17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home

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Are you looking for a flexible way to earn money at home? Using you computer and your homes internet is a great place to start.  These 17 sites listed below pay in either check , Paypal or gift cards for Paypal.

17 sites you can use to earn money at home

17 Sites You Can Use To Earn Money At Home

This list contains ways to earn anything from just enough for date night each month to a full time income. Some of these sites you can use week after week to earn consistent income and others you can just use sporadically for those times you just want to earn enough for a family weekend at the water park or enough to finally kick that last credit card bill to the curb. What you earn and how often you earn it is up to you.

Places to Earn Money Filling Out Surveys and Performing Simple Tasks

What I like to call point reward programs are great places to start earning a bit of side income from home. No you won’t get rich with these sites but you can make enough each and every month to pay a bill or two. What I really like about these programs is often you earn a few points just from doing things you already do online and you can work other point earning actions into your day at the time that works best for your.

1. Swagbucks

Swagbucks is online rewards program that makes it easy for everyone to earn a few gift cards. By preforming a few simple tasks each day it is possible to earn $30 a month with Swagbucks but I have read of people who earn more than that and my own figures show that yes indeed you can earn more.

2. Paid Viewpoint

Paid Viewpoint is currently the only survey company I am actively using now that I don’t have as much time for surveys and I once did. The surveys are short, and there is no time wasted on screening questions. (here is my step by step guide to Paid Viewpoint)

3. My Survey

I was an active member of My Survey for years. I got into one or two surveys on average a week and was able to earn 1 to 2 $10 gift cards each month. I would do surveys when at the kitchen table watching my children fill in workbooks for homeschooling. It was a way to earn a bit of money while I waited for the children to need me to answer questions, mark their books or teach them the next concept.

4. My Points

My Points is the point earning program I have been a member of  the longest. I don’t do a lot through their program. I simply click through their emails that ofter points for clicking through and I often buy my online purchases through their site if they offer the best cash back deal or cash back for a store not available else where. Still just doing these 2 actions earns me on average 2 $10 gift certificates a year and one could earn a lot more if they were to spend time answering surveys, enter searches through their search bar, and doing a few more point actions that My Points offers.

5. Inbox Dollars

Inbox dollars offers a lot of the same point earning options that My Points and Swagbucks offers. It pays by check though instead of gift cards. Inbox dollars for me is a slow earning program but I mention it because pennies here and there from various programs can add up when collected together.

6. Opinion Points

I do not have experience with Opinion Post but when I researched what people had to say about it around the web I felt okay about suggesting it to my readers who are looking for a way to earn a bit more money from home doing surveys.

7. Pine Cone Research

Pine Cone Research is another survey company I have not personally tried but spent time researching and again found enough positive reviews about the program that I feel okay recommending it to my readers who like earning money through surveys.

Places to Resell Items

Reselling items from your home through your computer is another great flexible way to make money from home. I have done this over the years to earn enough money for extras that don’t fit in our budget such as summer camps for kids and weekend getaways for just me and my husband. What I like about it is I can have a sale blitz from my own home during a week when we are low on outside home activities and then not sell at all during busy weeks when we are not going to be home much. I also like that you can simply sell what your family already has and no longer needs or invest some money into it and find items priced low enough to resell for profit.

I have personally only done reselling on a here and there type basis  but I have met women who make regular part time and full time income from reselling.

8. eBay

The trick with eBay is to know what your are selling. Know your items, features, condition and age. It also helps to really like what you sell, it does make a difference in sales. I suggest however starting with what you already own and working into buying and reselling products from there.

Here are more of my articles on selling on eBay:

9. Craigslist

I haven’t met anyone making a living off Craigslist but I do know that it is a great way to get rid of large items that have become clutter in your house and earn cash in return. Here is my article about selling successfully and safely on Craigslist.

10. Facebook Buy & Sell Groups

Facebook Buy & Sell Groups are great for selling odds and ends and large items. Like Craigslist I haven’t meet anyone making a regular income off selling in these groups but they are a great way to make  temporary income from what you already own and no longer use.Here is my article about what I learned from my first experiences with Facebook Buy & Sell Groups .

11. Thred Up

You might not think of using an online consignment store as a source of making income but if you have good quality clothing in your closet or in your children’s closets  that you our they are not wearing you can send them in to ThredUp and receive payment to your paypal account.  (go to site research further). ThredUp also takes shoes, handbags, accessories and maternity clothes. It is free to send in your clothes, simply order a clear out bag that comes with a free shipping label. You can check what people get on average for similar clothing like yours with their clothing calculator. For lower priced items you earn the money before they sell the item, but for high priced items you can earn more by choosing  consignment and waiting for them to sell.

12. Twice

Twice is another online consignment store offering paypal payments for your good quality name brand clothing. Twice accepts women’s clothing only and is more particular about the brands than ThredUp.  Twice allows you to either print off a free shipping label or order a free selling bag. Twice offers a paypal option but it does offer 25% more for your clothes when you take store credit which would make me lean towards using ThredUp who gives you either or with no change in payment percentage,  however, if you need new clothing then selling your old ones for store credit would be one way to reduce your out of pocket clothing budget expenses.

( I would suggest selling your own items first to see what they are worth with either program but if come across great clothes amazing prices at yard sales, you could try reselling them through these 2  companies. I did this with a brick and mortar consignment shop once and did fairly well. Once again though you need to know what the item will bring you in from consignment before you buy). 

13. Half.com

If you love books and are good at finding them for  extremely low prices at yard sales and such then you might want to try out reselling them for profit at half.com

14. Amazon

You can also sell books at Amazon or you can get into reselling in a big way and sell clearance items in bulk. This podcast by Pat Flyn and Smart Passive Income goes into great detail about how one couple is making full time income reselling rock bottom clearance finds on Amazon.

Places to Sell Your Crafts

15. Etsy

Etsy is a competitive site to be a part of but I do think you can make money there if you put in the time and effort. If you want to take the Etsy plunge I suggest first reading the ebook  Selling On Etsy: Turning Your Hobby Into A Profitable Business, which goes step by step through what it takes to set up a successful Etsy shop, and then give yourself a year or so to really get it going.

16. Facebook and Or Instagram

I keep a photo album on my personal Facebook page with pictures of my hand knitted dishcloths I sell. I update it every Thanksgiving for the Christmas season when friends buy them for gifts.  I have seen others have a Facebook page that is exclusively for selling their handmade items. Recently I have been noticing people doing something similar with Instagram. They open an account just for pictures of their items for sale and share the link on Facebook and on their personal Instagram feed.  I suggest doing a Google search to gather more information about selling this way.

Places to Sell Your Skills

17. Fivver

Can you add lettering to a photo in a way that pops? Are you lucky enough to have a beach nearby where you can write a love message in the sand and send it to someones loved one for them? These are all talents that you can promote and sell on Fivver. I wasn’t able to find an ebook on how to  best start a Fivver business but I am sure if you did Google search or a Pinterest search you could find lots of helpful information to get going.

Bonus Tip: Start a site of your own. Making money off a blog will  probably take longer than making it at pretty much any of the above mentioned sites, however if you have the time and are not money crunched you can build your blog so that it creates income over time (I started making a part time income at the end of year 2).   Just as with many of the other sites mentioned above it really does help to have a student attitude when approaching blogging, in other words you don’t earn money in your area of study until you have put the time in to get your degree in it.

Looking for more ways to earn money from home? Follow my Selling & Earning Tips board on Pinterest

Linked to Frugal Friday Link Up Party,

Work At Home Ideas And Tips For Success (small)Want to work from home? See my Work at Home resource page for all I have written on the subject.

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Learning With Homer: The Reading Skills App I Wish I Had When My Kids Were Young

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As I have mentioned before I have 3 visual learners in my home who often make me wonder why in the world I even spend money on textbooks. For instance one time during a bike ride through corn field lined streets with my 12 year old son  (now 14 ) he explained in great detail how Ethonal was made. I was so excited thinking that $50 science book taught him something when he said “yeah mom I learned it all off this  documentary I found on Netflix”.

learn with homer

His answer made the $7.99 I spend on Netflix  each month  worth every penny and had me wondering why I spent $50 a year on a science textbook. Which is one of the reasons why when I saw Learning With Homer pop up as a click through to earn opportunity with Inbox dollars  it caught my eye and drew me in wishing I had something like Learn With Homer  available for my children when they were pre-readers.

Learning with Homer  is a comprehensive learn to read app that costs $7.95 a month and gives you a tonne of features for your subscription fee.

Here are just a few of the benefits of Learn With Homer

  • A Reading curriculum that currently contains 150 step by step lessons and more lessons are being added regularly.
  • A Story Time Area that contains a large library of folk tales, fairy tales, first stories and original stories that you and your child can enjoy together.
  • Printable activities to work on fine motor skills needed for writing as well as Printable progress rewards.
  •  A secured Homer’s Pigeon Post area that allows your child to send drawings and notes to loved ones.
  • A parents area where you can check on your child’s progress.
  • An art area where you child can make unique creations.

When my children were the ages Learning with Homer caters to (prek to 7 years old) I spent money each month on workbooks and DVDs to help them with  reading skills and I am pretty sure those purchases added up to more than $7.95 a month.

Among other great features I  like that since Learning With Homer is  an app you can take learning on the go with you. Your child can be working on their pre-reading skills while you are waiting at the Dr. Office, or traveling to grandmas, or where ever life takes you.

30 days free at learn with homer

Best part Learn With Homer offers a 30 day free trial period (must cancel subscription before end of trial should you decide you don’t like the service in order to avoid subscription charges) . The free trial period allows you to fully explore the site and decide if it is a great fit for your child or not.


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How To Erase Coffee & Tea Stains From Mugs

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Today I am exposing a dirty little secret about my husband. Don’t worry I asked permission and he said he didn’t care. Probably because he sees nothing wrong with his habit and I on the other hand think it is gross.

dirty to clean in 30 seconds or less

Several years ago for my birthday my husband surprised me with 2  Starbucks mugs, one a 20 ounce vinti for me and a 16 oz grande for him. I loved them so much that later in the day we bought another pair using some Swagbucks earned gift cards I earned.

We have used those mugs almost every day since then and mine stay sparkling white while his are always full of stains from his earl grey tea. I have shown him numerous times this trick I am about to share with you and raved about how quick and simple it is and yet he just rolls his eyes and says “who cares”.

I tried explaining that a sparkling clean cup really does make the tea taste better, and he simply laughs and says “whatever”. Funny thing is usually it is me who is the messy in our relationship. You should see the man sweep and mop laminate floors. Once he is done it is so clean I can use it as a mirror!

He does wash his mug with soap and water, he just doesn’t use my quick method to remove the stains. I am guessing he knows that it bugs me so much that eventually I will just do it for him, like I know that if I don’t sweep he will because it really bugs him to walk on crumbs where as me ……not so much.

How To Remove Tea And Coffee Stains In Under 30 Seconds

How to erase tea & coffee stains from a mug in less than 30 secondsErasing these coffee & tea stains is simple and requires ingredients 99.9 % of homes have in their cupboards right now. Not that I did a formal poll or anything but I know that these ingredients are common to just about all households.

ingredients needed to remove coffee stains from mugsTo remove a minor stain all you really need is the baking soda  and some dish soap but when you (or your hubby) have let tea and coffee stains get really bad it helps to add a bit of vinegar.

  1. Take dirty mug over  to your kitchen sink
  2. Dump 1 tablespoon baking soda into bottom of mug
  3.  Add a drop or two of dish soap
  4. Add a drop of vinegar
  5.  Fill  mug half way with warm water
  6.  Scrub sides of mug with a kitchen cloth

And in less than 30 seconds your mug will be sparkling clean.

How to keep your favorite mugs sparkling cleanLooking for more tips to solve common everyday problems? Follow my Problem Solved board on Pinterest.

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Tuesday Links: Affording College On A Budget

Tuesday links 30 or so link to articles on one topic for you to explore, learn, and apply to your life

My eldest is in his senior year of high school this year and so college is on my mind. Right now he is thinking of taking a year off  volunteer in the area that he is thinking of going to school for and see if he really likes it. So in other words he is taking a gap year.

I have been madly pinning everything about how to get a degree for less for when his gap year is over and here are a few of the articles I pinned

1. 5 Tips For Saving Money On College by Thrifty Little Momma

2. 9 Ways To Get A College Degree Without Going Into Debt by Live Like Your Are Rich

3. Online Clep Prep: The Smart Way To Earn College Credit  by Not Consumed

For more tips on keeping the cost of University low follow my Saving Money Tips board and my Homeschooling board on Pinterest where I pin articles like these as I find them.

If you have a tip for saving money on the cost of college please share it in the comments below. If you have written a post on it leave us the link (link will be subject to my approval but those  that are on topic and family friendly will be accepted) .

Seasons Change: Change With Them

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fall leavesI was walking down one of my favorite walking paths this week and I couldn’t help but notice that yes indeed fall has arrived to Indiana.

I love fall in Indiana as it is full of warm days and beautiful colors. What I don’t like so much is the season afterwards. I am not a fan of winter, yet I can’t stop it coming. The changing of the seasons will happen whether I want them to or not.

The change however will go more smoothly if I embrace it. I can embrace it better when I can dwell on the positive instead of the negative.

And that is how we need to approach life too. We need to be always willing to adapt and to change to whatever season of life we find ourselves in.

Right now I am needing to adapt. I have been struggling more than normal  lately to balance blogging with homeschooling, keeping up my home, my marriage, my friendships, and my health.

I need to adapt but I have been wrestling as to what to let go of.  My problem is I am a very routine person, and once I get stuck in a routine I don’t like changing it.

I had a blog review a few months back , and they showed me my traffic from when I began blogging  to now and from it showed me what posts  get viewed again and again and they are all my step by step detailed posts. The posts where  I take coupons apps and break them down into step by step detail. The posts where I take an area of saving and write 1200 or  more words on how to save money in just that area. The recipes with simple ingredients and  great pictures.  These are the posts, you my readers love and I want to provide them for you. I want to help you in the areas you need it most, and if detail helps you detail is what I want to provide.

Problem: Detailed posts takes time. My most detailed posts take 4 to 5 hours to create. To write 5 detailed posts a week I would need 25 hours just for researching, writing, editing, and doing the photos. Blogging however, is so much more than just creating, there is social media, emails, post promotion, networking, and then there is this whole trying to make a bit of money back for all the hours you put into it.

Truth: I don’t have 25 hours to spend just on writing.  Without sufficient time what ends up happening is I rush posts, and they are not as detailed as I want them to be, and that doesn’t serve my audience as well as they could.

I dislike not serving my audience as well as I could. You are important to me. I want to do the best I can to help you reach your goals of finding time and money to pursue your passions whatever those passions might be.

Solution: Stop posting as often.  After waring with my routine self for months I have finally decided to stop posting as often as well as changing up what I post when. I am going to stop the posts that have been getting the least amount of traffic, which tells me, you my readers, don’t really dig them as much as others.

I am cancelling the Weekly Thrifty Coupon Round Up, and the Weekly Thrifty Weekend reads. The coupons are available for you to print at any time right here on the blog and I will share the low cost ebook finds I love on Facebook when they pop up. If I see a oh my word I can’t believe it type deal I will  share it as a bonus post if I have time .

I am also no longer going to do a picture from our week post every Tuesday because quite frankly some weeks I was scrambling to find something from every day life to turn into a post on any of the topics I normally write about and when I stick in something I don’t normally write about it flops.

Here is what I hope to make the week on Snail Pace Transformations Look Like

  • Monday: Time management, goal setting, passions  or a picture from our week that inspired a post that fits with my blogs mission.
  • Tuesday:  A simple link share post, where I will share 3 or so posts on one topic  for you to explore, learn from and apply to your lives.
  • Wednesday:   Recipes, craft tutorials, or homemaking.
  • Thursday: A detailed step by step post on how use one particular company to save or earn money ,
  • Friday:  Detailed posts on Thrifty Living, or work at home employment ideas.

Of course I give myself permission to go off topic now and again :) Writing can get boring without shaking it up now and again.

I am also going to work at getting up earlier to work more  hours before the rest of the family awakes. I of course am inching back into this as I am still struggling with low iron levels causing me to need more sleep, but those levels are slowly rising and I plan to get to bed earlier so I can still sleep as many hours as my body needs.

My hope is that this new writing schedule and getting up  earlier will allow me to give you more of  the  in depth posts you love week after week.

feet and leavesI hope sharing these changes with you will inspire you to take steps to manage your time more effectively as well. If you are feeling out of control, like every area of your life is never done as well as your like, I encourage you to take some time this week to really think about what things you can let go of to make more time for those areas that are priorities to you. And if you are a routine lover like me, don’t be afraid to try a new routine, you can always return to the old one if the new one fails to work, but give it at least a 6 to 8 weeks first.

Wanting help with time management? Follow the Goal Setting & Time Management Board On Pinterest

time management tipsFind time to work on your passions with my 31 Time Saving Tips.

10 Fall Dates That Cost Zero

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My  10 Summer Dates That Cost Zero was pretty popular but the leaves are changing and so it is time to start thinking about ways my husband and I can continue our free dates now that it is fall.

10 fall dates that cost zero

10 Fall Dates That Cost Zero

1.Get out there and enjoy the fall colors

Take a walk down a wooded path together and enjoy the changing colors of the leaves.

2. Dream and plan for the upcoming Christmas season together

Curl up on the couch after the children are in bed and write out Christmas wishlists and bucket lists together, because you know that Christmas will be here soon enough and it is never to early to prepare well. Make sure your bucket list includes plenty of activities for just the two of you.

3.Do Some Pumpkin Baking

Cruise Pinterest together for a new pumpkin recipe and then try it out together while the little ones nap, or the teenagers are out with friends. (yes this will cost ingredients but I am guessing you could fit those into your grocery budget) .

Check out my Pumpkin Baking Pinterest board for ideas. It currently has over 70 pumpkin recipes and that number is sure to grow as fall progresses.

4.Watch the Sunset or Sunrise

Bundle up and watch the sunrise or sunset together with a cup of hot apple cider or homemade pumpkin latte’s in your hand.

5. Enjoy the fun fall provides

Rake the leaves together, and then start a leaf throwing fight. Yes you will have to rake them all over again but trust me it is fun.

6. Have movie night at home

Us a free DVD Redbox code to grab a movie ( the site Money Saving Mom lists them when available) or borrow one from the local library. Get the kids to bed early and then snuggle up on the couch together and enjoy the show.

7. Enjoy a backyard campfire

If your neighborhood regulations allow light a campfire in the backyard and sit side by side talking and enjoying the warmth and beauty of the fire.

8. Go on a ugly fall sweater hunt

Go to your favorite thrift store and see who can find the ugliest fall themed sweater. Snap pictures of you together  in them post it on Instagram and load it to Facebook and ask your friends to vote who found the ugliest one.

9. Attend a local free fall festival together.

Our town has  a covered bridge festival, and at least 2 other festivals I can think of in the fall that would make great free date nights.

10. Cash in your point program rewards and enjoy a night out.

Sometimes it is nice to enjoy a meal out or a couple of fancy coffees and a dessert together. If you are on a tight budget point programs are a great way to earn gift cards for just those types of nights. Swagbucks is my favorite and it is possible to earn enough Swagbucks each month to pay for a dinner for two. There are a lot of other great point programs out there too,  here is a list of my 17 favorite.

Looking for ways to save money? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest

Linked to Frugal Friday Link Up Party, Saver Tips Tuesdays, Thrifty Thursday, Mom2Mom Mondays,

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Thrifty Weekend Reads

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Remember prices could change at any time so make sure that you look at the price before purchasing.

Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles from .99 cents to $3.99Welcome to Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles for .99 cents to 3.99. These are full length books.

 Why Your Weirdness Is Wonderful: Embrace Your Quirks & Live Your Strengths $2.99

I purchased this one and cannot wait to dig in, the reviews are amazing and the title alone convinced me it was a book I would love.

Mad About Us: Moving From Anger To Intimacy With Your Spouse $3.99

Being OK With Where You Are  $2.99

Becoming the Woman God Wants Me To Be: A 90 Day Guild To Living The Proverbs 31 Life $1.99
The Money Answer Book $2.99
Deadly Pretender: The Double Life Of David Miller $1.99

 This is one of 4 Karen Kingsbury crime stores that are on sale for just $1.99 right now. Also available are

The Snake & The Spider

Final Vows

Missy’s Murder

You could hold a Karen Kingsbury crime story marathon reading weekend for under $10.

Love books? Check out my Books board on Pinterest.

thrifty bookworms and swagbucks the perfect romance (smallest)Love books! Want to learn how to support your habit? Read my Thrifty Bookworms & Swagbucks The Perfect Romance to find out how to earn $25 in Amazon or Barnes & Nobles gift cards each and every month and how to make those gift cards go as far as possible so you can keep your bookworm habit fully supplied.

Weekly Thrifty Coupon Round Up

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Remember the availability of these coupons could change at anytime.

A Weekly Listing Of The Best Printable Coupons Around The Web

A Weekly listing of high value coupons from around the web. The weekly thrifty coupon round up includes 12 printable coupons worth $1 or more. Don’t forget to check out my coupon area for a complete listing of what coupons are available from Redplum, Hopster, Savings.com, and Smartsource.

Board Games

My daughter and I play board games often and coupons are one on my favorite ways to save money on them. This week I found 8. (yes a Rubix’s  cube is not really a board game but it is a lot of fun).

Use these coupons to stock up on Christmas gifts.

$1.50 off (1) 3x3 RUBIK'S CUBE puzzle from Hasbro
$3.00 off any one (1) game from Hasbro
$3.00 off any MONOPOLY or SCRABBLE game
$3.00 off any TWISTER, JENGA, or GAME OF LIFE game
$2.00 off any YAHTZEE game from Hasbro
$3.00 off any OPERATION or BATTLESHIP game
$2.00 off any CLUE or GUESS WHO? game from Hasbro
$2.00 off one CONNECT 4, SORRY! or TROUBLE game

Your Weekly Caffeine fix

$2.00 off two Starbucks Packaged Coffee products


Now is a great time to be combining battery coupons with sales so that you can put them with Christmas gifts at Christmas time.
We use Duracell rechargeable batteries in our house for the boys video game centers. I like giving them a new package of them in their stocking each year.

$2.00 off ONE Duracell Rechargeable Batteries

$1.00 off Duracell Coppertop or Quantum Batteries

$2.00 off 2 Duracell Coppertop/Quantum Batteries

Wanting to decrease your grocery budget? I have been listening to Grocery University recently and have been very impressed. This course contains over 2 hours of audio files and goes way beyond saving money on groceries with coupons. I am sure even the most frugal of shoppers could pick up a tip or two through this course that would more than pay for their $9.97 investment .

Two Low Cost Gift Ideas From York Photo

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Christmas is coming sooner than we think and those who start shopping early get the best deals.

If you have never ordered from York Photo before you can get a free 11 by 14 designer poster or a $1 photo mug. Both would make great gifts

Photo gifts are  one of my favorite low cost gift ideas, to give and receive , so when  I found out about this deal for new customers from York Photo I knew I had to share it with you, my readers.

Right now York Photo has 2 deals that new customers  can take advantage of to make low cost gifts for your family.

You can make this designer 11 by 14 poster for just the cost of shipping, which starts at $2.99 when you enter the code: POSTERGIFT at checkout. Remember you must be a new customer of York Photo to be able to use the code. Expires October 31 2014.

I took advantage of this offer yesterday morning and made our family up a poster of key photos from our last family vacation.

It was pretty simple to do I first signed up for a York Photo account, then I clicked on the “Posters & Wall Decor” tab found at the top of the site.

Once I clicked that tab a square showed up with the words “Collage & Designer Posters” in it. I picked the 11  X 14 size and clicked on Go.

I was then taken to a  page where I could choose from a wide range of ready made templates for my pictures or I could make my own design.

I opted to make my own design.  Once I uploaded the pictures I wanted for the poster I then chose a page template that contained that many photos. After I got my photos just how I wanted them I moved on to picking out my background color (I chose chalkboard because it is going on a wall that is painted robin’s egg blue and I wanted it to pop) and finally I added wording to my poster.

family poster I made from York PhotoI am very pleased with how my designer poster turned out and am looking forward to it arriving in the mail.

Checking out was simple after I entered my shipping address, I was taken to a screen where I was able to enter the code POSTERGIFT  and after pressing enter the $8.99 charge was removed making my poster free except for shipping which cost me $2.99.

I think these posters would make great gifts . You could do one of all the grand kids for the Grandparents, or key childhood pictures through out the years for the soon to be high school graduate, or even key wedding pictures for newly weds. The gift potential is endless. You could take the gift one step further by placing it in an inexpensive yet charming frame when it arrives and then wrapping it up for the recipient.

If  posters are not your thing , you  can choose to make a  photo mug instead of the poster for just $1 plus shipping and handling  which starts at $5.99, when you enter the code MUGGIFT.  These would make a great gift for your children to give your spouse or grandparents. Expires November 11 2014.

Post Update: York Photo added one more new customer deal

You now have a 3rd choice if you are a new York Photo customer of making 20 free 4 by 8 photo cards. Shipping and handling fees apply but should be around $4.  Remember to enter the code CARDGIFT  at checkout to get your discount.  (code expires October 15th 2014)

3 great photo deals for new customers of York Photo

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10 Toys With Excellent Play Value

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Having been a mom for the past 18 years and also a childcare provider for 5 of those years I know the value of great toys and the frustration of low quality toys.

10 toys with excellent play value plus 4 ways to save money on them

10 Toys With Excellent Play Value

Excellent play value to me means that the toy ignites  the  child’s imagination and/or  works  on an important developmental skill. A great toy  can be used in 1000’s of different ways. Great toys last through not just one child but several. Great toys allow several children to play with them all at once.

1. Lego

As early as one years old my children had Duplo. We made towers from it that they loved to knock over. As time went on the building got more complex until my daughter at 11 made a whole Christmas display out of our rather large collection of Duplo.

As they grow older you are going to want to add in regular sized Lego. My boys for years loved getting new Lego sets for Christmas first making it according to directions then coming up with their own inventions. My daughter has loved it as well.

Lego is incredibly long lasting, my children are playing with some of the Lego from my own childhood.

2. Brio Wooden train sets

Brio train sets, last and last. Start out with the basic figure eight loop and grow your set piece by piece from there. There are other brands out there but I found Brio to hold up better than any other brand. Brio is worth the extra cost in my thrifty books.

3. ZOOB  building sets

ZOOB building sets are a little known wonderful imagination inspiring toy. Children can make animals, robots, aliens, vehicles, and more from these toys.

4. Tinker Toys

From props for imagination play, (lollipops for the candy store) to huge towers, Tinker toys provide hours of playtime.

5. Lincoln Logs

An American classic Lincoln Logs offer hours of play value. The kids and I working together made whole towns from them.

6. Hot Wheels

My boys got a lot of different brands of toy cars over the years but the only brand that could put up with the rough play my sons gave them was Hot Wheels.

7. Plastic Animals & Dinosaurs

Plastic animal and dinosaur sets are one toy where I didn’t really favor any particular brand. In fact some of the ones that are still ticking in our home after years of play are $1 store purchases. Still inspect the toy carefully to make sure it will stand up to rough play. You want to make sure it doesn’t have rough plastic edges, and that the animals can actually stand up on their own. If they are hollow is there a way the water can be drained from them when they end up in the bath. My son when he got big enough not  to swallow small pieces loved these miniature animal sets by TOOB, great quality.

8.  Wooden Block Sets

You can make a wooden block set yourself if you are handy. If not, there are many great sets available on the market, including this one by Melissa & Doug.

9. Ravensburger Puzzles

Ravensburger brand puzzles are my favorite because of their amazing quality. I had a few of these framed puzzles as seen above, in my family daycare and they stood up with years of daily use, and I was still able to pass them on to another family years later. Ravensburger makes puzzles for all ages and stages from these framed puzzles to puzzles with 60 pieces, to puzzles with 1000 pieces.

10. Large Wooden Beads & String

Melissa and Doug toys make a great  assortment of wooden bead and string sets for various ages  that provides hours of play while working on eye-hand coordination skills. These are also fun for imagination play, as snakes, and jewelery for dress up time. These were especially a hit with the preschool age group in the family daycare I ran for years.

These 10 types of toys are worth every penny you pay for them, but I being thrifty I  couldn’t resist giving you a few ways to save money on them.

4 Ways To Save Money On Toys With Excellent Play Value.

1. Christmas Sales

At Christmas time these toys often go on sale. I see Lego in buy one get one half price events frequently over the Christmas season. Amazon often runs deals on Melissa & Doug toys. Hot Wheels are available for less than a dollar around Christmas time.

2. Daily Deal Sites

I have seen Zoo Dubes offered a few times at discounted prices by Zulily this year.  Groupon has been known to do a deal for Toys’R Us around Christmas time that you could use to save money on any of these toys.  Brad’s Deals shares often shares great deals on a number of the above mentioned toys.

3. Find Them Secondhand

I gave my children second hand toy sets when they were little and they were extremely happy to receive them. By buying them used I was able to give the children bigger sets than we ever could have afforded new, and the toys were still in excellent shape.

Try yard sales, Craigslist, eBay, thrift stores and consignment sales and stores. Just make sure you know your sale prices well because sometimes the second hand market isn’t as great as some awesome deals you can find on new items. In general though second hand market prices are lower especially yard sale prices.

4.  Cash In Your Points

There are many point reward programs, here is my list of 17+ point reward programs I use.  From Swagbucks to Inbox dollars with a bit of daily work online you can make a small monthly income that you could use to purchase toys for birthday presents  and Christmas presents.

What other toys would you add to my list? Do you know of a great way to save money on high play value toys?

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesdays


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