I love what I do for work and often times I get asked about “what I do” for a job. I first have to say the Lord has blessed me with where I am at today. I am a campaign lead for Social Fabric (Collective Bias),  a social shopper media company that works with brands and bloggers. I love getting to work with such an awesomesauce team and some super fab bloggers. Not only that, Collective Bias/Social Fabric is a company I truly believe has the potential to change the world. Okay not in such a dramatic sense but our members really have the opportunity to help influence shoppers and brands with their opinions.

With this job I do get to work from home which is great because I can work within my own schedule but it’s not as easy as it sounds. I have had to work though my ADD and highly disorganized schedule to create balance between my work life, home life and my sanity.  It’s definitely been a journey but here are my best tips for staying organized while working from home.

  • Create a Schedule
     Schedule a realistic schedule with work time hours and NON work time hours.  I, no joke, schedule everything from conference calls to showers. Every day I write in my work notebook what needs to be done, this helps me stay on track (because I have ADD I know it) and I feel accomplished when I can cross everything off of that list. I also have a family “brain” where I schedule everything we need to do for the week and I also utilize Google Calendar (this helps link everything to my phone and keeps my days on track).
  • It’s Okay to Not Check Your Email Every 5 Minutes
    I am guilty of this and in fact I have side tracking notifications on my phone that alert me for every email I get for my work account. Schedule times to check your email accounts.
  • Have a Strong Support Team Behind You
    To have a successful blog or even work at home business, you really need to have everyone who is close to you in your corner and supporting what you do which means they have a full understanding with what you do and support you. I was at a conference one time and someone asked how they can get their husband on board with them blogging. There really isn’t a better answer then effectively communicating about your reasoning on why you are blogging or working from home. I once read a book (for work purposes) called Crucial Conversations , and this has helped me overcome and work though obstacles in life with others where there was miscommunication.
  • Have Help
    Speaking of having a support team, take it one step further and have a team that helps out with your workload. Whether it’s a mommy helper if you are a mom of young ones (someone to watch and play with the kids while you are home for a few hours, maybe help with dinner etc) or having a spouse/kids who complete chores around the house. If you become busy enough with your own business or blog, consider hiring a virtual assistant.
  • Throw The Idea of a Perfectly Balanced Life Out The Window
    Feeling balanced is just a feeling in your mind of what your expectations are. Let go of perfection and the need to feel like super mom. If you are reading this, you are more than likely struggling with a feeling a balance which means you may need to let something go which leads to the next point…
  • Prioritize
    Obvious, right? Well this is actually going to help let things go. For me, my #1 is family (for me this means time together, dedication to faith etc). First and foremost. That means I have dedicated to making sure my work doesn’t come before them therefore I do not work on the weekends. Next is making an income so my job is important which means it comes before things like cleaning house. So you may come over to my house one day and it looks like a hot mess and that is something I had to become okay with. Now I do clean but I had to let go of needing a clean house all day every day.
  • It’s Okay to say No
    Before you accept that new sponsored post or job, is it worth it? What will this do to your schedule? Unless it’s going to rock your world and is totally worth it, it’s okay to say no. While I know as a blogger who does want to make money with her blog, I have to be selective.
  • Save Your Sanity
    Don’t run yourself ragged doing your job or blog. If you are working at 1 AM trying to finish something more than once in a while, it’s time to do some re-evaluating. I actually stopped working at night and committed to getting more sleep, this has been almost a life change. Another thing is making sure to take some “me time”. I have started scheduling out every week things I do for me whether it be coffee with a friend, Zumba or maybe even a little shopping. At least I am getting out of the house and not suffering from cabin fever.

I hope this helps at least one person save their sanity!

If you are a blogger and are interested in Social Fabric, please check out the site here for more details about the application process: http://www.socialfabric.us

Need a little bit of last minute cash for the holidays? There are two weekends left where you can still do it! Here are some of my best tips to make money during the holidays!

Sell your clothes, shoes, toys etc to resell shops

I haven’t done this in years because I just hadn’t had the time. Well we are on a strict budget and Clever Tween needed jeans and I really didn’t want to spend the Christmas budget on them. So I gathered up some of my shoes, purses *sob sob* and some of her jeans that didn’t fit and we set off to a local place called Uptown Cheapskate. I’m so glad we did, we ended up getting about $60 worth of store credit so she was able to get a few outfits and accessories. I did get rid of some fab shoes but honestly I have too many.

Have a Yard Sale

Honestly, now is the best time to have a yard sale for a few reasons.

  • Weather is perfect, well at least here in the warmer climates.
  • Everyone is out shopping anyways.
  • You have people like me on a strict budget who could easily take something from a yard sale and make it into a fabulous gift!

See my tips for putting on a fab yard sale here: http://cleverpinkpirate.com/2010/10/18/yard-sales-how-to-have-a-successful-yard-sale/

Sell it on Craigslist

It amazes me how popular this site is in fact, it’s more popular than ever! If you child has outgrown his bike (BTW, we’ve gotten a Christmas bike off of CL before) or maybe some movies you don’t watch that you can sell as a bundle, consider listing it! I love that CL is free. Of course take the precautionary steps by following the golden rule, try to meet up somewhere that is not your house.

How about being a personal assistant for a day?

I know I am not the only one who could use a “Mommy’s Helper” during the holidays. Talk to teachers and staff at your kid’s schools and put the word out that you would be happy to help if they needed a personal assistant outside of work to do things for them. Think about it, how much time would it save if a few days before Christmas someone did your grocery shopping, wrapped the rest of your presents and cleaned your house. It would be awesome right? SO you know someone in your life that would take you up on your offer to do that for some cash.

So what are you doing to bring in some extra cash money?

This week I talked about my favorite things to pack for blog conferences and my shoe obsessions being fulfilled by Goodwill, so I thought I would end this week with a post about my favorite beauty items for Spring that won’t break the bank. In fact, 90% of the items are under $10!

  • Suave Professionals Heat Protection ~ I am really loving the Suave professionals line and this item is a comparison to the Redken protectant. I do a lot of blow drying, straightening and curling so my hair definitely appreciates this, and it’s under $3 at Walmart.
  • Rimmel Clean Finish Foundation ~ My face is extra sensitive to foundations and powders so this one is great for my skin. Also, under $4.
  • Garnier Nutrisse Color Creme ~ At one time I looked for at least 15 minutes at all of the hair coloring creams (apparently it’s a no no to say hair dye now a days) and finally decided on this one. For blond hair, it’s important to be vibrant and not too brassy or dull. This one is awesome and my hair felt great after rinsing it out, so soft! It’s only $5.94 at Walmart.
  • Aussie Catch the Wave Mousse ~ If you are looking for a mild moose that won’t weight your hair down yet can give you a boost, condition and help you with some loose waves, this one is for you.  $3.24 at Walamrt.
  • Olay Touch of Sun Sunless Lotion ~ Are you like me with inability to tan? This lotion is soft and gives skin that small tint to the whitest of white *eh hem* that is me.  $8.99 at Drugstore.com
  • Maybelline Falsies Mascara ~ Best. Mascara. Ever. For the money! Right now, they are on rollback at Walmart for $5 and it gives that full dramatic effect that mimics false eyelashes.
  • NYC Shimmer Powder ~ Normally, I like a pigmented eye shadow but for the money, this is great. It offers a great color along with some shimmer, and we all need a little shimmer. The one I love is the Smokey Topaz and it’s around $3.25 at Walmart.
  • Physicians Formula Glow Pearls Powder ~ If you are looking for a look that shines over a foundation or stand alone that isn’t a bronzer, this one is great. The regular price is under $13 but I had found this as a BOGO deal at CVS.
  • Carmex Moisture Plus ~ I have always been obsessed with Carmex so this is awesome because it is like a lip stick with Carmex. Hooray for color! $2.48 at Walmart!

What are some of your items that you love that are budget friendly?

(Sure not the most glamorous pic of me but it’s me about to tackle cleaning in the empty house)

One of my last posts talked about our moving adventures. Well, I am happy to say we are all moved out of the old house. Of course that doesn’t mean we are all moved in and in fact the house seems to be a chaos of never ending boxes but it’s coming a long! I wanted to do a few moving posts since that is been the realm of my existence for the last few weeks.

One thing I don’t think I thought about while planning this move would be about how much an empty house would need cleaning once we got all of our items out of it. Well, it needed quite a bit. It was those 10 years of dust bunnies that were hiding in the oddest places, the crayon marks on the wall where we put the couch to ensure no one would see those crayon marks and the mystery items where I wondered what on earth the kids had spilled in that spot. I rarely buy commercial cleaners, I usually make them myself and wanted to share a few of those with you here along with the ones I do buy.

  • Citric Acid
    Citric Acid, 32oz
    You can find this in the spice section of your store, just take the citric acid and add a few teaspoons to a spray bottle of warm water. If you have some shower scum built up what I do is take a cut lemon, pour a little bit of this on top of the cut lemon to make a coarse cleaning surface and then scrub the shower/tub/tiles with the lemon and citric acid. It’s super citric scrubbing power! 
  • Dishsoap in Spray Bottle
    I read this somewhere in a magazine and it really works. Just take about a teaspoon of dish soap and fill a spray bottle with that and warm water and it cleans anything, even windows and mirrors!
  • Dishwasher Detergent Powder
    I actually learned this from watching that show How Clean is Your House on the BBC. Take a tablespoon of powder dishwasher detergent (generic is fine) and add it to a large bowl of warm water. Use this to clean screens, fingerprints off of walls and other tough spots to clean.
  • Vinegar
    It’s nature’s wonder cleaner, I mean you could really use it for anything! Built up soap scum, tarnish, mirrors etc. Keep a spray bottle of this around, it will conquer a lot! I found a great list of what it could do made by the New Home Maker here http://www.thenewhomemaker.com/vinegar
  •  Green Works Natural and Dilutable Cleaner in a spray bottle
    Clorox Green Works Natural Dilutable Cleaner

So about a year ago, Smart and Final had clearanced my favorite dilutable cleaner out and I thought they were just discontinuing it at their store so I bought like 10 bottles because they were under a buck. Well I went to go find it again and went to the website and am having trouble finding it. Hopefully I can find it again because I really love this. I use it on my floors and pour capful into a spray bottle with warm water. It is the perfect cleaner because it doesn’t have fumes (like that nasty ammonia smell) or harsh chemicals. A bottle of this will last a long time!

  • Mr Clean Magic Eraser (AKA the miracle worker) Mr.Clean® Magic Eraser® Original

You will never go wrong with these. If you have used them, then you know how much they help when kids are around. From finger prints to crayons, this thing cleans like no body’s business! I love these when there are tricky spots that normal cleaners and sponges can’t get! It also saves your muscles because something that would normally be a tough job is easy peasy with these! I’ll be honest, I have bought the generic versions to save a couple bucks and those work just as well! I think my favorite is the Target Up and Up brand!

 

  • Steam Cleaner

    I love having a steam cleaner where I can steam tough sticky spots like when I am cleaning the fridge or grout. I used to have a Shark hand held cleaner and loved it but it stopped working. So I went a more frugal route and bought the Dirt Devil on Amazon.com  and do love it so far! My only complaint is that if you have a large job, it does take a break to re-heat up of about 30 seconds steam, 30 seconds heat up. It does come with a nozzle for hard to reach jobs.

    What do you use to clean your house?

 

 

 

My smartphone is one of my best friends, always there when I need it and has so much to offer. One of the reasons I love my phone is because of the apps I can download in the marketplace. I have found many apps that help me save money on the go. The apps below are all free and downloadable in the iPhone or Android market.

Gas Buddy:
This app finds my location and locates the cheapest gas per gallon. Want to find a cheaper gas in another location? Just enter the zip code on the first page of the app, this is most helpful for us when we drive to California.
Amazon.com:
This app allows me not only to shop on Amazon.com, but I can scan a barcode from wherever I am at. This is great when I am out shopping for a higher priced such as a Wii game or printer and I want to see if there is a better price available through Amazon.
Kids Eat Free (iPhone) Kids Eat For (Android)
After work, PTA meetings and running errands, sometimes the last thing I want to do is cook. Relieving the pressure of having to make dinner by eating out, especially when the kids get to eat for free makes this mom happy! This app pulls your location and tells you what restaurants are featuring kids eat for free or for a discount.
AAA Discounts:
If you are a member of AAA, I highly recommend this app. This app finds my location and tells me discounts available right near me from coffee to fixing my computer. Saving is easy, just show the business your AAA card!
GeoCoupons:
This app allows me to save money at my favorite stores without having to pick up an ad. It contains a large database of coupons and pulls your location to tell you what the best deals are around you. From dining out to getting the tires changed on my car, this app is a great money saver.
Foursquare:
I like to use this app when I’m out and about and want to find somewhere that is offering an incentive if I “check in” to the business. After the app pulls my location, it lets me know how many specials are near by. Recently I used this app to get 10% off my entire purchase at Payless.
CardStar:
My keys seemed to weigh more than my youngest child with all of the loyalty cards I had carried around until I downloaded CardStar. CardStar allows you to input all of your cards into one app, then creating a barcode for each one that a cashier can scan. This is a lot safer than giving out your phone number to the cashier, trust me on this one because one time, I had a stranger call my phone after seeing me at the store and writing down my phone number when I verbally gave it to a cashier.
Grocery IQ:
This is a great tool to use before I even go to the store. You can create a list by either typing in the name of the items or by scanning the barcode. This is great if I am running out of something and I need to get more, I just scan and then use my list at the store. This app also allows you to sort through digital coupons, then email them to yourself so you can print them. If you have a Safeway card, you can load coupons onto your card from this app. It also allows you to sort your list by aisles or send your list to someone else.
Cellfire.com:
While I clip coupons at home, it’s nice to be able to have the luxury of not having to print or clip coupons for the grocery store. Cellfire allows me to click the coupons I want and then load them onto my Fry’s VIP card. This is also great if I didn’t have time to clip coupons because I can find items on sale in the store and check this app to see if I can download a coupon for additional savings.

Garage Sale Rover:
Our Saturday morning ritual consists of goi
ng out for donuts or bagels and then hitting a few garage sales. Because I like my Saturdays to be computer free after being attached to one all week for work, the Garage Sale Rover app is great for me. It finds my location and then intergrates yardsales posted on websites such as craigslist into a map.

What are your favorite money saving apps?
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