The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gotta Vent

Can't go into details at all, but it really stinks when someone acts like they're your friend and then turns around and back stabs you. Even worse, it was public.

It's things like this that have led to all the walls I have erected and have made me hesitant to let people get too close.

Just when I thought maybe I could trust people...

end of rant/pity party (Aren't you glad? *smile*)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blog Tour: Making Work at Home Work by Mary Byers

Thanks to LitFuse Publicity for providing a free review copy of this book. No other compensation was received for this review. The opinions contained herein are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

*Giveaway post - details at end!*

Read what other bloggers think about this book.

Before even I start my review, let me just tell you that this book couldn't have come at a better time for me. I have been drowning under my load of responsibility (personal and business), and I hadn't been doing anything well. Then I was offered a chance to review Making Work at Home Work, and I instantly accepted. Boy, amd I glad I did!

Making Work at Home Work shows moms how to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set without sacrificing their families. It covers important topics such as developing a successful business philosophy, balancing time between work and family, setting realistic goals, and handling the challenges of being both "Mommy" and "CEO" while running a profitable home-based business.

As a WAHM, let me tell you that I know first-hand how difficult that is! I found myself reflected in nearly all of the following assessment questions from the book:

  • Do I feel overwhelmed? (um, yeah...)
  • Am I trying to do too much? (waaaaay too much)
  • Are my work commitments forcing me to make sacrifices that are hurting my role as a mom? (Hm, let's see - no school for days on end, kids making their own lunches, etc. - check)
  • Am I often overly optimistic about how much I can accomplish in a day or week? (I'm the queen of false optimism)
  • Do those around me seem stressed or out of sorts because of my workload? (Yes - everyone in the house, including me, hates how much I work)
  • What would happen if I tried to space out my work more evenly? (Not a clue.)
  • Would I lose business if I were more realistic about my deadlines? And if so, would it matter?
  • Am I working at a pace I can sustain over the long haul? (no) If not, how can I get to that point?
Talk about being hit between the eyes! The good news is that Mary doesn't just leave you after she forces you to acknowledge the reality of your situation. Instead, she provides real, workable solutions to the many problems that she herself has encountered as a result of being a WAHM.

I'll share with you a couple of areas that Making Work at Home Work has already helped me to improve.
  1. I now acknowledge that I am a WAHM, not a SAHM. This has been a critical step to freeing myself from unrealistic expectations I and others have placed on my shoulders. Because I am a WAHM, I have client demands in addition to the demands of my family. By acknowledging that fact, I can enlist my family's help during the times when I have to focus more on my clients. This also gives me permission not to take on additional outside responsibilities and commitments. When I acknowledge the time I need to take care of my family and run my business, I can see that I simply don't have time for a lot of "extracurricular" activities.
  2. I finally sat down with Mr. Incredible to discuss with him how he would like me to handle being both a mom and an entrepreneur. We went through Mary's helpful list of questions to discuss with your spouse, a few of which follow:
    • Are you willing to support me as I work from home?
    • What's realistic in terms of how much I work?
    • What kind of limitations should we put in place to keep things balanced?
The chapter titles will provide you with a good overview of what Making Work at Home Work cover.
  • Being Honest
  • Why Are You Working?
  • How Much Is Enough?
  • "I Can't Work in These Conditions!"
  • Guilt
  • The Parental PAct
  • Child Care Strategies for Every Season of Your Work-at-Home Life
  • Systematizing Your Business for Maximum Effectiveness
  • Refreshment
  • Facing the Daily Dinner Dilemma
  • Relying on Faith to Get You Through
  • Accepting the At-Home-CEO Mantle
  • Professional (and Other) Advice
  • The Tax Man Comes
  • The Right Equipment
  • Subcontracting
  • Boosting Your Revenue
  • One-Page Planning
  • Rainy Days and Reinvesting
  • Retirement Planning
  • Giving Yourself Permission to Make Your Business a Reflection of You
The Porch Light giveaway details: I have one brand new copy of the book to give away. To be entered. leave a comment on this post no later than May 21, 11:59 pm EDT. Include a valid e-mail address and tell me either what your biggest WAH challenge is or why you would like to win this book. The winner will be drawn on Friday, May 22.

Blog Tour Contest at Mary's site:
You have another chance to win a copy of Making Work at Home Work (or another one of Mary’s books--your choice) AND a $25 Amazon gift certificate (for some WAHM essentials – Day Planner, bubble bath, funky file-folders, toddler DVDs)!

There are three ways to win:
  1. Leave a comment on the blog tour post.
  2. Sign up for Mary’s quarterly newsletter where she offer tips and advice about all facets of a women's life: WAHM, mothering, women's issues. More info here!
  3. Join the Work at Home Blog Ring. More info here.
You can also buy the book at

About Mary:
Mary M. Byers successfully juggles both a freelance corporate writing and speaking business and her responsibilities as a wife and mother of two school-aged children. She is the author of The Mother Load: How to Meet Your Own Needs While Caring for Your Family and How to Say No . . . And Live to Tell about It. To learn more, visit her website or her blog.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

My Harris Teeter Score

image courtesy of

About a year ago, I started browsing the couponing blog niche. Blogs like Sisterly Savings and Thrifty Mommy made me wonder if I could save money using coupons. So I tried it. I found a coupon or two I thought I could use, purchased the name brand product, handed over my coupons, and still ended up paying more than I would have paid for the store brand product I normally bought. I didn't understand how anyone could save money that way! And I decided couponing was not for me.

About 6 months ago, I stumbled across Bargain Briana. I read her Couponing Basics guide (you need to read it if you don't already know how to use coupons to save 50% or more on your grocery bill), and the lightbulb went off on. From there, I discovered free coupon databases, like Coupon Mom, A Full Cup, Hot Coupon World, and Savvy Dollar (NC-specific site). Now, I regularly save 35%-60% on my groceries, meaning that I am able to buy more groceries and buy extras of sale items so that I never need to pay full price for that item again.

I have discovered that in my area, Wal-Mart, Food Lion, and Harris Teeter are the best grocery stores for couponing. (Of course there are the drugstores - CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid - where you can get incredible deals, but that's a separate post.) Harris Teeter always doubles coupons of $.99 or less and sometimes triples them. (They will multiply up to 20 coupons per VIC card per day.) This past week was triples week.

I took the time to browse the free coupon databases, matching up my coupons with the advertised sales. I went shopping last night and returned for more sales this morning. Here is what I got:

1 All 3x Small and Mighty 32 load: $3.99 - $1 coupon = $2.99
1 All 2x Stainlifter 32 load: $3.99 - $1 coupon = $2.99
2 All 2x Stainlifter 32 load: $3.99 - $1.20 ($.40 coupon tripled) = $2.79
1 Breyer's Ice Cream: $2.75 - $2.25 ($.75 coupon tripled) = $.50
1 Breyer's Ice Cream: $2.75 (regular sale price, which was still good)
1 Daisy Sour Cream 16 oz.: $2.19 - $1.50 ($.50 coupon tripled) = $.69
1 Spot Shot carpet spray: $2.74 - $1.65 ($.55 coupon tripled) = $1.09
1 Mahatma Rice 16 oz.: $1.49 - $1.50 ($.50 coupon tripled) = FREE
2 Mahatma Rice with seasoning: $.89 each - $2.25 ($.75 coupon tripled)= FREE
1 New York Texas Toast Croutons: $1.59 - $1.50 ($.50 coupon tripled) = $.09
2 McCormicks Grill Mates seasoning packets: $1 - $1.50 ($.50 coupon tripled) = FREE
2 McCormicks seasoning packets: $.50 each - $1.00 coupon = FREE
2 McCormicks seasoning packets: $.50 each (regular sale price)
3 Huggies wipes (64 ct): $3.29 each - $2.25 ($.75 coupon tripled) = $1.04
2 Ragu pasta sauce (14 oz.): $1.99 - $.90 ($.30 coupon tripled) = $1.09
2 White House applesauce (6ct. 4 oz. cups): $1.77 each - $1.80 ($.60 coupon tripled, had to buy 2) = 2 for $1.74
1 Gorton's Fish Sticks (44 ct.): $3.50 - $1.20 ($.40 coupon tripled) = $2.30
1 Betty Crocker Cheddar Sour Cream potatoes pouch: $1.19 - $.75 ($.25 coupon tripled) = $.44
2 Skippy Peanut butter: $2.79 - $2.75 ($.75 coupon tripled) = $.04
3 Domino Sugar (5 lb.): $2.69 - $1.05 ($.35 coupon tripled) = $1.64
1 Kraft Honey BBQ (18 oz.): $1.79 - $2.25 ($.75 coupon tripled) = FREE
1 Kellogg's Frosted Flakes: $1.93 - $1.00 coupon = $.93
2 Kellogg's Honey Smacks: $1.85 - $1.00 coupon = $.85
1 Kellogg's Corn Pops: $1.95 - $1.00 coupon = $.95
1 Kellogg's Fruit Loops: $1.98 - $1.00 coupon = $.98
1 Electrasol Powerball tablets (20ct): $3.50 - $2.50 coupon = $1.00
1 Duke's Mayo: $2.00 (sale price)
2 Harris Teeter sandwich bread: $.97 (sale price)
1 Harris Teeter butter (4 sticks): $2.47 (sale price)
4 Harris Teeter shredded cheeses (2 cups): $1.67 (sale price)
1 Harris Teeter eggs (2.5 doz): $2.97

If I had paid full price, the total would have been $145.73. I paid $59.70, including tax, for a savings of 59%. It's definitely worth it for me to use coupons!

How about you? Have you discovered how to use your coupons most effectively?