How I Got Paid $75 To Stay Home On Black Friday

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Yes the title is true I basically got paid $75 to stay home and shop in my PJ’s Black Friday. I did have to wait a while for my pay check to arrive. It really just came last week, that 2 1/2 months of waiting was worth it though.  I was so excited to see the $75 in gift cards arrive last week. All for restaurants the hubby and I love;date night here we come.

How I got paid $75 to stay home on Black Friday

All of the gift cards came from My Points and all of the points I earned from just one transaction. My Black Friday, at home on the computer Christmas shopping.

How I Got Paid $75 To Stay At Home On Black Friday

Truth: I did place a substantial order

My husband and I decided that we were going to cut out a lot of Christmas extras this year and spend that money plus more on one BIG gift for each of our children.

Trust me  this is not normal for us, and we explained it to the kids while they were wide eyed Christmas morning ,that this was a one time thing. They all had something that was wearing out or getting too outdated for updates that they wanted to replace and we decided to get it for them for Christmas just once instead of our usual save up for it yourself routine.

Needless to say Santa brought next to nothing with stockings consisting of only socks, gloves and chocolate but my teenage boys love their play systems and my daughter loves her iPad mini so much they didn’t seem to mind the the practical stocking gifts and lack of any other present what so ever under the tree for them.

Truth: I was tempted for the first time ever to go out and shop Black Friday

I know some of you love Black Friday because of the awesome deals, and so I thought I would save a bundle too, since this year all of the gifts we were buying were in the sales at significant markdowns.

As the day approached though I started to get really anxious about all those crowds, so I decided to do some research and see if I could find a retailer offering the same deals online as in store. Turns out this wasn’t hard at all in fact I found several within minutes.

Truth: I saved more than those standing in line on Black Friday

Once I knew I was going to shop online and what store I started looking for ways to make my online deal even sweeter. I tried looking for a discounted gift card at Cardpool but they were out of cards for the store I wanted.

I knew I didn’t need to look for a free shipping code since my purchases met the free shipping limits. I did try to look for a discount code but there wasn’t one.

I then went online cash back shopping and discovered My Points had the biggest cash back available for the store I was shopping.  I clicked through their links over to the store and earned 12,863 points enough for $75 in gift cards to date night restaurants and I still have 1863 leftover which I could have spent on a $10 gift card meaning I really made $85. I however opted  to save towards another $25 card (the cards start at around 3600 for a $25 card, or 1650 for a $10, making saving up for a $25  better deal).

When I was all done shopping online it hit me. I got a better deal than in store shoppers, and I didn’t spend time standing in line or fighting crowds, nor did I have to drive anywhere.

I was so stunned by this realization that I didn’t want to talk about it here on the blog until I actually had the gift cards on hand so I myself had hard evidence that Black Friday in store shoppers are not getting better deals than us stay in your PJ’s at home shoppers. (but if you really like the thrill of it well than go for it :) )

Truth: I don’t do this often enough

This is one area of savings where I am going to try and be more diligent in doing from now on. I would love to say that as a thrifty lifestyle blogger I remember to check for cash backs 100% of the time, but that isn’t honest, truthfully I remember probably close to 60% of the time. I am hoping this year to improve and make it to 95% of the time (no one is perfect).

I order from ThredUP, Zulily, Groupon, Old Navy and more consistently through out the year and I can be earning cash back on all of those purchases.

I  live in a smaller town where retailers often don’t carry my tall size, or my son’s tall and skinny size. They also don’t offer the same selection in their stores as their online counterparts do. I find myself forced to either spend time driving to a bigger town or save the time and gas by shopping online. Plus from what I learned through this experience I could be earning gift cards for  date nights too!

I am thinking this could add up to a significant amount of savings for my family.

Companies offering cash back on online purchases

To earn the most possible back for your purchase  I find it best to be a member of many different sites so I can check around for the best rate first. It doesn’t take long to compare rates, perhaps a minute or two at most. Also not all sites carry the same stores.

Do you currently use cash backs? If so what do you like to do with yours?

Linked to Frugal Friday,

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SnapShot Thursdays: How I Survive Winter

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

mile jarsI am shocked at how much these two jars motivate me to get out there and run despite the cold. Yes, I have been running on the treadmill at the Y more often than outside but still, looking at these jars gives me the motivation to get my gear on an head out in the cold to get to the gym.  If it is a warmer day, I have been running outside, despite rain.

pink flower in winterHaving fresh flowers in my home during cold winter days always makes me smile, and my husband knows it. He was kind enough to pick me up not one but 2 bunches of flowers last week when I sent him to Aldi for groceries while I was busy writing.

true lemon rasberry lemonadeOne of my health habits that I want to make this year is to drink more water. Sometimes especially in winter when I don’t seem as thirsty water can be a bit plain. I love dumping a True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade package into a huge mug of water in the afternoon. It is sweetened with stevia , and has 100% of my daily vitamin C needs which during winter is something I like to make sure I get enough of to avoid colds. It tastes so good, it is a treat I look forward to every afternoon. If you order from Amazon there is a single pack that is available as an add on if you want to try it.  (I get mine at Amazon with gift card codes earned from Swagbucks & InstaGC)

Deals I found this week

If you haven’t joined Zulily (my favorite daily deal site for name brand clothes) here is an extra push to do so. Sign up through these referral links  by January 31st 2015 and you will be entered to win a $100 Zulily Gift Card. (random winner will be selected Feb 11 2015). ( By signing up you will start getting their daily deal mail in your inbox )

The Ultimate DIY Bundle is going on right now but only until Monday can you grab this bundle of $1200 worth of ebooks, ecourse and bundles for just $34.95. (here is the write up I did yesterday on it) .

boxed cards day spring

DaySpring has a sale on boxed cards going on right now. You can get 2 boxes of select cards for just $10. That is 24 cards for $10 which works out to .42 cents a card. DaySpring’s 50% to 75% off Christmas Clearance Sale is also still going on.

A Great Deal For DIY Lovers And Crafters

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The Ultimate DIY Bundle contains $1200 worth of ebooks, video course and bonuses for just $34.95 for the pdf version or $39.95 for the Kindle file version.

The Bonus That More Than Pays For The Entire Bundle

One bonus in particular more than pays for the entire bundle which is why this thrifty craft loving bookworm decided to pass the deal on to my readers.

craftsy bonusCraftsy is offering all those who buy a bundle one of their top quality video instruction courses for free (up to a $60 value). That 1 bonus already pays for the entire bundle and more.

Craftsy offers courses in …

  • Sewing & Quilting
  • Cake & Cooking
  • Yarn & Fiber Arts
  • Art & Photo
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewelery & Paper Crafts

If you are the type who likes to try before you buy you can go to Craftsy and sign up for one of their free mini courses and instantly watch one of the instructional videos to give you a taste of what a full length class would be like.

Of course The Ultimate DIY Bundle  is so much more than just one free course.


The bundle includes $720 ebooks covering DIY projects in the following areas

  • Crafts -Chalk pastels, Easy DIY crafts, handmade gifts, miniatures, printables, children’s craft ideas and more.
  • Holidays & Seasons -DIY Christmas ideas, Birthday printables, gifts kids can make, DIY baby shower and more.
  • Home & Garden -DIY personal care products & cleaners, cake & cookie decorating, gardening and more.
  • Home Decor -Thrift store transformations, home staging, modge podge, autumn decor and more.
  • Photography -manual mode, pet photo tips, child photo tips and more.
  • Scrapbooking & Art Journaling -coloring book, child memory book, scripture cards, and more.
  • Sewing – quilting, sewing 101, hooded vest, skirts, parisian top, tote, dress pattern and more.
  • The Business Of DIY -how to sell at craft shows, social media tips, photo editing, pinterest tips and more.
  • Writing -writing prompts for children and adults as well as writing tips for bloggers.

You can check out all the ebooks offered in the bundle in detail over at The Ultimate DIY Bundle website.


The bundle includes 9 eCourses that offer step by step in-depth instruction through either, illustrations, video instruction, or daily emails to keep you on track (make sure to read the course descriptions to see how each course is taught)

  • Artful Adventures: Art Journaling Basics
  • Family Writers Club: (for inspiring young authors)
  • How To Scan & Digitize Photos & Memorabilia
  • iScrap N Snap: (iphone photography tutorial)
  • Photo Editing For Absolute Beginners
  • Photography 101: If you have a DLSR this course will show you how to get it out of manual mode.
  • Story 101: How to Find Your Voice
  • Use Your Stash: (how to use up those scrapbook supplies)

Click through to The Ultimate DIY Bundle homepage to view all the eCourses in detail.


I already mentioned one bonus above, the free full length Craftsy class with up to a $60 value but there are 3 more

  • FREE $15 Credit to the Hope Ink shop PLUS a free 8×10 art print
    $43 value
    Hope Ink create inspiring art prints for your home.
    Standard shipping charges apply.  Ships anywhere. Must be redeemed by February 26th, 2015. ( I couldn’t find anything under $15 to use the credit on but the prints are AMAZING, very beautiful and you get one free, it would make a great gift)
  • FREE Sewing Pattern + Premium Video Class from
    $19.99 Value
    UpCraft Club is a modern sewing and crafting association offering different classes to members each month in sewing, knitting, quilting, and crafting techniques as well as a growing database of certified digital patterns.
    Must be redeemed by February 26th, 2015.
  • FREE $15 Store Credit to be used at
    $15 Value
    Fawnsberg offers beautiful cards, paper, art prints, stamps and more.  They believe that when it comes things like gratitude, connecting with a friend who is far away, sympathy, birthday wishes, holiday greetings, or a heart felt congratulations–paper just fits.
    Standard shipping charges will apply upon checkout. Must be redeemed by February 26th, 2015. (notecards start at $4.50 each meaning you could get 3 with your credit, and just have to pay shipping)

You can check out the bonuses in greater detail over at The Ultimate DIY  home page.

My Thoughts On The Bundle

There is a lot of great information in this bundle that makes it a great deal for many people. However, you need to decide if it is a great deal for you. I suggest going through the entire bundle writing down the titles of all books and programs you are 100% interested in and know you will use. Beside each title put the retail value of the item.  When you are done total it up. If the total is more than $34.95 and you have that money in your budget to spend then it is worth it.

Don’t forget to read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle so that you know everything you need to know before you buy.

52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 3

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This week I decided to tackle the long sofa table. At least that is what I am calling it. It is a table my husband made for me one year.

sofa table declutterRemember I promised no altered pictures. Oh how I wanted to at least remove my shoes from the floor and the blanket and jacket on the chair before taking this picture.

Now some of you might be eying those 2 board games and going “hey didn’t she take those to the thrift store last week?” Yes you are right they were in the thrift store pile but then a teacher friend of mine saw them in last weeks pictures and asked if she could have them for her classroom. She was in luck my husband had not dropped the stuff off at the thrift store. So after decluttering this week, they are now in my car to give to her next time I see her.

Also I don’t normally keep cleaners in the library but I had been taking pictures for my ePantry post and I just dumped them here. They are now in the bathroom cupboards. I promise :)

Now that I am done making excuses for the sad shape this area is in lets get on to decluttering.

sofa table uncoveredNow you know another secret. The table has yet to be painted even though my husband made it 7+ years ago. Which is why it has the table cloth over it.

First I took everything out of the table and went through each and every basket.

box for thrift storeWhen I was done I had filled an entire box with things to go to the thrift store including a few puzzles, and a tablecloth.

sofa table doneAs you can see the contents of the baskets are no longer over flowing.

sofa table top all doneOne of the reasons the top of the sofa table was so clutter was that after the Christmas stuff was put away we never brought down the things that normally sit on it. A big blank surface like that is a clutter magnet in our home, so I went into the attic and got a few things to display on it. A picture drawn by my daughter, some yard sale found pottery vases, flowers given to me by my hubby, and one of my favorite willow tree figurines.

What did you declutter this week?

If you too are decluttering your home one week at a time this year join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where people are sharing their progress, cheering each other on and achieving this and other goals.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)Hop on over to the first post and grab the free printable plan and join along.

A few deals to help you with your organizing and cleaning

Dayspring has their 2015 calendars and day planners 70% off. If you haven’t yet sit down and planned out your year, or created a family appointment calendar yet this is a great deal to take advantage of.

calendars on sale

Trash bags are a must when you are decluttering your home. I also use ziplock bags and containers to store bits and pieces I find while decluttering, such as drill bits that my husband is famous for leaving around. I have a box with his name on it with all my small finds in it for him to sort at his convenience.

$1.00 off any ONE package of Hefty Trash Bags
$1.00 off any two Ziploc brand bags
$1.00 off any two Ziploc brand containers

Why An In-Depth Blog Review Is Worth Every Penny

Last spring I was working really hard on growing my blog to reach my goals for the year. I however just couldn’t seem to get the focus I needed. I was like a bunny hopping over here for a second, then over here, the over there. Then memorial weekend I made my best bunny hopping decision I signed up to get an in-depth blog review from Blogging Concentrated.

Why paying for an in-depth blog review is worth every penny spentI had liked the Blogging Concentrated Facebook page at the beginning of the year, hoping to go to one of their one day conferences and noticed they had a one day sale of blog reviews. Being thrifty and having decided a blog review would help  give me the focus I needed to concentrate on fixing key areas of my blog for blog growth, I pounced on the sale, like a bunny to a carrot.

OH MY am I so glad I made that bunny hop. Rachel and Dan gave me two videos each around 30 minutes in length that went into great detail about all the things they saw wrong and right, about not just my blog but all my social media platforms.

Dan and Rachel were also open to answering any questions I had about the reviews after I received them and I had plenty. Their answers were always prompt and helpful.

Their video reviews opened up my eyes to all sorts of problems I didn’t know my blog even had as well as solutions for them. 6 plus months later I am still implementing changes they suggested, and with each one I am seeing growth in numbers and in income.

I am now earning 3 times what I earned before the review and have 3 times the amount of page views each month. My Facebook page has doubled and I feel more confident in who I am as a blogger and what I write about.

Some of that growth is due to having my work shared repeatedly by much bigger bloggers, however before the changes, when larger bloggers shared my work  only a small number of people stuck around to read more or follow me on a social media site. After the changes I made that were suggested in my blogging concentrated review, when my work is shared, I see more follows, more people sticking around my site longer to check things out, and more interaction. Plus many are starting to turn into regular readers of my blog.

I will also admit my changes income are from the sources of monitization I added after gaining wisdom from two or three key bloggers who suggested various companies that would be a good fit for my blog. However you can monitize a blog all you want but if people don’t have a clear idea of what your blog is about, what it can do for them, and how to find that knowledge on your blog,  all the monitization streams on the web won’t help you substantially increase your income.

Think about your blog as a store front, if you go into a store and it is so messed up and jumbled full of a few products for this and a few products for that, but has no clear aisle markers to help direct you to what you want, are you going to stick around and get to know the owners and buy from them? My guess in no.

But if you go into a store that is bright and welcoming and the rows are well organized and labeled and the whole place just seems inviting, chances are you are going to stick around, find what you need, and shop and converse with the owners.

That is how you want your blog to be like a well organized friendly small town store and the blog review I received from Blogging Concentrated challenged me to do just that,  to make my message to my readers clearer, to make it easier for them to navigate my blog, and to make all my social media platforms have that same feel and message so wherever people find me they say “this is from Snail Pace Transformations a blog that can help me inch forward in my finances, homemaking and time management so I can have room in my life for my passions”.

I am not 100% there yet, I still have a page full of To Do’s left from the review, but with each change I make, my message gets clearer, and my blog gets easier to navigate. My next goal is to save for a site redesign. I however have a plan and focus something I was lacking before the blog review.

If you have a blog and you just aren’t sure where to focus your energy to make it the best it can be, I highly suggest a paid blog review from Blogging Concentrated.


blogging tips from a blogging student (small)Check out my other posts of what I have learned in 3 years of blogging .


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How To Learn A New Skill This Year For Free

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Is one of your goals this year to learn a new skill? Perhaps you wish to learn how to sew, or you want to improve your crochet or knitting skills?

40 free classes that you can take to learn a new skill this year

A great source for free high quality instruction in various arts and crafts are Craftsy free mini classes . Today I want to list them all here for you so you can explore the ones in areas you wish to improve in this year. These classes are 100% free, and are made up of series of short high quality videos. You can do them whenever you want to wherever you are.

40 Different Free Mini Craftsy Classes You Can Take To Improve Your Skills this Year

Online Sewing Class


Online Knitting Class

Crocheting/ Knitting & Spinning

Cooking & Baking




Drawing & Painting

Jewelery Making


Card Making

thread art online quilting class at


Go ahead pick a class in an area you have been dreaming about diving into and make this the year you start living life beyond the laundry room.

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Snapshot Thursdays: Boxes, Candles & Bags

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily lifeWelcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

empty boxesSince starting 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home I have found another reason to  love online shopping. It is not only a source of awesome deals but a great way to get boxes that I can refill with stuff to go to the thrift store as I declutter.

ePantry candleSpeaking of online orders, the scented tea light that ePantry included in my order, smelled amazing as it burned beside me while I was writing Saturday. These candles are soy based and use essential oils for scent. You can get 3 ,7.2oz- 8oz jarred soy candles (2  ePantry brand and one Mrs Meyer’s ) for $20.29 plus a bottle of our families favorite all natural cleaners  and free shipping when you sign up for the ePantry deal this week. That is 6.76  candle plus a free bottle of cleaner and it comes to your door for free.  Amazon’s price for a Mrs Meyer’s candle that size is 8.99 which is $2.23 higher, meaning you save over $6 and you get a free cleaner in the deal too!

slay debt bagMy biggest hurdle with getting up early during the winter months is always the desire to stay under the covers where it is warm. I am trying a new experiment that I am hoping will help me fight this desire. Each night before bed I put the clothes I want to wear the next day in this bag and place it by my bedside.

This way the clothes are not far from me and I can grab them and get dressed without disturbing my “going to be sleeping several hours more” night owl hubby.

Oh and the bag was a freebie from being on the Slaying Debt book launch team. Slaying the Debt Dragon is a great book  for all of those who are either currently struggling to pay off debt, or looking for inspiration to get started.  It is the book that inspired me to create a list of grocery store commandments.

Deals Worth Sharing

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 6.18.39 AM

This beautiful mug is available at Day Spring for just $4 right now as part of Day Spring’s  after Christmas sale. They still have several others left ranging from $4 to $6. I have given Day Spring mugs as gifts before, such lovely sayings and good quality.

If you are wanting to brush up on your sewing skills signing up for The National Sewing Circle email list looks like it might be something worth trying. It promises , free how-to videos, sewing articles, fresh new sewing ideas fun projects to check out each week, and special offers. They also have one for quilting called, The National Quilting Circle Newsletter.

meyer's soap at sinkIf you haven’t taken advantage of the ePantry deal already you still have time. You can get $10 off a $30 order plus a free bottle of our families favorite cleaner and free shipping. Mix and match the cleaners however you want. They also offer shampoos, facial cleaners and don’t forget great smelling candles.  Hurry though this deal ends Friday at 3pm EST.



15 Ways To Read More

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I set out this year to once again read a minimum of 52 books. This is my third year of reaching for this goal, and since I am constantly sharing what I am reading with others, I often get asked just how I make time to read so much.

15 Ways To Read More15 Ways To Read More

My husband and I are both avid readers so somethings on these list are what work for me and some are what works for him.

1. Put a kindle app on your smart phone

I know there are still people out there without smart phones but for those of you who do have them make sure to download the kindle app and then have at least 3 titles at all times downloaded to it.

Our phones tend to go every where with us and by having a kindle app a book will also be with you at all times. This has been a life saver for me several times when I have had to wait somewhere much longer than expected and didn’t think to bring along a book.

2.  Consider buying  a Kindle or a Tablet

I love my kindle paperwhite because it is so light and the screen looks so much like a real book. I paid for mine with Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

Due to being so light the kindle is easy to bring along with me places. It also sits perfectly on the ledge of the elliptical I use at the gym so I can read while I workout.

I can also prop it up while  knitting  and read at the same time.

The kindle app also works great in turning a tablet into a e-reader giving you a similar convenience of a kindle.

3. Listen To Audio Books

I am not a huge fan of audio books but my husband and children are. I just find I miss too much by being distracted by other things. My husband likes them for solo car rides. My kids love them while they are cleaning their rooms or just hanging out in their room.  I know others that love them for working out (I tried but prefer music).

4. Have a set time to read each day

From 8 to 9 most evenings you will find me curled up on the couch reading a book. I find it the perfect way to wind down to sleep (that is of course providing I don’t get wound up in the story so much that I miss my bedtime by hours :) ).

5. Always have a physical book and a e-reader book going at the same time

E-readers run out of batteries old fashioned paperback books don’t. Some individuals find the light of e-readers and tablets mess with their sleep, paperbacks don’t do that (well unless the story is so good you can’t put them down).

E-readers can be balanced on an elliptical ledge so you can read while working out, paperbacks can’t. E-readers can be loaded with several books at once so if you finish one while you are out somewhere you can easily start another, doing the same with paperbacks can get heavy.

6. Have a home library

You local library is of course free to use, but a home library can be so convenient and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you get snowed in and have a surprise day off, you can’t make it to the library but you can make it to the bookshelf in your family room to pick out a book.

I wrote a whole series on building a home library for less but some great sources of free books are Tyndale Rewards, Paperbackswap, and for e-titles I really like Spirit Filled Kindle. A great way to pay for those books you can’t get free is by using Swagbucks for gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

7. Bring several on vacation

If you are vacationing with little kids you might not get as much reading done as I do with teenagers, but chances are you will get a few extra moments to do some.

My husband and I don’t  travel anywhere without at least 3 books a piece in our luggage.

8. Turn off the TV

TV isn’t much of a distraction for me, but my hubby tends to get wrapped up in it for time to time. I will often catch him turning it off and reading a book instead, even when he could easily watch just one more show.

9. Take advantage of waiting time

This is why I mentioned number one. Once you get a kindle app on your phone waiting time is no longer a bore. Read a book while waiting in line at the post office. Read a book while waiting at the grocery store. Read a book while waiting at the doctors office. Read a book while waiting for your class to start. You get the idea.

10. Don’t go home

I get a lot of reading done while on mom taxi duty. Often I could drive home for an hour or two and then return to pick the child who needed a ride up but instead I will pack a book along and a pillow and a blanket, and make myself comfortable in my SUV and read a book while I wait.

11. Work reading into your workouts

I often read on the treadmill while warming up or cooling down. I also read on the elliptical. If you like audio books every workout can become a time to read.

12. Hold reading dates

This is only going to work if your spouse is a bookworm as well. I am blessed that my hubby is. For our anniversary last year we packed up a blanket and two pillows and drove to a neighboring city for lunch out followed by an afternoon of reading side by side under a tree in a local park.

13. Read only what you love

Guess what? You are not married to a book. You can break up with it if suddenly a few chapters in you discover you are  just not that into it. This will help you read more because if you don’t love a book you tend to read slow, or avoid it all together. Break up and move on.

14. Make a goal and chart it

My husband 100% disagrees with this. He says it takes the whole fun out of reading, but it totally depends on your personality. For me making a goal to read 52 books a year and to keep  track of them here on the blog, spurs me on to look for ways to read more.

A great way to begin making reading goals is to start with a loose plan, I love Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2015 Reading Challenge, it includes just 12 books, and you get to pick them. She even created a pinterest board to help give you ideas of what titles you might want to pick.

15. Surround yourself with book lovers

In the paying off debt world the advice you hear again and again is to surround yourself with frugal friends who won’t ask you to blow you budget on expensive dinners out, and who will share tips with you for living on less.

I think the same thing applies to bookworms. If you want to be one start hanging around people who are. We bookworms come in all different shapes and sizes, there are as many different types of us as there are book genres.

Book lovers will share books with you. Get you excited about new authors. And most importantly share with you their secrets for how to fit in more reading

What would you add to my list?

thrifty bookworms and swagbucks the perfect romance (smallest)Want to build your home library without blowing the budget? Check out how Swagbucks can help.

Linked to Mom2Mom, Thrifty Thursdays,

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project 2

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This week I decluttered a much larger project than last week.

decluttering of large bookcaseI decided to tackle the large bookcase in the library room.

I want everyone to know I am not doing any staging with the photos for 52 weeks to a simplified home, instead I am letting you see 100% how we live. I am not kicking cords out of the photo or moving empty boxes, what you see is our families home as is.

decluttered shelf emptiedThe first thing I did was completely emptied the shelf. Normally I will do shelf by shelf but sometimes I find that I am not as brutal with getting rid of things when I do that. There is just something about looking at a pile of what came out of one area that makes you face the fact that you have TOO MUCH, and that lights your fire to let  things go.

big mess decluterSee what I mean? That one book case essentially made 90% off the mess seen in this picture. Seeing it spread out like this made me be brutal about putting things in the donation pile and the pile for the homeschooler’s second hand curriculum sale.

seven generation cleanerBefore I started piling things back on the shelves I sprayed them all down with our homes favorite all-purpose natural cleaner, (which you can try for free this week through the ePantry deal).  The upper shelves especially had a lot of dust in the corners.

I then went through each and every item.

box for saleI filled up the box that I started last week with items for the Homeschooler’s second hand curriculum sale.

stuff for second hand storeThis entire pile is now in the backseat of my husband’s truck waiting for his next day off when he will drop by the thrift store and drop it all off.

trashI also threw out a bag full of trash. Mostly old receipts and such.

shelf all doneWhen I was all done I was really happy with the results. I was able to  give my sharing book bag and several other things a new home off our floor. I also now have an empty basket to drop my purse and keys in when I come in the front door.

What did you declutter this week? Don’t forget to join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group, where you can share your progress on this project or any other goals you set for yourself, and receive encouragement.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)Grab a plan and join in!

How Cleaners Found At ePantry Ended A Marital Dispute

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I married a great man. A man who works hard. A man who puts up with my quirks. A man who likes to clean.

The cleaner that ended a marital dispute and how you can save money on itYes that third one is right. My husband likes to clean. Sometimes this quality is really annoying like in year one of our marriage when he told me I was vacuuming all wrong and proceeded to give me a 5 minute demonstration on how to vacuum with the grain of the carpet fibers (yes I did roll my eyes).

Other times this quality  is awesome. Well actually as long as he isn’t telling me how to clean his love of cleaning is always awesome.

However right around the time I switched our home over to homemade cleaners I noticed something very odd, my husband wasn’t cleaning anymore, and the house was beginning to show it.

Then one day he came home with really stinky cleaners that I knew would trigger my migraine headaches and what followed was a huge argument during which I found out he wasn’t cleaning because he didn’t like the homemade cleaners that I had started using  and he found out  that the traditional cleaners he loves trigger my migraines.

For a while I tried to win him over to homemade cleaners. I would give him demonstrations  how well they worked, kind of like the vacuum demonstration he gave me so many years ago which surprise, surprise backfired.

Then while walking down the aisle of the grocery store I found a solution; natural cleaners. Cleaners that don’t have the harsh fumes of traditional brands but still are ready made and sitting in the bottle whenever you need them.

That very day, my husband began cleaning again and hasn’t stopped since. Men who might be reading this let me tell you there is nothing sexier than a man who cleans.

seventh generation all purpose cleanerThe natural brand we love is Seventh Generation as they have several unscented options that clean great. Problem is, our small town isn’t exactly green friendly and sometimes the stores don’t have the natural cleaners in when we need them which is why I am glad I found ePantry.

personal note on ePantry order (2)ePantry is a subscription based company that carries an impressive line of all natural cleaners including Mrs Meyers, Method, and Seventh Generation.

ePantry’s prices are comparable with those at the grocery store, plus you get the added benefit of cleaners delivered right to your door on a regular basis. You will receive an email 7 days before your regular order ships, and you can go in and alter or cancel your order at that time, or anytime if you wish.

ePantry candle sample in boxFor me cleaners delivered to my door insure that I keep my cleaning guy well stocked. It is one less thing to think about, streamlining my to do list.

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A $10 off a $30 Purchase, Free Shipping & A Free Full Sized Bottle Of Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner

This special is no longer current however, you can still get $10 off your first order of $30 or more, when you sign up for ePantry through the referral links found in this post.  Shipping on all orders is $2.99

The people of ePantry are offering my readers a special deal this week.  Until Friday January 16th at 3pm EST when you sign up to ePantry, through the links in this post you will get $10 off a $30 purchase , a free full sized bottle of my families favorite  Seventh Generation All Purpose Cleaner and free shipping.

shipment ePantryHow to get the ePantry deal

1. Sign up for ePantry (this offer is good for new members only)

2. Answer a few questions about your family.

3. Pick out $30 worth of products you want (your $10 credit will show up at checkout).  I highly suggest you do this by clicking on the option to pick the products you want out yourself instead of ePantry picking them out for you.

4. Go to checkout and proceed through all the simple steps there.

If you have any problems during the process ePantry has friendly customer reps. ready to serve you at just a click of a button. (I talked to one and she was great :) )

A Few Ways To Use Your Credit

Not sure what to order with your $10 off $30? Here are few ideas…

seventh generation cleanersFor those that prefer cleaners with either no scent or low scent ePantry carries a large line up of Seventh Generation Products a competitive price.

Mrs Meyer's foaming hand soapFor those that prefer natural cleaners with fragrance ePantry has a wide assortment of Mrs Meyer’s cleaners.

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If you love scented candles, ePantry’s all natural soy candles that are scented with essential oils smell AMAZING.

yes to carrotsLow on shampoo? ePantry carries Yes To Carrot products. My family uses this shampoo daily and love it.

Huzzah friend referral imageOne way to save on future orders for ePantry

Once you have tried out the service and love it,  you can share ePantry with your friends and when they sign up you will receive a $10 credit that will be applied to your future orders and they will get $10 off their first order as well. That is a win win deal!

You can share ePantry through email, Twitter or Facebook or use the referral link URL that they provide.

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