Search Results: Job

You are browsing the search results for job

How to Rock Your Job Like a Boss

how to rock your job like a boss

With over 10 years of experience, I’ve learned how to rock your job and help you stick around for the long haul.

Between high school, college and now I’ve had a number of jobs.  Now, don’t start thinking that I’ve job hopped over the years.  That’s not true.  I typically stick at a job for well over a year, but I sometimes add 1 or 2 jobs on top of my main one.  You see, I don’t like to sit still and I like to make money.  So I’m willing to bust my butt to reach my goals, which I have to say, are mighty big!  

Over the years I’ve seen co-workers come and go.  I’ve seen bosses get agitated with some characteristics of my fellow co-workers. I’ve created a list and I want to share it below with you.  There are certain things that we all know we shouldn’t do on our job – steal, lie to our boss, procrastinate, etc.  But do we know what we should be doing?  What qualities do we need to possess to be a standout employee?  Well, I’m here to help.

I’ve always tried to put my work first.  Now, don’t get me wrong – if my family or friends really need me then I’ll be there in a heartbeat.  But I like to think that my strong work ethic at the office has helped my bosses to be more understanding when I do need to take off.  I also try to not make a habit of it.

A few years ago I was working in a small attorney’s office.  At the time, it was just the attorney and me.  Now, years later, the attorney has expanded well beyond the two-man operation from when I first started.  That has nothing to do with me, other than the fact that I was willing to help out and was honest when I couldn’t take on more.  Anyways… back to my story…

A few years ago, one of my closest friends lost someone very important to them.  Now they never asked me to attend the funeral.  They knew I was working and had school, they also knew the 6 hour round-trip car ride wasn’t going to be easy with everything else going on.  But I knew in my heart that I needed to be there.  This girl meant the world to me and she still does. So I asked my boss if I could have 1 ½ days off.  He asked why and I could tell he was thinking – this isn’t even a family member why should I give it to you.  But I said one thing that really helped – I understand this is short notice, I will work late the next few days to get caught up and I do not expect to be paid for vacation time.  He looked at me and said if it’s that important then you need to be there.  I can manage for a day without you, but be prepared to work when you get back.  So I left.  I drove 3 hours home, went to the funeral, sat by my best friend and was just present.  

At the end of the day, I drove back and showed up to work on time the next day.  I worked my tail off getting caught up and none of my work slacked in the least.  I proved that I was worth having.  But what I never admitted and was hoping that I wouldn’t have to is that I knew in that moment how valuable I was.  I knew that I was replaceable, but I also knew my friend wasn’t.  So I was willing to take that risk, but by being granted a little freedom and understanding, I was willing to prove him that I was worth keeping.  That’s what you have to do.  You have to be willing to give more than you take.

Let’s face it – employers are looking for key characteristics of a good employee.  

If you have a few qualities that’s good, majority then that’s great, but if you have all of them then you are going to be in a golden position to work your way up.  

Here’s what I’ve noticed over the past ten years as the qualities employers are craving for in their employees:

clock

SHOW UP EARLY – I understand rare mornings happen and your alarm doesn’t go off or the baby was sick and you just couldn’t get there on time, but the majority of your mornings you need to show up early.  I’m not talking an hour early, but a few minutes or so.  I know when I get to the office, I have to turn my computer on, get some water and set my purse down.  By getting there a few minutes early, I can take care of all of that without rushing around.  That way when 8:00 am hits you’re already at your desk ready to work.

STAY LATE – If the work isn’t done then be willing to stay a few minutes late.  It won’t happen every day and it will really show your employer you’re committed.  

I had a job once I loved.  It was hard and challenging, but I loved it.  My boss was great, my co-workers were wonderful and I went to work everyday loving what I was doing.  So on the rare occasion a client’s documents weren’t completed or a client needed a late appointment, I was willing to stick around.  I didn’t do it because I was hourly and liked the extra 30 minutes of pay – that wouldn’t be worth it.  I did it because I thoroughly enjoyed what I did and liked helping.  That’s how it should be.  

BE POSITIVE – No one likes Negative Nancy.  Don’t be a naysayer.  There is nothing worse than someone who complains all. the. time.  Stay upbeat and you will notice how easy it is to hit your goals or how much more willing your co-workers will be to help you out.  You never know – you’re day may actually go by faster, too!

Ask for more work – Once you’ve completed your daily, weekly or monthly tasks don’t just sit around on Facebook.  Reach out to get more.  Try to learn as much as you can because you never know when it’ll come in handy.  Plus, if you’re willing to take on more work to help out then that might cut back the nights you have to stay late.  Just a thought…

TAKE THE INITIATIVE – This quality goes with the one above it – asking for more work.  If you see something that needs to be done then do it, even if it’s not your assigned task.  It’ll keep you busy, help the office and you might just prove yourself a bit, too.  Plus, taking the initiative means not putting something off until the last minute.  There is nothing more frustrating than watching a co-worker be assigned a task to complete by the end of the month.  Here we are on the last day of the month and they are just starting the task.  Then you find out that they can’t complete their assignment because they don’t have all the pieces.  If they would have started 3 weeks ago when it was first assigned, then they would have noticed what all they needed and it could have been ordered.  

Here’s another example of taking the initiative.  I had a job once where the receptionist was suppose to clean while she had free time.  If we were extra busy one week then the cleaning would slack because she would have less free time.  So if I went to the bathroom, I would just grab the cleaner and wipe everything down when I was done.  It took less than 2 minutes and the bathroom was clean for the next person.  Plus, it really helped out the girl at the front desk who was swamped with calls and appointments.  She was instantly my best friend because I was willing to help her.  

man-person-hands-coffee-large

GO ABOVE AND BEYOND – again, show them you’re worth it.  I am a huge believer in NOT doing the bare minimum.  If I want my job to last and I want to prove that I’m irreplaceable then I am willing to take on more work, work harder than anyone else and commit to the company.  

In one job I had worked my way up to be the office manager, which meant I was writing everyone’s paycheck, balancing books, paying our payroll taxes, ordering supplies, managing and training the staff.  However, the office needed more.  The staff was behind and we needed help with drafting documents.  So instead of saying, “sorry, that’s not my job anymore.”  I figured out a way to help.  I took the smaller cases aways from the paralegals so they could spend more time on the bigger, more complicated ones.  It was hard and I was stressed some days, but being able to help out was so much more important to me.

BE WILLING TO LEARN – The first thing you have to realize in any job that you take on is that you don’t know everything.  With that in mind, you have to be open.  You have to be willing to try new ways of getting the job done and finding better solutions.

BE WILLING TO TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM – I used to be the first one to become defensive when I just felt like I was going to be criticized.  It’s a hard pill to swallow to find out that the work you did isn’t good enough or right.  It’s rough.  But to grow as a person you have to be willing to take criticism.  Now, I am NOT talking about destructive, down-right mean criticism.  I’m talking about listening and learning from someone that is willing to help you grow.  

One really standout way to take constructive criticism is by taking notes.  In the moment, I may not be thinking clear because I’m trying to still defend why I completed those actions.  So by taking notes then I can process everything on my terms.  Plus, it’ll help me the next the situation comes up because I can refer back to what was suggested to me.  It shows the boss (wo)man that you’re really invested in getting better and are willing to learn.

BE OKAY WITH GRUNT WORK – Let’s go back to the time I cleaned the bathroom to help out.  Now, it wasn’t the only time I helped clean that office nor was it the only job I had that I cleaned at.  I remember working at Office Depot my first few years in college.  I liked it for the most part, but my least favorite task was cleaning the bathrooms.  Disgusting.  But it was a task that rotated between staff members so when it was my turn, I would roll up my sleeves and do the best job I could.  

I knew that job and that task wasn’t forever.  And I also knew that I wasn’t too good to scrub a toilet.  I was not raised to think that something was beneath me, so I gave it my all.  You have to be will to scrub a few toilets (figuratively or literally speaking) to get ahead.  What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.

Startup Stock Photos

BE A TEAM PLAYER – you have to be willing to put the company’s well-being above your own.  Now I’m not suggesting you lie, cheat or steal to help the company, but what I am saying is pitching in to help out.  At my current career (I say career and not job here, because this is what I will be doing for the rest of my life) we have quotas to hit. So, as a team we help each other reach our individual quota. If I’ve hit mine then I ask who needs help and vice versa.  That’s they way it’s suppose to be.  If we each hit our quota then we win individually (a nice little bonus!), but if we help the office reach the overall goal then the office does better, which we will see a benefit from in the long-run.

Like I said earlier, you have to have some of these qualities to be successful at any job.  I used a lot of office-type jobs in my example, but I’ve done most types of jobs.  The only one I haven’t done is food.  Well, I worked at an ice cream shop and snow cone stand one summer, but that’s the closest I’ve come to food.  I’ve worked at several different types of retail stores and office jobs, but they all have one thing in common to be successful.

You can check out my other career tips here

You have to be willing to work hard, show up and get the job done.  This is how your rock your job like a boss!

Talking To Your Boss About Leaving Your Job :: My Experience

leaving your job If you read my last post about knowing when it was time to leave a job then you know what decision I made.  I have been with this company for over 5 years and have worked my way up from a part-time receptionist to full-time office manager and bookkeeper and then came full circle to a full-time paralegal.  I had signs that showed me this job wasn’t the one for me, but when I realized that then I also knew it was time to talk to my boss.

It’s hard to sit down with someone that you’ve gotten to know over the past few years to have a hard discussion with.  Luckily for me, I can have a pretty open conversation with my boss and walk away feeling that it was productive.  Here’s how I went about talking to my boss about wanting to leave:

1) start the dialogue and letting him know that you want to talk.
2) be honest with how you are currently feeling.  Some may say that the workplace is not the place for feelings, but when you know someone for over 5 years and he’s seen a lot from you then it’s okay.
3) do not back down from what you want.
4) tell him the issues you are having – some may be personal and some may be the office procedures.
5) be flexible about leaving.

For me, there were some cases that we needed to finish up.  Yes, I could have left him without any help, but that wouldn’t have been very nice.  Plus, he’s been there for me in the past and the least I could do was be there.  I sat down and had this conversation about a month before wanting to leave.  That way we both had a specific date in mind and the chance to wind up some cases.

It’s never easy to start a new chapter in your life, but sometimes it’s a necessity.  Do not let being miserable at your job make you an unhappy person.  Life is too short to be angry and sad.  Only you have the ability to make change happen.

If you dream of having a different life or a different career then realize that you might be standing in our own way.  I had so many supportive people around me telling me it was okay to make a switch, but I had to finally believe it to make it happen.

Signs It’s Time For A New Job :: My Experience

signs it's time for a new job The end of the year has come and I can finally make a big announcement that I’ve been keeping from you.  The title probably gave it away, but I have decided that I want to change jobs.  It’s been a long time coming and a pretty hard decision.  I don’t love my job, but I am absolutely crazy about the people I work with.  It makes it so hard when you dread going into the office each morning, but know that you are making a difference with the people you work for.
signs it's time for a new job What happens when you think you are ready for a career change?  There has to be some signs that lead you along your way, right?  Well, I had a few signs it’s time for a new job:

1) I dreaded going into the office.  I am never one to dread talking to people and helping people.  So when I started to hate it, I knew I was in the wrong field.

2) It’s not where I saw myself in 5 years or even 1 one year from now.

3) I want to own a business some day and there was no potential for me to own a part this one.

4) I was tired of complaining.

A few simple and direct signs is all it took, well that and about 3 months.  The next step was talking to my boss.  I’ll go more into that in another post.

Image via behappy

20 Ways To Make $100 Fast

20 ways to make $100 fast, make $100 fast, make money fast, how to sell items online, how to host a yard sale, how to become a ghost writer

Are you looking for quick ways to make a buck?  Well you’re in luck!  I have put together a great list of 20 ways to make $100 fast.  

Now most of these on the list are things I have personally done and can share with you my opinion.  But before you take on any job or sell anything, please do your research.  Make sure it’s from a reputable company or from someone you personally know.  There are too many times people are taken advantage of and you should protect yourself.

Alright, now that my little disclaimer is out of the way let’s dive in.  Here are my 20 ways to make $100 fast:

Sell old phones, laptops and tablets

You can find different online companies, like gazelle.com that offer to buy old electronics (I have never used gazelle before, so please do your research).  You can also sell old phones, computers and such online through craigslist and Facebook swap shops.  A lot of times people are looking for parts and are willing to pay for an older phone.  

Sell old clothes

This is one of my favorite ways to make extra money!  All you have to do is clean out your closet, your husband’s closet and your kids’ closets.  You can sell on Facebook Swap Shops or create an Ebay account to sell.  I have sold older coats that I no longer wear on Ebay before and it’s super easy.  Plus Ebay will give you a few credits each month so you can list quite a few items at no cost.  Now you will pay a processing fee for selling, but it was minimal in my experience.  

Have a Yard Sale

I’ll admit I have a love/hate relationship with Yard Sales.  Here’s why – you can put so much work into them and then end having a dud.  Plus during the summer when it’s so hot, the last thing I want to do is sit outside most of the day.  However, with that being said I still love yard sales.  It forces us to clean out closets, get rid of items we no longer use and then we try to make some money off of them.  You can even come together with another family or with your neighborhood to hose a giant yard sale.  When you offer a multi-family yard sale then you typically end up with more buyers, which means increased number of eyes looking at your items.  If you’re looking for some great tips on how to host a successful yard sale then check out this post from Money Crashers.  

Sell Items You Don’t Use

This goes right along with selling old clothes and having a yard sale.  If you aren’t using something and haven’t used it in a long time then get rid of it.  You could easily make some cash and make more room in your house.  For instance, our old bassinet we had just sitting in our little guy’s room.  We hadn’t used it in months (I’m pretty sure we stopped using it before he was even three months old) and our little guy was over a year old.  We decided it was finally time to sell it.  We made back over half of what we paid for it, which was awesome.  Now we cleared a corner in his nursery for the growing pile of toys.

Volunteer for Overtime

If you work in a service industry type field then you may be able to volunteer for a few hours.  I know in the tax and accounting field a lot of overtime is earned during tax season, which is a great way to make some extra cash.  So just keep you eyes and ears open to see if any extra help is needed.  You can score some brownie points with the boss and make some money too!

Take Part in Your Company’s Customer Referral Program

A lot of workplaces offer a referral program – either refer a new client or a new employee.  This is a great way for you to earn money on the side, just by promoting what you do for a living. 

Offer Baby Sitting

I know a lot of parents are afraid of leaving their children with people they don’t know.  So offer babysitting to people you trust and who trust you.  You can put up flyers around your church or work to offer babysitting a few times each month.  You could make some serious cash!

Start Pet Sitting

Not that I want to compare a child to a pet, but people will do some crazy things to keep their pets comfortable.  Offer to some friends who are planning a vacation to take care of their dogs while they’re away.  More than likely it will be a lot more cost effective then a kennel for your friends and you could earn some money while doing it.

Sell Your Photography Skills

Are you an avid photographer?  Well you could be making money.  If you’re willing to upload your pictures to a site like shutterstock then you could turn your hobby into a side job.  Online photography sites typically offer a way for you to sell good, quality images without much of a startup cost.  

Apply for extra work 

There are so many websites and job boards online that are looking for someone to edit images, grammar check posts, and even ghost write a few posts.  By joining a place like Upwork, you can put together an online resume and then bid on different jobs.  I actually use to write on Upwork quite a bit.  I would put together articles for other finance sites and even created a handout for a gym owner in Australia once.  

Clean Houses

Put together flyers to put around town, at your church or online to offer some cleaning skills.  Cleaning houses could turn into a regular side job that makes some pretty consistent money for you.

Detail Cars

How many people do you know that actually enjoy cleaning their car?  And it’s so hard to find a decent person who can detail a car without overcharging.  Put together a weekend job where you detail cars.  The startup cost is minimal and you can earn some serious money for the time you put 

Create on Fiverr

Can you quickly proofread a short document or have a simple way to create an image?  Well then you could be making some money over at Fiverr.  It’s a cool site that you can sell your services or products for $5.00.  Now you can offer an upcharge for any special add-ons, which is great.  I have personally used Fiverr on several different occassions and always end up with great service.  

Offer Tutoring

If you are profecient in a subject at the local high school or college then you can turn it into a weekend gig.  Offer tutoring to local students on the weekends or one evening a week.

Ghost Writer on a Blog

If you have some writing skills then you can easily turn that into a gig.  A lot of sites that publish articles multiples times a day are always looking for ghost writers.

Offer your Editing Skills

Along with becoming a ghost writer, you can offer your editing skills as an on-going job to websites and bloggers.

Become a Social Media Manager

If you know you’re way around the major social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest then you can easily offer yourself to bloggers and smaller companies.  They are always looking for a strong social media presence, but may not have the budget to hire some in-house full-time.  So offer your services on a small hourly or flat rate fee.

Donate Plasma

If you don’t mind donating blood then you can try your hand at plasma.  There are quite a few places that will actually pay you to donate.  

Give Up Cable

I know this one might be a bit harder to do because you probably have a show (or two) that you love, plus you may be a sports fanactic like my husband.  But if you’re willing to go with out your cable then that could potentially save you MORE than a $100 a month.  There are other services available to help with cutting the cord.  You can get the Amazon Fire Stick (affiliate link), you can try Hulu and Netflix to make sure that you still have some entertainment for the little ones.  We love our Fire Stick and have discovered a ton of great shows – for us and for our little guy for free.

Stop Eating Out for a few weeks

If you find yourself eating out way too often then try taking my No Eating Out Challenge.  You will be surprised by how much you save just by eating at home and taking your lunch with you for a week.

Which ones are you going to try to make $100 fast?  I know we love selling old items online and through yard sales as a quick way to get rid of junk while making money.  

Why I’m Glad Our Son is Growing Up With Dogs

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies, kids and dogs

Before getting into the many, many reasons why I’m glad our little boy has three dogs to call his best friends I want to tell you a story.  This story took place when I was only nine.  My best friend in the entire world was a Rottweiler named Storm.  We did everything together – played in the mud, laid in the grass, played ball, and he even watched over me as I rode my bike up and down our street.  The best thing Storm did for me every day was walk me to and from the bus stop.  Each morning I would load up my backpack and head out the door with Storm right beside me.  He would wag his little stump of a tail as I talked about all the fun things I was going to do in school.  He would sit patiently at the end of the street until the school bus came, then he would walk home to wait until it was time to pick me up again.  No matter the temperature or weather conditions, Storm never failed.  He was always by my side.  

One day while waiting for the bus like we had done hundreds of times before, a man in a red SUV pulled up.  He didn’t live down my street and I had never saw him before.  He rolled down his window and started talking to me.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  There was no one else around, so I answered.  He complimented by dog and me.  At this point Storm was now standing a little in front of me with my hand on his back.  He was keeping a close eye on this new stranger.  He told me he liked to take pictures and would love to get one of me and my dog some day.  I replied with the fact the school bus should be pulling up any minute.  He then asked if I would go with him to get his camera so we could come back to take pictures.  All the red flags and alarms were going off in my head.  This was a BAD man.  

Within moments he had started opening his door.  My hand left Storm’s back and next thing I know my protector had jumped through the car window towards this man.  I took off.  I ran as fast as I could back to my house.  Screaming for my Mom and Dad.  By the time I reached the front porch Storm was by my side.  

I told my parents what had happened and they immediately called the sheriff’s office.  To this day I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but the man did live in the neighboring subdivision and within a few months he moved out of town.  

Storm saved my life.  I truly believe he saved me.  I know I couldn’t have out ran this grown man at only 9 years old, but because of Storm I got away.  

That story is the main reason I want our son growing up with dogs.  Dogs that will protect him, walk with him and keep an eye on him.  Just like Storm did for me all those years ago.  

Now there are many other reasons I want our son growing up with dogs, which aren’t as scary as my story.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs are loyal.  The moment we brought our son home our three dogs knew he was theirs to take care of.  They get up through out the night to sleep by his crib or just to peek their head in to make sure he’s okay.  Tiny, who is my scared-of-everything dog has to be near him at all times.  She follows him, and if he cries she’s the first on by his side – often pushing me out of the way.

Dogs teach responsibility.  Dogs are a huge commitment.  It’s important for our son to learn to care for another being.  He is learning how to pet gently, play with them and will eventually learn how to feed and take care of their water bowl.  At an early age it can help your child feel needed and they can learn the importance of having a few small jobs around the house.

Dogs help with learning new skills.  I can remember sitting on the front porch until it was too dark to see reading a new book to Storm or one of my other dogs.  Reading out loud to your dog can help your child learn new cognitive skills.  Kids who talk to their pets show improved cognitive skills and imagination.

Dogs can help your child be healthier.  Dogs want to play, a lot.  Chase toys, run in the backyard or just keep your child moving around the house.  By having a dog (or in our case three) we’re never short of a dog wanting to play.  Taking our son outside in the backyard with a bunch of dog toys will keep him and our dogs occupied.  This give him a chance to be outside in the fresh air, play with more than just those annoyingly loud baby toys and shows the dogs just how great their new human brother is.

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

Dogs can boost a child’s self-esteem.  This goes back to teaching responsibility.  By having our son help with a few tasks each day he can feel proud of what he has accomplished.  Not only is he taking care of a living being, but he’s helping out Mommy and Daddy around the house.  I can think back to where my job growing up was cleaning up the yard (you know what I mean….).  It was dirty and smelly, but I knew it had to be done.  I felt proud knowing my dogs yard was clean and healthy for him to be in.  My parents were proud because I helped (and because they no longer had to do it).  I knew what it mean to pitch in and help out, and that was pretty great.

I know it’s important for our little man to have dogs in his life, just like I did growing up and just like J did.  To me a dog is a best friend, someone who knows all of your secrets and never judges you.  Someone you saved the last bite of your grilled cheese for and laugh when you get slobbered with kisses after being gone all day.  That’s the love I want our son to know and feel.  The protection at the bus stop will just be an added benefit and will give me a peace of mind.  

growing up with dogs, dogs and kids, dogs and babies

My Top Productivity Tips

top productivity tips, how to get more done in the day, working mom tips, how to do more, how to be more efficient

Mom’s let’s face it the house would fall apart without us managing it.  Right?  I love my husband and he does an amazing job when I work late or have to study or just need a break.  He can cook a great dinner, he does dishes and will even do laundry (although he’s usually too afraid since I’m super picky about my clothes).  He’s awesome.  …. But….

When it comes to knowing what we need to buy at the store, remembering the dogs’ heart worm medicine, pediatrician appointments, when to buy diapers, paying bills, and just overall management that falls to us.  Now, I’m not saying J couldn’t handle managing the house, just like you’re probably thinking your husband could do just find managing your house.  But it’s just easier if we do it.  We don’t have to explain where anything is or how we know when to pay which bill, we just do it.  

With working full-time, branding my own business, studying for the Certified Financial Planner exam, being a full-time Mom, wife and dog mom has taken some serious efficiency.  

And a few times I forget to grab the bottle of milk before heading to the daycare in the morning… oops!

Here are my top productivity tips to stay on top of every detail in your life while making it look effortless. 

Google Calendar

You need a place to organize all of those appointments, reminders and events.  My secret weapon to remembering the dogs’ heart worm pills, changing the water filter for our house, and scheduling appointments is by making an event in our Google Calendar.  You can setup your Google Calendar any way you want, I even created a whole post sharing how our family manages our calendar.  But keep it simple.  Have one calendar for you, one for your husband and one for the family.  Honestly, J probably doesn’t even use his own calendar, but it makes me feel better knowing he has one.  

The personal calendar is just for you.  What reminders do you have each week or month or even each quarter?  Go ahead and write those in and setup an automatic reminder.  In Google you can have an alert emailed to you at your specified time to remind you to do something – that’s how I remember all three dogs’ monthly medicine.  

The family calendar is for everything family or what you need your husband to know.  You can use it for out of town trips with the girls or work conferences, so your family knows you’ll be out of town.  Use it for family doctor appointments and events you need everyone to be aware of.  It’s great when your husband is trying to plan a weekend camping trip with the guys he can quickly look at his phone to see when there is a free weekend.  

No more having to re-plan or move something that’s been on the calendar for weeks. Your communication is now clear.

Google Drive

Google Drive can keep all of your important information.  You can keep your budget and check register in Drive, like my family does.  Which is great on the road because you always have access to your check register so you know exactly how much money you have in your bank account.  

The possibilities are endless with Google Drive.  Here’s how it helps my productivity:

House Projects – we keep a running list of projects we want to work on around the house.  That way if we have a free weekend or a day off work there’s no guessing of what needs to be done.  You can pull up the list and get to work.

Budgeting – I mentioned this above, but it’s my favorite reason to use Google Drive.

Blog Post Ideas – I have a folder where I keep a list of blog ideas that pop in my head.  There is nothing worse than laying in bed dreaming of the perfect new post and convincing yourself you’ll remember it in the morning … and then of course you don’t.  

Meal Planning – we keep a few meal planning recipes in our Google Drive that way when we sit down to create our newest Meal Plan for the next two weeks, we know which meals are winners and worked well for us.

Addresses – I keep an updated address book in our Google Drive for when we need to mail invitations or thank yous to family and friends. 

To-Do List

This one is more of a paper and pen idea, instead of on the computer.  But it really helps to have a giant to-do list you keep with you.  That way when something new pops into your head, you can jot it down and then stay focused on your project at  hand.  I’ve written a post on how I stay on top of it all by having a notebook with me at all times.  It works great!

Wait To Check Emails

The first thing I do in the morning is NOT check my phone.  It’s so easy to get sucked into checking emails, responding, and then heading to Facebook to scroll through everyone else’s lives.  One of the best things you can do in the morning is not check your phone first thing.  Spend some time waking up (without a screen), take a shower, drink coffee and just enjoy the morning silence.  Because we all know the quiet moment each morning doesn’t last very long when you have little ones running around.  Wait until you get the kids off to school or even when you’re at the office, which is what I do.  I always think clearer when I’m more awake and can process things faster.  Keep your productivity up by not getting pulled into the endless email pool – just wait and get ready for the day so you can be on your A game.

Here are my top productivity tips for you.  Simple, right?  But somehow we all need to be reminded of them from time-to-time.  Just keep your day focused by using your energy where you want it most.  For me that’s family, work, and my online business.  I don’t worry myself with too much of the other stuff that doesn’t mean as much.  By setting reminders, having your information at your fingertips and setting boundaries you can be productive with your time and more efficient in your day.

How I Feed My Family For One Week – Aldi Shopping Haul – Coming Home From Vacation

aldi shopping haul, shopping on a budget, grocery haul, family grocery shopping, budget tips, how to shop on a budget

You asked for it – how do I feed my family on a tight budget with meal planning for one week?

Well I thought today is the day to show you. We just got home this past weekend from our week long vacation and it was time to restock the pantry and freezer.

Now that Walmart has done away with price matching, I thought it was time to show off my new grocery shopping skills. I’ve switched to shopping mainly at Aldi so that I can stay on budget and still get quality produce and other food items. Now I don’t expect Aldi to always have what we need, but I have found that it does a pretty good job. For the items it doesn’t carry I plan on getting from Amazon, because Amazon is Mom’s best friend and from the local Neighborhood Market Walmart.

I also am pretty savvy when it comes to online shopping.  I love certain programs that help me make money just shopping normally.  Ebates is a great resource and I highly recommend it.  You can sign up here (using my referral link).  There are other ways to save money with in-store shopping are using apps.  These are great and I recommend them to everyone.  Even if you only get a few dollars back each trip (or less) the savings can really add up.  

Typically I meal plan for about 2 weeks at a time.  That way I can buy meat in bulk and other foods in larger quantities.  It also helps on the prep time because you can just brown a big pan of ground beef, split it and then use it for two separate nights.  However, we stayed the weekend with J’s family after we got back to Missouri then when we finally got home we had a long lunch with my parents.  So by the time it came to meal plan and grocery shop we were all exhausted.  Our little guy wasn’t going to make it to his bed time so we decided to just use what we had in our freezer and pantry to get us started.  

aldi shopping haul, aldi groceries, grocery budget, shopping on a budget, how much to spend on groceries

We ended up meal planning for only one week this time around and then when we go next weekend I will start back on my 2 week plans.  J and I also decided to clean up our eating a little after our vacation.  It was time to get back to eating healthier and eating at home a lot more.  So we planned to have breakfast, lunch and dinner at home for this whole next week. 

Check out the quick video sharing my best grocery shopping tips for a tight budget, how we meal plan and what all I bought from Aldi.  

Here’s the first step in meal planning:

Go through your pantry and freezer.  Make a list of which meats and other items you already had on hand.  Then from there plan your meals.  

We lucked out by having enough meat for the entire week (lunch included!) so that meant this shopping trip was going to be easy and we were going to be able to stay in our grocery budget.  

The second step in meal planning:

Plan around what you already have.  You may love knowing you have a small stockpile on hand, but you should be rotating through your freezer items and what you have in your cabinets.  So go ahead and create your meal plan based off what you have.  Now if you have the wiggle room in your budget or there is a great sale going on then you can buy new meat to replace your inventory. Make sense?  You don’t want to keep a pound of hamburger meat in the freezer for years when you go through a pound each week.  Make sure you’re rotating your stock.

We looked at what we had on hand then planned our breakfast, lunches and dinners around it.  We knew we would have to buy a few items to go with the meals, but the bulk of each recipe was already bought months ago.

We ended up spending just under $59 for the whole week and honestly some of these items were just restocking our pantry so they will last longer than a week.  We’re going to have tasty meals that are a bit healthier this week, too.

aldi shopping haul, shopping on a budget, grocery haul, family grocery shopping, budget tips, how to shop on a budget

Here’s what we’re planning for the next week:

Breakfast each day will be eggs, sausage and cheese scrambles.

Monday Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad with Avocado
Monday Dinner: Grilled Pork Steak (for J) and Grilled Pork Chop (for me) with Parmesan peas

Tuesday Lunch: Shrimp Salad with Avocado
Tuesday Dinner: Hamburgers

Wednesday Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwiches
Wednesday Dinner: leftovers

Thursday Lunch: Chicken Salad
Thursday Dinner: Fajita Chicken Bake

Friday Lunch: leftover Fajita Chicken Bake
Friday Dinner: Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake

Saturday Lunch: left over Chicken Cordon Bleu Bake
Saturday Dinner: out with my family for my Mom’s birthday

Sunday Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

We’ll go shopping again for our next two weeks on Sunday afternoon so I only planned through lunch.

budgeting template, budget program, how to budget, learn how to budget

If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet.  Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.

Surviving Tax Season Like A Boss {A Guide}

surviving tax season like a boss, a guide to surviving tax season

It’s no secret that I work in an accounting, tax and financial planning firm.  I talk about it a lot.  Maybe it’s because I love what I do or maybe it’s because that’s where I spend a lot of my time.  I’m not sure, but either way it’s tax season.  Surviving tax season is a whole thing.  It starts in mid-January and continues until mid-April.  That’s 4 months… 4 months where your life is flipped around.  

I’m not an accountant or tax preparer… yet.  The plan is to become a Certified Public Accountant in the next two years, but first I need to get through becoming a Certified Financial Planner®.  You see, back in college I never dreamed that I would be returning to my hometown to help my Dad in his practice.  That wasn’t in the cards.  Then flash forward 4 years after graduating with my Bachelors and I feel the pull to come home.  

Naturally I didn’t study accounting in college, because why would that be fun?!  I studied Marketing.  Now to sit for the CPA exam I have to have a few more accounting classes.  The plan is for me to get through and pass the CFP exam.  I’ve already taken the courses to prepare for the exam so now it’s just all about passing it.  

Once I get through and earn my CFP designation then I will go back to school to finish those pesky accounting classes before sitting for the CPA exam.  Then when that happens my tax seasons will be even a bit more wild than they already are.

But right now my job during tax season is to review returns with clients, help with any financial planning needs during the next few months and continue rocking our marketing campaigns.  I work 6 days a week.  It’s hard.  I also am studying for the CFP exam and have night class two nights a week.  

I have a lot going on.  So does J.  Our schedules keep us pretty busy and when we have free time we prefer to be doing something as a family.  

Surviving tax season can be rough for those in the field or even connected to the field.  Here are my top 10 tips for surviving tax season like a boss:

  1. sleep when you can
  2. make it clear that you are unavailable starting the second week in January through mid-April to everyone you know
  3. Say goodbye to your Saturday social life
  4. Love what you do
  5. Take deep breaths
  6. Take time in early January to plan the next few months
  7. Learn to say no sometimes
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  9. Spend quality time with those you love
  10. Have a daily schedule

Small tips, but they really help.  I’m a huge planner so I need my calendar to be in order at all times.  It helps me from feeling overwhelmed.  At the first of January I sit down to really schedule out the next few months.  I ask myself are there any trips J and I need to plan for?  What days do I or J have classes on?  What about J’s bowling league, what does that schedule look like?  Plan for any doctor appointments for Baby Boy.  And so much more.  

Then I start filling in my calendar.  I’ve used the Purposeful Planner before and really liked it, but this year I’m going to try to stick with all digital.  I’ve setup our Google calendar so that it’s color coordinated.  It can be accessed from anywhere so I don’t always have to haul around a paper planner with me, which is nice.  About a year ago I wrote a post about what my day looks like.  It’s still somewhat similar, but I think it might be time for an update.  Baby Boy wasn’t here yet and our life sure has changed with him being in it.  

I remember that tax season is just the next few months so that means I may have to miss out on a few things, and that’s okay.  I don’t mind.  I really enjoy what I’m doing and love learning something new each year.  Tax season is all about sacrifices, but I still get amazing quality time with my family and the time I get with my friends and other family members is special.  

What are your busy times during the year?  I know when I worked retail that the busy season hit right before Thanksgiving and lasted through Christmas.  It’s all about phases and finding time to balance it all.  

Nothing Worse

nothing worse

You know what stinks? When you’re having a rough day and you need to put your foot down, but don’t have a voice. Like a literal voice, not a figurative voice.

I had an issue with a big insurance company not too long ago and I had this “guy” on the other end of the phone say something that was completely false. It made me mad. Normally I would have raised my voice a little – not yelling, just stern to correct him. Except I’ve been sick. I have no voice. It’s a little rough sounding and I feel like I’m screaming just to get a small sound out.

I wanted to so bad to call this man out on his assumptions. To correct him. But instead I was left holding back tears because I was so mad that nothing would come out. If only I would have talked to him the day before then I would have been able to lay into him like I wanted. If only he would have done his job and returned my call like he said he would then I would have spoken to him before my voice decided to give out on me.

There is absolutely nothing worse than feeling helpless. Feeling like you don’t matter and even if you try hard to get your point across they just don’t want to hear it. He kept cutting me off as if I wasn’t even talking. I know it’s probably a tactic, but it was awful.

Now I sound like a pipsqueak with no authority. Just wait until I get my voice back, buddy. You’ll be sorry.

Surviving Motherhood

Let’s get real here. Motherhood is hard. No matter how many kids you have, or if you work full time, part-time, work from home or stay at home. It’s hard. Being a Mom kicks you in the butt every single day. I mean it.  Surviving motherhood may be a misleading title, because I’m pretty no matter my son’s age I’m still going to be a crazed-filled Mom ready to pounce at a moment’s notice.

When my little guy was sick I was fortunate to stay home with him for 3 days straight. There I was 24 hours a day on call. No one to hand me anything, no one to help me when I went pee. It was just me and a sick little 9 month old… and three dogs that followed me wherever I went. Well…. Until my husband came home from work.

You never know how loved you are until you hear a baby start to cry because you set him down to run to the bathroom. Friday night rolled around and J asked me how my day went. I looked at him and with all seriousness said I’m in the same clothes since yesterday at 5. I don’t even know if I’ve brushed my teeth today. I can’t get a comb through my hair because it hasn’t been combed since Sunday night and because every time I get the comb out our little guy thinks it’s his to play with. Today has been great.

I meant that though… it really was a great day. Our kid was finally feeling better. It was worth it!

motherhood surviving motherhood

That’s motherhood. All is fine if the kids are doing good. You can get through anything.

There are so many sleepless nights and days where all you want is your kid to take an amazing 2 hour nap just so you can start a load of laundry and change the channel to something that isn’t animated. At least that’s how felt last week and that was only 3 days!

Most days I struggle with Mom Guilt because I have to drop him off a sitter while I go to work. I think about him and miss him the entire day. But I get a break. I get to have grown-up conversations and sit at a desk by myself. But as soon as evening comes I rush to pick him up just to hold him again. In the evenings I’m juggling dinner while getting ran over by a walker. If you’ve never carried a plate of food, a glass of liquids while having your bare toes ran over by mini plastic wheels then you haven’t lived!

You know what we need in this motherhood thing? Moms being nice and telling you that you’re doing a great job. Momhood is messy, it’s filled with too much caffeine, sleepless nights and too much judgement. We’re too busy judging ourselves and wondering what other people are thinking of us. Well let me tell you… I don’t even notice the other Moms because I’m the mom scrambling around.

I showed up for an after-work event for me and J, but since he had to work late I took my 9 month old son as my plus one. But don’t worry, it wasn’t cute. He spilled his bottle all over him in the car so it looked like he wet himself. I had to dig for my fleece jacket off the floorboard because I forgot his jacket. And I also couldn’t stay long because I didn’t have one single diaper with me… nope not even an old one that was too small. I was afraid I would have ended up wrapping him in swaddle blanket if he peed through his diaper just to get him home. And I wasn’t about to have to clean his car seat cover that night.

Mom. Of. The. Year. Right here, people. That’s me! To have another Mom say “I’ve been there.” or “Hey! He’s alive and doesn’t have poop all over his body. You’re doing great!” would be amazing. That’s what we should be doing. Encouraging each other because we are in this together.

If you see a Mom who looks frazzled and like she hasn’t slept in days, then let her know how great she’s doing.