8 year old birthday gift ideas

Fun Fact: All six of our kids have birthdays in May-August. This means that “birthday season” is kicking off at our house. We actually aren’t doing big birthday gifts or parties this year, but instead we are taking all the kids on a summer trip and celebrating with activities instead of gifts. Even though that is what we are doing, I wanted to share some birthday ideas for all the birthday parties that you might be attending this summer!

My son is turning 8 on Saturday, and my husbands son will be turning 8 just three weeks after that! Earlier this month I wrote a post about 5 year old birthday gift ideas, so make sure to check that out too! All of the items listed are from Amazon, although you can purchase most of them anywhere. Generally speaking, I have found that Amazon has better prices than Wal-Mart or Target, unless Target is having a good toy sale. If you don’t currently have Amazon Prime, you can try it for free for 30 days. Use this link to get your Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial.

If you’re on the fence about Amazon Prime, make sure to  check out my post about how to get the most out of your Amazon Prime subscription and then sign up for the trial. There are so many things included that most people don’t know about!

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Starfish Themed Beach Wedding Ideas

How to plan a beach wedding | Beach wedding ideas

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of HotRef Party Favors. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love the beach. I’ve been talking about Hawaii a lot lately, but I love a good beach anywhere! My husband and I got married on the beach in Galveston, Texas. I spent a lot of time researching beach weddings ideas. If you’re interested in having a Beach Wedding, you’re in luck! I’ve already found some awesome ideas for you.  I found tons of beach wedding stuff at HotRef Party Favors, but these were my favorites.

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How to save money on a hotel | Saving on hotels & lodging

How to save money on a hotel. Traveling is expensive, but I've been using this one trick to save money on lodging for over 10 years!

I am often asked how to save money on trips and traveling. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I have learned a few things trying to travel on a budget. One of the most expensive parts of traveling can be lodging. Lodging can be expensive! There is always the option to stay in a questionable motel, in a questionable area, or both. In my opinion, that isn’t the best option. I have found how to save money on a hotel, without the murder risk. Not being murdered is always a bonus.

Don’t mind my strange not-so-funny sense of humor, just keep reading!

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How to get the most out of an Amazon Prime subscription

How to use Amazon Prime | How to get the most out of your Amazon Prime subscription

I have been using Amazon Prime for several years now. I have found it to be extremely useful and even though I’m sure I could live without it, I don’t want to! The $99 yearly fee has been well worth it, and we save a lot of money every year.

I’ve had several questions about Amazon Prime, how to use Amazon Prime, and how to get the most out of an Amazon Prime membership. I want to share some tricks that I’ve learned while using Amazon over the years. If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account, you can try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days.

What you probably already know is that Amazon has great prices, and offers 2 day shipping on Prime eligible items. What you may not know is that there is much, much more to Prime! Keep reading to find out how to use Amazon Prime and get the most out of your $99 subscription.

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How does Ebates work? | My Guide to Ebates

Amyfillinger.com guide to using Ebates

How Does Ebates work?

If you’re wondering how Ebates works, and whether or not it’s legit, you’re in the right place! I have been using Ebates for cash back since 2011 and I absolutely love it! I do love to use Swagbucks, but sometimes the cash back percentage is bigger on Ebates. If you want actual cash, and not gift cards, Ebates is definitely the way to go. The bottom line is, if you’re doing any kind of shopping online and not getting cash back, you’re missing out! I decided to write this guide to show you how to use Ebates, because it’s so simple!

How to get started?

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The Best Household Items from Thrive Market

besthousehold items from Thrive Market

Balancing a healthy lifestyle and living on a budget can be tough. It’s difficult to justify spending money on healthier choices, but you know that it’s worth it for your family. Well, I found a solution for getting better deals on healthy household items. You may already know that Thrive Market offers wholesale prices on healthy food. Thrive Market also has some incredible deals on healthy and natural household items. I compiled a list of some of the best household items from Thrive Market below. These are my personal favorites, but make sure to dig around the Thrive Market website for even more!

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Thrive Market Review | My First Order

Thrive Market Review

I wanted to post a full Thrive Market Review because my first order has arrived! I made another post here comparing prices on Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime. I did share my exact order in that post but I wanted to share a few pictures of the items after they arrived. I am currently doing a Whole 30 and it is important to note that some of the items that I ordered are NOT Whole 30 compliant, the Bob’s Mill white rice flour, Bragg’s liquid aminos and Enjoy Life mega thunks, while delicious and gluten free, are not allowed on the Whole 30. I did purchase them because I they are things that I would buy anyway and the price on Thrive Market was the best that I have found. If I do another order while I am on the Whole 30 I will order compliant products because those chocolate chunks are too tempting! I paid just over $50 for all of the items listed before. If you purchase any of these items regularly, you know that’s a great deal! Thrive Market was running a promotion at the time which included a free bottle of coconut oil and the 5-day detox book. Since I am currently doing a Whole 30, I don’t really need the book but it could be useful for someone who is brand new on a healthy eating journey. Thrive regularly offers freebies with your purchase, so far I have seen coconut oil, almond butter and plant-based protein, so keep an eye out and see what freebie is available!

My first Thrive Market order. Read about my first experience with Thrive Market. Is Thrive Market right for your family? Read on and find out!!   Thrive Market Review.

 

I do apologies for the horrible picture. I am good at taking pictures of people, not items. I am pretty excited to try to ghee. During Whole 30 2016 attempt #1 I made my own ghee. I’m not sure if I did it right, but I wasn’t crazy about it. I love butter and I hope that I like the ghee better than my home-made version.

Thrive market order, Thrive market review

I do have to stop for a second and tell you about the coconut aminos. If you read my original Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime post, you will see that I was hesitant about this product. I am happy to say that I have tried and actually ENJOY the coconut aminos! This is a big deal! I can do without soy for the most part, and I may be able to eliminate it completely (even after the Whole 30) using this product. The taste is a bit sweeter than soy sauce, and it definitely has a flavor that is all it’s own. That being said, I did enjoy it. If you’re wanting to eliminate traditional soy sauce, GMO soy or non-organic soy. I would recommend switching to Bragg’s liquid aminos. We haven’t used traditional soy sauce in quite some time, it tastes just as good but is much healthier as it is lower in sodium and made with non-GMO soy.

I have tried to toothpaste and I really like it! I am going to continue to purchase it from Thrive since traditional toothpaste is just disgusting. Thrive Market also has the best price that I have found on Dr. Bronners liquid castile soap. You can also read about my top 12 uses for Dr. Bronners and my favorite household items from Thrive Market.!

kitchen-4

I was really impressed with the packaging from Thrive Market. All of the packaging is made from recycled materials, and can be composted or recycled. Everything was packed very well, as you can see above. My order did take a little longer than expected to arrive. I received an e-mail apologizing for the delay. They told me that they had a higher volume of orders last week. I also received a coupon code for $10 off my next purchase. I expect to make another purchase early next month, and the $10 definitely makes up for the extra day or two!

As I mentioned in my last post, Thrive Market makes it very easy to shop by your values. If you are a vegan, following a paleo diet, or any other kind of protocol or allergy-friendly diet, it is very easy to search for foods that will work for you. There is even a section for moms! Overall, I am very happy with my order and with Thrive Market customer service. If you’ve been thinking about joining Thrive Market, click the link below to get 20% off your first order! Don’t forget that you can get a 30 day free trial, I saved over $70 on my first order, so I am definitely going to keep my account after the 30 days is over!

 

 

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Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime | A side-by-side comparison

Thrive market vs. Amazon Prime

Thrive Market vs. Amazon PrimeThrive Market vs. Amazon Prime. I compare Amazon Prime side by side with Thrive Market, the new online site that sells wholesome real food at wholesale prices. Check out the comparison here!

I recently discovered Thrive Market, a fairly new website that sells healthy, wholesome food at wholesale prices online. Think Whole Foods meets Costco meets Amazon Prime! When I first heard of Thrive Market, I wasn’t sure why I would need another subscription service when I already have Amazon Prime. Well, after checking out the prices on Thrive Market, I changed my mind. One Thrive feature that I love is that you can shop by your values. Gluten free, Vegan, Paleo, Raw, and Moms are a few of the search categories. You can also search for things like US-based, family businesses and cruelty free companies. The cost is $59.95 per year, but you can get a 30 day trial absolutely free! With every membership purchased, Thrive Market also donates a membership to a family in need, which I think is pretty awesome.

 

This is my first order made with Thrive Market. This following list is exactly what I ordered, and exactly what I paid. I took the individual items and compared them to Amazon prices. I am a long-time Amazon Prime user and I am VERY happy with Amazon. That being said, I am always looking for ways to save money on healthy, gluten free, and (currently) Whole 30-friendly foods. I wanted to compare apples-to-apples prices for Amazon Prime and Thrive Market. It was difficult to do this because some Amazon options were only available in bulk. I still feel like it is a good comparison of the same exact products. This isn’t really a comparison of Thrive Market vs. Amazon prime services, because they are completely different. If you live in an area where healthy or allergy-friendly food is harder to access or just plain expensive, Thrive Market may be a great option for you even if you already use Amazon prime.

My Shopping List

Dr. Bronners Organic Castile Liquid Soap 32oz

Amazon: $18.20 | Thrive Market: $10.95

Organic Raw Coconut Aminos 8oz

Amazon: $17.95 | Thrive Market: $4.45 (**Amazon also had a 3 pack for $22.99 which comes to $7.66/each, but if you only want to order one the Prime price is $17.95)

Justin’s Almond Butter 16oz

Amazon: $14.61 | Thrive Market: $11.25

Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca Starch 20oz

Amazon: $7.97 | Thrive Market: $2.95



Bragg’s Liquid Aminos 32oz

Amazon: $12.58  | Thrive Market: $5.95

Organic Valley Ghee 32oz

Amazon: $15.88 (not prime) | Thrive Market: $10.95

Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar 16oz

Amazon: $5.29 (Prime Panty) or 6 bags for $31.64 ($5.27/each) | Thrive Market: $4.65

Bob’s Red Mill Stone Ground White Rice Flour 24oz

Amazon: $6.99 | Thrive Market: $2.55 (**Amazon also had a 4 pack for $20.08 which comes to $5.02/each)

Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips Mega Chunk 10oz

Amazon: $4.19 (**only available in a 6pack) | Thrive Market: $4.45

Kiss My Face Whitening Toothpaste (each, I bought 2)

Amazon: $5.65 (subscribe & save) | Thrive Market: $3.45

Amazon Total: $109.31 | Thrive Market Total: $60.40*

As you can see, the Thrive total is far less than Amazon Prime. The Amazon total is more of an estimate, since some items could not be ordered by themselves. For some things, like coconut aminos, I did not want a 3 pack. I don’t even know if I like coconut aminos! I am guessing that I won’t be a fan, but I currently need a Whole 30 approved soy-free stir fry alternative. I am willing to spend $4.45 to try it out. For certain items, ordering on Amazon prime in bulk does make more sense, especially since there is no minimum order for free two-day shipping. Overall, you can see that you almost save the subscription price on Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime with just one purchase.

What about comparing prices of Thrive Market to grocery stores? I would have to go to a grocery store to do an exact side-by-side analysis, but I can say that overall the 25-50% retail savings is accurate. The one thing that I noticed to be slightly higher is Lara Bars. I can get Lara Bars at my local Wal-Mart (they sell three varieties, only one of which is Paleo/Whole 30 approved) for slightly less than the Thrive Market price. Otherwise everything that I compared was quite a bit less expensive than at a traditional grocery store.

*I also received a free Nutiva Organic coconut oil with my $59+ purchase from Thrive Market. That deal is still going on, so check it out here! This was also my first order, so I saved 15% off and my actual price was $51.34, with a $53.14 savings from retail prices. For simple comparison purposes, I am considering my total to be $60.40. I also received free shipping since it was a $49+ order, but I am not taking that into consideration since Amazon Prime has free 2-day shipping. I have heard that Thrive Market shipping typically takes about 3-5 days.

So what do you think about prices of Thrive Market vs. Amazon Prime? I love Amazon Prime, and I use it subscribe and save, watching TV shows, and quick shipping. If you don’t have a Prime account, you can try Amazon Prime FREE for 30 days. My Prime account isn’t going anywhere, but I love Thrive Market too! If you’ve had any experiences that you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments! If you’re interested in signing up for Thrive Market, they have a free 30 day trial too! You can go here or click on the image below!

 




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How to use Swagbucks | 8 Tips to Get Started

How to use Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a great tool to earn a little bit of extra money. It’s also a lot of fun! If you like doing surveys, shopping online, or watching videos, you can do all of these things and earn “Swagbucks” while you do it. There are many ways to earn Swagbucks, and I will share some things that I do below. I am able to earn about $50 per month in Amazon gift cards, just by doing some of these simple tasks in my spare time.

So what is Swagbucks? 

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What to buy with Amazon Subscribe and Save

what to buy with amazon subscribe and save

Do you have an Amazon Prime account? Are you overwhelmed and don’t know what to buy with Amazon Subscribe and Save? The items listed below are some of my favorites. My best tip is to buy at least five items in one month using Subscribe and Save. This will take 15% off of your entire purchase (except diapers, which are already 20% off but do count towards your 5 item total.)  Remember that prices on Amazon fluctuate on a regular basis, I am including the prices that I paid on my last purchase in bold. Keep in mind that this is the price after the 15% discount for buying 5 items. I have included the price without the discount (or any other coupons that may have been available) after my price. Always check for coupons or discounts off your first purchase of a particular item, you will also notice that the 15% off really does add up. If there is currently a coupon for an item, I will note it below.

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