3 Things I am LOVING Lately! October 19


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3 Things I Am Loving Lately What about you

This post is late a.g.a.i.n.

Yesterday ended up being much more busy than I thought it would. Haircuts for 3 of us took over 6 hours by the time we left the house, did an errand on the way, drove to the hairdressers, got 3 haircuts, one hair dye, and a bit of facial waxing done, picked up ice-cream (hey the new hairdresser lives by the best locally owned ice-cream parlor in the county–I had to stop), got gas, and then finally got home.

Once we got home there was dinner to be made, laundry to do, and a few other chores. After dinner I was too brain fried to write a word so I vegged out in front of the TV watching, The Middle and American Housewife.


First Thing I am LOVING Lately….

My Christmas photo cards are made and for less than .75 each!

I love giving and receiving photo cards at Christmas time. They can be pretty expensive though. I have discovered however that you can keep the cost lower by using Shutterfly photo coupon codes. Here is a list of places I find them.

About 2 weeks ago they offered a $20 of $20 or more coupon code on their Facebook page. That is what I used for my cards this year and I believe it is what I used last year too.

I also recently got a code for a free 8 by 10 art print. It did cost just over $5 for the shipping but I love how it turned out. I was happy to get a code for another one a Joann’s craft store email earlier this week. These prints would make great inexpensive Christmas gifts when placed in a dollar store frame.


Second Thing I am LOVING Lately…

Indulging in a guilty yet simple pleasure of mine.

My name is Victoria and I confess that sometimes I bake just so I can lick the bowl clean. This bowl above had the makings of my simple chocolate fudge.

I love making up a batch of it for parties. It takes under 3 minutes to whip a batch up and it is always loved by party attenders.


Third Thing I am Loving Lately…

Really warm Fall days.

It has been very warm her in Indiana this past week. So warm that I have been able to wear shorts and a tank top all week long. I am a warm weather lover so this is making me so happy!

Oh and the pink toenails  in this picture were created with the Revlon nail polish I got for just $2 from Hollar. I am really happy with how long it is lasting.

I noticed Hollar this week has Melissa & Doug toys starting at just $2. These would make excellent stocking stuffers. Shipping is free on your first order but all orders must be $10 or more.

For more inexpensive and free sources for Christmas gifts this year read Friday’s post.

What are you LOVING lately?





How I Am Cutting My Blog Work In Half During A 5 Month RV Trip With The Family


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Since my birthday in March of this year our family has been planing a once in a lifetime RV trip. For five months all five of us will be living in a 27 foot trailer as we make our way across the United States, up the west coast and into Canada.

After visiting family and friends in Canada we will head back through the states, hitting a few key state and national parks before returning to our home in Indiana.

We have figured out how to finance the trip, we have figured out what RV, we have purchased most of the supplies, we have even figured out the route and where we are staying for almost the entire trip.

Only a few questions need to be answered and one of the biggest ones is how will I blog?

How one blogger plans to cut her blog work in half.


How I Am Cutting My Blog Work In Half During A 5 Month RV Trip With The Family

Currently I work 20 to 30 hours a week on average on the blog. That equals as much as 5 hours a day if you factor in that I usually take one full day off the blog each week.

I thought at first I could blog 2 hours in the morning and perhaps 2 hours in the evening while we traveled–which would mean I would be able to keep similar hours. Then my husband and I started planning out what we wanted to see and we both realized that I am going to be lucky to have an hour in in the morning and an hour in the evening.

So how do I go from working 5 hours a day to 2 hours a day?

I don’t want to miss out on anything during this trip. I want to be fully present.  So here is a list my husband and I came up with to make it easier for me to do just that.

1. Cut Back On Posting

As of January 1st I will go from posting 3 days a week to 2 days a week. One post will be a trip update for all of my blog readers that want to tag along on our adventure and the other post will be a evergreen style post for readers who love my help with being thrifty and keeping their homes and lives in order.

I have read reports from other bloggers and most state that their traffic was only minimally effected. I will be fully testing their reports.

2. Fill Some Content Spots With Guest Posting

I have been blogging for over 4 years now and have yet to have a guest post on my blog. The reason why has been a toss up between “do I have the traffic to really help out another blogger?” and “do I really need guests posts when I have so many ideas of things to share?”

Now that I have built this blog up to 3,000 to 5,000 page views daily and I am going to be traveling the answers to both those questions are “yes” instead of “no.”

I would like to feature a guest post every other week, saving me from having to write 2 evergreen posts a month. Bloggers, don’t submit your guest ideas yet as I need to nail down some submission guidelines first–I hope to have those done by the beginning of December.

3. Automate Pinterest

When it comes to Pinterest, I still pin everything by hand. I get amazing Pinterest traffic and because of that I have hesitated about jumping on the pin schedule bandwagon for quite a while.

After playing around with several different scheduling platforms I have decided to use Board Booster it works very similar to how I pin already and it seems to be as close to “set it and forget it” as I am going to get.

4. No BIG project for first half of 2017

This year I have been filling every single crack of time I have left beyond week to week blogging with eBook writing.

(psst–it is very close to finally being done–my goal is to have it ready to buy on Kindle before we leave).

Next year the RV trip is my BIG project so I am not planning on working on anything besides week to week blog tasks until we return from our trip.

5. No Small Tweaks While On The Road

I love spending 30 minutes here and there making an old blog post that has good traffic more profitable or taking a post that doesn’t have traffic and redoing it to see if I can make it more popular.

I will put this love of mine aside until the trip is over.

6. Using Google Docs On My Laptop And Smartphone

The key to successfully cutting  my work hours in half work is using little moments of time wisely. For me that meant learning how to use Google Docs on my laptop and smartphone this summer.

While we were on our  test run, camping a week in the new RV this summer, I practiced using Google Docs on my laptop without accessing WiFi. I found I could do a lot more writing without WiFi access than I thought I could–and I got it done a lot faster too (no rabbit trailing if you can’t open another tab).

This will allow me to work in the early mornings and evenings at the campground even if I can’t access WiFi–reducing my need to spend time driving  to a local WiFi hot spot to get work done. The less time I spend driving the more time I have to actually work.

I also figured out how to use the “speak” application part of the the google doc app on my smartphone so that I can dictate blog posts while we drive.

I suffer from mild motion sickness. If I even try to type as much as a short text when I am in a moving vehicle my stomach is tossing and turning for at least an hour. However, I can talk!

Now on scenic stretches of highway I won’t be touching this, but on those long boring stretches of road when all the kids are sleeping or listening to their tunes through their headphones the Google Doc app will open up a time to work window that has never been open to my motion sick self before.

The One Blogging Task I Plan To Do More:

More Instagram Updates

The more and more I talk about the trip the more and more I hear “take me with you”–so I am going to virtually!

I will be using Instagram to post pictures of our trip (go here to follow me on Instagram). I am also hoping to do the odd Facebook live video when I can (go here to follow me on Facebook).

Got any other tips for me of how to work more efficiently while traveling?





Where To Find Free & Low Cost Christmas Gifts That Rock!


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If you want to create a Christmas to remember on a super tight budget, you have to be extremely resourceful. Last week I showed you which programs to join so that you can start earning gift cards fast. These programs are ones I have personally tried and I recommend them because of their low cash outs and/or quick ways to earn points.

This week I am sharing a list of places where you can find free or low cost gifts as well as one store that offers a wide variety of affordable items that will make great gifts for the loved ones on your Christmas list.

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.

Where To Find Free & Low Cost Christmas Gifts That Rock!

I have divided up this post into 5 different ways and places where you can find either free or low cost Christmas gifts. I dug deep to find all the possible ways to help you find free or very inexpensive sources of Christmas gifts that aren’t cheaply made. I want to help you give gifts your loved ones will love–not ones that will end up in next year’s white elephant gift exchange.

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.

Point Reward Programs That Offer Gift Worthy Items

1. Recycle Bank

If you have a magazine lover in your family, join Recycle Bank and do their environmentally friendly themed point earning tasks. Magazines subscriptions start at 160 points. There are some activities that come out worth 150 points so it won’t take long to earn enough for a magazine subscription for a loved one. There is a wide variety of magazines–including those for fitness lovers, home decor lovers, celebrity news lovers, and more.

2. Tyndale Rewards

If you want to surprise a book lover–young or old–with a new book, then join Tyndale Rewards and follow the instructions found in the Christmas On A Zero Budget  printable pack to earn enough points on your first day as a member to purchase a book. Books do take a few weeks to be delivered; plan accordingly.

3 Big Name Brands with Great Loyalty Programs

 Brand Loyalty Programs that offer Gift Worthy Items

1. My Coke Rewards

If you have a family member who drinks Coca-Cola products, did you know that they contains points either inside the lid or in the box the cans came in that you can enter online at My Coke Rewards? Then you can cash in for magazine subscriptions, gift card codes, t-shirts and more. The prizes are always changing and with some prizes you do need to pay shipping costs–like the free Shutterfly photo book codes where you will be charged shipping by Shutterfly once you make your free photo book.

2. Kellogg’s Family Rewards

After Joining Kellogg’s Family Rewards every time you buy Kellogg’s products you can upload your receipt to their website or connect your grocery store loyalty cards to your Kellogg’s Family Rewards. You can also enter free codes. The blog Money Saving Mom shares them when they are offered and you will also get them if you sign up for the Kellogg’s Rewards email list. Rewards include Shutterfly products, magazine subscriptions, e-gift cards to Starbucks, and more.

Go here to sign up for Kellogg’s Family Rewards.

3. Pampers Rewards Points

If you buy Pampers diapers or wipes, consider joining Pamper Rewards and then enter codes found on packages of Pampers diapers and wipes into the website to earn points that you can cash in for baby toys, sippy cups, magazine subscriptions and more. You can also earn points for reviewing products. Be sure to like their Facebook page too for special offers. Money Saving Mom also shares free codes for Pamper Rewards from time to time too.

Go here to sign up for Pampers Rewards.

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.

Places To Find Free Codes That Can Lead Inexpensive Gifts

1. Shutterfly

To benefit from free–not including the cost of shipping–items on Shutterfly, I find it best to like their FaceBook page. Under the “like” tab on their FaceBook home page press “get notifications” so that you see when they offer free photo album codes as well as codes for free prints and more. Now, you do have to pay shipping on these deals so they are not 100% free, but they still make very low cost gifts. Money Saving Mom also lists free codes that are not always found on the Shutterfly FaceBook page so make sure to follow that site too.

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.


Places For Free Samples That You Can Put In Gift Baskets

Now, when I say to put free samples in a gift basket I am not talking about those little packets of shampoo and conditioner. The ones I like to include are the free samples of gourmet coffee, candies, chocolate, and travel sized hand lotion. I have also included travel sized Bath & Body Works products that I have gotten free with coupons (I don’t see those offered as much as they use to be, though).

My favorite basket to use isn’t a basket at all, instead I like using mugs like the one pictured above. I prefer a mug over a basket since it is smaller to fill and can be more readily used by the recipient than a basket.

1. My Hot Deals Page

One company that I work with frequently sends me emails about free sample offerings. I like to share those deals with my readers on my Hot Deals Page.

2. Moneysavingmom

Money Saving mom is my favorite source of free samples. Crystal’s team always puts up great posts about free samples of items. The site also has a weekly list of free samples.

3. Facebook pages

Companies such as Bath & Body Works often offer either coupon for free samples you can pick up in store, or free samples sent by mail.

4. PINCHme

PINCHme is a website that sends out generous sized free samples. Once you sign up they notify you by email when the next round of samples is available. They go fast, so make sure to sign up as soon as you get the email.

5. Freebies 4 Mom

Freebies 4 Mom is another great website that lists free samples as they become available.

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.

 Places where you can use sign up credit for a free or low cost gift

1. ThredUP

ThredUp offers new sign ups a $10 credit when they use a referral link to create an account (these words in blue are mine). Now, shipping is $5.99–but currently you can apply credit it to it. That leaves $4 in credit to put towards a gift. Four dollars might not seem like much, but if you are shopping for baby items you could end up with a free, new with tags item at that price point. I took some time to look around ThredUp and found that they offered new with tags infant hats, onesies, and even shoes at that price point (selection varies daily so it might take some time to find what you want).

2. Eric Condren

I hesitated to mention this one as the shipping at this store is kind of high, but then I thought if you have a stationery addict on your list, you might benefit from this option. Create an account over at Eric Condren using my referral link (these words in blue), once you have you should be emailed a $10 off your first order code. You can use this towards a purchase. There are some $10 items at Eric Condren (including mouse pads, calendars and notepad), though shipping is $7.95 so this won’t be a free gift. However, it could make a low cost, high quality stationery gift for the stationery lover on your Christmas list.

 A place to find a large assortment of gifts for under $10 that rock

Find great Christmas gifts for loved ones on your gift list for very little money or even free through these sources.

This is my first order from Hollar. I got everything in this picture for $11 and shipping was free.

1. Hollar

Hollar is what I would describe as a low cost variety store with an amazing selection of gift worthy items starting at just $2. (psst…the nail polish in the picture above is Revlon and it was $2). They do have a minimum order of $10. Shipping is free for orders of $25 or more and for $25 I think you could easily grab a few great, low cost gifts to help fill stockings, gift baskets or be a main gift.

However, shipping on your first order is free! Remember there is a $10 limit on all orders including your first order, but for $10 I think it is possible to get either a few stocking stuffers or one to two nice gifts delivered right to your door.

And when you sign up and create an account using my referral link (again–words in blue) you will get a $2 credit (I got my sign up credit after I placed my first order, but that might have been because I created my account during check out–let me know when you get yours).

Other Posts You Might Want To Check Out For More Inexpensive Gift Ideas

How to Plan a Christmas to Remember on a Tight BudgetThis post is part of the How To Plan A Christmas To Remember On A Super Tight Budget Series.

Christmas On A Zero BudgetSign up for my weekly newsletter and grab your copy of Christmas On A Zero Budget: The Printable Plan