Showing posts with label Frugal living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frugal living. Show all posts

Thursday, December 31, 2015

5 Books That You Should Read To Get You Started With Your Financial Goals

New year is fast approaching and I am sure that you have a new set of goals. Most of you will have a list of New Year's resolution that involves being debt free or just have the need to have control of your money. 
There is no shame in trying to get rid of your debt or learning how to have a budget. You will learn that on this list of books that I personally recommend, the common ground is budget and living a simple life.These 5 books are the books that you should always have on your shelf, or even read every year!

A Bountiful Love is a participant on Amazon Affiliate Program, when an item is purchased through my links I earn a small advertising fee.

 Total Money Make Over 
By Dave Ramsey

I've had this book for a while now and I always recommend it.
Best and inspiring line : " financial freedom is 80% behavior and 20% knowledge "
This book gives you baby and do able steps towards your financial freedom. Married couples can greatly benefit from this book. But it is also geared towards 20 to 30 yrs old. The book also shared real life experience that will really get you motivated. If you think paying off your debt is impossible or even paying a car with cash is a this book!

 Say Goodbye to Survival Mode : 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More and Restore Your Passion for Life.
 by Crystal Paine


  Let me start with , this book is not just for bloggers. It is for all MOMS. Moms, from different walks of life. Working moms , stay at home moms. Why geared towards moms? Because we always have the "Superwoman" attitude. We love our family and our work so much that we tend to forget taking care of number one--> YOURSELF. We gave into the vicious cycle of having less to no sleep to "do more". We do not  ask for help and simplify things when needed, we are perfectionist, we try to do it all and don't slow down. We fail to manage our finances.  All of these will just result into a very , very bad case of burning out. I've been there, I think we all did at one point.  I like when she shed light on how sacrifices and having faith can greatly affect your finances.

I love this book so much that I actually gave it as gifts for Christmas. Very useful, a book that you need to keep on your shelf all the time as a reminder.

by Ruth Soukup 


How serious are you in changing your behaviors and finances?  If you can commit 31 days into doing her clear and insightful assignments , you will succeed. Do not underestimate this book though, it may be a one focus goal - spending zero, you will be surprised on how she laid out a clean plan , do able actions and helpful resources! No spending in a month can really be a scary and impossible idea for some but this book will show you that it is indeed possible. It will change your behavior and your outlook. Focusing more on the positive side than what you are giving up.

by Steve and Annette Economides


I know, don't raise an eyebrow on me. They’ve been called cheapskates and tightwads. During tough economic times, Steve and Annette have managed to feed their family of seven on just $350 per month, pay off their first house in nine years and purchase a second, larger home, buy cars with cash, take wonderful vacations, and put money in savings. Without degrees in finance or six-figure salaries.They had created a comfortable life for their family and most of all--- debt-free! 

I had read this book over 2 yrs ago I think and I would still recommend it in a heartbeat. You do not have to do every single thing they did. They provided tons of ideas on how to save money and how to stop living paycheck to paycheck!

The Complete Tightwad Gazette
by Amy Dacyczyn


Okay so another tightwad term, that some people find it so offending and shameful. To start with your financial goal, you need to stop being ashamed of being a tightwad and Amy will just make you realize that there is nothing wrong with that. Read this book and it will change your life. Again, let me repeat that. Read this book and it will change your life. She will also give you some insight on raising your kids in a world of materialism. 

Just like any other frugal living books out there, you do not have to do every single thing that she does. Tweak it according to your family. Eliminate what doesn't work .  Let her insights on frugality inspire you to come up with ways based on your family needs. She gave a whole lot of options throughout the book. 

I would love to connect with you!

Monday, December 14, 2015

To the Momma Who Can't Afford Christmas This Year

   It is that season again. Christmas music playing in every store. The cold weather  and the smell of firewood smoke lingering in the air.  Well decorated and lighted houses . Gift suggestions and gift packages on every corner of every store.

   Every year, you promised yourself that you will be ready for the next Christmas season. That you will save enough money so you can give your children, your family a Christmas they truly deserve. Then life happens. Sometime while you are saving .. your car breaks down. Maybe you or your spouse was unexpectedly unemployed. Your insurance won't pay for your medical bills , your water heater needs replacement. Your funds  dwindling,yet again.. You can't afford Christmas.

     You want to teach your children what Christmas is all about. But deep..deep inside you wish you could at least buy them the toy that they always ask for. You hurt because you can't.
     You want to bake all the Christmas goodies you see on Pinterest. You can't because you really can not afford those ingredients. You have bills to pay.  You wish you can buy your family some new outfits, nothing fancy,but some decent clothes to wear on Christmas eve. You can only afford clothes from the second hand store.  No matter how hard you try, you get embarrassed that you can't afford Christmas. There are times you go so hard on yourself. Times when you distance yourself from friends and family because you worry of what they may think of you.

     Here's what you need to know momma, In the eyes of the are rich. You are not a failure.
You are blessed. You have something that few people only understand. You have a family and you have everything.   We all see it everywhere, Jesus is the Reason for the Season. That is the truth. It is not about the material gifts or baked goodies. Christmas is about love.

     Our Jesus was not born in a castle, He was born in a manger.  He was born in the most humble way. He was born because of God's great love. Christmas has become commercialized. Social media plays a great role in this.  We see it, how our news feed is filled with " hey look how beautiful and gorgeous my Christmas tree is " , "hey look how many gifts we have under the tree". " hey, we are this fancy on Christmas". Don't be fooled with this. In reality, we do not know what the story is behind those pictures. Don't beat yourself up just because you can not afford Christmas.

Christmas is about...

 Being together as a family. It is about putting the phone down, and being present.  Christmas is about spending quality time.  It is about looking into our childrens eyes and being intentionally present.

Christmas is about reading scriptures to our family, little children need to know the story of Jesus. How God's great love for us came down on Christmas time.

Christmas is about reaching out to the poor, hurting and broken. Maybe you are wondering , how can you help when you can't even afford your own Christmas. How can you reach out and offer a hand if you are also hurting? There are ways to giving a lending hand and heart. You and your family can volunteer in a soup kitchen , visit a hospice and spend some time with our elderly who may have been neglected by their own families , volunteer to give out gifts or blankets for homeless people.

To rid yourself of negative emotional states,you need to push them aside with positive emotional states and the simplest way to do that is to just go out and lend a helping hand to somebody.” ---Stephen G. Post
Christmas is about slowing down , tuning in and plugging in. Plugging in to your spouse, your kids , your parents, friends and relatives.  Christmas is unplugging from negativity and comparison. 
Christmas is about simple happiness. Grab a travel mug filled with delicious hot coco, drive around the neighborhood and enjoy the Christmas decorations. Trust me, your kids will squeal in delight. Simple moments like this can turn into great memories someday.  Sometimes the smallest things can give us great joy.

Christmas is about celebrating God's grace.  Christmas is about giving yourself grace. 
    There is so much more about Christmas than material things. Whatever situation you may be in right now, it will pass. Our Lord is always..always for you.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

9 Pantry Staples That You Can Make At Home

There are tons of ways to be frugal. One of the areas we can always cut back on is our budget for grocery. Making your own pantry staples is probably the first smart move you can do. There's so many staples that you can make at home. These 9 pantry staples are my must haves, I always have it in my pantry. I made a freebie too! A pretty pantry label for you, download it and print it and adhere to your nice jars or containers. Don't forget to store the staples in an air tight container.

I also love cooking my own beans at home, it is very economical of course , free of any preservatives and sodium ( if you choose not to cook the beans with salt). Since the beans are freezer friendly,  there's also a free label printable for the beans. You can always use a good old marker to label the freezer bags but it just does not work for me, it just fades on me.


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Meat Rub

1/8 cup black pepper
1 tsp onion flakes 
2 tsp salt                                         
1/4 cup paprika                                           
1/4 cup brown sugar        
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper ( optional)

Mix all the ingredients in an air tight container. Use with BBQ recipes , pulled pork and pork chop recipes.


1 tbsp Chili Powder 
1/4 tsp garlic powder         
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika      
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt          
1/4 tsp crushed pepper

Mix all of the spices together in an airtight container.
** Add 2-3 tablespoons of the seasoning per pound of meat.
** For taco meat, cook until browned and then add the taco seasoning.
add a couple of tablespoons of water to the meat as well.
Let simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Try the homemade taco seasoning with these recipes :
Slow Cooker Tostada
Mexican Pizza
Lentil Tacos
Taco Bites
Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
Pan Fried Bean and Cheese Burritos


2 cups Whole wheat flour (can use white flour if don't have whole wheat)
8 cups white flour
1/2 cups baking Powder
1/4 cups sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups shortening
3 cups old fashioned quick oat oatmeal

Mix all ingredients together ( using a pastry cutter). Store in air tight container. Can store for up to 6 months. This recipe can also be cut in half for smaller batches)

***  For Pancakes: ( they freeze well too)
2 Cups mix
1 c. Milk
2 eggs

Mix and drop onto prepared skillet.

*** For Waffles
2 C. mix
1 1/3 cups milk
1 egg
2 TBSP oil

Mix and place in prepared waffle iron until done.

*** For Biscuits
2 1/4 cups mix
2/3 cup milk

Mix and drop on greased cookie sheet. bake 450 degrees for 10-12 mins or until golden borwn
Buttermilk biscuits:
2 C. mix
3/4 cup buttermilk


2/3 cups mayo ( Ive used Greek yogurt in the past)
2 small cloves of garlic
1/2 cup buttermilk                                  
1 tsp dried dill ( or fresh dill)
1/2 cup sour cream                                   
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried parsley                                  
1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients and store in air tight container. Can store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


White or whole wheat bread
FLAVORING : can use salt , herbs, Parmesan cheese , pepper, Italian Seasoning , garlic.

 Mix the cubed bread and chosen flavoring in the food processor. Grind the bread into fine or coarse depending on your preference. Store in airtight container in the fridge. They freeze well too.

2 tbsp onion powder or dried onion
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp celery seed

** This makes a batch of sloppy joe ( 1 packet).

Mix all the ingredients and store in air tight container.

To make  sloppy joes : . Add 1 cup ketchup, 1 tbsp.Worcestershire Sauce 1/2 cup water, and the seasoning mix to browned ( and drained) ground beef.  Add more ketchup or some water, until it reaches the desired consistency. Simmer for about 10 minutes.


2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all the ingredients and store in airtight container. 1 packet = 4 tbsp.

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Measure flour into a container. Add sugar on top, then baking powder, then salt.   

***To make the cake
Place softened butter into your mixer and mix on medium for 1-2 minutes. Add your dry ingredients and let it incorporate. Add milk, oil, vanilla and eggs and mix  for about one minute.
Pour batter into prepare pans. Bake at 350. 20-25 minutes.

There's also a few blank labels, so you can use it on other jars.


Wash / pick through the beans you wanted to cook. Put the beans in the slow cooker , cover with just enough water to cover the beans by about 3 inches. Beans absorbs a whole lot of water , so you may want to add water halfway through the cooking process. Cook on low for about 6-8 hrs. Do not over cook as you may want to cook it again with some recipes that you will use it on.

They are freezer friendly ,  pick a day of cooking your beans and freeze them for later use. This will save you money as well. A package of beans cost about .98 cents to $1.79  and it yields about 6-8 cups as compared to a can of beans ( store bought) that yields about 1 1/2 cups.

I usually measure up 2 cups of beans  and put them in a freezer zipper bags.

Check these recipes that use yummy and healthy beans : Recipes on a Budget

Here's your FREE FREEZER BEANS LABELS , print and use a clear packing tape to adhere onto the Ziploc bags.

Shared with:
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Free Fun Friday @ Devastate Bordedom
Awesome Fridays @ Reviews, Chews and How To's
 Home Matters Linky Party @ Life with Lorelai
 Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

How to Survive a Financial Crisis

Nothing is permanent. That is very true most specially, when it comes to money. I am sure at some point in your life, you may have experienced a financial storm that had truly impacted your life. Going through a financial crisis is a no brainer cause for stress. On my post about How To Survive and Thrive On a Single Income , we experienced the hardship of the recession. It was a few years ago but we can not deny the valuable lessons we learned from it. Most families I think learn from it.

Whatever the unexpected situation you might be facing , it can be a job loss or a situation where it requires you to live below your means..getting ready can bring you peace of mind.


Some may call it an emergency fund. I had written a post about brilliant ways on how you can build your savings account. It is not hard really, you just have to start. NOW.  If a $1 savings plan or $5 savings plan is still not doable..start at .25 cents and let it grow. By the end of 52nd week you will have $344.50. Yes, it may not be enough for a whole family but imagine if you start putting a larger amount every week. Diligently.

Check out my recent post on : 6 Superb Ways to Build Your Savings Account.


Sit down and give this part an hour or two. Decide on what bill expenses you can trim down. It can be your cellphone bill, maybe you can downgrade a plan or call to negotiate your current plan. If you have a cellphone, does having a home phone matter? Maybe you can for go some subscriptions for the time being : netflix, magazines, or other monthly subscriptions.

Sometimes it is important to know when to ask for help. For some, relying on government assistance is just a NO-NO. I am not suggesting that you will just solely rely on it, all I'm saying is..sometimes we need to do what what we have to do to stay afloat. Maybe a government assistance --such as utilities payment assistance will greatly help.

Resources to check : -->If you’re unemployed you may be able to get an affordable health insurance plan through the Marketplace, with savings based on your income and household size. You may also qualify for free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

211 - Call to find organizations near you that offer low cost rent or mortgage help( unemployed).  You can also Google 211 for your state : for LA County , 211texas for Texas , for Washington, 211ct for Connecticut , 211SanDiego for San Diego CA

Administration for Children and Families-  Look for the Low income home energy assistance, for utility assistance. You can also find other great resources here like headstart for kids and other support ( homelessness, abuse , human trafficking etc)

WIC- if you have children below the age of 5 and meet the income qualifications, you can apply for WIC. If you are on this program, it will also open doors for other assistance like : utility assistance, CA lifeline for phone services.


It can be your weekly dining out or what I have mentioned above, it can be a monthly subscription that you can completely live without. Make a list of certain things that you can live without. You will be surprised on how much you can actually save with this list.


If in the case that you were laid off, well by all means take a break if you needed to BUT always..always make sure your resume is updated . You never know when a good opportunity will come knocking on your door. Include all and any newly learned skills that you may have. If you are tech savvy and knowledgeable with the in and outs of social media, do mention that. All companies nowadays consider social media marketing as a great tool.

Got more skills? Make a list of skills that you are good at in addition to your line of work. If you are really good at crafts, homemade gifts , why not sell it on etsy? or start a blog ( free at first), start a facebook page and market your creations. Do you rent? Ask the owner or land lord if you can trade in some handyman skills you have, in lieu of some or all the rent.

Check out my recent post on : Work From Home Jobs ( for bloggers and non bloggers) and 20 Ways Bloggers can Earn Money.


Sometimes we dig our own grave. Does that sound harsh? Only a few people live on "what if's " . I can't blame them..that is just not a way to live. Besides, the words "fear not " is mentioned 365 times in the Bible ( well, some say that that is actually exaggerated..some say only 200 some 314 times). The point is, whatever number that is. God does not want us to worry.. to fear.  He also wants us to be a good steward of our money. Even before you face a financial storm, face the debt.  You wouldn't want that added stress of debt .


There is nothing wrong and embarrassing about downsizing. I will be honest here.. We did downgrad to a smaller place when we faced a financial storm ( 2008-- who didn't?) . I felt so terrible, ashamed and just flat out awful. I was thinking  family and friends may look down on us because -- WE DIDN'T OWN A HOME. The fact is I absolutely missed the truth, that we are actually gaining something. We took a responsible and humble step of downsizing. Keeping up with the Jones's will tear you down. It doesn't matter what other people or family may think of you. Take a big step of stepping back, not because you are moving backwards BUT because you realized what really matters in your life.

Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha.” 
-- Robert Brault. 
Tweet:  “Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it's a cha-cha.”


There will be times where you've been submitting resumes left and right. Times, when you did all the best that you can. Those days where everything seems like all the problems in the world are in your hands and the "rainbow" after the rain is out of sight. NEVER. EVER. LOSE THE FAITH.  Keep on pressing , keep on fighting. Remember that , " This too shall pass"

 Here are Bible Scriptures for you to reflect on and to give you strength on your
temporary problems :

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long.  Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Matthew 6 : 25- 27 " That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

Hebrews 11 --> About great examples of faith
Genesis 22:11 --> Abraham's faith was tested
Genesis 39:21 --> Our Lord's faithful love FOR Joseph 
Proverbs 3:5-6 --> Trusting Our Lord
Isaiah 41:10 --> The Lord is always with us
John 14:24 -->Do not let your hearts be troubled
Psalm 46:13 -->God is our refuge
Psalm 55:22--> Casting our cares onto the Lord.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Healthy and Allergy Free Baking Substitution

Happy Monday sweet readers of mine.On almost all of my posted recipes, I do try to give a healthier substitution on some of the ingredients. Not just the cheaper substitute but also the substitute that is hip friendly. I get it, I'm a momma of two growing and active girls and serving healthy meals is a mission of mine.

I have also met and have some friends that get discouraged over allergies that they or their kids have. It is a challenge, I totally understand but don't let it limit you in the kitchen. Here's a few basic ingredient substitutions that you can use. Don't forget to download the free printable , print it and display it on your fridge for easy reference.



½ cup rice flour 

¼ cup tapioca starch or flour

¼ cup cornstarch


1 cup Bob’s Red Mill All purpose flour PLUS:

¼ tsp Xantham Gum for cookies

¾ tsp Xantham Gum for muffins

½ tsp Xantham Gum for cookies

1 CUP MILK = 1 Cup rice milk OR 1 cup almond milk OR Coconut milk


1 cup dairy free milk ( see above substitution) + 1 tsp lemon juice

Pureed Silken Tofu

Soy base yogurt

¼ cup canned pumpkin


¼ cup applesauce + 1 tsp baking powder


½ od ripe. Mashed banana +1/4 tsp baking powder


mashed avocado, mashed banana , coconut oil or olive oil


 Agave syrup or Maple Syrup


1 cup flour = 1 cup black beans

1 cup flour = 1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup sugar = 1 cup applesauce

1 stick butter = ½ cup of mashed avocados

1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup sour cream = 1 cup cottage cheese

1 cup sour cream = non fat Greek yogurt

1 tbsp mayo = 1 tbsp Greek yogurt

1 whole egg = 2 egg whites

1 whole egg = 3 tbsp egg whites (carton)

1 whole egg = 1 mashed banana

1 cup chocolate chips = 1 cup dried fruit

          (With added ¼ cup applesauce for moisture)

1 cup oil = 1 cup coconut oil

I would love to connect with you! 

I share at :
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Merry Monday @ My Pinterventures
Link up Mondays @Soul Survival
The Best of the Blogosphere @ It's me Deb
Meet up Monday @ The Quinntessential Mommy
Mommy Meet Up Mondays @ Life, Motherhood and the Pursuit of Happiness

Monday, July 27, 2015

6 Superb Ways to Build Your Savings Account

Single income families , single mom or dad , living from paycheck to paycheck -- these situations can sometimes makes it a struggle to save money. Some may even ask,  "How can we save money, when there's hardly extra money".  The truth is, if there's a will ..there is a way.  It may be a small and slow process at first but that first step is progress.

" A Journey for a thousand miles, BEGINS with a SINGLE STEP. " -- Lao Tzu


Here are some practical and superb ways to build up your savings account.

$5 Savings Plan

How does the $5 Savings Plan work?  When a $5 bill comes into your possession , what you do is to put the $5 bill aside and then once or twice a year you deposit your money into your savings account.  Kelsey from Keeping Up with Kelsey saved all of her $5 bills in a mason jar. She saved for five months and was able to put away $200. How smart and easy peasy is that? If you think that $200 is not that much , remember ..that $200 socked away is $200 that you didn't have before. Saved money that you can use for an emergency that you had never expected months before.  Of course the saved amount depends on how often a $5 bills comes into possession. If you use mostly cash, more than likely , you will be able to save more! Head on over to Keeping up with Kelsey and read her tips on how she does the $5 savings plan and what she plans to do with it.

Photo credit : Keeping Up with Kelsey
Lena of What Mommy Does is a former CPA turned SAHM , created this way of saving money for Christmas spending. Her and I are the same, months before Christmas we already have Christmas spending in mind. I don't know about you but the holidays have ways of breaking into your bank if you are nor careful. I too, like to plan ahead. She created the 26 week plan to start in June and ending in December-- having $1001 ! Wow huh?   Head over to her site , this smart momma offers a free printable of 26 Week / $1000 Savings plan.

Photo Credit : What Mommy Does
Do you want to start small ? Amee from Real Advice Gal  has got you covered. As she explains, 52 weeks savings plan is more realistic because you will start small , $1 .You save the amount that corresponds to the number of the week .  Let's say week one, you need to save $1 , week 2 will be $2, week 3 will be $3 and so on.
Amee is right on the money with this, it is not  intimidating that even kids and teenagers can do this. By the end of  the savings plan , you'll have $1378. Head over to her site, Madame Deals ..she has a  cute printable to get you started. 

Photo credit : Real Advice Gal

Automatic Bank Transfer

Call your bank and set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account . It can be as little as $25 a month. If you tend to forget to put away certain money for your savings envelope, then this is the best option for you.  With next to no effort, let it build up and watch your savings grow.

Make More Money

I know that to some, socking away a lil money can still be difficult. That phrase , "there is just not enough money " is true for some families. Try making more money . You can make money by  going through all of your excess stuff and selling it on ebay. You can make a lil money by consigning your gently used baby and kid items ( just make sure that what you are selling is not on recall) . How about babysitting or even pet sitting?
I recently wrote about Work From Home Jobs, it is for bloggers and non bloggers.  Are you a blogger or want to start a blog and thinking about ways to monetize your site, check out 20 Ways Bloggers can Earn Money.

Selling Stock Photography


No , I am not crazy..I am really encouraging to you to give. Give and I guarantee you that it will do your heart  and mind wonders.  Don't do this in the wrong belief that when you give , God will bless you more. Do not expect blessings in return by doing "false works". Doing good works to gain God's love is - dead work. He already loves you and gave you an abundance of grace.

" And if by grace, then it is no longer by works, if it were, grace would no longer be grace "
--Rom 11:6

" For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. "
-- Ephesian 2:8-9

"No one has ever become poor by giving" -- Anne Frank


ways bloggers can earn money