Finding Extra Money for Holiday Spending
I love being a stay at home mom. I don't love not bringing in an income to help the family budget. Being a mother is a full-time (and then some) job, I understand that but it does not bring in a full-time (or even part time) income. I have always been more frugal minded but I have tightened the budget even more now that we are living on one income.
Normally my lack of income is on the back burner of my mind, but when a household or vehicle emergency pops up or the holidays racing towards us the stress of not having a paycheck boils over!
In my research to more comfortably live on one income while paying down debt, several bloggers naturally suggest earning income via "side hustles." These are not necessarily a full or even part time job but apps, websites, and contract job opportunities. Most of the contract jobs are for freelance writing, which I am not interested in. While I wait for my event planning to take off, I have accepted a seasonal customer service position with Amazon. In addition to that gig, today I am sharing the websites and apps that I use on a daily or pretty regular basis to make money.
All of the apps/websites listed I have personally tested out, redeemed my "prize", and am confident that they will work well for you too!
Bing Rewards: Are you the type of person that Google's everything? If I am not sure about something I used to be quick to pull up Google but since I learned about Bing Rewards, it has become my favorite search engine. I earn credits searching the web with Bing (think of it as a frequent flyer program) then redeem those credits for hotel points. I have been using Bing Rewards for a few months so far and already redeems 300 IHG Rewards points.
You can redeem them for other popular gift cards or even donate them to a charity of your choice. With the holidays coming up, I did notice they have a redeemable price for 25 free prints through Shutterfly. Purchase an inexpensive photo album, redeem your free prints and you have a great gift (frugal) idea for a grandparent!
Ibotta: This is a free app that pays you cash for everyday purchases. Ibotta has exclusive rebates at your favorite grocery stores, retailers and online shops. I try to match coupons to rebates offered for extra savings. I have had the app for just about two years but didn't really start using it properly until my son was born (a year ago). Since then I have earned over $150 back in cash deposited directly into a Paypal account which goes directly into my bank account. You can redeem once your account reaches $10.
Checkout51: Similar to Ibotta, all you have to do is pick the rebates you like, purchase them at any store, and upload a photo of your receipt through our mobile app or website. When your account reaches $20, they send you a check.
Receipt Hog: This is a mobile app that rewards users for snapping pictures of their grocery and store receipts. For each receipt you upload a photo of, you’ll earn coins which can be redeemed for cash! This one does take much longer to redeem your earning, however, in my opinion I am already shopping so why not let it slowly add up. I've earned about $10 so far.
Wal-Mart Savings Catcher: A long time friend told me about this app. Wal-Mart is known for their price matching, but if you are like me, I worry about upsetting the customers waiting in line behind me as well as the cashier having to check everything. The Wal-Mart Savings Catcher app does that for me! After checkout, scan the receipt barcode with your Walmart app. They check top competitors in your area for advertised deals on eligible items. If a lower price is found, you’ll get the difference on an e-gift card. I am new to this one but have already earned $25 back.
Shopkick: Shopkick is a shopping app that shows you the best deals and popular products at popular stores. It rewards you with kicks or points just for walking in the door, scanning items (don't have to purchase items), and/or purchasing items. I typically use this app while walking around the grocery store, scanning items as I go. Redeem your kicks for gift cards for your favorite stores or merchandise. I am currently saving all my kicks for a Kitchen Aid mixer.
Swagbucks/Swagbucks TV: I have known about Swagbucks since high school, though I didn't pay it much mind back then. At home via their website or on the go via their app, you can earn Swag Bucks (points) when you shop your favorite stores, search the web, answer surveys, watch videos, and more. I typically complete the daily survey for 1 swagbuck then while my phone is charging let swagbucks TV ( a separate app) play to collect my points. Just by doing these two things I have earned $15 in free Amazon gift cards. With the holidays coming up and the need to buy online increasing, I will make sure to activate the 'Shop and Earn' on the website to earn even more swagbucks.
Pact: This is a new app I am trying out. It links to my Fitness Pal app that I use to track my meals and calories. You earn cash for living healthy paid by those Pact users that don't. Here is how it works... You make a weekly Pact to exercise more or eat healthier. Set what you’ll pay other Pact members if you don’t reach those pacts. Use the Pact app to track your progress by taking pictures of you eating more fruits/vegetables, syncing it to apps like My Fitness Pal, etc. Each week you earn real cash for living healthily. The amount you can earn depends on the number and length of pacts you have.
CheckPoints: Very similar to Shopkick, this app pays you to scan product bar codes at local stores. I have noticed they have high point values for scanned products. When you are out shopping all you have to do is open the app and it will give you a list of nearby places to check into and products to scan. Points are redeemable for various gift cards and prizes. There is a decent referral program that currently earns the referrer 150 points, which is about .50, and the referral 300 points which is about 1.00. My referral code is mommabear2014, thanks for using it!
Putting these all together, I have earned nearly $200 cash or gift cards just by doing what I already do....shop and buy groceries for my family. That's a nice addition to any holiday budget or savings to help pay off debt. The better I get at using these apps, I know my savings will only increase. That is my personal goal for 2016...earn as much back as possible to chip away our debt faster.