Friday, April 30, 2010

New Look!

I changed the look of my recipe blog today! Check it out, and please feel free to oooh and aahh over it. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Quote of the Day: A.W. Tozer

"Listen to no man who fails to listen to God."

Friday, April 23, 2010

At Home Income: Survey Savvy Review

If you missed last week's review on Opinion Outpost, you can find it here.

Survey Savvy was the first survey company I ever signed up with. I signed up with them a couple of years ago, and for awhile I took surveys when they were offered. After awhile, I hit a particularly busy season of life and stopped taking the surveys when they were emailed to me. Two months ago, when I decided to start getting serious about surveys in an attempt to make some extra income when I quit working, I started taking the surveys again.

The best part about Survey Savvy, in my opinion, is the referral program. Even though I went for about two years without taking any surveys, I continued to make a little money. In fact, due to my taking a "sabbatical" for a year or two, I have made more money from Survey Savvy through my referrals than I ever did through surveys! (This would not have been the case if I had been actively taking their surveys all along, though.)

I don't receive a lot of survey invitations from Survey Savvy... probably 2-3 per month. And, as always, you won't necessarily qualify for every survey that you attempt. However, they are a good paying survey company and you can request a check once you have $1.00 in your account. I have been paid MANY times by them, and can vouch for them in saying that they are the real deal.

If you sign up with Survey Savvy, you will want to keep records of the surveys you take. This is a good habit to get into anyway with survey taking, but even more so with Survey Savvy, because after you complete a survey, you will not immediately see a record of it on their website. At the end of the survey, it will tell you that your account will be credited within a certain amount of time. I think it says 4-6 weeks, but it doesn't seem to actually take that long. I think what it boils down to is that they don't credit your account until the survey has closed and the market research firm has received all the data back on the survey.

Survey process:
You receive a survey invitation by email. You click on the link, which takes you to the survey. You answer the initial questions and if you're not a match for the survey, it will tell you that pretty quickly. I believe they enter anyone who was not a match into some sort of drawing ($25?), but I've never won that, so I can't really speak on that. If you're a match, you continue on until you've finished the survey. At the end, it will give you the rundown about the approximate amount of time until your account is credited. Keep track of that survey and dollar amount. If you don't want to keep a record on paper, you could just keep the email invitation, or maybe forward the email invitation to yourself along with the date that you completed the survey. That way, you'll have the survey number, the compensation amount, and the completion date, just in case. (For the record, I have never had trouble with receiving a survey payment from Survey Savvy.) The only thing that I would change about Survey Savvy (other than wishing that they would send me more surveys), is the fact that they don't notify you when money has been credited to your account. So when you complete a survey, make sure that you mark it on your calendar, or maybe just plan on signing into your account once a week. Once your account has been credited, you can request a check.

Survey Savvy has a great referral program. If you refer someone who ends up signing up as your referral, you will earn money EACH TIME that person takes a survey. And if one of your referrals refers someone else, you will earn a small amount of money each time that person takes a survey. For instance, according to the website, I have 10 referrals from when I first started with Survey Savvy, who have taken a total of 16 surveys. I also have two referrals' referrals, and one of them has taken one survey. I have made $19 from my referrals taking surveys, and have made $0.50 from my referrals' referrals taking surveys. (How many times can I say the word "referrals" in one paragraph??)

Signing into your account and seeing that you've been credited a couple of dollars for doing absolutely nothing is a pretty nice feeling. :) Most survey companies only reward you once for obtaining referrals, so the fact that you continue to make money each time one of your referrals takes a survey makes Survey Savvy's referral program #1 in my book! So, if you plan on referring anyone to sign up under you, you will want to check your account regularly to see if any referral money has been credited.

Interested? Sign up (free, of course!) by clicking on this link. If you click on the link and then for some reason do something else online and then go back to the website, or decide to think about it and then go back to the website directly later (rather than using the link), I won't get credit for it. So if you decide to sign up, pleeeeeease make sure to sign up via this link so that I can get credit. I'll be forever grateful! :)

Once you've signed up, be sure to go to "My Portrait" and complete all the surveys there. Just like with Opinion Outpost, you won't be paid for completing these surveys, but if you don't complete them, you won't receive many/any surveys, since they won't know how to match you up with surveys that you would qualify for.

And as always, if you end up signing up through me, please consider leaving me a comment or shooting me an email to let me know! :)

**Looking for a survey company that sends survey opportunities more often than Survey Savvy? Check out my review on my favorite survey company, Opinion Outpost!**

Thursday, April 22, 2010

When Two Churches Collide (Why I'm Thankful for My Church)

This past weekend, I attended a home school convention with some friends from my church, and I ran into some members of my former church. It was a strange feeling. Not an awkward feeling, but a strange feeling none the less. As I stood in front of my church's booth at the convention hall, talking to an old friend from my former church, I could hear her husband behind me, talking to my current church's missionary. I definitely had the sensation of standing in between two worlds... my old church life and my new church life.

I love my old church family. We went through a terrible, terrible thing together and although it felt like the world had collapsed around us, we hung on to each other and got through it together. It was hands down the worst thing I have EVER gone through in my life, and I will always feel a bond with those who went through it with me. However... as I stood there I was overcome with a feeling of gratitude for my current church, and the feeling that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I sometimes miss the casual dress and atmosphere of my old church... but I'm thankful for the variety of people/dress in my new church and for the priority placed on modesty.

I sometimes miss the hugging in my old church... but I'm thankful to be around men and women who have made it a priority to set physical boundaries.

I sometimes miss the way that my extended family members all felt completely comfortable and accepted in my old church... but I'm thankful for "uncomfortable" preaching. I would much rather see them saved from their sins than comfortable in their sins.

I'm thankful for...

... the friend who prayed faithfully for me regarding my desire to quit working and start home schooling, and rejoiced with me when that desire started to become a reality,

... the friend who is the mother of eleven children and still takes the time to advise me on child training,

... the friend who made the commitment to help me homeschool my niece and nephew for four months, which allowed us to pull the kids out of school, rather than suffering through the remainder of the school year.

Above all, I'm thankful for a pastor who lives what he teaches, and goes to great lengths to make sure that he is never alone with a woman who is not his wife... because I remember all too well what it feels like to find out that your pastor is not the man you thought he was.

Friday, April 16, 2010

At Home Income: Opinion Outpost Review

Ooooh, lookie there! I can fake the date of my post and then no one will be any the wiser that I'm three days late on my Frugal Friday post. :)

As I mentioned before, after doing tons of research I began taking paid surveys online (and doing a few other online activities for pay) about a month and a half ago, so that I can supplement our income a little bit once I quit working, without having to leave the home or be tied to a certain schedule. So far so good!

So as promised, here is my first survey/online income review! (Note: All online companies that I'm using are completely free to join.)

Opinion Outpost is so far my absolute favorite survey company. I've been taking surveys with them for about five weeks, and have completed ten surveys. So that means that I qualify, on average, for two surveys per week. (Most survey companies will send you invitations for all of the surveys that they think you might possibly qualify for, but you will definitely not qualify for every survey that you are sent. I'd say that with Opinion Outpost, I probably qualify for about half of the surveys that I'm sent. Your results will probably differ.)

One GREAT thing about Opinion Outpost is that you can request payment once you have $5.00 in your account. (Many survey companies require that you have a higher amount in your account before requesting payment... usually around $20.00.) Another reason that I love Opinion Outpost is that the checks arrive VERY quickly. When requesting a check, it says to allow 4-6 weeks for payment, but I have received three checks so far, and the longest I've had to wait was eight days!

If you're interested in earning a little extra spending money each month, I highly recommend Opinion Outpost! After five weeks of taking surveys, I've been paid a total of $21.80, and currently have $2.00 in my account. $21.80 of that is from actual surveys, so that means that each of my surveys have paid an average of $2.18. I earned the other $2.00 through a referral. If a member of Opinion Outpost refers someone, and that person ends up joining by using the member's referral link, the member will receive $2.00 after that person successfully completes their first survey. Which leads me to my sales pitch... :)

To sign up, PLEASE do so by clicking on this link. If you click on the link and then for some reason to go another website, or decide to think about it and then go back to the website directly later (rather than using the link), I won't get credit for it. So if you decide to sign up, pleeeeeease make sure to sign up via this link so that I can get credit. I'll be forever grateful! :)

After signing up, you'll want to take the time to go to "My Profiles" and fill out the surveys there. You don't get paid for taking them, but it will make all the difference in the world as to how many surveys they'll send you. If they don't know anything about you, they can't really match you up with any surveys!

It's not necessary, but if you end up signing up through me, please consider leaving me a comment or shooting me an email to let me know! :)

One last thing: With Opinion Outpost, you will be notified of survey opportunities through email. In other words, there's no reason to sign in to the website looking for surveys... if they have one that they think you might qualify for, they will email you.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Have you discovered the Homeschool Freebie of the Day website yet??  It's FULL of great freebies.  The only "catch" is that the Freebie of the Day is only available for that day only (with the exception of Friday's Freebie, which is available all weekend).   

Here's a blurb from their website:

Every weekday, Monday through Friday, we’ll post a new homeschooling “freebie” to this site. What kind of “freebies”? Stuff like: Unit Studies… Ebooks… Audio Programs… Games… Samples… Lesson Plans… classic books… and other quality resources! This is the REAL THING.

Many of these will be products that you would normally pay for on their regular websites… but here on the Homeschool Freebie of the Day site, they’re 100% free… at least for that one day! Just download your copy and enjoy! It’s as simple as that!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another Skirt Giveaway!

For those of you who tried (or didn't try!) to win a New Creation skirt last time, In a Shoe is hosting another skirt giveaway!  Go here and leave a comment (read the directions first; you have to leave a comment on what you like or would like to see in maternity skirts), and they will randomly select a winner in about a week.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Frugal Friday: At Home Income

Be sure to catch Part One of today's Frugal Friday post by clicking here! :)

As I get closer and closer to leaving my job behind (six weeks from today!), my loss of income is weighing heavily on my mind. I'm working on getting some at-home income in place so that I can earn a bit of extra money. I've found that taking surveys online is a good way for me to do this. It certainly couldn't replace a full time job, but for someone like me who is wanting to earn a little extra money on my own schedule, it's just right!

Specifically, my goal is to earn enough money through various survey companies, etc. to cover the cost of birthday/Christmas gifts each year. I think it's a realistic goal. Based on how my first month has gone, it's going to work out very well! I'm also considering mystery shopping and other things along those lines, so if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to throw them my way! :)

In the coming weeks, I'll be reviewing various survey companies, etc. that I'm using. I won't review a company until I've actually been paid by them, so that I can attest to the fact that they are reliable payers. (All survey companies that I am affiliated with are 100% free to join, by the way.)

Frugal Friday: Part One

Today I have some very deep, meaningful words of frugal wisdom to share. 

Setting $17.80 worth of chicken in the sink to thaw on Wednesday evening and FORGETTING ALL ABOUT THEM until you return home from work on Thursday evening (TWENTY FOUR HOURS LATER) is probably not the most frugal thing a person can do.

I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Frugal Friday: Update

I know that my millions of blog readers have probably been terribly disappointed by the lack of Frugal Friday posts lately.


My only excuse is that I haven't been frugal enough with my time lately to be able to post a weekly Frugal Friday post. :) Truthfully, I've been doing a lot of research. Not a lot of putting-into-practice, but tons of research. There are a LOT of helpful websites out there that will teach you how to get the best grocery deals, how to use coupons, how to use the CVS rewards card system, etc... and with my limited extra time, I'm slowly but surely going through all of these and trying to learn it all.

Sadly, between trying to learn everything I can about frugal shopping/living and working on getting a small amount of part time income set up for when I quit working, I don't have time to do as much on my blog as I'd hoped.

So until I quit working (seven weeks from today!), Frugal Friday may end up on hiatus. We'll see.

I'll leave you with these two frugal updates:

  • My sister-in-law's boyfriend called us today to invite us to go out to Hometown Buffet tonight to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. I checked my coupons and Entertainment coupon book, but to no avail. Then I decided to check their website to see if they have any printable coupons. I joined their email list and about twenty minutes later was the proud owner of a coupon for a free buffet dinner. :)
It's 12:09 AM now, which means that it's technically Saturday, and I missed the deadline for Frugal Friday! Oh well.... it's still Friday somewhere, right?!!