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22 Jun 2011   ·   399
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: How can I earn an extra $1000 per month?

Today’s question is from Pamela:

I am in a situation where I need to increase my monthly income by about $1,000 per month. We already eat as frugally as we can and try to buy only when something is on sale. We economize at home with utilities.

I don’t think there is much else I can do besides actually increasing my income from home. In addition to selling online, which I already do, what other work from home opportunities are there that would enable me to see a $1,000 increase in income in a short time? – Pamela

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

22 Jun 2011   ·   110
Money Saving Mom

How to Make Money Reselling Your Children’s Clothes on EBay

Guest post by Jen Wise from Yard Sale Mommy

From the flurry of comments made on the recent on the clothing stockpile posts, one thing is clear: we’re all looking for ways to save money when it comes to our kids. In our family, just like in many of yours, we buy 95% of our children’s items at yard sales in order to keep our costs down. This easily saves us 90% when it comes to buying things for our girls.

But what about when your little ones outgrow their clothes and toys? What do you do with them?

Many of you expressed frustration with your own yard sales and the insulting prices offered for your high-quality, well-cared for items. Of course, as yard sale buyers we want everything to cost $0.50, but when we are sellers we don’t want rock bottom — we want top dollar!

If you aren’t planning on passing down your outgrown kid stuff to friends or family, consider selling your used goods on eBay. Not only can you recoup your initial costs, but often you can make a profit by selling your gear for more than you paid (since you bought it 90% off at yard sales in the first place). Then you can take your profits and buy next year’s clothes, shoes, and gifts and essentially never pay out of pocket for your children’s things again.

Why not try it? It’s easier than you think.

Do your research.

Search completed listings of the items that you wish to sell on eBay, and sort the search by those with the highest final selling price first. Make sure that the price you’ll likely get for them is worth your time and effort. Write down the titles of the listings which made the most money.

Time it right.

Sell your Spring/Summer items in February/March, and sell Fall/Winter things in July/August. List your toys when moms are shopping for Christmas or other holiday gifts.

Seven-day auctions are best unless your item is time sensitive or the holiday is a week away. Have your auction end in the evening, on a weeknight, after most kid bedtimes. This is when parents have time to browse and bid.

Your title is everything.

Think of every possible word that might be typed into the search box someone might use to find your item. Use similar titles as those who sold their similar item for the most money as discovered in your research.

Set a reasonable auction start price.

Don’t set your opening auction price too high or too low. I rarely start anything over $9.99, even if I expect it to sell for $100. A good rule of thumb is to list something for a price you would be happy getting for it at a consignment sale.

Get your shipping supplies ready.

Order priority mail boxes and tape for free from www.usps.com, or ask local stores for boxes before they are recycled. Box and weigh your item before you list it.

Take good, clear pictures.

If your picture looks terrible, your item looks terrible. Take it against a solid background, like a hardwood floor or a white sheet. Make sure your flash is good or there is enough lighting where a flash isn’t necessary.

Describe your item accurately.

If there are minor stains or flaws in your merchandise, be up front and give a detailed explanation.  Take a picture if necessary.

Let your eBay listing calculate shipping costs automatically for your buyer.

If you box and weigh your items before you list, this will be super easy. Additionally, you can ensure you won’t lose money on the shipping.

Be available to answer questions.

Buyers ask questions when they are serious, so answer them in a timely fashion.

Ship your items in a timely manner from your home.

Building good feedback is important.  Try to ship your items as soon as possible, and definitely within the time you promised on your listing.  Use free USPS carrier pick up so that you don’t have to bring the kids to the post office.

Why not get your feet wet and pick out one toy or outfit that you would like to sell and give it a try? Who knows, you might be able to take that $0.50 yard sale purchase your child has already used and turn a $50 profit!

Jen Wise is a SAHM of three sweet girls and the wife of one handsome engineer!  Every Saturday morning she can be found hitting the sales in Raleigh, North Carolina. You can follow her yard-saleing, eBaying adventures at her blog, Yard Sale Mommy.

photo credit: WordShore

21 Jun 2011   ·   49
Money Saving Mom

How to Make Homemade Reusable Baby Wipes

Guest post by Candice from Rattles and Redheads

Baby wipes can be expensive and can easily become one of those, “On no! I forgot to pick up wipes, today!” types of catastrophes that often plague so many of us in the wee hours of the night. I have been there too often!

Reusable wipes are perfect for easy spills, diaper changes at home, or to bring with you while you’re out. You can use them to even wipe down your toys, and to clean up your children after each meal. I know that I might not use them for the “messy” diapers, but I enjoy reusing these wipes for all other kid-related multi-purpose uses.

Here’s how I make mine:

You could create a more natural solution for the baby wipes by mixing essential oils, lanolin, or aloe with the water. I would have done this but chose to instead just use the items that I already had on hand.

Candice is a full time stay at home mom, student, entrepreneur, life living, goal aspiring, teacher of two beautiful children. She enjoys spending her time exploring the world around, learning, reading, attempting to be artists and seeking many days of wholesome fun and adventure. You can learn more about her learning journey at Rattles and Redheads.

21 Jun 2011   ·   43
Money Saving Mom

Today’s Aldi, Dillon’s and Health Food Store Shopping Trips

We stopped at the health food store, Aldi and Dillon’s today. Here’s what we bought:

Health Food Store Shopping Trip:

4 bags of chips marked down to $0.99 each
2 bags of Edamame marked down to $0.99 each
1 bag of Rudi’s hot dog buns marked down to $0.99
1.81 lbs. Pears — $0.99/lb.
3.89 lbs. of Pink Lady Apples — $0.99/lb.
6.7 lbs. of Blue-taped marked down organic bananas — $0.39 per pound
1 Brown Cow yogurt — marked down to $1.99

Total: $18.37

Aldi Shopping Trip:

Corn Chips — $0.99
Tomatoes — $0.99 per bag
Cantaloupe — $1.49
Tortillas — $0.99
Carrots — $0.99
Cheese — $1.99
Freezer Bags — $1.89
Onions — $0.69
Corn — $0.99

Total: $12.88

Dillon’s Shopping Trip:

Watermelon — $3.99
2 heads of lettuce — $1.89 each
3 (1+ pound) packages of ground beef — $3.69/lb.

Total: $23.26

And other than a trip to Target to pick up some of the deals, I think we’re set for the week. In case you missed it, our weekly menu plan is here.

20 Jun 2011   ·   71
Money Saving Mom

This Week’s Menu Plan

Impromptu brownie-making today — I think more brownie batter ended up getting eaten than actually made it into the pan, but we had a lot of fun regardless. 🙂

Breakfasts
Pancakes, scrambled eggs, strawberries
Spinach Oven Omelet, 1-Minute Berry “Ice Cream”
Oatmeal Raisin Muffins, scrambled eggs, fruit
Cinnamon Roll Biscuits (using Homemade Baking Mix — these were a huge hit last week. I’ll share the recipe on Thursday.), fruit
Freezer-Friendly Baked Oatmeal, fruit
Blueberry Streusel Muffins, hard-boiled eggs
Cereal

Lunches
Lunch at extended family’s house for Father’s Day
PB&J Sushi, apple slices, carrot sticks
Lunch out for a birthday celebration
Corn Dog Muffins, pear slices, peas
Leftovers x 2
Egg salad sandwiches, frozen veggies, fruit smoothies

Snacks
Watermelon Frosties
Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies
Popcorn
Fruit/Veggies

Dinners
Southwest Rollups, steamed veggies, fruit salad
Italian Pasta Bake, Homemade French Bread, edemame, watermelon
Steak on the grill, steamed veggies, Homemade French Bread
Asian Barbecue Chicken, rice, steamed veggies, fruit salad
Beef Hot Dogs, corn, Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges, watermelon
Build-Your-Own Haystacks, fruit
Dinner Out

Freezer-Cooking-In-An-Hour Plan (I’ll share pictures/details on how this goes on Thursday!)
Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge
Whole-Wheat Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Taco Meat

What’s on your menu this week? Feel free to leave a link to your plan in the comments!

19 Jun 2011   ·   42
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: 10 lbs. of raw sugar, 5 cartons of almond milk + more!

Dillon’s: Spent $13.78

There wasn’t much we needed to buy in the way of groceries this week, so I just made a quick trip to Dillon’s and the health food store to get some of the deals.

The Health Food Store: Spent $20.15

Two of my children are currently off milk, so I was thrilled to be able to get these markdown prices on the hemp, almond and rice milk! We’ll use the chocolate milk to make Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies. It’s a delicious treat for a hot afternoon. I want to get some popsicle molds so I can freeze it and make homemade fudgsicles, too.

Also shown in the picture is the raw sugar my friend Angie found clearanced to just $1.25 per pound at another Dillon’s location. She picked up 10 pounds for me. (It’s such a wonderful thing to have fellow frugal friends who are always on the lookout for deals and willing to snatch up extras when they find them!)

___________

Did you snag any great deals or bargains this week or save money in other ways? If so, be sure to post about them on your blog and leave your link below. Please remember that this weekly round-up is to share deals you personally got and/or money you were able to save this week. In order to keep this weekly round-up focused on helping and inspiring others in their efforts to save money, links which have little-to-no content other than promoting affiliate links, etc. will be deleted. Also, to make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.

18 Jun 2011   ·   2
Money Saving Mom

This Week in Review: Free Home & Life Management Planner, Recycle a T-Shirt Into a Skirt + more!

17 Jun 2011   ·   160
Money Saving Mom

Cloth Diapering 101

Guest post by Brittany at Mom Answers With Brit

More and more parents are choosing to use cloth diapers instead of disposables. They are more comfortable for the baby, they are good for the environment and, in most cases, they save you money. I must be honest, the main reason we chose to use cloth diapers is the last one.

As I started researching cloth diapers online I was instantly overwhelmed. I was blessed to have friends and family around to help guide and teach me the “diaper lingo.” After much research (and convincing my husband) we decided to change to cloth diapers, and now we are addicted! Using cloth actually makes changing diapers, dare I say it, fun.

How to get started using cloth diapers:

1. Calculate how much money using cloth diapers will save you.

The Diaper Pin has a cloth diaper calculator online to see how much you will save by using cloth diapers. This is a great tool to use to determine if it is worth it for you to switch to cloth diapers and to decide how much you want to invest upfront. The calculator computes water/electricity usage for cleaning them.

The total we spent on our infant was $550 (this is with choosing a more expensive kind of cloth diapers, and choosing to use sized and not one-size diapers). If you normally purchase diapers on sale with coupons, you’ll probably spend at least that much — if not more — in a year by buying disposables. While you still have to add in the water and electricity costs for washing the diapers, if you plan to use them for longer than a year and if you use the same cloth diapers for multiple children you can save a significant amount of money by using cloth diapers.

2. Decide what kind of diapers to use.

As you start looking online, you will see that there are several different types/brands of cloth diapers. Most people I know use either an AIO (all-in-one) or a pocket diaper.

We chose to use FuzziBunz pocket diapers, and we absolutely love them! Be encouraged that there is definitely not one perfect brand or type. It was very overwhelming for me to decide, and our primary reason we chose FuzziBunz Pocket Diapers was because I found a good deal on them. Many parents are happy with many different types/brands of cloth diapers.

3. Find the best deal on cloth diapers.

Most of the best cloth diaper deals are found online, but some areas also have local cloth diaper stores. In Kansas City, we are blessed to have a wonderful cloth diaper store and we found it very helpful to actually go to the store and see the diapers face-to-face instead of just reading about them online.

It is sometimes hard to find really good deals for cloth diapers, but there are sales out there. The Diaper Pin has a list of cloth diaper sales and deals on their homepage.

If you are expecting and someone will be throwing a shower for you, ask for them for shower gifts or request gift cards to online cloth diaper companies.

If you want to get creative, here’s an article on How to Cloth Diaper for Practically Free. Or, you can also read how to make your own cloth diapers.

4. Don’t buy accessories that you don’t need.

Don’t feel like you need everything out there (like the diaper sprayer). I would say the basics are: diapers, extra liners for night-time use, pail-liners, bacteria killing spray and detergent. I also enjoy having a wet bag for the diaper bag, but if you don’t go out much, a plastic bag will work just fine!

Cloth diapers are not for everyone, but I hope to encourage you to look at them a little differently. You don’t have to get your hands gross or worry about poking your baby with a pin. Today’s generation of cloth diapers have improved immensely from what our parents/grandparent’s experienced.

Brittany Grim is a wife and mother to her son, Isaiah. She works full-time in the insurance industry in addition to blogging at Mom Answers With Brit. She loves to share what she has experienced and researched with other moms. She loves God, her family and reading!

photo from Baby Hoots

17 Jun 2011   ·   78
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: We save $100 a year by simplifying our children’s wardrobes

Ashley emailed in the following tip:

One of the ways our family saves $100 per year is by simplifying our children’s wardrobes. Each of our four children have 4-5 play outfits, 2 “nice” or church outfits, a nice pair of shoes, a play pair of shoes, a package of underwear and a package of socks.

I have found that maintaining a simple wardrobe for our children compared to having a closet full of clothes, many which are hardly worn, saves me at least $30 per child per season. In a year, it saves $90-$120 per child!

An added benefit of fewer clothes is that you can’t get very far behind on your laundry, so you’ll never again have mountains of dirty laundry sitting around! -Ashley

photo credit

16 Jun 2011   ·   115
Money Saving Mom

Freezer Cooking In An Hour: Corn Dog Muffins, Chicken Stuffing Casserole, Oatmeal Raisin Muffins, Italian Pasta Bake

Well, I sort of cheated for yesterday’s Freezer Cooking In An Hour session. First off, I baked the chicken during dinner the night before to save me time and then I gave myself two hours to accomplish my list instead of one. But I still got a lot done in a shorter amount of time — and that’s truly the point of why I challenge myself to do Freezer Cooking In An Hour each week.

4:00 — I set the timer, tied on my apron, pulled my hair back and got to work. I put the dough in the bread machine for Failproof Bread Machine French Bread. I started the ground beef, mixed the oats and yogurt for the Oatmeal Raisin muffins and started mixing up the Honey Cornbread recipe.

4:20 — While the ground beef was cooking, I chopped the onion to add to it and then went back to finishing the Honey Cornbread. I assembled the Corn Dog muffins and stuck them in the oven and then started the pasta boiling.

4:45 — In the middle of mixing up the Oatmeal Raisin muffins, I heard the familiar “mo-o-o-o-o-ma” coming from Silas’ room. I got him up and made popcorn for a snack for all the children and then sent them downstairs to play.

5:10 — The pasta was done, so I assembled the Italian Pasta Bakes and then took a break to clean up the kitchen. I really wanted to make the Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and the Healthy Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge, but I was running out of time and energy. So I opted to just finish up what I already had started and save those to make later in the week.

5:25 — I pulled the oatmeal muffins out of the oven — yum! — and then started chopping up the chicken while the water was boiling for the stuffing. I couldn’t believe the children were still downstairs playing quietly! It’s a rare occurrence that all three of them play together for longer than 20 minutes without someone getting hurt or a fighting ensuing (we’re working on it, but it seems to be a slow learning process!).

5:35 — The chicken was finally chopped, so I put together the Chicken Stuffing Casseroles together. I then went to pull the French Bread dough out of the bread machine. So much for it being failproof. The dough was really stiff — way too stiff for French Bread. I tried to make it work, but I finally gave up. I think I better find a different French Bread recipe! (Anyone have a more proven failproof recipe to share? Or a suggestion of why mine didn’t turn out?)

5:45 — Finally done!

4 pans of Chicken Stuffing Casserole

12 Corn Dog Muffins (I used my Honey Cornbread Recipe and Beef Hotdogs. These are very yummy — for kids and adults alike!)

I small pan of Honey Cornbread

12 Oatmeal Raisin Muffins

3 pans of Italian Pasta Bake