Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Earn Big Cash Back on your Christmas Shopping #ad

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing!



As we quickly approach Christmas, Swagbucks knows you still have lots of shopping to do, and they're offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash!

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before January 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Earn BIG with Coupons!

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post!



We're all looking for ways to save big at the register. Well, I've found a way to make every coupon I use at my local grocery store worth an extra 25¢!



How you ask? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!



1) Sign up at Swagbucks.com

2) Head over to the Grocery Coupons page and start clipping coupons for your upcoming shopping trip

3) Use the coupons the next time you shop at your local grocery store. You'll earn 25 points (25¢) for every coupon you use.

That's it!



But, that's not all... Today through Monday, December 10th, you can earn 2 points (2¢) for every coupon you print, up to 50 prints per day. That's an extra dollar every day just for printing coupons that will save you a ton on your next grocery store haul!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

How To Effectively Save Money


Money can be so hard to save, but so easy to spend. And with life throwing a few curveballs you’re way, emergencies can end up being quite costly. So how can we effectively save money for the long-run? Here are a few tips that might work.



Sell Your Stuff

A lot of us tend to hoard over time, and we can actually hold onto some valuable things that we don’t need. Selling your stuff online is a great way of earning some money, every time you do a spring clean of the property. Sites like eBay are great, and there’s plenty of sites that will buy your old phones or tech gadgets. These can end up being a small fortune if they’re in good condition and still functioning. Some sites though will even buy your broken gadgets so it’s always worth checking, as it’s better off making a bit of money than ending up in your bin, right?

Make A Budget

A budget seems restricting, but if you didn’t have it, you’d probably spend a lot more money. The budget doesn’t have to be too small but if you can calculate how much you usually spend on food, bills and living costs, see how much you can cut it down to. Once you have a budget, challenge yourself to see how long you can sustain the budget. If you’re struggling, add a little more.

Budgeting shouldn’t have to make it harder to save; it should just be looking at what you’re already spending.


Choose Something To Save For

Sometimes having a goal to work towards helps motivate us and stops us from splurging when we really want to. If you have something in mind that you want to save towards, you’ll find yourself more determined to reach that goal. It might be saving for a new car or your first house. It might be buying a holiday or simply a meal out at your favorite restaurant. It is possible to save; you just have to want it enough.


Use Apps

There are now apps that help you save money, and they are a great way of tracking your spending habits. Apps like Mint monitors all of your finances in one place. You can create budgets, keep track of your credit score and even suggests ways of saving money in the process. It’s great to take advantage of all the latest technology available, especially if it’s helping us save money.


Sign Up To Loyalty Card

As long as they’re free, if there are any shops or companies you use regularly, enquire to see if they have a loyal scheme or card you can sign up to. Some places can offer great deals and discounts on products they sell so it’s definitely worth asking about as you can end up saving quite a lot through them.

The money will always come from somewhere, so don’t stress out too much. Using these money-saving tips will hopefully ease off the pressure and stop you from living paycheck to paycheck each month.

Monday, November 26, 2018

God's Good News Book Review #spon

Disclosure:  We received a free copy of this wonderful book to facilitate our honest review.  All opinions stated are those of the Shelly's Bits and Pieces family.



About the Book:  Billy Graham remains one of the foremost pastors in America's history, and parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and more will want this lovely edition of God's Good News for the children in their life to show them the way to the cross and to help them begin a lifetime of following Christ. God's Good News is a collection of more than 60 favorite Bible stories told in actual Bible text from the New King James Version, including Noah, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, and the disciples, and each story is equipped with a takeaway devotion from Rev. Graham. The takeaways will help children focus on God’s Word, apply it to their lives, and begin walking with God and sharing the good news from an early age. The striking artwork from Scott Wakefield will help children connect with the timeless Bible stories and messages from Rev. Graham. "Christianity is good news. . . . When we open up the Bible, it is good news from cover to cover. It's the good news that God loves us." —Billy Graham

Our thoughts:  This book is one of the best Bible Story and devotional books we have ever reviewed.  The illustrations are wonderful and the Bible stories are the perfect length to keep a child's attention.  Each story is told in the actual Bible text from the New King James Version, and each is accompanied by a devotion from Rev. Graham. My husband has enjoyed this book as much as the kids.  He will sit in his chair and read it with them in the evenings.  With Christmas on the way, this would be the perfect gift for the children and families in your life. 

Would you like a chance to win your own copy?  Simply enter below.  Good Luck and God Bless You!

Enter to win a copy of God's Good News

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Ellie Claire Art Journals Review #spon #EllieClaireGifts

Disclosure:  We received each of the journals shown below, at no charge, to facilitate our honest and unbiased review.  All opinions stated are those of the Shelly's Bits and Pieces family and have not been influenced at all!


Journaling has been a part of my life since the sixth grade.  I started out writing about my friends and my daily activities and as the years progressed, I found myself writing about my hopes and dreams for the future.  I cherish the time I spend writing in my journals, and I love to sit back and read through old journals.  It is amazing how many things I hoped and dreamed about that have actually come to fruition.  

We recently received 3 different Ellie Claire Art Journals to review.  We received the Faith & Lettering Journal, the Illuminate Your Story Journal, and the Illustrated Word Coloring Journal.  All three of these journals are beautifully made.  Designs are embossed into these hardback books and the illustrations inside are so cute too.  



















The Faith & Lettering book has a pencil/pen loop on the spine so you can always ensure you have a much-needed writing utensil.  The book has an introduction which includes a how-to use the book section.  Blank lined and dotted pages are inter-mixed with Bible verses and pictures.  I have found that I get inspiration to write from the different verses.  Also included is an area to learn how to draw some of the designs.  They have the design, a place to trace the design, and two practice areas for the design.  It is such a cool idea!  The pages are heavier than standard copy paper, and my gel pens do not bleed through.  (Sharpie markers will be visible on the reverse)  This book is an ideal size and it is one of my favorites!




The Illuminate Your Story journal also has the pencil/pen loop, along with a built-in bookmark and an elastic strap to keep the book closed.  An introduction and a how-to section are also included in the journal.  One thing I really liked is the history that is included.  It tells you about the periods of time that different lettering and decorating were used.  There are blank, lined pages as well as pages for you to learn to draw the different styles of letters and other images.  Some of the lettering is HARD to learn to do, without a lot of practice. The paper is much like the other journals, and I suggest you stay away from using Sharpie pens that will bleed.  Inside the back cover, you will discover a keepsakes folder.  I am putting my practice letters in that folder.  This book is smaller than the other two books.  It is just a little larger than my iPad mini.  




The Illustrated Word is the final journal we received.  It is about the same size as the Faith & Lettering Journal.  My 20-year-old daughter, Kat reviewed this book.  This is what she has to say about it.  Coloring pages are intermixed with the lined pages so you can color and write your thoughts as you go.  The paper is stronger than standard copy paper, but markers will bleed through it.  Colored pencils and gel pens work great and look wonderful!  The coloring pages include Bible verses and are really nice.  Some of the pages have pictures of paintings and manuscripts that are hundreds of years old.  This book is very relaxing and is perfect for the colorist in your life.

We send a huge thank you to Worthy Publishing and Ellie Claire Gifts for sending these beautiful journals.  They have been such a blessing to both Kat and me.  You can follow Ellie Claire Gifts on Instagram by clicking here.  

Monday, November 19, 2018

Earn Big Cash Back this week leading up to Black Friday #ad

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I receive SB for sharing.



As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Start a New Family Tradition with a Package From Santa #ad

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I will receive a Silver package for sharing!



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Every Package From Santa includes both tangible & technological delights including:
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* and the option to upgrade with MORE goodies!

Get 25% off every package you order using code FAM2060
This uniquely personalized gift experience creates Christmas wonder and excitement that your child will never forget!
Have your camera ready to video every step of this special Santa experience! It all starts at the mailbox when the Package From Santa arrives from the North Pole! Delight in the process of making Christmas magic come alive in a very personal way for your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or any little one you know!

This esteem-building personalized gift is an amazing experience of joy, memories, wonder, and happiness!

PackageFromSanta.com has options for EVERY BUDGET starting at $14.95 with an array of add-on goodies to choose from. Create a custom package for each child!

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- FREE Personalized printable NICE LIST GUIDE

Order this holiday must-have for your child at https://www.packagefromsanta.com/

Get 25% off using code FAM2060

Large Expenses That Could Be Destroying Your Budget



Living expenses can grow massively over the years, causing your monthly budget to become unmanageable and impossible to live with. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or even run out of cash before the end of the month, then something needs to change right away. The biggest expenses in your budget, like groceries and housing, are far from unnecessary, but there’s also no need for them to be quite so large. With that in mind, here are five large expenses that could be destroying your budget and things that you can do to reduce them.

1. Housing
Your rent or mortgage will understandably take up a large portion of your budget, often as much as 30% of your monthly income. If your housing costs are even larger than that, then you may want to consider moving to a smaller property or cheaper area. Just make sure that you take the moving costs and any other additional expenses into consideration. Of course, this may not be something that you can or want to do, in which case, you could speak to your landlord or lender.



2. Energy
With the cold weather drawing in and winter just around the corner, homes all over the country are sure to see a rise in their energy bills. To limit this and keep costs low, you should find ways to stay warm without cranking up the heat. For example, you could invest in roof insulation and block up any draughts around your home. You could also wear extra layers. To keep electricity costs down, you need to eliminate phantom energy by turning things off when they’re not in use.

3. Entertainment
Getting rid of your television altogether is a brilliant way to reduce energy and entertainment costs. That being said, it’s far from a realistic solution. Instead of taking away your TV altogether, you could cancel your cable and use streaming services instead. This way, you can still watch anime, television shows, films, and more, but for a much smaller cost. You could also look for free things to do in your local area instead of spending every time you want to have some fun.

4. Transportation
No one realizes just how expensive cars are until they have one of their own. Most only really consider the cost of gas, but there is also insurance, tax, parking, maintenance, and much more to take care of. To cut this expense drastically, you could trade in your car for a cheaper one or even ditch driving completely. After all, public transportation is often a lot cheaper. You could also try walking or cycling to work, as this is free and allows you to get a workout in too.



5. Groceries
Food can get incredibly expensive if you’re not careful, but, with some thought and planning, it is possible to eat healthily without breaking the bank. You should start by writing meal plans and shopping lists and actually stick to them. You should also try swapping to cheaper or generic brands and only eat fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. Limiting meals out will also reduce costs, but there are deals you can find when you do head to a restaurant.

There’s no way to escape many of the large expenses in your budget, but, hopefully, with the advice above, you’ll be able to reduce them and make your money go further.











Tuesday, November 6, 2018

End of Year Finance Tips and Advice


As the end of the year approaches there starts to come the realization that money isn’t as accessible as it seemed to be earlier in the year. The holidays are around the corner and the summer vacation is now a distant memory, albeit often an expensive one. So as we head into the final months, the time has come to assess bank balance and check our credit. 

It’s never a conversation that is enjoyable but with figures like $12.7 trillion for household debt being revealed by places like https://debtconsolidation.loans/ there comes a time that reigning in the spending becomes a necessity. So what can be done to prevent household bills becoming a bigger and bigger burden around our necks?

As discussed here, measuring your debt isn’t something to be afraid of and is actually quite a manageable task, especially these days with so many websites offering you advice on spending and cash flow. Developing a debt management strategy is one of the main ways forward and can be achieved by following a few easy steps. It is important to remember, you are not the first person to bulk at your bills, and you won’t be the last.

Source: pixabay.com

Make sure you are paying off your debts using your own prioritization system. Just because a figure is significant doesn’t mean it should be addressed first and vice-versa. Managing your accounts is more than just lifting the heavy load but also assessing your options to make the number of fiscal voices smaller and quieter.

Pay particular attention to the smaller sums in your day to day life. Is it cheaper to make something at home rather than buy out? Do you need to purchase something new for the house or will some DIY spruce up your living space just as well without causing extra strain on the purse strings? Saving on these smaller expenditures will soon add up and suddenly your bank account will start to look a lot healthier.

If you do have loans or bills to pay out, keep an eye on the time sensitivity of those payments. Some lenders will have extra charges attached to missed payments and the last thing you need is to add another sum on top of your year’s tally.

Remember you are not alone and for that reason, the internet as mentioned above is here to help you. There are several price comparison websites available to you for those purchases you must make and many other money saving tips out there. As debt rises so do the number of ways that we can manage costs and organize our lives.


Modern day life is chaotic enough so don’t let the burden of debt bring you down any further, take the time to assess your income and outgoings so that you can continue to enjoy the end of the year as much as the start.