My life before staying at home was in the public high school. It’s true that teachers don’t make much money, but I earned enough to live comfortably. Now, as a stay at home mom, I sometimes struggle with not earning a pay check. My husband has never ever made me feel guilty about money, but the control-freak in me absolutely hates that I am not bringing home a check.
Side note: The money is probably the only thing that I don’t like about staying at home. And before you catch me complaining too hard, there is nothing that requires me to stay home with the baby. I could easily go back to education and get a job teaching, if money bothered me that much.
I’m not the kind of girl who is interested in washing out ziploc baggies to reuse, so I try to be creative when it comes to helping out with finances for our family. Christmas 2016, our first without two incomes, I used Coinstar for a ton of Christmas gifts. I went through old purses, both vehicles, couch cushions, and junk drawers to put together a jar of coins. What I had fit into an empty spaghetti sauce jar. I wasn’t very hopeful, but when I had Coinstar count it, I had $109! You can keep that entire amount if you turn that money into a giftcard at the kiosk (otherwise Coinstar takes a percentage to turn the coins into cash). The giftcards carried by the kiosk varies by location, but I found one that would convert coins to Amazon gift cards and purchased several Christmas gifts that way. You can get anything on Amazon! That money could pay for diapers, toilet paper, books, etc!
Another thing that I’ve used is Swagbucks. It sounds kind of questionable, but it has legitimately paid me over $50 in giftcards. There are several ways to earn through Swagbucks, but I use the surveys. Each survey is worth a different amount of “swagbucks.” You fill those out, and once you accumulate at least 300, you can redeem that for a giftcard! It is NOT going to pay out a ton; 300 swagbucks = $3.00. But I redeemed each time I had 300 swagbucks, I turned mine into Amazon giftcards (have I mentioned that I love Amazon?!) and would immediately put that giftcard onto my Amazon account. Then, the next time I purchased through Amazon, I got $3 off whatever I was buying. Or more, if I had accumulated enough giftcards. Every little bit helps, truly. One survey even lead to a product trial. They sent me a free package of diapers and I had to use them and record my thoughts on them and how well they held up. So, I got Swagbucks for the trial AND free diapers for my son for a week. Often, they have sign up bonuses, but that varies by date, so check their website for details. (If you follow my links, I will earn Swagbucks for referring you.)
thredUP is my favorite way to earn a little money, while also cleaning out closets. Money + less clutter + you literally only put it in a bag and give it to the mailcarrier. I’ve tried Ebay, but you have to worry about shipping cost, packaging, taking pictures, and writing up details to describe the item. I just don’t have time or patience for that! Through thredUP’s website, you can order a “clean out bag” for free. They mail you the prepaid bag, you fill it with clothes (yours, your husband’s, your kiddo’s…) that you no longer want, seal the bag, and hand it to the mail carrier. They do the rest! I have shopped for clothes via thredUP before, too. If you don’t mind second-hand, they have a pretty great selection. (More on that in another post, this one is about saving money, not spending!) And if you use my referral link to join thredUP, you get a $10 credit! Ten dollars is quite a bit when talking about second hand shopping!
The last tip that I want to share is this: before you buy, ask yourself if you can wait until Christmas/your birthday. That sounds fairly simple, but here is what I tried for 2017, and I think it really helped. When I’m out shopping for something specific and something else catches my eye, I add it to a list that I keep in my phone. That list turns into the Christmas or birthday list that I share with my family when they ask what I’d like to receive. For example, my family makes homemade pizza quite a bit, and each time we do, I cut it with a knife. While I was in HomeGoods looking for a gift for a birthday party, I saw a pizza cutter and thought: I really need one of those! Of course, I didn’t need it…I can easily use a knife. But instead of purchasing it, I opened the note on my phone and added a pizza cutter to my Christmas list. (I literally keep a list on the Note App on my iphone) When November rolled around, my in-laws asked for Christmas ideas and I was able to send her the list that I had made all year. Was the pizza cutter at HomeGoods expensive? No…it was probably like $8.99. But it all adds up. And I did receive one for Christmas!
Do any of these sound do-able to you? Do you have any tips or websites that have helped you save or earn money? Leave it in the comments, I would love to try new things!