For homeowners around the world, the onset of springtime can only mean one thing: more work. With warm weather and longer days approaching fast, the desire to cultivate a cleaner living space and discard excess junk begins to spread.
Last spring, I visited an old friend at her house in Maine. Spring was here at last, and this change in season had been reflected in my friend’s immaculate South Portland home. What stuck out most to me were her carpets. Despite living in a semi-remote neighborhood, surrounded by plenty of natural beauty, her carpets were a spotless, shining shade of white. I asked her about her secret, and while she gave me some indispensible advice, her biggest cleaning mantra was alarmingly simple: be consistent.
When she told me ‘be consistent,’ she meant that the coming-on of spring shouldn’t be the only time you clean your carpet during the year. The most cleaning gets done, she said, in the day-to-day. Removing dust on a regular basis – through regular, consistent vacuuming – will prevent it from building up. She also told me to keep a consistent attitude about cleaning – be consistently proactive and consistently excited about cleaning. “If you’re not,” she told me, “procrastination will take over.”
She also advised I be consistently preventative. “Prevention is so important to maintaining a clean carpet,” she said. If your home isn’t equipped for dirt and grime prevention, there’s no better time to equip it than during spring cleaning. She suggests placing a shoe rack and welcome mat in the front of your home, perhaps in the foyer if your home has one, in order to inhibit the spread of dirt through your home. By having your family and all guests take off their shoes before stepping onto the carpet, you will make the inevitable task of cleaning your carpets much easier on yourself. If you have a dog or outdoor cat, we recommend keeping a towel by each of your home’s entrances, so you can use it to wipe down their paws when they come in from outside.
My friend recommended figuring out what works for you during spring cleaning and sticking to that, each and every year. As she said, be consistent. Create a routine that you know works. Personally, I like to wait until the very end of spring cleaning, after I’m done with the rest of my home’s various parts, until I begin working on the carpets.
Here are some more tips for spring carpet cleaning. Make sure to move furniture that’s sitting on your carpets when you clean and vacuum; these spots beneath couches and tables are often ignored.
Rent or buy a steam carpet cleaner, as it is the most effective way of deep cleaning your carpets. When you cause or notice a spill on your carpet, take action right away to prevent the stain from setting. Be consistent in acting immediately when you notice a stain or cause a spill. The longer you wait, the more the stain will set, and the harder it will be to eventually remove. Ultimately, it’s your job to pick a cleaning routine that works for both you and your home. No matter what you decide to include in your spring cleaning regiment, above all else, be consistent.
Do you need money on the side? Well getting your hands on a little bit more can be easy if you are willing to try new things and be a little industrious. Take a look at these great tips on how to do so.
If you type fast and have experience with transcribing audio, you’re probably able to make some cash on the side working for companies which provide transcriptions for hearing impaired people. There are many online job sites such as Elance and Odesk where you can find a variety of transcription job offers. If you want to get repeat work, you’ll need to write quickly and accurately, with proper spelling and grammar.
Do Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing consists basically of promoting a third party’s services or products. You could post YouTube videos with links to products, or incorporate their promotional material in your blog, website or page. If you have a blog or page that has great content and constant traffic, you should check out websites such as Commission Junction for services and products which will allow you to connect.
If you have a small band with some sort of local following, you can expand your audience and make some cash on the side by recording an album and selling it online. You can use social media to get more people interested in your music and your act. This will probably easier and more successful than attempting to score a major label deal, particularly if your music isn’t particularly commercial or is not in one of the most popular genres.
Write An eBook
Are you talented or very knowledgeable in a certain niche? Do you have an inspiring or fascinating life story, or perhaps a story of overcoming adversity? Do you have a secret for doing a certain thing that many people could benefit from? If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe you should write an eBook, and try your luck selling it at online retailers such as Amazon. You don’t need a publisher or literary agent – all you need is a compelling idea which people will want to read about.
Haven’t yet found an idea that suits your personality or skills? Keep reading for other online money-making tips which will help you make ends meet.
Start An Online Store
If you market or make a unique product, it can be a great idea to sell them online, directly to customers. This is an excellent route for niche products, such as personalized pet accessories. You’ll need a website which looks professional and is set up to receive orders and then invest a bit of cash for the website and merchandise. If the store becomes particularly successful, you’ll be able to rent space to other retailers that have products to sell – that’s how Amazon started out. You can check out 3dcart.com for more info on selling things online.
Online Cash Loans
What better way to get your hands on some money quickly than through internet loans. Once taken with a strong understanding of the terms and paid back within the right period, online cash loans can be a great way to fund purchases when they are needed quickly and as a necessity.
Sell Products At Online Retailers
If you can sell a product but don’t feel ready to start an online business, you can reach out to one of the many websites which does the hard work of placing the items you sell in front of people who are willing to buy them. If you want to sell collectibles such as jewelry or handmade art, check out Zibbet, Etsy or ArtFire. Etsy is the biggest of them, excellent for vintage or handcrafted items, so you’ll definitely get an audience there.
Sell Your Photography
If you’re a skilled photographer with a large portfolio, you could make it work for you by licensing photos to microstock agencies such as Dreamstime and Shutterstock. There are many blogs and websites who are looking for art to accompany articles, so if you have the sort of photos they’re looking for, you could definitely make good money off it.
The term ‘flipping’ refers to the practice of buying domain names and selling them at a profit. You’ll need a bit of ingenuity, a lot of research and some luck, but you can make a nice sum from time to time. The idea is to check out Google Adwords constantly and be aware of trending keywords, then predict which domain names will soon be in demand. This is not that easy of a task since the simple, clever and/or obvious names are usually taken.
If you come up with a name you might want to purchase, go to a domain name registrar and run it. If it hasn’t been taken yet, all you’ll need to do is pay a purchase fee, and maybe a setup fee, plus the yearly renewal fees. Many companies such as GoDaddy specialize in registering domains. While this can be time-consuming, the payoff can be big – valuable domain names will often sell for over $100,000.
Don’t give up yet – we’ve got a lot more tips which will help you put your skills to pay rent online.
Do Freelance Work
If you’re out of a job in publishing, marketing or web design, and your attempts to find a steady job have failed, it might be a good idea to start a freelancing career. Web sites such as Guru, Textbroker, and Elance allow potential employees to bid for the jobs requested by potential employers.
When we checked, new jobs at Elance ranged to $10 an hour for graphic designers to $1,000-$5,000 for iOS or web developers. Be ready to present your skills and case in a short proposal which states the reasons why you’re the perfect candidate for an assignment. Keep in mind that you’ll need to apply for a variety of jobs before getting one.
Find Quick Odd jobs
When you have some free time and are looking to do certain jobs quickly, you can check out Gigwalk, a free app where companies advertise short assignments they need completed, such as going to a business and writing a Yelp review for it for $20. If you’re good at running errands or assembling furniture, you can sign up at TaskRabbit, where people and business who need some temporary help try to find workers. You’ll need to go through a video interview and a background check, but you can definitely pick up some cash there between jobs.
Did your child get a new set of braces, like many do? If they have, you’ll know that they can be hard to care for.
In fact, having braces is often an inconvenience, particularly if you are not used to them. The good news is that you can help them care for them effectively if you remember a few simple tips. Before you know it, your little one will be time to take your braces off and reveal your beautiful new smile!
Having braces is a different experience. Your teeth will feel weird. It may be hard to eat certain foods. You may even feel some discomfort, particularly at night when you have nothing else to distract you. Keep reminding yourself that this will all pass. You will find a new normal, with braces, and it will be hard to remember what it felt like not to have them. However, go into the process understanding that things will be different for a while. This mentality will help you to adjust to the changes in your life with relative ease.
When you smile, you show off how confident you are. Some people go into the process of getting braces filled with dread. They think that braces will be terrible, and they are worried about how they will look. However, it is important to consider that there are a lot of people in this world with braces. It can’t be THAT bad. Also, remember to smile. When you have a beautiful smile, no one will really pay attention to anything else.
Your teeth will likely be sore when your braces are first put on. That means you should choose foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. For example, soup, applesauce and smoothies are a great option. There’s nothing wrong with a little ice cream to help yourself feel better, either. Soon, though, you will be ready for different food. You must still make careful selections, because some foods (like carrots and apples) have a tendency to get stuck in your braces. They can even damage your orthodontia. If a piece of food does get stuck, it is often really hard to get out. Therefore, avoid hard candies, ice, bagels and chips. Stay away from gum and tootsie rolls. If you want to eat a fruit or a vegetable that is hard, cut it into bite size pieces.
It isn’t going to be easy to clean your teeth well. That means that you should avoid certain foods that often cause cavities, at least until you have your care routine down pat. In general, you should stay away from soda, pastries and candy, because they have a lot of sugar in them. If you do have a treat, make sure you brush right away. Some toothbrushes are better for this task than others; look for one that neutralizes sugar. Your dentist is a great resource if you aren’t sure where to look. Also, food like popcorn, which gets stuck easily in braces, should be avoided. Caramels, nuts and corn on the cob are not great choices either. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Care For Your Teeth
You likely already take good care of your teeth. However, when you have braces, you have to pay even more attention to what you are doing. You must brush and floss regularly; the braces can trap food and harbor plaque, so a good cleaning routine is essential. Your dentist may be able to provide you with chewable tablets that help you see where plaque is currently hiding. Be vigilant so that you don’t have dental problems down the line.
It is not only important to brush and floss, but it is important to brush and floss the right way. That means making sure that you brush for at least two minutes. Take your time to make sure you get under your wires. Also, when you are flossing, you have to maneuver around the wires, which is not always easy. Tackle each tooth to make sure that you are cleaning properly. If he hasn’t already given you one, speak to your dentist about a wire brush that will help you clean around your wires and brackets. That little tool is essential in helping you get rid of plaque. Before you call it quits, use a mouthwash to help rinse. Ideally, you want one that advertises the fact that it gets rid of plaque. If you can’t tell already, plaque commonly causes issues for people with braces. You must be as diligent as possible in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
Why look the same as everyone else? If you put colored rubber bands on your braces, you can personalize your look so that your smile is uniquely yours. You can choose one color or several different colors. You can change up the rubber bands each time you go to the dentist or stick with the same color over time. Do whatever you want, but make your braces part of your look. They aren’t going away any time soon, after all.
Your lips are affected by your braces as well. It is easy for them to dry out and become chapped, which is why it is so important to apply a lip balm consistently. Start as soon as your braces are put on so that you don’t run into any trouble. In fact, it is best to apply a layer just prior to going in to see the orthodontist to have the braces put on. The process is a little slow, and your lips may become chapped and uncomfortable if you don’t take this step. That’s the last thing you need when you will be dealing with a new set of braces.
I remember so clearly when my son was little. He was seven when his father and I divorced, and we moved out of state. Sure, we struggled, but we had many good times, too. I was a super-involved single mom. When he was in elementary school, I knew all of his teachers. I attended class parties, and I never missed a parent-teacher conference.
I made sure he was involved in fun extra-curricular activities with other boys his age. We were very active in Cub Scouts. The Pinewood Derby was always my favorite event! Together, we built several cars that won the race! I was a very proud Derby Mama; I knew how to polish those axels and make the cars go FAST!
He joined a basketball team for several years, and that really helped him grow. I was there for every practice and game, and I was the mom who kept track of all the players’ statistics. My son was good at defense, but he never wanted to shoot. I’ll never forget the one time he was in the perfect spot to get a basket. The parents were sitting on the bleachers wondering what he would do. Then, he threw the ball and made the basket! We all got on our feet and cheered.
But sports were not his passion. And he decided not to continue with Boy Scouts.
My adorable little boy was becoming one of the most feared creatures on Earth; the teenager with an attitude. He loved to argue with me. Everything I said was wrong. He was still doing pretty well in school, which was certainly a relief. But home was a different story. We got along fine as long as he was doing and getting what he wanted. But when I needed him to do something for me or the household, it wasn’t happening and an argument erupted.
The Challenges of Raising Teen-Aged Sons
Being the mother of a teen boy can be so challenging! I’m five-feet, three inches tall on a good day, and my son towered over me when he was only thirteen. His father lived out of state, so I was on my own with this kid. How in the world would life be bearable until he graduated from high school?
As a mom, I was tempted to just give in to his wishes to make peace in our home. I certainly did not look forward to the days that, after being at work for nine hours, there would be a huge knock-down, drag-out waiting for me at home.
Truths About Raising a Teen-Aged Son
I needed to remind myself of several important truths:
I’m the adult, not him. This was my home, and he was allowed to share it with me. I paid the bills, and I made the rules. Even though he is absolutely sure that he knows more than I do, I know that I’m right. I need to stand my ground and be the adult.
Giving in to his demands will not help him. As a parent, it’s my job to raise a child into an adult. This boy needs to become a strong man, and I need to help him. This means that he needs to understand that the choices he makes will have consequences, whether they are good or bad. If he chooses to not complete his school work, he will suffer the consequences of that choice. It’s not my job to bail him out. The same rules apply at home. If he decides not to do a household chore that is his responsibility, I will provide the consequences.
Enabling him and bailing him out will not help him. It would have been so easy for me to clean up after him, cook all his meals, and just give in, in order to keep peace in my house. But is that teaching him how to be a strong, independent man? No!
Parents have more power than we think we do. It seems that many parents today are almost afraid to discipline their children. It is okay if we don’t give our children every single thing they want. “No,” is a complete sentence. We do not need to give them an explanation for the decisions we make.
This difficult time with my son is only a season. It won’t last forever. I know that it’s my job to help him grow into a successful young man, and he won’t always enjoy the process! I’m looking forward to the day, maybe five or ten years down the road, when I hear the words, “Mom, you were right!”
Admit it. Getting your baby’s daddy to pay child support can be like pulling your eyelashes out one by one. Why can’t he understand that you both made this child so he needs to help support this child? All the excuses are getting old and tired.
The bills need to be paid.
The baby needs shoes? Food. Uniforms. Doctor visits. Clothes. All the things that make survival possible.
So how can you get him to pay up or get off the #struggletrain? Stick with me and I’ll share a few practical ideas you can start using today to make the struggle less stressful. Hopefully, the following tips will also prepare you to go into the battle with a better strategy.
My ultimate goal is to inspire you to seek a different path to financial freedom.
Reality Check: Honestly, unless you are a baller ex-wife, boo, or side chick, was married to a CEO or a business owner; it will be hard to make a living, much less a life off of child support. You will be more successful taking action on the tips I share in the second half of this article.
A 7-Step (Mostly) Conflict-Free Process for Getting Child Support
Step 1 – Decide How Much You Need
What will it take to raise your child and meet all his needs? Check your food, clothing, utilities, and all the things your child uses and needs. When you have a number divide it in half. This is how much you need from your ex to raise your children. Be realistic about his ability to pay. Next access his finances.
Step 2 – Assess His Finances
How much does your Ex make? You may not know the exact amount but you can research his job position and the average pay for that position. Be realistic about how much he gets paid when you are considering your child’s needs and his income. There may be a huge gap.
Step 3 – Communicate Your Demands
The next step is to say what you need to care for your child. There is a difference between demanding money because you think he owes you something and asking for money because raising a child requires money. I suggest you go as far as itemizing the cost of everything your child will need for the year. Write it on a piece of paper and give it to your child’s father. Wait for a response then go to the next step. Negotiation.
Step 4 – Come to an Agreement
In this step, talk about the list and decide, together, what he can realistically do. Sometimes it’s just not as cut and dry or black and white as you think. He honestly may not be able to give you everything but can do something. Ask him if it’s truly the best he can do. Keep at it until you both feel this is something you can live with for at least three months, six months, or a year.
Request a review after agreed time limit has passed to see if he’s in a better position to do more. Men need facts to make decisions. They do not rely entirely on their feelings. If you make it about feelings and drama you will get less than you think you deserve and he will make it harder to get it even at the risk of going to jail, back taxes, or anything to keep you from winning.
Step 5 – File the Paperwork
When you have an agreement put it in writing and you both sign it. This is now your contract to keep or file with the courts if that is part of the agreement. If it is part of a child support order, send it to your attorney or complete the forms yourself. The point is to have a record of the agreement and preferably a witness.
Step 6 – Communicate Regularly
Decide how you will communicate and what you will communicate with your Ex. Keep everything brief and business-like so you stay focused on what matters; your child. Keep your emotions in check and do not allow him to bait you into a conversation about your past relationship, your current relationship with someone else, and all the things you or he did wrong. The less you talk about unresolved personal issues when discussing child support the better off you will be.
Decide if you want to tell him about any special purchases you needed to make because of school needs, medical needs, or other needs outside of the usual food, clothing, and shelter he is contributing to with the child support payments. Make a communication schedule that you can agree on and stay within those guidelines.
Depending on how volatile your relationship is you may decide to only use text messaging, only email, and rarely a phone call. You may use a combination of it all. It is up to you. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent.
Step 7 – Wait for the Check/ Deposit
Now you wait for the child support check to arrive. It may feel stressful because you are not sure if it will come. If it doesn’t communicate with him and ask when you can expect it. If it does come send a quick text saying you got it and say thanks the first few times. The more you appreciate his effort and integrity in sending it the more goodwill you create.
How to Get Off the Child Support Struggle Train in 7 Steps
Now that you have tried the tactics to get child support I’d like you to assess how much you can actually survive off that money. Is it enough to pay the rent, car note, buy food, clothing, school project materials, take a vacation?Can you live off that amount combined with what you make at your job?Are you still struggling to make ends meet?Are you willing to think about the reason you are still struggling?
It’s likely that even after all the tactics and strategy, the child support is still not enough or nonexistent because he barely keeping up with the payments or not making payments at all. You can’t even depend on a steady payment every month. The struggle is truly real. So how do you get off the child support struggle train?
I’m glad you asked!
Getting off the #struggletrain won’t be easy but it is worth it if you want emotional and financial freedom.
Step 1 – Create a budget that does not include child support
Save your sanity and simply plan your spending around the money you bring in. You will introduce financial stability into your life and step away from the emotional struggle of depending on a child support check that may or may not come.
Step 2 – Create an Income Increase Plan
Now that you see your budget you are probably thinking to yourself, “This won’t cover all my expenses and it still feels like I’m struggling!”. I get it which is why your next step is to come up with an Income Increase plan. This means you think about ways you can increase your income.
Can you create a side gig?Can you take an online certification course to get a better paying job?Can you sell toys on Ebay?Create a long and short term income increase plan and start on it immediately.
Step 3 – Deal with Your Child’s Father Differently
Clear the negative energy you feel for your ex. Do it by any means necessary because as long as you feel anger, resentment, depression, fear, or hostility toward him, the more he is in control. You are better than that and can control yourself, your life, and your destiny. Anytime we hold negative emotions about someone we give them control over our lives.
Step 4 – Focus on Creating a Life You Love
Focus on what you want. Nothing else. When you learn how to focus only on what you want you get it. All distractions pull you back into a dysfunctional life and none of your dreams can come true. Focus on the goals you had before your relationship went sour, or before you had kids, or before your divorce.
Create a list of your top three goals and add a date you want to reach that goal. Keep the list in a place where you can see it daily. Your bathroom mirror, your bedroom door, or your phone lock screen are good places to keep your three goals visible.
Next Steps to Getting off the Child Support Struggle Train
Step 5 – Ask for help
Find someone who has been where you are but is happy and successful. Ask them to mentor you and keep you accountable to your goals. This kind of support will do wonders for your life. The biggest challenge with this is trusting someone enough to open up about your struggles. Pray for the right person to come into your life.
Step 6 – Join or create a support group
Find a group of women who are positive and want the same thing you want. It should be a group of women dedicated to problem-solving, not problem re-hashing. Whiners and complainers are not interested in forward progress and rarely get past the navel-gazing phase. Skip those kinds of people. Fine solution-oriented groups.
Step 6 – Trust your intuition
In your heart of hearts, you know the right answers for you. Trust yourself to make good decisions and you will. Do the research, ask people questions who have the answers, pray for wisdom, and know you can always start over if you make the wrong decision.
What’s Your Next Move?
There are two schools of thought on how to get the child support you need. Rely on the child’s father, who may or may not come through or rely on yourself, who will always come through. Some say he owes you but I say an unhealthy dependence on child support puts him in a position to emotionally and financially OWN you. I was put on this planet to empower single moms, through my own experiences and through practical solutions.
I’ve shared what I think are two solutions that may satisfy both schools of thought. You can pursue child support actively using the methods I shared in part one. You can even pursue it passively by simply filing paperwork with the state. But I think the second part of this article is feasible and definitely more satisfying. Of course, it’s up to you to choose the best course of action.
Happy New Year and welcome to a fresh start! Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.
Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.
We get to write a new story for a new chapter of our lives. There are a lot of opinions about how to make it a great year, how to keep your resolutions, and how to be successful. There are even these lists of 17 things floating around for how to make 2017 great.
Personally, I get overwhelmed with a list that’s over five items so to keep it simple for everyone I only have three things to do to make 2017 the best ever.
Here are my top three tips for how to have the best new year ever
1. Stop caring about what other people think
As I get older I care less and less about what other people think, but this year I cared way too much. Big mistake. I was miserable trying to keep up with the opinions of others. That was a total failure.
This year I’m pulling the rug out from under the opinions of others who are not where I want to be or have not experienced what I have experienced. I’m taking the attitude of Trust, but verify. I have to do a gut check to see if what others are saying, the advice they are handing out like lollipops, is worth the time and energy to follow.
Take a page out of my book and just stop caring about what other people think. Start following your heart instead. You know the answers and if you don’t pray for wisdom and trust that God will give you the right answers and send the right people your way.
2. Do you (improve along the way)
We live in such a copycat world right now that it’s hard to know what is genuinely you and what is someone else’s influence. Social media plays a huge part in this phenomenon. However, you have to decide to do what you do best and forget about the rest.
Embrace your personality, your quirks, even your dark side. In the process, you will learn to trust and love yourself more so you have more to give your children and the world when it’s time. The hidden benefit of doing you is your level of self-acceptance increases.
When you accept yourself it is easier to make small improvements along the way. It is fun and you don’t feel the pressure of having to change because someone else said you should.
3. Plan for success and focus only on what you want
Finally, make a plan for success. How?
Simply decide what you want for the year (I suggest the top 3 things), write it down and post where you will see it each day.
The next thing is to focus only on what you want and ignore the rest. You almost have to have tunnel vision so you can’t see the distractions or the B.S. that is constantly coming up. This is the key and what they mean about living your life on purpose.
If you want to go to school put it on the list. Start with getting information about the school, programs, and enrollment dates. Talk to an adviser about your goals. Then register for a class to test out whether it is right for you.
Just stay focused on the activities that will get you toward your goals. Let the rest fall our of your view.
If you do these three things for the first three months of the year, the rest of the year will be on fire! Amazing! Unstoppable!
Want to learn the secrets to Unstoppable Power?
Grab my course, How to Unleash Your Unstoppable Power, for only $.99 (plus you get unlimited access to 1,000s of other courses for 3 months)! In my course you will discover the 16 steps to living fearlessly and authentically for the rest of your life, one day at a time.