Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem


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8 Of My Favorite Ways to Save Money Online

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Love a good deal? Me, too!

And I know many of us are always looking to save a buck. So, if that’s you, listen up! I’ve got some great tips on how to do that with just a few keystrokes.

Frankly, I’m not much of a coupon clipper. And like a lot of us these days, I do most of my shopping online…which means I need to do my savings online as well.

Let’s face it, I also want it to be easy. I’m willing to put out some effort, but like you, I’m busy. Meaning, I want to find ways to effortlessly and automatically save some of my hard-earned cash.

The good news is that I have indeed found handful that I regularly rely on, and thought you might be interested in learning about them as well.

So, here are a few of my favorite ways to save money online:

1. Trim 

I don’t know how I stumbled on to Trim, but it’s a real gem. My two favorite services include negotiating lower rates on bills and finding credits for cable bills.

For rate negotiation, Trim recently saved me and my friends $320 on our AT&T family plan for the next year. And for Comcast, they saved me over $50 last year in refunds from when there were power outages nearby (some of which I wasn’t even aware of!). They take 25% off of their savings to you, but it’s such a passive way to save money, it’s totally worth it.

By the way, you can also use Gabi, a partner of Trim’s, to compare your auto insurance with others in about two minutes. My rates were already the lowest, but I was impressed with this service regardless.

2. TrustedHousesitters.com 

Hotel bills can easily run up your vacation budget. Enter: Trusted Housesitters. With this service, you can stay in people’s homes around the world for free in exchange for watching their pets. I’ve done this a few times, and definitely plan to do it again this year.

And for those of you with pets yourselves, it’s worth signing up so that you don’t have to board your furbabies, which can also be quite expensive. I’ve even seen housesitting jobs with no pets, but where people didn’t want to leave their houses unattended while away.

FYI, these gigs can range from overnight to many months!

(Save 20% using my link.)

3. Brandless 

As you likely already know, buying “private label” brands at the grocery store is cheaper. Think Kroger brand, Trader Joe’s brand, Publix brand, IKEA, or even Amazon’s own brands.

Brandless only sells their stuff, and they keep it pretty cheap. There are definitely some great deals to be had, but pay close attention to the size of the product, which is where the deal is really found. I’ve purchased peanut butter, flax and chia seeds, salad dressing, cleaning products, and more.

Plus, for every order, they donate a free meal! And on the third of the month, they triple that! So, save a little, give a little. I can definitely get behind that.

(Save $6 using my link.)

4. Rakuten (formerly Ebates) 

You may have seen their commercials recently where they try and get people to correctly pronounce their new name. Man, I wish I lived near one of those machines that was giving out cash!

Regardless, I’ve been with Ebates since 2011, and have saved over $500 in that time. Yep, I shop mostly online. And they make it so easy with a simple browser extension. Simply click the extension when you land on a site (or shop directly from their URL), and they’ll find eligible savings for you to apply, plus give you cash back.

(Spend $25 with my link, and you’ll get $10 back.)

5. Honey 

Honey is a great alternative to Rakuten. You can’t use both of them at the same time, but between the two, you can find some terrific deals. And having both of them means you’re more likely to find savings since they sometimes work on different websites.

Each time you use their deals, you also earn Honey points which can be redeemed for gifts cards.

(Get additional Honey points with my link.)

6. Fullscript

If you take supplements, I suggest checking out Fullscript. I take quite a few every day for my chronic health issues.

Many of them I get from my naturopath, and sometimes on Amazon, but Fullscript has some quality brands and offers as well. Yes, you have to spend $50 to get free shipping, but in my case, that’s not hard to do. There are a handful of my regular supplements that I’ve found much cheaper on here than I can get from my naturopath or on Amazon.

7. Goldstar 

Live entertainment is another cost that can add up quickly, which is why I like Goldstar. You can often find cheaper tickets here than directly on the event website. Plus, if you’re attending an event with a friend, you can pay separately or add tickets later and still get seats together, which is a terrific benefit.

Oh, and for smaller, community events, they sometimes also give away freebies! So, a fun night out? Covered.

8. Amazon Prime

I couldn’t create this post without mentioning Prime. Many of us have it these days, but if you don’t, I’d tell you to consider it. I’m a huge fan.

And if you’ve been living under a rock, with Prime you get fast and free delivery, exclusive deals, and free access to Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Wardrobe, and Prime Photo. (And more!)

Most of us thought two-day shipping was quite a treat, but they’ve recently expanded their one-day shipping and even two-hour shipping, so your impatience has been rewarded!

I also shop at Whole Foods from time-to-time, and get a discount on select items there since WF folded under their umbrella.

So, yeah, lots of stuff…

In fact, it’s hard to remember when Amazon just sold books!

(PSST—are you an EBT card holder? You can get Discounted Prime for only $5.99/mo.)

Already have Prime or want something a little different? Consider:

(Get 30 days free with my link.)

 

Whew—ok, that was quite a list! But before I go, do you want some other ideas for saving money in your life? These posts might help:

 

Any of your favorite sites that I missed? What deals have you found?

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Solopreneur and Small Business Resources

Solopreneur and Small Business ResourcesIf you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you know I love recommending resources of all kinds. From podcasts to books to products to events—and everything in-between—if I know something that would interest you or that I think you should know about, I feel compelled to share it!

In fact, I have a Resource List on my business website for this very reason. But my clients are primarily nonprofits, social enterprises, and other cause-focused organizations. While this is, of course, awesome, I also know about a lot of resources that aren’t a great fit for them as well. And those items don’t live in any organized place like my business Resource List.

So, for the sake of my other solopreneurs and small business friends (and my sanity), I thought I’d go ahead and include them all here for easy access.

Note: There are obviously a lot of other options besides what I’ve listed below, but these are the ones I refer again and again, as well as have personal experience with. And anything with a * means it’s one of my favorites!

BOOKS

 

PODCASTS

 

EMAIL LISTS

 

CONFERENCES

 

FREELANCE RATES

 

SOFTWARE

 

OTHER BUSINESS TOOLS

 

SAVING MONEY

  • Trim is negotiates lower bills for me
  • Ebates for money back while online shopping
  • Honey for online coupon codes
  • Fetch for saving money on grocery bills (referral code RM8DK)
  • iBotta for saving money on grocery bills ($20 referral bonus)
  • This post on saving money on medical bills
  • Medi-Share for health sharing plans
  • Check out my Travel Hacking 101 post for tips on how I travel to conferences cheaply.

 

MISC

 

And if you are a nonprofit, social enterprise, or other cause-focused organization, you can find more great resources for your business on Signify’s site! 😉

What am I missing? What would help you? What do you need?

PS: If this has been helpful, would you mind sharing it with another solopreneur or small business owner?

 

 

Some links are affiliate links, which means I get a little somethin’ somethin’ for telling you about them. However, I only promote things I know and love!


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My 2018 Reading List

Books I read in 2018One of the other annual posts I love writing, but haven’t had a chance to post yet, is my reading list. Granted, my reading has taken a nose dive over the last couple of years since I started working from home.

That’s because “reading” usually means audiobooks for me. I love Audible! And my commute used to be over an hour, so I’d get through a lot of audiobooks. These days, there is no commute and car time is relatively short, so books have largely been replaced by podcasts. I love podcasts, don’t get me wrong, but I really do miss my audiobooks.

So, though a fairly short list, here’s what I read in 2018:

 

And here are some of the podcasts I recommend:

 

I was even a guest on a few podcasts last year!

 

Need more suggestions?

2017 Reading List

2016 Reading List

2015 Reading List

2014 Reading List

2013 Reading List

2012 Reading List

2011 Reading List

 

Short on time, too? Try Blinkist, which recaps popular books in 10 minutes!

Enjoy!

 

PS: Some links are affiliate links, which means I get a small kick back for introducing awesome people to awesome things. I only promote what I love. 


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My Word for 2019

My Word for 2019So, we are almost a quarter of the way through 2019, and I’m just getting to tell you about my word of the year! Well, it’s par for the course if you’ve seen my last couple of blog posts. I’ve been playing catchup here on the blog, and this has definitely been on my list to share.

Like many times before, I had my concept figured out before last year finished, but it took a little mulling over. I had an idea, a notion, a feeling—but coming up with the right word took me a little while.

Funny enough, I had to wander all the way back to my very first blog post for my company, Signify, to find the right word. But there it was, just waiting for me to reuse.

The concept was about partnering with others for success. Because, if you read my 2018 recap, you know that last year was a hard business year. It was definitely a series of growing pains.

Here’s one of the reasons why…

This may not surprise you, but I have a tendency to do things on my own. I describe myself as “fiercely independent.” Often, I think this can be a good thing. But, in business, it takes a community to get you to where you need to be, even if you’re a solopreneur like me.

And because my business is so intertwined with my life, the words needed to make sense on both levels. Additionally, if you’ve read my word for the year posts before, I also like my words to be verbs. I like the action-oriented feeling behind it.

The other interesting thing about this year’s word is that it was already a concept I’d been talking a lot about in my business. It was sort of this ongoing conversation I was having with my clients and tribe, and then I looked around, and it worked for me, too.

So, what does this all add up to?

SYNERGY.

It’s a beautiful, little word that illustrates the power of people working together.

In business, it’ll be about partnerships of all kinds, such as working with more people on projects in creative ways or seeking more referrals. I’ll also be doing more guest posts, podcasting interviews, and online interviews like I did last year.

Personally, it’s about building relationships as well as reconnecting with people. I was so busy last year that a lot of the people I love fell by the wayside. Some good friends I only saw once or twice during the entire year. Sad! So, I’m going to work on that.

Welp—there you go! That’s my word!

I’m excited about it, and hopeful for 2019.

What’s your word for the year and why?

 

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Interested in picking your own word for the year, but need some help? Here are some resources that might help:

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My previous words for the year:


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2018 In Review

2018 in Review, by Kristi PorterFriends,

Let me start with an apology. I can’t believe it’s been four months since my last update. Well, actually, yes I can.

I’ve thought about updating you so many times, especially as the end of the year came. But, then it went. And so did the New Year. Work has been crazy, my health has been crazy (per usual), and I frankly didn’t have the energy to be on a keyboard unless it was for my job. Not fun, but there it is.

So many thoughts have been piling up in my head, and today, I finally got a burst of energy where I wanted to sit down and tell you about them. Since last year was a blur, and I was pretty infrequent on updates, I figured I’d just start with a year in review post. So, this should at least get you caught up on what’s been happening here. Hopefully, many more posts to come in 2019!

 

TRAVEL

Okay, let’s start with one of my favorite topics. Last year was an incredible year for travel. That was definitely the thing I had going for me, and very probably, one of the reasons I was so tired. 😉

January: To start the year, I once again kicked things off with a business retreat. I love my quarterly business retreats. They keep me grounded, and allow me to regularly set and review goals with fresh perspective. And I always manage to have some fun as well. For this one, I went to a “resort” (I consider that a loose interpretation) in Northeast Georgia, and stopped by the always entertaining Helen, Georgia, on my way home. (<– Please take a look!)

February/March: Early last year, my friend Raechel and I went to England, Scotland, and Ireland! It was a bucket list trip, and it didn’t disappoint. We obviously covered a lot of ground in two weeks, and I can honestly tell you that I’m ready to go back! Three beautiful countries, wonderful people, and yummy food. We had an absolute blast, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity with a good friend and excellent travel buddy.

March: About 10 days after returning from that trip, I was off to San Diego! This was for a work conference, but I I found a petsitting gig through TrustedHousesitters.com that allowed me to spend about nine days there, without paying for a hotel. (My link gets you 20% off!) The 90 Day Year Live event was pretty amazing, and I hope to go back again this fall. But, if you’ve been around here for a while, you already know how much I love attending conferences!

May: In May, I went to hang out with some of my best friends in their hometown of Clarkston, Tennessee. Several of our other friends all met there for a women’s retreat at their church, and while the retreat was nice, I cherished this weekend for the quality time I got to spend with people I don’t see near enough.

June: For the first time, I took a friend on one of my retreats. She’s also a solopreneur, so we worked and played. It was a different experience to bring someone along, but also a good change for me. We went to the picturesque Dahlonega, Georgia, and had a great time.

July: I went with my best friend and her family to Charleston for a couple of days. I hadn’t been to Charleston in a number of years, so it was fun to go again, and even more fun to be with close friends. If you’re in that area in the future, be sure to stop by the only tea plantation in the US, which is quite different than the tea plantation I visited in India, but still a unique experience. And free tea tastings!

October: Having been gone so much during the first half of the year, I stayed put for a couple of months. But, boy, did I get out of town with a bang! I took another bucket list trip with my aforementioned best friend—a cross-country Amtrak adventure! Heather and I started our journey in San Francisco, and made stops in Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago (where she went home), and New York City. It was another trip I’d wanted to do for a long time, and now I am addicted to train travel! I will definitely be getting back on Amtrak in the coming months. (I also did some retreat tasks on the train.)

October: For the second time, I attended Tribe Conference, an event primarily for writers and creative types. My client and friend was there as well, so that made it extra special. I loved my first year, but thought this one was even better. Hope I can make that happen again this fall as well.

December: The end of the year always means my annual trek to Texas. And I was all over the place this year. I connected in Austin, went on to my mom’s house in West Texas, traveled to Lubbock to see my friends from college, drove with mom to my aunt’s house in the Dallas area, and then mom and I took a day trip to Waco to see all things Magnolia. Whew! That all happened in just over a week, and it was extra tiring due to the head cold I picked up on the front end. But it was good to see everyone and celebrate the holidays.

(For more info on how I make a lot of these trips cheap, check out my post on travel hacking.)

 

HEALTH

Let me follow up my favorite section with my least favorite section. As much as I love to travel, and it fills me up in a way almost nothing else does, it’s also very hard on my body. If you’re new to me, I’ve had chronic health issues for almost seven years. It has taken a toll on me in so many ways, and I’m sure others I’m not even aware of.

The super frustrating thing is that I thought 2018 was going to be a real turning point. In late 2017, I started taking this brand new series of supplements that were helping me in a major way. So, 2018 started off awesome from a health perspective. I saw a leap in progress!

Then, after returning from the UK, I was out of these miracle supplements, so I frantically called my naturopath for a refill. Well, turns out that they’d had a terrific effect on people all over the world. Good news, yes, but it kinda caught the manufacturer off-guard, and they ran out. Like, completely ran out of the main supplement!

So, me and these poor other folks not-so-patiently waited for over six months while they had to regrow the herbs and plants that were in this thing. Ugh. So, progress was made, then stalled, and then after the effects of 20+ days of travel in March, I went back to feeling terrible. Like, I had forgotten what it felt like to feel that bad. It was bad. We tried a few other supplements, but nothing worked as well. And it wasn’t until a day or two before I boarded the Amtrak train that I got a refill.

It also takes a couple of cycles (14 days) to work its way into your system. So, basically, I was in holiday mode before I could tell the difference. It was rough, to say the least. And then I huge work project that occupied most of my days and nights at the end of the year, taking up a lot of extra energy. So, all the high hopes I had for 2018’s health report card were dashed.

Prayers said and fingers crossed that 2019 will be a completely different story. That remains to be seen as I picked up that never-ending head cold over the holidays and followed it up with the flu. Sheesh.

Me and Paula Abdul are always two steps forward, two steps back.

 

WORK

Hmmm, where to begin. Last year was a whopper. As Charles Dickens would say, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

We’ll get the bad stuff out of the way first. It was a rough income year. I was past the 18-month mark in my business, but still learning daily. Things I got right, and definitely things I got wrong.

If you recall, MOMENTUM was my word for the year. And it’s always so interesting how things can turn out very differently than you think. I expected (and worked toward) one thing, and ended up with something different.

The biggest issue was that, unlike 2016 and 2017, I didn’t have enough really big contract clients. I love working with my little guys, and they are who I started my business for, but sometimes it takes the big ones to keep things flush. I did a ton of networking last year, which I’m seeing pay off this year, but it can often be a long-term strategy. (Solopreneurs, small business owners, and freelancers, it’s important to nurture those leads on a ongoing basis—even when things are crazy busy. I neglected that aspect for too long, and it came back to bite me.)

Most of my clients are people I know and referrals, but it still takes time for these things to happen. So, lesson learned. (I hope.)

On to the good stuff! I do really love what I do and who I get to do it with. I work with lots of ideal clients on ideal projects, and am so incredibly grateful for that. No dreading weekdays. Plus, it makes those days when I don’t feel like working much easier.

If you need the crash course on my company: Signify provides copywriting and consulting services to cause-focused organizations, like nonprofits and social enterprises. My goal is for them to get noticed and grow through effective marketing and communications. Additionally, I teach solopreneurs and small businesses how to be more generous through easy philanthropy strategies. It’s fun stuff! And work I deeply believe in.

So, a few of the great things that happened with work last year were:

So, as you can see, it was a big year in a lot of ways.

 

PERSONAL

Well, if you’ve read this far, you may be wondering where I had time for anything personal. And, you’d pretty much be right!

Between travel, work, and health, there wasn’t much left. That’s why this is the smallest segment of this update.

I missed events, hanging out with friends, and many other things due to those trade-offs. Honestly, with the health stuff, I spend most evenings and weekends crashed on my couch. It’s just exhausting, and my body has to gear up for another five days of work.

“Dying is easy, young man. Living is harder.” – George Washington, Hamilton 

I’m trying to reach out and be better about maintaining relationships this year. Baby steps.

Isn’t being an entrepreneur glamorous? Sigh. It’s a self-imposed cage at times for sure, but I’m not giving up on a better work-life rhythm. It takes practice.

 

Okay, I think that’s about it! That’s my 2018 in review!

Again, apologies for my delay in updating you. I hope it won’t happen again, but if it does, I just ask for some grace. I’ll be sure to extend it to you as well. 🙂