3 Simple Don’ts & Do’s of Grocery Shopping on A Budget

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There are 100’s perhaps even 1000’s of ways to save money on groceries, but if you are truly time crunched, or  grocery shopping on a budget for the first time  and feeling overwhelmed as to where to start trimming your grocery budget today’s list is for you.

3 simpe don'ts and 3 simple does of grocery shopping on a budgetToday I am concentrating on just 3 things I think you shouldn’t do if you want to save money at the grocery store and 3 things you should do if you want to save money at the grocery store. No long step by step list this week, just simple advice that works.

3 Don’ts of Grocery Shopping

1. Don’t shop without a list

Shopping without a list guarantees you are going to forget something and that means another trip to the store, wasting time and gas and probably money on groceries you buy when you are there that you didn’t  need.

Even if you don’t make up a menu, at least take the time to make a list of 7 meals you can eat next week for dinner and then make sure you have the ingredients for them, if not add those items to your list. Then think of 2 to 3 things you can eat over and over for breakfast, and 2 to 3 items you can eat over and over for lunches.  Make sure you have all  the items you need to make them on your list. Then take a few minutes to go through your pantry and see if you have enough day to day basics like milk, eggs, fruit, toilet paper, etc. . Also add a few basic snack items. There you have it a simple grocery list made.

When you get to the store stick to your list and avoid adding extras.

2. Don’t shop hungry

This seems like such an unimportant thing but trust me it is super important. When you are hungry, you will stray from your list,  and you will rush through the store so that you can get something to eat, and in doing so you will forget items. Extra items lead to more money spent. Forgotten items lead to extra trips to the store, and again that leads to more money spent.

Make sure to eat first, and then shop.Your wallet will thank you for it.

3. Don’t grab and toss

Even though you have a list, don’t just plop the items in your cart. Take a second to compare prices on different sizes of the item and different brands. This tip alone could save you $100’s of dollars each year.

3 Do’s of Grocery Shopping

1. Do use simple coupon apps.

I love ibotta and Checkout 51 because choosing the coupons I want is so simple. With Checkout 51  all I have to do is upload the receipt to the app when I get home.  Ibotta is a few extra steps but still simple, see my Ibotta tutorial for step by step instructions. I generally save at least $1 to $2 dollars a week with these apps and that is without buying a lot of processed food. These apps save me money on bread, milk, eggs and vegetables. Over the course of a year  that weekly savings add up to around $50 to $100 saved.

2. Do take a moment to look at the sales flyer

Even if you just take 2 minutes to flip through the sales flyer when you arrive at the grocery store of your choosing you can save money with this step. You might discover for instance that chicken breasts are on sale and then you can change your menu plan around a bit to include chicken this week, and leave out something that isn’t on sale. You might discover your children’s favorite brand of mac and cheese is on sale for an incredible price and if it is grab a few weeks worth. Stocking up on a few sale items each week will start to put wiggle room in your grocery budget fairly quickly.

3. Do take 5 seconds to evaluate what is in  your cart

Before you go up to the checkout take a few seconds to evaluate the purchases in your cart and challenge yourself to put back at least one item each and every time. Chances are you didn’t stick to your list 100%. What item that wasn’t on your list can you live without? Put it back. Even if you did stick to your list 100% see if there is one item on it that perhaps you could wait one more week to buy and therefore have one more chance for it to be on sale.

Looking money saving tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays, Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Friday Link Up,

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How To Earn Gift Cards With MyPoints

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7 ways to earn gift cards with my points

I have been a member of MyPoints for at least 10 years. It was the first online point program that I ever joined and my experience with it was (and continues to be) so positive that it caused me to go on and join many more similar programs.

My favorite way to earn with MyPoints are through the click through emails that they send to your inbox on an almost daily basis, each one is worth 5 points and it takes just a few seconds to click on the box, look at the site listed and then click out again. I opened a separate email box just for my point programs so I don’t have to worry about MyPoints emails and emails from all my other point programs burying my time sensitive emails from work, friends or other sources.

There are however a lot more ways to earn MyPoints  and I plan to cover them in just a moment but first here are a few more facts about MyPoints.

 My Points Pays in 3 different ways

1. Gift cards

Starting at 1600 points for $10 gift certificates to clothing stores, restaurants and more.

2. Pay Pal Deposit

There is a $25 PayPal gift card for 4550 points and a $50 PayPal gift card for 8950 points, making the larger card a slightly better per point value. Money is automatically put in your PayPal account when you pick these cards.

3. Visa Prepaid Cards

Spend your money anywhere you wish on whatever you want by cashing in your points for a visa prepaid card. MyPoints offers a $25 for 4600 points and a $50 card for 9000 points making the larger card a slightly better deal.

A few other things to know about MyPoints. Points do sometimes take a while to register, so even though it might say you have say 1650 points your account might only have say 1400 available to cash out. This is a bit frustrating but not uncommon with point programs.

Something that MyPoints currently offers that other point programs don’t , real physical gift cards. MyPoints has yet to switch over to gift card codes, which I like because then I can give the gift card  as a gift if I want.

How To Earn Points With MyPoints

1. Click through emails

MyPoints sends you emails to your inbox each week that can earn you 5 points for each one you click through. This is my favorite way to earn MyPoints because it is so simple and quick, but if you don’t like getting emails you can switch this option off, simply go to your account and scroll down the side to email subscriptions and remove the check mark from those types of emails you don’t want from MyPoints.

2. Website Search

This is another simple way to earn points with MyPoints. Go the the Mypoints home page and click on easy points and then click on Search and Earn and you will find 5 different ways to earn your monthly 100 point maximum  for web searches through MyPoints.  You get your 100 maximum by doing 41 or more searches through any of these 5 avenues. That is 10 searches per week.

3. Shop & Earn

I have earned a lot of MyPoints through their shop and earn area because after comparing cash back offers around the web MyPoints often has the highest ones for the stores I want to shop at. MyPoints also have 1,339 different places to shop currently in their cash back area.  To use the shop & earn function you can either head over to MyPoints and enter the store you want to shop at into the search bar at the top of their site and click “search MyPoints” or you can download the MyPoints tool bar found in the “search and earn” tab and MyPoints will instruct you how to shop through it.

This feature also includes many of my favorite daily deal sites like Groupon and Zulily, making  it a great way to double dip savings by getting a great daily deal and points for purchasing it through MyPoints.

4.  Grocery Coupons

MyPoints has a printable coupon area. When you print and use a coupon from it you get 10 points. If you use more 10 or more coupons per month you get a 25 point bonus.

5.  Registrations

You will find registrations under the Easy Points tab. From time to time MyPoints offers points when you register for certain programs.

6.  Surveys

Surveys are of course time consuming but they are another way of making more points. I generally don’t do them on a regular basis currently unless I notice I am really close to having enough points to redeem a card, then on an evening when I am too tired to do much else than watch TV, I will grab my laptop and snuggle up beside my hubby and do a few surveys while watching TV together.

7. Refer A Friend

MyPoints referral system is not as user friendly as other point programs. MyPoints doesn’t give you a referral link that you can share, instead it only offers you the ability to share only through email or through your personal Facebook page. However, if you do spread the word and a friend signs up you get 10% of their earnings for as long as they hold their account. You also get 1750 points if they use the shop and earn function to place a $20 order (not including shipping taxes or video games bought on Amazon)  in the first 30 days and they get a 750 point bonus too.

Using these 7 ways to earn points it is possible to earn a few gift cards from MyPoints per year. No MyPoints won’t make you rich but when you do point earning chores at several point programs you will start to see a nice combined monthly return.

Not a member of MyPoints? Click here to join today.

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Dirt Cake Bark

I was in the middle of a run the other day thinking about all the different recipes I have already shared and those family favorites I still have yet to share when it hit me I could combine my cookie bark and dirt cake recipe and make dirt cake bark.

Dirt Cake Bark

I was a bit unsure of if it would work or not, but once I made it oh my I couldn’t keep my hands off it. The chocolate loaded with Oreo cookie crumbs and topped with chopped gummy worms, excuse me for just a second while I go get another piece from my freezer.

Good thing is two of my three children love it as much as I do because I need help making sure I don’t finish it all by myself in less than 48 hours (the third one is an odd child who doesn’t like mixing his cookies and chocolate, perhaps he was swapped at birth).

Ingredients for dirt cake barkIngredient for dirt cake bark are one 12 ounce  chocolate chips,  a small bag of gummy worms,  2 rows of Oreos, and a tablespoon of coconut oil or butter or shortening.

oreo cookies about to get crushedI placed 20 Oreos in my food processor  and crushed them. If you don’t have a food processor you can always do what I did before I had one and place the cookies in a gallon ziplock bag and beat them with a rolling pin. It is a great way to get out built up aggression.

oreo cookie crumbleIn under a minute my Oreos where a fine crumble, a lot like potting soil which is probably why they make great fake dirt in recipes.

chocolate chips with coconut oilOnce the dirt was made I got the chocolate chips ready to melt in the microwave. I used a whole 12 ounce bag of semi sweet chocolate chips which is roughly two cups and topped it with a generous tablespoon of coconut oil. I placed it on high in the microwave for 30 seconds, stirred it, microwaved it for another 30 seconds, stirred it and then microwaved it one last time for 30 seconds.

Spreading dirt cake barkI dumped all but 1/3 of a cup of the Oreo dirt in the melted chocolate chips and stirred them in well. I dumped the whole mixture out onto a wax paper lined and greased cookie sheet that fit a toaster oven that went to the small appliance grave yard years ago. The pan is just a tad smaller than standard 9 by 13 pan but the bark was plenty thick so go ahead and use your 9 by 13.

dirt cake bark whole slab To finish I scattered gummy worms that I  had cut into thirds all over the top of the cookie and melted chocolate chip combo and then sprinkled the remaining cookie crumbs on top. I used my hand to press the worms and extra dirt into the chocolate and then placed it in the freeze to harden. About an hour later I took the bark out of the freezer and removed it from the pan and took the wax paper off the back. After snapping a picture of the huge slab I broke it into sharable pieces.

I think this treat would be great for children’s parties and Halloween.

Linked to Thrifty Thursday, Weekend Potluck,

Dirt Cake Bark

Ingredients

  • 12 oz (around 2 cups) of chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon of either coconut oil, butter or shortening
  • 20 Oreo cookies (no name brand will do )
  • 1 small bag gummy worms (I used a 7 ounce bag and had leftovers)

Instructions

  1. use a food processor to crush the Oreos to a course powder (you can use a ziploc bag and a rolling pin if you don't have a food processor)
  2. put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and top with coconut oil, microwave 30 seconds at a time stirring at the end of 30 seconds, (it took mine 3 times at 30 seconds to melt fully)
  3. place 1/3 of a cup of cookie crumbs aside and then dump the rest into the melted chocolate and stir
  4. grease a 9 by 13 pan and lay wax paper in it and grease the paper
  5. place the melted chocolate and cookie mixture in the 9 by 13 pan and spread it out evenly
  6. cut the gummy worm is thirds and place them on chocolate and cookie mixture
  7. sprinkle the chocolate and cookie mixture with remaining crumbs
  8. lightly press the gummy worms and cookie crumbs into the chocolate and cookie mixture
  9. place the mixture in the freezer for one hour
  10. take out of freezer remove wax paper and break into pieces.
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Tuesday Links: Pumpkin Fun

Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your lifePumpkins arrived at my local Aldi last week and my daughter is already asking when we are going to get one and carve it. My husband helps the children  carve a pumpkin every year (The registered nurse in him says I am too scary with a sharp knife to help the kids with carving a pumpkin :) ). The last few years it has only been our youngest, our daughter, who has wanted to carve one and her request year after year is for the classic triangle mouth and nose and a crocked smile jack-o-lantern.

Wanting to make sure we get the perfect pumpkin, preserve it well and perhaps even get adventurous and carve it in a different way this year I have been collecting pumpkin pins on my crafts for fall board on Pinterest here are 3 I added

1. How To Pick The Perfect Pumpkin

2. Pumpkin Carving and Preservation Tips

3. 16 No Carve Pumpkin Ideas  (since my husband won’t let me carve one )

If you have a tip for carving pumpkins please share it in the comments below. If you have written a post on it leave us the link (link will be subject to my approval but those  that are on topic and family friendly will be accepted)

Use It Up To The Last Drop: Butter Wrappers

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I had so much fun writing 10 Ways Thrifty People Use Things Up To The Last Drop I thought that whenever I catch myself squeezing the last bit of usefulness out of an item I would share it as a a Use it Up To The Last Drop post.

using it up to the last drop butter wrappersToday’s use it up to the last drop edition contains a thrifty classic. One that I am sure pretty much everyone thrifty person does, but still I think it deserves a mention.

using a butter wrapper to grease a pan for bakingWhenever I use butter in baking I always use the wrapper it came in to grease the pan I will be using  that day. I don’t go as far as saving my butter wrappers from those sticks of butter used in other ways for this purpose but if I am making cookie bars and the recipe calls for butter then I will use the wrappers from that batter to grease the pan I am using.

Not only does this practice save a tiny bit of money for the wax paper and the olive oil I would have used to grease the pan, but it does reduce trash some  by reducing my use of wax paper for greasing pans and I like being green when ever I can.

How about you? Do you use this tip?

And now for the fun part. Share what you do to use things to the last drop in the comment section below so I might pick up on a new tip I didn’t know about yet!

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17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home

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Are you looking for a flexible way to earn money at home? Using you computer and your homes internet is a great place to start.  These 17 sites listed below pay in either check , Paypal or gift cards for Paypal.

17 sites you can use to earn money at home

17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home

This list contains ways to earn anything from just enough for date night each month to a full time income. Some of these sites you can use week after week to earn consistent income and others you can just use sporadically for those times you just want to earn enough for a family weekend at the water park or enough to finally kick that last credit card bill to the curb. What you earn and how often you earn it is up to you.

Places to Earn Money Filling Out Surveys and Performing Simple Tasks

What I like to call point reward programs are great places to start earning a bit of side income from home. No you won’t get rich with these sites but you can make enough each and every month to pay a bill or two. What I really like about these programs is often you earn a few points just from doing things you already do online and you can work other point earning actions into your day at the time that works best for your.

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is online rewards program that makes it easy for everyone to earn a few gift cards. By preforming a few simple tasks each day it is possible to earn $30 a month with Swagbucks but I have read of people who earn more than that and my own figures show that yes indeed you can earn more.

2. Paid Viewpoint

Paid Viewpoint is currently the only survey company I am actively using now that I don’t have as much time for surveys and I once did. The surveys are short, and there is no time wasted on screening questions. (here is my step by step guide to Paid Viewpoint)

3. My Survey

I was an active member of My Survey for years. I got into one or two surveys on average a week and was able to earn 1 to 2 $10 gift cards each month. I would do surveys when at the kitchen table watching my children fill in workbooks for homeschooling. It was a way to earn a bit of money while I waited for the children to need me to answer questions, mark their books or teach them the next concept.

4. My Points

My Points is the point earning program I have been a member of  the longest. I don’t do a lot through their program. I simply click through their emails that ofter points for clicking through and I often buy my online purchases through their site if they offer the best cash back deal or cash back for a store not available else where. Still just doing these 2 actions earns me on average 2 $10 gift certificates a year and one could earn a lot more if they were to spend time answering surveys, enter searches through their search bar, and doing a few more point actions that My Points offers.

5. Inbox Dollars

Inbox dollars offers a lot of the same point earning options that My Points and Swagbucks offers. It pays by check though instead of gift cards. Inbox dollars for me is a slow earning program but I mention it because pennies here and there from various programs can add up when collected together.

6. Opinion Points

I do not have experience with Opinion Post but when I researched what people had to say about it around the web I felt okay about suggesting it to my readers who are looking for a way to earn a bit more money from home doing surveys.

7. Pine Cone Research

Pine Cone Research is another survey company I have not personally tried but spent time researching and again found enough positive reviews about the program that I feel okay recommending it to my readers who like earning money through surveys.

Places to Resell Items

Reselling items from your home through your computer is another great flexible way to make money from home. I have done this over the years to earn enough money for extras that don’t fit in our budget such as summer camps for kids and weekend getaways for just me and my husband. What I like about it is I can have a sale blitz from my own home during a week when we are low on outside home activities and then not sell at all during busy weeks when we are not going to be home much. I also like that you can simply sell what your family already has and no longer needs or invest some money into it and find items priced low enough to resell for profit.

I have personally only done reselling on a here and there type basis  but I have met women who make regular part time and full time income from reselling.

8. eBay

The trick with eBay is to know what your are selling. Know your items, features, condition and age. It also helps to really like what you sell, it does make a difference in sales. I suggest however starting with what you already own and working into buying and reselling products from there.

Here are more of my articles on selling on eBay:

9. Craigslist

I haven’t met anyone making a living off Craigslist but I do know that it is a great way to get rid of large items that have become clutter in your house and earn cash in return. Here is my article about selling successfully and safely on Craigslist.

10. Facebook Buy & Sell Groups

Facebook Buy & Sell Groups are great for selling odds and ends and large items. Like Craigslist I haven’t meet anyone making a regular income off selling in these groups but they are a great way to make  temporary income from what you already own and no longer use.Here is my article about what I learned from my first experiences with Facebook Buy & Sell Groups .

11. Thred Up

You might not think of using an online consignment store as a source of making income but if you have good quality clothing in your closet or in your children’s closets  that you our they are not wearing you can send them in to ThredUp and receive payment to your paypal account.  (go to site research further). ThredUp also takes shoes, handbags, accessories and maternity clothes. It is free to send in your clothes, simply order a clear out bag that comes with a free shipping label. You can check what people get on average for similar clothing like yours with their clothing calculator. For lower priced items you earn the money before they sell the item, but for high priced items you can earn more by choosing  consignment and waiting for them to sell.

12. Twice

Twice is another online consignment store offering paypal payments for your good quality name brand clothing. Twice accepts women’s clothing only and is more particular about the brands than ThredUp.  Twice allows you to either print off a free shipping label or order a free selling bag. Twice offers a paypal option but it does offer 25% more for your clothes when you take store credit which would make me lean towards using ThredUp who gives you either or with no change in payment percentage,  however, if you need new clothing then selling your old ones for store credit would be one way to reduce your out of pocket clothing budget expenses.

( I would suggest selling your own items first to see what they are worth with either program but if come across great clothes amazing prices at yard sales, you could try reselling them through these 2  companies. I did this with a brick and mortar consignment shop once and did fairly well. Once again though you need to know what the item will bring you in from consignment before you buy). 

13. Half.com

If you love books and are good at finding them for  extremely low prices at yard sales and such then you might want to try out reselling them for profit at half.com

14. Amazon

You can also sell books at Amazon or you can get into reselling in a big way and sell clearance items in bulk. This podcast by Pat Flyn and Smart Passive Income goes into great detail about how one couple is making full time income reselling rock bottom clearance finds on Amazon.

Places to Sell Your Crafts

15. Etsy

Etsy is a competitive site to be a part of but I do think you can make money there if you put in the time and effort. If you want to take the Etsy plunge I suggest first reading the ebook  Selling On Etsy: Turning Your Hobby Into A Profitable Business, which goes step by step through what it takes to set up a successful Etsy shop, and then give yourself a year or so to really get it going.

16. Facebook and Or Instagram

I keep a photo album on my personal Facebook page with pictures of my hand knitted dishcloths I sell. I update it every Thanksgiving for the Christmas season when friends buy them for gifts.  I have seen others have a Facebook page that is exclusively for selling their handmade items. Recently I have been noticing people doing something similar with Instagram. They open an account just for pictures of their items for sale and share the link on Facebook and on their personal Instagram feed.  I suggest doing a Google search to gather more information about selling this way.

Places to Sell Your Skills

17. Fivver

Can you add lettering to a photo in a way that pops? Are you lucky enough to have a beach nearby where you can write a love message in the sand and send it to someones loved one for them? These are all talents that you can promote and sell on Fivver. I wasn’t able to find an ebook on how to  best start a Fivver business but I am sure if you did Google search or a Pinterest search you could find lots of helpful information to get going.

Bonus Tip: Start a site of your own. Making money off a blog will  probably take longer than making it at pretty much any of the above mentioned sites, however if you have the time and are not money crunched you can build your blog so that it creates income over time (I started making a part time income at the end of year 2).   Just as with many of the other sites mentioned above it really does help to have a student attitude when approaching blogging, in other words you don’t earn money in your area of study until you have put the time in to get your degree in it.

Looking for more ways to earn money from home? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest

Linked to Frugal Friday Link Up Party,

Work At Home Ideas And Tips For Success (small)Want to work from home? See my Work at Home resource page for all I have written on the subject.

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Learning With Homer: The Reading Skills App I Wish I Had When My Kids Were Young

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As I have mentioned before I have 3 visual learners in my home who often make me wonder why in the world I even spend money on textbooks. For instance one time during a bike ride through corn field lined streets with my 12 year old son  (now 14 ) he explained in great detail how Ethonal was made. I was so excited thinking that $50 science book taught him something when he said “yeah mom I learned it all off this  documentary I found on Netflix”.

learn with homer

His answer made the $7.99 I spend on Netflix  each month  worth every penny and had me wondering why I spent $50 a year on a science textbook. Which is one of the reasons why when I saw Learning With Homer pop up as a click through to earn opportunity with Inbox dollars  it caught my eye and drew me in wishing I had something like Learn With Homer  available for my children when they were pre-readers.

Learning with Homer  is a comprehensive learn to read app that costs $7.95 a month and gives you a tonne of features for your subscription fee.

Here are just a few of the benefits of Learn With Homer

  • A Reading curriculum that currently contains 150 step by step lessons and more lessons are being added regularly.
  • A Story Time Area that contains a large library of folk tales, fairy tales, first stories and original stories that you and your child can enjoy together.
  • Printable activities to work on fine motor skills needed for writing as well as Printable progress rewards.
  •  A secured Homer’s Pigeon Post area that allows your child to send drawings and notes to loved ones.
  • A parents area where you can check on your child’s progress.
  • An art area where you child can make unique creations.

When my children were the ages Learning with Homer caters to (prek to 7 years old) I spent money each month on workbooks and DVDs to help them with  reading skills and I am pretty sure those purchases added up to more than $7.95 a month.

Among other great features I  like that since Learning With Homer is  an app you can take learning on the go with you. Your child can be working on their pre-reading skills while you are waiting at the Dr. Office, or traveling to grandmas, or where ever life takes you.

30 days free at learn with homer

Best part Learn With Homer offers a 30 day free trial period (must cancel subscription before end of trial should you decide you don’t like the service in order to avoid subscription charges) . The free trial period allows you to fully explore the site and decide if it is a great fit for your child or not.

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How To Erase Coffee & Tea Stains From Mugs

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Today I am exposing a dirty little secret about my husband. Don’t worry I asked permission and he said he didn’t care. Probably because he sees nothing wrong with his habit and I on the other hand think it is gross.

dirty to clean in 30 seconds or less

Several years ago for my birthday my husband surprised me with 2  Starbucks mugs, one a 20 ounce vinti for me and a 16 oz grande for him. I loved them so much that later in the day we bought another pair using some Swagbucks earned gift cards I earned.

We have used those mugs almost every day since then and mine stay sparkling white while his are always full of stains from his earl grey tea. I have shown him numerous times this trick I am about to share with you and raved about how quick and simple it is and yet he just rolls his eyes and says “who cares”.

I tried explaining that a sparkling clean cup really does make the tea taste better, and he simply laughs and says “whatever”. Funny thing is usually it is me who is the messy in our relationship. You should see the man sweep and mop laminate floors. Once he is done it is so clean I can use it as a mirror!

He does wash his mug with soap and water, he just doesn’t use my quick method to remove the stains. I am guessing he knows that it bugs me so much that eventually I will just do it for him, like I know that if I don’t sweep he will because it really bugs him to walk on crumbs where as me ……not so much.

How To Remove Tea And Coffee Stains In Under 30 Seconds

How to erase tea & coffee stains from a mug in less than 30 secondsErasing these coffee & tea stains is simple and requires ingredients 99.9 % of homes have in their cupboards right now. Not that I did a formal poll or anything but I know that these ingredients are common to just about all households.

ingredients needed to remove coffee stains from mugsTo remove a minor stain all you really need is the baking soda  and some dish soap but when you (or your hubby) have let tea and coffee stains get really bad it helps to add a bit of vinegar.

  1. Take dirty mug over  to your kitchen sink
  2. Dump 1 tablespoon baking soda into bottom of mug
  3.  Add a drop or two of dish soap
  4. Add a drop of vinegar
  5.  Fill  mug half way with warm water
  6.  Scrub sides of mug with a kitchen cloth

And in less than 30 seconds your mug will be sparkling clean.

How to keep your favorite mugs sparkling cleanLooking for more tips to solve common everyday problems? Follow my Problem Solved board on Pinterest.

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Tuesday Links: Affording College On A Budget

Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your life

My eldest is in his senior year of high school this year and so college is on my mind. Right now he is thinking of taking a year off  volunteer in the area that he is thinking of going to school for and see if he really likes it. So in other words he is taking a gap year.

I have been madly pinning everything about how to get a degree for less for when his gap year is over and here are a few of the articles I pinned

1. 5 Tips For Saving Money On College by Thrifty Little Momma

2. 9 Ways To Get A College Degree Without Going Into Debt by Live Like Your Are Rich

3. Online Clep Prep: The Smart Way To Earn College Credit  by Not Consumed

For more tips on keeping the cost of University low follow my Saving Money Tips board and my Homeschooling board on Pinterest where I pin articles like these as I find them.

If you have a tip for saving money on the cost of college please share it in the comments below. If you have written a post on it leave us the link (link will be subject to my approval but those  that are on topic and family friendly will be accepted) .

Seasons Change: Change With Them

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fall leavesI was walking down one of my favorite walking paths this week and I couldn’t help but notice that yes indeed fall has arrived to Indiana.

I love fall in Indiana as it is full of warm days and beautiful colors. What I don’t like so much is the season afterwards. I am not a fan of winter, yet I can’t stop it coming. The changing of the seasons will happen whether I want them to or not.

The change however will go more smoothly if I embrace it. I can embrace it better when I can dwell on the positive instead of the negative.

And that is how we need to approach life too. We need to be always willing to adapt and to change to whatever season of life we find ourselves in.

Right now I am needing to adapt. I have been struggling more than normal  lately to balance blogging with homeschooling, keeping up my home, my marriage, my friendships, and my health.

I need to adapt but I have been wrestling as to what to let go of.  My problem is I am a very routine person, and once I get stuck in a routine I don’t like changing it.

I had a blog review a few months back , and they showed me my traffic from when I began blogging  to now and from it showed me what posts  get viewed again and again and they are all my step by step detailed posts. The posts where  I take coupons apps and break them down into step by step detail. The posts where I take an area of saving and write 1200 or  more words on how to save money in just that area. The recipes with simple ingredients and  great pictures.  These are the posts, you my readers love and I want to provide them for you. I want to help you in the areas you need it most, and if detail helps you detail is what I want to provide.

Problem: Detailed posts takes time. My most detailed posts take 4 to 5 hours to create. To write 5 detailed posts a week I would need 25 hours just for researching, writing, editing, and doing the photos. Blogging however, is so much more than just creating, there is social media, emails, post promotion, networking, and then there is this whole trying to make a bit of money back for all the hours you put into it.

Truth: I don’t have 25 hours to spend just on writing.  Without sufficient time what ends up happening is I rush posts, and they are not as detailed as I want them to be, and that doesn’t serve my audience as well as they could.

I dislike not serving my audience as well as I could. You are important to me. I want to do the best I can to help you reach your goals of finding time and money to pursue your passions whatever those passions might be.

Solution: Stop posting as often.  After waring with my routine self for months I have finally decided to stop posting as often as well as changing up what I post when. I am going to stop the posts that have been getting the least amount of traffic, which tells me, you my readers, don’t really dig them as much as others.

I am cancelling the Weekly Thrifty Coupon Round Up, and the Weekly Thrifty Weekend reads. The coupons are available for you to print at any time right here on the blog and I will share the low cost ebook finds I love on Facebook when they pop up. If I see a oh my word I can’t believe it type deal I will  share it as a bonus post if I have time .

I am also no longer going to do a picture from our week post every Tuesday because quite frankly some weeks I was scrambling to find something from every day life to turn into a post on any of the topics I normally write about and when I stick in something I don’t normally write about it flops.

Here is what I hope to make the week on Snail Pace Transformations Look Like

  • Monday: Time management, goal setting, passions  or a picture from our week that inspired a post that fits with my blogs mission.
  • Tuesday:  A simple link share post, where I will share 3 or so posts on one topic  for you to explore, learn from and apply to your lives.
  • Wednesday:   Recipes, craft tutorials, or homemaking.
  • Thursday: A detailed step by step post on how use one particular company to save or earn money ,
  • Friday:  Detailed posts on Thrifty Living, or work at home employment ideas.

Of course I give myself permission to go off topic now and again :) Writing can get boring without shaking it up now and again.

I am also going to work at getting up earlier to work more  hours before the rest of the family awakes. I of course am inching back into this as I am still struggling with low iron levels causing me to need more sleep, but those levels are slowly rising and I plan to get to bed earlier so I can still sleep as many hours as my body needs.

My hope is that this new writing schedule and getting up  earlier will allow me to give you more of  the  in depth posts you love week after week.

feet and leavesI hope sharing these changes with you will inspire you to take steps to manage your time more effectively as well. If you are feeling out of control, like every area of your life is never done as well as your like, I encourage you to take some time this week to really think about what things you can let go of to make more time for those areas that are priorities to you. And if you are a routine lover like me, don’t be afraid to try a new routine, you can always return to the old one if the new one fails to work, but give it at least a 6 to 8 weeks first.

Wanting help with time management? Follow the Goal Setting & Time Management Board On Pinterest

time management tipsFind time to work on your passions with my 31 Time Saving Tips.