Last Updated March 22nd, 2019

25 Free And Cheap Online Tools For Moms

25 Free And Cheap Online Tools For Moms

Keeping up with all you have to do is not easy for a stay at home or work at home mom. No matter what you do, something will come up to use up all of your spare time. Fortunately, there are a lot of free and cheap online tools for moms which can help you get everything done.

Groceries And Meals

AllRecipes

All Recipes is my favorite recipe site, mostly due to the user ratings. If I like a recipe, I print it out and file it in a binder. Much more effective for me than buying a cookbook. I write notes on changes I’ve made so I can keep track easily.

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Yummly

Yummly is another great way to find recipes online. You can select recipes and use them to create a shopping list for the week. The recipes come from blogs all over the internet, so the range of possibilities is amazing.

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Amazon Fresh

Amazon Fresh offers grocery delivery to your door in certain areas. If it’s hard to get out shopping, this can be a huge help. You can get fresh produce, meats, prepared foods and more through Amazon Fresh. This is an addon membership – you must also be a member of Amazon Prime.

If Fresh isn’t available in your area, you can also get items delivered via Amazon Prime Pantry. You must be a member of Amazon Prime to use Prime Pantry.

InstaCart

InstaCart is a grocery delivery service available in many areas. You can get same day delivery, which is great for those times when you don’t want to drag the kids to the grocery store.

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groceries

Money

Ibotta

Ibotta gives you cash back on qualified purchases. The offers change regularly, and may include cash back on purchases from popular stores such as Costco, Whole Foods, Walmart and many more. It’s not just groceries, too. You may get cash back on travel, electronics, and more.

If you use my referral code – gflmbgj – I get cash back and you get a bonus in your new account too.

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Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is much like Ibotta. Find deals on the app, then buy the items and scan your receipt. The great part is they don’t care which store you bought the product at.

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BerryCart

One of the biggest problems with a lot of the money back shopping apps is that they don’t give money back on many healthy foods. BerryCart does. Their focus is on organic, gluten free and non-GMO foods.

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Varage Sale

Want to get rid of the clutter in your home? The Varage Sale app can help you list things you’re ready to sell. They verify the identity of all users, so you know who you’re meeting up with when you make a sale or a purchase.

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Scholly

As your kids approach college age, odds are that scholarships are on your mind. Scholly can help you find scholarships for them to apply for. The monthly subscription is $2.99 as of this writing, but it could easily pay for itself if your child finds some good scholarships.

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Communication

Skype

Skype has become quite popular as a way to call family members who are far away. The company one of my sisters works for even uses it to keep all their home-based employees in contact. They just stay logged into Skype anytime they’re working, for meetings and so forth. For many uses it’s free, but other features require payment.

If you have Windows 10, you already have Skype on your computer.

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Google Voice

You can use Google Voice to send text messages or make phone calls from your computer. It’s a great option for a free phone number if you have a home business.

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Peanut

Finding mom friends is hard, and that’s where Peanut comes in. It’s kind of like Tinder, but for making friends with other moms. You can chat and create group conversations, and make plans to meet other moms in your area.

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Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a way to keep up with what’s going on in your neighborhood. I honestly have mixed feelings about it, as some people can be awful on it – just check out the Worst of Nextdoor Twitter account. On the other hand, it can be hilarious, as seen on the Best of Nextdoor Twitter account – which still shows some bad behavior, but it’s the stuff you can see as funny.

In some neighborhoods, it works out pretty well. You can find out about local events or ask neighbors how to find a local babysitter. Your address has to be verified to join.

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Scheduling

Remember the Milk

There’s a great free version that will do for most people. It can remind you of tasks by email, SMS or instant messenger. You can even attach files in Google Drive or Dropbox to tasks.

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Cozi Family Organizer

Cozi Family Organizer can help you keep your life organized in so many ways. You can help everyone in the family keep up on family activities and events, update your grocery shopping list, plan meals, and more. You can share appointments from calendars such as Google Calendar to Cozi.

The free version of Cozi is supported by ads, but you can pay for the Gold version to get rid of the ads and get some extra features.

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Google Calendar

Yes, I enjoy a lot of Google’s free products. Google Calendar lets me input all kinds of important events, from birthdays repeating every year, to one time events. Then it can be set to email me and anyone else I choose in advance as a reminder. I’m terrible with birthdays, so I like setting reminders to about two weeks in advance. Makes me look like the organized one in the family.

Events can be set to public or private, so I can keep things to myself while sharing things that I want others to know.

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Chorma

Whose turn is it to take out the trash? Figure it out with Chorma! The app makes it easy to assign chores and give points for doing them. It syncs between devices, so everyone knows what jobs they need to get done.

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When You Need Help

Task Rabbit

For those times when you need help getting something done around the house. You can use Task Rabbit to find someone to do general handyman work, assemble furniture, heavy lifting, and more.

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Bambino

Need a sitter? Bambino will help you find one, even if it’s short notice. You pick from sitters in your area who can then accept or decline the job. You can even pay with the app.

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Fitness

Fitbit

Wearing a Fitbit can be a great way to keep track of your physical activity throughout the day and track how you sleep. There are, of course, many other fitness trackers to choose from that will do much the same.

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FitMama

FitMama offers workouts that you can do in 5-10 minutes, with the goal of getting fit after having a baby. It allows you to choose a pace you’re comfortable with and tracks your progress.

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Healthy Wage

If you’re really confident that you can meet your weight loss goals, you can risk some money through Healthy Wage. You can make an individual bet or join a team challenge. Obviously, this could get expensive if you lose your bets.

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For The Kids

Playground Buddy

Finding a playground in an unfamiliar area is difficult. Playground Buddy makes it easier by letting you search a database of more than 350,000 playgrounds in over 170 countries. When the kids really need to get some energy out, that could be a huge help.

If you know of a park that isn’t in the database, you can add it. Share the features of the park to make it really useful.

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Trekaroo

Much like Playground Buddy, but Trekaroo helps you find all kinds of family friendly activities, including hotels and restaurants.

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Happy Kids Timer

How long does it take your kids to get through their morning and evening routines? I have to be honest, sometimes even my teens go slow. And while a teenager isn’t likely to appreciate being timed by an app, younger kids may like how this app turns it into a game.

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What Online Tools For Moms Do You Like?

Now it’s your turn. What apps and online tools for moms help you keep your life organized, save money or otherwise help you be the best mom you can be?

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 19th, 2019

10 Ways To Create Great Content For Your Website

10 Ways To Create Great Content For Your Website

Content is one of the most important parts of your website. There’s a reason why many people say “content is king.” There are other important factors, and your website won’t thrive without things like traffic, but what your everyday website visitor will notice most is your content. It has to be good. How do you make sure you’re offering great content to your visitors?

Writing great blog posts is only a part of creating great content for your website. Your blog needs more.

1. Know What Your Visitors Need From Your Content

Great content isn’t always paragraphs of information. Graphics are content. Lists are content. The information on your page in general, however it’s presented, is your content.

It will never be great unless it’s what your website visitors need. If you’re selling a physical product, for example, words on the page are rarely enough. Pictures of the product, possibly including the ability to look closely at the item and at multiple angles, may make the difference. Videos can also be useful.

Don’t, however, rely excessively on pictures or videos. Not every visitor will be in a situation where they can watch a video, and you can only learn so much from pictures. As much as possible, make sure information in your pictures and videos are available in print.

Transcripts are a good idea for most videos. They make videos more accessible to the blind and hearing impaired, as well as to those who just don’t want to watch for whatever reason. Link to a transcript on another page if it’s too much to put on the same page for any reason.

If it’s information you’re providing, make sure it answers your website visitors’ needs as best you can. You can’t predict all needs, but you should have the information your site claims to offer. If it’s an information product, include information to help your visitor decide that it’s the right purchase. Your content should reflect the needs of your audience, not your own needs.

2. Include References When Appropriate

You don’t know everything, even when you’re an expert in your niche. Linking out to appropriate references makes you look better. It reinforces that you know what you’re talking about. It’s one thing to quote a statistic, for example, and quite another to show where it came from. When you’re using information from elsewhere, don’t just quote it, link to your source for it if at all possible.

For example, if you want to share with your readers how long it takes to write a blog post, you can discuss how long it takes you to do so, but it is more effective to also include post such as this one, which says that the average post takes about 3.5 hours to write.

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3. Pay Attention To Popular Content In Your Niche

You should know what’s happening in your niche so that you can take advantage of it. You need to do this not only on your own website, but on the sites of major competitors. This information has become fairly easy to gather as many websites clearly display the number of Facebook likes, tweets, pins, and other social media shares a particular page has received. That’s highly useful information.

Don’t assume that your post will quickly gain a similar number of shares. The post you’re comparing your post with may have been updated a number of times through the years, allowing it to gain a large number of shares, even if the most recent update was recent.

Don’t copy popular content onto your blog, of course. Do better. Find a way to stand out from the rest.

4. Be Original

While you want to be aware of what’s popular within your niche, you don’t want to copy what others have already said. You must find a way to make your work stand out from the rest.

If you’re quoting other sites as resources, for example, find better or more current resources than what others are offering right now. Make your post as up to date and accurate as possible.

Look for details to include that others have missed or glossed over. If you can share information that hasn’t been added into similar articles, readers will like yours even if they’ve seen similar work in the past.

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5. Solve Problems

Why are people reading your blog? A few people might answer that their blogs are read for entertainment purposes, but most readers are looking for information. They have a problem and they want it solved.

Even if one of your goals is to entertain your readers, it can be seen as solving a problem. In this case, the problem could be seen as boredom.

But even entertainment can be informative and solve problems.

Great content doesn’t make it difficult to find the solution to the problem your post claims to solve. It makes it as easy as possible.

Consider a variety of ways to present the solutions you offer. A video post should include a transcript so that readers who can’t watch it can still get the information. An infographic can provide a visual way to present the information that is more appealing to readers.

6. Write Great Titles

The title of your post is what draws people in. A blah title will make an otherwise great post perform poorly.

Writing great titles for your content takes practice. You won’t get it right every time.

Here are some factors to consider while writing blog post titles:

  • Is it accurate?
  • Does it call readers to the article?
  • What feelings does it evoke? Are these the feelings you want to evoke?
  • Is it too long?
  • Is it too short?

Experiment with your titles. Write more than one for each post, and then choose the one you think will work best.

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7. Consider The Appearance Of Your Content

No matter how carefully you’ve crafted your content, if it isn’t appealing visually, it won’t perform well.

For blog posts, this means using subheadings, bullet points, images and so forth appropriately. No one wants to read a wall of text or watch a video that rambles on and on.

Don’t add something just to add it. Each subheading should have a purpose. So should every image or change of scene in a video.

Done right, these will make your content more appealing. Done wrong, they can drive away visitors.

8. Know What The Search Engines Want

You also need to make sure that you aren’t writing the same post over and over again. If you have something to say on a topic you’ve written about before, consider updating your old post rather than writing a new one.

There was a time when bloggers could get away with writing lots of similar posts, changing up the keywords a little each time to bring in search engine traffic. That time is not now.

Search engines focus more on semantic search and understand more of what searchers are after, and what you’re really saying in your posts. It’s not just about keywords anymore – context matters.

Don’t focus purely on what search engines want, of course. Write for your readers first, and then find ways to please the search engines.

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9. Set High Standards For Your Content

Creating content isn’t as easy as some people think it is. Coming up with the right words takes time and tweaking. Not every blogger can sit down and crank out the perfect article, video or podcast in a single shot. Many find it far better to write, put it aside, and edit later from a fresh perspective.

If you hire others to write for you, set a high standard for them as well. Whatever appears on your website, reflects on your website as a whole. Allow a lot of low quality content to appear and your website won’t impress visitors as a great resource.

Of course, you should also do basic things such as check spelling and grammar. Such mistakes can put website visitors off, even if the rest of the site is well done.

10. Keep Trying

You may not learn the tricks to providing great content to your niche right away, no matter how well you know it. It takes time to develop your writing style and to get accustomed to what works online. The less you work at it, however, the longer it will take to master.

Writing every day is a good place to start. You may not feel that all of it is worth publishing to your website, but no one says you have to. Put the stuff that just isn’t quite working aside – somewhere down the line you might find a use for it, even if it takes a complete rewrite to make it happen. Take the good stuff and polish it until it’s good enough for your website.

Writing every day is not the same as publishing every day. Many bloggers post only a few times a month. Don’t publish a post just because you wrote it. Publish because you think readers will love it.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 15th, 2019

7 Ways To Ensure Your Kids Have Bad Money Habits

7 Ways To Ensure Your Kids Have Bad Money Habits

Most parents want their kids to have good money habits. But they have to be learned and many parents don’t take enough time to teach their kids how to be smart about their money. Neither do most schools. That’s why so many kids have bad money habits.

Good financial habits are a help lifelong. Not only will it help your kids to manage their money better if you teach them good habits, it will decrease the odds that they’ll keep coming to you for loans when they’re adults. Not that you can’t help out when there’s true need, but it’s nice to know they have the skills to only ask when there really is need.

Not bothering to teach them now is so much easier at the moment, though! There are so many fun things you would love to do, and it’s easy to forget that you’re setting an example for your kids.

If you want your kids to have bad money habits, here are some of the things you probably do.

1. Use credit cards when you want it but can’t afford it.

Who cares that a new widescreen TV doesn’t fit in the budget? You have a credit card, and that TV would look great with the new entertainment center. Buy it now!

If this is the kind of example you set for your kids, why would you expect them to do any different when they’re old enough to have credit cards? They need that example of saving up for wants, and knowing the difference between wants and needs if they’re going to be smart about money.

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2. Don’t talk about credit.

Credit cards are for fun, right? Kids don’t need to understand the finer details of how they work!

There’s a huge advantage in teaching kids as much as you can about credit cards and credit scores. A good credit score helps to get lower interest rates on major purchases such as cars and homes. It’s a huge advantage for them to understand how credit scores effect them when they reach that point in life.

At the same time, don’t teach them that having debt is a good thing. There are better ways of maintaining a credit score than by carrying a load of debt on a credit card. Using one to buy things and pay it off can help build a credit score. It can be a good habit, so long as the balance doesn’t get out of control.

3. Don’t save for a rainy day.

Rainy day, schmainy day. Why save up an emergency fund when there are so many things you could be buying instead?

Saving for a rainy day can be hard if your budget is tight, but it can keep you away from the credit cards when unexpected expenses pop up. If you can find a way to do it, those savings will be a huge help, well worth the sacifice.

4. Never talk about finances.

Your kids don’t need to know anything about family finances, whether they’re good or bad, right? They’re just kids!

It always amazes me how much kids can understand about the family’s financial situation. While you don’t need to stress them with your money problems, letting them know about monthly bills, how to save when you go shopping, and in general how to manage money is a good idea.

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5. Don’t encourage them to save money.

When your kids get an allowance, let them spend it as they please. They’ll figure out the rest eventually, right?

Kids love spending money. Many will spend all they have in one spot if they’re given the chance. Few have the habit of saving money naturally.

If you want them to learn to save, help them find a goal to save for. When they’re younger, it could be a particular toy. Older kids might save for an iPad or a phone.

When you’re ready, help them open a bank account. There are a variety of choices for kids bank accounts.

Another alternative is to use an app to help them keep track of what they’ve saved.

6. Don’t have them work for money, ever.

There’s a lot of back and forth about whether allowances should be earned or given. It’s a parenting choice, and you no doubt have your own thoughts on the matter.

But if you don’t want your kids to understand about money, just give them what they ask for, whenever. Don’t worry about why they want it or if they need what they’re asking for.

Having them do chores either for an allowance or for extra money can be a good teaching tool. So can having them run a little business, whether it’s the classic lemonade stand or babysitting younger kids in the neighborhood.

My own philosophy is that not all chores should be related to getting an allowance. Some things you should have your kids do just because they’re a part of the family and live in the home. What is expected depends on the age of the kids. Expectations increase with age and ability. It can be a tough balance at times, but it works out pretty well.

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7. Never teach kids to make a budget.

Kids don’t have much money that they have to spend, so why bother with teaching them budgeting skills? They won’t need that skill for years!

That’s the key, right there. Eventually we all need budgeting skills. It’s not just about saving up for a goal. It’s about wise use of the money they have.

You can start by having the kids help with the family budget, or just a part of it. Go over grocery bills with them, and have them help you figure out how to manage it wisely. Take them grocery shopping with you so they can see how fast it all adds up. Show they what you do to save money on groceries.

Kids will often be surprised by how much things cost, but that’s a good thing. Better that they be surprised when they’re kids than when they’re adults and want to move out.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 12th, 2019

How To Find Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

How To Find Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

Typing is one of the most popular ways to work from home. Job seekers see it as an easy way to earn money while watching their kids. And while work at home data entry jobs are few and far between, there are alternatives. One possibility is to find work from home closed captioning jobs.

In its way, captioning is much like transcription – you’re typing up what people say. It’s more specialized, however, especially if you caption live television, which requires much greater speed and accuracy than preparing captions for recorded shows.

Accurate captioning is vital, as it allows hearing impaired people to enjoy television and movies at home. Some people with good hearing also like having the captions on, especially if the room is noisy.

What Are The Types Of Captioning?

There are two basic types of captioning jobs out there. While they require similar skills, one is much harder than the other.

Offline Closed Captioning

Offline closed captioning is where you’re likely to start if you have little or no experience. There are still rules to learn, such as how you cope when people talk over each other, and what you do about background noises.

Sometimes you will have a script to start your captioning, and then add the time codes to it so that everything matches up. Other times you will transcribe first from the show, then add the time codes in.

You will also need to learn how to use time codes. These help keep the captioning aligned with what’s happening on the screen. Captioning that gets ahead or behind what’s actually being said is annoying to the audience.

On the plus side, offline captioning can be highly flexible work. This depends in part on the company, but some will allow you to decide when you work rather than set a schedule for you.

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Realtime Closed Captioning

When you see closed captions on the news and other live television shows, that’s done by more highly trained closed captioners. It’s a good job for people with training in stenography, and you will likely be expected to use stenography equipment. This allows their typing speeds to go as high as 200-300 words per minute.

You have to be fast to do realtime closed captioning. Ideally, the words should appear within two seconds of being spoken, with very few errors. If you’ve ever watched a live show with captions, you may have seen how the captioner will sometimes go back and make rapid corrections. They need to do so for accuracy, but they risk losing track of what’s being said if they have to make corrections too often.

And of course, realtime captioning means you work on the schedule of the shows you caption. No flexibility there.

You cannot afford any distractions if you are doing realtime closed captioning. This is not a job for someone who is also watching the kids or has to deal with other noises while they work. Distractions are a bad idea even if you’re captioning previously recorded shows, but they’re disastrous if you’re working live.

What Training Do Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs Require?

While not all companies require training or experience for work from home closed captioning jobs, it’s a good idea to get training first. Training will help you get off to a better start, as you’ll know what you’re doing. The better prepared you are, the easier it is to earn money.

Training also means you may qualify for better paying jobs. If a closed captioning job doesn’t require training or experience, odds are that the pay is very, very low.

If you’re already trained in transcription, you’re a good part of the way there for captioning. You’ll need to learn how to use time codes, but you’ve learned how to type rapidly. You’ll still need stenography training for some positions, as that requires a different set of skills.

Court reporting and stenography training are also very helpful. Some court reporting schools also offer training for captioning. You will be trained on stenography equipment, which will allow you to write the captions much more quickly than you could type them otherwise. This training may take 2-5 years.

How Much Do Captioning Jobs Pay?

The pay rate for captioning varies quite a bit by company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups captioning with court reporters, and gives a median income of $55,120 per year or $26.50 per hour. You will not earn that much as a beginner, so don’t set your expectations that high right away. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/court-reporters.htm

Glassdoor lists captioner salaries starting as low as $8 an hour. Many companies pay on production, so it is possible to earn less than that when you’re still learning the job. This number is probably more realistic when you’re just starting out.

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The reason it’s difficult to figure out exactly how much you will earn is because many work at home closed captioning jobs pay on production, not hourly. As of this writing, Rev states that they pay $0.45-$0.75 per video minute. When you’re new, this means a very low hourly rate, but gets better as your skills improve.

Realtime captioning pays better than offline captioning, due to the challenges involved and training required.

What Equipment Do Captioners Need?

You will need to set up your home office with the right equipment before starting captioning work. Many work at home captioning jobs are freelance, and so you will need to start out with enough equipment to get you going. If you’re a regular employee, your employer may provide equipment to you.

The first thing you will need is a computer. Some companies want you to have two computers, to ensure that you have backup. This way it’s not a complete disaster if your computer fails; you just go over to the spare.

You will also need high speed internet, and possibly multiple phone lines. The exact requirement varies from company to company. Many jobs are done entirely online which used to require a connection over the phone.

Headphones are a must. Don’t use ear buds – you want high quality, over the ear headphones. Any background noise in your home will be a distraction that slows you down.

If you do offline captioning, you will probably want a foot pedal. If you do realtime captioning, you will need stenography equipment. It’s often best to look at jobs before buying equipment, as employers may have a preference or may provide equipment to you.

Companies Which May Have Work From Home Closed Captioning Jobs

Aberdeen

Realtime closed captioning jobs at Aberdeen may pay as much as $75 an hour. This is for the highly experienced captioner who can type at 180-220 wpm. Jobs transcribing video clips may also be available. Their jobs may require familiarity with Biblical and Christian terminology.

ASC/Morningside

ASC/Morningside doesn’t so much do captioning as they do transcripts of news shows and such. Not all positions are home based, so pay attention to the location before applying. At least three years of experience is required, along with a bachelor’s degree in English or journalism.

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CaptioningStar

CaptioningStar looks for experienced, freelance, realtime captioners. They offer closed captions, broadcast captions, live captions, and open captions to their clients.

Captionmax

While many of the captioning positions at Captionmax are located in their office, they have some contractor positions that can be done remotely. These positions are for realtime captioning, and require that you have experience and your own equipment. An A.A. or B.S. in Court and Conference Reporting or satisfactory completion of other 2-year equivalent program is required. You should also have NCRA certification Certified Broadcast Captioner or equivalent.

Daily Transcription

Subtitler/captioner positions with Daily Transcription require previous experience in the field. You also have to sign a NDA before testing for the position. They also have transcription positions available. Applicants must live in the U.S. or Canada.

They allow you to create your own schedule, which is great if you need flexible work. You get work based on the time you select on the scheduler.

They also state that they pay more than Rev. Their top transcriptionist earns $250- $950 per week.

Dotsub

Dotsub offers freelance captioning positions. On their application, they’re interested if you are bilingual, have a medical or legal background, are familiar with technology, or are a sports fan. Some positions involve subtitle translation.

GoTranscript

GoTranscript mostly offers transcription services, but they also offer captioning services. Positions are freelance. The average transcriptionist earns $150 per month, with the top earner at $1215 per month, according to their site.

They do not require experience, but you must have good English skills. You can even retake the test a few days later if you fail the first time.

NCI

NCI may have both in-office and home based captioning jobs available. Some positions are for independent contractors, but employee positions may be available as well. Stenography experience may be required for realtime captioning positions.

Rev

Rev offers a variety of freelance positions, including captioning, subtitling, transcription and translation. Captioning pays $0.45-$0.75 per video minute and they state that the average captioner working for them earns $240, with top earners going up to $1570. You do not need experience to work at Rev.

Rev is completely flexible with their freelance captioners. You decide when to work and how much you work. It may not be open to all locations, however.

Vitac

Vitac starts out work at home captioners as part time employees. There may be the opportunity to become full time later. One job title to look for on their board is Voice Captioners. This work is done using speech recognition software. They say the hours are flexible, but to expect this to include nights, weekends, and holidays, which means you may need to be flexible for them.

If you are selected to work for Vitac, they may have you travel out to Denver, Colorado for onboarding and initial training. Full time employees may qualify for benefits.

What About Other Typing Jobs At Home?

If you’re looking for typing jobs at home and have decided that captioning isn’t for you, consider transcription jobs. The skills needed can be similar, with a few differences, as you don’t have to prepare the transcript to keep up with the show.

Some kinds of transcription, such as medical transcription jobs, require training before you can look for jobs. This is due to the specialized vocabulary and formatting required.

Others require no special training, but it can help. You may want to consider a course such as Transcribe Anywhere to learn what is expected in a transcription job.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Last Updated March 8th, 2019

Quit Playing “Perfect Mom.” Just Be Yourself

Quit Playing Perfect Mom. Just Be Yourself

The pressures on moms to be perfect is just amazing. It doesn’t matter what you do, someone will say you’re doing it disastrously wrong. Maybe that’s why it’s such a habit for many moms to gloss over the problems they deal with and try to show a public face of being a perfect mom who can calmly cope with anything life and her kids throw at her.

Even tantrums and finding time for a shower.

I’ll admit some days are easier than others to be a stay at home mom. Keeping my sanity the day after the baby had cut a tooth and was up all night back when my kids were little was challenging. Especially if my feet found the LEGOS on the floor too early in the morning.

Many things are easier now that my kids are older. They rarely get me up in the middle of the night, and we have a playroom in the garage where they can make a mess if they want.

On the other hand, their activities are more demanding. The older two do archery, and competitions take up much of the day when they happen. Most involve travel. The youngest does Destination Imagination, which can also be quite time consuming and requires travel.

And of course, the emotional drama can be significant at times.

I’ve often felt that parenting doesn’t really get easier as the kids get older. It’s more that the challenges change. There’s still that pressure to be a perfect mom, whether you’ve decided to continue being a stay at home mom as your kids get older or not.

That’s why you should remember these things when you feel as though you aren’t the mom you ought to be.

parenting love

There Are No Perfect Moms

It can be difficult to remember that there are no perfect moms sometimes. You may read all these blogs where moms show off these great ideas they have and the wonderful things they do with their families. And of course most people’s social media posts make their lives look pretty good too.

Odds are that things rarely work out so smoothly for you. Or them.

Real life is full of challenges. Some days are much more difficult than others. And most of it is things that no one is going to share online for the world to see.

Don’t compare your life with what you see others post. You don’t know what else they’re going through.

I’ve had plenty of good times and bad times that I haven’t said a word about online anywhere. I think that’s true of most people. Even people who post frequently throughout the day don’t post absolutely everything that happens in their lives.

You Don’t Need A Perfect House

Keeping a clean house with young children can range from difficult to impossible. Little kids are messy, exhausting, and time consuming.

Not exactly ideal conditions in which to keep a perfect house, although some parents can manage it.

That doesn’t mean that you have to keep up. There will be times that your house is a mess. Laundry piles up. Toys are everywhere. It’s just plain hard to keep up at times.

baby with toys

My own goal for keeping house has always been to keep it sanitary, safe, and comfortable.

Having older kids helps, of course. They’re generally less messy and more able to clean up the messes they do make, along with doing their shares of chores.

With younger kids, start them out helping you in age appropriate ways. Toddlers love to be helpful! They may slow down your work at first, but eventually kids become a real help around the house.

And of course, if you’re married or living with someone, expect them to help out. You both live there; you can both clean it up.

Don’t Stress About Different Parenting Styles

Have you ever talked to one of those parents who believes that their parenting style is the only way to go? It can be pretty annoying when they criticize all the things that you do differently.

The great thing about kids is that most of them will turn out just fine, so long as you don’t abuse them.

Breast or bottle doesn’t matter so much to babies as being well fed does. Occasional fast food isn’t going to make them fat. And there are advantages for your kids whether you stay at home or put them in daycare.

Remember to not sweat the small stuff. Lots of things can be called small stuff if you think far enough ahead.

Never, ever, feel bad for saying you need a break from your kids. You may have this goal of being the perfect stay at home mom who loves every minute, but you need your breaks. We all do. That’s why people who work outside the home get regular 15 minute breaks and a lunch break.

Breaks are a chance to clear your head and relax a little. They’re a bit harder to get for stay at home moms, but you can take breaks and you deserve them.

Get out a little in the evenings or weekends without the kids and without running errands. Read a book or play on your phone while your kids play with their toys. Do your own thing for just a little while.

Needing time for yourself doesn’t make you a bad mother. Taking time for yourself  can help you to be a better one, in fact.

Send The Kids Out To Play

As your kids get big enough, make sure you send them outside to play without you. There comes a time when it’s much better for them to play on their own without a parent watching them directly.

The right age depends on a variety of factors, such as where they’re going to play, the overall safety of your neighborhood, and your child’s personality.

If you have too many doubts about the safety of this, I suggest you start reading sites such as Let Grow. In most areas, your kids will not be in as much danger as you may fear. The evening news may make you feel differently, but when you look at the facts, you’ll learn how rarely most problems happen.

girl on tree

Other parents in your area may be surprised when you first start letting your kids play out front on their own. I remember one time when my son decided to go for a run around the block when he was about nine or so. I had a neighbor knocking on my door almost immediately. He wanted to be sure I knew and was quite happy when I told him that it was routine.

Over time, my kids found the few other kids in the neighborhood, and started playing with them more, all because they went out on their own. They had more fun with the other kids than they would have had with me, and I got some peace and quiet. At least until everyone came running in demanding snacks.

If at all possible, let your kids walk themselves to and from school as well. That’s the biggest thing I miss about my old house was that it was an easy walk to school for the kids, while the current one is much farther. They still walk home sometimes, but only when I need them to, as it’s a pretty long walk.

Don’t Stress About Your Mistakes

And if you make a mistake with your kids, don’t be afraid to admit to it. We all make mistakes. You’re a better example for your children if they see that you can not only make mistakes but admit to them.

Forget perfection. Stop trying to be the mom who follows all the rules in whatever parenting style you prefer. Just do the best you can, be yourself and enjoy the ride.

There may be times that you yell. You might forget to bring your kids to that special events or to get a treat for their class. You could even lose track of time and be late picking the kids up from school when it’s too far for them to walk.

You’re not perfect. Don’t teach your kids to expect otherwise.

When you make a mistake, of course, apologize to them and try to do better, just as you’d expect your kids to do. That’s how they learn to do these things.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post may be 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

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