Cutting the Cord – Is it worth it?

Cord cutting has been a hot topic for a while now, in the cable sense that is. Every year it seems we would sit and watch that bill get higher and higher. It didn’t matter if we had cable or one of the dish companies, they all did the same. And let’s not forget the premium cable channels with their great shows! In these money-conscious days, we now live in, we are always looking for ways to save a bit of hard earned money.

 

This, as well as all other posts, may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. To see what I do and don’t promote, check out my full disclosure here

Have you thought about cutting the cord? Looking for a way to live more simply? See some pointers here to go cable free!

After paying way too much for way too long, we talked about what we could do to cut the cord. We moved up into the North GA mountains, after getting tired of the city hustle and bustle. While it definitely has its perks, we certainly had to learn some alternative options for things.  One of the biggest ones was the lack of decent cable service. With only 1 provider here, we were stuck, not only with mediocre service but at a premium price! We decided to go with DirectTV and hoped it would be a good choice for us.


DirectTV works out OK here. However we can get some wicked weather from time to time, and that can definitely affect your viewing time. One of my biggest pet peeves with it, or most of the services out there? Why the heck do we have to pay for so many channels that we will NEVER watch? There are hundreds of them, and we watch MAYBE only 10-15 of them, so why the high price for all the others? There really should be an option to let you pick a la carte, in my opinion. That, along with the high cost, definitely contributed to our decision to attempt the cord cutting, for sure.

The First Stages of Cutting the Cord.

So we began our research, looking into what our options might be if we decided to dive right into it. It turns out there are so many more options than we had even imagined! First of all, how about local channels? While we don’t watch a ton of local tv, there are times we check some shows out. Due to that, we began our look out for an antenna. Of course, like I mentioned, we are living in the mountains, with lots of trees. Because of this, we tried several different antennas, about 5 or more. Not a single one of them gave us more than 3 – 4 channels. And the only ones we got were Home Shopping and different Telemundo channels. So we decided to give up on that.

Because we have Netflix and Amazon Prime, we were less concerned about some things. But there are some shows we like that we couldn’t find on either one or at least not current episodes. I’d already binge-watched all of The Walking Dead that was available on Netflix. There are also a couple of other shows I started on Netflix, and then got caught up to DVR. Because of that, I needed certain channels!


Streaming Devices?

Of course, I had some knowledge of those streaming devices that are out there. Neither one of us was super familiar with any of them, so we started researching. There are SO many out there! Luckily my husband is a strong researcher. After looking over all different makes and models, we finally ended up with the Roku 3. It’s a great little streamer, and it even came with a free trial for Sling, which gave us some locals. But that only lasted 7 days, then we would have to pay monthly. And several of the apps had that same little snag. It seems many of the major networks had some form of one, but they are were going to add up fees.

After doing the math, looking at all the add-on fees we were about to start incurring, we realized we weren’t going to save much at all if any. Yes, I could have given up some of my shows I like, and probably should have. But it’s not like I watch a ton of TV, there are just a few I enjoy and don’t want to stop watching. We do love the Roku, however!

So did we cut the cord?

Not entirely. We DID get rid of all of the satellite boxes from the bedrooms, which included ours, the guest bedroom, and my stepdaughter’s room when she is with us. We also cut our package down to pretty much the minimum that still left me The Walking Dead. She got a Google Chromecast since she’s not much on TV, but YouTube and games. We got a 2nd Roku for our bedroom, which is great for streaming audio or general channels as background noise. Because we don’t have a whole lot of guests over, we haven’t decided on what to do with that television yet, but we will. One of the funniest things about it all is we now watch so much more TV (well it’s almost always on as background noise) and we even leave it streaming for the dogs when we are not home with them.

Have you cut the cord? Are you thinking about it?

I’d love to hear successes or even the unsuccessful attempts!

Are you thinking about cutting the cord? Simplifying your life? Saving extra money?? Read how we started the cable free living!

Biggest Mistakes Direct Sales Marketers Make

There are certainly a lot of different ways to hustle some extra money these days.  Direct Sales seem to be at the top of many lists. However, thinking you can simply sign up and money will come flowing in is one of the biggest mistakes many of them make. I am an Independent Distributor for It Works Global. Yes, I’ve made my share of mistakes, and I’m here to share some of them with you. No matter what your direct sales company is, hopefully, these tips will help you!

This post may contain affiliate links. It will also link to my It Works site. If you purchase through any of them, I will receive a commission at no additional charge to you. I only promote things I truly believe in. You can read my disclosure policy here

 

Are you in Network Marketing? Are you making these mistakes? Check out how to make your biz soar!

 

Not stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Sure, you have lots of friends on various social media platforms. Thinking you can strike it big by only going through them is one of the first mistakes DS people tend to make. Network Sales are tough, and you really don’t want to pester your friends and families with the information so much. Trust me, they’ll get really tired of hearing about that crazy wrap thing, or your awesome lip color. So reach out. It is NETWORK selling for a reason. Go out and build a network. Step out of your comfort zone. Go out and blitz in public. Reach out online in other areas you aren’t currently saturating. Find people that share your interests, then reach out. Make a connection. Be real, and be amazed at how much better you will become. You’ll also end up making some new friends along the way!

Don’t make false claims.

This should really be a no-brainer. But please don’t make the mistake of telling prospects things that simply cannot be backed up. No, the skinny wrap will not make you drop 20 lbs and 10 inches with the first application. Nope, you can’t eat all you want and sit on your butt all day and expect to drop weight, it’s that simple. No, your wrinkles will not disappear after the first application of this product. Get the picture? Instead of using false claims, why not share the information they need. Remind them results vary with every body. Everyone will have different results. Share the good parts, and leave the fluff out.

 If you don’t love it, don’t sell it.

Period. If you’ve never tried it, please don’t think you can sell it. Be a customer first before diving into Network Sales. Please don’t just see something that looks cool and think you can make a ton of money selling it. I hope I don’t need to include this one, but I have seen it happen way more often than it should. If I were a vegan, I wouldn’t be selling Omaha Steaks. People will see right through you that way, trust me. No one wants to be lied to, remember? See the point above.

Do not give up!

This is probably one of the first mistakes made. You get one or 2 “nos” and decide you just can’t do it. Guess what? Nothing in this world is instantaneous. If you are looking for instant gratification, perhaps you should rethink your pursual of money making. Did you say yes the first time? Probably not, right? I know I didn’t. But I love the products, and I continue to use them while I am working as an Independent Distributor. Have I had my fair share of “no thank yous”? Ummm, yes. Plenty. I am not giving up, and I know bigger things are still to come.  Make sure to surround yourself with a great team. Keep pushing your limits and following your dreams. With that, you can do anything you put your mind to!

 

Are you struggling in your network marketing? Are you making these mistakes? Check out ways to sky rocket your biz!

12 Smartphone Apps I Can’t Live Without

Our smartphones have truly changed our lives. Does anyone even remember when phones were just for calling people? I think my dad is the only person around who still feels that way! We rely on them for so much more than that now. I’ve decided to share with you some of my absolute favorite apps. I am certain I’m not the only one who lives with my phone in my hand. Maybe you know of and use all of these already. Or maybe you’ll find some new ones to try!

This post may contain affiliate links. I never promote anything I don’t stand behind. To read my disclosure policy, click here.

 

Check out some of the great smartphone apps I can't live without!

News/Sports/Weather Apps:

    • Fox News App – I tend to stick with Fox for my news. They just seem to be the most balanced of the big networks, in my opinion of course. I can turn the alerts on or off and stream live video from it. It’s simple and to the point, which is one of the reasons I like this one over some other apps.
    • Flipboard – When I finally moved over to Android from Apple, this came pre-installed on my first phone. I wasn’t too sure about it until I looked into it a bit more. I love that you can add topics and really personalize it around what you want to see.
    • ESPN Scorecenter – Since I AM a lover of sports, and I’m not local to my favorite teams, this app comes in handy! I can check in on schedules, scores, news, etc. I can even “watch” GameCast play by play on some games.
    • The Weather Channel – While this one is not necessarily on of my favorites, I do need my weather app! I actually have the widget on my home screen. I check this app multiple times a day, not only for local weather but other places too.

Best Buy Smartphone Apps

 

Reference/Utility Apps:

  •  Evernote – I’m surprised I haven’t had this longer. I just found out about it a few months ago. This little app is a lifesaver! It’s great for jotting down ideas, making lists, and so much more. I love that I can sync it with my laptop too!
  • Whitepages – For some reason, I have been getting a lot of SPAM calls lately. I have pretty much given up answering any number I don’t recognize, and this app helps me determine if it’s a valid call or not.
  • Dictionary.com – My favorite little thing about this app is the word of the day notification I get each morning. There is an option to listen to the words if you are unfamiliar with the pronunciation. I also use it to look up alternate words from time to time.
  • IMDb – I am a sucker for seeing someone on TV or in a movie and trying to remember where I’ve seen them before. This app is great for that, but also for looking up other film/television things.
  • iPeriod – Let’s face it, I’m not always on the ball with remembering that special time. This app helps me track it, and can even set up notifications to let you know when it’s a few days out. No one likes to find it out the hard way, am I right ladies?

Join Swagbucks!
You Can Get Free Gift Cards For Shopping, Searching and Discovering What’s Online at Swagbucks.com

Money/Shopping Apps:

  • ibotta – This app is awesome. If you aren’t using yet, click and sign up. It’s super easy and payments go right into Paypal. I’ve had it for a few years, but only recently started using it more and more. You browse available rebates, click to add them to your list, buy the item, scan the barcode and receipt and the money is yours! It’s awesome to get cash back on things I’m already buying, and I love this app for that reason.
  • Walmart – Living in a small rural town, this is the only “grocery” store we have unless we drive to the next town. So it’s primarily where we do most of our shopping. The Savings Catcher part of this app has been great. All you do is scan your receipt, then wait. It searches nearby “competitors” and will refund you the difference if it finds a lower price. You can then load it onto an e-gift card, and you’re all set!
  • Swagbucks – I can’t preach enough about SB! I have 3 different SB apps on my phone, and I love that I can earn just by letting the videos play on the watch app. I can take surveys on the go, even online shopping to earn cash back. All by just going through the app. I’ve posted about Swagbucks before, and I really did pay for the holidays this year by using it!
  •  Retail Me Not – I use this one pretty often when I’m searching coupons. I love that I can use it in-store, and online. They usually have something for almost anything you’re looking for! I’ve managed to save some good money using the coupons from here. I am all for a good deal whenever I can get one!

 

Photography Apps:

Of course, I need photo apps for all the social media sharing out there, right? And there are a TON, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few of my faves, only wishing Canva would hurry up with their Android version!

  • Prisma – I simply love this app. It makes your photos turn into paintings. There are so many filters and you can dial them back as much as you want. You will end up with absolutely gorgeous photos.
  • Aviary – This is one of my favorites for straight up editing. It’s simple to use, has great filters, and produces some great pictures. I’ve been using it for quite a while, and I still seem to end up going back to it, even after I’ve tried others.
  • WordSwag – This is one of the few apps I’ve paid for. I tend to stick to the freebies. However, I do like this one for its layouts, fonts, and cool features. Not only can you make your fancy quotes and such, it will show you the “Twitter preview” area in the square template you’re probably using for Instagram!

There are many more apps than that out there. Certainly, I have more on my phone as well. I left out the basics, (all the social media ones, etc). These are some of my favorites that I use more often than any others, except those darn social media ones!

What apps are you loving right now? I’d love to hear about them in the comments?

 

Check out my this list of 12 apps that I can't live without! Shopping, making money, getting news, staying organized and more!

Budget setting & why you need to

How many times have you tried to set a budget? Did it work? Did you stick to it? If you are at all like me, or a lot of folks I know, you may have failed. Maybe once, twice, or more, am I right? I’m certainly not going to claim to be a money guru or financial genius, that would be a lie. However, I have learned a lot in the past few years that might help you if you’re struggling.

This post could contain affiliate links which could earn me a commission at no additional cost to you. 

Make a budget and stick to it! Budget setting might not be easy for everyone, but we all need it!

 

First off, let me fill you in on my poor financial past. I’ve never been good with money. Maybe because I grew up spoiled rotten. Maybe because I never had to budget. I got my first job at 16, like a lot of people my age. I worked part time just for fun. After all, I was 16, living with my parents and didn’t even have my own car. That began my downfall of spending whatever money I had on whatever I wanted. I had no idea what a budget even was, or why I would ever need one.

When I moved away to college, apparently my parents made “too much money”, so there was no financial aid for me. I did get a small scholarship, but not nearly enough to cover the whole thing. So of course, my parents paid for that too. (Like I said, I was a spoiled rotten girl). Of course, I still worked at the same place I got my 1st job, I wasn’t too far from home, so I’d go home on the weekends. I had mom’s car since I still didn’t have my own. She’d do my laundry and I’d hang out with friends.

Sometime during my 2nd year, my desire to stay in college diminished. I dropped out and moved home. I had my own car by this point, (YAY, thanks mom for co-signing) and I had a few credit cards I was lucky enough to get in college simply for being a student. AND… that’s where more problems came from. Borrow from one to pay on another, etc. I wrecked my credit so fast, it was unbelievable. Still, I never saw the need for a budget, but why?

Fast forward, (minus all the boring details where the parents paid my rent, bailed me out of financial troubles time and time again, etc.) to the future. I finally moved far away from my parents in 2011, well into my 30’s. I reconnected with someone from college, (ironically) who was living in Georgia. I’d been living in NE Ohio my entire life. We talked on the phone daily, and then he flew me down for a visit. Less than 6 months later, I was packing up and moving south! The silly thing I did was tell him I HAD to have my own apartment, I wasn’t moving in. Well, that turned out to be another time I SHOULD have budgeted but never did.

Less than 6 months down here, we moved in together, and then in 2013 we married. Still, I wasn’t the type to make a budget. He helped me clean up my credit, and I even got to buy a car, no co-signer! I was making decent money, after all, I’d been with the same company 5 years at that point. I even got to move down with a job already waiting for me. Then exactly 1 year later I wanted a better car. A brand new car, to be exact. So I got one. Did that help me budget? Nope…

I have learned that a budget is the only way that I can keep my spending in check. Plain and simple. I like to shop, and I like to spend money. My current job was a pay cut from the last one, but at least I’m not putting 70+ miles on my car a day anymore. That alone helps a lot. However, I know I still need to budget to keep myself out of financial trouble. And I have had my share of financial troubles, believe me. From a bankruptcy long ago, to even a repossession of my car, I’ve been bad with money and finances.

Start by tracking your income. Your paycheck, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. I get paid weekly, hubby is on the 15th and 30th. The best way to plan a budget is to start there. Get out paper, write it down! Find a great planner, or notebook if you need to, but put it all in writing. I’ve found if I want to stick with something, putting it in writing is my only way. There are some amazing financial budget planners floating around out there, trust me.

Next, outline your expenses. Itemize down to the last detail. Don’t skimp here, be honest with yourself and list it all. Mine looks something like this:

Expenses:

  • Mortgage
  • Car Payment
  • Electric Bill
  • Car Insurance
  • Cell Phone
  • Gas for car
  • Credit Card
  • Groceries per week

And of course these can vary, when you factor in dog food, meds for dogs, etc. But those aren’t weekly/monthly exactly, so those will have to go in another list. Obviously now, break these down by what is paid monthly, etc. And be certain to set a budget for things where you can overspend, such as groceries! Make lists and stick to them. And if you have the time/drive to clip coupons, do it! They do help. Don’t forget about your rebate apps and such too. These can all help save, while you stick to your budget.

Check out this post to learn about those apps!

Use this list to divide your paychecks and split them up so you aren’t broke one or 2 weeks out of the month. I take a quarter of my car payment out of each check so when it’s due at the end of the month, it doesn’t wipe out my entire pay for that week. If you can use this method to pay your bills, it won’t seem like you’re living paycheck to paycheck.

More than anything, I can’t stress enough, WRITE IT DOWN AND STICK TO IT! That is the absolute only way you stand a chance of sticking to anything, including a budget. It won’t be easy, and there will be times you want to stray. But don’t. Remember why you are doing it and keep it up. And after you have been successful for a bit, sock some of that money aside in savings, or in a rainy day fund.

Do you have a budget planner? What tips and tricks work for you when you are trying to stick to a budget? I’ve love to hear your thoughts!

Make a budget you can stick with and change your whole life! Read ways to stick to your budget and help save money!