Giveaway: Sharing the Bounty of the Wow Summit!

Over the weekend I took part in the Moms Meet Wow Summit here in San Diego. I got to meet and network with tons of awesome moms and brands. I got to learn about how we can live more naturally with just a few small (and easy) tweaks! I met Lisa Bronner of Dr. Bronner’s Soap fame and learned a lot of how to start my own journey to green (which I’ll be sharing with you later in the week).

If you missed out on the Wow Summit, you can still enjoy all of the awesomeness of Moms Meet by signing up to be an Ambassador. You’ll have access to great new green and natural products, sampling opportunities, and high value printable coupons. I’ve been a Moms Meet Ambassador for a few years now, and I love it!

Part of the event was meeting brand ambassadors and sampling their products. That means tons of swag. IMG_1667I came home with an assortment of goodies, and I am sharing my bounty with you! I pulled together a box of goodies! In addition to all of these awesome goodies, I’ll also include a few coupons for free products.

A few highlights of this goodie box include:

Entering is easy… To get started leave a comment with your easy go green tip! It could be something like turning off the water when you brush your teeth or carrying reusable shopping bags in your car at all times! There are additional entries too. Just check out the Raffle copter widget here or on the giveaway tab of our FB page (it’s NOT mobile friendly- FYI).

I’ll choose a winner on November 4th!

 

How to Save Money with Bartering in 3 Easy Steps

savemoneybarterYou’ve probably heard or read about bartering to save money, but you aren’t sure where to start, or how it works. I’m here to demystify it for you!

I barter all the time! Thankfully, a lot of my friends have large vegetable and fruit gardens, fruit trees, or chickens produce eggs. I trade my time and services that I can provide for these things. I love to trade my ability and skill with sewing for farm fresh eggs. The price of eggs in California is insane! A dozen eggs can be almost $6.00, depending on where you shop.

Here are a few tips that I recommend you try in order to stretch your budget with the use of bartering:

Step One: Make a list of the skills you have. Can you sew? Can you babysit? Do you have a lawnmower and some free time to mow lawns? There are lots of things that you can do the people need help with. Maybe you have a great eye for organization and you could help a friend or a neighbor organize their pantry or their garage. Maybe you Love to clean? You can use that skill to either earn money or to barter for goods and services that you need. Maybe you have an overflowing garden or hen house!

Step Two: Make a list of stuff that you need. Do you need help sewing, cleaning house, or do you need to stretch your grocery budget a little bit further with the help of homegrown fruits and vegetables, farm fresh eggs?

Step Three: Ask! Ask your friends or if you’re feeling shy post on your Facebook page or whatever social media that you use. If you’d like to get a broader reach you can even post on websites like craigslist or fiverr.com.  You’d be surprised at what kind of offers you get!
I’d love to hear about the types of things you barter for!

How I Scored a Free Bed (And How You Can Too!)

Fresh-fruit-green-font-b-polka-b-font-font-b-dot-b-font-piece-set-flannelRecently, our bed frame broke. Our bed is  nine years old, and our bed frame was the cheap-y one that came free when we bought our mattress and box springs. I shouldn’t really be surprised that it broke, but it did and it was no longer comfortable to sleep in our bed. It’s sagged in the middle because the part of the bed frame that broke was the center slat that provided the support for the mid section of the mattress.
I began my search online for a new bed frame. I checked all of the usual suspects: JCPenney, Sears, as well as trusty old Craigslist. All I wanted was a sturdy metal bed frame. No headboard, no foot board, just a bed frame.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.14.51 PMFinally I found one that fit the bill. It was this one here from Sears. It was sturdy, as it had extra supports in the middle (which is very important when you have a small child likes to bounce on the bed like we do), and it fit my budget. So I set upon trying to get it for cheaply is possible.

First, I checked to see if there’s any place I could get a free Sears gift card with points from various rewards programs I use. I checked my Mypoints account, and I checked my SwagBucks account, and finally I checked my RecycleBank account. Turns out I had enough RecycleBank points to get a $10 gift card from Sears.  I cashed out my points and a few days later I have received via email a $10 gift card from Sears.

Second, I logged onto my Shop Your Way Rewards Account (through Sears.com). If you haven’t signed up for Sears Shop Your Way Rewards, it’s easy! You can do it at any Sears, Sears Outlet, or Kmart location. It’s like any other store club card. Scan your key fob or enter your phone number when you check out and earn points. Points can be redeemed for cash off purchases. Also- Shop Your Way Rewards members get access to great coupons, and sometimes even surprise points (Frequently they send out $5 in points- just for being a member!). I had a $10 off of $50 or more purchase good for anything in the home department, which happens to include bed frames.
Third, I logged on to all of my survey websites: PaidViewPoint, and PineCone Research to see if I had points I could cash out for a PayPal payment. It turns out I had over $25 that I could cash out at PaidViewPoint. I requested a PayPal pay out and within six hours I had $27 and change in my PayPal account. I also discovered that I had enough points to cash out for a $15 payment via PayPal through PineCone Research. I requested that as well.  I had $42 and change to use!
Fourth (And Finally), I also logged on to Top Cashback as well to see if I can earn any cash back for this shopping trip. Turns out I was going to earn a cool 3% cashback on my purchase.

So here’s how I got it for free:

Bed Frame $54.98 + $3.60 Tax
-$10/$50 Coupon

-$10 Sears Gift Card
-$38.58 from Paypal.  (Money was earned doing surveys online as I outlined above. It took me less than two hours combined to do all of the surveys and earn this money. This time with spread over about a months time.)

Plus I qualified for free shipping because the original price was over $49.99

The best part is, I earned 3% of my post coupon amount ($38.58) because I shopped through Top Cashback. That’s more free money to use in the future! So I got paid .30 to buy something we really needed!

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Freshly made bed (and laundry- It is Monday, after all!)

The bed frame was delivered on Friday and I just set it up this morning. And we did give it a good test bounce after the bed with put back together. It’s very sturdy I’m proud to announce.

The point of this post isn’t to show off, “Look what I can do isn’t this cool?!?”, but it’s meant to inspire you and show you that you can-do these things as well. You can get stuff for free. And not just little samples of this and that, but you can actually get things that you need for your home for free.

Taking surveys does take time however with PaidViewPoint, and PineCone Research.  The surveys that you will do you’ve been pre-selected for, and take less than 10 minutes each. So you’re not wasting time doing surveys you don’t end up qualifying for and the payout for both of those companies is so low you’ll be able to reach a payout in less than a month even if you only do a few surveys for them each week.

So there it is. That’s how we got a brand-new bed delivered to our house for free. No smoke, no mirrors, no hocus-pocus, or anything shifty or questionable. Just a brand-new bed frame delivered free.

I’d love to hear about the kinds of things that you have gotten for free or really cheap using the profits from surveys or even secret shopping. So leave me a comment and let me know what kind of awesome things you’ve gotten for free!

Our Frugal Halloween Costume Adventure!

Rewind to this conversation a few months ago:

ME: “Henry, what do you want to be for Halloween?”
HENRY: “A Pirate Penguin!”
ME: 0_0
Henry: “You know, Mommy a Penguin that’s a pirate! Like Pingu! NUG NUG!!”
FIN

Yeah, so I set out to create a Pirate Penguin Costume. First I was going to make a penguin costume from scratch, but after pricing out fabric and questioning whether or not I’d be sane at the end of the process, I bought this penguin hoodie and a pair of black pants. He will wear both of these items again and again until they no longer fit, whereas, he’d probably only wear the costume I had originally designed and sketched just once.

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Modeling the jacket Miami Vice Style

Next came the question of the pirate part. I scoured thrift stores for two months looking for the PERFECT coat to pirate-ize. Luckily for me (and Henry), I found this amazing dark teal velvet ladies jacket at AmVets for only $4.95. It’s a size 6 Petite, which is perfect. In it’s original life, it had a short Mandarin collar and single breast front with 5 large buttons.

To fully embrace the pirate-ness of this jacket, we first had to take it in so it fit. We lopped off 4 inches of sleeve length from each arm, and then put a dart in the back.

 

 

IMG_1584Working with velvet and satin lining isn’t easy, but I used these awesome Wonder Clips and the fabric stayed in place without a problem. These clips are perfect for taking in or up garments. They have built in seam allowance marking, and they can clamp together large or bulky fabrics (and in my case, slippery ones too).

 

I like these clips much better than my usual sewing pins- The bottom of the clip is flat, so I don’t worry about the bottom of the fabric scrunching up, and I didn’t stab my self while sewing (something that occurs every time I sew a garment that is pinned together and I’ve been sewing for 20 years)!Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 10.34.18 PM After we had taken in the back and the sleeves it was time to crank up the pirate-ness of this jacket.

We spray painted rayon lace with antique gold spray paint. We pinned the lace pieces to foam core board, sprayed the lace, and once it was dry sewed it on the cuffs. For the lace on the front, we applied it using fusible web. We did this instead of sewing it down because the jacket has pockets in the front that could not be accessed if the trim was sewn on.

I hot glued acrylic gems over top of the existing buttons. And there you have it- A Pirate coat, fit for a penguin!

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NUG NUG! (Pirate hat not shown in photo)

We used additional accessories that we had laying around the house: Pirate Hat, sash belt, velvet pouch, and no pirate kit is complete without a telescoping spyglass (it was a birthday gift).

There you go! A complete costume for less than $40.00

Hoodie: $16.24
Pants: $6.00
Coat: $4.95

All of the additional supplies (lace, spray paint, acrylic jewels, sewing notions) we already had on-hand.

I’d love to hear about and see your DIY Halloween creations! Leave me a comment (and a photo)!
I received the Wonder Clips free to facilitate a review. All Opinions are my own. I received no finanacial compensation to review them.

Go Green with Recyclebank!

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.34.17 PMI love Recyclebank. Take quizzes, make pledges all in an effort to help “green” the planet! All of these green activities earn you points and those points can be redeemed for some pretty sweet prizes!

Right now there are several opportunities to earn a slew of points (I stopped counting after 750 points)! Once you’ve signed up (or signed in) Check out these great point earning opportunities– They take less than a minute and you’ll be on your way to earning points and rewards!

Not sure what to spend your points on? There are tons of great magazine subscriptions available, money saving coupons, as well as tons of great natural and earth friendly products!

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This coupon is only 50 points! What a deal!

They frequently have gift cards as well (for stores like JCP, Sears, Target, Lands End). I earn about $20/year in gift cards and numerous magazine subscriptions, just by taking their quizzes and pledge, and I learn something too!

$20 Referral Credit + Free Shipping with Schoola

schoola20dolla

I posted about Schoola last month- and they are back again with an awesome offer AND a great sale that helps others in need! When you sign up for a Schoola account here you will earn $20 in credit and you can give $20 in Schoola credit for a limited time!

There are thousands of top-notch finds you can purchase with your Schoola credit. Plus, now for a limited time you can get FREE shipping with no minimum order value. That means with referral credit, you can SHOP FOR FREE. I recently picked up a bunch of white shirts and onsies that I’ll be using for out next big Tie Dye Project!

Brands Give Back Flash Sale Update: This week Schoola has partnered with the one and only Modcloth to bring you stunning new-with-tags dresses up to 50% off retail prices to benefit the Malala Fund – helping further girls’ education worldwide.

$20 will go far on Schoola– What are you waiting for???

Amazing New Creations at Boudin!

IMG_1509I love bread. And cheese.Imagine my excitement when Lil’ Man and I went up to Boudin‘s on Monday night and enjoyed their new seasonal offerings!

If you don’t know about Boudin, you are missing out. Crusty, tender, chewy sourdough bread, and so much more! For over 160 years, Boudin has been baking up crazy good bread, and they also have an amzing

There are tons of locations all over California, serving up amazing sandwiches, salads, soups, and heavenly bakery treats! Find your closest location here.

We sampled three of the new Seasonal Selections:Ham ‘N Brie on Rosemary Focaccia, Sourdough Philly, and Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Salad

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Did you know that Boudin also has a Loyalty Club? Each time you make a purchase and for every dollar spent you will be awarded one (1) reward point. For every 50 points accumulated you will receive $3 off reward. The $3 reward will be automatically loaded to your account and you will receive an email notification to let you it’s there. Oh, yeah, but it gets better- You’ll get a free 1 lb. loaf of Sourdough bread each month upon any purchase that month!

Boudin also caters! Check out the awesome sourdough bread shapes you can order 24 hours in IMG_1514advance of your event: IMG_1513Yup it’s a Crab and a Turtle. They also make smaller turtles. One of the moms mentioned that she gets them for their kids. They hollow them out and turn them into bread bowls for soup. Such a great idea! You could hollow out the big ones and fill them with any kind of dip or soup to serve  at a party! They even make a Jack O’ Lantern shaped Sourdough loaf for Halloween! IMG_1535

They have all kinds of healthy, delicious foods- perfect for a busy family on the go. Eat in, or take it to go! If you opt to eat in, they serve a selection of Kendall-Jackson Wines, and have perfect pairings for everything on the menu!

Lil’ Man enjoyed a pizza and a ghost cookie. He told me the pizza was crispy and cheesy. This is coming for a four year old pizza fanatic, so you know it was good!

We’ll be going back to Boudin’s soon for lunch as a family! Big thanks to Boudin Bakery and Chef Alan Skversky for hosting a group of local bloggers on Monday night at their location on Balboa Drive. We had a great time! I received no monetary compensation for this post- I’m just sharing my experience!

 

 

 

Review: The Minbie Bottle

IMG_1506Recently, I was lucky enough to try out the Minbie Bottle. Ok, well, I didn’t try it, but Birdy here did.

I told ya’ll here that I have IGT, and that means we supplement with formula and donor milk, because my body simply doesn’t make enough milk.

Minbie is a high quality soft silicone baby’s bottle teat with revolutionized design-functionality that nurtures a newborn’s instinctive breastfeeding technique. Bird took to the bottle right away. The nipple is soft and looks most like a mother’s nipple. It makes it easier for her to transition between me and the bottle.

The product is the result of 10 years R&D by and Australian Mom, who was frustrated with the inadequacies of the functionality of generic bottle teat on the market when she had children, with the bottles taking over breastfeeding rather then supporting a baby’s ability to breastfeed well.

Minbie nurtures a newborn’s ability to breastfeed by allowing newborns to bottle-feed with the instinctive feeding technique that they are born with.
Minbie supports a newborn’s digestion by helping to release natural digestive enzymes. This supports a baby’s sleep too.
Minbie matches breast and bottle feeding techniques.

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One passed out panda!

Want more info about Minbie? Here is what some Aussy mums have been saying about the product recently. Thanks to Minbie for hooking us up with this great bottle. I was not compensated financially for this review, however, I did receive a free bottle and an extra nipple to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Save for the Holidays (and Beyond!)- My top tips!

file0001508044668Christmas is 64 days away, and while some of us have been saving our pennies and dollars, some of us haven’t. This article is for those of you who are looking to earn some extra money. For the holidays, or heck, even beyond that!

Now these are all methods that I have used, and continue to use, so there is no baloney coming from me.

  • I do Surveys. Here is a post with links to my top survey companies, including how much each one has earned me!
  • One of my favorite survey companies is Paid View Point.  Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.  You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month-6 weeks to earn $15.00. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $78.00.
  • I send my junk mail to Small Business Knowledge Center. Here is a post about it with details. I just got another $20 GC from them earlier this month!
  • I take our bottles and cans to the recycling center. It’s not a ton of money, but I paid the deposit on those bottles, I want it back! I take Lil’ Man with me and we get about $4-$5/month between the milk jugs and misc. bottles and cans. We don’t drink a lot of soda or juice. My parents save their recyclables for us too!
  • I do simple tasks with Field Agent. Field Agent is an app for smartphones that allows you to do simple tasks like photographing displays in stores or scanning items in stores. They even have secret shopping tasks.  Tasks vary in pay, however most pay between $3-$10. I’ve been using Field Agent for 2 months and I’ve earned over $100. Payment is done via Paypal!
  • I also do simple tasks with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. I transfer the earnings to my Amazon.com account. You sign up and do tasks for small amounts of money, but the money adds up fast.  The tasks are quick and simple (transcription, surveys, flagging inappropriate photos).  I’ve earned over $50 since February.  If you want cold hard cash instead of Amazon.com credit there is an option to have money transferred to a bank account.  Mechanical Turk does ask for your SSN when you sign up- you will receive a 1099- MISC at the end of the year., regardless of which option you select.
  • Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $45.00.
  • I also use Swagbucks. I use their search engine toolbar, take a daily poll, watch a video and click a few links each day! So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00. Swagbucks has tons of rewards, you can receive cash via paypal too!
  • I use my smartphone to save money too. There are tons of apps that have help you save money in the store (coupons), and get your money back afterwards (rebates). Here is a list of my favs. I’m loving Ibotta right now- I’ve saved over $100 this year alone, just buying my normal groceries!

All of these things are easy to do, realistic, and even a busy person can take 10 minutes out of their day to do one of the things I’ve listed.

Where have I been?

I swear, I haven’t gone off the deep end! This is a super busy time of year for me! With Halloween in 11 days, I’m up to my eyeballs making costumes, planning treats for our play group Halloween party (gotta make sure they are free of everyone’s allergies), and getting ready for the WOW Summit that’s coming up this week (New business cards arrived Friday!!).

In the next few weeks, I’ll have some reviews of cool products my family has tried recently, tips for saving money for the holidays (nothing crazy I promise you!), cute giftable crafts (Pinterest Fail Free, I promise!!), and some yummy new recipes.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 12.17.16 PMI’ve been working on holiday gifts for the family. Here is one of the photo collages that is going on one of those photos gifts (I told you guys, I’m all about photos for gifts- I mean it!).  It’s Lil’ Man and Bitty Bird. Mr. H is the headless adult in the photo.