Frugal Friday: Become a Product Tester for Extra Cash

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Earn money buy testing out products. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

I thought I would do another frugal Friday post where I write a little bit about ways to either save money, make extra money or get stuff for free. As I have stated before, I will only talk about companies I have worked with on my own and trust. 

Something I have done for a while now is product testing. Did you know that companies like to pay people to try out their products before they launch them in order to find out what changes they need to make to improve the product? Companies come up with new or improved versions of products, then they hire a marketing firm to gather people to try out these products and take surveys about them. 

Most of the products I test are food products, but companies can do this with all sorts of products. One marketing agency in my area that I use is P & K research. They often call me to pre-qualify me and make sure I am in the right set of people they are wanting to test for their product. Usually this means that you already are a customer that buys that particular product, like crackers, soda, or snack mixes for example. Once they have qualified you, they set you up to come into their location and taste test the product. I usually taste a few different samples of the same product with different tweaks on the flavors. I complete a survey on the computer and then they hand me an envelope of cash on my way out. 

Tests can range anywhere from 20 minutes to 1.5 hours. Occasionally I have done a test that was spread over two days (if there are a lot of samples). I have been paid anywhere from $25-$100 depending on the length of the test. It is always cash, and it is always given to you right after you finish the survey.

There are other marketing companies that do similar testings. Another one in my area is Point of View research. They pay people to give opinions about cars motorcycles, jet skis etc. In fact, I am doing one this weekend for a car that pays $375. No bad right?

If you don’t live in an area where these two companies are, try doing a Google search for marketing companies near you that have similar programs. Or try asking your friends to see if anyone you know might already be going to companies like this.

Why are we attending pre-marital classes though we have been married over 5 years?

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My weekend in pictures. My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.comMy weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

A Friday evening banquet honoring my graduating students.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

A breakfast date with the hubby.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Jeff and I are training to be marriage mentors which means we have to attend the pre-martial classes with the couples we may be matched up with.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.comMy weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

I took Sprite to a the “Fido Frenzy” Event at the District in Tustin. My mom’s dog Josie came along as well. They got to meet a lot of new puppy friends.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Josie and her matching boyfriend.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Sprite meeting a great dane that was ridiculously huge!

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

A little snap shot of what the future may look like for Sprite.

My weekend in pictures. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

My favorite salad, a deconstructed veggie burger salad!

We finished the weekend celebrating Cinco De Mayo the good old fashioned American way… with Chicago style deep dish pizza. Ha!

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe

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When I think about restaurants that are yummy to the extreme, Cafe Rio is definitely one of them. Their Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad is the go to menu item in our household. But when we moved out of a city that had one near by we were finding ourselves wanting that sweet pork goodness without having to make the drive. So like always, I scoured the internet for copycat recipes and came up with the perfect little semi-homemade (Sandra Lee anyone) recipe to make the salad at home.

The three main ingredients that make this taste like Cafe Rio salad and not just any old salad are the Sweet Pork Barbacoa and the combo of Tomatillo Ranch Dressing and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing. I focus most of my efforts on these three items. For the rest of the salad I find easy ways to save time. 

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Sweet Pork Barbacoa (recipe from here)

Ingredients:
2 pounds pork (a big pork shoulder is usually good)
3 cans Coke (NOT diet, sometimes we just get the store brand cola and it works fine)
1/4 c. brown sugar
dash garlic salt
1/4 c. water
1 can diced green chilies
3/4 (10oz) can red enchilada sauce
1 c. brown sugar

Instructions:

  • Put the pork in a heavy duty ziploc bag to marinade. Add about a can and a half of coke and about 1/4 c. of brown sugar. Marinade for a few hours or overnight.
  • Drain marinade and put pork, 1/2 can of coke, water, and garlic salt in crock pot on high for about 3-4 hours (or until it shreds easily, but don’t let it get TOO dry) or on low for 8 hours.
  • Remove pork from crock pot and drain any liquid left in the pot. Shred pork. Remove any fat.
  • In a food processor or blender, blend 1/2 can Coke, chilies, enchilada sauce and remaining brown sugar (about a cup, you can add a little more or less to taste..). If it looks too thick, add more Coke little by little.
  • Put shredded pork and sauce in crockpot and cook on low for 2 hours. 

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette Dressing

Ingredients:
2 tomatillos
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cloves garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 c. balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (Use a store 
bought dressing like Kraft Brand.)

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together in the blender or food processor until smooth. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

Tomatillo Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:
1 c. buttermilk ranch dressing (Can use already made from Kraft or another brand)
2 tomatillos, remove husk, chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime

Instructions:
Mix all ingredients together in the blender or food processor until smooth. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).

How To Assemble the Salad

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comRice– We use frozen, pre-cooked brown rice from Costco. It heats up in the microwave in 3 minutes. Talk about a time saver.

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comBlack Beans– Just open up a can, drain, rinse, and heat them in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comRomaine Lettuce– They use Romaine at Cafe Rio so we use it too!

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comPico de Gallo Salsa– Just dice up a roma tomato and some red onion and mix it with a little lime juice. You can add jalapeno or another chili pepper but we leave that out.

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comSweet Pork Barbacoa– the holy grail of salad toppings

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comA mix of Tomatillo Ranch and Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette dressing

Care Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.comCare Rio Sweet Pork Barbacoa Salad Copycat Recipe- Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Warning: You will find yourself full half way through this salad, but you will not be able to stop yourself from continuing to eat every last bite.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look

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I’ve been trying out lots of different eye makeup lately and wanted to share a fun look! All you need is a bright color eye shadow and your favorite liquid or gel eye liner. Cat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look

I put that khaki color (almost skin color) all over my lid and in the inner corner of my eye then did a cat eye look with black liquid eye liner just on the top lid. But then I gave it a special pop of turquoise blue to change up the feel of the cat eye. 041Cat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look- Use a pop of turquoise under the eye for a fun springtime look. Clementinebean.wordpress.comCat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look- Use a pop of turquoise under the eye for a fun springtime look. Clementinebean.wordpress.comCat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look- Use a pop of turquoise under the eye for a fun springtime look. Clementinebean.wordpress.comCat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look- Use a pop of turquoise under the eye for a fun springtime look. Clementinebean.wordpress.comCat Eye Surprise: Eye Makeup Look- Use a pop of turquoise under the eye for a fun springtime look. Clementinebean.wordpress.comI just ran the turquoise blue eye shadow about mid way on the bottom lash line out just past the tip of the cat eye on the bottom only. I finished the look with pretty pink blush and a fresh pink lip. 

Sometimes cat eye liner can be really harsh or make me feel like the only way to finish the look is with red lipstick. I wanted to give this a fun springtime feel and reinvent the cay eye look in a colorful way. I paired it all with a fun turquoise necklace to compliment the blue in the makeup too!

How do you change up a classic look for springtime?

 

Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

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I’ve decided to post about the ways I either save money, make extra money, or get products for free. There are so many different ways I do this, that I will be spreading them out over a few different Fridays. I will only be posting about websites or companies that I have actually tried myself and can say with certainty that I trust and recommend. I most definitely will not be writing about anything I have not tried out myself.

This week I am going to be writing a review for Opinion Outpost. Opinion Outpost is a place where I take online surveys and get paid for it. You register for free, participate in online surveys, and earn points that can be redeemed for either cash (via a Paypal account), or rewards. You earn points for each survey you complete but you also earn a “prize draw” into their quarterly $10,000 giveaway. You can also redeem your points to give to charities as well.

To sign up click here

I thought I would take some screen caps to really show how the process works and give you my honest feedback about the process.

Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

This is your “dashboard”. It will give you a snapshot of how many points you currently have, how many entries you have into the quarterly prize draw, and how many points you have already redeemed for cash or prizes. You can see here I have already redeemed 1200 points since I began using Opinion Outpost about 2 months ago. 100 points= $10 so I have already earned $120 from the site.

Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Once you click on the “Take a Survey” button it will bring you to a “pre-qualifying” survey. This is usually questions like, what magazines you’ve read, your purchasing habits, food/drink habits or even medical conditions. They use your answers here to determine which surveys they want to give you.

Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Then they choose a survey for you and it pops up with how long it will take and how many points it is worth. I like this feature because if you don’t want to spend the next 30 minutes on the computer you can decline it. If you are ok with it then you click on “Start Survey”Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Then you are taken to a survey which is usually given by an outside survey provider. The backgrounds will look different for each survey you take. They ask you more “pre-qualifying” questions. Be prepared to answers these types of questions every time you take a survey. You will get questions like your gender, age, marital status, highest level of education, race/ethnicity etc.

Then they ask you a few basic questions about they survey. For example, if the survey is about energy drinks, they will ask you when the last time you purchased an energy drink was, how often you drink them, the different brands you purchase etc. Then if those answers align with what they are looking for, you will continue to take the survey. Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

After the survey is over you are taken to this screen which has you rank the survey itself. Yes a survey about the survey you just took. (If you are still reading by the way, I commend you)Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Then this screen pops up letting you know the survey is complete and you have been awarded the points. From there you can click on “Take another Survey” if you have time or “No thanks” if you want to exit. Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Here is another example of how many points you can receive for one survey/how long it takes. Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Sometimes after you answer some of the pre-qualifying questions you won’t actually qualify for the survey. For example, maybe you don’t buy energy drinks as often as they would like, or maybe they already have enough 30-year-old males who have taken that survey. If that is the case this screen will pop up letting you know you have been awarded a prize draw entry, but they won’t need you to take the survey after all.

This will happen A LOT. Don’t be frustrated with it though. Just know you weren’t right for that survey and there will be another one that you will qualify for soon. Frugal Friday: Opinion Outpost, How I Make Money Taking Online Surveys

Then once you have accumulated at least 100 points you can redeem the points for cash or rewards. I have only used the Paypal option to get cash for my points. I usually wait until I have about 200 or 300 points and cash out all at once for $20-$30 dollars. It sends it to my Paypal account almost instantly. From Paypal, I can transfer the money to my bank. Every transaction has always gone completely smooth and I have never had any kind of problem with cashing out. You can also redeem for amazon.com credit, iTunes credit, etc.

Occasionally they also do take-home product testing. Just a few week ago I was sent two samples of chocolate cake mixes to bake at home and then jump back online to evaluate. This week I was sent popchips to try. The products are completely free, including shipping, and all they want in return is your opinion. The take-home product testings are little bonuses added in that make you feel as if you have won something!

Basically, I love doing a survey here and there to get some extra cash, but this is not something you can quit your job for. If you compared how many points you can get in an hour vs minimum wage, they obviously don’t come close. But it’s easy, convenient, and I can do it when I have time. If I have a really busy day, I don’t even think about it. Otherwise a take a couple surveys a day and make some extra cash doing it.

If you are interested in joining you can join by clicking here

And if you read all the way through this post you deserve a virtual hug!

Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe

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Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Working on a college campus, there are many different places to grab lunch right outside my office. The challenge is finding something that tastes good but that is healthy at the same time. I would sometimes order a veggie burger from the burger place on campus and then one day I saw someone else order their burger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun. I thought that would be good to get a veggie burger the same way but it was absolutely falling apart when I tried to pick it up to eat it. I ended up just cutting everything into smaller pieces and ate it with a fork.

Then a light bulb went off. I could make this into a salad, from home, and save money on it. So I ventured to Costco to pick up some of their pre-made veggie burger patties (they come in the refrigerated aisle) and whipped up a Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad at home. Here’s how I made it.Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.comDeconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.comDeconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.comDeconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

Heat up the patty before putting it on the salad.Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.comDeconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

I eat hot sauce on my burger, so why not throw a little Tapatio on the salad right?Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

 

You could use any dressing you like but I think a Honey Mustard or Thousand Island would lend to the “burger” themed salad. I only had some homemade Italian dressing at home so I mixed a little Dijon mustard into it and created a mustard vinaigrette and it worked really well.

Deconstructed Veggie Burger Salad Recipe
2 cups of lettuce
2-4 slices of red onion
1 Roma tomato cut into pieces
1 veggie burger patties, heated, cut into pieces
5 dashes of hot sauce
Salad dressing (Thousand Island, Honey Mustard, or Italian would all be good)

Mix all the ingredients together. Enjoy!

The Birds

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Yesterday afternoon as Jeff and I pulled onto our street we saw something in the road. At first we thought it was just road kill but as we got closer we realized it was a hawk that had just caught a pigeon. While there are hawks in the area it is not something we get to see very often, and especially not right in my front yard. So I ran inside and grabbed my camera and took a couple pictures and video.Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey.

When I went back outside it had flown up to the light post. I noticed the other  birds were going crazy making lots of noises. Then I saw that they were not liking the presences of the hawk and kept swooping right by it trying to get it to leave. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey.

Here is a video I captured of a crow and another little bird trying to get the hawk to leave.

Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey.

Then it finally went back over to its prey. It picked it up and moved it a couple times, but I got a couple shots of it with its kill. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey. Watching a hawk in my neighborhood with its prey.

I think I watched it for about an hour. I wasn’t the only one. It seemed almost every neighbor was out watching it as well. Pretty cool to see something like that right in your own neighborhood.

Boot Storage: Make the Most of Closet Space

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I have written about how I organize my shower, necklaces, belts, and some of my shoes, and now I wanted to show an easy way to organize boots on the top shelf of a closet.

My closet has one top shelf with a lot of head space that feels wasted, so I wanted to be able to add a second shelf of sorts without having to buy any wood or use any tools. I picked up a couple wire stacking shelves from Target for a few dollars each. (Similar here) and it was the perfect solution for organizing my boots. Use wire stacking shelves to create more shelf space in your closet for organizing shoes and boots. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

I just placed them right on top of the existing shelf. No nails, no tools, just simple and easy. There is still a lot of room on top for my taller boots to stand up straight and room under the shelf for one pair laid on its side, or two pairs of shorter or more flimsy boots. Use wire stacking shelves to create more shelf space in your closet for organizing shoes and boots. Clementinebean.wordpress.comUse wire stacking shelves to create more shelf space in your closet for organizing shoes and boots. Clementinebean.wordpress.comUse wire stacking shelves to create more shelf space in your closet for organizing shoes and boots. Clementinebean.wordpress.com

These little wire shelves are a great way to get more shelf space without having to build anything or use any nails. Perfect if you are not good with tools or if you are renting and don’t want to put any holes in the walls. They are also very sturdy and I don’t have to worry about them collapsing under the weight of anything heavy.

I love getting everything of the floor of my closet. It just helps me feel like everything is clean and organized and these shelves really help with that.

 

Random totally unrelated side note: A co-worker just ask me if I happen to have any lined notebook paper, the kind with the three hole punch already in it. I don’t think I have used nor thought about notebook paper since I was an undergrad student and this weird unsettling feeling of needing to study or take a test can’t be shaken now. Isn’t it weird that just the thought of something I used to use as a student can bring back all the anxiety of being a student all over again? So random I know!

 

Puppy Pool Party

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Since we got the puppies we have noticed that Shea really loves water. How you ask… oh just the fact that every time she goes to drink from her water bowl she ends up putting both her front paws in the water, then grabbing the bowl with her teeth until the bowl flips and there is water everywhere. Then when there is a giant puddle on the ground it is time to roll around and play in it. We have even tried a spill-proof bowl (who knew that even made such a thing) to learn that it is still not Shea-proof.

So we decided if she loves water that much, lets get the puppies one of those plastic kiddy pools and let them have at it. So this is the aftermath of letting Sprite, Shea and Scout have fun in the water.

Here is Shea trying to eat the water.

Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com

Scout decided she wanted the pool to herself, so she jumped right in and laid down basically monopolizing the whole thing. Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com

Sprite wasn’t a big a fan of the water until we threw an empty water bottle in.

Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com

Afterwards the dogs were so tired! Sprite feel asleep on my lap as I was drying her!Puppy Pool Party- clementinebean.wordpress.com

I think that is a sign of a good day!