Friday, October 16, 2015
- My favorite EASY way to save money is Walmart Price Matching. If you do not Price match at Walmart, you should! Here is their Price match policy (they call it their Ad Match Guarantee). Be familiar with it! You can, and should totally use it! BUT guess what? It has gotten even easier to do over the years because now you can use the Walmart Savings Catcher and let them figure out the price matches for you! I use that every time I go to Walmart!!!
- Another easy way that I save on my groceries is at Safeway. I have a Safeway Just for U account. (Which basically means I have a Safeway card). To set this up, all you do is get the card then register it online and use it each time you shop. (For those of you that don't want another card to keep track of, that's ok, you can just put your associated phone number in instead of scanning your card when you go through the check out-that's how I do it!). This card not only gives me automatic access to their sale prices, it gives me the opportunity to add manufacturers coupons onto my card to save even more money! (There are other grocery stores that have similar systems, but Safeway is the one I can use in my tiny town. Look for this type of program in your local grocery stores too!)
Travel is my main goal in saving money these days. But as we all know, travel ain't cheap! I do my best to get the best deals I can on travel by following a few guidelines.
- First: PLAN ahead, do your homework (research, research, research) and be flexible.
- Compare prices. Always. I like to use Expedia first when I start to plan. I search for my airfare or hotels on there and compare the prices. Then I check the prices on the Hotel or airlines site. VERY often I have gotten flights and hotels for less simply by booking directly through them, but also often I have found that Expedia has the cheapest price. So check both places.
- Book travel in advance. It is significantly more expensive to do so last minute!
- Plan activities that are free or inexpensive! Even when our family goes on Disneyland vacations, we spend a couple days at the beach. The beach is free whereas a day at Disney is not. So, even when you are taking a trip that is a splurge, like a Disney trip, plan for free or nearly free activities!)
- You can save money on food when vacationing by staying in hotels with free breakfasts. (This is a MUST for my husband when we book a hotel!)
Day to Day Activities
Besides travel, we try to save money on our day to day activities. I include in that category things like school supplies, sports, holidays, birthdays, and family time together. Below are a few om the things we do as a family to tighten the belt with those often expensive day to day things.
- Again, I would say to PLAN ahead. We all know school is coming up in August or September, so start to watch ads EARLY to get the supplies you or your kids might need. It's great to buy the crayons when they are a quarter rather than when they cost $3. Watch the sales and buy low. :)
- Holidays---ug, right?! With 5 kids, Christmas and birthdays (for our kids AND all their friends) can get crazy and EXPENSIVE. One way I combat that expense becoming a huge burden is by planning ahead and watching clearance racks all year round. I have a present room. Really. It has lots of things that may end up as a present for my child to give a friend, or a Christmas gift, or whatever else. Things I know I will need. BUT I buy them all on clearance. For example, the morning after Easter last year I was at Walmart and saw all these prefilled Easter baskets on clearance. They were filled with toys and treats, and were 75% off. I bought 4 of them for $20 ($5 each). The next day there were still a few good ones left and by then they had been marked down to 90% off. I bought several more. We have opened the baskets and pulled out the toys for 10+ birthday party presents (for friends), used them for donations to the school, and given them to to our own kids. There are still 5 full baskets in the present room that will be used by Christmas I am sure (and I will not have to stress over a gift when my kids brings home a last minute birthday invitation).
- Speaking of Birthdays, do you realize there are a lot of FREE Birthday items you can sign up for? I have an article about it from a few years ago here. The article is old, but a lot of the items are still great.
- Family activities: It did not take us long during those really tight years to figure out that we did not have ANY money to dedicate to going out as a couple or as a family, so we got really creative. We found all the parks and trails near us. We looked for free activities listed near us on local news. We got involved in playgroups in our community. We went to libraries. We took a lot of walks. We played lots of made up games or we played board games until they wore out. We made free fun!!
Once you find the areas in your personal budget where you can cut costs, and implement a plan to do so, I am SURE you will be able to find you are living with less and loving life just as our family did!
Best of luck in your saving journey!
And please, feel free to comment with any questions you may have for me!
Labels: #Birthdays, #Expedia, #Family, #Fun, #Groceries, #LoveLife, #Safeway, #Save, #Saving, #Travel, #Walmart | 0 comments
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
- Respect your signature style
- Have a book proposal ready to go (based on your blog)!
- Use all kinds of Social Media, not JUST Facebook and Twitter: YouTube, Vine, Snapchat, etc
And a few bits of advice from Crafty Chica Cathy:
- Embrace the New (ask your kids about the sites they are using to connect!)
- Make readers laugh, cry or gasp-whatever it is, find the magic!
- Know your 5 year destination-where will you be in this endeavor 5 years down the road?
- Know the top search terms for your site (and buy the url if available)
- Involve your kids!
Also, some tips from the younger generation, Maya in the Moment:
- Bring your own personality
- Have your hater blockers on!
- Variety! Use a lot of variety!
- Let yourself have FUN!
I'll leave you with their last piece of advice:
Have a plan of action!
- Know your Why
- What's your Goal?
- Embrace your Design
- Find your Brave!
- Dream and envision your Next level
And a few of my notes on each highlight:
Know Your Why
- Know your why-connect to your true passion and understand why it matters in the world!
- To find you why, finish the sentence "I am passionate about..."
- Once you know your why, it can give you focus and help you better evaluate opportunities.
What's Your Goal?
- What is your end game?
- What are my absolutes?
- What am I willing to do to accomplish goal?
- What am I not willing to do to accomplish my goal?
Embrace Your Design
- Be you!
- You have a unique voice!
- What was I doing in 2nd grade that I still love?
Find Your Brave!
***Notes/Thoughts from Beckee: This struck a chord with me! When we are blogging or starting a brand or business, it is easy to get so caught in what the audience wants or how to built the audience that we forget the whys and the goals and start to cater to the audience. However, if we find our own brave, take our unique-ness and go ahead and bravely share what we have to offer, THAT is the real success. At least that is what I took from this amazing speech!!!***
- Root yourself in what you have to offer
- Create a mantra that emboldens your bravery
- Try something out of the box
- De-Personalize (business related) decisions
- Create your Courage team (Another Beckee note-I love the idea of a courage team-these are the people that will buoy you up when you are in doubt, because you will be in doubt sometimes as you grow and build anything! I love my "courage team" which consists of some close family and friends!!!)
Dream and Envision your next level
- Have an idea of where you are headed!
And her last thought is well worth sharing-"Remember, we are all in this Together." (I love that this last quote she said is also a quote from Disney's High School Musical!)
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
One last quick trick for kids close to the height requirements: One of the cast members told my nephew (who was right on the edge of 40" when we went with him to Disneyland). If your child is close to the height limit, tell them to take a deep breath and hold it in when they get measured. It makes them stand up straight and gives them the best chance to measure tall enough, Also, if they are at that super close stage, put them in tennis shoes with the thicker rubber soles and not in flip flops. That extra tiny bit might be all it takes! :)
Labels: #Anaheim, #ChildSwap, #Disney, #Disneyland, #FastPass, #HeightRequirements, #Rides | 0 comments
Tuesday, September 1, 2015
Labels: #Anaheim, #CastleInn, #CourtyardByMarriott, #Disney, #Disneyland, #EmbassySuites, #GreatWolfLodge, #HomewoodSuites, Courtyard by Marriott, Disney, Disneyland | 0 comments
The other day, before taking off for this most recent trip to Disneyland, I posted the following on my personal Facebook page:
Do you have a favorite thing about Disneyland? A favorite ride, a must try treat, or tricks to get great seats for shows?! We have annual passes and are headed to Disneyland in a few days, but I find we kind of do all the same things each time so I want to hear your Disney favorites and see if there is any new inspiration for me!
Response to my message was varied. Some people took my plea seriously and gave me some great advice, one friend thought I was joking to even ask, and my brother-in-law commented that I was the one that should be giving the advice. I was really looking to see if I would learn anything new and awesome about Disneyland. Not kidding at all. But I realized that even with all the awesome advice I got, I did not learn anything new. Apparently my vast experience at Disneyland has not been for nothing. I have a pretty good idea of the tricks and treats and I know what my family likes.
And, maybe my brother-in-law was right, maybe I should post what I know.
Beckee's opinion about Park hopper passes: At Disney World, park hopper passes may not be worth it since the parks are so far from one another, but at Disneyland, it is absolutely worth it! The 2 parks are literally across a courtyard from one another.
Labels: #CityPass, #Disney, #Disneyland, CityPass, Disney, Disneyland, Disneyland Diamond Celebration | 0 comments
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
- Use short, clear, engaging copy
- Experiment and analyze
- Post more than just links - try shareables and other native upload
- Vertical Image
- Text Overlay, for context
- Descriptive copy that tells a story
- Use Guided Search to find out which keywords are most valuable to layer in to your pin description.
- There's no such thing as "too many tweets."
- Tag, tag, tag!
- Tweet on trending topics, but through the lens of your brand
- Photo quality is key
- Keep your look consistent
- Share your photos on other social platforms to drive engagement
When using social media make sure to identify your strengths and spend the most time on the platform that will benefit you.
Building relationships with other bloggers is all about forming meaningful connections. Here are some ways to do so:
- Don't be afraid to cold email
- Suggest mutually beneficial ways to connect ( like social swap, crowd-sourced content, guest posts)
- Approach it as a relationship, not a favor or business transaction
Probably my favorite part of their talk was about building your audience. They told us to find our people! (Beckee's note-you are my people and thank you!!!) Some ways to "find your people" when you are blogging include:
- joining communities
- scoping social media
- going to blogger events
- Look for similar blogs, not necessarily the biggest blogs. Look for quality over quantity.
One last bit of advice from Babble was to Branch Out! Do so by pitching to larger sites (find a direct contact, and tailor your pitch to that site).
Other platforms they think are up and coming and will be focusing on more at Babble are You Tube, Periscope, and Snapchat (for younger audiences).
Labels: #Andrea Roxas, #Babble, #Disney, #DisneySide, #DisneySMMC, #Portland, Babble, Babble.com, Disney, Megan Sayers, Portland | 0 comments
Saturday, June 13, 2015
- Clean your lens!
- Steady your shots.
- Try Different Angles
- Zoom with your Feet
- Hold your phone Horizontally not vertically! (still working to remember that one...oops!)
- Be purposeful in shooting
- Don't tilt or pan unless purposeful
- Use Airplane Mode (this makes sure you do not get a video ruining phone call during filming-GENIUS hack there!)
Guidelines for Interviews
- Be mindful of ambient noise
- Be mindful of wind
- Where do you want interview subject to look
- Again, I will note-use Airplane Mode!
Aside from the great advice, Victoria also gave us fabulous insights on Apps we may want to use. I have only had the chance to try a few of them, and I do not have an iPhone, so I have not tried any of those. I am an Android girl!
However, I though I would share all the Apps she suggested:
- Dropbox (I use and love Dropbox!)
- Disney Memories HD
- Show Your Disney Side (I believe only on iPhone)
- Magisto (for Video)
- Videolicious (on iPhone)
- Cute Cut
- We Video
If you want to see my early attempts at using some of these apps, see below.
Disney Memories HD
This app is too, too fun! I took a photo of me and Wes from Hawaii a few weeks ago and gave it some Disney magic below;
You can take a new picture or use one you already have, then you can ad dit to posed pics, or add stickers and accessories, and you can fancy up the style as well. It is a little like Instagram Disney style. Lots of fun for the Disney Fans like me!
This App is a quick easy way you could throw together a meme or something. You can pick one or more pictures and you can add stickers, text, backgrounds, etc. It is quick and easy to figure out and I can see using it a lot in the future. Here is my quickly thrown together pic of me and my Sawyer (from LOST):
This is one of the absolute easiest programs ever to be able to make a photo collage and more it around to look like you want it to. I took several of the pictures from the #DisneySMMC Portland and I threw this together:
It took about a minute total to make this and I love it. Super easy! Super cute!
On Magisto, I picked some pictures, a theme, and a song, and it put together the video for me. No choice in the order of the photos or how they come up, but what a quick easy way to show off a lot of cute pictures! I chose Disneyland photos from various Disney trips from the last year, used a fun "memories" theme, and used a song I love from my own device (Happy). Here's what Magisto came up with:
I have downloaded Cute Cut and We Video, but have not had the chance to test them out yet! I will let you know more about them when I get the chance!!!
I am really looking forward to using a lot of these tips and apps to upgrade my blog a little bit! I really appreciated all the great info from Victoria Lim!!
Labels: #DisneySide, #DisneySMMC, Cute Cut, Disney, Disney Memories HD, Disney Side, Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, Dropbox, Magisto, Photogrid, PicCollage, Victoria Lim, Video, Videolicious, Vlogs, We Video | 0 comments
Thursday, June 11, 2015
- The campaign to "Show your #DisneySide" (If you have an iphone, please tell me you are using the Disney Side App)
- Disneyland Diamond Celebration (Looks ridiculously awesome-more on that in a minute)
- The Coolest Summer ever at Walt Disney World
- Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World transforming into Disney Springs
- Tons of Awesome Adventures by Disney
- Aulani Resort on Oahu (Including the mention of Painted Sky-the TEEN spa)
- New and exciting things on the Disney Cruise Line (more on that in a minute!)
Labels: #DisneySMMC, #Portland, Aulani, Disney Destinations, Disneyland Diamond Celebration, Portland | 0 comments