My experience with online side hustles

Nelson Mandela

Sometimes you need something more to cover expenses or you might be like many and have debt.  I fall under the debt category because of my student loans.  I knew what I was going to deal with in college when I took out the loans and started to look into ways to make money in my own time without sacrificing time with friends, relaxation time or evne time to do other things (church, volunteer etc.)  I had part-time jobs, but I wasn’t successful in getting anything more than a couple hours a week in the summer months (and I didn’t work outside of subbing once a week during college).  Therefore, I turned to the online and babysitting world for side hustles.

My first two bouts online were with a website (no longer operational most of the time) called gather.  I discovered mypoints and swagbucks through it.  For a good four years I earned a couple hundred dollars a year writing for it (gift cards).  It provided a couple gifts and helped me buy a number of things over the years.  When it crashed over a year ago, I knew I needed to find something better because my earnings on it had crashed.  It was a good move and now I’m happy to say I’ve found more and better sources. Below are my side hustles and my experiences with them.

Side Hustle Ideas: 35+ Ways Anyone Can Earn Money on the Side

PerkTV

I actually just discovered this one on Sunday and installed it on my Ipad.  I’ve earned over 3,000 points by letting it run here and there already and I can cash out starting at 5,000 points.  I’ve heard some people can earn up to $120 in paypal or giftcards and that’s what I’m aiming for (provided my Ipad has power!)

 

Swagbucks

I found swagbucks around 5 years ago in college and I’ve been using it since. I earn around $5-25 a month doing it regularly and it’s great!  It is harder to get points if you don’t shop online, but running videos in the background while you do other things works well.

 

Mypoints

Another one I’ve been doing for years, but since I don’t really shop online, my earnings are pretty slow on it.  I only cashout for a giftcard ($25) around twice a year.  Maybe when I have more spending money I can utilize it more and cash out more.

 

Recyclebank

This one is a little slower, but there’s a daily login bonus.  I’ve cashed out through them 3-4 times in the last year and have another one coming up.  It’s great for e-giftcards and they offer coupons on things as well.

 

Freelancing

This is my biggest money maker in terms of side hustles.  I can easily make $100+ a month and it really helps.  Over the next couple of months I’m hoping to do more freelancing, especially since I’ve gotten a solid base at this point.  The only downside is the company I freelance to takes 2-3 weeks to send me my paycheck.

 

Online sales

They’re a bit unpredictable, but I usually make around $100+ a month in online sales.  I’ve been selling online for a few years and gotten better over time.  I flip a lot of video games that I know are worth money and I can make most of my $100 just doing that.

Take risks and chase your dreams! Live your life/dream and not anyone else's...

Side hustles of the past

Redgage -I couldn’t make anything on this error filled website.  I only made around $2 despite the work I put into it (which wasn’t for long!)

Gather -This is where I got started with my online earnings.  I did it for years, but then in the summer of 2009, the points started declining and in 2012, the website went down and never really came back.  I cashed out all my points and stopped going there.

hitpredictor  -I have a fair amount of points there from two years ago, but the rewards change so frequently/go out of stock, I’ve never been able to cash out

Sidetick  -It no longer exists, but I was able to cashout once for $30.

 

Those are the websites and online side hustles I’ve tried out.  There are a lot out there and it’s only growing as more people turn to the internet to make money.  Sometimes its not a lot, but when you can buy all your Christmas and birthday gifts for the year and get yourself other things, that’s something!  Oh and pay a few thousand extra on student loans, that’s a big plus too.

Do you do any online side hustles?

Ways in which I’m not frugal

When you’re paying off debts or saving up for something, frugality is a necessity (along with a budget).  Tied in with that is frugality or, by definition,  economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful (dictionary.com)  .  I’ve been frugal since I was in college and now that I’m paying off my student loans, it’s taken even more importance (because I actually earn money, but have more bills to pay).  I’ve always been good with money, I just have student loans because well, that’s another story.

Nelson Mandela

I was browsing forums the other day and stumbled across a trend of frugal things people do that society frowns on.  Some things were gross (stealing food from strangers after they finished a meal?) and some were sad (if people have to do these things, you never realize how fortunate you are).  Some were by choice.  Reading it made me think of the things I won’t do to be frugal and there are a few.

 

Housing

I live in a city that is the second most expensive area in my state to live in.  Most places cost $900+ to read (some being just 1 bedroom) and those aren’t always the best places.  I got very lucky when I was searching for a place closer to work (I was commuting with a 20 year old car 45 miles both ways) and found my current place.  I got it for $800 a month (2BR, 2BA), plus a washer & dryer, an amazing landlord and it’s within ten minutes of where I work.  It’s also in a good area of town, which can be tricky to find.  Some might argue it’s expensive, but for this area and what I get, it’s worth every penny.

 

Not having a roommate

I’m an introvert and I need my space, sometimes more than most.  My best friend and I were roommates the last two years of college and it was awesome.  The roommate before and one of the girls I lived with afterwards were complete nightmares though.  It does save money to split the cost, but I’d fine with spending the extra $400 a month to have a place completely to myself.

 

Buying organic/natural foods

One thing I won’t skip out on is eating healthy.  This doesn’t mean I’m doing all my shopping at the local farmers market or Whole Foods, but I do go as organic and healthy as I can.  I’m a vegetarian too and I make all my meals from scratch, plus I do all my baking from scratch.  If I’m faced with buying generic flour from $2.50 or organic for $5, I’m going with organic (the actual organic, not the mislabeled) everytime.  Same way from produce (unless it’s inside the skin, like bananas).

 

Having a new car

Older readers might remember my complaints about my old car.  It was 21 years old and I ran it until the transmission went out.  Not wanting to deal with that again, I made the decision to buy a new car.  I do not for a second regret the decision. It gets good gas mileage, I can travel safely and I don’t have to worry about it breaking down once a month (which was true for the entire last year I had it).

 

Internet

A popular trend to save money for some is to not have internet.  With work (online and my fulltime job) I need internet and a reliable one at that.  While I don’t like Comcast, they do have a monopoly in my area, so I am forced to pay their fees for a necessity.  Maybe someday I’ll live in area with something other than Comcast.

True

Miss spending time with loved ones

If a friend is in need and needs help, I’m there.  If a friend wants to see a movie, I’m there.  Of course the fun things are within reason, but I’ve had friends who really need help in a tight spot and I help them out as best I can.  Loved ones mean far more than a dollar to me and I’m not going to be frugal over that.  If a friend needs gas, I’ll give them the $10, for instance.  $15 in gas to see a friend, $10 to make a friends day or money to help a family member is worth far more than my frugal code.

 

What are things you won’t be frugal on?

 

Mid-Year Goal Reflections

We’re over halfway through 2014, yikes!  It doesn’t seem that out there for me as I’m already working on IEP’s, school curriculum and documents that are for the year 2014-2015.  I’ve even had my school calendar for 2014-2015 for a month.  The 2014-2015 school year is starting in a little over a month (I teach summer school, but my school is year round, so its a little different).  As I look at my goals, I find myself reflecting on not only how far I’ve come, but how far I have to go on some goals.  I even finished one goal already, hurray!  By the end of the month I may have another goal completed too.  Let’s review:

Dreams + Determination = Success :) #quotes #inspiration

Goal: Earn $1500 in extra income (sales and writing)

I’m a little over $100 away from finishing this goal and I anticipate possibly finishing it this month!

 Goal: Pay off $10,000 of student loans

I’m just under $5,000 and with only 6 months to go, I’ll be bumping up the payments.  I want to pay more, but I only make so much.  I did get a raise last month though!

Crafts, Video Games and Reading

I’m progressing at a good rate on all 3 and I know that by August I’ll be around 3/4 of the way through all 3.

Decluttering

I’m doing pretty well with this goal and I’m around 100 items away from completing it.  Once I have a couple more sales, take books to the used bookstore and sell some old clothes, this goal will be done!

Volunteering

I’m embarrassed by this one because I’m only halfway through.  I did specify charities and while I do help out with a lot of odds and ends, I’m not really expanding as much as I’d like to with this one.  There’s so much I can do, I’m not utilizing it…

Wardrobe goal

I have a vacation week coming up the first week of August and I plan on taking one day to go to the city and get a new wardrobe and thereby get rid of a lot of worn out things in my closet.  Heaven knows I need to.

Recycling/Traveling/Bear Bank

They’re all works in progress, though the traveling one does need more progress!

Recipes

I’ve been busy in my kitchen throughout the year and I’m excited to try even more things in the future.  Over halfway done with this one!

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In July I plan on working more on all my goals and hopefully checking another goal off my list!  I think I might actually meet some by the end of the summer, meaning I can focus more on my harder/more intensive goals.  The debt repayment one is the one I want to focus on the most, but its probably the hardest goal (due to restraint of funds).  Where there’s a will, there’s a way though!

June Goal Recap

Yes (John Green)

June felt like a month that went at a moderate pace.  For once, I didn’t feel like it breezed by faster than some months this year.  I was glad for that since it meant I was able to balance my life at a slower pace.  June itself was a good month and I had a week off from work, meaning I spent a week and a half traveling around to visit family and friends.  I look forward to those 6-7 weeks throughout the year when I can do that.  It’s hard being far away from family, especially since they’re getting older and from friends who mean a lot to me.  I have plenty here, but I definitely get nostalgic to move closer to family sometimes…ok a lot.

Goal wise, June was a pretty good month.  I think the only goal I was dissatisfied with was my extra earnings, but it happens.  More on those below!

 

Extra earnings ($1247.13)

$144-sales

$53.62 -Writing

Total: $197.62

My freelance check has been taking two weeks to get to me, so that hurt my extra earnings for the month.  Sales were great in the beginning of the month, and then basically stopped.  I had three people in a row cancel their orders, which stunk.

 

Reading Goal (34/100)

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortsenon

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell

Horrible Histories: The Awesome Egyptians by Terry Deary

Paper towns by John Green

Tales to Inspire by Bathroom Reader Institute

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

Boy Next Door by Betty Cavanna

I was a readaholic this month (when I had time) and I’m already well on my way to reading a lot more in July.  I actually took one weekend to just read mostly and it was wonderful.

 

Beat 10 Video Games (6/10)

Bible Adventures (NES)

Final Fantasy IV & FFIV: Interlude (PSP)

I played a lot of video games this month and beat two.  I’m currently making my way through Final Fantasy IV: The After Years and have no doubt I’ll have it beaten by the end of next week.  After that, it’s time to reload either Shadow of the Colossus or Persona 4!

 

Complete 20 crafts (7/20)

The only one I finished this month was a Dalek piece for my Doctor Who bathroom. I started on Rose in the beginning of the month, but haven’t worked on it in two weeks. My goal in July is to get her finished and the tenth Doctor. Oh and I need to start on gift crafts in July.

 

Volunteering (5/10 opportunities)

I slacked off on this one with the exception of donating to service dogs of Virginia.

 

Pay off $10,000 of student loan debt ($4650.81/$10,000)

I was VERY happy to pay off over $2,000 worth of student loans this month. I only wish I could do this every month, but I don’t forsee this happening again until I get my next tax refund. I’m halfway through the year though and not halfway through, so I’ll need to up the payments…somehow.

 

Get rid of 365 items (233/365)

I only got rid of 27 things in June, but since I’m already ahead for the year, I’m not too bothered by this fact. I anticipate I’ll get rid of a lot more in July, mostly due to giving away things to friends and (hopefully) more sales.

 

Clothing goal (replace and add)

This is a weird goal because I don’t have a formal way of tracking it. I’ve been more adamant this year about recycling or donating clothes that I no longer need, but also getting better quality clothes and making my overall wardrobe better. By the end of the year I hope to have a couple more things in my wardrobe and get rid of the things I really don’t want.

 

Recycling

I took my recycling twice this month and it felt so good to do it! I’ve learned a lot more this year about what things can be recycled and how, which has affected what I buy and even how I buy things.

 

Traveling

I went to visit a close friend in Maryland in June, which was awesome. I also discovered why people complain about the beltway and why I’d not want to live there just because of the traffic! That being said, I DO want to move closer to the Northern Virginia area someday, only I’ll stick with the outskirts like Manassas.

 

Try out 40 new recipes (22/40)

I didn’t do a ton of new recipe experimenting this month (due to being out of town), but I did make some new Japanese recipes, one of which is a definite keeper, Miso soup. I’ve had it many times and it is a personal favorite, so I’m glad to have found one that tastes just as good as the ones I get in Japanese restaurants. The other three things I made didn’t get recipe cards made for them.

 

Filling bear bank to the top

I put money in it every week in June. I’m worried about it not getting to the top at this rate, but I do put what little spare coins I get in. I’m planning on investing in coin wrappers in July to prepare and I already have plans for when it’s full and ready to be banked!

 

Get out there more

I did a good job of this and found myself out and about more often. I went to Doctor Who: Rise of the Cybermen with two friends, went out exploring Rockville Maryland, went to places with friends and met my first online friend. We’ve been friends for 7 years and met this weekend. It was a lot of fun and we clicked super well!

Revealing your debt

I read quite a few debt blogs and while each is unique, there is one common trait I see on every blog.

How much debt they have.

Some may have noticed I haven’t revealed my debt number, yet. The truth is, I’m embarrassed by the amount (though it’s less than what many have) and want to reach a certain number before I’m upfront about revealing it.  Only 3-4 people know what my debt number is, but many friends know that I have a decent amount in student loans.  Actually, I feel like I too often sigh and saying “when I’m debt free” or “if I didn’t have student loans”.  I’m jealous of those who don’t have them and can travel abroad or buy cool things or even better, donate to good causes and help out others.  I can only do those things on a smaller scale.

What is a Loan?(pinterest)

Provided I get to the amount I’m aiming for by the end of the year, I’ll post my debt number.  Until then, I’ll keep it hush hush and then I’ll be honest.  This is how much I started with, this is what I have now, this is how much remains.  Since I stated paying back my debt aggressively, I’ve taken off quite a bit (in 8 months).  I’m hoping the next six months of the year are just as good!

 

35 Reasons to get out of debt as fast as I can

Maybe if i pray hard enough God will make my student loans disappear....

After paying over $2,000 towards student loans this past month (take that!) I’ve reflected on how far I still have to go to get them gone.  I’m sorry to say how much I think about it, but then I think ‘just a little more work and I’ll be less in debt’ and it propels me forward.  I have a good balance, but I know I won’t be free until its gone…in five years.  I’ve officially set a timeframe of five years for myself.  I’ll be 31/32 at that time, so here’s hoping for the best.

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Whenever I start to doubt why I put so much energy into getting them gone, I think of different things.  There are numerous reasons anyone can give for wanting to be out of debt.  I’ve given a lot of thought to ‘why now, why not just slack a little and live versus putting so much energy into them’.  Well, the interest rates are a good reason for that!  I have several friends taking the slower pace, but I have a little more than the average graduate and I want the peace of mind and financial freedom.

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1-To have the freedom of knowing I’m no longer in debt.

2-To not feel guilty or fret over eating out, going to a movie or a tour that costs more than $5 (or even $5!)

3-To be able to buy the people I love proper gifts or even have the time to make said gifts

4-To buy little things, like a poster frame, that I currently can’t give a good enough reason to buy (ok other than the fact of decorating and having said posters)

5-To have less stress overall

Hobbit house!

6-To be able to walk into the grocery store and buy what you want without sticking to as strict a budget.  You know a $200 grocery bill versus a strict $120 one.

7-To travel to far off places. One of my biggest dreams is to see the world, but it requires money (usually).

8-To buy the books I really want to read as opposed to wishful thinking with rarer books.

9-To buy a 3DS, PS3 and eventually a PS4.

10-To finish my Doctor Who themed bathroom.

11-To support small businesses as opposed to bigger ones (voting with my dollar)

12-To buy more geeky things, in general (a geek can never have too much!)

13-To create a proper garden (gardening does have an upkeep and start up cost)

14-Donate more to causes that I support and give more time to said causes

15-To be able to freely give to someone in need

wow! Lowes sells these for about $20. love the idea of transforming one of these into a teacher tool box. Super organized!

16-To afford better stuff to organize my house

17-To save for retirement (because currently its looking grim)

18-To go to conventions like comic con

19-To buy spontaneous gifts for those I love

20-To be healthier (money means taking the fitness classes I’ve always wanted to!)

21- To not ‘cheap out’ on some things

22- To cover the tab for a friend who needs it without worrying

That's what missionary work is all about! PreparetoServe.com

23- To pay for volunteer experiences and missionary work (did you know you have to pay for some, I don’t have $2,500 to volunteer abroad!)

24- To invest in better quality clothing

25-To save up for a house/afford a better place

26- To have more freetime (because the money I’m putting towards extra earnings would be gone!)

27- Interest rates on student loans are a nightmare.  The quicker they’re gone, the less those awful companies get!

28-I’m tired of talking about my student loans and how they hold me back

29- To be more liberal with spendings, donations etc.

30- To run in 5K’s that I want to run in, to support a good cause, but cost $30+ a person

Will MOOCs Disrupt Higher Education or Level the Playing Field? [#Infographic]

31- To further my education beyond my Bachelors of Art degree (without student loans at that!)

32- To better myself because of less stress and because I can live freely

33- To help others stop worrying about my student loans along with me

34- To experience more of the world around me (isn’t it sad how much money can control this?)

35-  To feel truly free and not feel as though I can’t make any big changes or move without risking financial suicide

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Some of these may have sounded similar, but they’re different in my mind and all equal the same.  I want them gone and I’m ready to work hard to do just that!  Five years or less, here I come!

 

 

 

 

Take that student loan (a semi-mid June update)

With a little assurance... It's much easier to step outside your comfort zone & do what needs to be done... To SUCEED. <3 xoxo

My goal this month, after coming into a little money & having a HUGE boost in sales (which has tampered off) was to pay more on my student loans.  It’s only the middle of the month, but I’ve paid off $2,000 already!  I plan on making another payment on two loans (not as substantial, but something), which will bring them down even more.  It’s a pity I couldn’t do this every month, because they’d be gone in less than three years, which would be wonderful.  At my current rate (and based on my 5 year action plan), they’ll be paid off in the next five years.  Things could easily change.  I periodically go through a period where I think of moving closer to family and friends back home.  I adore my job and everything about it, I just get homesick sometimes or (maybe I am being called to go back?)

The Winter King (Warlord Chronicles Series #1)

In terms of my other goals for the year, I’m doing ok this month.  I really need to catch up on reading and despite the fact I do a good amount of reading most of the time, I’ll get some weeks where I can barely squeeze any time in.  Thank goodness I’m free this weekend as I plan on doing a lot of reading.  I just finished “The Winter King” by Bernard Cornwell and I plan on reading some more from the Cryptozoology book I’ve had ongoing since the beginning of the year.  Saturday I’ll be treating myself to a horrible histories book I grabbed last week.  I adore them, but they can be hard to come across in used book stores (ordering online means importing them since some are out of print).

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My biggest thing for the rest of the month is just tackling my summer bucket list and having more sales.  I have a couple things posted, but history has taught me the bulk of my sales come at the end of the month.  I’d love to get rid of some more things and make an extra $50+ in online sales, but online sales can be hit or miss.  I haven’t posted my summer bucket list, but its basically a collection of things to do this summer in relation to my 2014 goals, traveling and events I want to go to.  I’ve already scratched off quite a few too.

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There are still ten days left in June and it should be a great rest of the month!  Hopefully I can tackle some more debt payments and goals in that time!