Tag: saving money

Stress-Free Gift Giving

Stress-Free Gift Giving

stress free gift giving

It may seem crazy to start saving for Christmas while you are still cleaning up from your holiday celebrations, but I promise that implementing simple strategies now will reduce your stress with gifts all year long.

Rarely does a month go by that a birthday present or thank you gift isn’t a part of our budget. Nowadays there are so many ways to earn cash back bonuses or gift cards that with a little planning ahead and a few minutes of attention each day to apps you can enjoy giving gifts stress-free all year long.

Here are my favorite apps for earning gift cards

Swagbucks

Powered by Yahoo, Swagbucks is a search engine, but unlike Google, you are awarded points for searching at random. You can also earn additional points by activating Swagbucks for an online purchase. You earn a percentage of purchases made back in points. For example, purchasing clothes on Walmart.com can earn you back 3% of the dollar amount back in equivalent points.

Swagbucks also gives codes almost daily for points that you can add into your phone app and offers the opportunity to watch videos and take surveys for additional points.

  • Time spent each day: 2 hours working and blog research (bonus for doing this while I work!)
  • Running videos on my phone while I work
  • Amount earned each year: $50-75 without watching videos $250 a year including videos.

My favorite way to use Swagbucks is to shop online with Walmart for grocery pick up.

Dosh

I’ve just started using Dosh, but I like the ease. From Google Play:

Dosh is the free cash back app that finds you money for shopping, dining out, and pumping gas at thousands of merchants and brands nationwide. Start getting paid for doing the things you already do.

Get paid when you shop and dine at the places you visit every week including Walmart, Chevron and Texaco stations, Pizza Hut, Sam’s Club, Hallmark, Sephora, Forever 21, and many more!

Simply download the Dosh app, securely connect your credit and debit cards, and live life as usual. Every time you use those cards, Dosh searches for available offers that match your transactions. If it finds one, Dosh automatically redeems the offer and converts it into cold, hard cash, then deposits it directly into your Dosh Wallet. You don’t have to do a thing.

Download Dosh now and get paid to do the things you already do.

HOW IT WORKS:

• Connect your cards.
Securely link your credit and debit cards. Whenever you pay with your linked cards, Dosh gets you cashback.

• Shop, pump gas and dine out
Pay with your linked card at thousands of stores, gas stations, and restaurants, and get up to 10% cashback automatically in your Dosh Wallet.

• Transfer your cash
Do what you want. Transfer your cash to bank accounts, PayPal, or donate to charity from the app.

Use my referral code BETHW36 and we both earn $5.

My Points

My Points works in various ways. You can earn points for clicking on daily emails, watching videos, doing surveys or shopping through their web browser.

This year I stepped up my video watching (or running) since I work from home I’ve set up a schedule to allow my phone apps to run while I’m working. Since I need my phone nearby anyway I can watch it while I work.

  • Time spent each day: 2 minutes opening emails. Videos can run for an hour without it being a waste of time.
  • Amount earned each year: $15-20 without watching videos, $100 with video watching.

S’more App

S’more is an app where you earn points in exchange for the app to run ads on your lock screen on your phone. Every day they give you points in exchange for having the S ’more lock screen installed.  (use code YLRBLF to earn a bonus for you and me!)  Additional points can be earned by filling out qualifying surveys or filling out special offers and watching videos.

  • Time spent each day: Zero seconds unless I choose to attempt a survey or watch a few videos
  • Amount earned each year: $30 minimum

Fetch Rewards

With Fetch Rewards, you earn some points for everything you buy, but you can increase your earnings by selecting their featured deals for the month. I love this app because it is way less tedious than Ibotta and I’m rapidly building rewards. Use B0HYE  (that’s a zero) for a bonus 2,000 points when you get started with Fetch Rewards!

  • In one year I’ve earned $30 just shopping for everyday items and scanning a receipt.

Ebates

Ebates is another company that gives you cashback for shopping through their online browser. While it’s likely you will find similar cashback percentages across the board every day worth it to compare who has the best offer, especially with large ticket items. For example, as I’m writing this Ebates is offering 13% back from GAP.

  • Time required: 1 additional minute to online shopping.

Ibotta

I’ve been using Ibotta for 28 months, and as I type this post, I have earned $400.00 Ibotta is an app that links to your shopping card at most grocery stores. It also provides offers for items at many restaurants and online companies. Money is earned back for purchasing products such as groceries and clothing.

I’ve earned a lot less with Ibotta since shifting to grocery delivery and pick up services. Since you have to have a printed receipt and they just started syncing with Meijer it’s a hassle. Additionally, unlike Fetch rewards, you have to preselect the items in order for them to count when you make a purchase.

Although I prefer to cash my money in for Amazon gift cards, Ibotta offers multiple options including Paypal!

Read more about how it works here, but don’t forget to use my referral code for a bonus when you sign up!

  • Time spent each day: 5 minutes or less, 15 minutes after a shopping trip if not linked to my shopping card.

Achievement

HOW IT WORKS:
Connect the apps/devices you already use with Achievement to track healthy activities like walking, meditating, logging food. We support 30+ health, fitness, and lifestyle apps and are always adding new ones.
Take Achievement’s Health Survey to share more about your background. To start earning points, we’ll share tailored surveys, health programs, and online research studies which you can contribute to from wherever you are
Get cash rewards.

  • Time spent on app: Zero seconds (I have it linked to my Garmin)
  • Amount earned per year: $10-20 depending on qualifying surveys. I’ll hit $20 this month.

Harris Poll

A report on Amazon purchases is run each month. $3.00 in an Amazon gift card is earned each month.

  • Time spent on app: 2 minutes a month
  • Amount earned per year: $36/year

There are many additional options for ways to earn cash simply by checking in to a location or running videos on my phone. I’ve highlighted the ones that I feel are the best time investment for busy families.

With a few daily strategies that don’t interrupt my daily routines, I’m able to build up a great fund for giving gifts that don’t stress our budget or waste my time!

I’ve included my referral code on each of the company links I featured. We will both earn bonuses when you sign up through me.

That Other Oils Post

That Other Oils Post

that other oils post

A little over a year ago I wrote a post highlighting all the doTerra essential oils our family was loving. I thought it might be interesting to see how our oil uses have evolved over the last year. In addition to the oils, I’ve incorporated several vitamins and supplements from doTerra I’ll highlight as well.

Here are our favorite essential oils:

Daily

  • On Guard: immunity support, taken internally with droplets, diffused at night, applied topically
  • Cinnamon: blood sugar regulation, add a drop to water or protein shake
  • Peppermint: energy increase, add a drop to water, taken internally with droplets
  • Purify: diffused in main living area (kitchen/living room open floor) to eliminate odors and promote fresh smell, a drop in the wash or on wool dryer balls is nice too
  • Serenity: diffused at night to help Ordell and I sleep, in a roller to apply at night when traveling
  • Lavender: help the boys sleep diffused at night, eczema reducer, also great on wool dryer balls
  • Lemon or Lime: drop in drinking water, helps with digestion, liver support
  • Breathe: doTERRA Breathe is a remarkable blend of essential oils including Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara.
  • Vegan Lifelong Vitality Pack: this is our multivitamin choice. While I use the flaxseed, Ordell uses IQ Mega fish oil. No more fishy burps!
  • Shampoo: I LOVE the doTerra shampoo!

Weekly or More

  • Eucalyptus: a drop in the shower helps clear the allergy stuffiness away.
  • Citrus Bliss: this vanilla and citrus combination has been perfect to get the grumpies out in the car before heading to school
  • Wild Orange: emotional support, promotes cheerfulness
  • Deep Blue: most used in our house, muscle soreness support.
  • Aroma Touch: droplets into bath helps reduce muscle soreness
  • Clary Sage: cramps and emotional imbalances from monthly cycle removed
  • Terra Shield: 20 drops of oil to 4 oz of water makes an amazing bug spray! This can also be diffused for the protection of a larger area.
  • Douglas Fir: Ordell has found this is a perfect layering oil for him with Deep Blue on days he’s sore from lifting.
  • DigestZen: aids in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating.*
  • Balance and Serenity together are called the grouchy blend. I’ve found the blend perfect for our boys in the pre-teen and teen years.

Thyroid Support

My thyroid support combination is the one that has changed the most. I finally have a balanced thyroid again after 13 months. When nothing else worked DDR Prime kept me functional. The other two are great support for digestion and hunger cravings. Even though I’m still on thyroid meds without a veggie cap of these oils I’m pretty wiped out by the end of the day.

  • Slim and Sassy: helps boost your metabolism and manage hunger cravings, this comes in oil and soft gel form.
  • Zendocrine: comes in oil and soft gel form
    • Supports the body’s natural ability to rid itself of unwanted substances*
    • Supports healthy liver function*
    • Purifying and detoxifying to the body’s systems*
  • DDR Prime: DDR Prime is a proprietary blend of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils that help protect the body against oxidative stress to cellular DNA.* The essential oils in DDR Prime provide antioxidant protection and support a healthy response to cellular stressors.

Cooking

  • Ginger in salad dressings
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint in brownies
  • Lemon in lemon bars

On Guard

For cleaning, I’ve started using the on guard cleaning concentrate in a glass spray bottle. It’s the perfect multipurpose cleaner and the only thing that gets the grime off our tubs!

I can’t believe how long it lasts. We’ve only had one bottle and we use the spray several times a week on counters, the microwave and bathrooms. I’m not even halfway through the bottle.

We’ve also swapped out for the on guard foaming soap. No more Bath and Body Works in our house!

On Guard beadlets kept us healthy this winter even with 3 guys in 3 different schools and a severe flu strain.

On Guard cough drops were a great booster when we did have short-lived colds.

Ordell and I also use the on guard toothpaste. It’s replaced Sensodyne and our dentist is pleased to report zero cavities and whiter teeth.

So there you have it! We now use more doTerra daily in various ways than a year ago.

Here’s What We’ve Eliminated:

  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen
  • tums
  • clorox spray
  • melatonin
  • cough drops
  • vicks
  • dayquil and nyquil

Here’s What We’ve Swapped in:

***I don’t sell doTerra, but I know some awesome ladies who do! I’m happy to refer you to my favorite doTerra reps.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Creative Gifts for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

Creative Gifts for the Coach’s Wife in Your Life

creative gifts for the coach's wife in your life on mother's day

It might seem early for a Mother’s Day gifts post, but I’m highlighting some items that will take more than Amazon’s 2-day Prime Shipping timeline to receive. There are so many creative and reasonably priced gifts out there these days! Additionally, the longer I reflect on things the more I realize how much more I appreciate unique gifts.

With our last move, we downsized our space which meant choosing only the most important pictures to display and our favorite items with which to decorate our new space. Even with those boundaries, I realized that many of the things I kept over the years I didn’t have any sentimental attachments to because I’d only purchased it to fill a gap in a room. Additionally, I don’t have room for extra things in our current space. Remember, there are zero affiliate links in this post! With those things in mind:

Here’s my list of creative gifts for the coach’s wife in your life:

Apparel

I love the Friday Night Wives shop! While it’s possible many people won’t “get” the phrasing on some of the t-shirts at first glance, I think they are hilarious. Plus you get to support a fellow coaching family with each purchase.

There stripped Coach’s Wife sweatshirt is a very popular item, but I also love the t-shirts that say “I’m here for the hot coach” and “it’s more than just a game”.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are a huge part of our whole family’s daily routine. doTerra vitamins, oils, protein shakes, cleaning supplies and massage blends are all staples.

If your wife has hinted she’s interested in learning more about essential oils get her a diffuser and a few oils. Lavender, Purify, and On Guard are used daily in our home. Does your wife carry tension in her shoulders? Deep Blue will change her life. No Joke.

Fair Trade

I recently got a purse I’ve had my eye on for a few years from Noonday. I’m thrilled with the workmanship and the mission of the whole organization.

Able bags, jeans, jewelry and dresses are all gorgeous and excellently crafted. Able is not only fashion forward, but they are financially forward providing full transparency in salaries.

Sseko Designs is the last fair trade organization I’ll highlight. I’m dying for a pair of their adorable sandals!

Subscription

Coffee is always a favorite gift. I gave coffee from the Mistobox company for Christmas and had really positive feedback.

Book of the Month is one you the reader in your life will love, but I’ll warn you, the books add up quickly. If your wife insists on “real books only” go with BotM. But, you might find an Audible subscription is more appreciated considering how often coaching families move!

Fab Fit FunThese boxes are the gifts that keep giving. With adorable seasonal items in each box, your wife will have something to look forward to year round!

Experience

There’s nothing like a weekend away to let the coach’s wife in your life know she’s number one in your book. Finding time to take 2 days away is going to take some effort and planning so any getaway will be considered amazing.

  • Get tickets to a show or concert.
  • Head to a festival like Taste of Chicago.
  • Plan a weekend at the spa.
  • Find a hotel with great room service and sleep in.
  • Check out local museums.
  • Find a beach.

Don’t have time for both of you to get away? Send your wife to the spa for a pedicure and massage.

Hand-Crafted Wall Art

If you do have some wall space to fill I suggest going sentimental. Have a family picture put on a canvas, consider a wooden feature piece that highlights your life, or check out these adorable prints!

Don’t Forget About Services!

Maybe this year you need to get a little more practical. Consider hiring someone or doing things yourself. Either way, giving your wife a week off from the daily grind is an amazing gift!

  • Get the garden weeded and prepped
  • Clean the house
  • Take the kids out of the house for the day
  • Have dinner delivered during the week

Go ahead and bookmark this post, while I’ve created this list in time for Mother’s Day, anniversary season is starting too! These gifts are great for either time as well as a birthday. Get a little creative this year with gifts, I think your coach’s wife will appreciate your efforts.

Have a Great Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

Have a Great Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

Have a Great Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

 

Each year around this time I cash in points for Amazon Gift Cards. It still surprises me each year how easily I built up a supply Amazon credit without thinking about it. Here’s a list of all the ways I earn Amazon Gift Cards as well as how much time I spend each day focusing on earning points.

My Points

My Points sends daily emails that give you points for opening the email, making a specific purchase, or using a coupon. Additionally, extra points are earned for watching videos.

  • Time spent each day: 2 minutes
  • Amount earned each year: $15-20 without watching videos

Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a search engine just like Google, but you are randomly awarded points for searching. Additional points are earned when a Swagbucks deal is activated on an online purchase. You earn a percentage of purchases made back in points. For example, purchasing clothes on Old Navy.com can earn you back 3% of the dollar amount back in equivalent points. Swagbucks also offers the opportunity to watch videos for additional points.

  • Time spent each day: 2 hours doing work and blog research (bonus for getting to do this while I work!)
  • Amount earned each year: $50-75 without watching videos

S’more App

S’more is an app that allows you to earn points in exchange for allowing us to place ads & content on your lock screen. Every day we’ll give you points in exchange for having the S’more lock screen installed.  (use code YLRBLF to earn a bonus for you and me!)  Additional points can be earned by filling out qualifying surveys or filling out special offers.

  • Time spent each day: Zero seconds unless I choose to attempt a survey
  • Amount earned each year: $30 minimum

Ibotta

I’ve been using Ibotta for 14 months, and as I type this post, I have earned $305.29. Ibotta is an app that links to your shopping card at most grocery stores. It also provides offers for items at many restaurants and online companies. Money is earned back for purchasing products. Although I prefer to cash my money in for Amazon gift cards, Ibotta offers multiple options including Paypal!

Read more about how it works here, but don’t forget to use my referral code for a bonus when you sign up!

  • Time spent each day: 5 minutes or less, 15 minutes after a shopping trip if not linked to my shopping card.
  • Amount earned per year: $300 in 14 months

Sweatcoin

Sweatcoin explains “We track & verify your outdoor steps using your phone’s accelerometers and GPS location. Those steps get converted into our currency — Sweatcoins” just like Ibotta sweatcoins are exchanged for several things including Amazon gift cards or PayPal.

  • Time spent each day: Zero seconds
  • Amount earned per day: varies up to $2 depending on if I remember to bring my phone with me everywhere I walk.

I just started using this app a month ago, and I’ve earned $35 Sweatcoins.

Achievement

HOW IT WORKS:
Connect the apps/devices you already use with Achievement to track healthy activities like walking, meditating, logging food. We support 30+ health, fitness, and lifestyle apps and are always adding new ones.
Take Achievement’s Health Survey to share more about your background. To start earning points, we’ll share tailored surveys, health programs, and online research studies which you can contribute to from wherever you are
Get cash rewards.

  • Time spent on app: Zero seconds (I have it linked to my Garmin)
  • Amount earned per year: $10-20 depending on qualifying surveys. I’ll hit $20 this month.

Harris Poll

A report on Amazon purchases is run each month. $3.00 in an Amazon gift card is earned each month.

  • Time spent on app: 2 minutes a month
  • Amount earned per year: $36/year

There are many additional options for ways to earn cash simply by checking in to a location or filling out a survey. For me, the combination of this list is perfect. Without adjusting my daily routine at all 4 of these programs earn me daily credit towards Christmas money!

I’ve included my referral code on each of the company links I featured. We will both earn bonuses when you sign up through me.

Our Blue Apron Experience

Our Blue Apron Experience

I was given a code to try Blue Apron completely free of charge. The code allowed for two-person meals to be free, family meals for three to four people to include a small additional charge, so I opted for the two person package.

I was able to make a few preference selections on the website like eliminating shellfish, beef or meat altogether. I highlighted that poultry, fish and pork would be ok. I was able to choose the day of delivery between Wednesday and Saturday. A few days before the meal was to arrive I received an email notification with pictures and titles of the meals I was to receive.

I’ll be honest, I was a little nervous because my husband doesn’t normally like fish unless it’s fried and I hadn’t seen the ingredient combinations together before. Still, looking ahead at upcoming weeks on the website all of the menus included meals I hadn’t previously prepared or even tasted.

The packaging was very organized, labeled, and sealed well. The ice blocks and insulation wrap worked perfectly surrounding the food. As I unpacked everything I noticed that the produce was firm and without blemish. A quick survey of ingredients revealed that nothing was omitted. Had I chosen to make the meals in a different order than presented on the website I would have missed the garlic. One bulb was included for two meals, but it was in a brown paper bag of extras for the first meal.

In addition to the printed instructions the Blue Apron website has videos you can watch to instruct you on how to prepare the food.

Pros:

I discovered that I like beets! Additionally, roasted chick peas. I prepared fish that my husband ate.

Additionally, I like roasted chickpeas.

I prepared fish that my husband ate.

The ingredients were truly fresh.

All three meals were very tasty and reasonable on the calorie counts.

The directions were very clear and easy to follow.

Cons:

I used a ton of cooking utensils with each meal.

I couldn’t select for allergies on the website, so where I usually eat gluten free, I was unable to do that.

Everything needed to be prepared the day of consumption. This might not be true of all menus, but the three meals I was given wouldn’t have held up more than a few hours let alone overnight.

It’s expensive.

Pictured:

Seared Barramundi with collard greens, Fregola Sarda, and shallot agrodolce (below)

Kale and Tahini Flatbreads with beet and pear salad (above)

Bottom Line:

Although we enjoyed all the meals we ate this week, I ended up having to do a lot more prep and clean up than I normally do and the meals weren’t within my normal dietary restrictions. That plus the cost factor doesn’t make this a reasonable weekly option for our family. I may try it again for a special occasion. It enjoyed the experience and understand why people are ordering from them so often!

Groupon Christmas

Groupon Christmas

Have a Great Christmas Without Breaking the Bank

I know football season is just beginning, but as a coach’s wife, I have learned that if I wait until after the season to start thinking about Christmas gifts, I’ll miss out on all the best deals.

I’ve teamed up with Groupon to pass along some of my biggest tips for getting the best prices on the most popular items and not compromising on quality or time. Although this is a sponsored ad, the opinions expressed are my own.

Tip #1 Make A List

If you haven’t spent time browsing the Groupon website recently, you might be surprised to see how far their stock has expanded. Groupon continues to have local deals for restaurants and activities, but they have expanded to include nationwide sales for products. They aren’t hiding these deals either. Besides a phone app and daily emails Groupon posts products for sale on their Facebook and Twitter pages as well.

I keep a list of people to purchase presents for on my phone. If I have an idea of what I’d like to get them I’ll add that in. Every day when I’m reading my email, I take a few minutes to see if anything matches my list.

A quick look at the Groupon Site has the ideas rolling already!

Stocking Stuffer WWE Toothbrushes for my boys 

Wireless speaker for my husband

Tip #2 Space out the purchases

Football season is expensive for us. Besides school starting back up for our kids we travel to games, eat on the run a few times a week, and of course, there are the game day meals. If I’m not careful, I’ll find myself short on gift money.

The great thing about Groupon’s deals changing is that there is often something new to consider.

Tip #3 Embellish

In my opinion, the best gifts are the ones with the personal touch. For example, check out this Groupon for 2 30 oz Stainless Steel Tumblers.  At $37.99 with FREE SHIPPING over $34.99 and FREE RETURNS, this is an excellent, risk-free gift for a co-worker or friend. Getting it monogrammed or adding vinyl designs puts this over the top and can still make this present under $25 total. The best part is, if you’ve followed tips 1 and 2 then you have plenty of time to create the perfect personalization.

Tip #4 Price Compare

A quick search of the Apple MacBook Air on Groupon’s site reveals it’s just over $80 LESS than my over favorite online shopping site. Nothing makes me feel better about a high-cost purchase than knowing it’s the lowest price I can find. With free shipping and free returns, this becomes even less of a risky buy.

Although these tips may not be surprising to read, I hope that I’ve provided enough of a plan to get your idea wheel turning to help create a holiday season that is filled with joy and less stress. Less time battling crowds in stores sure helps me! 😉

Life For Less with Groupon

Life For Less with Groupon

Football and Family

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

When it comes to date night, travel and family outings there is a common issue that limits our activity…cost. When Ordell and I were first married, I would hop on eBay to bid for restaurant discount coupons. Whichever coupon I won that week would be our date night spot. This left little choice but always ensured a cheaper meal.  Over the past several years my go to for discounts most of the time is Groupon Coupons. This site has given me not only the ability to choose my restaurant location, but also obtain discounts on goods as well.

Groupon has consistently directed our family to family owned restaurants and local experiences like pottery painting. When it comes to travel adventures experienced (like my niece’s horseback riding in North Myrtle Beach this past May) they have been a hit! We’ve tried restaurants and adventures we wouldn’t have ever considered possible with Groupon!  Groupon isn’t stopping with local activities and restaurants when it comes to inexpensive vacations.  Walgreens on Groupon offers coupons on photo printing, beauty and makeup along with many other discounts. What better way to print off those vacation photos!?

Of course vacations with Groupon start with booking the hotel via Hotel.com on Groupon or the adventure via Apple Vacations on Groupon.

There are several ways to get the latest information on Groupon deals. There is an app for your smartphone, an email list that you can sign up for that will send daily deals straight to your inbox, or you can check Groupon’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

If you are ready for a vacation or looking for a fun stay-cation hop on Groupon Coupons and explore adventure options today!