Blog Link Parties

11404_10205621130676317_4834179443480644860_nHappy Monday!!! Call me crazy, but Monday is actually one of my FAVORITE days of the week!! I know, I know, I’m weird haha. The reason is though my family has a flipped schedule from everyone else as my husband works Fri-Monday. And night shifts! So he sleeps all day, works all night. Come Monday I’m so excited because it means I have help putting the kids to bed!! Let me tell you, putting a 4 1/2, 3, and 7 month old to bed by myself would make for a fabulous episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Especially on nights like last night where it is super windy so my oldest two did not want to sleep. Extra coffee for me today!!!

I’m using my coffee time today to mingle on some great blogs!! I highly suggest everyone go check out these fabulous blog link parties!! It’s a great way to spend your Monday Coffee Time!!

Monday Link Parties:

Create With Joy

 

Moms The Word

Strangers And Pilgrims On Earth

The Modest Mom Blog

What Joy Is Mine

A Proverbs 31 Wife

I Should Be Mopping

Flour Me With Love

The Life Of Faith

A Blossoming Life

 

Tuesday Link Parties

Time Warp Wife

Time To Sparkle

Our Home Away From Home

Cornerstone Confessions

http://timewarpwife.com/

http://www.growinghomeblog.com

http://www.astrollthrulife.net

http://www.adelightsomelife.com

http://www.hopestudios.blogspot.com/

http://teachingwhatisgood.com/

http://www.stonegableblog.com

http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

http://linda-coastalcharm.blogspot.com

http://www.abowlfulloflemons.net

http://funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com/

http://myuncommonsliceofsuburbia.com

http://www.carolynshomework.com

Wednesday Link Parties

Handy Man, Crafty Woman

Ginger Snap Crafts

Ducks ‘n a Row

A Peek Into My Paradise

We are THAT Family

Milk And Cuddles

To Love Honor and Vacuum

Things I Can’t Say

Whole Hearted Home

Mama Buzz

Thursday

A Handful Of Everything

The Crafty Blog Stalker

Have A Daily Cup Of Mrs Olson

A Glimpse Inside

Saving 4 Six

Bloom Designs

Domesblissity

Jordan’s Onion

Graced Simplicity

Serving Joyfully

Living Well Spending Less 

FRIDAY

http://christianmommyblogger.com/

http://www.sarahtitus.com/

http://www.answerischoco.com/

http://romantichome.blogspot.com/

http://www.atkinsondrive.com/

http://www.thejennyevolution.com/

http://whipperberry.com/

http://www.kitchenfunwithmy3sons.com/

http://tidymom.net/

http://www.sunscholars.com/

http://www.123homeschool4me.com/

http://b-inspiredmama.com/

http://www.simplysweethome.com/

http://www.dearcreatives.com/

http://www.thepinjunkie.com/

http://designsbygollum.blogspot.com/

http://thebestblogrecipes.com/

http://lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com/

http://www.myturnforus.com/

http://www.craftyspices.com/

http://chiconashoestringdecorating.blogspot.ca/

http://too-much-time.com/

http://www.iheartnaptime.net

SATURDAY

http://faithalongtheway.com/

http://www.pamspartyandpracticaltips.com

http://www.littlemisscelebration.com

http://cookingwithruthie.com

http://www.raisingmemories.com

http://piecedpastimes.blogspot.com

http://www.classyclutter.net

http://howsweetthesound.typepad.com/my_weblog/

http://tatertotsandjello.com

http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/

http://www.thirtyhandmadedays.com

SUNDAY

Pams Party & Practical Tips

Silver Pennies

Barbie Swihart

http://www.onemoretimeevents.com

http://www.bystephanielynn.com/

http://www.the-chicken-chick.com

http://www.flamingotoes.com

http://www.niftythriftythings.com

http://www.lifeonlakeshoredrive.com/

http://www.pinkwhen.com

http://2crochethooks.com/

http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com

http://www.reasonstoskipthehousework.com

http://boogieboardcottage.blogspot.com/

http://www.3littlegreenwoods.com

http://www.creativejewishmom.com/

Dana

How I Save Over $1000 Per Month

save er monthFor many people, money is tight right now and especially for those families on a single income. When our family grew and we needed a new car, I found that we were living paycheck to paycheck with not a single dime extra. My husband couldn’t work more as he was a full time student, and with 3 young kids it would not have made us any more money for me to return to work as the childcare for 3 kids is crazy expensive. So I began to look at how we could save money each month. You actually have lots of ways to do this and it can add up to quite a bit of money over time! First and foremost, make a budget and stick with it!!!

 

Groceries:

This was where most our money went each month. We were spending about $250 per week for a family of 5, plus eating out at least once a week. My goal was to reduce this down to about $400 per month giving us a savings of $600. Here is how I did it.

*I planned out our meals for the entire month, wrote them all down on a notepad on the fridge

*I made sure that we had a veggie night at least twice a week (meat is expensive, but you can get protein in the form of beans)

*We had a leftovers night once a week to clear out our fridge and pantry

*I switched up where I was grocery shopping. We have an Aldi’s about 25 minutes away and I go there twice a month. I save a lot this way!

*Freezing foods! I buy cheese and meat in bulk and freeze it. 10557459_10152408716339576_1367961862174007812_n

*I stick with canned and frozen veggies

*I always buy the generic brands of foods

*I cook from scratch things like spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, biscuits, muffins etc

*For my kids, I make a huge batch of muffins for them for breakfast and keep them in the freezer

*Fruits are either bags of apples and bananas or canned fruit

*For seafood, we go with frozen swai. Very cheap and delicious.

*Make a list for the grocery store and stick with it. If its not a necessity, don’t buy it

*Use cash!!! We take our grocery money out of savings each month and put it in an envelope. When that money is gone, we are out of luck. This helps us stick to our budget!!!

Check out my Healthy Eating on A Budget Plan to get meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, shopping tips, saving suggestions and more!!!

 

Utilities

WATER

Where we live the price of water is VERY expensive. It is 5 times the price of at our previous home so this took some getting use to. Here are tips to cut your water bill

*Take showers not baths

*Only run the dishwasher when it is full

*Do not hand wash dishes, that uses more water

*Never leave the water running

*Make sure your washer is full when you do a load of clothes.

ELECTRIC

Electricity is where many people spend a lot of money. Here are some ways to reduce your bill.

*Unplug your appliances such as computers, TV’s, coffee pots, toasters, etc when they are not be used

*Only keep the lights on in the room you are in.

* Add weather stripping to any doors that aren’t sealed tight.

*Use natural light from the windows whenever possible

*Turn your air off during the summer and open the doors and windows

*If you have a fireplace, use that as often as possible during the winter

*Skip all the Christmas lights during winter and go with non electricity using decorations. Use battery powered lights in your windows for a classic Christmas look without the high bill

*Use curtains and blinds. Keep them shut to help cool the room down, and keep them open to allow the sun to warm it up.

*Use your washing machine on the cold mode as it uses less energy

*Dry your clothes, towels, blankets on a clothes line during the summer instead of using the dryer

*For small meals, use your toaster oven or microwave instead of your oven as this will consume about half the power

 

cut cableCable/Internet/Phones

Cut the cord on cable! You can spend less than $20 a month by subscribing to Hulu and Netflix. Netflix provides ton of shows for kids plus full seasons of shows for adults. If you want to watch current shows, Hulu posts them the day after they air on TV. Great way to still watch your favorite shows but save money each month.

Check out different internet providers in your area for the BEST deal. Sometimes switching a provider can save you a lot of money. If you don’t use internet daily, consider cutting that all together and instead visiting the library or an internet café when you need to.

Phone bills are very expensive, especially if you don’t look at the fine print. Many providers charge you insurance and other fees you did not agree too. Make sure you are using all your minutes, if not reduce your plan or consider switching to a provider with a cheaper plan. Check into cutting your data usage too as that can save a lot. Many plans charge one price for the entire month.

Clothes/Toys

Consider shopping for your kids clothes twice a year at Consignment Sales. Most large cities have them and you can also sell your used clothing and toys there too. Another option is online yard sales. I use this for selling my kids clothes and usually will put one size in a giant trash bag and sell the bag for $20. That gets someone an entire season of clothing for $20!!! We usually buy all our clothes new from Kohls, with two boys we pass them down. I always look online for a 30% off and free shipping coupon. Using those allows me to spend about $100 for all 3 kids each season.

For toys make sure to check out local consignment shops. We have quite a few in our town and most the toys in there are still in boxes totally unused! It’s a great deal and then we just donate the toys after they are done with them or re-sell them

Cars

The truth of the matter is, cars cost a lot of money! You have gas, insurance, plus upkeep on your vehicles!

*For insurance, make sure to check out all the different providers for the best deal. Pay your payments twice a year vs monthly to save money.

*Don’t buy a new car! Always go with used and instead of trading yours in, sell it outright as that gets you more money. If you can get by with using one car, downgrade! That will save you a lot of money each month.

*Gas is expensive, especially if you drive a larger vehicle and drive often. Consider the costs when you are going places and carpool whenever possible. budget your life

 

More Ideas To Help You Save

*Start a garden

*Grow your own herbs

*If you family has land and enjoys eggs, consider having chickens

*Skip going to the movies and use Redbox

*Sell extra books and clothes on ebay

*Cut your families hair yourself (I do this for my husband and three kids!)

*Use dish soap and vinegar for cleaning instead of expensive products

*Make your own soaps, cleaners, and detergents

*Use up items in your pantry and fridge

*Use coupons

*Order items like diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels from Amazon

*Have money from your check put into your savings account automatically each month

*Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page

*Don’t use credit cards

*Make one extra house payment a year and reduce your mortgage by 8 years

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dana

Christmas Is About Love

mery christmasFor many people Christmas is a very stressful time of year. But that’s because we get lost in the hussel and bussel of things and forget the real meaning of Christmas. The fact that we all are loved and precious in the eyes of God!!! I feel Christmas is too materialized and gift gifting, instead of giving LOVE!!! To me, that is what the Holiday is all about, love!!!

One way I avoid getting stressed during the Holidays is not concentrating on giving expensive gifts. I guess that makes me cheap, but instead we find a family in need and give money to them. My husband and I are lame and normally we buy our own gifts haha. But to us, with 3 little kids and no family near to help, the best gift is a nice take out dinner and a movie on the couch. Quality time is what we enjoy!!xmas tree

We do have a VERY large extended family and I feel bad not sending them gifts, so we have the kids do home made presents!! Again, some may call me cheap, but to me a home made gift may cost less BUT it takes a LOT more time and is done with love. Let me tell you, trying to decorate cards with a 4 1/2, 3 and 6 month old is NOT easy at all. But that is something my kids took time making. That is something I searched for high and low. It is something we spent a lot of time on and made with love vs just quickly picking up. In most cases, our homemade gifts takes days to finish. And the excitement from my kids is priceless!! They love the idea that we are making and mailing presents to the people they love. When I tell them, this is going on someone you loves fridge, they light up and work so hard to make it pretty. That right there is priceless because they truly are sending LOVE!!!

unnamedminnnnnSo what are some good homemade gifts??? All you Mom’s are going to hate me, but painting cards is a great one! Check out the card we do. I made the design myself and then printed it on card-stock. Feel free to save you use!!! I let them fingerpaint and decorate the outside, then we sit and write each of their names (helping them) on the inside. They love decorating cards with paint….just make sure you get the washable kind HAHA!!! We also put a family photo in there. You can get them developed for pretty cheap at online sites like Snapfish and even find online coupons to save more.

unnamedorna

Another great gift we like is homemade ornaments. You have a lot of options with these and Pinterest is a great site to use for more ideas!! This year we bought a pack at Michaels that was 25% off and they are stickers…..not my favorite idea haha! We also did homemade salt magnets (directions at the bottom) or you can do homemade salt dough ornaments! Another great idea is potholders with handprints, ornaments with handprints, or plates with handprints. For me personally, I prefer things they can sit and paint as they get more time painiting vs just doing a handprint. The longer they can paint, the happier they are!!

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SALT DOUGH ORNAMENTS

Ingredients:

A cup salt

2 cups of flour

¾ cup of water

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl mix salt and flour together.
  2. Gradually stir in water. Mix well until it forms a doughy consistency.
  3. Turn the dough onto the bench and kneed with your hands until smooth and combined.
  4. Make your creations using the salt dough. (I use cookie cutters for designs)
  5. If you are making ornaments, make sure to poke a hole for a string.
  6. Place the salt dough creations into the oven at 180C.  The amount of time needed to bake depends on the size and thickness of the salt dough creations.

Tips 

  • Store your salt dough in an air tight container as it keeps well for a few days.
  • You can paint your creations with any-type of paint
  • Salt dough can also be aired dried and is an alternative to oven drying.
  • Let the kids decorate the salt dough creations, they have so much fun with it!!
  • Use the salt dough to make ornaments, magnets, and all sorts of keep sake items!
Dana

Jobs From Home

 

The truth is there is not just ONE way to work from home. In fact, you can find lots of different options that work for all different people. Sometimes you do have to try more than one thing, and that’s ok!!! Many people don’t find their dream job the first time, but if they do, that is GREAT!!!

 

30 ways to make money from home


CUSTOMER SERVICE JOBS

This is one of the most popular ways to work from home. You work set hours, make a set income, and need a quiet office space as you are on the phone helping customers. This option is perfect for people who don’t have kids running around the hours but want to stay home and make an income that way. My honest opinion, this is NOT a good option for those with little kids unless you have someone else watching them. These companies require you not to have background noise so if you need to be watching your kids, I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Here are a few companies that hire people to do customer service from home:

Enterprise Rent A Car
Uhaul
Convergy’s

1-800 Flowers

Alpine Access

American Express

LiveOps

ACD Direct

West At Home

Apple


DATA ENTRY JOBS

Data entry is the dream job everyone wants, but lets be honest it is VERY hard to find. One reason is people need to have a lot of experience for this or they need to have a certification/degree. If you go to school for it, often times the school has programs to help you find a job after. Make sure to utilize those!!! If you don’t have a degree, but do have experience, look into sites like www.odesk.com and www.elance.com Now keep in mind those sites can have jobs that are NOT legit and ARE scams so you always want to be very careful. Another problem with this type of job is the pay can be very very low and not consistent. Research a company online to learn more about it and the pay! Here are some others to check out.

Great American Opportunities (email at TOhair@gafundraising.com)

SIGTRACK

Odesk

Elance

Virtual Bee


VIRTUAL CHAT BASED JOBS

A chat based job is the perfect thing for so many people, especially Mom’s!!! They are few and far between so make sure to apply when you see an opening! Here are a few sites to look into.

Needle

LiveSalesStaff

Capital Typing

Weebly

PaperlessPipeline.com

Arise

Sedgwick CMS

G5Live

Talk2Rep


SURVEY SITES

SwagBucks

Survey Savvy

PaidViewpoint


<<<<OTHER OPTIONS >>>>

Mystery Shopper:

MSPA North America

World Alliance for Retail Excellence

Market Force

Volition

Bestmark

Bare International

ICC

GapBuster

Mintel

Ritter Associates

Shoppers

IntelliShop

KSS International

Marketing Endeavors

Service Check

Service Intelligence

ONLINE JUROR

eJury

OnlineVerdict

Harvey Moore & Associates

Dana

The Perfect Job

One question I get all the time is “Dana, how In the world do you get started working from home???” I’d love to say the answer is quick and easy, but the truth is it’s not. The reason behind that is different things work for different people, and to be successful, you need to find what works best for YOU!!!

myphoto

 

When I first started making an income from home, it was unplanned! I was in school full time and my kids were 2 ½ and 1, but we were struggling to pay our bills let alone put any money in savings, so I started with a company selling a product I personally used. Now, let me say that I went about that all the wrong way haha!! I burnt myself out following the advice of my “leader” and burnt out my team. The money earned did help me pay for my personal training certification, but during that I learned the product I was promoting had some iffy ingredients, so I left the company!!!

 

I decided to focus instead on my personal training business as my experience with selling a product left a very sour taste in my mouth haha. I had finished college so I had a lot more time for this type of business!!  It took me awhile to put my foot back into the world of direct sales, but when I did I made sure to do a lot of research and find the perfect job for me!

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Direct selling is not for everyone of course, and some people have to try multiple companies before they find one they love. Because if you are promoting a product you don’t love, people will see that and not only will they not buy, you will be miserable yourself!!

Of course this is NOT the only way to make an income from home, but for me its what works best!!! With 3 kids, I can’t spend hours online and most days when I work, varies greatly. Sometimes its an hour, some-days its not at all!! For me, flexibility is the most important thing as my kids always come first. If you can work set hours, in a quiet place, MANY companies now hire people to do customer service over the phone from home. That’s a steady income if you can devote 40hrs a week.

Remember, you have to find what works for you. Sit down and figure out what you are looking for in a job, how much time you can devote, and what your goals are financially. And never be afraid to ask for help from others in the work from home industry!!!

 

Just because one thing works for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you….but it never hurts to try!!!! One thing that makes me successful is I NEVER EVER EVER force my company on someone. Instead I help them find the perfect fit for THEM!!!!! Find something you love, and you never work a day!!

<3

Dana