Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites

Welcome to Friday Favorites! I get a lot of questions about things I like to use, so here’s a few things that have been making my life easier lately.

First, in case you don’t know me super well yet, here are a few fun facts about me:

  1. Some would call me frugal, but I prefer to call it intentional.
  2. I read a ton of reviews before I buy things because I don’t like wasting money on things that won’t improve my quality of life.
  3. I’m not afraid of investing money in quality items that save me time, stress, or bring me/my family more joy.
  4. I’m becoming minimalist (ish). I’m sick of clutter. It stresses me out.
  5. I dare to dream big. If I see a way to improve my life, I take responsibility and find a way to make it happen.
  6. No matter how healthy I want to be and how much I value nutritious food, I think the combination of donuts and coffee is one of the best things ever.

So now that you’ve gotten a peek behind the cover of Val, here are 5 things I am loving this week. These things are making my life easier, more productive, healthier, and full of more joy:

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure to learn more.

1. Stasher Reusable Silcone Food Bags

I was blessed and surprised to receive a bunch of Stasher reusable silicone food bags for Christmas last year and I LOVE THEM!

From storing half-cut produce to warming up leftovers, these bags are so handy! I hardly ever have to use throw-away plastic bags or cling wrap anymore. Plus, these make taking food on the go (an essential for frugal living and living with food allergies) so much easier.

I have the Storage (half-gallon size) and the Sandwich size and love them both. Plus, we’re taking a bunch of these on our upcoming spring break where we hit the road in an RV! These are not cheap, but they are a great investment for your health, the environment, and probably your wallet too in the long run now that I don’t have to buy all the plastic wrap and Ziploc bags anymore. If you’ve been wondering about reusable bags for food for kids lunches, I’ve been super happy with my Stasher bags.

2. Contigo Autospout Stainless Steel Water Bottle

I’m a big water bottle girl, as you can tell from my list of frugal living tips. My kids and I bring water bottles pretty much anytime we leave the house. And while I was a long-time lover of the Camelbak’s, I may be converting to these Contigo water bottles instead.

They’re easy to drink from with one hand, keep water the temperature you want for up to 24 hours, and the straw can close down completely to keep germs and dirt off. Plus, if you have curious baby hands around, the button lock adds an extra set of security to keep the lid closed.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a new water bottle so you drink more water and buy less bottled water, I’ve been loving my Contigo water bottle.

**BONUS** It’s on SUPER SALE right now at 50% off! Right now you can snag this water bottle for just eight bucks!

3. PUROAST Low-Acid Organic Vanilla Coffee

Plain and simple: This coffee is ah-mazing! I And I’ve been drinking my fair share this week.

The vanilla flavor is rich and delicious. Because it’s naturally-flavored with real vanilla (not artificial flavoring) it’s not fake tasting at all. The low acid works much better for my tummy. It has loads of antioxidants. And it’s organic, yay!

If you’ve been wanting a flavored coffee that’s naturally flavored or if you’ve wanted to try a lower acid coffee, this is my absolute favorite. I usually find a much better deal on this coffee at Vitacost, but if you’re an Amazon loyalist, you can Subscribe & Save to a little better price and keep the coffee coming to your doorstep every month.

4. Instant Pot

I have no idea why I waited so long to get an Instant Pot. I was happy with my slow cooker and didn’t think I needed another kitchen gadget…

However. the curiosity of the Instant Pot Loving Community got the best of me last Black Friday and now I totally understand why. I use my pressure cooker several times per week, almost daily! There’s a reason this Instant Pot has over 31,000 awesome reviews!

Since I like cooking and preparing our food at home but do NOT like babysitting the stove or oven making sure things don’t boil over or burn, the Instant Pot and I get along well. Dump the ingredients, push the button, and walk away. I have this Instant Pot and as I’ve been preparing food for our week vacation on the road, this baby has definitely made my life easier. **BONUS** This baby is $20 off today too. Seriously? It’s like Amazon is in my kitchen right now!

5. Brandless Coconut Oil

I use coconut oil every day and as I’m packing for our trip, the size of the Brandless coconut oil is perfect!

Not only is it a great deal for organic coconut oil, but it’s a smaller container. Sometimes I buy coconut oil in bulk (54 oz) because that’s the oil we use for pan frying and baking, but I definitely don’t have room for or need a giant tub of coconut oil in our RV.

But big tubs of coconut oil are not handy for packing to go camping or keeping in the bathroom for moisturizer or toothpaste like I do. So I am super grateful I have this perfect-sized container to take a long. You can read more about the Brandless products I love in my Brandless review.

Friday Favorites – That’s a Wrap

I hope you enjoyed getting a peek into those things that have been worth spending money on for me because they’ve made life just a little better.

What things have been amazing your life just a little easier, less stressful or more enjoyable? I’d love to hear what things you’ve been loving lately, big or small.

Cheers to Smarter Shopping & Your Best Life,

How to Make Money on the Road with Kids

How to Make Money on the Road with Kids

Ever wonder how to make money on the road when you have kids? I know I have wondered if this is truly possible. So I checked in with the folks at Outdoorsy to see what this RV living is all about.

Traveling in an RV is exhilarating and relaxing as you can explore new destinations and return to the comforts of a hot shower and comfy bed at the end of the day. This comfort and flexibility combined with families disconnecting to reconnect with one another in life is seeing many families take extended trips or even move into an RV full time. The wide variety of styles and sizes of RVs make them perfect for families on the road. It is so tempting to live on the beach for a while and then head off to the next destination and let your children explore. Taking the steps to make that a reality seems overwhelming and many people stop at the daydream.

The most common question asked when it comes to full time RV living is how do you make money while on the road? As with any lifestyle, the nuances of life on the road will dictate to some degree the options you have for making money. Your skillset, distance and access to basic communication services can all play a role. When you throw kids into the mix then you may have the extra restrictions of limited mobility away from the RV to contend with. Here we will look at some options to make money while on the road with kids.

ways to make money traveling with kids

Balance and Flexibility

If you are not traveling alone and your spouse can stay home with the kids or you can balance childcare, then you have many more options for making money on the road. Even if your spouse also has to work outside the RV, you can stagger shifts so that someone will be home with the kids when necessary. Workamping, traveling medical positions and working jobs for local temp agencies are all great options which can provide good steady income while on the road.

Attractions, RV resorts, playgrounds and nature hikes are often just steps away which is great to get the kids out of the RV for a while so it can serve as an office for almost any work at home job. A long hike, exploring or visiting a local attraction and then a snack will give a good chunk of quiet time for phone calls, correspondence and other work. If leaving the RV, or the kids, is not going to work for your family, there are still many great options out there. Many parents find altering their hours is a great way to work while still spending lots of time as a family. Working for a few hours after everyone is asleep is the perfect solution, especially for parents who are night owls anyway.

Working from the road is not that much different than working from home. When you cut out the time it takes a typical person to prepare for work, travel to their workplace, as well as coffee breaks, lunch breaks and travel time home, that adds up to a lot of time left to enjoy the RV life from whatever destination you choose. There are also options for work that is unique to the RV lifestyle.

rv living family make money on the road

1. Workamping

Depending on the age of your kids and the position, workamping can be option. Workamping is just what it sounds like, working at a campsite in exchange for free accommodations and amenities. Many workamping positions cover the cost of your site when you work a certain number of hours per week. Once that minimum requirement is met, you can also earn cash. Other times, depending on the job duties, a salary can also be involved. Workamping jobs vary greatly by location from high-end luxury resorts where you gain access to pools, playgrounds and clubhouse activities to remote campsites where you have up-close experiences in nature. With older kids, you may be able to work an office or maintenance job without any problems. With younger kids a camp host may be more appropriate since those positions generally do not require you to leave your camper for significant amounts of time. There are also part time office jobs, gift-shop or café workers and other unique positions that will offer you a place to park your RV in exchange for various duties.

Working on the road has become a lot easier now that portable internet and Wi-Fi connections are readily available. Most RVs, even the smaller ones, have space for a small home office. A good travel laptop, internet connection and perhaps some equipment unique to your job are all that you need. Options for earning money can vary depending on your interests and skills, some people even include their whole family.

2. Freelance & Online Options

rv life family living on the road

Freelance design and creative jobs are common among those who have embraced the RV life. Web design, graphic design, UX/UI design, CAD, computer programming and freelance writing are all very popular and can provide excellent pay. They also tend to be deadline oriented which makes them flexible in the specific hours you spend doing them. This flexibility will allow you to spend time with your kids when you need to and work when you don’t. Finding these jobs can be challenging and the competition can be fierce. Start with what you know and work from there. You can find jobs on online freelance platforms as well as by networking with those looking for your service.

There are a few people that make money blogging or running a YouTube channel. While this can be a good way to make extra money, they tend to develop very slowly if at all. If your goal is immediate income, going this route will probably not be a good option. Instead, get into blogging and YouTube as a hobby while you work a real job and see how it develops. Within a year or two you may be able to shift from a more traditional job into full time blogging or YouTubing. This can be a great activity for the whole family and some of the most profitable and popular channels started as a family’s way to keep in touch with loved ones all over the world. Starting a blog or YouTube channel is most likely to be successful if it is authentic and exciting and living in an RV has the potential for both of those. If you do go this route know it is not a get rich quick solution.

Related Reading:

3. Tech Jobs

Tech jobs including app development can provide a good way to make money on the road with kids. App development is different from freelance computer programming in that you are producing an app that you promote and market on your own. App development can include website or web-based apps and services, but it is more commonly associated with standalone smartphone or computer apps. These can include games, utilities or other amps that people can find useful or entertaining.

Monetizing an app can be done in a number of ways including directly selling it through a distribution system like the Apple Appstore or Google Play. They can also include advertising, subscription based content and in-app purchases. Developing apps has become increasingly less difficult over the years, bringing income potential from their development to within reach of those with even modest skills. Developing apps is also a common segue for landing freelance programming jobs.

Related Reading:

4. Get Creative

There are many other products that you can make and sell that are not app related. If you are more of a mechanical or hands on person then custom jewelry, leather products, small signs and custom glassware or tumblers can all be made from an RV. The kids may even want to help out, allowing them to develop some trade skills at a young age. These products can be sold online through marketplaces like Etsy, eBay or even Amazon. Local flea or farmers markets can offer great venues for sales as well. Finally, as a traveler you can follow certain events around the country to sell your products at. For example, if you make western jewelry, following and setting up booths on the rodeo circuit may be a good source of income.

Making money while traveling can create some unique and difficult challenges. Adding kids into the mix can add even more. Still the excitement and benefits are worthwhile as you learn and explore the world. With some of the ideas presented here you should be able bring in the income you need, be that extra spending cash or a full living wage. You should also be able to do it while still enjoying your children and providing the attention that they need. Finally, in many cases your kids can be part of the process which can teach them valuable life skills and help pave the way for their bright future.

If you are thinking about traveling for long RV trips or even making the jump into full-time RV living, you can adapt practically any job to the lifestyle. There are even travel nursing jobs, construction and horticulture opportunities that all work well for RV living. Whatever you decide, it is worth considering renting an RV or even try out a few different styles to see what fits your family best. From there you might just find the thrill of the road is calling and you are ready to make the adventure more permanent. Knowing your options for earning money while traveling in an RV makes that adventure a little bit more realistic.

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ways to make money travling the world living in an rv with family

About the Author

Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.

Best Virtual Assistant Tools to Maximize Your Productivity

Best Virtual Assistant Tools to Maximize Your Productivity

During my time working from home, I’ve gathered a list of the best virtual assistant tools from trial and error. These tools have helped me, and I hope they will allow you to save time and stress less.

These tools and software allow virtual assistants to be more productive and focus on the tasks that allow you to make money – instead of messing around on the tasks that really don’t help your business grow.

I personally use all of these tools. And the best part is they are all free or fairly inexpensive tools that I wish I had found or upgraded to sooner in my work-at-home mom and online business journey.

best-tools-for-virtual-assistants

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure click here.

1. FreshBooks Online for Invoicing and Bookkeeping

I stumbled upon FreshBooks when they were running a deal where all payment fees via PayPal were only 50¢! Since the standard charge is around 3%, I did the math and figured out with all the invoicing I was doing as a freelance editor, writer, and virtual assistant, I would actually save money in fees by using FreshBooks. Little did I know how much time FreshBooks would save me too.

FreshBooks allows virtual assistants and freelancers to:

  • send quick and professional invoices to clients for one-time projects
  • automatically send recurring invoices and templates for repeat clients
  • organize expenses with little effort
  • see monthly business expenses vs income at a glance
  • easily see any outstanding balances from clients

If you are looking for an easy way to send professional invoices, track time for projects, and organize expenses then try FreshBooks. They have a free 30-day trial with no credit card required so you can see if you like it as much as I do.

Learn More:

  • Freshbooks is the best accounting software for freelancers and sole proprietors, which fits many virtual assistants, on this PC Mag review.

2. Calendly for Scheduling Meetings

Calendly is a huge time-saving tool for virtual assistants. The back-and-forth emails to try and find a mutual time is maddening. Enter Calendly…

Calendly works like this:

  • Set your availability
  • Share your link in email, on your business Facebook page, or on your website
  • Clients schedule a time
  • Meeting is added to your calendar
  • Integrates with your calendar so you never double book

I also like that you can set an advance notice requirement to prevent last minute meetings and buffers between meeting times. The free version worked fine for my virtual assistant needs but there are advanced features for the paid plans.

Learn More:

  • Zapier’s blog lists Calendly as the “best meeting scheduler app for letting others schedule meetings with you.”

3. Trello for Project Management, Pitch Tracking, and Weekly To Dos

Trello is another free virtual assistant tool I love. There are a lot of things to keep track of as a virtual assistant or freelancer, and Trello has been a lifesaver for my own projects and the projects I manage for clients.

A few of the things I track on Trello are:

  • most important tasks for the week
  • content calendar for blogs
  • time blocking (when to work on which project)
  • client pitching and follow up status
  • steps for writing and publishing my book

I have Trello boards that are shared for working together with clients and I have boards that are for my own work. Ok, I admit…I even have Trello boards for myself that have nothing to do with work! My life would not be organized without Trello.

Learn More:


4. LastPass for Sharing Passwords

LastPass is another one of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants because it allows you to securely and easily share passwords. Often times a business owner is leery about giving out their passwords, but as a virtual assistant, you need access to their accounts to do work for them. This is were LastPass saves the day.

LastPass allows you to:

  • store passwords so you don’t have to remember them
  • customize access those sites (without actually sharing the password)
  • change your password in one location (but everyone with access to that passwords automatically gets the new password)

So as a virtual assistant, you might need access to a client’s blog, email provider, Canva account, and many others. With LastPass, a client can grant you access to those accounts without actually sharing the password. It’s a very slick way for virtual assistants and business owners to securely share accounts and passwords.

Learn More:


5. Slack for Team Communication and Collaboration

Slack is a great tool for virtual assistants to keep in touch with clients and team members. With different channels, tagging of individuals, and private messages, Slack can virtually eliminate email communication for a team.

Without a ton of lost emails, Slack can:

  • be a means for quick communication 1:1 or for a whole group
  • share updates, ask questions, and make decisions
  • store files, links, and information in a searchable database
  • have different channels for different teams, professional development groups,

Slack is one of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants who want to stay in touch with clients without the frustration of emails.

Learn More:


6. Canva for Branding, Social Media and Graphic Design

Canva is my favorite virtual assistant tool for creating designs. The templates and layouts are a huge time saver for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a ton of time on designs or doesn’t have a lot of design skills.

Canva is perfect for your own business and client work, including:

  • logos
  • website headers and blog banners
  • social media posts and headers for each platform
  • portfolios
  • business cards
  • letterhead
  • and so much more

I started with the free version but once I started using Canva for more and wanted to keep track of branding for several websites, I was thrilled with what the paid Canva for Work had to offer.

Learn More:


7. CloudApp for Screen Recordings

CloudApp is amazing. I searched long and hard before I found a free screen recording tool that wasn’t ridiculously limited. I didn’t think I was asking for much in a free screen recorder, but apparently I was.

I’m thrilled that CloudApp allows me to:

  • record my screen
  • record my voice (optional)
  • record my webcam (optional)
  • share recordings with others online.
  • store recordings in the cloud

CloudApp has been the answer to my screen recording prayers, and I am so happy someone else recommended it to me.

Learn More:


8. Toggl for Tracking Time

Toggl is simple tool for tracking your time. The information with collect with a time tracker like Toggl can help you be more effecient, earn more money per hour, and make smart decisions about which services you offer.

Toggl is a great freelancer tool for:

  • tracking your hourly time for each client or project
  • figuring out how long each type of work takes you
  • better estimate how long future projects will take you

Knowing how long projects take you will be key if you move from charging an hourly rate to a project fee. Doing a project rate is one way to scale because as you get more efficient, you’re earning more money for your time.

Learn More:


best-tools-for-running-virtual-assistant-business

More Virtual Assistant Tools Worth Mentioning

9. Zoom or Skype for Discovery Calls and Client Meetings

As a virtual assistant, you will need a tool for making calls and talking with current and potential clients. I’ve used both Skype and Zoom for these calls and both can get the job done. The ability for group calls, screen sharing, and chat messages are features I used most as a freelancer.


10. Google Voice for a Business Phone Number

You can get a free phone number through Google Voice, which you can use as your business phone number. The number can forward to your cell phone so you will still get the calls but you don’t have to give your personal phone number out to the everyone on the internet.


11. Google Drive for Collaboration and Cloud Storage

Google Drive is a key collaboration tool for virtual assistants and freelancers. It’s another free tool where you can store, share, and work on 15 GB of files for yourself or with a team. Google Docs (similar to Word), Google Sheets (like Excel), Google Slides (like Presentation) and Google Forms (surveys) are common ones virtual assistants use.


12. Dropbox for Sharing Large Files

Sometimes as a virtual assistant you will need to share or receive files that are too large for email. Dropbox is perfect for this and it’s a common tool that others are familiar with. The basic version is free and gives you 2 GB of space, allows you to sync files across devices, and share folders and links.


13. PayPal for Collecting Payments

PayPal is the tool I’ve used to collect payments from clients since I started freelancing. It’s been easy and I’ve had no complications receiving payments from clients.


14. SiteGround for Website Hosting

SiteGround is the website hosting I use for this site and it’s an affordable option for virtual assistants or freelancers who want their own website. While you can get by without a website, I personally think it sets you apart and adds a layer of professionalism when you have a website others can check out before considering hiring you.


Summary of Best Virtual Assistant Tools to Grow Your Business

When you maximize your time as a virtual assistant with tools that allow you to focus your time on the tasks that actually make you money, not only will you make more money but you’ll be happier too. When you find the tools that help you get the job done right and faster, you’ll have more time for things in life you love most.

Recap of the best tools for freelancers and virtual assistants:

Cheers to your family and financial freedom,

-Val

Save This List of Virtual Assistant Tools to Pinterest

tools-for-productivity-working-from-home
Unique and Simple Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Unique and Simple Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Looking for some cute easter basket ideas for toddlers?

Use these ideas to inspire you to create an easter basket full of Easter gifts your toddler will love.

It includes unique ideas for Easter baskets as well as creative and non-candy gifts to fill your child’s Easter basket.

This post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure click here.

For free two-day shipping on these gift ideas Try Amazon Prime’s 30-Day Free Trial.

Use the table of contents link below to jump to the toddler Easter gift ideas you’re most interested in.

In This Article You Will Find:

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Love Cars and Trucks

Pool Noodle and Beach Towel Easter Basket Idea

Umbrella Easter Basket Idea

Rain Boots Easter Basket Idea

Potty Seat Easter Basket Idea

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Love Crafts

Shopping Cart No Candy Food Easter Basket Ideas

Easter and Spring Books for Book-Loving Toddlers

Easter and Spring Games for Toddlers Who Love Games

Easter Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds

Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Love Wheels

Here are Easter basket ideas and gift ideas for toddlers who love trucks, trains, construction vehicles and all things with wheels.

1. Dump Truck Paw Patrol Easter Basket Idea

Paw-Patrol-Dump-Truck-Easter-Basket-idea-for-toddler-boy

If your toddler boy or girl loves dump trucks, here’s a unique Easter basket idea that themed around Paw Patrol. This Easter basket includes bubbles, stuffed animal and water bottles, which were all ideas from above. Insert your child’s favorite character if Paw Patrol isn’t his thing. This idea came from TheKeeperOfTheCheerios.

Tonka Dump Truck

  • Built Tonka tough with sturdy steel construction
  • Movable steel bed for dumping
  • Fill with Easter basket goodies your toddler loves

Fill Truck with Easter Basket Fillers

Fill your dump truck with more Easter basket goodies like these.

Pull-Back Mini Construction Trucks

These eggs filled with pull-back construction vehicles will be a favorite Easter basket filler.

Remote Control Car for Toddlers

Perfect for 18 months and up — this fun and fast remote control car with honking sounds, music, flashing headlights and three different drivers is perfect for any toddler who loves things that go..

More Easter Basket Gift Ideas


2. Beach Towel & Pool Noodle Easter Basket Idea

Here’s a great Easter basket ideas for toddlers to get ready for fun summer swimming adventures. New swimsuit and beach toys can get your toddler ready for fun in the sun.

beach-towel-pool-noodle-easter-basket

In addition to a cheap pool noodle, you’ll need a large beach towel to create the above Easter basket idea. Then fill it with fun Easter and gifts for the pool.

Beach Towel

  • Absorbs 5x more water than cotton
  • Large enough to use as a picnic blanket
  • Soft and thick, perfect for pool, beach or lake

Beach Easter Basket Filler Ideas

After you get your main Easter basket with a large beach towel and pool noodle, you can add fun beach gift ideas like these to your basket.

New Swimsuit for Toddler Boys

Your little one could probably use a new swimming suit, so why not add it to their Easter basket? I love rash guards to protect their skin from the sun and fewer sunscreen battles.

Here’s a cute and super affordable swimsuit for toddler boys that’s perfect for a swimming or beach themed Easter basket idea.

New Swimsuit for Toddler Girls

And here’s a cute swimsuit with rash guard for toddler girls that has lots of excellent reviews from moms.

Puddle Jumper Life Jacket

A comfortable and cute life jacket like this is an easy way to keep your toddler safe in the water. We take ours every time we go swimming.

More Beach Easter Basket Gift Ideas:


3. Umbrella Easter Basket Idea for Toddlers

Another creative Easter basket idea for kids to is this upside down umbrella filled with Easter goodies. Perfect for rainy spring days.

umbrella-easter-basket-idea-for-little-kids

Cute Child Size Umbrella

Of course, you’ll need a cute umbrella to fill for this Easter basket idea. This is the one Primal Dish used above.

Unicorn Umbrella

Another cute umbrella that could be flipped upside as an Easter basket for a unicorn lover is this one.

Fill the Umbrella with Easter Gifts

An umbrella leaves lots of space to fill with more gifts. Here are a few practical and cute Easter ideas for toddlers.

Rain Jacket for Toddler Boy or Girl

This lightweight dinosaur jacket will keep your toddler happy and dry on rainy spring days.

More Umbrella Easter Basket Filler Ideas:


4. Rain Boot Easter Basket for Toddlers

Another cute spring Easter basket idea is to use a new pair of rain boots as your Easter basket.

Using rain boots is a unique and practical Easter basket idea for toddlers to get ready to stomp in the springtime rain puddles. Here are a few pairs that are cute, fun, affordable and have 100+ excellent reviews from parents.

Light Up Unicorn Rain Boots

These purple unicorn and rainbow rain boots can make even rain days a little brighter with their cute design and light up style.

Dinosaur Light Up Rain Boots

With red lights and dinosaur shapes, this is another style of rain boots your toddler may love as an Easter basket gift.

Rain Boot Easter Basket Filler Ideas for Toddlers:


5. Potty Seat Easter Basket Idea for 2 or 3-Year-Olds

Your toddler will be potty training sooner or later. So consider using a cute potty seat as a practical Easter basket to get him excited about the idea.

potty-seat-easter-basket-idea-for-2-year-old

Frog Potty Seat Easter Basket

We have and like the Froggy Potty Seat pictured above, but it’s pricey on Amazon right now, so the similar seat below and the Penguin Potty Seat at Target are cheaper alternatives to make this Easter basket idea happen.

Easter Basket Fillers for the Frog Potty Seat

What should you put in your potty seat Easter basket? Here are some gift ideas perfect for toddlers.

Potty Training Underwear

Frog underwear would be perfect to go with the frog potty seat and they can be worn by boys or girls. Here’s a two-pack that can get your toddler excited about wearing big boy or girl undies.

Potty Training Book

Elmo and life-the-flaps make help make potty training toddlers easier and more fun.

Easter Bunny Ears Headbands

Adjustable bunny ears headbands can fit almost anyone, from infant to adult. They’ll make for some super cute Easter pictures too.

More Easter Basket Stuffers for Toddlers

Easter basket fillers can be simple, fun, and inexpensive. Here are some toddler favorites:

6. Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Love Crafts

What’s better than a bucket or school bag filled with crafts for a toddler who loves being creative?

Creative-and-Crafty-Easter-Basket-Ideas-for-Girls

Craft Organizer Easter Bakset

Ignite the creative side of your toddler by adding new markers, stampers, paints, and glitter to an Easter basket that keeps it all organized.

Easter Egg Stampers

Create fun Easter cards, crafts and pictures with these 15 different egg stampers in 7 different colors and Easter designs.

No-Spill Paint Cups

Let your little Picasso paint with less cleanup. Get 10 different cups with airtight lids and color-coordinated brushes for painting without the mess.

Art Smocks (Pack of 2)

Another key for letting your toddler be creative and work on fine motor skills of painting (without a ton of worry and cleanup for mom) is a good art smock. Long sleeves and a waterproof material makes these smocks for 2-to-6-year olds easy to clean.

More Craft Easter Basket Fillers


7. Shopping Cart No Candy Easter Basket

I found this Easter basket idea with a shopping cart and thought it’d be great for toddlers who love food, pretend play, and cooking too.

shopping-cart-toddler-easter-basket-idea

Easter gifts can be about food even if you want to create a no candy Easter basket. A durable shopping cart can be used for pretend play and filled with food-related gifts and snacks.

Shopping Cart Basket

  • Sturdy with a deep basket to hold lots of goodies
  • Favorite stuffed animal or baby can ride in the front seat
  • Made in the USA with over 1,000 raving reviews

Shopping Cart Easter Basket Gift Ideas

Here are some more ideas of things to fill your shopping cart Easter basket.

2-Pack Bento Snack and Lunch Box

Another way to make packing and eating easier is using a food portion container that’s leak-proof like the Bento box. The small sections encourage toddlers to eat vegetables and a variety of food groups.

Thermos Funtainer Water Bottle

Straws in a durable stainless steel water bottle makes meal time and snacks on the go more fun. Plus, it encourages toddlers to drink water all day by having a cute and easy-to-use water bottle like this.

Thermos Funtainer Food Jar

A food jar that’s vacuum insulated can make meals on the go much easier as it keeps food hot or cold for 5-7 hours. Since this one has higher ratings and is less expensive, this would be a great non-candy but food-related gift for toddlers.

Dinosaur Toddler Plate

You can make meals at home easier too. Grabbing a cute dinosaur plate that’s safe in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher and oven can make feeding your toddler more fun and less work.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Sort & Slice Eggs

These wooden eggs that help toddlers safely practice cutting are a fun gift idea that encourages fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, color recognition and imaginative play.

More No Candy Easter Basket Filler Ideas for Shopping Cart


More Easter Basket Gift Ideas for Toddler Girls

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Whether you fill a traditional Easter basket or a shopping cart, here’s some inspiration for creating an Easter basket for your toddler daughter.

Blooming Flower Wall Decals

  • Colorful wall stickers look like beautiful flowers or fireworks
  • Perfect decor for little girl’s bedroom or playroom
  • 28 pieces in 4 different sizes and 4 colors (purple, green, blue, pink)

Easter Pajamas

She will be cute and comfortable in a new pair of bunny pajamas.

Easter Dress American Girl Doll

This adorable American Girl doll is wearing a beautiful Easter dress with a white hat.

Raincoat, Umbrella, Boots and Bunny

This American Girl doll with a raincoat, umbrella, boots and bunny is ready for springtime.

Rain Jacket, Umbrella, Boots, Hats, Pants and Shirt

Another American Girl Doll option with cute pink umbrella, jacket, and boots.

Easter Bunny Slippers for American Girl Dolls

Accessorize your toddler’s American Girl Doll this Easter with cute bunny slippers.


Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Love Books

Books are a perfect gift idea to add to any basket for any occasion, including Easter! A cute backpack filled with books can be a unique toddler Easter basket idea.

Toddler Backpack

This insulated toddler backpack is adorable, easy to clean, and has a safety harness included. With over 565 reviews and a 4.7 rating, this is one of the best backpacks for toddlers on Amazon.

Best Easter Books for Toddlers

Here are some of the top books for toddlers with Easter, bunny, and springtime themes.

Happy Easter, Mouse! (From If You Give…)

Count on the Easter Pups! (Paw Patrol)

Llama Llama Easter Egg

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure

God Gave Us Easter

You can get more Easter book ideas for toddlers with a summary of each story over here.


Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers Who Like Games

play blocks toddlers babies kids

A game is another gift idea that will have your toddler hopping for joy on Easter. Here are some of the best Easter games for little kids.

Easter Bingo Game for Kids

  • Fun and easy party game
  • Perfect Easter activity for school, church, daycare or family
  • 24 player cards and chips included

Hoppy Floppy’s Happy Hunt Educational Game

  • Help Hoppy Floppy hunt for carrots in this fun and easy board game
  • Recommended for ages 3-6
  • Tweezers, spinner, and 16 carrots help develop social skills, taking turns, and hand-eye coordination in a fun family game

Pin the Tail on the Easter Bunny

  • Fun party game for Easter or springtime
  • Classroom, daycare, or at home activity for Easter
  • Blindfold and 12 tails included

Bunny Bedtime Make a Choice Game

  • Perfect game for you and your two-year-old
  • Players help bunny make choices about her bedtime routine
  • Children learn about matching colors and shapes, making choices, problem solving and social-emotional skills through play

Easter Basket Ideas for 1 Year Olds

easter-gift-ideas-for-1-year-old

Here are gift ideas your one-year-old will love in his or her first Easter basket.

TOMY Hide & Squeak Eggs

  • Encourages fine motor skills, shape and color recognition
  • Press down gently on chicks’ head to hear adorable cheeps
  • Babies will love the squeak while older toddlers can enjoy matching the shapes and funny faces

Melissa and Doug Bunny Stuffed Animal

  • floppy plush sitting bunny perfect for snuggling
  • fuzzy coat and velvety ears
  • wooden crate also included to keep eggs organized!

Cuddly Bunny Lovie Blanket

This soft security blanket comes in many adorable animals, including a bunny, bear, fox, and puppy. Both my 1-year-old and 3-year-old still love these snuggly blankies.


To Sum It Up: Unique and Simple Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Most of these items can be found at dollar stores, Walmart, Target, and Kohls. But if you’re wanting something delivered to your door fast from Amazon, this list of Easter basket gifts with great reviews from parents and grandparents will make your Easter shopping fun and easy.

Sign up for your Free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime to get any of the above Easter gift ideas shipped to your door fast.

Happy common ‘cents’ shopping!

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Similar Posts about Easter, Shopping, and Toddlers

Ibotta Referral Code, Hidden Bonuses & App Review [SBHIWHB]

Ibotta Referral Code, Hidden Bonuses & App Review [SBHIWHB]

Ibotta Referral Code [SBHIWHB] and Ibotta Review by Mallory Herrera, a mama who loves using the Ibotta app to save money on groceries.

Take it away, Mallory!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you.


If you are anything like me, you’re always looking for easy ways to save money. Having a good budget in place is great, but who couldn’t use a little extra cash? Especially if you’re saving money on things you’re already planning to buy–like groceries!

To help me save money on my grocery budget, I love using the Ibotta app.

Ibotta-hacks-secrets-tips-save-money-review-app-referral-bonus-code

What is Ibotta?

Ibotta is an app that you can download on your phone that will pay you money based on the items that you buy. Yep, really, it’s that simple.

The app is also completely free to use, which is a huge bonus when you’re trying to save some extra money. Who wants to pay for something that’s supposed to save you money? I know I don’t.

Is Ibotta Legit?

If you don’t believe me, Ibotta is repeatedly listed on the most highly regarded personal finance sites as a top coupon app:

Plus, check out the Ibotta reviews and ratings in the Google Play store:

Ibotta-Reviews-Ratings

The ratings, I believe, speak for themselves. Out of over 360,000 reviews, the majority are 5 stars.

Here is what a few people have to say about using Ibotta.

Ibotta-app-review-earn-gift-cards
Ibotta-review-rating-make-$300
Ibotta-testimonial-how-to-link-paypal
earn-money-ibotta-app

So now that we’ve calmed any worries about Ibotta being legit, let’s dive into how the app works and how you can use it to start saving money.

How Does Ibotta Work? How Do You Use Ibotta?

Don’t worry, it’s free and easy to use. Just follow these steps:

Step 1. Setup Your Ibotta Account

  1. Download the Ibotta app by CLICKING HERE.
  2. Enter in the Ibotta referral code: SBHIWHB to make sure you instantly get your $10 Bonus added to your account. [Free money!]
  3. Register your account.
ibotta-friend-referral-code-app-signup

Step 2. Save Stores & Find Offers

  1. Add your favorite stores to your profile. This simple Ibotta trick will make your shopping trips easier.
  2. Browse “Find Offers” on the app by store or category.
  3. Select the offers that interest you and they’ll be added to your “My Offers” list.

*Occasional opportunity to complete an extra task to add even more offers to your account, such as watch a quick video.

Step 3. Go Shopping

  1. Buy items from your “My Offers” list at any Ibotta retailer. Some offers are retailer specific, so be sure to keep an eye on that.

Step 4. Get Cash Back

Cash back rewards can be collected in a couple of ways. You can link your store’s loyalty card or upload your receipt manually. I personally like to upload my receipt to make sure that I don’t miss anything.

Loyalty Cards

  1. Specific retailers, known as preferred partners, require that users connect their loyalty card and add offers prior to shopping.
  2. Your credits will automatically be submitted once you scan your loyalty card at checkout. There’s nothing more that you have to do.

Uploading Receipts

  1. Once you’ve finished your shopping trip, tap the “Redeem” button on the navigation bar.
  2. Select the store where your receipt is from.
  3. Take a picture of the receipt. If the receipt is long, you can take multiple photos. A few stores will require you to scan the QR code or receipt barcode to get your cashback.
  4. Occasionally, you will be asked to verify the item that you purchased by taking a photo of the barcode.

In-App Purchases

In addition to cash back rewards earned from shopping trips, you can also purchase items through the Ibotta app to receive cash back.

This is how I make all of my Amazon purchases these days. I just click on Amazon through my Ibotta app, do my shopping, and the money is automatically added to my account in a few days. I love it!

Tip: If you add items to your Amazon cart before going through the Ibotta app, those purchases won’t qualify for cash back. The items must be added to your cart after starting your shopping experience through the Ibotta app. I learned that the hard way. 

Earn Real Money

Once you’ve reached $20 in your Ibotta account, you can cash out using PayPal or Venmo. I’m talking about real money. Not points, or credits, or any other made up currency. Real cash.

Where Does Ibotta Work?

Ibotta works at most major retailers, and even some smaller ones that I wouldn’t have expected. According to the Ibotta website, the app can be used at over 300 retailers.

While Ibotta is well-known as the best grocery coupon and rebate app, it can be used to save money on a lot more than groceries!

They have offers for places like:

  • Amazon
  • Fred Meyer
  • Dollar General
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Costco
  • Whole Foods
  • ShopRite
  • Price Chopper
  • Sam’s Club
  • Wegman’s
  • Kmart
  • Aldi
  • Market 32
  • Trader Joe’s
  • and even military commissaries

These are just a few places where Ibotta works. It would probably be easier to ask where it doesn’t work, to be honest.

Reasons Ibotta is a Unique Cashback App

Ibotta is different from other cashback apps for a few reasons.

  • Can get cashback on alcohol (beer, liquor, and wine!)
  • Can be used on fresh foods like produce rather than just pre-packaged, processed foods.
  • Can get cashback on organic foods like organic milk and free-range eggs.
  • Can get cashback on “any brand” items rather just the major companies (e.g., any milk, any beef roast, or any bread)
  • Can be used on meal subscription boxes such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.
  • Can be used on non-grocery purchases like Uber rides
  • Can be used on baby essentials like diapers, pull-ups, and formula
ibotta-referral-code-deals-review

Free Ibotta $10 Welcome Bonus – Why Does Ibotta Give You Money?

You read that right. Ibotta will give you a $10 welcome bonus just by registering with the referral code SBHIWHB.

You’re probably wondering why Ibotta is giving away money, right? It’s because they want you to use their product.

Giving you a bit of money to get started not only entices you to reach that $20 payout threshold by actually using the app, but it also means that once you do reach it, you probably won’t stop. You’ll see how easy it is to save money with the Ibotta app, and you’ll keep using it.

You get money on your cashback offers, and Ibotta gets money from the retailers. Everyone wins!

How Does Ibotta Make Money?

Don’t worry, there’s no catch.

The Ibotta app is completely FREE for you to use. You never have to pay for offers and you never get charged for cash-outs. Ibotta makes money from the retailers themselves.

When you purchase something from Amazon but use the Ibotta app first, Amazon does not keep all of the profits. Ibotta gets a small slice of the money because they referred you to the Amazon store.

As a way of saying, “thank you” for using their app, Ibotta gives you some of that money back too! So basically, you either:

  • buy something for $20 and it all goes to Amazon,
  • or you buy something for $20, but you and Ibotta each earn some of that money back

Either way,  you spend $20 on something. Apps like Ibotta are just an easy way to put some of that money back in your pocket.

How Do You Get Paid with the Ibotta App?

Now that we’ve talked about how you can make money with the Ibotta app, let’s talk about how you can actually get paid.

Once you reach the $20 payout minimum, you can request to have your funds transferred to:

  • your PayPal account
  • your Venmo account
  • redeemed as a gift card

There are lots of gift card options, like Amazon, AMC Theatres, American Eagle, Barnes & Noble, Kohls, Nike, Sam’s Club, Southwest Airlines, Sephora, Target, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Panera Bread, and many more. A few gift cards will have a $25 minimum, so keep an eye on there’s a specific gift card you’d like to earn.

How Do You Link Ibotta to PayPal?

It’s easy to link your PayPal account to your Ibotta account from inside the app. Just follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Account on the navigation bar located at the bottom of the screen.
  2. From there, you will see how much money you have in your Ibotta account. Tap “Withdraw Cash.” You will be able to choose to withdraw all of it or just a portion. Just type in the amount that you want.
  3. Tap on the “Link Account” next to PayPal.
  4. You’ll be asked to verify your Ibotta account, so just type in your password. From there you’ll be directed to log into your PayPal account.
  5. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll need to approve linking your PayPal to your Ibotta account with the prompt.
  6. Once you’ve completed that, go back to the “Withdraw Cash” page and get your money.
  7. Just click on “Withdraw Cash”, enter the amount that you want, and tap “Transfer Cash.” Easy-peasy.
  8. Your payment can take anywhere from 2-24 hours to arrive. Once the money is in your PayPal account, you can do with it as you please.

How Do You Link Ibotta to Venmo?

Similarly, you can link your Venmo account to your Ibotta app to get paid that way too. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your account at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap “Withdraw Cash”.
  3. Select the Venmo option and enter your name and email address exactly as you have it with Venmo. You might be prompted to enter your Ibotta password as well for verification.
  4. Transfer your cash in what ever increment you want.
  5. Just like with PayPal, the money can take anywhere from 2-24 hours to show up in your account, but once there you can easily transfer it to your bank account.

Ibotta Tips, Tricks, Hacks, and Hidden Bonuses

Now that you know how easy it is to save money using the Ibotta app. Let’s talk about how you can save even more.

Coupon Stacking

Just because you’re using the Ibotta app to save money, doesn’t mean that you should forget about using actual coupons. Using printed or digital coupons on your items and then getting cash back for that item through Ibotta is an amazing way to double up your savings.

I’m not saying that you have to become an extreme couponer (though if you do, teach me your ways), but using high-value in store coupons combined with earning money back can save you a good chunk of change throughout the year.

Use Checkout51

Did you know that you can upload your receipt to Ibotta and to Checkout51 as well? You do now!

Get more savings and more money back by uploading your receipts to both the Ibotta app as well as Checkout51 app. Every little bit helps, right?

Use a Credit Card to Earn Points

If you have a good credit card that offers points or cash back for grocery purchases, then you can use it to increase your savings as well. If you earn 1-5% through your credit card plus you earn money back through Ibotta, you can double up on your savings.

Remember to only use your credit card if you can pay it off the same month. If you can’t, then those interest rates you’ll be paying won’t be saving you any money in the long run.

Ibotta Hidden Bonuses

Under your account dashboard, there is an area called “Bonuses.” These are ways to make extra money off of your purchases by completing different challenges.

Ibotta-review-hidden-bonuses-make-more-money-fast

Some of the Ibotta bonuses are product-specific, like I earned extra money by buying 5 dozen of a particular egg brand. (I didn’t have to buy them at the same time, just over a certain time period.)

Some bonuses are more general, such as “make 5 qualified purchases during a 30 days.”

The bonuses are often high-value ($10-$15 each) and really add up. They are a great way to make more money with the Ibotta app.

How to Earn More Bonuses With Ibotta Teamwork

Speaking of bonuses, the Ibotta app also lets you earn exclusive bonuses as a team.

You can join The Common Cents Club Team automatically by clicking this link.

As a team, you’ll be able to earn extra bonuses and offers, which means that you can make even more money fast.

There are four different levels available each month. Each level will have a personal goal and a team goal. At the end of the month, you start over at Level 1 again. It’s a fun way to get involved with your friends and encourage saving money together.

ibotta-teamwork-secrets-tips

Ibotta Review: Use the Ibotta Friend Referral Code and Start Saving Money Today

Here’s the recap of this Ibotta review:

  • Download the free Ibotta app.
  • Use the Ibotta referral code to get your $10 welcome bonus: SBHIWHB
  • Find offers and go shopping.
  • Earn money.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to give the Ibotta app a try?

I thought so.

Download the Ibotta app today and use the Ibotta promo code SBHIWHB to get your $10 welcome bonus to start earning money back right now!

How much money have you saved with the Ibotta app?

About the Author

I’m a mama that loves wine, coffee, and baby snuggles trying to make it through this crazy adventure called motherhood. I started Mama on Parade in order to help other new moms navigate their own motherhood adventure. Being a mom is hard and there is too much mom-shaming and mom-guilt out there. So if I can help just one woman make her journey easier, then I will call my blog a success. You can follow my motherhood adventure on Pinterest and Facebook!

Save This to Pinterest So All The Other Pinterest Lovers Know How Easy it is to Save Money with Ibotta

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Living Well Planner Review

Living Well Planner Review

Wondering if the Living Well Planner is worth it? Is it the best life planner for you? This Living Well Planner review will answer all your questions about the planner that was designed by Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you purchase a product through my link. Sometimes, you actually get a better deal by using my link. Enjoy this completely honest Living Well Planner review!

Living Well Planner Coupon

Before we dive into the full planner review, I know you love a great deal and are wondering if there are any coupons for the Living Well Planner.

Good news! There are two special Living Well Planner discounts!

  1. Get FREE SHIPPING on any purchase of $50 or more
  2. Get the Living Well Planner Limited Edition for just $25 (that’s a 50% discount!)

The best part? No coupon code is needed to receive these special deals. Just use the button below to add it to your cart.

Living Well Panner Overview

The Living Well Planner is a lively, high-quality comprehensive organizer and planner that helps you plan and achieve a life you love.

In addition to long-term goals for the year, motto statements and a focus word of the year, there are pages for important dates, important information (like emergency numbers, bank contact info, medical policy numbers, etc), and motivational quotes throughout.

Each month includes pages for:

  • Monthly Goals
  • Goal Crushing
  • Project Planning
  • Month at a Glance
  • Weekly Plans
  • Monthly Budget
  • Monthly Expenses
  • Thoughts and Thanks
  • Notes and Ideas

The weekly plans include a vertical column for each day, broken up into hours from 6am – 10 pm. This is perfect for time block scheduling. There is also space to write your top 3 must do tasks for each day and daily meal planning space. The weekly page includes an extra space to make a list or write notes and jot any big days coming up.


Living Well Planner Flip Through

Watch the video below to see inside my Living Well Planner. I cover my top pros and cons about the planner now that I’ve used it for several months.

Living Well Planner Pros

It’s Pretty, Lively, & Fun!

When I received my Living Well Planner in the mail, my first thought was how gorgeous it is!

If you’ve been frugal shopper and tried to use your own printables or cheap planners from discount stores, you will be shocked at how fancy a planner can be. If you get giddy about using pretty stationary and supplies, you’ll be excited to use the Living Well Planner.

Living Well Planner Stickers!!

I have not used stickers before, but the sticks that come with the Living Well Life Planner are so fun! They include but are not limited to:

  • Reminders
  • Date night
  • Need to do today
  • Workout time
  • Girl time
  • Checkmarks
  • Vacations
  • Meetings
  • Meal prep
  • Appointments
  • Shopping
  • and much, much more!

There are even extra stickers you can add to your planner. The stickers are a great way to make your planner more fun and visually appealing so you want to stick with using it and can keep everything organized.

It’s High Quality

The paper, divider pages, tabs, and cover are all sturdy and high-quality material. With the quality spiral binding, it is easy to keep open so you can see your planner and notes.

Goal Planning & Free Crushing It Course

The Living Well Planner is perfect for anyone who loves or needs help with goal setting. Everything is covered when you buy this planner, including areas to plan out all of your goals:

  • Yearly goals
  • Monthly goals
  • Daily goals
  • Big 3 goals
  • Breaking down goals into bite-sized steps
  • Personal growth goals
  • Fun & recreational goals
  • Health & fitness goals
  • Home improvement goals
  • Finance goals
  • Personal relationship & connection goals
living-well-life-planner-set-crush-goals

Plus, you get a free email course called the Crushing It Bootcamp that will inspire and show you how to plan and achieve a life you love. This is what I work to do and inspire you to do every day.

You also get exclusive access to the Crushing It Facebook Group for extra goal planning and accountability support.

Monthly Budget Pages

One of the main reasons I decided to try the Living Well planner to organize my family (besides the fact that it’s gorgeous) is that it included budgeting pages right inside for each month.

As you turn the pages for your planner, you will be reminded to budget each month by using this planner. This is great for anyone new to budgeting.

Monthly Divider Tabs

The pretty colored tabs are sturdy and they come without words. You can add stickers to them for each month. So no matter which month of the year you get your Living Well planner, you can have the monthly divider tabs in the order you need them.

These tabs have been convenient for quickly finding the month I need, like March to see when spring break is.

Ability to See Month, Week, Day and Hour at a Glance

living-well-planner-review-2019

Depending on the page you have open, I like that with this planner you can get an overview of an entire month, week, day or hour. The month pages are great for seeing what’s ahead while the weekly and daily sections are great for scheduling appointments, prioritizing your tasks, to do list, and reminders.

Meal Planning Space

The bottom of each day has a dedicated space for meal planning. It includes 6 lines, so there’s more than enough space to plan your meals, snacks, and other notes about food you want to remember.

More Meal Planning Resources

Personally, I still use my favorite weekly meal planning templates but that was already a habit for me before I started using the Living Well planner…and habits are hard to break!

Pro and Con: It’s Undated

When I started using my Living Well Planner, the hardest part for me is the biggest pro for others, so I’ll put this in both. The fact that it’s undated is a pro because you can start whenever you like.

This is also great if you tend to hop on and off the planner train for weeks at a time and hate wasting pages that you don’t use.


Living Well Planner Cons

living-well-planner-undated

Although you will probably find a lot of things you love, there are some downsides that I found in my Living Well Planner review. Admittedly, I’m being a bit picky here, but this is my honest opinion.

Pro and Con: It’s Undated

If you like to plan ahead, like I do, you will need to spend some time filling in all the pages because the Living Well Planner is undated (as noted above).

I’m a total nerd about planning and organizing. So filling in months worth of dates was a small pain.

It’s Pretty Big

The Living Well Planner is pretty big. There’s a lot of space to write all the things you’re keeping track of, but that comes with a sacrifice.

This planner is not easy to toss in your purse and take with you. It’s better for sitting on your desk or in your command center by the kitchen.

Family Planner and Organizer Hack

living-well-planner-review-2019

I’ve had a wire book stand similar to this that I’ve shuffled around but never really found a use for before that works perfectly for displaying my Living Well Planner by our family command center.

This keeps it upright and insight for the whole family to see.

Budget Categories

While the budgeting pages can be a good thing, I had the habit of making a monthly budget in my excel spreadsheet for years (which you can download in the Free Resource Library).

Switching to this budgeting sheet has been a bit of a stretch for me. I like that my Google spreadsheet adds up my expenses automatically and I can easily customize the budget categories.

If you’re not already in the habit of budgeting and want a budget right inside your planner, however, these budget sheets could be a positive for you.

Price

If you don’t get the Living Well Planner during a sale, it’s $55. At first, I had sticker shock at this price. But when my planner arrived in the mail, I was not disappointed.

Ruth created a high quality product that’s more like a life organizer than just a weekly calendar.


Living Well Planner vs Erin Condren LifePlanner

Erin Condren LifePlanners are also gorgeous, inspirational, focused on goal setting, and made with incredibly high quality. The price is right around $50-$60 too. Compared to the Living Well Planner, Erin Condren planners are simply more customizable.

You can personalize the planner:

  • front and back cover
  • size
  • weekly layout (vertical, horizontal, or hourly)
  • coil color
  • stickers
  • color theme (colorful or neutral)

There are several different Erin Condren planners to choose from, including:

  • Coiled LifePlanner (most similar style to Living Well Planner)
  • Hardbound LifePlanner
  • Deluxe Monthly Planner
  • Petite Planner
  • Focused Planner
  • Academic Planner
  • Wedding Planner
  • Teacher’s Planner

If you’re ready to find a planner that’s customized to fit your unique needs, then you’ll find what you need in an Erin Condren planner.

Living Well Planner vs Happy Planner

The Happy Planner is another pretty, everyday planner. There are a wide variety of designs and colors to choose from. It’s also spiral bound and a bit heavier, like the Living Well Planner.

The biggest difference I could find between the Living Well Planner vs Happy Planner is there are no additional pages and resources for goal setting, life reflecting, and practicing gratitude.

The Living Well Planner is likely the better planner for you if you are focusing on goal setting, being more productive, and accomplishing your long-term and short-term goals.

Also, the Happy Planner is dated, so you either have to get this planner with the January or July start. The Living Well Planner, however, can start any day of the year.

While the Living Well Planner is only available in Ruth’s shop, and it has a larger price tag, the Happy Planner is widely available on Amazon for half the price. It’s versatile too. You can add The Happy Planner to your Amazon cart by clicking the button below.


Extras for Your Living Well Planner

In addition to buying the Living Well Planner, I added a couple extras from the Living Well Shop.

Do It Scared Mug

Do you hate paying for shipping? Me too. Instead of paying for shipping, I’d rather pay $12 and get something I actually can use.

That’s when I spotted the black and gold mug and t-shits. I instantly fell in love. Not only are they my colors for The Common Cents Club, but I’ve used the motto “do it scared” to face ALL my fears since putting myself out there on this blog, in my book, on podcasts, and speaking gigs.

Now when I wake early in the morning, I experience pure joy sipping coffee from my “do it scared” mug, using my stickers, planner pens, and life planner to organize my day and week as a busy mom.

Extra Living Well Planner Stickers

Since I was going all out to write this Living Well Planner review, I decided to load up on the stickers. There was a sale when I ordered and I had a feeling I would be extra inspired to note my meetings, doctor appointments, kids’ activities and reminders if I had stickers for them.

These stickers did not disappoint and I don’t know that I’ll be able to stick fill out future planners without fun stickers like these.

Pretty Pens for Planners

Oh, and how could I forget the pretty pens?

I use the Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens to keep my planner organized and pretty. The 12-pack is a great deal and I’ve been very happy with them.

I almost bought these FriXion Erasable Gel Pens I saw recommended by someone else because I’d love to be able to erase changes or mistakes, but then I read the reviews (like I always do) and heard your writing will erase on its own if it gets too warm.

I don’t want to have to worry about my appointments and reminders randomly disappearing if I take my planner to work outside or in the car, so for that reason I’m sticking with the PaperMate Flair Pens.

Living Well Planner Review Conclusion

living-well-planner-review-stickers

The Living Well Planner is a high-quality life planner that is one of the best planners for moms. It’s a great planner for you if you:

  • want a structured planner for organizing your life
  • want a pretty planner that’s fun to use
  • want built-in monthly budgeting sheets
  • want to focus on creating habits and crushing goals
  • want space for time blocking, must-do daily tasks, and meal planning

I’m excited to use my new planner and hope you’ve found this Living Well Planner review helpful to help you decide if it will be the best planner for you.


Save the Living Well Planner Review on Pinterest

living-well-planner-busy-moms

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Looking for more tools for organizing your life, like a meal planner, budgeting template, and way to organize gift ideas all year long?

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What’s the Best Planner You’ve Found?

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Meal Planning Template to Save Money, Eat Healthy and Plan Weekly Meals in 10 Minutes or Less

Meal Planning Template to Save Money, Eat Healthy and Plan Weekly Meals in 10 Minutes or Less

Is meal planning one of those things you know you should be doing, but you haven’t found the right meal planning template yet?

Have you ever swore you were going do this whole meal planner thing…only to fail after two days?

We hear how amazing meal planning is for saving money, eating healthier, and feeling less overwhelmed by the dreaded 5:00 PM “What’s for dinner? I’m hungry now!” I even swear by it in my 100 easy ways to save money and paying off debt tips.

But it is hard to stick with IF you don’t have the right meal planning template. And let me tell you: I’ve tried it all.

After getting on and off the meal planning wagon many times, I finally found a meal planning template and system that works for me as a busy mom. And I even created a free version of it, which you can access at the end of the post.

Why Other Meal Planner Templates Failed

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure for more information. 

But first, why is it so hard to stick with meal planning and why did the other meal planner systems fail?

Well, meal planning takes time and forethought. Kind of like creating a budget for the month — only with your food instead of money.

I tried meal planning a bunch of ways, like:

  • on my monthly calendar
  • in my daily planner
  • on plain pretty notepad paper

But all of these failed after a few days or weeks.

So what changed?

Why You Need to Find a Meal Planner That Works For YOU

Once you find the right meal planner for your needs, you’ll understand why all the others didn’t work for you.

The top reasons I am loving this meal planner system are:

  • I can plan weekly meals and my grocery list in 10 minutes or less
  • This meal planner template includes snacks
  • We stick to our grocery budget
  • We meet all our all our special diet needs
  • It’s so easy I will actually stick with it long-term
  • It is cheap, less than $10 for an entire year
  • There’s a free meal planning option that’s almost as good

So what’s the secret?

The Best Weekly Meal Planning Template

I was browsing Amazon when I came across the Knock Knock WHAT TO EAT notepad.

At first, I felt a little ridiculous even considering buying it. But when I looked closely at what was actually on this weekly meal planner, I started imagining myself as The Meal Planning Queen I had tried to be several times before.

Since I knew how much money I could save if I could stick with meal planning, and it was only $8 for an entire year’s worth of weekly meal planning templates, I gave it a shot.

And I’m SO glad I did.

Why the ‘WHAT TO EAT’ Meal Planner Works

weekly-meal-planning-template
  1. It’s magnetic – It sticks to my fridge…where all the food is to cook and where I look when making a grocery list.
  2. It makes sense. The main space is for planning dinners. We eat the same few things for breakfasts and lunches, so I really don’t need to plan those every day. However, I do plan dinner each day and this meal planner has it laid out perfectly.
  3. It also has a space for planning SNACKS. My 3- and 1-year-old eat ALL DAY LONG, so I need to make sure I have a never-ending grab bag of snacks for them. This was something all my other meal planner templates were missing.
  4. One notepad will last ALL YEAR because there are 60 weekly meal planning worksheets.
  5. It’s cheap. For $8-$9, if it saves you from ordering out even one night you will already get your money’s worth.
  6. I reuse old meal ideas. I run out of ideas after a week or two. So instead of throwing away old meal planner sheets, keep them somewhere so you can pull them out and easily plan out a new week of ideas from those meals you made 3 or 4 weeks ago. This is a huge timesaver!

What to Do After You Make Your Weekly Meal Plan

After you create a plan of what to eat for the week, create a grocery list with everything you need to make the breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.

My favorite app for making grocery lists is Wunderlist.

I love Wunderlist for my grocery list because you can:

  • check off each item in the store
  • uncheck each item to re-add it to your list
  • share the list with your husband or teenager…
  • who can help you add items to your shopping list when they finish the milk or need to bring something special to school\
  • create a different list for each store you shop at

Plus, you always have your phone with you at the store anyway. No more forgetting your list at home! Check it out and see what you’ve been missing.

Why You Need to Try Meal Planning (Again)

If you’ve tried meal planning before or have any of the following goals, here are five reasons why you need to try it again.

1. Save Money with Meal Planning

The amount of money you save by planning your meals and only buying the food you need to carry out that meal plan is in the hundreds for most families. You’ll stop throwing away food you don’t use because you didn’t have a plan for what to use it for.

You’ll avoid impulse buys and buying a bunch of stuff “just in case you want to make that one dish this week.”

By finding the right meal planner template for your family, investing a few bucks and 10 minutes each week can easily save you $2,000 or more this year. You will save even more if you usually go out to eat a lot.

2. Save Time with Meal Planning

I know fast food sounds fast, but when you consider the time it takes for a family to decide, order, wait for the food, and eat, it’s really not faster than what you can whip up at home.

And when you create a system of knowing what food needs to be taken out to unthaw, knowing you have everything you need on hand, and only making one trip to the grocery store per week, you’ll end up saving yourself time by planning your meals ahead of time.

3. Lose Weight and Be Healthier with Meal Planning

Eating healthy and losing weight are goals many of us have. But it is hard!

I struggle with it too.

Eating healthy may never be straight-up easy. But when you create a weekly meal plan and buy the foods on your list, then sticking with a diet can be much easier.

4. Meal Planning for Food Allergies and Sensitivities

Feeding a family can be hectic enough without adding food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances to the mix.

But with 1 in 13 kids have food allergies, the need to find special foods that fit your family’s health needs is more common and crucial.

I have several food allergies in my family, and when you add my extended family, there are even more. Meal planning has become a way for us to more easily make meals, snacks, and treats that work for each family member’s needs.

5. Less Overwhelm and More Joy Around Meals

I know I can’t be the only one who dreads the hangry 5PM: “What’s for dinner? I’m huuuungry.”

Followed by ferociously hoping something yummy, easy and healthy-ish will magically appear in the fridge or cupboards.

The peace that comes with knowing what you’re going to eat and when allows families to experience less overwhelm in the kitchen and more joy around the dinner table.

More Weekly Meal Planner Templates

If you want to find a new weekly meal planner template but for some reason or another don’t think the Knock Knock WHAT TO EAT pad is the right for you, check out these other meal planners:

Free Weekly Meal Planner Template with Snacks

My Weekly Meal Plan Printable – FREE in my Resource Library

The weekly templates are the same as the WHAT TO EAT pad but in a printable version instead of the magnetic notepad. Sign up to get into the Freebie Library, which includes a bunch of meal planners.

>> When you have the password, CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE LIBRARY! <<

Monthly Meal Planning Template

My Monthly Meal Planning Template – FREE in my Resource Library.

The monthly calendar meal planner is also available in the Library. Sign up for access and you can get instant access to of my free meal planners.

Meal Planner with Grocery List Template

I love the Wunderlist app for keeping track of my shopping list, but if you want a meal planner template with a grocery list included check out this one or this one.

If you want meals already included in your meal plan with a shopping list, then $5 meal plan is your easy and affordable answer. Try the Risk-Free 14-Day Trial with her delicious and easy recipes. The grocery list is a convenient addition and can save you a lot of time.

Editable Meal Planner Template

My Editable Weekly and Monthly Meal Planner – FREE in my Library

You can find two editable meal planners in the Freebie Library too: one weekly and one monthly. With these you can fill in your meal plans for the week then save it on your computer or print it out. You can download them by signing up to get the secret code instantly.

Printable Meal Planner Templates

My Printable Meal Planner Templates – FREE resource library include the following options to best suit your personal preferences:

  • Monday start
  • Sunday start
  • Pretty font
  • Plain font
  • Editable
  • Printable
  • Weekly
  • Monthly

If you haven’t signed up to check out all the goodies in the free resource library yet, what are you waiting for?

Special Diet Meal Planning Templates

Meal planning makes sticking with individual diet needs and goals easier. Check out these options if you’re looking for meal plans for your individual diet goals:

Gluten Free Meal Plans – $5 Meal Plan program has a library of delicious yet easy recipes. You’ll get recipes, directions and a shopping list with your plan. Try it FREE for 2 weeks. Continue for $5 per month or cancel if it doesn’t fit your needs.

Whole 30 Meal Planning Templates – Some worthwhile Whole30 meal planners can be found here or here.

21 Day Fix Meal Plans – Grab a printable spreadsheet meal plan over here.

Paleo Meal Planner (with Whole 30 modifications) – Check out this Word meal planning template on this page.

Vegetarian Meal Planning – Get four week’s worth of recipes and meal plans to fit a vegetarian diet either in Word or PDF.

Meal Planning Template in Excel

Looking for meal planning template for your spreadsheet-loving self? Check out this one and this one.

If you need to create your own meal planner in Excel, here’s a step-by-step guide.

Meal Plan in Your Bullet Journal

Finally, if you’re a bullet journal lover, you can create weekly meal plan in your journal too.

Here’s a how-to guide to show you how to create meal plans, shopping lists, and food budget goals with your bullet journal.

meal-planning-template-family-budget-printable

Start Meal Planning Today

When you create a habit of meal planning, you will:

  • save money
  • stop throwing unused food away
  • have less overwhelm about “what’s for dinner”
  • enjoy family meals more
  • avoid restaurant and fast food because you don’t know what to eat
  • have a plan prepared ahead of time for your meals each day
  • know what groceries you need for the week (and what you don’t)
  • stick to your diet goals, eat healthier, and lose weight

The Easiest Weekly Meal Planner

weekly-meal-planner-template

For me, I’m so glad I found the WHAT TO EAT pad on Amazon. It’s been the key for me to stick with meal planning as a busy mom.

An entire weekly meal plan can be created in less than 10 minutes and if it saves you from going out to eat just one time, you’ll already get your money’s worth.

It’s a no brainer.

The Cheapest Weekly, Monthly, and Editable Meal Planning Templates

But if you cannot get yourself to spend a few bucks on the notepad, at least grab one of the free meal planning templates in my resource library. Print four copies for the upcoming month and sticking them on your fridge.

Sign up below if you don’t have the Library password yet (hint: If you’re already part of The Common Cents Club newsletter, the password is included at the bottom on any recent email).

Use your common “cents” and grab your own weekly meal planner template below so you can start meal planning now.

>> When you have the password, CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE LIBRARY! <<

Save This To Pinterest

meal-planning-for-beginners-printable-template

Whether you have a getting healthier board, a meal planning board, or a saving money board save these meal planning templates to Pinterest so you always have them when you need them. Plus, your friends can start using them too!


Keep Reading

Ultimate List of Gift Guides to Find the Perfect Kid, Friend, and Family Gifts

Ultimate List of Gift Guides to Find the Perfect Kid, Friend, and Family Gifts

Need a gift idea but not up for fighting the crowded stores or searching Google only to be bombarded with ads that won’t stop playing?

Yeah, I hate those too.

So I’ve done hours of research to find you over 90 lists of unique gift ideas to cover anyone on your list without annoying ads.

Perfect Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List1

Not only do the lists below have perfect family gifts, host gifts, teacher gifts, Star Wars gifts and everything in-between, but I checked to verify every list is user-friendly AND you won’t be bombarded with ads either.

Consider it my thank you gift to you for checking out my site. 😉

So enjoy cruising the gift guides below created by some of my favorite bloggers and websites, so you can find the right gift for everyone on your list.


Since there are 90+ gift guides below (and more will be added regularly as I find new great ones), use this table of contents to save you some time.

Tap the link below to jump to the gift ideas you need first:


Best Gifts for Moms

best gift ideas for mom

Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Doesn’t Want Anything – by Seashells and Storytime

12 Gifts for Mom – some of these made me laugh by Paiges of Gray

Unique Gifts for Expecting Moms – on Smart Cents Moms

Perfect Gifts for Moms of Little Ones – by A Purpose Driven Mom


Best Friend & Family Gifts

friends and family gift ideas

Best Board Games for Families to Play Together – on The Pragmatic Parent

Best Gifts for Your Sister – on Best Products

Best Gifts for Your Brother – on Cosmopolitan

Best Gifts for BFFs – on Brostick

135 Best Gifts for Dad – on Dodoburd

Gift Ideas for the Mom Who Doesn’t Want Anything – by Seashells and Storytime

Best Gifts for Party Hosts – by Saving Dollars and Sense

Best Gifts for the Home – by Paiges of Gray


Secret Santa and White Elephant Gifts

secret santa and white elephant gifts
Funny White Elephant Gifts – by Dodoburd

Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Under $25 – by Mommy Takes 5


Gift Guides by Occupation

Best Gifts for Work at Home Entrepreneurs

Gifts for Work-at-Home Moms (WAHMs) – by May Virtual Assists

Gifts for Freelancers who Work from Home – by Kayla Sloan


Gifts for Teachers

44 Teacher Christmas Gift Ideas on Amazon – by Catherine Alford

Affordable Teacher Gift Ideas You can Quickly Throw Together – on The Pragmatic Parent


Gifts for Photographers

Photographer Gift Ideas – by Oh Hello Rae


Gifts for Your Boss or Co-Workers

Awesome Gift Ideas for Your Boss or Co-Workers – on Today


Gift Guides by Interest

Use the list of gift ideas below to find a great gift based on what the person likes. Harry Potter? Goldendoodles? Piano? No problem!

Gifts for Book Lovers & Writers

gifts for book lovers

Gifts for Writers – by Turner Proofreading

More Gift Ideas for Writers – by New Frontier Books

Gifts for Book Lovers on Amazon – by Perpetual Page Turner

Gifts for the Serious Bookworm (8 ideas) – on Hello World Paper Co.

Gifts for Outdoors and Travel Lovers

gift ideas for outdoors lover adventurer

Gift Guide for Lovers of the Outdoors, Hiking, and Camping – by Saving Dollars and Sense

Best Gifts for Hunters – by Saving Dollars and Sense

Best Gift Ideas for Fishermen of All Levels – by Saving Dollars and Sense

Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer – Gift ideas for any outdoorsman or woman on Intrepid Daily

Best Gifts for Travelers (55 Ideas!) – on The Planet D

Ultimate Gift Guide for Travelers – 50 ideas for every budget on Mikala Jane Travels

Unique Travel Gifts for the Female Traveller – on The Pink Backpack


Cool Gifts for Foodies


17 Gift Ideas for Vegans – on the Berry Abundant Life

Cheesy Gifts for Cheese Lovers – by Huffington Post

Kitchen Gadgets That Will Make You Want to Cook at Home – by Making-Time

Perfect Gifts for Bakers – by Saving Dollars and Sense


Cool Gifts for Drinkies

gifts for book and coffee loveres

Gift Ideas for Coffee Lovers – by Roasty Coffee

Gifts for Wine Lovers – by Dancing with Wine

Gift ideas for any Tea Lover in your Family – on Life is Better with Tea


Gifts for Runners and Fitness Buffs

best gifts for fitness athletes

Gift Guide for Health & Fitness Folks – on After the Last Pound

Gifts Ideas for Runners Under $30 – on 366 Days of Running


Gifts for Dog Lovers

gifts for dog lovers

Personalized Gifts for Dog Lovers – on Country Living

Mom Gifts for Doodle Moms – on Mcsquare Doodles


Gifts for Beauty, Makeup and Self-Care Lovers

Best Gifts for Makeup Lovers (10 Best) – by The Guide to Getting Glam

Best Beauty and Self-Care Gift Ideas – by The Guide to Getting Glam


Gifts for Harry Potter Lovers

Gifts for Harry Potter Lovers – by Mama Fish Saves

Ultimate Harry Potter Gift Guide – by Business Insider


Gifts for Star Wars Fans

Best Star Wars Gifts – by Badget Review

50 Greatest Star Wars Gifts – by Hi Consumption


More Unique Gift Ideas by Interests

Top 10 Gifts for Stand Up Paddle Board Mermaids – by Paddle Boarding CPA

Gift Ideas for Piano Lovers – on Pianissimo

Fun Gift Ideas for Crocheters of All Skill Levels – on Dodoburd

Gift ideas for Seasonal Depression Sufferers – on Healthy, Savvy, & Wise

Perfect Gift Ideas for Someone Who is Always Cold –  on 365 Gift Guide

10 Gifts for Family or Friends who Own Golf Cars – by Wheelz


Gift Guides for Every Budget

anniversary birthday christmas gift ideas for every budget

If you need a gift guide and want to ensure everything is within your price range, these creators found gifts that can help you stick to your budget.


Gift Ideas Under $10

30 Great Gifts for $5 or Less – by The Simple Dollar

Great Gift Ideas for Kids Under $10 – by  Family Money Plan


Gift Ideas Under $25

45 Christmas Gift Ideas under $25 – on PT Money

Wooden Toddler Toys Under $20 – on The Busy Budget Mom

Best Toddler Toys under $20 – by Explore Kid Talk

Secret Santa Gift Ideas for Under $25 – by Mommy Takes 5

Awesome Tween Girl Gifts Under $25 – by Finding Our Green Life

Stocking Stuffers for Teen Girls Under $15 – by Inspired Her Way


Gift Ideas Under $50

Gifts Ideas for Runners Under $30 – on 366 Days of Running

Christmas Gifts Under $50 – by The Navy Blonde


Gift Ideas Under $100

50 Gift Ideas Under $100 – by The Butler Journal

50 Best Gifts Under $100 Anyone Would Love – by Best Products


Inspirational Giving Quotes to Keep in Mind

secret santa and white elephant gifts

Remember the reason for the season. The holidays can be as stressful or joyful as you make them. If we focus our attention on giving and spending laidback time together, we can all enjoy our gifts, our gatherings, and our traditions and our family more.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

–Winston Churchill

“When we give cheerfully and receive gratefully, everyone is blessed.”

— Maya Angelou

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

— Anne Frank

“Remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Save this Ultimate Gift Guide List to Pinterest and Share it With Your Friends!

Cheers to Your Financial & Family Freedom,

-Val

 

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