Thursday, July 3, 2008

Free Source Resource for July

Today, I am posting about a free item resource. I love freebies, and I hope you do, too.

Today's resource is BzzAgent Here is an explanation of the company and what is involved. This is from the email that I would send to friends:

BzzAgent - a free word-of-mouth community. There's no obligation or cost involved if you decide to join. "Hello. Have I told you about BzzAgent yet? I'm a member, and I thought you might like to be one too (joining is free). I get to try products and services at no cost with samples, coupons and stuff like that. Then I make my voice heard by sharing my honest opinions with others, including some of the largest companies in the world. Want to learn more and sign up to join in the fun?"As a BzzAgent, you'll get to:* Discover and try new products and services (for free!) * Spread sincere word of mouth about them* Have your opinions influence some of the biggest companies and brands around If you'd like to receive the same benefits, become an Agent today. Don't worry, BzzAgent respects its members' privacy and won't share your personal information or spam you.'re a community focused on word of mouth, so what better way to recruit new members than referrals and recommendations from friends?We hope to see you soon! BzzAgent

Here is my review:

Time per week: 20-40 minutes

Ease of work/ease of website: 8 out of 10, they ask for detailed reports, but they are fairly easy to produce. They ask you to visit web sites and take a short opinon quiz.

What I've gotten for free: orange juice, trail mix, universal remote, books, gum, candy, Glade Wisp flameless candle, tunes, LISTERINE WHITENING (R) Quick Dissolving Strips, CVS/pharmacy(R) IN-STORE PHOTO BOOK, Sonicare UV Sanitizer

Other Rewards: They have a point system that converts to MyPoints. I have enough for a free gift card without participating in other MyPoints activities.

Would I join again? Yes, definitely. My husband was ecstatic over the remote, and I think they are generous with their products and point system. I am staying in this one.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pet Tip- Cheaper Deworming

We took in two kittens from the street. I took the kittens to the vet for their first checkup. This was a week ago. Today, I had to take them back for tapeworms. The tech applied a topical solution that kills all types of worms. Hello!!! Why didn't they do that a week ago? I made it clear in my initial phone call and initial appointment that these had been outside cats, were going to be inside cats and would be exposed to our other cats. I also made it clear that we think of our cats as our kids and have no problems with the cost of caring for our animals. To me, it was a waste of time and money to have to go back. We have seven cats and will be starting a feral colony and managing it in our new neighborhood. cow for the vet!!! So, my pet tip for the month is to ask for your pet to be treated for all types of parasites when needed! For the adult cats, I purchased tapeworm tablets from 1800PetMeds. I am comfortable giving the medicine to the adult cats, but wanted the kittens to be seen professionally.

July's Delicious Meal- Chicken and Sweet Potatoes with Curry Dip

I'll be posting a frugal and/or healthy meal once a month to the blog.

I just had a divine dinner:

Using apple juice that I had frozen into ice cubes (a great way to not buy large quantities and not use it. I also do it with milk.) for cooking, I cut up 3 sweet potatoes and placed two Kirkland (Costco brand) chicken breasts on top. I sprinkled Mrs. Dash's Salt Free Garlic Blend on top and a bit of garlic salt. A lid was placed on top. I cooked it on medium high on my power burner (the most awesome thing ever! Get one with your next stove and take your cooking to a new level!) and allowed the juice to evaporate and caramalize. It was divine! If you like sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows, this is a very viable alternative. The dip is a 1/2 large container of yogurt, curry and garlic to taste.

What recipe can you suggest?

Planning a Fall Garden

Moving to a new region, I had high hopes for my garden this summer. I wanted to feed my family fresh vegetables and have some to sell. Uh, that failed miserably. I learned alot, but am still disappointed. One big thing I learned was not to scrimp on fertilizer. Penny wise, but pound foolish. We are building a compost bin so that we won't spend $8/month on fertilizer. I also had great results with apple cider vinegar. Two tablespoons in a gallon of water and put on my plants brought several back to life after I starved them. Surprisingly, in the swampy, humid air of the Mid Atlantic, I had a much better harvest, but on to the next season...

For fall, my goal is to make up summer production and feed my family. Living in the South, I'll be planting the following, based on a frost date of October 20. If you are going to plant, be sure to look at your frost date to count backwards to planting time.

I have a square foot garden in the backyard with 64 squares, which I filled with the lasagna method, and containers on the front porch- pots picked up from Freecycle, recycled soda bottles, recycled milk jugs, and recycled five gallon buckets from my mom and neighbor who work in food service! Seeds come from Dollar General, Ebates sites, and Rite Aid. The cheaper the better and good results with sprouting! In appreciation for the jugs, I'll share some vegetables and make my mom and dad a nice spaghetti dinner with fresh bread.

Here is what I'll plant for fall:

Green Onions


I'll also take a look at dwarf fruit trees for containers as part of our future landscaping project.

Do you garden? Share a tip!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Earning Extra Money

Lots of sites talk about earning extra money. I thought I would try it from a real person's perspective. I searched web sites, collected ideas, and thought about what would work for me, my schedule, my goals, and my life in general. Here are the ideas that I came up with to start, focusing on jobs that do not require too much skill, and how I executed each or didn't:

Babysitting- I rejected it. I was an au pair right after college in Germany for a year, but I chose not to pursue it now for two reasons- when people need babysitters (evenings and weekends) is when clients are available for my "real" job- real estate and six cats and kids just won't mix well.

Bamboo- it is taking over my backyard. I am going to research what to do with it and how I can sell it off.

Clean houses- I rejected it. However, I have several friends who do well with their own cleaning businesses.

Collecting pine cones- it seems these are in demand for crafts. I found that a basket of 100 would sell for about $10. If I find a place to collect them, I'll give this a try.

Consignment- I pulled all the clothes out of my closets and drawers. I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem about a year ago and have lost a lot of weight since getting on medication. Some clothes can be donated, generating a tax write-off, or sold at consignment. I sent a St. Johns outfit to Rodeo Resale for consignment. The other stuff, I'll try to sell locally or donate.

Freelance writing- I tabled it for now. I'd like to try this blogging thing first and see how it develops.

Gardening- I had high hopes to sell produce when I started my garden this year. We moved from DC to Alabama and now have space to put a square foot garden. I worked it out on an Excel spreadsheet and found that I'll have enough to feed my family for a year and some to give away as client gifts and to friends and neighbors, but not enough to produce a farmer's market. I got a little wild on this one :). I'll take a look at what I have in yield at the end of the year and see how I can better plan for next year.

Merchandising- I have two companies that I signed up with. That provides flexible scheduling and better money than most local places pay. The best list of merchandising companies is at I'll bring home $1,600 next month with this one. This is largely due to a reset at a local drug store that will take 32 hours for five weeks. I also picked up a smaller ongoing job for 10 hours/month total.

Mystery shopping- Fun stuff, but not much work in my immediate area. I signed up and if something comes up, I'll take it. I'll get $15 pluse lunch from a shop done last month. Not much, but it helps. I did find out that my roommate paid $100 to sign up with a company. No way! You can sign up for free. As with merchandising, go to for a great list.

Paper route- Tabled it for now, but still considering it. Do I really want to get up that early? I made a note on my calendar that if I don't have a real estate listing by mid-May that I will pick this up.

Pet sit- I posted an ad on I registered at I bookmarked these sites for future reference: I also make ten flyers to post around town, using a template for used cars. I thought this is a good article on pet sitting business,,h1zm-3,00.html

Survey Sites- Excellent for snowflaking. I have had the most success with MySurvey and Pinecone Research. MySurvey sends a check. Pinecone Research pays by PayPal. I get about $10-25 from each per quarter. Just got $5 from PayPal this morning for about 10 minutes of work.

What I'll do with the extra money- meet my monthly budget while rebuilding my real estate business in a new city and snowflake my debt with anything extra

What have you done to earn extra money? Was it successful? What was the outcome?

First Post for Best Finances

It is said that a blog has a greater chance of success if you know from the beginning what you hope to accomplish with it. My goals are to share my ideas about personal finance, promote myself and my businesses (as appropriate), and have 500 readers by September 1, 2008. I'll include personal thoughts, consumer commentary, ecommerce (as appropriate).