Friday, September 27, 2019

Couponing Made Easy

Everyone loves a good bargain, but not everyone loves to sit for hours upon hours printing, clipping, cutting and organizing coupons.

Me, I love to shop, and I love a good deal. It's my passion to live frugally and bring joy to others with the deals I find. It's the sole purpose behind M&K Ultra Marketing Services, this blog and becoming an eBay seller.

I have been a couponer for years. Long before the internet made it easy to find bargains, I sat at my table cutting coupons and meal planning around my bargain shopping. Things have gotten a lot easier with digital coupons, at least I'd like to believe that.

For some, the internet made things more confusing. With so many websites, apps and advice out there it can be hard to find what works efficiently, and what is a waste of time. For this post, I wanted to bring you a good, easy way to coupon without spending hours learning and becoming overwhelmed with the insane amount of information available online. Use this as a guide and develop a system that works for you!

Getting Started

Photo: Pink Drink from Starbucks, a personal favorite

Assessing your habits

What does your family eat? What products are you loyal to? 


This may seem like a no-brainer question, but you will not get very far in your couponing efforts if you buy things your family will not eat and use. So first things first, take an inventory assessment of the products you use in your home. Maybe you have a specific type of shampoo that you swear by, or your picky child will only eat skippy peanut butter. Make a list of everything you use in your home, your favorite coffee places, your hair salon etc and highlight any product you are brand loyal to. Go ahead, I'll wait.

By now you should have a long list with a lot of highlighting on it.  Do you only shop at specific stores or are you a person that likes to shop the deals? Divide your list up into columns that are specific to your shopping habits. Excel or Google Sheets are perfect for this task, and while these steps are time-consuming to get started they will help to keep you organized, saving time and money.

As you can see from the infographic, my loyalties lie with Meijer, Walmart, Discount Drug Mart, Dollar Tree, and various thrift stores in the area.

Now for the fun stuff!

Finding the Deals

So now you have a list full of your favorite everything, head on over to your favorite stores' websites and see if they have an app for your phone and join the loyalty programs if you haven't already. 

Next, get cashback & coupon apps on your phone. These apps are tested personally and approved. 

Get the Ibotta App, Ibotta will give you cashback on your purchases. 
Get the Coupons.com App. You will be able to print coupons, clip digital coupons and get cash back on some purchases. 
Get the Krazy Coupon Lady App. Coupons, tips and invaluable information on couponing from newbies to the extreme!

Tip:
→Buy the Sunday paper for the coupon inserts.


Step By Step

If you are ready to start saving read on this step by step guide should get you on your way today!

  1. Pick a time of the day, week, or month that you want to spend a couple hours focusing on savings. I do a large trip twice a month. Meats & Staples on the first trip, and Pantry, toiletries and whatever staples we need to restock on the next.
  2. When you are ready to start working, take a good hard look at your list and compare your highlighted products to your loyalty programs, store coupons, the Ibotta app, Coupons.com, Krazy Coupon Lady and any others you sign up for in the process.
  3.  As you are scanning through, make a note in your Excel or Google Sheet on how much is saved, how many of each item you can purchase or that is required to purchase for EACH coupon/cashback you have clipped. Make sure you have clipped/selected each product on your list in the various programs.
  4. Cut out the coupons you will use from the Sunday paper inserts
  5. Print the coupons that you will use at each store you plan on shopping at. 
  6. Put printed/cut coupons in separate sandwich Ziploc baggies for each store. I suggest baggies as they are easily thrown into a pocket or purse. 
  7. Use a sharpie to label each baggie
  8. Make a shopping list! I repeat make a list!!! Divide your list by the stores you will be going to on your next trip. On your list, notate the coupons and cashback offers.
  9. Put your list for each store in the coupon baggie designated for those stores. If you don't have coupons for a store you are going to, make one and add the list in!
  10. When you are ready to shop, grab your baggies and go! 
  11. Put your receipts and coupons in the baggie it belongs to. Save your coupons for the next time you shop at that store.
  12. Scan your receipts to the apps you use and watch the cashback roll in!


Ready Set Shop!

And that's it, a super simple method to save money on your favorite products. Drop a comment of how much you have saved using this guide!

If you want to delve further into the topic, make sure to check back for more posts on frugal living and couponing! 


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Stupid Flu...

So I am sick-hooray for the flu virus going around! 

As I am working from bed, I am revising the eBay shop. I also am working on uploading a new playlist to my Youtube page about my sons' journey with Chorea. Go check stuff out while I get better and back to writing!


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Coffee Cash AKA Beermoney- Gamer Style

If you have never heard of Coffee or Beermoney, it can be rather confusing to find your way around and figure out what is real and what is a scam. Essentially Beermoney or Coffee Cash as I like to call it is tasks, surveys, small gigs and the like that you get paid to do online. It is termed after a beer or coffee because it is surely not enough to count as a stable income to pay bills but will buy you a coffee or a beer!

Personally, I loathe surveys and clicking a ton of links. An email here and there to click is one thing but I am really not interested in spending hours clicking a bunch of links or answering surveys that never end so this post only focuses on sites that will pay you to play games, do searches and watch videos.

For more information on the plethora of other ways to make Coffee Cash visit Beermoney on Reddit!


Get Paid to Play & Watch Ads

As a general rule, I highly suggest making a new email for all of these sites, this will keep your inbox from getting junked up and you will be able to only "work" when you want! Remember, you will not get rich from this-Do NOT quit your day job! 

**Note: All of these sites have been vetted by many people on the subreddit Beermoney, if something goes awry, I will pull it immediately! 

InboxDollars Play for free and enter tournaments to win money in your account. Another cool perk about this site is that you get paid for clipping and using coupons, which makes this one my absolute favorite!

Swagbucks The downside of the gaming on this site is that you do have to pay into the game. They will credit you "SB" (Swagbucks) for buying things in the game, but I already pay for my WoW subscription, so I will pass on buying these in-game items. However, they do pay you for watching videos so its a quick way to make some coffee cash with a few minutes a day.

GAIN No games to play, but some videos to watch for quick coins.

InstaGC Again no games, but watching videos adds up! 

*Stay tuned for more once they are vetted! 


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Frugal Cleaning Series- The Bathroom

The newest "craze" is going green by cleaning your home with all-natural products. Being the cool hippie mamma I am, I am all about saving the environment and eliminating toxic chemicals. However, the cost of these products is hard to swallow when you're also a frugal mamma!

I have seen a lot of companies spring up-selling "Non-Toxic, Chemical Free" products. The price tags compared to other products on the market are not at all frugal mamma friendly. So I took to the internet and found vinegar to be the most talked-about cleaning solution. There does seem to be some disagreement as to whether it truly cleans as well as a chemical such as bleach, but I was willing to give it a try.

For the sake of this series, my family and I have intentionally left certain areas of our home to get dirty enough to see a difference. In this post, we left one side of the toilet and our shower alone for a few weeks. Needless to say, I was extremely excited to get this part out of the way, although I am quite sure the teen boys were ecstatic that I wasn't yelling at them about missing the toilet every day!

So for your viewing pleasure here are some before and after pics of our first experiment in "going green".


Before


After


Before


After


Conclusion:

Not bad if I do say so myself. The pics aren't great, but I hope it shows the big difference that vinegar, water, and a microfiber cloth from the store that starts with a Wal and ends with a Mart. My bathroom doesn't even wreak of vinegar!

Experiment with this for yourself:

1/4 cup vinegar
1 bucket of hot water
1 clean microfiber cloth 

This experiment cost about $1.50, not as cheap as a bottle of bleach at the dollar store but since I can use this in any part of my house and on dishes, and it took me less than 10 min to clean my entire bathroom, it gets a Thumbs Up on the frugal mamma scale.







Thursday, September 12, 2019

It's hard out there for a hustler

Good Grief, I went on vacation and now its already fall! Kids are back in school, we were blessed with kittens and I have been doing the fall cleaning, Joys! Not.

Getting back into the swing of work has been tough, that tends to happen to the best of us when we have kids on break and crazy mom lives. Since my sons decided homeschooling wasn't for them, I am once again free during the day and have rearranged my schedule to reflect that.

As always feel free to use my method of madness to suit your own needs!

Cleaning Schedule:

Monday- Kitchen
Tuesday- Dining Room
Wednesday- Living Room
Thursday- Hallway & Bathroom
Friday- Bedroom
Saturday- Basement
Sunday- Laundry

Schedule:

10 am-12 pm Social Media Work
12 pm-2 pm Freelance
2 pm- 3 pm Coaching
4 pm-6 pm Freelance
7 pm-9 pm Coaching
10 pm- 12 am GPT

Notice I left a few time slots open? As I have mentioned in previous scheduling posts, I am not a morning person. I don't think the morning hours will ever work for me. There is also a matter of volunteer work at my sons' school, Dr. Appointments, coffee/lunch with friends, grocery shopping and showering daily.

I also take on a lot of freelance work because I like it. I enjoy breaking up my workday and doing different tasks throughout the day, otherwise, I would lose my ever-living mind. The ironic thing is that my whole business model is living and working frugally. One would think that bouncing from project to project would be considered a waste of precious time. Perhaps, but on the other hand, if it keeps me interested and I am helping my fellow humans, I am happy!

My goal is to avoid burning myself out. I take on only a few coaching clients at a time, and my freelance work is generally short term. I don't do well in "jobs" that have a boss looking over my virtual shoulder. I get bored and frustrated very easily.  I prefer gigs that I can log in and out and just make some easy money. NSA (no strings attached) gigs are much more up my alley.

The best part of running my own business is that I can mix and match and make my schedule work for me. I don't recommend quitting your "grown-up" job and jumping into a home business, but if it's your ultimate goal it can be done- Hit me up if you need help, it's what I do!










Sunday, August 4, 2019

Blanching Day

I cannot take credit for this as it is something I never even heard of before a friend told me about it but living frugally is about finding creative ways to stretch things as far as they can go. So I am always on the lookout for a new idea.

Blanching is a process used when you are going to freeze vegetables to preserve the flavor and nutrients. It is relatively simple but does require that you have freezer space, which I didn't have until I picked up a chest freezer on clearance.

You will need:


  • Freezer bags
  • Vegetables batched out for use in each meal 
  • Strainer
  • Pot
  • large bowel


Steps:


  1. Boil Water
  2. Add a batch of vegetables to blanch
  3. Set timer for 5 minutes
  4. Drain after 5 minutes
  5. Put vegetables in ice-cold water to cool
  6. Once Cool put in freezer bags and freeze

Yes, it really is that simple. Today I am blanching Carrots & Potatoes.  For the visual folks:













Friday, August 2, 2019

It takes money to make money....

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was selling insurance. I worked HARD on a very limited budget to bring in clients, and make some of my investment back from getting licensed, background checks, fingerprints, and the list goes on. I was putting in a mass amount of hours and energy and watching webinars, investing in systems that were supposed to make my business explode. It didn't. I worked, I slaved and I realized something had to give but I was still pushing forward because failing again wasn't an option.

As I was searching through more systems to spend money we didn't have to waste on, I came across a webinar where the guy bluntly said if you don't have the grand to drop on this system we don't want you, I am paraphrasing here obviously but it completely irritated me at the time. From my perspective of being burned, burned out and just ready to crawl in a dark hole, he was poor shaming. I didn't have a grand to blow on anything, we live frugally as we have one stable income, that's life for many people. In my opinion, this guy was a grade A A$$hole. 

A few days later my son fell sick, and my husband and I spent a week in the hospital with him. We were doing everything we could to stay positive that my son would pull through. He did, but not fully and we are still running back to Dr. Appointments and therapies. After the second hospital stay, anxiety and depression were at def-con 12. My world was collapsing, again. 

I spent a good six weeks just spinning my wheels and going through the motions of life, and then with a snap, at 4am my brain clicked. The A$$hole was right, I have studied the law of attraction in-depth for quite a long time. I have aligned myself with the universe, I was not at all living the life I wanted and I didn't have the money nor did I want to spend the money to pay for another system.

The final straw broke as my husband and I sat eating dinner and I mentioned that I could invest in this guy and try one more thing. My husband stared blankly at me, and said: "your heart's not in it". At that moment I felt all of the stress release from my body and I knew exactly what I needed to do. 

I needed to build M&K Ultra Marketing Services LLC to help others who feel stuck, miserable and just too damn poor to keep trying the "latest and greatest".  I decided right then and there to invest in myself and invest in others! Since then I have gotten several certifications in life and business coaching, as well as women empowerment, self-empowerment and the law of attraction. These were for ME, not to impress anyone. As my journey continues, I am honored to hold the hands of others through their own. 

The title of this posts represents a true statement. If you are going to be in business, you are going to need to invest something. Be that business cards, a domain, a website, marketing, etc. There is always a financial investment of some sort. It doesn't have to be a choice of paying utilities or buying something for the business. It can be done frugally, M&K Ultra Marketing Services LLC is living, breathing proof.

However, there is also an emotional, time and energy investment. People tend to forget about that part. My A$$hole statement for you to ponder as I close out this post is "If you're not willing to put the time, energy, blood, sweat and tears into your business and yourself, don't call me for help."


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Coaching




Are you interested in starting a home-based business but overwhelmed with all of the different options out there?

Are you still searching for what feels right? Still looking for that perfect fit for you?

Are you still spinning your wheels and spending money needlessly on programs and gadgets that don't give you an ROI?

As a Home Business Coach, I am in the business of helping you find and live your bliss. I will hold your hand every step of the way from finding the perfect fit to launching your home-based business frugally. Giving you all of the fundamental building blocks needed to be successful as a home business owner on a budget.

My program will help you:

  • Make more money
  • Spend more time with your family
  • Taking ownership of your life
  • Find  your purpose
  • Find  your niche 
  • Build the business you want

However, I do not work with everyone. I only work with clients who are serious about starting a small business, and who are ready to put in the work to build a foundation of success.

I keep my client roster small to ensure that I am able to provide individual attention focusing on each client's needs throughout my program. 

During our initial consultation, we can discuss if we are a good fit for one another and decide if we should move forward.

Get Started!

**Proof of certifications upon request

Saturday, July 27, 2019

DIY Firestarters

The best part of any camping trip is the smell of a campfire, however starting the fire can be a bit of a chore if you aren't prepared for the worst. Things like wet wood, not enough kindle and rain can easily ruin your evening.

If you plan ahead a bit and add it to your camping checklist these DIY firestarters can be a lifesaver!

You will need:

Coffee Filters 
Charcoal
Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls.



Place a piece of charcoal in the middle of a coffee filter


Wrap up the charcoal and stuff it into the empty roll


roll another coffee filter and stuff that inside leaving just a little bit hanging out so that it will be easier to reach when you are ready to light it.


And voila! You have an easy and frugal DIY firestarter! Just toss a couple of these in the fire pit, and build your fire. The charcoal will keep it going for hours! 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Oh the fun we will have...

My family has officially booked our vacation, we are going to go "cabining".  We will be staying in a cabin that looks more like a shed and is adorned with nothing more than two sets of bunk beds, a double bed, and a window air conditioner.  We have camped and we have cabined, but as we are getting older, we realize that we like having a bed as opposed to a floating tent when mother nature decides to open up the heavens and pour for hours or days.

As like with anything else, the moment the reservation was made, I gained a new project. Get us ready for a week at a family campground. My mind began to spin with lists of things that need to be handled before and during our adventure in the woods. Cabining may be a "vacation" for some but for a mom of four, it's work!

The list of lists is ever-growing but so far I have in no particular order:


  • Clean the house
  • Inventory Check
  • Shop for restock
  • Meal Plan
  • Wash linens and blankets
  • Pre-cook and freeze meals
  • Wash Camp Utensils
  • Organize, compact, pack gear
  • Make Firestarters







Inventory Check:

  • Peculator  
  • Coffee Filters
  • Paper Towels
  • Mesh Laundry Bags
  • Hanging organizer
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Paper Plates
  • Flash Lights
  • Batteries
  • Shower Caps
  • Metal Spatula
  • Metal Tongs
  • Charcoal
  • Propane
  • Books
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Fold-out Grill
  • Bowels
  • Travel Mugs
  • Ladle 
  • Roasting Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Clothing line 
  • Water
  • Camp Chairs
  • Wash Bin
  • Colander
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing Spoon
  • Notebooks & Pens
  • Bungee Cord
  • Firestarters 
  • Mallet
  • Cups
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Soap
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Toothpaste/Toothbrushes
  • Measuring Spoons
  • First Aid Kit
If this list seems like a lot it is! The camper cabin will be our home away from home for 7 days so here's to hoping I haven't forgotten anything!

Packing for a trip is so much fun, said, no-one ever...









Sunday, July 21, 2019

Living the Chunk Life..

I am naturally a hot mess, I love to pretend I can "wing it" and be a super mom but when I "wing it" the world comes crashing down.

Although just for the record, I believe ALL moms are supermoms. We have a hella hard gig!

Anywho...Back to the topic at hand...Schedules.

Schedules are perhaps the hardest things to implement in my family. Nobody likes them and getting everyone on board is like fighting a pack of wolves. In an effort to simplify my life, and therefore be as frugal as possible with my own energy and pick my battles accordingly, I had to break down my own day into bite-sized chunks.

If you have not heard of this amazing way of living you are truly missing out my friend. To briefly explain the system of chunking, it is simply to take a large task and to break it into smaller tasks that can be done quickly. For instance, if like me you have a large family and you're the dishwasher you can quickly become overwhelmed with a pile of dinner dishes waiting to be washed. Instead of standing at the sink for hours scrubbing pots, I break each load into a smaller load: Plates and silverware, cups and bowels and finally pots and pans.

Sure, I still did a buttload of dishes but I was able to see the accomplishment as each load is complete and I broke it up enough that I was able to do something else in between that did not include crying inside.

A sample daily task list (for those who like visuals) based off of my own that you can adapt and change to suit your needs would be something like this:



I clean in 15-minute intervals and work in one-hour intervals, for me, this works as I feel like I accomplish a lot more and my attention doesn't divert to yet another mess to clean up. Notice how I break up cleaning because I hate it?

You can do chunking with any aspect of your home or life, and if you're into the idea of timing yourself or following an exact schedule you can make that work for you too.

Another thing about me is that I am a night owl by nature, and I am not at all a morning person. I tend screw off during the day and put the hard work in at night. You may be the complete opposite, and that's OK! What works for one does not work for all, but do me a favor and don't call before 11am!😋











Saturday, July 20, 2019

Basic Chicken legs from the Insta-Pot

I broke down and bought an Insta-Pot last night, an XL version as my family is a bit bigger than most. I feel like a kid with a new toy, so I had to try it out.  ($79 for an off-brand)

I started with a super basic chicken leg roasting "recipe" that I use when I am lazy and do not feel like making fried chicken. I can be torn up and made into sandwiches, added to salads or virtually anything your heart desires. I tore up a piece and added it to some leftover Mexican, and it was delish!

The best part about this is you can freeze the chicken for a later meal or turn it into something else. You can use this for any type of chicken you make as well so it is completely versatile!


As you can see, I started with some spices from my cabinet. Again, you can choose whatever your favorites are and use more or less to taste. Sprinkle your spices over the chicken. In this case, the legs were still partially frozen.

⏩Don't forget to add a cup of water to the bottom of the pot before you add the chicken!

Once you have sprinkled the chicken with all of your favorite herbs and spices, stack them on top of the metal rack in the pot. I stacked these like a campfire! I also put a chunk of home-made butter on top.



Plug-in your pot and push the poultry button. Set the timer for 20 min. You should add more time if you are cooking it completely from frozen, at least another 5 min if not more. 

Once the pot is done cooking push the stop button and let it sit. It will naturally cool down and still be warm enough to eat!



And that's it! I made sixteen chicken legs for less than $5. 

Total cost: About $5

$4.85 for a family pack of chicken legs. 
Pennies for spices bought at the dollar store

Total time: 1 hour

Friday, July 19, 2019

Cornbread from the breadmaker



My family members like to call this corn cake because we all like it sweet!



 In a bowel mix 4 tablespoons water+ 4 tablespoons flour + 1 tablespoon shortening + 1 teaspoon baking powder or 2 eggs

Then add the mixture to a bread pan

Add in order

1 Cup milk

1/4  Cup butter cut into pieces

1 Cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Cup cornmeal

1 Tablespoon baking powder

Put bread pan into bread machine and plugin. Select 8 (sweetbread) and press start.

Alternately, you can dump the batter into a pre-seasoned cast iron skillet and bake at 450 for 20-30 minutes, just be careful to check it so it doesn't burn!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Lead Generation made simple-A free report written by yours truly!


Lead Generation made simple
A free report written by Mandie Cleary
MK Ultra Marketing Services LLC

No part of this report can be sold or altered. It is a free report and does not provide any income claims. You are welcome to redistribute this to your prospects provided it is not altered in any way.
Copyright 2018

If you are reading this you are probably in a Direct Sales, Network Marketing or some other similar role that you need to recruit team member or a downline and have burned through all your friends and family. If you are like many people you have tried everything to break the 9-5 J-O-B cycle, spending countless hours and dollars and making pennies.

What if I told you there was a better way? At this point, I can read your mind-something along the lines of, “yeah right?!” That’s ok, you have no reason to believe me. Like you, I am a work at home parent, paying bills and running a silly blog to help people live their bliss in life. If my system doesn’t help you, you have lost nothing but the time it took to read this report, all I ask is an open mind-not an open wallet!

I have watched hours upon hours of “free” webinars, read a plethora of books and reports on marketing techniques and methods to make mad cash overnight. Often, there is a gimmick, someone trying to sell a system. The same system that marketers have used for generations, Relationship Marketing.

Essentially the whole point of relationship marketing is to build a relationship with your prospect, gaining their trust and eventually they will buy. What these fancy Schmancy programs neglect to tell you is that sales are rarely closed overnight and that sometimes the sale never comes.  You can nurture a lead for years, and that prospect will never buy.

The benefit to these say internet marketing gurus selling you their “foolproof” methods to generate leads is that even though you didn’t sell anything, you still got leads and you are happy that the system worked, and they’re happy because they got paid A LOT.

On my blog, I strive to help people by presenting them with business ideas and how to operate those businesses frugally. I provide this as a free service to the work at home community, and freelance to help pay the bills. I am far from rich. However, I did spend twenty-five years in the sales industry and lead generation is a skill that I learned early on, although I loathe the idea of prospecting these days!

In that same light, the rest of this report will give you a step by step process that you can use repeatedly on any social media platform using your free time, effort, and on an “I am a single parent with rent to pay and toilet paper to buy” budget. What I will not do that those thousand-dollar programs will tell you exactly how to use tools and websites. I also will not tell you how to pitch, write ad contents, or do SEO. You will need to figure all of that out for yourself, I am not writing this to create competition for myself 😊.

Step 1:
Create a business page on Facebook and any other Social Media Platforms you plan on utilizing.
Step 2:
Figure out your target market. Are you trying to sell your product, build your downline or both?
Step 3:
Set up a free MailChimp account and create a list of prospects (buyers/downline).
Step 4:
Create a free HubSpot account and set up a landing page/call to action form.
Step 5:
Create an ad, not just any ad but an ad that will appeal to your target market. This ad should have a link to your landing page/call to action form as well as give them a reason to contact you!
**Free Tip**
Do not write an advertisement here about your business, write an ad that will help them. For instance, if you sell wrinkle cream, you want your ad to appeal to people who would use your product and should highlight the benefits of your product without mentioning the product itself.
Step 6:
Place your ad on Facebook or any other Social Media Platform. You can spend as much or as little money as you like on this.
Step 7:
Place those emails into your MailChimp list and send the requested information to them.
Rinse & Repeat

There you have it, the easiest full proof cheapest method on the internet to generate leads. As you start bringing in the cash, you can upgrade your tools and software choices. There are tons of great programs out there and more popping up every day.

Mandie Cleary
M&K Ultra Marketing Services LLC

Pardon the Dust!

Building a new blog from scratch can be fun rolled into frustration, but I hope to make this fun for myself and anyone who drops in!

What you will find here are life hacks and tips aimed at the frugal folks but helpful to everyone whose life like mine is a balancing act of epic proportions!

You will also find motivation and support to live your own bliss in life and have the opportunity to learn about various home-based businesses. As a certified home-based business coach, I love helping others to find their passions in life and holding hands while taking a leap of faith!


Finally, this blog is all about living your bliss while living frugally 😀