Author Archives: lifeasyoumakeit

Supplementing my income as a single parent without child support

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Like many single mothers, I often find it hard to support a family on my income alone. And like most people who divorce an abuser, I rarely, if ever, get any child support. So it’s all on me. When I had two children under three, I found that holding a full time job without any outside support or help was not working. I had so many appointments for the kids, but my employer would not let me off work. There was no one else to take the kids, so now what?

I stepped down into a more flexible, but lower paying position, and I started focusing on ways to supplement my income from home where I wouldn’t need to hire a baby-sitter or pay more for daycare.

Over the years, I have come to count on the money I make online to keep me afloat and I’ve learned what sites work best for me. In the past, I’ve written a few blogs about my ongoing favorites, but the best options are always changing. I do a lot of freelance work, but my favorites are surveys. Not only do they pay me to answer questions while I watch TV, but I often get to test new products, which is interesting and saves me money.

Christmas is coming, so most of us are going to need money for gifts. I also need to get out of debt, so I’m doing as much online as I can. Each time I get a Paypal payment from a site, I transfer it to my bank account and post it towards a bill. It’s a good feeling!

Anyway, I thought I’d write an updated post about what sites I use since people ask me so much.


 

Right now, my top site is Mintvine. I like this one because it grows faster than other sites. Each day, I take their daily poll for a few extra points, then I start trying my surveys. It puts you in a queue where you keep trying surveys until you run out of options, (or stop for the day.) I get to finish a lot of surveys–usually a few dollars a day, but they also randomly award you points when you are disqualified from a survey. So, sometimes I get thirty cents just for them to tell me that survey didn’t work for me. Usually it’s five cents, but it adds up, especially when I complete surveys that can be worth up to a few dollars each. I count on cashing out at least $10 to $15 a week with minimal effort each night. When I want more, I do more…and that’s the plan since the holidays are coming!

My second go-to site that I check into every day is Swagbucks. I like this one because it lets me earn in a variety of ways. Some days while I’m cleaning or cooking, I play videos to watch while I’m working. I’ve made up to a couple dollars a day just doing that while I multi-task. Of course, add in surveys and other offers, and it adds up. Earning $25 a week is not unusual. I cash out for $25 in Paypal, but you can buy your first $25 gift card each month for a discount of $22, so that is good for getting gifts.

My third daily site is Paid Viewpoint. This one sometimes takes more time to add up, but it is also very easy to use and takes minimal effort. Also, I use about twenty sites. While some are my main money makers, I also keep a bunch going slowly each day, because eventually they will pay out and be a nice little bonus.


 

There are far more ways I earn extra money each day, but I’ll start with those and not overload you! Those are the ones I recommend the most because they are easier, and don’t require a lot of time each day. Although, you can certainly earn more if you want to, which is nice if you know you have a big expense coming up.

Good luck!

Actually, I get to make my life decisions. Not you.

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

**Note: religious references included**

My church has an email list where ladies can ask for help, look for things they need, sell things they don’t need, etc…. I use it frequently because I’m a single mom trying to do the work of two people and I usually need some help. So a while back, when I wasn’t getting enough hours at work, I posted a notice that I was looking for odd jobs to make some extra money. A woman on the list contacted me and encouraged me to apply where she works. She was very pushy and adamant. (She totally ignores me at church, and has been distant the few times I’ve tried to start a conversation with her.) She insisted I should apply at her employer because the hours are kid friendly, and I’d be working while the kids were at school. She wanted me to be a school lunch lady. Now I don’t look down on that position or anybody who works it, but I really need to earn more money to get by. The pay was minimum wage, and the hours were only 2-4 hours a day. No way I’m going to support a family on that! So I put in an application for substitute work, but kept looking for something better.

On a whim, I ended up finding a job that I loved. It is completely different from anything I’ve done before, but it’s taught me a lot about what I’m good at and which direction I want to go next. I loved the job and got a lot of compliments from clients. I soon became a company favorite! However, the company itself was not stable, so I started looking for the same position in a better company about six months later. I again posted on the church list asking for ideas, and the same woman again suggested I go where she worked. This time she was a bit angry sounding and basically told me I “should have” gone where she told me to go. I hate “should haves!”

Within days, I found a new job in my new field with a far better company and slightly higher pay. I was very happy! Unfortunately, unlike the previous company, this one required I work Sundays, which is a no-no in my church. I made my availability as short as possible on Sunday, but I still have to work it from time to time. I feel okay about this, but I have trouble finding childcare since my church is against working on Sunday and most of my friends who baby-sit for me go to my church. So, I posted on the list asking if anyone had any advice or knew anyone who could baby-sit on a Sunday.

Oh. My. Goodness. That woman replied again and basically told me off. She didn’t just reply to me, but she replied to the entire list berating me for not taking the job she kept trying to get me to take. She even specifically noted in the message that she was telling the whole list so others could know. She was telling me off saying if I’d done what she said, I wouldn’t have this problem. It was so darned rude, that I didn’t bother to reply. Good grief!

I wasn’t about to engage with that inappropriate email from her, but in my head I was thinking everything I wanted to say! Here’s the deal, lady: I make the decisions for my life. Not you. I made the decision that worked best for my family, my income needs, and my conscience. I found a job in a helping profession, and I feel like this is the way God is leading me. I am so happy serving people and helping to take care of them, and I’m proud that I can do good work. I’m also realizing that I want to follow this lead because it’s a talent I never knew I had and it gives me more life satisfaction than the demoralizing office jobs I’ve been working. So basically, bossy pants, I’m going to go the way God is directing me–not some woman I barely know. I’m pretty sure He has more sense ;)

Oh it irritated me that she sent that message. I don’t think she’s an abuser or anything, but definitely a bit controlling. Some people just latch on to the idea that they know how to run your life better than you do. I think she’s living in some kind of la la land, too, because she is married to someone who supports the home and her work is just for extras. Maybe it’s just fine for her to work a few hours a week at minimum wage, but I have a mortgage to cover, and no one else to help pay it!

Like I said, I didn’t engage her, or reply with as nasty a message as she sent me, nor did I bother to defend myself. Frankly, it’s none of her business why I didn’t choose to obey her wishes. It’s just so bizarre that someone I’ve attempted to talk to twice in two years, (only to get a cold shoulder,) thinks she gets to control my life.

Nope. I am perfectly capable of doing that myself, thank you.

It’s okay to treat yourself well

Life As You Make It Honour Yourself It is easy to internalize the cruel statements and behaviors of other people–especially if those people were people we were supposed to be able to trust. Sometimes, that is exactly what abusers want. They WANT us to feel worthless and like we don’t deserve to be treated well. They want to drag us down so far that we feel like we deserve abuse. If we don’t think we are worth more, we won’t try to escape, and we will remain trapped in their controlling hell. Sometimes people treat us badly because they are too inconsiderate to realize what they are doing, they are too busy to think about it, or they simply don’t care about us.

No matter what, the problem is theirs. When I was a child, my mother literally told me that I didn’t deserve anything while she spent everything on herself. I took that belief with me. As I grew up, I expected nothing good from anyone. I made myself invisible and didn’t speak up about my needs. I let many of the men I dated treat me like dirt, and I became very co-dependent–focusing on treating people well even when they didn’t respond in kind. I had a very hard time relaxing or pampering myself, because I had been told and shown that it was wrong.

The truth is, if someone else treated me like crap, that doesn’t mean *I* have to treat myself badly. And if someone didn’t treat me with kindness, that doesn’t mean that *I* cannot be kind to myself. There is nothing wrong with caring for yourself and honouring yourself. I don’t mean in a narcissistic way, but in a healthy way.

A therapist once told me that I needed to take care of myself just as much as I would take care of my child. Would I feed my child junk food or let him go hungry? No! So of course I should feed myself good meals! Would I let someone hit or abuse my child? Talk poorly to or of them? No! So I shouldn’t let others do the same to me! Do I like to surprise my child with a fun day out? Yes, I do. And it is okay to do the same for myself.

It took me a long time to learn that it was okay to take time for myself, to enjoy life, to feel comfort and pleasure. Now, I make it a priority to do something for myself every night before bed. Even if I’m tired and ready to sleep, I take a few minutes to wind down with something that I enjoy.

It is okay to wear a pretty outfit. It is okay to paint your nails. It is okay to take a bubble bath. It is okay to get a massage. It is okay to read a magazine or good book. It is okay to watch your favorite show. It is okay to eat that piece of chocolate. It is okay to enjoy life.

If you have been through a rough time–with life struggles, short-term abuse, a tragedy, long-term abuse…it is more important than ever for you to pamper yourself and treat yourself well. If someone else was unable to do it, then step up and do it for yourself. One bad event, a series of bad events, or a bad person do not get to ruin your life and keep you from loving yourself when others couldn’t!

Finding peace during times of struggle

Please note, this is a Christian post about a devotional book.
Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence


Lately, I have been going through an extremely tough time. I have a lot of worries and there is nothing I can do other than keep going. Other people’s decisions will determine my future and my children’s safety as I make my case for why I should have custody ahead of my abusive ex-husband. It’s a time of intense fear and stress and I must wait it out.

I am keeping myself busy and healthy in so many ways–seeing friends, going to church, reading, exercising, and more. However, my mind always strays to my anxiety for my children. I have come to the point, where I must learn to accept my wait, accept that I am not really in control of the decision, and find a way to stay calm, peaceful and hopeful in spite of all of this!

I have turned to faith. I have always been a Christian, but now, more than ever, I recognize that I am one small person working as hard as I can, but I cannot change the ways of the world. Sometimes life is scary or unfair. So what is left? Faith.

I found this book at the grocery store a few months ago, (except my copy is pretty pink false leather,) and it jumped out at me. Enjoying peace? Sign me up! I flipped through it and found some passages that spoke to me so clearly, so I bought it. Since that day, it has been a morning ritual for me to read at least one day’s devotional. Often, I read more, but not too many at a time, because I want to savor the message.

So many of the passages have brought me peace and relaxation as they focus on giving my worries to God and expecting Him to walk with me even when things cannot be easy. I have underlined and starred so many sections that were perfect for my situation!

For example, here is one of my favorite quotes from the reading for January 31st, “Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare.” It’s so simple, but so true. I posted it on my work computer monitor to read it throughout the day.

Most of the devotionals are written from God’s point of view, and are paraphrased from scripture. They include a lot of wise advice such as, not worrying about tomorrow and focusing on living today, remembering that your thoughts guide your emotions, not looking to others to fulfill your needs, and more. The quotes are Christian scripture based, but also include good reminders for everyone. I found so much comfort and peace in them.

I’d highly recommend this devotional book for guidance and wisdom through life, but especially through hardships that drain us of hope and energy.

How to make your new cell phone pay for itself with money making apps

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Legitimate ways to make money online!

Recently, I was getting pretty tired of my old cell phone. I bought it in 2012, so it’s basically a dinosaur in cell phone years! The battery wouldn’t hold a charge there was hardly any memory, I couldn’t use newer apps and I got poor coverage. I wanted an upgrade! But I also wanted to be frugal. I was able to do both. First of all, I got an LG phone that costs me less than $7 a month in installment payments. Not so bad. BUT, the good part is, now that I have a newer phone that can handle newer apps, I can use money making apps that make up for my cell phone payment and then some!

There are a lot of options out there, but let me tell you my two favorites.

To start, use Swagbucks. I already make money on Swagbucks by running their nCrave videos, but now I can use six different mobile video apps that will all pay a minimum of 10 SB a day for me to play videos for a few minutes. That’s 60 cents worth times 30 days a month? $18.00. More than covers my phone payment.

But I also added an app called AdMe. It uses an ad for your lock screen, which isn’t as fun as using your favorite pictures, but does pay a bit. It gives you a $3 bonus to sign up, then a few cents a day. I’m up to about $6 in under a month just to use the lockscreen I’d have to swipe anyway. If you decide to use AdMe, please enter my code as your referral if you don’t mind. It is y3uZxhO498 and will give both of us a little bonus.

I’d say these two are the easiest and fastest growing, but there are others as well. I will update with another post soon to review some other popular apps that pay.

As it is, even if I just focus on these two, my phone payment is covered plus I have extra. I’m happy with that! :)

The importance of redirecting negative thoughts to boost your mood and heal

Sunflower Field with setting Sun in Background, nice Sunburst and Sunbeams One of the most important lessons I ever got from therapy was the reality that my thoughts control my feelings and moods…and I control my thoughts. It seems so simple, but it’s true and it works.

For those of us who have been through narcissistic abuse or other terrible events, we often get bogged down thinking how horrible things are. It is really hard to escape those patterns. The thoughts and images come back. They haunt us. We see that bad things have happened to us…and often there is quite a bit of bad before the good comes. They create a chain.

The abuser did horrible things to me. I tried to talk about it and get help, but no one listened. The abuser stayed calm and told everyone I was a liar. People believed him. I didn’t get the help I needed. Life isn’t fair. Nothing goes my way. Things will never get better….

And on, and on, and on it goes. The bad memories. The negative thoughts. The misery. The loss of faith in others. The loss of hope. The feeling that it’s better to give up. We feed into it. We make it bigger. We give it life. And it takes over.


Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life

But, we can help stop that. It’s not easy, but it’s possible and it’s essential to healing. Every time we think negative thoughts, our feelings become negative and we start repelling the good things in life. That’s why it is necessary for us to STOP the negative thoughts and re-frame them. Take back your power! You can’t just push the bad thought out of your head because it will bounce back. You have to replace it. You have to make it your job to focus on the positive thoughts. Even if it doesn’t feel right, and you aren’t convinced, DO IT! Treat it like work that you have to do and make it a priority…not just something that will happen to you. You have to make it happen.

There is a saying that one should “fake it until you make it.” In other words, even if you don’t feel happy, strong, and confident, pretend you are anyway. The very reality of acting like you are trains you to actually be happy, strong, and confident. Just like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel like you really are ready to smile. And there is all kinds of exciting research showing that forcing yourself to smile really does work!

When my therapist told me that I need to talk myself out of negative moods even if I didn’t feel very convinced, I did what she said. She’s given me really good and practical advise, so I trust her. And I have learned that she was right.

As I’ve said before, you can understand in your mind everything that is wrong in life, and you can understand why. You can even understand how to get past it. But there comes a time when you must proactively WORK on that hurdle. Just reading the books and knowing isn’t quite enough. It’s a good start, but you have to make the jump and take action to start the final stage of healing.

A new idea to help you stay cheerful about your goals

Life doesn't happen to me. I make life happen. I'm learning to look out for myself at lifeasyoumakeit.com I recently gave up a great job because it wasn’t a good fit for my family’s needs. I am a single mom to two little ones, and every time they got sick, I couldn’t take them to daycare. I had nowhere to turn and no one to help me out on short notice. Plus, I struggled to make various doctors appointments and other events. Most importantly, I felt like I was missing life! So, I took the plunge to quit my job and be completely self-employed. I had been working from home quite a bit on multiple business ideas, and they were slowly growing, but I decided now was the time! I haven’t had a job in two months, but my business goals are sustaining us and growing quickly now that I’ve made my part-time dream a full-time reality.

There’s Not Enough Time: . . . and other lies we tell ourselves.

I love that I can stay home with my kids when they get sick without worrying about losing my job or losing pay. I love that I can live my life during the day time and work on my own terms at night. I have so much more freedom! But…I also have stress. Starting a business takes devotion and I have three great ideas in the fire right now. Plus, I’m still the only parent and breadwinner. I’m the housekeeper, the pet caretaker, the driver, the cook and more. So, I’m super busy, and it’s important that I get things done without procrastinating. It’s a struggle to balance my time and make the most of it.

Lately, I’ve been trying new ways to work everything in each day and still have time to relax at the end. It’s working well! I usually have a long to-do list, and I check off the things I get done. But, the to-do list is always growing with new things to replace what I get done.

So…I have a new idea to help stay encouraged! At the end of the day, I am taking the time to list what I DID get done. No more stressing about only what didn’t get done, but also taking the time to appreciate what did. As I look at my list, I think “wow,” I really did well today, and it inspires me for the next day. It is a good way to keep a clear view of what I’m accomplishing and how I’m getting ahead. It keeps me from getting down in the dumps thinking about how I “failed” for the day.


The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

This sort of reminds me of one of financial adviser Dave Ramsey’s tools. He recommends that people pay off their smaller bills first, so they can gain a feeling of accomplishment at being able to see their progress. A lot of financial advisers say to pay off your bills in order of highest interest rate, so you save money on interest, but Ramsey claims it’s more important to get the joy of watching your progress as you cut out the bills. I think there’s something to that. It’s easy to lose hope and give up a bit when you aren’t seeing clear rewards.

Much in the same way, you can give yourself a pat on the back by reminding yourself what good things you’ve accomplished each day…which motivates you to keep going the next day. At least it’s working for me! It’s always more positive and inspirational to focus on the pros instead of the cons. Even if you don’t actually write down what you did, just take a moment to think it over in your head. For example, I did some major house cleaning this weekend–not just the regular things, but little details as well. At the end of the day, I looked around, thought about everything I did, and felt really good about my progress. It reminded me that, even though I am super busy, I CAN do this! I can do all of my “work” work and all of my house work and all of my mom work. And, I can end my day with a sense of achievement.

I’m a good catch…and the narcissist knows it

Today I looked in the mirror and remembered that I am beautiful On Facebook today, I saw a series of links from different pages discussing why a narcissist would pick us. I already know, but reinforcement and learning more is always good, so I followed the stories.

This page in particular has such a great quote:

And here’s why I think that is. By doing so, the narcissist wants someone who will make him look good….it’s as if they are saying, “See who I’m with. I’m a heck of a guy.” 
Then, since you are above him, he has to run you down privately, and perhaps to others when you don’t realize it, simply because he knows you’re the better person. It’s weird, but in his mind, you have to be demeaned, put down, and belittled SO HE FEELS AT YOUR LEVEL, or even better than you are. But, in reality, he knows the truth.

This is right on! I’ve been saying for a few years that the narcissist targeted me because I was a CATCH. Then, he tried to consume everything good about me and take it as his own. It’s been a rough few years through a smear campaign as he’s projected all of his abusive behavior onto me and pretended he was the one who was innocent. But the truth is, he saw a light in me and knew that I was valuable.

My ex abuser is a known womanizer. He rarely dates anyone for more than a night or a week. But he wanted to marry me within weeks. He pushed really hard. I hesitated and he pushed more. He was 56 and had never been married, but he was insistent that he marry me. I used to wonder, why me? But you know what? ME because he saw that I was a good person with good values. He saw that I was someone worthy and someone with a lot to offer. He knew I was a prize and he wanted to own me.

As soon as we were married, he treated me like garbage. Literally over night. He started telling me how worthless and awful I was. I was confused. How did I go from being the best woman he’d ever met to being worthless? Why did he marry me? It didn’t make sense.

When I met him, I had a good job and was on a good path. I had a beautiful happy child and a lot of friends. I was quiet ,but could warm up after I got to know people. I was pretty well-liked in our social circles. People thought I was smart and funny. Men thought I was attractive and tried to date me, but I was always too shy to date much. I had a good reputation. The narcissist wanted that for himself. People thought he was lucky when I started dating him.

And you know what? He was!

Several years later, he has abused, smeared and demeaned me until I’m a laughingstock among many of the people who used to think I was fun. He has taken most of my friends, (who clearly weren’t real friends,) and he lives my life that he took over. I have little left, and he is Mr. Popular. What in the world happened?! Well, I met a sociopath. That’s what happened. It’s awful.

But this is meant to be a happy blog, so let’s move on! I had that good reputation because it was real. It was me. It is who I am. I am considerate, smart, witty, thoughtful, pretty, and all kinds of good things. That sociopath wasn’t shopping for a loser. He didn’t break 56 years of bachelorhood to settle. He thought I was that special and that valuable. He is a vampire latching on to what I was. But I am not only the same person I always was, but I am an improved version. I am more astute, stronger, wiser, more enlightened. I have been through a hell that not everyone can experience or imagine, and it has taught me many new skills, as well as awakened me to the weaknesses that I can work on.

He’s still just a narcissist. Yawn.

If you were targeted by a narcissist, it was never because there was something wrong with you. It was because there was so much right about you. Take heart in that and know that, no matter what horrible things they have done to you, you are still you. You are still the magic person that the narcissist wanted to be…but can’t.

That is winning.

Accepting what is good enough so I can focus on things that matter more

Don't waste time on the wrong things. It will only keep you from getting to the right things. Don't be afraid to let go of things that aren't right for you! I have a problem with being a perfectionist. I like to be super neat and organized, and sometimes I get a little bit stressed if I can’t keep everything perfect. In recent years, I have learned to STOP that! But sometimes, I still struggle with it.

Recently, I was sick for a few weeks and a friend came over to help me catch up with chores and house cleaning. Of course he didn’t do things the way I did. He didn’t sweep every corner of the floor to get all the fuzz balls. He didn’t wipe the windows until they were spotless. I was also doing a bunch of work to catch up, and I had to stop myself from re-doing the less than perfect things.

 

When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism

I have two little kids at a home and I’m self-employed, (a wonderful new development!) There is no way I can be the best at everything. It reminded me of a time in my early 20s when I was a supervisor in a department store. I had a hard time delegating tasks to other employees because I wanted every bit of of my department to be perfect. But the thing is, in a store with thousands of customers every day…nothing is going to be or remain perfect. You have to meet a happy medium where everything is functional, nice and good enough. Not only is that a crucial lesson for managers, but it’s a crucial lesson for life. Especially if you have kids, pets, a spouse, or a roommate, you have to compromise and stop trying to be the best at everything.

Thinking back to an economics class I took in college: you may be the absolute best at a lower level job, and you maybe “just” pretty good at a better paying job, but it’s still better to take the pretty good position over the perfect position because you can go farther with it. Why limit yourself to being perfect at something that isn’t as important when you can have something better? And so with cleaning my house…do I want the absolute cleanest kitchen floor in town? Or do I want an okay floor and a great day with my family? Sometimes you have to let go of perfect and choose good enough because good enough is better for you.

 


Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control

Letting the little things be less-than-perfect helps reduce stress and helps improve your quality of life. In the end, all those little things won’t matter. It’s hard to let go of trying to be perfect at everything, but it’s something I am learning to do.

Coloring benefits and coloring pages

I’ve enjoyed coloring for a long time, because I thought it was relaxing and enjoyable. I remember my ex husband used to yell at me for it and call me childish. I personally think there is a difference between being childish, (because I’ve always been super responsible,) and learning to find enjoyment and peace in childlike fun. I hope I never lose my ability to love the little things! I was excited about a year ago when I started seeing research articles about how good coloring books were for stress, and now there is a new trend–coloring books for adults. I will admit, if I was still in touch with my ex, I’d say “I told you so!” ;)

Recently, I decided to make some coloring pages of my own to reflect the parts of life I want to savor. They aren’t very fancy, but they help me relax and stop stressing.

Please feel free to share and print, (but please give credit.) If you click on the photo, you will get the full version.
truth

Copyright 2015 Joanna Moore

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