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Grocery Shopping Tips at ALDI

Monday, February 24th, 2020

Grocery Shopping Tips At ALDI Header

Take a behind-the-scenes look at ALDI supermarket. Discover how they make their store brands, learn more about shopping the store, have ALDI groceries delivered, and learn what products I love from this budget-friendly store.

Have you ever wondered how products are made at ALDI and how this grocery chain is able to keep their prices so low?

I have the inside scoop thanks to an exciting grocery store tour I got to do at the store. I also have had the privilege of working with them at blog conferences and to help facilitate their store tours for other customers.

Longtime readers know that I have been an early minister on spreading the ALDI truth.

Amy Allen Clark- The ALDI Queen

In fact, for many years I ran a blog called, The ALDI Queen.

You could say that for many years, I made shopping at ALDI my job and my mission to get families to shop there.

The items, at the time, were difficult to create menu plans around because of their limited product choices.

That isn’t the case now AT ALL.

I do almost 100% of my shopping, at their store.

I remember as a child going to ALDI Supermarket with my mother to get our groceries

If you have been an ALDI shopper, for as many years as I have, you may remember the price sheets that ALDI would print.

It was a black-and-white newspaper ad that would tell you all of the price deals for every single week.

The sheet was alphabetized and you would have to find each of the current prices within their handy flier.

I remember being in charge of holding the sheet and plugging the figures into our calculator.

Ah, the days before the digital fliers and phone calculators.

Am I showing my age?

ALDI Supermarket provided some relief to our family’s grocery budget and it now provides relief to my own family’s tight budget as well.

If you are thinking this store is only worth the trip for the bakery staples, you would be wrong.

Thanks to their ever expanding product lines, ALDI now carries many of the specialty products that you would purchase at your local Whole Foods, as well as loads of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free products.

As a longtime fan of the grocery retailer, I could not wait to see how this company operated and, frankly, how in the world they can offer food for such a low price.

This grocery store tour allowed us to learn more about how their stores were set up and I even got to participate in a blind taste-testing of the products to see how they compared with other national brands. 

There was truly not a single element of this trip that I was not fascinated with.

I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned over the years.

Grocery Shopping Tips At ALDI

Grocery Shopping Tips at ALDI

(this clip explains the history of ALDI from ALDI)

Where did ALDI originate?

Despite the growing amount of ALDI Supermarkets all over the United States , ALDI actually originated in Germany and is known as the German Walmart.

The history of ALDI is as intriguing as their deals that they offer.

The frugal ways of ALDI actually came out of its post World War II beginnings, in 1948, when customers at its first store in Essen Germany wanted only the lowest priced staples.

These stores were started by two brothers, Theo & Karl Albrecht, and they named the store Albrecht Discount.

Albrecht Discount is now known as ALDI (for short).

Grocery Aisles at ALDI Tour

How does ALDI keep their prices so low?

This is an answer that we were told would take years to explain, but the main points all pointed to simple cost-cutting measures, employee training that goes beyond other grocery stores, a limited selection of items, smart store design, and in-house private labels.

Some of the ways they save is by having baking items on pallets and dairy items on rolling carts so the employees don’t need to stock individual items on shelves.

The savings are also reflected in the smaller things like the quarter deposit for your cart and bagging those groceries yourself.

Honestly, I am able buy double the items for our family just by shopping their store.

Seeing is believing so make a plan to visit your local store soon.

How do I find out if I have a store nearby and what are the store hours?

ALDI is expanding and has been remodeling many of its stores. To find out if you have a store near you, you can locate your local store by searching with your zip code. This will also tell you your store hours so you can plan your shopping trip.

How many employees work in an ALDI store?

The typical ALDI store only has between 6-8 employees and it is common for their employees to celebrate 15, 20, or 25 years of service.

They pay their employees significantly higher than the national average and with 20 hours a week, they give their employees full health insurance benefits.

Employees go through extensive training and they do everything from putting out the new pallets of food to ringing up the customers to tidying the store.

It is this efficiency and the smaller pay rolls that translate into big savings for their customers.

Looking for a job with ALDI? Check their current listings here!

What is the difference between ALDI and other grocery stores?

ALDI is a very normal store, although it lacks many of the frills of the traditional supermarkets.

They offers a “strictly no frills” approach to their store which means that they do not decorate their aisles or fill shelves.

Items are placed on pallets, similar to your shopping experience at warehouse clubs, and customers pick items off of the pallets.

Upon a pallet being emptied, the employees bring out another pallet to be bought from, eliminating the need for someone to sort shelves.

Keep in mind, you will not be receiving any free bags (scroll down for more information on that and purchasing a cart), or a personal greeter, stores.

Most ALDI’s do not offer a deli, a butcher shop, a bakery.

In fact, it is hard to find even a listed phone number.

You see, if they had a phone number, then they would have to have someone answer the phone.

That one extra “frill” would cost ALDI time & money and this is how they keep their costs low.

What is the ALDI AOS and what will I find there?

While ALDI does keep to many grocery basics, the trap is found in the middle section of their store.

This is the, special purchases or ALDI Finds aisle that bring in superior discounts on random household items each week.

These can include kitchen gadgets, electric appliances, furniture, patio items, toys, exercise equipment, home decor, and even computers.

If you see chats that talk about the AOS, you may be wondering what is going on.

It’s the AISLE OF SHAME.

Hahahaha!

Basically, it is the middle spot in the store that you might get sucked into.

I have often come home with random things like fabric steam cleaners, an exercise weight set, a foldable buffet table, or even clothing items.

It’s the Wild West of aisle and always yields incredible surprises.

It is a bit like shopping a Big Lots or TJ Maxx and is referred to, by enthusiasts as, the AOS.

What does ALDI mean when they say you will, “shop different,” at their stores?

In the ALDI mission statement, you will discover these promises that share why they consider their grocery store to be such a unique experience.

  • Twice as Nice Guarantee- If you are unhappy with an item, not only will they refund your money, but they will also give you a replacement item for free. Read about their refund policy here. This guarantee does not mean a guarantee on being the lowest priced though. They always do their best to be the lowest price, but there may be times (in the seasonal and special purchases aisles especially) where you might be able to get the item for less at another store or with a coupon.
  • They Meet or Exceed Competitor Brands- They aim to make a product that is better than their competitors and many products are award-winning because of it. In 2019, they taste-tested over 30,000 products just to make sure that you have the best tasting product on the shelf. Read more about their good quality food and policies.
  • They Say NO to Synthetic- Every ALDI exclusive is completely free of certified synthetic color, added MSG and partially hydrogenated oils. You can read more about this commitment here.
  • They Carry Organic Products- ALDI has daily delivery of produce, fresh meats and fish, and carry an extensive line of organics, gluten-free and vegan foods.
  • They Have Many Award-Winning Wines- Forget that two buck chuck business and acquaint yourself with the ALDI aisle. The wines are incredibly affordable and you can find new offers every week. They also do a few monthly wine features that they don’t typically cary.
  • They Have the Best Prices. Seriously.– Check out this comparison on the pricing at ALDI, Kroger, & Walmart.

Who Has a Lower Price- ALDI or Trader Joe’s?

I loved the results of this price comparison on ALDI vs Trader Joe’s.

As you can see, ALDI offers pricing even lower than most Trader Joe’s products.

What is the Best Day to Shop?

Wednesday is the the BEST day to shop ALDI.

This is the day when the ALDI Finds get freshened up and you can find, typically, between 40-50 new items at the store. 

See you in the AOS! 

What do I need to know for my first trip to ALDI?

Download the ALDI App For Your Visit

If you are trying to locate the current price sheet and weekly flier, downloading the app is highly recommended.

Not only will this tell you the current store price, it also has a place for you to jot down your shopping list and the ability to search the QR codes on any product.

Don’t Bring Your Coupons

No coupon clipping is needed for your ALDI shopping experience.

ALDI sells, primarily, only store brand merchandise saving you some time on coupon cutting.

Typically, they only carry one or two brands for each product you are hunting for. Just because these products are considered “off-brand”, in actuality, many of the private label products are made by well-known brand manufacturers and are simply shipped in different packaging to their stores.

Bring the Right Type of Payment With You

Currently the store accepts cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, most debit cards, the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), Link cards, SNAP and contactless pay such as Apple Pay And Google Pay.

At this time they do not accept checks or the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC)

buy a quarter keeper for ALDI buy this quarter keeper so you won’t forget OR shop all the fun quarter keepers

Bring a Quarter for Your Cart

The store offers a shopping cart rental program which can be confusing the first time you shop the store. I highly recommend purchasing one of these quarter holders for your keychain so you don’t forget.

The carts are linked together, you slide the quarter in (the quarter spot is located near the handle on the right), and this releases your cart.

Once you are done with your cart, simply bring it back to the linked carts, link it to the cart in front, and take your quarter back.

Quarter for ALDI Carts

This simple solution saves on hiring people to scavenger hunt for carts.

If you forget your quarter, go to the cashier and have them make change for you.

Feeling generous?

Leave the cart unhooked to save someone a quarter.

Collapsible Reusable Bags for ALDI buy these collapsible reusable bags or find your favorite reusable grocery bags here

Bring Your Own Grocery Bags (Or Pay a Small Fee for Theirs)

It is green to bring a reusable bag (another cost-cutting method by the store) and you can bring your favorite set (I HIGHLY recommend these) or you can purchase reusable bags from the store.

If you don’t need another reusable bag, you can purchase plastic or paper bags for a small fee.

Also keep your eyes out for empty boxes because these are perfect for storing groceries in your car and make carrying your groceries easier.


Be Ready for the Cashiers, and I MEAN READY!

If you have ever stood in a line at ALDI, one thing you will see is that these cashiers work at lightning speed and can wait on customers quicker than any other store I have ever been to.

As a customer, you load your items on the conveyor belt and then bring your cart to set up next to the cashier. The cashier will scan the items and place them in the cart for you.

Once you are done, you relocate to bag your groceries.

If you want a hilarious example of the speed, you will love this. Follow me on Instagram for more fun every dang week.

Get Bagging

Instead of having someone bag for you, you will be the bagger! I find it helpful to organize my bags by categories.

I keep a bag for freezer foods, meat, canned items (break these up so they aren’t heavy), fresh produce, soft items (like bread and eggs) dairy, and pantry items (like peanut butter, jelly, sugar, flour, macaroni, rice, pasta, etc..)

Grocery Cart for Chronic Illness this is what I use when I do any curbside pickup- highly recommend if you have a chronic illness too to save trips!

Need Someone to Help You Bag? Introducing ALDI Delivery!

ALDI now offers curbside pickup and grocery delivery. Our store is not participating just yet, but this service is offered by Instacart.

For 2020, you can use coupon code SHOPALDI20, for new Instacart members, which should give you free pick-up on your first three orders.

We use the grocery delivery service, at our house, and it has been a Godsend for our family.

As someone who has health problems and chronic joint pain issues, this has been so helpful for our family.

ALDI offers this through the Instacart platform.

To be an Instacart member, you pay $99 for the year and this pays for unlimited visits (similar to being an Amazon Prime member).

Keep in mind, you may notice an additional mark-up on the pricing (it isn’t significant, but worth nothing) and there are additional fees that apply to online orders.

I think of this pricing system as the purchase is made including a bit of a buffer for paying the employees to shop for me.

For example, tipping your shopper will be an additional expense.

Grocery Shopping Tips At ALDI visit my passive income for busy moms series for new ways to save BIG for your family!

Get Cash Back on Your Purchases

Although ALDI doesn’t take coupons, be sure to scan in your receipts into Ibotta for potential cash back rewards!

Looking for more ways to save big? Be sure to follow my passive income series now.

What I Learned From My Behind the Scenes ALDI Trip

For seasoned ALDI shoppers, what I’m sharing might not be new, but maybe this information is?

Blind Taste Test At ALDI

They Are Serious About Beating Their Competitors on Taste

I am a longtime customer and super fan of the products that ALDI offers, but the blind taste test that I participated in surprised even a super fan like me. 

We sampled many items from their holiday line and compared them to the national brands.

Blind Taste Testing at ALDI Headquarters

ALDI ham review

 

Blind Taste Testing of Cheese At ALDI

Even though I love ALDI, I can be a bit of a food snob when it comes to certain foods like high quality cheeses and meats.

When we taste tested Tyson chicken versus ALDI chicken, I truly loved their brand better.

I knew the meat that I had tasted must have been the Tyson meat, but I was dead wrong.

It goes to show that sometimes we are just conditioned to believe one brand is better than the other.

Belmont Pies Review

Belmont Pies Review

Another surprise was the difference between Mrs. Smith’s apple pie versus the ALDI Belmont Deep Dish Apple Pie. 

The ALDI pie crust (pictured on the right) cooked and browned more evenly. 

The difference in the taste was significant and the price was 28% lower.

Even being the ALDI fan girl that I am, I came away feeling validated that the choice that I had made to shop at the store, out of necessity due to the financial strain we had been under, for our family was a good one. 

The cost-cutting measures of the store do not cost-cut on the bottom line of the quality of the items in the store.

In fact, the company does their best to offer a better product that the name brand. 

After doing this blind taste-testing, I believe they have (FOR SURE) exceeded the standard.

ALDI & Trader Joe’s Are Not Owned By the Same Company

A common misconception is that this store is owned by the same parent company.

The relationship though is…confusing.

ALDI Nord owns Trader Joe’s in the States, but the ALDI stores that you see in the States are run by ALDI Süd, which is separate from Trader Joe’s.

To quote The Kitchn, “The chains are kind of like estranged cousins. Step-brothers? In-laws? We don’t know! But it doesn’t matter because the stores are run entirely independently with no joint ownership.”

They Have a Tracking System to Pull Products Quickly

ALDI does their best to work with local farmers to get fresh produce on their shelves.

The transparency on this will be on the pricing label and say that it is, “locally grown.”

Each of their produce items are tracked so that they are able to pull specific numbers off of the shelves if there are any food safety issues with the products.

This means any time a purchase is made, you know it is held to food safety standards AND you are also backed by their twice back guarantee.

Barcodes of ALDI products

Multiple Barcodes on ALDI products

Barcodes on ALDI products

multiple barcodes on ALDI products

There Are Multiple Barcodes On Every Product

This is one of those things that I would have never noticed and now I can’t believe I didn’t see this before.

You may not know it, but ALDI offers smart packaging that can speed up your wait time at their store.

In this picture is a single bag of chips, simply held at all different angles.

Practically every corner of their bags and boxes have a UPC code that can make scanning your items that much faster. 

Go ahead and take a peek in your pantry at your ALDI items and you will see it too. It is one of those things that you may have never noticed, but translates into saving time for you.

I hope you enjoyed these fun ALDI facts! 

Scroll down for some of my FAVORITE recipes made from ALDI ingredients!!

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Affiliate links help support our site. Thank you for supporting a small business owner!

Looking for ways to prepare dishes with ALDI ingredients? Here are my favorite recipes for you!

3 Ways to Cook Chicken Breasts From Frozen Header learn how I prep ALDI’s frozen chicken for a busy week

DIY Cold Brew Coffee from ALDI Ground Coffee learn how to make cold brew coffee from ALDI ground coffee or beans

10 Minute Fish Tacos Recipe header make these 10-minute tacos with ALDI frozen (or fresh) tilapia

Shrimp Boil from ALDI Shrimp put ALDI frozen shrimp & smoked sausage to work in this easy shrimp boil

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Ribs Recipe from MomAdvice.com make these 3-ingredient ribs with ALDI ribs & Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

5-ingredient salmon sheet pan meal from MomAdvice.com get my 5-ingredient salmon sheet pan meal make with ALDI ingredients

How to Cook Quinoa in the Rice Cooker from MomAdvice.com I even bought a rice cooker from ALDI and prepare their quinoa with this easy method

Pumpkin Chili Recipe from MomAdvice.com grab pumpkin in the baking aisle and warm up with my ALDI pumpkin chili recipe

Pressure Cooker Italian Beef Roast from MomAdvice.com have a pressure cooker? this italian beef roast is how I prepare an ALDI chuck roast. It’s to die for!

once you try this ALDI ground beef taco filling, you’ll never prepare it any other way again!

Shrimp Fried Rice Recipe from MomAdvice.com leftover rice from ALDI can be made into this EASY fried rice with a few items from their freezer section

gluten-free meatloaf recipe the binding agent in this gluten-free meatloaf is potato flakes from ALDI.  say what?

chicken pesto frittata ALDI’s prepared pesto and diced chicken make the perfect filling for a hearty frittata

sheet pan ranch pork chops this sheet pan pork chop meal is all made from ALDI ingredients and a weeknight winner

lemon paprika chicken thighs once you try this method for cooking ALDI chicken thighs, you’ll rely on it again and again

Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Steel Cut Oatmeal from MomAdvice.com learn how I turn my slow cooker into a double boiler to make creamy overnight apple oatmeal with ALDI steel cut oats

Meal Prep: Breakfast Sandwiches Recipe from MomAdvice.com make your own mcmuffins with this freezer-friendly ALDI recipe

 

 

Do you love ALDI as much as me? I’d love to hear what you think of this discount grocer!

How to End the Year Well

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

At this time of year, it is so easy to only be looking forward to the next big event. This year we are going to try and use the holiday season to make the most of he days left in the year. We aren’t going wait until January to make our resolutions and appreciate what we have.

 

 

Last week I read an article about how to create a dumpster fire ornament, in honor of the year we’ve had. It was hilarious – and sad.

I mean, yeah, I laughed, but only so I didn’t cry.

Because, for a million reasons, this year has been difficult at best and devastating at worst.

 

I know I’m not alone in looking forward to a fresh start as we flip over the calendar.

 

But before we head into a new year, we still have a few days left in this one – and I’m determined to make the best of them.

Rather than simply throwing up our hands in disgust or defeat, let’s take back what’s remaining of this challenging year.

Let’s celebrate what actually worked or went well, and let’s give thanks for the blessings we received in the midst of hardships.

No matter how this year has treated us, I believe we can still end well. Here’s how:

 

1. Make a gratitude list.

I know, I know, you’ve heard this one a thousand times.

But there’s a reason for that: it works!

No matter how bad a situation (or calendar year) might be, we always have something to be thankful for.

Are you healthy?

Do you have a place to live?

Is your family nearby – or far away?

Do you have at least one person to love and who loves you?

Did you read a good book or see a great movie?

Have you created a piece of art or finished a project?

Did you make it through Thanksgiving or the election cycle or a trip to the post office without coming to blows with anyone?

Then you have something to be thankful for!

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

2. Look at the photographic evidence.

Instead of clicking over to Facebook one more time, open up the gallery on your phone.

Scroll through your own photos and take time to appreciate those goofy smiles, those messy faces, the trips to the zoo or the doctor’s office, the impromptu road trips or picnics, the selfies and the you-can’t-make-me-smile serious faces.

Remember the sunset, the finish line, the delicious dessert, the colorful leaves.

Whether you’ve already printed all your photos and placed them in a lovely album or scrapbook, or they’re stacked up on your phone (and hopefully saved in the cloud), I bet you have some evidence that this year brought something lovely, something beautiful, something good.

 

3. Find the silver linings. I’m not sitting at a desk gazing out the window to a pastoral scene as I type this post.

Nope. I’m sitting in my living room, balancing my laptop on a TV tray while my toddler sits on my lap smelling slightly of her overnight diaper and watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

And as often happens in our house, Daniel Tiger is sharing a message that is almost unnervingly relevant for our day. Daniel and his friends are singing about disappointment, and here’s the advice they have for us all: “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”

Seriously, Daniel Tiger?

Seriously.

You really can’t argue with that preschool wisdom.

And as I’ve reflected on the last year, it really is something I’ve considered.

What are the silver linings hiding on the edges of this hard season?

For me I’ve had to face how my fear of confrontation has led to unhealthy relationships and behaviors. (Which is, initially, still a bummer but ultimately a good thing to realize.)

I’ve also been forced to stop waffling on some political issues as this divisive year has made it clearer than ever what my priorities and values are.

And, most importantly, going through a tough season is always a catalyst for appreciation and gratitude for me, making me more thankful than ever for my family, my freedoms, and my faith.

All of these silver linings come at the cost of some very dark clouds, but I am grateful for them nonetheless.

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

4. Give back – and then some.

One of the most encouraging messages I’ve seen following some of this year’s troubles is a call to action.

No matter where you fall on all the issues that have divided our world, every one of us can reach out to others, serve others, love others.

Just like the well-known and oft-quoted advice from Gandhi suggests, rather than complaining about a dumpster fire of a season, be the change you wish to see in the world instead.

The benefit goes beyond what you give to other people, too, because not only does helping those in need combat injustices you perceive, it also helps you adjust your perspective.

It gives you a bigger picture and more accurate way to gauge your own circumstances.

It also gives you a sense of more control and therefore increases your overall satisfaction.

Talk about win-win!

 

5. Don’t wait for January 1.

We don’t have to start a new habit on a Monday, and we don’t have to wait for January 1 to turn over a new leaf of gratitude, compassion, and positivity.

We can do that today.

The world may seem like it’s spinning off its axis some days, but we are still in control of our own choices.

We get to decide how we receive news, how we process situations, how we respond to circumstances.

We get to choose.

Let’s make the best of the days we have, friend, no matter what the calendar says.

Let’s be kind when we don’t have to, let’s be thankful even when it’s difficult, let’s look for the good and be the good.

Let’s end this year well.

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

 

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How to Make New Year's Day the Most Romantic Holiday MomAdvice.com

Make New Year’s Day Romantic

 

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

How to Make A Homeless Care Package

 

 

Happiness Strategies from MomAdvice.com

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MomAdvice 2020 Book Club Selections

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Earn Money Investing in Women With Ellevest

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

Earn Money Investing In Women With Ellevest

 

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

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

Does the idea of investing in yourself feel intimidating?

You aren’t alone.

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

The thing is… where do you even start?

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

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

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

I know I was!

I will walk you through everything I have learned this month 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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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

 

7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

 

7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning from MomAdvice.com

 

Back to school is the perfect time to work on your family’s good habits. Set a goal of getting your kids’ great new habits to stick and make their school mornings a little easier. Just a few minutes a day and some creative thinking can make the school year start off right!

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

How’s your fall going so far?

It’s felt a little chaotic at my house.

For weeks now, I’ve been saying, “We’re still getting into our school year routine.” But guys? We’ve been back to school for a while. If I can’t get my people into a routine soon, I’m going to have to change my excuse to, “Well, the holidays are just messing us up.” And then it’s winter break and the new year and the flu and spring break and end of school and summer. 

Because the truth is, we’re constantly entering or leaving one busy season or another.

During this stage, with two busy kids and two busy adults, we just don’t have a long stretch of “normal” to look forward to. There’s no sense in waiting to get back to normal before getting organized, finding routines, or learning how to live — because I’ll be waiting forever. 

The number one thing I’ve found that makes a difference in how my kids — and I — deal with busy seasons?

Sleep.

Our quantity and quality of sleep makes an enormous difference in everything — in our health, our attitudes, our discipline in the other things that make life easier or otherwise better. Sleep kind of makes our world go ‘round.

And sleep is a funny thing. Everyone needs it, but everyone needs a different amount. And everyone seems to need different conditions to get good sleep. So it’s a universal need but also a personal one.

Therefore, rather than tell you one, laser-focused solution that works for my family, today I’m sharing several things that seem to make a difference for at least one person in my house. Hopefully something I share will work for someone in your family, and together we can stop needing excuses for being so out of sorts as we move from season to season.

 

7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning

7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning from MomAdvice.com

Know the facts

When we get busy with evening activities and homework and movie nights and one more story at bedtime, we can easily cut our kids’ nights short without realizing it.

That’s why it’s good to know — and then keep in mind — how much sleep is recommended for each child, based on their age. This article from the American Academy of Pediatrics lists the recommended sleep times that studies have shown are the best for each age range from four months to 18 years. 

This chart was helpful for my family as it showed me that it’s not weird for my 11-year-old to need more sleep than my 4-year-old. Last year I let my older daughter stay up later than her little sister, because I assumed she could handle it. But over the past few months I’ve realized that just isn’t true. They need different amounts of sleep, and what I assumed was wrong. Now they go to bed at the same time, which feels weird — but the AAP says is acceptable and not that weird after all.

Bathe at unusual times

Sometimes it feels like I have to choose between hygiene and sleep — for my kids and for myself! But what I’ve finally realized (it only took me how long?!) is that we don’t have to bathe (or shower) at the “usual” times. I can shower before bed instead of in the morning if I have to. My kids can bathe right after school instead of getting to bedtime and realizing we’ve run out of time and skipping it…again. It seems like a little thing, but it’s made a big difference for us. (And this tip goes for any bedtime or morning task. You can have story time right after dinner, and you can make lunches at night instead of after breakfast.)

Brain dump before bed

While I don’t often struggle with insomnia, I’ve certainly spent many nights staring at the ceiling as my worries or ideas or to-do list run through my brain on a loop. I’ve learned it’s better to just turn on my lamp, grab a notebook, and write it all down. That way, my brain can rest, knowing that I’ve captured all the things and I can tackle them the next day.

Sometimes my kids need that, too. I try to make sure I don’t shut them down if they bring up a tough subject or start telling a long story at bedtime, but when possible, I will ask if it’s something we can talk about the next day. And then, to make sure they know I’m serious, I’ll let them see me make an actual note so we don’t forget to come back to that topic or story.

 

7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning from MomAdvice.com

Set alarms!

I use the alarms on my phone to keep me on track all day long, all week long. This is especially important for making sure we all get the sleep we need without being late for school or work. I set alarms for —

  • When we need to go upstairs to start the bedtime routineWhen my oldest daughter needs to bring her book out to the hallway (so she doesn’t stay up super late reading…like her mama!)
  • When I need to turn off the TV and start my own bedtime routineWhen I need to get up, at the very least a few minutes before the kids
  • When I need to wake up the kids (I need to get back to setting my 11-year-old’s alarm in her room; that helped her morning attitude a lot when we did it before.)
  • When we need to go downstairs to start packing lunches and eating breakfastWhen my oldest needs to go to the bus stop

Without those alarms, we would be lost!

Make expectations clear 

Nearly every argument my girls and I have in the morning is about whether or not they’ve completed their morning routines: making their beds, brushing teeth, brushing hair, putting on clean clothes.

It doesn’t seem hard to me, but they struggle — so writing down the morning routine and sticking it on the bathroom wall has helped.

I also included what times we do things, so they know if it’s close to 7:30 and they aren’t close to ready for breakfast, they’d better get a move on!


7 Habits to Help Your Kids Have a Great Morning from MomAdvice.com

Have your own morning routine

What makes you feel awake?

Do you need coffee before you can deal with people?

Or perhaps it’s a tall glass of ice water or a few minutes of stretching that gets your blood moving?

For me, it’s turning on all the lights, brushing my teeth, and putting on a bra. Without those things, I am a slug — and not a very nice one either. We all win when I make sure to complete my own morning routine!

Take a moment 

Look, nobody in my house likes mornings.

So I’m not about to tell you to take hours of your morning to connect with your people. But! If you can take even a few seconds to look them in the face and wish them well (on a test, with a friend, in general) or perhaps play their favorite song in the car and share a smile in the rearview mirror as you do your best car dance, I guarantee it will make a world of difference.

And if you have more than a few seconds? Five-minute family devotions, love notes in the lunchbox, or a blessing prayer in the carpool line will take little time and effort, but leave you feeling like you’ve got this morning thing mastered.

Those are just a few things that help us have better mornings.

We aren’t perfect, and don’t do every thing every day. But when we do our best to check most these boxes? We are more rested and less frazzled, and mornings don’t seem so bad (even to my house full of night owls).

 

What helps your family have a great morning? Be sure to scroll down for more great parenting articles!

7 Habits for Better Mornings With Your Kids from MomAdvice.com

 

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog,MaryCarver.com. She is the author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls and co-author of Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes (VIDEO)

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes from MomAdvice.com

Are you looking for a new way to tie shoes for your child? Today we are showing you a fresh tying technique that will teach this fine motor skill with this easy lace tying strategy. This helpful advice was recommended by an occupational therapist so don’t miss this tutorial!

I am so darn excited about today’s post and getting to share with you the lace tying strategy that helped me succeed at teaching my children how to tie their shoes. This is, honestly, the best shoe-tying tutorial I could ever showcase and it comes to my site courtesy of my amazing friend, Nancy!

When my son was in first grade he was still struggling to tie his shoes. The fact that we put the kid in Velcro shoes his entire life may have been a big factor in why he struggled so much. 

When I shared this with my friend she showed me a new way to teach shoelace tying to see if it would work for our son. 

Lo and behold, a mere five minutes later my son was tying his shoe like a pro.

If you haven’t heard of this method before, you aren’t alone.

It is called the Cheerio Method, because it really focuses on creating a circle with your laces (that looks like…well..a Cheerio) and allows a space for your child to feed their bunny ears into it. The sizing of that delicious cereal is exactly the size of a circle you need to create space for feeding laces.


I don’t know about you, but I really struggled with this skill, when I was a child,  and remember sitting for hours, with a shoe-lacing board. It took me forever to figure out the granny knot and I still remember singing those silly songs to myself about looping those bunny ears.

A New Way to Teach Your Child to Tie Their Shoes

My daughter is three years younger than her brother and when we taught Ethan, she wanted to learn right along side of him. As luck would have it, she caught on just as fast as her brother and it is how she is tying her shoes still today.

You have to see this tutorial to learn how to tie shoes. While it begins with the same shoelace knot, that we are all familiar with, it evolves into an entirely different method to lace shoes.  

If you are struggling with teaching your children to tie their own shoelaces, this is a parenting game changer. I can’t wait to hear about your own success stories with this tutorial.

An enormous thank you to Nancy for so generously sharing her cheerio method video with my readers!

Note About the First Loop

The first time you teach them, you can show them with your own finger how to create that first loop. After that, it shows them how much space they  need to create it and they can do it on their own.

For double knotting the laces, just show them as you normally would, making sure to stress to pull those loops tight (but not *too* tight).

If you have a child still in those early stages of practicing, I have found one of these handy shoe-tying practice boards (affiliate link)  is helpful for teaching kids how to tie.

What if this technique doesn’t work for my child. Do you have any other recommendations to teach my child to tie shoes?

Have you ever heard of the Ian Knot? I had never heard of this technique until I started researching other resources for you. Watch this incredible video (below) of the fastest shoe tying technique.

I’m an adult and don’t be surprised if you find me curled up with my shoes teaching myself this.

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? 

Let us know what you think about today’s post and if it has helped your child as much as it helped my two!

This post contains affiliate links

Looking for more parenting advice? Here are a few other posts that you might find helpful!

how to find and write pen pals

3 easy rainbow science experiments to try

the best back to school books for kids

 

A New Way to Teach Your Child To Tie Their Shoes from MomAdvice.com

 

 

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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.

6 More Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

Monday, November 12th, 2018

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

I met my husband in the fall. We went on our first date later that same fall. And, years later, our first daughter was born in the fall. So when the weather begins to cool down and pumpkin spice everything shows up basically everywhere, I find myself feeling a little more lovey-dovey than usual.

Not that I don’t love him in the spring. Not that we don’t try to plan date nights in the winter. But there’s just something special about the fall!

Unless we’re incredibly intentional about it, though, our autumn date nights look exactly the same as every other date night in any other season. Because unless we are careful to be creative and plan ahead, my husband and I will always default to dinner at a Mexican restaurant chain and a movie.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! We love tacos! And movies about superheroes or spies!

We do.

And sometimes “the usual” is exactly what we need to give us space to connect and remember how much fun we can have together when we set aside the day-to-day for a while.

But other times?

We need to get out of a rut, and we need to try something different. So while we’re still in the midst of this romantic season, here are a few date night ideas I’ve come up with.

Perhaps you’ll find a new way to date your husband this fall, too!

6 More Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall

 

Go back to school

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about pop quizzes or English papers! No, I’m suggesting you take a class with your husband. It’s always fun to learn something new or brush up on rusty skills — and doing it together will give you something fresh to talk about and a brand-new bond as you find hidden skills or even fail miserably together! Often, you can find classes open to the community through your local college or community college. Or just search online for classes. Depending on your interests (and level of adventure!), you could take a class in cooking, self defense, dance, woodworking, wine tasting, or even massage.

Think outside the box

Don’t tell my husband, but one thing I’m giving him for Christmas is a list of adventurous, totally new-to-us date ideas for next year. I’m hoping to get gift cards or make reservations to go along with the list, so we’ll actually have to stick to outside-the-box dates! I’m planning a taking a barbecue tour around our city, finally trying our skills in an escape room, going rock climbing, visiting a shooting range, and putting a lock on a “lovers’ bridge” in a nearby town. What new, exciting, just plain different activities does your town offer?

 

Try new restaurants

I’ve mentioned our tendency to eat at the same chain restaurant every time we go out. We know what to expect; we know the wait won’t be long. But we also know we won’t be surprised. So I’ve done a little research and looked up lists of the best local restaurants in our community. Some are new, some are just new to us. Some offer the type of food we always eat; some will stretch our palates a bit!

 

I actually made the list a couple years ago and we’re very slowly trying a new place every few months. And the last time we did? We had so much to talk about! Did we like it? What was our favorite part? What was different than we expected? Do we want to go back? I can’t wait to try another new restaurant this fall.

Ditch the kids

I know, I know, you love your kids. They’re wonderful! Your heart, walking around in the world. I know! Mine, too. However, sometimes it’s fun to do kid stuff…without the kids. Every time my husband and I take our girls to a fall festival, parade, pumpkin patch, or corn maze, I find myself thinking how lovely it would be if we could come back the next day, just the two of us. So this fall, I’m going to plan ahead and make sure we have a family day AND a date day at the fun farm.

Change up the time of your date

Dating your husband doesn’t have to happen in the evening. And since fall seems to be one of the busiest seasons our families have, a night-time date might not even be possible. Why not meet for pumpkin donuts and coffee one morning? Or sneak outside for hot chocolate under the stars once the kids are in bed? You could also go to lunch at a food truck park, a chili contest, or your favorite picnic bench. The point is that you don’t have to wait for a free Friday night. Fit in date nights whenever you can, even if it’s at 8:00 in the morning!

Get physical

Hey now, not like that! I’m talking about doing something active together, like taking a hike, going for a bike ride, or participating in a fundraising walk. Take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather, and train for a 5K together (or just take your time walking through a flea market or art show). And who knows…this fall date might shake things up in more way than one!

 

Need more ideas? Don’t miss 5 Ways to Date Your Husband This Fall! What’s your favorite fall date night plan?

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