The following post is by staff writer Melissa Batai
Are you going through a rough patch financially? Are you struggling and unable to pay for the “fun” things that aren’t essential like vacations, presents, meals out, etc.?
If so, you’re not alone.
Ever since we moved last year, our finances have been tight. Although we now live in a lower cost of living area, we also earn less than we did in our other location and pay more for things like health insurance than we did before. Because I homeschool our three children, I’m able to work part-time from home, but no more than that. For the next year or two, until my husband gets a substantial raise, money will be tight.
However, there are small ways we like to use to bring in extra money to pay for the “extras” that aren’t essential but just make life a little more fun.
Credit card rewards. Our credit card gives cash back for all purchases and double cash back on the one category you spend the most on each month. (That’s groceries for us.) Because of this, we put everything we can on credit card and pay it off at the end of the month. This year, from January to August, we’ve earned $350 cash back, and in addition, I’ve been able to use some of the points to pay our annual fee.
I generally use this money for Christmas presents and homeschool books. My mom loves to go to Red Lobster, so every year, I use some of the points to give her a $50 Red Lobster gift card. I wouldn’t normally be able to afford that, but thanks to the points we accrue, I can.
The key for us is to let the rewards accrue and use them just once or twice a year rather than piddling them away whenever we earn $50 in rewards. However, if you choose to do the same, make sure you keep tabs on the expiration date of the rewards so you don’t lose any.
Swagbucks. I use Swagbucks as my search engine. I redeem the points I earn for Amazon gift cards. (You can also use them for many other gift cards and PayPal cash.) I also use these points to pay for our homeschool curriculum and occasionally Christmas presents.
Giveaways. This may sound silly, but several times a month, I spend about 30 to 60 minutes entering blog giveaways. I only enter for things I really want to win. So far, I’ve won a board game for one of my children that will be a Christmas gift, a $10 gift certificate that I will also use to help offset the cost of a gift, and several books and movies. I don’t spend a lot of time doing this, but the items I win help us have a little free entertainment and gifts.
If you’re going through a temporary financial strain, know that there are simple ways you can bring in a little extra money without making the commitment of getting a second job.
What are your favorite ways to bring in a little extra money?