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29 Jul 2010   ·   41
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: A New-to-Us Car

We paid cash!Testimonial from Christina

Last month my husband and I bought a car in cold hard cash. As a young couple, it was our first big purchase and a very stressful one.

The Background

For the holidays last year we decided to skip the gifts and pay off all the random credit cards that we had been ignoring. Once we were debt-free, my husband and I started to save money as our New Year’s Resolution.

We tracked every penny we spent in a nice little excel spread sheet. Eventually our drive-thru breakfast and Chinese take-out habits had stopped and we ate a lot of pasta dinners.

Our Goal

In May he started a new job with a long commute. His beat-up car was getting the job done but then the summer heat really kicked in and his lack of air conditioning made the 45-minute drive on black leather seats unbearable.

At this point, we had about $10,000 saved. After much research, we decided the best thing for us was to buy used, but we didn’t want to spend all of our savings in one place. We agreed on of a budget of $6,000 total off the lot, and so the hunt began…

We paid cash for our car!Our Purchase

After about two dozen used car lots, half a dozen pushy salesmen and one potential buy (the car was mysteriously “sold” when we asked for the car facts), we found her in one of those free used car magazines at our grocery store.

The next day we went to take a look, even though the dealership was closed for Memorial Day weekend. Our little gem was in a packed lot outside of an auto body shop and boy, she was a beauty. A blue 2002 Volkswagen Jetta with 70,000 miles.  Her price tag: $6,000.

After a week of bargaining, we got her for $6,000 including taxes, fees and we even got them to throw in a 90-day warranty.

What We Gained

I was grateful we found her. I was starting to get discouraged and our 6 grand seemed like pennies in the overwhelming world of car shopping. But we stood our ground, hit the pavement and didn’t let anyone talk us into anything we weren’t comfortable with.

Christina, 23, and Michael, 25, live in New Jersey, have been married for two years and are expecting their first child in September.

29 Jul 2010   ·   353
Money Saving Mom

Ask the Readers: Is organic milk worth the extra price tag?

I have a question that maybe your readers could answer: Is organic milk worth the price?

There is such a huge difference in price between conventional and organic milk and I wonder if there is any difference in quality. I recently read somewhere that there is no difference and that standard milk does not contain any hormones.

Buying organic milk takes up the biggest part of our grocery budget and it would be wonderful if it turns out that conventional milk is the same! -Sheri

Please note: I thought this would make for an interesting discussion, so have at it. However, as always, keep your comments cordial. If you can disagree in a friendly manner, go for it. But if you leave a comment screaming at someone that if they don’t purchase raw grass-fed milk from a goat in their backyard they are going to fall over dead tomorrow, you’re likely going to have your comment deleted. 🙂

28 Jul 2010   ·   16
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Back-to-School Shopping

Holle emailed in this helpful reminder for those of you who are doing lots of back-to-school shopping:

Just wanted to share how I’ve gotten great deals at back-to-school time even when it appears the items are sold out.

Usually all the back-to-school deals are in a central location in the store. So, if you’re looking for the $0.15 crayons, you go to the back-to-school department first. But, those $0.15 crayons will also be in the usual crayon location. So when the bin is empty in the back-to-school department, go to the art section and pick up a couple boxes. When I’ve done this, the item’s usual location hasn’t usually been marked with the back-to-school sale price, but it rings up at the sale price.

27 Jul 2010   ·   215
Money Saving Mom

Q&A Tuesday: Which Drug Store Has the Best Deals?

I live pretty equidistantly from all the big three drugstores– CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid. I do most of my drugstore shopping at CVS, since it happens to share a parking lot with my local Kroger and saves a few precious moments of travel time.

However, I’ve begun to think more seriously about which chain in fact has some of the best deals or the best rewards system. I can think of pros/cons of all three chains, but what does everyone else think? Sincerely, Ellen

Great question and I’m fascinated to hear input from everyone on this!

I personally can’t give a very educated answer since I’ve never stepped foot in a Rite Aid store before — we’ve always lived hundreds of miles away from them!

When we lived in Topeka and Kansas City and had both a CVS and Walgreens, I chose CVS over Walgreens nine times out of ten because I found that I paid much less money out of pocket on the CVS deals. I only went to Walgreens when the deals were smoking hot — which happened to be about once every 6-8 weeks at that time.

Now, we live in a town with no drug stores but Walgreens (sniff!). I only shop there occasionally because they usually aren’t very coupon-friendly and I’ve often found it to be more hassle than it’s worth. But if I have extra time or there’s a can’t-miss deal, I still find it worth it sometimes.

I think which drugstore has the best deals will depend somewhat upon the area you live in and what kinds of items you routinely buy. Some stores are notorious for being out-of-stock of the weekly deals. Some stores, like our Walgreens, aren’t coupon-friendly. These types of factors will play into which drug store has the best deals for you.

So if you have easy access to all three drug stores, I’d suggest trying out each of them (preferably one at a time) for a few months. At the end of this experiment, decide which drugstore(s) seem a good fit for you.

What about you? Do you prefer CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid? Why? I’d love to hear!

26 Jul 2010   ·   34
Money Saving Mom

15 Favorite Preschool and Kindergarten Resources — Part 2

If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 here.

6. BOB Books – I love these beginning readers – and so do the girls! Some early reading books can be frustrating, but not the BOB books. They introduce new phonetic sounds so engagingly and at a pace that wasn’t overwhelming so Kathrynne rarely even noticed she was adding a new concept.

7. Homeschool Share – This free website has tons of great printables, educational resources and lapbooks. When planning our homeschool for the week, I often search for extra printables or fun activities we can supplement with which go along with our unit themes and have found all sorts of free goodies on this site.

8. Signing Time DVDs – Hands down, these are the one educational DVDs we’ve pretty much worn to a pulp. We got one as a demo a long time ago and enjoyed it so much that we asked Grandma and Grandpa if they’d buy the set for the girls for Christmas. Not only do I believe it is valuable to introduce your children to the deaf culture, but we’ve found that our children’s vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds as a result of teaching them ASL.

If you have a baby, I’d also highly recommend Baby Signing Time. Being able to communicate with your child at a young age makes life so much easier!

9. Everyday News Network – If your youngsters haven’t been introduced to the Everyday News Network, they’ve been missing out. Our girls love to watch the free online episodes and have picked up lots of great educational tidbits and fun ideas from ENN.

10. The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name — Read my review of this book here.

The final installment of this series is coming next Monday.

26 Jul 2010   ·   166

P90X On a Budget: Phase One Downloadable Menu Plan

If you follow the Money Saving Mom® Facebook Page, you know that I recently started the P90X Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program.

I’ve been feeling like I really need to intensify my workout routine and, after some research, my husband and I felt like P90X would be a good program for me to do. And everyone I spoke to gave it rave reviews. So, with my husband’s encouragement, I decided to go for it.

How We’re Doing P90X on a Budget

When I’ve told people that I’m starting this program, often the first question I get is: Isn’t that going to cost an arm and a leg? Well, it could, but I don’t think it necessarily has to.

The program is a little on the pricey side, but I was able to save up my Swagbucks and purchase it with Amazon gift cards I’ve earned. (I’ve heard you can snag copies on Craigslist or even from your library, if you’re looking to get a copy inexpensively.) So far, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with it.

My biggest challenge, aside from figuring out when I was going to fit a longer workout routine into my day (!), was determining how to pull off the nutritional program without breaking the bank. I really want to give this program 100% — which means I need to eat the P90X diet — but I also didn’t want to triple our grocery budget to do so!

After reading through all the nutritional material and doing further research online, I came up with a menu plan for the first thirty days (Phase 1) which follows the nutritional plan to a tee, but which I believe we can pull off without spending any more than $60 per week at the grocery store. Continuing our usual shopping of loss leaders, using coupons, getting most of our household and hygiene products for pennies on the dollar and shopping at Aldi will help to facilitate this.

Download the Menu Plan

If you’re interested in seeing the menu plan I came up with, you can download it here. The children are eating a similar diet, but I’m throwing in extra fruits and veggies and carbs for them. And since the exercise plan is only six days per week, I planned the menu accordingly. I’m taking Sundays off and will eat similar to the plan, but give myself a little breathing room and not adhere to it so strictly.

The menu plan is very quick and easy — and I’m sure some of you might find it way too simple and boring. 🙂 But I knew that if I planned meals which required hours of work, though and effort, I’d be setting myself up for failure. My goal is to do all food prep for the entire day in less than one hour.

I also incorporated our weekly dinner out into the plan as well as a once-a-week treat of a Vivanno smoothie from Starbucks. If you wanted to follow a similar menu but reduce the costs, you could substitute these items for homemade foods.

We’re buying the protein powder and protein bars from Amazon using Swagbucks, so we’d probably have to tack on another $15 to $20 per week for those if we didn’t have the option of using Swagbucks. The protein powder and protein bars we’re using are comparable to the ones offered from P90X, but they are significantly less expensive. I’m drinking chocolate milk for the recovery drink right now, as that is also less expensive and is a good recovery drink, from the research I’ve done.

So, that’s the plan right now. I’m planning to sticking with this menu for the first thirty days and then will redo the menu when I move into Phase 2. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

And stay tuned on Saturday for a full report of my grocery shopping this week and how much we ended up spending.

If you’ve done P90X before, I’d love to hear about your experiences and any tips or suggestions you have for me!


23 Jul 2010   ·   179
Money Saving Mom

Super Savings Saturday: 31 tubes of toothpaste and my first ever video blog

So, I’m stepping way out on a limb and posting a video blog of my shopping trip last night. Please bear with me, as it is completely obvious from the video that I have no idea how to do a video blog.You also might brace yourself for impending sea sickness as I’m holding the camera, showing you my groceries and talking with my hands at the same time. 🙂

Enjoy! Oh and excuse the mistake of me saying the bananas were $0.29 each. I meant $0.29 per pound!

This shopping trip is a great example of how I practice the Buy Ahead Principle. Stocking up on 31 free tubes of toothpaste might seem excessive, but considering we go through 1-2 tubes per month and the toothpaste deals have been sparse recently, I went ahead and used all my coupons. That way, if there’s not another deal on toothpaste for 18 months, we’re in good shape.

Wondering where I got 31 toothpaste coupons from? Check out my article on 10 Ways to Get Coupons for Free.

Big thanks to Erin from $5 Dinners for the foil pan deal tip, Mary from The Deal Detector for the Crayon deal tip and to my sister for going shopping with me and making it much more fun than if I’d gone by myself.

_______________________
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.

23 Jul 2010   ·   42
Money Saving Mom

Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: More experimentation and failure

If you’re new here, you’ll want to go back and read the first parts of the Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series.

It’s quite often that I get emails from people who say, “I really want to build up a blog and business like you have.” While I’m honored they would want to be like me, I sincerely don’t wish all my failures and struggles upon them.

Many of you have only found MoneySavingMom.com in the last year or two. And you might see a successful blog with hundreds of thousands of readers, the fact that I have a team of people working for me or that we paid cash for our house thanks in great part to this blog and the income it provides.

What you don’t see is the thousands of hours of effort, the miserable failures, the huge disappointments and the nights when I only got a few hours of sleep because I was working 60 to 70 hours per week from home to make ends meet, plus being a wife, homemaker and stay-at-home mom.

I’m very grateful to the Lord for how He has blessed the labors of my hands. And I’m humbled beyond belief to think that someone like me — who has no college degree and struggled with math in high school — is helping hundreds of thousands of families around the nation with their finances. That’s God, not me. He can take the weak things of this world and do mighty things through them (1 Cor. 1:27). I know, because I’ve experienced it in powerful ways in my own life.

But before He could do great and mighty things in and through my life, God first had to take me through some very humbling and difficult failures. Last time, I left you when we were groping to come up with any way to make ends meet without going into debt while my husband was in law school.

I remember wracking my brain to come up with anything — anything — I could do to earn money from home. We really felt like my place was to be home with our soon-to-be born child and yet how we were going to pull that off without debt or government assistance* was mind-baffling.

It seemed there was just no way the ends could meet. I felt helpless and incompetent. I’m one of those people who is not skilled in many different areas: I can’t sew or decorate or make beautiful crafts; I’m quite domestically-challenged despite many efforts to reverse those inadequacies!

I’ve always been very interested in marketing, writing and anything related to computers, but I didn’t really know that it would be possible to earn any more than a small amount from any of those things. My attempts to teach creative writing classes fell pretty nearly on their face. I scoured the internet looking for writing opportunities and only came up with a few very small-paying opportunities that someone with my inexperience could qualify for.

In my heart of hearts, I really wanted to start a website of some kind. And after weeks of prayer and research, I hatched an idea to start a website called Covenant Wedding Source which would provide custom-made, modest wedding gowns and accessories. I found a few young women who were exceptional seamstresses and contracted with them to provide the sewing services.

My job was going to be the go-between. I’d market the website, work with the customers and my contractors would provide the custom-made products. I knew that there were very few websites providing modest gowns and I knew, from talking with many brides, that there was a market for gowns which showed less skin but didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

My husband — always the cheerleader — willingly invested $2,000 of our law school savings to start the business (that money paid to have a website designed, buy a computer, a few other needed supplies and a business license). I look back and wonder what got into him to willingly risk what was a huge chunk of money for my wild and crazy idea.

I’d read a bunch of books from the library on starting a business and I was pumped about my great idea. But I quickly learned I was in way over my head. I hadn’t a clue about online marketing and I learned very fast that you can set up a great website, but you need a whole lot more than a great website to get more than you and your mom visiting everyday.

After a few weeks of very little traffic and no sales, I decided I had to become terribly pro-active if you wanted people to notice your site. So I came up with every free advertising idea I could concoct. I joined Yahoo Groups which I thought might have a relevant market and would interact with people and include a link at the bottom of my emails to my website. I wrote articles for any website which would publish my articles and include a link to my website in my bio.

After about six months, we actually had had six different brides who were brave enough to send in their measurements and what they wanted for a gown and have their gowns made by a seamstress across the country. But I learned another lesson: creating custom-made gowns according to a bride’s specifications and measurements requires a massive amount of time and work to pull off — and it’s really hard to do if you are trying to do it inexpensively!

I also was very discouraged to look over the books after six months and realize I’d put in countless hours, but I had not turned a profit at all. This was a problem because we severely needed to see at least a small profit in order to survive. It was a business, not a charity and something had to change.

In the past six months, I had been researching everything I could about online marketing and I’d stumbled upon this Yahoo Group which was all about entrepreneurialism. They had some very interesting ideas — many of which were brand-new to me. The more I read, the more I realized the wisdom in what was shared in this group.

I realized I needed to build an email list, look for multiple streams of income to develop on my site and learn more about affiliate marketing. Little did I know that these very things would someday be some of the backbone pieces for the success of MoneySavingMom.com.

After analyzing what my current market might be interested in and how to leverage that, I started experimenting with my small email list to see what worked. Those first attempts were so pathetic that I look back with great embarrassment. But you know what? I learned so much through those failed experiments. And somehow, my email list readers stuck with me!

While I was excited to be learning new things, I still desperately needed to be making more of an income for all my efforts. However, instead of a windfall of profit, I was about to experience one of the most difficult business lessons ever.

…to be continued next Friday

___________

*I know that different people have different circumstances and beliefs, but my husband and I have never felt like it was right for us to accept government assistance. We wanted to trust the Lord to be our Provider and also to be forced to be as creative and resourceful as we could. I’m in no way judging those of you who have chosen differently than us, just sharing how God led our family.

23 Jul 2010   ·   16
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: A Move to Africa

We paid cash!

Testimonial submitted by Amanda

Moving to Africa two months after getting married is not a plan that many parents understand. Moving to Africa, newly married, while still in college and with a $50,000 student loan burden was almost unfathomable.

I wish this was the story about how God miraculously paid off our debt before we stepped our newlywed feet on that Nairobi-bound airplane, but it’s not. It’s the story of a call and His provision in that call.

The Call

Despite our student loan burden, my husband knew that finishing his college degree and an internship in Kenya was where God wanted him. He also knew that God was drawing us into a marriage together. His heart beats for Africa and mine was newly awakened to the needs of people around the world.

So in a step of faith, we planned our marriage and our big move without knowing how we would survive in Kenya or even how we would get there! Our loan burdens were too big already, so we knew we couldn’t borrow or charge our way there.

A Move to KenyaThe Provision

God’s first provision was to give this journalism major a job. Teaching. Middle school. History. Miraculously, the more-qualified applicant was rejected by HR, and they agreed to let me take on the post for a year, despite the usual two-year commitment. God provided a job and a fabulous community that would be invaluable in the coming year.

His second provision came from the hands of ordinary people. Instead of registering for wedding gifts, we simply and politely asked for money towards our move to Kenya.

Once the wedding celebration ended and we settled into a friend’s vacant and rent-free apartment for two months, we realized we had exactly enough money to cover two round trip tickets to Nairobi and to purchase a small reliable car from a missionary leaving the field (vehicles are more pricey in Africa). Big wads of wedding cash and checks went straight to those huge expenses.

The Rest of the Story

That first year of marriage in Africa is full of countless stories. We survived robberies, civil strife, malaria and so much else, but we learned so much about God’s provision and how materially blessed we are as Americans.

We came home from Kenya when my mother was diagnosed with cancer, but someday we hope to return (without taking on debt of course).

We are still working on that student loan but are proud to say that we just passed the 50-percent paid milestone and can’t wait to be debt-free!

(Note: Yes, we did write a check for the plane tickets AND the car. No credit cards!)

Amanda Parks is a PhD student and lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Sam, and her black lab, Zeke. They just celebrated their third wedding anniversary.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

23 Jul 2010   ·   40
Money Saving Mom

We Paid Cash! :: A 15-Passenger Van

We paid cash!

Testimonial submitted by reader, April

When we found out we were expecting our 7th child, we knew we were going to outgrow our minivan (which seats 8).

Having resolved to be debt-free, we began to search online for a good deal. We had our emergency fund, as per Dave Ramsey, so we planned to use that and just make “car payments” back to the emergency fund.

What we found

After searching for a few months, we found a van on eBay that had previously been used by a carpeting company. It had 3 of the 4 benches (so it seats 12) and was in functional condition. It met our criteria of having enough seats and of working perfectly.

The only problem is that we live in Alabama and the van was in Denver, but I didn’t consider that much of a problem.

It was ours!

We won the eBay auction and paid $1950 for a 15-passenger van that runs perfectly. Granted, it is 15 years old and has 150,000 miles, but the pride of it being paid for more than compensates.

After flying to Denver by myself — which should really count as a vacation when you have 6 children — and driving the van home, along with taxes and tag, the total price came to $2400. We, of course, paid cash and made monthly payments back to our emergency fund for about 8 months.

For next time…

Now we have a special savings account called “Car Payment” where we make our car payment for the next time I get to vacation alone. I hope the next van is in Alaska!

P.S. The children have named the Big Van, Shakespeare. We still have the minivan, since it is also paid for, and use it whenever Dad is not home to lengthen Shakespeare’s life.

April Bracker is a homeschool mom to 7.

22 Jul 2010   ·   224

31 Days to a Better Grocery Budget: Don’t Be Brand Dependent

One way to save a great deal of money on your grocery budget is to learn to like and use a variety of brands. The sooner you can get over being a brand-snob, the more your pocketbook will thank you.

Be Brave; Try New Things!

I have a confession to make: when we first started shopping at Aldi, I was really leery of buying their products. I figured they’d taste icky and cheap.

But since my husband and I were living on a beans-and-rice budget, we had to make a meager budget work. It was either that – or pretty much starve! So we hesitantly started trying different items from Aldi.

And guess what? We were pleasantly surprised! Not only was most of it not icky or cheap-tasting, we actually liked some of the food better than the brands we were used to buying.

Base Your Purchases on the Price Rather Than the Brand

Let’s say your shampoo stockpile is running low and it’s time to build it back up. If you’re stuck on only buying Herbal Essence shampoo, the cheapest you may be able to buy it is for $1.50 by combining a sale with a coupon. If, however, you’re willing to look for the lowest price on any brand of shampoo, you may very well be able to find shampoo priced at $0.50 per bottle after coupon and sale.

While the savings of $1 per bottle of shampoo might not seem too significant, think about how the savings could add up if you saved $1 on 15 different items each week at the grocery store because you choose price over brand. That would be a savings of $60 per month — or$720 per year. And in most people’s cases, the savings would likely be much more than that.

Don’t Stockpile 35 Bottles of Something If You’ve Never Tried the Brand Before

While I’m all for trying new things and looking at the purchase price rather than the brand, I do want to caution you not to go overboard. If you’ve never tried Cheeseburger and Cream shampoo before and it’s on a great sale and there’s a good coupon out for it, I’d suggest you buy a bottle or two and determine whether you like it or not before you stock up for the rest of the year.

It’s not saving money if you get a sweet deal on 30 bottles of shampoo and then they stay in the stockpile closet for five years because no one will use them!

Yes, Brand Does Matter Sometimes — But Not Much of the Time

Okay, before any diehard brand-dependent person flips out on me, I must clarify that I believe it’s totally acceptable to have a few items where you are stuck 100% on a certain brand.

For instance, we only use Pampers diapers. I have two children with extremely sensitive skin and we’ve tried multiple brands of cloth diapers, Huggies, Luvs, store-brand, you name it and Pampers are the only diapers who don’t break them out in severe diaper rash. So it’s worth it to me to spend the extra money on Pampers (though, since the advent of Swagbucks, I’ve not been paying for diapers out of pocket, so the extra costs don’t hurt as much!).

We also use Shout almost exclusively for stain removal. We have three young children and oh do we have need of a good stain remover! Shout is the only stain remover I’ve found which consistently gets out pretty much 100% of the stains. However, I can usually get it for under $0.75 per bottle by matching a coupon with a great sale, so I’m not really spending much more on it.

Other than Shout and Pampers, we try to keep a pretty open mind when it comes to brands and shopping. And we save so much money by doing so!

What brands are you non-negotiable on? Have you been pleasantly surprised when trying new brands?

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22 Jul 2010   ·   31
Money Saving Mom

A few more reader-recommended survey sites

After posting about iPoll yesterday, a number of you asked for other recommended survey companies. So here are a few others I’d encourage you to consider joining as either I’ve used them myself or they come highly recommended by readers here:

Synovate — This site gives you 100 points for survey screeners —  even if you don’t qualify for a survey! I personally haven’t used this site, but it comes highly recommended by a reader.

MySurvey — I signed up with MySurvey around a year ago and have been paid by them multiple times. Unlike many survey companies, you earn points for every survey and screener you take and these points can add up quickly!

LightSpeed Research — This survey site pays in points and they are fairly generous in their points given. Once you’ve accumulated enough points, you can cash them in for cash, online gift certificates, music downloads, and hundreds of other prizes. Or, build up your points for bigger prizes in your Lightspeed Points Account.

MyPoints — This is a site which rewards you points for online activity such as reading emails, taking surveys, signing up for offers and so forth. When I was doing this, I mostly just read the emails and clicked on the links and slowly accumulated points. You won’t get rich quickly doing this, but you can earn enough points by reading emails to get a few free gift cards each year.

20/20 Research — A reader commented and said, “You won’t get a ton of surveys from 20/20 Research but when you qualify for a prescreen subject they compensate you really, really well. I got $150 Amazon gift card last year and $100 this year for a follow up. The forum was a week long in both cases and great fun. Because the forums are smaller groups you get alot of interaction and really get to contribute.”

Edit: And don’t forget about Swagbucks! Two readers commented to remind me that they now have a survey section on their site. Take the surveys and you can rack up more points towards gift cards and other items. Just another great way to earn Swagbucks.

Please realize that you’re likely not going to make hundreds of dollars each money filling out surveys. But if you stick with it and learn which survey companies work best for you, you can likely make at least $8-$10 per week filling out surveys — and sometimes more than that if you qualify for some of the higher-paying opportunities.

What are your favorite survey sites? I’d love to hear!

22 Jul 2010   ·   21
Money Saving Mom

Reader Tip: Earn money writing for Examiner.com

Sarah emailed in the following tip:

I thought I’d suggest another way for your readers to make a little extra money. They can write for Examiner.com. Each article (300-500 words) earns $1 plus additional residual money that grows with site traffic and such.

It’s not much, but you can write up to five articles a week for $1 each. Every once in awhile, they also have special incentives. For example, if you post two articles in one day, you’re entered into a drawing for gift cards and prizes.

To become a writer for Examiner.com, first go to the Become An Examiner page and choose your location and suggest an area you want to write about. There’s just about every kind of topic available, so there should be something for everyone. (If you don’t see what you want to write about, you can suggest an area and a topic. That’s what I did since there was no one focused on my current town and topic idea.)

Once you choose an area, you enter your personal information. Then, tell a little about your experience and submit a sample article that you would write if you become an examiner. What’s nice is if you’re accepted as an examiner, you can publish that article and get paid for it.

Like you say about survey-taking, you’re not going to get rich from writing for Examiner.com, but it’s a little extra money. Plus, it’s fun to share the articles and know people are reading your writing! -Sarah Hernandez

Looking for more ways to earn money from home? Check out the brand-new Income-Earning Ideas page I just finished putting together. And if you have any great ideas to share, be sure to leave a comment or send me an email with a tip or suggestion for me to consider posting.