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!

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!

Friday, October 31

Freebie Friday!

It's Freebie Friday and Halloween, so I'm sure you'll get your fill of freebies (at least the candy) tonight. Otherwise, here's what I have for you this week:

  • In case you don't get enough chocolate, get a free Turtle Chex Mix bar here.
  • Get a free shaker cup from Spiru-tein here, which I know my DH likes for his protein shakes! (Thanks, Mommy Snacks!)
  • Free coffee, which is always welcome in my home, from Folgers and Dunkin' Donuts.
  • Walmart free samples here.


  • Win a $50 GC to Box Tops Marketplace from Coupon Cravings.
  • My favorite giveaway of all - Starbucks from Our Frugal Life.
  • Win 9 Baby Einstein DVDs here.
  • Super-cute Nina Ballerina barettes here.

Thursday, October 30

Start Couponing Today - part 3

Let's talk about places to get really good coupons. The easiest way to get coupons is to buy multiple copies of your local newspaper on Sunday which typically has a few inserts in it. The first week of the month is typically the best because it also includes the P&G insert. You can get a preview of the coming week's coupons here. I usually get 2-4 papers a week unless it's a really good week. Some weeks I will even get 10 if the coupons are really, really great.

This is my coupon binder:

Other places to get coupons:

  • Ebay. You can purchase coupons on Ebay, although you're technically not purchasing the actual coupons. You're paying for a person's time and effort to cut, sort and send you the coupons. If there's a really great coupon out there for an item you want to stockpile, check ebay. You can often get 10 to 20 coupons for less than $2. If you're looking for coupons for the current week's sales, use the Buy It Now feature to be sure you get them in time!

  • Online Coupon Sites. Some of the best coupons are found online. You can use the widget to the right or you can check out

  • Company Websites. Check out the websites of your favorite foods or products for printable coupons or sign up for their newsletters. If you e-mail companies about their products, they will often send you coupons in the mail. Check out RedPlum, Right at Home, Pillsbury and P&G Everyday Solutions.

  • Vocalpoint. Today in the mail from Vocalpoint I got a Venus razor and five $4 off coupons. That's pretty fantastic! I get nice little packages from them on a weekly basis and they usually include a product or sample or high value coupons - or both! Sign up for this and participate in the surveys or discussions.

  • Shopper Card Coupons. You can load coupons directly onto your shopper cards that will come off on top of your manufacturers coupons. Click on the UPromise link on the right and visit Shortcuts and P&G eSaver.

Since I've become a couponer, I'm on the lookout everywhere for coupons. I pull them from the blinkies at Kroger, I check in fliers at the pharmacy and the meat counters and I pay close attention to packaging. Often when the coupon matchups are done for weekly deals, any printables are included there. If I don't have a coupon in hand for a product I have to buy, I Google it. It's hard for me to buy things without a coupon anymore!

Changing Things Around

I usually take Thursday to post the next week's CVS deals but from now on I'm going to direct you to Andrea at Mommy Snacks for this. She does a great job and frankly, why reinvent the wheel on this one?

You can see the monthly deals for November here.

Wednesday, October 29

Applying for Work-at-Home Jobs

There's more to finding a work-at-home job than filling out an online form and hitting submit. Work-at-home jobs are highly in demand, so you need to do something to separate yourself from the crowd. A well written cover letter and resume can really help you get ahead.

E-mail: The first step you should take before applying for anything is to set up a separate e-mail account for work-at-home stuff only. I recommend gmail because it has a larger file capacity than most other free services, which can be helpful if companies want to send you training materials or tests - but any Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. will work just fine.

Cover Letter: Next, you want to create a cover letter. It does not need to be (in fact should not be) a long novel or restate all your qualifications. Keep it short and simple. The best thing to do is create a cover letter template and then tailor it for each job you're applying to.

A cover letter should do the following things:

  • Address the company by name. Tell them what position you're applying for with "XX Company." To add a little more, you could even tell them how you found out about the job.
  • Mention any specific skills that were listed in the job posting that you posess. If they were looking for someone who "has experience working with tight deadlines," then you need to tell them specifically that you "have experience working with tight deadlines."
  • Say a few words about your skills that are not necessarily job specific, but are necessary for working at home. I'll say more about this below.
  • Let them know that you actually want the job. This may sound obvious, but people are always mass-applying to lots of different positions, just hoping to get a hit on one. Let the employer know you're truly interested.
  • If possible, mention something you know about the company or its reputation. "XX Company has an excellent reputation and I'm excited to have the opportunity to join your team."
  • Save the cover letter as a plain text file. You can do this by choosing "Save As" in Microsoft Word and choosing "Plain Text" from the drop down box next to "Save As Type" at the bottom of the box. This allows you to easily cut and paste the letter into the online form boxes and it will look neat and uniform.

Resume: Your resume is the most important element of applying for a job. Often you won't need the cover letter, but you'll almost always need the resume. If you're just starting out and you have no work-at-home experience or at least none in the field you're applying for, then you want to play up your skills and abilities and play down your work history.

There are lots of resume writing services out there who will create a resume for a fee. If you truly feel lost creating one or you have just been looking for months and months with no luck, then this service might be useful for you. But I urge you to go it alone at first because you often don't need someone to create something for you, particularly when you're paying for it!

Here's what you want to put in a resume:

  • Make sure your contact information is included, particularly your e-mail address. You'll find that most work-at-home employers will contact you through e-mail.
  • Make a bulleted list of your skills. Highlight things that are important for work-at-home positions: ability to work well independently, efficient, self-motivated, coping with deadlines, prioritizing, adapting to new procedures, organized, etc. Also highlight skills that are specific to the job you're looking for. If you want to do transcription, for example, include your words per minute. You can take a free typing test here to determine this.
  • Make a bulleted list of your techinical skills. You're working at home, which usually means you're on your computer. Let the employer know what your abilities are: MS Office, applications like Pagemaker or Photoshop, certain databases, etc.
  • Next, include your employment history. Just do the two or three most recent or most relevant to the position for which you're applying. List the company, the dates, location and your primary duties. Again, try and tailor them to skills and duties relevant to the job for which you're applying.
  • Finally, add a piece on your education. Do the highest level only, whether it's college or high school. Add a couple of points about what you studied or what you learned.
  • Save this as a plain text file.

I recommend that when you're emailing your application, you copy and paste both your resume and cover letter right in the body of the e-mail. Include a line in your cover letter saying something like "I invite you to view my resume below." Often employers will not open e-mail attachments and it's to your advantage to give them the resume right there in their inbox. This is why saving them as plain text is key - especially your resume. All those bullets will really get jumbled up when copied and pasted into online forms or e-mails otherwise.

Make a list however you like to do it - writing on a piece of paper, Excel spreadsheet, etc. that details which companies you've applied to for which position and when. Also make a note of what they've said, "You'll hear from us within 2 weeks," "No e-mails, please," etc. so you know which course of action to take. That will also help you keep track of where you've already applied because you may be doing a lot of this!

I've said this many times already, but I truly believe the number one way to find a job working from home is by hanging out (virtually, of course) with those who are already working at home. That is why I always recommend checking out and starting in the Telecommuting Moms folder. Work Place Like Home is also a great forum. There are always new jobs being discussed on there. These are not simply job postings (although those are on there). These are other moms saying, "Hey, this company I work for is hiring," or "What do you know about this company?" and then those who know are chiming in with information.

As I've said before, I spent every night for a couple of months on those boards, just researching, getting ideas and learning from those who were doing what I wanted to do. It's way better than going it alone and doing Google searches for working at home.

If you're working at home now, please let us know what steps you took to get your job. I'm always interested to hear how other moms made things work for them!

Tuesday, October 28

Deed Collector is hiring!

A couple of weeks ago I talked about court researching. It's a good way to earn some income if you're looking for something flexible that still gets you out of the house. It's data entry but you will go to the local courthouse to collect your data.

Deed Collector is currently hiring in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado (Morgan County)
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine (Sagadahoc County)
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska (Papillion and other counties)
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee (Obion County)
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming (Laramie County)

Go here to apply. When you complete the application, put "" in the field where it asks "Where did you hear about us?" and your app. will get bumped to the top. You can visit the posting on here.

Monday, October 27

Making Money with Basic Writing

Writing articles is a nice little way to make some extra cash. If you like to write, you can be paid for your articles or your opinion. A basic way to do this is by joining a pay-to-write site such as Associated Content, Constant Content or My Lot. You can choose a topic and write about it. Then you can submit the article for payment approval.

Different sites work differently. Some sites will pay based on the value of the topic you choose or article length. Some sites have content available to be purchased by others and you're paid when your articles are purchased. This type of writing gig varies greatly in requirement and pay. You can make as little as $3-$5 for a simple article to $20 or more. It's not high paying, but it's a great way to get your foot in the door.

If you're a little more experienced in your writing, you could consider writing an ebook to market and sell. Ebooks are great because you can avoid the cost of not only creating and publishing the book, but shipping costs are also nonexistent because you're sending it via email or download. One simple way to market an ebook is to find blogs that are compatible with your subject matter and see if the blog owner might be interested in being an affiliate to promote your book for a percentage of the profits.

Some companies will also pay you to post on messageboards. One company that does this frequently is Paid Posting Tools. You choose the subjects on which you'll create posts or add to conversations and you're paid a few cents per post. Typically a certain number of posts are required per week and they can start to add up to a decent amount of income.

There are much more lucrative ways to earn money writing, but these are just a few to get you started. Writing is another great work-at-home activity that can easily be done on your own time, without a set schedule or a need to get into the office. It does require quiet, non-kid time, but it's definitely something that allows you to start small and grow bigger as you want to.

Sunday, October 26

Tag! I'm It!

Katie at Cincinnati Cents tagged me this week, which is a fun little thing we have going on in the bloggy world. Here are the rules:

  • Link back to the person who tagged you and share the rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Tag seven people and list their links in the post.
  • Tell those seven people they've been tagged by commenting in their blog.

Here are my seven facts:

  1. A couple of years back I had a job lined up with a federal intelligence agency in Washington, D.C., but we decided to give that all up to stay here, buy a house and raise a family!
  2. I am a huge Ohio State Buckeyes football fan!
  3. My husband and I have seriously considered (despite fact #1) packing up and moving our family to Europe in the last year, possibly to France, just for the adventure of trying a new culture and showing our children something new. The language barrier is what's holding him back (I can speak some French) - I'm ready to do it!
  4. I teach Mini School, which is the once-a-week preschool at our church.
  5. Once I start, I can't seem to stop eating candy (mostly chocolate).
  6. I met my husband on a blind date our first semester in college and we've been married now for five years!
  7. I love sushi and now that I know how to make it, we have it a lot more often!

Here are the blogs I have tagged:

Saturday, October 25

*~* Super Deal Saturday *~*

Here's what you should be sure to grab this week at the grocery store:

Meijer 10/26 - 11/1

  • Buy 2 Oreos ($2.50 ea) and get a free gallon of milk
  • Eggs - $.99
  • Tyson boxed chicken - $2.50 Coupons: $1/2 mealbox and .55 10/19 SS = $1 ea (wyb 2)
  • Healthy Choice entrees - 1/2 price Coupons: $1/4 mealbox and Buy 5 Get 1 10/19 SS or $1/2 printable here = prices vary
  • Breyers ice cream - $2.50 Coupons: $1/2 mealbox = $2 ea (wyb 2)
  • Edwards Pies - 1/2 price Coupons: $1 mealbox and $1/2 8/24 SS = prices vary
  • Jack's frozen pizza - $2.50 Coupons: $2/4 mealbox = $2 ea (wyb 4)
  • Birdseye frozen veggies - $1.33 Coupons: $1/2 mealbox and .35/1 10/12 SS = $.13 each
  • Dynamo laundry detergent - Buy 1 get 2 free = 3 for $13.99
  • Orajel toddler toothpaste - $1.97 Coupons: $1 coupon in this weekend's SS = $.97
  • Theraflu - $4.00 Coupons: $2 10/19 SS = $2 (Use MIR from 10/19 SS = free)
  • Dimetapp - $3.99 Coupons: $2 printable here = $2.99

Remember to print your Jello and Taco Bell coupons from Meijer Mealbox to get these items for free or nearly free!

Meijer doubles coupons up to $1.00, only two like coupons per transaction.

Kroger 10/27 - 11/2

**8 hour sale at Kroger this Tuesday 10/28 from 4pm to midnight**

  • Tombstone pizza - $1.99
  • Kroger hot dog buns - $.50
  • Fritos or Cheetos - $1.27
  • Big K soft drinks - $.39
  • Caramel apples 3ct. - $.99
  • Nestle, Hershey's or Mars candy - $1.47 Coupons: Nestle $1/3 10/12 SS or $1 printable here, Mars $1/2 10/12 RP
  • Oscar Meyer beef hot dogs - $1.99
  • Hormel party trays - $7.99

Regular sale items:

  • Bananas - $.38/lb
  • 3 lb bag apples - $1.88
  • 4 lb bag navel oranges - $1.99
  • Sun Maid mini raisins - $1.67 Coupons: $1/2 10/5 SS = $1.17 ea (wyb 2) Also look for specially marked packages offering a free Blues Clues book with two proofs of purchase.
  • Hillshire Farms somked sausage - BOGO $4.09 Coupons: .55/1 10/5 RP = $1.04 ea
  • Hillshire Farms Deli Select lunch meat - $3.00 Coupons: .55/1 10/5 RP = $2
  • Cambell's soup - 10/$10 Coupons: various coupons from October inserts
  • Starkist tuna can or pouch - $1.25 Coupons: BOGO from Vocalpoint mailing, $1 10/12 RP = .25 to .62
  • International Delight coffee creamer - $1.99 Coupons: .55 10/12 RP = $.99
  • Purex - $1.99 Coupons: $1/2 10/5 SS = $1.49 ea
  • Aquafresh - 10/$10 Coupons: $1 printable here = free

Kroger doubles unlimited coupons up to $1.00

Friday, October 24

Getting the House Ready for Winter

We've lived in our house for three winters now I think we may have solved the mystery of the freezing cold bedrooms. Every winter our bedrooms are about 10 degrees colder than the rest of the house. We've tried everything - plastic sheeting and blankets on the windows, space heaters, turning up the heat - and nothing has worked. I am tired of being cold, so this year we're being proactive.

Heating bills in the winter months can be a huge expense, but many people don't realize that there are many small improvements you can make around your house that will allow you to heat more efficiently, thus wasting less and lowering your energy bills. A couple of months ago we took advantage of Duke Energy's free home energy audit. An auditor came out and inspected our appliances, windows, doors, basement and attic and made several recommendations, which we're working on implementing. If you're a Duke Energy customer, you should definitely take advantage of this free service! If you have another energy provider, check to see if they offer something similar.

Here are the recommendations he offered that may help you as well:

  • Don't use space heaters! You will read stories about the safety concerns, but they are also extremely expensive. Using one in a cold space can add as much as $80 or more to your monthly heating bill!
  • Check your attic insluation. The recommended measurement for attic insulation is R-38. You should check to see that your attic is insulated properly everywhere. Otherwise you're losing heat through your roof.
  • Be sure your attic door is insulated. If you have one of those drop down attic doors with a ladder and it's not insulated, you are losing tons of heat through that opening. You can alleviate this by building a shell: Build a six inch border around the door opening inside the attic and buy a thick piece of styrofoam to cover over it like a lid.
  • Check weather stripping on all exterior doors. This is a simple one - easy to fix but also easy to overlook!
  • Water heater - For safety reasons (and energy savings) turn it down to 120 degrees. Also insulate the hot water tank pipes to conserve the heat.
  • Go green. Many changes that are good for your wallet are good for the environment as well, so consider switching to CFL bulbs in your lighting - they even make them for dimmers now.
We have oil heat in our house, which doesn't seem to be as expensive as gas heat but it did cost us about $900 to fill our 250 gallon tank this year. We invested in a programmable thermostat a couple of years ago that has really helped us reduce costs by setting the heat to automatically adjust at times when we're not home, for example.

I'm hoping that this year, not only will we save some money, but these changes will make it a little warmer in here. We haven't turned on our heat yet - we're hoping to hold out until November, but I don't fingers are a little stiff from the cold while I'm typing right now!

Freebie Friday!

Here's what you're getting for free this week!

  • Freebies from Walmart this week can be found here.
  • Folgers coffee sample - just what I need!
  • Starbucks coffee at Barnes and Noble here.
  • Reusable tote from Mantra Venture Group.
Lots of great enter-to-win giveaways to check out:
  • Win an envelope full of 200 coupons from Once Upon a Qpon.
  • $10 Panera gift card giveaway at A Nest for All Seasons.
  • Books and Starbucks GCs to be had at One Room Schoolhouse (scroll down for this week).
  • Have a home improvement project? Enter to win a Home Depot GC here. She has lots of giveaways this week!
Happy Friday!!

Thursday, October 23

*~* CVS Deals 10/26 - 11/1*~*

There are a few of the spend xx/get xx ECB deals next week, so check Hot Coupon World for more details.

  • Spend $20 get $10 ECBs: Dimetapp $8 - $1 q 9/21 RP or $2 printable here; Children's Tylenol $6 - $1 q 10/5 RP, $3/3 or $2/2 9/14 SS; Benadryl $6 - $1 q 9/7 SS or 9/28 RP or $1 printable here; Tylenol Cold/Sinus $6 - $1 q 9/14 RP, 9/28 RP or 10/5 RP or $1 printable here; Theraflu $6 - $2 q from 10/19 SS plus MIR in 10/19 SS; Airborne $7 - $2 q 9/7 SS; Sudafed PE $4.50 - $1 or $1.50 q 10/5 RP or $1 printable here.
  • SoyJoy bars 4/$4 - get $4 ECBs = free - Buy 2 get 1 q 10/19 SS, $3 WYB 5 printable here makes this a moneymaker!
  • Renu contact solution $7.99 get $2 ECBs - $2 printable here = $3.99 after ECBs
  • Bic Comfort 3 Advance Shavers 4 pack $5.99 get $4 ECBs - $2 q 10/12 SS = free after ECBs

Non-ECB deals:

  • Atkins bars Buy one get 1 50% off, starting at $1.39 - $1 q 8/17 SS = .04 each
  • Almay products BOGO - $1 q 10/12 SS - prices vary