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.
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.
Time to break out the blender! After the holidays everyone is on a new health kick. Well, I’m starting it early!!! No time like the present right? Or is that it’s always a good time to get presents! Or is that to always be present. lol Just kidding! During the holidays there are so many treats. Home made cookies and fudge and pies galore. I have always had a bit of a sweet tooth so I love donuts, pies and candy! Yep, I’m like a kid at a candy store, actually I go crazy in candy stores, I want to buy everything! So the point I’m getting at (believe me I have a point) is that I need to start eating healthier. I was diagnosed with a condition called fibromyalgia which is an arthritis type of condition that causes a lot of pain and discomfort. So I’m looking into more natural ways of treating this very common condition and I’ve started taking vitamins and supplements, as well as trying to eat healthier, duh right?! I’m going to be turning 38 this year and for some reason these kinds of things (sweets) don’t sound as appealing anymore. I’m now wanting more healthy choices and my boys (even my picky four year old) have also been eating healthier (even if I have to be a little sneaky about it). I’ve been buying less processed foods and trying to make more things from scratch. It takes longer, but it is so worth it. Here is one recipe I thought I would share that my kids and I both love. I have been on a yogurt kick and absolutely love Tillamook yogurt. I’ve actually been eating this kind for about five years. I lived on it during both pregnancies eating it every night before I went to bed. I really like the Honey Creme Brulle( always out of stock at Wal-Mart, come on Wal-Mart get it together) one that Tillamook has in the black cups. Yum! Anyhoo, this is a delicious snack or fast breakfast and it’s super cheap to make! Only about .75 a serving and you can double the batch by adding another banana another cup of yogurt and more juice and a splash on milk. No ice required. 1 cup Tillamook yogurt any flavor will work I love the vanilla or honey 1 Banana 1 cup of apple juice 1 can of apricots or peaches (apricots make it a little sweeter) 1 handful of strawberries 1/2 milk 2 tablespoons sugar (if needed) In blender add strawberries, banana and apple juice, blend…add in the rest. Blend, serve and enjoy! Makes 4 medium size servings
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….everywhere, literally everywhere you go. Is it just me or does it come earlier and earlier every year? It seems like Halloween isn’t even over and you start seeing Christmas decor. So this year instead of turning my head and thinking omg, I am so not ready. I decided to embrace the thought of decorating early. (See pic, this is my house, not bad for $60 spent at the Dollar Tree right?) Yes, our tree is already up!!!! since November 8th! I did this for several reasons. First of all last year was really hard emotionally and financially. I just left my husband after being Married 16 years. Just getting thru everyday was more of a priority. I put everything off but in the end with a little help I was able to have a great Christmas for my boys. Secondly, I feel like I’m just In a better position this year emotionally as well as financially. More reasons I wanted to get it out of the way because I am going back to school and working hard on a lot of projects. My boys love Christmas and my oldest son’s bday is Dec. 22 so I also have a bday the same week as Christmas…then mine is two weeks later. All of the best Christmas decorations are fully stocked. Waiting really limits the possibilities of getting what you want. As soon as Thanksgiving is over it is game on! And shopping becomes like wrestle mania! You have to fight for what you want. (Wait isn’t that true for really anything? Lol) I was able to get some awesome decor at the Dollar Tree, all of it fully stocked!!!! And super cheap got everything for $60! They really have stepped it up and got better quality items too. It would be a tragity to buy this stuff anywhere else. I think we saved around 75 percent by shopping here compared to maybe Target or Walmart Ok enough about decor…back to having an amazing Christmas on a tight budget. Here are some tips and tricks. #1 set a limit per child. Obviously older kids are going to want more expensive gifts so they may only get a few while the younger ones will get several smaller cheaper gifts. I only have young kids ages 2 and 4 so they don’t understand prices or brands which makes shopping easier. #2 Think outside of the box. Shop other stores you may have overlooked before. Ever thought to Christmas shop at Walgreens? I shop there every year to get toys. Now I don’t get all of the toys there but I finish my shopping there. I have been able to get two carts full of toys for less than $100 buy utilizing there sales with the buy two get one free or buy three get two free toys! Be on the lookout for those sales! #3 Use layaway. I usually only use Kmart for Christmas layaway but this year I think I will use Walmart and see if I can save more. The down side is not being able to put clothes on layaway so I may go to Kmart as well. Layaway is awesome because you can pay in payments and you don’t have to worry about hiding the gifts, you can pick up the week of Christmas wrap it all and find a temporary hiding spot. #4 If you are on a very tight budget and you are going through hard times and don’t see how you are going to pull off the holidays here are some ways you can get help. Call the Salvation Army and sign up for food baskets and toy giveaways. Call churches and see if they offer any help What organizations are you involved in? So many organizations offer help. My son’s school offers all kinds of resources (head start) a great program for low and moderate income kids and their families. Cal for referrals to other programs and resources. I don’t think you necessarily need to be homeless. It doesn’t hurt to call and ask. Social services can offer resources or give you some suggestions # 5 Plan early. Start as soon as possible, setting money aside and planning your Christmas budget. Also, prepare for unexpected guests and have little gifts on hand for gift giving like boxes of candy, lotions, small gift baskets, etc. #6 Start a change fund for Christmas in Jan. (While this won’t help this year it is an idea for next year so you won’t stress out last minute). How this works is put all of you change in a big jar or five gallon water jug. All of you change at the end of the day is put in it. If you save all coins you could have around $3000 on average at the end of the year. #7 Cut your budget per gift in half if you spent $20 on each giftlast year try cutting it to ten. There are so many good deals that this is easy with a little planning and you may have to shop several stores and have a little patience. #8 Does it have to be new? If you have really little kids to buy for, do they really care about the box? No, they just rip into them. They want the toy! If there is a toy your child wants that’s out of your budget you might be able to find it used on eBay or craigslist, or even a thrift store, yard sale or consignment store. Just make sure all the pieces are there and it’s clean and in good condition. You could even trade old toys for store credit to get new ones at some children’s consignment stores #9Sell old items like toys and clothing on capitalist and eBay for extra Christmas money. #10 Make gifts. If you are crafty you might be able to make things like leg warmers, scarfs, gloves, hats, blankets or jewelry. Try reusing materials. You can repurpose old clothes to make a quilt. For jewelry you might be able to redesign old costume jewelry and for leg warmers, think old sweaters. #11 Black Fiday and Cyber monday. If you can brave the long wait, crowds snd chaos uou can get some great deals. I personally like cyber monday better, it’s less stress for sure and a lot of stores offer free shipping. #12 Gift wrap cards and postage. Use flat rate priority for everything. This is a money and time save for several reasons. No weighing, if it fits it ships. Try redesigning the box to fit more. The flat rate envelopes can hold more if you make the bottom flat. Another plus, free tracking and insurance and drum roll.please, no stress, just schedule a pick up. The post office will come get it. Just print your labels at usps.gov and schedule a pick up. They will even drop the boxes off, just go to usps.gov to order supplies. Cards and gift wrap can be purchased at dollar stores. Why would u want to shop anywhere else? And spend double or even triple. You can even use fabric scraps and old ribbon to wrap gifts. Hope these tips helped relieve a little holiday stress! Wishing you and your families a wonderful holiday season!
Halloween is Saturday!!!!! Are you ready? If you need a last minute DIY halloween costume on the cheap, here are some videos with lots of inspiration. Look through your closet and see what you already have that you can work with. Grab a black tee cut open the neckline more to make it off shoulder, grab some tight black pants, black heels and you csn be Sandy from Grease. Grab a red shirt red leggings and red heels and you can be a devil. To make the ears get a regular headband cut two peieces of cardboard in the horn shape. Now cut four peices of red fabric in the same shape by tracing around the carboard cut outs. Now glue the fabric over the cardboard peices front and back. Let dry. Now cut two scrap peices of red fabric sbout 3in x 2in fold over ear hiding seams. Now fold both and sew with a seam allowance to slip headband through both horns. About 1 in seam for a regular headband. You could also be a zombie. Just dress in all white use dirt or ash to dirty things up. Look up zombie makeu tutorial for inspiration. You can use everyday makeup you already have for almost any costume with a little creativity. Happy Halloween! http://youtu.be/dM9WHm1I3fU http://youtu.be/-v2QSWhPe-0
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
I decided it was time to re-evaluate my budget when my grocery bill per month got to $750 a month ( yes I got a little off track). I guess with everything that I’ve had going on in my life (divorce, moving, son in the hospital) the stress was too much and I stopped budgeting like I should have been. I used to clip coupons, meal plan, do make ahead meals, etc but all of that took the back burner for a while. So anyhow, now it’s time to put my foot down on spening too much!!!! I’m getting back on track. I have some goals in place (more on that later) and it’s time to make some changes. Here are some ways I am cutting our grocery bill down. One simple thing!!!! Shopping at the dollar tree! If you don’t have a Dollar Tree in your area maybe you have a .99 cent store or something similar. Just by know what to buy here you can save hundreds. Here are some of the things that I feel are a good value and I will do a price comparison Dollar Tree vs. Walmart Cream Cheese $1.00 vs. $2 @walmart (we go through a lot of this with bagels and crackers) Snack crackers $1 vs. $3-4 a box Bread or buns $1 vs. $3-4 Sour cream $1 vs. $2 Soda .25 a can about the same right now Juice $1 vs. $3 Pasta $1 vs. $2 Pasta sauce $1 vs. up to $4 Frozen waffles $1 vs. $2-3 Coffee and tea And hot cocoa $1 vs. up to $6 or more Snacks (this is the biggest budget breaker in our house) i would say just buying all your snacks here tou can save $50 a week (assuming you grocery shop once a week) Frozen foods $1 vs. 2 Misc Paper plates $1 vs $2 Tylenol $1 vs. $4 Band aids $1 vs. $3 Coufh or cold medicine $1 vs. uo to $10 Vitamins $1 vs. 4-$9 or more Tupperware $1 vs. 2-$3 See how fast the savings add up? You can basically cut your bill in half every week. I shop about once a week (big shopping trip) and a couple more for misc. items. So basically what I am now doing since the main stores i shop at are Walmart and the Dollar Tree, I am only buying milk, meat, eggs and produce at walmart. Everything else like pantry and household items I’m now getting at the Dollar Tree (not everything depending on sales but most)and I am back to clipping coupons. More on that in another post. Happy saving!
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. 😀
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!