Overcoming My Shopping Addiction

shopping addiction

Guest post Elizabeth of Witty ‘N’ Pretty

The world we live in values beauty above all else. The more beautiful a person is, the more value they have. It’s no wonder people, women in particular, lack confidence. We try to make up for our shortcomings in many ways.

For me, I tried to make up for mine by shopping because in my mind, the more expensive things I owned, the more value I had.

Every time I bought something, I experienced two things.

First, was happiness, because I felt prettier and more valuable.

Then I felt guilt, because I knew I couldn’t afford what I was buying.

When I bought something I couldn’t afford, it counteracted the happiness because my value was decreasing. The lifestyle I wanted was unattainable for a girl still in college.

For whatever reason, I couldn’t come to terms with that. I didn’t accept it until I maxed out a credit card and ended up using student loans to fund my shopping trips.

I knew I had to change, so I did.

Since I’m confessing my struggles to you, I may as well say that the temptations to shop and spend money never completely go away. However, I learned to ignore the little voice inside my head telling me to spend, spend, spend.

Eventually, you’ll learn how to do this too… here’s how I’m just doing that:

1. Cut up the credit card.

Yes, the most precious piece of plastic you own will be in little pieces after the scissors gets through with it.

Having a credit card in your wallet tells you that even if you can’t afford something at that moment, your line of credit will let you buy it anyway.

Chop up those cards!

2. Write it down… with an actual pen.

Write down anything and everything you buy and exactly how much it cost. This allows you to see where your money goes and any trends in your spending.

I noticed two things about myself: I liked to drink overpriced coffee and I liked to look good doing it. Knowing this helped me take the next step toward addiction recovery.

3. Stop doing the things that cause you to spend money.

For one month, I didn’t allow myself to buy anything but food and gas. It didn’t matter what was on sale or how great of a deal it was (I love getting a bargain), I wasn’t going to buy it.

At first, this is like giving up the last life ring on a sinking ship. You feel like you’re going to drown. Just like anything else though, it becomes routine.

4. Retrain your brain.

For the longest time, I honestly believed that my worth and my attractiveness was based on how many Kate Spade bags I had and the car I drove.

During my month long shopping break, I focused on building my confidence up. I tried to find beauty in the talents I had and the personality I was born with. I talked with mentors and people I trusted to help me find my self-worth.

Truthfully, I’m still finding my worth. I believe it’s a journey though. It can’t be done in a month or even a year. I still appreciate pretty things, but I don’t place my worth in them.

Do I struggle with wanting these things? Of course, but I can say “no” to myself now. I understand and respect my financial limits and still see value in who I am.

Some may scoff and wonder what’s wrong with me, I can only tell them that everyone struggles with something and being addicted to shopping was my “something”.

Liz is a young, 20-something with a passion for living a beautiful, debt-free life. After graduating college, she realized how important it is for her to get her finances together and start sharing how you can have a great lifestyle for a lot less. She blogs at Witty ‘N’ Pretty.

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6 Non-Phone Work at Home Options

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Guest post from Anna of Real Ways to Earn

Let’s face it — phone jobs are fairly common in the work-from-home world. A quick “work-from-home” keyword search on any popular job site will likely bring you pages and pages of results for phone-oriented work.

The obvious downside to phone jobs is that many people have legit reasons for not being able to do them. Maybe you have a loud background at home due to kids or pets. Maybe you’re hearing impaired. Maybe you don’t have a land line phone — or any phone — and can’t get one. Maybe you simply aren’t a people person and the idea of talking to strangers on the phone all day doesn’t appeal to you. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of the above!

Gratefully, there are quite a few non-phone options out there if a work-at-home phone job just isn’t in the cards for you. Here are 6 different options:

1. Chat Support

Chat-based customer support is the same as phone support, the obvious difference being that instead of helping customers via live conversation, you’re doing so via chat and email so it is completely non-phone.

Apple and Needle are two reputable companies that are frequently hiring chat agents to work at home.

2. Search Engine Evaluation

This type of work is also referred to as “Google Rating.” The work is more complex than I can explain in a few sentences, but to sum up, you are basically helping to ensure that major search engines like Google and Bing are providing the absolute best results possible for every search query typed in.

People who tend to excel at search engine evaluation are usually very internet savvy, good at doing online research, and well-versed in popular culture.

Some reputable companies to consider for search evaluation include Leapforce, Lionbridge, and Appen.

3. Freelance Writing

Freelance writers take on writing assignments from either personal clients or through content sites, blogs, and so forth. The great thing about freelance writing is that it’s one of the most flexible non-phone jobs out there. You can work any time of the day or night and take as many breaks as you need provided that deadlines are met.

Two companies that are almost always accepting new writers are Textbroker and Demand Media. However, you’ll earn the most money as a writer if you work to find private clients so you can set your own rates.

4. Transcription

Transcribers listen to audio files and type what they hear. While this may sound easy enough, it actually requires a lot of patience and concentration. Simply put, not everyone is cut out for it. It’s one of those things you just have to try out and see if it’s a fit for you.

The three most common types of transcription are general, medical, and legal. General is the easiest type of transcription to break into as a beginner because many companies will consider you with no past experience.

Verbal Ink, Focus Forward, and Quicktate are a few reputable companies with regular openings.

5. Test Scoring

As a remote test scorer, you’ll be scoring student’s standardized tests and essays. This is usually project-based work. In most cases, you’ll need at minimum a college degree to qualify. Some companies may require that you have a teaching degree, too.

Reputable companies that frequently have home-based scoring openings include Pearson and ETS.

6. Virtual Assisting

Virtual assistants have clients who need help with day to day things and provide that help — virtually. While it’s true that there are many virtual assistants who do phone work, not all do.

Most virtual assistants have different skill sets and the work they do will revolve around these skills, such as writing, graphic design, or social media management.

Some well-known companies that regularly hire virtual assistants include Fancy Hands and Worldwide 101. You can also go into business for yourself as a VA and get some private clients. That’s usually the most lucrative route.

As you can see, there are plenty of non-phone options in the work from home world! Hopefully these suggestions will have you doing some serious thinking about which industry you should pursue for non-phone work and be well on your way to getting started.

What about you? Do you have a non-phone work at home job you love?

Anna Thurman is a work at home mom and blogger. She’s been researching and writing about work from home jobs since 2010. Her findings are published via her website, Real Ways to Earn.

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You Might Be Frugal If…

you might be frugal if

Guest post from Jody:

You Might Be Frugal if…

You are wearing the same shirt in all your family’s vacation pictures – for the past four years.

Your family’s favorite part about going to Chuck E. Cheese is searching under the machines for stray tokens that other kids have dropped.

You plan road trips to hit the Sam’s Club and Costco stores at peak sample hours.

You tell your mother you are going to take the train to the family reunion, and her first instinct is to gasp and say, “You aren’t going to take a boxcar are you?”

You go to the grocery store and the employees ask you what the best deals of the week are at their store.

You wince to pay full price for something at the thrift store.

You don’t call a repairman when something breaks, instead, you look up a YouTube video on how to fix it.

You have an entire shelf of free dental floss, but you still reuse it.

You read Crystal’s book, which says, “I won’t teach you how to use dryer lint” and have a serious thought, “Dryer lint. Now that’s something I never thought of… I wonder if I could…”

What would you add to this list?

Jody might be frugal – since she can put a check mark next to each of the statements in the above “You Might Be Frugal” test :)

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5 Tips to Save on Traffic Tickets

traffic tickets

Guest post from Rosemarie of The Busy Budgeter

Disclaimer: This is an opinion article about saving money and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for legal advice.

As a personal finance blogger who has spent the last 9 years working as a police officer, I’m in a unique position to shed some light on how you can save money on traffic tickets. This is also a good guide to refer to if you have a teenage driver who has received a traffic ticket.

The most important thing to realize, whether it be you in this situation or someone that you’re trying to help, is that everyone makes mistakes. Getting a ticket doesn’t make you a bad driver or a bad person. No one is perfect. Rules exist for a reason though, and tickets do need to be issued to ensure that our roads are safe.

I get asked constantly how to “get out of” a ticket. While there is no surefire way to “get out of” a ticket, I thought this would be a good post to give you the best shot of having a ticket end in a favorable decision for you.

It’s important to note, that this advice is for minor traffic tickets. I’m not covering serious offenses, misdemeanors, felonies, driving while intoxicated, and any offense that carries the possibility of jail time with this guide.

Your best chance at minimizing the financial impact of a traffic ticket is by following these 5 tips:

#1: Follow the rules.

The easiest way to avoid ever getting a ticket is to abide by all traffic laws. It’s an almost foolproof plan!

Pay attention to the rules of the road, wear your seat belt and take the laws seriously. Never drink and drive. Put your phone down while you drive.

I can tell you in all seriousness, that a traffic ticket is not the worst thing that can happen if you violate the law. At the end of the day, we want everyone to arrive alive at their destination.

#2: Be polite.

If and when you are pulled over, try to understand that the officer or trooper is simply doing his or her job. Just like in many jobs, law enforcement officers have a little bit of discretion.

Most likely, if you are being pulled over for a violation, you will get a ticket. However, there is a small chance that you can avoid the ticket by being polite and courteous to the officer.

On the opposite side of this, there is a better chance that you will receive a ticket if you are rude and angry. If you feel that you were pulled over in error, this doesn’t mean that you have to admit to something that you don’t feel you did.

You should just communicate in a way that shows respect and courtesy. The time to argue is not on the side of the road.

#3: Go to court.

There are a few rare instances where going to court may not make sense. For instance, if the ticket is a pre-payable (a “non-moving violation” with a low fine amount that doesn’t carry any points on your license) you may want to pre-pay if it would cost you money to get the day off of work to attend court. In almost all other situations though, you should attend court.

This gives you a chance to show the judge that you’re taking the ticket seriously and gives you an opportunity to speak in your defense. In 9 years, I’ve never seen someone penalized for coming to court, and I’ve seen countless cases of people given a break for coming to court.

Dress appropriately (clean jeans and a nice shirt are fine). Make sure to treat the judge with just as much respect as you did the officer.

#4: Accept responsibility.

As long as you believe that you did commit the violation you were charged with, and you don’t plan on getting an attorney (who may not want you to admit fault if it’s a case he/she is representing you in), I would recommend honesty in this situation.

Apologize for the mistake, bring proof of a good prior driving record, and show that you’re taking the ticket seriously.

If speed was a factor in your ticket, get your speedometer calibrated from a local auto shop. Often if your speedometer was incorrect, that can help you in court.

Under no circumstances, should you ever admit fault in a situation that you believe you were not at fault in.

#5: Ask for the outcome you hope to have.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the outcome that you would like. An outright dismissal of the charges may be unlikely, but reducing the traffic ticket to a non-moving violation, asking to attend traffic school in lieu of a conviction, or asking to have the fine waived are all possibilities.

With a good prior driving record, and following the first four steps, getting an outcome like this is very possible. If a favorable outcome doesn’t happen under these circumstances, there probably isn’t anything else that you could have done.

If you’re looking at a serious violation, like a misdemeanor or any violation that has the possibility of jail time, consider consulting an attorney to determine the best course of action.

Have you ever had a traffic ticket? What was the outcome?

Rosemarie Groner is a formerly stressed, overworked and exhausted mom who loves blogging almost as much as she loves brownies. She writes at The Busy Budgeter about how she used the free Ultimate Money Saving Workbook to reduce their spending enough to be able to quit her job, stay home with her kids and then found way to make up her salary at home. She’s still working on the cure for exhaustion.

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4 Signs You’d Make a Great Transcript Proofreader… and How to Get Started

transcript proofreader

Guest post from Caitlin of Proofread Anywhere

I’ve been earning a full-time income from home as a part-time transcript proofreader since 2012.

Over the past 3 years, I’ve been asked the following two questions hundreds of times: “How do I know if I’d make a good transcript proofreader?” and “How can I get started?” To help you decide whether building a career like mine is a possibility for you, I’ve compiled a list of four signs you’d make a great transcript proofreader!

1. If your family and/or friends always make you read their stuff.

If you have always been the go-to person for your friends, family and coworkers when it comes to proofreading important documents, then transcript proofreading could make an excellent income stream for you! If you are naturally skilled with the English language, and truly enjoy spotting those irritating grammar mistakes in other people’s writing, you’d probably be a natural at transcript proofreading.

2. If all the office marketing materials have to go through you first.

Lots of proofreaders get their very first “jobs” at their existing workplace. Someone finds out that you have a knack for proofreading and editing, and before you know it, you’re the final stop for all important documents, e-mails, advertisements, et cetera.

3. If you can spot errors a mile away on billboards, church bulletins, menus.

You name it, you’ve seen mistakes in it, and it drives you crazy. Your natural “eagle eye” goes to work when you’re driving around town and seeing all of the obnoxious grammatical and spelling errors on billboards, signs, office pamphlets, and the like. You can’t help but twitch a little whenever you see a simple mistake on the front door of a business. Why didn’t someone catch that before they paid to have it plastered on their storefront?

Have you ever been tempted to call and let the business know that their display has the wrong version of their/they’re/there? If so, it’s a good sign you’d make a superb proofreader.

4. If you are a motivated self-starter and ready to work hard to learn a new skill.

This is the most important one! If you are no stranger to hard work, you know that no new skills come without time and practice. If you’re willing to keep going when the going gets tough, then you can feel confident that you have what it takes to make it in the transcript proofreading world.

How to Get Started:

1. Spruce up your profile on LinkedIn — make sure you have a recent picture, example work, and no missing information or typos.

2. Start a blog and use it to promote your proofreading skills — especially if you enjoy writing along with proofreading.

3. Get yourself some business cards to hand out whenever the opportunity arises. I’ve even handed out business cards at a Super Bowl party!

4. Network with other proofreaders. Proofreaders sometimes get overloaded and need to refer work they can’t handle out to trustworthy peers. Use Google to find ways to meet other proofreaders (conventions, online groups, etc.) and create a business referral network among yourselves.

5. Sign up for my free 7-day intro course for proofreaders. This course will give you a solid overview of transcript proofreading, plus other avenues available in which you could make money proofreading. Any new skill takes effort to master, and if you’re game to make something of it, proofreading can become a career for you the same way it has for me.

6. If you feel proofreading is truly your calling, the next step is to enroll in Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice, my intensive, all-inclusive course designed to get you from beginner status to confident transcript proofreader in just 1-3 months.

If you’ve ever been interested in working from home (or anywhere else that fits your lifestyle) transcript proofreading just might be the perfect job for you!

Caitlin Pyle earns a full-time income from home by proofreading transcripts for court reporters. She blogs on Proofread Anywhere and teaches an intensive multimedia online course called Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice, designed to prepare other “eagle eyes” for a career in transcript proofreading.

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(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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Six Money Saving (and Life Changing) Lessons from Living in a School Bus

Guest post from Katherine of Catching Eddies

When I tell people I live in a bus, I often hear, “That’s cool, but it’s not for me.” And you know what? They’re right!

Living in a bus or tiny house is not the best option for most people. In fact, even we don’t plan to live in our bus forever. Nevertheless, we have learned important lessons from tiny living that we can apply to our future.

1. Don’t rush into buying “bigger and better”.

By living in our bus as a couple, and now as new parents, we have saved money and grown my husband’s business.

There are seasons of life when one can practice certain forms of “extreme” frugal living that won’t be practical down the road. Those seasons can be times to prepare for the future.

2. Practice honest hospitality.

Inviting guests to the bus can be challenging. Larger get togethers have to wait for good weather when we can be outside, and we obviously don’t have a guest room.

However, I know I appreciate friends who say, “Come on over, we’d love to have you,” even when they are in the midst of real life, with real life mess, rather than waiting until they have the time (and money) host the perfect dinner party.

I am learning that offering what I have with love means so much more than hosting a grand, expensive gathering with the hope of impressing others.

3. Give and receive graciously.

The friends who welcomed our bus into their backyard once lived with friends while building a home. They are happy to be able to offer a similar blessing to others.

Of course, we asked how we could repay them and they requested that my handy husband help them out with projects.

Still, we recognize the gift we have received and it has driven us to look for big and small ways to give back to our community.

4. Get outdoors.

When I watch my daughter dig in the sand or splash in a lake, I am reminded that the size of our house does not have to determine the quality of her life.

City, state, and national parks and forests are places where we can spread out and run free at little cost, no matter the square footage of our homes.

I will continue to make use of those resource and support measures to keep them safe and clean.

5. Consider quality vs. quantity.

My husband has worked hard to make the interior of our bus beautiful. Therefore, living in the bus is different than living in 200 square feet of beat up travel trailer.

Later this summer, we are planning to build a home. We’re hoping that a good layout, simple but appealing finishing, and a bit of organization can make up for a “lack” of square footage and cut thousands of dollars off our mortgage.

6. Don’t let other people establish your priorities.

It can be hard to discern what is most important for our families, our health, and our spiritual lives. I have often mixed up my priorities by paying too much attention to what I perceived as other people’s expectations of me.

The cost of this confusion has been my own joy and contentment.

When I am able to let go of others opinions and focus on God’s calling for our family, I am a more joyful person.

How do you reflect your priorities in the way you live? Do the seasons of life affect the way you live out your priorities?

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Katherine has worked as a whitewater rafting guide, ski instructor, and wilderness trip leader, but she embarked on her biggest adventure yet when she gave birth to her daughter last August. She blogs about tiny living, outdoor adventure with kids, crafting, and micro-homesteading at Catching Eddies.

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