One of the emails I receive time and again is from moms who want to
find a way to earn money from home. While I don’t consider myself to be
a WAHM (work-at-home-mom) expert, I have worked from home for five
years now and have learned a lot along the way. This series is for
those of you who are contemplating working from home, those of you who
think you’d really love to work from home, and those of you who just
wonder what working from home involves.
I’ve read a lot of books and articles over the years on the subject
of working from home and find that often they are somewhat unrealistic. This series will not
be about get-rich-quick schemes (I hope you know by now that there is
no such thing!), how to work for one hour a week and make $100,000 a
year (that’s also a fairy tale!), or how making money from home is a
simple, easy thing.
What I will aim to share with you is my personal journey in
becoming a WAHM, what things have and haven’t worked for me, what I
wish someone had told me when I was first contemplating starting a
business from home, and how you, too, can become a WAHM.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m currently making a good income
from home–last year, I made the equivalent of a good part-time job and
this year, if things continue to go the way they are going, I will
likely double that figure. I’m doing the majority of my work in the
early morning hours and during my girls’ afternoon quiet time/naptime
and am thrilled to have the opportunity to bring in a good income while
not neglecting my most important priorities–that of being a wife and
I’m sure many moms could look at me and want what I have–the
ability to make a good income while staying at home, choosing my own
hours, and taking care of my husband, home, and family first. I can
take a day off (or even a few days off!) whenever I like and
the money continues to come in at the same rate because of the many
multiple streams of income I’ve set in place.
All this might sound really cool (and it is!) but what most people
often don’t add into this equation are the countless hours, days,
weeks, months, and even years that I spent building my online earnings up to the point they are at. I
do not care to recall all the failed income-earning things I’ve tried
nor the incredibly naive mistakes I’ve made. You don’t want to know
about the sleep I’ve missed or the outside opportunities I’ve had to
say “no” to in order to stay focused at keep at it–even when the going
The effort has paid off and I’m now reaping the fruits of my labors
(though I’m still making lots of mistakes and I’m sure I’ll continue to
do so until the day I die!), but I won’t ever forget the struggles I
had to go through to get me where I’m at or the mountains I’ve had to
climb along the way.
I am a firm believer that, with God’s blessings and lots of hard work, anyone can successfully work from home. However, I will be the first to tell you that working from home is just that–work.
I’m by nature a positive person but I won’t sugar-coat the truth when
it comes to working from home: if you are not prepared to put in lots
and lots and lots of time and effort, working from home won’t work for you.
So, before you even consider working from home, I cannot stress how important it is that you are prepared for the long-haul. It often takes months or even years
to see results and steady, reliable income. If you stick with it,
though, it will eventually pay off–and likely it could pay off beyond
your wildest imaginations!
Just for fun: How many of you currently work from home? Tell us a little about what you do and what has and hasn’t worked for you.
I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from readers about ArtsCow.com recently and the offer they currently are running of 400 free prints plus a free 8×8 photo book for all new member sign-ups. While this seems like a pretty great deal, you have to pay shipping and I think their shipping prices are rather steep.
Heather, over at Freebies 4 Mom, did an in-depth cost analysis of ArtsCow.com as compared to Shutterfly and found it to be much less expensive. However, the cost of the free prints, with shipping, was still $0.10 each.
Since we’ve seen multiple completely free digital photo printing opportunities in the last year, this doesn’t seem like such an exceptional deal to me, especially since I don’t order photo prints on a regular basis. On the other hand, if you normally are ordering prints from Shutterfly or elsewhere, you might want to check into this as it could save you money. (By the way, Heather offers a review of ArtsCow.com here.)
Most photo printing companies have a new member offer and these are always worth checking into. Ashley emailed me a list of many of the current offers:
Shutterfly.com –they give 25 free prints when you sign up.
CVS.com –sign up in the PhotoCenter and use your Extra Value card.
This gave me 50 free prints. I was even able to pick them up at my
local CVS. I paid 56 cents for 53 photos!
Winkflash.com –if you use code CLUBPHOTO5 you will receive 50 free photos on your first order!
Where do you get your digital pictures printed? What websites do you find have the best deals or least expensive prices? Is $0.10/print a good price to you?
Possible Free Coupon Inserts at Local Libraries – From Melissa:
I work at a library, but have been buying the Sunday paper for the
coupons for a while now. I finally asked at the front desk and found
out that I could be getting my coupons for free since they take them
out of the paper before shelving it. There are a few others who work
here who also are interested in some of the coupons, but they had THREE
SmartSource books full of coupons that were still available for me to
take. Some coupons were clipped already, but for being free, I can’t
Your readers might want to check at their local libraries–including
university and college libraries–to see if they can get the coupons
from the newspapers.
June 25, 2008 is Double Coke Points Day – From Cris:
Found this through mycokerewards.comDouble Points June 25: Double Points on all 12-packs,
June 25 only. Get double points on all My Coke Rewards 12-packs, June
25, 2008. Valid for all participating brands, but on on 12-pack
packaging. It’s the perfect time to stock up on Coca-Cola products for
your next Summer party! Double points for participating 12 packs will be active on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 from 12:01 am ET to 11:59 pm ET.Fantastic for all those who just bought the Coke deals at CVS or
elsewhere. Save the codes until Wednesday, June 25th and enter them
then. Each code should give you 20 POINTS!!! That’s almost a free 20
oz Coke or 32 oz Powerade (which are 24 points each).
Another mom at church was talking about the great items
she’s gotten entirely free through a national effort called Freecycle
Network. I was able to find my town on the yahoo
group pages, and now I get an email everytime someone has something to
give away, or a specific need for an item. It’s awesome! And free!
Is the 3 Months or 3,000 Miles Oil Change Thing a Myth? – From Lori:
My husband had been reading something online that said most
cars don’t need their oil changed as often as the "three months or
three thousand miles" that we often hear. Sure enough, when we looked
in the owner’s manual for our Honda Civic, it recommended changing the
oil every six months or 7500 miles. We were flabbergasted that we’ve
been wasting so much money (and so much OIL) for so long!
Return Your BPA Bottles for Gift Cards – From Heather:
My son has three Avent bottles that have BPA in them and we haven’t been using. Babies R Us/Toys R Us is accepting these bottles back and either giving you one BPA-free bottle in return for each bottle you bring in or store credit (no receipt necessary). I returned three at the Toys R’ Us yesterday (I had received them at my baby shower and didn’t have a gift receipt, but it wasn’t a problem) and got a gift card in the amount of the retail price of the bottles. It may work with other brands as well.
Sign up here to receive the Home Made Simple coupon booklet with over $31 in money-saving coupons. (Last time this booklet was available, there was a coupon for a completely free product!).
More coupons and savings:
Sign up for The Home Depot Garden Club and receive valuable coupons, savings, and gardening advice.
Get a coupon for $2/1 Perdue chicken here. (Thanks, Mary!)
From Freebies 4 Mom:
Get a free pack of Stride Gum after going through a mock court case "People vs. Stride" on their website (hint: I selected "Settle"
to get to the free sample form, if you select "Sue" it takes you to the
entry form for a contest with only 11 winners). It’s a bit silly (and
you might want to turn the volume down), but just click through the
screens to get to the request form and you can choose from Sweet Berry,
Sweet Cinnamon, or Always Mandarin. Stride says they will mail you your
full pack of gum in 4 to 6 weeks.
At first I thought that the deals at CVS looked really lean this week, but there are actually some money-makers to be had, so in the absence of many $/$$, that is a good thing. Here are the best deals I see so far (As always, let me know if you find any mistakes or if I missed anything worth mentioning!):
As always, remember that if you’ve not updated your email address here, you can do that and print out a $4/$20 CVS coupon.
Buy 4 SoyJoy Bars at $1 each, Get $4 ECBs (Limit 5)
There is a printable $1/4 coupon here (I’ve heard it may have maxed out already, though, so if you get an error message consider sending an email to SOYJOY requesting that they reset the coupon) and there are also Buy 2, Get 1 coupons from recent inserts.
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs
Buy $20 Worth of Charmin/Bounty/Duracell, Get $10 ECBs (Limit 1)
This is the same deal which has run for a few weeks but it is likely reset so if you’ve done it in the last few weeks, you should still be able to do it again.
Buy 4 Bounty Paper Towel packs at $5.49
Use $4/$20 (if you have one)
Use 4 $1/1 coupons (from 06/01 P&G insert)
Earn $10 ECBs
Buy 1 Aussie Shampoo or Conditioner at $2.99, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 1)
$0.99 after ECBs
Sobe Life Water is on sale B1G1. Print B1G1 coupons here and you can buy two and get both free by combining the store B1G1 sale with the B1G1 coupon!
Kellogg’s SmartStart cereal is on sale B1G1. Use the $3/2 coupons which were available online recently (are they still available anywhere? I can’t seem to find any.) and get two boxes for $0.50-$0.65/box
Glade is on sale for $0.99. Use $1/1 coupons from June Parents magazine to get it free!
Nature’s Bounty is on sale B1G1. Buy two products which are $4 or less. Use 2 $2/1 coupons here and get them both free!
And I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but don’t forget about the $2/1 CVS skincare product coupon here (print at 50%). There
are a number of small skincare products this could be used on such as
the Essence of Beauty sponges and loofahs, hand sanitizers, soaps,
lotions, and more. It will be up to your individual store as to what
constitutes a "skincare" product. Here’s one small money-maker deal
idea using this coupon, let us know what others you find:
*Small Money-Maker Deal Idea*
Buy 1 CVS men’s after shave at $2.59
Use this $2/1 CVS skincare coupon
Spend $0.59 out of pocket plus tax
Get $1 ECB back!
*****JUNE ECB DEALS*****
Buy 1 Listerine Smart Rinse (250 ml) at $3.49, Get $3.49 ECBs (Limit 4)
Use $1/1 coupon here
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs
(There are reports of some stores having tear pads with a full rebate on this product so look for those!)
Buy 1 Brut Deodorant (2.5 oz) at $2.69, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 5)
Use $1/1 coupon from 04/06 insert
Free plus overage after ECBs
Buy 1 Oral B CrossAction Manual Toothbrush (2 pk) at $6.99, Get $6.99 ECBs (Limit 2)
Free after ECBs
Buy 1 CVS Pharmacy Sheer or Plastic Bandages (40 ct) at $1.99, Get $1.99 ECBs (Limit 3)
Free after ECBs
Buy 1 Huggies Lotion or Wash (15 oz) at $3.49, Get $2 ECBs (Limit 5)
Use $1/1 coupons from 05/18 insert
$0.49 each after coupons
Buy 1 CVS Cotton Swabs (500 Count) at $3.19, Get $2 ECBs back (Limit 5)
See all monthly deals with coupon match-ups here.
******ESPECIALLY FOR BEGINNERS*****
New to CVS-ing? Don’t try to make heads or tails of this post because it probably won’t make a lot of sense to you. Instead, go here where I explain the CVS program in full detail. Want to join in the fun and incredible savings? Then go here where I share more about how to make it work for you. After that, go here where my friend FishMama maps out a simple plan for beginning CVS-ers to maximize on the ECB deals this month.
Share Your Scenarios!
your shopping trip planned or did you come up with a great deal
scenario/idea? Just post about it on your blog and leave your link
below. Please include full details on coupons you are using, etc. so
that those who are just beginning to get the hang of CVS can especially
benefit from seeing things broken down for them like this. If you don’t
have a blog, feel free to share your scenarios in the comment section.
Note: So as not to confuse the newbies, please only post deal scenarios/deals which are applicable at CVS this week. Thanks so much!
Here are the best deals I see so far (let me know if you see any mistakes):
Aluminum foil – $2 for $1 with in-ad coupon
Edge Shaving Gel – $1.99 with in-ad coupon
Use $1/1 coupon here
Stack with $1/1 June EasySaver coupon
Free after coupons!
Revlon Face and Color Cosmetics are B1G1
Buy 2 Revlon ColorStay 12-Hour Eye Shadow at $6.99
Use 2 $3/1 Revlon coupon from 06/01 SmartSource insert
$0.49 each after coupons!
REGISTER REWARD DEALS
The following deals are part of a single RR deal: buy a combined total of $15 (before coupons), get $5 RR.
Ragu pasta sauce: 3/$5; use coupon from 5/18 insert (varies from .25/1 to 1.00/3). Total cost: will vary, but should be around .86 each
Lipton boxed tea: 3/$5; use coupon from 5/18 insert (varies from .50/1 to 1.00/2). Total cost: will vary, but should be around .61 each
MONTHLY REBATE DEALS
has a great opportunity for you to make a little money this month.
Theragran-M vitamins are on sale this month for 4.99! Also, Walgreen’s
is making this free with their Free After Rebate program for the month
Here is the best part, Walgreen’s pharmacy has
available a tri-fold flier full of coupons that are valid until December
2008. In this flier is a coupon good for $4.00/1
Theragran-M vitamins. When you use this coupon and then submit your
monthly rebates you will make $4.00 on the deal.
Buy 1 Multi-Betic Multi-Vitamins (60 pack) at $9.99, Get $9.99 rebate
Use $2/1 coupon from this Diabetic Products site
Free plus overage after coupon and rebate!
Buy 1 Ecotrin Low-Strength Tablets (45 pack) at $2, Get $2 rebate
Use $1/1 coupon from 05/11 insert
Free plus overage after coupon and rebate!
Buy 1 Walgreens Gluco-Shot (2 oz) at $1.99, Get $1.99 rebate
Free after rebate
Buy 1 Walgreens Calcium Creamies (75 pack) at $5.99, Get $5.99 rebate
Free after rebate
Buy 1 Walgreens Water Filtration Replacement Cartridge at $6.99, Get $6.99 rebate
Free after rebate up to $6.99
Also, Braundi wrote:
Here is a link
to a $2 off coupon for Unifiber. There is a $5 rebate in the EasySaver
catalog. This will make it $7 off. If Unifiber goes on sale, it could
be less than $6.99 after coupon and rebate.
New to shopping at Walgreens? Start here.
What deals did you see this week? What are you buying this week?
I mentioned our marathon shopping trip last week, but didn’t get a chance to show you pictures. Before I show you pictures, though, I need to tell you that our van has been undergoing repairs recently, so I’d been without a vehicle for a number of days and the girls and I were feeling quite a bit of cabin fever.
What’s the perfect solution to cabin fever? Go grocery shopping! We don’t usually go to more than 3-4 stores per week but Friday night and Saturday, we were on a roll so we just went and went and went. And we had a blast! Well, at least we did until Kaitlynn starting throwing up–which quickly signified the end of our shopping spree!
Here’s what we got:
Since I just switched to shopping for two weeks at a time and was
actually a week ahead, I went ahead and used up almost all of my
allotted $80 to spend. There were such great deals and we were
motivated buyers, so I figured I might as well stock up while I had the
FIRST STOP: CVS
1 box Fiber One Cereal – $3.00
2 bags Gold Emblem candy –
2 Listerine SmartRinse – $3.49 each
1 Brut deodorant – $2.89
3 CVS cotton swabs – $3.19 each
Used $3/$15 CVS coupon
Used $3/$10 CVS coupon
Used $1/1 Fiber One coupon
Use $1/2 Gold Emblem coupons
Used $9 and $6.99 ECBs
Spent $0.21 out of pocket
Earned $6, $3, and $6.98 ECBs
SECOND STOP: HEN HOUSE
3 bottles Juicy Juice – on sale $1.97, used $1/1 coupons
3 bags Chex Mix – on sale for $1.50, used $1/1 coupons
2 bags Texas Toast croutons – $1.65, used $1/1 coupons
2 boxes microwave popcorn, on closeout for $0.39 each
2 cans tuna, on sale for $0.58
1 container Farmland All Natural shaved turkey – on sale for $2.79, used $1/1 coupon
2 lbs fresh green beans – on sale for $0.99/lb
8 ears of fresh corn – on sale 4 for $1
Bags of frozen peaches, raspberries, and blackberries – on sale for $1.77 each
1 bag frozen blueberries – on sale for $2.49
1/2 gallon organic whole milk from a local farm – $3.19
1 package English muffins – $0.85
Yoplait kids drinkable yogurt (6-pk) – on sale for $2.48, used $1/1 coupon
YoPlus yogurt (4-pk) – on sale for $2.17, used $1/1 coupon
Total: $35.48 (saved $29.06 with store sales and coupons)
THIRD STOP: WAL-MART
2 boxes Kashi cereal – $2.78, used $2/1 coupon
1 box Kashi Vive cereal – $3.46, used FREE coupon
1 Kotex small pack – $1, used $1/1 coupon
1 box LiveActive cereal – $2.98, used $3/1 coupon
Edge shaving gel – $1.50, used $1/1 coupon
V8 Fusion – $2.98, used $2/1 coupon
5 cans Muir Glen tomatoes – $1.18 each, used 5 $1/1 coupons
Total after coupons: $5.71
FOURTH STOP: HY-VEE
2 bags Corazonas chips – used 2 FREE coupons
1 Deli Creations – on sale for $2, used $1/1 coupon
1 cottage cheese (16 oz) – on sale for $1.38
3 lbs Braeburn apples – on sale for $0.99/lb
Total after coupons: $6.10
FIFTH STOP: CVS #2
1 box Cheerios – $3
2 Gold Emblem candies at $0.88 each
1 Oral B toothbrush – $6.99
3 Huggies Bath and Body – $3.49
Used $1/2 Gold Emblem
Used 3 $1/1 Huggies coupons
Used $3, $6, and $6.50 ECB–had them adjust this down
$0.01 out of pocket
Earned $6.99 and $6 ECBs
SIXTH STOP: CVS #3
5 boxes Honey Nut Cheerios – $3 each
1 Oral B Toothbrush – $6.99
2 Gold Emblem candies – $0.88 each
Used 2 $1/1 Cheerios coupons
Used 3 $0.60/1 Cheerios coupons
Used $1/2 Gold Emblem coupon
Used $3, $6 and $6.99 ECBs
Spent $3.47 out of pocket
Earned $10 and $6.99 ECBs
SEVENTH STOP: PRICE CHOPPER
4 boxes of SmartStart cereal (our very favorite cereal!) on sale 4 for $10
Used 2 $3/2 coupons
Paid $4.75 out of pocket after coupons and sales (Saved $10.56)
EIGHTH STOP: ALDI
Oil – $2.79
2 cans refried beans – $0.59 each
Cantaloupe – $0.99
Baby carrots – $0.99
Noodles – $0.99
Tortillas – $0.99
Corn chips – $0.99
2 bunches bananas – $2.96 total
3 blocks (8 oz.) cheese – $1.89 each
Lettuce – $0.99
Animal crackers – $1.19
FINAL STOP: CVS #4
6 Gold Emblem candies – $0.88 each
3 CVS Aftershave – $2.59 each
1 CVS sharing lotion – $2.99
1 Brut Deodorant – $2.89
Used $3/$15 coupon
Used $10.00 ECB
Used $5.93 ECB– had them adjust it down
Spent $0.00 out of pocket
Earned $4 ECB, $3 ECB, and $5 ECB
GRAND TOTAL: $76.94–under budget and we got LOTS of food and household products for that! Yay!
Stay tuned for Monday’s post on the complete menu of what we’re eating with these groceries.
How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week on your blog (with pictures,
if possible!) and then come back here and leave your link below.
Chicago-land area Panera Bread Stores: Free Breakfast Sandwich with Cereal Donation–Saturday, June 21, 2008
On Saturday, June 21, 2008, if you bring one box of cereal to any participating Panera Bread locations in the Chicago-land area, you’ll receive a coupon for a FREE grilled breakfast sandwich.
All product collected will
benefit both Northern Illinois Food Bank and Greater Chicago Food
Depository. One coupon per cereal box donation. Donation must be in the
form of an unopened cereal box of a minimum 12 ounce size that has not reached
its expiration date.
getting lately, this could be a good deal! If only this were nationwide! Here’s a link to the full info. Thanks, Linnea!
I pulled the Huggies Wipes deal I posted earlier because it wasn’t working for everyone (if it worked for you, let me know what you bought–I’m still trying to figure out why it was working for some and not for others). However, this deal from Mercedes will hopefully work:
Planters Nuts are spitting out an $5 RR when you buy a certain number of items. Details here. Credit to Stifflersmmom and khmiller at HCW for sharing this.
Buy 12 boxes of Kraft Mac N cheese on sale through Saturday for $0.69 each with 7 day coupon = $8.29
Buy 4 planters nuts on sale B1G1 = $6.98
Use 4 $3 off planters printable when you buy three kraft product (you will need access to two computers to get four coupons)
=3.27 + tax out of pocket and get $5 register reward back!
Free plus overage after Register Reward
As this is an unadvertised deal, I can’t guarantee that it will work, but it’s worth a shot–especially considering that you’re not out-of-pocket much even if you don’t get the RR back! Let us know if you try it and it works!
See all deals at Walgreens this week here.
It’s the first day of Summer and parents everywhere are in the market for creative and cost-effective ideas for frugal family fun. Here are a few of our family’s favorite ways to have fun without breaking the bank:
–Go grocery shopping together. We often do this as a family and make an outing of it. If you have to do it, you might as well make it fun! We bring snacks and drinks along, the girls get to ride in those fancy carts most stores now sport, and we have a blast seeing how much we can get for how little. The best part of all is that grocery stores seem keep their thermostat set at almost-freezing temperatures so it’s a cheap way to beat the heat (well, provided that you stick to your list and your budget and don’t impulse buy!).
–Pack a picnic, a blanket, some books, and some toys for the girls and go hang out at a nearby lake for the afternoon. This is especially great for a leisurely Sunday afternoon: the girls get some fresh air and exercise and mom and dad can sit in the shade on a blanket and watch them play.
–Load up the girls in the wagon and walk to a nearby fast food joint
or ice cream shop for drinks or cones. (This is an especially great
thing to do if you have coupons or if there is a freebie offer going
Those are three really simple and frugal things we love to do in the Summer. What about your family? Post your frugal family fun ideas for Summer on your blog and leave your link below so we can all be inspired. Don’t have a blog? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.
A few reader updates on Wal-Mart deals…
Wal-mart had their Bertolli Premium Pasta Sauce on sale for $1.50. With
recent $1/1 coupons from inserts that is a pretty good deal (there are also coupons here). Normal
price is $1.78, I think.
The Wal-Mart in Battle Creek, MI had the
Buddies soaps down to $0.87 a bar–this makes the $2/2 buddies
product a coupon an even better deal! I also was able to
have them match Rite-Aid’s Nexcare children’s bandaid sale price of
$0.99 and I used $1.00 off coupon I had from a few Sunday’s ago!
I just got back from Wal-Mart and they had all the 32 oz Powerades
for $0.60 here in metro Atlanta. With the $0.75 coupon, that’s a moneymaker!
See more Wal-Mart deals for this week here.
Friday, June 20, 2008 from 4-9 PM, all 41 Cold Stone Creamery stores throughout the state of
Michigan will be treating customers to a number of special offers and
activities. Also, each store will give away free slices of ice cream
cake and samples from the new better-for-you smoothie line. (Thanks, Melissa!)
Free Thomas Train Toy at Toys R Us (make sure your printer is ready to print when you click on the link)