Archive for the ‘Frugal’ Category

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 and even share $20 to start investing in YOU today!

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?

(Head HERE if you just want your $20 for your free Ellevest account!!)

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

If you think you would like to start investing in yourself, here is $20 to put towards your account.

Ellevest gives their customers an invitation code (that’s what I’m sharing) so they can put $20 in their account and they also give the referrer $20 for sharing about the service.

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.

Each customer receives a unique code so if you love it as much as me, you can share your own code with your friends and start putting away MORE money in your account.

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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How to Make a DIY No-Sew Blanket Scarf (Plus How to Wear a Blanket Scarf)

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

Blanket scarves are so trendy and an easy no-sew DIY to make for cold weather. Check out this diy blanket scarf tutorial and how to style your plaid blanket scarf with this easy tutorial. One trip to the fabric store for flannel plaid fabric and you will have everything you need to make a blanket scarf of your own…no sewing machine required!

I am madly in love with blanket scarves.

My obsession started as all good obsessions do.

It began on Pinterest, of course.

All of these fabulously fashionable women were rocking these gorgeous oversized scarves, but they were out of my price range or lacked the fullness & beauty that was captured online.

I mean, who couldn’t get behind the idea of wearing a blanket and calling it an oversized scarf?

Count Me In!

I decided I wanted to make some for my minimalist wardrobe because it would add so much. Did you know you can make a blanket scarf with no sewing skills required?

Let’s begin by taking a peek at the coveted $44 Zara scarf (that sells out in minutes, not kidding).

I want to zoom on in it so we can take a closer look.

Zara Blanket Scarf

Source: Style for the Seasons

The thing I want you to see is that the edges are frayed on their version too.

Guess what?

You can achieve that with a little flannel and pulling.

The best part is that this version will cost you quite a bit less than $44. I am going to make a big stack of them to show you and then I am going to show you some fun ways to tie them.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

The first thing you will need to do is shop for your fabric which is so much fun. I went to a few shops to check out fabric and ended up finding it at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  

Head over here to grab a coupon for your flannel fabric.

Want to know a pro-crafter shopping tip? Check out this app that I’m using to get a percentage back on my craft purchases.

If not, that same link will provide you a 40% off coupon. You will DEFINITELY want to use this because it makes these scarves budget-friendly. Don’t forget your coupons.

Head over the Fashion Flannel…at least that’s what they call it in Mishawaka (oh-la-la!).

Select your favorite patterns, tell them the amount you need, have them tell you they don’t have that much on a bolt, go grab another one, try again… Be annoyed.

Decide to do two sizes because you want you what you want, that’s why you brought it up there.

Got it?

I am going to show you what a 2 yard scarf looks like and then I am going to show you what a 2.5 yard scarf looks like below.

I love them both for different reasons and what you can do with them. The price (with no sales or coupons) is $8.99 per yard. That’s why it is great to see the two version (for cost-savings) and also really great to bring a coupon to save a bit on the fabric.

I wouldn’t recommend anything more than that or your scarf will choke you and you will die from scarf blanket suffocation.

It will be all over the headlines.

They will be laughing at you in those ridiculous segments on the radio where they try to shock you at the stupidity of Americans.  Your family will miss you. It would all be very tragic.


If you would prefer to shop online, I love to check over here for flannel by the yard. SO MANY great choices!! 

 

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Make a Blanket Scarf

1. Purchase 2-2.5 yards of flannel fabric (make sure the flannel printing is on both sides).

2. Using the patterned flannel edge as a guide (on the edges of the fabric), trim the edges of each side of your scarf with a pair of sewing scissors (these are what I have)  to expose the cut edges.

3. Pulling out the vertical threads, on the cut side of the fabric, begin fraying the edges of the scarf.

You will discover that pulling out threads really creates a beautiful finished edge

If you are struggling to grab a thread, don’t be afraid to use a seam ripper.

Keep doing this until there are no loose threads and you have a beautifully frayed edge. Repeat on each side of the scarf. DONE!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This is what TWO YARDS of fabric looks like.

You can see that it has a lot of fullness, but is not as long or as much to tie or knot around.

Do you want to see how to tie it to look like this?

Okay then.

How to Wear a Blanket Scarf

How to Style a Blanket Scarf

How to Tie a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your Two Yard Blanket Scarf

1. Fold the scarf in half, lining the edges up evenly. This creates more of a square blanket scarf versus doing it on an angle.

2. Make sure one end is shorter than the other and tuck it up over your shoulder.

3. Loop around once with the long end (or possibly twice depending on your neck size!).

4. Fluff and puff. Fluff and puff.

how-to-make-a-blanket-scarf-9

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here is the same size, just not puffed up so much. Seriously, cute stuff!

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

How to Tie Your 2.5 Yard Blanket Scarf

No need to reinvent the wheel to tie a blanket scarf…I just headed online to figure out a couple of fun ways to tie these longer blanket scarves.

I tried this braided technique on Classy Sassy and really loved it.

It is a little more complex than the one above, but it adds a beautiful detail to the styling.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

This half-tied technique couldn’t be easier and was a cinch to pull together and added just the right amount of fullness to the neckline.

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

Here are a few other blanket scarf tying techniques I am looking forward to trying!

This one is similar to the half-tied technique, but no tying, just tucking. I can do that!

This chunky scarf technique would work really well with a 2-yard scarf so you could let the ends hang.

The 2.5-yard one would look great as a poncho or even pulled together with a belt.

This poncho style leaves the scarf folded making a smaller poncho version.

I also love draping this scarf just around my shoulders during the cold winter months. It makes the perfect shawl!

Regardless of the way you tie it, I love pairing these scarves with puffy vests, long sleeve shirts, and my favorite fall boots. Flannel blanket scarves are the perfect addition to your fall wardrobe. 

How to Make a Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

I’m Petite & Want to Make a Smaller Version- What Can I Do?

I’m pretty petite, but I know big scarves aren’t for everyone!

Shave 6-7 inches off the width on a 2 yard version to make a more petite version of this scarf with a little less bulk or experiment with your own sizing by creating your own custom version.

Just cut, try on, adjust.

There are no wrong or right lengths- it is what fits YOU or your recipient best!

Wear it a scarf or wear it as a blanket. The possibilities for this cozy project are endless.

Love this scarf tutorial? Here are a few other DIY projects I’m proud of!

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

Fall Burlap Wreath fall burlap wreath

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles slow cooker pumpkin spice candles

How to make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath yarn pom-pom wreath

DIY Roll-up Puzzle Mat roll-up jigsaw puzzle mat

DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers no-sew hand warmers

Yarn Pom Pom Trees yarn pom pom trees

How to Make a Succulent Terrarium succulent terrariums

I hope you have a blast making these quick scarves for yourself or for holiday gift-giving. Check out this list of 54 handmade gifts you can make for the holiday season to inspire you even more! Happy crafting!

This post contains affiliate links. 

How to Make a No Sew Blanket Scarf from MomAdvice.com

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DIY Chunky Knit Blanket

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Big Fat Hygge Blanket Free Pattern

 

Are you ready for your next quick project? This knit throw is made with chunky yarn, big knitting needles, and a little faux fur to finish. This warm and cozy project is affordable and happens to make beautiful Christmas gifts. Follow this step-by-step tutorial to make a big fat hygge blanket of your own.

It has been a long time since I’ve shared a knitting project with you. I’ve had difficulty with hand pain, for the past couple of years, so I had to take a break. I’m so thrilled to be feeling better though and am SO excited to share with you a super easy hand knit blanket.

Blankets can be labor intensive, but this one can be finished in just a few evenings, thanks to this super bulky yarn!

These chunky knit blankets have been catching my eye A LOT on Etsy. Most of these are made with a chunky , merino wool roving yarn that create big beautiful stitches. They also cost a pretty penny to purchase or even to diy yourself.

I stumbled upon the Bernat Blanket Big yarn, on a recent trip to the craft store, and absolutely loved the feel of it. This is, honestly, the coziest yarn and I knew it would make the perfect blanket.

Originally, I had planned to cable knit this blanket, but I quickly realized that working with these big needles and yarn made it difficult to work with and the thickness felt unnecessary.

I inspected a few of the patterns, sold online, and noticed that most offered a 2 x 2 ribbing or they were knitted in a simple stockinette stitch (knitting one row, purling the next, knitting one row, purling the next, etc..)

I settled on the 2 x 2 rib, mostly because I find it slightly more impressive and I like the variation in the stiching.

I’m nicknaming this blanket, “the big fat hygge blanket,” because I’m ALL ABOUT THE HYGGE in the winter time.

Not familiar with hygge?

In Danish culture, hygge refers to coziness , comfort, and a general feeling of contentment. When I think of hygge, I think of warm drinks, cozy slippers, a big stack of books, tea, and a big blanket.

Even as I knitted this blanket, I was feeling all the hygge feelings because this yarn is so darn cozy.

I have never arm knitted a blanket, but I do know that many people use this strategy to knit blankets like these. 

Instead, I bought some big needles (here is my exact pair) and knitted the blanket that way.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

My kids thought that these needles were a decoration for our home and got a big laugh out of seeing me use these.

Seriously, they are so big that they could be hung as decorative art, like people do with oars or surfboards.

No one was laughing though when the blanket was finished and they all wanted one for themselves.

Who is laughing now, kids? 

I even got my first birthday request from my girl and have a big stack of pink yarn to knit through next.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

How to Knit a DIY Chunky Blanket

Here are a few tips for knitting a super chunky blanket of your own!

Master All the Basic Techniques

If you are a brand new knitter, WELCOME TO THE CLUB! Bulky projects are super satisfying because of how quickly you can make them. I love this super simple illustrated guide to explain basic knitting techniques. You can also learn a lot through YouTube, Bluprint, or Skillshare.

Personally, I’m addicted to Skillshare because of its affordability and the variety of classes offered. It is how I have been learning about loom knitting AND about digital marketing. 

I’m a girl with many hats.

I find this yarn is hard to see the stitches, but still wanted to show you a few of the basic techniques with your Bernat Blanket Big Yarn!

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to cast on your yarn for your diy chunky blanket

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to do the knit stitch

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

here is a picture tutorial on how to do the purl stitch

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com Do you see how differently these two stitches look? Two have humps and two don’t. Not only does this help you with your counting, but it also gives you an indication of what row you are working on. After you do your first row, flip your work, and take a peek at the back. This will help you if you lose track of your even and odd numbered rows.

Learn the 2×2 Ribbing Pattern Before You Start

If you have never done a 2×2 pattern, try practicing this with a smooth thin yarn and smaller knitting needles. Since this yarn is super bulky, it can be difficult to see what you are doing on the back of your work and this practice project will help you figure out what this will look like.

Normally, a 2 x 2 ribbing is set in multiples of 4 (K2, P2). Since we want this blanket to begin and end on our two knitted stitches, the blanket pattern has added 2 additional stitches (written separately like this- K2, *P2, K2*) so we end and start our rows with 2 knit stitches.

Make Sure You Understand the Pattern Fully- This is a fun beginner project, but you might be confused what certain abbreviations mean. I know that I was when I first started knitting and had to look a lot of terms up.

For this pattern, you will need to know these abbreviations:

CO- Cast on

K- Knit

K2- Knit two stitches

P- Purl

P2- Purl two stitches

*blah, blah, blah*- This means that the pattern will be repeating. In our pattern, for example, it is a *P2, K2* so we will want to repeat what is between those asterisks until the next direction in our pattern. In the case of this pattern, you will just be doing the *P2, K2* or *K2, P2* all the way to the end. How easy is that?

Keep Your Stitches Loose

You do not want to cast your stitches on tightly or knit them tightly because it makes it very hard to slip your needles in and out. Try to maintain consistency so your stitches look similar throughout the project.

Are you ready to get knitting? Follow the directions below or scroll all the way to the end for a free printable pattern.

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com

DIY Chunky Knit Blanket

Supplies Needed (super saver tip- make sure you are signed up with Rakuten to get cash back on your craft purchases)

4 skeins of Bernat Blanket Big Yarn

U.S. 50 Knitting Needles

Big Eye Wooden Needle for threading yarn

Faux Fur Pom-Pom Balls (optional)

Directions

Cast on 18 stitches

Row 1- K2, *P2, K2* to end

Row 2- P2 *K2, P2* to end

Repeat Row 1 on all odd-numbered rows.

Repeat Row 2 on all even-numbered rows.

Repeat until you come close to the end of your fourth skein.

Cast off LOOSELY and finish with fur accents, homemade tassels, or even four yarn pom-poms. I have the ultimate yarn pom pom tutorial, if you haven’t tried making these before! These would be beautiful in an accent color. I love the Lion Brand chunky yarn, in particular, for a fat pom-pom.

Good luck tackling this fun project! 

Want a printable version of this? Well, here you go!

DIY Chunky Blanket FREE Pattern from MomAdvice.com

If you have caught the knitting, bug I have loads more knitting and yarn projects to check out!

how to knit a chunky cowl

how to knit a chunky cowl

Knitted Baby Viking Hat Pattern knitted baby viking hat pattern

knitted wine hats and scarves

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies knitted sweater coffee cozies

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath how to make a yarn pom pom wreath

Happy crafting friends! 

*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 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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