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 Mary Kay. “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, Mary Kay 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. If you join my team and listen to my spiel about what to do, you’ll succeed. I do very well with Mary Kay, 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 Coupons.com 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!
Editing to add this adorable picture of The Bot the second they revealed her new princess makeover. THIS is what I paid for 🙂 Look at that happy face!