Travel Resources For The Home Essentialist

In honor of the beginning of summer travel, as well as my current trip to EntreLeadership Summit with my husband, here is a refresher on some of my top travel resources for the Home Essentialist.

Travel Resources For The Home Essentialist

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Find out why we make it a priority to travel together and why your role is important to success!

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Viewing business travel as an investment in your family’s success makes all the difference!

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Use Siri reminders to help you remember what to pack and what time to check in to your flight.

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There is no better airline for traveling with kids than Southwest. Here’s your step by step plan.

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Traveling to a big city? Amazon Prime Now can deliver to your hotel or travel location just as easily as your home.

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What could be better than having your groceries delivered to your vacation rental?

























Bookmark this post for your next trip and be the hero by sharing it with your friends!

Join The Conversation: What other travel resources do you have questions about? Any special travel tips you could share? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

3 Things To Do Now Before Filing Taxes NEXT Year

It’s the final countdown before the deadline to file your taxes.  Good news for all of the procrastinators, Tax Day is officially Monday, April 18, 2016.  For a full explanation of everything you really don’t need to know about why it is not Friday, April 15, check out this article.  Before you mentally move on from all things tax related this year, here are 3 things to do now before filing taxes NEXT year.

3 Things To Do Now Before Filing Taxes NEXT Year

1. First off, celebrate your hard work and accomplishment for getting your taxes done THIS year! Adulting is hard sometimes. Many times, I overlook the simple accomplishments of my day to day work when I really need to stop and celebrate. What I do matters. It’s important. When I’m diligent in the small things, the bigger things have more impact. My goal every year is to get our taxes to our CPA at the end of January (or as soon as everything arrives in the mail). With mostly digital downloads of all of the tax documents from the various financial organizations, it makes it possible to be done by the end of January. However, it seems every year, it is at least late February, if not March before I get it all done and I know many of your thrive on last minute pressure so it’s probably April for many of you. Let’s just say I have an emotional scar from our first year of marriage and a lack of sleep on April 15th that year. 😉 My theory is that the earlier I get it done, the fresher the CPA will be, and the less stress I have in anticipating the result. It also means we have time to make adjustments (last minute HSA or IRA contributions) if needed. Whenever you get it done, breathe a sign of relief, do something fun to celebrate, and remind yourself that You Are Essential.

2. Keep up with all of your banking transactions and budget in Mint and EveryDollar. We used to use Quicken to keep up with our bank transactions and budget categorizing. It became clunkier to do so and with everything moving to the cloud, we jumped on the Mint wagon several years back. Mint allows you to add all of your accounts (banking, investments, mortgage, etc.) to it’s online interface, and it automatically imports all of your transactions from these institutions. Their app allows you to also quickly see your financial picture on one easy summary screen. Over time, if you spend some energy categorizing the transactions and setting up rules for how to categorize transactions in the future, it will intuitively do the work for you. It is mostly accurate but still requires a review to be sure things are correct. At the end of the year, I can export all of my pre-categorized transactions from Mint and easily get the applicable ones to our CPA (like charitable contributions, home business deductions, and childcare expenses.) This is a HUGE feature to me, and why I continue to use Mint. However, their customer service is pretty poor and it has not proven to be a very flexible system for keeping up with a budget, if you have extenuating circumstances like irregular income.

EveryDollar, on the other hand, is excellent for staying on track with a budget, and I’m hopeful with the constant new features they are releasing, that it will completely replace Mint over the next year for us.  They also have a free app and a very intuitive interface that makes budgeting much more enjoyable, not to mention, their much friendlier, helpful, and timely customer service. Check EveryDollar out for sure!

For each of these, you must start now to have all of your transactions for 2016 imported into their software.  If you wait until later in the year to get started, you will only have a portion of those imported which will make tax time a lot more complicated than it has to be.

3. Store your receipts, forms, and documents in Evernote. I cannot say enough about how much I love this app. It is worth every penny. ALL, and I mean ALL, of our receipts, documents, forms, etc. are stored in Evernote. When it is specifically tax related, I tag it with “taxes” and the “year” so when tax time roles around, I simply search for those documents and have them all in one digital place as quickly as I can snap my fingers. No more digging through stacks of paper! When I’m actively working on getting all of my tax documents together, I place them in their own notebook, “Tax Prep 2015,” so that I can easily see what I still need to gather. I can then share or export them in a password protected file to give to our CPA. Be sure to sign up for Evernote here. This link gives you one free month of Premium service as well! Once you have done that, you can check out Brett Kelly’s ebook, Evernote Essentials, if you’d like step by step instructions for how to implement Evernote in your own life. This is the best guide to truly uncover all that Evernote can do, and Kelly makes it simple and easy to implement.

Join The Conversation: How do you set yourself up for financial success? Any tax tips we should know about? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Future Self

Filing Taxes: 3 Resources To Ease The Burden

It’s that lovely time of year again. Time for filing taxes.  We all know it’s coming but that doesn’t always mean we are any more prepared. It’s akin to the preparations for Christmas, particularly Christmas shopping, without all the excitement. Somehow, organizing receipts and gathering lots of forms and paperwork just doesn’t seem to have the same effect as picking out the perfect gift.

Contrary to popular belief, it is actually NOT good to receive a large tax refund.  When you receive a large tax refund, you overpaid the government all year long, and rather than your money working for you (earning interest, paying off debt, tackling a home improvement project, or supporting a ministry or cause dear to your heart), you allowed the government to use your extra money to do with it as they pleased. Unfortunately, it is normal in our culture to anticipate a large tax refund check in order to splurge on our latest wants, rather than telling our inner self to be more diligent all year long. If we stepped back and looked at the big picture, we would see that most Americans are paying lots of interest to use other people’s money, via credit cards, home equity lines, etc. But, when there is an opportunity to pay off some of that debt with a tax refund, we use it instead to get our latest desire and start the cycle all over again.  All the while, we don’t realize we are drowning under the pressure and weight of money troubles the rest of the year.

Instead, look at filing taxes as the reconciling of your money year over year.  It’s a great place to pause and see how you achieved your goals the previous year, and where you can make improvements for the next year. It also can shine a light on anything that might need a little extra focus.

Here are 3 resources to ease the burden when filing taxes:

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Have You Tried Amazon Prime Now?

A Review Of The FREE, Local, 2-Hour Delivery Service

I have a confession. Front porch deliveries are my jam, and Amazon Prime Now is no exception. I cannot tell you how many times, even just 2 or 3 years ago, I would be at home sick with babies, or in the middle of a project, and wish that a little delivery fairy could bring me the one little component or ingredient that I needed. Somehow, it makes me feel like a future version of “Little House on the Prairie” and instead of having to go out and milk the cow, the cow just brings the milk in a jug to my doorstep! It’s like my very own daydream of being a Jetson. (I think I need to introduce my children to that cartoon.)

Anyways, as I was saying, front porch deliveries are my new thing. (I still love Shipt by the way.) I’ve figured out that for a couple of bucks in a tip, I can save gas, time, traffic stress, and do a lot less of wrangling children into the car, when I take advantage of all of these wonderful services that are now available. Now, we happen to live in a pretty prime zip code for a lot of these things, and I know not all of you are quite so happy about the deliveries available to your zip code. Don’t lose heart, they are coming for you! (unless you really do live in a modern day Little House on the Prairie…but then I imagine that you actually like that you are out in the middle of nowhere. I want to be you someday, too.)

Before I tell you about my new favorite front porch delivery, there are two minor details we need to settle.

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3 Tips To Make ‘Christmas Carding’ Easier

So it’s that time of year again…

If you are like me, you love the adorable Christmas cards that come from your friends and family all over the world. And you like to express your personality in your own card and creatively display them in your home, right? Do you have the wire Christmas tree, or wreath, or star that you stick them in? Or a certain basket, or the little wire stand that you hang them on, or are you like me, with the cutesy ribbon and clothespins hanging on the wall? Are you an ‘address them over Thanksgiving’ kind of person or ‘forget all about it and frantically searching for a picture or photographer the first week (or third week) of December’ kind of person?

No matter your style, there is one bit of information crucial to successful ‘Christmas Carding’. The correct address! And rather than trying to dig through old emails or messaging everyone last minute to update your address list, make it a habit to update it all year long.

Here are 3 tips to help make ‘Christmas Carding’ easier:

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Exciting Announcement! You Are Essential Store Launch

PREORDER Sales Start Today

I am so excited to announce the launch of the You Are Essential Store. Beginning today, one of my dreams is coming true!!

I want to be a voice in the world that communicates to women, “You Are Essential!”

I want to believe it myself.

I want my daughters to believe it.  I want my friends, my Mom, my sister-in-laws and my daughters’ friends to believe it.

I want the single woman, the single mom, the lonely wife, the estranged mother, the prodigal daughter, the birth mom, and the adopted child to believe it.

I want the homeless woman on the street, the woman stuck in human-trafficking, the orphaned child, the poverty stricken, the suicidal to believe it.

I want the beautiful, the popular, the scared, the anxious, the hopeful and the hopeless to believe it.

Will YOU believe it?

Will you commit to thinking of yourself as essential?  Will you commit to reminding yourself, “You Are Essential?” Will you help me spread the “You Are Essential” message?

I’ve curated a few prints with lettering by my amazingly talented friend, Lindsay, to place by your kitchen sink or your bathroom mirror, or to hang by your bedside or where you hang your car keys.  I hope this is a reminder to you to live out the truth that you matter, you are important, “You Are Essential.”

So who in your life needs to know “You Are Essential” right now? Is it you, or your mom, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, coach, hair dresser, pastor, leader, boss, employee, postal carrier, bus driver, etc? Or any gentlemen out there? What about YOUR wife?

If we all just communicated to each other, “You Are Essential,” how many smiles could we see, days could we brighten, rays of hope could we spread? How many depressed, lonely women could we encourage? How many suicides, school shootings, and desperate acts could we prevent? How many adoptions could we support, marriages could we save, and kids could we rescue? It’s a small phrase that makes a BIG difference.

So let’s start spreading the word (#YouAreEssential). Purchase a “You Are Essential” item in the store for yourself or someone who needs to hear it from you. Join me on my mission to encourage women!

TAKE A PEEK at the STORE here.

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Traveling With An Infant On Southwest Airlines

Tips To Make Air Travel With Your Baby A Success

So, you’re a new parent and freaking out about traveling with an infant for the very first time. Or, have you had a few ‘mishaps’ on recent trips and are looking for some better ways of making air travel with your baby a success? You know that you will probably over pack, lose some sleep, and get out of the sacred routine that you have worked so hard on, but you know the day has come when you must attempt air travel with your precious cargo.

If you have had the opportunity to travel more than a handful of times, you know that it is not always the easiest endeavor, especially with kids. Travel teaches you all sorts of things: patience, flexibility, quick decision making, patience, communication and negotiation skills, packing skills, and patience.  Throw in some kids in the mix and you get to learn of a whole new level of, you guessed it, patience.  Don’t get me wrong, travel is exciting, full of adventure, and an education in and of itself.  However, without the right knowledge or skills, it can quickly turn into a disaster.

I have also noticed that many parents really fear traveling with their kids and hold off on flying out of fear of the unknown. And many, many times, the first flight goes off without a hitch, and the weeks of anxiety are just not worth it.

We have had the extraordinary privilege of taking our kids on lots of airplane adventures.  It did not take us long to make Southwest Airlines our exclusive airline of choice for traveling with an infant and kids. Their customer service, value of family, ‘transfarency’, open seating, and fleet of airplanes made this our one stop shop for air travel.  If Southwest does not fly to our destination, well, we just don’t go.  Actually, that’s not true.  But, it does make a significant impact on our decision making.

Here are my step by step tips for traveling with an infant on Southwest Airlines:

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Giveaway! Free One Year Shipt Membership

Hip, hip, hooray!  Shipt is making our day!  With a FREE one year Shipt membership giveaway!

Heyo-Contest---Homessentialist---Emily-Tardy-Logo-BlogYou guys, I’m so excited about your response to my post earlier this week about Shipt On Demand Grocery Delivery.  I had a hunch you all would love it, and I’m excited to say that Shipt loved it, too.  I have been in touch with their corporate headquarters and they want to give all of you Home Essentialists the opportunity to win a FREE ONE YEAR SHIPT MEMBERSHIP!!

Alright, here’s all the details of how to enter to win a one year Shipt membership:

  1. Head over to Home Essentialist’s Facebook page
  2. Follow the instructions on the pinned post (at the top)
  3. Giveaway contest closes at 11:59 PM on Monday, November 2nd. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 4th.

Now, what are you waiting for?!? No more waiting in lines with fussy kids! Enter to win now!

Join The Conversation: Have you started using Shipt? Would a free one year Shipt membership convince you to give it try? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Reimagine Your Grocery Shopping With Shipt

6 Benefits Of Using Shipt Grocery Delivery

Do you remember days of bliss where you simply strolled leisurely through the grocery store because you wanted to be there? Me neither.

Do you remember the days when you had extra time and energy after work to go to the grocery store, engage with all the relaxed and courteous patrons in the aisles, and have plenty of time to cook once you got home?  Me neither.

Do you remember that time you cried in the grocery store because one of your children just threw up in the middle of the aisle and you were 8 1/2 months pregnant? Me neither. Wait, I was only 6 months pregnant but still very hormonal emotional and tired.

Well, have you heard the news?!  There’s a new service that could seriously make all of those moments a distant memory. Shipt has launched in Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona, and it promises to simplify your life by offering members UNLIMITED, FREE, SAME DAY DELIVERY OF GROCERIES from Publix through their app. (Kroger & Frys in limited areas with plans to expand to other cities and stores.) I love that Shipt is in tune with the pain points of women who are constantly balancing a variety of roles. They are providing a service that meets our need to save time for what we love. After benefitting from one week of use, I’m anxious to see how this impacts my life for the better and frees me up to be more intentional with my time!

Here is Shipt’s summary of their service:

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