Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Sun, 21 Dec 2014 07:09:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Stretch Your Holiday Shopping Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/stretch-holiday-shopping-budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/stretch-holiday-shopping-budget#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:53:06 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15494 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Ultimate Rewards. All opinions are 100% mine. December is one of the busiest months for everyone. Everywhere you go, it’s crowded and the parking lots are filled up, like no other time of year. That’s why I love to do my holiday shopping […] Read more...

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chase Ultimate Rewards. All opinions are 100% mine.

December is one of the busiest months for everyone.

Everywhere you go, it’s crowded and the parking lots are filled up, like no other time of year.

That’s why I love to do my holiday shopping online to avoid the crowds.

It’s easier to get all the items on my list online and get them shipped to my door and avoid all the challenging things that come with taking a child out, like meltdowns at the mall!

You know what I’m talking about, parents!

It’s hard to concentrate on what I’m buying in a store, when my curious toddler is running around touching everything and asking me questions.

When I shop online, I stay sane, on track (avoiding unnecessary purchases that happen when I’m in the store), and within budget.

And I can shop at anytime of the day, like when my daughter is sleeping.

stretch holiday budget

Photo: JD Hancock

I’ve already finished 90% of my Christmas shopping and I used a gift card to purchase these toys! I was even able to get myself a dustbuster (which I love!) with the leftover balance. Isn’t that such a parent thing?

On top of that, I earn rewards with my credit card that I use towards other gifts. If you’re going to spend the money anyway, why not earn rewards on top of it?

In my opinion, the best rewards are the ones that can be earned quickly and easily, without having to jump through hoops.

With Chase Ultimate Rewards, you can redeem the points you earn for travel, gift cards, VIP access to concerts, sporting events, or even cash back. Rewards can be used for travel on any flight at any time without blackout dates or restrictions.

The newly designed UltimateRewards.com makes it easy to track your current rewards points, how many rewards were earned per transaction, lets you bookmark your favorite rewards to find it easier later, and customizes recommendations for rewards you might like based on your card activity and offerings that you “like,” and more.

Ultimate Rewards are available to those who have a Chase Freedom, Chase Sapphire and Ink from Chase credit card. And during the holidays, Chase offers extra incentives to cardholders with Ultimate Rewards.

I love how easy it is to redeem rewards with Chase. Starting at 2,000 points, it is $20 in rewards. You can use it towards a reward or simply get cash back via direct deposit.

Redemption towards gift cards are available at the same prices as in the store without outrageous markups that are often tied to credit card rewards programs.

With Ultimate Rewards, $50 in earned rewards will buy a $50 gift card. It’s as simple as that.

There are those rewards programs that take forever to earn rewards that it’s discouraging. Why even bother?

With Chase, I can easily earn $20 in rewards in a month. Who couldn’t use an extra $10, $20, or $50 a month?

Using credit card rewards to buy gifts is another way to stretch your money during the holidays. It’s like getting free stuff for doing things you’re already doing, like grocery shopping, eating out, and buying gas.

Another great way to take advantage of these rewards is to use it as cash back for your savings, emergency fund, or vacation fund. Or use them exclusively for gifts.

How do you stretch your budget during the holiday season?

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Do You Qualify for a Free Cell Phone? http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/qualify-free-cell-phone http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/qualify-free-cell-phone#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 23:42:46 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15488 If you’re down and out and living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you want to think about is bills. But what if you could get rid of one recurring bill forever? There is a little known program for those with lesser income called Assurance Wireless run by Virgin Mobile. It provides a free phone and […] Read more...

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free cell phoneIf you’re down and out and living paycheck to paycheck, the last thing you want to think about is bills.

But what if you could get rid of one recurring bill forever?

There is a little known program for those with lesser income called Assurance Wireless run by Virgin Mobile.

It provides a free phone and phone service to those who qualify.

In California, users can get unlimited calls and texts!

Drawbacks:

  • You have to upgrade your phone to be able to text like a normal person (about $30-$50 from Virgin Mobile) as the free phone does not have an onscreen keyboard.
  • Say goodbye to smartphones.

Assurance Wireless does not support smartphones. They are only compatible with touch screen phones (phones without apps). So Androids and iPhones don’t work with this program.

The Details:

  1. Get 500 free minutes and unlimited texts for the first 4 months (in California, it’s unlimited call minutes).
  2. You qualify either by income or program based. That means you qualify for Assurance Wireless if you are on another government program, like health insurance.
  3. This program is part of the Lifeline service where you can get a free landline or cell phone.
  4. Only one account per household.
  5. Not available in all states or areas.

See if you qualify at Assurance Wireless.

 

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How We Slashed Our Cell Phone Bill By More Than Half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/slashed-cell-phone-bill-half http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/slashed-cell-phone-bill-half#comments Thu, 04 Dec 2014 22:21:18 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15480 Our budget has been getting tighter lately. And this has motivated me to search high and low for different ways to save money and cut expenses. So even though it has been tough, really tough for our family, there is a glimmer of hope because I have found unexpected resources and programs to help. Cell phones […] Read more...

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Our budget has been getting tighter lately.

And this has motivated me to search high and low for different ways to save money and cut expenses.

So even though it has been tough, really tough for our family, there is a glimmer of hope because I have found unexpected resources and programs to help.

Cell phones are a necessity nowadays.

Since I’ve gotten a smartphone a few years ago, I have to admit that I have become dependent on it. I thought I could get away without a data plan but because I’m a blogger, I need to be able to post to social media on the fly.

A smartphone also helps me get directions to a new place without a paper map. If I get lost, I can always make a call or use my maps app.

Our last cell phone plan for my husband and me was a whopping $170/mo including tax and unlimited data. As we were going through expenses, that bill seemed excessive.

We waited until our contract ended and started searching for deals on other carriers. I even consulted with my Facebook fans and got lots of great suggestions.

Most people mentioned Straight Talk, which looks like a great option if you have your own phone.

We were looking to upgrade our phones as they were getting slow. I was on an iPhone 4 and it was running out of memory.

cut your cell phone bill in half

 

Last year, I attended a Sprint event and got a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. I didn’t know anything about Android phones but learned to use it and came to like it.

It does everything my iPhone does except Facetime, iMessage, and Find iPhone. I will miss Facetime though.

We didn’t want to pay taxes on a new phone so we waited to figure out the right thing to do.

On Thanksgiving a friend gave my husband his old Sprint Android phone so that sealed the deal.

Sprint Framily Plan

I heard about the Sprint Framily (friends and family) Plan where if you get a certain number of people on a group plan, you can get your bill down to $25/mo. It starts at $50/mo for the first person and includes unlimited talk and text and 1 gb of data. Unlimited data is just an extra $20/mo.

When a new person joins the plan, it goes down $5/mo for everyone. That means when a 2nd person joins, the bill for everyone drops to $45/mo. For a 3rd person, it’s $40/mo. and so on.

$25/mo. is the lowest you can get. Up to 10 people can be on a Framily plan.

My husband knew of someone already on a Framily plan with 3 people so we joined their plan.

1. Bill can be as low as $25/mo. if you have at least 6 people on your Framily plan.

2. Sprint will waive the $36 activation fee for AAA members.

3. Unfortunately, you can only join an existing Framily plan. New members cannot start a new Framily plan.

See below on another way to save.

4. Everyone gets their own bill.

5. This special pricing lasts until the end of 2015.

Cut Your Bill in Half Event

Speaking of cutting your bill in half, I just found this new promotion that starts on 12/5/14.

Bring in your current cell phone bill and Sprint will match the features and cut your rate (minus taxes) in half! See details here.

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10 Easy Steps to a Solid Debt Payoff Plan http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-easy-steps-solid-debt-payoff-plan http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-easy-steps-solid-debt-payoff-plan#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:36:46 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15464 When you have a lot of debt hanging over you, doesn’t it feel overwhelming? How are you going to pay it off? Will you pay it off… like before you reach retirement age? Where do you start? When I had $8,000 in student loans, I felt like this. You may have more or less than […] Read more...

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When you have a lot of debt hanging over you, doesn’t it feel overwhelming?

How are you going to pay it off?

Will you pay it off… like before you reach retirement age?

Where do you start?

When I had $8,000 in student loans, I felt like this. You may have more or less than this. And the circumstances of how you accumulated debt may be different.

You may have lost your job and weren’t able to find a new one as quickly. Your new job pays peanuts and doesn’t cover your family’s health insurance.

Or maybe you had a health emergency and your insurance didn’t cover a lot of your bills. Or you don’t have insurance.

You’re living on one income with small children and are barely making it. You’re on disability and can’t return to work.

You used your credit card for every purchase and didn’t have enough to pay it off. The balance and interest grew out of control! It happens to the best of us, even me.

Let’s focus on how you’re going to pay it off, with a clear cut plan.

debt payoff plan

1. If you have credit card debt, stop using your card(s) and switch to cash.

This is a hard adjustment at first, but force yourself to do this now so you can start moving forward on paying off debt, rather than create more debt.

You’re in debt payoff, crisis mode now. Look for any extra cash like coins and go to Coinstar.

Return any recent purchases that still have tags and are returnable. Trade any unused gift cards for ones that you can use like for groceries.

2. Write down all of your debt on a sheet of paper, an Excel sheet, or use my Budget Printables.

For example: Student loan $8,000, Credit Card #1 $5,000, etc.

3. List the interest rates, due dates, and minimum payment amount.

4. Figure out how much money you have in your budget to pay off debt. Write this number down on your Debt Payoff sheet.

5. Cut expenses.

Can you cut cable, lower your car insurance (with a low mileage discount if you don’t drive that much), sell something, cook more at home, or cancel unnecessary subscriptions?

debt eraser tracker 300

6. Figure out which debt to pay off first.

Pay more than the minimum amount on this debt to pay it off.

You can focus on the smallest debt amount, called the Debt Snowball Method by Dave Ramsey, to build confidence and momentum. Or you can pay off the one that bothers you the most, like loans from family or friends.

There’s no right or wrong way. Do whatever will make you feel better and will relieve the most stress.

As long as you’re paying off debt, you’re making progress. Any bit of progress is progress and you’re getting somewhere. Each step, each $50 payment, gets you one step closer towards your goal of paying off your debt.

7. Research ways to earn more money, doing side jobs or working overtime.

Put that extra money towards your debt. An extra $20, $50, $100 can really help you reach your goal faster.

And if you get a windfall, like Christmas money or a tax refund, use it to pay down your debt!

8. Get into the debt payoff mindset.

Tell yourself that you will pay off this debt. And if you need a timeline, then figure out how long it will take so you have an end date.

This actually provides some relief as you’ll know that there will be a concrete end date. That you won’t be paying off debt forever.

You might even pay off your debt sooner than this.

9. Get your significant other onto your debt payoff plan.

You can pay off your debt on your own. But if you and your significant other are not on the same page financially, it will be hard to stay debt free.

It may take months or even years for the financial trust to develop. Be patient and gentle. And talk openly while asking for their feedback and input.

10. Celebrate each win.

After you’ve paid off each debt, give yourself a reward, a small treat. I like to celebrate by visiting my favorite food truck. I cook a lot at home so not having to cook is a reward.

You don’t necessarily have to spend money. A reward can include walking on the beach or taking a hike.

 

Photo Credit for Credit Cards: Sean MacEntee via Flickr

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7 Easy Meals with a Rotisserie Chicken http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/easy-meals-with-rotisserie-chicken http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/easy-meals-with-rotisserie-chicken#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:00:57 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=4165 Need to make dinner quick but are starved for ideas? Don’t be tempted to do take out when you have these meal ideas to go to. With a store bought rotisserie chicken, the possibilities are endless. Costco seems to have the best price for rotisserie chicken at $4.99. Or use left over rotisserie chicken from […] Read more...

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Need to make dinner quick but are starved for ideas?

Don’t be tempted to do take out when you have these meal ideas to go to.

With a store bought rotisserie chicken, the possibilities are endless. Costco seems to have the best price for rotisserie chicken at $4.99.

Or use left over rotisserie chicken from last night’s dinner.

Here are meals that I’ve made with a whole or left over rotisserie chicken.

And by easy, I mean there aren’t a lot of ingredients so you’ll be able to picture what’s in it.

1. Chicken Apple Salad Sandwich

No cook meals are great for those nights when you don’t have time to cook. Start with shredded rotisserie chicken, diced granny smith apple, mayo, and pepper to taste. Scoop it onto your favorite bread. Voila! Dinner is ready!

2. Chicken Salad

Shred chicken onto a bed of your favorite lettuce greens. Add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, salad dressing, or whatever else you want. Easy!

3. Chicken Ramen

What’s easier than ramen? To make it heartier, add shredded chicken and your favorite frozen veggies. Done in under 10 minutes. My favorite brand of ramen is Koyo Tofu and Miso Ramen because it’s all natural and doesn’t have preservatives or MSG like the other brands.

 

easy meals with rotisserie chicken

4. Chicken Noodle Soup

It will warm you in the winter or when you’re sick. Add sliced carrots, celery, shredded chicken and chicken bouillon (according to package directions) to boiling water. Boil around5 – 10 minutes or until you can pierce carrots with a fork.

Add cooked noodles or pasta when done. My favorite bouillon is Better Than Bouillon, found in jar form. It’s all natural, doesn’t have MSG, and makes my soups full in flavor. They also have an organic, low sodium version, which is the one I found at Costco.

5. Chicken Quesadilla

Chicken quesadilla is easy and quick to make. Warm tortilla in a pan and add shredded chicken and shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese. Fold in half and flip when brown. Here’s an easy chicken quesadilla recipe found on All Recipes.

6. Chicken Congee

Congee is rice porridge, an Asian comfort food. We eat this when we’re sick, for breakfast, or anytime of day. Cooking congee is a little more challenging than the other meal ideas listed here, but after awhile, you’ll get the hang of it.

It may become a go-to meal for you because you don’t have to add a lot of ingredients. You’re just boiling rice but adding extra water to it so that you get a watery rice soup consistency.

And the rice is boiled to the point where it’s broken up and the starch makes it creamy. It’s easier and quicker to boil already cooked rice, rather than raw rice, which is a good way to use up leftover rice.

Add desired amount of rice to pot and add water. The ratio of water to rice depends on how thin or thick you want your congee to be.

Honestly, I don’t really measure, I just add water until I like the consistency. When it boils, some of the water will evaporate so you can always add more water to it as it cooks.

Start with a 1:2 ratio of rice to water, then add more water as needed. Boil for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the congee is the desired consistency. Add shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced ginger, scallions, etc. Here’s a congee recipe for reference.

7. Rotisserie Chicken with Veggies and Rice

When I’m tired or don’t have a lot of time, I buy a rotissserie chicken, then cook rice and veggies. If you’re super tired or busy, you can even cook the fresh or frozen veggies in the rice cooker with a steamer basket!

Place veggies in the last 5 minutes of cooking rice. If you don’t want to bother with cooking rice, just add a salad and dinner is ready.  

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5 Quick Ways to Get Free Amazon Gift Cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/5-ways-to-get-free-amazon-gift-cards http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/5-ways-to-get-free-amazon-gift-cards#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 16:00:31 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=3755 It’s no secret that I love Amazon.com. You can get almost anything including diapers, electronics, beauty products, gourmet food, and of course, books, shipped to your door within 2 days via Amazon Prime. Lucky for me, I get huge discounts on my purchases using Amazon gift cards and points. It’s a lot like couponing. If […] Read more...

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It’s no secret that I love Amazon.com.

You can get almost anything including diapers, electronics, beauty products, gourmet food, and of course, books, shipped to your door within 2 days via Amazon Prime.

Lucky for me, I get huge discounts on my purchases using Amazon gift cards and points.

It’s a lot like couponing.

If you can strategize to get things for free or deeply discounted, why not spend some time to learn about it.

That helps a lot with staying on budget.

Believe it or not, anyone can do this. Here are several ways to earn free gift cards and points to get free stuff on Amazon.com.

Also, you can get a FREE 30 day trial of Amazon Prime to get free 2 day shipping, just in time for Christmas gifts!

1. Cash in your coins at Coinstar.

If you’ve used Coinstar to cash in your collection of coins, you know that if you choose to get an Amazon gift card instead of cash, you can bypass the coin counting fees.

This is an easy way anyone can earn an Amazon gift card, without even trying. You’ll be surprised at how much those quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies add up! Ok, so it’s not really free because it’s your money in coins. But if you didn’t cash them in, they’d be sitting there unused and unspent.

2. Trade Unused Gift Cards.

Trade in your unused gift cards (from other brands) to get Amazon gift cards or cash at Cardpool.com. No mailing required as it is done online.

3. Use Swagbucks.

Swagbucks is a loyalty program where you participate in certain activities to earn points towards rewards, like an Amazon gift card. There are 5 ways to earn points – search the web using the Swagbucks browser, play games, participate in offers, watch videos, and answer polls and surveys.

Tip: To earn in the most points in the least amount of time, participate in offers that earn hundreds of points but require little money to try or are free trials. Depending on the offer, there may be shipping costs and you may have to give credit card info. But you can cancel anytime.

450 Swagbucks points equals a $5 Amazon gift card. So if you sign up for a free trial that earns at least 450 points, you have enough to redeem a $5 Amazon gift card. Keep in mind, that when you redeem the Amazon gift card (which comes in the form of a gift card code), it may take a week or two to receive it from Swagbucks.

Join Swagbucks now.

4. Trade in Your Books, Consumer Electronics, or Video Games.

Hello! Who doesn’t have old iPhones, laptops, DVDs, CD’s, textbooks, or video games lying around, taking up space?

Did you know you can sell it to Amazon to earn FREE gift cards? See how here.

ways to earn amazon gift card

5. Sign Up for an Amazon Credit Card.

Get $30 Amazon credit upon sign up. Then for every 100 dollars you charge, you earn $1.00 Amazon credit. This can be spent after the billing cycle ends, even if you earn just $1!

 

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How to Get Free Access to The American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/get-free-access-american-express-centurion-lounge-sfo http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/get-free-access-american-express-centurion-lounge-sfo#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 05:56:43 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15422 I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for American Express. I received thank you item for my participation. Occasionally, I like to attend fun blogger events when I’m invited and share them with you. My daughter and I got to attend an exclusive event at the brand new American Express Centurion […] Read more...

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I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for American Express. I received thank you item for my participation.

Occasionally, I like to attend fun blogger events when I’m invited and share them with you.

My daughter and I got to attend an exclusive event at the brand new American Express Centurion Lounge at the San Francisco airport, which opened on November 6, 2014.

photo (31)

It’s not every day that we get to go to a luxurious, stylish, and family-friendly airport lounge for a fun event and without travel plans. OMG, I could live here!

photo (26)

The Centurion Lounge is the first in the West Coast available in the domestic terminal at SFO. Other locations are at Las Vegas, Dallas, and New York.

photo (24)

The 8,200 square foot lounge, located in Terminal 3, is complimentary to those who have a Platinum or Centurion American Express card. This includes their immediate family members or up to 2 travel companions. Other American Express card holders can buy a pass for $50 per person. Kids under 18 are free with an American Express card holder.

photo (23)

Food

The food is curated by Christopher Kostow, chef at the Restaurant at Meadowood. We had a lovely brunch there which included creamy scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, sausage, pancakes, a variety of fresh fruit, fresh baked pastries, dry cereal, Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh orange juice.

photo (29)

Coffee

Make your own espresso drinks with 2 automatic espresso machines. One is located in the lounge in the entry way and the other is conveniently located in the dining area.

photo (16)

Wine

Signature cocktails by renowned mixologist Jim Meehan can be enjoyed in the wine area. And while you’re there, you can do some wine tasting without having to go to Napa. Wine connoisseurs can sample up to 5 different wines through the Wine Emotion dispensing system.

photo (19)

Relax

The whole point of an airport lounge is to relax and relax you will. There are showers available and lots of comfy lounge chairs. The ambiance of the lounge vs. the airport terminal is like night and day.

Inside the lounge, it was quiet, relaxing, and peaceful. But right when we walked outside those double glass doors into the airport, it was chaotic, noisy, and stressful.

photo (20)

Work Space

There are outlets near every seat and hi speed WiFi for those who want to stay connected. This beautiful wood table is a productive place to work as well.

photo (27)

Kid’s Room

My daughter loved, loved the kid’s playroom. First of all, it has a floor to ceiling glass window so parents can keep an eye on their kids at all times.

It’s beautifully designed with books, toys, and video games for kids of all ages. My daughter did not want to leave this room!

photo (18)

On the day of this event, there was an amazing magician, Magic Dante, who masterfully entertained the kids. He captivated the kids and made them laugh at the same time. And he created these intricate balloon animals with like 10 balloons.

photo (25)

We had a blast and my daughter did not want to leave. I had to pry her out!

I can’t wait to go back there again.

See more details for The Centurion Lounge.

Follow American Express:

Facebook
Twitter

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What I Learned from Being on CreativeLive http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/experience-creativelive http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/experience-creativelive#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 18:20:40 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15373 Last week, I did something kinda crazy and outside my comfort zone. I willingly subjected myself to being filmed live and while wearing a mic pack for a CreativeLive class, that’s broadcasted live and watched around the world. Now, although I have a broadcasting degree and have been around TV studios and live broadcasts (I […] Read more...

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Last week, I did something kinda crazy and outside my comfort zone.

I willingly subjected myself to being filmed live and while wearing a mic pack for a CreativeLive class, that’s broadcasted live and watched around the world.

Now, although I have a broadcasting degree and have been around TV studios and live broadcasts (I used to do studio camera for the news), I am way more comfortable behind the camera. You know what I mean?

I’m an introvert. Ok, there, I said it.

Part of me would have been more comfortable watching it online in the comfort of my home.

When I heard that April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle was teaching another CreativeLive course, I knew I had to be there! She is such a talented and gifted teacher when it comes to teaching creative entrepreneurs about business and marketing.

with april

With April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle

Despite being scared and not comfortable being in front of the camera (the studio audience is filmed), I went anyway…  to meet April in person and to connect with the other creative entrepreneurs in the audience, half of which I already knew from online.

Plus, the CreativeLive studio is in San Francisco and I live nearby and April encouraged me to apply to be in the audience. And I had childcare. I had no excuse, really.

I was super excited but nervous at the same time that I didn’t sleep the night before. But by the 3rd day, I felt at home in the studio.

It was a honor to learn from April in person and it was a privilege to be mic’d. There were only 5 mic packs and 15 audience members.

I was able to ask questions a lot easier while wearing a mic. And ask questions I did. You’ll see me asking a lot of questions throughout the course.

Although I thought I felt awkward at the time, being filmed. When I watch it now, I look fine. I was nervous about nothing.

With Amanda of Amanda Creek Creative and Sarah of Sarah Shotts Storytelling

With Amanda of Amanda Creek Creative and Sarah of Sarah Shotts Storytelling

On the first day, I nervously walked into the kitchen, a large cold room with lots of windows, natural light, TV screens, and two long wooden tables. It was full of people I had never met in person and everyone was engaged in conversation.

It was a little intimidating but as I approached, it seems like everyone already knew who I was. It was a surreal experience!

If you watch the workshop, our audience was relaxed and we had a lot of funny moments. There was a family atmosphere of love and camaraderie and it came across during filming.

All in all, I met some really good people from all over the country (and Canada), and learned SO much to improve my blog and business.

Being in the audience at CreativeLive was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget and would love to do again in the future.

bellelive studio

What I Learned:

1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

I did. I went and did something scary but it ended up being the best experience ever.

2. Take care of those who already give you attention (your fans).

I have to focus more on you and what you need and not worry about not having enough followers/fans.

3. Know what kind of experience you want your customers to have and create it.

I want you to feel that I’m helping you, for real. So I will reach out more to find out what you need and how you can get on track with your finances.

4. You can be successful even if you don’t have a lot of fans/followers.

This is HUGE for me. I’ve felt a little inferior compared to other bloggers. Quality over quantity is more important.

5. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to design your ebook cover or create cute designs.

April showed us during the course how she designs her own cover art and layout for her ebooks using Illustrator and InDesign. I always shied away from Illustrator because I didn’t think I could design. I thought it was too complicated.

However, after watching April do it and she’s not a designer, I was inspired to try. And I did! I totally started designing patterns for my next product. OMG! Now I don’t have to use other people’s designs. The sky’s the limit.

I will be working on my new digital product, a topic that a lot of you have asked about – meal planning. Look out for it next year.

bellelive front

About CreativeLive

CreativeLive offers free online classes on money and life, photography, videography, music production, making money with art, and business. When you watch live, it’s free.

What makes them unique is that they get the best of the best people to teach these classes. Anne Geddes, the famous photographer, taught a course recently!

The two workshops I attended were Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep (watch me in segment 13!) and Make Your Brand Uniquely Irresistible.

I also want to thank them for mentioning me in their blog!

 

 

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Do This One Thing Now to Never Pay Late Fees Again http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/never-pay-late-fees http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/never-pay-late-fees#comments Fri, 07 Nov 2014 20:28:30 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15343 You’ve paid late fees more than once this past year. Ahem! You could have gone out to dinner or gotten a nice top from Thredup instead! Bills have a habit of sneaking up on you, even though the same ones come every month. What’s up with that? You don’t have a good way of tracking those bills that […] Read more...

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You’ve paid late fees more than once this past year.

Ahem! You could have gone out to dinner or gotten a nice top from Thredup instead!

Bills have a habit of sneaking up on you, even though the same ones come every month. What’s up with that?

You don’t have a good way of tracking those bills that happen a few times a year.

You run out of money and don’t have enough to pay the bills, even though you know you make enough money.

What do financial gurus know that you don’t? It’s simple, track your bills in one place.

Whether you do this on Excel, a sheet of paper, or using my Monthly Bill Tracker (pictured below) from my Budget Printables (which are awesome!), it doesn’t matter as long as you do it.

bill pay checklist

1. List all of your bills.

2. Organize them by due date.

3. Create columns for each month to check off when you’ve paid that bill.

4. Create a separate sheet or section for bills that are due a few times a year, like car insurance.

5. Place this bill tracker where you can see it every day and near your checkbook.

6. Mark which bills are on autopay. Even with autopay, you still have to track and make sure the payment was completed.

7. When payday arrives, refer to the bill tracker to see which bills will come before the next pay period. Allot enough money to pay those bills. Put this money into a separate bill paying account, if you want to make it even easier.

8. Put these bills into your monthly calendar.

9. Communicate with your significant other (or anyone you’re splitting the bills with) about the upcoming bills.

Learn more about how to organize your finances with the Living Richly Budget Printables.

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The #1 Secret to Accomplishing Financial Goals http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/accomplishing-financial-goals http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/accomplishing-financial-goals#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 18:29:19 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15327 When it comes to paying off debt, building up an emergency fund, or saving up for something, sometimes it’s hard to stay on track. When the goal amount is large and will take more than a few months to reach, you can get sidetracked. I came across this story that was inspiring. Envision the Parade […] Read more...

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When it comes to paying off debt, building up an emergency fund, or saving up for something, sometimes it’s hard to stay on track.

When the goal amount is large and will take more than a few months to reach, you can get sidetracked.

I came across this story that was inspiring.

Envision the Parade

Recently, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series for the 3rd time in 5 years. You might call it luck for the first time but by the 3rd time, you start to wonder what their secret formula is.

After all, some generations have never seen their hometown baseball team reach the World Series.

envision the parade

One of the Giant’s players, Hunter Pence, told the rookies during spring training to “envision the parade.” After winning the World Series, the city throws a huge street parade honoring the winning team.

So before the Giants started the season, they were already envisioning the reward for winning the World Series, the parade.

Some of his teammates thought he was crazy. But obviously, the vision worked.

Imagining the finish line when days are rough, can help you stay focused.

When I had severe food allergies to multiple foods, I had no idea if I would ever get better. But I kept believing and thinking that it was possible, that one day I would be able to eat anything again.

fried chicken and waffles

To stay motivated, I posted a photo from a magazine of fried chicken and waffles. And every day I would imagine myself eating and enjoying that fried chicken and waffles without an allergic reaction.

The road to getting better was not easy. I didn’t eat out or let anyone cook my food for almost a year.

I didn’t eat any sugar, fruit, dairy, wheat, bread, shellfish, or processed foods. Whenever I went out for more than a few hours, I would bring my own food in a thermos.

I did this when we went out to eat at restaurants, weddings, special events, and family occasions.

Imagine how hard it is to not be able to eat what everyone else is eating and to feel different and left out. Imagine doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.

A year later, I was healed of my food allergies and was finally able to enjoy fried chicken and waffles again! All of the hard work and sticking to a strict diet was all worth it.

That’s what it takes to succeed. While your friends are eating out at nice restaurants, driving new cars, and taking family vacations to Hawaii or Europe (and you’re reading about it on Facebook), don’t compare your life to theirs.

Stay focused and envision the finish line and reward, even when you’re cooking all of your meals at home, driving a 20 year old used car, and doing staycations.

Even though you’re not doing what everyone else is doing, it will be worth it in the end when you can finally make that last credit card or debt payment. It’s all worth it to feel free and unburdened by debt.

Are you envisioning the parade? What is your reward for paying off that credit card, school loan, or saving up $1,000 for your emergency fund?

How can you stay motivated? Can you post a checklist of actionable steps and a photo of your reward?

Photo Credit: Fireworks by my husband
Fried Chicken by Sonny Abesamis

 

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