Coupons

In a quest to save money, many shoppers use coupons. The question is, do these coupons really save you money? Are they worth the time you put into them finding them, clipping them, and remembering to use them at the store?

While the answer may have been yes before, I believe the answer is no. Many grocery stores have their own savings programs that require the shopper to have a membership card to take advantage of the savings they offer. These savings are advertised weekly, and each item is flagged on the shelf. This means that even if you were not aware when you came in the store, you now can see that an item is on sale, and many times opt for that one over all others. These sales sometimes make the generic items more expensive, and as long as you are not meticulous, you will save money somewhere. Because of these in store membership savings, many stores have changed their policies on accepting and redeeming coupons. For instance, a local store used to double all coupons up to 50 cents regardless of the amount of the total purchase. Upon instatement of their internal savings program, they mandate that only three coupons are redeemable per $10 of purchased merchandise. It seems to me that using the savings from the membership would be much easier than keeping track of all that!

Another reason coupon promotions do not offer the savings people think they will get, is because you only save money by using a coupon on a product you always purchase. For instance, if the coupon is for savings on a product like toilet paper or aluminum foil, you may save some money, and it may be worth it. However, if the coupon is for a name brand product that you do not usually buy, or for a product you generally opt for the generic version of, you are not saving yourself anything, but rather costing yourself. If you use the coupon to save money on a product you would not normally buy at all, how is that saving yourself anything? The only time I would consider this handy is when you have promised your children a special treat.

In addition, coupons are becoming more notorious for requiring the purchase of multiple items before you get the savings. So, if you cannot save the item and use the bulk later (as in a save 55 cents on two boxes of cereal coupon) then it is not worth it.

So my advice to use is to toss all those coupons out the door, unless you find them on items you frequently purchase, and if they are frequently on sale through your local store’s incentive program, then that is even better for you. Ultimately, though, in my experience at least, the better way to save money is through planning your meals around what you already have on hand and what is on sale.

MyZip.net

If you are like me, you are constantly looking for more ways to make money online without getting scammed. If you’re interested in making money for blogging, check this out.

Cruising on some message boards a few weeks back, I found an opportunity to become a paid blogger with no experience.  This is excellent for me, as I would love to get my foot into that door, but have not been able to do so yet with the lack of a well-established blog.

Anyway, the opportunity is for myzip.net.  To be a myzip.net blogger, you must visit this website and apply.  You should hear something back within a few days, and be ready to get started.

The concept behind the program is that one person in each zip code will blog about their local area, and it will be posted on a .net page with their zip code.  For example, my work can be seen at 28806.net. It is a bit demanding at five posts per week for only $50 a month, but it is still in trial stages.  Weekly, they send out a survey to get feedback from bloggers so they can see what kind of payment regimen to implement later when this goes full blast.  The good news is the blogs do not have to be long, so it really does not take much time, and it is a guaranteed amount every month, paid via Paypal.  There is not a set length of the blogs, but they do say to keep them short, bite sized, so as not overwhelm the readers with text.  They are processing January payments soon, so I have yet to see how that goes, but well, I hope.

I am glad I got in on it early, as I can grow and roll with the changes the program may instate in the future.  The program started in Seattle and surrounding areas, and it is my understanding that many zip codes are still open.  If you are accepted as a blogger, there are quite a few guidelines to follow and lots of tips and topic ideas to start with.  The page they set up for the zip code you are writing for has restaurant reviews and stuff like that, and you are encouraged to write about the things that display on the page with your blog.

I am enjoying it so far and I think you will too!  Take the survey and wait to see what they say, and be sure to let me know if you were accepted.  They just announced $25.00 for referrals, so let them know that 28806.net sent you!  I received my first payment from them today via PayPal, so I know they are legit.  Happy writing!

Meatless Meals

Many people are under the impression that meat must be a major part of your dinner. Even if you are not strictly vegetarian, this does not always have to be the case. It is a well-known fact that Americans eat more meat than we should, so, save yourself some time, money, and eat a hearty meatless meal.

A great meal to make when you are trying to conserve the meat you do have, or when you do not have any at all, is Red Beans and Rice. The simplest way to do this is to buy the prepackaged Red Beans and Rice by Zatarains. Just boil some water, throw it in, let it simmer and viola. It can be generally be found for under $2.00 a box, so it’s a quick, cheap, meatless meal fix. If you cannot pass up the meat, add the sausage as directed on the box, but this meal is very filling without the meat. Sprinkle some cheese on the top, and you are good to go.

If you are looking for something a little better than a prepackaged meal, try this veggie pasta with cheese dish. Grab some pasta (whole wheat if you are feeling like going all out on the healthy meal), fresh or frozen broccoli, baby carrots, and a few other veggies of your choosing. Cook the pasta and veggies, and toss in some grated parmesan cheese. Even better, make a cheese sauce with your favorite cheese (cheddar or mozzarella works great) by melting some cheese with a bit of milk or cream. Season with garlic, butter, salt and better and pour over the veggies and pasta. Mix well and serve. If you catch the veggies on sale and buy cheap pasta, the whole meal costs about $6.00 and can feed a family quite well. When you are feeling carnivorous, this works great as a side dish for a meal with meat, or with chunks of chicken mixed in like those prepackaged skillet meals.

Usually for breakfast, omelets can also make a great meatless meal for dinner. Throw in cheese and veggies and you have the perfect solution for a meatless dinner. Serve with bread on the side, or make the omelets into sandwiches for a more filling option. For about $6.00, counting 18 eggs, 2 cups shredded cheese, and a bag of frozen broccoli, once again you have a cheap, quick meal fix. If you’re not crazy about the omlete idea, try a quiche. Just grab a pie crust, mix the eggs, cheese and veggies, pour it in and bake it.

Going meatless a night or two a week will not only save you money and meal preparation time, but it can also make you a healthier family. So go ahead and try it! For more suggestions, use your handy search engine!

Yuwie!

So, if you’re an avid myspacer, or facebooker, or general social networker, I found something on the wahm.com’s message boards today that may interest you.

Yuwie.com is a myspace clone like site.  You get all the features of myspace (from what I’ve seen so far) except you get a monthly revenue sharing payment.  Of course, the more referrals you have, the more earning potential there is.  So, I’m asking you all to embark on this new journey with me, and sign up with my link: http://r.yuwie.com/luvmyjoes

What’s the worst that could happen?  You do these things anyway, and if you’re reading this blog, you’re either looking for parenting tips or information on working at home.  There’s a video that explains the whole thing, and they are very honest with you about earning potential, and how the revenue share changes from month to month.  And, they define what counts as a “Page View” which is what earns you money.  It doesn’t seem like much, but it will add up (I hope) and become somewhat profitable.  Even if I only make enough for a tank of gas a month, it will help, right?

So once again, if you are interested, please sign up with this link: http://r.yuwie.com/luvmyjoes.  When you get there, leave me a comment and let me know you did. 

Here’s to Moms helping Moms, and earning money for almost nothing!

WebYaa.com

I found this program through a work at home message board.  It’s a new program in beta, so I’m sure they are still working out kinks.  Right now, they are paying 60 cents per review, and you can easily do 15 to 20 in an hour.  So, that equates to some good money, if you do it enough.  They pay through paypal for 20 reviews, and then every 50 after that.  They will pay you a portion of the adsense revenue, but it’s not in place yet.  So, if you want to check it out, sign up at webyaa.com.  I’m not sure if there’s any sort of referal program in place, but if there is, tell them LWatrous21@hotmail.com sent ya, and we’ll learn more together.

Places to Look for Work at Home

I’ve spent a lot of time searching the internet for free, valid, work at home leads.  Here are few places you can go to look.

pcworkathome.net

workathomecareers.com

wahm.com (Check the forum there, it’s more updated than the listings)

workplacelikehome.com

I will continue my research and add more if I come across them.

A Day in the Life…

Being a college student and being a mother are two completely different lives, and when you are both, things can get a little bit hard to handle.

Fortunately, the ability to go to school online from the comfort of your own home makes this task slightly easier, but when you get down to it, do you not think it would make it a little harder? I mean sure, you save money by not having to put your child in a daycare facility while you physically attend courses at a conventional campus, but now you have to find time to sit in your virtual seat while raising your child.

Attending school online has its own set of difficulties, given the asynchronous learning environment.  Adding the stressed of motherhood, or fatherhood for that matter, can drive anyone mad quickly. This is my daily life.  I go to school ¾ time at the Art Institute Online, taking three courses a quarter.  I raise a four-year-old little boy, and earn a few pennies here and there from my writing submissions here at Associated Content, while searching countless websites for legitimate work at home positions to solidify extra income for my family.

Therefore, my nerves wear thin on a daily basis.  I seem to live in front of this computer screen.  Somehow, though, I manage to make above average grades in all my courses, make more money here than I had originally counted on, while making sure that my son is never neglected.  Though the house is always somewhat cluttered, and never anywhere near spotless, it is generally always presentable to unexpected guests. 

How I manage this some days, I do not know, (yes, I do get at least six hours of sleep a night), but here’s what I do to keep all my priorities straight and tasks completed.

My son and I wake each morning at 7:30.  While I make breakfast, lunch and dinner (I believe in a cook once a day philosophy) he quietly watches Noggin.  After we eat, he and I work on some worksheets together, and then I speed clean the kitchen and living room.  9:00 rolls around and I work on schoolwork for a solid hour while Joe plays in his room, or on his V-Smile Gaming System.  At 10, I break and do a load of laundry or something and focus on Joe until Noon.  He plays with his dad before he goes to work while I re-heat the lunch I made earlier in the morning, and we eat.  After lunch clean up, he naps from 1-3.  For the first half hour, I vegetate, and plan the rest of my day, and from then on until he wakes up, I write.  When he wakes up, we eat a snack, and I work on getting the sides for dinner done.  We play and relax until about 5 when we eat, then I clean up, and we play a bit more until 7.  Then it is bath time, story time, and then the toys go night-night when we clean up his room.  He is always down by 8:30PM, and that gives me two more solid hours before his dad comes home from work.  I am always in bed by 1 AM, and ready for the next day.  If it were not for scheduling and planning, I would not be able to accomplish nearly half the things I do in a day.

So next time you are crunched for time and stuck with a to-do list a mile long, remember the life of a college student mother!