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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Earning Tip no.1

This one isn't so much about couponing as it is about getting money. It can be difficult to earn a living while taking classes, especially if you are taking classes full time. So to pay the bills you have a part-time job that fits into your school schedule. You get descent hours, 20-30 a week- more if you're lucky and someone calls in sick- depending on the season. But as much as you stretch your cash with coupons you could probably use some more income that doesn't require loans, illegal activities, or selling your soul / major body parts. You think a second job is out of the question because of school right? Not necessarily, you can earn cash in many ways to supplement your primary income that do not require any of the aforementioned atrocities.

Online jobs:

It used to be that in order to work online you had to have mad skills with a computer. While that does help, there a jobs now where the average user can earn a little extra income. I will list a few I have experience with.

-Amazon Mechanical Turk (skill level: 3/5)

Amazon's "Artificial Artificial Intelligence", In this job you are matched with tasks to perform based on your level of expertise. The longer you work for them the more they allow you to do. The tasks are menial jobs that are too easy for the company to be bothered with but require human intelligence and thus cannot be shucked off to a CPU. The harder the job, the better it pays. Sounds pretty boring but some of the tasks are entertaining and best of all you can PICK the ones that interest you and ignore the others. Also many companies will reward good work with a bonus payment. I once received such a payment because the reviewer thought that my answer to a question was funny! There are universities that post their psychological studies for Turks to complete for their research that tend to pay well as well as websites that post topics to write articles for. You can request payment from Amazon at any time so long as you have earned more than $5.00 and have it deposited into any checking account you have on file. Or if you don't have a account to send it to you can use the balance to shop on Amazon's site. For books, of course.

https://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome


-ChaCha (Skill Level 1/5-3/5)

If you've ever wanted to ask a stranger "Should I wear a blue shirt or a red shirt today?" You've probably used ChaCha (and were probably told to wear the red unless you work for a guy named Jean Luc Picard). ChaCha is a text-based service that sends answers from real live people to you. In order to get so many real people, ChaCha is willing to outsource a little. You can work for ChaCha as a Guide as freelance work. (i.e. you work for them but you aren't an employee, you're not responsible to them nor they to you). There are different jobs to choose from:

Vetter

Vetters are an integral part of the world’s most unique Rapid Response information squad, spinning out answers in real-time to millions of people on the go!
The action is always fast and exciting for Vetters, whose main task is to match incoming questions with the best available answers. Tap into menus of facts, jokes, news, trivia and more as you keep ChaCha users across the country plugged into the information they need. Whether you’re an early bird, mid-day worker or night owl, there’s never a dull moment!

Expeditor (me)

As part of the world’s most unique Rapid Response team, Expeditors answer questions, real-time, for people on the go. With over 1 million questions coming in each day, you cover a lot of territory … and get to connect with people all across the U.S., sending answers directly to their mobile phones!
Be ready to dish out advice on love & relationships, or tips on which movies to see. Whether ChaCha customers need a phone number they left back at the house, a fact to settle a bet, or a quick joke to lighten their day, you've got menus of great stuff to choose from. The pace is quick and the questions are always lively!

Generalist

Generalists are the ChaCha version of the know-it-all, the renaissance man/woman, or the resourceful friend everyone calls. You are able to comprehend, research, and answer any question thrown at you, regardless of subject matter.
Though you possess many of the same attributes as a Specialist, you enjoy the thrill of the unexpected, and possess the Internet search skills to make you seem like an expert even when you’re not. You are resourceful with a capital “R” and enjoy helping customers while continually learning new things.

Transcriber

Transcribers are the Guides who make ChaCha’s voice answer service the absolute smartest one anywhere. As a Transcriber, you listen to the voice questions that customers call into 1-800-2ChaCha and convert them to text questions.
You’re knowledgeable about people, places and things, and have sharp ears to interpret even muffled questions (possibly from a crowded subway or noisy restaurant). In other words, you’re far better than any computer at deducing what our customers are asking, and correctly interpreting nuances and names. (Note: This is not like being a telephone operator — you hear only recorded audio.)
Each job has a different difficulty level and pay. The harder it is, the more you make per question. There are also competitions and bonuses. It is a great job for students as you can log in from any computer (with Modzilla Firefox) whenever you want for as long as you want. It's great for killing time between classes. 
It's a little like playing timed trivia to me, only you get real money. You won't break the bank with this job, my pay is $.02/question so I generally make about $20 a week which is enough to pay for a night out at least. Not bad for money made in my spare time. I usually run ChaCha in the backgound on my computer while I do other things. It alerts you with the sound of a doorbell when you have a Q.
The method of payment is better now than when I started. Before, if you wanted instant payment, you had to get a bank account with the First Internet Bank of Indiana, get a ChaCha debit card, and make transfers to that account. The bank also charged a fee per transfer. The other option was to transfer to any other bank account with no fee but you could only transfer if you had $150+ in earnings. Now you can do an instant transfer through PayPal for $1, which is much much easier. 
Here's the application link: http://becomeaguide.chacha.com/
If you want, use my email when it asks who referred you and you will be added to my team. leaora@yahoo.com

I have more options that I want to list, but it is late (no longer Wednesday sorry) and I have homework due in the morning so stay tuned for Earning Tip no.2!





Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Guess Who's Back?

Hey everyone (everyone, everyone, eveyone....)
Echo! (echo, echo, echo...)

Yeah... It's been awhile.

So I found my old business cards on my bookshelf while cleaning and remembered, hey- I have a blog! Hopefully there aren't any rabid code dogs out there waiting to pounce on me, crazed from their lonely experience on a deserted webpage. But mostly I'm afraid that my readers are angry for my year-long hiatus. I had some family stuff and some school stuff and a little depressing stuff happen that I won't relay on here but I want to let everyone know that I'm back and will be posting more often, not that it is hard to post more frequently than once a year.

I checked my stats and noticed that the page has had some visitors. Poor unfortunates sniffing for scraps when there were none to be had. I'm so sorry! I also had a nice note from Google telling me that if I want to get paid, I needed to give them my tax info.

Anyway, for the next few days I plan to reorganize the site, shake out the cobwebs, and give it a little face lift. I will delete the less favored posts so that the number of pages to sift through will remain at a minimum. I'm thinking up some post ideas and WILL make my next post Wednesday afternoon. As always, if you have ideas or questions feel free to message me and I will include it in my following post.

For now, a couple updates on me.

I am now the proud pet of a cat. Yes, he owns me. I literally had no choice in the matter. An adorable kitten chased my bff (who is afraid of and allergic to cats) into my apartment. For my friend's sake I tossed him (lightly) out the door three times, each time he ran back in before I could shut the door. He was skinny enough to worry me despite the fact he was wearing a collar. I have a soft spot for cats as I grew up with lots of them so I found an MRE with a meatloaf packet and mushed it up for the little guy and gave him the option of milk or water. He ate his fill, almost the whole packet, crawled into my lap and fell asleep. I was super surprised as a stray cat will rarely let a person touch them much less curl up and go to sleep. I didn't plan to keep him considering the cost but my sister came home and announced he was ours. When I asked why she told me to look at his feet. When I looked I finally noticed the fact you could almost count to ten with one of his feet. He is a Hemingway (aka polydactyl, aka mitten kitten) cat. He has a total of 26 toes instead of the usual 18 numbering 8-7-6-5. I did try to find the original owners but like I said, he was in bad shape. The kind of shape that occurs from neglect so it is probably good I didn't find them, for their sake.
His name is Professor Theodore Danger Butterscotch or simply Prof. Butterscotch and no, I didn't name him, my sister did. Who promptly got her own cat who she named Generalisima Fluffypants, a female siamese and very tiny with the normal number of toes.

Aside from that there's not much to tell. I hit the two-year mark at my job. I had my wisdom teeth removed. I've gotten REALLY into nail art (I will probably post some pics on here just to warn you).

I've started writing a second novel despite not finishing the first. The first is a sci-fi time-travel adventure that I love but do not have the time for research on. It's just to complicated for my limited time. You might say that I should make it less intricate but if I did it wouldn't be worth the time anyway. So for now it is on the shelf until I can devote myself to it properly. My new one is a vampire themed novel I've been knocking around in my head for a few years. As I have been rather obsessed with vampires since about the age of 4, there is little additional research to do. And no, it is nothing like and has nothing to do with Twilight. I actually do like the Twilight novel series (I have 1st edition hardback of all 5 books), it was entertaining and got teens reading which is quite an accomplishment. The movies destroyed that. Not only were the movies cheesy and poorly done but most teens will watch a movie before lifting a book and after watching those movies they are unlikely to touch the book. When there were no movies, they had no choice. But now I'm ranting so back to the topic... my book concerns an actual, bonafide, evil-and-I-like-it vampire. The main character is a girl who is not head over heels for the vamp but actually afraid of him like she should be. He kills people and would kill her if given the chance. He is not a tortured soul but a torturer of souls. He is the kind of vampire I miss in modern literature. Most modern vampires if evil are flat characters and if good are whiny little b****es. Annoying.

Anyway, If you've red this far, here is your reward. My life in pics:
Asleep on my book, with his eyes open

So many toes!

The tiny one stares into my drink!

My egg art whim last Easter

My car all shiny and new (the one I couponed for)

Halloween nails

Fourth of July nails

Nails for a wedding

Nails that made me want to eat some King cake

Jack Skellington-O-lantern (with blood spatter nails)

The Furby I got for xmas

My teeny tiny turret (*Are you still there?*)

My hair all done up for my friend's wedding

Prof. Butterscotch meets kitty bank for thinkgeek.com







Wednesday, February 29, 2012

End of an Era


I am so incredibly sad today because it is the final broadcast of my favorite radio station, 97.5 FM WABB. This radio station has been in Mobile since the 70's and has always been a major part of the community. They revolutionized the way radio stations did contests and helped out those in need. When I was growing up, I didn't even know there were other stations, WABB was the radio to me! I loved listening to Matt and Jay in the morning on the way to school and longed to hear my birthday announced on the air. I listened to "Party Like It's 1999" on New Years Eve 1999, and wondered what it was like to be buried alive as a stunt. I entered the contests and felt my heart race when I dialed them up. I was angry at Hot 104 for trying to call them lame. No station could copy them or take away their loyal audience and I will await their return. (hoping they will even if it is just a podcast or streaming online, or that the new station flops).
You will be missed.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hello All!

Hello Everyone!

I'm the new coauthor, Singingperson. I've been couponing, sampling, and using sites like swagbucks for the last few years. I'm a full-time college student and need to be able to save money anywhere that I can.

My favorite store for couponing is Publix. They have great B1G1(Buy one, Get one free) deals and they accept not only manufacturer coupons, but competitors coupons as well. My best receipts have been $0.42 cents for 43 dollars worth of food and $2.70 for 94 dollars worth of food. That said, I normally end up saving somewhere between $80-100 dollars and spend about $20 or $30 dollars.

See you all again soon!
-SP

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Meet the Coauthor

Next Time on The Stingy Student...

In an effort to make The Stingy Student blog's content more regular and relevant I invited a couponing friend of mine to be a coauthor.

She has been on the couponing bandwagon a little longer than me and in the shopping department she is my sensei. I have even mentioned her before on the blog. You may remember my short post Couponing! on May 26, 2011 where I posted a picture of a friend's transaction, our new writer was the one able to purchase $48 worth of goods for $0.42 (I'm still in awe).

So keep a lookout for her upcoming posts under the username SingingPerson.

Left- SingingPerson, Right-Leaora

Stingy Shopping Apps

This was written last Wednesday but it needed some serious work, I swear! >.<

As you know from my previous post about my Black Friday experience, I have a new android phone. This is the first smart phone I've ever had, so I went a little app crazy. I downloaded so many I ran out of memory, luckily the phone came with a 2GB SD card. I have since deleted many of said apps but I held on to the best and the brightest (like 50 or so, I'm still whittling it down).

After several conversations with fellow couponers about money-saving apps, I promised a few of them I would write a post about how to save money using your phone. Considering how expensive they can get it's awesome to get some money back right?

There are literally thousands of apps on the market. They range in purpose- some are informative, others are entertaining, and more than a few are just plain ridiculous. But there are rare, diamond in the rough apps, that can save you a lot.

Shopkick
It's the app putting a spin on the phrase "shopping for kicks"!

Shopkick is probably the most well-known shopping app. It is a rewards app that gives you points (kicks) for shopping. It uses the GPS in your phone to locate you inside sponsoring stores. Stores such as Best Buy and Old Navy reward you for simply walking inside the building while others give you points for scanning barcodes or QR codes on select items in store. This is great because you don't actually have to buy anything in order to get points.

Should you find something you wish to purchase Shopkick has more rewards in store. Depending on the store, you can use a linked Visa card (debit or credit) or give your phone number to the cashier in order to get additional points. Better still, Shopkick has special coupons and deals for users. Saving you dollars as well as earning kicks. There are additional bonuses for iPhone users.

So the burning question is, "What do kicks get you?" Well there's quite a bit to choose from! Rewards vary from Facebook credits (25 Kicks/credit) to gift cards (iTunes, Best Buy, Coach, and more) to a 4GB Xbox with Kinect (75000 Kicks)!

Join Shopkick!


Checkpoints

Check in, check out, Checkpoints!

Checkpoints is very similar to Shopkick, but not as well known. I learned about this app quite a while ago from one on my coupon sites, back when I was just getting into the whole discount scene. 

Just like Shopkick, you get points for going inside stores and scanning items. The difference being that you get less points per check in but more stores to get points from. Also checking in is easier than on Shopkick as the GPS locator gives you a bit more wiggle room on where you are but the trade off is having to wait a certain amount of time between stores to get points. 

Other advantages of Checkpoints is that it can be linked to other loyalty programs. Currently you can connect with Alaska Airlines Miles, Delta SkyMiles, and Swagbucks (I've mentioned Swagbucks before in a prior post). I get the feeling that this program is a work-in-progress so I hope they will add more soon.
There is also a toolbar available to download to your computer's browser to earn more points. You can get it on Internet Explorer and Modzilla FireFox with a Chrome Plugin coming soon.

As for the rewards? Items available for redemption change frequently so you have to check often to see if there's something you like, although some items stay constant. Currently there's $25 giftcards for Starbucks, Amazon, Subway, and Home Depot and items such as an as-seen-on-tv keyboard and a 250GB Xbox bundle with 2 games and a 3-month gold membership to Xbox LIVE for 115000 points.

One last note, when you register your app with checkpoints there is a space to put in a bonus code. If you put in the username of a current user you both get bonus points and the more your code is used, the more points it is worth. A simple search will yield codes but many will no longer be in use (been there, it took me a half-hour to find an active code) and many will claim to get you thousands of points (the cap is 300 I believe) so this is my code and I have no idea how much it will get you: leaora.


Find out more at Checkpoints.com

Smoopa



Getting paid to get a good deal? Heck yeah!

Smoopa is the only app (to my knowledge) that will pay you is cash instead of points. While I love Shopkick and Check Points, cash is cash.

How it works is you find an item that you wish to purchase and scan the barcode. Smoopa will then ask you where you are and what the price of the item. Drawing upon scans of others in the area and the all-knowing internet, Smoopa tells you if the price is good or bad and if there is a special offer.

My favorite thing about this app however is the price tracker. After checking a price, you have the option to "track" the item. You put in the price you want to pay for it and Smoopa alerts you when it falls below that price.

Want to give it a try? Here's a boost, Use code 38366789e7 when you join and get $2 credited to your account.  Find more info on the Android Market or at Smoopa.com.


Some other apps I want to touch on:

Key Ring: Before I found this app, I was considering using a second wallet for just my rewards cards. Key Ring stores the bar codes for all your cards on your phone, making it easy to find and use. For an added bonus there are Key Ring exclusive coupons you can add to your cards on your phone.
learn more



Grocery IQ: This app is the product of Coupons.com, the site we know and love for printable coupons. The app is primarily to make and organize shopping lists but it has some awesome options. You can search through coupons on the site to have emailed to you as well as some you can add instantly to membership cards for stores.
learn more


Grocery Pal: This too is a shopping list app. Where it differs from Grocery IQ is that in addition to coupons (a service provided by Cellfire) you can search through the sales of the grocery stores in your area and add items directly to your list. This makes coupon match-ups a cinch!
learn more

GeoQpons: I was informed of this app while shopping one day. You can search through stores in your area to find discounts. The discounts on the app are typically coupons the store has online most of the time but having it on the phone eliminates the need for printing. And the occasional unplanned splurge.
learn more

Know of any other awesome shopping apps? Feel free to post them in the comments section.

Apps Awaaaay!!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year'$

Say hello to 2012!

It's a brand new year and I've been noticing that many new year's traditions center around money. So I thought that for my first post of the year I would give an overview of some of these traditions and some money-saving tips for the season.

One tradition that I grew up with was eating black-eyed peas to bring wealth. I absolutely despise black-eyed peas but once a year I gritted my teeth and ate as many as I could stand. One year I carefully ate then one at a time until I had eaten exactly 100 in order to get the corresponding amount of cash during the year (back when $100 was the largest amount I could concieve of).

Another tradition I heard of only recently was that during the first few days of the year you shouldn't make any frivolous purchases because you would be doomed to debt for the rest of the year. I think this is more of a correlation effect than anything else. The kind of people who would make such purchases are the kind to make such purchases throughout the year. Correlation doesn't prove causation.

Lastly is making resolutions. This is the only tradition I put stock in. If you can actually resolve to save more money or to earn more money in the coming year, typically you will. As with any resolution though it needs to be reasonable and you need to keep it for more than two months. Try to tell someone to keep on track.
On that note, my own resolution is to focus on my writing. I have decided to call it Writing Wednesday. One day of my week that will be dedicated to working on my novel, blog, diary, or my other miscellaneous musings. That isn't to say that I won't be writing while multitasking, but the other tasks will probably be more relaxing such as soaking in a foot bath while wearing a spa mask, etc.

But back to the money, it is probably tempting to shop right now with all the post-holiday sales and clearance events. However I recommend attacking the deals the same way you go about shoping prior to the holidays: know what you want, what you are willing to pay, and don't get anything else.
That's all I have for now. Hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday. Thank you so much for putting up with an inconsistent blogger.

Stay stingy, my friends.
:P

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My First Black Friday

This is a draft I found lying around from December, after a bit of a touch up for my Writing Wednesday I deemed it blog worthy. Enjoy

So, I did a little Black Friday shopping this year. Emphasis on a little. For one, I was working that day, for another I can't stand crazy crowds. (makes me want to scream or puke or both) So at midnight I drove up to the nearest Target. When I got there, the line wrapped around the building despite the 30 degree temperature.

As soon as my sister saw the parking lot she drove off with a good luck text. And I admit I was a little intimidated myself but I needed a new cell phone badly. I had reactivated a four-year-old phone after my two-year-old one bit the dust. After some research online I discovered that Target had the LG Optimus V (Virgin Mobile) for $49.99 in lieu of the normal price of $149.99. I had put a lot of thought (aka drool) into purchasing an Android phone and $49.99 was about as low as I could get for a new one. So I parked in a spot too small for the SUVs that were trolling around (people double parked in order to block out other shoppers, but couldn't stop my little Aveo) and waited in the warmth and security of my car until the line got into the store. After the half-hour it took the shoppers to disappear, I strolled into the store and made a bee-line for the electronics department. It wasn't easy considering the shear number of people just ambling around talking on their cell phones and looking at products that weren't even on sale. I channeled the dodging abilities I developed from years of having to quickly navigate the crowed halls of my high school and was able to expertly duck and weave my way through the crowd  without mishap. Just as I was patting myself on the back for making it to the electronics department I spied the empty peg-hook where my phone supposed to be.

After an internal dramatic wail, I cast my eyes about for an employee. I doubted I would find one but I tried anyway. After a few minutes I snagged one as the flow of traffic threw him past me. After thanking him for even trying to help, I asked if there was any way he could check in "the back" to see if there were any more phones lying around. He promised to do so and leaped into another stream of traffic. In the meantime I moored myself to the cell phone shelf to wait and entertained myself by watching the mayhem. After a few minutes he swam back and handed me a very disheveled box containing my phone, informing me that it was the last one. I thanked him profusely again. I believe I said something to the effect of "You are so awesome you are a freaking god". I hugged the box to my chest and waded back into the crowd.

I had entertained the idea of getting an xbox controller while I was there as they were on sale for ten dollars off and I had a coupon for an additional ten dollars off as well as my Target Red Card, one glance at the tower of people next to the xbox display and I did an about-face toward the exit. Sure it would have been a great deal but I didn't think it was worth the time or energy. Plus a man ran by me carrying an xbox like it was a football. The line to the registers was the deciding factor though. there wasn't much of one yet but it was just beginning to grow. I found the entrance to the roped off area leading to the registers and was able to quickly navigate the dizzying path up one aisle and down another. It was only a five minute wait accompanied by a really nice couple before I reached the line attendant. As I only had the one item I got to go to the express lane. I stood a the counter a little while before the clerk noticed me. I can't blame her though, considering how few people would have ten items or less. All together with the promo price, my 5% discount, and tax I purchased my phone for exactly $52.