Saturday, November 22

**Super Deal Saturday**

Meijer 11/23 - 11/29

  • $10 off (with additional $20 purchase) on Grade A Hen Turkey (Meijer Gold, Butterball or Honeysuckle)
  • $16 off (with additional $20 purchase) on Grade A Tom Turkey
  • sweet potatoes - .33/pound
  • Meijer brown and serve rolls - .88
  • Meijer canned veggies - .40 each
  • Swanson broth 14.5 oz. cans - .66 Coupon: .25/4 11/9 SS = .53 each
  • Carnation evaporated milk - .99 Coupon: .50/2 11/2 RP = .50 each
  • I Can't Believe it's Not Butter - $1.33 Coupon: .50/2 printable here = .83 each
  • Buy 1 Folgers ($5.49) or Folgers Gourmet Select coffee get a free gallon of milk
  • Healthy Ones lunchmeat - 33% off Coupons: .75 8/17 SS = prices vary
  • Coffee Mate - $2.50 Coupons: .50 11/2 RP or$1 printable here = $1.50
  • Toaster Strudel - $1.88 Coupons: .55/2 9/7 GM insert = .88 each
  • Skippy peanut butter - $2.00 Coupons: .75/2 10/5 RP or .40 11/16 RP = as low as .50 each
  • Renu contact solution - $2 off Coupons: $2 11/2 SS or $2 printable here = prices vary

Kroger 11/24 - 11/30:

Many items at Kroger this week are on the same sale as last week.

  • Riverside 20lb turkey - $11.80
  • Honeysuckle 20lb turkey - $17.80
  • Butterball 20lb turkey - $21.80
  • sweet potatoes - .37/pound
  • eggs - $1.00
  • Ocean Spray cranberry sauce - $1.00
  • Stove Top stuffing - $1.00
  • Heinz gravy - $1.00 - Coupon: $1 on 3 printable here = .66 each
  • Campbells cream soups - .75 - Coupon: .40/4 10/12 SS = .55 each
  • Kroger canned veggies - .50
  • Kroger sour cream, dip, cream cheese - $1.00
  • Kroger cheese - $1.67
  • Birds Eye or Green Giant frozen veggies - $1.00 - Coupons: various GG coupons in 11/16 SS 0r 10/5 GM insert, $1/2 Birds eye printable here= .50 or free
  • Turkey Hill ice cream - $2.50 - Coupon: $1/2 9/28 RP = $2.00 each
  • Coke or Pepsi 12 packs - $2.75 each when you buy 4
  • Coke or Pepsi 2 liters - $1.00 each when you buy 5
  • Duracell battery 2-packs - $1.00 - Coupons: .75 10/16 RP or 10/26 RP = FREE!
  • Huggies jumbo pack - $9.99 - Coupons: $1.00 10/16 0r 10/26 SS plus $1.00 Shortcuts coupon (loaded to your Kroger card) = $7.99

These matchups are based on my local Kroger and Meijer doubling coupons. Remember, Meijer will only double 2 like coupons per transaction (up to $1.00) but Kroger will double unlimited.

Also, don't count out Aldi. They typically have great prices and will most likely have some great Thanksgiving deals. They do not accept coupons. Cincinnati Cents typically lists the deals sometime during the week.

Tuesday, November 18

Welcome Baby Melanie!

My first neice - Melanie Josephine - is one week old today! She was born on November 11th and she's the first child for my brother and his wife. She's also only the second girl born in our family since me - 27 years ago! Violet finally has a playmate aside from those three boy cousins and one brother...

Working at Home and Managing Your Time...or not

Remember that stack of magazines I had a while back? Yes, they're still in that stack. But yesterday while I was waiting to participate in a market research panel I tried to get caught up on a little bit of that. I came across this great article in O Magazine! It's all about deciding what's important in life and what's not - what you should be spending your time doing because it's important to you and not just because it's pressing. Often what we end up doing is the things that must be done now (you know, squeaky wheel and all of that) which allows the important-but-not-urgent things fall by the wayside.

It's based on Stephen Covey's principles which he discusses in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People which I would love to read if ever I could manage my own time to do so. It also considers Randy Pausch's lessons - the professor with the "Last Lecture" - whom I find incredibly inspiring. Watch it on YouTube here.

As moms we all have that mommy guilt. I sometimes feel like working at home still leaves me with quite a bit of that guilt. I'm always taking on something new and since there are only so many hours in the day, it has to come at the expense of something. Since we're on a tight budget around here, making money and saving money are urgent issues for me. Unfortunately, that urgency tends to let me push tasks like reading bedtime stories to my kids onto Serge (my husband). And I tend to spend my daughter's nap time doing transcription, rather than getting alone time with my 4-year-old.

As anyone with a school-aged child already knows, this time I have at home with my little ones will go very quickly. My son will be a kindergartner next year and then before you know it, he'll be graduating from high school! Every day I tell myself that and every day I go to bed feeling like I wish I had spent more time with him doing this or that. This time doesn't come back. So I really feel like reading that article was a little tap on the shoulder from God, telling me to figure out how to do what I'm doing and still get what I want out of life - and separate what I have to do from what I want to do. The needs don't always have to make the top of the list.

You may have noticed that my blog posts aren't always happening every single day like before. I really enjoy blogging and while it's not an income earner for me, it's something I really enjoy doing to give information I have to others who will find it helpful. I've decided to set time aside each week for blogging, but I have cut out a lot of the deals information. I'm still doing some -especially when I find a really great one - because deal seeking and couponing are all part of my "saving money" mission. For the best deal info, check out Mommy Snacks, which is my favorite deal spot.

And maybe I'll be blogging more about how I've managed my time - working at home and being a more attentive mom.

Monday, November 17

Money Saving Idea - Make your favorite restaurant dish at home

When money gets tight, often one of the first things that gets cut out is eating meals out. For Serge and I, this hasn't happened on a regular basis since we've had kids! We are both really into trying new foods and since we both worked in restaurants in college, we're also really into trying to make new foods ourselves.

One of our favorite things to eat is sushi - really. I know it's not popular everywhere, but we love it. And the last time we went to our favorite sushi restaurant, we spent over $100. Sushi is not cheap. So I figured out how to make it at home. I bought a book and got started. And I'm still not great at it. The thing about sushi is not only do you have to make it properly, but it is supposed to look good. As you can see in the picture below, it's still a work in progress but it does taste great!

Ingredient list (prices from Kroger - on sale with coupon when available, of course) :
white rice ($2.99) - You can buy rice just for sushi, but plain white works just fine (not pictured)
fresh fish ($4.99 pound) - I used fresh salmon (not pictured)
imitation crab meat - ($1.50)
roasted seaweed - ($1.89) - look in Asian foods section
rice vinegar - ($1.99)
avocado - ($.99)
celery - ($.50)

Total: $14.85

This is what some of the finished product looks like. I typically make nigiri-sushi and sushi rolls.

There are all types of sushi and all different ingredients that you can include, but these are typically the ingredients I use. And as you can see - it's not nearly as expensive to make it at home as it is to go out and eat it in a restaurant!

So not everyone loves sushi like we do. What is your favorite dish? You can make pretty much anything at home. Do you like shrimp or chicken alfredo? This entree costs at least $12 per person at our local restaurants.

Ingredient list:
chicken ($2.99 pound)
shrimp (small ring $4.99)
alfredo sauce ($1.49) - or already in my stockpile
fettuccine ($.49) - or already in my stockpile
shredded parmesan ($1.99)

Total: $6.96 to $8.96

Last night Serge made a local favorite - Skyline chili. To feed four of us 3-ways and cheese coneys we would have easily spent $20 or more. We went to Meijer and bought a few ingredients - just the chili at $1.89 a can and some oyster crackers, since I already had most other ingredients at home - and we spent less than $10!

Often when we look for ways to cut costs, we simply cut things out entirely. It is possible to have things you enjoy without having to pay a high price for them. It just takes a little work and a little creativity!

Friday, November 14

Victoria's Secret - Spend $10 recieve a GC up to $500!

Want to get a jump on your Christmas shopping? Stop by Victoria's Secret and spend $10 and you'll recieve a free gift card in your bag. The gift card may contain any denomination from $10 to $500!

They offer many items in the $10 to $15 range, so even if you purchase one of those and recieve only a $10 gift card, you're pretty much even at that point. The gift card is valid beginning on December 1st.

Freebie Friday!

TGIF! And here's what's free:

  • Get a free 8x11 photobook from Snapfish exclusively for Oprah viewers! Hurry - expires on 11/16. All you're paying for is the shipping - $7.
  • If you've adopted a dog recently, you can get a free month's supply of dog food from Pedigree.
  • Get a free bag of Costa Rican whole bean coffee from World Market! Details here.
  • Free Schick Quattro Titanium Trimmer - I've seen this for as much as $17.99 regular price!
  • Check out these photo coupons from JCPenney - including a free 8x10.
Here are some great giveaways:
  • Erin at Coupon Cravings is giving away a Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker.
  • Win a tutu from Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls. These are too cute!
  • Here's an Usborne art book giveaway.
  • Happy Panda Baby is a site with some super-cute kids clothing - win a GC here!

Thursday, November 13

Cutting back and saving money

I would say we've been pretty blessed in our household that aside from the gas prices really squeezing our wallet, the economy hasn't really hit us yet. Luckily gas is getting cheaper - it was $1.85 here today! However, with Congress in recess since September (and probably through the inauguration), I am only working with one company right now and the work is not quite enough.

So we are finally having to take some drastic steps around here that we haven't really had to do yet.

  • We're putting our Y membership on hold. This will save about $70 a month. We've really resisted doing this because it's such a great resource for our family - a place for Serge and I to get some exercise, inexpensive sports programs for the kids and just a place for us to get out during the day. It was great having the pool in the summer, but for now it's going on a three month hold.
  • I'm cancelling our recycling. But I'm still recycling! Our current provider charges us $10 a month for curbside recycling. While I do appreciate this service, I'll be buying a Rubbermaid tub and driving 10 minutes to drop it off myself once a week! Mommy Stays Home recently blogged about how she has cut her trash bill entirely. I don't know if we could pull this off, but it's worth it to try and reduce it anyway!

Other changes we've made in the last year include:

  • Dropping cell phones and getting a low usage phone line. This is the cheapest way for us to keep our high speed internet, which I need for work. Serge uses his work phone and I joined my mom's family plan for $10 a month.
  • Student loans are in forbearance. I'm not thrilled about this one, because they're still earning interest but it's one expense that can be put on hold for the time being.
  • Serious couponing to make our grocery budget go farther.

We already do without some easy to cut expenses like cable and weekly nights out. I do miss those nights out though.....

That Y membership is going to be a hard one to let go. I love going to Zumba twice a week. It's fun and it's keeping me in great shape. Unfortunately there are not a lot of free fitness alternatives in my area. I'm going to have to get better about checking Cincinnati Cents, which is a great deals blog, but she also posts lots of family stuff for our area.

So what things have you had to cut out? Are there expenses that you're holding onto and just putting off cutting out?

Wednesday, November 12

Maybe you CAN afford to quit your job

One of the most obvious reasons people hesitate to start working at home or they're unable to be stay-at-home moms is income. When you compare salaries alone, there's no contest. If you leave a full-time salaried position making $40,000 a year for a job where you're only sure you can make about $6,000 the answer is obvious.

But you have to consider what it's really costing you to work full-time. There are so many expenses we don't realize we have when both parents are working full-time. DH and I have always been all about saving money and even we really did some of the things that might be considered extras. If you stop working outside your home, here are some things you can save on:

  • Gas or the cost of commuting- Any errand running you do as a SAHM would add up to much less than your daily commute.
  • Car - This could be a stretch, but if it's feasible for you, you could sell one car and save on insurance and a car payment if you have one - or you could net some savings money from the sale.
  • Wardrobe - No matter how frugally you purchase clothing, you still have to wear something nice to work. Your work-at-home/stay-at-home wardrobe doesn't have to be as pristine (and it won't be).
  • Childcare - The cost of childcare, especially for more than one child, can be more than half of one parent's salary. At that point, you're just working to pay for the cost of working in many cases.
  • Food - Even if you're diligent about brown bagging it, the occasional business lunch or emergency-I-forgot-or-didn't-have-time-to-make-one happens on occasion - not to mention the also, ahem, occasional, coffee stops. And with two working parents, pizza night or dinners out are bound to happen a few times a month.

You may have other items to add to this list, but these are the most basic things to consider. MSN offers a helpful article with some more info. If you're working full-time now, stop and think about how much you probably spend monthly in these areas.

I've been able to pretty much eliminate all these job-related expenses and still earn an income. What's more, lots of the things I pay for working at home (such as internet or home office equipment) can be a tax writeoff. When money has gotten tight, we've talked about the possibility of my going back to work. Then we stop and consider the cost of what I've listed above - especially the childcare - and I realize that anything I would earn after those are all paid is equal to what I make now and NOW I'm able to stay at home with my kids. So what I'm doing now is automatically better in my eyes.

Tuesday, November 11

Making Money with the Webby Awards

For the past couple of years I've been a reviewer for the Webby Awards. This is an organization that awards honors to top websites. If you currently have your own blog or website and you're interested in entering click here. The deadline is December 19th.

This is one of those great freelance projects that I've talked about before. You sign up to review a certain amount of entries and you're paid for completing your assignment. The reviewing has just begun and there are two phases. The first part runs through December and then there is another session that runs through January. I usually get the payment sometime in early April - so this is not something you can do for quick holiday cash....well, not this year at least.

Basically you're reviewing websites based on the criteria they give you. You give the site a rating from 1 to 10 for each category and then write a brief review. These are not just technical reviews. You're talking about things that the average website viewer cares about - the content, the ease of navigation, etc. You can also choose the categories you're reviewing.

Click here to apply and for more detailed info on reviewing click here - or just ask me!

This is a great opportunity because you work at your own pace. You just log in and do a few at a time as you have time. The work just needs to be completed by the deadline - December 19th for the first session. This is an easy way to make a few hundred dollars. Happy reviewing!

Election Day Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the $5 Starbucks gift card is Angel from Washington! Check out her blog here. Send me your address so I can send the prize quickly!

Thanks to all who participated!

Saturday, November 8

*~* Super Deal Saturday *~*

Meijer 11/9 - 11/15

  • Buy 3 General Mills cereals get a free gallon of milk. Coupons: There are several in my coupon widget to the right and there are several $1/3 in many of the recent inserts.
  • Lean Cuisine - $2.00 Coupons: $1/4 10/5 RP and $1/2 printable here = prices vary
  • Eggos - $1.50 Coupons: .55 9/21 RP = .50 each
  • Progresso Soup - $1.33 Coupons: $1.10 printable here or .50/2 10/16 SS = as low as .23 each
  • Bisquick - $2.49 Coupons: $1 9/21 SS or .60 printable here = $1.49
  • Lysol cleaners - 1/2 price Coupons: various in 10/26 SS or 11/2 SS = prices vary
  • Eckrich smoked sausage - $2 Coupons: $1 10/19 SS = $1 each

Kroger 11/10 - 11/16
Kroger is running the buy 10 items get $5 back mega event again this week. Check out Mommy Snacks' post here about these deals. Keep an eye out for the boxes of Betty Crocker potatoes that have a coupon on them for a free Hamburger Helper. There are also coupons in my widget to the right for .80 off 3 of these.
  • Don't forget your Cottonnelle coupons expire on 11/15. This time around they are only .25 but if your Kroger doubles and they carry the 4pack for .99 everyday, .50 a pack still isn't a bad deal!
  • 4 pound navel oranges - $1.99
  • Ground chuck - $1.99/lb
  • Milk 1/2 gallon - $1.25
  • Grapes - .88/lb

It's kind of a light week this week, other than the Kroger event. Did I miss something or do you have some other great deal ideas? Feel free to comment and let me know!

My Deals This Week

Here are the deals I was able to come up with this week. You can still get out today and get them. In fact, Kroger runs through tomorrow - and the Buy 10 Items Get $5 runs again next week as well.

At CVS I was able to get all this for just about $6 OOP.

10 Ice Breakers gums - spent $10 got $5 ECBs (Used 5 BOGO coupons to really only spend $5.)
4 Boxes of Kleenex (BOGO)
2 Crest Total Care toothpaste (free after ECBs)
2 packs of Pampers (Spent $17 got $5 ECBs)
1 Colgate battery toothbrush
1 Blade Body Spray

At Meijer I spent $39.07

2 gallons of milk (not pictured)
Taco Bell taco shells
18 eggs
2 Pop Tarts
1 bag Splenda
1 bag tortilla chips
1 pkg stewing meat
1/2 lb. Sara Lee ham
2 cans Healthy Choice Soup
3 persimmons
1 bag Honey Crisp apples
2 boxes jello
Aunt Millie's bread
10 cans mighty dog food (free with coupon)
Glade plug in gel (free with coupon)

A few of these items were not on a specific deal this week, but I needed them and I didn't have them in my stockpile.

At Kroger I spent $35.54

3 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
Hamburger Helper (free with coupon on BC potato package)
3 Stouffers meals
Kroger saltines
4 Scotch Brite scrubbers
2 boxes Orville Redenbachers popcorn
mini carrots
Fresh Express salad mix
2 Kroger peanuts
2 canned Kroger vegetables
ground turkey
Kroger Syrup
Banquet frozen chicken
2 Welch's juices
2 bags Tyson chicken

I bought raisins at Meijer and the peanuts at Kroger to make a trail mix snack in order to use up some of our Halloween candy. I combined Cheerios (we have lots of those already), raisins, unsalted peanuts and all the M&Ms we had. You could probably throw in different types of candy, depending on what you like - but I thought this might be a good way to use it up and include it in a snack that's a little better for the kids!

Friday, November 7

Freebie Friday!

Here are some freebies and giveaways to get your weekend started right!


  • Find out how to get a free reusable Target bag here.
  • Free samples of Teasta Tea here. Use coupon code TRYME at checkout!
  • Try Orville Redenbacher's Natural Lime & Salt with this free sample.
  • 50 FREE prints here from Snapfish - for new customers!
  • Join E-Mom rewards here and get some free stuff - certain states only - not mine =(.
  • Sign up for sales alerts at Kohl's and get a $5 off $5 coupon for use in-store.

***GIVEAWAYS - enter to win***

  • Check out my Election Day Giveaway here - and don't forget your e-mail address!
  • Mommy Snacks is giving away a GC to use with Box Tops for Education.
  • Win a set of My Baby's Pajamas for Christmas!
  • Here are some GREAT Dave Ramsey giveaways.
  • Need a baby sling or know a mom-to-be? Check out this baby sling giveaway!

Thursday, November 6

I'm Guest Posting Today!

Lorrie from Mommy Stays Home invited me to do a guest post on finding ways to work at home. The main reason I created my blog was to help moms like me find jobs working from home. When I first started there just wasn't a lot out there. And even now, it's rare to get specific info on where to look and what to do. That's what I'm trying to provide for you here.

Be sure to check out the post I did for her here!

Are you using Target to your advantage?

Have you paid attention to gift card deals at Target? They have them almost weekly. Often they're not such a great deal, like buy 2 boxes of diapers at $27 each and get a $5-$10 gift card. But occasionally they're pretty great.

This week they have a Kellogg's deal: Buy 5 boxes of Kellogg's cereal and get a $5 gift card. Most boxes (in my area) are priced $2.54 to $3.99. I got all this cereal (that's 10 boxes) for just $12.14 OOP PLUS I have another $5 gift card.

I split it into two transactions to maximize my savings. There are a few $1 manufacturers coupons out there or you can use a $1 printable here.

In the first transaction I got 5 boxes and used 5 $1 coupons. My total OOP was $8.54 plus I got the $5 GC. Then I got 5 more boxes and used 5 more $1 coupons PLUS that $5 GC, making this OOP only $3.60 and I got another $5 GC.

I try to take advantage of these Target deals whenever they come up. If you can use coupons and make it a good deal anyway, it's well worth it. I'm stocking up to do some major Christmas shopping!

Wednesday, November 5

Work at Home Possibilities - Taking Your Job Home

If you work full-time outside the home and you really want to work at home, the start of your journey may be a little closer than you think. Many people have been able to work at home because they were able to convert the full-time position they already had into a full-time telecommute positon.

Companies all over are looking for ways to cut costs. It's possible that not having you in the office full-time could actually be a benefit to them, because they wouldn't need to provide you with a workspace, including a desk and computer. If you can convince your boss that this is the right move, you might be on your way.

First you have to decide if working at home is possible with the job you have. If you're required to be in the office for specific meetings or group work throughout the day or you're in a receptionist or assistant role, then it's probably not going to work. But if you work almost solely on the computer, then it's possible that you could do this kind of work remotely.

How to Convince Your Boss - You'll need to really think this through and do your research before you approach your boss about this. It may be a big change for them, but telecommuting is certainly not a new concept.

  • Schedule a meeting with your boss to talk about your work arrangement.
  • Consider what your working arrangement will be, including where you will actually work and what hours.
  • Think about how you will get the work done that will be expected of you.
  • Plan for childcare. You probably won't be able to work while your children run around you, so if they're not school-aged, then you'll need to have some kind of childcare during your working hours. Make sure your boss knows that you're not trying to get him to let you be a stay-at-home mom while you get your work done here and there.
  • Put all the information together in a proposal for your boss to review while they consider your idea.
  • If your boss seems open but reluctant, ask for a trial period to see how things go.
  • While you don't need to discuss it right away, keep salary in mind. Your boss may want to reduce your salary because it's likely that you won't be working truly full-time. But you'll be saving lots of money in terms of commute and gas, wardrobe, potentially childcare and more, so this shouldn't be entirely off the table.

Remember, your boss might say no. In fact, a coworker of mine and I proposed something like this to our boss when I was working full-time. He wasn't open to it and it just didn't work out. Some bosses just feel that work is meant to be done in the office. It will help if you have a proven track record of getting things done independently and efficiently without someone looking over your shoulder.

Here are some good resources for research:

Tuesday, November 4

Election Day Giveaway!

Did you vote yet? I did! I voted this morning (in Ohio) and I only waited about 20 minutes. In honor of Election Day I'm giving away another $5 Starbucks card. If you voted, please leave a comment telling me that you did and what state you're in. I'll leave this open for the rest of the week. To get an extra entry, blog about my giveaway and leave a separate comment telling me you did so!

If you care to leave your presidential pick, that might be interesting - we could have our own mini poll here. I promise it won't affect your chances of winning ;)!

Monday, November 3

Super Deal Saturday....on Monday

I took a brief unannounced posting hiatus over the weekend. The secret to my blogging and work-at-home success - Serge, my husband - was out of town for the week and I just was not able to get done what I normally like to get done.

Please check out Mommy Snacks for details on the Super Deals at Kroger and Meijer this week.

Kroger is having their Mix & Match Mega Event, where you buy 10 items in certain categories and get $5 off your order automatically. This is a great stock-up event! I don't see any freebies yet, but still lots of great deals. It is limited to 3 rewards per transaction - meaning you can only recieve $15 in rewards (for buying 30 participating items) in each transaction. You can do it as many times as you like, however. Just split up your transactions.

There is a Philadelphia Cream Cheese catalina deal going on which you can combine with the .50/2 coupon in the 11/2 SS insert. Purchase 5 get $2, Purchase 6 get $3, Purchase 7 or more and get $4.

Meijer has FREE Hunts tomato products along with other deals this week.

Making money with crafts

My dad is really great at working with wood. He can make just about anything from a little wooden shelf to a baby cradle to a house. I've told him before that he should consider making some projects to sell and his response was, "If I did it for money, it would be a job and I wouldn't enjoy it anymore."

People who are especially crafty have a unique gift that can really be marketed. And by that I don't mean they should each lease space, open a shop and work their fingers to the bone daily to produce enough product to run a successful business. But if you have a talent for creativity, art or any craft, there are ways to turn that ability into income.

Consider selling your own items. One way to do this is by setting up an account on Etsy. Etsy is a site similar to Ebay, but it's designed for handmade items. You can list items for sale for a listing fee of .20 cents per piece. This gives you a wide exposure where anyone can find and purchase your craft, plus it's a relatively low-maintenence way to do so. This is one way to sell things that doesn't require a lot of commitment or effort.

If you want to go a more traditional route, look for craft shows in your area. November and December are a great time to do this with all the holiday shows popping up everywhere. Renting a booth at a show does require quite a bit of inventory on hand though. Depending on what you sell, you could possibly make a few items and take orders - although this is probably only a good idea for specialty items, like baby blankets, for example.

You could also do a little marketing. Consider the market for the type of craft you're producing. I know a woman who does personalized embroidery. She contacted the labor and delivery unit of some local hospitals and has one of her fliers included in the paperwork that goes home with every new mom.

Consider crafting for a company. Have you heard about people who assemble crafts at home for money? That's a legitimate business. It's called New England Crafters and they're a company that cuts down on warehousing and overhead by hiring an army of workers to work from their own homes.

Here's how it works: You check out their website here to see what craft you want to assemble. Then you print out the request form and send payment of $44.95 to receive the start-up materials. This is refunded after you complete 250 pieces and it's one of the few times I'll ever tell you it's okay to put up some money to work at home!

In a couple of weeks they'll send you the materials and the instructions. Then you'll complete the craft to their exact specifications and return it for review. Once they've accepted it, they'll continue sending you the materials to make new crafts. They even reimburse you for the shipping of the items you ship. You're paid by the piece (usually $1-$2 per piece).

If you enjoy doing crafts, then this is a good way for you to make some money doing something you enjoy. You're paid for the work you do and you can do as much or as little as you like. A word of caution: There are no "crafting experience" requirements for this type of work, but I only recommend this for people who are quite detail-oriented and who are already pretty crafty.

I consider myself reasonably crafty and I tried this out when I first started working from home, thinking it would be a good way to earn a couple hundred dollars extra each month. Well, it was $45 wasted for me. It drove me crazy! I couldn't get the glue just right and I couldn't tie the little tie around the puppy's neck just right either. I didn't even send it in to be reviewed! And I should also mention that sometimes it takes a couple of reviews to have it approved.

I don't want to discourage anyone, however. I said "reasonably crafty," not "very crafty." If you're very crafty, I'm sure you'll do fine. The bottom line is that contrary to what my dad said, using crafting to make money doesn't have to feel like work. As with anything, if it's something you're able to do on your own time table without specific requirements, it can be a fun way to make some money!

VOTE tomorrow!

....And in case you need a little incentive, there are some companies out there who want to encourage and reward your participation with a little thank you.

Participating Starbucks locations will give you a free tall coffee on Tuesday, November 4th when you stop by and let them know you voted.

Stop by a participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on November 4th from 5pm to 8pm and you'll get a free scoop of ice cream.

Flash your "I Voted" sticker at participating Krispy Kreme locations and receive a free star shaped doughnut with patriotic sprinkles.

New online customers can get 20% off their online order at Pizza Hut on Election Day.

Chick-Fil-A is rewarding voters with a free chicken sandwich on the 4th.

I'm editing this to mention that according to federal law it can be considered illegal to offer anything for free in order to persuade people to vote. Therefore, Starbucks and Ben & Jerry's are offering their freebies to ANYONE on Election Day, whether you've voted or not. But go vote anyway!