Archive for the ‘Money & Finance’ Category

The Top 7 Apps to Organize Your Life

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Note: In honor of our M Challenge focus on Technology, I’m reposting this because I still can’t live without my iPhone, and these apps are still some of my top favs! Please chime in with any you use now, too!

If you asked me the one thing that I could not live without, it would be my iPhone. Today I want to share the top iPhone apps that have organized my life and my family. This gadget has brought more organization to my life than I dreamed possible and is what I rely on daily to tackle the day-to-day tasks as a mom. Of course, you don’t have to have an iPhone to benefit from these apps, almost all of these are available to any smartphone user. Here are my top 7 apps to get your family organized.

Cozi App

Cozi

Whenever I talk about the best apps to organize a family, I always think of Cozi first. Over the years, this app has evolved so much and fits perfectly into our family’s everyday needs. Cozi is a calendar app that is made with a mom in mind. It is easy to use, color-coded (for each family member), includes pictures of your sweet little ones, helps you with your grocery list, and offers text message alerts to you for appointment reminders…all from one central location.

My favorite feature that has saved our family countless fees and embarrassment is their text reminder service. When I input our family’s appointments, I can have a text sent to myself or to my husband that reminds us about that appointment. The reminders can come whenever you designate them (one hour ahead, one day ahead, one week ahead, etc..).  Does your child have jean day at school? Super silly hair day?  Little things like that are even input in this handy calendar and a text reminder goes out to me first thing in the morning to save my children from their mom’s forgotten dollar or the super exciting monthly “skip your uniform,” day.

(Free. Available for the iPad, iPhone, or Android.)

 

Mint

If you are looking to get your family’s finances back on track this year, my favorite and most reliable financial reporting comes from Mint. Mint can be set up through your home computer, your smart phone, or tablet.  An account with Mint can be set up in less than five minutes and gives you the chance to set budgets to your spending categories and track them with handy pie charts and graphs. In one glance, you can monitor your checking, savings, investments, and retirement at any moment during the day.

Most of the spending categories are immediately categorized for you while unfamiliar categories (like your favorite local restaurant or doctor’s visit) may need a quick categorization for accurate reporting. For tax purposes, you can also tag items for reimbursement so that it can help later when filing your taxes.

The best part, I have found, is that Mint will alert you via email when spending or withdrawals seem high. Did the mortgage company take out an extra payment? Did you have an unusually high amount of withdrawals in one month? Was a large deposit made? Mint sends you an email to alert you of unusual transactions happening in your account which could potentially save you from being the victim of credit card fraud.

(Free. Available for most devices.)

 

Grocery IQ

Making and sticking to your grocery lists has never been easier thanks to the Grocery IQ app. With Grocery IQ you can type, speak, or scan grocery list items into your list. The list automatically adds your items into categories and then alerts you if coupons are available for any items you might be adding to your list. Coupons can then be sent to your email when your list has been made or (if you have a wireless enabled printer) can be sent to your printer for printing. As you gather your items from your list, simply check it off and the item moves to the bottom of the list. Once your whole list is complete, everything is shifted towards the bottom and then can simply be clicked to add those repeat items back on the list for your next visit.

Since I always have my phone with me,  switching to an electronic grocery list has been much easier than I thought it would be. The coupon feature helps save our family money on items we were already planning to buy and the list helps keep our family budget on track. I also love that I can sync my list from my iPad to my iPhone so I can use whichever device I have handy to add items when we need them.

(Free. Available for the iPad, iPhone, or Android.)

Evernote

If you are trying to stop the paper pile-up from school, Evernote is a fantastic tool for  clipping and saving those papers in one spot that you can access from your phone or computer. When items come home to us that I might need to reference for our family later, like the cafeteria lunch schedule or the recess schedule, I can either take a photo of what I need or I can scan that item into Evernote and tag it with, “School,” for easy reference.

Things that I often refer back to, like our library card numbers, gift card numbers that I want to store on my computer, receipts for purchases, or even keeping track of the books my children are reading in a particular series are all housed in my Evernote account for easy accessibility when I need them.

No more scraps of paper all over the house or hanging on to newsletters for one paragraph of information, Evernote has become my virtual notebook to keep us organized.

(Free. Available on most devices.)

SpringPad

Menu planning can be a challenge for families and keeping track of all of those recipes you want to try can be a challenge when your Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas. I have come to rely upon SpringPad for creating our family’s weekly menu plan. I think of SpringPad as a virtual notebook where you can privately or publicly share things you want to reference to manage your life. Notebooks can be created on any topic, but I create weekly notebooks of menu plans for my family, adding those recipes into a notebook so that I can reference them later, whether I am cooking in the kitchen or I am at the grocery store and not sure if I added all the ingredients to my list like I thought.

Depending on how the recipe is input into the source, SpringPad will either pull the recipe right into your notebook so you can view it right from the notebook, you can manually add in the recipe, or a link to the recipe will be provided so you can access it from the page you found it.

(Free. Available on most devices.)

30/30

Setting a timer to get tasks done around the house is an old school method that works remarkably well for productivity that has now been brought to the future with this 30/30 app for organizing your day.  The idea behind this app is very simple: you work for thirty minutes and focus on a single task with no distractions. When your time is up, you give your mind a break and do something completely unrelated, also for thirty minutes. This 30/30 cycle is repeated until your tasks are done.

Type in what your ideal day will look like including blocking out times for a little down time like enjoying a cup of coffee, time wasting on sites like Facebook or Pinterest, or just time with a great book.  Then set up what the rest of your productive day will look like and use the 30/30 app to visualize if you are going to get your tasks done in the designated time.  It provides a countdown and a visual reminder of what you are working on and beeps when your time is done. Simple, visually pleasing, and highly effective, I can’t recommend this app enough to increase your productivity.

(Free. Available for the iPad or iPhone.)

8MM Vintage Camera

Capturing my children on-the–go is one of the main reasons I decided to get an iPhone. While I rely heavily on Instagram for capturing still images of our family from day-to-day I also love to capture movies of them.  Although we have many fancy camcorders laying around our house, the one recorder I always have with me is my phone. I am a huge fan of vintage looking film and pictures so I have found that the  8MM vintage camera app is a fun way to add a little vintage to our family’s most precious recorded moments.

($1.99. Available for the iPad or iPhone)

What are your favorite apps for keeping your family organized? Chime in here and share your family’s favorite tools!

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Apron Full of Giveaways 05.19.15

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Pink-Black Apron via Etsy

Source: Boojiboo,  $28.75

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday May 15, 2015

Friday, May 15th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I was finally able to share about my fun interview with Molly Ringwald all about her book, When It Happens To You, for our Sundays with Writers. Totally fan-moment for me! For our Focus on Technology M Challenge, I updated two of my favorite articles that really helped us get our kid tech-time under control: printable tech & chore tickets, and ways we try and make face time a priority. Mary Carver is also sharing some great tips about using technology to make the most of your summer!

See who’s guest-posting on this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things & get your weekly dose of happy,  find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: May 16 – May 22
16th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring Ballet Cat, 11 am
16th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Hot Air Balloon, 11 am – 3 pm

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 05.12.15

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Blue Check Half Apron via Etsy

Source: Ten Fifteen Bucks,  $10.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday May 8, 2015

Friday, May 8th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I am sharing a couple of graduation-themed posts – one for DIY Grad Party Ideas and the other showing how to create Money Book Page Posies to gift a grad (or anyone!). I’ve also got a great giveaway going to win a gift card to Shoe Carnival, so make sure you enter to get a chance to win some fun shoes. Finally, I introduced our m challenge theme for the month of May: Focus on Technology. We’ll be talking about how to manage it and some tips to get the most out of something that has become so important in our lives. I’m really looking forward to it!

You’ll also want to check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy, and you can find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, as well as enter a ton of contests in our weekly round-up of great giveaways.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
 
 
Health & Beauty
 
 
Entertainment
 
8×10 Photo Print at Walgreens (with coupon code FREE2PRINT)
 
This Week’s Freebie Events: May 9 – May 15
 
9th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring Mom School and How to Babysit a Grandma, 11 am
 
9th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Garden Blooms Photo Frame, 11 am – 3 pm
 
9th – Lowe’s: Build a Mother’s Day Planter, 10 am
 
9th & 10th – Pottery Barn: Make a Tissue-Paper Flower Craft for Mom

 

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Treat Yourself: Happy Mother’s Day from Shoe Carnival (GIVEAWAY!!)

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

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Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

*This post is sponsored by Shoe Carnival.  Thank you for supporting the companies that support this site!

Ladies, it is almost OUR DAY and in honor of all the hard working mamas out there, I am so excited to be partnering up with Shoe Carnival for this Mother’s Day to show off some delightfully fashionable & comfortable shoes you can find for yourself at their fantastic store. Not only am I sharing about my own finds, but I am also giving FOUR lucky moms a $50 gift card to treat themselves this Mother’s Day to some new shoes too!

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

It is (WITH PLEASURE) that I get to act as your tour guide into some of my favorite options I found at my store!

To say that I am obsessed with shoes would be an understatement. Although I have learned to whittle my wardrobe down to a manageable amount, my shoe collection continues to grow and, I humbly admit, that will never change. To put it simply, a good pair of shoes make the outfit. With a small wardrobe, a good pair of shoes adds a plethora of new possibilities with my wardrobe.

What has changed for me though is that my feet are no longer happy in shoes that don’t offer loads of comfort and support. As a busy mom, I’m on my feet all day and I embrace that I need more supportive shoes than I did in my twenties  Thankfully, shoes with loads of support can still be highly fashionable and here are a few of the beautiful pairs I found while browsing their store.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

The New Balance Classic 574’s have been on my wish list this year especially after seeing the world’s most fashionable city girls sporting them around town on Pinterest.  These shoes are definitely both stylish and comfortable. The best part about styling these New Balance Classics is that they can be dressed up with leggings and a great shirt or you can dress them down in rolled skinnies and a t-shirt.  For ladies with a wider foot, I highly recommend these for the ultimate girl-about-town sneaker.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

If you are looking for a modern take on the New Balance, I fell in love with these New Balance WX711 fitness-trainers and I have a feeling they are going to be my new favorite workout shoe thanks to their ultra soft and responsive cushioning that is made for all day comfort. The shoes are so lightweight that I can’t wait to give these a test run at my local gym especially when doing kicks and lunges in my total body conditioning class.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

Birkenstocks have always felt unfeminine to me so they have never been a go-to shoe even when they have been trendy.  I do love the trend for comfort though so I was very excited to find these affordable Unr8ed Lydia Sandals, both for their floral femininity and their trendy footbed style.  How cute are those?

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

As we prepare to head to Italy for our anniversary in just a couple of short weeks, I have been on the hunt for the perfect shoes that would look great with jeans or with dresses. I stumbled upon these Clarks Wendy Estate shoes and fell in love.  I wore them on a trip last week and it felt as though I was wearing the world’s comfiest slipper even when I had been running through the airport and navigating those long hallways to my hotel room. Not only is the shoe cushioned, but it also has supportive cushioning around the heel and Velcro adjustable straps that help ensure you have the perfect fit and no sore feet at the end of the day.  A tiny heel helps these feel more dressy while still embracing the comfort that our family has always loved from the Clarks brand.

Mother's Day Shoe Shopping With Shoe Carnival

Who wants to go shopping now? Mother’s Day is all about treating yourself and I am so excited to be sharing a giveaway with you to treat yourself to a comfy AND stylish pair of shoes.

Not only did I love the good deals I found at the store, but I am a big fan of great rewards programs and Shoe Carnival offers both. When visiting your store, don’t forget to sign up for the Shoe Perks Rewards Program. You earn a point for every dollar you spend, receive a $10 Shoe Perks reward certificate for every 200 points earned, and get 50 points just for joining! Since I brought four pairs of shoes home to help be your tour guide (oh, the AGONY!), I am well on my way with points on my card for my next visit! Not only did I take advantage of some great sales, but I also look forward to the future coupon rewards I will receive by joining the club.

Today I am giving away a $50 gift card to FOUR lucky mamas to treat yourself this Mother’s Day to a shopping day at Shoe CarnivalFollow the instructions below in our Rafflecopter widget to enter.  Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day!

a Rafflecoptergiveaway

Let me know which shoes you loved out of my picks or what pair of shoe you have been coveting for Mother’s Days! I can’t wait to hear about your picks!  xo

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Shoe Carnival.

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Apron Full of Giveaways 05.05.15

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Pink-Black Leaf Apron via Etsy

Source: Two More Minutes,  $25.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday May 1, 2015

Friday, May 1st, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I’m sharing my book picks for April Must Reads – 5 amazing books you will want to add to your book bag – as well as a wonderful interview with Jandy Nelson, author of one of my must reads, I’ll Give You The Sun for our Sundays With Writers series. Oh, this book lover is in heaven!

Be sure to check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy, find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Vegetable Seeds Packet (when you pledge)
Traditional Medicinals Tea Sample (choose sample/coupon from dropdown menu)
Health & Beauty
Pet
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: May 2 – May 8
2nd – Barnes & Noble: Join storytime featuring What Do You Do With An Idea?, 11 am
2nd – Home Depot: Build a Picket Fence Photo Frame, 9 am – 12 pm
2nd – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Thank-A-Teacher Tote Bag, 11 am – 3 pm
2nd & 3rd – National Museums: Bank of America Cardholders get free admission all weekend long
3rd – Toys R Us: Make a LEGO Star Wars Mini Wookie Gunship, 12 – 2 pm

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.28.15

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Layered Floral Apron via Etsy

Source: Kozy Kitchens,  $26.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday April 24, 2015

Friday, April 24th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I am sharing a yummy roasted garlic hummus, as well as getting into details about how to use a home management binder using our set of 14 free printables and how it can help you create a home where you want to be.

Check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy,  find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to take a look at all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink
Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: April 25 – May 1
25th – Lakeshore Learning:  Create a Butterfly Pencil Holder, 11 am – 3 pm

 

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