Apps That Earn Me A Little Money

posted in: Saving Money | 3

Let’s face it – we’re all out to save a buck whenever we can, right? Especially living this full-time RV lifestyle – income is much less than it used to be when we had a full-time business in our sticks & bricks. But, we were miserable living that lifestyle. It’s not all about the money!! Enjoying our everyday experiences is so much more enjoyable for us, which is why we chose this lifestyle in the first place.

So, for the first time pretty much ever, I’m pinching pennies. And it’s kinda fun!! It’s become a sort of game to me, to see how much money I can accumulate on these apps. Here are a couple of them that are my favorites:

MThoughts App ReviewMy all time most favorite app is M+Places. With this app, every time you go to a store or even get near stores, you collect points for “checking in” to the stores. Some stores are worth 10 points, some 30 and some 50. You also collect prize boxes worth points, and you can watch ads for extra points. There are also games you can play to collect points, which I found to be mostly kind of dumb and not worth it (but I’m not much of a game player anyways). You can also download the MThoughts App Review“MThoughts” app and collect additional points by answering surveys. These are totally worth it because each survey will net you 1000 or more points. Once you collect a bunch of points, you can trade them in for store gift cards or other prizes. For example, I just traded in 62,500 points on a $25 Walmart Gift Card. Hey, I’ll take $25 worth of free stuff from Walmart any day!!Walmart Gift Card

Ibotta_App_ReviewMy second favorite app is one I recently started using called Ibotta. With this app, you pick what items you are purchasing at the grocery store, scan the items and the receipt after you purchase, and Ibotta pays you CASH back. Right now they are having a $10 bonus just for signing up, so go scoop that up while its good!! I’ve only had this app for about a month, and as of right now I have $24 in my account. Just for grocery shopping! Easy peasy!! You can have Ibotta send the cash to your Paypal account, or you can use it to purchase gift cards to major retail stores.

I also use a survey app called “OnGo Surveys”. This app has you do surveys for cash, but you have to qualify for the survey in order to take it. The nice thing about this app is if you don’t qualify for the survey, they will still pay you 10 cents for the time it took you to answer the few qualifying questions. I don’t make a lot of money with this app, because most of the time I don’t qualify for the surveys, but its worth it to try since they pay you a little bit even if you don’t qualify.

Then there are a couple of gig apps that I’ve tried, although with being full-time RV-ers, I find that most of the time we are camping far away from major shopping areas, which is where most of the gigs are located. The two gig apps I have installed are Easy Shift and Gig Walk. They both work about the same – they put up gigs, such as a shelf check in a store. For example, there is a gig up on my Easy Shift app right now to check the on-shelf availability of certain products in a Walgreens store. The gig pays $18 when completed, which is pretty good money! You just have to make sure the gig is at a store close enough to your campground to make it worth traveling there to get it done. Once you accept the gig, you have 24 hours to complete it. These apps would be promising for folks that live near shopping centers or can access them quickly, as most gigs in larger urban areas get snarfed up fairly quickly so they are difficult to get.

So there you have it! My favorite ways to earn or save a few bucks here and there while shopping for what I would normally shop for anyways. Go ahead and give these apps a try! I find they are well worth the small amount of time that I spend on them. Happy earning!!

 

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Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Way down in southeast Arizona, near the town of McNeal, there is a very special place. Right in the middle of the desert lies an oasis, a desert grassland habitat, where there are ponds for the Sandhill Cranes to roost in. In the wintertime, the Sandhill Cranes that migrate from the northern United States like to hang out here. They bed down in the ponds at night, in order to be safe from predators. Then in the morning, they wake up and fly off into the sunrise, where they will spend the day feeding and socializing. The Draw used to be a cattle ranch, but was purchased in 1997 and is now managed by The Arizona Game and Fish Department as a wetland providing waterfowl habitat.

Whitewater Draw is about a 90 minute drive from where we are staying in Tucson. There are about 6 or 8 FREE primitive camping spots at The Draw. There are no facilities, except vault toilets and picnic tables, so you will be boondocking. You are allowed to camp there for 3 nights out of 7. We thought about driving the RV there, but in the end decided to set our alarm for 4:00 AM and just drive the Jeep there for the sunrise. Of course I set the alarm for 4:00 PM (duh!!!), but woke up at 4:35 and off we went!!

Many Sandhill Cranes Migrating In ArizonaTurns out our timing was perfect! We got there when it was still dark, set up our cameras and tripods, and started slowly walking out on the circle path that surround the ponds where the Cranes were bedded down for the night. The Cranes were just starting to wake up, and we did scare the ones that were closest to us and off they flew! Sandhill Cranes On A Pond And Flying In ArizonaSorry guys!! The great thing about Whitewater Draw is that you are RIGHT THERE with the Cranes. They are nice and close to the walkway, so viewing and photo taking opportunities abound!

Many Sandhill Cranes Migrating In Arizona at SunriseThe Cranes are there in the wintertime, and we went at the end of January. It is COLD, so dress appropriately! On the morning we were there it was 15 degrees!! I’m still trying to figure out why the Cranes came all the way to somewhere this cold for the winter??? After about an hour of photo taking Jim made me go sit in the car and warm up because frostbite was a very real possibility!!

All in all, I absolutely LOVED going to Whitewater Draw and would highly recommend it for anyone that is interested in the birds, even if just a little bit. I would go back in a heartbeat!! I think next time I would want to bring the RV and camp there for at least one night or maybe even two. It would totally be worth it!

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Happiness Is…

posted in: Traveling Posts | 0

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com.

Happiness

Up until a year ago, we were your average upper middle-class family. We owned and lived in a 4000 square foot timber frame home on an acre with a built-in pool in the back yard. We also owned another home, which I used as my photography studio, and my husband’s business property, which was an 1800-square foot business condo.

And we were miserable.

Yup, that’s right. We THOUGHT we were living the American dream! To own a home and our own business! For many years, we worked hard and played hard. We had everything we ever (thought) we wanted.

Except happiness.

You see, there was no time to chase happiness! Every day it was work work work. My husband would work at least 10 hours a day, then come home and work all night on the house. I would go to work at my photography studio, and spend all day either working on my business, or working on that house. Then there was the business property, which always seemed to need cleaning and repair. It seemed that if we weren’t working, we were mowing the acre of lawn, or raking an acre of leaves, or cleaning the pool, or pulling the weeds, or cleaning the house. Even on weekends. It took the two of us working together one FULL 8 to 10 hour day to clean the house each week.

And then we sold it all.

And people thought we were a little crazy (although I suspect most of them are secretly jealous!). Yup, we now own NOTHING, except our bus that we travel in and our car – both of which are paid off.

Was it easy? Heck no!! We were SCARED. TO. DEATH. Being without a “home” is a truly frightening thought!! And some days I truly miss having a home (and counter space LOL). And some day I will want a home again. But, it will be a very small home, that is very low maintenance, and has very low taxes, and will be very much paid for in cash. We will not be a slave to our home ever again.

All this to say, don’t believe what they say – it’s a trap! LOL. The world makes you BELIEVE that you MUST own a giant house, and 2.4 cars, and have the perfect little life in the suburbs. That you must have a hefty mortgage, and car payments, credit card debt, and the best shoes.

It’s just not true!

Now, the whole United States of America is our backyard!! It takes ONE HOUR for us to clean our “home” top to bottom. And we are happy.

I was at a funeral a couple of months ago, seeing some family members that I haven’t seen in a long time, and I can’t tell you how many of them said to me, “I’m so jealous of what you’re doing – I wish I could do that too.” Why do you just “wish”? Why can’t you do this too? It’s human nature to become complacent – to become comfortable. Your home is your home, and its comfy there. It’s warm and fuzzy and you hang out there in your jammies and you like it. So you go to work so that you can continue to own your warm, fuzzy, jammie-hanging-out-in home. As I said, we were scared to death to make this leap! And I truly believe it takes a certain kinda person (with some big cajones) to do what we did. But I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!

We’ve chosen to spend our money on EXPERIENCES, not THINGS.

At this point, we are almost at our 6-month nomadiversary – the date we moved into our RV and called ourselves “full-timers”. I told my husband at the start of this journey that I would give him one year, but at this point I suspect it will be longer than that. This world is amazing, and beautiful, and each place is so unique. And I haven’t seen it all yet! We have been to some great places, and we have visited with some great people, but we have only scratched the surface of what’s out there. There’s a long way to go, and a lot more to see!!!

My advice to anyone who is thinking – even if just a little bit – about this lifestyle, is “GO FOR IT!” Quit being trapped by your pre-conceived notions of the perfect life, and all of the commitments that that entails. Quit putting so much importance on the “things” in your life, and start living for the experiences! When we sold our houses, we also sold all the “things” that we had collected over the years – and I’ve come to find out that they were all meaningless! I don’t miss any of them – not even a little bit! We fill our homes with knick-knacks and “stuff”, and we forget to fill our hearts with joy! We place more value on “being busy” than we do on our own needs!

Need somewhere to start? Start with your finances! This is usually the toughest hurdle for people to get over – they think they cannot afford this lifestyle. In reality, it’s being way less expensive than our 3 mortgages (and property taxes) were!!! We are big fans of Dave Ramsey and truly believe that “if you live like noone else, you’ll be able to live like noone else”. We’ve even done the homeschool edition for teenagers with our 17-year-old son, who now has a solid understanding of how money works, and a good plan for his future income. I cannot recommend this book enough! Even if you are already full-time, but struggling with finances, or wondering how to plan for your retirement, this book is for you.

In the end, we can only do what makes us happy. We are responsible for our own joy. And only we can decide what’s most important for us. And then it’s up to us to go out and chase that dream – whatever it may be.

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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RV Satellite TV

posted in: Techie Posts, Uncategorized | 0

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com

nascar-4469

My husband loves NASCAR. And since he loves NASCAR, that means that we have to have really good TV service so he can watch his NASCAR races (which by the way is over for the season, Thank-You-For-The-Break-Nascar)!  Anyhoo, we opted for The DISH Network, because we had used DISH at our sticks-and-bricks, and they had a pay-as-you-go RV plan that you could turn on and off whenever you traveled. That’s no longer an issue now that we are full-time, but we have always had good luck with the DISH service, so we stuck with them.

At first we had an automatic dome antenna, and it never worked right. It just never found the satellites, had a hissy fit if there was a tree anywhere near it, and would only pick up one satellite at a time (for DISH to work right you need it to pick up all 3 satellites).

So one day, Hubby got tired of fighting with the darn thing all the time, and bit the bullet and bought the Winegard SK-1000 TRAV’LER. web-20150513_163730533_HDRBest money we have spent!! It’s automatic – just push the button and it raises itself on the roof and finds the satellites. It’s compatible with our DISH Hopper DVR, which we really love. That means we can record our shows, and watch a different channel on the front TV and back TV at the same time, as well as pause live TV. This is the ONLY antenna that will get all 3 satellite channels at the same time. web-20150515_170529525_HDRIt was fairly easy to install on the roof – he removed the old dome, cut the old wires, and then put the TRAV’LER up in its place, ran new wires, screwed it down and caulked it all up really good. It was about a 4-hour job, which he did in the driveway.

Alternatively, if you can’t hang with the price tag on the TRAV’LER, or don’t have the rooftop space to put one, Winegard also makes a small Carryout antenna that you can park outside your bus with a wire hooked into your DISH receiver. It’s much cheaper, no installation required, but will only get one satellite at a time. While we don’t have one ourselves, I’ve heard a lot of people say that they work just fine for them (and the reviews give it 4-1/2 stars, which is really good!)

As you can see, there are a couple of decent alternatives for satellite TV in your RV, depending on your needs and budget. We love our Winegard TRAV’LER! It works perfect, and is a perfect fit for our needs. I hope this post helps you decide which type of antenna is right for you!

 

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

 

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Texas Highways – Not For The Faint Of Heart

posted in: Traveling Posts, Uncategorized | 2

texas

You know you’re in Texas when:

  • Taking the tollway means you can haul ass
  • You measure distance in time, not miles
  • You’re not considered a real driver until you’ve survived Houston in rush hour traffic
  • At least one member of each couple drives a pickup
  • You take a road trip, and the longest part is getting out of Texas

Ya’ll, I’m telling yu’uns, these Texas roads are not for the faint of heart. We have been here in Texas for about a month now, and I can’t tell you how many times I have pooped my drawers driving on these roads. The speed limit is about 110 I’m pretty sure, and you have to be REALLY good at merging at high speeds to not die. I’m from the mean streets of Chicago and this place puts us wimpy Chicagoans to shame! We’ve been to Dallas, Austin, Houston, San Antonio and they are all the same. They have these things call “feeder roads”, where you boogie down the highway at about 110, see your feeder road, and have to jump off to get to the store you want to go to. Which is not all that bad. What’s way worse is getting back ON the highway from the feeder road. Its a ramp on the left side of the road, and you have to get your car going up to 110 in the 14 feet of highway that they give you before you have to merge with the other guys coming at you from behind at 110. Insane I tell ya! I honestly do not know how people do this every single day to get to work and back, and survive it. I can’t even imagine handing my 16 year old the keys to the car and saying, “Here ya go Son, have a great night”, without chewing all my fingernails off all night long waiting for him to come home.

And then, to try and figure out HOW to get anywhere! All of these “feeder roads” are one way, since you are hopping off the highway and onto them. So then, if you are on this side of the highway going one way to get to your store, how in the heck do you get back home??? Because when you leave that store you have to continue going that same one way, which is the OPPOSITE way of how to get home! THANK GOD for GPS! Seriously, I have no idea how anyone ever survived without GPS if they lived in Texas!! There is no way you could drive, merge, go 110 MPH, and read your map at the same time without killing yourself! And I certainly wouldn’t wanna be the guy who has to draw out those maps – unless you are really good at drawing pictures of spaghetti bowls!

So today we head west once again, to the quieter side of Texas. We are heading out of San Antonio and will stop at Big Bend National Park for a day or two before rolling on toward New Mexico and then Arizona.Texas is a very special place indeed – the people here have a real pride in their state that you can feel in the vibe everywhere you go. We’ve been to some great places, like The Houston Ballet, The Alamo, The USS Texas, The San Antonio Riverwalk, and we’ve spent time with some very precious people who call Texas home – you know who you are, and we love you all very much! We’ve met some new folks who have shown us what true southern hospitality is all about, and we cannot thank them enough for all of their kindness. It’s been a GREAT visit, but we’re ready to leave the busy city life behind and see some mountains and dessert. We will surely miss Texas, but it’s time for these nomadic hearts to roll on. We will surely be back some day though!

texasheart

 

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Good For You Chili Recipe

posted in: Cooking Posts, Uncategorized | 0

Bowl of warm chili winter comfort food dinner with corn bread muffin and red and green pepper

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com

We are currently in Texas. And when in Texas, we do like the Texans do and eat Chili!!

It was our honor to share this meal with The Weed Family, who we visited during our brief stay in Austin last week. We had a lot of fun eating the chili, and experimenting with The Weed’s new waffle iron, which we used to make corn bread wafflesweb-cornbread-0721 to go with the chili, and some chocolate chunk waffle cookiesweb-cookie-0724 for after dinner (both of which were delicious!!). The waffle iron was a Christmas present that The Weeds got each other for Christmas, along with the really fun book “Will It Waffle”, which is where the waffle corn bread and waffle chocolate chunk cookie recipes came from. All in all it was a great evening, spent with great people, with great food. What more could you ask for??

Now on to the chili. This recipe is adapted from “The DASH Diet Action Plan” book, which I acquired years ago when I found out that I have high blood pressure (curse you genetics- I’m too young for this!) Its very healthy – but don’t tell the kids this, because they really LOVE this chili! Its loaded with vegetables, not too spicy, and very kid friendly.

 

You will need:

1 pound of lean ground sirloin
1 small chopped onion
1 small chopped green pepper
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 14-1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes (no salt or regular)
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce (no salt or regular)
1 15-1/2 ounce can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 bag frozen mixed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots (also called California Blend)
1 cup frozen corn
Elbow macaroni, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream for serving.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground beef. Cook for 3 minutes. Turn down heat to medium.

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add ground beef, cook 3 minutes, turn down heat to medium. Add peppers, onion and garlic. Continue cooking about 5 more minutes until meat is browned and onions are soft.

Add tomatoes, beans (undrained), and seasonings. Mix well; allow to simmer about 5 minutes. Then add mixed vegetables and corn.

Simmer 30 to 60 minutes. If the chili starts to get too thick, add more water or more tomato sauce.

Serve with cooked elbow macaroni; garnish with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

And this here is my favorite Dutch Oven that I use all the time, including to make this chili in. It’s cast iron – so nice and heavy, and enameled on the inside for easy cleanup! I love this piece, and it holds a very prominent place in my tiny RV kitchen!

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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Flying the Flag!

posted in: Techie Posts, Uncategorized | 2

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com

Of course every RV needs to fly the flag, and ours won’t be an exception. I looked at a lot of different flagpoles and brackets on Amazon. I also studied them in use in campgrounds, and also at Chicagoland Speedway, where we’ve been season ticket holders and infield campers. Nascar fans are very big on Flags.
SEVEN more Sundays until the Daytona 500!!! (there, I feel much better now.)

There sure are a lot of options! Lots of people have the short ground poles. These hang Driveon holderthe rv-flag-poles-ground-mountflag nicely, and you don’t need a ladder to put them up, but they are short and need a stake in the ground.

Drive ones are popular and easy, but wouldn’t work for us because
of our slideouts. There is just nowhere a pole could stick straight up
from a tire without running into a slideout room.

 

hitch mount

Hitchmounts are very easy and rugged, but with the cycle lift, it is very crowded around our hitch.  bolt-on
These bolt-on pole holders are made to bolt to the steel back door on a toy hauler. We’ve nothing on our motorhome solid enough to bolt that to. Even if we had a toy hauler, the back door would probably be open more often than not. Then what?

 

 

I finally found “FlagPole Buddy”. This is a 2 piece mount made to attach to an RV’s rear Flagpole label
Flagpole Lower Bracketladder. The bottom bracket is a cup in a swivel mount with a 4
bolt clamp to attach to the ladder.

 

 

 

 

The top bracket is made so the flagpole can slide in at an angle, but is held securely when Flagpole upper bracket
the pole is moved vertical and dropped into the lower cup mount. Ingenious but simple.
My first attempt (bigger is better, right? ) was a 22 foot fiberglass pole. This one was way up there. Was setup to hold two flags. Came with a nice vinyl carrying case too. But the rings that hold the flags were really cheesy. Only 2 would actually go on the pole. The pole was 5 or 6 sections, and the top 3 were real thin and whippy. It’s second day on duty, there was a storm and some winds, and that whippy fiberglass pole cracked in 2 places. The wind picked it up out of the brackets, and we found the whole thing down the block the next day 🙁

Some more hunting on Amazon found this one. Same 2″ Flagpole Buddy brackets, but with a 4 section aluminum mast.
Flagpole bottom sectionThe lower section is a full 2″. The sections have 1/4 turn camlocks.Flagpole Top Section
The top section was still a full inch and a half. The top section of
that wimpy fiberglass pole was way less than an inch, and the sections had these multi turn friction locks that you had to crank and crank and still couldn’t be sure it was gonna stay in place.

This is a good pole. Strong and stiff. You can use it with only 3 sections extended and still clear the roof of the motohome. The rings that hold the flags are very high quality.

RV Flag Pole Kit by FlagPole Buddy 16 Feet is the kit I recommend. Click it and buy it, and we’ll get a few pesos to help keep the tank full. Thanks in advance!

Of course the rule is, the American Flag can only be flown from Dawn to Dusk, unless it is lighted. So we needed a light.
Flagpole SolarFlagpole lightThis GRDE Solar Flagpole Light Flag Pole Solar Lighting- Brightest, Most Powerful -20 LED Downlight Lights up Flags on Most 15 to 25 Ft Flag Pole Light Night Lighting – Brightest, Hassle-free, Eco-friendly, Energy-saving, Low-cost was both cheap and seemed (and has proven to be) good. The flagpole top end is tapped for a 7/16″ NC bolt, which I bought at the hardware store along with a washer.

 

And so there she is. TheFlag Flying
Stars and Stripes, flying high and proud. It’s been a few weeks, and more than one storm. This flagpole and mount are tight and solid. The rings are solid. It’s not loud in the wind, and shows no sign of collapsing in a mess like the fiberglass pole did. Thanks for your reading, and again, if you are looking for a quality flagpole, mounting system, flag, and light, click these 2 links.

 

RV Flag Pole Kit by FlagPole Buddy 16 Feet

GRDE Solar Flagpole Light Flag Pole Solar Lighting- Brightest, Most Powerful -20 LED Downlight Lights up Flags on Most 15 to 25 Ft Flag Pole Light Night Lighting – Brightest, Hassle-free, Eco-friendly, Energy-saving, Low-cost

 

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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The Location Independent Lifestyle Series – Dropshipping and Affiliate Sales

posted in: Work From Anywhere | 0

Pin-Work-From-Home5

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com.

I hope everybody had a great Christmas and New Year’s holiday!! We haven’t blogged in a little while because we were busy visiting family and friends, and enjoying the holidays ourselves. But now, it’s time to get back to work!!

Since it’s Monday, we will continue our Location Independent Lifestyle Series. This week we will be talking about drop shipping and affiliate sales. This is what Jim and I do to make money while we travel. For many years, we had a company that serviced pre-press equipment for the printing industry, as well as sold consumables to printing companies (film, chemistry, printing plates, etc.) Since we are no longer located in the Chicago area, which is where the companies we serviced were located, we had to drop the service end of our business. However, we can (and do!) still sell the consumables. We used to warehouse all of our products, but since that is no longer possible, we talked to our supplier who agreed to drop ship the same products directly to our customers. Win win!! We get to travel, we don’t have to pay for a warehouse anymore (yayyy!) and we still get to make enough money to fund our lifestyle.

Another way to make money drop shipping is to set up an Amazon Associates store, find a drop shipping company, place your products in your store, and sell sell sell!! One drop shipping company in particular, www.wholesale2b.com, will help make this as easy a job as possible. They have over a million products to choose from, all categorized nicely for you, and will even allow you to batch the products that you choose, and then push them all to Amazon with one click. Simple!! They take care of all the shipping of product for you, and they even handle returns if need be. Amazon handles the rest. No warehousing, no fuss. This seems fairly simple to do, and is something that I am currently learning more about in order to possibly implement it into my income diversification plan. I am currently reading this book, which can be purchased at Amazon:
AMAZON AFFILIATE: AMAZON ASSOCIATES PROGRAM: The Ultimate Business and Marketing Guide to Make Money Online With Amazon Affiliate: Amazon Affiliate, Amazon … Associates Program, Regularly Updated)

 

Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

  1. Set up an Amazon Associates account
  2. Choose your niche that you would like to sell products relating to
  3. go to www.wholesale2b.com and sign up for an account (an initial account to look at their products is free, but there is a small fee to have a seller’s account with them).
  4. Choose the products that you would like to sell in your store and push them to your store on Amazon
  5. When an order comes in, you simply contact www.wholesale2b.com and give them the order, and they ship the product directly to your customer. You pay www.wholesale2b.com.
  6. The customer pays Amazon directly at the time of purchase
  7. Amazon pays you
  8. Everybody is happy! (Especially you!)

Sounds fairly easy, right? Of course there’s a lot more to it, like how to pick a great niche and how to price your items in the Amazon store, which is why I’m reading the book! This seems to me to be a great way to make a little extra income (or maybe a lot), and it can be done from anywhere! It’s worth a try!!

 

Roam Sweet Roam is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to (“roamsweetroam.com” (amazon.com, or endless.com, MYHABIT.com, SmallParts.com, or AmazonWireless.com).

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Power from the Sun!

posted in: Techie Posts, Uncategorized | 1

We (RVers) all dream of unlimited power. Power to boondock anywhere, to live far from the nearest extension cord. Our motorhome came with 4 golf cart batteries and a 2000 watt inverter that can run nearly everything, for a while. To charge those batteries, we can use our generator, but wouldn’t it be nice not to have to?

Most people talk of energy audits, and “how much power do I need?” Not me. My onboard charger is 100 amps. I did some math, and just don’t have the roof real estate for that. I did some measuring, and a bunch of shopping on ebay, and found some US Made 150 watt panels. 58 by 26 inches fit right in. They are 8 amps at 18 volts. 4 fit nice in the space I had, and left enough room to walk and work on the roof, and wouldn’t fall in any shadows.

I decided to go with an MPPT chargeoutback_flexmax_60 controller. These use digital technology to maximize the power from the panels, and they are made to take in a higher voltage and step it down to the right level for the batteries. I selected Outback as my vendor, and purchased their 60 amp controller. With the MPPT controller, I decided to wire my panels in “series pairs”. Each pair of panels produces up to 36 volts. This will work great in low light, and give the controller a lot of excess voltage to work with.

BracketsI did a lot of reading at amsolar.com,panels_with_brackets and one of the things I “borrowed” from them is the mounting setup. I used nutserts in the ends of the panels to take a 1/4-20 bolt directly. Then I made my own brackets out of alluminum. I used 3M trim tape and a few #8 screws to secure the panels to the roof. The 3M tape will hold them, the screws just made me feel better. The design of the brackets will make it simple to add tilt bars when I feel the need.

roof_wiringWiring is vital for these things,junction_box and bigger is better. I went to our local high end car stereo shop, and bought a bunch of 8 gauge black and red wire for panel to panel, and 4 gauge to run from the roof junction box four_donedown to the charge controller. I used a 4″ waterproof plastic electrical box from home depot and some bus strips as my power junction on the roof, and screwed it down directly over where the cables would penetrate the roof. The panels came with industry standard MC4 connectors, I bought matching MC4’s on ebay, and wired it all up, soldering every connection.

Closet_wiringMy studying found a false back in the cabinet in the bathroom. This cabinet was setup for a washer/dryer option that we didn’t have. Easy enough to pull out the shelves, pop off the false back, and there was all our plumbing, including the main vent going up through the roof. I put the junction box on the roof a few inches from the vent, double and triple check, and drilled a couple holes. I fed the 4 gauge wire down along the vent pipe, down into the tank area, then over and back to the charge controller, which I mounted in the same bay as the inverter, right behind the batteries.

plus_twoThe first few tests, it worked great, but was only giving me about 35 amps (only…. haha) So heck, I bought 2 more panels, made some more brackets, bought some more wire, and hooked them into the junction box.

Then some real tests. I ran the batteries down. And monitored on a bright sunny day. This maxed out the controller at 60 amps. Nice.

We’re now ready to go boondocking!! Our next stop will be the Arizona desert, to give our new setup a real test!

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Simple Ways To Simplify Christmas

posted in: Holidays | 0

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This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com.

When we chose this lifestyle, we chose to simplify our lives. We purposely sold all of our “stuff” and took with us only the bare essentials – the things we couldn’t live without. So now that we don’t have room for lots of “stuff”, how do we handle Christmas? I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past few weeks myself. My teen, who travels with us, has requested a couple of very small items, which we will get for him. But what else can we do to make Christmas merry for each other, without gathering more “stuff”? Here are a few ideas that I have come up with:

Give The Gift Of Time: After all, that’s why we sold it all and went on this trip – so we could spend time together, instead of always working at our jobs and maintaining our “stuff”. Some ideas might include volunteering your time together to help those less fortunate (we LOVE Feed My Starving Children – they are based in the Chicago area, but do Mobile Packs all over the U.S.). Or, promise to give your gift of time to a friend or family member and help them with a cause that is dear to them. Or set aside some time to help them out with a home-improvement task that they may not be able to tackle alone. Or offer to babysit one night for some stressed out parents you know would really enjoy a night off. What better way to celebrate the Season of Giving than to give of yourself?

Host A Movie Night: Let the family pick the movie, invite some friends over, make some great snacks and snuggle up together and enjoy an evening in.

Take A Class Together: My hubby and I would LOVE this (and I may just do this one!) We love to cook together, so taking a cooking class at a local kitchen store would be a total blast!!

Host a Game Night: My (adult) kids and I love to play Cards Against Humanity
(funniest game ever!!), so planning a night in with snacks and drinks to play would be a perfect gift for them.

Give The Gift Of An Experience: Take your kids or grandkids to a favorite event or place, like the zoo, a sporting event, museum, park, stage play, or even on a camping trip! We have taken nieces and nephews on trips with us, and they still talk about it years later. There’s no better gift than making memories together!

Give Of Your Knowledge: Take the time to teach a friend or family member something that you know. I am a professional photographer, and I know of a couple of people who would love to pick my brain and learn how to take better photographs. You can also teach a child how to cook or bake – and the great bonus is you get to spend time together with a special person!

Give Your Creativity: Help a friend redecorate a room, or make a photo album (digital or paper) of their favorite photos, make a craft together that you’ve both always wanted to try. The list is endless in this category!

As you can see, there are so many ways to give gifts at Christmas that don’t involve purchasing more “stuff” at the mall. I personally think any one of these gifts is much more meaningful, and won’t soon be forgotten by the recipient. Keep it simple, and gift out of love, and you can’t go wrong!

Merry Christmas!!

 

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