Put your Money on Auto-Matic

money on automaticOne of my top money tips that involves saving time (and potentially money) is to automate your bill-pay process as much as possible.

Most credit card accounts have auto-bill pay options and even many of my bills can ACH directly out of my checking account.

Why I love these features:

  1. If you are living in 1997 and still mail or drop off your bills, this saves you both time and money in postage and gas.
  2. It eliminates late fees from bills that get forgotten, lost or confusion over who in the household was supposed to pay it.
  3. It frees up mental bandwidth that was previously spent on remembering where the bills are, what is due when, what has gotten paid or not, etc.
  4. I include some of my own savings as auto-payments each month, such as funding ROTH IRA and college investments accounts. This way they don’t get de-prioritized as other bills come in. You can also set up automatic drafts to a savings account if you’re saving money there for something special.

More tips:

  1. Make sure your bank balance has adequate funds to cover the full statement balance on the due date. I use ynab.com to budget, so all my spending comes of categories that are funded at the time I purchase and I also follow their suggestions of building up a 1-month buffer in all categories. (Use my link to get 1 month FREE!)
  2. Check your accounts for all the bills that come in during a month and then set up the auto-pay all at once, otherwise you’ll wonder which ones are on auto-pay and which ones you have to manually pay. Not all of them note on your statement whether auto-pay is on. Put your passwords somewhere safe.
  3. When you set them up, they most likely will only be automatically paid on your NEXT statement, not your current statement. So, pay in full now and then next month it will pay for you. (I got caught with this on Kohl’s–it was more of a 2 month wait.)
  4. If you have irregular bills that come up, set them up for automatic renewal if you know you want to continue use, or use your bank‘s bill-pay system to avoid using a stamp and envelope.
  5. If you’re into credit card rewards, some bills will let you charge your card instead of drafting directly from  your checking. For example, I pay my cable/internet bill on my credit card every month, then my credit card automatically pays on it’s due date. Just know that organizations are charged a fee to use credit cards, so I choose not to put my church/non-profit giving on a credit card because I don’t want them to have a to pay a transaction fee.

Ideas of Accounts to Set Up:

  1. Church Giving
  2. Other Mission support (example: We sponsor a child through Compassion International and set up automatic payment including birthday and Christmas presents to make sure we don’t miss it.)
  3. Credit Cards (choice to pay last statement balance, current balance or minimum). If you’re on credit card float/not always able to pay it off every month, at least set it up to draft the minimum automatically and then just send any extra you can. But don’t get late fees to add to the mess!)
  4. Store Credit Cards (Kohl’s, Amazon,  gas card, etc.)
  5. Mortgage (including if you want extra principle paid each month)
  6. Daycare
  7. Cable/Internet
  8. Electric/Water/Garbage
  9. Cell Phone
  10. Investment accounts (retirement, college fund)
  11. Subscriptions like Netflix, Amazon Prime, ID Theft protection, Computer virus protection, software, etc.

Beyond Auto-Pay:

If you do have any accounts that don’t allow auto-pay-in-full, at least figure out their online payment system so you can save stamps and trips. For example, if you doctor at a Sanford medical facility, use My Sanford Chart to pay your bills using your HSA debit card. Or at the very least, your bank may have an online bill-pay feature that will send a check for you to any business you set up.
I also recommend Paypal as an easy way to send money to friends or family for all those little things like splitting the cost of a gift or a restaurant ticket. Much easier than sending checks that someone has to cash! Just make sure you send it through “Friends and Family” and don’t send them a “request to pay” or a fee will be charged.
What other tips or ideas can you share on automating your bill-paying process?

Top Tater Tot Hot Dish Tips

There is no comfort food greater ingrained for me than Tater Tot Hot Dish.


Here are my Top Tips to make an easy casserole even easier and better.

  • Make 2 at once. If you’re making the mess, just make 2 and freeze one. This is a huge time-saver and sanity-saver when you have meals made and ready to put on your weekly meal plan.
  • Since you’re making 2 at once, brown 2 lbs of meat. I mix 1 lb of ground beef with 1 lb of ground turkey. Ground turkey is generally much less expensive and if you mix them together in a casserole, you can barely tell the difference.
  • If you’re chopping onion to brown with the meat, chop a whole onion and freeze whatever you aren’t using immediately. Cry once, use twice. I freeze in small containers or freezer bags.
  • Mix it up. I made one with cream of mushroom soup and green beans and the other with tomato soup and corn. You can also add shredded cheddar to either variety if it suites your fancy, but I sometimes skip it.
  • I like to use casserole dishes that come with lids so they are easy to freeze and easy to put away into the fridge as leftovers. Remember to write the instructions on a label on top!
  • I have 2 go-to Pampered Chef tools for this recipe. The Mix ‘N Chop for browning meat and the Small Mix ‘N Scraper for getting the soup out of the cans and stirring up the ingredients. (I am not a consultant, just love the products. Buy from someone you know!)
  • Buy tater tots (or Crispy Crowns or Golden Rounds or whatevs) when they are at rock-bottom price (below $2 where I live) and stash in your deep freezer until you need them.
  • I bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes but then BROIL them for a few minutes to crisp up the tots at the end. Same thing for re-heating. I’ll put a portion in an oven-safe dish, microwave it for a minute but then broil it for a minute or two to get the tots crispy. Yum!


Tater Tot Hot Dish from Working Mom Hacks

2 lb browned ground beef (or beef/turkey mixture), browned with onion, salt, pepper, then drained and rinsed

In a 8×11 or 2qt casserole, mix 1 lb meat with : 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup and 1 can Green Beans, drained AND/OR Mix 1 lb meat with: 1 can Tomato Soup and 1 can Corn, drained

Top each with 1/2 bag Tator Tots

Bake for 30 min at 350, then broil 3-5 minutes

Freeze other casserole. Thaw 24 hours in fridge before baking. For best results, you should keep the tots off the casserole and keep them frozen in their own bag until baking, but it does work fine if you thaw the casserole with tots. Don’t over think this, it’s tater tot hot dish for goodness’ sake.


Top 3 Ways to get PAID for Shopping Online


You shop online anyway, so why not get paid for it!

Learn my pro tips for which sites to use and how to maximize your cash back!

I feel like I save a lot of money by shopping online because I don’t add (as many) impulse items to my cart like I do in store (Target = a 2 hour budget-buster, am I right?)

But, DON’T leave free money on the table by not shopping SMART online. #moneyhacks

Here are my top 3 ways to get money back for shopping you were going to do anyway.

1. Ebates 

Why I Love It: When you install the ebates button, it’s easy to remember and simple to earn cash.
Stores: Hundreds of retailers. My favorites are: Kohl’s, Target, Nike, Amazon, Walmart, Old Navy, Groupon, JC Penney, Snapfish, Hotels.com

How-To: Before going to a retailer website, go to ebates.com, search for the store, then click on the link to earn CASH BACK on your purchases. You MUST use the window that pops up with the store’s site in it to get credit!  The % cash back varies by store and by time. There are also usually some stores on Double Cash Back and they have great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Pro Tip: Add the ebates button to your Chrome browser and it will remind you anytime you’re on a site that has cash back to activate Ebates! It will also show up in your search results.

What you earn: Straight % rebate based on what the listed rebate was at the time of purchase. So, if you click the link to get 6% back at Kohl’s and spend $100, you’ll get $6. 

Payment: Big Fat Check* (that’s what they call it) sent by mail every quarter, no minimum for payout.

Sign-up Bonus: Use my link to get $10 free if you’re a new member!

Referral Program: Changes every quarter and there is usually bonus for your friend, bonus for you! Click on “Refer + Earn” for details.


2. TopCashBack

Why I Love It: It sometimes has higher rebates than ebates and I can earn even more when I cash out for Amazon.com gift cards.

Stores: Over 3500 online retailers. My favorites are Snapfish, Old Navy, Target, Kohl’s Walmart, Under Armour, Nike, Macy’s, Cabela’s, The Children’s Place, Lindt

How-To: Before going to a retailer website, go to topcashback.com, search for the store, then click on the link to earn CASH BACK on your purchases. You MUST use the window that pops up with the store’s site in it to get credit!  The % cash back varies by store and changes often. You can only go “through” ONE site to get to the retailer site, so you can never stack ebates AND topcashback.

Pro Tip: Before shopping check both ebates and topcashback and then go to the store site through the one with the higher rebate % listed.

What you earn: Straight % rebate based on what the listed rebate was at the time of purchase. So, if you click the link to get 10% back at Under Armour and spend $100, you’ll get $10. 

Payment: ACH to your bank account, PayPal or get a bonus when cashing out for an American Express Rewards card, or Amazon.com gift card. Cash out* anytime with no minimum.

Referral program: Refer your friends to get $10. Click on “Tell-a-Friend” and then share your link.


3. Trunited

Why I love it: You can earn money back for buying gift cards (ebates and topcashback exclude gift card purchases) plus you can grow your earnings by a referral network.

Stores: Many online retailers to shop through in the same fashion as ebates and topcashback. Some of my favorites are Walmart, Sam’s Club, Priceline.com, Best Buy, PetSmart, Macy’s, Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Lowes, Home Depot

Gift Cards: Get rewarded for buying gift cards for Target, Walmart, Shell gas and many restaurants like Starbucks, Panera, Chipotle, Chik-fil-a, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds

How-To:  Sign up for a free account at Trunited using this link. Click on “National Brands” to do online shopping through stores (similar to ebates or topcashback) or go to “Gift Card Shop” to buy gift cards. Each will tell you the % of Profit Points you’ll earn for the purchase.  You can also put items or gift cards in your “TruBox” for auto-shipment every month with free shipping on $100+ and get 10% more profit points.

Pro Tip: Pay attention to the points earned at different price points. You may earn more points buying 4 gift cards at $25 than one at $100. Just know how many gift cards you can use on a single transaction at that store (you can use 4 at target.com!)

What you earn: A % of your purchase is earned as “profit points”. At the end of the month, the profits of all sales are distributed back to all members. Profits are the sales minus the cost of goods/gift cards (the site negotiates for a discounted rate). Your cut is determined by the number of profit points you earned that month. The more sales overall, the bigger the pool. The more profit points you have,  the bigger your cut. 

Payment: Once per month, you are paid into your truWallet which you can then use to buy goods or gift cards next month, or you can cash out*.

Referral program: Earn more points by referring friends and reaching milestone levels such as “PaceSetter” which is inviting 3 friends who invite 2 who invite 1 and all make a purchase that month. You will earn on purchases of friends-of-friends instead of just the people you directly refer. Click My Account, then My truDashboard, then Refer Friends and customize and share your link.  Disclaimer: There may be a fee to participate in the affiliate part of this program (earning on friends of friends) but you can join free as a member and earn from the profit pool based on just your purchases. The affiliate portion is subject to change, but you do not need to pay a fee until you know what payment you would be eligible for as an affiliate.

*You should consult with your tax adviser on how to report income earned in the form of gift cards or cash back.


Those are my TOP 3 ways to earn money while shopping online. There are many other ways to find COUPONS (Retailmenot.com is my favorite) but all of those coupon codes can be STACKED with any of these sites. You can even buy a gift card off Trunited, then go through ebates OR topcashback, then use a coupon code (and a Target Redcard discount…) and double-, triple-, even quadruple-dip!

But for now, let’s keep it simple. Remember to:

  1. Sign up for Trunited and buy digital gift cards online.

  2. Shop through Trunited, ebates or topcashback to get to a retailer site. Pay with your digital gift card.

  3. EARN MONEY for shopping online!

#MoneyHacks: Getting Started

I was recently asked by an old friend for advice on budgeting. She had seen my post on another friend’s page suggesting the budgeting tools I liked and asked what advice I would give for someone who wanted to start spending their money more intentionally. So, I’d like you to look at this as me answering that question, as if we were sitting down together over coffee. I’ll give some un-expert, but tried and true advice, and even sprinkle in some of our story.

Goals and Dreams

What is your end-goal? It’s important to personalize this because it’s going to affect the choices you make and how you prioritize different than someone else. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • I want to stop living pay-check to pay-check or juggling bills to stay ahead.
  • I want to feel secure that I can retire at age [pick a number–maybe it’s early, maybe it’s traditional]
  • I want to stop fighting with my spouse about money.
  • I want my kids to go to college and not have as much debt as I did.
  • I want the choice to [travel more, give more away, work at a job I love for less pay, become a SAH parent.]

Get a real picture of your debt.

Write down EVERYTHING you owe with total balances, monthly minimums, due dates, and interest rates.  This includes mortgage, student loans, vehicle loans, toy loans, credit cards, personal loans, family loans…you get the picture. Log into all those loan sites (and save the passwords somewhere). You will never be able to decide where your money gets to go until  you know where it HAS to go.  If you want to use paper, that’s fine. If you like technology, I’ve heard good things about undebt.it or readyforzero.com.

OUR STORY: When we first took Financial Peace University, I thought we were in GREAT financial shape. We budgeted, saved for retirement, paid our credit card off every month, and were saving for grad school. It was a reality check to write down that we still had a 30-year mortgage, a vehicle loan and various student loans several years after graduation.

Next, commit to no new debt and getting out of debt.

No car loan. No second mortgage for a remodel. No student loans. No more credit cards if you have any with balances. It’s important to write this down and commit to it as a couple so that the “I NEED a new [car/whatever it is]–we can always finance it.” discussion is off the table.

OUR STORY: We decided there was no reason we should be paying interest on a vehicle loan when we had enough in savings to pay off the truck. We also committed to driving our current vehicles until we could save up cash for the next (used) purchase. We committed to doing everything we could to pay off our student loans within 2 years and that we would have grad school paid off by the time my husband completed his Master’s degree in the next 2 years.

Figure out your income.

Seems easy for people like us who get paid once or twice/month, but really look at every source of income: salaries, bonuses, overtime, side jobs, interest earned, etc. If you have variable pay, write down your income for the past year to get a good idea of where your peaks and valleys are.

OUR STORY: We had steady salaried jobs but wanted to make sure any extra income or bonuses wasn’t frittered away. We pre-committed any extra money to be used for whatever goal/baby step we were on at the time. Made bonuses a lot less exciting, but made our goals possible.

Figure out your expenses.

List your yearly bills (monthly x 12 plus any annual payments like car/life insurance, subscriptions, etc.) and expenses. If you don’t know where to get started, your checking account register online is a good start. It’s recommended to comb through 3-6 months of expenses and start categorizing them. You’ll need a good picture of where you money is actually going before you can make a realistic budget.

Get an emergency fund or buffer.

Dave Ramsey suggests a $1000 emergency fund, YNAB suggests “buffering” one month of expenses (use September’s paycheck to pay October’s bills). The idea is that you don’t want to create new debt/an emergency if an unexpected expense shows up. So, set aside some money from the beginning that is only for emergencies. You might already have that in savings, you might need to pick up extra hours or a side job or sell some things. But you want to do it fast, even if it’s not fun in the short run.

Make a plan: Get that first Budget done.

This is the part where people get scared and think that a budget will be so restricting and they’ll never get to do anything fun. I like the description that “a budget is just a plan”. It’s like a To-Do list for your money. Everything needs to get done, so write it all down, starting with your “needs” and then filling in wants. Be realistic about your expenses at first, based on your past 6 months of spending.  Later, if you get to the end of your list and have run out of income to fund each expense category, go back and evaluate what is necessary, what aligns with your goals, and what your current and future priorities are. You might [you will] have to cut something out or down. Here are a few resources to help:

OUR STORY: After YEARS of budgeting, here is a list of my categories. You have to merge/separate what makes sense for you, but sometimes it helps to see someone else’s list to help trigger ideas of things you may forget about.

  • Giving
    • Tithe (local church)
    • Other Giving (mission trips, local fundraisers, other charities/families in need, Compassion Sponsorship)
  • Savings
    • Retirement Savings
    • Kids College Funds
    • Vehicle Replacement (you should be paying yourself for your next vehicle, not paying someone else for your current vehicle_
    • Emergency Fund (if you’re still building it up)
  • Monthly Bills (I included here if it’s a recurring bill even if the amount varies slightly)
    • Debt Payments, if you have them (Student loans, vehicle, credit card, medical, etc.)
    • Mortgage, Insurance, Property Taxes
    • Utilities (gas, electric, water, garbage)
    • Cable/Internet/Phone
    • Cell Phone (includes monthly bill + saving for phones every 2 years)
    • School Lunch
    • Daycare (we have a FLEX account, but this is the extra needed beyond)
    • Term Life Insurance (save every month so it’s fully funded when your premium is due)
    • Auto Insurance (save some every month so you can pay 6 or 12 months at a time if there is a discount available)
    • Yearly Subscriptions (Amazon Prime, YNAB, Zander ID Theft, McAfee). You may have more like NetFlix, Hulu,
  • Variable Spending (I tend to take yearly spending/12, but you may want to flex these up and down by month as needed, especially if you’re working on short-term important goals like getting out of debt)
    • Groceries/Household supplies
    • Clothing/Cosmetics/Hair care
    • Home Maintenance (light bulbs, repairs, lawn care, etc.)
    • Home Improvement (furniture, decor, photos, appliance replacement)
    • Transportation (fuel, maintenance, repairs, registration, tolls/parking)
    • Pet (food, vet, boarding for vacations)
    • Teaching Expenses (classroom supplies, continuing ed, professional dues)
    • Entertainment (dining out, coffee, movies, day trips, tickets)
    • Vacation (we include kids rec activities and pool pass, remember to include for things like hotels for weddings and holidays)
    • Gifts Given (calculate how much you plan/can spend for birthdays (including party supplies), Christmas (including cards/stamps), Anniversary, Valentine’s Day, weddings, showers, funerals, etc.)
  • Others you may need:
    • Medical (our premiums and HSA contributions come out pre-tax, but yours may not)
    • HOA fees or cleaning/lawn service
    • ??? Look at your bank account transactions to see what else you are spending money on so you can PLAN realistically

Your plan needs to include getting rid of that debt ASAP

Whether you use a debt snowball, a debt avalanche, fancy software or just a pen-and-marker thermometer, you need to make a plan on how/when you are going to get all of your debt (except your house) paid off. Quickly. Like 24 months or less. What can you cut out of your budget? Where can you make or commit and extra income? What can you “pause” until it’s paid off (retirement, college savings, new vehicle saving, down payment). Getting out of debt is one of the first keys to freedom.


Well, I think that’s plenty long for a “getting started” post…I told you brevity was not my strong suit. I may elaborate more on the budgeting and debt repayment sections in the future, but there are so many routes you can take and I truly believe you have to do what motivates YOU most, not exactly what I did.

If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to follow up with you!




#MoneyHacks : The Index

I plan to do some posts about money/saving hacks as this is the topic I’m most asked about IRL and want a simple list of links and references. This is a complete work in progress and serves as a list of posts I’d like to do in the future…but no promises.

  1. Budgets are my Hobby
    1. Getting Started (NEW POST)
    2. Dave Ramsey
      1. Read Total Money Makeover  (or borrow from friend/library)
      2. The 7 Baby Steps
      3. Financial Peace University
    3. You Need a Budget
      1. YNAB software (free 34-day trial, then $50/year)
      2. YNAB fans facebook group
    4. Mint.com
    5. Tithing and Mission Trips
    6. College Savings
    7. Retirement
  2. Saving Money Shopping Online
    1. ebates (rebates)
    2. topcashback (rebates)
    3. RetailMeNot (coupon codes, also get the app and use in-store)
    4. Upromise
    5. Sinclair DinoRewards (print 1 coupon/day for $0.26. Do not do anything else on this site or you will hate me)
    6. Kohls Cash and 30% codes
    7. [Children’s] Place Cash and Flash Sales
  3. #SavingsHacks on Groceries
    1. Meal Planning and food management
    2. Freezer Cooking
    3. Rock-Bottom Shopping (never buy butter over $3 or why I buy bags of frozen vegetables by the dozens)
    4. Dining Out: Free Kid’s meals, coupons, and why you should just go home and eat leftovers instead
    5. Apps
      1. Ibotta: Use referral code h3pffw to get $10 free
      2. Checkout 51:
      3. Mobisave
      4. Savings Catcher (Walmart)
      5. Cartwheel (Target)
      6. Invisipon (Fareway)
  4. #SavingsHacks on Clothes
    1. Schoola (Use this link to get $10 credit. Sign up for emails to get a % off 1st order.)
    2. Swapping with friends
    3. Consignment Store Tips
    4. Garage sale/Facebook Swap Tips
    5. Buying new is not bad: clearance, end-of-season, brands that last
  5. #SavingsHacks on Books/Magazines/Movies
    1. Library (this doesn’t need a post. Go there. It’s free.)
    2. Scholastic Book Orders (use the code from your child’s school)
    3. Magazines (good deals on Amazon, especially around Black Friday)
  6. #SavingsHacks on Diapers/Personal Care items
    1. Target Gift Card deals
    2. Ibotta: Use referral code h3pffw to get $10 free
    3. Checkout 51
    4. Coupons.com
    5. Dollar General app

Earning Extra Money

  1. Increase your Income
    1. Make your Bonus boring: make a plan for unexpected income
    2. Public School Teachers: Steps, Lanes and break-even points
  2. Side Hustles
    1. Everything we’ve done: coaching, reffing, supervising, camps, choreography, speaking gigs, sports app
    2. Other things you could do: gigs, tutoring, work-at-home
  3. Credit Card Hacks
    1. Chase Freedom
      • no fee, 5% rotating categories, $150 sign-up bonus when you spend $500 in first 3 months. Let me know your email address and I’ll send you a link for this deal.
    2. Sign-up bonuses I’ve completed: Disney Rewards, Disney Premier, Chase Freedom, Chase Unlimited, Chase Sapphire, Capital One Venture
    3. Sinclair $0.10/gallon discount (check your local gas station)
    4. Best Sign-Up Bonuses (check nerdwallet.com)
    5. Best Cash-Back (check nerdwallet.com)
  4. Referral programs
    1. Ibotta ($5 for you, $10 for friend)
    2. ebates  (perks for you and them changes quarterly)
    3. Topcashback ($10 for you)
    4. Schoola ($10 for you, $10 for friend)
    5. Amazon (if you have a blog/social platform)
    6. Upromise ($20 for you–have to send invite by email)
  5. Receipt Apps:
    1. Yaarlo (referrral code COURTNEY578)
    2. Receipt Hog
    3. Kellogg’s Family Rewards
    4. Punchcard
  6. Reward/Loyalty Programs:
    1. Microsoft Rewards (formerly Bing Rewards)- Points for searching, cash out for Amazon or Starbucks. Earn about $0.30/day but super-easy. Will write tips.
    2. Restaurants: sign up, get birthday rewards, read emails
    3. Retailers: Kohls, Children’s Place
  7. Other Apps: Field Agent, EasyShift, Mobee, Swagbucks, Perk
  8. Direct Sales: BeachBody, Roden+Fields, Lularoe, Entegro, Plexus (ask any of your friends who are posting on facebook)

Other Financial Blogs

  1. Mr. Money Moustache
  2. J.Money‘s blogs: Budgets Are Sexy
  3. Gen Y Finance Guy
  4. Millennial Money Man

Luvs Coupon Stack: 5-cents/diaper: May 2016

luvs size 3I’m pretty much the perfect example of Luv’s new campaign

“The Official Diaper of Experienced Moms”

They work the best for my daughter because they’re not as stiff under tight leggings as Target brand and I can usually find great deals. Here’s the latest deal that works best at Dollar General this Saturday, but you can use the portions that apply to you:

$2.00 off printable Luvs coupon (good on any size except travel/trial)

$3.00 rebate from ibotta app (Any box 54 ct or larger). Plus $10 for new users.

  • Download the app. Use my referral code, h3pffw, and you can earn an extra $10. Sign up at https://ibotta.com/r/h3pffw
  • Find your store and unlock the offer BEFORE you checkout. Depending on the store, you may need to scan the barcode and take a picture of the receipt afterwards (like Dollar General), take a picture of the QR code (Walmart) or give your phone number during checkout (Fareway).
  • Cash out for gift cards or PayPal when you reach $20. If you’re a new user, you’ll be at $13 after running this deal.

$2.00 cashback from Checkout 51 app. (Any size, any variety)

  • Download the app and make sure you select the offer. After purchase, you upload your receipt and the select the offer again to verify. You can request a check when your account reaches $20.

$5 off a $25 purchase at Dollar General this Saturday (and most Saturdays). Only do this IF you actually need enough other items to justify the extra $10-$11.

  • Go to the Dollar General website for a printable $5 off $25 coupon.
  • OR download the Dollar General app and use the digital coupon

Total Savings:  $12.00 off a box of diapers priced at $16.00

  • Size 3 is usually $16.00 for 92. After this deal, total cost is $0.043 per diaper
  • Size 4 is usually $16 for 76. After this deal, total cost is $0.053 per diaper

If you are a new ibotta user, you’ll actually MAKE $ on this deal!

You can still get a great deal by just stacking the $2.00 off coupon and $2.00 Checkout 51 cash back on a smaller size at a different store, but this is my “maximize savings” plan for this week. Hope it helps someone else save too!



Get Free Clothes: Part 1 :: Schoola.com

Schoola blogSchoola.com is a website that takes donations of used clothes from people who want to raise money for their schools. They sell the clothes online and give 40% back to schools. They also happen to have a pretty nice sign-up bonus and referral program and often run promotions that will help you get an even better deal. Here’s one going on now where you can get $37.50 in free clothes.

Short instructions (for those with short attention spans): You need to sign up as a new customer using this link to get a $20 credit, then create a collection to get a $10 credit, then go find $37.50 worth of clothes, put them in your cart and enter RMENOT16 in the promo code box for 20% off your order. You’ll qualify for free shipping (14-21 days) so it’s $37.50 worth for FREE!

Long instructions (pretend you’re teaching your mom):
1.Click on the link for $20 credit: https://www.schoola.com/stitch?ref=cp-3X8tov6FP
2. If you are on your phone scroll to the bottom of the page and click “full site”
3.Click on “join” and create an account.
4.Click on “New Collection”on the side and create a new one (such as “womens”) A promo running right now gets you a $10 credit for creating a collection.
5. Add up to $37.50 worth of clothing from ANY category to your cart and head to checkout. Make sure to check “Good” under condition if you want to use the 20% off code – it won’t work for New with Tags items.
6. At checkout, add the promo code RMENOT16 for 20% off (or check retailmenot.com for a new code). Choose Free Shipping.
7. Your total will be $0 if you added $37.50 or less! It will absolutely show you how much your end total is, so you’ll know if you did it right.

Make sure to do it in that order for it to work. We don’t know how long this will last or how long the promo code is good, so if you want to try it, I’d do it soon.

There aren’t great descriptions and no guarantees on the condition. Most of the kids clothing I received was in fair condition- okay for play clothes. I had much better luck with Women’s career clothes and did searches for nice brands such as Banana Republic for some cardigans and pants. I also scored nice dress pants from H&M and The Limited and a great pair of Athleta pants. Shipping took about 2 weeks. Even after my “credits” were used up, I ended up ordering a nice dress for a reasonable price and I felt great knowing that 40% of my purchases were helping schools!

Hope you find something fun and feel free to share with your friends! (Full disclosure: the link is my referral link so I get some credit if you use it, but it’s the only way to get the $20 credit yourself too! When you share with YOUR friends..give them your referral link and you can keep earning $20 credits up to $500/year.)


Stay tuned for additional entries in this 5-part “Free Clothes” series.

The Mitten Habit

The Mitten Habit

The three little kittens, they lost their mittens, and didn’t know where to find them.

“Oh Mother Dear, we sadly fear, our mittens we have lost!”

“What! Lost your mittens? You naughty kittens! You know where your mittens go…

In your hat, in your sleeve, in your coat, in the closet.

In his first winter month of kindergarten, my son had lost 2 hats, 3 sets of mittens and both sets of boots. Only a few were recovered from the various Lost and Found boxes. I knew something had to change or pretty soon he’d be down to one black and one navy stretch glove and his little sister’s spare pom-hat.

What’s a mama cat to do?

We implemented the mitten habit. Every time. Like, E-V-E-R-Y time the boys come in the house, they take off their mittens, put them in their hat, stuff the hat in the sleeve and get the coat in the closet (usually on the floor, but you pick your battles around here.)

So, when it’s time gear-up and get out the door? The mittens are always in the hat in the sleeve in the coat in the closet. I didn’t even realize this was working until I saw my just-turned-three-year-old automatically carry out the ritual with no reminders. And saw my 16 month walk to her room, retrieve her coat and reach into the sleeve to get her hat.

After recently hearing Charles Duhigg speak at a conference and then reading his book The Power of Habit within 2 days, I was re-inspired to look for other places where developing intentional habits had the potential to make life much, much easier.

So try this exercise with me.

Think of something you lose the most. What are you always looking for?

Keys? Phone? Purse? Coat? Favorite Pen? Remote? The other shoe?

What habit/routine can you create so that you always put those things in the same place and therefore always know where to find them?

For example, my car keys live in 2 places when they’re not in the ignition of my minivan. When I’m home, they immediately go in the junk drawer. You know you have one too. Where else do you store the Box Tops for Education labels, mini screw drivers and random marbles? When I am ANYWHERE else, they go in the end pocket of my purse. Not in my coat pocket, jeans pocket, van console, desk drawer, or even the black-hole-main-pocket of my purse. Only one pocket. Now I don’t even think about, it: they’re just magically there every time I look!

So my challenge for you is to pick ONE habit. ONE thing you lose often and decide where that object is going to live at all times that it’s not in use. Then make a commitment to put it there every time. I don’t know if it will take you 7 days or 21 or a year, but you’ll know you’ve succeeded when you never think to youself “where is the [X]” because your feet automatically walk and your hand automatically reach for it…

and it’s there.