5 Money-Making Ideas for Food Lovers

5 money-making ideas

Guest post from Holly of The Work at Home Woman

It’s no secret that Americans are foodies! In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spent an average of $6,602 a year on groceries and eating out alone (source).

If you’ve been looking to launch your own home-based business and you love to create culinary delights here are 5 different food careers to consider:

1. Teach Cooking Classes

Do people always rave about your cooking? Then perhaps you should launch a home-based cooking class business. Gather individuals or small groups of people in your home and teach them how to cook or bake like a pro.

Don’t want to mess with a business plan and all the logistics of setting up a business? Consider joining Healthy Hands Cooking. It’s a home-based franchise that certifies instructors to teach kids how to cook healthy meals and snacks. Start-up fees are minimal and include training, certification, marketing tools, business materials, as well as ongoing support.

2. Create Gourmet Goodies

Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Then consider starting your own gourmet food business. Foodies not only love to consume delicious goodies, they also make make great gifts! From fancy gourmet sauces and treats, to healthy and specialty snack items.

Set up your own website or use an e-commerce platform like Foodoro and you’re ready to start selling your custom treats.

3. Become a Direct Sales Consultant

Would you love to own your own cafe or bistro but don’t have the funds to invest in a brick and mortar storefront? No problem. The direct sales industry has made it easier than ever to have your very own home-based business within the food industry.

Companies like the Traveling Vineyard, Tastefully Simple, and Dove Chocolate Discoveries offer home-based business opportunities selling products like wine, gourmet mixes, spices, desserts, chocolates, and gift sets.

As a direct sales consultant you will be paid a commission on each product that you sell. Most direct sales companies will also pay you a small bonus commission from consultants who you refer into the program.

4. Start a Food Blog

Do you enjoy writing? Do you love to test out new recipes? Then join the ranks of Julie Powell, who set out to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Not only did Julie’s blog quickly generate a huge following, but she went on to the write the bestselling book Julie & Julia, which was later turned into a movie. While you can make money through book sales, bloggers can also make money through direct ad sales, affiliate marketing, as well as working with brands.

Tip: Read more on how to make money blogging here.

5. Food Stylist

Do you have an eye for detail? Then working as a food stylist may be your calling. Food Stylists prep and prepare food items for displays, cookbooks, photo shoots, advertisements, and menus. Becoming a Food Stylist requires knowledge of the culinary industry as well as additional training or apprenticeship.

Denise Vivaldo, a seasoned food professional with over 27 years of experience has created workshops and classes for those who are interested in this field. You can also check out her book on Amazon, The Food Stylist’s Handbook.

For more information on ways to make money, visit The Work at Home Woman, where you can read about topics like how to make money completing short tasks, selling your used stuff online, and businesses you can start with no money.

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4 Tips to Get Crafty on a Budget

crafty on a budget

Guest post from SK Bell of Nursing, Naps, Nostalgia

Although I’ve only recently called myself a crafter, I’ve been working on a project of some kind for most of my adult life. I’m a long-time MoneySavingMom.com reader and we proudly use a cash envelope system. We recently added a craft fund to our list.

I’ve noticed crafting can be really expensive. The first week, I spent the whole fund on fabric and didn’t get any other supplies I needed. I wasn’t able to work on any projects for the rest of the pay period. That was disappointing since I’ve discovered this outlet is important to me.

I’ve since learned a few tricks to stretching that budget — and I’m sharing them with you today!

1. Price Shop.

I’ve seen Mod Podge at the dollar store. When a local quilting store went out of business, I snatched up three of the most expensive items on my list since their prices had been reduced to less than 50%.

I am signed up for text coupons through Michael’s and JoAnn’s. Those, mail coupons, and coupons at the door/cash wrap will help get you through when you combine with sale prices.

2. Go Used!

My favorite and first stop is the thrift store. I recently paid $.50 for enough fabric for two projects already on my list.

Thrift stores have inexpensive shelves and picture frames for painting and re-purposing, fabric remnants, linens, already-cut sewing patterns, embroidery hoops, yarn, half-full jars of glitter, etc. etc.

3. Research First.

I recently found inspiration from an Instagram account, @DollarTreeCrafts. I often see cute, affordable crafts on other blogs that I’d like to try for myself and save a picture to a folder on my computer.

I am constantly finding free or very inexpensive Pinterest projects (like the wood pallet bookshelves we’re working on for our children’s room and many kid crafts using recycled items!) The library also has a lot of great books (some sewing books even come with patterns on a disc).

If I have an idea of my own in mind, I’ll draw it and brainstorm it, talk to my husband or a friend about it, and see if their fresh perspective might remind me of a less expensive item I can use, a cheaper way to do it, the best place to buy the materials.

4. Take Your Time

This one is easy for me at the moment, since I’m chasing a toddler around all day and rubbing my tired, pregnant belly in the evenings… but there have been times I found myself burning the midnight oil to finish a project I was excited about.

Now, I allow myself a little optional crafting time every day, and then I move on so a project lasts longer. Sometimes taking a break gives me new perspective any ways!

I’m curious… what are your tips for crafting inexpensively?

What have you made recently that fulfilled your crafting need but didn’t break the bank?

SK Bell is a happily married mother who enjoys traveling, crafting, and doing both frugally. She blogs positively about marriage and parenthood at Nursing, Naps, Nostalgia.

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Why I Won’t Be Out Shopping on Black Friday

Why I Won't Be Out Shopping on Black Friday

It might surprise you, but I don’t go shopping on Black Friday.

I know, I know. That statement might sound a bit antithetic to my usually frugal, money-saving ways, but it’s true.

Here’s why: The Black Friday deals online are just as good, or even better, than the in-store deals.

Yes, seriously. And I’ve proven this theory throughout the past few years by meticulously comparing the prices online versus the prices in-store. In almost every case, the online prices were better than the in-store prices.

Plus, you don’t have to wait out in the cold for three hours, and you can avoid all the stampeding and shoving crowds at the stores. Instead, you can get up a little early on Friday morning, sit in your PJ’s, sip your cup of coffee, and browse online.

There are other perks to shopping online for Black Friday:

1) You Have More of a Selection When Shopping Online

Typically, online sites are stocked better and have more variety than you’re going to find in-store. However, do note that the deals still sell out fairly quickly online. So if you see a deal ahead of time you’re particularly interested, you may want to wait up until midnight to go ahead and get it, as it may be sold out by the morning.

2) You Don’t Have to Drive to Multiple Stores

One of the biggest headaches of Black Friday shopping is strategizing where to be when and how you’re going to be multiple places in time for the great sales. Save gas and time by just clicking your way to savings.

Tip: Set up an account the day before on the sites that have hot sales that might not last long online on Black Friday. That way, when you order, you can just login and go through checkout quickly.

3) You Can Use Online Coupon Codes

Many online sites will have coupon codes available for free shipping or 15% off that you can stack on top of their fantastic Black Friday sales. Before placing your order, check RetailMeNot.com to see if there’s an online coupon code available for the site you’re ordering from.

4) You Can Get Cash Back

Set up a free account with cash-back sites like Ebates and Mr. Rebates and click through their site and search for the online site you’re shopping with before placing your order. You’ll usually get anywhere between 1% to 15% cash back for each online purchase. While it might only be a few dollars per purchase, these trickles add up to a nice check every three months!

If you love the thrill of the hunt and enjoy long waits and big crowds, be my guest and go out shopping on Black Friday. As for me, I’ll be snuggled up under a blanket with my mug of coffee and my laptop on Black Friday morning getting great deals from the comfort of my living-room couch!

Psst! Want to shop from home, too? Be sure to stop MoneySavingMom.com, where I’ll be live-blogging the best online Black Friday deals and coupon codes as they become available.

What about YOU? Are you planning to stay home on Black Friday or do you love the thrill of going out and bargain-hunting?

Trying to Decide Whether You Should Stay Home on Black Friday?

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to stay home on Black Friday, you can check out the links to some of the most popular Black Friday store ads below:

You can see all the latest Black Friday Ad Scans at BlackFriday.fm

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Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband…

Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband

Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband,

Oh, how I get you. Because, you see, I am you!

When my husband and I got married, I totally had no clue that people could truly find fulfillment in spending money. Yup, it was a recipe for complete success and harmony in our marriage. Ahem.

I knew he liked to buy brand names. I knew he liked nice things. But I figured that I could help him see how it was so much better to shop at thrift stores and get bargains.

So I went into marriage all prepared to fix my husband. Because, in my incredibly humble opinion (not!), that boy needed a lot of fixing.

I was going to help him understand how we could save so much money if he would just come over to my frugal side. I was going take those extravagant blinders off his eyes and help him see the frugal light.

It shouldn’t take much work, I was sure. Yes, you could say I was a wee bit naive. ;)

Then we got married. And I set to work fixing him.

For the first few years, we were so poor that there wasn’t any money to spend on anything but necessities. So I really thought all my “sermons” and words of wisdom had cured his “extravagant” appetite.

A few years into our marriage, with law school behind us and a blog that was quickly growing, our income began steadily increasing and my fantasy ideas of how I had fixed my husband were all shattered by reality.

The reality was this: I had married a guy who liked to spend money.

I was aghast! I loved this man, but how on earth could he find fulfillment from spending money?!? My frugal self just couldn’t fathom it!

I had tried fixing and that didn’t work. So then I tried criticizing. And, as you can imagine, that was a complete flop.

I was stubborn and frustrated. However, I loved this man. I really did. And I didn’t want to live life feeling constant tension over money.

So, I humbled myself and started asking questions trying to determine what Jesse’s heart really was. And little bit by little bit, I realized that he wasn’t trying to be extravagant or ruthless; he just enjoyed spending money. It was the way he was wired.

Just like I was wired to enjoy saving money (and he had trouble understanding my frugal nature!), he was wired to enjoy spending money. There was nothing wrong with him. He just had a different personality than me.

I have slowly come to really appreciate him for how different he is than me. Without him in our family, I’d probably be a miser. He’s helped me realize that there is more to life than always doing everything possible to get everything at the rock bottom price.

He’s also helped me to realize that breathing room in our budget can allow us to enjoy some memory-making experiences — like taking the kids out for a special outing or enjoying a date night together at a fun restaurant. Without him in our family, we’d probably have a lot less fun at our house.

I’ve also learned that sometimes, it truly does pay to spend more for a nicer brand. Yes, really. Not always, but sometimes. :)

And, most importantly, he’s helped me learn the joy that comes from generosity. I love watching how much he loves to give and how he is always going out of his way to give to others. Seeing his heart for giving inspires me to live with arms even more outstretched.

The beautiful thing is, Jesse has also learned a lot about me and has come to appreciate my frugal nature — even if he doesn’t always understand it. He thanks me often for how I help our family save money and stick with a budget.

As my attitude changed, it’s made him a lot more open to making compromises for the health of our family’s finances. He’s learned to look for great deals on things he needs to purchase, he’s waited to buy items he wants until we could afford them in our budget, and he’s talked himself out of many purchases because he knew that it wasn’t a wise use of our money.

Dear Frugal Gal Who Is Married to a Spender Husband

We still have moments when there is tension or disagreements when it comes to money, but I’ve learned 4 strategies that have helped bring a lot more harmony to me as a saver who is married to a spender:

1) Nagging Doesn’t Work

If you want to ruin your relationship, start trying to nag and drag your spouse along with your latest and greatest ideas. It’s a recipe for disaster — and discord.

2) It Has To Be an Us Thing, Not a Me Thing

There is no “I” in team. If you want to successfully get on the same page, it has to be a game plan you come up with together.

Don’t expect your spouse to jump on board with you. Instead, ask your spouse if you can sit down together and talk about where you both are financially and where you both want to go together.

3) Compromise Is Key

When you sit down to discuss your finances, come with an open mind. Don’t have everything all mapped out and badger your spouse into signing off on your plan.

Share your concerns in a gentle manner and then listen to your spouse’s thoughts and concerns. If they see that you genuinely want to work with them and want to hear their heart on the matter, they are going to be much more apt to join you in the journey. But they will likely resist from the get-go if you don’t seem to care about their desires and or have any willingness to compromise.

4) Give Grace — And Some Breathing Room!

Because of our different personalities and natures, we’ve found a beautiful compromise in an agreed-upon Blow Category in our budget. We each get an allotted amount of money that we can spend on whatever we’d like, whenever we’d like. This set-up has worked well for us and prevented many unnecessary arguments over money.

When we both accept our differences, agree to compromise, set goals for our family together, and give each other grace, we have so much more unity. And this unity propels us to both be working together to wisely steward our money — instead of constantly fighting and bickering over stuff that really isn’t going to matter too much in 25 years from now.

These four strategies won’t completely remove any money fights or misunderstandings, but I truly believe that they will help improve your communication and oneness in your marriage. And when there’s more communication and oneness in finances, it usually will have a trickle down effect and improve many other areas of marriage.

So hang in there! Start taking baby steps forward and hopefully your effort to better understand and get on the same page with your husband will result in some of the same rewarding results that it has for us in our marriage!

Don’t give up! I’m cheering for you…


P.S. For more suggestions, check out my post on How Can We Improve Communication About Finances In Marriage?

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How I Save With Off-Brands

how i save with off brands

Guest post from Liz of The Quick Journey blog

As a wife and mom who is trying to save money for our family, trying “off-brand” products sometimes makes me nervous.

Will the off-brand items be as good?

Will they taste the same?

Will the products hold up as well as the name brand?

Those are all questions I have when I am about to place a cheaper branded item in my shopping cart.

If you shared these same concerns, I wanted to share a few off-brand items that I feel are equal, or better than the name brand items. These are items that I will buy without hesitation because I have had such good success with them in the past. These are items that taste yummy, hold up to wear and tear, and perform really well despite the lower price tag.

1. Diapers

I am super picky about what diapers I use — I like a diaper that holds moisture well and doesn’t get saggy.

After diapering four kiddos (one is still in diapers), I will choose Target brand diapers every time. I much prefer them to the name brand diapers and the lower price point coupled with coupons and the Cartwheel app… you can’t go wrong!

2. Plastic Baggies

When I have snacks and food inside a plastic baggie and then shoved in a full diaper bag, I need those baggies to stand the test of time! There is nothing worse than cleaning smeared PB&J out of a diaper bag.

My favorite, go-to, baggies are the Boulder brand from Aldi. I have tried every version and size of their baggies and they are just as good, if not better, than the name brand.

3. Paper Towels

As I mentioned above, I have four kids, so there are a lot of messes happening in my house on a daily basis. While we like to limit our use of paper products, there are just times that require a paper towel.

I used to be a huge fan of the name brand towels that cost an arm and a leg, but I now use the Walmart Great Value brand of paper towels as I find them to be very durable and long-lasting when scrubbing yucky messes.

4. Canned Goods

I have found, after much trial and error, that canned goods, like soups, veggies, fruits, sauces, are pretty much all created equal. If you are new to off-brand buying, canned goods is a good place to start! Definitely do your pocketbook a favor and save your pennies by buying off-brand canned goods.

These are just a few of the off-brand items I  but to save more at the grocery store!

What off-brand items do you buy?

Liz is a stay-at-home momma to her four kiddos. She enjoys cooking, drinking a piping hot cup of coffee, and reminiscing with her “high school sweetheart” hubby. She shares her journey through motherhood on The Quick Journey blog.

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