WAHM: How To Get A Few Things You Can’t Afford By Doing Mystery Shopping

WAHM: Legit Jobs

As a follow-up to last month’s article about finding legitimate, work from home jobs that weren’t MLMs / Sales jobs, I wanted to delve more into the world of Mystery Shopping, since this was something I had personal experience with.

I had heard about Mystery Shopping before, but did really grasp its legitimacy as paid work until I decided to do a little research.  It turns out that there are many professional shop companies out there, maybe even 100!  However, there are also scam companies out there. To be sure you have a legitimate company, you want one that is listed with the MSPA – Mystery Shopping Association and/or SASSI (Available shops through JobSlinger). You never need to pay anything to register or shop with a company. The MSPA does offer certification training for a small fee, but it is NOT required for most companies (they just give preference to certified shoppers).

It Takes Work

I need to make it clear that Mystery Shopping is work. You have to learn quickly, retain a list of facts, have good observational skills, and good writing skills. It takes me about 1/2 to 2 hours to prepare for a shop, depending on complexity. The actual shop can take 10 minutes or a couple of hours. The report after the shop takes 1/2 hour t0 2 hours. During the shop, unless you have a photographic memory (I do not), you have to find a way to take notes w/o being seen so that you remember all the important facts of the shop.  I did one shop for a major grocery store chain, which I was going to shop at anyway, and I had to visit every department in the store and: note the exact time, the name of the worker in the department, what they were wearing, how the department looked, and much more! I was sneaking notes on the back of my shopping list continually.  I was pretty tired by the end of the shop.

Many Reimburse vs. Pay

I actually decided to take Mystery Shopping seriously when, the first company I registered for happened to have a shop for a prescription reimbursement up to $50. Since the adults in our family do not have health insurance, this was a great find. This was a quick shop with 30 minute prep, the time it took to fill my prescription, and about 30 minutes to fill out the post shop form.  Our prescription was only for $20, but was still worth the work it took to get it reimbursed. I should note that most companies take about one month to pay and reimburse.

Getting What We Can’t Afford

That is how our family is now able to afford a few “small things” in life. Through mystery shopping I have:

  • Been paid anywhere from $20 – 75 for the shop
  • Been reimbursed for an oil change that we needed and some clothing that we didn’t so much need:-)

I will continue to do a few shops per month. I have seen shops to:

  • Get paid to test drive a car
  • Get reimbursed for a nice dinner or hotel
  • Get reimbursed and paid for a coffee shop and similar for fast food restaurants
  • Get paid to shop cell phones
  • Get reimbursed for beauty products

I would be happy to answer any questions I can about mystery shopping and I would love to hear your mystery shop stories.

AD: Search Ebates for coupons from your favorite retailers for $20 – $1000 off of products and 12% cash back on all purchases.

Moms Of Master Books: A Review and Unit Study For The New Astronomy Book

The New Astronomy Book

As soon as I received my new book from New Leaf Publishing Group, I knew it was going to become our Homeschool’s Science Curriculum for this year. The updated book is from The Wonder’s of Creation series and is called: The New Astronomy Book.

I have a brief review of the book and then I am sharing the Unit Study that I created for the first chapter of the book. We will be using the study the next two weeks for our Science classes.

Review

As soon as the book arrived, my children were pouring through it. The photos are amazing and really draw the children’s attention to wanting to know more about what is in the photo or graphic. The book then offers three levels of information – level one is for the whole family and levels two and three are for progressively older children and adults.

This book presents hard science from a Creation perspective. I really appreciated the related scripture references in each chapter to tie concepts back to our Creator.

Chapters include The Night Sky, Our Solar System, The Sun, History of Astronomy, The Expanding Universe, and more.

Lastly, there is a 24 inch pull out poster of our solar system which we can put on a wall, giving the children the opportunity to visualize and memorize the planets and their moons.

Unit Study – Chapter 1 – The Night Sky

For our homeschool, we will be reading levels one and two to the whole family, then I and our oldest child will read level three together.

For projects and further study, we will do the following:

  • Get books from the library with the constellations.
  • Go out one evening and see what constellations we can recognize. Also try to find the North Star.
  • Make our own constellations using black paper and white crayons and/or paint.
  • Memorize the scripture verse.
  • Pretend to be planets and rotate around the sun.
  • Find videos about the space race (for the section on “Rockets Race to the Red Planet”)

For the oldest child doing the 3rd level, we will also:

  • Read Job 38 and journal about it.
  • Find more information on Retrograde Motion.

I look forward to a fun school year learning about Astronomy!

If there is interest, I will post Unit Studies for future chapters.

Homeschool Giveaway! It’s NOT Greek To Me DVD

ItsGreekToMe Give Away

Even if you are not into Classical Conversations (I know a lot of moms who are), there are a lot of great reasons to learn Greek, including understanding the New Testament better.

From the NLPG site:

This video-based learning program is meant to be a basic introduction to Greek that will not overwhelm or frustrate you. Learn enough of the grammar to understand every Greek reference your pastor makes. Discover:

  • The Greek alphabet
  • Punctuation (and how it’s used!)
  • Nouns, verbs, voice & moods
  • Nominative, genitives, vocatives, accusatives, & datives (the – tives of when to use what word and how)
  • How to apply your new skills!

Onto the giveaway:

NLPG has blessed me with a copy of It’s Not Greek To Me DVD series to give away on my blog. See below for how to enter. If you want the DVD for sure, order it on New Leaf Publishing’s web site.

Giveaway Entry Instructions:

1) You must leave a comment here to enter.

2) The comment must include why you would like the book.

3) The comment must include at least one (you may do more) way you shared this raffle (and therefore a link to my blog link) with others. You can say you shared it on Facebook, Pinned it, emailed it to friends, etc…

4) You may also, but you dont have to, include info about your homeschool this year (style, curriculum, goals, etc…) or just say hello!

At the end of the contest, the first comment will be #1, the second #2, etc… We will draw the number out of a bucket and then find the comment that matches. Yes, there is software like Rafflecopter that does this, but it doesn’t work on sites hosted on wordpress, so we are doing things the old fashioned way!

Encouragement From Holley Gerth: God Wants to Encourage You Today

Encourager

From Holley’s Blog:

You encourage them and you listen to their cry. Psalm 10:17

It would be easier to pull the covers back over her head. It would be simpler to let the sun stream through the windows and not rise to greet it. It would be less painful to turn over and let sleep seize her again.

But she doesn’t let the depression win. Not today. She pushes back the blankets and puts her feet on the floor. She stretches her arms to the heavens and whispers, “Help me, Jesus.” She takes a step away from her comfort zone and into the arms of the Savior who is waiting to walk with her through every moment of her day.” Continue:

WAHM: Legit, Non-MLM Work At Home Jobs

WAHM: Legit Jobs
WAHM: Legit Jobs
100’s of jobs at Rat Race Rebellion

I have been blessed by a friend who passed me one simple link. A link to a site that has been vetting and making connections with real companies that provide real, work from home, in your PJs, with your children playing quietly type jobs. Companies like Amazon.com, American Express and LionBridge are just a few. For those that just want to move onto the jobs, here is the link: Rat Race Rebellion. I recommend signing up for the email newsletter.

For those that would like a little more information first, here is an overview of what is available on the site.

Types of jobs available include: Accounting, virtual admins, blogging, call center and customer service, teaching and education, healthcare, legal, medical transcription, mystery shopping, technical, translation, web testing, editing, and writing.

Companies include:  Pizza Hut, Amazon.com, LionBridge, American Express Travel, Intuit, PricewaterhouseCoopers, American Airlines, Crushable, Apple, Best Western Hotels, CenturyLink, Cruise.com, Hilton, HSN, Blackboard, MySQL, About.com, Textbroker, and Yahoo. There are a few 100 more.

The two areas that interested me most when I went to the site is the listing of legitimate Mystery Shopping Companies and the listing for all the corporations that have work from home call centers. These I have looked into a little more than the other areas.

If you click on the link on the upper left corner – Today’s Screened Job Leads – you get exactly that (with some ads throughout the page as that is how they make their money).

Obviously, you still have to double-check anything you would apply to. These guys really appear to be doing their research, but they can make mistakes.

Search Ebates for coupons from your favorite retailers for $20 – $1000 off of products and 12% cash back on all purchases.

Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links.

Free Recipes and Coupons from Pillsbury

Moms of Master Books Reviews: The Flood of Noah

Master Books Review




How is it possible that there are over 500 global flood stories from different cultures – most of whom have never met each other? This isn’t rhetorical – I want you to answer it. Why would almost every culture on earth have in its ancient history a sweeping epic of a global flood, if there hadn’t actually been a flood?

If you are ready to answer these questions and want to do it in a useful, interactive way, I really recommend the new Master Books book: The Flood of Noah.

Why Master Books And The Flood Of Noah?

I pursued Master Books to become a reviewer of their materials. They always impress me with the through research of their content and the quality and beauty of their presentation and ‘The Flood of Noah’ exceed my expectations.

Admittedly, the facts and tables were a little over the heads of my youngest children (3 ½ and 6), but the older child (7 ½) was interested in all the facts and read through the whole book. The various flood stories were the more interesting part of the book for the younger children and the interactive aspect of the book (pull-outs, lift the flaps, amazing illustrations, and more) made this a great experience to start reading and learning with all of them.

I would call this a coffee table book for the Christian family. May you be blessed as our family was by reading it, using it, studying it and even “playing” with it.

Click here for the book trailer

A Simple Truth From Holley Gerth: Yep, You’re Growing

 

 

MMMMM. Sometimes you just read things that are so good that you must share…  Holley reminds us that walking with God, with Jesus is a continual growing process. One day, you wake up and realize that you aren’t doing some really annoying thing that you used to do. Jesus has changed you, little by little. What a blessing.

Read from Holley’s blog:

Dear You,

When we belong to Jesus, because we never stop growing. Moment by moment, day by day, year by year, we become more like him.

And here’s the interesting part: we hardly ever notice it. Picture a child with her back to a growth chart, grinning ear to ear as she hears that, yes, she is taller than last month! “How did that happen,” she wonders, “when I was just playing and eating and sleeping and living?” CONTINUE READING HERE.

 

Tips And Tricks From Richard Syrop’s Effortless Savings – Part 1

 

effortless_savings

I was given the opportunity recently to review Richard’s Syrop’s frugal living / simple living book: Effortless Savings: A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Saving Money Without Sacrifice. Instead of just a basic review, I thought I would share some tips from his book, along with some tips and commentary of my own and turn this into a Saving Money 101 series. This might sound cliché, but following just one tip from this book would be worth more than the purchase price!

Richard starts his book business with a very smart move, not only does he write a book with tips that can save you $1000’s per year, but he ties the book into the Effortless Savings Website, which includes links to many of the money-saving programs he mentions.  Please note that this review is not an endorsement of the businesses in the book and on the site, since I have not take the time to research them individually. Therefore, it is recommended that you research the companies before purchasing anything through them.

On To the Tips

We are going to start at the beginning, Chapter 1 – Telcom Services, and share a couple of great tips (but certainly not all – you have to get the book for that):

  1. You can save up to 40% on your mobile / cell phone plans by going with a MVNO (a Mobile Virtual Network Operator), which is basically a wholesaler for mobile phone services. Each major carrier has someone wholesaling their service, including Verizon (Page Plus Cellular). There is also a pre-paid wireless version for most of the major mobile carriers.
  2. You can usually negotiate your telephone/internet/TV bills down, especially after the end of a promotional package. Although Richard suggests having a “poker match” with phone / utility company and take the route of trying to cancel the service to get the rate, I found that up-front honesty worked for me – maybe this is the difference between a male and female approach. About two months ago, I called our phone company as our intro rate had ended and our bill had gone up about $20 per month.  I just told them that this was more than we could afford and that I had shopped around and seen that I could get phone and internet for $20 – $30 less per month, but I didn’t really want to go through the hassle of changing companies. The rep was very helpful and our bill dropped by nearly $20 a month going forward.

Want to know more about how to get the best rate on telephone, mobile phone, internet and other services? Purchase a copy of: Effortless Savings: A Step-by-Step Guidebook to Saving Money Without Sacrifice today!

 

Disclosure: I was given this eBook for free. I was under no obligation to do a review, but chose to do so.

10 Things For Children To Do This Summer Under $10: #3 – Arts and Crafts With What You’ve Got

10 Things Kids Summer Under $10 Art
A great idea for a rainy summer day!

Last week, we played at the park – a great, simple, and usually free activity. However, as much as we would like to be outside every day in the summer, the reality for most of us is that we just can’t. Sometimes it rains (thank God), sometimes someone doesn’t feel good, sometimes we all just get burnt out, or like many moms, sometimes we just have work to do.

Update 2017: Although we do still do some simple crafts for fun and learning, we have upped our game a bit and we opened an Etsy shop with our handmade items: LoveBySarah Etsy Shop.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links.

Rain, Rain, It Is OK You Are Here

Two of these things happened this June – it rained, which is a real shock here in Idaho – and mom needed a couple of quiet hours to write. With no money in the budget to purchase something, I looked around at our supplies and found:

And there you have the makings of a classic collage project! I remember doing these in school many years ago.

Basically, you give the children a pile of pictures (mostly magazines), they pick out things that are interesting to them, then they cut out the pictures and paste them onto construction paper.

My children spent nearly two hours looking through the pile of pictures and cutting and gluing. Even the 3 ½ year old was able to do most of the project on her own and was occupied nearly that two hours.

A Little Psychological Insight

One side benefit of this project is that you learn something about your child after doing the project – what they like, what interests them, and why. My girls love pretty girly stuff, like pink bedding and kitties. But I also found that my oldest was becoming interested in weapons. I may want to give her archery lessons in a year or two, but I also realize that a few of the shows they were watching (Star Wars, for one) was more violent than they need to be seeing and so we will wait until they are older to watch such things.

The end result of the project was a great success – two hours of purposeful, useful time and some insight gained into the thoughts and likes of my children.