Ask Away...: April 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Month Without...Eating Fast Food





I'm participating in my own little project called My Year Without. Each month, I go without something different.  


January was texting and driving.   I actually did pretty good!! I refrained from even checking my phone at a stop light.   It made me realize how dangerous it really is to be distracted by a phone when driving.     


February was cursing but that didn't work out to well.  I never curse around situations where it's not appropriate anyways so I'm not really worried about it.  Behind closed doors I can express myself however I wish. 

March was spending.  I didn't but things I didn't need and this was actually a huge success.  Aside from groceries and paying bills, I was able to restrict my spending and I even paid off my 2nd to last credit card!  

April was candy.  I did it!  Okay, well I had cheated once.. well 4 times actually all on Easter but they were tiny pieces of candy and other than that I really did do it! 

So May is going to be fast food.  Not only is it gross and so bad for my body but I hope that me being able to give it upf or a month helps other people decide to give it up for good!



What can you live without this month? 










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Creepin' Just Got Easier with DirtSearch.org

I am known by friends and coworkers as PI Ross, the queen of creepin around on the internet to find important dirt about something.  I don't do it for giggles, I do it in cases where it's very important.  Low and behold, I'm not the only one who knows how vital that can be. 




Clearly, Erik Knight knows how it is because he created DirtSearch.org, a website that gives you access to information similar to a background check, for free so you can check out the people in your life. 

So what kinds of people should you check up on? Well:

1. You - This is a great way to see if anyone has stolen your identity or if there is inaccurate information out there about you that potential employers could see on a background check.
2. Your Date - Um hello?!  
3. Your co-workers and clients - You don't want to be dealing with someone that you can't trust right?
4. Medical professionals - It's always important to see who's being honest with you about what they are capable of doing especially when it comes to your health and body.
5. A New Roommate - Obviously you never want to be stuck with a dangerous shady person so do your homework before you agree to let them live with you.
6.  The babysitter - Even if you found out about this great babysitter through word of mouth, you should still check them out to make sure there's no red flags that even your friend that recommended them isn't aware of!

So, I was lucky enough to get to ask Erik Knight some questions about his website! 

ASK AWAY: In the case of a date or potential roommate, if someone finds some unsettling information after doing a background check, how should they handle the next step?
Erik: Very carefully. This can be extremely unsettling depending on the level of crime. If you just found out your roommate was convicted of murder, I would probably say it's time sneak out and send a moving van. However, most people have minor crimes on their records, they are remorseful and are aware that information is out there. The best thing anyone can do have a discussion, if you're not comfortable doing it by yourself do it in a group setting, but the number one thing is be safe. 

ASK AWAY: Was there a specific incident or event that made you start your website?
Erik: There wasn't really a specific event, it was more or less a lot of events. People constantly asked me to find information about people, specifically who they were dating. It took hours to do this and there was a really good chance of missing something and then when I landed on information they always asked for money. Even after paying at times I couldn’t find what I was searching for. We wanted to create a medium that was free, anonymous and that people could use as a starting point to gather information, since I always say information is power.

ASK AWAY: What type of information can my readers expect to (hopefully not) find when using DirtSearch to pull up info on someone?
Erik:  DirtSearch is pulling what is available out there. Everything is relative to location and available information but generally, criminal histories, property ownership, company ownership, tax related records, social profiles. A lot of people have traffic tickets that may show up or minor offense but the thing to remember is they are always out there, if something doesn't come up today that you know about in the past; doesn't mean it isn't out there. As more and more cities and counties put things online they fill in all the old data as well, so something old can pop up and be something new pretty quickly.

ASK AWAY: How does DirtSearch.org collect it's information?
Erik: DirtSearch uses API's and search algorithms. We also purchase data from cities and states. All of the data comes from other sites and locations.


ASK AWAY: What's the one thing you hope to do for individuals that utilize DirtSearch.org?
Erik:   My hope is that we can educate the consumer, especially with all the identity theft that exists today. Whether they are looking someone else up or want to know what other people can find out about them online, ‘knowledge is power’. Everyone should know what the average everyday person can find on them so they don't walk into a situation blind.


 
Erik Knight is the founder of Dirtsearch.org founded in 2008. Erik originally created the site when a number of people asked him to find information on people their significant others were dating through public records. After doing this a number of times, he realized there was no single place on the Internet to search for public records inexpensively and quickly.
After his original inception, DirtSearch has continued to grow and improve its accuracy and is the only free online “Background Check” website in the world. The site is fully automated and takes a few minutes to search what would normally take hours or days by hand. Over 130 thousand people a month nationwide use DirtSearch. For more about Erik Knight or DirtSearch, visitwww.DirtSearch.org.






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Outfit of the Day: Sunshine + Floral

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

 
Yay, it's time for floral print!   And I love floral print because I can match small pops of color in it with other pieces in my outfit.
yellow blouse, spring colors, floral, floral jeans, floral pants, outfit, the girl that loves,  fashion
This blouse is so comfy and I love the bright color. It's the Sunshine Chiffon Blouse from The Girl That Loves.   Yellow is such a nice vibrant color and I love how it brings out my skin tone and makes my green eyes pop!
yellow blouse, spring colors, floral, floral jeans, floral pants, outfit, the girl that loves,  fashion
I decided to leave it unbottoned because it was much more airy and comfortable.   I matched it with the yellow pop of color in the floral print on my skinny jeans!
yellow blouse, spring colors, floral, floral jeans, floral pants, outfit, the girl that loves,  fashion

yellow blouse, spring colors, floral, floral jeans, floral pants, outfit, the girl that loves,  fashion
 

So What I Wore:
Blouse - Sunshine Chiffon Blouse from The Girl That Loves; Shoes - Just Fab; Jeans - Romwe; Cami - Express.








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Real Girl Style Link Up
Glow Kouture Style Link Up

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why Organic is Worth It

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
Organic products are all the buzz lately and for good reason. Organic ingredients and products are much better for our bodies than some of the things we put in them already. At  Cascadian Farm  they are proud to offer organic products! 






I got to try out some of the Cascadian Farm products and I love them. Their Graham Crunch cereal is my new favorite.   It tastes so good and is a great snack which isn't overpowering with sugar and sweetness.   Their Pea Protein Bars are a perfect pre workout snack after work.  They are filling and really give me the protein I need in my diet.

So why is organic worth it?   Well this should explain more! 


I hope that helped explain things a little more! I highly recommend checking out some of the amazing products from Cascadian Farm!




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Restaurant.com - Best Deal. Every Meal.

I received a Restaurant.com gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.
 
 
When it comes to dinners and gift ideas I'm a huge fan of Restaurant.com, the trusted and valued source connecting diners, restaurants, businesses and communities since 1999. They offer savings at thousands of different restaurants all across the nation and have nearly  50,000 gift certificate options.
 
 

 
The Restaurant.com Independent Consultant program offers thousands of self-employment opportunities to individuals that want to earn money while helping Restaurant.com to expand to more restaurants, businesses and communities nationwide. To date, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $1 billion through the gift certificate program filling more than 3.5 million tables annually. Restaurant.com is a pioneer in the restaurant deal space and is headquartered in Arlington Heights, IL.


So what does all of this have to do with Mother's Day? Well, not only can you pair a Restaurant.com Gift Card with the ideas below but you can also enter into the "What Does Mom Mean To You" Pinterest Sweepstakes!

For the pairings - try these awesome gift ideas for the ultimate dining experience and Mother's Day treat:

1. The Blooming Role Model: "Mom always taught us that beauty is all around us, and she is our favorite example." 
Share the beauty of a bouquet of flowers  by surprising her at the front door with an invitation to lunch or dinner.  She can enjoy her flowers before heading off to a nice meal with her Restaurant.com Gift Card.

2. The Spa Lover: "For the one who always pampers others, now is the time for mom to pamper herself!"
Help her enjoy the serenity of a spa treatment complements of you by finishing it off with lunch at a new restaurant using a Restaurant.com Gift Card.

3. The Wine Enthusiast: "For the mom who deserves her own time out!"
What better to pair a delicious bottle of wine with than a Restaurant.com Gift Card for a Mom's Night Out!

Restaurant.com will be running Specials by Restaurant.com Dinner & A Movie starting Wednesday, May 7http://rst.cm/w8rOo – You’ll have to hurry though as this show stopping deal is only available for a limited amount of time!

Such great ideas, which will you choose!?

And don't forget about the sweepstakes..In celebration of Mother's Day, Restaurant.com is holding the "What Does Mom Mean To You?" Pinterest Sweepstakes from Monday, April 28- Sunday, May 11. 

There are five winners that will be randomly selected to win a $500 Mom's Night Out Package!

All of the Sweepstakes Giveaway Details can be found here: http://rst.com/w8w64

You can learn more about Restaurant.com here:
https://sales.restaurant.com/Overview

You can find dining deals near you here:
 
And make money with Restaurant.com here:
 
Smartphone and iPad users: download the app - iPhone, iPad and Android




I received a Restaurant.com gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

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Meet America's Farmers - The Martin Family

This post was created in partnership with America's Farmers. All opinions are my own.


I found myself very inspired by one of the eleven farm families I read about at  America's Farmers


It was the Martin Family from Indiana.  Matt Martin is a fourth-generation farmer who grew up in Indiana where he had the great opportunity to work alongside his grandfather.  The land his grandfather farmed was purchased in the late 1940s.  Matt enjoyed farming so much that he now runs the operation alongside his dad Larry who he also considers his best friend. 

Matt has three childern with his wife Lisa and they all enjoy the farming lifestyle. In fact, they even expressed interest in returning back to the farm after college.  The beautiful thing about the Martin Family is that they not only love farming but they love working together on their soybean farm.

This really means a lot to me because I've always enjoyed riding horses at a local farm and seeing how close knit the family who owned it was.  They always enjoyed working alongside each other and it made for a more successful farm in the end. 

I also love that the Martins run a soybean farm because I have a great soybean recipe that I keep at my desk at home for Soybean Hummus.   You just need

-1 cup of dry soy beans (make sure you soak them and drain them first)
-3 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 of fresh parsley (chop it up)
-1/4 cup of olive oil
- a garlic clove
-some salt and pepper

Throw them all into a food processor and puree them until they are smooth. 

Do you know of any farmers like the Martin Family that is closeknit and loves what they do?


 

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Everyone Needs A Fab Habitat + a Giveaway!

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

I love love love home decor especially when it's earth friendly and versatile.  Fab Habitat is a company that gives you just that...earth friendly versatile decor.   Their global and eco conscious line adds value to the American home while enriching the lives of the artisans that create them. 


Fab Habitat is serious about reducing the carbon footprint on the environment.  Despite the challenges, they stay committed to producing and delivering their products in the most environmentally-friendly manners.   And their logo is a representation of the guiding principles of fair trade and responsiblity for the environment.

The blue and ash colors represent water, sky, and earth - showing concern and respect for everything around us.  The circular shape of the logo symbolized their endeavor to source products from around the globe.  This supports local artisans and provides a market for indigenous skills. 

The leaves on the tree branch are symbolic of Fab Habitat's support for fair trade and partnership for environmentally friendly products.  

I received the Venice Rug, an Earth Friendly Indoor/Outdoor Rug from Fab Habitat.   This is from their world collection of Fab Rugs.  The rugs are woven from straws made up of recycled plastic.  The straws are tightly woven together to offer strength, softness, and beauty.  And the colors are UV stabilized to prevent any possibility of fading or deterioration from exposure to the sun.  And no need to worry about mildew because since it's plastic the moisture will have no effect on the mat.

This rug is washable - just shake or hose it off.  It's also reversible which is something I really like about it.  I love that it's versatile for indoor and outdoor use.  This makes it easy to set up for company outside on the patio or to keep inside to accent my home. 

I also love that it's so lightweight and portable. The carrying case it comes in is fantastic and a great way to store the rug and keep it clean when not in use. Oh, and I love that the case if made of eco-friendly jute!  This is also a great idea for camping trips!

So do you want to win a 4x6 rug in the same pattern as mine? Well head on over to the Fab Habitat Facebook Page and enter!  
 
All you have to do is like their page, and the giveaway post!  Good luck!







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Outfit of the Day: Lacey Leather Leopard

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

Leopard, leather, and lace...these are a few of my favorite things!! 
leopard boots, leather jacket, grey jeans, fashion, outfit

leopard boots, leather jacket, grey jeans, fashion, outfit

So What I Wore: 

Boots - Impo Shoes; Pants - Butler Stash; Top  - ChicWish; Jacket - Bebe.




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​​ WatchOutForTheWoestmans still being [molly] Join us! Click the Spotlight Life's A Party Dress Like It
And linked up at http://tuckerup.blogspot.com/2014/01/wiww-grey-black-link-up.html

Monday, April 28, 2014

5 Ways to Handle Your Expenses Being Greater Than Your Income






After I posted my Guide to Being on a Budget, a lot of people asked how to stop living paycheck to paycheck.   So I did a post about that which you can find here.



Still the most common question I continue to get was “What if my income isn’t enough to cover my monthly expenses?”  


That’s a great question and a very common problem.  In fact, I used to be that way as well and I can tell you the ways I changed it.  It is certainly possible for most people as long as you stay dedicated and disciplined.  Remember, it’s worth it! 


So here are 5 methods I used.   I hope these help answer that question.




1. Cash Envelope System


You won’t spend more than what you planned to if you plan for everything.


I can’t stress enough how crucial an envelope system is.   Not only does it help you see where your money goes but when you set it up, you need to write down what type of expenses you generally have.    Since most people don’t even think of random things like a car emergency, or a random doctor’s appointment (copay + medicine cost), it can sometimes throw off your month and you end up spending more than you plan for.    Even if I don’t have a car expense one month, I still put money aside from my paycheck, so that if I have one the next month there’s already money there. For instance my muffler rusted out on my car this month and guess what, I didn’t even flinch because I had more than enough o cover it in my envelope system under the car category.

Think of it as a mini savings fund.  It technically is a savings fund, so when I think of how much money is in my savings I always remind myself there’s even more if I include my car fund, pet emergency fund etc.   Refer to my link on my envelope system to set up your own!  I even have a stress free Christmas because I put money aside all year, as detailed here.



2. Cut Costs Everywhere + In Every Way
I did a post about 10 things I splurge on and 10 things I save on and I can’t tell you how much it makes a difference with my finances.  Try shopping at the dollar store for cleaning supplies or buying generic brands as often as possible.  Cut coupons and follow sales so that you can get double savings when you match coupons up with existing deals.   

And remember every little thing adds up, even your $5 lunch at work.  I pack my lunch, I make my own coffee at home, I buy my own drinks and bring them in, and I drive a car that’s paid off.  Even though it’s nice to get a new car, I’d rather save the money each month than have another car payment.



3. Make Extra Money Each Month

I did a post about the 10 weird ways I save money and as silly as it sounds, every dollar adds up.   I get paid to take online surveys  (all of my sites I use are legit and I’ve done them for well over 5 years!) and in turn I get paypal cash, gift cards for stores and eating out, Itunes, Amazon, etc.   I make $50 -$100 a month from that and while some people think it’s not enough or may not be worth it… that’s a month of gas for me!   

I also sell things on ebay.  It may take some time but once you start doing it you get more comfortable with using ebay and you’ll be very pleased with the income you make!


4. Buy and Accumulate Less Stuff

I embraced minimalism in many aspects of my life and it’s amazing how free I feel financially.   I don’t spend money on DVDs and books because I cut back on my collection.  I use Apple TV to rent, and I own a Kindle so I don’t have to accumulate physical copies of books.  It also has me conditioned to stop and think before I purchase anything.  Just because something looks amazing on the shelf, I ask myself to I really need that? It’s just going to take up space and I have enough home d├ęcor as it is for now. 


5. Live Well Below Your Means

I don’t get manicures and pedicures.  Instead, I do them myself. I ask for gift certificates for them as a gift however so I still get to enjoy them.   I go to a very affordable hair salon and I take care of my hair in between cuts so I can stretch every last dollar I have.

Instead of going to the gym, I workout at home to DVDs.  I moved back home with my parents which isn’t so glamorous but it saves me money right now.

 I wash my hair every other day which saves on shampoo and conditioner costs and I only do one load of laundry a week. 
 
Another thing I never do anymore is rush to the store to buy an outfit for a night out. I use what I own already, and I create new outfits by mixing and matching.  I also thrift shop if I absolutely must go out. 


I truly hope some of these methods can answer your questions but if you still have some, please leave them in a comment below!

Did you know that I offer a budget spreadsheet, debt tracker, and I have a financial book available for purchase? 






PURCHASE Spreadsheet Bundle



PURCHASE Budget Spreadsheet


PURCHASE Debt Tracker
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Style Your Phone + A Giveaway

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.
When accessorizing a look it's important to remember that your cell phone is almost always with you so why not style that as well!   And with Junkboxx there are so many covers and cases to choose from!


Junkboxx is a small online movile phone accessory boutique and it specializeds in fun and fashionable cases and accessories.  Why be boring when you can be different and stylish and make the most of your fashionista self!



No matter what you like, there's plenty of cases to choose from, whether it's a conversation starter or a pretty pattern.  There are even video game themed cases!



There are new styles offered daily!  




And if you use the code ASKAWAY you can get 15% off your order!

 
And one winner will get a $50 gift certificate to Junkboxx to get the case of their choice!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Get Advice with the Shop Your Way Get Advice Service

This is a sponsored post. I am a Shop Your Way blogger and all opinions are my own.





Have you heard about the Get Advice service feature from Shop Your Way? It's new and it's a great way to get advice from one place while leveraging the integrated retail options at Sears.  It tapes into the online and mobile shopping channels that members already use in order to virtually open the doors to Sears across the country.  You'll get access to the knowledge and expertise of thousands of associates! 





Need advice about the best baby crib options or how to replace your refrigerator air filter? Look no further because that's what you can ask and store associates from around the country.  They will post a reply by leveraging the same knowledge and expertise they use to help members in the store.  The beautiful thing is that you can do this all from your own home or even while you're on the go! 


How cool is it to be able to get advice directly from the associates you would seek help from in the store? 

It's easy to use: 
o Members can go to ShopYourWay.com and tap “Ask a Question” in the Get Advice section or directly from a shopyourway.com product page.
o They can then type their question and see if an answer pops up while they type.
o If not, they can simply follow the prompts to post their question.
o Once the question is submitted, the answers start flowing in from store associates across the country.


Being able to ask a question can help save you money because you are less likely to make a mistake and purchase a wrong item plus you won't waste your time! 


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