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.

ePantry candle

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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Swagbucks: Set A Goal & Earn It

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I had a commenter leave a comment on one of my posts where I mentioned Swagbucks stating she earned $75 her first month with Swagbucks and was on her way to earning $100 this month.

Her comment got the wheels in my head spinning  how can a person make $100 a month with Swagbucks?

How it is possible to earn $100 in gift cards from Swagbucks each month

How to Earn $100 in Swag Bucks A Month

This is just a sample  plan because Swagbucks is the point program that is as unique in its ways to earn as it is in the people who use it. You can find all these ways to earn Swag Bucks mentioned below  by fully exploring the Swagbucks home page. Take 15 minutes to click and explore all the tabs and find out for yourself all the fun ways to earn.

1. Do the daily poll

1 Swag Buck per day = 30 a month (takes just a second to do)

2. Complete the NOSO daily

2 Swag Bucks per day =60 a month (takes around a minute to complete each day)

3. Do the Daily Crave

1 Swag Buck per day =30

4. Use the toolbar at least once a day

1 Swag buck per day =30

5. Do the Read and Discover actions

30 Swag Bucks approx. per month

6. Do all you internet searching through Swagbucks

On average I make 150 Swag Bucks a week doing this = 600 a month

7. Radio Loyalty

Play Radio loyalty for 30 minutes and earn 5 Swag Bucks.

I am on my laptop at least 4 hrs a day so for me  could earn 40 Swagbucks a day = 1200 a month

 8.  Jump from app to app earning points

There are 4 Swagbuck apps that I know about where you can earn points.

  • Swagbuck TV App 36 daily Swag Bucks
  • EntertainNow App 18 daily Swag Bucks
  • Sportly.TV App 18 daily Swagbucks
  • Lifestylz App 18 daily Swagbucks

Total earned from apps daily: 90 = 2700 a month

9. Convert your Bing Rewards into Swagbucks

I wrote a post explaining how you can convert Bing Rewards into Swagbucks, based on average monthly earnings over at Bing rewards this should equal into 500 Swag Bucks per month.

10. Do your online shopping through Swagbucks Shop & Earn program

Your earnings will depend on how much you shop on line but based on my earnings I think 170 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate.

11.  Purchase your daily deals through Swagbucks

Again earnings depend will vary but based on my earnings 120 point earnings.

12. Watch Swagbucks TV on your computer

Up to 150 points a day = 4500

13. Follow Swagbucks on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and enter the Swag Codes they share

I usually snag several free codes a week by following Swagbucks just on facebook, so I think 30 Swag Bucks a month is a fair estimate for this activity.

Add It All Up

  1. Daily Poll = 30
  2. NOSO = 60
  3. Daily Crave = 30
  4. Daily toolbar point = 30
  5. Read & Discover = 30*
  6. Internet searches = 600*
  7. Radio Loyalty = 1200*
  8. Daily app watching = 2700
  9. Bing Rewards conversion = 500
  10. Online shopping = 170*
  11. Daily Deals = 120 *
  12. Swagbucks TV on computer = 4500

Total = 10,000 Swagbucks which has a cash in value of $100 in gift cards.

(those with * are earning activities that will vary depending on individual)

True most people  are not going to watch that many videos and some months you might not do any online shopping for BUT those are not all the ways to earn Swagbucks.

More ways to earn with Swagbucks

  • Play games
  • Print coupons
  • Answer surveys
  • Do tasks
  • Fill out special offers
  • Reach daily goals set by Swagbucks for you and earn bonuses
  • Share the program with your friends
  • Watch Encrave videos

Combine 12 ways above with these 8 additional ways and you have 20 ways to earn Swagbucks.

Swagbucks also offers a large assortment of gift cards to cash your points in for, from department stores, restaurants, home renovation stores and more.

So make this the year you sign up for Swagbucks, set a goal for your earnings, choose the point earning activities that work for you and watch your earnings add up an your financial goal for them be met.

20 Ways to earn Swagbucks that can make it possible to earn $100 a month

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Snapshot Thursdays: New Favorites

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Snapshot Thursdays 3 pictures from my week to give you a peek into my daily life

Welcome to Snapshot Thursdays. Please join me on  Instagram  to see more pictures I share all week long.

I have missed posting Snapshot Thursdays these last two weeks due to Christmas and then New Year’s Goals. I  am looking forward to getting back to normal posting again, I really do love how giving you a peek into my daily life makes me feel like I am getting to know you all better.

my new coffee makerMy husband and I did our Christmas shopping for each other a bit differently this year. One of my primary love languages is time so a gift to me is doing something together. My husband always finds it difficult to shop for me for Christmas (he says I am picky :) ) so I suggested that he take me shopping instead.

We got cash out for our Christmas wallet before we left, and then had breakfast together at Panera bread, followed by hours of shopping side by side. When he saw something he wanted, I bought it for him. When I saw something I wanted he bought it for me.  We finished the date off with lunch at McAlister’s (mmm….sweet tea! ).

My favorite gift of the day was my new single serve bodum french press. I have had a larger french press for years, but since I am the only one who drinks coffee in the family when it broke I really wanted one that would make just one cup. I think my new one is so adorable!

Tenzi game in actionThis picture shows our new family favorite game in action. It is called Tenzi. It is such a simple yet addictive game. We set the timer for 30 minutes before we begin so those family members that are not so thrilled with family games as others  know there is an end, but what is interesting is that those exact members who insisted on a time limit get pretty involved with clapping, and laughing and hollering.

We got the  Tenzi family pack, but Tenzi also comes in a pack for 4 players and they also sell a deck that contains 77 ways to play Tenzi  (I am tempted to get it with some Swagbucks earned amazon gift cards).

10 pennies in my run jarTen pennies in my mileage for 2015 goal jar on January 2nd. Running 1200 miles in 2015 is for some reason one of the goals that I set for this year that excites me the most. I think it is in part because it is so visual and unlike any other fitness goal I have set for myself, plus it has such a great reward at the end, a girls weekend with one of my most cherished friends, my redhead runner.  (if you set a mileage goal be sure to join the Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook Group where I will be sharing updates on my mileage goals and other goals I set this year)

Did you set any goals for this year? What was your favorite Christmas gift? Share it with me in the comments below.

A Few Great Deals I Had To Share

color by code

Educents is currently offering Color By Code Addition and Subtraction for free. The sums and differences go up to 15.



Dayspring has a great deal going on today you can get this beautiful chevron card organizer filled with 24 cards for just $4.99, no code needed. That works out to each card costing less than .21 cents and you get the cute organizer too!
The Money Saving Mom’s Budget by Crystal Paine is currently $1.99 on Kindle right now (price could change at anytime make sure to look before you buy) .  With all the great tips and wisdom packed in this book you can make back your $1.99 in no time. (I  purchase my discounted Kindle books with Swagbucks or InstaGC earned gift cards)

My 10 Commandments of Grocery Shopping: Inspired By Slaying The Debt Dragon

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I recently finished my first book of 2015. I always like to kick of my 52 books in one year goal with an inspiring read and Slaying The Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster And Found An Inspired Happily Ever After by Cherie Lowe of Queen Of Free did not disappoint.

978-1-4143-9720-7Our family has been 100% debt free including our mortgage for several years now, but I still love reading of others journey’s to debt free. No two stories are the same.

If you are currently struggling with debt and you need a push in the form of an inspiring story to get you going, Slaying The Debt Dragon is a book for you. If you need some advice from someone who has been there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you. If you are 100% debt free and need an inspiring story to keep you there, Slaying The Debt Dragon is the book for you.

Within the book Cherie shares many great tips on saving money in all areas of your finances, one area that she touched on was grocery shopping. She called her tips the “Grocery Store 10 Commandments”.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments For Saving More & Spending Less

I loved this challenge so much I decided to take Cherie up on it and make my own. Got to admit it was hard to come up from ones that were unique to the excellent 10 Cherie shares in her book.

Grocery Store 10 Commandments

1. Thou shalt bring the right tools

A calculator and and pen always come in handy in the grocery store for comparing prices and crossing off things on your list as you find them so you don’t forget an item and have to drive to the store again. Which, brings me to another tool you need, a grocery list.

2. Thou shalt not shop without first having a plan

Creating a menu does not have to be complicated. Take a piece of paper write dinner on it and numbers 1 through 7 then do the same for lunch. Chances are you eat the same thing over and over for snacks and breakfast so you can add the items you need for those to your list with no need to make a plan. Go through your cupboards, if you have tuna and macaroni write down “tuna casserole” as a dinner idea and put other items you need to make it on your grocery list.  Repeat this 7 times for lunch and dinner and you have a plan and a good start on your grocery shopping list.

3. Thou shalt check out the stores sales flyer online before shopping

By knowing what is on sale before you shop, you have a better idea of what to put on the menu. Perhaps you have rice and frozen veggies and were thinking of making pork fried rice, but looking at the flyers you see pork is not on sale this week but chicken is. Put lemon chicken with rice and veggies on the menu instead an save the difference

4. Thou shalt use coupon apps

Okay so I am sort of altering this one from Cherie who used Thou shalt use coupons as her number 10 in her list in Slay The Debt Dragon. Coupon apps contain more than just coupons for processed food. They often have offers for fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs and other staple items. Plus apps like Berry Cart have gluten free coupons for those of you with allergies.  Of course printable coupons are still a great way to save money as well.

5. Thou shalt take the time to keep a price book

I have slipped in this area lately and need to get back on track. Keeping a price book is vital to saving money at the grocery store, especially for saving money on staple foods to your diet. For instance our family discovered years ago thanks to our price book that we could save $80 a year on yeast for our bread machine recipes if we switched to buying it at Sam’s Club instead of in the little jars at our local grocery store .That pays for the membership at Sam’s and then some, plus by having a membership we save on other items.

6. Thou shalt sometimes skip a trip

At least once a season hold an eat what you got week. These weeks will test your cooking creativity, give you a deeper feeling of gratitude for the food budget you have, and give you wiggle room in your grocery budget to stock up on rock bottom items. Here is an alternative to a whole week of no grocery shopping that has worked well for my family.

7. Thou shalt not buy what you can make for less

Put down those individually wrapped cheese sticks and buy a brick of cheese and spend under 5 minutes chopping it up and wrapping it for snacks and lunches, same with baby carrots , a one pound bag of carrots is usually cheaper and it doesn’t take that long to peel and cut them.

8. Thou shalt not buy what you can grow

My family planted our first square foot garden last year, and I was surprised how many tomatoes, cucumbers and green beans we got out of it. Enough to eat and a few meals worth to freeze, and we only have a small backyard. We have plans to expand next year. I highly suggest the square foot garden book for all those wanting to start a garden in a small space or a big one.

9. Thou shalt be willing to shop elsewhere

Sometimes the best deal for food is not found in the grocery store. I buy some of our organics at big lots. I shop Lucky Vitamin online for my vitamins and endurance products for my long runs. I also buy several items on Amazon because my local grocery store does not stock these items and I don’t want to spend the gas money to purchase them else where.

10. Thou shalt visit as infrequently as possible

When you shop with a list and a plan you shouldn’t need to go to the grocery store more than once a week. I have read about some people who only grocery shop once a month, making just small short trips in between for fresh fruit, veggies and milk. Figure out what works best for your family and stick to it. Fewer  trips equal fewer “saw it and had to have it” purchases that can really blow your budget.

978-1-4143-9720-7Read the book that inspired my list, and be inspired to pay off debt.

 What grocery store commandment would you add?

Linked To Thrifty Thursdays,

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52 Weeks To A Simplified Home: Project One

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This week went by really fast, and I will be honest I left my decluttering project until yesterday evening. Honestly this is one New Year’s goal I wouldn’t keep if it wasn’t for all of you that are joining along with me.

Which is why I decided to create a Facebook group for all of us. I am calling it Snail Pace Goal Achievers so that I can use it for those of you who might not be joining me for 52 Weeks To A Simplified Home but might have set a mileage goal or have decided to join along in my quest to eat better this year.  You can find and join it here.

Now for what  I decluttered this week.

bookcase beforeI decided to start in the room we call our library room. I started with the small wooden bookcase that holds the kids books. A lot of these books are too young for my children and others we could easily get at the library if needed.

books for saleI ended up with almost an entire box of books to put away until the annual homeschooler’s second hand curriculum sale I sell at each year. This might seem to go against my “worth $20 or more resell rule” as each book is only worth .50 cents to a dollar at the sale, but this whole box will bring me at least $20 and I already have the date  of the sale saved on the calendar.

book case with spaceThis is what the book case looked like when I was done. Those books on the lower shelf are the read aloud books that we loved reading to our kids so much we just can’t part with them. book shelf refilledThis is what the bookcase looks like now. I took all the books  from my “to read”  pile that I had in a different area of our home and placed them on the shelf. They all fit perfectly, which now opens up that area for something else.

My plan is to not just declutter but to find homes for things as I go.  I am hoping  this will eliminate our embarrassing floor piles for good.

If you are wondering where I got so many books to read, well most of them come from Tyndale Rewards, Paperback Swap, yard sales and thrift stores, I don’t spend much on books.

What area of your home did you declutter this week? Share it in the comments below,  share the URL to an Instagram picture showing the before and after if you want.  Don’t forget to join the Facebook group so we can share our decluttering goal reaching journeys there as well as tips and tricks we learn that help us along the way.

52 weeks to a simplified homefree printable plan (small)Print out a plan and join along!

4 Things I Would Tell My Former Day One Blogging Self

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In December 2011 the idea of writing a blog grew in my heart and mind as I was painting floors on the last of our 3 renovation homes. I talked it over with my husband who gave me not only the green light but a huge push to move forward. He told me I had one week to research and then I had to publish my first post, no matter what. He knows his snail pacing wife well. I often use “need to research” as a way to hide my fears of what could happen if I just start.

I was so irritated with him then but so thankful for his push now. I am also thankful for the laundry room pity party where a seed was planted in my heart to treat myself like a student of blogging, who earns a students wage, with the hope of a professional blogger’s wage once the time and work is put in.

Looking back as I enter my senior year of my own personal Blogging University there are a few things I would tell my just starting out blogging self during that laundry room pity party.

4 Things I would tell my former day one blogging self about the ins and outs of blogging.

4 Things I Would Tell My Former Day One Blogging Self

1. Don’t compare your start to another person’s start

Those people you see starting blogs with you right now, some of them are going to grow at a much faster rate than you are; don’t let this upset you. They are not living your life. They are not a part of your unique family, with your unique needs.  Their pictures are not showing if they are living a balance life or not. You don’t know if they are neglecting areas in life to grow their blogs faster.  Remember your priorities in life, stick to them and give the blog the time you can and don’t panic if it grows at a slower rate than others, as long as it is growing a little more each month it is heading in the right direction.

2.  This is not just your business

A blog is not the business of an individual but rather the whole family. My families willingness to pitch in and help around the house, has made a huge difference in the amount of time I work on my blog each week and not let necessary household priorities like food to eat and a clean enough home slide.

At first when my blogging was bringing in pennies a day,  this was really hard for everyone, but now that we are starting to see a pay off of a steady part time income, it has gotten easier.

3. You are going to work for pennies longer than you think

It was not until the end of my sophomore year that my blog really started bringing in enough money to cover its expenses, and not until the end of my junior year did it start producing the minimum part time income my husband and I were hoping to see  from it when I started.

3 years of typing away 20 to 30 hours a week with little pay, was really hard. Trust me some days I doubted my sanity, but now I am so glad I stuck with it. Which leads me to my last point…

4. Don’t quit.

Day one blogger, don’t quit, keep learning, keep trying, keep typing, keep posting, keep growing, just don’t quit.

Join me as I write about what I have learned during my junior year as a Blogging University student. I plan to write at least 3 more installments covering..

1. Forming blogging connections when a conference is not possible.

2. What a paid blog review can do for your blog.

3.  The importance of setting time boundaries for your blog.

 ways to monetize your blog from day one (button)It took me forever to make my first $100, but I earned my first penny pretty quickly, and from one penny came another and another, but not from sources you might expect, see how I monetized my blog from day one.

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Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

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The first Friday of 2015 is finally here and I want to kick it off with a look back at my  10 most popular money saving posts of 2014.

10 Money Saving Posts That Will Save You $100's

Top 10 Money Saving Posts Of 2014

Christmas On A Zero Budget 10 ways to afford gifts & food for Christmas Day when you have no money to spend (med)1. Christmas On A Zero Budget: This post was so near and dear to my heart. It was a message I want everyone out there who wonders if they can pull off Christmas during a year where the money just doesn’t appear to be there for the gifts and the food to know: Yes you can!

10 ways thrifty people shop for groceries (med)

2. 10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Groceries . This post contains the top 10 ways my own family saves money on the groceries we buy.

250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money Plus 10 Key Things Thrifty People Do Over & Over To Save Money On Just About Anything (med)

3. 250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money. My “thrifty people” posts are some of my most popular, and this year I reached a total of 250 different “thrifty people” ways to save money, and I also shared 10 key things my family does over and over again to save money on just about any expense we have.

summer dates that cost zero (med)4. 10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero . My family had a few extra expenses come up during the spring of 2014 and so we had to cut corners in a few areas of our budget. One expense we cut was our date money. To make it work I brainstormed 10 free dates we could enjoy over the summer months.

10 steps for a thriftier new year (med)5. 10 Steps For A Thriftier New Year: Okay so I am sort of cheating by adding this New Year’s post to the list as it was written in the last few days of 2013, but it really didn’t start getting noticed to the beginning days of 2014 when it quickly became very popular. If you want to set yourself up right for financial success in 2015 this is a post that can help.

20 ways thrifty people save money on clothing (med)6. 20 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Clothing: It doesn’t have to cost a lot to clothe a family. In this post I share low cost ideas for obtaining clothing as well as a free one.

10 steps to maximize you swagbucks earnings (small)7. 10 Steps To Maximize Your Swagbucks Earnings: I love Swagbucks for its earning flexibility. This post shows how to earn up to $900 in gift cards in Swagbucks in one year. If you are interested in maximizing your Swag Bucks you might also want to check out these 24 ways to earn as it contains new ways Swagbucks has added to earn.

step by step grocery shopping with a thrifty person (med)8. Step By Step Grocery Shopping With A Thrifty Person: If someone asked me how I shop, I would point them to this article.

17 sites you can use to earn money at home (med)

9. 17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home : If you just want to make a few extra dollars a month to add a bit of cushion to your tight budget this site is for you. If you want to earn a full time income from home, this post is also for you.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping (medium)10. 10 Ways To Save Money On Camping To be honest. this is one post that I was surprised to find in my top 10 when I looked at my numbers of views per post for the year. Our family likes to camp, and of course that means we find ways to save money on it,  I just didn’t think there would be that many other people out there with a love of camping and thrift.

A few more honorable mentions

money saving tips a growing list (small)

Check out all my money saving articles over at my money saving tips resource page.

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1200 Miles in 2015

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I have been talking goals this week, goals to declutter my home, goals to clean up my eating habits, and today I am sharing my biggest fitness goal for this year.

Make A Fitness Goal For This YearHow to set and track a yearly milage goal

I have set my sites at running 1200 miles over the course of 2015. That is 100 miles a month.

Here is how I plan to keep track of those miles

  • I bought a new basic garmin to keep track of my day to day miles
  • I bought a $1 daily planner to write my miles in each day
  • I am also joining a friend in her fun way to keep track and reward ourselves when we reach our goals

My something really fun

Before even mentioning my goal to my redhead running friend she mentioned she has set a goal of running 1000 miles in 2015 and is going to transfer pennies from one jar to the next to keep track.

I decided that would be such a fun visual way to keep track that I have to join her, but I still need to get my jars and pennies (it is on my to do this week list).

Our plan is to enjoy a girlfriend weekend away if we both transfer each and every penny into our “miles ran jar”.

One exception to my goal

Due to a knee that keeps acting up now and again, I am allowing myself to count walking and eliptical miles when needed although my hope is that these miles will not add up to more than 25% of my total miles over the year.

My plan to share it with you

Once a month I will share a picture of my jar on Instagram, and here on the blog as part of my Snapshot Thursdays. This will help keep me accountable to my goal and I hope it will inspire some of you to join us.

You can also join my Snail Pacing Goal Achievers Facebook group where I will be sharing my goal updates and you can share yours and get encouragement and tips.

Join me

Set a goal to walk, run, bike, swim, or ??? so many miles in 2015. Or perhaps you rather set a goal for working out so many days a week , or a goal to attend so many fitness classes over the course of the year. Figure out a way to keep track and decide what your prize will be at the end. If you use jars make sure to take a Instagram pic and tag me @snailpacetransformations, so I can cheer you on.

How To Become And Stay A Fit Mom (button))Looking for motivation to get fit this year? Check out my How To Become And Stay A Fit Mom Series.


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