Free Educational Games, Apps, Books, & Programs for Kids During the Quarantine

Free Educational Games, Apps, Books, & Programs for Kids During the Quarantine

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Free Educational Games, Apps, Books, & Programs for Kids During the Quarantine
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’re looking for some educational activities for your kids while they’re home from school, don’t miss this round-up of free educational games, apps, magazines, books, and more! {Follow along with all the latest free kids activities, free homeschool curriculum, and educational deals each day!} Due to the COVID-19 quarantine causing schools to be closed across the country, many educational companies are offering amazing freebies and deals to aid parents with at-home education for their kids! Here are some of the top deals we’ve seen so far, but we’ll keep adding to this list as more pop up! Free Educational Activities for Kids All of these freebies require Internet and access to a computer, phone, or tablet. (If you don’t have Internet, check out this deal to get free Internet access!) Also, some of these freebies are limited time trials and you’ll be charged monthly after your trial is up. Just remember to cancel the auto-renewal before your trial is up so that you don’t get charged. It’s super easy! Free ABCmouse 30-Day Trial — This online learning academy specializes in full curriculum for children ages 2-8. This is often one of the top purchased iOS kids education apps! Free Adventures in Odyssey 4-Week Trial — This is a RARE offer to get free access to over 900 episodes of these popular, kid-friendly audio dramas. My kids have loved these over the years, and we’ve listened to thousands of hours of them! And no credit card is required for this free trial. Free ReadingIQ 30-Day Trial — This is an online digital library for kids that offers thousands of books for all reading levels. This app helped Silas fall in love with reading and I can’t sing the praises of this reading app enough! Free BrainPOP Access for Families — This amazing online program offers all sorts of fun content to facilitate learning across many subjects — including math, science, health, music, and more. Free Scholastic Online Education Programs — This site features daily projects to keep kids learning, reading, and thinking. Just choose your grade level and get started! Free Teach Your Monster to Read App — This award-winning iOS app is a phonics and reading game that’s helped millions of children learn to read. It’s regularly $5, so this is a great deal! Free Adventure Academy 30-Day Trial — This educational MMO game features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that elementary and middle school aged kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Free Monarch Homeschool 30-Day Trial — This is a full online curriculum for at-home learning featuring multiple subjects, automatic grading, and so much more. Use coupon code MON30MSM in the promo code box during the sign-up process to get this deal — no credit card required. Free Ranger Rick Magazine Digital Subscription — This is a perfect freebie for kids who love the outdoors and animals! Each issue is packed with full-color photos of animals and stories of adventure. Step2 Facebook Live Crafts — Step2 is leading craft activities for kids on Facebook Live video every weekday at 3 p.m. ET. Crafts are made from supplies you most likely already have on hand at home. Free Audible Books for Kids and Teens — While schools are closed, Audible will be offering free stories to students. There are some great titles to choose from, including children’s books, classics, modern series, and popular teen titles. Free Homeschool Curriculum & Resources — Be sure to check out our weekly round-up of the best free homeschool curriculum and educational resources! We update this list every Tuesday. Free Thinkster Math One-Month Trial — This online math program offers a free skills assessment, diagnostic report, and personalized math worksheets for your child. And they’re offering one month for free to all students right now — no credit card required. Free Reading Eggs 30-Day Trial — This multi-award winning app helps children become more fluent and proficient readers with just 15 minutes of use each day! And they’re offering a free 30-day trial right now, no credit card required. Looking for even more ideas? These offers aren’t completely free, but they’re still really great deals if you’re looking for some unique ways to keep kids entertained while they’re at home! Annie’s Creative Girls Club Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping — If you have a creative kid who loves crafts, don’t miss this great deal! I recently received these craft kits in the mail and was SO impressed with everything you get for this discounted price! KiwiCo Box for $11.97 shipped — These themed and educational activities are SO much fun, and my kids have loved them over the years! You can get a great deal on your first box right now. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited 3-Month Trial for $0.99 — This is an all-in-one subscription for kids that offers unlimited access to over 13,000 kid-friendly movies, books, educational apps, TV shows, and games. And this deal for new customers is a $29 savings!! Hooked on Phonics One-Month Trial for $1 — Sign up for this deal to get access to 100 award winning videos, more than 275 interactive games, and 100+ fully illustrated stories! Do you know of any other free educational games, activities, or programs being offered for kids right now? Psst! Are you a parent looking for some activities for yourself? If you love reading, sign up for a free Audible trial or free Kindle Unlimited trial! If you’re looking for workouts, don’t miss this free Daily Burn membership or free Peloton app! Or if you enjoy music, check out the free Amazon Music HD subscription or free Sirius XM Streaming subscription!
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Stuck at Home? Do This 24-Minute Money Challenge

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Stuck at Home? Do This 24-Minute Money Challenge
At this point, most of us are living within the confines of our home, only venturing out for groceries or exercise. And that’s what we should be doing — what we need to be doing — to flatten this COVID-19 curve. But we get it: We feel a bit stir-crazy, too. After all, there are only so many push-up challenges you can post to your Instagram story before your arms give out. That’s why we created a quick 24-minute money challenge. This is perfect for those of us stuck at home and worried about the uncertain state of our country and our own personal finances. It’s a great way to spend 24 minutes today, and you’ll feel more productive for it. Ready? Once you’re done, pass it along to your friends, so hopefully they’ll stop nominating you for that darn push-up challenge. 1. Stop Overpaying on Your Monthly Bills (2 Minutes) Your monthly bills are non-negotiables, right? They’re just something you’re stuck paying. Wrong. The truth is, you can probably find better deals on a number of your monthly bills, freeing up room in your budget for other necessities during this trying time. The easiest one to start with? Car insurance. Experts suggest shopping your options every six months or so, but let’s be real — when’s the last time any of us have done that? But a free website called The Zebra will do the shopping for you — in just two minutes.  All you have to do is enter basic information about your car and driving history, then The Zebra compares prices from more than 100 companies to find you the best price. In fact, The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year. If you find a policy you like, you can sign up online instantly. After you take two minutes to do this, take a look at some of your other monthly bills, like your cell phone (check out discount providers) and home insurance (compare rates). 2. Ask This Website to Take Care of Your Credit Card Bill (2 Minutes) If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…  And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But right now is the perfect time to take action. A website called AmOne wants to help. If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances. The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster.  AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either — you can do this from your couch. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could help you pay off your debt years faster. 3. Grab Yourself a $5 Amazon Gift Card After You Take 5 Surveys (10 Minutes) Since we’re trying to leave the house as little as possible, many of us will likely notice an uptick in our Amazon orders. That’s good — we’re doing this whole social distancing thing correctly — but our wallets might not be too thrilled. If you want to help offset the costs, snag yourself a free $5 Amazon gift card with MyPoints. MyPoints is a research company that’ll pay you to answer questions about different products and services you use. In return, it’ll give you free gift cards. You can even do this from your phone. To date, MyPoints has paid people more than $236 million in gift cards. To get your $5 Amazon gift card, just sign up and complete your first five surveys. Then, next time you’re posted up on the couch watching Netflix, take a few more surveys and keep earning. 4. Finally Check Life Insurance Off Your Perpetual To-Do List (5 Minutes) For many of us, getting life insurance is something we know we need to do. After all, you’ve probably wondered how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone. How will they pay the bills? Send the kids through school? Now that life’s slowed down a little, it’s time to finally check this off your to-do list. With a company called Bestow, this shouldn’t take more than about five minutes, and rates start at $5 a month. You can cancel or change your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless. If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow. You’ll feel better once you can finally get this done. 5. Check Your Credit Report for Any Errors (3 Minutes) At this point, you understand the importance of your credit score. It will help you make big purchases one day, like a house or a new car. But when’s the last time you checked in on your score? You could have an error on it that’s unknowingly holding you back. (One out of five reports do, according to a study from the FTC.) Now that you’ve got some extra time on your hands, take a look with a free website called Credit Sesame. It’ll show you your credit score and help you detect any errors. If you find one? Credit Sesame will even help you dispute it. Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report this way. Using Credit Sesame, she was able to fix the mistake and take additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.* Want to check for yourself? It only takes about three minutes to sign up and take a look. 6. Launch an Investing Portfolio With $1 (2 Minutes) It’s no secret the market has had its fair shares of ups and (mostly) downs these past few weeks, but you shouldn’t panic. If you’ve got money you’ve invested, consider riding it out. Markets are unpredictable, and they will always be volatile, which means sometimes they’ll go up, and sometimes they’ll go down — but over time, they tend to go up.  If you haven’t started investing and have some money to spare, you can start small. Investing doesn’t require you throwing thousands of dollars at full shares of stocks. In fact, you can get started with as little as $1.1 We like Stash, because it lets you choose from hundreds of stocks and funds to build your own investment portfolio. But it makes it simple by breaking them down into categories based on your personal goals. Want to invest conservatively right now? Totally get it! Want to dip in with moderate or aggressive risk? Do what you feel. Plus, with Stash, you’re able to invest in fractions of shares, which means you can invest in funds you wouldn’t normally be able to afford. If you sign up now (it takes two minutes), Stash will give you $5 after you add $5 to your invest account. Subscription plans start at $1 a month.2 * Like Buitureria, 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days. Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits. 1 For Securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares starts at $0.05. 2 You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian. The Penny Hoarder is a Paid Affiliate/partner of Stash. Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk. This was originally published on The Penny [...]
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The 3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ the 1 classic movie we watched)

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The 3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ the 1 classic movie we watched)
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. The Fourth Trimester I was really excited to read this book as I thought it would be great for me to prep for birth and postpartum recovery — especially since I’ve struggled with postpartum depression/anxiety after all three of my pregnancies. (I think a lot of my struggles were related to not taking time to properly rest and heal after my births.) Going into reading it, I knew the book wasn’t written from a Christian perspective and had a lot of influence from other religions in it. I was prepared for this. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting past a lot of those sections. So much of the advice just felt so self-serving and humanistic…  and some of the advice to ask for so much help and set such strong boundaries after the birth kind of felt like it was encouraging you to come across as a jerk. (Just being honest here!!) That said, my big takeaways are that rest, good nourishment, and limited movement for the few weeks after birth are really important. Those are my hopes for this postpartum period for my upcoming birth and what I’ve spent the last few months prepping to make happen! This book definitely encouraged me to prioritize that. Does anyone have suggestions of a good book for postpartum that encourages these things that might be a better fit for me (or something for me to recommend to others)? Verdict: 2 stars The Lazy Genius Way I have heard of Kendra Adachi’s podcast (The Lazy Genius) but, truth be told, I’m not a listener. I think I may have have heard one episode way back when or maybe have heard her on another podcast, but that’s about the extent of my knowledge of her. Despite that, I really loved this book! It’s well-written, funny, practical, and realistic. Kendra has the perfect balance of truth, humor, and grace sprinkled throughout it. She also makes you feel like you can actually get your home and life in better order (notice I didn’t say “perfect order” just “better order”? I think Kendra would approve of that language!) I love her approach to be a genius about those things that truly matter to you and your family and to be lazy about those things that don’t matter to you and your family. I also found her light-hearted footnotes throughout the book to be a fun addition. While I’ve read a LOT of time management, home management, and life management books, I still found so much fresh perspective and inspiration in Kendra’s book. And now I’m thinking I need to check out her podcast! Verdict: 4 stars The Gospel Comes With a House Key Okay, I was a little scared to write this review, because it seems everyone I know absolutely adored this book. And, while I really loved parts of it, there were other parts of it that I just couldn’t stand behind wholeheartedly. Let’s start with what I loved: I loved the author’s desire to encourage what she calls, “Radically Ordinary Hospitality”. It is a lost art in our usually-busy worlds and I think it is one of the biggest building blocks to genuine community and Christlike love. I also loved that the book shone a light on foster care and the need for Christian families to prayerfully consider being involved in this ministry in some way. (You all know how passionate I am about foster care!) That said, what bothered me in the book was that she presented hospitality almost as a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. That it’s only in the context of your church and neighborhood and that it pretty much always involves opening up your home for a meal. While opening up your home is fantastic and serving food is great, I think hospitality can also be inviting a friend to the park or to coffee or to join you in a walk or reaching out to the lonely-looking person sitting on the sidelines at your child’s baseball game or inviting your co-worker to lunch… and a thousand other things. For me, I believe hospitality is going to take on many different forms — because we all have different giftings and different spheres and circles we run in. I wish she would have talked much more about this. The second thing I didn’t like in the book was that she was super honest about situations they’ve been through with other people — the good, the bad, the ugly. And in many cases, she shared a lot of details about conversations that I felt were private and not ones to be shared in a published book that anyone in the world might read. I feel like there’s good chance some of the things she shared openly and in detail about very personal hurts and situations could very well damage relationships in her life — even some of those that might be ones she’s seeking to practical “radically ordinary hospitality” to. (Maybe she got every single person’s permission to share what she shared and maybe each person was 100% okay with it… even then, I think many of the examples and conversations could have been omitted and the book would have still been as powerful. For me, it would have been even more powerful.) And now I’m going to go duck from all of the rotten tomatoes I’m going to get thrown at me! 😉 Verdict: 3 stars Classic Movie We Watched Last Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) Last week, we watched Mr. Bean’s Holiday — a movie Jesse and I had watched together a long time ago together and thought the kids might enjoy. They did enjoy parts of it, but they found it a little on the slow side and thought it drug on — especially toward the end. (Note: I don’t think this actually qualifies as a “classic movie” since it came out in 2007, but oh well, we’re going to say it is since it was the movie we watched last week!) What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101

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Listening to Audiobooks with Kids 101
Are you interested in listening to audiobooks with your kids as a family? This is a must-read post on all things audiobooks for kids! Psst! Be sure to check out how I listen to audiobooks for free. And don’t forget that you can get a FREE Audible trial with a bonus audiobook right now, plus Audible is offering free Audible books for kids! Guest post from Kelsey of Orchard Reads: I don’t think many of us would have expected just a few weeks ago that our kids would become homeschoolers indefinitely, but here we are! Like many parents, you are probably scrambling trying to keep up with school work and entertain your kids and maintain some type of order and balance in this new season. You are probably also overwhelmed with offers for free educational programs, and it’s tricky to know what’s really going to be beneficial to your kids. If I had one recommendation of a learning activity to add into your daily routine, it would be listening to audiobooks together. Our family has found that listening to audiobooks has bonded us, educated us, and redeemed many hours my kids might have spent being “bored.” Sources for Audiobooks There are tons of places to find great audiobooks for kids, but here are my three favorites: Your Local Library Each library system is different, but our library has an account with an app called Libby. If you download the app on your phone and put in your library card information, you have thousands of audio books at your fingertips that you can listen to wherever you are. One important note: These books sometimes have significant waiting lists. Most books I put on hold have between a 2-10 week wait, but sometimes you can get lucky and find them available immediately. Once the libraries open up again, they also have a great selection of hard copy CD audio books. If you still have access to a CD player (we listen to these in our van), there are thousands of options to choose from! Audible When you sign up for an account with Audible, you’ll automatically get one month free that gives you access to one audiobook and two Audible originals. It does cost $14.95 after the first month, but there’s no requirement to continue. Audible has TONS of incredible audio books for kids and teens, and if you can swing the monthly fee, it’s definitely the most thorough and readily available collection of audio books you can find anywhere. HOT Deal: Right now they’re offering a bonus audiobook when you sign up for a free Audible trial — meaning you’ll get TWO free audiobooks plus two Audible originals!! Audible also just announced that they’re offering FREE Audible books for kids while schools are closed! While it doesn’t have as many titles available, there are still lots of great books to listen to for free, no strings attached! Librivox This is an interesting site that offers thousands of free audio books that are read by volunteers from all over the world. They may not have a specific title you are looking for, but it’s worth perusing the catalog to find out. Incorporating Audiobooks Into Your Daily Routine Listening to audiobooks in the car is one of our favorite things to do, but now that we’re all mostly homebound, we have to transition to listening at home. Here are some of my best tips for incorporating audiobooks into your daily routine with kids: Let Your Kids Keep Their Hands Busy Whether you let them play with blocks, legos, a train set, a drawing pad, play-doh, puzzles, or another toy, keeping little hands and bodies busy while listening to an audiobook always works best for our family. There is often squirming, arguing, and interrupting — but it’s still worth it! Turn On Audiobooks When Your Kids Ask for TV There is NO judgment on my part for letting your kids watch TV (ours are watching a movie as I write!), but we all know that sometimes we really do need to limit the screen time. Listening to audiobooks is actually incredibly similar to watching TV, but it requires kids to use their own mind and imagination rather than having the images displayed before their eyes. Put On Audiobooks for Afternoon Rest Time If you have kids who are too old for naps but still need a little bit of down time in the afternoon, audiobooks are the perfect way to give them some quiet time while also keeping them occupied. There are tons of audiobooks that are 30-60 minutes long, and I have found that these are perfect for rest times. Work Through a Series Together as a Family While it’s fun to listen to stand-alone audiobooks, it’s also fun to find a series that everyone enjoys and work through it together slowly. Not only does it give you lots of hours of listening, but it also creates sweet family memories since you will have invested so much collective time together. Best Audiobooks for Kids By Age Group Are you interested in audiobooks for your kids, but you have no idea where to start? Here is a list of our favorite 10 audiobooks for each age group! We have listened to every one of these audiobooks and can personally vouch for the fact that they are meaningful, entertaining, and worth your time. They are also all available on Audible, so if you start the free Audible trial you can listen to at least two for free: Ages 1-3 Amelia Bedelia Collection (Peggy Parrish) The Complete Adventures of Curious George (H.A. Rey) Henry and Mudge Series (Cynthia Rylant) Green Eggs and Ham and Other Servings of Dr. Seuss (Dr. Seuss) Berenstain Bear’s Stories (Jan Berenstain) Frog and Toad Series (Arnold Lobel) Little Bear Series (Else Holmelund Minarik) Pete the Cat Series (Eric Litwin) Pinkalicious Series (Victoria Kann) Fly Guy Series (Tedd Arnold) Ages 4-5 The Courage of Sarah Noble (Alice Dalgliesh) The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Alice Dalgliesh) 26 Fairmount Avenue Series (Tomie DePaola) Phoebe the Spy (Judith Griffin) Mercy Watson (Kate DiCamillo) My Father’s Dragon Series (Ruth Stiles Gannett) James Herriot’s Treasury (James Herriot) Barkus Series (Patricia MacLachlan) Anna Hibiscus Series (Atinuke) The Lighthouse Family Series (Cynthia Rylant) Ages 6-8 Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White) The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary) Riding Freedom (Pam Munoz Ryan) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Robert C. O’Brien) The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate) The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (Karina Yan Glaser) The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Brian Selznick) The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White) Understood Betsy (Dorothy Canfield Fisher) From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg) Ages 9+ Esparanza Rising (Pam Munoz Ryan) Number the Stars (Lois Lowry) The Giver (Lois Lowry) Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred Taylor) Julie of the Wolves (Jean Craighead George) Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson) Tuck Everlasting (Natalie Babbitt) The Twenty-One Balloons (William Pene du Bois) Island of the Blue Dolphins (Scott O’Dell) Our Favorite Series Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder) Ramona (Beverly Cleary) Henry Huggins (Bevlery Cleary) Little Britches (Ralph Moody) The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis) The Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne) The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warren) The Penderwicks (Jeanne Birdsall) Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren) The Great Brain (John D. Fitzgerald) I hope that as you hunker down in your home these next few weeks, audiobooks will become a big part of your family’s new routine! Related: Free Educational Programs for Kids During the Quarantine How I Listen to Free Audiobooks Free Audible Trial + Bonus Audiobook Free Audible Books for Kids 8 Ways to Get Books for Free 10 Tips to Read Aloud to Kids How to Get Your Children Excited About Read Alouds Kelsey is a pastor’s wife, mother of four, book lover, piano teacher, worship leader, and home economist. She writes about her family’s favorite [...]
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Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case only $13.04!

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Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case only $13.04!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a great price for this popular Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game! Amazon has this Cardinal Mexican Train Domino Game with Aluminum Case for only $13.04 when you clip the $4.35 e-coupon! Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Free One-Month CBS All Access Trial! {HOT}

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Free One-Month CBS All Access Trial! {HOT}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whoa! You can currently get a FREE one-month CBS All Access Trial, which is a super rare and HOT deal!! Psst! Looking for more freebies like this? Right now, you can sign up to get a FREE one-month CBS All Access trial when you use the promo code ALL at checkout! This is a rare deal as the free trial usually only lasts seven days! If you love Star Trek, this is an especially great deal because it gives you access to all the latest episodes of Star Trek Discovery and Star Trek Picard! 🙂 Note: After your free trial is up, you’ll be charged at the regular monthly rate. If you don’t wish to continue after your free trial, be sure to cancel before it renews! Valid through April 23, 2020. [...]
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NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus

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NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus
The economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak may have you thinking about — and let’s be real, losing sleep over — your finances now more than ever. With bills, investments and mortgage payments to consider, as well as looming fears about a recession, you may need an expert opinion to cut through the noise and... Valerie Lai is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: vlai@nerdwallet.com. The article NerdWallet Experts’ Tips on Handling Finances During Coronavirus originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time

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Technology helping governments & citizens, one line of code at a time
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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?

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Dear Penny: I’m Retired. What Will Coronavirus Do to My Savings?
Dear B., The truth is that nobody knows. Sure, we’ve survived downturns before. They’ve been painful and scary. But retirement portfolios have bounced back. In all likelihood, that’s what will happen this time. Yet we’ve also never seen a situation like coronavirus in our lifetimes. No one really knows how deep the pain can get or how recovery starts to happen when we’re all being told not to leave our homes for the foreseeable future. That uncertainty is less of a problem for people who have decades left until retirement, but it’s especially scary for people like you, whose working years are behind them. So let’s acknowledge what we don’t know. We have to work with the information we do have about what happened to retirement accounts in past bear markets, even though the situation we’re in is unique in so many ways. I reached out to several financial advisers about the best course of action for retirees dealing with the market fallout. Note that what they told me is general financial advice. You should always consult with a pro before making major financial decisions.  The most important piece of advice is the part that’s hardest to follow, and it applies to retirees and working-age people alike: Do not panic and sell off major assets right now. “One of the worst things a retiree could do in this situation is to sell the stocks after they’ve decreased so much in price,” said Andy Panko, a certified financial planner who owns Tenon Financial LLC in Iselin, New Jersey. “Selling stocks at the current low prices will lock in those losses and leave retirees with less shares left to rebound when the economy and stock prices eventually turn around. This will permanently reduce a retiree’s wealth.” One good thing about your situation is that you aren’t living off your retirement accounts right now. The longer you can avoid making withdrawals, the better. That gives more of your money time to rebound. If you have enough non-retirement savings to live off of in the short term, using that money for your expenses is ideal.  Alternatively, if you have cash value in a life insurance policy or access to a line of credit, these could help you meet your needs in times of temporary market stress, according to Colin B. Exelby, a CFP and president/founder of Celestial Wealth Management. “This provides relief and time for those risk assets to potentially recover,” Exelby said. “The key is, assuming they do that, you then pay back the credit line or permanent insurance policy as the risk assets recover.” But if you don’t have access to a lot of cash and need to start withdrawals sooner, try to withdraw the absolute minimum you need to stay afloat so you have more money invested whenever recovery starts to happen. Getting your mix of assets right when you’re retired or approaching retirement is also essential because you’re kind of at a Catch-22: You want lower-risk investments, but they still need to have enough risk to earn a decent amount. Otherwise, you risk chipping away at your principal balances and outliving your retirement savings. This is important enough that it’s worth the cost of working with a financial planner, even if it’s just for the short term. You don’t say how old you are, but if you haven’t started taking Social Security benefits yet and are eligible to do so, this should be part of the discussion. In an ideal world, you’d wait as long as possible to start taking benefits to get the maximum monthly payment. But that’s in an ideal world — as in, one without coronavirus. In the real world, you have to use the resources that are available. So taking Social Security early to avoid selling investments at bottom prices may be something to consider. These are scary times for everyone right now. The fact that many of us are dealing with this in relative isolation makes it that much harder not to dwell on the uncertainty. If you’re constantly monitoring your retirement accounts… stop it! Log out of your accounts and try FaceTiming with a friend or family member instead.  Just talking about your fears can provide some relief. We’re all experiencing this together — even if we are in quarantine.  Robin Hartill is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder and the voice behind Dear Penny. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 34), Fostering, Quarantining, & Kathrynne is home!

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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 34), Fostering, Quarantining, & Kathrynne is home!
34 weeks! And what a week it’s been! Kathrynne getting stuck in Suriname because they closed the borders (gratefully, her group got on a special flight this past Monday —  see below), spending hours at the NICU taking care of the preemie we’re fostering, everything else in our life getting cancelled… it’s felt like a pretty unprecedented week! Highlights Pregnancy-wise, I’m doing well. I feel like baby had a growth spurt this week and I’ve popped even more. Very few clothes still fit and I feel pretty big, but I’m not at the totally miserable stage yet, so I’m grateful. Getting comfortable while sitting and sleeping is becoming more of a challenge, but that’s to be expected when you’re in your final weeks of pregnancy! 😉 Notable I’m thankful to not be experiencing much swelling yet. My face is definitely a lot puffier, but other than that, so long as I keep my feet up for part of the day, I’m usually good. We’re hopefully bringing our NICU baby home soon, so I’ve spent some time this week making sure everything is in order for both babies — baby clothes are washed, diapers are stocked, a second bed is ordered, etc. I also sat down and mapped out the bones of a feeding/sleeping/life routine today — since our little preemie is on an every three-hour feeding schedule and will most likely continue that once released from the hospital. We’re getting excited to think of being a family of 7 soon — but also trying to savor our last few days of being a family of just 5. Cravings I’m mostly only hungry in the mornings now. I’m usually famished for the first few hours of the day and then I’m not that hungry after lunch. I’m eating lots of apples/peanut butter and Raisin Bran/milk. Oh and we found that vanilla ice cream before bed helps me to sleep better and not wake up with heartburn as often. I have no idea why, but hey, if it works, it works! 🤣I’m also eating dates every day and drinking red raspberry leaf tea to help prepare for labor. Weight gain: 27 pounds She’s home!!! After being gone for 11 days, getting stuck in Suriname due to the country completing closing their borders, and being told she might not be able to come home for 30 days… we got to witness God move some pretty huge mountains in a very short amount of time. (The government arranged a special flight out of Suriname for them and a handful of others who were trying to get back to the US!) A huge thank you to the many who prayed, the school administration who worked tirelessly to get them home, & the government officials who bent over backwards to make this happen. Also, we are so proud of this girl! She handled the whole thing like a champ and told me she decided to focus on the positive in it instead of dwelling on the what if’s or unknowns. She came back stronger, more resilient, more independent (in a good way), more aware of the goodness and provision of God, and so incredibly humbled by how many hundreds (thousands?) of people were praying for her and their team to make it home safely. Thank you all to the many, many, many of you who wrote, texted, and messaged to tell me you were praying. It has truly been a humbling experience to be the recipient of so much love and kindness this past week… especially when SO much else is going on in the world. We are blown away how deeply you care about our family. And now we’re hunkered down at home for the next few weeks trying to stay as healthy as possible and keep our home as germ-free as possible since we’ll likely be welcoming a medically fragile babe into our home very, very soon. (Interested in seeing the creative things my kids are finding to do each day while home 24/7 or want to follow along with our foster care journey? Be sure to follow my stories on Instagram. I usually post there multiple times per day every week day!) Speaking of Instagram, I posted this earlier this week and thought this might encourage someone today: This is what the last 8 days of my life have looked like. Sitting in the rocker in the NICU rocking this tiny preemie we’re fostering and praying. (Note: The mask is just one of the many precautions the nurses are having me take to keep me and baby as healthy as possible.) I’m usually a go-getter, a very driven person, who will have 15 balls in the air I’m juggling at any given time. My brain isn’t good at slowing down and I typically find living life at 100 miles an hour (with short pit stops here and there) to be exhilarating and fulfilling. But right now, this is my season to rock, hold, comfort, and speak words of life to this precious baby. And that is enough. I look down at this bundle I’m holding and realize, this sweet child doesn’t know anything about the chaos or fear going on in the world. Baby just wants to eat, sleep, and be held. And as long as I’m holding this child, they are almost always completely relaxed in my arms, resting deeply and peacefully. As I sit here, I think of so many of you who are struggling today. Some of you have written in and told me how you are facing scary unknowns, big financial setbacks, possible job loss, fear of the future, worry over immunocompromised loved ones, separation from those you love, and so much more. This virus is personally affecting each of us in big ways. I just want to remind you — as I am reminding myself — to crawl up into Jesus’ lap and let Him hold you. He loves you more than you can ever imagine. And He will give you what you need for today. There are a lot of unknowns in my future right now — as I am positive there are in yours. If I let myself start dwelling on them, I can begin to feel scared and stressed. But God hasn’t given me grace for tomorrow or next month. He is giving me grace for today and I can rest in that. And so, I sit here and rock — trusting Jesus that He has my future, my NICU baby’s future (and all the possible medical issues and things with that far outside my control!) my 34-week in utero baby’s future, my other 3 kids’ futures, my husband’s future, the future of our business, my extended family’s future… in His hands. I rest in that and rock on. ❤️ [...]
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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 20 March 2020

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Security Token news for Week Ending Friday 20 March 2020
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61 things to do at home when your kids are bored (springtime edition)

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61 things to do at home when your kids are bored (springtime edition)
We’ve all had those days when the kids are bouncing off the walls but you can’t leave the house — whether it’s raining, someone has springtime allergies, the car’s in the shop, you’re pinching your pennies (go, you!), or whatever. Here are X fun, cheap things to do as a family when you’re stuck inside ... Read More about 61 things to do at home when your kids are bored (springtime edition) The post 61 things to do at home when your kids are bored (springtime edition) appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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13 Free, Easy Strategies for Coronavirus Stress Management

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13 Free, Easy Strategies for Coronavirus Stress Management
We’re living in scary, uncertain times, and for a lot of us, that translates into high levels of stress and anxiety. But as natural as these responses may be, chronic stress and anxiety pose their own threats. Chronic stress has been linked to many serious health conditions, and it has also been shown to depress immune function, which is something none of us need right now. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 13 things you can do to help you cope during this time. None of these things cost money, and you can do them all at home (or at least in your neighborhood).    13 Ways to Manage Your Coronavirus-Related Stress Right Now The next time you’re feeling swept up in counterproductive thoughts, try one of these tactics. 1. Take a Few Deep Breaths If you’re like most people, you probably respond to feelings of emotional distress by taking shorter, shallower, more rapid breaths. This means your body gets less oxygen, which in turn affects your ability to think clearly and function — and that can exacerbate that tangle of emotions. Taking a few deep breaths will replenish your body’s oxygen supply, and as a bonus, it will give you a few moments to pause, which can also help you calm down.  When you feel yourself getting stressed out, stop and breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, then exhale through pursed lips. Do this several times until you feel yourself calm down.   Several variations of this exercise exist, so play around until you find something that works best for you. 2. Try a Grounding Technique If stress and anxiety are threatening to overwhelm you, try one of these grounding techniques. They work by pulling you away from your anxiety-producing thoughts, most of which either dwell on the past or ruminate on the unknown future, and bringing you back into the present.  An easy one to remember is the “five senses” technique. Here’s how you do it: Stop for a moment and think about what all of your five senses are experiencing at that precise moment.  What do you hear? What are you smelling? What do you feel on your skin? What do you see? What do you taste?  Whenever you catch your thoughts spiraling out of control, take a minute to pause and do one of these exercises, and hopefully you will feel better quickly.  3. Limit Your Time Online Many researchers have found a strong connection between heavy social media use and a higher likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression. The same is true for your smartphone.  This is the case even without the threat of global pandemic hanging over our heads, so imagine how much more intense that dynamic is right now, where every push alert to our phone could bring news of another border closure or federal emergency measure. Mix the unrelenting flood of news about these unprecedented events with the stress of watching political arguments unfold in comments sections, attempting to sort out the nuggets of truth from the fire hose of misinformation and trying to block out the increasingly panicked posts from family members and friends, and you have a recipe for lots and lots of anxiety. This is not an argument for complete abstinence from using social media, smartphones and the internet, by the way.  These things can bring great value to our lives, especially now more than ever, when we need both the social connections and the critical information they bring to us. (Not to mention deliveries of food and supplies while social distancing!)  However, even good things can be bad for us if we don’t put limits on our consumption, so if you find that being online is causing you a lot of stress, put some parameters in place.   One option is to give yourself an hour to check in the morning and in the evenings. Another option is to institute no-phone hours after a certain time. A third option is to take a few minutes to turn off your phone’s alerts and notifications.  None of those work for you? Here are seven other ideas for you to try. 4. Spend Time in Nature Sometimes the cure for what ails you is right outside your front door.  Researchers have found that spending time in nature can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It seems to reduce the levels of cortisol, which is released in response to stress, and the prefrontal cortex — aka the area of the brain that’s active when you’re engaged in repetitive, negative thinking — shows lower amounts of activity. They’re not exactly sure why this happens, just that it does. City dwellers (and anyone else who doesn’t have access to green spaces due to social distancing and shelter-in-place restrictions), we still have good news for you: Researchers found that listening to calming outdoor sounds or looking at trees and other greenery can have the same effect as spending time in nature.  So fire up a playlist of ambient ocean sounds, gaze at some photos of Canadian forests and feel your stress slowly melt away. 5. Write Your Feelings Down Journaling is one of the most common strategies for dealing with mental health challenges, and for good reason. Researchers say writing down your feelings can help you make better sense of them. Instead of rushing around your body and mind in a confusing whirl of stimuli, the feelings become understandable, clearer and easier to manage. Want to try this out but not sure where to start? This post has seven good prompts for you to try. 6. Meditate Meditation has gotten a lot of press in recent years as a one-size-fits-all solution for everything from a lack of focus to anxiety to boosting your productivity.   But what makes meditation so potent in a time like this is that it helps you develop awareness of your own thoughts, which is the first step to being able to manage them more effectively. If you have the ability to catch yourself getting carried away by your anxiety-producing thoughts, then you’ll also have the ability to redirect them in ways that are more productive and useful for you. So you want to try meditation but you’re not sure where to begin? Try one of these five free meditation apps and use the guided meditations. Make an effort to meditate at least once a day for a few days, and see if it works for you. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Saving at the Grocery Store 3/4/20 @ 9:43 AM Energy saving -- via Arcadia Power or any other similar service? 1/24/19 @ 11:10 AM Emergency fund 3/6/20 @ 9:59 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 7. Drink Some Water Feeling anxious? Stop what you are doing, go to the fridge, pour yourself a glass of water and drink it down. Researchers have found that drinking water can lower a person’s stress and anxiety levels. Our bodies are primarily made of water, and when we’re dehydrated, we don’t function as well as we could. So if you’re feeling panicky, take a moment to drink a cool glass of water, and see if that helps you calm down. 8. Learn a New Skill You probably noticed your friends’ lists are full of posts about people taking up baking or gardening or cross-stitching right now.  There’s a good reason for that: Learning a new skill can occupy your brain so thoroughly that it leaves little room for the rumination that can lead to anxiety and stress. Researchers have found that learning a new skill can be a great buffer against workplace stress, and that holds true in our day-to-day life as well.   So if you’ve wanted to learn to play a new instr [...]
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Adventures in Odyssey: Free 4-Week Trial!

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Adventures in Odyssey: Free 4-Week Trial!
Your kids can currently access Adventures in Odyssey stories for FREE right now! Just sign up for this free trial, no credit card required!! {Psst! Did you see these other FREE 30-day trials for online educational programs right now?!} Free Adventures in Odyssey 4-Week Trial Whoa!! If you’re looking for something fun for kids to do while they’re at home, don’t miss this RARE deal! Adventures in Odyssey is currently offering a FREE 4-week trial – no credit card required! This gives you access to over 900 episodes of their audio dramas! This has been one of my kids’ most-favorite-in-all-the-world things over the years. I’m not even remotely exaggerating when I make the claim that we’ve likely listened to a total of 4,000 to 5,000 HOURS of Adventures in Odyssey episodes at our house over the years. For real. I highly recommend taking advantage of this offer, because it’s super rare to be able to get completely free access to Adventures in Odyssey like this! Go here to sign up for your free trial. [...]
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*HOT* Up to 60% off Preschool and Educational Toys!

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*HOT* Up to 60% off Preschool and Educational Toys!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Today only, Amazon is offering up to 60% off preschool and educational toys! Here are some deals you can get… Get this Learning Resources 100 Piece Deluxe Building Set for only $14.45! Get this Learning Resources Botley the Coding Robot Activity Set for only $31.99 shipped! Get this Educational Insights Kanoodle Extreme for just $7.49! Get this Learning Resources Puzzle Globe for only $18.19! Get these Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Kidnoculars for only $10.96! Get this Learning Resources Money Bags Coin Value Game for only $10.79! Get this Learning Resources Beaker Creatures Bubbling Volcano Reactor for only $9.59! Shop the entire preschool and educational toys sale here. Valid today only, March 18, 2020, while supplies last. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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Easy Ways for Kids to Earn Money

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Easy Ways for Kids to Earn Money
I started searching for my first job when I was 11. I couldn’t wait to start working. The idea of being able to earn money and then decide how I wanted to spend it (or save it) was so exciting. Of course, at age 11, there weren’t a lot of employers willing to hire me ... Read More about Easy Ways for Kids to Earn Money The post Easy Ways for Kids to Earn Money appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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MyGreenFills Discount: 100 loads of Refillable, Non-Toxic Laundry Soap for just $11.90 shipped!

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MyGreenFills Discount: 100 loads of Refillable, Non-Toxic Laundry Soap for just $11.90 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’re looking for a great price on non-toxic laundry soap, don’t miss this great MyGreenFills deal! {Psst! Looking for more deals on household essentials? Go HERE.} What is MyGreenFills? Are you looking for an affordable non-toxic laundry soap? If so, be sure to check out MyGreenFills — a subscription service for laundry detergent! MyGreenFills sends you one big refillable container of laundry wash initially and then regular refills when you need them. This helps avoid extra plastic use and makes it super easy to get non-toxic laundry soap shipped directly to your doorstep! You can pause, cancel, or change your subscription at any time to meet your family’s needs. And you can choose between their Signature Scent or an Unscented laundry wash. Save on Your First Shipment! If you want to try MyGreenFills at a discount, just shop through this link to get your first 100 loads of non-toxic laundry soap for $11.90 shipped! Here’s what to do: Go here. Click on the orange “Get your free laundry soap” button. Choose the Starter Pack for $14. This includes one MyGreenFills jug and one refill pack. Choose your scent — Signature or Unscented. You’ll get 15% off your purchase, free shipping, and a bonus refill pack of 50 loads. That means you’ll pay just $11.90 for your first 100 loads of laundry wash (jug, initial refill pack, plus bonus refill pack). You typically pay $14 per month for 50 loads, so this is a HUGE savings! Note: After your first discounted month, your MyGreenFills subscription will auto-charge you monthly at the regular price of $14. You can pause, cancel, or change the frequency of your subscription at any time in your account! If you don’t wish to continue after your first discounted month, simply cancel your subscription before the next month’s charge. Go here to get your first 100 loads of laundry soap for just $11.90 shipped! [...]
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How to Teach Kids About Money

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How to Teach Kids About Money
Most parents know the importance of teaching their kids about money. That’s because being able to manage money is a universal life skill adults need in order to survive in this world. The real questions start when faced with how to go about teaching money management in an almost-cashless society, and with many adults having ... Read More about How to Teach Kids About Money The post How to Teach Kids About Money appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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FREE Online Education Programs: ABCmouse, ReadingIQ, or Adventure Academy!

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FREE Online Education Programs: ABCmouse, ReadingIQ, or Adventure Academy!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for some free online educational programs while your kids are at home? Don’t miss these FREE 30-day trials! 1. ReadingIQ ReadingIQ is a recently new online digital library for kids that offers thousands of books for all reading levels. And I can’t sing the praises of this reading app enough! Silas had never been excited about reading until he started using this app last year. This app made him fall in love with reading — something I never thought would be possible after years of his struggle with reading. You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! 2. ABCmouse Early Learning Academy This online learning academy specializes in full curriculum for children ages 2-8. This is often one of the top purchased iOS kids education apps! You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! 3. Adventure Academy Adventure Academy is a brand new MMO game created specifically for kids in elementary and middle school. It features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Developed by the top video gaming designers and crafted by a team of curriculum experts, Adventure Academy is a highly engaging and creative platform that focuses on building critical knowledge and skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, and more! Adventure Academy features thousands of educational learning activities, such as videos, reading experiences, games, quizzes, and many other interactive elements— all within the frameworks of U.S. (and international) curriculum standards. It plays a lot like an adventure game (think Zelda!) but within an educational framework. It’s really cool! You can go here to start your free 30-day trial. Or if you’d like to try the program for longer than a month, you can also sign up to get two months for just $5 instead of the free trial! All of these programs can be accessed on a regular computer, tablet, or smart phone. Note: none of these are compatible with Kindles yet. [...]
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Get a free 30-day trial of the ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy!

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Get a free 30-day trial of the ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. ABCmouse.com — an online Early Learning Academy that specializes in full online curriculum for children ages 2 to 8 — is offering a free 30-day trial right now! You’ll need to provide a credit card number to take advantage of the free trial. If you wish to continue with the service after a month, you’ll be billed at $9.95 per month. (Or you can take advantage of their annual subscription option at a discount.) If you do not wish to continue with the service, be sure to cancel your subscription before the free trial is up so that you avoid any charges to your credit card. It’s very easy to cancel at any time by logging in and clicking “my account.” Go here to get started with a 30-day free trial of ABCmouse.com. [...]
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We spent $71.40 on groceries this week (+ what a wild & crazy week!)

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We spent $71.40 on groceries this week (+ what a wild & crazy week!)
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. Whew! What a wild week it’s been! In addition to everything surrounding COVID-19… school cancellations, church cancellations, sports cancellations, my parents cancelling their trip to come see us, Kathrynne being in Suriname while all this was going down*, and just figuring out how to navigate life in the middle of all of the unknown, we’ve also personally had some pretty HUGE things happen at our house this week… namely, we said yes to fostering a newborn who was born prematurely and is currently in the NICU. So, much of our week was spent at the NICU loving on this little baby and meeting with the social worker/DCS/the medical team and learning how to care for a medically fragile baby. I had never stepped foot in the NICU up until 4 days ago, so it’s been a whole new experience. And of all of the weeks, this was probably one of the most unique and weird weeks to be spending a lot of time at a hospital!! (They have a screening process just to get in the door and then to get in the NICU is a whole other level!) The nurses and staff and social worker and DCS have all been amazing throughout this process and they have taught me so much and walked alongside us so well through this new territory. Also, we are so thrilled that the baby is doing so well, has started to bottle feed a little this week, and maybe get to come home in a few weeks! (And yes, in case you’re wondering, this means that we’re planning to have two newborns at our house soon!! The kids could not be more excited!! Of course, this is foster care, so things could always change at any time… we’re just taking one day at a time and seeking to love well in this.) If you want to follow along with this journey, I’m sharing little peeks on my Instagram stories every day. *As of last night, Kathrynne is currently stranded in Suriname because they closed the borders just hours before she was supposed to fly back home today! Her school is working hard to get this situation resolved ASAP and get the girls back home. In the mean time, she has such a good attitude about it all. You can read more details here. Okay, enough of an update! Let’s talk about groceries! We checked our stockpile and realized it was lacking in a few areas, so we shored up those areas so that we have a 30-day supply on hand — even though not everything was on sale this week. I’m grateful that we did this earlier in the week, because our stores are pretty sold out of a lot of staple items now. Jesse ran by Kroger on Monday to pick up a few things we needed: Kroger Shopping Trip #1 Potatoes — $2.49 Milk — $2.99 Cheese — $2.29 4 yogurts — marked down to $0.39 each Total with tax: $9.91 And then he ran by Aldi later on in the week to get a few more staple items: Aldi Shopping Trip 10-lb. potatoes — $3.79 Eggs — $0.58 Black Beans — $2.45 4 boxes Mac & Cheese — $0.33 each Steel Cut Oats —  $2.99 Great Northern Beans — $1.69 Milk — $2.49 Total with tax: $16.07 (The bag of sugar had a small hole in it, so they gave it to Jesse for free!!) Psst! Have you checked out my post on my 25 Favorite Things to Buy at Aldi? I’m glad we got potatoes, because our store was completely sold out of them by Friday! (Who knew potatoes would be the big thing to stock up on?? That one surprised me!) Kroger had some three-day sales that I wanted to try to take advantage of. I wasn’t sure whether they would have these items in stock when I went by on Friday night, but they did! In thinking of making sure we have a 30-day supply of food and household items, I made sure we had enough on hand to make 30 dinners with our freezer and pantry items. I always love to have a few frozen pizzas on hand — especially for a quick dinner on busy nights or if the kids have friends over at the last minute! Yay for them being on sale for just $3.14! Kroger Shopping Trip #2: 2 Kroger Pizzas — $3.14 each with the three-day sale 2 bags of rice — $1.99 each 5 packages Kroger cheese — $1.29 each with the three-day sale Eggs — $1.19 3 packages strawberries — $1.67 each 2 bunches bananas — $2.71 total 5 packages Nathan Beef Franks — $1.99 each with the three-day sale Milk — $2.99 Apples — $3.99 Total with tax: $45.42 Our Menu Plan This Week Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand. This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate. Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. Breakfasts: Cereal Lunches/Snacks: Leftovers, Salad, Apples/Peanut Butter, Mac & Cheese, Banana Muffins, Danimals, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, Cookies, Pears, Yogurt, Random other markdowns/sale items 🙂 Dinners: Sunday — Fend for yourself Monday — Turkey Meatballs, Breaded Eggplant, Salad Tuesday — Rotisserie Chicken, Steamed Veggies, Twice Baked Potatoes Wednesday — Chicken Tetrazinni, Banana Muffins, Veggies Thursday — Meatballs, Apple Crisp Friday — Leftover Meatballs, Leftover Twice Baked Potatoes, Steamed Veggies Saturday — Pumpkin Waffles, Bacon, Strawberries Total spent on groceries: $71.40 Cashback Earned: 75 points from Fetch Rewards and $1 from iBotta [...]
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Subway: Buy One, Get One Free Footlong Subs!

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Subway: Buy One, Get One Free Footlong Subs!
Here’s a frugal dinner idea at Subway! Through March 18th, Subway is offering Buy One, Get One Free Footlong Subs when you add two subs to your cart online or via the mobile app. No promo code needed. [...]
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Buy One, Get One Free Vitamins on Amazon!

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Buy One, Get One Free Vitamins on Amazon!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Right now, Amazon is offering Buy One, Get One Free on select vitamins! Here are some deals you can score… Get 2 Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 Pills & Supplements (240 count) for just $15.05 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $7.52 per bottle shipped! Get 2 Nature Made Super B Energy Complex Softgels, 60 Count for just $8.16 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $4.08 shipped per bottle! Get 2 Nature Made Magnesium Oxide 250 mg Tablets, 100 Count for just $3.80 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $1.90 shipped per bottle! Get 2 Liquid Mineral Iron Supplement, 16 ounces for just $8.44 shipped when you checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $4.22 per bottle shipped! Shop the entire vitamin sale here. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) only $22.24 shipped!

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Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) only $22.24 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Have a baby on the way? Here’s a great stock up price on baby wipes! Amazon has these Pampers Baby Diaper Wipes (1,152 count) for just $22.24 shipped when you clip the $1.50 off e-coupon and checkout through Subscribe & Save! That’s just $0.01 per wipe shipped which is a great stock up price. Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders. Thanks, Passionate Penny Pincher! [...]
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Store Brand vs. Name Brand: How to Save Money on Everyday Stuff

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Store Brand vs. Name Brand: How to Save Money on Everyday Stuff
What’s in a name? A lot actually. We often default to certain brands when shopping simply because of the name on the package — and the reputation that comes along with it, thanks to clever advertising. We buy Bounty paper towels because they’re the “quicker picker-upper” and Frosted Flakes because “they’re gr-r-reat.” But on the shelves next to those items you can often find a comparable store-brand version that costs less — sometimes significantly less. We often refer to these as generic products. Sometimes these rival versions are even made in the same manufacturing facilities and have little to no noticeable differences. Ultimately, the decision to buy a store-brand product or your favorite name brand is a subjective one. There’s trial and error involved, and in some cases you might land right back on the premium paper towels because you find that they really do pick more up, and quicker. But before your next shopping trip, it’s worth considering how much money you could save if you take a few name brand items off your list. Comparing the Cost of Store Brand Vs. Name Brand I recently visited two stores — Publix (a southeastern grocery store chain) and Walmart — to do a little price comparison. (Note: Prices were sourced on Feb. 19, 2020 at stores located in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sales tax was not factored into this example.)  Product Store Brand at Publix Name Brand at Publix Store Brand at Walmart Name Brand at Walmart Oreos $2.59 $3.89 $1.63 $2.72 Jif peanut butter $2.39 $2.72 $1.58 $2.22 Cheerios $1.93 $4.19 $1.23 $2.82 Kraft cheddar cheese $3.85 $4.19 $2.08 $2.38 Diet Coke, 2-liter $0.75 $2.19 $0.68 $1.74 Dove body wash $3.99 $6.81 $3.47 $5.58 Adult extra-strength Tylenol $6.99 $10.29 $1.98 $9.47 Children's Motrin $4.99 $7.49 $3.94 $5.97 Total $27.48 $41.77 $16.59 $32.90 A shopper at Publix would save $14.29 or about 34% by buying the store-brand version of these eight items over their name-brand alternatives. A shopper at Walmart would save $16.31 or nearly 50%. Consider that I only used eight items in this example. When’s the last time you went to the grocery store and walked away with just eight things?  The greater the grocery haul, the greater the savings by choosing the cheaper alternative. And since you likely go shopping more than once a month, you could see a significant difference in your monthly budget by swapping out name-brand items. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Emergency fund 3/6/20 @ 9:59 AM Looking For Cell Phone Plans 3/8/20 @ 1:02 PM Saving at the Grocery Store 3/4/20 @ 9:43 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Store Brand Vs. Name Brand: How to Decide Since store-brand merchandise costs less money than name-brand counterparts, a common perception is that they’re of lesser quality. But that’s not always true. One reason name-brand items are more expensive is because it costs money to market those products to the public. Consumers pay the price for those commercial jingles that stick in our heads. Most store-brand products are made to closely compare to their name-brand products. If you check the ingredients, sometimes you’ll find they’re made of the exact same stuff — though the recipes may differ slightly. What the decision really comes down to is preference. We asked The Penny Hoarder community members about buying store-brand items over name brand. Respondents said they often choose store-brand products to save money but still have name-brand preferences when it comes to certain items, despite any cost savings. “I will use generic for anything but my hair products,” said community member KellyFromKeene.”Otherwise, [with] food, clothes [and] household supplies, I will get the generic if the ingredients are the same.” Community member Jobelle Collie said she’s partial to Dove bar soap, Olay moisturizer and Palmolive green dishwashing liquid but buys generic trash bags, office supplies and kitchen staples like salt, pepper and sugar. Sometimes going with the store brand is a matter of trial and error. “I definitely try to choose store brand, at least initially. Sometimes, I can tell the difference,” said community member Sthom. “For example, I tried my store’s brand of filters for my Brita: I could tell the difference immediately, so I switched back. That happens sometimes. “Recently, I tried my store’s brand of peanut butter,” Sthom continued. “I’m partial to smooth [Jif] but the store’s organic smooth brand was less than $2.00 — around $1.18, unbelievably — and was just as good if not better.” Tips for Weighing Store Brand vs. Name Brand Products When deciding between store brand and name brand, keep these things in mind: Try swapping out the name-brand version of single-ingredient items — like flour, rice, milk and eggs — for the store-brand version. You may find there’s less variation in taste or quality than multi-ingredient items like cookies or soup. Use spices or other ingredients you have at home to dress up a store-brand product — for example, adding basil and garlic to a jar of pasta sauce. All store brands aren’t created equal. You may dislike the taste of store-brand cereal or the quality of store-brand toilet paper at one grocer, but another store’s products could be more on par with the name brands. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires generic medications (over-the-counter and prescription) to have the same active ingredient, strength and dosage form as the name-brand equivalent. Both products should be medically equal. Store sales and coupons can cause name-brand products to cost less than the store version. Store brands aren’t always the cheapest option. This is a great time to indulge in your preferred brand and save money. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Parametrics, alternate risk for outbreaks, and a Heartbeat in the Fog

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Parametrics, alternate risk for outbreaks, and a Heartbeat in the Fog
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3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)

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3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. Love Idol I read this book back in 2014 and it made my Top 10 Books Read in 2014 list. Since I’m writing some about the importance of recognizing how much you are loved by God in my upcoming book, I wanted to re-read this book again. It was just as good the second time around! It’s packed with powerful and wise reminders of how we are pre-approved by God. As such, we don’t need to chase after the approval, the praise, the admiration, or the affirmation of others. If you struggle to believe you are loved, enough, and valuable, this book is for you. It’s also a fantastic read if you battle against having perfectionistic, people-pleasing tendencies. It’s well-written and engaging, but more than that, the message is powerful, freeing, life-changing! Verdict: 4 stars Don’t Overthink It Ever found yourself second-guessing a decision or stalled by paralysis analysis? Don’t Overthink It will give you practical suggestions, sage encouragement, and worthwhile strategies you can implement to stop over-thinking and make faster, better decisions that will bring you joy! There were many great stories and examples in the book and I think it might be Anne Bogel’s best writing yet. Her words inspired both this Instagram post and this Instagram post. (In case you didn’t click through and read those links, you do need to read the quotes they are based on: “Decisions made out of fear are not good decisions.” AND “When we assume we can’t, it’s guaranteed that we won’t.”) Verdict: 4 stars The Austen Escape I’ve loved Katherine Reay’s books and have had this one on my shelf for a long time. So I was really excited when it came up to download for free on Libby. I have to be honest and say that it felt a little bit like a Hallmark movie and it seemed to drag on slowly at times and was pretty predictable in others. (If you didn’t pick up on it, I’m not much of a Hallmark movie fan. Should I admit that out loud??! However, if you are in the camp of people who love Hallmark movies, then it just might totally be your cup of tea.) Overall, it wasn’t my favorite book by Katherine Reay, but if you’re looking for a light read and you love Jane Austen (or Hallmark movies!), you might enjoy it. Verdict: 3 stars Classic Movie We Watched Last Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) Last week, we watched The Strongest Man in the World. It’s a little cheesy in parts, but overall, it was a fun, lighthearted movie. Silas especially enjoyed it. Have you seen it before? What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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How to Create a Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Families

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How to Create a Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Families
Scavenger Hunt. The very name invokes adventure. Whether you live in a city or a rural area, scavenger hunts can be a fun, cheap way to entertain kids and family members. I don’t know about you, but I’ve tuned into “Survivor” and read enough (too much?) about pirates and treasure maps in my youth to ... Read More about How to Create a Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Families The post How to Create a Scavenger Hunt for Kids and Families appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Fear, Unknowns, & Courage (some thoughts on COVID-19 & more)

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Fear, Unknowns, & Courage (some thoughts on COVID-19 & more)
Early Friday morning, Kathrynne (15) got on a plane to fly to Suriname (in South America) for 9 days with a teacher and a small group of girls from school. (This picture was taken at a park there yesterday.) This is the girl who — just 5 years ago — was scared and completely uncomfortable to be around kids her age. This is the girl who has struggled with so many panic attacks and anxiety. The girl who was incredibly angry with us when we made the decision to put her in school after always homeschooling (she was so fearful of having to be around kids she didn’t know and to be in so many unknown situations all day long). This was the girl who was terrified to get on a plane to South Africa with us just 4 years ago. It’s our heart’s desire to raise self-sufficient adults, not co-dependent children. So over the past 5 years, we’ve slowly pushed her to do a lot of uncomfortable things, because we knew the only way she would grow wings and fly was if we gently nudged her out of the safety of our little nest. We often wondered if we were making the right call and we spent a lot of time crying out to God for wisdom and direction for the next step. God has been so faithful to give us wisdom — even when it’s meant making really hard calls (like quitting homeschooling). We look at her now and see that is was SO worth it — she’s a confident, outgoing 15-year-old with more friends than we can keep track of and a social calendar we struggle to keep up with. A girl who loves Jesus, life, adventure, travel, and people. A girl who excitedly jumped at the chance to go on trip to Suriname (her first international trip without us)! We’re still finding our way in what it looks like to parent teens. And I know we’ve made plenty of missteps. But we continue to just look to the Lord to give us wisdom for each new day, each new situation, each new unknown… and we trust Him to be faithful! Also, watching your kids go on their own adventures, jump out of their comfort zone, stretch themselves, and live courageously is one of the most rewarding things as a parent… even if it involves a lot of our own letting go! 😉 Tackling the Timely Topic of Fear On this week’s episode of the podcast, Jesse and I tackle the timely topic of fear. We discuss the current fears over recent tornadoes in our area, COVID-19, political unrest, sending our daughter to Suriname, and a recent situation of a lot of unknowns with potentially fostering a newborn. If you struggle with fear — especially when it comes to unknowns or your kids — I think this episode will really encourage you. Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s how you choose to act as a result of that fear. In This Episode:  [01:44] Our area was hit by some devastating tornadoes, which is rare and has shaken up our community.  [03:33] On top of that, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in our area the day we recorded this. We also just sent our daughter on a plane to spend 9 days in Suriname and we’ve walked through a lot of unknowns in foster care. We’ll talk more about what we’re learning from all of this later on in the show. [05:14] But first, AT&Ts international plan is saving Jesse’s life right now and lotion is saving my life this week.  [08:52] To go along with this week’s theme of fear, my book pick is one I highly recommend:Raising Worry-Free Girls.  [11:41] We’ve been receiving some amazingly kind reviews on the podcast lately. Thank you! [14:44] Get ready to dive into fear. First, I share the entire emotional journey we went through while waiting to potentially foster a newborn. (We’re still waiting on the call!) [19:00] How I let go of the fear and anxiety I was feeling around this whole fostering situation. It wasn’t easy, but it was so good for me to work through. [21:13] We discuss the emotional turmoil our community is feeling with the tornadoes, COVID-19, and political unrest and we share lessons and thoughts on fear.  [23:31] Did you know fear can actually be helpful and isn’t necessarily a bad thing? [24:25] Fear can either propel you to healthy action or paralyze you from taking action. [26:20] We want to raise adults. Letting Kathrynne go on this trip and prep for this trip is one more step in the right direction. [28:38] How are you going to act or react when fear arises? Links and Resources: Sprigs and Twigs Raising Worry-Free Girls by Sissy Goff CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com YourBloggingMentor.com My Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player here. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. [...]
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Annie’s Creative Girls Club Discount: Two Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping!

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Annie’s Creative Girls Club Discount: Two Craft Kits for $1.99 Each + Shipping!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you have a daughter who is really creative or loves craft projects, don’t miss this chance to get an Annie’s Creative Girls Club discount — just $1.99 per craft kit plus shipping costs! {Psst! Check out my other favorite subscription boxes for kids!} Have a daughter who loves crafts? Do you have a daughter who loves all things crafts? If so, you don’t want to miss this fun deal to get 80% off your first craft box from the Creative Girls Club! Annie’s recently sent me a craft box to check out, and I was SO impressed with everything you get for the price. It would be such a perfect gift for a young child in your life who loves to create or do craft activities! What is the Creative Girls Club? Annie’s Creative Girls Club is a monthly subscription program created for girls ages 7-12. Each monthly box comes with two craft kits, which includes easy-to-follow instructions and all the materials needed for each craft. Most of the crafts can be made with very little adult supervision. There is a nice variety of craft kits, including painting, beading, stitching, paper crafting, jewelry making, and much more! Each month comes with new crafts, so it’s a fun surprise for kids to look forward to! Get 80% off your first Annie’s Creative Girls Club Box! If you want to try a box for your daughter, you can currently get an exclusive 80% off when you shop through this link! No promo code required. With this discount, you’ll pay just $3.98 + shipping. Since each box comes with two craft kits, this is like paying just $1.99 per craft kit plus shipping. Shipping adds $5.95, so you’ll pay $9.93 shipped for your first box with two craft kits. The regular price on these craft boxes is $25.93 shipped, so this is a great opportunity to try a box at a much lower price! {Note: After your first discounted box, you’ll be charged at the regular monthly price each month after that. But it’s really easy to pause or cancel your membership at any time after receiving your first box. Simply log in to your account and follow the instructions to cancel.} Go here to get your first two craft kits for $1.99 each, plus shipping! [...]
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Free 30-Day Trial to Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum — No Credit Card Required!

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Free 30-Day Trial to Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum — No Credit Card Required!
If you’re a homeschooling family, you don’t want to miss this exclusive FREE 30-day trial to Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum! (And be sure to check out all the other free homeschool curriculum we post each week!) (Note: This post is sponsored by Alpha Omega Publications. Read our disclosure policy here.) Looking to Switch Up Your Homeschool Curriculum? Are you a homeschooling family looking to switch up your current curriculum or try out an online curriculum? Or maybe you’re considering the idea of homeschooling next school year? Either way, you’ll definitely want to check out this offer for a FREE 30-day trial to Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum! (Scroll to the bottom of this post for the exclusive coupon code for this deal!) What I Loved About Monarch Homeschool Curriculum We used this curriculum for two years while we were homeschooling and there were so many great things about it! Kids can work at their own pace, grades are automatically recorded, and the online curriculum is so interactive. In addition to textbook-style learning, they break things up with videos, interactive quizzes, audio lessons, and games to play (these were favorites at our house!). It was especially helpful that our kids could log into Monarch Homeschool from anywhere where there was a computer and Internet access — and this allowed us to take school with us on the road or on a plane! I also loved that our kids could go at their own pace and mix & match grades. So if a child finished the current subject in their current grade, they could move on to the next grade — without us having to buy any new curriculum or pay an additional fee! For instance, Silas struggled with reading and phonics but excelled in math, so he worked ahead a few grades in math! He was highly motivated to keep getting all the answers correct and see how far he could get! It was also super simple because I didn’t have to plan lessons and I could see instantly how the kids were doing in all their subjects by logging into the teacher/parent portal. If you are looking for something different and fresh for your homeschool curriculum next year, definitely scroll down to the bottom of this post to get a FREE no-strings-attached trial to Monarch Homeschool! Benefits of Monarch Homeschool Curriculum: There are four budget-friendly plans to choose from. Monarch is perfect for frugal homeschooling families. Pay as you go for a budget-friendly approach to homeschooling or save even more when you purchase a yearly plan. Both options are available for an individual student or the whole family. It’s flexible. No matter the time, place, or your child’s preferred pace, Monarch lets homeschoolers study when and how it is convenient for them. Monarch is globally available 24/7 for PC or Mac. You can also customize your subscription to your benefit. Students can work at their own pace. As I mentioned above, you can mix and match grade levels and customize curriculum for each individual child! You have online access to over 50 courses for grades 3 through 12 in their five main subjects (history and geography, math, science, language arts, and Bible), plus over 115 electives! Automated grading frees up your teaching time for other important tasks. Record-keeping is easy and feedback is instant. Monarch stores all student data digitally and automatically grades 85% of student work. It makes homeschool organization a breeze. You can view and print daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly grade reports. Monarch Homeschool also securely stores all records for seven years after a child finishes the program. Samples of work and past grades are effortlessly accessible! It allows for shorter and diverse homeschool days. Because of its self-paced features, excellent organization, and automated grading, actual curriculum learning time doesn’t take nearly as long each day — leaving a lot more room for hands-on or experiential learning, extracurriculars, creative play, or real-world career experience! Students build professional communication skills every day. Monarch’s built-in messaging system provides students with an opportunity to practice virtual communication skills as they encounter questions or concerns while completing coursework. It provides immediate access to the latest information. As history happens and technology advances from day to day, you don’t have to wait around for software updates. You can update Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum any time, providing your child with constant access to the most up-to-date information. Try Monarch Homeschool Online Curriculum for FREE! Right now, MSM readers can get an exclusive FREE 30-day trial! Just use coupon code MON30MSM in the promo code box during the sign-up process to get this deal — no credit card required. This is a great opportunity to try it out and see if it’s a good fit for your child! Go here to sign up for FREE! [...]
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*HOT* Kindle Unlimited Trial: Completely FREE 2-Month Subscription ($19.98 Value!!)

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*HOT* Kindle Unlimited Trial: Completely FREE 2-Month Subscription ($19.98 Value!!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you’ve been wanting to try Kindle Unlimited, don’t miss this FREE 2-month Kindle Unlimited Trial! It’s a great opportunity to score some fantastic reads for free. This HOT offer has been extended through April 30th! Right now, you can sign up to get a FREE two-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited! And the best part is that you can take advantage of this deal even if you’ve signed up in the past! Since Kindle Unlimited is usually priced at $9.99 per month, this is a RARE savings of $19.98! This is a fantastic deal and we haven’t seen a FREE two-month Kindle Unlimited deal in a while. When you sign up for this deal, you’ll get access to over 700,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks — all for free! The available books change pretty often, but right now they have The Day the World Came to Town — a book I read last year and absolutely loved! I highly recommend reading it. Free 2-Month Kindle Unlimited Trial Interested in this deal? Here’s how it works: Sign up for a free 2-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited Click on the Kindle Unlimited tab in your Amazon bar to search for available titles (you can search individually or sort by genre). You’ll be able to add up to 10 titles to your Kindle Unlimited account at a time. Once you’ve finished reading a title, just return it and borrow another. You can read or listen to the titles on any device with the free Kindle app. Be sure to cancel your subscription before your 2 month subscription is up, otherwise, you’ll be charged $9.99 per month. Want some other suggestions of great titles to read that you can possibly read for FREE with your Kindle Unlimited Trial? Here are some other great reads that are currently available: Dear Bob and Sue — I read this book last year and loved it! And it inspired me to want to visit all the National Parks! Beneath a Scarlet Sky — This has been on my to-read list for over a year! Manage Your Day-to-Day — This one had some great inspiration in it. The Miracle Morning — A good title if you struggle with mornings. I’d Rather Be Reading — I enjoyed this short book by Anne Bogel. Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals — I’ve been wanting to read this new book by Michael Hyatt. The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners — If you’re interested in trying a Keto diet, this might be a good resource! It’s the #1 ketogenic cookbook on Amazon. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life — If you have trouble saying “no” as often as you should, this looks like a really great read that has over 4,000 5-star ratings. I’d love to know what other titles you find that you can read on Kindle Unlimited with this great deal! Go here to sign up for your free 2-month subscription! [...]
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COVID 19 – indirect effect coverage gap on steroids

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COVID 19 – indirect effect coverage gap on steroids
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ButcherBox Discount Code | Ground Beef for Life

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ButcherBox Discount Code | Ground Beef for Life
Have you been wanting to give ButcherBox a try? Don’t miss this ButcherBox discount code to help you save big on your first box! {This post is sponsored by ButcherBox and contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.} After I did my recent honest ButcherBox review, SO many of you were excited about trying Butcher Box and asked me if there’d be more coupon codes in the future. So when I saw this HOT deal on ground beef, I knew I had to share it with all of you! ButcherBox Discount Code: Ground Beef for LIFE! ButcherBox is running a CRAZY deal right now! When you sign up to try ButcherBox, you’ll get two pounds of 100% grass fed beef for FREE — not just in your first order, but in every single order during the lifetime of your ButcherBox membership! Wow!! Just go HERE and click on the “claim offer” button to get the Butcher Box discount code automatically added to your order. (For more detailed instructions on how to go through the checkout process, see below!) This deal is valid through March 29, 2020, so be sure to take advantage of this before then! How to Sign Up for ButcherBox If you’d like to sign up and take advantage of this deal, but you’re not quite sure how it works or what the pricing will be like, just follow these instructions! When you first sign up with ButcherBox, you can choose between five different types of boxes: A custom box A mixed box (includes chicken, pork, and beef) A beef and pork box A beef and chicken box An all beef box I recommend doing a custom box because it allows you to customize the meat that they send and you are able to get exactly what you know you will use. Once you choose which box you’d like, then you pick your monthly box size. You can choose between a Classic Box ($128-$149/month) or a Big Box ($238-270/month). The price varies depending upon which type of meat box you chose. After you’ve chosen your box size, then you can customize exactly what they will send you. I like that you can see exactly what your options are and you can figure out how to get the best bang for your buck! Then, just input your payment information and you’re done. (Psst! You might wait a bit on the payment page, because an extra offer might pop up to add free bacon to your box — in addition to the free ground beef for life offer!) If you’re still hesitant about signing up with ButcherBox, be sure to read my honest ButcherBox review! It goes into more details, plus you’ll get my honest thoughts on the quality of meat and our overall experience. Go here to get started with ButcherBox and take advantage of this discount code. [...]
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Loan Originations Spike For Listed Australian Online Lender Prospa

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Loan Originations Spike For Listed Australian Online Lender Prospa
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How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity

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How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity
When you walked into the dealership, you fell in love with your current car. It was so shiny and new.  Five years later, you’ve fallen out of love with your gas-guzzler with the thread-bare tires and are wondering if you could just trade it in for the next beauty. Then you remember you still owe on your current hunk of junk. And that to get monthly payments low enough for you to afford that car, you jumped at the six-year (or seven-year… or eight-year) term the dealer offered. You’re not the first person to fall for a set of wheels that’s beyond reach, especially as car loans have continued to climb. The average loan amount for a passenger vehicle set a new record high in the first quarter of 2019 at $32,187, with average monthly payments ballooning to $554, according to Experian. To offset these costs, more people are lengthening their loan terms to lower their monthly payments. New car loan terms between 85 and 96 months (that’s seven- to eight-year car loans) increased 38% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to 2018.  Then consider that new cars lose 20% of the value the moment you drive them off the lot and depreciation accounts for more than a third of the average annual cost to own a car, according to AAA. All of those factors combine to create the scenario where you owe more than your car is worth, which means you have negative equity in your loan — aka, your car loan is upside down or underwater.  Unfortunately, there’s not much use staring in the rearview mirror at this point about what you should have done with your old car’s loan, but you still have options to recover — it’s just a matter of making smart financial decisions. What to Do If You Have an Upside Down Car Loan Before we get ahead of ourselves, are you sure your vehicle is worth less than what you owe? Let’s run the numbers. How to Calculate Your Car’s Equity Here’s how to calculate the equity in your vehicle: Value of your vehicle – loan payoff amount = equity You can find out how much your vehicle is worth by checking National Automobile Dealers Association’s Guide, Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book.  Pro Tip Each of the price guide websites may vary in the estimate for your car’s value, so check with all three and then use the average number for the value of your vehicle. When figuring out how much you owe on the loan, use the loan payoff amount and not the principal, as the payoff amount may include things like fees and taxes you still owe on.  So if your car’s value was $18,000 and your loan payoff was $15,000, you’d have $3,000 in positive equity. Yay! If you want to trade in your car for a newer one, the dealer should apply that $3,000 toward your down payment, thus reducing the overall amount you pay for your next car. Congrats! However, if your car’s value was $18,000 and your loan payoff amount was $20,000, you’d have $2,000 in negative equity — you owe more on your car than it’s worth. Sorry.  But that’s why we’re here, so let’s look at your options and get you on the fast track to financial freedom. How to Trade in a Car With Negative Equity Stuck with an underwater car loan on a vehicle that you need to unload? Then let’s start with the worst idea and work our way up.  1. Roll Over the Amount You Owe Into a New Auto Loan If you’ve heard or seen any dealership ads that promise to pay off your loan and put you into a new car, you may be thinking what a great idea it is. Well… “This is a terrible idea, but it’s an option, and a lot of people take it because it seems easy, but it makes things worse,” said Todd Christensen, AFC and Education Manager at moneyfit.org. “It makes it even harder to get out of debt.” Pro Tip If you get in an accident and the car is totaled, the insurance company will pay for the value of the car, not how much you owe on it. Consider buying gap insurance to cover the difference. That whole promise to pay off your loan isn’t exactly accurate, according to the FTC — the dealership will pay the bank to satisfy what you owe, but they’ll add that amount to your next loan or subtract it from your down payment.  And maybe they’ll tack on a fee, just for good measure.  And because the dealer had to finance the remainder of your old loan plus the new one because you couldn’t pay off the first — thus making the new loan riskier — you can also expect to pay a higher interest rate. And adding your negative equity to your new loan amount probably puts you underwater on the next car loan as soon as you sign the papers. So the vicious cycle continues. It all adds up to a bad idea. But if this is your only option, Chistensen did suggest ways you could minimize your next loan: Downsize to a cheaper car. If you’re currently paying for a half-ton pickup and can rollover your loan into a midsize sedan, you could be looking at a smaller payment even after adding the underwater debt amount into the new loan. Also, skip the premium package. Apply for a shorter loan term. You’ll pay more per month, but if you agree to a five-year loan instead of taking the seven-year term, you’ll pay less in interest in the long run and it helps reduce the chances you’ll end up with another underwater loan. Look for cash-back offers on the next car. If the rebate is large enough, you might be able to use it to pay off the negative equity on your old loan. Get a loan preapproval. Shopping around for a preapproved auto loan for your new loan potentially helps you snag a lower interest rate than the one a dealership would offer. None of these options will absolutely prevent you from starting out underwater on your next car loan, but they can help reduce the time you’ll spend climbing out of the hole. 2. Roll Over Your Loan Into a Lease Although leasing a car means you won’t own the vehicle, you can benefit from the fact that you don’t have to keep paying down negative equity when you reach the end of the lease term. “I rarely recommend leasing a vehicle, but this would often be a better idea than rolling over your negative equity into your next car loan,” Christensen said. “It makes their lease payments larger — that’s obviously a negative — but on the positive side, they don’t have to worry about being underwater with a lease.” 3. Pay Down the Negative Equity Paying down the negative equity on the car as quickly as you can is better than the first two options because you’re actually helping yourself get out of debt financially instead of just passing it through to your next payment.  If you have the cash to pay off the negative equity, that’s an obvious choice, but you can also consider picking up a side job or temporarily cutting personal expenses — you could even get paid to drive your car and let the old hunk of junk earn its keep.  Use every extra dollar you make to pay down the debt and get your car loan back above water before you trade it in for the next vehicle. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Debt consolidation help in Canada 2/27/20 @ 1:10 PM Emergency debt 1/30/20 @ 10:14 AM The Snowball Method for Paying Off Debt 1/11/19 @ 7:58 AM I Need Debt Consolidation Knowledge 2/18/20 @ 1:16 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question [...]
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Keep These Things in Mind So You Won’t Regret Buying a House

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Keep These Things in Mind So You Won’t Regret Buying a House
Your first home purchase is more than a major investment. It’s a rite of passage, right up there with your first job. In addition to checking an adulting box, buying a house means taking on a slew of financial responsibilities that can last for literal decades. It’s a big decision in every sense of the word — and unfortunately, it’s one that many first-time buyers end up regretting.  No Regrets: What to Think (and Re-Think) When House Shopping Some things you really do have to learn the hard way — but ideally not the ones that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re in the market for your first home, here are some things to think twice about. Keep Maintenance in Mind Given that few of us ever spend six figures on any other single asset, the base cost of a home is probably already enough to make you woozy. But ask just about any new homeowner and they’ll tell you the mortgage payment is just the beginning.  When you’re an owner (as opposed to a renter), you no longer have the benefit of simply phoning your landlord to come fix your toilet or tinker with your hot water heater. Now, all those little problems are up to you — and they can add up to big costs. In fact, the unexpected high cost of maintenance is often a top reason new homeowners say they regret the purchase of their first home.  So when calculating how much house you can afford, be sure to add in a substantial buffer for the “uh-oh” factor. It’s going to come, so don’t let it catch you off guard. Size Matters It’s important to think carefully about what size house will actually fit your needs.  If you’re a young couple planning on having a child or two, a 2/1 might not cut it for long. Or, if you’re retired and living on a fixed income, downsizing from the 3/2 with the garage and big yard where you raised your family could bring a welcome reduction in expenses. Although life is unpredictable, taking the time to think through these kinds of decisions while home shopping could keep you from having to shop for a home again sooner than you’d like. While it’s easy to be wooed by lots of space, does anybody really need a 3,000-square-foot behemoth? The larger your house, the more you’ll spend on heating, cooling and furnishing it — not to mention the time it takes to keep it clean.  In many metro areas, homes closer to downtown tend to be smaller (and often more expensive), while the suburbs are lined with bigger homes built for families. But keep in mind the potential tradeoffs, like a longer commute that costs you more in time and gasoline. Of course, smaller homes are generally cheaper — and with the nationwide median price of a new house hovering just under $300,000, some buyers may feel they have to go small to make buying accessible at all. Although the tiny house movement and its attendant mindful minimalism are on the rise, you might want to think twice before buying too small. According to Trulia’s 2017 Real Estate Regrets report, 17% of first-time buyers wish they’d chosen something larger—a figure that jumps to 29% among 18-34 year olds. And if you’re willing to do your research (and sink some money into repair work), buying a foreclosed home could mean lots of square footage at a fraction of the cost. Houses are Expensive Yes, this one sounds like a no-brainer. But when you’re caught up in the excitement of it all — and comparison shopping with the McMansion next door — $150,000 can start to look like a bargain. And it may well be. But it’s still $150,000, a sum that would take most of us years and years to save. Unless you’re able to buy the house in cash, you’re also going to be paying interest on that figure, as well as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and most likely other costs like PMI. So it’s not surprising that almost 10% of buyers say they wish they’d been more financially secure before they made the big decision — or that more than a third of Americans who haven’t purchased a home say the reason is the cost is too darn high.  Although building home equity can be a great financial benefit, sometimes, renting really does make more sense. (Here are some tips on how to tell whether renting or buying makes more sense in your case.) You could also consider alternative housing options, from sailboats to earthships. There are all sorts of ways to live in the world aside from four brick-and-mortar (or drywall-and-plaster) walls. Still Ready to Become a Homeowner? If you’ve given it lots (and lots) of thought and you’re ready to take the big leap into homeownership, don’t worry—we’ve got tons of resources to help you do it as effectively as possible. From buying with bad credit to choosing a mortgage, becoming a homeowner is all about making decisions armed with as much information as possible. Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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My Free Amazon Baby Box Came in the Mail!

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My Free Amazon Baby Box Came in the Mail!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. If you are pregnant or adopting, you can get a FREE Amazon Baby Box when you create an Amazon Baby Registry! I just got mine a few days ago and was so impressed with what was in it! Psst! Looking for more baby freebies? You can also get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag! And be sure to check out all the great Baby Deals we’ve recently posted. If you’re pregnant or adopting and plan to create an Amazon Baby Registry, I don’t want you to miss out on this great FREEBIE! I just ordered my box and was so impressed with this free box. In order to sign up for it, just set up an Amazon Baby Registry, add some items to the registry, and order at least $10 worth of items from the registry. Since we’re currently collecting things for our baby stockpile, I wanted to have a bulk package of wipes. So I found a deal on them, added these to the registry, and then purchased them off the registry — thus qualifying for the free Amazon Baby Welcome Box. (Psst! I used an Amazon gift card I had earned for free from Swagbucks to pay for it!) Once you’ve purchased $10 worth of items off your Amazon Baby Registry, just click on your registry and go up to the section at the top of the page that says Welcome Box (see above). Click on it and follow the instructions to order your box. My box came within two weeks and was packed with goodies! Here was everything that came in my FREE Amazon Baby Box: 10-pack of WaterWipes Cetaphil Baby Wash sample size bottle Avent Nursing Pads Muslin Swaddle Blanket (I was especially excited about this!) Pipette Shampoo and Conditioner samples Draft Laundry Detergent sample Moon and Back Baby Onesie Avent Bottle Click here to order your own FREE Amazon Baby Box. P.S. Don’t forget to get your FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag, too! [...]
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3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 book I quit)

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3 Books I Finished Last Week (+ 1 book I quit)
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. Get Your Life Back: Everyday Practices for a World Gone Mad I knew within reading just a few pages of this book that I was going to love it. I’m only vaguely familiar with John Eldredge and had never read any of his other books, but I truly found this book valuable and inspiring. In fact, I found it so helpful, that Jesse and I recorded a podcast together with some of my initial thoughts from the book last week. Then, we invited John to come do an interview with me where he shared even more about what first prompted him to write this book (he was feeling burnt out and addicted to his phone and email) and daily practices that have helped him to regain his perspective, renew his soul, and refresh his spirit. We recorded the podcast episode with him today and I can’t wait to share it with you next week! I think you’ll find his thoughts on caring for your soul, the power of the one-minute pause, and cultivating beauty in your life to truly be an inspiration! And, if you can’t tell, I also definitely recommend reading this book! 🙂 Verdict: 4 stars I Choose Brave: Embracing Holy Courage and Understanding Godly Fear Katie asked me if I would endorse her book a few months ago. I rarely say yes to endorsement requests, but the book title and subject intrigued me and I’d heard so many wonderful things about Katie. It was an honor to get to endorse her book. My only critique is that I would have loved for her to share a lot more of her journey and story, because I feel we could all really benefit from hearing more of what she has walked through. Here’s what I wrote about her book: If you are walking through a hard place in your life, struggling with fear, or feeling overwhelmed by a mountain ahead of you, Katie’s book will serve as a welcome reminder to you to fear God and walk in faith. Her words challenged and convicted me to say “yes” to boldly believe God and choose bravery, in spite of my own fear. This book is slated to release in August (thus the reason I don’t have a pretty book picture to show you; what I read was a collection of coiled bound papers that were her book’s final draft!) Verdict: 3 stars Raising Worry-Free Girls Whether you have sons or daughters, I think this is a valuable read. Yes, all of her stories, anecdotes, and advice is more girl-driven, but I think much of it applies to boys (and adults!), too. There is an epidemic of anxiety going on among our youth. This book will give you some starting places, great tools, and lots of food-for-thought to help you combat your kids’ anxiety. I found so many new insights, wise advice, and practical ideas for us to implement in our home through the pages. This book is not a replacement for counseling or therapy, but it would be a fantastic starting place if you feel like your child might be struggling with anxiety. Verdict: 4 stars Book I Quit: Things You Save in a Fire — I started listening to this because I enjoyed one of the author’s other books. About 4-5 chapters in, I felt like it was just too fluffy and felt sort of soap-opera-ish (not to mention that it had quite a bit of language), so I returned it back to the library on my Libby app. Life’s too short to spend it on books that aren’t feeding your soul! What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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3 Easy Ways to Get Free Tickets to Advance Movie Screenings

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3 Easy Ways to Get Free Tickets to Advance Movie Screenings
Ever wonder how people get invited to advance movie screenings? If you’re like me, you’ve assumed such events are reserved for VIPs and members of the media.  The truth is, anyone can get free tickets to early movie screenings. Film studios regularly give away tickets to create positive buzz and press before the official release of a film.  3 Ways to Get Tickets to Advance Movie Screenings Curious about how to get free passes to advance movie screenings? If you’re a big movie fan, the following tips could save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in admission prices. 1. Sign Up With Gofobo  Register for a free account with Gofobo, a site where movie studios and public relations firms offer advance movie screening passes directly to members of the general public.  Why are the studios giving these tickets away for free? They know that people who enjoy the film will provide free word-of-mouth advertising by talking to their friends and posting on social media.  Public screenings listed on Gofobo are open to everyone until tickets run out. To attend a private screening, you’ll need a private RSVP code.  Other useful sites to check out are SeeItFirst.net, which sometimes offers films exclusively to its members via email, and AdvanceScreenings.com. 2. Follow PR Firms on Social Media  PR firms offer free tickets, prizes and invitations to special events to generate excitement for upcoming movie releases.  Allied Global Marketing is the largest of these PR firms. Find the company on Twitter @AlliedGlobalMkg. Allied will keep you updated on the latest Hollywood news, trailers and more. If you’re going to be hanging out on social media anyway, you may as well earn free stuff, right? A few other websites, like Advance Movie Screenings and Wild About Movies, list advance movie screenings. Follow their Twitter and Facebook pages for your city, state or region. These sites don’t require RSVP codes. Instead, tickets are issued by random draw or on a first come, first served basis. 3. Tune In to the Radio Radio stations give away free movie passes all the time. Check your local station’s website to see if it has a VIP member club or reward program.  Some stations allow their listeners to collect member points online by answering trivia questions or clicking on sponsored links. These points can then be redeemed toward movie passes and other prizes. Subscribe to radio station newsletters to stay updated on their latest contests and giveaways. How to Watch Movies for Free AND Make Money Doing it Going to the movies for free is awesome, but how much better would it be if someone were paying you to do it?  You could earn money at movie premieres by counting audience members and noting which previews run before the main feature.  If you’re a writer, review films for your local paper or set up a movie review blog and earn advertising revenue. There are many ways to earn money by watching movies. Get creative!  FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Maybe Obvious, Maybe Not 2/27/20 @ 1:57 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 2 2/3/20 @ 12:30 AM try this 2/21/20 @ 3:02 PM Help me out here. Theater or no theater? 2/20/20 @ 7:41 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question What Else Do You Need to Know? Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes before the screening. Keep in mind that the first few rows of the theater are reserved for members of the press, and screenings are frequently overbooked. You may be turned away if you don’t show up early enough.  For my first screening, I arrived at my local theater 20 minutes early and was shocked to see how many people were already lined up outside of the box office.  After the screening, you’ll likely be asked to give your opinion on the film or fill out a questionnaire. This is your opportunity to let the studio, screenwriters, directors, producers and cast know what you thought of the movie! By following the above steps, you should be able to grab a pair of free movie passes in no time. And with the extra money you’re saving at the box office, you won’t feel so guilty for splurging on those Gobstoppers. Happy movie going! Althea Clarke is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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10 Books You Can Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited

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10 Books You Can Read for Free on Kindle Unlimited
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Did you see the news? Through March 1st, you can sign up to get a FREE two-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited! And the best part is that you can take advantage of this deal even if you’ve signed up in the past! Since Kindle Unlimited is usually priced at $9.99 per month, this is a RARE savings of $19.98! This is a fantastic deal and we haven’t seen a FREE two-month Kindle Unlimited deal in a while. When you sign up for this deal, you’ll get access to over 700,000 ebooks and thousands of audiobooks — all for free! Free 2-Month Kindle Unlimited Trial Interested in this deal? Here’s how it works: Sign up for a free 2-month subscription to Kindle Unlimited Click on the Kindle Unlimited tab in your Amazon bar to search for available titles (you can search individually or sort by genre). You’ll be able to add up to 10 titles to your Kindle Unlimited account at a time. Once you’ve finished reading a title, just return it and borrow another. You can read or listen to the titles on any device with the free Kindle app. Be sure to cancel your subscription before your 2 month subscription is up, otherwise, you’ll be charged $9.99 per month. I spent some time this afternoon going through a lot of the books that are available for free on Kindle Unlimited right now. Here are 10 that I recommend looking at downloading: Dear Bob and Sue Alrighty, this might brand me as super corny and with weird sense of humor, but I really loved this book! In fact, it was one of my favorite books I finished in May. It’s written as a series of letters to Bob and Sue from their friends, Matt and Karen Smith. Matt and Karen are a couple who set a goal to visit every single one of the US National Parks. I found their wit and sarcasm to be laugh out loud funny and their letters to be very interesting. Also, their teasing and poking fun at one another to be so much like Jesse and me. Needless to say, I loved the book… which shocked me considering I never once would have thought of myself as someone who would find a book of letters about visiting National Parks to be something I wouldn’t just tolerate but would enjoy. And guess what? They inspired me to want to visit all the National Parks, too. Or at least start visiting some of them — something I haven’t done in years (we visited some of them growing up but it’s not been on my priority list for vacations since Jesse and I got married). I told Jesse that after we finish our goals to visit all 7 continents and 50 states, maybe we can set another goal to visit all the US National Parks? The Next Right Thing This is a book you can go back to again and again and each time it will hit you in a new and fresh way. Each short chapter is heartfelt, thoughtful, powerful, and impactful… and leaves you with intentional but simple action steps to take and insightful questions to help you gain more clarity for right now and for your future. If you struggle to make decisions, you’re in the midst of a big life change, you’d just love some quiet guidance to be more intentional with your days, or you love Emily’s writing and podcast, this book is for you! Emotionally Healthy Spirituality A friend gave me this book and said it had really impacted her life. I hadn’t heard of it before and wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it. Then I started reading… and within a few chapters, I knew it was going to be one of those really life-changing books. The book is all about how our emotional and spiritual health are so tied together and how we often overlook this. The author talks about how often we seem to think that our past and our baggage and all the things we try to pretend don’t exist or stuff down or not deal with won’t affect us in the long run… but it will! There are so many things I gleaned from this book and so many sections that challenged me in deep ways. I feel like I will be processing its message for a long time to come. One of the areas in the book that really encouraged me was to recognize how much the changes I’ve made in the last two years to slow down and savor life more. I realize how these changes have truly allowed me to become so much healthier as a person — physically, mentally, and spiritually. There were numerous quotes that I loved from the book, but one that I shared on Instagram was this: “True freedom comes when we no longer need to be somebody special in other people’s eyes because we know we are lovable and good enough.” In Christ, we are enough. We are loved. We are redeemed. We are forgiven. When we live in light of this truth, we can walk in amazing freedom and confidence — and we can love other people so much more deeply and authentically. Loving the Little Years This is not a book with lots of practical, hands-on advice, but it’s a book the deals with the heart issues we moms face. I didn’t agree with the author on all points (I’m not really sure that I ever do, though!) and think we have to be careful when reading parenting books because what works for one family or one child isn’t necessarily what will or should work for another family or child. That said, I was convicted, and inspired by Loving the Little Years. It made me really step back and re-examine my own heart and how I am responding to and discipling my children on a daily basis. Sometimes, it’s easier (in the moment) to just slap band-aids and quick fixes onto behavior and attitude issues, instead of really taking the time to deal with the heart issues and struggles our children are facing. This book challenges moms to really delve down to the heart of the matter. As the author says, “The state of your heart is the state of your home.” Note: You can also get Rachel’s other two books, Fit to Burst and You Who? for free on Kindle Unlimited, too. Begin Again This book moved me at a deep level. While I felt like sometimes I wasn’t poetic enough to understand the depths of what was being communicated. It felt so raw and honest and vulnerable and yet so beautiful and rich and inspiring. I didn’t want it to end. Two of the quotes that were the most meaningful to me: “We don’t get to the truth while we’re deeply invested in what’s false.” “God’s story is a narrative of emancipation.” More Recommended Reads/Books I Want to Read: Anything –I read this years ago, but I remember it deeply impacting me! Maybe it’s time to read it again (especially since I realized that I didn’t write a review on it for the blog! The Sacred Enneagram — This is on my to-read-soon list as it’s been highly recommended to me! Beneath a Scarlet Sky — This one is also on my shelf and I’m really hoping to get to read it this year as I’ve heard rave reviews of it! The Green Ember — We enjoyed reading this book aloud when the kids were younger. God’s Smuggler — This was one of my favorite books as a teen. Did you know you can also access magazines for free — like HGTV magazine? I’d love to know what other titles you find that you can read on Kindle Unlimited with this great deal! Go here to sign up for your free 2-month subscription! [...]
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Chiengora: How a Woman Makes Extra Money With Upcycled Dog Hair

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Chiengora: How a Woman Makes Extra Money With Upcycled Dog Hair
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2016. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and for Pat Martinek, it’s become a second career. She makes beautiful garments and pieces of artwork out of discarded dog hair. With her unique approach to sourcing supplies and a technique that she has perfected with decades of practice, Martinek’s work is in constant demand from animal lovers looking for special keepsakes — and her side hustle brings in an extra $10,000 a year. A Lifelong Passion for Spinning When Martinek was in high school, she had a unique opportunity to spend 10 days living with a Navajo family on their reservation. While there, she learned traditional weaving and spinning techniques using raw fibers. Martinek loved the process, and ended up taking classes in college. While she spent her working career as a geologist, spinning was a constant passion and hobby. But spinning and knitting can be expensive, and traditional fibers are costly. A spinning wheel can cost up to $800. Just 3.5 ounces of merino wool can cost $17.99 and premium fibers like cashmere down can cost $49.50 for 125 grams, and most spinners will need much more than that to get enough yarn to knit a garment. So Martinek looked for alternative fibers she could get at a low cost or for free. She kept her own angora rabbits, but then friends introduced her to spinning dog hair. “Dog hair — sometimes called chiengora — can make beautiful yarn,” said Martinek. “It is warmer than other fibers, so a scarf or sweater made with chiengora can help you withstand the most brutal temperatures.” By gathering dog hair, buying it on Craigslist or having it donated, Martinek was able to make beautiful items out of an item most people view as a nuisance. Martinek is an advocate for the environment and sustainability, so repurposing dog hair is just another extension of her approach to upcycling. Starting a Business Spinning Dog Hair Martinek quickly realized that there was potential for a business that could help finance her passion. People who love their pets often want to remember their fluffy friends with one-of-a-kind keepsakes, and Martinek’s unique creations filled a niche. She created an online business called The Fyber Café, where she makes money by creating special mementos. For those who prefer to knit their own items, Martinek offers spinning services. Dog owners from all over the world can ship their dogs’ hair to her in Golden, Colorado, and she’ll spin it into yarn. Longer-haired breeds, such as Samoyeds or Great Pyrenees, make excellent yarn, but Martinek says her unique processing allows her to work with even shorter-haired dogs and get good quality yarn that does not fuzz or shed. She charges $18 per finished ounce; depending on the dog’s hair, she may need as much as a trash bag full of raw fur. For those looking for finished materials, she also creates scarves, hats, felted portraits and even dog leashes, ranging in price from $50 for a leash to $120 for a scarf or hat. Her unique felted portraits, where she carefully creates your dog’s picture using its own hair, range from $130 to $330.   How Dog Fur Funds Her Retirement While Martinek is enjoying retirement after decades years as a geologist, her chiengora business helps provide extra income to put towards her hobbies. She loves attending weaving and spinning conferences, trade shows and classes. She brings in over $10,000 a year in extra income from her business, which helps her pay for seminars and travel without dipping into her retirement fund, all while doing an activity she loves. Chiengora Is a Growing Trend Martinek is not alone in capitalizing on this trend. Spinners like her willing to work with chiengora often have extensive waiting lists; many make a full-time income from it. These enthusiasts are working hard to end the assumptions about dog hair. “People expect the yarn to smell,” said Martinek. “But when it’s been properly cleaned and carded, it doesn’t smell at all, even if you’re caught in a rainstorm.” Chiengora’s properties make it desirable to outdoorsy folks. It’s reportedly up to 80% warmer than wool, eliminating the need for multiple heavy layers. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM 4 simple Ideas for side income - the helpful version 2/22/20 @ 7:04 PM Passive Income Strategies 10/17/19 @ 5:00 PM Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question In fact, many people now buy garments made out of chiengora, regardless of whether they came from their dog or not. The demand for luxurious dog hair is steadily increasing. “While I used to be able to get boxes of dog hair for free, people are now charging,” said Martinek. “Owners of double-coated breeds in particular are selling pounds of dog fur on sites like Craigslist and Etsy.” While Martinek used to be the only chiengora artist in her area, more and more spinners are cropping up using the coveted fibers. “It’s wonderful to see it getting more accepted,” said Martinek. “Instead of throwing it away, people can instead collect dog hair and get something beautiful.” Kat Tretina is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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5 Money Mistakes to Avoid Making in Front of Your Kids

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5 Money Mistakes to Avoid Making in Front of Your Kids
Can you remember how your parents talked about money when you were a kid? Or, maybe you can’t remember because money was a topic that wasn’t discussed. The way we think about money in adulthood is largely connected to how our parents talked about and dealt with money when we were kids. Just as you ... Read More about 5 Money Mistakes to Avoid Making in Front of Your Kids The post 5 Money Mistakes to Avoid Making in Front of Your Kids appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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HGTV magazine subscription for just $12.50/year! (I love this magazine!)

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HGTV magazine subscription for just $12.50/year! (I love this magazine!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! We haven’t seen a deal on an HGTV magazine subscription in a really long time! Right now, you can get a one-year subscription to HGTV magazine for just $12.50! Just use coupon code MONEYSAVING to get this deal! You can order up to 3 years at this annual price.   I completely surprised myself by loving HGTV magazine when someone gifted me a subscription a couple years ago. I honestly didn’t think I’d like it, but ended up falling in love with it! I adore the beautiful pictures, it motivates me to add more beauty to our lives, and it inspires me to be more creative in decorating our home. This would make a great gift for yourself — or for a friend! Valid through February 28, 2020. [...]
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Kids Pretend Cotton Teepee Play Tent only $35.99 shipped (Reg. $82!)

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Kids Pretend Cotton Teepee Play Tent only $35.99 shipped (Reg. $82!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This Kids Pretend Cotton Teepee Play Tent is so cute and would provide so much entertainment for kids! You can get this 6ft Kids Pretend Cotton Teepee Play Tent with Mesh Window and Carrying Case for only $35.99 shipped when you use the promo code BCPTENT at checkout! Choose from eight colors. Valid through February 26, 2020. [...]
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Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump only $36.99 shipped (Reg. $75!)

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Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump only $36.99 shipped (Reg. $75!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Electric Pump is perfect for guests and camping! Amazon has this Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Internal Electric Pump for only $36.99 shipped right now – the lowest price on record! Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. Thanks, Midwest Money Saving Mommas! [...]
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My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle

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My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Interested in purchasing the Master Your Money Super Bundle? I spent hours going through all of the resources in the bundle and I am sharing my completely honest review with you, including what I liked and what I didn’t like. The popular Master Your Money Super Bundle is back for two days only, through February 20, 2020! We haven’t see this deal in almost a year and this is $10 lower than last year’s price! If you’re curious about the bundle or wondering if it’s worth purchasing, keep reading for my completely honest review of this bundle! Should You Purchase the Master Your Money Bundle? If you have been considering buying the Master Your Money Super Bundle, I am here to provide you with a completely honest and biased review. I say biased because we all have bias. Which means that you are free to agree or disagree with my conclusions. But I want to share this honest review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle for those of you who are on the fence as to whether it is worth purchasing or not. So many of you loved my honest review of The Ultimate Productivity Toolkit and begged me to do honest reviews for each of the bundles from Ultimate Bundles. While it takes a lot of time and effort to go through each and every product in a bundle, because I love to help you spend your money wisely, I am happy to prioritize the time to do so. Why I Am Not a Contributor First off, I need you to know that I did use my affiliate links throughout this post. I am an affiliate for the Ultimate Bundles this time around, not a contributor. A contributor is someone who has included a product of their own in the bundle. As a thank you for the time and effort that you put into creating your product and allowing it to be part of the bundle, Ultimate Bundles pays you 70% of every sale made through your link. They also split a small percentage of the overall sales amongst all contributors. (This is usually a few hundred dollars or less). I have been a contributor to other bundles in the past (and will likely be one in the future!) I love the folks at Ultimate Bundles and love their heart for what they do. However, when they approached me about being one for this bundle, I decided against it because I felt that the price point of $37 was a little on the high side for my audience — especially since this bundle was on the topic of saving and investing money. I am typically only a contributor for a bundle if I feel like it is going to be a really, really good fit for my audience and something that you all will be super excited about. I just felt like many of you would not be excited about a bundle on money that cost $37, so I decided to decline the opportunity. Instead of being a contributor, I am an affiliate, which means I earn 40% of every sale through my link. I just wanted to put that out here in full disclosure. If you click through any of the links in this post and purchase the bundle, I will earn 40% of the sale. My Honest Review of the Master Your Money Super Bundle I spent hours going through every single ebook, video, and course in the bundle in order to bring you the most thorough and honest review that I can. Again, I’m biased, so please know you can wholeheartedly disagree with me. But whether you agree with my assessment of the bundle or not, I hope this is helpful to you as you think through whether purchasing the Master Your Money Super Bundle is worth it for you! The Negatives: Some of the products had an inflated price tag. I will say that I felt like many of the prices on the products in the Master Your Money Super Bundle were very realistic and fair for the value, I felt like most of the videos that had a value of $19 weren’t really a $19 value and about 5 other products in the bundle felt over-priced to me. With this in mind, even though they say the bundle is a $1200 value, I’d say that for the products I would use and felt were worth what they were priced at, to me the value would be more like $350 to $400 maximum. I didn’t like the videos at all. Okay, I sort of said this above, but I’m going to say it again: I just really didn’t like the 11 videos they offered as stand-alone products in this bundle. I know it was something new they were trying and I think it fell flat. In many cases, there was poor audio and the content didn’t seem like it was super valuable — at least for what I was looking for. Honestly, I barely watched any of all of the videos. (I watched a little bit of every single one just to do this review, but I found myself skipping ahead and quickly turning them off because I just wasn’t jiving with them at all. Maybe it was just me.) Some of the products were poorly designed. I know that we don’t always have the highest quality design on things we offer because of various reasons and I know sometimes you just do the best you can do, but I found that at least 30% of the ebooks were poorly designed and hard to read. I know that “content is king”, but if your ebook is hard on my eyes and unprofessional, it makes it a lot harder to really enjoy soaking up the wisdom in the content. There is quite a bit of overlap. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing as we need to hear things more than once and different people are going to resonate with different types of teaching styles, but for some people, the fact that there is quite a bit of overlap — especially in the areas of learning to budget and cutting expenses — could de-value this bundle. The Positives: I loved that there were so many different aspects of money management covered. This bundle covers everything from investing to paying off debt to how to make more money to ways to practically cut expenses to starting a side hustle to retirement. The bundle was very comprehensive and had a lot of valuable resources with actionable tips. Most of the products were more by everyday people instead of professionals. While some people would prefer to only get financial advice from certified professionals, I prefer to learn from people who aren’t just talking in theory, but who have actually lived what they are teaching (not to say that all professionals haven’t experienced some of what they share, but I think you understand what I mean). Instead of a theory on how to pay down debt, I much prefer to hear your story of how you actually did it. There’s a lot of that in the resources in this bundle and it makes it feel very accessible and doable. My bottom line opinion is that this bundle — if you buy it and actually go through the resources and take them to heart — could save you WAY more than the $37 price tag. I had prepared myself to be underwhelmed with the content, especially since I have been blogging and studying money and saving and making money for years. But I learned a lot of new things, loved how so many of the ebooks and courses were presented, and just overall felt that this was worth purchasing, if you will USE it and have the money in your budget to pay for it. (Please, for the love of all that is good and right, do not spend money you don’t have to buy the Master Your Money Super Bundle, okay?) My Favorite Resources Budgeting That Works — I love Caroline’s style of teaching and she breaks everything down step-by-step. She also has a great voice on audio that is interesting to listen to. In this course, she gives you the tools you need to really set up a budget and follow through with it. She comes across as a fun cheerleader. I loved her 30-7-30 rule that she outlines and she has some great printables at the end of the course, including a 160 Ways to Save Cheatsheet which I thought was very valuable. Fancy Serial Numbers For Fun & Profit — I had NO idea that people would pay big bucks for cash bills that had fancy or special or [...]
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12 Money-Saving Tips to Enjoy a Frugal Retirement

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12 Money-Saving Tips to Enjoy a Frugal Retirement
Adjusting to a fixed income in retirement can be a challenge — especially if you’re living off less money. Just because you stopped working doesn’t mean you can stop paying the utility bills and buying groceries. If you’re planning vacations or trips to the golf course — those are extra costs to budget for. “You could easily spend more money [in retirement] because you have more time you want to enjoy,” said Droucelle Ramage, a retiree living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Embracing frugality throughout her life, however, is one of the reasons Ramage was able to leave the workforce in her early 60s. “I used to say it’s against my religion to pay full retail,” she joked. Ramage continues to keep expenses low by shopping at thrift stores, attending free community events and choosing community acupuncture rather than going to a pricey private practice. “It’s $15 instead of $100,” she said. Volunteering at her church and local senior center is another way Ramage stays busy without spending money. When she travels, she’s able to get free flights, a benefit of working for American Airlines for over 20 years. Knowing how to cut costs is key to having a frugal retirement you can enjoy. Here are 12 ways to save money. 1. Get a Roommate or Two Loneliness in retirement can have a negative effect on your health and quality of life. Not only will live-in company help you feel less alone, but you’ll reduce housing costs. If you live alone, try sharing a place with a friend or family member who lives in the same town, or consider coliving with other retirees to save money. 2. Downsize to a Smaller Space Maybe your idea of a frugal retirement doesn’t include sharing your living space. You can cut costs by moving to a smaller home instead.  A small house has several financial benefits. You’ll pay less in rent or mortgage. Your utility bills will go down. You’ll have less home maintenance and repairs to worry about.  And when you downsize, you can sell all that furniture you don’t need for extra cash.  Pro Tip If you’re looking to relocate, here are 11 of the best places to retire. 3. Rent Out Your Kids’ Old Rooms If you don’t want to sell the family home or get long-term roommates, you can make money off your empty nest by turning unused space into short-term rentals. Your kids can get their rooms back when they visit for the holidays — or you could make them pay the daily rate.  This guide on how to become an Airbnb host will get you started. 4. Cut the Cost of Groceries Slashing your grocery spending is a high-impact way to help you have a frugal retirement that saves money every month. Clip coupons, buy generic products, start a garden and shop at stores that boast low prices, like Aldi or Trader Joe’s. For more tips, check out this story about saving money on groceries. Bonus: When you feel like eating out for a change, read up on these 25 ways to save money at restaurants. 5. Be Proactive About Your Health Your health is often intertwined with your wealth. Staying healthy in retirement means you’ll spend less on medical costs. When it comes to preventative care, a balanced diet and regular exercise can lower your chances of developing certain conditions like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. But you don’t have to drain your bank account paying for expensive health food or a pricey gym membership. These 10 ways to save money on organic groceries will help you eat healthy for less. Incorporate one of these gym alternatives into your routine, or build a cheap home gym for under $100.  Pro Tip If you’re 65 or older, enroll in Medicare. While Medicare coverage doesn’t eliminate out-of-pocket costs, you’ll pay less than with private health insurance. 6. Find Low-Cost Entertainment and Ways to Stay Social Keep busy in retirement without emptying your wallet. Fill your social calendar up with events at your local senior center, host potluck dinners with friends or start a murder mystery book club. Check out free offerings at your library, like sign language classes or museum passes.  Turn to this list of 100 free things to do when boredom hits. Volunteering is another way to make good use of your time, and it could come with neat perks, like free entry to a play when you usher at a theater. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Cheap Valentine's Day date 2/15/20 @ 11:15 AM S How I save money on pest control 2/4/20 @ 3:50 PM $4000 trip to Hawaii for $1500 2/13/20 @ 4:11 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 7. Save Money on That Bucket List Trip You can have a frugal retirement and travel. It just requires some smart planning and perhaps a bit of compromise — like avoiding the peak tourist season or driving instead of flying. These travel tips will help you keep costs low. 8. Take Advantage of Discounts Don’t be shy about sharing your age when it’ll result in sweet discounts. Dozens of companies — from retailers and restaurants to airlines and hotels — offer lower prices for seniors. Some offer discounts to customers as young as 50. Pro Tip Join AARP to enjoy a slew of discounts at a variety of places. 9. Continue Your Education for Free All across the country, there are opportunities for seniors to take free or reduced-price college courses. Be a life-long learner and take a class in a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about. 10. Shop Secondhand Instead of strolling through the mall for a new outfit or home decor piece, try thrift stores, consignment shops or online sellers to score a lower price. 11. Sell Unused Things You know that china set that’s been collecting dust? Stop telling yourself you’ll pass it down to your kids. Get cash for it instead, along with all the other unused items lying around the house. Organize a garage sale or register as a vendor at a local flea market. If you don’t feel like manning a card table for half a day, sell your stuff online on sites like eBay, OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace. This guide helps you figure out the best time of year to sell all your unwanted stuff. 12. Pay Off Lingering Debt The rewards are twofold when you become debt free sooner rather than later. You’ll pay less in overall interest when you pay off your debt early. You’ll also free up more cash once you no longer have that monthly financial obligation. Paying more than the minimum, negotiating a lower interest rate and making biweekly payments can help you lower your debt load. Here are additional helpful tips on paying off student loans in retirement and eliminating credit card debt in retirement. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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T-Rex & Triceratops Dinosaur Bump & Go Toy Cars (Set of 4) only $18.89 shipped!

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T-Rex & Triceratops Dinosaur Bump & Go Toy Cars (Set of 4) only $18.89 shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. These T-Rex & Triceratops Dinosaur Bump & Go Toy Cars (Set of 4) look like SO much fun! You can get these T-Rex & Triceratops Dinosaur Bump & Go Toy Cars (Set of 4) for just $14.99 shipped when you use the promo code PRES10 at checkout! This set includes two T-Rexes and two Triceratopses, all individually wrapped — making them the perfect Easter basket gift idea! Valid through February 17, 2020, while supplies last. [...]
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How to Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start

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How to Turn an Idea Into a Business: A 7-Day Jump-Start
Chances are you’ve daydreamed of what it would be like to run a business of your own. Perhaps you’ve thought of an idea that could be a real moneymaker. But you weren’t sure how to act, so those dreams faded to the background as you trudged through your day job(s). To get you back in entrepreneur mode, we’ve created a seven-day bootcamp to turn your idea into a business. We’ve paired each day with a strategy to help you chisel away at your goals. And what’s this? Feb. 15-22, is National Entrepreneurship Week? What timing! Chartered in 2006, the weeklong congressional initiative “encourages the implementation of entrepreneurship education throughout the United States.” Dreams, you’re back. That business you’ve always wanted to start: It’s happening. By the end of the week, if all goes well, your momentum should carry you into a future where every week is entrepreneurship week. Day 1: Brainstorm Ideas Business ideas don’t have to be glamorous. They just need to be realistic. They don’t need to be based on a genius invention, a scientific breakthrough or a Shark Tank-worthy smartphone app (though they certainly could be). At their core, good business ideas identify existing problems and offer solutions. Kathyrn Gratton is the president of the Hagerstown, Maryland, chapter of Score, a free small-business resource network and partner of the federal Small Business Administration. She spoke to The Penny Hoarder about coming up with a winning idea. “Where’s your interest? Where’s your passion?” she said, noting that your ideas need to be more than potential moneymakers: You should also enjoy the work. It’s OK if you can’t think of anything on-the-spot. The Penny Hoarder compiled nine business ideas to get your creativity flowing. Day 2: Choose a Winner Now that you’ve got a long (or not-so-long) list of potential business ideas, you’ve got to decide which one to run with.  Consider your own expertise. Use your insider experience and knowledge to pinpoint what’s original and novel about your idea. Start thinking about the connections you have, and how those people can help you get started. You may realize later that, actually, the idea you picked wasn’t a winner. You need to rethink it, or return to your list. That’s OK too. The point of this weeklong exercise is to make progress. And determining that the idea you’ve been mulling over for a while is unfeasible is progress. Day 3: Get Feedback Feedback is crucial in the early stages of business building. The more the better — and the more critical the better. While you might think you have a brilliant idea, sooner or later, your business is going to need to convince a ton of other people of the same thing. Within the constraints of day three, you’re not going to be able to test any markets or run any focus groups. Simply asking for constructive feedback from your neighbors, friends or family members will be tremendously helpful. Think you’re onto something? Read our comprehensive 10-step guide to starting a business once you’re ready to launch. Gratton recommends asking that one brutally honest friend we all have. You know, the one that’s comfortable with telling you if you’ve gotten fat over the holidays. “They are the best to run things by because you know they will tell you the truth,” she said. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Is there Really a way to make MONEY ONLINE? 2/14/20 @ 2:34 PM Earn well with little Money? 2/14/20 @ 3:06 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 7 (Big WIN) 2/8/20 @ 12:37 AM Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Day 4: Outline a Business Plan Don’t roll your eyes. Business plans are worth it. A 2016 study published in the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal found it indeed pays to plan: Entrepreneurs who wrote formal business plans were 16% more likely to “achieve new venture viability” (aka succeed) than those who didn’t.  While it’s true that you won’t be able to – and probably shouldn’t – draft an entire business plan in one day, you can spend your time creating an outline that will set you up for success. In the article-turned-book “How to Write a Great Business Plan,” Harvard business professor William Sahlman lays out the purpose of a business plan and exactly what to include in it. The People: Who’s running the show? Include yourself and everyone else you’ll need for operations to run smoothly. The Opportunity: Explain your product or service and who might buy it. Start thinking about price points, customer demographics and competitors. The Context: Consider all “factors that inevitably change but cannot be controlled by the entrepreneur,” Sahlman writes. That includes laws, regulations and economic trends that could impact your idea. The Risk and Reward: Describe the worst-case scenario, economically speaking, and how you plan to weather the storm. Use those four sections as a starting point for your outline. As you fill it out, you’re very likely to find some deeper insight into your business – or you may find it’s just not going to work. The sooner you learn from either scenario, the better. Day 5: Craft a Business Pitch You’ve done all the heavy lifting for the week. Hopefully that dream you thought was long dead is starting to come alive. Now it’s time to polish up your findings and start sharing the basic premise of your idea and why it’s destined to be successful. Or at least be ready when the opportunity strikes. To help you know what to include in a killer business pitch, The Penny Hoarder spoke to two former Shark Tank contestants who pitched their businesses in front of millions of viewers – nailed their performance – and now helm multimillion-dollar enterprises: Dawoon Kang, CEO of the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, and Sara Margulis, CEO of the honeymoon-crowdsourcing website Honeyfund. “Succinctly stating what your business is, why it exists and why it’s better than everyone else is really important,” Margulis said. “Any time you talk about your company, you should be able to convey those things simply.” That succinct part is especially important. Here are Kang and Margulis’ other key nuggets of advice. Know your audience: No matter whom you speak to, your pitch should include the core elements Margulis mentioned, but you’ll need to tailor it slightly to different people. Is it a customer, an investor or a business partner? What does each of them need to hear? Include a call to action: Depending on your audience, the call to action should change. Suggest a clear next step, something more specific than: “Let’s stay in touch!” Practice: Pacing, enthusiasm and data are a lot to juggle. You won’t know what part of your pitch sticks with your listener unless you test it out. Apply feedback: Your business pitch is never truly finished. You may learn that people want to hear more about a detail you thought was unimportant. Hear them out, and make the changes to keep it fresh. “It feels like (I’m pitching) all the time … but what I’m realizing is it’s actually not enough,” Kang said. “There’s a saying: ‘Unless you’ve said it 10 times, you [...]
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*HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month!

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*HOT* Adventure Academy Annual Subscription for just $3.75 per month!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whoa!! Do you have elementary or middle school aged kids who love online gaming? Be sure to check out this HOT deal on an annual subscription to Adventure Academy!! Psst! You can also get HUGE savings on ReadingIQ and ABCmouse right now!! As a special Presidents Day deal, you can currently get an annual subscription to Adventure Academy for just $45 — which is like paying just $3.75 per month! This deal is valid through February 17, 2020. They’ve only offered this low price a couple other times! Regularly priced at $110, so this is a HUGE savings! It’s like getting 5 months for free at the regular price. Adventure Academy is a brand new MMO game created specifically for kids in elementary and middle school. It features thousands of enjoyable learning activities that kids can discover on quests through an interactive virtual world. Developed by the top video gaming designers and crafted by a team of curriculum experts, Adventure Academy is a highly engaging and creative platform that focuses on building critical knowledge and skills in language arts, math, social studies, science, and more! Adventure Academy features thousands of educational learning activities, such as videos, reading experiences, games, quizzes, and many other interactive elements— all within the frameworks of U.S. (and international) curriculum standards. I checked it out and it plays a lot like an adventure game (think Zelda!) but within an educational framework. It’s really cool! Go here to take advantage of this RARE deal on Adventure Academy. [...]
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Save 25% on filing your taxes with H&R Block!

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Save 25% on filing your taxes with H&R Block!
Want to save money on filing your taxes? Don’t miss this deal to get 25% off with H&R Block this tax season! {This post is sponsored by H&R Block. Read our disclosure policy here.} Save Money & Time on Tax Prep This Year It’s hard to believe, but tax season is already upon us! If this time of year tends to overwhelm you, be sure to check out H&R Block’s online tax services. H&R Block’s goal is to make filing your taxes easier, less time consuming, and more affordable. And you can use their services on a regular computer or even on your smartphone! Not only are H&R Block’s tax services at least $10 less than TurboTax, but they’re also offering an exclusive discount for Money Saving Mom readers to save an extra 25% off any of their services right now! Choose from four of their affordable, easy-to-use tax solutions: H&R Block Free Online (FREE + Free State Filing) — Designed for people with less complex filing situations, including clients who have W-2 income, kids and rent, as well as students and first-time filers. More people can file for free with H&R Block vs. TurboTax, including parents and students. H&R Block Deluxe Online ($29.99 $23.99 with discount) — Designed for homeowners, people who’ve made charitable donations, and those with HSAs. This version includes six years’ access to tax returns, Deduction Pro® to optimize deductions, and chat support for technical questions. H&R Block Premium Online ($49.99 $39.99 with discount) — Designed for freelancers, contractors, investors, and rental property owners. This version includes all Deluxe features as well as the ability to import expenses from popular expense-tracking apps. It also features cost-basis calculation using advanced filing calculators to help determine the cost basis of your home sale, dividend, and gift and inheritance assets. H&R Block Self Employed Online ($79.99 $63.99 with discount) — Designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners with a home office and/or employee. This version includes all Premium features as well as an improved guided Schedule C interview to ensure a better experience for complex clients. With any of these paid versions of H&R Block, you can add on a state filing for an extra $36.99 cost. You can also opt to utilize their H&R Block Online Assist that offers access to highly trained tax experts to provide the level of help you want or need — with an H&R Block tax expert, IRS enrolled agent, or CPA. And one of H&R Block’s highest priorities is transparency — so you’ll always know upfront exactly how much you’ll be paying for your online tax preparation. If your price changes for any reason during the tax preparation process, you’ll immediately be notified. Save On H&R Block Tax Services Want to try H&R Block tax preparation services this year? I’ve got an exclusive discount for you! H&R Block is offering MoneySavingMom.com readers a 25% discount on any of their tax solutions. Just click here to browse the options and find the right fit for you at a discounted price! [...]
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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV

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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. All major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile now offer incredibly competitive unlimited data plans. In their effort to win your business, these carriers (and some smaller mobile companies) are now offering streaming service as a free perk for signing up for one of their unlimited plans. So, if you’re in the market for an... [...]
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2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)

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2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. Here are the two books I finished last week… The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships If you enjoy all things Enneagram, I definitely recommend this book. It’s an in-depth at each number on the Enneagram and how that number relates and differs with other numbers. I found it insightful, enlightening, and just downright interesting. And while I’d studied a lot about the Enneagram, I learned quite a few new things — especially when it comes to how to better relate with other numbers, communicate with them, and help them to feel seen and valued. It also definitely, definitely confirmed what I already knew to be true: I’m an Enneagram 8 through and through! Also, it sparked some great conversations between Jesse and me about how we interact, how certain things I do can make him want to shut down (he’s a 5), and how we’ve both grown so much healthier as people in the last 10 years. The only thing I will mention is that if you’re new to the Enneagram, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book. Instead, I’d start with a book like, The Road Back to You. Verdict: 4 stars Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message I’ve been to one of Donald Miller’s Story Brand workshops before and it made an indelible mark on how I approach marketing and communication with customers in our business. This book was a good refresher to listen to. If you are a blogger, a business owner, an online entrepreneur, or have any say in the marketing or oversight of the company you work for, I would highly recommend this book. It will likely challenge the way you think when it comes to marketing and change the way you approach doing business. The best part is that this book gives you a really clear-cut action plan and walks you step-by-step through out to implement it. So you don’t just read about the great ideas; you actually know how to put them into practice in your business! Two things I did want to mention: 1) I think this book would be better to read a physical copy of than to listen to as it’s more hands-on and has projects for each chapter. 2) I was a little turned off by the multiple promotions for Story Brand products and services. I understand that the goal was likely to get people to want to invest into some of the higher priced products that Story Brand offers, but I found it to be a turn-off — and it almost merited me bumping the rating of the book down to 3 stars. Verdict: 4 stars Book I Didn’t Finish The Atomic City Girls — Unfortunately, this book was a big disappointment to me. I had high hopes for it, but within an hour or so of listening, I quickly discovered it seemed more focused on the romantic story and details of that than the actual historical details of Oak Ridge. Yes, there were some historical details, but the book continued to sound more and more like a soap opera or tabloid and started going into details about the character’s loves lives that felt too edgy/raunchy for me… so I ended up quitting it. Does anyone have a book to recommend about Oak Ridge that is interesting but also much more historically rich? Classic Movie We Watched Last Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) Last week, we watched the 1950’s Disney version of Treasure Island. Both girls had read this book in school, so they found that made the movie more interesting. It was a little slow and long (even though it was only 1 hour and 35 minutes, it felt long), but overall we mostly enjoyed it. I will say it’s probably been one of our least favorite classic movies so far. What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket only $58.98 shipped (Reg. $150!)

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Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket only $58.98 shipped (Reg. $150!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. This is a fantastic deal on this Columbia Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket! Columbia has this Men’s Voodoo Falls 590 TurboDown Jacket for just $58.98 shipped right now! Be sure you are logged in to your account (it’s free to join) to get this price! This is regularly $150 and has amazing reviews so this is a hot deal. Choose from four color options. [...]
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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}

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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! If you love reading, don’t miss this HOT deal on Amazon where you can score Buy 2, Get 1 Free books! Woohoo! This HOT deal is back!! For a limited time, Amazon is running a big Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale on a huge selection of books! No promo code needed. Just add three books to your cart and one of them will automatically be free. This is a RARE offer and is a perfect time to grab some of your favorite books or a few to give as gifts! There are over 1200 book titles to choose from. The offer also includes movies, music, toys, and games. You can click on “books” on the left sidebar to see just the book titles. Looking for book recommendations? Here are some books included in the sale that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past: Before We Were Yours — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads from 2019. Daring Greatly — This book impacted me deeply and has forever changed how I think and live. Atomic Habits — This is one of the best books on habits that I’ve ever read. I listened to the audiobook for free on Libby and loved it so much that I bought a hard copy — something I rarely do! The Tattooist of Auschwitz — This true story really drew me in and was a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. Rhythms of Renewal — I loved this book enough to ask Rebekah Lyons (the author) to join me on a podcast episode! Wonder — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. This book is such a worthwhile read! I read it in two days and can’t recommend it highly enough — especially if you have kids around ages 9-12 Parenting — I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the author’s strong emphasis on the Gospel as that is often missing in parenting books. The Giver — I absolutely loved this story and it was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. Present Over Perfect — This book is one I savored slowly and it was the perfect book for me during my Year of Rest in 2018. The Road Back to You — If you’re interested at all in the Enneagram, I highly recommend this book as a starting place! Hillbilly Elegy — This was a really interesting read, if you can get through all the language. You can see my complete honest thoughts here. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up — I thought I was a minimalist. Then I read this book. And the question, “Does it spark joy?” really changed how I approached so much of life! Read more of my honest thoughts here. Uninvited — If you struggle with feeling lonely, left out, or like you don’t belong, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way — If you’re going through a difficult time in life, this book might be a real encouragement for you. Lilac Girls — This is a really compelling, tragic, and gripping story of the horrors of concentration camps. It was one of my top 10 favorite books from 2017. Crazy Love — If you’re a Christian, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it years ago, and it challenged me to pull out of my complacency as a follower of Christ. Big Magic — While I strongly disagree with much of the author’s worldview and some of her insights, her book really challenged me as a creative. I especially loved her thoughts on fear. All The Light We Cannot See — This is a well-written and deeply moving book. I really enjoyed it! The Jesus Storybook Bible — This is our family’s favorite children’s Bible story book. It’s accurate, doctrinally sound, and not filled with nonsense and fluff. We read it out loud to our children when they were younger over and over again. Here are some other popular books included in the sale: The 5 Love Languages The Total Money Makeover The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners The Whole30 Jesus Calling Magnolia Table The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Oh, The Places You’ll Go! The Giving Tree There are also several popular children’s books to choose from: Llama Llama I Love You The Very Hungry Caterpillar Giraffes Can’t Dance Are You My Mother? The Day the Crayons Quit The Pout-Pout Fish Press Here God Gave Us You Love You Forever Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection Go here to browse all the books included in this sale. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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Facts & Figures of Amazon lending and the Goldman Sachs X-factor

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Facts & Figures of Amazon lending and the Goldman Sachs X-factor
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Own Your Solo Act with These Financial Tips for Singles

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Own Your Solo Act with These Financial Tips for Singles
It’s all on you. When you’re single, you don’t have a spouse helping you pay bills or a partner nagging you to spend less and save more. How much money you make and what you do with that cash is up to you alone … and only you deal with the repercussions of your financial mistakes. To live your best life as captain of your own ship, you’ve got to commit to making the right choices. Here are 11 financial tips for singles to heed. 1. Build an Emergency Fund An emergency fund is your safety net when something goes wrong. It’s especially important to have a robust emergency fund as a single person because you don’t have someone else’s savings or salary to tap into if your car breaks down or you get laid off from your job. The common recommendation for an emergency fund is to have three-to-six months worth of expenses saved, but if you’re starting from scratch, develop a smaller-scale goal and work your way up to that amount. This guide on how to start an emergency fund can help. Pro Tip Prioritize your savings by paying yourself first. Setting money aside in a savings account when you get paid. By not letting it sit in your checking account, you’re less likely to spend that cash. 2. Save for Retirement The downside of being single: You don’t have a partner helping you add to your retirement accounts. The upside: You only need enough savings to support one person in retirement, not two. Regardless of your relationship status, contributing to a 401(k) or IRA early and often can help you build a comfortable nest egg for your golden years. We break down how to save money for retirement at various stages of life. 3. Create a Budget When your money isn’t merged with a significant other, you don’t have to worry about anyone questioning your spending decisions. Want to drop $300 on a pair of new shoes? Who’s going to tell you no? But just because you don’t have to answer to anyone doesn’t mean it’s okay to spend without a plan. That’s where having a budget comes in. Your budget will show you if you have enough funds to buy those pricey shoes or if that purchase would derail paying the bills on time. If you’re among the many, many Americans who aren’t in the practice of budgeting, check out these tips on how to budget as a beginner. While you’re establishing your various budget categories and spending limits, make sure to include room for a little fun money. It’s hard to stick to a budget that’s too restrictive and leaves you feeling deprived. 4. Stop Being Loyal to Service Providers You’re a free agent when it comes to dating whoever you want. Applying a similar mindset when it comes to service providers — like your cell phone company or car insurance provider — can help you save money. You don’t have to stay tied down to who you’re with today. Check rates and offers from competing service providers to see if you can get similar service for less. If you’re under contract with your current provider, ask the competition if they’ll pay the fee for you to jump ship. Another option: If you’re satisfied with, say, your internet service but find another company is offering lower rates, use that as leverage to negotiate a better price with your provider. Some companies will meet a competitor’s rate to avoid losing a good customer. 5. Vet Potential Roommates Carefully Taking on a roommate can be a great way to reduce housing expenses. But if your roommate ends up being a bum who’s always late with the rent, you’re in for a heap of trouble. Save yourself the headache and do your due diligence ahead of time by asking these screening questions for potential roommates. Pro Tip If you want the social and financial benefits of roommates without being on the hook if they’re short on rent, consider getting an individual room in a coliving space, like this woman did. 6. Embrace Meal Planning When you just have to worry about feeding yourself, it’s oh so convenient to order something on Grubhub or UberEats and call it a night. But do that multiple times a week and the expenses add up quick. Cooking at home is a more economical solution. When you meal prep, you can save time and money. Cook multiple servings of staples like chicken, rice or potatoes and wash and chop veggies in advance so you can quickly pull meals together throughout the week. Avoid prepping too far in advance, though, so your food doesn’t spoil. Meal planning also works for snacks too. Buy a bulk bag of your favorite munchies and divvy it into individual portions instead of spending more on a bunch of snack-size packages. 7. Be Mindful of Lifestyle Inflation When you get a big raise or unexpected windfall of cash, it might be tempting to go into treat-yourself mode. A new wardrobe. The latest iPhone. Weekly spa treatments. But you shouldn’t give into lifestyle inflation without being prudent and addressing things like debt and saving for retirement.  Does that mean you have to keep that ratty futon from college instead of buying a real couch because you’re still paying back student loans? Not exactly. It just means budget your extra money so you increase your student loan payments and have cash for that furniture upgrade. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM What gadgets have you purchased that you felt really saved you money? 2/11/20 @ 12:05 PM How I save money on pest control 2/4/20 @ 8:50 PM Financial Fitness February: Day 4 (And a Money Saving Tip) 2/5/20 @ 5:05 AM Extreme Couponing Tips to Add More Money Into Your Wallet 2/4/20 @ 12:20 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 8. Get an Accountability Partner for Debt Payoff Motivation Paying down debt can be a tedious process. It can help to have someone on your side, keeping you encouraged and steering you back on course when you struggle. An accountability partner does just that. Choose a friend or family member you can confide in about your goals and challenges. Your accountability buddy should be someone who’s not afraid to give you tough love when you need it but who’ll also be your cheerleader throughout your debt payoff process. 9. Have Multiple Sources of Income Losing your job or having your boss cut your hours can be financially devastating when you’re single. Having additional streams of income can ensure you still have money coming in if something happens to your main job. Consider picking up a side hustle, getting a second job or starting an entrepreneurial pursuit. Looking for a way to make more money? You could work from home. We post new job opportunities every weekday. Though you’ll boost your bank account, it requires a bit of juggling to manage more than one job. This woman shares her advice on balancing a side gig with full-time work. 10. Consider if You Need Life Insurance Being single you might think, why would I need life insurance? To be honest, paying into a life insurance policy may not be a priority for you. But if you have kids or have a loan that someone co-signed, getting a life insurance policy is a smart choice. You might also consider getting a policy if you’re a business owner or want to leave something behind for your loved ones. Here’s a run down of the types of life insurance and the best life in [...]
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How Ignatica is tackling the legacy systems innovation logjam with new technology

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How Ignatica is tackling the legacy systems innovation logjam with new technology
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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance

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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance
On January 30, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose amendments to certain financial disclosure requirements in Regulation S-K, in an effort to modernize and simplify such requirements. The SEC also issued new guidance relating to key performance indicators and metrics. The SEC has proposed the following amendments and guidance to Regulation S-K: Elimination of Items 301 Selected Financial Data and 302 Supplementary Financial Information To simplify disclosure requirements in light of modern technological developments and reduce the repetition of non-material information, the SEC proposed eliminating the requirements that registrants provide 1) five years of selected financial data and 2) two years of selected quarterly financial data. Amendments to Item 303 Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations The SEC proposed various amendments to Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A), including: adding a new Item 303(a) to succinctly state and clarify the principal purposes of MD&A and streamline the instructions; eliminating the specific requirement to discuss the impact of inflation and price changes, though a discussion of such matters would still be required if the trend shows they have had or are reasonably expected to have a material impact on net sales, revenue or income from continuing operations (Item 303(a)(3)(iv) Results of Operations (Inflation and Price Changes)); replacing the requirement that a registrant discuss off-balance sheet arrangements with a requirement to integrate disclosure of off-balance sheet arrangements within the broader context of MD&A (Item 303(a)(4), Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements); eliminating the requirement to provide a contractual obligations table (Item 303(a)(5) Contractual Obligations); permitting registrants to compare the most recently completed quarter to either the corresponding quarter of the prior year, as currently mandated, or to the immediately preceding quarter (Item 303(b) Interim Periods); and requiring disclosure of critical accounting estimates. Other proposed amendments to MD&A would require disclosure of known events reasonably likely to cause a material change in costs and revenues; codify existing interpretive guidance requiring the discussion of reasons underlying material changes in net sales or revenues and require disclosure of material cash requirements (including capital expenditures commitments); and the anticipated source of funds and general purpose of such material cash requirements. Amendments Relating to Foreign Private Issuers The proposed revisions include parallel amendments to Forms 20-F and 40-F relating to foreign private issuers (FPIs), intending that MD&A requirements for FPIs continue to mirror the substantive MD&A requirements in Item 303 of Regulation S-K. Guidance The SEC also issued new guidance providing that, where registrants disclose key performance indicators or metrics, they should also consider the extent to which additional disclosure relating to the metrics is necessary in light of existing MD&A requirements and to ensure that the presentation of the indicators or metrics, in light of the circumstances under which they are presented, is not misleading. The guidance further provides a reminder for registrants to consider whether they have effective controls and procedures in place to process information related to the disclosure of key performance indicators and metrics to ensure consistency and accuracy. Commenters have 60 days following publication in the Federal Register to submit comments to the proposed amendments, which is available here. The guidance is available here. [...]
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12 Things That Are Cheaper in 2020

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12 Things That Are Cheaper in 2020
Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com What goes up must come down, right? For some prices, yes. Money Talks News analyzed the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Consumer Price Index data, which is for December 2019, to find out which things actually cost less going into 2020 than they did one year prior. Overall, the price of all things overall rose by 2.3% over the course of 2019... [...]
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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!

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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Calling all pet owners! This is a RARE deal that TopCashBack is offering right now! You’ll get a $10 purchase at Chewy for FREE after rebate! Are you a pet owner? You won’t want to miss this RARE offer from TopCashBack!! TopCashBack is offering $10 cash back on ANY $10 purchase at Chewy, making it FREE! Here’s how to get your FREE $10 Chewy purchase: 1. Head here for the special Chewy offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Make a purchase valued at $10 or higher. 3. Within 21 days, your TopCashBack account will be credited with $10 — enough to cover your purchase! 4. After you receive the $10 payment in your Top Cash Back account, you can choose to transfer it to your bank account or request a Paypal payment. This is for new Top Cash Back members only. If you are already a member, you are allowed to sign up another adult in your household. This deal is valid through February 27, 2020. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 7 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 7 February 2020
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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

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How to Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom
Want to be a stay at home mom, but worried about the financial implications of transitioning to one income? This post is full of practical advice and helpful encouragement on how to afford being a stay at home mom! Guest post by Kristine of SurvivingMoms.com: Giving up a full-time or part-time salary isn’t easy, but my sisters and I wanted to stay home with our kids. To make it happen we knew we needed to get creative with lowering our monthly expenses. Here are 19 things we did (and still do) to save money: We Cut Hair Ourselves: Even at Walmart a haircut for a child costs $12 — and that doesn’t include tip! Instead of going to the hairdresser, we ordered some nice clippers off Amazon and now we cut everyone’s hair at home as often as we need to. We Use Grocery Pick-Up: We love using grocery pick-up! It is convenient and saves us money as it helps us avoid impulse shopping. We also love that every time we add an item to our cart, we can see the total go up; this allows us to decide if we really need that item this week or if it can wait. We save an average of $20 per week by using pick-up only! We Don’t Eat Out: Eating out can blow a monthly budget really quickly! We plan a weekly or monthly menu for our family and stick to it. We try to cook our meals at home no matter how good take-out sounds. We also try to get the whole family involved by giving each kid a job to do. Dinner tastes so much better when you are proud of what you have made — and that goes for kids, too. Psst! Check these extra tips to help you stop eating out! We Buy Used Clothing: We buy gently used clothes for our children. Shops like Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, and garage sales are great places to start! See if there is a friend or family member that you can swap clothes with. This has been a huge blessing to our family. We Sell Outgrown Clothing: We sell our outgrown clothes at a local kids’ consignment shop and then get store credit, which usually offers more money to buy the next size up for our kids. We Use the Honey Extension: We installed Honey on our computers and it will alert us when items get marked down and if it’s a good time to buy. You are able to see the price trends and if there are available promo codes you can use. We love using Honey! We Watch for Christmas Deals Year-Round: Rather than shopping for Christmas presents in November and December, we look for deals all year. It is easy to get pulled into impulse buying with all the advertising during the Christmas season. We Buy Used Items off Amazon: When we find an item we want to purchase off Amazon, we check to see if they have the same item “Like New” or “Used, Very Good.” These items were typically opened and returned. We have had great success finding brand new items marked down this way! We Ask Before we Buy: Shopping online is SO easy… maybe a little TOO easy! To reduce impulse purchases, we wait and talk to our spouses before we purchase something. This makes us aware of what we are spending our money on, plus it allows us to say whether or not we think it is the right use of our money. We Make Our Own Baby Food: Baby food is expensive. Pinterest has lots of recipes for making your own healthy baby food at a fraction of the cost of buying it from the store. We Canceled Cable and DirectTV: This is an expensive monthly bill that isn’t necessary. We have used Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney Plus instead of cable, so we can still enjoy our favorite shows and movies while paying significantly less. We Switched to an Off-Brand Cell Phone Service: We have our cell phone bill down to $50 a month for two smartphones with 5 GB of data each. Honestly, the service isn’t as good. We do drop calls frequently. We mostly text though, and it was worth the annoyance to lower our monthly bills. {Psst! Looking for an inexpensive option? Twigby has phone plans that start as low as $9 per month!} We Implement Meatless Monday: Meat is one of the biggest expenses in a grocery budget. Having a meal once a week without any meat allows us to lower our grocery budget significantly. If you need some inspiration, try one of these great meatless meal ideas! We Share One Vehicle: When possible, we share a vehicle with our spouse. This cuts down on gas, car insurance, and other car-related expenses. It’s hard at first but worth it when we look at the savings. We Always Look for Free Activities: We take advantage of free classes/activities offered by our local libraries. Hiking, visiting National Parks on free days, and bike trails are other activities we regularly have on our schedules. We Make Coffee at Home: We make coffee at home instead of buying one at the local coffee shop. Even using a Keurig at home only costs 26 cents per cup compared to almost $2 per cup. This adds up when we start each day with six cups a cup of coffee. 😉 We Look for Coupons: We compare ads and use coupons or store apps when grocery shopping. We also plan our menus based around meat that is on sale that week. We Use Groupon: We shop Groupon in advance to buy tickets and get the best deals. We used Groupon to get a great deal on tickets to Sky Zone for the whole family. We Use Cashback Sites: We use cashback sites like Rakuten to stretch our shopping budget by getting money back on online purchases. These are just a few of the many ways we save money every single day. These little (and big) savings all add up to allow my sisters and I to stay home with our children! What are some of your favorite tips on how to afford being a stay at home mom? Katie, Nicole, and Kristine are sister-in-laws with eight kids between them. They now blog at SurvivingMoms.com about mom survival tips, what is helping them get through their days with their kiddos, and how their true hope and encouragement comes from knowing their Savior, Jesus Christ. [...]
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5 Ways to Get a Free Smartphone This Month

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5 Ways to Get a Free Smartphone This Month
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. Get a free phone from your next mobile carrier! Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s legitimate. One way that major mobile providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile woo you to their plans is by offering free or discounted phones to customers who switch to them from another carrier. Sometimes existing customers can qualify... [...]
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3 Books I Read Last Week + 1 Classic Movie Watched Watched

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3 Books I Read Last Week + 1 Classic Movie Watched Watched
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. The Year of Less Full disclosure, I’d never heard of this book until I happened to see it on Libby. The subtitle (How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store) intrigued me so I downloaded it. I almost turned it off during the first few chapters, but I’m actually happy I went ahead and finished listening to it. Why? Because the author is so different than me and it was truly insightful to help me understand more what it’s like to be a spender or to have an addiction to shopping/spending. (I could not relate to most of any of her struggles, but it really gave me such a helpful look into what it’s like to feel such a need to shop/spend money.) The book shares a lot of the author’s story and background, so some people might not enjoy the memoir-ish parts of it if you’re just looking for practical advice and encouragement to live with less. However, if you enjoy reading about how someone is seeking to make radical changes in their life and the resulting struggles, temptations, and triumphs, this might be a good read. Verdict: 3 stars Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World This is a much more head-y and data-driven book that I usually enjoy. But I’m glad I listened to it because it made me think deeply about various aspects of my life. There are so many different things I could share from the book, but a few that really stood out to me were: The conversation about how birth order can affect whether you are a rebel or a conformist. The author’s insights on how procrastination can actually be a positive, helpful thing. (Yes, for real!) The section on how it’s important to produce a lot of work if you want to produce a few really great works. And the encouragement to acknowledge cynicism people would feel versus trying to pretend it doesn’t exist (this was in the context of a business pitch, but it could apply in many realms. Verdict: 3 stars Not So Perfect Mom A lot of this book was repeat material I’ve read/heard elsewhere, so I didn’t get many new insights from it. I also felt like it stayed rather surface-y in sections (which surprised me considering the author is a licensed counselor) and bordered on being a little legalistic in others. That said, I did appreciate the author’s insights on how a mother’s love can deeply affect her child in such positive ways. I also gleaned from her encouragement to really invest in your kids when they are little and how that impacts the rest of your child’s life. One of my favorite quotes was: “You cannot have lifelong, heart-connected relationship with someone if they feel like they are a failure when they are with you.” (Such a good reminder and it goes along with something I’ve been trying to practice in my parenting.) Verdict: 2 stars Classic Movie We Watched This Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) This week, we watched the original That Darn Cat movie. I had never heard of it, but a bunch of you recommended it, so I figured we’d give it a try. Now here’s the full disclosure on it: I fell asleep 20 minutes into the movie. Not because it was boring, but because I was exhausted. However, our kids + the 10-year-old girl we were fostering last week all enjoyed it. And the parts I saw had some genuinely funny moments. I want to watch the newer movie (well, after I go back and actually stay awake through the original one!), but I heard from some people that it wasn’t as good. Have you seen it? Would you recommend it? What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!

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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!
I know, I know. Leggings can be a bit controversial. Some people love them, some people loathe them. Personally, I’m in the loving leggings camp — especially in my pregnancy. Truth be told, I’ve worn almost nothing but leggings and tunic type tops for the last 3 months! (Some of you probably just fell out of your chair in shock that I would be so boring or casual all the time!) I’ve found lots of cute ways to dress them up and dress them down, depending upon the occasion. And I don’t even think most people have noticed that I’ve been living in them for three months. 🙂 If you love leggings, but you’re looking for some cute ways to wear them, you’ll want to sign up for the 21 Days of Leggings Challenge. It’s FREE to join and you’ll get a PDF with lots of stylish ways to put together outfits. I love the Outfit Formulas from Get Your Pretty On. And I especially love that this PDF of Outfit Formulas combines two of my favorite things: leggings and FREE! Go sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge here. By the way, you don’t have to commit to the 21-day challenge if you sign up (unless you want to, of course). But I promise it will inspire you with some fresh new ideas of ways to wear one of the comfiest types of pants ever created! [...]
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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector

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Buy Now Pay Later Player OpenPay Diversifies Revenue As Regulatory Headwinds Increase For Sector
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iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum only $211.99 shipped (Reg. $400!)

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iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum only $211.99 shipped (Reg. $400!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! This is a great price on this highly rated iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum! You can get this iRobot Roomba 677 Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum for just $211.99 shipped at Kohl’s right now! Here’s how: Buy Roomba 677 Vacuum – $329.99 (Reg. $399.99) Use code HOMEGOALS for $10 off $50 Use code TAKE15 for 15% off Get FREE shipping Pay $271.99 out of pocket, Get back $50 Kohl’s Cash + $10 Yes2You Rewards Like paying $211.99 shipped after codes, cash and rewards Thanks, ChaChingOnAShoestring! [...]
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How to Help Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt

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How to Help Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt
You’d love to save your kids from student loan debt, but how can you help them pay for college without sinking your own financial ship? After all, the average in-state tuition at four-year public colleges reached $10,440 this year — and that doesn’t include room and board, books or personal expenses. So it’s understandable that you’re not sure how to help your kids pay for college. But of the $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, people age 50 and older owe 20% of it — $289.5 billion. You could end up having to delay your retirement if you’re still paying off your kid’s tuition. Strategizing how to pay for college doesn’t have to be a solo decision, though. Here’s what to discuss with your kids in order to help them pay for college. How to Help Your Kids Pay for College Without Going Into Debt Yourself Parenting isn’t always fun — but if you have a nearly college-age kid, you already knew that, right? So breaking it to them that you won’t be able to completely pay for college may not be the most pleasant conversation you’ve had with them. But surprising them with that news as they’re moving into their dorm room isn’t a suggested alternative.  Pro Tip If you’re getting an early start on covering college costs, we have a whole slew of ways to save money for your kids’ future. By helping them understand what you can contribute, you can both plan accordingly and graduate with as little debt as possible — if any.  1. Be a Realist If you went used car shopping and your kid fell for a Tesla they really wanted to drive to their part-time job bussing tables, would you blow your budget and fork over the extra $40,000? No. The same goes for your child’s choice of school. If your kid dreams of an Ivy League school but you’re just scraping by, it might be time for a reality check. “Don’t go broke to put your kid into a name school,” said Jamie Dickenson, Certified Educational Planner. “Check your ego at the door and get serious about what’s a good fit for your student academically, socially, emotionally and financially.” She related the story of a West Virginia family she counseled when their daughter wanted to go to Clemson University in South Carolina to major in elementary education. “This was a family that made $80,000 a year,” Dickenson said. “Out-of-state tuition at Clemson is nearly $35,000 year — or $140,000 total bill — for a job that starts at $36,000.” Don’t go broke to put your kid into a name school. By starting the college budget discussion early in the search process — like, before junior year of high school — you can help your children develop realistic expectations about school and expenses.  Then help them choose where they can get the best education for the least amount of money.  You might even convince them to consider saving money by starting out closer to home — a community college transfer could save $12,000 or more on a bachelor’s degree. 2. Go on the College Tour With Your Kids Yes, you may have to walk six steps behind them (because, ugh, it’s so embarrassing being seen with your parents), but when your kids are ready to tour colleges, don’t let them go alone. Why? Consider the thought and research you put into major purchases, like a house or car. Your kid could potentially spend that much money on college. Having a second pair of eyes and ears during the college tour can let them focus on what’s important to them without forgetting to ask the practical questions.  Pro Tip Depending on the college, you may need to fill out both the FAFSA and the College Scholarship Service Profile to qualify for financial aid. Here's what you need to know about the CSS Profile. Before you go on a tour, set up an appointment with the financial aid office for the same day so you can connect with a real person and have a contact for follow-ups. Bring along these financial aid questions to the appointment to guide you when asking about scholarships, student loans and living expenses.  When your child receives their acceptance letters and financial aid award packages, they can reach out to that same financial aid officer to ask questions about their specific financial aid award package to help them compare the offers. 3. Avoid Paying Tuition by Investing Early  Instead of taking out loans to pay for your kids’ college, why not invest in their education earlier (when it’s a little cheaper)? Shelling out a few hundred dollars for ACT or SAT preparation courses now could pay off when your kids begin applying for financial assistance. “Look at [your] kid’s grades and test scores because that’s where the majority of money for college comes from these days — merit-based aid,” Dickenson said. If you’re concerned that your kid won’t qualify, call the college financial aid officer and ask what the cutoff is for merit-based scholarships, advised Amy Irvine, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Rooted Planning Group. “Maybe you’re only three points off from something, and you could re-sit for the SATs,” she said. Another option: Advanced Placement classes. By encouraging your kids to sign up for AP classes in high school, they can take the exam for that subject and potentially receive college credit for it.  Although the AP exam costs $94, it’s a deal compared to the $301.23 sticker price for one credit hour at a four-year institution (including tuition and applicable fees), according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of National Center for Education statistics.   And the fewer courses they need to take, the smaller their tuition bill. FROM THE DEBT FORUM Emergency debt 1/30/20 @ 10:14 AM Low income high debt 1/15/20 @ 9:36 AM Debt relief program 1/30/20 @ 2:16 PM How do I build my credit with a credit card? 1/27/20 @ 8:42 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question 4. Understand How Your Decisions Affect Their Financial Aid When your child fills out the FAFSA, they must include information from your tax statements from the previous year — for the 2020-21 FAFSA, you’d use your 2018 tax returns.  So it’s important for you to consider financial-altering decisions that could decide whether they receive financial aid. That can mean delaying a big life change — Dickenson said she advised a client to delay marrying her wealthy fiance who didn’t want to foot the bill for his stepson’s college — or a one-time income boost — Dickenson suggested you might ask your employer to defer a year-end bonus until the following year. You should also consider how the money you already have is counted toward the Expected Family Contribution (EFC).  The majority of the EFC is based on income, but any assets the child owns are counted against them at a higher percentage than the parents’ assets when determining financial aid awards. That means your child is more likely to qualify for financial aid if you keep the money in your name rather than building up a savings account in your child’s name.  Helping your kids strategize ways to cover college — without either of you going into debt — could be your biggest parenting win of all. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her [...]
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This Week in Fintech 31 January

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This Week in Fintech 31 January
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Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag ($80+ value!)

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Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag ($80+ value!)
If you are pregnant or adopting, you can get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag! I just got mine a few days ago and was so impressed with what was in it! Pregnant and adoptive mamas, don’t miss out on this really fantastic baby freebie! Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag — full of coupons, samples, and freebies (an $80 value)! How to Get Your Free Target Baby Registry Gift Bag It’s so easy to get your free gift bag. Just go here and set up a free Target baby registry account. (Psst! You don’t even need to actually add things to your registry to qualify!) After you register, you’ll get a bar code you can print out and take to the customer service desk at your local Target to get your free Target Baby Registry Gift Bag. Note: My sister said you don’t even have to register. She said you can just go up to the customer service counter, tell them you are having a baby, and they’ll give you the gift sack. (If you’ve tried this and it worked for you, let us know!) What is in the Target Baby Registry Gift Bag I’m sure that the gift sacks vary some by store and by year, but here’s what was in my gift bag: Aveeno Baby Lotion sample Johnson’s Bath Wash sample Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark Cream sample Water Wipes Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle 2 Up & Up diaper samples (size 1) Aquaphor Baby sample Lansinoh Nursing Pad samples + Breastmilk Storage Bag samples Babyganics Lotion sample Avent Bottle Eucerin Eczema Relief sample NUK Pacifier Pampers Swaddler Diaper sample Honest Diaper & Wipe sample pack Also, you’ll get some great baby coupons to use at Target — my coupon book had a coupon for 50% off any drink at Starbucks! If you aren’t pregnant or adopting, but you know someone who is, be sure to share this post with them so they can get their free gift sack! Do you know of any other great baby freebies I should check out/sign up for? Let me know! [...]
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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas

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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas
When I was a kid, I was a big reader. Sorry — I meant to say “nerd.” I was a huge nerd and didn’t care about sports. Still, I watched the Green Bay Packers play every Sunday, because that’s what we did in my house. I just usually had a book open at the same time. Because of that ritual, the sound of a football game on TV is cathartic for me. I’d rather turn on the NFL Network than listen to a white noise app when I want to get work done. That’s why I’ll still tune into Super Bowl LIV. I enjoy the connection to the rest of the nation — while knocking out a blog post and making headway through a novel. If you’re in the same boat, use the day to make some extra money. Just make sure you take a break and tune in for the Halftime Show, so you know what everyone’s talking about on Facebook on Monday. While your family or roommates gather ‘round the TV this weekend, try some of these ways to make extra money. 8 Ways to Make Money During the Super Bowl 1. Drive With Lyft If you haven’t already signed up as a driver with Lyft, now’s a good time to do it. As a driver with Lyft, you can help Super Bowl party goers in your city safely get where they’re going and where they’re coming from. No driving drunk or walking in the cold! Plus, the higher demand before and after the game could mean a busy night and big bucks for you. You keep a portion of everything you earn as a driver, plus 100% of your tips. High Lyft traffic means peak hours, which might mean more money for you. Here’s a link to apply to drive with Lyft. 2. List Your Place or Spare Room Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know. So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks. Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area. Tonya Peters’ husband, Miles Rugh, was one of those skeptics. She wanted to list their Virginia Village basement apartment in Denver, Colorado, on Airbnb, but he wasn’t keen on welcoming strangers into their place. Finally, though, he agreed to give it a try. Now, three years later, the couple has hosted too many guests to count. And the extra income has been great for them. They plan to use it for some home renovations they’ve been wanting. “He’s definitely changed his tune,” says Peters, now an Airbnb Superhost. “And he loves having the extra income.” (Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.) 3. Take Stock Photos People dressed in their favorite team’s jersey and faces painted in celebration make for great photographs. Take advantage of the crowds of fans in your town to get some candid shots you can sell to stock photo sites. You don’t even have to give up your own fun to fill your stock photo arsenal. You can sell your smartphone photos via Foap, so don’t worry about keeping track of expensive equipment all afternoon. (Just keep your phone out of the toilet.) Note: Building owners or managers reserve the right to ask you not to take photos on their property. Otherwise, snap away, and make sure you understand whether your intended use of the photograph will require a model or property release. 4. Babysit Want to hang out with the nerdy kids like me, who don’t want to pay attention to the game? Offer to take them off their parents’ hands for the day. Make game day easier for family and friends by offering to watch the little ones while they go out. You’ll get to make $20 to $40 and skip the loud parties. Check out a site like Care.com to make yourself easy to find ahead of game day, and check out other tips on how to become a babysitter 5. Take Care of Pets Pick up pet-sitting or dog-walking work to relieve football fans from the need to look after pets during time-outs. If you can’t find pet-sitting gigs in your network, hop on DogVacay to connect with pet owners in your area. 6. Get Ahead on Freelance Work Holidays — even faux holidays — are great for side hustlers. Unless you want to chat with your clients about football, your inbox and social media will probably be quiet on Super Bowl Sunday. Take advantage of the radio silence to get some work done. If you’re a freelance writer, check out these tips on how to land your first bylines. And sign up for this free seven-day mini-course from ProofreadAnywhere.com to learn how to become a professional proofreader. Or, pick a passion project off the back burner. Work on a novel. Put the finishing touches on a painting. Format an ebook. If you’re just kicking off your side hustle in 2020, read our guide to getting started as a freelancer. 7. Get the Best Gigs If you haven’t, create an account with TaskRabbit. Here’s the strategy for earning money: Find gigs you can complete quickly that pay well for the amount of time you put in. With a lot of Taskers likely taking the day off, Super Bowl Sunday could be a great opportunity to get some of the best gigs. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Looking For Part-Time Job 1/30/20 @ 2:16 PM Q Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S Gig Work Taking Property Photos in the US 1/17/20 @ 1:42 PM I have a question about those cash game apps from Google Play store? 1/14/20 @ 8:16 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 8. Get Paid $1,200/Year for Your Screen Time We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?  But there’s a website that will pay you for all that screen time.  Yep. Swagbucks will pay you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone.  We know what you’re thinking: You’ll probably just earn a few pennies for your troubles. But we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year. And it’s no huge time commitment. Hendrickson takes her surveys in the morning before her full-time job. Even better? You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 points within your first 60 days. Dana Sitar (dana@thepennyhoarder.com) is a former branded content editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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5 Books I Read This Past Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)

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5 Books I Read This Past Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. Okay, I’m absolutely giddy to tell you that I finished 15+ books in January. Honestly, I am pretty shocked by this number! I think some of it has to do with setting weekly goals and some of it has to do with prioritizing audiobooks again (and the fact that they no longer make me nauseous now that I’m further along in my pregnancy, reading aloud again, and switching from being on my phone (answering comments/messages) while on the treadmill to reading/praying while on the treadmill. It seems like tiny tweaks and additions have added up to big results. And this is so encouraging to me. No promises that I’ll keep up this pace for the rest of the year! However, considering how full January has been, it seems like it truly might be possible to at least keep reading 2-3 books/week most weeks. We’ll see! If you want to see what I’m currently reading or what I’ve read so far this year, you can check out my GoodReads account. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Before and After I was so excited about this book as it’s the real-life stories of the children who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. (If you have read or listened to Before We Were Yours, you’re familiar with that heart-breaking story.) While I think these stories need to be told and while I found some of them fascinating, the book as a whole was a let down when compared to Before We Were Yours. Maybe it’s because I was expecting more cohesiveness in the book as opposed to a lot of individual stories with only what felt like a thin plot string holding them together. If you loved Before We Were Yours, you might enjoy this book for more real-life biography/backstory for the novel. However, if you’re only going to read one of the two books, definitely read Before We Were Yours. I decided to give this book 3 stars because 2 stars felt like I was doing a disservice to the families and children and lives that were wrecked by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. But for the writing and overall level that the book engaged me, I’d probably only give it two stars. Verdict: 3 stars 100 Ways to Love Your Husband + 100 Ways to Love Your Wife If you are looking for some practical ideas and inspiration for ways to love your spouse, these small books are a great starting place. They are filled with 100 different ideas to speak love to your spouse. Now, I’ll say that not all of these ideas will work for every couple. There are some that would most definitely not really be our “thing” at all. But there were other ideas that I hadn’t thought of before that provided some highly motivating and inspiration sparks of inspiration for ways I can practically show Jesse love. If you need more encouragement, be sure to check out this week’s podcast episode with the authors, Matt and Lisa Jacobson! Verdict: 3 stars Live Love Now I was sent a pre-release copy of this book in order to write an endorsement. Rachel Macy Stafford’s books have deeply impacted me and it was an honor to get to write an endorsement for her. Here was what I wrote: If you are the parent or grandparent of a pre-teen or teen or if you have any interaction at all with teens or tweens, you need to read this book. It is packed with powerful reminders of how our words, actions, attitudes, and availability (or lack thereof), leave indelible marks on the next generation. I was inspired, convicted, and challenged by Rachel’s gentle message of how to guide, encourage, and impact young adults to live with less stress and more joy. And I took away so many practical applications I plan to immediately implement in our home and parenting. Note: I likely would have given this more than 3 stars, but I felt like the writing was a big choppy at times and it sometimes felt more like reading a collection of essays or blog posts. However, the underlying concepts in so many of the chapters were really, really good. Verdict: 3 stars The Whole-Brain Child This was, by far, my favorite book this week. I honestly cannot stop talking about it. Poor Jesse has had to listen to me rave again and again about it all week long! 🙂 This was highly recommended to by one of our kids’ counselors and and one of their therapists in the past few years and I finally read it. It is packed with great suggestions and strategies for helping our kids process the world, relate better with others, and feel more loved and secure. It is not written from a Christian perspective, but I found the sections on brain science to be fascinating and really enlightening. If you are a parent or work with kids in any capacity, I highly recommend this book to help you better love, understand, teach, and nurture the kids in your life. Note: I would have given it 5 stars, but I disagreed with some of the points (and felt a few were not entirely Biblical) so I only gave it a 4-star rating. Verdict: 4 stars Classic Movie We Watched This Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) This week, we watched the original Cheaper by the Dozen movie. I had seen it once before but it’s been a long time! While it’s a little slow moving and ends on a sad note, it has some genuinely funny moments throughout it. By the way, the movie is loosely based upon the real-life story as told in the book by the same name. I read it years and years ago and remember liking it. Have you read it before? I was wondering if it would be worth reading to the kids or not? I can’t remember it well enough now! What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Bloggers: Want to hire a coach?

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Bloggers: Want to hire a coach?
I receive so many emails from bloggers asking for personal coaching and help. While I wish I could take on lots of individual coaching clients, I just don’t have the bandwidth to do that regularly. However, I have a really special opportunity for those of you who would love to hire a blog coach — and it’s super affordable, too! I’m opening back up my wildly popular 4-week Private Blog Coaching Group again for the month of February. This is something so many people have asked for and I’m excited to offer it after months and months of having it closed! What is the 4-Week Blog Coaching Group? The 4-Week Blog Coaching group is a group designed to help you grown and succeed as a blogger. It’s an intensive program where I teach you the lessons I’ve learned from failure and success, share secrets I’ve uncovered for building traffic and monetizing your blog, give you encouragement and motivation for when you’re feeling exhausted and burnt out, and provide accountability and cheerleading to help you live out the purpose for which you were created. This program is for you if you are: A newbie blogger who wants to learn how to monetize your blog, produce consistent and inspiring content, and grow your readership. An intermediate blogger who wants real, actionable advice to help you increase your income and develop a more effective social media strategy, all while having a great work-life balance. Any blogger who is stuck in a blogging rut and paralyzed by the overwhelming noise of advice from “online experts” — who wants clarity and tangible steps to move forward and reach their blogging goals. What Do You Get When You Sign Up? This is NOT another blogging eCourse where you absorb tons of information, but have no way to actually turn the information into real, applicable steps. This is an opportunity to interact with me and a network of like-minded bloggers and get answers to the pressing questions that matter to you and your business. In this coaching group, you’ll… Get direct access to me via our weekly LIVE 1-hour online workshop where you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the topics you are struggling with the most. Interact with me and other bloggers in the daily discussion threads designed to help you set and meet your goals, find accountability, develop friendships, and network with other bloggers. Learn how to increase your income through affiliate marketing, advertising, sponsored posts, brand partnerships, and digital & physical product creation. Develop an intentional social media strategy that boosts your traffic, generates revenue, and builds long-term momentum. Discover proven techniques for planning and writing successful blog posts that are engaging and compelling for your audience. Design an effective overall plan for significant email list growth and long-lasting relationships and trust with your subscriber base. Create a manageable and realistic system for daily blogging tasks and to-do’s that allows you to have sustainable work-life balance. You get all of that for just $97 total — which is much less than the price that most coaches charge for just one hour of their time! Ready to join? Read all about it here. Hurry! Spaces are limited and registration closes on February 4, 2020! P.S. Any questions? Leave a comment or send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer it promptly! [...]
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Independent Contractor Taxes: A Painless Beginner’s Guide

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Independent Contractor Taxes: A Painless Beginner’s Guide