Tuesday, April 18, 2017

3 Apps to Help Moms Save Money

Courtesy of GoodRx

I admit it, I'm a suburban mom who clips coupons. I find it soothing to leaf through the Sunday newspaper searching for bargains.

Before I had children, I wouldn't have been caught dead using coupons. I went out to eat at the newest restaurants with impunity, but now I am always on the hunt for a good BOGO offer.

Now that we are in the digital age in 2017, I have turned to these three apps to help save money. I have personally used all of these apps, and I am not receiving reimbursement for recommending them.
  1. GoodRx - GoodRx takes the hassle out of finding prescription prices. I recently had to take Amoxicillin for a root canal -- don't worry, I will spare you the gory details of the procedure. However, GoodRx helped me find the least expensive pharmacy for Amoxicillin, and I picked up the generic prescription at Wal-Mart for $4. I do have dental insurance, but I figured $4 was worth it to avoid the hassle of calling and figuring out if they covered prescriptions.
  2. Ibotta - Ibotta gives you rebates based on products you buy at major grocery stores, as well as a handful of retail stores. Instead of clipping coupons, you scan in product barcodes and upload receipts via your smart phone. Money is transferred to your PayPal or Venmo account once your balance reaches $20, or you can receive gift cards in lieu of cash. My only quibble with Ibotta is that it seems rather difficult to reach customer service.
  3. Mint - Mint is a free budgeting app from Intuit that links to your bank accounts, mortgage and other loans. The app allows you to see where you are spending your money every month, and also allows you to set monthly budgets in different categories. The only caveat is that Mint works better with larger banks. For example, it synced fine with our Wells Fargo mortgage but not once we refinanced with a smaller company.
What apps do you use to save money? Let me know in the comments.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

7 Tips for Authors: How to Ace Your Interview on Local News

Like many authors, I am a classic introvert and would happily avoid all publicity that involved talking to strangers. On the other hand, selling books does require effort -- even putting in some elbow grease in the dreaded form of marketing.

My first (and only) appearance on local news generated equal parts excitement and fear when I got the call from the booking agent. I scoured the internet for tips and asked one friend who had been on the "Dr. Phil" show for expert advice.

  1. Wear solid colors - Leave the patterns at home and wear solid colors that are flattering.
  2. Be aware of your tics - I personally laugh when I get nervous, which is not ideal for television. I didn't manage to completely get rid of this tic, but at least I was aware of it and tried to keep it under control.
  3. Watch the show - I never have time in the mornings to watch morning shows. I'm too busy guzzling coffee and attempting to get my children dressed. However, I did watch clips on the Internet to get a feel for the show.
  4. Go with the flow - All of the clips I happened to watch showed a set where guests sit on stools. I wore slacks in anticipation of the stools, but then it turned out that I was sitting on an armchair in the faux living room corner of the set.
  5. Be aware of the camera's location - I totally forgot about this piece of advice. I'm holding up my book, but you can't see the pages because it's not toward the camera.
  6. Bring a signed copy of the book for the host - My interviewer was a lovely young lady without children, so I have no idea what she did with the book, but it's polite to give a copy.
  7. Do your own hair and makeup - Most local shows do not have the budget for a hair and makeup staff. I don't usually wear make-up, but I slathered on the foundation and broke out the eye makeup. Even men can benefit from foundation under the bright lights.
My one disappointment from the show was that I didn't sell hundreds of copies of my children's book. I also expected the television station to put the clip on their website, but they mailed me a copy of the interview on a DVD instead.

Nina Snyder is the author of "ABCs of Balls," a children's picture book that makes learning the alphabet fun for toddlers. Follow her on Twitter @nsnyder_writer.