Archive for the ‘Freebies’ Category

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life

Monday, June 13th, 2022
How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Scribd offers unlimited books at an affordable price. Learn why I’ve been listening to audiobooks through the Scribd app since 2013. Here are the pros and cons of this monthly subscription service from a REAL user.

In 2013, I got the opportunity to work with a new eBook and audiobook membership service called Scribd.

What I didn’t expect was that I would convert into one of their most loyal customers who has been a paid member ever since.

A Scribd subscription is BY FAR one of the best book and audiobook subscriptions for your money and is my most used subscription. However, there is a reason I continue to stay with them, and it isn’t just because they have great books (even though that is the most significant part).

Today I want to talk about why I think this is TRULY the best audiobook service for readers and how I make the most of my membership EVERY MONTH.

I want to explore your biggest burning questions like if authors get paid, what the significant differences are between this kind of access versus Kindle Unlimited membership and some particular things that *I* use this membership for (that might be helpful to you too).  

Even if you have been a subscriber for years, today’s tutorial will also offer some hidden benefits to membership.

Let’s get every dollar out of your experience with today’s tutorial.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life 

Scribd (it sounds like RIBBED) is, basically, the Netflix membership for book lovers. 

For one monthly fee (currently $11.99 per month), you can have access to their entire catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, sheet music, and uploaded documents.

I want to clarify that this is a digital lending library, much like our experience with online tv streaming services. 

You do not own the materials.

You own membership to stream the books you want to read or listen to in their membership catalog. 

As long as you are a member, you can stream these materials.

At this time, Scribd offers these notable items (plus rotating perks)-

  • Over TWO MILLION audiobooks and ebooks in one app (they work with 5 of the biggest publishing houses).
  • Unlimited sheet music and documents (They have over 70,000+ pieces of sheet music available. This catalog includes the classics and contemporary artists). 
  • Unlimited access to podcasts, magazines, and news (including Time Magazine, The Atlantic, Cook’s Illustrated, & Newsweek).
  • Rotating Membership Perks (more details below on some of my past favorite bonuses).

The monthly subscription includes fiction, nonfiction books (like cookbooks), young adult books, and children’s books.

So your entire family can benefit from this service, all with the cost of just one membership.

How to Find and Add Books to Your Library

Well, the BEST place to check would be the Book Gang Podcast (stream wherever you get podcasts) since it celebrates under-the-radar books, debuts, and backlist selections.

Scribd makes it easier too by offering recommendations based on other books you are reading or have on your library list, much like your experience with other online book purchases. 

You can add books by searching the specific title or browse the incredibly curated selections from Scribd’s editors.

These editors’ picks are where I start when I need a little guidance on book selection.

Bookmark the books that you want to save in your library.

Once you decide what you might like to add to your library, you open up the book and read or listen to it. 

That’s it!

Now let’s talk about those hidden features on the app and some of those faqs.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

The Best Hidden Scribd Features and Frequently Asked Questions

What Device Can I Read My Scribd Books Through?

These books are available across many ebook reading devices, including iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire tablet, Android & the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet.

At this time, the Kindle Paperwhite is not a supported device. 

Is it Unlimited? Sort of! 

Regarding reading, there’s no limit on the number of books or audiobooks you can read or listen to each month. 

You may sometimes notice that a title you have saved indicates it will be “Available Soon.” 

Once your subscription renews for the next month, your library will refresh, and you’ll be able to select from the entire library.

The reason for this is because they can “adjust availability” of books based on contracts with these publishing houses.

In their defense, they claim it is to pay authors fairly based on the contract distribution terms.

It can be frustrating so if there is a book you are, particularly excited to read that month, prioritize it just in case it becomes unavailable until the next month.

I would say that this is my only issue with this platform.

How Do I Download Content When I’m Traveling?

To store content on your device for offline reading, tap on the cover of the book you wish to save, and you’ll be dropped into the book’s summary page.

To download the book, tap the “Download” button on the summary page.

Again, it is up to each publisher what they want to make available to its users. Some publishers disable downloading for specific titles, and the ‘Download’ option won’t be shown for those titles.

You’ll still be able to enjoy them on Scribd, but they won’t be directly downloadable.

Do Authors Get Paid When You Read on Scribd?

As I hinted earilier, Scribd does pay authors for their work.

I am quoting them directly when I share this statement, “Scribd has deals with our authors and publishing partners concerning payment for all membership content.

Basically, every time you read a premium title or listen to an audiobook, we pay the author the full price of their work!

Revenue that Scribd earns from monthly membership fees is paid to the original publishers or authors every time you read their work on Scribd.”

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Kindle Unlimited?

Scribd is a better value and they offer a completely different catalog.

Kindle Unlimited is a library of (primarily) self-published authors.

On the other hand, Scribd works with five big publishing houses- Simon and Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, & Macmillan. 

The catalog is updated so well that I can often secure my new release books the week they come out. 

I find with Scribd that their audiobook selection is more robust though than their book selection. 

What is the Difference Between Scribd and Audible?

The most significant difference between these two is the pricing.

Scribd is an unlimited service, while Audible offers a single credit for $14.95 a month. 

Audible may offer a more extensive selection but comes at a higher price.

You can read about their different plan offerings for more specific pricing.

How to Use Scribd for Your Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

What Are Some of My Favorite Hidden Features on Scribd?

Although I wouldn’t consider this first element to be “hidden,” I want to remind you that access to ebooks means you have access to cookbooks and books on health. 

If you are on a specific diet or diagnosed with a health condition, this resource is INVALUABLE for your family.

When my daughter played guitar, we used the catalog of sheet music for her lessons. 

My kids also have benefitted from my membership when assigned summer literature. (Be sure to read how to enable parental controls if you share your account as a family).

I also want to discuss two lesser-known features you might have missed with your membership. 

Let’s start with your Member Perks! 

Scribd keeps a rotating catalog of member bonuses through various partnerships that, in the past, have included NYT subscriber bundles and Pandora Premium memberships. 

Check this page for the included perks for this month

Another fun feature is that Scribd offers a sleep timer on audiobooks. So if you want to listen to a book to fall asleep, try using this feature! 

Just click the icon in the upper left-hand corner, and you can select any chapter immediately!

Select the moon icon on the lower right side of the audio page to use the Sleep Timer. The menu will appear, and select the length of time you wish for the book to play. The playback will automatically turn off once the timer counts down to zero.

Try Scribd for FREE for 60 Days with my Referral Code

This referral code doesn’t give you a 30-day trial- it provides you SIXTY days of reading to try the platform. Activate it HERE

Sound off: What has been your experience with Scribd? Do you have any other questions about this platform?

Looking for more great reading resources? Don’t miss these posts!

How to Use Storygraph For a Better Reading Life
How to Use the Storygraph App for a Better Reading Life
How to Check Out Library Books for Free On Your Kindle
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How to Use the Storygraph App For a Better Reading Life

Friday, March 11th, 2022
How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Discover books based on your mood? This tutorial will teach you how to use this user-friendly reading app to get personalized book recommendations!

Nadia Odunayo
Nadia Odunayo

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with the CEO and Founder of The Storygraph, Nadia Odunayo, on my podcast (MomAdvice Book Gang). 

Our partnered bookshop, Fables Books, had started a reading challenge, and we planned to work through their challenge with our listeners. The problem was that I didn’t know anything about the app, and I had a feeling that I couldn’t be the only one. 

As a new user, I wanted to document my year with the app and thought, who better to explain this than Nadia? 

You can listen to the show (read the show notes) on the embedded player or follow along in today’s tutorial that includes some of my favorite excerpts from our discussion.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How to Use the Storygraph App

What is Storygraph?

This reading app offers personalized recommendations with simple tracking and insightful stats. The thing that sets this app apart from its competitor is that it can offer suggestions based on your mood through machine learning AI.

The real question for many of us (including myself) is the most significant difference between GoodReads vs. Storygraph?

According to Nadia…A LOT.

Nadia said, “There are a lot of differences between our app and Goodreads, and I think it does come from a place of rather than me starting from I’m going to build a different Goodreads. It was, what do readers want and need?

You have this dashboard where we show you everything from the moods of the books you’ve read, the pace, the book size, most read authors, pages, and books read throughout the year.

So there’s a graph where you can see each month, how many books and pages did you read? But also, within a month, you can see each day how many pages you read.

So there’s a lot more detail within the tracking and the analytics that you can get just in the stats dashboard already.

Even when you come on board, even when you just import your Goodreads, I think you get to see your reading history in a completely different way to how you’ve never seen it before.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How To Import GoodReads to StoryGraph?

If you are scared to import your data, Nadia offers this assurance. 

“We always say, import your Goodreads data, have a look at the stats, and then click around a bit. If you don’t like it in three clicks about, you can delete all of your account, all of your data, and that’s it. It doesn’t affect your Goodreads account.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Under Manage Account: 

Step 1- Visit the Import/Export Page on Goodreads and Click the Export Library Button

Step 2- Upload (or drag and drop) the file you downloaded in Step 1.

Step 3- Kick off the import by clicking the button, and you will receive an email once your import is complete. 

Personally, I was surprised how quickly this processed all my data! Even as a seasoned GoodReads user, this took just a few minutes! 

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

How Can StoryGraph Personalize Your Reading?

The differences aren’t just in reading a book based on your current mood. You can also discover curated reading lists of book discoveries based on your other reading preferences.

Nadia shared, “We give you space to tell us what you’re interested in. So not only can you tell us your favorite genres and characteristics you like in a book, whether it’s strong world-building or good quality writing, there’s also a free text box where you can say, I want to read about found family or enemies to lovers, whatever kind of tropes you like, whatever themes you like.

So maybe you want to learn about a particular part of history or a particular country. You can put that stuff in there, and we will serve the best books for you.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
where to locate a buddy read option on the app

How Do You Do A Buddy Read on Storygraph?

If you have always wanted to do a Buddy Read, this app can help you and its intelligent design capabilities.

First, it is essential to note you do need to change your settings to participate in a buddy read.

Nadia shared, “Buddy Reads is something where the default for everybody is “nobody.” You can go in there and toggle it to where friends can invite me or the people I’m following can invite me, or anybody can invite me. You can toggle it to that.”

Why?

The app is designed with a user’s privacy in mind. So, for example, you get to decide who can invite you to a buddy read.

To change this, go into Preferences and update the Community section with your preferred privacy settings.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Let’s try a PRETEND buddy read with our most anticipated book- Carrie Soto Is Back to show you the experience.

Once you have this updated, you can select the book you want to read, start a buddy read and invite up to 4 people to join on the read.

Don’t have a buddy to do a read with? They can even build suggestions through their machine-learning-powered reading buddy recommendations.

This feature launched in December 2021, and Nadia is particularly proud of this.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
this is the screen you will see once you both join a buddy read

“I think the thing that people love the most about our Buddy Read feature is you often have to have a checkpoint. You often have to say, okay, we’re all going to regroup end of chapter four and discuss.

Whereas now, if something happens that you want to remark on or you have a question, you can leave the comment at that specific point, and the comment is locked until each participant gets to that part.

So if I leave a comment at 27 pages and we’re doing a Buddy Read, and you’re on 24 pages, you won’t even get a notification because there’s no point.”

Basically, it blocks the Buddy Read from spoilers and yields a more fluid conversation.

The best part about this is that Nadia reassures us that she is only on Version 1, which means we have many more things to look forward to.

How Is Their Book Rating System is Different from GoodReads?

The biggest frustration for most GoodReads users is the inability to do half or quarter-star rankings.

With Storygraph, you no longer have to round up or down on your reviews because this is built into their design.

This is based on user feedback, in particular, bookstagrammers shared their desire to have this option in place, and Storygraph delivered.

How Do I Do a Reading Challenge on StoryGraph?

Nadia walked us through the entire process of joining a challenge on Storygraph.

“Go to the Reading Challenges page, which you can get to from either the top bar (on Desktop) or click for the menu on the three horizontal black lines on the top right (if you’re on mobile).

On the top right, there is a button that says Browse. If you click there, what you’ll see is you’ll see a page with the Storygraph’s hosted challenges at the top. We host three challenges each year.

And then there’s a filter menu where you can search for different keywords with nine categories, and you can basically go through the categories and see what you might be interested in.

So things people might be doing like a New York Review of Books Challenge, Read the World Challenge or Pop Culture (Taylor Swift) Challenge, or some popular TV show. (for example)

So you can either click through and browse the categories or filter the keywords and go from there.

Or you can also do a rainbow challenge or actually beat the TBR categories for people who are like, ‘I just want to get through the books in my house.'”

Does anyone else need a “Beat the TBR Challenge,” or is it just me?

How Do You Mark DNF (Did Not Finish) Books?

In GoodReads, you need custom tags to DNF your books.

StoryGraph builds this feature right into their app.

Nadia understood that GoodReads users had to add these books to a special shelf and that it was challenging to track WHY a user didn’t finish a book. So her response was to build it right into the product.

She said, “To mark a book as DNF is equivalent to marking it as to-read or read.

You just toggle over and mark it with DNF rather than adding a review with a star rating.

Storygraph gives you a space to add your reasoning or your reason for why you didn’t finish this book.”

What Feature Might Be Helpful For Empathetic Readers?

When writing and leaving book reviews on Storygraph, you can add your own content warnings. These content warnings don’t come just from users- they also come from authors and publishers.

Nadia shared, “When you submit a review, you can list what you think the graphic, moderate, and minor content warnings are.

And then what we do is we collate what everybody says, and we show like a smart summary of the likely content warnings.

So you can click through and see every single content warning tagged in the book, then click through and see the review.

But we also have author-approved content warnings, so authors can officially submit their own warnings. And then you can also see them side by side as well.

So we give space for readers to express what they found triggering in the book or what they think someone else may find triggering.

Because not all the time, the authors and the publishers will spot everything. But we also have a space for authors to say officially, these are the warnings.”

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
join my book club

How Can I Use The Storygraph For My Book Club?

I asked Nadia about hosting our book club on the Storygraph, and she said that the app is designed to offer Reading Challenges and that participants can also split off into buddy reads.

She also hinted that new book club features are in the works too. I’m very excited to see what develops for the MomAdvice Book Club.

Will The App Always Be This Clutter-Free?

I did ask this question right out of the gate, and I loved Nadia’s response. 

Nadia shared, “So our number one goal and aim is to keep it clean and clutter-free. And the number one person that we’re serving is the reader, and we want to keep it that way for as long as it’s possible. 

And that means that we have proceeds from our Plus plan (see below for more details), which means we don’t have to have ads. If we ever had to have ads, we would ask the community about it. 

If you’re involved with the Storygraph on our social media, you’ll notice that we ask; we have regular polls or comment boxes because we’re essentially always getting feedback from the community before we deliver a feature. 

But, right now, we’re not thinking of ads, and we want to just focus on the product and keeping it clean and streamlined, and making sure the user experience is excellent.”

Why Are They Offering Pro Accounts & Why Should You Upgrade?

Everything is free in an ideal world, but Plus accounts are the key to keeping the app clutter-free and funding their company.

Nadia shared, “The reason Plus exists is because we’re trying to see can we stay independent and sustainable and just continuing to grow for several, several years to come.”

You can unlock many features with a Storygraph Plus membership, and readers can try this FREE without even putting in a credit card.

What features does Nadia think are the best features about Pro?

In our interview, she shared, “One of the most awesome features that we have is the Up Next Suggestions feature.

And so that essentially is a page of recommendations curated just for you from books on your to-read pile, suggesting what you should read next and giving you the reason why it changes as your reading changes….

So, for example, one of the prompts might be you’re doing really well in your reading goal, so you can go for a longer book here’s, a long book on your to-read.

Or you’re falling behind on your pages goal, here is a fast-paced book for you to read.

The other thing that people love is advanced Stats. As part of Advanced Stats, there’s a Compare Stats Page where you can compare any two time periods. So you can compare any two months in your reading history.

The other cool thing is if you are going to do a buddy read. One of the really cool Plus features is I can put your username in, and it will look at both of our readings and both of our series piles and suggest perfect books for us to read together, which I think is (if I do say so myself) pretty cool.

And there’s a bunch more, including commenting and voting on the reading roadmap.”

What Is the Storygraph Roadmap?

Perhaps the thing that makes Storygraph so unique is that you can see and suggest updates to the app in the company’s roadmap.

The transparency is refreshing, and it’s so exciting to be a part of the building process as a user.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com

Did I Make the Switch To Storygraph This Year?

I have been a loyal GoodReads user for many, many years. However, I will admit that many of the things that I wish were offered all happen to live on the Storygraph app.

Not only did I make the switch to Storygraph, but I also plan to document my journey for you based on the curated lists and to-be-read piles that Storygraph has prioritized for me.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
this perspective made me realize why I’m burnt out on romance

It IMMEDIATELY changed my reading life to see these charts, to know the pages I’ve read, and just what kind of reader I am.

How to Use the StoryGraph App For a Better Reading Life from MomAdvice.com
another capture from my stats

For the record, I mainly read fiction books that are emotional, reflective, and mysterious. I typically choose medium-paced books that clock in at 300-499 pages long.

I signed up for their Pro account because I’m so excited to support this woman-owned start-up business (and her team). I can’t wait to share with you what I’ve learned.

It was such an honor to do this interview, and I hope you will make space to listen to Nadia’s journey. She also shares the genre that took her by surprise, how a pages reading challenge is changing her reading life, and how she reads as a busy entrepreneur.

Do you use The Storygraph app? If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them here!

2022 MomAdvice Book Club Tracker Bookmark (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

The 2022 MomAdvice Book Club year is in FULL EFFECT!

We celebrated our book club kickoff with our January Book Club Chat on The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano. It was such a thoughtful and thought-provoking discussion on one woman’s choice to be child-free and the way that her lives played out as she explored 9 scenarios where she makes family-planning decisions. If you missed this month, you can still read and interact with last week’s event over here. (reminder: you must be part of the book club group to view these).

I’ve created the cutest little bookmark tracker to track your reading year with me. I wanted to create an interactive bookmark you can color as you progress through our chats.

On the opposite side of the bookmark, you will find the titles and a color suggestion for each of the books. No need to follow my color cues- please make it your own.

NOTES ON PRINTING: Make sure you print the actual size and select to print on both sides. 

Thank you so much for participating in our book club chats and I hope this freebie adds another immersive element to your book club experience! 

Things you might be looking for!

SEE OUR 2022 BOOK CLUB LIST

RSVP FOR OUR FEBRUARY BOOK CLUB EVENT (IN THE WILD LIGHT)

GRAB YOUR 2022 BOOK CLUB SHIRT, MUG, OR TOTE

JOIN THE BOOK GANG FOR AUTHOR CHATS, BOOK CLUB PLAYLISTS, & OUR BONUS FULLY BOOKED PODCAST ON NEW RELEASE BOOKS

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE PRINTABLE BOOKMARK

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Whether you are trying to avoid the crowds and freezing weather on Valentine’s Day, or just looking for the perfect low-key romance, here are some favorite romantic comedies for date night.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When my husband and I were first married, every trip to the video store (remember those) would end in a fight.

He wanted action; I wanted romance. Movies, I mean (although I suppose you could interpret that another way, accurately).

I’m not sure why I was so dead set on forcing him to watch every single romance or romantic comedy in existence, but I was.

Eventually, I realized this was not the healthiest pattern.

And also, as it turns out, I quite enjoy action movies myself.

Long story short?

We didn’t watch a lot of rom coms together for quite a while.

But recently, we’ve started something new.

After almost two decades of marriage, we’ve learned to compromise.

I’ll pause while you gasp in astonishment.

Seriously, though, over the past few years we’ve fought hard to fight less — and it involves a whole lot of compromise.

Of meeting in the middle.

Of me watching baseball movies and baseball documentaries and baseball games, and him watching people find true love in romantic comedies.

It’s been beautiful. (Except for the baseball games. Even my deep, abiding love of my husband can’t make me actually like baseball games.)

Anyway. All this means we can have legit movie date nights at home! (Yes, yes, I realize we could, in theory, watch an action or a drama at home. But, I don’t know, we just usually don’t.)

I realize this might seem silly to you.

Especially if you’re a movie date night at home pro.

But whether you and your husband snuggle on the couch to watch a movie every weekend or you’re new to this like we are, I’ve got a list of rom coms perfect for your date night at home.

All of these love stories are currently streaming, and each one should be a hit with both of you (no matter what genre each of you likes best)!

Check out my list and let me know what kind of movies you like watching with your husband!

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Set It Up

Set It Up – (Netflix)

Who knew Netflix could make their own sweet, funny romantic comedy?

This was the first one that caught a lot of attention and for good reason.

Snappy dialogue, charming leads, fun premise (two overworked corporate assistants set up their bosses and then make their own connection).

This is a good one! Stars Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell. Rated TV-14.

Always Be My Maybe

Always Be My Maybe – (Netflix)

Seriously, I wish Netflix would quit doing all the other things and just make rom coms.

Because this one is great, too!

Childhood friends hook up once, then don’t see each other for years.

They reconnect later when she’s a celebrity chef and he’s still living at home and working with his dad.

Also, the best Keanu cameo we didn’t know we needed.

Stars Ali Wong and Randall Park. Rated PG-13.

Before We Go

Before We Go – (Amazon Prime)

Two pretty people (including Chris Evans) meet in NYC and spend a night together.

No, not like that!

On an adventure!

It’s sweet.

And bittersweet.

Gah! I’ve said too much.

Just watch it.

Stars Alice Eve and Chris Evans. Rated PG-13.

Man Up

Man Up – (Netflix)

A woman takes the place of a man’s blind date.

Hijinks (and romance) ensue.

This one is so funny and surprisingly sweet.

I’m glad I took a chance on it (after assuming it would be bad, based on the poster and the actors).

Which is, coincidentally, similar to the journey these characters go on.

Stars Lake Bell and Simon Pegg. Rated R for language.

What If

What If – (Amazon Prime)

I wasn’t sure I could see Daniel Radcliffe as anyone other than Harry Potter.

As it turns out, I sure can.

This movie asks the notorious question: Can men and women just be friends? (No. Not in the movies, duh.)

Stars Daniel Racliffe and Zoe Kazan. Rated PG-13.

Plus One

Plus One – (Hulu) 

Longtime friends decide to be each other’s dates to a bunch of weddings.

If you think you know how this ends, you’re probably right, but the getting there is interesting and funny and moving.

Stars Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid. Rated R for language and sex. 

(Another movie with a strangely similar plot is The Wedding Year (Amazon Prime). Stars Sarah Hyland and Tyler James Williams. Rated R for language and drug use.)

Hitch

Hitch – (Netflix)

Why not kick it old school with this classic from 2005?

A dating consultant falls for a reporter who doesn’t know who he really is.

Also, Kevin James dances. It’s all so adorable, really.

Stars Eva Mendes and Will Smith. Rated PG-13.

Date Night

Date Night – (Amazon Prime)

If the grind of middle-age and suburban life is your stage of life, this one will probably resonate with you as much as it does with me.

They just wanted a date night, man!

Comedy, action, and sweet married romance.

Stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Rated PG-13.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – (Netflix)

If you and your husband prefer something historical, this is a great one!

Is it as good as the book?

No, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your husband hasn’t read it.

So just sit back and enjoy it as a completely separate and completely sweet story about a writer who connects with the people of a small island following World War II.

Stars Lily James and Michiel Huisman. Rated TV-14.

Isn't It Romantic

Isn’t It Romantic? – (HBO through Hulu or Prime)

A single woman hits her head and wakes up in a romantic comedy, but it turns out that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This had the potential to be simply silly, but if you’ve ever questioned how love-able you are, this will be as meaningful to you as it was to me.

Also, you don’t want to miss the musical scenes in this comedy!

Stars Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine. Rated PG-13.

Second Act

Second Act  (SHOWTIME through Hulu or Prime)

A working class woman fakes her way into a high-level executive job and both finds herself and loses herself in the process.

This was surprisingly emotional, and the romance isn’t the main part of the story, but it’s all very sweet (and funny, too).

Plus it stars two of my very favorites: Jennifer Lopez and Milo Ventimiglia. Rated PG-13.

Those are my suggestions. I’d love to hear which movies you love watching on date nights! And for more romantic comedies you might not have seen yet, you can find a longer list on my blog

What’s your favorite rom com for date night?

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This post contains affiliate links.

 

Looking for some more fun Date Nights? Check out these ideas:

9 Frugal Date Nights MomAdvice.com

9 Simple Ideas for Frugal Date Nights

How to Create Date Night Playlist MomAdvice.com

How to Create and Anniversary or Date Night Playlist

9 Spring Dates for Any Budget MomAdvice.com

9 Spring Date Ideas for Any Budget

5 Movie Date in 10 Days MomAdvice.com

What I Learned from 5 Movie Dates in 10 Days

Happy Valentine’s Day!

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

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Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget Header

Are you looking for easy ways to earn extra cash for your family? Today I’m sharing budgeting apps that can help you reset for your financial future. This tutorial shares all about the Mint app and a creative robo tool option to reduce your recurring expenses.

This is the third challenge in our Passive Income for Busy Moms series because SAVED money is EARNED money. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

Now that the holidays are over, I am sure that many of us have made resolutions to restore the order in our financial life.

Here is the honest truth. I am an incredible saver of money, but I am terrible about tracking our family expenses.

As a busy mom, this is just one more ball that I have to keep in the air.

While some might not consider analyzing the budget a passive income builder, I am here to beg to differ.

One deep dive into your finances, should indicate hidden leaks in the budgeting boat, that often drain your account month after month.

While I have been terrible about tracking, my husband has done a great job keeping up with our complete financial picture and alerts me when he sees questionable charges on our account.

It shouldn’t be just his job to save money though, especially since I handle the majority of our day-to-day expenses.

After reviewing loads of apps and trying them out, we are still keeping our feet firmly planted in Mint.com, to track our expenses.

Not only is this a program that I trust to help me be my best financial self, it is also a free app that becomes an effortless money manager once your accounts are connected.

Mint App on Phone

Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

What is Mint And How Can It Help Me?

Mint is an app (available on Android or Apple devices) that you can use to manage your family finances. Mint is currently owned by Intuit that makes many of the financial products that we use for our family and business. You may be more familiar with their other products like TurboTax & QuickBooks.

All that is to say is that it is a familiar company which helps me feel more secure.

While tracking your expenses is an important element of the app, you will also discover lots of other benefits.

Some of my favorites are free access to your credit score (at all times with no penalties), tools to help you establish a budget (that becomes more intuitive with your spending habits), pie charts that illustrate where the heck your money is going, an up-to-date property estimate (through past sales in your area on Zillow), your total net worth, and it easily monitors your investments.

With all of our accounts linked, we now know EXACTLY what we have and where we stand with our retirement.

How many people can say that they know their exact dollar worth down to the cent?

Why is Mint Free?

Mint works just like most online businesses, including the site you are visiting right now.

Mint partners with different companies to offer you additional ways to save. When scanning through the product offers, the majority of these are credit card offers. Additionally, if you want to explore investing, they have partnerships with brokerages that can help you.

Credit Card Offer Disclosures

Here is an example of a credit card offer that is displayed on my page.

You can see the exact disclosure statements that are attached to the offer.

In an online world where transparency isn’t always given, I think they do a great job letting you know that they are benefiting from the exploration of the services they offer.

With over 20 million users, I am sure that many take advantage of these offers and that is what allows your account to be free. Each transaction yields a compensation that pays the company.

Is Mint Safe?

There are tons of budgeting apps (paid and free) and you can’t always know if your information will be safe. I did a lot of research on the security of Mint and found that this article was really helpful in explaining how Mint keeps your data safe.

Most of the top financial gurus would back that Mint is a really secure option for anyone who does not want to go the spreadsheet route.

They do use a multi factor authentication that is explained well in their terms of service.

Will I Be Penalized for Accessing My Credit Report on Mint?

Having access to a free credit score is amazing, but will there be a penalty to have this information readily available to you?

The good news is NO.

According to the Mint site, when you check your credit score, you are performing what is called a soft credit check. This credit inquiry won’t impact your credit, no matter how frequently you view your credit score.

This means you can check your credit score as many times as you like without a penalty.

They also offer you the option to be alerted, via push notification, when your credit score drops.

How Can I Get Started With Mint?

It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to link your Mint account to your financial institution.

Once you have your bank account linked, you can begin plugging in additional information like any other bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, investments you have made and more.

Once everything is plugged in, you can see EXACTLY where your money is going and your account balances. Mint will do its best to set up the proper category for you, but it will require you to review each of the transactions to make sure it is in the proper category.

This clear snapshot allows you to form a budget for your family.

Mint observes your spending habits and provides an approximate on the cap of each category that you should spend.

Ideally, you can set your own budget and try to narrow down expenses.

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com learn all about ellevest by clicking here

I Signed Up With Ellevest Last Month. Can I Connect My Ellevest Account to Mint?

Good news! You, absolutely, can connect your Ellevest account to Mint so you can monitor your investment.

Also, can I just say how proud I am of you if you started your own investment account. #girlboss

To view your Ellevest Digital/Premium goals on your account aggregator (like Mint.com)- read it all here:

  1. You must be an Ellevest Client – You need to have eSigned on the Ellevest Dashboard to get this process started.
  2. Find your Folio login and create a password. To find your Folio username, log into your Ellevest Dashboard, click the user icon in the top right-hand corner, and select Login from the dropdown menu – you will see your Folio login at the bottom of the page. You’ll also see a link to instructions on how to create your Folio password – if you’re having issues, send us a note.
  3. Look up Folio Investing. Folio is the broker/dealer and custodian for your Ellevest account, and Folio Investing will be the company name you’ll need to search for.

Push Notifications on Mint.com

I’ve Got Everything Plugged In, But How Can I Reduce My Expenses With Mint?

Once Mint has all your financial information, it can use this financial data to send you notifications when potentially problematic issues arise.

This is done through push notifications that you check that you would like to receive. These notifications include spending alerts, credit score updates, bill reminders, and a quick summary of how you are doing.

Should you need financial advice, it can offer that too.

You can adjust how many and how often you receive these push notifications in your Settings panel.

Utilizing tools like these will help you stay in tune to your spending habits and reduce late fees on potential bills.

I plan to take this a step further though to find all of the hidden leaks in our budget:

Recurring charges- Have you ever signed up for a 30-day trial of something, only to realize that you never cancelled it? Do you have any recurring charges for services or apps that you don’t ever use? I plan to find any hidden leaks and cancel these accounts.

Reduce grocery spending- Holy heck, we have been spending A LOT of money on groceries. I plan to try to reduce this expense immediately by being more intentional about what we are eating and cooking from scratch more.

Reduce the dining out- We are a bit snobby about food and that has not helped our budget AT ALL. Fortunately, I can cook and plan to master a few of our restaurant faves so we can reduce this expense more by eating at home.

Analyze our standard household expenses- Are we *really* getting the best deals on home insurance, auto insurance, internet, and our mobile services? I, honestly, don’t know, but this month I plan to investigate.

Trim Financial Services Review

One Last Option To Try- Robo Tools for Adjusting Your Bills For You…With Some Disclaimers

As I was researching for our Passive Income for Busy Moms series, I stumbled upon a service called Trim.

Trim is, basically, a bot service that negotiates rates, on your behalf, to lower your payments. You, basically, give them permission to act on your behalf and see if they can secure your family savings.

I set them to work on our expenses so I could give you a personal review of their services.

Our Comcast internet bill was $80 a month.

Trim sent me a text that they were able to get a fee refund (of $2.32) and they also applied for a promotion for $9.95 off for 12 months.

That is a savings of $119.40 over the course of the year.

What’s in it for Trim? Well, they take 33% of the savings they get on the bill. We were immediately charged $40.17, but we still ended up saving $79 for the year.

They also were able to flag a few things that were monthly charges that we may not want to continue spending money on.

The best part was that they also sent cancellation requests for you so you don’t have to add it to your to-do list.

If you have a lot of personal debt, it also can negotiate credit card rates and they offer premium services, to utilize a financial coach, to reduce your debt and get you on a better path.

You Saved Money with Trim. Why The Disclaimers Then?

I went through a lot of reviews and complaints on BBB, which is why I did not dedicate a separate post to this.

Many people were disheartened about the charges after the bill negotiation (which I think they are pretty clear about) and some people felt that their established services rose in cost in the months that followed.

There were also complaints filed that they could not discontinue services when signing up for premium membership plans.

For that reason, I also signed up with their premium membership, waited a month, and then canceled it.

The cancellation went through with no hitches at all.

I have not had any bills raised since I used the service and I was really happy with the savings of almost $80.

That said, if you are nervous about a bot negotiating for you, start investigating the current deals and contact the cable, phone, and internet company to see if you can get your bills lowered.

After all, the worst they can say is no.

Join My January Passive Income Challenge

Sign up for a Mint account (or similar budgeting app platform) and link your accounts.

Once you have your expenses categorized, reflect on your past expenses and habits.

Decide what your new 2020 budget will look like and check in daily to see how you are doing.

Consider canceling any recurring expenses that aren’t benefiting your family anymore. Do this by contacting companies directly or utilize a bot tool to reduce some of your basic expenses. Be sure to ask about loyalty plans, if there are plans that make more sense for your family (based on usage), or see if you can get discounts if you are requesting to cancel services.

I can’t wait to see what you are able to save with your new habits! 

Think of this as this month’s paycheck for all your hard work! 

Love this post? Here are a few others you might love!

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com passive revenue ideas for busy moms

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com earn money through rakuten cash back

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from MomAdvice.com do you really earn money with rakuten?

how to invest in yourself with ellevest

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com what I earned from one month with ellevest

 

Don’t forget to follow along on our Passive Income Challenge series. You can head here to see all the posts in one place. Have you used Mint for your budget before or do you use another budget app service? I’d love to hear your experience with budgeting apps today! 

Mint.com Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

 

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Earn Money Investing in Women With Ellevest

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest

 

Are you looking for easy ways to earn extra cash for your family? Today I’m sharing how easy it is to invest in YOU with an incredible robo advisor tool. Ellevest is committed to helping you achieve your financial goals by investing in yourself and in women-owned businesses. 

This is the second challenge in our Passive Income for Busy Moms series. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

Does the idea of investing in yourself feel intimidating?

You aren’t alone.

I have always been intimidated by this process and, honestly, have never invested in my own retirement.  Although we have been aggressively putting money away in my husband’s retirement account, I started thinking about how nice it would be to take some of my own salary and start investing in myself.

The thing is… where do you even start?

I spent weeks and weeks researching different companies, reading reviews, and watching interviews with representatives from different investment companies. It is through that research that I stumbled on the most incredible investment company that makes it UNBELIEVABLY easy to start investing in all of your financial goals.

Honestly, I am so  excited about this and can’t believe how sleekly automated and easy this tool is.

First of all, are you unfamiliar with how robo-advisors work?

I know I was!

I will walk you through everything I have learned this month! 

Also, for the record, this is a REAL review of Ellevest based on my first month with them. Many of the reviews I read NEVER had a REAL PERSON using Ellevest for investing- they just seemed to be in it for affiliate money.

Anything I share with you, through this series, are things that I’m exploring right along with you. It is my promise to you.

Earn Money With Ellevest

Earn Money Investing in Women With Ellevest

What The Heck is a Robo Advisor?

Robo advisors (also known as automated investing services or online advisors) use computer algorithms and advanced software to create an investment portfolio for you. They are referred to as robo because this is mostly an automated process that requires little to no human interaction.

This is a really great way to get started with entry-level investing because everything is done automatically for you and you don’t have to spend a lot of time babysitting your portfolio.

These robo-advisor tools can vary based upon their platform that they offer and what the goals of your portfolio are.

The reason I settled on Ellevest is because it is a goal-oriented program (something I find very attractive!), it is user-friendly, and their impact portfolios are pretty darn awesome.

What is Ellevest And Why Did You Pick It?

As I explained, I did a ton of research and spent many nights reading article after article on different investment tools. The idea behind this series was that it would be easy to implement and that it wouldn’t require a ton of time for a busy mom.

It is through this research that I stumbled upon this interview with Sallie Krawcheck on The Daily Show.

I really encourage you to take the time to watch it because it does a much better job than I ever could on just how important it is to support women in business and why this company is pretty groundbreaking.

As you can see, this lady is a real bada$$ and wants to do a better job representing women in the financial industry. This approach to simplify investing makes long term goals simple and straightforward.

From the Ellevest site, “Co-founder and CEO, Sallie Krawcheck, realized the investing industry has been, frankly, “by men, for men” — and has historically kept women from achieving their financial goals. Sallie has made it her life’s mission to unleash women’s financial power and get them invested in their biggest goals.”

How Much Money Do I Need to Open an Ellevest Account?

Honestly, you can open an account and invest zero dollars.

Of course, that’s how many you will make back too.

In all seriousness, you determine how much you want to invest to start and then Ellevest offers up how much you should regularly be depositing to reach your goals, within your desired timespan.

They also understand that women also need other types of shorter term or once-in-a-lifetime type of investments. They create this investment plan and then offer options for other goals based accounts.

Some of the offerings are funds to start a business, once-in-a-lifetime splurges, retirement, kids, buying a home, and emergency funds.

How Does Ellevest Determine My Investment Goals & Strategies?

Ellevest uses a algorithm to calculate financial goal targets to meet your specific needs, including a larger retirement target amount for your potentially longer lifespan (ladies, we need to save MORE because of that!).

Did you know that women retire with two-thirds as much money men do, but we live six to eight years longer?!

These are the circumstances that are factored in with a company that understands women.

Once they have calculated the amount you should aim for, they suggest how much you should contribute in order to get there based on your financial profile, a gender-specific salary curve, and your target horizon.

This is processed through a Monte Carlo simulation.

What the heck is Monte Carlo simulation?

My thoughts exactly.

Monte Carlo simulation is a forward-looking, computer-based analysis in which they run recommended portfolios and savings rates through hundreds of different economic scenarios, to pick the best one for you.

Earn Money Supporting Women With Ellevest

How Is Ellevest Supporting Women?

Is it just me, or are you as jaded as I am when people make broad claims about how they support women?

In this case, they REALLY do.

A lot of people love to aim products towards women, but really don’t stand behind that message.

This is where my real love for the company is…they tailor a portfolio that helps YOU support WOMEN IN BUSINESS! 

Is that not the coolest?

They settled on three criteria of support that I think are really amazing (not to mention hiring female investors to work on your accounts):

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Funds investing in companies with more women leaders and policies that advance women.

SUSTAINABLE, ACCOUNTABLE COMPANIES

Funds investing in companies working to meet  for sustainability and ethical practices.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Funds providing loans to support women-owned businesses and companies that provide community services – child education, performing arts, and housing and care for seniors and individuals in need.

How Hard is It to Create An Account?

This was incredibly easy to set up and it all made sense to me because of its goal driven platform.

They use a tool, that my hubby immediately recognized as a TypeForm template, that I found very easy to use.

How to Set Goals With Ellevest

You answer some really basic questions, like in the screenshot above, and that helps you see how much you need to put away each month to reach your goals.

Ellevest Real Review

Once it has this information, you can set up how much you want to start putting away into your accounts automatically.

Just like a withdrawal you would have for a bill, this takes out the payments you set up monthly.

You can also add additional money into your account and there is no minimum balance.

If you earned money from one of the other passive income ideas I’m sharing, for example, you could put this unexpected money away for yourself to earn a little more.

How Much Does Ellevest Cost?

This tool is much cheaper than hiring a financial advisor because more personalized services can charge you a whopping 1% annually.

With Ellevest, your annual management fee is .25%.

If you saved $5,000, for example, you would pay $12.50 for the entire year. 

They do offer a more expensive premium account that allows you to receive coaching and some other benefits.

For that account though, you need a minimum private wealth investment of $50,000.

Is Investing Money With Ellevest Risky?

Investing does come with risks and it is important to understand what those risks are.

I found this article to be very helpful in explaining what risks might be involved.

Why Did You Start This a Month Before Me?

With something like investing, I thought it was important to do the entire process so that I could be honest about how easy or hard it is. I put in $2,000 into a wealth-building account.

Real Ellevest Earnings

This is my current status for potential earnings!

Of course, investing is a long haul game, but it is fun to see that needle shifting in my favor a bit.

Should I Be Investing If I’m Worried About a Recession?

Some experts are saying that a financial recession is looming.

Here’s the thing, I am going with these opinions and agreeing with the experts on this one. I do believe we will be facing another recession soon.

I think this is a valid concern and something that we all should be thinking about as we make choices with our money.

The most important thing you can do is to prepare an emergency safety net so that you can weather the economic changes.

The second most important thing?

 Pay off your highest interest debts NOW. 

If you need another gentle nudge, you might enjoy my book! (I’m pretty proud of it!)

I think this article does a really great job at explaining how to invest if you are worried about another recession.

The biggest thing I am learning from wealth-building is that it is REALLY important to keep things diversified.

Never put your eggs into one basket.

Earn Money Supporting Women With Ellevest

Join My November Passive Income Challenge

Your challenge is to set up an account and invest in yourself. If you only have $5 a month, that is $5 more towards reaching a financial goal FOR YOU.

Start brainstorming with your family about what would benefit you the most right now.

Putting your savings and investments on automatic makes it easier to stay on track with your financial goals.

Please note, this Ellevest affiliate program is not associated with being a blogger.

Also, let it be known, although I love the focus on women, men are more than welcome to invest too.

If your guy is as awesome as mine, he will love putting his money towards companies that are helping women level the financial playing field.

Love this post? Here are a few others that I think you might love too!

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com passive revenue ideas for busy moms

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com earn money through rakuten cash back

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from MomAdvice.com do you really earn money with rakuten?

I’d love to hear what has been your experience with Ellevest or with using a robo-advisor for your investments? How do you make investing in yourself and your retirement a priority?

this post contains affiliate links

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What I Earned From One Month Using the Rakuten App

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

 

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from MomAdvice.com

Are you looking for an easy way to earn cash back or even double cash back on your purchases? Today I’m sharing what I really earned through the Rakuten app as we explore passive income money making opportunities for moms. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

I can’t believe all of the enthusiasm and excitement for this new Passive Income Ideas for Moms series that I have started. It has meant so much to me to have your support and have you join me in these challenges. It’s also such a joy to have some of our older readers back now that I’m exploring another frugality series. 

I am so happy to have you here and helping you explore new ways to make money for your family.

If you are new to the series, I am challenging myself to find new ways to make money for our family and taking you on the journey with me. I started with learning about the Rakuten app and shared how you could use this too as you were shopping.

Now that I have the first month under my belt, I’m sharing what I thought about my month with this app.

What I Earned From One Month Using the Rakuten App

Real Rakuten Cash Back Results

What is Rakuten?

Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a site (and app) that gives you cash back on on qualifying purchases. If you didn’t join me last month, simply use this referral link to receive your first $10 to shop with and to get began earning your own cash back rewards.

Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo and is a a Japanese electronic commerce and online retailing company. The company handles a lot of different types of services like Rakuten Kobo Ebooks, Rakuten Credit Cards, Rakuten Super Points (which include member rewards), Rakuten Viber, and so much more.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know how to say the name of this service company, the Rakuten marketing team handled that with this clever commercial.

Spoiler alert: I was saying it the WRONG WAY all month long.

Was It Easy to Earn Money Through Rakuten?

Although I had been with Ebates (years ago!), I had completely forgotten to use this for my purchases. Downloading the app was super easy and it was also very easy to install the extension that allowed me to see what the cash back rewards were as well as any coupons that might be available for my purchases.

What Was the Outcome of the Cash Back Rewards?

Although I had planned to make a few purchases for the exterior of our home, we ended up doing some unexpected travel and that meant that no one was here to purchase or install these items. I have a feeling these next few months will be much more rewarding because of these home purchases as well as our upcoming holiday gifts we will be buying.

I am not a big spender so the results on the cash back rewards matched my spending habits.

Here are some creative cash back rewards though that I did receive:

Rakuten Real Results

We Got Cash Back on Our Food Delivery– Rakuten gives you cash rewards for shopping through DoorDash so I used the app for our family’s sushi delivery. Since I was a new customer, I was able to have the delivery fee waived, had a great coupon code, and also got $2.67 back on our dinner delivery.

I Got Cash Back on Our Day Pass to Great Wolf Lodge– $2.25 was deposited in my Rakuten account after snagging day passes for us to hit the water park over our fall break.

I Got Cash Back on my Old Navy Purchase– I ordered a few sweaters, for fall, and ended up getting $1.85 back on my purchase.

I Also Have Cash Back Pending on Travel Expenses- Since Rakuten was affiliated with Expedia, I booked my airline ticket through them so I could get the cash rewards. I also secured a Groupon, that is in processing, so I’m waiting for those pending charges to go through.

Airline tickets, for example, take six weeks to process so you don’t see immediate results.

As you can see, it was not an exciting month of purchases, BUT the point was to earn money on things I was already buying and not buy things just to buy things.

Overall, the total earned through my shopping was a mere $6.77.

If you are a big shopper, the potential for rewards would be much greater.

I have now trained myself to do targeted shopping and to check for double cash back rewards. 

It only takes a minute, but it is more money back in my pocket by being strategic with this app.

Rakuten Affiliate Results

Did You *REALLY* Earn Money on Referrals Through Rakuten?

I am really surprised that Rakuten does not have a cap on how many referrals you can cash in on. I know most of you were already signed up with this company so I didn’t think this was going to be a big earner.

It’s important to know that you don’t actually earn the referral cash unless the person spends $25 using the app. I had a lot of people sign up, but many who have not made their first purchase (21 pending referrals are still not activated). These just stay in a holding pattern until they make their first $25 purchase.

I still ended up referring 11 new people to the shopping app who actually made their qualifying $25 purchase. This yielded a $275 profit in my account that will be applied to my next big fat check.

I did share that I understand that I have an unfair advantage with this because of the website referrals. Even if I didn’t though, I can see how sharing your referral link, especially as people begin holiday shopping, can yield holiday cash for anyone. They offer easy ways to share on Facebook, text, and email. 

While many affiliate programs are limited to bloggers, I love that this one is open to anyone who wants to share and that is a very high return on sharing a link on social media.

Rakuten App Screen

Will You Continue Using Rakuten For Shopping?

These are one month explorations because I may or may not feel like these efforts are worth it.

With this one, I actually do plan to make this a regular part of my spending routines. It was so darn easy to use and I loved their easy way of finding additional coupons for my purchases.

It wasn’t completely seamless because two of my purchases didn’t go through and I thought I wouldn’t receive my cash back credit.

I emailed the help desk a copy of my receipts and the deposit was quickly processed.

Overall, I’m really impressed with the customer service and the ease of the app.

I also realized that I had pending cash (from 2008!!!) that they still had in their system to credit me. That means that my actual check is $321.77, but isn’t actually reflective of my October earnings.

Grand Total Earnings for October: $281.77

NOT. TOO. SHABBY.

I will continue to keep you updated on totals as we go through this year.

Tomorrow I will be sharing with you a bigger November challenge that might get you thinking about how you are investing in yourself. I’m a month ahead of you, this time, so I can make sure that I could fully check out this next passive income builder for you and make sure it is worth your time.

See you on the blog tomorrow for our November Passive Income For Moms Challenge!!

Don’t forget to follow along on our Passive Income Challenge series. You can head here to see all the posts in one place. Did you sign up for Rakuten or start using it again for cash back rewards? What was your experience with this passive income money maker for October?

This post contains affiliate links. 

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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 Earn Money Through Rakuten (October Challenge)

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from MomAdvice.com What Did I *REALLY* End Up Earning With Rakuten? (October Challenge Results)

Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest Earn Money With Ellevest (November Challenge)

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest (November Challenge Results) 

Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget Header Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget (January Challenge)

This post contains affiliate links.

 

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms

 

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.