How a SAHM Paid For Disney From Home

Hey, y’all! I get a lot of questions about how I save money and earn money from home, and I feel like I’m putting this information out there a few times a month, so I figured I’d write a whole blog on it and just share that instead of rewriting it to all of the folks that ask me about it. Because I’m efficient. So, here it is: HOW TO MAKE A LIL MONEY FROM HOME! This isn’t gonna make a full-time salary at all, well, not most of it. There are a few things you can do on here that CAN turn into a full-time job, and I may actually do that when the Bot goes to school, but for me, I’m working with her by my side, and that’s not conducive to an 8-hour day. Whenever we go out, I have to take approximately 3 snack breaks and 466 potty breaks, so it takes me a long time. However, if you are reading this, and you don’t have a toddler (or aren’t incontinent) then you will be able to do these things much faster than me; therefore, you will make more money. One more tip, there is a LOT of information here. I use ALL of these techniques, which means that my organization level is Master. If I were an organizational tool, I’d totally be a Trapper Keeper. If you’ve got the organization skills of a bottomless pit (otherwise known as my pantry), then maybe take it a little slow, yeah?

First step is to set a goal. How much do you wanna make? Anything you are saving for? My goal for this project was to take my kids on 3 separate vacations (one mom/kid vacation for each of them). I set the goal in January, and here it is the end of March, and I’ve made enough to pay for two of the vacations, one of them a full on Disney World vacation complete with airfare, a princess makeover, and dinner with Cinderella.

One more thing, none of these will cost you a dime to enroll in. Every single one of them is legit, and I’ve been paid from each one. I wouldn’t screw y’all over by posting sites that may be scams that I haven’t tried. Because I like you. And I’m not a douche canoe.

Most of my cash comes from selling Scentsy. “But Karen,” you are saying, “Didn’t you JUST say that all of these are free to join? Are you THAT forgetful? I thought you said you are a Trapper Keeper!” Yes, Scentsy costs $99 to join because it is a business opportunity. However, I do have a way to make it free. It does take working a home, basket or FB party to do it, but it can be done. If you’re interested in that, just message me. Scentsy rules forbid me from posting that information publicly. If you join my team and listen to my spiel about what to do, you’ll succeed. I do very well with Scentsy, and I know what I’m doing.

Anyone who knows me knows that I also coupon. With the exception of essentials and fresh produce, I don’t buy ANYTHING at the grocery store that doesn’t have a coupon and isn’t on sale. And, not or. If it’s not both, it doesn’t get bought. I get my coupons from the newspaper and online. When I pull the coupon booklets out of the paper, I write the date on the top of them so that I can find them easier when I go to Bargains to Bounty. Bargains to Bounty will match up sales and coupons FOR YOU. Go to the match ups tab at the top and pick your store. I shop at Kroger because I find that they have the easiest coupons to use. Kroger has digital coupons. No clipping, no printing. Bargains to Bounty will tell you when there is a Kroger digital coupon on a product. They will also tell you where to find printable coupons and give you a link to click. They will also tell you if Ibotta (discussed later) has a rebate, and if a product has a coupon from the newspaper, it will tell you if it’s from the RedPlum or Smartsource and which date, which is why writing the dates on the top of the inserts is important.

I make a list, and I do not deviate from the list. I also stock up. If something is at a really good price, who knows when it will be on sale with a coupon again, so I purchase as many as I can. I also only shop twice a month, instead of weekly, and once we run of out stuff, we’re out until the next shopping trip, with the exception of perishables that don’t last two weeks. We have two big chest freezers, and I only buy meat when it is on manager special, and I’ll buy as much as I can to stock the freezer. I also will find manager special bread for .39 and will buy all of it that I can find and freeze it. Milk freezes, too, but I’ll only do that if I can get it free, as it thaws weird, and no one wants weird milk. Unless it’s free. If it’s free, then you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. Because free.

If Bargains to Bounty sends me to for an online coupon, I will get that coupon from Swagbucks. You get 10 Swagbucks for each coupon you use from that site, so that’s like adding another 10 cents off to each coupon. Swagbucks has LOTS of ways to make money from home. You can take polls and surveys, watch videos, sign up for spam emails (I have an email account that I never check specifically for spam), complete fun little tasks where you spell check websites, etc. Swagbucks gives you points per item you do, and 2500 points will get you $25 into your Paypal account, or you can use 500 points for a $5 Amazon card. In years past, I have dumped all of this money into Amazon and paid for all of our family Christmas with it. I also paid for a 40″ flat screen TV for our bedroom completely with Swagbucks one year.

Other survey for cash sites that I really like are Opinion Outpost and Surveys4Moms.  These both pay cash into your PayPal account. I just finished a research study on OO that paid me $225 in Amazon codes, too, which I then sold for cash. That completely paid for one of my plane tickets to Disney. VIP Voice also does surveys for points, but I haven’t figured out how to get money out of it, yet. You can bid with your points for prizes (including cash), but I haven’t had a chance to play around with it very much. I have reached level 5 in surveys and have a lot of points. I just haven’t had the time to see how to cash them in the best way, yet. Though I do like that it gives you points even if you don’t qualify for the surveys. Most places don’t give you anything if you don’t pass the prescreening.

Ibotta is awesome. Ibotta is a rebate app that works like coupons, but the bonuses make it worth much more. When there is an Ibotta rebate, you open the app and scan the product, then you take a photo of your receipt, and they put the money into your PayPal account when you cash out. There are bonuses available, so if you redeem a certain amount of rebates in a month, you can earn a few dollars more, or if you buy 3 separate juices on a transaction, you get an extra dollar, etc. The bonuses change all of the time. This app is a lot of fun.

Shopkick is another app that I have a LOT of fun using. I like scanning things. This app pays in gift cards, which I then sell for cash usually. Though, at the moment, I’m only a few points away from earning a $100 gift card at the Hyatt, which I can use for Big Man’s vacation stay. They also have Target, Starbucks, JC Penney, Best Buy and a whole lot more. Shopkick gives you points for walking into stores and scanning items using their app. A lot of the stores also have kicks for purchases. The trick here is to ONLY BUY STUFF THAT YOU’D BUY ANYWAY, just like coupons. If you’re walking into JC Penney and spending $100 on stuff that you weren’t gonna buy anyway so that you can get 2000 kicks, well…you didn’t save any money, yeah? However, I know that Big Man is a weed and no longer fits in any of the summer clothing that I bought for him last year. Therefore, he needs new school clothes. I will specifically go to places where Ibotta or Shopkick gives me rewards in order to restock his closet with the things he needs. Old Navy will give me kicks for purchases on Shopkick, plus bonuses if I spend so much, so I will buy all of his shorts there. Ibotta has a rebate for Aeropostale for $5 off of a purchase, so I will get his shirts there. That $5 rebate will push me over my level 3 teamwork bonus for March on Ibotta, which will then earn me another $2. So I’m stacking all of the cash and getting the stuff that the adorable adolescent giant person needs!

I also do MYSTERY SHOPPING! Mystery shopping is a ton of fun, but really difficult if you’ve gotta little kid with you. Most companies don’t allow you to take your kid with you unless it’s a kid-centered shop (like a toy store). So, for these, I’ll calculate how much I’m making and if it’s worth paying a sitter for the day, and I’ll subtract that from my expenses. All of these earnings and the Scentsy earnings are submitted on a 1099 at tax time, and I have an envelope where I keep track of my mileage and other expenses. All of these companies pay via PayPal, direct deposit or check.  Some of them don’t require you to purchase anything, like the banks, which are my favorite. You just walk into a bank and pretend to be interested in finding out more information, or even better, call them and ask them to mail you information, and then you fill out a survey online about your experience and wait for a check to get paid. Some of them are phone call only shops, which are super easy. Some of them are purchase to reimburse shops. I will never pay for an oil change again. These are my favorite companies. I’ve been paid from all of them.

Intelli-Shop is my absolute favorite.

Bestmark pays quickly.

Maritz also pays super fast, but don’t do the bank shops here unless they are bonused to be more than $15, as Beyond Hello does these exact same shops for the same bank for $15. Beyond Hello is slower on payment, though.

Reality-Based Groups will do shops for valet parking, which pay well and are super easy. They also do some fun vintage store shops.

Regal Hospitality Groups does hotel shops. These pay VERY WELL, and they are VERY DIFFICULT and detailed. You also have to pay for the hotel stay, and they will reimburse you. It takes 90 days.

Shopper’s Critique does some super easy retail shops.

Mintel has some high-paying shops including earning $500 to get a new credit card and report any communications from the card company for 6 months. I believe they also periodically have shops where you get paid $50 to test-drive a Porche.

And the last thing that I do to make money from home is blog! If you love to write, then this one you can do. It’s difficult to get published, but here’s a list of blogs that pay FreeLance Blogger. I write something and then look at the sites to see if it fits the “voice” that they use. If it does, I’ll submit it and see if I can get paid for it. If not, I post it here!

That’s it! It’s a LOT, and it takes me quite a lot of time to do it all, but, hey, I’M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!


Have you seen this hashtag?  If you haven’t, you may want to check it out before reading this here bliggity blog so that you know what in the heck I’m even talking about.  I’m glad the movement finally has some feet, but good Lord WHY do we even have to say it?!  So here’s my take on it, as a woman, as one who walks this path every day of her life, as someone who has been preaching #yesallwomen for over a decade.  Because I’m fired up.


I’m fired up after being harassed, again, for the ten thousandth time, by a man because I dared to be a woman out in public.  I’m fired up because there’s NOTHING I can do to stop the harassment.  There is no response that these particular men will accept that doesn’t get me either followed around and called names or hit on.  There’s nothing I can do that will allow me to carry on my daily tasks in peace.  I’ve been down this road 100 times.  We all have.  #yesALLwomen


I walked into the grocery store (Yes, ladies, the grocery store isn’t even a safe haven for us, and for the most part, it’s only full of US.)  I saw the man hovering by the front door as I approached.  I saw him eyeballing me (by me, I mean my ass) the second I got out of my car.  I had a decision to make.  A decision I have to make every time I see this look in some dude’s eye and I know he’s going to “hey, girl” me while looking at my breasts as though I am privileged to be ogled by such a specimen.  Do I feel like being called a bitch today?  If not, then I’ll have to be polite and say “hi” back when he tries to make contact.  I know the consequences of this are that he’s going to try to get in my pants, because CLEARLY I have shown interest in his penis with my polite response.  I can also choose to ignore him, meaning he will then call me a bitch or, most likely, since he appears to be doing nothing in particular, follow me around in order to make sure I know that I’m missing out and that I’m a stupid whore.  After assessing the situation, I chose the polite version.  The guy wasn’t doing anything, so I knew that no matter what, he was going to follow me (he did), but he was also alone, so he didn’t have anyone to impress, so maybe I would get off easy.


No such luck.  His four buddies were waiting for him inside the store.  Let the ignorant games begin. *sigh*  I just want to get my groceries and get out of here.  My kids are on summer break and have been at one another’s throats all day, so I wasn’t gonna drag all 3 of them to the store, which meant I had to go after bedtime.  It was late.  I was tired.  Just let me get my milk and eggs and be on my way, MFer.


He stalked me through the produce section leaning back and making disgusting spittle noises and saying “damn” over and over.  Wonderful.  He sounded like the Bot when she’s stuffed too much apple sauce in her mouth and she’s trying to slurp it all back in.  I flourished my wedding ring.  His buddies laughing at my obvious discomfort.


I yawned as I walked down the juice aisle.  It’s 9 pm and I’m 30 minutes from home loading up on Juicy Juice after what amounts to 2 months of OT for a stay at home mom (summer BREAK?)  A dude in the aisle says, “You look tired!”  He’s making eye contact and smiling pleasantly and NOT staring at my ass when speaking to me. SWEET!  So I smile back and say, “Yeah, just trying to get this done.  Summer break isn’t a break for moms.”  He chuckles a little and tells me to have a good night.  Too late.  I realize that jerk face is right behind me and has seen me talking to another dude.  His heckles are raised, my friends, and raised heckles are a terrible thing to waste.  Polite, non-leering man received some of my attention; therefore, touch my penis mcgee has decided that I owe him some as well, only he’s not going to make normal conversation and let me go about my business, OH NO! He is not.


I could barely understand most of his mumbles as I nodded and inched away through ten minutes of questions on whether I am married (yes, you eyed my ring several times), and “how married” as though there are degrees of married (hint: there aren’t.)  There was something about working on the railroad and a Mercedes and a Jaguar and he has 5 kids and here are their names tattooed on his arms and he’s divorced and whatever.  And then, “it’s too bad you’re married, or you could get my number.”


O.M.G. Seriously? No one is THAT douchey!  I almost wish we were in the pharmacy department so that I could grab a box of douche and physically hand it to him while walking away.  He tried 3 more times to get my number, saying I may need someone to talk to.  Really? Are you a psychologist? Because I think I need one after talking to you.  I also probably just got crabs by being in your vicinity, so thanks for that.


I wish I could say this was an isolated incident.  But it’s not.  I deal with this a few times a month.  Can I walk down the street without being cat called out of a car window?  Can I take my baby for a stroll or walk a dog or even get the mail without at least weekly harassment from a man in a passing car?  Nope.  I can’t.  Not at my biggest, not at my smallest, not even when I gave myself a hideous boy haircut and wore only men’s clothing.  I can’t walk down the street without being cat called and having inappropriate comments about my body. Because I am a woman. In public. And so I deserve it somehow.  We’ve all experienced it.  #yesALLwomen


And there’s nothing we can do to stop it.


Or is there?


Dudes.  My good men out there.  Hear my plea!  TEACH YOUR SONS THAT THIS IS NOT OK!  Cat calling women is NOT ok!  We don’t LIKE it.  It’s NOT a compliment.  Call it what it is.  It’s showing off.  Because no man alone in a car cat calls women.  It’s the man in the passenger seat making a woman uncomfortable for the benefit of his car full of friends who find her discomfort amusing.  GOOD DUDES, if your friends are cat calling women or harassing them in the grocery store, or the library or the bar, then tell them to CUT IT OUT!  When you stop making them feel like the coolest POS in the room for it, THEN things will change!  When you see your buddy staring at a woman’s breasts while she’s obviously uncomfortable and not interested, a, “Hey, man, let’s go over here and grab a beer, you’re making her uncomfortable” would do the 50% of us with a vagina a heck of a lot of good.


Teach your sons that it is perfectly OK if a woman isn’t interested in him.  There are 3.5 BILLION of us on this planet.  One of us is going to like him.  Teach him that going back to his buddies and calling her a bitch because she DARED to shun his affections is completely inappropriate.  Teach him that if his friend is rejected by a woman, that’s ok, too, and if his buddy comes back and calls her names, to STAND UP FOR HER.  She has every right to not be ok being leered at and hit on or have her marriage or relationship questioned.


Stop letting your friends follow women around and eyeballing their bodies or making comments about their bodies, especially when the woman is just trying to go about her day!  Stop laughing at our discomfort!  Stop making your pal feel like the more uncomfortable he makes us, the cooler he is.


HELP US!  WE can’t change this alone.  We need your help.  Man the eff up and do something about this!


If you’ve got the stomach for something a little more graphic, click and watch this.  Welcome to a day in our world.

Experiment results!

So, I wrote this AGES ago….and apparently forgot to actually push the publish button.  Go, Mom Brain!  I was wondering why it had no views.  My intelligence is UNMATCHED in the human world!

So, I was inspired by Allison over at MotherhoodWTF to see what happened when I didn’t nag my family to pick up after themselves.  And by inspired, I mean I copied her idea exactly.  Here are the (surprising) results of that experiment.


A recap of what it looked like before, when I had cleaned it of everything that did not belong on it.





Look how much win this is!  I only added a book, a couple of pencils, and stuff that belongs on the desk because the desk is for paperwork, and it is paperwork!  GO, TEAM NO NAGGING!


When it was clean:



The progression: Day 1



Day 2:



The pile of crap just…SPREAD OUT! AAAAH!  Also, bread.  There is no need to pick up things that you have gotten out to use when Karen will just beg and plead with you ten times to put it away.  Or will she?




After 2 days:


This was another surprise for me.  Not much damage, when, in general, when I’m Naggy McNaggerson, this room is a DISASTER of toys and pillows and blankets all over everywhere.


Before.  Really.  This is the “clean” version.




I HATE these stairs and all the stuff that collects on it.  There is NEVER not anything on the stairs to be tripped over.  DO THEY NOT UNDERSTAND?!  I am a hovering helicopter parent, and I have nightmares that they trip on the stairs and break a tooth and get an oral infection and DIE!!!!!




After:  I decided to take lots of pictures of this for reasons unknown to me.




This is what made my eyeballs twitch for the two experimental days.  Because I knew that ketchup needed to be refrigerated and I would have to throw it away.  I just kept whispering to myself, “It’s already almost gone anyway.  I also knew I was going to hear, “But it’s staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaale!!!!!” the next time he wanted to eat that cereal that he left on the table for two days.  Open, of course.

RESULTS:  I learned two things.  One, when I don’t nag, they actually pick up MORE than usual!  CRAZY!  My house did NOT become an unacceptable level of filthy.

Two, and this was the one that surprised me most, I didn’t mind so much (other than knowing I was going to have to toss perfectly good ketchup. I made them eat the stale cereal.)  Also, we were so much happier without me nagging.  We enjoyed our mess and did fun things instead of me repeating myself over and over and getting angrier and angrier and then yelling, as that’s the only way things get done, or so I thought.  Turns out, if I don’t yell or even ask, they clean up after themselves on their own, just not right away, as is my preference.  I was a LOT calmer and less stressed, though it does suck to clean all the things as my job during the day and have stuff explode on it the second they walk in the door.  However, I am, in general, a museum liver (not to be confused with a cow or sheep liver), and that’s just not possible with three kids.  Anyway, no nagging means winning.  We were fun and happy, and only a little messier than usual.




Karen’s No Nag Zone

Allison over at Motherhood WTF has been conducting experiments on what happens to her family’s items when she doesn’t nag them to pick them up.

Inspired, I am hereby conducting an experiment.  It’s called “What happens when Karen doesn’t nag her family to clean up after themselves.”

This family knows that they are expected to clean up their own stuff.  I only clean up after me and the baby, and sometimes Eric when he is busy doing other things like working or taking care of the children or making dinner, what have you.  Still, he cleans up after himself 99% of the time.

However, I HATE HATE nagging.  It’s sucking my soul dry.  I am sick of seeing things sitting where they do not belong and constantly saying, “pick up your ____.  You know it doesn’t belong there.  You know where it does belong.  You have two huge bedrooms upstairs and a huge playroom downstairs to play in.  The toys do not belong on this floor of the house.  Your socks don’t belong in/on/under the couch/car.  Pick them up.”  They know what they are supposed to do.  I’m not some magical being (like a wizard or a cat) who can see things out of place that others cannot.

So I’m not going to tell them to pick it up anymore.  I’m done.  I’ll vacuum AROUND all of their shit instead of picking it all up and placing it on the bottom of the stairs with the implication of “this is yours, take it upstairs.”  And then watching it sit there and pile up for 3 weeks before saying, “Pick up your stuff on the stairs.  You’ve walked by it 2000 times.  You know it is yours and doesn’t belong there and that stuff on the bottom of the stairs means TAKE IT UPSTAIRS WITH YOU THE NEXT TIME YOU GO UP!  If you don’t pick it up, I’m throwing it away.”  That’s the ONLY time stuff gets picked up around here.  When I tell them to (at least 3 times.  It never gets picked up the first time I ask.) and then when I threaten to take away tokens or throw stuff away.

I’m done.  I’m going to take photos of the 5 problem areas here.  The first set are what they look like after I’ve finished my daily housework and before the kids get home from school.  The second set are what they look like when the kids go to bed tonight, without me saying so much as “pick up your homework and put it in your backpack” or “please get those stinky socks off the floor. The baby is eating them.”

The third set of photos will be of what the areas look like tomorrow morning after the kids get on the bus.  And a fourth set will be Thursday night after they go to bed.  Two days.  How messy can two boys be in two days without me nagging constantly to do what they are supposed to know how to do on their own?  STAY TUNED!  I’ll update this post with pictures as soon as I go all MSPaint on them.

Photo set 1.  The before:

This is the desk in the kitchen where I pay the bills.  The kids’ chore list is on the fridge by day.  If they complete everything on the list without me nagging, they earn a token.



This is the kitchen counter.  Notice how it is not full of dishes.  Notice also that pile of crap in the corner that I have been nagging and begging to be picked up since Christmas.  Eff that pile of crap.



Living room.  I.E. toy collection space, though I do keep a few baby toys here, since this is where the Bot hangs out all day.  Notice how the pillows and blankets are neatly on the couch.  This will likely change to strewn across the floor.



The bane of my existence.  Predicted outcome is that the hamper will go upstairs and the rest of the stuff will not.  It may multiply.


The kitchen table.  A formidable opponent for school papers.



Means “hello” in Arabic.  I don’t know if that’s how you spell it.  I’m learning to speak, but I’m not so great at writing.

I had some total funny today, and I lost it.  I re-read my old blog posts to check for grammar errors, and it totally brought the pain and erased the funny out of my head.

BRING THE THUNDA!  Is that the name of an action movie?  It should be.  If I had acting chops, I’d be in it.  If it’s low-budget enough, I don’t need acting chops, though.  I just have to be able to run in heels.  I can totally do that.

Sushi.  No reason.  I just like it.  Know what I don’t like?  Hot dogs.  The Bot loves flippin pig parts.  Parts that are not good enough for ham or pork chops.  At least it’s not scrapple.  Scrapple isn’t even good enough for hot dogs.  I may or may not be a food snob.

I saw Dennis hitch hiking again the other day.  He’s added some winter gear to his wardrobe.  I’m happy to see that.  I don’t want his thumb to get frostbite and fall off.


The Wonderful World of Dennis the Hitchhiker

So, there’s this hitchhiker I met in high school.  We’ll call him Dennis.  Not to protect his innocence, but because that’s his name.  I didn’t meet him when he was hitchhiking.  I met him at the counter at a diner.  I only know that he’s a hitchhiker because I see him hitchhiking all the time now.  He always starts out in front of the police station here in our little town.  He’s wearing the same sports coat every day that he was wearing when I met him 15-20 years ago.  Even when it’s 103 degrees outside.  It’s a corduroy blazer.  It’s very important to look professional when thumbing for rides in front of a jail in 103-degree heat.

In another time in my life, maybe I would pick him up.  But now I have children and a distinct want to not be murdered, so I don’t.  I would pick him up because I want to hear stories he would tell.  Since I won’t really pick him up and hear his real stories, I’m just going to make up some fake stories that he might tell me and post them here from time to time.


To recap:  Dennis is real.  His stories aren’t.


Here’s some stuff I imagine Dennis might say to folks who gave him a ride:

Hey, there.  I’m Dennis.  Thanks for offering me a ride.  I’m headed up to the south side landfill to dispose of this human toe.  A body was found, and I can’t keep this trophy anymore.  It’s a bummer.  It’s one of the better toes in my collection.  I’m pretty sure she used Jamberry nails on this thing.  The polish has definitely lasted a lot longer than some of the other painted toes.  Though, this isn’t as great as that toe with the diamond toe ring that I got in 1974.  I’ll be really crushed when that body shows up.  Unfortunately, due to decay, the ring has gotten a little large for the toe.  Perhaps I should get it sized.  Can you drop me at the jewelry store, first?  The one next to the dry cleaner.  I need to get my sports coat cleaned.



Eats Shoots and Leaves

There’s a stop sign down the street.  Someone spray painted the word “fags” on it.  I’m not quite sure what they want to stop them from doing.  They already can’t get married, procreate, adopt kids, get survivor or tax benefits.  Dang.  What else do you wanna take?  Unfortunately, I think they want them to stop existing.  That’s nuts.  Asking us straight folks to stop making babies, vandals?  You crazy.

Maybe I’ll go paint a comma on it and take “fags” back.  So it will be all “Stop, fags”.  Yeah.  I’m talkin to you!  Everyone that stops at this sign is a fag.  Everyone.  So now it’s not derogatory, ’cause you’re talkin about yo’self.  Boom.  Now fag doesn’t mean homophobic slur.  Now it means, “safe driver”.  Fags for life.  Don’t text and drive.

In all seriousness, I wonder if Martinsville has a mayor’s action line.  I’d like to get a new stop sign down at the corner.