Tag Archives: save money

My(big)BlogSpark Surprise

The postman only had to ring once to deliver the giant mystery box at our house.  We were expecting a few small packages to be delivered, but this one was almost as big as me.  Eagerly ripping it open, inside we found it was stuffed full of fun surprises.  It was Christmas all over again, thanks to MyBlogSpark.

Many of you may remember my recent post on Internet Moonlighting where I mentioned a marketing company called MyBlogSpark, located in America.  While I couldn’t personally sign up with them and try them out due my being overseas, their customer service was so outstanding and friendly I thought they deserved mention.

I was already impressed with their efficiency and professionalism.  They were very personable with their responses to my initial questions and the individual I was exchanging emails with, Courtney Rauch, won me over as a forever fan.  The huge goody box was just icing on the cake… MyBlogSpark had me at first email.  Here’s a list of everything that arrived in the box, along with a beautiful hand written letter from Courtney:

  • Chocolate Spa Collection Gift Set
  • Betty Crocker Homestyle Creamy Butter Mashed Potatoes with measuring cup, spoon and potholder
  • Yoplait Delights Parfait Vanilla scented candle (on my desk now & it smells like yum!)
  • 24 count box Crayola crayons (made with solar power… more green then just the color)
  • Cute refrigerator magnet from Kibbles’nBits
  • Compact mirror from General Mills
  • Insulated lunch bag by Built featuring a French Bull pattern
  • 4 Piece exfoliating shower scrubber set by Cabana Bay
  • Awesome soup mug from Progresso Soup (husband’s preferred bowl now)
  • Sport blanket by LogoMark
  • Green plastic coupon file
  • Silicon pot holder by Norpro
  • Awesome Bamboo bowl from Totally Bamboo Basics
  • Stainless steel travel mug from Nature Valley
  • 250 piece Memories scrapbooking kit by Paper Boutique
  • Large zippered reusable shopping tote from myBlogSpark (excellent for Australia where you have to bring your own bag!)
  • MyBlogSpark button
  • Personalized letter from Courtney and the team

 

Nothing a Walk & Some Chocolate Won’t Fix

The idea was a simple one in the beginning.  Move this blog from Blogger to WordPress.

WordPress is for professional bloggers, I was told.  At the same time I had an opportunity to attend an online course on WordPress blogging, and I was sent the WordPress Power Guide – Using WordPress to Blog Your Way to Success by Lambert Klein.  All the stars seemed to align and point me to towards a move.

The stars may align and point all they want, I found, but that doesn’t mean they promise an easy trip.  In all honesty, the move itself wasn’t the difficulty; the hardest part I had to understand was updating my SQL data and the host site I used, GoDaddy.com, had clear instructions.  The main issuewas that I was on unfamiliar territory, and the internet provider we use decided to give us faulty service at the same time.

That left me trying to figure things out with pages unable to load, so I didn’t know if the site was down, if I somehow couldn’t remember passwords or if the entire system had crashed.  After a few days of this I was in such a whirlwind of frustration, that even simple instructions were causing me tantrums.

And then the sunlight finally broke through the clouds and I could see the light.  I found a glitch, fixed it and then turned it all off and took a walk.  I needed a break, a few minutes of faith that I had indeed found the problem, and that WordPress would reveal itself to me when I turned it all back on.  To make sure I had proper distraction, my walk took me to the shops where I found this giant bar of chocolate waiting for me.  And yes, I shared.

On the way back the combined effects of chocolate and an afternoon stroll worked their magic, and when I turned everything back on, it all worked and I was ready to get back with it.  The entire week long experience taught me a few things about myself.

  1. I do like WordPress.
  2. If my internet drops, so does my intellect.
  3. There are few things a walk and some chocolate can’t fix.

In the next few days there may be a few glitches as the new location kicks in, and I’ll be posting double time to catch up, but hopefully all glitches are in the past and I’m excited to see what the future holds.

Guest Blogger @ Dollar Stretcher.com

Money is tight everywhere, and everyone wants to stretch it further.Fortunately, there’s The Dollar Stretcher, a publication dedicated to sharing ways to make it better on less.

I’ve been reading Dollar Stretcher for years, offhand I’d say around 10, and every issue makes me think and learn.  I’m happy to have a chance to be a guest blogger for them.  If you haven’t already, give them a visit that will make cents :p.

Internet Moonlighting – Ways Your Internet Can Pay

Lately it seems all my friends are looking for extra cash.  There are so many ways to make it pay, I can’t possibly cover them all in one blog post, so this is my brief overview of different options I explored last night.

I personally signed up for some of these and gave them a try, some of them I read about or had friends tell me about, and one I wouldn’t touch at all, even just to explore.  I didn’t even begin to cover selling real goods online, like with Etsy or eBay.  That will have to be another post entirely.

When I started looking around the internet for the best ways to make extra cash and goodies from it, I found a mass of useless advertisements being masqueraded as information.  I have explored a lot of income options on the internet over the years, some have panned out and some were colossal wastes of time.  Last night I took some time to explore what’s out there now and try it out, and here’s what I came up with.

Product Review Sites
These are websites that need chatty people and bloggers.  Large companies depend on these sites to gather together people willing to try their products and review them.  These companies fall into the category of word of mouth advertising.

To date, I’ve only tried Vibe Village of all these, but it was a rewarding experience.  They sent me the large package of Tetley Tea in the photo for free.  Inside were two large boxes of tea, a ton of smaller sample packages to pass out to my friends and a carton of soy milk.  All I had to do for it was respond a short review, and then tell them three different ways I shared the tea.  Past campaigns have been Cadbury Chocolate and Bulla Ice Cream.  Unfortunately I joined up with them afterwards, so I missed out on the chocolate.  Sigh. 

Oddly enough, I could only find one company in the US.  MyBlogSpark came came recommended to me from a friend who loves it, and when I contacted their customer service they responded quickly and were very nice, so I’d think they would be a good choice.  You do need to pick one from your own country due to the cost of shipping overseas.  If I were in the US, I would definitely try out MyBlogSpark.  Here’s a few sites to get you started:

The Soup Australia
Vibe Village Australia
Word of Mouth Club Australia
Yooster Australia
MyBlogSpark USA (my favorite)

Reward Sites
These sites give you incentives like giftcards and PayPal credit in exchange for your activity on their site.  I’ve used Gather casually for a little while and would highly recommend them.  Squidoo is a new one I just found, and I’m actually going to check it out just because it looks like fun.  SwagBucks has been used by a number of my friends, and last night I spent a frustrating hour and a half on MyPoints filling out my information for what seems to be nothing.

While you probably won’t get rich on any of these sites, they do help out with a little extra.  As Dee B, one of my new Gather friends says,”They do help cut cost for us. I’ve used all my gift cards for work done on our house.”  And here are the ones I found:

Gather (my favorite)
Squidoo
SwagBucks
MyPoints
MyView
Sunshine Rewards

Virtual Business
I know I talk about how wonderful virtual worlds like Second Life are, but seriously, I am bringing in around $50 a week from selling my clothes designs.  To date, creating items to sell in our cyber shop has been the most financially rewarding thing I have done on the internet, aside from a past lucrative contract writing position.  Those were the days…

There are a large number of these “social games” to choose from besides Second Life, and there are a number of ways to earn money there besides creating items.  A musician friend of mine brings in around $100 a week for doing live shows where he sings and plays his guitar.  People can choose to be models for designers like me, run a club, be a dancer, a hostess for events… the possibilities are endless.  Use your imagination and jump in.

In Second life, you get paid in game money called Lindens which you trade for real currency.  At this time 1,000 Lindens comes to just under $5.  With 132,379 members on FaceBook alone, just a fraction of the total residents, there are a lot of people to discover, and pay you, for your special talents.  My advice if you do try this route is to stay focused on your goal, and remember you are there to work or you can get swept away in all the distractions and find yourself spending more then you make.  An excellent publication on the business side of virtual worlds is Hypergrid Business.  You can visit Second Life here, or google “virtual worlds”.

Temporary Hire
This is my first experience with these type of site.  The idea is that businesses that can’t afford to keep a staff on hand can pay internet surfers like us to do their work.  I actually tried out MicroWorkers.  I signed on to do a small job, which was to write 100 words about Marilyn Monroe and link back to their site, which you can see I did with my last post.  It was worth $4 for me to do that, and took me less then five minutes. 

Today I got a message back from the “hirer” saying my job wasn’t good enough and they wouldn’t pay.  I don’t really see what is wrong about my post, it came in at 116 words excluding the quote at the end, so I don’t see much of a future with MicroWorkers myself.  A lot of the jobs listed were things like signing up for a certain dating site, or leave a comment or rate a book on Amazon and they paid anywhere from .05 to $5.  I tried two other jobs with MicroWorkers so I’ll see how it all pans out.

MinuteWorkers
MicroWorkers (tried it, still deciding)

Opportunities on the internet are as widespread and varied as types of bird, and to cover them all would take me a book rather then a blog post.  Second Life has proved to be the most all over rewarding venture, but of the rest of them, I enjoyed doing the product review for Tetley Tea best, followed by Gather and Squidoo. 

I did come across one more called Project PayDay, but it sounded so shady I didn’t even want to resister.  The idea behind that one, I am told, is that you get paid to sign up for offers and you have to remember to cancel the offers after you get your money.  On the other end, you can pay others to sign up for deals with you so you can get discounted goods.

The example I read about was a deal that gave you an Xbox 360 if you could get 5 people to sign up for a certain plan.  You were paying 5 people each $20 to join up, so you got an Xbox at a discounted price of $100.  I didn’t try it, and it sounds like too much bother for me, but if you decide to try it please let me know how it works for you.  I’m always curious to learn more.

That wraps up my exhausting search for money making on the web, I hope some of you can make good use of it.  Please let me know what works for you and what doesn’t, and anything you’ve tried that I haven’t mentioned.  I’m off to enjoy a lovely cup of Tetley Tea and explore my new Squidoo.

Updated Note:  We’ve moved from Australia back to the US so now I’m primarily working with MyBlogSpark and other US based companies.

Buyer Beware!

Crap rolls downhill, and as the world economy struggles, big business tries to send their losses rolling downhill to your wallet.

Today more then ever consumers have to be savvy shoppers. Take a look at this photo. Berocca is on sale at this shop, 2 for $34.

The average shopper has been trained to accept sale prices because their store tells them it’s a good deal. Often a bright tag catches their eye, the brain disengages and in the cart it goes.

Look closer at this tag, though. You don’t even need a calculator to see this faux deal. Buying a single box of Berocca costs $36.78 per 100. The sale promises that if you buy 2 packages at $34 you’ll pay $37.78 per 100, or $17 a package instead of the usual price of $16.55.

What a great deal? If you buy two packages on sale, the store will let you give them an extra .45 cents. Be aware and don’t let yourself get robbed when you go for groceries.

The Great Xbox 360 Conspiracy, & How To Fix Yours

The Red Ring of Death… ask Google about it and you’ll get back around 5,210,000 results back.  That is a lot of broken Xboxes… and a lot of regular income for Microsoft.

Many people suspect Microsoft of implementing planned obsolescence, basically building a ‘fail by’ date into their product so that they are ensured a continual customer flow.

When the average game costs $50 US ($100 plus Aus), most people are inspired to replace a machine rather then toss their game library.  But when you shell out $300 – $500 for the machine in the first place, it hardly seems fair to have a built in expiry date.

My theory is that the Red Ring of Death is triggered by downloads.  Here in Australia we have download caps on our internet so we rarely get online content.  Our Xbox 360 has been fine for 3 – 4 years with no downloads.  When content was downloaded to the Xbox for the first time, within 2 weeks it was infected with the Red Ring.

We managed to fix it using the online tutorials linked below, and it worked perfectly for another 6 months… until we downloaded a game patch.  Within days we had a dead Xbox again.  I’d say it was coincidence, but my kids in the US download to their Xbox regularly, and they have an Xbox graveyard in their closet.

I just fixed our Xbox for the second time and it works great…until we loaded up the downloaded content.  I suspect that embedded in the ‘free’ content Microsoft generously offers, there must be a kill code of some sort.  I plan to fix the machine once more, and then not touch any downloaded content and see what happens.

In the meantime, by following these excellent tutorials linked below, we managed to get 6 more months out of our machine for a few hours worth of work, definitely worth the effort.  And now… I’m off to tear apart an Xbox (again).

Excellent Xbox 360 Fix It Tutorials on YouTube:

How To Open An Xbox 360
Fix An Xbox 360 Pt 1
Fix An Xbox 360 Pt 2

Introducing Your Brand New Instant, Environmental, Organized, & Free Libray

Please answer these questions with me:

1.  Do you like to read?
2.  Do you like to shop for free?
3.  Do you have a computer, iPad,Pod,Phone, mac, Blackberry, Android?

If you answered yes to the above questions, then this post is for you.  If you answered no to the above questions then I think you are probably lost and looking for YouTube.  For the rest of you, we are going to have a brief tutorial that will help you:

1. Save hundreds of dollars.
2. Save hundreds of trees.
3. Give you hours of enjoyment.
4. Clean less.
5. Look thinner.

Many of you will remember my brief post last week on how I downloaded 25 free books in 5 minutes for absolutely free.  Now it’s your turn to share the joy, and you don’t even need to buy a Kindle; you can be up and downloading your new library in about 10 minutes.

First, decide which of your gadgets you want to read on.  Personally, I love the Kindle and think it is worth every penny and more.  You may already have an iPhone that you love, or you have a comfy computer chair to snuggle up in.  Once you’ve decided what you want to read on, follow one of the links below to download the Kindle software for that application.

Windows Phone
iPad, iPhone, iPod
Android
BlackBerry
For PC
For Mac

Now, go here to find free books.  You are ready to read.  You can also find lots of free books from romance to non fiction business by “liking” Pixel of Ink, a group dedicated to free reading, on Facebook.  I browsed their page the first time and downloaded 2 just released non fiction books I had wanted.  (Thank you Karen for telling me about Pixel of Ink!)

Now, as far as your reading is concerned, you can really have it all.  Environmentally better then traditional books with no trees cut down and no petrol used in shipping.  You can have instant gratification since books are wireless delivered in 60 seconds.  Let Amazon.com store your books in their database, which means more reading and less dusting for you.  Finally, your friends will be so impressed by your now ample literary collection they won’t notice the few pounds you put on since Christmas.  😀

Now you are in the know, and it’s up to you how you will use this knowledge.  Please pass this on to to your reading friends, and if you have anymore sites for free books, please leave a link in the comment section for the rest of us.  And until next post; Liberate the literature!  Share the free books!  Live virtually! :p

P.S.  Many blogs, such as this one, are also available for subscription.  The subscriptions range from 1.99 to .99 a month (Amazon decides, not the bloggers), so while not free, they are almost free.  And that was my shameless plug for the night.  ^.^