Change Your Money Story in 3 Easy Steps

Change Your Money Story in 3 Easy Steps

We all have a money back-story. You might not realize it, but what you thought about money as a child, is still affecting how you deal with money today and all of your tomorrows. Because choosing to save your money rather than spend it is very different than not feeling like you have enough to spend.

Today’s guest post is brought to you by Shauna Sanders, life coach for busy professionals.

Did you hear any of these statements growing up? —

  • Money doesn’t grow on trees
  • We can’t afford that
  • Money can’t buy happiness
  • They were born with a silver spoon in their mouth
  • I’m not made of money
  • We don’t have money to burn

A LOT of parents have said numerous versions of this to their children (and themselves) and have no idea how much it affects their relationship with money for the rest of their lives. Allow me to translate each statement to how your subconscious most likely hears it:

• Money doesn’t grow on trees (AKA- There is not enough money to go around, and it will all run out someday)
• We can’t afford that (AKA- We are broke and not able to purchase whatever it is you’re wanting or needing)
• Money can’t buy happiness (While true to a degree, this can be misinterpreted to mean- If you HAVE money, you can’t be happy)
• They were born with a silver spoon in their mouth (AKA- They are rich only because were born that way- and deeper read – Since we were NOT born rich, we can never be rich)
• I’m not made of money (AKA- More “I can’t afford it” mentality)
• We don’t have money to burn (AKA- We don’t deserve to spend money on our “wants,” rather only on our “needs”)

It’s easy to grow up thinking you can’t afford a small luxury like matching dishes or feeling like you can’t donate money to a local charity you love.

Here’s the good news- you can change your money story!

Step 1- Go back in time

Think back to when you were a child and recall what you heard about money as you grew up, from your parents, other adults, and even other kids.

Step 2- Identify Your Money Story

Think about what you heard about money and how that affected your current feelings to do with money. For example, I remember hearing “We’re not lucky when it comes to money” and “I’m not made of money.” I grew up thinking I was destined to be “not rich” and more importantly, that I didn’t deserve to have money. I took it a step further all by myself and realized I felt having money meant you weren’t a hard worker and I was almost embarrassed by anything that might be construed as “rich” or “fancy.”

Step 3 – Flip It And Reverse It

Take what you know now, your back-story, and flip it around (or reverse it- or both!) I took my shame of anything looking “rich,” and I owned it. I changed the meaning.

I always wanted someone to clean my house, but I had convinced myself I “couldn’t afford it” and admittedly it disgusted me to think of myself as “one of those people” (AKA- frivolous and lazy). And so, I changed the definition of what someone who gets house cleaning means.

The NEW definition of house cleaning recipient-> Someone who values their time and chooses to spend money to have help cleaning their home so they can have more time with family or whatever else they choose.

What money story have you been telling yourself and how can you flip it?

Where will you choose to spend, save, or share YOUR money? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Shauna Sanders is a life coach for busy professionals who feel like something is missing from their lives. Together you’ll zero in on the reasons why and make a powerful plan of action so you can finally create and sustain the fulfilling life you want. Connect with her on Facebook or visit her website ShaunaSanders.com!

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From Busy Mom to Freelance Writer in 9 Easy Steps

From Busy Mom to Freelance Writer in 9 Easy Steps

Being a stay-at-home-mom is a rewarding job, but the pay is garbage!

So what do you do when you want to remain at home with your children, but…

the money is tight…

the budget is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to the limit…

couponing is getting you nowhere fast…

and you just don’t have enough to go around…?

You start a business.

Today’s post is brought to you by Tiffany A. Ingle of Taingled Web – 

I know what you’re thinking: “Me, start a business? I don’t have a degree! My kids need too much attention! I’ve been out of the workforce too long. I don’t have time!”

Listen, Mama – I understand how you feel. I’ve been there! But excuses don’t pay the bills.  And I can assure you that, yes, even you can start a business.

To be clear – when I say business, I’m definitely not talking about joining some slimy MLM and selling to your warm market (a.k.a. harassing your family and close friends to spend their hard earned cash on overpriced makeup, oils, wraps, and shakes). Those businesses are founded upon an unsustainable model that is designed to enrich a tiny percentage of folks at the top while everyone else loses money more often than not.

What if I were to tell you there’s a skill you already possess that could earn your family an additional 4 or 5 figures every single month? Not only that, you already do it every day…for free.

If you guessed writing, you deserve a gold star.

The time you currently spend keeping boredom at bay at social media watering holes could be used to begin a satisfying and profitable business as a freelance writer.

Best of all, this is a business you can start with very little money. All it requires is the ability to string a decent sentence together, perseverance, the ability to research, and creativity.

The following is a basic guide to getting your freelance writing business up and running. If you put these steps into practice, you will be headed on the right path toward a brighter financial future.

1) Set your mind to it

Attitude is everything. Treat your business seriously from the get-go. You’ve got to make some mental adjustments in order to step into your new reality as a work from home mom.

First, audit your schedule! Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day. While it is true there are some who can afford to buy more time in the form of hired help, even a mompreneur (that’s you!) can carve out time by trading non-essential activities for business building habits.

That reality show you use to escape the realities of never-ending housework? Out the window. Your favorite, addictive social media game? Kiss it goodbye.

Remember why you’re doing this. How would it change your life if you had an extra $1,000-5,000 or more each month? With hard work, this is how much you could be making with freelance writing.

2) Pick a specialty (niche)

Writers who are very knowledgeable about certain topics or writing styles make more money and find more work than general writers. The best specialties are those which pay high rates, draw upon skills you have, that you would be interested in learning about.

Were you a programmer before leaving the workforce? You could make a killing as a tech writer. Spent 5 years as a financial advisor? Ka-ching! That’s the sound of you cashing in as a freelance finance writer.

There are various writing niches you could explore, but I am focusing on business blogging in this post. Learn how to write in more technical styles and you can really cash in!

3) Develop your craft

You do not have to have a degree in English or Communications (or a degree at all) to be a successful freelance writer, but you do need to know how to write reasonably well.

Brush up on your grammar with The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation (available 100% FREE online) and hunt down a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.

Select a few top blogs in your niche to read daily so you will become familiar with the type of style you should use. Studying good copy will make you a stronger writer.

4) Re-purpose social media

Social media can be very powerful tools for business. Make sure you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and anywhere else your potential customers are likely to hang out.

Most importantly, set up a Linkedin profile. A Linkedin account is a must-have for freelance writers to connect with bloggers and business owners who will pay for your services. You could even find a mentor in the form of a more experienced writer who has been in your shoes.

5) Create samples

Once you have picked your specialty (or niche), it’s time to brainstorm various topics that relate to your field. Try to come up with at least 30 ideas for possible posts.

If you get stuck, try doing a Google search for blogs in the same field. Pay attention to the types of posts and other content being shared most frequently.

Whatever you do, don’t plagiarize! Take notes about what appears to work and try to incorporate those elements into your own writing.

Produce three samples that are 750-1000 words in length (the longer, the better). Does that number make you pause? I’m willing to bet you write more than that on social media or via text on a daily basis.

A word on how to format your samples:

Research how to write for the web. Make your pieces easy to scan. Use lots of white space, bullet points, section headers, and ellipses. Stick with simpler language and short paragraphs with no more than 2-4 sentences each.

Use tools like Grammarly and Hemingway to check the spelling, grammar, and readability of your pieces.

After you’ve written your sample, take a break from it for 24 hours. Re-read it out loud and listen to how the words flow. If anything sounds awkward while you’re saying it, it’ll be awkward for others to read it.

Get a second pair of eyes on your copy to catch anything you may have missed (your spouse is a good candidate).

6) Create your website

You’ve got to market your services in order to begin making money. Your own website is the best way to introduce the world to your amazing skills.

This is where you will end up having to spend some cash on your business. You can get away with a free option in the beginning but plan to save some money to have a proper website built for you or to purchase the tools you need to do it yourself (no coding required, unless you like that sort of thing). A professional website is not that expensive and it can go a long way towards getting you high paying writing jobs.

To start, a free portfolio on Contently or on WordPress.com will work. If you have a little money to spend each month, you may want to look into Squarespace.

7) Guest Post

Remember that list you made of blogs in your industry (see step 3)? Get it out again and check to see whether they are accepting guest posters. You are going to use your samples to showcase your abilities and land the writing opportunities you need to beef up your portfolio.

Aim for 3-5 solid guest posts on established blogs. When the posts are live, be sure to share your work on social media.

Include 3-4 images to go with the piece you’ve written. You can find free pictures on unsplash.com, pexels.com, and pixabay.com.

Warning: Artists provide their work for free on these sites, but some do require to be credited if their work is used. Don’t get into legal trouble here.

Support the points you make in your post by linking to reputable sources. Notice I have done that throughout this post. Not only is linking out a good way to support what you are saying, it is also a good way to optimize your content for search engines.

8) Cold Pitch

Now that you’ve got a nice portfolio with live, bylined posts, it’s time to pitch for paid opportunities. Set a goal to send 5-10 cold pitches daily during nap time. Make sure to include links to your best pieces and propose a piece you think would be great for the blog for which you’d like to write.

 

Important-make sure you’ve researched whether someone has already written about your proposed topic. Do a search on google for “[proposed topic]” site:[website.com]to find out. If someone has covered your topic, think of something else to write.

 

Keep track of where you are pitching and remember to follow up. Editors and business owners are busy people. Remember, today’s “no” could be tomorrow’s “yes”. Check in periodically with blogs that have turned you down in the past to see if there are current opportunities that are a better fit.

Become a freelance writer

 

9) Improve Continuously

Good writers keep improving their abilities. You don’t need a degree, but you do need to develop yourself with ongoing training.

Get a library card and check out books on writing.Use that same library card to get a free account on lynda.com to learn skills you need to run a business.

Udemy has regular sales of courses for as low as $10. Subscribe to their mailing list so you can catch the next one. Try to pick up some (or all) of Shani Raja’s courses when they are discounted. Thank me later.

Some of the best writing courses for first-time freelancers also have pretty affordable payment plan options:

Write to 1k

Killer Cold Emailing

Earn More Writing

Subscribe to the newsletters from the following blogs and put what you read into practice:

Copyhackers

Writers in Charge

Freelancer FAQs

Feeling overwhelmed?

Take a deep breath. The journey to build a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and do it the right way.

Every business requires hard work and investment to grow. Ultimately, you will get out of this experience what you put into it.

The ball’s in your court! What changes are you going to make in your schedule to make financial freedom a reality? I want to hear from you in the comments!

 

 

Tiffany A Ingle is a content marketing strategist and B2B blogger for hire running the one woman show known as Taingled Web. She’s also a wife and homeschooling mother of two. She’d love it if you would say hi on Twitter@taingledweb.

Making Money Through EBay

Making Money Through EBay

eBay is the most searched platform for buyers looking to buy items be it new, old or vintage. It’s easier to shop on, you get what you want delivered to your door step and you don’t have to dress up, go out to multiple stores to find what you are looking for. You must be wondering why I’m giving you all this information? That’s because, you too can make money with eBay by selling to other consumers if you really try.

(Today’s post is brought to you by Garima Talreja, the hearts and brains behind Curious Babe)

One of the easiest ways to make money on eBay is to sell items you don’t use anymore, your old clothes, that corner table gathering dust or your old shoes. Why let old stuff lay around the house, occupy more space when you can sell them on eBay, make money and buy new things?

On my trip to India a few months back, I saw a television ad which was promoting a “6 month break up” challenge. They were encouraging people to get rid of anything they haven’t used in last 6 months because statistically if you haven’t used them for 6 months, it’s likely that you won’t use them in future as well. So why not declutter your house and wardrobe and make some money?

Let’s talk about selling clothes on eBay —

More than anything, what keeps accumulating in our closet are clothes. Some are impulse purchases, others don’t fit us any more or may be out of season now. The best way to decide what to throw and what to keep is to ask yourself – if you had to shop right now, and saw this item on shelf would you buy it? If the answer is no, the item goes out!

Start small, pick one drawer and find out clothes to discard, once you have them, follow the following steps –

Step 1 – Research on eBay to evaluate the market for your garment. You can do so by checking on completed or sold listings to see what keywords are being used in association to it and how much are sellers selling them for.

Step 2 – Dry clean / wash and iron your garments. You can replace the missing buttons if you have extras lying around in the house, get any stains off it and ensure that it is in the best possible condition. This would help you get the price you’ll demand for.

Step 3 – Take clear and quality pictures of your garments. This is one of the most important steps to make a sale online. Since your customer can’t feel or touch your clothes, your pictures are going to attract them to open your listing and check it out.

When taking pictures, laying them down on a table or a floor with a white background. If you don’t have one, you can use a white sheet or board as base. Then, take pics from all angles – front, back, neck and prints / patches or anything you feel is worth highlighting. Also take pictures of any defects in the item. This way you don’t have anything to hide and the buyer would not return the item or do a case on you for false or misleading information.

Always take pictures in daylight, this will enhance the natural colors of your clothing. If you still feel there’s not enough light and your pictures have come out dark, clean them by using editing software. I always prefer to use Picasa, it’s a free editing software and you can download it online.

*Note – When editing, make sure that the image size is 500 x 500 px or more as required by eBay.

Step 4 – Once you’ve taken the pictures, your next task is to write down the measurements and other details like color, cloth material, size, pockets etc. Include anything and everything you feel is relevant to your clothes and the buyer should know about. Remember, buyers don’t necessarily like surprises therefore, it’s better to provide them with all the information to avoid returns and refunds.

Step 5 – Now that you have the pictures and the details of your garment, it’s time to list your item on eBay.

Make sure your title is clear and contains all the necessary keywords like brand name, size, color etc. E.g. – Blue Cotton On Jeans For Women Size 30 High Waist

Add the item specifics and describe the condition of your garment. You can also add the reason for sale in the condition description, thereby making an emotional connection with your buyer. In the description box, write all the information you jotted down in step 4.

Use the information from research in step 1 to figure out if you want to sell your item at Buy It Now or Auction it. Looking at similar items will also help you decide how much you can / should sell it for. Don’t forget to add eBay (10%) and PayPal fees (2.9% + $0.3) to your final price to avoid paying for it from your pocket.

For shipping with used products, it’s best to keep it domestic. My advice would be to add the cost of shipping to your selling price and offer Free Shipping. Statistics has shown that 46% of customers cancel their orders if there is no free shipping, whereas, 75% of the customers will purchase more when there is free shipping included. Select the standard shipping option and handling time for up to 2 days.

Voila! You’ve made your eBay first listing and ready to make some money!

Answer any queries that come your way from consumers and when the item is sold, secure it in nicely, add a “Thank You” note to your buyer, put it in a box and ship it. Once you do so, add the tracking number in your listing and leave a feedback.

Repeat the steps to sell out old items lying around in the house and make more space for new ones while making more money.

Have you ever sold anything on eBay before? Comment below and let me know!

 

 

My name is Garima Talreja and I’m the hearts and brains behind Curious Babe. It’s an online community for emerging women entrepreneurs who want to start their own online business. I got started selling on eBay when I moved to Melbourne in summer of 2014. It’s been a long and interesting journey from selling old items to now dropshipping new products from multiple suppliers online. My mission is to help other women who want to start their own e-commerce business and make money whilst spending time with their family. Find me on Facebook, follow me on Instagram, and let’s connect on Pinterest!

 

 

The Six Best Ways to Save Money on Diapers

The Six Best Ways to Save Money on Diapers

If you’re not properly prepared to save money on diapers, they can cost you upwards of $2,000 in the first two years of your child’s life. If you make the (slightly crazy) decision to have two babies close together – like mine, who are 16 months and 2 days apart – you’re looking at even more!

Now I know cloth diapering is by far the cheaper route to take when it comes to diapering a child, but we did what we had to in order to abide by daycare rules and time constraints. I definitely plan to cloth diaper our next child (as I am now a stay at home mom) so if you’ve got tips on that, be sure to comment below!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a commission should you click through and purchase. This in no way impacts my opinions below.

Save Money on Diapers

ideas to save money on diapers

How many diapers will I need for my baby?

My son was (and still is) around the 55th percentile and here’s his dirty diaper breakdown:

  • Newborn – honestly could’ve done without these. He was 7lbs, 3 oz and 20.5 inches long but the newborn diapers are so itty bitty. We used up the pack that was provided by the hospital but after that we were in size 1.
  • Size 1 – 716
  • Size 2 – 300
  • Size 3 – 1,440
  • Size 4 – 463
  • Size 5 – 1,980 (and counting…)

Despite having gone through over 5,000 diapers, I’ve only spent $380 on diapers for my two year old.

Host a Diaper Party

Baby showers are old hat. Throw a co-ed diaper party instead! I would definitely still recommend completing a registry to at least earn some free swag or a percentage off what you need/want for baby, but believe me you’ll appreciate having a mountain of diapers much more than a monogrammed sterling silver rattle.

Stockpile Diapers

After your diaper party, assess your stash. Obviously the diapers needed per child will vary widely, but chances are high you’ll need mostly size 3, 4, and 5 and very few newborn/size 1. I will also note that with my first born I was a bit more neurotic about changing him every two-three hours, no matter if he needed it or not, so we went through more of the smaller sizes than we did with Baby #2. 

If you received ten boxes of size 1s, take this time pre-baby and return them. If you don’t know which store they came from, you can often look online to see if a certain store (such as Target) has the same kind of diaper as that which you’re looking to return. Many stores will exchange diapers with little-to-no hassle.

Once you’ve assessed your stash, you’ll have a better idea as to how many diapers to buy whenever you spot a good deal. When you do find a seemingly great price, make sure you think price per diaper and not price per package. You may notice certain brands cost different, depending on the type…which brings me to my next point:

Do Diaper Brands Matter

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never noticed a difference in Pampers Swaddlers versus Baby Dry versus whatever other ones they have. For me, it comes down to the price per diaper. Because my children have a tendency to soak through the generic brands, I do invest in Pampers for the night time. During the day, though, especially when the daycare changes them every two hours, generic works great. I’m a fan of the Target brand diapers, especially since they usually offer gift card deals with your purchase, free shipping, and 5% off if you use your RedCard! Believe it or not, I’ll also grab diapers from my favorite grocery store — Aldi!

Buy Diapers Online

As you may already know, I’m all about having stuff delivered straight to my house! With two kids in diapers, one being a wild toddler and the other a breastfed infant, I’m not a fan of running errands when I don’t absolutely have to. While places like CVS may sometimes have great deals on diapers that you can stack coupons on, the pennies I could save aren’t worth the time and stress that comes from shopping with two babies in tow. I do about 75% of my purchasing via Amazon and I love it.

Amazon Family does offer a 20% discount when you subscribe to their diaper service, but I’d stay away until you’re in 4s/5s and know you won’t be changing sizes any time soon. While it’s not necessarily hard to return things to Amazon, it’s not exactly fun either! If you do subscribe, you also need to make sure you’ve got it in your budget each month so that the auto-deduction doesn’t provide you with any unwelcome surprises. Speaking of being careful…

Diaper carefully!

The ridges along the leg holes of the diaper are there for a reason. Make sure that those ridges are splayed out and not tucked back into the diaper or you’ll soon not only have a wet diaper, but a wet baby, and your plan to save time doing laundry is shot. Also, with little boys, make sure you’re careful when you’re changing (use a wipe to cover him so you don’t get sprayed) and also when you’re putting the clean diaper on (point down or again you’re at risk for a wet baby!)

Diaper Freebies

Finally, make sure you’re signing up with the diaper companies (Pampers, Huggies, Honest Company, Luvs, 7th Generation…) They’ll likely send you samples and coupons. As I mentioned before, we’re a Pampers family when we’re not using generic, so we also participate in the Pampers Rewards Program. Not only can you earn rewards for buying diapers, but they often have special offers, like free Shutterfly merchandise!

You can’t be prepared for the changes that parenthood brings to your life, but you can at least prepare your budget and ensure you don’t spend more than you have to.

One final tip – if you have an Aldi near you, go there to buy your wipes!! I love how thick and durable they are and I’ve yet to find anywhere cheaper (even when buying in bulk!)

What’s YOUR best tip to save money with a new baby?

 

A Review of InboxDollars

A Review of InboxDollars

Looking for a review of InboxDollars? You’ve come to the right place! Today over my lunch hour I made $50! And now I’d like to show you how to do the same.

Disclosure: Any link to InboxDollars within this article is a referral link, which means I may be compensated for your sign-up, but this does not in any way affect my thoughts or feelings towards InboxDollars.

InboxDollars Review

legit survey site inboxdollars review

InboxDollars is one of the few sites that I’ve found that actually prove to be worthwhile (and by worthwhile I mean I’m making more than $.50/hour). The ONLY other site I highly recommend is SurveySavvy, which you can read about here, and there are lots of great ways to make money online other than survey sites.

InboxDollars is great, though, and very “newbie” friendly so even if you’re just branching out into learning how to make money online, this site will work for you. It’s still like a lot of your typical survey sites – little pay out in regards to time put in – but it’s something you can do while watching t.v. or waiting for a bus.

A Review of InboxDollars: How to Make Money Online!

You can also earn at least $50 in the first hour that you sign-up.

How to Earn More with InboxDollars

  • The $5 sign-up bonus. Woo! $5 made in 30 seconds, we’re on the right track.
  • Complete List #1 ($.50)
  • Watch the How-To Video ($.15)
  • Complete List #2 ($1 plus $ for e-mails and surveys done)
  • Take the Interests, Household, General Profile, and Qualifications Surveys ($1.25)
  • Go to the site via your phone and download whatever apps you can/want ($2.59 for me, varies depending on what you download)

InboxDollars Cash Offers

  • Go to Cash Offers – here’s what the real money is. Look for 100% free offers. The Grow-Up Plan from Gerber will earn you $1, signing up for Bing Rewards (great in and of itself) earns you another $1.Others I chose:
    • Publishers Clearing House – hey, a girl can dream about winning it big but in the mean time I’ll settle for $1
    • Big Buck Survey – $2.25
    • FlexShopper – $6!
    • Swappable – This is one where you have to spend money to make money but it’s worth it. If you shop at The Gap or Old Navy, definitely choose one of those cards as you can save even more than I did. I chose the $50 BP card because goodness knows we always need gas. So I got $5 towards my first purchase, plus $6 from InboxDollars for making the purchase, plus .$50 for using my Amazon card to make the purchase. So here I basically got $50 in gas for only $39.50!
    • Discover Card – I like Discover and the rewards on this card are decent, so if you’re in the market for a new credit card, this is definitely worth applying for. $20 for approved users. Just make sure you stay thrifty and only put on there what you can pay off when the bill comes!
    • Nielsen Online – $5
  • Spin and Win – at least you get something for failing to qualify for those surveys. Won a whole $.60 from this!
  • Paid E-mails – set your preferences so that you don’t get these to your actual e-mail. Click through via the site and earn $.02 per click.
  • Grocery coupons – I do most of my shopping online, but these are still worth looking into to. Just make sure the savings is worth the cost of printing.
  • Searches – If you’re not using Bing (or even if you are), use the ID search every once in a while. You’ll win cash or sweeps every time you complete 4 searches and you can earn a $.05 bonus each week you search four or more days.
  • Donations – InboxDollars will often offer great rewards for donating to a not-for-profit. These change regularly so check to see if your favorite is there!

Is InboxDollars legit?

It most definitely is! It won’t necessarily make you rich and you can’t bank $50 for every hour you spend on it. But you can bank $50+ and continue to earn pennies here and there at your leisure. I decided to cash out shortly before the end of the year and then start fresh to see just how much I can make in one year with minimal effort.

InboxDollars Proof of Payment

My first payment!

In the meantime, get to InboxDollars and let me know how much you make over your lunch hour today!

 

Are you a fan of survey sites? Which ones have you tried?

For better or worse, tell me about ’em in the comments below!

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