Archive for the ‘Money & Finance’ Category

Earn Money Through Rakuten Cash Back Offers

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

Are you looking for an easy way to earn cash back or even double cash back on your purchases? Today you will learn how Rakuten can save you money online and at your favorite brick and mortar stores. Join me for the first post in our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series.

Have you heard of Rakuten before? Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a site that gives you cashback on on qualifying purchases. Simply use this referral link to receive your first $10 to shop with and to get began earning your own cash back rewards.

How Do I Get Started With Rakuten?

Begin by adding the Rakuten extension to your computer and also downloading the Rakuten app to your phone. These two quick installations will make it so much easier to remember to use this tool when doing your shopping.

Be sure to completely fill out your Rakuten profile and either supply your shipping address for checks or PayPal account information to have your earnings directly deposited in your account.

Once you have your Rakuten account set-up, take a few minutes to browse the site and begin adding shops to your personal favorites list. Keep in mind, Rakuten has over 2,500 shops (!!!) so it might take a little bit to add all of your favorites to your own personal list.

If in doubt, your cash back button can let you know if they offer a reward or not.

 

Your list may look similar to mine (see above) so here are some examples of the shops I have added to my Favorite Shops list!

Old Navy
Amazon
LOFT
Brandless
Grove Collaborative
Walmart
Target
Anthropologie
Gap
Banana Republic
eBay
The Vitamin Shoppe
Groupon
Orbitz
Travelocity
Dollar Shave Club
Florists.com

How Does It Work?

The purpose of these passive income monthly challenges is meant to encourage you to EARN money and not SPEND it. I encourage you to use this as a tool only for purchases you were already planning to make this month.

Earn Money Through Rakuten Cash Back Rewards from MomAdvice.com

If you are online shopping, click the store you want to shop and make sure that you have your cash back button activated. Alternatively, you can shop directly by visiting the Rakuten page itself.

Click, “Activate Rewards,” and then be sure to note any coupon codes that they also provide within the pop-up.

That’s right. You CAN layer coupon codes with your cash back rewards!

How cool is that?

Once the store has let Rakuten know that you have completed your purchase, they add and notify you of the new rewards in your account. Please note, this does sometimes take up to a few days to show up in your account. Don’t worry!

Every three months, they will send you the Cash Back you’ve earned via a Big Fat Check or the PayPal account you supplied. If you have been dependent on points for rewards before, you are going to love this strategy for making real money instead!

Earn Money With the Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

How Do I Take Advantage of Rakuten Cashback Rewards at Brick & Mortar Stores?

Do you prefer shopping the old-fashioned way? You can still take advantage of the Rakuten Cashback rewards at your favorite brick and mortar stores. Since you downloaded the app already, you are halfway there to that bonus money in your pocket.

Click on the In-Store Cashback Offers link and and on the store offer you would like to take advantage of. You will then link the offer to the card you plan to use when you do your shopping.

Once the card is saved, this will allow Rakuten to track the finalization of the purchase and add your cashback rewards to your account.

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

How Can I Make Extra Money for My Family With Rakuten?

I want to make the most rakuten cash that I can this month so here are some things I’m planning to do to increase my balance.

Book Our Vacations & Travel Through the Rakuten App– I am attending a conference next month and never realized that they offered cash back rewards on things like car rentals, flights, hotels, and even Groupon deals. I have to book my flight anyway so I might as well make 5-6% back on my my travel expenses.

Earn Money Through the Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

Watch the Double Cash Back Stores Listing For Gifts- As we ramp up for the next round of holiday shopping, I am going to make their list of double cash back rewards a priority to shop through. If I double my earnings, that will allow me to collect my cash back quicker.

I typically purchase floral arrangements for family holidays and now I know that one of their cash back shops offers a whopping 17% back on your purchase. It will also be a good place to check if I do any subscription box services as gifts this year. Birch Box, for example, makes 7.5% back!

Purchase School Supplies & Uniforms Through Rakuten- School uniforms can be a big expense each year so it is a no-brainer that this app is the way to go to get a little of our cash back on our purchases. While I did get my kids their summer shirts, I will still need to load up on their warmer uniform apparel and winter coats.

Make Some Household Expenses Through Rakuten- There are lots of things we have to buy for our household that could be earning us some cash back rewards. Some of our regular purchases include air filters, light bulbs, toiletry items, pet supplies, ink cartridges for our printer, contacts, glasses, vitamins, and supplements. All of these can now be seen as avenues for cash back into our wallets!

If I’m printing any photos or doing holiday cards this year, I do plan to check here first before making any decisions.

We also happen to be making improvements to our home’s exterior so I will be visiting their list of shops (like Lowes & Overstock) for discounts on my new shutters and outdoor lights.

The Lucrative Refer a Friend Program- Did you know that for every referral you send to Rakuten you make $25? Each of your friends will receive $10 and you will receive the $25 just for sharing about this smart shopping app.

Obviously, being a blogger does have referral advantages, but I bet you have people in your life who don’t know how much they could be earning too. Share your referral link with them via email or through your Facebook wall.

Are you part of any Facebook groups that offer space for referral sharing? Several of the Facebook groups I am part of, for example, have a designated share thread where you can refer people to things you are loving weekly.

Keep in mind, Rakuten does offer a credit card with additional rewards, if you are looking for more money back too. The potential for stacking all of this is pretty incredible.

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com

Join My October Passive Income Challenge

For the month of October, I am going to be purposeful with using the Rakuten app to see how much we can earn.

Would you like to take the challenge too?

I would love to have you!

In November, I will report back what I learned through this experience and how much passive income I earned.

I’d love to hear what your experience has been with Rakuten! Have you earned money from this passive income avenue before? Do you have any tips for shopping to share with our readers? I’d love to hear them!

this post contains affiliate links

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

Passive Income Ideas for Busy Moms

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com

What if I told you that you could be earning thousands by learning about passive income streams? This year we are exploring the best side hustles to help you earn money for a better financial future. Be sure to bookmark this page to learn ways I’m making extra money for my family. 

Many years ago, I was featured on a couple of talk shows to chat about my experience with work-at-home scams. I just couldn’t believe my luck. This broke Midwest woman would be ON TV to teach others how to avoid scams.

Here’s the thing.

I thought that I was going to be the EXPERT.

When the segment began, I quickly realized that I was the work-at-home VICTIM instead.

I Want To Help You Because I Was Scammed

The truth was, I had been a victim of a work-at-home scam and I was really ashamed of it.

When I was a brand new mom , I desperately wanted to find a way to stay home with my kids. This desperation is why I signed up for a UPS & Federal Express refund software software program. With this purchase, I was promised dozens of dollars. I was so excited to get my business started and unlock this secret wealth with only $69 of software!

Frankly, I was surprised no one else had discovered it.

I was sold a software packaged that claimed to track packages to see if they were late for delivery or not.

Did you know that if a package arrives late for delivery, that you are entitled for a full refund?

According to the software company, many businesses send out large shipments, but don’t ever track their packages.

All I had to do was call, on behalf of my clientele, and they would receive a fifty percent refund.

The other fifty percent would go in your pocket for your good detective work.

Obviously, these people will agree to this because this is money that they wouldn’t have had otherwise.

Did you not know that you can make $50-75 an hour from the comfort of your own home just by tracking packages?

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

First of all, neither Federal Express nor UPS is affiliated with any of these software programs.

Secondly, they also had every right to refuse the refund to you. After all, you were just a third-party who did not pay for the shipping in the first place.

UPS online tracking system can only be used by the sender of the package or by the recipient, making my software absolutely worthless.

This tracking software could not be for someone’s commercial gain unless UPS openly authorized it. To top it off, UPS prohibits any uses of automated software to access its online shipping-related systems.

Therefore, the software you would be using would be deemed illegal.

I had also been under the assumption that the company would provide a list of people to contact to make this magical money.

What they actually did was provide was a list of categories of businesses to target, like the health industry or retail.

Then, apparently, you just sit back and watch people chomping at the bit to get this amazing service.

Who in the world would ever give out any of this private tracking information on their packages to a complete stranger though?

The answer to that, of course, would be no one in their right mind.

This was my embarrassing story for the world and I’m so thankful I can tell a different one now.

Passive Income Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com

Passive Income for Busy Moms Series

If you haven’t read my book, you might not be aware that our family became riddled with debt after the dot com bomb happened. My husband’s job loss found us deep in debt and struggling to even pay for our groceries. You can read a little more about our story in this feature in Redbook!

Financial struggles, honestly, ended up being the hardest and best thing that I could have been given.

Although being broke was so damn difficult it ended up strengthening our marriage and providing a new job for me.

During that challenging chapter, I tried so many crazy things to make our family money. In the true height of my hustling days, I filled out surveys, working to accumulate points through purchases, and even mystery shopped.

Now that we are in a much better place financially, I am looking ahead to new opportunities to save for our retirement. It is also why I’m, personally, taking a deep dive into wealth building.

What fun is it to do this alone when we could do this together though?

Of course, a savvier business woman would make you buy an online course or spend time writing a book. The thing is, I’m a big fan of the blog format and think this would be such a fun exploration.

If you are saving for retirement, not making enough working full-time, or just a single mom who is responsible for two incomes (NO BIGGIE! YEAH, RIGHT!)… I want to help you.

Please keep in mind, I plan to offer realistic strategies. As a working mom, I am already to capacity with how much I can take on my plate so I understand how important it is to not sacrifice a lot more time for money.

Whatever amount of money you are after, I am hoping to provide some new ways to make money for your family.

How Will the Passive Income for Busy Moms Series Work?

Each month I will share one way you can make money for your family through a variety of avenues. These posts will encourage you to explore creative ways to make money that you may not have thought of.

I will be signing up for these programs (or as much as we can that is applicable to our family) and sharing my results after one month.

If you are interested, you can sign up for these programs too and we can share how we all did in each segment.

NO PRESSURE THOUGH!

Here’s the thing… if there is one thing I have learned from making money through my blog, it is that you should NEVER put all your eggs in one basket.

I am using that same strategy this year to build passive wealth.

In a year, I will share how much I accumulated through these passive income streams and what I learned from the experience.

Is This Only for Blogging or Podcasting Moms?

No, this series is for everyone. I do plan to share though about how I make passive income through affiliate marketing and affiliate links in one post, for my blogging/podcast pals. I do personally know that blogging can be an incredible avenue to financial freedom. That is how we broke free from our debt-ridden lives.

I started my blog many years ago though and now it seems SO much harder to build a loyal audience. I am not saying that you can’t have instant blogging success, but I do think it takes time!

What Do I Get Out of It?

We have TWO teenagers that we hope to be able to help financially with some of their college expenses. We also are working hard to save for our own retirement and know that we need to learn new ways to save to reach those goals.

These blog posts are going to hold me accountable to try all avenues to wealth building and share this with you.

While extra money is incredible, I am even more thankful that we can spread the wealth around and bless others with it. We try to do as much as we can to assist others while still keeping our financial safety net in place.

As a blogger, I do make commissions if you sign up or purchase anything through my links. You don’t have to do that, but it won’t cost you anything to use them.

Although it might be taboo to talk about, running this website is a huge expense for our family. There are lots of expenses that go into website ownership: paying to mail newsletters, web hosting, graphic design tools, photography tools, courses, food/craft supplies, and social media scheduling tools… just to name a few!

Running this site (a gift- I promise I’m not complaining!) costs our family thousands and thousands of dollars every year.

Those commissions help this site to continue being a long term free resource to our readers.

Now that you know about the series, we will be jumping in with our first experiment together. I will keep the list of passive income stream opportunities below and the one month reflections will also be linked. Be sure to bookmark this page or subscribe to my newsletter to stay up-to-date with this experiment.

Passive Income Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com

Passive Income For Mom Wealth Building Lessons & Results

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com

EXPLORE OUR FIRST MONEY-MAKER!!Earn Money Through Rakuten (October Challenge)

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms

This post contains affiliate links.

 

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans

Monday, September 16th, 2019

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

If your favorite jeans have faded and you would like to restore the color, you won’t want to miss today’s tutorial to help you get that perfect wash back on your denim items. Follow these steps for restoring color with fabric dyes in the washing machine or even over the stovetop with this easy DIY tutorial.

Several years ago I bought the best pair of jeans ever made. They were a classic pair of black Gap Straight Fit Jeans that I found from Goodwill with a Fall ’03 label on them. They fit me like a glove, made me feel slim, and hit at the perfect length.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

Have you ever wondered what to do with a favorite pair of jeans you really love and that are really starting to look like they should be retired?

Well, today I wanted to show you how I dyed my black jeans black again and restored this old pair into something that looks like brand new for less than $5!

Yup, you heard me right!

You CAN dye jeans.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

These jeans were black, but they have faded after a million times in my washing machine.

I actually think these would have been cool in eighth grade when I begged my mama to buy me a pair of stonewashed jeans that looked like they had been beat to death.

Sadly, I am no longer an eighth grader and I am starting to feel self conscious when I wear these out.

I’m tired of being judged.

Time to hit the craft store. Grab your coupons!

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

I headed to Joann Fabrics and over by the t-shirts and t-shirt decorating supplies is an aisle filled with fabric dyes.

You will need two boxes of the powdered Rit dye in your desired color.

They do offer a liquid version, but it is my understanding that the powder seems to be a bit more concentrated and adhere a little better to the fabric.

I haven’t tested this theory, but I wanted this color to stick so I went with the powdered version.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Back to black, old friend.

It makes me want to break out my Amy Winehouse playlist right now.

I used two boxes of this Rit dye in black for my jeans. If your aim is to go back to blue with your jeans, you will want two boxes of Navy (for dark jeans) or Indigo (for a lighter wash).

Be careful with the Indigo & Navy though as there are many comments reporting that this one can turn your jeans more purple than blue.

Always follow the package directions for the best advice!

My only experience is with the BLACK dye. As you can see in the after pictures, it isn’t a true black so this is the color that I would recommend for a dark wash jean!


Let’s get started!

 

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans Tutorial

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Our family has a HE washer so I am sharing with you how to dye your jeans using your HE washer.

At the end of the post, I will share the other Rit recommendations depending on your own scenario.

All scenarios create a big mess, but just think of your new-to-you jeans!

Did I already warn you?

This is going to get really messy.

I recommend throwing on old clothes and a pair of rubber gloves while you mix this.

In a glass measuring cup add four cups of the hottest water possible out of your tap.

VERY carefully, add 1 cup of table salt and the contents of two of the powdered packet.

Using a metal spoon and VERY carefully stir the contents.

In your laundry sink, wet your jeans in warm water and then place them in your washer wet.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

It is important to use the washer’s hottest water setting.

Additionally, a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes is recommended to obtain a satisfactory dyeing.

I set my washer to the Whitest White Cycle because it had hot water and was one of the longest running cycles on my washer.

Consult your washer manual to figure out which setting would be best for you. Go ahead and start the cycle with your wet jeans in there.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Here comes the super scary part.

VERY carefully pour your dye solution into the spot where you put your detergent after you start your cycle.

Try to not panic like I did. I promise it will all work out.

Once the dye goes into the cycle (you will be able to tell when you open up your detergent compartment and see the dye filling in the washer) fill it with four cups of the hottest tap water possible and put it in the same exact spot you put your dye in (the powdered detergent holder) to flush the color out.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

If you value your sink, this might not be a good thing because your sink will turn blue from the dye.

You will have to bleach it if you want to maintain a pristine sink.

Ours is obviously very classy down in our basement with a single light bulb attached to a piece of string.

Try not to be jealous of my laundry room.

Once your jeans are done, run it through another round or two of a warm wash cycle with detergent.

You want to check the water to see when it begins to run clear before you dry them to make sure all the color has absorbed into the jeans.

As a precautionary measure, wash the jeans separate from other items until you are completely sure that the dye will not transfer.

After that, just run them through the dryer on your usual cycle.

Notes on Retaining Color and Resisting the Fade

Other readers have shared that Retayne is a great product to use to help your fabrics retain the rich colors that you have dyed them.

Soaking your already-dyed garment in salt and/or vinegar will not set your dye.

At best, it will just add another washing, which will help to remove some of your excess dye.

The salt in the dye bath, however, helps the dye to approach the fabric instead of staying in the water, and vinegar can helps dye nylon or wool, but not cotton (like these jeans). Neither salt or vinegar is actually a dye fixative for already-dyed fiber.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

After you are done, you will want to clean your washing machine.

Clean your washing machine immediately after dyeing has completed using the hottest water setting.

Since the machine automatically weighs fabric to determine the water level, place 3-4 old towels into the washer along with detergent and 1 to 2 cups chlorine bleach.

Wipe spills with paper towels sprayed with a chlorine bleach solution. Plastic or rubber parts may be tinted but will not stain laundry.

I happened to have a box of this Tide Washing Machine Cleaner and I used that in lieu of messing with the bleach.

That’s it.

A day of effort with less than $5 in supplies for a pair of new-to-you jeans.

Here are my new-to-me jeans…

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

My faded barely gray jeans are now a much richer and more solid color.

I still can’t believe that this is the same pair of jeans.

Just to be up front, I used the same exact spot in my house, same time of day, and same settings on my camera so this is no trick in photography.

It really has restored the color in my jeans.

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Here is a side by side of the jeans.

When they are lined up next to each other, you can see just how dramatically different this pair of jeans is.

I am amazed at the results and feel like I got a brand new pair of jeans for less than $5 in supplies.

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

The one thing I was worried about was that the seam would be dyed along with the rest of the fabric, but the seam actually didn’t absorb the dye.

This was a lovely, lovely surprise!

If you are in love with a pair of jeans at the thrift store or simply want to restore some color in your old jeans, I encourage you to pick up some Rit fabric dye and give this a try!

The results are dramatic, while still being easy on your wallet!

How To Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com.

Other Methods of Dyeing With Rit Dye

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

For Top-Loading Machines

Fill machine with enough hot water for fabric to move freely. Refer to the chart below for the right amount of dye to add. Pre-dissolve powder in 2 cups of hot water. Add pre-dissolved powder or liquid to hot dye bath.

Wet fabric in hot water. Uncrumple and add to dye bath.

Set machine for extended wash cycle. Fabric should be in dye bath for at least 30 minutes before rinse begins. (You can reset your washing machine before the rinse cycle begins for extended wash cycle.)

Rinse in cold water until water runs clear. Wash deep shades in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.

Dry item in dryer or hang to dry.

Clean washing machine using highest water level with hot water, detergent and 1 cup chlorine bleach using complete wash cycle. Clean lint traps. Plastic or rubber machine parts may be tinted but will not stain laundry.

For Front-Loading Machines

The settings and options of various front-load washing machines vary among manufacturers.

Even though there are slight differences among differing manufacturer’s wash settings, they are common in that they all introduce water to the tumbler once the garment is placed inside. They allow a time period to introduce detergent (or dye in this case), and they all finish with a spin cycle.

It is important to use the washer’s hottest water setting. Additionally, a wash cycle of at least 30 minutes is recommended to obtain a satisfactory dyeing.

Because front-load washers have built-in heaters to maintain the washer’s temperature and the water to fabric ratio is relatively high as compared to top-load machines, deep rich colors can be achieved using Rit dyes.

How to Dye a Faded Pair of Jeans from MomAdvice.com

For Stovetop

Fill pot with enough hot water for fabric to move freely.

Remember: Use 1 package of Rit powder or 1/2 bottle of Rit liquid dye and 3 gallons of hot water for each pound of fabric.

Pre-dissolve powder in 2 cups of hot water.

Add pre-dissolved powder or liquid to dye bath. Stir to mix.

Wet fabric in hot water. Uncrumple and add to dye bath.

Bring dye bath to simmer. Stir constantly (back and forth, up and down) at least 30 minutes.

Rinse in warm water, then gradually cooler water until water runs clear. Hand wash item in warm water with mild detergent and rinse thoroughly in cool water.

Dry item in dryer or squeeze out excess water and allow them to air dry.

Clean containers immediately with chlorine bleach. Scrub with chlorine-based powder, liquid, or gel cleanser, if necessary.

Love this thrifty tutorial? Here are a few others I think you will love just as much!

How to dye canvas shoes how to dye canvas shoes

how to make a blanket scarf how to make a blanket scarf

No-Sew Scarf With Hidden Pocket scarf with no-sew hidden pocket

diy fitbit bracelet diy fitbit bracelet

knitted boot cuffs diy knitted boot cuffs

cabled earwarmer pattern cabled ear warmers

DIY Outdoor Movie Night diy outdoor movie night

 

 

 

How to Dye Your Jeans from MomAdvice.com

 

Have you ever used fabric dye for any projects? Any tips or recommendations when using fabric dye? Let’s share!

 

*This post contains affiliate links*

 

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How to Check Out Library Books on Your Kindle for Free

Monday, July 29th, 2019

 

Did you know that you can check out books for free just using your library card? Today I wanted to share a quick tutorial on how to borrow Kindle ebooks through your public library for free. 

Don’t have a Kindle device? 

That’s okay! 

You can also get books for free using a simple Kindle reading app on your phone or tablet. 

The reason I wanted to share this is because when I bought my Kindle Paperwhite (this is what I read on!), I had the hardest time figuring out how to borrow these books from their lending library and how to get those books that I ordered to move over to my Kindle device.

To me, it just wasn’t an intuitive process so today’s post is for anyone else who has struggled borrowing books on their Amazon Kindle or Fire tablet.

Step One: Get a Library Card

If you want to begin checking out Kindle books, you will need to begin with getting a library card from your local library. This card number is what you will use to access your account and allows you to get these free Kindle library books and audiobooks for free. 

When you get this card, you are typically assigned a pin that you will then use to access the Overdrive app that allows you to search for the books that you are interested in. If you have trouble figuring out a great library pin number, a local librarian offered the tip to make your pin the last four digits of your library card so you never forget it.

This is a great time to just confirm that your library is participating in Overdrive and also to ask about any other apps that might be available to you for digital lending. It is HIGHLY likely that your library is participating since over 11,000 libraries now offer this option. 

Step Two: Download the Overdrive Library App

Once you have confirmed that your library is participating, you will need to download the Overdrive Library App to your phone or tablet. If you do not want to use a mobile device, you can also access it online through your desktop. 

My library homepage, for example, is linked to Overdrive so I can just search directly on my desktop. 

Step Three: Sign Into Your Overdrive App

Once you have installed the app, you will select Sign Up Using Library Card  (or sign in using library card).

At this point, you will be able to search for your local library name or location. Select this library once you find it. You will want to search for the overall local library system (the county name) versus just the local branch you use.

You will then be prompted to add your library card information and pin number that you were assigned. Once you are signed in, it is time to start searching for digital books and audiobooks.

Step Four: Select and Check Out Your Books

I wanted to walk you through the step-by-step process of checking out the books, once you have the Overdrive app installed. This is where I got confused because I didn’t understand how the book was supposed to magically appear on my Kindle Paperwhite. 

Begin by searching for the book that you would like to borrow. You can search by title or author. Be sure that you are searching for the Kindle format and not the ePub because the Kindle format is what you will be reading on your Kindle device or through the Kindle app. 

Once you find your book, click BORROW to borrow this book.  Once you borrow it, you will be prompted for the timespan you would like to borrow this book for.

Make sure that you adjust this, especially if you need more time to read so you aren’t at risk of giving it up if it can’t be renewed. I always adjust my time to 21 days so I can enjoy the maximum length for borrowing times. 

Step Five: Sign Into Your Amazon Account and Borrow the Book

Once you have clicked that you want to borrow a book on the Overdrive app, it will automatically redirect you to your Amazon account to sign in. Sign into your account and then this screen will appear where it says, “Get Library Book.”  

As you can see in my screenshot, it is defaulting to the device that I use most (Amy’s 5th Kindle)…yes, we do own five in our house. 

Don’t you judge me. 

Once this has been clicked, you will find the book on your Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire, or in your Kindle app on your phone or tablet. 

Step Six: Complete the Book Download

Now that you can see the book on your chosen destination, click on it to download it. You will need to have wifi to complete this step so be sure you do this at home, if you might be traveling.

Once the download is complete, you can begin reading your book. 

Step Seven: Return Your Book When You Finish 

The other thing that often confuses people is how to return your book through the library reading apps. Honestly, you don’t need to necessarily return them when you finish because once your book expires, it will automatically remove itself from your Kindle. 

Overdrive does have book limits though so if you want to check out more, you might need to return your book to do that. 

Head to your Amazon account and then to the, “Manage Your Content and Devices,” page. You will see the book(s) you have borrowed and you can click the Actions tab next to it.

As shown in this screenshot, “Return This Book,” is one of these options.

Select that to return the book to the library. 

That’s it, you have successfully borrowed a book from the Kindle store and added it to your own personal library. 

Other FAQ About Borrowing Digitally

How do I renew my library books?

Is your Kindle (Paperwhite) library book expiring? Check this page for a step-by-step tutorial on how to renew that book

What other free reading apps might the library be connected with?

Looking for more free reading apps? 

Check your local library website or ask a librarian! Our library, for example, offers Libby, Hoopla, and Flipster

We can also checkout independent documentaries and films through the Kanopy app. 

This frugal girl loves a freebie so you know that I’m using ALL THE APPS.

What about free audiobooks from the library?

Did you know you can get audio books from the library for free? Borrowing audiobooks will differ depending on the type of device you are using to listen to them. The best resource for that will be this page that explains it step-by-step depending on your digital device you are using.

I usually just listen to them on my phone through the Overdrive app directly, but you might have other options depending on the device you are using. 

Where else can I read free books through my Kindle app or device?

First of all, if you are a Prime member, you can get a FREE book every single month!

Amazon Prime has a great program called, “Amazon First Reads,” that allows Prime members to shop for a book for free before it is released to the public. 

How cool is that? 

You can check this page each month for a free book

They also generously give you two books on certain months too. These aren’t throwaway books either. Some of my favorite novels have been from this Kindle First program.

Also, as a Prime member, you have access to the Kindle Lending Library where you can borrow books for free through Amazon. 

FYI- This is NOT the same as the Kindle Unlimited paid program (another confusing element to the Amazon services). 

You can access thousands of books for free through Prime and the offerings do change monthly. 

I would suggest signing up for their newsletters to stay up-to-date on the book offerings. They often send emails that warn you if a book is going to be removed from their Kindle Lending Library program and also lets you know when new books become available.

Project Gutenberg also offers over 59,000 books for free that you also can check out! 

I borrowed a book, but I’d love to have someone read it to me. How do I do that without buying or borrowing the audiobook version?

Did you know that Alexa can read your books to you?

NO JOKE. 

Keep in mind, this won’t be the beautifully narrated audiobook version, it will be Alexa reading to you. 

Get the scoop on what Alexa can read to you over here.

Why does my library not have new releases available to me?

This article might explain the issue better and the hurdles you may face securing a new release.

I want new books though. Where can I get them for cheap?

Check my deals page A.S.A.P. Bookmark this page and check back daily for the best Amazon steals and deals.

What Kindle book should I checkout next?

You will NEVER be bored again with reading because I’m here to guide you through every second of the way. Visit my book reviews section for the best reading material or join my FREE book club so you can find and discuss books with other bookworms! I even hosted an IN REAL LIFE reading retreat for our book club members

Still not enough book ideas? This MomAdvice Summer Reading Guide has you covered!

Have any questions about reading for free on your Kindle device or app? Leave them below and I will be happy to answer them. Happy FREE reading, everyone! 

Please note, this post contains affiliate links.

UPDATED: My Favorite Prime Deals

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

It’s time to talk Prime deals (again!) and I am excited to share with you a few of my absolute favorites today.

Please note, this will be updated throughout the day! I don’t want you to miss anything that you have had your eye on.

Important Deals to Take Advantage Of This Year:

Get $10 to spend on Amazon Prime Day (July 15 & 16) if you spend $10 at Whole Foods (in store or on Prime Now)

Get a $10 Amazon credit when you sign into the Amazon App for the first time (and add an additional $10 Amazon credit after your first in-app purchase!!!)

Amazon Pantry is running incredible deals– Buy 5, save $5. Buy 10, save $10. Buy 15, save $15. Take an additional $10 off a $40 purchase using the coupon code PANTRY. Haven’t used Prime Pantry before? New Prime Pantry customers  get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more with the coupon code 10BACK. 

4 Months of Amazon Music for just $.99

Get $5 Credit if you buy $25 in Amazon Gift Cards. Use coupon code GCPRIME19 to cash in this offer.

Bookish Offerings

NEW: 80% off Loads of Incredible Books Today

Get 3 Months FREE on a Kindle Unlimited Membership

Get 66% off a 3-Month Audible Membership

Kindle just $59.99 today!!

Kindle Oasis (take $79 off today!!)

Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite with Double the Storage is just $84.99 (or you can get a refurbished one for just $79.99)

Tech Deals

NEW: 70% off the Harry Potter films

Kindle Fire just $29.99!!

Nintendo Switch- $299.99 for system PLUS a $35 gift card to spend at the Nintendo shop

Gaming Mouse save $35 (this is great to put away for the holidays!!)

Fire TV Sticks with Alexa Voice Remote are only $14.99 today!! These are so great when you are traveling and want to catch up on your shows!

August SmartLock (save $69 today)

Ring Video Doorbell Pro with Echo Dot for just $169

Fire TV Cube just $69.99

AncestryDNA Kits for just $49

Garmin Forerunner 235 (save $80!)

Echo Show save $70 today

echobee4 smart thermostat save $69!!

Apple iPad Pro is discounted $430!!


Home & Kitchen

Snag an Instant Pot for Just $49.00 (NEW PRICE UPDATE!!)

NEW: Weighted Blankets are on discount!!

NEW: Save up to 40% off household essentials (BIG SAVINGS today!)

NEW: Half Off Egg Cookers

iRobot Roomba Vacuums are 30% off or more

Dyson Animal Vacuum is $249 off today!! 

Instant Pot Sous Vide Immersion Circulator (this clamps right onto your Instant Pot)

Ninja Air Fryer (save $30 today)

Lifestraw (under $10 today!)

Beauty & Clothing

Philips Sonicare DiamondCare Electric Toothbrush (save $84!!!)

NEW: Save up to 40% of Under Armour

NEW: 53% off Lands’ End Backpacks PLUS free shipping. Use coupon code BOOKBAG and pin 9619

Toys & Games

Photosynthesis (save almost $11!)

7 Wonders ($21 off!)

One Night a Werewolf ($14 off- this is a Clark family favorite)

Other Companies Looking to Get in On the Prime Fun

NEW: Jeans for Women for just $10 today!!

XBox One X (this is the lowest price I’ve seen on these!)

XBox One Bluetooth Wireless Controller just $39.99 (we love to have extra controllers on hand for our friends!)

Air Fryer XL, $69.99

Ninja Smart Screen Blender Duo

Google Home Mini just $25!

Bose SoundSport Earbuds just $39

Old Navy PLUS- huge discounts!!

What are you planning to buy today? Let me know if I have missed any good steals!

This post contains affiliate links!! 

5 Ways to Save Money When Facing a Chronic Illness

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

This post is sponsored by RxSaver by RetailMeNot and includes tracking links. For more information about tracking links and how to opt out, please visit All About Do Not Track prior to clicking any links found in this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

If there is one thing I have learned since my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome diagnosis, it is just how expensive having a chronic illness can be. The daily maintenance of medications, supplements, therapeutic services, doctor visits, medical devices, and dietary requirements can be extremely taxing on our budget. 

That is why I’m excited to partner today with RxSaver by RetailMeNot to share their online tool that helps you find the lowest prescription prices available. You can shop right at your own nearby pharmacy and save tons. 

As a budget-conscious person, I also wanted to share with you some strategies I have been using to save money to help offset some of our medical expenses. While we can’t always do financial planning for a chronic illness, we can learn better strategies for managing your money with your chronic illness.  

Here are 5 easy ways we saved while not compromising on the care I need to treat my condition!

Get Familiar with Your Health Insurance Plan

If you are fortunate enough to have health insurance, it is SO important to read what benefits are covered under your plan. With a brief scan, you may discover potential savings that allow you to explore services you thought you would have to pay out of pocket for. Many plans can offer coverage for items like medical equipment, home health agency services, physical or occupational therapy, and even your chiropractic care. 

Two appointments I have been regularly booking, for example, have been for acupuncture (to help treat my TMJ symptoms) and massage therapy (to also work out issues around my jaw and neck).  

Those typically sound like spa services, don’t they? 

Can you believe they are covered at my chiropractor’s office? I’m able to have these services processed under the umbrella of chiropractic medical care through my health insurance company.  

Isn’t that so great?

If you are unclear if a particular service is covered, contact the number on the back of your insurance card to request an associate look at your policy and help you walk through your benefits.  This is also a great time to ask about potential discounts for healthy and wellness like discounts on a gym membership, nutritional counseling, or mental health services.  

Save Time & Money By Researching Prescription Prices

Did you know there are ways to save on prescription drugs whether you have insurance or not? If you can’t afford your chronic disease medications, you can take advantage of apps that save you money on your prescription needs. 

Simply head to the RxSaver website (or download the app) to comparison shop the pharmacies near you and evaluate which store offers the best deal for your money.

The nice thing about this service is that they don’t require any personal information to use it and you don’t have to have a membership to take advantage of the savings. Simply enter your prescriptions in, compare prices, and choose the best price and location for you.

When I typed in my own medications, for example, I was surprised to find $20-50 savings on one of my medications thanks to this tool finding the lowest prices for me. Check your own prescriptions right over here.

This quick price check can yield your family up to 80% off at pharmacies nationwide!

Find Ways to Earn Money & Trim Your Current Expenses

When you become diagnosed with a chronic condition, you may find that your days look a lot differently than they did. Honestly, I found that my day was really structured around appointments and squeezing in a little rest.

As we all know, when our days look different our spending can also look different.  

This is a great time to reevaluate your monthly subscription services to see if they are being used enough to justify the expense.  If they no longer fit with your new lifestyle, consider reducing or dropping services to save money to pay for your future medical expenses.  

A monthly gym membership, for example, could be reduced down to a class pass instead that can work with your new daily schedule. 

Small switches like this can free up funds for future medical expenses.

Also, consider tweaks that can help you earn money to help offset costs. Moving your savings to a high interest earning online bank, for example, can yield up to twelve times more interest than what you may currently be earning.

As you explore your financial systems, I would also encourage you to get advice from a trusted financial planner to discover ways you can earn more from interest or strategies for investing wisely to help cover any unexpected expenses. 

Discussing what your new normal looks like, with your financial advisor, can impact lots of future decisions. This is a great time to go over things like estate plans, life insurance, and strategies for covering your medical costs.  The more transparent you are with your financial advisor, the better dialogue you will have to prepare for your future.

Take Advantage of Wholesale Club Prices Without the Membership (or Heavy Lifting)

Wholesale club memberships can be expensive up front, but can yield great money-back rebates and savings on items or services needed for your health. Just think of all the potential savings on things like vision, supplements, or medical care equipment needs. 

Now that I use Instacart for grocery delivery, I discovered that you don’t need a wholesale club membership card to have a grocery delivery service gather your groceries for you. This workaround on the Costco membership means that I can take advantage of all the store has to offer online and have these heavy items delivered to my door.

If you do have a card, you can input your membership number for them to use, securing more in your future rebates without the hassle of shopping for it all yourself.

Keep in mind that the grocery service does not typically purchase a lot of the over-the-counter medications you need though and that section of the store can save hundreds on your health expenses.

No grocery delivery in your area? 

As a small town girl, I feel your pain!  

You may consider doing a grocery pick-up service and having someone at home to assist you with the heavy lifting. 

Single? 

I have found a rolling shopping cart saves me time and energy on my grocery days.  #stillwinning 

Ask About Patient Assistance Programs

Lastly, if I learned anything from my Dad, it is that it never hurts to ask for a discount!  Many places I visit offer a discount card for repeat visits, a reduction on medical bills if paying out of pocket, or can share samples of prescription medication that can help offset a bit of your day to day expenses. 

I highly recommend asking too if there are discounts for students, seniors, military, long-term disability, or being low income discount. I have often been surprised what discounts I had at my disposal that I would have never known about if I had not asked.

Not only is asking about a patient assistance program at your various appointments beneficial, but it is also something you should look for when shopping for items you may be purchasing online.

In fact, many expensive medical devices or medical supplement sites may have a page dedicated to Assistance Programs, on their website. These programs allow you to apply for a set discount on your purchases that can save you a lot of money or can be covered by your health savings account.

Just like being transparent with your financial advisor, I encourage you to have transparency with your physician about your budget too.  When our son’s medication skyrocketed hundreds, we set up an appointment to discuss alternatives that wouldn’t be as costly. By having this conversation, we were able to switch our son to a higher milligram pill that could be split into two doses, giving us twice the amount of pills for a lot less.

Don’t forget though, you have a patient assistance program right in the palm of your hand. The RxSaver app can help you narrow down who has the cheapest prescriptions in your area and get you back to resting in no time flat.

This post is sponsored by RxSaver by RetailMeNot. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

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Gixo Fitness App for the New Year (GIVEAWAY!!!)

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

This post is sponsored by Gixo. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

When my health challenges started to make my gym routines difficult, I began to realize that a gym membership just couldn’t be in my cards anymore. I had no idea from day to day if my body was going to cooperate and there were months that I paid for a full membership and only was able to make a class or two.

That, my friends, was not a good return on investment.

That is when I REALLY began to realize the beauty in online month-by-month memberships and how affordable they were. Online apps typically cost less than a single class at my gym and pay for themselves rather quickly. Even more than that, I am able to use these apps around my busy work schedule!

Haven’t tried a gym app before?

Well, today I wanted to show off a new-to-me app called Gixo! Gixo is designed for busy schedules with 15, 25 or 40-minute workout classes and include offerings like:

Cardio: walking, running (all treadmill compatible)

Strength training: core, glutes, total body

Yoga and pilates

 

Stretching and mobility

You are able to exercise wherever you are (at home, outdoors, traveling, at the gym, or on the go) and ZERO equipment is required.

 

Here are a few other reasons why I REALLY love this app!

The accountability factor- One of the reasons many people gravitate towards gym memberships is that accountability factor. Although many classes are available as on-demand options, you can sign up for class times just like you would with a traditional gym membership. Signing up for a class means that you will receive a text reminder that you have a class coming up (and what equipment you might need), and then a text that reminds you when your class is starting. Scheduling a class requires you to commit and then follow through on what you set out to do for the day.

The fun coaching- When you sign into class, you take a quick selfie to check in, and your coach has access to your screen to help guide you through your class. Having this view, they are able to help you make adjustments that help reduce the risk of injury.  I loved that when I checked in for class, I even got a shoutout from the coach, all the way in London,  to thank me for joining in. It makes the experience feel more intimate than just a recorded class and it gives you a personal trainer experience.

The incredible music- Workouts, for me, are ALL about the music and each of their classes has awesome music mixes curated by Gixo’s in-house DJ. I also appreciate that you can make adjustments to coaching and the music levels so if I want to just do my own workout to their amazing mixes, I can do that by turning down the volume on the coaching.

When would I do this?

Oh, how about when I am KILLING IT around my house or doing my laundry.

How fun is that?

They Add Variation to My Winter Treadmill Workouts- It is hard to make a treadmill workout fun, but Gixo manages to do it. Thanks to this app, I’m able to hit my goals with steps and they weave in strength routines, like a series of pushups, that make this more fun and more beneficial to your body.

It is affordable- Memberships start at just $14.99/mo (billed at $179.99/year) or $19.99/mo. This cost means that it is less than the cost of a single studio class and that you are able to get A LOT for your money. You also aren’t put into one gym class type category. I can do a strength class, yoga, run or walk (outside or on my treadmill), 

Want to try it out? How about some coupons AND a giveaway today?

Use code momadvice on the Gixo app to get a 7-day free trial and 20% off either a monthly or one-year subscription!

Follow the instructions below to enter to win a 1-year subscription to Gixo! Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is sponsored by Gixo. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

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9 Great Gift Ideas for Someone Living With Chronic Pain (Giveaway with Quell 2.0!!)

Friday, December 7th, 2018

I received a Quell 2.0 in exchange for my honest thoughts & opinions.

Do you know someone who suffers from chronic pain? I have gotten several emails and messages over the past few months asking if I would share some gift ideas for a friend or family member who is battling a chronic illness and/or suffering from chronic pain.

Today I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite ideas for gift-giving AND share a giveaway with you for the newly designed Quell 2.0 (!!!).

I can tell you already that this would be the most incredible gift to share or to gift to yourself this holiday season.

I was lucky enough to give the new Quell a try and I can’t wait to tell you more.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter today’s contest!

9 Great Gift Ideas for Someone Living With Chronic Pain

 

Heated Throws

One of my most relied upon items for relieving pain, especially in the winter, is my heated throw. I treated myself to a sherpa version of the Sunbeam throw (it’s a tad pricier, but I feel like the fabric holds up a tad better)  and it has been such a game-changer for me throughout the day.

Thanks to this blanket offering three settings, you can be warm without getting overheated or you can crank this baby up and get some relief from those brutal Midwest temperatures like I do.

The sizing is perfect for two or one really cold woman who wraps herself like a burrito in it.

Gift Certificates to Offset Costs

In case you didn’t know, having a chronic illness can be very expensive, especially when so many of the alternative care options aren’t covered by insurance.

You don’t need to necessarily spend full price on a gift card for a loved one though.

I rely a lot upon sites like Groupon to try to get the most bang for my buck when splurging on myself.

I feel a tad less guilty when I am paying half price for these services.

Packaged up with a note that they are being thought of by you is a very special gift and will be greatly appreciated.

Each person is different in what they might be looking for so be sure you have a good understanding of what services will be helpful to the recipient.

Groupon covers everything from massage to discounts on meditation apps to discounts at my local natural foods store to help offset some of the costs on my supplements.

You may not know that they also offer prepared meal services which can help your recipient get a night off from cooking.

Once again, just check in with them about what would be most helpful, places they like, or dietary restrictions that would need to be addressed when planning your gift.

Supportive Slippers

It may sound a little silly, but a good pair of slippers has really made a big difference in my pain and can be a great gift for anyone who suffers from back pain, diabetes, Raynaud’s disease, or foot problems. I have had good success with these UGG slippers and am even giving them to my mom this year for her holiday gift.

The nice thing about this brand, in particular, is that you can switch out the inserts and make them feel like brand new again from season to season, offering that continuous support that you need.

To save on costs, be sure to check sites for coupons or even check eBay for brand new slippers at a fraction of the cost. Almost all of my shoes and slippers have been found there and have saved me half the price.

If your recipient has a wider foot, I have found the ABEO brand from The Walking Company to be amazing and they offer incredible built-in arch support.

Elevate Their Evening Soak

Many chronic pain sufferers get relief from a warm bath and the people in my family have learned that they can never go wrong gifting me something for my bathtime.

In fact, pictured here is my favorite weekend setup! My hubby’s parents gifted me this amazing full body bath pillow that completely cushions all my sore joints while I soak in the tub and has become my absolute favorite thing. The best part is that it can be thrown in your washer and it dries quickly so no mildew issues at all.

I pair it with a bath tray, a good book, a few scoops of epsom salts, and a glass of wine for the perfect night in.

On bad pain days, I have added an evening dose of CBD oil to my evening routine to help me unwind and this muscle roller is amazing for rolling out tight muscles.

 

Make Their Grocery Day Easier

I have been so thankful for the grocery delivery services that we have in our area, but to save money, I am still doing some of our shopping myself.

I have found that a rolling shopping cart is really invaluable for getting our groceries into our home.

Not to mention those library hauls we have been making (*ahem*).

It is such a simple thing, but it saves me several trips of going back and forth to my car!

Another great option would be to purchase a gift card for Instacart or Shipt to deliver groceries (if they offer delivery in their area) so they can not worry about the shopping part at all. These services have been invaluable to me on difficult days!

Pitch in for a Quell

Longtime readers know that I absolutely love my Quell and I was so excited when they reached out to see if I would be interested in trying out the newly redesigned Quell 2.0 AND the opportunity to share a GIVEAWAY with you so you can experience it too.

After trying the Quell 2.0 out, I can honestly say that I am so impressed by the improvements they made.

The first thing that I noticed was that the sizing is so much smaller and the device is quicker and more intuitive than their first version. They have managed to shrink all that technology into this tiny gadget.

If you are unfamiliar with the Quell, it  is a wearable intensive nerve stimulation device, that is clinically proven to help manage chronic pain. It is 100% drug free, doctor recommended, and FDA cleared for 24/7 use, during the day while active and at night while sleeping, so you can get relief when and where you need it.

This device is worn just below the knee and activated by simply clicking a button. This position (on the calf)  is where a lot of the sensory nerves are located so the pain can be blocked at the spinal cord, which helps you feel widespread relief from your pain and not just relief in a specific part of your body.

These sensory nerves send neural pulses to your brain that then trigger a natural response that blocks pain signals, leading to widespread pain relief for many people.

The company refers to it its intuitive abilities as “OptiTherapy” technology that can automatically adjust therapy and dose to ensure you receive optimal pain relief.

The best part is that you can start and stop therapy sessions, as well as adjust the intensity of therapy all from the Quell app on your smartphone (app works for both iOS and Android).

SCROLL DOWN TO ACCESS THIS GIVEAWAY!!

Headphones & Listening Material

Many people with chronic illness are often stuck at home because they don’t feel well. A pair of bluetooth earbuds can serve double duty for taking phone calls without putting any strain on the body or for entertainment purposes.

Give them a list of the current best podcasts or get them a gift certificate for Audible or Scribd so they can listen to audiobooks to help them fill the time.

Gifts to Make Their Bed More Cozy

I, personally, love anything that makes my bed more cozy and there are lots of helpers that can make that space better for someone with a chronic illness. A laptop desk tray can be a great gift for working or just catching a few flicks and being able to adjust the tray helps a lot with neck strain.

Need other ideas? How about this bed shelf, a mini space heater, a rice pillow, remote controlled outlets, a cozy throw, a magazine subscription, a weighted blanket, a supportive pillow, a streaming service they don’t already have, compression glovesfuzzy socks, or a sleep jacket.

Also, if you have a larger room (as ridiculously meme-worthy this is), I can’t recommend one of these enough. It is my winter savior, amen.

Cooking Helpers

Losing some of my hand strength has made me more aware of the things I struggle with in my kitchen. If your recipient is low on strength or energy, I have a few helpful kitchen tool ideas.

My favorite things are my jar opener and chopper to help reduce strain on my joints.

Other helpful kitchen items can be a kitchen prep stool (all the heart eyes for that one!!), a cushioned kitchen mat, an electric can opener, and a cookbook stand.

I’m sure there are SO MANY things I’m missing so please chime in and let me know how you manage pain.

By following the steps below, you will be entered to win the NEW Quell 2.0 Starter Kit, valued at $299.99!!

I’m SO excited to share this drug-free pain relief option that has made an incredible difference in my own pain management (you can read my full story and how this amazing tool works over here from their first version). 

Quell also shared a coupon code for our MomAdvice readers to help offset some of the costs. You can use the coupon code HOLIDAY30 for $30 off your purchase

The most important thing that they wanted to share with you though is that if you do not have success with the device Quell offers a 60-day money back guarantee if it doesn’t help alleviate your pain.

You have nothing to lose….especially if you win one!

Please follow the steps below to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post contains affiliate links.

The Best Gifts My Kids Ever Received

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

What kind of shopper are you? Are you the type who buys everything in a frantic flurry on Black Friday? (I suppose I shouldn’t make assumptions; I hereby recognize you may attack the post-holiday sales with military precision and a budget Dave Ramsey would admire.) Or do you collect presents for your loved ones all year long, stashing them away after entering them into your top-secret gift spreadsheet?

I fall somewhere in between those types, attempting to buy presents ahead of time but occasionally forgetting what I’ve bought, who it’s for, or where I hid it.

And don’t even get me started on all the great intentions I’ve had for saving up for the holidays — or the ways I’ve abandoned those plans with, well, abandon.

Current state? I have small piles of packages in a few places around my house, one in plain sight yet strangely overlooked by my nosy kids, and a spreadsheet about said gifts that was updated sometime before school started. And hopes for a year-end paycheck that comes in time to hit the best sales (on the internet because this mama doesn’t do Black Friday or mall madness).

But as I started to feel stressed while making a list of all the stores I need to visit and purchases I have yet to make, I remembered how I felt on my oldest daughter’s birthday this fall.

As I’ve shared before my daughter is an enormous fan of all things Harry Potter. It was a given that her 11th birthday party would have a Hogwarts theme, and thanks to my tendency to lose my Pinterest-loving mind when it comes to planning parties, going all out for this celebration was also a given.

From the invitations and the decorations to the games and the food, we went crazy.

In a good way.

Planning the party was a blast, and my Griffyndor-wannabe (I get it, I do. But Pottermore sorted her into the house of Hufflepuff, and I do not question Pottermore.) was thrilled.

However, the best part of the whole weekend wasn’t a display of floating candles in the dining room or chocolate treats turned into golden snitches.

It wasn’t even the set of paperbacks I’d found on sale weeks before (though that did earn a whole lot of hugs and thanks).

The best part of my daughter’s birthday weekend happened when one of my best friends drove three hours to help us set up the party, bringing her own Hogwarts robe and magic wand and spending hours talking with her about details of the characters and plotlines I can’t keep straight.

The weekend got even better when another one of my best friends and her husband showed up for the party in full costume, down to preppy vests and scary tattoos.

My girl didn’t stop smiling that day and has yet to stop talking about how amazing it was that, not only did her friends come to celebrate her birthday, but so did mine.

The fact that adults who are not related to her (or obligated to spend time with her) showed up in such a big way was an incredible gift.

When I think about the best gifts my kids have received, experiences and quality time come out miles ahead of any toys, books, or clothes they’ve been given. Trips to the art museum with my brother, pumpkin carving and bread baking and apple picking with my parents, notes in the mail from a Sunday school teacher who shows up every single weekend, questions and conversations from my friend who always takes time to sit down, make eye contact, and really connect with my kids on their level — all of these blow coloring books and stuffed animals and iTunes gift cards out of the water when it comes to gifts that matter.

I do realize, by the way, that this illustrates my family’s privilege.

Our basic needs are met this year, so wishlists and shopping lists can be about presents just for fun, but we’ve had other years when we’ve been exceedingly grateful for winter coats or backpacks for school that the grandparents have purchased. If you’re in a season where the gifts your kids need are sturdy jeans, a new toothbrush, or help paying for dance class or soccer cleats, I get it.

However, if you are looking for fun gift ideas this holiday season, tangible ways to show your kids they’re loved, or answers to aunts or friends or grandpas who ask, “What should I get them?” — my number one suggestion is time.

Here are a few ways you can give (or recommend other loved ones give) your kids the best gift ever:

  • Sign up for a lesson or class together. Learn to cook a new dish, improve your golf swing, or make a birdhouse for the backyard.
  • Buy gift cards to a restaurant or coffee shop, with the plan and promise to use them together.
  • Put together a craft kit to pass on a skill or art you’ve mastered. This could be cross-stitching, calligraphy or hand lettering, or making the perfect pancake.
  • Create a doable bucket list for the next year (or month). Maybe even create it together!
  • Buy passes to a sporting event, concert, play, book signing, or other event they’d like to attend — and go with them.
  • Buy tickets to local attractions, such as the zoo, museums, or parks — and go with them.
  • Create a coupon book of low-budget ways you can spend time together — and follow through whenever they want to redeem a coupon.
  • Make a list of conversation starters and put them in a container. Use them regularly to get to know your kiddo better.

All kids want to know they’re valued, that at least for a few hours they’re more important than work or schedules or chores or even their siblings. And the gift of time — a shared experience, a regular “date” or plan to get together — lasts so much longer than toys that fall out of favor and use within months (or sometimes even before they go back to school in January!). I still have some shopping to do, but this year I’m making sure I plan for gifts that focus on quality time, shared experiences, and ways to grow closer to my kids.

Looking for more advice for the holiday season? Check out these posts!

the real santa story

choose your own adventure christmas gift

christmas tree cinnamon rolls tradition

celebrating st nicholas day

free printable advent calendar (for big kids!!)

 

What’s the best gift your kids ever received?

Mary Carver is a writer, church planter, wife, mom and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life at www.givinguponperfect.com.She also contributes to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com, and she’d love to connect with you on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

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Over 350 Kindle Books On Sale Today

Monday, November 26th, 2018

Let’s talk about some of my favorite deals today for Cyber Monday 2018! As a minimalist, I found Black Friday to be underwhelming this year, but I did find a few favorites for today.

If you love to read, this is a pretty incredible deal day on Amazon with over 350 (!!!) books on sale today. I’m sharing my recommendations below, but if you just want to get right to the list, head on over here.

Also, if you have been waiting for a good deal on the Paperwhite, today is also the day to score that with a discounted price of $79.99. Get this cover and you can even read while stirring a pot on the stove (hahaha!)

Amazon Kindle Book Deals (my favorites offered today!)

The Great Alone, $2.99

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, $2.99 (my favorite book of 2017!!)

Vox, $1.99

The One, $1.99

The Child Finder, $1.99

The Ministry of Ordinary Places, $2.99

The Winter Soldier, $4.99

Need to Know, $1.99

Children of Blood & Bone, $2.99

Far from the Tree, $1.99

Every Breath, $3.99

The Three Body Problem, $3.99

Leah on the Offbeat, $1.99

Another Woman’s Husband, $2.99

Not Our Kind, $1.99

American Gods, $2.99

I’m Judging You, $2.99

Artemis, $2.99

The Truth We Bury, $1.99 (or FREE with your Prime!)

The Handmaid’s Tale, $2.99 (or FREE with your Prime!)

Outlander, $1.99

It Was Me All Along, $1.99

Love & Ruin, $2.99

Hillbilly Elegy, $3.99

Murder on the Orient Express, $2.99

The Dutch Wife, $2.99

Tailspin, $4.99

The Snow Bride, $1.99

Vicious, $2.99

The Lost City of the Monkey God, $2.99

Racing to the Finish, $3.99

1984, $2.99 (or FREE with your Prime)

Money: Master the Game, $3.99

Other Deals To Get Excited About!

Take $5 off  when you spend $20 on books (this is a rare deal- take advantage of it!)

TODAY ONLY- take an additional 15% off sitewide at Target

Get $10 credit when you order a Prime Book Box for Kids.

Hunter Boots– under $100 today!!

LOFT– 50% off sitewide plus free shipping

Ann Taylor– 50% off sitewide plus free shipping

Old Navy– 40% off sitewide

Outerwear- HUGE discounts (good time to snag winter coats for next year!!)

Instant Pots– $79.99 plus free shipping (this is my favorite kitchen appliance)


Get a FREE 5-Piece Mrs. Meyer’s Gift Set with your first order (divide this set up for hostess gifts for the holidays!!)

Take an ADDITIONAL 20% off magazine subscriptions today with coupon code BDMCYBER20!! (these make great gifts that give all year-long or fabulous stocking stuffers)

Snowed in too? Redbox has $.16 rentals today!!!

16¢ DVD Rentals– Use coupon code DVD16

16¢ Blu-rays Rentals– Use coupon code BLURAY16

16¢ Game Rentals– Use coupon code GAME16