Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana Republic 40% off

This deal is very time sensitive so act now! From noon to 4 pm today Banana Republic is offering 40% off regular and sale items all ready discounted up to 50%.

Shipping is free on orders of $50 or more.

Enter the code: BRTUES40


$10 for $20 at 3 Guys from Brooklyn

This is a shout out to all Brooklyn readers. I love the produce store 3 Guys from Brooklyn. I find they have great stuff at great prices. I once found artichokes for 25 cents each! I wish they had a location near me.

If you happen to be fortunate enough to live near the store you might be interested in today's Amazon local deal. You pay $10 and get a certificate for $20 to spend. It's a great grocery deal!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Frugal Food: Stuffed Cabbag

This time of year is very costly for many families. The Jewish High Holidays necessitate the cooking of lots of meals, usually involving meat, fish and other delicacies. Plus time off from work! One of my favorite foods to make around this time is stuffed cabbage. Stuffed cabbage is a perfect fit for this holiday because it is warm enough to take the chill out of the late autumn/early winter, smells hearty and is very filling. It is also a great frugal option because it is combines the meat with cabbage and rice and generally goes a lot further than a piece of roast plunked down on a platter. Plus it uses ground beef which is a cheaper cut of meat than your average top of the rib or flanken - and those shrink incredibly in the oven!

Here's my cabbage recipe and photos of the batch I recently whipped up. They were devoured with compliments all around.

1 medium head of cabbage
1 lb ground chuck
1 cup raw white rice
1/4 cup raisins
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large onion, diced

8 oz tomato juice
4 Tbs. lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup prune butter or ouc (tamarind paste)

The key to the cabbage is this: Place the entire head of cabbage in the freezer the night before you will make the stufffed cabbage. Then right before starting the recipe, pull out the cabbage and defrost it in the microwave for a minute. This will allow you to peel off the leaves easily and cut of the hard inner rib without breaking the leaf!

Preheat your oven to 375 Farenheit. Sautee the onion in olive oil until translucent. Combine the chuck, rice, onion, egg, salt, pepper and rasins. Place a heaping spoon of meat at the thick base of each cabbage leaf. Roll the leaves up, tucking in the sides, and place them in a baking dish seam side down.

Combine sauce ingredients into a saucepan and place over low heat until it boils. Pour sauce over the rolls in the baking dish. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an additional hour.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Free subscription to PJ's library

Today's Jdeal is a FREE Subscription to PJ Library (worth over $100!). Note that this is the valuation of the books. The service is always free. They send you a new jewish children's book or CD every month for free. This is for children up to 8 years old.


Donate $28 and sponsor a PJ Library subscription for another family.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Freelance Series: Finding Clients

If you have been following my freelance series you may be all set and ready to go. You've picked a field or two to work in, you've set your prices. Now you are just sitting around waiting for the orders to come in. Where are they? Where are your clients? Well, they aren't just going to materialize out of thin air. They don't even know you are out there! Part of freelancing is getting out there and finding your clients. Once you have an established name word of mouth clients may start to roll in, but it is still a good idea to keep marketing yourself. Below is a list of resources for finding clients. Unless they can also lead to clients for product sale, I am not including channels for creating passive income, because I think this deserves a post in itself.

Web Advertising:
Craigslist: Yes, the ubiquitious web clearinghouse for everything and anything is a good place to find clients for your freelancing. Look around to see the types of posts otheres with similar products/services make. This will give you an idea of the information you need to include. Make sure to post often, as there are so many posts in a day your post can get buried under a mountain of other posts. Also post in every categroy that is relevant to you.

Once you are done posting, don't forget to look at listings of people seeking services. If one matches your business, reply. I find craiglist is best for people in service industries, although people selling product can include links to websites and try to attract shoppers.

Tips: Make sure to respond to email promptly. When working with CraigsList clients for the first time I require half payment upfront and I do not take check. Paypal is the way to go, or cash. Never give out personal information like your personal phone number or address. Instead have a specific business email you use to communicate with. Also never meet anyone anywhere other than a very public place in broad daylight. I recommend not meeting at all if your service can be entirely virtual, or meeting in a Starbucks.

Your Own Blog or Website: Having a web presence can really help you out. If you are selling product you may want to post up sample photos using a service like flickr etc. The key is to not only post products, but to also post relevent informatina and intersting articles to atract viewers. I will post more on atracting viewers, setting up a website and e-commerce in another post. I am still working on getting this started for myself. There is a lot to learn but it is worth it. Blogging is another great way to atract business. A friend of mine runs a college dmissions consulting business. She blogs  about education and her experiences on her own blog, as well as on user-contributed content sites like about.com. This has lead to many clients for her. Post interesting content relevent to you target audience. They will see you are intelligent and know what you are talking about and be more likely to hire you.

Facebook and Twitter: I will admit to not being great about this. I finally creating the Budget and bargain facebook page, but I have not yet made a twitter account. Other bloggers and freelancers tell me they get tons of page hits and clients from interacting with others on facebook. It is something I should get better at.

Forum Websites: Websites where other freelancers network, like wahm.com can lead to great tips as well as clients. They also often contain information about finding clients specific to your field. Other websites you shuld be checking out are websites for your target group. For instance if you are looking to sell hand woven baskets made from recycled organic straw you might want to start posting in forums about green living. If you design custom scrubs you should get involved in medical and nursing forums. Do not just spam posts with links to your site or about your business. Become a valid contributor, participate and add meaningful material to the site. This is the only way people will trust you and want to order from you.

Elance, Freelancer and ODesk: These websites are like craigslist for freelancers. While each comes with a limited free account option, to get really good jobs you want to have a paid subscription. You need to analyze whether this purchase is worth it for you. You have to weed through jobs that pay peanuts and are clearly looking for overseas labor. The best jobs are those that use the website escrow system, so you know your money is ready and waiting for you and you will not be stiffed.

Flickr, Etsy, Squidoo: If you sell products, or are in a photography and/or design field the best way to market your work is to show photos of it. Flickr is possibly the most famous example of this. It can really help drive clients to your personal website. Etsy and related websites like artfire allow you to post handmade and vintage goods as well as supplies. People come to these sites specifically looking for unique pieces and small businesses. The forums are also chock full of marketing tips and ideas. Each site has a slightly different clientele and fee structure. Some will charge per item listing, other per sale etc. They are more narrow focused than sites like ebay and can lead to a more loyal client base for you. They also let you post links to your personal website. Some people post on several such sites. Others find that most of their clients come from one such site and stick with that website only. Squidoo will be discussed more in the upcoming "passive income" post. However it can also be used to drive traffick to your personal website or business. By posting relevant, informative articles on Squidoo you can atract clients.

The Old Fashioned Way:

Tell your friends and family! This does not have to be intrusive, but you can mention your new business casually and tell them if they know of anyone looking for xyz, then you are there to supply it. You need to let your social circle know about your new business. These are people you trust, who trust you. They will lead to high quality clients.

Work with other local retailers: If you know several other retailers who work in related, but different fields, you can get together and promote each other. For instance someone who does bridal hair can team up with someone who does bridal makeup. When a new client books one of you and does not have someone yet for the other service, you each reccomend the other. This helps both of you. You don't have to arrange an exclusive deal, but you can generate positive referrals  You can also arrange trunk shows and attend trade fairs. The best way to hear about these and learn about setting up a booth is from other retailers in the same industry.

Cold Call/e-mail: This requires a bit of initiative and agressively marketting yourself. If there is a company you'd like to work with or a publicatin you'd like to see yourself published in, pitch them an idea. Most magazines include a submissions contact and a professinal, interesting query letter might land you a job. Calling a local children's buotique and speaking with the manager or head of purchasing might get your cute knitted hats onto their shelves.

Follow Up:

Once you have established a contact or worked with a client, be sure to keep their contact info including an email address. In this way you can send information about new products, special offers and services. Give every client a business card so that they can contact you again in the future. Make sure your business card includes your title or a description of your business. A card labelled "Mrs. Freelancer" with a phone number is not going to cut it. When someone digs that card up in a month they will have no idea who you are or what you do.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Free Kindle Books

Another crop of great free ebooks for your kindle!

The Everything Soup, Stew, and Chili Cookbook (Everything (Cooking))A great cookbook!

Tailgating Cookbook

Mama Does Time (A Mace Bauer Mystery)

The Preacher's Bride

A Daughters Inheritance (Broadmoor Legacy, Book 1)

Bright Young Things with Bonus Material

ABC's Revenge: Pilot Episode Script

What Is HTML5?

Mom Energy - Special Free Preview: A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged

How to Sew: Basics

Get Published

Free 16 by 20 Poster from Walmart

Walmart is offering  free 16 by 20 photo collage. Simply print this coupon. Upload your order, select delivery in store, and then present the coupon.

Walgreens 9/18-9/24 Deals

There are several good deals at Walgreens this week.

Kellogg's cereal is 2 for $5. Special K is featured in the ad and this is typically a very expensive cereal.

Milk is $3.29 a gallon. In my neighbourhood this is very good. Your area may be different.

SmartWater or Vitamin Water is 3 for $3 in most locations.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Hunt for Free Products

Every time I see a free product offer I post it up here. However, these are generally free samples or small items. They are appreciated, but are nothing huge. For more work you can get a greater reward by joining a company like Nielson or MyPoints. There you earn points towards free rewards and products for filling out surveys and doing tasks. This is a step up but it comes with a time commitment disproportionate to the reward. The holy grail of free products is to be a product reviewer. In this case you are sent great products, sometimes in advance of their release to the general market, for review. Your reviews do not have to be positive and you get to keep all the products.

Sounds great doesn't it? The problem is, most product review programs are highly selective. In fact you often cannot apply to  be a member. They find you. Through librarything I have gotten several free books to review but that is about as far as my free product reviews have gone.

Today I decided to go after the best product review program out there : Amazon Vine. Through this program Amazon sends you free products to review and rate. The catch? It's invitation only. They invite people who are top rated reviewers on amazon all ready. So how am I going to make this happen? I am going to write more reviews on Amazon and hope for the best. I am analyzing hte stats of hte best reviewers and the kind of products they review. It's going to take a long time but I am hoping to slowly climb up the rankings.

In general you need about 60+ votes per review to score highly on the reviewer rankings. In order to do this you need to be reviewing high traffic products like electronics and you need to have a real knowledge about the product and what consumers want to know. I'm giving it my best. I don't expect to move up quickly, but I am certainly excited to see where this goes!

In the meantime I am scouting out other interesting reviewer programs and will let you know the results!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Free Subscription to U.S. News 2012 College Compass

U.S. News rankings are used by students around the world trying to compare colleges. Now, by filling out this short form you can get a one year online subscription for free. The online subscription offers access to information like rankings, financial aid, college statistics and graduate programs offered.

Freelance Series: Setting Your Price

After mulling over my last post you may have indentified several areas of freelancing you are interested in. You are ready to start marketing your goods and services. However, you have no clue what to charge. Don't worry. This post is here to help!

Calculate Cost: What is the cost of the supplies you are using? Include cost of shipping and packing materials. Also include cost of depreciation on equipment like computers, glue guns or baking pans. If you buy an item in bulk and use only a portion in this project, do not forget to count that fraction of the price as part of your supply cost. Also consider your expenses for other needs like advertising, space/rent, health care, education, legal advice and office equipment.

How Long Will This Take: Your rate will be determined by how much effort and time you spend on a job. A quick, five minute job usually costs less than a 3 hour job. How valuable do you think your time is? How much do you want to make per hour? Multiple that by the amount of hours the job will take.

For a base price add your supply cost to to your time cost.

Scope Out the Competition: How much do competitors charge? Is their product quality as good as yours? You do not want to price yourself out of the market. If your competition has a price much lower than your base price, then you are either way overpaying for your supplies or they are delivering work of lower quality. If your work is better quality, you might still stand a chance. If your work is of similar quality but due to supply prices your work will cost much more there is no reason for someone to choose you over a competitor. If you have to lower your price to meet your competitors prices this activity may no longer be worth time.

If all your competitors are charging a lot more than you are, you are likely undervaluing your time.

A simple web search will usually bring you to competitor's websites. You can also check out freelance websites and income surveys from groups like the freelancers union.

Fixed vs. Per Hour Pricing: For many projects you will want to charge a fixed rate upfront. This is especially true for items like baked goods, essays (price per word) and jewelry. Clients love fixed rate projects because they know exactly what they will be paying. On the other hand, if you go over time you won't get any more compensation. Other projects are charged per word or per hour. You need to agree on the per word/hour price beforehand and come up with a scheme for billing. Make sure you have  a good relationship with the client otherwise you may find yourself haggling over the bill later. How will you prove you worked that many hours? Is there a max number of hours they will pay for?

The right model will depend on your relationship with the client and your needs. It is very common to get paid for magazine articles per word. Many magazines have a set per word rate.  On the other hand it is very uncommon to get paid for making a hair accessory by the hour. You need to set the price for that accessory that people will pay at the time of purchase.

Don't be afraid to say no or negotiate. If a client is looking to pay you less than you want, it may not be worth it. Clients rarely let you ramp up the rates later. Therefore, selling low at the outset will just lead to expectations of future low rates. Never, ever sell at a loss. If your price is not going to cover your supply costs you are pricing yourself too low.

$10 for $20 at WholeFoods

Today's Living Social Deal is $10 for  $20 at Whole Foods. This is sure to go fast! Valid at any WholeFoods, must be used within 90 days.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Valco Baby Quad Stroller for $199!

Shnoop.com is offering the Valco Baby Quad Stroller in cherry or raven for $199. Using coupon code "dealnews1" will get you free shipping. That's a great price for this stroller that usually retails for $400.

7-inch LCD Digital Photo Frame for as low as $25

SaveMore has a deal today for a 7 inch LCD digital photo frame for $35. Shipping is included int he deal. If you are new to SaveMore you will get $10 for signing up, making this $25!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kmart Baby Sale

Kmart has put thousands of baby items on sale including ALL Baby Gear, Car Seats, Diaper Bags and Bedding. Plus $50 off featured Baby Cribs & Changers. Fisher Price is also having sale days at Kmart. Get 25% off Laugh & Learn Infant Toys, 20% off Power Wheels, Buy 1, Get 1 50% off Little People and Imaginext and more. OR use coupon KTOYSEPT to get EXTRA 10% off regular-priced Toys thru 9/17.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Millionaire Audience Experience

Since I live in NY I sometimes get to attend various television show tapings for free. I've been to America's Got Talent, The Martha Stewart Show, The Daily Show and today I saw a taping of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with Meredith Viera. I had signed up to audition for the show and right now in order to do that you must be an audience member.

I was told to arrive at 9, but to be aware that many people arrive earlier. They also routinely overbook the show and let people in first come first serve so it is wise to arrive before 9. They actually called me to confirm yesterday that I would be coming. The staffer on the phone mentioned that I should not worry about the rain because they had a brand new indoor holding area. This was not entirely true. They do have a new holding area but they are not so quick to let you into it. When I arrived at 8:40 there was already a very long line of umbrella holding people. We all banned together and formed a tent out of our numerous umbrellas. I am glad I did not listen to the guy on the phone who said to "ignore" the rain.

After 30-40 minutes we did get into the holding area. We passed through a metal detector and made our way into a sparse room where we were given audition forms to fill out. They only look at the forms if you pass the audition test, so I wouldn't agonize over it until after you take the test and feel like you passsed. I would also suggest bringing your own pen. They run out.

We were then filed into the studio. We had to walk past the catering services area for the staff, which I thought was a little cruel since we were never offered any snacks or drinks (the Martha Stewart Show actually had a bagel truck offering cocoa, tea, coffeee and pastries). However, I am a little biased as I am currently starving all the time. So bring snacks. we were placed in the bleacher type seating that was comfortable enough. The studio is smaller than it seems on TV and they create the sense of space by asking those in the front seats to scooch in close next to their neighbours. I was lucky and got a seat right behind the spot where the contestants stand so our row got extra atention. Anyone in a white or light shirt was moved because it created bad affects on the camera due to the dark lighting (they warned us about this on the tickets to the show but some people never follow instructions).

Once everyone was seated we were given the scantrons and exams for the audition. You get 10 minutes to answer 30 questions. The time is really not the problem. If you know the answer it's quick. The problem is the difficulty level of the questions. I would say I got around 20  right very easily and quickly. Another five I think I was able to reason out, but the remaining five I had to guess on. The standrad for passing is pretty high so that just isn't going to cut it. They vary the test and allow you to take it again on another day. Once we handed in the scantrons they had my row scooch over to make room for family members of contestants. Some people got booted to the back because there was not enough space. This was the beginning of a lot of scooching for us as throughout the show they kept moving around the family members.

The warm up guy came out and honestly I found him slightly annoying and not that funny. So after various forced cheering, bad jokes and then reviewing the noises we should make during the show, Meredith came out. She was really nice. She chatted with us for a bit and then they brought out a contestant, who was actually funnier and more likeable than the warm-up guy. They had to repeat various questions for the camera after they were done and took various commercial breaks. This was all interesting to see. The warm-up guy came out during the breaks to try and make more jokes. In total we watched three tapings (Meredith changes in the middle so that it looks like a new day) and we got out about one o'clock. Before we left the people who passed the test were anounced and told to stay behind for an interview. Passing the test does not guarantee you end up on the show. They select contestants from the pool. If you are a woman you are much more likely to be selected because most of the test passers were men. They also like people with energy and personality.

Did I pass? Alas no. But I think I will try again. There were no audience freebies or snacks, which I thought was rude given the amount of time we spent there but otherwise it was a fun day.

Cardstore 99 cents sale

For two days only every card on Cardtosre.com will be 99 cents. No code necessary. Two Day Sale: All Cards .99 Cents. Ends 9/8.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Frugal Food: Homemade Challah Bread

One of my biggest reader requests is for my recipes and homemade food tips. Something I make on a regular basis is challah bread. This is a staple for Jewish homes but costs an arm and a leg in my area. So I make it myself. I never thought I would be a homemade challah maker. It seemed like a luxury for SAHM's or those with professional chefs to have those fresh, delicious steaming loaves straight from the oven every week. In high school we were offered ten extra points for making our own challah and bringing it in. I almost never missed a chance for extra credit but was one of the few students to skip this opportunity. I figured I would never use the skill, and was getting an "A" in that particular class anyway. Boy was I wrong.

To avoid the time consuming nature of the bread making proces, I got the quickest recipe I could find and also developed a freezing method so that I only have to go through the proces once every couple of months. It's so good I don't think we could back to store bought.

Note: My recipe is egg free because this is what is considered preferable for bread at the table by our Rabbi. It also happens to have big benefits in terms of having guests with egg allergies.

4 Tbs. live yeast
5  cups of warm water
11 tsp. salt
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
5 lb's flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the yeast and water in a bowl together and wait until it bubbles (see photo of bubbling yeast). Meanwhile mix the salt, oil, sugar, and flour together. It will form a crumbly mix. When the yeast is bubbling nicely add it to the flour mixture. At this point I knead the dough with the dough hook on my kitchen aid mixer until it forms a ball (about ten minutes). You can also do this by hand.

Leave the dough in a warm location for one hour to rise. I like to cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it on top of the preheating oven.

While we wait for our dough to rise, I'd like to discuss mixer options. All of this can be done by hand but it will take you a bit longer and uses more effort. Some people find the act of kneading bread dough very therapeutic. I would probably knead by hand if I hadn't found my Kitchen Aid mixer for a ridiculously low price 3 years ago on black friday. I have never seen the price for such a mixer go even remotely near that low ever again. If you are short on time or prefer using a mixer you have several options.

Kitchen Aid - To do this recipe (and most recipes that call for 5 lb's of flour) properly you need the 6 quart machine. Do not get the 5 quart, it is not big enough. Even with the 6 quart you will have to split the recipe in two because it can't handle all 5 lbs of flour at once. I just divide the recipe in half, do the batches back to back and combine the resulting doughs at the end. The kitchen Aid is great because you can get attachment pieces for other things - like rolling pasta dough or grinding meat, but those are costly. The mixer also can overheat if you try and do more than one recipe of bread in a short time period. Overall I am happy with mine, but if you are looking for something for purely bread purposes I'd suggest one of the two other options I am listing.

The Magic Mill - These are really designed for bread making and can handle more flour and more batches than a kitchen aid. However, some people find them very noisy. A friend once commented that she has to watch hers or else it will vibrate it's way off her table! So there's more power but more expense and still some kinks.

The Bosch - Bosch is a powertool company so the motor on these things is incredibly strong. It can knead large amounts quickly and with much force. There is a model with a blender attachment to extend the use slightly of the machine beyond bread. This is a highly reccomneded machine when I ask frequent Challah makers their opinions.

Now back to the bread. After an hour you should notice the dough has risen/increased in volume. At this point you get to shape it into whatever size loaves and shapes you prefer. (It is at this point that I take challah). Once I have the loaves all shaped, I take the ones for this week and brush their tops with egg yolk. For extra flavor I sprinkle cinnamon sugar or everything bagel spice on top. Pop those bad boys into your preheated oven and let them bake for an hour.

 Here are before and after photos of the dough, before and after rising. Notice how much it has expanded.

Meanwhile take the rest of the loaves, wrapt them tightly in saran wrap and place them in the freezer. When I need the loaves, I pull them straight out of the freezer, brush them with egg and pop them into the oven. No need to defrost and no need to increase baking time.

The smell as they are baking is out of this world!

Free Walstreet Journal Subscription for 36 Weeks

By clicking this Link and filling out a small survey you can get a free Wall Street Journal subscription for 36 weeks. I did this the last time they ran this promotion and am still enjoying my free journal. Remember t use a junk email to avoid spam.

Price Book Update

In August I introduced the concept of the Price Book and how it can, over time, help you save money on groceries and determine the ideal prices for items. I challenged you to start keeping a Price Book along with me to see what we could learn together. Here is my first months worth of lessons.

1) I do not go grocery shopping often. This is a good thing. I tend to be a stocker, so I don't buy much until there's a good sale and then I stock. My main purchases are perishables like milk. Since I was getting procude from my CSA farm (alas, no longer because of Hurricane Irene) I wasn't buying much of that either. So my conclusions are farely humble because of the small amonut of shopping/entries. This is why Price Books get better with age. I suspect it will take about a year of entering everything I buy into the book to really get the most out of this - and even then it is wise not to stop.

2) The ideal price for 11-12 oz boxes of cereal in my neighbourhood is $2.00 or less. This usually only happens at drugstore sales.

3) It is about 50 cents cheaper to buy eggs at Walgreens than the supermarkets here. When Walgreens has a sale it becomes $1 cheaper than the supermarkets.

4)Fruit is best purchased at the guys with carts on the street corners, but buy it only one day in advance. And one of the guys seems to run specials on the weekend because he gets less foot traffic. Bananas drop from 4 for $1 to 5 for a $1.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Forever 21 Free Shipping Code

Today only Forever 21 is offering free shipping on all orders with code "Labor11". If you happen to be spending over $100 the code will also get you 10% off.

Dealing With Losses from Irene

Hurricane Irene wreaked havock on the NorthEast coast. I was very grateful that my aparment was unscathed and our losses would be minimal. My parents and in-laws had some small issues- downed trees that had to be cleared, loss of a fruit producing tree, loss of freezer food because of power outages for over four days - but everybody was healthy and safe. My coworkers had similar small losses. Thank G-d no one was hurt. Sure there were small costs and annoyances - but these are what emergency funds are for.

We just found out what our cost loss will be - our CSA farm has been forced to shut down the season despite having three months to go. Although they salvaged the crops and were hoping to continue the season the federal government has ruled that all farms affected by flooding should not be allowed to sell crops for fear of food safety. Since our farm is located near a river, which they frequently use for irrigation, they were flooded. Their crops are the unsellable and the season is over. We were having a great harvest and my heart goes to them now as this will certainly affect business for next year and they lose all their profits from green markets and the like. CSA is pay-ahead so they do not lose anything on the CSA shares, but members are now left with smaller gorcery budgets. It's the risk we take every year in order to support local, organic farming.

We'll make it this year, especially as I have gotten better at buying groceries for less but the loss will hurt. It makes us question whether we can afford the risk again next year. However, eating with the CSA forced us to consume so many vegetable, and at good prices, that I suspect we may renew again next year. Another disaster this large is unlikely. Although with farming you never know. That's the whole point.

I am also conflicted about the government ruling. I am very strong in support of food safety, but a blanket ruling like this seems unfair as it will hurt many farms and cause a lot of food waste. They are not inspecting farms to determine who is safe and who is not. Our farm, for instance was flooded with irrigation water. there is a high chance that if inspected no dangerous bacteria would be found. but that would not be cost effective so it is not being done and tons of food is going to waste. Alas. At least no one will be hurt by consuming unsafe crops.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Free Milky Way at CVS

The CVS coupon maching is now giving out coupons for a free Milky Way bar. Simply wave your extra care card in front of the coupon center screen. It has a variety of coupons, so keep going until you get the right one. I got mine on the first try!

You still have to pay tax. It came out to 7 cents for me. Of course, when I put in 7 cents the electronic automatic checkout thing decided I deserved 9 cents of change, and since these thins are so weird no one wanted to bother and correct it, so I made 2 cents on this apparently. Thanks CVS.

200 Prints for $1.99 Shipped!

Kodak has a great deal right now for 4 x 6  1 cent prints! Click the "Special offer for You 200 free prints" and upload your desired photos. The only charge will be for shipping.

Zulily Labor Day Sale

Zulily is having a huge labor day sale. Thousands of items have been price slashed including women's, infants, boys, girls and home. Some people are reporting an extra 10% off with the code "FAMILY10" but I have not been able to confirm this.

25-40% Off Baby and maternity on Amazon

Amazon has put select baby and maternity  items on Sale for 25-40% off.Most items are eligible for free super savings and free shipping from Amazon Prime or Amazon mom.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cold Stone BOGO

This is the first time I have ever seen Cold Stone have a Buy one Get one deal. With this printable coupon you can get any ice cream creation with up to four mix ins and get a second creation of equal or lesser value for free. Expires September 8th.

Hot Topic %50 Off Clearance

Hottopic.com is offering an extra 50% off clearance items. This means thigns are dirt cheap. You have to look around, as some of the tiems are a little wild, but I have found nice skirts, shoes and tops from this company amidst all the navel rings and multi color wigs. Shipping is $4.95 flat rate.

Another e-book Deal

While I love the free e-books, I also check out the sales that periodically run. Right now until September 30th Amazon is putting 100 hand-selected editor favorites up for $3.99 or less.  Check out the sale Here.

Finding Your Inner Freelancer

During my "Revenue Review" Posts I often list revenue earned from freelance activities and private clients. This has generated a nice portion of side income for me. The point of those revenue posts are to show you that you too can bring in extra income whether you are a SAHM a WOHM or a WAHM. However, I have been remiss by not explaining how to find these jobs and how to make the most of them. This new freelancer series should help clear that up!

For the inaugural post I will show you how to stop thinking "I would like to freelance, but I have no good ideas" and how to start building a concrete list of freelance activities to start working on.

How much time do you have? Think about your life, your daily rhythms and stresses. When are you free during the day? Are you able to handle steady work during those hours? Can you handle any more work? These are serious questions. If you are only free after the kids go to bed then substitute teaching at a high school is not going to work for you. Likewise if you are only free while the kids are at school then becoming a nightclub waitress during the hours of 9am-4 pm is not going to work. Finally if you are running yourself so ragged at your usual job that the mere thought of doing anything else during your rare free moments makes you feel like you need to lie down, then this is not for you. I would try to loook for ways to live with less instead.

Most freelancers would kill for a regular paying client. However in a recent conversation with a reader, I discovered she really does not want steady work that must always take place between certain hours. Adding another firm time slot to her packed schedule was not for her. This was reasonable. Activities with fixed time slots were not going to be for her, but other activities that one can do anytime, with generous deadlines, would work. They sometimes pay a little less but that's better than nothing. Your freelancing has to fit within your life or else it will end up costing you more than its worth.

What do you Like to do? When thinking about ways to freelance, your hobbies are a great place to start. These are activities that you are doing anyway, that you love and that you are good at. Now they can start to earn you cash. Make a list of your hobbies. Then get creative about what to do with them.

Look at the market you are trying to enter. Is it saturated beyond belief in your area? Are start up costs prohibitive? Then find another way to monetize that hobby. A good example is food service. Many people will have "cooking" or "baking" on their lists. However legally running a catering business in most states is very expensive and requires a lot of tools and equipment. Running one illegally to cut costs opens you up to many law suits. Plus the market where I live is so over-saturated sometimes I think everyone is selling some kind of food item. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen going around advertising that they are starting to sell cookies or appetizers from their house only to never get a single order. Does that mean these are not viable hobbies for monetization? No. It means in my area people need to think of other ways to channel this hobby. Write a cookbook, give cooking classes, start a youtube series on how to properly bake a flan. All of these would be better approaches, with lower start up costs. Think about what makes you unique in an oversaturated field.

What do you all ready do? This is easiest for working moms, but also applies to SAHM's. Think about your primary career and then find ways to freelance outside work. This does NOT mean stealing clients from the office. Heaven forbid. It means using skills from your training to build a freelance career. For instance, it's no secret I'm a graduate student in the health fields. This has helped me gain a tremendous amount of medical knowledge and the ability to process scientific data quickly. So I freelance by writing medical and health related articles that interpret scientific studies for the general public. I do not take time, supplies, or private knowledge from one career to help the other. That would be unethical and would jeopardize my primary career. Instead, I leverage skills that I have gained in a different, creative outlet. What skills do you have from work? How can these be used creatively? For instance a SAHM might find joy in sharing her parenting tips through courses for new moms. An accountant might write finance articles. A school guidance counselor might try her hand at life coaching for adults. Always check the terms of your contract to make sure you are not violating any rules your company has about freelancing.

Do you have talents? are you a whiz at building web sites? playing the piano? entertaining friends with engaging stories? finding just the right outfit? Then use that skill! Your talents and hobbies can lead to serious side cash. If you are really so great at always knowing what to wear then there are people out there who will pay you to dress them. It's called personal shopping. You just need to break into the market (details to follow in a later post). If you play an instrument you can make serious side cash by teaching it to others. There's no need to take a lengthy course to learn something you have never been good at. Instead use the skilss you all redy have.

Warning: turning your hobby into a job can sometimes kill your love of that hobby when clients become picky or you have trouble selling your work. I find it is best to keep just-for-fun hobby activities still going on the side without trying to sell to keep your love of the hobby and your relaxation time intact.

Value Yourself. Many people are all ready doing things they ought to be paid for - they just don't value themselves enough to ask for money. Sometimes freelancing means cutting down on the freebies to random strangers. For instance a friend of mine was very good at website building. She was spending hours upon hours helping people who got her name from a friend of a friend with their projects. They were making money off these proects. She just got a thank you. If she was lucky. Many did not thank her or ever call her again until they needed more help.  Finally she realized that these people were using her instead of a professional to generate income. She finally realized that what she did had value. She started charging a reasonable amount (more on determining prices in another post) and you know what? Most were happy to pay because they had known for years what she had just realized. That her skills were worth something. Others were disgruntled and left. But guess what? they would never have been paying clients and they were taking advantage of her. They were some of the biggest time suckers and complainers of the lot. Her life got less hectic without them.

This is not to say you have to stop helping out friends and family. Community service is a wonderful thing. However you also need to realize that your time and supplies and energy have value. You need to realize that some people will be annoyed at not being able to get freebies, but that you need to think about what those freebies cost your family. Are you spending time you could be spending with your kids on the phone with a person you are distantly familiar with helping them with their kids college essays? Are you spending more time on the phone with strangers giving advice than you are with your husband? Enough is enough. You need to have a clear policy in place about who gets charged and how much this activity is allowed to seep into family time. Providing free work for grandma seems like a no-brainer but when friends of cousins start asking for freebies you start heading down a slippery slope. Especially if you are a people pleaser. What you do has value. It is up to you to decide if and how much you will charge for that. But never forget that you are are worth something too.

Passive Income is the holy grail of income. I am going to devote an entire post to it. Basically it means you invest a certain amount of time setting something u and then it continues to bring in money while you do nothing or very little to maintain it. While most freelance activities are one shot deals - write me this article and I will pay you this dollar amount- passive income is the gift that keeps on giving. It is also a little harder to set up. But it can be a boon to those who only have small increment of time every now and again to spare. Currently I only make about $10 a month in passive income. But it's the best ten dollars ever because I am not doing anything to earn it! I did something a year ago and it keeps on giving. I do not scoff at $10. This is something I will be trying to focus on with you as it is still an area of active exploration for me.

Do you freelance? Are you starting to compile your list of activities? Share and post your questions here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

$8 for a $15 Staples Gift Card

Saveology has a great deal today - 8$ for a $15 Staples gift card! Offer can be redeemed 24 hours after voucher is received. You must redeem the voucher within 60 days of purchase. Once you redeem the voucher you get a gift card that never expires. There will not be any shipping charges.