5.31.2010

$5 a Day Challenge: May Results



Here are the $5 a Day Challenge results for May:


EARNINGS: $119.74 (~$3.86 a day)
American Consumer Opinion - $4
Focusline surveys - $1
HCD Surveys: $0
Ipsos i-say - $10 Amazon credit
Lightspeed Panel - $15 Amazon credit
Mindfield  - $18 Paypal
Mypoints - $0
MySurvey - $0
Opinion Outpost - $20.60 Amazon credit
Pinecone Research - $9 Paypal
SurveySavvy - $0
Surveyhead - $9
Swagbucks - $15 Amazon credit
Toluna - $0
Valued Opinions  - $17 Amazon credit
YouData - $.14
Other survey panels - $1



TOTAL SAVINGS: $267.81
Groceries-$153.96
Walgreens/Rite Aid - $17.04
Target - $56.46
Other stores - $92.81
Rebates - $4.00


GIVEAWAY WINS FROM OTHER BLOGS: $590

HOW MUCH I SAVED/MADE MY FAMILY THIS MONTH: $977.55
YTD: $4218.67

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

5.30.2010

Great price on Supergoop!

Tosty is offering Supergoop! at an AMAZING price. I'm a huge fan of Supergoop! In case you missed my review, check it out here.



Supergoop! SPF 30 Sunscreen - $4.80 (Reg. $12)
Trio of Supergoop! SPF 30 Sunscreen - $13.60 (Reg. $36)
This sale ends June 6th!


What is Totsy?
Totsy offers moms on-the-go and moms-to-be access to brand-specific sales, up to 70% off retail, just for them and the kids, ages 0-7. Plus the items are 100% eco-friendly!
Shopping is by invite only, so this is your invite! Sign up here.

Coupons.com: Muir Glen and Cascadian Farms Coupons!

There are two new organic coupons on Coupons.com! You can print each coupon twice.

5.29.2010

Tiny Ducky Winner!

The winner of the Tiny Ducky giveaway is:


#87 Trixx

Thank you to everyone who entered and to Tiny Ducky for sponsoring this giveaway!
If you didn't win, you can still get 20% your purchase with coupon code: NewMom.

Little Duck Organics Giveaway Ends Tonight!


Make sure to get your last minute entries in before midnight tonight for the Little Duck Organics giveaway!

5.28.2010

Earning Money Online: The Basics

I love being a stay at home mom, but it often means that we have to make sacrifices. I've gotten pretty creative in the ways I save money for our family, and since last August I've been able to financially contribute as well. Currently, I am earning about $100-150 a month online, which may not be much, but $1200-1800 a year is a significant chunk of change!
Most of the money I earn is in the form of Amazon gift cards, which I use to get all sorts of things including organic grocery items. Some of my earnings go to my PayPal account which is nice because I have a PayPal debit card. Every month I report my earnings in my $5 a Day Challenge posts.


How to earn money:
1) Surveys -
The majority of my income comes from completing market research surveys online. I have compiled a list below of legitimate survey sites that have actually paid me money, otherwise I would never recommend them to my readers. If you want to read reviews about each site, you can check out Surveypolice.com. The cool thing about surveys is sometimes you will get a chance to try products for free too. About once a month a produce will show up for me to test and report back on. I've been asked to try food items, perfumes, shampoo, body wash, and paper products.
.
 1. Pinecone Research - not currently accepting applicants, but since I recommend it I wanted to list it in case there are openings in the future
2. Opinion Outpost
3. Lightspeed Panel
4. Surveyhead
5. Ipsos I-say
6. Valued Opinions
7. Toluna
8. SurveySavvy
9. MySurvey
10. HCD Surveys
11. Mindfield



2) Swagbucks -
Swagbucks is a search engine (just like Google) that rewards you randomly for searches. You can also earn points for shopping online, special offers, and referring friends. Swagbucks is an easy way to earn prizes, my favorite is the $5 Amazon gift card for 450 points.  I typically earn a couple gift cards a month.

3) Clicking on Ads/Reading emails-
I use two websites to get paid for clicking on ads. The first is Mypoints, who sends me 5-10 emails a day and rewards me 5 points for clicking the link in each email. Another site is YouData, which pays you to click on ads when you log into your account. I typically earn about $.20-.40 a week this way, and it is deposited into my PayPal account every Friday. Finally, InboxDollars is a site that pays you to read emails and sends out survey invites.


Tips: 
1) Make an email address that you won't mind getting a lot of emails on, including spam. Some days I get 20+ survey invites and I'm sure that I get spam as a result of signing up for some of the survey sites. I don't mind too much because I use an email account that is not for personal emails.

2) Use your time wisely. Consider how much a survey is worth and devote your time to higher paying surveys. This is especially important for websites that reward you in points. For example, Mypoints sends me survey offers for 50 points each and since I need ~1600 points for a $10 gift card, the survey is only worth about $.31, if I spend 20 minutes on it that's $.93/hr.  However, some survey sites like Valued Opinions or Surveyhead pay $2-3 for a 20 minute survey, or $6-9/hr.

3) Sign up for a bunch of sites. The more avenues you have for earning money (i.e. surveys, reading email, Swagbucks, etc.) the more you will earn!

4) It's okay to be skeptical, it's a good thing! There are a lot of scams out there that you should be careful to avoid. Never provide personal information that you don't feel comfortable sharing (i.e. social security number, back account information, etc.) and remember that you shouldn't have to pay for any of these websites!

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.

Giveaway Ending Tonight!


Last chance to enter to win a $30 gift certificate to Tiny Ducky! The giveaway ends at midnight tonight!

Don't forget that you can save 20% off your purchase at Tiny Ducky with coupon code: NewMom

5.27.2010

Green Design Ideas Jackpot

 Photo credit: re-nest.com

In the process of looking online for some creative ideas for empty wine bottles, I came across all kinds of wonderful green projects on apartmenttherapy.com and re-nest.com!

Here are a few fun ideas:
Diy Cut and Etch Wine Bottles
Creative wine bottle lamp from Carlo Rossi jugs
Homemade air freshener
How to clean your bathtub with a grapefruit and salt

I have a feeling I will be spending hours browsing these websites in the near future....

Amazon: Earth's Best Baby Food Deal!

 
When my son first started solids, I made sure to introduce organic foods right away! The first baby foods we tried were from Earth's Best, and he LOVED them!

At the time, I took advantage of the Amazon subscribe & save deal and ordered both of their starter 12 packs for $6.79 each, or $.57 a jar, with FREE 2 DAY SHIPPING! This deal is available again, so if you are introducing solids to your little one, stock up!

(If you don't select subscribe & save it's $7.99, but don't worry you can cancel your subscription at any time)

Earth's Best Organic 1st Vegetable Starter Kit, 2.5 Ounce Jars (Pack of 12)
Earth's Best Organic 1st Fruit Starter Kit, 2.5 Ounce Jars (Pack of 12)



Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

5.26.2010

*CLOSED* Review and Giveaway: The FruitGuys

Ideally, I’d love to buy all local and organic produce. However, sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds. For one, the selection of local and organic produce is often limited at the grocery store. And second, I may not be able to make it to the farmer’s market each week. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a convenient and affordable way to get high quality produce wherever you live?


Well, it is possible thanks to The FruitGuys! In 1998, The FruitGuys was founded to provide farm-fresh produce to the American workplace. The company is based on the premise that bringing healthy brain food to the office can boost productivity, improve wellness and help companies improve their bottom lines. Today, The FruitGuys supplies fresh seasonal fruit from local farms to thousands of American businesses, from small family-run businesses to major Fortune 500 corporations.


The FruitGuys isn’t just for businesses though. They offer a TakeHome pack that can be delivered to your work or home! Buying a box of produce from The FruitGuys is not only convenient, it is also a great way to support local farms, since all of the 100% organic produce is primarily sourced from farms within 150 miles of their facilities. Plus, they use eco-friendly packaging! The uniquely designed boxes are made from between 75% to 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard (depending on area) and printed with soy-based inks.


I was so excited about trying a TakeHome pack from The FruitGuys, which had 16 servings of organic fruits and veggies! When I opened up the box and saw all of the delicious produce inside, I had to run and get the camera to take a photo quickly because it took a lot of willpower to wait a few moments before eating something! The TakeHome case is fun because the produce selection varies each time (you can see what is currently included in the case here). It meant I got to try some new produce that I don’t normally buy or cook with (i.e. bok choy and daikon radish). Thankfully, when I noticed the variety of veggies, I didn’t have to wonder what I would make with them since The FruitGuys provide a couple helpful recipes. I tested out their stir-fry recipe, and followed it pretty closely, minus the carrots that already went into some juice, and I added some peanut sauce.



I was impressed with the quality, freshness, and taste of the produce The FruitGuys offers! The strawberries and peaches were some of the sweetest fruit I’ve tasted for a while. I made delicious juice with the apples and carrots, yummy guacamole with the avocado, and have been snacking on the oranges. I plan to order from The Fruit Guys in the very near future, and I’ve decided that a TakeHome case would be a wonderful and refreshing surprise for a friend or family member’s birthday!


Buy It: The Organic Fruit and Veggie Case that The FruitGuys generously provided me with is available for purchase for $30 for 16 servings, or $38 for 25 servings (+shipping).

Win It: One reader will win a 25 servings TakeHome Organic Fruit and Veggie Case. To enter, take a look around The FruitGuys website and then come back here and comment about something you learned.

Extra Entries:
You must complete the mandatory entry above before you qualify for any extra entries! Post a comment below for each entry you complete, along with your email if it isn't visible in your blogger profile.
2) Follow The FruitGuys on Twitter
3) "Like" The FruitGuys on Facebook
4) Subscribe to The FruitGuys' Newsletter (bottom left side of the page)
5) Subscribe to Cheap and Creative by email or RSS
6) Become a Facebook Fan of Cheap and Creative
7) Follow Cheap and Creative on Twitter
8) Grab my blog button and comment with the URL of where it's posted (2 entries)
9) Vote for Cheap and Creative on Top Mommy Blogs, just click the link on the right sidebar (1 entry per day)
10) Enter any or all of my other current giveaways (1 entry each, leave separate comments)
11) Tweet about this giveaway and comment with your tweet URL (1 entry per day), you can use this tweet:


#Win a case of organic produce from The FruitGuys! @cheapandcreativ @fruitguys http://cheapandcreative.blogspot.com ~ Ends 6/9! #giveaway
11) Share about this giveaway in your Facebook status along with a link, then comment below with the status URL (you get this by clicking on the time of your status update) for 1 extra entry per day. 


The giveaway ends June 9th at 11:59pm CT. One winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email. The winner must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to readers in the US.

Disclosure: I received sample product from The FruitGuys in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This post is based on my own personal opinions and experiences. Thank you to The FruitGuys for sponsoring this review and giveaway!

5.24.2010

EcoBabyBuys Goodies


 Last week there were some really cute deals on EcoBabyBuys.com that I just couldn't pass up! 



Jacob's sun hat is made from hemp by Earthlust ($10.50). The monkey, made by Mary Meyer Earthmates, is soft and cute, and best of all made out of recycled plastic bottles, plus it was only $10!


If you haven't signed up for the EcoBabyBuys daily sale alerts yet, I suggest you do! Each day you will find an eco-friendly deal for your little one for at least 40% off. I also love that you get a couple different options for shipping and if you go through USPS it's usually really cheap.

5.23.2010

Gray Water Collection Begins Today!


Today I was able to pick up the perfect sized tub for my sink and I started collecting gray water for my garden after rinsing my son's cups and bowls. Then it occurred to me to collect the water from rinsing my fruits and veggies (organic only) and hand rinsing, because I frequently wash and rinse my hands when cooking. I easily collected enough gray water for my entire garden within a few short minutes. Which is crazy when I think about all of the potentially useful water that was being wasted up until now!


Since we alternate between sunny and hot days and pouring rain days. I've decided that on rainy days I will  collect the gray water in large buckets on the patio for when it's needed (and until I start rain water collection).

The amount of money I save using gray water is minimal (we only pay about $.004 per gallon) however it will help me be less wasteful with my water usage. It also helps me to gain a little more awareness of how much water I'm using by watching as it collects in containers!

5.22.2010

Simple Saturday: Diapers


I finally got my clothesline up and just in time for a warm and sunny Saturday, which is a refreshing break from all the storms we've been having in Tennessee! I'm hopeful that the sun will also doing a little bleaching magic on my son's diapers. P.S. that adorable monster diaper in the center was handmade for me by Jessica @ Le Petit Owlet

5.21.2010

Review: Supergoop!

In case you didn’t know, May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month! So this is a perfect time to for me to talk about sunscreen.

In the past I’ve been pretty good about applying sunscreen, yet I admit that there was a time I used to lay out and tan (big no-no). However, after my sister found out she had Melanoma a few years ago, I became more serious about not only sunscreen, but also about limiting my sun exposure overall. With my son, if we are going to be outside any longer than a couple minutes, I make sure that he is covered in sunscreen as well. I’m picky though; not just any sunscreen will do. I want a formula that is free of harmful ingredients so that I could feel confident that I am not only protecting my son from UV rays, but that I’m also limiting his exposure to other toxins at the same time.


I’d heard great things about Supergoop! and knew that this was a product I wanted to try. The updated Supergoop! Plus! formula was created in conjunction with Healthy Child Healthy World to remove all possible carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. All of the ingredients are toxin-free, including possible carcinogens such as oxybenzone and paraben endocrine disruptors. Supergoop! is also free of sulfates, phthalates, synthetic dyes, fragrances, propylene glycol, nano-particles, and padimate 0. As a result, Supergoop! is so awesome that they were awarded the Gold Triangle Award for Excellence in Sun Safety by the American Academy of Dermatology!

Supergoop! Generously sent me their SPF 30+ Everyday UV Protection Spray to try out. I immediately liked the spray applicator form of Supergoop!, which sprays out as lotion. Typically I think liquid sun protection is messy, greasy, and wasteful (since it seems to take a lot of sprays to get the coverage I want). The Supergoop! bottle sprays out a good amount of lotion which rubs in easily without leaving behind a greasy residue. I’ve found that it is also very water and sweat resistant like they claim, which is great for extended protection.


The Supergoop! SPF 30+ Everyday UV Protection Spray has seamlessly been incorporated into our daily routine, since it’s easy to use, safe (for all skin types and for ages 4 months and up), and effective. Plus Supergoop! offers their UV protection products in so many different forms Swipes, lotion, spray, and pocket stick, so it’s convenient for ANYONE to use!

Sun protection is something I’m passionate about and I appreciate that Supergoop! is as well (check out their blog too!)

Buy It: You can purchase Supergoop! products here.

Homemade Beauty Recipes


Today I came across a few homemade beauty recipes on GoodHousekeeping.com that sound wonderful! I'm going to try out the apple toner this weekend!

EcoMom Giveaway Winner!


Congrats to entry #38 Julie!
She won $20 worth of Plum Organics and/or Revolution Food!
Thank you EcoMom.com for sponsoring this giveaway!

5.20.2010

Using gray water in the garden

It occurred to me early this morning, that I should look into using gray water in my garden. I wash a bunch of my son's bottles, cups, and bowls everyday, so if I switch to washing them in a tub it would be easy to take the leftover water out to my garden.

I'm not concerned about dish soap getting into the vegetables since I use only natural and biodegradable soaps, and there's probably a larger amount of soap left on dishes and glasses I wash than would ever get into the plants. Should I be concerned about anything killing the plants or ruining the soil?

Something else I'm going to check into is making a rain water collection system, which sounds like it'd be a great idea since we get a lot of rain in Tennessee!

Does anyone have experience using their gray water? Or know of helpful resources?

Sun & Earth Winner!

Photobucket

Congrats to entry #99 Tina Reynolds! 

Thank you to all who entered and to Sun & Earth for sponsoring this giveaway!

Giveaway Ending Tonight!


Enter by midnight tonight to win $20 worth of Plum Organics and/or Revolution Foods for your little one!

5.18.2010

Athenos Hummus: Buy One Get One FREE

Athenos Hummus is offering a Buy One Get One FREE coupon on their Facebook page! (Hit the back button to print twice)

I've been busy!


 I've been working on a lot of my other side projects lately, one of which is my photography website...
If you are interested, here's the link:

I will soon be selling prints of my photography too!

5.17.2010

Mambo Sprouts: $1 off Barbara's Bakery


Mambo Sprouts has a new printable coupon for $1 off one Barbara's Bakery product!

Review: Bummis Swimmi



Since I'm a cloth diapering mom, disposable swim diapers have little appeal to me. I've tried using a diaper cover alone when my son plays in the pool, but it couldn't handle any messes. After a little searching, I came across the Swimmi diaper made by Bummis.



Bummis was founded by a couple cloth diapering moms that believe if parents see how easy it is to cloth diaper, then they will give it a try! As a fan of the Bummis Organic Cotton Diaper Kit, I couldn't wait to get a Swimmi swim diaper. I asked Bummis if I could test one out and then generously sent me a Swimmi in the fishies print (my favorite!) The Swimmi consists of polyester mesh that sandwiches a layer of nylon, and stretchy soft lycra bindings, all of which are irritation free!

We've used the Swimmi a bunch of times, mainly in the kiddie pool in the backyard, and it's working out great! I appreciate how easy the Swimmi is to use, because it does not require inserts. Also it has no bulk to it, it fits snug, but doesn't restrict movement. Most important, it stops messes perfectly!


The Swimmi comes in size small, medium, and large, so it's perfect for babies and toddlers 9- 30 pounds. You don't have to be a cloth diapering parent to appreciate the Swimmi, it's easy to use and will save you a bunch of money over buying disposable swim diapers. Not to mention ditching disposables is better for the environment!

Buy It: You can find a retailer that carries the Swimmi here.


Disclosure: I received a sample product free of charge to facilitate my review, no other compensation was received. These are my honest opinions based on my experience.

5.16.2010

New Recycle Bank Code!


You can get an easy 15 points on Recycle Bank when you click “Earn Points” and then enter this promo code: TakeSmallSteps in the box provided on the right (select Marcal for the points partner). Find out more about Recycle Bank in my post here.

5.15.2010

Recycled Art: Candle Holder


I put together this candle holder/chandelier from a tomato basket, wire, and homemade candles using empty baby food jars. The plan was for it to hang on our patio, but I think it doesn't look too bad on the table :)


Step #1 Start with the tomato basket. Using wire cutters, snip off the wire connecting the largest ring to the middle ring of the tomato basket, so that only 3 rings remain.
Step #2 Bend the wire at the base of the tomato basket (now the top of the candle holder) into a loop

Step #3 If you like, you can wrap a piece of small wire around the pieces of the basket wire twisted into a loop
Step #4 Make your candles. I used natural soy wax and heated it on the stove (follow the directions on the wax you buy). Once the wax melts, pour into baby food jars and add wicks.

Step #5 Allow the wax to cool, so the jars are no longer hot to touch.

Step #6 Cut two pieces of wire for each candle, and twist on the sides of the jar.


Step #7 Twist the wire into a loop to attach to the tomato basket. With extra wires you can get creative.


Step #8 Attach all of the candles, and you are done!

Not receiving emails anymore?

I noticed today that a bunch of my email subscribers disappeared! I've heard a few other bloggers are having issues with feedburner as well. If you aren't receiving emails anymore, but still enjoy looking at my blog, please come back and re-subscribe.
Thank you :)

Michelle

5.14.2010

Review and Giveaway: Little Duck Organics (Plus Coupon Code!)



Little Duck Organics was founded with the goal of creating all natural baby snacks that parents could feel good about giving to their children. Little Duck Organics Tiny Fruits are made with 100% real organic fruit. Each bag contains four full servings of fruit so you can feel confident that you are giving your child a healthy snack that's full of nutrients! Although Little Duck Organics is a fairly new company, production began Fall 2009, their products have rave reviews by bloggers and parents, so I couldn’t wait to try them!


My son is just starting to eat bites of food, so I like that Little Duck Organics dissolves in his mouth while he is learning to chew. He really loves the variety of flavors, strawberry and mango is his favorite! When Jacob eats Little Duck Organics, I'm happy knowing that I'm giving him a delicious and healthy snack. Plus, having a bag of little Duck Organics snacks in my purse has saved me in several situations. A few times we’ve been out to dinner and Jacob grew fussy and desperate to get out of his high chair, and Little Duck Organics immediately improved the situation and kept him happy. I made sure to have a bag of Little Duck Organics with me on my trip to Oklahoma this past weekend. Jacob and I took two flights from Nashville to Dallas, and then to Tulsa. He did great the first flight, but was not thrilled about the second, Little Duck Organics kept both his tummy and mouth distracted until we reached our destination! I highly recommend Little Duck Organics to parents that are looking for a natural and healthy snack for their baby or toddler.

Buy It: You can buy Little Duck Organics directly, 3 packs for only $10 and shipping is $2 on all orders! Little Duck Organics are also available on Amazon.com and in stores.
Through May 29th, Little Duck Organics is offering 10% off your order with coupon code: CHEAPANDCREATIVE when you buy from their website.

Win It: One reader will win a three pack of Little Duck Organics snacks. To enter, comment below about your little one's favorite thing to munch on.

Extra Entries:
You must complete the mandatory entry above before you qualify for any extra entries! Post a comment below for each entry you complete, along with your email if it isn't visible in your blogger profile.
2) Follow Little Duck Organics on Twitter
3) "Like" Little Duck Organics on Facebook
4) Join the Little Duck Organics Flickr Fan Group
5) Subscribe to Cheap and Creative by email or RSS
6) Become a Facebook Fan of Cheap and Creative
7) Follow Cheap and Creative on Twitter
8) Grab my blog button and comment with the URL of where it's posted (2 entries)
9) Vote for Cheap and Creative on Top Mommy Blogs, just click the link on the right sidebar (1 entry per day)
10) Enter any or all of my other current giveaways (1 entry each, leave separate comments)
11) Tweet about this giveaway and comment with your tweet URL (1 entry per day), you can use this tweet:

Win a three pack of Little Duck Organics snacks @cheapandcreativ @LittleDuckOrg
http://cheapandcreative.blogspot.com ~ Ends 5/29!
12) Share about this giveaway in your Facebook status along with a link, then comment below with the status URL (you get this by clicking on the time of your status update) for 1 extra entry per day. 


The giveaway ends May29th at 11:59pm CT. One winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email. The winner must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to readers in the US.

Disclosure: I received sample product from Little Duck Organics in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This post is based on my own personal opinions and experiences. Thank you Little Duck Organics for sponsoring this review and giveaway!