6 Tips for Combating the Mid-Year Frugal Slide

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It’s July, and for most of us, Our New Years Resolutions are a thing of the past. Mr. and I were talking today about ways we could reign in our budget. We’re not making it rain by any means, but… we could make a few changes. Here are my top ten tips, and trust me, I’ve already started incorporating some of these. I’ll have all of them back in the works by weeks’ end.

  1. Back to meal planning and sticking to it. No more trips to Denny’s when I am feeling lazy in the morning, or Mondays after group therapy.  That means I’ll be back to meal planning posts and new recipes too. And I’ll have several “back up dinners” on-hand in case the day gets away from me, or it’s too hot to cook the original meal. I took advantage of the sale on chicken breasts at Smart & Final the other day, and picked up 10 lbs. I came home and cut up the whole half breasts into more manageable sizes, and marinated some of it with different spices and put it in ziploc bags in the freezer. 10 lbs of chicken should get us 5 dinners, plus leftovers from each meal.
  2. Back to maintaining a robust snack bag in the car, refilling it daily, and remembering our water bottles when we leave the house. I fill our water bottles (we have these for the kids and these for the adults- in 40 oz) with water and ice before we leave in the AM and refill them as needed throughout the day in various places.
  3. In conjunction with #2, start taking surveys on receipts for deep discounts and free stuff again. I am Sonic’s text list, so when they have a daily deal that I have change in my car for, the kids and I stop for .50 ice cream cones, 1/2 price drinks (cherry limeade!). Frequently when you check out, there is a survey on the bottom of the receipt that will score you an XL (Route 44) size beverage for free! I really need to get back into stretching the buck.
  4. Check all my apps before I go shopping. I’ve been bad about this over the past few months. I’m sure I’ve missed out on Ibotta deals, Checkout 51 offers, and Cash Dash promos. No More! I’m back, baby!!
  5. Allowance. Yup, just like a teenager, I’m putting myself on an allowance, and Mr. is going to as well. I’m sticking to $40 in the summer, and $25 once we are back to school. This will just be for “fun money”. I still shop around for gas to stay within budget for gas each week. Costco is usually the cheapest.
  6. Keeping eyes open for cheap entertainment. Big Dude is in ESY (summer school) for the next few weeks, so a lot of the traditional summer things that are fun and cheap we haven’t been able to do (like Regal Summer Movies). We’ve mostly been doing fun stuff at the library, which is free, but I think we need to look beyond that. It’s starting to get too hot for park play dates!

I’d love to hear from you about how you combat the frugal slide. What do you do when you feel yourself slipping off your track?

2016 New Year’s Resolution: #1 Make More Money!

file000267804564Throughout December, I’m going to be posting about New Year’s Resolutions. Each post will have tips and tricks to help you navigate through your resolutions to become more successful at all of your frugal endeavors!

For a lot of us, one of our New Year’s Resolutions is to make more money.  And unless you plan on winning the lottery, that can be hard.

Here are a few ways that you can make some extra money in 2016.  I have done all of these and they have worked for me to one extent or another, however, YMMV.

  • Why wait until spring to clear out the clutter?  Have a Garage Sale and earn some extra money!  Whatever doesn’t sell, consider donating it to a charity and taking the tax deduction.
  • Sell items on your local Craigslist. Always remember to meet in a public place!
  • Check out resale groups on Facebook. Just go to Facebook and search Your city + resale.  There are a ton in San Diego!
  • If you have unwanted silver, gold, or platinum most malls have kiosks or stores that will buy the metal from you on the spot and give you cash. Some jewelers also buy metal and jewelry.
  • Have a skill? Can you babysit, mow a lawn, bake a cake?  Are you handy with a sewing machine? Let your friends and neighbors know. Make up a flyer or post on your Facebook.
  • Before you head out to go shopping, check to see if anything you are going to buy has a rebate.  Doing rebates is easy!  To learn more about how rebating works, check out the article I wrote here. It also includes a link to my favorite rebate website!  I get about $250 back each year just through rebates. Most of the time you can use coupon on an item that you are submitting a rebate for- talk about win-win!
  • Want to get paid for your opinions?  Why not try a focus group or a research study?  Learn more about them here. I participate in about once per month and earn approximately extra $50-$100 in cash each time.
  • Mogl This site is a little different.  Sign up and register your credit/debit cards.  When you eat out at participating restaurants, you’ll receive 10% cash back!  You can use this in addition to any other cash back offers your credit or debit card offers.  I’ve earned $25 in the past year and we don’t eat out very often! I also like at Mogl donates money to local food based charities every time you use one of your registered cards.
  • I’m a HUGE fan of Small Business Knowledge Center.   Do you get lots of junk mail?  Is your inbox full of spam? Insurance, credit card offers, banking, credit cards, investing, telecom, mortgage or other loan type junk mail and spam?The Small Business Knowledge Center (SBKC) studies marketing techniques and practices.  They securely dispose of your junk mail after they are done with it- no need to worry! You can also put stickies on paperwork that you would like back and they will return it to you! SBKC mails you postage paid envelopes, you stuff your junk mail into it and drop it into the mail.  You will receive points for your junk mail, and once you receive 2000 points, you will receive a $20 Visa Gift Card. You can also forward emails to them as well.  They occasionally have special projects where they are looking for special items like welcome packets for credit cards.  Special projects offer additional/bonus points.I’ve done SBKC for 4 years and I consistently earn one  $20.00 gift card per quarter, that’s $80.00 in gift cards per year! That’s free money that I did no work for.  Just forward some emails before I hit “delete” and toss my junk mail into an envelope as it comes into the house and mail an envelope once a week.Unlike many other programs, you can sign everyone in your home who is over the age of 18!If you are interested in signing up, here is the link. In the box next to: How did you here about the SBKC Consumer Panel? Please type my name: Abby Hewes. I get points for each referral and that brings me closer to my next reward!

If you are looking to make money online, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Earn Cash with Paid View Point. Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.   You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month to earn $15.00. I earned about $60.00 in 2013.
  • Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. I’ve earned $80 in gift cards in 2013!
  • I also use Swagbucks. I use their search engine toolbar, take a daily poll, watch a video and click a few links each day! In 2013 I earned about $120 worth of Swagbucks rewards. Swagbucks has tons of rewards, you can receive cash via paypal too!

And updated for 2017: Here are a few more ways to earn money- My Hustle: How I make Part Time Income as a SAHM

Whether you want to earn extra money for a vacation, holiday gifts, or just to have some extra play money, with a few minutes each day, you can earn some serious money.

This page contains affiliate links.  Please see my Affiliate Disclosure here.

Save for the Holidays (and Beyond!)- My top tips!

file0001508044668Christmas is 64 days away, and while some of us have been saving our pennies and dollars, some of us haven’t. This article is for those of you who are looking to earn some extra money. For the holidays, or heck, even beyond that!

Now these are all methods that I have used, and continue to use, so there is no baloney coming from me.

  • I do Surveys. Here is a post with links to my top survey companies, including how much each one has earned me!
  • One of my favorite survey companies is Paid View Point.  Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.  You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month-6 weeks to earn $15.00. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $78.00.
  • I send my junk mail to Small Business Knowledge Center. Here is a post about it with details. I just got another $20 GC from them earlier this month!
  • I take our bottles and cans to the recycling center. It’s not a ton of money, but I paid the deposit on those bottles, I want it back! I take Lil’ Man with me and we get about $4-$5/month between the milk jugs and misc. bottles and cans. We don’t drink a lot of soda or juice. My parents save their recyclables for us too!
  • I do simple tasks with Field Agent. Field Agent is an app for smartphones that allows you to do simple tasks like photographing displays in stores or scanning items in stores. They even have secret shopping tasks.  Tasks vary in pay, however most pay between $3-$10. I’ve been using Field Agent for 2 months and I’ve earned over $100. Payment is done via Paypal!
  • I also do simple tasks with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. I transfer the earnings to my Amazon.com account. You sign up and do tasks for small amounts of money, but the money adds up fast.  The tasks are quick and simple (transcription, surveys, flagging inappropriate photos).  I’ve earned over $50 since February.  If you want cold hard cash instead of Amazon.com credit there is an option to have money transferred to a bank account.  Mechanical Turk does ask for your SSN when you sign up- you will receive a 1099- MISC at the end of the year., regardless of which option you select.
  • Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $45.00.
  • I also use Swagbucks. I use their search engine toolbar, take a daily poll, watch a video and click a few links each day! So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00. Swagbucks has tons of rewards, you can receive cash via paypal too!
  • I use my smartphone to save money too. There are tons of apps that have help you save money in the store (coupons), and get your money back afterwards (rebates). Here is a list of my favs. I’m loving Ibotta right now- I’ve saved over $100 this year alone, just buying my normal groceries!

All of these things are easy to do, realistic, and even a busy person can take 10 minutes out of their day to do one of the things I’ve listed.

Make Money doing Surveys!

I love to earn money, I mean who doesn’t?

Taking surveys online is a quick, easy way to make some money in your spare time.  I do surveys when I’ve got downtime (nap time, waiting for school pick up, on nights when Hubs has dinner meetings with clients or is out of town, etc.)  I don’t watch a lot of TV, so surveys are a good way to pass the time and make a little scratch. I work on surveys about 15-20 minutes each day, usually in the morning while Birdy is still asleep and Lil’ Man is watching Sesame Street and enjoying a warm cup of milk.

Here are a few of the survey panels that I am crazy about. I also included how much I’ve earned doing surveys from each one this year.
Valued Opinions sends my emails about twice a week to do quick surveys that take 10 minutes or less. : $25 so far in 2015

 

 

 

MySurvey.com is a group of consumers from throughout the United States who influence future products and services by volunteering to participate in consumer research. By sharing your opinions about products and services, you are rewarded with Reward Points to redeem for cash and merchandise. $30 so far in 2015

 

 
Opinion Outpost conducts surveys because businesses, governments, public bodies, and similar organizations are interested in the views and attitudes of the people who use their products and services. Take Surveys to give your opinion and shape the future.

Rewards include get cash, Amazon gift cards, game points, donations to your favorite charities, and more. Everyone is also automatically entered to a $10,000 sweepstakes by joining and taking surveys. The minimum cash out for Paypal is $10 and only $5 for Amazon gift cards. $60 so far in 2015.

Earn Cash with Paid View Point. Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.   You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month to earn $15.00. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $75.00.

Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $45.00.

I love to do surveys with Pinecone Research. They aren’t always looking for new participants, but check out their website and see if you fit their open demographics. I make about $20/Month doing short surveys (10 minutes or less).

With all of these survey companies, these are surveys I am pre-qualified for. No spending 10-30 minutes only to learn that you aren’t getting paid and they don’t want your opinions (that’s the #1 reason I do not do Swagbucks surveys and I don’t recommend you waste your time doing them either). All of these companies will email you when they have surveys for you to do. Take surveys, and collect points towards rewards (like Paypal payouts or gift cards).

Which survey companies do you use and like?