Archive for the ‘Saving’ Category

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.

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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Over 350 Kindle Books On Sale Today

Monday, November 26th, 2018

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

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

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

Amazon Kindle Book Deals (my favorites offered today!)

The Great Alone, $2.99

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

Vox, $1.99

The One, $1.99

The Child Finder, $1.99

The Ministry of Ordinary Places, $2.99

The Winter Soldier, $4.99

Need to Know, $1.99

Children of Blood & Bone, $2.99

Far from the Tree, $1.99

Every Breath, $3.99

The Three Body Problem, $3.99

Leah on the Offbeat, $1.99

Another Woman’s Husband, $2.99

Not Our Kind, $1.99

American Gods, $2.99

I’m Judging You, $2.99

Artemis, $2.99

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

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

Outlander, $1.99

It Was Me All Along, $1.99

Love & Ruin, $2.99

Hillbilly Elegy, $3.99

Murder on the Orient Express, $2.99

The Dutch Wife, $2.99

Tailspin, $4.99

The Snow Bride, $1.99

Vicious, $2.99

The Lost City of the Monkey God, $2.99

Racing to the Finish, $3.99

1984, $2.99 (or FREE with your Prime)

Money: Master the Game, $3.99

Other Deals To Get Excited About!

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

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

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

Hunter Boots– under $100 today!!

LOFT– 50% off sitewide plus free shipping

Ann Taylor– 50% off sitewide plus free shipping

Old Navy– 40% off sitewide

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

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


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

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

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

16¢ DVD Rentals– Use coupon code DVD16

16¢ Blu-rays Rentals– Use coupon code BLURAY16

16¢ Game Rentals– Use coupon code GAME16

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

The queen of no-sew projects is back and I’m excited to share this EASY DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkin tutorial with you today.

That’s right, even if you can’t sew, it’s no biggie!

Can’t cut a straight line?

Me either!

No need to even have a skill in that!

Each diy no-sew napkin should take a mere ten minutes to make and can be used for many a dinner with your family and friends. Not to mention, these would make a gorgeous gift for a newlywed or the holidays.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

I had a set of cloth napkins that got a lot of love in our house because of their easy-to-wash material and their perfect size. I was never a fan of the colors though and so I measured my current set and headed to the fabric store where I discovered (GLORY BE!) that the fabric bundles, at our local fabric shop, just so happened to be the EXACT same size.

What luck for someone who can’t cut a straight line.

I have always loved the beauty of these color-coordinating fabric bundles (just so perfect for quilters) and thanks to their prepackaged coordination, it makes creating a reversible set of napkins oh-so-easy for those of us born without the gift of pattern-matching.

Here’s my quick tutorial AND scroll down for my system for washing and storing these beauties!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins Tutorial

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins

diy-no-sew-reversible-cloth-napkins (2 of 23)

 

Supplies

18×21 inch fabric bundle in coordinating colors- I LOVE these options or you can check here too for a more affordable option (the bundle I purchased had 5 pieces so to create an even number of cloth napkins you will need to purchase two bundles. You will need 2 pieces for each napkin you would like to make). I chose Cotton & Flannel materials for my napkins.

Stitch Witchery or similar fusible bonding web (I swear by Stitch Witchery for the majority of my no-sew projects- it really washes well!)

Chopstick or pointy object to push out your corners

Iron & ironing board

Scissors

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

Directions

1. Select two coordinating colors and place the first one with the pattern up, facing you, and then flip the other one with the wrong side of the fabric out. Basically, you want the two patterns to be BFF’s and be facing each other.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

2. Going all the way across the fabric, lay down your Stitch Witchery all the way across, leaving a little room on each side of the edges, as pictured.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

3. Grab you iron (I crank mine to the highest setting on that dial) and iron over the tape until the two fabrics are fused together. This will take several passes and you can additionally spray the fabric with a little water to produce steam and help the tape bond to each side of the fabric. Repeat this process on two more sides.

Leave one side without tape and follow the next steps to finish the cloth napkin.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

4. On the final side, we are going to run the tape along like the other sides, but stop to leave a pocket so we can turn this napkin right side out.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

5. Using your scissors, cut all four corners so we don’t have excess fabric in the corners. CAREFULLY, turn the napkin right side out and use your chopstick to CAREFULLY poke out those corners. If the tape comes loose while turning this right side out, don’t worry! You can easily reseal that tape again when finishing that edge!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

6. Tuck the last of the ends under, to match the rest of the side that has been fused.  Finish with another round of Stitch Witchery and a final press. Once the ends are all sealed, finish with a spray of water to take out any final wrinkles and to give it a good press on all four sides to make sure they are secure.

TA-DA!  That’s it, folks!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

I had already received some questions, when I posted these beauties on IG, on how I planned to implement these in our home. I got a container for these and have them on our hutch, next to our silverware. Underneath the sink is a container for tossing the dirty napkins.

I got a small napkin holder that perfectly holds four of these (something like this) for the tabletop and each person gets one napkin per day.

I did request darker colors for messier meals and lighter colors for meals that less messy.

Each person is responsible for tossing their napkin in at the end of the day.

All of this feels REALLY doable to me.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

Obviously, I am IN LOVE with these feminine patterns, but I wanted to make some that were more masculine too.

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

I found some flannel and did some of our napkins in this fabric too.

The best part was that the print was on both sides so the warmer side of the flannel would be perfect for the winter months while the flipside of the flannel was perfect for all seasons (and, honestly, I had less worries about lint issues). I can picture just how beautiful these would be to dress up the table for the holidays.

The best part?

You can’t buy this at Target. You get to be totally unique.

Go ahead and gloat!

Do you love NO-SEW projects? You hit the lottery over here! Check out a few of my favorite no-sew tutorials!

Fabric Flower Wreath Fabric Flower Wreath for Spring

No-Sew Kitchen Cushions DIY No-Sew Reversible Chair Cushions

Fabric Wreath & Garland Fabric Wreath & Matching Garland

Fabric Bulletin Board Fabric Bulletin Board Tutorial

Painted Pumpkins Painting Pumpkins With Acrylic Paints

diy-no-sew-pocket-warmers-10 DIY No-Sew Hand Warmers

Diy Ottoman Serving Tray DIY Ottoman Serving Tray

Scrappy Fabric Trees 15-Minute Scrappy Fabric Trees

DIY Jigsaw Puzzle Mat DIY Roll-Up Jigsaw Puzzle Mat

Told ya, queen of the no-sew life!

DIY No-Sew Reversible Cloth Napkins from MomAdvice.com

Have you made the switch to cloth in your home? I’d love to hear what systems work best for your family?

This post contains affiliate links!

 

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March: No Spend Challenge Results (Week 2)

Friday, March 16th, 2018

march no spend challenge

I can’t believe I have already breezed through the second week of this No-Spend Challenge and things have been going so well.  I am really recognizing my spending impulses and a lot of it seems to have to do with the power of suggestion (helloooo, Instagram)  and when I have pockets of free time that have me heading over to my computer to do a little online shopping.

no-spend challenge

no-spend challenge (the birthday boy’s favorite cake- snickerdoodle cake!)

It was my husband’s birthday week and I had disclosed at the beginning of the challenge that I wouldn’t be skipping his celebration dinner just because I wanted to save a little money. We went to his favorite fancy spot and had a wonderful meal that we savored together. I never take for granted what a good life it is when you get to spend your life with your best friend.

When I began really getting the hang of cooking, we have found that we really don’t enjoy dining out anymore, unless it is somewhere really spectacular. I wouldn’t say our dining out budget has been cut down necessarily, but that we now would rather pay for one really incredible meal rather than four disappointing inexpensive meals.

It was a fabulous night and there was no need to buy anything special to wear thanks to that well-equipped capsule wardrobe.

red sparrow

I have a MoviePass, but I always am trying to coordinate with other people to go and see a movie. I have never gone to the movies by myself, but I was dying to see Red Sparrow (my husband was not) so I decided to have an impromptu movie date by myself.

You know what? It was awesome!

My INFJ heart was very happy AND I absolutely loved the film.

I packed a snack in my car to enjoy on the way home and avoided the concessions stand to hold to my challenge.

Boy, that popcorn smell almost had me caving!

no-spend challenge

Dining at home is never a biggie, but I have gotten in a bad habit of just buying groceries impulsively and not really looking in our pantry and freezer. These chicken breasts became this delicious dish and a forgotten bag of potatoes made the perfect side dish.

We enjoyed this with some belly-laughs over this new Netflix series. It made me thankful to see other people #nailingit like me when it comes to baking.

no-spend-challenge-3

Do you follow bloggers because you love seeing all the new things they have gotten? I know that there are certain accounts that I follow because it seems like they always have the latest thing.

I realized this week that creatively, it is MUCH more challenging to inspire people WITHOUT buying things.

I have to think a little harder about what I have been putting out in the world and how to inspire people without spending money. I have always been committed to good living on a small budget, but am I always sharing in these ways?

I needed a little Spring for our mantle, for example, and shopped the house to create a cute little rainbow of books for the mantle.

My hubby declared this the MOST Pinterest-y thing I have ever done and I am not ashamed.

We have so much here- why do I feel I need to buy things to inspire other people?

no-spend challenge

This week I have been more busy than usual and haven’t been sitting at my computer and instead found myself with three wonderful dates (at my house- #nospendchallenge, you know!) with three amazing women that inspire me so much.

I love entertaining, but sometimes it feels more convenient to just go out rather than clean up our messes (or, heck, let people witness our messes) and open our home up…warts and all. We remodeled our home with the intention of sharing our home with others and we should be doing just that.

What a blessing to have the space to do it in and to share it with others.

One friend brought me this book (I can’t wait to dig in), another brought me this beautiful plant, and another brought all the appetizers and wine for a fun night in my little shed. Hostess gifts were savored so much more this month!

California Typewriter

We ended the week with a pajama-date today and watched this phenomenal documentary on typewriters (available on Hulu).

If you have a free afternoon this weekend, it is such a good one. I will admit, it had me feeling a little melancholy about my love/hate relationship with technology. I love sharing here, but I struggle with too much technology in my life.

I am sure I will have lots to learn when I detach from social media a bit next month!

Next week I am traveling for business so I will have some expenditures with business travel, but I’m hoping to continue the mindful approach to spending, just as I have been doing these past two weeks.

Follow My No-Spend Journey

No-Spend Month Intention
Week 1

Money Spent- $299 (groceries) $140 (birthday dinner for my hubby- an approved expenditure)

Memberships Used During Week 1-

Scribd- 0

Gym- 2 classes

CycleCast- 1 session

MoviePass- 1 movie

March: No Spend Challenge Results (Week 1)

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

march no spend challenge

Haven’t you always wanted to read someone’s diary?

Oh, wait…is that just me? In all seriousness, I’d love to share with you my weekly reflections from my month of intentions.

Since March was designated as my no-spend challenge month, I thought it would be a great one to share with you as I embrace this month of getting my spending habits back on track. Truth be told, the savings will be used for our Spring Break trip and I’m hoping that we won’t feel the pinch at all from taking a vacation.

The first week is no big deal because, honestly, how hard is it to do for one week?

Here is what I learned from week 1:

No-Spend Challenge Results

Week 1 of the No-Spend Challenge

Day 1- I’m going to be honest and tell you that I had expected the launch of this challenge to start with an expense. I had planned to take my neighbor out for her birthday dinner (after she had taken me for a fantastic birthday meal where I claimed I had coupons, but actually did not) and I was going to add this feast to my monthly expenses since it had been planned.

I received a text though that said she would prefer just meeting for a glass of wine and had been eating out a lot lately.

She suggested that it might be better to just hang out in my She Shed.

I offered to make her a birthday dinner though and discovered three sweet potatoes, a bag of Brussels Sprouts, a bag of spinach, and just enough arborio rice to make a risotto dish. Balsamic roasted veggies, risotto cooked in white wine and vegetable broth, and a cranberry & almond salad were all birthed from the pantry that had nothing.

It was delicious and, upon a generous amount of wine, she did confess that she saw I had planned this challenge and refused to sabotage my first day out of the gate.

What a great friend, right?

Surprise, surprise, I made it through day 1 without an expense after all.

Day 2- I am at the gym and get a peek at my girlfriend’s amazing boots she is wearing.

“Where did you get those?”

“TJ Maxx! Can you believe they are water resistant and everything?”

“Oh, I need those.”

I begin to contemplate how I can swing by TJ Maxx on the way home from the gym and then remember my no-spend commitment.

I arrive home and glance at the dusty basket filled with oodles of boots…

Three pairs, just for me, that are water resistant.

No Spend Challenge

Day 4- I know a lot of people get buried in weekend spending, but my homebody nature really pulls through on the weekend.  I have been discovering I had quite the stockpile in our freezer so a night of mussels was on our agenda for our usual pizza night.

It’s been ages since I made spaghetti sauce, relying upon the jar for convenience, and I was reminded the beauty in a homemade sauce for a spaghetti side.

It really is the little things.

A couple of months ago, I had splurged on this expandable coffee table and it is now our favorite weekend spot to have dinner and watch a show together.

 

When We First Met

Date nights were spent catching up on Netflix- yes, we are that fun!

The original programming from Netflix has really been delivering so it was easy to do a movie night at home together and this one was adorable. Many times I find myself running over to Redbox or the library for movies when we have PLENTY to watch already at home.

Seriously, you should see how long my list is.

No Spend Challenge

Day 5- Since we were eating our way through our pantry, I thought I’d give gluten-free pizza dough a try to see if I can’t replace that take-out pizza moving forward. I wasn’t willing to chance it on two pizzas because gluten-free flour is expensive.

Surprise, surprise, I NAILED IT! I was so proud of myself that I made several more, just to make sure I could share a really good recipe with you.

It must be elastic pants weekend.

Day 6-7- It was really fortunate timing that I figured out a supplement that could help with my pain management just as this challenge was beginning. (P.S.- I promise to share more tomorrow!) so I was able to keep to a consistent gym routine which gave me the opportunity to socialize and to get in some good endorphins.

I dusted off my stationary bike and got back to using my CycleCast app so even in moments I was working out a lot, I still felt like I was a part of something.

Overall, week one was AWESOME and I can’t wait to what else I learn in the next three weeks!

Money Spent- $0

Memberships Used During Week 1-

Scribd- 1 audiobook

Gym- 3 classes

CycleCast- 1 session

MoviePass- 0 movies

5-Ingredient Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust recipe from MomAdvice.com

I have been gluten-free for years, but I have only really jumped into gluten-free baking this year. The one recipe that I just couldn’t seem to master was a delicious gluten-free pizza crust. This week I decided to try to crack the code on a simple, one-bowl dough that could be made from a gluten-free mix and that had simple ingredients that I always keep in my pantry. Does this seem like too steep of a request to make from myself? You bet!

You could say this no-spend month has been quite motivating!

I am SO excited to share with you a foolproof gluten-free pizza crust recipe that is as easy to put together as your standard crust. The thing that I need to stress though is that you MUST, MUST, MUST follow my advice on which flour to purchase and the steps that I have outlined to create it. If you use another flour mix I can’t guarantee these results for the perfect airy crust that will rival any pizzeria you have been to.

It’s worth it to take the time to buy the right product, amiright?

Are you ready for this EASY recipe?

Let’s get baking!

5-ingredient Gluten-Free Pizza Crust from MomAdvice.com

A Few Quick Suggestions for the Perfect Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

The Best Flour Blend for This Recipe

To nail this perfect crust, you MUST use this gluten-free flour mix.

Period.

I’m linking to the best price on this that I’ve found (at least in our area). The cost (currently) is $3.97 and this will yield two large pizza crusts for your family.  It has to be the cup-for-cup so make sure that the label says that since other gluten-free blends exist. Although I am telling you it yields TWO crusts, this recipe below is for ONE crust. Double it if you are wanting to make two pizzas.

And you will want to make two pizzas. I just know it!

Anyone who eats gluten-free knows what a steal this on two large crusts. I can’t tell you how much money I have spent on tiny terrible pizzas that left me hungry.

A little over two bucks per large pizza crust is unreal awesome.

The Yeast Must Be Active

Do you know the best way to check if your yeast is active? Sprinkle your yeast and a pinch of sugar over the top, give it a stir, and let it stand for a few minutes. If the yeast is still active, it will dissolve completely into the water and the liquid will start bubbling. If your yeast isn’t active, it will yield a dense and heavy crust.

I buy a large jar of yeast because it is cheaper than buying the yeast packets. This is the jar that I purchase for our family.

You want to make sure you don’t grab the bread machine yeast, just the regular ol’ active yeast.

Parchment Paper Makes Everything Easier

This crust shouldn’t be too sticky (if it is, add a little additional flour until it comes together without the stickiness factor), but I prefer to press out my crust on a parchment paper lined pizza stone. I buy these squares (awesome stuff for easy clean-up on sheet pan meals) and place it on a diagonal across my stone.

Speaking of pizza stones, they are such a wonderful family investment. I bought mine about twelve years ago and it has paid for itself over and over and over again. This size stone is perfect for all your pizza needs.

5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust recipe from MomAdvice.com 5-ingredient gluten-free pizza crust recipe from MomAdvice.com

I have a feeling you are going to love this recipe because of its ease.  Mix it up, let it rise, and then pat it out on parchment paper.

Yup, that’s pretty much it.

I like to brush the crust edges with olive oil because it helps the edge to crisp up a bit more.

Once you press the crust out, bake it for a bit, add your toppings, and then finish your baking.

That’s it!

The best part is that you can make a few crusts at the same time and place them in the freezer for your future pizza nights. Simply allow the crust to rise and then place the dough ball in a freezer-safe plastic bag. Once you are ready to use it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge, and then prepare as usual. These crusts can be kept frozen for up to four weeks.

Another make-ahead option is to to mix all the dry ingredients and store them in a bag or jar to make preparation a little easier.

Or, heck, just wing it!

You got this!

5-ingredient-gluten-free-pizza-crust-recipe (7 of 8)

5-Ingredient Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 large pizza
 
An easy 5-ingredient one-bowl gluten-free pizza crust recipe. I dare you to say that three times fast.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups Bobs Mill Cup-For-Cup Baking Flour NO SUBSTITUTIONS
  • 2.25 teaspoons active yeast (if purchasing in packet form, it will be one packet)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
Instructions
  1. Please Note- This yields enough for ONE crust for ONE large pizza.
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix together flour, yeast, and salt.
  3. Add honey, olive oil, and warm water (you want this warm, but not SO hot that it kills your yeast).
  4. Mix well until the dough pulls away from the bowl. If your dough feels too sticky, you can add a little additional flour to it until it pulls into a ball.
  5. Knead the ball of dough a few times and then cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Let rise for 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
  8. On a parchment paper lined pizza stone, turn out the dough and shape into a pizza.
  9. Once it is patted out, brush with olive oil on the edge of the crust.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes.
  11. Remove and add sauce and toppings. Place back into the oven and finish baking (approximately 7-9 minutes). If you like your cheese bubbly on top, you can finish the process by broiling for a couple of minutes. Be sure to keep your eye on it so your crust doesn't burn.
  12. Slice and enjoy!

 

Not gluten-free? I’ve got you covered with this easy Bread Machine Pizza Dough! You can also use my pizza sauce recipe (all the way at the bottom of the post!) for both types of pizzas.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe and hope it is as big of a hit at your house as it has been at our home!

This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

 

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March Intention: No-Spend Challenge

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

march no spend challenge

I feel like it is January 1st instead of March 1st with all this excitement about setting monthly intentions. For March, I have challenged myself to a no-spend challenge. I had shared about no-spend challenges in my book and in an article on our site,  but was inspired again when I read (again) this transformation article from my dear friend, Shanna. I happened to be on Facebook when she shared that she was planning to tackle another challenge recently and I love hearing that this had become a part of her yearly routines.

You know how your spending habits increase as your salary increases? Our expenses have definitely expanded, since we worry less about money, and I know that we could be saving so much more.

As soon as I shared my no-spend challenge with my family, the first thing my daughter said was, “Does that mean you won’t buy us any groceries?”

Yeah, I should probably review what a “no-spend” month looks like.

no spend challenge

What Spending is Allowed?

Gas

Groceries (I am also going to be looking with a critical eye at how much we have been spending in this category because I, honestly, haven’t been very good about paying attention)

Normal Bills & Memberships (including normal business expenses)

My hubby’s birthday meal (I am not going to be a Scrooge if he wants to go out)

What Do I Plan to Do Differently This Month?

No dining out (OUCH- that should save A LOT)

Use up what is in our freezer and pantry- we have a lot of ingredients that I haven’t been putting to work

Be MORE thoughtful about my grocery purchases and get back to ALDI

Go over our current spending and see where we can cut corners

Get back to using Mint to track what’s happening in our accounts

Use the memberships I have (gym, Netflix, Hulu, CycleCast, Spotify, Scribd, & MoviePass) and REALLY analyze if these are being used enough to justify the monthly expenses

Work on my taxes- we can’t leave for Spring Break until this is in order

NOT make frivolous purchases for Spring Break & Easter

NO Kindle deal buying- I do love a cheap book purchase

I am really looking forward to sharing my results from this financial fast and and I’m excited to see how much we can save this month. It will be a great way to reset this year for our family. If you want to follow our adventures, you can catch me on Instagram documenting through their Instagram Story feature and a little on my feed too.

I am also journaling my experience to share with you at the end of the month. Stay tuned for my reflections on this one.

Would you like to join me this month? Leave a comment below (because I can’t pay for a link list subscription- hahaha!)

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo

 

 

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Amy Clark

Hey, hey! Today is my big 4-0 and I keep wondering how I got to this milestone so quickly. In many ways, I wonder when I will feel like an adult. In other ways, I can see how much better I feel in my own skin and the wisdom that has been gained, especially in this last decade of years.

Before I launch into my list, I’d love to share that I am doing a birthday fundraiser on Facebook. I’m asking for donations to Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. The diagnosis of myself and my children has made the research from this organization an important one for us. I am donating this occasion in hopes that more funding can help provide those needed answers we are in search of.

If you have a buck or two to spare, I’d be thrilled to share this with the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation

In honor of this day, I wanted to share 7 things that I’ve learned that save us some serious money. As we continue to embrace our simplified path, I can see how being open to learning new skills and continuing to research new strategies has really paid off for us. As I get older, I find more and more joy in the life we have chosen and I’d love to share some of my favorite strategies today. 

birthday reflections

7 Things I’ve Learned That Save Us Serious Money

Restaurant-Style-Steak-Recipe-3

I Nailed a Restaurant-Worthy Steak

Steak dinners and fancy date nights were hard on our budget and learning to master making a perfectly restaurant-worthy steak has saved our family oodles of money. I’m not pro enough that I can touch it and distinguish its degree of doneness, but I do know how to work my digital meat thermometer like a boss and that’s almost the same thing. Our cast iron skillet (another frugal and wise investment) really sears our steaks so beautifully and the butter finish is a decadent treat.

Instead of paying over a hundred dollars for a filet dinner out, my hubby and I take trips to the supermarket and purchase a couple of steaks and a bottle of wine for less than the price of one meal at a restaurant. This recipe has been a go-to for our dates and for special occasions when we are celebrating our kids. It takes about ten minutes to pull this off (with a little roasted asparagus on the side) and everyone gets so excited about this meal.

My secret?

Loads of Kosher Salt, baby, and a screaming hot pan.

Let me know if you can give this technique a spin in your kitchen!

flipster

I Gave Up My Magazine Subscriptions

Magazines have been a weakness of mine and discovering our library has the Flipster app has made me SO incredibly happy this year. Basically, you can get a digital subscription to just about every magazine, check them out digitally, and read your magazines on your tablet or phone.

The best part has been being able to take screenshots of recipes and ideas for myself and as inspiration for our site as I page through them (soooo handy!!)

So far the only catch has been the length of time that you are allowed to check them out (it varies per magazine), but usually I can plow through one in a day and it costs ZERO bucks.

brunch

I Brunch Like a Boss…At Home

Brunch used to be a big weakness for me, but we rarely go out to brunch anymore now that I finally have a few smart brunch recipes up my sleeve.

I call this year the year of the egg because mastering a few techniques was on my cooking bucket list. The omelette, for example, was something that I just couldn’t get the hang of. It usually ended up into messy scrambled eggs over here.

brunch

Not anymore though.

Here’s a little picture proof because I know you don’t believe me!

I watched a YouTube video tutorial, found the perfect skillet for the job, and discovered how awesome coconut oil is for creating a nonstick surface for my omelette making. This has become a go-to for busy nights when I don’t feel like making dinner and is the new tried-and-true for a satisfying weekend brunch at home. It’s also a fantastic way to use up the odds and ends in your refrigerator.

If we aren’t in the mood for an omelette, this Chicken Pesto Frittata, Sausage & Vegetable Frittata, Gluten-Free Overnight Waffles, or these Light & Fluffy Pumpkin Pancakes (I just sub with this flour now to make them gluten-free) are all in our brunch rotation.  Don’t forget this diy drink mix recipe for a delicious drink (with or without alcohol!)

Movie Pass

I Go to the Movies All the Time For Cheap-As-Heck

I’m wondering how long this offer will last, but this girl got on the Movie Pass train really early and it has been a highlight of the year. A membership is $9.95 a month and you can see a movie EVERY SINGLE DAY of the month at a REAL theater (should you so choose!) by only paying the membership fee.

If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll try to explain it as briefly as I can. You sign up, they mail a card that looks like a debit card (can take awhile, fyi!), you download the app, head to your theater to check-in on the app, and it says something like, “enjoy the show!” When you head to the counter, you just use the pass instead of your debit card and that’s it.

Obviously, the big catch is being at the theater to check-in and the availability of seats. I aim for the weird times (like 1 PM in the afternoon) and don’t see the movies as soon as they come out. You also can’t see 3D flicks, but that’s NBD because I’m not into action films.

My goal this year is to start feeling brave enough to go to movies ALONE since my work schedule is so quirky.

It is accepted all the theaters near me and I bribed my sister and neighbor to get a pass too so we could have movie dates together for cheap-as-heck.

Capsule Wardrobe

Honey, I Really Did Shrink My Wardrobe

If you would have told me five years ago that I would embrace a minimalist wardrobe, I would have laughed until I cried. Seriously, I was a dedicated fashionista that loved a good deal. What I’ve learned though is that shrinking my wardrobe has brought me a lot of peace and calmness to my mornings. It feels so good to have everything working together and to look in my closet and have it make absolute sense.

Was this hard? Absolutely!

Was it worth it? Absolutely!

One of my biggest inspirations is this lady and her beautiful book just might be the ticket for you to whittle down your wardrobe (and a few other things!) in your life this year.

I have been documenting my journey on the blog and you can see where I started and where I’m at now over here.

My one smart investment has been Rent the Runway for special occasions. This girl isn’t into one-trick-ponies anymore so I enjoyed their Unlimited services for the holidays and it was a blast, without taking up a lot of closet space as a commitment.

blue-apron

I Learned to Cook New Things For My People

If you think bloggers don’t get into meal plan ruts, you are quite mistaken. I think burnout happens a lot with this job and we often ended up repeating the same meals over and over again so we don’t have to invent one more thing for the day. I got a subscription for the summer to Blue Apron and it has widened my perspective on so many things and brought me a ton of joy.

How does spending money on a meal subscription service pay off, right? I know! I didn’t think it was a good use of money either.

I *may* have made fun of people who did these.

The thing is,  it REALLY broadened my perspective on fruits and vegetables we had been neglecting at the grocery store and taught me some valuable cooking techniques that I would have NEVER tried or figured out on my own.

Blue Apron

The night that my kids and hubby were raving about eggplant about knocked me out of my chair. I was like, “WE ARE DOING THIS FOREVER.”

The biggest lesson I learned is how invaluable high heat is for roasting our veggies. I am now cranking my stove up to 450 degrees to roast everything and it has made everything taste like it is roasted and not steamed.

We have taken a break until next summer on this subscription so that I have the time and slowed down day that I need to get my most enjoyment out of this, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

Tackling the challenge that I’m showing you, in the picture above, nearly did me in while they were doing the Master Chef challenges promo for their customers to try at home. This TEAM challenge was pulled off by ONE sweaty mom, but was declared the best meal of the bunch.

I’m not sure if that was true or everyone felt sorry for me after I tackled a TEAM challenge SOLO. I did that challenge though, LIKE A BOSS.

By the way, if you use this link, it should give you $30 off your first box and you can pick all the quick meals so you don’t look crazy like me.

It is almost like it’s your birthday too, amiright?

family

I had coffee with a friend and she shared such a valuable piece of wisdom with me that I wanted to share it with YOU too, as I wrap up my birthday post today. She said that 40 is where you are easing into the second half of your life and you realize who and what is important as you move into this second phase of your life. Who wants to spend the second half of their life keeping up with the Joneses, investing time into shallow relationships, making small talk, and living a life of overcommitment?

Nope, not this girl.

I want all the good stuff- the deep and the meaningful stuff. I want to savor these moments with my kids. I want to be present in this lucky partnership I have with my hubby. I want my friendships to be real and not flighty. I want to continue to give myself grace that life has looked differently, in many sobering ways, but I still have the ability to transform lives by sharing our story. I want to allow people in to see the cracks and brokenness, both online and offline. I want to work on my commitment to believe in God’s plan and timing… even though it looks nothing like the timeline I’ve drawn up.

My word this year is MINDFUL- mindful of my time, mindful of my words, mindful in my role as a mom and wife, mindful of where I invest my time (in my personal life AND business), mindful of our money, and mindfully being my authentic self.

I hope you’ll stick around because having you here has given me purpose in my steps MANY, MANY days!

Can you celebrate with me and share what’s one way you have learned to save your family money or a fun tip that has changed a routine? It would be a fantastic present today!

This post contains affiliate links that help our site! Thank you for supporting me! xoxo 

 

The Life-Changing Device I Found For My Chronic Pain

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Quell for Ehlers Danlos

It is hard to explain what a day looks like with chronic pain, but I will do my best to try. Imagine that you are in a quiet and pleasant room and you begin to hear the buzzing of a fly. You are trying to read a book, but all you can hear is this soft buzz and it is distracting you from this beautiful story. You try to deal with it, but can’t locate where the heck it went and it continues to buzz all day long.

You try a variety of homeopathic methods of ridding yourself of the fly, but it has found its way in somewhere and it won’t go away.

You go about your day and the fly is still buzzing along while you are trying to concentrate on your job. Instead of focusing and producing good work, you find yourself on Google trying to find a solution AGAIN.

If you could just find the source, you could swat it out of your life.

You will try anything at this point.

Tonight you are supposed to have friends over and you have this lovely evening built up in your mind, but you are afraid that they will notice the fly too. Why can’t you just have one normal evening without this annoyance? You enjoy your company so much so the buzzing deadens a bit, but that fly is still in the room.

You go to bed and it is now it has followed you to your bedroom. You lay there tossing and turning and praying for this thing to get the hell out of your life, but you wake up and guess what?

That jerk is still there.

Yeah, chronic pain is like that annoying fly that will never leave.

In an answer to many a prayer though, I finally have found relief and a solution that I can live with. You see, I was at the end of the interwebz when I happened upon a device called Quell that has been transformative for my day-to-day existence and I am SO excited to share about it with you.

Amy Allen Clark

Before I begin sharing my story,  I should probably let you know a few things (especially if you are new here!):

1. I am in no way affiliated with this company at the time I am writing this. That means I purchased this product with my own money and all of these thoughts are my own personal experience with it. As always, I write from an authentic place, but I think it is important to share that today especially because most of the reviews that I read were from bloggers that were given the device by the company. I will say since I love the product so much, I’d love to reach out for their ambassadorship to see what new features they decide to test launch so I could be a part of that process as they develop it. Fingers crossed on that!

2. I am not a doctor and I don’t even play one on television! You guys, bloggers are awesome, but doctors are a better source for medical information. If you are considering using this device than please discuss this with a medical professional for your own personal pain relief needs.

3. My chronic pain is linked to a condition called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Type 3. Due to my joints being overly flexible, it causes a great deal of pain and discomfort since the joints  are loose and unstable. This means they are prone to frequent dislocations and/or subluxations and that I don’t always have a normal range of motion since my joints are hyperextensible and can move beyond those normal ranges. If you want to learn more about my diagnosis, I shared about it over here.

4. I am 39 (!!!) and was relatively healthy before diagnosis last year.  I also had tried EVERYTHING including OTC meds, Vicodin, steroids, and prescription anti-inflammatories all with little success. I also tried homeopathic things with mild relief, particularly from CBD oil, massage, and acupuncture. Most options were expensive as were the co-pays for all these doctor visits and fancy massages.

Let’s also note, I was probably doing a bit of damage to my bones and organs to be taking so much medication and I was getting less relief on the lower dosages that were prescribed.

Quell Pain Relief Device Review

Basically, I was at the end of my pain rope when I went searching on Google for pain relief that wouldn’t involve drugs. Thanks to my most recent joint issues, I was down to typing with just my middle finger because all my other fingers hurt too much. My elbow pain also had increased to an uncomfortable level so sitting at my desk was unbearable. I even had to order a device to hold my books for me because it hurt so bad.

It was a late night search (pounded out with that poor middle finger)  that lead me to a pain relieving device called Quell.

Specifically, I watched this video on YouTube and thought maybe this device might be able to help me too. Although the person in this video is dealing with different issues, she is young and dealing with widespread pain throughout her body that causes joint pain.

I am lucky to know several doctors and nurses (including my incredible sister!) and asked their opinion and if this device might be worth a try. The consensus was…it could work or not. Basically, there was no guarantee it would help with MY pain or how my body would respond to this type of pain relief. The company even shares that it has helped 81% of people manage their pain and 67% reported a reduction in pain medication use. That means it doesn’t work for everyone.

I just knew with my luck, I’d be the one that it didn’t help with. 

I was so very wrong. 

Fifteen minutes after I slipped this device on my leg, my pain levels went from an 9 to a 3. Was it because I wanted it to work so bad or was it real? After a few weeks of wearing it, I am telling you it is real and it has been life-altering.

I am sitting here typing with all my fingers while this little gadget is doing pain therapy and I haven’t taken any meds since I got it.

I am in awe of this technology and how much it has changed my day.

I want to dive deep for those of you that are struggling with pain and explain what Quell is, how I am using it, and a few hurdles I have had with the device.

 

Quell Review

What is Quell?

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

This device is worn just below the knee and activated by simply clicking a button. This position (on the calf)  is where a lot of the sensory nerves are located so the pain can be blocked at the spinal cord, which helps you feel widespread relief from your pain and not just relief in a specific part of your body.  These sensory nerves send neural pulses to your brain that then trigger a natural response that blocks pain signals, leading to widespread pain relief for many people.

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

The best part is that you can start and stop therapy sessions, as well as adjust the intensity of therapy from the Quell app on your smartphone (app works for both iOS and Android). You can also review therapy and sleep trends over time. Advanced sleep insights allow you to monitor 8 important dimensions of sleep such as sleep quality and time asleep as well as your body movement and position during the night, giving you even more insight into your chronic pain management.

If you aren’t a smartphone user, they also have ways that you can manage your device just from the button on the side with instructions on that too.

What does the Quell App Look Like & What Does It Tell You?

Let’s take a peek at a few things I took a screenshot of from the app on my phone…

Quell Review

Here is a screenshot of a session that I was in the middle of when I was grocery shopping. I have my settings set so I can visually see the level of intensity instead of just a plus or minus for intensity.

Going along the bottom of the screen, the far left is the battery life. The battery has lasted four days for me before I had to plug it in for a charge. It is easy to do and takes a couple of hours to fully charge with a cord, kind of like your phone!

The person icon is telling me that I have completed five sessions that day. Most days I am averaging about seven sessions. The sessions are for one hour on and then one hour off. They say that the positive effects of the therapy usually carries over for about 40 minutes so there are about 20 minutes where I start to feel like crap. Every single time, I look and it says 20 minutes ON THE DOT. It’s manageable though because I know relief is coming in 20 more minutes.

The bandage icon is telling my pain levels. It also has lots of other things you can input in the tracking screen that can help you analyze the good and the bad days. On this day, I was at a level one so that’s pretty incredible for someone who has been between a 7-9 on a pain skill.

The last icon is how many more days I have on the electrode I am using. We will talk about that a little later because that is one thing you do have to maintain.

 

Quell Review

 

Here is that tracking screen I was telling you about. I can look at this and tell you why my levels were this way.

Thursday I drank too much wine with my husband (hahaha!) so I slept like crap. We also had a lot of family stuff going on that day. The next day was my daughter’s dance recital which was beautiful, but tiring. Sunday was MY DAY (yay for Mother’s Day!) so I took a nap and felt awesome because I did nothing. Monday was back to the grind and another family thing came up so I was tired.

This documentation tells me 1) stop drinking so much wine 2) that would have been a hard week for any mom 3) Every day should be Mother’s Day.

Quell Review

You can customize it a lot and one of the things you can do is put it on Sleep Mode and set it up to the intensity levels you need. I tried sleeping with it and it drove me crazy since I sleep on both sides and I found the device to be too bulky for sleeping. The analytics didn’t really tell me enough or help my quality of sleep enough to wear it so I slip it off at night and this is when I can charge it if needed.

What Is the Cost of Quell and Is It Covered By Insurance?

This device is not covered by insurance. The starter kit comes with everything you need for one month and costs $249. The electrodes last for two weeks each and come with a reusable liner that you can also jot down the date of when you started to use the liner so you know how many days, particularly if you aren’t using the app. I have found the durability on these to be great, BUT I am not sleeping in mine and I also have adjusted my wardrobe a bit to accommodate the device.

I would imagine if you sleep in it, the electrodes might pull a bit and the same would be the case in a tight pair of skinny jeans so to help these last the full two weeks, I choose to do neither.

It is important to register your device because the company does offer a sixty day return policy. That means if you discover this device does not work for you, you can contact customer service for a refund. Please don’t send your requests to me, I cannot help you!

Who Can This Device Help?

They clearly state that it will not help migraine sufferers so I am sorry if that is the type of pain challenge you are dealing with. On the site it says it helps with chronic nerve pain, chronic joint pain, leg and foot pain, lower back pain, and widespread pain for people like me!

dance-recital

What Are the Negatives With This Device?

Well, as streamlined as it is, for a girl who lives in skinny jeans and short a-line dresses this has been a bit of an adjustment. As you can see, it is peeking out on the right of my leg in our family photo. Yes, this is a complete vanity thing, but that’s also a dose of honesty. I ended up buying a couple of midi skirts and am looking at pants a little differently to accommodate the side bulk of this device.  I know at some point I will feel more confident with wearing it out, I just need to get used to it.

You do need to move the device around and the app will let you know that it is “time to air out,” those electrodes.  I did skip it on the recital day and I got a little rashy under those spots where the electrodes were. It’s important to heed their advice on that to avoid a skin reaction.

It has a light-up display that I didn’t realize you could disable that flashes as a session is happening. At my daughter’s recital, it looked like a disco globe going off, under my dress, when the stage went dark. Now that I know I can turn off that display, I’ll feel a little better about going to the movies- ha!

I wish there were no maintenance things to buy, but the electrodes must be replaced every two weeks. Broken down the maintenance cost is roughly over $7 a week and I know I was paying a lot more than that and would have continued to pay more to treat the pain with doctor visits and medications.

This does not cure the pain, it just breaks the pain cycle so you your body can rest and do what it needs to do for the day. It doesn’t mean that I am healed, but it means that I can function. I don’t want to give anyone any false hope that this will rid you of what is ailing you, it just helps you manage and reduce the pain in a drug-free way.

Quell for Ehlers Danlos

What Are the Positives With This Device?

I have broken the cycle of pain. This weekend I sat through a beautiful graduation, watched with tears in my eyes as my daughter danced, and was present for a family member when they had surgery. I couldn’t have done that if I was still at that level of pain I was in.

Going off medication is rough. I felt blue and foggy before and now I feel like me again.

I’m sleeping better.

I am clear-headed and present again in my daily life with my family.

I feel like I can manage this again.

I am grateful.

Technology, you can be a beautiful thing sometimes!

I don’t know if this will help you, but I pray that if you are dealing with chronic pain that you can find the right answer for YOU.

Please feel free to ask me any questions and I will try to answer them for you!

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