My Secret to Motivation

My Secret To Motivation

As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, finding the joy in everyday living has been a struggle or better wording has taken A LOT of work from me mentally, physically and spiritually. There have been days that I don’t work on my self-care and those days have been the ones that make me realize that I need to work twice as hard the next day.

About 8 years ago, I found myself in the biggest depression of my life. I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. We had to have a funeral for my brother who had just lost this battle to drugs. I was in a toxic relationship with an alcoholic that I felt I needed to save from himself.  I had to hold it together because that is what I do.

I don’t know how I came across the books by Louise Hay but they changed my life. Reading her books, made me realize that I held my own power over my life not my circumstances or other people. I was the one who had to take a stand with myself, for myself.

After reading 2 of her books, I was focused and working on myself everyday for about a year. Slowly, I got away from the positive habits I had worked so hard to achieve and the old, bad habits started creeping up.

About 2 years ago, I was flipping through suggestions on Netflix and The Secret came across on my list. I had no idea what the movie was about but it looked intriguing so I watched it. Wow!! The things that the people in the video said spoke to me in ways that I didn’t even know I could be reached mentally and spiritually. I looked into the book and found it on Audible.com which is my latest way to “read” books when I don’t have the time to sit and read.

I began to listen to the words over and over again. Some of the chapters I have repeated after listening to them once then over again because there is a message in there that I need to stick in my mind and soul. I was so grateful for these words.

Nearly everyday, I start my day by listening to the audio version of The Secret because I am at a point in my life that when I am stressed out I need the reminder to be set back on track. Listening to the wonderful things they have to say, the affirmations that adapt for my life and the success stories keep me motivated to keep working on myself. If I don’t work on myself then no one else will work on me and I will end up back in the deep slump I was in before and I don’t want that at all.

The great thing about having The Secret on audio book is that I can listen while I am making breakfast, taking a walk, doing laundry… just about anything and anywhere (as long as I remember my earbuds and new adapter)! Listening to other people acheive their sucesses through self care keeps me motivated to keep on going. To take the time everyday to work on myself and love myself.

My motivation for all of you on this Solar Eclipse Monday is to watch, listen or read The Secret and take the time to work on yourself even if its 5 minutes everyday…. You are worth it!

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My Favorite Savings App

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With the hundreds of money saving apps out there it is hard to decide which one is worth your time to download and use. When I was introduced to the FREE IBOTTA app, I was clueless about how it worked but I was intrigued because my friend Erin raved about it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose just to download it and try it…

One thing I had to learn was the Ibotta uses rebates which collect in your account and you can redeem for money or gift cards. (I will get into that later) Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the item.

I was right and super happy that I followed my instinct to try this app out. They have rebates for major stores and websites like Walmart, Amazon, Target plus other local stores which for me the big one is Shoprite. You can search for the type of rebate you want or browse through the stores they offer rebates.

Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the items.

Normally, I use Ibotta for my grocery shopping at either Walmart, Target and Shoprite. They seem to be the ones I get the most rebates for plus bonus rebates. (Yes I said bonus rebates…. just wait because it is cool) Honestly, I prefer Walmart because when you go to redeem your rebates all you do is scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt instead of taking a picture of the ENTIRE receipt. With the other stores, at least so far, you have to take a picture of the entire receipt and if it is to dark or blurry then they reject it and you have to start all over. I just get to frustrated to deal with that sometimes.

After all of that information I am sure you are a little lost, so let me walk you through the process. You must begin this process BEFORE you go shopping because the rebates only count if they are selected before you purchase something! Select the store or rebate you want to look at, click the specific rebate you are interested in, click to get the rebate, complete either the survey or watch the video (its a pain but worth the rebates) and then you can check whether the item you are looking at in the store is qualified for the rebate (sometimes specific flavors or types of items are excluded), purchase your qualifying items, redeem your rebates then watch the money grow in your account.

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Let’s talk about the cool bonuses they offer! If you connect your account through Facebook then everytime one of your friends joins Ibotta they become part of your “team”. When you have a team of friends, you and your friends earn towards different levels of bonuses everytime you redeem a rebate. These rebates start at $1 when you personally redeem 8 rebates and your team redeems $10 in rebates. Then you have different bonuses from manufacturers, stores/sites or Ibotta boosts (the company will give you an added bonus for redeeming so many rebates in a specific time period). These bonuses are how I have really made some extra money.

The last bonus is the invite your friends bonus where you can make $5 for each friend that joins under your referral code. The bonuses escalate with each friend you have join under your code which can add up really fast. I have yet to have someone join under my code because I am not pushy at getting my friends to do the things I am doing. I will share it on my Facebook or Twitter once in a while but that is about it.

 

Last but not least the awesome ways you can redeem your rebates! First you can withdrawl the rebates for cash into your Paypal or venmo accounts with a $20 minimum. Or you can redeem your rebates for cool gift cards like Itunes, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, tons of restuarants and other stores. Each of these gift cards has a minimum that needs to be in your account before you can redeem them. Personally, I use my bonuses to redeem Regal Movies Gift Cards  because Danyella and I love to go to the movies. One $25 gift card is enough for us to buy movie tickets and then I just need the money for snacks. Photo Aug 20, 11 38 13 AM

So far, I have redeemed $271 in rebates over the past year and a few months! That is alot of movies we have seen just for buying things we use. Another nice thing about this app has been finding new foods or brands that I wouldn’t have normally tried but saw a good rebate so I tried it anyway and now have a new favorite. There is money to be made and fun you can have with this app so I highly recommend it. For the little time it takes to find the rebates, you can earn FREE money for the purchases you would be making anyways.

 

If you are interested in the Ibotta App here is the link to the website or you can find it for your smartphone in your itunes or android/google store. 85b1e55bab94bd80c698b64c678125f7

*For those of you that do not want to use the app there is a website version that you can add the rebates to your account but you need the app in order to redeem the rebates.

**Please note that is not a paid endorsement from Ibotta but a review with my own opinions and love for the app and company.

My Day to Rant

Having a filter is something that has disappeared over time and experiences in life. I have learned to control how often and when I rant about things but like a steamer pot, eventually I need to blow some steam off before my lid explodes and people get hurt. That is why I am making Thursdays my day to rant over things that I have either experienced in my life, things I just don’t agree with or just something I want to rant about.

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I am hoping that if I keep my ranting to one day a week, I will start to feel the good things in life that I feel like I have missing out on. Listening to The Secret everyday has made me realize that I cannot focus on the negativity in life in order to live a positive, happy life. The reality of life is that not every experience is going to be a happy one so letting the negative things out is essential to keep me from going completely insane.

Today’s rant is going to just be a small one….

If you read my post yesterday, you know that it was my boyfriend’s birthday. My birthday shopping on a budget was done at Walmart because I could get all of the supplies for his gift and a card within my budget. Or so I thought….

Since being on a budget limited how much I could spend on him, I started off looking at the “affordable” birthday cards (cards are one of the most over priced things for a piece of paper) but they were either geared to children or just lame. So I went over to the “over-priced” card section. I see the banner that states “Birthday for Him” looking for a section that is birthday cards for Boyfriends. I see Husbands, Dad, Fathers, Grandfathers, Sons, Nephews, Uncles but NO BOYFRIENDS!

I guess corporate America doesn’t believe boyfriends deserve birthday cards personalized for them. Even in the Husband section, every single card had Husband printed on it somewhere so that wouldn’t work since he is still not wanting to marry me. I am sure if he received a card that said husband and I tried to cross out husband and write in boyfriend it was meant as a jab (not that thought hasn’t crossed my mind because the temptation was real).

So back to the cheap, generic cards I go…. instead of finding a nice, romantic card like I wanted, I had to settle for a funny card. The card was something that fits us but still left me disappointed that I couldn’t find what I wanted because corporate America doesn’t think we need cards for Boyfriends. In a day and age where more people are getting divorced or taking years to get married, you would think they would take advantage of charging $5 for a boyfriend card….

Ok rant for today is over! Now onto the positive things for the day…. Enjoy your Thirsty Thursday and if you are having a drink to celebrate have an extra one for this pregnant mama!

Looking For the Bright Side

It’s a Tuesday morning which means life will be less stressful than Monday morning and a little more relaxed.

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That was my exact thoughts as I lay in bed this morning debating on whether to sleep in a little longer since Danyella spent the night at my mom’s and I don’t have an appointment first thing. I mean if there is no rush to get up then my pregnant butt should relax for as long as I could… right?

Well that was BEFORE I made the mistake of looking at my phone….

First email that caught my eye was from the HR department of my job basically telling me that I was in non compliance because my OB hasn’t been able to finish the 30 pages of paperwork for the FMLA so that I can collect a little for a little bit time while I am on bed rest. So that has been a going back and forth  with HR all day hoping and praying that I will still be able to collect something because my family needs any extra money we can to get ready for this baby girl.

The second email was from my college telling me that I was selected for the IRS verification for my FAFSA application. So they give me all these instructions on how I can do this online but it doesn’t work. I go to the FAFSA homepage hoping to find answers on how to get this to work only to find out that FAFSA disabled the ability to do the online verification until the next season which who the hell knows when that is! Next option is to access my transcripts online instantly through the IRS website but I don’t have a credit card, mortgage or auto loan in my name (downfall of trying to keep my expenses down and not fall behind on loans by not having loans). So onto the third option, order my transcripts to be mailed to me. According to the site it can take upto 10 days to process my request… well classes start in 3 weeks so I might be able to start classes because I do not have any money to put towards my tuiton fees. I did email the financial aid woman but have yet to hear back about how long this will take to process will take and if I should stop my plans to go back to school (yes I shed more than one tear over this today).

On a bright note…. I stopped into work and was able to see some of my friends and eat my favorite French Onion Soup. I have 3 weeks to try to hope, pray and keep on top of the financial aid woman to process my aid so I can start classes (squeaky wheel gets the oil first). And best of all…. my local Starbucks secretly has Pumpkin Spice Lattes back plus I got 2 more maternity clothes for $10 on clearance at Target. A win win day after all!

Somedays are harder than others to find that bright side but there is always a bright side to every dark side of life. One thing that listening to The Secret (I listen to the audiobook everyday) and other positive life changing books has taught me that if you dwell on the bad then more bad will come but if you find the good in each situation then the good things will occurred more often. Stay positive and stay happy on this Terrific Tuesday!

Do Coupons Really Matter?

Photo Aug 13, 12 15 01 PMFor more years than I want to admit, I have been couponing on and off…. though more off then on because I would either forget it was Sunday to buy the papers, I was too lazy to cut the coupons before I went shopping or I would just forget the coupons at home when I was already in the grocery store. Also, I was doubtful that I was really saving any money because I would have to purchase 2 or 3 of a product just to get the $1 off. Well this past week taught me the lesson that I need to learn to be frugal and that there are good coupons and deals if I just pay attention!

So we all know of the extreme couponers that have a format to how they coupon and purchase like $200 worth of groceries for $20 (maybe a little extreme but not really if you watch the shows and documentaries). In my mind, those extreme couponers were a little crazy and had too much time on their hands which I didn’t have. Well now I do have the time on my hands and the financial need to cut down on our spending costs so I better start paying attention to what they are doing and copying their money-saving ways.

My lesson from last week is this…. Shoprite (our local go to grocery store for good deals) had Arm & Hammer laundry detergent on sale for $1.99 plus there was a coupon out in the world for a $1 off the detergent which means you can buy the detergent for just $.99! Well that $1 savings could go towards the fresh fruit and veggies that my family devours in a day or less. Lately, my go to couponing place (when I would remember to look) has been coupons.com because I can easily print of the coupons and why would I need to go over their limit of only printing the coupon 1 time when I don’t usually stock up on things.

Lesson learned because we go through detergent so often with a furry puppy (yes I am one of those anal, I HATE FUR people so I was things almost everyday to keep the fur in control) that I could have purchased 10 bottles easily for $1 but I only had 1 coupon for regular detergent and 1 coupon for the sensitive skin (Danyella and the new baby). So I ordered (yes I order my groceries which will be a future post) 1 bottle of regular scented detergent and 1 bottle of the senstive skin detergent and used my coupons. After putting the groceries away, I was kicking myself in the ass about the detergent situation so I waddled my ass around Shoprite to get more of the detergent without the coupons. (insert crying face emoji here haha)

Next lesson on coupons I learned…. I may never become one of those extreme couponers but this morning I got out of bed early (a rarity just ask my boyfriend) and went to Wawa to purchase 2 Sunday papers to get those coupons. As I am cutting the coupons from 2 different papers (don’t know why I decided to try 2 different papers but something told me to do it), I find out that not all papers have the same damn coupons! The one paper had more coupons than the other but the other paper had a rebate coupon that doesn’t expire until March of next year. Shit now do I buy 2 of each of those papers?

This is a bit overwhelming and a little exciting at the same time. I am trying to find other ways to save money before this baby gets here and we have to add baby stuff to the grocery list. Since this is going to be an ongoing challenge for me, I am starting a series on couponing and saving on Sundays. If you have any tips or stories of your own please feel free to comment below.

Suprise Mommy Gift at My Door

I am not one who loves surprises (yes I used to find all the christmas presents before

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Christmas!) but receiving an email on my birthday that I was gifted the Bump Box! Say what?? In my baby moms group, other moms have talked about receiving the Bump Box as a gift or purchasing the Bump Box to pamper themselves during their pregnancy. The idea of the Bump Box was awesome but out of our budget especially now that I am on bed rest but now I get to be part the of the Bump Box club!

So what is the Bump Box? It is a monthly subscription that someone pays $39.99 a month to send themselves or a pregnant loved one a box of treats for a mommy to be. According to their website, they tailor each monthly box according to your due date so the pregnant woman receives items that will help them through whatever trimester they are currently in. Since I am 19 weeks today, I am in my second trimester and would receive 4-8 full size products to enjoy for the month of August. Another perk with Bump Boxes, is that with every purchase of the box (even if it’s a gift) plus a product review earns you points to discount when you purchase a reorder of a product from a box!

What did I receive for August??  I swear it is like the company knew

Photo Aug 11, 1 36 02 PMexactly what I have been going through lately because I received a pack of argon oil face clothes (this will hopefully help with the horrible acne on my face), a bottle of pregnancy safe probiotic (to hopefully help with my IBS that has been attacking at least once a week), bath salts (this is controversal to me because I have been told that bath salts, oils and bubble bath were a no no during pregnancy), and a bottle of belly oil to help with stretch marks ( I am on the fence of whether I will be trying this or not since I have been making my own body products for so long that I prefer my own stuff to everything else). Lastly, I received an adorable picture frame to put one of Evelynne’s ultrasound pictures in. The frame is so adorable and says Love At First Sight.

Overall, the box is super adorable and I look forward to receiving my next one in September. To the person that gave me the special gift…. Thank you!

**If you would like to purchase a Bump Box for yourself or a loved one flow this link: BumpBoxes

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Next 5 Months of Boredom or Discovery

 

Well it is official folks… I am on bed rest or at least out of work for the rest of my pregnancy. I had a feeling it was coming because as soon as I am on my feet my body decides that it is going to start acting up. You know the cramps and Braxton Hicks

Photo Aug 09, 9 05 02 PMcontractions that are not supposed to happen until the 3rd trimester! In order to help relieve the pain and my anxiety, my OB thinks staying off my feet as much is in mine and the baby’s best interest and I have to agree.

Now what in the hell am I going to do for the next 4-5 months? Since I had a feeling this was coming, I started to make my plan over the weekend to apply for financial aid and college. I still have a semester to finish of my theatre associates degree from the community college I attend when Danyella was in preschool so I do have some credits that will transfer over… hopefully! Since the new community college does not offer a theatre degree, I opted for a fine arts degree which between the fall and spring I should be able to finish up to transfer to a “big person’s college or university”. Yes, to me attending a 4 year school is like finally growing into an adult because you need at least a bachelors in order to a decent job now.

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I am going to be the old, pregnant mom in my classes which makes me feel soooo self conscious because I hate that I have gotten this old and haven’t finished school. On the bright side, having school and homework will keep me super busy since I will not have to work to occupy my time. I love anything to do with art so getting my associates in Fine Arts will allow me to transfer to a 4 year college to get my bachelors in Art History which I would love to take to the next level and get my Masters as well. The art classes will do me a double good because I will be working towards my degree plus releasing my stresses through my art.

Another project that I am going to try and undertake while on bed rest, is to actually start making all these patterns that I have collected over the past 10 years. So I will be going through all my patterns and making one of each to either give as a gift, keep for my family or list on my website. Some of my most popular items came from patterns that I wouldn’t have normally tried because it was either a request or went with yarn that I fell in love with and needed a fitting pattern.

Let’s hope that the next 4-5 months brings alot of self discovery and adventure instead of sleep and boredom. When I am bored it is never good for myself and really not good for the loved ones that are around me because I get very demanding and bitchy. For their sake, keeping busy is the best thing….