31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Flipping the Coin (Day 31)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

We’ve talked about a lot of ways to earn extra cash before Christmas in this series. Many of you have written in and shared stories via email how you’ve implemented the ideas successfully! That makes me so happy to hear!

Before we close off this series, though, I wanted to end by talking about the flipside of earning extra cash. Because it is even more important than earning extra cash when you have a strapped budget.

The Flipside: Managing the Money You Already Have

If you earn more money, but you don’t manage it well, your bottom line isn’t going to change. Instead, you’ll just end up spending more than you used to — and no financial traction will be gained.

If you’re struggling financially, can I encourage you to first focus on getting on a written budget and maximizing the mileage of the money you already have before you go out and try to make more money? Not only will this help you to achieve better financial traction if your income increases, but you might find out that you don’t need a pay increase in the first place — you just need to manage what you already have!

The Best Way to Save Money: Stop Spending It

I’ve got a surefire, proven method to help you save more money. This method has been concocted from years of my own personal experience and years of observing other people’s money management.

It’s very simple: Just. Stop. Spending. It.

It works every time. :)

Yes, you definitely need to spend money on necessities like making sure everyone has warm clothes to wear, food in their bellies, and a roof over their heads. But beyond that, there’s very little that we actually need to survive.

There are many things that make survival more comfortable or enjoyable, but when we boil it down, many of these things would be considered incredible extravagances to most of the world.

Our culture is constantly sending us messages that we “need” this or that. Tune out those messages and train yourself to focus on the blessings you already have. Buying more stuff might give you short-term enjoyment, but it will never satisfy you long-term.

Two Things to Do Before Trying to Increase Your Income

If you’re feeling financially strapped this Christmas, make sure you’re already doing these two things before you put time and energy into increasing your income:

1) Commit to getting on a budget and sticking with it. It’ll be the best Christmas present you’ve ever given yourself and your family.

2) Be content with what you already have. “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”

I’ll be posting a lot of the best deals I find this weekend to help you save money on Christmas presents, but I want you to keep these things in mind before you buy anything. Evaluate every purchase to make sure it’s a good deal for you and your gift recipient. Don’t buy something if you’re not completely sure that it’s going to work or if it’s not in the budget, okay?

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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: 9 Ways to Get Christmas Gifts for Free (Day 30)

Welcome to our series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash over the next few weeks for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

We’ve talked about a lot of ways to earn extra cash before Christmas in this series, but I wanted to also include a post in this series with some ideas of ways to get Christmas gifts for free.

1. Recyclebank

Complete quizzes, watch videos, and more on Recyclebank to earn points. You can use these points to earn high-value coupons, magazine subscriptions, and gift cards.

There are typically opportunities to earn at least 200 to 400 points each month, meaning you could earn at least a gift card or two each year. You could also request magazine subscriptions for people who live in your home (at this time, it doesn’t appear like you can have subscriptions sent to addresses other than your own).

2. Mailbox Freebies

Sign up for the mailbox freebies that I post and some of these might work for a stocking stuffer or to make a fun gift basket for someone! There are free bath & beauty products, free hair products, free tea/coffee/cappuccino samples, and sometimes even free gift cards!

3. Swagbucks

I’ve already blogged about Swagbucks in this series, but I wanted to plug it again here as it’s an excellent way to earn free gift cards for just a little bit of effort each day. If you’ve not signed up for Swagbucks, go find out all about it here.

4. MyPoints

You can earn points by reading emails, playing games, searching the web, or taking surveys through MyPoints. Cash in your points for free gift cards and more! Just by doing simple exercises each day, you should easily be able to earn at least a few gift cards each year.

5. Coupon/Drugstore Freebies

So many of the freebies that you can pick up by playing the drugstore game or using coupons could be turned into gift baskets or stocking stuffers.

6. Blog Giveaways

Liz emailed in and said: “I earn Christmas gifts by entering blog contests daily. I shoot for one hour a day, usually at night when watching tv. I follow about 100 blogs through email and they usually do giveaways weekly. I have won gift cards to grocery stores, lots of kids’ dvds, toys, body washes, free coupons, etc. I enter contests for pretty much everything. You never know when you will need an infant gift, toddler gift, or gift for your mother.”

Read more about how to save money on Christmas gifts by entering contests.

7. Pampers Gifts to Grow

Lori emailed in and said: “This isn’t earning cash, but it helps me fulfill my Christmas list without costing anything out of my budget at all! I just enter all the free Pampers Gift to Grow points throughout the year and cash them in for some gift cards at Christmas. This year, I got two $10 Applebees gift cards. I’ll be able to cross two people off my list with no money out of pocket.”

8. Kellogg’s Family Rewards

Have you signed up for Kellogg’s Family Rewards? You can earn points by inputting the codes from Kellogg’s products or by using the free coupon codes they are regularly releasing. You can use this points toward high-value coupons, magazines, toys, and other rewards.

9. Nielsen Homescan

If you are accepted as a panel member with Nielsen Home Scan, you will be sent a small hand-held scanner and will scan all the bar codes of everything you purchase. Once a week, you’ll transmit this information to Nielsen and you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for a variety of items from the Nielsen Gift Catalog.

If you get started on some of these things now, you should be in good shape for Christmas next year!

What creative ideas do you have for earning free Christmas gifts? I’d love to hear your ideas!

photo from BigStock

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Selling on Consignment (Day 29)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to our series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash over the next few weeks for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post by Carrie Hurst at My Favorite Finds

For about four years, I have been cleaning out my closet every season with the goal of taking items to our local consignment shop. At first, I thought it was cool that I could go in there with a lot of stuff I didn’t want, maybe make a little bit of money and they would donate for me what wouldn’t sell. It was a win-win situation.

Within the last two years or so, I’ve become more serious and focused on what I take to our local consignment shop or our local kid’s consignment sale and what I donate so that I can get the best value for my time and money. Here are some ideas if you are considering consignment:

Always be sorting your clothes.

I sort our clothes (kids and adults) in three ways: a) To sell b) to donate and c) to throw out. I don’t wait until the end or beginning of a season to sort clothes into the above three categories; I do this on an ongoing basis.

I am also fairly realistic with my clothes. If I haven’t worn it at all that season or if it doesn’t fit right, I don’t keep it.

Be organized about it.

I keep a bin in my daughter’s room for things which will go to the yearly consignment sale. Anytime the kids outgrow something, or it is out of season, it goes in the bin if it’s able to be sold.

I keep a garbage bag or a big shopping bag in the laundry room for the clothes I donate to our local thrift shop. Finally, I also keep a storage bin in the laundry room for the adult clothes that I take to the consignment store.

Be loyal to one or two stores.

When I walk into Worth Repeating, the local adult consignment shop I sell my extra clothes to, the lovely ladies there know me by name. They also know that I want to know what my store credit is, and they know that I’ll probably saunter through the kids’ section and probably find something. I love that.

I am also signed up for their email list and their Facebook page. That way, I know for sure when they are taking items. Since I typically have a few things sorted and ready to go, I can easily take them with me and drop them off at Worth Repeating when I’m out driving.

Buy new with resale in mind.

If I’m going to make an investment in my clothes, I’m going to get my money’s worth. That also means that when I buy something, I consider the brand and quality of the item because chances are, it’ll end up at the consignment shop in a few seasons.

This is especially true of my kids’ clothes. I have learned that the brands such as Carter’s, Gymboree, GAP, Children’s Place, etc., not only yield more at the consignment shop, they also sell faster. That doesn’t mean I pay full price at these stores — I shopped at the Children’s Place last summer and bought a few things for my daughter during their Monster Sale for $0.99. I am sure that I can easily sell those items and gain $3 at least at Worth Repeating.

Also, I don’t take the tags off of something until I know for sure my children or I am going to wear it. Clothes with tags attached yield more because they are “brand new”.

Inspect your items before taking them in.

I consider if I would buy the item or not. I make sure the zippers work, the buttons are buttoned and that most of the clothes are on hangers. Not only is the consignment shop trying to make a profit, but so am I. The better condition the clothes are in, the higher they’ll price the item, making it more profit for me.

Be realistic about your profit.

I don’t consign my items to make additional income. If I get a month’s worth of weekly Starbucks visits out of the deal, I’m happy.

I don’t like having or going to garage sales — so I have the ladies at Worth Repeating do the job for me! Thankfully, they’re honest and will tell me what will sell and what won’t and I have learned to be okay with that.

I will call them about every two weeks and ask what my store credit is. Sometimes it’s $12, sometimes it’s $30. It just varies.

Take your seasonal items in as soon as you know they are accepting them.

When I get an email or see on Facebook that Worth Repeating is accepting items for the upcoming season, I’ll be ready within a few days to drop the bulk of my items off. I consider the fact that my items could spend a few days to possibly a week — depending how much they have to sort through and price — in the back room before it reaches the floor.

I want to get it there ASAP so that they can get it out and hopefully it can sell soon. They are on a 90-day consignment. So, after 30/60/90 days, the price is reduced.

If I take a lot of summer items in mid July — even though they’re still accepting them — more than likely I’ll get them back because they didn’t sell. Ninety days from mid-July is mid-October. By then, my items could be supremely discounted and people aren’t shopping for summer clothes anymore.

What will happen to your items that don’t sell?

At Worth Repeating, they’ll either donate them to a worthy local cause, or they’ll give them back to you. I decide based on the group of items I have dropped off if I want them donated or returned.

Most of the time, I have the kids’ clothes returned so I can possibly sell them at the local consignment sale. I usually have the adult clothes donated.

I figure that if I didn’t want to wear it so much that I was hoping to consign it, or if it didn’t fit, I don’t want it back. But since I have a possibility of selling the kids’ clothes at the consignment sale or at the consignment store the next season, I go ahead and take them back to hopefully sell later.

Store your items neatly at the end of the season.

As I weed out what my children will be able to wear next fall/winter, I store the out-of-season clothes in plastic bins with lids. I wash, dry and neatly fold their clothes that are going to the consignment shop next fall and put them in a stack in the basement.

I won’t remember what’s in those containers two weeks from now, let alone next fall. So, I make sure they are folded and ready to go when the season rolls around to take them to the shop.

My name is Carrie. I am a pastor’s wife, mom to twin boys and an 18-month-old daughter. I also work full-time outside of our home. I love to find ways to save money, be a better parent and a better Christian example to others. I’ve been a MSM reader/follower for over a year, and I’ve learned so much. If you have a chance, I’d love for you to visit my blog, My Favorite Finds.

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31 Ways to Earn Extra Income Before Christmas: Donate Plasma (Day 28)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to our series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post by Mary

One easy way to earn an income is donating plasma. Now, before you all say “EWW!” and stop reading, hear me out…

Yes, I realize that plasma collection centers don’t always have the best reputations. And, for some of them, this reputation is rightfully earned. However, most of them (like the one I work at, for example) certainly do not fall in to this category.

Our donor population, for example, is made up of mostly college students, soldiers, and locals who are simply looking for a way to put extra cash in their pocket while doing something that helps people.

Here are a few things you should know if you are interested in earning a little more money in this way.

It is a perfectly safe process.

Plasma donation is highly regulated by the FDA, as well as several other agencies. (Many of our medical staff employees have told us that we have more regulations than hospitals they have worked at).

When you donate, you only come in contact with sterile supplies. All lancets, sample collecting tools, and supplies for our machines are brand new and thrown away after each use, eliminating any possibility of transmission of a disease.

Now, that being said, there are some people who aren’t not suitable for donating due to health reasons. This is why every donor goes through a screening and physical process consisting of medical history, examination, and testing of a sample of blood.

And, for this reason, it is crucial that you are fully honest with the employees so they can be sure you are a suitable candidate. Also, each center is overseen by a licensed physician and there is always a nurse on site.

You are saving lives.

I mean this quite literally. Plasma is filled with proteins and clotting factors. These can be used to help people with primary immune deficiencies, certain protein deficiencies, clotting disorders, burn victims, babies born with hemolytic disease of the newborn, shock victims, and the list goes on and on.

For most of these conditions, there is absolutely no synthetic substitute for plasma, which is why it is in such demand — these people would either die or have a significantly reduced quality of life without these donations.

The money you earn is worth it.

You go through a screening process and then sit in a bed while you read, watch a movie, or surf the Internet for about an hour and get paid for it. The amount you earn per donation varies by location, company, and the weight of the donor, but our center pays anywhere from $20-$50 per donation, and you can do this twice a week! That is quite a chunk of change in your pocket!

Yes, I know this incoming earning ideas isn’t for everyone; but I really encourage you think beyond rumors you have heard about the process and check it out for yourself, for your own good and for the sake of the people you could be helping.

If you are interested, find a plasma center in your area and check it out.

Because plasma centers are run by separate companies, there is no one good way to find a center in your area. But, if you just run a google search “plasma center in (your town)” you should be able to find one easily if there is one around you.

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31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas: Sell on Craigslist (Day 27)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to our 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas series. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next two months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest Post by Carrie from SpringsBargains.com and DenverBargins.com

Have you been to Craigslist? It’s like the ultimate online garage sale! We’ve used it for several years now and have bought and sold pretty extensively. It’s a great way to make a few extra bucks and de-clutter at the same time.

In all the transactions we’ve done, I’ve learned a few tips on selling that I hope are helpful to you:

1. Post good photos.

Use a “real” digital camera, not your phone or otherwise poor quality camera. A fuzzy photo makes people wonder what you are trying to hide, even if you’re not trying to hide anything!

Take several different photos (the maximum is four) from various angles. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a horizontal photo and a vertical photo taken from the exact same angle.

2. Write an accurate description and price accordingly.

Your leather couch that your dog has chewed on is not going to go for the same price other leather couches without teeth marks are going for.

Disclose any flaws that you know of. Don’t say, “I paid $1,000 for it 5 years ago and I only want $750!”

If you think you can get that great of return on something you’ve used for 5 years, please don’t say how much you paid for it. In my opinion, it is rarely a good idea to quote the original price. It can almost always be used against you.

3. Note what area of town you are in.

There is a place on the form to do this. Are you north, south, east, west? What neighborhood? “Rockrimmon” gives a lot more information than “West Colorado Springs.”

And by the way, everyone else in the world is not a zip code geek like you so putting only your zip code down is silly because very few people are going to know what part of town that is!

4. Be ready to respond to inquiries.

It should be obvious that you should not leave on vacation an hour after posting your ad. But you may post it and be gone for a few hours. In that case, it’s not a bad idea to include your phone number. If you’re not going to be able to check your email for some reason, include your phone number.

5. Don’t waste time on difficult prospective buyers.

If your item is in high demand, you will often get ten or more emails in the first hour or two. If someone is already trying to ask for a lower price, or wants to know a hundred things more about it, I don’t waste time on them unless they are the only inquiry.

Although it is considered courteous to offer the item on a first-come, first-served basis, if there are more than a few responses I usually skip over anyone who gives any indication they will be difficult to work with, such as wanting a discount before seeing the item, difficulty in arranging a time to pick up the item, or asking a myriad of questions that are irrelevant for a used item that’s being sold for a fair price.

6. Specify when you want to get rid of it.

We had over 25 inquiries the Sunday afternoon we posted an ad for a mattress. I promised it to the first person I emailed, and they were going to pick it up that night. They called later and wanted to know if they could pick it up the next day, which was fine but then they didn’t show up.

We were finally able to sell it to someone else on Monday, but it was maddening to sit at home thinking someone is going to come by our house to buy something and then they don’t show. We started putting something like: “The first person who’s able to come get it by tonight gets dibs!” on the ad to prevent something like that from happening again.

7. Save your “back-up buyers” emails.

Sometimes you will have someone not show up, or cancel, or decide they don’t want it. In that case, you could post it again, or if you’ve saved the emails other people sent, you can just email them all directly and and re-offer it to them. If the item has already been promised to someone but hasn’t been picked up yet, I will usually email any further inquiries and tell them it’s pending pick up, but that if there is a no-show or something I will email them back.

8. Meet at a location other than your home.

There are two reasons for this. One, you never know what kind of person is going to show up to buy the baby crib you’re selling. Two, it is easier to tell someone to meet you at the McDonald’s at a certain intersection than to give them directions to your house. Be sure to pick a place that is convenient for you.

9. Follow the rules and be courteous.

If your item doesn’t sell, re-post it according to the guidelines. If you’ve posted it twice with no response, it probably means no one wants it or you are asking too much.

As a buyer, it gets really annoying to see the same exact postings get posted every couple of days with no change–no new pictures, same description, no price adjustments. I have seem people post the same thing every day for a month, and I have to wonder if they really want to sell it or if they just like posting stuff!

Carrie Isaac blogs about deals in Colorado Springs at SpringsBargains.com and deals in Denver at DenverBargains.com.

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31 Ways to Earn Cash Before Christmas: Start Your Own Cleaning Business (Day 26)

31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas

Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.

If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Lindsey of Faithful Homemaking

A couple of years ago, an acquaintance called me and asked if I would like to take her cleaning job while she was in the South for the winter. I hadn’t cleaned professionally before, so I didn’t know what to expect. But once I started, I quickly found that cleaning can be a wonderful way to earn extra money.

Since then I have acquired three more cleaning jobs and have passed a few others on to my friends.

How to get started:

Talk to someone you know who cleans office buildings or homes. See if they have any jobs they can refer to you. If you aren’t able to clean regularly but need a little extra money, perhaps they would let you sub for them when they are sick or on vacation.

If you don’t know anyone in the cleaning business, make ads and flyers and pass them out to friends, neighbors, and local businesses.

Purchase some supplies:

Office buildings usually stock the cleaning supplies, but my residential clients prefer that I bring my own. I look for BOGO sales and coupon deals on cleaning solutions and stock up.

I make sure to have clorox wipes, clean rags, toilet bowl cleaner, Dr. Bronner’s soap, glass and window spray, bathroom cleaner, and disinfectant spray on hand. I also carry a little bucket for mopping and my Norwex cloths, which I LOVE!

Also, there’s no need to spend a fortune on cleaning tools.  I use my faithful old Dirt Devil vacuum that I’ve owned for 10 years and it works great.

Hone your cleaning skills:

If I’m not sure how to clean something, I ask my fellow cleaning friends for tips or google it. I also occasionally watch cleaning videos on YouTube.

After cleaning sinks, counters, and toilets I will buff with a clean, dry cloth to make them extra-shiny. I prefer to dust with my Norwex dusting mitt and mop most floors by hand to be able to get the corners of the floor. I also try to be smart about my cleaning. If the building/home doesn’t truly need dusting every week, then one week I will dust, the next I will clean blinds.

Be choosy:

Some office cleaning jobs require that you carry insurance. Some residential homes are too filthy to handle. Some employers may expect more hours out of you than you can give or may not compensate you fairly.

Consider carefully each opportunity that comes your way. Will you have childcare during the hours you need to be cleaning? Will you be required to clean during late hours in areas that could possibly be dangerous? Will you be expected to be “on call” or will it be a set weekly time? If you have a baby keeping you up at night will you have the energy to handle even one cleaning job?

Most office jobs require that you come in when their business is not open, which means early mornings, evenings, or on weekends. Most residential clients want you to come in during daytime hours to clean when they are away at work. Figure out which option works best for your schedule. I only take jobs that allow for my husband to be home with our kids so we don’t have to pay childcare. I also don’t want to clean lonely office buildings when it’s dark out, it creeps me out!

How much to charge?

You don’t want to charge too low and be taken advantage of. After all, cleaning is hard work, it takes a lot of energy, and you are giving of your time to do it. But neither do you want to charge too high and lose all your possible-clients to other cleaners who charge less.

Figure out what the going rate is in your area. In my area people will pay at least $20 an hour. Office jobs generally pay $25-$30 an hour. Some businesses prefer to pay by the job. This is really nice because if you are motivated and fast you can get even more money per hour.

My friend, who also cleans, takes her teenage son with her and he helps gather all of the garbages. So she is able to do a 3 hour job in 2.5 hours and make really good money to help feed her 3 teen boys! Cleaning provides an excellent wage considering the flexible hours and the fact that you don’t need a college degree to do it!

If you are committed to excellence in your work, the jobs will continue flowing in via word-of-mouth recommendations. At this point I work 3-4.5 hours a week and bring in $60-$95 per week.

The kids get to spend time with Daddy while I’m gone and that little bit of extra money helps our tight budget out so much! I also enjoy being able to get out of the house and listen to music or have some quiet time while I clean.

Lindsey Swinborne is a homeschooling mom of four who lives in Wyoming.  She loves photography and is thankful for her cleaning jobs which helped her fulfill her dream of having a DSLR camera.  She blogs at Faithful Homemaking.

photo source

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