Creating a Chemical-Free Home – 30DMDC

Creating a Chemical-Free Home

We use chemicals on a daily basis – probably more than we each realize. We wash our clothes, our hair, our dishes, our counter tops, our bathrooms, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, we don’t always realize what a toll this has on our lives – our minds, our bodies, and even our wallet. Yet it’s something we deal with on a daily basis. The need to become chemical-free has never been more prevalent. I’ll explain, don’t worry!

When you think of healthy living, does the image of your cluttered bathroom shelf enter your mind? You know the one I’m talking about – where you’ve shoved bottles upon bottles of bleach, laundry detergent, and disinfectants. The one that gives you anxiety whenever you need to clean the kitchen or scrub the shower down. I’m sure you can picture it.

You can picture it, but is it really what you picture when you think of healthy living? I’m guessing it’s not.

chemical free -

Last week I was lucky enough to have a guest post featured on my friend Erin’s blog: A Welder’s Wife. If you don’t remember who Erin is, you may remember the challenge that my readers, my wife, and I are taking this month: the 30 Day Minimalist Decluttering Challenge. Here’s a fun fact for you, Erin created that challenge for us (and how grateful we are that she did)!

When she was decluttering her own home, she realized the importance of ridding her home of chemicals. Sometimes, though, it can be difficult to figure out where to start, how to fit it into your budget, why it matters, and what recipes actually do what they are supposed to do. That’s the problem my wife and I had. After a ton of research to create our own chemical-free home, we decided how important it was to make the transition easier for anyone else who may be trying to become chemical-free.

So, we put together this post on Erin’s site explaining why you should be chemical-free and exactly how to get there. I would love, love, LOVE it if you would head over to Erin’s site, read the post, share some love / leave some comments!

Click HERE to read the post: Creating a Chemical Free Home – A Welder’s Wife

Or use this link:

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

So many people are led to believe that essential oils are too expensive for them. However, our guest poster Chantal is here to crack that myth with her list of 5 affordable essential oils (that you can buy for less than $20). Enjoy! 🙂

There is a common perception that essential oils are very expensive. I admit, when my grandma first introduced me to essential oils a few years ago I couldn’t believe she would spend so much money on these tiny little bottles… it just didn’t make any sense to me! However through listening to her and using essential oils myself, I came to realize that they are really quite affordable and well worth the price in the long run! Today I would like to share 5 essential oils which you can buy for $20 or less! I will also break down the cost per use so that you can form an informed opinion about the cost of essential oils for yourself!

These essential oils are all very common and all of them are used in my new essential oil ebook which shares diy diffuser and roller bottle recipes. The best part is that all of these oils are very versatile as they can be used for a variety of different concerns. I have included the price for each 15ml bottle of essential oil as well as the approximate cost per drop for each oil.

Essential Oils - (1)

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

Please note that the prices are based on one company and will vary slightly depending on the company. The prices below are all for a 15ml bottle of essential oil and price per drop is based on the approximate value of 250 drops per bottle.

Lemon ($10)

Citrus oils can be used in so many ways and seem to be the most affordable type of essential oils you can purchase, it costs $0.04 per drop.

Using Lemon Essential Oil:

  • Add 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser to help cleanse and purify the air. Cost= $0.12 – $0.16
  • Like all citrus oils, lemon essential oils are wonderful for uplifting your mood. You can add 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16) or you can apply 1-2 drops to the soles of each foot ($0.08- $0.16 to do both feet). Alternatively you can add 1-2 drops of lemon to an essential oil diffusing necklace to take the wonderful uplifting aroma with you wherever you go ($0.04 – $0.08)!
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil to your water based diffuser ($0.12 – $0.16)

Orange ($10)

Since orange essential oil is a citrus oil it is very affordable, and like lemon, it breaks down to $0.04 per drop.

Uses for Orange Essential Oil:

  • Orange is wonderful for cleaning your countertops, mirrors and sinks! Add 2-3 drops of orange essential oil to 2-3oz of water and mix in a glass spray bottle (always use glass as essential oils can react with plastic). This breaks down to $0.08 – $0.12 per 2-3oz of water.
  • Orange is also wonderful for uplifting your mood! Use in the same ways as lemon as listed above.
  • Support your immune system by adding 3-4 drops of orange to your diffuser or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot. These methods range from $0.08 – $0.16.

Eucalyptus ($11)

I absolutely LOVE the smell of eucalyptus essential oil! This oil breaks down to $0.044 per drop.

Uses for Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is fantastic for respiratory support! I love adding 2-3 drops of euclayptus to my shower as the aroma combined with the steam from the shower really helps to promote feelings of clear breathing! The cost of this is $0.09 – $0.13.
  • Use Eucalyptus to help you feel relaxed! Add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus to your diffuser, sit back and enjoy the aroma! This would cost $0.13- $0.18. You can find diffuser and roller bottle recipes for relaxation in my ebook here.

Tea Tree ($14)

You may also hear Tea Tree essential oil called melaleuca, this will vary depending on the company. The cost per drop for tea tree essential oil is $0.056

Uses for Tea Tree Essential Oil

  • Help soothe occasional skin irritations by putting 1 drop of tea tree on a cotton swab and apply to the irritation ($0.05). If you are applying to a large area of skin, mix 2 drops of tea tree oil ($0.11) to a few drops of a carrier oil such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil to make application easier.
  • Support your immune system by putting 3-4 drops of tea tree in your diffuser ($0.17- $0.22) or apply 1-2 drops to the sole of each foot ($0.11- $0.22)

Lavender ($20)

This is an oil that I truly believe everyone should have and it is very helpful, especially if you have little ones in the house. If you use lavender on children always dilute 1 drop of lavender in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed oil or fractionated coconut oil. The cost per drop of lavender is $0.08.

Uses for Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Like tea tree essential oil, lavender works very well in helping to soothe occasional skin irritations! Use as discussed above. The cost for this ranges from $0.08 – $0.16. I often make a roller bottle blend using lavender and tea tree oil to help with skin irritations.
  • Use lavender to help you unwind after a long day by putting 3-4 drops in your diffuser ($0.24- $0.32).
  • Get a restful night of sleep by applying 1-2 drops of lavender to the sole of each foot ($0.16 – $0.32). Some people also find it very helpful to put 1 drop of lavender essential oil on their pillow before going to sleep ($0.08)

Essential Oils -

5 Affordable Essential Oils Under $20

There you have it, 5 essential oils that you can purchase for $20 or less! Like I mentioned before it may sound like a lot of money for a small bottle, once you break down the various uses and the cost per use, it is easy to see that essential oils really are a very affordable option to help naturally support your family’s health and wellness!

Are essential oils more affordable than you originally thought?

Leave your response in the comments below! 🙂

Guest Blogger Bio:

Chantal Bernard is a social worker by day and an essential oil enthusiast, blogger at Painted Teacup, virtual assistant, wife and fur-baby momma by night. Chantal began Painted Teacup in March 2015 to share information about essential oils and recently wrote an ebook called Essential Oils Made Easy: DIY Diffuser & Roller Bottle Recipes.

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

Shampoo is one of those necessities we all think we need. Every day or every other day you hop in the shower and allow the sudsy lather to strip all of the natural oils from your hair. Not to worry, though! We have conditioner to fix that, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. There’s this thing called the no poo challenge and it may just change your life.

Last month my wife and I completed our first No Spend Challenge. Toward the end of the month we started to run out of a few basic needs. We got nervous as we added the last roll of toilet paper to the wall, we held our breath when the butter got used up on the last slice of bread, and we sighed when we hopped in the shower to find the shampoo next to gone.

Of course, we couldn’t spend any money on these because that would go against the rules of the challenge. We just had to find a way to get by without them (and for the record, the toilet paper lasted plenty long enough to get us through to February where we could buy some more).

What did we do about the shampoo, though? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

No Poo Challenge -

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

So, I guess this blog could have been more appropriately titled How We Took the No Poo Challenge, because the “Why” of the matter wasn’t really a choice. We originally decided to take the challenge because we simply ran out of shampoo and couldn’t buy more. That’s basically all there is to it.

On the other hand, we could have also titled the blog post Why We Continued to Take the No Poo Challenge Even After Our No Spend Month Ended, but that would of course, have been really long and obnoxious and you probably would have been bored before you even began reading the actual blog.

We started looking into the No Poo Challenge when we ran out of shampoo and then we started testing different recipes… Trying new ideas… and even making up ideas on our own. We contacted family members who don’t use shampoo (one who only rinses with water and has the softest hair her co-worker has ever felt). That’s when we came to the realization that shampoo is not a necessity. 

People will tell you over and over that shampoo is needed for good hygiene, but the reality of that matter is that shampoo is not healthy for your hair. It’s also just not cost effective. Do you even realize how much money you spend on shampoo each month? year? I bet it’s more than you care to admit.

So, what if I told you that you could stop using it entirely?

Well, it’s true. My wife and I have for about a month now and we’re loving it. Okay, we didn’t always love it, but we do now. When we first started, it was a struggle. I’ll admit that the first two weeks of losing shampoo is HARD. There’s grease and frustration and annoyance.

Your hair will take time to get used to being without shampoo.

Once you get there though, it’s definitely worth it. My hair is softer and smoother than it ever has been. It took many days to get here and a few mistakes in recipe to find the perfect combination, but I no longer have dandruff, my hair is always easy to brush, and I never need to use a straightening iron. It’s crazy, but it works. It’s just crazy enough to work.

The Recipe to Join the No Poo Challenge

Basically the No Poo Challenge is a chance for you to try not using shampoo for an extended period of time. You set the limits, you determine how long you’ll try it for, and you make the rules. You can even pick your own “no poo” recipe, but I’ll give you the one we use!

If you do decide to complete the no poo challenge – to save money and have healthier hair (without all the chemicals of shampoo products), here’s the recipe my wife and I use:

Mix 1 Tbsp of Baking Soda & 1 Cup of Water in a bottle. I usually also add a few drops of lemon essential oils just because they smell good.

Rinse your hair well in the shower before adding the baking soda concoction. You can use most of it in one shower for cleaner hair. Especially if you notice your hair getting greasy in between showers.

Don’t leave the shower yet though!

The baking soda takes away a lot from your hair in order to get it clean. We want to up the balance again. So, before you leave, pour some distilled vinegar and rub it into your hair.

Rinse the vinegar out and you’re good to go.

A few notes on the vinegar:

  • Be careful not to get it into your eyes, it burns like crazy. Just saying.
  • Rinse it well and your hair will be shinier and detangled!
  • The smell will go away once your hair is dry, don’t worry.

No Poo Challenge-

Why We Took the No Poo Challenge

That’s it! Simple as that. I know, it seems crazy. Almost like it shouldn’t be possible, but just think: before shampoo was created, people didn’t just run around with crazy dirty hair. There was something else that came before the chemicals.

Sure, the shampoos in the store are easy to use, not super expensive, and keep your hair fairly decent. Nevertheless, the no poo challenge is unbelievably inexpensive, ALSO super easy to use, and keeps your hair healthier than it’s ever been.

Can you really deny the good it does?

Don’t answer that until you try it.

What is a crazy thing you’ve done to save money?

Leave your response in the comments below!

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

Homemade Cleaning Products for a Cleaner Home

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we can lower our bills (as you all may know). While there are many things we can cut out, we always knew that cleaning products were something that we absolutely couldn’t. When we got to thinking about it though, it only made sense to try and make our own homemade cleaning products – because, well, why not? So, today we are sharing some recipes that we have tried and some recipes that we have yet to try to save you money on cleaning products!

Homemade Cleaning Products (1)

If you are new to our NSC Series, start here!
-If not, you can skip this section-

As some of you may know, we are in the midst of our first ever No Spend Challenge (NSC) which started January 1.

The short story is that my wife and I racked up a ton of debt (read how HERE) and want to pay it off as quickly as possible so that we can live our dream lives (read about our goals HERE). This challenge will help us learn about living frugal, saving money, and paying off our debt faster.

Visit our post, Frugal Living at its Finest: the No Spend Challenge, to view why we are doing the challenge, what the challenge entails, and the rules.

The hardest thing about budgeting and frugal living is doing it alone and that’s why we want to invite you all to join us on our NSC. Sign up below to opt-in to our email community, filled with exclusive tips and tricks for saving money to survive living frugal during your NSC month.

Follow our rules or make your own! Join for one week or the entire month! We know that not everyone is in the same situation we are in. Stick with the No Spend Challenge for as much or as little as you are able in your situation and don’t be afraid to hop on after the starting date (it’s never too late to join in on the fun!).

We’ll be taking the challenge right alongside you – with daily blog posts, encouragements, and exclusive email information and communication: this will be the single, greatest choice you make to jump start the New Year.

Homemade Cleaning Products

First off, I want to let you all know that my wife and I do receive many of our cleaning products for free. The greatest part? You can too! You see, we work with a company called ePantry which helps both our budget and the environment. In fact, if you’re interested, I wrote a whole post about how you can get involved with them and start saving the rainforrest today! You can read it by clicking HERE.

So, because we get some of our cleaning products for free, there are some homemade cleaning products that we have yet to try. We will be trying them, but I won’t vouch for them 100% until we do. Either way, I will give you the recipes and let you experiment to you heart’s content: knowing that you will save hundreds each year by making your own!

Not only will you save money, but your house will be cleaner and filled with less chemicals. You’ll know exactly what is in each product and therefore, you will have more control over the cleanliness of your home.

Remember to test each of these products on a small surface before utilizing them full to ensure that they do not hurt your surfaces! Also, do not use vinegar based cleaners on granite or marble surfaces!

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Kitchen

Surface Cleaner

I’ve got to be honest from the get-go here: most of our cleaning products utilize vinegar, baking soda, and water. That’s it. No, really, that’s all you need to get a clean home (okay, some take a little bit more, but that’s basically it). So, for your surface cleaner, I recommend using a combination of equal parts vinegar and water. Shake together, spray, and wipe down most surfaces!

  • 1 Part Vinegar
  • 1 Part Water

Wood and Other Hard Flooring

For wood floors, a combination of equal parts vinegar and vegetable oil will do the trick! But for other hard floors, utilize the surface cleaner mentioned above!

  • 1 Part Vinegar
  • 1 Part Vegetable Oil

Stainless Steel Cleaner

Cleaning your stainless steal appliances can sometimes be trick. While I can’t say that I have any, I do know some friends who utilize their homemade cleaning products to clean and shine their steel appliances! I’ve heard of using straight vinegar to shine stainless steel, but I think it works best if you add baking soda and water. Try this recipe for your appliances!

  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Bathroom

Toilet Cleaner

My wife has been cleaning our toilets with vinegar and baking soda for as long as I’ve known her and our toilets are always sparkling. (I sure do appreciate her doing it, too). She pours a little vinegar in, pours some baking soda in, let’s it sit for a little bit, scrubs it, and flushes – no nasty blue chemicals for us!

  • 1 Cup Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Baking Soda

Drain Cleaner

To clean out a clogged drain, use equal parts baking soda and vinegar, followed by hot water. I recommend 1/4 cup each and a LOT of hot water. Let it sit for a bit before you add the hot water though – it’ll fizz and eat away at the clog!

  • 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup Vinegar
  • 10 Cups Hot Water

Disinfectant Wipes

My wife and I adore Clorox wipes. We use one every single night to clean off our stove, counter tops, fridge, etc. They also come in handy when spills occur or when deep cleaning. We love them. However, we do not love the price tag. They are so expensive. SO, here’s a recipe to make your own disinfectant wipes that are reusable! I’m so excited to use these.

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • Water

Get the full recipe by visiting Living on a Dime – Click HERE!

Homemade Cleaning Products for the Home

Glass Cleaner

For a glass cleaner that makes your windows and mirrors shine, mix one part rubbing alcohol to one part water! You can add vinegar for more difficult scrubbing needs, but it is not necessary.

  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup Rubbing Alcohol

Furniture Polish

A good furniture polish is one of the easiest homemade cleaning products to make. All it takes is one part olive oil to one part vinegar. Mix and use!

  • 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Vinegar

Laundry Softener

I haven’t tried this recipe, but Aura Cacia offers an awesome-sounding homemade fabric softener for use during the rinse cycle! Since my wife and I hang-dry our clothes, it would be great to have a fabric softener to use during the washing process.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda

For full recipe and directions, visit Aura Cacia – click HERE.

Additions to Homemade Cleaning Products

Homemade Cleaning Products

Essential Oils

Essential oils can be added to any of the above homemade cleaning products for better scent and for a better cleaning quality. What? I know! It’s hard to imagine that the hype over essential oils can be legitimate, but after trying more and more of them – I’m realizing how great they truly are. So, here’s what you can do with some of them (but trust me, there’s plenty more you can do too).

Peppermint Oil – can be used to disinfect and to help keep away pests (mice, spiders, roaches, etc.) I wrote a whole post on how this is the best way to get rid of mice – view it by clicking HERE. It has very power antibacterial properties and therefore, should be used more often during cold and flu season.

Lavender Oil – has been proven to be a calming scent. Add it to your carpet cleaners and laundry detergents for a calmer home. It also has antiseptic and disinfectant properties, so it can be added to many more homemade cleaning products as well.

Tea Tree Oil – use this to add extra disinfectant qualities to your homemade cleaning products (such as sprays, polishes, and wipes). Tea Tree is also great for getting rid of mold or mildew – try it in your bathroom next time you are cleaning.

Citrus Scents (lemon, orange, grapefruit) – these oils can be used as natural degreasers – add them to disinfectant cloths, cleaning sprays, or dish soap for a cleaner and fresher-smelling home! Lemon can also be used to help get stains out of clothing and carpets.

Eucalyptus – can also be a great scent to utilize during cold and flu season for it’s antibacterial properties.

Getting Started with Essential Oils

These are only a few of the many different essential oils that can aid in your cleaning. Now, you make look at these oils and notice that they aren’t exactly the cheapest purchase to make, but remember – only a couple drops is needed in each homemade cleaning products recipe for the properties to take effect.

That being said, if you are unsure of where to start, why not get a starter kit! My wife and I bought one for our stocking for Christmas and have loved experimenting with different scent combinations and how they make us feel.

We are personally fond of the one we purchased on Amazon because we got a lot of oil samples for a low, low cost. Check it out: Essential Oil Variety Set – Set of 14

Day 6 of the No Spend Challenge

There’s your post for the day – all about making your own homemade cleaning products to create a cleaner home on a frugal budget. Now, your quote of the day is one of my absolute favorites by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Quote - Day 6 (1)

“For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve heard that there is a possibility that F. Scott Fitzgerald didn’t write this line and someone else did – if so, it’s misquoted a lot on the internet (is anyone surprised?). In either case, I love this quote and as I move forward to make changes in my life, I know I need to build my courage to start all over again. I’m certainly working on it – are you?

So, tell me, are you proud of the life you are living
are you working on starting all over again?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

How to Monetize Your Blog and Quit Your Day Job

How to Monetize Your Blog and Quit Your Day Job

 I’m going to let you all in on a secret: I can tell you exactly how to monetize your blog so that you can earn a full-time income. That’s a pretty audacious claim, right? Well, I’ll admit that’s it’s not as easy as it may sound and it definitely won’t happen all at once. However, if you work hard it is certainly possible and I’ll give you proof, too!

how to monetize your blog 1

Now, let’s be realistic for a moment. I want you to have the right expectations for your blogging before you start, but don’t let this discourage you. I’m going to tell you how to monetize your blog for real.

Have I quit my day job? No. Why? Well, first of all, I have almost $200,000 in debt that my wife and I are working to pay off as soon as we can. Second, I love my day job and it gives me a chance to make a difference in the lives of kids, teens, and young adults – which is important to me. Finally, I’m still on my way to making a full-time income from blogging (remember how I said it’s not going to happen all at once?).

Let’s think about this – I’m telling you that I can teach you how to monetize your blog and earn enough income that you can quit your day job. Yet I haven’t done this myself. Seems odd, right? But the thing is: my goal is not to make a full time income at the moment. My goal is to help you, my dear readers, earn money, save money, pay off your debt, reach your goals, and live your lives to the fullest.

If that’s my goal – why would I lie to you about how to monetize your blog? I would never do that! Instead, I will work my tail off to ensure that you can get everything you hope for out of your life.

So, I said that I could offer you proof that it is possible to earn enough income blogging that you could quit your day job, right? You’re probably wondering what this proof could possibly be – I’m telling you how to monetize your blog and most of these strategies I am just learning myself!

Well, here’s the thing: I’ve been learning from the masters. I’ve been reading, researching, and spending countless hours working to build my knowledge of blogging to share with you. My goal is to save you time so that you can begin working on your blog now and leave the research to me.

The thing with blogging is that time is key. You can spend three weeks researching how to monetize your blog or you can spend ten minutes reading this post and the rest of the three weeks implementing your monetization strategies. Which one do you think will help you to earn the most income?


Awesome People Who Earn Six-Figure Salaries Blogging

Let’s look at some examples of bloggers who have accomplished a full-time, six-figure income just by implementing these strategies for monetizing their blog. I’ll add their links so you can check them out, but don’t forget to come back to learn what these strategies are. 

Sarah Titus

My favorite blogger of all time, Sarah Titus, is one of these awesome people and the first that I want to share with you. Sarah made a commitment that she would earn money online within one year of her divorce. She followed through and ended the year making over $10,000 a MONTH.

Just a Girl and Her Blog

Another phenomenal example of a blogger earning a significant amount of income monthly with her blog. Last month (November, 2015) she earned a net profit of over $21,000!

Moms Make Money

This blog shows the ultimate transformation of blogger income. She records each month her earnings and how it has evolved over the years. When she started out, her income was $45.11 a month and has now grown to over $18,000 a month.

These are just three of my favorite bloggers and their monthly incomes, but they are just a small selection of the MANY bloggers who have earned a full-time income from blogging.

You may be wondering why I chose female bloggers for this list – and to that I want to share with you a little about target markets. You see, there are plenty of male bloggers who also earn a significant income blogging. In fact, many earn more than female bloggers. However, because my target audience is focused on females, I chose to showcase female bloggers.

That’s not to say that men don’t read my blog (and I certainly hope they do!), but the majority of my audience just happens to be women.

Target audiences are definitely something to keep in mind when blogging – an important piece of any business really. They consist of the people you hope will pay you, their influencers, and your own personal supporters. Now, I won’t go into detail on this today, but watch my upcoming blogs for a detailed post on how to determine your target market, build your brand, and create the ultimate-blog (I’ll be doing a How to Blog Right Series in February, for all you awesome followers, it’ll follow the No Spend Challenge).

how to monetize your blog 3

How to Monetize Your Blog & Quit Your Day Job

 Now here’s the information you have all been waiting for: I will show you how to monetize your blog. There are many different ways to do this, but I’m going to share only the best of the best with you. Remember how I told you that I would do all the research so that you could learn from me? I hope that this information helps you to build a blog to be proud of; a blog that can earn you a full-time income so that you can quit your day job and live your life to the fullest.

No matter what, I promise to be transparent with you as we delve into this journey together. Each month, I post debt repayment updates to my blog and in them are income reports for DIY Jahn. If you ever want to know how much I am earning from these sources, visit those updates!

However, keep in mind that my income is low at the moment because I am only two months in – and it will take your income a little bit to grow too. As long as you keep working hard, utilizing the tips I share with you below, and writing passionately – you have the opportunity to earn a full-time income and quit your day job. It’s up to you to make it happen.

See, it’s like this. Let’s say that you are in need of a house. I can spend hours researching the best ways to build houses, write them all down for you, hand you all the pieces you need, and give you the tools. And that’s what I’m doing for you right now. But unless you take the time to read the instructions and use the tools and materials to build the house, you will still be homeless.

The same goes for blogging. I have spent hours researching these tips for you, writing out a guide, handing you all the materials and tools, but unless you sit down and begin your journey – working hard toward your goal – you will never get there. Again, I’ll tell you, it’s up to you to make it happen, but I’ll give you everything you need to get there.

I will teach you an overview of how to monetize your blog here, by giving an overview of each of these five areas. Now, during my How to Blog Right Series (starting in February), I’ll give you an in-depth tutorial on how to complete each and every step for the greatest success – so stay tuned!

Here they are, what you’ve all been waiting for, here are the top five ways to monetize your blog:

  • Build a Money-Making Blog from the Start

One of the first things you must do before you begin blogging or learning how to monetize your blog is to build a blog that can be monetized from the start. I have a detailed tutorial that you can view here (HERE) about how to complete this process.

A high quality blog, built to earn a full-time income, is always a self-hosted blog and I recommend using Bluehost for any of your self-hosting needs (I’ve heard some horror stories about other domain hosting networks, but I’ll go into more detail on this later).

I can tell you more about what all that means for you and your blog on my post: How to Make Money Blogging (read it here).

  • Affiliate Marketing Programs

As for my blog (and many of the blogs that I have researched) affiliate marketing is the number one source of revenue in the blogging industry. In fact, many bloggers earn thousands monthly simply by creating affiliate and referral sales.

What does affiliate marketing mean? Well, it basically means that you are leading potential buyers to a direct sales website. For example, I utilize Amazon Affiliate Partnership (you can join too, click here) and that means that I advertise some Amazon products on my blog. Sometimes I write reviews or tutorials on these products, sometimes I just include a link to my favorite products or books, and sometimes I include a search advertisement for Amazon itself. These look like this:

When somebody clicks on those links and makes a purchase from Amazon, I earn a small income as a reward for leading customers to their site. Now, these links do not make the products cost any more than normal – so don’t worry there. You aren’t raising prices for your audience, simply leading them to products that you already love.

The key here is that you always keep them in mind and only lead them to products that you truly believe are worth the cost.

  • Creating Products

Have you ever dreamt of writing a book and being published by a world-famous author? What about writing an in-depth how-to guide on a topic you’re passionate about? Or a course to teach others about this topic? Or perhaps you really love sewing and are passionate about quilts?

If you said yes to any of the questions above (or you simply have a passion you are willing to work with) then creating a product can be a great avenue for monetizing your blog. You probably believe that you aren’t capable of creating anything worth selling, but I’m here to tell you that with hard work and a proper commitment: anyone can create a worthy product.

What types of products do bloggers create and sell? Well, anything really! The most common product for bloggers to sell are e-books, which are easily created online. These books can range from short tutorials, to in-depth how-to guides, to long fiction novels.

Second, bloggers create courses for other people to take. These can also be about anything, but need to be something that you are passionate and knowledgeable (or can become knowledgeable) about. Online courses are done within a combination of videos, audio, chat, emails, and assignments.

While these are the two main areas of products that bloggers create, there are many more to be found. Some bloggers create physical products – such as crafts that they have created (like the quilting question above, homemade jewelry, or pieces of artwork), planners and physical books, and more!

A more in-depth coverage of this topic is coming in February, but to start you thinking about product development consider this: what are you most passionate about? Now, how can you use that passion to develop a product that helps others?

  • Advertising

If advertising were a high school student, they would probably be voted “least likely to succeed” because so many people look down on it. However, it should not be taken off the table. I have read about hundreds of bloggers who have used advertising to build their business, begin earning thousands every month, and create a blog that people know and love.

So, why do people look down on advertising so often? The answer is pretty simple. Many bloggers don’t do their research and simply begin placing advertisements everywhere in their site. They sign up for every advertisement company in the books, place them all of their web pages, and wait for the revenue to start pouring in, but that’s not how it works.

When I write my How to Blog Right Series in February, I’ll go into detail about how to keep your audience happy while utilizing advertisements for income. Until then, though, keep these pointers in mind.

First: make sure that your blog does not run slower due to an overload over advertisements. Studies show that people will spend less than three seconds looking at your page before clicking away. If it doesn’t load during that time, you’ll likely never see those readers again.

Second: avoid pop-up advertisements at all costs. There is not one thing readers hate more than having to click away a thousand pop-up ads in order to read the article they were hoping to read.

Third: never forget who your target audience is. If you are looking, like me, to advertise to people who are hoping to save money, earn money, and live life to the fullest: you wouldn’t advertise for an expensive loan company. Choose your advertisements wisely so as to maintain the trust of your readers (like I do for you)!

There’s a lot more to be said about advertising, so stay tuned for our How to Blog Right Series.

  • Sponsored Posts

 Finally, we have sponsored posts to cover. What are sponsored posts, you ask? Well, a sponsored post is when a company hires you to write a review or post about their product or service. Many times you will be offered products or cash as payment for these writings.

When a company is looking for a sponsored post, they will email you regarding the situation if they think you are a good fit. Now, don’t let this scare you away – if you haven’t heard from any companies, you can also email them. I’ll tell you how during our How to Blog Right Series in February. I’ll even give you sample emails that I have sent!

Now, once the email is receive and the request is made, you tell them your price. You can choose whether you charge an amount or simply a product. When you are first starting out, writing sponsored posts in exchange for products is the way to go, but as your blog grows, you can begin charging more per post.

Much like advertising, sponsored posts require careful selection. Choose products that you believe fit with the niche of your blog and that your target market will appreciate.

For example, as a lifestyle blog focused on saving money, earning money, and living life to the fullest, I wouldn’t complete a sponsored post for an expensive fashion magazine. I would, however, do a sponsored post on an affordable kitchen appliance that would help my readers save money in the long term.

When writing these posts, you need to be 100% honest. If I accepted the sponsored post for the affordable kitchen appliance, received the product, and hated it – I wouldn’t write that I thought it was amazing just to receive the payment for the post. I would tell my audience exactly what I thought.

Why? Because you guys are more important to me than any money in the world. I want you to know that you can trust me and that I will always be transparent with you. And the same should be true for your blogs – your target audience should always be in your mind.

You will notice that I didn’t include freelancing in this list. While I do believe that there is great income to be made freelancing, and that it can certainly help to add this to your blogging business, I think that this is a different area of blogging. When learning how to monetize your blog, start with the steps listed above and move to freelancing or becoming a virtual assistant if you feel called to do so later.


On that really long novel-of-a-post, I will leave you with one final thought. You have learned a lot about how to monetize your blog during this post. You’ll learn even more when we begin our How to Blog Right Series in February. Until then, keep this in mind:

No matter how you choose to monetize your blog, always remember to write passionately, speak honestly, and live life fully. The rest will fall into place.

Thank you, as always, for reading! I hope you enjoyed the post for the day. Now, I have a question for you all – please leave responses in the comments below!

What questions do you have about blogging that we can address in our How to Blog Right Series this February?

Disclaimer: Some of DIY Jahn posts contain affiliate links. While I do earn money through Fronto, Ibotta, and other companies, and bonuses for referring people, all of my opinions on the company are 100% honest and my own. Also, please note that recipes, fitness tips, and financial tips are not given by a professional. To understand what this all means for you, click here.

How to Crochet a Blanket: The perfect gift

How to Crochet a Blanket: the perfect gift for any occasion

When I first learned how to crochet a blanket, I was in the hospital. No, I wasn’t actually in the hospital, but my father was. He had been in a horrible accident causing him to break half the bones in his body and become permanently disabled. I was 12.

The accident led to an elongated stay at the Iowa City Hospital. My mother and I, with no car, stayed there alongside him throughout his journey. Days upon days of waiting for visiting calls (once an hour for 15 minutes or so) led to nights upon nights of sleeping in waiting room chairs.

I’m not here to complain about the situation. It was long and hard, life-changing and awful, but as with everything – you eventually have to pick yourself up and move on. The accident left us with a hole in our hearts, but we have my father with us still and I am happy to be able to talk to him, spend time with him, and see him often. I grew and am stronger for having experienced it.

How to crochet a blanket

What I am here to say is that crocheting became an escape for me during this time of crisis in my family. Every once and a while we would get visitors at the hospital. Throughout our time there, over a month, family members would come to see how dad was doing, how we were doing, and be present with us in those moments.

I remember my best childhood friend visiting early on in our stay. We ran around the hospital, went up and down the elevators, and played on the children’s outdoor play equipment. She stayed for a day and had to leave.

After that my mother and I spent all of our time together. We played games in the waiting room, we went out to the smoking area, and we talked. There were times we stocked up on food at the cafeteria in case we ran out of money. There were times where we struggled to find a place to rest and sleep, but we made it through, nevertheless.

When my aunt came to visit, with my uncle, she decided that we needed something to do that wasn’t simply sitting around worrying and fretting. My mom stayed at the hospital while I traveled with my aunt to a nearby crafting store. She exclaimed that it was time I learned how to crochet a blanket

We purchased skein after skein of yarn, a hook for my mother and a hook for myself, and set back toward the hospital. Sitting in the waiting room chairs, my aunt and my mom taught me how to crochet a blanket using singles, doubles, triples, and chains. I didn’t have a pattern, but it didn’t matter. I set to work crocheting a pink, blue, and multi-colored purple blanket.

The crocheting kept me from counting my father’s breaths, from smelling the familiar scents of the hospital, and from becoming encompassed by the institutional walls around us. When my mother and I went outside to the smoker’s lounge, the partially completed blanket kept me warm.

Once we left the hospital, I set down the project and didn’t pick it back up again for years. The sting of the hospital stuck to the yarn of the blanket and I couldn’t handle its intensity. It wasn’t until six years later than I finally picked it back up and completed it.

Now, I know that the skill my aunt taught me – how to crochet a blanket – kept me sane during our stay at the hospital. I also know that it is a life skill that I am excited to know and utilize it often. Crocheted blankets are perhaps my favorite Christmas gift to give to family and friends.

how to crochet a blanket 2

How to Crochet a Blanket

Crocheting a blanket is easier than you may think and there are many ways to go about it. While I won’t give you the exact patterns here (you don’t even necessarily need them), you can find some great ones at Ravelry.

When learning how to crochet a blanket, I recommend starting with this three types and expanding from there.

Throw or Baby Blanket

Creating a throw or a baby blanket is the easiest blanket to create. Basically: you start by chaining yarn until you reach your desired width for the blanket. Turn your chain and single crochet in each of your chain stitches. Turn again and create another row.

Tip: The easiest way to do this blanket is to follow this structure: Single, Double, Triple, Double, Single. Repeat until you reach your desired length of blanket.


Sure, there are more in-depth, fancy ways to do this, but this is a great place to start when you are learning how to crochet a blanket for the first time.

how to crochet a blanket 1

Quilted Blanket

The quilted blanket is second on the list because the concept is simple, the project isn’t too difficult, but it does become more time-consuming than the throw or baby blanket version. Basically, choose a type of granny square or decorative crochet square and start crocheting. Make as many as it takes, in whatever colors you like, to create a blanket.

Tip: Lay all of your squares on the floor to determine how many it will take to be the right size, what order you want them to sit in, and how they will look.

Once you finish crocheting these squares, use yarn to either sew them together with a yarn needle or crochet them together with looping chains.

Patterned Blanket

This one looks the neatest at the end, but definitely takes some time to make. If you have the patience, this blanket becomes a gorgeous finished product and I certainly recommend it. Similar to the quilted blanket pattern, you’ll need to create granny squares. The difference with this one is that you need the colors to match to create a pattern. Pictured below is a woven pattern created with yellow and blue mini squares (granny squares where the last row is not completed).

Tip: With this one you may want to do some research online for a pattern that you would like to complete. You can also google pixelated images and use that as a guide (create squares the color of the pixels) to create a neat and new blanket. I’d love to see a Mario one!

After your pattern and layout is complete, sew them together on the back edge. You may want to create a border by crocheting around the edges of the entire blanket at the end.


The Perfect Gift for Any Occasion

Learning how to crochet a blanket can be a time-consuming task. However, the end result is always phenomenal. Once you have completed your blanket, they become a beautiful gift for any occasion, but the process can be an escape. My wife and I have both given these as gifts to multiple people (our moms included) and they are always a cherished gift. We even received one as a wedding gift and use it all the time!

For more gift ideas on a budget, check out our DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family!

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

When my wife and I have time, we like to sit down on the living room floor, throw on a Christmas movie, and take our sweet time wrapping the presents we bought. We take it slow and use as many gift wrapping ideas as we can come up with.

Gift Wrapping Ideas for the Last Minute Shopper

In our storage area, we have a treasure chest filled with ribbons, tags, and bows that we can put onto any gift to make it beautiful – most of which belonged to my maternal grandmother at some point.

I never met her, but I like to think of myself as similar to her. She was a fancy woman who loved to create beautiful things – she would create the perfect cookies for the beautiful parties she would throw and wrap gifts to perfection. I imagine her and I would have gotten along well as I truly enjoy taking my time and creating a masterpiece when I wrap gifts (and usually when I bake, too, for that matter).

However, as you may imagine, we don’t always have time to come up with beautiful gift wrapping ideas. Sometimes life gets in the way. We have all been there – you’re ready for Christmas except for one big aspect: you haven’t bought the gifts yet and Christmas is two days away.

Like a madman, you run to the store to buy the perfect gifts for your loved ones. You elbow through the mass of crowds to find the item you are searching for… only to discover that it is sold out. Instead, you overpay for last minute purchases that you pray will still bring joy to your family and friends.

You spend an hour and a half waiting at the register, claw your way out of the store, and purchase a to-go dinner on the way home because you’re absolutely exhausted. You go to bed, wake up late on Christmas Eve, and realize that you are nowhere near ready to host Christmas tomorrow – the dinner is unprepared, the gifts are still sitting in shopping bags by the door, and your house is a mess!

You barely have time to wrap your gifts, let alone think of beautiful ways to spice them up. That’s where we come in: here are some gift wrapping ideas to help you out. We have compiled these photos of beautiful gifts that you can copy to create a gorgeously wrapped Christmas present for your family and friends. Enjoy!

gift wrapping ideas 4 gift wrapping ideas 3 gift wrapping ideas 2 gift wrapping ideas 1

Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

Top ‘o the morning to you, readers! I’m sure you’re busy preparing for Christmas, but I wanted to share with you another opportunity that I had to write an article about how to Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath!

A fellow blogger and I decided to tag team our articles and by that, I mean – we decided to exchange guest posts. You may remember her post from earlier this week: Last Minute Fashionable Holiday Gift Ideas. It was a hit – filled with awesome ideas for fashionable friends. So, since she posted that on my site, I posted about creating a beautiful DIY Christmas wreath on her site.

You can read the post here: Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath

DIY Christmas Wreath 3

I’m sure you’re wondering where I came up with the idea, though, right? Well, even if you’re not, I’m going to tell you because I think it’s wonderful.

So, every time we visit my wife’s parents for Thanksgiving they have a craft for us to complete. The first time I went there, her mom had gotten a project together for us and so we all made light balls. We took a bunch of plastic cups, drilled a hole through the bottom, and strung lights through them. Then we stapled them together to make a disco-ball type Christmas decoration that looked gorgeous!

DIY Christmas gift 11

Well, this past Thanksgiving my wife’s father got together a project for us all to make: DIY Christmas wreaths. After our big Thanksgiving meal, we headed out to the garage where he had set up a table filled with pieces and equipment to build wreaths.

My wife, her parents, her brother, her sister-in-law, and I all set to work creating our wreaths. We had a blast! My wife and I talked about it on the way home, gave a wreath to my parents, and hung two up in our house.

After we hung them up, it was like a breath of fresh air. They were beautiful and they truly brightened up our space! And from that moment came the post: Brighten Up Your Space with a DIY Christmas Wreath.

DIY Christmas gift 13

Want to make your own? Click here (HERE) to read the post and enjoy!

What is your favorite Christmas decoration or craft?

Also, if you’re looking for some other DIY Christmas gifts – check out our post: DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family

DIY Christmas wreath

Gift idea for the person who has everything

Gift idea for the person who has everything

 Each year we spend countless hours coming up with the perfect gift idea for each of our close friends and family members. As many of you know, this can be tricky business – especially when the person you are shopping for seems to have everything.

My wife and I have this friend who seems to have everything. We’ll hear her say that she wants something and the next time we visit, there it is: sitting in her living room, on her counter, or in the hall. We search and search for a gift idea for this person, but we can never find something that she’ll love.

So, we decided to do some scavenging. We obviously couldn’t spend a ton to purchase a gift (with our budget being so tight and all). Instead, we wanted to find a DIY project that would be perfect for our friend who has everything. Remember that list of DIY Christmas gifts that I made last week? 

We looked back on that and found the perfect gift: DIY Wine Glass Treats – and today we are going to show you how to make them yourself.

gift idea for the person who has everything

The Perfect Gift Idea
for the Person Who Has Everything

Wine Glass Treats are an easy-to-make gift idea that always turn out beautifully. And the best part: They cost you hardly anything, they’re filled with delicious goodies, and they’re beautiful to look at it. It’s a win-win-win for that person who is impossible to shop for!

What you will need:

  • Hot Glue Gun: This is probably something you have lying around, but if not, super glue could also work!
  • Decorations: We are going to show you how we decorated ours, but feel free to get creative. Don’t have burlap around? Grab some ribbon or lace! Don’t have fabric lying around? Construction paper or strategically placed yarn could work too! Don’t have twine or fake stick-on pearls? Find some yarn or buttons! It’s all up to your choices.In order to make the wine glasses as my wife and I did, you’ll want Burlap, Fabric Pieces, Twine, and Fake Stick-On Pearls.
  • Something to Fill Them With: There are many differing ways that you can fill these wine glass treats and it all depends on you and the recipient’s taste! Fill them with small cookies or homemade fudge, baggies with dry ingredients to bake a cookie and a gift tag to explain how to make it, or store-bought candies or peppermints.

How to Make Wine Glass Treats

Gift Idea

Get your crafting space situated. Whenever I’m crafting, I like to make my space feel just right. I set out my materials, turn on some music (in this case, Christmas music on our record player), and get in the mood to do some crafting. Don’t forget to plug in your hot glue gun to get it warming up.

Cut your Burlap. You’ll need to cut your burlap to the right size. I would tell you what this size is, but it really depends on your wine glass. For my wife and I, we assumed that we wanted the burlap to be roughly have the size of the glass portion of our wine glass (as you can see in the pictures). Make sure that your burlap fits snugly around the wine glass circumference as well.

Cut your Twine. We cut our piece of twine to be twice the circumference of the wine glass. We also cut a piece to make a bow around the stem of the wine glass.

Cut your Fabric. The most importance piece for us when creating this gift idea was to make fabric hearts for the front. We wanted something that would really draw your eye in – filled with Christmas-y colors and fun shapes. So, we took two pieces of fabric – a dark green and a patterned red – and cut them into hearts. The dark green was the bigger, background heart, and the patterned red made the smaller, foreground heart.

Find the Centerpiece. In the middle of the hearts, we included some fake, stick-on pearls that we had left over from our DIY wedding day back in September. We wanted to use one button in the very center, but didn’t have any. So, it’s up to you as to whether you want to use some pearls, some buttons, or another item entirely for the centerpiece of your fabric shape.

Get to Gluing. Finally, we took our pieces and set to gluing them to the wine glass to create the perfect gift idea for someone who has everything.

Follow this order for best results:

  1. Glue your burlap piece into place (or ribbon, fabric, whatever you chose to use).
  2. Glue your twine into place – we wrapped ours around twice. Always glue in the back where the burlap met so that the front is pristine and beautiful.
  3. Add the bottom heart shape to the front and center.
  4. Add the smaller heart on top.
  5. Finally, glue or stick-on your centerpiece.

GIFT IDEA for the person who has everything

Fill’er Up! The final step for this DIY gift idea is to fill it up with whatever you would like! For some of ours, we choose to put a cute gift baggy inside and fill it with a cookie-baking kit (flower, sugars, baking sodas, etc.) and instructions on how to make the cookies inside! For the rest, we filled them with homemade and store-bought candies. Kisses and tiny peppermint candies work really well. I’m sure there are many other options that would also fit and look nice.

Give the Gift Idea to the Perfect Person

 Now you have a beautiful gift idea that takes no wrapping and can be given to anyone – especially those that are really hard to shop for. For more fun DIY Christmas gifts, visit our post by clicking HERE: DIY Christmas Gift Guide for Friends and Family.

DIY Christmas gift 1

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear some DIY Christmas gifts that you have given – share them in the comments below. I reply personally to each comment I receive. I love hearing from you!

Don’t forget: Sharing is caring! Share this post with friends and family who you think would benefit from this gift idea. Thank you in advance!

DIY Menu Board: DIY Jahn Featured in a Magazine!

DIY Jahn was recently featured in a magazine!

A few weeks ago I was contacted to do some writing for a green magazine – an eco-friendly online magazine designed for university students. The hope was to create an article with a DIY craft that could help students who are on a low budget become more environmentally friendly.

After talking with Atishi Ahluwalia, the Design Editor / Promotion Manager of Green Paper Leaf, I decided to write my article on how to create your own DIY Menu Board.


The menu board offers students (or anyone) with the chance to create a meal plan easily each week. With a place for differing meal ideas, slots for each day of the week, and a fun way to keep track of your shopping list: the menu board is a great way to go!

Utilizing a meal plan can help you to significantly decrease the amount of food waste your house incurs. By decreasing food waste, you are helping both your budget and the environment!

Related: Are you ready? Meal Planning: Shop, Prep, Eat, WIN.

If you guys want to learn how to make a DIY menu board, you can do so by visiting the article in the Green Paper Leaf online magazine. Just use the link or photo below.

You can find the article by visiting the Green Paper Leaf magazine here (HERE).

We are so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to this magazine and so excited at the opportunities to come in the future.

Working with Atishi was fun and exciting for me and the process was simple. After the article was published, Atishi let me know that they “had a promotion party and have already got students to circulate it. We also did your DIY project at the party…[and] everyone was loving their menus.”

Hooray! What a fun magazine to work with. I can’t wait to work with them again in the future.