Hi there, Sandi here, mom of two little boys ages 7 and 9. I don’t know about you but I’m excited to see the calendar quickly approaching back to school for my boys! Ok, so things my not be the same entirely, some of their classmates might not be there and everyone will be wearing masks like we’re in a strange movie but, nevertheless we digress.
I started shopping today for school supplies and here’s what I found at my local Dollar General!
.25 glue sticks
.75 filler paper
.50 pencil sharpeners
$1.25 Mechanical pencils
Bought all of this stuff in twos (except folders bought 6)
Total $10.90 for almost everything I need in the school supply department for my two lil guys.
Christmas?! Did I really just say Christmas?! I know, I know, it’s not even Halloween as I write this blog post but trust me it will be worth it!
I stopped Rite-Aid today Oct 28th, just to get my fav body wash. Btw, have you ever tried this body wash? Omg, Ah-mazing! Seriously the best body wash I’ve tried in a long time!
This body wash goes on a but one get one free sale a lot. Wanted to stock up but there was only three in stock. 😞They are BOGO this week.
As I was shopping, (Looking for eggs and milk too because I didn’t wanna stop at the grocery store too) I came across a few things for Christmas.
50% off toys
I asked the cashier how long this sale would be going on and she said at least through November! Grab them early for best selection!
Also, be sure to check Walgreens for toys as well because they will have amazing BOGO toy sales. Sometimes they do buy two or three and get two free sale!! Perfect for filler type gifts (that’s what I call them). My boys each get one or two expensive gifts they really want, some clothes, pj’s, etc. and then some of these ‘filler’ type gifts. I once walked out of Walgreens with two carts full of toys for under $100, just using these toy sales and rewards points. I get my prescriptions there as well so I save up my rewards that way. The point system was a lot better back then though, this was in 2012 I think. They still have great sales though!
Next up! Home decor!
I don’t know about you but I’m already thinking about decorating for Christmas 🎄
I think decorating has to be one of the most fun things I love to do during the holidays!
Rite-Aid had decor and candles, etc for 50% off!
Hi there! Welcome to my blog! I’m Sandi I’m a momma to two boys ages five and eight. My eight year old has Autism and Selective Mutism. After working a “normal” job and leaving my kids crying at daycare. I quickly realized there has to be a better way. I’ve been literally obsessed with business and home businesses and decided it was my goal and mission to test and try various work from home opportunities and pass this knowledge on to other moms that might be looking for a better way as well.
I started this blog originally eight years ago when my first son was born to fulfill my need for a creative outlet during his nap times, he was just three months at the time. This blog started out as a money saving/couponing blog. I got super excited when I realized how far I could stretch my very tight stay at home mom budget after my son was born. I figured my “finds” should be posted so I can help other mommies stretch their budget as well.
This blog is being updated and revamped. Started as just a blogger blog. I have a huge passion for not only helping moms save big, but also create ways of earning income online as well. After all, it’s not just about saving, but it’s about creating a life you love and earning enough money to enjoy your time. Being a good steward, with not only your money, but your resources and energy as well are all things I aspire to help you with on this blog/Youtube channel. I dedicated a lot of time and energy into testing work at home businesses ideas and passive income strategies to help you build multiple income streams at home, I hope to pass this knowledge on to other moms! I’d love to have you follow along! Mommin’ ain’t easy, but this blog will help you make mommin’ easier!
Check out what I’m up to on Instagram daily @ mommiesmedia!!!! Or on Facebook @ mommiesmedia
I started this silly little thing called a blog when my first son was born, as a hobby. My son is now five and I have since decided to take it from “this silly little blog” to ” my business”. When I started hardly anyone knew what the heck a blog was, now everyone and their grandma has a blog. So here’s what I learned along the way. I think this info would of use to a blogger starting just out, or someone considering starting one. #1 It’s not all rainbows and sunshine….it takes so much work and dedication. Full time bloggers work all day everyday. More than forty hours a week. I personally work til 2am sometimes. I do my best work late at night when my kids are in bed. #2 You have to have a good support system and an understanding family. Because it takes so much time you need to manage you time well. You will also need childcare sometimes so you can work interrupted, something I needed to learn a long time ago, after posting some pretty crazy posts. You have to be able to focus and working when hearing mom I need ____, is just going to leave you frazzled and of course with a crazy messed up post. Bloggers who glamourize working at home with kids aren’t being real about it, it’s a challenge and a juggling act everyday. #3 You can’t do it all yourself, even the most technical writers/bloggers need some help. There is so much work to be done. From designing your blog, to coding to affiliate links and other links like products you sell and social media. #4 It takes money, as a money saving blogger, I tried to start this business free. You just can’t *period*. Some folks may beg to differ, but as someone who found out the hard way, trust me on this one. If you want to take it from hobby to business you have to invest some money. It really does take money to make money. You can start out free to get the feel for things, but to step it up, it’s going to take a little moolah. Of course you can start for less than $100 to start, which is nothing though compared to what some full time bloggers make. Upwards of $10,000 or more a month. You need to buy a domain…which you can buy really cheap though godaddy and you need hosting. I have hosting for my other blog mommiesfrugalfinds.com through godaddy. It’s a work in progress, Will be switching to Bluehost soon, most successful bloggers have Bluehost. I will be eventually transferring this blogs content to wordpress. If you start on wordpress you should buy a designer template for better SEO, which basically means more visabity. #5 Blogging can be discouraging. It’s hard putting my heart and soul into this business, I’ve been blogging five years. Only to read stories like one blogger makes $10,000 a month after only one year of blogging as a single mom making $700 a month. There’s no way, I’m sure someone helped in one way or another. She makes the bulk of her income from this story selling books about her life storyvand how her husband left her, and she went from homeless to making well over $10,000 a month. Knowing what I know about this business. There is much more to this story. Like maybe her ex was a doctor and she ended up getting alimony or something, it just seems pretty unrealistic, but I guess there are exceptions. One can assume or speculate, it just blows my mind. Or the story about a crockpot blogger who started a blog and within weeks ended up on the Rachel Ray show, not knowing anything about crockpot cooking she winged it and quickly became an overnight success. In the world of blogging you hear stories like these all the time. It has made me want to quit so many times. Why do I keep going? Because I love blogging and writing and I love helping other moms. I’m not in it to make money, though it would be nice to make $10,000 a month, not gonna lie. #6 Make sure your heart is in it because it takes time to make decent money blogging. If you are starting a blog for income alone. Don’t start a blog at all, go into another field. #7 People are not going to understand this business…like “what’s a blog”? Most people have no idea this is a big business, as well as a platform for other endeavors. You might have to just not tell anyone about it and work on it secretly. There is so much negativity surrounding anything where you make an income online or anything unconventional. If you tell anyone what you do you will usually get a confused or glazed over look. Just smile and move on. Don’t let others opinions or misconceptions bring you down. Just keep doing what you love. #8 The competition is feirce and it’s not pretty. Other bloggers will steal ideas, steal tags or titles and then every blogger in that niche has the same posts. That can be super frustrating. But I just keep going and make sure I follow all competition to ensure I’m posting unique articles. #9 In order to draw readers in you have to grab attention… you have to have a great title for posts and a reason to get someone to read it….just keep your integrity. Many bloggers sell their soul for readers. Just be yourself and be real, that will eventually shine through, making your voice unique and authentic. I would rather have my integrity and no readers than a million readers because of a title that was less than honest or using someone elses idea. #10 You will face criticism and critique and you have to be ok with this. You develop a tough skin from this business. You have to not care what others think and just be true to yourself. There will always be someone who doesn’t like what you have to say, not value your opinions or are just simply mean spirited and bored. Even these people are valuable to this business because the truth of the matter is, if they are reading your content, you are still getting views and that ultimately leads to a higher Alexa ratings… that’s what you want as a blogger. #11 Never stop learning and growing everyday. I learn something new everyday. Study, read, explore, learn and ask questions. I read a lot and if their is something I need to learn (like video editing for example),I watch youtube videos or turn to google. There is always room for growth and improvement. Always strive to make your blog, and your business better. #12 Most bloggers don’t make the bulk of there imcome from blogging alone. Revenue is made from multiple sources by selling ad space, affiliate links, affiliate programs,YouTube channel, marketing programs and products like, ebooks, courses, fitness programs, printables, digital downloads, etc. A lot of bloggers also write for other websites, do public speaking or teach. Blogging is really launching pad for other opportunities and income streams. I’m going to be doing some more posts about this subject..the truth about blogging in the months to come.
As you probably know by now I have been following Dave Ramsey. Now I’m not taking his financial peace class but I am atudying his advice and watching his youtube videos. There was one video in particular that caught my eye. He was basically saying in order to get ahead financially you can not think like everyone else. You have to be ok with being different and doing things differently. You have to look at money, debt and really life in general from a different perspective. I’m going to call it ” think like your grandma”. Let’s think about this for a minute, in our grandparents generation they had no credit cards, they used what they had and they did not shop fir recreation. They bought what they needed and most importantly, they were content, they lived and they lived within their means. I think if we took a step back and re- adapted our life styles to these simple concepts we could really get a lot further. Say goodbye to the Jonses too. If the people in your life can’t understand your new way of thinking you have to re- evaluate who are the important people in your life. If you have to try to impress people, they aren’t your friends. Friends will stick by you during good time and in bad. No matter what sseason of life you are in. Just a little food for thought.
20 things you should be buying at The Dollar Tree saving you up to $500 or more a year 1)Hair accessories, clips, barettes, ties, brushes combs 2)Shampoo conditioner and styling products 3)Socks 4)Baby wipes, baby shampoo, baby bottles, lotions, etc. 5)If u have animals pet products, leaches, collars, dog food, biscuits, bones, toys, sweaters 6)Cleaning sprays, wipes, bleach, air fresheners 7)Tupperware 8)Paper plates and paper products 9) stationary, office supplies 10) cards, gift wrap, 11) snacks drinks 12) beauty products like lotions, sunscreen, baby oil, makeup 13) vitamins 14) medicine cabinet over counter meds and bandaids, etc 15) books 16) ziplocks and garbage bags 17) phone accessories, like iphone cases, chargers 18) home decor frames, vases, flowers 19) toys, perfect for party favors, or stocking stuffers 20) frozen foods and pantry items. Some things I frequently buy in this dept…… Pasta Sauces Seasonings Frozen fruit Frozen pancakes and waffles Frozen Sausage Frozen entree for lunches Ravioli canned Olives Canned chicken Condiments mustard, mayo Tea coffee Creamer (they even have specialty coffee syrups like french vanilla make your own Starbucks on the cheap) Hot cocoa Soda Movie candy Popcorn
As I was lying in bed I couldn’t help but think about what success is, what it means to me and how we as as Americans define success. I couldn’t help but think about a conversation I had a couple weeks prior with an old friend. The way she defined success didnt sit well with me. She defined success as having a mortgage she can’t afford, a new car every year with a payment that she couldn’t afford ( really if you are financing a car you really can’t afford it let’s be honest), and a recent refi to make her new house better ( move over Joneses). And heres the biggie. She slaves away at a job she hates five days a week… This is success??? Living for the weekend? Buying a beautiful house that you never use and having a family you never see. Is this really what auccess is to most of us? To me it’s not. If you are happy, healthy and you have your bills paid and food on the table you are more successful than a lot of others I would say. I think we really have lost track of the important things in life. We are so consumed with accumulating stuff that we forget to enjoy that stuff we worked ao hard for. Are we working to live? Or living to work? I guess another reason this was running through my mind was becuase of Dave Ramsey. You know, the financial guru that teaches Financial Peace University? Well he was saying so many Americans are working ao hard for their money yet we don’t know how to make our money work for us. This is what we need to learn to change our lives. If we learn to do this we can work less and enjoy life more. So basically how this worka is tthis. If you don’t have the cash for it… You can’t afford it, so don’t buy it! Easy right? Well not really, but it can be if you change your perception. What I mean by change your perception is….stop trying to keep up with the Joneses!!!!! The Joneses are mot going to make that car payment for you. Stop trying to impress people who don’t care. Worry about your life, your financial goals and your own definition of success. I think this lesson has taken me some time to learn myself. It really took going through a divorce, living as a single mom with two boys under four and no help or financial support from my kids’ dad to realize this harsh leasson. I need to cut costs and only spend money I actually have. No credit cards! No car payments! I now live within my means. Not that I didn’t before but I did have a car payment and used credit cards from time to time. I don’t even buy furniture on credit now. I buy nothing on credit. If I can’t buy it then i save up for it. But otherwise I don’t need it. Its more important to pay yourself by saving than to pay a bank interest. Duh, right??? You would think that would be a no-brainer. Why they don’t teach finanical planning and credit to high school seniors is beyond me. I’m sure that would have changed so many peoples lives. Anyhow back to my point. My finances look a lot different. And I can honestly say I am happier and feel a hell of a lot wiser. Funny how divorce does that.😃 I have now cut my budget in half These are the only things I now pay for…. Rent Food Gas Utilites Cable ( this one is going bye-bye soon going to comcast and netflix for movies and t.v) Car maintenance Insurance only liability Misc household expenses Misc healthcare amd beauty products (hello Dollar Tree) Clothing (i have a couple friends that own thrift stores and i exchange clothes with friends So this one has been cut way down i would say $60 a month Kids clothing about $60 a month some months more like this month which will be back to school shopping so atound tjis time and Christmas more like $200. My set expenses are less than $1000 a month which I feel pretty good about. The rest there is some wiggle room. I will be doing some more posts on saving money after divorce as well as saving and earning more as a single mom. 😀
Looking for ways to make extra money? Here are some ways that I make money at home, with no out of pocket cost, and you can too.
Sell stuff. We all have stuff we don’t need or want right? Why not sell it? One persons junk is a another persons treasure. There are several ways you can do this….
(fees are a little high but still worth it) I’ve been using ebay for years. I once paid for our family vacation with just my ebay money) The key to ebay is take gretat pics, write an attention grabbing description and be a fast shipper. One thing I like about ebay is you have instant access to the cash when you make a sell through paypal
Do you have a knack for handi crafts? Do you sew, knit or paint? Why not sell your items on etsy? This is the ebay of handmade items. You can always find unique items in here and this is a very popular site.
Craigslist….I use this website all the time. Love it. You can buy or sell with no fees attached. Always check the free section on this website. Sometimes you can get something free that you can turn into cash. Have a knack for design? Re paint furniture and make a killing. People love unique items…the weirder the better. Make it your own.
Love to write? Start a blog, write an ebook, write article’s for magazines. Do freelance writing through freelancer.com, odesk or elance. You can also use these websites for other areas of freelance work. I have personally used these websites for freelance writing and virtual assisting assignments.
Lots of companies now hire work at home agents…some companies I know of 1(800) flowers, delta, united, west co.
Hope these tips help. More ideas to come
Ok, lets talk budgets. Yeah, there are more exciting things to talk about but let’s get this out of the way to make way for some more exciting topics. As a newly single parent I am faced with a whole new set of financial challenges. Before the divorce my husband and I weren’t rich my any means. We were the typical american family. Well, maybe not totally typical. I stayed at home and earned money at home (this was our extra money) while he worked a full time sales job to pay the bills. We did ok (more on this later on ways to make money at home), but we never felt comfortable. Let’s just say there were no Hawaiian vacations…maybe one to Louisville Kentucky, lol, but we really were just staying afloat.
Now as a single parent, there are even more challenges financially so I had to give my finances a kick in the pants, and myself. Lol Here’s what I had to do to cut my budget in half…..
Determine what is your main expense? For most of us it’s housing.
This is usually something non-negotiable. It’s a fixed monthly expense. There are some ways around this expense though. Look into housing assistance programs in your area. As a single mom I now qualify for assistance with this. Call your local social service agencies. If one says no, there may be another, don’t give up. Ask questions, tell them your story, people are mostly good and willing to help if you are just friendly and polite. If you don’t qualify for any kind of assistance there are other options.
Get a roommate and split expenses in half. Move in with mom and dad or a brother or sister. Also, another option is to buy, it may actually be cheaper to buy than rent…talk to a mortgage broker or do a rent vs. Buy comparison
Rent $800 ( cut in half) $400 with these tips
Ok, going down the list….
Most of us have a car payment, this is another fixed expense (I don’t have this one). I got a car from my friend Sarah (thank you girl, love ya). I will also be looking for another one that will be purchased with tax money (try to pay cash for a car if you can…payment monthly zero)
You can try to refinance your loan to lower your payment (this may lead to more installments, but less monthly expense)
You could take out a personal loan with a lower interest rate and pay the car off.
Let’s say your payment is $300 you could reduce it to $150 buy doing this.
Next on the list…..utilities
This is usually somewhat of a fixed expense. Ways to reduce this expense…
Barter…for example, my neighbor and I share internet I use her internet and she uses my garbage service. A win/win scenario. We both save monthly about $50 or so monthly. My internet bill is a whopping 0.
I don’t have cable but I watch movies and use Netflix steaming which is awesome and I don’t even miss cable or the $150 bill that follows. I do have a pg&e bill every month but there are even more ways to reduce this. If you qualify there is a program called CARES that saves you a portion of your monthly bill. There’s also a program called HEEP, its an energy assistance program that will help with your bill.
Moving right along…..
More flexible expenses
Groceries….this is my favorite one because this is my most flexible monthly expense. If you have a good panty stock you really can get creative with this one. You can use coupons (see my kindle ebook for sale on amazon to get started). If you aren’t into that just meal plan around the weekly ad at your favorite grocery store. Buy produce that’s in season, try cutting some meat out of your meals. You can still eat a balanced meal with other protein. Eggs for example, are so cheap and versatile.
This is my weekness. I love clothes. But I refuse….absolutely refuse, to pay retail prices. You will not see me in Macy’s. Sorry Macy’s you have some cute stuff but I can’t see spending $50 on a shirt when I can go to a consignment store and buy the whole outfit and shoes for $50. I always dress nice and my kids always have nice name brand clothing. There are several ways I do this…
Thrift stores (ask questions a lot of times these stores have bag days or half of days doesn’t hurt to ask)
Consignment stores….I love stores that take items for store credit. This is a lifesaver when you have kids…they outgrow their stuff so fast.My son is four but as tall as a six year old. These stores always have like new items. No one will know you bought it used.
Garage sales…super cheap clothing and household items
Rummage sales….went to a church on (the best ones) today. Go on the last day of the sale for the best deals usually a dollar or two a bag
Friends and family….love the hand-me-downs. With two boys I pass all of my four year olds clothing to his lil brother then after he outgrows them we pass them on to friends or family or trade them.
Other expenses…credit cards.
This is a tough one. Best tip. Don’t use them. If you can’t afford to pay cash for something….you can’t afford it. Sorry. I know easier said than done. If you have a credit card balance try consolidating to one card. A lot of companies like Capital One will have the zero interest for balance transfers…take advantage of that. When the offer runs out transfer to another zero interest card. Keep doing this until its paid off.
Consolidate, apply for a forbearance, the main thing with student loan companies is communication…they are there to help. These to me are good debt. Student loans are one the lowest interest loans of there. Not that I would encourage taking out student loans but if you want an education and would otherwise be destined to a life of flipping burgers, this is your best option. And your credit score doesnt matter since it is backed by the goverment.
This is a tricky one. Most things that are fun cost money. But you can still have fun on a budget.
Utilize your local library…you can rent movies, cds, books, use the internet….free.
Redbox…movie night? Sign up for free redbox movie codes
Parks…pack a picnic lunch and have a park day with the kiddos. Bring some skates, kites, jump ropes, tennis rackets. Take advantage of the park.
Take a hike…haha…yes litetally. I love to explore my local area. I live in beautiful Northern California, an area rich in recreational opportunities. We have Shasta Lake, Whiskeytown, endless camping, hiking and adventures to take advantage of.
Summertime fun in the park…in my area during the summer there are family movies in the park one night a week..there are also Friday concerts in the park. Check your local newspaper and entertainment magazines for info on free local events.
Hope these tips helped trim your monthly budget. I will be posting more about budgeting and makign money at home. Stay tuned.
Don’t forget about your furry friends this summer. In my area the heat is relentless. Our temp in july has reached 118 degrees a time or two. Hopefully if you live in an area that’s this hot you have your pets inside. Here are some ways to help your pets stay comfortable in the midst of the scorching summer heat.
Take big ziplock plastic bowls and fill them with water, freeze and you now have ice blocks to put in your pets water dish. If your pets are outside make sure their water is in the shade and they also have shade.
If you have pets like rabbits they are extra sensitive to high temps. To keep them cool take a towel and drape it over their cage. Run the hose over it several times a day to keep them cool. I had rabbits growing up and we did this in the summer to keep them cool. You can also put ice blocks (see above) on top of the towel on their cage to keep them cool. Always make sure they have access to water, food pellets and they love to crunch on veges like, lettuce and carrots.
Don’t walk your dog in the middle of the day. Do it early in the morning or evening. The pads of their feet can be sensitive to hot asfault. The pads can even burn. A dog has tougher feet than humans but even their feet cant take the heat. If the temp outside is over 100 degrees you might not realize this but roads can be 40 to 60 degrees hotter than the air temperature. Which is hot enough to cook an egg so you can imagine how hot that would be to a dogs poor paws. Vets even summer have to deal with dogs coming in with burnt paws because their owners didnt realize hot hot pavement can get.
Hope these tips helped. Have a fun summer!
HOT DiGiorno Coupon Deals! Super cheap @Target and free 2 liter
Get ready for the big game! Head over to coupons.com and print the Digorno coupon. Buy two get one free. At Target they are 2/$9….so 3 a piece plus free soda. Oh, also there is a cartwheel coupon on this one too. Be sure to download this app to your phone if you are a Target shopper. Gotta love Target. My local Target was remodeled not too long ago and it really wasn’t ever a place I would by food items…now with a huge grocery item selection you can really save big buy matching target coupons with manufactuers coupons on top of a sale and cart wheel app for Huge savings!
Where to find coupons
Sunday newpaper (smart source, redplum and at the end of the month procter and gamble inserts)
Cvs beauty book
Better Homes and Gardens
just to name a few
At the grocery store
Safeway has e coupons you can load to your card or clip the ones in the weekly ad
Albertsons store coupons >Winco has manufacturers coupons sometimes as doea walmart
Target printable and moblie ones like cartwheel app.
Kmart store coupons and they will double manufacturers ones up to a dollar
Also, never throw out junkmail, look through it for coupons first. There are usually good ones for arbys, mcdonalds, hometown, burger king and sometimes I see the $10 off of $50 at foodmaxx (food4less)
oh, and also if you are a costco member you will receive monthly coupons
Walgreens has coupon booklets
Cvs has printables from their coupon machine, you can scan up to three times for more coupons
Riteaid has coupon booklets sometimes and their video values coupons you can watch to get coupons
You can sign up for manufactuers coupons just like all your favorite brands on facebook and watch for special offers
You can print them online from coupons.com, smartsource.com, redplum.com, or directly from manufacturers websites
Sign up for coupons from your favorite chain restaurants just look at the bottom of their website to sign up. I get coupon alerts via email all the time for bogo lunch or dinner specials.
Look one packages for special offers and coupons. There was one I kept seeing on the Ihop breakfast bowls a while back i bought a bunch of these with coupons so they were only about $1.11 each then on each one there was a $1 coupon inside. So I basically bought a bunch for .12 each. That is definitely my stock up price.
Look for peelies on packages
Be on the look out for ones next to new products at the store
Order them from a coupon clipping service when you find a good deal on something and you would like to stock up. @.10 each
Follow coupon blogs like this one ;-)….going to be making it more functional in the coming months so its easier to navigate.
Some of my fav blogs are hip2save, fabulouslyfrugal, raininghotcoupons, coupondivas and the krazy coupon lady.
As you can see there is really a plethora of coupons out there.
fyi you can match store coupons with manufacturers coupons fof the sweetest coupon deals. Think Target, cvs, walgreens.
With two boys (three if you count my husband) and two dogs(also boys, yep I’m very out numbered) there are always messes to clean up. If you’re like me you love your swiffer for quick clean ups but hate all the things you have to buy for them contantly.
Here are some easy tips to help you save on these cleaning products….
Make your own reusable, washable cloths, super easy about two mins to make one.
Just take a peice of fabric (you can use an old tshirt or sweatshirt, or even scarf) fold in half (this will give you 4 pieces if you use a shirt which will make two reusable cloths) trace around swiffer mop head, cut out with a one in. seam allowance. Lay two peices together and sew all four sides. Cut a hole about 4 in in middle and turn inside out. Voila…super easy swiffer cloths.
Ok, so maybe you have a wet jet swiffer and you are buying the cleaning liquid like crazy (especially if you have a lil one that likes to help, or shall we say waste) then this will help you save.
Make your wet jet container reusable. Bet you didn’t know that was possible (sorry swiffer company).
Take the container and run the top under super hot water for a few mins to loosen, should come right off…refill with dish soap and water) you’re good to go! Your welcome.