? Then what if one day you went into the store and they were selling school supplies instead of shoes. Wait a minute, but every other time I came in there were shoes? If I had known it was going to be something different than what I was expecting, I wouldn’t have come, right? Think of your feed the same way. If your audience is used to you only posting pictures of your kids, or only posting workout photos, or only posting food photos, and if you all of the sudden start throwing in pictures of cats or rainbows, they may not understand what is going on.

Editing Photos:

I edit every single photo before it goes on Instagram in some way shape or form. Some it’s as simple as cropping in the app, and some get edited on my computer in Picmonkey. Still others get touched up in apps like Snapseed, which is free in the app store. You want your lighting, cropping, and exposure to look the best it can. If I know I’m taking pics for Instagram only, I will set my iPhone camera to “square” so I don’t have to worry about cropping so much or having a photo that doesn’t fit correctly. I also use an app called Isntasize to size down things for me to fit in Instagram. (Snapseed is shown below)

Comment Pods:

Another great way to get better engagement on Instagram is to join comment or like pods. They have gotten very popular since Instagram introduced the new algorithm. Basically, you join a group of people (usually between 10-20), and every time one of you posts a photo, you direct message it to the group in a group chat within Instagram or on an app like Telegraph, then everyone knows to go and like and or comment on the photo to help boost the posts engagement rate. Think of it as a I’ll scratch my back if you scratch yours. It really only works if everyone actually posts and shares and comments, and the best ones have people engage within the first few hours a photo is posted. I am a part of a couple of pods, some have worked and some haven’t. A lot of people don’t realize the amount of work they are on the front end and decide they don’t want to do it, but that’s because they don’t see the value in it or don’t take their business seriously enough. I encourage you to find one or two pods to join!

Links:

A great free tool I use to drive traffic to my blog is called Linktree. It’s a website where you can actually add buttons that link to different posts within your blog. So when you click on the link in my profile, you then can choose which of my posts you want to visit. I can update these at any time, whenever I have a new post or what to highlight an old post. Super easy and effective.

Instagram following

 

Hashtags:

hashtags are great for allowing people to find your content, but they can also be a great tool if used in reverse, for you to find people to follow that could potentially become YOUR followers. Search some common hashtags that have to do with your niche, and find some accounts that you like.

When it comes to you using hashtags on your own photos, hashtags with more photos associated with them are not always the way to go. Try to find some hashtags with less than 100k photos and use those. Your photos have a better chance at staying at the tops of those feeds than using hashtags that have been used several million times.

Another tip if you are a social media manager for a brand especially, is to create a branded hashtag that you use when posting, and that you can encourage others to use when posting about your product or service.

Also be sure to use the location/geotagging so that you appear in local searches for photos!

Be nice:

A tried and true way to gain followers on Instagram is to follow other people, and genuinely like and comment on other photos. Don’t be one of those people who thinks they are better than everyone and is only following 11 people. Use hashtags and find people with great content that you like, and go like and comment on some of their photos. To get their attention, I suggest liking about 5 photos so they will see them in their notifications easier and see that it’s all from one person. What I DON’T like is when people do this just to get a like, then they don’t follow you back, or they do but then unfollow you the next day. There will always be people that play games like that, so just try to ignore it and not let it bother you.

I try to set aside time a couple times a day to like my friends photos, and then search for new friends and people to follow. Just be a real person and it will go a long way I promise!

Thanks for following along! If you want to get tons of great info just like this, but ALL about Instagram stories, be sure to download my free printable cheat sheet here!

HEADS UP: I will be doing a post every week for the next month discussing growth hacks for four different social media platforms, all leading up to the pre-launch and launch of my new social media management E-course. If you are interested in news on my course but don’t care for the freebie, I encourage you to follow the link and subscribe anyway (you don’t have to download the cheat sheet), so you will be first to hear news on my pre-sale (which will be when the course is offered at it’s LOWEST PRICE!)

 

Get Out the Door and Run: Jeff Galloway Tips

I have written posts on being motivated to run before, but as a part of the Jeff Galloway blogger program, I was sent some great tips I wanted to share with you. Sometimes we can come up with every excuse in the book as to why a run today isn’t a good idea, but in the end, have you ever regretted a run? I haven’t! Check out Jeff’s tips below:

unnamed

1. Coffee? As you are dressing, brew some coffee, tea, or have a diet drink, etc. Caffeine (if you have no problems with it) will wake up the central nervous system, making exercise feel better.
2. Eat a snack. Low blood sugar is the most common reason for low motivation in the afternoon. An easy-to-digest snack will raise the level so that you feel good and will reduce the negative messages received from the stress-monitoring part of the brain (the left brain).
3. Weather? Just walk out the front door to see what the weather is like.
4. If you are using exercise equipment in a health club, check the availability and walk around the equipment until the user has finished his or her workout.
5. If outside, walk to the end of the block to get your bearings. Once you have walked 100 steps you are almost certain to continue.  If using a treadmill, commit to walking 100 steps, then commit to running 100 steps.

Have a reward afterward, such as a snack, a beverage, or a massage – you earned it!

There is a principle of lazy physics here: “A body on the couch wants to stay on the couch. But once a body is in motion it wants to stay in motion.”

QOTD: What is your best tip for motivating yourself to run?

How to Start Running Even When You Hate It

I have been running for several years now, and have gone through many ebbs and flows with my running love affair. There have honestly been more times when I hated running than times when I liked it. I know that sounds like a horrible thing for a “runner” to say, but for me, it’s the truth and I’m owning it. I would much rather sit on the couch and watch Hulu than go outside and sweat, be uncomfortable, and bored for an hour. However, the things I do love are the benefits of running. For me, running is just the necessary evil to get there.

how to start running

I love the post run high, the extra energy it gives me, the calorie burn, and the competition aspect. I love the comradery with other runners, the race expos, and the bling. Some of you may be nodding right along with me, especially the beginners who feel like it will be impossible to ever get up to a “far/long run”, or feel like they love it. Unfortunate reality: you may never actually love it. However, that’s ok! You have two choices: 1.) Find something else to do 2.) Do it anyway because you love what it GIVES you, even if you don’t love the act of actual running.

I’m here to give beginners my best advice if you decide you do want to try out the running thing (even if you are currently hating it).

1.) Make a list: What is it you are hoping to accomplish with running? Why did you or do you want to start? Sometimes having a clear and concise reason can help get you moving when you want to take a nap instead. Maybe you want to lose weight, or maybe you just need some alone time. Some people start running to be social with a running group, and some want killer legs. All are valid reasons. You as an individual need to have a goal or focus on WHY you lace up or it may be stuff to stick with it.

2.) Start Slow: Trying to do too much too soon is not only overwhelming (and dumb! Injuries suck!) But it can cause you to give up before you have even gotten started because it seems too hard. Gradual build ups are best mentally and physically. Start with a walk and throw in a few 20-30 second jogs every now and then. Count mailboxes. Tell yourself you will run for ten mailboxes then walk for 20. Get creative but don’t over do it trying to get results faster.

IMG_2801

3.) Schedule your runs and keep track: I am a numbers nerd, and seeing my progress on a piece of paper (or in a spreadsheet for you non paper people) makes me want to keep going so I don’t “lose” my progress. Keep track of how long you go for, and your time. Also be sure to schedule your runs into your planner (or Google calendar, whatever my tech savvy friends are using these days), so that you will actually do it. Heck this blog started because I used it as an accountability journal. I said I was going to run in a blog post, so then I knew I had to follow through.

I have a set of free printables you can download and print out to help you set goals and keep track of your fitness if you want to check them out.

4.) Talk to a running friend: For some reason, we humans like talking to people who have gone through a hard thing that we may be currently dealing with, and have made it out the other side. It’s comforting to know we aren’t alone, and that success is possible. Find a running friend or online buddy who has accomplished a certain goal you want to reach (a time goal, distance goal, whatever!) and pick their brain. It will give you confidence you keep going!

5.) Picture that end result and just do it: I know this seems pretty basic, but it’s just truthful. Think about why you are doing this, then suck it up buttercup and run. You will feel better when it’s over. I have never regretted a run once I was finished. That’s a true story.

FullSizeRender (33)

Note: There are people who just LOVE running, and that’s awesome too! There have been times in my life I was that person, but overall, I have to really psych myself up for the actual run portion. I much prefer the results, the social aspect, the races, and the bling as mentioned before. We are all unique and different and that’s what is awesome! This post is not meant to knock anyone who truly enjoys the act of running, but instead to motivate those who are struggling some (or most) days.

10 Easy Ways to Save Money This Month

I recently moved from Mississippi to Florida. We quickly realized that it costs more in every sense of the word to live in our new state, so I have had to get creative with ways to save money every month while also decreasing our spending. Sometimes finding ways to save is just as important as finding ways to earn! Check out my 10 easy ways to save money this month and start saving today!

save money

1.) Don’t spend if you can’t pay: This seems like a no brainer, but a surprising amount of folks struggle with this one. In our house, we don’t make big purchases on our credit card unless we can pay them in full when the bill comes due. If we can’t, then we just do without. Sure I would love to buy new furniture for my house, but it’s currently not in the budget, so right now we have no bar stools. The month will come, but this month just isn’t it. So we just stand around in the kitchen when we eat. I kid, we have a table!

2.) Unplug/electricity: Did you know that even when your stuff isn’t on, but it’s still plugged in…it’s using electricity? I have tried to get in the habit of unplugging things like my phone charger and laptop when they aren’t being used. The two main lamps we use in the living room are on an extension cord we just unplug instead of turning on and off the lamps. It’s the little things that add up!

3.) Monthly subscriptions: How many of you get 27,000 magazine subscriptions every month? How many do you actually read? I have cut back and no longer get monthly magazines (I used to get about 4-5!) The magazines would stack up and mock me and I felt guilty for not opening them. A sad situation. Now I save money and don’t feel pressured.

4.) Stop being grocery brand loyal: Confession: I rarely used to check the prices of items against their competitors in the store, I just bought my favorite brands. I know right? Huge mistake. Not only because a lot of times a competitor may be on sale, but quite frankly for a lot (not all) grocery related items, you can’t really tell the difference in the store brand or name brand. I have saved a lot of money by price checking and using coupons before I throw something into my cart and buy.

5.) Buy consignment: People are constantly asking me where I get Emma Kate’s adorable clothes. Truth is, rarely do I buy her clothes new. If I do get something new, it’s from a pre sale Facebook group where I pay for things months in advance in order to get them super cheap. I can buy a second hand church dress for EK for a fraction of the cost at a consignment shop, and no one can tell it isn’t brand new. I started doing the same with furniture as well. I bought an old wooden dresser for $75 on Facebook, put a fresh coat of white paint on it and repurposed it as our new TV stand in our home. For under $100 we have a great piece of furniture that would have cost us hundreds at a store. I have totally gotten over the need to have everything “new”. You can find some great deals on second hand items if you take the time to research and are willing to put in a little elbow grease.

13221555_10100124218856828_726172400210582116_n

Would you have ever guessed we bought this dress at a consignment shop? Nope!

6.) Eat out of your freezer and pantry: Before we moved, we ate out of our freezer and pantry for a couple of weeks to clean them both out, and I was amazed at the meals I could come up with. I also felt a little ashamed that we had so much food but yet I bought more and more every week. I have decided to make it a new thing where for one week every couple of months we eat out of what we already have at home. Don’t let that food expire and go to waste!

2016-12-24_12-12-25_343

7.) Stick to your list: This is a big pitfall for me, especially when it comes to a little store called Target and a little girl named Emma Kate. The dollar spot in particular is a weakness of mine because “it’s just $1.00” or “it’s just $3.00” but if I buy 5 items that is easily and quickly between $10 and $15! I create a list before I shop now and don’t stray from it. My kid really doesn’t need more toys and I don’t need more junky things to clutter up the house. Stop the impulse buying!

8.) Close the curtains: We moved into a bigger house which means a bigger electric bill. Did you know that windows are where most of the cold and heat comes into your house? I have started to close the blinds/curtains for rooms I’m not in during the day to help save on electricity. If I change rooms for an extended period of time, I just open up blinds/curtains in the new room, and close in the old room. No biggie.

9.) Cheaper phone plan: Bobby and I recently were able to save around $40 a month on our cell phone bill by switching our plan. We had an unlimited plan, but after looking at the past few months of data history, we realized we never even came close to reaching what the data limit would be on a plan that would have been way cheaper. If you have unlimited data, call your phone company and have them tell you how much data you are averaging a month. If it’s below one of the cheaper plan limits, switch!

10.) Sell items online: Not only do I buy furniture, clothing, and the like online…but I sell it, too. I am a member of several local Facebook yard sale groups, and have made a good amount of money selling everything from baby clothes and toys to furniture and electronics. It’s great for spring cleaning! Just make sure you take well lit photos and give good descriptions. Remember people like to haggle, so start your item at a price you are ok negotiating with. If you choose to do this, always meet in a public place in the daytime, and ask for cash only.

QOTD: What is your best tip for saving money?

Support Your Health in the New Year

Tracking Pixel

It’s that wonderful time of year again! No, I’m not talking about the holidays…I’m talking about cold and flu season! Every year we get the dreaded time that strikes fear into the hearts of well, everyone. No one wants to get sick, but sometimes it seems unavoidable. Well, there may be some things you can do to support your immunity.

probiotic1

1.) Drink water: Drinking water allows your kidneys to remove toxins from your body. So if you don’t drink enough water, toxins can build up and weaken your immune system. Drink up!

2.) Exercise regularly: Exercise is a great way to boost your immune system. Good news? You don’t have to do anything crazy to reap the benefits. Moderate activity levels will do just fine. Some research shows that physical activity may help flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways, which could potentially help reduce your risk of catching an illness.

unnamed (11)1

3.) Eat healthy foods: Some research has shown a link between immune function and certain foods. Bananas for example contain vitamins and minerals that can impact immune response. Cheese and other dairy products contain a natural component that has boosted immune response.

4.) Wash your hands: We all know that not everyone follows this practice, and we also know this can be one of your best lines of defense against getting sick. Especially after being in public or touching door handles, shaking hands, and being at the gym. Scrub scrub scrub!

5.) Cough or sneeze etiquette: I try to keep tissues in my purse and my car for those unexpected sneezes and coughs, but sometimes I forget and try to use etiquette by sneezing or coughing into my elbow, and not just out in the open air. Be mindful, especially when around others!

6.) Take Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics: The “gut” is  the center of your body’s overall health. This can affect things like immunity and digestion. Did you know that 70% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract? I think that makes it important! Renew Life Ultimate Flora Probiotics deliver potent formulas with tens of billions of cultures, and multiple probiotic strains to help your immune health.probiotic

Probiotics are important for everyone’s health and Renew Life’s Ultimate Flora Probiotics offer different formulas for all of your family members. Renew Life Probiotics are available at health food stores and major retailers, including Target and Walmart. Visit RenewLife.com for more information.

 

QOTD: What am I forgetting? What do you to to support immune health during cold and flu season?

7 Things to Do When Life Gets Overwhelming

There are ebbs and flows in everyone’s life. The past few months have been categorized for me in one word: Overwhelming. Not always in a bad way, but overwhelming just the same. Sometimes I deal with things in a positive way, and sometimes I run around like my hair is on fire. Here are 7 of my best tips for when life gets overwhelming:

life gets overwhelming

1.) Learn how to say no: I discuss this at length in my book, but learning to say no to every opportunity, social engagement, and freelance job has helped me to feel less overwhelmed. It is simply impossible to be all things to all people, and being stretched thin does not make me a good wife, mother, or productive member of society. I would rather have a few things on my plate and do them WELL as opposed to too many that don’t get done right. One of the biggest decisions I had to make when Emma Kate was born was to step back from a management role at work that I enjoyed. It sucked but I knew there was no way I could do the extra work to the best of my ability while caring for a newborn.

2.) Prioritize: Sometimes we just need a little reminder of the things that are really important to us. If family is important to you like it is to me, then you may need to rethink some of your extra circulars so you can spend more time with them. If you really want to be able to workout more, then going to bed an hour earlier and cutting off the TV may work for you. Sacrifices may need to be made, but if it’s for something you really care about then it is totally worth it!

3.) Pray/devotion/quiet time: This is the most important one for me. When I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it is probably because I am not starting my day with quiet time and prayer. It just starts my day off right and gets me in the right mindset as I face problems and anxieties. Does this mean every day goes perfectly? Absolutely not, but I am more likely to respond more correctly when I have started my day with quiet time.

4.) Ask for help: I need to look in the mirror and say this one. I can sometimes struggle with not asking people for help. I know everyone is busy and has their own problems to deal with, so I don’t like dumping on other people or asking them to help me. Sometimes though, its necessary to get back to a good place, and I know my friends really don’t mind, and the issue is with me!

5.) Cut out the time suck: Social media is a wonderful thing, but for me it can also be a big time suck. What starts out as getting online to write a sponsored post for work, turns into scrolling through feeds for ten minutes. That’s ten minutes I could be doing so many other things, and I sometimes do this multiple times a day! I don’t know what your personal time suck is (talking on the phone? TV? video games?) and I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it at all, but sometimes I know I can tend to go overboard and end up wasting precious and valuable time.

6.) Time blocking/Buy a planner: I am a very visual person, so if I have a million things to do just floating around in my head, I am bound to forget one of them and when one ball drops, several others seem to drop in quick succession! Writing things out in a planner and even going so far as to time block my day hour by house, or in thirty minute increments can help me to stay focused and on task when my mind starts to panic at all I have to do.

Related: 5 Steps to reaching your goals

7.) Release control: Oh so hard my friends. Sometimes, crappy things happen that I have no control over. I get my feelings hurt. Something happens at work that upsets me. I get sick. I have a bad night’s sleep. All of these things can be a recipe for disaster if we try to control them and spend our time worrying about things we can’t change. It has served me well in the past to take  step back and remind myself that I am not in control of everything, and that’s a good thing! I often need to stop worrying and just let it be. Let go of the tight grip I have on situations. It’s not going to change anything except to stress me out and overwhelm me.

So inhale. Exhale. Think about which of these things may help you the next time life gets overwhelming and see if it helps. I hope so!

QOTD: Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they work for you?