Living out in the middle of nowhere and also having no urge to go anywhere to actually shop leads me to do the bulk of my shopping (both actual purchases and window shopping) online. And of course, there’s no easier way than right in the Amazon app on my phone.
I have shopped so much with Amazon over the last who knows how many years that I have carefully crafted wish lists. Things that are for me, things that are for business, Kindle books that I want to read, things that are for my school babies, lists for each of my children, and lists for different events in my life.
These lists are great to refer back to when someone asks me what I’d like as a gift, or when I need a gift idea for someone else in my life. I absolutely love my Amazon wish lists, they are a lifesaver!
Things I would love to have from each list
As I go about different projects, I make sure to add items so that not only I can go back and purchase, but so that I can also hint to my husband to purchase. He probably never reads this blog, but he would tell you that my hints are much more like a sledgehammer to a pinky toe, I bombard him with links when I know he is getting ready to look for gifts.
I love love love a thermal printer. I have one already and it makes shipping for my business a breeze, as well as creating labels for my booth and craft shows. The one and only thing I do not like about it however is that it does not connect to my phone, so I have this one on my wish list to purchase next time I have spare cash, or the next time someone asks me what I want for my birthday, Christmas, etc.
Back to school
With me starting back to school in a few weeks, I am looking for ways to stay organized, and I am OBSESSED with this binder. Seriously, if someone bought it for me, I would be over the moon. I am going to attempt to get it for myself soon, but I am really trying hard to not spend more money than absolutely necessary until I find out if I am getting any financial aid.
For my school babies
I have a list for my school babies that I share every so often. Currently it has black notebook paper and silver gel pens on it because one of my babies at school has discovered a new love for writing, but ONLY with black paper and gel pens. I also have tons of other fun life skills items on there as well as some Ag class things, but thankfully we’re getting pretty stocked on these items and should have plenty for next year.
I could probably share a million other things on my different lists, but I don’t want this to turn into a post where it looks like I’m begging for things, because I’m not; I just really like sharing some of the cool things that I find when I’m window shopping in my free time.
Things I order repeatedly
Have you tried Amazon subscriptions? This is one of my favorite ways to save money as well as make sure that I never run out of some of my essentials.
I cannot live without coffee. This is no surprise to anyone who knows me in person. I have my k-cups automatically delivered to me every 4 weeks, and this is a lifesaver. Not only does it save me money, but I never run out. Occasionally, I have enough extras that I can skip a month of ordering, but that doesn’t happen very often.
My boys LOVE chocolate milk. This comes as no surprise to most moms. I have this HUGE jug of chocolate syrup delivered every few months and it is AWESOME. We ordered the pump for it and keep it right on the refrigerator door. It is a staple in our house. Even the little guy gets to enjoy using it.
We also order things to automatically be replenished such as toilet paper, dishwasher tablets, trash bags, tooth paste, and probably more things that I haven’t even thought of. Some of it doesn’t necessarily save money as much as it does the stress of forgetting and running out. I HATE going to the store because we ran out of trash bags and no one said anything until we’re literally hauling the last one out of the house, packed full of garbage.
I don’t know how many other people go through this, it could just be me… We go through chargers at our house like nothing else. I don’t know why. My first cell phone, I kept the same charger the entire time I had it. These days, we get a new charger every few weeks or months. It has been much more economical to purchase them on Amazon, AND these tend to last a lot longer as well.
What are your Amazon obsessions? Is there anything that you get that you just can’t live without? Leave a comment and let me know. Also, if you liked any of these suggestions, let me know that as well!
I hope you enjoyed this post. I’m really enjoying getting back online and writing for all of you these days. I promise to find something more interesting to write about in the future, although I do hope this proved useful!
In today’s technology driven world, it shouldn’t be a surprise that some of us (definitely myself) have apps that we feel as though we cannot live without. In today’s post, I will be discussing which apps I love the most and use daily (and WHY).
Navy Federal (Banking)
I obsessively check my accounts. Not only do I get notifications for literally every type of transaction that goes through any of my accounts, I also get on several times a day and look at all the activity to make sure there are no fraudulent charges and that I haven’t forgotten anything or overspent. I am not great with money, so having this at my fingertips always helps with my anxiety.
Google Keep has been such an absolute lifesaver for me. I have Keep lists for work, family, school, and just for me.
For our family, I use Google Keep for our shopping list and weekly menu. I have it set up to share with my husband and the boys, this way no one has to ask “What’s for dinner?” and we always know what we need to get from the store if one of us is close by. That is a huge time saver AND makes life a little less stressful. As a bonus, I set up reminders for myself to create a new menu each week and to re-do the shopping list during times that I know I will be at home. I also set up reminders for the shopping list that coincide for when my husband gets off work on Fridays so that he can run by the store and grab groceries.
At work, we have set up Keep lists to help with progress monitoring of some of our students, which has been a huge help for us as a team.
I also have a Keep checklist for each semester at school with all of the classes that I want to take. This is making life easy when it comes time to schedule classes. My plan is to go back in and add assignments from each classes syllabus as well, to help keep me organized.
I keep all of my to-do lists in Google Tasks. I have one for work, one for home, one for orders, one for money owed to me, and one for home improvements.
The great thing about Google Tasks is that I am able to set up recurring tasks without having to constantly go back in and re-add them. It is a lifesaver!!! It also has the added benefit of feeling like you have checked something off, which is almost as satisfying as a paper checklist. My favorite part of my work day task list is watching it get smaller and smaller as my day goes on, which helps me know that my work day is getting shorter and shorter.
Google Notes and Tasks integrate so easily into Google Calendar and helps to give me an accurate look at my day. The calendar feature also allows for an email reminder to be sent to you at a certain time each day with all of the items on your calendar.
I don’t like social media. As a matter of fact, I have it in a folder on my phone labeled “Waste of Time” because it truly is. My one exception is Pinterest… Not that it isn’t a waste of time, but it’s a waste of time that I enjoy.
I use Pinterest to look for ideas around the house, organization, and inspiration of all sorts. Probably my favorite thing is all the recipes that I find to try. I don’t like eating the same thing all the time, and there is always something new on there.
Jetpack is how I check up on my blog. I’m able to edit posts and approve comments from my phone. I can also see how many views I’m getting in real time through the app.
I’m sure most of you know about my website for my shirts. If not, go check out www.alicias.store now please! I have the Shopify app on my phone so that I can add listings and keep an eye on traffic and sales. I also get notified in real time when I have made a sale, which is an amazing feeling!
Shopify has a great invoicing and POS system, but I don’t use it. For one, I don’t put all my eggs in one basket, something that was recommended to me when I first started my business. This way, in case you somehow lose access to one, you haven’t lost access to all of your income streams.
I use Square at craft shows to ring customers up and I send invoices with it. I love that I can easily schedule invoice reminders and that I can see every time a customer views an invoice as well. That is probably my favorite feature with Square. I never was a fan of Square websites though, which is why I chose Shopify for that.
If you’re looking for a great payment processor, please check out Square and use my link here!
I love reading, but hate bringing tons of stuff around with me. With the Kindle app, I am able to keep up with my reading and go between my phone and iPad seamlessly. Because of the app, I have already read approximately 40 books this year. It helps to have the Kindle Unlimited subscription, where for less than $10 each month, I have access to so many books! I won’t lie, I love the reading insights as well. I get to compete with myself each and every day, which is the only competition I’m interested in.
My kids have informed me that NO ONE uses Pandora anymore, but that’s a lie because I do. I have playlists set up according to what kind of mood I’m in. I like to have music and no commercials while driving, so that is my favorite feature. It is totally worth every penny I pay each month. I also listen to music while designing, writing, and working on shirts, so it’s used several times a day.
I am in a constant struggle to be my healthiest self, which is where Samsung Health comes in. I have a Galaxy watch to monitor my steps, heart rate, and more. It keeps up with how much sleep I get each night, and who knows what else. This app is honestly one of my favorite things because it helps me see what gets me results with weight loss and what isn’t working. I have tried actual weight loss apps in the past, but I don’t really see any added benefit to them.
For now, that’s my favorite apps. It could change in the future, but these are the ones that keep me “sane” for now. I hope that this has been helpful to at least some of you. Thank you for reading, and please let me know what apps you can’t live without!
At 36 years old, I have made the decision to go back to school. Not just that, but to become a first-time teacher in my forties. Why? Because, well, I need to.
I always dreamed of pursuing an art degree. Straight out of high school, I started working on it, but… life happened. I met my first husband, got married, moved around a little, and had my older two boys. When we divorced, I attempted to go back to school, but it was extremely difficult to do as a single mom with little help.
A bit of a change…
At the age of 28, I began to work as a special education paraprofessional and fell in love with it. So much so that I wanted to go back to school to become a special education teacher, but… life happened. I became pregnant with my youngest son and stayed home with him until he started school.
At this point, I pushed the idea of going back to school out of my head and pretty much decided that it would never happen. Later, at 35, I was given the opportunity to start back working as a paraprofessional again, and it reignited my fire for learning AND teaching. However, I have learned that I prefer to work with older children. I would also like to share my passion for art.
When I was in high school, graphic arts and drafting saved me and kept me in school. I would like to pass this gift on to future generations while making my classroom inclusive to children in special education that might otherwise not be included in such electives.
One thing that I have learned in my working as a paraprofessional is that things have to change. The mindsets of teachers and students need to be shifted to include all kinds of minds, and there is no better way to do that than to lead by example. Some teachers just aren’t sure of how to accommodate students with different needs, and that needs to be demonstrated more.
I am so excited knowing that I will be starting school again in two months! I will have my associates degree finished within a year, and should have my bachelors in less that 3. After that, I wish I could say beyond that I have it all figured out, but I know that I will get there.
I am already in contact with my advisor to ensure that I have a feasible plan. This should have me off to a great start.
I have been researching better study habits and outlined important dates in my planner. In May, my courses should have a syllabus posted, and I will put all assignments in my planner and outline when to start working on each one.
A major portion of my income for the last several years has come from working craft shows. I make t-shirts, caps, aprons, tea towels, tumblers, and occasionally other cool things to sell. My sister-in-law (she sells BEAUTIFUL doorhangers) and I partnered together to do our first craft show around 6 years ago, and we’ve never looked back.
How I prep for a show
Decide what products to bring
I always bring t-shirts, but depending on what type of event I am going to, I will sometimes bring caps, and in the fall I always bring plenty of aprons and tea towels because they make great gift items. Since people aren’t as “gift-minded” in the spring, I tend to bring more items that they’re likely to buy for themselves.
Decide how many of each item
I try to bring a MINIMUM of 5 different shirt designs in sizes small through 3XL, with multiples in each size. Some vendors don’t cater to sizes larger than an XL, and they are missing out on some amazing customers.
Caps, tea towels, and aprons, I try to have between 10-20+ of each, but higher priced items like tumblers, I bring 5-10 of.
I always want to make sure that I get everything in with plenty of time to make items before a show, so I order at least two weeks before a show so that I have at least a week to get products made before the show.
If you order at least two weeks before, this should give you a week to a week and a half to get items made (some crafters prepare items all year round and they are my heroes!). I start printing transfers and doing any prep work that I can the moment that I decide what I will be bringing and I submit my blank order. This makes it easier to start making products the moment that my awesome UPS man brings them to my door.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to PRICE YOUR PRODUCTS. Even with them priced, you’ll still spend a good bit of time telling shoppers how much something is.
You can order tags, but I actually make my own using cardstock and a laser printer. After printing, I cut them using this paper cutter and even perforate the price area so that it can be easily torn off. This is great for when items are being given as a gift because then the recipient knows where it came from.
After making products, I tag them with this tagging gun. For items like my tea towels I use these hooks to make them easy to hang and display.
Sometimes an item can’t be tagged with a tagging gun. I found a great solution for that as well! I use this printer to make stickers for those items!
Pack and organize
After everything is made and tagged, it’s packed inside a tote, and then put in my trailer with our tent, chairs, and all displays. When our journey first began, we would pack everything in the back and the back seats of two pickup trucks. I am so grateful that a friend was selling this trailer, and while we are beginning to outgrow it, it has made our lives so much easier.
When we book a show and get confirmation that we were accepted, I try to always create a Facebook event for that date and start sharing it. A week in advance, I start making additional posts on other social media platforms showing a few items that will be at the show.
Bring order forms, business cards, etc.
I order my business cards from VistaPrint and have always had a good experience. It’s easy to go in and edit if necessary and reorder as well.
You can use Microsoft Word or Google to make order forms, which is what I do. If you can afford it, order carbon copy order forms for a more professional appearance. I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to start this fall as soon as I find a vendor that can affordably print some that I design myself.
After the show
Take inventory of product and stock booths
If you have another show coming up, or if you have fairly new designs that you stock in a local store, you may want to replace sizes of short or other items that have sold out. I try to make sure that when I restock at The Warehouse that I have at least one shirt in each size for each design.
Order materials for day of show orders
Any items that sold out on the day of the show and you took orders for, you want to order supplies and materials for as quickly as possible. Pro tip- I try to build shipping into my pricing structure, this way I can offer free shipping for sold out products to my customers so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on show specials. It sometimes cuts into my profits, but it makes my customers happy.
Make and ship day of show orders
I cannot stress enough how important it is to make and ship these orders as quickly as possible. These customers will follow you on social media, and if you impress them, they will definitely tell their friends. And, if you’re not quick to ship, they’ll tell that too.
Start looking for other shows
This is another case where social media is your friend. The events section on Facebook is GREAT for finding something local, that is typically not super expensive to sign up for. One great trick that my sister-in-law and I have learned is to sign up for shows as early as possible to not only save money, but also to make sure that we get accepted to really big shows that we want to do.
I hope this has helped! Please let me know if you have any questions, I would be happy to help you get started with earning extra money at craft shows.
DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, I oftentimes am able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere. Plus, when you order through my link, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff. :) Thank you, in advance for your support!.