Wednesday, December 31

Work at Home Possibilities - Data Entry

Many people in the beginning stages of the work-at-home search seek out "data entry" jobs. I often see people posting in forums or generally asking for "some type of data entry work-at-home job." In most cases it's because they're not really sure what they're looking for, but entering data on their computer must be something they can do from home. =)

But really, it's something everybody can do from home. So while these jobs do exist, they're not easy to land because they're high in demand. This is also an easy job to get scammed on. So many work-at-home beginners are randomly Googling for these types of jobs and scammers know this is a good place to catch some prey, so be careful! For more info on avoiding scams, read here.

Ironically, I don't know anyone who exclusively does data entry at home and earns a decent living. This kind of work is mostly low paying and irregular. It's fine for spare cash, but not something you should seek out as your primary source of income if you're looking for a work-at-home job.

There are a couple of data entry companies that I know to be legitimate work-at-home companies where people do get work and earn money:

  • Key for Cash - This company hires people to enter data into a certain format in their database. You don't work a specific schedule, but rather log in and do work as you can. This flexibility allows you to earn as little or as much as you can. The downside with this company is that they tend to have a waiting list and it can take a couple of months or more to hear back. The link will take you to a page where you'll sign up for the list - no need to send a resume.
  • Great American Opportunities - This is a fundraising company with a very long wait and they require quick typing. However, I'm posting this for you at quite an opportune time, because they only accept applications two times a year and one of them is January! To apply with this company, send a cover letter and resume to gaorepline @ (Take out the spaces.)
As I mentioned, so many people looking for work-at-home begin their search with data entry. I created this post mostly to let you know that these jobs are out there, but not readily available. With both of the companies I've listed above, you'll most likely apply and not hear back for quite some time. However, I encourage you to apply if you're interested. You can always do this type of work on the side of another job for a little extra money - and who couldn't use that these days?

Monday, December 22

Merry Christmas!

This is the photo Christmas card my mom sent out this year. The angel on the left and the shepherd in the back with the blue shirt belong to me. It might be the one time she can get all six of her grandchildren kind of looking the same way for a photo at the same time!

Our church had an article in our bulletin about how often the true reason for the season is taken out so as not to offend anyone. Schools are changing their Christmas concerts to become "Winter concerts" and more people are wishing a more generic (but still sincere) "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas."

I personally seek out the more religious aspects of Christmas - sending cards featuring the Nativity instead of snowmen and Santa and incorporating an Advent wreath and calendar as well as reading Christmas stories from the Bible on Christmas morning. I have a lot to be thankful for each Christmas and I don't mistake who is responsible for that.

I'm going on a blogging hiatus for Christmas today unless I come across something too exciting to wait on. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that you and your families are blessed with great health and joy during this blessed season.

Saturday, December 20

Starbucks deal alert!

I stopped by my favorite consumable product spot today and discovered that Starbucks is running a great deal that began last Thursday and will run through Monday, the 22nd. Select products throughout the store are marked 20% off. When you take them to the register, you'll get an additional 20% off. That's 40% off many of their items, which is great for any last minute items or stocking stuffers you may need to pick up! And it includes ground and whole bean coffee!

Since many Starbucks are franchises, I assume not all stores are participating. You will see signs throughout the store if your store is running this sale - or you could just ask your friendly barista!

Friday, December 19

*** Freebie Friday***

I have some great freebies and giveaways for you this week. These will be a nice little surprise in your mailbox after the excitement of the holiday season has passed:

  • Click here to get a free Wii remote jacket - thanks Andrea @ Mommy Snacks
  • Get a free ebook - Gifts In A Jar - from Living on a Dime. This is a great frugal newsletter!
  • Don't forget the free Home Made Simple coupon booklet here. There are always good coupons in this!
  • Here's a free mini-trial of the 2009 Entertainment Book. (Thanks to the Freebie Blogger!). Type in your zip code and you can choose up to three coupons to print and use free!
Just a couple of additional freebie tips:
  • Sign up with your favorite restaurants for e-newsletters and coupons. They often send out freebies for your birthday - free desserts or appetizers, etc. If you're going out for your birthday anyway, you might as well save a little!
  • Katie @ Cincinnati Cents often blogs about and their great deals. This is a site where you can get restaurant gift cards for a fraction of the cost. There are restrictions on them and the selection of restaurants in your area may be limited, but they are offered at an incredible savings! I bought $150 worth for only $15 last summer!
  • If you haven't seen this yet, P&G is offering a new coupon booklet worth over $120 when you buy $50 in P&G products between 12/14/08 and 1/31/09. They don't have to be from a single purchase. Save your receipts! Details for this and the form to download are here. The form was in last weeks inserts (12/14).

**Giveaways (enter to win)**
  • The Centsible Sawyer is giving away this genius Munchie Mug for those of you with kids who like to eat. =)
  • Win a Motivated Moms Planner (I really need this!) from The Happy Housewife. It's all electronic and if you win, you'll receive it by e-mail!
  • Mummy Deals is giving away these super-cute See Kai Run shoes!

Thursday, December 18

Working at Home in this Economy

Our local newspaper had an interesting article this weekend about the Great Depression and how reflecting on that really puts the current financial crisis in perspective. Serge and I were talking the other evening about the state of affairs in our own household and our plans for the future. I realized how thankful I am to have the flexibility of a work-at-home job and understanding the ins and outs of this type of work.

I have been recommending work-at-home jobs to many who are looking to add to their income. It beats a second regular (out of the home) job any day! Many jobs are available to people looking to work just a few hours a week. With most average income earners' wallets being squeezed these days, more and more people are in need of a supplement to their regular income. If you have children, this can be very complicated. If you're interested and open minded about finding work from home, it's easier.

Here are some recent things I've posted on that are available to you now, if you're really looking for a way to make some money:

  • Webby Awards - The second phase of this three phase judging process will begin in a couple of weeks. They're still in need of more judges. You're paid to review websites based on their criteria and you can earn up to $325 per session - all done on your own time. I discuss this a little more here.
  • - This is a job I have specific experience with, as an at-home customer service agent. It appears they've changed the title to say "bi-lingual preferred," but they hire often, so if it's a position you're interested in, I encourage you to apply.
  • Google Quality Rater - This is a particularly good one, because the pay is so high. This is a position with Google where you're rating the quality of the search results given when search queries are done. It pays $15 an hour and the application process (after your initial resume submition) is so lengthy, they pay you in Visa gift cards just for completing the test! Click here for a little more detail on this one.
  • Miles of Marketing - This is a company that doesn't offer a "job" but pays you per project. You're paid $100 for putting a magnet on your car and doing your normal errands. I have not done a project for them in a while - it does depend on what they have available for your market - but this is an easy way to make money and the owner, Liza, is a great person to work with and she did a little guest post for me here.

These are just a few of the current opportunities out there right now. As I've mentioned before, I will never list a work-at-home job or project on my site that is not legitimate. I almost always have direct experience with these companies or know someone who does.

If you're struggling financially, this is a great way for you to make up some of the gap in your income without having to sacrifice precious time with your family to stay afloat!

Wednesday, December 17

Money Saving Methods

Do you know about Money Saving Methods? It's filled to the brim with, um, money saving methods and money making methods! My sister alerted me to this great blog this week. I sat down last night to check it out and I'm already almost $100 richer!

Turns out Carrie @ Money Saving Methods is actually from my area. If you haven't been over there yet, you must check it out. She has an amazing talent for deciphering all of those "free" online offers that end up costing us more than we get back. She's done the legwork for you and her site offers easy, step-by-step instructions on how to do many of these deals. Andrea @ Mommy Snacks recently blogged on a $500 gas card she was able to get by following Carrie's advice.

Wondering how I made some money? Well, I took advantage of three of the super-easy deals she has up on her site right now!

  • Etrade Savings Account - Hurry this one ends today - 12/17! Open a savings account with just $1 and you'll have $25 deposited into your account in 30 days.
  • - Sign up and pay with Paypal and recieve $25 in your Paypal account within 6-8 weeks. This one is so easy - their lowest plan is only $3.99 a month. You must sign up for the free trial month and remain on through one paying period.
  • - Open an account and invest $5 in a stock (there are many that are less than $1) and get $50 in your account in 4-6 weeks. This one ends 12/31. You can sign up every member of your family!
Carrie will tell you exactly what to do in order to be sure you do everything correctly to get the benefit of these deals and you don't get stuck paying for or buying more than you need to. Be sure to click on the link she indicates to ensure you'll get the incentive. These are easy and legitimate ways to make more money!

Tuesday, December 9

Work at Home Possibilities - Test Scoring

Working at home as a professional scorer can be a flexible way to make money working at home. Workers score anything from college entrance exams to K-8 and high school reading, writing, math and science. Similar to tutoring, you select the level and subject you want to score and you're given the work based on your preferences and availability.

A well-known company that hires for such work is Pearson. They require a minimum of 20 hours per week, a Bachelor's degree and a PC. (They're not currently Mac compatible.) The pay can be up to $12 an hour. They tend to hire in cycles and will hold onto your resume if they don't hire you right away. To apply with Pearson, click here.

Monday, December 8

***A $500 Walmart gift card Giveaway***

Wow! The Centsible Sawyer just gave away a $100 gift card to Walmart and now she's offering one for $500!! She's a member of the Walmart Eleven Moms and the others will probably be offering this giveaway on their blogs as well, so check them out too!

Head over to Denise's site and try to win some holiday jingle. She's offering five ways to win!

Wednesday, December 3

Work at Home Possiblities - Google Quality Rater

Google is hiring again! Just as I was about to create a post on this job a few weeks ago, they took it down. So act quickly! You never know when this one will fill up. This is a great opportunity because the hours are flexible. You can log on at any time and do the work. It's entirely online and the pay is weekly.

Google hires Quality Raters to rate search queries. Basically you're looking at search terms and trying to interpret what the web searcher was trying to find. Then you rate the search results that come up based on how well they fit what the search was actually for. I tried to make that description as clear as possible. How did I do?

They require a minimum of 10 hours per week, a B.A., B.S. or equivalent and a good grasp of web use and search engines. You'll notice it says "Temporary." That means you could be employed with them for up to a year. My understanding is at that time, you're required to take a 3 month break and then you're eligible to begin working with them again.

The application process for this is quite rigorous. So much, in fact, that they offer compensation just for completing it! You will send your initial application and resume. Then if they respond to you with interest, you're invited to do a sample rating assignment that may take around five hours to complete. (That timeframe is pretty liberal.) They offer a $60 Visa gift card if you complete that assignment but do not pass based on their guidelines. If you do pass, you're invited to do a much longer assignment (possibly 10 to 15 hours) for which you are given a $175 gift card for completing and passing (in lieu of the $60 card).

As I mentioned, if this sounds like something you're interested in doing, I recommend that you apply quickly. They tend to hire in waves and you never can tell when they will stop hiring for this wave. But do check back, because they do this every few weeks. I'm so glad this one came back up, because this really is a great work-at-home job!

Tuesday, December 2

Win a $100 Walmart gift card!

Denise at theCentsible Sawyer is giving away a $100 Walmart gift card here. This is another great site for deals and she often posts stores that I don't - like Target and Walmart. This could be a great budget booster for Christmas shopping!!

Making Sense of Your Day at Home

Working at home isn't a perfect arrangement. Last night I was settling in on the couch with our son, Jaden, to watch a Christmas special while Serge, who recently started doing a little side work from home, sat down at the computer to work. Jaden said, "Why do you guys always work? I don't like it." I gave him the classic "Well, we have to work so we have money to buy things" line.

And for us that is true. As I've said before, I work at home because we really can't afford to live just on Serge's income. But Jaden's comment fell right in place with my thoughts lately about making the most of what I'm doing with my life. Sometimes my work-at-home-mom status kind of cramps my stay-at-home-mom status and I realize that I've focused really on one more than the other.

I've realized that based the personalities of my children and I, we are not going to get the most out of our days without some kind of plan. We do not have a rigid schedule at all, which lends itself to flexibility, but also tends to find us at 4 p.m. having done nothing to speak of all day long.

I personally am always doing something all day long....just not with the kids. So here's my plan for doing things together with the kids and really getting something out of our day:

  • Playtime - Doing whatever specific play they want to do a few times during the day.
  • Christmas activities - This time of the year is so much fun, so I'm going to try and incorporate something from it daily - decorating, making something, shopping for donation items, etc.
  • Reading - We have so, so many books and the kids really like to read, so I want to make more of a point of having a reading time other than bedtime.
  • Learning - Jaden doesn't like to color, but if you give him an activity like counting, letters, etc. he really enjoys it. Incorporating something like this would be a good way to give him a head start, since he'll be starting kindergarten next year.
  • Activity - Now that we no longer have our Y membership, we'll need to find some kind of activity to do, whether it's going somewhere like the library or preschool open gym or something different at home, like playing a new kids website.

Lots of people who don't stay at home or those who are new at it don't realize that it does sometimes take a little thought and coordination - this mostly depends on the kids' personalities. What kinds of things do you do to keep your day running smoothly? Are you a strict schedule keeper or is your day different every day?

Monday, December 1

Money Saving and Making Ideas - Holiday Shopping Edition

I'm back! I took an unannounced hiatus over the last week to spend time getting things back on track. Sometimes I just take on too much!

I've tried to dedicate Mondays to offering you a way to save money or a way to make money. In honor of the holiday shopping season which officially kicked off this weekend, here are a few ways to save and even earn when shopping:

  • Couponing is the number one way I have found to save while shopping. You can often get so many products incredibly cheap or even free by using coupons. Sites like Money Saving Mom and Mommy Snacks offer some of the best advice for saving money on groceries.

  • Check out CVS' ExtraCare Rewards Program. Here are some details on the basics. CVS offers "Extra Bucks" on certain products every week in the form of a printed coupon on the bottom of your reciept. It's basically like cash back (to be spent at their store only) with a few stipulations. With the right combination of coupons and using Extra Bucks you can easily take a home a cart full of household items and dig for change in your purse to pay the tab. I haven't paid for toothpaste, shampoo, razors or makeup since I discovered this program!

  • For those of you hitting up the Cyber Monday deals, sign up with a company like Ebates or Big Crumbs to save even more. Shopping through these sites can help you earn discounts or rewards. When you find a deal online, log into your account and find the store through the site to purchase and get more bang for your buck.

  • MyPoints is another site where you can earn points by doing your online buying through their site. When you sign up with them you'll get regular emails alerting you to different sites and companies that match your interests and ways to earn points. Sometimes it's as simple as registering on their site, which you can use a separate email account for. Even if you never sign up for anything, often just clicking on the website will earn you 5 points. Those can really add up. You redeem the points for gift cards from more than 70 merchants. If you start now, you have plenty of time to score a few gift cards by next Christmas!

  • Take advantage of pharmacy gift card offers. Stores like Target, CVS, Walgreens, Kmart and others often have coupons to get a gift card when you fill a new prescription at their pharmacy. If you have one to fill anyway, you might as well get a free gift card for it! Pay attention to ads or look on websites. Most CVS stores will even honor competitors' coupons.

  • Finally, as I discuss in this post, reviewers are still being accepted for the Webby Awards. This is not necessarily shopping-related, but it is timely and it's a great opportunity, so I really want everyone to know about it! The first session just ended and there are two more. This is a great way to earn actual cash by reviewing websites in your spare time. Although it is temporary, it offers a nice payday when checks go out early next spring!