Tuesday, July 22, 2014

10 Ways to Get Free Money

I'm on a tight budget, so I'm always looking for ways to get stuff for free. I've been asked many times how I manage to find so much for free, so I'm going to share some tips with you.

1. Bing Rewards: Bing is a search engine like Google, however, if you sign up for Bing Rewards, you can actually earn points for searching. You can earn up to 15 points per day from searching on your computer and an additional 10 points for searching on your phone. Just make sure you're logged in before you do any searching. I go in and just do a bunch of random searches every day to get the maximum number of points. When you get enough points you can cash them in for gift cards. We frequently redeem them for our monthly Hulu Plus Subscription (we haven't paid for that in probably 6 months) and Amazon gift cards. My husband and I both have accounts so we earn rewards twice as fast. Sign yourself up and then refer your spouse or significant other and you will both earn bonus points when they hit silver. You can sign up for Bing Rewards here (and when you hit silver status we both get bonus points!)

2. Ebates: If you do any online shopping this is a great website (including some things on Amazon). You earn cash back on your online purchases. Simply log in to Ebates before you buy anything, select the store or website you are buying from, and continue shopping as normal. You can also use this for booking hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, etc. Every 3 months, you can redeem your cash back as long as it's over $5. You can have them send a check, paypal, or you can donate it to an organization or charity. You can sign up for Ebates here.(You can also earn money for referrals.)

3. Coupons: This is a time consuming one, but if you can find the time, couponing saves a lot of money. You can make it easier by using sites like www.thekrazycouponlady.com where they have the best deals already figured out for you.

4. Amazon: I have Amazon Prime so we get free 2 day shipping on most items and we use the rewards we get from Bing to buy stuff for free. We have gotten over $110 in free products from doing this in the last 6 months. You can sign up for Amazon Prime here. (Amazon also offers referral bonuses but only for student accounts.)

5. Open Checking Accounts or Credit Cards: This one can take a ding on your credit, but depending on the amount you earn it can be worth it. Keep your eyes open for bonuses for opening up checking accounts or credit cards. Just be careful not to use the new found credit to put yourself in debt! We cancel ours as soon as we are able to without losing the bonuses we earn. Just yesterday Amazon was having a promotion that if you are approved for the credit card you get a $60 Amazon credit. Earlier this year, Capital One had a promotion that if you open a checking account you get $125 and $75 for a savings account. So my husband and I both opened accounts and earned $400 for free! We have done this a few times with different banks.

6. Achievemint: This is a great rewards program for people who are trying to be healthy and active. It links to your apps that keep track of your health and activity habits. You earn points based on activities you do or healthy posts you make. When you earn 50,000 points they send you a gift card for $50. So for example I have Facebook, Twitter, MyFitnessPal, and Runkeeper all linked to this app. Every time I complete a run on Runkeeper, I earn points. Any time I make a healthy post on Facebook or Twitter, I earn points. If I keep track of my eating on MyFitnessPal, I earn points. It's an easy way to make money for things you are already doing, and a great incentive to be more active.  You can sign up at www.achievemint.com 

7. Young Living Oils Essential Rewards: I by essential oils on a monthly basis, so I signed up for their Essential Rewards (ER) program and I earn a % for every ER order I place. I can then cash in the points for free oils. If oils are something you are interested you can sign up for them here, or go to the contact page and I can talk to you more about them.

8. Credit Card Rewards: For the most part we try to pay cash, but for our online bills, or big purchases, we use a credit card that we can earn rewards with. There are lots out there, so just find one that works well for you. You have to pay close attention to your spending though and be sure to pay it off at the end of the month, otherwise you will end up paying more in interest than you will earn in rewards which depletes the purpose of using it in the first place.

9. Surveys: Check your receipts because many times they have surveys that you can complete for gift cards. It's usually only around $5, but for a couple minutes of you time, it's an easy $5.

10. Time Share Presentations: We haven't done this one in a while, but you can go to different kinds of time-share like presentations to earn gift cards, or vacation packages. You have to sit through a lengthy presentation, and turn down the pushy sales person multiple times (don't get sucked in!), but sometimes the promotions they give out to get you there are really good.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

DIY Body Wash

I made my own body wash this week. It's great because I know there are no harmful chemicals in it, and it's much cheaper than buying organic body wash.

Here's what I used:

2/3 C Liquid Castile Soap
1/4 C Raw Unfiltered Honey
1 Tbl Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
2 tsp Jojoba or Olive Oil
20 Drops Lavender Essential Oil
5 Drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

I just combined all the ingredients into an empty bottle of store bought body wash. The first time you have to shake it up pretty good, but after about a day just a gentle shake is all you need before applying to a wash cloth or lufa.

This recipe does make a liquid. You can put it in a foaming dispenser if you prefer it that way. I just pour some on my lufa and it lathers great.

Why I chose these ingredients:

*Castile Soap gives you suds without the added chemicals.

*Honey helps your skin retain moisture and elasticity without drying it out.

*Coconut Oil is great for the skin. It moisturizes, but it also helps kill germs, reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and wrinkles, and smells good.

*Jojoba or Olive Oil gives your skin added moisture. You may not even need to moisturize after using this soap.

*Lavender Essential Oil smells good, is great for acne, eczema, psoriasis, and just good for your skin in       general.

*Tea Tree Essential Oil is great for killing germs, fighting acne, and helps oily skin. This has a strong scent though, so you don't need much.

You can add other essential oils as you choose that are great for the skin. I think next time I will add some peppermint for the smell, but also because it has cooling and stimulating properties.

Want your own essential oils? You can get them at cnbachus.wix.com/m613oils

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon is a FANTASTIC essential oil! It's one of my favorites. It's also one of the first oils that I started with.

It's made obviously from lemons. But it's not made from lemon juice like you might think. It's actually made from the lemon peel. It also takes 1,500 lemons to make just 1 pound of lemon essential oil!

So what's so great about it? Well first it smells fantastic. It smells just like freshly squeezed lemons. But it also has some great uses.

It can be used in cleaning products. It works great as a degreaser, and can get rid of the stickiness left from labels, gum, or anything sticky really. It also kills germs, which is great for cleaning, but also for killing germs in public water. Just add a couple drops to a glass of water.

Lemon oil also has health benefits too. It can be used to combat bloating, and used in combination with peppermint to help with weight loss. It can help with congestion, just put a little over the bridge of your nose and along your sinuses. Fighting acne is another use for this oil.

I've also used it in my hair if it's really oily as it absorbs oils. If you want natural highlights, you can even put it in your hair and go out in the sun. But be careful as it increases photo-sensitivity if it's on your skin.

You can use it to treat minor cuts and burns. Just make sure to read your labels and dilute properly before applying to your skin.

And that's just a few of the ways this oil can be used! There are many other was as well!

If you would like to learn more about essential oils, or find out how you can get your own oils go to cnbachus.wix.com/m613oils

I also teach classes if you are interested in learning more about them, just contact me to set up a class, or if you are far away, we can do an online class!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Key to a Great Marriage

I'll admit, the first 3.5 years of my marriage were pretty bad. We had a lot of trials the first couple years, and it set a pattern for our marriage.

I was a complete control freak, and I told Jeff on a regular basis what he was doing wrong and how he needed to fix it. We yelled and fought all the time. I even thought I'd made a mistake marrying him. But my pride kept us together. I didn't want to be one of those couples that got divorced. I would stay married to him no matter how miserable I was. Plus, I was in seminary, so it wouldn't look very good if I divorced my husband.

Then my husband lost his job and was unemployed for about 6 months. That was a blessing in disguise. At first, things got worse. I tried to control him even more by telling him how he needed to be out looking for jobs, and what I would be doing in his situation. We fought even more (if that was even possible).

I finally got to a place where I gave up. I prayed about it, and decided that God was in control, not me. My constant breathing down Jeff's neck wasn't going to change anything. So I stopped. I talked to Jeff and told him, that it was his responsibility. If he wanted my help, I would give it, but I was done trying to tell him what to do.

Something amazing happened when I did that. Both of us changed.

I quit looking at his faults. I started focusing on the things that he did well, and that I liked about him. When he did something I didn't like, I didn't say anything. I quit complaining to my friends. And when I stopped speaking what I didn't like about him, I stopped thinking about it. I stopped dwelling on it.

I paid more attention to what he was doing well. I started praising him in those things. I started thanking him when he did something that made me happy. My attitude changed.

Through that, Jeff started feeling like he could do things right, or on his own. He was empowered by me instead of torn down. By changing my attitude, it changed his.

Our marriage isn't perfect now, but it's great. We don't just love each other, we actually like each other. We still argue some, but nothing like we used to.

I easily could have given up and divorced him. In my mind, everything was his fault. But  nothing I did was changing him, so I focused on what I could change. Myself and my attitude.

I make a conscious effort now not to complain to others about Jeff. I make a conscious effort to find things that he is doing that please me and praise him for it. I purposefully tell others good things that he does. I still slip up, I still make mistakes, but it's better.

After our marriage started turning around, Jeff was in his accident. I was able to use the skills I learned to take care of him during the most difficult phases of his brain injury.

And now, 7 years into our marriage... we have a wonderful marriage. We love and trust each other. We get along and are able to communicate. We are able to work through our problems instead of yelling at each other. Our arguments are much less heated and last minutes instead of days.

The key to a great marriage is to change the problems that you find within yourself instead of blaming your spouse. No matter how much of it is their fault, there is always something you can change about yourself. Unless you are perfect, you are contributing in some way to the problem. So focus on yourself and look for the good in your spouse.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Homemade Remedy Gone Wrong

There are good things and bad things about home remedies. The plus is that you can get great results for cheap, and they are way healthier than the store or medicated alternatives.

The down side is that they don't always work the way you think they will...

I've heard that coconut oil is supposed to be a really good conditioner for your hair. I read a couple blogs that said for a deep conditioning treatment, to put it on your scalp and hair, and let it sit for an hour or more before washing out.

So I tried it. And my hair is shiny...but it's because I can't get the oil out!

No joke, I have washed my hair 5 times and can't get the coconut oil out! When my hair "dries" you can't even tell because it is so greasy, it still looks wet.

I've even tried putting lots of lemon essential oil in my hair to try and dry it out. But no luck.

Here's what my hair looks like this morning, and yes it's dry, no I didn't put anything else in it.

On the plus side, I could pull it off as styling it with gel to make it curly...No?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's Coming

I've hinted at this before, but it's time to just say it outright...Judgement is coming for America, and America is going to crumble.

If you don't believe me, then you haven't learned anything from history. Every nation has had it's rise and fall. When the nation falls is when it gets so arrogant that it thinks it won't. America as a whole thinks it's the most powerful nation that has ever been. We are secure, and think that what we have already is the worst it will get.

But I'm telling you that the Great Depression, and 9/11 have nothing on what will come.

America has become too proud. We look to our size, money, and military strength as our security. We think no one can hurt us. We bow down to the idols of money and self-absorption. We have become so self-absorbed that we don't stop to think about what we are doing. We have completely turned from God as a nation.

Just turn on the TV. Look at a billboard. Turn on the radio. You will see sex, crude language, and homosexuality. Marriage is a joke. Abortion is a right. And we are going to pay for it.

9/11 was a warning. It was God taking his protection away from us, to show us how vulnerable we are without Him. Yet, instead of turning to Him, we turned to ourselves. We went after those who came after us. We rebuilt, and built even bigger.

Judgement is coming. If America doesn't repent of our many many sins, and start turning to God, then we are doomed to fail like every other nation before us.

I don't understand why we haven't learned from history. Biblical history is clear. Every time Israel turned from God, and turned to idols, their nation was destroyed, and they were taken captive by another nation. When they turned back to God, they were restored. Other nations throughout history have suffered the same fate when they rose to fame and fortune. They placed their security in themselves, and they were destroyed.

Not only is it coming, but it's coming soon. You have been warned. America as a whole needs to repent, or we will endure the judgement of God.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

7th Year Itch

Jeff and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. I know it's not a lifetime of marriage, but we've been through A LOT in those 7 years. A brain injury being just one.

The 7th year is also when a lot of couples end up divorced.

I grew up in a family of divorce. In fact, on one side of my family, pretty much everyone has been divorced at least once.

Now that I'm older, I have married friends. I'm finding that many of them are starting to divorce as well.

It makes me wonder what the point to marriage is.

I've heard people say that you don't know if you're going to get a divorce, or you can't say you won't because you don't know what life will bring. But I thought that was the purpose of marriage. You don't know what life will bring. Things are going to change, your spouse is going to change. But if you are married you are supposed to work through it!

So if sticking together until the end isn't the point, then what is?

Seems to me that if you don't know if you'll ever get a divorce, then you shouldn't get married in the first place.

Jeff and I agreed when we got married that divorce wasn't an option. Period.

I'm human, I have definitely thought about it. There have been times when I wanted to walk away. But I knew it wasn't an option. So I didn't.

Instead, we worked through our problems. Did I mention Jeff has a brain injury? We went through some rough times with that. He changed. He has improved, but he is not and never will be the same man that I married 7 years ago. Nor will I be the same woman.

We've also dealt with a lot of other issues that we prefer to keep private. But let's just say that the 1st 3.5 years were really bad.

People change. There are rough roads in life. There will be days, weeks, even years that you may not like your spouse. But that doesn't give us the right to leave them.

There are so many excuses and reasons to get a divorce. I'm sure you'll say your reason is different. But here's what it all boils down to...


If you get a divorce, you are being selfish.

Now, I know there are exceptions to that. Sometimes it's a safety issue, I get that. But those are the rare exception, not the rule.

50% of marriages ending in divorce isn't because of legitimate reasons. It's because people are selfish.

Marriage isn't about you and your happiness. However, that's why most people today are getting married. And that's why most people are getting divorces.

Marriage is about making us more like Christ. It makes us less selfish. It makes us more patient. It helps us see how patient God has to be with us.

I could go on and on about this subject. It's something I'm very passionate about. We are destroying marriage in America. It means nothing anymore.

Unless you truly believe that you won't get a divorce, you tell  yourself it's not an option no matter how bad things get, then there's no point in getting married. You might as well change your vows from "til death do us part" to "until I get tired of you."

Seriously, pull your face away from the mirror. Stop staring at yourself, and what you think you want. Start looking at your spouse and figure out what he/she needs. When you die to yourself is when you gain the most.

It doesn't matter how selfish you think your spouse is, unless you are perfect, you can change something to make your marriage better. So stop trying to change your spouse, and work on what you can change which is you. Change your perspective, change your attitude, change your habits.

Divorce among Christians really makes me mad.

"'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?' Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.' The disciples said to him, 'If this is the situation between a husband and a wife, it is better not to marry.'" Matthew 9:7-10.

I can guarantee you, there will be no 7th year itch with Jeff and me.