February 7, 2017

Easy Trolls Headband DIY

We love Trolls! This simple Poppy and Branch headband tutorial will have your kids singing "Hair Up!" in no time!

All you need is some tulle, string and a headband! For Poppy's headband, you can also add felt flower embellishments, or leave it plain.

Cut 15-20 strips of tulle about 24 inches long (no need to be precise, just eyeball it.).

Tie onto headband with double knot. and repeat until its as full as you'd like.

Use a string to tie the "hair" together a bit.  Poppy's blue tie is fairly low, and you can glue a strip of felt for a wider blue band. Even though Branch doesn't have a visible hair tie in the movie, the tulle will flop around too much if its not secured together, so tie the black tulle together too, near the top. Trim the "hair" as needed.

Using felt, cut out and glue on Poppy's green headband and flowers.

Done! Hug time!

I'd love to see your little Trolls in their headbands, tag #DIYtrollsheadband on social media!


February 4, 2017

Get Cash Back on Groceries

I used to be a hard core couponer. I had the binder, I got all the newspapers, I read all the blogs (and boards, it was a while ago...), and it was FUN!

But I wound up with 2 dozen bottles of salad dressing and a four years supply of Q-tips. Literally.

Eventually I got tired of the couponing gig. It took a LOT of time and it stressed me out at the grocery store, ESPECIALLY if I had my kids with me. Sweating buckets and shaking, trying to remember what deals I was doing. Waaaaay too stressful.

So I quit.

But I still felt guilty for not doing SOMETHING to bring down the grocery bill a bit. I kept saying I was going to start "price-matching." But I never did (again, its a bit of work and prep).

Then one day I heard about Ibotta. Its an app on your phone where you scroll through pictures and click on the things you're going to buy, and then scan the barcodes on those items when you get home, and scan the receipt, and CHA-CHING, money into your account.

I use it, I love it. I've gotten back over $270 dollars in the year or two that I've been using it!

Nobody is quitting their job over a couple hundred dollars, but hey, its free money! And with very minimal effort (its kind of fun to scan the stuff actually!). Plus, its on items and brands that I always buy, like bananas, yogurt, Triscuits, toilet paper, frozen pizzas, deli meats, you name it!

Use my affiliate link HERE to download the app and automatically get $10 added to your account when you scan your first rebate!

Here's how you do it:

1 - download the app and set up your account
2 - pick the store you shop at and scroll through to see what rebates are available.
3 - click on the rebates you think you'll use, and answer the question or whatever it prompts
4 - shop like normal!
5 - when you get home, click "verify purchases" and scan the items you bought
6 - scan your receipt
7 - Done!

Ibotta will add the money to your account (usually within 24 hrs) and then you can transfer it to your paypal or venmo, or cash it out to a gift card.

January 30, 2017

I'm going to cultivate a "Can't Do" attitude

I feel overwhelmingly antsy lately. I want so badly to DO something. Well, let me be more clear: I want to DO something that makes me a lot of money. I want to make stuff that tons of people want to buy, or make amazing videos that go viral! Or write a book that people buy! Or land an amazing partnership with a company I love. Or have people buy stuff from the links I post. Or have a YouTube channel that makes thousands of dollars a month!

Perhaps my parents were too generous in their praise and encouragement growing up. Perhaps I have an unrealistic perception of my talents and abilities. Perhaps I've watched too many episodes of Shark Tank. Perhaps Pinterest and YouTube has made learning new things too easy, too accessible. My husband is probably right that I have, as he so politely puts it, "a time-management problem." And I definitely spend too much time on social media, observing all the amazing talents and hobbies of my friends (and people I stalk).

The annoying thing is that I know any of those things are possible! I have friends that are doing those things! You can do anything, if you put your mind to it! ...blech.

But the time has come to face the facts. It's time to stop thinking stupid stuff. I need to start cultivating a "can't do" attitude. 

I can't make awesome recipe videos, like Tasty and my other food blogger friends. I don't have the camera equipment set up, and the lighting perplexes me. I don't know how to edit my videos together. And even if I did, its a whole other ballgame getting them optimized and uploaded correctly. The time it would take to research what equipment I need, and they how to pay for the equipment I need is overwhelming. Yes, I know my phone does video (if I delete some stuff first), but I still don't know how to make it look good. If I can't make my videos look halfway decent by the third attempt, I'm out. I can't do awesome recipe videos.

I can't produce makeup or hair tutorial videos. This is related to the above recipe videos, but add on that I can barely get ready by myself, there is no way I'll be able to video that uninterrupted, thanks toddler. Also, do I look at the mirror? Or the camera? Or myself? Ahh... I'm flustered just thinking about it. Plus, I'm pretty sure everyone knows how to put their hair in a ponytail and smear on some BB cream and mascara, which is about where my expertise ends.

Let's face it, I can't start some sort of clothing line or boutique. I have absolutely zero contacts in China to get the manufacturing going. And even if I did find someone, I don't have a couple thousand laying around the finance a bulk order.  I can sew, but not clothes. So that's out.

I can't make 6 figures working from home. My laptop is almost 7 years old, I don't have a nanny or maid or husband that is home for more than 30 minutes before the kids go to bed. I'm on my phone too much as it is, I can't add an online business to that without my battery dying 4 times a day (which is 2 times more than usual). I just don't see it happening.

I can't. That's not my life. This isn't my season. And that's ok. 

I'm going to stop driving myself crazy with the things "I could do" and focus on what I AM doing. Raising kids, keeping my marriage happy, serving in my church, saving money, and playing around with fabric when I get a free afternoon. And writing, which will hopefully start making me millions of dollars...

January 26, 2017

Books for Frugal-Minded Mamas

Doesn't it feel like money is just flying out the window in December? I'm glad when January rolls around, and we can reign things back in, and re-commit to doing better with our finances.

I am definitely a natural spender. I love stocking my pantry, making sure the kids are all set in the clothes, shoes and jammies department, I love buying makeup and spending good money on a good haircut and color. I love finding new ways to organize and decorate my home, and I can't get out of Target for less than $50. On a good day. Or does that make it a bad day? Hmm...

So I'm the kind of girl who needs constant reminders to be smart about my money. I've read The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and try to listen to a few of his podcasts every couple weeks, to keep me motivated and thinking smart. If you haven't read his book, it is a MUST. The man knows what he's talking about.

But sometimes its good to hear it from a woman's perspective. Preferably one who reeeeeally understands how wonderful it is to buy nice things and have a comfortable home. So I've compiled a list of my favorite frugal mama books that will give us all a bit of a nudge (or kick in the pants!) in the right direction.

The links below are to Amazon, but you should probably check them out from your library, FOR FREE instead! haha

"Love Your Life Not Theirs" by Rachel Cruze - It was great to get the Dave Ramsey stuff from a woman's perspective (his daughter!). Its a fantastic compliment to the Total Money Makeover, but has enough meat and info to stand alone as well. I read it in 2 days!

"Living Well, Spending Less" by Ruth Sokup - This book had so many actionable tips and suggestions. Easy to read and entertaining!

"The Spender's Guide to Debt-Free Living" by Anna Newell Jones

"Slaying the Debt Dragon" by Cherie Lowe

"The Recovering Spender" by Lauren Greutman