Living Richly on a Budget http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com Sun, 23 Nov 2014 06:42:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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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10 Festive Ways to Earn Extra Money for Christmas http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-ways-earn-extra-money-christmas http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/10-ways-earn-extra-money-christmas#comments Sat, 01 Nov 2014 06:23:34 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15319 After Halloween, it’s officially the holidays. Well, at least to marketers. Haven’t you noticed that Costco and CVS start displaying Halloween decorations or Christmas trees in August? According to a Gallup poll, Americans spent an average of $786 last year on Christmas. During the holidays, people are in the mood to spend extra money on […] Read more...

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After Halloween, it’s officially the holidays. Well, at least to marketers.

Haven’t you noticed that Costco and CVS start displaying Halloween decorations or Christmas trees in August?

According to a Gallup poll, Americans spent an average of $786 last year on Christmas. During the holidays, people are in the mood to spend extra money on gifts, food, and holiday related services.

Because people are more apt to open their wallets, that’s the time to fulfill a need by offering the right service.

First figure out who your target market is. Will you be selling to consumers or businesses?

Brainstorm and research what your ideal customer needs and create a product. Don’t just guess. Ask your ideal customer.

Lastly, the most important step is to market your business to your ideal customer. What’s the best way to reach them? By phone, social media, snail mail, etsy, holiday craft fair, mall, or in person?

Whatever it is you have to get in their minds that you are the person they need for that particular service. And marketing takes time. That means start marketing now.

Here’s a great article on the 7 P’s of Marketing.

Also, consider how you will take payments? Will it be cash, check, or credit card? Nowadays, people want the option to pay by credit card, especially for larger purchases.

If you take payments in person and need to provide a paper receipt, Shopify has a way to turn your iPad into a cash register. They offer a 16” cash drawer, retail card reader for swiping credit cards, wireless receipt printer, and an iPad stand.

Well, what are you waiting for? It’s time to start earning some money. Cha-ching!

10 Christmas Business Ideas

save this christmas

1. Christmas Crafts

People are more apt to buy handmade crafts this time of year. Think of what one-of-a-kind gifts you can make that people want to buy. Then figure out where to sell them. Will it be Etsy, a crafts fair, or somewhere else?

2. Baked Goods

The holidays are all about eating. What delicious baked goods can you make? How can you sell them in batches to earn the most amount of money?

3. Gift Wrapping

Gift wrapping may seem easy to do. But a lot of people are too busy, stressed, and exhausted to deal with it. So make their life easier by offering this much needed service.

The key is where to offer your service? Can you partner with a toy store or a shop at the mall? Or will the mall let you set up a booth? You’ve got to be where the gifts are being bought in order to be successful.

4. Personal Shopper

Shopping can be a job? Yes, if you’re good at finding the right gifts for others, this may be for you. Help your client buy gifts for their Christmas list.

Think about who would need this service and afford it. Hint: People who are busy and have high paying jobs.

5. Photography

Family photo holiday cards have become quite popular the past few years. Professional photos look better, of course.

How can you sell your photography service? Can you do one or two freebies for friends and post the photos on Facebook? How can you offer your services at company holiday parties?

6. Catering

Many businesses have company holiday parties. The key is to get onto their list of vendors before they start planning.

How can you market yourself so that they think of you first? Can you offer a free sample of your food? Can you cater a small breakfast for free or a discounted rate as a preview of what you can do?

7. Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are a big business, especially for corporate gifts. How can you reach the person who orders gift baskets for their company? Can you offer a discount for them to try your service?

8. Holiday Decorating

Are you skilled at holiday decorations? Who would need this service? Think businesses, hotels, restaurants, holiday parties, etc.

9. Pet Sitting

Are you good with pets and can people trust you? The holidays are a time that people fly back home. They need someone to take care of their pet when they’re away.

10. Babysitting

This is the busiest time of year. Parents need help watching their kids so they can get their long list of errands done. Start with offering this service to friends and people who know and trust you.

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Don’t Get Tricked – Save Money on Halloween http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/save-money-on-halloween http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/save-money-on-halloween#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:40:13 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=3941 Personally, when I think about expensive holidays, Christmas is the first to come to mind. After that comes Valentine’s Day (hey, dinner and a movie isn’t cheap!). But when it comes to Halloween, kids in ghost costumes aren’t the only things that sneak up on me. Halloween can actually end up being pretty expensive. The […] Read more...

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Personally, when I think about expensive holidays, Christmas is the first to come to mind.

After that comes Valentine’s Day (hey, dinner and a movie isn’t cheap!).

But when it comes to Halloween, kids in ghost costumes aren’t the only things that sneak up on me. Halloween can actually end up being pretty expensive.

The cost of candy, costumes, decorations, going out, and hosting parties can really add up. If you have kids, this cost can be multiplied. But don’t get scared – there are plenty of ways to save money during Halloween.

Saving on Candy

save money on halloween

Dressing up is fun at any age, but for kids, candy is probably the most exciting aspect of Halloween. Getting the right amount of candy requires some good estimation skills, and even then, you can end up spending too much. Keep these things in mind:

  • Buy Generic – It’s unlikely that trick-or-treaters will care too much about the brand of the candy that they get from you. As long as you have something to give them, they should be happy.
  • Buy in Bulk – Having too much leftover candy after Halloween is a real concern, but buying in bulk can save you a lot of cash. If you’re sure that a bulk purchase will be too much, consider splitting the cost with a neighbor or friend.
  • Hand out the Candy Yourself – It can be fun to let kids reach in your bowl and take a handful of candy, but this also means you’ll run out sooner. Try giving only one piece to each child so you don’t have to buy as much.
  • Take Your Kids Out – If you have kids, go trick-or-treating with them instead of handing out candy at all.
  • Resist the Urge – We’re all guilty of it – sneaking away with some candy that we’re supposed to be handing out, or helping our kids eat some of theirs. But watch out – the University of Colorado reports that the average child gains 2.2 pounds in just three days from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2. If you’re helping them eat it, you’re gaining weight as well. Combine that with the weight gained during Thanksgiving and Christmas, and pretty soon you’ll be spending money on trips to the gym, specialty foods, and maybe even exercise equipment.
  • Choose Candy That Will Last – Hard candy, when stored in a cool, dry place at room temperature, can last up to a year. Dark chocolate stored in a cool, dark, dry place can last even longer than a year. Few candies will make it make to next Halloween, but choosing candies such as these can get you through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day.

Saving on Costumes

Whether you’re helping your kids find a costume or dressing yourself, be sure to stay in a DIY mindset. Halloween shops and retail stores can get unnecessarily expensive.

  • Have a Costume Swap – Rather than buying your kids those expensive pirate costumes, see if your neighbors have pirate costumes that they’d like to trade for something you already own. If you invite a lot of people, your kids can have even more of a choice.
  • Visit Thrift Stores – Secondhand stores have a ton of cheap clothing that’s often old or tacky enough to be used in a costume.
  • Raid Your Family’s Closets – Looking through your own closet for costume ideas is a no-brainer, but don’t forget about your parents, siblings, cousins, etc. They may have old clothes and props that you can use. Also, you could use whatever you find to dress your child up as a another member of your family (this usually makes for a pretty memorable Halloween).
  • Cheap Ideas – Think of something that you can quickly make yourself. For example, you could put on a raincoat, tape newspaper to it, slick your hair to one side and go as a “weather-person in a hurricane.” A classic cheap idea involves wrapping yourself in tin foil and going as a “leftover.”

Whatever costume you end up getting your child, don’t let them wear it until Halloween. Parents sometimes let their kids play in their costumes for weeks before Halloween, and when the big day comes, the costume is practically ruined. Save money by making sure you only have to buy a costume once.

Saving on Parties

There’s one simple way to save money on Halloween parties – don’t have one! However, if you’re determined to have a party, try using these tips:

  • Have a Potluck – Have your guests bring food instead of buying and cooking it yourself.
  • BYOB – If you want to make the food, at least have your guests bring the drinks.
  • Set a Budget – Sit down and list exactly what you need for your party. Shop around for the best deals, and stick to your list. It’s far too easy to succumb to impulse purchases of candy and decorations when you’re actually out shopping.
  • Think About Decorations – When it comes to decorating your home, try to either re-use old Halloween decorations or make your own. Simple things like “spirit jugs” made out of old milk containers can be fun and easy.

Perhaps the best way to save, though, is to shop right after Halloween. You’ll find incredible discounts on decorations, costumes, candy, and anything Halloween-related on Nov. 1. So, like most money-saving tactics, you just have to plan ahead. If you think about Halloween a year in advance, the hidden costs won’t have any chance of sneaking up on you.

This guest post was written by Mike Carlson, who is a freelance writer and web developer from Seattle, Washington. In his free time, he enjoys playing his trombone in a local jazz band, hiking, kayaking, and playing video games. Mike is interested in everything finance, SEO, and web development – especially new and emerging technology and techniques.

Photo Credit: Joe Crawford

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A Smart Way to Track Coupons and Deals On the Go http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/shopular http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/shopular#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:45:27 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15300 When it comes to shopping, we all want to save as much as we can and not leave money on the table. If you find it hard to keep up with the latest coupons, deals, and circular ads for multiple stores, there’s an app that can help. Shopular is a beautifully designed mobile deals and […] Read more...

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When it comes to shopping, we all want to save as much as we can and not leave money on the table.

If you find it hard to keep up with the latest coupons, deals, and circular ads for multiple stores, there’s an app that can help.

Shopular is a beautifully designed mobile deals and coupon app that alerts you of deals when you’re near your favorite stores.

It uses geo location to notify you when your favorite retailers have a sale, deal, or coupon available

For instance, I’m typing this at Starbucks but Peet’s is a block away. Shopular just sent a notification to my phone about the 50% off any drink deal after 12pm, happening at Peet’s.I don’t have to keep track of the latest deals because this app tells me what they are when I’m near a store that has a deal.

shopular

 

The app also includes coupons to your favorite stores. When you want to use a coupon, simply redeem it from the app. No printing or coupon carrying required!

Shopular has the latest weekly circulars too. You no longer have to buy the Sunday paper to look at circulars or navigate to multiple sites.

And the way the circulars are laid out makes it easy to scroll through or zoom in. It’s perfect when you’re out and want to know quickly what’s on sale.

I like the way this app is designed. It’s aesthetically pleasing and is easy to use.

Select your favorite stores and the app will track the coupons and deals for you. Then you can quickly glance at the deals or receive notification alerts to deals on your phone.

This will definitely be handy when it’s time for holiday shopping. Honestly, I’m too busy to hunt down coupons and deals sometimes. But I also hate it when I find out that I missed a deal after I’ve made a purchase. Don’t you?

Follow Shopular:

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This is a sponsored post. See Disclosure Policy.

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How I Make Extra Money with Digital Products and How You Can Too http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/make-extra-money-creating-digital-products http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/make-extra-money-creating-digital-products#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:06:01 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15288 Everyone’s tight on money these days. Besides cutting things in your budget, another way to get ahead financially is to earn extra money, outside of a regular job. But how do you do it? How do I do it? Digital products have become popular in the past few years. What is a digital product?  A […] Read more...

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Everyone’s tight on money these days.

Besides cutting things in your budget, another way to get ahead financially is to earn extra money, outside of a regular job.

But how do you do it? How do I do it?

Digital products have become popular in the past few years.

What is a digital product? 

A digital product is a product that can be delivered online, like an MP3, ebook, video, online course, membership site, etc.

What are the advantages of digital products?

There is no physical product to store in a warehouse or ship. Once you create it, it’s always there and ready for you to sell.

With a physical product like a hard copy book, you have to keep printing it. With an ebook, once it’s created, it’s available to sell without you having to “print” a physical copy.

And you don’t have to deal with shipping costs or packaging with a digital product.

Best of all, once you’ve created the product, you can earn money without doing anymore work.

What are my digital products?

My newest digital product is the Living Richly Budget Printables. I also have two Amazon ebooks – Eating Organic on a Budget (which has over 100 reviews) and Eating Gluten-Free on a Budget.

Which one is the best selling product?

The Amazon ebooks sold really well when they were first launched. However, everything with Amazon has changed.

I still earn money from the ebooks each month but it’s not a lot. It’s still something though for not doing anymore work.

What are the challenges?

There’s no such thing as easy money. Once you create a digital product, you have to launch and market them well or else, no one will buy them.

If you don’t have an audience already, it’s harder to sell your product.

I spent a lot of time creating my ebooks. It took me 6 months to write, format, and market each one. And when I launched the first one, I was disappointed when sales were dismal.

So when I decided on a digital product for this year, I wanted something that wouldn’t take as much as time to create. And I came up with the Budget Printables.

I’d like to improve on figuring out the right product, launching, and marketing it better.

create digital products

How do you learn how to create a digital product?

I’ll be in the studio audience of a CreativeLive course by April Bowles-Olin – Create Digital Products That Sell While You Sleep on November 10 – 11, 2014.

Sign up for it and watch it live – it’s FREE! If you watch it those days, it’s free. It’s rebroadcasted at night too for free. Afterwards, you’ll have to pay to access the course.

I’m really excited to be chosen to be in the audience. If you watch, you’ll learn SO much!

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GIVEAWAY: Brew Coffeehouse Drinks at Home in Less Than One Minute (Gone) http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/brew-coffeehouse-drinks-home-less-one-minute http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/brew-coffeehouse-drinks-home-less-one-minute#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 08:01:09 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=15265 I love coffeehouse drinks and I can totally make them at home. However, it does take some time, effort, and afterwards, there are more dishes to wash. So when an opportunity came to try out a single serve automatic coffee maker and give one away, I jumped at the chance! (Giveaway details at the end.) […] Read more...

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I love coffeehouse drinks and I can totally make them at home.

However, it does take some time, effort, and afterwards, there are more dishes to wash.

So when an opportunity came to try out a single serve automatic coffee maker and give one away, I jumped at the chance! (Giveaway details at the end.)

Nescafe has a new single serve coffee machine, Dolce Gusto, that brews coffeehouse drinks in under a minute. It’s so easy to make, that even my 3 year old daughter can make it.

chococino

I was sent 3 flavors to try – Chococino, Cappuccino Ice, and Morning Blend. Above is a photo of the Chococino, which takes 2 capsules (one for hormone-free milk and the other for the chocolate).

As you can see, the milk comes out frothy without having to use a complicated frothing machine. Get the taste and look of a coffeehouse drink with this handy machine.

boxes

The Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio is the most popular in the line with a space saving design. It is also award winning – a recipient of the 2014 Consumer Reports Award and 2014 Gold Edison Award.

The 21 oz. reservoir in the back holds enough water to make 3 cups. The machine has a 15 bar pressure system, comparable to what’s used at coffeehouses. This creates a bolder taste.

The drinks taste creamy and good. No need to wait in line at a coffeehouse when you can make it so quickly at home. And clean up is a breeze!

nescafe dolce gusto

Other reasons why this machine is great to have. You can make drinks when you feel like it. If it’s not every day, you don’t have to worry about keeping fresh milk in the fridge or beans going bad.

When guests come over, you can impress them with coffeehouse quality drinks on the fly.

Check out how easy it is to make a drink in my video.

You can get the Nescafe Dolce Gusto now at select California Target locations, at target.com, and select California Costco locations.

Follow Nescafe:

Facebook
Twitter
YouTube

Giveaway: Enter to Win a Nescafe Dolce Gusto Machine!

Must be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident. You can enter on multiple blogs but only win once. Mom Central will handle prize fulfillment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto, and received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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30 Real Ways to Start a Small Business http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/30-ways-to-start-a-home-business http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/30-ways-to-start-a-home-business#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.livingrichlyonabudget.com/?p=13406 For many, it is a dream to start a small business. Being your own boss, having the freedom to try out new ideas and the possibility of earning more than a desk job are enticing. Although having a small business isn’t for everyone, it’s something to think about when you need to earn extra money […] Read more...

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For many, it is a dream to start a small business.

Being your own boss, having the freedom to try out new ideas and the possibility of earning more than a desk job are enticing.

Although having a small business isn’t for everyone, it’s something to think about when you need to earn extra money to pay bills or pay off debt.

Small businesses are inherently risky and may take time to earn a profit. With that in mind, keep your costs low in the start up stages and choose a business that doesn’t require a large investment in equipment or tools.

Most of these jobs don’t require special training and can be done part-time. This is a great way of testing out a small business to see if it is profitable. Then you can decide if it’s worth the risk to transition to full-time.

This is just a short summary of each kind of small business. Please do your own diligence when it comes to adhering to local laws, regulations, and certifications.

30 real ways to start a small business

1. Book Editor

As the self-publishing industry is growing for books and ebooks, there is a growing need for good editors. If you are have strong command of the English language/grammar, excellent attention to detail, and can make suggestions on how to make a book go smoothly from one chapter to the next, then consider this. Reach out to new authors or friends and family members who are writing books.

2. Business Consulting

Do you have a vast amount of business experience and solid business sense? You can help small businesses turn a profit and guide them on how to do it.

3. Catering Service

If your skills are in cooking, food presentation, and organization, have you thought about starting a catering business? There are so many events that hire a catering service, such as weddings, bar/bat mitvahs, baby/wedding showers, corporate events, and more.

Check for regulations in your area about whether or not you can use your own kitchen or need to rent a commercial kitchen. If you’re not ready to invest in linens, tables, and chairs, then you may opt to use the service of a party rental company.

4. Child Care

If you stay at home with your children, the most logical job could be babysitting another child. Start with reaching out to friends and family to see if they need babysitting help. Check out care.com, a website that matches babysitters/nannies with jobs.

Look into regulations, licenses and additional insurance if you plan on having a childcare business at your home.

5. Childproofing Expert

A childproofing expert surveys a home and makes suggestions on how to make it safer for children. They can also install the products for their clients or simply sell the safety equipment.

Childproofing experts have access to safety products not found in stores and can babyproof a house better and faster than parents. Complete childproofing services can cost $300 to $2,500, depending on the size of the home.

Check out the International Association for Child Safety for more info. Look into franchise opportunities too.

6. Cleaning Service

Many households are too busy to keep up with cleaning and require an outside cleaning service. In San Francisco, two house cleaners cost $200 – $280 for the initial cleaning, which could take 3 – 4 hours.

Companies and restaurants need cleaning help too. Focusing on businesses can mean a steady stream of regular, repeat clients.

7. Custom Baby Products

Custom baby products are especially popular now. Can you make diaper cakes, custom hats, personalized onesies, or party favors? This would be perfect for those with arts and crafts skills.

8. Customer Service

When a business needs someone to answer the phone outside of their regular hours because they can’t afford a 24/7 staff, they hire an answering service. With the technology available now, customer service agents can work from home. Other areas included in customer service besides phone are email and instant messaging.

9. DJ (Events)

Providing DJ services can be a full-time or part-time business. DJ’s are needed at weddings, special events, corporate events, and school dances. A professional appearance and demeanor, laptop or turntable, sound equipment, music, and a way to transport equipment are some of the things needed to become an event DJ. Some DJ’s are also MC’s as well so you have to be comfortable speaking to a crowd.

10. Dog Walker

Love dogs? Have you thought about becoming a professional dog walker? This could be a part-time or full-time gig depending on how many clients you get.

You don’t need a degree or a lot of equipment to start small business as a dog walker. You do need to have patience, love walking outside, and willingness to pick up after the dogs. Dog walkers can make $15 – $20 per half hour.

11. Doula 

A doula provides physical and emotional support to a mother before, during, and after birth, as well as keep the mother informed of different options and methods available during labor. You will need to have a flexible schedule as a doula is on-call around the time of their client’s due date. Look into certification at DONA International.

12. Event Planner

Is event planning your specialty? Event planners design and plan out the theme of events as well as coordinate the timing of activities at the event. You can focus your event planning business on weddings and special events, corporate events, fashion shows, and so on.

Can you adjust to last minute changes, work long hours on your feet, and work on nights and weekends? A degree isn’t required to become an event planner but getting certified from trade organizations like the Association of Bridal Consultants and Weddings Beautiful Worldwide or Meeting Professionals International is recommended.

13. Executive Coaching 

An executive coach helps corporate executives become better at their jobs, see themselves more clearly, use their strengths in the best way, and the best way to contribute to their organization’s success.

14. Executive Search/HeadHunter

An executive search consultant recruits candidates for senior and executive positions in organizations. You can specialize in certain industries too.

15. Florist

Do you love putting together flower arrangements and don’t mind working early in the morning? Then look into being a florist.

Flower arrangements are needed for weddings, special events, business offices, and so on. If you want to do weddings and special events, network with other vendors such as photographers, wedding coordinators, and wedding venues.

You don’t need a special degree but if you can train with and assist an established florist, you will gain valuable experience and insider knowledge, such as where the best place to buy flowers at wholesale prices. Also, get a business license so you can buy at wholesale prices.

16. Food Business

This is different than a catering business. Cupcakes, lumpia, and gluten-free cakes are some ideas of food that you can sell to friends and family for special events and holidays.

If you sell to the public, at a farmer’s market, for instance, check to see if there are regulations in your area about using your home kitchen or if you need to rent a commercial kitchen.

17. Freelance Writer

There are so many options for a freelance writer. You can go into copyediting, article writing, ghost writing, blogging, and more.

18. Green Cleaning Service

A green cleaning service is much like a cleaning service except that you use green cleaning products. With a growing number of people sensitive to harsh cleaning agents, people are looking for alternatives, especially if they have children. Research your area to see if there is a demand for green cleaning services.

19. Hair/Makeup Services

A professional hair and makeup business can be done part-time on weekends. Decide whether or not you want to do hair and makeup or one or the other. When I worked in the wedding industry, the going rate in San Francisco ranged from $125 – $500 for both hair and makeup.

Can you do makeup on different skin colors? You can even specialize in doing makeup for Asians, if there is a demand for this in your area. Asian makeup takes a certain skill.

Hair and makeup services are needed for weddings, special events, TV studios, theaters, and fashion shows. Build up a portfolio by working on family and friends. Then network with others in the field.

20. iPad Trainer

Is this a real job? Yes, I have family members who have taken a class on how to use their iPad! Your target audience could Baby Boomers who are have basic computer knowledge and want to learn all the functions and features of the iPad and Apple platform.

You should know the iPad inside out, have lots of patience, and enjoy teaching others. Research where you can teach, such as a community learning center.

21. Life Coach

A life coach helps others bring a fresh perspective to life’s challenges, increased confidence, choose the right career, or better manage relationships. You don’t necessarily need special training but it may give you some structure and connect you with others in the field. Check out International Coach Federation for more info.

22. Meal Delivery

Many families are too busy to have dinner ready every night and need the services of a meal delivery service. The client makes the order with you and sets delivery time. You place the order with the restaurant, pick it up, and deliver it to your client.

Think about negotiating a discounted rate with the restaurant since you’ll be giving them repeat business. Then you can add that to your profit. Also, add a delivery fee.

Focus on which restaurants you want to work with, obviously, restaurants that don’t already have a delivery service of their own.

23. Music Teacher

Are you an accomplished musician? You could teach piano, guitar, drums, bass, flute, or any other instrument. Some music teachers teach at their home or rent a room at a music store. Private lessons range from $25-$50 per half hour.

24. Notary Public

There is a need for notarized documents. A notary public witnesses and authenticates documents. The average fee is $10 per page that needs authenticating.

The minimum requirement is to be 18 years or older and a high school diploma. In order to become a notary public, you’ll need to complete state required training, submit an application with a photo and fingerprints, pass an exam, order notary supplies, and file you bond and take an oath.

25. Party Rental

There are so many things you can rent out with a party rental business. Bouncy houses are popular for kid’s birthday parties and are charged at $90 per rental.

Or you can focus on wedding supplies which includes tables, chairs, tablecloth, plates, utensils, and so on. Chair cover rentals, with different options for colored sashes, is another popular rental business. Factor in the cleaning fee for chair covers in your costs.

Think about how you will transport items and whether or not you need a truck. And look into getting liability insurance.

Be mindful that there will be an initial investment in supplies and it will take time to earn your money back.

26. Pet Trainer

The most sought after pet trainer are dog trainers. But there are also specialists like people who train cats to go bathroom on the toilet! That is such a unique skill.

Volunteer at an animal shelter and sign up for pet training classes first.

27. Photography

The options for professional photographers are varied. You can specialize to baby portraits, family portraits, pet portraits, weddings, special events, corporate work, food, and fashion. You don’t necessarily need to go to school to become a professional photographer. However, you do need to hone your craft, be an expert at lighting, know your camera settings to adjust to any situation, and know how to edit photos.

There will be an initial investment in equipment. If you do weddings, you do have to deal with guests who have fancy cameras and block your shot and deal with restrictions at certain venues.

28. Professional Organizer

A professional organizer solves problems, maximizes space and increases functionality, and creates systems to organize files or financial information. Households and businesses need the services of a professional organizer.

29. Videographer

Videographers are needed for weddings, special events, corporate events, training videos, interviews, commercials, depositions, and so on. You’ll need to invest in video and audio equipment as well as the latest computer and software.

There is no degree required (although this is what I studied in college) but you’ll need to how to film, compose a shot, how to best capture sound, adjust to different lighting situations, and deal with different people.

30. Virtual Assistant

A virtual assistant can do a range of tasks from making travel arrangements and doing research to performing tasks for blog owners, such as blog commenting and answering emails. If you work for yourself, you’ll make twice as much or more than going through an agency.

Independent virtual assistants earn anywhere from $20 to $100 an hour. But if you go through an agency, you’ll only earn $10 – $12.50 an hour.

Bear in mind that you’ll be competing with overseas virtual assistants who are paid a much lower rate. Seek out clients who want a virtual assistant who lives in the U.S.

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