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Self Suffiency

DIY, Family Finances, Self Suffiency

Basic Vehicle Maintenance Will Save You Money

July 24, 2015
Basic vehicle maintenance

This is dedicated to my amazing husband who I consulted to write this post and who has taught me more than I ever thought that I wanted to know about basic vehicle maintenance.

Summer time typically means road trips to visit family or driving longer distances to vacation destinations. In the next four months, my family will be making two 13 hour trips each way to visit family. All of that travel means that we will be doing some basic vehicle maintenance before we head out on the road. We hope to save ourselves the headaches and stresses which could result from not properly taking care of the engine or tires.

When planning ahead for travel, it’s easy to overlook the importance of making sure your vehicle is up for the drive. I can’t stress enough the importance of doing a quick run-through of basic vehicle maintenance before heading out on the road. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road in an unfamiliar area, when you could be enjoying those precious vacation hours instead.

Here are 7 basic items of preventative vehicle maintenance to save you money. Continue Reading…

Blog and life updates, Budget, Family Finances, Motherhood, Self Suffiency

Learn How to Get Paid to Write for Blogs

July 7, 2015
How to Get Paid to Write for Blogs

This post is a part of the Get Paid to Write for Blogs Course Launch! Get Paid to Write for Blogs is a brand new course created by Cat Alford of Budget Blonde. Cat makes a full time income from writing for blogs and her course will teach you how to do the same.

Six months ago I saw an advertisement on my Facebook news feed for a course on how to get paid to write for blogs. After discussing the cost, both my husband and I knew that it was something that I needed to do. I had been feeling stagnant at home without professional aspirations and without any sort of creative outlet. Knowing that taking the course would be an investment in my future, I took the plunge and paid for the first month of the course.

Taking that first step was exactly what I needed to feel like I was grabbing life by the horns again. Creating a website from scratch, deciding on content, and putting myself out there has helped me to grow in unimaginable ways. I have a platform for telling my stories, sharing my knowledge, and inspiring others.

Six months ago I was a mom and a wife. Today, I am a mom, a wife, a blogger, a freelance writer, and a woman who has professional aspirations again. I am making money while getting to stay home with my kids! It’s a win-win scenario. Learning from Cat how to get paid to write for blogs was the greatest investment I could have made for my future.

Here are 12 reasons you should learn how to get paid to write for blogs:

1. No previous experience necessary

People of all backgrounds can learn what it takes to become a paid blogger. Taking a course on freelance writing will teach you everything you need to know to get started and to become a successful paid blogger.

2. Work in your pajamas

Who doesn’t love earning money while wearing yoga pants? Some of my best writing is done late at night, in the comfort of my jammies.

3. Blogging is a creative outlet

As a mom especially, I tend to put my needs on the backburner while I take care of my family. Committing to becoming a paid writer has forced me to set aside time for myself and my career. As if that wasn’t enough, blogging serves as an outlet for all of my unused creative energy, because I’m able to pursue my interests and passions through writing.

4. Location flexibility

Anywhere that you have access to Wi-Fi, you can get paid to write for blogs. You can work at the local library, the coffee shop, sitting in airports, or even on the beach. You can side hustle as a paid blogger from anywhere in the world.

5. Extra Income

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little bit of extra money to save for vacations, pay down debts, put aside money for your kids’ college funds, and to build a nest egg for retirement? Extra income earned from being a paid blogger will help you achieve whatever financial goals you set for yourself and your family.

6. Create Your Own Workload

Paid bloggers set their own writing hours, so you can work as often or as little as you choose. Depending on what your writing and financial goals are, you could write just two articles per month, or you could continue taking on clients and writing jobs until your schedule is full.

7. Schedule Flexibility

Researching for and writing articles does not have to happen on a typical 9-5 business hours schedule. You can work whenever you want to or have the time. Some people make blogging their full-time job and others just write at nights and on the weekends.

8. Learn new skills

Six months ago I knew nothing about website management, SEO, pitching to clients, or affiliate marketing. An entire world of knowledge opened up to me through learning what it takes to become a paid blogger.

9. It will help provide new opportunities

Sometimes a bad credit score is the only thing holding you back from applying for the job of your dreams, getting approved on a loan for a home, or getting the bank assistance you need to start a business. Extra income from your writing for blogs will help you pay down debts and improve your credit score, giving you a second chance to fulfill your dreams.

10. Make new friends

Bloggers form a very close-knit community. By joining in as a fellow side hustling blogger, you will make great and lasting friendships with like-minded people.

11. Have a backup plan

Extra income from becoming a paid blogger can help you build up an emergency savings fund. You could also utilize blogging as a safety net career to fall back on if you were to lose your regular full-time job.

12. You’ll Have a Support Network

Life is unpredictable at the best of times. It’s even more so when you have kids. Fortunately, the freelance blogging community is filled with parents who understand that sickness, ER visits, and broken bones are par for the course. Your online community will be there to get you through family emergencies by covering your deadlines. Then, when you’re able, you’ll be there to help someone else out as well.

Why wait to get started? Get hustling!

Taking a course to learn how to become a paid blogger could be the decision that changes your life. Don’t feel stuck in a job you hate, stagnant without a creative outlet, or struggling to live paycheck to paycheck. Side hustling as a paid blogger can help you achieve both your family and your financial goals.

Are you ready to invest in your future? Learn how to become a paid blogger so that you can pay down debt, build up an emergency fund, and start truly enjoying your life again.

Get Paid to Write For Blogs is a comprehensive online course that teaches you everything you need to know about getting hired to write for blogs. With 29 videos within 8 modules, this course covers every single step to start a successful and lucrative writing career online. Click here to get 15% off your course!

Budget, Family Finances, Self Suffiency

Personal Finance Goals for the Future

July 3, 2015
personal finance goals for the future

The past week has not been great for the Muse house. My grandfather passed away last week, which is still really affecting me. Also, our fridge broke down, and we have been fighting with the warranty company to fix it for almost a month now. Now, both of my kids are sick with fevers, congestion, and nasty sounding coughs. Bad things come in threes right? Wrong. Whoever came up with that adage is a schmuck. The sump pump in our basement quit working and excessive water from some bad summer storms flooded everywhere.

With one stressful situation after another, I have been neglecting both this blog and other things that are most important to me…like exercise. I haven’t gone for a run in over a week now. I guess that is a natural side effect of when things go awry, but I am trying to refocus on my goals and become more organized. I have been meaning to write a financial goals post for a few weeks now, but I have been lacking the motivation/energy necessary to get it done. I really felt the need for a pick me up, so I started hashing out ideas to motivate me for the future. The following list represents my biggest personal finance goals for the future.

10 Personal Finance Goals for the Future

  1. Immediately reduce household expenses by $200 a month
  2. Start Roth IRA and 529 accounts for both kids
  3. Earn a steady $500 a month through online writing by December 2015.
  4. Put 10% of all income towards retirement savings
  5. Start saving 10% of all income for a down payment on property
  6. Pay off personal loan debt by April 2016
  7. Eliminate all credit card debt by December 2016
  8. Purchase a property and build a berm home by August 2017
  9. Save $5000 to take a 10 year wedding anniversary vacation to Scotland with my husband (2019)
  10. Have enough money invested to retire by 2027

Looking toward the future

Some of these goals are easier to accomplish than others, but what fun is life without a little bit of a challenge? My biggest dreams for the future involve travel and living in a self-sustaining home. I want to be free of consumer debt, and I want to be able to pursue whatever it is that brings my family joy. My goals will most likely change a bit over time, but this is my motivating list for now. Creating this list of personal finance goals for the future has given me renewed direction, purpose, and focus. Life is too short to dwell on the negatives. You need to just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and look towards the future with hope and a plan.

What are your personal finance goals for the future? Do you have specific dates planned for your goals?

DIY, Gardening, Self Suffiency

Berry Picking a Path to Self-Sufficiency

May 26, 2015
Berry picking a path to self-sufficiency

In five years, my husband and I hope to have the money for a down payment on a piece of property where we can start a small, self-sustaining, completely off the grid, homestead. It feels a bit like a pipe dream, but it is our dream nonetheless. We have a long way to go to reach our goal of living a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. We are learning now, though, that self-sustainability doesn’t have to mean solar panels and well water. It starts with the ability to figure out how to do most things completely on your own.

Canning and freezing seasonal fruits and vegetables, both from local farms and our own garden, is one thing that we taught ourselves to do in order to become more self-sufficient. We believe in trying to eat as seasonally as possible and storing what we can for the rest of the year. Not only do we support our community’s farmers by eating locally grown food, but we also save a lot of money by preserving food when it is at it cheapest.

My kids eating them as fast as I could pick them

Strawberries happen to be cheapest in May. We like to go strawberry picking every year to save a little bit of money. We always try to preserve as many as possible to eat throughout the rest of the year. Some go into the freezer for smoothies and pies, and the rest gets turned into jam, marmalade, or conserves. We enjoy the time spent together at the farm, picking the berries. We also enjoy the time spent together as a couple, preserving the berries after our kids are in bed. It has become an annual date night for us, and we are even a little bit competitive about it now. My husband likes to think that his strawberry lemon marmalade is better than mine. I beg to differ.

Just 33 lbs of our strawberries

Just 33 lbs of our strawberries

The “pick your own” strawberries from the farm down the road from us cost us $1.57 per pound. Grocery store strawberries cost $3.99 a pound. It took us roughly 1.5 hours to pick 50 pounds of strawberries. So, in 1.5 hours we saved ourselves $121 dollars. It’s just a small amount compared to the rest of our food budget, but we enjoy going, and we would rather support our local farmers than pay for the over-priced grocery store strawberries shipped from California.

first batch of jam and freezer berries

first batch of jam and freezer berries

If eating local is important to you too, but you don’t have access to local farms because you live in the city or don’t have a car, look into local CSA (community supported agriculture) programs. Many of them deliver or have local pick-up points.  Try looking for a CSA local to you at http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

There are a million ways to become a little bit more self-sufficient. You could plant a container garden on your deck or have a full-sized garden in your yard. Even having a pot of herbs on your kitchen window sill is a small way to grow your own food. Don’t let the home you live in decide the kind of life you want to live or the kind of food you want to eat.

Do you try to eat locally grown food?

What steps do you take towards self-sufficiency?