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Category: Earning & Managing Money

Inbox Dollars: Get paid to read emails, take surveys, search the web, and more!

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our .)

Sign up for  and you’ll get paid to read emails, search the web, take surveys, and more. I loved earning free gift cards from Inbox Dollars when Jesse was in law school and I had a lot more time than money.

Surveys are a great way to make some extra income on the side! This is a great list of legitimate survey sites you can trust!

Looking for more opportunities to make money from home? See my list of recommended survey companies here.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

Make some room in your freezer because after you read this list of 10 things you didn’t know you could freeze, your life—or at least your refrigerator and your grocery budget—is about to change for the better!

I’ve been freezer cooking for years and I’ve experimented with freezing just about anything I can. Some were major fails, but I’ve discovered that you can actually freeze a wider variety of items than you probably realize!

I decided to put together this list of 10 out-of-the-ordinary things you can freeze. I’ve tried all of these and they have all worked for me! Just follow the links below to find the freezer tutorial for each item.

Here’s my list of 10 things you probably didn’t know you could freeze…

1. Cottage Cheese

Frozen cottage cheese doesn’t taste great plain once it is thawed, due to it being a little watery. But I love freezing cottage cheese to use later in my smoothies. It works perfectly!

I usually like to divide the containers into smaller bags so I can just thaw out a little bit at a time as needed. This also allows me to freeze them flat in plastic bags to save space in my freezer!

2. Taco Meat

Taco meat is one of my favorite things to make during a freezer cooking session. You can whip up a huge batch of taco meat at one time, and it’s SO versatile!

Taco meat can be used in all kinds of different recipes and it thaws really quickly, so it makes for a great last-minute dinner idea if you forgot to pull something out from the freezer earlier in the day.

Go here to see how I like to freeze taco meat, some of the frugal ways I stretch it to feed more people, and some of our family’s favorite recipes!

3. Milk

I’m often able to find organic milk on clearance that’s close to the expiration date. We use what we can until the expiration date and then I freeze the rest. By buying it on clearance, we’re able to buy higher quality milk without spending a fortune to do so.

While I don’t recommended using frozen and then thawed milk for drinking (due to the changes in consistency and flavor), I do freeze milk frequently for all kinds of other uses! For example, it works beautifully in pancakes, waffles, french toast, or other baked goods.

I’ve never had a problem freezing it in a cardboard container. It will expand some when it freezes, so you might want to drink or use a half cup or so before freezing. But otherwise, just stick the milk in the freezer in the paper carton!

When you’re ready to use it, you can thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Or, you can stick the carton in a sink full of cold water for 15 or 20 minutes.

4. Waffles

While I know that some people like pancakes and waffles fresh, I’ve found it’s so much more convenient to make a big batch of waffles and then freeze them for breakfasts later in the month!

This is one way we make sure we have filling, healthy breakfasts on busy mornings. We love trying different varieties and mix-ins, such as Carrot Cake WafflesPumpkin Chocolate Chip Waffles, Gluten-Free Waffles, or even Red, White, & Blue Waffles!

5. Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

I first happened upon the idea of freezing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when Jesse was in law school and we were eating a LOT of PB&J.

While it doesn’t really take that long to make PB&J, it can still help speed things up a bit when your time is really crunched in the morning. Plus, it’s nice to have sandwiches at the ready if you end up needing to go somewhere unexpectedly and no one has eaten any lunch yet.

6. Pizza, Cookie, and Biscuit Dough

Our family loves homemade breads, and one of the easiest ways to speed up the process of bread-making is to make the dough when you have time and freeze it to bake later!

There are all kinds of different doughs I’ve experimented with freezing, but these 3 recipes are my favorite: Pizza Dough, Cookie Dough, and Biscuit Dough.

This pizza dough recipe has been my go-to recipe for years. Keep it on hand and pizza night will be a breeze.

Even if you’re not a fan of most freezer meals, I encourage you to try making cookie dough and freeze it! I can almost guarantee you won’t be able to tell a difference between frozen cookie dough and fresh cookie dough.

It makes it so easy to make a batch of fresh-baked cookies when you have drop-in guests or need to bring a dessert or snack to some event at the last minute. It’s also very handy for those times when you get a late-night craving for chocolate! 😉

These chocolate chip cookies are SO good and the dough freezes beautifully!

This biscuit recipe is quick, easy, inexpensive, and so practical! Say goodbye forever to canned biscuits with this winner recipe — especially when you freeze the dough ahead of time to make it even easier.

Freeze fresh herbs with this quick and easy method!! They'll never go to waste again!

7. Fresh Herbs

This a super simple way to preserve fresh herbs so that they don’t go to waste before you have a chance to use them! Frozen herbs work especially well in sauces, stews, and soups.

8. Avocados

I decided to try freezing avocados when I found clearance bags of avocados for just $0.99 at Kroger. I couldn’t pass up that price, so I bought 6 bags and was determined to not let them go to waste once I got them home!

It was a little hesitant to try freezing avocados… and I honestly didn’t love how they turned out when I thawed them. However, I have heard from many readers who have had great success with freezing avocados. I froze mine with salsa and lime juice since that’s the way I love to eat my avocado. You could experiment with all kinds of different seasonings and flavoring, though. (And if you’ve found a great trick for freezing avocados, let us know!)

9. Onions

I really do not enjoy chopping up onions (does anyone?), but I do love how they taste in recipes, so I often chop them in bulk and freeze them for later use. It’s such a time-saver!

10. Cooked Beans

Dried beans are much more economical than canned beans. Unfortunately, since they need to be soaked and softened, they can be inconvenient to prepare them on the same night you want to use them in a recipe.

Freezing them ahead of time is a huge time-saver — especially if you freeze a bunch of different types in bulk at one time!

Looking for more ideas?

Be sure to check out this post for a list of 15 more surprising things you can freeze!

Enjoy experimenting with some of these freezer-friendly foods on this list, and you’re sure to see a reduction in food waste and an increase in the amount of money you save!

What crazy food items do you like to freeze? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!

MySurvey: Earn cash or rewards for taking surveys

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our .)

Looking for legitimate survey companies to sign up with?

 is a company that I have used in the past and earned money from. You can redeem your points earned for cash or prizes, and every 1000 points equals $10.

.

Surveys are a great way to make some extra income on the side! This is a great list of legitimate survey sites you can trust!

Looking for more opportunities to make money from home? See my list of recommended survey companies here.

Bloggers: I want to critique your blog for you!

Today is the last day to get — an amazing bundle of 77 different high-value blogging resources.

To sweeten this incredible deal even further, I’m offering something I’ve never offered before to every single person who purchases: I will personally critique your blog or website! {More details on that offer at the end of this post!}

Is This Really Worth the Money?

I’ve gotten a number of questions from you about and some of you have asked me whether it’s worth the investment. I love that you are thinking critically and carefully about how you spend your money.

First off, let’s talk about what you get for the price:  is a collection of 15 eBooks, 41 eCourses & videos, 9 printables & workbooks, 10 templates & stock photo packages and 2 membership sites — over $5,800 worth of products for just $97.

When you purchase, you’ll get resources with step-by-step instructions to get started, how to grow your email list, the best ways to monetize your blog, and so much more. It’s basically a comprehensive collection of products from some of the most respected voices in the blogging space on all things blogging.

I’m Overwhelmed! Help!

I know that there is a LOT of information in — and it can make you feel like it’s just too much!

Before you start feeling all overwhelmed by the time it might take to try to complete all the courses or read through all the ebooks, STOP! Instead, I want you and choose at least 3-4 eBooks or eCourses that will give you huge benefits right where you are.

Common sense wisdom might tell you that you should go through every single product in a bundle like this. But here’s the thing: I want you to focus more on doing and implementing rather than on just reading about what to do or collecting more information.

So, I want you to just focus on those eCourses or eBooks and decide that are the top priorities for you to dive into right now. You can always go through other courses down the road (you have a YEAR to sign up for them/download them), but start with those that are going to make the most immediate impact in your life and business.

Where Do I Start?

If you need some suggestions on which courses you should focus on, here are some lists of resources I put together that might be pertinent to your individual situation and needs (obviously, these are just suggestions! Feel free to make your own list based upon what resources in the Toolkit jump out to you!):

I want to succeed as a beginner…

If you’re just getting started blogging, consider prioritizing going through:

I want to increase my traffic…

If you’ve been blogging for awhile and want to increase your traffic, you might prioritize going through:

I want to make more money…

If you want to figure out how to make more money from blogging, you might prioritize going through:

  • Caroline is such a fantastic teacher and I’ve learned much from her!
  • Affiliate Marketing For Bloggers: Everything You’re Missing by Carly Campbell ($79)
  • I’ve been going through this one and it’s really comprehensive!

I want to manage my time better…

Perhaps you need help with managing your time as a blogger, so you might prioritize going through:

  • I LOVE Abby’s printables!

This is just a small listing of all the courses available in … there is truly something for just about everyone. I’ve been blogging for over 13 years and I downloaded quite a few different courses from it and am so excited to go through them myself!

Would You Like Me to Critique Your Blog?

Because I want you to succeed as a blogger and because I want you to buy and actually USE it and benefit from it, I am offering something I’ve never done before: I’m offering you the opportunity to get a completely free blog critique from me personally if you purchase and take action on it.

Yes, that means I’ll go to your blog and personally give you pointers on ways you can improve it, ideas I have for ways you can increase your traffic, and suggestions for how to better monetize it.

Here’s how to qualify for a FREE blog critique from me:

  1. Look through all of the products in and send me an email ([email protected]) and tell me what 3-4 resources you are going to commit to going through in the next two months.
  2. Go through the 3-4 resources you committed to go through by December 15, 2018.
  3. Shoot me an email once you’ve gone through them and send me your blog address and I’ll personally go through your blog and give you a customized critique and feedback specifically for ways you can increase your traffic and income (or I’m happy to give you critique/feedback on specific topic if you’d prefer that!

Time is Running Out!

Today is your last chance to get for just $97 + get a FREE Blog Critique from me. If you wait to take action until tomorrow, this deal will be over with.

Are you in?

Don’t wait to take action! Remember, this offer is only available through tonight (Monday, October 15, 2018) at midnight.

Read about what —or just  by clicking below!

Get your copy of the Genius Blogger's Toolkit!

P.S. If you have any other questions about that I haven’t answered in this post, just leave a comment or email me and ask me! I’ll do my best to answer it or find out the answer for you. I want you to purchase in full confidence!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, we will receive a commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

We Spent $56.49 on Groceries This Week (+ here’s what we ate)

I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 grocery budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.).

For live updates, be sure to . See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here.

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and we will be compensated if you click through and sign up. Read our .

I got back from my girls’ beach trip on Sunday night and we left last night (Thursday night) for a family road trip to AL, MS, and LA. We are staying at hotels that offer free breakfast and then we brought much of our food and snacks, so we don’t plan to spend that much extra on food on this trip.

However, we’re under-budget again this week, so I’m using the extra $39 we had in grocery money last week to cover an extra dinner out for our road trip.

Note: When you see the groceries and meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand.

This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries in these shopping trips that I used to make all of the meals we ate. And  it also means we didn’t use all of these groceries up this week — because some of them will be saved for later weeks!

Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. 🙂

Kroger Shopping Trip #1

Kroger Shopping Trip #2

  • 5 dozen Simple Truth Eggs — marked down to $0.49 per dozen
  • 2 bags of cinnamon/raisin bagels — marked down to $1.49 each
  • 3 Simple Truth yogurts — marked down to $0.49 each
  • Oui Yogurts — marked down to $1.19 each, used
  • Artisan Lettuce — marked down to $1.49
  • 2 bags of grapefruit/oranges — marked down to $0.99 each
  • 1 bag of apples — marked down to $0.99
  • Stayfree pads — $1.79 when you buy 5 participating products, used , got $0.50 back from iBotta rebate = $0.39
  • 4 Suave Shampoo/Conditioner — $1.99 each when you buy 5 participating products, used + $1/1 coupon that Kroger had sent to me (I should have just bought 3 bottles — for some reason, I got mixed up and thought it was a $1/2 coupon… oh well!) = $0.99 each
  • 2 Speedstick deodorant — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Gillette Shave Gel — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating products
  • Colgate toothpaste — $1.99 when you buy 5 participating products
  • 2 Suave Kids’ Body Wash — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 Huggies Baby Wipes — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items, used = $0.74 each after coupon
  • 2 Honey Nut Cheerios — $1.79 each when you buy 5 participating items, used = $1.29 each after coupon
  • 4 packages of Goldfish — $0.99 each when you 5 participating items
  • 8 boxes of Quaker Granola bars — $0.99 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • 2 packages of Oscar Mayer lunch meat — $2.79 each when you buy 5 participating items
  • Used $10/$40 coupon that Kroger mailed to me recently (make sure you always have your address correct on the Kroger site — they often mail out great coupons!
  • Total with tax: $39.84

The best deal of the week by far (at least to me!) was the Simple Truth Cage-Free Eggs for $0.49!!!!! I have never seen cage free eggs this inexpensive and was so excited for this deal!

Since we already had 4 dozen eggs from recent deals, I shared two dozen with a friend and we plan to have lots of scrambled eggs, fried eggs, and hard boiled eggs over the next 2-3 weeks.

I don’t usually freeze eggs, because we can easily eat through 3 dozen in a week, but I will be making French Toast or Egg Casserole if we really need to use them up and aren’t seeming to eat through them quickly enough. I never have had any issue keeping eggs in the fridge for 2-3 weeks past their sell by date, so I’m not too worried about us being able to use them before they go bad.

I was also excited because I earned 436 points on Fetch Rewards for my second shopping trip! If you haven’t signed up for Fetch Rewards yet, I highly recommend signing up and scanning your receipts. It’s such an easy-peasy way to earn free gift cards!

(Want more details on Fetch Rewards and how it works? Read this post on How I Earned $5 in Free Gift Cards in 3 Weeks — just for scanning my grocery receipts.)

What I Spent This Week

Total spent: $56.49

Cashback Earned This Week: 461 points from Fetch Rewards for scanning my receipts + I earned $0.60 back from iBotta for scanning my receipt and purchasing Stayfree.

What We Ate This Week

Breakfasts:

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs, Banana Bread with Peanut Butter (Everyone is on their own for breakfast!)

Lunches:

  • Hard Boiled Eggs, Avocados, Salad, Grapefruit, Cottage Cheese, Lunch out with a friend (she insisted that she pay for my lunch!), Apples, Pumpkin Waffles (Jesse & Me)
  • Turkey Sandwiches, Fruit, Veggies, Banana Bread, Granola Bars, Yogurt, Cookies, Capri Sun (For the kids — They are in charge of their own lunches.)

Snacks:

  • Banana Bread, Oreo Cheesecake (that Kaitlynn made), Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Fruit/Veggies, Cookies, Hard Boiled Eggs, Turmeric Milk

Dinners:

  • Saturday: Jesse and the kids went over to our friends’ house for dinner since I was gone
  • Sunday: Leftovers/Fend For Yourself
  • Monday: Sausage/Peppers/Onions in the Crockpot
  • Tuesday: Fend For Yourself (Silas had a baseball game) — The kids had cereal, I had a muffin, egg, and apple, Jesse can’t remember what he ate!
  • Wednesday: Pumpkin Pancakes (recipe coming this next week on the blog — these were a hit!)
  • Thursday: Lasagna Casserole (from the freezer) Salad
  • Friday: Dinner Out

A Beginner’s Guide to Your First Tough Mudder (and how to do it for FREE!)

Thinking of doing a ? Here are tips and tricks I’ve learned from doing three different Tough Mudders in the last few years…

1. Embrace the Mud

My very first Tough Mudder was scary. I wondered if I would make it to the finish line. Could I really do a 10-mile, 23-obstacle mud run?

I worried that it would be too hard. I was scared I should have trained for it (I signed up on a whim a few weeks before). And I was worried that I would hate the mud.

You see, I hate mud. I hate the un-showered feeling. In fact, I have to shower and shave my legs every day to feel human and sane.

So I wondered if I had lost my mind to be signing up for something where the whole entire event was about walking and crawling and “swimming” in mud.

But I completely surprised myself by not really being bothered by it at all. In fact, after the first obstacle on that 10-mile obstacle run — one where you ended up covered in mud (see below), I just went with — and it was a blast!

Yes, I definitely was happy to take a shower when I got home and yes, it took multiple showers before I was finally mud-free, but I didn’t mind the mud at all during the event. And during my next two Tough Mudders, I actually welcomed it. Bring on the mud!

Note: You will get very, very muddy. It’s inevitable. Be prepared for mud to be in every orifice of your body — and for it to take a few showers and multiple hair washings to get it all scrubbed off!

2. Ask for Help

The Tough Mudder was specifically designed to be a team event. I can’t imagine doing it on my own or by myself. In fact, some of the obstacles cannot be completed on your own; the only way to get through them (or climb up or over them!) is to have help!

Willingly accept help. Don’t try to go it alone or be a macho. Accept that outstretched hand or the person offering to give you a boost so you can climb the high wall. That’s part of the experience — and I think it’s one of the best parts.

Tip: If you’re planning to do a Tough Mudder, find at least another friend to do it with you. It makes for such an amazing memory to share together AND you’ll never have to worry about being left to try to tackle an obstacle on your own. We just recently finished doing a Tough Mudder with two other couples we are close friends with. It was such a fun adventure — and it deepened our relationship to do it together!

3. Wear the Right Clothes & Gear

One of the best ways to improve your experience at the Tough Mudder is to wear the right clothes and gear. It could mean the difference of you being miserable or actually loving it!

Here are some things I would suggest:

Wear fitted spandex clothing. Don’t wear anything that is bulky and could easily get caught in barbed wire (which there will be quite a lot of that you’ll need to crawl under. Ladies, I recommend wearing spandex capris to protect your legs better as you are crawling under and over things.

Wear . You are going to be using your hands a lot to grip things and gloves will make that easier, they will prevent your hands from getting scratched and scraped. I always use .

Bring sunglasses. If it’s sunny, you will be glad that you did. You can set them on the side of any obstacle that involves potentially dropping into water.

Wear shoes that are fairly tight on you. Your shoes will get soaked and you will be walking through waist deep mud and water. If you wear shoes that are loose, you’ll have a hard time keeping them on.

Wear sunscreen. Even if you don’t think it’s going to be sunny, you’re going to be outside for at least 4 hours at this even and the last you want to do is come home muddy and sunburned!

Wear a hair band. If you have longer or thick hair, a hair band can be a lifesaver so that you don’t have muddy, wet hair in your face. At the end of the race, you get a finisher’s head band and these work well for your next Tough Mudder!

Use shoe wraps. You will likely get a lot of little pebbles and rocks in your shoes without shoe wraps/gaitors. We (see above photo) and love them!

Don’t bring anything else. You are going to be traipsing through all sorts of mud and water and crazy obstacles… leave your phone or valuables or anything else you don’t absolutely need behind (they offer a bag check, but it costs $10, if I’m remembering correctly). They offer various water and snack stops along the way so you don’t need to bring any food or drink with you.

Tip: Bring a big plastic trash sack, a change of clothes, a change of shoes, and towels for when it’s over with. They have showers where you can shower off, but you’ll want to throw all of your clothes into a trash sack and it’s really nice to have towels dry off at the end!

4. Have a Blast!

Seriously! The more you are ALL IN for the event, the more fun it will be! Do your best. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t complete an obstacle (you can skip any obstacle you don’t feel comfortable doing) and go out and have fun!

You will challenge yourself. You will likely stretch yourself. And you will probably realize that you are a lot stronger than you thought.

Also, you just might fall in love with Tough Mudders and surprise yourself — just like I did!

How to Do a Tough Mudder for FREE (or at a discount!)

While the price of a Tough Mudder is quite expensive (you’ll pay $99+ for a ticket + $20 for parking at the event), there are a few ways to cut down on the costs — and even get in for FREE!

  1. Volunteer — If you volunteer at the event for half a day, you’ll . If you volunteer for a full day, you’ll  You may still need to pay for parking on the day you participate in the event.
  2. Find a Deal on Groupon — We found a deal this time around on Groupon and were able to save a significant amount off the ticket price by doing so! Check Groupon for your area to see if they are offering this — it showed up a few months before the Tough Mudder event.

Note: This post is in no way, shape, or form sponsored by Tough Mudder. Though if they wanted to sponsor me in some way, I certainly wouldn’t have a problem with that! 😉

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links, and we will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Read our .)