Ch Ch Ch Changes…

Hey friends! If you are a long-time reader, you know that I’ve been talking about upcoming changes for about a month.

Spouse and I are getting a divorce. We are separating, and we’ve told the kids. This means a few things for the blog:

I need to look for more work that pays on a more consistent basis. I love blogging, sharing deals, sharing ways to make and save money, but it doesn’t make a lot of money. Side hustles are fun and a great way to make fun money, but it doesn’t provide enough money to pay the bills.

I’ll be posting as much as I can, and I may be posting more affiliate content to try and make a little more money while I look for employment outside the house. Clicking links in my blog posts is a small way you can help me. Especially the Freebie Friday links. I get paid a few cents for every link you click through on Freebie Friday posts. It’s not a lot, but it can add up. Plus it means cool freebies for you!

I may be posting more information on helping separating or single/divorced parents to help others in my position.

I may be posting more information on helping special needs parents/parents of children on the spectrum.

I am working on some other ways to bring in passive income that I may talk about on the blog as well. I’ve started a Redbubble store– I love journals, and I’m working on a line of my own.

I’ve also started at Etsy store to sell the printables I will be working on. For years I’ve been posting about everyone else’s printables, but using the ones I’ve made myself using various programs and software.

I will probably be posting longer, detailed posts about specific ways to save money.  I may also be sharing more deals and hauls on Social Media. Please follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, if you haven’t already.

I really appreciate my readers and social media followers. Without you, I’m just some weirdo posting photos and shouting into the void of the internet.

Time to Buy a New Laptop (With Gazelle)

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Last year or so, our desktop died (video card). I took it to the magical wizards at our local Apple Authorized repair shop and the very nice dude looked at my (at the time) 8-ish-year-old computer and said.. “Ma’am, I can’t fix that. Apple doesn’t make parts for it.”

In the meantime I’ve been using a laptop a friend loaned me. It’s time to rejoin the 21st century and buy a new laptop. As much as I appreciate the loaner, it’s older, and I need something faster and with a functioning webcam.

So I’ve been looking online. First, of course, I went to Amazon, because, well that’s where most people start these days. Honestly, I do not want to buy a laptop on Amazon. I bought an iPad through them last year and after 6 months, it died. I had insurance, so they replaced it for free, but it was a pain in the tuchus.

I remembered that Gazelle sells refurbished laptops! So, I took a look at their website. In addition to phones and tablets, you can sell and buy laptops through Gazelle!

And if you are a new customer, you can receive $20 off your first purchase of $200+ on Gazelle using Coupon Code AFF21NEW.

There are a few great options for my laptop needs, so I’ll be making my choice in the next week or so. I am so looking forward to a new laptop!

If you aren’t looking for a laptop, but a phone, check out this deal! Get $75 off Galaxy Note 20, 10+, 10; $50 iPhone 12, 12 Mini, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max; and $25 off iPhone 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XR at Gazelle (Through 4/12/2021)

I’ll update y’all as soon as I make a choice. I’m really looking forward to having something new (to me) that’s all mine. And if you have any recommendations on where to get a laptop, I’m all ears!

Making Money as a Blogger or Influencer

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

As part of my New Years Resolution, I have joined a lot more blogger/influencer groups online to expand the number of blogs I read and also try to increase my engagement (that’s people reading and interacting with my blog and social media accounts). One question I see over and over is from new bloggers, and more and more, new influencers (those who microblog or vlog on Instagram or TikTok but don’t have a written blog like this one): HOW DO I MAKE MONEY??

That’s a valid and important question. I wanted to share some of the ways I make money or get free products. For those of you who aren’t bloggers, vloggers, or influencers this may be an interesting read to see how bloggers actually make money.

I don’t make a ton of money blogging, but it’s enough to pay for any promotions or contests I run, buy crafts supplies for the events I host (in pre-covid times), and my website hosting fees. I don’t blog to make tons of money, I blog to share my journey through parenthood and my frugal skills with others. That being said, it is nice to make a little extra money sometimes.

Most of these links are referral links, so I will either receive a bounty/commission if you sign up through my links.

Affiliate Networks:

  • ShopHer– Formerly MySavings. They have campaigns (pay per click, sign up) that change frequently, in addition to printable coupons and free sample offers.  Sometimes they have sponsored posts available too. Minimum pay out $50.
  • Shareasale– They partner with hundreds (maybe thousands) of companies and brands. Search for a company, apply, and once approved, start posting their deals and you’ll earn a percentage of what you sell.  I post deals from Mabel’s Labels, Craftsy, and Cents of Style. Minimum pay out $50.
  • Massive Sway- A completely different type of network. Massive Sway works with brands and PR companies to bring you campaigns to share on your blog and across social media platforms. Each campaign has it’s own set of posting rules and pay out amount. You apply for campaigns that interest you. Each campaign has either a set price or they let you pitch what you feel the campaign is worth to you.

PR Companies: I work with a handful of local (So Cal/West Coast) Public Relation groups to help local businesses, media ventures, movie premieres spread the word. I also review or share products. It’s a lot like Massive Sway above. Sometimes with PR companies it’s in-kind work, so free movie tickets and concessions, swag, or items to review and some to use as a giveaway.

Amazon: When you are writing about products that you use or like, you can link to the items on Amazon and when people click the link and buy the item, you receive a commission. Sometimes there are also bonus programs where you will receive a flat “bounty” (aka commission) if someone signs up for Prime- It’s usually $5.00

Tomoson: This is a company that works with brands to find influencers to share products (sometimes services too). Mostly social media sharing, but also blogging opportunities. Sometimes you can get free stuff, sometimes it’s discounted (and we’ll talk about this in a minute), sometimes you’ll get paid just to distribute content. BUT- Watch out, there are still companies and brands that want you to buy their product on Amazon with a coupon code and review the item (positively, of course) on Amazon. This is against Amazon’s TOS, and you can get your account wiped. That’s a nice way of saying the remove most or all of your reviews and revoke your ability to leave reviews on anything in the future. NOT WORTH IT!!

HeartBeat: This is a great one- It’s all on Instagram! I’ve done a few campaigns for them, and I have received free products in addition to payment. It’s quick work too. Anyone with an Instagram account can join! They tend to be more focused on influencers in the 18-30 age range.

If you are looking for just free stuff in exchange for social media shout-outs, check out this post on Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing is a perfect way to start out when you are dipping your toe in the Influencer world.

Instagram: If you have an Instagram account, no doubt companies have “slid” into your DM’s offering you a discount (usually 10-30%) for one of their products in exchange for free promotion/mentions on your Instagram account. Personally, unless it’s something that I need or have had my eye on for a while a 10-30% discount isn’t enough of a deal to persuade me.

Discounts vs. Free items (also called in-kind) vs. getting paid cash

A lot of people getting started in the blogging world want to make a go of it as their full time job, and I think that is awesome. It’s a lot of work.

If that is you then it is my opinion that you should go to as many gigs that pay cash as possible. Cash pays your bills, keeps your light on, a roof over your head, puts food in your belly.

A 20% discount on a pair of $200 earrings from some company that pitched you on Instagram through your DM’s does not.

I like partnering with brands that can help me stretch my budget. I love talking about cooking and food on the blog and my socials. I’ll work with food companies any day of the week if they can meet what I need. I need to make X amount of money, or receive X amount in their product to compensate. That helps me stretch my grocery budget, gives me content, and helps spread the word about their awesome nummy noms (whatever they sell).

Maybe food isn’t your thing. Maybe beauty products, or clothing. Whatever your niche is, know your price. Know your worth. In the beginning, when you first start out, don’t feel bad taking smaller contracts, smaller promotions. It’s all about getting established and finding your voice. That’s why I like ShopHer and ShareaSale. There are always things I can post or write about and earn money.

And don’t feel like you need to be posting monetized content 24/7. Most of what I post isn’t. It’s recipes, opportunities for my readers to make money, save money, tricks/tips.

If blogging/vlogging/infuencing isn’t going to be your sole source of income, or you just want to have fun and score free/discounted stuff- That’s cool too. Do what makes you happy!

Talk Back: If you have questions about blogging or making money, or if want to share a success, please leave a comment! I love helping and celebrating in the success of other Bloggers/vloggers/influencers!

 

 

 

First Week of College, and Beyond!

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I survived the first week of college! After ::cough 17 years cough:: a long time, it’s quite an adjustment getting back into the swing of studying, doing homework, and all of the other things that go into being a mom, wife, blogger/Influencer, and special needs advocate for my big kiddo.

I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me, and the family adjust to the change.  It’s just two classes, but that’s 10-12 hours a week of studying, reading, and homework outside the classroom, and that time comes out of the time I previously spent with the kids, working on the blog/social media, petting the cat, ya know, mom stuff.

Bitty is now going to preschool two days a week. Our city’s Parks and Rec department has a drop off preschool two days a week. It’s approximately $150 for 8 weeks, which is a great price, and she is in a class with 13 other kiddos her age, several of them she knows from her daily visits to the local YMCA Child Watch. While she is at preschool, I have three hours to work on school work. It’s amazing to be able to read and work on my homework in peace. If you need a few hours to get work done, check your local Parks and Rec department for this type of preschool.

Family: As someone who has family nearby, having my family able to help out with school pick ups and therapy drop offs, it is a Godsend. My parents, brother and sister-in-law have really stepped in and helped us with the kids and house. Last week Miss Sally (my car) needed new front and rear brakes, and two new tires. Thanks to my Sister-in-law, niece, and my parents I didn’t have to walk home with Bitty (5 miles with a 3 year old- No thanks) or call an Uber.

Schedule: As a family, we have a shared calendar on iCal, in which I put all of the kids appointments, weekly commitments, birthdays, deadlines. In addition, I also have a calendar (this one) in the master bathroom on my cork board. Yes, I have a cork board in the master bathroom next to the vanity, so we can see whats on the schedule for each day.  Having everything in the palm of my hand (on my phone), and in a place that is visible to us (calendar) has really helped keep us focused and on task.

Remembering my Skill-Set: I’m not reinventing the wheel here. To maximize my productive time, I make sure to use my previously honed skills: Meal Planning, Meal Prep, setting out everyone’s clothes the night before, making lunches the night before, organizing areas of the house to help us get out of the house in the morning on time.

So while you may see less blog posts until I get in the full swing of it all, but I’m still posting on Social Media like a madwoman.

I want you all to know that it doesn’t matter what your age, if there is something you want: College, new job, more time with your family, vacation.. Do it! Change can be scary, but believe in yourself and have a plan! It might be rough at first, but stick with it.

Enough motivational speaking from me, I have homework to do!

Talk Back: What have you done recently that moved you out of your comfort zone?

Making Money Online with Social Media!

spilled-money.jpgI’m sure you’ve seen some of the Work at Home scams floating around the internet, in fact, I talk about a few of them in this post.

This post is all about making money (and/or scoring free cool stuff) via social media.

What’s your brand? Crunchy mom, Working mom, Millenial, Xennial, Stay at home mom, DINK, LGTBQA+, Latinx, Green living, a combination of the above, non of the above? Did you know that you are your own brand, and what you post about online is of interest to larger brands and PR companies.

These companies are looking for unique voices and viewpoints to promote their products and services. Sometimes it’s for free products, sometimes money, sometimes both! This is known as Micro-Influnced marketing. What is a Micro-Influencer? Mavrck says, “Micro-influencers are everyday consumers who have 500 – 5,000 highly engaged followers around relevant topics.” Most of you reading this fit this description and didn’t even know it.

That’s awesome, you are thinking, but how do I seek out opportunities?

Here are a few companies that I use:

Tomoson: This is a company that works with brands to find influencers to share products (sometimes services too). Mostly social media sharing, but also blogging opportunities. Sometimes you can get free stuff, sometimes it’s discounted, sometimes you’ll get paid just to distribute content, sometimes you’ll get paid. BUT- Watch out, there are still companies and brands that want you to buy their product on Amazon with a coupon code and review the item (positively, of course) on Amazon. This is against Amazon’s TOS, and you can get your account wiped. That’s a nice way of saying the remove most or all of your reviews, and revoke your ability to leave reviews on anything in the future. NOT WORTH IT!!

HeartBeat: This is a great one- It’s all on Instagram! I’ve done two campaigns so far, and I have received free product in addition to payment. It’s quick work too. Anyone with an Instagram account can join!

If you are looking for just free stuff in exchange for social media shout outs, check out this post on Word of Mouth Marketing. Word of Mouth Marketing is a perfect way to start out when you are dipping your toe in the Influencer world.

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you click on links or make purchases. However, I only post about stuff that I like and use for my family.

 

Make Money while Blogging

file0001174273310.jpgI get asked a lot how do you make money blogging. I was talking to a couple influencers at Influential Summit last weekend, and I decided that it was time to sit down and make a list to share.

There are several ways that it can be done. Here are just a few ways that I make money blogging.

I don’t make a ton of money blogging, but it’s enough to pay for any promotions or contests I run, buy crafts supplies for the Craft Mondays I host, and occasionally a trip to Starbucks for coffee and a breakfast sandwich. I don’t blog to make tons of money, I blog to share my journey through parenthood and my frugal skills with others. That being said, it is nice to make a little extra money sometimes.

Most of these links are referral links, so I will either receive a bounty/commission if you sign up through my links.

Affiliate Networks:

Escalate Network– My least favorite affiliate network, they have campaigns (usually pay per click/sign up) that change frequently and printable coupons. Minimum pay out $25.

ShopHer– Formerly MySavings. They have campaigns (pay per click, sign up) that change frequently, in addition to printable coupons and free sample offers.  Sometimes they have sponsored posts available too. Minimum pay out $50.

Shareasale– They partner with hundreds (maybe thousands) of companies and brands. Search for a company, apply, and once approved, start posting their deals and you’ll earn a percentage of what you sell.  I post deals from Mabel’s Labels, Craftsy, and Cents of Style. Minimum pay out $50.

Massive Sway- A completely different type of network. Massive Sway works with brands and PR companies to bring you campaigns to share on your blog and across social media platforms. Each campaign has it’s own set of posting rules and pay out amount. You apply for campaigns that interest you. I am unsure of any minimum payout.

Many companies have their own Affiliate or Tell-a-Friend Programs. If there is a website that you want to recommend, check out their site and see if there is a “Refer a Friend” page. Schoola has one that I like. When friends click on my link and sign up, they get a free $10 to spend, and once they place an order, I get $5 or $10 to spend too. It’s a win-win deal! All kinds of website have referral pages. I love that Zaycon Fresh (a company that sells farm fresh meat in bulk) offers $5 for new referrals and you earn $1 every time your friend orders!!)

There are tons of Affiliate programs and Refer-aFriend programs. Just check your favorite websites and shopping portals.

Other:

Amazon– When you are writing about products that you use or like, you can link to the items on Amazon and when people click the link and buy the item, you receive a commission. Sometimes there are also bonus programs where you will receive a flat “bounty” (aka commission) if someone signs up for Prime- It’s usually $5.00

Social Platforms- If you area blogger or influencer, make sure that your social media platform profiles reflect that. Here is a screenshot of my Instagram Profile:

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Remember that these social media platforms are a representation of who you are, so if you’ve embarrassing or unflattering photos, you might want to hide them! Brands will research you.

If you aren’t a blogger or influencer, there are still ways to make a little extra money. I wrote about my side hustles here and here.

 

Getting Ready for Influential Summit!

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I’m hoping this is the view I’ll see tomorrow from the hotel the conference is being held at!

If you follow me on Instagram, I just posted a picture with the two makeup looks I am contemplating for tomorrow.  Tomorrow a bunch of bloggers, social media influencers, and brands are getting together in Carlsbad, CA (home of Legoland) to meet, learn, and chill at Influential Summit.

I’m looking forward to a day of learning and ADULT CONVERSATION!!  For those of you who don’t work from home, being a work at home or stay at home parent can be very quiet. Well, you’re frequently not quiet (“Put down the cat”, “No, we aren’t watching Octonauts for 6 hours today!”, “Do you have to go potty?”, etc.), but what’s lacking is adult conversation.

I won’t be posting much tomorrow blog-wise, but check me out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for pictures and posts about everything I’m up to! And I’ll be hanging with Brooke from Crying Out Loud.  By the way, if you haven’t checked out her latest post on ways to score free and cheap grub at Chick-Fil-A, you need to get over there and start reading tout suite.

A new chapter!

Everything in life changes, it’s true. To that end, because of all of the changes coming up in my life, I have decided to turn a new page in my blogging career.

I feel as though over the past year I have gotten away from my roots, my raison d’être. Instead of helping others on their savings journey, I was posting mindlessly about deals, sales, and products I didn’t care about and was not invested in.

Why? Well, to be honest, I was caught up in the thrill of trying to earn some money and give myself some sense of importance. I guess I needed to prove that I was more than just a “mommy blogger” (which btw- I really mislike that term, like all things that parents do- regardless of their gender- they are more than just their career or hobby), I was a serious entrepreneur. So, to do that, I was trying to monetize anyway I could.

In the end, it only ended up hurting myself and my family. I spent hours in front of the computer, posting deals and coupons for stuff I’d never buy or use, or honestly, couldn’t afford. When I really should have been playing trains with Lil’ Man, doing crafts or coloring, or spending family time bonding and having adventures doing stuff we like to do.

So what will this new blog be about? Well, for one, our family! Activities we like to do, places we like to go, recipes, crafts, and what really fuels my passion: tips and strategies to help YOU save money, live frugally, and have the type of lifestyle you want to have WITHOUT breaking the bank.

And for the most part, this blog won’t be monetized. I will be posting about my E-book, once I get it published on Amazon, but that will probably be the end of the monetization (for now). I will definitely keep up the product reviews, as long as they are relevant to my family and our life. I love sharing fun stuff!

 

So Welcome to the Hewes Family Fun Blog!